The Olwells and Snowy Butte Orchard
June 26, , Tuesday
Day showery, rained heavy, shower at our house about noon. Childers, Getchell, Carter, Gatewood and Frank hauled hay until noon and afternoon went berrying. Got a few raspberries and some blackberries. My wife and Emma Cole done the housework and I went to old man Fountain's to see him for Beck. In evening Mr. Olwell from Nodaway Co., Mo. came to stay all night. He is out looking at our country with intention of locating here.
Martin Peterson Diary
LIBERAL.--Mr. Olwell, of the Phoenix Mills, offers to bear one-fifth of the expense of building a new school house in Phoenix, and we understand there are others of the prominent citizens of that place who will also contribute liberally to this laudable enterprise. A good school house is a positive necessity to our thriving little town, and will add much to its good fame and its prosperity.--Tidings.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 23, 1879, page 3
Olwell's mill at Phoenix has closed down for the present, the wheat supply being almost exhausted. The steam mill at Jacksonville is also running irregularly for the same reason.
"The Northwest," Oregonian, Portland, March 23, 1881, page 1
We learn that P. W. Olwell has sold some land in Phoenix to the Germans who at first thought of establishing a brewery at Medford. They propose going into the same business at the former place.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 8, 1884, page 3
Loui Colver Killed.
This community was shocked last Sunday by the announcement that P. W. Olwell had killed Loui Colver at Phoenix the night before, mistaking the latter for a burglar. The following statement by Dr. George Kahler of Phoenix is how it occurred, and we publish it as furnished: In consideration of the fact that many and incorrect rumors are in circulation relative to the death of Loui Colver of our village, I thought a true statement of the facts in the case would be acceptable to the public. About midnight of the 8th inst., I was awakened by screams of a neighbor woman, and on hastily going to the door she said someone was trying to get in her house. I ran to her assistance and found on opening her front door someone on the porch, and ordered him to leave. He did not move off and I shut the door and inquired of the lady if she had a pistol in the house. She said no, and just at that moment two window panes were broken with a crash and the lady commenced to scream again. I sprang to the window, and as no one tried to enter I again opened the door and looked out, when the man had disappeared. In a few moments Loui Colver and his man came down the walk with a lantern, having been aroused by the screams, and said he had seen a man run across the road. They went across to Mr. Olwell's plank fence and looked over and around but could not see anyone, came back across the road and we talked a moment or two when we heard screams from Mr. Olwell's house. As I was still in my bare feet I ran up to my house to get my boots on and L. Colver and his man ran toward Mr. Olwell's, and at this moment we heard shots being fired at Mr. Olwell's. I hurried over and when I reached Olwell's gate I found Loui lying there, and he says to me Mr. Olwell has shot me. I then called to Olwell in a loud voice, speaking his name, you have shot Loui Colver. He answered I can't help it, someone has shot me. I then went up to the window, seeing him standing inside with the gun in his hand, and asked him if he were really shot. He answered no, but I was shot at. Then Mr. Lowe and I carried Loui home and when we entered the hall we found a man lying on the floor of the hall apparently asleep, and on examination found him to be drunk. We took him in, put him in care of the constable, who kept him till next day, but we could not find anything to base a charge on, so turned him loose. Loui was shot through the thigh with two balls, one entering just in the track of the femoral artery and immediately below Poupart's ligament and the other about three inches below. The following is Mr. Olwell's statement of what occurred in his house as near as he could tell: Mrs. Olwell was awakened by hearing one of the outside doors opened, and listening intently heard someone tinkering at the lock of the inside door, when she whispered to Mr. Olwell that someone was trying to get in the room. He heard the same sound and as noiselessly as possible got his shotgun and moved to the door and listened, heard a picking at the lock, and with his gun cocked and in his right hand, suddenly opened the door when a pistol was fired which caused him to recoil, at the same time discharging his gun and closing the door. He felt stunned and cried out to his wife that he was shot, and for her to fetch him the rifle, which she did. He then turned and saw a glimmer of light at the front of the house, and hearing voices there, thought there were accomplices trying to get in at that part of the house, and saw through the window what he took to be burglars and fired on them with what awful effect we know. Loui died about 2 o'clock the following afternoon, very suddenly and unexpectedly. The sad affair has cast a gloom over the whole community, not only on account of the affliction of the bereaved family but also for Mr. Olwell and family, who are nearly distracted about it.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 15, 1884, page 3
P. W. Olwell's sons have a fish trap in Bear Creek, in Phoenix, with which they have taken a large number of fine salmon trout this spring. The fish find a ready market here and at Jacksonville.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, May 2, 1884, page 3
A report has been in circulation for some time past that P. W. Olwell was going to move his flouring mill from Phoenix to Medford but in an interview yesterday he denied that such was the case. He says that he runs his mill eighteen hours a day, finds a ready sale for his flour and has not the least trouble in disposing of his hogs in his present location and wants to know where the necessity of a change comes in. The report that the Jacksonville distillery would be moved to Medford is equally without foundation.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 7, 1885, page 3
Suit for damages has been commenced against P. W. Olwell of Phoenix for the accidental killing of L. A. Colver some time since. No one doubts but that it was an accident, and how a money consideration could now quiet the feelings of either the widow or Mr. Olwell is more than we can comprehend. We doubt not that Mr. Olwell would gladly give all his earthly possessions if Loui Colver could be returned, but money at this time would not lessen the sorrow of the widow nor ease the heartaches of Mr. Olwell.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 21, 1885, page 3
There is some activity in the grain market, consequent upon war rumors from Europe, and much wheat has changed hands at an advanced figure. G. Karewski sold 10,000 bushels last week to Plymale & Angle of Medford, for the Salem flouring mills, and we learn that P. W. Olwell of Phoenix has also sold a large quantity. The rate paid was 60 cents a bushel, sacked and delivered at the railroad. This is not a big price, but more satisfactory than that offered for several months past, even if buyers do require the train to be free from all kinds of rubbish. As long as the railroad company maintains its exorbitant freight charges, grain cannot be raised with much profit in southern Oregon.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 1, 1885, page 3
Roberts & O'Neil of Medford precinct sold 3,000 bushels of wheat to P. W. Olwell of the Phoenix mills, and they got 60 cents a bushel for it.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 20, 1886, page 3
STATE OF OREGON.
March Term, 1886.
As Administratrix, and
As Administrator of the
Estate of Lewellen Colver, Deceased,
vs.PHILIP W. OLWELL,
Appeal from Jackson County.
H. K. HANNA,
P. P. PRIM,
J. T. BOWDITCH,
Attorneys for Respondent.
Respondent's Brief.This is an action for damages, brought by the personal representatives of Lewellen Colver, deceased, against Philip W. Olwell, for the alleged killing of their intestate, Lewellen Colver.
HISTORY OF THE CASE.Lewellen Colver was injured on the night of the 8th day of March, 1884, at the town of Phoenix, in Jackson County, Oregon. At that time the state of society in and about Phoenix was bad. The railroad was in process of construction through the valley, and the terminus was at Phoenix. The construction of the railroad caused large numbers of idle, dissolute and dishonest men--gamblers, thieves, etc.--to congregate in and about its terminus, like the camp followers of an army, who were waiting, Micawber-like, "for something to turn up." There was a general feeling of insecurity among the citizens; they felt unsafe, had to be very careful about going out after night, and took more than ordinary care to see that their doors were locked, etc.--much more so than at other times. The explosion of firearms was frequently heard, both night and day. The "track-layers," graders, etc., who were then in the vicinity of Phoenix bore a bad reputation and were considered, generally, as rough and dangerous men; in fact, as one witness expressed it, "the town was full of hard characters, and all the people were more or less alarmed for their safety and the safety of their property."
Philip W. Olwell, the defendant and respondent, was a citizen of the town of Phoenix at that time; was a leading business man, owning and running the large flouring mill of Phoenix; was in the habit of handling and keeping by him, to meet the necessities of his business, large sums of money, and having in his possession and in his house at the time Lewellen Colver was killed, six or seven thousand dollars. He resided with his family, consisting of his wife and seven children, most of them small, in his family residence on the east side of the principal or main street in said town. He, in common with the citizens of said town, had become alarmed for the safety of himself, his family and his property. He also had been warned about the danger he was in from the bad characters who infested the town, and about three weeks prior to the killing of Colver had provided himself with a shotgun and repeating rifle, which he kept in his bedroom.
On the night of the said 8th of March, 1884, which is described by witnesses as moonlight, but cloudy and raining, not light enough to recognize persons, even if close to them, unless they spoke and were recognized by their voice, and about 1 o'clock in the morning, his wife, Margaret Olwell, who was sleeping in the same room with him but in a different bed, which room is situated on the ground floor of his house, adjoining the sitting room, heard the outer door of the dining room swing back against the partition, and heard the knob of the door strike the partition. She listened, and presently heard someone working at the lock of the door leading from the sitting room into the dining room. She spoke in a low voice to her husband and awoke him. He got out of bed, went to the door, and listening heard the same noise, as though someone was trying to take the fastenings off the door, which were on the dining room side, or turn the key in the lock. He went back to the bedroom and got his shotgun, telling his wife there was someone in the house trying to rob them. He went back to the door, cocking the right barrel of the gun, which was the only barrel loaded. He thought at first he would shoot through the door, but changed his mind, and suddenly unlocking it pushed it ajar. The door opened against someone; he saw the form of a large man, and in an instant a gun or pistol flashed in his face. The man had shot at him. He jumped back, pulling the door with him, and in doing so his own gun went off, lodging the charge in the door casing about six inches from the floor. He called to his wife that he was shot, to bring him his rifle. She brought the rifle. He told her to hold the door, and hearing something at the front door, said to her: "My God, we are surrounded by robbers and must fight for our lives." He then started towards the front window to raise the blind and look out, the blind on that window being down; but his wife, in a low tone of voice, told him not to raise the blind, as they might see him and shoot him through the window. He then thought he would shoot through the front door, but changed his mind and stepped back to his former position between the dining room door and the side window, and looking through the side window nearest the front door, the blind on which was up, saw indistinctly the form of a man and a glimmer of light, and supposing him to be the burglar, or one of the burglars, by whom he thought he was surrounded, he fired three shots at him in rapid succession. Trying his gun again he found that his cartridges were exhausted, and called to his wife to bring him some more. Just then he heard a voice calling, "Olwell, Olwell, don't shoot any more; you have killed Louie Colver." He recognized the voice as Dr. George Kahler's. Struck with horror at the thought of having injured one of his best friends, and dazed at the thought of Colver being in such a position at that time of night, he answered: "I can't help it; I have been shot myself." Dr. Kahler said: "Are you really shot?" He answered: "I don't know; but I have been shot at." He then opened the front door and told Kahler to bring him in; but the wounded man desired to be taken to his own home, and they carried him there. Doctors were sent for, who placed him under opiates. He lived until about 2 o'clock p.m. of the same day, when he suddenly and unexpectedly died. The testimony also disclosed that the doors of the kitchen and dining room were closed that night by Wm. Olwell before going to bed, and that he usually attended to that matter; that after the shooting all the doors leading into the kitchen and dining room were found open.
The causes which led to Lewellen Colver being at the house and inside the enclosure of Philip W. Olwell at that time of night are as follows:
On the west side of the street and about one hundred and twenty-five yards south of Philip W. Olwell's house, in a house fronting on the street, the porch of the house forming a part of the sidewalk, where D. M. McCarthy, an engineer in the employ of the railroad, and his wife resided. Mr. McCarthy at that time was absent from home. Dr. George Kahler and his family resided in a house on the same lot, a little south and back of McCarthy's, and Lewellen Colver, the deceased, still farther south. A short time prior to the trouble at Olwell's house Dr. George Kahler was aroused by the screams of Mrs. McCarthy. Hastily going to the house Mrs. McCarthy let him inside at the side door, and told him there was a man on the front porch trying to get into the house. Dr. Kahler went to the front door, and opening it saw a man standing on the porch. The Doctor told him to get away from there, hastily shut the door and began feeling around for a weapon, at the same time asking Mrs. McCarthy if she had a pistol. She said she had none. Just then one of the front window lights crashed in and the Doctor ran to the window and put his arm quickly through the broken pane, but could not feel anything. After waiting a few moments the Doctor opened the front door and looked out, but the man was gone. He thought the man had jumped over the fence into the adjoining lot just north of McCarthy's, and he went and looked over the fence, but did not see anything of him. By this time Mrs. Kahler, the Doctor's wife, had reached McCarthy's, and while they stood upon the front porch talking they saw two men coming from Colver's house, one of whom carried a lantern. The men proved to be Lewellen Colver and his hired man, familiarly known as "Uncle Charley." The Doctor told Colver about the man trying to get into Mrs. McCarthy's house, and about his supposing that he had jumped into the adjoining lot, and warned Colver and "Uncle Charley" not to go there, as they might get hurt. Colver said he saw a man going across the street towards Olwell's hog pen, and he and his man went in that direction. Colver and his man presently came back, and while they stood talking with Dr. Kahler they heard screams and shots in the direction of Olwell's house. The Doctor was not positive whether he heard the screams first or the shots first and then the screams, but thought he heard the screams first. Either the Doctor or his wife then told Colver and his man they had better go over to Olwell's; that they were having trouble over there, and they ran towards Olwell's, still having the lantern. The Doctor then went to his own house to get his shoes and met Ben Lohr, who roomed at the Doctor's house, and who went on towards Olwell's. The Doctor put his shoes on and started for Olwell's. While going he heard firing from the direction of Olwell's house, and said that he supposed Olwell was shooting at the burglars. While crossing the bridge over the mill race on his way to Olwell's, Ben Lohr, who was standing on the bridge, told him not to go, as "they were banging away there and he was liable to get hurt." He went on, however, and when near Olwell's met "Uncle Charley," who said he was going after Dr. Pryce, that Louis Colver had been shot. Arriving at Olwell's gate he saw the gate open and the form of a man lying in it, who proved to be Lewellen Colver, the deceased, and who had either crawled or been dragged from where he was shot to the gate. It was then that the Doctor called out to Olwell as heretofore described.
The foregoing is a concise history of the facts in the case as developed by the testimony, derived principally from the witnesses placed upon the stand by the plaintiffs.
The evidence of defendant's wife, Margaret Olwell, and his two sons, William and John, showed conclusively that no noise of any kind was made in Olwell's house until after the first shots were fired. The evidence of William Breese, who lived about four blocks from Olwell's at that time, and who heard all the shots, substantiates the fact that there were five shots fired. Breese first heard what he considered as a double report of a gun, and he thought there were two shots; and after a few moments he heard three shots in quick succession, which sounded like rifle shots. During the short period between the first and last shooting Olwell's children, who were mostly sleeping upstairs, were screaming, and Olwell called to them to see if they were safe.
There was no evidence on either side showing or tending to show that Lewellen Colver made or attempted to make himself known to Olwell, or made any noise whatever whereby Olwell could recognize him; and Olwell had no reason to think or believe that there was any of his neighbors or friends in proximity to his house or within his enclosure at that time of night, nor had he any knowledge of or means of knowing that fact, but supposed, as any reasonable man would suppose under the circumstances, that, as he himself expressed it, he "was surrounded by burglars and would have to fight for his life."
Lewellen Colver's hired man, described as "Uncle Charley," who probably knows more of the facts immediately surrounding Lewellen Colver at the time he was shot than any other living man, and whose testimony would have been the best evidence as to those facts, was allowed to leave the country long prior to the commencement of this action, and the defendant, Philip W. Olwell, knows nothing of his whereabouts. He was working for the plaintiffs' intestate at the time of the injury and lived in Phoenix for some time afterwards; and the parties in interest having allowed him to leave the country without beginning the action, or without making an effort to have him present at the trial thereof, or having his deposition taken, it is but fair to presume that his evidence would be against the plaintiffs.
The first complaint in this action was filed on the 16th day of March, 1885, and a demurrer interposed thereto, which demurrer was sustained by the Court, with leave to file an amended complaint.
The plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint, of which the following is a copy:
AMENDED COMPLAINT.The plaintiffs above named as administratrix and administrator respectively of the estate of Lewellen Colver, deceased, complain of said defendant and for cause of action against him allege--
That on or about the 9th day of March, 1884, the said defendant resided with his family in the town of Phoenix, County of Jackson, State of Oregon, and that during the nighttime on or about the date aforesaid, at the place aforesaid, the said defendant carelessly and negligently gave out an alarm, and called for help in such a manner as to inform persons residing in the immediate neighborhood of his residence that he, the said defendant, was in great fear and trouble and required the assistance of his neighbors; whereupon Lewellen Colver, now deceased, but then living and residing with his family in the immediate neighborhood of the said defendant, heard the outcry of the said defendant as aforesaid, and without fault or negligence on the part of the said Colver, he, the said Colver, went immediately in the direction of said defendant's residence, with a lighted lantern in his hands, with the view and for the purpose of giving and rendering unto the said defendant whatever aid or assistance he could and which the said defendant might need or require of him under the circumstances.
That the said Colver proceeded in the direction of the said defendant's residence, where the defendant then was and from whence the alarm of the defendant as aforesaid was given, with due care and caution but in proper haste, fearlessly, but in the exercise of what he deemed to be his duty under the circumstances and without negligence on his part.
That when the said Colver was approaching the said defendant's residence as aforesaid, for the purpose aforesaid, and in the manner aforesaid, and when he had come near to the said defendant's residence without fault, wrong or negligence on his part, but in response to the alarm and outcry of the said defendant, by him made and given as aforesaid, and for the sole and only purpose of giving aid and rendering such assistance to and on behalf of defendant, as he, the said defendant, might need and require under the circumstances, the said defendant, seeing the said Colver so approaching defendant's residence as aforesaid, for the purpose aforesaid, wrongfully, heedlessly, negligently and without just cause, seized his gun, knowing the same to be loaded with powder and leaden ball, and thereupon wrongfully, heedlessly and without just cause shot and fired the said gun and the contents thereof at the said Colver, and thereby wounded and hurt the said Colver, and the said defendant would not and did not desist from shooting at said Colver, although he was at the time requested and commanded so to do, until he, said defendant, had shot at the said Colver the second time, and had mortally wounded the said Colver, of which said wounds so inflicted by the said defendant as aforesaid the said Colver soon afterwards died, to wit: on or about the date aforesaid.
That thereafter and before the commencement of this action, and on or about the 10th day of March, 1885, the said Lewellen Colver, deceased, having died intestate, and on application therefor by the widow of the said deceased, letters of administration upon the estate of the said Lewellen Colver, deceased, were duly granted and issued to these plaintiffs by the County Judge of the County of Jackson, State of Oregon, appointing these plaintiffs administrators of all the goods, chattels, choses in action and estate, both real and personal, of the said deceased, and that these plaintiffs thereupon duly qualified as such administrators and entered upon the discharge of their duties according to law.
The said plaintiffs further allege that by reason of the wrongful acts of the said defendant as aforesaid, and by reason of the death of the said Lewellen Colver, deceased (caused and produced by the wrongful acts, negligent and heedless conduct of the defendant as aforesaid, and without fault or negligence on the part of said Colver), the estate of the said Lewellen Colver, deceased, has been injured and damaged in the sum of at least five thousand dollars, and that the right of action therefor against the said defendant by reason of the premises aforesaid has accrued to these plaintiffs, under and by virtue of the statutes of this state in such cases made and provided.
Wherefore the said plaintiffs demand judgment against the said defendant for the said sum of five thousand dollars, and the costs and disbursements of this action to be taxed.
----To which complaint the defendant filed an answer specifically denying each and every material allegation thereof, excepting the naked fact of having shot Lewellen Colver. At the October term of the Circuit Court, 1885, the case came up for trial. After the trial had proceeded and all the witnesses on the part of the plaintiffs and a number of the witnesses on the part of the defendant had been examined, the plaintiffs objected to certain evidence being introduced by the defendant, the plaintiffs contending that the complaint did not charge a negligent or wrongful act or omission, but that it charged an intentional killing, and that thereby the contributory negligence of the plaintiffs' intestate, if there was any in fact, did not cut any figure in the case; but that under their construction of the pleadings, the defendant, having pled no defense, was liable in the action as a matter of law, and the only question for the jury to decide was as to the amount of damages. The defendant contended that the complaint, being drawn under a special statute reviving such causes of action (Civil Code, page 187, section 367), and which was modeled after the act of Lord Campbell, passed in England in 1846, charged by its terms a negligent or wrongful act or omission, and that having specifically traversed all the material allegations of the complaint, except as stated, the defendant was not liable as a matter of law and should be permitted to go to the jury with his defense upon the merits, and that the contributory negligence of the plaintiffs' intestate was a material part of his defense to the action.
The Court, after considering the matter, held that the complaint charged an intentional killing of the plaintiffs' intestate, Lewellen Colver, but also held that the defendant, having specially denied each and all of the material allegations of the complaint, was entitled to go to the jury with his defense upon the merits, and that all the circumstances of the case, including the acts of the plaintiffs' intestate, should be presented to the jury. The trial then proceeded; the case was given to the jury, and the plaintiffs failed to secure a verdict.
