The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County News: 1882

Southern Oregon Mines.
    In Southern Oregon mining is the great special industry. All the mines operated in Jackson County are placers, and at this season present the unsightly appearance of scars upon the country, very much resembling abandoned brickyards. There are several fine quartz ledges in the county, but to operate them mills must be employed, and none have yet been put in. Just what the annual yield of the mines here is, it is impossible to say. The dust is used as a circulating medium among the miners, part of it is sold at the Jacksonville bank, part is traded at the stores, part is shipped by registered package, part is shipped by express, and part is carried out by the miners themselves. The difficulties of the situation may be seen. Only in a general way we may say that the annual gold production of the county approaches half a million dollars, much of which finds its way into the hands of farmers and merchants of the county. Fully one-half of the men engaged in mining are Chinese, and one of the principal mining bosses and proprietors is a Chinaman. The mining season commences in November or December, with the winter rains, and lasts till May, the miners generally making enough during these months to keep them the rest of the year. Every process of water mining, from the old-fashioned rocker to the most approved hydraulic methods, are employed in these mines. Mining is the great and almost the only industry of Josephine County. They are similar to the mines of Jackson. The annual gold production of the various districts in Josephine is estimated at $192,500.
    The number of men engaged in these diggings is about five hundred, more than 250 being Chinamen. The various hydraulic methods are in use. The mines of Douglas County are mostly quartz, and are undeveloped. Very rich silver ore is found in several places, whose owners would like to sell.
    For more than thirty years black sand mining has been carried on along the beach south of Coos Bay. The Lane mine was first worked sixteen years ago, and is now under the management of Mr. Bailey, to whom it is leased. The works represent an investment of $25,000, and employ sixteen men. The Eagle company spent $50,000 in building works, etc., and after conducting a failing business for some time sold out for $40, 000 to a California company, who spent $25,000 more and then abandoned the claim. First and last a good deal of gold was taken out of the Eagle, but the business never was profitable. Miners working by hand along the beach have always made good wages, and some few have picked up fortunes. "Big Mac" took $100,000 out of the sand in a few weeks, spent it in a few months, and is now keeping a hotel in Crescent City. The town of Randolph, which is marked on the maps, exists nowhere else. It was once a thriving mining camp, but the sands shifted, the mines failed and Randolph died--died as only a mining town can die.

Mining and Scientific Press,
San Francisco, January 28, 1882, page 59

    REFERENCE has been made in these columns to the rapid growth of sorghum culture in the western states, and the manufacture of sorghum syrup and sugar. The growth of this industry is due mainly to the efforts of the agricultural department at Washington, from which a great deal of valuable information has been sent out through the country. As a rule the experiments of the "government farm" receive little attention from practical people, but this industry seemed to have gained a hearing, and the result is that wherever it is put to the test the best of results have followed. Not only is the business becoming extensive among the farmers of the Northwest, but a large amount of capital has been invested in refining works at Chicago for working the product of this cane. The sugar made from it is quite as good as that from the southern cane, and can be sold at a lower figure, and the indications are that its production, once confined to the Gulf States, is to become a common work of the country. Home experiments have been made in California, quite satisfactory, we believe, but we have no actual results to offer. In Oregon, however, the business is fairly under way, and sufficient data is obtainable from which to demonstrate its practicability. Sorghum was grown in small patches--from half an acre to two or three acres--in Jackson County last year, and a small mill--2 horsepower--was put up at or near Jacksonville. From published correspondence in regard to the working of this mill and the yield per acre of the cane we have some interesting figures. It has been maintained from the first that the cane will grow wherever corn will grow. This is sustained by the statements referred to, and the further fact that it costs no more to raise it. The mill in question requires the services of three men and two boys, whose total daily wages amount to $7. Fuel expense is given at $3 per day for wood, though the refuse from the cane is said to be fully equal to wood in heating qualities. But allowing the expense for wood, and 10 cents per day for "incidentals in defecting," and the total cost for a day's run foots up $9.10, aside from the labor value of two horses. With this force and expense, says the writer, "we make from 60 to 100 gallons per day; and could make twice the amount with the same number of hands if we had a mill of twice the capacity." There is no appreciable difference between the market value of this and other syrups--say 80 cents per gallon. Averaging the product of the mill at 80 gallons, we have a daily return of $64l; or, deducting the expense account, of $54. This makes a handsome figure when carried up through the working days of a month, and would enable the manufacturer to market his goods at a reasonable price. The yield per acre varies somewhat, but is averaged at 200 gallons. One half-acre patch yielded 120 gallons of syrup, and three-quarters of an acre from another section yielded 212 gallons, amounting, at the average price of 80 cents, to $226 per acre. The machinery is neither complicated nor expensive, and after first cost needs little outlay. The amount of syrup or molasses consumed by our rural population and in the logging woods and lumber mill cook houses is enormous, and the trade of the county in that one article is certainly worth the attention of some of our people. Farmers of the corn-growing sections of Mattole, South Fork and Garberville should think the matter over, and while preparing for the season's crop plant an acre or two to cane. They will find it excellent feed for stock, even if the syrup-making experiment is not tried. But it should be tried. If cane growing succeeds, another year the mill can be put up at little cost and an industry established that will save many a dollar to the county and increase the store of those who are willing to investigate.
Humboldt Times, Eureka, California, February 8, 1882, page 2

