The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

John R. Tice
Gold miner, packer.

Biographical notes and letters written 1851-1855 to Jacob Tice, Covington, Fountain County, Indiana, transcribed by Mary Tsui.

Mt. Pleasant, Iowa April 13/51
Dear Father & Mother
    We arrived here last yesterday about noon. We drove about three miles west of town and camped till Monday. Davison and I come back to town and are staying at Mr. George Moore's, a brother of Wm. Moore's below Covington. We are getting along very well, all in good spirits. Davison caught up with us this side of Peoria to give me a letter from Uncle Anderson and one from Pa for Bills. Peoria is a very pretty place. There is a bridge across the river a half mile long. The town is situated on at the lower end of the lake on a hill and you can see several miles around. We came to Burlington [on] a Friday. You can see Burlington twenty miles before you come to it. It presents a very pretty appearance about ten miles off but in the city it don't look very well. It is situated on hills and in hollows. We had to ferry from six miles below up in town in a steam ferry. We had some trouble with the cattle but not as much as I expected. It will take us two weeks more to get in to the Bluffs. I looked for a letter from you at Burlington and this place but have not got one yet. As soon as you get this, write to me at the Bluffs. We are all well. I am getting heavier every day. I would like for some of the Covington folks to see us when we are camped for the night. They would think we were some [omission?]. Doct. Partlow is our cook and a good cook he is, too. They were another family by the name of Hewitt in our company. They are very fine people. Tell Ann she must not spin too much street yarn. She must be a good girl and help you as much as she can. Fred must be a good boy and go to school. Tell Sis she must learn all she can.
No more at present.
Your son
P.S. We had a great snowstorm where we stayed but it was 2 feet deep in Iowa.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.

Kanesville, Iowa May 8/51
Dear Father & Mother
    We arrived here last Saturday all in good health. I have not received any letter from you since I left home. I wrote from Mt. Pleasant which I suppose you have received.  The mail comes in tomorrow and I will leave my letter open till then. We will cross the river tomorrow Monday and organize a company and proceed on our Journey to the land of Milk & Honey. There is not a great many emigrants this year but more than they expected. Davison & Spinning has bought another wagon between them which will make ample room for us. There will be 8 of us to 3 wagons. We are fixed better than any wagons that I have seen. We have six yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows. Out teams look as well if not better than when we started. I have heard so much talk about Iowa, but I don't like it. It is flat prairie till you get about a hundred miles out, then it is up one hill and down another. A little farther out there is a ridge and hollows on each side.  The ridge is from ten feet to one fourth mile wide and winds around in every direction which in travelling you have to go 2 miles to get one. I don't wonder at this place being called Bluffs for there is nothing else but Bluffs here with little hollows. This place is situated in the hollows of bluffs. Every little hollow has a little cabin in it. The main business part of the town is down near the river bottom and the hollow is wide. This is a great place for business. Merchants are selling a great many goods and they sell them as cheap as they do on the Wabash anywhere.  I would advise any man coming this way to buy his outfit here. He can buy it as cheap and save hauling. Flour is seven dollars & fifty cents, which is higher than it is on the Wabash, but a man could not haul it here for near that. The best quality of sugar is 8 cents; bacon 7, round coffee 15 cents and dry goods is cheaper than in Covington.  Lucett Redding is here. She came all the way through with Parmer but she is with Smith now. I have not seen her but once. Don't tell anybody I mentioned her name. It will please a good many and raise a talk which I don't care about. Jacob Smith is here, out of money pretty near, and will have a hard time to get off. Him and Wesley McGonagal have fallen out and Wes has sued him for some money that he paid him. Wes is going with Mr. Hewitt. There is three of the Clinton boys here.  Wm. Carson is one. If you write to Health's Prairie, tell them that we laid here with them a week and tell Uncle I will write to him when I get to my point of destination and give him my thanks for his letter. I have got that letter of Pa's to Bills which I suppose he will pay the amount. I never was in better health in my life. I weigh four pounds heavier than when I left home. I will close now till tomorrow. I am writing in the wagon and the wind blows so it shakes the wagon. Give my love to Kate and kiss Amelia, Charley & Liz for me. Tell Ann & Fred they must be good to you and help you all they can. Give my respects to all inquiring friends.  They had a great Mormon meeting here last Sunday. All the big Mormons was here.
    May 9th. We are going 4 miles in the country today and I will write another letter if I get one.
You son, John
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.

Kanesville, Iowa May 11/51
Dear Father & Mother
    I received a letter from you yesterday, the first that I have heard from you since Davison left home. I had begun to think you had forgotten me but now it is explained. You say you wrote to me to Mt. Pleasant which I did not receive. I wrote from there which I hope you received in due season. It is very uncertain about getting letters here. I wrote one to you on the 8th which I suppose you will not receive till this. Some of the boys here have received papers from Covington. One has R. C. Jones' wedding which surprised us all very, very much. I see from the Friend that they did not move the county seat which is agreeable to some of them there. We have Indians around the camp every day begging. We have a good deal of sport with them. We put a five cents in a stick and they will hit it every time, twenty steps, with bow & arrow. I have seen some beautiful moccasins here. If I had a way to send a pair or two to you, I would like to very much. The Indians right on the Missouri will be a little troublesome about stealing but we will start with a company of twenty wagons at first, and when we get out a ways we will divide out in small companies. Esquire Parmer from Danville will be with us, Jac Smith, Spinning, Hewitt and two wagons from Ohio. There is five or six girls in the company which will keep a fellow from getting the blues. I have not seen nothing of Uncle Anderson's cousins here. I suppose they have went to St. Jo[seph] to cross. I wrote in the other letter that Davison & Spinnings had bought another wagon between them. Yesterday they got a tent which will make plenty of room. We are better fixed than anybody I have seen. We leave here Tuesday for the plains. If you get the other letter and this it will tell you all the news I know of. Give my respects to all inquiring friends.
    Oh, I forgot to tell you of the storm we had here yesterday. It blew harder and rained & hailed worse than I ever saw it. Some people camped a few hundred yards below us was in danger of their lives. A large cottonwood tree blowed down right over the tent where there were six men, but none was seriously hurt. A limb of the tree fell right in the middle of the tent and struck one man on the head but did not hurt him bad. I don't hardly see how they escaped. Give my love to Kate and all of them. Kiss Kate, children & Liz and Ann. Tell Fred he must be a good boy and go to school and learn fast.
Good bye
    Your son
        John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.

Fort Laramie June 24th 1851
Dear Father & Mother
    We arrived here two day which is just three months since we left home, but it seems like six to me. We left Kanesville May 13th but was detained at the Elk Horn by high water which makes us later here by ten days, but we are here and among the first here which is a great consolation. This is a great trip to learn. I have learnt more of human nature since I left home than I knew before. I have been perfectly well and getting heavier every day. I eat more in one meal here than I did in two days at home. There is a great deal to be seen here on this road.  I will mention some of the greatest curiosities. Ancient Ruins Bluffs is one. It is bluffs that looks very much like ancient ruins. Chimney Rock is the next. It is on the opposite side of the river. Partlow went over to see it. Scotts Bluff is the greatest of all. I have had the honor of being on it. It is about 600 feet high and all the walls are perpendicular except the west which is very difficult to ascend but we got up some way after trying about three hours, but getting to it was the worst. We left the train in the morning, waded the river, which is one mile wide, and walked 4 miles to the bluffs and did not catch up with the train till night. I will send you a little stone from the top. I had some flowers but I lost them. The fort is on the south side of the river. I swam the river this morning to it. There is nothing there but some soldiers, a few mud houses and 2 frame [houses] and plenty of Indians.
    The Pawnees are poor, lazy-looking human beings, but there are some are rich and good looking. There is a great many traders through here that marry squaws. There is plenty of buffalo here. We have had some meat in camp.  It is just like good beef-steak. Antelope are plenty but no deer. Davison is as good a man as I want to travel with. We have had no words at all. Not any of us has a word.
    There was about 75 Indians come in to the fort this morning that was very well dressed and rigged. There is 6,000 Indians in 30 miles of us. The officers told them that the smallpox was in among the emigrants and they went back on the hills. There is no sickness this year at all. There is twenty-four wagons in our company and there has not been any sickness at all. I have not time to write any more. We will leave here soon. Give my love to all, Kate & the children.
Your son,
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.

