I offer thanks to
relatives, and ancestors whose strength of purpose
led me to my own. A special thanks to my co-author,
Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel, for her deep love and dedication to me and this project.
Without her tireless effort and selfless interest,
this liberating history of Oregon would never have been written.
Port of Toledo 1910-1977
The year was 1910. The economy was
slowly in the Yaquina Bay country since the formation of Lincoln
in 1893. A number of small sawmills had located in the area,
to the river and mostly near the Toledo community. There was
confined to the narrow flat lands along the river and stretching
rich Siletz Valley.
But development was painfully slow and had not nearly matched the aspirations of community leaders. Everyone knew of the rich stands of timber in Lincoln County. Surveys had shown tremendous tracts of Douglas fir and spruce, untouched by man and of a quality unmatched in the Pacific Northwest.
And nearly everybody had come to believe also that inadequate transportation was the one thing that hobbled the full development of these timber resources.
It was true that the Oregon Pacific Railroad had arrived in Toledo as early as 1884. The next year, steel had been pushed on to Yaquina City, at that time the lusty, booming port for Yaquina Bay. Construction of the railroad had been heralded by the early squatters as the solution to the fast, prosperous development of the Yaquina country. But it had not proved to be. The firm was beset by financial problems from the very beginning and despite the bright prospects of a transportation bonanza, little had really happened. Twenty-five years had passed since the arrival of the railroad. By now business people had convinced themselves that the key not in a railroad or better highways but in the development of ocean shipping. They saw the California country to the south growing rapidly, opening a vast new market for Oregon lumber. And costwise water shipping was obviously the cheapest way to tap this market. The Panama Canal was under construction and many reasoned this would open vast East Coast markets.
Then, too, to the west Hawaii was growing and for some visionaries the vast lands and hordes of people in teeming Asia offered tremendous prospects for the sale of West Coast lumber. Of course, water transport was the only answer.
Actually Yaquina Bay had enjoyed a reasonably brisk business in ocean shipping for many years. Ocean schooners put in regularly to docks at Yaquina City to load out cargoes of lumber and rock from the Pioneer Rock Quarry near Elk City and other sundry cargoes. Many sailed up the river all the way to Toledo.
Indeed as early as 1884, jetties had
constructed by the government at the Yaquina Bay bar to aid
out of the harbor. They were short jetties, and according to
inadequate from the beginning. But they did permit ships to
the harbor relatively safely.
Ships grew in size as time went on requiring more depth of water under them. Fewer of them attempted to reach Toledo and Yaquina City, and Newport with its natural deeper water became the harbor area.
The bar gave shippers troubles as well. Jetties were short and the shorter North Jetty permitted ocean currents to carry sand into the channel. At times, depending on the season of the year, the bar would have little more than ten to 12 feet of water at the harbor entrance.
These situations discouraged larger ocean freighters from scheduling Yaquina Bay on their itineraries and as a result, local shippers saw themselves being bypassed regularly by profitable ocean transport. Knowledgeable local seamen insisted that the harbor would never realize its fullest potential until the North Jetty was lengthened and the rock shelf on the bar blasted out, providing a channel of 16 feet or more to the open sea.
It was in this climate of frustration that business people decided that the time had arrived when they must take their story to the federal government and exert political pressures to achieve their objectives of creating a bright, new deep water harbor for the West Coast and especially Oregon.
The frustration and ambitions of local people was melded into action in early 1910.
Leadership for the port movement was spawned in Toledo. Most of the area's lumbering operations were centered at Toledo and it had at the time the most extensive business mix of the county. Newport, while developing as a port, was more occupied, as it still is at times, with the development of tourism as a basic industry.
So it was in March 1910 that a group of Toledo's business leaders set out to improve the Yaquina Bay harbor. And in their discussions, the idea of the creation of a port commission to give official voice to their ideas and plans was devised.
Another event had happened also which gave fuel to the port concept. In 1909 the Oregon legislature passed an act which made it possible for citizens to create port districts with powers of taxation and the ability to develop marine oriented activities within the district.
Actually there was already some precedent for the district concept of port development. Portland was governed by port commissioners and had become one of the larger of the West Coast shipping centers.
Presumably Coos Bay had already organized a port district and even Siuslaw Port District had been formed and residents had already accepted a bond issue to finance an improvement program.
The legislature made the creation of a port district comparatively simple. To call an election leaders had only to secure the names of eight percent of the total number of votes cast for justice of the supreme court of Oregon within the boundaries of the proposed district in the last election. The election happened to have been held on June 1, 1908.
On March 9, 1910 a petition requesting formation of the Toledo Port District was carried to the county commissioners at the courthouse in Toledo.
It contained 46 signatures, including most of the town's business people and some citizens in outlying areas as well.
The records are not entirely clear but it seems that the port movement had been coordinated with leaders in Newport and Waldport at the same time. So after some delay in securing petitions from the other districts, county officials accepted all three areas and set May 5 for elections which citizens would vote on the port proposals.
County officers at the time were: Charles H. Gardner (1855-1920), judge and John Fogarty (1853-1922) and John Kentta, commissioners. Ira Wade (1875-1940) was county clerk and James H. Ross (1856-1935), sheriff.
The election on May 5 carried easily in all districts and the governor was asked to appoint the first commissioners.
This was done by May 26 and the very same day the new Port of Toledo commissioners met, elected officers, voted on organizational procedures and set some priorities for future projects.
Original commissioners were: William Scarth (1863-1956), president; J. F. Stewart, vice-president; A. T. Peterson, treasurer; Lee Wade (1866-1921), secretary, and William Clark Copeland (1845-1918), board member.
Among other business handled in that first Toledo meeting was the decision to push for a 14 feet deep channel from Toledo to deep water in the harbor, to start work on a float or dock on Depot Slough, dredge a channel in the slough to the Yaquina Bay Lumber Company mill located one mile west of Toledo, to hold all meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at 2:30pm; authorize Lee Wade and J. F. Stewart to go to Portland to talk to army engineers about a channel survey; approved borrowing $250 from the Lincoln County Bank to pay early bills and named the bank as depository for port funds.
It is interesting to note that port leaders in Toledo had definite objectives when they proposed establishing a port district. One of the most important, as stated at its first meeting, was to obtain a ship channel on the river from Toledo to the sea. The Toledo group never wavered from this goal over a period spanning at least 40 years during which it worked tirelessly but futilely to achieve and spent sizable sums of money in the effort.
The story of the Toledo port's quest for a ship channel is really the total story of the port for it was this single minded objective that spawned its formation in the first place and served as a long range goal for the men on its board down through the years.
Neither of the other two companion districts formed at the same time held any ambitious objective or sought to work such vital improvements for its community and its industry.
Newport officers named at the May 26 meeting
were Royal A. Bensell (1838-1920), president, John A. Olsson,
Stocker (1858-1918), George King (1844-1916), and Thomas Leese.
the port was formally organized, it had difficulty getting into
While Toledo was off and running from the first day, Newport
get its commissioners together. June, July, August, September,
and November went by without a quorum being assembled and
official meeting being held. It was not until December 28, 1910
meeting was finally put together with enough commissioners
First order of business was to vote a .5 mill tax on property within boundaries of the port, consisting then mostly of land lying within the city limits of Newport.
On June 30, Toledo’s president Scarth hurriedly called a special meeting. Already the port district was having to face some of the facts of life in municipal operation. It was going broke. Stewart and Wade had been to Portland to discuss port business with army engineers and submitted bills of $13.25 and $12.50 respectively to cover out-of-pocket expenses. E. J. Avery had submitted a bill of $18.75 for placing iron pipes on all transient corners of the district and engineer Eugene Schiller had a bill of $225 for surveying the district and for making soundings and platting for the port.
Commissioners quickly authorized the borrowing of another $250 from the bank to meet current expenses.
The commissioners initiated a program designed to cure its money problems which was to be continued for the next 30 years and one which kept it in a perpetual state of indebtedness during the same period. They authorized a bond issue totaling $25,000 at six percent interest, due and payable after 20 years.
Things moved slowly and by the time October rolled around no bonds had been sold and indeed they had not yet been offered on the money markets. On October 18, commissioners withdrew the resolution authorizing the $25,000 bond issue, then voted to increase the issue to $50,000. The interest and pay off schedules were to remain the same.
On November 10, 1910 commissioners accepted a bid of the S. A. Kean & Company of Chicago to buy the bonds, effective November 1, with repayment scheduled to be completed November 1, 1830.
Now with money in the bank, the newly formed commission moved rapidly to get some constructive improvement work underway. By January 11, 1911, members had drawn specifications for two small jetties on Depot Slough and a new barge to carry a dredge port officials proposed to buy. Advertising was published calling for bids on the work.
One thing and another went wrong. First bidders for the jetty job as well as the barge construction work proved too high. This meant the port rejected all of them.
Next the S. A. Kean Company defaulted on its plan to purchase the port's bonds and another buyer had to be found. This turned out to be the Charles S. Kidder Company, also of Chicago.
Finally in April 1911, the bond problem had been resolved and the port signed a contract with the Joseph Swearingen Company for the jetty work at $8,400, awarded Lambert Hoisting Company $8,873 for dredge equipment and contracted to have it installed for $933 by the Modern Improvement Company.
Port commissioners realized early that it would be advantageous to own property, especially on Depot Slough and adjacent to the main channel of the river in Toledo. Early in 1911 moves were initiated to acquire certain tracts.
At a meeting on April 28, commissioners established what they considered fair prices for 12 separate parcels, mostly located on Depot Slough. Members agreed to write letters to each property owner stating the port’s offer and at the same time declaring condemnation proceedings would be initiated against any owner refusing the cash offer.
J. F. Stewart and A. T. Peterson were named to contact property owners.
Among the property holders were Jacob Burkel, Elin Ofstedahl (1861-1933), Lee Wade, Gust Olson, Almon Taylor, Hooker & Payne, and Catherine Grady (1852-1937). The cash offer for lots ranged from $75 to $200.
Ms. Ofstedahl and Hooker & Payne were the first to accept the port’s proposition. Others accepted as time went on but one owner, Gust Olson, carried his case into court declaring three lots had been $425. The circuit court agreed with Olson, and awarded him $837 which the port paid. In addition, it paid Weatherford & Weatherford, Albany attorneys, $366.90 to carry the case in the courts.
By mid-summer of 1911, the new barge had been completed, the dredge equipment installed, and the port embarked on the experience of operating—and financing—a dredging project on the bay.
It was a unique experience, to say the least. Each of the port commissioners was a businessman himself and must have anticipated problems connected with the operation of a pseudo private enterprise. But apparently they didn’t, and soon the reality of life burst upon them like a fire storm.
The needs of an operating dredge were too numerous to detail. But it is suffice to say that every meeting for months brought new demands for materials, changes in crews, wood for the fire box and a hundred and one other requirements.
The first crew for the barge consisted of Claude Davies as leverman at $5 per day. E. W. Stanton, fireman, $3 per day and Robert V. Mann (1877-1945), deckhand and watchman, at $2.50 per day.
The commissioners now had a regular payroll to meet each month, in addition to maintenance costs, paying interest on bonded debt and attempting to finance the many other improvements needed in the district.
The big need was for money. In December 1911, the port had received from the county clerk an estimate that the assessed value of land in the port district totaled $1,300,000. Commissioners agreed to levy 2.5 mills on the dollar to meet the constantly rising bills of the port. As a small gesture of economy, it hired a new leverman for the barge at a rate of $4 per day. This was a savings of $1 per day under the rate formerly paid.
Despite efforts to keep things on an even keel, the crew of the barge was a constant source of problems. Port officials found one crewman "ballooning" time to get more hours and money. He was promptly fired but had to be replaced quickly to keep work progressing. It was found that crewmen were keeping liquor on board the barge and were making regular visits to the caches for refreshments. The port had large signs printed prohibiting liquor and posted these on the barge.
The liquor may have had something to do with it though it was never admitted but on several occasions that the port paid damages the barge had done to private houseboats in the area. Damages to houseboats were not the only problems. The dredge itself apparently suffered in these encounters as well. It wasn't long before it became apparent that a dry dock would have to be built so the dredge could be pulled from the water for repairs to its hull.
Community leaders who created the port district in 1910 obviously and sincerely hoped to generate new life into the economic future of the Yaquina Bay region. They envisioned the development of ocean shipping of Lincoln County's abundant timber reserves to growing markets of the nation. They foresaw a booming spinoff in the establishment of new sawmills and lumber camps with hundreds of men on payrolls and new homes for families and new businesses to serve these people.
The district fell considerably short of achieving all of these goals immediately. But at the same time the mere activity of founding a new port and setting into motion projects such as channel dredging and improving dockage facilities at Toledo and elsewhere on the bay spawned all kinds of aspirations in the minds of people.
It wasn’t long before hopeful entrepreneurs revealed plans to take advantage of the impending boom. Numerous requests came to the port for land on which to establish small businesses. McCaulou & Gildersleeve asked to lease lots five and six owned by the port on which to locate a manufacturing firm, and Montgomery & Gill wanted space to locate a shipyard for construction of a steam schooner. The ship would be used in the lumber trade, have a capacity of around 500,000 board feet and cost between $70,000 and $80,000 to build. The Toledo Cooperative Creamery Association (a group of local dairymen) proposed to build a collection and processing plant on the Port dock. The port agreed to lease the dairymen waterfront property at a rate of five percent per month for a period of 20 years.
Events were now moving rapidly in the bay country. Hopes rose and ebbed on decisions of the Corps of Engineers and members of the port commission grasped at every opportunity to build the economy of the district.
In October 1913, the Corps' dredge Oregon arrived in Toledo and launched some minor channel work. The district obligated itself to payment of 60 percent of the cost of a $37,430 project. Engineers picked up the tab for the remainder.
Their lack of money was a constant bugaboo for the Port. It had itself so obligated In bonding and interest payments that there was no money left for day to day operations. On October 20, 1913, the port agreed to assess an additional 2.5 mills on property in the district to pay interest on bonds and another .05 mil was levied to build a reserve to pay off the bonds as they came due. Assessed valuation within the port district now stood at $1,382, 380.
It was early in 1913, too, that the first change came in makeup of the board since the inspection of the port in 1910. The name of newspaper publisher and vice-president J. F. Stewart was dropped from the board February 12, never to appear again. N. F. Nulton was immediately named as a replacement. But the appointment lasted only one month. In March the name of Charles R. Hoevet, manager of the Wheeler Lumber Mill, replaced Nulton as a boardman.
Port minutes give no hint of the obvious disagreements which were taking place on the board. But the breach was complete. The port immediately moved its offices from Stewart's print shop to the Schenk & Wade Building
At least two other resignations of boardmen were accepted during that summer as well, and new appointments made to fill out unexpired terms.
Early in 1914, the steam schooner Bandon pulled into the harbor at Newport and asked for a pilot to bring it up river to Toledo to load lumber. It had been the first vessel of this type to venture upstream in a long while and citizens saw it as a break brought in the Yaquina Bay shipping picture. The port hired R. A. Anderson as pilot at $10 per trip and to keep him busy, He was also given some work setting up ranges in the navigation channel. By August 12, he had made three trips as pilot on schooners and most of the ranges had been completed.
By late 1916, the port finally came to the point of admitting that its dredge operation simply was not working. The dredge from the very start had been a heavy financial drain on the port and its accomplishments certainly minimal. On August 23, the port passed a resolution to sell the dredge to the Umpqua Improvement Company for $5,500. It would be many per day before any commissioner brought up a proposal for the port to get into the dredging business again.
Rival Ports Join Forces
By the autumn of 1916—six full years
creation of the ports of Toledo and Newport—commissioners
that neither port was financially able to achieve all the
needed on the river, in the harbor and on the bar alone. Indeed
were up to their necks in bonded indebtedness, neither was
progress, and both had already obligated itself to its legal
It was obvious that more taxable area had to be brought into the port districts. As a matter of fact, boundaries of the two ports had never been clearly defined but generally were limited to the environs of the city proper. Toledo had gone some beyond its boundaries in creating its district but Newport had designated only the area of the city itself as port territory.
Apparently the idea of enlarging the ports was born in Toledo and relayed to Newport as a suggestion. It was pointed out that the two cities had gone to their legal limits in financing the ports and while they had done a good job the problem was really a county one. Port improvements would help the entire county and for this reason the entire county, at least that portion laying north of Alsea River, should share the cost of these developments.
Combined, the assessed valuation of the Toledo and Newport ports was $2,483,488. Land areas lying outside the port districts had at that time an assessed value of $6,227, 549. The picture was clear. To secure more tax monies for port improvements it would be necessary to bring the unappropriated lands into the port districts.
