Ashland Has Had Steady and Consistent Growth
Early Pioneers Showed Remarkable Foresight and Industry When City Was Established
The early pioneers of the Rogue River Valley have with singular unanimity and earnestness borne witness to the sensation with which their hearts were thrilled when they first set eyes upon the fair region of their dreams.
Those tired and travel-worn men and women had set out for the Pacific shore as for a land of promise, and throughout the long and terribly wearying journey had traveled slowly toward the setting sun, intent only upon reaching the country so often but dimly described, and from whence such romantic and charming accounts had come. The desolate never-ending plains, the drought, the imminence of death from thirst and hunger, and the ever-present fear of hostile Indians weighed upon the souls of even the strongest, and many laid down their heavy burdens and sank to rest far from the goal they had struggled to reach. Perhaps there never lived a class of men and women of such a strong and self-reliant character as those early pioneers.
Six Months TripAfter the straits to which a six-months land journey across the most desolate part of North America had brought them, how welcome to their vision must have been the sight of the grassy plains, the wooded slopes and tree-fringed watercourses of Southern Oregon. The country was one of primitive wildness, yet of obvious fertility and production. The wild grasses grew in profusion, covering everywhere the land as with a garment of the softest and most luxuriant verdure. The rich soil, as yet unimpaired in fertility, sent up the stalks to the height of a man or of a horse. Wild berries flourished, and the clear mountain streams, clear as glass, ran unpolluted by the dirt from mines. The wild deer and elk grazed undisturbed in the open meadow, or sought the shade of their leafy coverts and gazed out upon their quiet world. The hilltops, now mainly covered with dense thickets of manzanita, madrone and evergreen brush, were then devoid of the bushes and trees because of the Indian habit of burning over the surface to remove obstructions of their seed and acorn gathering. In the streams roved the trout, the salmon-trout and the salmon, a favorite sustenance of the Indians.
Scattered VillagesSome scattered villages of natives formed the only fixed population of the beautiful Rogue River Valley, which were located near Table Rock, on Ashland Creek, Little Butte Creek, and a few other points, where in after years they struggled manfully against the incoming tide of white settlers.
Such was the aspect of the lovely valley of Rogue River when first beheld by the immigrants at the close of their arduous journey. The current of emigration which, setting at first for the vale of the Willamette, had been partially diverted toward the gold fields of California, suffered a still further change by the beginning of 1852, when the gold placers of the Rogue River country were discovered and the town of Jacksonville was founded.
In the year of its discovery, a considerable number of people entered Oregon, passing through the Rogue River Valley, the line of travel entering at the head of Bear Creek and following the old California and Oregon Trail from the Siskiyous down Bear Creek to the Rogue River.
Jackson CountyIn 1851 began the settlement of Jackson County, or more properly speaking, it then began to be looked upon as a possible home for settlers. In the spring and summer of that year three houses or stations became occupied permanently by white men, these being the three ferries on Rogue River, namely, Long's, Evans' and Perkins'.
Shortly after, Judge A. A. Skinner came to the valley in pursuance of his duties as Indian agent and took up his residence southeast of Table Rock, on a donation claim, supposed to have been the first taken in Rogue River Valley, for that matter. His house was the first one built on Bear Creek and was a small log structure. With Judge Skinner resided the government interpreter, Chesley Gray. Moses Hopwood came with his family and settled upon the well-known Hopwood farm on Bear Creek. Several other settlers came in at nearly the same time, and early in the year 1852 Judge Rice occupied the location next to Skinner's and brought his wife and small family, the lady probably being the second of her sex to locate permanently in the valley. Mrs. Lawless possessed the distinction of being the first white woman settler, coming sometime in 1852. In December 1851 Stone and Poyntz took up their land claim at the crossing of Wagner Creek.
