GUEST INFORMATION 02-19-2013
7:10 Corey Crebbin, City of Medford Pulic Works - Condition of area roads, how to fund to fix them!
7:35 State Rep. Sal Esquivel discusses the Water Resources Department drive to REALLY raise your water rights fees.
8:10 "Visiting Past and Present" with Dr. Dennis Powers, and today we explore the lore of the Rhoten Family (More on that post below the videos.
8:45 Joanne Breuer, WeightBustersforLife.com, tonight at 6:30 in the Central Point Library Community room on 3rd Atreet. It's a "Healthy Living Celebration" with lots of coaches and help available to get and keep the pounds off. Joanne's numbrer is 503-512-5877
Sen. Ted Cruz with a very eloquent defense of the Second Amendment
MEANWHILE, A COLORADO LEGISLATOR REALLY "Steps in It".
TODAY'S "VISITING PAST AND PRESENT"
The Golden Rhoten Family of Giants
By Dennis Powers
John and Elizabeth Rhoten homesteaded on Kane Creek in 1860, near what was to become the town of Gold Hill. When children were born, they grew tall--very tall--and became known as the “family of giants.” Although mother Elizabeth was a mere 4-foot, 9-inches (but weighing 250 pounds), father John was 6-foot, 8-inches, or one of the tallest men in the Pacific Northwest, and lean. They had ten children, five women and five men. All were over 6-feet, ranging from the tallest, Enos Rhoten, who was 6-foot, 11-3/4th (really 7-feet), to the shortest, Cynthia Ann, who was a mere 6-foot, 1-inch.
But the tall-giant, Rhoten brothers (Enos, Ed, and Al) were as well known in Southern Oregon for their ability to “sniff out” gold, no matter where it was located. From Sardine, Galls, Foots, Kane, and Graves Creek to entire sections of the Applegate and Rogue Rivers, they pocket-mined every river, stream, and area that was around.
Led by Enos in 1905, the brothers discovered the famous Alice Group, or Revenue Pocket, a few miles south of Gold Hill above Kane Creek. Knowing that the highly producing Braden Mine was near by, they used pick, pan, and shovel to find “some color, dig a little hole, and then follow it up the hill ‘till coming to the pocket.” Looking down on Gold Hill at 2,600 feet, they found it; in less than two days, they dug out 5000 ounces of gold, worth millions at today’s values. All was quickly blown in a wild spending spree.
This wasn’t all luck, however. Enos Rhoten used a system--kept secret for years--to find the pockets. After coming across a sprinkling of gold particles, or nuggets, on (or under) a slope and knowing that the trail led from above, he’d take sample after sample on both sides as he worked up. Numbering where each was precisely found, Enos stored them in jars and determined how much gold was in each. Once he worked up the trail and ran out of particles to analyze, he headed back down. Figuring where the strike was, he dug deep until the gold pocket “magically” appeared.
With their new-found wealth, the brothers lived extravagantly until they had spent their find. One night, they were partying in a Medford saloon. When the tired owner said he was closing down, they tossed gold nuggets onto the bar and bought it. When morning finally came, the Rhotens handed the bar back to the shocked owner. Another time while nursing a bad hangover, Enos threw all of his gold nuggets over a Gold Hill dirt street, saying that the town folks needed it more than he did. He was known as a generous man.
When a Rhoten needed money, he’d head away, search for a week or two and return with nuggets in his backpack. They used the gold nuggets as money--disdaining any cash conversion or accounts at banks--and Enos carried his around in a glass jar. After another spending spree, they would leave again into the wilds to search for another find. When the surface gold pockets became harder to find and their luck ran out, Ed and Al worked in a local cement plant and then for an uncle’s hay fields.
Enos was the best of all at locating the gold, starting at age 7 when he found $150 worth. After making and losing several fortunes by the 1910s, he tried farming on 160 acres in the Applegate and running a general store. Losing interest, in 1915 he went back to gold hunting until the late 1920s. After lying sick in bed for three years in his old Kane Creek cabin, Enos died from a stroke at the age of 70 in 1931. Although his last days had been spent in poverty, he died with a smile on his face and loving the life he had lived.
Genaw, Linda Morehouse, Gold Hill and Its Neighbors along the River, Central Point, Oregon: 1988, pp. 18 - 21. Gold Hill Historical Society, Nuggets of News, December 1992, pp. 1 - 4; Medford Mail Tribune, “Gold Mining–The Area’s First Chapter,” July 21, 1963. See also, “Enos M. Rhoten, Pioneer Miner of Rogue, Dies,” Medford Mail Tribune, Sunday, December 13, 1931, at Enos Rhoten Obituary.
(1) When the Rhoten family picked its homestead in 1860 on Kane Creek near Gold Hill, Ore., little did the folks around know how this family would grow, in stature as well as numbers. Although the father, John, was 6 feet 7 ¾ inches tall, the mother, Elizabeth, was only 4 feet 9 inches. John was “Jack Sprat” lean, and Elizabeth just the opposite at well over 200 pounds.
Their children all were more than 6 feet tall in adulthood. Enos Rhoten was the tallest at 6 feet 11 3/4 inches, at a time when being 6 feet was considered quite tall. Like his father, Enos weighed a slim 198 pounds. Sister Mary was 6 feet 2 ½ inches; sister Cynthia Ann, 6 feet 1 ¼ inches; then there were Rachel, Eliza, and Emma, all over 6 feet, and brother, John Jr., 6 feet 5 ½ inches. Another brother, William, was 6 feet 9 ¾ inches.
The Rhoten brothers were known for their “bloodhound ability” to sniff out gold when it was time to pay bills, although they also were known as industrious and hard-working people. No one dared argue with them about that. Or anything else, for that matter.
(2) Southern Oregon gold-pocket-hunting brothers Al, Ed and Enos Rhoten discovered the Alice Group gold strike in 1905. Knowing that the highly producing Braden Mine was nearby, they had combed the hills above Kane Creek near Gold Hill, Ore. They were certain they would find something. They were right.
Starting with pan, pick and shovel, they found some color, dug a little hole and followed it up the hill until they came to the pocket. Looking down on Gold Hill at an elevation of near 2,600 feet, they found the deposit of a lifetime. In less than two days, they took out 5,000 ounces of gold, worth millions at today’s values. They then blew it all in a wild spending spree.
Two years later, their claims were purchased by Josiah H. Beeman, the same miner who owned the Lucky Bart Mine and built the Beeman-Martin House, today the home of the Gold Hill Historical Society. High-grade ore was found by tunneling down from a surface quartz vein, including a 500 foot horizontal tunnel.
Although records don’t continue from the initial find, the deposit was one of the largest in Southern Oregon.
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