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.

Volunteers have been busy since 2013 sprucing up the 156-year-old pioneer Lane Cemetery in the Southern Oregon community of Winchester, once Douglas County’s government seat before it moved to  nearby Roseburg.

Quebec-born Peter Skene Ogden, who explored and gathered beaver pelts in Oregon between 1826 and 1827, was more than a fur trader.  The Hudson’s Bay Company sent him as chief trader on several expeditions between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific.  His mission was not only to gather furs, but also to explore and record the rivers and mountains he encountered.  Historian Jeff LaLande calls his contribution to geographic knowledge of “major importance to Oregon history.”

Quebec-born fur trader Peter Skene Ogden led six Hudson’s Bay Company trapping parties from the Rockies to the Pacific.

The Oregon State Parks Division purchased nearly 2,000 acres from the Joseph N. Hughes Estate in 1971 and turned it into the Cape Blanco State Park.  The park offers tours of the lighthouse and the historic Patrick Hughes house from April through October.  The lighthouse is Oregon’s southernmost, and Cape Blanco, named by a Spanish explorer in 1603, is the state’s most westernmost point.

Under an engraving of a four-engine airplane and a cross, a polished granite memorial at Mountain View Cemetery in Ashland, Ore., reads, “In Memory of the Ashcraft Brothers.”  They are identified as Navy Lt. Dean Bruner Ashcraft, Navy Lt. Kent Norman Ashcraft and Army Staff Sgt. Leland James Ashcraft.  All three were killed in World War II.

A contract mail carrier for 39 years beginning in 1898, Hathaway Jones, dreamed up some really tall tales as he traveled alone through Southern Oregon’s rugged Rogue River Canyon.

Working from a studio in room 401 of her father’s hotel in Klamath Falls, Ore., Maud Baldwin processed thousands of glass-plate photographs that today are a historical treasure.

Many critics of the flamboyant Western dress and extravagant poetry of Joaquin Miller have also recognized his enthusiasm and contribution to Western literature.

Southeastern Oregon rancher, story teller and author Reub [cq] Long was known as the Sage of Fort Rock in Lake County where he lived most of his life. Since his death in 1974 at age 76, his cowboy philosophy has become legendary.

The 2,573-pound glob of iron known as the Goose Lake meteorite attracts visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. The meteorite is uniquely covered by enigmatic large holes and cavities.

The writer Melvin R. Adams notes that Goose Lake, Calif., south of Lakeview, Ore., was a welcome sight for pioneers arriving on the Applegate Trail.

Despite legislative attempts to change its name to Alder Creek, Bully Creek in Southeastern Malheur County still goes by Bully Creek.

In August 1855, famed Civil War Gen. Phil Sheridan was a young lieutenant on an exploratory expedition in Southern Oregon. The soldiers ran into an armed party of Jacksonville citizens in hot pursuit of some Indians, but Sheridan soon surmised they weren’t anxious to find any “hostiles.”

In 1934, Shenie and Hattie Hogue and their two boys moved to Brushy Bar above Agness, Ore., reachable only by foot, boat or horseback.  Shenie worked for the U.S. Forest Service, building a guard station and patrolling for fires.

Southern Oregon’s Rogue River has had several names.

A 17-year-old Japanese-American boy in Hood River, Ore., wrote a poem shortly before committing suicide on Feb. 27, 1931.  The youth, Kay Yasui, son of Japanese immigrants Masuo and Shidzuyo Yasui, had faced racial harassment at a time Asian discrimination was especially high in the United States.  Much of his family would later spend World War II in Northern California’s Tule Lake Japanese confinement camp.

Gold Beach derived its name from a short-lived coastal gold rush between the town and Coos Bay, but it was coal that became a significant mining industry on the Southern Oregon Coast.

Canadian immigrant Joseph Edward Merriam spent many years at sea before sailing into the Eureka, Calif., harbor on June 19, 1885, with his wife, Clara Russell Webster.  A biography published 30 years later said Merriam never went to sea again.

Raised in rural Arkansas, World War II Army veteran Pete Williams went to work in 1943 for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Klamath County, Ore.


A residence near Williams, Ore., owned for a time by rock musician Steve Miller, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 2015.