Josephine County Historical News

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03 Apr 1935

Bull Family in District Years

bull family

Submitted by Sally Yarbrough

Camp Kerby - CCC

camp kerby ccc photo

Submitted by Sally Yarbrough

Esterly Home

esterly home

Submitted by Sally Yarbrough

First Courthouse

courthouse photo

Submitted by Sally Yarbrough

Roy Wells Is Collector Too  1885-1935

roy wells article

Submitted by Sally Yarbrough

Joe Sowell in County Since 65

sowell article

Submitted by Sally Yarbrough

Mrs. Turner in County 50 years
 turner article

Submitted by Sally Yarbrough


Grants Pass (Oregon) Daily Courier Saturday, Dec. 31, 1927

Mrs. Young In 1877 Made Hard Trip to Oregon

(Mrs. Sarah E. Young)

 As you have asked for a few reminiscences of pioneer days I will send a few

            On August 12, 1877, I, with my three children, left Mt. Pleasant Iowa, for the Illinois valley, Oregon.  We started one day ahead of the big railroad strike of 1877.  The trains that were on the road could go on to their destination but no trains could start.  It started on the C. B.  Q., but at Omaha we were transferred to an emigrant train.  It was among the last of the emigrant trains sent out by the railroad.

            We were eight days to Sacramento.  As the railroad only was finished to Marysville, Cal., we took passage on a boat for San Francisco.  We stayed there 11 days waiting for a steamer that would call at Crescent City.  We had a stormy trip all the way from the bay city up.  The said it was the most severe storm in 18 years.  It surely was dreadful and the boat began to leak.  We were supposed to make the trip in 30 hours, but it took us from 4  p. m.  Tuesday until midnight Friday.

            But we found our troubles were not over.  When we go to the city it was dark and the pier was old and rotten and the ship did not dare come up to it, the waves were rolling so hard.  We were put into small boats and lowered with block and tackle, strapped into a big chair.  The little boat was dancing around but we got down all right.  The two children went down first, then baby and I, then we were told that the boat could not land but that we would be met by a wagon.  It had a low rack on it and they said it would come along beside the boat and everybody had to jump for the wagon, which we did.  My baby was so afraid of strangers I had to hold on to her, so I held her under my left arm and caught the wagon with my right and worked myself back.  The driver whipped the horses down to a gallop but the waves caught up and my feet were dragging along in the water.  The water came up to my knees.  I had started for Oregon and I was going to get there.  I was met by my husband and we came on in a wagon.

            I had never seen big trees before and it was a surprise to see such giants.  Everything was strange.  Then we climbed the mountains.  Part of the time we could follow the way which meant following where the big freight wagons had scraped the rocks and left white marks.

            Everything was so different from anything I had ever seen, but I soon began to see beauty everywhere—such trees, such flowers, such fruit, and such vegetables, such good water and such good fish!  And before the first winter was over—such a fine climate and such good people!  I think pioneering makes friends of us all.  So generous, so sympathetic!

            Well, we got a log house built that had four walls and roof and a door, a well dug and we were at home to our friends.  Our door had a wooden latch which was operated by a string.  We had a chimney built of sticks.

            Work was scarce and money was scarcer.  Sometimes a man would say, “Mr. Young, I will grubstake you and give you a percent of all you find if you will work out my assessment on a claim or prospect a piece of ground for me.”

            Well he got the grubstake and I got the per cent.  He got the most.  I worked at everything I could get to do—sewing, quilting, housecleaning, etc.

            There was no church or Sunday school so my children and I would sing the songs we had sung “back home” and I would tell them Bible stories and teach them to trust their Savior.  My whole life and time was given to the children.  We had no school except a three months term in a year.  I walked three miles and taught one term in what they call now the White District, at $30 per month and most of that amount was subscribed by the patrons.  The school houses were old tumble down log houses with rough board seats and desks—no equipment whatever.

            We had our mail brought to Mr. Briggs, then as there was no post office.  It was just a neighbor’s kindness in letting it come there for the people of the valley.  It was brought by stage to Kerby.

            In all I spent 28 years in the Illinois valley.  I have seen it develop year after year and while I left the valley for a home in Grants Pass, the little valley is still dear to me and “wherever I may roam that valley will still be home.”  There is so much to be remembered but I am afraid of that “old waste basket.”

Submitted by Teresa Thompson


Josephine county
Dated 1/22/1930 newspaper clipping:

C. J. Howard our congenial rural mail carrier was unable to cover his route monday owing to the heavy snow. he drove as far as Georges and then had to return to kerby to change cars. Then started out again but came only to Holland arriving about 5;30. Dick Floyd accompanied him on his last attempt.

Miss Annie Wells left for Trail Ore. by bus tuesday afternoon as she was unable to hold school owing to the snow. She will return sunday.

Robert Fleming came down as far as Tigertown wednesday from Greens Creek. He and Harry Aker went up to Dumboltons friday to see how supplies are there as nothing has been heard from them since the snow came. Most of the men in the mountians prepare for this kind of weather so, so far all reports have been good.

