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Settler Never Gets Chance to Develop Land Claim

Jerome Prairie, about seven miles west of Grants Pass, got its name from a man who never found time to develop a 320-acre Donation Land Act grant.

The settler, Jerome Dyer, came West from Indiana in 1855.  His land grant was at the present-day intersection of Jerome Prairie Road and Woodland Park Road.  After settling in, Dyer took a job, hoping to earn money that he could send home to his family in Indiana.  He escorted a judge to Del Norte County, but on his way back with a pocketful of earnings, a band of Indians attacked and killed him on the Mooney Mountain trail.

His family never came to Oregon, and it is assumed his land claim was forfeited.  He must have filed the claim, since the area has been called Jerome’s, or Jerome Prairie, since 1855, but no record of it exists in the present-day Josephine County list of Donation Land Claims. 

Subsequent owners, Alexander Jess and his wife, Martha, developed a 460-acre farm on Jerome’s Prairie.


Source: Floyd, Connie I. "Beginnings." Jerome Prairie School History, 1986, p. 1. (Josephine County Historical Society)

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Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.