Milwaukie, Oregon T. Oct. 5/51
Dear Sister,
    I received your letter the 2nd of the month which pleased me very much. I am very glad to hear you are enjoying yourselves a visiting. I am very glad to hear you took Fred to La Fayette for he always wanted to go. We come over the plains very well. When I wrote you at Laramie, there was 24 wagons in company. We traveled up the Platte till we overtook the Whites from Sullivan Co., Uncle Anderson's relations. There we divided and we went with them and traveled with them ever since. We called the oldest Uncle Jo and the company went by that name. I am at his house now. If you write to Aunt tell her I traveled with them and tell Serena I will write to her as soon as I get settled. I am not settled yet but will be by the time the next mail goes out and then I will write what I am doing. I have not been here long enough to see what is going on. I like the country very well and I think I can do very well here. Tell Pa never to try to cross the Plains for families suffer more or less but a mess of young men can get along very well. We got to The Dalles on the 16th of last month. There I took a steam boat which runs to the Cascades Falls. There they have a road around the Falls for conveying goods to the lower end of the Falls, and there is other boats that run to Portland. Portland is a thriving town of about one thousand inhabitants. It has sprung up in two years. Davison and Partlow are talking about going to the mines this fall. I can tell you in my next whether they go or not. I think I will go next summer with Uncle Jo, but I can't tell till my next. All the company is scattered all over the country. Smith is in Portland keeping boarding house. Lucetta Redding is with them yet but there is a fair chance of her getting married to a Mr. Armstrong of Vincennes who travelled with us from the Umatilla. He is a fine man and well off and she will do well. Smith has done very wrong. He sold a wagon at The Dalles and brought it down to Portland and sold it again which will do him a great injury here. I have been very well with the exception of two days on the Umatilla where we got some fresh beef  & potatoes and ate too much which gave me the diarrhea but was well and hearty in two days. I borrowed some People's Friends from W. McGonagal which done me a great deal of good to read.  I seen the notice of some weddings which surprised me very much and also some deaths. I had not heard of Harper & Freeman selling out before as you speak of. I called on Mr. T'Vault but he was not at home. He has a very fine wife. I stayed with them one day. I am going up tomorrow to see Mr. T'Vault. I heard that he had come home.  Tell Jim Hollister to look for a letter from me in two weeks after you get this. Tell him I want him to write me. Uncle Jo sends his best respects to the Lawsons & Turman, to tell them that he and family are all well. There are not many women in this country yet. Women can do better here than men. People who are holding claims want to get married. 'Tis the candid fact that if a man has got a family of girls he can get any accommodation he wants, but if not he has to do the best they can. I suppose you have heard of a great many Indian depredations this year on the Plains among the Snakes. We were not troubled any but there was some before and behind us that was killed. There was Clark's co. from Illinois that was attacked. They killed his mother and brother, wounded his sister and stole twenty horses. The health on the plains was good this year. There was some deaths of course but it was a healthy season. Smith lost one of their children forty miles from Fort Hall. (Horace was the one, the worms was the disease.)
    There was one young fellow, by the name of Frank Rice, I pitied. He lost his mother and two sisters with the flux. His sister took sick first and died. His company went off and left him. We overtook him and waited two days for his mother but she died and he come on with us all the way from there. I have not time to write more now. I shall look for letters regular. I will send papers regular after this mail. Direct to Oregon City the answer to this and my next. I will let you know where I will be this winter.
    Give my love to all. Tell Fred when I come back I will bring him to Oregon. Tell Liz I will send her a letter someday. Tell Mother I am looking for her letters and will answer them regular. I will give you a journal of my trip from Laramie in my next.
Your brother
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Oregon City, O.T. Oct. 12/51
Dear Father and Mother,
    I wrote to Ann last Sunday just as soon as I received hers. The mail came in yesterday but there was no letters for me. There was two papers, one for John Spence which I was glad to receive. One of them had Mr. Voorhees' speech to the Cadets which I have not read yet. Mr. T'Vault has returned since I wrote to Ann. I have been to see him and have been employed by him till the first of March, or for one year if I want to, at seventy-five dollars per month. I am to go to Port Orford three hundred miles south of here. He is going to move his family there this winter. It is a new place and he says it will make a business place. It is right in the mining region. He says there will be an opening for making money there in the spring. He is a very fine man. His wife is very much of a lady, one of these plain women, just the kind that I like. They have three children. Two girls, young ladies, and one boy about the size of Fred. We will leave tomorrow. We are going through by land and I will get to see a good deal of the country, the Willamette Valley, Umpqua ditto, and the country about the port which is a good country. There has been coal found there which will be fortunes for a great many. There is no coal here but that [which] is shipped from England. Davison & Partlow are going to the Shasta mines so they will be with us for some distance. Davison received a letter from his wife which had some stories in about the Indians running us, which is not so and I don't want you to pay any attention to any of these stories at all. If we get run by them I will write you. They are raised to make you uneasy so don't pay any attention to them. Don't let them trouble you. Old Mr. Churchman has raised stories about Davison not coming back, which is done through malice. Davison thinks a great deal of his family. I know this fact for I have wrote all his letters and he writes as kind a letter as anybody can.  Put all the letters & papers we have all got. We have heard considerable news from Old Covington & vicinity. All the election news, of George Lawson returning/retiring, the marriages and deaths there is considerable, political quarrels in the papers, and so on. We have heard from Mr. Bodley since we have been here. Davison seen a man that lives near him. He says he is wealthy, worth from sixty thousand to one hundred thousand dollars, is going to return this winter but is coming back to California in the spring. Uncle Jo White is going to stay in Milwaukie, a small town between Oregon City and Portland, for the purpose of schooling his girls. He has received a letter from Tom Allen. They are all well there.  Tom has moved on a farm. They say they have all got the Oregon fever but I think they had better stay there. Before I forget it, tell Ann I want her to write to Serena and not neglect it and keep up correspondence with her. Portland is going to make the city here. It is at the head of ship navigation and it is improving fast. Oregon City is finished for it has no more room to grow. It is built in a canyon at the falls. It will always be a good pious town.
    Money makes the man here as well as anywhere else. There is old Dr. McLoughlin, one of the proprietors of the city, has a big old squaw for his wife but he is visited by all the upper tier because he is wealthy. Jo Lane's son Nat is here, one of the proprietors of the Island Mill which is good property. Smiths are living in Portland, keeping boarding house. Lucetta is still with them. It is the best thing she could have done to come here for girls are a good price here. There are but few. She will marry here in less than six months and she will do well. If some of the rest of the girls there was to take a notion to come, tell them to come for they can get married in less than no time.
    They make a great deal of fuss about keeping bachelors' hall in the States, but [it] is common thing here but the reason is there is no girls for them to get. Dotty, the shoe maker that used to live in Covington, is living above here some twenty miles on his claim. He is still an old bach and is wealthy. I would like to see him but can't at present. Tell Fred and Lizzy they must be good children and when I get down to Port Orford I will send them a lump of gold. I may not receive your letters regular but still direct [them] to Oregon City. I will write to you from the port as often as I can. The steamship Sea Gull puts in there every trip but I do not think there is an office there yet.
    Lemuel Bills left Portland between [sic] two days. He had the editor to give him a puff on pump-making and got considerable of credit among the merchants and left for the mines.  Tell Mr. John Brant I cannot find his man, Mr. John. He did live here but when the mines first broke out, he went and has not been heard of since. Kiss Ameal Gordon for me. Ask her if she has forgot me. I suppose Charley is a big boy. Give my love to Kate. Tell Fred he must go to school and learn all he can.  Tell Sis she must be a good girl. Give my best repects to all friends. 

    The greatest curiosities on the road are Independence Rock, which I did not get to see. We passed it in the night. Devil's Gate is another. The Sweetwater River runs through a high range of rocks which forms it. Soda Springs is next. The water is good. To take acid and sugar with it is as good as that you get in the States. Steam Boat Springs is the greatest curiosity I ever seen. It makes a noise like a steamboat. Hot Springs is another, the water is as clear as crystal and boiling hot. There is another a great many others I cannot recollect but it pays anyone to cross the plains. He sees a great deal of the world. The boys are fools for living in Covington all their lifetime and see nothing. I am going to see China if I live and have luck. No one knows what he can stand till he crosses the plains.
    When we came to Salmon Falls we traded for some fish with the Indians which was were the best fish I ever ate. The flesh is of a reddish color. If Mr. Hannigan had some of them he never would eat any more Wabash fish. Dry goods & groceries are as cheap here as in the States. Board is the highest price here, from eight to ten dollars per week. The farmers in this country are very lazy. They have some twenty to fifty cows and don't have enough milk to put in their coffee.
    Give my respects to all my friends.
Your affectionate Son
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

In an 1854 letter [below] Tice mentions seeing salt water for the first time--so he apparently didn't go to Port Orford, instead traveling overland to the mines in California.

Weaverville, Cal., March 24/52
Dear Father and Mother,
    One year ago today I left Home, Sweet Home. I have seen a great deal and learned more of human nature than I ever knew before. As to money, I have made none yet. But I am still in hope. I would have written you three weeks ago, but I was taken with a bilious attack which kept me in bed two weeks. Now I am better and will be able to work Monday. My hand trembles so I don't know whether you can read my letter or not. I am still with Doc Partlow. He has gone over to Trinity River to prospect, and I hope he will bring back good news. I have not received any letters from you since I last wrote, but the mail comes in today and I look for letters strongly. We wrote to Jo Crain in Oregon to send our letters to us, and it is about time they were here. I have got hold of a few papers which say that you have had a cold winter in all the States. This is a splendid climate. A man can go without a coat all winter when he can work. The weather now is delightful, not a cloud to be seen, and a cool breeze from the mountains which are on all sides of us. Sacramento City has been all overflowed, but the river has fallen and the city is on dry land again. Charley Hansicken is in Sacramento City, editor of a paper.
    If I had known as much a year ago as I do now, I would not have left the States. As it is I am here and I am going to make some money before I come back. That is what I came for. I do hope and pray that you are all well and doing well. If I made three hundred dollars or over between this and the first of August, I am going to Oregon. All I want is a little capital there and I can make money. If I should should make that much, I should go to The Dalles and buy broken-down cattle of emigrants and recruit them up and drive them into the [Willamette] Valley and winter them and in the spring I can treble my money.… I had the prettiest kind of a specimen to send you, but when I was sick I gave my purse to one of the boys to buy me a pair of blankets and they let it go. I was too sick to mention anything about it. I am very sorry I have none at present, but the next time I write I will send one.
    There was a great time in town Saturday, an election for Senator.… It was an old-fashioned one like they used to have in Covington, drinking and quarreling and gambling. There is a great amount of gambling going on in California. The mail is in, but nothing for us which I am very sorry indeed for. I want to hear from you very much. I will have to wait another week and trust to Providence. I do not know what part of the country I will--.… [Remainder lost.]

J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Weaverville, Cali. April 9/52
Dear Father & Mother
    I wrote you some two weeks ago, a sort of a discouraging letter, but now I am going to write you one with a little better news. I have made about fifty dollars in the last week. I have been to work with Andy Davison, Bill's brother. Bill is here now but is going to start to Oregon Sunday after his cattle. Beef is very high here, 30 & 35 cts. per pound. A great many cattle was drowned down in the valley the last freshet. The Doc went over on Trinity and has got good diggings. I am going over to him Monday. The claims is paying him this week ten dollars per day. If it will last we will make some money this summer.  I have not received any letters from you yet but will get some in a few weeks. Davison will send them from Oregon to me as soon as he gets there. He has received some from his wife. It seems as there has been a great deal of sickness in Covington last summer, but I hope you have escaped. His wife stated that you was all well, which makes me feel very happy. I wrote a few lines in his letter for you but I suppose you will get this as soon as that. He was at Bodly's when he was down in the valley. Bodly is coming home in May. He says all the men in Covington are coming to California. He give me the names of a good many. The most of them are coming for the purpose of speculating, and I think some of them had better stayed at home, for that business is used up in this country. They will find more sharpers here than in any other state in the Union. When you write, write all the news, who is left in Covington, and be sure to write of all the marriages, for I am afraid my sweetheart will give me the slip and get married before I get back home.  Home, how sweet the word, but I am not able at present to inform you when I will be home. It may be one or two years yet. Tell Kath I have neglected to write to her, but the fact is I am not fixed for writing, but tell her my letters are as much to her as  you.  They are all to the whole family. There is Jim Hollister. I have not wrote to him yet but tell him to look for one soon.  There is Set. I have not heard of him coming to California. I should [have] thought he would been the first name. Write who has started across the plains to Oregon.  If Uncle Anderson started or not, that Oregon is a great place for girls. They can get married there just when they please. All the girls that was in our company are married or engaged. Charly Spinnings married a Miss Stuart that came across in our company.  Lucett is engaged or married to a young fellow at the Cascades.  I have not heard from them lately but I suppose they are all married.  If there is any girls in Covington want to marry, just tell them to come to Oregon. Palmer of Danville brought two of his girls [with] him and he has to go to keeping bach in two or three weeks.  Parmer is still here; that is the one I wrote you about, but is going to Oregon with Davison.  I will send you a specimen or two but I cannot promise them to be very pretty but they are all pretty in the States. I have got a lump I dug up [on] Monday that is worth seven dollars & fifty cts., which I am going to keep. Tell the children that they must [be] good & kind. Fred, I suppose, is a great large boy. Tell him I am going to bring him home something nice when I come and so I am Lizzie & Ann and Amel & Charly. I will finish [on] Sunday and send the letter down to the Bay with Davison and you will get it sooner.  Tell Ann to write to me all about the young folks and whether they can raise a dance anymore or not and to give my love to all the girls. You ought just to see our mansion and see us cook.  I am one of the best cooks about these diggings too. Lay all jokes aside, we have first-rate bread of our own make. Our cabin is ten by twelve, one door and a hole for a window, a smoky chimney. Furniture, three three-legged stools and a table two feet square, cooking utensils, one camp kettle and one frying pan, bread pan, bed, three or four blankets on the floor. I like California for its climate. If I should live to come to the States, I am coming back to California to live.  I like the country & climate. I hope you do not have to work very hard. I [hope] you can get along without working too hard. When I can raise of two hundred dollars I will send it to you. Tell Fred he must help you about the house and Ann must help all she can and Lizzy she will help all she can. I now write to see if you have heard from Cordel Munson or not. I have not been to work for two days on account of no water to wash the dirt. As soon as Doc comes over I am going to sell our tools and claim here and go with him to Trinity if his claim holds out. I could make money here this summer if I could get water to wash the dirt but in June the water goes dry. They are sinking deep holes to the solid bedrock here. If they should prove rich, they will be very rich. If they should prove rich, I think I shall sink one if we get no diggings on Trinity. Doc will be over tonight and I will write if his claim holds out good.
    Give my love to all friends, to Kate and children.  I heard from Oregon--Lucett is married to a Mr. Reynolds.
Your son,
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.

