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As It Was: Joseph Lane Brings Rifles to Jackson County Rebels

While the concept of the mythical State of Jefferson is popular with some today, a similar separation effort in the 1800’s had more nefarious goals.
In about 1860, Sen. Gwin of California and Gen. Joseph Lane of Oregon proposed a separate, slave-holding country called the Pacific Republic, with slaves from China, Hawaii, Africa and the South Seas.
The editor of the Table Rock Sentinel, William T’Vault, was a friend of Lane and supported the movement.

With the United States facing civil war, Lane returned to Oregon after losing election as vice president.  He brought three boxes of rifles with him to deliver to T’Vault and others in Jacksonville who supported a violent uprising.

Returning to Jacksonville, he was accidentally shot by his driver near Yoncalla.  They stopped for treatment at Jesse Applegate’s home, where Applegate talked Lane out of his proposed treasonous act.

Capt. J. M. Keeler and detectives came to Oregon to track the secessionist movement, and Fort Baker was established near Phoenix, Ore. Although Lane retired from public life, T’Vault continued supporting the Confederacy and slavery as editor of the Oregon Intelligencer newspaper.

Source: Lewis, Raymond. "Wiliam G. T’Vault: The opportunist, part 2." Table Rock Sentinel May 1985, vol. 5, no. 5 ed.: 2+. Print.

Pat Harper is the archivist for the Southern Oregon Historical Society, where she digitizes records, manages websites and learns more about regional history from the SOHS volunteers. After receiving her Master’s Degree in library science from the University of Illinois in 1980, Harper worked as a reference librarian, then as a library administrator. From 1994 to 2005, she was the Siskiyou County library director and lived in the country near Hornbrook, California.