Historic Murder Inspires New Novel

John Riha, Ashland-based author, discusses the historically-rooted inspiration for his latest novel!









Can you tell us about your book?

The Bounty Huntress is an historical novel set in southern Oregon in the early part of the 20th century. It tells the fictionalized story of Iris Greenlee, Oregon’s first female bounty hunter. Iris is a young farm girl from the Applegate Valley whose father—a game warden in Jackson County—is murdered when she is very young. She grows up tough and rough-hewn, and learns many practical survival skills, including hunting deer in the nearby mountains. When she and her small family—her widowed mother and autistic brother—are nearly overwhelmed with setbacks, indignities, and the threat of the loss of the family farm, Iris is determined to make money by using her backwoods knowledge: She’ll hunt wanted criminals for money.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a longtime media executive from the Midwest with a professional history that includes writing and editing for many national publications. I was the Executive Editor of Better Homes and Gardens and the Editorial Director for Meredith Corporation’s Special Interest Media, a group of more than 120 magazines and seven websites. After raising our two boys in Iowa, my wife and I decided to move back to the West, to Ashland, where we had met in 1984. I now freelance write and edit for national magazines and websites, and I’m slowly turning my career toward writing books, especially historical fiction and humor.

What interested you in this topic?

The part of the story about the murdered game warden is true. I ran across one of those “100 Years Ago Today” articles in the Medford Mail Tribune about the crime, and I became intrigued. I was especially interested in the fact that the murderer was acquitted in a raucous trial, even though there was a reliable eyewitness to the crime. Also of interest was the fact that the warden had two small children at the time of his death—a four-year-old girl and two-year-old boy. Add to that the fact that the accused murderer himself was murdered 16 years later in an unsolved crime. I began to wonder, “What if those kids grew up and took their revenge?” That classic revenge theme was the genesis for the novel. The part about Iris Greenlee becoming a bounty huntress is fiction.

What resources did you use for your research?

The archives available through Historic Oregon Newspapers online were invaluable. In researching the murder, I was able to follow the crime from the shooting all the way through the trial in great detail. Many small observations and nuances noted in the historical articles were a great help in adding color and authenticity to the novel. I was able to corroborate facts in other local newspaper accounts and the Oregonian. Other period articles and even advertisements were extremely valuable in setting the tone and creating language appropriate to the period. I also spent many hours at the Southern Oregon Historical Society Library in Medford, researching details such as the construction and floor plans of the county jail and courthouse in Jacksonville, and viewing historic photos depicting the towns and rural locations of Jackson County.

Where can we purchase/access your book?

The Bounty Huntress is available through Amazon and any book store can order copies. Locally, it’s at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, rebel heart books in Jacksonville, and Reader’s Guide Books in Salem.

What’s your next project?

Travelling along the coast last year we stopped at the Coast Guard Lifeboat Station in Port Orford. Although it’s decommissioned now, they had an extremely treacherous and dramatic launch point for rescue operations in the 1930s. That definitely got me thinking, so we’ll see if that manifests into another book.


Posted in Featured Users

New content from Cascade Locks, OR!

Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle. (Cascade Locks, OR.) March 10, 1939, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071114/1939-03-10/ed-1/

The Historic Oregon Newspaper Program (ODNP) has recently been able to add exciting new content from Cascade Locks, Oregon. Now available online, issues from March 3, 1939 to September 1, 1939 of the Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle are ready for your viewing pleasure! Covering the period directly after the construction of the Bonneville Dam, this newly added content is a great addition to our already digitized issues of The Dam Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle, earlier papers published in Cascade Locks. This project was made possible by sponsorship from the Hood River Library.

More than just a wonderful addition to our previously digitized issues of the Bonneville Dam Chronicle, the Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle is actually continuation of that paper under a new name! An article published on March 3, 1939 explains that because the construction of the Bonneville Dam had reached its completion, the paper saw it fit to change its name to the Cascade Locks Chronicle, the town in which it was published.

Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle. (Cascade Locks, OR.) March 3, 1939, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071114/1939-03-03/ed-1/seq-1/

The addition of the Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle to our digitized newspapers works as a bookend for our collection of digitized papers on the construction of the Bonneville Dam in Cascade Locks, OR. The construction of the Bonneville Dam was a momentous and important moment in Oregon’s history. When its construction finished in the 1930’s, it was the largest dam of its kind in the United States! Anyone looking to do further research on the Bonneville Dam can find a wealth of information and primary source material on the Oregon Historic Newspapers website. As of now, we have three different papers published about the Bonneville Dam digitized online. These papers are the Dam Chronicle (1934), the Bonneville Dam Chronicle (1934-1939), and the newly added Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Chronicle (1939).

Doing research through ODNP is easy thanks to optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which allows our issues to be keyword searchable! In addition, these historic Cascade Locks’ titles, as well as all of our digitized newspapers, can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG file and saved for future reference or research purposes. All these services are at absolutely no cost to visitors of Historic Oregon Newspapers so don’t wait, and take a look at Oregon’s historic newspapers today!

Posted in New Content

New content from West Linn, Oregon!

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program is excited to announce the addition of our first content from West Linn, Oregon! The Amplifier, now available for browsing on our website, was the school newspaper at West Linn High School. Able to claim an impressive publication record of nearly 100 years, The Amplifier has been up and running since 1921! Our added issues cover a date range from April 29, 1983 to April 1, 2011, and provide an inside look at the Oregon high school experience! This project was made possible by the generosity of the West Linn Historical Society.

The Amplifier. (West Linn, OR.) April 29, 1989, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2017260114/1983-04-29/ed-1/seq-1/

Flipping through the digitized pages of The Amplifier, different facets of high school life fill the pages. These memories, perhaps some of which we never thought we would have to think of again (school lunch, the SAT and ACT, school dances, etc.), are presented with an authenticity only a student currently experiencing these events could provide.

The Amplifier. (West Linn, OR.) April 29, 1983, page two. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2017260114/1983-04-29/ed-1/seq-2/

The Amplifier. (West Linn, OR.) March 1, 2009, page four. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2017260114/2009-03-01/ed-1/seq-4/

Many of the titles the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program has available offer an incredible glimpse of life and nostalgia for the generations alive during their publication. The newly added Amplifier provides a unique opportunity for younger generations to look back on nostalgic events from their own adolescence.

The Amplifier. (West Linn, OR.) December 1, 2008, page six. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2017260114/2008-12-01/ed-1/seq-6/

If you want to learn more about what high school was like in West Linn, Oregon, or look back on your own high school experience, take a look at the digitized issues of The Amplifier on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website! Doing research through ODNP is easy thanks to optical character recognition (OCR), which allows all of our newspapers to be keyword searchable. In addition, The Amplifier, as well as all of our digitized titles, can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG file and saved for future reference or research purposes. All of these services are free and fully available to the public, so don’t hesitate and take a look at Oregon’s historic newspapers today!

Posted in New Content

Five New Titles from Stayton, Oregon!

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program has recently been able to add five new historic newspapers to our website, all coming from Stayton, Oregon! Issues from The Stayton Sun, The Stayton Times, Stayton Siftings, Stayton Standard, and the Stayton Mail are now available online. This exciting new addition to our digitized titles provides a comprehensive look at Stayton, covering a time period from December 19, 1889 to May 25, 1916. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our donors, who make projects like this possible. This project was funded by grants from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the Pacific Power Foundation, Marion Cultural Development Corporation, and the City of Stayton Community Fund.

The Stayton Times. (Stayton, OR.) July, 21, 1893, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063613/1893-07-21/ed-1/seq-1/

The Stayton Times was established in 1890 and was the first newspaper in town. It was originally run by Walter Lyon, who had at one point been secretary to Governor Geer. Three years later, the paper was bought by Horace Mann, who when in February of 1896 refused to sell the paper to E. F. Bennet, the Stayton Mail was born.

