Kershaw Road name origins murky

I heard a rumor that Kershaw Road, which crosses Highway 140 in White City, is named after the family whose son, Pete Kershaw, founded Kershaw Knives. Did they own a ranch in the area?

— Katrina R., Eagle Point

We can’t give you a yes or no on the Kershaw Knives connection, Katrina. However, after talking to a local historian and the director for the Jackson County Roads Department, we can at least start to draw a theory that has some evidence to support it.

Let’s start with what we know. Kershaw Road was first developed as a county road in 1917. John Vial, director of Jackson County Roads, referred to it as a “petition road.”

“Back in the day, citizens could get together and (say), ‘Please build a road here,’ ” Vial said. “We don’t do that anymore, but that was a very common way roads got made.”

Vial said there is no record of who the road was named after in the original petition records.

If you fast forward a few decades, however, the name Kershaw pops up. In 1980, Jackson County performed some road widening, and during the process, they purchased some farmland from Augusta H. Kershaw.

Gordon and Augusta Kershaw lived on Corey Road, which runs into Kershaw Road, according to local historian George Kramer. According to a 1978 city directory, Gordon served on the Rogue Valley Irrigation District — but we aren’t certain whether that connection constitutes proof of the road name.

We’ll keep sniffing around though, and if we learn anything new, we’ll let you know.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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