At the January term of said Court, 1886, the cause again came up for trial. The defendant asked leave of the Court to file an amended answer, specially pleading his defense to the action, in accordance with the previous ruling of the Court, on the construction of the amended complaint. The plaintiffs did not object, and the Court granted leave to file the amended answer, which was filed accordingly and of which the following is a copy:
AMENDED ANSWER.The defendant above named, for an amended answer, comes and answers the amended complaint of the plaintiffs and denies that during the nighttime on or about the 9th day of March, 1884, at the town of Phoenix, County of Jackson, State of Oregon, or at any other time, or at any other place, he (defendant) carelessly or negligently gave out an alarm or called for help in such manner or in any other manner as to inform persons residing in the immediate neighborhood of his residence, or persons residing in any other place, that he was in great fear or trouble or required the assistance of his neighbors or any other person or persons.
Denies that Lewellen Colver, now deceased, heard the defendant carelessly or negligently give out an alarm or call for help in such manner as to inform persons residing in the immediate neighborhood of defendant's residence, or persons residing in any other place, that he, defendant, required the assistance of his neighbors or of any other person or persons whatever.
Denies that the said Lewellen Colver, without fault or without negligence on his part, went in the direction of defendant's house with a lighted lantern in hand.
Denies that the said Colver proceeded in the direction of defendant's residence with due care or caution, or in the exercise of what he deemed to be his duty under the circumstances, or proceeded with due care or caution under any circumstances whatever, or without negligence on his part.
Denies that when the said Colver was approaching defendant's residence as aforesaid, or when he had come near to defendant's residence, he, the said Colver, was without fault or negligence on his part.
Denies that he, the defendant, saw the said Colver approaching his residence for the purpose of giving him such aid or assistance as he might require under the circumstances, or saw the said Colver at all.
Denies that he, defendant, wrongfully or heedlessly or negligently, or without just cause, seized his gun, or thereupon wrongfully or heedlessly or without just cause, leveled his gun at said Colver, or wrongfully or heedlessly or without just cause shot or fired the said gun or the contents thereof at the said Colver, or that he thereby wounded or hurt the said Colver.
Denies that he, defendant, would not or did not desist from shooting at the said Colver.
Denies that at the time of or prior to said shooting he was requested or commanded to desist from shooting at said Colver the second time.
Denies that by the wrongful acts or by any acts of the defendant, or by reason of the death of the said Lewellen Colver, the estate of the said Lewellen Colver has been injured or damaged in the sum of five thousand dollars, or in any other sum of money whatever.
Denies that a right of action accrued to said plaintiffs under or by virtue of any statute of this state.
And for a further and separate answer and defense, defendant alleges that at the time of the alleged killing of Lewellen Colver the defendant and his family, consisting of his wife and several small children, were residing at the town of Phoenix and were inmates of his family residence therein. That at and before the said time many turbulent and dangerous characters or persons were stopping at said town of Phoenix, who, by their unlawful conduct and acts, had greatly terrorized and alarmed the defendant and the other citizens of said town for the safety of their persons, property and families.
That at about 1 o'clock a.m. of the night of the killing of said Lewellen Colver, and a few moments before the shooting alleged in the complaint, the house of the defendant, in which at that time were the inmates aforesaid, was entered by a burglar and this defendant in resisting the same was assaulted with firearms.
That defendant immediately took his gun for the sole purpose of defending himself and his family and property from further assault and injury.
That immediately after taking his gun as aforesaid, and within a few seconds after the said assault, the defendant, looking through one of the windows of the room of his said house in which he then was, saw some person within the enclosure surrounding his said house and near thereto.
That through the darkness of the hour the defendant wholly failed to recognize the person so seen by him, but mistaking him for a burglar and honestly fearing and believing that his own person or that of his said family was in immediate and imminent danger of death or great bodily harm, or that he was about to be robbed and despoiled of his property at the hands of the person so seen as aforesaid, raised his said gun and fired quickly through said window (as he honestly believed in the necessary defense of himself, his family and his property) at said person, still honestly believing him to be a burglar and robber; that some or all of the shots so fired fell upon the deceased, Lewellen Colver.
That at the time of the said shooting the deceased, Lewellen Colver, well knew that the house of this defendant had been entered by burglars as aforesaid, and that this defendant was then and there engaged in defending himself, his family and his property from said burglars; but said deceased then and there entered the premises where this defendant was residing as aforesaid, without in any manner making himself known to said defendant or any of his family.
----To which amended answer the plaintiffs filed a replication, specifically denying all the material allegations pleaded in said answer.
The cause then proceeded to trial, and was submitted to the jury, who returned a general verdict, and upon request of plaintiffs a special verdict also, both of said verdicts being in favor of defendant, entirely exonerating him from all blame or liability for the injury to the plaintiffs' intestate, Lewellen Colver.
The plaintiffs moved for a new trial, assigning as reasons therefor alleged errors of the Court committed during the trial, and that the verdicts, both general and special, were contrary to the evidence. The Court refused to grant a new trial, and the plaintiffs duly appealed.
The statute under which the action is brought is a substantial copy of the English model known as "Lord Campbell's Act," and is a special statute reviving a cause of action which at common law died with the person, the charging part of which is as follows:
"When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representatives of the former may maintain an action at law therefor against the latter, if the former might have maintained an action, had he lived, against the latter for an injury done by the same act or omission." * * *
Civil Code--page 187, section 367.
In Indiana, the charging part of which statute is identical with ours, it has been held that the words, "wrongful act or omission," used in the statute, mean the same as negligent act or omission.
Jeffersonville, etc., R. Co. v. Riley, 39 Ind., 568, 587.
This statute differs radically from the statutes of those states where the rule that the contributory negligence of the plaintiff, or the plaintiffs' intestate, "cuts no figure in the case," is said to be held. For example, the charging part of the statute of the State of Kentucky is as follows:
"If the life of any person or persons is lost or destroyed "by the willful neglect of another person or persons." * * *
Under this statute it has been held that if a case of "willful neglect" is made out against the defendant, the contributory negligence of the plaintiff or the person injured "cuts no figure in the case." "Willful neglect," within the meaning of this statute, is such conduct as implies malice or antisocial recklessness--negligence which is quasi criminal.
2 Thompson on Neg., page 1024, section 27.
Louisville, etc., R. Co. v. Mahony, 7 Bush, 235.
Claxton v. Lexington, etc., R. Co., 13 Bush, 636.
Jacobs v. Louisville, etc., R. Co., 10 Bush, 263.
In the case at bar no such element exists. In fact, upon the last trial, it was admitted by the plaintiffs that no malice existed, the plaintiffs' intestate, Lewellen Colver, and the defendant being the best of friends; and we respectfully submit that, under our statute, no action can be brought, or if brought, can be sustained wherein the contributory negligence of the plaintiff or the person injured cuts no figure, or that it is not competent for a defendant to allege and prove such contributory negligence. The cases in which the question of negligence is exclusively one of law, and in which the question can be withdrawn from the consideration of the jury, are comparatively rare.
2 Thompson on Neg., page 1236, and cases therein cited.
The claim of the plaintiffs that the shooting of their intestate, Lewellen Colver, was intentional, cannot be maintained. There was no intention on the part of the defendant to shoot or injure Lewellen Colver. His intention was to shoot or injure a burglar, and had the defendant been able to recognize Colver, or had Colver made himself known to the defendant, the result would probably have been different; but the fact that Colver was in proximity to the defendant's house and within his enclosure at that unseasonable hour of the night, without in any manner making himself known, and with the knowledge that immediately prior to his advent there, there had been shooting and trouble at the defendant's house, caused by burglars trying to enter the house, leaves the case as one of unavoidable accident, and brings it within the rule of "damnum absque injuria."
Bizzel v. Booker, 16 Ark., 308.
The question arises: Could Lewellen Colver, under the circumstances of this case, have maintained an action for an intentional injury against the defendant had he lived? We confidently assert that he could not. His action, if he brought one, would, in the nature of things, have been one of negligence, in which action his contributory negligence, if he had been guilty of any, would have entered, and if deemed sufficient by the jury would have been a complete defense to the action; and we submit that his personal representatives can maintain no other action, under the statute, than that which he could have maintained.
CHARGE OF THE COURT."The evidence in this case shows that about midnight of March 9th, 1884, the defendant, Philip W. Olwell, intentionally shot a man whom it was afterwards ascertained was the plaintiffs' intestate, Lewellen Colver, and that such shooting caused the death of said Colver. It also shows that the defendant at the time he fired the shots which resulted in Colver's death did not know that the person at whom he fired the shots was said Colver.
II."The first question then, gentlemen, for you to determine is, was the shooting which resulted in the death of Lewellen Colver excusable or not; that is, was it or was it not wrongful.
"In approaching the investigation of this question you must remember, gentlemen, that at the time the defendant fired the shots which resulted in the death of Colver, he did so in ignorance of the identity of the person at whom he shot. He did not know it was Colver.
"Notwithstanding this, however, the defendant is liable in the action if the shooting was wrongful.
III."If you believe from the evidence that at the time the defendant fired the shots which resulted in the death of Lewellen Colver he had reason to believe, and as a reasonable man did believe, that he was in imminent and immediate danger of suffering death or great bodily harm, or that some member of his family was in such danger, or that he was in imminent and immediate danger of being robbed or suffering some other felony, either in his own person or upon the person of some member of his family, or upon his property, at the hands of the person at whom he fired the shots, then the shooting was excusable and he is not liable in this action.
IV."In determining whether the shooting was excusable under the above instruction, you must look at the whole transaction and consider it in the light in which it presented itself to the defendant at the time of the shooting. You must put yourselves, as it were, in the place of the defendant when he fired the shots and interpret his conduct in the light of all the circumstances as they appeared to him at the time.
V."You must take into consideration all the incidents and circumstances of the shooting as they appeared to the defendant at the time; the acts, conduct and declarations of the defendant at the time; the manner in which the shooting was done; the occurrences immediately preceding the shooting; the apprehensions under which the defendant acted; the position and attitude of the deceased in relation to the defendant and his family and property; the circumstances and incidents connected with the presence of the deceased, together with all the circumstances connected with and surrounding the shooting as developed by the evidence in this case.
VI."If you believe from the evidence that at the time of the shooting the defendant believed that the person at whom he shot was a burglar, that is a proper matter for you to take into consideration in determining whether or not the shooting was excusable.
VII."So also in determining this matter you should take into consideration the state of society at Phoenix at and just previous to the time of the shooting as known to the defendant at the time.
VIII."If you believe from the evidence that at the time of the shooting the defendant was startled or disconcerted by a sudden attack upon himself or his property, or by any extreme peril, either actual or believed by him to be so, to himself, his family or property, that is a circumstance to be taken into consideration in determining whether or not the shooting was excusable; for while the law does not excuse the taking of human life under the influence of unnecessary fear or excessive timidity or unreasonable excitement or alarm, you must bear in mind that the conduct of the defendant is to be interpreted, as I have said, in the light of all the circumstances as they appeared to him at the time, for it is from all the circumstances that you must determine whether, as a reasonable man, the defendant acted in a reasonable manner when he fired the shot which killed the deceased.
IX."The law requires that the defendant, when he fired the shot, must have exercised that care and caution which a reasonable man would have exercised acting under the circumstances which surrounded the defendant at the time.
X."If at the time of the shooting the deceased was not attempting to enter the house of the defendant, nor doing anything which would indicate such an attempt, or an attempt to injure the defendant or his family or property, these are matters which you must take into consideration in determining whether the killing was excusable; and if the defendant, as a reasonable man, had not at the time of the shooting reasonable ground to believe under all the circumstances as they appeared to him at the time, that the deceased was making such attempt, he is not excusable.
XI."If you believe from the evidence that at the time of the shooting the deceased had a lighted lantern in his hand, this should be considered in arriving at a conclusion as to whether the killing was excusable.
"The danger which would excuse the defendant for firing the shots which killed the deceased need not have been any real danger.
XII."It is sufficient if it was apparent, and was apparently imminent and immediate. It must, however, have been an apparent danger that the person at whom the defendant shot would immediately commit a felony upon the property or person of the defendant, or upon the person of some member of his family, such as breaking into his house, stealing, robbing, killing or inflicting great bodily injury upon the defendant or some member of his family, or the like.
XIII."In determining whether such danger was apparent and was apparently imminent and immediate, you should take into consideration the relative situation of the defendant and the deceased at the time of the shooting, the defendant's means of defense against any attack which the deceased might make, the distance the deceased was from the defendant's house at the time of the shooting, together with all the circumstances as they appeared to the defendant at the time.
XIV."It must appear from a preponderance of the evidence that the shooting which caused the death of the deceased was excusable.
XV."In determining whether there is a preponderance of evidence upon this proposition, you must take into consideration all the evidence in this case, and from a consideration of all the evidence determine whether there is such preponderance of evidence."
DEED RECORD.There was no proper foundation laid for the introduction of the record of the deed from the defendant to his wife, Margaret Olwell, dated March 13th, 1885, or the record of the deed from the defendant and his wife, Margaret Olwell, to Mike Forman, dated August 5th, 1885, in evidence. The alleged wrongful act was committed on the night of the 8th of March, 1884; the deed made by the defendant to his wife on the 13th day of March, 1885 more than one year after the accident, and sometime prior to the service of the summons in this action, and there was no evidence that the defendant during all this time had any notice whatever that the plaintiffs held, or intended to hold, him legally liable for damages for the death of then intestate, Lewellen Colver.
Nor was any evidence offered to show, or tending to show, that the premises conveyed by said deeds were all the property owned by the defendant, or that he was not pecuniarily responsible for the amount of any damages that might be recovered against him; and it would appear, from the offer of the Forman deed, that the defendant had other property in his possession after the beginning of this action against him, and the presumption of law is that the transactions were fair and regular. (Code--page 261, Subd. 19 of Sec. 766.)
In view of these circumstances the evidence was properly excluded. The jury could not reasonably infer from the act of the defendant, in deeding a portion of his property to his wife, "that it was prompted by a consciousness on his part that the shooting of Lewellen Colver, the plaintiffs' intestate, was unjustifiable and that he was legally liable for the damages occasioned by it."
Henekly v. Smith, 10 Or., 349.
DEMURRER.The general principles of law relating to mutual or contributory negligence are applicable to actions for injuries resulting in death, so that no action can be maintained where the negligence of the party injured or killed materially contributes to the injury or death.
Field on the Law of Damages, Sec. 650.
Willitts v. Buffalo, etc., R. Co., 14 Barb., 585.
Penn., etc., Co., v. Ogier, 35 Pa. St., 60
North Penn. R. Co. v. Robinson, 44 Pa. St., 175.
Tucker v. Chaplin, 2 C. and K., 730.
STATEMENTS BY COUNSEL.The statements made to the jury by E. De Peatt, one of the defendant's attorneys, in opening the case, were made in good faith, and were statements of facts proposed to be proved by the evidence of defendant's witnesses on the trial as part of the res gestae and in support of the general allegations in his pleadings, and were properly stated.
Long & Spauer v. Lander, 10 Or., 175.
There was no error committed by the Court in admitting profert of the defendant's right hand and arm to the jury.
The defendant's right hand and arm were in a shriveled, shrunken and crippled condition, and was offered in evidence for the sole and only purpose of illustrating the fact that the defendant was in no condition at the time of the alleged wrongful act to cope, physically, with a burglar or robber, and that he was of necessity compelled to use a weapon in the defense of himself, his family or his property.
The defendant's physical condition was a circumstance in support of his theory of the defense and in support of the allegations of new matter in the amended answer.
The defendant's hand and arm were objects cognizable by the senses, were related to the main fact in dispute, and formed an item in the sum of the evidence.
The exhibition of such object to the jury is in the sound discretion of the Court.
Oregon Code, page 259, Sec. 759.
The sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth assignments of error are upon the admission of evidence.
These assignments of error are based and grounded upon the assumption that the motion to strike out a portion of the new matter in the amended answer and the demurrer to the whole of said new matter, should have been sustained by the Court.
If the Court did not err in overruling the said motion and demurrer, then it certainly did not err in admitting the testimony objected to in said assignments of error, all of said evidence being of facts and circumstances surrounding the defendant at the time of the alleged wrongful act, and being in support of, sustaining and corresponding with, the allegations of new matter in the defendant's amended answer.
The plaintiffs' cause of action was founded upon the wrongful act or omission of the defendant, and the alleged wrongful act of the defendant is the gravamen of the action.
In such case the right to recover damages depends upon two grounds, which must concur. First--the defendant, under our statute, must be chargeable with some degree of negligence; and second--the plaintiffs' intestate must have been entirely free from any degree of negligence which contributed to the injury, i.e., of any negligence without which the injury would not have happened.
Oregon Code, page 187, Sec. 367.
Kramer vs. Market St. R.R. Co., 25 Cal., 435.
Shaw vs. The Boston & Worcester R.R. Co., 8 Gray, 68.
Wild vs. The Hudson River R.R. Co., 24 N.Y., 430, 432, 442, 444.
The averment in the amended answer sought to be stricken out by the motion of the plaintiffs', "That at and before said time many turbulent and dangerous characters or persons were stopping at said town of Phoenix, who, by their unlawful conduct and acts, had greatly terrorized and alarmed the defendant and other citizens of said town for the safety of their persons, property and families," is the averment of an issuable fact; is an allegation of new matter going directly to the defense of said action, and which could not be stricken from the answer without impairing the defendant's proper defense thereto.
Cline vs. Cline, 3 Or., 355.
Green vs. Palmer, 15 Cal., 411.
The amended complaint herein charges, or rather was construed by the Circuit Court in which the action was tried to charge an intentional killing. Therefore, when the defendant relies upon extraneous, issuable facts to excuse or justify him, they should be specially pleaded. A fortiori is this so, when the defendant relies, in addition to other issuable facts not pleaded in the complaint and traversed by denials in the answer, upon the concurring negligence of the plaintiffs' intestate contributing to the injury.
The bare proof of the accident does not prima facie charge the defendant with liability in this action as it would if the defendant was a carrier or insurer; and all the facts pleaded in the amended answer are but a collection of issuable facts surrounding the defendant at the time he committed the alleged wrongful act, and are part and parcel of res gestae.
2 Thompson on Neg., page 1252, Secs. 35 and 36.
Knapp vs. Salsbury, 2 Camp., 500.
Hackford vs. New York, etc., R. Co., 6 Lans., 386, s.c.
2 Thompson on Neg., page 1227, Sec. 3.
Holbrook vs. Utica, etc., R. Co., 16 Barb., 113.
Alden vs. New York, etc., R. Co., 26 N.Y., 103.
When a defense is set forth in proper form, containing facts within itself sufficient to constitute a defense, it cannot be demurred out.
The averment of concurring negligence of the plaintiffs' intestate, Lewellen Colver, contributing to the injury, as pleaded in the defendant's amended answer, is in itself sufficient to constitute a complete defense to this action.
Torrence v. Strong, 4 Or., 39.
2 Thompson on Neg., page 1253, sections 36 and 37, supra.
Hackford v. New York, etc., R. Co., 6 Lans., 386, s.c., supra.
43 How. Pr., 247.
Louisville, etc., R. Co., v. Murphy, 9 Bush, 522.
Corey vs. Bath, 35 N.H., 530.
Knapp vs. Salsbury, 2 Camp., 500, supra.
Albee v. Floyd County, 46 Iowa, 177.
Hill v. New Haven, 37 Vt., 501.
Goldthorpe v. Hardman, 2 Dow. & L., 442, s.c.
That no one can be made liable for injuries to the person or property of another without some fault or negligence on his part is, at least, in this country, a universal rule, and which rule has no limitations or exceptions.
Losee v. Buchanan, 51 N.Y., 476.
1 Thompson on Neg., page 47.
Parrot v. Wells, Fargo & Co., 15 Wall. (U.S.), 524.
The fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth assignments of error are based on exceptions taken to certain detached portions of the charge of the Court, and may be considered together.
The charge of the Court, as set out in the bill of exceptions, is printed in full in our brief in order that this Court may be able to read those portions excepted to in their proper connection in the light of the facts established by the evidence and pleadings in the case.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendant wrongfully, heedlessly, negligently and without just cause shot and killed the said Lewellen Colver.
The defendant denies that said shooting was done wrongfully, heedlessly, negligently or without just cause; but alleges that it was done in the necessary defense of himself, his family and property--that said shooting was done in his own house, in which he and his family were sleeping, in the middle of the night, and in ignorance as to the identity of the deceased at the time, under an honest belief that he, his family and property were in imminent danger from robbers, one of whom had already attacked him in his house, and under the impression that it was surrounded by them and that he was compelled to fight for their lives, mistaking the deceased for one of the robbers at the time of said shooting.
