Statue is Ashland's pioneer

How can anyone come to the conclusion that the statue in the Plaza is menacing or a bad influence on children? On the contrary, he is a good example of the pioneer spirit that brought men and women to this end of the Rogue Valley to establish homes, farms and businesses.

Have you even looked closely at him? He is neither a soldier, a lawman, a banker nor a stagecoach robber. No, he is simply a young farmer checking on the welfare of his farm and his animals. Yes, he does carry a gun. That was common sense in those days, as there were wolves, cougars, bears and rattlesnakes in the vicinity. A gun was for his protection. Note that he is carrying it with the barrel pointed down, the only thing he can shoot in that position would be his own foot.

He is standing at ease, one hand shading his eyes as he looks out across the farms and woodlands. What is he looking for? I like to think he is looking for a lost cow, a horse or possibly a deer in order to provide meat for his family. Maybe he is looking down toward the Siskiyou Mountains watching for the wagon train bringing his wife and children from the East. Many young men came ahead of their families in order to establish a farm and to build a small house for their loved ones.

Maybe he is looking into the future, seeing better roads in this little settlement called Ashland Mills, more and better built homes, schools, churches and small businesses lining that street. He is a dreamer as well as a realist, he can see the future, but also he has his feet firmly planted in his "today."

He is our pioneer; he understands the land he is farming, he knows the dangers facing the settlers in this little community, and he will be a part of that future. Look close at this young man and tell your children who he is, and what he endured to help build Ashland. He should be an example to them; not someone to fear. And do not ask that this statue be removed for it represents the many families who created this town. May it still be standing when your grandchildren walk through the Plaza and enjoy a drink of cold water from that fountain beneath our pioneer.

Alberta D. Apenes

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