Kernan Turner

As It Was Editor & Coordinator

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP.  His assignments included the World Desk in New York City and 27 years as a foreign correspondent and bureau chief, living and working in Mexico and Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula. His final assignment was as chief of Iberian Services in Madrid, Spain. He retired in Ashland, his birthplace,  in 2002, with his wife, Betzabé “Mina” Turner, an Oregon certified court interpreter.  He and his wife are active boosters of Ashland’s Sister City connection with Guanajuato, Mexico.

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History
2:02 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Indians Greet Settlers at Future Home Site

 

After more than six months on the Oregon and Applegate trails, the William H. Riddle family faced some 100 curious Indian men, women and children as the family established permanent camp in Southern Oregon’s Cow Creek Valley.  The year was 1851 and the nearest settler was eight miles away and only four were within 25 miles.

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History
1:56 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Pioneer Describes Journey from Illinois to Southern Oregon

 

Oregon lumberman and rancher George Washington Riddle crossed the plains as an 11-year-old boy in 1851.

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History
1:40 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Collier Outdoor Museum Features Early Logging

 

The Logging Museum at the Collier Memorial State Park near Chiloquin, Ore., offers visitors a glimpse of Eastern Oregon logging from the primitive harvests of the 1860's through today’s large-scale operations.

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History
1:22 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Black Woman Prospers Despite Closed Doors

 

Born between 1814 and 1818 as a slave in Kentucky, Letitia Carson died in 1888 on her own Southern Oregon ranch with a two-story house, smokehouse, cattle, pigs, and an orchard of more than 100 trees.

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History
8:16 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Prospector-Poet’s Boyhood Spent Near Myrtle Creek, Ore.

 

A prospector-poet named Clarence E. Eddy gained national fame in the early 1900s with gold mining songs and poems.  Eddy grew up on a farm above the town of Myrtle Creek, Ore., and became an itinerant printer, editor and prospector.  His poem about mining-camp follower “Lizzie King,” buried on a hill above a “lonely western valley, laments mining’s “marring” of her and the land.  Here’s an excerpt:

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History
1:00 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Oregon Doctor Urges Forced Sterilization of Criminals and Insane

One of Oregon’s first female doctors was an outspoken advocate of women’s suffrage and Prohibition before shaking up the state in 1904 by calling for the sterilization of criminals, the insane and the developmentally disabled.

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History
10:00 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Male Doctors Attempt to Humiliate Female Colleague in Roseburg

 

Dr. Bethenia Owens-Adair faced gender discrimination throughout her life. 

In the 1870s, most U.S. medical schools refused to enroll women.  That didn’t intimidate Owens-Adair, a divorced mother who at 27 had opened a successful hat and dress shop in Roseburg, Ore.  Graduating in 1874 from the Eclectic School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Penn., she returned to Roseburg to wind up her business.

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History
9:59 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Female Doctor Overcomes Gender Discrimination

The life of Dr. Bethenia Owens-Adair was so full that today’s episode will be the first of three to explore it.  She once said, “The regret of my life up to the age of thirty-five was that I had not been born a boy… (and was) … hampered and hemmed in on all sides simply by the accident of … (gender).”

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History
1:00 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Frances Pearson Reminisces about Huckleberry Picking

Each August when she was young, Frances Aiken Pearson of Prospect, Ore., and her family joined hundreds of other berry pickers for a week or so on Huckleberry Mountain.  In an oral history recorded in 1981 when she was 95 years old, Pearson exclaimed, “Oh, but those were great days!”

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History
1:00 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Fruit Cellars and Smoke-Houses Preserve Fruits and Meats

 

Early settlers in Southern Oregon depended on wild fruits and animals for much of their food.  Longtime Prospect resident Jack Hallenbeak described in an oral history interview how his family stored food for winter.

The family gathered huckleberries and wild blackberries known as dewberries and his father brought peaches from the Rogue Valley. 

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History
1:00 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Woman Survives Lightning Strike on Mountain Lookout

Zella Wright and her husband, Herb, spent the winter of 1942-43 as lookouts scanning the skies for enemy aircraft for the Army Air Corps Aircraft Warning Service. Their lookout was on 6,000-foot-high Blue Rock Peak in the mountains east of Butte Falls, Ore.

