John W. Redington papers , 1880-1935

Overview of the Collection

Redington, John W., 1851-1935
John W. Redington papers
1880-1935 (inclusive)
4.5 linear feet, (13 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 093
John Watermelon Redington was an Indian War scout, newspaper editor, writer, publisher and humorist. The collection consists of manuscripts, scrapbooks, 19th century newspapers, broadsides, photographs, and approximately 800 pieces of correspondence.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections & University Archives.

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.

Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Historical NoteReturn to Top

John Watermelon Redington (1851-1935) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1851. He worked as a printer's devil with the Cambridge University Press. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1874 as a means of traveling to the West. He was discharged in 1874 and travelled to Oregon where he worked for the Salem Oregon Statesman, and founded a job printing establishment in Salem, Oregon. He left job printing to wander through Oregon, Idaho, and Utah as a tramp printer and in search of adventure. He served as a scout in the Nez Perce Indian War and the Bannock Indian War. His small stature and juvenile enthusiasm led General Oliver O. Howard to refer to him as the original boy scout.

Redington took over the Heppner, Oregon Gazette in 1883, and later published papers in Puyallup and Tacoma, Washington. He was a native humorist, inventing tall stories to fill his columns, and issued outrageous political broadsides in a style reminiscent of Bill Nye. He was married to Nellie Meacham, daughter of Alfred B. Meacham. His last years were spent as a wandering journalist, and in and out of the Veterans' Home at Sawtelle, California until his death in 1935.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The correspondence series (approx. 800 pieces) is organized alphabetically by last name and includes personal letters and correspondence with western writers. Pension materials are organized by date, 1909-1935. Financial files are organized by type. The manuscripts are organized alphabetically by title. Also included in the collection is genealogy material on the Redington family, disabled volunteer solider files, broadsides, newspapers from 1883-1935, photostats, scrapbooks, meeting records, publications and microfilm.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Humorists, American--West (U.S.)
  • Journalists--West (U.S.)
  • Printers--West (U.S.)
  • Scouts (Reconnaissance)--West (U.S.)

Personal Names

  • Bailey, Harry Lee, 1854-1934
  • Brininstool, E. A. (Earl Alonzo), 1870-1957
  • Gill, John, 1851-1929
  • Redington family
  • Redington, John W., 1851-1935

Form or Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts for publication