    R. D. Hume will start a salmon hatchery on Rogue River next summer. He intends making it a permanent institution.
"The City," Daily Astorian, Astoria, Oregon, February 5, 1882, page 3

    James Johnson, from Jackson County, Or., was killed in Weiser City on the 4th, by Jas. Smith, in a dance house row.
"Latest News Summary," Puget Sound Argus, Port Townsend, Washington, February 17, 1882, page 2

Wagon Road Meeting at Eagle Point.
    At a meeting called Feb. 18, 1882, at Eagle Point, for the purpose of obtaining the sentiments of the people of Eagle Point and vicinity in regard to a wagon road to Fort Klamath, J. G. Grossman was called to the chair and H. C. Fleming chosen as secretary. The chairman stated the object of the meeting to be as stated above. After remarks by Wm. Simpson, A. J. Daley, M. Peterson, James Miller, J. M. Matney, A. W. Clemens, E. Emery, Charles Griffith and A. H. Osborne, a motion was made and carried that James Miller, M. Peterson, Wm. Simpson, J. M. Matney and A. J. Daley be appointed a committee to designate the route for said road, commencing at old Camp Stuart, near H. Amy's residence, and ending at the eastern boundary line of Jackson County, and to petition the County Court to grant a survey for said road from the terminus of the county road to said eastern boundary line. On motion our county papers were requested to publish these minutes. The meeting then adjourned sine die.
    H. C. FLEMING, Sec'y.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 25, 1882, page 3

A Deputy Sheriff Killed by Lynchers.
    JACKSONVILLE, Oregon, March 13.--On Saturday night ten or twelve masked men rode into Linkville, where H. C. Laws, charged with murder, was in the custody of Deputy Sheriff J. F. Lewis and Justice Wright, awaiting examination. The officers were in Greenman's Hotel with the prisoner when the lynchers entered the hall and were ordered to halt. They refused and Deputy Sheriff Lewis fired his revolver, slightly wounding one of the party. The lynchers returned the fire, killing the deputy sheriff and wounding Justice Wright. They then left without taking Laws. Intense excitement prevails.
The Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 14, 1882, page 4

Not a Robber.
    The Jacksonville (Oregon) Sentinel of February 25th says: "A few days ago an old man named Griffith started over the divide between Sardine Creek and Sams Valley, on foot, taking his shotgun with him. Reaching the summit of the ridge, he sat down to rest, and in a few minutes heard something approaching. Thinking it might be a wild animal, he brought his gun to a present, and in a minute a Chinaman's head popped up over the ridge. Both men were startled, but the heathen was scared, and, pulling out a gold watch, he presented it to the old man with the assurance that he had no money. 'You catchem watch, all litee; him belly good; no got money,' said the poor heathen, who thought he had met a robber. The old man took the watch, examined it and handed it back to the now delighted Celestial, who left, ejaculating, 'Welly good man, no lobem.'"
The Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 25, 1882, page 11

