Life and Death on the Althouse (2023)


Life and Death on the Althouse (1) Life and Death on the Althouse (2)

Lifeand Death on the Althouse

The early miner has never been truly painted. I protest against theflippant style and eccentric heroic of those writers who have made hima terror, or who, seizing upon a sporadic case of extreme oddity, somedrunken, brawling wretch, have given a caricature to the world as atypical miner. The so-called literature that treats of the golden erais too extravagant in this direction. In all my personal experience inmining camps from 1849 to 1854 there was not a case of bloodshed,robbery, theft, or actual violence. I doubt if a more orderly societywas ever known. How could it be otherwise? The pioneers were young,ardent, uncorrupted, most of them well educated and from the bestfamilies in the East. The early miner was ambitious, energetic andenterprising. No undertaking was too great to daunt him. The pluck andresources exhibited by him in attempting mighty projects with nothingbut his courage and his brawny arms to carry them out were phenomenal.His generosity was profuse and his sympathy active, knowing nodistinction of race. His sentiment that justice is sacred was neverdulled. His services were at command to settle differences peacefully,or with pistol in hand to right a grievous wrong to a stranger. Hiscapacity for self-government never has been surpassed. Of a gloriousepoch, he was of a glorious race.--E. G. Waite, in the May Century.
DemocraticTimes, Jacksonville, May 8, 1891, page 1

The First Gold Discovery.

The first discovery of gold in Oregon was made on Josephine Creek,which is located in the western part of Josephine County, then JacksonCounty, and which was named in honor of Josephine Rollins, a young girlwho came with her father into the Oregon diggings during the earlydays. The first discovery was made May 2, 1851. Gold was next found onCanyon Creek, near Josephine Creek, both of which are tributary to theIllinois River. The third discovery was made at Waldo, also on theIllinois, which was called the "Sailor Diggings," from the fact of thediscovery having been made by a band of sailors who heard of the richgold fields in the Oregon country and deserted their ships at CrescentCity and crossed the mountains into the new fields, to return laterloaded with treasure. The gold seekers swarmed every creek and gulch inSouthern Oregon, and the gravel of each and all were found to be richwith the yellow metal. With rocker and pan millions were cradled fromthe auriferous and shallow bars.--Grants Pass Herald.
Oregon Statesman,
Salem, July 25, 1905, page 2

Correspondence of the Crescent City Herald.

Althouse Creek, June 7, 1855.

Eds. Herald--Havingbecome very well acquainted with the diggings in this region, I offerthis for insertion in your columns, hoping it may prove valuable to thewandering yeomanry at least, not that I do not sympathize with thelegals, the faculty and particularly the one-horse politicians, butbeing of the digging class myself, it is but natural that "birds of afeather flock together." I can cheerful concur with "G. T." in hisreport, yet I know he underrates the products of Althouse; so far as hestates is true enough, but still he knows very well that there arecompanies who are doing a bigger business in digging than he is, and Iwill take the liberty to assert, from personal knowledge, that herealizes at least forty dollars per day to the man in his claim,consisting of 250 yards.
There is about 14 miles of diggingsknown as Althouse diggings, consisting of the South and SoutheastForks, and I cannot hear of a single company who are washing that arenot making at least five dollars to the man per day, and occasionallyvery large strikes. "G. T's" claim, I hear from a reliable source,yielded 104 oz. in one week. The number of men employed I don't know.Many others are doing a big business.
Sucker Creek, I am told, is entirely abandoned inconsequence of the hostilities of the Indians.
There are some two or three companies running drifts in the low hillsnear Democratic Gulch who are striking rich leads of coarse gold. Thereis plenty of room for many more. Come ahead all who desire to fulfillthe mandates of the good book (by the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eatbread). We red-shirted, gum-booted, long-whiskered fellows won't turnour backs even to ye hawkers of popcorn, pill-peddling quacks,shenanigan legals, nor even the assuming codfish aristocracy. Comeright along, and if you are verdant we will show you the modus operandi of getting ripened.


Crescent City Herald, June20, 1855, page 2

Correspondence of the Crescent City Herald.

ALTHOUSE CREEK, April 11th, 1857.

MESSRS. EDITORS.--Havingseenno communication from this part of the mining region for some time, andthinking that a statement of affairs as they really are might interestyour readers, I will, in a few words, tell you what are our prospectsfor the future. Althouse Creek to a stranger has the appearance ofbeing worked out, but such is not the case, neither will it be for thenext twenty years.
The high bars, hills and gulches have notbeen prospected to any extent until this winter and spring, andwherever the miners have attempted to prospect the above places, theyhave been extraordinarily successful.
New and rich diggings aredaily being discovered all along from the head to the mouth of thecreek, and even the old diggings are paying as well for the second asthey did for the first working.
Our town is improving, and timesare very lively. Messrs. Cohen & Co. are building a large store,which when completed will be the best building this side of themountain.
The ancient and hon. order of E Clampus Vitus arebuilding a large and spacious hall which will be dedicated on Wednesdayevening, April 15th. All members of good standing are invited toparticipate.
If you can send us 1,000 or 1,500 industrious andenterprising men, who will not expect to pick up the gold from the topof the ground, nor prospect the creek from one end to the other in aday, we can find plenty of room for them to work where they will bewell remunerated.
Hoping that you will urge the completion of the wagon road across the mountains, I remain

Respectfully yours, &c.,
S. T. C.

Crescent City Herald, April 15, 1857, page 2


The following letter, which we clip from the Sentinel, contains the latest news from Josephine:

ALTHOUSE, June 5th, 1857.

MR. EDITOR--Sir:The whole Democratic ticket in Josephine County was elected on Mondaylast, except M. C. Barkwell. He was defeated by Dr. W. H. Watkins, byabout 150 majority. While I would say nothing to the disparagement ofDr. Watkins' personal character, I am bound to say that his electionought to be considered a disgrace to Josephine County. Ever since hecame amongst us, he has been known as a warm admirer and enthusiasticdefender of Seward, Banks & Co., and their higher law and unionsliding principles. However, as he is probably the only BlackRepublican elected to the Constitutional Convention, he will be able todo but little harm. Lane is about 100 ahead of Lawson--official returnsnot in.
Business matters are more lively on our various mining streams than has been the case before in three years.


OregonArgus, Oregon City, June 27, 1857, page 2

MORE BIG STRIKES--ONE-THOUSAND-DOLLARLUMP--FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS PER DAY TO THE HAND.--We have alwaysbelieved that the vast extent of mining country reaching from IllinoisValley to Rogue River, and embracing Althouse, Sucker, Canon and othercreeks, was the richest mining region now on the Pacific, and every newaccount of them confirms our opinion. That a man can strike ten dollarsa day there almost anywhere, we little doubt, and that at any moment hemay strike a fortune, our correspondence from there shows. We wouldcall the especial attention of those smitten with the Fraser River fever to the following:--Crescent City Herald.

Althouse Creek, April 20, 1858.

Editor Herald:--To keep up my correspondence with you, I inform you again of our best health and prosperity.
Bosarth, Chapman & Potter, a well-known miningcompany here, took out last week a nugget of gold weighing fifty-sevenounces and a half. The piece is considered one of the prettiest onesthat have ever been taken out in California and Oregon. Besides thenugget, they took out eleven ounces,weighing in all sixty-eightounces and a half ($1164.50), which we consider pretty good wages forthree men per day.
Evans' hill claim is also paying from fifty toseventy-five dollars per day to the hand, and there are a good manyother ones doing first-rate.
Next Monday, the 26th April, there will be a meetingheld to elect officers for our new Althouse Fire Company.
This is about all for today, next month more.

Yours, H. A. S.

Commercial Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 3, 1858, page 2
BRUTAL AFFRAY.--The Sentinel saysat Althouse, Josephine Co., on Saturday, the 27th ult., a fellow namedDan Kenney provoked a quarrel with another man, and in the scufflewhich ensued bit off his antagonist's lip and inflicted upon himseveral stabs, one of which is supposed to be mortal. Kenney escaped,and a reward of one hundred dollars is offered for his apprehension.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, October 20, 1859, page 2

The men who founded [Happy Camp in thesummer of 1850] were English sailors and convicts, and all of theirquality were known in those days as "Sydney ducks," who had found theirway to the mines among the first of the pilgrims to the land of gold.The creek upon which the present town now stands was known then, asnow, as Indian Creek. Along this creek from Happy Camp a trail runs upto the summit of the low divide, then down another of equal size intoIllinois Valley. This was then an old Indian trail, but has now beendeveloped into something like a road. Up this trail in the followingspring some of the sailors went in search of gold. They prospected theflats and gulches and streams, but found no prospects worthy of noteuntil in a wide, flat gulch on the Oregon side they found enough pay tomake them stop and go to work in earnest. In a few months the fame oftheir camp as "Sailor Diggings" became widely spread. The camp is yet aplace of note. It is frequently called Waldo, and is the depot ofsupplies for the miners and farmers for miles around. It is inJosephine County, Oregon, and on the most direct and only line of landtravel from Crescent City to Happy Camp.
Orville W. Olney, "Down the Klamath: The Early History of Some Famous Mining Camps," Oregonian, Portland, November 29, 1885, page 3


Thediscovery of the rich mining camp on Althouse Creek created moreintense excitement, perhaps, than any other of the many excitingdiscoveries which were made in Southern Oregon in an early day. Thiswas due in part to the finding of many large nuggets, which seemed tobe a specialty of the camp, and which were shown around and the newsheralded abroad, causing an excited rush of miners from all directionsto the great camp of big specimens. The creek was discovered in thespring or early summer of '53, and by fall, when the writer was there,the camp was alive with men. The gorge in which the town of Althousewas situated was a very beehive of surging, bustling humanity, and allinspired by the one supreme and all-absorbing thought of gold. Thetown, if such it could be called, was a picturesque job lot of tents,bark wickiups, improvised lodging camps and primitive shake houses withpoles set in the ground and sided up with clapboards, and all skirtedand flanked about by a lot of little, low miners' cabins, built ofsmall poles. The place was a veritable variegated menagerie of humanlife in undress. Like all early mining camps, Althouse was preeminentlycosmopolitan. Here were seen the Jew and the gentile, the Turk and theSwede, the Englishman and the German, the Pole and the Frenchman, theScandinavian and the Switzer. Every nationality and color mingled inthe throng. Every grade and shade of learning and civilization herefound their counterpart. The able lawyer, the learned divine, thescholarly student and the brilliant journalist mingled, unawares, withthe rough and the tough, the good and the bad, the desperado and thevicious, the gambler and the outlaw. And yet there was little troubleexcept of a personal and spasmodic character, which rarely resulted inanything serious. It will ever remain a great marvel, and one worthconsideration, as tending to prove the universal brotherhood of man,that such an incongruous and non-assimilative mass of people, collectedtogether from the four quarters of the earth, under the stress ofintense excitement and anxiety, should have worked and mingled andfraternized together in the mad rush with so little trouble andfriction. In looking back over the early history of mining on thecoast, and considering the unorganized condition of society andgovernment, it is strange indeed that so few racial, sectional orprovincial troubles should have occurred. Every man was a law untohimself so long as he elected to do right, but when he trenched uponthe rights of his fellow man the stern justice of the honest miner wasquick to call him to account. The discovery of gold on the Pacificcoast established two facts beyond any reasonable question: First, thatcivilization is much the same the world over; second, that thepredominating impulse of man in the aggregate is toward the ends ofjustice.
Medford Mail, April13, 1900, page 1

Althouse Creek Fifty-Three YearsAgo
William Mackey in Crescent City Times.

AlthouseCreek was one of several streams in southern Josephine County, Oregonwhichwas noted for the immense amount of gold taken from placer mines duringthe decade immediately following the discovery of gold on that creek inthe year 1852. In the first few years of the mining discovery severalhundred men mined on that famous stream.Browntown, which waslocated on a flat on the eastside of Althouse, was the chief congregating point for the miners andgamblers of that creek and adjoining district for miles around. And inthose days long before the building of theOregon and California railroadfarmers with their teams andwagonshauled their produce from the Umpqua and Willamette valleys toBrowntown,where they sold it to the miners.
This produce consisted generally ofbutter, fruit, flourand like necessaries. Many of these farmers were somewhat verdantand unused to theways of sports and adventurers, and they were called tartars by theminersand gamblers, and many were the cruel tricks played on those simple andinexperienced farmers by the sporting fraternity of Browntown. Thesefarmerswere frequently enticed into games where they staked their coins andstuffwhich they had hauled and almost invariably lost all. Once a tartarcame toBrowntown and engaged in a game, and at night while he was poring overqueens and hearts and several drinks of old bourbon were rising in hisbrain, his canvas-covered wagon, which stood on the outside, wasplundered. Sacks of fruit and other farm products were carried on backsof miners on the trail for a mile up the course of Althouse and hiddenin the creek, where they were in turn stolen from the thieves by otherminers who had been secretly watching the dishonest doings of thefirst rascals.
An oldtimer was often heard to tell howa tartarcame to Browntown and becoming interested in cards was arrested on astock charge of cheating in the game. A jury was empaneled and a shamtrial was held. Dan Lanigan, a clever scholar and gambler, put on apair ofeyeglasses and, holding a history of the United States before him,actedas judge. Everything bore the appearance and authority of a court ofjustice. The victim was firmly impressed with the belief that it was aserious charge and a real trial. And the miners standing around wouldsay in an undertone within hearing of the accused, "Boys, it is a hardcase.He will not get less than ten years." And the tartar's brother,seriously impressed with the sense of his brother's danger, would goamongthe bystanders and say, "I'm afraid it will go hard with my poorbrother." However, the tartar was at length found guilty by the juryand Judge Lanigan, pretending to exercise as much leniency as possible,sentenced the victimized teamster to pay a fine of $20 and forfeit hiswagon load of produce and treat the entire crowd at the saloon bar,which he gladly did, as he fancied that he had very luckily escaped along term of imprisonment.
The miners and gamblers on Althouse inthose dayswere wont to act out a sort of drama called the "Russian play." Six oreight men would line up on each side with pistols loaded with blankcharges and shoot at one another. A tartar came to Browntown andengaged in a game of cards. A quarrel was picked with him by a gamblerwho was his opponent in playing and who pretended to take offense atsomething thetartar did in the game. The latter received a challenge to mortalcombat comingfrom the gambler, who produced the pistols and made the tartar take hischoice of theweapons. Almost simultaneously with the challenge the "Russian play"opened and the miners and gamblers began firing at each other with thetartar and gambler in their mist. The tartarfled in terrorandrunning out into the nightplunged into Althouse, which was flooded, and was carried downstreamsomedistance and almost drowned. He remained out all night and returned ina wet and miserablecondition. In the meantime his wagon was looted of its contents.
At length a large and determined-lookingman wended his waywith his team into Browntown. Soon after his arrival, when these twopistols were presented to him, he was told tochoose either one and challenged to fight a duel. He politely replied,"Thank you, sir, I don't want your pistol. I have got one of my own inthe wagon," and getting up into his vehicle he pulled aformidable-looking revolver,which he cocked and held in his hand. He told the crowd that he hadheard oftheir doings and he invited them to pitch in. It is needless to saythat theyseemed to consider that wagon a little Gibraltar whichwasunsafe toattempt to carry by storm, and the big stranger was allowed to gowithout further molestation.

Medford Sun, May21, 1911, page B6 Mackeyretold this story twenty-four years later, transcribed below.

The rich placer mines in Southern Josephine County.
Tales of early mining days told by well-known Crescent City pioneer.

Southern Oregon was noted in early mining days for the richness of itsplacer mines. Althouse Creek, which lies in southern Josephine Countynine miles east of Waldo, produced more placer gold than any othermining district in Oregon, and was exceeded only by [a] few localitiesin California in its yield of the precious metal. The creek from whereit empties into Illinois Valley to its source in the Siskiyou Mountainsis about thirteen miles long. Several creeks have been what miners termspotted, paying unevenly with blank spots here and there. But the oldlead of Althouse was uniform and continuous in its yield of gold, andfor the length of ten miles extending upstream from its mouth except inone or two places never paid less than two ounces a day to the hand,and in places averaged $50 and $100 per day to the man.
Space will not permit us to describe allof themines on the creek in detail; we will briefly refer to the mostimportant places. Gold was first discovered on the creek in 1852 by aman named Althouse, after whom the creek is named. Many of the earlyminers of Althouse were seasoned veterans in the battle of pioneerlife, several having crossed the plains and mined in the first goldfields of California, and braved the hardships and dangers of thefrontier. In the later fifties and early sixties there was a greatexodus of those strong and hardy men from Althouse to the northernmining excitements of Cariboo and Fraser River, and the majority neverreturned. A pioneer often told the writer of a scene he witnessed oneday at a livery stable in Waldo, when a large band of these adventurousspirits rode out of the town on hired miles and horses bound for themines of the north by way of Crescent City.
Browntown, which was situated on a flaton the eastside of Althouse, three miles from Illinois Valley, was the chiefcenter for the miners of Althouse and the surrounding country in thosedays. It was also at that time the resort of many gamblers anddesperate characters and was the scene of savage personal encountersand bloody deeds. The flat on which the town stood has been long sincesluiced away, and no trace of the old townsite remains. For the lengthof three-quarters of a mile extending up Althouse from Browntown, thegreatest number of large nuggets ever taken out on Althouse were minedfrom the bed of the creek and the hill on the west side. These bigpieces of gold were of a solid washed character and ranged in weightfrom $100 to $1400. A red point juts out in the creek at this placewhich paid $100 a day to the man. This point is visible from Browntown,and old tunnels run in the point more than a half century ago stillstand with open mouths in sight of the traveler who passes up and downon the public trail on the opposite side of the creek.
To one familiar with the early historyof theAlthouse who views those abandoned places, and realizes that thoseenergetic men who once toiled there are now with a few exceptions deadand forever gone, it all seems a silent sermon on the nothingness oflife, like Goldsmith's village schoolmaster:
"Even the very spot
Where once they triumphed isforgot."
Three miles further up the creek fromBrowntown wecome to Grass Flat, where a town stood which was almost equal toBrowntown, where there were stores, saloons and hotels and a butchershop and corral, where cattle were driven from the outside country andkilled to be sold as beef to the miners.
Today not a vestige of this old town isto be seen:here and there clumpsof brush and young trees cover theplaceswhere the buildings once stood. Near Grass Flat is the famous FrenchTown Bar where $300,000 was mined. From this bar extending upstream iswhat has been called the wonderful spot on Althouse. Here the creek forthe extent of one mile failed to pay. And fortunes were spent by minersto find the lost lead. The hills on each side were riddled with tunnelsand shafts by prospectors like men in pursuit of the Philosopher'sStone. During forty-five years this place has only been let rest atshort intervals, but the hidden treasure, if such exists, has neverbeen found. In the opinion of miners it would, if discovered, be worthhalf a million dollars, as the creek at the end of the blank space onemile from French Town Bar paid in the bar and the bed of the stream$500 to every two sluice box lengths by twelve feet in width, thelength of a sluice box being ten feet.
The largest single piece of gold everfound onAlthouse was mined from the left-hand fork, six miles from Browntown,by a little Irishman named Matty Collins in the year 1859; it weighed17 pounds, and was found in the face of a high bank a few feet abovethe bedrock under a large stump. The bank from which this piece of goldwas taken was the front of a big bench of ground at the foot of a steepand high mountain. Matty Collins hired a fellow countryman named Dorseyto carry the piece of gold out of the country to a safe place ofdeposit in San Francisco.
He accompanied Dorsey on the way; thelatter carriedthe mammoth slug in a sack slung over his shoulder on his back. Mattylived in constant terror of being robbed of the treasure on the route.He would sometimes stop on the road and say, "Go ahead of me, Dorsey,until I see if anyone would notice it." He then would stand and sizeDorsey up from the rear, and after reassuring himself that all wasright, he would say, "Arrah, the divil a one will notice it. Dorsey, goon."
On other occasions as darknessapproached in theevening and he would see a stump or dark object before him alongside ofthe road a distance ahead, Matty would call a halt and pointing to theobject with his finger he would say, "Dorsey, is that a man?"
After leaving Althouse, Matty Collinshired out andworked for wages in California, Nevada, Idaho and Montana, and placedhis money as he earned it in the bank in San Francisco, and being avery industrious and saving man amassed a large stake of severalthousand dollars.
But it was the old story in MattyCollins' case; atthe age of sixty-five a young girl succeeded in taking away from himnearly if not quite all of the fortune which it had taken so many yearsof hard toil to accumulate, and Matty failed to win the object of hisaffections.
MedfordSun, Jun 18, 1911, page B4 Mackey retells the Collins storybelow, as does A. J. Howell, also below.

