Scott Morris in the Wilderness
Scott Morris and family in camp, from ancestry.com
Crooked Creek Township, Illinois:
Israel Morris, 37, farmer, born in Ohio
Mary Morris, 34, born in Kentucky
Winfield S. Morris, 7, born in Indiana
James Morris, 5, born in Indiana
Eveline Morris, 1, born in Indiana
E. F. Mitchell, 26, born in Canada
U.S. Census, enumerated 1860
Crooked Creek Township, Illinois:
Israel C. Morris, 48, farmer, born in Ohio
Mary Morris, 46, born in Kentucky
Scott Morris, 18, born in Indiana
James Morris, 16, born in Indiana
Everline Morris, 10, born in Illinois
Leroy Morris, 4, born in Illinois
U.S. Census, enumerated July 31, 1870
Scott Morris and Harriet H. Hilderbrand, without the superstitious fear of Friday before their eyes, yesterday took out a marriage license from the clerk's office.
"Home Notes," Indianapolis Sentinel, October 20, 1877, page 8
A CROP of cabbage, gooseberries, etc., insured to all who have our Worm and Pest Destroyer." No expense. Two recipes 25 cents, cash, and stamp. SCOTT MORRIS, Franklin, Ind.
Indiana Farmer, Indianapolis, May 24-June 14, 1879, page 1
August 4, 1879 Elkhart, Indiana Daily Review.
This ad ran widely in Indiana newspapers for a few years.
Franklin, Johnson County, Indiana:
Scott Morris, 28, school teacher, born in Indiana, parents born in Indiana
Hester Morris, 25, born in Indiana, father born in Indiana, mother in Virginia
Furst Morris, 2, born in Indiana
Deirdre Morris, 4 months, born in Indiana
U.S. Census, enumerated June 18, 1880
CURRANT WORMS quickly and easily destroyed without poison; 8 years success. Send 1 dime and 3¢ stamp for recipe to SCOTT MORRIS, Franklin, Ind.
Indiana Farmer, Indianapolis, May 21, 1881, page 1
Rt. Hon. Scott Morris, who teaches the young idea how to shoot, will at the close of his school prepare to go into the poultry business on a large scale. Mr. Morris has already purchased a mammoth incubator for hatching, and made arrangements with an eastern firm for sunflower seed, which is said to be the best known food for poultry in the country. We wish Mr. M. success.
"Deer Creek Doings," The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, February 15, 1883, page 2
Scott Morris, of "sunflower seed" fame, has sold his farm, and will make his future residence at Butlerville. We congratulate Butlerville on the acquisition of such a citizen.
"Deer Creek Doings," The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, March 15, 1883, page 3
Mr. Scott Morris has become a resident of our town. He has moved into the house belonging to Mr. Daniel Brown, of North Vernon.
"Butlerville," The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, April 12, 1883, page 2
Mr. Thomas Moore, township trustee, desires to secure the services of a good teacher as principal of the Nebraska school. The vacancy is caused by the resignation of Mr. Scott Morris, who is now canvassing for a publishing house.
"Butlerville," The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, September 20, 1883, page 2
Mr. Scott Morris, of Butlerville, called to see the Plain Dealer on Monday morning, and informed us of his intention to prospect for a farm in Oregon. He left on the train north a little before 3 o'clock, and will reach Jacksonville, Oregon, in twelve days if he has no delay. After arriving in Oregon, he will write one or more letters to the Plain Dealer descriptive of things and affairs there which will certainly be appreciated by our readers.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, December 20, 1883, page 3
FROM NEW MEXICO.Editor Plain Dealer:--Leaving Kansas City at 11 o'clock p.m. on the 19th, we arrived here this morning at 5 a.m. Our trip took us over the prairies of Kansas from east to west through the Cottonwood and Arkansas valleys. Kansas is on the boom. Good crops is the rule. The western part of the state from Dodge City is devoted almost entirely to the cattle interests. The land is rich, and the bunch and buffalo grasses are unexcelled for cattle. There is not a field of timothy on the whole route, all depending on these natural grasses. Immense herds of cattle and flocks of sheep are seen on all sides. At Garden City, 418 miles west of Kansas City, elevated above sea level 3,000 feet, we saw the first adobe houses. As far as the eye can reach not a tree is to be seen. Indeed, you could travel north or south from this point a distance of 800 miles before reaching the timber. Here has
Deming, New Mexico, Dec. 24, 83.
been inaugurated a gigantic system of irrigation. The Arkansas River supplies the water. The banks are only about one foot high, and because of this fact the labor and expense of ditching is much lessened. Potatoes, both sweet and white, here yield from 200 to 300 bushels per acre. Oats, alfalfa, barley, millet and sugar cane yield luxuriant crops. The sugar interests in this country is attracting much attention. We were shown some fine sugar produced from Kansas cane. It is equal to some of the yellow cane grades sold at home. This will be a leading interest in the near future. From the state line through southeastern Colorado the cattle and sheep interests are the only source of wealth. The land is very much like that of Western Kansas. At 6 o'clock a. m. of the 22nd, the mountains were first seen. Hundreds of coke pits were seen. These mines are very rich, the veins being 7 feet thick, and the coal is second only to the best coal found in Pennsylvania. Among the mountains we saw many valley corn fields which can show better stalks than many in Jennings County. Soon the beautiful city of Trinidad burst upon our view. It has a population of 5,000. The city is illuminated by gas, and streetcars run on the principal streets. After regretfully leaving this place we were drawn up a grade by our "iron horse" of fifty feet to the mile, to Morely. Prom this point we were taken up a grade of 185 feet to the mile by one 40-ton eight-wheel engine and one of 55 tons. The scenery up the pass is magnificent. Mountain and valley succeed each other in our rapid ascent. We will not stop to expatiate upon the beauties of this ride, for we would only fail. After a run of seven miles we enter the Raton tunnel, one-half mile long, through which we are shot, in Egyptian [Stygian?] darkness, in three minutes, and then descend to the city of Raton. We are in New Mexico seven miles, and will ask your readers to wait.
SCOTT MORRIS.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, January 3, 1884, page 1
Mr. Scott Morris, who left here for the West some weeks ago, has a letter from New Mexico in our columns this week. He will write again from California.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, January 3, 1884, page 3
OUR CALIFORNIA LETTER.
ON THE ROAD.Editor Plain Dealer:
I believe I left your readers at Raton. This is a most beautiful little town (Raton) at the foot of the mountains. The valley at this point is about 10 miles wide. It was hard for us to believe that the width was so great, for it looked as if one could walk across and return in an hour or two. But, on the word of a "Sucker" who has lived here for several years, we took it for a linear fact. We were also surprised when he told us that hay was worth from $20 to $25 per ton and dry alkali grass at that. Another item will also enlarge Hoosier ideas on inflated prices. An engineer on the railroad paid the caterer who had prepared it $50 for a ham! His family must have enjoyed their Christmas dinner.
Wages at this point are good, ranging from two to five dollars per day. The land is very fertile, and where water for the purpose of irrigation can be had enormous crops can be raised. Onions weighing from 4 to 6 pounds are not unusual. Wheat will easily yield 50 bushels per acre. Seventy-five bushels per acre have been raised. It is tramped out by goats, winnowed by the breeze, and the sand separated from it by a sieve--the old Mexican style.
The little stream that waters the valley is known as Utah Creek, a branch of the Arkansas. Elevation above sea level 6,688.
We pass from this valley over the wide plains of New Mexico. The land is strongly alkaline, the alkali often encrusting the surface. Little lakes of alkaline water are passed at many points. The dreary monotony is at last broken by the Little Morey and its lovely valley, where all kinds of crops flourish. I hope none of your readers will rush to locate in any of these valleys. The people who occupy them are mostly Mexicans, many of them of the lower classes. The cowboys often come into these settlements on their periodical benders, and while their money lasts things are entirely too lively for "we'uns."
On Christmas Eve we reached Albuquerque at an early hour, having passed over the Glorietta Mountains and through Las Vegas, the nearest railroad point on our route to Santa Fe. We regret having lost the inspiration of a trip over these mountains, for we are told that the scenery is grand. But it is ordained that man shall sleep, and while we were paying our tribute [to] Old Morpheus the iron horse carried us over this range of mountains.
The city of Albuquerque is beautiful and its people are proud of the baby, for it is a very young city. The country here is like all the valley of the Rio Grande--very sandy. The soil, however, is very rich, and one has only to irrigate to produce crops of the finest quality and the most surprising yield. Like the Arkansas Valley, the problem of irrigation is an easy one.
Albuquerque people expect their city to be the capital of a new state which will soon knock for admission. I am certain that none of our party will object, for we were all delighted with the place. The Mexicans have control of most of the farming land in the neighborhood. You can buy only a three-foot front on the river, extending back as far as the ranch may happen to run. The price is one dollar per front foot. Numerous vineyards are seen by the way. The vines are are now hilled in for the winter. This is done by drawing up the earth around the vines to a height of two or three feet, very much as we make sweet potato hills at home.
We now pass into a country where there is naught but sand and sagebrush. Great hills of sand are seen along the horizon. These hills are shifted hither and thither by the wind, which constantly blows over these vast wastes. Occasionally the road runs so near them that we can see the waves upon their sides like ripples upon a pond. At other times we pass vast hills of sand and gravel. In one day we saw sand enough to plaster all London and gravel enough to convert the abominable roads of Jennings County into the finest of gravel roads. I give this only as an item of news, never thinking for a moment that our people would put it on their roads even if it were near them.
At Isleta, a few miles from Albuquerque, our train was boarded by a large number of Pueblo Indians. They were well armed, and we had a lively time. It is proper, however, to state that they were armed with trays of fruit and peans (a kind of nut) [probably pine nuts--piñons], and that the lively time was of a business character, as we all invested.
SCOTT MORRIS.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, January 10, 1884, page 1
Scott Morris, lately from Indiana, has purchased Col. Ross' place at the Meadows, paying $1,300 for it.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, January 25, 1884, page 3
Jacksonville, January 17th.
In my last letter I left you among the Pueblo Indians. We go on through this sandy desert country where agricultural interests depend solely upon irrigation. The Mexican denizens of this region are too shiftless to irrigate much, therefore very little is produced.
We soon reach Socorro, a mining town of 1000 inhabitants. This little town supports two daily papers, and its people are interested in the rich silver mines which are located in the Socorro Mountains a few miles north of the village. Here are three silver smelting furnaces which produce large quantities of bullion. The editor of one of the papers told us that the place was soon to have a treat in the way of an artistic hanging of one or two enterprising citizens who had been too handy with firearms. There are several more placed along this line that ought to have a few such holidays on general principles.
Monday morning found us at Deming, 1136 miles from Kansas City and 1208 miles from San Francisco. After an early breakfast, which was cooked by a pigtailed Chinaman, we went to work to '"do" the town. This place is all new. Two years ago there were only a few houses. Now there is a busy, driving population of 1200. The country is a dry, barren plain for many miles around. The nearest stream of any account is the Rio Grande, 70 miles east. Though dry and barren, the country has some attractive features. The lofty mountains far in the distance, with here and there an isolated peak nearer us, like huge rocks in the ocean, present to our view a grand and novel scene. I advise all who go by this route to. stop here a few hours. You will see here many features of nature nowhere else to be seen. You will wonder what the people do for a livelihood. They work in the mines, some of which--especially the Georgetown mines, 20 miles north--are very rich. We saw many large wagons laden with rich silver ore, which is shipped to the Socorro smelters. We were fortunate enough to find Mr. McGregor, who presented us with some rich specimens and told us many interesting things about silver mining.
Besides the mining interests there are large cattle ranges at the foot of the mountains. Many railroad employees reside here. Many goods are sold here--at fabulous prices. Dimes are the smallest coins in circulation. The prices of town lots run from $100 to $1500. There are but three houses in the place that the rise in real estate has not paid for. Speculation is the rule, and Mr. Byron (the postmaster) and Dr. Proctor have struck it rich in the real estate deal. The saloon interests certainly flourish, and judging from the specimens of their handiwork seen on the streets the whisky must have come from Indiana and have been charged with additional "snakes" on the way. Wages run from $2 to $6 per day. Board from $6 to $10 per week. There are many idle hands here now but in the spring there will be employment for them. Young man, go not to Deming unless you know something of mining, herding, or are a mechanic or capitalist.
Water is found at a depth of 40 to 60 feet; it is alkaline but much less so than that for many miles eastward. Where it has been used for irrigating purposes the land has proved extremely fertile. He who goes here to farm with a capital sufficient, sinks artesian wells, and will work, has a source of wealth that will pay better than any gold or silver mine in all New Mexico. If you buy a ton of coal you will have to part with thirteen big buzzard dollars. You can get mesquite wood--almost equal to coal--at two dollars per load. This tree has a small shrubby top and a large long root which the Mexicans dig out and use as their only fuel. Dig wood! Yes, you will dig it here or do without. When the pretty Mexican lady wants to do a day's washing, she digs her soap out of Mother Earth in the shape of soap-root--a variety of the yucca.
I have had much to say of Deming and its surroundings because it is typical of a vast region. We left at 3 p.m. on the 24th and on the 25th at an early hour we greeted with "Merry Christmas!" the pretty lady who sold us some nice fresh bread at Benson, 25 miles from Tombstone. He who goes over this part of the road after night wants to "look a leedle oud" for the nice young man going west who so very, very kindly asks you off to drink with him or just to "take a cigar" at the gin mill across the street. Be ye sure that he will meet a friend who will very kindly assist him in "standing you up" for all you are worth, and then bid you goodbye. Stay on your train and appoint two or three to look out for "beats" while the others of your party sleep.