The first combined meeting of the ports was called for Toledo on November 8, 1916. Oscar F. Jacobson (1864-1935) and B. F. Jones of the Port of Newport came while representing Toledo on the committee were Port members A. T. Peterson, Lee Wade and citizen Walter E. Ball (1864-1969).
Results of that first meeting were the agreements to increase the size of the ports to include all the county lying north of Alsea River, planning of a campaign to sell the proposal to the public, circulation of petitions for the required number of signatures of voters and asking the county court to set a date and call a special election.
Other meetings followed. For instance, on April 3, 1917 at a meeting in Newport, committee men agreed to a special election to establish boundaries, that the ports share the cost of bar improvements equally and that local harbor improvements should be borne by each port individually. Strangely nothing was said about sharing the cost of channel deepening on the river. F. R. Wishart and Lee Wade signed for Toledo and O. F. Jacobson and Thomas Leese for Newport.
An event in national history was developing which now spurred local port officials to greater efforts to get work underway. Some watched events in Europe and were convinced that eventually the US would be embroiled in the war going on there. They foresaw tremendous demands for lumber from forests of the Northwest and wanted desperately to be ready to supply it.
Congress declared war on Germany April 5, 1917. The die was cast, the ports must move now—and fast.
In May, the ports agreed to bond themselves for $209,000 each or half the estimated cost of $836,000 which engineers said would be necessary to deepen the bar to 20 feet and make improvements on the jetties and channel.
The problem was ponderous and Washington DC moved like molasses on a zero morning. Already the nation was in war and the need for Oregon's timber growing. Port officials decided on a strategy to shake the by project loose. They sent letters to Oregon’s representatives and senators telling them of the willingness of local people to bond themselves to get the harbor work underway and urged the government to start work, using local money, until Congress could appropriate its share of the funds. At least, in this way, they pointed out, they would be helping the war effort.
The maneuver did not work. Government attorneys informed Oregon's legislators that the Corps of Engineers could not legally start projects nor spend money not yet approved by Congress.
As a result, the two local ports withdrew their bonds from the market for the time being, but emphasized they wanted engineering studies continued.
In September, the secretary of war suddenly and unexpectedly approved a permit for harbor work on the Yaquina. Immediately, following a rash of special meetings, the joint Toledo-Newport committee petitioned col. George A. Zinn of the division engineer office to release C. R. Wright, a corps engineer located at this time in Idaho, and assign him to Yaquina Bay. The ports agreed to pay him $200 per month and pledged to put up $75,000 in bonds each to finance early work in the now apparently assured by improvement program.
Despite hopeful signs for harbor improvements and new economic activity locally, the financial picture of both ports was anything but bright. Both were bonded heavily and little income was being generated.
For instance, the budget for Toledo Port for 1918 revealed that expenses for the year would run over $10,000, mostly interest on bonds. Anticipated income from port business was estimated at a mere $276.
The commission did what most public agencies do when they find themselves wanting for cash—it added another 2.5 mills to the tax rolls to balance the budget and went on to other business.
Few paid much attention to costs now for things were moving at a dizzy, pall-mall pace in the Yaquina country.
In November 1917, Keeler Brothers of Portland bought $418 in bonds from the ports of Toledo and Newport at six percent interest with the understanding the firm would furnish all printed bonds free and the money as needed. Ironically a few days after local port officials awarded the bonds to the Portland firm, an offer arrived by mail from Chicago to buy at five percent. But the deal had already been signed.
On January 5, 1918 at Toledo the Miami Quarry Company of Portland was awarded the job of building the South Jetty.
On May 21, Warren Spruce Company asked the board to grant permits to build railroad bridges across Depot Slough to join Southern Pacific and the Toledo-Siletz Railroad.
On June 27, the port voted to purchase a 65 acre tract lying across the slough from the city and owned by A. T. Peterson and W. E. Ball at $250 an acre. Total cost was $16,250. On June 29, it was revealed publicly that the government planned to build a huge sawmill in Toledo on the tract the port had purchased two days before. A Maj. Hickock carried on negotiations for the government and apparently drove a hard bargain. For instance he received agreement from the port to lease the entire 65 acres to the government for $100 per year with an option to purchase the entire tract at anytime in the future for a mere $50.
Slowly details of the government's plans for the new sawmill filtered out to the public. The government, preparing for what might be a long war in Europe, intended to construct a huge sawmill on the Yaquina to supply spruce timber for the manufacturing of military aircraft. It would be the largest spruce sawmill in the world, designed to meet the requirements of the military's new air force and those of our European allies as well.
Creating industry and new jobs was costing everybody money but community leaders justified the expenses on the basis that industry and jobs and new people would repay the cost many times over. It would be, they reasoned, the springboard that would vitalize the economy of the region and send it zooming into a dazzlingly prosperous future.
Even the City of Toledo was having troubles keeping up with events. On August 24, attorney George B. McCluskey (1879-1968) appeared at a port meeting seeking money to install a new water system. He pointed out that the city could sell bonds but this would require considerable time in touching all legal bases. And since the water was needed to supply the new spruce sawmill time was at a premium.
Port officials agreed that this was no time to let technicalities slow things down. In time the port reached into its own reserve funds and loaned the city $50,000 at six percent interest.
The rush of events continued through the autumn of 1918 and winter and spring of 1919 for member the Port of Toledo. On September 17, the port leased a lot on the port dock to Toledo Creamery for five years at $5 per month. November 22, the port sold $90,000 in bonds for harbor improvements; December 12, it deeded 65 acres to US Spruce Production Corporation, dating the deed back to July 1, and it hired an engineer to survey for a railroad from the Toledo-Siletz Railroad to the head of tidewater on Siletz River.
In January 1919, the Toledo-Newport joint committee pressed district army engineers for channel dredging from Toledo to Oysterville, in April negotiated with engineers on North Jetty work, suggested that the federal government hire engineer C. R. Wright and raise his salary by $100 per month.
work progressed on the South Jetty project at what appeared to be a satisfactory rate during the summer of 1919, rumors of an impending crisis began making the rounds. Following a joint meeting of the ports November 8, it was revealed that the Miami Quarry Company, prime contractor on the jetty job, was bankrupt and was being forced to halt work.
These were perilous times for bay proponents. The great was in Europe was over and the pressure to secure spruce for construction of airplanes had virtually collapsed. Now the prime contractor on the important jetty project was declaring himself over extended and the creditors would no longer lend him money to carry on the operation.
Many feared the Army Corps of Engineers would, under the circumstances, throw up its hands, write Yaquina Bay off and revert to prewar status. They viewed this as a calamity in the making.
Port officials quickly launched programs to avert such events. A mass meeting of citizens was scheduled for 1pm on November 15, at the Newport City Hall to discuss the problem and alternatives.
In the end both ports agreed there was nothing left to do if they hoped to save the project but to take over the materials and equipment and the Miami firm and continue the work themselves. It seemed a hazardous gamble for local citizens but there seemed no alternative. Port officials agreed to pay Miami $50,000 for tangible assets and permit them to continue on the job under Port supervision, while the ports sought new contractors.
One of the first actions of the joint ports was to insure the continued services of its engineer, C. R. Wright. They gave him a $50 raise, hiking his salary to $250 per month.
The Post War Era
Although the war was over, jetty work
progressing as well as might be expected and many of the
been lifted from the shoulders of commissioners of the ports of
It was time to give a bit more attention to internal affairs within the respective ports.
At Toledo, despite the hubbub and prosperity created by the construction of the big spruce plant, it was recognized that little had been accomplished In bolstering the long range timber production of the area. The big mill, fully equipped and spanking new, stood idle and there were rumors that the government was dickering to sell the property to private firms.
On March 20, 1920, port officials pointed out in a resolution that large sums of money had been and were being spent to improve the harbor, yet most of the timber reserves of the area lay locked in the inaccessible Siletz Basin. A mere 20 mile stretch of rail from Toledo would open this timber. No private firms had stepped forward offering to build such a railroad though several syndicates had expressed interest in locating in the area if such a railroad existed.
In February 1920, the port approved the formation of the Lincoln County Drainage District Number 1, including a dam and dykes on Depot Slough as a means of reclaiming 400 acres of prime bottom land owned by some 20 citizens so it could be put into agriculture production.
In the autumn of 1920, the port sold $130,000 more in bonds to carry its share of the harbor work as agreed, the Newport port did the same.
In March, the port purchased a tract of waterfront property for $1,700 lying between the Ellsworth Hotel and city docks (known as the old bakery property) to add to its small holdings on the slough. The old bakery building was razed and the port agreed to spend upward to $10,000 improving the city dock if the city would turn ownership over to the port. The city agreed.
As an additional improvement, the port asked Southern Pacific to run a spur line in on the dock and install switches. This was agreeable to Southern Pacific providing the port furnished the steel rails.
But once again the port had to raise money. It had stashed away $5,000 in a wartime Liberty Bond and this was cashed. Later, members voted to borrow $10,000 at eight percent interest to pay debts not covered by taxes coming up at the end of the year.
Indications that something was stirring in government plans for the idle spruce mill came in January 1921 when the port was offered $16,250 for the property it earlier had turned over to the US Spruce Production Corporation. The port accepted the offer.
In October 1921, port officials paused to take a look at their finances. They found that the combined ports had outstanding indebtedness of $432,000 which was costing $23,460 per year in interest.
Despite the improvements on the harbor, opening it to the largest ships sailing the Pacific, no great surge of activity developed on the bay. This not only puzzled port officials in both Toledo and Newport, but did great injury to their pride as well.
Nettled, perhaps, and feeling that the answer to the lack of interest in the shipping industry's attitude toward Yaquina Bay, might be corrected by more aggressive action on the part of the ports themselves, the Port of Toledo in mid-1921 launched a program to plunge headlong into the shipping business.
Commissioners authorized the sale of bonds up to $80,000 at six percent interest (if needed) and let the word out that the port was in the market for a lumber steamer. Nearly immediately a W. R. Buoy contacted the port with the proposition that he would lease and operate the steamer if the port purchased one.
A number of possibilities developed rather quickly. The port had representatives of the American Bureau of Shipping to evaluate the San Jacinto, the Nehalem and finally the 152 feet Pioneer in Honolulu. One delay followed another, however, and as time went on, commissioners cooled to the idea of becoming lumber shippers. The post-war recession of 1921, no doubt, affected their judgment as well.
Port commissioners at Toledo knew now, more than ever, that despite all development in the harbor and on the Yaquina Bar, none of this would be fruitful to the development of the county's interior timber industry unless the river channel was improved. From the very start, of course, even while supporting and helping finance harbor improvements, Toledo had beaten the drums for more river maintenance.
It was generally agreed that what was needed was a minimum of a 16 feet (at low water) between Toledo and Newport, 200 feet wide in the straight always and 250 feet wide on the curves. Indeed these had been the specifications of experienced port officials for many years.
Early in 1922, the port sent W. E. Ball to Portland to discuss the matter with the army engineers. He returned to report that the engineers were favorable to the project but wanted assurance that the port was willing and able to finance its share of the cost.
Members of the port were determined that something be done. Local lumber industry leaders as well as East Lincoln County business people were demanding action. Port officials discussed once again buying a dredge but remembering the sad experience in that field a few years earlier, soon dropped the idea.
They also discussed contracting the work as a private project. But this idea was rejected also. Performing the work without the help of the army engineers would be entirely too costly for the limited resources of the local ports.
So in the end the port decided to keep pressure on the engineers and await developments as they came. But to be in a position of moving quickly in event the engineers did go ahead on the project, the Toledo port approved a plan to assess $100,000 in bonds against property in the district.
Rumors that the army engineers might at last look favorably on construction of the ship channel from Toledo to the sea, stirred the imagination of local residents and business people. They stood solidly behind port officials and offered total support.
The same situation was to be repeated many times in the years that lay ahead. Often the public, caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment, demanded that port officials pressure government agencies in an effort to gain their objectives. Many failed to realize that port members actually were working constantly on the channel program and were knowledgeable about the workings of the engineers and other agencies.
But this was one of the early waves of public enthusiasm for the project and both port officials and citizens were caught up in the excitement.
In an effort to cover all bases in preparing for the influx of business the channel improvement program was expected to bring, port commissioners developed the most extensive rate schedule yet devised to cover shipping over its docks and in its storage sheds.
A wide variety of merchandise was listed: asphalt, cement, brick, coal, automobiles, canned fish, flour, livestock, such as bulls, cows, horses dogs, goats, hogs and sheep, paper, piling, wood shingles and wool. Charges would be by the ton, or by the head as in the case of livestock, by the 1,000 board feet in lumber, or by the barrel for gasoline and oil.
To further cover the field and put the operation on a business basis, R. A. Anderson was retained as dockmaster. He would earn 25 percent of the first $100 in business each month and 15 percent of each $100 of business done thereafter in the same month. A complete accounting was to be given commissioners at the end of each month.
And because shortly both ports—Toledo and Newport—would take their places as viable shipping centers on the Oregon Coast, port officials decided they needed to become members of the recently organized Pacific Coast Association of Ports. Membership was $5 per year. Toledo and Newport joined as the Joint Ports of Toledo and Newport at an assessment of $2.50 each.
The year passed quickly and despite high hopes of the community for the development of ocean shipping, little really happened. The port busied itself with other matters. In February 1923, it hired Warren R. Hall (1877-1937) at $10 per day to produce right-of-way for the proposed railroad into the Siletz country.
In May $65,000 in Port of Toledo Gold Bonds Series "G" issued in 1920, came due but the port had no money with which to claim them. Its only alternatives was to refinance—issue Refunding Bonds, it was called—for the full sum of $65,000 at six percent interest payable between 1931 and 1937. The Lincoln County Bank bought them, taking the port off the hook.
Soon another year had slipped by and still
had been completed on the channel.
During 1924, state political leaders began to interest themselves in port development, and in January 1925, Gov. Walter M. Pierce (1923-1927) called a meeting in Portland of coastal citizens to study harbor development. Toledo sent its president James Wiley Parrish (1857-1927). Records do not reveal what was accomplished, but obviously little since no additional sessions wee ever scheduled.
In the summer of 1925, the port again petitioned the Corps of Engineers for channel improvements on the river. Apparently little interest was shown by engineers and it was not until April 1927 that the subject flared up again.
Reason for the renewed activity was a rumor that Maj. R. T. Coiner, head of the Portland District Corps of Army Engineers office, was to be transferred. Local port officials had been working closely with Coiner for several years. He was familiar with the Yaquina and sympathetic as well, commissioners believed.
It was at a port meeting on April 4 that commissioners first heard of the proposed transfer and this information came from a man whose name was Dean Johnson. It was the first mention in port records of the Johnsons who earlier had taken control of the big sawmill from the government. The family was to become important members of the community and to operate the plant continuously until the early 1950s when it was sold to Georgia-Pacific Corporation.
In any event, the Johnsons also wanted the river channel maintained so they would have another outlet to markets for their lumber in addition to the railroad.
The future of the railroad was anything but bright. There had been persistent rumors for years that Southern Pacific would like to abandon its line over the coastal hills between Albany and Toledo. Indeed it already had turned its back on the Toledo-Yaquina City section, had torn up the rails and let the property revert to the county.
As a result of the April 4 meeting, the port agreed that D. L. Peterson, an employee of the Johnson mill, should go to Portland and talk to Maj. Coiner about all phases of the Yaquina development. They felt that a new voice representing industrial interests on the bay might be more effective.
He appeared at a port meeting on April 20, full of confidence and enthusiasm, to report he had conferred with the engineers and they stood ready to start work on both the river channel and the bay in May. He confidently advised port officials in Toledo and Newport to have money ready for their share of the coast.
The summer came and went but the engineers never showed up. In December, the Toledo port directed Peterson to return to Portland and again talk to the engineers.
Up to this time and for several years in the past, Toledo had been financing all expenses for the Portland contacts relative to harbor work and upon Peterson's return, Newport commissioners were invited to share the information as well as the cost of the trips. Newport agreed to help and wrote a check for $25. Peterson had submitted bills for a total of $251.
Peterson told port officials that army engineers had been dragging their feet on the Yaquina projects because they were not convinced the work would benefit other areas of the state.
Nothing was done at the December meeting but Toledo port officials evidently got to thinking over Peterson’s information and decided to take the bull by the horns. January 11, 1928 they voted $300 toward getting support for the harbor projects from other communities of the state, and voted $200 to attorney C. L. Starr, Portland, to assemble information and prepare for a trip to Washington DC.
Starr, after some investigation, told port officials that the Yaquina projects were bottled up in committees in Congress and it would take a great deal of effort and politicking to shake them out of committee. The port was desperate. Members offered again to finance representatives to Washington DC and indeed sent Peterson back to Portland for the umpteenth time to confer with army engineers on strategy.
