Spring 2017

Issue 118:1

The Spring 2017 issue of the Jefferson Historical Quarterly* (a special issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly) features essays, articles, and research files that explore the State of Jefferson — the movement and as-yet-unrealized new state of the United States. Authors explore topics including the State of Jefferson Historical Group annual meetings, the history and concept of the State of Jefferson, the lost history of the Battle of Hungry Hill, settlement and identity in the remote town of Powers, Oregon, the persistence and survivance of Native Americans along the Smith River, and a celebration of Jim Rock’s historic can collection.

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In this Issue 

The State of Jefferson Historical Group

by Trudy Vaughan

Trudy Vaughan has attended the annual State of Jefferson Historical Group (SOJHG) meetings since 1983. Since that time she has maintained an attendee mailing list, sending out information to the non-political group’s members that include archaeologists, museum professionals, historians, librarians, Native Americans, and community members interested in the State of Jefferson. The Forty-first annual meeting was held in February 2017 in Redding, California, and over one hundred people attended to discuss a wide range of topics involving the history of the State of Jefferson, a region that encompasses northern California and Southwest Oregon. “This is an informal group where all are welcome,” and according to Vaughan, “the SOJHG…offers a unique opportunity to share research and knowledge from this cross-state region.”

“The State of Jefferson”: A Disaffected Region’s 160-Year Search for Identity

by Jeff LaLande

Residents of northern California and southwestern Oregon organized a series of highly-publicized events in 1941 in support of a secession movement to form a new state called the State of Jefferson. In his essay, Jeff LaLande describes the history of the movement’s identity that can be summarized as: “Let us depart from California and from Oregon; we shall throw in our lot together, make common cause, and decide our own destiny as a single, new state.” The movement evolved in three phases – the search for political identity during the mid to late 1850s; garnering political attention in the in the early to mid twentieth century; and finally, from the 1970s to present the search for a true political identity. As LaLande attests, the “desire for increased self-determination is indeed a theme common to all three phases of the Jefferson story.”

A “Most Disastrous Affair”: The Battle of Hungry Hill, Historical Memory, and the Rogue River War

by Mark Axel Tveskov

The Battle of Hungry Hill, fought on October 31 and November 1, 1855, ended in a “humiliating defeat for a fragile coalition of U.S. Army dragoons and several companies of citizen volunteers” against the Takelma. In this research article, Mark Tveskov describes how Euro-American accounts of the battle “overlooked the American defeat,” “veterans of the battle minimized the defeat and desertion in their memoirs, sometimes mythologizing the battle to the point of turning it into a victory,” and “the battle was lost to the larger historical narrative of the American West.” In September 2012, a team of archaeologists and scholars discovered the battle site, and their research points to a history that is sometimes at odds with long-standing portrayals of the Battle of Hungry Hill.

The Carolina Company: Identity and Isolation in a Southwestern Oregon Mountain Refuge

by Chelsea Rose and Mark Axel Tveskov

In the spring of 1872, members of the Carolina Company migrated from North Carolina to Oregon and formed the town of Powers, which is one of the most isolated areas in western Oregon.  According to Chelsea Rose and Mark Tveskov,” the homesteaders, like the Native Americans, made a life along the South Fork [Coquille River] that considered the region on its own terms,” and “they chose the place for its inherent qualities.” In 2010, the Coquille Indian Tribe and archaeologists from the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology conducted work at sites associated with the Carolina Company – the Hayes family home site, and Mill Creek site that was home to the Rural post office. The archaeological work revealed remnants of the nineteenth-century settlement, which provides valuable information on Euro-American life along the South Fork.

Inland Sanctuary: A Synergistic Study of Indigenous Persistence and Colonial Entanglements at Hiouchi (Xaa-yuu-chit)

by Shannon Tushingham and Richard Brooks

In this research files article, Shannon Tushingham and Richard Brooks discuss collaborative research on the history of human use of the Hiouchi Flat area near the north bank of the Smith River in California.  The authors met in 2003 when Tushingham was conducting archaeological research as a graduate student. Through her research and archaeological work, Tushingham became interested in how the Native community living in the area persisted after Euro-American contact in ways that melded and introduced cultural elements within a traditional Tolowa way of life. The authors document the remembrances and stories of two families — the Cookes and the Catchings — who are examples “of how Tolowa people persisted in the aftermath of the Gold Rush at Hiouchi Flat,” and how “many Indian traditions were passed on because of this persistence.”

Jim Rock Historic Can Collection: Southern Oregon University’s Digital Collection
Celebrating Jim Rock’s Contributions to Tin Can Archaeology

by Shana Sandor and Chelsea Rose

Archaeologist Jim Rock pioneered the study of tin cans in the United States, traveling around the country with a suitcase containing his collections wrapped in wool socks. His collection is now housed at Southern Oregon University (SOU), and a digital exhibit of Rock’s publications and collection is available online at the Southern Oregon University Digital Archives (SODA). Shana Sandor and Chelsea Rose discuss a brief history of the tin can, Rock’s contributions to archaeological research, and document the extensive digitization process required to present the tin can collection online. As Sandor and Rose emphasize, “at first glance, the digital collection is an archive of many examples of historic tin cans,” but “on closer inspection… researchers see beyond the rust to a deeper meaning,” that “tells a stunningly complex story of the American experience.”

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