Note: Originally published in the News-Review, December 2011, Page B6
My husband and I originally came to Douglas County in 2005 because his new job gave him the choice to live on the I-5 Corridor between Roseburg and Grants Pass. With this information the search and research began. We choose Myrtle Creek because there was a Disciples of Christ Church here, and that is my denomination. We choose it because I have family history here–my great grandfather had a gold mine out on North Myrtle Creek in the later years of his life. And, I have cousins around me here so I knew I’d not be 100% all alone when we started our new life.
I have experienced the “Go back to California where you belong” syndrome. I’d like “Oregonians” to know that it really hurts my feelings. My maternal great great great grand parents came to Oregon in 1853 via the Oregon Trail(Macey Train). Their daughter, my great great grandmother, Mary VanAtta walked from Illinois to Oregon! Her husband, Esalum M. Hall came to Oregon in 1849.
My paternal great great grandparents, originally from Maine, came to Oregon in the late 1890s. They are considered pioneers in the Eugene area. Their home in Eugene is on the National Register of Historic Places. They came via California(think Applegate trail) late to the gold rush era, but for gold originally just the same. When gold didn’t pan out, up to Oregon they came and settled. Their son, the one with the gold mine on North Myrtle married a Danish girl whose parents came from Denmark and settled in Eugene also in the late 1890’s.
My husband also has a similar story, his maternal ancestors came from Norway in the 1890’s. First they went to Wisconsin, then on to South Dakota, finally settling in Eugene. You can find people with the Haldorson surname there to this day! In fact, he and I both have ancestors buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Eugene.
So, Why come to Oregon? Because it has always been “home” for me. I’ve spent more than 1/2 my life here mostly during vacations. This is where my family is. Because the job was here and we wanted to get out of the over populated areas that we lived in.
Why Douglas County?? We drove down our street when we were looking for a house and we saw all the kids and we were overjoyed about the prospects of our kids having friends to play with. We went to Crater Lake and reveled in the beauty and wanted to be close to the views. We saw the Umpqua and South Umpqua and knew it was ‘our’ waterway, and we have played in, around, and about it! We are surrounded by BLM land, America’s FREE play ground!! We take our jeep out and explore the roads to our hearts content, we camp, we have picnics, and good times galore. Douglas Countywith it’s beautiful beaches on the westside and striking mountains on the east and all the babbling waterways in between has got to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. This is why we moved to Douglas County. Because here, we are in the heart everything that matters to us… we are in the heart of it all!!