Lynda Demsher

As It Was Contributor

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. During the 1990s and early 2000s she taught high school English in Redding. She lived in Alturas, California for 15 years where she ran the Adult Education program for the Modoc Joint Union High School District until her retirement. She has been an occasional contributor to the Modoc Record, and a volunteer for Modoc's High Plateau Humane Society and the Friends of the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, among other non-profit organizations in that small community needing someone to do public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography. She moved to Grants Pass in early 2015 to be closer to family and the coast, where she and her husband keep a fishing boat ready for the salmon run.

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

Grants Pass, Ore., Mayor H.L. Gilkey called for some spring cleaning in 1904.  The mayor said in a front-page column in the Rogue River Courier that people were ignoring city ordinances and allowing filth to accumulate on their premises, sidewalks and alleys. He declared it a “public inconvenience and health menace.”

Fishermen on the Rogue River in the 1940’s were wary of an old hermit living at Hewett Bar. It turned out they had a reason to be.

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

Before the Rogue Valley Indian Wars began in 1855, tension between natives and settlers foreshadowed trouble.  The local tribes knew they were poorly equipped for battle, so when the Oregon Territorial Legislature prohibited the sale of guns and ammunition to Indians in1854, they quietly gathered an arsenal through theft, trade and, according to historian A.G. Walling, by bartering their women.

Dishes rattled and windows shattered in Grants Pass just after the New Year in 1910, but it wasn’t an earthquake.

Southern Oregon didn't have as much gold as California, but it did have timber, a more reliable resource for striking it rich.

An 1857 Oregon law taxed each Chinese miner $2 a month for the privilege of mining in the state.  Some counties even made it illegal for Chinese to hold or work a claim.  The tax was extended a year later to everyone of Chinese descent, not only for mining, but also for trading, selling or buying goods.

Roads became desperately needed in Southern Oregon in the mid-1800’s as the growth of mining and agriculture required more access to markets.

A newlywed's devotion to her groom in the face of danger 107 years ago so impressed the Rogue River Courier that it speculated her tragedy would become part of Josephine County's history.  The woman, Victorine Ellis, had stayed in the depths of the Oregon Caves with her gunshot-wounded husband while her companions fled in panic.

The first of many excited but apprehensive residents to take a 10-minute ride over Grants Pass, Ore., H. W. Webber, climbed out of the little Curtiss airplane after landing in a field just outside town.  “Nothing like it!” he exclaimed.  It was 1919.

In 1919, the Grants Pass Daily Courier bragged it was going to be the first Southern Oregon paper to receive pictures sent by telegraph and publish pictures from world events a day after they happened.

The sprawling branches of the old apple tree shaded members of the Grants Pass Commercial Club in 1909 while they listened to its story.

A holiday picnic in Grants Pass ended sadly on Decoration Day in 1919, the precursor of today’s Memorial Day.

Thanks to nature, a late-night fire didn't totally destroy the town of Merlin in 1915.  It came close.

In the early 1900’s there was something fishy about Grants Pass water.

The fruit boys of Grants Pass, Ore., had a profitable business at the train depot, until the activities of some hoodlums put their enterprise in danger.

Numerous accounts of cougar encounters sprinkled the pages of early Oregon newspapers.

Southern Oregon has wrestled with caring for the homeless for a long time.

A jailbreak one early April morning in 1911 was a case of naked ambition.