The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1879

    When you go by rail or steamer you cannot possibly realize one-half of the incidents of your journey. The fatigue is too slight, the transit too rapid, the comforts too many. In such cases you grow indolent as you travel, and if your way is long you will unconsciously forget to look about you. Very different are your sensations when you mount the box above the stagecoach boot, and, seated behind the prancing six-horse team, suffer yourself to be strapped upon your precarious perch beside the obliging driver, your main business for the next twenty-four hours being an attempt to hold your place and ease, as well as may be, the constantly recurring jolts that shake you to a jelly and bruise you to a pulp.
    All day long the patient horses pursue their winding way, in diligent obedience to the driver's whip. The stage road winds along through the labyrinthine mazes of narrow valleys that form divides between the zigzag heights which stretch themselves away upon either hand, as though, sometime during a great internal rupture in the ages gone, their closed sides had parted, leaving all exposed and bare the erewhile hidden rivers that come tearing down the gorges to form a patch of earth upon either bank, upon which men have founded farms and stock ranches, leaving only room between their borders for the tortuous river and the winding road. And such ranches! The alluvial deposits of centuries of mountainside abrasion have so prodigally enriched them that, almost without human effort, the soil produces with amazing power and regularity. One old man occupies, or, rather, claims several thousand acres in one locality, who has raised a bountiful crop of wheat every season for thirty years, without rotation or the idea of it upon a single field. Of course this man is rich; that is, as men count riches. But he lives in a tumble-down old shanty and dresses in patched butternut, and his equally ragged old wife goes barefoot. They have raised somewhere about a dozen sons, who will inherit these possessions someday, and will, it is to be hoped, prove less greedy than their parents, and enjoy a little more of life than the bare, comfortless idea of struggling through a checkered existence for the sole purpose of ascertaining how little they can use with benefit to themselves.
    Noon, and Canyonville. Here we encounter an intelligent landlady, an hour's rest, and a good dinner. Then we journey on, sometimes passing for miles through a tree-studded gulch, sometimes slowly climbing great mountains and again rapidly dashing down them, and at sundown we reach a beautiful and fertile valley where there is a store and stage station; and here we halt for supper, to be met by genial Mrs. Kitchen and her amiable daughter, Mrs. Levins, the latter a whilom schoolmate of our younger brothers and sisters at Forest Grove, and the former a specially wide-awake woman suffragist. After a supper fit for a king, we journey on and on, into the heart of the night, into the heart of the mountains, over zigzag roads and past many winding turns of the busy Rogue River, our companions for miles the beautiful deer, that are so little afraid of the coach and team that they amble gracefully up to me in the waning twilight and gaze wistfully into our faces, regardless of the murderous wishes of the driver, who vainly swears for a revolver. Then, as darkness takes the place of twilight, the glorious stars come out in myriads and hang their flaming jewels in the limpid heavens, fit monarchs of the mighty solitude.
    Sometime after midnight, we reached a way station, where we changed horses, and, after driving onward for a mile or so, discovered that the whip, that indispensable weapon without which no driver could think of hazarding his reputation as a modern Jehu, had been lost or left behind. The driver suddenly gave us the lines, and, alighting, loosened the off tug of the off wheeler [i.e., the right-hand strap from the collar of the right-hand horse nearest the coach], so that the coach might not run many yards without a complete smashup if the team should get frightened, and, leaving us there alone in the darkness, so securely strapped in the perch behind the apron that we couldn't extricate ourself from the buckles, though we tore our gloves to shreds in the attempt, hurried back with a lamp, and was gone a trifle over twenty minutes, though to the solitary wanderer it seemed nearer twenty hours. Once, while the stillness was so profound that we fancied we could almost hear the twinkling of the distant stars, we were startled by a sudden "loo" from some awakening cow in ambush, which so frightened the near leader that he danced an equine hornpipe. Maybe we didn't pull the ribbons and say, "Whoa beauties!" and "Oh mercy!" and "Why did the driver cripple the coach before he left it?" and many other things which can't now be remembered. But that off wheeler proved a veritable brick. He acted as though he was fully aware of the situation, and felt that the entire responsibility of the safety of the United States mail was resting on his tug-burdened shoulders.
    "Why did you unhitch the tug, throw off the brake, and leave me wholly at the mercy of the horses?" we asked, nervously, as the driver came panting up.
