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.

The front page headline in the five-cent Klamath Falls Evening Herald on Aug. 5, 1916, declares, “HUCKLEBERRIES ARE PLENTIFUL". The body of the story continues:

“To guide and take care of campers seeking huckleberries, William Sims has established a camp on the top of Huckleberry Mountain - - Sims says the huckleberries are plentiful on the mountain.

The Ku Klux Klan swore in its first Oregon klansmen in Medford in 1921.  Within two years, the Klan claimed 35,000 members and more than 60 chapters in Oregon, as well as organizations for women, teenagers and foreign-born Protestants.

The Klan impacted the politics of Jackson County and statewide elections in 1922.  A gathering in Roseburg drew approximately 2,000 masked klansmen from Southern Oregon, and hooded klansmen marched in Ashland’s Fourth of July parade. 

A U.S. Forest Service lookout, J.S. McClemmons, was on a hand-crank telephone call one August afternoon in 1920 when lightning struck atop Mount Eddy in Northern California.

Mount Eddy, at 9,025 feet, is the tallest mountain west of Interstate 5, directly across the valley from Mount Shasta.

The publisher of the Oregon Sentinel newspaper in Jacksonville, B.F. Dowell, called the hanging there of a 7-year-old Indian boy in 1853 “one of the saddest and most inhuman acts” of the Rogue Indian War.

Having just hanged two grown Indians, a mob had seized the boy and headed for the scaffold.

Dowell recalled years later that he mounted a nearby log and shouted for attention, telling the crowd to punish the guilty but not the innocent child. 

In 1913, the Klamath Development Company recruited Russian immigrants to purchase farm land in the Henley-Mount Laki district of Klamath County.  Only about 20 actually settled there. 

There was a great demand for horses during the First World War, including many from the Western United States.

Nearly 24 years ago, on Sept. 1, 1992, Jefferson Public Radio broadcast its first episode of As It Was, bringing alive the rich history of Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Sheepherders spending lonely summers in Southern Oregon turned to a special medium to express themselves.  They affixed their identity to aspen trees by carving everything from their names and hometowns to their yearnings to get away from the sheep and return to their native lands. 

Botanist Lilla Leach literally left her name in the Oregon woods through the discovery of more than 12 new Oregon plant species and two new genera.  She also achieved protection of Oregon myrtle trees near the South Coast town of Brookings.

About the time when the first Anglo-American settlers and miners were struggling to survive in the wilderness of Southern Oregon and Northern California, Portland was dealing with more urbane issues.

History writer Lee Juillerat describes the man behind the creation of Northern California’s Lava Beds National Monument as an eccentric genius and near hermit.

The Ashland Parks Foundation considers an Italian marble fountain purchased at the 1915 Pan American Exposition in San Francisco the “jewel” of the city’s park system.

Seventy-five-year-old Dennis Bambauer has been delivering pastries on Election Day to the Shasta County clerk’s office for nearly half a century.

There was a time when motorists driving dirt roads to Klamath Falls, Ore., could go trout fishing and shake the dust by a swim in Lake Ewauna.

The land around Drewsey, Ore., was once a popular camping spot for the Paiute Indians.  They fished for salmon in the North Fork of the Malheur River, hunted deer, and dug edible roots and onions.

The flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919 stands as the deadliest in modern history.  It infected some 500 million people, about one-third of the world population, killing an estimated 20 million to 50 million of them.

One of the last strongholds of pronghorn antelope is the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in Oregon’s high desert some 30 miles east of Lakeview.  This is “a home where the deer and the antelope play.”

George W. Riddle came to Oregon by covered wagon in April of 1851, settling with his family south of Roseburg.  He was 11 years old.

It’s usually called the Applegate Trail, but no one was more involved in its creation and improvement than Capt. Levi Scott.

The town of Drewsey, Ore., wasn’t always Drewsey.  When Abner Robbins opened a store there in the summer of 1883, he called the place Gouge Eye. That raised some eyebrows, if you’ll excuse the pun.