By Wm. Mackey

Goldwas first discovered in Josephine County in the year 1851 at the mouthof Josephine Creek, close to where that stream empties into theIllinois River, near the foot of Eight Dollar Mountain, which stands onthe north side of the river west of the stage road and rears heavenwardlike a gigantic pyramid built by nature that overlooks the beautifullittle valley extending south. Through this valley runs the IllinoisRiver, and in it is situated the town of Kerby, three miles distantfrom the above-named mountain.
Eight Dollar Mountain is somewhat of astrikinglandmark. When viewed from the south from Kerby or other points on thestage road it seems like a great perpendicular high wall standing outin a bold red outline against the sky.

Mountain Named

Themountain is said to have received its name from the fact that a manwore out a pair of new eight-dollar boots walking over it in one day.Josephine Creek, and also Josephine County, were named in honor of agirl, Virginia Josephine Rollins, who was the first white woman born inJosephine County, in the year 1851. [Othersources are unanimous that Josephine Rollins was the first white womanto live in the area, not the first born. VirginiaJosephine RollinsOrt was born in Illinois around 1833.]
The townsite of Kerby, which wasformerly calledKerbyville, was laid off in the year 1855 and was named after an oldman named Kerby, a well-known pioneer. Kerbyville was the county seatof Josephine County from 1857 until 1886. The county seat was thenremoved to Grants Pass.
Kerbyville was the chief center ofJosephine Countyfor two or three years in the beginning and was frequented by thousandsof miners and prospectors who flocked there from California andelsewhere, and thousands of dollars poured into the coffers of Kerbyfrom the surrounding country.

Fast-Going Places

InKerby there were hotels and stores, dance halls and saloons andfast-going places in the middle '50s. But the nearby mining camps ofJosephine and Canyon creeks, although yielding good returns, were notas extensive and lasting as those of Waldo and Althouse. Kerby was,after a short time, overshadowed and outdone by the flourishing miningcamps of Althouse and Sailor Diggings. However, Kerby continued to be aplace of considerable importance for many years on account of thecircuit court which was held there twice each year.
The noted criminal lawyer James D. Fayhad a lawoffice in Kerbyville and pleaded his first case in that town, as didDick Williams, who was in the '80s a law partner of Governor Thayer inPortland.
The late B. F. Mulkey, who was theprosecutingattorney and law partner of Judge Caples in Portland 50 years ago, saidthat Mulkey ran a pack train in and out of Kerby in his younger days,earning money to pay his way while going to school.

Knew Pioneers

Thewriter, when a small boy, went to school in Kerby in the year 1869 andknew many of the old pioneers who were living there at that time. TomRegan, the teacher, had mined on Althouse in early days. He was fromSouth Carolina, a rebel at heart, and sympathized strongly with theSouth. Tom Regan had a southern temper and when not teaching schooloften carried a big bowie knife.
In this year, 1869, William Chapman, anearly mineron Althouse Creek, lived in Kerby and herded 3000 sheep in the vicinityof Eight Dollar Mountain. He was sheriff of Josephine County.
The writer knew Dave Kendal, who kept asaloon inKerby at that time, and also John Bolt, the pioneer merchant. SamSawyer, who had a store at the time in Kerby, Bill Linn, who ran theUnion Hotel in 1869, and Charles Hughes, who was county clerk duringthat period and held that office during seven successive terms, werealso his acquaintances. The writer was intimately acquainted with JackHendershot, the old California miner and Mexican war veteran, and hiswife, who was known as Aunt Jenny. They lived on a ranch by the side ofthe stage road on the first high flat one-half mile south of Kerby in1869. He often saw said Hendershot, who resided at Kerby in theabove-mentioned year, and whose brother, Jim Hendershot, was sheriff ofJosephine County in the year 1859.
GrantsPass Courier, April 3, 1935, page C1

BoldCharacters of Mining Men, Bloody and Amusing Occurrences
Around Browntown Are Revealed
By Wm. Mackey

Aboutfive miles up the Althouse from Browntown is the famous Johnson'sPoint, a lofty bluff just below the forks of Althouse, and situated onthe east side of that stream. It may be seen from afar, standing out inbold relief. This point is about 150 yards in length and ranked amongthe richest gravel deposits of Josephine County. This point was workedby Nels Johnson more than 70 years ago and bears his name.
The continuation of the Johnson lead wasa bar ofgravel in the creek underneath, which paid extremely rich. This bar wassold by a man named Henry McVay to a Chinese company for $300, and thehilarious time which the Chinese had while working this bar, feastingand drinking gin, indicated that Harry McVay had sold out too cheaply.

Gold Peters Out

FromJohnson's Point down the Althouse there again occurs one of thoseunaccountable things in the geology of the country. As at Grass Flat,the creek failed to pay for one-half, or perhaps three-quarters, of amile.
This narrative would not be complete ifwe failed tomake mention of Bill Evans. He was a miner on Sucker Creek in the year1856 and was afterwards a merchant in Browntown from the latter '50suntil the early '70s. He was from the state of Indiana and was a man offair education, who dabbled considerably in politics and politicalliterature. He bore the reputation among the people of being a goodfellow. He had a vein of mischief and fun-making and delighted inpractical jokes. He kept a large barrel of whiskey of his ownmanufacture in a stone cellar in the rear of his store, which wascalled "terrible stuff."
When the combative miners came toBrowntown and wentinto Evans' stone cellar and partook of Evans' best from the glass atthe bottom of the big barrel, several went on the warpath, and set outlike Alexander the Great to conquer the world.

Evans Calm

Whenthey shed their linens, as they termed taking off their shirts, andwent out in the street to settle their grudges and disputes by a fisticstruggle, Evans seemed to enjoy himself immensely amidst those warlikescenes. He commented on the physical powers and prowess of thecombatants. When those miners with Evans' brand rising in their brainscursed and berated the latter, calling him a scoundrel and accusing himof cheating them in bills of goods which he had sold them, Bill Evanscoolly smoked his cigar and replied with a smile, "I know, boys, I am ad-----d thief. I will beat you on every turn if I get a chance."
In 1857 there came to Althouse aneccentric andcombative Irishman named Patrick Rooney. He had crossed the plains thetime of the first gold rush to California and had formerly been a muledriver in the Mexican War of 1846. He was a small man of slight buildand light complexion, and for his size was a wildcat in a fight. Whenunder the influence of liquor he would purposely take what he knew wasthe wrong side in an argument, to get the chance to insult or provokesomebody. He was familiarly called "Old Pat" by the miners. He had acabin alongside of the Althouse trail about one mile up the creek fromBrowntown. Old Pat's cabin was a hanging-out place for the miners whencoming home from Browntown with their bottles and little harvest kegsfull of Bill Evans' fighting whiskey. Sometimes they spent days andnights drinking and carousing at Old Pat's before they resumed theirjourney through the tall fir trees up the Althouse canyon.

Set Miners Fighting

Whilethe miners stayed over at Old Pat's cabin, the latter, who was wellinformed on the current topics of the day, introduced arguments whichcaused the intoxicated miners to fight with each other, or theysometimes administered a good thrashing to Old Pat himself before theyleft his premises. It is safe to say that Old Pat's cabin and itsimmediate surroundings had been in 10 years the scene of 100 fights.
In the year 1859 Colonel E. D. Baker,who wasafterwards killed at Balls Bluff in the Civil War, stumped the state ofOregon in the interest of the Republican Party, for which he received$36,000. In making his tour Baker came to Browntown, and Bill Evans,knowing that Old Pat had always been one of the most uncompromising ofDemocrats, resolved to convert him to Republicanism.

Made Him a G.O.P.

Evanscalled some of his confidential men around him and said, "Now, boys, wewant to make a Republican out of Old Pat. We will get Colonel Bakerafter him." Evans' friends, knowing the contrary disposition of OldPat, shook their heads and said, "The thing cannot be done."
Evans said, "Leave it all to me and youwill see."Evans knew that Old Pat's weak point was his great personal vanity. Andas Colonel Baker had been an officer in the United States and MexicanWar of 1846, in which Old Pat had been a mule driver, Evans instructedBaker to meet Old Pat unexpectedly in the midst of the crowd andsuddenly recognize Old Pat as one of his old Mexican War soldiers. OldPat was seen coming down the Althouse trail to Browntown, and when hearrived Evans and his friends gathered around to see Colonel Baker tryhis powers of persuasion on Old Pat.

Singles Pat Out

Baker,in passing through the throng of miners, stopped abruptly in front ofOld Pat and said, "Well, is it possible that I meet one of my oldsoldiers here in the wilds of Oregon?" Baker then extended his hand toOld Pat and said, "Give me the hand, my fine Hibernian," and holdingOld Pat's hand in his own, Baker turned to the crowd and said,"Gentlemen, here is a brave Irishman, who stood side by side with me onthe plains of Mexico, where the bullets fell like hail, and was willingto spill the last drop of his life blood for the stars and stripes andfor the land of his adoption." Bill Evans wore a very serious look andsaid, "You bet, Colonel, I know Pat. They don't make any braver manthan he is," "And now," continued Baker, "my brave soldier, as you haveserved me so faithfully in war, you will serve me, your old chief, inpeace, by walking up to the polls on the coming election day and votingthe good straight Republican ticket."
Old Pat was much moved and replied,repeatedly, "Youbet your life I will, Colonel, you bet your life I will." And from thatday forth, Old Pat was one of the staunchest of Republicans. It seemsthat Colonel Baker had convinced Old Pat, contrary to the latter'ssenses, that he, Pat, had been a soldier fighting in the ranks when hehad been only a government mule driver.

Drew His Knife

Themost disastrous combat in Old Pat's career was his encounter withDaniel Kenney in the year1859. Kenney was a young man of powerfulphysique and belonged to the old school of frontiersmen who believed insettling their grievances by the code of the lead and steel. Old Pathad spoken in a manner derogatory of Dan Kenney, and the latter met OldPat in Browntown and demanded an explanation. Kenney always carried ahuge white-handled bowie knife, and a large six-shooter hung on hisbelt. When he interrogated Old Pat in regard to what the latter hadsaid about him, Old Pat gave Kenney an insulting answer. Kenney thenknocked Pat down and, jumping on him, bit off Pat's underlip, which wasvery large and protruding. Bill Evans was often heard to say that itmade a handsome man of Old Pat to have that lip taken off.
While Kenney was wreaking vengeance onOld Pat, thelatter's partner, Mike Riley, came to the rescue. Kenney jumped off ofOld Pat and drawing his big knife pursued Mike Riley, who ran in swiftretreat. Riley fired three shots with his pistol at Kenney, but beingclosely pressed he could not take a correct aim and the bullets missedKenney. After they had run about 200 yards or the whole length of thestreet in Browntown, Kenney caught up with Riley as the latter turnedaround the corner of a house and drove his huge blade, which was 10inches long, into Riley's side at the waist. The blade entered to itsfull length into the hollow space under the bowels. It seems that nomember of the body was severed. Riley was taken to a hotel inBrowntown, where he hovered between life and death for five weeks.
Riley, wonderful to relate, recovered,and afterwards he killed Dan O'Regan with a knife in Browntown.


Kenney,after the fracas, fled into the Siskiyou Mountains but was followed bythe officers, captured, and brought back and was tried and sentenced toaterm of years in the state prison. Upon being sentenced Kenneysaid that he had now only one thing to live for and that was to servehis time, and then come back to Althouse and kill Old Pat.
Kenney escaped from the state prison andwas on hisway back to carry out his threat when he had a battle with the officersin the Willamette Valley and was shot and fatally wounded, dying at afarmhouse to which he was taken.
In 1865, six years after his bloodyencounter withDaniel Kenney, Mike Riley was the chief actor in a terrible tragedy inBrowntown. Dan O'Regan was a merchant in that place, and had what wasthen called the finest store in Josephine County. Dan O'Regan's wifeand Mike Riley formed a strong attachment for each other, and togetherthey planned to elope. In order to pave the way for the elopement theyfound it necessary to cause Dan O'Regan to openly rebel against hiswife. With the consent of Mrs. O'Regan Mike Riley paid George Wells,the old Texas Ranger at Waldo, $10 to write Dan O'Regan an anonymousletter charging the latter's wife, Mrs. O'Regan, with very improperconduct. [Theprofane letter survives, in a scrapbook among the James T. Chinnockpapers, Josephine County Historical Society research library.]

Scented Trouble

DanO'Regan learned the source of the letter which he had received and sentfor George Wells to come to his store at Browntown. O'Regan also sentfor Mike Riley. Wells scented trouble in the air. He sheathed his leftarm with leather between the elbow and the wrist to guard against aknife thrust, carried the arm in a sling which was suspended from hisneck and wore a large soldier's overcoat. Taking along with him his bigold-fashioned dragoon pistol, he went to Browntown. The O'Regan storewas thronged with miners. George Wells stood on the outside of thecounter with his left foot upon a chair, and the left arm rested on hisleft knee. His big dragoon pistol, which he held in his right hand, helaid across his left arm, which was supported by the sling andconcealed by the cape of the soldier's overcoat.
Standing on the outside of the counteralso stoodMike Riley about 10 feet from George Wells. Both men were facing eachother. Dan O'Regan stood on the inside of the counter and, producingthe trouble-brewing letter, said to George Wells, "Did you write thisletter?"
Wells coolly replied, "Yes, that is theletter thatI wrote for Mrs. Riley." At the mention of his own name Riley flared upand excitedly exclaimed, "What?"

Pulls Out Pistol

Itseemed as if Watts and Riley were about to clash, when Dan O'Regan, whowas under the influence of liquor, took the quarrel out of Wells'hands. He called Riley a vile name and, reaching under the counter,pulled out an old rusty unused pistol in sight of all. Mike Riley said,"Well, self-preservation is one of the first laws of nature." Drawinghis huge bowie knife, he buried the blade in Dan O'Regan's body. Hefell upon the floor and expired within a few minutes. Mrs. O'Reganrushed into the store and pretended to almost go into hysterics overthe loss of her husband. Mike Riley and O'Regan's wife afterward leftthe country together.
About the year 1856 a German Jew namedCohen kept astore in Browntown. He was the first owner of the famous Cohen quartzledge which bears his name. This ledge is situated about two miles fromHolland up on the mountain southeast of that place. They said that itwas very rich when first struck. There is a large amount of iron in thevicinity of the Cohen ledge and other things which indicated thepresence of gold. There was also a quartz mill built down in the valleyabout one mile from Holland, to which ore was hauled from the ledge.This quartz mine has been repeatedly abandoned and then relocated for70 years.
GrantsPass Courier, April 3, 1935, page C9

By Wm. Mackey

Thehistory of early pioneer days in Josephine Countyis for the most part the story that tells of miners and mining, as thelatter industry was the sole occupation of the majority in this sectionin those times.
Many of those early miners, particularlythose on Althouse, were of that adventurous type of men who had crossedthe plains at the time of the first discovery of gold in California.And with their old muzzle-loading rifles they had encountered hostileIndians and bearded the great grizzly bear in his lair, and otherwisecarved their way where no weakling could exist. A number were men ofgood early training and education who became hardened and reckless bythe lives they followed amid the rude surroundings of the then-wildWest.

Learned to Drink

Many acquired thehabits of strong drink and gambling, staking fortunes at the gamblingtable. And men of strong nerve were prone to settle their disputes withtheir fists or by mortal combat with deadly weapons.
Few mining towns in Oregon have a moreeventful history than old Browntown, which stood on the banks ofAlthouse Creek, three miles from Holland, the latter place beingsituated in the southern end of Illinois Valley. The site of oldBrowntown was a large flat of several acres at the mouth of WalkerGulch, a tributary of Althouse Creek.
The flat has long since been sluicedaway, and scarcely a vestige of the old townsite now remains. Browntownin its early history was visited by several desperate characters andwas the scene of more than one tragedy or deadly duel in which men losttheir lives.

Meeting Place

Browntownwas the concentratingpoint for the miners of Sucker Creek, Bolan Creek and Democrat Gulch.These adjacent camps yielded millions of dollars in the precious metal.The miners from those camps spent their money with a lavish hand in thedance halls and at the gambling tables in the drinking resorts ofBrowntown.
In the year 1859 a gambler named SamHerd was shotat Browntown, and at his funeral a crowd of miners in theirshirtsleeves, each one with a large revolver and bowie knife swung onhis belt and a bottle of whiskey in his hand, followed the corpse upWalker Gulch to the miners' burying ground on the bank of that gulch,one mile up from Browntown.
Upon arriving at the graveyard, beforethe casketwas lowered into the grave, some of the miners sat down on the coffin,and others stood around and, lifting their bottles to their lips, alldrinking to the welfare of Herd in the great beyond. Addressing thecorpse they said, "God luck to you, Sam, old boy, where you are gone."
But with all of their faults a number ofthoseminers were diamonds in the rough and had with all their rough ways areverence for higher and nobler things. They were ever ready to respondwith open hearts to the calls for help and charity. And whenever aclergyman of any denomination came to Browntown he was treated withrespect and received a large contribution.

Found Gold in '52

Gold wasdiscovered on AlthouseCreek in the year 1852 by a man named Althouse, after whom the creek isnamed. He died and was buried in the miners' burying ground in WalkerGulch. And after a lapse of several years his remains were raised andtaken to the Willamette Valley, where they were reinterred.
Immediately below Browntown there is alarge bar onthe west side of the creek from which an immense amount of gold wastaken. And a short distance upstream from Browntown, and opposite theold townsite within plain view of the same on the west side of thecreek, is a red hill called the Red Point from the color of its dirt.
From this red hill in about 100 yards ofground$60,000 was mined. The writer's father, Martin Mackey, owned aninterest in this claim in the year 1857. He was one of the twelvepartners. From this red hill and from the creek bed in front for thelength of a quarter of a mile the largest run of heavy gold on anaverage ever mined on the creek was taken out, pieces of gold thatweighed from $100 to $400 and from $800 to $1,000 and $1,400.

