History
11:04 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Only the Name Persists of Persists, Ore.

Episode 2298
 In 1883, William and Irene Willits homesteaded nearly 500 acres in the mountains above Elk Creek in Jackson County, Ore. They had both been teachers, but liked the idea of living far from their neighbors.

 Willits kept abreast of things by subscribing to the Oregonian and to the Atlantic Monthly and Harpers magazines. He had to ride eight miles to pick up the publications at the Prospect Post Office. That prompted him in 1884 to ask the postal service to establish an office in his home. Year-after-year he applied and was turned down – until 1902 when he was allowed to open the Persist Post Office. Willits also formed the Persist School District and built a school for the handful of children in the neighborhood. The teachers boarded at the Willits home, and one, Alice French, married their son Amos. The Willits were self-sufficient, raising and preserving their own food, and they even had a portable sawmill.  In 1935 Willits sold the place, no longer able to keep it up. The post office closed and the school merged with Elk Creek. Today only the name Persist persists.

     Source: Merrill, Karen. "Pioneer persistence let to tiny town's birth." The Mail Tribune 23 Mar. 1989 [Medford Oregon] : 8D. Print. 

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