While the port project lay in limbo for the immediate future, commissioners busied themselves with other matters. For instance, it was at the February 1928 meeting that first mention was made of a state plan to construct a bridge across the Bay at Newport on Roosevelt Military Highway.
At the outset, the port approved the project and wrote a letter supporting it. Later, at the request of Newport interests, the approval was rescinded pending more definitive information on the location and construction of the bridge. It was not until June that port officials in both Toledo and Newport were satisfied with the state's engineering and gave official approval. Greatest concern naturally was that the proposed bridge would not hamper or obstruct any present or future navigation on the bay and river.
Fully a year later, and presumably in concert with the Port of Newport although this is not made clear in the minutes, Toledo again objected to new bridge plans since the state had not provided for anticipated growth of water commerce. Evidently these differences with highway engineers were ironed out satisfactorily for the problem was never again mentioned.
In May 1928, the Toledo port received an offer from John L. Thomas (1851-1925) to rent land on which the Lincoln County Farmers Cooperative building was located. The co-op had gone bankrupt and Thomas wanted to set up a feel mill and farmer's store in the building. He explained that because of our climate, many nutrients were missing from local pastures. He proposed to supply these nutrients to farmers, and especially dairymen, in a feed product he named Home Brew. Twenty-four farmers of the area had signed a petition backing Thomas’ venture and the port rented the ground to him for $5 per month.
By autumn, the port began once again to busy itself with the river and harbor. In November, it voted $150 to D. L. Peterson to pay the cost of his visiting cities and community groups in the adjacent valley to get support for the Yaquina improvements project.
Local port proponents at about this time began to reevaluate their approach to the harbor program. The jetty and bar improvements of the early 1920s had not materially increased shipping from the region. And Newport's plan to acquire the North Bank Railroad from Yaquina City to Otter Rock, then the lumber would have to come from the production facilities already located in the upper bay.
The Toledo group, while supporting harbor
and bar projects down through the years with moral land
nonetheless found itself nearly single-handedly carrying on a
to get any river improvements.
Time and again when representatives went to Portland to discuss the matter with army engineers, the answer was that no funds existed, or that the engineers were ready to start work and awaited only the share of money to be supplied by the ports.
From time to time dark mutterings were heard from upstate that Portland's powerful politicians did not intend to let any other port challenge Columbia River's dominance in shipping. This could never be proved, of course, and the charge was never expressed as an official complaint. But it was widely and honestly believed by many community leaders on the Oregon Coast.
For one of these reasons or another channel work never seemed to get started. It is small wonder that port commissioners were often driven to the point of considering buying their own dredge to do the work they hoped the army engineers would and should do. They knew the hazards of this program since early in the history of the port, a dredge had been built and operated for a period of nearly six years without yielding a single day of productive work and at a cost which nearly bankrupted the then new district.
The reply was understandably a bit sharp and laced with sarcasm when the Toledo commissioners responded to a representative from Newport in mid-1929 asking cooperation in sharing expenses on a dredge the downriver district planned to buy. The Newport commissioner was told that it would be a waste of money to spend on dredging at Toledo until channel work was done. He was told, however, that Toledo wanted a joint meeting with Newport to discuss a new application to the army engineers for extensions of the jetties.
At its January 20, 1930 meeting Toledo voted to finance attorney C. L. Starr, Portland, at $2,200 salary plus expenses to go to Washington DC to appear before army engineers in behalf of Yaquina projects. On February 5, not only Starr, but Bert Geer, president of the Toledo commission, and R. H. Chapler, US forester, appeared in Washington and presented the "Yaquina story" to the engineers.
Starr and Geer were at the commission meeting in Toledo on February 20 to report on the Washington hearing. The board president told commissioners he held little hope for early success on the river channel project, but at least, he declared, the door had been opened, even if only slightly.
The Depression era dragged on but hopes of local people for the development of a busy Pacific Coast port on the Yaquina never faltered. Despite the fact that the federal government was spending vast sums of money on a wide range of public works projects across the nation, none of them was being allocated for the Yaquina.
In mid-1930 while the army engineers still spurned the river deepening program, Toledo port officials again probed the feasibility of buying and operating their own dredge on the river. Some went to Longview to look at the dredge Kentucky but the plan was eventually rejected.
At this juncture, one of the port's own commissioners, O. R. Altree, offered to build a dredge for the port for $37,950 providing a specific type of diesel engine was available. Despite the fact that port dredges had a history of failure, the plan now appealed to many people. It seemed the only way that anything would ever be done. The port voted to pay Altree's expenses to Seattle to search for the diesel engine he wanted.
In preparation for the river project, the port approved a budget in the autumn for the upcoming year of 1831 of a walloping $55,610. In addition, it created a new river improvement fund and hired Portland attorney John N. Pipes at $1500 per year to get whatever help for the project that could be wrangled from the army engineers. The port also authorized issuing $25,000 in River Improvement Bonds repayable January 1936 at five percent interest.
On December 26, Altree's dredge building plans hit a snag. He had brought his specifications and drawings to the port meeting and commissioners approved them. But the vote was not unanimous. Two commissioners abstained from voting, contending that while they had faith in Altree's ability, they felt nonetheless that because they were handling public money the port should have the plans approved by a qualified registered engineer and the entire project cleared by an attorney.
The proposal generated considerable heat in the meeting and later among business people around town who know of the incident. Some sided with the two commissioners who wanted safeguards imposed on commissioners’ plans and some backed Altree.
Altree himself fumed. He wrote a letter to the port, declaring he did not object to an engineer checking his plans but insisted that the engineer should come to Toledo where questions could be answered readily and discussions could be held between him and the engineer.
He also declared that he had $700 invested in the work and expected to be paid. The port countered by agreeing to pay him $500 for his plans if he did not win the bid to construct the dredge and $300 if his bid was acceptable. They called for a bid opening on the dredge and on sale of $25,000 Improvement Bonds on February 6, 1931.
The state was the only bidder on the improvement bonds and the port accepted. Altree's bid at $43,847.65 was the only one on the dredge construction. Commissioners wanted time to consider matters before awarding the work.
Evidently Altree took this to mean commissioners were rejecting his bid and he resigned from the port immediately. Port officials named Cassius H. Bogert to the commission. At a special meeting on February 11, members formally accepted Altree's bid for the project.
Port minutes are vague and shed no light on the final disposition of Altree's home-built dredge. Apparently nothing was ever started and in time the entire matter was forgotten.
By mid-summer 1931, citizen groups and port officials were once again laying siege at the door of the army engineers for a 16 feet channel from Toledo to the sea.
The new movement got underway at the June 10 meeting when a group of Toledo business people and citizens brought a petition to the meeting asking for channel deepening. They pointed out that the area was not sharing in the growth of the state because of lack of water transportation. There was much unemployment, they said, and many vacant homes and abandoned ranches because people wee leaving the area. A box factory and pulp mill had expressed interest in locating in Toledo but had been forced to look elsewhere because of a lack of water transportation, the business people complained.
A Committee consisting of A. T. Peterson, B. F. Updike (1888-1956) and Guy Roberts was named to go to Portland to tell engineers that the community stood ready to pay half the cost of the river deepening project and to urge that it be started immediately.
By late summer, however, the corps filed an adverse report on the river project. Immediately the business community rose in arms demanding a reversal. Peter Frederick (1863-1938), grocer and president of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, urged the port to send a representative again to Washington DC to plead the case and ask for a change in corps recommendations.
Port commissioners pointed out that this would prove unproductive and urged that the river deepening project be made a part of larger harbor development on the entire bay. While it would take longer, they said, it was more natural and would receive more favorable attention.
But the chamber was insistent. In the end, the chamber sent attorney W. H. Waterbury to Washington, paying a large share of his expense. It did little good and the attorney returned empty handed.
The port kept pressure on the Portland Division of Engineers and late in 1931 when Washington announced a new massive, nationwide public works program, it sent members on several occasions to Portland to discuss the Yaquina program.
Engineers turned deaf ears on the river project but did approve in 1933 and 1934 projects to lengthen the north and south jetties. Toledo helped in getting these projects underway, carrying its share of the financial load and supporting the work from the start.
But the depression years had begun to effect port operations. In May 1932, the port learned that the Toledo Box Company had closed its doors. In August of the same year, the port passed an emergency ordinance to sell $1500 in bonds to finance dredging Depot Slough. Shallow water in the slough was adversely affecting the creamery company's and other operations in the area. There was only one bidder for the bonds, a local man, Paul Zedwick, who advanced the money. As if to protect his investment, and perhaps as a part of the deal, he was named to the commission and served until the $1,500 was repaid.
On January 1, 1933 notes and bonds totaling $11,065 came due but the port had no money to meet the debts. In the end the local bank loaned cash to pull the port out of the hole.
In April, the port issued $10,000 in bonds to pay debts due but found no takers on the first advertising. The state of Oregon stepped in on the second offer and bailed the port out of its financial squeeze.
Early in 1934, J. T. Mahoney of Siletz appeared before the port with a proposal that it buy for $10,000 property in the Siletz area for an airport. Once the property was acquired by the port, the government would then construct the airport and put it into operation, he explained.
But port officials were wary of bond issues and called a public hearing on February 24 to probe the wishes of citizens. A large delegation turned out and the sentiment was unmistakable. People simply did not want to finance an airport from public funds. The vote was nearly 100 percent against the proposal. In April, the port had issued $5,000 in refund bonds to meet obligations which had come due and again the state stepped in to bail it out.
Indebtedness of the sport at this time was $109,086 on an assessed value of property of $4,077,198. Practically the entire indebtedness had been built up paying the Toledo port's share of improvements in the lower bay.
An indication of the temper of the commissioners and the toughness of the times is seen in an action taken at the April 11, 1934 meeting. Because the port office was never used at night, and it had to pay $1 minimum fee per month for electrical service, commissioners voted to have West Coast Power Company remove the only light in the port office. It meant a savings of $12 per year.
Despite the lack of success over the years in convincing army engineers to dredge a deeper channel in the river between Newport and Toledo, commissioners were still firm in their beliefs as late as 1939 and the early 1940s that lumber ships would come upriver to take on ocean cargoes. It had been a dream of Toledo business leaders for years and it was hard to shake the concept.
In the 1930s, C. H. Bogert, Toledo businessman and lumberman, had been appointed to the port. He became a leader in the drive to bring ships upriver. At the May 10, 1939 meeting he reported enthusiastically to the port that he had arranged with the Shafer Brothers shipping firm to send a vessel to Toledo to load out 500,000 board feet of lumber from the local docks. He further reported that Shafer had indicated it would set up a buying agency in Toledo to handle future lumber sales and shipments.
To Toledo port officials this seemed a breakthrough in the shipping picture. For years Toledo had produced practically all local cargo for ocean transit. Yet productive, large scale shipping out of Yaquina had failed to materialize.
Toledo had also shouldered its share of the costs of developing the lower bay, the turning basin, the bar and the jetties over the years until its tax burden was extremely high.
None of the federal money had been spent by army engineers in improving navigation on the river.
One cannot honestly say that interests in the Newport area opposed river development, but over the years little encouragement had been noted and, of course, residents of that port district were never called upon to help finance channel projects. At the same time upriver residents, knowing that success in river transport depended on adequate bar and jetty development, bonded themselves to the hilt to help pay for Newport area projects.
Bogert's work in contacting and getting commitments for shipping out of Toledo served as a shot in the arm for local business/men and lumbermen. Hopes for a future in ocean shipping soared once again to new heights.
In the autumn of 1939, the port passed and sent to Washington a resolution calling for an 18 feet channel at low water from the harbor entrance to half a mile up stream above Toledo and a turning basin in the vicinity of Depot Slough.
It also directed Bogert to contact Olsen Boat Company in an effort to get a ship to Toledo for the C. D. Johnson account alone if other business could not be secured at this time. Arrangements were made for Frank V. Wade (1896-1967) and his tug to serve as pilot for visiting ships.
Dean Johnson appeared at a port meeting in the autumn to urge the commissioners to lend their support in a renewed effort to get the jetties extended, the bar deepened and the turning basin in Newport improved.
With momentum not seen in recent years, port officials pressed for action from the US Corps of Engineers and Congress.
At the March 1940 meeting a resolution was passed which declared:
• The port would employ John C. Kendall,
to represent Toledo in Washington before a hearing of US army
• Employ Gust Carlson for $250 to make a Yaquina Bay Resource Survey and traffic and rate analysis for the Washington hearing.
• Named commissioners C. H. Bogert and Harold Farrington to appear at the Washington hearing, representing Toledo.
Total cost of the project was
$5,000. Commissioners debated expenditure of the funds. But
finally for river development, a group of citizen business
at the May 8 meeting and urged the port to follow through with
Among those backing the expenditure at that meeting were
attorney W. H.
Waterbury, C. P. Moore, banker; Charles B. Crosno (1845-1917),
broker; F. M. Woodson, automobile dealer; F. M. Hellworth,
G. English, attorney; and Terrance W. Gaither (1899-1978),
The port commission attacked the river development program from every possible angle. It hired people knowledgeable in the Washington bureaucracy to guide its program, it directed surveys to secure accurate data on shipping figures and potential and sent its own people to Washington to see that the port was served properly in the governmental jungle in the hearing rooms.
With usual foresight, it went even further. Long before the 1940 assault on Washington the port financed the activities of two of its members, Bogert and Farrington, to entice new business into the Yaquina country. These men ranged far and wide over the Northwest talking up the advantages of locating factories in the Yaquina Bay country.
They talked to sawmill operators, plywood makers, pulp manufacturers, shipping firms and specialty wood product plants. Their combined expenses often ran upward of $1,000 per month for months on end as they took time from their own businesses to pursue what many viewed as a "now or never" effort to break the shipping jinx on Yaquina Bay. In the entire effort Newport remained quietly in the background, offering no help and contributing no planning to the campaign.
But in the middle of all this Toledo and Newport got their heads together in June 1940 to host a two-day convention of the Northwest Rivers and Harbors Congress. Most of the activities of the convention were centered in Toledo although some of the field tours were conducted in Newport and both ports shared the costs of entertaining delegates.
Toledo sent representatives to Washington in 1940 and again in 1955 when port official Harold Farrington and lumberman L. G. McReynolds made the trip. The last Washington trip was made in 1962 when Toledo dispatched Farrington once again, accompanied by Terrance Gaither.
Despite all the effort over many years, success on Bay development obviously was only nominal.
On the river, the first maintenance work was completed in 1910 (the year the ports were formed) when engineers dredged 46,698 cubic yards in the channel. No other dredging was done until 1957.
On this project, 254,543 cubic yards of spoilage was taken from the channel at a cost of $94,054. It was at this time that the Toledo airstrip was created in the tide flats south of the city and considerable numbers of acres of tide flats along the river filled. Toledo's port financed the securing of spoil disposal sites. The influence of Georgia-Pacific Corporation was undoubtedly important in the 1957 project. Georgia-Pacific Corporation at this time was getting its big paper mill in Toledo into production.
Again in 1962 and in 1968 additional channel work was done in small and restricted areas.
Harbor work was carried on with vastly more consistency. South Jetty work started in 1887 when a 3,748 feet jetty was built. The project was finally completed in 1896. Additional work was done in 1919-1922, 1933-1934, and 1971-1972. In the 1919 project, Toledo and Newport financed the work themselves and placed 222,501 tons of stone on the South Jetty extension when the Miami Quarry Company went bankrupt. The engineers took over the work in 1921 and finished the project by adding another 13, 334 tons of rock.
Engineers between 1889-1896 built a North Jetty of 2,300 feet New extensions and maintenance were done on the North Jetty regularly over the years—1921-1925, 1933-1934, 1939-1940, 1956-1957, and 1964 and 1967.
So while the harbor benefited from fairly regular projects, the river channel remained the same or indeed deteriorated over the years from neglect.
By the 1950s Toledo's interest began to realize that a ship channel up the Yaquina was a hopeless cause. Vessels had become larger with vastly deeper drafts. The plan seemed no longer feasible or practical.
After WWII, a new development got into the picture which gave local residents hope for a renewal of Corps of Engineers interest in the river, however. At least, two shipping firms started experimenting on the West Coast with ocean barging of lumber. They were the Souse Brothers and the Oliver J. Olsen Company. Both firms were having moderate success with the experiment and indeed sent their huge war surplus shallow draft barges to the Cascadia Lumber Company and port of Toledo docks to take on cargoes on numerous occasions.
In addition, the Georgia-Pacific Corporation Paper Mill, first constructed in the mid 1950s, used oil at the outset to fire its pulp digesters and the firm was bringing in barges at least once a month carrying enormous gallonages of furnace oil.
