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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Medford News: 1918

Medford-related news items from 1918. Also see descriptions of Medford and Jackson County for this year.



    Frank M. Radovan, a San Francisco fruit man, has agreed to erect a $12,000 fruit evaporator at Medford, Oregon.
"General Agricultural Review," Pacific Rural Press, April 6, 1918, page 458


    Medford, Ore.--The newly organized box company of this city announces that it will be turning out boxes by May 1. The factory will be capable of working up 15,000 to 20,000 feet of lumber per day at present and will be enlarged as the demand increases. The boxes are to be made for valley use exclusively.

"Recent Happenings on the Pacific Slope," The Chicago Packer, April 13, 1918, page 14


RUSSELLITE IS TARRED, ORDERED TO LEAVE CITY
Unable to Catch Pastor Taliaferro, Medford Vigilantes Follow Him to Ashland
and Seize Local Leader of Cult, George Maynard, and Print Iron Crosses on Him.
    Failing in their efforts to get their hands on Pastor E. P. Taliaferro, one of the leaders of the Pastor Russell religious cult, the International Bible Students' Association, whose meeting, scheduled for here last night, was prevented by Mayor Gates, a patriotic vigilance committee of about 75 Medford citizens followed him to Ashland and kidnapped George Maynard, the Medford leader of the cult, took him to the baseball park, tarred him with printer's ink, daubing representations [omission] and neck, and coating his body heavily with it.
    They then released him with the warning for himself and wife to leave Medford and Jackson County by Monday morning, else something more violent and serious would happen to him. Maynard promised to go.
    The vigilantes also told Maynard that if they could get hold of Pastor Taliaferro they would tar and feather him and ride him out of the county on a rail; and asked him to tell the other Medford members of the sect to heed last night's doings.
Work Done Quietly.
    So far as Medford was concerned, the work of the vigilantes was conducted so quietly and with such determination and dispatch that but few people of the city knew what was happening, and even this forenoon it was not generally known. But in the kidnapping of Maynard at Ashland there was much excitement and quite a little struggle.
    While only about 75 Medford men were actively engaged in the matter, there were hundreds of others ready to aid who were waiting at various rendezvous for a telephone emergency call.
    When it became known that Pastor Taliaferro and the local membership of the International Bible Students would not attempt to hold a meeting at St. Mark's hall last night, in accordance with Mayor Gates' edict, and that Taliaferro had departed from town secretly, having been ordered to leave by the mayor, the vigilantes at once got busy.
Followed to Ashland.
    They quickly learned that Taliaferro and Maynard, accompanied by several others of the cult, had gone to Ashland in Maynard's Ford car, boasting that they would hold a meeting in the county, despite Mayor Gates.
    The 75 vigilantes, who included many of Medford's best-known citizens, hurried to Ashland in eight or nine autos and after scouting around that city located the Russellites holding a meting in the home of George Esterling, an Ashland restaurant man and member of the cult.
    In order to entice Taliaferro from the house several of the raiders rattled the doors of his car, but they were handicapped from not having a description of him. The ruse worked partially, and Maynard left the house and came out to see what was the matter with his car. The vigilantes seized him, and in response to his cries a number of women and a man named Roberts rushed from the house to his assistance, but Taliaferro remained inside the house.
Maynard Kidnapped.
    The vigilantes finally got Maynard loose from the hard-fighting women and into an auto, and were just starting for the house when Mrs. Esterling shouted to those inside to lock the doors. The doors were locked and the intruders, thinking it best not to break them down, left for Medford with their captive, despite the pleas of Mrs. Maynard to release her husband and do him no harm.
    It was now about 10 p.m., and on reaching Medford the vigilantes were up against the proposition of getting tar and feathers to complete their work. However, they went after the next best material and sneaked a lot of printer's ink, an excellent substitute for tar.
Working for the Lord.
    At the ball park Maynard was questioned. He admitted that he had purchased no Liberty bonds or made any contribution to the Red Cross, army Y.M.C.A. or other patriotic purpose, as it was against the religious principles of the Russellites--that he couldn't encourage the war and serve the Lord at the same time. He said he was working for the Lord. The vigilantes told him that that was what all the pro-Germans claimed, and then proceeded to work.
    Maynard was stripped to the waist and representations of the German iron cross were daubed on the back of his neck and on his throat. He also was liberally daubed elsewhere, the sticky fluid running down his clothes to his feet.
    When told to be out of the county by Monday morning with his wife, Maynard promised to go, saying that himself and wife did not want to remain in Medford if they were not wanted by the people. He was then released and the vigilantes departed for their homes.
Maynard Missing.
    Maynard at once went to the Hotel Medford, where he phoned to his wife in Ashland, sat down at a table and wrote a letter, and then left. He was not at his vulcanizing shop on South Grape Street today and could not be located in the city. It is presumed he is at Ashland, which city was his former home before he located here about four months ago.
    Leaders of the vigilantes stated today that their work had only just begun, and that from now on all disloyal citizens had better walk chalk and be very good, else they would be called upon.
    Pastor Taliaferro, Maynard and others of the International Bible Students made no effort to hold a meeting at St. Mark's hall last night, because of Mayor Gates' determined attitude. Quite a crowd gathered on the street in front of the building long before the time set for the meeting, but dispersed when Officer Timothy read aloud a note he had received from Taliaferro, reading as follows:
    "April 12, 1918: Since the mayor and chief of police, the highest authority to which I have access today, have forbidden me to speak here tonight, and since I desire to be, always have been, and always shall be law-abiding, I will postpone this meeting until such time as I can get legal action. (Signed) E. P. Taliaferro."
Taliaferro Calls on Mayor.
    When Pastor Taliaferro entered the Gates store with his delegation yesterday afternoon and announced who he was, Mr. Gates didn't waste any time in preliminaries. "I have been looking for you," he said, "and want to know what you want to hold a meeting in Medford for."
    "We are working for Christ," was the answer.
    "Well, why don't you work for him in a uniform?" replied the mayor. "A good many of you are of draft age; why don't you get busy working for righteousness where it will count--on the western front with a million other good Americans instead of buzzing around this country stirring up trouble and making it harder for us to win this war?"
    "We are against war," observed the leader.
"Go to Front"--Mayor.
    "Well, then why don't you fight against it?" returned Pop with a vehement smash of his fist. "I've got my only son on the western front. Don't you think I am going to let a lot of sanctimonious sneaks speak in the city and make it harder for him over there. Not on your life. If you hold a meeting here tonight I will do the talking, you won't, and what I shall say won't please you any too much either. But you aren't going to speak."
    "It's our constitutional right," observed the pastor.
    "I am no lawyer," was the reply, "but as long as I am mayor of this town and as long as this country is in this war, no one is going to speak in public encouraging slackers and making it easier for the kaiser to murder our boys. Not on your life. You aren't going to speak if I know it."
Orders Arrest.
    There was some more to the conversation, but that gives the general idea. Finally the delegation walked out, and Pop Gates promptly called Chief of Police Hittson and instructed him to corral the bunch, find where their transportation read [sic] and send them on their way.
    The chief hunted all afternoon but it was near train time when one of the delegation was finally picked up and taken to prosecuting attorney Roberts' office, where he was questioned. The prosecuting attorney strongly advised the Russellite to get out of town and avoid trouble. This man was George Maynard, manager of a vulcanizing shop and local leader of the International Bible Students. He repeatedly stated his innocence of any attempt to incite Germanism in his city or any other place, but added that God would soon come to earth and establish a government under which all others would be without authority.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 13, 1918, page 1    The Ashland Tidings ran a summary of this story on April 15, but otherwise ignored the incident. Articles on a similar theme make clear that the Tidings approved.


