History-Onyx 15

       Hello fellow Internet surfer and welcome to a gem of a site dedicated to illuminating the onyx-like parallels unearthed from an otherwise beclouded and boring American and world historical perspective into its many hues and flavors, a spectrum inclusive of most light that makes up the untold histories, fascinating stories and journeys not quite attached or put together in this theatrical or holistic manner as you will find!
        We bring many years of personal and unique historical research, reading, collaboration, living, and writing  experiences. One of us is a published historian, journalist, and genealogist, whose roots are in the Central Oregon Coast, the primary though not exclusive gathering or focal point of these stories. And her co-author is more centered, though not exclusively so on the personal-spiritual journey as a former Lutheran minister, and how this has come into play to reinvigorate her own philosophical historical understanding of  faith and her questions of the world-church professional Christian training, vision and cultural paradigms, relying upon her common sense and also the expertise and critique of those historically disinherited, disenfranchised, and despised.
     Neither of us is professionally enamored by historicism in the classical sense, or any particular intellectual chains, other than the challenge to loosen the usual grip of white western european, heterosexist and masculinist elitism! And yes, we believe in being politically correct, and are proud of it, that we still name the names! We are students and practitioners of folk and established history, and are expanding our understanding of story, wishing to  share some of those exciting findings and perspectives. We plan to update this site regularly with the little known gems and connections to "the rest of the story" usually relegated to footnotes we have uncovered from the current draft of our mammoth, interconnected, well documented history saga, Sovereigns of Themselves: A Liberating History of Oregon and Its Coast.

--Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel & M. Constance Guardino III

Maracon Challenges You To Believe It Or Not!

Jackson County Oregon

     The discovery of gold in Southern Oregon in the early 1850s made it desirable to provide a county government for that part of the state and accordingly on January 12, 1852, Jackson County was created and named for Andrew Jackson, 7th president of the United States. As then constituted the county comprised all that part of Oregon west of the Cascade Range and between the south boundary of Umpqua County and the north boundary of California. The county has been reduced in size considerably since its original establishment. Large areas have been taken to form most of Curry and Josephine counties to the west. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, p. 444)

|Spirit of the Rogue| |Buncom: A Southern Oregon Ghost Town| |History of China Ditch|

     The development of Jacksonville, a boomtown near present-day Medford, began with the placer gold discoveries there in 1851-1852. Mule drivers spotted pay dirt while rounding up their stock. They staked their claims, then went on to Yreka to buy tools and provisions. Three months later every square yard of Rich Gulch was staked. Boundaries other than those between the claims seem to have been considered inconsequential: miners are said to have voted in both California and Oregon and paid taxes in neither.
     Gold fever had spread into the Rogue and Umpqua valleys. Towns and farms had sprung up and mule trains linked communities. One of the original mule teemers, James Cluggage, had applied for land under the Donation Land Act, which granted 640 acres to any married man who was a US citizen, provided he lived on it for four years with no absence of more than six months. Cluggage found himself the owner of the land that Jacksonville had sprung upon. He named the town Table Rock, but a mere landowner has a little influence amid the passions of a booming town, and the name was soon changed to honor the president in the hope that an illustrious name would influence the town's bid as a contender for county seat.

(1) Mount McLoughlin (2) Cabin At Willow Lake (3) Willow Lake

     Thirty to forty thousand emigrants per year were making their way West by this time, most of them men seeking gold. The mines buoyed Oregon's economy. American vessels entered the Columbia to trade each year, but now 50 were calling to load cargo. Merchants supplying California and Southern Oregon could double their money on potatoes or flour or pork or beef. Mill owners made enormous profits and laborers' wages tripled. Men returning with gold dust and nuggets were able to improve their farms and pay their debts, although others left the mines "more broken down in constitution and with lighter pockets than when they commenced," as an army lieutenant wrote to his sister in 1860.
     Money to pay for the new courthouse was obtained from gold panned from the dirt excavated for the basement of the building. One of the town's early churches was built on one night's receipts from the gambling houses. Hard working men tossed away a year's or a season's earnings in a night at resorts which catered to their tastes. Bartenders swept pennies, proffered in change, to the sawdust floor with a gesture as grandiose as that with which they had tossed away their keys on opening day, a symbol that indicated that their place would never close. (Oregon, End of the Trail 1951, p. 84; Exploring Crater Lake Country, 1975, p. 23, 24)

