Category Archives: Highlights

Posts that highlight the content of the historic newspapers and demonstrate how they can be used for research.

Warm Springs’ Spilyay Tymoo now online, 1986-2005!

Spilyay Tymoo, the current newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, is now available from 1986-2005 on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website, thanks to a partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, with funding from University of Oregon Libraries donors. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, located in Central Oregon, is a federally recognized Indian Tribe made up of Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute Tribes.

Masthead from the Spilyay Tymoo shows an illustration of a desert mountain scene with a coyote howling.

Spilyay tymoo. (Warm Springs, Or.) May 23, 1986, Image 1.

The Spilyay Tymoo has been in publication since 1976, and continues on a bi-weekly schedule today. While the University of Oregon Libraries has the earliest issues of the paper available in Special Collections, only the issues published between 1986 and 2005 have been microfilmed, and were thus the first to be scanned and made available online. This 19 year span of local, regional, and national Native American news can be keyword searched, via the Historic Oregon Newspapers’ Search page, and the paper’s Calendar View makes it easy to browse issues by date.

Photograph of two men in a boat on a river. Caption reads: "Gathering data chilly job. Warm Springs tribal biologist Mark Fritsch and John Ogan from the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife brave the cold while they collect data. By taking an inventory of native fall chinook carcasses tagged earlier in the year at Sherar's Falls, biologists are able to make population estimates.

Spilyay tymoo. (Warm Springs, Or.) December 29, 1989, Image 1.

The most recent issues of the Spilyay Tymoo can be viewed on the Warm Springs News website, and more information can be found on the Spilyay Tymoo Facebook page.

Clipping shows a photograph of several people sitting inside a longhouse structure, with test that reads: "Celilo Village welcomes new longhouse"

Spilyay tymoo. (Warm Springs, Or.) August 04, 2005, Image 11.

Content from the Spilyay Tymoo, and all newspaper content on Historic Oregon Newspapers that was published after 1922 is available online through a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0 license. Many thanks to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, for partnering with the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program to make the Spilyay Tymoo available to the public online!

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Smoke Signals and Chemawa American Now Available at Historic Oregon Newspapers Online!

Thanks to collaborations with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and funding from University of Oregon (UO) Libraries donors, three new important titles are now available for searching and browsing on Historic Oregon Newspapers online:

Smoke Signals masthead features the title, Smoke Signals, in bold, followed by text that reads: "A publication of the Grand Ronde Tribe, Umpqua, Molalla, Rogue River, Kalapuya, Chasta

Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) July 15, 2013, Image 1.

Weekly Chemawa American masthead

Weekly Chemawa American. (Chemawa, Or.) December 30, 1910, Image 1.

The Chemawa American masthead

The Chemawa American. (Chemawa, Or.) April 01, 1915, Image 1.

This content is now available online in addition to the Klamath Tribune, which was published from 1956-1961 and documents the termination of the Klamath Tribes. (See our blog post from last spring for more information on the Klamath Tribune.)

Smoke Signals, the current newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, is now available for searching and browsing online with issues dating from 1978-2013. Smoke Signals started off as a monthly tribal newsletter in the 1970s as the Tribes were organizing to restore their tribal status, which had been terminated by the federal government in 1954. The U.S. Congress passed the Grand Ronde Restoration Act in 1983, restoring federally recognized status to the Tribes.