Weaverville, Cal. May 8/52
Dear Father and Mother,
    It has been four weeks since I wrote you last but I have not received any from you yet, but am still in hopes.  It is time I had one [a letter] from you directed to Shasta which I hope will be there soon. I have my name on the express list to Shasta which comes here once a week. I have been doing tolerably well since I last wrote you, making six or seven dollars per day which is moderate wages. Boarding is very high. It costs us one dollar a day each and cook it ourselves.
    I am mining with Andrew Davison, Mrs. John Crain's son. He is a good fellow to be with. He knows all about mining which I do not yet but I am learning. The Doc [Partlow] has gone off in the mountains a-prospecting. He may do well and he may not. I am going to stay here as long as I can make five dollars a day. I wrote a letter for Andy to his Sister Mary at Clive's Crawfordsville. I put in a few lines to her. I invited her to stop and see you when she was down to Covington on a visit. I have wrote so many letters to you without receiving any that I hardly know of anything to write you. This place has improved very fast since I came here. It was composed of a few log cabins when I came here but now it is quite a city. There has several large frame buildings gone up and several more going up.  If I had had some money when I came here I could have made money a-trading but this country is like all others--one can't speculate without money but I think and am almost confident they are some money in the ground here for me yet.  I am in good spirits and also, the greatest blessing on earth, with good health.
    I will now give you our bill of fare and the cost of the same. We have good bread which I make myself. The flour costs us at present eighteen cents per pound. Of meats we have ham, the cost forty cts. Beef thirty to thirty-five cts. We had a mess of sausages at fifty cts. a pound which was rather steep. Beans twenty-five cts. per pound. Sugar & coffee thirty-seven cts. Molasses one dollar a qt. O yes, we have something extra, a keg of pickles which costs us three dollars per gallon but they are extra. We have some butter at times which is from one dollar to one dollar twenty-five cts. per pound. There are about three dairies. Milk is worth fifty cents a quart. When you answer this, write to me who is coming across the plains and if there will be a large emigration or not. They is beautiful weather here now, the rains are all over. They are snow-cap mountains all around us which makes a cool breeze all the time. The nights are cool, not like the summer nights in the States, warm and sultry. 
    I have no very pretty piece of gold to send you. The gold where I am to work is fine and I get no specimens but I will send you a piece or two such as they are.
    They are sinking deep shafts here for gold. If they prove to be rich this will be one of the greatest cities in California. If they turn out rich I think we will sink one.
    Write to Kate when you receive this. Give my love to her and the children. Tell Ann, Lizzy & Fred to be good children and help you all they can and learn all they can.  As soon as I get a few hundred dollars ahead I will send you some money to school the children.
    Give my love and respects to all inquiring friends. Answer this soon for I want a letter from you so bad. No more at present.  Direct [your reply] to Shasta City, Cal.
Your Son
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Tuesday, May 11th, 1852.
    [Weaverville, California]
    This has been a lucky day for me. I have received three letters, two from you dated Dec. 14th and Jan. 25th and one from Charley Holman, although they cost me two dollars each, but that is nothing for a letter from you when I have had none for so long.  You cannot tell how happy I am feel to receive a letter from you. Don't let the dollars keep you from writing, for the next will only cost me fifty cts.  I am glad to see how Ann has improved in writing. She writes a good letter, too, but she must try to improve all she can. I think Fred's composition was very good for the first one. He must keep on and improve.  Tell Lizzy she must improve all she can and try and be a good scholar by the time I get home. Home, how sweet the word, but God only knows when I will be there, but I hope some day may bring me back to see you all again. We have opened a claim this week. I think it will pay us a ½ ounce a day for some little time. There has been rich diggings struck in town this week and the whole town is laid off in claims, streets and houses. If they prove rich the whole town will [be] dug up. I should think Covington was very dull at present, all the men & boys leaving for California.
    Charly Holman informs me that business is very dull, that they don't sell one half the goods they did when I was there. I thought there would be a small decrease in the sales but never mind, let all the past go and look to the future. My futures are tolerably large. There is one thing certain, I am going to have some money before I leave this country. I don't want much, but I have set my stakes and can't move them.
    I have not time nor room to answer your letter in this but will take some Sunday for it. And you must tell the girls not to forget John entirely for he has not forgot them.
    My best love to you and all inquiring friends. Write to Kate for me. I have not time to write her personally, but my letters are as much for her as you for the whole family. She must not think hard of me for not writing to her. No more at present.
Your Son
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Humbug Creek, Cal. July 15/52
Dear Father & Mother,
    I received your letter dated May 10th which I was very glad to receive. I am mining here on this creek which is in the upper end of California about thirty miles from the line between Oregon & California. Andy Davison and myself are partners in mining. We have a claim in the creek which is paying six or seven dollars per day, which he is working and I have hopes it will get better, for most all the creek claims are paying large wages. I have got a good bank claim which has paid us about ten dollars per day since we have been drifting. It took us about two weeks to get it open and ready to work. I am working with a man from Pennsylvania. He is much of a gentleman. Drifting I suppose is work which you never seen much of. The bank we are working in it is twelve feet to the bedrock. We commenced on the bedrock and drift out three feet and leave the other nine feet over our heads. It is very pretty work in the summer time and no danger if we keep it well timbered, which we do.  We have to wheel our dirt out to the tom and wash it. The form of the drift is this [drawing of an arc]. We work under this and leave the rest of the dirt over our heads. I think old Covington must be pretty well deserted by this time, all the boys coming to Oregon and California. Well, I should advise all young men that will work to come, for good hands can get one hundred per month and board, and if they will be satisfied at that, they can make money, but those that have families that are coming to Oregon had better stay at home or at least leave their families there.
If they had better got it in their heads to come, they gat [sic] better come themselves and be satisfied. Oregon is a very good country but it it is small and won't hold all the States. Claims that is good claims there sell very high and I would rather have a good farm in Illinois than in Oregon. There was two companies left Oregon for the States. They were all families. Today two weeks was the Fourth of July and a great Fourth we had here in the mountains. There was a liberty pole raised and a great deal of liquor drunk was about all, but very little I drank for I have other use for my money, but if I have any luck I want to be home by next July or before. Westly McGonigal is on the creek and has got a good claim but he gave a good price but he will make some money out of it. All three of us wants to come home next spring if it is God's will.
    I am very sorry to hear of the accident at Mr. Hannigan's. I shan't say anything about it for fear of making hard thoughts, but write in your next how it will come out. Give my love to Kate and children and Uncle's folks and in fact to everybody. I am in good spirits and expect to make my pile this summer and winter. Andy sends his love to all his folks.
Your Affectionate Son
    Still direct [your response] to Shasta City. I have no pretty specimen but I will get one the next.
    Write soon, if they do cost two dollars and fifty cts. They are always welcome. And all I send out cost fifty cts.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Portland, Oregon Ter., Jan. 18/53
Dear Father & Mother,
    Be surprised I suppose you will be surprised to hear of me here. This has been a very hard winter in the mines. It commenced snowing about the first of December in the mines and raining in Oregon the first of November, so it made the roads impassable for pack trains to travel and the consequence was they were out of provisions in the mines and will be for two months to come. We came down [to Portland] to get provisions and got caught in the storm and can't get out now but I think we will start back in about three weeks. I wrote to you before I left the mines but I suppose you will not get it before this, for the road was blocked up.  I wrote last fall I thought I would be home in the spring, but I will have to try it a little longer. There is no use of me going back to Old Covington without some money for I would not stay there if I did. I come to this country to make money and I am going to have some. If I had had provisions this winter where I was in the mines I could have made money, and I am going back to try it again.  I and Andy are working partners. We are going to put all our money in mules and one of us go to packing this summer.
    Now for the Covington folks I have seen in O since I have come down [to Portland]. First, Mrs. Johnson. I am at her house writing. She has a milliner shop here. She is very well satisfied. Lucett Redding was married a few weeks ago to a Mr. Dergen [?], a very fine man. Mrs. Johnson was to the party. She has just been describing the room, table and people, but I have forgot all already, but it was very fine.   I seen old Mr. Lawson last Sunday in Oregon City on his way up to George. He lives on a claim on Yamhill River. He looked very well. He has been selling goods here but is moving his stock up to where George is. Avery Babcock is living near them on a farm. Jim Hollister, my old friend, is working here on a wharf boat but thinks he will go to the mines with me.
    Charley Holman is clerking in a one-horse store over on the Columbia River. I have not seen Frank Wilcox yet but will see him in the spring. I wrote to you last fall that Polly Barton or Mr. Brown was in Yreka. She was not in more than two months and a half before she was married. George Lawson and the Old Man bought this claim. They give one thousand dollars for it for a speculation, but the Old Man don't like it. Avery Babcock has taken his up but it is not much account. Emigrants have a hard time of it this winter here as well as in the mines, those that have families I mean. I suppose it will satisfy the most of them with the trip. There is a great many families suffering here for something to eat. They make up subscriptions for them every few days here. Mrs. Johnson says if I make any mistakes I must tell you the reason is she keeps talking to me so much I can't write.
    Elliott Bowman is up to Marysville [i.e., Corvallis] and is going out to the mines in the spring. I seen Albert White & William Albert is running a saw mill here in town. He has been running it since last April and is making some money. Uncle Jo White and Milton have moved over to the Sound. I don't think Uncle Jo is satisfied with the country. Tell Uncle Anderson if he wants to come to Oregon to live he had better come and see the country and see it first.
    Give my love to Kate and family. Tell Ann, Fred and Lizzy to be good children, and I hope we may all meet again. I will write again certain before I start out in the mines.  Mrs. Johnson sends her love to all. Give my love to all.
Your Son
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Jacksonville, Oregon, Aug. 7/53
Dear Father & Mother,
    I received Mother's & Fred's letters last week which pleased me very much. I write this in great haste. Everything and everybody is in great excitement about Indian war. The Indians of this valley have turned against the whites. They have killed two men and have wounded some five or six since last Friday evening. The whites turned out yesterday and killed some six or seven Indians besides hanging three here in town. They have raised a company this morning and gone out but have not returned yet but will this evening. Andy and Frank went. Frank received some letters from Covington this morning. Old Man Lawson is here in the room at present. He thinks of going to California as soon as the Indian difficulty is settled. He is well and looks hearty. We are doing as well as we can expect. Business is picking up a little and we think we will get good profit on what provisions we have got, and our mules are in good order and will sell well so I think we will be home this winter. As soon as the rains set in the prices will be better. We can't do much at packing till this Indian affair is settled for it is dangerous to be on the road in small companies. Tell Ann that I will bring her a guitar with the greatest of pleasure when I come home and also Fred and Lizzy some presents. Tell Fred he must wait till I come and I will get him a gun and he must learn all he can till I come home, to learn arithmetic and writing well, for I want him to go in some business when I come home, and that I have not time at present to answer his letter but will some day. Show all my letters to Kate and tell her they are as much for her as anyone, that she must not think hard of me for not writing to her for I am hard at work six days in seven and the seventh is washing and cleaning up day so it takes pretty much all the time. Elias says the streets are not grown up with hazel brush but think they will some of these days. From all appearances Covington is tolerably dull. In your next write what good American mares are worth there and also cattle from one to four years old are worth and also sheep and if they are any mules used about in the country by farmers and if they are what are they worth.  I think mules would be better for farming than horses and I know they are better for [this country]. One mule will [outsell] two horses here. Give my love to all. No more at present.
Your Son
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Winchester, Oregon Oct. 12/53
Dear Father & Mother
    I received a letter from you some time since but have not had an opportunity of answering it till now, and not a good one now. We are camped under a tree and writing on the ground. You will think strange of this but it is so. I have quit mining and gone to packing goods to the mines. Packing is hard, dirty, disagreeable work, but we can make some money at it. All the goods that goes to the mines are packed on mules with from two to three hundred [pounds] to the animal. We have twelve packs and two riding mules, which is enough for two men. We are gone to follow this business this winter and are coming home in the spring, certain. I am homesick now but can stand it till spring and then I think I can come home with a little money. You must not look for many letters from me this winter but I will write every opportunity. We are just up from [Scottsburg on] the coast with a load of our own but are going to leave it here and go back for a load of freight tomorrow. I expect there are letters at Jacksonville for me but I won't be there for some two weeks yet. The Indian war is all settled and all things are quiet once more. Old Man Lawson is mining at Jacksonville and has got a good claim. Frank is also mining. West McGonigal was all through the war but has gone back to Yreka where he lives. It has commenced raining and I will have to bring my letter to a close. This [is] a very short letter but more the next time. Give my love to Kate and all the friends. I will be home in the spring [as] early as the first of May if not before.
Your affectionate Son,
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript..

