The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Albert Gallatin Rockfellow
See also Alice Rockfellow's memoir.

Claim No. 67    Bank
    and owned by Albert G. & Allison L. Rockfellow situated on the left hand bank of the right hand fork of Jackson Creek commencing at a stake at the top above the big falls of said creek at the head of the big flat and running down said flat fifty yards to a stake it being 2 claims and held by right of discovery.
Jacksonville July 25th 1855
Recorded by me this July 25th 1855
    Hiram Abbott
    Miners Recorder
Blossom Family Papers Mss 746, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

    A great many Jackson County people are here. Among them I will mention Rockfellow & Co., who are conducting the principal express business to these mines, connecting with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Walla Walla.
"Letter from Boise Mines," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 12, 1863, page 1

    STRUCK IT.--Mr. A. Rockfellow, formerly of this county, but now in the express business between Walla Walla and Bannock City, is one of a fortunate party who have discovered a rich quartz ledge near Auburn. May it yield him all the money he wants.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 5, 1863, page 2

    RETURNED.--Mr. A. G. Rockfellow has recently returned to his home near Phoenix, in much improved health. He has been very fortunate in his speculations in the northern mines, and in securing claims in a valuable quartz lead. He has a good opinion of the northern mines, and intends returning in the spring. In the meantime, he intends prospecting for gold-bearing quartz in this country.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 5, 1863, page 2

Notice to hold 3 quartz mining claims
    Notice is hereby given that the undersigned claim three quartz mining claims, one claim by discovery and two by location, situated on a quartz lead, lying between Willow Creek and Lane Creek, at the foot of the highest point between said creeks, commencing at the prospect hole or said lead where the said lead was struck and running from said prospect hole with the course and bearing of said lead in each direction from said prospect hole for the distance of 375 feet, making the whole distance for said claims 750 feet or 250 feet for each claim and 75 feet on each side of said lead, together with all the dips, angles and outcroppings belonging to the same.
Isom Brown
A. G. Rockfellow
Filed for record January 12th 1864
Wm. Hoffman
County Clerk & Recorder
Jackson County Oregon
Blossom Family Papers Mss 746, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

    QUARTZ.--We have been shown some beautiful specimens of quartz rock this week by Mr. A. G. Rockfellow & Co., taken from a ledge discovered by them in the Willow Springs vicinity. The rock resembles that of the richly paying Swinden quartz lead.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 6, 1864, page 2

WAGNER CREEK, Feb. 16th, 1865.
    Ed. Sentinel:--According to promise, I sit myself down to inform you that all is quiet here.
    The excitement about the new diggings has partially passed away, and all hands have settled down to steady labor enlarging the Ashland Creek mining ditch, which is extended above the rich diggings, and will soon afford enough water to prospect thoroughly the gulches adjoining, which, with the present means of prospecting, are supposed to be rich as the main Wild Cat Gulch. This singular feline cognomen was given to the diggings by the original finders, A. G. Rockfellow and partners, they having succeeded in treeing four of these ferocious animals near the place where they found their first prospect. The laws enacted allow a person to hold fifty yards of creek, or one hundred yards of bank, to be worked one day in every ten, when there is water to be had. But enough of the diggings at present.
    I notice in a late number of the Reporter a venomous slur at the Mountain Rangers, which would not be worth noticing were it not to correct the misstatement that the state furnishes the company with uniforms. The company furnish their own uniforms and everything except the weapons and armory, and they obtain no pay for the time and trouble of drilling. Ten of the members of the Mountain Rangers have enlisted under the call for infantry, but there is still enough of us left to amuse the "school children and simpering misses," as the Reporter man seems to think that is all we do.
NORBLEW. [Welborn Beeson]
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 4, 1865, page 2

    MORE AFFLICTION.--We regret that A. G. Rockfellow of Ashland has lost a very interesting little child, by infantile fever. We deeply sympathize with Mr. R. in his bereavement.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 20, 1869, page 2

ROCKFELLOW.--At Ashland, on the 13th last, of infantile remittent fever, Lincoln, youngest child of A. G. and S. B. Rockfellow, aged two years and one day.
    Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 20, 1869, page 2

    At Ashland, on the 24th inst., Minerva Rockfellow, aged about eleven years.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 25, 1869, page 2

    A. G. Rockfellow, of Ashland, Or., exhibited a patent yard and farm gate, which is really the first successful combination of beauty, durability and convenience in gates. A full description of it here would be too lengthy, but we can say truly that it is a perfect beauty. Builders should send to Mr. Rockfellow at Ashland, Or., for full particulars. It was also on exhibition at the industrial exhibit at Portland, where it was greatly admired. It is needless to add that this gate took first premium. It should have been awarded a special gold medal for special merit of its inventor.
"State Fair Notes," Douglas Independent, Roseburg, November 16, 1878, page 5

    HOME AGAIN.--Mr. A. G. Rockfellow reached home last Saturday evening, after a absence of several months, during a large portion of which he was in Portland. He left that place about three weeks ago, and has been exhibiting his gate at various places, as he made his way homeward. He informs us that he has disposed of the right to his patent for the counties of Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington,for the snug sum of eight hundred dollars--quite a good beginning, we think. He expects to start for the East in a short time, for the purpose of introducing his gate there and also to contract for the manufacture of gate irons for the Pacific Coast.