Stayton Mail. (Stayton, OR.) December 17, 1896, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063609/1896-12-17/ed-1/seq-1/


Stayton Sun. (Stayton, OR.) December 19, 1889, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063612/1889-12-19/ed-1/seq-1/

E. F. Bennett began the Stayton Mail in 1896 after he was unable to take ownership of the Stayton Times. Along with his son, H. E. Bennett, he increased the size of the paper to eight pages and eventually sold it to H. E. Brown in 1900. Around this time a new paper, The Stayton Sun, was started by T. H. McGill. After operating as publisher for only a year, H. E. Brown sold the Stayton Mail to E. D. Alexander in 1901. Later, Alexander would start a new paper, the Stayton Standard, which would eventually consolidate with the Mail. During this period another paper was born, the Stayton Siftings, run by John Alden Seabury with the motto “Truth and Facts.”

Stayton Standard. (Stayton, OR.) March 29, 1916, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063610/1916-03-29/ed-1/seq-1/


Stayton Siftings. (Stayton, OR.) July 2, 1910, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063611/

These newly added Stayton titles provide an example of the quick turnover time characteristic of Oregon’s historic newspapers. To find out about other aspects of life in Stayton from the turn of the century to WW1, take a look at these newspapers on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website. Each issue of The Stayton Sun, The Stayton Times, Stayton Siftings, Stayton Standard, and the Stayton Mail can be browsed and searched by keyword, thanks to optical character recognition (OCR) technology. In addition, these historic Stayton, Oregon newspapers can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG file and saved for future reference or research purposes at absolutely no cost to visitors to Historic Oregon Newspapers. So don’t wait, and take a look at Oregon’s historic newspapers today!

This blog post was written in reference to:

George S. Turbull. History of Oregon Newspapers. Binfords & Mort Publishers, Portland, Oregon. 1939.

Posted in New Content

Tracing the History of Oregon Movie Theaters

Today’s guest blog post comes from Elizabeth Peterson, M.A., M.L.I.S., Humanities Librarian and Curator of Moving Images here at UO Libraries:

When the Oregon Digital Newspaper Project launched several years ago, I immediately saw its potential for researching local movie history. I am the subject specialist librarian for cinema studies, and I recently completed a second master’s degree in film studies. As part of my degree program, I did an independent study project on movie theaters in Eugene and Springfield during the nickelodeon era (1905-1919), which I turned into a website and an article in Oregon Historical Quarterly. My research could have been done using the microfilm of the local newspapers, but I definitely couldn’t have made anywhere near as much progress in a 10-week term as I did using the digitized newspapers. The ability to do keyword searching across multiple years of issues also allows for detecting larger patterns and trends over time, something that is much more time-consuming and labor-intensive with analog materials.

This nickelodeon period is named for the type of theaters that were common in the early days of commercial cinema, which were often small, storefront venues with fewer than 200 seats. Admission was often five cents, thus the name “nickelodeon.” Much of the scholarly research about this period of film history has been about large urban areas such as New York City, so many of our assumptions about theaters, audiences, and the experience of movie-going have come from this research. Although more research has started to focus on rural areas and small towns, very little has been written about Oregon, and nothing about towns outside of Portland. I wanted to see how these issues played out in two small neighboring cities in Oregon. How would local film histories align and diverge from the dominant histories of film exhibition?

Advertisement for Bell Theatre

The Lane County News. (Springfield, Or.) July 15, 1915, page 3. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071002/1915-07-15/ed-1/seq-3/

The quantity of data presented by ODNP is pretty overwhelming, so I’ve only just started to document pieces of that question. The Bell Theatre in Springfield is part of that story, and the two Springfield newspapers in ODNP were essential to help me to begin to understand it. The Lane County News and Springfield News ran regular ads and news stories that tell some of the history of the Bell Theatre, including its ownership, programming, admission prices, promotional strategies, and even the names of the high school girls who were hired to play the piano to accompany the silent movies. The Bell opened on Main Street in 1912. It wasn’t the first theater to show moving pictures in the town, but it was a fixture of downtown and Springfield leisure activities for over two decades. Like many theaters during this era, movies were part of a variety of programming that could include vaudeville, live music, dance performances, minstrel shows, and live theater. This ad from 1915 promoted a Hawaiian singing group in addition to movies.

The Lane County News collaborated with the Bell Theatre to feature a serialized story with a movie tie-in. “The New Adventures of J. Rufus Wallingford“ ran as a weekly story in the newspaper, while audiences could “see this story picturized” several times a week at the Bell.