From Benson we ran to Tucson in time for dinner. We had lettuce, radishes, young onions, and tomatoes fresh from the vine--at Christmas. Think of this, ye shivering Hoosier! After dinner we "took in the town," keeping on the shady side of the streets. 'Tis a grand old town where perpetual summer reigns, where the Mexican flourisheth like a green bay tree. He can here live like his ideal king at a very little outlay of physical exertion--and he does it. He builds his house of mud and if he is not too very lazy he makes a good one not wholly without beauty and one that will endure in this dry climate for a hundred years. The very best houses here are adobe. They are cool and pleasant, and some of those belonging to the richer people are grandly furnished. Tucson is a good place to be--in the winter. The lands here are very fertile and easily irrigated in many places. One hundred miles north of here large tracts of land are being irrigated, and he who will go there and homestead a rancho need have no fears for the future crop; nor will he be sickly. His only fear should be that earth's bounty will cause him to become too lazy to gather what she bestows.
After we had seen the town, examined some Indian curiosities and seen the Papago Indian warrior, squaw and papoose, we sat down in the shade (Christmas, too) and talked to an entertaining old Missourian until time for our iron horse to move on, and here, Mr. Editor, you may, in imagination, sit with your cold, frozen patrons, in this refreshing shade until your wandering quill-driver has time to go on with his story of the West.
SCOTT MORRIS.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, January 31, 1884, page 2
Mr. Scott Morris, of Butlerville, from whose pen we have a western letter this week, will in the course of a month remove with his family to Oregon, where he owns land and where he will engage in the fruit raising business.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, February 14, 1884, page 3
CALIFORNIA.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, July 9, 1884, page 1
AT HOME, Feb. 18, 1884.
Mr. Editor: I promised the boys to tell them more of California this week, and to redeem this promise I go on with the outline of my tour.
We leave Los Angeles with orange groves, her roses and watermelons and take our course down the San Fernando Valley. For several miles we ride through a lovely country where the people are busy planting garden and field crops. Hundreds of Chinamen wearing their chip hats are at work in the fields. Garden making at Christmas is a novel sight to a Hoosier, but long before we got to this point we had all agreed to be surprised at nothing. In all this region crops are planted at any time the farmer chooses. The soil is of the very best, and if the water can be had crops never fail. He who is prepared to irrigate is absolute master of the situation. There is much land here, however, that is in a hopeless prickly pear desert.
Soon we reach the mountains and see some fine scenery and pass through one of the longest tunnels on the continent. At Newhall we leave the small remnant of our party with only one exception, but then others joined us and Mr. Baughess and your correspondent soon had made some new acquaintances and were supplied with a good partner for the rest of our journey. I got the Quaker preacher and Baughess got an Arizona miner who was going to Seattle to make a fortune speculating in real estate. Hope he will, for we found him to be very much of a gentleman.
A "masher" who joined us here soon began to make a mash on a little crosseyed "mashess" from Los Angeles. 'Twas a success, and the preacher and I took notes in the mashing business for the next two days. Just how far the business would have gone the world would never know, as we complained to the conductor and he separated the two turtledoves.
All the afternoon we rode over a perfect desert where only tree cactus and sagebrush grow. Many of the cactus trees are twenty feet high. They assume a great variety of forms, and the scene is very novel. Very little of this Mojave (Mo-hav-va) desert is of any value for agricultural purposes. There is one part south of the railroad that contains an abundant supply of spring water and will perhaps soon be developed. The real estate companies that own it are doing a generous part by the printer, judging by the printed advertisement. A little good country is badly needed here, so let us hope that the company will succeed in selling the land to a thrifty community of farmers. At dark we reach Mojave and are told that only a few more miles of desert remains.
The night was foggy and dark, and very reluctantly we retired. We wanted to see the Tehachapi Mountains and loop by moonlight. These mountains are very wild and romantic. Here you will find some of the grandest displays of engineering skill in railroad building in the world. The great "loop" is the [illegible] and shoots through the Tehachapi tunnel. After many windings and ten more tunnels we reach the San Juan Valley.
He who expects to find the whole of the San Juan Valley a good farming country will find himself mistaken when he comes to travel over it. The fact is that until he gets to within about 160 miles of San Francisco he will see nothing but a semi-desert. From this on is one of the great bonanza wheat farm regions of the state. Wheat here is reckoned by the square mile rather than by the acre. When we crossed the country it was very dry and only a few of the famous eight-horse gang plows were seen. Wheat is sown here from October to March and cut in July and August. When they have rain enough the crops are good, and when the rain
fails they get nothing. They are likely to have a .drought at least once in three years, and frequently have them oftener. Wheat raising in a large part of this country is a very risky business. As we near San Francisco the towns get thicker and larger. Many of them are models in neatness. The blue gum (eucalyptus) tree is extensively used for shade trees, and a prettier one could not be had. Night overtook us at Lathrop and after a few amusing adventures with some tramps who tried to do some petty thievery during the night we reached Oakland pier at an early hour in the morning. The fine steam ferry, The Piedmont, soon carried us across the great bay to the western metropolis, San Francisco.
After a few hours' stay here I took the train for San Jose to spend New Year's with some old Indiana friends.
This town is 47 miles south from S.F. and is located in the heart of the world-famed Santa Clara Valley. It has a population of 20,000 whites besides an unknown number of Chinese. From a sanitary point of view the Santa Clara Valley seems to be perfect. No more so, perhaps, than many other parts of the state. Here you will see the most robust men and the most handsome women in the world. It seems to be the woman's paradise, for health. Owing to its exceedingly dry climate farming is a very uncertain business. Great attention is paid to fruit culture. You will here see thousands of acres of fruit trees and vines. Fruit growers have drought, borers and scale bugs to contend with, yet notwithstanding all these business is assuming vast proportions. One wonders what will be done with all the fruit when the tens of thousand acres now being planted come to bearing age. Those who have carefully studied the problem tell us that were all the land adapted to this business, in both California and Oregon, planted in fruit the markets of the world will readily take it at fair price. California excels Oregon for some kinds, while Oregon excels California in others. Altogether it is about even.
After a few days with my friends I return to "Frisco." The good ship Mary D. Hume was at the wharf and was billed to sail at 5 p.m. of the same day, giving me only a few hours again in the great and beautiful city.
I took passage for Crescent City, and we spread our sails and put on all the steam we had and sailed out of the Golden Gate with the cry of Crescent City in 36 hours! All went well for 18 hours, and the captain told us that we would reach our port in 35 hours! Alas for human ignorance. The barometer began to behave badly and almost before we knew it the storm was upon us and for many hours we were at the mercy of wind and waves. We were lashed and tossed by the storm until it began to be a very serious question whether we would ever get to Crescent City or any other port. Many of our passengers divided their meals with the fishes. I expected to have to cast up my account with Neptune, but he kindly excused me. We didn't get to Crescent City at all, and at the end of 72 hours we very gladly went into Smith River 12 miles up the coast. Nobody objected, and all who were residents of that place were very willing to go overland.
We all slept aboard that night and spent Sabbath with the good proprietor of the Del Norte Hotel. Smith River Valley is a peculiar region.
I will tell you about that place and Rogue River, Oregon, Valley, next week.
SCOTT MORRIS.Feb. 18, 1884.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, February 21, 1884, page 6
Scott Morris, of Butlerville, will sell his household and kitchen furniture on Tuesday, February 26th, also one cow and farming implements. He starts for Oregon soon afterwards. Go to the sale.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, February 21, 1884, page 7
Sams Valley, April 2nd ,1884
Mr. Editor:--We got through all right, 5 days from Indianapolis to Portland, Oregon. The weather is much more pleasant here than that of Indiana at our leaving. Grass is green, lettuce big enough to eat, flowers in great profusion, and good crop prospects is the order here now. The roads are passably good; not so good, however, as when I was here in January.
I don't see just how people from Indiana could worst their condition by coming here. They can get good lands, low, here now. Good land here is just as good as it is anywhere else. There is an immense amount of waste land, and much that is thin and sandy. Oregonians call it "scabby land."
There are thousands of hogs and cattle that have lived on the range all winter.
Most of the seeding is done, though there is much wheat to sow yet. It seems strange to see wheat sown at the same time as oats, yet it is a common thing here. Wheat is worth $1 per bushel, rye $1.25, oats and barley 75¢, hay $10 per ton. Demand is good for these, and yet eastern people say our crops are worth nothing. Fat cattle sold here this winter at 4¢ per lb. gross, and fat hogs at 5 and 6¢ per lb. gross. There are more hogs here than in Indiana. They are "razorbacks" mostly.
The weather is a little stormy; rains a little every day, almost. Some snow falls but does not stay longer than an hour or two after sunrise.
We had a six-pound salmon for supper, and there will be plenty of trout soon. There are many squirrels, quail and grouse in the woods. Deer, also, are common.
Will write a longer letter for the paper soon.
Respectfully,The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, April 10, 1884, page 2
Spikenard postmaster Scott Morris' application to the Post Office Department, April 28, 1884.
OREGON.Ed. Plain Dealer:--In reading your columns I am reminded that I have sent nothing for some time.
I remarked in my last letter that Oregon suited us. It suits us better now than at that time. The prospect for all kinds of growing crops is very fine, indeed. Old settlers say it was never so good before. Our corn is all "laid by." We have some that is in tassel. It is the Marblehead sweet corn, however, and was planted May 1st. An unusually large amount of corn was planted here this year, and the season has, so far, been very propitious.
It has rained, so far, every day in June save one. While it has ruined a vast amount of hay, it has pushed the grain crop. Perhaps the account will balance. June rains are unusual except, possibly, one or two showers. June 1884 will be famous in Oregon history for its rains; yet in Indiana the rains would hardly have been noticed. The hay crop lost consists of alfalfa and volunteer crops of wheat, oats, barley, &c. Timothy hay is not yet ready to cut. There is not much land here that will produce timothy, consequently we who can raise it have an article for which there is ready sale at a good price. It is worth $10 per ton now at the shed.
We had a slight frost during the last week in May. It did very little damage. It is not uncommon to have slight frosts in summer. Occasionally they seriously injure some of the more tender crops. Six years ago, on the morning of the glorious Fourth of July, potatoes were bitten to the ground. Corn and other crops were badly bitten by the hoary-headed Winter King. So, you see, we have our disadvantages as well as other places. Very high lands are free from these visitations. Those who have the hardihood to go up into the mountains and make a home do not suffer from the frost, either in summer or winter, as much as those in the valleys. A mountain ranch, therefore, is practical as well as romantic. Sometimes it is difficult to get a good road, as we have more miles of road than we have men to work on them. Let us have the men to work the roads and we can build a road over which, with an ordinary team, we can draw a ton of freight from the Siskiyous to to the Willamette. It may be tortuous but it will be dry and the grade easy. I will take the chances here in the mountains rather than on your gum flats. Here we will have good soil, a genial climate, a solid road, perpetual pasture, plenty of venison, good health and a good crop. No doctor need apply. There are ten thousand men in Indiana working their lives away for nought who could here get a home from Uncle Sam had they but the nerve to come. There are many others who have stayed until they are too poor to come. I pity this class, for I know all about the hardships of a poor man in Indiana. Were I a single young man in the East, and knew what was in store here for a boy of grit, I would walk to Oregon [illegible] two young men whom I could recommend at $30 per month and board. No doubt many could be similarly located. A good, honest, sober and industrious young man is at a premium here. The native young man of Oregon, as a rule, is of no account whatever. Come out here, young man of push and clean heart, roll up your sleeves and go to work, and Dame Fortune will smile upon you. After a few years you will have a home to which your sweetheart, if she is good for anything, might well be glad to come. I frequently receive letters from eastern dudes asking if a position as bookkeeper could be secured. To all such I can say NO. We have too many soft snap hunters here already. We want men of brawn and brains, and if you are a dude looking for a soft job don't come to Southern Oregon.
I can locate at least fifty families on fruit lands here who, in five years, could be independent of the world. The lands are broken but will produce fruit to the greatest perfection. Anything else raised in the country would also grow upon it. Poultry and bees would also pay handsomely. In a word, this is a land of grand possibilities for new men and women of good constitutions and strong resolutions.
I would be glad to have your exchanges copy this letter and thereby help me to fill up this country. It is going to be filled, and Hoosiers ought to take the one chance.
Further, I want to say to each one of my friends in old Jennings that if you read this consider it a personal letter and that I would be glad to receive a word from you; send a postal anyhow. Ask me any questions you choose and I will answer you in the Plain Dealer. Don't expect me to write you personally for I could not do that and do anything else. A few of the dear Jennings County people to whom we have written have been unkind enough to ignore the letters.
Another item: Oregon went Republican last week and Blaine and Logan will carry the state this fall, "and don't you forget it." Some other man would have suited us better than Logan, but, nevertheless, hurrah for Blaine and Logan.
SCOTT MORRIS.Sams Valley, June 15.
Spikenard post office at the Meadows has been re-established, with Scott Morris as postmaster.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 16, 1884, page 3
Editor Plain Dealer:--The summer has come, and the harvest, except threshing, is ended, and we have a fine crop. Wheat is hurt by rust, but still we have more than we know what to do with. Sixty cents per bushel is the very best price offered. Still, we can do as well at that price as your readers can at 90 cents, as we get much better yields. Very little wheat is bound here. Some is headed, and the rest is stacked and threshed loose. It is gathered up with a barley fork. It is put from the stack to the separator by a derrick fork. All we have to do is to haul away the grain and "buck" away the straw. We pay 5¢ per bushel for threshing. The fruit season is
here and our fine peaches, apricots, nectarines, pears, prunes, plums and apples are good enough for the most fastidious palate. The fruit crop is very large. In the line of vegetables we have more than an abundance. Within the last week two of our relatives from Indianapolis have visited us. They tell us that Indianapolis markets display Rogue River Valley fruits. You will know our fruits better in the future, but to know it at its best is to pluck it from the tree. The market for fruit is very strong, and will grow as our fruits become better known. I shall make an effort to set 1,000 trees this coming winter. Watermelons is another article that we can produce, and find a great market in the country north and east of us. Those who have rich, sandy bottom land can raise them abundantly. Such land is limited in area, and its owners have a sure source of revenue. We have a large proportion of such land on the ranch, and I think I shall raise "millions" until the orchard begins to yield a crop. For years I tried to make a living by appealing to men's minds, and failed. Now, I propose to let someone else teach the schools, while I appeal to men's stomachs.
