Sharon Bywater

As It Was Contributor

Sharon Bywater of Ashland, Oregon grew up in Southern California. She taught English literature and writing at Syracuse University in New York, where she also wrote and edited adult literacy books and published freelance articles in local media. Later, she lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an international telecommunications policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communications Management. Her husband, Peter Krasilovsky, is a media analyst. Sharon plays the recorder and volunteers for the Southern Oregon Historical Society. She enjoys the wonderful Oregon outdoors, as well as theater, and musical concerts.

Native American families living in the South Umpqua Valley have been picking mountain huckleberries for generations.  A member of the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe, Emaline Young, born in 1905, described participating from the age of four in the tribe’s annual berry-picking tradition.

Chris Kenney was born in Jacksonville in 1883, a descendent of William T’vault, a Jacksonville pioneer who supported the Confederacy during the Civil War.  In 1966, Kenney wrote his memoirs, looking back on the town and its residents.

Georgia Curran Scott Lind was born in California, grew up in Washington State, and moved at age 51 to Southern Oregon in 1969.  A trained nutritionist, she had already worked for the Works Project Administration and the Department of Agriculture.  In Oregon, she became a school counselor, volunteered for the Britt Music Festival, and helped revive the town of Jacksonville.

Nearly a dozen vineyards were located near Jacksonville, Ore., in the early 1900s when Prohibition put an end to most winemaking in the region.  French immigrant Auguste Petard lost his winery and nearly went to jail.

In the 1890s and early 1900s, Halloween sprouted merry pranksters.  Among their tricks were removing gates from their hinges, reversing street signs, and scattering moveable objects all over town.

One of the first wine makers in Oregon, Peter Britt, began growing table grapes on a slope where Britt Music Festival audiences now picnic.  He created his first wine in 1858 from a vineyard northeast of town.  According to the Jacksonville Review, he sold as many as 3,000 gallons a year for 50 cents a gallon, the equivalent present-day purchasing power of about $14 a gallon.  In 1873, the IRS issued him a bill for back taxes.

When he came to Southern Oregon in the early 1840s looking for adventure, Isaac Boyle purchased a horse and a string of mules with the idea of entering the fur trade.

The first superintendent to serve full-time at Crater Lake National Park, Alex Sparrow, took the job in 1917.  He had been a U.S. Army engineer for 24 years and the park overseer of road construction for five years.

Max Muller was a merchant, postmaster and politician who was instrumental in the development of Jacksonville, Ore., during the late 1800s.  Although not as well-known as banker C.C. Beekman, or photographer Peter Britt, Muller became an important figure in the growing town.

Nationally known historian and photographer Frances Fuller Victor first visited Crater Lake in 1873. She was accompanied by Oliver Cromwell Applegate, a member of the well-known pioneer family.  Victor perched on a large rock 900 feet above the water to admire the lake’s beauty, inspiring Applegate later to name the overlook Victor Rock.

One of the early colorful characters of Jacksonville, Ore., was Zany Ganung.  Born Mary Ross in 1818, she moved from Ohio to Southern Oregon in 1853 with her husband, Dr. Lewis Ganung, settling in Jacksonville around 1855.

In 1880, Rutherford B. Hayes visited Jacksonville, Ore., on an unprecedented tour of the West Coast.  He stayed at the U.S. Hotel owned by Madame Jeanne DeRoboam Holt.  Madame Holt came to town in the 1850s from France and became famous for her stylish hospitality.  She and third husband George Holt were putting the final touches to the new hotel when the President’s visit was announced.

Millie Perkins had never studied acting when she was selected for the title role in the 1959 film version of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Nearly 40 years ago the Southern Oregon Historical Society placed a historic marker on old Hwy 99 commemorating the Siskiyou Mountain Wagon Road.

In the summer of 1884, a lady walked her poodle on a hill above the Siskiyou Toll Road House south of Ashland, Ore.  Her companions heard a shriek and ran to find the lady unconscious and her little dog missing.

When George Putnam took over as editor of the Medford Mail Tribune in 1907, he vowed to speak out against corruption. This soon led to his being thrown in jail for daring to accuse railroad baron W.S. Barnum of attacking Medford’s Mayor, J.F. Reddy, with an axe. The incident became known as the “Barnum-Reddy” fight.

In 1897, Henry Clay Tison and his sons used axes, picks and shovels to build a road to their home on Elk Creek near Crater Lake.  During the winter months, their rustic road was impassable except on foot or horseback, so Tison had to bring a supply of staple goods to last the winter.  The family lived mainly on venison, bread and blackberry pie.

Conscientious objectors staffed one of Oregon’s first smokejumper firefighting bases during World War II in the Redwood Forest Ranger District in Cave Junction.

Ashland, Ore., once produced championship peaches, especially on the “Peachblow Paradise” orchard at Liberty and Pracht Streets, home to owner Max Pracht who came to Ashland in 1886.  His peaches sold for above market value and won a gold medal at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

In 1985, a member of the Klamath Indian tribe, Edison Chiloquin, achieved his dream of gaining title to his ancestral home in Southern Oregon.