The replication of appellants having put in issue the all-material facts alleged in the answer in justification of said shooting, including the fact that the identity of the deceased was unknown to the defendant at the time, and the evidence having clearly established that fact beyond controversy, and counsel for appellants having conceded such to be the case, on the argument, the Court had a right to say to the jury that in investigating the question as to whether or not said shooting was wrongful, they should remember that said shooting was done in ignorance of the identity of the person at whom he shot; and such being the state of facts there was no error committed by the Court in this respect, as alleged in the fifteenth assignment of error. That matter was one of the principal facts upon which defendant bases his justification; because, if he had known who the deceased was at the time of said shooting and that he was his neighbor and friend instead of a robber, for whom he mistook him, he would have been without any justification whatever.
The facts relied on by the respondent in justification of said shooting are that only a few moments prior thereto he had been assaulted and shot at in his own house, in the nighttime, by a robber under such circumstances and appearances as gave him reasonable ground to believe, and that he did honestly believe, that the deceased was one of said robbers, who was acting in concert with the one already in the house and who had just shot at him.
The charge of the Court is a very full, clear and correct exposition of the rules of law applicable to cases in the necessary defense of one's person, his family or property against a felonious assault.
In criminal law the protection of one's person and property from injury is self-defense. And the law of self-defense is the same in civil as in criminal prosecutions, with the exception of the rule of evidence which, in criminal cases, gives the defendant the benefit of the reasonable doubt.
6 Waits, A. & D., P. 643.
Marck v. Walker, 48 Tex., 372.
A man may repel force by force in defense of his person, habitation or property, against anyone who is attempting by violence or surprise to commit a forcible felony, such as robbery, murder or burglary. The right of self-defense is not limited to the actual peril of the life of the party assailed; but when a person apprehends that someone is about to do him great bodily harm, and there is reasonable ground for believing that such danger is imminent, he may safely act on appearances, and even kill his assailant if that be necessary to avoid the apprehended violence.
6 Waite, A. & D., P. 643.
State v. Sloan, 47 Mo., 604 (H. & T. cases, S.D., 516.)
State v. Frannbury, 40 Iowa, P. 555.
State v. Collins, 32 Iowa, P. 36.
Shorter v. People, 2 Comst., P. 193.
H. & T. cases, Self-defense, 256.
Morris v. Platt, 32 Conn., P. 75 (H. & T. cases, S.D., 768.)
Those portions of the charge complained of in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth assignments of error are correct and were properly submitted to the jury.
"In personal conflicts every man is permitted, within reasonable limits, to act upon appearances and to determine for himself when he is in real danger, and, as an inevitable consequence, whoever relies upon appearances and a reasonable determination upon such appearances as a defense in a case of homicide ought to be allowed to prove every fact and circumstance known to him and connected with the deceased which was fairly calculated to create an apprehension for his own safety. Any narrower rule than this would prove inadequate to full justice in all cases of homicide."
Boyle v. State of Indiana, reported in Central Law Journal (1884), Vol. 21, No. 4, P. 68.
Horback v. the State, 43 Tex., 242.
"The law is now well settled that if, at the time of the killing, the conduct of the deceased was such as to create in the mind of the defendant a reasonable apprehension of death or serious bodily harm, the defendant will not be responsible if those appearances should turn out to have been false."
The danger need not be real or actual; that it was apparent was sufficient.
Smith v. State, 15 Tex. App., Crim, cases, 338.
Nichols v. Winfrey. 79 Mo., 544.
Monday v. Com., 81 Ky., 239.
State v. Eaton, 75 Mo., 592.
Horr and Thomp. cases, S.D., P. 4, 18.
The defendant is entitled to lay before the jury all the circumstances and grounds of fear on which he acted.
Russell vs. State, 11 Tex. App., Crim. cases, 288.
Central Law Journal, Vol. 21, No. 4, P. 71.
Pond v. People, 8 Mich., 150 ( H. & T. cases, S.D., 814.)
While the shooting was done by respondent intentionally, there was no unlawful intention on his part, and no intentional injury inflicted by him upon the deceased. The shots were fired by respondent through mistake, honestly believing at the time, under the surrounding circumstances, that his house was surrounded by robbers, and that deceased was one of them, who was then and there acting in concert with the one who had already assaulted him in the house.
Said shots were fired with the intention and for the purpose of protecting himself, his family and property against the commission of a felony, and not with any intention to injure the deceased, who was not only his neighbor but his friend.
If the appearances were sufficient to induce him as a reasonable man to believe that said shooting was absolutely necessary in his necessary self-defense, and he did so believe, whether so or not, said shooting was not wrongful, and respondent cannot be held liable for said shooting, either civilly or criminally.
There being no malice and no intention to injure the deceased, the only real question in the case is whether respondent was justified as a reasonable man under the surrounding circumstances in apprehending himself, his family or property in such imminent danger as warranted him in shooting in his necessary self-defense.
And that question, with all the facts and surrounding circumstances, as seen and known to respondent at the time, having been submitted by the Court to the jury, and they having decided that question in favor of respondent, we are unable to see any ground for complaint.
The case of Paxton vs. Boyer (67 Ill., 132), is one directly in point.
That was a case where the defendant and plaintiff's brother were in conflict when defendant struck plaintiff with a knife, supposing him to be the brother. Plaintiff had in fact given no provocation for the blow, and it was a civil action for assault and battery for damages. The jury found a special verdict, "that from the evidence the blow complained of was struck by the defendant without malice and under circumstances which would lead a reasonable man to believe it was necessary to his proper self-defense." It was held in that case "that a person is not liable for an unintentional injury resulting from a lawful act, where neither negligence nor folly is imputable to him who does the act and where there is no malice."
"The rule is well established that in an action of assault and battery the plaintiff must be prepared to show either that the intention was unlawful or that the defendant was in fault."
2 Greenleaf on Ev., Sec. 85.
Paxton vs. Boyer (67 Ill., 132,) 16 Am. Rpts., 615.
Morris vs. Platt, 32 Conn., 75.
Brown vs. Kendall, 6 Cush., 292.
The Court did not err in charging the jury, "That if, at the time of the shooting, the defendant was startled or disconcerted by the sudden attack upon himself or his property, or by any extreme peril, either actual or believed by him to be so, that is a circumstance to be taken in consideration in determining whether or not the shooting was excusable. For while the law does not excuse the taking of human life under the influence of unnecessary fear or excessive timidity or unreasonable excitement, you must bear in mind that the conduct of the defendant is to be interpreted * * * in the light of all the circumstances as they appeared to him at the time."
The Court did not say that that would excuse or justify the respondent, but that it was merely a circumstance to be taken into consideration with others in arriving at a conclusion upon that question.
In Lowery vs. Manhattan R.R. Co. (N.Y. Court of Appeals, decided in 1885, reported in N.E. Reporter, Vol. 1, No. 8, P. 608), the Court held that a party "startled by the suddenness of the accident may have been somewhat disconcerted by the peril in which he was placed."
"The law, however, makes allowances for mistakes and for errors of judgment which are likely to happen upon such an emergency. It does not demand the same coolness and self-possession which are required when there is no occasion for alarm or loss of self-control."
The Court committed no error in refusing the instructions asked by appellants, numbered six, seven, eight, nine and ten, as alleged in the twentieth, twenty-first and twenty-second assignments of error, the Court having already given those instructions in substance, as will be seen by reference to the charge of the Court. The Court is not bound to give an instruction in the exact words in which it is asked--sufficient if given in substance.
Stewart v. the State, 1 Ohio, P. 66.
H. & T. cases of S.D., P. 198.
There was no error committed by the Court in refusing instruction No. 13, asked by appellants, which is as follows:
"The only question for the jury in this case is as to the amount of damages.
"The act of the defendant in shooting and killing Lewellen Colver renders him liable in this action as a matter of law."
There are a few old cases and some dicta which seem to sustain the above proposition, but it is not the law. It is now well settled that "no man is liable in a civil suit or criminal prosecution for an injury lawfully committed in the exercise of his rights in self-defense against an assailant."
Morris vs. Platt, 32 Conn., p. 75, H. & T. cases of S.D., P. 768.
Paxton vs. Boyer (67 Ill., P. 132), 16 Am. Reports, P. 615.
Brown vs. Collins, 53 N.H., 442 (16 Am. Reports, 372).
Brown vs. Kendall, 6 Cush., P. 292.
Instruction No. 8, asked by appellants, was substantially given by the Court in the charge, and if not, no injury resulted to the appellants in consequence thereof, as the jury found specially that the defendant could not at the time he shot the deceased reasonably have avoided any apparent danger--that deceased would break into his house and do him or some member of his family great bodily injury--by any means in his power short of killing him. The jury also found specially that there was apparent danger that deceased would break into defendant's house and do him or some member of his family great bodily injury at the time of said shooting; consequently respondent, situated as he was, could not reasonably have relied upon the protection afforded by the doors and fastenings of his house--all the outside doors to the kitchen and dining room were already open, and respondent had already been shot at by one of the robbers on the inside of the house, and there was no time for delay, when it is remembered that one of respondent's arms and hands were in a crippled condition and really of no use to him in a hand-to-hand contest.
SPECIAL VERDICT.The special verdict submitted and asked by appellants, counsel was to the following effect:
First--That Lewellen Colver, the deceased, at the time defendant shot him appeared to be engaged in an attempt to break into defendant's house and to do him or some member of his family great bodily injury.
Second--That there was apparent danger that the deceased would break into the defendant's house and do him or some member of his family great bodily injury at the time he was shot by the defendant.
Third--That the defendant could not, at the time he shot the deceased, reasonably have avoided any apparent danger that deceased would break into his house and do him or some member of his family great bodily injury by any means in his power short of killing him.
It was claimed by appellants that respondent, having shot and killed the deceased intentionally, he was liable, as a matter of law, for whatever damage resulted therefrom, regardless of the circumstances under which said shooting was done--whether wrongful or otherwise. If an injury resulted respondent was legally liable for it. There are probably a few old English cases holding such doctrines; but the American cases are strongly against it. A number of them are reviewed in Brown v. Collins, 43 N.H., 476, 16 Am. R., 372.
Losee v. Buchanan, 51 N.Y., 476, 10 Am. R., 623.
Harvey v. Dunlap, supplement to Hill & Denio, 193.
Peterson v. Hoffner, 59 Ind., 130, 26 Am. R., 81.
Harvey v. Dunlap was an action for an assault and battery by which the eye of the plaintiff's daughter was put out--the daughter was five years old, the defendant six. The children went out to gather beech nuts; after a few hours' absence they returned both crying, one of the eyes of the little girl having been put out.
On the trial the judge charged the jury "That in cases of this kind the plaintiff could not recover unless he made out that the defendant had been guilty of a wrongful act." On appeal C. J. Nelson held the charge to be correct, and in delivering his opinion said: "No case or principle can be found, or if found can be maintained, subjecting an individual to liability for an act done without fault on his part. All the cases concede that an injury arising from inevitable accident * * * or from an act that ordinary human care and foresight are unable to guard against is but the misfortune of the sufferer, and lays no foundation for legal responsibility; that it was for the jury to determine upon the facts and circumstances before them whether or not the defendant was in the wrong. To determine that question the jury had a right to take into consideration the childhood of the parties, the friendly relations existing between them and the conduct of both of them on their return home."
Peterson v. Hoffner, 59 Ind., 130, 26 Am. R., 81.
The Court did not err in overruling appellant's motion for a new trial, as that is a question wholly within the sound discretion of the Court below and cannot be reviewed on appeal.
State v. Mackey, 12 Or., 155.
Hallock v. City of Portland, 8 Or., 29.
State v. Wilson, 6 Or., 428.
State v. Fitzhugh, 2 Or., 227.
Pomeroy's Lessee v. Bank of Ind., 1 Wall, 597.
Pennsylvania M. Co. v. Brady, 14 Mich., 260.
Boykin v. Perry, 4 Jones (N.C.), 325.
The Court did not err in refusing to strike out the following portion of respondent's special answer: "That at and before the said time many turbulent and dangerous characters or persons were stopping at said town of Phoenix, who greatly terrorized and alarmed the defendant and the other citizens of said town for the safety of their persons and property and families."
In this action respondent was entitled to plead and prove any fact in justification and excuse that would have been admissible under the plea of not guilty in a criminal action for said alleged homicide. In such action respondent would have been entitled to lay before the jury all the surrounding facts and circumstances and grounds of fear as seen and known to him and upon which he acted at the time, "that at and prior to said time many turbulent and dangerous characters and persons were stopping at said town, who, by their unlawful conduct and acts had greatly terrorized and alarmed respondent and other citizens for the safety of their persons, property and families." Phoenix was a small village and had but few inhabitants until it became the temporary terminus of the railroad during its construction, which caused it to be filled up with rough and dangerous characters, causing a general feeling of insecurity and alarm among its leading business men, including the respondent, who was doing a large business and who was in the habit of keeping large sums of money about him to meet the emergencies of his business.
Under such circumstances any reasonable man would have been more easily alarmed by any slight noise in or around his house in the nighttime than upon an ordinary occasion when no such characters were known to be present. The presence of a large number of such characters was a circumstance known to respondent, and undoubtedly operated more or less upon his mind in creating a reasonable apprehension of danger to his person, his family and property from all the appearances at the time of said shooting, and was properly submitted to the jury, as they were entitled to view the whole matter from the standpoint of the respondent in the light of all the circumstances by which he was surrounded.
The facts of this case, as established by the evidence and the special findings of the jury, are substantially as follows:
First--At the time respondent shot said deceased he appeared to be engaged in an attempt to break into respondent's house to do him or some member of his family great bodily injury.
Second--There was apparent danger that deceased would break into respondent's house or do him or some member of his family great bodily injury at the time he was shot.
Third--That respondent could not have reasonably avoided such apparent danger by any means in his power short of killing him.
Fourth--That deceased was an intimate friend to respondent, and was shot through mistake for a burglar without malice and without fault, under circumstances which would have led a reasonable man to believe it was necessary to his proper self-defense.
Upon such a state of facts said shooting was not a wrongful act, but on the contrary a lawful act from which an unintentional injury resulted through mistake, for which respondent cannot be held liable in either a civil or criminal action.
The facts having been clearly established by the trial already had in this case, it only remains for the Court to declare the law applicable to the facts, and no good could result in awarding a new trial.
Paxton v. Boyer, 67 Ill., 16 Am. R., 615.
The broad rule is well established "that no liability results from the commission of an act arising from inevitable accident, or which ordinary human care and foresight could not guard against."
Harvey v. Dunlap, Sup. to Hill & Denio, 193.
Thompson on Negligence, 56.
In Brown v. Kendall, the defendant having interfered to part his dog and the plaintiff's, which were fighting, in raising his stick for that purpose, accidentally struck the plaintiff and severely injured him. It was held that he was not liable.
In writing the opinion of the Court, Chief Justice Shaw said: "It is frequently stated by judges that where one receives injury from the direct act of another trespass will lie. But we think this is said in reference to the question whether trespass, and not case, will lie, assuming that the facts are such that some action will lie.
"These dicta are no authority, we think, for holding that damage received by a direct act of force from another will be sufficient to maintain an action of trespass, whether the act was lawful or unlawful, and neither willful, intentional or careless.
"We think, as the result of all the authorities, that the rule is that the plaintiff must come prepared with evidence to show that the intention was unlawful, or that the defendant was in fault; for if the injury was unavoidable, and the conduct of the defendant was free from blame, he will not be held liable. If, in the prosecution of a lawful act, a casualty purely accidental arises, no action can be supported for an injury arising therefrom. So, too, contrary to what was held in an early English case, if one raises a stick in self-defense to defend himself against an assault, and accidentally hit a third person, he cannot, in my opinion, be made liable for the injury thus, without fault or negligence, inflicted."
Brown v. Kendall, 6 Cush., 292.
MISCONDUCT OF COUNSEL.It is only when the misconduct of counsel in the opening statement or argument is of such a material character as to make it probable that the jury were misled that there can be a reversal therefor. Such matters rest greatly in the sound discretion of the trial Court, and no reversal should be had on that ground unless it clearly appears that there was an abuse of such discretion.
Anderson v. State of Indiana, 4 N.E. Reporter, 67, 68.
Boyle v. State of Indiana, 5 N.E.R., 203, 210.
The misconduct complained of in the third assignment of error is to the effect that E. DePeatt, one of defendant's attorneys, in his opening stated that the defendant told the persons, while they were carrying the deceased from the place where he had been shot to his own house, to do all they could for him--to send to Portland for a physician if they thought it would be of any benefit to him, and that he would foot the bill, etc.
Such statement having been made only a few moments after the shooting was admissible as a part of the res gestae; but as the only tendency of such evidence was to rebut malice, and appellants having admitted that there was no malice, no injury could have resulted therefrom to appellants.
As to the other misconduct complained of in the fourth assignment of error, in regard to the state of society in and around Phoenix at the time of said homicide, on account of a large number of dangerous characters having assembled there, was a matter which had been alleged in the answer and upon which appellants had taken issue. And it will be seen that the evidence produced at the trial tends very strongly to sustain that allegation, and that being one of the circumstances known to the respondents, and under which said shooting was done, it was properly admissible, as it tended strongly to create in the mind of respondent a well-grounded belief that his house was attacked and surrounded by burglars, and that his only safety was in shooting and killing the deceased, whom he honestly believed to be one of them.
Original in a private collection. Scan retained by the transcriber.
Mr. Olwell, son of Philip Olwell of the Phoenix Flouring Mills, called on us last week. From him we learn that their large mill and granary at Phoenix is full of choice wheat. Mr. Olwell makes a fine quality of flour, equaling the roller flour in every respect.
"Local and Personal," Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, October 8, 1886, page 3
P. W. Olwell, the owner of the famous Phoenix flour mills, went south last fall where he spent the winter, having been a portion of the time as far as Mexico. He returned a few days ago and was in our town last week. In a conversation with him Mr. Olwell said: "You have fine prospects in Josephine and particularly in Grants Pass. Your fine climate, fruit resources, timber and vacant lands will increase your population very rapidly in the near future."
"Local and Personal," Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, April 8, 1887, page 3
Fish from Bear Creek find ready sale in this market. P. W. Olwell's sons find no trouble in disposing of all they bring in.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 23, 1888, page 3
Hon J. H. Sears and P. W. Olwell of Eden precinct and Hon. J. D. Whitman and wife of Medford have gone to Jenny Creek on a pleasure trip, accompanied by their families.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 9, 1888, page 3
Wm. and John Olwell, of Phoenix, have both been very sick with fever, but are now improving under the skillful treatment of Dr. Pryce."Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, July 19, 1889, page 2
A. J. Weeks, of Phoenix, who purchased P. W. Olwell's upper mill site, has the machinery in place to carry on an extensive box factory next summer.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 16, 1890, page 3
Olwell's mills at Phoenix will hereafter be operated in connection with the Medford Roller Mills. The combination will prove a strong one.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 23, 1890, page 3
To the Farmers of Jackson County.
Having found it impracticable to operate our mill at Medford as an exchange mill, we have purchased the Washington Mills of Phoenix, and will continue to operate them on the exchange plan. As soon as practicable we will overhaul the mill and place it in first-class repair. So bring on your wheat and we will prove to you that you will be treated as well by the new firm as the old.
Respectfully yours,Medford, Or., Jan. 20, 1890.
Davis & France.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 23, 1890, page 3
Davis & France, proprietors of the flouring mill at Medford, have bought the Phoenix mill of P. W. Olwell, and intend to overhaul and improve it. They will operate both mills, Mr. Joseph France taking charge of the Phoenix mill.
"Brevities," Ashland Daily Tidings, January 31, 1890, page 3
P. W. Olwell is preparing to build a fine residence on his orchard ranch in the environs of town. He was singularly fortunate in getting nearly all his 12,000 fruit trees to grow last summer, dry as the season was, and if the present year proves as favorable as it now promises, his immense orchard will prove a veritable mine of wealth in a very few more years.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 6, 1890, page 3
P. W. Olwell has contracted for the immediate erection of a temporary frame dwelling house on his property near town, to accommodate his family until he can build the brick residence which he has in contemplation. He is compelled to build a temporary home for his family in consequence of having sold his residence at Phoenix. The work will be rapidly pushed forward to completion.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 17, 1890, page 3
P. W. Olwell has already placed his order for 50,000 brick, to be used next fall in the construction of a fine residence on his ranch near town. The building at present in course of construction will be used as a tenant and farm laborer's cottage after the brick residence is built.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 1, 1890, page 2
John Olwell of Central Point has gone to Mt. Angel College, where he will be during the coming year.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 3, 1890, page 3
Agent Dunn, of Staver & Walker, had a runaway at Central Point in Mr. Olwell's field one day recently, resulting in a broken buggy.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 28, 1890, page 2
John Olwell last week returned home from attendance at school in Portland.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 3, 1891, page 3
Mr. Olwell's big orchard near Central Point is in a flourishing condition, and he will soon have the reward of his enterprise. There is no more favorable site for an orchard in the state, and as the selection of fruit is of the very best, there can be no doubt of its proving very profitable whenever the trees come into bearing.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 10, 1891, page 3
Wm. Olwell has for some weeks held the responsible position of manager of the Medford roller mills, and will, of course, give the best of satisfaction, as he was raised in a mill and has good business qualifications.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 9, 1891, page 2
Mr. Olwell of Wisconsin, brother of our esteemed fellow citizen, P. W. Olwell of Central Point, is paying this section a visit.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 9, 1891, page 3
Wm. Olwell, late bookkeeper at the Medford Roller Mills, is back at his father's ranch near Central Point, where he will remain several weeks and lend a hand at pruning their 160-acre orchard.