Got $800 Nugget

A story istold about a fellownamed Vaun who came to Browntown from the Willamette Valley in 1853. Hewas penniless, and a gambler went his security for a new pair of bootsin Browntown. Vaun inquired where he might find a good place toprospect. The miners seemed to make fun of him and pointed out to him abig rock pile by the side of the creek a considerable distance upstreamfrom the Red Hill and told him to prospect there and that he wouldstrike it, and while they sought to fool him and secretly laughed. Vaundid as they advised him and started to work while it was raining. Soonafter some men, a distance downstream from where he was working, sawhim making motions and yelling for help and, thinking he had gonecrazy, they went up to where he was. They found that he had discovereda big piece of gold, which weighed $800. Vaun then said that he hadmore money than the law allowed him. He bought a horse, bridle andsaddle, and departed for the Willamette Valley. The place where thismammoth nugget was found has ever since been known as Slug Bar.

Great Exodus

In theyear 1858 there was a greatexodus of those early miners from the mines of Althouse and othernearby camps to the mining excitement of Fraser River in BritishColumbia. And the majority never returned. The writer often heard hisfather, who was one of those who went, tell about the day of theirdeparture at Waldo when every horse and mule that was obtainable in thelivery stables of Waldo and Kerby was hired by the miners. And what asight it was when that cavalcade of brave and hardy men mounted onmules and horses rode that day out of Waldo and took the road toCrescent City, there to take the boat to San Francisco and then journeyby sea and land to the far-off region to which they were bound.
As the writer has often gone up and downthe publictrail on the east side of Althouse and looked across the creek at RedHill on the opposite side and viewed the yawning mouths of the oldtunnels driven into this red hill 75 years agoby men now deadandforever gone, the following lines of Oliver Goldsmith have come intothis mind: "But now the very spot where once they triumphed is forgot."

Indians Bothered

From theyear 1853 until the year1856 there was trouble with the Indians on Althouse and in the IllinoisValley. A log fort was built during that period on the old Briggs ranch.
Three men were killed by the Indians atthe Houckranch three miles from Holland. They were buried where the road nowruns into the Houck lane. All trace of the whereabouts of their graveshas long since been obliterated. They sleep in unknown and unmarkedgraves.
Two men were killed while mining inDeadman's Gulch,a tributary of Althouse Creek. They carried their guns to their placefor work to protect themselves. The Indians stole stealthily upon them,while at work, and killed the two men with their own guns.
In the year 1853 a very serious andunusual thingoccurred on Althouse, in which Jack Gristle, a noted Indian fighter andgambler, was one of the chief actors. A man named Sam Anderson, whiledrunk, hid an oyster can containing $500 in gold and when soberafterwards could not find the can with its precious contents. Andersonaccused a boy 17 years old of stealing his golden treasure.

Flogged Boy

On RichBar, where 300 miners andgamblers were assembled, Jack Gristle and his crowd tied the boy to atree and flogged him. The boy stoutly protested his innocence and saidthat it would disgrace him and his folks, who were living in the East.They tied the boy twice and flogged him to make him confess, and weregoing to tie him up and flog him the third time when Jim Little, abrave and fearless Irishman who lived near Waldo, drew his pistol andswore that he would kill the first man that again laid hands upon theboy. The latter was not molested any more.
Jack Williams, a lone gambler, tried atfirst toprevent the flogging of the boy, but he was told by Gristle and hiscrowd that they would flog him if he interfered. Whereupon Williamstold Gristle that he would settle with the latter yet and would avengethe wrong done the boy. Williams afterward made good his word. He metJack Gristle as the latter was coming out of a barber shop inJacksonville and blew the top of Gristle's head off with adouble-barreled shotgun. Anderson's can of gold was afterwards foundwhere the latter had hidden it, and the boy was proved innocent.

Millions Taken

From thetime of the firstdiscovery of gold until 1860 was what might be termed the golden decadeon Althouse. Millions of dollars were taken out. The miners andgamblers rolled things high; there was much drinking and gambling andwhat the miners called having a glorious time. They were fond ofplaying practical jokes, and many were the cruel tricks played upon thesimple and inexperienced.
Farmers in the fifties with their teamshauled farmproducts such as fruit, butter, bacon and vegetables from theWillamette and Umpqua valleys, distances of 150 and 200 miles, toBrowntown and sold them to the miners. Many of those farmers, orteamsters as they may be called, were somewhat simple-minded andverdant and were called "tartars" by the miners and gamblers ofBrowntown. Those farmers seemed to have a mania for gambling andplaying cards and were often enticed to stake their teams and productson card games, almost invariably losing all.
One night a "tartar" was drinkingheavily and was deeply interested [i.e.,indebted] atthe gambling table, while the miners were looting his wagon outside.Sacks of plums and other kinds of fruit were stolen by miners andcarried up the trail about a mile and hidden in the brush, where theywere in turn stolen by other miners, who were secretly watching thedishonest proceedings of the first thieves.
On another occasion a "tartar" came withhis teamand load of stuff from the Willamette Valley and sat down to gamble inBrowntown. The miners and gamblers had a performance which they used toact. It was called Russian Play. A number of men with pistols loadedwith blank charges would shoot at each other from opposite sides. Whenthe above-named "tartar" engaged in a game the gambler who was hisopponent picked a quarrel with the "tartar" and, producing two pistols,handed the tartar one and challenged him to fight a duel.
Simultaneously with the gambler'schallenge theRussian Play was opened, and a fusillade of shots rang out. The"tartar" sprang from the table and, rushing out into the darkness,plunged into Althouse Creek, which was flooded, as it was late in thefall. The unfortunate "tartar" was swept downstream some distance andalmost drowned. He stayed out all night and appeared at a miner's cabinthe next morning cold and wet and apparently more dead than alive. Inthe meantime his wagon was looted of its contents.

Lucky "Tartar"

Anotherfarmer appeared inBrowntown with a wagonload of good things to eat raised on a Willamettefarm. He was arrested by a gambler on a charge of cheating at thegambling table. A jury was empaneled, and everything bore the solemnityand dignity of a real court, over which an educated gambler, DanLanigan, presided as judge. He sat at a desk with a history of theUnited States as a pretended law book laid open before him. Witnesseswere called and examined before Judge Lanigan. While the trialproceeded the miners who stood around would say in a low tone of voiceto each other, but within hearing distance of the doomed "tartar," "Oh,it's a hard case, he'll get not less than 10 years." While the"tartar's" brother would go around among the bystanders crazed withgrief and say, "I'm afraid that it will go hard with my poor brother."
At last the "tartar" was found guiltyand sentencedby Judge Lanigan to pay $20 fine and forfeit his wagonload of produceand treat the crowd at the bar, which the luckless "tartar" gladly did,thinking that he had made a narrow escape from going to the stateprison.
At length a large and powerful-lookingman wendedhis way with his team into Browntown. Immediately after his arrival agambler presented two pistols, offering the stranger one, andchallenged him to fight a duel. The stranger declined to accept thepistol from the gambler, saying, "No, thank you, sir, I have one of myown in my wagon." He got up into his wagon and reaching down pulled upa large and formidable-looking revolver, which he cocked and held inhis hand.
He told the crowd that he had heard oftheir doingsand invited them to pitch in, but it is needless to say that theythought that wagon was a little Gibraltar which it was unsafe to carryby storm. The big stranger was allowed to go unmolested.
GrantsPass Daily Courier, April 3, 1935, section 3, page 8

Decline of Famous Old Southern Ore. Mining Town Set in at Death of Two-Gun Sam Herd, in Browntown Saloon

(Video) 2021 Summer Sesshin | Roshi Robert Althouse | The Gift of Death

GRANTS PASS, Ore., Nov. 23.--(AP)--It was sixty years ago thisThanksgiving that Sam Herd, two-gun and one bottle gambler, was atrifle slow on the draw down at the old bar in old Browntown. It wasthere that the career of a characteristic bad man of the West ended ina splash of lead and blood. It was soon afterwards that the fame of thefamous old mining town began to dim. Today few can find the ruins ofthe village.
Back in the '50s, when gold was panned out by thetons, old Browntown was the concentration point for all metals comingout of the Walker Gulch, Sucker Creek and Bolan Creek. The gold assayedconsiderable higher than the morals of the adventurous men and womenwho frequented the saloons and gambling houses.
It was in 1859that a domineering miner and big-stake gambler hit the gulch. Hispopularity ran as high as his stakes, and for a time he ruled theoutfit. But no one could control the conglomeration of human derelictsthat came under the lure of gold.
Herd, according to the storythat was handed down, came into one of the favorite saloons andcommanded the crowd to become quiet. Herd, it is said, always carriedtwo guns, a bottle and a bowie knife. That night the bowie knifetangled with one of his guns as he was answering a threatening movementof a miner. The miner saw his chance and shot the leader to death. Hewas buried with great pomp.
Today a few miles south of GrantsPass stand the rotting ruins of what were once old dance halls. Gone iseverything but the bare foundations. Coyotes howl where once sang theminer. Mother ground owls blink now where once dance hall queens heldforth.
Old Browntown is no more. The washes and gulches nolonger yield the same amount of precious metal that made the townfamous. If there are ghost mining towns where the shades of charactersof the past assemble as the clock strikes midnight, then it would seemthey are passing an opportunity if they do not hold a nightlyconference on the ruins of old Browntown.

Medford Mail Tribune, November 23, 1929, page 1


By Wm. Mackey

Nine miles westof Althouse on the old stage road to Crescent City lies the old miningtown of Waldo, or Sailor Diggings, as it was formerly called. The factsconnected with the history of Waldo are so interwoven with those ofBrowntown, on Althouse Creek, as to make each place in many respectsidentical with the other. Miners and gamblers went back and forth fromWaldo to Althouse. Hundreds of thousands of dollars changed hands, andeven with a mixture of rough happenings there were rounds of pleasureand enjoyment in those prosperous times when money seemed within thereach of everyone who was industrious.
The town of Waldo was situated in asmall hollowbetween low hills, through which the old stage road runs. Here in earlymining days there were good buildings where neat and cozy homes weremade, saloons and dance halls, hotels and stores, and the hollow wherethe center of the little town stood and the side hills around werecarpeted with a mantle of green grass, studded with peach and appletrees and grape vines.

Townin Oasis

All this was brought about by water fromminingditches. The verdure of the little nook where the old town stood wasremarkable from the fact that the low hills around the town and thesurrounding country are for the most part barren, resembling in manyplaces a desert in the midst of which the small town with its carpet ofgreen seemed a beautiful oasis. As the writer passes over the oldtownsite of Waldo, where only two or three of the former buildingsremain, and sees the dead orchard trees, the faded carpets of grass,where everything shows abandonment and decay, he is reminded of whatthe traveler says about Palestine and the Holy Land, where according tothe Bible the land once flowed with milk and honey, but is now a barrenwaste in which he can hardly realize that he is where those greatscenes which have long since passed away were enacted.
The town was called Sailor Diggings fromthe factthat gold was discovered in that locality by sailors who came from thecoast to Waldo in the year 1852. A store and wooden dwelling house, anda large timeworn livery stable, which served in later days also as abarn, constituted the three links which connect the faded Waldo, of thepresent with the Golden Waldo of the past.

Storeof Concrete

The store is a good-sized building, madeof concretebrick manufactured by hand, the whole covered with plaster or stucco,the building resting on a stone wall foundation. It was built by A. B.McIlwain in the year 1863. This date is marked above the recessed frontentrance. Heavy iron doors and shutters were provided for furtherprotection when needed. Under the store is a stone basement or a cellarseven to eight feet deep. Over the front entrance near the date markingthe building's erection there is a noticeable crack about three feet inlength. This was caused by a violent earthquake in the year 1873. About80 feet east of the store is the house built by Mr. McIlwain in 1853,in which he and his family lived. It is a wooden structure consistingof four or five rooms, and is still in a fair state of preservation.The old barn in the west end of town dates so far back that it isimpossible to fix with any degree of certainty the time of itserection. It was originally papered with a brilliant wallpaper of theperiod previous to the Civil War, but was "done over" with sheets ofthe less brilliant newspaper. These were all of the period of the CivilWar, and one was disclosed to be the WeeklyNational Republican, aWashington, D.C. organ dated January 29, 1864. This relic of bygonedays contains many pertinent references to events of the civilconflict. An item tells of the gunship Kennebec capturinga vessel laden with 10,000 rifles from Europe--supposedly for therebels. Another item makes the people aware that France sympathizeswith the cause of the North.


McIlwain was a large man and was verypassionate andhot-tempered. There were many Chinese miners in the country in thelater days, and those Chinamen as customers sorely tried the patienceof storekeepers. When purchasing goods they would, even for smallamounts, try everlastingly to "jew" the storekeeper down to thecheapest prices, and when buying an article of any kind they wouldrequire everything of a like sort in the store shown for theirexamination. These Chinamen used to buy a great many pairs of gumboots, and sometimes when they would make McIlwain put every gum bootin the store on the counter to be examined before they would buy,McIlwain would lose all self-control and taking a gum boot by the legwith both hands he would strike the Chinaman with the boot over thehead as hard as he was able to hit. McIlwain occupied this brick storeuntil about 1877, when he sold out and left the country, and the storepassed into the hands of the Wimer brothers, who occupied it until1888, when Charles Decker became the owner. With his son-in-law, ThomasGilmore, Decker conducted the store business for several years, andafter his death it came into the hands of the late George Elder.McIlwain was justice of the peace while keeping store at Waldo.
On the site of the present hotel atWaldo therestood the former Waldo Hotel, which was burned about 22 years ago,while under the proprietorship of Mrs. Mary Peacock. This hotel, whichwas burned, was a truly historical monument. It was built in earlymining days. The building had been used as a hotel at times and then atother dates as a store. In this older hotel, Judge H. K. Hanna, theself-made judge of Jackson County, washed dishes in his younger days.He also hauled wood and mined in the vicinity of Waldo before he roseto distinction as a lawyer and judge in Jacksonville, and later ascircuit judge, holding court in Jacksonville and Grants Pass. In thisold hotel building Messrs. Logan & Thompson kept a store anddid alarge mercantile business with the people of the entire country in theearly '60s.
A man named Crandal and another namedGuthrie alsokept stores in Waldo in the early mining days. Long pack trains ofmules laden with merchandise wended their course over the mountainsfrom Crescent City to Waldo and Happy Camp. In the later '50s a packernamed Sam Brannan drove a pack train along the above-named route, andthere was a Chinese packer on the same road who owed Brannan a sum ofmoney. The latter repeatedly asked the Chinaman to pay what he owed,but the Chinaman laughed and mockingly refused. Brannan drew a knifeand, seizing the Chinaman by the queue, he cut off that appendage. TheChinaman then pulled out a pistol and shot Brannan dead in his tracks.In court the act was termed self-defense and the Chinaman was acquitted.
Waldo, like Browntown, had its fightsand tragedies.A tale is told of an old miner named Collins, who mined on FrenchtownBar on Althouse. Collins was gambling in Waldo and while at the gamingtable some players at his table began shooting and two or three wereseriously wounded and fell sprawling on the floor. Collins remainedsitting in his chair, unmoved, during the fracas, and laughinglyremarked, "This is just as good as a Fourth of July celebration." Thewriter once saw several miners at Waldo, many of whom were drunk,fighting in the street in front of Frank Bryan's saloon. Some weredestitute of shirts.

Nextto Althouse

Next to Althouse, in its great field ofgold, is theWaldo district within a radius of three miles of the town. It isestimated that 1500 miners here worked in the year 1853. Millions ofdollars of the precious metal were taken from the flats, and suchstreams as Allen Gulch, Scotch Gulch, Fry Gulch, Butcher Gulch, andSailor Gulch.
A great deal of this original miningaround Waldowas done as in other localities by primitive methods, shoveling intosluice boxes, by hand. They merely skimmed in a shallow way over thesurface. In many places in the flats and on the hills around Waldothere is a reddish clay intermixed with boulders, which served as abedrock or a bottom for the workings of the oldtimers. There seems tohave been but little gold found by the pioneer miners in this boulderformation, as it was called, but were are informed that this boulderformation in the Esterly Mine has been penetrated with shafts, and thatgood values have been found underneath in later years.
The writer, when only a boy in histeens, worked inScotch Gulch for wages in the summers of 1876 and 1877 and wellremembers what a hard place it was to work in a deep pit at the mouthof the gulch, the bottom of which was lower than the surface of theIllinois River. The gravel was very hard to pick, something likecement, and was pitched with shovels by hand high up into a flume. JimConnell and Batheese Decell, a French-Canadian, were the owners of themine.
The above-named gulch lies two milessouth of Waldo.
About one mile and a half east of Waldoand lookingdown on Takilma is the high mountain in which the Queen of Bronze andthe Waldo copper mines are located, which have been worked at intervalsfor 70 years.
Immediately over the hill south of theElder storein Waldo is the famous Allen Gulch, noted for the great amount of goldit produced. This gulch heads on the south side of the hill and closeto the summit, and runs in a southerly direction for about a mile and aquarter until it empties into Illinois River. The hill at the source ofthe gulch is about 1000 feet in height, and from the base of the hillto the mouth of the gulch the grade is not steep, and the form of theground on the east side of the gulch is in broad flats approaching alevel. Here on one of those flats a Catholic church was built in theearly '60s, which was a source of much attraction in those days.Connected with the site of this church there is a Catholic cemetery inwhich several of the oldtimers--men and women--are buried.
The priest who officiated at the churchwas FatherF. X. Blanchard. He was a French-Canadian and a nephew of the lateBishop Blanchard of Oregon. This pioneer priest resided in Jacksonvilleand came down at certain dates to officiate and hold services at theCatholic church in Allen Gulch.

PriestCarried Liquor

Father Blanchard was a large and jolly,good-naturedman and was very popular among the pioneer miners, irrespective ofcreed or denomination.
When Father Blanchard came down fromJacksonville toWaldo he always carried a large bottle of whiskey along with him, andtreated the miners when he met them. The roughest miners said thatFather Blanchard was good fellow. They seemed to like him because henever asked any who were not Christians to join his church. He merelytold them that the quicker they would identify themselves with some oneof the different churches the better it would be. When he came downfrom Jacksonville the miners came to his church from all parts of thecountry the same as to a social entertainment, and he received biggerdonations from miners of other creeds and non-church people than he didfrom members of his own church.
Blanchard was a well-read man, a goodconversationalist, and a good storyteller. He smoked a large pipe whenhe mingled with the miners and entertained them with his stories. Hesometimes took guns away from the miners when they made war on eachother.
Father Blanchard died at St. Vincent'sHospital inPortland. The old Catholic church in Allen Gulch has disappeared longago, and the old cemetery is covered with a growth of trees, and a fewbroken headstones and moss-covered graves are solemn reminders of adead past.

Keptin Practice

In those pioneer days an old Irishmannamed Coylekept a saloon in Allen Gulch. He was the stepfather of Mike Ryder, whowas afterwards sheriff of Josephine County. Coyle's saloon, like BillEvans' store in Browntown, was the scene of innumerable combats andqueer antics of wild men. Old Coyle delighted to try his muscle onthose inebriated and refractory miners. When a miner who had imbibedtoo freely was making fierce motions and declaring war on all mankind,Old Coyle would quietly roll up his shirtsleeves and slipping gentlyaround would watch for an opening and then land a blow with all of hisability to deliver it, which would knock the boisterous disturbertopsy-turvy.
Grants Pass DailyCourier, April 3, 1935, section 3, page 7

By Wm. Mackey

Thelargest piece of gold ever taken out on Althouse Creek was mined by alittle Irish miner named Mattie Collins in the year 1859 on the eastfork of that noted stream. The piece weighed 17 pounds. It was found inthe face of a high bank about 12 feet up in the dirt, under a big stumpabove the high water in the creek. The bank in which the piece of goldwas discovered is the front of a small flat which lies at the foot of ahigh mountain on the north side of Althouse Creek.