Clipping reads: "Grand Ronde's Restored! They say it was the strongest Restoration Bill ever presented to Congress! WIth fifty-seven letters of support and no opposition, our Bill was passed in the House on November 7, 1983, sponsored by Congressman Les AuCoin, D-Ore. 'This is a day of celebration,' said Rep. Les AuCoin, 'The Grand Ronde are a determined people who have earned the dignity of being called a Tribe once more.' On Nov. 11, 1983, Senator Hatfield presented it to the Senate where it passed without going through Committee. THis was a unique situation and was an important factor in its swift passage in the Senate. With this accomplished in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate; both of our Congressmen then pushed for the signing by the President; he signed it on Nov. 22, 1983, making our restoration Bill, H.R. 3885 (Union Calendar No. 276) into LAW! We are, and will ever be, grateful to Congressman AuCoin for introducing our Bill, Sept. 14, 1983; and, for his support and able-assistance throughout this entire legislation. Also, we are thankful to Senator Hatfield for his interest and staunch support which was the factor in the Senate's passage too. We are now looking forward to working with them, especially Congressman AuCoin, during the next two years on our Reservation Plan. We are now planning to have a Restoration celebration tentatively, sometime during the early part of 1984. We will have a notice in the newsletter when all plans are finalized. -Kathryn Harrison, Community Org."

Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) November 01, 1983, Image 3.

In 1995, the paper started appearing twice a month, and in 2005, Smoke Signals became part of the Tribes’ Public Affairs Department. During its lifetime and through numerous staff changes, Smoke Signals has won many journalism awards from the Native American Journalists Association and Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

Clipping shows an image of two children in traditional regalia, dancing inside a gymnasium. Clipping reads: "Tribe Celebrates Restoration. Members unite to give thanks, recognize effort and achievements. Celebration - Tribal members Melissa Biery (left) and Shasta Wilson fancy shawl dance for an admiring crowd at the Annual Grand Ronde Restoration Day Pow-Wow, held in the new gymnasium at the Tribe's Education campus."

Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) December 01, 2002, Image 1.

The majority of issues from Smoke Signals were scanned from microfilm negatives at the University of Oregon (UO) Libraries, but the Tribe scanned and provided several early issues that were missing from the UO Libraries’ microfilm collection.

The Weekly Chemawa American, available online from 1901-1910, featured news articles, literature, and photographs by students who were attending a journalism class taught by staff of the Chemawa Indian Boarding School. The paper covered school news, student achievements, and events, and reported on interesting articles and topics found in various newspapers, such as the Oregonian, in addition to student editorials. By late 1914, the publication shifted to a monthly schedule, dropping “weekly” from the title to become The Chemawa American, now available online from 1914-1915.

Clipping from the Chemawa American reads: "Oregon Rural Schools: our system attracting attention everywhere. That the people living in rural districts of Oregon care more for their schools, are working harder to give their boys and girls a practical education, and have made a greater advance than any other state, is clearly proved by the reception which has been given the rural school  exhibit at the Panama Pacific International Exposition."

The Chemawa American. (Chemawa, Or.) December 01, 1915, Image 10.

Chemawa Indian Boarding School is the oldest continually operating Indian Boarding School in the United States, established in 1880 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Forest Grove, Oregon, and then moved to Salem in 1885. The school has hosted students from throughout the western United States, including special groups of Alaskan natives, Navajo Indians, and in the earliest years, primarily students from Oregon’s tribal reservations. The school is still in operation today under management by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Image from the Weekly Chemawa American shows a fence and gate with a sign that says "Indian Training School" surrounding a yard with two trees and a building in the distance. Children are standing around the scene, with one child on a bicycle. Image is on the front page of Vol. 6 issue 8, dated November 14, 1902. Caption reads "Main school entrance."

Weekly Chemawa American. (Chemawa, Or.) November 14, 1902, Image 1.

All issues of the weekly and monthly Chemawa American were carefully scanned from the original paper documents, borrowed from the Cultural Exhibits and Archives program of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, where they are housed as part of the Charles Holmes collection. Charles Holmes was a teacher and the student newspaper advisor at the Chemawa Indian School from the 1950s – 1970s, and the collection includes thousands of photographs, correspondence, media, and other documents. Students at Willamette University have been working to catalogue and archive the many photographs from the Chemawa Indian School that are part of the Charles Holmes collection, led by archaeology professor Rebecca Dobkins in collaboration with the Tribes (read more about this project at

Image shows a student with a yearbook and laptop, working at a desk. Caption reads: "Emilie Jensen, a senior at Willamette University in Salem, looks through a Chemawa Indian School yearbook from 1961 as she works on an assignment for her Native North American Cultures class in the college's archives on Thurs. Nov. 15. The yearbook is part of a collection that Chemawa industrial arts teacher and yearbook and newspaper advisor Charles Holmes had. The collection was donated to the Tribes after he walked on in 2011.

Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) December 01, 2012, Image 5.

Special thanks to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, as well as Jennifer O’Neal, University Historian and Archivist at the University of Oregon Libraries, and David Lewis (CTGR Tribal Historian), for facilitating this significant digitization project!

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The Aurora Borealis Now Online!

Thanks to a partnership with the Aurora Colony Historical Society and Museum of Aurora, Oregon, issues from May-December 1908 of the town’s historic newspaper, The Aurora Borealis, are now available for keyword searching and browsing at Historic Oregon Newspapers online!

Clipping shows masthead from the Aurora Borealis

The Aurora borealis. (Aurora, Or.) 19??-1909, May 28, 1908, Image 1.

Founded as a Christian communal colony in the 1850s, Aurora was populated by several hundred members of the Bethel Colony in Missouri, mostly German and Swiss immigrants, led by founder Wilhelm Keil across the Oregon Trail. Despite hardships in the new frontier, Aurora colonists thrived until Keil’s death in 1877 and the subsequent dissolution of the colony, which is now incorporated as the City of Aurora.

Clipping reads: "Aurora is conceded by all to be one of the prettiest residence towns in the Valley. Surrounded by the finest farming country in Oregon, and populated with as good people as you can find anywhere, why shouldn't it be desirable to locate in?"

The Aurora borealis. (Aurora, Or.) 19??-1909, August 13, 1908, Image 2.

Content from The Aurora Borealis can be browsed by issue date via the website’s calendar view, and keyword searches of the title can be performed on the Search page by selecting “The Aurora Borealis” on the “Select Newspaper(s)” list. The paper covered news at all levels, including world, national, state, and of course local:

Clipping from the "Personal and Local" section of the paper reads: "The Wilsonville baseball nine will play the Sherwood WhiteSox at Wilsonville on Sunday, June 21. The occasion will be the celebrated German picnic, where everybody in attendance is expected to enjoy themselves to the limit. Frank Miller went to Portland on business Wednesday. Miss Mary Schuman of San Francisco is visiting relatives in Aurora and vicinity. Otto Blosser had the misfortune to mutilate his finger while working on a buggy at Sam Miller's livery stable last Thursday, making it necessary for the doctor to lance it. He is unable to do any kind of work as a result. COW FOR SALE - One fresh milk cow. E.W. Smidt, Aurora, Oregon, R.F.D.3."

The Aurora borealis. (Aurora, Or.) 19??-1909, June 18, 1908, Image 3.

Explore the many articles, advertisements, and other interesting tidbits that The Aurora Borealis has to offer, and discover Oregon’s history at Historic Oregon Newspapers online.


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Hillsboro Now Represented on Historic Oregon Newspapers Online!

Several historic newspaper titles from Hillsboro, county seat of Washington County, Oregon, are now available for keyword searching and browsing online at Historic Oregon Newspapers, thanks to a partnership with the Hillsboro Public Library! The following titles can be found listed in alphabetical order on the Historic Oregon Newspapers Titles page, and they can be selected for title-specific keyword searching on the Search page:

Washington Independent

Masthead from the Washington independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 1874-18??, September 21, 1876, Image 1.

Washington County Independent

Masthead from Washington County independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 18??-188?, January 17, 1881, Image 1.

The Independent. A Government of the People, for the People, and by the People.

Masthead from The independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 188?-189?, April 26, 1888, Image 1.

Hillsboro Independent

Masthead from Hillsboro independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 189?-1932, September 08, 1893, Image 1.

The Argus

Masthead from The Argus. (Hillsboro, Or.) 1894-1895, August 09, 1894, Image 1.

The Hillsboro Argus

Masthead from The Hillsboro argus. (Hillsboro, Or.) 1895-current, August 15, 1895, Image 1.