TALIAFERRO IS ORDERED OUT OF CITY
ENRAGED MAYOR SETS TIME LIMIT
FOR PASTOR'S DEPARTURE; FOLLOWS ADVICE
Determined Mob Gathers to Make Certain Propagandist
Does Not Lecture--Threats of Violence
    Though heralded throughout the city that Pastor E. P. Taliaferro, the alleged advocate of Pastor Russell, would speak at St. Mark's hall last night at 7:30 o'clock, the meeting didn't materialize owing to restrictions placed over the appearance of the speaker. Following a day of diligent investigation of literature the man and his followers had in their possession, Mayor Gates ordered him to leave Medford on the 6:00 o'clock northbound train. At the time of the official order, Taliaferro was at his temporary residence in the southern part of the city, and George Maynard was detailed to bear the ruling to the preacher and hasten his departure. They failed to reach the train before it arrived and left the city, so Mayor Gates extended his order, and told authorities to see that he was clear of his domain before 7:30.
    With this order, Officer Timothy visited Taliaferro's residence, and after telling him of the mayor's order added that it might be wise to obey it explicitly, as Medford's patriots did not care to see him again.
Leaves at 7:20
    At 7:30 p.m. Officer Timothy again called on the parson, but this man, it was reported, boarded a car driven by Maynard and to all appearances were bound for Ashland. At a late hour last night no word had been received from that city regarding the refugees.
    Shortly after 6 o'clock an increasing mob gathered before St. Mark's hall, with Mayor Gates in its midst, and threats of violence emanated from the crowd. C. M. Kidd, the liberty loan worker, asked the opinion of several recruits to his growing party as to the length of rope required, and as to the best place to "pull the trick." With the absence of the pastor, however, the excitement and crowd soon subsided, and no violence was reported.
Congregation Arrives
    Elbowing their way through the crowd of determined citizens, some 12 women trudged upstairs to the hall with the expectation of hearing the lecture. After this small congregation had become seated, Officer Timothy read the following statement distributed by Taliaferro, which had its effect of clearing the hall:
    "April 12, 1918: Since the mayor and chief of police, the highest authority to which I have access today, have forbidden me to speak here tonight, and since I desire to be, always have been, and always shall be law-abiding, I will postpone this meeting until such time as I can get legal action. (Signed) E. P. Taliaferro."
    This note was pinned to the office door of the Medford Sun.
    Mayor Gates and Officer Timothy also received a like note. Who distributed the epistles, and the reason for their publicity is not known. The mayor said he was pleased with its tone, however.
Taliaferro Calls on Mayor
    When Pastor Taliaferro entered the Gates store with his delegation yesterday morning and announced who he was, Mr. Gates didn't waste any time in preliminaries. "I have been looking for you," he said, "and want to know what you want to hold a meeting in Medford for."
    "We are working for Christ," was the answer.
    "Well, why don't you work for him in a uniform?" replied the mayor. "A good many of you are of draft age; why don't you get busy working for righteousness where it will count--on the western front with a million other good Americans instead of buzzing around this country stirring up trouble and making it harder for us to win this war?"
    "We are against war," observed the leader.
"Go to Front"--Mayor
    "Well, then why don't you fight against it?" returned Pop with a vehement smash of his fist. "I've got my only son on the western front. Don't you think I am going to let a lot of sanctimonious sneaks speak in the city and make it harder for him over there. Not on your life. If you hold a meeting here tonight I will do the talking, you won't, and what I shall say won't please you any too much either. But you aren't going to speak."
    "It's our constitutional right," observed the pastor.
    "I am no lawyer," was the reply, "but as long as I am mayor of this town and as long as this country is in this war, no one is going to speak in public encouraging slackers and making it easier for the kaiser to murder our boys. Not on your life. You aren't going to speak if I know it."
Orders Arrest
    There was some more to the conversation, but that gives the general idea. Finally the delegation walked out, and Pop Gates promptly called Chief of Police Hittson and instructed him to corral the bunch, find where their transportation read [sic] and send them on their way.
    The chief hunted all afternoon but it was near train time when one of the delegation was finally picked up and taken to prosecuting attorney Roberts' office, where he was questioned. The prosecuting attorney strongly advised the Russellite to get out of town and avoid trouble. This man was George Maynard, manager of a vulcanizing shop and local leader of the International Bible Students. He repeatedly stated his innocence of any attempt to incite Germanism in this city or any other place, but added that God would soon come to earth and establish a government under which all others would be without authority.
Mayor Turns Cop
    Meanwhile Mayor Gates was out on the streets, a self-adopted sleuth, seeking alleged members of the association. He soon appeared at the office with a man alleged to have sold books throughout the county relating to the matter at hand. Officer Timothy followed with another, and a general conference at the prosecuting attorney's office ensued.
    Apparently bored with the alibis proffered by the men, Mayor Gates declared:
    "You (speaking to Maynard) tell that Taliaferro fellow to get his junk together and catch the 6:06 going north, and if he doesn't he'll be subject to violence!"
Felt Like Fighting
    Maynard meekly assented and hurried to his car, and as hurriedly made his way to South Peach Street, where Taliaferro was staying.
    Mayor Gates, with Chief of Police Hittson and Officer Timothy, waited at the depot for their arrival. 6:06 came and went. Mayor Gates fumed. It was here that he voiced his desire to "punch" the pastor's face, and adding that he never had seen a better face to strike. They waited several minutes longer, when Mayor Gates announced that the pastor would leave Medford by 7:30 or take his choice of convincing the gathering mob, or spend the time being in the city jail.

