The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1903 

Unprecedented Prosperity in Every Branch of Industrial Work.
    JACKSONVILLE, April 3.--It is gratifying to be able to say that at no period in the history of Jackson [County] has the county been so prosperous as at the present time. All lines of business are prosecuted in a more intelligent and systematic manner, and there is everywhere more vigor and energy manifested in the legitimate industries. The excitement and glamor incident to new discoveries in the mines in earlier days have ceased to be disturbing factors, and attention is given more directly to the permanent and less hazardous business affairs connected with home building and the development of the natural resources of the county. The year just past was one of the most prosperous Jackson County has ever experienced. The large gold output, the heavy yield and high price of fruit, the ready sale at good prices of stock, wool, hops, lumber, poultry, dairy and other products swelled the aggregate revenues for the year to something like $500,000. There was a greater demand for labor last year and at better prices than ever before, and no one went begging for a job who wanted work.
    The Medford-Butte Creek ditch, the Gold Hill High Line Ditch, the Ashland oil-drilling plant, the survey of the C. R. Ray Co. canal to Rogue River, the survey and partial completion of this company's dam across Rogue River near Tolo, the construction of the steel bridge at Medford, the installation of a large, general gasoline gas plant at Jacksonville--these and many other lesser enterprises and improvements, added to the current new building, new clearing and improvements, created a demand for labor far in excess of any previous year, and the payroll being mainly from foreign capital largely increased the circulating medium, so that money was plentiful and easy during the whole year.
    The enterprises for the present year, so far as I am advised, will be the completion of the dam across Rogue River, the installation of an immense power plant at the dam for mining, manufacturing, lighting, irrigating and other purposes. This plant and its various adjuncts and dependencies will give employment to perhaps not less than 200 men. The construction of two 20-stamp mills, one near Gold Hill by the C. R. Ray Co., the other by the late purchaser of the Opp mine on Jackson Creek, the operation of three large sawmill plants, two of which are now running at full capacity near Jacksonville, the other on Applegate to commence work as soon as the machinery can be placed in position, the large brick schoolhouse to be built in Jacksonville, and brick for same to be made and burned here, the new creamery now in process of construction at Medford. These new enterprises will furnish employment for at least 200 men. The laying of the large new main for the Ashland waterworks will be an important public enterprise which will require a large amount of labor to complete.
    Should the report prove true that L. T. Ward, one of the original incorporators of the Gold Hill High Line Ditch, has secured funds in the East with which to proceed with the work of construction, a large number of men will be required for the next two years for this work.
    In conversation with the County School Superintendent P. H. Daily, who is over the county a great deal visiting schools, respecting industrial affairs generally, he said: "I have been here for the past 12 years, and at no time during this period has the outlook been so encouraging as at the present. All lines of business are active, and the demand for labor at unusually large wages was never so great before. Money seems to be plentiful and seeking investment, all classes of people are easy and comfortable, and the most hopeful feeling exists all over the county. From what I have seen and heard in my travels over the county, this will undoubtedly be the most prosperous year during my residence here. There is not a whisper of hard times, no bewailing of conditions, no complaint of the scarcity of labor, but in lieu, a general feeling of satisfaction and encouragement such as has never before existed since I came to the county. Yes, Jackson County is all right, and with the completion of the large enterprises now on foot, will take rank among the most advanced counties in the state. Though the immigration to the county was quite large, the school census for some reason increased but little during the past year, only about 100."
    From the best information obtainable the immigration last year was about 500. The County Recorder estimates 6000 acres of new land taken up during the year.
    ASHLAND, April 3.--It is thought to be a conservative estimate when it is said that the population of Ashland and vicinity has been increased by immigration 10 percent during the past year, and the immigration of the present spring, which is to be added to this, shows an increase over the corresponding period of 1902. The immigration is of a desirable kind of people, too, for it has included a large proportion of those who, if not in independent circumstances, come here with a moderate competence to cast their lot in a congenial clime and amidst pleasant surroundings, with good home and school influences.
    The immigration makes itself felt in business enterprises of every kind and has operated to increase the swelling tide of prosperity which has swept over this section of Oregon more noticeably, perhaps, than in some other sections of the state.
    Fruitgrowing has taken on a new impetus, encouraged by several years of prosperity in succession in this industry, and new orchards and more careful attention to old ones are apparently well justified by the returns. Thousands of acres of new apple orchards, especially, are being planted in the Rogue River Valley and the apple industry, already a big one in this section, promises to assume large proportions. The dairying industry has been steadily growing the past year. The Ashland creamery has established substations and installed many individual farmers' separators and the industry has been developed into a fixed and paying and growing business. The rich bottom lands of this vicinity, while naturally limited in extent, are found to be exceedingly profitable for gardening and berry culture, and the increasing population and facilities for shipping are bringing this industry in the front more and more every year, and many communities in Southern Oregon and Northern California have come to depend upon getting their supplies of garden truck and berries as well as their peaches and other fruits from Ashland.