Here are just a few clippings from these titles that we found to be interesting, but there are countless more headlines, articles, advertisements, images, and other curiosities just waiting to be discovered in these Hillsboro newspapers!

Photo of a street, with caption: "street scene in Hillsboro"

Hillsboro independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 189?-1932, February 08, 1907, Image 8.

Article from the Hillsboro Argus states: "Washington County, the county bountiful of Oregon. By virtue of location alone, Washington County is most favored. Being just a short run from Portland, the business center of the state, furnishes opportunity for the farmer to go there, dispose of his products and return home the same day. This is, of course, always a most valuable phase of the situation, for many people of means desire to live within comparatively easy access to a metropolis, and when the projected electric road is complete, Hillsboro will be an ideal spot for the country homes of Portland business men who can go to and from the city with promptness and comfort."

The Hillsboro argus. (Hillsboro, Or.) 1895-current, February 07, 1907, The Resources of Washington County, Image 5.

Clipping shows photo of an older couple with text that reads: "Sixtieth anniversary. There are few couples who live to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary, but Hillsboro has one. Mr. and Mrs. J.Q. Adams, of Seventh Street, were wedded sixty years April 18, and all the living sonds and daughters were in attendance excepting Charles E. who lives in Texas, and Mrs. Chas Coffin, of Todd, Alaska. Twenty-seven grandchildren were in attendance. A splendid time was enjoyed by the descendants of this worthy couple. The Argus joins in wishing Mr. and Mrs. Adams many more anniversaries."

The Hillsboro argus. (Hillsboro, Or.) 1895-current, June 03, 1920, Image 5.


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Klamath Tribune Broadens Scope of Historic Oregon Newspapers Online

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program (ODNP) is pleased to announce the addition of the Klamath Tribune to the Historic Oregon Newspapers online keyword-searchable database! Published in Chiloquin, Oregon from 1956-1961 by the Klamath Information and Education Program (a facet of the Oregon State Department of Education), this is the first newspaper solely covering Tribal issues that we have digitized and added to the website, in partnership with the Klamath Tribes and a generous University of Oregon Libraries donor.

Klamath Tribune Masthead

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, February 01, 1960, Image 1.

The Klamath Tribune was published in the wake of the U.S. Congress’ 1954 decision to terminate federal recognition of the Klamath Tribes, which include the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Band of Paiute Indians. The decision was controversial, given that an official report from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) stated that the Klamath Tribes did not meet the criteria for termination, and there was major opposition from Tribal members. The Klamath Termination Act, otherwise known as Public Law 587, was framed in the context of helping the Tribes, but the effects of termination were overwhelmingly negative. (More information can be found online at The Klamath Tribes’ website.)

Clipping reads: "It is the purpose of this article to explain to the Klamath people the methods we intend to use and the objectives of the informational program as authorized under section 26 of Public Law 587. Public Law 587 provides for the ending of federal supervision over the property and income of the Klamath Indians, both as a tribe and as individuals. This means that under the law as passed, individual members of the tribe will no longer be subject to Federal control over their property and income as of August 13, 1958."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 1.

The Klamath Information and Education Program was created to help Tribal members assimilate into Anglo-American culture. Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Klamath Tribune appeared in November of 1956 as a means of communication with Tribal members in preparation for termination and to inform them of educational opportunities available to them under Section 26 of the termination law, which stated that:

Sec. 26. Prior to the issuance of a proclamation in accordance with the provisions of section 18 of this Act, the Secretary is authorized to undertake, within the limits of available appropriations, a special program of education and training designed to help the members of the tribe earn a livelihood, to conduct their own affairs, and to assume their responsibilities as citizens without special services because of their status as Indians. Such program may include language training, orientation in non-indian community customs and living standards, vocational training and related subjects, transportation to the place of training or instruction, and subsistence during the course of training or instruction. For the purposes of such program the Secretary is authorized to enter into contracts or agreements with any Federal, State, or local government agency, corporation, association, or person. Nothing in this section shall preclude any Federal agency from undertaking any other program for the education and training of Indians with funds appropriated to it. Approved August 13, 1954."