"Local News," Medford Mail, March 10, 1892, page 3
Will Olwell is once more at his post of duty in the Medford roller process flouring mill.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 22, 1892, page 3
John Olwell, who has been attending a commercial college in California, has returned to Central Point.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 10, 1892, page 3
John Olwell has returned from Oakland, where he has been attending college.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, June 17, 1892, page 3
P. W. Olwell, the king orchardist near Central Point, has been making several improvements about his premises, noticeable among which are the gable windows in the residence.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, July 1, 1892, page 3
A. A. Davis is in Olympia again and Will. Olwell is managing the Medford mills.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 1, 1892, page 2
Will Olwell has gone to Davenport, Wash. to take charge of the mill of Davis & Co. at that place, now ready for operation. He is a straightforward business man, and his many friends wish him success in his new home.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 28, 1892, page 3
Joe Olwell last week returned from attending school at Oakland, and will remain at home during the summer months.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 9, 1893, page 2
A. P. Gordon, a prominent citizen of Marion County, is in the valley looking after the sale of a fruit dryer that is pronounced unexcelled by any other. The Times is pleased to learn that he has sold one of them, of considerable capacity, to P. W. Olwell of Central Point, the enterprising horticulturist, which will be erected in time to dry this season's crop.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 14, 1893, page 3
John Olwell of Central Point was at the county seat one evening this week, from whom we learned that the fruit dryer his father is having erected is near completion. This [is] one of the most important enterprises in the valley, and we hope to see it prove successful.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 4, 1893, page 3
Will. Olwell, who has been paying his relatives and friends in Rogue River Valley a visit, started Sunday on his return to Davenport, Wash., where he is employed in the mill of Davis & Howard.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 11, 1893, page 3
The Olwell Fruit Farm.
Written for The Medford Mail.
The writer recently visited the orchard of Mr. P. W. Olwell, at Central Point, and our expectations were fully realized in finding it to be the best young orchard in the valley. It is one-half mile square, containing one hundred and sixty acres. The trees are principally the best varieties of winter apples. There are twelve thousand apple trees, about two thousand pear trees, three hundred peach trees, and about four hundred prune trees. Before Mr. Olwell purchased and set this farm out to fruit, it was known as one of the best grain farms of the valley, and some of the wiseacres (?) even now, in talking of this beautiful young orchard, suggest that the land would pay better, considering the expense of taking care of the orchard, etc., if it was still in grain. To those we would simply say, you don't know what you are talking about. While some of these people talk thus and raise fifty-cent wheat and nine out of every ten getting poor, Mr. Olwell will raise fifty-cent apples and get rich. Now we do not contend for a minute that everybody could get rich raising fruit. On the other hand, we believe there are few men who will make a thorough success raising fruit, and we believe--as the care of the orchard will bear us out--that Mr. Olwell is one of the few who through careful attention and persistence will make a success of fruit raising. He evidently believes in the old maxim which says: "The one sure, safe, serviceable, attainable quality is that of attention. It will grow in any soil, and in its own due time bring forth good fruit." As his orchard is coming into bearing, Mr. Olwell has provided facility for taking care of a part of a crop in the years to come, he having secured an Oregon dryer, which is used almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley and throughout Washington. As Mr. Olwell will not have enough fruit to run the dryer to its full capacity this season, it will be run on a custom basis. Mr. A. P. Gordon will have charge of the dryer this season. He will buy fruit, and also dry for a share. In a few years. Mr. Olwell expects to have a switch run to the edge of the orchard, where he will load and ship by the carload.
Medford Mail, September 1, 1893, page 2
Mr. Olwell is very busy now pruning his fine young orchard.
"Central Point," Southern Oregon Mail, February 10, 1893, page 2
Roads are in an awful fix from here to Medford; the nearer Medford you get the worse the roads. The road is the reflex manifestation of the civilization of a community: Therefore, etc. etc. We believe that every man in Medford and Central Point should be hung for the sin of omission. If you pull through that lane alongside of Olwell's orchard and then go and look at the windrows of good gravel along Bear Creek you will see what is omitted. Why Brother Nickell did not rush a bill through the legislature declaring this particular road a nuisance is amazing. A great opportunity for fame, and an "ad" in the Times, was hereby foolishly thrown away.
"Spikenard Sparks," Medford Mail, March 24, 1893, page 1
P. W. Olwell, the big, prosperous fruit man north of Medford, is preparing to care for his fruit in a manner most commendable. He has purchased a fruit dryer and the company's agent, A. P. Gordon, is now engaged in putting the same in shape for use.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, July 14, 1893, page 3
Will Olwell, the gentleman who at one time operated the Phoenix flouring mill, but now bookkeeper for the A. A. Davis Milling Company at Davenport, Wash., is in Medford for a visit with friends and relatives.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 21, 1893, page 3
P. W. Olwell of Central Point precinct, who owns one of the largest and best orchards and farms in the valley, was recently offered $35,000 for the same, but promptly refused. He has 160 acres in choice fruit trees.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 11, 1893, page 3
P. W. Olwell, of Central Point, was in Medford Wednesday. The gentleman reports his fruit dryer doing an immense business and that he is daily offered more fruit than he can handle.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 13, 1893, page 3
P. W. Olwell is storing the crop of his orchard at Central Point for future shipment.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 27, 1893, page 3
Olwell Bros. last week shipped the last of their apple crop, four carloads, to Victoria, B.C., realizing good prices therefor.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 28, 1898, page 2
The Olwell lane in this precinct, which has been an eyesore every winter for so many years, is being graveled and otherwise improved. Supervisor Olwell is overseeing the work.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 13, 1898, page 3
P. W. Olwell & Sons have had a large number of men at work picking apples in the big orchard near town, and about 10,000 boxes are now in the warehouse ready for packing. The fruit is of a fine quality and will command a fancy figure when put on the market.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 6, 1899, page 3
A Central Point grower will ship $15,000 worth of apples this year to England and Australia. About 50 pickers were employed.
"Oregon," Anacortes American, November 16, 1899, page 4
P. W. Olwell has 160 acres set with 12,000 fruit trees, which are beginning to be profitable. He will sell 10,000 boxes of apples and 1500 boxes of pears. This is about one-third of a full yield. His apples bring him from 90 cents to $1 per box on cars at Central Point, and his pears $1.25. He had in November 20 hands packing apples, and has had 60 in the busy season. In the immediate vicinity of Ashland 75,000 boxes of peaches of a superior quality were handled at a large profit.
G. A. Gregory, "Jackson County," Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 1, 1900, page 3
The Olwell Bros. have recently ordered a large gasoline power sprayer, for spraying fruit trees. This will be the first sprayer of the kind ever brought to the Pacific Coast.
Medford Enquirer, March 16, 1900, page 5
The well-known orchardists Olwell Bros. of Central Point have purchased a large gasoline power sprayer for use in their extensive orchards. It is said to be the first of its kind on the coast.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, March 22, 1900, page 3
The Olwell orchard at Central Point, which is one of the largest in the state, promises to yield an immense crop. Unless frosts should interfere, 75 carloads of fruit will be shipped from it during the coming season.
Olwell Bros. of Central Point this week packed the balance of their apples for shipment to Portland, amounting to three carloads. This enterprising firm have shipped a large quantity of superior apples to different parts of the United States during the past season, and will do a bigger business than ever during the coming year.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 26, 1900, page 3
Olwell Bros. will place in their big orchard at an early date a decided innovation in the way of a sprayer. The task of spraying their thousands of trees has been a slow and tedious one, and they have decided to adopt a machine similar to those in use in some eastern localities. A gasoline engine will be mounted in a low wagon, and power from it used to force the spraying liquid through four pipes simultaneously. These, directed by four men, will make an easy matter of spraying 1000 trees per day, and it is claimed that the work done is more thorough and effectual, on account of the force employed.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 27, 1900, page 7
As there has been a great deal said about the failure of the fruit crop this season in Rogue River Valley, I interviewed Mr. Olwell, of Central Point, last Saturday, with regard to the prospect, and he assures me that although their loss of early fruit has been quite severe, still there will be considerable early fruit and a very fair crop of late apples. He expects to be able to gather about sixty or seventy percent of a crop this fall and ship about seventy carloads. He seems to think that the prospect over the valley is not so discouraging as at first supposed.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, May 11, 1900, page 5
The Olwell boys, near Central Point, have a novel way of clearing their orchard of the windfall apples. They are endeavoring to buy a drove of hogs for this especial purpose. They will drive the hogs through the orchard and all apples which have dropped will be eaten by the hogs, also the worms in the apples--which were the direct cause of the apples droppings. This method will very effectually do away with the worms--and will fatten the hogs. It is only a part of the Olwell orchard which is affected in this way--and this is a part which was not sprayed because of a short fruit yield on a few trees of a certain variety.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 27, 1900, page 7
THE OLWELL ORCHARD.During our rambles since our last issue we visited the fruit reach of the Olwell Bros., near Central Point. This is one of, if not the best orchard in Southern Oregon. It contains 160 acres, set mostly to apples, now about twelve years of age. Besides various varieties of apples, Messrs. Olwell have several hundred Winter Nelis pear trees, all of which are in splendid condition but bearing no fruit. We found the Olwell Brothers busy spraying their fruit trees the last time for codling moth and pruning their orchard. Pruning orchards in midsummer may seem strange to some, especially heavy cutting back. These gentlemen explained that this was their second season of summer pruning. Having experimented for several years on individual trees and carefully watched the results, they became convinced that summer pruning, where it can be done without disturbing the fruit, is far better than winter pruning. The cuts heal over more quickly, is not so apt to decay or check and no water sprouts spring out from around the wound as from winter pruning. All of these are very important factors in handling an orchard, especially one of the size of this one.
A Description of One of the Finest Kept Places in Southern Oregon.
We notice that Winter Nelis pear trees, which are apart from other varieties, although in a most healthy and thriving condition, were bearing no fruit. We were informed that these trees had never borne only where they stood near a few of another variety. This has been a subject of careful investigation by Messrs. Olwell, and they believe they have solved the problem. They find that this variety, standing separate from other varieties, bear insufficient pollen to pollenize itself. To remedy this natural defect in this pear, they concluded last spring to graft the Winter Butter pear on the Winter Nelis tree, to furnish pollen to pollenize the sterile variety.
Messrs. Olwell shipped 25 carloads of apples from their orchard last year. They employed about 70 hands in picking and packing this fruit. This year they will employ about 100 hands and will ship from 50 to 60 carloads of apples. These apples will not only be shipped to various parts of the United States, but many of them will find a market in Europe. Last year their Spitzenberg apples were sold in New York for $1.50 per box. This season they expect to get a little more for them in the same market. Last season they shipped six carloads of Newtown apples to London, where they found a ready and satisfactory market. Messrs. Olwell find the Baldwin, Northern Spy and Bellflower varieties are not as well adapted to their soil as some of the other varieties.
Messrs. Olwell have just completed another packing house on the most modern plan. The building is 40x100 feet, with an upper story for storing box lumber, etc.--Pacific Fruit World, Medford.
Valley Record, Ashland, September 6, 1900, page 1
There are sixteen girls employed at Olwell Bros.' packing house. They will not be able to finish the apple crop for a month.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, November 30, 1900, page 3
An entire trainload of apples! That is the record of a shipment just sent east by Olwell Bros., of Medford. The train consisted of 15 cars, all loaded with apples, the price of which was $1 per box, F.O.B., for the export trade. This is the largest single shipment that ever went from the Northwest.
Medford is becoming a famous exporting point for apples. There is strong competition among foreign buyers for the products of that favored district, the fame of which is due to the up-to-date, scientific methods of progressive growers. In the results of their careful work is furnished another practical object lesson in the value of intelligent farming along scientific lines.
Off of their 160 acres last year Olwell Bros. raised enough apples to net them $14,000. The sum, however, represented a corresponding amount of toil. The orchard is as carefully kept, nursed and tended as the business of any business firm in the city. As an example of this fact, it may be stated, the orchard was sprayed eight times this year. And each time the trees were thoroughly drenched with spray in such a manner that not a single leaf in the forest of trees covering 160 acres escaped. The spraying was accomplished by means of a gasoline engine upon a portable wagon to which were attached four hoses. As soon as the entire orchard was sprayed once, the workman began over again at the beginning. When it is known that 98 per cent of the fruit this year is clear from any kind of pests or diseases, it will be seen that such careful work pays.
All the apples thus far sold from the Medford district netted the owners $1 per box. It is estimated that about 70 carloads have been shipped. Other prominent growers in the district are Stewart, who has 100 acres; Whitman, 100 acres; Voorhies, 140 acres. These men raise for the export trade, and always obtain top prices. Their product is never a drug upon the market. As stated, buyers are only too anxious to secure the product. The varieties of apples raised in that district are the Jonathans, Newtown Pippins, Winesap, Bluetown Pippins and Red Russians.--Roseburg Plaindealer.
Lincoln County Leader, Toledo, Oregon, November 30, 1900, page 1
OREGON APPLES BRING TOP PRICE.
Fruit from the Olwell Orchards Beats World's Prices in the London Market.
From the Portland Oregonian.
John Olwell has been in Corvallis attending the mid-winter meeting of the board of regents of the agricultural college. With his brothers, Mr. Olwell owns and manages an apple orchard that is one of the most noteworthy in the country. A feature of chief interest is the fact that apples from this orchard command the highest prices that the world pays for this fruit. They bring two shillings, or 48 cents, more per box in the London market than do the best California apples. Returns from a carload of Oregon Newtowns received ten days ago gave the Olwells $1.04 per box, free on board, at Central Point. Apples from the same orchard are selling in the New York market at the rate of $4.50 per barrel, while the best Eastern apples are quoted in the same market at $2.50 to $3 per barrel. Some time ago Spitzenbergs from the Central Point orchard were marketed in New York and netted the Olwells $1 per box, free on board, at the orchard. The freight to New York is 50 cents per box, making the Olwell apples in the latter city $1.50 per box. Eastern apples were selling at the time in the same market at 50 and 75 cents per box, or one-half to one-third the price of the Oregon product.
The Olwell orchard this season produced 58 cars of apples, 55 cars of which have already been shipped and sold. It was the orchard's 12th year of existence and third year of bearing. Up to the present time $40,000 has been invested in the enterprise. Of the apples shipped, four cars went to London and 24 cars to New York and other eastern cities. The other cars went in all directions--to San Francisco, to Montana, to Australia, to New Orleans and other localities. The contents of each loaded car was 600 boxes, or a total of nearly 35,000 boxes. The apples that went to London were Oregon Newtowns, accounted by Mr. Olwell to be best sellers produced. The New York sales were mostly Spitzenbergs, while to the other markets went Baldwins, Ben Davis, Winesaps and one or two other varieties.
The orchard comprises 160 acres, all in apples but 1500 trees of Winter Nelis pears. Every apple shipped from the Olwell orchard sold in London or important eastern markets comes out of the original box wrapped in paper. The box is sugar pine, marked in large letters "Oregon Apples," together with the additional private stamp of the orchardists. The bottom and sides are lined with paper. Between each layer is paper, blue in color and of cardboard variety. On top is a paper of the same kind, and the lid is sprung in place with a machine and nailed. The apples in the box are packed with such exactness that when the lid is finally nailed on there is no shifting of position by the fruit inside.
For packing purposes, the apples are classified into four-tier and five-tier grades, according to size. Four-tier apples are those in which four apples exactly make a row in a tier and in which four tiers fill a box. The five-tier size takes its name for similar reasons. No apple is packed that is not absolutely perfect. The color must be right, the shape proper, and there must be no flaw or blemish that the eye can see. In the picking, 50 men are employed. During the packing season 20 girls are kept constantly busied at their duties. The packing is done in huge fruit houses, fitted with convenient tables and appliances for systematic prosecution of the work. Packing of apples for a carload does not begin until the fruit has been contracted. A telegram is received in the morning while the apples are still in bulk. At evening time the car of newly packed apples stands on the siding, to be taken way by a train within an hour or two after the process is completed.
One of the most remarkable features of the Olwell orchard is the success attained in destruction of the codling moth. Conditions in the locality are highly favorable to the propagation and prevalence of the pest, even more so than in the Willamette Valley. Formerly the whole crop of orchards in the district was lost by the infection. In many instances 90 percent of the apples in the orchard were infected. In the Olwell orchard this season less than 5 percent was lost by reason of the presence of the worms. This unparalleled result has been attained through diligent and intelligent spraying. The spray used is Paris green and London purple, applied six times during the season. One of the chief points of precaution in the spraying is to be absolutely certain that the poison is pure, a fact made doubly necessary because so many bogus preparations of both poisons are in the market.
Medford Mail, January 18, 1901, page 2
Quite a number of the orchardists hereabouts have purchased gasoline engines with which to furnish power to operate their spraying pumps. The Olwell boys experimented with one last year and found it to be a great saving in labor and added proficiency to the service. The gentlemen who have made recent purchases are Messrs. Weeks & Orr., C. E. Stewart, Capt. G. Voorhies, J. A. Whitman, John Gore and Olwell Bros. The Mail has also purchased one, of the greater horsepower than the spray engines, for use in operating its presses.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 15, 1901, page 7
John Olwell is making an extended trip through Washington.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, April 26, 1901, page 3
E. L. Olwell, who has been taking a course in Heald's business college, returned home last week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, May 3, 1901, page 3
Mrs. P. W. Olwell and daughter, Miss Julia, who have been spending the past six months at Los Angeles, returned home last week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, June 7, 1901, page 3
Rural Northwest:--"The fine orchard of Olwell Bros., of Central Point, Oregon, is doing good advertising for Oregon. Many papers in all parts of the country have mentioned this orchard and the fine apples it produces. The last issue of the Western Fruit Grower contains an article written for that paper by Olwell Bros., describing the orchard and their methods. The article is accompanied by three fine halftone illustrations, loaned by the Oregon State Board of Horticulture, and will give the people of the Middle West a good idea of what up-to-date orcharding in Oregon is like. * * * In the article written by Olwell Bros. the pleasing information is given that the San Jose scale is diminishing in Jackson County as a result of the attacks of a small black insect. This insect is not named by Olwell Bros., but it is probably the black ladybird (Rhizobius ventralis). In his annual report for 1892, Mr. J. D. Whitman, then commissioner of the Oregon State Board of Horticulture, called attention to the natural enemies of scale insects discovered by Mr. Albert Koebele. * * * These parasitic insects were obtained from the California State Board of Horticulture and distributed to fruit growers in different portions of the state. We do not know that any went to Jackson County, but think it probable. Some were sent to Canyonville, Douglas County. Whether the insects mentioned by Olwell Bros. have descended from those imported and distributed by the board of not, it is encouraging to know that they are now so numerous in Jackson County."
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 7, 1901, page 7 The Western Fruit Grower for 1901 containing the above Olwell article seems to only survive at the Cornell University Library in Ithaca New York. Anyone know someone in Ithaca?
Wm. J. Olwell and family of Davenport, Wash. arrived here Thursday and will spend a few weeks with relatives.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, June 21, 1901, page 3
W. J. Olwell and family, who have been visiting relatives here, left for their home at Davenport, Wash. Monday evening.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, June 28, 1901, page 3
J. T. Olwell, a prominent orchardist of Central Point, and one of the regents of the agricultural college, was in the city yesterday. He has 160 acres in apples, and last year marketed 35,000 boxes, making 58 carloads, for which he received $1 a box at the cars. He says his crop this season promises to be as good as that of last year. These apples were principally shipped to England direct.--Oregonian.
"News of the State," Medford Mail, August 2, 1901, page 4
Olwell Bros. and W. H. Norcross have a large number of fruit packers employed at each of their respective orchards and ship several carloads of apples each week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, September 13, 1901, page 3
Fifty men wanted to pick apples at the Olwell orchards, Central Point.
Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 2
100 acres of farm land. Apply to Olwell Bros., Central Point.
Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 2
Olwell Brothers are shipping carloads of their fine apples every week to eastern markets.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 3
The crop of apples in the Olwell Bros. orchard this season will reach forty carloads. As the prevailing price is from $1 to $1.25 per box and 600 boxes comprise a carload, it does not require much of a mathematician to figure out that there'll be close onto $30,000 due the boys when a final reckoning is made.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 25, 1901, page 7
L. B. Brown, who lives in East Medford, has sold his apple crop to Olwell Bros., and he is now packing the fruit. He estimates that he will market fully $1000 worth of fruit from his orchard this year. Considering that there are only eight acres of land planted to orchard, the revenue is indeed a good one. His Yellow Newtowns are being packed especially for the London market.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 1, 1901, page 7
Olwell Bros. of Central Point, who are the largest growers of apples in southern Oregon, have gathered their crop of apples. It amounts to 40 cars of 600 boxes each. All of the Newtown pippins grown by them have been contracted for the London, England market, to reach which the cost per car is $600.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 7, 1901, page 7
Mr. and Mrs. P. W. Olwell and daughter have gone to Los Angeles to spend the winter.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, November 8, 1901, page 3
The Mail is in receipt of a copy of a pamphlet printed for the purpose of filling a demand for accurate information concerning the scope of the proposed Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition to be held in Portland in 1905. The book is neatly and tastily gotten up and filled with illustrations of Oregon scenery, business enterprises, etc. The information contained is more accurate than some of the illustrations in the advertisements; for instance, on the back page a group of halftones is shown purporting to illustrate scenes along the line of the O.R.&N. Co.'s line, and among them is a picture of the interior of Olwell Bros.' packing house at Central Point, with Joe Olwell plainly to be recognized in the foreground. We of Southern Oregon are used to being overlooked to some extent, but when it comes to switching an establishment which will ship over fifty carloads of apples this year clear to the other end of the state, we imagine we have a "kick coming" and herewith register the same.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 8, 1901, page 7
W. H. Norcross has shipped five carloads of his fine apples to the East, Chicago and New York City being the principal markets. He shipped two carloads to London this week, and will have enough apples to keep his full force of packers employed until Christmas. Porter Brothers have shipped five carloads in the last few days, and Olwell Brothers will not be through packing their large crop before the new year, and we have several other fruit growers that will ship quite a large quantity this fall. W. J. Freeman & J. Hughes have an immense quantity of dried prunes ready to ship.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 3
Olwell Bros. shipped three carloads of apples from the Luscomb orchard this week.
"Gold Hill Items," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 3
P. W. Olwell left for Arizona Wednesday to join his wife, who will spend the winter there for her health.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, December 6, 1901, page 3
Olwell Bros. shipped two carloads of apples this week to Hamburg, Germany. The strict quarantine regulations established by Germany against fruit from all Pacific coast states makes the matter of shipping to that country decidedly hazardous, as many carloads already shipped from other coast points have been rejected by the German inspectors, but to do away with any possible trouble Messrs. Olwell Bros. had each box of fruit in these two carloads inspected by A. H. Carson, horticultural commissioner and inspector for this district, and his certificate to the effect that the fruit was not pest infested accompanied the bills of lading.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 7
Olwell Bros. shipped two carloads of apples last week to Hamburg, Germany. The strict quarantine regulations established by Germany against fruit from all Pacific Coast states makes the matter of shipping to that country decidedly hazardous, as many carloads already shipped from other coast points have been rejected by the German inspectors, but to do away with any possible trouble Messrs. Olwell Bros. had each box of fruit in these two carloads inspected by A. H. Carson, horticultural commissioner and inspector for this district, and his certificate to the effect that the fruit was not pest infested accompanied the bills of lading.
Valley Record, Ashland, December 19, 1901, page 1
OREGON GROWERS RECEIVED $2.25 PER BOX NET.
Two dollars and a quarter net per box is the price Olwell Bros., of Central Point, Jackson County, received for a carload of Oregon Newtowns sold in the London market a day or two before Christmas. Another car, sold a few days later, when the market was a little off, brought $1.75 net. More of the same apples are now in London, and returns are expected at any time.
J. D. Olwell was in Corvallis last week to attend the meeting of the board of regents of the Agricultural College. The Olwell Bros. have an orchard at Central Point of 160 acres. They had $12,000 worth of apples aboard the cars and on the way to market at one time last fall. The orchard is 13 years old, and the late crop is the fourth. Its aggregate this season was 35 cars, against 55 cars last year; but the better prices of this year made the output about as profitable as formerly.
The Olwell Spitzenbergs brought $1.50 net. They were mostly marketed in New York and Chicago. The buyer came to the orchard in August, and contracted for all the Spitzenbergs before the apples had matured. He remained there and paid spot cash for each car as it was shipped. The former price realized for Spitzenbergs was about $1 per box. The former price of the Newtowns, now selling in London at prices that net $2.25 and $1.75, was $1.05 to $1.10 per box. The Ben Davis variety in the Olwell orchard brought at the orchard this year $1.10 to $1.20 per box. They were mostly sold in New Orleans, which is not particular about the grade of apples it consumes. Last year the Olwell Ben Davis apples went at 65 cents per box.
At the Olwell orchard at picking time 70 men were employed. At packing time, which began after the picking and extended nearly to the holidays, 30 men and 16 girls were kept at work.
The codling moth has practically been run out of the Central Point district by the spray pump. Formerly 50 percent or more of the crop was destroyed by the worms, but by diligent spraying the percent of loss on this account is reduced to less than 5. In the Olwell orchard the spray pumps are operated by gasoline engines.
Mr. Olwell believes that much of the same success in growing apples in the Central Point district can be attained in the Willamette Valley. All that is necessary, he thinks, in order to make large orchards successful in the Willamette Valley is to be careful in the selection of soil and location, and then take good care of the orchard.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 23, 1902, page 7
THE OLWELL ORCHARDS.
Two dollars and a quarter net per box is the price Olwell Bros., of Central Point, Jackson County, received for a carload of Oregon Newtowns sold in the London market a day or two before Christmas. Another car, sold a few days later, when the market was a little off, brought $1.75 net. More of the same apples are now in London, and returns are expected at any time.
The Olwell Bros. have an orchard at Central Point of 100 acres. They had $12,000 worth of apples aboard the cars and on the way to market at one time this fall. The orchard is 13 years old, and the late crop is the fourth. Its aggregate this season was thirty-five cars, against fifty-five cars last year, but the better prices this year made the input about as profitable as formerly.
The Olwell Spitzenbergs brought $1.50 net. They are mostly marketed in New York and Chicago. The buyer came to the orchard in August and contracted for all the Spitzenbergs before the apples had matured. He remained there and paid spot cash for each car as it was shipped. The former price realized for Spitzenbergs was about $1 per box. The former price of the Newtowns now selling in London at prices that net $2.25 and $1.75, was $1.05 to $1.10 per box. The Ben Davis variety in the Olwell orchard brought at the orchard this year $1.10 to $1.29 per box. They were mostly sold in New Orleans, which is not particular about the grade of apples it consumes. Last year the Olwell Ben Davis went at sixty-five cents per box.
At the Olwell orchard at picking time 79 men were employed. At packing time, which began after the picking and extended nearly to the holidays, 30 men and 16 girls were kept at work.
The codling moth has practically been run out of the Central Point district by the spray pump. Formerly 50 percent or more of the crop was destroyed by the worms, but by diligent spraying, the percent loss on this account is less than 5. In the Olwell orchard the spray pumps are operated by gasoline engines.
Medford Mail, January 24, 1902, page 6
At last reports four-tier California Newtowns were selling in London at 7s to 7s6d per box, and Oregon Newtowns at 10s to 11s. What's the matter with Oregon apples? Olwell Bros., of Central Point, Oregon, netted $2.25 per box on one lot of apples shipped to London this season.--Rural Northwest.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, January 24, 1902, page 7
Mr. Olwell Says Fruit Was Clean.
In view of the fact that there is considerable talk being indulged in upon the subject of the recent rejection of Southern Oregon apples in the German markets, a Mail reporter on Tuesday sought an interview with Mr. John Olwell, one of the Olwell Bros., orchardists, of Central Point. The question was asked him: "Mr. Olwell, what do you know about the rejection of our fruit in the German markets?"
"I know a great deal about it," said Mr. Olwell. "I am glad you mentioned it to me, because I feel that I ought to say something upon the subject in justice to Messrs. Weeks & Orr. We (Olwell Bros.) bought this fruit from Weeks & Orr and shipped it to Hamburg, Germany, in anticipation of receiving a fancy price for it, as we had been informed that first grade, clean apples were in great demand on the German markets and would bring an extraordinary high price. We bought this fruit from Weeks & Orr because we knew it to be absolutely free from infection of any kind and we knew that their orchard was clean. (That word cleans means entirely free from infection with Jackson County orchardists.)
"To further guard against any possibility of rejection we had every box of this fruit inspected by Mr. A. H. Carson, horticultural commissioner of this district, and to the bill of lading we attached a certificate signed by Mr. Carson which was that the fruit was free from pest infection of any nature. These were sent with the fruit--and it was rejected--said to have scale on it. We know there was no scale. We have three reasons for knowing, any one of which would have been sufficient for us. We know that the Weeks & Orr orchard has no scale; we know that Mr. Alfred Weeks would not pack scaly apples, and we know that Mr. Carson would not certify to a document which he did not know of his own knowledge to be true.
"Since the rejection of this fruit we have learned that any fruit from the Pacific coast states of the United States would be condemned by the German authorities. The reason for it we, of course, do not know, and the only reason we can surmise is that at some time, earlier in the history of Pacific coast horticulture, some unscrupulous shipper has unloaded infected fruit on the German markets."
Medford Mail, February 14, 1902, page 6
P. W. Olwell, who has been spending the winter at Tucson, Arizona, arrived home this week, much improved in health.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, April 11, 1902, page 3
John D. Olwell, Democratic candidate for representative, spent Saturday night in Jacksonville.
"Jacksonville Items," Medford Mail, May 9, 1902, page 3
JOHN D. OLWELL
His Life Lies Like an Open Book Before the People of Jackson County.
Among the candidates is none more worthy of the place than John D. Olwell, nominee for representative of Jackson County on the Democratic ticket. He is known to almost every resident in Southern Oregon. He was practically forced into accepting the nomination by his friends; but since he has entered the fight he is determined to win. In sending such a man to represent Jackson County the people will make no mistake. He is frank, open, genial, thoroughly honest, and once knowing that he is right nothing will move him from his purpose. Taxpayers can feel safe when such men are in power. He was born in 1870. He came to this state as a boy with his parents. The family came to Jackson County by wagon from Roseburg. Mr. Olwell, Sr. was engaged in the milling business in Missouri and at Phoenix, and John was brought up in the trade of flour milling. Subsequently the family engaged in the fruit business. Some fourteen years ago they planted 160 acres of vacant land to orchard at Central Point, apples being the leading feature. This orchard has become noted as one of the finest apple orchards in the whole Pacific West, and is accepted as a model as to rare management and production of fine apples by horticulturists in Southern Oregon. The business is managed under the firm name of Olwell Bros., of which John is the head. They are now the largest shippers of apples in Oregon. The name of Olwell Bros. is a guarantee to buyers of apples as to fine quality, for every box bears it in the extensive markets of the eastern states and in Great Britain, where their product is sold. Mr. Olwell from habit and training is painstaking and vigilant as to all details of his business. He received a liberal education in the schools of this county, and in San Francisco and Portland, is a young man of excellent understanding, and with a mind alert to all that comes before him. He is therefore without narrow prejudices, and would be open, liberal and competent in his treatment of all questions which would come before him as a legislator in the event of his election. The state educational institutions, with which he is familiar, will have a good friend in Mr. Olwell. He is one of the regents of the State Agricultural College, under appointment of Gov. Geer.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 29, 1902, page 4
What John D. Olwell Says About His Election.
"I appreciate the compliment paid me by the voters of Jackson County, and I shall endeavor to show how sincerely I thank them by shaping my actions in representing Jackson County in such a way as to merit their future approval."
The speaker was John D. Olwell, elected representative of Jackson County on the Democratic ticket. He conducted his campaign in a clean, clear-cut manner, free from all personalities. He feels that he owes his election not alone to the Democrats, but to the Republicans as well. His popularity swept aside party prejudice. He was elected by his friends, regardless of party principles.
"It shall be my one aim," said he, in a sincere, modest manner, "to represent the interests of Jackson County in a faithful, impartial way. Thus can I best show how I appreciate the compliment."
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 12, 1902, page 2
Who Are Interested in Davenport, Washington.
Through the courtesy of Ed. Olwell, one of the Olwell Bros., now a progressive business man of Davenport, the metropolis of the Big Bend country, in Washington, the Democratic Times has received a neatly prepared advertising booklet. It is constructed in a first-class style, and would reflect credit on a much larger place. It shows that other Jackson County citizens, besides Mr. Olwell, are interested there. The names of A. A. Davis and W. I. Vawter are mentioned as prominent officers in the Big Bend flour mills, of which W. J. Olwell is vice-president and manager. He is also a city councilman. One of the principal brands of flour of this mill is "Davis' Best." The booklet shows that Davenport is a progressive town of 1,500 inhabitants, and a desirable place in which to locate.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 19, 1902, page 7
Ed. Olwell was among us Monday. From him we learn that his mother and sister will remain in Southern California during the season.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 26, 1902, page 1
Ed. Olwell, who is now a prominent business man of Davenport, Wash., arrived during the week, for a visit with relatives and friends.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 26, 1902, page 2
Mr. Olwell Discusses the Fruit-Growers' Union.Medford Mail, June 27, 1902, page 2
John D. Olwell, one of the owners of the famous Olwell orchard, four miles north of Medford, and which by the way is one of the largest apple orchards on the Pacific Coast, and for that matter in the United States, was in this city Tuesday. Speaking of the proposed fruit-growers' union, which is being talked of by the fruit men of this valley, Mr. Olwell stated to a representative of the Mail that he thought that in the matter of marketing fruit a union would be of little assistance to the growers who have from ten to forty, or more, carloads of fruit to ship, but to those having small quantities, and who are compelled to sell to local buyers, a union would be an advantage to them. Especially so would a union be to peach and berry growers, who usually have small quantities to market, and whose fruit is of a perishable nature and has to be rushed to a market. To such persons a union would enable them to secure better prices, through pooling their crop and reaching a distant market, but to the apple growers, at least those who have large quantities, a union would not be of much advantage, for their crop is not perishable at once, but can be held for months until it is convenient to ship.
In other ways Mr. Olwell thought a union would be of considerable benefit to all the fruit men of the valley. The present laws for the suppression of fruit pests he considered inadequate, and it would require a united effort by all the fruit men to get the legislature to make the necessary changes to the law. A union could do much toward enforcing the present fruit pest laws, and thus prevent careless farmers and town residents from allowing their fruit trees to become a nursery for the propagation of pests that would swarm out and overrun the orchards of those who try to keep their trees clean and healthy. Mr. Olwell wished it distinctly understood that he was not opposed to the fruit men getting together for their mutual interests, or that he even desired to discourage the effort to organize a union. On the contrary he was willing and anxious to do all that he could to push the fruit business of Jackson County, and to make it possible for the growers to maintain the high quality and splendid reputation that their fruit now has, and also secure to them the best prices that the markets of the world can afford.
Rogue River Valley apples are noted as much for their keeping qualities as for their eating qualities and handsome appearance. It is nothing uncommon, where they are properly kept, to have old apples keep until the new crop is fully grown. Mrs. L. F. Lozier, of this city, used the last of her apples last Friday, and they were then in quite as perfect condition as they were last winter. They were unselected apples from Olwell Bros.' orchard and were given no special care to ensure their keeping.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 4, 1902, page 7
E. L. Olwell, who is now one of the leading merchants of Davenport, Wash., is visiting the home folks. He will return to Washington the last of the week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3
Olwell Bros. will ship several carloads of Gravenstein apples to Montana during the week. They are also buying and shipping pears.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 28, 1902, page 6
Olwell Bros. shipped two carloads of apples to the outside market this week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, August 29, 1902, page 3
P. W. Olwell of Central Point, one of our pioneer horticulturists, was a Medford visitor Monday.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 4, 1902, page 5
Frank Olwell of Central Point was among our visitors Saturday. He recently returned from a trip to Washington and other states north of us.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 18, 1902, page 1
Olwell Bros. have been experimenting this season in shipping summer apples to foreign markets. They recently shipped one carload to Siberia and two to London. The variety was the None Such, and it is expected that very satisfactory returns will be received, as this variety of fruit is a very good seller, provided, of course, that the fruit reaches its destination in good shape.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 19, 1902, page 7
Olwell Bros. recently shipped a carload of apples to Alaska and two carloads to London. They are of the Nonesuch variety. Rogue River Valley apples have gained widespread fame.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 25, 1902, page 1
An Important Enterprise.
Olwell Bros., the well-known horticulturists, with their accustomed enterprise, are branching out. They have rented the Southern Oregon Packing Co.'s building, located in Medford, and will install first-class machinery of large capacity for the manufacture of cider and vinegar, expecting to commence operations soon. We hope to see them encouraged in a substantial manner, as they well deserve it.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 2, 1902, page 1
The machinery for Olwell Bros.' cider and vinegar manufactory has arrived and will soon be in position. This will prove an important enterprise, as it will consume a large quantity of fruit and give employment to several people.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 2, 1902, page 1
A RICH ORCHARD
Located in the Southern Part of this Great State.
"Snowy Butte" orchard, owned by Olwell Bros., adjoins the city limits of Central Point, Jackson County, Oregon. They had about $40,000 in cash and good notes, and in 1889 purchased 300 acres of land, for which they paid $15,000 cash. One hundred and sixty acres were set to apples and winter pears--150 acres being set to apples. There were 5,000 Spitzenbergs, 1,500 Newtowns, 1,500 Gravensteins, 1,500 Ben Davis, 500 Winesaps, 100 Petite prunes, 500 Winter Nelis and 400 trees of Swaar, Red Astrachans, Red Cheek Pippins and Bartletts. The trees cost them $40 a thousand, and there were 12,000 trees in the orchard. The land is what may be called heavy and is very dark. It was nine years before the trees came into bearing. Had the land been lighter they would have come into bearing two years earlier, but the trees would not have lasted so long. Between the rows of trees were grown corn and watermelons, which, for the first three or four years, paid for caring for the orchard. The amount was decreased each year as the trees got larger, and discontinued altogether after the fifth year.
The land requires constant cultivation until the middle of July; hence a crop requiring cultivation can just as well be grown for the first few years. One year 60 acres were devoted to watermelons.
When the land was purchased there were no buildings of any kind on it. Buildings had to be constructed, horses and machinery had to be purchased. When the trees came into bearing in 1897 of course there was only a small crop produced--about 2,400 boxes--they had used up the entire $40,000. This partial crop was sold f.o.b. the cars at Central Point for 90 cents per box. Since that the average crop has been 35 carloads, or 21,000 boxes, per year. Some years more and some years less. In 1898 they were offered 75 cents per box f.o.b. [the] cars at Central Point for common varieties and $1.10 for fancy grades, and had they sold would have netted about $8,000. This was when they were just beginning to see "daylight" in the orchard business. They were then inexperienced in the marketing of fruits and held the crop, thinking that prices would advance in late winter. Early in March they shipped the bulk of the crop to New York, which reached there about five days after the fruit held in cold storage had been put up on the market, and prices were way down. They would have been better off had they never harvested their fruit. Yet, as one of them remarked to the writer, "It was probably worth to us all it cost, as it taught us a lesson."
The net profits on the farm were for 1899 $6,000; 1900, $12,000; and for 1901, $20,000.
For the best care of a large bearing orchard it will cost per year from $15 to $25 per acre; this is for cultivation, spraying, pruning, thinning, etc. The cost for picking, packing, wrapping, etc.--that is from the tree to the car where the station or siding is near the orchard--is from 25 to 30 cents per box. The paper alone for one year's crop will cost about $1,000, boxes $1,800 and nails $150. This will give some idea of the cost of a large commercial orchard. Pickers are paid $1 per day and board. Picking season lasts for about three weeks, and from 40 to 80 pickers are employed--50 being the average. The packing is done by girls. [They] employ about sixteen who are experienced. It takes about two years to become an expert packer; some never can become expert in that line.
The apples are picked off the trees by hand, placed in what are called orchard boxes and hauled to the packing house on long racks with springs under them, 60 to 70 boxes being hauled at each load, and they are stacked up. The red varieties are run through a polisher and are assorted into two sizes. The polisher is made by fastening brushes on a wheel, there being a circular strip upon which brushes are also fastened, all being attached to springs. The wheel is revolved quite rapidly, the apples passing through between the brushes on the wheel and those attached to the circular strip, which gives them a glossy appearance. The imperfect apples are set aside. The perfect apples are then wrapped in fruit paper, each piece having the advertisement of the orchard, and packed in standard boxes. The green-colored varieties are assorted, wrapped and packed, but not polished.
A good packer under favorable conditions can pack from 40 to 50 boxes per day of eleven hours. Ordinarily they pack from 25 to 30 boxes. The boxes are lined with paper, a blue cardboard is placed between each layer and in [the] top and bottom of [the] box. The art in filling a box is in building it up, as each variety of apples is placed in differently.
Immediately after packing the apples are shipped in carload lots. Newtowns go to the English markets, Spitzenbergs to the large cities of the East, Ben Davis and Red Cheeked Pippins usually go to the Southern states, and some to Alaska. If any of the crop is held it is not advisable to pack until ready for shipment.
Apples for the English market are billed to London; but if, when they reach New York, the market in London is not what is desired, the apples are put in cold storage at New York to await an advance in the London market. If there is a considerable amount the cost of cold storage is 5 cents per box per month.