Medford Sun, April 13, 1918, page 1


THE PASTOR TALIAFERRO INCIDENT
    Many good people fail to realize that what is perfectly proper in peace is not proper in war.
    In time of peace, for example, it would be perfectly proper for Pastor Taliaferro or any other pastor to call a public meeting and talk against war.
    But when a country is engaged in war, public speaking against it is disloyal. More than that, it gives aid and comfort to the enemy.
    Such appeals, accompanied usually by emotional incitement, working upon weak or immature minds, are liable to obstruct the draft and thus materially weaken our military effectiveness as a nation.
    This may not be the law on the matter. We never have pretended to understand the intricacies of the law. But to us it seems to be the common sense.
    If Pastor Taliaferro admitted he intended to speak against war, as generally reported, then local authorities had a perfect right to prevent the meeting.
    This is no time for anti-war meetings, and no time to encouraged avowed anti-war advocates.
*      *      *
    On the other hand, tar and feather parties, or ink and feather parties--particularly with the present price of ink--are to be deplored. It would seem that any disloyalty or sedition might be handled through the regular legal channels without recourse to violence.
    If we haven't sufficiently drastic laws to handle such matters, then it is high time such laws were provided. We hold no brief for individuals who, whatever their motives, are not loyally supporting the government at the present time. But let's deal with them according to law, and methods befitting a law-abiding and self-respecting community.
Robert Waldo Ruhl, editor, Medford Sun, April 14, 1918, page 4