Section 26 from Public Law 587, “An Act to provide for the termination of Federal supervision over the property of the Klamath Tribe of Indians located in the State of Oregon and the individual members thereof, and for other purposes.”

The Klamath Tribune included:

Tribal news, with a focus on education-related news items and individual achievements:

Photo of two young women working with test tubes and other scientific equipment, with caption that reads: "Helen Nelson Now Studying Medical Technology At O.T.I. Under Klamath Education Program."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, February 01, 1958, Image 1.

“Q&A” sections about the Termination law (otherwise known as “Public Law 587”):

Clipping reads: "Public Law 587 Information Given; Questions Raised by Tribal Members. Following are some of the questions concerning public law 587, which have been asked most often by members of the Klamath Tribe with the answers to those questions. General: 1. Question: If a member of the tribe elects to withdraw under the termination law or decides to sell his allotted lands, must he leave the reservation? Answer: No, as a citizen of the United States he is free to live anywhere he chooses. However, if he sells his land to another person, he can no longer live on those lands without the new owner's permission. 2. Question: Under Public Law 587, at what point will cash payment be made to those who wish to withdraw from the tribe? Answer: Under section 5 a (3), it is provided that whenever funds from sale of tribal property have accumulated in the amount of $200,000 or more, such funds shall be distributed equally to the members electing to withdraw. Thereafter distribution shall be made any time such funds total $200,000 or more until all the property set aside for sale has been sold and the funds distributed. Guardianships: 1. Question: What is section 15 of Public Law 587 and what is its purpose? Answer: Section 15 relates to guardianships for tribal members who need guardians. Section 15 was included to make sure that the money and property of minors and persons adjudged to be mentally incompetent by a state court are protected. Section 15 also deals with persons who for other reasons need help in handling their money and other property. 2. Question: Were guardianship law established for the Klamath Indians only? Answer: No, section 15 conforms to existing laws in Oregon requiring that guardianships be established to protect the property of minors and others in need of protection. The property of any child in Orgon, Indian or non Indian, can not be handled by another person without the establishment of a guardianship. 3. Question: What are the steps in setting up a guardianship in Oregon?"

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 3.

Recommendations for agriculture, ranching, and home-keeping practices:

Clipping shows an illustration of an alfalfa plant, and says, "Alfalfa has a deep tap-root system. Because of this characteristic it does not do well on soil that has a hardpan near the surface. Often subsoiling or chiseling is only of temporary benefit, but it will help the roots to penetrate into the subsoil. Good drainage, both surface and sub-surface, are necessary for a thrifty alfalfa stand. During winter when the plants are dormant they may withstand several days of flooding, but during the growing season one day of flood may harm them greatly."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 4.

Information on water rights, and other political, economic, and environmental issues:

"Water Use Increases Crop Production, Protects Water Rights. Will you have any water rights after termination? You can greatly strengthen your right to the use of irrigation water by developing it before termination. The time to start that irrigation system is right now so it can be used this year."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, April 01, 1957, Image 4.

Although Tribal perspectives were included, the paper was primarily dedicated to persuading Tribal members to actively learn and participate in the dominant Anglo-American culture and way of doing things:

Advertisement says "Have You Registered to Vote? Deadline for registration in Oregon is October 7, 1960...For the City of Chiloquin election register at the Chiloquin City Hall. Register, then vote. Power in a democracy springs from the People." Illustration shows a line of different people waiting to go to the voting booth, with a stereotypical-looking Native American, labeled "Ed Chilquin", at the end of the line.

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, September 01, 1960, Image 4.

The last issue of the Tribune was published in July of 1961. By 1986, the Klamath Tribes were successful in restoring their federally recognized tribal status through the Klamath Restoration Act. The addition of the Klamath Tribune to the Historic Oregon Newspapers database is a crucial step towards representing the full range of Oregon’s history and cultural heritage in our online newspaper collection. Go check it out, explore, and see for yourself! You never know what you might find in the newspaper pages of the past.


