The First American Woman to Descend to the Waters of Crater Lake

Crater Lake, photo by Carl Moline circa 1960

Crater Lake, photo by Carl Moline circa 1960

Annie Creek and Annie Spring in Klamath County were named in 1865 for Anna “Annie” Gaines, granddaughter of Samuel K. and Susannah Lee Barlow.

Annie, later Mrs. Augustus Schwatka, and Mrs. O. T. Brown were the first white women to descend to the waters of Crater Lake. Annie died young, leaving her husband, who was employed by the Salem Statesman, and two children, one only a few days old. The following tribute written upon her death gives a lyric sense of her great adventure.

(From the Salem Statesman)

In Memory of Mrs. A. C. Schwatka.

As I stood yesterday by the open grave of Mrs. Annie C. Schwatka, formerly Miss Annie Gaines, the circumstances connected with my first acquaintance with her at Fort Klamath, in 1865, recurred vividly to my mind.

Major W. V. Rinehart was then in command of Fort Klamath, and Miss Gaines, being a sister to Mrs. Rinehart, constituted one of the Major’s family. In that then wild land she was a great favorite, having commended herself to every one by her intelligence and vivacity, and by her kind and generous spirit. She had a very high appreciation of the beautiful in nature, and was consequently an enthusiastic admirer of Klamath landscapes. She was an expert on horseback, and was seen almost daily riding over the grassy plains and among the evergreen groves of Klamath land, and no obstacle seemed too great for her to overcome when seeking to indulge her passion for adventure.

During the summer of 1865, she was one of a party which visited our greatest mountain wonder, Crater Lake, and climbed down a thousand feet of almost vertical wall to the lake shore, being one of the first ladies who ever accomplished this arduous undertaking. One of the tributaries of Upper Klamath Lake, rising within a half-mile of the summit of the rim of Crater Lake, flows gently, for a few miles, across grassy glades and among green trees, and then plunges into a narrow canon with almost vertical walls of columnar basalt. Standing upon the brink of the yawning chasm, and looking down at the frothing cascades and the beautiful stream, seeming like a silver thread, five hundred feet below, with the mighty pillars on either side covered with the rust of ages, the scene is one of particular grandeur; and yet, a descent among those lofty columns amid the hemlock trees which grow in the fissures of the rock, to the rippling cascades and pools of clear, cold water below and wondrous work of the Master Architect, will ever bear the name of “Annie’s Creek,” in remembrance of the adventurous explorer.

Among the pleasant reminiscences of the long ago, I also recall a local excursion on Klamath Lake with Major Rinehart and some others, in which Miss Gaines was, as usual, the most enthusiastic and adventurous of our party. While on the lake we spent some time drifting among the green islands, to one of which, lying away out in the center of the lake, covered with gigantic cane-grass and bordered with green willows, we gave her name.

After a year or so spent at Fort Klamath, Annie came with Major Rinehart’s family to Salem, where she entered the Academy of the Sacred Heart, and remained there until she completed her education, after which she became the wife of our friend, Mr. A. C. Schwatka, and the mother of two children, the youngest of which is only a few days old. Her home was always one of the most pleasant in Salem, and ever gave proof of her love of the true and the beautiful in its adornments.

But Annie has gone from among us. The bright and pleasant friend, the enthusiastic lover of art and nature, the gentle wife and loving mother, sleeps the sleep that knows no waking this side of the pearly gates of a better land.

O.C.A. Salem, February 7, 1976

Mrs. Annie Schwatka, a lady well known and highly respected, died at her residence in Salem, on the morning of the 5th inst. She leaves an infant but a few days old.

Published in the New Northwest, February 11, 1876


Lake Labish Railroad Disaster, November 1890

Found these photos in our collection today. Although the accident was in adjoining Marion County this is a great example of late 19th century reporting from the Oregonian and the Statesman on a tragic accident.

California Express Crashes Through a Trestle
A Number of Passengers Probably Fatally Injured
Nearly Every Passenger on a Crowded Train Bruised and Injured.

Salem, Nov. 12. – Shortly after 8 o’clock last night the Overland Southern Pacific passenger train, or the California Express, went down with the north end of the long trestle crossing what is known as Lake Labish, about a half-mile north of the Chemawa Indian training school, five miles from Salem. The trestle must have given way as soon as the engine struck it, and the train and trestle all went down together.


The engine was overturned and half buried almost, in the mud. Following this were the tender, mail, baggage and express cars, broken and twisted entirely out of shape.

Then followed the first-class day coach, which was saved from going over by alighting with the front end on an old tree, broken off about even with the trestle. The seats in the car were every one broken to splinters and the partitions were broken into thousands of pieces.

Next was the Pullman car “Alalla” with seventeen passengers, and only three escaped without injury.

The next and last car was the Pullman “Roseburg”, in which were fifteen passengers, only four of these got off with slight bruises.