Mob Threatens Pastor
Traveling Preacher Flees Town in Automobile
    MEDFORD, Ore., April 13.--Pastor E. R. Taliaferro, traveling preacher for the International Bible Students' Association, scheduled to lecture here last night, was refused permission and ordered out of town by Mayor C. E. Gates, but remained until a crowd of several hundred threatened violence, when he hurriedly left by automobile.
    He was followed by a portion of the crowd, who, failing to locate Taliaferro, seized George Maynard, local leader of the sect, painted a huge Iron Cross upon his body and gave him until Monday to leave the city.
New York Tribune, April 14, 1918, page 10


VIGILANTES WARN SLACKERS TO STATE WAR ATTITUDE
    That the patriotic vigilante organization which last Friday night inked George Maynard and warned him to get out of Medford and the county by this morning, under penalty of more serious treatment, means business and has started out to clean up the city and vicinity of persons of any taint of disloyalty, became known today.
    Last Saturday the vigilantes mailed out letters to several other men who are known to be connected with the International Bible School religious cult, to publicly answer through the local newspapers just where they stood on Liberty Bonds, Red Cross, army Y.M.C.A. and general attitude on the war and patriotism, by Tuesday morning, else they would receive a visit from the vigilantes.
    It could not be learned today whether Mr. and Mrs. Maynard were still in the county, but it was generally understood that they were not in Medford. Neither was it known whether Pastor Taliaferro, the Russellite leader, was still in the county, but it was supposed that he might still be hiding in Ashland.
    Relative to the inking episode of last Friday night, County Prosecutor Roberts said today that he would make no effort to prosecute members of the vigilantes. He said he had informed several persons who inquired that he would resign his office before he would prosecute them for kidnapping and inking Maynard with German iron crosses.
    Mr. Roberts, however, declared that he deplored mob violence of any kind, and relative to the vigilantes' notices to members of the International Bible Students residing in Medford to make known their stand on the war under threat of a visit from the vigilantes, he intimated that if any harm was done to any man or woman member of the cult for failure to answer, he would prosecute anyone interfering with them to the limit. In fact, Prosecutor Roberts said that if any such person was interfered with he would start one of the biggest rows in local history. He requested that persons addressed by the vigilantes bring him the warnings and not answer them through the papers, and promises prosecution for any future overt acts.
    At the service flag dedication exercises at the Presbyterian Church last night, Captain R. W. Clancy in his address called attention to the fact that the vigilantes had sent a threatening letter to a man he had known for eight or nine years, who, he said, was inoffensive, but misguided in his religion. The captain declared that if this man was harmed at all, he would see that the perpetrators were brought to justice.
    Mayor C. E. Gates in an address following that of Dr. Clancy spoke in defense of the acts of the vigilantes of last Friday night and of sending threatening letters to members of the cult. The mayor also said that the man Dr. Clancy was upholding was connected with the International Bible Students.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 15, 1918, page 2


RUSSELLITES ASK PROTECTION
FROM VIGILANTE THREATS
    Because of the inking of George Maynard last Friday night and the letters sent out by the vigilantes to members of the Russellite religious faith to make known their stand on the war at once, the adherents of that cult in the city and vicinity are badly frightened and most of them communicated with Prosecutor Roberts and Mayor Gates demanding protection.
    Prosecutor Roberts reiterated today that he stood for law and order, was against mob rule, and would vigorously prosecute any violation of the law either by mob or individual.
    Mayor Gates suggested to a number of the Russellites yesterday that the best thing they could do to alleviate their fears and obtain protection and peace of mind was to call a meeting of their members with him, at which they would pledge themselves not to hold meetings until after the war and pledge loyalty to the government, and furthermore would promise to give up any part of the principles of their faith which were opposed to war, until after the war.
    If they would do that the mayor said he would guarantee them absolute protection. The mayor understood from those to whom he made this suggestion that such a meeting would be called at which such promises would be made, but up to early this afternoon had received no word as to a meeting having been called.
    Mr. and Mrs. Maynard and Pastor Taliaferro have evidently left the county, as no track of their whereabouts has been gained.
    Because the state and municipal laws do not cover cases of disloyalty and sedition, and prosecution of such crimes can only be brought about through so-called presidential warrants, Mayor Gates is considering having the city council pass a stringent ordinance which will enable the city authorities to cope with all cases of this nature and punish pro-Germanism and acts which tend to that end.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 16, 1918, page 4


CITY ORDINANCE STOPS SEDITIOUS TALK AND ACTS
    The city council, by unanimous vote, Tuesday night passed an ordinance against seditious and pro-German activities, which declares an emergency exists and provides as follows:
    "Section 1. That any person or persons who shall be guilty of any seditious or disloyal words, agitation or act against the United States government on the street or in public places or public assemblies of the city of Medford, Oregon, or who shall utter any word or do any act on the streets or in public places or public assemblies of the city of Medford, Oregon, that will hinder the United States government in obtaining enlistments for the United States army or navy, or in carrying out the provisions of the United States draft, or in carrying on the war we are now engaged in, whereby the peace, good order and general welfare of said city is or may be disturbed or broken, shall, on conviction thereof, in the city court of the city of Medford, be subject to a penalty of not less than $10 nor more than $100 as a fine, or by imprisonment in the city jail not less than five days or not more than thirty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment."
Medford Mail Tribune, April 17, 1918, page 1