Fruit that is sold in London is sold at auction at 9 a.m.; and by reason of the difference in time a cablegram is sometimes received at 8:30 a.m. at Central Point, announcing the price for which it was sold at 9 a.m. the same day.
Olwell Bros. have built up a reputation for honesty of pack; hence they sometimes sell ten thousand dollars worth of fruit on a telegraphic order. The buyer knows that he will get just what he orders, and the seller knows that the buyer will be pleased.
When they began hand pumps were used, and the spraying of 160 acres became quite a problem, especially when men refused to work when asked to operate the pumps. Finally they made a gasoline engine, which operated the pump and also the agitator, and placed it on a wagon. Three men with one machine will spray about 400 trees per day. The spraying is thoroughly done; every apple is covered, and the tree after it has been sprayed has the appearance of having been washed. The photo will give some idea of the way the machine is operated.
In 1890 when the girls were packing apples Mr. Olwell told them that the apples they were then packing were to be shipped to Alaska, so they conceived the idea of putting notes in some of the boxes, asking the purchaser to state the price paid for the box, the condition in which the apples were received, and also that the purchaser exchange a nugget for a photograph. In response to one of these notes the following letter was received:
"Nome, Alaska, Nov. 6, 1900.--Miss Mamie Rippey, Central Point, Oregon. Dear Miss Rippey: Your letter has just been discovered in a box of apples I bought today, and it arrived none too soon, as the last boat leaves today. The apples are very fine, and you will doubtless be surprised when I tell you that I paid $6 for that one box. I am enclosing herewith a little nugget from one of the creeks here, and would like to have you tell me if you receive the same all right. You will doubtless wonder who I am, which I, in my haste, almost overlooked. I am running the North Star restaurant in the central portion of the flourishing little city of Nome. My home is not very far from you, being in Williams, Josephine County, Oregon. Hoping you will receive the nugget all right, I beg to remain, Yours very respectfully, G. H. Chapman, Nome, Alaska. P.S.--Nuggets are very scarce in this camp this year on account of the scarcity of water, but will be more plentiful next year. I hope you will exchange me your photograph for Nome nuggets."
Pacific Homestead, Salem, September 18, 1902, page 1. Also printed in the Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 2, 1902, page 4
NEW MEDFORD ENTERPRISE.Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 2
A Plant for the Manufacture of Vinegar Is Installed by Olwell Bros.
Several weeks ago an article appeared in the Mail announcing the probable establishment of a vinegar factory in Medford. Since that time this prediction has been verified, and within a very short time the plant will be in running order. Olwell Bros., of Central Point, are the main movers in this addition to the manufacturing concerns of Medford. They have leased the Slinger & Ulrich packing house in northwest Medford and are busily engaged preparing the building for their purpose and installing the plant.
The plant at present consists of a hydraulic cider press and mill with a capacity of from sixty to seventy-five barrels per day, and a steam engine for motive power. If a sufficient market is found to justify it, additions will be made later and the business worked up to its highest point. The press and mill are now in place, and as soon as the necessary barrels and tanks arrive and the fruit commences to come in--in between two and three weeks--operations will commence. The class of fruit to be used is that which has heretofore been allowed to rot on the ground in many orchards, being unsalable, and by so decaying has been a detriment to the orchard. In speaking of the supply of such fruit, John D. Olwell, of Olwell Bros., said: "I believe that the supply of fruit will be sufficient to run a plant large enough to make the business a profitable one. No matter how well an orchard is kept, there is always more or less windfall, imperfect and otherwise unmerchantable fruit, which is now allowed to decay in the orchard because there is no other means of disposing of it. This is a positive injury to the orchard and is sometimes so large in quantity as to become a positive nuisance. In our own case, for instance, last fall we would have been willing to pay someone to haul them away."
In the matter of a market it is expected that Portland and the Sound cities will consume the whole product of the enterprise, as the pure food law of Oregon forbids the sale of acid vinegars, and it is impossible now to produce enough cider vinegar in the state to supply the demand. Sweet cider will also be manufactured, and it is expected that a good market can be worked up for this product.
Hon. J. W. Bailey, state food commissioner, is in some measure responsible for the inauguration of this enterprise. On a visit here several months ago Mr. Bailey was much impressed with the possibilities of the Rogue River Valley as to the manufacture of cider vinegar, not only on account of the large fruit production, but for the reason that a higher percentage of acetic acid could be realized from Rogue River fruit than that of the Willamette Valley. In 1899 a law was passed fixing the percent of acetic acid in cider vinegar at 4.5, but vinegar manufacturers of the Willamette found it difficult and generally impossible to reacher a higher standard than 4.0 percent, and in the legislature of 1901 the standard was reduced to that point. In tests made by Mr. Bailey and others of Rogue River vinegar it was found that a standard of 7.5 percent was easily reached in this section. The state standard of 4.0 percent gives a product strong enough for all table use. Thus, it is readily seen that one gallon of Rogue River vinegar will produce almost two gallons of the required strength. The fact, taken together with the yearly increase in orchard acreage, should ensure the success of the scheme from the start and in the end build up a business that will be one of the prominent commercial institutions of the valley.
Olwell Bros. shipped a carload of their fine apples north this week.
Miss Myra Galloway, of Grants Pass, is packing apples at the Olwell Bros. orchard.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, October 10, 1902, page 3
A. A. Davis left Tuesday morning for Davenport, Wash., to be absent upon his annual tour of inspection of his business interests at that place. The company, of which he is president, operates a large flouring mill at Davenport, which is superintended by W. J. Olwell, formerly of Jackson County. Mr. Davis reports that crops in that locality have been good this year, and that his mill is doing a fine business.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 10, 1902, page 6
The cider press and mill is all in position for Olwell Bros.' vinegar factory and is altogether a different-looking machine from the homemade cider mill a great many of us remember in our boyhood days. The fruit is poured into a hopper and carried by an elevator to the hopper which feeds the mill, eight or nine feet from the floor. The pomace drops onto trays, which when full are carried under the hydraulic press, and when that press gets through with it, if there is any piece left it is not perceivable. The juice flows into a reservoir beneath the machine, from whence it is pumped into other receptacles prepared for it. A carload of barrels was received this week. Work in arranging the plant has been considerably retarded by lack of lumber, but that difficulty has now been overcome.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 10, 1902, page 7
Frank Roundtree of Central Point, an expert mechanic, is in Medford assisting in putting Olwell Bros.' cider and vinegar plant in operation.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 16, 1902, page 1
The Wilhite brothers and Earl Case have quit school temporarily and are engaged picking fruit in the Olwell orchard.
"Beagle Items," Medford Mail, October 17, 1902, page 5
Cider Apples Wanted
At the Southern Oregon Cider & Vinegar Company's plant, located in Medford, at the old pork packing establishment.
We will pay 20 cents per hundred pounds delivered at the factory, or will pay a reasonable price in the field when quantities will justify, and will guarantee to clean the orchard with haste before the fruit is destroyed by decay and storm, as it decays very rapidly when left exposed to the weather. We are prepared to handle a carload per day. The fruit is all weighed on the scales at the Perry warehouse at the company's expense. If you have cider apples haul them in at once.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 23-30, 1902, page 1; also
Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 2
VINEGAR PLANT IN OPERATION.
Operations were commenced at the Southern Oregon Cider Vinegar Company's plant on Monday, and in a run of nine hours ground out about 3000 gallons of apple juice, filling one of the three large tanks about three-fourths full. The well from which water for the engine was used proved unequal to the demand upon it, and operations had to be suspended until it could be deepened. It is expected that when everything is in running order that a carload of apples will be used a day. The juice from which vinegar is to be made is pumped direct from the press to the tanks, where it will go through a course of fermentation and then be drawn off into barrels. Usually it takes several months to produce vinegar from apple juice by the ordinary process of barreling up and letting it stand, but the company expects by using the large tanks, giving more surface to the air and inoculation with vinegar germs--mother of vinegar--to achieve the same result in about sixty days.
The juice to be used for cider will be pumped from the press through a series of filters into a tank and then drawn off into barrels, and every precaution will be taken to ensure the purity and absolute cleanliness of the product.
It is the intention of this company, if the venture proves a success, to erect suitable and convenient buildings for their purpose, as their present location, while large enough for the business now, will not afford the room necessary for any considerable increase.
On Monday also articles of incorporation of the Southern Oregon Cider Vinegar Co. were filed with the secretary of state, the incorporators being H. B. Miller, John D. Olwell and Jos. Olwell. At a meeting held the same day, John D. Olwell was elected president, Jos. Olwell vice-president and J. E. Enyart secretary and treasurer. The capital stock of the company was placed at $5,000.
The company is ready to buy all the cider apples offered and advertises to that effect in another column of this paper. Aside from receiving remuneration for a product which has hitherto proved a total loss, orchardmen will derive a benefit from the installation of this factory by having all windfalls and imperfect fruit removed from their orchards instead of allowing it to decay on the ground to become a breeding place for fruit pests of various description.
The Mail is unable to see why the logical outcome of this enterprise should not be the thing it has talked about in season and out of season, first, last and all the time for years, and that is a fruit and vegetable cannery. If it will pay a reasonable profit to grind into cider and vinegar the unmerchantable apples of this valley, by the operation of a plant capable of using a carload of apples a day, why wouldn't it also pay to can the small fruits and vegetables which could be raised at various points in the valley, which are not specially adapted to successful fruit raising? Tons of berries, tomatoes and other commodities could be raised here where there are pounds now, if a market could be found for them, but their perishable nature and the distance from city markets preclude the idea of shipping them fresh. A cannery could use them, however, work them up into a merchantable commodity and create a new and profitable industry in Southern Oregon. Because we have not mentioned the cannery proposition of late people may think we have forgotten it. But we haven't. We are going to keep at this thing until we get it. Sooner or later we will succeed.
Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 2
B. R. Porter took his daughters, Myrtle and Margaret, and Miss Grace Jennings over to the Olwell packing house Saturday, where the young ladies were initiated into the mysteries of apple packing. They are now busy, with the assistance of Oliver Adams and Ephraim Chapman, packing Mr. Porter's fine apples.
J. C. Pendleton, "Table Rock Items," Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 3
The Southern Oregon Cider and Vinegar Co. is doing a good business already. On Tuesday it shipped a big barrel of cider to Portland.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 30, 1902, page 1
Clyde Wilhite has given up his position in the Olwell orchard and has returned home to resume his studies at Antioch.
"Beagle Items," Medford Mail, October 31, 1902, page 3
The Southern Oregon Cider and Vinegar Co. shipped a carload of cider to Portland a few days since. It is manufacturing a superior article, which finds favor wherever sold.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 6, 1902, page 2
Olwell Bros. are short of apple packers. They pay 4 cents per box. Some packers make $12 to $15 per week, while others less.
"Central Point Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 12, 1902, page 2
Olwell Bros. have purchased the fine crop of apples raised on Phil. Luscomb's place, located not far from Gold Hill.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 26, 1902, page 1
The Enterprise Appreciated.
The Southern Oregon Cider and Vinegar Co. is manufacturing an immense quantity of first-class cider and vinegar, which is giving general satisfaction. Much has already been shipped to Portland and elsewhere. A prominent agricultural paper, speaking thereof in a recent issue, says: The new cider and vinegar works at Medford are doing a big business and paying $6 per ton for apples, which is a high price for apples to be used for that purpose. Cider from this factory is now on sale at the leading retail grocery stores in Portland, and it is not probable that Kentucky will be drawn on for this article by Oregon as extensively this year as was done last.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 26, 1902, page 2
P. W. Olwell of Central Point and his daughter, Miss Daisy, left for Arizona Monday, to join Mrs. Olwell.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 3, 1902, page 4
Representative John D. Olwell is taking considerable interest in the fishery question as it relates to Rogue River and is trying to get an expression from the people regarding their wishes in the matter. He has been approached by several who have interests at stake but has reached no definite conclusion regarding the method of securing the best results for those most vitally interested.
Medford Mail, December 12, 1902, page 2
Olwell Bros. finished loading the last two cars of apples on Monday for shipment south. This closes the business for the season and makes a total of fifty-one cars of fruit shipped from this locality by these energetic orchardists.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, December 12, 1902, page 6
Olwell Bros. shipped two carloads of apples during the past few days. They have sent over fifty carloads out of the valley this season, besides manufacturing a very large quantity into cider and vinegar.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 17, 1902, page 2
AN APPLE-RAISER ON A TOUR.
Mr. Olwell Visits the Fruit Districts of Eastern Oregon.
J. W. Olwell, of the firm of Olwell Bros., the well-known apple-growers of Southern Oregon, has returned from a ten days' visit to various sections of Eastern Oregon and Washington, where he went to see what he could learn about fruit-growing and packing, says the Oregonian.
"We are generally credited with being quite successful in apple-growing and marketing in Southern Oregon," said Mr. Olwell; "but I have observed that there is much to be learned by visiting other people and observing their ways. No community has a monopoly of the best methods, and more visiting around might do us all a great deal of good. Last year 2500 acres of apple trees were set out in Rogue River Valley, and nearly as many will be set out this season. In 15 years from now every acre of good apple land in Rogue River Valley will be covered with trees. With an industry growing like that it is well for people interested in it to take advantage of every opportunity to learn.
"Of course, I came back more in love with the Rogue River country than ever before; and yet I saw many successful apple sections. The best apple-growing regions east of the mountains, according to my observations, are at Hood River, Yakima and Walla Walla. I am convinced that the greatest success of the apple-growing industry depends upon producing a variety of fruit which will be a favorite on the market, and can be grown better here than in any other place. That is the advantage we have in Southern Oregon. We grow Newtown Pippins and Spitzenbergs principally, and our climate, altitude and soil enable us to produce a better apple of that variety than can be grown in the eastern states. For that reason we can demand and receive a higher price for our fruit than can the eastern growers. There is always a plenty of the common grades of fruit; and it is by raising something extra good that an extra price is obtained. People who go into fruit-growing should study the conditions of their localities, so as to determine what variety of fruit will do best, and then not be content with growing anything inferior to the best that the conditions will permit."
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 31, 1902, page 1
Olwell Bros., the extensive fruit growers and shippers, who purchased a tract of land some time ago, will plant it in apple trees at once. They have already purchased 2100 of the Newtown Pippin variety from L. B. Warner.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 14, 1903, page 2
Jos. Olwell, the clever horticulturist, has gone to Spokane. He has been invited to deliver an address at the meeting of the Northwest Fruit Growers' Association, which will be held in that city this week, on fruit packing in Southern Oregon, a subject he is well qualified to discuss.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 4, 1903, page 4
Hon. J. D. Olwell of Central Point was a Medford visitor Thursday. He made a fine record during the session of the legislature just closed.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 4, 1903, page 3
Messrs. Olwell Bros., the orchardists, are experimenting with an irrigating plant down at their orchard, near Central Point, [where] there is a certain portion of their orchard that is just a little higher than the general lay of the orchard, and it is feared by the owners that there is more fruit on the trees of this particular part than can properly mature without more moisture than is being supplied by nature. A three-horsepower gasoline engine is being put in, and with it they will pump water from a well and force it through 1200 feet of pipe to this high land and there distribute it among the trees by means of irrigation ditches. Should this plan prove beneficial, and can be successfully operated, it is more than probable that another season they will endeavor to thus irrigate the greater part of the orchard. Should this be deemed advisable a dozen or more plants will be necessary. In speaking of the fruit crop this year with one of the owners of the orchard, a Mail reporter was told that the crop would exceed any former crop by at least twenty-five carloads. The greatest number of carloads ever harvested in one season were forty-seven--this means that there will be over seventy carloads harvested from this orchard this year. The apple and pear crop is unquestionably a record-beater this year in all orchards of the valley. All the growers of the valley will watch with considerable interest the result of the experiment which Messrs. Olwell Bros. are now making.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 26, 1903, page 7
FRUIT TREES NEED WATER.
Rogue River Orchard Will Be Supplied Artificially.
MEDFORD, Or., June 24.--(Special.)--Olwell brothers, who live four miles north of Medford, are putting in a gasoline pumping plant to irrigate certain high parts of their famous apple orchard. The reason for this is that the trees have more fruit on them than they can properly nurture, and this added moisture is deemed necessary.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, June 25, 1903, page 4
John Olwell--"I read the article in the Mail last week concerning our irrigation experiment with considerable interest, but I think people who do not know should be given to understand that irrigation is not an absolute necessity to the raising of good fruit. Some of our orchard has too much moisture, while some of the high ground has not enough. We are now putting in tiling in the lower parts of our orchard, and the stream of water flowing therefrom confirms the conclusion we had arrived at, that we had too much moisture in these parts of the orchard to secure the best results. Our irrigation experiment is being watched with considerable interest by other orchardists, as there are a number of other orchards where the conditions are much the same as in our own, and if anything can be done to enhance either the quality or quantity of the yield, the orchardmen of the valley are always ready to do it."
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 3, 1903, page 7
August 26, 1903 Oregonian
Hon. John W. Olwell, Oregon's horticultural commissioner for the St. Louis World's Fair, has expressed the desire that we should ask those of our horticulturists who may have some choice varieties of fruits, such as pears and peaches, to preserve them for him to place on exhibition at the fair next year. The later fruits can, of course, be kept in cold storage and will be in good shape for the exhibition, but this can hardly be expected from the early fruit. All necessary expenses, such as the purchase of suitable jars and liquids for the preservation of these fruits, will be paid by the commissioners in charge of the Oregon exhibit, but it is expected that only the very choicest of these fruits can be preserved. The Mail will suggest that anyone having such fruit confer with Mr. Olwell and become more fully informed.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 18, 1903, page 5
Messrs. Olwell Bros. have purchased the Amy tract of 182 acres of land. This land is situated just east of Bear Creek, near Central Point. The price paid for the land was $12,000. Inasmuch as there were other prospective purchasers of this tract, it is barely possible that the above-named purchasers may dispose of the land to some of them at a considerable advance in price, but if this is not done they will put forty acres of the land into alfalfa, forty acres in to hops and the remainder will be set to apples and pears. Mr. Amy reserves the crop of wheat which he now has sown on the place.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 4, 1904, page 5
The growth of the fruit industry in the Rogue River Valley is one of the factors which will make a steady and growing demand for boxes. The climatic and soil conditions are extremely favorable for the growth of apples and pears. J. D. Olwell, of Central Point, of the well-known firm of Olwell Bros., fruit growers, gave The Timberman recently some interesting figures regarding the future of the fruit business in the Rogue River Valley, of which Medford is the center. "Seven to eight years ago, fruit growing was commenced in a commercial way. At the present time there are probably from seven to eight thousand acres in orchard. The increase in fruit acreage is about 1500 acres yearly, probably more than less. It takes the trees about seven years to come into bearing. At the end of this period the trees should produce five boxes per tree, and more with age. Sixty trees are planted to an acre, requiring 300 boxes to the acre. In the early orchards the trees were planted closer, which was found to be a mistake. In our old orchard we are cutting down every alternate row. The principal varieties of apples grown are the Newtown Pippin and Spitzenberg. Our apples find a ready market in the large eastern cities, and in England. The Oregon Newtown Pippin attains its highest perfection here on Rogue River, the elevation being about 1400 feet. In a small section near Watsonville, Cal., some Newtown Pippins are grown at an elevation about six feet above sea level. This fruit brings about 40 percent less than the Oregon product. There is also a small section in Virginia, where Pippins are grown, which comprises the available area for the production of this particular variety of the apple family. In pears the Bartlett, Comice and Basque are the leading varieties grown. There is in my judgment no danger of the fruit business being overdone on Rogue River, as the markets keep constantly increasing. The profits in the business are good, with intelligent management. It is safe to figure on 25 percent of net returns on the investment."
