Maryann Mason

As It Was Contributor

Maryann Mason, who lives in Ashland, has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon, and as an English/history teacher she assigned the National History Day project to her students every year for many years.

“Keeping Travel” was an expression for hosting travelers when Richard Beswick and his wife bought property in the 1860s from homesteader A.M. Johnson along the California-Oregon Stage Road on the southeast bank of the Klamath River. Johnson, who raised cattle, horses, and trapped along the river, maintained good relations with the Indians who hunted and fished on the property. 


The log drivers on the Klamath River had one of the most dangerous jobs in the logging industry as they herded thousands of logs down the Klamath River to the sawmill in Klamathon near today’s Hilt, Calif.

Known as river hogs, the drivers dressed in wool to keep warm, from underwear to shirts and pants, and wore caulked boots with 42 spikes in the soles. 

The summer of 1889 was especially dry in Beswick and the Butte Valley along the Klamath River.

Wells and springs ran dry and the hay crop was poor.  The extreme weather was followed in November by a storm that left three feet of snow on the ground.  That was followed by a blinding blizzard that dropped an additional three feet of snow.

A box inside the archives of the Southern Oregon Historical Society contains hundreds of black bordered funeral notices families sent to friends and relatives in Jacksonville, Ore., from 1862 through the early 1900s.

 History writer Barbara Hegne describes some early cases of strange diseases and suicidal behavior in her book titled Settling The Rogue Valley: The Tough Times—The Forgotten People.

  An oil derrick builder, Jaston Hartman, left Ohio and moved to Jacksonville in 1900, where he used his skills to build Oregon barns.  He soon became Jackson County’s bridge superintendent.

 Zane Grey made the Rogue River famous for its fishing in the 1920s and 30s, but he couldn’t have done it without the river guide and boat builder Glenn Wooldridge.

The Metro Goldwyn Trackless Train visited the Rogue Valley the first week of November l925, ten years after it had been invented by the H.O. McGee Manufacturing Co. of Indianapolis, Ind. 

 One of the first babies born in Southern Oregon, John Griffin was brought into this world on Sept. 14, 1853, in Jacksonville.  Over the next 86 years he became a woodsman and hunter known for his bear hunting dogs and his entertaining hunting stories published in regional newspapers in the 1920s and 30s.

On March 1, 2013, vandals burned portions of a large stump, about eight feet in diameter and held together by metal bars. The stump is all that remains of a famous valley-oak tree in Chico, Calif.

  The land around Kennett, Calif., was once home to some 250 Wintu Indian villages, but by 1835 their numbers had been decimated by disease and war.  After gold was discovered in Backbone Creek in 1852, the railroad town of Kennett grew into the most important mining center outside of Redding and Shasta.

 Three miles south of the town of Tulelake, Calif., a large cross in the Lava Beds National Monument commemorates Edward R. S. Canby, the only general killed during the Indian Wars. 

 In 1923, the City of Medford leased the management of its municipal auto camp to Merrick's Natatorium and Inn.  The camp was located behind the inn where it connected by bridge with another camp on the other side of Bear Creek. The city thought combining the two camps under private management would be better for tourists and avoid municipal renovation costs.

In September of this year, Jefferson Public Radio’s As It Was series told the story of how Salita Jane Henderson, a little girl curious about a medicine bottle hanging on her family’s wagon on the Oregon Trail, drank the liquid inside and died of laudanum poisoning.

On the weekend of April 19, l913, six noisy people from nearby Medford were disturbing the peace in the neighborhood of the Imperial rooming house on Fourth Street in Ashland, Ore.  A city councilman who lived nearby called the police who sent Night Officer Porter, Special Officer Bert Turner, and Councilman Sherman to arrest everyone, including C. Woodburn, the proprietor.  The police found two complete opium smoking sets.

As It Was - Episode 2264

As It Was - Episode 2259

In the election of 1876, there were only 15 votes cast at the tiny mining community of Sterling Creek, home of the Sterling Mining Co., recently purchased by A.P. Ankeny.  The placer mine would become the largest of its kind in Oregon.

  In the winter of 2012, the City of Ashland commissioned an archaeological survey of the historic downtown plaza as part of its redesign.  The new construction included placing a time capsule at the end of Lithia Park to be opened in 100 years. 

The diary of Lucy Ann Henderson Deady describes a tragic loss of life during her wagon train journey to Oregon in 1846.