The channel was in poor shape. But the US Army Corps of Engineers did respond to the need and the first maintenance work on the channel was done in years during this period. But the engineers turned a deaf ear to pleas for a deeper channel.
The last public hearing for the deep channel project was held at the Toledo City Hall on April 20, 1967. The port covered its ground well, spending months preparing its arguments favoring the channel project. There was no mention of a ship channel at this hearing. Now the emphasis was on an adequate barge channel. The specifications were essentially the same—18 feet channel, 100 feet wide.
Upshot of the entire hearing was that army engineers declared once again that the cost to benefit ratio did not justify the channel deepening project at that time. From the mid 1950s on, port interests slowly began to change direction. Port officials began directing their energies more to the development of projects affecting the public such as establishing boat launching ramps, moorages, and river cleanup programs. The port also turned its attention to acquiring available land on which dredge spoils might be dumped and where industry might eventually be located. In this area it purchased a tract of land from the city in 1973 adjoining the athletic field in Toledo and spent nearly $20,000 filling it so that it might be immediately usable for industrial use. It also purchased from a private owner in 1975 over 30 acres fronting the Bay south of the city usable for spoils disposal and industrial development.
To a lesser degree, the overriding interests of the Port of Newport also underwent changes during the same years.
Down through the years, a major interest of the port had been to develop ocean shipping. Because of this such projects as the jetties, the bar and inner harbor were of paramount importance to the district. It had far less interest in seeing a ship channel develop to Toledo. It's answer to proponents of the ship channel was that a railroad from Toledo to Newport would do the job more economically and efficiently.
Indeed as early as 1920 the Port of Newport attempted to buy a standard gauge spurline that ran from Yaquina City (then the railhead) to the east edge of the city and then turned north to Otter Rock. The development fell through when the community had trouble raising the $400,000 necessary to buy it and the sellers could not supply proper proof of ownership. Eventually the spurline as well as the mainline between Toledo and Yaquina City were torn up.
Prospects for ocean shipping flared brightest during the 1940s and 1950s. The harbor had had extensive improvements and considerable lumber moved out of the Bay. As a matter of fact, Newport's chamber of commerce touted the city as the "Lumber shipping capitol of the world." The title was later claimed by Coos Bay and it faded in Newport.
Commercial fishing was developing by leaps and bounds and following WWII, a recreational boom swept the nation. Yaquina Bay was a natural for both these activities. Port officials responded by developing extensive moorages for both commercial and private boats until today it is one of the most active on the Oregon Coast.
And the development goes on. The Port of Newport is now developing a huge 600 recreational boat moorage in South Beach. Because of past harbor improvement, it was possible for Oregon State University to set up its Marine Research Center on the bay.
So while Yaquina Bay has failed to meet the expectations of its early proponents as a major shipping center, it nonetheless is playing an important role in the economy of the region and Oregon. A creditable amount of ship and barge shipping, all lumber or logs, is generated in the county. In addition, recreational and commercial fishing interests have expanded beyond all concept of a few years ago.
Further than that, rail shipping into and out of the county is at an all time high, transporting products produced in Toledo's industrial plants. A paper mill manufactures upward to 1,500 tons of paper each day and its lumber and plywood mills produce vast tonnages of wood products, much of which is moved on the river by huge ponderous ocean-going barges.
Ocean shipping never quite attained the grandiose scale envisioned by past leaders of the Yaquina Bay country but commercial shipping today has far exceeded the goals predicted in the past. And it came from a combination of transport facilities. Ocean, yes, but also and perhaps more importantly by rail and highway as well.
William Mackey Arrives 1866
After an illness of about a year,
Mackey (1941-1974), passed away at Saint Joseph's Hospital,
6pm, Tuesday, May 22.
Mackey was born near Ottawa, Canada, August 10, 1841. He lingered about his place until he reached his majority.
On April 29, 1866, he married Teresa May McGrath. From this union came eight girls.
In 1863, Mackey and wife came to the US and located in the state of New York where they remained only a year.
In 1864, they came to Oregon by way of the Isthmus of Panama and located in Corvallis, Oregon.
The year 1865 found him still moving westward, this time homesteading across the bay from Toledo on the farm now owned and occupied by Nellie C. Harrison (1849-1939).
In 1866 the family came to Corvallis and a permanent home was established, and the task of converting the rough hillside and tideland into a profitable place of abode became his major enterprise. The cash compensation derived by the backwoods ranch in those pioneer days was not entirely in agreement with Mackey's requirements.
To supply this want he did considerable ox team walking. Thus, he was occupied until 1866 when his domestic friends in the convention in Corvallis nominated him for sheriff of Benton County.
Although pretty well isolated from that populace section of the county, and not generally known in some sections, he went into the campaign with his characteristic good nature and businesslike manner and won the election, and thereafter two reelections.
With the expiration of his third term,
gold excitement of the Upper Yukon attracted his attention and
to that locality. For several years he battled the elements
in the far north amidst the metropolitan population of the
Upon his return to the states he engaged in the hop business for two years and retired from the business field and made his home with his several daughters.
Providence was unusually kind to William Mackey in that he was permitted to sojourn among us almost to the century mark with his unusual vitality and sunny disposition. He is survived by his daughters, Ms. Edward Owen of Independence, Ms. James J. Gaither (1861-1943) of Toledo, Ms. Frank Wadsworth and Ms. C. Bradley of Portland, Ms. Kate St. Clair of Moosejaw, Canada, and Ms. Edward McMasters of Astoria.
Funeral Services were held in Portland and internment will be held at noon today at Corvallis beside his wife and father.
Judge James J. Gaither Services Friday
Death claimed one of Lincoln County's
pioneers Wednesday morning, writing the final chapter in the
Jefferson Gaither, 81, who came West from Arkansas to this
56 years ago.
Funeral services are to held here Friday afternoon at 2pm at the Mason Lodge with internment in Toledo Cemetery.
Beal Gaither Siletz Reservation Agent 1887
Born July 21, 1861 in Harrison,
Judge Gaither came West in 1887 with his father, Beal Gaither,
one of the first Indian agents for the new Siletz Reservation a
north of here. He later moved to Fort Simcoe1 on the Yakima
and was employed in government services until 1902 when he
Toledo where he resided until the time of his passing.
He was married in 1891 at Corvallis to Nellie Mackey (1866-1958), first white child born on Yaquina Bay.
Gaither served as postmaster in Toledo for eight years and as county judge six years, retiring in 1838.
He was a chapter member of Yaquina Chapter Royal Arch Masons and a member of Lincoln Lodge 124 AF and AM of Toledo.
Beside his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Ms. Joel B. Booth of Corvallis, and a son, Terrance Gaither of Toledo. Two brothers, Elijah Gaither of Kalama, Washington and John of Chicago, Illinois, a sister, Ms. E. Graule of Kalama, Washington, and four grandchildren.
His death followed a long illness.
Photos Courtesy of Del Hodges 1978
Del: These are impressive articles,
Your mother was the daughter of Toledo's co-settler and your dad
Indian agent and county judge.
Terrance: I also served as Lincoln County judge in 1961 after Judge MacLaine passed away and Gov. Mark Hatfield appointed me county judge because he knew I wouldn’t run for the office and it was a term to fill out MacLaine’s unexpired one.
Del: Did you have any memorable experiences while you were judge?
Terrance: Well, I was primarily a juvenile judge, and the delinquents were the saddest part of the job.
Del: What were some of the cases?
Terrance: I can’t tell you specifically because of confidentiality, but they weren’t very nice. Most of them were the result of broken homes and child neglect.
Connie: Did you have to removed any children from their homes?
Terrance: Not too many. Social services tried to keep families in tact.
Del: I suppose you had to send some kids to reform school?
Terrance: Yes, a few went to McClaren.
Del: Did you have a rule book you went by? This crime is worth this punishment and that crime is worth that punishment?
Terrance: No, it was pretty much up to the juvenile judge. There was a juvenile director who would bring the cases to me. It was a Woman. I felt some of the kids needed more home supervision. Most of them were acting out do to their home environments. I used to counsel the parents a lot.
Connie: Did the home lives of these children ever change with the intervention of the Juvenile Department? Were you successfully able to counsel the parents?
Terrance: Not significantly. Parental neglect is at the core of juvenile delinquency.
Del: Do you remember they types of crimes the kids were committing?
Terrance: Mostly drinking under age, breaking and entering, and stealing.
Connie: Did you find it too painful to stand in judgment of others? That's how I would have felt.
Terrance: Yes, it was hard. There were sanity cases, too, which were not pleasant. Of course, they were easy, because in a sanity case you have three doctors and you go on their recommendation. If they recommend a person be sent away to a mental hospital you just take their recommendation at face value.
Connie: That seems rather severe. Did you ever dispute the doctors' decisions?
Terrance: No, never. I trusted them implicitly.
Del: Your dad was county judge for six years. I assume he liked his job. Did you like that kind of work?
Terrance: No, definitely not. I just filled in. I was still in the Ford business at the time. Hatfield and I were good friends, so I did it as a personal favor to him. I didn’t agree at first, because I really didn't have time, but he called me three or four times, and finally I accepted the position.
Del: How did you happen to get in the automobile dealership business?
Terrance: Well, I lived in California a few years, and then I entered Oregon State University in 1923. I graduated in 1929 with a degree in business administration. Peters Motor Company went broke and the First National Bank of Toledo owned the agency when he bought it. He owed a lot of money, so the bank took it over. I was working for Leo Goetz in Corvallis at the time, but I came over here to run Peters Motor Company for the bank.
Then the "bank holiday" hit in 1933 and the bank went broke! So I bought the agency from a liquidator corporation in 1934. I worked there until I sold out and retired.
Del: Let’s talk about some of the old-timers. Do you remember any stories about Leo Bateman (1886-1973), the funeral director? I remember some of the old pioneers telling stories about him walking up and down the street with a ruler implying he was sizing them up for coffins!
Terrance: I remember one story about him. Some old Indian's squaw died. He said to Leo, "I don't have any money for the funeral. All I've got is 40 acres." So he gave Bateman the deed to the 40 acres and it had a tremendous amount of timber on it. Leo turned around and sold it for quite a bit of money. Thousands and thousands of times more than the damned funeral was worth!
Del: Do you remember a local character by the name of Hugh Murray?
Terrance: Quite well.
Connie: Supposedly Bateman's sold him a hearse with silver wings on it or something. His daughter, Lucy Marrs, told us something like that.
Terrance: It sounds par for the course, but I don’t recall that particular incident. But I know his wife was Minnie Murray (1868-1939), and one of his daughters is Alice Green. She used to lived in Toledo.
Marguerite: There was another couple as odd as the Murrays who came to town in a wagon up until just a few years ago. I believe they lived near Olalla Reservoir. Can't remember their names, though.
Connie: Do you recall Doc Burgess? According to Harry Hawkins and Violet Updike he was also quite a colorful character.
Terrance: That he was.
Del: What kind of medicine did he practice? Kind a "sawbone?"
Terrance: No, not at all. He was a regular doctor. Trained as well as anyone for his time.
Connie: Harry told me he was one of the more meticulous and sanitary doctors. He believed in scrubbing a place down before he’d enter and tend the patient.
Terrance: I remember one winter vacation from school when I was 12 or 13. We lived up on the hill, and I walked down town to his office, and he was busy playing cards. I said, "There's a little drift of snow on the ground and you have to take out my tonsils now." He said, "Wait till I finish this game of cards." So he finished the game of cards and we went up to his office. He heated a tea kettle and put his tools in there and I sat up on the chair. He gave me a local anesthetic and I had my tonsils removed. I got up out of the chair and walked home! They wouldn't let you do that today, would they?
Del: Not on your life!
Connie: I’ve been reading about the government spruce camps and realize now that they were scattered all over the Northwest—not just Toledo—and that basically the whole thing was a farce and an example of government extravagance and waste.
Terrance: Well, it was a war effort that happened too late.
Connie: A bungling war effort.
Terrance: It was a war effort to produce spruce for airplane wings. Sitka spruce is a very lightweight wood. But the war ended and the government abandoned all of the mills. They never really got under production in Toledo and, as you know, C. D. Johnson bought the plant here from the US government.
Connie: Jim Scarth said they demonstrated the mill to the public at some gala event, but did they actually get any logs cut?
Terrance: Not very many if they did at all.
Connie: From what I understand the workers were a bunch of greenhorns.
Terrance: They were soldiers and knew nothing about logging.
Connie: It must have looked quite peculiar to the townsfolk.
Terrance: Probably so. I was in the service myself and away from home.
Del: Toledo is a ghost town compared to Newport now. Why do you suppose Penneys and Sears and other businesses moved to Newport?
Terrance: I think it all had to do with the moving of the courthouse in 1905. Of course, the businesses went as well. And Newport is geographically better located with Highway 101, the Coast Highway.
In the 1940s, there was a Chevrolet garage, a Ford garage, a Pontiac garage, and a Plymouth garage in Toledo and there were none in Newport. This despite the fact that Newport has more room to expand and grow than Toledo does.
Marguerite: There was really no stopping it; it was inevitable. Some people blame judge Gaither for not building a new courthouse here. They believe that would have prevented the move to Newport and the loss of business in Toledo. I’ve heard that criticism. I agree with you, Delbert. Toledo isn't much more than a bedroom community now. Most people who don't work at the mill work in Corvallis or Newport.
Connie: Leonard Grant said when he was county commissioner he was warning everybody the move was going to take place, and they thought it wouldn't happen; they thought he was crazy. So apparently some people were wise enough to realize it was coming.
Terrance: Beside the rumor about my dad, another story was told. Supposedly politicians made people believe Toledo would get to keep the county courthouse if it would relinquish the county fair to Newport. Now Newport has both the courthouse and the fair!
Marguerite: Don't you think there is a vast difference in personalities between people on the coast and people inland? We used to call them ten cent millionaires! Their values were different.
Terrance: I don’t think I had more than a dozen NSF checks in my garage in Toledo in all the years I was there. I moved to Newport and the first year I bet you I got more than 150. It was always that way there.
The people of Toledo come into a place and say, "I'll give you a couple hundred dollars down, and the first of next month I'll pay you the balance." We just wrote a slip of paper and that's all we had on it. In Newport we had to tie them down with everything at our disposal. Their word was no good.
Del: Do you think it had to do with the fact that Newport was always a resort town with a transient population?
Terrance: Yes, that's true, and I think times have changed. People do business differently now than before. Years ago, a man's word was worth a hell of a lot.
Marguerite: An of course there's the bay front people—the fishermen—and they're a breed apart.
Del: It has been my observation that all those "hippy" types are flocking down to the bay front to do their thing. I noticed just a few days ago they were out making a big public show of mending their nets.
Marguerite: Well, we're so old we don't keep up with things. It's hard to even accept that you're recording this conversation.
Del: I'd give anything now if I'd had the opportunity to record the many tales my dad had to tell. But unfortunately portable tape recorders are a new innovation. Years ago they had those big reel to reel things that would scare the crap out of you to watch the things work. And it was too hard for most people to just write stuff down, so much in the way of historic information has been lost forever.
Marguerite: Your little one scares me something awful. It must be the generation gap.
The Toledo Story
In the year 1866, the region of
and river was opened for settlement, as the Siletz
Reservation had been established and Indian
families now lived
John Graham (1805-1883), the founder of Toledo, originally lived in Toledo, Ohio. The family came to the bay country in the spring of 1866 and homesteaded near the junction of Depot Slough and Yaquina River. The town was plotted by his children, Joe, Elizabeth, Catherine (1852-1937) and Margaret A. Graham Rosebrook (1851-1877).
The first white child to be born in this region was Nellie Mackey, mother of Terrance W. Gaither. The Mackey home was later Judge Skelton's home across the river. It was near this place that the Toledo Blockhouse was built, which at one time offered protection to the white settlerswhen an uprising was threatened among the Indians at Siletz. (There was no uprising!)
The first school was opened in 1868 by Margaret A. Graham (1851-1877).
St. John's Episcopal church was established in 1887.
Toledo and the rest of the region was then a part of Benton County. On February 20, 1893, it became Lincoln County.
People coming to Toledo, Siletz and Newport traveled by wagon from Corvallis, to Elk City, then by row boat from the river; going west one day and back to Elk City the next. The mail was carried the same way.
Of course, a new county needed lumber for houses, bridges, etc., so it was necessary to have a mill soon. Royal A. Bensell (1838-1920), who was an officer at the reservation, brought a sawmill from San Francisco by boat to Toledo and up Depot Slough to what is know known as the David M. Everest (1888-1967) place. The mill was called Pioneer Sawmill. Other mills soon followed. Toledo has always had several mills.
