Alice Mullaly

As It Was Contributor

Alice Mullaly was raised in the same Central Point home where she lives today with her husband, Larry. A graduate of Crater High School, Oregon State, and Stanford universities, she taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York.; Mill Valley, California, and at Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. She retired from Southern Oregon University where she trained new mathematics teachers. Mullaly’s husband was also a teacher as are her two daughters. Her husband is a Southern Pacific Railroad historian, and both of them enjoy hunting for “the story” in primary sources. Alice’s mother was an early member of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, and Alice has been an SOHS volunteer for nearly 30 years. She enjoys the puzzles people bring to the Research Library, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.


In 1861, Sarah Slagle York and her husband moved to a home on Southern Oregon’s Applegate River where they raised 12 children. Years later Sarah wrote down her memories of that time.  Here is one of her stories.


Having two teachers with doctorates teaching at a one-room school is unusual, but it happened in 1910 at the West Side School located between Central Point and Jacksonville, Ore.


When Dr. A. Erin Merkel became the public health officer for the Jackson County Board of Health in 1937, eight mothers were dying out of every 1,000 live births, the highest rate in the state of Oregon. When Dr. Merkel retired in 1971, no mothers had died in the previous 8,000 live births.


Robert Oglesby, driver of the Paisley-Lakeview stage tore into town late on the night of Dec. 20, 1901, to report the stage had been robbed. The sheriff returned with Oglesby to the Lakeview, Ore., cemetery  just outside of town and found the empty mailbags just inside the fence.  One hundred dollars in gold and currency was missing.

Austie Barron’s grandfather, Major Barron, arrived in the Rogue Valley in 1851 and took out a donation land claim a few miles south of Ashland, Ore.  He built a hotel and stage stop and developed a large cattle and sheep operation.


In pioneer times, people with excruciating toothaches often turned to a blacksmith to pull the offending tooth.  By 1887, the Oregon Legislature passed the Dental Practices Act to protect people from untrained dentists.


When the wind blew from the southwest and the clouds scudded across a new moon, she screamed!


A Daughters of the American Revolution monument on Camp Baker Road commemorates Civil War-era Camp Baker west of Phoenix, Ore. The camp served the soldiers of Company A, Oregon Volunteer Cavalry, established in December 1861 to “keep an eye on the secessionists in Jacksonville.”


The diary of a recent immigrant’s first days in Southern Oregon reflects his concern for the near future. William Hoffman, his wife and five daughters arrived on Oct. 29, 1853, on the Applegate Trail. Here are some diary excerpts:


Whether it was an issue of money or politics, the fact is that on the first day of school in Jacksonville, Ore., in 1921, school directors asked Superintendent Stultz and eighth-grade teacher Miss Bradshaw to leave the school. As they walked out, the entire student body of the high school and eighth-grade class left in protest.


Only a horse trail connected Diamond Lake and Crater Lake National Park in 1921.  That was before the superintendent of the park, Alex Sparrow, invited the vice president of the Southern Pacific Railroad, E.O. McCormick, to ride the trail.  Their ride convinced them it was time to build a motor car road between the lakes.


It’s certainly true that gold attracted thousands of European-rooted settlers to Southern Oregon who took a lot of ore from the streams and rivers. But can it really be true that gold was used as street paving and railroad ballast?

The Ship Ashore Resort on U.S. Route 101 just three miles south of the Oregon border got its name from the 158-foot yacht, the S.S. Castle Rock, displayed on dry land a quarter mile from the ocean.

Fifteen-year-old David Klemczak set a Guinness World Record by twirling a hubcap on one finger for 22 hours in the KOBI television studios in Medford, Ore., on Nov. 2, 1980.

Medford and Ashland, Ore., had electricity before 1900 because they had enough water power to run generators, but Jacksonville residents and businesses still used kerosene.

In 1902, George Priddy of Medford, Ore., tried to prove his mother’s tombstone in the Central Point Cemetery was worth a million dollars.

Priddy and his siblings had been told by their parents that they owned a part of their maternal grandfather’s farm in Jackson County, Mo. Supposedly, his mother was still a minor in 1853 when she sold her one-ninth interest in the property to get money to go to the gold fields of California.

In 1898, two unrelated Rogue Valley men named Taylor went to The Philippines during the Spanish-

American War as volunteers, perhaps welcoming a chance to see more of the world.

Jay Taylor was with Company B of the Oregon Volunteers from Ashland, Ore. He became ill in training, but after 30 days returned to his company and sailed for The Philippines where he fell ill again. Recovering from surgery, he went to the front lines, sickened and died in a Manila hospital on March 25, 1899.


Wild horses in Eastern Oregon have been seen as a problem for more than 100 years. Today the Bureau of Land Management pastures, but does not slaughter, more wild horses than remain in the wild.

By 1901, demand for horsemeat in Europe had tapered off and Oregon’s only slaughterhouse in the Portland suburb of Linnton had closed. But the Boer War in South Africa created a sudden demand for horsemeat, and the slaughterhouse reopened in 1902. That year more than 10,000 wild mustangs were rounded up and sent to Linnton.


When Oregon became a state in 1859, Ashland Mills – today’s Ashland, Ore. – had a lumber mill and a flour mill and only a scattering of homes on donated land claims.

There was no church, but the town was a settled place, and people felt Christmas should reflect it by avoiding the kind of drunken fights anticipated in the mining town of Jacksonville.

An Oregon evangelist with a powerful voice, French E. Oliver, converted thousands of people to local Christian churches during month-long preaching campaigns in 1910. His method backfired in at least two cities.