Take Up ClaimsAt the upper end of the valley the Mountain House claim was taken up, and here resided Barron, Russell and Gibbs. On the Tolman place were Patrick Dunn, Thomas Smith and Frederick Alberding. The following white persons were residing in the valley on New Year's Day 1852: Major Barron, John Gibbs, Russell, Thomas Smith, Patrick Dunn, Frederick Alberding (R. B. Hargadine came to Ashland in January), Samuel Colver, Judge Skinner, Chesley Gray, Sykes and two others residing at Skinner's; Moses Hopwood and two sons, N. C. Dean, Bills and son, Davis Evans and one or two others at Evans' ferry; Perkins, and probably one assistant. Total, 27 or 28 persons, all males.
In January 1852, the placers on Jackson Creek were discovered by Sykes, Clugage, Poole and others and there began active progress and development of this county. The seat of trade and activity was Jacksonville.
A great many land claims were taken up in the year 1852, and nearly all the bottom lands of Bear Creek and vicinity were claimed, and a large number of settlers had gathered here and found occupation. In the following year, 159 wagons came to this valley via the southern route, accompanied by 400 men, 120 women and 170 children. These pioneers brought 2600 cattle, 1300 sheep, 140 loose horses and 40 mules.
Jackson County was organized by an act of the legislature passed January 12, 1852, and its affairs were managed by a board, and one of its first acts was the establishment of a precinct at Emery & Co.'s sawmill at Ashland.
By 1854 two flouring mills upon Bear Creek were built, one by the Thomas Bros. and the other by Helman, Emery & Morris of Ashland, which later was owned and conducted by Jacob Wagner.
----The town of Ashland was incorporated October 13, 1874, having then a population of 300. The first officers were: Jacob Wagner, F. W. Ewing, J. R. Tozer and H. C. Hill, trustees; C. K. Klum, recorder; W. C. Daly, marshal; and J. M. McCall, treasurer.
On the sixth of January 1852, R. B. Hargadine and Pease settled on the land recently known as the Applegate farm, but now occupied by the railway depot buildings. On the eleventh of the same month, Eben Emery, Dowd Farley, J. A. Cardwell, A. D. Helman and A. M. Rogers also came and settled nearby.
The first house built was the dwelling of Hargadine and Pease. The second was the sawmill built by Eben Emery, J. B. Emery, J. A. Cardwell and Dowd Farley.
It was commenced in February 1852 and finished June 16 of that year at a cost of $8,000 in money and labor, and was named the "Ashland Sawmill" in honor of Ashland, Ohio, Mr. Helman's former home, and also in honor of the home of Henry Clay, Ashland, Kentucky, the majority of the company being Whigs. The third building was the residence of A. D. Helman and the fourth that of Eben Emery.
Flour MillsIn 1854 the Ashland Flouring Mills were built by A. D. Helman, Eben Emery, J. B. Emery and M. B. Norris at a cost of $15,000 and were dedicated by a grand ball on the night of August 25 of that year. These mills became the nucleus of the coming city, which was now laid out with the mills occupying the south side of the plaza, around which part of the business of the town is now built, and the name of the sawmill, "Ashland," was transferred to the town. Simultaneously with the mills the first blacksmith shop was built by the mill company.
Quite a number of other buildings were soon erected, as follows: A hotel, by J. R. Foster; a butcher shop, by Marion Westgall; carpenter and cabinet shop, by Buckingham and Williams; a wagon shop, by John Sheldon, and a store by R. B. Hargadine.
Ashland school district number 5 was now organized, and the first school was taught near the residence of Mrs. Erb two miles east of Ashland, by the Rev. Myron Stearns. The first school of the town proper was taught in the house of Eben Emery in the year 1854-5 by Miss Lizzie Anderson, who later became the wife of Gen. McCall.
Nothing more of special interest transpired until April 5, 1858, when Dr. Sisson was killed. This homicide is a dark page in the history of Ashland, and cast a shadow over the community which was not easily dispelled. Many theories regarding the crime were advanced, but the murderer was never apprehended nor the cause of the assassination brought to light.
Ashland HouseThe hotel known as the "Ashland House" was built in the year 1859 by Eben Emery at a cost of $3,000, by whom it was kept for 10 years and then sold to Jasper Houck for $6000.