Rogue River Communities

     The Rogue National Forest sprawls across central southern Oregon, partly overflowing into northern California. The forest contains approximately 400 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. On the west, the forest includes the headwaters of the Applegate River, within the ancient and complex geology of the Siskiyou Mountains. This is a country of narrow canyons and high, steep ridges. The variety of environments includes open oak woodlands, dense conifer forests, and barren, rocky ridge tops.
     The 33,200 acre Rogue-Umpqua Wilderness area ranges in elevation from 2,800 to over 6,700 feet. The wilderness is located in southwestern Oregon, 10 miles from Crater Lake National Park. The area is characterized by timbered valleys of Douglas Fir rising to alpine meadows with stands of firs. The beautiful 90 acre Fish Lake is located in the wilderness.
     Numerous trails criss-cross the wilderness. The most popular is the 31.4 mile Rogue-Umpqua Divide National Recreation Trail. This trail offers exceptional views both east and west as it weaves its way across the crest of the divide. To the west lies the irregular and deeply dissected terrain of the Umpqua drainage. To the east the traveler sees the broad, open Rogue Basin, with the peaks of the high Cascades rising above. In addition to the fine vistas, the divide features a spectacular display of wildflowers in its many meadows from mid June until August.
Union Creek is located on the Upper Rogue River, near the mouth of Union Creek, and about 12 miles north of Prospect and about ten miles west of the entrance to Crater Lake National Park. It took the name from the stream, which was in turn named for Union Peak in the park.
     Helen C. Herriott was first postmaster of the Union Creek post office, which operated as a seasonal post office throughout most of its existence. Although it had actually ceased operation in October 1942, the Union Creek office officially closed to Prospect on April 30, 1945. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, p. 859; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1982, p. 103)

 The Natural Bridge was created by Rogue River dropping into a hole in
volcanic rock and emerging about 200 feet downstream. The river roars through a narrow gorge
gouged from volcanic bedrock at the Rogue River Gorge, 12.5 miles north of Prospect
Rogue River Gorge Photographs Courtesy of Julie Hendricks

Prospect is located on the Upper Rogue River near the mouth of Mill Creek, 23 miles northeast of Shady Cove on Oregon
Route 62. The community was first established as Deskins and a post office with this name was established July 5, 1882, with Harvey P. Deskins postmaster.
     In the fall of 1883 Deskins, after a misguided business venture, fell on hard times and sold all his holdings to Squire Stanford Aiken. Eventually Aiken became postmaster and on November 9, 1889, had the name changed to Prospect and an expression of optimism because preliminary plans had been run for a railroad up the Rogue. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, p. 691; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1982, p. 32; Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme Mapping 1991, p. 5)

(1) Mill Creek Falls (2) Barr Falls (3) Big Butte Creek Falls

Trail is located on Rogue River at the mouth of Trail Creek, about three miles north of Shady Cove. Trail Creek is so known because an Indian trail from Rogue River to Umpqua River traversed its banks, forming a short-cut between the military road and Roseburg in pioneer days. Will G. Steel is authority for the statement that the earlier name of Trail Creek was Stewart Creek, but it does not now go by that name. William G. Knighten was first postmaster of the Trail post office, which was established February 1, 1893. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, p. 845; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1892, p. 101)

(1) Cow Creek Community Center (2) Cow Creek Umpqua Chuck Jackson
At Chief Miwaleta Park With Oregon Photographer Julie Hendricks January 2001