In the smoker and day coach every seat was occupied, and the proportion of injured was larger, if possible, than that of the cars following, as the wreck was the most disastrous from the front end, on account of the mail, express, and baggage cars overturning.

The only thing that kept the train from burning was the fact that the trestle and track went down almost perpendicularly with it, and none of the passenger cars were overturned.


As the reporter approached the wreck, coming from the south through the dismal swamp known as “Lake Labish”, the scene of the catastrophe looked like a fire in the distance, caused by the many fires that had been built along either side of the ill-fated train to keep the wounded warm, who had been removed from the wreck, and to light the way of the willing workers who had hastened to the resorts from every direction.

The scene about the wreck was one long to be remembered. Laid out on the ground were the mangled corpses recovered from the wreck. Reclining on improvised beds about the fires were the wounded, who had been taken from the coaches, while standing about, lending what assistance they could, were those less seriously wounded, and around these and everywhere were the crowds who had come to help, or from curiosity.

In the coaches standing on the fallen trestlework were the same scenes, every available cushion being occupied by some unfortunate more or less injured.

As soon as the doctors from Salem arrived, at about fifteen minutes after 11 o’clock, they set about dressing the wounds and administering to the needs of the injured. They were assisted in this work by as many of Salem’s people as could reach the scene.


The first news of the disaster that reached Salem came by an Indian student of the Chemawa school, who arrived a little before 9 o’clock, having ridden in. He said 100 people were killed. Immediately every physician in the city was summoned and prepared to go. At once fire was put in the yard engine, and as soon as possible two flat cars were switched on and the run to the dismal swamp was made in very short order. This train carried several of the physicians and a large crowd of helpers, including representatives of the Statesman. Every available rig in the city was taken within a few minutes and hundreds were soon upon the scene of death.

A relief train was also ordered immediately from Albany, and a part of the Albany express, that passed over the deadly trestle only a few minutes before the ill-fated train went down to it’s destruction, was sent. At once a wrecking and construction train was started out from Portland, and will clear the wreck and repair the break as rapidly as possible.

The length of the bridge is about 600 feet. The trestle work there was from sixteen to twenty feet high, and that was consequently the height of the fall.

The engineer felt the trestle give way as soon as his engine struck it. He gave one short whistle and set the brakes. The train moved ahead about fifty yards as it went down, and it was all the work of less than a minute.

One man, whose name could not be learned, bit his tongue off, the concussion coming while he was talking. The three cars in the lead, the mail, express, and baggage, were overturned and mashed all to pieces.


The express car was thrown crosswise of the track, the mail car to one side of the track and the baggage car to the other. How the messengers and clerks in these cars escaped with their lives is a miracle. To look at the cars, one would not suppose it possible to get out alive. It was reported that one of them was killed, and that another had an arm broken, but the truth of the rumor could not be affirmed nor denied. One man, whose name is unknown, sustained a terrible scalp wound, the top of his head being laid back.

The trestle gave immediately upon the engine striking it.

The total number of deaths from this accident will probably reach as high as ten, as many have sustained what it is feared will prove to be serious internal injuries, and spinal hurts. A few whose spines were injured badly were delirious, and the names of several could not be obtained. One was an elderly man in the coach with the United States marshal from Utah and another was a young man in the tourist sleeper.


John R. Blew, the Portland train agent, who got off with a skinned nose was one of the first to reach Salem after the accident, coming down on the railroad track and assisting in getting the yard engine started.

Hon. M. F. Jeffery, of Portland, occupied a seat in the head Pullman. He was slightly bruised and pretty well shaken up, but otherwise not injured. Its said the reason as many had their backs injured was that they were in a sitting posture and the train lunged forward as well as down, most unmercifully jerking them and throwing them forward.

There was not a passenger who was not badly shaken up, and many of them had their backs injured in addition to broken legs, arms, etc.

The article continues with a list of the injured including:

Captain Jack Crawford, the poet scout, bruised.

James McCarry, U.S. Marshal from Salt Lake City, Utah, nose broken, leg probably broken and badly injured internally, fears are that he will bleed to death.

(McCarry did recover)


As far as the loss of life is concerned, considering the character and magnitude of the disaster, it was one of the most fortunate accidents known in the annals of railway disasters. The one hundred killed (according to the first report) dwindled down to ten, then five, next to four, and finally to three. It is now known that only three men were killed outright. They are Engineer John McFadden, Fireman F. G. Neals and the unknown tramp, who in all probability was stealing a ride when catastrophe overtook him. One man who was internally injured has died since, and few more will probably meet the same sad fate. (One other person died bringing to final total to five dead.)


Salem, November 21: This evening the Oregon board of railroad commissioners submitted the following report of findings in the matter of the late train disaster….