The first public school house was built in 1867 on a lot donated by R. B. Hargadine. It was a substantial frame building 18 by 20 feet on a solid foundation of cut stone, at a cost of $2000.
In this new building a school of nine months in each year was taught by the best instructors the country afforded, from whence 250 scholars in its several departments drew their educations.
The next enterprise was the marble sawmill and shops built by James H. Russell in the years 1865 and 1869 for the purpose of utilizing the native marbles of the country. To Ashland belongs the credit of the first marble works in Oregon south of Portland. The sawing department of this mill was destroyed by fire in 1879.
The planing mills and cabinet shops of Marsh & Company were projected and partly built by H. S. Emery in 1868. In 1874 they were purchased by Messrs. Marsh and Valley for $1,400.
Normal SchoolThe Ashland college and normal school was inaugurated bin 1869 at a quarterly conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church held at Ashland in June of that year. Rev. C. Alderson, president of this meeting, proposed the enterprise. Plans and specifications were made out by the Rev. J. w. Kuykendall, and a contract was closed with Messrs. Blake and Emery for the erection of the building. Before its completion, however, funds failed and the enterprise was suspended. In 1872 Reverend J. H. Skidmore, by the help of many friends, completed and furnished the building and commenced the school as a private enterprise. Heavy debts so embarrassed him that he was obliged to turn the school over to his creditors, from whom it was redeemed in 1878 by its friends and placed again under the supervision of the above church as a college and normal school. Professor L. L. Rogers, A.M., was chosen president. Unforeseen complications, however, arising, it was soon in the dust of humility; patrons forsook it, friends became disheartened and Rogers resigned his position. Though the case now seemed almost hopeless, the trustees resolved to make one more trial and on August 26, 1882, Rev. M. G. Royal, A.M., was appointed to the management, and since his installation the course of the school was onward and upward, and the state made it a branch of its normal school system.
Woolen MillsThe Ashland Woolen Mills was originally established by a joint stock company consisting of 30 members, with J. M. McCall as the leader. It was inaugurated in 1868 under the name of the Rogue River Woolen Manufacturing Company with J. M. McCall as president; C. K. Klum, secretary, and John Daly, superintendent. The mill was completed and equipped with one set of cards, one spinning jack, four looms and some machinery at a cost of $32,000. It was sold after three years to G. N. Marshall and Charles Goodchild. During the second year of this administration James Thornton became a partner in the business, and in 1878 he bought the entire stock of the concern. In the same year W. H. Atkinson, Jacob Wagner and E. K. Anderson became partners with Mr. Thornton, when the name was changed to "Ashland Woolen Manufacturing Company." In 1881 Mr. Wagner retired and Capt. J. M. McCall again became interested in the business.
The planing mill and cabinet shop of Daly & Co. was built in 1878 at a cost of $3,000. It was situated at the junction of Mechanic and Helman streets, and the power used was the water of Ashland Creek, acting on a turbine wheel. The proprietors were W. C. Daly, J. R. Tozer and H. S. Emery.
The extensive nursery of Orlando Coolidge was established in 1868, and was the most extensive of its kind in Southern Oregon. It contained almost all varieties of fruits, nuts, shrubs, flowers and ornamental trees to be found on the coast.
Public LibraryThe public library was organized in December 1879 under the name of the Ashland library and reading room, of which J. M. McCall, M. Baum, W. H. Atkinson, W. A. Wilshire, James Thornton, H. C. Hill, J. P. Walker, H. T. Chitwood, W. H. Leeds, W. Nichols and others were members.
The Ashland Bank was incorporated Feb. 9, 1884 with a capital stock of $50,000. The incorporators were J. M. McCall, W. H. Atkinson and H. B. Carter.
Population of the town in 1854 was 25; in 1864 was 50; in 1874 was 300 and in 1884 it was 1000, and probably no town in Oregon has evinced such refined and elevated sentiment as Ashland.