Ashland Tidings, January 24, 1879, page 3

    CHAMPION GATE.--The gates put up at the court house not working well, Mr. A. G. Rockfellow, the patentee, put them in order himself last week and they now work splendidly. Mr. Rockfellow is putting one up for Judge Hanna, which will be the champion gate of this town. Its main advantage is that it compensates for shrinkage and swelling and will not stay open. It is evidently cowproof.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 12, 1879, page 3

    A. G. Rockfellow left in the Tidings office the other day an immense tooth, which, with a portion of the jawbone, was washed out of the ground at Mr. Rockfellow's mines below Ashland a few years ago. It is a molar of one of the huge elephants which used to roam over Southern Oregon in prehistoric times.
Oregon State Journal, Eugene, May 1, 1880, page 5

    Jos. Bagley and A. Rummell are making preparations to begin mining in the claim of McCall & Rockfellow, in the bed of Bear Creek, near the old French mines. They will put up wheel-pumps and have good prospects for pay.--Tidings.
"Mining News," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 31, 1882, page 3

    The copartnership recently existing between A. G. Rockfellow, A. D. Rockfellow and others of Ashland for mining, legal and other purposes has been dissolved. A. G. Rockfellow retires from the legal and real estate department and A. D. Rockfellow from the mining department.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 30, 1882, page 3

Its Claims as a Health and Pleasure
Resort and Place of Refuge from
the Rigorous Winters and
Stormy Summers of the
Atlantic States.