South Side Pays

Thesouth side of the creek, unlike the north side, rises with considerableslope back in a southerly direction for several hundred yards until itstrikes a big gorge in the mountain higher up and farther back. As thesloping mountainside leading up to this gorge has yielded good returnsin gold, and as the big piece of gold was found several feet up in thedirt above the bedrock, it would appear that the mammoth nugget cameinto the creek in a glacial drift from the high gorge.
From the place where the big piece ofgold wasfound, the creek extending upstream failed to yield the large returnsin gold which it did below.
After Mattie Collins found his monsternugget helived in constant terror of being robbed. He hired a fellow countryman,named Dorsey, to pack the big piece out of the country to a safe placeof shipment on the outside. Dorsey carried the piece of gold in a sackon his back, and on the road Mattie would call a halt and say, "Goahead of me, Dorsey, till I see if anyone would notice it." Mattie thenwould then "size" Dorsey up from the rear, and after reassuring himselfthat all was well, he would say, "Arrah, the Devil a one would noticeit, Dorsey, g'wan." And in the evening when it would be growing dark onthe road, and Mattie would see a black stump or some indistinct objectahead, he would stop Dorsey and say, "Dorsey, is that a man?"

Business Index

In theearly mining days the presence of gamblers was an unfailing sign ofprosperity in the mining camps.
The knights of the gaming table were inevidence inBrowntown and at Waldo. The gamblers went back and forth from one ofthose places to the other. Gamblers whose names were household words inthose times are now forgotten and lost to sight in the dim haze of 75years. Such men as Dan Lanigan, Pony Young, Bill Nicholas and Jos. Wall.
The writer, when he was a boy, used tohear theoldtimers tell about Bill Nicholas and how he used to mine for a awhileand then put on a white shirt and go to gambling. They said he was agood fellow, who never insulted or wronged any man.
They used to tell how Nicholas was oncechallengedby a gambler in Browntown to fight a duel. Nicholas and the gamblerwent out in the street to do battle. They took one handkerchief betweenthem, each holding an end in his left hand. The gambler held a pistolin his right hand pointed at Nicholas' head, Nicholas holding a bowieknife in his right hand. Nicholas dodged his head as the gambler fired,and drove his knife into the gambler's shoulder, when the crowd ofminers rushed in and the men were parted.

Matched with Bully

BillNicholas was a small man. Abig bully at Waldo, who was an ex-prize fighter, declared that he wouldwhip Nicholas the next time that he came from Althouse to Waldo. WhenNicholas entered Waldo the bully proceeded to pick a quarrel with him.Nicholas walked away and went into a store, the bully following him.Nicholas seized a 10-pound weight and struck the bully on the head withit. The bully reeled. Nicholas picked up another weight and struck himin the stomach, felling him to the floor. After this the bully, onmeeting Nicholas, never pretended to see the latter.
A man named Burnett kept a hotel atWaldo in theyear 1859. He kept a young grizzly bear which weighed 500 poundschained in the back yard of his hotel. Dogs from all parts of thecountry were pitted against this bear for the entertainment of thegamblers and miners.
In one of those grizzly bear and dogexhibitions atWaldo the grizzly bear broke loose and entered the kitchen of thehotel, dragging his chain. The cook and the hired help fled, and thebruin was left in sole possession of the cooking department. Burnettbravely entered the kitchen and jumping astraddle of the bearrecaptured the animal and with the help of others placed him back inthe bear pen. The bear afterwards escaped and was never recaptured.
The ridge between Bolan Creek andAlthouse is ahighly mineralized section. It extends from the east fork of Althousenearly to Holland, a distance of 10 miles. From gulches on either sideof this ridge good values were mined in early days. McDonnell Gulch,which empties into Bolan Creek, was noted for its large yield of heavygold. Several large pieces of gold were found in this gulch.

Ryan Runs Amok

In theyear 1885 there was areckless desperado on Althouse named Tom Ryan. Several were afraid tocome to Browntown on Sunday lest ill fate might number them among Tom'svictims, for when Tom Ryan came to Browntown on Sunday and had had afew drinks of old bourbon rising in his brain he would hold a big bowieknife in one hand, and a rock in the other, and whoop like an ApacheIndian in the street. He had seriously wounded two or three men andattacked others without provocation.
About this time at Waldo there was anotoriousshoulderstriker and bully who, it was said, could whip any man inJosephine County. He could strike a blow with his fist equal to thekick of a horse. Tom Ryan, jealous lest his own ruffian fame beeclipsed by that of the Waldo ruffian, resolved to humble the Waldoshoulderstriker's pride. Ryan procured a large stick or club throughwhich he drove several 40-penny nails crosswise. Armed with this oddweapon he started from Browntown to invade Waldo and carry war into theshoulderstriker's territory.
Upon arriving at Waldo, Tom Ryan met theshoulderstriker and charged upon him with his stick full of 40-pennynails. The shoulderstriker fled, with Ryan in hot pursuit. Ryan wasgaining in the race with the Waldo bully when the latter in despairrushed up ahigh staircase on the outside of a building,closelyfollowed by Ryan. When the bully reached the top of the high flight ofsteps and saw Tom Ryan ascending the stairs with his stick of nails,the bully jumped from the top to the street beneath and was fearfullyshaken by bumping on the hard ground. Stimulated to greater exertion bythe bear of being transfixed to the wall or some other place by40-penny nails, the shoulderstriker shook the dust of the town from hisfeet, leaving Tom Ryan in complete possession of Waldo.

Name Becomes Terror

The nameof Tom Ryan had become aterror to Althouse and to the entire country, but conqueror as he wasrecognized to be, he was yet destined to meet his Duke of Wellington.
There was living on Althouse at thattime a huskyson of the Emerald Isle named Maxwell, who was a noted character amongthe miners of Althouse and the country in general in those days. He wasa large and finely formed, handsome man, possessed of great bodilystrength and activity and was a good singer and dancer. The latterqualities made him popular among the sporting miners.
There was a social gathering of theminers one nightin Browntown. During the evening while wine and whiskey flowed copiouslyand freely and while all were enjoying themselves, Maxwell was calledon to sing a song. While all were listening with respectfully attentionto Maxwell's melodious voice, TomRyan rose suddenly andseizing astool without warning struck a poor and inoffensive fellow named JimTravis on the head, knocking him senseless.
Maxwell then interfered and laid handson Ryan toprevent him from striking Travis again. Ryan struck at Maxwell with thestool. Maxwell dodged, and the blow landed between his shoulders. Thelatter then grappled with Ryan, and a terrible struggle ensued inwhichRyan was thrown to the floor and severely punished byMaxwell. The miners pulled Maxwell off, but the enraged Maxwell turnedto a rude table, newly made with small fir trees for legs, and with hishands wrenched one of the little green legs loose from the table. Hewas about to knock Ryan's head off with it when it was wrenched fromhis grasp by the miners.

Learns What Fright Is

Ryan, forthe first time everfrightened on Althouse, made a rush to get out of the house but turnedfor a moment on the threshold to look back when the infuriated Maxwellgrabbed a hot stove lid from the stove with his hand and hurled it athim, striking him in the face and making a gash which extended nearlyto his eye.He fell to the floor.
Maxwell's hand was severely burned bythe hot stovelid and Tom Ryan was led to another house and 14 stitches were taken inhis face.
Ryan was so humiliated over thiscrushing defeatwhich he had met at the hands of Maxwell that he left Althouse soonafterward and went to peddling goods on board a boat running up anddown the Columbia River from The Dalles to Portland.
In that eventful year of 1859, when somanyremarkable things occurred in this country, there lived on Althouse aminer named Harry McVay who was an athlete and had considerablereputation as a wrestler and boxer. McVay had formerly been a deckhandon the line of steamships plying between San Francisco and Panama andwas said to have whipped and thrown some of the best men on that line.However, there were miners on Althouse who seemed to think thatMaxwell, although unknown to fame, was a better man physically thanMcVay, and they were anxious to bring themen together in aphysical contest of some kind.

McVay Jealous

McVay wassomewhat jealous andpiqued by the admiration of the miners for Maxwell and was always in agood-natured way taunting and daring Maxwell. The latter seemed todisregard all this and appeared to avoid anything that would lead toapersonal collision.
There was an Australian Englishman namedWebb whokept a hotel and saloon at the forks of Althouse Creek. One day on aspecial occasion a large number of miners were assembled at Webb's fromdifferent parts of Althouse and other parts of the country. While theminers were sitting in the barroom, and when several bottles of whiskeywere brought and passed around and their contents drunk Harry McVayarose suddenly in the crowd and said, "I can throw any man that is inthis house."
When McVay flung out his challenge tothe crowd,Maxwell, who spoke with a brogue, replied, "Harry, you mane that forme, now you have gone far enough. You'll have a chance to try yourself."
McVay admitted that he meant hischallenge forMaxwell. The miners quickly cleared the room in the center and formed acircle to witness the struggle between the two men. When they clinched,Maxwell threw McVay without any apparent great effort. McVay,surprised, said, "You cannot do that again."
"Yes," replied Maxwell. "I'll do itaisy," and he threw McVay three times in quick succession.

Cousin Steps Forward

Then DickDoran, a first cousin ofMcVay's, came forward and struck Maxwell with the back of his hand.Maxwell, with wonderful self-control, pulled out a purse containing$100 in gold dust and handed it over to the barkeeper for safekeeping.He then addressed McVay and the latter's friends and said with an Irishbrogue, "Yees have been after me for a long time. Now if this is yeregame I'll give ye enough of that too. Let the best of yees come. I canwhip any man that is on Althouse."
The miners then tried to prevent the menfromfighting. They put McVay out of the house and the miners all wentoutside themselves and they locked the door on Maxwell and kept himinside. That terrible temper that had swept Tom Ryan before it inBrowntown was aroused. Maxwell procured an axe and swore that if theydid not open the door for him he would chop the door down. They thenopened the door and let Maxwell out.

Excitement Prevails

Greatexcitement now prevailedamong the miners. Axes were uplifted and pick handles were flourishedand and pitched battle seemed about to be fought between the friends ofthe two men. At length the crowd was pacified and quieted down and twocombatants faced each other. McVay made a furious rush at Maxwell, butthe latter cleverly sidestepped and knocked McVay down. McVay sprang tohis feet like a lion and launched several terrific blows as he fiercelyrushed the fighting, but Maxwell skillfully ducked and parried thoseblows and they went went wild. Maxwell knocked McVay down several timesin a few minutes. The men then clinched and McVay was thrown heavilyand severely beaten by Maxwell while underneath the latter. The minerstold McVay to give up and say enough as Maxwell, they said, was toomuch for him, but McVay replied that he would die before he would dothat.
The miners then pulled Maxwell off theprostratedform of McVay, and while being pulled away Maxwell gave McVay a partingkick with the toe of his heavy boot, cutting a terrible gash in McVay'sforehead. McVay had been severely punished; his face and head wereblackened with bruises and blood from cuts and gashes, while Maxwellscarcely bore a mark of the exciting struggle. The miners gatheredaround the two fighters and the two men were made to shake hands. McVaywas complimented on the gallant struggle that he had made and Maxwellwas acknowledged the best man on Althouse.
While several bottles of whiskey werebeing purchasedand handed around a proposal was made to raise a purse of money andsend Maxwell to English to fight the English champion, Tom Sayers. Asthey said that Maxwell would surely make his mark in the world if hedid not spend all of his life in the wilds of Oregon.
Rich Bar, where Maxwell and his partnersworked, isa part of the famous Leonard, Beach and Platter claim, a tremendousdeposit of gravel near where Althouse empties into the Illinois Valley.A fatality seems to have attended the working of these extensive placerdeposits.
Two tunnels were driven the length ofseveralhundred feet to drain the ground and dump the tailings into theIllinois Valley. Great freshets filled these tunnels with debris andchoked the outlet for tailings and otherwise impeded the progress ofworking for many years past.

Gulch Yields Fortune

Immediately over a low hill fromRich Bar lies Democrat Gulch, where a few hundred yards of shallowground yielded in early mining days the sum of $300,000. This gulchempties into the Illinois Valley near the Smock store at Holland.
In 1870 when many of the richest claimson Althousewere pretty well worked out, the gold excitement was on the wane, andthings were not as brisk as they used to be. The majority of the firstminers had taken their departure for new fields. Yet there remainedquite a number of the standbys who partook of ardent spirits and madethings howl on certain occasions, keeping alive the spirit of thegolden '50s. Among those was an Irish miner named Bill Dooley, who wascalled Old Bill by the miners because he was a true chip off the oldblock. He had been a soldier on the plains in the '40s and a miner inthe early '50s in California. He was a true type of the early plainsman.
In Old Bill Dooley's time on Althousethere was aGerman miner named Peter Lockamyer who worked on that stream. He was ashort, heavy-built man with crooked and deformed hands and feet.

Deformity Marked

Lockamyer's deformity was verymarked. The palms of his hands were turned out a great deal, and theends of his feet at the toes were turned extremely to the outside. Ashe struggled his shoulders when talking he presented [a] ludicrousappearance. He had a very peculiar turn of mind. He was given to makingmischief and trouble for others and was continually prying into otherpeople's affairs and investigating other people's business andcommenting on what he found out and heard. Very little of whattranspired in the entire county escaped his notice and comment. Theminers used to say that Lockamyer was more valuable than any localnewspaper from which to learn the news of the day.
There seemed to be great rivalry betweenLockamyerand Old Bill Dooley. Lockamyer seemed to never tire of trying toundermine and overthrow Old Bill and upset the latter in all of hisplans. Old Bill said that Lockamyer was a crooked-legged Dutchscoundrel, who was as crooked in his mind as he was in his hands andfeet.
Old Bill and Lockamyer had claimsopposite eachother on the banks of Althouse Creek. The bed of the creek betweentheir claims was not located by anyone. Lockamyer had a German partnernamed Charley, who went away from Althouse before the trouble which wewill relate occurred. While Old Bill was working at the Cohen quartzledge for wages, Lockamyer located the creek bed between Old Bill'sclaim and his own, and sold it to a company of Chinamen.

Makes Threats

When OldBill was informed whileworking at the Cohen ledge of what Lockamyer had done he said, "That ismy ground, and I will go up there and kill that crooked-legged Dutchscoundrel."
It was nine miles up the Althouse fromthe Cohenquartz ledge to Lockamyer's claim. Old Bill shouldered his old rifleand girded on his six-shooter and knife and started up Althouse to puthis threat into execution. He stopped over for a few minutes atBrowntown to partake of a few glasses of Bill Evans' fighting whiskey toexcite his courage.
Lockamyer's cabin was built high up onthe side of adeep ravine which emptied into Althouse Creek. The cabin was builtlengthwise with the course of the ravine. From the end of the cabin along open shed extended towards the creek. At the end of this open shednext to the creek, Lockamyer had a small rock fireplace at which hecooked.

Bolts into Shed

Old Billbolted into the shed onan April evening while Lockamyer was sitting on a small stool beforethe little fireplace. Accosting Lockamyer Old Bill said, "Youcrooked-legged Dutch scoundrel, what did you sell my ground to theChinamen for?"
Lockamyer replied, "You're the worstfeller what Iever did see, you want monopoly of the whole country. Me and Charleyclaim bank on one side, and you claim opposite side, and creek belongnobody."
"You lie," answered Old Bill. "Youcrooked-leggedDutch scoundrel, that is my ground, and I'm going up now to kill themChinamen. Have your peace made with God agin I come back, for BeHeavens Almighty, I'm going to finish you."
Old Bill then started up the creek towhere theChinamen were at work about a half mile from Lockamyer's house. Uponapproaching where the Chinamen were at work in the creek, Old Billyelled like a Comanche Indian and fired his pistol in the air. TheChinamen threw down their tools and fled in terror. Old Bill picked upan axe and smashed and cut their sluice boxes and threw their toolsinto Althouse. Then he started back down the creek to put a finishingtouch on Lockamyer. The latter was still sitting on the stool as he waswhen Dooley started up to attack the Chinamen. Upon entering the shedOld Bill said, "Now, you crooked-legged scoundrel, your time has come."

Lays Gun Down

He thenlaid his gun down againstthe end of the cabin and struck Lockamyer a blow in the forehead withhis fist, which knocked him off the stool and into the fireplace. OldBill then said, "I may as well finish you while I'm at it," and hepicked up his gun and pointed it at Lockamyer. The latter sprang fromthe ashes and, wrenching Old Bill's gun from his grasp, flung thatfirearm far down the ravine. Then grabbing Old Bill himself he hurledhim over the side down into the ravine where he landed on the top ofhis head among stumps and roots.
Old Bill rose to his feet, bleeding fromcontactwith the roots, and looking up to where Lockamyer stood above, said,"You crooked-legged Dutch scoundrel, you done that well."
Old Bill's spirit was now broken by thisdisaster ofthe ravine. He clambered up into the shed where Lockamyer stood andprocured a washbasin and washed the blood from his hands, which werebleeding from being torn by the roots and stumps. He said in avanquished tone of voice, "Well, I got the worst of this fight. I guessI'll retrate."
He then picked up his gun from theravine and departed from Lockamyer's premises.

J.P. Refuses to Act

Lockamyerstarted to Waldo tolodge a complaint before McIlwain, the justice of the peace, and havethe latter issue a warrant for Old Bill's arrest. McIlwain, upon beingapproached by Lockamyer, flew into a passion and said that the minersof Althouse were not half civilized, and that if it were possible forhim to do so he would make one kill the other until they were allexterminated. McIlwain further declared that he would not put thecounty to the expense of a trial, nor encumber his books with the namesof such detestable trash.
Whereupon Lockamyer raised his hand andpointed hisforefinger at McIlwain in a menacing attitude, saying in brokenEnglish, "If you no do your duty and make paper for arrest that fellerin one-half hour, I put you behind bar."
Upon being threatened by Lockamyer,McIlwain reluctantly issued the warrant for Old Bill's arrest.
McIlwain exceeded his limited authorityat justiceof the peace. He proceeded in a high-handed manner to try the caseafter the manner of [a] higher court. At the start, it was with greatdifficulty that he could keep order in his court, where noise andconfusion reigned. Owing to the broken English of Lockamyer, the fiercedenunciations of Old Bill and the geese-like gabbling of the Chinamen,it took some time to restore order. McIlwain called witnesses to proveOld Bill Dooley's character. One Irish miner who was a personal enemyof Old Bill was sworn [in] and swore that Old Bill was an old bluffingblowhard, who would not kill achicken.
Upon hearing this miner's testimonyMcIlwaindischarged Old Bill and dismissed the case. Thus ended the greatestfarce ever carried out in Waldo.
Although this Irish miner's testimonycaused OldBill's acquittal, yet the latter was furious over the slur cast uponhis character by this witness. Old Bill said that he would rather beput to state's prison or hung than to be stigmatized as a coward inthat manner. He challenged the Irish miner to mortal combat withshotguns loaded to the brim with buckshot, at ten feet apart, or muzzleto muzzle.

Lockamyer Disgusted

Lockamyerreturned to Althousehighly disgusted with American justice and was heard to exclaim inbroken English, "No law in the United States. If I have that Irishscoundrel home where I come in Shermany, I put him in jail so long helive."
In the year 1861 a man named PatKearney, who wasone of Maxwell's partners on Rich Bar, was a pioneer miner, and cut aremarkable figure in the early history of Browntown and Althouse.Kearney was a dark, heavy-built man, about five feet nine inches inheight, and between 35 and 40 years ofage.
He was possessed of great bodilystrength and oncecarried a stove which weighed 400 pounds on his back on a footlogacross Althouse Creek. He seldom if ever wore a coat, and he wentaround wearing a heavy overshirt. He always carried a large dragoonpistol on his hip, suspended from a belt which encircled his waist.Kearney, like several others of that time, was a combination miner anda gambler.
Kearney was a desperate character andhad a numberof rough and tumble fights in Browntown. He was once made the victim ofa practical joke. Someone procured a pig's tail, and while Kearney wasmingling with a crowd the mischief-loving individual contrived tofasten the pig's tail to the center of Kearney's belt hanginglengthwise downward from the middle of his back.