Ashland Daily Tidings, February 26, 1927, page 5
Ashland in Retrospect
PROF. I. E. VINING
At the annual pioneer reunion, being held today in this city, Professor I. E. Vining is presenting the following history of early Ashland--Ashland pioneers--Ashland development. Mr. Vining has graciously granted The Daily Tidings the privilege of publishing this interesting "history in brief" of Ashland. It will be presented in four installments.
Ashland in Retrospect
By PROF. I. E. VINING
Ashland was incorporated as a town October 13, 1874, approximately 57 years ago. Its population at that time was estimated at 300 persons. The first officers to function in this city were: Jacob Wagner, F. W. Ewing, J. R. Tozer and H. C. Hill, trustees; Charles K. Klum, recorder; W. D. Daly, marshal; and J. M. McCall, treasurer. The early settlement of this southernmost town of Oregon dates back to the 6th day of January 1852, when R. B. Hargadine and Pease, his partner, settled on the land later known as the Applegate farms and at present occupied by the Southern Pacific Railroad depot buildings. Five days later Eben Emery, J. B. Emery, Dowd Farley, J. A. Card well, A. D. Helman and A. M. Rogers settled nearby. Having decided to make their homes in this locality, the first house built was the dwelling of Hargadine and Pease.
Then followed the sawmill built by Eben Emery, J. A. Cardwell and Dowd Farley. The mill was started in February 1852 and finished on June 16 of that same year at a cost of $8,000. It was named the "Ashland Saw Mill" in honor of Ashland, Ohio, Mr. Helman's former home, also honoring the home of Henry Clay, Ashland, Kentucky. The majority of this company being Whigs, they paid this compliment to their great leader, Henry Clay. The third building was the residence of A. D. Helman, the fourth that of Eben Emery.
Two years later, 1854, the Ashland flouring mills were built by A. D. Helman, Eben Emery and M. B. Morris, at an estimated cost of $15,000. The building of this flouring mill was an outstanding evening in Southern Oregon history, and was dedicated by a grand ball the night of August 25, 1854. These flouring mills became the nucleus of the coming city and were located on Ashland Creek on the site at the entrance of what is now Lithia Park. A plaza was laid out in front of them, around which the principal business part of the town was built.
These mills were later purchased and operated by Jacob Wagner. Under his able management, they served the entire valley, farmers bringing their produce from all sections, and the finished product serving the entire Southern Oregon community.
The name of the sawmill, "Ashland," was given to the town. This same company also built a blacksmith's shop, and immediately there followed a hotel built by John R. Foster, a butcher shop by Marion Westfall, a carpenter and cabinet shop by Buckingham and Williams, a wagon shop by John Sheldon and a store by R. G. Hargadine.
Ashland's school district was organized, and the first school was taught by Rev. Myron Stearns. This school was located two miles east of Ashland near the old Erb place. The first school in the town proper was taught in the house of Eben Emery in the years 1854 and 1855. Miss Lizzie Anderson, later the wife of J. M. McCall, was the teacher.
Thus we see that Ashland in the early fifties was developed as the manufacturing center of the valley, with Jacksonville a thriving and prosperous mining camp adding to its population and riches, and with little or no contact with the outside world except by pack train from Scottsburg on the Umpqua [and Yreka and Crescent City]. It was necessary and profitable for the valley to produce and manufacture as many of its necessities as was possible. The rapid growth of these early manufacturers in Ashland exemplifies the enterprise, enthusiasm and practical ability of these early pioneers. In every instance their judgment proved well founded, and they prospered abundantly in their endeavors as well as fulfilling an outstanding need in their community.
A dark and mysterious page now enters the early history of the city. On April 5, 1858 an outstanding citizen and community leader, Dr. Sisson, was mysteriously killed. At the same time a fire destroyed valuable city records, and the community, stunned by this calamity, was never able to solve the mystery of the killing while much confusion resulted from the destroyed documents. The year following this tragedy, 1859, witnessed the construction of the Ashland House, a hotel built by Eben Emery, who managed it for 10 years, at which time it was sold to Jasper Houck, under whose management it became an outstanding hostelry for the passing traveler. The first public school house was built in 1860 on land donated by R. B. Hargadine. This land is now occupied by the H. G. Enders store and adjoining community property. This school served the city until 1867, when an addition was added, and in 1880 a new and commodious two-story building was erected at a cost of $2,000 on the same site.
