Just my cup of tea

Originally ran in the Dec. 9, 1971 edition of the Illinois Valley News

Dale and Leota Tucker called his mother, Barbara Tucker on her birthday, November 23rd. Leota reported that her mother-in-law was quite well. Barbara, who was a long time resident of Selma, now makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Ernest Hatmaker of Langlois.
Children and grandchildren, Dale and Leota Tucker of Selma, were Mr. and Mrs. Art (Sally) Dionne, and four boys. Mr. and Mrs. Norman (Shirley) Bushnell and two daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Tucker, and two sons from Grants Pass. The Tucker’s childrem, who were unable to come to the Thanksgiving dinner, called before the day was over. Also visiting on Thanksgiving Day was a nephew and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Merle Tucker, and their two daughters from Lebanon. During the afternoon, a number of friends called to visit with, and were served cake and coffee.
Mr. and Mrs. Donley Barnes of Cowboy Road, finished building a living room addition to their home, and a fireplace just in time for the Thanksgiving family reunion. All of their family were present except two granddaughters. Attending the get together were Albert Barnes, his wife Roberta, their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Randy Butler, and their son and granddaughter, Ali from Portland. Mr. and Mrs. Harvey (Margaret) Owen, and their three daughters from Long Beach, California. Also from Long Beach were the Barnes’ granddaughter-in-law, Mrs. Keith Fouts, and a baby boy, who stayed for a 10 day visit. Gerald and Dinie Barnes, and their two sons and four-month-old adopted girl from Cottage Grove.
Friends of the Barnes family also attended the reunion dinner. They were Bert and Peggy Squire, their daughter, and son-in-law, Bob Keytes, and their daughter and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Steiwig from Grants Pass. Peggy’s son, James Campbell, and their two children, Christy and Cory. There were also two other friends from Medford.
Weekend guests of the Barnes’ were Mrs. Pauline Shier of Grants Pass, and her son Bob visiting from California. Ed and Jewell Hubbard, who live on the 4-Sum-1 Ranch on Takilma Road, as their dinner guests on Thanksgiving day, Jewell’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Mickey from Rockydale Road, her sister, Mary Davis and twin boys; also her sister, Tillie, and husband Bill Shaw.
This week I was reading some old notes about Kerby, and found these interesting historical items. At one time there was a common commodity as precious as gold. It was weighed ounce for ounce with gold on the gold scales. The year was 1854, and it was long remembered by the miners and pioneers as the year of the Salt Famine, when an ounce of salt sold for $16.00. A number of people who did not have salt boarded at the hotel, which was situated at the trading post across the river, where Kerby is now.
Board at the hotel was $16 a day, and consisted of a meal of venison, which was provided by the boarders themselves. They paid merely for the privilege of having the meat cooked with the salt. The story is told of a man named Mike Bour, who paid $1,600.00 for a 5 pound salt bag which had been emptied. He wrapped the bag in paper and carried it with him in his pocket. When the craving for salt became unbearable, he would cut a small piece from the sack and chew on it.
The winter before was an especially hard time too. The first snow fell in October, and the trails into Illinois Valley were blocked before the winter supplies had been packed in. A miner’s meeting was held at Kerbyville, and each man there took stock of his supplies. Those who did not have enough provisions to carry him through the winter reported the fact, then went to Jacksonville where there were supplies, and stayed until spring. However, there was one man, Malachai Boughman, who took stock of his resources, and reported that he had plenty. He returned to his cabin at the mouth of Butcher’s Gulch, and lived the entire winter on the salt, and the game he was able to shoot with the 25 bullets he had for his old Kentucky muzzle loading rifle. However, the next winter, he boarded at the hotel.

Reader comment: As old articles from the Illinois Valley News have recently appeared in reprints from the past, perhaps some readers would be infused with curiosity of former folks living here, as a question. About just a past time & place; and still in the valley?
And so maybe not surprisingly, a story about a past living resident hereabouts will speak to you. The name of the person was that of someone which I would never meet- but live near to or something which was valued; by her and many others … this I was able to see. (And once to put down some words about a walk alongside a wood: the “Pfefferle woods”)
The grandiose last vestige of towering old-growth forest inside the valley floor was over 80 acres of time left off the hook, in our busy days of keen needs.
Ruth Phefferle was a lady who’s name would apparently over time be associated with the former tract of woods that was harvested as a piece ‘back in time’. After her. It’s easy to grow fond of the beauty of the woods; whether ‘from here’ or from elsewhere?
From somebody who knew, it was said that she was from San Francisco. Where her mother, due to unforeseen circumstances in life-would bring her and her brother as young children to sit and sleep, while her mother cleaned the office buildings into the evenings. As a woman Ruth was said to have joined The Salvation Army, eventually in the rank of captain. Her husband here then in this valley, Phayo, was said to have worked as a mechanic for a large local sawmill in those times (and as related declining logical repeated entreaties by the firm to market the very good quality wood products).
Apparently preceding Ruth in death, her husband was stated as also having once made a run for the role of County Commissioner. The passing of the second person inevitably signified the ending of a unparalleled stand of tall forest in this lowland among mountains by which the couple seemingly liked in some way. Folks who can recall flashing past these continuous stands of high trees in a car will tell the passing of time into today.
Yet just because what was, is not today, does not mean trees decided to quit growing up into Oregon.