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Mountain Community of Dudley, Ore., Becomes a Memory

Four Spencer brothers moved their families from Pennsylvania to Oregon in 1905 to take advantage of the Homestead Act. The Spencers and other families staked their claims in deep woods atop a 4,000-foot ridge six miles north of Butte Falls, Ore.

By 1909 the Dudley Post Office was established, and the community built a school at the head of Dog Creek.  Good crops of potatoes, wheat and strawberries were reported.
But the Dudley community felt threatened from the beginning.  Land boundaries were questioned in this un-surveyed region. Some of the land belonged to the scandal-ridden Oregon & California Railroad, and timber speculators jumped claims of the unsuspecting.  
In 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt set aside federal land as part of the Cascade Forest Reserve, forerunner of the National Forest. Inspectors began to determine if homesteaders had settled the land before 1907, and cleared, farmed and lived on their land. Most homestead claims in Dudley were denied.
Most people left after 1910 forest fires destroyed much of Dudley.  By 1912 the post office and school closed, reducing Dudley to a memory.

Source: Hegne, Barbara. Country Folk: Butte Falls, Derby, Dudley. Eagle Point, Ore.: 1989. 20-28. Print.

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.