Jacksonville, Oregon, Nov. 17/53
Dear Father & Mother,
    I wrote to you some four or five weeks ago which I hope you will receive for I have not wrote many letters for some time. I wrote the reason and will also [explain] in this. We are packing and are on the road all the time and have not an opportunity to write, only when we stop and lay over a day and then sometimes we are out from houses and have no place [to write]. We have to live out a doors all the time a-packing. Packing is dirty, disagreeable work but it pays us good wages. We have brought in wheat to this valley from Umpqua for seed. There is a great deal of wheat going to be sowed in this valley this season and [that] makes wheat in good demand. We bought ours for $4.00 per Bu.--and have sold the most of it for $10.00 per Bu., which is a good profit. Andy has gone today to engage another load if he can. He is well and says to mention his name to his folks. We have twelve mules, which is enough for us to pack in the winter. We have been pretty hard run for money to buy mules or I would have sent some money home, but will have plenty the next trip if we do as well as this, and I will send some home. Mules are very high now, from $100 to $200 a head. We have a good lot of mules, and I think they will bring us a good price in the spring when we want to sell, for we are going to sell out and come home in the spring certain, for I have been long enough from home I think, and I know you think so. There is but one thing that keeps me here this winter and that is we are fixed to make one thousand dollars apiece this winter if we have no bad luck and I think that is worth staying for, and if mules are as high in the spring as they are now we have that much now, and I think they will be. I seen Frank Wilcox and the Old Man Lawson yesterday. They are well, both mining. Frank told me that Mr. Hoffman and family had arrived in this valley and was living for the present some five miles from town. I intended to go see them today but our mules strayed off and I did not find them till afternoon and then it was too late. But I am going to see them the next time I come into this valley. I would like to see them very much. There are some four companies of soldiers stationed in this valley now. I was through their camp today. The Indians are all quiet at present and I think they will be for some time but they may break out again next summer. I received a letter from Jim Hollister two weeks ago. He is living in Portland and selling [paper missing] for good wages. He says tell the children to [be] good and patient for I will be home next spring and bring them all some presents. Tell Fred I have a gun here. I wish he had it but he must wait to get it till I come to get it. Send this to Kate and let her read it and it will answer for all, and write to me direct Jacksonville, Rogue River, Oregon. Give my love to all. I have seen no one that I know that has come to this country this season. No more at present. Write soon.
Your affectionate Son
    John R. Tice
I would write more but have no more paper here.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Four Miles South of Jacksonville,
    O.T.    Jan. 11th, 1854.
Dear Father & Mother,
    It has been some time since I wrote to you but have been waiting to hear from you. The mail got in yesterday and I have sent to town today for letters if they are any which I hope there is. We are camped on Mr. Hoffman's farm at present resting our animals a few days. Mr. Hoffman's folks are all well and tolerably well satisfied. They have bought one of the best claims in this valley with a very good one-story frame house on it. I have been to the house several times. They have received several People's Friends and I could not stop till I had read them all, and Mary has Ann's likeness, which does me so much good to look at it once a day.
    Mines are not doing much here or at Yreka on the account of water. It has been a very open winter with the exception of last week which was very cold. We were on the road to Yreka with provisions, freight from Jacksonville, but the weather is pleasant again. The roads are muddy. There is a great deal of wheat being sowed in this valley this season. Farmers are going to do well next summer. There are two grist mills going up in this valley this summer.
    Doctor McKinnell is practicing and doing well. He says he has twenty-five cases on his list at present and is successful with all cases as yet. They are not farming themselves but have hired forty acres of wheat put in in the same bargain of the claim.  I seen the Old Man Lawson ten days ago. He was well and had received the miniatures of his children which pleased him very much. His gold claim had not turned out as much as he expected and [he] said he would not return to the States in the spring. Frank Wilcox is mining near Mr. Lawson. He had received news of the death of his father, which makes him homesick.
    I have to write you something that I don't know how to get around to tell you. I wrote that I was coming home in the spring which I think I will. We have been speculating in wheat which may keep us till fall but if we can sell out at a good price in the spring I will come home. I will give you an account of our stock in trade, the way we stand today. We have eleven mules, one horse, and rigging ready to pack worth $1500.00, and seventy acres of wheat sowed of which we get half delivered in the sack. Allowing that to average twenty Bu. to the acre (which is the lowest estimation for this country) it will bring us seven hundred Bu. of wheat, which will not be worth less than four dollars per Bu., will bring us good interest on the money. It has taken all the ready cash to get the wheat, but we have debts standing out to the amt. of two hundred dollars, and we owe no debts to anyone. It is a time of year that we can get freight and we need not stop our train any longer than we want to. If we do stay till next fall with our train we can make one hundred and twenty-five dollars pr month apiece. Till then we will have a raise of which I am an equal partner. Wheat is worth here at present from ten to twelve dollars per Bu.

