View of Rogue Valley from Wagner Butte

Town Building: from Wagner Creek to Talent

The following excerpts tell the story of how Talent developed into a town.

17 Jan 1866 …I walked down to Wagners [Isaac Wagner not Jacob]  He is talking of building a barn this Spring. James Thornton, has bought a set of blacksmith tools, and is going to set up a shop on the creeck. the blacksmith has come up to day.  It will soon be a town here, I prophysy.  [Welborn Beeson Diary]

23 Feb 1873 ... We attended a dance at Jeff Davises away up Anderson Creeck at the very place where Coolidge and I winterd one winter making shingles. Every nook and corner of this Country is being settled up and people are living where twenty years ago no one thought of living. [Welborn Beeson Diary]

28 Sept 1874 ... and went to help Mr Root build a bridge ... on the Stage Road. [Mr. Root lived on the old Jacob Wagner DLC and this may be a bridge across Wagner Creek like the one on Talent Ave. of today] [Welborn Beeson Diary]

11 Feb 1875 .... a Phrenological Lecturer has been around by name of Kenedy. He pretends to delineate Charleten pretty well but I take him to be a Bilk. He is taking out several dollars out of the neighborhood. [Welborn Beeson Diary]

14 Sep 1875 .... I saw General Phil H Sheridan & wife and his Brother Coln Sheridan & wife to day, they are traveling in a Stage Special, six horses and took dinner at Ashland. I also saw the Mamoth Steer called the Lost River Ranger 19 hands high 16 ft long and large every way in proportion.... [Welborn Beeson Diary]
4 Jan 1878 Wagner Creek is one of the richest portions of Rogue River valley and has long been noted for its melons, peaches, corn and tall timothy. Only a few years ago there were but a handful of settlers there; now there is quite a population, and still they come. See here: born, Dec. 10, to the wife of John Abbott, a daughter; Dec. 20, to the wife of John Wimer, a son; Dec. 29, to the wife of J.C. Durkee, a daughter; Dec. 29, to the wife of Welborn Beeson, a son. [Ashland Tidings]
9 Feb 1884 All Hands met to move the fencing and changing the lanes so as to close up the one running around by Wiltshire's lower Corner, and opening it out from in front of Wiltshire's house, out by the Church. We got it done. ... I made out two deeds for A P Talent to Talent, Fountain & Wiltshire, and one to L A & F Drake, and one from L A & F Drake to A P Talent. $3.00  [Welborn Beeson Diary]
3 May 1884 I walked to Talent prepared papers for County Road to be viewed between here and there. [Welborn Beeson Diary]
15 May 1884 I went to Survey & Locate the New Road between here and Talent a Multitude of the neighbors were here to Consult in Regard to laying out a new Road up the Creek. [Welborn Beeson Diary]
14 Jul 1884 ..  I went to survey Town lots for Talent, to Elisabeth Breeze, Nora J. Hendrix Elmer R. Oatman and Wm High....I made out four Deeds for Talent. ....Talent is working on a new building for a store and Wm High is putting up a nice Dwelling House near the Creek. [Welborn Beeson Diary]
19 Aug 1884 ....I helped Mr Breese to work on his house down on the land he bought of Talent We laid the floor and raised the frame, 14 x 24, 16 feet high... [Welborn Beeson Diary]
21 Apr 1887...A new Doctor has come in the neighborhood He is boarding at Shermans [Welborn Beeson Diary]

3 Sep 1887… Land is booming in price at Ashland the excitement is reaching Talent a few more weeks and land will be away up…[Welborn Beeson Diary]

16 Jun 1888  .... I went to Talent. The Passenger train stops at Talent now and It is a regular Flag Station, the stub switch is graded ready for the ties and rails, and Helms and Talent are going to Survey off and lay out a Townsite  [Welborn Beeson Diary]

18 Jun 1888 ...I went to Talent to help lay off some Town lots, a Man named Kelly is employed to Survey with me to help H Ammerman J Helms and A P Talent & several others are interested in the land to be laid off.  [Welborn Beeson Diary]

19 Jun 1888  We Come up on the train and still Surveyed Town lots, we are laying the 24 acres on north end of Joe Robisons feild that Helms & Talent & others bought of Joe Robison It will make over 150 lots 30 by 125 feet with streets & alleys Main Street comes up the Corner of County Road near the Wiltshire house. It is still rainy Tom & Wellie went to Mountain Ranch yesterday to make Pickets
Emmett is trying to Cultivate garden & Orchard but it is very wet [Welborn Beeson Diary]

20 Jun 1888  I again went to Survey, we fixed up the 24 acre plot west of Rail Road. I take dinner at the Sherman Sisters restaurant they have Considerable Customers.  [Welborn Beeson Diary]

 24 Dec 1888 Christmas Eve, a big Shooting Match at Talent everybody at it Wellie had some chickens John & George some turkeys in evening a grand tree and exhibition by the Children at the Hall also at the Church, both places were Croweded too full extent, a dance at Hall after the performances, there is now a Saloon at Talent Kept by Al Helm’s and a number were drunk.