Shady Cove is located on Rogue River, about two miles south of Trail. The post office is on SH-62, the Crater Lake Highway, near the concrete bridge which carries the highway over the river, but the cove itself is upriver a few hundred yards and on the southeast side of the stream. The name is descriptive of a little nook on the river bank, but is not particularly applicable to the locality of the post office and the highway bridge. The post office was established September 28, 1939, with Lillian F. Hukill first postmaster. The name Shady Cove was applied to the place upstream from the post office some years before the office was established, by J. Powell of Medford. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, p. 754; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1892, p. 101)

Shady Cove Photographs Courtesy of Evan and Julie Hendricks

Settlers in the Rogue River Valley referred to Mount McLoughlin, the 9,500-foot peak towering to the southeast, as Snowy Butte. The two main streams draining to the northwest from that mountain were known as Big and Little Butte creeks. Fifteen miles northeast of Eagle Point, at the falls on Big Butte Creek, a settlement sprang up that took its name from the natural feature. The area became known as Big Butte Country to early settlers. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, p. 114; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1892, p. 20)
     By the 1850s the primary route from Jacksonville to Fort Klamath led through the region via Rancheria. Hunters and trappers began to explore the area from settlements in the Rogue and Bear Creek Valleys.
     Early settlers came to the Big Butte Country during the 1860s and established camps to cut sugar pine shakes, cedar posts and cord wood for sale in the valley. The roads were seasonal and hauling was by ox or horse team.
     These early settlers filed homestead claims for 160 acres of timberland. They built cabins and planted gardens to "prove up" on their claims.
     Butte Falls post office was established June 28, 1906, with George T. Richards first postmaster. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, p. 114; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1892, p. 20)
     Homesteads and small sawmills continued to dot the area during the 1880s. By 1910 the number of families warranted establishment of several one-room schools throughout the area.
     Big Bend Milling Company built a sawmill at the falls on Big Butte Creek in 1904. A dam was built and water power used to run the mill. This mill was soon replaced by a larger mill known as the Butte Falls Sugar Pine Company.
     The town was platted in 1905 by Bert Harris, first boss of the new company. Because of the falls on Big Butte Creek, the town was named Butte Falls.
     The Pacific and Eastern railroad from Medford was completed and the first train arrived on November 15, 1910. The first excursion train arrived in Butte Falls on April 4, 1911, carrying dignitaries and tourists.
     While passenger and freight service continued for many years, the chief benefit of the railroad was the opening up of timbered areas east of Butte Falls.
     In August 1911, local citizens voted to incorporate, and the town of Butte Falls was born. The town was granted water rights on Ginger Creek in 1911 and a water system was installed. A reservoir providing ample water
pressure through gravity flow was built on Red Hill just below Ginger Springs. (Charlene Brown, Big Butte Historical Society 1998)

Butte Falls Photographs Courtesy of Evan and Julie Hendricks
Eagle Point is located on Little Butte Creek about 13 miles north of Medford. Just east of the town of Eagle Point is a prominent rocky cliff, surmounted by pine trees, and in pioneer days this was a favorite nesting place for eagles. It was said that John Matthews suggested the name of this post office, which was established April 25, 1872, with Andrew McNeil serving as first postmaster. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, p. 754; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1892, p. 101)

By 1981 there was only one water powered, stone ground gristmill still operating in Oregon.
Butte Creek Mill built in 1872, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Eagle Point Photographs Courtesy Of Julie Hendricks