Jan. 12th.
    I received two letters from you last evening and was very glad to hear you was all well. One from Father of Nov. 6th and one from Mother Nov. 12. I am very glad to hear you are all well. I would like to be at home once more and see you all very much and I do think we will soon. I don't want you to think hard of me for putting off coming till fall for I don't want to come back to Covington without some money to start me in some business, for it is very hard for one to get a start without nothing at all. If I stay in this country till next fall I think I can come home in September with at least twenty-five hundred dollars and maybe three thousand and that will give me a good start. I will send some money home as soon as we make another trip or two which will make us an overplus of what we want to use. I expect Kate thinks I am a neglectful brother, but she must not for we are now camped out and it rained all night last night, but we have a good tent but no place to write that is convenient like you have. I am sitting on the ground and have my paper on a sack of wheat and then we have not much time. Almost all the days we lay over we have to keep our rigging in order and attend to our mules. It is not here like it is in the States. When a mule gets a sore back and a little poor to turn him out and let him run till he gets well, but we have to take care of them here.
    Tell Fred I seen a piece in the Friend when about boys cutting up and making noises outside of concerts. Tell him he must not do that, that it is a very bad thing. I would like to have him here to ride the bell horse for us. We are going to hire a boy to do it in the spring. Tell Lizzie that she shall have a present and a nice one, too, and Ann shall have one also. Ann must be quite a young lady by this time and a pretty one, too, if I do say it myself. From the looks of the miniature, she has improved very much. Andy is well and sends his love to his folks. We will both come to the States together. I must bring my letter to a close. We have to go 12 miles below after some wheat we have there. Give my love to Kate and children and all inquiring friends. No more at present.
Your affectionate Son,
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Jacksonville, O.T. April 23/54
Dear Father & Mother,
    I received Father's letter of Jany. 22nd which I was very glad to receive. I have been looking for a letter from you for some time. I have just got in from the coast (Crescent City) with a load of goods for a merchant of this place, and expect to start back tomorrow. I have seen the salt water for the first time. We have fifteen mules now and are making good wages. Clear about twenty-five dollars on a mule. It is a little over one hundred miles from here (to Crescent City). We make the trip in from two weeks to three weeks. Crescent City is about two days' run for steamers north of San Francisco. We have [a] good deal of wheat sowed on the shares in this valley which looks well and will pay us good interest on our money. The Indians are all quiet and I expect them to be all summer.
    I am very sorry that I will disappoint you by not coming home this spring but we are fixed for making money now and will stay till fall. As soon as we dispose of our wheat I will be ready to start home. Old Man Lawson started for the States this spring. Frank Wilcox left here for new diggings and I have not heard from him since he left.  I was out to Hoffmans' some three weeks ago. They were all well. Hoffman & McKinnell are interested in a grist mill a-going up in this valley.  I am writing in a store where it is all business and I can't write much and I have no other place to write. When I come in again we are going to lay over two or three weeks and I will write you a long letter and give you all the particulars. Give my love to all.
Your affectionate Son
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Jacksonville, O.T., May 17/54
Dear Father & Mother,
    It is with pleasure that I sit down again to write you a few lines. I received a letter from Father about two weeks ago and one from Mother the last mail of February 12th which I was very glad to receive. The mails in this country are very irregular. Like every new country, it has its inconveniences. We arrived from the coast about one week ago, and expect to start back soon. We are still packing. Business has been very good this spring and freights have been a good price but the rainy season is over and freight's a-going down. But we can make good wages this summer. We are packing from a place called Crescent City on the coast, something about one hundred miles west of here. It takes us about two weeks to made a trip, but it is a very mountainous road and nothing but a narrow trail most of the way.
    I will tell you all about our business affairs here. In the first place we have our train of mules which consists of fifteen at present. Then we have one half of the crop of about seventy acres of wheat and barley together, about two hundred dollars in debts standing out, with five hundred dollars in cash. If our wheat turns out a good average crop we will be able to start home with a good little sum. Besides we will run our train till we dispose of our wheat and we can clear between us about three hundred dollars a month. Wheat all over the valley looks well and some we have looks fine. Just as soon as we can dispose of our wheat I am going to start home whether Andy does or not. I would have come this spring but he was in favor of staying till fall and our business was so arranged that we could not separate without sacrificing our property and I concluded to stay till fall. I don't want you to think hard of me for not coming this spring for I think, and thought then, [that] I was doing for the best, but I am not going to put off [returning] later than the first of October sure, for I want to come home as bad as you want me.
    After a dull winter things have opened brisk here this spring. Miners are doing better here than ever before. There are some three grist mills in progress and two will be ready to run by harvest and a great many are speculating on the price of wheat. Some put it as low as three dollars and some as high as six do. [ditto], but I think wheat will be worth five dollars per Bu. to flour. Flour is worth in Crescent City from 6 to 9 cts. just owing to the market, and it can't be packed here [for] less than six cts. per Pd., which will bring it from 12 to 15 cts., and I think wheat is worth 5 dollars to flour at that price for flour.
    I have not been at Hoffman's for two months but am going up tomorrow or next day.  I have heard from there a few days ago they were all well. Hoffman & McKinnell are interested in a grist mill in course of erection. Last winter was a very cold winter and they were dissatisfied with the country, but now the weather is beautiful and I suppose they are better satisfied. The last time I was there Mary talked of taking up a school but do not know whether she has or not.
    Old Man Lawson started for the states last winter. I had not seen him for some time before he started, that is to speak to him. We were on a trip to the Willamette, and he passed by our camp the evening of the 23rd of Feby., so I have found out afterwards.
    I was to a ball on the 22nd, the first one and the last one in this country. Frank Wilcox left here this spring to hunt new diggings and I have not heard from him since. I have not received any letters from Jim Hollister lately and I do not know any news of anyone about Portland. Write to Uncle Anderson and find out what part of Oregon & Washington Jerry's Joseph A. White lives. Uncle Jo we used to call him on the plains. My Bible and some other things are there and I would like to have them, and give them my love. Give my love to all. I am going to write to Kate. Tell the children they shall all have presents. I am coming home in the fall if no preventing Providence.
Good bye
    Your Son
        John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Jacksonville, O.T. July 10/54
Dear Father & Mother,
    I received a letter from you some two weeks ago and was very glad to hear you were all well. We have some very warm weather at present. Thermometer 104 yesterday. The spring up to the Fourth has been very cool for the season, which has made the crops backward for the season. Harvest will come off in about ten days. Crops look well, and would have turned out excellent but for one thing, that is the grasshoppers are working on it some. All the wheat we have sowed on the shares will turn out an average crop for the valley, say, twenty bu. to the acre. We have been to work steady this spring and have made some money. We are laying up at the present, resting ourselves and animals, but I will start again with the train soon, and Andy will stay and take care of our grain.
    We are boarding with a family by the name of [William] Wright, with Mr. Hoffman within one mile of us. Mr. Wright has three girls, and a host of them at Hoffman's which makes us good company. Mr. Hoffman's are all well. Mary has had one school and is going to take another in one week from today. She has got quite a number of scholars this term. I think Julia is a pretty girl. West McGonigal is carrying express from this place to Yreka and is doing well and looks healthy. You say Shockey was telling you that I was working by the month for Mr. Hoffman. Just tell him it [is] quite a mistake of his own. I have worked by the month since I have been in this country but not since Mr. Hoffman has been in the valley and I don't see how Mr. Shockey heard it, and I don't see the use of working by the month when we have fifteen mules and can get work to do all the time. If I could make more money by working by the month I would do it for I am here to make money and I am going to make all I can honestly for I have but a short time to stay here.
    I suppose you think when am I coming home. Well, just as soon as our grain is cut and we get a market for it. The rest of our business we can close in a short time. Mules are good sale and all our debts standing out are good but there is one thing certain, I will be home this fall for I am getting homesick. I see openings every day that we could make money by if we went into it, but I am not going into any spec[ulation] now for I am coming home this fall.
    Old Man Lawson left here early this spring for the States and is at home long ago. I suppose he can tell you all about our business.
    I wrote to Kate some time ago which I hope she will receive it. So very hot. I can't write any more at present. Give my love to all. I am off for the coast tomorrow.
Your affectionate Son
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Jacksonville, O.T. Nov. 26/54
    I received your letters of Sept. 21st which was the first for four months. You say you have not received any letters from me since May. Well, it is not my fault for I have written wrote several since that time. I expect you think I am an undutiful son. Well, maybe I am, but I could not come this fall without sacrificing very much on what property we had so as to make what little I had considerable less and I did not like to do it for I had worked very hard for to get it. We have bought a farm and gone to farming. Joseph Crain has gone into partnership with us and we are putting in a bycrop of wheat this winter. Wheat is worth from four to five dollars per Bu at present and will be higher soon.
    There have has been considerable fever and ague in the valley this season but it is healthy now. All of us have had our turns of it but are well at present. I do not know what more to write and I will not promise when I will be in the States but I am coming some of these days. I can't think of any more to write.
From your affectionate son
    John R. Tice
N.B. Charley Miller, Isaac the drayman's bro. is here working for us. He is in first-rate health. He wishes you would let Isaac know where he is.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Jacksonville, O.T. Feby. 4/55
Dear Father & Mother,
    It is with pleasure that I sit down to write you a few lines. I received a letter from Mother some time ago which was the first this winter. The mails to this place are very irregular for I know you have written more letters and you were upbraiding me for not writing more. I think I have written pretty often but you don't get them.
    We are farming now, that is Andrew Davison, J. Crain and myself are partners. We have got about seventy acres of wheat in the ground and expect to put in twenty-five more besides oats and barley. You give it to me pretty hard for not coming home in the fall. The reasons I did not come are these that I could not sell out my interests here for what they were worth, and I have worked too hard for what little I have got to sacrifice on it, and I seen a good opening to make more by staying a while longer, and again I do not think [I] would be satisfied to live in Fountain County if I did come back, and to go back there and not be satisfied I would not stay there. I have got out of the way of dealing in five-cent pieces. But I intend to come back on a visit anyhow before many years. Times have been very hard here this winter. It has been a very open winter, no rain of any account, which has prevented the miners from working.   
    I was at a party last Thursday, the best that [has] been got up in the valley. The Miss Hoffmans were in attendance. It is the first dancing party they have been to in this valley. Miss Mary has been teaching school away from home all winter. She says she likes the country very much but Mrs. Hoffman and Julia are not satisfied. Mr. Hoffman is farming about two miles from where we live.
    Charles Miller is here a-working for us. We have hired him for one year. He is Isaac Miller the drayman's brother. We are going to get a threshing machine and a reaper here this summer which we think will pay us first rate. I do not want you to think too hard of me for not coming home. I know it is my duty to do it, but to go back and be a hireling at thirty dollars per month, I won't do it. When I do go I will be as independent as any of them. You may call this pride but I can't help it. Give my love to Kate and children and all inquiring friends. No more at present.
    My love to Annie and Lizzy. Tell Fred to be a good boy.
Your Affectionate Son
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

Jacksonville, O.T. April 10/55
Dear Father & Mother,
    I received your letter of February 4th and was very glad to hear that you was all well.  I will begin with Mother's lines to answer. You say that George Lawson says that I will never come home. He don't know nor anyone else, not even myself. But it has always been in my mind to come and is still and always will be till I do come. But I won't promise to come till I am ready to start. When I promised to come before I expected to come or I would not have said so. Father says in his lines that my last letter was short and unexplained. I may have written several short letters, but I have never been fixed to write until the present. I will try to explain all my business now. Last fall when I thought I was coming back to the States we had a train of mules and wheat sowed on the shares. Mules was low. The cause of that was that there was not much freight and we could not sell our mules or wheat at their value and I have worked hard for what I have got and did not want to sacrifice on them and then we bought 160 acres of land where we could take up 160 acres more and give one thousand dollars for it. We bought it for speculation but with the intention of improving it first and it will sell to a better advantage. There was nothing done on the place but a small cabin built on it. We came on the place the first of September, 1854. We have fenced 150 acres and have got one hundred acres of in wheat, some few acres of barley, and twenty-five acres of oats and are going to put in ten acres of corn in two weeks. We are hauling rails to fence one hundred acres more, and have built us a hewed-log house in the meantime one and a half stories high, sixteen by twenty-four inside. Our crops look very well and we are expecting between three and four thousand bushels of grain. Wheat was worth from four to five dollars per bushel last year and will be worth from two to two and a half this. We have one of the best claims in the valley, three miles from town and a good situation. One of us are going to the Willamette in a few days to buy a reaper to cut our grain this harvest. Joseph [Crain] and myself have had the ague off and on all winter, and we have hired considerabe, and our improving has made us short of money, and my partners weren't willing for me to draw out money till after harvest when I will send money. I ought to have done it before and feel that I had [omission] but I will do it this fall. You say you would like to know if I was going to live in this country or whether I liked it well enough to live here. Well, I will be candid with [you]. I do and I would give everything I have had [if] you were here with me, but it is a hard journey to get here, but if Fred were here I could give him a good start in the world if he is industrious and not afraid to work.   
    Mr. Hoffman is living in about two miles of us and has got a fine farm but is in debts for it and paying large interest on the bonds. We are situation in the best part of the valley. For society we have singing school at our house every Saturday evening, church every Sunday in the neighborhood. Last Saturday evening we had something like seventy-five persons with fifteen young ladies amongst them. Andy and Joseph are all well. Joseph has been away in the mines for a few weeks but returned last night in good health. I have had no ague for two months and am in hopes that I will have no more. Don't scold me for writing short letters for I have wrote all the news I know. Give my love to the children. Write one letter without asking me to come back.
From your affectionate Son
    John R. Tice
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.. A condensed version is printed in J. F. Santee, ed., "Letters of John R. Tice," Oregon Historical Quarterly, March 1936

    In Jackson County, O.T., June 5th, Mr. J. R. TICE to MISS MARGARET WRIGHT.
Sacramento Daily Union, June 21, 1856, page 2

    MOVING.--Last week Messrs. Tice and Crain left for Goose Lake with a drove of about 600 hogs. They expect to have them in fine condition for the Nevada market next fall.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, May 1, 1869, page 2

    STOCK GOING EAST.--W. C. Myer, an old resident of Jackson County, has started across the plains with a drove of horses. He expects to find a ready market for them in Missouri. This is turning the tide of trade. Messrs. Tice and Crain, also of Jacksonville, have started for Nevada (Washoe), with a drove of hogs.

Mining and Scientific Press, San Francisco, June 5, 1869, page 365

    GRANGE ELECTION.--Jacksonville Grange No. 88, Patrons of Husbandry, at its first regular session, December 26, 1874, elected the following officers for the ensuing year: F. M. Plymale, W.M.; Conrad Mingus, O.; W. J. Plymale, L.; John W. Dollarhide, S.; H. F. Phillips, A.S.; Jesse Dollarhide, C.; Jacob Ish, Treas.; I. W. Berry, Sec.; John R. Tice, G.K.; Mrs. Josie L. Plymale, Ceres; Miss Annie Miller, Pomona; Miss Mary S. Walker, Flora; Mrs. Jane E. Plymale, L.A.S.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 1, 1875, page 3

    Alex. Martin, Gen. Ross, John R. Tice and A. M. Berry went to Galice Creek this week.
"Mining News," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 26, 1875, page 3

    John R. Tice and others, while on the road to Fort Klamath with Freight, encountered a regular young hurricane, which upturned several trees and played havoc generally. Fortunately no one was hurt, although it was a close call.
"Local Brevities," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 12, 1875, page 3

TICE--In Heber's Grove, June 24th, to the wife of John R. Tice, a son.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 28, 1878, page 3

    On Monday night the southbound stage, driven by Fred Tice, arrived at a slough of Cow Creek a short distance beyond the Levens station. The Roseburg Star says: The main stream had been crossed in safety and it was scarcely reasonable to presume that the slough was impassable; but it proved to be so. Although it was dark the driver entered, but before reaching the opposite bank he found that his team was in swimming water and becoming entangled. Fred did everything in his power to rescue the horses by cutting the traces, but succeeded in getting only one of the animals ashore, which died shortly afterwards. Six horses were drowned, and although the mail was thoroughly wet, none was lost. There were no passengers. No blame attached to the driver.
Oregon State Journal, Eugene, April 5, 1879, page 5

