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Yukon Gold Attracts Jack London Character, Little Man

In Jack London’s 1912 novel of the Yukon gold rush titled Smoke Bellew, one character, Little Man, shares his hopes for a Rogue Valley future.  Here is an excerpt:

“Knocked around on the Pacific coast, and southern Oregon looked good to us. We settled in the Rogue River Valley—apples. There’s a big future there, only nobody knows it. I got my land—on time, of course—for forty an acre. Ten years from now it’ll be worth five hundred.

“We’ve done some almighty hustling. Takes money, and we hadn’t a cent to start with, you know—had to build a house and barn, get horses and plows and all the rest. She taught school two years. Then the boy came … You ought to see those trees we planted—a hundred acres of them, almost mature now. But it’s all been outgo and the mortgage working overtime. That’s why I’m here … a gosh-danged expensive millionaire—in prospect.”

“…When I get back and the trees begin to bear, and the kids get going to school, she and I are going to do Paris.”

Source: London, Jack. Smoke Bellew. 22nd ed. : Dover Books on Literature and Drama, 2011. 104-5.  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.