Movie theater advertisement

The Lane County news. (Springfield, Or.) December 13, 1915, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071002/1915-12-13/ed-1/seq-4/

Ad for movies at Bell Theatre

The Lane County news. (Springfield, Or.) January 3, 1916, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071002/1916-01-03/ed-1/seq-4/

This was a common practice to increase both newspaper readership and to sell movie tickets to audiences eager to see the next installment of the story. Thanks to the Oregon Digital Newspaper Project, we can see that “The New Adventures of J. Rufus Wallingford” appeared in newspapers and movie theaters all over Oregon including Portland, Pendleton, Bandon, and Grants Pass. These are the kinds of connections and trends that one can see easily in a digital database that would have been very difficult in the past.

Newspapers can tell us how movie theaters were situated within the cultural, economic, and social life of communities. The Bell served as a kind of community center, hosting lectures, political meetings, and fundraisers for local causes, such as an event for the Red Cross during World War I. It also hosted a presentation from the Oregon Social Hygiene society, for which the attendance gives a clue as to the number of seats in the theater. Three hundred men attended the lecture about the “four sex lies” and “what should be done in Springfield.”

Red Cross Benefit

Springfield news. (Springfield, Or.) June 25, 1917, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071003/1917-06-25/ed-1/seq-1/

Article about hygiene meeting

The Lane County news. (Springfield, Or.) February 3, 1916, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071002/1916-02-03/ed-1/seq-1/


These are just a few details from one theater in one town in Oregon. Clearly, there are many more details about Oregon film history and local movie-going that can be excavated from this rich database.

Posted in Featured Users

Interview with ethnohistorian, David Lewis

Dr. David Lewis shares with us how he uses Historic Oregon Newspapers online for his many research projects!

Can you tell us a little about your research and yourself?

I am a researcher in ethnohistory. I received my PhD from the UO in 2009 from the Department of Anthropology. I spent a long time in my education, 1988-2009, from 1994-2009 at UO, and studied Native American history and culture nearly the whole time. I am a member of the Grand Ronde tribe, in fact Kalapuya, Chinook and Takelma, and planned a long time ago to help the tribe restore parts of its culture after its restoration in 1983. I was the Cultural manager for 8 years at Grand Ronde and now I am an educator and independent researcher.  I teach at local colleges and conduct contract work for tribes.

The blog grew out of my interest to producE more accurate histories about the tribes of western Oregon. I have been collecting primary documents for years and now I get to use them by finding interesting and unknown subjects in the documents that need to be told so we can understand the history of the tribes. I began this research with the SWORP project collection, which I helped gather and bring to the UO and organize for Special Collections. I continued with my work at Grand Ronde, helping develop and plan the museum and archives for the tribe, which opened in 2014. The blog now has more than 280 history essays on it. I find that through the blog I can produce history fast and get it out to the people who need it and will appreciate it quickly and efficiently. I am now working to rewrite a number of my essays into a publishable book form  called Tribal Stories of the Willamette Valley. I have a following of some 900 people on various social media and have gotten over 67,000 views on my blog from some 30,000 people throughout the world. There literally is nothing else like my blog for Oregon Native history. Most of my attention is paid to western Oregon, but have numerous essays about northern California and eastern Oregon as well. The other benefit to the blog is that I am creating curriculum for public schools and universities. I have gotten many comments from educators who are actually using the blog posts in many areas of Oregon.

What interested you in this topic?

Its really an untouched subject, through my research I have found most of the “histories of Oregon” have ignored native history entirely, and so I am literally writing Native people back into their history. It is my heritage as well and I have found that as an educator, its easier to make a connection with native students if they see themselves and their heritage reflected in the history they are reading. Its really unconscionable that in this day and age there is almost nothing taught about Oregon tribes in our public schools when there is so much information available. This leads to a complete lack of understanding of Native peoples by the majority of Oregonians, a situation I would like to help remedy.

What resources did you use for your research?

I have extensive ethnographic information from anthropology, folklore, linguistics, and history studies, as well as extensive government records at my disposal, from some 25 years of collection such records. As well the digital age we are in makes it easy to find older texts fully available online in numerous sites, for free. Sites like Google books, Google scholar, the Internet Archive, Hathitrust, Southern Oregon University  Digital Archives, and the Oregon Digital Newspaper Project make it easy and efficient to find the information I need to write my histories. I have become an expert in online research.

