Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Josephine County has many historic cemeteries, some dating back before statehood. In the case of Waldo Cemetery, it's the only thing left of a boomtown whose residents weren't even sure whether they were in Oregon or California.

The cemetery sits on a hill, beneath huge old trees. Jennie Weston lies here with her sons George and Philip, victims of an epidemic in 1865. The Bennett brothers, Frank and Edward, lie nearby, dead from another epidemic twenty years later.

Down the hill from the cemetery are the empty graves of Waldo's Chinese miners. As it was dishonorable to be buried in a foreign country, these miners were buried only long enough for the flesh to fall from the bones. They were then disinterred and the bones shipped to their ancestral village in China.

Just outside the gates of the cemetery is a small homemade concrete marker: the tombstone of Kitty Messenger. She was a Native American, married to Samuel Chauncey Messenger, and she died in 1896.

Because she was an Indian, the residents of Waldo wouldn't allow her to be buried in the "white" cemetery. But they did allow her to be buried closer than the Chinese.

Originally written by Jean Boling for the JPR series, As It Was.

Josephine County, Oregon Cemeteries, Vol 1 by K W Phillips, 1991; and personal conversations with same.

Do you have information about tombstones or cemeteries you'd like to share?
Please email us at info@sohs.org

Saturday, February 12, 2011

134 Years Ago in February

Marriage records at the state level in Oregon are available from January 1910 to the present.

In the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s archives, however, there are local certificates of marriage dating to the mid- to late-1800’s. Here is a fascinating example of one such license, from 134 years ago, in February of 1877.


STATE OF OREGON, County of Jaxson.

This is to Certify

That the undersigned, a minister of the Gospel – by authority of a License bearing date the 22d day of February A.D. 1877 and issued by the County Clerk of the County of Jaxson, did, on the 25 day of February A.D. 1877, at the house of Mrs. Charlotte Russell in the County and State aforesaid, join in lawful wedlock R.P. NEIL of the County of Jaxson and State of Oregon, and Lydia RUSSELL of the County of Jaxson and State of Oregon with their mutual assent.

In the Presence of L.A. Neil, C. Merrith, WITNESSES.

Post Submitted by Karreen Busch

Monday, February 7, 2011

Military Monday - Eureka Blimp Base

Eureka, California, bustled with home defense activity during World War II. The sandy beaches of Humboldt Bay's north peninsula held a Coast Guard station and a variety of Navy operations. Most unique was the Navy Blimp Base.

The base supported two K-type patrol airships. These lighter-than-air vessels searched for enemy submarines and escorted ships leaving the bay. They also rescued shipwreck survivors and helped lost fishermen find their way home.

Each blimp had a large helium filled gasbag over two-hundred-fifty feet long. A gondola, or passenger car, hung at the bottom with room for a pilot and nine crewmen. Stocked with supplies and outfitted with a galley, these airships cruised south to San Francisco, north to Tillamook, Oregon, and west to Hawaii.

Using radar to find Japanese submarines, the blimp crew dropped depth charges to complete their seek-and-destroy missions. Their closest target appears to have been a sub boldly lurking off the Trinidad coast just miles north of the base.

There are no military blimps today, but a few buildings and the airplane landing strip at the old blimp base, now a community airport, remind us of the debt of gratitude owed those brave air-born defenders of the coast.

Originally written by Dawna Curler, with help from the Humboldt Historical Society, July 15, 2005, for the JPR radio show As It Was.
Humboldt Historical Society
Nash, Glen. "When Blimps Once Dotted the North Coast," Humboldt Historian, Autumn 1994, pp. 32-39; "School days," Humboldt Historian, September-October 1993,pp.12-13; Faulkner, Jessie. "Navy Had Blimps in Samoa During World War II," The Humboldt Beacon, March 11, 1999, p. A10.

Do you have a military-related story about Southern Oregon?
Email us at info@sohs.org

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Glitz and Glamour on a Sunday Afternoon!

Ready to purchase your tickets for the Ginger Rogers Fashion Show?
Visit www.sohs.org and reserve yours on-line. Limited seating!
Don't miss this one-time only event.

Sunday, May 1, 2011
2 - 4 pm
Rogue Valley Country Club

More glitz and glamour than you've seen all year!