Robbins, William G. “Subtopic : People, Politics, and the Environment Since 1945: Termination.” The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <;

The Klamath Tribes. “History.” The Klamath Tribes. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <;

The Klamath Tribes. “Termination.” The Klamath Tribes. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <;

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The Curse of the Courier

The History page of Historic Oregon Newspapers online provides essays for each title in the collection describing the unique history, content and context in which each newspaper was produced. Several new essays, written by our ODNP Essayist and graduate student in the University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation program, Emily Vance, have just been added to the site, covering many of the Oregon City titles and others that have recently been added to the database. While researching the history of the Oregon City Courier, Emily began to notice an eerie trend amongst the paper’s many editors over time. In what seems to be the beginning of an “X-Files” of sorts for Oregon’s historic newspapers, Emily shares the secrets that she uncovered in her debut blog post, “The Curse of the Courier!”


The Oregon City Courier has a long and intriguing history in the state.  We have the advantage of being able to look back at one of the very first issues in 1883 and follow the paper’s transformation over time, which was suspicious to say the least.  During its 67 years in print, the Courier changed names and editors perhaps a little too frequently.  From 1902 to 1919, when the turnover rate for the Courier was at its peak, the paper was replacing its editor about every two years.  Not long after leaving the paper, several of the Courier’s editors would fall victim to mysterious illnesses or bizarre accidents.  Suicide, social scandals and even exploding coffee pots seemed to be drawn to editors-past.  Perhaps it was being passed around so much, the ever-changing names and owners, that left the Courier feeling abandoned, unwanted and, ultimately, vengeful.  Perhaps it was the ghost of President William McKinley who came back to haunt the men who so harshly criticized him, hoping that maybe next time they’ll put the assassination of a president on the front page and not on page six, crammed between advertisements for Castoria Digestive Syrup and fur coats:

Clipping shows a brief mention of the assassination of President McKinley, on page six between advertisements for Castoria and Furs.

Hail to the Chief?
Oregon City courier=herald. (Oregon City, Or.) 1898-1902, September 20, 1901, Image 6.

What was lurking in the pages of the Courier?  What could explain the mysterious circumstances surrounding the lives and deaths of the Courier’s editors in the early 1900s?

Our story begins on April 15, 1904 when John H. Westover, after only two years at the helm of the Oregon City Courier, innocently sold the paper to Shirley Buck and Professor Henry L. McCann.  Westover had only just moved to Oregon and after resigning his post, immediately left the state for reasons unknown.  McCann and Buck remained for a very short time as well, and both left the paper in 1906.  In 1910, only a handful of years after leaving the Courier, McCann was found dead “by the side of a deserted cabin in a lonely canyon” a few miles outside of Condon, a gunshot blow to his head.  He had committed suicide after scandalous accusations arose while he was principal at Gilliam County High School, a post he had taken after leaving the Courier.  Rumors of McCann being “mentally unbalanced” surrounded his death, but no such charges of mental deficiency surfaced before his work at the Courier.

Erring Principal Committs Suicide. Discovery of His Unbecoming Conduct Too Much for H.L. McCann.

One editor’s unfortunate fate…
Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.) 1861-1937, June 01, 1910, Image 5.

After McCann and Buck, editorship passed to Edward Brodie and A. E. Frost.  After hitting the two year mark, they, too, turned the paper over to the next unsuspecting editor, William A. Shewman, who took charge in 1908.  Shewman would remain at the Courier for three years – a year longer than most – which may have been his undoing.  Shewman left in 1911, at which point his health declined sharply.  Shewman would never recover after working at the Courier and passed away in 1913 after battling a long and serious illness.

W.A. Shewman's Death Peaceful. Well known publisher dies late Monday afternoon in Portland.

Morning enterprise. (Oregon City, Or.) 1911-1933, April 22, 1913, Image 1.