What did you use in Historic Oregon Newspapers online? How did you use the site and which titles were useful to you?

I generally peruse a placename or persons name as a search term and find that Newspapers like the Oregon Spectator, Daily Oregonian,and Willamette Farmer are very useful for finding great newspaper articles about the subjects I am interested in. As the number of newspapers grows the site becomes important in new ways and in new areas of Oregon. I wish that some of the holes in the major titles would be completed soon as well.

Where can we access your work?

My blog is at https://ndnhistoryresearch.com/, and I post my articles on a Facebook site, Oregon Indian Territory, https://www.facebook.com/theoregonterritory/,  which I manage also. I do not have a pay site I am working on a plan for this, but I do ask for donations to help me pay some of the annual blog fees.

What’s your next project?!

At this time I am working on gathering tribal stories of the Missoula floods so that I can understand the floods of 12,000 to 14,000 years ago, from different tribal perspectives. At the same time I am editing my stories for my forthcoming book Tribal Stories of the Willamette Valley. I am also a co-editor on a volume to collect together various studies about the Kalapuyans.

Thank you, David! If you want to get in touch with David, please refer to his links and contact information below:

David G. Lewis, PhD | Ethnohistory Research, LLC

1118 Lancaster Dr. NE #343, Salem, Oregon 97301

Cell: 541.514.3275

Anthropologist, Ethno-historian, Archivist, Educator
Adjunct Professor, Chemeketa Community College
Oregon Heritage Commission

WordPress Blog ndnhistoryresearch
LinkedIn David G Lewis
Academia.com  https://chemeketa.academia.edu/DavidLewis
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/coyotez
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DavidLewisNDN/about

Posted in Featured Users

Celebrating Women’s History Month

This month, for Women’s History Month, we would like to highlight some of the history that can be found in the newspapers available on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website. There is plenty of news to be found, both related to individual historical figures as well as larger movements or events related to women in Oregon. Perhaps one of the more fascinating things to read about is the history of women’s suffrage in Oregon. Before women had the right to vote on a national level, Oregon allowed women to vote in state elections starting in 1912. You can read more about this part of our past in this previous blog post: Oregon Women’s Suffrage Centennial.

Newspaper article

Lake County examiner. (Lakeview, Lake County, Or.) November 21, 1912, Image 7. http://tinyurl.com/c2zbwjn

One particular figure from this movement crops up quite a bit: Abigail Scott Duniway. She was an early advocate for women’s rights, as well as publisher for the newspaper The New Northwest. From 1871 to 1887, this newspaper was dedicated to women’s rights and issues, particularly the right to vote. It was an early proponent for women’s suffrage and one of the movement’s most vocal supporters. Looking through issues of the newspaper allows for a glimpse of the evolution of this movement during that time period.

New Northwest title

The new Northwest. (Portland, Or.) May 05, 1871, Image 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84022673/1871-05-05/ed-1/seq-1/

Other newspapers also provide a peek at the lives of women in Oregon and across the country in the 1800s and early 1900s. For example, The Oregon Scout from Union occasionally featured a column called “Woman’s World,” which highlighted various areas of women’s life during that era. Some would focus on domestic life, giving an idea of what life was like at home for many women. Others would discuss the growing career opportunities available to women. Some of these stories were pulled from newspapers elsewhere, providing a glimpse at life not just in Oregon, but in the rest of the United States as well.

Women's World clip

The Oregon scout. (Union, Union County, Or.) December 31, 1891, Image 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93051670/1891-12-31/ed-1/seq-4/

For those interested in using some of these newspaper materials in K-12 classroom lessons, check out our lesson plan on Abigail Scott Duniway and Women’s Suffrage, which is tailored to Oregon Common Core state standards. All of our historic newspapers on the website can also be browsed and searched by keyword thanks to optical character recognition (OCR), allowing for easy research for those who want to learn more about women’s history in Oregon. In addition, content can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG file and saved for future reference or research purposes. All of these services are free and open to the public, so don’t wait and take a look at Oregon’s historic newspapers today!