Connection Between Oregon and California by Rail--Encouraging Outlook.
    PORTLAND, April 10th.--R. Koehler, manager of the Oregon and California Railroad, in conversation with an Oregonian reporter, gave the following information concerning the extension from Roseburg to California. The line is permanently located fifty miles south of Roseburg to the big bend of Cow Creek, and portions beyond are located. Near the seventy-mile station there will be a tunnel 775 feet long, and in the eighty-eighth mile, between Grave Creek and Jumpoff Joe, another of 2,100 feet long. Contracts for completing both tunnels have been let to E. J. Jeffrey & Co., of this city. The shorter one will be done October 1st. Perforations will be made at both ends by drills operated by compressed air, and the contractors expect to make five feet per day at each opening. Surveying parties under engineer John A. Hurlburt have been engaged all winter in running lines on the south slope of Siskiyou Mountain, and their work on that side is now completed. Last week the parties moved to the north slope, where they will be engaged for some time. Nothing definite is yet known concerning the maximum grade required to get over the mountain, nor the length of the tunnel, but it will not be less than 3,500 nor more than 6,000 feet long. The stone is siliceous sandstone, and probably will not be so hard to drill as the basaltic rock in Eastern Oregon. Between 700 and 800 men are at work on the grade between Roseburg and Myrtle Creek, and during the last fortnight made fair progress. The bridge work of the first thirty-three miles is well under way, and includes the truss bridges over Myrtle Creek and the Umpqua River. Piles have been driven for the northern approach to the Myrtle Creek bridge. That structure will be complete before the road reaches the river. W. R. Weller, of Roseburg, has the contract for furnishing the timber required on the first fifty miles, and has erected two new sawmills, one at Upper Cow Creek, and one at Wolf Creek, just south of the Cow Creek Hills. A contract for clearing at the big bend of Cow Creek was let last week to J. J. Comstock, of Latham. The company has 10,000 tons of 56 -pound steel rails afloat, to arrive during the summer. This is enough for more than 100 miles of track. Enough iron to lay twenty miles is stored here, and will be forwarded to Roseburg, together with 100,000 ties, which were cut at Latham. The time required to complete the road to Rogue River Valley is contingent entirely upon the number of laborers that can be secured. Graders, both whites and Chinamen, are not to be had for the asking, and it is not likely that the company will be able to engage as many as they wish to employ. Every mile of work to Rogue River Valley is heavy, but strenuous efforts will be made to reach this valley with the railroad by the close of the year. Beyond, to the base of the Siskiyou Mountains, the work will be comparatively light, and can be prosecuted all winter.
"Pacific Slope," Sacramento Daily Record, April 11, 1882, page 2

    Nearly 10,000 deer skins have been sold from deer slaughtered in Jackson County, Oregon, within the past year.
"Coast Items," Marysville Daily Appeal, Marysville, California, April 28, 1882, page 1

    Immigration is commencing to flow in rapidly, and the population of Jackson County, Or., will be greatly increased in the next few years.
    The vineyards around Jackson were nipped by the frost last week. The damage falls mainly upon vines growing in the vicinity of the creeks.
"Coast and State," Sacramento Daily Union, May 24, 1882, page 2

A Good Class of Immigrants.
    Inquiries at the Bureau of Immigration for Oregon and Washington elicit the fact that about eighty percent of the white steerage passengers who arrived within the last month are actual settlers. Each family brings from $500 to $1,000 in cash, and more than half of them bring their household effects. From one-fourth to one-third of the number go to the Umpqua and Rogue River valleys, being induced thither by the immediate prospect of a railroad, while the remainder are about equally divided between Eastern Oregon, the Walla Walla Valley, the Palouse region and the district lying between the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Columbia River. A considerable number have also gone to the Yakima and neighboring valleys, and a few into the Clearwater country. The immigrants are principally from California, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan and Texas--proportions in the order named.--Portland Oregonian.
The Times,
Goshen, Indiana, June 8, 1882, page 6

    WAGES IN OREGON.--The following is from a circular of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, in answer to one of many questions propounded by intending immigrants: Farm labor, $1 a day and board; harvest work, $1.50 a day. On the Sound wood choppers earn from $60 to $90 a month. All good hands find work on railroads at the following prices: Common laborers, $1.75 to $2 a day; foremen of gangs, $75 to $100 a month; blacksmiths, $2 to $4 a day; carpenters, $3.50; tracklayers, $2 to $2.50; team and driver, $4.50. These figures are intended to apply to Willamette
Valley, and are equally applicable to Southern Oregon. In Jackson and Josephine counties a good many hands are employed in placer mining, the wages generally being $1.50 a day and board.
Mining and Scientific Press, San Francisco, June 10, 1882, page 375

