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As It Was: Fort Birdseye Shelters Settlers from Indians

Fort Birdseye sat on the site of a Donation Land Claim filed in 1853 by David Birdseye on the south bank of the Rogue River at the mouth of Birdseye Creek between Rogue River and Gold Hill. Settlers built it for defense against Rogue River Indian attacks in 1855.

The 80-by-40-foot stockade was made of logs two feet thick and 14 feet high.

From October 1855 to March of 1856, approximately 500 settlers spent time at the fort. Even future Oregon Territory Governor, Gen. Joseph Lane, briefly made the fort his headquarters. When hostilities subsided, David and his wife, Clara, were able to complete the log house they were building before the conflict.

Birdseye and a woodsman from Jacksonville, Sam Stickel, finished the house in three months, and neighbors raised it in two days. It remained in the Birdseye family for more than 150 years until fire gutted it in 1990. The National Register of Historic Places listed the home in 1974.

A bronze plaque marks the site where the stockade once stood on the west bank of the Rogue River.

Sources: Darling, John. “An uncertain future for Birdseye house.” <http://www.mailtribune.com>. 5 Dec. 2005. Web. 13 Apr. 2015; “Birdseye (David N.) House.” National Register of Historic Places. U. S. Department of the Interior. July 1972. Web. 13 Apr. 2015; "Fort Birdseye." Fort Wiki., 28 June 2008. Web. 17 Apr. 2015. <http://fortwiki.com>.

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.