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As It Was: Conductor Kicks Medford Musicians Off Train

Music and politics seem to go together, but in 1904, a welcoming band received the bad end of the deal.

Attorney Evan Reames was seeking election as a Democrat to the U.S. Congress.  The party arranged for a rousing reception when he arrived in Medford, Ore., following the nominating convention in Salem.  A Medford band of 20 men was put together.

The reception went so well that the Democrats decided to send the band with Reames to Jacksonville on the five-mile, short-line railroad built for passengers and freight.

The band arrived in Jacksonville, played, and Reames gave another speech.  However, despite the Democratic Party’s assurances it would pay later for the band’s tickets, conductor Barnum decided on the return trip to Medford that his train couldn’t carry people on a promise. 

The band boarded anyway and locked the door.  About a mile out of town, Barnum had the musicians kicked off. 

After a big laugh, candidate Reames hired a wagon and drove the band back to Medford himself.

Source: “Appointment of Evan Reames to Senate Recalls His Race for Congress,” Medford News. February 4 1938, p. 1.

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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.