The new enterprise of note in this manufacturing center of the valley was the marble sawmill and shops built in the years 1865 and 1869 for James H. Russel for the purpose of utilizing the native marbles of the county. This mill turned out magnificent slabs, wrought into monuments and other appropriate uses by Mr. and Mrs. Russel. The sawing department was destroyed by fire in 1879, but Mr. Russel, wife and son continued their operations, utilizing local and Italian marble. On the death of Mr. Russel, Mrs. Russel continued her work almost to the time of her death. Thus to Ashland belongs the credit of the first marble works in Oregon, south of Portland.
In 1868 the planing mills and cabinet shops of L. S. P. Marsh & Company were built by H. S. Emery and operated for many years on the location of what is now a part of Lithia Park. Ashland College and Normal School was inaugurated in 1869 under the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Plans and specifications of the school were made out by the Rev. J. W. Kuykendall, and the contract was let to Messrs. Blake and Emery for the construction of the building. Before the building was completed the finances were found to be insufficient, and the enterprise was momentarily suspended. Three years later the institution was turned over to the Rev. J. H. Skidmore, who completed and furnished the building as a private enterprise. Many of our native sons and daughters hold this kindly and reverend schoolmaster in highest esteem. Mr. Skidmore was finally compelled to abandon the school and turn it over to his creditors. In 1878 it again came under the supervision of the church and was placed under the direction of Prof. L. L. Rogers as a college and normal school. For a time it flourished auspiciously, then unforeseen complications arose and Mr. Rogers resigned his position. On August 26, 1882 the Rev. M. G. Royal was placed in charge, but once more, after flourishing for a brief period, the school was closed and was later occupied by J. S. Sweet as a business college, and following that was used by the city for their high school plant. The location is now occupied by the Washington School.
Perhaps the most outstanding enterprise in Ashland's history was the establishment of the Ashland woolen mills by a joint stock company of 30 members, of which Capt. J. M. McCall was the leading spirit. It was started in the year 1867 and began operations in the following year under the name of the Rogue River Woolen Manufacturing Company with J. M. McCall, president; C. K. Klum, secretary and John Daly, superintendent. This enterprise involved capitalization of about $35,000. It was operated with profit to its stockholders though changing hands many times. Connected with its management through its period of existence were the following esteemed early residents: James Thornton, who in 1877 bought the entire stock of the concern. In the same year W. H. Atkinson, Jacob Wagner and E. K. Anderson became partners with Mrs. [sic] Thornton. The name was then changed to the Ashland Woolen Manufacturing Company. New machinery was added, and the products from this concern became famous throughout the territory. These products included underwear, hosiery, shawls, blankets, et cetera. Native wool was largely used, and about 30 skilled employees kept the plant in operation day and night, the year around, Sundays excepted. A part of this plant is now occupied by the Ashland Ice & Storage Company.
In 1878 a planing mill and cabinet shop owned by Daly & Company was erected on Ashland Creek near the woolen mills. The plant turned out a wide range of cabinet and carpentry work and was operated by Daly, Tozer and Emery.
In noting the early industries of Ashland, the extensive nursery of Orlando Coolidge should be mentioned. It was established in 1868 and was the most productive of its kind in the entire valley. There was an indefinite variety of fruits, nuts, shrubs, flowers and ornamental trees. The banquet tables of the early pioneer gatherings were adorned and enriched by products from this famous nursery. The owners took pride and won favor in their produce. This nursery was but a harbinger of the vast orchards which today carry the fame of the Rogue to all parts of the world.