A. G. Rockfellow, in Ashland Tidings.
    Having journeyed from Ashland to San Diego--from the northern end of the Golden State to its junction with Mexico--we have seen that it is a grand country, and that it is making gigantic strides in the race of civilization (whether mental or moral, artistic or scientific, mechanical, agricultural or commercial).
    And now it is my purpose to present you with the whole Pacific Coast from the British possessions to the Mexican border, as a health and pleasure resort and refuge for the people of the Atlantic States from the rigorous winters and stormy summers of that country.
    In order the more forcibly to establish this view it will be necessary for me to briefly refer to the country as it came from the hands of its Maker, as well as to the great progress it is now making in the civilization above referred to. And while I must speak of things as I find them I cannot afford to parade one section as par excellent above another section, believing as I do that the diversified climate and productions of the whole country are all needed to meet the diversified tastes, desires and real wants of the people who are to possess it.
    This whole territory, then (as bounded above), is under the influence, thermally, of the Pacific Ocean, and derives its mild temperature from the warm water and air currents coming up from the southern ocean in their various courses, so that its mild climate is not the normal but a modified condition of the latitude, though the normal condition so far controls, comparatively, as to leave California warmer than Oregon and Oregon warmer than Washington. This influence, however, exerts but little force beyond the Sierra and Cascade Mountains, and leaves the country east of them climatically in its normal condition, from twenty to 60 degrees colder in winter and from 10 to 30 degrees warmer in summer.
    The cooler weather of the Pacific is now (in summer) the result of ocean and mountain influence conjointly. The mist, or vapors, arising from the ocean cools the heated atmosphere in its passage over the waters, and sends it laden with freshness and new life over the plains and up to the mountaintops where it is again cooled by contact with the higher currents and eternal snows of the region, and then sent back down the mountains to bless again and make comfortable the region below. And so, alternately, up in the morning and down in the evening, the work of modifying natural conditions and making the region not only tolerable, but comfortable, becomes perpetual.
    As the result of these modified conditions, we have in our wide field climate to suit almost every variety of fruit, flower and agricultural product grown in the temperate zone, besides an attractive array of those belonging to the tropics and with diversity equal, also, to the requirements of every variety of human constitution, desire and need. But this is not all; we have a soil as rich and varied as the requirements of its products; and those are today the wonder and admiration of the world.
    Our mines are simply prodigious, and embrace gold, silver, nickel, tin, quicksilver, copper, lead, chrome, iron, coal, oil, graphite, granite and freestone, lime, fire clay, etc.
    For purposes of commerce and travel we have the Pacific Ocean with its magnificent harbors on the west, and our grand rivers and railroads ramifying the interior in every direction, north, south, east and west.
    With these natural advantages to our credit, it would seem superfluous to advance other reasons in support of our position, and so I will rest the case and proceed to inquire if the people are really coming.
    Now we are to remember that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the Atlantic States who are wholly dissatisfied with that country. They are sick of body and sick of mind; sick of cold and sick of heat; sick of the storm cloud, even--the dreaded cyclone is a constant menace and terror to them--and with anxious gaze and longing desires they are looking away from the fatherland for some haven of repose.
Where life may be lengthened (not childhood restored)
And summer and winter are never deplored;
Where life on the mountain or life on the plain
Conspire to return them their lost health again;
Where labor is honored with fruits of the soil
And richly rewarded the people of toil,
Where fear of the hurricane nevermore comes
And people dwell solely in peace at their homes.
    To such there comes from the once "far off" sunset land--the rarest and choicest spot of earth--the glad tidings of the existence of just such a place, of strong hope for the sick, and immunity for all from cold and storm, with an abundance of choicest fruits the world can produce. And what is better still, the invitation has gone out to them to come over and help us to possess the promised land. Not to fight and pour out blood for it--that has already been done--but simply to come and pay us a small amount of their filthy lucre for an interest in the rich heritage. The invitation has been accepted and the people are already beginning to arrive. We that write and we that read today see the vanguard, but we shall not live to see the rear guard of the coming hosts.
    But the influx will not be confined to any particular locality. All along the line from Mexico to the British possessions, from high up in the Sierras and Cascades to the placid waters of the Pacific, wherever the coveted fruits will grow, where the dreaded cyclone never comes and where the rigors of an eastern winter are unknown, there will the anxious millions go. And even today if there had been no preventing cause, this country would have been well filled with a prosperous people. A terse writer said a few years ago in writing of California that "if there were no drawbacks to this country there would not be standing room for the people that would come here." But the "drawbacks" were many of them imaginary, while the real ones are fast disappearing. With the advent of the railroad began a new order of things. Men of capital, men of enlarged ideas, ambitious and shrewd men, came to the country, saw and were overcome by its possibilities and the result is new life is everywhere manifest. Magnificent schemes for the development of the country were conceived, crystallized and set at work as if by magic. For purposes of irrigation vast reservoirs are constructed in the mountain regions to catch and store away the winter snows and rains for summer use in the valleys and on the hillsides when it may be needed. The waste places are made green, and "the deserts to blossom as the rose." This is what foresight supplemented with enterprise and pluck is doing for this end of the country, and what it is doing here it will yet do in your section.
    You little dream of the possibilities of your country. I could find a score of men in San Diego today to any half dozen of whom you might well afford under your present policy to give half your possessions for their stipulated services in your behalf. They would hastily divide your broad acres into town lots, five, ten, twenty and forty-acre lots; go to the mountains and construct reservoirs for stowing away your snows and rains; survey and dig ditches and send out all over your country in living streams water enough to irrigate every foot of your agricultural and horticultural lands, while you are lying supinely on your backs and deploring the scarcity of the life-giving element. "Store it up in winter for summer use" did you say? Yes, store up for use when it is needed. How much, think you, of your water runs to waste while you are waiting for it to get out of your way and then mourn over its departure? Ninety-nine one hundredths? Nay, but 999/1000 run to waste every year to swell the great ocean from whence it rises in vapors and flows back upon the carrying zephyrs to again slake the thirst of your parched lands. But instead of being caught up in ditches dug for the purpose and conducted to reservoirs made all along your foothills for timely use, it is allowed to collect in washouts and ravines; and so more than half the water of every summer rain goes unbridled and unused to the mother ocean again.
    It is high time you had an awakening from your Rip Van Winkle slumbers. Go to work and make your country a paradise and you will have no time or occasion to cast disparaging insinuations--rival towns one at another. Your country will soon be all town. You need not call on San Diegans, though, to do this work. You can do it yourselves. And know ye not that when you make room for the people they will come? Well, they will. The vanguard, as said above, are already at our doors. The iron horse with "rider up" is already moving up and down the track equipped and caparisoned for his part of the work, while the low murmurs of the tides in the distance are but the faint precursors of the great tidal wave of immigration that is to sweep over all this fair land and people it until we shall be ready to cry out, "Hold! Enough!" 'Tis enough!
    If you would no longer be laggards in the race you must not only send out your cards of invitation, but you must send a good bill of fare with them. When you put forth a good bill of fare and make people believe it's a genuine bill, then your hotels will be crowded and your spare lands all sold, and you will have money enough and some to spare for an occasional excursion with wife and babies or with sweethearts "down by the sea," or for a visit to the old friends in the old home, if, indeed, there be any of them left there.
    California, as has been shown, is warmer than Oregon and Washington. But that it can base claims of superiority upon this is an open question. It may be better for me but not so good for you, so long as you are not pierced with cold or in terror of flood and devastating tornado. California has its grand and exhaustless mines; but so also have Oregon and Washington. California has its splendid agricultural districts and so have Oregon and Washington. California has its wonderful fruit record and so have Oregon and Washington. But California has its tropical fruits which Oregon and Washington cannot boast. These, however, have as an offset, superior apples to those of California and a much wider range of pastoral lands with more extensive forests, and so far as yet known immeasurably greater coal fields. And so the parallel presents but little advantage of section one above the other, and while it is not possible for us to be able always to make the proper selection, if you and I have both made a mistake it can be easily corrected by an exchange of places.
    In twelve months from this writing, Feb. 10, 1887, we can send you in 24 to 48 hours all the oranges, lemons, limes, figs, raisins, olives, etc. you may order, and on return train you can send us value received in your superior apples, or if we do not want the apples at the time we will be glad to take your lumber and coal in exchange.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, March 25, 1887, page 1