Stabbed to Death After a Row Over Cards
    PORTLAND, June 27th.--From a correspondent at Grave Creek, Jackson County, particulars are received of a murder committed at that place on Sunday night. Several men, among whom were two named Lane and Fox, went to Nagle's saloon to take some liquor, and while there engaged in a came of cards for money. A dispute soon arose and Fox abused Lace shamefully and offered to fight him, which was declined. Finally Fox became so abusive that Lane went into another room, procured a gun, leveled it on Fox and made him take back all he had said and agree to cease quarreling. Fox then went off, Lane staying behind to do some trading. He then started for Grave Creek, about 7 o'clock in the evening. When about three hundred yards north of Nagle's he met Fox and two men, named Brown and Linville, and the quarrel was renewed. Linville took the gun away from Lane, when Fox rushed at him and both men fell, Linville pulled Lane off, separating them, and Fox got up, saying he was cut. Brown and Linville then started to assist Fox to Nagle's house, and he asked to be laid down, which was done. One of the men went for water and the other started for Grave Creek to telegraph for a doctor. When they returned they found Fox lying dead in the road, stabbed three times, either wound being sufficient to cause death. Lane made his escape, but has been seen in the neighborhood and will be caught.
"Oregon," Sacramento Daily Union, June 28, 1882, page 3

    WASHINGTON, June 28.--A change has been ordered in the star service from Rockport to Foots Creek, Oregon, making Draper (official name of Foots Creek) the terminus of the route. Special service has been discontinued on the route from Draper, Jackson County, to Rock Creek, Oregon, from June 30th, 1882.

"Star Route Changes," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 30, 1882, page 1

    On last Tuesday morning, June 27th, Wm. S. Webb, of Jackson County, and M. M. Bybee, of Lake County, Oregon, came to Adin, California, looking for horse thieves who had stolen three horses from parties in Jackson County, Oregon. They had a warrant for the arrest of the thieves. The warrant was placed in the hands of Constable J. B. Blake, and he, in company with Webb and Bybee, started out to search for the parties, who were supposed to be somewhere in the mountains north of the Higgins mill. The two horse thieves were found about 11 o'clock a.m., in the woods nearly eight miles north of town, about a mile north of the county road. They had all three of the stolen horses with them. When discovered by the Constable's posse the two men were taking a comfortable nap, their guns and revolvers lying by their sides. Both were young men, one aged about 28 years, the other apparently 18. Blake and Webb, at a distance of about 60 yards covered the men with their guns and called on them to surrender. At the second call the two desperadoes were wakened and "got up shooting." For the next few minutes there was lively fighting, and some thirty-two shots were exchanged, the officers shooting fourteen times and the horse thieves eighteen times. After the first six or eight shots the younger of the two fell mortally wounded. The elder one never lost his presence of mind for a moment. He, as well as the officers, had secured shelter. After firing several more times he broke for the creek, and having emptied his gun and secured the dying boy's "navy," intended still to hold the officials at bay. But the revolver being defective he was compelled to give himself up. He had received a severe wound in the mouth which cut his tongue, passing out through the neck behind the ear. The fingers of his left hand were shot off; he was also wounded in the leg. The younger man had received two shots in the left temple, either one of which would have proved fatal. He died in about three-quarters of an hour after the affray, and was unconscious to the last. The names of the thieves are unknown, the living one refusing to speak them.
Sacramento Daily Union, July 4, 1882, page 4

A California Man's Mysterious Disappearance.
    PORTLAND, July 13th.--On Friday last a wagonload of emigrants camped near Chavner's bridge, on Rogue River, Jackson County, while on their way north. The load consisted of Henry Bedford and Charles Hendricks and wife. After supper the men went swimming, since which time nothing has been seen of Hendricks, and Bedford reported that he was drowned, but the body has not been recovered. What seems strange about the affair is that the survivor, together with the other man's wife and property, started northward next morning, without making any effort to recover the body. Some suspect foul play, while others think Hendricks wants the impression creased that he is dead. Hendricks hails from Chico and Bedford from Aden, Cal. Colusa Lodge, A.O.U.W., offers a reward of $200 for the recovery of Hendricks' body, if dead.
"Oregon," Sacramento Daily Union, July 14, 1882, page 3