Our country is filling up and improving rapidly. If you have any readers who have their eyes turned this way, let me say to them come soon if they want lands cheap. Our fruits are on the markets of the world this year for the first time, and they will advertise us in the best manner. We are not ashamed of them. Besides fruit raising, the country is well adapted to dairying, stock-raising and general farming.
There is another good thing here that I will mention. Our deer are fat, and the law is such that we can kill them when they are at their best. We improve the opportunity.
SCOTT MORRIS.Sams Valley, Oreg., Aug. 17, '84
P.S. We have a new post office at our house. Spikenard is the name, and "ye correspondent" is the postmaster. S.M.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, September 3, 1884, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer:—The summer has passed and the harvest is ended. Crops are abundant, and this is truly a land of plenty. The wheat was damaged by rust, yet there is more than we can dispose of. It brings from forty to fifty cents per bushel, cash; sixty in trade or on account. Much credit business is done here; too much for the best interests of the country. It is the results of isolation, for until the railroad was built there was no market except the local barter. It has not been long since wheat was a legal tender here as was tobacco in Virginia in colonial times. Now the railroad absorbs all the profits of trade. $1.25 is the lowest rate from Portland to our towns on freights. The band of thieves known as the O.&C. Railroad charge almost as much to carry a bushel of wheat from our station to Portland, 315 miles, as it costs to ship the same amount from Chicago to Liverpool. The N.P.R.R. is even a worse thief. The whole set of managers of these two roads ought to be sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, for their scoundrelly stealings from the people. Congress is no better for allowing such high-handed rascality. If those chaps who talk so sweetly for our votes were forced to pay freight bills for a year, on this coast, we would have a law for regulating commerce in and between the states that would be of some value rather than a dead letter in our Constitution. I think our Congressmen, if they ever read the Constitution all, cover this clause with a free pass so as not to see it. My wheat cost, to raise and thresh, [is] 34 cents per bushel, so you see that at 60 cents per bushel there would be a fair profit. But that O.&C. thief won't move it for anything less than a doubly extortionate rate, and so we are obliged to hold it for local barter. By feeding it, however, we can change it to pork, and beat the road in the end. We can feed it to cattle, and the cattle can walk to market. Had the rust not struck my wheat, it would not have cost more than 25 cents a bushel. One and one-fourth bushels of wheat is equal to one bushel of corn in making pork. In this climate the hogs can do the harvesting, and thus it is possible to produce pork very cheaply. When the "cayuse" hog is replaced by blooded stock our pork will be the best in the world, and pay the most handsome profit. For a pen picture of the Oregon porker see Indiana Farmer of October 4th, page 4, drawn from life.
I have done very well this year. I have plenty of farm products and a good deal to spare. I raised 100 bushels of fine potatoes, some specimens weighing two pounds. It is an easy matter to pick out forty potatoes that will weigh sixty pounds. I have turnips that are as big around as a dinner plate. We have been able to go to the garden and get a mess of turnips every day since June 1st. They remain out all winter. Will sow again in February and by May have another crop. We raise fine Savoy cabbage and cauliflower. Beets, carrots, mangels, "bagas" and parsnips do exceedingly well on land like ours, all winter out. Besides these, we will pit our fruits against the world. If any of your readers go to the exposition at New Orleans, they will do well to look for the fruit display from southern Oregon. We will show a plate of Gloria Mundi apples that the combined weight of the six is eight and one-half pounds. We will show you hundreds of the same kind if you come out here. The very finest of apples can be had here for 25 cents per bushel or for a bit (12½¢) on the tree. The other fruits, except pears, have brought high prices. I never saw such pears as are raised here, except at a fancy fruit stand.
The weather is fine. Clear days with cool, frosty nights is the rule. We have an occasional rain. It is likely to begin raining in earnest pretty soon.
Very little wheat is sown yet. We have until March to do that, and Oregon people never hurry up things. Some of them are swift liars, but never hurry on their other business, if, indeed, they have any other.
Politically, all is quiet. We hope to carry the state for Blaine and Logan, though it will be a close shave. By the time this reaches you the country will have been saved in the estimation of the winning party. In the hope that Blaine and Logan, Indiana Republicans and our Jennings County Republicans will triumph, I am still yours truly,
Oct. 27. Spikenard, Ore.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, November 12, 1884, page 1
A new post office has been established at Spikenard, Jackson County, with Scott Morris as postmaster. Jesse Thomas has secured the contract for carrying the mails from Sams Valley to that place at $150 per year.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 17, 1885, page 1
To the Editor of the Plain Dealer:
Christmas! The weather is so warm that I have worked in my shirtsleeves for the whole day. We did not have roast turkey for dinner, but roast venison. I prefer turkey, however. Some people dote on venison, but we have had so much of it since coming here that I care nothing for it. To kill a deer here is not so much thought of as to kill a squirrel in old Jennings. One of our neighbors has killed 118 deer within the last eighteen months. Indeed, he makes it a source of considerable revenue, and he is not a deer hunter, either. Don't tell that I told you that we had venison today, because the red-eyed law might put someone to trouble. But nothing except does are killed now. From June to November you never hear of does being shot.
To return to the weather, I must say that we have the finest in the world. Up to December 15 we had almost continual clear skies. The lowest mark reached by the thermometer was 10 deg. above zero at 7 a.m., rising gradually to 48 or 50 at noontide. Ten days ago it commenced to rain, and it made a grand success of it. To use the words of a Cincinnati blind vocalist, "the elements have wept copiously and persistently," and I may add another adverb, I should say monotonously. There is no wind or fuss, but pure rain, persistent and copious. The air is perfectly balmy, and but for the wetting properties of the rain, it is really enjoyable. We have very little fog in the mountains, but in the larger valleys the fog is very disagreeable, to say the least. The rainy season is the gold miner's harvest time. You must have water before you can get gold from old Mother Earth. For several years there has not been sufficient water for successful mining operations in the Rogue River country. We expect a rich harvest of the golden flour this season. Very little quartz mining is done here. The gold dust is hidden in sand banks and gravel beds and is found in varying quantities on almost every ranch. But when it costs five dollars in good coin to get a pennyweight of gold dust, you had better set an orchard or sow wheat on the land.
It may seem strange that one should find buttercups in bloom on Christmas, but I plucked one today. Daisies will soon be plentiful if this rain continues, and I think it will. The prospect for falling weather is encouraging to a miner. It is safer to bet on rain here than it was to bet on Blaine.
Dear! oh, dear! how it hurt to get election news for a while. I couldn't laugh, and I am rather large to cry. I had just managed to get a post office, and now where will I be after March 4! Gone where the woodbine twineth Some hungry Democrat will swoop down, and Spikenard will be his prey and I will lose an office worth $15 or $20 a year! Won't some dear brother P.M. in Indiana send me a letter of condolence? I feel that I could weep with anyone now, when I think of the office as hanging by a mere thread.
Times are very hard here so far as money is concerned. Prices for farm products are, perhaps, better here than with you, wheat excepted. Hogs, gross, $4.50; dressed, $6. Butter, 25¢. Eggs, 30¢. Flour, $15 to $17 per 1,000 lbs. Dry goods, about 25 percent higher. Hardware is very high; nails 5¢ to 7¢ per lb.; iron bar, rod, &c, 10¢ per lb. Tools of all kinds, about 25 percent higher. Apples, green, 25¢ to 30¢ per bu. Dried pears, 10¢ per lb. Other dried fruits are about on an equality with pears.
He who has never eaten dried pears has missed an extremely delicate article. There are many good things here that Hoosiers know nothing about--Oregon rain, for instance.
The Hoosier who can't better himself here in most things is, in my judgment, not fit material to develop country that needs only people who will work and wait; who will watch and pray; who will not lie, and can attend to their own business and let their neighbors alone.
SCOTT MORRIS.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, January 21, 1885, page 2
OREGON LETTER.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, April 22, 1885, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer.--After the lapse of a longer time than I intended, I write you again. Really, I have been too busy to write to anybody.
Farming in Oregon takes work as well as anywhere else. When you go into the woods to clear a place for five hundred fruit trees, make the rails and fence it, then put out the trees, you have a job if I am to be the judge. Come over in three years and you can have almost any kind of fruit you desire, if the trees prosper.
I asked a Chicagoan the other day if he still thought of returning to Chicago this spring. "Not while this climate holds out," he said. And he is sound. This country is a "bilk" in some things, but he who cannot endure this climate would better die and go to heaven as soon as possible. Of course it is wet sometimes and the roads lose their bottoms, but it beats all to average up to a high standard. Since March 1st we have not had a wet or stormy day. Clear, bright skies, cool nights (usually frosty) and warm days have been the rule. We have a little rain today, and we were glad to see it.
Grain is about all sown. Some gardens are planted; peach trees bloomed three weeks ago; prune and plum trees are now white; salmon have come and gone; the woods are full of the most beautiful flowers, and have been for weeks--indeed we have had flowers all winter, but the winter was an unusually mild one. Perhaps we were getting the benefit of the law of compensation to your disadvantage. I have often thought I would tell your readers of our forests, but I cannot convey to them a clear idea of their appearance, as they are totally unlike yours. The oak and ash are the only trees we have in common with you, and they are both scrubby here. The balm grows here also, but he is a big cousin of your balm of Gilead. He is a perfect "bilk"--no account for anything except shade and his sprouting proclivities. Evergreen is our forest; always the same in general aspect. We have pitch, yellow and sugar pines, red and white fir. These constitute our lumber resources. Sugar pines bear immense cones, often 18 inches long. It makes a fine quality of lumber when comparatively clear, much like the white pine. It makes a good rail when it can be split. I had one worked that made two hundred and sixty rails to the cut; fact, can show the rails. Pitch pine makes a poor grade of lumber; yellow pine makes a fine article, if clear, but a pine log clear of knots is not to be had. Fir and cedar are the rail material. Fir that grows in the shade splits well; that which grows in the sun can't be split, even with powder, by the oldest rail makers. Cedar splits like matches, and when not affected with dry rot makes a post or rail that will last an age.
Besides these we have maple (Oregon maples are the finest shade trees in the world), alder and laurel; the latter evergreen. Of shrubs, we have syringias, manzanita, chaparral, vine maple, chittim, serviceberry, chokecherry, lilac, wild gooseberry, buck brush and a host of others. What glorious thickets! You do not have to be told to go around them rather than through them. You will go around yourself if you care for your comfort or speed.
Times are hard here. Money is very scarce; the markets full of everything that the farmers have to sell. I can say to no one to come here to work for wages. There is plenty of idle hands here already. If you have means to buy a home and are chock full of hard.day's work, come on, and you will be welcomed. Never come here broken down in pocket, for you can!t live here without cash.
All we need to make this the grandest country in the West is money and the right kind of people.
SCOTT MORRIS,P.S.--I'm Postmaster yet; salary $1 per month.
March 31st, 1885.
We are mightily concerned about the interests of our friend Scott Morris, of Oregon. He is postmaster at Spikenard, and in this rush of "turning the rascals out," he may have to go. Undoubtedly he is a rascal, for he is a Republican, and draws his salary of $l a month with frightful regularity, when enough funds come into the office to pay it. When the eventful day comes that a Mugwump or Georgian takes possession of his office, our tears will be united with his.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, April 22, 1885, page 3
Oregon Letter.Ed. Plain Dealer:--Thank you for your sympathy in the matter of the postmastership. The looked for Mugwump has not yet appeared, and I still hold the office at two dollars per month for this quarter. The cash is in to pay the salary.
Rogue River Valley is having the off year this time. Crops were late sown on account of the unfavorable winter and the dry weather since February. Since March 1st we have had very little rain, and as a result we will have a short crop in the main valley. We have had more rain in the meadows than in the main valley over the divide. The location of a neighborhood in relation to the hills determines many things here. On one side you may have rains, range, good soils, timber, water, game, etc., while on the other side there may be almost a total lack of these things; on one side corn may prosper, while on the other it will fail; on one side you may have chills, fever and diphtheria, while on the other these things are rare.
Our grain promises well, but over the hill there is much that promises nothing. Hay will be a short crop all over this country.
The loam in this country is pretty well petered out, and people are getting to a bedrock basis. It hurts many and will ruin some, but the country will be the gainer in the end. The old-time slipwood, extravagant, whisky-guzzling farmer will have to go, and the new enterprising, economical sober brother from the East will take his place and his land. So mote it be!
You can buy horses, cows and hogs here now at Eastern prices. Wages are lower in about the same ratio compared with last year. Outside of our climate and our virgin soil we have no advantages over you. The mild climate enables us to raise many fruits of which you know nothing. Our soil is easier farmed on account of its fertility--if it is good Oregon dirt. If it is poor land, materially, it must be handled with care or you will work for nothing. New land broken in the spring won't produce anything the first year. If broken in the fall it will do pretty well if clear of pine roots and leaves.
