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Agnes Pitchford Leaves Roseburg, Ore. Legacy

Politicians today may not often be referred to as “first citizens in industry, character and real merit,” but in 1914 that’s exactly how some citizens of Roseburg, Ore., characterized City Treasurer Agnes Pitchford.

 
Born and raised in Roseburg, Pitchford became the sole breadwinner for her widowed mother and younger brother.  After a stint at the telephone office, she became a newspaper agent for the Oregonian.  She increased circulation dramatically and her collections were always on time.
 
In 1913, her many customers talked her into running for city treasurer.  She won easily and became the first woman elected to public office in Douglas County.
 
In 1916, Pitchford took on a new challenge as head of the Douglas County Juvenile Department, a position she held for the next 50 years.  She traveled around the county, first by train and then car, wearing hip boots and carrying candy as she saw to the welfare of children and especially those in the juvenile justice system.
 
The entrepreneurial Pitchford won an outstanding service award from the Oregon Juvenile Council in 1964, and the Pitchford Boys Ranch was named for her.
 
 
 
Sources: Guyer, R J. Douglas County Chronicles: History of the Land of One Hundred Valleys. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2013. 80. Print; "Scenes at Roseburg." The Sunday Oregonian 13 Sept. 1914 [Portland, Ore.] . Web. 18 Oct. 2013. .

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.