Old-timer Tells How Whiskey Creek Got Its Name

May 29, 2014

 There are several versions of how Whiskey Creek along the Rogue River got its name, but 96-year-old Frances Pearson had no doubts when she was interviewed for an oral history collection in 1981. “I know the exact truth of that one,” the retired teacher said.

 Pearson told how sawmill owner Harvey Deskins would each fall collect money from his workers, hitch his oxen to a wagon and buy food for the winter in Central Point.  Pearson said that on one trip Deskins saw “a chance to make quick buck” by buying whiskey instead of food and selling it to soldiers at Fort Klamath. Deskins hired some men to take the wagon to Fort Klamath, but a storm stopped them at Whiskey Creek, “so they just dumped that whiskey into the creek,” Pearson said. Deskins refused to pay the men involved, but an improvised court ruled against him. Pearson said she had heard the story, but later read the court minutes kept by the chairman of the court.  “It was just as true as I’d heard it,” she said. “You see, we’ve got lots of traditions and stories, and sometimes we’ll have something to verify them.”

  Source: Recollections: People and the Forest from the 'Upper Rogue' to the 'Dead Indian Plateau'. Vol. III. Medford, Ore.: Rogue River National Forest, 1990. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.