Ascended Mt. Pitt.
    Misses Minnie Rockfellow and May Dennis and J. Percy Wells, Lloyd Bryant, Waldo Klum and Eldon Dennis ascended Mt. Pitt on August 27th. They camped at the foot of the mountain Sunday night and taking a 4 o'clock a.m. start Monday rode their horses to the timber line. At 9 o'clock they were halfway up the hill and lunched. Upon arriving at the narrow top of the 11,000-foot mountain they registered their names in the Mazama book and took a receipt from the copper box. The wind blew a severe gale, and it was cold and cloudy. The sunny side of the tall and slender mountain was entirely free from snow. The party ascended the mountain to please the curiosity of Miss Minnie Rockfellow, who was burning up with a consuming desire to get nearer to heaven before the allotted time.
Valley Record, Ashland, September 6, 1900, page 3

Lines Inscribed to My Departed Wife
Lovingly Dedicated to Her Father's Family.
Awake my beloved and come to me;
Awake from thy slumbers and early be;
Arise from thy resting, and rested well,
Return, with thy new life story to tell.
Come and the love of our little ones bring;
Come with the songs of the angels to sing;
Come, and come early, our poor hearts to cheer;
Come, and make haste with thy coming, our dear.
Come when the sun hath retired to rest;
Come when the stars are out, shining their best;
Come when the full-orbed moon, in her pride,
Sails over the earth, in her mid-night ride.
Come when the curtains of night are withdrawn,
And the sun light gleams through the early dawn;
Come when the earliest warblers sing
And the songs of their inspiration bring.
Come in the morning, at noon or at night;
Come in the darkness or come in the light;
Come at the sound of the curfew bell,
And the joyous life of thy new home tell.
Come when the world with its joy is awake,
And the face must smile, though the heart should break;
Come when my grieving I cannot control;
Come and bring joy to my grief-stricken soul.
Come in thy beautiful heavenly dress,
And my aching brow with thy pure lips press.
-    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -
Alas! Thou canst never return to me,
But, presently, I will come unto thee.
Ashland, Oregon, October 12, 1905.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library 1995.83.1

(By Albert G. Rockfellow.)

The wheel, the wheel, the spinning wheel;
    Our mothers used to run it;
And many a day and many a year
    Our sisters, too, have spun it.
That was the wheel that spun the yarn
    That made our fathers' breeches,
And spun the flax that made the thread
    That sewed the trusty stitches.
There was a time when that old wheel
    Was high in estimation
Of folks of high or low degree—
    By every class and station.

No matter if they had to walk
    And turn the wheel by hand, sir;
They wrought with all the cheerfulness
    That mortal could command, sir.
But that old wheel is laid away
    To moulder in seclusion;
Our sisters now can ride and spin—
    And this is no delusion.
Ah, yes! and spin two wheels at once—
    Our spinsters, too, can spin them—
And court and woo as the lassies do,
    The shy old larks and win them.
Our married sisters, too, can bike
    And congregate together,
And drink their tea and spin their yarns,
    In fair or foulest weather.
Whilst hubby he will stay at home,
    To wash and scrub, it may be,
And darn and sew the buttons on,
    And cook, and care for baby.
Our sisters now don't stay at home
    And drudge and drudge forever;
They mount their wheel just like a man,
    And not a whit less clever.
They spin away to shop and store,
    Dismount and stop a minute,
Then out and mount the wheel again—
    How gracefully they spin it.
The drive so long, the time so short,
    How can the dear ones make it?
Ten blocks are passed and shadows flown
    Ere camera can take it.
"Come, oh, my lover, come along,
    And ride with me today, sir.
I'll spin for you a yarn, my boy,
    That is no childish play, sir."
The stakes are up, the wheels are off—
    The stakes are hearts and rider—
Her speed is pressing two and ten,
    And he is right beside her.
Now, wheel and wheel, right on they go,
    And each with strong endeavor,
Is striving hard to win the race,
    By beating it? No! never!
And so 'tis plain that both will win,
    And they will be in clover—
Two hearts will beat in unison,
    When racing time is over.
So then farewell, ye old-time wheel,
    And the dear old folks that spun it;
Farewell, ye bonnie barefoot girls
    Who helped the old folks run it.
And now hurrah! for the brand new wheel,
    And the brand "new woman" on it;
Hurrah! for the jolly cyclers, all,
    Hurrah! for the hat and bonnet.
Ashland Tidings, July 25, 1912, page 3

Old Indian Wars
Interesting Account of the Early Troubles in Southern Oregon
Remembered by Old Timers.

