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Prospector-Poet’s Boyhood Spent Near Myrtle Creek, Ore.


A prospector-poet named Clarence E. Eddy gained national fame in the early 1900s with gold mining songs and poems.  Eddy grew up on a farm above the town of Myrtle Creek, Ore., and became an itinerant printer, editor and prospector.  His poem about mining-camp follower “Lizzie King,” buried on a hill above a “lonely western valley, laments mining’s “marring” of her and the land.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Through the lovely, lonely valley, far below her lowly


Winds a river, once like crystal, pure and clear,

But relentless man has marred it, and polluted its fair


Seeking gold beside its waters many a year.

“Like the life of her now lying in the grave upon the hill,

The stream might still be sparkling, pure and fair,

But the wiles of man have marred it, marred the pure

sweet mountain hill,

And marred the life of her who slumbers there.

. . .

“Still down the winding valley, singing to that grave


Runs the river o’er its rugged, rock-strewn way,

And may Angels, aye, have mercy on her lost to earthly


Who there, so long ago, was laid away.

Source: Eddy, Clarence E. The Pinnacle of Parnassus. Salt Lake City, Utah: Tribune Printing Co., 1902. 61-62. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.