A most interesting feature in early history in any community is the character of the press at that time. Jacksonville, with its Table Rock Sentinel, and Ashland with its Tidings, served the people in the early Southern Oregon days. The initial issue of the Ashland Tidings was dated June 17, 1876. The editor and publisher was Mr. James Sutton. His equipment comprised a used Washington hand press and the proverbial "hatful of type and working tools." The press had been brought to Ashland by Welborn Beeson, who had hauled the press to town with his team and wagon from Roseburg. The first issue of this paper was eagerly awaited by the Ashland villagers, and there was a wild scramble for the first sheet to come off the press. Mr. C. B. Watson and Clark Taylor were the fortunate recipients of the initial press. Mr. Sutton, the editor, discussed the topics of the day in his editorial columns and expressed his convictions, without fear or favor, in very smooth English. Much valuable historical data is contained in the early editions of this paper, while Indian legends and scenic descriptions are also to be found. The advantage of Ashland as a home center was properly extolled, and the booster spirit was everywhere in evidence. Mr. Sutton's health having failed, the paper was taken over temporarily by J. M. McCall and Company. In a few months the name of O. C. Applegate and Company appeared at the masthead, and being a fluent writer and especially well-versed in Southern Oregon history, Mr. Applegate's contributions along these lines are unrivaled and of great value to the seeker of early Oregon historical data.
A Washington hand press.
In 1879 two ambitious young men purchased The Tidings. They were William H. Leeds and Corlies Merritt. Mr. Leeds became the sole owner in a few months. He remained the directing head and editor of the paper for many years. His forceful presentation of community life made a deep impress upon the thought of his day. When elected to the position of state printer of Oregon in 1894, Mr. F. D. Wagner, who had "grown up" in the Tidings office, was taken in as partner and became active manager. Mr. Wagner later bought out Mr. Leeds' interest and continued as publisher and editor until March 1911.
The Tidings still maintains its pioneer spirit of independence and forceful presentation of community affairs and is in itself a real pioneer of Southern Oregon progress.
The Ashland bank was incorporated February 9, 1884. The capital stock of $50,000 was divided into 500 shares at $100 each. The incorporators were J. M. McCall, W. H. Atkinson and H. B. Carter. This institution flourished and grew as did the community it served, now being represented by the First National Bank of Ashland. Honorable E. V. Carter, the present president of the First National Bank, is a son of the original founder H. B. Carter, and is the oldest living member of the Oregon Bankers' Association.
An outstanding enterprise was established by Mr. W. C. Myers in 1865, namely the Myers stock farm, located a short distance north of the city of Ashland. In the year 1870 he brought to this location a number of outstanding Percheron horses. His success in this venture was outstanding, and the demand so great that new importations followed. To his herd of horses were added Jersey cattle and Shetland ponies of prize-winning fame. Stock from this farm was sent to all points on the Pacific Coast, and descendants from the cattle herd have been among the best butter producers in the United States. It is to be regretted that modern enterprise does not emulate the endeavor of Mr. Myers, as today we boast of no such outstanding cattle farm in our community.
Ashland, from its very inception, evidenced a deep interest in spiritual and cultural affairs. The permanent organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Ashland took place in July 1864, with Rev. P. M. Starr of [the] Jacksonville circuit in charge. The members enrolled were: David P. Walrad and wife, A. G. Rockfellow and wife, Mrs. Jacob Wagner, Mrs. Mary Myer, William Jaquett and wife, W. C. Myer and wife, Heaton Fox and wife and D. P. Brittain and wife. This has been an outstanding organization in the city since the time of its foundation. The present church building was erected in its original form in 1875-76. The membership at that time was about 50, and the Sabbath school attendance was in the neighborhood of 60 pupils.
The First Presbyterian Church of Ashland was organized August 28, 1875. The Rev. Thomas Frazer, missionary agent of the synod of the Pacific, officiated. The original members were: Mrs. M. A. Gillett, E. Giddings, M. Jacobs, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kentnor, Mrs. Woodson, U. Ewing, J. Buick, A. H. Russel, M. M. Dunn, B. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. C. Neil, Mrs. Well, Mrs. Samuel Grubb and Miss Sarah Grubb. The society was incorporated in 1878. The district school house served as a meeting place originally, the church being erected on its present site in 1878.
