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As It Was: Timberman Finds What He Was Looking For in Oregon

Many years later, George Porter recalled moving in 1890 with his family to the Rogue Valley.

The family, led by father L.G. Porter, settled near Prospect under land possession rights of the Preemption Act of 1841. George Porter was 9 years old.

His father was a Michigan timber man who had heard Oregon was timber rich and was delighted when it proved to be true. 

Arriving by train in Central Point, they hired a drayman to haul their possessions on a low, flag-bed wagon drawn by horses.  He charged by the pound, so the cargo and people had to be weighed.  Mrs. Porter was plump and refused, so the drayman had to make a guess.

The trip to Prospect took two days.  The hilly road required everyone to get out of the rig and walk up steep slopes to make it easier for the horses.

George remembered his dad’s story about a stay at the Gordon Ranch, a halfway point between the forest land and the valley, where he overheard cattlemen predicting Michigan tenderfoots who were buying timber would never turn a profit. 

George’s father died a rich man.

Sources: ”Porter Residence An Ideal Home.” Medford Mail. Oct. 26, 1906;  “Early Settler of Medford Passes To His Reward.” Mail Tribune. July 19, 1921. [[Medford, Ore.].

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.