Posted in Project Highlights

Oregon City author shares research about the history of the city

Karin Morey, historian of Oregon City and avid researcher, discusses her recent projects and publications about Oregon City’s floods, pioneers, and Army service men and women.

Can you tell us a little about your publication(s) and yourself?

I have had an interest in Oregon City history for over 60 years, having grown up hearing the stories of the city’s history from Wilmer Gardner, one of the founders of the Clackamas County Historical Society. After retiring 15 years ago I was able to spend more time on research and to look for ways to share the city’s history.


What interested you in this/these topic(s)?

For several years I volunteered at the Museum of the Oregon Territory and was able to make use of the documents and photographs in their collection, as well as those maintained by the Clackamas County Family History Society. The first book I worked on was a reproduction of Wilmer Gardner’s “Old Oregon City” with minor corrections to his original text and new scans of the photographs he had chosen to illustrate the city’s history. With the help of Adrian Wegner, a volunteer who was very adept at scanning and bringing out the best in the photos from the 19th and early 20th century, we were able to reproduce the long out of print book. Our next project was an “Images of America” book for Arcadia Publishing  focusing on the various floods in Oregon City. Preparing the book involved researching newspapers from the 1840s through 1996 as well as other print sources and choosing photographs to go with the narrative of each major flood.

After leaving my volunteer position at the museum I began to focus my time on the Mountain View Cemetery, a city owned pioneer cemetery with burials dating back to 1848. I started a blog to share the stories of the early settlers of Oregon City and their descendants. In the process, I was asked by city staff to help identify Civil War veterans buried in the cemetery. A friend of mine had started this project and had located 80 veterans. Through further research in the Oregon City newspapers and online Civil War records I have been able to identify over 150 Civil War veterans in Mountain View Cemetery and am still discovering one ones while working through each burial lot in the old portions of the cemetery.

While learning more about these veterans, I noticed that many of them were members of the Oregon City Grand Army of the Republic Post, Meade Post No. 2. Knowing little about the G. A. R. I began to research the organization and to look for more information on our local Post. During the search I located the first two rosters of the Post mixed in with material from the Women’s Relief Corps, the women’s auxiliary of the G. A. R. Post. In comparing a previous transcription of the rosters I noticed several differences in the typed copy from what I had found so far on the veterans at Mountain View.

What resources did you use for your research?

Having the “modern amenities” of digitized newspapers, online genealogy sites and sites such as Find A Grave and Billion Graves, I was able to compare the original handwritten rosters to other sources to more easily decipher the spellings of their names and companies they served in as well as locating where almost all of the 400+ members of the Post were buried. This resulted in a book to help preserve the information from the rosters, Meade Post No. 2, G. A. R. The book includes information on each member as well as the activities of the Post, a great deal of which came from local newspapers.

What did you use in Historic Oregon Newspapers online? How did you use the site and which titles were useful to you?

The digitized newspapers from U of O have made it possible to do a large portion of my research from the comfort of home rather than long hours on microfilm readers at a local library or museum. The ability to search for a specific name or term instead of advancing frame by frame, reading every word on every page, has cut down my time by 100s of hours. In my research I have also found the newspapers from other cities very useful as families moved around the region, people died while out of town and were returned to Oregon City for burial, or if a copy of local paper is missing, the news may have been reprinted in another newspaper in the state. The digitized newspapers have made it possible to complete more in less time and are greatly appreciated!

Where can we purchase/access your book(s)?

All three books I have worked on are available through Amazon and other booksellers.

Purchases of the two Oregon City books benefit the Clackamas County Historical Society. The titles are:

Old Oregon City, by Wilmer Gardner
Oregon City Floods, Clackamas County Historical Society

My self-published book is Meade Post No. 2 G. A. R. by Karin D. Morey

To read my current blogs:


Updates are also posted on the corresponding Facebook pages:

Weekly news blog: OCWeek
Cemetery stories: FriendsMountainViewCemetery

What’s your next project!