The fruit crop will be short this year, owing to a cold snap about the middle of April. The trees will get a chance to grow a little. You see no large fruit trees here, even in old orchards, because they overbear almost every year. If Oregon people could get fair railroad rates for transportation and would make the effort, she could drive the foreign prunes out of your markets. The prune raised here is vastly superior to any shipped from the Old World. It looks now as if the roads will, after a while, give us a fair rate. Possibly by the time we are ready for it the roads will get down. At 5 cents per pound I can get rich in a few years in the prune business.
We are moving socially. We now have a day school and sabbath school in our neighborhood. The post office is new also. When we get a few more families, for which we have room, a new school house and a church, we will have a grand place.
I advise no one to come here who is well fixed and satisfied in Indiana. [illegible] is as little as one should ever drop into this country with. Even with that amount he may do far worse here than at home. There are more liars here than in Arkansas, and they look upon the immigrant as their legitimate prey.
June 5, '85. Spikenard, Oregon.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, June 24, 1885, page 1
OUR OREGON LETTER.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, August 12, 1885, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer:
The Eastern papers say that California is on hand with a wheat surplus of 60,000,000. I do not doubt it in the least. There is another state just north of California that will have a surplus. In proportion to population, I believe Oregon will beat her sister on the south for grain this year. There are two things you can count on in these two states, viz: A wheat surplus and a Republican majority. So long as the former is the case we are all right. If the Republican party behaves itself decently it will be all right, too. The last Legislature of Oregon, however, came distressingly near making a fool of itself in the failure to elect a U.S. Senator as well as in the omission of other duties. Of course, I vote the Republican ticket, but I get terribly disgusted sometimes with the action of legislative bodies.
I presume Gov. Moody will convene the Hon. boys again in a short time. I hope he will give them a sound spanking and compel them to do something for the state rather than quarrel over senatorial honors.
We are in the midst of an Oregon drought. Gardens, pastures, etc., have almost literally dried up. Recall the drought of 1881 in Indiana and you will have a true picture of the situation in Southern Oregon at this writing. Our land resists drought far better than yours. Such a season as ours in Indiana would make corn worth 75 cents per bushel; here the corn promises well. The fact is Southern Oregon is a good corn country and our farmers are just beginning to realize it--so it will always be Democratic, for corn makes whisky and whisky makes Democrats. The Republicans are bad for whisky out here, I am sorry to say.
I want to just whisper in your ear, Bro. Norris, that we have ripe peaches in this country from the middle of June to October. Peaches for four months! Strawberries can be had for three months. The same is true for raspberries and blackberries. Then interspersed with these may be apricots, cherries, plums and prunes, as well as pears, apples and grapes. In fact this is a land fit for the gods if the people will make a little effort. But that is what kills the old mossbacks of this country. They won't work much. They have studied astronomy through a whisky bottle until they seem to have no other desire than to be transported, without any effort on their part, to the stars. "Barkis is willin'," and the prayer of the Yankee is "Lord, send Thy Chariot soon!" Their progeny will soon spend the substance of their fathers, and the "man from the States" will get possession. When that time comes Southern Oregon, one of the most favored regions of the whole United States, will take her position at the front.
I believe there will be a boom out here in the near future. Gold-bearing quartz is known to be abundant in the county lying west of us, Josephine, as well as in this county, and we are now told that this hitherto supposed refractory ore can be worked profitably. If this be true, and the stories of the millions of tons in sight in Southwestern Oregon, then our country will soon take a hop, step and jump ahead of any mining country in all the mineral belt from Leadville west. If only half that is told us is true, the Galice Creek country will soon contain a city larger than Virginia City and our market problem will be solved. We hold our breath in anticipation.
Then the Eastern breezes tell us wonderful discoveries of gold in Pine Valley in Northeastern Oregon. This region is said to be a Croesus, and hundreds are becoming rich in a day. Prospecting is the rage and large stores of hidden wealth are almost daily disclosed. The end is not yet. The only danger is that the old "mossback" will, as usual, set his stakes and play dog-in-the-manger. He is too poor and too lazy to do anything himself, and will ask such a fabulous price for his claim that no sensible capitalist will invest. This has always been the curse of this country, if I have been correctly informed.
We have numerous promising silver-bearing ledges. Near Gold Hill we have a mountain full of fine magnetic iron ore. Nearby is a vast ledge of marble. And now comes the news that Sams Valley, near the iron mine, has a bed eighteen inches thick of coal underlying it. The air is full of mining news.
But this letter is already too long, and I will close by saying to the boys, don't rush out here for a gold mine. Ten chances to one you will be left, and add another tramp to our population. Wait until I tell you to come. If all is true, it will be some time before these mines are sufficiently developed to afford work and wages to a very large number of laborers.
Spikenard, Oregon, July 25, '85.
Ed. Plain Dealer:--Perhaps another letter from the Great Northwest would be relished by yourself and the Plain Dealer family.
The autumn with its ripened fruits and its forest hues is here again. The hues are just as lovely as yours. But the fruits, who can describe them? For size, flavor and beauty, the Oregon fruit leads the world. The more you see of it the more you admire it. The more you eat of it the more you want of it. What a paradise is this for the orchardist! More valuable than our mines will our orchards be in the near future. Acres and acres are being set each year. Just a few days ago there came to Rogue Valley a bright farseeing Sucker with 8000 peach trees. Another man is going to set 80 acres in pears this year. What a lot of preserves he could furnish material for in a few years! He has his crop contracted for five years at 50 cents per bushel. In four years his trees will produce two bushels each. On each acre 135 trees can be set, giving $135 per acre. It does seem to me that that will beat wheat at 50 cents per bushel. If the pears were dried and sent to the eastern cities more could be realized. A dish of nicely served dried pears is flt food for angels. This is G. J. Grinstead's opinion, to which I fully subscribe, He spent a week with me lately which we greatly enjoyed. I hardly think he will ever feel inclined to locate again in Butlerville, though it is a good place in which to live. He, like most of those who come here, is enthusiastic for Oregon. I hope he will come to the Rogue country, as we need such men.
This has been rather an off year for crops as the season was extremely dry. There is enough and to spare, except, possibly, hay. Potatoes are short but other parts of the state have a surplus. Gardens did not succeed this year, but the old mossback Oregonian regrets it little. Give him sour bread, bacon from a cayuse hog and a bottle of bad whisky, and he is happy.
The mining outlook is bright. Much prospecting is done and valuable finds reported. The preliminary survey for a switch from Gold Hill to the iron mines was lately made. We think they will soon be opened. If they are, the sleepy little station will boom at a surprising rate and become a good-sized town.
Unless we are all deceived this country is soon to start on the up grade. Property will certainly increase in value rather than otherwise. Such a land with such a climate is bound to find its level. It is far below its proper level now. But eastern men and eastern capital pour in. The old mossback is having to move.
Work was lately resumed on the R.R., and we expect in a year or two to have communication with the Golden Gate City.
Spikenard, Oregon, Oct. 2.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, October 14, 1885, page 3
Our Oregon Letter.
Editor Plain Dealer:
The alleged winter has come. Not the white cold frosty winter of Indiana, but the cloudy rainy winter of the Pacific Coast. Often we have frost and a slight freeze but the frost as well as the morning fog is soon dissipated by the morning sun. A little snow has fallen on the mountaintops. In the valley, the snow melted ere it reached the earth. The streets have been on a high run once already. Last year we had no high waters until near Christmas. It looks now as though we are to have a wet winter, and the miner is smiling at the prospect of a good run. I do hope the brethren of the pick, shovel, and pan will gather up many ounces of dust. Gold dust is the one product of Oregon that always commands a ready sale at prices that never fluctuate. An ounce of pure gold dust free from amalgam or other foreign matter will buy twenty dollars worth of beans in any market. Beans, bread, bacon and too often whisky are the staples of the average miner. Then there is the "Climax" tobacco and a pipe.
The gold miner wants a colored bean with .a tough skin that he can pot in the morning and place over a pitch fire to boil until noon A bean that will break in cooking is not in good repute among gold miners. The miner is usually rough in dress and plain in speech. One does not care to wear fine clothes all day in mud and water halfway to his waist. A calf shoe and plug hat are well enough on dress parade, but in a mining gulch, a waterproof cowhide boot and an oilskin hat, coat and pants are eminently in order. Even he who manipulates the nozzle of the giant, throwing a six-inch stream of water at a velocity of one thousand feet per second, in a hydraulic mine feels better in the regulation dress. Whew! don't he make the gravel fly! Keep away from his big gun or you will be knocked into atoms on short notice. If you want to enlarge your idea of hydraulics just visit one of these mines. Trees, rocks, banks of earth and boulders melt away as if by magic. With a roar like a cyclone, and a mighty swirl of some great maelstrom, all are swept into the great flume and with a tremendous velocity are carried to the dump. The gold is left on the mercury-charged bedrock at the head of the flume except what is deposited in the flume as the water, or pulp rather, passes along. Sometimes particles of gold adhere to clay and are carried out to the dump. The little clay balls are called stealers and are often worked again. In rich mining dirt working the tailings pays handsomely. Some are worked two or three times. It is a common practice in these degenerate days of mining to work old dumps.
Here I have strayed off into a mining letter, a thing I had no thought of doing when I began. If the Plain Dealer family is entertained, I am satisfied. How I should like to see that family! In the dim, dim future I hope to see it or part of it again.
Financially, things are flat over on this side of the Land of the Free. I'm dead broke even if I have a post office worth fifty cents a week. I feel like a depositor in a suspended bank when he is offered fifty cents on the dollar. I was offered today forty dollars for two cows for which, 21 months ago, I paid seventy-five dollars. I didn't sell, though. I am in a state of severe temporary financial embarrassment. Now is the time for people to come here, buy a farm and put cattle upon it. Land and labor are cheap here now and if one is ready to go west now is the time to strike for the valley of the Rogue. The times will improve before many months, certainly.
The Central Pacific R.R. Co. has bought the Oregon & California road, and will push it to a completion. A new era will then open up for this country. We need something of the kind very badly.
The election of J. H. Mitchell to the U.S. Senate gives universal satisfaction to the people. The Legislature should have done this last year.
Nov. 28, Spikenard, Oregon
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, December 16, 1885, page 1
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, January 27, 1886, page 2
Spikenard, Oregon, Jan. 16, 1886.Editor Plain Dealer: 1885 is gone, 1886 is here. We have had cold weather so far this year. Mercury has crawled down to 18º above zero several times, and in some places the ground has frozen hard enough to bear a horse for an hour or two in the morning. Now, we consider this rather cold comfort. Such roads! mud, muddy, muddiest, then muddier than muddiest.
However, it is a good time for a tenderfoot to locate himself very permanently. No oldtimer will jump his claim. He has been there, and if the newcomer has located his boots on the landed estate of Uncle Sam no protest will be filed before May.
Land that don't get muddy here when miners are happy needs fertilizing. Here, as well as in old Jennings, the best land shows the largest percent of mud in wet weather. None of ours has been able to afford a white carpet this winter for more than a few hours at a time. Even then, the carpet showed ugly black spots. We are blockaded; even if Congress does order 24,000,000 big daddy dollars coined this year I shall refuse to go to Gold Hill to haul in my share of them until we have had a few weeks of fair weather. Bear it in mind that we want that business to go on. We have silver in our mountains and must have a market for it. We want the January installment of dollars dumped into this county. We need them very badly. We will gladly sign silver certificates for all we can get. We will redeem the paper when we sell our next year's wheat crop.
Business is dull. Nothing can be done until winter is over. We are stuck in the mud. Nothing but the lifting power of old Sol can help us. Jack Frost is likely to retire from the field before long, 'Tis too big a contract for him to undertake to bridge all this country. The county is in debt now for a bridge over the Rogue.
For amusement I am chopping, building and choring. I am at home all the time. When there is a trip to be made to town I send some other fellow. I can go next summer and lift him [i.e., out of the mud], I am too busy now.
Really, Mr. Editor, 'tis too muddy to load the mail with a long letter, and I bid you good speed for this year, assuring you that if you come here right away you will be sure to locate. Yours in hope of dry weather.
A voting precinct was established in Meadows precinct by the county court this week and J. B. Welch, John Bailey and Polk Hull were appointed registers with W. G. Mayfield and Scott Morris as clerks.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 6, 1886, page 1
Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, May 5, 1886, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer:
After a long silence I undertake to write you again. I have been very busy for the last three months. Until November the ground was too dry to plow. Then, for a long time, it was unsafe to take a horse off bedrock for fear he would not be seen again. You think this statement paradoxical. 'Tis not, for there is no regularity about where bedrock may be found. Here it may be forty feet to it while it may be cropping out only a few rods away. Practically the ground between the two points may be level. This being the case teaming, in winter, is very unpleasant; as you have no assurance as to where you will be next. The winter was a very warm, wet one, the best for mining for many years. What the result will be cannot be known until the "cleanup," Some are cleaning up now, others are still running with a limited amount of water. Some good strikes have been reported; one man took out several thousand dollars in one day near Gold Hill, others report good prospects in the same locality Many others fail to get pay for time fooled away. The business is extremely uncertain.
Small grain is about all in. The area sown is large, and the prospect for a bonanza crop is really cheering. Last year our crop was short, and we have tried hard to remedy it this year. "Oregon never fails" says the old pioneer, so look out for a good report. I am not so sure about the election, and things are mixed. The Republicans deserve to be beaten, and the Democrats have threatened us, and are working hard to carry out threats. I still hold the post office, and so do not fret. 'Tis a good office, but the pay don't trouble me a great deal.
Our railroad is progressing, and we hope ere long to be in communication with San Francisco. Then we will have a market, and possibly will be able to sell what we produce. As it is now you can't get coin for anything. Money is a relic of the past. I have seen hard times, but the last six months has taught me that I never was "broke" before. I am going to teach a four months' school during the summer at $40 per month. I would like to see a "twenty" once more.