    Years ago, while working some claims on Rogue River in Oregon, Phil Aspinwall committed suicide in his cabin by cutting his throat with a razor.
    Evan Jones is working a copper property near Medford in Oregon. He was a prospector in the Slocan 26 years ago, and during the first boom days in Kelso he ran a cigar store with Volney Williamsson for a partner.
"Western Float," The Ledge, Greenwood, British Columbia, June 27, 1918, page 1


MOB VIOLENCE.
For Alleged Personal Disloyalty.
4/13/18. Medford, Ore. — George Maynard, member International Bible Students' Assn., iron cross painted on body, driven from town.
National Civil Liberties Bureau, "War-Time Prosecutions and Mob Violence," July 1918, page 8

Woodson Orchard 1918Decpm back Spanish Flu Influenza
A postcard from a quarantined Ashlander.

BAN UPON ALL GATHERINGS IN CITY MONDAY
Mayor Gates Issues Orders To Close Theaters, Meetings, Etc.,
As Precaution Against Spanish Influenza--
Asks Cooperation of All Citizens--Several Suspected Cases.
NOTICE TO PUBLIC
    On account of the epidemic of Spanish influenza, now sweeping over the country, and after consulting with the physicians of the city, we have decided, beginning next Monday, October 14th, to close all places of amusements, theaters, moving picture shows, etc., churches, lodges, schools and all public meetings of every description, where people congregate--same to be in effect until said epidemic has subsided. Believing that this disease is easier prevented than cured, we respectfully request the people of this city to cheerfully abide by this order and hereby assist not only our city, but the entire country in stamping out this dreaded epidemic.        (Signed)
C. E. GATES,
Mayor of Medford.
Dr. E. B. PICKEL,
City Health Officer.
    To prevent the further spread of the dread Spanish influenza, of which four positive cases are known to exist in Medford and many others are suspected, the city authorities clamped down the lid this noon, to go into effect Monday morning, ordering the closing of churches, theaters, schools and all public meetings and gatherings of every description. This drastic rule will be in effect until all danger of the epidemic getting a foothold in Medford is past.
    The action was not decided on until the local situation had been thoroughly canvassed by Mayor Gates and Dr. Pickel. Every physician in the city was consulted, and the opinion was unanimous that every precaution should be taken before it was too late. A number of cases and suspected cases were also reported from various parts of the county.
Reports Are Alarming
    New reports of the alarming spread of the disease throughout the United States and the large death rate accompanying also had a great influence in deciding the local officials to act. A telephone message from Dunsmuir yesterday afternoon, stating that there had been 37 deaths already and that by midnight last night 14 more were expected to die, also had a bearing. Several citizens from Dunsmuir were in Medford yesterday seeking nurses to assist in caring for influenza patients.
    Health officer Pickel advises all persons to cover their mouths and noses with their hands or handkerchiefs when coughing and sneezing and not to expectorate on the streets or floors. This will go a long ways towards preventing an epidemic here.
    The closing order will stop the work of the Red Cross and many patriotic and public activities, and will entail a loss on the moving picture managements. Manager Percy of the Rialto Theater takes a sensible view of the situation and approves of the closing order of the city officials. He too believes that an ounce of prevention exercised now will prevent much misery and financial hardship later on. Mr. Percy holds that the picture theaters will only suffer a temporary loss, as when the danger is over and the closing rule rescinded, the public will be very picture hungry and will crowd the theaters to make up for lost time.
Warning from Dr. Porter
    An intensely interesting letter was received by the Mail Tribune today from Dr. E. H. Porter, who is at Worcester, Mass., describing the epidemic in the East, the symptoms and effects of the disease, preventive measures, etc., and advising that Medford take precautions. The letter follows.
    "Your issue of September 28 contains an editorial on the subject of Spanish influenza, and from its tone will lead your readers to believe that the disease is not a serious one. Now, do all in your power to eradicate that belief. It is the most terrible epidemic ever visiting America and is very fatal. It is a new disease caused by an heretofore unknown bacilli, but has recently been isolated.
    "The onset of the disease is very similar to that of an ordinary attack of grippe, but much more sudden and severe. Many cases begin as a pneumonia, while others are sick several days before pneumonia symptoms appear. Those beginning as a pneumonia are usually dead in 48 hours. The pathological findings in the dead are very similar to those found in the lungs of those dead from drowning, with the addition of erosions in the bronchial tubes. The vaccines and serums which have heretofore been used in the treatment of grippe are worthless in this disease. During the past week we have secured a small supply of vaccine made from the new bacilli and have inoculated some of the physicians and nurses who are in attendance on influenza cases, but up to date cannot say what the effect will be. Neither can we do so until the vaccine is obtainable in larger quantities which will require several days longer. Am in hopes I can secure enough to send some to the Medford physicians before the epidemic reaches there, and reach there it will, and then look out.
Boston Has 80,000 Cases
    "The disease appeared in Boston early in September, and on the 11th there were 11 deaths. From that date to noon October 5, there had been 2270 deaths, with over 80,000 cases. Throughout New England this is the story told in every town. Every church, school, saloon, billiard hall and theater are closed, and public gatherings are tabooed. To prevent congestion on street cars during the rush hours of business, the health boards have ordered certain classes of business to open and close at certain hours. One sneeze or a cough in a crowded car from an infected person, and there are 20 new cases. The slogan in this section is 'cover that cough and sneeze.'
    "During the past ten days I have been doing my bit at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. That large institution has closed its doors to all but accident cases and influenza patients, and it is more than full. I have been through several epidemics of cholera, smallpox, yellow fever and bubonic plague, and in those the attendants could protect themselves, but in this epidemic the attendants have suffered severely, and the only protection possible is to wear masks of gauze over the face. Calls have gone out to other sections for doctors and nurses, and several states west of the Hudson River have sent details, and yet the demand far exceeds the supply. In one large hospital at this place (Worcester), with 50 nurses on duty, there were over 40 down at one time, with several deaths.
Be Careful in Sneezing
    "As the disease is an easy one carried through the air, by the particles of sputum thrown off by a sneeze or cough, when it appears in Medford, if the health officer will isolate, isolate and again isolate the infected, close the schools, churches, theaters, etc., fine everyone who does not cover a sneeze or cough or expectorates on the street, you may escape a severe epidemic. Children and the aged do not seem as susceptible to the disease as the robust middle-aged person."
Medford Mail Tribune, October 12, 1918, page 1