The Baptist organization was begun in 1877 under the name of the First Baptist Church. The first meetings were held in the school house, later in the Presbyterian Church until their own building was completed.
Among the early fraternal organizations were found the Odd Fellows, Masons, Order of the Eastern Star and Good Templars. Ashland Lodge No. 45 Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized July 23, 1873. The early records of this order were burned and a portion of the early history was lost. A fine building, Odd Fellows Hall, was constructed at a cost of $6,000 and is still utilized by the Order. Ashland Lodge No. 23, A.F. and A. Masons was organized in June 1875 by the Grand Lodge of Oregon. The Masonic Hall was built in 1870 at a cost of $7,600. Their first building was destroyed by fire during the first year. Alpha Chapter, Order of Eastern Star, was founded March 13, 1880 by authority of the Grand Chapter of the United States. This was the earliest established in Oregon. These early fraternal societies have played an important part in the fraternal life of this city and have grown steadily in membership and fraternal relations.
From this brief summary of the early activities of our pioneer citizens we become aware first of Ashland's importance as a manufacturing city. The products were almost entirely utilized by local consumption, and not until the competition inaugurated by the coming of the railway did they feel the pressure of lowering prices where cheaper labor and quantity production made it difficult for them to continue. They served their community efficiently and well and reaped a satisfactory return on the investments and labor involved.
Ashland has maintained its atmosphere of moral, cultural and spiritual endeavor. With the natural beauty of its environment, this atmosphere has permeated its people, and the eternal verities of life are prized even beyond its economic possibilities.
With Jacksonville as the center of mining activities of the Northwest and Yreka on the south, Ashland served both communities as host and neighbor with the output of its manufacturing plants.
A fine heritage is ours, a heritage of enterprise and achievement, the spirit to carry on as did the pioneers of old. With a wider horizon, we must broaden their scope of vision as far as our activities are concerned. But the will to do, the urge to achieve and spirit that holds its faith to build as did our forefathers of the early fifties, the charge and the challenge that comes to us this day when we meet to commemorate and pay homage to their beloved memories.
Before the coming of the white man, Ashland Creek was the site of an Indian village. Those early tepees were the forerunners of a favored homeland. Here we live the abundant life, extending its activities from the camper's tepee by the brookside to the banquet halls of a palatial hostelry.
Ashland Daily Tidings, October 8, 1931, page 6 Serialized October 8 through October 12.
To the Editor:
I have been interested in the articles "Ashland in Retrospect" by Irving E. Vining, which you have published in the Daily Tidings.
In part 4, printed Monday, Oct. 12, was a sketch of the founding of the First Presbyterian Church. Because the names of some of the charter members were omitted I would like to give the list found in the minutes of the session of the local church.
All charter members joined the church on August 28, 1875. Those transferring membership from Jacksonville, Ore. were: Mrs. Jeannette Buck, Mrs. Mary Dunn, Mrs. Harriet Ewing, Mrs. Ellen Giddings, Mrs. Martha Gillette, Mrs. Elizabeth Grubb Sr., Samuel Grubb, Sarah J. Grubb, Mrs. May Jacobs, Mrs. A. H. Russel, Mrs. Betsy I. Taylor, Mrs. Martha Wells, Mrs. Laura I. Woodson, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kentnor, and Mr. and Mrs. Claiborn Neil.
The following were not recognized as charter members until October 11, 1879. The minutes of that date, signed by W. H. Atkinson, clerk of the session, state that "Evidence being furnished that H. Ralph and others whose names are not now on the roll were received into the church at its organization, the clerk was authorized to place the following names upon the roll--C. Goodchild, E. Goodchild, Mrs. Helen Ralph and Mrs. Jane S. Marshall." Mrs. Nancy E. Applegate also joined on August 28, 1875, according to the records.
