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JPR Feature
Jumpoff Joe Creek   
Friday May 13, 2005
By Marjorie O'Harra

Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson

Drive along Interstate 5 and you drive past…and through…some of Oregon's most colorful history. Often, the best stories are found in the place names you see on the road signs. Take for instance "Jumpoff Joe Creek," located a few miles north of Grants Pass, Oregon. 

In 1828, a young man named Joe McLoughlin was traveling through Southern Oregon with a party of trappers who had set up camp on the banks of a small stream. Joe was late getting into camp, and in the darkness, he fell over the edge of a cliff. He later died as result of his injuries. The stream, by common reference, thereafter retained his name and ill-fated action.

Joe was the son of one of Oregon's most famous residents: Dr. John McLoughlin, chief agent of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, who is fondly and officially referred to as the "Father of Oregon." He even has a Southern Oregon peak-Mt. McLoughlin-named in his honor. While Joe didn't live quite long enough to get the chance to match his father's fame or notoriety, he did come close. He had a creek named after him. 

Today's episode of As It Was was written by Marjorie O'Harra, the program engineer is Raymond Scully.  I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org

Oregon Geographic Names  and Home Page, History Library "John McLoughlin, Father of Oregon

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