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As It Was: Stage Company Balks at Frequent Robberies

There was a time when robberies were so frequent on the 55-mile stage route through the Cascade Mountains between Klamath Falls and Ager, Calif., that Wells, Fargo & Co. refused to transport valuables.

The Portland Oregonian newspaper wrote 120 years ago, “The people of Klamath County have not yet secured an express service (to replace Wells Fargo), and so no money or valuables can be sent by stage with any degree of assurance in its safety. . . People therefore have to take their own risk in transporting money, jewelry, etc.”

The newspaper quoted a sawmill owner as saying (that) at one time the stage was robbed almost daily, “though no great amount of money was ever secured.”

Ager had become a railroad staging and freighting hub when the Oregon-California Stage Road linked in 1876 with a new road east to Linkville, later renamed Klamath Falls.  For a time, Ager had a hotel, general store, saloon, dance hall, and stage-horse barns.  With the completion of the railroad line from Weed, Calif., to Klamath Falls in 1909, the town gradually faded away and disappeared after the general store closed in 1941.


Source: "120 Years Ago: Klamath Stock Sleek." The Midge: Cultural Newsletter for the Klamath Basin, 27 Feb. 2019 [from Oregonian, 3 Mar. 1899 [Portland, Ore.]; "Ager Stage Stop." NoeHill Travels in California , E Clampus Vitus, Sept. 2008, noehill.com/siskiyou/poi_ager_stage_stop.asp. Accessed 16 Mar. 2019.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.