One of Josephine County’s early distinguished citizens was Abraham Lincoln Savage. Born in 1864 on his parents homestead, Lincoln explored the land now known as Savage Creek for plants growing in the area. In 1896 he graduated from Southern Oregon Normal School as valedictorian of his class with a degree in Scientific Didactics, the equivalent of today’s bachelor of education.
Savage spent 13 years teaching at schools in Butte Falls, Ruch, Wilderville and Kerby, and spreading his love of education and botany. He pioneered uniform teaching methods and courses of study that were adopted later by the Oregon educational system. While serving as the principal at Kerby High School, he helped noted botanists Albert Sweetser and Louis Henderson find Oregon fawn lily hybrids. When Savage died in 1950, some 540 of his specimens, known as the Lincoln Savage Collection, were presented to the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, which merged later with the University of Oregon Herbarium. The dried-plant specimens provide a valuable record of Southwest Oregon flora from the 1920s forward. In 1960, the Lincoln Savage Middle School in Josephine County was named in his honor.