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.

Brothers Hugh and Denis O’Connor emigrated from Ireland to America in 1907, settled near Merrill in Southeastern Oregon and developed an 800-acre ranch that at its peak raised some 3,000 lambs a season, plus alfalfa hay, grain and potatoes.

The usual explanation for why the railroad passes through Medford, Ore., instead of Jacksonville is Jacksonville’s failure in 1884 to pay a $25,000 “bonus” to the railroad toward anticipated construction expenses.

Early settlers traveling the Applegate Trail to Oregon passed within 100 yards of the present-day Tub Springs State Wayside alongside the scenic Green Springs Highway linking Ashland and Klamath Falls.

The Lava Beds National Monument in Northeast California has been called both “a place where time stood still” and “the land of burnt out fires.”

Two Irish brothers in their mid-20’s, Hugh and Denis O’Connor, arrived in America in 1907 to seek their fortune in Lake County, Ore., where two other brothers had already settled.

In 1852, a bachelor from Ohio, Jacob Wagner, built the first cabin in Talent, Ore., and a year later raised Fort Wagner around the cabin and an acre of land.

After traveling the Oregon Trail, Henry Clay Tison settled with his wife, Diega, and eight children in the Southern Oregon community of Drew on Aug. 1, 1897.  Drew is some 29 miles east of Canyonville on State Rte. 227.

When the U.S. Mint asked Gov. Ted Kulongoski to come up with something to serve as an iconic image of the state, he took his wife’s advice.

Most historians trace the beginning of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Indian Wars to a massacre of peaceful Indians by white miners and other malcontents.

Do horses talk?  How about mules?

It has been said that American Indians and grizzly bears shared dominion of the West Coast before the arrival of Euro-American emigrants in the 19th century.

Indigenous people have gathered berries and medicinal plants, hunted, fished and socialized since time immemorial on Huckleberry Mountain just west of present-day Crater Lake National Park.

Factory equipment left over from an unprofitable Rogue Valley sugar factory in the mid-1900's ended up in the South American country of Uruguay.

One day during the Rogue River War of 1855-56, Henry Chapman and two of his Ashland, Ore., neighbors went hunting for hostile Indians in the nearby hills.  Instead, Chapman tangled with a grizzly bear.  His sister, Victoria Mickelson, told the Oregon Journal in 1924 how it happened.

It was a bumper huckleberry year in 1908 in the Cascade Forest Reserve just west of Southern Oregon’s  Crater Lake National Park.

Actress Edna Skinner and her friend Jean Fish retired in the 1970’s in Coos Bay, Ore, where Skinner built a 6,000-square-foot, boat-shaped house designed by Fish.  The Coos Bay newspaper, The World, has described the house as “one of the South Coast’s architectural marvels.”

A century-old picture postcard shows ice skaters standing nearly motionless on Lake Ewauna at Klamath Falls, Ore.  The postcard is part of the Klamath County Museum collection.  Some skaters apparently froze in place so they wouldn’t be blurred in the photograph.

Sixty-nine years ago Dennis Bambauer learned he was an ethnic Japanese when he was whisked by armed military police from his Los Angeles orphanage to the Manzanar Japanese Internment camp in Southern California. It was the spring of 1942, a few months after Pearl Harbor, and the government forced all West Coast Japanese and Japanese-Americans into detention camps to avoid espionage or other collaboration with the enemy.

The Medford Mail Tribune reflected the town’s excitement in describing the dedication of the first municipally owned airfield in Oregon on Sept. 6, 1920.  The newspaper article’s first sentence said, “Beautiful in its sentiment, spectacular in its thrill-features and record-breaking locally in its immense assemblage of humanity and autos, the dedication of Medford's army aviation field and the christening of it as Newell Barber Field yesterday afternoon was successful beyond the most sanguine expectations.”

It’s been more than a century and a half since the miners of 1849 headed from Shasta to Whiskeytown, Calif., to celebrate the holidays.