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.

The Rogue River Courier reported in June 1911 that a proud mother had just learned that her son had won a prestigious art award.  The newspaper said the New York Art Association had awarded the son, Ralph Stackpole, first prize in a contest and it presciently predicted a “brilliant career.”

Grants Pass was once known in Southern Oregon as The Land of the Flaming Tokay, largely through the efforts of a timber and land dealer, W.B. Sherman.

An unusual increase in voter registration before the 1907 elections in Grants Pass, Ore., alerted the city recorder to possible fraud.

Getting to Modoc County from Scotland in the early 1900’s was more by chance than desire.

Believed to be the first Anglo-American settler in the future Josephine County, Ore., a man named Bates opened the region’s first rustic tavern in 1851 for the occasional traveler at Graves Creek.

Fights over fish in the Rogue River were common in the early 1900’s.  Fishing was a profitable business, and fishermen didn't like being told how to fish or when to stop. 

A grisly murder turned out to be unfounded when the victim showed up in good health.

The Josephine County Board of Education in 1906 deemed it necessary to offer typing classes in high school after businessmen complained about the poor quality of typewritten correspondence.  Hand-written correspondence, they said, could conceal spelling and punctuation mistakes, but typewritten letters gave them embarrassing prominence. 

The police chief had a hunch that a man who showed up in Grants Pass wearing only his underwear four years earlier was connected somehow with the treasure discovered in 1919 under a water tank.

A dapper young man in a green-banded hat worked a clever scheme in Jackson and Josephine counties, taking advantage of 1913 technology.

The Red Special train rolled into Grants Pass one Sunday evening. The engine wasn’t painted red, but everyone knew during the presidential campaign of 1908 that the red bunting draped along its sides meant Socialist candidate Eugene Debs was in town.

The Rogue River Courier reported on how the city marshal got cold feet during a shooting at the Glendale, Ore., Depot that nearly got four men killed in 1908.

A farmer fed up with boys shooting rabbits from a big Cadillac in front of his property in Grants Pass, Ore., fired at the car and hit Don Belding in the thigh.  Belding was one of nine teenagers in the Cadillac that October evening in 1912.

An early U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report concluded that it was impossible to make the Rogue River navigable for steamers.

Rogue River People living in isolation in the 1800’s along the Rogue River relied on each other instead of doctors. 

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.