Stage Team Drowned.
    Tuesday night the overland stage attempted to cross a slough on Cow Creek within four hundred yards of the station, and all six horses were drowned. Cow Creek is a mountain stream that doubles its usual size in a couple of hours after a heavy rain. During the day before the stage arrived rain had fallen in torrents, and the water in the slough ran so swiftly that the ford was cut out in a very short time to the depth of 15 or twenty feet. Into the ford the driver urged his horses, unsuspecting danger. The team had no more than entered the water than the horses commenced swimming, and in less time than is required to pen this fact, the stage was dragged in, the water swept against it, and the horses were in this way pulled downstream and drowned. Mr. Tice, the driver, bravely remained with the stage until it lodged against one of the banks of the slough, and never left his post until the mail and express box were recovered. Fortunately there were no passengers on the stage at the time. The stage coach will be saved. The mail was delayed only one day by the accident, for as soon as the news of the mishap became known, the stage company, with commendable activity, proceeded to put on new horses and push the mails along.--Douglas Independent.
East Oregonian, Pendleton, April 19, 1879, page 2

    Andy Davison's steam thresher met with quite an accident on Tuesday afternoon while engaged in John Tice's wheatfield. A boy inadvertently let a bundle of sacks fall into the machinery which, getting entangled, caused a smashup. The broken parts were brought to town and repaired by Pat. Donegan, and the steam thresher is all right again.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 6, 1881, page 3

    John Tice took two teams to Roseburg to work on the railroad, but thought the pay was not large enough, and returned home last week. The prices paid are $4 a day for man and two horses; $4.50 a day for man, two horses and a wagon; $6 a day for man, four horses and wagon.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, April 29, 1882, page 3

January 9th 1883
Friend Chadwick
    I have delayed writing you for the reason that when I wrote I wanted to send you the amount of your bill on Davison, Tice & Co., who have promised to pay it from time to time, but up to this writing have failed to do as they agreed. They have exhausted my patience so today I gave the account to Judge Prim with instructions to collect at once by action at law if necessary. He (Prim) tells me he will go after them in earnest. . . .
Yours truly
    C. C. Beekman
C. C. Beekman Papers Mss 916 Box K, Letterpress Book Vol. 1 1882-1884, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

    John Tice brought in a large load of goods for Fisher this week..
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, May 12, 1883, page 3

    WILL GO EAST.--With the pioneer excursion to the eastern states to leave Portland October 1st we learn of the following from Jackson County who will join the party: Wm. Kahler and wife, James McDonough and wife, Wm. Bybee, John Tice, and Cortez Myer of Ashland. Special arrangements and rates have been made, and going in a crowd together they will no doubt have a good time.

Oregon Sentinel,
Jacksonville, September 22, 1883, page 3

    JOHN R. TICE: lives near Jacksonville; is a farmer; was born in Covington, Ind., August 15, 1832; came to state in 1851, and to county in 1853; was married June 5, 1856, to Margaret Wright. Children Fred, Annie A., Walter A., Nettie L., Charlie, Harry F., Effie F., Maggie L., John J., Thos. R. and Paul.

A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 507

TICE--In Heber Grove, April 27th, to Mr. and Mrs. John R. Tice, a daughter.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, May 10, 1884, page 2

    STRAIGHT ROAD.--The viewers appointed at the last term of County Court [of Commissioners] will make a favorable report for a straight road between here and Medford [the Jacksonville Highway], making their start from the gate in front of the Ish farm and ending on the main street in Medford. John Tice is the only farmer injured by the new road, as with the others it goes with division lines and does no damage. We hope the Commissioners will adopt this route but the old road should also be kept open as it accommodates a large portion of the country.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, October 25, 1884, page 3

    In the matter of a county road between Jacksonville and Medford. J. R. Tice, I. W. Thomas and Mary Davison claiming that they would be damaged in the sum of $572, $50 and $200 respectively, C. C. Beekman, G. W. Fordyce and C. Magruder were appointed viewers of damages.
"County Commissioners' Court," excerpt, Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 14, 1884, page 3

    The residence of J. R. Tice had a narrow escape from fire a few days ago. The flames were extinguished with considerable difficulty by the family.
"Medford Correspondence,"
Ashland Tidings, December 19, 1884, page 2

    Of the two routes proposed for the new county road between Medford and Jacksonville, the straight road was chosen and ordered established by the County Commissioners' Court last week. The damages awarded were as follows: John Tice, $400; I. W. Thomas, $25; Mrs. M. A. Davison, $50.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, February 13, 1885, page 3

    John R. Tice of Medford precinct has been very sick with intermittent fever, but is much better now.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 4, 1885, page 3

    John R. Tice of Medford precinct, who has been quite ill, is able to be about, though still quite weak.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 25, 1885, page 3

Declaration of Margaret Tice to hold Separate Property
To whom it may concern:
    Notice is hereby given that the undersigned claims the following described personal property as her own individual property separate and apart from her husband John R. Tice to wit:
One Small Sorrel Mare and her Colt by her side, the Mare is five or six years old has no brands and is known as "Beck." Also one three year old Cow, no mark nor brand, deep red, in color also one three year old red and white Cow, marked with crop and slit in right ear, and under crop in left ear, also one Roan heifer marked as above, aged Two years past, also One dun Cow aged about six or seven years no brands. Also Two Heifer Calves, one roan and the other red and white spotted. Said Calves will be one year old next fall. The above described property was bought by Margaret Tice with money inherited by her from the estate of her mother Jane Wright, deceased.
        Margaret Tice           
State of Oregon        )
County of Jackson    )  s.s.
    I Mary Tice being duly sworn say that I am the identical Margaret Tice, named in the foregoing Statement and that the Statements made therein are true.
Subscribed and sworn to                  )                                            Margaret Tice
before me this April 26th 1886      )
W. H. Parker, Clerk
Filed April 26 1886 and recorded April 29th 1886.
W. H. Parker Co. Clerk
By E. D. Foudray Deputy
Jackson County Register of Married Women's Property

    O. Harbaugh has purchased the John R. Tice farm near Medford of Peter Britt, paying $5,000 for it. Mr. H. no doubt got a good bargain.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 12, 1886, page 3

    Fred. Tice is now managing Jos. A. Crain's place in Medford precinct and will put in a large crop.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 31, 1886, page 3

    Medford is still furnished with pure, fresh milk, from Jos. A. Crain's farm by Fred. Tice.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 31, 1886, page 3

    Tice Bros. have purchased J. C. Cowles' neat residence in this place, paying $800 for it. They secured a bargain.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 8, 1887, page 2

    Miss Nettie Tice is now a resident of Grants Pass.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 22, 1887, page 2

    A most shocking accident occurred here Wednesday evening in which Tommie, youngest son of John Tice, of this place, received injuries which it is feared will prove fatal. The particulars, as near as can be learned, are as follows: Several of the boys here were running races on horseback in the road below town, and he was walking along the road driving a cow, when the boys came along full speed. The little fellow was unable to get out of the way and was run over by one of the horses, fracturing his skull, besides bruising him up very badly. It is to be hoped that all will be more careful in the future and try to avoid another such an accident.
"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, August 3, 1888, page 3

    Tommy Tice was one day last week run over by a horse ridden by a playmate and knocked senseless. Fortunately his injuries are not severe.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 9, 1888, page 3

    Miss Maggie Tice has gone to Portland and will remain with Rev. J. V. Milligan and family for some time.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 27, 1888, page 3

Two Legs Broken.
    A friend at Butte City, Mont., sends us the following account from an evening paper, containing an accident that occurred to a son of John Tice of this valley, Dec. 29th:
    While Walter Tice, the driver for the Centennial Brewery, was coming down from Centerville this morning his sleigh tipped over and he fell, being caught in the brake. The horses started to run, but after going about fifty yards they ran into a post, dragging the driver all the way. The collision with the post in front of the Miners' Arms saloon checked their course, and aid was soon rendered to the unfortunate young man. He was removed to a hospital, where it was discovered both legs were broken; two bones were fractured in the left leg and one in the right. He is suffering intensely. One of the horses' legs was broken so badly that he had to be killed, which was done by shooting. The sleigh was also badly demolished.
Valley Record, Ashland, January 10, 1889, page 3

    Walter Tice, who was injured by an accident some time ago, is improving at Butte City, Mon.
"Medford Doings," Valley Record, Ashland, January 31, 1889, page 3

    Miss Effie Tice has returned from Portland.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 7, 1889, page 3

    A marriage license was issued by the county clerk a few days ago to Ira A. Phelps and Miss Effie Tice of Medford, and they have since been married. The happy young couple have many friends in the valley and elsewhere who wish them much joy and prosperity.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 9, 1889, page 3

    Miss Effie Tice and I. A. Phelps were married at Medford Sunday.
"Medford Doings," Valley Record, Ashland, May 9, 1889, page 3

    John Tice of Medford was found lying near the railroad track, a short distance from Grants Pass, one day this week, in a paralyzed condition. He had lain there three days before being discovered. Mr. T. now lies in a critical condition at home.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 17, 1889, page 3

    The condition of John Tice is critical and the worst is feared.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 24, 1889, page 2

    In the death of John R. Tice, at his family residence in Medford last Friday, the county loses one of its oldest pioneers. Coming to the valley while yet it was a wilderness, he made his home here, raised a large family and died universally respected. Until a few years ago he lived upon his donation claim about four miles from Jacksonville, but has recently made his home at Medford. The remains were brought to Jacksonville for interment in our beautiful cemetery, on Saturday afternoon, the burial services being conducted by Rev. E. McLean. A large concourse paid their last respects to the deceased.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 31, 1889, page 3

TICE--At the family residence in Medford, October 25, 1889, of paralysis, John R. Tice, a native of Indiana and a pioneer of Southern Oregon; aged 57 years and 2 months.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 31, 1889, page 3

Another Pioneer Dead.
    John Tice, an old pioneer of this county, died at his home in Medford, October 28th; aged about 58 years. His demise, it is said, was the result of exposure in Josephine County a few weeks ago. He started from Grants Pass to visit an old friend living but a few miles distant, and on the way there was seized with a stroke of paralysis, which completely prostrated him. One side was entirely paralyzed and he lay out two days and nights before he was discovered. The deceased leaves a wife and several sons and daughters to mourn his death.
Valley Record, Ashland, October 31, 1889, page 3

    Mrs. B. R. Willits was down to Medford last week to attend the burial of her father, John R. Tice.
    Chas. and Miss Maggie Tice, of Portland, and Mrs. Ira Phelps, of Albany, were called to the valley on the death of their father.
Valley Record, Ashland, October 31, 1889, page 3

    John R. Tice died at the family residence in Medford last Thursday night, aged about 65 years. He was well and favorably known all over the valley, and many friends will regret to hear of his death.

"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, November 1, 1889, page 2

The Remorseless Reaper, Death.
    John Tice, of Medford precinct, one of the pioneer residents of the valley, died at his home on Thursday last, from the effects of paralysis. About two weeks before his death Mr. Tice, while visiting at Grants Pass, started from that town to walk along the railroad track two miles to the home of Ole Severson, an old friend whom he intended to visit. When in the large field of J. P. Tuffs, about half a mile from the depot, he was suddenly paralyzed in one side, and taking a few steps from the track he lay down, unable to assist himself or call for help, from Saturday about 11 o'clock until Tuesday about 10 o'clock, when a passerby found him nearly exhausted from his three days' exposure without food or water, and hastened into town to send assistance. The unfortunate man was immediately taken into town and well cared for, and afterwards removed to his home at Medford. He continued to sink, however, and on Friday breathed his last. The funeral was on Sunday and was largely attended. Mr. Tice, Andy Davison and Jos. Crane were pioneer settlers and farmers in the central and richest spot of Bear Creek Valley. They were partners in business, and their wives were sisters. Mr. Tice is the second of the trio to fall before the grim reaper. Mr. Davison died several years ago.
Ashland Tidings, November 1, 1889, page 2

    Miss Nettie Tice of Medford was solemnly baptized and received into the Catholic Church in this place last Sunday morning, and was married in the afternoon to T. A. Harris of Medford, Rev. Father Clark officiating.