Still I should vote Oregon all day were I called upon to select a state for a home. We have the clearest sky--when it don't rain--the richest soil, the highest hills, the prettiest landscapes, and the fairest flowers (and the most of them) in all the wide world. You can live easily here, if you can't get a dollar now, you can raise a big crop with less work than anywhere else. If you want to shine as a society star you will have to go somewhere else for an audience. Nothing is wrong naturally here except a lack of communication with the rest of the world. Engineering skill and Chinamen are removing the difficulties in the way of this.
By the way, we are anti-Chinese over here. John must go. "Melican man no likee Chinaman." The East says we are heartless, unjust and cruel. We know better, we know that this Chinese horde is a festering sore, poisoning the whole moral atmosphere, disorganizing labor, and degrading everything it touches. We know that one hundred thousand slaves upon this coast means that civilization shall be stamped out, and that the hideous form of heathen paganism shall be planted upon the ruins thereof. We know that China always absorbs every country to which her leprous children go. 'Tis the march of death, silent remorseless, resistless. 'Tis the angel of death for this fair land. Shall we receive our doom "like dumb driven cattle," shall we give up our homes, our lands, our religion, our country, yea our lives, in order that fools shall proclaim our lands the asylum for the world? Shall America's children weep for bread that China shall rob us of our treasure? No. This land belongs to America's children. These fruitful valleys, these running streams, these mountain storehouses belong to freemen sons and daughters, and we will defend our own.
We desire no scenes of bloodshed in this war against barbarism, but we will rid our land of this scourge at any cost of time and labor. We cannot, we will not have this curse with us, treaty or no treaty. What's to be done? Abrogate the treaty. What right have we to do that? What right have Chinese subjects to violate it every day? Are not treaties binding? not such a one as the Burlingame. That treaty has not a single merit to plead its existence.
These are broad and sweeping statements, but remember we are 10,000 ft. higher up than you, dear Chinese lover, and can see farther than you.
Yours for Abrogation.
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, July 7, 1886, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer:
Since May 1st, we have had fair, warm weather, and if rain comes soon we will have a grand crop of grain. Otherwise, the crop will be only from fair to poor. Jack Frost settled the fruit crop by taking it almost clean about the 1st of April. We will have very little fruit, but the trees have a show to make a heavy growth. Overbearing is the great trouble with orchards here except when a late freeze destroys the crop. The disaster to the fruit crop will have a depressing effect upon the rapid settlement of the country. A short crop one year and almost an entire failure the next is enough to take the "Italy" from the fame of any country. It never happened so before and is not likely to occur again. We have many other advantages to offset this count. The immunity from destructive storms which we enjoy is worth a great deal. A.storm now would be acceptable to all who have their hay in the barn. The drought is cutting a large slice off the products of the country. If all our summers are to be as this and last summer were we will have to irrigate all except our grain and orchard crops. Much of our country is so situated that we can irrigate. Irrigated land is worth a fabulous price anywhere on this coast. It will produce three crops of alfalfa per year, besides much pasture and other crops in proportion. Land producing six tons of hay per acre in a year is worth $300 an acre to anyone, provided he has good cattle to eat the hay. For $800 I could irrigate 80 acres of good land. I have the water in abundance, but the $800 is lacking. Perhaps it will come in due time. Until I can irrigate I shall have to be content with wheat and rye for grain crops and take chances on garden, small fruits and alfalfa crops. This is the condition of many in southern Oregon. Many good farms are so located that irrigation by private means is out of the question. Many other farms are sub-irrigated by the seepage from the hills. Irrigation has been the great factor in the development of much of California. Rogue River Valley must follow suit or always remain poverty-stricken from grain raising.
Our election passed off very quietly and the Republicans in this county got one office--District Judge. Just how the party fared in the state I am not advised. It deserved a severe punishment at the hands of the people. Bossism must go.
Since writing the above I have learned that the Democrats carried the state election. Perhaps the Republican bosses will now take the hint and retire from the field and let decent men have a chance to manage affairs. It is exasperating to give up our supremacy because a few fools conceived the idea that Oregon belonged to them. Cornelius was defeated because he employs Chinamen. No one who does that can be Governor of any state west of the Rockies. "The Chinese must go." So must their supporters. The white laborer who supports a family shall be exalted above the heathen celibate. The family is the hope of our fair land. "The strength of a nation is in the homes of its people."
We are not 10,000 feet higher up than you, as I said in my last letter. We are 1,000 feet above you and can see this Chinese question more clearly than he who looks at it from the Ohio Valley. Your position, Mr. Editor, is right. Let your light shine in The Plain Dealer. SCOTT MORRIS,
who is still postmaster and pedagogue.
Spikenard, Oregon, June 30, '86.
The directors of the Medford school district have chosen the following teachers to take charge of the public schools at that place for the ensuing year: Principal, Prof. Scott Morris; principal primary department, Miss Mollie Merriman; assistant, Miss Sophia Wilson. There were said to be no less than nine applicants for the principalship.
Prof. Scott Morris read a paper on "Graded vs. Ungraded Schools." This literary effort was full of sound advice, enlivened by just enough humor.
"District Teachers' Institute," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 4, 1886, page 1
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, December 8, 1886, page 2
After a long time I again address the Plain Dealer readers, from beyond the Cascades.
Affairs are rather "pokey" here just now. Our season was an unusually dry one and our crops were short. The farmer is unable to buy and all kinds of business is, in a measure, paralyzed. We had no rains from April to November and up to date have had barely enough to enable the farmer to start his plow. Seeding is in order, and the large farmers are pushing things along at a rapid rate.
Immigration to this country is not heavy. We expect no influx of population until our railroad is completed. We have a fine country that will be rapidly filled up when we secure intercourse with California and San Francisco.
There never was a better time to buy a home here than now. Land is cheaper here now than two years ago. He who buys now will speculate on a safe basis. A three years' residence here has convinced me that this country is excelled by few other places for its natural conditions. A gentleman of large ideas removed to this vicinity (Medford) two years ago and bought a farm which was supposed by many to be exhausted. He dropped his plow down a few inches below the customary level (about 3 inches), then followed with a subsoil plow. He then pulverized thoroughly this bed of loose earth, and the results have been astonishing. The former owner bought his garden produce, melon and vegetables. The new man raised $1,000 worth of melons and all kinds of garden and field crops in great profusion and of the best quality. His corn is not behind that of the best Illinois product in quality, nor far behind it in yield. He has demonstrated that we can produce any kind of crops raised in the Ohio Valley and many others in addition. He advocates drainage rather than irrigation. He planted pear seeds last spring, budded them in June and now has budded trees large enough to transplant to the orchard. All this in less than eight months! This is, except France, the only spot on earth where such a thing can be done, and American pear stocks are a thing of history. Our nurserymen are no longer compelled to import pear stocks from sunny France, but can have them produced in the "Italy of America.'' Brains and energy are the two great needs of Southern Oregon. All else Nature provides.
You will see that I am at Medford. I am at the old business of teaching and am trying to lead Medford schools to glory and fame. I have two assistants and enrollment of 150 pupils in the school. The pay is meager and the labor great but we hope for great things in the future. Three years ago Medford did not exist save on paper. Miraculous things happen in the far West as well as elsewhere. We will soon have two good church buildings and hope to get the court house in a few years,
With kind regards to all I am still
Nov. 28. Medford, Oregon.
Prof. Scott Morris has resigned his position as principal of the district school here.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 21, 1887, page 2
Scott Morris, of the Meadows, who has been principal of the Medford school, has resigned that position.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, January 21, 1887, page 3
Prof. Scott Morris has resigned his position. Hereafter the school will be conducted by Miss Molly Merriman, assisted by Miss Sophia Wilson.
"Medford Mutterings," Ashland Tidings, January 21, 1887, page 3
California Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, March 16, 1887, page 2
Editor Plain Dealer:
I am over the line in the Golden State. I have seen very little gold, however. I am going to prospect a gulch today, and hope to strike it rich There are mines here, but of late very little has been taken from them. Formerly this was a lively camp. Its reigning sobriquet is Cottonwood. The fact that cottonwood trees grow along the stream gives rise to the name. The post office is down in the Guide as Henley. It is a sleepy little burg, in the mountains. The people keep stock, raise hay, fruit, a little grain and gardens. As a fruit region, it is about like Rogue River Valley, in Oregon. Fine apples, pears, prunes and peaches are produced. I am out on a little venture for experience. Got tired of teaching, wanted a change, and thought I'd help build a railroad. I walked over from Ashland, thirty miles. The road is simply awful. It's pay your fare, a bit a mile, and walk half the time or walk all the way. I chose to go it alone. Could you see the road I came over you would never speak of your roads as hilly or muddy again. Your yellow mud is bad, but this black adobe is so far ahead of yours for sticking qualities that yours are but light afflictions. Two passengers for a six-horse team! Yes, and mire down too. The mud is now in the mush state, and when you put your foot in it you cannot tell where you will stop. I failed constantly to find bottom. When I'd leave the road I would be in snow to my knees. The snow was melting and at every step I got a shoe full of snow water thickened with diluted adobe. I have been nursing a blistered heel and a badly jammed great toe for two days. Think I'll be able to hobble around without the use of crutches in a day or two more. Could you see me you would think I was aping the gait of some fair beauty from the Flowery Orient. I am not, however. I think too tittle of the Chinese to ape them. They are the one great curse of this coast.
I don't know how long I will stay here. As long as it pays I will try to stand railroading. Will drop you a line semi-occasional. Our railroad will be finished this summer.
Henley, Cal., March 5, 1887.
Spikenard has a new postmaster, Elias C. Benham having been appointed to succeed Scott Morris.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 22, 1887, page 3
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, September 7, 1887, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer:
I have not intruded upon your columns lately, as I have been away from home and busy. I have been along the line of R.R. construction in northern California and southern Oregon.
For months the company have been at work on the road over the Siskiyou Mountains. These mountains present formidable difficulties for the engineers and graders. To reach two points which by wagon road are only five miles apart, the company have been obliged to make fifteen miles of road. In this distance are several grades of 175 feet to the mile, two 14-deg. curves, several cuts in hard rock 50 feet or more deep, several long and high trestles, and four tunnels besides many heavy fills. Altogether there is 7,000 feet of tunneling, much of it of the most difficult and expensive kind. The main, or Siskiyou, tunnel, is at an elevation of about 4,000 feet above sea level. It is 2,000 feet higher than Ashland, which is only fourteen miles away. The road is built in the most substantial manner, and every little stream is arched with solid hard rock masonry. The larger ones are crossed by bridges resting on solid walls of granite lain in Portland cement. Everything is as perfect as the great wealth of the Southern Pacific Co. can make it.
The Siskiyou Mountains are grand in scenery. A wilder and more romantic region can hardly be found. The tourist who fails to travel over this line will miss the best mountain scenery between San Francisco and Portland.
The road will be finished by New Year's, and then we will have an all-rail route between the two great centers of the Pacific coast. The whistle that proclaims the completion of this line will also sound the death knell of the old stagecoach. We will be sorry to see the old stages retire from the field, but in this age of steam they are too slow.
We expect that the completion of this line will greatly enhance the value of our country. People will come more rapidly, and we will soon have a thickly populated country. Our markets will be far better, and business will assume a cash basis rather than the barter system now in vogue.
Crops this year are not large, though we will have a surplus of grain, fruit, hay and stock. We are far better off than many other places, both on this coast and in the East. Our summer has not been excessively hot, though we have some unusually hot days. I am of the opinion that the mean temperature this summer has been below the average. The invariable drought extending from May to October is the worst drawback we have. A well-laid irrigation scheme would overcome that. We have plenty of water in our streams for all agricultural purposes.
Congratulating old Jennings County upon the successful bore at Vernon, I will for the present turn off the gas.
Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, January 25, 1888, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer:—Things in Oregon are moving on. The railroad is now completed and we are connected with the whole world. The driving of the last spike at Ashland on the 17th ult. completed the great enterprise of connecting the Pacific States and Washington Territory. A great boom is setting in. People are coming rapidly, real estate is advancing sharply, our mechanics wear a smile, and the real estate agent is jubilant. Our fruit was all bought this year at handsome prices. Trees are being set by the acre. Many more would be set if they could be had, but every nursery in Oregon and Washington is cleaned out. Fruit raising is to be the great industry here. Our fruit beats the world.
Those who intend to some to Rogue River must move, or land will go beyond men of moderate means. It can yet be had, except at Ashland, for a reasonable price. The great rise will come in the spring, when travel begins to increase.
We are having a bit of winter now. Twelve inches of snow has fallen since New Year's Day. This morning the thermometer registered 3 degrees above zero, which is the lowest point by 7 degrees reached since I have been here--four years. Such weather is a genuine surprise to the Oregonian and drives him into his house. If we can have more frost in winter and less in spring we would like it better. I hope this is the beginning of a new dispensation.
Oh, yes, I am P.M. again. I tell you that honors come unsought when a man moves to the frontier in Oregon. The office is no big thing, however, but the commission and oath is.
That reminds me that I must close this or fail to get it off today.
A happy New Year to you and your readers.
Jan. 7, 1888.
Our Oregon Letter.
Spring has been with us for several weeks. Crops are about all in, except corn, and flowers cover our hills. The prospect for a good crop is very flattering at this date. The area of wheat this year is less than usual. Corn is getting more and more popular each season as a field crop. It does well here if properly cultivated; more corn and a better stock of hogs are adding materially to our revenues. Berks and Poland Chinas are the leading hogs. The razor-backed mountaineer is below par, and the sooner he dies in a snowstorm the better.
