The University of Oregon Extension Division held a contest in 1925 for school children to write history essays about their communities for the monthly journal, The Extension Monitor.
The winning essays, published in the June issue of the Monitor, included Jackson county’s top entry written by Lela May Rains.
Rains wrote about the Hamlin donation land claim about four miles south of Medford.
The Hamlins first had a log cabin, but soon built a substantial, southern style home. The interior featured 14-inch-wide finish boards hauled by oxen from San Francisco after the boards had arrived from the East Coast around South America’s Cape Horn.
In 1922, the Rains family was renting the old Hamlin place. On May 7 it burned to the ground, an event Lela would long remember. The fire killed one of two silver poplar trees planted by Lela’s Grandma Hamlin and grape vines she had planted that had grown to a foot thick and 70 feet long.
Cornelius Beekman and Mary Hanley also supported essay contests that gave readers a glimpse into earlier times in the Rogue Valley.
Source: Rains, Lela M. "The Old Hamlin Donation Claim." University of Oregon Extension Monitor, June 1924, pp. 16-18.