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As It Was: Man Becomes Teacher, Stage Driver, Ferry Owner, Hotelier

William Albert Massie settled with his family in 1885 on 100 acres on the Rogue River and moved the next year to 160 acres on Louse Creek in Merlin, Ore.

Massie, who had been a mathematics teacher in Illinois, helped establish the Merlin School District in 1887, built a two-story schoolhouse, and from 1890-1892 served as Josephine County school superintendent.

When the Merlin wagon road opened, Massie drove stagecoach for 23 years and became the first to deliver mail downriver to Galice, crossing the river by ferry near the present-day Indian Mary Park.  Massie bought the ferry rights from Indian Mary Peters in 1902 and built a more substantial Massie Ferry.  His rates were 5 cents per person, 25 cents for one person and a single horse, 40 cents for two people, and 10 cents for pack animals, stock and any additional horse.  A dollar in 1902 had the purchasing power of nearly $30 in today’s currency.

In 1906, Massie opened the Massie House Hotel in Merlin.  When his wife died in 1909, he sold the hotel and moved back to his river property where the ferry was still operating.


Sources: LaPlante, Margaret. Josephine County Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, 2016, pp. 115-18; Taylor, Greg. "Willian Albert Massie." Josephine County Historical Society Facebook, 4 Aug. 2016, m.facebook.com › profile; "William A Massie (1850-1916)." Geni, 21 June 2016, www.geni.com › people › William-A-Massie.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.