The investigation of the above matter coming to be heard, it was found that the two reasons for the disaster, to wit: First – That a rail had been removed from the track by some person or persons unknown, which was said to be the primary cause of the wreck.

Second – That the structure had fallen on account of its age and weakness of its parts.

After hearing the testimony of numerous witnesses and having made a personal inspection of the wreck, the board finds that there is no satisfactory evidence in support of the proposition that a rail had been removed. That the following facts are established by a preponderance of evidence:

First – That the Southern Pacific Company’s train No. 16, of November the 12th, 1890, consisting of eight cars, ran into the trestle at Lake Labish, in Marion county, Oregon at about 8:15 P.M. of said day, at a rate of about twenty miles per hour.

Second – That the airbrakes were firmly and suddenly applied, which caused the structure to give way at a point about 600 feet south of the north approach, precipitating the engine and three cars into the marsh, a distance of sixteen feet, throwing down the entire structure from where the break occurred to the north end, causing the death of Engineer John McFadden, his fireman, F. G. Neal, and an unknown man, and seriously injuring the other trainmen and a large number of passengers.

Third – That the structure was faulty in the following particulars; The bents, considering the nature of the ground, it being boggy and spongy, were two far apart; the ties were too widely spaced; the guard rails were in a state of decay and but few were properly fastened, and they were so frail as to afford no safeguard; that much of the timber in the bents, especially caps and sills, had more or less decayed; that the bents were not securely sway braced; that some of the piles supporting the bents were unsound; that many of the stringer-bolts had been allowed to become loosened.

Although Southern Pacific challenged the findings, other engineers determined that the trestle was unsafe. As a result of the accident the state required twice-yearly examination of railroad trestles.

Nine cases were filed against Southern Pacific for damages. John B. Rauh of Tacoma was awarded $10,000. Rauh was confined to bed after the accident and appeared in court on a stretcher.



Football in the Northwest improved greatly last year. The Eastern coaches who have been employed in this territory have brought with them better football than characterized the game in former years. The University of Oregon won all her college games in the Northwest during 1904 chiefly as a result of superior defensive playing taught by R. S. Smith, formerly of Columbia University. The new coach, being a Michigan man, will develop the offensive game. Combining this with what the men will retain of Smith’s defensive tactics the result should be that Oregon will have a strong team. The team will be captained by Jack Latourette, unequaled in this territory as a quarter-back.
Spalding’s Official Foot Ball Guide 1904

u of o 1905John Randolph “Jack” Latourette was born January 4, 1886 in Oregon City, to Charles D. and Sedonia Shaw Latourette. He was the quarterback of the University of Oregon football team 1903-1906. At the U of O he was a founding member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. After attending Columbia University Law School he passed the Oregon Bar examination in 1907. He was a member of the Oregon Legislature in 1913 and sponsored the Oregon Workman’s Compensation Act. Jack died September 2, 1967 in Portland.

In addition to articles on football rules and teams from around the United States, the Spalding catalog includes information on their products – here is what the well-dressed player would be wearing in 1904…

The Spalding Special ‘Varsity Union Foot Ball Suit consists of VT Trousers, either sleeved or sleeveless jacket and an elastic belt joining them.

helmet Spalding’s Head Harness – made with soft black leather top and sides, molded leather ear pieces, adjustable chin strap, rear extension. Top padded with felt and well ventilated. Sides stitched and felt padded with canvas lining. $2.75



jerseyFoot Ball Jersey – The Spalding No. 10P line, recently introduced, is manufactured from hard twisted worsted and closely woven, of a good quality, and made to stand the most severe strain. It is an absolutely perfect jersey for atheletes. Solid colors or striped. $2.50-$2.75 each



sleeveless jacketThe Spalding Special ‘Varsity Foot Ball Jackets Sleeveless. $1.25




jacket with sleevesFoot Ball Jackets – with sleeves; made of special brown canvas, sewed with the best and strongest linen, hand made eyelets for lacing. 75¢




trousersThe Spalding Special ‘Varsity Foot Ball Trousers – Padded – the hips and knees are properly padded according to our improved method, with pure curled hair, and the thighs have cane strips. Also in moleskin. $2.50 – $3.00



padded trousersFoot Ball Pants – canvas – Extra quality brown canvas, well padded throughout with can strips at thighs. Also No. XP – made of heavy white drill, well padded. $1.75




shoesSpalding’s Improved Foot Ball shoes – recognized as standard by foot ball players everywhere. Finest kangaroo leather, with circular reinforce on sides. Hand made throughout. $7.50 per pair.



nose guardMorrill’s Nose Mask – made from the finest rubber with no wire or metal used in its construction. It has become necessary on every foot ball team, and affords absolute protection to the nose and teeth. $1.50



shoulder padsSpalding’s Improved Shoulder Pads – made to fit the players shoulder. Heavily padded both inside and out with wool felt in exact accordance with decisions of Rules Committee. $2.50