    "The horses won't start when one of the wheelers knows a tug's loose and on his back," he said, carelessly, as, readjusting the hooks, mounting to his perch, and vigorously damning the socket that wouldn't hold a whip properly, he lashed the team to a tight run, and on we crashed at a fearful rate, obliged to make up for lost time.
    Morning, and breakfast at Rock Point, fourteen miles from Jacksonville, a picturesque spot to which we shall again allude before returning home. Then a three hours' ride brings us to Jacksonville, our place of present destination, and we give a sigh of relief at the prospect of speedy rest, as we look abroad over the landscape and think of the nearby hotel.
    Away, away to the left, as the stage bounds, bumps and crashes along, we see the broad and beautiful valley of Rogue River, looking in the uncertain haze of the summer morning like a vision of Paradise. The valleys are so level, the trees so graceful, and the whole so vastly magnificent that it would seem impossible that want or greed or turmoil or politics or drunkenness or scandal should ever enter. At the head of the valley, hemmed in by an amphitheater of billowy hills, sits Jacksonville, in solitary state, like a reigning queen who scorns to hold communion with her surrounding subjects. The little wooden hotel, in which we find cozy quarters, is a model of neatness and comfort, and is kept by Mr. and Mrs. Savage, who certainly deserve the patronage they get. There are ever so many well-filled stores, and a bank, of which C. C. Beekman is president. There are two churches, three livery stables, three hotels, three millinery stores, and more lady clerks than in any other town on the coast.
Abigail Scott Duniway, "Editorial Correspondence," The New Northwest, Portland, July 10, 1879, page 2   The full story of Duniway's adventure in Jackson County is here.

    It is the morning of the fifth, a bright, balmy, beautiful forenoon, and we are off, accompanied by our hospitable friends, the McDonoughs, and good Mrs. Dean, their neighbor, our destination the diggings, two or three miles away, hard by the site of old Fort Lane, where a few logs are yet lying to mark the spot where troops were stationed during the memorable Indian war of '55 and '56. Mr. McDonough discovered this mine about four years ago, the placer gold having lain undiscovered a few inches beneath the surface of the ground, over which hundreds of soldiers had in the years gone by tramped for months, in innocent unconsciousness of the auriferous wealth beneath their feet. Owing to the scarcity of water, the work in these diggings is slow, but with plenty of this element the yield would be simply marvelous. Nuggets weighing hundreds of dollars have been picked up, and many pieces of from five to fifty dollars' weight have been found. The quartz ledge, from whence these outcroppings of the ages have descended, runs in a zigzag course up the mountainside, into which a shaft has been sunk, from which quartz assaying $300 to the ton has been taken. But Mr. McDonough is not wild over gold mining. He takes a common-sense view of the enterprise, and tills his broad fields in their season, and raises blood stock and reads the newspapers, and with his amiable consort, to whose efficient aid the woman movement owes much of its vitality and good standing in this community, enjoys a well-balanced life to the uttermost. It does one's heart good to see such people get rich.
    In the evening we return with Mrs. McDonough to Jacksonville, and on the morrow a genial party, ably engineered by Mr. and Mrs. Plymale, depart for the Sterling mine, prepared to make a day of it. The morning is glorious and the scenery grandly magnificent. A ride of ten miles, up and down the billowy, zigzag vales and hills, and the little village of Sterling comes to sight, and we are soon met by Mr. Ennis, the gentlemanly superintendent of the mine, who, after a bountiful lunch beneath the trees, conducts the party to the hydraulic works, where a head of water, brought in a ditch from Applegate Creek, eighteen miles distant, and conveyed into the mine through a 24-inch pipe, which at the base of the gulch is divided into two branch pipes of fifteen inches in diameter, and from thence into five-inch nozzles, pours a thundering, incessant stream of angry water as a vigorous broadside into the resisting heart of the rock-bound mountain, disemboweling the complaining earth and sending it crashing to the gulch below. Rocks, some of them weighing half a ton, are torn by this double-headed hydraulic monster from the ledge's side, and placed by miners upon dumps, from which they are lifted by a mighty derrick, also worked by hydraulic power, and cast in piles upon the ridge above, Mr. Ennis, the conductor, managing the machine with a tow line a little larger than the band of an old-fashioned spinning wheel. We looked innocently around for his "hollyhock," of which a certain editor had said a good deal in the Sentinel, but were laughingly informed that said "hollyhock" was simply a cataract in the said editor's eye. [This is a "goak."] [sic]
    After the hydraulic ram has spent its heaviest power against the mountainside, it gathers its remaining forces at the head of the gulch, whose depth it constantly increases, and forming a roaring, muddy cataract, is collected in sluiceboxes, and goes tearing onward toward the lowlands, leaving behind in the boxes an auriferous deposit sufficiently captivating to tempt the cupidity of even a political missionary.