    Probably the largest local industrial enterprise now operating here is the Ashland Manufacturing Co., which has large lumber mills on Neil Creek, just south of here, and planing mills and box factories in the city. A large new sawmill with a capacity of 50,000 feet per day's cutting is now under construction to supplement the sawing facilities already in operation, and the year 1903 promises to be by far the greatest one in the history of the lumber industry locally.
    The schools of Ashland have been an important factor in increasing the population of the city. The growth of the city's public schools has been steady in attendance and efficiency as the population has grown. There are now approximately 1100 children of school age in the city, of whom about 700 are enrolled in the public schools. Another year is to be added to the high school course, which will bring the schools to a standard of advanced study second to none. The Southern Oregon State Normal School, which is located here, has made a remarkable showing the past year, doubling and trebling its attendance, until it is at the head of the list of normal schools of the state.
    Ashland has a payroll of about $15,000 per month from the Southern Pacific Company, this being a division point and the home of probably 150 of its well-paid employees. The increase of the business over the lines of the company, which has been large, has made more employment for train men and engine men and swelled the monthly payroll here to no small extent.
    The Ashland Board of Trade, Mr. G. C. Morris, president, is ever on the alert to further the interests of this section and lends a hand to every worthy enterprise that it can assist. Mr. Morris is an enthusiastic believer in the future of the city of Ashland and proud of its rapid and steady growth, but is not much inclined to talk for publication. Recently he has been endeavoring to center the influence of the Board where it will be the most effective in securing a system of sewerage for Ashland, which is very badly needed. A committee of the Board is now cooperating with the City Council in making plans to this end, and there seems little doubt that the work of inaugurating the system will be gotten under way during the present year.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, April 5, 1903, page 8

Description of the Rogue River Valley.
    It is situated near the central part of Jackson Co., Ore., the dimensions of which are nearly twenty miles in width by thirty miles in length, numerous small hills included in the dimension which arise from 300 to 1,000 feet in height above the valley. The Siskiyou Range can be seen in a distance in the south, from all parts of the valley which is capped in almost perpetual snow. The same can be said of the Cascade Range lying east of the valley; the Coast Range to the west and the Umpqua Range to the north are ever in view but do not reach to such high altitude and consequently do not carry the snow of the former two.
    Ashland, a small city, is situated in the most southerly part of the valley. It has inhabitants near 3,000, it is one of the principal cities of the valley; it is located on the line of the S.P.R.R. and is near the junction of the two streams, Ashland and Bear creeks. The two streams, after emerging into one, retains the name of Bear Creek which flows in a northwesterly direction through the valley. The route of the railroad traverses Bear Creek its entire length.
    Then following down Bear Creek from Ashland in a northwesterly direction the valley widens out to twenty miles in width. From leaving Ashland four miles distant on the R.R., we come to Talent, a small station. The soil in this locality is very fertile, a large proportion of the soil being planted in fruit trees. In the adjoining hills around are rich placer mines. A distance of three miles brings us to Phoenix, a small but one of the oldest towns in the valley; a distance of five miles brings us to Medford, it being the business center of nearly all the valley. Most of the land adjoining Medford is an unbroken field of orchard. Jacksonville lies to the extreme west of the valley and possesses rich placer mines. Four miles distant brings us to Central Point, it being a small railroad station. At that point we leave the railroad, and by wagon traverse a northeasterly direction for ten miles, thus arriving at Eagle Point, a small village, it being located on Little Butte Creek five miles from its mouth. This stream rises at the foot of Mt. Pitt and flows in a westerly direction to a point where it empties into Rogue River. Its entire length being about forty miles. Mt. Pitt being situated on the Cascade Range of mountains near the boundary line between Jackson and Klamath counties, the altitude being 9,000 feet. Brownsboro, a small village, also located on Little Butte Creek, it being nine miles from its mouth. Seven miles farther brings us to Lake Creek P.O.
    Little Butte Creek flows through fertile valleys twenty miles of its length, much of this land being set out in apple trees of choice varieties.
    Rogue River's choicest apples were purchased along this stream and were shipped to different points of the world.
    There are numerous mineral springs situated in the foothills along this stream which are thronged with people during the summer and fall seasons of the year. There is good trout fishing along this stream.
    At present there is a large irrigation ditch under construction; the ditch is to take water out of the Little Butte Creek, about three miles above Lake Creek P.O., which will cover the larger portion of the Rogue River Valley.