"Southern Oregon," The Columbia River and Oregon Timberman, April 1904, page 20
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hopkins, of Portland, were in the city Tuesday. Mr. Hopkins is of the firm of Downing, Hopkins & Co., of Portland. It is this firm that purchased the Olwell orchards. Mr. H. and family expect to move to the orchards in about a month, and during the coming summer he will erect a fine dwelling.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, February 10, 1905, page 4
The Condor Water & Power Co. is stringing wires this week to Hopkins' orchard (formerly the Olwell place) for lighting purposes. It is expected later that power will be put in for pumping purposes. The stringing of the Condor Co.'s electric lines through the valley is but the commencement of a system which will result in every farm being provided with power and light, if the owners so wish, and it will not be long until they will wish it, when they see what their neighbors are doing.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 17, 1905, page 5
J. D. Olwell--"Yes, my garden is growing nicely, and I am ever so much obliged to the boys for so kindly planting it for me. I would rather, however, that they had planted it in rows, instead of sowing the seed broadcast. But then, not being accustomed to things agricultural, you couldn't expect anything different. I am a little disappointed in the onions, but the radishes and turnips are doing fine."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, May 5, 1905, page 1
J. W. Olwell--"You should have seen those conductor excursionists flock into the exhibit building Wednesday morning, while the train they were traveling on was standing at the depot. There was a full trainload of them, and they were from all parts of the eastern and southern states. I believe I could have sold five dollars' worth of souvenirs if I had had any to sell. They admired everything in the building and wanted a piece of the entire exhibit to take home with them. When it was time for the train to move they just naturally would not break loose from those exhibits. This shows the interest strangers are going to take in our building and the exhibits we have in it."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, May 19, 1905, page 1
Hon. John D. Olwell:--"I am glad to get back to Southern Oregon. Southern California, where I have been for the past two weeks, is a great--a grand--country, but it doesn't strike me so favorably as does the Rogue River Valley. While I was in Redlands the thermometer ranged from 95 to 105 every day, excepting one day--when it was slightly cloudy. It is the land of perpetual sunshine, and that palls on a person after awhile. Here we have the weather mixed about right--sunshine and clouds, some rain, a little frost--the condiments which give spice to the atmosphere and make one know that life is worth the living. There is too much of a sameness about perpetual sunshine, just as there is about perpetual snow, to suit me, though people live in both extremes and seem to enjoy it. I may be somewhat prejudiced about this valley, but I find that I am not the only one who thinks the same way."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, October 13, 1905, page 1
OLWELL TALKS APPLESFrom Portland Journal:
"You do not hear much about the Rogue River orchards, but they are shipping hundreds of carloads of apples to New York, England and the Orient every year," said John D. Olwell, of Medford, at the Imperial Hotel. He is a member of the board of regents of the state agricultural college, served in the legislature and is a member of one of the largest apple exporting firms in the state.
"We are like the Hood River people in the respect that we only ship the Spitzenberg and Newtown Pippin to the East. The former go to New York and the latter to England. Inferior grades of other varieties find a ready market in the Orient. It was only a few years ago that the Orient proved a market for apples. Since then the demand has been growing, but only for the cheaper grades. The natives of China and Japan are not inclined to pay much for their apples, hence we only ship the common varieties. Not so with the fastidious New Yorker and the wealthy Englishman. They want the best the market affords and it comes from Oregon. And the Rogue River Valley produces it.
"The other large cities of the United States make a bid each year for the apples of our orchards, but they do not get them because the commission merchants are not willing to pay the prices that we get in New York and England. The demand is greater than the supply, hence the figures obtainable.
"The Rogue River Valley country is growing very rapidly. We are setting out an on an average of about 3,000 acres of land a year in new orchards. That has been going on about six years. Results are just beginning to show in the increased output of our section.
"I am now on my way to New York to study the fruit markets of the East and learn more particularly just what the New Yorkers want in the way of special brands of apples. Oregon is fast forging to the front as an apple-producing state, and at the present rate bids fair to become the greatest in the United States in the yield of special varieties.''
Medford Mail, January 26, 1906, page 1
John D. Olwell:--"I don't know that I have much to say since I returned home, other than I am mighty glad to see the green fields and fir-clad hills of old Oregon again. While gone I covered the East pretty thoroughly, visited most of the principal cities and took a jaunt to Puerto Rico, but nowhere did I see anything in the way of country or climate equal to Southern Oregon. Every once in awhile I would run across someone who had been here and without exception they were all figuring on the time when they could return to Rogue River Valley. That isn't a bad advertisement itself. In the big cities of the East there is more money, of course, and more opportunities to make money--also more chances to lose it--but for a country and climate in which it make a comfortable home, where you are not frozen in winter or baked in summer, you can't beat the Rogue River Valley anywhere."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, April 6, 1906, page 1
THE SNOWY BUTTE ORCHARDSThe Snowy Butte orchards, F. H. Hopkins, owner, is putting on the market this season some of the best fruit ever marketed. Mr. Hopkins has shipped eight carloads of choice Winter Nelis pears. These were packed in half boxes and were shipped to London, England. This is an experiment insofar as applies to the shipment of pears--apples have been shipped profitably to this market from the great Rogue River Valley for years, but no pears have yet gone there aside from this shipment. Mr. Hopkins has shipped apples which were so large that only fifty-four of them could be gotten into a box. His apples as a whole will average from seventy-two to ninety-six to the box. He expects to gather from his orchard fully fifteen carloads of choice apples this season.
The fine crop this season, Mr. Hopkins believes, is largely due to the fact that he had water to put on the land just at a time when the trees were needing it. It is but a logical conclusion to reach--that an irrigated tree will mature more and better fruit than one not irrigated. A good soaking of the roots of a tree during August and early September gives new vitality to the tree, and in turn this vitality goes to the body and branches and into the fruit, thus pumping and completely maturing the fruit and giving it a strength which causes it to hold fast to its parent branch for a greater length of time and the usual dropping is reduced to a great extent. With the use of water, Mr. Hopkins is of the opinion his next crop, and all succeeding ones for that matter, will be a long ways ahead of any the orchard has ever produced. The water used for irrigating is from the Fish Lake ditch.
Aside from making numerous improvements in his orchard and in the methods of caring for them and in handling the fruit, Mr. Hopkins is adding materially to the appearance and convenience of his fine orchard home by putting up new buildings and remodeling the old ones. He has built a large stock and hay barn, 55x111 feet in size, and two and a half stories high. This will have a capacity of 140 tons of loose hay, besides there will be box stalls for the driving horses and other stalls and convenience for the farm stock. He is also building an implement house, 30x60 feet in size. The old buildings are being reshingled and painted. He is also erecting a very pretty and comfortable residence.
Medford Mail, September 28, 1906, page 1
J. D. Olwell:--"When in New York City recently I was at the office of attorney Francis Fitch, formerly of Medford. He has a very swell suite of office rooms on Broadway and these are fitted up in elaborate style. I understand Mr. Fitch is attorney for a number of large concerns and is earning lots of money. I also saw Bert Whitman and his wife."
"Said on the Street," Medford Mail, October 19, 1906, page 1
TELLS ABOUT OUR GREAT RESOURCES
F. H. Hopkins Talks to Reporter--Large Yield of Fruit--
Road to Coal Mine--Real Estate on the Raise--
Medford's Bright Prospects for the Future.
F. H. Hopkins of the Snowy Butte orchard was in Portland last week, and as the result of an interview with a representative of the Portland Oregonian that paper has published a lengthy article, from which we glean the following:
Mr. Hopkins says that the fruit season has been highly satisfactory, both in matter of yield and in prices obtained, the pear growers, in which guild he is enrolled, having obtained as high prices as ever, and large yield in most localities in the valley. He himself realized more than $9000 from 18 acres of Winter Nelis pears, which yield was surpassed by an orchardman south of Medford, who, from 12 acres of Bartlett pears and Yellow Newtown apples, sold something more than $9000 worth of fruit. His success resulted from irrigating his little orchard with a pumping plant, taking the water from a well in Bear Creek bottom with a gasoline engine and centrifugal pump. This system of irrigating is becoming quite the vogue where the acreage is small and the underflow of water is sufficient.
Mr. Hopkins asserts that in his opinion the strongest feature of the Rogue River Valley is its wonderful diversity of productions, the great market afforded for everything produced in any line by the proximity of the mines and lumber camps of Northern California and the district west and north of the valley in Oregon, all of which districts look to this fertile valley as their base of supplies. This great market is of considerable importance in developing any orchard, as anything in the food line from the soil, or as a byproduct of the business, finds a ready market at good figures.
Alfalfa seed growing is sure to be one of the chief industries of the valley, for from the second crop from the fields a yield of not less than $30 an acre was obtained from about 400 acres harvested during the past season. As two months' good pasturage is obtained after the removal of the seed crop, and a fine hay crop secured from the first cutting, the alfalfa men feel encouraged. It will add somewhat to the price of hay in the future, which is important, as it looked at one time as if there would be a chronic surplus of hay in this valley. It is all finding a ready market at prices ranging from $10 to $13 a ton, freight on board cars at this time, however.
The thing which looks best at this tine in the southern part of the state is the development of the coal mine east of Medford by Medford men, the vein now showing fully nine feet in thickness, and the quality of the coal rapidly improving as the mountain is penetrated, the pressure of course being much greater on the coal under the mountain. Medford has been supplying more or less of the coal to residents of Ashland for some time past.
The Southern Pacific Company has been sitting up and taking notice for months past, whenever Medford coal is mentioned, and the company is considering the advisability of throwing a spur from Medford to the mine to supply its own needs. It is thought that action will be taken within the next 30 days, as the coal is of sufficient extent and the quality is good enough for railroad men. The extent of the coal is much greater than at first thought, the indications being equally good all the way around the mountain known as "Roxy Ann," east of Medford, and the continuation of the coal measures showing up equally well at the head of Antelope Creek and north of the river at the head of Evans Creek.
Land which has indisputable evidences of coal measures underlying, usually afforded from the dirt thrown out of the ground squirrel burrows, to illustrate the degree of prospecting so far done, has had quite an advance in value recently. A widow who owned a bleak hillside on the north spur of "Roxy Ann" and had the tract listed for sale less than a year ago for $650 sold it last week to local buyers for $3000. Almost every hole showed the black diamonds.
Referring to land prices, Mr. Hopkins feels assured of a great advance in realty value in the valley soon, as the recent blizzards in the Dakotas and Montana have directed hundreds of inquiries to the Rogue River Valley from men with plenty of means who are tired of the inclement weather [elsewhere]. It is known already that more property will change hands in the valley within the next three months than in the last three years.
Without boasting, Mr. Hopkins says he is assured from his own observations that where other fruit sections are confined to one or two specialties, the Rogue River Valley has a dozen from which as good yields are annually being obtained as from the best of other districts, and yet land values in the Rogue River Valley are less than half those in other districts, which have been undoubtedly boomed. Yet the Rogue River Valley has the most perfect climate in the Northwest, and is attracting more attention than any other section. This valuation condition cannot continue long, for the productive capacity is what regulates the values of land everywhere, and he looks for a material advance, especially in the case of young orchards approaching the bearing stage.
Medford Mail, February 1, 1907, page 1
Fred H. Hopkins, one of the prominent fruit growers of Medford, Oregon, recently received a cable from Dennis & Sons, Covent Garden, England, that a car of Newtowns shipped by him were sold at an average net figure of $2.38 f.o.b. shipping point. Those figures are gratifying to the fruit growers who take lots of pains to put fancy fruit on the market.
"Doings on Fruit Growers of the Pacific Northwest," Better Fruit, March 1907, page 14
Olwell Packing House, September 1906 Better Fruit magazine
That congratulations are now to be extended to Hon. John Dee Olwell, and to Mrs. Olwell, who was formerly Ina Enola Ray, is a matter of much pleasure to their many friends in Medford who have just naturally been getting ready for the showering of this popular young couple with the heartiest of glad cheers for some months past.
The happy event took place at Portland on March 6, 1907, and on March 9th the young couple passed through Medford en route to Southern California, where they will enjoy a few weeks amid the pleasures of that Italy land.
The bride is the most beautiful and highly accomplished daughter of Dr. and Mrs. C. R. Ray of this city, and the groom is a member of the Rogue River Land Company of Medford. Mr. Olwell is one of the gentlemen who has helped to make famous as a fruit section the great Rogue River Valley. He has represented Jackson County in the state legislative halls, and with all his excellent qualifications as a business man and politician, he has to his credit a legion of friends in all parts of Southern Oregon, and for that matter throughout the entire state.
The Mail extends its heartiest congratulations.
Medford Mail, March 15, 1907, page 1
F. H. Hopkins, proprietor of the Snowy Butte orchard, located near Central Point, Oregon, claims the distinction of receiving $2.38 per box for a car of apples shipped by him to London last season. The car contained 450 boxes of four-tier and 150 boxes of four and a half tier Newtown Pippins.
"Fruit Profits in Nineteen Six Outlook for Nineteen Seven," Better Fruit, May 1907, page 30
F. H. Hopkins, the well known Medford orchardist, will this year set about 6000 young trees on his Snowy Butte Orchard near Central Point. The ground is being prepared, leveled and put in first-class shape for the new stock. Mr. Hopkins, aided by his superintendent, Mr. Pankey, has made this orchard one of the most valuable and famous of the groves in the valley.--Medford Mail.
"Personal Paragraphs About Fruit Growers," Better Fruit, January 1908, page 27
PETITION TO RECALL OLWELL
The voters of the First Ward of this city are circulating a petition in order to invoke the recall law to elect a councilman in the place of John D. Olwell, who is no longer a resident of that ward. The voters of the First feel that as they are entitled, under the charter, to have two representatives at the council board, that they should have them. In order to accomplish this a petition is being circulated asking for the recall of Mr. Olwell and for a special election to elect his successor.
It has been published that the prohibition forces of the city were the ones behind the movement. Such, however, is not the case, if the names upon the petition are any criterion. There are to be found names of voters who are known to be against prohibition. All party lines are seemingly cast aside by the First Warders in order to have that ward have the representation at the council meetings that it is entitled to.
The petition is being very generally signed. Very few of those approached so far have refused to sign.
The case is an interesting one owing to the fact that this is the first time the recall has been invoked in this part of Oregon.
Medford Mail, July 17, 1908, page 4
Recall for Olwell.Councilman John D. Olwell of Medford, who was elected a member of the city council from the First Ward, and later removed his residence to another ward, is the first subject of the recall in Oregon. A petition to invoke the new law in Mr. Olwell's case was circulated several months ago and received the required number of signatures, but for some reason was not filed and the matter had been almost forgotten until last Saturday, when the petition was filed with the city recorder. According to the Tribune, a large number of citizens who had signed the petition appeared before the recorder Monday morning and requested to have their names removed from the same, alleging as a reason that they now believe the whole thing is a political move to oust Mr. Olwell in order that his place may be filled by some man who will stand with the water committee of the city council in closing the deal with Mr. Hanley for the Wasson canyon water right for the proposed city water system.
It is alleged that the prohibition fight is being injected into the Olwell case, he having incurred the displeasure of the anti-saloon people by voting for the issuance of a liquor license to the Hotel Nash.
Excerpt, Central Point Herald, September 24, 1908, page 1
OLWELL RECALL CALL RECALLED
Echo from the Dark Ages Dug Up at City Council Meeting--Asks Costs
Up out of the musty past, like the voice of some long-forgotten friend, the Olwell recall proposition has reared its ancient head. Time seems turned backward in its flight as if in answer of the poet's prayer, and decrepit with age the matter has tottered again into the limelight.JOHN D. OLWELL
To the oldest inhabitant the matter brings up a flood of memories. The days of the strenuous strife are brought back in a flood of memories. The old fight over the granting of saloon licenses by a tie vote with the mayor voting in favor is before one again in all of its cherished recollections. A movement started in the hope of removing a councilman who voted in favor of the licenses but which was doomed to defeat from the first is about the size of the Olwell scrap. And now there is a little bill of some $17 court costs for the city to pay.
The Olwell recall never did find much favor in Medford. The first petitions that were started out slumbered for many weeks in some dusty pigeonhole of someone's desk. Then in all of its dustiness it was dragged forth and filed. Then those who had signed it took their names off. Then it was about to be acted upon. Then came the court, and suit, and injunction to stop it. It stopped and it has been forgotten, lo, these many moons. Olwell finished his term and his successor has had time to get onto the job. But now the city must pay.
The communication was read at the meeting of the council Tuesday evening. It was thought at first that it would go to the committee on ancient history but upon second thought it was referred to the finance committee.
And in such manner was the Olwell recall well recalled.
Medford Daily Tribune, April 7, 1909, page 1
Another costly home is that of Fred H. Hopkins, located near Central Point, which commands a view of Mount McLoughlin, the snow-capped sentinel of the Rogue, which gives the Hopkins orchard its name--the Snowy Butte.
It was built by Mr. Hopkins shortly after his arrival from Portland, two years ago. It is modern in design and elaborately furnished. The living room, which occupies a large part of the lower floor, is finished in dark wood, and the furniture is rosewood and mahogany. The rugs are fine furs from other countries, an immense royal Bengal tiger's skin some 15 feet in length being the most conspicuous. Among the other rugs shown is an immense polar bear. Exquisite taste is shown in all the furnishings, and all that can be devised for luxury and comfort is expensively supplied.
"Beautiful Homes in Rogue River Valley," Oregonian, Portland, May 9, 1909, page F4
The present week bears the record for the amount of orchard lands sold in Jackson County. The amount aggregates $335,000, and the deals cover four orchards. The largest sale is that of the Snowy Butte orchard, owned by F. H. Hopkins, a former Portland man. The place contains 300 acres, 240 set to trees, and the improvements consist of everything which will aid in farming in the scientific methods, combining the luxuries of a city home with the pleasure of country life. The price paid for this farm was $150,000. It was bought by Mr. Lamme, G. B. Phillips and S. A. Mendenhall, of Bozeman, Mont.
"Land Sales Heavy," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, June 27, 1909, page 6
Another matter which was not made exactly clear to me is as to who it was that planted the first orchard in the Rogue River Valley. "I am the pioneer in this business,'' said a man who looked as though he had a proper regard for the truth as a general proposition. "My brother and I planted the first orchard set out here," remarked another. "Our father was in the nursery business back East and we understood the business of fruitgrowing before we came here." But on a moving advertisement of John D. Olwell displayed in front of his real estate office is a proclamation which goes still farther. He announces in type so large that not only "he who runs" but also he who walks and he who stands still, may read that John D. Olwell is the leader in the orchard business in that locality; that 20 years ago he planted the first orchard at Medford and that 14 years ago he began the shipping of fruit to European markets. I am inclined, under all the circumstances, to give credit to Olwell as being the real, the simon pure, pioneer in this industry which is revolutionizing business methods in fruitgrowing on the Pacific Coast. I rode out in his machine on a tour of several miles, and his conversation was such as to give confidence in his regard for the truth. But for one brief moment that confidence was shaken. Pointing out a particular portion of an apple orchard he remarked: "The net profit on those trees last year was $2200 per acre." I have read many stories about California fruit profits and, indeed, have written a good many myself, but never tackled so severe a strain as that and never read of so marvelous a profit in this state, or any other, in fruitgrowing.
John T. Bell, "The Rogue River Valley and Medford," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, August 1, 1909, page 50
J. D. Olwell, a prominent apple-grower of Medford, is at the Portland [Hotel], having returned from a trip to Alaska.
"Personal Mention," Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 22, 1909, page 5
Fred H. Hopkins has sold his famous Snowy Butte orchard for $168,000 to John R. Allen, owner of the Pacific & Eastern and projector of an electric road through the valley. The property consists of 300 acres and is planted to fruit. It contains 16½ acres of Winter Nelis pears which in 1907 netted Mr. Hopkins $19,000 and this year $17,000. Mr. Allen promises to cut the place into small tracts and place them on the market, reserving a portion for himself. The sale was made by Dr. J. F. Reddy.
"Real Estate and Building News," Medford Mail Tribune, November 28, 1909, page 23
FINE ORCHARD SOLD.
Buyer Is John R. Allen, Railroad Builder--Will Sell Small Tracts.
Medford--John R. Allen of New York City, owner of the Pacific & Eastern Railroad that is being extended from this city over the Cascades, and projector of a trolley line to traverse the Rogue River Valley, has purchased the celebrated Snowy Butte orchard at Central Point from Fred H. Hopkins for $168,000. The orchard is one of the most famous in the valley, and the pioneer commercial orchard of this section. It consists of 300 acres of choice varieties of apples and pears, 160 of which are in bearing, the remainder in young trees.
Mr. Allen will subdivide the orchard into five- and ten-acre tracts, which will be placed upon the market, reserving a portion for himself. On this tract is located the wonderful block of 16½ acres of Winter Nelis pears, which produced a net yield of $19,000, or $15.83 per tree. The total crop this year will net over $40,000.
Heppner Gazette, December 2, 1909, page 2
Responsibility and credit for Medford's steadfast growth is vested exclusively in no one class of business men, but more of it belongs to the real estate owners and brokers than to any other one vocation, and the city has been particularly fortunate in her constant possession of men whose ability and enterprise in this calling are as obvious as their solid financial standing and high personal integrity.
Thus engaged and possessing in a marked degree the qualifications mentioned is Mr. John D. Olwell, who has lived for 37 years in the Rogue River Valley. He has had 20 years' experience in fruit growing here, planting 12,000 fruit trees 20 years ago, which was the largest apple orchard in the Northwest at that time. He has been buying fruit from nearly every bearing orchard here for many years and shipping it to the markets of the world. He shipped the first two carloads of Newtown Pippins that were ever exported to London by any grower in the Northwest 14 years ago. He is interested in 400 acres of orchard land and is a general broker for thousands of acres belonging to other people. He is contemplating platting several orchard tracts for 1910, and anyone thinking of locating here should advise with a man who has had the experience of locating the biggest fruit growers all over the Rogue River Valley.
Mr. Olwell also handles alfalfa and general farming lands. He helped to build the exhibit building and display rooms near the depot four years ago and maintains it at his own expense--and it is famous all over the country as the best display made anywhere. A constant stream of people file in and out of the building, and no other venture has made Medford so famous.
