Listeners Offbeat Oregon History page on Facebook. New historic photographs are frequently posted. This link takes you back to my personal hub page at finnjohn.com. It opens in a new browser window. Thrice-weekly RSS audio edition (podcast) and iTunes feed Listen to the Offbeat Oregon History show on Stitcher Internet Radio. Offbeat Oregon History page on Facebook. New historic photographs are frequently posted. Offbeat Oregon on Twitter. This is where you'll find most of the "pop history" community. Offbeat Oregon on Pinterest

Heroes and rascals...
shipwrecks and lost gold ...

Welcome to Offbeat Oregon History, a public-history resource for the state we love. Here's what you'll find here:

  • A weekly newspaper column published in about a dozen Oregon community newspapers;
  • An archive of columns we've published since 2008, with pictures (arranged by date of first publication);
  • A daily podcast (7 to 12 minutes long) optimized for mobile-device listening via iTunes, Stitcher, or the podcatcher of your choice;
  • An active Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest boards;
  • Two pop-history books (and counting!): Heroes and Rascals of Old Oregon and Love, Sex and Murder in Old Oregon. (And Bad Ideas and Horrible People of Old Oregon is coming Summer 2020!)

Enjoy! And if you have any comments on stories, suggestions for column topics or other feedback — or if you're coming by the OSU campus and have time for a cup of coffee with a fellow history dork — drop me a note at fj-@-offbeatoregon-dot-com any time!

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— JANUARY 2020 — LANE & MULTNOMAH COUNTIES, 1860s & 1870s —

With a friend like A.C. Edmunds, early suffragists needed no enemies!

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Abraham Coryell Edmunds, throughout his several careers in Oregon and California, was almost like a cartoon — a larger-than-life loser in the vein of Wile E. Coyote, with a little Carrie Nation mixed in along with a whole lot of Don Quixote.

Nor were his “own-goals” minor affairs. A.C. Edmunds was almost singlehandedly responsible for the demise of the early Universalist Church in California, the temporary collapse of the Universalist congregation in Portland, and for the sudden death of the temperance and women’s suffrage movements in Oregon in 1874. Before he got involved, Oregon was on track to become the first state in which women could vote. His efforts to help make that happen set the process back almost 40 years. ... (to continue reading, click here)

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— FEBRUARY 2020 — CLATSOP COUNTY, 1930s & 1940s —

The Great Sea Serpent of the Columbia River Bar lamely named “Colossal Claude”

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On or just after the Ides of March, 1934, the skipper of the lightship tender Rose returned from dropping off a relief crew on the Columbia River Lightship with a remarkable story.

It seems the entire crew of the lightship, plus the crew of the Rose, saw a huge, snaky thing swimming around the ship – a genuine, bona-fide, honest-to-Godfrey sea serpent.

“It was about 40 feet long,” recounted L.A. Larson, first mate aboard the Rose. “It had a neck some eight feet long, a big round body, a mean-looking tail, and an evil, snaky look to its head.” ... (to continue reading, click here)

Audio (podcast) version of this article:

 

— MARCH 2020 — DOUGLAS & JACKSON COUNTIES, 1870s to 1890s —

Legendary Oregon prospector's death sparked two “Lost Gold Mine” legends

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They found the grizzled prospector’s body slumped over a sample of ore on the floor of the rude log cabin he’d been staying in, deep in the wilderness of southern Oregon, late in the spring of 1897. He’d apparently dropped dead one evening while assaying out the samples he’d gathered that day – probably poisoned by some of the chemicals he was using.

But this wasn’t just any random gold prospector. This badly decomposed body was all that was mortal of the most famous prospector of the American West ‑ and certainly one of the richest and most successful: Ed Schieffelin, the man who discovered and named the Tombstone mine in Arizona.

And by the time Ed’s body was securely buried under a tall miner’s cairn near Tombstone, the hills near that cabin were already alive with eager prospectors following up on the “lost gold mine” legends that sprang up following his death. At least one of those legends is still bringing hopeful prospectors out into the hills of Southern Oregon today.

The rest of this story will be posted on May 9, 2020; but you can probably find it with a Google search on the Website of a participating newspaper!

Audio (podcast) version of this article:
— APRIL 2020 —

Corvallis/Toledo railroad tycoon's war record: Robbery, piracy, hijacking

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Corvallis/Toledo railroad tycoon T. Edgenton Hogg (pronounced “Hoag”) was always a little reticent about his past. Especially the Civil War part.

To some extent, that was understandable. “Colonel” Hogg had fought with the Confederacy in the Civil War. His side had lost, so, sure — better not to talk about it, right?

The rumor mill wasn’t nearly as reticent as Hogg was, of course. Hogg’s status as an ex-Rebel, and the fact that his railroad enterprise put him at odds with some of the powerful Portland businessmen who were writing Oregon’s official history, resulted in some very sketchy rumors finding their way into the historical record — such as the one that claimed he and his crew had been captured while trying to raid opium ships. Had his plans been successful, he certainly would have had a go at any ship, whether it carried opium or not; but as it happened, he never had the chance.

Nevertheless, the real story is so much more bonkers than that, that one wonders why the rumor-passers even bothered with making things up.

The rest of this story will be posted on May 9, 2020; but you can probably find it with a Google search on the Website of a participating newspaper!

— MAY 2020 —

The Offbeat Oregon story for May 2020 will appear in this space.

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A brief introduction to this story will be posted shortly after the first of the month. The full story will be under embargo for two months, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it; then, on July 10, 2020, it will appear in this space!

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!

— JUNE 2020 —

The Offbeat Oregon story for June 2020 will appear in this space.

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A brief introduction to this story will be posted shortly after the first of the month. The full story will be under embargo for two months, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it; then, on August 7, 2020, it will appear in this space!

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!

— JULLY 2020 —

The Offbeat Oregon story for July 2020 will appear in this space.

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A brief introduction to this story will be posted shortly after the first of the month. The full story will be under embargo for two months, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it; then, on September 4, 2020, it will appear in this space!

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!

— AUGUST 2020 —

The Offbeat Oregon story for August 2020 will appear in this space.

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A brief introduction to this story will be posted shortly after the first of the month. The full story will be under embargo for two months, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it; then, on October 9, 2020, it will appear in this space!

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!

— SEPTEMBER 2020 —

The Offbeat Oregon story for September 2020 will appear in this space.

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A brief introduction to this story will be posted shortly after the first of the month. The full story will be under embargo for two months, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it; then, on November 6, 2020, it will appear in this space!

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!

— OCTOBER 2020 —

The Offbeat Oregon story for October 2020 will appear in this space.

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A brief introduction to this story will be posted shortly after the first of the month. The full story will be under embargo for two months, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it; then, on December 3, 2020, it will appear in this space!

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!

— NOVEMBER 2020 —

The Offbeat Oregon story for November 2020 will appear in this space.

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A brief introduction to this story will be posted shortly after the first of the month. The full story will be under embargo for two months, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it; then, on January 8, 2021, it will appear in this space!

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!

— DECEMBER 2020 —

The Offbeat Oregon story for December 2020 will appear in this space.

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A brief introduction to this story will be posted shortly after the first of the month. The full story will be under embargo for two months, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it; then, on February 5, 2021, it will appear in this space!

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!

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