The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1907

    It has been three weeks since the Campbell and Nye families landed in Medford, and we are beginning to find that this job of moving is not what it is cracked up to be. Mr. Campbell's [railroad] car, with five head of horses and John Benson in charge, came through in good shape in about two weeks from the time of shipment. It took my car a week longer to get here. We are getting fairly well settled by this time, and from now on will have more time to look around and get acquainted with our new neighbors.
    This country looks just as good to us now as it did when we were here in August, and the indications are that the longer we are here the better we are going to like it. We have done more or less visiting with the natives and have been rather expecting that sooner or later we would find someone who was inclined to knock the country or the people or conditions in general, but so far everyone we have met is boosting for the Rogue River Valley in general, and Medford in particular. * *  * The first settlers came into this valley nearly sixty years ago. Gold was discovered here in [1852] by men coming in from the north who had been attracted by the news of the discovery of gold in California, and mining has been carried on extensively and continuously in this vicinity ever since. It is claimed that $25,000,000 has been taken out of the gulch in which Jacksonville, the county seat, five miles away, is located. For many years it was practically all placer mining, but of late they are beginning to pay attention to the quartz mining and a good many mines of this character are in process of development. Thirty-five miles away, but tributary to this town, is what is known as the Blue [Ledge] mining district, an immense copper proposition, which mining men tell me is going to be a bigger producer of copper someday than Butte. The people here say the hills are full of gold and copper and that development along these lines has only commenced.
    Five miles east of town a Los Angeles company is opening up a coal mine. Shafts several hundred feet in length have been driven into the side of the hill, and the company has a big drill at work demonstrating the extent of the field. There seems to be no question about the fact that they have a very considerable coal field here. It is a semi-bituminous. With coal on one side and copper and gold on the other, there are a good many people here who figure that Medford is going to be a big city one of these days.
    A few miles further on, and still tributary to Medford, is one of the largest bodies of untouched sugar pine in the United States. Lack of railroad facilities is the reason the sawmill men have not got to work with the pine, but this will probably be remedied in the near future. A railroad has already been started in the direction of the forests. The right of way has been secured, and about fourteen miles of the line is now in operation. There has been some legal complications, and about $80,000 of the company's money is tied up in one of Portland's busted banks, but in all probability the line will be completed either next summer or the year following, and then there will be big lumbering operations.
    There is more talk locally, however, about fruit growing and the orchard industry than about mining or coal or lumber. The town is surrounded with orchards, and several thousand acres of young orchard will be planted this winter.
    Since our arrival the weather has been mostly clear, with slight frosts at night. For several days, however, it has been raining, and the natives say that for the coming two months there will be more or less rain. The farmers have been waiting for the rains in order to begin plowing. They will plow all winter between showers.
Stephen A. Nye, "Nye Writes Letter of Interest Locally," Evening Times, Grand Forks, North Dakota, December 6, 1907, page 6

Last revised December 27, 2013