Maryann Mason

As It Was Contributor

Maryann Mason, who lives in Ashland, has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon, and as an English/history teacher she assigned the National History Day project to her students every year for many years.

Michigan timberman L. G. Porter was one of the first settlers in Medford, Ore., after purchasing timberland around Prospect in the 1890s. 

In May 1948, the Republican candidate for President, New York Gov. Thomas Dewey, addressed an audience of some 2,000 at the Medford Armory. 

In 1853, Rachel Taylor left Illinois with her family, traveling to the Rogue Valley in what became known as the “Preacher Train” because five Southern Oregon preachers came on that same wagon train.

When Robert Erway Sr. returned as an adult to the Fall Creek Power House where he played as a 6-year-old, it brought back memories, not all happy ones.

Eighty-three-year-old Mrs. A.J. Russell recalled the Christmas of 1865 when she was 27, married and living on Ashland’s North Main Street.  The town had 16 business and professional men at the time.

An original member of the Ashland Highland Kilty Band, Gerald Gunter, had some fond memories of the early days.

Samuel Colver Jr. was one of Southern Oregon’s successful pioneers, an Ohio boy who studied law at Plymouth College in Indiana, excelled in debate, especially with his teachers, but left Ohio to become a Texas Ranger, an Indian Scout, and to serve with Sam Houston in the Battle of San Jacinto.

The Klamath Reservation tribes were very proud of their kiuks, known by outsiders as Indian doctors or shamans.  One of the most respected was David Chocktoot, or Big Hearted Indian.

Music and politics seem to go together, but in 1904, a welcoming band received the bad end of the deal.

When the North American fur trade reached its peak in the 1800’s, European and American trappers encountered an abundance of sea otters, especially on the Oregon Coast.  It wouldn’t last long.

In 1907, George Taverner and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, moved to Ashland, Ore., and bought a home designed by Frank Clark, Southern Oregon’s leading architect at the time.

In 1852 Isaac and Elizabeth Hill left Sweetwater, Tenn., for Oregon, with three daughters and three sons, 500 head of cattle and 12 oxen.

Picard, Calif., doesn’t exist today, but in the late 1800’s, it was a small town in California’s Butte Valley south of Klamath Falls. 

Before she died in 1948 in Talent, Ore., Susan Haines Clayton had become one of, and maybe the last, Union Civil War nurses still alive. 

Political conflict is not new in America -- or Jackson County, for that matter.

Northwest forests once attracted government scientists investigating tree-damaging insect infestations.  

When the Rogue River Indian War erupted in 1855, the U.S. military had 350 men assigned to the vast Oregon and Washington territories.  A militia called the Second Regiment Mounted Volunteers formed and played a major role in the war.  Its success depended on the smooth delivery of supplies to the troops.

On April 18, 1906, Grants Pass, Ore., purchased rights of way and rails and unloaded a trainload of equipment for building a railroad to Crescent City.  Plans were shelved the next day by the San Francisco Great Earthquake.

When he decided to travel to Oregon from Ohio in 1845, Alonzo A. Skinner was already a member of the bar, and a prosecuting attorney. He became the first judge in the Pacific Northwest.

James DeMoss and his wife Elizabeth were part of an 1862 wagon train.  They were musicians who traveled the world with their five children, playing 41 different instruments.  Son George played two cornets at the same time and also had the ability to play several different pieces of music at the same time. Son Henry composed the song “Sweet Oregon,” which became the unofficial state song for a number of years.

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