(Video) Gaither Vocal Band - At the Cross (Live)

Made Laughingstock

WhileKearney was unaware of thetrick which had been played upon him he walked around Browntown,presenting a ludicrous spectacle with his big dragoon pistol swung onhis hip and a pig's tail suspended from the center of his back, whichmade him the laughingstock of everybody.
When Kearney was at length apprised ofwhat causedthe merriment of the spectators he was almost beside himself with rage.He swore that if he ever knew who the joker was who perpetrated thetrick on him, he would fill the audacious scoundrel so full of leadthat somebody would locate the trickster for a mineral claim.
One night there was a free-for-all fightin whichseveral miners were engaged in a dance house in Browntown. While theconflict was raging Kearney, who was one of the combatants, was stabbedbut was not aware of the fact until the fracas was over. When feelingsomething warm about his waist he placed his hand to his side and said,"What in the devil is this?" Upon removing his shirt he saw hisintestines protruding on his hip from a knife wound. On anotheroccasion Kearney was gambling in Browntown when the gambler with whomKearney played challenged him to mortal combat. Kearney, who had thechoice of weapons, procured two double-bitted axes and flinging one tothe gambler dared him to the encounter with battle axes like theknights of old. The gambler declined to fight in that manner.

Reared as Fisherman

Kearneyhad been raised as afisherman in his youth on the historic river Shannon. Having made astake at mining on Althouse he resolved to take a trip to Ireland. He,with three others, took their departure from Althouse for SanFrancisco, and from the latter place embarked on board of a ship calledthe Yankee Blade.
When out on the oceanthe ship caughtfire and was burned. While the vessel was ablaze Kearney plunged fromthe deck into the fathomless deep, carrying his fortune in his shirtbosom suspended from a loop which he wore around his neck. The weightof his gold took him down under the water, but being an excellentswimmer he rose to the surface, and would have in all probability beenable to keep his precious metal, had he not seen a little girl alonestruggling in the water a short distance off.
Kearney, rough and desperate man that hewas, had atender heart. He flung away his gold which greatly encumbered him andswam to the rescue of the child, whom he saved.
Upon again setting foot on land, Kearneywasdestitute, having lost his gold. He was compelled to give up the ideaof going to Ireland and returned to Astoria, Oregon, and there engagedin fishing and where he was still living a few years ago, at anadvanced age.
Kearney was never married. It is saidthat thelittle girl whom he saved from drowning was afterwards a rich woman,and offered to give Kearney a home in his old age, but he refused toaccept the kind offer.
Grants Pass Daily Courier, April3, 1935, section 3, page 12

By William Mackey

Inwriting the story of early mining days in southern Josephine County Ifind it the most convenient to follow the thread of my own personalexperience. I was born on Grass Flat, on Althouse Creek, in the year1859, in a hotel kept by my father, which was a resort for the minersfrom points many miles around. Grass Flat was a lively little miningtown, and like Browntown, which was three miles farther down Althouse,it was a great congregating point for the early miners from thosegolden days. Grass Flat was the center of a locality on the creek whichhas been very appropriately called the "Wonderful Spot on Althouse."

Yielded Fortune

FrenchtownBar, immediately below Grass Flat,according to good authority, yielded from a comparatively short stripofground more than $300,000.
I knew many of the first miners onAlthouse in myearly boyhood. One old man named Collins, who worked at the upper endof Frenchtown Bar, told me that he had made as high as $100 a day onthis bar.
In the beginning of mining on Althouse,the lawallowed only 30 feet in length to a claim, according to the local lawsof the district. This was afterwards changed to 100 yards by location,and 100 yards by purchase.
The main pay streak on Frenchtown Barwas only 30feet wide. The bar was shallow and easily worked. It received its nameFrenchtown from the fact that many Frenchmen worked on the bar.
One tragedy on Frenchtown Bar will showhow slackthe law was executed. Two Frenchmen were working together on theirclaims on the bar. One day they had a slight quarrel and one of the mencalled French John quit work and went home to his cabin before hispartner did. The other in going home after quitting work had to passby French John's door. The latter stood on the threshold of his doorcrying with a double-barreled shotgun in his hands and warned hispartner not to pass his door.

Blew His Head Off

The latterdisregarded the warning and laughinglysaid: "You damned fool, what is the matter with you?" and continued towalk by, when French John blazed away with both barrels of the gun andnearly blew the whole top of his head off.
There were two storekeepers in Browntownto whomFrench John owed $600, and they said it would never do to have Johnhanged as they would lose the money he owed them, and they influenced ajustice of the peace to dismiss John's case, and he was never broughtto trial in the higher courts. French John's victim was buried in thecanyon of Snow Gulch, which empties into Frenchtown Bar. I saw thisslain Frenchman's grave several years after he was killed. The gravewas where there was a growth of underbrush and large trees, and washalf burrowed out by squirrels and other varmints.
French John was a coward at heart, aswas afterwardsproven at my father's hotel at Grass Flat. John and a little Americannamed Montague had a difficulty and met at the above-mentioned hotel.French John was under the influence of whiskey, and armed with the gunwith which he had killed his countryman, paced up and down in front ofthe hotel crying and flourishing his gun, and said, "This is the onlyfriend I have."
Montague came into the hotel andaddressing myfather said, "Martin, I wish you would go out and talk to that d----dfoolJohn, he might shoot me." My father then went out andgettingclose to French John he grabbed the latter's gun and wrenched it fromJohn's grasp, and when John was thus disarmed the little American,Montague, procured two knives, and offering French John one of theknives challenged him to mortal combat. John declined to acceptMontague's challenge and cowered like a whipped cur.

No Pay Dirt

At theupper end of French Bar and nearly oppositeGrass Flat the big pay in the creek ceased, the coarse gold gave out,and the creek was almost a blank for the length of a mile.
On the west side of the creek extendingupstream fromGrass Flat was an immense deep bar of great width, which appears tohave been a big slide from the mountain behind. The late NewellDeLamater of Grants Pass in 1870 sluiced a tremendous cut at the lowerend of this bar, near Grass Flat, which cost $4000.00, without anysuccess. And before 1860 nine tunnels, each several hundred feet inlength, were driven across this deep bar, and far into themountain behind. All this work was done upstream from DeLamater's cut.
For many years after 1860 innumerabletunnels weredriven into this deep bar by different men without any beneficialresults, and sums of money spent which if taken together would amountto a large fortune. The bottom of this deep bar, which lies on the westside of Althouse, is on a level with the present bed of Althouse Creek.
The gravel deposits on the east side ofAlthouse,unlike those on the west side, lie high up on the hill above the creek.

Falls in Search

My father,Martin Mackey, raised company aftercompany, and made repeated efforts for 30 years to find the lost goldleads, and punctured the high hill on the east side of the Althouse forthe extent of a mile with tunnels and shafts. And at last, being brokenphysically and financially, he was compelled to discontinue hisoperations.
One mile up the Althouse from Grass Flatthe big paywas again struck in the bed of the creek in what is known as the Nultyclaim, which was the richest place ever found on Althouse Creek.
A short distance up from the Nultyclaim, and highup on the west side, is situated what is known as the old Hank claim,called after its first owner, Frank Hank, and afterwards by thebrothersPeter and Frederick Hansen, who made several thousand dollars there.The claim was later operated by Chinamen. There are large bodies ofcement in this Hank claim that would pay $10 a day to the man if aprocess could be found by which this cement gravel could be worked.
In the early '60s most of the richestdeposits ofgold on Althouse Creek were well nigh exhausted, and the mines were onthe wane.

Town Abandoned

The townof Grass Flat was finally abandoned and, inminers' phraseology, took on the appearance of a ghost town. Some ofthebuildings, which were made of logs with shingle roofs, were torn downand disappeared, and only two or three houses remained, in one of whichour family, consisting of my father and mother, and an only sister,Mary, and myself lived for several years. My sister and I traveled 14miles day to attend school at the Beach and Platter school in the lanea short distance below Holland, on the present mail route from Kerby.Wehad one horse between us, each taking turns at riding and walking,going down the Althouse seven miles from Grass Flat to Illinois Valley,and seven miles returning home. I was only 14 years of age at thattime, and my sister was younger. Half of the road over which wetraveled to school was mountain trail.
My mother died on Grass Flat in the year1874. Mymother was widely known and respected for her kindness by the earlyminers. When any lone miner was crippled or hurt by accident she wouldsend me to his cabin to wait upon and take care of him. When she died alarge number of miners assembled at Grass Flat to pay her their lastregards, and she was carried by the miners down the Althouse trail tothe home of Lawrence Leonard, in the Illinois Valley near the presentsite of Holland, from which residence her funeral took place. She wasinterred in the old Catholic cemetery in the Allen Creek Gulch nearWaldo.

Few Women

As therewere very few women in the mountain regionsof Althouse in those days, my sister was sent away to distantrelatives, and was never more with my father or myself in that part ofthe country.
I knew Matty Collins, the miner whofound the17-pound nugget on the east fork of Althouse in 1859. He came back on avisit to Althouse in 1875 and stayed one night with my father andmyself on Grass Flat.
In the early '70s there was a silverexcitement onAlthouse. Two miners named Cameron and Wheeler, while placer mining onJohnson Gulch, a tributary of the east fork of Althouse, foundspecimens of float silver ore which assayed several thousand dollars tothe ton in silver, with a large percentage of gold. More float silverwas afterward found by other miners besides Cameron and Wheeler.
Men from different parts of the countryfitted outpack trains of horses loaded with grub and tools and repaired toJohnson's gulch to prospect for the hidden lode. Most of those silverprospectors who repeatedly came and went did little more, however, thanrun over the country and scratch the surface.

Location Given

The summitof the mountain ridge above the head ofJohnson's gulch runs east and west and is the dividing line betweenOregon and California. Johnson's gulch is on the south side of the eastfork of Althouse Creek. The mountainside at the head of Johnson's gulchis covered with soil and trees, which makes it difficult to find thehidden silver lode.
On the summit of the ridge the barebedrock isvisible in several places, and the rock formation is of a characterfavorable for gold and silver.
The late Newell DeLamater, Grass Flatminer, in the'80s sluiced a cut a hundred yards in length in the left fork ofJohnson's gulch trying to strip the silver ledge, but his efforts werein vain. The late Jack Henderson, the pioneer of Kerby, told me that heprospected to find the silver ledge in Johnson's gulch in 1887, andwhile placer mining there he washed out black sand which assayed 36percent in silver.
The miners of the old school and sometoday areimpressed with the belief that gold is not to be found in any rockexcepting quartz. But the contrary is once in a while what happens. Ithas been clearly demonstrated that gold is likely to be found in anyformation, but when it is discovered in any rock besides quartz it isgenerally mixed with other minerals.

Belief Inaccurate

Anotheridea accepted by many miners is that a ledgewhich carries but small values on top does not increase in worth at agreater depth. But the reverse is sometimes the case, as in theComstock Lode in Nevada, which was a quartz ledge almost barren on thesurface, and deeper yielded a fabulous sum of many millions of dollars.
Many of the richest gold and silverlodes in OldMexico are not visible on the surface, and are called underwater mines.
A little more than 40 years ago twominers workingin the vicinity of Johnson's gulch uncovered a big dike of black rockresembling charcoal. They started to sink a shaft on this dike, butafter getting down to the depth of afew feet they abandonedtheundertakings, as they did not understand timbering and were afraid ofbeing caved upon. There were streaks of pretty yellow sulphurets inthis dark rock, and gold was visible also in the black bedrock. Thetwo men who stripped this black dike were old and went away soonafter, and one died in the county hospital at Grants Pass. Their shaftand the cut in which it was sunk was soon covered with tailings fromthe hill above, and has remained ever since buried. I have oftenthought that this black dike might contain a tremendous amount of gold,as considerable amount of gold was taken from the gulch below, whichappears to have been fed from this dark dike. This place has beenclaimed by men for many years.
Johnson's gulch is the center of a greatiron belt,which runs northeast and southwest from Bolan Creek to the east fork ofthe Illinois River. And as I believe the richest deposits of gold havebeen discovered where there are large bodies of iron, there is a stronglikelihood that immense pay chutes of gold lie along the course of thisAlthouse iron belt.

Iron Dike Exists

InJohnson's gulch there is a large iron dike, andtwo miles northeast from the aforesaid tributary there is a large,well-defined ledge of high-grade iron ore which assays 73 percent iniron, in Iron Gulch on the north side of the east fork of AlthouseCreek. In the same locality as the iron ledge the famous Hewston pocketof gold was found by Frank Hewston in 1895, which yielded $15,000.
On Bolan Creek, five miles northeastfrom IronGulch, Jack McLaughlin, while driving a tunnel in the year 1875,stripped a ledge of iron ore which was 50 feet in width.
Bolan Creek, which lies west of the mainAlthouse,and over a ridge from the latter stream, was noted for its yield ofheavy, coarse gold in early mining days.
After the white men had first worked thebed ofAlthouse Creek and the bars and points on its banks, and had taken onlythe cream of the rich gold lead, then came hundreds of Chinamen, whoturned and removed the rocks, and cleaned the bedrock several timesover in the old claims of the early miners.
Those Chinamen were adepts at savingfine gold, andworked for themselves as low as 25 cents a day after board and expenseswere paid. Their methods of living, when compelled by necessity, werevery cheap. They subsisted on tea with spongy, steamed bread, and ricewith chunk cabbage, which they grew on little spots of sand on the barsalong the creeks. Those Chinamen found many good-paying places whichwere left by the first miners, who in many instances skimmed along overthe ground, taking only the best.

Chinamen Had to Buy

TheChinamen were not allowed tohold claims except by purchase. They used to come to my father and gethim to locate a claim on some old worked bar, and then they would payhim two or three ounces for his location. The Chinamen wrought in thismanner on all of the creeks, and were a great detriment to the country,and they sent all of the gold back to China. Even their bones, aftertheir deaths, were exhumed from their graves and transported by theircountrymen back to the fatherland.
Those Chinese miners when making moneyandprospering were much given to going on sprees and feasting. Gin wastheir favorite beverage. They ate much pork and chicken and indulged inthe smoking of opium.
There would be gold diggings yetremaining whichwould support white men and their families for many years to come hadit not been for those Chinese miners. The Chinamen were at lastexpelled from the country, but not until they had done irreparabledamage to the white population.
One incident I remember occurred in theyear 1867and shows how superstitious the Chinese were. On the north side ofGrass Flat there is in the winter time a small seepage of waterfronting Althouse Creek, at the head of a small ravine which runs downa high, steep hillside from Grass Flat to said creek. In the yearmentioned there was a great freshet on Althouse and the little brooksand rivulets on the hillsides were booming with rainwater. A crowd ofChinese miners lived in a house close to the creek, at the base of thishigh hill fronting Grass Flat. They worked in a claim on the east sideof Althouse, opposite the house in which they lived. My father hadrepeatedly warned these Chinamen when the floods came to turn off thewater of the seepage and ravines in another direction by means of aditch dug for that purpose up on Grass Flat, as he had foreseen that ifthe water was allowed to run down the hill to the Chinamen's dwellingit would soak the ground and cause the hill to slide and bury theChinamen's house.

Failed to Listen

But thelatter failed to heed myfather's warning, and one day during the flood the Chinamen came homefrom their work at noon, cooked and ate their dinner, and thenrecrossed the creek to work in their claim again. One of their number,feeling unwell, remained behind at their house to rest for theafternoon. Immediately after his partners had crossed the creek towork, he started to go from the house to a blacksmith shop a few yardsfrom the house, and when almost at the shop, the whole side of therain-soaked hill above slid and buried the Chinaman and the blacksmithshop and dwelling [with] earth, mingled with stumps and trees.
It was raining heavily when the Chinamenran to myfather's house wailing piteously and told him what had befallen theirpartner. Father urged them to get to work at once and take theirpartner's body out from under the debris, but they seemed gripped withfear and said, "too late, too late." My father, seeing that his appealto rouse the Chinamen to action was in vain, procured the assistance oftwo white miners, David Houck and Edward Moore, and those men, with myfather, sluiced nearly all of the afternoon, until nightfall, andfinally uncovered the body, which was terribly bruised and mangled.They then retired, leaving the corpse to be disposed of by theChinamen. My father gave them a large cabin on Grass Flat in which tostay after the accident occurred. The cabin had two spacious apartmentswithin it and a wide rock fireplace, in which the Chinamen built a goodfire. That night following the accident it rained continuously untilthe next day. One can imagine the feelings of my father and mother whenthe next morning they discovered that the Chinamen had left the body oftheir unfortunate countryman outside, lying on the ground beside a log,with a few shingles over the body and leaning against the log to shedthe rain during the stormy night. Common sense and human feeling shouldhave forced them to take the body for safekeeping into the house, forwhen left out in this manner it was in imminent danger of attack byvarmints, such as bears and panthers, and wildcats were numerous onAlthouse in those days.
The day following the death of theChinaman a numberof Asiatics from up and down the Althouse attended the funeral. Thedead Celestial was taken a half mile from Grass Flat and buried upon ahillside in a shallow grave. Many times afterwards I saw the lonelymound, with red Chinese candles and food gotten up to suit the Chinesepalate laid at its margin to feed the ghost pf the departed when hewould come back from the great beyond. At length I visited the graveand it was empty. All that was mortal of the man that wore the queuewas raised, according to custom, and taken back to China.

Game Abounded

TheAlthouse region and adjacentcreeks in the Siskiyou region were a great hunting ground and aboundedwith wild game of various kinds in early mining days.
As I roamed over those mountains when Iwas a boy Ihave seen innumerable grouse, pheasants and quail, hawks and snowbirds, and large bands of deer, and I have picked up the old horns ofan elk. I have seen many black and brown bears, cougars, panthers andwildcats, and occasionally a grizzly bear might be seen. But there hasbeen a wanton slaughter of those animals for commercial purposes by menwho made sale of their hides. The birds and animals have been almostexterminated. There are game laws now for their protection, when thereare but few to protect. The wanton destruction of animals and birds hasdeprived poor prospectors and families of a great means of support.
The east fork of Althouse and Bolan andGreen creekshave their source around the base of Bolan Peak, which looms up like agreat Indian lookout against the sky. The mountain scenery in thislocality, when viewed from a vantage point, is not excelled forgrandeur and sublimity in any other part of the world.
I remember one incident in my boyhoodwhich has leftan indelible picture in my mind. When on a clear summer day in themonth of June I stood for the first time, when I was but 16 years ofage, on the top of Bolan Peak and viewed the broad expanse of mountainsstretching far in every direction in panoramic beauty, with MountShasta towering in snow-crowned grandeur 75 or 100 miles away.

