Paper pub. date
January 1991
ISBN 9780870715129 (paperback)

Tall Tales from Rogue River

The Yarns of Hathaway Jones

Stephen Dow Beckham

The tall tales of a colorful man who was proud of his reputation as the biggest liar in the country.

Hathaway Jones (1870-1937) was a master spinner of tall tales, a native Oregonian and the son and grandson of pioneers of the Oregon Trail. He lived most of his life in the Rogue River canyon and traveled through this remote area as a contract mail carrier from 1898 until his accidental death in 1937, trekking the narrow mountain trails and bringing stories to the isolated people of the region.

This collection of his amusing and delightful tales is one of the largest ascribable to one yarn-spinner in the United States.

Stephen Dow Beckham's Introduction to the collection puts Jones into historical context in the oral tradition of tall tales, tells his personal history, and identifies the informants who kept his tales alive.

Illustrations by Christina Romano

About the author

Stephen Dow Beckham holds the Pamplin Chair of History at Lewis & Clark College. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of California, Los Angeles, he has taught courses on Native Americans and the American West for 35 years. Beckham was named "Oregon Professor of the Year" and is recipient of the Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, American Historical Association.

Beckham has researched and written Federal Acknowledgment petitions, testified in federal district court and the U.S. Claims Court, and testified before Congress in matters related to Indian tribes. He has assisted tribes in enrollment documentation, clarification of reservation status and treaty rights, and mounted a number of teacher institutes through the Indian Education Act and its amendments.

Beckham's other books include Requiem for a People: The Rogue Indians and the Frontiersmen, Tall Tales from Rogue River: The Yarns of Hathaway Jones, Many Faces: An Anthology of Oregon Autobiography, and The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He is a contributing author to several volumes of the Handbook of North American Indians and to Native Americans in the Twentieth Century.

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