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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sunny Valley in Josephine County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

Grave Creek Ranch

1851 - 1918

 

—Grave Creek Covered Bridge Historical Site —

 
Grave Creek Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 30, 2009
1. Grave Creek Ranch Marker
Inscription. This covered bridge is the one remaining covered bridge in Josephine County. It was constructed by Elmer J. Nelson in 1920 as part of the new Pacific Highway project at a cost of $21,128.65. It was built on Josephine County’s first donation land claim.

In the fall of 1846, the first emigrant train from Fort Hall, Idaho, to travel the southern route to the Williamette Valley camped on the north side of this creek, the Woodpile creek. Martha Leland Crowley, 16 years old died of Typhoid fever during this encampment and was buried one-hundred fifty feet north of the creek on the east side of a white oak tree that was later removed for the present roadway, thus the name Grave Creek.

When James H. Twogood laid out his land claim in the fall of 1851 and filed on it May 1, 1852, he named it the Grave Creek Ranch in memory of that unfortunate incident.

McDonough Harkness, his partner, was the first postmaster of Josephine County in the newly named town of Leland on March 28, 1855. Harkness was killed by Indians in April 1856 while riding dispatch for the Army during the second Indian War of southern Oregon which started in October of 1855.

A stockade was built around a log wayside and the hotel building at Leland. The small town was gateway to the lower Rogue country where Indians retreated so it became
Grave Creek Covered Bridge and Grave Creek Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 30, 2009
2. Grave Creek Covered Bridge and Grave Creek Ranch Marker
the gathering point of a large force of regular army and volunteers and was known as Fort Leland.

A major encounter of the war took place some 8 miles west of the Fort known as the Battle of Hungry Hill. This ill-fated engagement produced some 37 dead, wounded and missing. Some of these soldiers were buried north of the Fort at the corner of the present Leland road and old Pacific highway.

The last remnants of old Leland are the 3 large maple trees to the north on the east side of the road & the Ft. Leland rocklined well on the west side of the road both on private property.

In 1860 the Grave Creek Ranch became an overland stage stop for the California Oregon Stage Line. A new hotel known as the Grave House #2 was built and operated until it burned down in Dec. of 1875. A nearby farmhouse was enlarged enough to accommodate the stage company and was known as the Grave Creek House #3 or Harkness Inn. President Hayes, his wife and entourage spent the night here on September 28, 1880.
 
Erected by Josephine County Public Works and Josephine County Historical Society.
 
Location. 42° 38.16′ N, 123° 22.656′ W. Marker is in Sunny Valley, Oregon, in Josephine County. Marker is on Sunny Valley Loop south of Placer Road. Click for map
Directional Sign Approaching the Marker and Covered Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 30, 2009
3. Directional Sign Approaching the Marker and Covered Bridge
. Marker is in this post office area: Wolf Creek OR 97497, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Applegate Trail (here, next to this marker); Wolf Creek Tavern (approx. 4.2 miles away); The First Brick Building in Grants Pass (approx. 13.9 miles away).
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 489 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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