MEETINGS FORBIDDEN
UNTIL DANGER OF EPIDEMIC PAST
    There were no indications today as to how long the ban on public gatherings would be in force, but it was thought that it would not be lifted for a week yet. Mayor Gates says the closing order will be in force until it is certain that all danger of the Spanish influenza getting a foothold in Medford is past.
    The mayor said this forenoon that one physician had informed him that he had six patients ill with the disease, only one of which could be regarded as serious.
The closing orders of the mayor and City Health Officer Pickel were just a day ahead of orders issued by the national board of health. The following telegram was received Sunday afternoon by Mayor Gates from the state board of health:
    "By order of the surgeon general of the United States Public Health Service you are directed to discontinue all public meetings and places of public amusement on the appearance of the present worldwide epidemic of Spanish influenza in your city. You are directed to urge upon everyone the necessity of avoiding crowds, unnecessary street car traffic and shopping until the present epidemic has subsided."
    The mayor's prohibiting of public gatherings does not apply to the public library, he stated today, as patrons only walk in, get what books they want and then depart. Therefore there would be no crowd congregating there at any time. Many church, society and lodge meetings set for the early part of the week have been called off.
    Although there are a number of cases of suspected cases of influenza in the city, the disease may be said to have gained no foothold here as yet.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 14, 1918, page 4


    All Medford merchants were agreed yesterday that the weekend was one of the quietest in recent history. Because of the influenza epidemic people in the country do not come to town any more than they can help, and when they do come stay as short a time as possible. In fact, the people in the country are far more excited over the epidemic than those in the towns where influenza cases are known to exist. One Medford citizen having official business in the country was nearly kicked off the premises of a certain ranch on Thursday who said he didn't want any influenza carriers on his property and thought Medford people ought to stay at home until the scare is over.
"Local and Personal," Medford Sun, October 27, 1918, page 2


    If the influenza epidemic in Medford continues to subside, Mayor Gates announced yesterday, he will raise the quarantine a week from tomorrow,. There are many cases in the city, but the majority of them are not virulent and closely resemble hard colds.
"Local and Personal," Medford Sun, November 10, 1918, page 2


MEDFORD PEOPLE SORRY THAT THEY FETED "HERO"
By United Press
    PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 16.--Medford, Ore., is peeved because she dined, feted and generally showed Private W. J. Pickett a royal good time three weeks ago. It now develops that New Orleans is as close as Pickett got to the firing line, and the wound which the "hero of many amazing experiences" displayed was caused by the knife of a surgeon, according to an official letter from army officials.
Evening News, San Jose, November 16, 1918, page 6



    Unless there is a sudden and unexpected recrudescence of the "flu," the quarantine will be raised in Medford next Saturday night, Nov. 23d. No new cases were reported yesterday, and for the first time since the scare started local merchants had a busy day. Many of the stores reported the best trade in many months, hundreds of shoppers coming in from the rural districts. It is generally believed there will be a brisk Christmas trade in all lines this year, as the end of the war has cleared the atmosphere and people feel like loosening up.
    The Medford theaters are preparing big programs for the openings Nov. 24, after being closed for four weeks. There will be three picture houses now instead of two, the Liberty being the new one to be opened where the Star formerly was, under management of Henry Harcke. Watch for the announcements and get in line after a long rest.
"Local and Personal," Medford Sun, November 17, 1918, page 2


