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Isaac and Elizabeth Hill Family Settle in Ashland in 1853

In 1852 Isaac and Elizabeth Hill left Sweetwater, Tenn., for Oregon, with three daughters and three sons, 500 head of cattle and 12 oxen.

After reaching Oregon, they traveled for hundreds of miles without running into any other settlers.  Reaching Salem, they wintered for several months to feed the stock, which represented the family fortune. Malaria confined the father and youngest sister for another three months.

They left for the Rogue Valley in the spring, a shorter, but difficult trip, arriving in Ashland in 1853. They built a rude cabin with no floor or windows.  Eventually Isaac bought boards for the floor from A.D.  Helman, who was selling wooden slabs from his sawmill for a dollar each.  Indians, wolves, and grizzlies took a lot of their stock.

They sought safety for several months in the Fort Wagner blockhouse during the Rogue Indian Wars.   A bronze plaque in front of present-day 226 Talent Ave, commemorates the approximate location of the fort.  The Hills prospered after the war. 

The daughters, Martha, Mary, and Ann Haseltine, were a major attraction, drawing dozens of men each Sunday to the fence outside their home.


Source: "Hill Sisters Of Ashland Face Challenges Of Early Pioneer Existence." Table Rock Sentinel, vol. 1, no. 4, Apr. 1981.

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.