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.

Rogue River People living in isolation in the 1800’s along the Rogue River relied on each other instead of doctors. 

An early Methodist preacher in the Rogue Valley, Thomas Fletcher Royal, faced danger bravely.

Sawmills in the early days of north-central Siskiyou County numbered in the dozens. Some operated for only months and others for many years.  Today there are few traces left.

An 1872 graduate of Hahnemann School of Homeopathy in San Francisco, Dr. James Spence, and his wife settled in 1874 in Josephine County’s Bridgeview, Ore.  His practice included caring for the miners and farmers at Althouse Creek, Brownstone, Kerbyville and Sailor’s Diggings.

For nearly 70 years, hamburger enthusiasts in Medford, Ore., frequented the little stand on the corner of Sixth and Riverside streets known as Dell’s Hamburgers. 

Susannah Mask, believed to be the third child of Dudley Mask of North Carolina and his slave, Nellie, became an Oregon pioneer in 1852.

When the Rogue River Indian War erupted in 1855, the U.S. military had 350 men assigned to the vast Oregon and Washington territories.  A militia called the Second Regiment Mounted Volunteers formed and played a major role in the war.  Its success depended on the smooth delivery of supplies to the troops.

In 1913, the Klamath Development Company recruited Russian immigrants to purchase farm land in the Henley-Mount Laki district of Klamath County.  Only about 20 actually settled there. 

In 1868, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors received a petition to establish a school district south of Yreka. The May 5 board minutes stated, “In the matter of application of Perry Cram and others for establishing a new school district, Petition granted.”  The board named G.K. Godfrey as superintendent. 

There was a great demand for horses during the First World War, including many from the Western United States.

Many early Oregon settlers dropped their plows and axes and joined the California gold rush in 1849.  A man named Long established a ferry to avoid a very dangerous crossing of the Rogue River on the way to the gold fields on the old mule packers’ trail through Southern Oregon.

Voting by mail was attempted in Oregon at least as early as 1910 when James Kershaw mailed ballots to Jackson County Clerk W.R. Coleman 12 days before the election with a request to “put them through if you can.”

The Rogue Valley has always been known for its agricultural crops.  The farmland around Talent contains many orchards and gardens producing fruits and vegetables sold locally and around the world.

Nearly 24 years ago, on Sept. 1, 1992, Jefferson Public Radio broadcast its first episode of As It Was, bringing alive the rich history of Southern Oregon and Northern California.

By 1852, mining in the Klamath River region attracted nearly a thousand miners. Most moved on as easy gold played out, but a number settled along the rivers.  One such settlement was Somes Bar at the confluence of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers in Siskiyou County.

Sheepherders spending lonely summers in Southern Oregon turned to a special medium to express themselves.  They affixed their identity to aspen trees by carving everything from their names and hometowns to their yearnings to get away from the sheep and return to their native lands. 

Residents of Sawyers Bar built a Catholic Church of locally produced lumber in 1855 on a sloping bench above the North Fork of the Salmon River.  A six-foot wooden cross that stands in front was the only item that originally distinguished it from the area’s other buildings.

Looking a little green lately?  Constant headache?  Feeling weak?  You may be suffering from Green Sickness, according to a page-four ad in a 1901 edition of the Rogue River Courier

On Tuesday, August 23rd, As It Was, JPR's daily series of audio vignettes on the history of southern Oregon and northern California will reach a significant milestone: 3,000 episodes!

Botanist Lilla Leach literally left her name in the Oregon woods through the discovery of more than 12 new Oregon plant species and two new genera.  She also achieved protection of Oregon myrtle trees near the South Coast town of Brookings.