PICTURE THEATERS TO OPEN TOMORROW
    After being dark for several weeks the Page and Rialto theaters will be opened tomorrow beginning at 2:15. Both houses have prepared unusually good programs for the openings, and will have excellent music.
    The lovers of the movies will be glad to have the opportunity again of seeing their favorite stars, and the theaters will no doubt be crowded. The usual Saturday evening crowds will be out on the streets again tomorrow, and you are expected to join the happy throng.
    The new Liberty Theater will be opened Thanksgiving Day with a big matinee and under the management of Henry Harcke.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 22, 1918, page 6


    The "flu" lid flew off last night, with record attendances at both the Page and Rialto theaters. Both the theaters had been renovated and touched up during the quarantine, and the crowded houses looked like old times. The appreciation of the movies was so keen that early audiences at the theater proceeded almost in a body to the other. Several dances were also given last night, and today for the first time in six weeks the churches will open, which is expected to result in similar record-breaking congregations in the celebration of the Sabbath.
"Local and Personal," Medford Sun, November 24, 1918, page 2



Mayor to Attend Launching.
    MEDFORD, Or., Nov. 29.--(Special.)--Mayor C. E. Gates, much pleased that a wooden ship built in Portland has been named the Medford, announced today that he will be present at the launching. His daughter, Miss Laura, will christen the ship.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, November 30, 1918, page 10



JACKSON REPUBLICAN
    For the first time in twenty years, Jackson County has given a Republican majority for Governor of Oregon, as is revealed in the official election returns published in this issue. Four years ago Dr. Smith carried Jackson by 2,136 votes, and this year the old county reverses itself by giving Withycombe a majority of 138. President Wilson carried Jackson two years ago by 1,391.
    For United States Senator, Jackson County went democratic for Oswald West by only eight votes, quite a contrast to the majority of 2,740 given George E. Chamberlain and a good majority given two years before to the late Senator Harry Lane.
    Part of this turning towards Republican candidates may be ascribed with fairness to the Medford Sun, a vigorous and well-edited Republican daily, and S. S. Smith, its aggressive editor, who also is a Jackson County member of the Oregon State Republican Central Committee. The gains made by the Republicans in Jackson County during the last few years are probably the most notable in Oregon, especially considering that the railroad employee vote in that county is heavy, because of Division Headquarters in Ashland, and the railroad men generally are regarded as having gone Democratic unanimously ever since President Wilson and a Democratic Congress gave them their wage bill on demand of the Big Four unions.
Oregon Voter, December 7, 1918, page 17

"FLU" RULING IS MODIFIED
Medford Health Officers See End of Influenza Epidemic.
    MEDFORD, Or., Dec. 26.--(Special.)--City Health Officer E. B. Pickel today modified the flu mask ordinance requiring the wearing of the mask only in theaters, churches and other places where public gatherings are held. Until today the masks had been required in all stores both by employees and by shoppers.
    Originally the masks were required on the streets, but with the steady decline of the epidemic this provision was withdrawn several days ago.
    No new cases of the disease were reported Christmas day, the first time since the inception of the epidemic three weeks ago.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 10, 1918, page 4

Ferris-type ship U.S.S. Banago
The U.S.S. Banago, a Ferris-type ship similar to the U.S.S. Medford, in dazzle camouflage.

18TH SHIP LAUNCHED
Medford Follows 17 of Company's Boats to Water.
RIVER ENTERED AT 1 A.M.
Mrs. J. P. Byrne, Wife of Emergency Fleet Corporation Inspector,
Christens Latest Grant Smith-Porter Vessel.

    Launching of the Medford, eighteenth boat built by the Grant Smith-Porter Shipbuilding Company, was postponed from 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon to 1 o'clock this morning because of the high tide. An additional foot and a half of water, obtainable at the latter hour because of the tide, was necessary to make certain the floating of the ship because of the extremely low water on the Willamette.
    The boat was the second sent down the ways in the dead of night by the Grant Smith-Porter Company. The first was the Wakan, launched April 20 in the then record time of building--55 days.
    Named for the Southern Oregon city, the Medford was christened by Mrs. J. P. Byrne, wife of the inspector for the Emergency Fleet Corporation attached to the Grant Smith-Porter yards. She was presented with a handsome breast pin set in platinum, the gift of the company.
Fourth Launched in 30 Days.
    The Medford is another Ferris type ship of 3500 tons capacity. The launching was the fourth in the past 30 days and the 18th in six months and a half. Several others are near completion.
    Three of the Grant Smith-Porter ships are to be delivered to the Emergency Fleet Corporation and turned over to the Sudden-Christensen Company for operation within the week. These are the Manada, Dumaru and Wakan, making 11 boats completed by this company in the present calendar year.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 29, 1918, page 17  The Ferris-type ships were wooden ocean-going steamers designed for mass production, similar to the Liberty ships of WWII.