I am currently working on two projects. One is the municipal history of Oregon City, beginning with the elected and appointed officials for each year from 1844 through 1923 when the city changed from a Council to a Commission system. To make my research easier, I had transcribed the handwritten City Council minutes from 1850 through 1911 when they converted to typewritten minutes, which had then been shared with our City Recorder. In doing the transcriptions I found many facts about the city I had never seen in print and decided to further research the various municipal activities and compile them into a book for easier access. This is a work in progress and is greatly aided by access to the digitized newspapers from Oregon City when confirming elections and the text of city ordinances as well as the editorial content when the local newspaper editor was, or was not, in support of the direction the City Council was moving. The final book will list the city officers, a few of the “highlights” of the term, a sample of ordinances passed and a summary of major construction projects for each of the years.

The other project is a more organized summary of every burial, lot by lot, in the oldest portions of Mountain View Cemetery. This includes brief biographical information, whether the individual is a veteran and/or an Oregon Trail pioneer, occupational information and family relations in family lots. A large part of this research is done through obituaries and “social notes” in the digitized newspapers.

I also compile a weekly blog called “The Week That Was OC.” The blog is a selection of newspaper articles for the current week in each year ending in the same digit as the present year, such as 1848, 1858 etc. now that we are in 2018, from 1846 through 1922. It gives a little history, a little scandal and a little humor from the past of our city.

Thank you for your contributions to the history of Oregon City, Karin! If you use Historic Oregon Newspapers online and would like to share your work with us, please contact us!

Posted in Featured Users

Black History Month: African American Newspapers in the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program

Portland Observer. (Portland, OR.) October 5, 2016, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025151/2016-10-05/ed-1/seq-1/

In honor of Black History Month, the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program would like to highlight some of the African American newspapers available in our digital collections! These newspapers range from historic titles such as The New Age (1896-1905), to contemporary papers such as The Skanner and the Portland Observer.

The New Age. (Portland, OR.) June 9, 1900, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025107/1900-06-09/ed-1/seq-1/

The New Age (1896-1905), an African American owned paper published by A.D. Griffin, highlights the active Black community in Portland’s history. A.D. Griffin was an avid Republican during his period as publisher of The New Age, and many of his editorial pieces discuss the political involvement of Portland’s Black community.

The New Age. (Portland, OR.) February 3, 1900, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025107/1900-02-03/ed-1/seq-4/

The New Age. (Portland, OR.) April 7, 1900, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025107/1900-04-07/ed-1/seq-4/












The New Age. (Portland, OR.) January 6, 1900, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025107/1900-01-06/ed-1/seq-4/

The Skanner. (Portland, OR.) September 27, 2017, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn85042482/2017-09-27/ed-1/seq-1/


























Oregon Historic Newspapers is seeking to digitize additional Black-owned and operated newspapers in Oregon’s history. The titles we are currently hoping to digitize are The Advocate (1923-1933), The Times (1911-1912), the Portland Inquirer (1944-46), the Oregon Mirror (1962), and the Portland Challenger (1952-1953). If digitized, these titles, as with all newspapers digitized by ODNP, would be freely accessible to the public and could be browsed and searched by keyword online. In addition, all content could be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG file and saved for future reference or research purposes. If you are interested in the digitization of any of these titles, please contact us here!






Posted in Project Highlights

Newspapers: A Genealogists Treasure Trove!

Today’s guest blog post comes from Linda Sausen Ivers:

I should probably start by introducing myself. Hello, my name is Linda, and I’m a genealogy addict! I started researching and recording the genealogy of my family in 1988. Although I was lucky enough to have known my grandparents and to have met one of my great-grandmothers, I really didn’t know many specifics about who they were or where they came from.  All I had to go on were some family stories and a lot of photographs.

Genealogy is Detective Work

Genealogists work backward in time to find out more about ancestors. We diligently search records that document facts—birth, death, marriage, divorce, place of residence, military service, land ownership, immigration, etc.—looking for information about our ancestors. We keep searching, looking for the type of things we don’t find in those records, the daily activities of those ancestors. Where were they between census years? Who did they socialize with? Did they travel for enjoyment? Were they involved in local politics? Did they participate in organizations? Did they have children that didn’t show up on a census?

