© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As It Was: Stagecoach Delivers Gold and Silver Without a Robbery

A stagecoach driver who eventually settled in the Applegate Valley routinely drove between Roseburg and Jacksonville for two years in the early 1880s.

The driver, J. Logan Woolridge, sometimes made a run over the Siskiyous to Colestin and special payroll trips for construction workers on the Oregon and California Railroad.

Every second week, Woolridge transported the railroad’s payroll in gold and silver to the railway laborers.  A timekeeper, paymaster and 16 guards on horseback accompanied the stage.  The four strongboxes weighed up to 200 pounds each, requiring four men to life a single box onto the stage.

When the Jacksonville Courthouse was dedicated in 1883, Woolridge arrived, driving one of the payroll stages.  The crowd that gathered for the ceremony must have been impressed by the guards and 28 horses that accompanied the stagecoach.

When the entourage spent the night in Medford, the innkeeper had to send to neighboring ranches for hay to feed all the horses.

Heavily guarded, Woolridge never faced a robbery attempt during his two years driving the stage.

Source: "Pioneer Tells of Early Day Life in Rogue Valley." Central Point American, 23 Sept. 1937, p. 1.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.