Wilderville, Oregon History
by Joan Momsen

The "Slate Creek Post Office" was established on September 30, 1858, but later changed to Wilderville on August 12, 1878. Some say that the post office was named after its postmaster, Joseph Wilder.

The founding family of Alex Cougle arrived in the Wilderville area during 1875.

The T.L. Jones Memorial Church was built in Wilderville to honor the Methodist circuit rider, T.L. Jones. Ordained in 1871, Jones rode the circuit for 50 years. The first church was built in 1890 and was replaced with the present building in 1929.

Taken from an old, Courier newspaper artide in February of 1916, "Luther B. Akers, and his wife Elsie and their two horses were shot and killed near Wilderville by Marshall D. Bouseman, age 63. Bouseman ambushed the couple as they were driving to Sunday school. Afterwards, Bouseman went home and tried to overdose on laudanum, but only made himself ill. The sheriff and his deputy found the assassin flat on his back in his bed with his rifle, the murder weapon, by his side. He had been upset by disputes over boundary fences and the Akers' hogs running wild. The prosecuting attorney wrote Bouseman and told him to just leave the Akers alone. It was not considered too seriously by the authorities. But something snapped and Bouseman stated, 'The first thing I know was shooting at them' as they passed his property on their way to church. Although killed in the morning, the bodies were not found until around five in the afternoon because the road was seldom traveled except by the Akers. When James Vinegar found the bodies, he immediately notified the sheriff. Sheriff Smith and Deputy Denison arrived in about a half an hour and within the hour located Bouseman collapsed on his bed in his home. Bouseman had blown off part of Mr. Akers' skull and hand with four shots, put a bullet through Mrs. Akers' chest, blowing a large hole through both lungs, causing instant death. He then unhitched the team and shot both horses."

Just a quiet Sunday in Wilderville in 1916.

Bouseman was sent to prison and spent most of the remainder of his life behind bars. The Akers were laid to rest in the Wilderville Cemetery. A double gravestone adorns the couple's plot.

At the turn of the century, Wilderville citizens purchased land on Fish Hatchery Road to establish a cemetery. The first person buried there was the wife of J.W. McCollum. Her grave stone has this comment: "Mother here is all alone, being the first grave in the Wilderville Cemetery. God knows she had done what she could." She died December 24, 1902. Earlier Wilderville citizens were usually buried in the Sloan Cemetery on Riverbanks Road.

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Josephine County: The Golden Beginnings

Related Links:

Josephine County Historical Society