As late as 1851, the Rogue Valley was still very much “the realm of Indians,” writes Stephen Dow Beckham in Requiem for a People: The Rogue Indians and the Frontiersmen.
Contrary to local lore, James Clugage and James Pool did not make the initial gold discovery in Southern Oregon. However, they may well deserve credit for triggering the Southern Oregon gold rush of 1852, and they definitely deserve credit for staking claims to what proved to be a different kind of gold mine—the donation land claims that became the City.
In the mid-1800s, the promise of gold and free land lured fortune seekers and settlers to the newly formed Oregon Territory. They were soon followed by merchants who amassed their own wealth selling supplies to the miners and farmers. This ongoing series shares the stories of these pioneers and their times. Henry Klippel was one such immigrant.