Interviewed in 1982 for an oral history project, they told U.S. Forest Service historian Jeff LaLand the tedium and isolation was only occasionally relieved by the hum of an airplane overhead, none of them Japanese.

But one day was literally a shocker for Zella Wright when lightning struck their lookout station while she was talking on their hand-cranked telephone.

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History
1:00 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Cowboy Historian Recalls Desert Livery Stables

Christmas Valley cowboy Reub Long, co-author of the book titled The Oregon Desert, wrote that before the early 1920s, “No town was much until it had a livery barn.”

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History
1:00 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Jews Fleeing Russia Establish Southern Oregon Colony

Jewish emigrants fleeing anti-Semitic violence in Russia established the New Odessa farming colony in 1883 near present-day Glendale, Ore.

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History
11:15 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Indians Turn Klamath Lake Lilies into Diet Staple

Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon’s largest fresh-water lake, enriched the diet of Klamath and Modoc Indians for centuries.  The lake provided fish, ducks and duck eggs, and western yellow-lily seeds, called Wokas, an important source of dietary starch.

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History
2:43 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Chipmunk-Chasing Dog Becomes War Hero

 

A chipmunk-chasing fox terrier named Two-Bits became a World War II hero.

In the winter of 1942-43, Two-Bits lived with his owner in a fire lookout perched above a cliff on 6,497-foot Whiskey Peak in the Rogue River National Forest.  The Army Air Corps was using the fire-lookout as part of its Aircraft Warning Service.  The lookout, Bill Zeigler, scanned the skies for enemy aircraft while Two-Bits chased chipmunks.

Historian Jeff LaLand relates the story:

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History
2:28 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Tule Lake Basin Grows Spicy Horseradish

Right after World War II, the government offered returning veterans homesteads in the Tule Lake Basin near the California border with Oregon.

The 213 homesteaders’ traditional grain crops grew with vigor in the rich, lake-bottom soil drained by the Bureau of Reclamation, but a single, high-desert summer frost wiped them out.

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History
3:15 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Cowboy Historian Considers Legacy of Early Lakeview Doctor

Cowboy historian Rube Long once wrote that Irish immigrant Dr. Bernard Daly of Lakeview, Ore., would be remembered long after other desert doctors were forgotten.

Long referred to the bachelor doctor’s scholarship fund, established in 1922 and worth nearly $7 million today. It continues to pay college educations for Lake County high school graduates. Daly’s other accomplishments were in the fields of law, politics, banking and business.  He owned 14 buildings in Lakeview and the largest ranch in South-Central Oregon.

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History
8:32 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Indian Myth Describes Creation of Black Butte Dome on Interstate 5

 

Travelers on Interstate 5 between Mount Shasta and Weed, Calif., pass closely by the 6,325-foot-high Black Butte Dome. A creation myth of the Abjumawi Band of the Pitt River Indians explains its origin.

At a time when both humans and animals were considered people, the Creator lived on Mount Shasta with his son and daughter.  The Creator provided Shastina dome as a private annex for the daughter, but warned against visiting the valley to the west. 

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History
3:06 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Silver Lake Fire Kills at Least 40 People in 1894

One hundred twenty years ago this month, a Christmas Eve fire in Silver Lake, Ore., killed at least 40 people and seriously injured many more. Silver Lake is on State Route 31 in northern Lake County.

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History
2:45 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Early Southern Oregon Explorers Add Dogs to Their Diet

 

The first explorers of European descent to visit Southern Oregon sometimes turned to Indian dogs for sustenance. When Hudson’s Bay Company trapper Peter Skene Ogden and his party visited Upper Klamath Lake in December 1826, they obtained nine dogs for food from the Klamath Indians. 

Seventeen years later in December 1843 John Charles Fremont and his 39 men reached Klamath Lake on his second exploring expedition in the West. With them was a dog that had wandered wounded into camp one cold and rainy night in mountains above Salt Lake, Utah.

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