Pat Harper

As It Was Contributor

Pat Harper is the archivist for the Southern Oregon Historical Society, where she digitizes records, manages websites and learns more about regional history from the SOHS volunteers. After receiving her Master’s Degree in library science from the University of Illinois in 1980, Harper worked as a reference librarian, then as a library administrator. From 1994 to 2005, she was the Siskiyou County library director and lived in the country near Hornbrook, California. Pat and her husband moved to San Rafael, Calif., in 2005 to begin their sailing adventures, and after three years they took an 18-month voyage on their sailboat, Ecos. Now they enjoy a more settled life in Medford, and cruise the Caribbean during winter months.

On March 7, 1911, President Taft mobilized 20,000 troops on the Mexican border with orders to cross into Mexico if needed to protect 40,000 U.S. residents and American businesses during the Mexican Revolution.

In 1980, Roseburg, Ore., officials attempted to use enforcement of an ordinance against occult arts to prohibit the opening of a palm-reading shop.

His diary records that Martin Peterson preached, worked hard and suffered painful losses during his life.  The Southern Oregon Historical Society has recently added the diary to its research library.

While the concept of the mythical State of Jefferson is popular with some today, a similar separation effort in the 1800’s had more nefarious goals.

Even in 1854, the American Dream was elusive. A Rogue Valley settler warned in a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger that those intending to emigrate to Oregon would find scarce land available for farming.

A teacher at the Wagner Creek School, Willis J. Dean, believed children should be taught science, health and practical skills, but never religion.  He was also a spiritualist.  Dean taught at the school, located at present-day Talent, Ore., from 1884 until he retired.

One rainy night in 1912 the Stratton family’s neighbor in West Medford, Ore., Wells Lounsbury, came to their door with a suitcase.  He said he had walked from Central Point but hadn’t found his family at home.

In 1892, a group of Methodists at a camp meeting in Central Point agreed to begin a Chautauqua program in Southern Oregon. Their goal was to hold their first event in July of the following year.

It’s difficult to describe Wes Howard.  He’s been called a curmudgeon, hermit and hoarder. Others say he was sincere, friendly, helpful, charitable and an intelligent, informed and concerned citizen.

Gus Newbury was the Jackson County school superintendent for seven years, followed by a successful law career. In spite of Newbury’s prestige, his friend Court Hall challenged him in the Medford Mail Tribune to a mock spelling match at the Elks Club.

The actress Grace Andrews married Conro Fiero in Medford in 1910. When their orchard crop failed in 1914, he found a diplomatic job in Washington, D. C., and she worked as a code-breaker at the State Department.

As the Southern Oregon Historical Society celebrates 70 years of service to Southern Oregon, it acknowledges the contributions of thousands of volunteers, including Claire Hanley, the society’s president from 1950 until her death in 1963.  Before the society existed, Claire ran the Jacksonville Museum, which provided the society’s first artifacts.

B. F. Miller wrote that one day in the spring of 1855 when he was with 100 or 200 other men at the Sterling Mine, eight miles from Jacksonville , they learned the Indians were holding a “skookum wa wa,” or meeting, and the miners should keep quiet during the night.

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

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

Among those honored by the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum is Allen Owen, known by his fellow parachute firefighters as Mouse.

From the time Robert Ruhl and his wife Mabel arrived in 1911, they were distinguished members of Medford society.  Robert was a journalist who became editor of the Medford Tribune in 1919 and continued through 1958.  Although Mabel said she did not influence Robert, others disagreed.  Mabel claimed Robert was more liberal, she was more conservative.

Mrs. P. J. Ryan died in 1913 in an asylum in Salem, Ore., where she had been placed one year after she was widowed because her dementia “had developed a violent form.”

Growing up in a mining cabin could have been a grim experience lacking in educational or cultural opportunities, but Rose Opp was a determined mother. Even though her daughters, Gertrude and Julia, slept in a tent winter and summer and showered beneath buckets of cold water, Opp insisted on freshly ironed linens at every meal. Proper silverware and flowers graced her table.

W. J. Bennet moved to Roseburg, Ore., in 1892, and became its first architect. After designing the original Old Soldiers Home and other Roseburg buildings, Bennet moved to Medford in 1895.