The railroad was begun in the late 1870s and completed in 1884. The western terminus was Yaquina City which is now a ghost town.
It was during WWI that Toledo became known as the Spruce Capitol of the World. A big mill was built to furnish spruce lumber to build airplanes, including Howard Hughs' (1905-1976) famous Spruce Goose. Soldiers were brought in to work in the woods and the mill.
The first high school was built in 1909—there were four graduates.
Since early times, the chief industry has been lumbering with fishing running a close second. Also, the damp, mild climate is favorable for small fruits and vegetables.
St. John's Episcopal Church
St. John’s Episcopal Church is 100 years old. Although its first church structure wasn't built until 1887, its congregation dates from 1833. A rectory was built in 1926 and a new church in 1937. The first church cost $500 to build. With the help of Eleanor Grady Bogert and Bill McCluskey, the records at the bishop’s close in Lake Oswego, and microfilm records of the Lincoln County Leader,... an attempt will be made to recreate some of the early history of the Toledo church.
The church began holding services in
homestead of John Graham, who arrived at the present location
Toledo in 1866. The Graham household was the local meeting house
office. With the coming of the railroad, Graham's large, 16 room
became a hotel.
The first services were interdenominational, with a monthly visit of a circuit riding preacher, minister or priest. In 1880, Newport built its own Episcopal church and many of the Toledo residents went there for monthly services.
In 1886, with the help of the Graham family, the Rev. Charles Booth resigned his position in Corvallis to devote full energies to the Yaquina Bay mission and began plans to build an Episcopal church on property donated by the Grahams. The original church took over two years to complete and cost around $500. In 1888 Booth reported in The Annual Journal of the Missionary Jurisdiction of Oregon that
St. John's Episcopal Church, Toledo, is occupied but unfinished. The people at this place are far from being rich in this world's goods, but of their little [sic] have contributed generously to the work. Extreme depression in business has lessened the ability of the people to contribute, but this condition, we have hopes, many, with the completion of the Oregon Pacific Railroad, be improved.
In 1889, Booth reported that
after two years of incessant efforts the church has been completed and was consecrated by the bishop on the first of September. It is a remarkably neat building, the finish inside being in the natural colors of the wood.
Booth had earlier commented on the difficulty of travel:
The people are, many of them, settled widely apart, and the roads extremely difficult to travel, on account of the mountainous or hilly character of the country.
He must have been glad not to travel from
but to settle in the rectory at Newport as the first school
as well as missionary for Toledo, Newport and Yaquina Bay.
The life of Catherine Graham was linked to that of the old St. John's. She placed a sealed box in its cornerstone when the church was built, was married the same year to Daniel Grady and died within two days after the old structure was razed to the ground in 1937.
Her daughter, Eleanor Grady Bogert, remembers that the Rev. Charles Booth was
a small man and he had a large family. He baptized me. He had to come up from Newport and stay in the rectory. He had a girl my age. My dad had him home for dinner.
Bogert remembers asking her father, a
Roman Catholic, if he didn't want her to become one. "Eleanor,"
"your mother's church is best for you." She remembers Sundays
Roman Catholic priest, the Episcopal minister and the Methodist
used to meet and talk at their house. "The whole idea of
was quite foreign to us," she explains.
The Rev. Booth was followed by a Scotsman John Dawson and a Welshman, the Rev. Francis Jones in 1901. It was from the Rev. Jones that Bogert, then Eleanor Grady, learned her catechism in 1910.
He taught the whole catechism: the commandments, the creed, the Lord's Prayer, the meaning of advent and the seasons. We were raised on the long catechism and rolled oats. We used to walk back and forth from Newport. Being a Welshman, that wasn't hard. My folks were Scottish and Irish, so there was a bond between them. He would say, "If only I could set this country down in Wales." He used to like to smoke a pipe by the fire. He liked tweed and his accent was different and so was his laugh.
The old church had ... steep flights of stairs and was difficult to get into. As Bogert explains, "It was very difficult with a funeral and when it rained, those steep stairs would be wet." Bill McCluskey put it another way: "I believe it was bishop Summer who once said of our old church
Why should it be more difficult to get into a church than into a tavern? Those places are on the ground and level, but the church has 40 steps.
When the new church was built in 1937, it
away from the street to afford easy access to both the church
hall underneath. Combined with its hilly location, add the fact
roads in front of St. John’s were not paved until 1930, and one
picture of a determined people.
The old church weathered many storms. It had a gilded cross at the top that would blow off occasionally and in the spring members would put it back up.
McCluskey remembers going to church with his grandmother, Elizabeth McCluskey.
She had the only kneeler in church. For a long time, we just knelt on the floor and when we did get kneelers, it was some time before they were padded. There was quite a comeuppance when we had our kneelers padded.
New Rectory Built In 1926
A new rectory was built in 1926 to attract a permanent priest for the mission. Pacific Spruce Corporation donated a thousand dollars worth of lumber. The building attracted little attention from the local press, most of its attention going to the building of the Ross Theater. The Rev. A. W. Bell moved into it quietly in the first weeks of June. The last rector to live in the rectory was the Rev. Thomas Park (1969-1973). The rectory was owned by parishioners Linda and Michael Gibbons who purchased it in 1982, and later by Michael Gibbons and Judy Ross, who turned it into an art gallery for the famous landscape painter.
New Church Built In 1937
On May 18, 1937, the old Episcopal
which had stood for 50 years was torn down, dragged into the
and burned to ashes to make way for the new construction. The
from the cornerstone and placed in Eleanor Grady's possession.
later, her mother, Catherine Grady, died.
The new cornerstone was laid by Bishop Dagwell on Saturday, May 29, and in it was laid a small copper box containing the following items:
A small Bible and modern prayer book, a journal of the proceedings of the Episcopal church, taken from the files of the church in Portland of July 1887, describing the laying of the original cornerstone 50 years ago by Bishop Benjamin Wistor Morris, a copy of the deciphered history of this church, written by Catherine Graham Grady and found in the cornerstone, clipping from the various papers concerning prominent people of the church who had passed away during the past 50 years, a picture of the Graham family, current issues of the Lincoln County Leader, Oregonian, Oregon Churchman, Episcopal Church Paper, an Oregonian of June 22, 1887, a 1887 copy of the Newport News, first paper of this section and edited by J. J. Aldrich, numerous small coins, a collection of modern postage stamps, and a list of present church board and members of the guild.
By the following July the building was
reaching completion. The contractors, Shelton & Murty, were
at work pouring the foundation for the nearby Toledo Library,
finished work, in the same block, on the residence of prominent
members, Dr. and Ms. Hellworth.
On September 11, 1937, Bishop Dagwell dedicated the new structure with the Rev. Noel Murray of the local church and the Rev. D. V. Gray of Corvallis assisting. By the following December, the Rev. Hale Eubanks had arrived and on Christmas Eve celebrated midnight mass.
Becoming A Parish 1960-1970
One of the recent highlights of the church's history was its short stint as a parish under the Rev. Michael Moynihan. When a church changes its status from mission to parish it means that its membership is high enough and its resources great enough to become self-sufficient. "When we became a parish," Bill McCluskey explained, "We had several families in key positions in Georgia-Pacific Corporation." Later, when the company acquired new mills, these people moved away to new positions of authority. Then years later the church found itself returned to its mission status.
Episcopal Church Ordains 11 Women Deacons
Under the stringent rules of the Roman
church, the notion of a woman priest has never been acceptable.
Any Catholic woman wanting to give her life to her creator could become a nun, but never a priest.
However, the Episcopal church—an offshoot of the Catholic church dating back to the time of King Henry VIII (1491-1547)—changed these rules on July 29, 1974—the Feast Day of Mary and Martha— when 11 women deacons shook the walls of their church right down to the foundations. They were ordained priests of the Episcopal church in a ceremony that is as controversial now as it was that hot summer day.
The "irregular ordinations" which were eventually "regularized" or recognized officially by vote of the church in general convention included: Carol Anderson, Julia Sibley, Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Maria Moorefield, Barbara Schlachter, Susan Hiatt, Merrill Bittner, Jeannette Piccard, Betty Schiess, and Katrina Wells Swanson.
In the words of The Reverend Carter Heyward, a lesbian feminist:
I see women as the single most
within the Christian church. We, as a group, are those
immediately with the task of renewal—of making new what is
beyond ourselves in the church and elsewhere.
We are asked to bring something new to the world around us—as workers, wives, daughters, mothers, scholars, artists, politicians, priests. We are called to tell our stories, and in telling our stories we manifest a new reality—the new reality of being female and speaking up and being heard and reshaping—on the basis of who we are—those institutions that matter most to us. Where we cannot be heard and where we cannot reshape, we are called to the reality of building new community.
Three Years After the Decision
Three years after the decision, the author and a gay deacon at St. John's Episcopal church, Toledo, discussed the groundbreaking event during a taped interview:
Connie: Gee, the Catholics are loosing
lot of members; they're all becoming Episcopalian.
Will: The Catholics and the Lutherans. I got irritated with the Episcopal church while I was in the service, and was Catholic for a while.
Connie: After having been raised Episcopalian?
Will: I was born and raised Episcopalian, and, at the time, I didn’t like the way they were doing things. I took Catholic instructions, but I was never confirmed. I went to church and was "accepted" and voted with them for a while. I came back to Toledo and got back into the Episcopal church again.
Connie: Even though I'm not happy with some of the things that are going on in the Episcopal church right now, I'm still happier with it than I am with Roman Catholicism.
Will: That's what I tell myself.
Connie: I'm not happy about the church ordaining lesbians!
Will: Well, I don't approve of ordaining women.
Will: I could see where they have some purpose; I'm not rabid on the subject, but I think that if a woman "comes out" as a gay activist she's stepping over the line. That goes for both sexes. If they're gay and just mind their own business about it, that's fine with me.
Connie: Yes! I agree.
Will: But, if they "come out" as gay activists and they're marching in parades and making speeches and things like that, I think they're trying to blend two things together.
Connie: Yes. I think that was a case of adding insult to injury for those of us who are having trouble accepting women like Carter Hayward as priests; I felt it was just too much. Why didn't the whole bunch of them just keep their mouths shut?
Del: Aren't there passages in the Bible condemning "that type" of individual?
Connie: Homosexuality? There probably are!
Will: I have read quite a bit on the subject in the past few years. It's in the translation. Because, as I understand it, at the time the Bible was put together, they didn't understand homosexuality as we do today.
Connie: What is there to understand?
Will: The fact that some people have "different genes."
Connie: Do you honestly believe that? That they have different genes?
Will: Well, I don't know if its their genes, but their "composition" is different to the point that it is "wrong" according to "normal" standards.
Connie: I think that's propaganda.
Will: In the Old Testament, they were so busy they wanted to build up their race because it was a tiny group, and any wasted seed was considered an abomination.
When we come to Saint Paul, the pagans had male prostitutes in their religious rites. That is very much what he was against. It was the "perversion" of a heterosex life to participate in those rites.
Del: Well, we had better go home; it's getting late.
Six Years After the Ordinations
Six years after the decision, native
Susan Church was asked by her father what she would do with her
Recently graduated with a degree in art history and a passion for biology, Church looked her father in the eye and spoke directly. "I would really like to be a priest" was her answer. And with that, she knew that her calling had come.
Today, after attending seminary school in Berkeley and overseeing an Episcopal church in Corvallis for four years, Church is the priest at St. Luke's-by-the-Sea Episcopal church in Waldport and St. Stephen's Episcopal church in Newport.
In 11 years, Church has kept a watchful eye on Lincoln County's changing population. When she observed a growth in the Hispanic community, church decided to keep up with the times.
She learned Spanish and now preaches an entire sermon in Spanish each Sunday at 5:30pm at St. Stephen's. At times, this congregation has topped off at 50, but usually ranges between 10 and 40 members.
Noticing and celebrating the differences in people and living under the "laws of love that Christ showed us" is a major part of her religion, said Church. "I like to say that we're Catholics in love with freedom."
An Interview With Harry Hawkins
Connie: Tell me a little bit about
Harry—when you were born, when your folks migrated West and
Harry: My dad, Tom Hawkins (1891-1970), was born in Albany in 1891, and he moved to Toledo in 1898.
My mother, Cecil Lutey, was born in 1896. She came here from La Pine, Michigan for a year, and then they came back here because she couldn't stand the Great Lakes region of the country.
Bill McCluskey and I are first cousins, as he probably told you when you interviewed him. My granddad, Charles E. Hawkins, and Bill's granddad, John McCluskey (1839-1931), came here from Arkansas.
Aunt Annie Hawkins was born here in Toledo, and Bill's mother, Aunt Aileen Hawkins McCluskey (1889-1976), was born in Albany. Uncle Chancy Hawkins was born in Arkansas; he is in his 90s now.
Grandpa Charles Hawkins was an attorney. He told me one time he was in Lincoln County that he held every city and county office at some time or another except for sheriff and city marshal. He didn't want that. He had been a US marshal when he was back in Arkansas, but he had had enough of the marshaling business. That was when Oklahoma was still a territory.
Connie: Did Grandpa Hawkins have any interesting tales to tell you about his life as a US marshal?
Harry: He sure did! The crooks in those days, according to Grandpa, used to run out of Arkansas and that part of the country over into Oklahoma Territory (1890-1907), and the US marshals couldn't legally chase them down. But for some reason, Grandpa wanted to get a particular bad guy, so he went over and got him. That crook was packing a derringer on his hip, which Aunt Annie has. Anyway, Grandpa took it away from the guy and dragged him back over the line, which was illegal as hell. But that was all the "lawing" he wanted to do after left Arkansas and married my grandmother.
Connie: So he gave up "marshaling" and moved out West. How did he make a living in Albany?
Harry: He went to work in a furniture factory in Albany when he first arrived in Oregon. He was making wicker furniture, and was doing quite well—until he went hunting down by Halsey, somewhere south of Albany. He accidentally kicked the shotgun he was carrying and it went out of his buggy and shot his hand right off! So, he decided couldn't make furniture any more and started thinking about a new career.
Connie: And that's when he decided to go into law?
Harry: Right. That accident decided for him. He couldn't make furniture any more, so he studied law with old J. K. Weatherford. As a matter of fact, I think the two of them were partners for a while.
Connie: Where did he attend school?
Harry: In those days, if you didn't go to formal law school—of which there were very few—you had to read so many years of law under some other attorney in an apprenticeship, which is what Grandpa did instead of going to school. Then you had to pass your state bar examine, just like now.
Connie: Grandpa Hawkins was a banker too? Tell me about that.
Harry: He and Bill Scarth—a Scotsman—owned a bank together. It was called the Lincoln County Bank. The first bank building was located where Western Auto Supply is now. The old vault is still in the back of the building, which is called the Masonic Building. My grandfather erected that building in 1906. It had a cupola that stuck out over the street, and that was his law office. Later on, it was my Uncle George McCluskey's office. That was so Grandpa could look clear up and down Main Street both ways. He never missed a beat!
Connie: You mentioned that the old bank is called the Masonic Building. Why is that?
Harry: I don't know for sure, but somewhere in the deal, Grandpa gave the building to the Masonic Lodge.
So, Grandpa and Bill Scarth had a bank in that building when it was first built, and later on, Harold Farrington had a variety store there, and Bill Plank had a grocery store there, and now it’s occupied by Western Auto Supply.
Connie: I interviewed Eleanor Bogert in April, and she told me the buildings in early Toledo were really "built for stout," to use Del Hodges' terminology. What about the bank?
Harry: Well, under all that fine exterior it's still a wood frame building, but Eleanor is right, it's stout.
Bill Plank used to use the vault for his office when he still had his grocery store. Then he erected a building right where the new bank is—that is the one they tore down to make room for this one.
In the meantime, the First National Bank went up on the opposite corner of Lincoln County Bank's parking lot, and that's where the bank was until Vince Moore built National Security Bank.
In between the two banks was Peter Frederick's house. It was a big fancy Victorian-type house right across from Albert G. Waugh's (1862-1935) place, where the bank parking lot is now.
Grandpa told me one time, "Harry, they're never going to tear my bank down!" Henry Payne, the guy who started the bank in Newport, put railroad ties, cables, and every other damned thing in the construction. He made the toughest concrete I've ever seen.
When K. H. Hayden still had the hardware store across the street where Morlok is now, a crew came in with one of those big damned bull dozers when the were pulling it down. We were all there one day looking it over, and there was at least two inch thick cable the wrecking crew had run up an arch on the one wall that was still standing, and I told old man Hayden, "I bet you $10 that won't come down." And by golly, they broke the cable!