    We learn that the company, of which ex-Gov. D. P. Thompson, present Mayor of Portland, is president and principal shareholder, has spent a hundred thousand dollars in developing his mine, and when we look at the character of the country over which the ditch has been carried, and note the stability and power of the machinery employed, we consider the estimate reasonable. There are but few men engaged now in the mine, the hydraulic power easily accomplishing the work of many hundred pairs of human hands.
    Several miles further on in the mountains, and we reach the famous placer beds on the lands of the Camerons, which are leased for operation to Gin Lin, an enterprising Chinaman, who is mining with machinery quite equal to that in use at Sterling, and, we believe, with like satisfactory results. Here our party spent a half hour in sightseeing, and then we retrace our steps, viewing as we come down the mountain gorges a magnificent thunderstorm on the adjacent heights, its fresh breezes filling the air with the balmy odors of Araby the blest.
    Now we are on the heights overlooking Jacksonville. What a prospect! The broad valley below, belted with dark green forests, with its trailing robe of amber wheat caught up here and there with festoons of orchard trees, and embroidered at its hem with floral phylacteries; the mountains, adjacent and afar, and away, away, till the eye is pained by the seemingly illimitable distance, the clear-cut crystal top of Diamond Peak [Mount McLoughlin?], beyond which, we know, lies Winnemucca, flanked by the transatlantic railroad, and afar to the northward the dark green mountains that rear their bristling heads between ourself and the dear ones at home.          
Abigail Scott Duniway, "Editorial Correspondence," The New Northwest, Portland, July 17, 1879, page 2

    On Tuesday, the 8th, accompanied by Mrs. Plymale in one of their elegant turnouts from her good husband's livery stable, we drove over to Phoenix, our gallant lady pilot proving efficient and successful at her business.
    Phoenix is a charming little country village, chiefly noted as the abiding place of Hon. Sam. Colver and his splendid spouse, with whom we spent several delightful days, and lectured in the evenings to overflowing houses. Here are two grist mills of apparently sufficient capacity to grind the grain of the entire valley. There are two flourishing dry goods stores, one kept by J. R. Reames, Esq., and the other by Mr. Sargent, each of whom subscribed to the People's Paper [i.e., the New Northwest], thereby setting a praiseworthy example for the benefit of the merchants in Jacksonville. There is also a flourishing Good Templars lodge, a church, a schoolhouse, a drug store, a blacksmith shop, etc., and a surrounding country vastly rich in agriculture, fruit and blood stock. Phoenix is about a dozen miles from Jacksonville, and it is thought by many will yet become the county seat.             
Abigail Scott Duniway, "Editorial Correspondence," The New Northwest, Portland, July 17, 1879, page 2

    At nine o'clock one of friend Plymale's buggies came for us, and a span of spirited horses, held well in hand by Master Willie Plymale, carried us over the beautiful country to Manzanita [the Central Point area], eight miles distant from the scene of the riot, and here we met a splendid audience in the pleasant church among the spreading oaks, and for over two hours the good people listened with the deepest interest to the gospel of human liberty.
    In this neighborhood there are some of the handsomest and thriftiest farms we have ever seen, even in this preeminently beautiful country. The families of General Ross, Mr. Wrisley, Mr. Constant and Mrs. Merriman are among the wealthiest landowners whose acquaintance we have made, their elegant farms being well stocked, containing many acres of well-tilled soil, and large and exceedingly thrifty orchards. . . .
    On Tuesday, accompanied by "Uncle Sam," the indomitable and irrepressible champion of liberty, whom all knaves are afraid of, we went on to Ashland, our way leading through a fertile valley of yet more radiant loveliness than any we had seen hitherto. The landscapes, that are in many places wild to intense ruggedness, now soften into billowy undulations, and, as we approach very near the beautiful city of peace, the verdant vale narrows into a cove-like "cuddy," and on the hills and at their feet the little city nestles, like a brooding dove in her content and loveliness. Flower gardens and fruit trees, handsome homes and sloping lawns abound, and clear, trickling water courses through pebbled ditches, with a merry, rippling melody, suggestive of continued human happiness. . . .

