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

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


The fastest flying bird on earth, the Peregrine Falcon, includes the Siskiyou Crest Region and its craggy cliffs as home, as well as living and breeding on every continent of the world except Antarctica. Nesting pairs have been seen in the Whiskey Peak and Collings-Kinney Roadless areas of the Crest Region.


When Dr. A. Erin Merkel became the public health officer for the Jackson County Board of Health in 1937, eight mothers were dying out of every 1,000 live births, the highest rate in the state of Oregon. When Dr. Merkel retired in 1971, no mothers had died in the previous 8,000 live births.


On his third Western expedition in 1845-46, military explorer John C. Fremont and legendary frontier scout Kit Carson led a raid on a Klamath Lake Indian village in retaliation for a night ambush that had killed three expedition members.

In a 1978 oral history interview, 80-year-old Addie Brant of Yoncalla, Ore., recalled a special friendship between her grandfather and a former slave named Williams Eads.  Brant’s grandfather, William Wilson, and Eads were Yoncalla pioneers.

In the early 1900's, University of California professor A. L. Kroeber collected many stories and myths told by the Yurok Indians and other tribes.  His writings form an important collection of the cultural traditions of California coastal tribes. The tales he related were called tales of the “woge times” – when mythological heroes called woges lived on earth.


Soon after its founding in 1883, the Medford community needed a school for its children.  The first school was a one-room building on South Central in Medford, a subscription school that cost $5 to attend. William A. Williamson was the first teacher.


Dame Shirley was the pen name of Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe, who wrote 23 letters about her experiences in the Rich Bar goldmine camps on California’s Feather River.  The rough life of the 1851 miners fascinated Clappe, an Amherst-educated doctor’s wife.

A rare plant discovered in 1876 by an Episcopal priest, Edward Lee Greene, grows only in four known places in Siskiyou County, including near Jackson Street in Yreka.

Mary Morris was a Shasta Indian who lived around the dawn of the 20th century along Moffett Creek not far from the Forest House Ranch and Yreka, Calif.  She was married for a time to a white soldier from the Modoc War.

As settlers and miners rushed into Southern Oregon and Northern California in the early 1850s, violent clashes with Native Americans also increased.


Robert Oglesby, driver of the Paisley-Lakeview stage tore into town late on the night of Dec. 20, 1901, to report the stage had been robbed. The sheriff returned with Oglesby to the Lakeview, Ore., cemetery  just outside of town and found the empty mailbags just inside the fence.  One hundred dollars in gold and currency was missing.

Fisherman Lands 12-Pound Trout in Lake Siskiyou

May 22, 2015

Siskiyou County fisherman Dick Bliss wasn’t sure whether he had landed a salmon or a trout while fishing on Lake Siskiyou on Jan. 19, 1978. The 31-inch fish weighed 12 pounds.

In the middle of the Applegate Valley at the intersection of highways 238 and Williams is a red clapboard building trimmed in white. It is the home of The Provolt Store – thought to be the oldest continuously operated establishment in Southern Oregon.

Applegate Rancher Rupert Maddox recalled for an oral history project how versatile his 1914 Model T Ford was, especially when water flooded the carburetor while fording a swollen creek.


Beached marine mammals were less likely to survive before 1984 in the California counties of Humboldt and Del Norte and Oregon’s Curry County.


Brothers Joe and Lile Edson saw an opportunity to expand the business when they purchased the old Beswick Hotel in 1887.


Excitement was high in Klamath Falls in May 1965 at the opening of an expanded auto race track at the old Klamath Speedway.  A new grandstand offered seating to 5,000 spectators.


The Poet of the Sierras, Joaquin Miller, once proposed creation of what he called “a sort of Indian Republic” with Mount Shasta at the center.


Fred C. Burton was born in 1879 on the family’s Scott Valley, Calif., homestead, one of 12 children of  Stephen and Sarah Burton. His mother died when he was nine years old.


Fort Birdseye sat on the site of a Donation Land Claim filed in 1853 by David Birdseye on the south bank of the Rogue River at the mouth of Birdseye Creek between Rogue River and Gold Hill. Settlers built it for defense against Rogue River Indian attacks in 1855.