Mr. Olwell employs four men about his office and a dozen or more at his orchards. He was a member of the state legislature in 1903 and has served on the city councils of Medford and Central Point. He is now a director of the Oregon Agricultural College. He is a member of the Elks and the Commercial Club.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1910, page 9
January 23, 1910 Sunday Oregonian
The Snowy Butte Orchard, comprising 300 acres of bearing fruit trees, was subdivided into ten-acre tracts by Osgood & Cummings.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 20, 1910, page 3
The Snowy Butte orchard, the property of the Olwells, was sold by Fred Hopkins for $168,000.
"Miscellaneous News Items of the Northwest," Better Fruit, April 1910, page 72
Medford Mail Tribune, August 31, 1910
Medford Mail Tribune, September 4, 1910
HOW JOHN D. OLWELL BLAZED A TRAIL
FOR WESTERN-GROWN FRUIT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
Overcame English Prejudice for European-Grown Fruit and Opened Up New Market.
Walter F. Woehlke, in the Saturday Evening Post, Tells Story of Olwell's Initial Step.
The manner in which John D. Olwell of this city blazed the trail for western fruit across the Atlantic, establishing the superiority of American-grown apples and pears over the choicest specimens of European orchards, is told in an article appearing in this week's issue of the Saturday Evening Post under the caption "Short Cuts from Farm to Market," from the pen of Walter F. Woehlke, a recognized authority on marketing of fruit and farm products. Mr. Woehlke says:John D. Olwell, Pioneer
"Quantity, size, overpowering mass, the superlative expressed in seven figures, have been Europe's strongest impression of American activities and products. The bigness of things in the New World has ever been the wonder of the old. Somehow, though, this admiration of the size and quantity of things American was always mixed with a slight disdain; its open expression was usually qualified with a 'But----.' Europe did not believe that America would ever reach its standard of quality. That this European notion is not well founded, at least so far as American fruit is concerned, was proved by the enterprise of John D. Olwell, a fruit grower in the Rogue River Valley of Southern Oregon, whose energy not only blazed the trail for western fruit across the Atlantic, but who also established the superiority of American-grown apples and pears over the choicest specimens of European orchards by the fire test, in which the American fruit panned out the highest percentage of fine gold.
"Some seven or eight years ago Olwell heard a rumor concerning the reported sale of a shipment of Oregon Newtown Pippin apples in London. Though he could never confirm the rumor, his imagination was aroused, and he determined to see for himself whether a market for Oregon fruit could be established in England. Though he rode all over the valley hunting for a son of Albion who might put him in touch with a London commission house, he could not procure the information. Perhaps a London paper would help him out. He wrote; and in due time the name and address of a firm was sent him. That fall Olwell consigned two carloads of Newtown Pippins to the London house and waited.
"Six weeks later Olwell received a cablegram announcing the sale of his apples and stating the proceeds in pounds and shillings.
"'I guess I must be a little rusty on international exchange,' muttered Olwell after calculations lasting an hour and covering many a square yard of paper.
"'What's a pound and a shilling worth in real money?' he asked at the bank.
"'About five dollars to the pound and two bits for a shilling,' came the answer. 'What's up, John? Did a rich English uncle die?'
"'Much obliged. No, my old uncle over there is still alive. I just wanted to find out how much I had coming from him,' said Olwell; and once more he translated the English currency terms into dollars and cents. The result confirmed his suspicions. Somewhere along the line a mistake must have been made in transmitting the figures. Here he had been getting seventy to ninety cents a bushel box for years; this cablegram said the same apples had brought three dollars a box on the other side. Somebody must have gotten off wrong. Olwell said nothing and waited for the letter. It came, and the draft it carried called for the same incredible amount. Still afraid of waking up--of receiving a cablegram rectifying the mistake--Olwell carried the draft around for several days before he dared cash it. Once the three-dollar dream had become a concrete reality, he got busy. The next year no apples were left in the valley for ninety-cent buyers. Olwell took over the entire crop and shipped it to London as fast as the apples were picked, anxious to increase the gold imports.
"As the Newtown Pippin, a green-yellow apple, had captured London, so the Spitzenberg captured New York. Under the stimulus of high bids from the fruit centers of the world, many young quality orchards are rising everywhere in the sagebrush country and the clearings of the Far West."
Medford Mail Tribune, December 2, 1910, page 1
Chicago Evening Post Publishes Interesting Account of Rogue River Valley Man
And His Efforts at First Marketing Northwest Fruit in Europe.
Under the caption "A Modern Pioneer," the Chicago Evening Post on March 2 published the following editorial:OLWELLS RETURN FROM LONG JOURNEY
"There is a real pioneer in town. He is one of those curious, fast-vanishing American pioneers who have seen the absolute beginning of things in the Far West, and yet are not old enough to have more than a gray hair or two in their heads. His name is John D. Olwell, of Medford, Ore.
"One man--a certain one-ideaed person from Illinois named J. H. Stewart--preceded Olwell in the planting of apples for commercial purposes in the Pacific Northwest. But Olwell and his brothers were the pioneers who worked out the growing and marketing details which created a settled industry out of an attractive possibility.
"It's a great story as the thick-set little man from Medford tells it--'main strength and awkwardness and a little money, against the game.' It starts in the prehistoric year of , when the old apple grower from Illinois appeared in the valley of the Rogue River in southern Oregon and set out 160 acres of apples. It tells how the Olwell boys followed this unheard-of example amidst the derision of the 'natives,' who remarked that they'd have to hire the U.S. army to come and eat the fruit.
"The story goes on to tell of the heartbreaking difficulties that came when these primeval orchardists tried to spray the trees to kill the parasitic growths; how they almost gave up because of the physical difficulty of the ask, until an old fisherman asked them why they didn't try a gasoline engine. And thus was evolved the first practical spraying machine, a device that is now used in thousands of square miles of western orchards.
"Then came the first crop--still 'way back in the medieval days of 1898. 'A Pacific Coast jobber came down to the valley and said he'd give me 90 cents a box for my Spitzenbergs and Newtown pippins,' said Mr. Olwell. 'He wouldn't touch the Ben Davises. And so we learned for the first time that all apples weren't alike; that some were worth money to the outside world and some were not. By sheer luck we happened to have a good many acres of the varieties the Portland man wanted. An old lady, who was a friend of the family, had asked us to plant them, because they were the kinds she liked.'
"That's the way the pioneers learn things. After they've dug and sprayed and slaved for seven years they suddenly find that half their crop is no good.
"The next step was equally clumsy. 'We found,' continued Olwell. 'that the yellow apples were being shipped to London. And after that coast jobber had bought from us for two or three years, raising his price 5 cents or so a year, I thought I'd see for myself what my apples were worth to the outside world.
"'Just to show you how shut in we were--we didn't know anything in London except the London Times. I expect everybody knows that. So I wrote the London Times asking them to tell me the name of a reputable English fruit concern. And when I get their answer, I ship two carloads of Newtown pippins, leaving them to make their own price.'
"The 'pioneer's' face is wreathed in a slow smile for a moment or two. He is amused at the memory of his amazing inexperience.
"'When their cable comes it names the price for those two carloads in pounds, shillings and pence. I take it down to our little bank to have it translated, but the figure is so large in dollars that I don't believe it. When the London draft comes along, though, I am convinced. I find that for my 90-cent apples they're willing to pay me $3 a box in London.'
"This is the dramatic climax to the story. The industry which men scorned and of which every simple rule had to be 'dug out by hand,' had proved itself a brilliant commercial success. The long fight was won.
"It is such battles as that which John D. Olwell 'put through' that has made the United States what it is today. Unheralded, unrecorded, such triumphs have been scored all over the millions of square miles in east, west, north and south.
"We all know this in a general way. But mostly we think of it as something that was done in the days of our grandfathers. It gives its own little shock of surprise whenever chance brings home to us the fact that the work of the pioneer in America is by no manner of means finished."
Medford Mail Tribune, March 8, 1911, page 4 The Chicago article was also reprinted in the Morning Oregonian on the same day, on page 10.
FRED H. HOPKINS BUYS ONCE MOREFred H. Hopkins, who for five years owned the Snowy Butte orchard at Central Point and sold it something over a year ago to John R. Allen of New York City, has purchased back at a price exceeding the sale price that part of the orchard lying east of the railroad tracks, including the house and the celebrated section of Winter Nelis pears, and will return to reside upon it in the near future
Former Owner of Snowy Butte Acquires Portion Again
and On It Will Make His Home--Likes Valley Too Well to Leave.
Ever since leaving the valley, Mr. Hopkins and his family have sighed to return to it, and have openly expressed their regret at the sale and their homesickness for their old home After extended negotiations, conducted through several months, the deal was closed Saturday whereby Mr. Hopkins will soon resume possession.
When the orchard, one of the prize ones of the valley, was sold to Mr. Allen, the latter subdivided it into 10- and 20-acre tracts, many of which were sold. Before Mr. Hopkins could close the deal for the purchase of a portion of his old home it was necessary to arrange a settlement with various purchasers of small tracts, and it is understood that Mr. Hopkins paid quite a bonus to secure possession of his old home.
Mr. Hopkins has returned to Portland and is expected to return in the near future. Mrs. Hopkins and children will not return until summer, as the house has been leased until that date.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 26, 1911, page 3
Medford Club Will Move.
MEDFORD, Or., March. 23.--(Special.)--Medford's exhibit building, close to the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, which has for the past few years been occupied by the real estate firm of John D. Olwell Company, has been vacated and on April 1 the Medford Commercial Club will move from its present quarters to this building.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, March 30, 1911, page 11
PLATE GLASS PLACED OLWELL'S NEW OFFICE
The plate glass fronts in the office rooms which are to be occupied by John D. Olwell were being placed in position on Thursday. By Monday the office will be ready for Mr. Olwell.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 6, 1911, page 6
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Olwell have returned from their journey which included a tour of the eastern states, going by the northern and returning by the southern route and spending several weeks in California. They left here during the holiday season and had been traveling and enjoying themselves by sightseeing ever since.
As the original "live wire" to make Rogue River fruit famous by his record shipments to New York and London, Mr. Olwell received distinguished attention during their travels which gave him unusual opportunities to say many a good word for Medford which he never overlooked an opportunity to do.
They were delighted to get back to this place which they declare to be the finest city in the finest climate that they saw on their extensive journey.
Medford Sun, April 7, 1911, page 1
Among the fruit growers and shippers here is John D. Olwell, who has 400 acres of pears and apples in bearing. He is one of the oldest growers of this section, having been here 25 years. He says prospects for fruit are good. Mr. Olwell also sells fruit land on easy terms.
JOHN D. OLWELL WILL MOVE TO NEW HOTEL
John D. Olwell will occupy offices in the new Medford Hotel building and plans to move his office equipment in about two weeks.
A modern and up-to-date real estate office, perfect in every detail, will be installed in the room west of the main entrance of the hotel.
The Olwell real estate force has occupied their present quarters in the Parker Building only a few months, the exhibit building now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce having been built and occupied by Mr. Olwell for several years.
Mr. Olwell built the first exhibit building showing specimens of the products of the district on the Pacific coast, and his scheme was followed by chambers of commerce and railroads throughout the country.
Medford Sun, August 27, 1911, page 4
OLWELL WITH FRUIT COMPANY
John D. Olwell of this city, one of the pioneer orchardmen of southern Oregon, who shipped the first car of fruit across the Atlantic from the Northwest, has accepted a position with the Stewart Fruit Company of San Francisco and will travel and purchase fruit for that firm. Mr. Olwell will retain his real estate office in the city, however.
Mr. Olwell will make his headquarters in San Francisco during the summer months and in Los Angeles during the winter. He will interest people in the Rogue River Valley as far as possible.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 3, 1912, page 6
MEDFORD PARENT WINNERMEDFORD, Or., June 9.--(Special.)--Being a fond and indulgent parent brought $25,000 to F. A. Hawk, a blacksmith of Central Point, yesterday when he sold to John Olwell, a real estate man and capitalist, his invention of a baby jumper. Baby Ruth needed diversion and exercise and Mr. and Mrs. Hawk were too busy to supply it, so the father constructed a canvas pair of trunks, attached a strong rubber cord to it, fastened this to a ring in the roof of the porch and the baby grew stronger and happier day by day as it danced and bounded to its heart's content.
F. A. Hawk Invents Baby Jumper for Youngster; Clears $25,000.
Mr. Olwell happened to see the child amusing herself as he was motoring by the place recently and was so struck by the ingenuity and cleverness of the idea that he purchased the patent and has decided to go into the business of manufacturing the Baby Ruth jumpers.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, June 10, 1912, page 1
JOHN OLWELL, builder of the Rogue River Valley district and the city of Medford, Ore.: "I am making my home now in California. I think that the Sacramento Valley is the richest undeveloped country in the West."
"Private Opinions Publicly Expressed," San Francisco Call, October 9, 1912, page 2
OLWELL HERE WITH LARGE PARTY FRIENDS
John D. Olwell, formerly of this city but now of San Francisco, is in Medford with a large party of friends who are looking over the valley with a view of investing.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, March 6, 1913, page 1
PEAR CROP BRINGS $20,000MEDFORD, Or., Aug. 30.--(Special.)--One of the best fruit deals in the Rogue River Valley for this year was made by Fred Hopkins, of the Snowy Butte orchard, today, when through the Producers Fruit Company he sold his entire crop of Winter Nelis pears, 7500 boxes, from 14 acres, to London and Glasgow fruit dealers for approximately $20,000.
From 14 Acres, 7500 Boxes Will Be Shipped to Europe.
For the past eight years the average return from these 14 acres has been from $15,000 to $20,000, and the fruit has nearly always found markets in foreign countries. The trees are 12 years old and are bearing more heavily now than ever before in their history.
Although the Bartlett pear prices are falling in the East, nearly 200 cars have been shipped from this valley at a price that will average close to $3 a box f.o.b. Medford.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, August 31, 1913, page 1
SNOWY BUTTE ORCHARD.
I purchased the Snowy Butte Orchard at Central Point in November, 1904. I was warned after purchase by the former owners, Olwell and Sons, that pears were "not the thing," but that apples must be depended upon as the source of the orchard revenue. F. H. Page, of Page & Son, Portland, commission men, also told me that there was no market for Winter Nelis pears except in Chicago and Cincinnati. Mr. Day of Sgobel & Day advised me never to ship to New York as there was no sale for "gum crushers," as he styled them. I have less than 16 acres of Winter Nelis pears.
In 1905 the pear crop was caught by frost, only one car being marketed. These brought $2 a box.
In 1906 W. N. White, the New York fruit broker, contracted for five cars at $2 a box f.o.b. orchard. As he was not in the city when the draft arrived to pay for the cars, they were turned over on consignment to Rae & Hatfield, who realized me $1.90 a box at the orchard. The crop totaled 12 cars. The balance was sold in New York and London and averaged me about the same, $1.90 net.
In 1907 Rae & Hatfield purchased the entire crop, 7,300 boxes, at $2.50 net f.o.b. orchard.
In 1908 the crop was light on account of frost.
In 1909 I marketed 7,000 boxes at $2.25 a box net f.o.b. orchard.
In 1910 the crop of 6,000 boxes sold for $1.87½ f.o.b. orchard.
In 1911 I marketed 1,287 boxes at $2.12½ f.o.b. orchard.
In 1912 the crop of 7,487 boxes of pears netted $14,385, the Winter Nelis selling at $1.87½.
In 1913 I sold 7500 boxes of five- and six-tier Winter Nelis, the former at $2.25 a box f.o.b. orchard, and 500 boxes of second grade.
In addition to the pears I have annually turned off hogs, barley and other crops at a considerable value.
(signed) F. H. Hopkins
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1914, page D8
John D. Olwell, of Seattle, for[merly a real estate agent] in the valley, is enjoying a visit of two days in this city while en route to New York on business. Mr. Olwell devoted the energies of his boyhood to life in this valley, in early days being associated with the conduct of the flour mill at Phoenix, then known as Gasburg. His many friends here are glad to learn that he is prosperous in his Seattle business, although he confesses that Seattle has been a rather dull business center for a year or so.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, February 24, 1916, page 2
F. H. HOPKINS SELLS ORCHARD PROPERTY TO J. G. LOVE, IOWA
One of the most important ranch sales in recent years was closed yesterday when Fred H. Hopkins sold his orchard property of 144 acres near Central Point to James G. Love of Ainsworth, Iowa. Although the money consideration was not announced, it is believed to be in the neighborhood of $85,000. The property includes 25 acres of pears, 40 acres of alfalfa, the rest in grain land. A handsome residence and several modern ranch buildings are included in the deal, a large portion of the land being under irrigation. Mr. Love recently sold his farm in Iowa and left today for his home. He will return about April 1 with his wife and son to take possession. Mr. Love made a careful canvass of the valley, but would consider no property which did not have irrigation.
Fred Hopkins and family came into the possession of the property in November, 1904, and have resided there ever since. During this time Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins have made many warm friends and acquaintances in the valley and have been active in its social and progressive life. During a part of their residence here, Mr. Hopkins served as mayor of Central Point.
It is probable that the family will remove to Portland, where Mr. Hopkins may enter into business, although this hasn't been decided. Their removal elsewhere would be a distinct loss to Central Point, Medford and the valley.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 24, 1920, page 3
J. G. Love, recently from Washington County, Iowa, now owner of the famous "Snowy Butte" orchard near Medford, is one of the staunchest boosters for the Growers here. Love's orchard, while small in acreage, is a big shipper. From 14 acres of Winter Nelis trees as high as 15 cars of fruit have been shipped by the former owner. Love has an unusually heavy bloom this year especially in his Nelis block.
"Field Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., June 1920, page 14
SNOWY BUTTE RANCH, WONDERFUL PRODUCER, OWNED BY J. G. LOVE
J. G. Love, owner of Snowy Butte Ranch, near Central Point, made a wonderful showing on the 145 acres this year, harvesting 788 tons of grains and fruits.
There are 25 acres of pears on the ranch, of which 16 are Winter Nelis that yielded 335 tons, 13,520 boxes, 26 cars. Part of this crop has been sold at an average of $3.50 per box. There are nine acres of Bartletts, from which they took 81 tons or 3,564 boxes.
There were seven tons of other kinds of pears, a ton of peaches and grapes, and two acres of apples that produced 15 tons.
The 65 acres of alfalfa yielded 300 tons; 39 acres of oats, 46 tons, and three acres of wheat produced several tons of stock and chicken feed.
There are 84 acres of the 145 under irrigation, and the improvements are first-class including a large residence, tenant and packing houses and other buildings.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 18, 1928, page 5
FORMER RESIDENT NOW IN PORTLAND
A former well-known Medford citizen, Fred H. Hopkins, and Mrs. Hopkins are again Oregon residents, but this time, unfortunately for their many Medford and valley friends and acquaintances, they will be located in the state metropolis. Concerning their removal to that city, the Oregonian yesterday said:
"Fred H. Hopkins, an ex-resident of Oregon, has returned to Portland to become associated with Dulmage Motors, Hupmobile distributor. Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins spent the last year in Hollywood, Cal., where a son, Fred, is engaged in the automobile business.
"Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins, in addition to their wide Portland acquaintance, are well known in Medford, where Mr. Hopkins formerly operated a large pear orchard.
"Mr. Hopkins reported that Fred, in addition to his automobile work, is a captain of the United States marine fleet reserve and has been doing magazine article writing. A second son, William S., a graduate of the University of Oregon, is working at Stanford University toward a doctor's degree. Part of his time is spent in teaching economics."
Medford Mail Tribune, October 21, 1930, page 8
JOHN OLWELL, A BOOM DAY FIGURE, TO FINAL REWARD
John D. Olwell, a picturesque and aggressive leader of the city in the "boom days," and a pioneer of the fruit industry in the Rogue River Valley, died in a sanitarium today at Oakland, Calif., following a long illness, according to word received by Mrs. J. F. Reddy. He was about 65 years of age. In his time he was one of the best-known men of Southern Oregon, and well known and remembered by scores of older residents.
Olwell spent his early boyhood and young manhood in the valley, moving here with his parents from the East. With his father, for a number of years he operated a flour mill at Phoenix. Later, his father planted what is known as Snowy Butte Orchards, near Central Point. He was one of a family of four brothers and three sisters.
Olwell was a practical orchardist, and well acquainted with land in Jackson County. He figured in many of the large orchard deals consummated in 1910 and 1911, when engaged in the realty business. At one time he was associated with William M. Holmes, and later with J. E. (Mose) Barkdull. He was a genial, free-handed man and untiring worker in his field.
About twenty years ago he moved to New York City, where he engaged in the brokerage and promotion business. Later he moved to Florida, and when his health broke moved to California. He has been failing for four years.
He is survived by his wife, Ina Ray Olwell, relatives and a large circle of friends. He enjoyed a wide acquaintance on the Pacific Coast.
Funeral arrangements have not been definitely decided upon, but it is understood he will be brought here for the final rites and interment.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 1, 1931, page 2
Last revised September 12, 2023