© 2021 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
KSOR Header background image 1
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

As It Was: George Riddle Witnesses Change and Turmoil in Early Oregon

George Riddle was only 11 in 1851 when his family emigrated West in a covered wagon. They settled south of Roseburg, Ore., in an area known as Cow Creek.  During his life, George and his family witnessed the turmoil and change of the growing state.

Riddle served in the Oregon Cavalry during the Civil War.  While riding through Corvallis, he came upon a group he recognized as Cow Creek Indians.  Before the Indian wars, his family had lived peacefully with the neighboring Cow Creek tribe.  He had learned their language and hoped they could remain on their land, but the ones he met in Corvallis were sad and homesick.  He never saw any of his Cow Creek neighbors again.

Riddle served in the Oregon Legislature in 1872 and again in 1897, the year that Oregon failed to send its second U.S. Senator to Washington.  In those days, the State Legislature elected senators, not the public. In an atmosphere of political turmoil, the Legislature had failed to obtain a quorum to vote on the issue.

Riddle wrote a book about his family’s early pioneer experiences titled the “History of Early Days in Oregon.”


Sources: Campbell, Sarah. "Oregon's Felonious Bigamist Senator and the Hold-up Session." State of Oregon Law Library, https://soll.libguides.com/blog/oregon-s-felonious-bigamist-senator-and-the-hold-up-session; Hamilton, Eva. "The Riddles of Southern Oregon." Medford Mail Tribune, 8 May 1966, p. B1.                

Stay Connected
Sharon Bywater of Ashland, Oregon grew up in Southern California. She taught English literature and writing at Syracuse University in New York, where she also wrote and edited adult literacy books and published freelance articles in local media. Later, she lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an international telecommunications policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communications Management.