Students of Oregon history may note some key historical names missing from this list: most notably Hubert Howe Bancroft, Leslie M. Scott, and his father, Harvey Whitefield Scott. Bancroft’s work is listed under Frances Fuller Victor, below, who did most of the actual writings on Oregon history published under his name, as well as extensive research and publications under her own. The Scotts’ work is largely the younger Scott’s posthumous compilations of his father’s published newspaper essays and public addresses on Oregon history from 1865 through 1910, combined with his own syntheses of these works. The six-volume work is thoroughly indexed – Volume Six is the index in its entirety -- making it a wonderful research tool and reference, but it is far more focused on the history of Oregon railroads and cities than on southwest Oregon events and contains relatively little information or additional insight regarding the focus of this report.
Carey was a successful Portland lawyer with a strong interest in Oregon history. His 1922 General History of Oregon provides an excellent introduction to Oregon history in general, and perhaps to the earlier Bancroft and Scott works in particular. This two-volume work has been updated over time (I have been using the 1971 3rd edition since it was new), has an excellent index and illustrations, and is usually printed as a single book. Another attribute of Carey’s work is that it is very well written, with good attention to detail: in these respects it serves as a fine narrative, picking up where the works of earlier historians leave off, as well as a very useful reference to key people, events, and locations of the State’s history.
A more neglected work of Carey’s, and perhaps more important for the information it contains, is his history of the Oregon Constitution and of the 1857 Constitutional Convention (Carey 1826). This is probably the only book ever written on this specific aspect of the early political history of Oregon. Fortunately, it is comprehensive, very well written, and has two excellent indices: one for the Constitution (including amendments) itself, and one for Carey’s history. This is a nationally significant book in that Oregon is the only state to adopt a constitution before even becoming a state, and because of the timing of Oregon’s adoption of its constitution (1857), its acceptance as a state (1859), and the beginning of the Civil War (1861). Of particular interest to students of Coos County history is the debate between Perry Marple and Freeman Lockhart as to whether the “Johnson Diggins” votes should be counted or not – thereby deciding between the two the election for county representative -- and by the role played by William Packwood, representing Curry County, throughout the convention. Of additional interest is the lack of discussion regarding Oregon’s Indian population; particularly when compared to discussions and opinions regarding “Negro slavery” and Chinese immigration.
In 1849 and 1850, Navy lieutenant William Pope McArthur conducted the first survey of the Pacific Coast for the United States Coastal Survey. Sixty-five years later, in 1914, his grandson, Lewis Ankeny McArthur, was appointed to the Oregon Geographic Names Board. From that time until his death, the younger McArthur established himself as an authority on Oregon history, and as the authority on the history of Oregon place names – including those first recorded by his grandfather along the Oregon Coast. In the early 1920s, McArthur began publishing the history of Oregon place names as articles in the Oregon Historical Quarterly. In 1928 he authored Oregon Geographic Names, based on those articles, which has remained an important reference source of early Oregon history since that time. McArthur died in 1951, shortly before publication of the third edition of his work. Following McArthur’s death, subsequent editions of his work have been expanded and produced by his son, Lewis L. McArthur. I have used the 1982 fifth edition of this work as my standard reference on this topic since it was published, but a seventh edition was published in 2003 that includes a CD filled with maps, historical (“discontinued”) post office locations, indices, and other information extremely useful for tracking historical information on named features and locations throughout the State. This book is strictly a reference and has little narrative value as a whole – but it is an excellent, easy to use reference, with good writing, dependable research, and interesting quotations, facts and citations.
Victor was Oregon’s most accomplished historian during the 19th century. Although much of her work was performed as an employee of Hubert H. Bancroft, and though most of this work appears under his own name, she has long been identified as the actual writer of many of his published volumes of history (Mills 1961). In recent years, scholars and publishers have even started to list her as his coauthor on much of this work, including their 1888 collaboration on Oregon history, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Vol. XXX History of Oregon, Vol. II. 1848-1888, long considered the most authoritative work on this topic.
In 1891 the Oregon Legislature resolved to produce a definitive history of the Indian Wars in Oregon, and Victory was hired to do this task. Her 1894 The Early Indian Wars of Oregon: Compiled from the Oregon Archives and Other Original Sources, with Muster Rolls, is considered the classic work on this topic, and builds from and elaborates upon her earlier work with Bancroft. In addition to her extensive work on this subject under Bancroft, Victor was given access to all official State records from the beginning, and still had access to many of the key individuals who participated, or bore witness, in these events. Students of early southwest Oregon history are well advised to begin their research with these two works by Victor, in conjunction with Walling’s 1884 history.
Walling was a resident of southwest Oregon in the early 1850s, where he established a ranch and a store for other gold miners during that time. After selling out his claims, land, and stores, he eventually made his way to Portland, where he established a book publishing company. Walling’s method of writing history was similar to Bancroft’s, in that he often hired others to do the actual writing of portions of his work. Too, he actively sold “subscriptions” to these works, rewarding book buyers by enclosing a brief, sometimes adulatory, biography of each within an index to the finished product. This resulted in work that was somewhat uneven and occasionally contradicts itself. Still the finished histories were very well organized, contained the contents of numerous important historical documents, relied heavily on interviews and correspondences, contained numerous high quality “sketches” of many of the homes and landscapes discussed in each book, and were very expertly printed and bound in the tradition of the finest books of that era. Walling’s 1884 History of Southern Oregon, Comprising Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Curry, and Coos Counties, Compiled from the Most Authentic Sources remains one of the most important books ever written on southwest Oregon history, and is the basis of many subsequent references and citations on this topic.
References to Coquelle Trails Report, Vols. I & II: www.ORWW.org/Coquelle_Trails/References/index.html [PDF_xxx_KB]
Annotated Bibliography to Coquelle Trails History: www.ORWW.org/Coquelle_Trails/References/Zybach-Ivy_2013/Volume_I/Part_3.html [PDF_204_KB]
References to General Land Office Surveyors' Field Notes: www.ORWW.org/Coquelle_Trails/Land_Surveys/References.html
References to Southwest Oregon Indian History: www.NWMapsCo.com/ZybachB/Reports/2007_Newton_OSU-BLM/index.html [PDF_37_KB]
References to South Umpqua River History: www.ORWW.org/Rivers/Umpqua/South/References/index.html
References to Southwest Oregon Wildfire History and Sciences: www.ORWW.org/Wildfires/Biscuit/References/Index.html