    To the pioneer reunion of Southern Oregon, held at Ashland, Ore., on September 7, 1911, the writer, A. G. Rockfellow, submits the following statement of his services in the Indian war of Southern Oregon during the war of 1855 and 1856:
    After the Indian outbreak, Jacob Thompson and myself, two old friends from childhood, agreed that between ourselves we would keep one man in the service from that time until the close of the war, one of us only to serve at the same time, and it was decided that I should be the first one to take the field.
    Accordingly, about the first of December, 1855, with my own gun bought for that special purpose at fifty dollars, I mounted Mr. Thompson's horse and wended my way to Fort Vannoy, two miles below the present site of Grants Pass, where I was duly enrolled in Major James Bruce's command, under C. A. Rice as captain and J. S. Miller as first lieutenant. I cannot now recall the names of our lower officers, but we were all under Colonel Robert Williams (known in private life as Bob Williams) as the Southern Battalion of Oregon Mounted Volunteers.
    This organization constituted the army of the southern part of the state. But we were soon joined by a company from the northern part of the state under the command of Captain Rinearson, making altogether quite an imposing army. And now under the leadership of Colonel Robert Williams, who was by nature both escort and leader, on the forgotten day of September [sic] we set out for the "cabins" in the Applegate country where the Indians were known to be encamped. On arriving there guards were promptly placed around the cabins to prevent any attempt the Indians might make to steal away under cover of night, while the command was waiting the arrival of a howitzer known to be on the way under the escort of Captain Judah of Fort Jones, California.
    In the placing of the guards a young man by the name of Miller and called "Doc" Miller, from Crescent City, Cal., and myself were placed together at the edge of the water of the Applegate, with a bank about four feet high in front of us and between us and the cabins, and about fifty yards away from the cabins. Immediately on top of this bank of the river and between us and the cabins stood a pine tree large enough to shield one man as long as he kept it between himself and the enemy. But to do good duty as a guard he had to put his head out to one side of the tree so that he could see if the Indians were making any movement toward going away. I had just had my turn standing at that place and watching by putting my head out from behind the tree, when Miller came to my relief and took my place, while I was now crouching between the bank and the water. I think it could not have been more than five minutes after our change of places when a gunshot report rang out from the direction of the cabins, and simultaneous with the report of the gun Miller fell over by my side dead, with a bullet hole through his head. Thus it can be seen how on many occasions one may barely escape the fatal shot that takes the life of another one. And why, you may ask, does it sometimes so happen? To this question I can only answer by saying I am not here to philosophize and can only answer you by repeating your own question, "Why?"
    I cannot now recollect whether this circumstance transpired before or after the bombardment of the cabins, but I am quite sure that on the night after the bombardment the Indians made their way out of their perilous situation, through a dense growth of underbrush on the north side of the cabins.
    But the question will be asked, "Did you follow them?" To this question the answer may be justly given. By the morning light of the next day the Indians were many miles away in a heavily timbered and brush-covered mountainous country, where to have followed them now would have been to court death from behind every tree, every rock and every clump of brush behind which an Indian could hide himself and, after shooting his man, slip away down the side of the mountain unobserved to a place of safety.
    The army now returned to headquarters at Fort Vannoy to recruit and get ready for the next expedition, when our scouts, chief of whom is now again our late Colonel Williams (now only Colonel Bob), again located them in a heavy wooded country opposite the upper end of the Big Meadows on Rogue River. All ready now for the renewal of the conflict at the Meadows with our gallant Colonel Williams still at the head of the army, though just now fresh from the scenes of the scout. We now move in warlike style for the scenes of the coming fray opposite the Big Meadows, hopeful of success this time. Arrived at the Meadows, we made camp for the night in the middle of that open and extensive meadow, with a strong guard all round us to prevent any attempt of the cowardly foe, who, not now more than a mile distant from us, did not dare to attack us, but under cover of their heavily wooded and brush-environed camp lay quietly during the night, wondering, I suppose, how we were on the morrow to cross the river and meet them face to face, and the sequel shows how vainly we strove to cross the river in the face of their well-selected place of defense.
    On the morrow, at the sound of the bugle call, all hands were up and preparing the morning meal, with a noonday lunch, while engaged in an almost hand-to-hand encounter with the Indians in their stronghold. During the night, on our side of the river, the movements for the morrow were all arranged. Fully equipped for a day of hard work, the army, with the exception of a few campkeepers, were to march down to the river and of the drift logs that lay on the bank of the stream were to construct a raft on which the army could be rafted over into the timber, where it would have an equal fight with the redskins, and while the axmen were at work on the raft the balance were sitting on the high ground overlooking them. Very unexpectedly to all hands, a report as of the exploding of a gun cap was heard as if from across the river, and immediately followed by the loud report of a gun from the same direction. At once the whole force of the men on the side of the hill were on the run for the river, where they might find shelter among the rocks and logs and trees abounding there, a few of us stopping on the hillside to take advantage of the rocks and small trees there for shelter. Here myself and another young man took our chance for safety behind a tree whose body was not more than half as large as our bodies, and soon the rifle and yager balls came whizzing past us and some lighting in rather ominous proximity to our faulty retreat, my partner left me and ran for a better shelter among the rocks and trees at the river. When about halfway down, his arms flying high above his head, a yager ball struck and broke one of them, when he tumbled over and lay there for a moment only. On seeing the man fall the reds on the opposite side of the river were made jubilant with the glad shouts of the happy Indians hidden among the trees over the river. Well, now I was left alone, sheltered only by that little tree. As long as I stayed there I was a standing target for the bullets of the enemy, and if I run I may get shot as my comrade did, or I may be killed, and I said I will run. And asking the protection of my Heavenly Father, which was my everyday rule from childhood, I ran, not with Indians behind me, but with scores of them in front of me, all anxious to take my life, and I came out of the difficulty unscathed.
    A few hours later myself and another comrade were sent as an escort with the broken-armed man to camp. And still a few hours later the whole command returned to camp. And why not? Does any reasonable person suppose that under the conditions just now brought to light, the army could have crossed the river on an open raft with that band of Indians in front of them and perfectly concealed from view? It could not have done any such thing, for supposing that in its sheltered position, out of sight of the Indians, it could have completed the raft and, loading it with men, sent it afloat on the water, where it now floats out in full view of the Indians, before it could be landed on the Indian side of the river every man on it would be killed and the raft would become the property of the Indians, to be used in the defense of themselves. Such, doubtless, it seemed to the command of the army, and it returned to headquarters to think of the difficulties of waging an Indian war in a mountainous and heavily timbered and brush-covered country, and in studying how best to keep the enemy quiet until peace could be brought about in some successful way.
    I have written the foregoing movements of the army during the winter of 1855-6, for the remembrance of the old-time pioneers, of whom but a few remain to this present, but more especially have I written it for the later and younger pioneers--the second and third edition of them--and to the strangers also now among us, that all may understand what this now blessed and happy country cost the early pioneers, of whom, as said above, only a few of us now remain.
    Thus ended my war experience in the Indian war of 1855 and 1856, when I turned over my war outfit to my friend, Jacob Thompson, with his own horse, to be by him used in the following campaign, when I returned home to look after business there and to prepare for the next call to arms, which never came and for which, in the name of a prosperous country and a happy people, I sincerely thank the Southern Battalion of Oregon Mounted Volunteers, together with the Indians of Southern Oregon by a treaty of peace made with them by General Joseph Lane, Governor of Oregon at that time.
Ashland Tidings, October 7, 1912, page 4   Joseph Lane's term as Governor expired in 1851.