There used to be a contractor in town who was fixing up that old building. McCullegh came in and said, "What on earth did they make that bank out of? I've been trying to knock off those letters with electric chisels, and I’ve wrecked all of chisels That's the toughest concrete I've ever run into in my life." They beat on the building for days to get the damned thing to cave in. The contractor who was doing that said, "Normally, these old building only need to be hit once and BING! But not this one."
Doc Callender's office was above the other bank building and he just laughed and laughed and said, "Old Charley thinks that bank is so damned good!" But one time somebody ran into the wall where the vault is with a car and the whole damned thing fell in. That was in the other building, and they had to fix it. They couldn't chisel through that one with a hammer and chisel if they wanted to. It was so bad off they ran steel rods through the bank building to hold the two walls together in the one we used up until Vince Moore moved it.
Grandpa Hawkins, Jane's dad, Cap Jacobson, and a whole bunch of other guys and my Uncle Chancy Hawkins had a bank in Newport, too, on the waterfront. Jack's Seafood was the Newport branch of the old Lincoln County Bank. It sent broke.
Connie: It went broke? How did that happen?
Harry: Well, Grandpa and Uncle Chancy loaned the W. A. Noon and his brothers one hell of a lot of money for their logging operation in Siletz; they broke the bank! In fact, the Noons broke about a dozen banks around Oregon. Uncle Chancy got a term in the state pen for loaning them money. It was somehow in violation of banking laws. My family, of course, never talked much about it when I was a kid. Banks can't begin to do that now.
The First National Bank was the one C. P. Moore was in. Joel Booth, Terrance Gaither's brother-in-law who lives in California, was one of the tellers in the old Lincoln County Bank. Later on, he transferred to Benton County’s state bank which was down on 2nd Street. My aunt worked at the bank for Joel for 40 years. He was also a head of the State Banking Board at one time.
Old Joel Booth was telling me a story about some Indian—Ruby Metcalfe (1894-1923)—who died, and his heir came to town and got drunk, and he would write checks on Ruby's estate. Joel could tell how drunk he was by how many words he left out of the phrase, "Pay to the estate of Ruby Metcalfe," which was progressively shortened until it read only "Pay...!"
Connie: It's amazing how much you know about banking in early Toledo. Do you know anything about the town’s early sawmills?
Harry: Moses Gregson owned the original mill in Toledo. It was down back of the drugstore where the Fischer-Story Sawmill later was. The veneer plant is there now. The Fischer-Story Mill burned down, incidentally.
Connie: Eleanor talked a little bit about Moses Gregson. Do you know anything about him?
Harry: Yes, he was an Englishman. He dropped—and added—his "h's" and all that. He built a sternwheeler boat. The whole town gathered at the dock the day he launched his sternwheeler, and they got it all fired up and ready to go. Well, Moses missed his calculation somehow, and it didn't float quite as deep in the water as he thought it would, so the paddle wheel wasn't drawing too much water, and started churning away. It threw quite a rooster tail; it really sprayed out in back and wasn't getting much any place. It was just sitting there spraying water. Somebody wanted to know what Moses was going to name his new boat. "Splatterhass" was the chosen name, or so the story goes.
Connie: Splatterhass! That's hilarious. Can you tell me more about boat building and navigation on the bay and river?
Roy Jenkins’ dad used to work on the river. He would talk about a boat called the Tessie May. Some of those boats were owned by my wife's relatives. She was Jane Jacobson before she married me. Her dad was Cap Jacobson who owned the ferries. He owned the T. M. Richardson, the Pilot Number One, and the Old Newport. Everybody always called Jane's dad Cap Jacobson. Charley Hyde once said, "I worked on the Truant for old Pike Pole Jack. The old devil was so tight that if he had to move the boat he wouldn't start the engines; he would make us get out and push it with pike poles." I knew old Jack Jacobson until the day he died, and he was tight with a dollar. When he died, he left lots of money because he never spent a dime.
Cap Jacobson was the same age as Grandpa. He had done time in the Swedish Army before he came to the US. He lived back East for a year or two before coming to the West Coast. In the 1880s, he was part of the Revenue Cutter Service—that was before the US Coast Guard—with the Fogarty boys.
Connie: What about Jane's family?
Harry: Jane’s mother’s family homesteaded on Beaver Creek near Seal Rock. Her grandmother just died last year (1976); she was 96. She was part Norwegian and came to Oregon from Alaska. She settled in Toledo as a widow, married several times more, and raised quite a family.
Jane's uncle Jack Fogarty also liked to be called "Cap." The other Fogarty who liked to be called "Cap" was Frank. He ran the Go-Getter for the company for years. It was a big tug. Then later, Jane's brother ran it.
Cap Frank Fogarty was altogether different than Cap Jack Fogarty. He was a drunk! God that old boy loved his booze. He ran the Go-Getter aground a few times in the years he ran her. The whole crew was a bunch of drunks
Bobby Mann was one of them. He was a little old Liverpool Irishman [sic]. He and his brother Ovid ran away from their home in Liverpool on a ship. As a fellow in his 30s, Bobby came to this country. But Ovid Mann kept sailing back and forth between here and China. He used to bring Bill McCluskey's sister all kinds of Chinese junks and pagodas that were carved out of ivory.
Old Bobby was quite a character. When he came here he went to Tom Horning who had a logging operation up the coast and asked him for a job. He didn't know a thing about logging. Just the sea. Thomas asked him, "What are you?" Bobby had heard the word "timberfaller" used, so he said, "I'm a timberfaller." Of course, Tom knew damned well he was bulling him. So he gave Bobby an ax and said, "Go to work on that tree over there." So Bobby just beat the hell out of it; he just beavered 'er! So, Thomas went over to him and asked, "Bobby, which way is that tree going to fall?" Bobby stood back and said, "How in the hell should I know? I'm no bloody prophet!"
He certainly was a funny old man. I'd known him most of my life—until he died around 1936-1937. He stayed single all those years and dearly loved his beer. Then he finally married an old gal named Aggie, and she sure tamed old Bobby down. By God, he couldn't get DRUNK! after that; Aggie would have one hell of a fit.
Connie: Harry, I'm really getting a kick out of some of the stories you're telling me. I had no idea you knew so much about Yaquina Bay and Depot Slough. Got any more entertaining tales?
Harry: You bet. I'm just getting warmed up.
The ships would come to Newport and they would load the barges up here and the Go-Getter would tow them down the Yaquina. The Bandon and another one of those old lumber schooners they used back in the early 1900s would come clear up to Toledo. Before they put in those dams—like the one over by old Mary and Henry Steenkolk's house—tugs used to go clear up past John Jantzi Tire & Brakes as far up there as the Parrish place. The Army Corps of Engineers kept cleaning out Depot Slough over the years.
Connie: Eleanor said people did much of their traveling by boat on the slough. Do you recall that?
Harry: My mom's dad had a place up there a little further past where Tom Walker lives now. In the wintertime, that was the only way people could get to town—by boat, and of course, by horses. Even when I was in school, some people still came to town by horses.
I remember up as far as 1936 they were still hauling the Bayview mail by horse and buggy. They made two trips a week to Bayview across the river from Waldport and came back up through what you now call South Track. The post office was right next to where the drugstore is now. The old horse would be muddy clear up over its back.
Connie: What do you remember about the railroad?
Harry: The train used to go clear up to Yaquina City. It was around 1934-1935 when they took up the tracks. The railroad never did go to Newport.
There was a railroad owned by a man named Hutchinson that went from Olssonville, which was this side of Newport, and then up the coast past the fairgrounds and almost to Otter Rock. And C. D. Johnson (1866-1951 NY) owned one that came out of South Beach and went to Camp I near Yachats. But neither one of these railroads—or the one owned by the Hogg Brothers—went to Newport.
Connie: Why was there a railroad
South Beach and Yachats?
Harry: Soldiers of the Signal Corps were organized as the Spruce Division on June 15, 1918 and they came to Lincoln County to log the spruce needed for airplanes. The soldiers, who were mostly from the central and eastern part of the US, knew very little about logging, but it didn't take them long to learn. They lived in eight-man walled tents, with larger tents for the mess hall and kitchen.
A railroad was constructed from South Beach to Camp I to transport the logs. The logs were then transferred by boat to the north side, and on to the mill in Toledo. The railroad was completed just three days before the Armistice, and the mill in Toledo was only 70 percent finished when the war ended, but the spruce logging continued for many years.
Connie: You and your dad were both pharmacists and owned drugstores. When did Tom Hawkins first get started in the business?
Harry: Dad bought his drugstore in 1917, and when WWI ended on November 11, 1918, the world had changed radically since it began in 1914. The Allied victory over Germany and the Central Powers brought Americans joy but not peace of mind. They now had another set of worries: four years of inadequate diets, carnage in the trenches, and stress opened the door to a new killer, Spanish Influenza, that in late 1918 swept across Europe and North America with deadly results. The pandemic took a larger toll of Northwest lives than the war itself; 500,000 to 700,000 Americans died of the flu, whereas the combat toll was 50,000.
Connie: That's horrendous. How many people were effected worldwide?
Harry: That deadly flu virus spread over the entire world like wildfire, even the remotest regions, claiming somewhere between 20 and 100 million lives. No one knows for sure how many lives were lost.
Connie: Why is that?
Harry: Because no system existed to track the virus. What is known is that young, healthy adults in the prime of their lives were the most susceptible. The very young and very old also were susceptible, but to a lesser degree.
Connie: I know it was hard on the very young. My dad's older sister, Maria Concetta (M. Constance Guardino I), after whom I am named, was an infant when she died from the flu. It's sad. Dad's birthday, January 5, was never celebrated during the course of his childhood because his she died on that day. It was an old Italian custom, I might add—not cruelty on the part of his grief-stricken parents.
Harry, do have any idea why it was called the Spanish flu?
Harry: It was called the "Spanish flu" because the virus was first detected in San Sebastian, Spain. Just two months later, eight million people in Spain were ill and the virus had spread throughout Europe, the US and Asia. The majority of those who contracted the virus recovered; but many died in as little as 36 hours after their first symptoms.
Connie: It sounds like a pandemic. Why were so many people effected?
Harry: In 1918, no vaccine had been developed for the flu. In fact, doctors were not even certain how it had spread. Aspirin had just come in as a remedy. The doctors were mainly just treating symptoms; that was all they could do. They just didn't have anything like antihistamines or antibiotics or anything we have today. Listerine and aspirin were about the extent of it.
Back East, there were so many casualties that the backlog of bodies awaiting burial was unmanageable. In Philadelphia alone, 11,000 people died, 759 of them in a single day. The medical community was pushed beyond its limits.
Connie: Do you know how very many families on the coast were effected?
Harry: You bet. The potential for disaster locally was great. There were 2,000 to 3,000 Spruce Division soldiers in Lincoln County living in large, densely populated tent camps. As a preventative measure, all schools and local places of amusement were closed in mid-October. Dancing also was banned and Thanksgiving festivities had to be canceled in some parts of the region.
Connie: Did the preventative measures help?
Harry: They helped a lot, but a week after the closures, Florence Guild (1888-1918), of Toledo, died of the flu just four days after her first symptoms. About that time, Herman Greenhagen (1898-1918), a recent graduate of Toledo High School, died of the flu in Corvallis while attending college there.
Connie: Was Toledo under quarantine?
Harry: Pretty much so. Toledo's business and social life came to a standstill when 30 to 40 cases of the flu were reported.
By November, the pandemic was considered under control. However, there were reports that the virus was prevalent among the Spruce Division soldiers camped in the Toledo tidal flats. The commanding officer denied this and claimed that only six soldiers had the flu and they were taken downriver to recover at the Army hospital at South Beach.
Connie: Where at South Beach?
Harry: Behind where Toby Murray Motors is now it is really swampy. I don't know why they chose that spot except for the fact that it's isolated, but they had a regular army hospital back in there, and those guys from the Spruce Division knew that if they were taken there they were probably going to die.
Connie: Considering your dad was the only druggist in town, was he prepare medicines for the army docs?
Harry: Mom said Dad used to open the drugstore at eight o'clock in the morning and work all day until he closed it around eight o'clock at night, and then he'd go down to the army hospital at South Beach, and he'd work there until three or four o'clock in the morning with the army doctors, compounding medicines for the dying soldiers. I think the army hospital was probably a quarantined area too, and that probably explains why such an isolated spot on the south side of the bay was chosen to erect it.
Connie: How did your dad manage to escape the flu?
Harry: He didn't. Dad finally got it himself and had to take a few days off work. Mother said he damn near died! The doc and the undertaker were also among those stricken in Toledo.
Then Newport lifted its activities ban, only to have it reinstated when a second wave of the flu hit. In this round, siblings James and Audrey Hawkins, of Elk City, died within a week of each other.
Connie: Do you have any idea how many Lincoln County residents came down with the flu?
Harry: Based on old newspaper accounts, I'd estimate there were no fewer than 250 cases of the flu in the county, and probably a good many more. Doc Carter reported 150 cases on the Siletz Reservation alone.
Connie: Of those 250 cases, how many locals actually died?
Harry: Oh, I'd say about nine.
Connie: Do you remember when did the pandemic ended?
Harry: It ended almost as quickly as it had come. In January 1919, local schools reopened after an enforced flu vacation of 11 weeks.
Connie: Does anyone know what sparked such worldwide cataclysm?
Harry: Only in the last few years have scientists been able to isolate the 1918 flu virus. Even after studying it closely, they still are not certain what made it so deadly. One theory is that the victims of the 1918 flu were also exposed to a similar virus in 1890, and that the combination of the two viruses somehow combined to spark an attack by the immune system on the body. The stronger the immune system, the greater the assault, the theory states.
Connie: Considering the deadly effect the flu had elsewhere, Lincoln County can consider itself lucky the virus claimed so few local residents.
Harry: Johnny Aiken worked for Dad; he had been a druggist. He was an ex post facto. His dad was a medical doctor at Yaquina City. He decided to set up a little shop; a drugstore. He never had any formal education, but he did manage to get registered as a pharmacist. So when they put the law through requiring college for pharmacists, he was one of those who was already licensed so he didn't have to go out of business. All the pharmacy he had ever learned was from my dad—and his own dad, or course.
Stan Thompson owned a drugstore where Doina High is now. He had been in WWI. When he came out, he went to college for two years. Then he worked for three years in Corvallis. The degree they gave him was that of pharmaceutical chemist: PhC. Of course, Dad had four years of college and he had a BS degree. Stan used to tell people that his degree was Doctor of Pharmacy. He wasn't too well educated, and I had just gotten out of college and was working, and I went to see him. I had known him all my life, but I was just a kid to him even though I had had a lot more formal education in pharmacy than he had ever thought of.
About the first week I was home from college he "explained" the actions of the antibiotics and how they worked in the body. I stood there with my mouth open. I went back and I said, "Dad, Stan Thompson doesn't know any pharmacy." Dad stopped what he was doing and started laughing. He said, "You found out?" I said, "Yes, by God! The way he describes it, it sounds just like some ignorant guy saying, "a little worm goes this way...!" It was so funny because there are people in town who think he had a doctorate degree. I don't think he ever read a book after he left college.
And old Stan would do any damned thing he wanted to, whether the law said it was okay or not, he'd do 'er.
Doc Kauffman had been a WWI army doctor, and was a mighty fine physician. He was treating a man for boils. Stan told me, "I took one look at that man and said, 'Hell, you ain't got boils; you've got syphilis.'" I asked Stan what he did about it and he said, "I just gave him a shot of Mefoxin [sic]." Now, you need to know that Mefoxin is a drug that was only administered in a hospital setting under the strict supervision of a doctor, it was so dangerous.
All the docs needed to know who the pharmacist was when they first came into the area and started practicing medicine. And furthermore, they all learned from each other.
Doc Haverty went to work for Doc Callendar when he first arrived here. Later, he went to work for Doc Hellwarth and Doc Kauffman when he was first beginning his practice.
Doc Burgess was one of the first real pioneer doctors in Toledo. He graduated from Oregon State College (OSC), and he was one of the first doctors to really practice aseptic surgery. Boy, when he came to your house—which all the old docs did—he made you wash it down with Lysol before he'd even go in. He was the cleanest man you ever saw. Even to the day he died he was still as fussy about germs as ever. Lots of those old pioneer docs weren't because the relationship between germs and disease wasn't clearly understood.
Connie: Harry, you know so much about the history of medicine in this area—a rare body of information I feel so fortunate you're willing to share with me—by any chance do you recall anything about Doc Carter who lived near Elk City and worked on the Siletz Reservation?
Harry: Oh, yes. I can remember old Doc Carter as a real old man when he was boarding down at Newport. I was about 16 when he died at the age of 97 or 98. He was still a tremendously tall man, although he was quite stooped at the time. I bet when he was young he must have been close to seven feet tall. He was, in fact, the tallest man I ever saw in my entire life.