Our winter was much colder than usual. For a few days in Jan. it got down to a Hoosier land temperature. Mercury ranged from zero to 12 deg. below. Here snow fell to the depth of 12 inches. It was surprisingly, as well as uncomfortably, cold. For over 30 years it has not been anything near so cold. . . . Things are booming out here. Strangers are coming from all sections to see our grand country. Land is advancing sharply in price. Soon our valley will be one vast orchard. All agree that our fruits are the very best. There is an unlimited market for our fruits, and trees have been set by the tens of thousands; more would have been planted could our nurseries have supplied them. The business has only commenced, and next year millions of trees will be set; unless our fruit fail this season, good land anywhere near the R.R. will be worth $100 per acre before July. . . . Our people are getting their eyes opened, and an entire revolution in the farming enterprises of the valley is setting in. A bushel of apples cost the farmer only about one-fifth as much as a bushel of wheat and can be sold readily for a good price. Wheat is a drug at 50¢ per bu. Apples are now worth 2¢ per lb. Only long-keeping winter apples planted here to any great extent. Peaches and prunes are valuable crops, as are Bartlett pears. The world is calling loudly for more of these fruits. Peaches are uncertain in many parts of this country, and great care is necessary in the selection of land for peach orchards. Jack Frost is the great peach enemy here. The peach has no insect enemies in Rogue River, and the tree is very healthy. Indeed, fruit pests are the exception with us. . . . Politicians are arranging for a lively campaign. Democracy will make a desperate attempt to carry Oregon this year. We propose to meet them and defeat them. Blaine is out of the race, but we can carry the state for Chicago nominees. Harrison is popular here. Sherman or Bob Lincoln can carry the state. Allison is also strong. No free wool for us! Democrats here want free whiskey, of course. . . . This Co. (Jackson) has been ruled by the Democrats for many years. We are $100,000 in debt. There will be a change this year, we think. We have some rascals to turn out, and they are not going out very gracefully, but they will have to go "allee samee." . . . With the best of wishes for you and your large family of Plain Dealer readers I am still Yours Truly,
March 20, 1888. SCOTT MORRIS.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, April 4, 1888, page 2 (Ellipses in original.)
Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, June 20, 1888, page 2
Editor Plain Dealer:
Oregon is booming still. At this writing (June 6) I have not received the report of the election. This office is off to one side and news comes slowly.
The crop prospects are fairly encouraging. Until about May 25, the season was unusually dry and the grain crops were anything but promising. Since that time we have had wet weather. On the evening of the 5th we had a regular downpour for half an hour, thoroughly soaking things and in sloping fields doing slight injury by washing out the crops. It is still raining. Most of the grain will now make a good crop. Gardens are booming. The fruit crop is simply immense. Everywhere trees are bending under their loads. Rogue River Valley prospects are very flattering indeed. Newcomers are numerous and land values near town are stiff. Good lands within five miles of a R.R. station bring from $50 to $100 per acre and will go higher rather than decline. In a few years this valley will, like similar valleys in Cal., be one continuous orchard. A good orchard is worth $1,000 per acre in Cal. It ought to bring as much here and will do it.
I have just returned from a trip through the northern half of Douglas County, a region as large as New Jersey. This county includes nearly the whole of the beautiful Umpqua Valley. The main agricultural interest of the country is stock-raising. From Douglas County comes the famous Oregon wool. Thousands and thousands of sheep range over her beautiful treeless, grassy hills. These sheep are sheared twice a year, May and October, and live all the year on the hills. Unless snow falls they require no other feed to live through the winter. The best results, however, are realized by the thrifty shepherd who feeds his flocks a little grain and hay during the rainy winter. Unless the sheep are sheared in the fall they suffer great damage from the large amount of water held by their fleeces. The cattle industry of the Umpqua Valley is great also. On some ranches, notably in Scott's Valley, Yoncalla Valley and up and down the Umpqua, herds of fine grade cattle are seen. Douglas County--the south half--is said to be the finest prune country in the world; with this one exception Jackson County excels her in orchard products Many fruit growers do not concede the prune claim.
Mining interests in Douglas County are in an exceedingly robust state just now. East of Oakland a few miles is the famous Bonanza quicksilver mine. A few miles east of Yoncalla the Elkhead quicksilver mines are located. Both are being vigorously worked and both have an inexhaustible amount of ore.
East ol Roseburg, 10 mi., is the newly discovered marble quarry. Here are hundreds of acres of what is claimed to be the finest variegated marble in the world. Certainly there is nothing more beautiful in the shape of marble. In the different parts of the ledge the various hues and markings are found. The owners say that the rock is free from grit or flaws and that when their machinery is in place any sized slab can be furnished. I hope that the genial gentleman who own this great find will realize their most sanguine expectations.
It has also lately been discovered that Douglas County has a limitless amount of cement rock equal to that from which the "Portland" cement is obtained. A factory has been built at Oregon City, and daily shipments of rock are made from Oakland. All things considered, Douglas County is to be congratulated.
Perhaps I have absorbed enough of your time.
P.S.--Hurrah! Oregon is Republican by a big majority. Even in Democratic Jackson County, we got sheriff, county clerk, one commissioner and the surveyor. Hip! Hip!! Hurrah!!
BORN.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, August 1, 1888, page 3
MORRIS.--July 18th, 1888, to Mr. and Mrs. Scott Morris, Spikenard, Oregon, a daughter.
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, August 8, 1888, page 2
Editor Plain Dealer:--The harvest is upon us. There never was such an immense crop grown in the state as this one. 1888 is the bonanza year for the granger and rancher. Business is brisk, though prices for farm products are low.
To show how our seasons and products run I give you a few items. I have had sweet corn to use for ten days. My squashes (patty pans) and pole beans are fit to use. Potatoes are ripe. I have cucumbers, cabbage, beets and turnips. Peas, beets, turnips, &c., come in about June 1st. I have turnips that weigh five pounds each from seed sown in April. Onions grow well from the seed. You will see from this that our seasons are about like yours. In the main valley the season is three or four weeks earlier than here in the hills.
Newcomers are astonished at the wonderful yields from our soils. It is certainly the most prolific soil in the world when we have abundant summer rains or is irrigated. I have Welcome oats that are six feet high and look as if they would yield 100 bushels per acre. For hay they are a very fine variety.
People are coming at a rapid rate Most of them settle in or near town and buy land in small lots for fruit growing, a business that is continually increasing in importance. Our early peaches are all gone at $1 per box of 20 pounds The market for our peaches is unlimited, it seems.
Politically everything is quiet. We had our fight prior to June. The Democratic editors try to raise a fog by making false statements about Harrison's position on the Chinese question. They are too mean and cowardly to give records later than '82. They distort and garble Harrison's position and statements of that date. They charged him early in the campaign with being a foe to the laboring man. They have had decency enough to drop that line of battle. They hoped to raise a fog behind which they could hide with their detestable free trade sentiments. It won't work. The Pacific coast will be solid for Harrison and Morton.
Yours truly, SCOTT MORRIS.
Spikenard, Ore., July 25, 1888.
Harrison and Morton are the boys for Oregon, "We will get there, Eli, with both feet," and "don't you let it evade your memory."
Spikenard, Or. SCOTT MORRIS.
The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, August 8, 1888, page 3
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, October 31, 1888, page 2
Oregon has beaten the record this year. Her crops of every kind are the largest ever seen. The demand for grain has been strong at 1 cent per lb. Wheat reached 65 cents per bu., the highest mark since 1884. Fruit has brought a good price. Our apples are going every day in carload lots at about 40 cents per bu. Potatoes are a drug at 30 cents per bu. Farmers are happy with hogs at $6.00 per 100 cwt. gross, i.e., those who have hogs to sell. . . . Wool! Deliver us from Democracy? Wool at 10¢ per lb. won't pay for the herding and shearing. Yet our Democratic orators (?) tell us that free trade means better prices for wool. A false major premise always leads to a false conclusion. Democracy is arguing from such a premise this year, and sensible farmers, laborers and tradesmen can see it. There is going to be an earthquake on Nov. 6th; old-line Democrats are coming out for Harrison and Morton. Others claim to be independent and say very little. They will vote all right and keep quiet. I think the June majority will not be materially lessened.
Spikenard, Oct. 20tb.
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, December 5, 1888, page 2
Editor Plain Dealer:--The great fight is over, the guns are silent, the stream of oratory has ceased to flow, and the victors have painted everything scarlet red. Victory is perched high upon our banner. Oregon has played a strong hand and the Hoosiers in "Webfoot" and sunny Southern Oregon send greeting to their brethren who stood so gallantly with us in the fight for Protection and Progress. How proud we are to say that we hail from Indiana and that we know, personally, the President-elect. There are many of us here, and we have not been slow to defend our great leader against the omniscient campaign liar. We knew the purity, the wisdom, the personal integrity of our chief and were only too happy to stand for him.
I have seen but one Hoosier who had aught to say against Mr. Harrison, and he could only repeal long-since-decayed lies about his "kid-glove aristocracy." He was also a fool of 22 summers with the airs of a political aspirant in a Democratic county.
We will soon be able to rule our county. Four years ago they boasted of a majority of 400. Now, there is but a plurality of 140. Three-fourths of our immigrants are Republicans, and at the rate they are coming, we will soon make this the banner Republican county of Oregon. Already we have the best of the county officers. Oregon is conceded by Democracy to be hopelessly Republican. California is placed in the same category. For one, I am glad to see our fair coast stand for political truth. Free prunes, free raisins, free lumber and free jute-cloth means ruin to many of our infant industries.
We hope for a better mail service after March 4. For several years we have been a grievously afflicted people tn this respect. It has been plainly demonstrated that the Democratic Party is not equal to the task of running the machinery of this government.
The incoming administration must fulfill its pledges in regard to the tariff, i.e., must pass the "Senate bill" and then let the Chinese restriction act stand or count the whole of this coast as against it. We got what we wanted on the Chinese question and expect that law to stand. Mr. Cleveland's long apology was ludicrous to us and lost him votes. A clean-cut signature from him would have hurt us considerably, non-partisan as was the bill.
In a temporal sense Oregon is all right. This year has been one of bounteous crops and fair living prices. We have made much.solid-progress and look forward to next year very hopefully. There is a steady influx of immigrants of a good class. Land is up to such a figure now that only those who mean business come here. They bring, as a rule, considerable means which they invest in lands and houses. We are glad to have them come to the fairest land on earth. We know that here a fair reward for diligence awaits all who come with the means to buy even a small farm.
Fruit raising is the object of most who come together with a desire to live in the best climate in America, California not excepted, with all her blowing and booming.
Spikenard, Nov. 29th.
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, March 20, 1889, page 4
Editor Plain Dealer:--Unless I write you today I shall not start you another letter under the reign of Democracy. I have always been proud of the state where I was born, but a Hoosier who has followed a tangent that brought him to Oregon is proud to retrace in his mind the line touch[ing] his old circle of life. All eyes are turned to Indiana's favorite son. We who know him personally have no fears. We know him to be equal to any position in which he may be placed. His clear head and pure heart will steer the old ship of state right whether the waters be smooth or rough.
Perhaps your readers would like to know how our winter has been. Well, Oregon has outdone herself this year. The winter has been the mildest known for 30 years. We have had very few wet days. A foot of snow had fallen at this office, which is located in the foothills; in the valley proper leas snow fell. At no time has the snow been over 7 inches deep. It held this depth only a short time as the temperature was high 35° above zero. We have not had a temperature lower than 20° above zero.
The miners have had no water this season, and the output of gold from the placer mines will be very light. The quartz miners have had fair weather and plain sailing. This kind of mining is rapidly increasing in importance. A friend of mine has been following this line of work for four years. He stuck to it through thick and thin. He had large faith in his ledge, though often the flour sack was empty and the purse too; finally he struck a pocket. At last reports he was $10,000 ahead and plenty of good pay rock in sight. The man is on his feet again and is determined to hold on to his money.
Another party at Gold Hill found $6,000 in a pocket. He lost his head and let it go into a jackpot, which the other fellow won. Miners as a rule are prone to bet on cards and drink bad whisky.
The prospect now is that our farmers will have a good year. The crop is nearly all in and ground is in fine condition. The fruit promises well as no freeze has yet hurt it. Jack Frost may hold an April or May session and veto the crop; we hope not and base our hope on his old record.
Spikenard, Oregon, March 2nd.
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, May 22, 1889, page 2
Since the advent of the new administration we have enjoyed peace and prosperity. All minds are at rest except those of Democratic office-holders. They are daily expecting the guillotine to drop their beads into the basket. Four years ago the "rascals" went out and left no black marks on the official record. The "saints" (?) are going out now and some are compelled to give bonds to appear before the bar of the United States Court to answer to charges of high official crimes. Some of them will serve another term, if justice obtains before the bar [illegible] after public service and many look well to private interests when in office.
We have had an abominable mail service for several years. We have, perhaps, suffered more in this way than in any other. We long for a very great change.
Your readers will be interested, probably, in our crop prospects. They would smile to see our orchards and our grain fields. Such an outlook for immense crops was never before presented to the Pacific Coast. The dry, mild winter was favorable to the farmer. The plow could go all the time. A large area of grain was sown, and the work could be done in far better manner than usual. The rains have, since seeding was done, come just right, and the quantity was nicely adjusted to our wants. The result is that our prospects for crops are simply marvelous. There is not a poor piece of wheat in the wide sweep of this coast. Oregon is not behind her sister states. Nature here is very kind and Oregon is always, climatically, just right. It is the best country on this round globe. There! I slopped over a little, but I won't take it back. I love grand old Indiana, and hope someday to see her again, but Oregon must be my home. This land of valleys, mountains, brooks and rivers, this land of forests, of fish and game, this land of big red apples, luscious pears, grapes, peaches, prunes and plums, this land of flowers and green pastures, this emerald gem, this "sweet Oregon,'' must ever be my abiding place. There, I've slopped over some more. Can't help it.