"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 6, 1890, page 3

    Johnny Tice, of Medford, Oregon, a brother of Mrs. Ira A. Phelps, was gored to death yesterday morning by a mad bull.
"Fatal Accidents," Albany Daily Democrat, July 24, 1890, page 3

Gored to Death by a Steer.
    John Tice, a young man raised in this valley, was gored to death by a steer yesterday. He is employed by the Hanley Bros. at Butte Creek, this county, and was found dead in a corral. He was alone and had roped the animal, which gored and trampled him to death.
Valley Record, Ashland, July 24, 1890, page 3

Killed by a Steer.
Special to THE ASTORIAN.
    MEDFORD, Or., July 23.--This morning John Tice, aged 16, was found dead in a corral on a ranch near here, where he had evidently been trying to lasso a steer. The animal had gored him to death and the remains were mangled almost beyond recognition.
Daily Morning Astorian, July 24, 1890, page 1

    The "Scott Family fake" at Medford was a success in attendance, there being no admission fee; but the cost of getting away was immense, the "most popular, etc., etc., balloting system" being resorted to by the management to inveigle the audience into paying a regular McKinley tariff fee to see the show. Miss Maggie Tice was voted the most popular lady present, and received a fine album.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 21, 1890, page 2

    The many Medford friends of Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Gruby (nee Miss Maggie Tice) extended their warmest congratulations to them last week after their marriage at Ashland. They both stand high in this community.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 22, 1891, page 2

    Numerous important changes will shortly be made in the management and appointments of the Grand Central Hotel. The family of mine host Purdin are moving into the hotel. Mrs. Harris is now living with her mother, Mrs. Tice.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, November 4, 1892, page 3

    J. E. Drucks of Portland, who resided in Medford a few years since, has commenced a suit against J. Fleischner, the progress and result of which will be regarded with an extreme degree of interest by the public generally, and will determine whether the "middleman" or broker in a money-lending proposition is to be held in any way responsible. Drucks claims that he made a loan of $1500 to Johnathan Tice and F. M. Reid, through the representation of Fleischner that Tice and Reid were worth $40,000 or more, and were perfectly responsible, when such was not the case. As Drucks never got his money back from the borrowers, he wants a judgment against Fleischner, the scalper, for principal and interest.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 30, 1892, page 2

    Miss Maggie Tice has departed from Medford to visit with a sister living at North Yamhill, Or.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 21, 1893, page 3

    Miss Maggie Tice has returned from North Yamhill, where she has been living since last November.
    Mrs. Ira Phelps and children arrived from North Yamhill on Wednesday, for permanent residence. They will soon be joined by Mr. P., who has sold his newspaper plant.

"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 1, 1893, page 2

    We are pained to announce the death of Harry Tice, at the residence of his mother at Medford last week. He was an industrious and honorable young man and had many friends. His remains were buried beside those of his father in the Jacksonville cemetery.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 22, 1893, page 3

    Henry Tice, a son of the late John Tice, died last Friday evening at the home of his mother in Medford, after an illness of several months, of consumption--the consequences of a severe attack of pneumonia which he suffered in Idaho last winter. Harry was an industrious, worthy, genial young man whose death will be regretted by genuine friends wherever he is known. Mrs. B. R. Willits, of this place, his sister, was with him all week, returning home after the funeral on Sunday.
Ashland Tidings, September 22, 1893, page 3

    A relic of the Revolution is on exhibition at Ashland, which is of much interest. It is a powder horn taken from the British by John Tice, of Monmouth, N.J., and now in possession of Mrs. B. R. Willits, one of his descendants. It is handsomely carved with scenes of battles fought by the British army, in which the original owner served.
"Items in Brief," Times-Mountaineer, The Dalles, October 28, 1893, page 3

    Miss Maggie Tice returned to Medford last week from Grants Pass, at which place she was employed in one of the hotels recently burned. The lady came near being burned to death in the conflagration, as she would not leave her room until help came to assist in removing her trunk. No amount of persuading would induce her to part with the trunk and to save her life the trunk was taken out even though the building was then in flames and the walls liable to fall at any time. Her cousin, Carrie, was less fortunate, as all her clothing was burned.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, January 26, 1894, page 3

    Miss Maggie Tice was visiting at Tolman Springs Sunday.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, June 21, 1894, page 4

    Miss Maggie Tice has gone to Ashland to accept a position in the Hotel Oregon dining room.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, July 12, 1894, page 4

    Miss Maggie Tice, who has been at Hotel Oregon for some months, has returned to Medford, and her many friends were pleased to see her home again.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, September 13, 1894, page 3

    Mrs. Nettie Harris and Miss Maggie Tice, who have been at Hotel Oregon for many months, returned to Medford Wednesday to remain.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, November 22, 1894, page 4

returned this week from a two weeks' trip to Lost Prairie, in the Dead Indian country, to which place he had been with fifty head of cattle belonging to the Jos. Crain estate. The herd now in that country number, all told, about 350 head. Feed, he states, is first class, could be no better, and the stock is looking immense. Last Saturday night there was a frost, but it was not severe enough to do any damage. Upon being interrogated regarding the probable price of cattle this fall Mr. Tice could give no positive answer, but he did state that in all probability the figure would be not less than two cents per pound, perhaps two and a quarter. From this Crain herd there will probably be sold an hundred or more head this fall. Mr. and Mrs. Jno. Cox are now out in that country, Mr. Cox looking after the stock and his good wife enjoying the cool of mountain life.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 14, 1896, page 6

    Mrs. Tice's residence was considerably damaged Sunday afternoon. The prompt arrival of the fire department alone prevented its total destruction. Some boys were shooting firecrackers in front of the building, and it is thought that they originated the flames. The loss was small.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 20, 1898, page 3

    Mrs. Ira Phelps and sons, Earl and Francis, of Scio, Or., are visiting Mrs. Phelps' mother, Mrs. Tice, and Medford friends.

"Society: Medford," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, August 26, 1900, page 12

    F. M. Stewart, real estate agent, sold this week a two-acre lot, with dwelling house, to G. H. Tice, of Applegate. Mr. Tice has taken up his residence in Medford. The property is out on North C. Street.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, March 22, 1901, page 6

    Mrs. Tice, of Medford, was visiting friends in this vicinity last week.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, July 26, 1901, page 5

    Mrs. Ira Phelps of Linn County (nee Tice) is visiting relatives living in Medford.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 10, 1902, page 4

    W. P. Dodge and Fred Tice returned Tuesday from a trip up to where the Crater Lake National Park surveyors are at work, having gone thither with a load each of supplies for the surveyors. While out there they met Mr. Arant, the superintendent of the park reserve. This gentleman has but recently recovered from a severe injury and sickness. He has completed a bridge across Anna Creek 104 feet in length which shortens the distance between Crater Lake and Klamath Falls fully one and a half miles. He reports that he has looked out a route that will shorten the distance between Medford and valley points to the lake fully three miles and will do away with much of the heavy grade over which the travel is now going.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 28, 1903, page 5

    Fred Tice, wife and two sons were guests with us last Sunday. They came over to visit their son, Ralph, who is driving one of the teams for the Iowa Lumber & Box Co. He happened to be in the hills at that time, taking up the last large boiler for the mill company, the fifth one transported from here.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, April 24, 1908, page 3

    Mr. and Mrs. O. Arnspiger, Fred Tice and James Stewart have been guests at the Sunnyside last week, and the three men named have been engaged surveying the old Joe Rader place for Mr. Parton. They found quite a difference in the old lines that had been marked out by guesswork and the true lines.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail Tribune, November 21, 1910, page 3

    R. H. Whelkley and Tim Tice were doing business here Friday with our business men, taking dinner at the Sunnyside.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail Tribune, April 18, 1911, page 3

    "There were 12 of us children, but only seven of us are now living," said Mrs. Annie Willits, when I called at her home at No. 1072 East Alder Street. "My father, John R. Tice, was born at Covington, Ind., August 15, 1832, and crossed the plains to Oregon in 1851. He went to Jackson County in 1853. My mother's father, William Wright, had a race track near where Medford was later built. My father ran a pack train from Jacksonville to Crescent City. He and Mother were married on June 5, 1856. My father and Joe Crain and Andrew Davidson were partners in a tract of land about midway between Jacksonville and Medford. My oldest brother, Fred Tice, who is an old-time stage driver, lives at Medford. I was married on October 29, 1879, to Benjamin Rust Willits. He was a school teacher and also taught music. The way we met was, I was a pupil in his school. Later he went into the sawmill business and still later was a bridge carpenter. Not long after our marriage we moved to Ashland, where my daughters Edna and Docia were born. We moved from Ashland to Portland in 1907. Both of my girls went to business college and became stenographers. Docia married John Stokes. She has one child. Her husband is one of the owners of the Northwest Stove Works "

Fred Lockley, "Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man," Oregon Journal, Portland, May 12, 1928, page 4