    The emergency fleet steamer Medford crossed out last night on her 24-hour trial run at sea and crossed in at 3:40 this afternoon.
"Pacific Coast Shipping Notes," Morning Oregonian, Portland, December 7, 1918, page 15


JACKSON COUNTY
    The Highway Department expended in Jackson County during 1917 and 1918 the sum of $86,619.88. The work accomplished with this amount consists of six and five-tenths miles of 16-foot crushed rock macadam in the Siskiyou Mountains, an undergrade crossing with the Southern Pacific Railway just north of Ashland, and 4,200 lineal feet of grading and paving north of Ashland. A survey has also been started on the Ashland-Klamath Falls Road, about fifteen miles of which was completed before weather conditions made it necessary to discontinue field work until spring.
Ashland Hill Grading and Undercrossing
    On account of a contemplated undergrade crossing with the Southern Pacific Railway, a stretch of 4,200 feet on the Pacific Highway just north of Ashland was left unpaved between Ashland and Medford when the balance of the distance between those points was paved in 1914. In 1917 arrangement was made between the County and railway company for the construction of this undercrossing, and the State Highway Commission set aside funds to cover the cost of the 4,200 feet of grading in connection therewith.
    The installation of the undercrossing structure was handled by the Southern Pacific Railway Company. The grading was handled by the County grading forces under the supervision of the Highway Department. Mr. F. H. Walker acted as resident engineer. The grading was commenced on January 7, 1918, and completed August 1, 1918. The total cost of the grading was $9,768.88, and was paid entirely from State funds.
Ashland Hill Paving
    Bids were called for on August 6, 1918, for the paving of the Ashland Hill section, but as no satisfactory bids were received the work was undertaken by the Highway Department with State forces. This section of paving is 4,200 feet in length, and the type of pavement laid is a 16-foot concrete, 5½ inches thick at the sides and 6½ inches thick at the center. The mixture was a 1:2:3½, and a ratio of 5.6 gallons of water per sack of cement was used.
    The average haul on material was 1.2 miles, and hauling was done by means of trucks. The cement was shipped to the job prior to the beginning of construction and stored at convenient locations near the work.
    A sixteen-cubic-foot Koehring mixer equipped with boom and bucket was used for mixing the aggregate. The pavement, after being struck off, was finished by the roller and belt method, the pavement first being rolled from two to four times depending on the condition of the concrete and later belted with eight- and ten-inch belts, the eight- inch belt being used first. A very satisfactory surface was obtained in this manner.
    Continuous forms were used on this work and ¼x4 inch elastite joints were placed at 30-foot intervals, leaving approximately two inches of concrete above the elastite and giving the pavement the appearance of monolithic construction. It was found that a better riding pavement could be produced in this way as the inequalities at joints were eliminated, and we believe that the use of this pavement will justify the adoption of this type on future work.
    Gravel and crushed rock shoulders two feet wide were built on this section, and the pavement was not covered while curing as the weather was cool and damp. However, the pavement was kept wet by sprinkling when necessary.
    The crusher and roller on this work were furnished by Jackson County free of charge.
    Mr. J. M. Baker was superintendent of construction on this work.
Siskiyou Mountain Macadam
    During the 1917 season, 6½ miles of broken stone macadam was constructed on the Pacific Highway in the Siskiyou Mountains. This macadam is sixteen feet in width, and extends from the California state line to Siskiyou. It was constructed with State forces under the supervision of L. L. Clarke, construction superintendent. A total of 17,780 cubic yards of rock were crushed and placed on the road. The cost of the work complete was $56,252.98.
Survey—Ashland to Klamath Falls
    On August 25, 1918, a location survey was started between Ashland and Klamath Falls. After a careful reconnaissance of the low passes, the route via Green Springs Mountain was chosen, as against the Dead Indian Summit, 500 feet higher.
    Surveys were continued until November 30, when they were discontinued for the winter months. The present road is in such poor condition that maintaining a locating party at work during the winter would be very expensive.
    During the short time the party was in the field, 15.6 miles of location were staked, a six percent grade from the summit of Green Springs Mountain toward Ashland being obtained, whereas the present road has many stretches over 20 percent. Also, over a section between the Green Springs Summit and Jenny Creek, 9 miles to the south, a location has been obtained that will give, for the greater distance, very cheap construction and the lightest of grades. This will be appreciated by all who have traveled the present rocky road with its series of bad grades.
    This road is a very vital one to the Rogue River and Klamath valleys. At present it is only passable during summer months for auto traffic, while a road built on standard line and grades would soon make it an all-year highway.
    There will be an enormous exchange of commodities between the two valleys when the road is constructed. It will make a three-hour auto trip between Ashland and Klamath Falls, which now takes 8½ hours by train via Weed, California.
    The location will be resumed in the spring, and continued to Klamath Falls. Surveys have been in charge of Mr. J. H. Scott, locating engineer.
Third Biennial Report of the Oregon State Highway Commission, 1919, page 112+; transcription by The Gutenbert Project




Last revised February 17, 2017