Immigration to our borders is not heavy just now. Home-seekers are going, it seems, mostly to Washington Territory. This is due largely, no doubt, to the free advertising she got by her admission into the Union. Many were led to study her great possibilities. She will not disappoint those who go there intelligently. Many will go there, as they come here, looking for a quarter section of of good land already cleared, near R.R., school, town, churches, &c., and be dissatisfied if their silly dreams are not realized. A man needs brains, money, "git," and grit here as well as anywhere else. Our country is still in the formative state and has some drawbacks along with its advantages. A man will win here as elsewhere by well-applied industry. The climatic conditions are all favorable. He can buy good or poor land just according to his judgment. He can have good or bad neighbors. He will do well to get the lay of the land before settling.
Spikenard, May 11th.
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, November 6, 1889, page 2
Editor Plain Dealer:
Up to date Oregon is in a healthy condition in all senses of the word. There is no rush, boom or excitement save here and there a ripple. Medford and Jacksonville in our county are in a slight flutter over a proposed electric railroad between the two places. The latter is our county seat. When the O.&C.R.R. was built her citizens refused to give the Company $25,000, and as a result she was left off the road about five miles. Medford was laid off and, backed by railroad influence and capital, has grown gradually ever since. She has now 1500 inhabitants, twenty-five business houses, bank, flouring mill, planing mills, shops, stables, etc. Her growth has been a solid one, both in size and trade. Her citizens are putting in a good system of waterworks and improving the principal streets. Along with the motor line the city is to be lighted by electricity. The great number of Hoosiers in Medford explains her spirit of enterprise. I should say also that the town is a church town, having built six good churches within three years.
Tolo, on Rogue River, is likely to jump into prominence very soon. It is proposed to float logs down from the great forests above. Already a mill is being erected at the riverfront. If logs can be brought down Tolo will be a lively city inside of a year. The river is rapid and ugly, but the man who proposes to make the river his highway for logs is an indomitable Englishman. He says that he has harnessed worse streams and does not fear the Rogue.
The proprietors of the Tolo town are Scott and Marion Griffin, natives of St. Omer, Decatur County, Indiana. Here the Hoosier bobs up again. These boys first became prominent at Cottonwood, Cal., as wide-awake real restate brokers. Marion is still at the latter place while Scott looks after affairs at Tolo.
Crops this year, owing to a lack of rain last winter, were below average. Of grain and hay we have enough and some to spare. 1889 has certainly been an off year for the state at large. We hope never to see another like it. We want no rains after May 20th until October. Summer rains spoil our hay and grain; besides our soil is of such a nature as to retain moisture for several months.
Politically everything is quiet. Some are disappointed in the distribution of offices. All could not be gratified. Our county got the Alaska Collectorship of Internal Revenue, Mr. Pracht being the winner of the prize. Hon. E. L. Applegate gets the Indian Agency at Ft. Klamath. The other appointments made in local offices are good. Many of Cleveland's appointees still hold. I am sure that Civil Service laws have been respected here.
The weather is fine just now. We are having frequent warm showers followed by bright sunshine. The grass is fairly leaping in its rapid growth. If this continues a few weeks longer stock will require very little feed during the winter.
Very few people are coming to us now. The tide of immigration seems to be going to California and Washington. This is the result of strong efforts by Californians and the recent admission of the latter as a state. Oregon has never been boomed and her people will encourage no effort of that nature, because the results of booms are disastrous. Steady honest growth is what we desire.
Spikenard, Ore., Oct. 26th.
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, March 5, 1890, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer:
The Pacific Coast has been on a rampage for two months. For years people have been going back to the winter of 1861 and '62 for a standard by which to measure storms. 1889 and '90 knocks out all former data. During December California was visited by the heaviest rainfall ever known. Railroads and wagon roads were demoralized. Transportation became impossible, and many lives and much property lost. Following this came heavy snow storms on the foothills and mountains. Oregon came in for a large share of the beautiful (?), and snow is piled up everywhere.
Rogue River Valley has had, like California, the greatest snowfall ever known. Trains are indefinitely delayed, and communication with the rest if the world cut off. We have had no mail for two weeks. A few days ago word came that two trains were lost, and no word from them could be received. One was a passenger, whose whereabouts was entirely unknown. The other, a freight, could be approximately located.
Here, at Spikenard, we have had five feet of snow, or more, but never attaining at any one time a greater depth than three feet. The weather has been mild and the snow settles very rapidly. The temperature has been considerably above zero all the time. Had a cold wave struck us and held on all this month, we would have been almost buried. From this office north the snow increases in depth as you go up the mountains until some of our neighbors, six or eight miles above us, have six to eight feet of "congealed atmospheric vapor" on the level. Think of from 72 to 96 inches of snow! Snowshoes are as common as moccasins in an Indian rancherie. For a week we have had showers of warm rain, which are rapidly melting the snow, and we hope to see old mother earth in a week more. We have not seen her since New Year's Day.
Nothing approaching this has happened since early in the 'fifties. For all these years no great or long continued snow storms have prevailed, and people have become careless; hence, many were short of feed and household supplies. Much stock will be lost, but so far I have heard of no great distress among people. Some of our neighbors have had the misfortune to be sick, which is inconvenient to say the least. To get a physician has been impossible, and they have had to worry it through. Last season was a short crop year, owing to light rains the preceding winter, thus adding to the sum of our present ills. A tenderfoot would have a hard time this winter in discovering why this country was ever dubbed the "Italy of America."
If our stock men will learn to keep hereafter only what stock they can house and feed for 60 days, the storm will have been a blessing. Then all of us will be able to get a fair price for our cattle, instead of seeing our markets supplied with range beef that has cost less than one cent a pound to produce. Cattle from the ranges are a menace to the interests of the small farmer, who is out of reach of the outside ranges. Ruin will overtake many of our cattle and sheep men, but the small farmers will be benefited. There is no place on earth where nature's law of compensation obtains so largely as on this coast. Personally, I have nothing to complain of, as I never keep more stock than I can run on the farm.
Oregon is good enough for me yet. I may change my particular location within the year--I want to go "west" a little further. If you hear from me one of these days out where the breakers of the old Pacific boom, you need not be surprised. I will write you all about it if I do go.
NOTES.Last year our rainfall was only 12 inches. This year, with our snow, we will probably get three feet. Farmers anticipate a good crop season.
Many buildings have collapsed under the weight of snow. I shoveled four feet off of all of my buildings. Shingle and shake makers are booking heavy orders, and are smiling.
Politics are quiet. President Harrison and his lieutenants are appointing the old men that Cleveland ousted. Is it possible that the Republican party has only one set of men capable of filling the offices?
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, September 24, 1890, page 1
Editor Plain Dealer:
The summer is past, and the harvest over. Harvesting was not a heavy job, as our crops in Southern Oregon were light. Of hay and grain, there is enough and some, perhaps, to spare; but there was not half a crop produced. This remark does not apply to alfalfa hay. Of that kind of hay, the crop is large. Two crops have been cut and the third is now almost ready. A six-acre plot near me will produce thirty tons. The hay is a ready sale at $5 per ton. $150 from six acres is not a bad return. Fruit is a light crop, also. Prices are very high; 5 cts. per lb. is being paid for choice peaches. Bartlett pears went at 2½ cents. Apples are worth 1½ to 2 cents. Watermelons are fine and go on Portland markets at a good figure. Grapes are a fair crop and prices are satisfactory to the seller, though a little steep for the buyer. Wheat is worth from 55 cents to 60 cents per bushel. Grain hay loose, $8 per ton, baled $10.
Real estate is flat. Now is a good time to invest in land here as prices are stripped from all boom tendencies.
Oregon as a whole has an exceedingly good crop and farmers are happy outside of a few particular sections Perhaps next year we will take our usual place in the procession. We must confess that we got the "black eye" this season. Financially, we are in a panicky state in the "Italy of America."
Some new mines are being opened up which may be of benefit to us. All the old mines have done well this season as they had plenty of water. Near this office a coal prospect looks exceedingly well. If coal in paying quantities and high quality does exist here, we have the elements of a great boom in our hands. We have mountains of fine iron ore.
Scott Griffin reports that the prospects of his town, Tolo, are bright now. I would like to see Rogue River full of logs headed for Tolo. The scheme is practical. Scott is hopeful, and all his old Indiana friends are anxious to see him succeed in building up his town enterprise. There is plenty of timber up the river 25 miles to furnish the raw material for many mills and factories. Capital rightly invested in the enterprise of opening up Rogue River, and rafting logs to Tolo, will pay the investor a handsome return. Will not some moneyed Hoosier come out here and make a fortune? I am particularly anxious to see the thing go, as it is the conception of a Hoosier boy. We have many people here from old Indiana, and want all the rest that cross the Rockies.
Our Oregon Letter.The Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Indiana, January 7, 1891, page 4
Editor Plain Dealer:
Up to date we have had an almost ideal autumn. You are aware that we have really but three seasons in this portion of the earth. What is known here as winter would be classed with you as only good October weather. We had rather more snow last year than was desirable but at no time was mercury down to zero. It has been a little too dry this fall for those who desired to sow fall grain. No sort of weather suits all classes.
For three weeks, I have been holding down a job as teacher in a small mountain district. The surroundings are, to one in love with nature, grand in the extreme. The location is situated in an open park-like forest of pine, fir and cedar. The great yellow pine is here seen in its towering majesty. It is often 15 feet in circumference, and its rounded trunk shoots upward 200 feet into the air, often 75 feet to the first limb. The trunk is usually as straight as a line. Its bark is in color a light brown, deeply seamed. The cedars are not so large, but their foliage is very handsome. A cedar tree in the distance often presents the appearance of a large green cone.
Speaking of cones reminds me of our sugar pine cones. These are the jumbo cones of American forests. They are often found 16 inches long and four inches in diameter. They are one of the greatest curiosities to the tourist. I think I could create a sensation by driving into North Vernon with a wagonload of these curious Oregon productions. I wish I could present each of your readers with one of them. I will undertake to send one to anyone who will pay the postage. They weigh from two to three pounds. You can figure this out at one cent per ounce. The more stamps the bigger the cone. The sugar pine is a larger and more beautiful tree than the yellow pine. It never grows thickly like the fir or larch. From it is made the finest of lumber. Clear sugar pine lumber is worth $80 per 1000 feet in San Francisco. Timber men are locating all the vacant lands producing this tree. For "shakes" (boards), and shingles the tree is very popular owing to its lasting qualities and the ease with which it is worked.
Our fir, really a spruce, is even larger than our yellow pine. It is quite abundant in Oregon. It is the tree that composes the bulk of Washington's forest. These two states alone have timber enough to last the whole U.S. for 100 years. The magnitude of our forests cannot be conceived until one actually sees them. All of the country west of the Cascade Mountains is one vast dense forest. Washington supplies the world with ship masts. The great sawmills of Puget Sound keep a tree moving from the time it is felled and trimmed, the latter being a light job, until it slides into the hold of some great ship as a squared spar. It is proposed to take one of these great firs to Chicago in '93 and exhibit it at the Columbian Exposition as a flagstaff. I shall take pleasure, Mr. Editor, in showing it to you if you are there. We, out here, all expect to go to the exposition.
Another feature of our forests is the fine long wreaths of moss which hang from the boughs of the trees. This occurs mostly on the oaks. It is very beautiful as well as odd. Now, girls, here is your chance for a curiosity from the far West. I can send you all you want of this, as a Christmas present. All I ask you to do is to furnish postage and packing. The moss is light and fleecy and comes in several colors. Mistletoe abounds here also.
Spikenard, Oregon, Dec. 24th, '90.
Southern Oregon Asbestos.
Grants Pass Courier.
Scott Morris, of Spikenard, Jackson County, was in town Monday exhibiting specimens of asbestos, which looked like cotton fiber. It was pure white, long and strong and wouldn't burn up when a match was applied, although it got red hot. Mr. Morris says experts from the East have pronounced this asbestos to be the best in the United States, and works will shortly be put up for its cleansing, baling and shipping. One whole section up there has been located for the silken mineral.
Oregonian, Portland, October 17, 1891, page 5
Scott Morris, Republican candidate for school superintendent, spent Wednesday in Jacksonville.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 27, 1892, page 3
Scott Morris, the Republican candidate for school superintendent, is burdening the mails with circulars laudatory of himself. Some testimonials from his former home are included, from which we judge that an ordinary standard of education must prevail there. Mr. Morris holds only a second-grade certificate in this county and has not proved a success in any of the schools which he has taught here. No one for a moment supposes that he would make nearly so good a superintendent as the present incumbent.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 3, 1892, page 3
Spikenard has been made a postal note office, and it will prove quite a convenience to that neighborhood. Postmaster Morris reports that nearly $70 worth of business was done there during the past quarter, which is a good showing.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 30, 1892, page 3
An association of children in the Meadows, called the Children's Floral Company, under the direction of a prominent citizen of that section, has lately been engaged in sending out large quantities of indigenous flowers, plants, bulbs and specimens of various kinds. The flora of that section is particularly rich.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 7, 1892, page 3
E. Hammond of Meadows precinct was in town this week. He says that 45 inches of rain and snow fell at his place during the past season.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 12, 1893, page 3
Spikenard is now a postal-note office, which fact will prove quite a convenience to its patrons.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 26, 1893, page 3
Scott Morris of Evans Creek, who has been collecting and shipping east the bulbs and seeds of the wildflowers indigenous to the hills of southern Oregon, has built up quite a business in that line.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 11, 1893, page 3
Scott Morris, of Evans Creek, Jackson County, who has been collecting and shipping east the bulbs and seeds of the wild flowers of Southern Oregon, has built up quite a business in that line.
