Ashland City Band, Ashland, Oregon, 1908, Jesse McCall is in the center of the front row.
The RedTail Inn was built in 1890 as an estate farm house by Jesse Applegate McCall. It was originally situated on a number of acres of land at what was then the edge of town. He added another building to the property in 1902, as the Ashland Daily Tidings noted: "Jesse McCall is building an attractive dwelling on East Main Street at a cost of about $1500." This is the carriage house that was demolished many years ago, that will be resurrected next year. He also constructed several additions to the original home prior to 1911. Portions of the land were gradually parceled off, allowing for other historical figures to come into play. The Rose Brothers, known for their role as the town’s first confectioners, built the home next door, which they then converted to the Rose Café and remains a restaurant to this day.
Jesse's father was Martin L. McCall, born in 1840 in New York. Martin travelled to Southern Oregon in the mid 1860’s to work on the O&C Railroad as an engineer. Martin met and married Aliena (Ella) Applegate (daughter of the famous pioneer, Jesse Applegate, for whom the Applegate Valley is named). They married on June 13, 1870 and they settled in Ashland. Jesse was their first child, born Sept 9, 1871 in Portland. The McCall family later had seven more children. Martin was the "venerable... City Surveyor for Ashland in the late 1800's." Both Martin and Aliena are buried in the Ashland Cemetery. History buffs can try to find their tombstones at the Cemetery, within easy walking distance of the RedTail. Jesse McCall, called "Red" by his friends, was known as a mover and shaker and rebel and rubbed elbows with the major players who developed the town. He followed in his father's footsteps and became a railroad engineer as well as the City's official surveyor. He also surveyed 27 mining claims in Josephine and Jackson County from 1900-1905 as a part of the Gold Rush. A modern day surveyor who utilized one of his gold and quartz mine surveys noted that Jesse and Martin's methods of surveying were well ahead of their time, with a skill not often seen until much later in history. Jesse played the coronet in the Ashland City Band. He is the fellow with the large mustache in the front row of the above picture. Otis Helman, band director and son of Abe Helman, the founder of the town, sits to his right. All the Helman brothers played in the City Band. The Ashland City Band plays concerts here to this day.
In 1898, Jesse met and married Orliena Rogers, a 22 year old woman, who had a one year old boy, Albert, born out of wedlock. Jesse and Orliena built the home on East Main and had two other children while living there: Jesse Irving and Louisa Albertine. True to both Jesse and Orliena's unconventional natures, their marriage did not last long, and ended in divorce in 1910. Jesse sold the home to his next door neighbors, the Rose brothers, and moved to Nevada to work as a railroad engineer. Orliena quickly remarried her previous flame, the father of her first son. All three of her children were then raised in her home in Silver Falls, Oregon with her second husband.
Jesse's work then took him to California, where he met and married divorcee' Lula Mae Thorp in 1920, who had two children from her previous marriage,. They had one child together, Kenneth Richard McCall. The drama of this family tree continued in the divorce of Jesse and Lula about ten years later. He never married again after that and lived to the age of 62.
Census reports and family trees do not tell us the story that obviously lies at the heart of this unconventional tale for the day. We choose to believe that "Red" was a rebel who couldn't be tied down and that he married women cut from the same cloth: headstrong, opinionated, convention be damned. We named the suites of the home in honor of "Red" and his first love, Orliena.
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