Biography of John Marshall McCall

JOHN MARSHALL McCALL. – Among the substantial and favorably known residents of Southern Oregon, none have occupied a more useful place in the upbuilding of the state since the days of its infancy than the gentleman whose name is the heading of this brief memoir. His is one of those aggressive, go ahead dispositions that is an example of that time-honored adage, that “God helps those who help themselves;” and his whole life has bristled with instances of this belief. A man of strong convictions and honest prejudices, scorning hypocrisy in all things and in his dealings with friend, foe or the world at large, all his actions are guided by fairness, honesty and affability. Being of such a nature, success has come to him, and also a popularity among those who have had the good fortune to become acquainted with him. By birth he is a Pennsylvanian, having been born in Washington county in that state on January 15, 1825.

In 1840 he became with his parents a pioneer to the then territory of Iowa, settling in Louisa county. From thence he emigrated “the plains across,” via the ox-team route to Oregon. His headquarters during the first winter after his arrival was at the old capital, Oregon City. From there he made excursions to different parts of the valley, and made inquiries relative to locations not visited. The result of his observations was the choice of a mining claim in Jackson county, where, with Jacob Wagner, he operated in the creek since known by the name of his partner. During the Indian war of 1855-56, he took up arms in defense of his home, and in the subjugation of the savages. On the termination of hostilities, he was mustered out and began merchandising on Gallice creek in Josephine county, and in 1859 purchased an interest in the Ashland Flouring Mills.

The year 1861 will ever be memorable by reason of its being the beginning of the great civil conflict between the Northern and Southern sections of the Union. In consequence of such regiments loyal to the nation were raised in many portions of the coast. Among those raised was the First Oregon Cavalry; and our subject was among the first to enlist. He was commissioned second lieutenant of Company D. There being a necessity for the keeping of troops at home to look after the Indians by reason of the withdrawal to the South of the regular troops, the volunteer forces were assigned to duty at Camp Baker until 1862, when he was transferred to Vancouver. In 1865 he was promoted to a captaincy, and in 1866 was honorably discharged.

During his absence from Ashland, Oregon, he retained his interest in the milling enterprise, and upon his return began again with increased fervor the development of his adopted home. In 1867, together with others, he established the Ashland Woolen Mills, which at once became and has remained one of the prominent features of the Pacific Northwest. In 1873 he began and has successfully carried on a mercantile business on an extensive scale. Aside from these interests named, he has other property holdings which are considered very valuable. In politics he is a thorough-going Republican. He was a member of the legislature in 1876, and in 1883 was brigadier-general of the state militia.

General McCall has been twice married, – the first time on April 30, 1868, to Miss Theresa R. Applegate, a daughter of Mr. L. Applegate, an old pioneer, and secondly on July 4, 1876, to Mrs. M.E. Brown, née Anderson. He has a family of three children, two daughters and one son.


History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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