History of McCully House
The McCully House Inn is the oldest home in Oregon currently operating as an inn. Its namesake, Jane McCully, was a courageous, hard-working and adventurous pioneering woman. Born in 1842 in Alloway, Scotland, Jane immigrated with her family to America when she was 11 years old. Jane was well-educated and a teacher when she met her husband, John. They married in 1848. She was 24. He was 27.
In 1851, Jane and John joined a wagon train and headed west arriving in Oregon with their supplies exhausted and winter fast approaching. Jane taught school during the winter to keep themselves financially afloat. With the discovery of gold in Southern Oregon, the McCullys headed south to Table Rock City (Jacksonville), where Jane was one of the two “respectable” females in a gold mining town filled with rowdy miners, saloons, tents, and trading posts.
With no children to teach in the burgeoning mining town, Jane turned to baking pies, bread, and cakes, which she sold to miners for $1. Soon after, the McCullys had a son, James. Meanwhile, her husband, John, dabbled in real estate, purchasing land and becoming part owner of the El Dorado saloon and a local dairy.
In 1856, John embarked on his most costly structure—a two-story brick building on the corner of South Oregon and Main Street that would later become the Odd Fellows Hall. The upper hall became an auditorium for traveling performers while the ground floor space was rented out as a retail establishment. Jane and John’s second child, Mary, was born and John was elected to the Territorial Legislature, the only Republican from Jackson County.
Although heavily in debt, John set out to build a grand home for his growing family—the McCully House. Just before their home was finished, Jane and John’s third child, Isadora, was born. By 1862, John owed creditors over $7,500 with no way to pay his debts. Faced with losing his business interests and his dignity, John McCully took the stagecoach out of town never to be seen again, leaving Jane, his three children and all of his debt behind.
To survive, Jane returned to baking bread and pies—the source of the family’s income when they first arrived in Jacksonville. She leased the house to Amos Rogers as a boarding house, and in June of 1862 opened “Mrs. McCully’s Seminary” in the family’s old log cabin, the town’s first school for girls. Jane’s seminary was so popular that by the end of the year she took over the McCully house for classes. Even after public schools were available, Jane provided advanced education for both girls and boys. She was the only teacher the children of many of Jacksonville’s prominent families ever knew. Most went on to university, ranking at the top of their classes.
Jane had a good head for business. Over the years, local papers reported various Jane McCully investments and financial enterprises. She bought lots and houses and increased her investment in various business interests. Her success was such that her unmarried daughter, Izzie, never had to worry about finances.
Jane outlived John by ten years. In 1899, at the age of seventy-five, she fell ill suffering from a painful debility.