Ashland House hotel, circa 1880, J. W. Riggs
The Ashland House hotel, circa 1880.
    The Ashland House, where we found comfortable accommodations and excellent food, is kept by Mr. and Mrs. Houck, who made our sojourn at their hotel decidedly pleasant. The well-known mercantile firm of McCall & Baum have a commodious and handsome brick store, where they do an immense business, their trade ranging from darning needles to Haines' harvesters, and from chewing gum to tons after tons of staple dry goods and groceries. We had not time to visit the woolen mills, though the neat, painted buildings looked invitingly at us from their location under the hill, but we called at the office of the "Ashland grist mills," which were established here in '54, and which have grown from a small beginning to a mammoth enterprise. There are a number of small dry goods and grocery stores, a drug store, a hardware emporium, a milliner's store, a splendid saddlery and harness shop (kept by Mr. Klum), a jeweler's corner, a boot and shoe shop, etc., but not a single groggery or house of ill repute. The contrast between the reception we have met from the prominent gentlemen of Ashland, as compared to that accorded to us by the ringleading, whisky-pandering element in Jacksonville, that thinks it owns the city, is just what we might expect from the different moral elements of the two places. Jacksonville is ruled by lies and rum, Ashland by truth and soberness. The Ashland Tidings is a very creditable weekly paper, of which Mr. Leeds is the present editor. There is a large liberal element both here and at Phoenix, and the morals of these towns speak significantly well in favor of free religion. If we wanted to settle in an inland town, we know of none where there are greater promises for the future than in Ashland. The decent citizens of Jacksonville are anxious to get away from their modern Sodom and settle here, where they can send their children to school without fear of their being decoyed into wickedness by a riot-producing mob.
Abigail Scott Duniway, "Editorial Correspondence," The New Northwest, Portland, July 24, 1879, page 2

Abbreviation key, Bradstreet's Reports, 1879

Daily stage from Roseburg, 115 miles, via Jacksonville, 14 miles; also from Redding, 160 miles--Telegraph and Wells, Fargo & Co. Express at Jacksonville.
R. Benedict . . . Hotel    U    C
Hayden & Cameron . . . General Store (& Uniontown)    S    C
Kubli & Bolt . . . General Store    S    C
J. Layton . . . General Store    U    C
John McKee . . . Blacksmith    81
ASHLAND, Jackson.
Daily stage from Roseburg, 124 miles, and from Redding, 151 miles--Pop. 615--Telegraph--*--Wells, Fargo & Co. Ex.
F. D. Beaver . . . Butcher    V    D
Chapman & Neal . . . Butchers    V    D
Chapman & Neal . . . Livery    Y    E
Chitwood & Atkinson . . . Drugs    V    E
Edward DePeatt . . . Boots & Shoes    X    E
Mrs. James Ewing . . . Dressmaker, etc.    Y    E
A. F. Farnham (estate of) . . . Miller, etc.    U    D
R. B. Hargadine (estate of) . . . General Store    S    C
A. D. Helman . . . General Store    V    D
Jasper  Houck . . . Hotel    V    E
Inlow & Farlow . . . Physician and Drugs    U    D
W. W. Kentner . . . Wheelwright    Y    E
C. K. Klum . . . Harness    V    D
____ Latham . . . Cabinetmaker        F
J. M. McCall & Co. . . . General Store    T    C
Marsh & Vulpey . . . Sash, Blinds and Doors    W    E
M. Mayer . . . Tailor    81
E. M. Miller . . . Blacksmith        E
S. M. Morgan . . . Blacksmith        F
John Ralph . . . Wheelwright        F
R. F. Reese . . . General Store    W    E
James H. Russell . . . Marble    W    E
William Sayer . . . Baker, etc.        F
Henry Smith . . . Blacksmith    Z    E
J. C. Tolman . . . Tanner    U    C
Wagner, Anderson & Co. . . . Flour Mill    S    C
Wagner & Gillett . . . Sawmill    T    C
Zimmerman & Co. . . . Founders    81
William Bybee . . . Ferry & Farmer    T    C
Freight and stages from Roseburg, 107 miles, and from Redding, 168 miles, via Jacksonville, 7 miles--Telegraph and Wells, Fargo & Co. Express at Jacksonville.
