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As It Was: Colver Brothers Settle Gasburg in 1850s

Samuel Colver Jr. was one of Southern Oregon’s successful pioneers, an Ohio boy who studied law at Plymouth College in Indiana, excelled in debate, especially with his teachers, but left Ohio to become a Texas Ranger, an Indian Scout, and to serve with Sam Houston in the Battle of San Jacinto.

In 1850, Colver and his brother Hiram settled 640 acres that became Gasburg, later named Phoenix, Ore.  In 1855 Samuel built a two-story, 50-by-50-foot home out of smooth, 14-inch thick logs that gave safe refuge during the Indian wars.  The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, but burned down in 2008.

The home, one of the oldest in Jackson County, served as a stage stop and a community center for dances and church services.  Colver operated a saddle-and-pack-train business in northeastern Oregon in 1861, and helped construct a county road in 1869 over the mountains to Klamath County.

He also faced family tragedy when a neighbor mistook his son for a burglar and shot him and Colver’s daughter died of diphtheria.  Colver himself drowned, his body discovered at the edge of Upper Klamath Lake, where he apparently fell through the previous winter’s ice.

Sources: Brown, Charleen. "Uncle Sam and Aunt Hulda Colver." The Rogue Digger, vol. 43, no. 2, Sept. 2008, www.rvgsociety.org/News/News0809.pdf. Accessed 23 June 2017. “Samuel Colver.”  "Samuel Colver." Wikipedia the Free Encyclopeida, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 11 Feb. 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Colver. Accessed 23 June 2017;  Marschner, Janice. Oregon 1859: A Snapshot in Time. Portland, Ore., Timber Press, Inc., 2008.

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.