    D. Skinner was herding sheep on horseback at Willow Springs, Oregon, when his horse slipped and fell. The frightened animal regained his feet, leaving Mr. Skinner hanging by the saddle, his foot entangled in the stirrup. He was dragged some distance, and severely, though not fatally, hurt.
    The delinquent tax list left by Sheriff Bybee, of Jackson County, Oregon, retiring from office for the second term, amounts to only $1,085, of which $529 is on polls that have left the county, leaving only $554 behind. Besides this he has collected $673 on Sheriff's assessments, making $119 more than the Assessor's books call for.
"Coast and State," Sacramento Daily Union, July 27, 1882, page 2

    One hundred and thirty hands are now at work on the Crescent City wagon road, and it is being rapidly completed.
"Douglas County," Corvallis Gazette, September 15, 1882, page 3

A Serious Affray.
    A number of men working with a threshing machine near this place came to town last Sunday night and, after imbibing considerable of the ardent, announced themselves in readiness for anything that was on the programme. Shortly after this a row started between Wm. Colwell, Chas. Dodson and Tom Curly in which some of the parties engaged received nothing more than bruised heads. After this, about eleven o'clock p.m., Charles E. Hanna, a clerk in Reames Bros.' store, arrived on the scene and, making some remark favorable to Curly in the first trouble, a row was started with him in which pistols and knives were freely used. During the affray young Hanna was shot in the face by Colwell, just below the left eye, the ball ranging downward and lodging in the back of the neck near the base of the skull. After being shot and lying helpless on the ground, someone, said to be Chas. Dodson, a stranger here, rushed on him and cut his throat, inflicting a serious though not a fatal wound. Hanna was immediately removed to the U.S. Hotel and Dr. Aiken summoned and his condition at last account was so much improved as to give strong hopes of his recovery. Colwell was arrested immediately by Marshal Payne and Constable Birdsey and lodged in jail, after which the Constable and Sheriff Jacobs went to Cardwell's ranch, where the crowd was camped, and arrested Dodson. Both parties will have a hearing before Justice Huffer on Monday next, the trial having been postponed to that date on account of the absence of the district attorney and nearly all of our lawyers.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 16, 1882, page 2

    The fall wool clip in Douglas County is fully equal to that of last year.
    Pork has declined in price in Jackson County within a week from 12 to 8 cents.
    Pinkeye is prevalent among the horses on Bear Creek, Jackson County. Many horses are unable to work.
    The late rains have started the grass in Jackson County, and made the fields in prime order for plowing and sowing.
    There has been a heavy fall of snow on the eastern end of the Rogue River road, and teams cannot reach Fort Klamath by that route.
    A large amount of sorghum syrup is being manufactured in Jackson County this season, which is of a superior quality and finds ready sale at one dollar a gallon. It has superseded imported syrup to a great extent.
    Hobart Taylor, who was mistaken for a deer and shot by his nephew while hunting in Jackson county last week, was one of the pioneers of that section, and was 55 years of age. The fatal bullet struck him in the side, causing death in a short time.
    Spokane Ike, who recently killed the Klamath Indian doctor, was hung at the Agency two weeks ago. He fled after committing the murder, but was captured near The Dalles and brought back. An Indian jury tried him, and he was sentenced to death by Agent Nickerson, who also sat as judge. Upon the scaffold, according to the story told by the Indians who witnessed the execution, Ike confessed to having killed six redskins and two white men.
"Southern Oregon," Sacramento Daily Union, October 21, 1882, page 8

    R.R. NEWS.--Dolson's party have finished their surveys and have been disbanded for the winter. The road is now definitely located to the Centennial Bridge across Rogue River [at Gold Hill] and two lines have been run from there to a point just below the mouth of Bear Creek--one on the north and the other on the south side of the river--and one of these lines will surely be adopted, leaving the terminus of the survey at the same point in either case. It is not likely that Hurlburt's party in the Siskiyous will do any more work this season as the surveyors are more than a year ahead of construction, and the machinery required for tunnel work on the Siskiyou Pass could not well be got there this winter. The work on the construction north of us is still progressing.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, November 4, 1882, page 3

Last revised June 4, 2023