Remembers Peaks

There wasone thing of which Ihave a very vivid recollection. On the top of the peak there was yetremaining a spot of unthawed snow, about 50 feet in extent, on thesurface of which was imprinted what appeared to be the huge track of agrizzly bear.
From the summit of Bolan Peak I lookeddown on theclear water of Bolan Lake, which seemed to shine in the brightafternoon sunlight. This was in the year 1875.
This lake seems to be an extinct crater,as thereare masses of cemented conglomerate resembling sulphur around themargin of the lake, which seems to have been belched up by volcanicaction from the bowels of the earth. Sometimes I have thought that thiscemented formation around Bolan Lake might be gold-bearing, and I havecontemplated having some of this stuff assayed for gold. The lake andthe locality in which it is situated is now within the national forestreserve.

Looks Like Blowout

FrenchPeak, which lies about1½ miles north from the head of the east fork of AlthouseCreek,has an iron capping and looks like what miners call a "blowout."Running north from French Peak a mountain ridge extends for 10 miles inthe direction of Holland. The main Althouse lies on the west side ofthis ridge, and Bolan Creek and Sucker Creek lie on the east side. Thismountain section of the country is highly mineralized.
At the southern extremity of thisdividing ridgenear French Peak, and close to the summit of the ridge on its westside, a well-defined fissure, with a hanging wall and a foot wall, maybe traced by holes that have been sunk in the fissure, the holeshundreds of yards apart, and from the last hole on the north end aledge may be dimly traced on the surface of the ground extendingnorthward for a distance of two miles.
There are bunches of white quartz inthese prospectholes on the side of the hill above Snow Gulch. The fissure is in aporphyry formation, and as the hillside is very steep under thisfissure, it could be tapped at a considerable depth without muchexpense. It is quite probable that this fissure may contain anunderwater gold ledge.
A distance of two miles north fromFrench Peak andon the east side of the dividing ridge is McDonnell Gulch, which hasits source near the summit of the ridge and empties into Bolan Creek.
Large quantities of coarse, heavy goldwere found byminers placer mining in McDonnell Gulch. The gold was supposed by theminers to have come from a quartz ledge somewhere in the hill.

Tragic Tale

There is atragic tale connectedwith the history of this gulch. In the year 1859 a miner named PeteDolan mined in the McDonnell Gulch. The winter of that year was notedfor its great snowfall and severe weather. A little fellow named Gray,from San Francisco, being destitute, was taken by Dolan into his cabinand harbored and fed during the winter. One Sunday a number of miners,among whom were Dolan and Gray, were congregated at a miners' resort onBolan Creek and were freely indulging in strong drink, when Grayinsulted Dolan. The latter, being a powerful man, proceeded to chastiseGray, who fled from the house and ran into the woods, pursued by Dolan.Gray stopped, and resting his pistol on a stump, took aim and shotDolan through the heart. Dolan, being a man of wonderful vitality,followed Gray several yards after being shot, and had almost overtakenGray when he fell dead. Gray made good his escape and was neverafterward seen.
Dolan had a very rich claim on McDonnellGulch andwas supposed to have had money buried in that locality, as he was oftenseen to take his rifle and absent himself from his cabin for an hour ormore, apparently looking after his cache. His hidden treasure wassearched for by men for years but was never found. His bones were twoor three times sluiced out by miners in the course of years, and againreinterred.
I was informed that a man named Lacy,while runninga tunnel a few years ago above the head of McDonnell Gulch, crossed alarge ledge several feet in width which abounded in sulphurets andpyrites of iron, which he said indicated the existence of gold in theledge.
Directly over the ridge from McDonnellGulch, and onthe Althouse side, is the large Run Gulch, in which Joe Ponlser workeda few years ago and found a good deal of gold far upon on the gulch.While panning on his claim he also found large quantities of metalresembling platinum. I procured some of this metal and had it assayed.It showed $4 to the ton in gold. The Run Gulch, and that section,abounds in quartz indications and prospects.

Gulches 7 and 8

Threemiles north from the head ofthe Run Gulch, and also on the west side of the dividing ridge, arewhat are known as No. 7 and No. 8 gulches, from which considerableamounts of gold have been taken. These streams are tributaries ofAlthouse. At the heads of these two gulches good prospects of cinnabar,or quicksilver, have been found.
On an arm of the dividing ridge andextending easttoward Sucker Creek, and two miles from Holland, is the famous CohenLedge, where a very rich pay chute of gold was struck in the year 1865.This pay chute was afterwards lost, and prospectors have tried for manyyears to again find it, but without success.
There is a large area of red iron rockin theneighborhood of the Cohen Ledge, which indicates the existence of alarge deposit of gold somewhere in that vicinity. I have seen extensivebodies of red iron rock, similar to that near the Cohen Ledge, in therichest gold and silver mines in the state of Hidalgo, in old Mexico.
When I was only six years old, in 1865,my motherlived with my sister and myself for a short time on the Althouse road,a few hundred yards from Jack Smock's store and the present site ofHolland, and my sister and I played where the buildings now stand andall over the hill that lies back of Holland. As children we roamed overthe Bain ranch at Holland, which was then owned by the pioneer CalvinBain and now belongs to Mrs. Martha Trefathen. This ranch was noted forits fine crops of hay and its splendid apple orchard, which producedthe best apples in Josephine County.

Saw Many Miners

As mysister and I wandered about,the southern boundary of our playground was what is now called theBurnt Ranch, on the Althouse road near Democrat Gulch, aboutone-quarter of a mile from Holland. Here we used to watch thebutchering of hogs and cattle by Lawrence Leonard and his hired man,Tom Blake. Mr. Leonard afterward had a store in connection with hisbutcher shop and dealt largely with the miners. Lawrence Leonard was aCivil War soldier in the Union army who came to Althouse in 1864. Fromthat date, until his death in 1906, he was a prominent business figurein Josephine County.
In plain view from Holland, and lying tothe west,is the Beach and Platter ranch, named after its original owners, Beachand Platter, two men of whom it was often said that they did more hardwork, and took less comfort, than any other two men in the countrywhere they lived.
When I was a boy I worked for these twomen atdifferent times on this ranch, which produced an abundance of hay andexcellent fruit and vegetables. Beach and Platter were bachelors andtoiled almost incessantly on this ranch for 30 years, engaged in thestore and butchering business, combined with farming. They were called"iron men" physically, and seemed never to rest. They had a pack trainof horses with which they packed beef, vegetables and groceries to theminers far up in the Siskiyous. I have often heard the bells on theirhorses far into the night coming down Althouse, returning afterdelivering their goods to miners up in the mountains.
Like Oliver Goldsmith's vicar ofWakefield, Beachand Platter were men of splendid hospitality, and their house and homewas a regular bachelors' hall, where any weary or destitute travelerwas welcome to stay and have his bed and meals free of charge.

Drinking Explained

Severalpeople are at a loss toconjecture how it was that many of the first miners were so muchaddicted to strong drink and gambling, but on consideration this seemseasily accounted for. Those early miners were in agreat parthardy adventurous frontiersmen who were here, in this then-new and wildcountry, isolated far from their homes and families, where they knewonly primitive methods to overcome the obstacles which nature hadthrown in their way. When travel and transportation was so slow inthose days, when everything seemed to depend on chance and adventure,coupled with great dangers, this wild life of risk naturally awoke thespirit of gambling and staking their all on cards, and they partook ofstimulants to nerve themselves for the gigantic task ahead of them.

Had Fatal Spree

When I wasa boy only 13 years ofage I witnessed the results of a spree which terminated fatally for twomen. On the Althouse in the year 1872, there were three miners. One,Joseph Delaney, was an educated Irishman who had formerly been asalesman in the famous A. T. Stewart's big store in New York City. Thesecond was Thomas Russell, a literary Englishman, who was a writer ofstories and had mined in California. These men came to Althouse in1857. They were unmarried, and as far as known have not left anyrelatives behind them. They lived and mined far up on the east fork ofAlthouse. They were wont to meet at their respective cabins and havewhat miners called glorious sprees.
When they had their last and fatal spreetogetherthey drank from Christmas until New Year's eight gallons of whiskey, andthey ate little or nothing to sustain themselves during their longspree. The whiskey was horrible, homemade stuff which used to bemanufactured in Browntown. On this last spree they hired a Chinaman topack the whiskey to them in their little harvest kegs up from Browntown,a distance of eight miles.
Toward the end of this protracted spreetheFrenchman Hubert went down to the foregoing town to get a fresh supplyof liquor, and he was taken seriously ill on his way back and reachedhome with much difficulty. He tarried at the cabin at midnight whereDelaney and Russell, who were awaiting him, started a fire to preparesome food and make a little hot whiskey punch, while Hubert lay down ona bunk to rest, with his face turned to the log wall. His two comradesimagined Hubert had fallen asleep. When they had lunch and refreshmentsprepared they proceeded to awaken him. When they turned him over in bedthey found to their horror and surprise that he was dead.

Miners Assemble

The newswas carried up and downthe creek, and the miners from above and below, my father, MartinMackey, among the rest, assembled at Delaney's cabin, and the body ofHubert was borne by the miners down the Althouse trail to Browntown andinterred in the miners' burying round on Walker Gulch, one mile up onthe hillside from the already mentioned town.
When Hubert's body was lowered into thegrave andhis coffin covered with earth, Joseph Delaney stepped off the space fora grave for himself beside that of Hubert's and said, "When I die Iwish to be buried right here," and in 48 hours from that time he waslaid in the spot he had marked for himself.
Delaney went down to Browntown afterHubert'sfuneral and sat up all night in a store and he became sore internallyfrom the effects of excessive drinking which he had done. Inflammationof the bowels set in and he died in a few hours.
The miners, while it was raining, waitedall thenext day following Delaney's death for a coffin to be brought up fromIllinois Valley in which to place his remains. The coffin was broughtto the place when it was almost dark in the evening by CharleyTrefathen, who is yet living in Holland.
I well remember that damp evening inJanuary nearly62 years ago when, as a boy, I followed the funeral procession on thewagon road leading from Browntown up to the place of interment inWalker Gulch, where the pioneer miner, Tom Carr, preached a shortfuneral sermon, and Joseph Delaney was laid to rest until theresurrection morning.

Russell Dies Later

ThomasRussell, the survivor ofthis fatal spree, died several years after, and sleeps in a lonelygrave far upon the east fork of Althouse.
Contrary to the opinion of many peoplenowadays,several of the first miners of California and southern Oregon werehighly educated men who became hardened and reckless by the wild lifeof the frontiers.
I did not have much educationaladvantage in myboyhood. My schooling was limited. I studied myself without a tutor andpicked up the rudiments of an education. I used to go up in themountains from Grass Flat and visit the cabins of educated miners, andget them to solve problems in arithmetic for me, and otherwise instructme. In later years I have roamed over those mountains and seengrass-covered mounds here and there, where the rock chimneys of cabinswhich belonged to the first miners had been. As I viewed all this itcaused me to have a painful and lonesome feeling. I looked around invain to find some one of those oldtimers yet living to whom I couldtalk about past days, and the words of the poet, Thomas Moore, came tomy mind:
"I feellike one who treads alone
Some banquet hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead
And all but me departed."
CrescentCity, Calif.
August13, 1934.
Grants Pass Daily Courier, April3, 1935, section 3, page 9


Theromantic early-day history of a country is elusive, and without theeffort of interested parties is lost before we know it. There are manyinteresting details connected with the discovery and mining of gold inJosephine County, and Geo. H. Parker has assembled much interestingdata in this connection. Recently in getting the facts regarding thenaming of Althouse Creek, Mr. Parker wrote to C. H. Stewart, of Albany,and received the following letter regarding the Althouse brothers, withwhom Mr. Stewart had been acquainted:
"This is in answer to your letter of yesterday inrelation to the Althouse brothers, with whom I was well acquainted.
"In the spring of 1849 Philip and John Althouse, theformer being 21 years old and the latter 19, started from Illinois forthe gold fields of California. There were ten men in the party, andthey had four wagons. They crossed the plains safely, and when theyarrived in the Sacramento Valley the party broke up. The Althousebrothers finally concluded to visit their brother Samuel, who hadcrossed the plains in 1847, and located at Albany, Oregon, so they soldtheir team for sufficient money to pay their way by steamer toPortland. Arriving there, they footed it up the valley to Albany, wherethey worked for some time at anything they could find to do.
"In the spring of 1851 the two young men went out toSouthern Oregon and commenced prospecting for gold. In company withthree other men they took the first wagon from the Rogue River Valleyinto the Illinois River country.
"In the fall of 1852 the two brothers with a fewothers discovered gold on a creek flowing into the east fork of theIllinois River, not far from Sucker Creek. These diggings proved to bevery rich, and as Philip Althouse was the first one of the prospectorsto wash out a pan of the dirt, the creek was named after him--AlthouseCreek. The gold was rather coarse, and a great many nuggets were found,one of them in particular being valued at $1200.
"The two brothers mined in that localitysuccessfully for several years. Philip finally died and was buriedthere, and John joined his brother Samuel at Albany and passed theremainder of his days at this place. He married a Mrs. N. H. Cranor,and died in June 1916, leaving no children.
"Capt. Althouse, who has recently been appointedgovernor of the island of Guam, and is now visiting at Albany, is a sonof Wm. Althouse, the only one of the four brothers who did not removefrom Illinois to this coast."
Adding further details to the interesting story,Sheriff George W. Lewis says that while placer mining on Althouse Creekat Browntown the mining operations formed a gravel bar on a tributaryof Althouse Creek, and when the high water came the current of thecreek was changed enough to cut into one bank of the creek and exposethe bones of two men who had been buried at that place. Jesse Randall,an old pioneer who had been mining on Althouse for many years, toldthem that one was the skeleton of Philip Althouse. The bones wereplaced in a box and reburied further up the bank.
Sheriff Lewis says the nugget mentioned in theletter was found by Wm. Saunders, who had been very unsuccessful as aminer, and when he found the nugget he nearly went crazy. Saunders wasafterward county assessor for two terms.
About 1900 Jacob Klippel found a nugget on BoulderCreek, just across the divide from Althouse Creek. This nugget weighed$560.
Grants Pass Daily Courier,
December 22, 1921, page 1

(Video) Jay Weaver Amputation Testimony | When the Light Comes with Big Daddy Weave


Mr. A. J.Howell, of Grants Pass, who is hale and hearty at 80 years of age, inthe following communication to the Courierrelates vital facts regarding the early history of Josephine County.Mr. Howell sets the record straight as to the origin of the name forthe county, tells who found the first gold in Sailor Gulch andotherwise writes entertaining history. Mr. Howell broke from hisbachelor miner companions at Browntown in 1858, going to Douglas Countyin this state, where he married Emily Martin, who honors his presenthome on East B Street in this city. He returned with his bride toBrowntown on a Sunday, at this early day the town being full ofexpectant miners eager to see the bride. When the fourth woman appearedamong them they went wild, throwing their hats in the hair and yellingso long and loud that the young bride expressed fear that Indians hadagain broken out.
Mr. and Mrs. Howell celebrated their golden weddingon their farm in Curry County this state July 1, 1908. Mr. Howell willsoon write another article, more in detail, of the early golden days ofJosephine County.


Many times inthe past I have read and listened to erroneous statements concerningthe early history of Josephine County. With your permission I willoffer some corrections and historical data coming under my personalobservations.
I arrived on Althouse Creek April 1st, 1853; minedon Althouse and Canyon creeks until 1857, when I went to Waldo. I minedat Waldo until 1864, when I took charge of an eating house and feedstation at the foot of McGrew Mountain, four miles west of Waldo. Thisstation was built and first opened by a man named Hazeltine.
Gold was first discovered in what is now called"Sailors' Gulch," one mile east of Waldo, by a group of sailors from aschooner wrecked on the beach at Crescent City, California. Leaving thewrecked vessel, the sailors came across the Coast Range of mountains towhat is now Waldo, where they camped in the gulch in which theydiscovered the gold. This was in 1851, not '52, has been supposed andchronicled. I know whereof I speak, because my brother-in-law, JosephAllred, was a passenger on the wrecked schooner and came over themountains with the sailors to the gulch where the gold was found.
The schooner laid on the Crescent City beach halfcovered with sand for several years. I saw much of it chopped away forthe copper bolts in the hull.
I have on many occasions talked this over with mybrother-in-law, his experience in the wreck, his trip over themountains with the sailors, their finding the gold and their departurefor Jacksonville, because of having no provisions with which to remainin the gulch where they found the metal.
Next came the discovery of gold on Althouse, in1852, by the two Althouse brothers, John and, I think, Philip, but I amnot sure of this. John lies buried on the creek above Browntown.
Two brothers, named Fry, also found gold on SuckerCreek. The men being from Illinois, the creek was named for their state.
Next came the finding of gold on Canyon Creek andJosephine Creek. A German named Charles Hook lived on Josephine Creek,where a daughter was born and named Josephine, after whom the creek andcounty were subsequently named. [Almost all accounts credit Virginia JosephineRollins Ort as the source of the name.]Hook, Dave Kendall and the writer were members of a lodge called the"Chosen Friends." This was in 1881. I was well acquainted with Mr.Hook, and for many years we talked over those early-day events inJosephine County.
Mr. Hook went to California in 1864 and bought ahotel in Arcata. Later he bought property in Eureka, where his daughterJosephine married and lives, or did live the last I knew of her.
George E. Briggs (commonly called Governor), PeterPeveler, so long county clerk of Del Norte County, California, andRobert Worthington were among the earliest packers to deliver supplieson pack animals to the new mines. A Mr. Cochran was the first, comingin '52. Mr. Warwick, Bill Mitchell, Dave Kendall, Mr. Kerby and SamJohnson were also of the packers' caravan in 1853. The packers were thefirst to build a trail to tide water at Crescent City.
Jim Riley and George Cornwall were the first expressriders in the early days, often carrying great loads of gold dust fromSailor Diggings to Crescent City. This was from '53 to '55. John Mannbegan carrying dust in 1855. In 1858 Mann was reported lost with afortune in gold dust, but the second or third day he arrived atMoffit's Station, now Gasquet, having followed the rugged north fork ofSmith River to its confluence with the middle fork at Moffit's.
In the early days one dollar was paid for carryingletters and fifty cents for newspapers. I have paid fifty dollars for asack of flour on the Althouse, twenty-five for a pair of rubber bootsand sixteen dollars for a pick, pan and shovel.
On Althouse, William Sanders, afterwards surveyor ofJosephine County, dug out a nugget weighing eleven hundred dollars.William Muns, who later was my partner, had mined around a large firstump, leaving it standing. Mr. Sanders reworked the ground, removedthe stump and found the big nugget under it. Muns vehemently declaredwar on all stumps in his mine after that.
The next big nugget was found by Pat Murphy a halfmile above upper Browntown, weighed fifteen hundred dollars. TheSanders nugget was found fifty yards below upper Browntown. Warwick andCochran started the lower Browntown store. A Mr. Guthrie was first atWaldo with merchandise, followed by Logan & Thompson; Coyle inAllen's Gulch and then McIlwain at Waldo with a two-story fireproofbuilding, which still stands, and is 32x72, the lower story stone wallstwo feet thick, the upper story concrete of patent brick with irondoors and shutters, "city style."
The then-famous Lotta Crabtree, of San Francisco,gave the miners their first show at Browntown in 1855. The enthusiasticminers were so carried away by her dancing that they threw handfuls ofcoin at her feet so thick that the pretty performer stood amazed andlooked at it.
In 1855 a large log building was erected atBrowntown as a fort and storehouse--a protection against the hostileIndians. Later this was converted into a gambling saloon. One Sundaywhen the saloon was full of miners, and games of faro, monte, rouletteand billiards were going full tilt, a gentleman with a tall hat andPrince Albert coat walked in. Once in the very midst of the men andmelee, he removed the tall hat and spoke softly to the boys, announcingthat he was a minister of the Gospel--would they listen a half hour tohim? Instantly every hat was off, and the first religious servicespublicly held in that camp were on. when the minister said "Amen," Dr.Sykes, a miner, grabbed a hat, "staking" the preacher, as the minerscalled it. When the minister was "clean gone" the games were resumed asif nothing had happened.
The writer was a mail carrier and express rider fromWaldo to Crescent City in 1866 and 1867, and carried much gold dustacross the mountains. On one trip I carried big sacks of dust for Work& Crandall, A. B. McIlwain, Mr. Coyle and Logan & Thompson. Iusually gave out the impression in camp that a substitute messenger hadalready gone. Then I made my exit under the cover of darkness.
It is remarkable that so much gold was carried overthat mountain by lone messengers for years, and not one of them wasever robbed. One robbery of a civilian occurred, however, and that wasa Jew merchant of Crescent City in 1855. His name was Rottenham.