M. J. Brown replaced Shewman in 1911. Instead of resigning his post at the two year mark, the Courier had something else in store for Brown.  In 1913, Brown was indicted for criminal libel due to matters printed in the June 27th issue of the Courier.  The scandal involved Brown publishing allegations that several county officials rebated their own taxes.  Despite the rather unexciting criminal delinquency, Brown remained at the helm of the Courier until February 18, 1915, at which point he sold the paper – two years after his indictment.  His four years as editor is truly a remarkable feat but one which must have surely left him mad, since he immediately left town after selling the paper, never to be seen again.  Well, at least for several years.  More reliable sources indicate that he actually just moved to Corvallis to start a poultry farm.

Rebating their own taxes. In last month's county court expenses we find three interesting items under tax rebates: W.T. Mattoon...$20.20, N. Blair...$14.30, R.B. Beatie...$4.00. The above rebates are to the three members of the county court, audited by themselves.

Oregon City courier. (Oregon City, Or.) 1902-1919, June 27, 1913, Image 1.

E. R. Brown, unrelated to M. J. Brown, purchased the paper in 1915 but, unsurprisingly, wouldn’t last a year in charge, and Cecil W. Robey was the editor and business manager in 1916.  By 1919 when the Courier was printing as the Banner-Courier, Fred J. Tooze and Halbert E. Hoss replaced Robey as editor.  Robey, however, wouldn’t get off that easy as the Courier was merely biding its time.  The year after leaving the Courier, Robey would fall victim to an “exploding coffee pot” while camping in Molalla country; a bewildering event.  The “air tight coffee pot filled with boiling coffee, and the force of the explosion caused the pot to fly into the air, the cover striking Robey in the face, while the hot coffee poured over his face and clothing.”  Robey, who was thrown “head over heels,” very nearly lost his sight  and suffered bad burns on his face and body.


The Curse strikes again!
Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.) 1861-1937, June 09, 1920, Image 2.

In 1924 Edward A. Koen purchased the paper.  E. A. Koen, along with his son Edward P. Koen, would edit and publish the newspaper for the next 26 years.  The name and editor wouldn’t change for decades.  This consistency seems to have appeased the Courier since, it would seem, no ill befell the Koens for decades.  It appears the Curse of the Courier is broken… for now.

–Written by Emily Vance

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Morrow County now represented in Historic Oregon Newspapers online!

In partnership with the Morrow County Museum in Heppner, Oregon, several early newspapers from Heppner are now available for keyword searching and browsing online at Historic Oregon Newspapers!

Incorporated on Feb. 9, 1887, the town of Heppner has seen many years’ worth of historical events in the Northeastern region of Oregon. In 1885, Morrow County was created, carved from the already existing Umatilla County. In 1888, Heppner welcomed it’s first railroad line, which was a spur from the Columbia River. As more railroads and roads were added over the years, Heppner became a regional trade center. You can follow the community’s enthusiasm and the development of the railroad through these historic newspapers with a  search for “railroad,” limited to Heppner titles with results listed in date order. We found the following entries, but there are over 2,000 pages of Heppner newspapers that mention railroads, so you won’t be bored!

In June of 1888, there was much anticipation for the coming railroad as a contributor to economic boom:

Editorial from the Heppner Weekly Gazette reads: "The Gazette. Heppner, Thursday, June 14, 1888. Everyy inhabitant of these primitive Heppner hills looks with pride to our town which came into existence sixteen years ago, and has been growing steadily year after year without interruption ever since. It is to-day a rustling, bustling, wide-awake place, a counterpart of its inhabitants, who are people of broad, liberal views, kind-hearted and energetic and have never been known to shrink from putting up when the general prosperity of the community demanded it. With a railroad now building to Heppner, stage roads and tri-weekly mail routes being projected to reach out to Haystack and Camp Watson, Monument, Long Creek, Fox Valley and Canyon City, and every part of the country that demands such conviniences, places this town in a position to enjoy the fruits of past labors. Property is increasing in value in a manner that is encouraging to owners of real estate. Once piece of property that cost $800 a short time ago, sold recently for $2000; another was bought for $150 and sold for $300 in ten days, and we might name many other transactions of like nature. We have a boom and no mistake. To be brief, gentle reader, come and see Heppner. It is the coming railroad and educational town of Morrow Co. A few hundred dollars invested now, means thousands of clean cash right in your pocket, and in comparatively short time."