Dad graduated from college in 1913. He worked for Ivy Busherton at the drugstore down there before he went over to Eastern Oregon. Old Doc Carter was living at Siletz at the time, and he'd say, "Tom, so and so is sick. They're doing this or that. What should we give them?" Dad said for years that he and old Ivy Busherton told old Doc Carter what medicines to give folks. Dad seemed to think he was a veterinarian—an animal doctor. There were lots of guys who were veterinarians during the Civil War who later practiced human medicine. Maybe they weren't even vets; maybe they were stable sergeants! But when they came West after the Civil War, they practiced human medicine; it was all legal.
Actually, there isn't too much difference between doctoring an animal and a human anyway. In my lifetime—in the past 30 years especially—the advent of penicillins and sulphas had changed the face of medicine forever. In those early days, though, medicine just couldn't be practiced as it is today because they didn’t have access to all of these wonderful, lifesaving antibiotics. Now, basically all you die from is heart trouble and cancer. The only specific medicines the old-timers had access to were things like digitalis for the heart, quinine for malaria, and a few remedies like that.
During the Civil War, they learned how to set bones and amputate. That's where E. R. Squibb (1819-1900)—the Doc who invented ether—was able to perform lots of surgery with the first anesthesia. Up to that time, they gave a person a bowl of whiskey and a stick of wood to bite on to cope with the pain—and they sawed off a leg! They lost a lot of patients from shock. It would be a pretty though guy to let you sit there and saw on him while you're wide awake! But, there were some who did it; some who wanted to continue living that bad, of course. There just weren't medicines for those things.
That's why Doc Burgess was considered a man so far ahead of his time. By having everything washed down with creasol and phenol solutions like Listerine and this sort of thing, he could at least start off working on a patient aseptically clean. Lord Joseph Lister was the one who invented antiseptic solutions.
I've got nothing but praise and respect for Doc Burgess. He was the one who delivered me. He came to Toledo in 1899 or 1900 and really impacted on the way medicine was being practiced in this community.
Old Doc Burgess was Violet Updike's brother-in-law; he married her sister, Gladys King. He lived until the 1950s, I believe. You’ll have to ask Violet when you talk to her. Even up until he was in his 80s, he used to go down to his office that was upstairs above the Keg Tavern. He had a lot of patients. He was a very dignified man who always wore a suit with a wing collar and a Hamburg hat. He’d come down Main Street carrying flowers he was taking to his office.
Doc Burgess was dignified, but he had a terrible temper. I have a picture of him and Guy Roberts talking on the street in front of Grandpa Hawkins' old bank. Jim Burgess and Earl Roberts—who were great old friends—came down just laughing to beat the band. They said that was the only time in their lives they had seen the old men talking together. Doc hated Guy Roberts for some reason. I never knew why. Maybe it was mutual. They had some trouble between them, and some terrible fights.
I remember Leo Bateman used to unpack in front of his furniture store there, and old Frank Huntsucker was sitting on top of one of those cases one sunny morning, and there came Doc Burgess down the street. He was carrying some posies in his hand, as usual, and when he got even with old Frank Huntsucker, Frank said, "Hello Doc Burgess, you old son-of-a-bitch!" Doc Burgess, who was somewhat deaf, asked, "What did you say, Frank?" When the fight was over, all Doc Burgess had left in his hand was the stems of his posies! He beat the ever loving hell out of Frank!
Connie: Wow! Sounds like Doc Burgess was quite a colorful character! Tell me more.
Harry: As I said, Connie, he was a terribly fiery-tempered man. He was about 5' 11" tall and was quite thin—much like Doc Carter. And he had been a great athlete in his younger days. When he went to school at OSC in Corvallis, he just didn't give a damn about what anybody thought; he had a terrible temper, and he’d fight anybody or anything. Especially Guy Roberts!
Connie: Were there any other interesting docs in the area during the early years?
Harry: Yes, there was R. V. Belt, who was also a credible physician. He was Walter Belt's dad. He covered this county quite a bit.
Walt Belt had a drugstore in Newport. It closed down just a few years ago. He still lives in Newport; he's retired now. R. V. Belt was one of the pioneer docs just like Doc Carter and Doc Burgess. Doc Belt, as I recall, was a jolly, fat little man—just the opposite of Doc Burgess.
Connie: If that's it for the docs, tell me more about Guy Roberts. All I know about him is what Eleanor told me: In the spring of 1918 he moved his crew and families from Alpine to Toledo and established the Guy Roberts Lumber Mill here.
Harry: Guy was quite a fellow. He was
of the first guys in Toledo to see the Barnstormers do their
Old Guy went and flew with them!
He also made two or three fortunes in his lifetime—and lost them.
I can remember when old Guy would get arrested every once in a while for hunting deer out of season.
His son, Earl, and I were the same age and we grew up together. His son, Dean, and my brother were insuperable pals too. All through school, you'd call on one of us and the other one would be right there. His other son, Alvin, was a little older than we were; he was a senior when I was a freshman.
Connie: Eleanor told me Guy Roberts bought his first logs for the mill from local farmers—like Del's granddad, George Hodges. Can you recall any others?
Harry: One comes to mind. Buster Brown. He is another one who used to log for old Guy Roberts.
Connie: Since the Hawkins and McCluskey clans are related, tell me more about your cousin Bill McCluskey's relatives.
Harry: Bill's granddad, Johnny McCluskey, was a real character. He was Uncle George's dad. The old McCluskey house is across the street from the Lutheran church.
For some fool reason Johnny McCluskey hated the Hogg/Hoag brothers—T. Egenton and William M.—and Wallis Nash. He especially hated Billy Hoag, the colonel's brother. He had gotten into some kind of altercation with Hoag and told him to get the hell of his land—or he'd cut him into scholz (piglets).
Johnny McCluskey was a terrible-tempered man. Dad said the day Nash died he went down to the railroad depot, and when Johnny heard of the death he said, "Yeah, I heard. He's down in hell making railroads with Billy Hoag!"
Johnny McCluskey would also attack anybody or anything. An Indian came by on a horse and Johnny was hoeing in his garden. The Indian called him a son-of-a-bitch, and old Johnny pulled the Indian off his horse and beat the hell out of him. He was sure a crusty little old devil, up to the day he died.
During WWII, when Bill and I were in the service, Aunt Aileen, Uncle George and Dad and I were going to the movies one night, and ran into some Witnesses of Jehovah who wanted to be classified as preachers in order to avoid the draft. As an attorney, Uncle George had something to do with the draft board. Uncle George had had an entire trying week in court with witnesses to this and that, and he was worn out. One of the witnesses of Jehovah came up to him and said, "Mr. McCluskey, I've got to see you about some draft board business." "Who are you?," inquired Uncle George, quite irritated by the intrusion on his private time. The guy said, "I'm one of the Witnesses of Jehovah." "Jehovah! Who in the hell is Jehovah?," retorted Uncle George.
Uncle George had a whole bunch of people waiting to see him in his office one day about some tax problems. I came in because I had to see him about witnessing something, and my Aunt Aileen told me to sit down and listen. She said, "He has a woman in there who just lost her husband, and he's trying to explain the terms of his will to her. He was killed in a railroad accident over at Camp I, and every time your Uncle George tries to explain things to her, she interrupts, and he's getting up tight." I could tell the atmosphere was just electric in his office. I knew Uncle George had just about had it. Pretty soon he reared up and shouted, "Shut up, God damn it! I’m trying to explain." That's just the way my uncle was. When he started in, he just didn't give a damn who he was talking to. He just cussed like a trooper. Incidentally, the woman "shut up" and "listened."
During the war, my mother-in-law was the head switchboard operator for the phone lines in Newport and Toledo. He was a little hard of hearing, and when he wanted to make a long distance call, he'd get on the line and just rattle the poor switchboard operators no end, so they'd have to call my mother-in-law, and she'd come over and handle his call.
According to his obituary,
George B. McCluskey was born to John
Elizabeth Leabo McCluskey, July 28, 1879 in Toledo. He passed
New Lincoln Hospital on September 5, 1968. His memorial service
at St. John's Episcopal Church, Toledo, Sunday, September 8,
The Rev. Charles Neville, Good Samaritan Episcopal Church,
Bette Sparks served as organist. Internment took place at Toledo
Mr. McCluskey was educated in Toledo schools, and attended Philomath College at Philomath. At the age of 16, he began teaching school at Warrenton, and later moved to Arizona for health reasons. While there, he taught for a time in a small mining town. He returned to Toledo and studied law under the tutelage of his father-in-law, Charles E. Hawkins. At the age of 30, he took the Oregon Bar Examination and became a full-fledged attorney.
During WWI, he served with the US Army, and at the end of the war, was attending officer's training.
He had served Lincoln County in many ways during his long and successful career. He had held the office of county treasurer, county tax collector, and Lincoln County district attorney. He served for many years as Toledo city attorney and was also municipal judge for that city. He served a term as president of the Lincoln County Bar Association, and acted for many years as legal advisor for the Port of Toledo.
Lodge memberships included the Toledo Masonic Lodge, The Royal Arch Masons of Toledo, and the Pacific Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. He was charter member of the American Legion and the Toledo Barracks of World War Veterans.
He was senior partner in the firm of McCluskey, McPherson & Osterlund, and as the oldest practicing attorney in Lincoln County, was considered the "dean" of the profession. His law career in the city of Toledo covered a span of more than 59 years.
Survivors include his wife, Aileen, whom he married in 1910; a son, George E. "Bill" of Toledo; a daughter, Aileen Elizabeth Benn of Auburn, Washington; a sister, Mamie Harriman of Toledo; and six grandchildren: Maurine, Virginia, Marie and John Benn of Auburn, Washington; and Marianne and George Michael McCluskey, both of Toledo.
Connie: Wow! Such an impressive life
career your Uncle George had! He apprenticed with your Grandpa
Tell me more about Charles Hawkins.
Harry: Years ago, when Grandpa Hawkins was a county judge, someone killed an Indian in Siletz. Grandpa fined the fellow for disturbing the peace [sic], so the story goes. He wasn't charged with manslaughter or murder. When he asked the suspect, "Why?" he felt led to do such a thing, he replied, "I thought that old Indian needed killing!" Maybe he was a pretty mean Indian. Maybe he was causing lots of trouble. I don't even know who it was; I just remember the incident.
Bear in mind, Connie, as you write your book, that the "Wild West" was just that and "jungle justice" prevailed for a very long time. Of course, nothing like that would happen today. How times—and stubborn attitudes—change. There was a time, believe it or not, when blacks were considered a little less than human [sic].
Connie: That attitude is, to some extent, still hanging around, Harry. And it doesn't just apply to people of color. Gays and lesbians are still considered subhuman and undeserving of basic civil rights.
Harry: Then we're still "taming" the "West," aren't we?
Connie: A lot of us who are "different" are still working on it, Harry.
Got any more stories about Grandpa Hawkins?
Harry: In our family, if somebody says, "You've got my goat," anybody who is familiar with this story will pipe up and say, "No, Bemrose got the goat," and crack up laughing.
As the story goes, right in the middle of court one day, and Indian made Grandpa Hawkins madder 'an hell. He leaned forward from the bench and said, "By God, now you've got my goat!" The Indian replied, "No, your honor. Bemrose got the goat!" That's all the family ever knew about the incident.
For some reason, the Indians all got mad at the Methodist preacher one time, and wanted him prosecuted and sent to prison. It had to do with allegations of horse rustling, as I recall. Grandpa knew the preacher didn't steal the Indians' horse; it was a set-up of sorts. So, he brought the Indians in one at a time, and asked them what they saw. Grandpa described a different situation to each one, and each Indian agreed that that was the way it happened.
For example, one Indian agreed that it was a stormy night, and the preacher stole a white horse, while another agreed it was a moonlit night, and the preacher stole a black horse. He thereby proved the innocence of the Methodist preacher and threw the case out of court.
Connie: Charles Hawkins sounds like yet another outstanding "character" from the annals of Lincoln County lore!
What do you recall about the infamous Tokyo Slough incident when Japanese laborers were run out of Toledo? It happened in 1925, so you must have been a very small boy of about five.
Harry: I remember a picnic at Siletz with a whole lot of people who didn't want to get involved!
It was a Sunday, and my dad and my uncle knew problems were brewing with the imported Japanese laborers at the C. D. Johnson Lumber Mill, and wanted no part of it.
When we came back from the picnic, it was all over with, and I don’t remember ever seeing a "Jap" in town.
I know some of the people involved got sued and a good portion of their lives were spent paying for damages done to the "Japs," who were railroaded out of town in box cars.
Owen Hart was just a kid, and unfortunately he got sucked into the riot, going along with the crowd as kids will sometimes do. Rosemary Schenk was leading the pack. Old Leo Martin who worked at the mill was from the South. The first threat he made was that he was going to bring in blacks to work on the green chain. He got mad at everybody—because whites didn't want to do the back breaking work on the green chain—so he decided he was going to import Japs to Toledo because they were doing it successfully at other Oregon mills.
He built them little cottages where the shingle mill is. They were nice little cottages, too. There must have been 20 of them or so. I remember playing in those little houses when I was a kid.
He had 35 or so Japanese families lined up to work for C. D. Johnson, tried to bring them in, but they never went to work for the mill because the town rioted and ran them out of Toledo before they had a chance to do any work.
Oregon was very prejudiced in the early days, Connie. I heard there was a city ordinance that no black man or woman could even spend the night in Toledo. Now, that probably isn't true, but in all my childhood I never saw a nigger [sic]. Can you believe that?
Connie: Yes, I can. I don't recall ever having seen blacks in Grants Pass where I was born, and I lived there until I was nearly 12 years old.
I remember one Chinese woman, Cecilia Blair, whose white husband was taunted at work for having married her. I know my sisters and I played with her three daughters, Sheila, Janice and Barbara, and never thought anything of it.
Connie: Apparently an election was held in November 1858, concerning the question of black slavery in Oregon, and the question of whether or not freed blacks should be allowed to live in the state. The new constitution declared against freed slaves living in the state, but the provision, from what I understand, was never strictly enforced. However, anti-black feelings were obviously still running rampant when you were young.
Harry: Grandpa Hawkins had been out West a few years when the family left Arkansas. They had a nigger working on the family place there. He had been an old family retainer, or something like that. That was in the 1880s, so of course he was a free man by that time. But he just felt that he was family, and rightfully so. Many former slaves felt that way and were treated as such. And, he had a family of his own. He pleaded with Grandpa to bring him and his family out West, but Grandpa said, "Absolutely not. I don't own you and I don't want you." He personally never did own slaves.
Connie: I know Arkansas is west of the Mississippi and is not technically a Southern state even though most people consider it as such. Considering it is thought of as "Southern," do you know why the Hawkins family didn't own slaves when many Southerners did?
Harry: The Hawkins didn't happen to be the kind of people who wanted—or needed—slaves. They were town people, for one thing. They didn't own a plantation that needed a free labor force.
An interesting thing happened a few years later, though.
Grandpa Hawkins had to go to Portland on business one day, and he heard a fellow call out, "Mista Charley! Mista Charley!" Grandpa turned around, and it was that same nigger who had wanted him to bring him and his family out West. He had brought his entire family to Portland, and was working as a drayman. He then pleaded with Grandpa again to take him and his family to Albany. Again, Grandpa Hawkins said, "Absolutely not. I don't own you, and I don't want you." He had a lot of regard for the man. Don't get me wrong. Naturally, he didn't want to have the responsibility of taking care of him and his clan, which is what helping him relocate his family in Albany would have entailed.
Let me tell you a little story to help you understand where Grandpa Hawkins was coming from.
During WWII when I was down in Louisiana with a buddy of mine, a retired navy man who had a big old horse ranch outside of town invited a bunch of us sailers to come on out. He just loved sailers because he had been one himself. He wanted us to come on out and see the sites and stay for dinner. He had a beautiful home, wasn’t married, so had house servants.
Two black girls attended the table, and by golly we had two or three different kinds of chicken and ham. It was a sumptuous repast. I was just horrified when we were done because we hadn't even made a dent in all that food. "What a terrible waste," I commented. He said he'd never see all that food again, and that there wouldn't be even one mouthful wasted.
In the back of his place he had some little cabins that had been back there since slave times, but they were painted white, and the fences were really nice and clean. He told me those two servants would take all the leftover food down to their cottages and feed the people who lived and worked there. He said he wasn't able to pay them much money, but that he provided all their food and clothing.