RogueRiver Courier, Grants Pass, March 8, 1912, page 3 A handwritten note on a clipping of thisarticle on the first reel of microfilm of the Courier credits its authorship to W. J. Wimer.

(For the Courier by A. J. Howell)

In January 1856 John Spurgeon went hunting on the Althouse divide,killing a large grizzly bear on the head of Elder Creek. Returning tocamp a party of eight or ten miners was organized and next day wentwith Spurgeon after the bear meat. Dividing it in packs, all handsstarted with it for camp. Snow was deep and becoming soft in placesthey broke through badly and soon became so tired that the meat wasleft in the snow and every man tried for camp.
John Spurgeon was a small man and was giving out.One man was left with him to help him in while the rest scrambledonward. Spurgeon soon collapsed and could go no further. His escortseated him by a tree within a mile of camp and went for help.Returning, the relief party found Spurgeon's lifeless body several feetfrom the tree under which he had sat. He was carried to the creek androlled in the water, and every effort possible was made without availto resuscitate him. His brother, who was clerking for Pete Peveler onIndian Creek, was sent for and attended the funeral. The body liesburied on Althouse.
Prior to his death, while mining near me, Spurgeonburied $1000 in gold dust in a tin can just below the forks ofAlthouse, and the gold is, doubtless, there yet.
In 1854 two miners, whose names I can't recall,while mining just below Grassy Flat on Althouse, quarreled over atailing dump. One called the other a vile name, implicating his mother,whereupon the implicated man went into his cabin, got a shotgun andshot the man dead, declaring as he did so that his mother was a goodwoman. This was the first miner killed on Althouse by a white man. Theslayer was not caught.
In October 1855 two brothers named Wiley and a mannamed Johnson were mining three and a half miles above Browntown. Theywent to their cabin for dinner. After dinner Johnson got a glimpse ofan Indian dodging into the brush on a point of a hill, and he spoke tothe two men about it. They passed the matter in a joking way, but tookthe precaution to take two rifles, two revolvers and a thousand dollarsin dust to their workings, laying them down on the ground nearby. Theyounger Wiley had occasion to go down to the flume. Looking up, he sawIndians on the bank and within 30 feet of his companions. He yelled,but too late. The elder Wiley was shot through the back, falling dead.Johnson ran but received a bullet in the hip, which passed through hisbody, and another through the flesh of his arm. Wiley helped him to atunnel where he secreted him and then fled down the creek for aid,receiving as he ran a wound in the hand.
Young Wiley soon returned with a relief party, ofwhom the writer was one, but the Indians had taken the "dust" and theguns, and had robbed and burned the cabin. Johnson was carried to a Mr.Miller's at Browntown, Dr. Watkins attending him. Subsequently he wascarried to George E. Briggs', where he died of his wounds. Whilecarrying him from the scene of the shooting he remarked that if theWiley boys had listened to his warning "this would not have happened."
About this time a man whom the miners dubbed"Shorty" went hunting for meat in the creek bottom between the Althouseand the east fork of the Illinois River. Returning in the evening hesaid that he got "two fine bucks" that day, meaning Indians. Nothingwas said about it, and but little was known of it.
In 1853 a man named McCloud was accused by adrinking miner of robbing him of about five hundred dollars. Excitementran high. McCloud was tied by the hands to an overhanging tree and 50lashes laid upon his naked body with a rope in the hands of one JackDriscoll, the writer being a witness. McCloud strongly maintainedinnocence. About this time Captain "Bob" Williams rode into camp withhis gun across the saddle. At the sight of Williams with a gun McCloudappealed to him, saying, "For God's sake, Bob, shoot me." The whippingover, Williams asked McCloud what it all meant and took him to the barand treated him. McCloud explained the accusation for which he wasflogged. "Bob" replied: "McCloud, if you are guilty you ought to behung; if you are innocent you ought to kill the last one of them."McCloud soon convincedWilliams of his innocence, who told him togo to his ranch (now known as the Beach & Platter farm).
"But," said McCloud, "they won't let me go."
"Go on," replied Williams, "I'll see that they do."
McCloud started, but Driscoll, the rope wielder,strode after him and defiantly commanded: "Come back here, we are goingto give you thirty more in the morning."
Williams answered him thus: "Driscoll, let that manalone."
Driscoll's answer to Williams was: "You are nobetter than he is," meaning McCloud.
Williams, now desperate, went for his gun, Driscollfleeing behind the house. The men present interfered, and to saveDriscoll's life they took the gun from Williams. Williams then tookMcCloud to his ranch to protect him.
Subsequently a miner while ground sluicing aprospect hole in the rear of an old saloon washed out a similar amountof "dust" where it was believed the drinking miner had cached his moneyand, forgetting it, he believed McCloud had robbed him.
In the summer of 1857 Williams was in Herman Helms'saloon in Jacksonville, Oregon, when upon returning to the street hesaw Driscoll walking down the other side. Williams shot Driscoll deadwith a double-barreled shotgun, remarking as he did so: "I have got youat last."
Thomas Pyle, the sheriff, soon lost the trail ofWilliams and could not find him. I knew Pyle well, and "swapped" horseswith him at this time.
In the fall of 1855 a packer named Woods and anotherman were "packing" with fourteen animals from Crescent City to IndianCreek. A lady named Daley, and her baby, came from Crescent City withthe pack team en route to her husband on Indian Creek. Being sick fromher ride, she stopped at Waldo, the train going on without her. And itwas well she did, for the men were killed and the train captured byIndians on top of the Siskiyou Range. The pack train was taken about ahalf mile east along the main ridge where it was unpacked, the Indiansappropriating such as they cared to take and leaving the rest scatteredall about. They took syrup, leaving whiskey, miners' tools, nails, etc.They cut open a feather bed belonging to Mrs. Daley and gave thefeathers to the wind.
The next day the writer started to cross themountain from Althouse. When I arrived on the summit and saw the bigtrail of the Indians I imagined that a lot of miners had gone that way,and I followed the trail until I came to the scattered feathers andmerchandise. Instantly I took the hint and dropped down to Indian Creekas fast as possible and gave the alarm. A runner was sent to Waldo atonce, and a volunteer company organized, among whom was Sam Ogden andS. B. Hendershot. The Waldo men, numbering about thirty, met a similarcompany from Indian Creek on the summit where the men were killed.
Daley was along, full of fire and fight, for untilnow he had believed his wife and baby were with the packers and wereslain by the Indians.
The two companies took the trail of the Indians andfollowed it along the Siskiyou divide until they came up with theredskins in a secluded basin in the great range lying between theheadwaters of the Althouse, Sucker Creek, Indian Creek and Applegate.Instantly upon seeing the Indians "there was the screaming of therifles and the flashing of the blade." They killed about thirty of theredskins (so the Indians afterward said) and sent those of them whoescaped fleeing from tree to tree to save themselves.
The boys captured some seventy head of horses andmules, which the Indians had taken at Mooney Mountain and elsewhere,captured all their camp equipment and put a stop to Indian depredationsin that section.
There is a large fir tree on the summit of theSiskiyous on which Peter H. Peveler cut a cross which marks the spotwhere Woods [one of the packers]fell, his temple pierced by an Indian bullet. The other man is supposedto have been wounded by them, as his bones were found the next summeron the headwaters of the Illinois River.
In 1855 Sam Herd was keeping a green-blind saloon atBrowntown. He was a burly, abusive, dictatorial bully, who was prone topitch any man through the door who did not tally to his liking.Finally, while a poker game was running one night, Herd delivered thedrinks to the table and turning his back toward an open window a shotrang out, fired from the outside, ending the life of the bully on thespot. A large-bore, unidentified rifle found outside the window was theonly evidence ever secured of the deed.
Now with reference to the order of "chosen friends"mentioned in my article in theCourier ofMarch 3, I have to say by way of further explanation with regard to theJosephine Hook feature of it, that I was "chief counselor" of the lodgeat Crescent City. When in 1884 Crescent City lodge was suspended Itransferred by card [sic--"my card"?]to Eureka lodge, where as members of it I found my friends Charles Hookand David Kendall, Hook being the father of Josephine Hook, for whomthe creek and county were named. [Almost all accounts credit Virginia JosephineRollins Ort as the source of the name.]
David Kendall, formerly of the mercantile firm ofKendall & Bolt at Kerbyville, was killed a little later in 1884 bya stray bullet fired by a Chinese gunman in a highbinder battle in thestreets of Eureka, California, and for which all of the Chinesepopulation of the city, including the merchants and their wives, weredriven aboard outgoing vessels and forced to leave the city forever.
RogueRiver Courier, Grants Pass, March 22, 1912, page 6

There will naturally be many inquiries as to whoCol. Bob Williams is. Well, as he is one of the right stripe (a goodWhig), I want you to do something for him. There are but few who knowhis sentiments, for he never meddles with politics; it's a wonder howthey came to elect him, for bad luck to me if it ain't mighty few Whigsthat got office here. I will give you a brief outline of Bob Williams'history.
Col. R. T. Williams was born in Kentucky, in the year1826. His parents emigrated to Texas in 1837. Since that time he hastraveled all over the Red River country--been amongst all the differenttribes of Indians there. Has traveled all over the interior of Texasand Mexico, was in the Mexican War and all along the coast. Emigratedto California in '49, via Mexico, was leader of many a gallant littleband to disperse the Diggers in California. Came to Rogue River Valleyin June '51 and has made Jackson and Siskiyou counties his home eversince. Was out on several scouting expeditions in '51 and '52. Waselected captain of the Althouse mounted volunteers in 1853 and has everbeen ready at a moment's warning to fly to the rescue, and protect theinhabitants from the inhuman barbarity of the treacherous red devilsthat have been permitted to remain on top of the ground. Williams is a heavy, thick-set man, medium height, and weighs 180, has a cast-iron constitution, big as the United States; tumtum
["heart"] like a beef, doesn't think of taking cold from lying out of doors overnight, and ain't afraid to fight Indians.
"Outsider," "State of the War--the Elections," Weekly Oregonian, January 5, 1856, page 1

The Tour of Josephine County.

On last Monday week, being aroused by the town marshal, we sprang fromour bed, hurriedly put on our clothes, pushed out in the streets, andquietly took a seat in Jo. Landis' stage, for Kerbyville. The morningwas one of the coldest we have had this winter, the ground being frozenhard. The stage bounded like a country jake in a hop waltz. Byalternately running on foot and riding in the stage, half past sixo'clock found us valiantly confronting hotcakes, coffee and other goodcheer of our friend [Rial] Benedict.


Breakfast being over and our bogus meerschaum under a full head ofsmoke, we were soon jolting and thumping along over the frozen ground,in the meantime "keeping an eye out" for an item or a subscriber. Wesoon overtook a footman, who proved to be our old friend S------, andbeing [line of type obscured by a fold]us. After the usual friendly salutation, we modestly informed ourfriend of our present occupation, and that we had room for a few moresubscribers on the Sentinel books,and for old acquaintance' sake we would be very happy to enter his nameamong that favored few. Taking a hurried glance at our person, fromhead to foot, as if endeavoring to fathom our meaning, at the same timean expression of contempt took possession of his countenance, whichcaused us to rapidly retrace our sentences, in search of some untimelyword which was about to bring down a shower of indignation on ourdevoted head. But, reader, you may judge our relief when he quietlyremarked, "I am no black, and don't want to take any paper." We"weakened."


Crossing a low divide, we entered Illinois Valley. This valley, withits alternate skirts of timber and prairie, its numerous little covesat the base of the rugged, heavy-timbered mountains which surround it,coupled with the history of Indian massacres and Indian depredations,would furnish an endless fund of fiction for the novelist. The land, asa general thing, does not seem to be so rich as that in Jackson County.We should judge, however, that the facilities for irrigation are muchbetter.


We arrived at Kerbyville at five o'clock. We were glad enough, too, tovacate our seat in the stage for one more comfortable in the bar roomof the Sawyer Hotel. This place, although quite small, has, for themost part, very substantial and permanent buildings. It contains two orthree stores, two hotels, two livery stables, and one large billiardsaloon. There is also a large flouring mill hard by, in full sight ofthe town.


On Tuesday morning we hired a horse and set out to visit these famousdiggings. Falling in by the way with Mr. Wm. M. Evans, we placedourself under his guidance to Browntown, the metropolis of Althousediggings. Althouse Creek is a deep mountain gorge, with not enough roomall along the banks for a road. This creek has been one of the richestcreeks in the northern mines (O.S.) [Oregon state],but unless the hill diggings and quartz prove to be rich, which we haveno doubt will be the case, Althouse will be turned over to the Chinamen.
For the last five or six miles before arriving at Browntown, wetraveled over a substantial wagon road, which has been cut around thesides of the mountains at great expense.


On arriving at the brow of the mountain, looking almost under our feet,we got the first sight of Browntown, its site being the only locationon the creek large enough to build a city on. It is built on a smallbar, covering perhaps one or two acres of tolerably level land.Browntown, however, has fallen into decay, presenting at present adilapidated and ancient appearance. It contains two stores and a hotel.During our stay in this place we partook of the hospitalities of Mr.Evans and lady, whose well-furnished apartments contrast greatly withthe uncouth and ruined state of its surroundings.
Browntown, it will be remembered, was the scene of the late homicide of O'Regan.


On Wednesday morning, although extremely cold, Mr. Evans kindly agreedto accompany us to the various places of mining interest in thevicinity of Althouse. Our first visit was to the Democrat Tunnel, whichaffords a fine specimen of the enterprise and energy of our miners.This tunnel was commenced some two years ago by four experiencedminers, who, by their own labor alone, have bored through the mountainsome 1,200 feet, and have struck the bar on the opposite side, 35 feetbelow bedrock. The object of this tunnel is to drain a portion ofAlthouse Creek, which has hitherto not been worked for want ofdrainage, the valley being near 100 feet lower than the bed of thecreek, and separated from it by a low ridge of mountains which runparallel with and between the valley and creek. This gives the companysome 75 feet fall from the mouth of their tunnel down to the valley.These gentlemen have just completed their flume, turned the waterthrough the tunnel, and commenced the operation of cutting across theflat in search of the channel. The creek thus drained is known to berich, but all previous attempts to work it have proved unsuccessful.


We next paid a visit to the mill and mine belonging to S. A. Heilner,Esquire, located near Democrat Gulch. This lode is situated on themountain about one and a half miles from the mill, having an excellentwagon road constructed between the two points. Several tunnels havebeen run into this lode at different depths, finding the vein rich atevery point struck. Mr. Heilner has lately run a new tunnel of 850 feetinto the mountain, from the terminus of which he is raising aperpendicular shaft to connect with one which was sunk on the veinabove. This shaft is already raised 70 feet, and yet lacks some 15 feetof being to the bottom of the one above. At the suggestion of Mr.Heilner, we, in company with our friend Evans, each bearing a candle inhis hand, commenced the ascent of the shaft not knowing the magnitudeof our undertaking, but supposing that a few feet would bring us to thetop. Our ascent was by means of a ladder on the side of the shaft.Water came down like a torrent of rain; a strong draft of wind met us,which was caused by an air pipe that was constructed the entire lengthof the tunnel and up the side of the shaft. By means of water and windour candles were extinguished before we had proceeded ten feet, and wewere left in the most profound darkness, not knowing how far we had togo before reaching the top. Believing, however, that everything musthave anend, we pushed on step by step, our grasp growing firmer as itcaught each successive roundof the ladder. Ominous thoughts passed through our minds for the safetyof our friend Evans--whom we could hear just behind us--should theladder give way and precipitate us on his head. But at length a lightgleamed from above, and looking up, we saw Mr. Heilner holding a candlefor us at the top. Right glad were we to put our feet on the littlebench used by the workmen, on the side of the shaft, which was barelylarge enough to hold four of us, who were compelled to take lodgingthere. Taking a few breaths, we cast a longing glance down thefrightful hole, which we were enabled to see by means of a candle setat the bottom. But the worst was yet to come--we must go down. By adesperate effort, we let ourselves over the side and commenced ourexit, and were soon safely at the bottom, feeling satisfied with ouradventure and fully determined not to try it again. Taking a seat inthe tunnel car, Mr. Evans and myself were whirled out at breakneckspeed to the mouth of the tunnel.
From the tunnel from whichthey are at present taking quartz, a shaft has been sunk down on thelode sixty feet, finding the quartz rich all the way. From the variousopenings into this mine, a vast amount of rich ore is already in sight.Notwithstanding the great amount of money spent by Mr. Heilner on thismine, there is no doubt that he will soon realize a handsome profit. Heintends next summer to erect machinery of the most improved style.
A singular phenomenon appears in the tunnel from which they are takingquartz at the present time. It is a crack or fissure in the rock,crossing the vein at an almost perpendicular angle. It averages aboutten inches in width. The surface of its sides being parallel show thatthe rock was originally connected, and by some means separated. Fromall appearances it is very extensive. The water in it rises and fallswith the water in the shaft which has been sunk on the vein. No doubtthis opening is one of those reservoirs which supply intermittentsprings, by filling up in the winter and drying out in the early partof the summer.


On Thursday morning, there was about three inches of snow on theground, but our time being limited, we set out from the residence ofGov. Briggs, where we had very pleasantly spent the night, for Waldo,at which point we arrived about noon.
Waldo is the largest townin Josephine County. Here, as elsewhere in the county, complaints ofdull times are heard. Great hopes are entertained that the comingsummer will prove a new era in the affairs of Josephine County, fromthe wonderful deposits of copper which have been discovered there.Waldo, especially, will be benefited by the copper mines, the Queen ofBronze vein being located in its immediate vicinity, on which extensiveworks will be constructed next summer.


While at Waldo, a specimen of this genus introduced himself to us asMr. ------, a county pauper of Josephine. He informed us that he was aUnion Copperhead, and that his object in seeking an acquaintance withus was his great desire to converse with men of brains, etc.Being exceedingly fond of flattery, we drank in his oily words somefifteen minutes, when our modesty became excited and we skedaddled; butever and anon those flowery words "man of brains" will pass through ourmemory. I was just preparing to mount my horse to start, in companywith Mr. J. Weston, for Allen's Gulch, when my admiring friend, theUnion Copperhead aforesaid, made his appearance before me again, andaddressed me after the following style: "Mr. Editor, I have read yourpaper with a great deal of interest, and am satisfied from its contentsthat you are a liberal, high-minded gentleman. I have concluded to jointhe volunteers for the sake of my country. Won't you give me a quarterto help pay my stage fare to Kerby." On our intimating a noncompliancewith his request, he commended a highly concentrated complimentaryoration for our especial benefit, whereupon we "caved" and forked outthe quarter, mounted our horse and have not been there since.


