By 1905, when the book titled “An Illustrated History of Central Oregon” was written, the town of Merganser was dead, lingering only in the memories of the earliest pioneers. 

Charles Crump had no forewarning of what would come of his contacting the Nevada Thermal Power Co. that was looking for geothermal sources for power plants.

In 1928, the automobile editor of the Portland Oregonian heard that the postmaster at remote Agness, Ore., had never been in a car.  In those days, no roads led to Agness, an isolated village 21 miles up the Rogue River from the coastal town of Gold Beach.

One evening in the late 1800’s an unannounced visitor came to a small house built by Albert and Sarah Howlett on Little Butte Creek in Eagle Point, Ore.  When the stranger asked if he could stay the night, they invited him in.

A couple of cigarette butts helped solve a 1917 murder at the Spaulding Mill in Selma, Ore.

Oregon Route 140 heads into the Oregon High Desert east of Klamath Falls, passing by some colorfully named communities, including Dairy and nearby Bonanza and farther east Bly, Adel and nearby Plush.  The highway reaches 4,547 feet elevation at Adel and climbs to 6,060 feet over the remaining 38 miles to the Nevada state line.

Every traveler discovers that history isn’t found only in books, movies or online; it can be experienced in person. The Frances Shrader Old Growth Trail east of Gold Beach, Ore., offers that opportunity.

Early newspaper society columns kept up with local residents.  Here are some excerpts from the “Local and Personal” column in the Ashland, Ore. Daily Tidings of Sept. 2, 1919:

Since the 1920's, Oakridge, Ore., had been recognized as the heart of the surrounding timber empire.  That ended by 1992 when the community’s two sawmills -- and principal employers -- closed down.

Southern Oregon rancher John Johnson of Milo, Ore., struggled for decades to get the U.S. Congress to return 40 acres of property taken from his inherited homestead.


The headline in the Lake County Examiner on March 26, 1914, proclaimed, “Murderer Caught.” The alleged murderer was E. C. Illingsworth, who had survived and fled the area after a shootout 13 years earlier that killed a popular police officer.  Now, it seemed he had returned – at least that was what many people were thinking.

The rumor that he was back started when Lake City resident W.S. Painter walked into Sheriff Smith’s office to report he had just spotted Illingsworth, whom he knew and had last spoken with the day after the murder.  Sheriff Smith told Painter to go back and make sure he was right.  Painter later called to confirm it was the murderer, who had abruptly quit his job on a nearby ranch and was headed out of the area in a hurry.  The sheriff overtook the suspect before he reached Cedarville.

At the time of the arrest, the suspect “appeared greatly frustrated” and denied being Illingsworth, though he did admit to going by several false names.