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Settlers Build School of Dovetailed, Handhewn Logs

After traveling the Oregon Trail, Henry Clay Tison settled with his wife, Diega, and eight children in the Southern Oregon community of Drew on Aug. 1, 1897.  Drew is some 29 miles east of Canyonville on State Rte. 227.

Tison and his neighbors built a one-room schoolhouse in 1906 that still stands today, the only known remaining hewn-log schoolhouse in Douglas County.  The builders’ skills are evident in the smooth hewn logs with dovetailed corners.  The 360-square-foot structure’s logs measure 6 inches in diameter and up to 17 feet long. 

The Tison School’s first teacher was Carrie Anderson, who married Henry Tison Jr. in 1919.  The Tison School became part of the Tiller School District in 1949.

It became the Drew Museum when a member of the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Charles Jackson, dismantled the building in 1968, reassembled it on his own property and created a private museum for his collection of artifacts.  He researched Native American life, collected artifacts and searched for ancient religious sites, becoming a sought-after expert of the Cow Creek Band.

Sources:  Source: "DOUGLAS COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ANNUAL MEETING, JUNE 10, 2006." Douglas County Historical Society, June 2006, www.douglascountyhistoricalsociety.org/2006/06/06/douglas-county-historical-society-annual-meeting-june-10-2006/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2017; 

Source: "Appendix B Native Americans - The Cow Creeks." Douglas County Planning Department, Douglas County Information Technology, 17 Feb. 2017, www.co.douglas.or.us/planning/hrrc/pdfs/7%20APX%20B%20NATIVE%20AMERICANS.pdf. Accessed 22 Feb. 2017.

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.