Heppner weekly gazette. (Heppner, Umatilla County, Or.) 1883-1890, June 14, 1888, Image 2.

By late November of 1888, the railroad was complete, a cause for celebration:

Clipping from the Heppner Weekly Gazette reads: "One thousand people were present, among whom were many pioneers, who no doubt could hardly realize the change since 1872. At 3 o'clock, the last rail being laid, Mayor Henry Blackman made a short address, yet to the point, which is as follows: 'Fellow Citizens and Ladies: We have assembled here for the purpose of celebrating the completion of the railroad, which connects this city and surrounding country with the outer world. Those who are present among the pioneers who established Heppner in 1872 at that time never dreamed that the iron horse would traverse the Heppner Hills, but it is an actual fact, and we welcome it, not only as the advance guard of civilization, but the opening up of vast acres of grazing, agricultural and timber lands.' "

Heppner weekly gazette. (Heppner, Umatilla County, Or.) 1883-1890, November 29, 1888, Image 2.

As the county seat, Heppner was and still is the home of the Morrow County Courthouse. Constructed in 1903, it is one of the oldest continually used courthouses in Oregon, not to mention a fabulous example of American Renaissance architecture. That same year, a devastating flood crashed through the town killing hundreds of community members and destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property. Gruesome reports of victims and body parts being found months after the event can be seen in the Heppner Times, from which digitized issues are available from late 1903 to late 1904:

A clipping reads: "Glen Davis found a human foot one day last week as he was cleanin out an irrigation ditch. It undoubtedly belonged to a flood victim."

Heppner times. (Heppner, Or.) 1???-1912, April 14, 1904, Image 4.

The very same page contains a surprising advertisement for, well, see for yourself:

Clipping reads: "Chinaware Decorated with Heppner Flood scenes - a useful and pretty souvenir"

Heppner times. (Heppner, Or.) 1???-1912, April 14, 1904, Image 4.

Another flood struck again in 1918, along with two fires that destroyed many buildings and homes in the community. The Heppner Herald was one of the many businesses affected by the fire of June, 1918, which apparently started in or near the Palace Hotel and spread by wind, destroying four and a half city blocks. Publisher S.A. Pattison gives his perspective in the July 5, 1918 issue of the paper, which came out a day late due to the fire:

Clipping reads: " Somewhat Disfigured, Still in the Ring. The Herald appears a day late this week and in tabloid form due to certain circumstances over which the publisher had no control. To be brief and frank with this tale of woe the Herald has no more of a printing plant this morning than a rabbit has fighting qualities and the publisher and his family have no more household goods and not much more clothing than a family of sparrows. Everything in home and office was completely wiped out in Thursday's fire and it is only because of the courtesy and true neighborliness of Mr. Crawford and the Gazette-Times force that we are able to appear even in condensed form and only one day late."

Heppner herald. (Heppner, Or.) 1914-1924, July 05, 1918, Image 1.

The Heppner Hotel, built in 1920, was part of the town’s rebuilding after the several disasters, and it is one of the historic buildings still standing in Heppner today:

Clipping reads: "Furniture Going in New Heppner Hotel. Rooms ready for guests this week. Dining room probably ready for Christmas - All Equipment First Class. The new Heppner hotel is the scene of much activity this week with a small army of workment installing the carpets, furniture and other equipment. The work is being rushed in order to accomodate the public at the earliest possible moment.

Heppner herald. (Heppner, Or.) 1914-1924, December 14, 1920, Image 1.

These clippings are just a few examples of the content that can be found in Heppner’s historic newspapers. Search or browse these titles and see what other kinds of interesting things you can find!

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