"News of the Northwest: Oregon," Oregonian, Portland, August 16, 1894, page 4
Scott Morris was exhibiting a newfangled fence machine on the streets last week. It makes a fence similar to the Fredenburg style, but it is made in the field as fast as you want to use it.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, August 25, 1893, page 3
M. F. Parker of Florence, Lane County, has traded a portion of his property there to Scott Morris for 160 acres of land on Evans Creek. The latter will move to Florence about April 1st.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 12, 1894, page 3
Jacksonville Times: M. F. Parker, of Florence, Lane County, has traded a portion of his property there to Scott Morris for 160 acres on Evans Creek. The latter will move to Florence about April 1st.
"Wednesday, Feb. 13," Eugene City Guard, February 17, 1894, page 7
Scott Morris of Evans Creek, Jackson County, Or., who has been collecting and shipping east the bulbs and seeds of the wildflowers of Southern Oregon, has built up quite a business in that line.
"Occidental News," Oregon Courier, Oregon City, September 1, 1893, page 1
Scott Morris of Ada, near Tenmile Lake, is an applicant for a certificate to teach. Mr. Morris is a comparative new settler in the district, having long been a citizen of Jackson County, where he held the responsible position of postmaster of Spikenard. If he secures his certificate a change of administration will not constitute an ouster.
"Little Locals," The Plaindealer, Roseburg, August 22, 1895, page 1
The United States fish commission has assigned a small lot of New England brook trout to Woahink Lake. This matter has been vigorously pushed by Scott Morris and H. H. Lawton, with the favorable recommendation of Hon. Binger Hermann. . . .
Scott Morris is teaching a fall term in joint district No. 2.
"Tsilcoos," The Plaindealer, Roseburg, October 15, 1896, page3
J. K. Leabo was here from Elk Creek this week with another load of fine venison. . . . The finest buck of the season was killed Saturday by Scott Morris. He was a six-pointer and weighed 150 lbs. dressed. Morris has killed about a dozen this season. It is estimated this season there has been 2000 deer killed by hunters in that district, the meat being either sold or preserved.
"2000 Deer Killed," Daily Capital Journal, Salem, November 5, 1896, page 1 Taken from a longer article in the Oregonian, November 1, 1896, page 6
Productive Area in the Western Part of Douglas County.
ADA, Or., Aug. 28.--(To the Editor.)--With the large influx of immigrants to our state it is proper for all to present the advantages of their respective localities. With this in view I present the claims of this locality.
Situation--The extreme western portion of Douglas County, north of the Umpqua River.
Soil--Rich alluvial bottoms along the streams. Fiddle and Maple creeks are the largest streams, both flowing into Tsiltcoos Lake. Besides these many small unnamed creeks discharge their waters into this fine lake, which has an area of perhaps 2500 acres. The outlet of this lake, Tsiltcoos River, flows into the ocean 12 miles south of the mouth of the Siuslaw. The higher lands are loam lands, somewhat variable in fertility, but all are good grasslands, even to the very tops of the hills; white clover, orchard and ryegrass will grow anywhere, assuring, with very little attention, abundant pasturage at all times. Much of the bench land will grow fine crops of fruit, grain and vegetables as soon as cleared. I have on this bench land, as an experiment, as fine oats, wheat and barley as can be shown anywhere. Oat heads 18 inches in length are so common that we scarcely notice them. I have some that measure 21 inches in length. The other grains are equally good. We can raise our own grain when once our lands are cleared. By the way, it will pay, too. There is no place on earth where grain sells for so high a price as at Florence--2 to 2½ cents a pound. Liverpool is not in it. It is in order to state that this market, retail, of course, for prunes, is the banner one, 8⅓ to 10 cents a pound--poor prunes at that. Something could be said of the prices for staple groceries and high freight rates, rather low wage rate, low price of salmon and saw logs, but I am not booming the town, much as I love it and its people.
To return to Tsiltcoos Lake. From what I have said one can see that we have the foundation for a dairy and stock-raising country. Our people are starting on those lines and are doing fairly well. We have schools and good mail service. Roads are coming along nicely, and in a short time an inland road from Siuslaw to Umpqua will be a fact. Roads to the Willamette Valley are developing also. A few years more and we will be out of the woods. We want our share of new settlers, and cordially invite them to investigate our claims. We invite those who have some ready money, for it costs something to build houses and open up brush lands and live until returns can be realized. Quite a number can secure homes on government lands. A few places can be bought. Horned cattle, goats and hogs are good property here. Hens pay handsomely where the owner raises his own grain. A ready market is at hand for pork, mohair, butter and eggs. Florence and Gardiner each has a well-conducted creamery. Work can be had in the mills and logging camps on both the Siuslaw and Umpqua, besides many farmers employ more or less labor, so that employment may be had by those who wish to work for wages for a part of their time.
Now, who should come here? People from the city, unused to roughing it, for this is a wild new country, should not come. Those from level, open prairies where good roads abound will, as a rule, be dissatisfied here. Those used to hills, trails and boats, who want a home on good land, with the most beautiful and romantic natural surroundings, are most likely to take to our environment, and to such we extend an invitation. The more ready money you have the better, though thrifty families with only a few hundred dollars can start here. We want families. We have far too many old bachelors already. Not one in four of these ever does much for homes, for roads, for church or for schools. They have no incentive. Ours are all good boys.
The boating, sailing and fishing on and in these waters, together with their proximity and easy access to the ocean beach, our fertile soil, even climate and good harbors will make of this a noted region ere long, and now is the time to get in on the ground floor.
SCOTT MORRIS.Oregonian, Portland, August 31, 1899, page 8
FROM TSILCOOS LAKE.Ada, Or., Jan. 2.--(To the Editor.)--This winter on the lakes, northwest corner of Douglas County, has been one of the rainiest on record. Mr. Gray, the local observer at Gardiner, reports nearly 21 inches of rain for November. December showed, I think, an average, though I have not the figures. There was not a single 24 hours in November without rain. The last week of December was bright and fine. The rains have been so constant in quantity that no great rushes of water have occurred, hence loggers, far back on the small creeks, have not been able to get their logs out to the booms on the main streams. The Gardiner mill, however, has not been embarrassed for logs, and has steadily run until about the 20th ultimo, when it shut down for some extensive and much-needed repairs. The mill will resume work about the middle of this month. Navigation, which was almost stopped during December by a shoaled bar, has been resumed, the river having opened its old channel, causing Messrs. Jewett, Captain Cornwall et al. to smile broadly. Siuslaw River sawmills are also doing a good business. Those of us who labor get our small share.
Nearly 21 Inches of Rain Fell in November--Many Edible Fungi.
Owing to the prevailing warm weather stock is wintering exceedingly well. Since October 12 we have had but little frost, hence the ranges are fine. Wild blackberry is in bloom yet, and the hill grasses, native, are at their best. Certainly, we have little to growl about, wet as everything is. The farmer here who has a moderate-sized farm, well stocked, and comfortable buildings, has much reason to congratulate himself at the opening of the century's closing year. Had we more settlers owning homes and stock, this particular section would soon take a prominent place.
Portland's Mushroom Club will be glad to know that this is a veritable fungi garden. There are, perhaps, a greater variety here than anywhere else on the coast of Oregon. Certainly the confirmed mycophagist could simply luxuriate in these fields and woods. I have found all the native edible species here, except the morel. This choice species I used to find in Jackson County. I am told that it is found on the Umpqua River, above Scottsburg. I was delighted to find on my place the beefsteak fungus Fistulina hepatica. I could today, January 2, gather several specimens of it. Here it is not, to my taste, a very tempting morsel. We liked the giant coral (Clavaria flava), better than any other one tried. Among the edible Boleti, I find Boletus subluteus and the cepe. Altogether, I think Dr. Lane and the rest of the club would do well to come here next November and simply luxuriate. They will find at least two other congenial fungus-eating cranks. I can show them acres of Cantharellus, besides many other edible species not mentioned herein.
Now, just one more item of interest to 10,000 Oregonian readers: The water hen or "mud hen" is a choice bird for a breakfast dish. Follow this recipe: First get the bird, of course; skin the bird; soak said bird, or the dressed carcass thereof, in saltwater for a few hours, say overnight, then fry it well. It is served hot, with or without mushroom garnishing, a dish fit for the most fastidious epicure. This recipe is worth much to many thousands from Alaska to San Pedro. I should like to hear from those who try it. Only poor men, with large families, or poor, old bachelors are found on coast homesteads. We learn something from very poverty, and then, true to our instincts, tell the world. We add a little to the general wealth and then struggle along as best we can. It were ever thus.
SCOTT MORRIS.Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 10, 1900, page 3
Lake precinct, Douglas County, Oregon:
Scott Morris, 47, farmer, born in Indiana in July 1852, father born in Virginia, mother in Kentucky
Harriet H. Morris, 44, born in Indiana in October 1855, father born in Indiana, mother in Virginia
Delia D. Morris, 20, teacher, born in Indiana in June 1880
Aumerle F. Morris, 18, farm laborer, born in Indiana in November 1881
Mabel Morris, 16, born in Oregon in June 1884
Hubert Morris, 14, born in Oregon in February 1886
Ada G. Morris, 11, born in Oregon in July 1888
Grace H. Morris, 4, born in Oregon in February 1896
U.S. Census, enumerated June 7-8, 1900--Scott Morris, enumerator
Scott Morris, who has been at Salem for over a month, has returned home. Scott had a position as clerk during the legislature.
"Gardiner News," The Plaindealer, Roseburg, March 19, 1903, page 1
The Scott Morris home on Fiddle Creek. From ancestry.com.
Scott Morris has returned from his ranch near Five Mile, where he spent a few days.
"Gardiner Gazette News," The Plaindealer, Roseburg, April 23, 1903, page 1
Scott Morris, Mr. Emmons and another man captured a bear in the Five Mile Lake last week. It was crossing the lake when they saw it, and rowing their boat up to it, beat it to death with their oars.
"Gardiner Gazette News," The Plaindealer, Roseburg, May 7, 1903, page 1
A little after 9 o'clock we pulled into the wharf at Gardiner, and were welcomed by the committeeman, and at the hotel met Scott Morris and Representative Gray, both foremen in the sawmill. The former was an engrossing clerk in the last legislature, and a very competent man.
E. Hofer, "Western Douglas County," Daily Capital Journal, Salem, November 3, 1904, page 3
Scott Morris has been appointed watchman in the West Oregon Mills, Mr. Johnson having resigned.
"Clatskanie Department," The Columbia Register, Houlton, Oregon, January 20, 1905, page 5
Scott Morris, of Gardiner, Or., was a visitor in the city Wednesday. Mr. Morris was an enrolling clerk in the late session of the legislature.
"Personal Mention," St. Johns Review, February 25, 1905, page 3
Scott W. Morris, 58, mining agent, born in Indiana, parents born in U.S.
Hester Morris, 55, born in Indiana, father born in Indiana, mother in Virginia
Delia D. Morris, 20, teacher, born in Indiana
Ada G. Morris, 21, stenographer, born in Oregon
Grace Morris, 14, born in Oregon
Mabel Carlson, 26, widow, born in Indiana
Hester Carlson, 14 months, born in Oregon, father born in Sweden
U.S. Census, enumerated April 17, 1910
Scott Morris' bean crop is coming out fine since the recent rains.
"Palmdale," De Soto County News, Arcadia, Florida, May 13, 1915, page 11
Scott Morris, 67, gardener, born in Indiana, father born in Virginia, mother in Kentucky
U.S. Census, enumerated January 2-3, 1920
Clarence Stevenson, 42, leather finisher, born in California, parents born in Illinois
Delia M. Stevenson, 39, teacher, born in Indiana
Esther Stevenson, 17, born in Oregon
Hester Morris, 64, mother-in-law, born in Indiana
U.S. Census, enumerated January 4-5, 1920
Scott Morris of Palmdale delivered an address of welcome which was responsible [sic] on behalf of the Odd Fellows by the noble grand, Preston Wise. . . . The speech of presentation was received with great appreciation and was responded to by Scott Morris, census enumerator, with great feeling.
"Fine Fourth of July Celebration Is Held," Tampa Tribune, July 8, 1920, page 9
N. P. Yantis of Moore Haven was selected as temporary chairman of the meeting and Scott Morris of Palmdale temporary secretary.
"Glades County Now Has County Board of Trade Organized," Tampa Tribune, August 11, 1921, page 3
Scott Morris of Palmdale was in town Saturday attending the meeting of the school board, of which he is a member.
"Moore Haven Notes," Tampa Tribune, August 17, 1924, page 23
Scott Morris, of Palmdale, who is census enumerator for Glades County, was in La Belle this week taking census of North La Belle.
Mary Hayes Davis, "Bidding Is Brisk for Bonds," Tampa Tribune, January 3, 1925, page 22
Scott Morris, 77, employed in "county offices, registration," widower, born in Indiana, father born in Virginia, mother in Kentucky
U.S. Census, enumerated April 2, 1930--Scott Morris, enumerator
GOVERNOR APPOINTS TWO
TALLAHASSEE, Dec. 7.--(A.P.)--Governor Carlton today appointed W. M. Wilson, Olga, inspector of marks and brands in the Olga district of Lee County. He also appointed W. H. Mills as Glades County registration officer, succeeding Scott Morris, deceased.
Tampa Tribune, December 8, 1931, page 8
Last revised April 27, 2017