In 1864, Robert Vinton Beall planted a sapling black walnut tree in the yard of his newly constructed house east of Jacksonville. Today the Beall Black Walnut, an Oregon Heritage Tree and one of the largest of its kind in America, stands sentinel to 150 years of Oregon history, some forged by the Beall family.
Scotsman Ninian Beall arrived in America in the 1600s and produced a lineage that included four Maryland governors. In 1852, brothers Robert and Thomas broke speed records for mule-train travel on the Oregon Trail, completing the trek in 78 days. Soon the Bealls started packing supplies to Southern Oregon miners. The Bealls established trade routes between Jacksonville and Crescent City, and Robert built one of the first frame buildings in Southern Oregon, a structure now listed in the National Historical Register. Robert’s son, “Vintie,” who graduated from the University of Oregon in 1897, gained acclaim as an artist, photographer, and teacher. He bequeathed $100,000 to the University of Oregon, dedicated to “the pioneer women of Oregon.” Today the University of Oregon’s Music Recital Center bears the name Beall Hall.
Sources: Oregonian 11 July 1929 [Portland, Ore.]. Print. Oregonian 11 July 1929. Warren, Irwin., resident of Beall house, Central Point, Ore., interview with author 17 October 2007; Frank Callahan, Oregon tree expert. Central Point, Ore., telephone interview with author, December 2007; "Oregon Heritage Trees." Oregon Travel Experience. 11 July 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.