History

Illustrated bank robberyBy Finn J.D. John

When the First National Bank of Joseph, Oregon, picked David Tucker as vice-president in 1928, it didn’t look like a particularly unusual thing to do.
Tucker was a widely respected part of the community in Joseph. A successful stockman, he had, over the previous 20 years, forged a reputation for himself as an honest, trustworthy man — and kind and generous to boot. He was especially effective at taking hotheaded young lads under his wing, helping them out of bad situations and inspiring them to turn their lives around.

By Finn J.D. John

Peyton/Layton crime sceneAs urban legends, go, it’s one of the oldest and scariest: A teenage couple drives to a secluded spot late at night and parks, planning to do some of the usual canoodling. But before they do, a news bulletin interrupts the music on the radio. A psychotic killer has escaped from the asylum, the DJ reports breathlessly. He’s missing his left hand, and wears a steel hook on the stump of his arm as a prosthetic.

KKK adBy Finn J,D. John

After the 1922 midterm elections, the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon was riding high. It had won almost every election it had deigned to compete for. It looked to them like they’d been handed a solid mandate to remake Oregon in the image of their ethnocentric social agenda, and they lost no time in getting right to work.
There was a problem, though. Looking back now, we can plainly see that there was one key element that Oregonians found appealing about the Klan’s vision and its leaders — and it wasn’t what those leaders assumed they were.

 

Birth of a Nation posterBy Finn J.D. John

There was something shockingly sudden about the Ku Klux Klan’s virtual seizure of the reins of power in Oregon in 1922.
Within a few months of Klan evangelist Luther Powell’s arrival in southern Oregon, the “invisible empire” had spread through Oregon society like a virus. Tens of thousands of Oregonians had paid their $10 membership fee and had white eyehole-suits hanging in their closets, and tens of thousands more looked upon the secret society as a positive thing.

 

Early downtown Portland, ORBy Finn J.D. John

One November evening in 1885, Portland residents walking past a row of tiny houses at Third and Yamhill heard screams coming from one of them.
Bursting in, they found the mutilated and lifeless remains of a 33-year-old French beauty known as Emma Merlotin. Someone had killed her brutally with a hatchet and then slipped away into the night.
Emma, whose real name was Anna DeCoz, was a well-known “nymph du pave,” as the Evening Telegram phrased it — basically, a courtesan. Her clientele included some of the city’s most prominent bigwigs, and it was widely rumored at the time that her death had come at the hands of one of them — although 11 years later, a Canadian drifter confessed to the crime.

Early driftboatA night of Rare Images – Guest Speakers – Historic Films – Live Music – Silent Auction is set for April 5th.
What was life like along the majestic McKenzie River in the early 1900s?

IWW posterFinn J.D. John

In early 1917, shortly after the U.S. declared war on Germany, the first detachment of U.S. soldiers was dispatched … to the forest of western Oregon.
It turned out the wildest, boldest and (if you were a capitalist) most terrifying labor union in U.S. history had got its hooks deep into the logging business just as demand for timber reached its peak, and as the rest of the country was marching to war, the loggers were marching off the job.
That union was the International Workers of the World — better known as the Wobblies.
The year and a half that followed would be eventful ones in Oregon and Washington. They’d see the U.S. Army actually chartering a labor union of its own;

By Finn J.D. John

Anti KVEP radio ad

The first radio broadcaster ever to do be sent to prison for cursing on the air was a hard-charging early shock jock known as “The Oregon Wildcat,” who kept the city of Portland and surrounding regions glued to their radio sets every evening for most of the first half of 1930.
Robert Gordon Duncan was his name, and he broadcast his scandalous but highly entertaining tirades every single day over Radio KVEP (K-Voice of East Portland), 1500 AM.

The radio station was originally started in 1927 by William Schaeffer, who ran it in the customary way for several years and achieved a modest popularity with listeners.

Oro fino hallBy Finn J.D. John

Joseph E. Swards was 16 years old when he left his native Philadelphia as a brand-new apprentice seaman on the barque Geo. F. Manson, bound for Astoria and Portland.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.