As It Was

Classics & News: Mon-Fri • 9:30am & 1pm | News & Information: Mon-Fri • 9:57am

Colorful vignettes dedicated to the regional history of Southern Oregon and Northern California. As It Was is an all volunteer effort -- produced by Raymond Scully and narrated by Shirley Patton in partnership with writers from the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

If you have a writing background and would like to submit an As It Was essay for consideration, email your written piece to the Southern Oregon Historical Society at

A collection of As It Was essays is available in a high-quality paperback book at the JPR Store.  Each episode is also available below.



9:51 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Drunken Hired Hand Falls Off Horse, Sleeps in Ditch

Episode 2366

Sam Cherry was a hired man who worked for a number of ranches in the Shasta Valley east of Yreka, Calif.  Originally from the Ozarks, he moved to Siskiyou County from Oregon in 1930.

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9:46 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Stage Takes Three Days to Reach Oregon Coast from Grants Pass

Episode 2365
 In the early 1900s, Gladys Miller Payne of Jackson County, Ore., often traveled to the Northern California Coast.  The trip took three days and seven fresh teams of horses from her Evans Creek home.  First, she went to Grants Pass, where she boarded the Concord stage pulled by four horses following roughly the course of today’s U.S. Hwy 199.  
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9:41 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Alert Pacific Highway Motorist Assists Police in Capturing Mail Thieves

Episode 2364
 George Barnum stopped for coffee in the wee hours of March 7, 1922, in Dunsmuir, Calif., on his way home to Medford, Ore., from San Francisco.  At the restaurant, a police officer told Barnum that robbers had stolen a mail pouch up the road at Weed, and the government was offering a $5,000 reward for their capture.  Barnum hadn’t passed any southbound cars that morning as he drove north on the Pacific Highway that followed the old Siskiyou Trail.
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9:31 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Medford Turns All Out for Baseball between the "Fats" and the "Leans"

Episode 2363
  In June of 1911, the city of Medford held a comically named and well advertised baseball game. For weeks the Medford Sun and Medford Mail Tribune promoted the game between the “Fats” and the “Leans.”  One newspaper declared, “If you're fat you'll get lean and if you're lean you'll get your money's worth.”

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9:09 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Mountain Community of Dudley, Ore., Becomes a Memory

Episode 2361
 Four Spencer brothers moved their families from Pennsylvania to Oregon in 1905 to take advantage of the Homestead Act. The Spencers and other families staked their claims in deep woods atop a 4,000-foot ridge six miles north of Butte Falls, Ore.

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8:52 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Blackstone Audio Grows from Living Room to Large Ashland Complex

Episode 2359
 Blackstone founder Craig Black and his wife, Michelle, started their audio book business in their living room in Medford, Ore., in 1987. They later moved to Ashland and enlisted Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors to narrate books on tape.

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8:45 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Siskiyou Valley Mines Yield Cinnabar, the Primary Ore of Mercury

Episode 2358
 The Barton and Lange Mine operated on the Klamath River in Siskiyou Valley, some four miles west of Oak Bar in the Oak Bar Mining District.  Discovered in 1890 by owners J.A. Barton and company, the mine covered 60 acres at an elevation of 1,855 feet. 

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8:37 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Bureau of Reclamation Rescues Bear Creek Irrigation Crisis

Episode 2357
 Three irrigation districts in Southern Oregon first realized in the 1930s that their infrastructure was deteriorating.  Founded years earlier as private companies, they also realized they couldn’t afford the expense of preserving the orchards and fields of the Rogue Basin.

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8:28 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Robert Vinton Beall Plants Heritage Tree in 1864

Episode 2356

 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.

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8:17 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Sheriff Tires of Insanity Charade, Drags Wife-Killer to the Gallows

Episode 2355
 A long-time resident of Merlin, Ore., Charles Fiester, was convicted on Oct. 5, 1895, and sentenced to hang for drowning his wife, Nancy, in a shallow pool of water in the presence of his young children.  He had said he tried to drown himself, too. Fiester’s lawyer appealed the case to the Oregon Supreme Court, and the hanging was postponed.

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