Fred Tice, Last of Pioneer Stage Drivers, Views from Plane the Routes and Scenes He Traveled Years Ago with 6-Horse Team
    From stage coach to airplane! A long, long trail in the minds of the present generation. A shortcut through "memory lane" to Fred Tice, 72, of Medford.
    Mr. Tice, who is one of the few remaining professional stage coach drivers left in the country, enjoyed his first airplane ride over the valley this week, through the courtesy of Harold Sanders, owner of the Sanders Aeronautical School. Piloted by Mr. Sanders, the white-haired pioneer of Jackson County retraced much of the route he traveled through this county, 50 years ago.
    No suggestion of nervousness marked the conduct of the ruddy-faced man of 72 as he climbed into a passenger plane for the first time in his life. Rather, there was a gleam of eagerness in his eyes as the motor began to hum and the prospect of actually leaving the earth approached.
    "It's something like being born again--into a new age--and a new life," he observed to his companion on the trip, as the plane lifted from the field and began soaring. Leaning over the side of the ship so as not to miss any of the details of the flight, he traced out with his finger the course over which he drove his six-horse teams half a century ago.
    "There it is--the old stage road. It was nothing but brush in those days--not much of a road to it." And he pointed out the avenue to which Medford pioneer residents point with most pride. "I've watched the old road changing through the years--but I never thought I'd ever see it look like this," he added with a note of humor, as the plane climbed still higher and the road dissolved into a thin fringy thread.
    The earth below became a colorful rug with a predominance of green in its patterns. Square pear orchards tipped with white--triangular patches of green, gold and red--irregular bits of gray and black threads weaving themselves in and out. Here and there a dot of blue and, winding its way through the whole beautiful picture, a gleaming band of silver--the Rogue!
    The detail grew less marked, and the colors began to blend and melt into one another as the plane winged its way still higher. The pioneer stage coach driver leaned back in the seat and studied the clouds. Heaven seemed a friendly distance from there--the atmosphere was fine and light, and the sun was a cordial host.
    "I don't think I ever want to go down--unless of course they'd bring back my six-horse team and stage coach," sighed the veteran driver.
    Fred Tice was born near Jacksonville in 1857. He attended the Oak Grove school along with a number of the other well-known older residents of the county. He began driving a team at an early age, and when but 17 years old was considered one of the most adept horsters in the county.
    "It was quite a trick to pick up six lines and drive over some of the tricky passes we had in those days," he said, "and in that day it was a skill to be proud of."
    Mr. Tice was 21 years old when he received the responsible position of stage driver for the Oregon-California Stage Company, which ran from Roseburg, Ore., to Redding, Calif. From 10 to 12 drivers covered this stretch of 275 miles, changing teams every 15 miles and using 180 horses on the entire trip; 100 through this state and 80 through the California section.
    The drivers in Oregon were paid $55 a month, room and board, while those south of the border received $50, room and board; the difference being explained by the fact that six-horse teams were necessary here, instead of the four-horse teams used in the southern state.
    The stage was due in Jacksonville daily northbound, 9:30 a.m., and southbound at 2:30 p.m. Jacksonville at that time was the center of mining activity, and gold dust was shipped from the town in large quantities. Medford was a prairie, unborn and unnamed.
    There were two strings of stages going each way to maintain the daily schedule. Carrying express and mail as well as passengers, it was necessary for the stages to arrive on time so as to meet the trains in both the north and south. Nothing was considered unavoidable except high water, and missing the train meant a fine of $600 to the stage company.
    Mr. Tice drove stage from Rock Point to the station on Cow Creek, a distance of 45 miles, for the first two years. With no visible road over which to travel, the feat of handling a six-horse team over the mountains and streams was dangerous and difficult.
    It was in the winter of '78 when the local man encountered a terrific storm near Cow Creek, and found it impossible to control the panic-stricken horses of his coach. After a considerable struggle, in which the team plunged down into the rising water, the driver rescued the express box and barely saved himself from death. The horses were lost, but the wagon weathered the storm and was pulled to the nearest station next day. Fortunately there were no passengers on that coach.
    Among other dangers which lurked along the way in those days were the Indians, holdup men and wild animals. The local man recalls one incident when for a certain distance along an edge of high brush and trees the horses shied away from the trail over which he guided them.
    Finally annoyed by their actions, he jumped down from the seat and walked along the edge of the brush, looking through it to discover what the animals had sensed. All of a sudden he peered into the face of a large grizzly bear which had been prowling along through the brush and had stopped simultaneously with the stage coach. Unarmed, the driver returned to his seat and made a hasty getaway, with the horses now in a mood for cooperation.
    Although there were frequent Indian attacks in those days, Mr. Tice was spared this misfortune on any of his routes. It was but a few years before this, however, when the Modoc war took place, and the stage driver, then a boy of 15 or 16, was impressed and not a little thrilled over his memory of some of the details. At this time Fort Klamath was an army post, and the pioneer lad was attracted by their colorful activity with the Indians.
    When he was 17 years old he once drove through Fort Klamath, arriving just in time to see the soldiers locking a number of Indians in a corral covering an acre of ground, as the result of their capture after an attack on the white settlers. Women and children were herded into the pen along with their Indian husbands, and guards were stationed around the outside wall.
    These Indians were kept at Fort Klamath for several months, after which they were taken in small groups to distant points and released. During their imprisonment they apparently enjoyed life, the squaws cooking their meals within the acre square.
    In 1880, Mr. Tice was transferred from Rock Point south, and drove over the Siskiyous. At that time this was a toll road, the stage company paying $700 a year to go over the mountain. George Chase, now of Yreka, covered the same route as did Mr. Tice.
    In the summer of 1880 another driver, Nort Eddings, was robbed on the mountains, a short distance from where the DeAutremont holdup took place. The stage driver was slowing his team on a steep pass when a group of bandits emerged from the timber, fired some shots past the stage and commanded Eddings to throw down the express box, carrying a large quantity of gold dust from the mines. They then commanded the driver and passengers to get out of the coach, and while they were covered one of the bandits robbed them of everything they had.
    Mr. Tice was put on the route covered by Eddings, driving the same team, immediately after the robbery. Officials accompanied the driver, keeping a sharp lookout for the holdup men in case of a second attempt, but they did not reappear.
    The local man derives a great deal of pleasure in reminiscing over the old days on the stage route--days which he considers the happiest of his life. He remembers, with a smile, that the women generally wanted to sit in the driver's seat, while most of the men passengers seemed contented to sit inside.
    He admits, however, that there was one lovely bit of femininity for whom all the others had to take a back seat when she decided to go on one of her frequent trips through the country to visit friends. This was Martha Dodge. She is now Mrs. Fred Tice of Medford. And when the 72-year-old man, who even now views the world daily from astride a bay-colored horse, decides to take his next airplane ride, Martha Dodge Tice is going with him.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 19, 1929, page B3

Old Stage Coach Driver Gets Thrill in Air Trip
    Chicago.--Above the same route over which he drove stage coaches 55 years ago, at less than ten miles an hour, Fred Tice, octogenarian of Medford, Ore., got a new thrill when he rode leisurely along in a three-mile-a-minute, multi-motored transport on United Air Lines' coastal route.
    Tice pointed out to fellow plane passengers his old route in Northern California and Southern Oregon. His trips half a century ago required 100 hours, and a total of 92 horses for a 275-mile stage coach trip, a distance the seven-ton United plane covered in one and one-half hours.
    "I never dreamed anything like this would happen," mused Tice.
Eureka Mirror, Eureka, Montana, August 28, 1934, page 5

    Following a gradual decline in health for the past year or more, Fred Tice, one of Jackson County's best-known pioneers and veteran stage driver, passed away at his home, 725 Alder Street, in this city at 2:15 a.m. today.
    Mr. Tice was born on the donation land claim of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Tice, about halfway between Jacksonville and Medford, and had spent his entire lifetime of nearly 79 years in this locality.
    At the age of 20, before the Oregon & California Railroad was established throughout Southern Oregon, Mr. Tice began driving passenger stage from Yreka north. His record run was 45 miles in four and one-half hours. Many perils were encountered by this courageous young driver, in one of which his six-horse team was drowned in flood waters.
    Fred Tice and his wife, Martha, also well-known pioneer, have witnessed the construction of every business building and residence in Medford.
    Besides his wife, he leaves five children: Mrs. H. W. Smith of Tacoma, Wash.; Ralph Tice, Rochester, Wash.; Fred Jr., of Centralia; Mrs. J. W. Marshall, San Francisco, and Oliver Tice of Medford.
    Mr. Tice was a member of the Odd Fellows lodge of Medford for 40 years; also a member of the local camp W.O.W.
    Funeral services will be conducted by Rev. D. E. Millard at the Conger chapel at 2:30 Monday with the Odd Fellows officiating at the graveside in Medford I.O.O.F. cemetery.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 12, 1935, page 1

Umpqua Flood of 1880 Is Recalled by Medford Man
    Recent floods in the Rogue Valley recalled for F. S. Brandon, 211 North Ivy St., the Umpqua River flood of 1880, when six stage horses and a heavy loaded stage "disappeared."
    Fred Tyce, 30, a pioneer resident of Griffin Creek, was a stagecoach driver for the California-Oregon Stage Coach line operating between Redding, Calif., and Roseburg, Brandon recalled.
Jacksonville Stop
    He said, "One morning in early February, 1880, the six-horse northbound stage stopped at Jacksonville, where a change of drivers was made. Fred Tyce had the Jacksonville-Roseburg run. The stage coach was heavy loaded with mail and express. He had but one passenger, a man, who sat on the driver's seat with Fred.
    "A change of horses was made about every 12 miles.
    "Colonel Stone, superintendent of the stage line, was located at Jacksonville and kept in touch with the Western Union Telegraph Company concerning time of stage arrivals at all stations. If a stage was behind time and failed to deliver mail to outgoing trains at Redding, Calif., or Roseburg, Ore., it meant a financial loss of no small amount to the stage coach company.
    "Fred stopped at a station to change horses. He was handed a telegram from Colonel Stone," Brandon recalled. The telegram read "You are 30 minutes behind time, make it up. We own the horses, so use your whip," according to Brandon.
Lover of Horses
    The stage hitch was changed, Brandon said, and added, "Fred was a lover of horses, and thought a lot of that particular six-horse team. He said afterward that there was some sort of an omen or foretelling came over him that day not to heed the demand of Colonel Stone, in particularly running the heavy loaded team uphill and downhill for 12 long miles. However, he obeyed orders, gave them a slack rein, and away they went.
    "When he reached the Umpqua River it was flood high. The roadway at one place was close to the river bank. The passenger was watching closely. Suddenly he yelled to jump quick. Both men jumped and climbed with all possible speed, grabbing bushes or anything they could hang to. A small oak tree toppled over, they grabbed it, and pulled themselves upward. Tough roots of the little tree held fast to solid ground above. They climbed out. The river bank and wagon road had caved in the Umpqua River. The six-horse team and coach disappeared in the heavy flood waters."
Boards Stage
    Tyce, Brandon said, boarded the next stage south for Jacksonville, intending to have a rest at his parents' home at Griffin Creek. But Colonel Stone was waiting for Tyce, Brandon said, and had heard about the Umpqua flood incident.
    Brandon added that Colonel Stone said, "Our southbound stage was held up and robbed on the old Dollarhide toll road on the Siskiyous. The driver was scared out and quit us at Yreka. I am short a driver to take this stage to Yreka, and you are the only one available I can depend on."
    Tyce took the stage to Yreka, Brandon added.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 4, 1956, page 12  The source of Brandon's information is unknown. He got Fred's name and age, the month and year (see 1879 articles above) and other details wrong--and triggered the response below.

The Drowning Incident
    To the Editor: I was very interested in F. S. Brandon's account of the 1880 Umpqua flood and the "disappearance" of six stage horses and a heavy loaded stage of driver Fred Tice (not Tyce) as mentioned in the Mail Tribune of March 4. I knew Fred Tice years ago, and he told me of the incident many times. I hope the following will clarify and not contradict Mr. Brandon's account.
    Fred Tice's stage run in February 1880 was from Jacksonville to Canyonville, which was made in a day and a night, and the road at that time, down in the canyons and straight up over the mountains, rarely followed a grade. It was a bad winter and the mud in the road was axle deep to his coach. He said he expected trouble crossing the streams, but the main rivers, the Rogue and the Umpqua, were bridged but Grave Creek, Wolf Creek and Cow Creek were open fords. He recalled that
though they were all raging torrents he made it across all till he reached Cow Creek. Cow Creek was well over the banks and he was certain he could not ford it, but when he thought of the mail and the contract with the express company, he felt he had to ford it if at all possible, so he urged his team of six horses into the stream. The swift water forced the lead team to stop and the swing team became tangled in the "stretchers," better known as "singletrees," causing them to be pulled down in the raging waters, piling up the whole team. The stage, pushed by the current of the stream, swung around against the bank and Fred and his guard abandoned the coach, saving the express box and mail sack. They then walked to a change station and stayed a short time, and when the high waters lowered enough so they could get to where the horses were, they took their pocket knives and cut the harness loose from the horses and let them float down the creek. This is the version of the drowning as told to me by Mr. Tice. Mr. Tice has a son living here in Medford.
    There is a picture on display in the Jacksonville Museum of the late Fred Tice on the seat of his stage coach driving a six-horse team, but if this was the team that drowned I do not know.
Harry W. Barneburg
1297 Sunset Ave.
Medford, Ore.
"Communications," Medford Mail Tribune, March 7, 1956, page 4

Last revised November 19, 2023