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.



9:14 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Author Con Sellers Raise Horses, Teaches in Grants Pass

Episode 2403


Born in 1922 in rural Mississippi, Con Sellers enlisted after high school in the Army, where for 16 years he edited Army newspapers and also served as a combat correspondent during the Korean War.

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9:05 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Justice of the Peace Sues Military Officer for Jailing a Civilian

Episode 2402

There was trouble in Port Orford in 1855.  Lt. August Kautz, a German-born officer in the U. S. Army, had arrested a civilian for harassing Indians on the nearby federal reserve.  Kautz jailed the man in the guardhouse for six days.  In response, the local justice of the peace was suing Kautz, accusing him of false imprisonment of a civilian.

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8:39 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Medford Bowler Becomes One of the 50 Greatest of All Time

Episode 2401

Marshall Holman’s first bowling score was a 71. He was only 12 and he considered it “mediocre.”  Attending high school in Medford, he began studying the top local players and adopting their best styles. Seeking stronger competition at age 17, he began driving on weekends in the early 1970s to Portland or Seattle.  Despite his father’s protests that Holman was wasting time, he persevered and started winning.

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8:26 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Chief John Fights to Stay on His Homeland

Episode 2400
 A year after defeating the U.S. Army in the Battle of Hungry Hill in 1855, Tecumtum, the Indian leader known as Chief John, declared he wanted to live in peace with the white man, but would fight rather than be forced onto a reservation.
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8:21 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Indian Weavers Use Fire to Grow New Bear Grass

Episode 2399

Southern Oregon and Northern California Indians wove tawny colored baskets out of bear grass, a member of the lily family still used by weavers today.  It resembles grass, but has a thick underground stem with shoots and roots that were eaten by various tribes and black bears that wallow in the dense clumps.

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8:18 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Chinese Operate Successful Gold Mines in Siskiyou County

Episode 2398
 Chinese mining companies were rare and their workers often persecuted during the California gold rush, but a number of operations were successful in Siskiyou County. During the late 1800s along the Klamath River, Chinese worked for white miners or ran their own mining companies. 
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10:33 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Tragedy Stalks Christina Bruck, from Indian Slayings to Murder

Episode 2397
 Christina Bruck was born in Germany in 1823, married John Geisel at the age of 20 and moved to Southern Oregon’s Curry County, where they had five children over the next 13 years.
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10:10 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Ashland Protects Watershed Despite Early Opposition

Episode 2396
 For more than 120 years, the Ashland, Ore., City Council has protected the city’s water supply in the 14,000-acre Ashland Creek watershed despite early opposition from private and commercial interests.  

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9:58 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Iowa Slough Once Known as Dead Man's Slough

Episode 2395

 Iowa Slough is about 15 minutes by boat from the mouth of the Coquille River in Oregon and about half way between the towns of Coquille and Bandon.  Years ago it was called Dead Man’s Slough, taking its name from two miners who were killed by Indians.

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9:54 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Spirituous Drink Leads to Tragic Death between Friends

Episode 2394
  Two good friends who shared a house in Jacksonville, Ore., William Casterline and Samuel Mooney, had an alcohol-fueled argument on Dec. 3, 1859, that ended tragically while drinking with two other men.  When the argument heated up, Mooney stormed angrily out of the cabin.  Equally inflamed, Casterline grabbed his rifle and fired out the open door.  The bullet hit Mooney between the eyes and he fell dead on the ground outside. Casterline was known as a good shot when he was a mounted volunteer in Captain O’Neal’s Company E in the Indian Wars of 1856.  
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