Eugene Rockfellow Passed Away Monday.
    Eugene F. Rockfellow, the eldest son of A. G. Rockfellow, the well-known Ashland pioneer, died at Sisson, Cal., Monday afternoon. Mr. Rockfellow, whose home was in Seattle, was at Sisson, where he had extensive interests in conjunction with his brother Alfred. Mr. Rockfellow had suffered for years with stomach trouble and a short attack at Sisson proved fatal. The remains were brought from Sisson to Ashland for burial.
    Eugene F. Rockfellow was born at Wagner Creek, known as Talent now, September 7, 1859. His early life was spent at Ashland. He was married to Rosa Eubanks, sister of G. G. Eubanks, cashier of the Granite City Savings Bank, of this city, on April 4, 1880. He leaves a family consisting of a wife, two sons and one daughter. The widow, Mrs. Rosa Rockfellow, of Seattle, Wash., Don Eugene, North Bend, Ore., Dr. John Albert Rockfellow, Sisson, Cal., and Miss Ruth R. of Seattle.
    In addition to his immediate family he leaves a father, A. G. Rockfellow, one brother, Alfred Rockfellow, and a large number of other more distant relatives.
    The deceased was in the general merchandise business in Ashland with G. S. Butler from 1878 to 1883, in a store known as the Pioneer Store, located where Provost Bros. now have their hardware store. Mr. Rockfellow and family moved from Ashland to San Diego, Cal., in 1883, where he was in business for ten or twelve years. He then moved to Seattle, where the family resided, he being absent much of the time, being for years a traveling man in the employ of the Aurora Corset Company of Aurora, Ill., covering all western states.
    The funeral services were held at Dodge's Undertaking Parlors on Wednesday afternoon at 4 o'clock, conducted by Rev. Lester C. Poor, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church, followed by interment in the Ashland cemetery.
Ashland Tidings, June 12, 1913, page 8

    A few cases are known where one person or family uses the wrong spelling while all the other near kin of the name spell it correctly.
    To illustrate, I will quote from a letter received from Mr. Albert G. Rockfellow of Ashland, Oregon, on March 26th, 1914.
    "But I am not a Rockefeller. I never have known a Rockefeller. But my father was a Rockafellar, a born Rockafellar, born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. Myself and two brothers, William and George, changed our names from Rockafellar to Rockfellow while crossing the Great Plains from Iowa to California in 1850."
    His grandfather spelled his surname Rockefeller.
Henry Oscar Rockefeller, The Transactions of the Rockefeller Family Association, Little & Ives 1915, page 62