    The hills and mountains surrounding the valley are covered with dense forests of timber which in the near future will be valuable for commercial purposes.
    We will now return to Central Point again and resume our course through the valley. Continuing on from this point five miles we come to Tolo, also known as Ft. Lane. It is near the junction of Bear Creek and Rogue River, the latter being the principal stream that flows through the valley.
    After crossing Rogue River we come to Sams Valley, it being a nice little valley lying between the river and foothills. There is a small village located in this valley named Moonville. Then seven miles up the river we come to the meadows, it being a fertile little valley lying back from the river a short distance and surrounded by low hills. This being a brief description of the Rogue River Valley.
    Eagle Point, located on Little Butte Creek, about three miles from Rogue River, is a small village, at present containing two hotels, two stores, two blacksmith shops, two drug stores, a flour mill, church, school house, saloon, millinery store and post office. The place was named by Andrew McNeal in honor of the national bird. The post office was established in 1872, Andrew McNeal being postmaster. This gentleman retained the position until 1877, when it devolved upon F. B. Inlow, who held the office for a number of years, A J. Florey now being postmaster.
    The site of Eagle Point was taken up in 1853 by Abraham Robinson, George Ludlow and Freeman Smith. Mr. Robinson is now in Boise, Idaho; Mr. Ludlow died in Iowa several years ago, and Mr. Smith returned to the East. The individuals took up 800 acres as joint property for the purpose of gardening and raising livestock for the market of Jacksonville sixteen miles distant. Smith sold to James J. Fryer in August 1853.
The Journal, Winchester, Indiana, July 1, 1903, page 6

Some Entertaining and Instructive Drives.
    Last Friday noon Professor A. B. Cordley and Professor E. R. Lake, of the State Agricultural College at Corvallis, arrived at Jacksonville to take part in the fruitgrowers convention that was held Saturday in this place. During the first part of the afternoon the professors were shown by K. K. Kubli the historic points of interest about town and the fine collection of Indian relics and curios in the Table Rock Saloon that is one of the best collections on the Pacific Coast and which was collected by the late A. Helms and added to by his sons Edward and Harry. The professors were then taken to the Britt home by Emil Britt, where they spent some time in enjoying the beauties of the handsome park about the house, the rare collection of trees, shrubs and flowers being very interesting to them. Mr. P. Britt showed them his collection of photographs and daguerreotypes that without doubt contains more rare pictures than any other gallery in Oregon, for there are daguerreotypes taken by Mr. Britt in St. Louis, some as early as 1846, also the first pictures taken in Southern Oregon, being daguerreotypes taken by Mr. Britt soon after his arrival in Jacksonville in October, 1852. There can also be seen the first photograph ever taken in Southern Oregon, which was made by Mr. Britt in 1857 [sic]. He has the first photograph ever taken of Crater Lake, which he took in August, 1874. As both of the professors are amateur photographers, they were greatly interested in Mr. Britt's collection of lenses, which number 26 and include the little daguerreotype lenses with which he learned the art in 1846 and a big photographic lens that cost him $250 in New York. The professors also visited Judge H. K. Hanna's home where a pleasant time was spent in looking over the fine collection of trees and plants that Judge and Mrs. Hanna have. Prof. Lake, who had his camera with him, took a picture of a giant almond tree, a foot and a half in diameter, and of a bearing olive tree that stand in the Judge's yard. The professors also got some fine view in Mr. Britt's yard.
    Saturday morning professors Cordley and Lake visited the new school house, shown through it by Director P. Applegate. They paid Jacksonville the compliment of having one of the best school houses in the state as to perfect arrangement, convenience and appearance. The handsome knoll upon which it is situated they pronounced a model location and if planted, all but the playground, to trees, shrubs and flowers would make a yard for beauty hardly equaled on the Pacific Coast. On the rain of the morning ceasing the professors were shown over the town by Prof. E. E. Washburn and Charles Meserve. Prof. Lake used his camera frequently and got views of the new school house, of the first school building erected in Jacksonville, [and] the largest elder tree in Oregon, it being 37 inches in diameter. He also took several views in the cemetery, which both he and Professor Cordley pronounced the handsomest in its natural beauty of any that they have seen in all their travels. The natural beauty of the hills about Jacksonville in their tree verdure of oak, madrona, pine, mountain mahogany, manzanita and other trees and shrubs was freely commented upon by the professors, and they selected Gov. Beekman's hill as an ideal site for a park of 100 acres and the location for a grand hotel that would attract patrons from the fog- [and] rain-deluged sections of the coast districts of Oregon and Washington and the windswept districts of the East. Their opinion was that such a park and hotel would be as profitable as are those at the California resorts and be a big factor to the permanent prosperity of Jacksonville.