Hugh T. Mitchelmore
First Presbyterian Church
Ashland Daily Tidings, October 13, 1931, page 2
Cornerstone Yields Sketch of Old Ashland
By Joe Cowley
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
ASHLAND--A small, wooden town jail rarely was occupied in Ashland's early days, according to a paper buried in the cornerstone of the old Masonic building on Ashland's downtown Plaza.
Writer of the brief sketch of the settlement, growth "and present condition of the town of Ashland" was W. H. Leeds. His paper was dated Aug. 4, 1879.
Delbert "Tiny" Jones, manager of the Ashland office of California-Pacific Utilities Company, found a copy of the cornerstone paper while moving some desks and files around.
The author also noted that Ashland in 1879 had "as many rosy-cheeked children to the number of adults as any town in the United States, and no Chinese inhabitants." Population of the town then was 600, and total assessed valuation then was $197,733. This compares to today's population of 15,123 and valuation of $217,082,142.
Ashland was a thriving town in 1879, according to author Leeds.
"It has two neat wooden churches, one built by the Presbyterians and the other by the Methodists. Each will comfortably seat 200 people, or more.
"It also has one woolen factory, making up raw wool into about $30,000 worth of wearing material every year. One flouring mill makes about one million pounds of flour annually. Added to that are one college and normal school, two planing and sash, door, blinds and furniture factories, two hotels, four stores for sale of general merchandise, one drug store, one saddlery and harness shop, two shoe shops, four blacksmith and two wheelwright shops, one millinery store, one livery stable, one butcher shop, three medical doctors, no lawyer, one regular preacher, no saloons, a telegraph office, a number of 'acoustic telephones' with which persons may carry on ordinary conversation at a distance of a half mile, one dancing hall and one newspaper."
Leeds also related that the first permanent settlers came to Ashland from California in the winter of 1851-52. R. B. Hargadine arrived about the last of December, 1851, and Eber Emery, J. B. Emery, A. D. Helman, James A. Cardwell and Edward Hurley arrived Jan. 9, 1852.
"They found upon the present site of the town an Indian 'rancherie,' occupied by 20 Rogue River Indians under a chief called 'Tipsee.' The Indians remained here about one year after the settlement, and then departed, going east of the mountains to the territory now embraced by Lake County."
Hargadine built the first house 600 yards northeast of the present business district.
The Emerys and Hurley started building a sawmill as soon as they arrived. In June, 1852, that mill turned out the first lumber of any mill in the Rogue River basin.
In the summer of 1854, a flouring mill was built in "the settlement, and still stands as the older portion of the fine flouring mill about 150 feet southeast of this hall [the Masonic hall]," Leeds wrote.
"In 1854 the first building used as a public house in Ashland was built about 100 feet east of this hall, and in 1860 Eber Emery built the hotel, which with many improvements and additions stands today as the Ashland House," Leeds wrote.
Hargadine built and opened business in the settlement's first store "some distance east of this hall" in 1859.
The first school house was built in 1860 on the easterly border of the town.
In June, 1855, a post office was established with A. D. Helman as postmaster. At first the mails were carried between Sacramento and Portland by horsemen, "passing through Ashland only once in two weeks."
"Now we have a daily mail from the north, south and to and from Lake County, east of the mountains," Leeds wrote.
"The village of Ashland increased in size slowly until the year 1867, when an enterprise was begun which gave an impetus to settlement, and was followed by a rapid growth of the town," Leeds continued. "A joint stock company was formed with a paid-up capital of $30,000, raised in Jackson County, for the building of a woolen mill, which today does much toward the maintenance of the town," Leeds said.
He also noted that "an academy building" was begun in 1870. It was finished three years laster, "and in this year is to be made a college and normal school."
"On the Fourth of March, 1879, the present year, a conflagration burned a large portion of the business part of the town. This apparent calamity has already resulted in the erection of better buildings than were burned. The building of this hall was made necessary, also, by the fire," Leeds concluded.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 26, 1978, page D1
Last revised December 7, 2013