Alice Mullaly

As It Was Contributor

Alice Mullaly was raised in the same Central Point home where she lives today with her husband, Larry. A graduate of Crater High School, Oregon State, and Stanford universities, she taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York.; Mill Valley, California, and at Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. She retired from Southern Oregon University where she trained new mathematics teachers. Mullaly’s husband was also a teacher as are her two daughters. Her husband is a Southern Pacific Railroad historian, and both of them enjoy hunting for “the story” in primary sources. Alice’s mother was an early member of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, and Alice has been an SOHS volunteer for nearly 30 years. She enjoys the puzzles people bring to the Research Library, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.


When travelers glanced back as they left Adams Station in Del Norte County, Calif., they were likely to see Mary Adams waving goodbye.

As early as the 1880s, Adams was catering to the needs of stage travelers on the old Grants Pass to Crescent City wagon road. She had first homesteaded 20 acres along the Smith River near

Gasquet, then paid for another 100 acres. She and neighbor Peter Peacock married and ran Adams Station for more than 50 years.


It’s Halloween and ghost-story time. Here’s one from the Sept. 2, 1911, edition of the Medford (Ore.) Sun newspaper.  It starts like this:

“Ghosts!  The residents of the east side near the bridge have been seeing one. The ghost is the regulation kind being white and having the faculty of doing unexplainable things.”


After marrying and having two children, Grace Russell Fountain took up painting.

She had grown up in Southern Oregon, attending school in the 1860's and 70's in Ashland, Ore.  She was the second of 11 children of Ann and James Russell, who carved decorative tombstones in the Rogue Valley.

In 1878, Grace married James Fountain, a merchant, miner and teacher. She studied painting in Klamath Falls with a famous landscape artist of the time, William S. Parrott. He taught by having students watch him paint and then go home to try to do the same.


Rockhounds abound in Southern Oregon and Northern California, and there’s a story behind each rock, fossil or mineral they collect.

One ardent collector warned, “Rockhounds are like ants. If you give them enough time they will move a mountain.”

When the 1964 flood receded, it left behind an exposed, cabin-sized boulder of jade near Happy Camp, Calif. Within six weeks it was gone! People from around the country had chipped off pieces until there was nothing left.

Music teachers and Rogue Valley Symphony members joined in 1988 in creating the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, a place to learn and to play orchestral literature.  Its first concert was in Ashland.

 Faced with finding jobs for the unemployed in the heart of the depression in 1933 in mineral rich Josephine County, Ore., the state found an answer.  It created a state-sponsored vocational mining school in Grants Pass, where graduates would get a $50 grubstake from the state. Miners, in return, reported their findings to the state’s new Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.  The information helped create detailed mineral maps of Josephine County.

  The first line of an article in the Medford, Ore., paper of March 15, 1936 reads, “Appearing as a soloist…with the Medford (Oregon) Junior Symphony is Marcia Van Dyke, 13 year-old Grants Pass Violinist.”

 Like other recently arrived pioneers, Martha and Garrett Maupin looked to Oregon as the Promised Land. But in the 1850s paradise had flaws.  Oregon may have seemed far from the troubles brewing Back East, but as the Civil War neared, feelings raged even in the Far West, and especially in Lane County, a hotbed of North-South rivalry.  A Southern sympathizer, Garrett Maupin armed himself with a gun and a whip for disarming antagonists.  Alcohol-fueled fights erupted on the streets of Eugene City until troops arrived from Vancouver and placed a cannon at the courthouse.

The orchardists of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley had their men’s club in Medford. The women gathered at the Nash Hotel until they formed their own Colony Club in 1911.  After meeting in several locations the first few years, they purchased a home on Geneva Street in 1928 where some 50 club members still congregate.

  The school at Climax, Ore., on Antelope Creek north of Grizzly Peak had been unable to keep a teacher for a full term for several years. One woman reported the sticky mud was so bad on the trail to school that it weighed down the hem of her skirt and crept up her back to her neck.  

 Highway planners had settled before 1914 on regional routes for the Pacific Highway, later known as U.S. Highway 99, from Portland to Eugene, Ore., and north from the California border through Jackson County. But Douglas County officials had refused to allocate the $15,000 it would take to survey the best route through their county.

 It was a long, lonely drive from Medford, Ore., to the Grand Central Air Terminal in Los Angeles in the early 1930s, but Dorothy Carless didn’t mind. She was going to take flying lessons there!  She told an interviewer, “I think I was born wanting to fly. … I had my first flight as a passenger at the old Medford airfield. I just kept on thinking and thinking about flying.”

During World War II, the editor of the Southern Oregon Fruit Growers League magazine called the Pear-O-Scope, Jeunesse Butler, observed a fruit auction and how fruit was handled on the piers in New York City.

  The seas were peaceful when the gas-powered Osprey schooner left Gold Beach, Ore., on Oct. 31, 1912, under Capt. Gus Johnson of Wedderburn. 

 The Western Meat Company had spent nearly $100,000 in 1914 for 19,000 fat sheep and gathered them in Lakeview, Ore., for shipment to California.  But its plans were stymied by forestry officials’ refusal to let the company drive the sheep through the corridor they had been using for years across the Klamath/Modoc Reservation to the railhead at Klamath Falls. 

 As the last entry in the Fourth of July parade in Ashland, Ore., pulled to a stop in the plaza, children would begin shouting, “There he comes, there he comes!” And, sure enough, there would be Bill Johnson in his sawed-off jeep with the bed filled with cages of writhing rattlesnakes.  From the 1940s into the 1970s, Johnson’s snakes marked the end of the parade.

Before she was a miner, Mrs. Wisenbacker played the role of Miss Pipes in the Anna Held Company’s theatrical performance titled “The Little Duchess.”  But in 1903 she decided to join her father and brother at their Forest Queen Hydraulic Mine near Grants Pass, Ore. 

It was a dangerous drive up Foots Creek between the towns of Rogue River and Gold Hill, Ore., in 1961. A continuous stream of huge dump trucks carried crushed creek rock at the rate of 500 tons an hour, 16 hours a day for construction of Interstate 5.  One accident seriously injured a driver without damage to the truck.

 Small herds of wild horses formed in the Southern Oregon mountains when pioneers let their stock loose to graze.  In 1930, Jim and Ada Bell coveted a small black colt in a wild herd near their Siskiyou Mountain ranch. When he was a two-year-old, they caught him.

 From 1958 until 1963, nine Central Point, Ore., friends ranging in age from 16 to 75 met eight times a year in a Great Decision Discussion group, studying and discussing America’s foreign policy. They were ordinary people who believed individuals could make a difference in the world. At the end of a meeting, each person would cast a ballot that was tallied with thousands of others from across the country and the results sent to the U.S. State Department.