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History of Myrtle Point
Myrtle Point, Oregon

Bird's Eye View of Myrtle Point, 1906

Pioneer History of Coquille Valley

Mrs. J.C. Brown and Orvil Dodge Talk of Early Days - Then and Now
by Big Fred Lockley in the Oregon Journal, reprinted in the Myrtle Point Enterprise, Sept. 4, 1913

Myrtle Point is located at the head of navigation on the Coquill eRiver. As a duck flies, it is only 15 miles from Bandon on the shore of the Pacific, but as a duck swims, and this the route the boats must follow, it is 38 miles from where the Coquille empties into the ocean.

Myrtle Point is located on the site of an old Indian village. In 1853 Ephriam Catching filed on it, taking it up as a donation land claim.

In 1861 Henry Myers laid out a townsite there, naming it after himself – Myersville.

In talking with Mrs. James C. Brown, she said: “My father's name was Chris Lehnherr. We came to Oregon in 1852, settling in the Willamette Valley. In 1866 my father bought the claim originally taken as a donation land claim by Mr. Catching. Mr. Myers had started a town, as he thought the head of navigation would be a good location for a town, but it had not prospered, so my father pulled up the town lot stakes and made it a farm again.

“Ten years later – in 1776 [sic; 1876] – he had it resurveyed for a town, and named it Ott, after one of our neighbors in Illinois. My father put up a grist mill, and Dr. hermann, the father of Binger Hermann, bought a part of the townsite and built a hotel. Later the name Ott was changed to Myrtle Point.

Many Pioneers Now Residents

Many of the pioneers who came to the Coquille valley 50 years or more ago are still there. In talking to Orville Dodge at Myrtle Point, he said: "I came to the valley in 1866. In those days our nearest post office was Empire City. We used to go by dugout to Beaver slough a few miles below Coquille City. Going through Beaver slough was an experience and an adventure. When you could pole up the slough no farther, you crossed the divide walking a few miles or hauling your freight by wagon and embarking on Isthmus slough, and so entered Coos Bay, and went down past the present site of Marshfield and North Bend to Empire City. The postmaster at Empire City would give whoever called for mail from Coquille Valley the mail for the entire district. Usually there was a sack full."

"I often used to go to for the mail prior to 1871, when we had a post office established in this valley. I would stop at Tite Willard's, later Coquille City, and pouring all the mail on the floor, he would sort out his mail and that for his neighbors. The next place was Fred Schroeder's, on Hall Prairie, afterwards Arago; then W.T. Perry's, now Norway; and the "Forks", established in 1859 by Captain William Rackleff, of the schooner Twin Sisters; next Christ Lehnherr's farm, now Myrtle Point; then John Harry's ranch; Henry Schroeder's and Dr. Hermann's."

"Among the early pioneers of that day I remember Ephraim Catching, William Myers, William Rowland, H.H. Woodward, A. Hoffman and J.B. Dully. I have seen Myrtle Point grow from a farm to a town of nearly 2000 people."

Source: Myrtle Point Enterprise, Thursday, Sept. 4, 1913
Transcribed by Robyn Greenlund


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