John Apple came down from his mine tuesday and reported three feet of snow at his mine.

Earle Voorhies returned to Holland Monday night and left with Bud Albright the Holland packer for Tigertown tuesday morning to bring out Mrs. Voorhies and son. They arrived back in Holland about 2:00 P.M. leaving immediately for Grants Pass.

Mrs. Leena Payne slipped on the ice when going to the pump for water saturday and broke her wrist. She was taken to the hospital immediatly by her brother Douglas Strong, where the bones were set by Dr. Mosier. She is convalescing rapidly.
Submitted by Sally

Old Deer Creek History Related

[Josephine county newspaper clipping unknown date]

"I was born March 10,1879 on Deer Creek Josephine county" said Alma Harmon Kiphart. "My parents Tilmon G. and Lydia Hathaway came to a place near Dryden from Shedd Ore., with their family of seven children in 1876. Four more children were born here."
I've heard my father say when they were settled in their cabin home he had only $10.00 left. This he immediately invested in fruit trees. Some of those trees were still bearing fruit the last time I visited the old place.
In the spring of 1881 the Diphtheria plague swept through the county taking four of our family within two weeks. Two years later the plague visited our valley again, leaving several sorrowing families.
Settlers were few on Deer Creek then. If father had not found employment his family would have fared badly that first winter. Wild game and berries were a great advantage in those days.
Settlers residing there then were Jacob McDaniel, M.D. L. Crooks, Mr. And Mrs. Warren Tuttle, the Goings,the Tolins, William Frake,and The Browns.Our nearest town for many a year was Kerby. Sometime in the winter we didn't get the mail for a month. A neighbor would go to town and get the mail for the whole neighborhood.
The old board schoolhouse where I went to school stood in an oak grove in front of the site now occupied by the Dryden store and post office.
The first person burried in the Deer Creek Cemetery was a young man by the name of William Guest (elsewhere the name is spelled Guess), who was killed by an indian in 1850 while plowing on the farm now owned by Noble Parker. Young Guest had taken his rifle to the field with him but had left it in the fence corner. The indian sneaked in and secured the gun killing Guest.
My father like other early settlers raised cattle and sheep, my mother spun wool into yarn and knitted all our stocking and mittens. She also braided straw and made our hats. My brothers and sisters living are E.C. Harmon and W.C. Harmon of Grants Pass, A.W. Harmon of Dryden, Edna Baily of San Bernadino Cal. and Lella Hanscam of medford.
I was married Oct 24,1897 to george T. Kiphart who is also a pioneer of oregon, having come from Iowa with his parents in 1872. They came to this county in 1885. We have four children Millicent Ellis, Clifford L., Daphne Thurman and Eula Kiphart all of Eugene.

Submitted by Sally


Mrs. Jane Simmons At 93 Years, Entertains

Mrs. Jane Simmons served tea to her many friends Wednesday, her birthday, when she became 93 years of age.  Tea was served at her home on 211 "A" street to the following friends:  Mesdames Flanagan, Catherine Gray, Carolina Tetherow, George Flint, Ruth Lydia Bellows, Crockett, Pratt, Hunter, H. L. Lee, Martin Trepte, Martin Isham, T. B. Cornell, J. H. Frame, M. L. Hunt, and Peterson, Rev. and Mrs. C. C. Rarick, Mr. and Mrs. Crennell; and Misses Essix, Elsie Ball, Minnie Ireland.

Mrs. Simmons has as her guest her niece, Mrs. Jessie R. Frame of Highland, Ohio.

Mrs. Simmons came to Oregon in 1859.  She resided in the old mining town, Waldo, then a bee-hive of industry, for many years.

Submitted by Jennifer Hollon

Miss Bradford Entertains With Theatre Party

Miss Maud B. Bradford, city librarian, held a theatre party New Year's day for her assistant librarians, Miss Margaret Bartlett, Eugenia Hunt, Elizabeth Whitsett and Mrs. Edith Jonas.

Submitted by Jennifer Hollon

Jane Simmons Holds Annual Watch Party

Jane Simmons of 211 A street held her annual New Year's eve watch party, at which the evening was spent in telling stories, playing games, and each guest putting on a stunt.  Refreshments of cocoa and waffles were served.  Those present were the Mesdames George Flint, J. W. Frazier, Lydia Bellows, A. B. Pratt, Margaret Hunt, M. E. Boynton, Martha Lee, George Milleson, J. I. Welch and J. M. Isham.

Submitted by Jennifer Hollon

Damage Suit For $20,000 Filed Against Dr. Ogle

Damage suit for $20,000 was filed Monday in circuit court by Mrs. Edith Ellerbeck of Portland, formerly of this city, against Dr. C. L. Ogle of Grants Pass.  Mrs. V. A. C. Ahlf, Grants Pass and Portland attorney, is representing Mrs. Ellerbeck.

The complaint charges that the plaintiff consulted the defendant in regard to a cut across the second knuckle of the third finger of the left hand, and that the plaintiff has suffered the loss of said finger, and competency and fitness of her work as a beauty expert and cosmetician.

Submitted by Jennifer Hollon

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