    The professors, desiring to see more of the valley and not having the time at their command to remain over Monday, were taken Sunday by Emil Britt and Charles Meserve in a carriage and driven through the fruit districts. They were first taken to the Britt vineyard, where they examined the many different varieties of grapes that are being tested by Mr. Britt. They had visited Mr. Britt's wine vault the previous day, and they pronounced the grapes and the wine as fine as is produced in the United States and predicted that in time to come the Rogue River hills would be dotted with vineyards and that the valley would gain a reputation for grapes and for wine equal to that of the Rhine.
    From the vineyard the party went up the hillside to an old abandoned orchard in Mr. Britt's pasture where the 30 Asiatic ladybird beetles received by Prof. Cordley from Dr. Howard, entomologist for the Department of Agriculture at Washington, were placed upon a small pear tree in a thicket of pear sprouts that were all infested with the San Jose scale. Within five minutes several of the beetles began feeding upon the scale. While Prof. Cordley was placing the beetles on the tree Prof. Lake took a photograph of the scene, for it may become a notable event should the beetle bugs multiply and eradicate the scale from Southern Oregon orchards. Tuesday Mr. Britt again visited the tree and found 8 of the beetles upon it. The others had either died, migrated to other trees, for they can fly readily, or had been eaten by the birds.
    Returning to Jacksonville, the party drove to Griffin Creek, where a stop was made at the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Boyd. A chicken dinner was had such as only a good cook like Mrs. Boyd can prepare and to which full justice was done, the professors proving themselves quite the equal of the traditional preacher as chicken eaters. A brief examination was made of Mr. Boyd's orchard, which consists of 10 acres of old trees and 52 acres of trees planted last winter. Both orchards were in the best of condition, and the old trees were bending, though thinned twice, under a load of fruit that will average 95 percent perfect, for Mr. Boyd is a thorough orchardist, as he is a farmer, for he has the young orchard in corn and the entire 52 acres will yield above 40 bushels of big firm ears that would do credit to Illinois. Mr. Boyd is a new settler, having been here less than two years, but he has found that there is money in fruit. Last week he picked 225 boxes from 23 King of Tompkins County trees which he sold for 80 cents a box, making $180 from less than a half acre of ground, with 40 boxes yet on the trees. Had the trees been Newtowns or Spitzenburgs the returns would have been of $375 for the half acre.
    From Mr. Boyd's place the party drove by the Voorhies, Lewis, Whitman. DeHart and other orchards, the professors noticing the fine condition of each, and arriving at the home of S. L.  Bennett, two miles north of Medford, a stop was made. Mr. Bennett is president of the Rogue River Fruit Growers Union and one of the most thorough orchardists in the county. His orchard, like all the other commercial orchards of the valley, was found to be in the very best of condition, the trees free from pests and the fruit so perfect and bright that some of the apples looked as though made of wax. Mr. Bennett is testing a new apple, which he has named Bennetts Seedling, that promises to be a leading apple for Rogue River, for it is a thrifty tree, prolific and yearly bearer, and the fruit embodies all that is desirable in a shipper, for they are round, handsome colored, of red, mottled with a golden yellow, fine flavored and a splendid keeper, and stand the hard usage of transporting equal to the best Newtown. These apples keep easily to the first of July, that being the average date that Mr. Bennett has had them for family use. Both Prof. Cordley and Prof. Lake were greatly interested in the trees of this new variety, for Mr. Bennett now has several that are bearing besides his first tree, and they thought that it might become one of the noted apples of the country.
    Mr. Bennett is also a farmer and has a cornfield that would excite the admiration of an Iowan, and his melon patch would do credit to Georgia. The melons were generously sampled by the party, and Mr. Bennett presented the professors with a 40-pound specimen to take home with them to Corvallis. As to profit in apples, Mr. Bennett last year sold $940 worth of Newtowns from an acre and a half of ground. While that would be impossible with an eastern orchard, it is frequently equalled by other Rogue River orchards.
    Returning to Medford, the train was found to be an hour late, so a short drive was taken to the hill east of Medford, where the professors were given another view of the valley, which they declared more resembled the famous Santa Clara Valley of California than any other valley of this coast in its beauty, fertility and progressiveness. Both Prof. Lake and Prof. Cordley were most favorably impressed with what they saw of the Rogue River Valley and did not hesitate to say that its climate, productiveness and progressive people could and would make of it one of our national garden spots, and their visit here will be sure to be of advantage to the valley, for in their extensive travels they meet many people who are seeking a new home and who will ask questions relative to various localities that the professors are familiar with, and that the professors will always speak a good word for the Rogue River Valley is not to be doubted for a moment.
Jacksonville Sentinel, September 11, 1903, page 5

Last revised April 26, 2017