Information about our ancestor’s daily activities can often be gleaned from newspapers. Newspaper stories can provide a richness and context to a family history beyond the recitation of names and dates. Early newspapers tended to be more locally focused in the type of news items they published. The Historic Oregon Newspapers collection and the Library of Congress Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers are treasure troves of information for genealogists. Both are online and fully text searchable.

I use the Historic Oregon Newspapers collection extensively while researching Oregon ancestors. The Lincoln County Leader is a great resource for my extended family on the coast.  For Douglas County, The Plaindealer, The Douglas Independent, and the Roseburg Review are excellent sources.

Letter List from The Plaindealer

The Plaindealer. (Roseburg, Or.) June 19, 1899. Page 3. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84022679/1899-06-19/ed-1/seq-3/

Some Examples

To illustrate several of the ways that newspapers can provide information about ancestor’s daily activities, I’ve chosen articles from the Douglas County papers. Using documented facts as background and to create a timeline, the newspapers provide a look at the interactions of my great grandfather, Herbert A. Tompkins, with family members who left Iowa and settled in both Douglas and Coos County, Oregon.

Finding Herbert (“Tompkin, H. A.” [sic]) on the list of unclaimed letters at the Roseburg, Oregon post office published in The Plaindealer (June 19, 1899) helps establish when he arrived.

The Plaindealer snippet

The Plaindealer. (Roseburg, Or.) July 24, 1899. Page 3. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84022679/1899-07-24/ed-1/seq-3/


Small mentions of the travels and social activities of area residents were a large part of the content of local papers. A mention in The Plaindealer (July 24, 1899) places T. F. Fisher and H.A. Tompkins in Roseburg on business the previous Saturday.


Olalla News column in The Plaindealer

The Plaindealer. (Roseburg, Or.) December 10, 1903. Page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84022679/1903-12-10/ed-1/seq-1/

In the 1900 census, Herbert is living with Vianna and William Matthews (his oldest daughter and son-in-law) in South Slough, Coos County, Oregon. By 1903, he was back in Douglas County as documented in the “Olalla News” column in The Plaindealer (December 10, 1903).  Both Herbert and nephew Albert Tompkins (son of Herbert’s brother Elias) are mentioned. T. F. Fisher is also identified as Herbert’s nephew in the column. Fisher is the husband of Margaret Amelia (Millie) Tompkins, Albert’s sister. The use of the word “Uncle” in the context of the clipping may be a respectful reference to Herbert’s age (57).

Have you ever wondered how your ancestors did in school? You may be lucky and find a School Report. This one is for the South Ten Mile School and was published in The Douglas Independent (July 21, 1883). In the list, “Rec” is their record (grade/class standing), and “Dep” stands for deportment.

school report

The Douglas independent. (Roseburg, Or.) July 21, 1883. Page 3. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93051662/1883-07-21/ed-1/seq-3/

There are some other interesting relationships and connections among the students in this school.  Some family groups are easy to see; they share a last name.  What is not obvious is that Ada Byron and Millie Tompkins are siblings, the daughters of Elias Tompkins. Previous research confirmed their relationship and that between their mother’s death in 1876 and the 1880 census, they had been fostered by John Byron and his wife. The report lists Ada as using the Byron surname while Millie, her older sister, still maintains the Tompkins surname.

Other names in this list complement facts found through census data. The McCulloch’s are siblings and nieces of John A. Freeman (married to Herbert’s first wife). The Fisher children are all younger siblings of T. F. Fisher who marries Millie Tompkins in September 1890.

Article in Roseburg Review

Roseburg review. (Roseburg, Or.) September 03, 1886. Page 3. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93051663/1886-09-03/ed-1/seq-3/

Newspaper articles can sometimes surprise us with what they reveal about our ancestors. This article appeared in the Roseburg Review (September 3, 1886) about an altercation involving a gun. I think the editorial question in the last line of the article is worth noting.

These are only five representative articles describing the activities of these ancestors and their families. What else have I found? Obituaries, estate filings, marriage notices, social gatherings, family tragedies, visits to and from family members, law suits, public works assessment notices, and advertisements for the rental and sale of property. I use this type of information to provide depth and context to the other research I’ve done when writing and sharing stories with my family.

Welcome to my addiction. I wish you good hunting and a great adventure!


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