Amy & McKinsey . . . Four Mill    V    D
T. T. McKinsey . . . Flour Mill    V    D
Magruder Bros. . . . General Store (and Grants Pass)    T    C
George F. Merriman . . . Blacksmith    81
(See Central Point.)
County seat--on overland stage route, 100 miles from Roseburg, 175 miles from Redding--Pop. 1,023--Telegraph--*--Wells, Fargo & Co. Express.
T. B. Atkinson . . . Saloon    81
John L. Badgers . . . Wheelwright        F
C. C. Beekman . . . Banker    R    C
Henry Blecher . . . Butcher & Stock Raiser    T    C
John Bilger . . . Stoves & Tin    69
Frederic Breckenfield . . . Variety & Tobacco    Y    E
Peter Britt . . .  Photographer, etc.    T    C
E. C. Brooks . . . Jeweler    U    D
____ Brooks . . . Drugs    V    E
M. Canton . . . Boots & Shoes    Z    E
James A. Cardwell . . . Livery    V    E
Misses Dora and Mira Cardwell . . . Milliners etc.    81
S. Cohn . . . Grocer    81
Charles Coleman . . . General Store    X    E
L. C. Coleman . . . General Store    81
David Cronemiller . . . Blacksmith    81
M. Dillon . . . Saloon    81
P. Donegan . . .  Blacksmith    U    D
B. F. Dowell . . . Attorney and Oregon Sentinel    V    D
James Drum . . . Grocery & Varieties    Y    E
Mr. & Mrs. Elliott . . . Jewelers    64
N. Fisher . . . General Merchandise    U    C
Fisher & Caro . . . General Store    61
George W. Frey . . . Shoemaker        F
S. P. Hanna . . . Wagonmaker        F
William Hoffman . . . Books, etc.    U    C
T. G. Holt . . . Hotel    81
James S. Howard . . . General Store    V    D
John F. Hunt . . . Wagonmaker        F
William Jackson . . . Dentist    W    E
E. Jacobs . . . General Store    V    D
S. P. Jones . . . Saloon    Y    E
G. Karewski . . . General Store    T    C
C. W. Kahler & Bro. . . . Drugs    W    D
William Kreuzer . . . Baker & Saloon    Z    E
Kasper Kubli . . . Grocery & Hardware    S    C
N. Langell . . . Boots & Shoes    U    D
Daniel Lavenburg . . . Hotel    X    E
David Linn . . . Furniture    T    C
F. Luy . . . Bootmaker    W    E
Miss I. McCully . . . Millinery    Z    E
Adolph Marks . . . Tailor    81
Morris Mensor . . . General Store    81
John Miller . . . Gunsmith    U    C
J. Nunan . . . Harness & Saddler    V    D
John Orth . . . Butcher    U    C
Henry Pape . . . Saloon        F
Reames Bros. . . . General Store    T    D
Frederick Richards . . . Jeweler    Z    E
P. J. Ryan . . . General Store    81
C. W. Savage . . . Saloon    42
Veit Schutz . . . Saloon & Brewer    V    D
Louis Solomon . . . Tobacco & Fancy Goods    U    D
John Walters . . . Saloon        F
Joseph Wetterer . . . Brewer, etc.    81
Wintjen & Helms . . . Saloon    S    C
(See Central Point.)
PHOENIX, Jackson.
On stage road between Roseburg, 108 miles, and Redding, Cal., 167 miles--Pop. 50--Telegraph and Wells, Fargo & Co. Express at Jacksonville, 8 miles.
A. Dunlap . . . Blacksmith    Y    E
Daniel Lavenburg . . . Hotel    X    E
M. Little . . . Bootmaker    X    D
T. G. Reams . . . General Store (See Reams Bros., Jacksonville.)
ROCK POINT, Jackson.
On Rogue River--Pop. 75--Telegraph--Wells, Fargo & Co. Express at Jacksonville, 12 miles.
Haymond & Magruder . . . General Store (and Jacksonville.)    R    B
J. W. Hays . . . Blacksmith    Z    E
L. J. White . . . Hotel & Farmer    U    C
P.O., Applegate--Wells, Fargo & Co. Express at Jacksonville.
Hayden & Cameron . . . General Store (and Applegate)    S    C
A. W. Sturgis . . . General Store (and Applegate)        F
Telegraph and Wells, Fargo & Co. Express at Jacksonville.
J. Solomon . . . General Store    W    E
John Woods . . . General Store    W    E
Bradstreet's Reports, January 1879

Last revised February 23, 2014