Recalls Indian Wars of 1855-56
    A. G. Rockfellow, who cast the first vote in the second ward last week for the bonds, is one of the oldest pioneers in the state. On the third of next month he will reach his eighty-ninth year, and one of his greatest disappointments is that he could not attend the meeting of Oregon Trail Blazers in Portland this week. This disappointment has been made doubly bitter by reason of the presence at the meeting of his old commanding major during the early Indian days of Jackson County and Southern Oregon. Mr. Rockfellow says:
    "Major James Bruce, referred to in the Trail Blazers' meeting and referred to in the accompanying clipping, was the commanding major in the company to which I belonged in the Indian war of 1855-6, in which the ill-fated Dr. Miller of Crescent City, Cal., fell dead at my side with a bullet hole through the head. Only a few moments previous my own head occupied the same position from which he fell.
    "This engagement was at the cabins on the Applegate Creek, where we had the Indians surrounded and were bombarding them with shells from a howitzer on the hillside nearby.
    "It is almost needless to say that during the night following the Indians escaped from their hiding place in the brush to the brush of the mountains and far away from their pursuers by the following morning."
    Numbered in the pioneer visitors expected to attend Tuesday's reunion are many who crossed the Oregon Trail, the historic old way to the Northwest said to have been marked by the graves of 25,000 men, women and children, most of them nameless, who gave up their lives between 1840 and 1859.
    There is Major James Bruce, one of the most widely known pioneers of Oregon, who was born in Indiana in 1827, and who came to Oregon by way of California in 1850. He is a nephew of that famous pioneer, Daniel Boone, his mother being a sister of the Kentucky woodsman. He engaged in the mercantile business in Jacksonville, afterward settling on a farm in Benton County, and now residing at McMinnville. In 1857 he married Miss Margaret Kinney, who died in 1884. In 1886 he married Elizabeth Marsh. He has one daughter, Catherine. In 1874-1876 he was a member of the Oregon legislature.
    One of these successful pioneers was William D. Stillwell of Tillamook, who wears a badge of 1844. He was born in Ohio in 1824, and came to Oregon with an "oxomobile" as far as Boise, where his party took pack horses for the remainder of the distance. He says that for only three days of the trip did he enjoy the luxury of riding, walking otherwise the whole of the way, driving an ox team for his father and mother and afterwards the pack animals. He settled in Yamhill County, and when his father, Thomas Stillwell, moved to Douglas County, William stayed with Yamhill. He was one of the founders of that city and resided there for many years, establishing the first mercantile establishment, known as Stillwell's store from Portland to Roseburg by every pioneer.
    Afterwards he removed to Tillamook County and engaged in the dairying business, now residing in the city of Tillamook, passing the last years of a ripe old age in peace and comfort. He married Elizabeth Baxter in 1851, who died in 1863. He has four sons, all living in Tillamook County. His vigorous step and kindly smile, with a full head of only partly gray hair, would not indicate that the "Oregon country" had dealt hard with him.
    Captain Thomas Mountain. another distinguished pioneer, came to Oregon in 1841, and is probably the earliest pioneer of Oregon now living. He was a member of the Captain Wilkes party that was wrecked on the United States sloop Peacock off the Columbia river, and is undoubtedly the only survivor of that expedition now alive, although he escaped from the wreck. He served with distinction through the Mexican War, afterwards coming to Oregon again about 1849. For many years he served as an officer aboard river and coast vessels and steamers, then as a warehouse and wharf tender, finally retiring in 1903. His health is not good, but it is hoped to secure his presence at the reunion Thursday for a little while. He was married in New York City in 1843 to Margaret Frances Barnes. They had twelve children, six of whom are now living, scattered through the Northwest.
    Expected, too, is the Rev. John Flynn, the oldest pioneer now living in Oregon, having been born in Ireland March 26, 1817. He came to Oregon as a Methodist missionary in 1850, finding Portland a thriving metropolis of 250 people. He was given the circuit of Multnomah, Yamhill and Polk counties, and is one of the best known ministers in the Northwest.
    In 1856 he married Mary E. Royal, a native of Illinois, who came to Oregon in 1853. Eight children were born to them, six of whom are now living.
    George L. Story is another of the old timers who will be on hand. Mr. Story was born in Massachusetts April 30, 1833, and came around Cape Horn to Oregon in 1850 and established himself in the drug business in this city the next year, when it was only a hamlet of less than 500 souls. With the exception of two or three years Mr. Story has been connected with the business affairs of Portland up to the present time.
Ashland Tidings, June 25, 1914, page 6