White City is located about ten miles north of Medford in the area developed as Camp White by the US Army during World
War II.
     Camp White was a large installation of over 900 buildings for use during the war. The camp was authorized in January 1942, and the first concrete was poured March 11.
     The post office at Camp White was established May 16, 1942 as a classified branch of Medford, and discontinued July 31, 1947, and re-established as a post office on June 16, 1949. The name of the office was changed to White City on March 31, 1960.
     Although the first troops had arrived in July, Camp White was officially dedicated on September 15, 1942, with the general's wife officiating as guest of honor.
     Camp White was named in compliment to George Ared White, who was born in Illinois July 18, 1881. When young he became interested in military life and served in the Spanish-American War. White came to Oregon from the Rocky Mountain states in 1904 and joined the staff of the Oregonian.
     In 1915 White became adjutant general for Oregon and from that time on his rise in military rank was remarkable. He served with distinction in World War I. Successively he held more important positions and was major general in command of the 41st Division when that organization was called into the federal service September 16, 1940. He served with that rank until his death November 23, 1941.
     White received many honors from both government and private agencies. Under the name Ared White he gained wide popularity as an author.

(1) "Nurses' Field Kitchen" (2) Camp White Fir Tree Division (3) "Laboratory Warfare"
Camp White Illustrations By Manuel Tolegian 1944

     When Camp White was deactivated following the war, the lumber industry was expanding rapidly. A group of local sawmill owners purchased 390 acres of the former camp and established White City Industrial Park. Although unincorporated, it is known today as White City and is comprised of lumber mills, light industrial and manufacturing plants, a residential neighborhood and the usual community amenities. White City post office was established April 1, 1960, and was designated a branch of the Medford office on June 30, 1963. (Oregon Geographic Names 1992, pp. 133, 901; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1892, pp. 21, 109)

Medford, unapproached by a navigable river, was settled late. The well-grassed valley and the surrounding forested mountains abounded in game, and this was a favorite hunting ground for Indians, who resented non-indian encroachment. When gold was discovered at nearby Jacksonville in 1851, a great many people came from the Willamette Valley to go into mining. As the richness of the gold fields diminished, many of them, seeing the fertility of the valley, settled here. The Indians of Rogue River Valley were forced onto a reservation under the terms of a treaty of 1856, and the area was thrown open for settlement.
     Medford was an "opposition" town, established in 1883 by the Oregon & California Railroad Company (now Southern Pacific), when Central Point, four miles north, refused to lend financial aid toward the completion of the road through the southern part of the state.
     People in Jacksonville were enthusiastic about the new rival community of Medford and referred to it as Chaparral City. "Though poor in purse" the people of Jackson County contributed generously to the building of the railroad. Many farmers subscribed quantities of wheat or other grain, a few made direct payments in cash, others filled out their quotas with beaver skins, and sawmill owners gave cross ties to be used in laying the track. Unable to punish Central Point by leaving it off the main line, the railroad for a number of years refused to stop at the town or to sell tickets to that destination.
     The new town was named Middleford because the site was at the middle ford of Bear Creek, and follows the form of the Massachusetts place name. But David Loring, a civil engineer working on right-of-way operations for the railroad, had lived in Medford, Massachusetts, and suggested the change to the present name. Medford was incorporated as a town in 1884, and reincorporated as a city in 1905. James S. Howard was first postmaster of the Medford post office, which was established February 6, 1884 . Oregon Post Offices 1847-1892, p. 65
     Today Medford is Oregon's sixth largest city. With the support of the railroad, Medford became the distributing point of the sparsely settled valley, but not until the 1900s, when its fruit began to attract attention, did the town begin a consistent growth. During those boom days every train was crowded with land mongers from California and the eastern states, bringing capital and scientific knowledge to the fruit industry in the valley.
     Medford is pear country, and each April, the town hosts the Pear Blossom Festival. As Medford prospered, the old mining town of Jacksonville, the original county seat, dwindled. In 1927, Medford was made the county seat. (Oregon Geographic Names, 1992, p. 557; Oregon Post Offices 1847-1982, p. 65; Oregon, End of the Trail 1951, p. 188, 189; Oregon From Sea to Shining Sea, 1995, p. 41)

M. Constance Guardino III  Reverend Marilyn A. Riedel
This Page Last Updated by Maracon on December 1, 2005

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