Click to see preamble.


AUGUST 4, 2013 


Some BIG Miner Problems
Today's guest: Kerby Jackson


About Kerby Jackson

Kerby Jackson is an author, independent gold miner and historian living in Southern Oregon's Rogue River Valley, an area where Zane Grey and Jack London often came to receive inspiration to write their own novels. In addition to being a multi-generation native of the Rogue River Valley, his father's family have been on the North American Continent since the 1600's. He is a direct descendent of Sir Thomas More (lawyer, philosopher, statesman and author of “Utopia”, who was beheaded for treason against Henry VIII in 1535) and of Martha Allen Carrier (supposed witch, referred to by Cotton Mather as the “Queen of Hell”, hanged during the Salem Witch Craze in 1692).

Named for the gold rush era town of Kerbyville, Oregon, he is a compulsive student of Oregon history, and in particular, that of Southern Oregon's Gold Rush era. In addition to researching voraciously, Jackson has literally tromped through and mined gold in the same creeks, gulches and hills as the first old timers who came to Southern Oregon in search of gold in the 1850's. He has also sought out and explored the remnants of their early towns, camps, cabin-sites, mines and old trails.

Despite this, he actually spent much of his early childhood in Idaho's Treasure Valley. “We lived on the top of a large bluff overlooking a bend of the Boise River that was a stopping point on the Oregon Trail,” Jackson recalls. “I panned my first color out of Grimes Creek and remember digging for square nails and pieces of broken plates in what was left of Old Centerville, which was one of the earliest mining towns in the Boise Basin. I grew up in part on the homestead of one set of my great grandparents and I was pretty much allowed to wander as I chose, even from a very young age. I had a great childhood.” Family vacations consisted of camping, hunting and visiting the run-down relics of Idaho's early years. During those years, his love of history and exploring long abandoned settlements developed.

Jackson's literary influences include William Faulkner, Ernest Haycox, Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour and Elmer Kelton.

“One of my great grandmothers was a big fan of Louis L'Amour,” Jackson recalls. “She was the daughter of an Indian Agent and rancher, later turned professional wolf hunter and trapper, and spent her childhood in a remote log cabin. Her parents were the “real deal”, pioneers who had come West in a covered wagon. She liked L'Amour for his authenticity. My grandmother liked L'Amour too”.

Despite this, Jackson actually points to Ernest Haycox, another Oregon native, as his primary influence in the Western genre. Haycox's novel, “The Wild Bunch”, published in 1943, is his favorite Western and probably did more to influence his work than any other Western novel.

“Like L'Amour, Kelton and Faulkner did,” Jackson says, “I tend to write about the places I've seen and the things I know. While there's some artistic license involved, they are real places and I make it a point to utilize as much factual history and real geography as I can in my fiction. If I say something is there, I want my readers to be able to go out and find it. In the case of 'Vengeance on Althouse Creek', due to the generosity of a mining friend, I've had the opportunity to see quite a bit of the Althouse Country. For example, I have visited the sites of the old camps of Grass Flat, Frenchtown Bar and Browntown, as well as been on portions of the old Althouse Trail that runs up the East Fork. Those trails date back to the early 1850's. I've also visited some of the old copper and chromite mines up on the West Fork of Althouse and we went all the way into the headwaters of Sowell Creek which is close to the California border. While it's not really rough country, was once well populated by miners and it's still criss-crossed with old ore roads and mule trails, it's considered a pretty isolated area and very few people go out there.”

Jackson is a past Chairman of Jefferson Mining District and past Chief Executive Officer of the Galice Mining District. Currently, he is a Board Member of Josephine County Historical Society.

As a well known mining rights advocate, he has represented the mining community on public issues and been interviewed on mining related topics and mining history by the Grants Pass Daily Courier, The Oregonian, ABC, NBC and Oregon Public Broadcasting. He wrote a regular column on local mining history for the weekly newspaper Apple Rogue Times, as well as contributed articles to the Roseburg Beacon, 1859 Oregon Magazine and numerous internet sites.

Jackson showed how far he was willing to take his advocacy of mining rights by actually suing Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and three Oregon State Senators for passing state legislation that attacked mining rights.
He is the author of numerous articles and books, including “Gold Dust: Stories of Oregon's Mining Years”, “The Golden Trail: More Stories from Oregon's Mining Years”, “The Troubled Land” and “The Long Dark Trail”.

Video: Lead in Oregon Streams

Please forward this We the People Radio or Youtube page:
Books by Kerby Jackson

Gold Dust: Stories of Oregon's Mining Years

Oregon mining historian and prospector, Kerby Jackson, brings you a treasure trove of seventeen stories on Southern Oregon's rich history of gold prospecting, the prospectors and their discoveries, and the breathtaking areas they settled in and made homes.


The Golden Trail: More Stories of Oregon's Mining Years

In his follow-up to "Gold Dust: Stories of Oregon's Mining Years", Oregon mining historian and prospector, Kerby Jackson, brings you another treasure trove of stories from Oregon's rich history of gold prospecting, about the prospectors and their discoveries, as well as about the breathtaking areas where they made their homes. This time around, Jackson brings us twelve tales from Oregon's Gold Rush, including the story about the first gold strike on Canyon Creek in Grant County, about the old timers who found gold by the pail full at the Victor Mine near Galice, how Iradel Bray discovered a rich ledge of gold on the Coquille River during the height of the Rogue River War, a tale of two elderly miners on the hunt for a lost mine in the Cascade Mountains, details about the discovery of the famous Armstrong Nugget and others.

Websites and material mentioned on today's program:
* If you want to write your congress, see the "We the People " links below..



site search by freefind advanced