Before leaving Sailor Diggings, we visited Mr. Weston's expensivehydraulic apparatus on Allen's Gulch. This is the most powerfulhydraulic in Oregon, the water being forced through an inch and aquarter pipe under a pressure of 240 feet. The water is conducted downthe mountain through an iron pipe, connected at the lower end with apipe of three or four thicknesses of ducking, and this closely wrappedwith half-inch rope. The power of such a pressure is truly inspiring.Two men easily doing the work of 20 by any other process.


Although times appear dull at present, there is a bright future for itsmining interest. During the coming summer there will be a large amountof capital expended on the Queen of Bronze copper mine. This, inconnection with the money expended on the Heilner mine, will give a newimpulse to all kinds of business.
There are many rich gold-bearing lodes known in the county, which are awaiting the attention of capitalists.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 4, 1865, page 2

Life and Death on the Althouse (3)
March 8, 1912 Rogue River Courier

Gold and Indians Divide Interest in Early-Day So.Oregon Narrative.
(Third of a series of historical sketches of the early history ofJosephine County,
written for the Courier byA. J. Howell.)

Resuming and concluding my review of history of Josephine County, Iwill say that "Bob" Worthington and John Spurgeon were mining partnerson the Althouse. They divided their money and buried it separately intin cans. In the fall of '54, Worthington buried one thousand dollarsthat I knew of. One Sunday, almost a year afterward, he requested me togo prospecting with him. He took me along to see him dig up hisdeposit. Going a half mile he paused at the base of a large sugar pinetree, some thirty yards from which he had buried his treasure undersome brushes. Going to the place he saw an empty hole where the goldhad been. In a worried voice he said, "My God! Someone has watched mebury it and stolen it."
Worthington was going back to "Pike" in oldMissouri, and now he declared he was ruined. I thought the hole lookedlike the work of a small animal, but could not make "Bob" think so.While he was looking at the ground and bewailing his loss I went downthe draw leading away from his safety vault. Kicking among the leavesand trash, I uncovered the can intact with the gold in it. I called tohim, saying, "Here, 'Bob,' is your money." A few long, hurried stridesbrought the now-happy man to his wandering "chickamin."
In addition to the large nuggets already mentionedthere was the seventeen-pound slug found in 1859 on the left fork by adiminutive Irishman named Matty Collins. The value of the slug was$3,468. Collins hired another Irishman named Dorsey to help him get thebig nugget safely out of the country, Dorsey to accompany Collins withit. Dorsey carried the gold in a burlap bag thrown over his shoulder."Walk ahead, Dorsey," said Collins, "and let me see how ye look." Hestood and watched Dorsey as he marched with the fortune on his back.Dorsey paused when Collins said: "Arrah, Dorsey, the devil a one willnotice it, go ahead." [Two retellingsof this story are above.]
The "Rich Bar" claim one mile below Browntown wasowned by Church, Mann, Goldsmithtier [sic]and the writer. I was foreman. We paid four dollars a day and board forcommon miners and five for bedrock cleaners. We employed from ten tofourteen men. When shoveling in we got from one to two ounces to theman and when cleaning bedrock we got as high as seven hundred dollarsper day.
Eight Dollar Mountain near Kerby got its name fromtrouble with the Deer Creek Indians. A party was made up to go on themountain after Indians supposed to be there. One of the party hadbought a pair of eight-dollar boots. Though they did cost eightdollars, they were of poor quality and gave out on the trip. For a jokethe boys reported that the Indians got after the wearer, hastening thewear and tear of the boots very materially. Hence the name Eight DollarMountain.
In May '53, on my birthday, "Shorty" and I wenthunting from the forks of Althouse. There was snow high up on themountain, on the crust of which we could walk. We hunted up the range.It soon began to snow, and there was fog which hung low. We becameseparated and both got lost. Shorty was out two days and nights beforehe finally reached the Illinois Valley near Waldo. Night came on me. Iwas wet, cold and hungry. I kept from freezing to death by constantmoving and jumping about all night. Morning found me on the summit ofthe main range of the Siskiyous. The sun shining brightly, I thoughtthat to travel toward the sun would take me to the right fork ofAlthouse. Instead, however, I found myself on what proved to be thehead of Indian Creek on the California side, down which I went.
Following the creek bank I came up against a hugeboulder. Looking over the top of it I was amused to see two black bearcubs about the size of coons climbing a small fir tree. At the sight ofme the cubs began to chatter in their native tongue, when to my horrorthe mother poked her head around the rock entirely too near to me toinspire confidence. Her deep growl and savage look was so menacing thatI dared not move. My gun, an old-fashioned cap lock, was wet and out ofcommission. I drew a sheath knife and informed her in mute languagethat if she charged me I would surely use it on her. We eyed oneanother while the black cubs sat upon the limbs of the little firnearby. Presently the angry mother's head disappeared, to my great joy,only to reappear a moment later at the other side of the rock andnearer than before, having gone around the rock. I quickly reversedengines and prepared for trouble. She now growled louder and deeper andsnapped her teeth at me fiercer than before. When the tension got sogreat that something must happen she cast her eye up a large treestanding near her and then she sent another growl and defy in mydirection and began to climb the tree, much to my relief, up, up.Slowly and deliberately she went to a large limb where she perchedherself, with another snarl and growl to me. I took her last look tomean "You get," and I replied, "You bet."
I then gladly lit out down the creek. Continuing tothe mouth of it, where it enters the Klamath River, I saw on theopposite bank of Indian Creek an Indian rancheria [i.e., village],made up of men, women and children. I made motions for them to comeover after me with one of many canoes fastened to the bank. Theyignored me and my wishes. I was so hungry that I determined to wadeacross to them. The water was up to my armpits and as cold as snowcould make it. Once over I soon saw that the Indians could talk neitherjargon nor English. I made signs of hunger. At her leisure an agedsquaw got for me some dried eel, which I proceeded to eat.
The time was about 3 p.m. I then laid down and wasfast asleep instantly. When I awoke in the night the Indians wereasleep all around me. I was thirsty; I could not wait for daylight toget a drink. I again made signs when the old squaw, who was lying withhead to the fire and whose duty it was to chunk up the fire and keep itfrom going out, understood me, and picking up her woven cap, which shewore daytimes, handed me the water in it. I never tasted water so goodas that was. I then went to sleep again, not waking until late in themorning. The Indians were basking in the sun, apparently oblivious ofmy presence among them.
Again I made a sign for food, and as before thedecrepit squaw answered my need with a wisp of dried eel. I remainedwith them all day until late the second morning. I took the breech pinout of my gun barrel and cleaned it, but did not load the gun until Ihad left their camp.
I now found it necessary to cut my boot legs off andmake of them a pair of moccasins in which to walk to Browntown. Myboots were so turned over and dilapidated that I could no longer wearthem.
The Indians laughed at me while I was making themoccasins. Once more on my feet, I ate more dried eel and then on thesecond day, following signs made by an old Indian who looked likechief, I started across the mountain. The old chief also made a diagramon the ground of two creeks which I must cross and made sleep signs atthe second one of which I understood that I must stay there all night,which I did. My moccasins were better than nothing, but I was compelledto use my gun barrel for a walking cane going down the mountain.
The second day from the Indian camp I landed atPage's on the Illinois River (now called Pages Gulch). I had never metPage. I was almost starving for something I could relish and asked himif he had anything to eat. He replied that he had not, but would haveas soon as he could bake some bread, which he was then mixing. I toldhim of having been lost and my being in the Indian camp for two nights.
I noticed a kettle on the fire and asked him what ithad in it. He said it was grouse, but was not done. I took the lid offand cut a leg off the grouse and ate it. Page treated me kindly, sayingafter getting better acquainted that he was afraid of me at firstappearance. His food was superb, for I was half starved, having eatennothing but dried eel for six days.
I stayed with Page one night, when I crippled offfor Browntown in my improvised moccasins.
When I came in sight of Browntown a big crowd ofanxious miners were there discussing my prolonged absence. Capt. "Bob"Williams and "Shorty" among them. "Shorty" had advised that they do notworry, adding "That boy will come out somewhere." When they saw mecoming they made the welkin ring, yelling like wild men, declaring that"the dead had come to life" and "the lost was found."
When I told the boys where and how I had been in thetime gone and that I spent two nights with the mad Klamath Indians,Williams and "Shorty" declared that I would never be killed by Indians.They could not understand why those hostile Klamaths had not killed meand taken my gun, as the Indians were anxious to get guns.
The boys were amazed that any white man could thusstay among those redskins and come away alive so soon after the fightwith those same Indians in 1851.
In this year '51 a party of miners came fromTrinidad to Klamath River. Capt. Williams, "Shorty" and George Woodswere of the party. They had a fight with these Indians on the presentsite of Happy Camp, killing several of them. In the thickest of thebattle Captain Williams emptied his old-fashioned muzzle-loading gunand jumped behind a tree none too large for his protection. An Indianseeing him so poorly shielded made for him with bow and arrow, fullydetermined to take his life before Williams could reload his gun. Asquaw, perhaps his wife, ran with the Indian, handing arrows to him.Leaping and bounding he was shooting arrows at whatever he could see ofWilliams, who in turn was dodging first one way and then the other,trying to reload his gun. With every shot of an arrow came the Indian'squaint piercing exultant war yell in high key on the eve of victory,Yeep! Yeep! Yeep! Zip! Zip! Zip! sang the arrows as they tore bark fromthe tree in Captain "Bob's" very face. "Shorty," seeing the peril ofhis chum and brave companion, and that the Indian was rapidly closingin, making the escape of Williams impossible, fired at the Indian, andthe squaw with her arrows being in range, he killed both of them at oneshot. Now is Bob's time, and he jumped from behind the tree as he drewan old-fashioned pepperbox pistol from his pocket, loaded it and firedevery barrel of it at the head of the Indian, saying as he did so, "Youwill shoot me, will you?"
In the fall of '55 old George Woods was prospectingdown at the mouth of Deer Creek below Kerby. An old Indian was in thehabit of frequenting his camp and begging food. Woods had been in allof the Indian troubles in this region and was an avowed Indian hater.One day the Indian was in his camp as usual begging, when Woods gavehim some food which he had prepared with strychnine in it. Soon thepoor Indian began smacking his lips, saying "Hiyou salt," and rising tohis feet started for the creek, mumbling "Nika tika hiyou chuck,"meaning that he wanted lots of water. Woods got his gun and shot him inthe back as he went, dumping his dead body in the Illinois. Not muchwas known of this at the time.
Such is history.
In conclusion I will say that my narrative ofhistorical events runs back sixty-one years, which is a long time. Ihave started the facts as I remember them. I was young then, and thetimes that produced this very history of which I have written was sonew to me that it made an indelible impression on my mind which timehas not effaced.


RogueRiver Courier, Grants Pass, November 1, 1912, page 3 Althouse, Sailor Diggings, SuckerCreek--in the old days there was magic in those names. They were namesto conjure with. Browntown, Hogtown, Frenchtown and Napoleon--where arethey? You will not find them marked down on any map. You will find themonly in the memories of Oregon's pioneers. Yet in their day they wereplaces of importance, but, like Nineveh and Tyre and Sidon, they arenot. Someday someone will write a story that will live about thevanished towns of the West. Though Napoleon was officially named by theOregon legislature of 1859, the old name Kerbyville would not acceptthe cue to leave the stage. Today a few old buildings mark the onetimeimportant city of Kerbyville, or Kerby, as it was usually called. A fewgrass-grown depressions mark the site of Hogtown. Here and there a pileof blackened stones show where 60 years ago the chimneys of Browntownstood. A few days ago, while in Albany, I visited John W. Althouse, whowas with the party who discovered the rich diggings on Althouse Creek.
In the fall of 1852 Philip Althouse, his brotherJohn, and some others were prospecting on an unnamed creek that rose inthe Siskiyou Mountains and emptied in the east fork of the IllinoisRiver not far from the mouth of Sucker Creek. Philip Althouse was thefirst man to wash a pan of dirt on the creek. The first pan showed thatthe diggings were rich, so the creek was named for itsdiscoverer--Althouse Creek. By next spring, the spring of '53, not aclaim was to be staked for a distance of over 10 miles on AlthouseCreek, and more than a thousand miners were washing out from an ounceto several ounces of gold dust a day. The gold was coarse and of goodquality. Much of it was in the form of water-worn, flattened nuggets orslugs. "Webfoot" Brown [Henry H. Brown, later publisher of the Yreka Union] was honored by having the principal settlementon Althouse Creek named Browntown. Hogtown was a suburb of Browntown.Many large nuggets were found on Althouse Creek, the largest one,weighing over $1200, being found on the creek a short distance aboveBrowntown.
In speaking of his early life in Oregon, Mr.Althouse said: "My father, Henry Althouse, was born in Germany. Mymother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Kline, was born in Virginia. Iwas born in Ohio on April 17, 1830. When I was nearly 19 word came tous of the discovery of gold in California. Ten of us, with four wagons,started for the gold fields. We followed the old Oregon trail as far asSoda Springs and there we took the old Sublette trail for California.It took us down the Humboldt to the Sinks, where we crossed the desertto Carson River. We started across the desert at 4 o'clock in theevening and were across by 10 o'clock next morning. A good manyemigrants have left their bones to bleach on that desert. By the middlefifties you could cross the desert and hardly be out of sight of thewhitening bones of the oxen and mules that had died of thirst on thedesert. The needlessness of it all was a grim tragedy, for wagons wereoften abandoned loaded with picks and shovels, gold pans and othermining paraphernalia. Anywhere on the desert water could have beenreached by digging 10 or 12 feet, yet no one for years thought to dig awell and try for water.
"When we struck the head of the Sacramento River weseparated and every fellow struck out for himself. My brother Philip,who was 21, and myself struck together. We went to San Francisco andfrom there we took a boat for Portland to visit my brother Samuel inAlbany, who had come to Oregon in 1847. We sold our mules and wagon inSan Francisco to get money to pay for the steamer tickets to Portland.We walked from Portland to Albany.
"We spent the winter of 1850 splitting rails on theSantiam, receiving $1.50 a hundred for our work. In the spring of 1851we went prospecting in Southern Oregon. Occasional trappers had beenthrough the country around the Illinois River, but it had not beenprospected. I took the first wagon through from the Rogue River countryto the Illinois River. There were five in our party. Miners werescattered all through the hills of Northern California and SouthernOregon, prospecting on the tributaries of the Trinity, Shasta, Pit,Sacramento, Umpqua and Rogue rivers. While we were on Applegate Creek,Chief John, who had about 50 warriors of the Ech-ka-taw-a tribe, cameto us and told us he knew where a creek was where there was much coarsegold. We offered him a pair of blankets to show us the place. He tooktwo of our men there. They came back and reported the creek rich, so wewent there. This was on a tributary of the Illinois, where Limpy andhis band of Haw-quo-e-hav-took Indians were very troublesome.
"Kerbyville was not started till along about 1855,when James Kerby took up a claim there. Waldo was the county seat ofJosephine County, and Kerbyville was started to get the county seataway from Waldo.
"Money used to be cheap and easy to get in thosedays. Nearly everybody had gold dust or doubloons or half doubloons. Adoubloon passed for $16. There was some American silver, but the bulkof silver money in circulation was Mexican, Spanish or South American.There used to be lots of Peruvian dollars in circulation in the miningcamps. When the mint was established at San Francisco the Oregon beavermoney, the private gold slugs and the rest of the wildcat coinage wascalled in and melted up. I got the rheumatism from working in the minesso I stopped mining and went to buying up stock in the WillametteValley. In 1866 I went up into Eastern Oregon and went into the stockbusiness. For the past good many years I have lived here in Albany."
Fred Lockley, "Oregon: In Early Days," Oregon Journal, Portland, May 18, 1915, page 4


The romantic early day history of a country is elusive, and without theeffort of interested parties is lost before we know it. There are manyinteresting details connected with the discovery and mining of gold inJosephine County, and Geo. H. Parker has assembled much interestingdata in this connection. Recently in getting the facts regarding thenaming of Althouse Creek, Mr. Parker wrote to C. H. Stewart, of Albany,and received the following letter regarding the Althouse brothers, withwhom Mr. Stewart had been acquainted:
"This is in answer to your letter of yesterday inrelation to the Althouse brothers, with whom I was well acquainted.
"In the spring of 1849 Philip and John Althouse, the former being 21years old and the latter 19, started from Illinois for the gold fieldsof California. There were ten men in the party, and they had fourwagons. They crossed the plains safely, and when they arrived in theSacramento Valley the party broke up. The Althouse brothers finallyconcluded to visit their brother Samuel, who had crossed the plains in1847, and located at Albany, Oregon, so they sold their team forsufficient money to pay their way by steamer to Portland. Arrivingthere, they footed it up the valley to Albany, where they worked forsome time at anything they could find to do.
"In the spring of1851 the two young men went out to Southern Oregon and commencedprospecting for gold. In company with three other men they took thefirst wagon from the Rogue River Valley into the Illinois River country.
"In the fall of 1852 the two brothers with a few others discovered goldon a creek flowing into the east fork of the Illinois River, not farfrom Sucker Creek. These diggings proved to be very rich, and as PhilipAlthouse was the first one of the prospectors to wash out a pan of thedirt, the creek was named after him--Althouse Creek. The gold wasrather coarse, and a great many nuggets were found, one of them inparticular being valued at $1200.
"The two brothers mined inthat locality successfully for several years. Philip finally died andwas buried there, and John joined his brother Samuel, at Albany, andpassed the remainder of his days at this place. He married a Mrs. N. H.Cranor, and died in June, 1916, leaving no children.
"Capt. Althouse, who has recently [1922]been appointed governor of the Island of Guam, and is now visiting inAlbany, is a son of Wm. Althouse, the only one of the four brothers whodid not remove from Illinois to this coast."
Adding furtherdetails to the interesting story, Sheriff George W. Lewis says thatwhile placer mining on Althouse Creek at Browntown the miningoperations formed a gravel bar on a tributary of Althouse Creek, andwhen the high water came the current of the creek was changed enough tocut into one bank of the creek and expose the bones of two men who hadbeen buried at that place. Jesse Randall, an old pioneer who had beenmining on Althouse for many years, told them that one was the skeletonof Philip Althouse. The bones were placed in a box and reburied furtherup on the bank.
Sheriff Lewis says the nugget mentioned in theletter was found by Wm. Saunders, who had been very unsuccessful as aminer, and when he found the nugget he nearly went crazy. Saunders wasafterward county assessor for two terms.
About 1900 Jacob Klippel found a nugget on BoulderCreek, just across the divide from Althouse Creek. This nugget weighed$560.
Unidentified Rogue River Courier clipping circa 1922, Fidler Scrapbook, SOHS MS 208

(Video) Death, Grief and Gratitude, a Teisho by Robert Joshin Althouse

Explorations Start in Illinois Valley

Cave Junction--Gold, which in the 1800s was mined in the IllinoisValley, may again enter the mining picture here if explorations athistoric old Browntown and other portions of the once-rich Althousearea prove successful.
Virgil Peck, president of the Peck PublishingCompany, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Barr Smedley, a Utah engineer, havejoined with Elwood Hussey, former mayor of Cave Junction, to start adevelopment company in the Illinois Valley.
With gold as their first objective, they havebrought in a shovel, truck, compressor drills and pumps to theBrowntown location, and exploration work will start as soon asrevolving screens are in place.
Medford Mail Tribune, September6, 1957, page 11

Lastrevised March 1, 2023


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