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Bill Miller

Remembering the Takelma

Among the earliest residents of the Rogue Valley were the Takelma Indians, families of Americans we know very little about. Most of what we do know comes from l...

The legacy of John Walker Jones

Just before COVID hit, I was walking around the grassy area on the northern end of the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center (yesteryear’s Camp White). I came a...

Mary and the voyage of the Brother Jonathan

Mary Berry is now just a footnote, almost hidden in a few brief words that have echoed down for over 150 years. Had Mary not boarded the three-masted, side-whee...

North through an unknown country

Last week, we left John Kirkpatrick and his eight men escaping from angry Indians. They were trapped just off the beach at Port Orford, on a narrow rock formati...

A place called Battle Rock

John Kirkpatrick’s impatient hand held tightly to the tar-laced rope. Down on the beach, the man in the red shirt thrust a knife above his head and slashed at t...

Vengeance after midnight

It doesn’t happen often, but in August 1895, the town of Yreka suddenly became the focal point of nearly every newspaper in Oregon, California, and all the way ...

A home for those in need

In summer 1870, two old and frail strangers walked into Jacksonville, alone and penniless. Jonathan Davis of Burlington, Iowa, was on his way to see his son in ...

The pull to fight a fire

The one thing that frightened residents of a new town the most in the late 1800s was fire. Wooden buildings protected by small bucket brigades of neighbors dipp...

Jacksonville — shacks to showcase

There was a Jacksonville long before Oregon became a state. True, not much more than a cluster of tents and shacks that gold-struck miners called Table Rock Cit...

The undertaker in the big white house

There’s one thing you learn when you’re history snoopin’ — How little we know about each other. Whether it’s our parents, our friends or someone in a history bo...

The Witches of Camp White

It was an invitation to enjoy a fun-filled day in the Agate Desert sun, but cameras were strictly forbidden. On July 28, 1943, Army medics and nurses were celeb...

It rained on their parade

The Fourth of July celebration was a little too wet for comfort, but even so, a great time was had by all. Oh, wait a minute. You’re probably thinking about yes...

A man of iron nerve

It was a cold January Saturday in 1926, but at least the fog had lifted. Aviator Arthur Starbuck was flying his airmail plane high above the mountains west of A...

The flying saucer symposium

Leave it to the Pacific Northwest to be first in the nation. In the mid-afternoon of June 24, 1947, fire extinguisher salesman Kenneth Arnold was flying home to...

‘Medford’s Fair Beauties’

Even in 1908 there wasn’t a man in Medford brave enough to choose the most beautiful woman in town. The answer was a self-nominating contest that would let the ...

Nellie’s ‘man-sized job’

If you wanted to find Nellie McGarvey, the best place to look was up — to the top of a ladder. She’d be the woman dipping her brush into a bucket of house paint...