Pioneer Passes Quietly to Sleep
    Albert G. Rockfellow, one of Ashland's oldest pioneers, passed away Sunday evening at 7 o'clock. Mr. Rockfellow was in good health until last Friday when he took to his bed. The end came quietly and without pain, the deceased passing off quietly while asleep. He was 89 years, 8 months and 25 days old.
    Mr. Rockfellow was born in New Trenton, Linn County, Indiana, and came to Ashland in 1852. He was a writer and poet of more than local repute. He has been a familiar figure on the streets of Ashland for many years and is known and revered
by all of Ashland's prominent citizens.
    He leaves one son, Alfred Rockfellow, who came down from Seattle Saturday. Mr. Rockfellow is related to several of the old families of Ashland, among them being the Meyer, Walker, Anderson and Wagner families,
    Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock, from the Methodist church.
Ashland Tidings, March 29, 1915, page 1

    With probably only one or two exceptions Albert G. Rockfellow, who died Sunday in his 90th year, was probably the oldest resident of this vicinity. Moreover, he was a pioneer, having come here in 1852. He was a native of Indiana, and was a man of gifted intellect, both as a writer of prose and verse. He was also a painstaking investigator in the realm of scientific research and wielded a ready pen in support of his contentions along these lines. Mrs. Rockfellow died years ago. One son survives, Alfred Rockfellow, of Seattle. Funeral was held Wednesday.
"Aged Pioneer Dead at Ashland," Medford Mail Tribune, March 31, 1915, page 8

Ashland Pioneer Crosses Divide
Sunset and evening star
    And one clear call for me,
And may there be no moaning of the bar
    When I put out to sea.
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may hear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crost the bar.
    Another of the early Southern Oregon pioneers has crossed out to sea. Albert Gallatin Rockfellow, who first came "across the plains" to the Pacific Coast in 1850, and settled in the Rogue River Valley, on Wagner Creek, near the present town of Talent, in 1852, died in Ashland Sunday evening, the ninetieth year of his age. The end came quietly and without pain and after a very few days of illness.
    Mr. Rockfellow was born in New Trenton, Linn County, Indiana, July third, 1825. The name was formerly spelled Rockafellar. He was one of six brothers and one half brother. The latter only of this family survives and is a resident of Iowa, John Henry Rockfellow. In the company in which Mr. Rockfellow first came to this country were two of his brothers, William and George, and all were well-known pioneers of this section. A daughter of the latter, Mrs. Minnie Lane, wife of C. E. Lane, is now a resident of Ashland.
    Mr. Rockfellow mined in Siskiyou County, California, for a time, but was among the first group who established homes in the upper Rogue River Valley. This was in the year 1852, on Wagner Creek near the present town of Talent. In 1862 Mr. Rockfellow became a resident of the then village of Ashland and was associated in business here with some of the earliest factors in its subsequent growth and development. He removed with his family to San Diego, California, in 1888, where he made his home until 1904. Returning to Ashland, he was content to spend his remaining years amidst the old familiar scenes and amongst the friends of days gone by. He was a soldier of the Rogue River Indian War of 1855-6 and saw active service in the campaigns of those years to break the power of the red man over this country.
    Mr. Rockfellow was a man of gentle and kindly disposition and one in whose mind it is doubtful if thoughts of wrongdoing ever entered. He was of a poetic temperament and possessed native literary ability. For many years he indulged his fancies in both prose and poetry, and the files of the Ashland papers will reveal not a few of his writings. He also assisted in compiling the first volume of Southern Oregon history ever published and was active in the work of the Pioneer Society of Southern Oregon, of which he was one of the first members.
    Mr. Rockfellow was married in this county March twelfth, 1856, to Sarah B. Myer, a member of the prominent Southern Oregon pioneer family of that name. She died at San Diego, California, January twenty-sixth, 1904 at the age of eighty-eight years. Seven children were born to them, five of whom died in infancy. Eugene F., the elder son, died less than two years ago, leaving two sons and two grandsons. One son only of the deceased pioneer survives, W. Alfred Rockfellow, a traveling salesman, who dutifully cared for his aged parent and attended him in his last illness.
    Mr. Rockfellow was an active worker in all good causes, notably along educational and religious lines, and was a leader in the work of the Methodist Church in this city for many years. From this church his funeral took place Wednesday afternoon, March thirty-first, where the services in his memory were conducted by the pastor, Rev. W. J. Douglass, at two o'clock. The interment was in the family plot in Ashland Cemetery.
Ashland Tidings, April 1, 1915, page 8

    Mrs. Anderson (Elizabeth Myer) was born near Wellsville, Ohio, on October 30th, 1831. When ten years of age, her parents removed to Iowa, residing there until the spring of 1853, when her father and mother, together with her two brothers, W. C. Myer and B. Frank Myer, her sisters, Temperance (later Mrs. Fowler), Mary Ann (afterward Mrs. J. P. Walker), and Sarah (later Mrs. A. G. Rockfellow) and the Walker brothers, Enoch, Minus and John, and others started for Oregon. Nearly all of the wagons were drawn by oxen, although Elizabeth drove a fine team of black horses belonging to Mrs. W. C. Myer.
"Death Called Aged Citizen Last Friday," Ashland Tidings, January 12, 1921, page 4

Last revised February 5, 2024