Now, remember that was during the second world war. As he said, they were family and he still felt obliged to take care of them. His dad did it before him, and so forth. To that old salt, it was a very real responsibility to take care of former slaves who had served his family for generations. No doubt Grandpa Hawkins felt the very same way about the old family servant from Arkansas: if he had taken him back to Albany—as that old nigger requested—he'd forever feel responsible for him and his family, an obligation granddad didn't wish to take on.
The US Army at that time in history was made up primarily of a bunch of scum—outlaws, drifters, unmarried men—and the 64th infantry was the raunchiest bunch of guys who'd ever lived. They treated the Indians like shoe scrapings and collected them up against their will and "relocated" them here. They are the ones who wanted to christianize the Indians and give them proper WASP names.
Chetco Ben, for instance, got his name because he was a member of the Chetco tribe and the soldiers christened him Ben, and he became Ben, the Chetco. Then the Indians reversed it so he'd have a last name like the whites, and he became Chetco Ben. The practice was encouraged—and sometimes forced. He passed this surname on to his sons, Harrison, Patrick, and Archie Ben, who became a tribal chief.
Connie: Harry, thanks so much for this interview. It has really added to my understanding of the early development of this area.
Harry: My pleasure, Connie. If you need any more information for your book, give me a call. I've got lots more interesting stories.
Chapter 24: Timber Industry 1920-1950
In August 1951, a DC6B airliner
the hills over Oakland, California.
Killed in the spectacular crash were Dean Johnson, president of C. D. Johnson Lumber Corporation; Ernest E. Johnson, vice president and sales manager for the company; and Eric P. Van, the chief auditor for the company.
Robert P. Richardson, general manager for the Toledo mill, was a pall bearer at the funeral for Dean Johnson at trinity Episcopal church in Portland. He was stricken with a heart attack as he entered a car for the ride to the cemetery and died on the way to the hospital. The Lincoln County Leader, in reporting the crash and the deaths, said that no announcement had been made regarding who would fill the vacancies left by this turn of events.
On December 27, 1951, less than a year after the accident, the Georgia-Pacific Corporation bought the holdings of the C. D. Johnson Lumber Corporation, and with this purchase, one era came to a close, and another era began in the continuing development of lumber as an industry in Lincoln County.
Plant Bulletin Number 327 August 14, 1945
has to do with all the
on the plant. Should the war be officially ended between now and
the entire plant in all departments will be closed on both
the 15th. All departments will operate again August 16th.
Should we get official notice that the war is over, the mill whistle will blow for a period of approximately three minutes.
If these whistles are not blown, the plant will operate as usual.
This bulletin will remain in effect until such time as VJday has been effected.
Should that happen during the night shift tonight, the shift will be suspended as of the whistle.
From the end of the "great war" in
through the end of WWII in 1945, and into the "Korean Conflict,"
Johnson Corporation was a landmark and a legend in Toledo, in
in Oregon, and throughout the world.
With America's entry into WWI in 1917, and with the emerging importance of airplanes as a valuable machine for reconnaissance and as a weapon, a source of lightweight and flexible material was needed for their manufacture.
Early airplanes were made from wood, with fabric stretched across a frame, and the wood that fit the flexibility and weight standards for the government was Sitka spruce, which grew in abundance in the damp and foggy coastal belt from Alaska to California.
The Spruce Production Division, Bureau of Aircraft Production, was organized six months after the entry of the US into the war, and Brig. Gen. B. P. Disque was named as its commander.
Close to 30,000 soldiers, including officers, were recruited to help in the harvest of this valuable wartime resource.
The "spruce soldiers" joined with civilians to get the lumber out of the woods and into the mills up and down the Pacific Coast.
In Toledo on June 27, 1918, the Port of Toledo voted to purchase a 65 acre tract of land across the slough from the city and owned by A. T. Peterson and Walter E. Ball (1864-1969). The port paid $250 per acre, for a total cost of $16,250.
On June 29, two days later, it was revealed publicly that the federal government planned to build a huge sawmill in Toledo on that tract of land.
The USSPC sent a Maj. Hitchcock to negotiate for the land, and he received agreement from the port to lease the 65 acres to the government for $100 per year, with an option to purchase the entire tract at any time in the future for $50.
Word spread of the government's plan for building the largest spruce mill in the world. It would be designed to meet the demands for spruce for American airplanes, as well as for the airplanes of our allies.
On December 12, the Port of Toledo deeded the 65 acres to the federal government and backdated the deed to July 1. While the government would focus on the building of the mill, the port would concentrate on getting a jetty built in Newport, and the Yaquina River Channel deepened to Toledo.
The Spruce Division came to Toledo and
building the mill. Early photos show a tent city filling the
where the mill was being constructed, and the soldiers became
In a letter sent to Evelyn Parry of Toledo in 1994 by Ruth Montgomery, whose stepfather was an early mill owner in Toledo, Montgomery wrote that
the mill was called the Pacific Spruce Corporation and was to cut spruce for the planes to help fight the war. The first construction of the big mill was really badly organized, as the government brought in soldiers that were called the Spruce Division, and most of the mean had never nailed a nail, used a saw or had sawed anything larger than a fence post. Nice boys, but no sawmill men or carpenters.
In addition to the mill being built in
railroad lines were established that ran to logging camps up and
county: Camp 1 near Yachats,
Camp 2 near Ona in the Beaver Creek area, Camp 12 near Siletz,
out of Logsden,
and Camp 11 on the Upper and Lower Siletz. These railroads would
the raw material to be delivered to the mill in Toledo.
Then the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, and the war was over.
Logsden Camp Near Siletz 1957
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
The Coming of Pacific Spruce
In an article produced by the Pacific Spruce Corporation and printed in the Lumber World Review in 1924, and republished by the Lincoln County Historical Society, the author states:
If the great war had lasted but a few months more, there would have been witnessed the fairly successful operation of the great mill in Toledo.
Fortunately for millions of men,
fathers, wives, and children, the hostilities had ended, and it
an act of congress, and the capital of private lumber
the "great mill" in Toledo to reach its full potential.
In an act of the US Congress shortly after the war was over, the US Spruce Production Corporation (USSPC) was formed to take over the operation of the military's Spruce Production Division. On December 17, 1920, the Lincoln County holdings of this newly formed company were purchased by the Pacific Spruce Corporation, headed by C. D. Johnson.
In January 1921, the Port of Toledo was offered $16,250 for the property it had earlier turned over to the USSPC. The port accepted this offer from Pacific Spruce Corporation—for the same sum it had paid to Peterson and Ball in 1918.
The Pacific Spruce Corporation consisted of three subsidiaries: C. D. Johnson Lumber Company, mainly the marketing arm of the corporation; the Manary Logging Company; and the Pacific Spruce Northern Railway Company. In the 1930s, this corporation would become known as the C. D. Johnson Lumber Company.
C. D. Johnson was born in 1866 in Cato, New York. His family moved to Kansas when he was 12. At 19, Johnson moved to Louisiana, where he worked in a sawmill. He then moved to Texas and worked at cutting logs in the woods. From Texas, he returned to the Midwest and continued his involvement in the lumber business. In the early 1890s, he became yard foreman for the Sunny South Lumber Company in New Lewisville, Arkansas, and soon became superintendent for the entire plant.
By 1899, Johnson was president of the Union Saw Mill Company, president of the Little Rock & Monroe Railway Company, a stockholder in the Lufkin Land & Lumber Company, and a director for the Noble Lumber Company of Louisiana.
A reorganization of these and other companies created the Frost-Johnson Lumber Company.
Enoch W. Frost began lumbering with a small portable sawmill as early as 1881 in the region around Texarkana. He expanded his operations and became associated with a group who formed the Frost-Trigg Lumber Company in 1897. In 1907 his son, Edwin Ambrose Frost, in conjunction with Clarance D. Johnson, organized the Frost-Johnson Company which merged with Frost-Trigg.
The company was developed by E. A. Frost
complex lumber operation and was for a time the largest lumber
in Northeast Texas and Northwest Louisiana. C. D. Johnson moved
began his sawmill career working as a trimmer in a Louisiana
Johnson worked his way up through the mill and eventually became
vice-president and general manager of the Frost-Johnson Lumber
In 1910 Frost-Johnson further expanded with the purchase of the Hayward mill and more than 50,000 acres of pinelands in Nacogodoches and adjoining counties, together with the Nacogodoches and Southeastern Railroad. Frost-Johnson became Frost Lumber Industries in 1925 and threes years later acquired another major Texas property with the purchase of the Waterman Lumber Company. With the death of E. A. Frost in 1950, the stockholders voted in 1952 to sell to Olin Industries who shortly thereafter sold to the International Paper Company.
Johnson soon sold out his shares, and started looking for lumber on the West Coast. It was at this time that his corporation bought the USSPC from the federal government.
For $2 million, the Pacific Spruce Corporation received a vast tract of old growth in Southern Lincoln County, the partially built mill in Toledo, the railroad that ran along the coast, and a quantity of equipment. According to the book titled Pacific Spruce Corporation, it was to:
be paid during a period of years and which terms were easy as commercial terms go these days; stipulating also that the Pacific Spruce Corporation should spend many hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipping and improving the lumber-producing end of the business in order that the proposition might become profit producing, and in time, the government be fully repaid and the indebtedness accruing be completely canceled.
It was also stipulated that the titles
the proposition remain property of the government, with the
Corporation given the right to cut and remove timber by paying a
amount per 1,000 board feet for it.
With the Blodgett tract of timber that came with the original purchase, and the addition of vast Siletz stands bought in the early 1920s, the Pacific Spruce Corporation by 1924 had in its possession almost 2 billion board feet of timber. Enough, as stated in the illustrated Lumber World Review article, that the corporation
has ahead of it not less than 40 years of
life, with great prospects that it may be projected even much
the future, if not actually made, by careful cutting, a
The original forests of the US are estimated to have covered 822 million acres and to have contained 5,200 billion board feet of timber. Over two-thirds of this area has been culled, cut-over or burned. There are left today about 137 million acres of virgin timber, 112 million acres of culled and second growth timber large enough for sawing, 133 million acres partially stocked with smaller growth, and 81 million acres of "devastated" and practically "waste" land. We have 463 million acres of forest land of all sorts, which contains about 2,214 billion board feet of timber of merchantable sizes. Three-fifths of the timber originally in the US is gone.
These are the words of William B. Greenly,
from "The Last Great Stand," printed by the Pacific Spruce
In 1922, another forester for the government, N. Leroy Cary, issued Bulletin Number 1060, which said that
pulpwood may be expected to reproduce on the cutover land in this area in 40 years, and an excellent grade of merchantable timber in 80 years.
When one thinks of the building of the
and the work needed to fine tune it, and to get it into full
this bulletin issued in 1922 was not more than five years off of
take place Toledo in the 1950s.
The Pacific Spruce Corporation came into being on November 17, 1920, when a contract was signed between the principals of the Pacific Spruce Corporation and the government's USSPC.
With the signing of the contract, the Pacific Spruce Corporation took over all the government's holdings in Lincoln County. The C. D. Johnson Lumber Company was organized at the same time. The Manary Logging Company was organized in 1922, and the Pacific Spruce Northern Railway Company in 1923, specifically to purchase a railroad running along Depot Slough.
In all three companies, the Johnson family held important positions. Dean Johnson, a son of C. D. Johnson, was secretary of the Manary Logging Company, and vice-president of the railway company. Ernest E. Johnson, another son, was secretary-treasurer of the C. D. Johnson Lumber Company, and held the same position in the railroad company.
Manary Logging Company, Camp No. 11, Siletz Operation
Giant Spruce on the Pacific Coast 1919
A few weeks ago we were once again on
Pacific Coast. We had passed through Newport to the little inn,
on the brink of the rough rocks overhanging the beating waves
and its lighthouse stood ten miles to the south of us, and we
it on our drive along the sands. But our inn was in the edge of
of giant spruce that stretched north, south, and east, to the
Lincoln County. We ran across camp after camp of timbermen in
were spread here, there, and everywhere, over that forest
Centuries had served to store up the United State's service in
war those reserves now at last available. At last the Yaquina
bar were being improved by the joint provision of the nation and
Oregon ports. At last two new railroads were being rushed across
flats to carry the airplane spruce to the great mills just ready
set to work. More than 2,000 workers for Uncle Sam had already
there. The steamboats on the Bay and every scow, barge, and
taken into use. The trains on our railroad were crowded. The
of the bay region were at last unlocked and in the service of
What mattered it that I had spent my own years in a wrecked
But I looked back and wished that the colonel had been spared to
fruits of his wasted energy, for I am all but the sole survivor
who believed in and worked for the Oregon Pacific.
Ship's Knee From Giant Spruce
Photo Courtesy of Evelyn Payne Parry
The Manarys were loggers, and would
trees to the railroad that they helped build; the railroad would
logs to the mill; and the mill would then saw the timber into
The C. D. Johnson Corporation, would then market this lumber to
The first logging by this corporation took place at Camp I in September 1922. By June 1923, a total of 21 million board feet of Sitka spruce had been logged from this area.
Building railroads and large trestles spanning deep canyons to enable steam locomotives to bring the timber to the mill; building camps in what had been inaccessible wilderness; designing log rafts that could be towed from the mouth of the Siletz, down the coast, and up the Yaquina to Toledo; building a floating bunkhouse nicknamed "The Ark," to be used on the Lower Siletz—all were part of the engineering feats that had to be accomplished to make the Pacific Spruce Corporation a successful operation.
And by 1924, two years after the first logging was started, the company employed 800 men, and had made Toledo the industrial hub of Lincoln County.
The Japanese Incident 1925
An equally important part of this
were the mill workers themselves, and in 1925, the Pacific
underestimating the feelings of the local workers and the
became involved in its first serious labor trouble.
The company decided to bring Japanese laborers into Toledo and employ them at the mill. Company officials said they had had a hard time keeping men working on the green chain, and thought the answer would be the Japanese laborers. That they would accept half the pay that non-oriental workers would get likely made the idea even more attractive to the owners.
On July 11, 1925, a meeting was held in Toledo to discuss ways of "removing" the Japanese, who had not started to work yet, from town. The Lincoln County Protective League (LCPL) was formed that night.
The next day, a crowd of between 200 and 300 men and women marched toward the mill's property, yelling, "Hang the Japs! String them up!" When the crowd crossed the property line of the mill, they were met by Dean Johnson, who argued that this action was wrong.
An elderly woman in the crowd appeared to threaten one of the Johnson brothers with a stick, and one of the corporation’s security guards stepped forward and appeared to pull a gun from his coat. The crowd immediately jumped the security men, disarmed them, and threw their guns into the slough.
From there, the crowd rushed to Tokyo Slough, where the Japanese houses were located, and went into the prospective workers' homes—through windows, if the doors were locked. The Japanese were given a little time to pack up their things. One Japanese was observed to be bleeding, and the country sheriff and his deputy ordered the crowd to break up. They ended up arresting five people, who were later released. The Japanese were marched uptown, given $10,075 and put in cars to Corvallis.
The Pacific Spruce Corporation officials, when asked about prosecution, stated that no real harm had come to anyone, and no charges would be pressed.
In October 1925, five of the Japanese brought suit against the leaders of the crowd. Settlements of about $2,500 were awarded, and the incident became part of the labor history of the big mill.
By 1929, the mill had to be enlarged
the size of timber that was coming to it. More than 400
workers labored 24 hours a day during one period to retool the
enable it to handle 80 feet logs, instead of 40 feet logs.
During this same period, the Pacific Spruce Corporation donated $500 toward the building of the Church of Christ in Toledo, and was lauded in the local paper for its involvement in civic affairs.
Lumber was being shipped over rail and over sea. The company used its own ship, the Robert Johnson, a steamer of 3,000 tons dead weight that carried 1.5 million board feet each trip, to make two trips monthly between Yaquina Bay and California. Lumber was also shipped via the Southern Pacific.
In addition to operating the mill, the Pacific Spruce Corporation was involved in helping Toledo expand its economic base. It built houses for the mill's top management staff, and was involved in working with the city in making sure that houses were available for workers to buy.
From the beginning, the company had worked to develop the Toledo Investment Company, in which is carried 50 percent of the stock, the other half being owned by the businessmen of Toledo.
The Depression Years 1929-1939
In 1929, the year of the stock market crash, an article appeared in the Lincoln County Leader extolling the value of the spruce pulp:
If the agriculture people could just step over and persuade the war people to give us $150,000 or $200,000 to dredge out the channel to Toledo, we could put on the market a product worth $1 million annually, that is now going up in smoke, or being left in the woods. This is the market value placed on the waste product of the Pacific Spruce Corporation if it were manufactured into a paper product.
In January 1929, a night shift was
to the mill to bolster production. But the Great Depression
had an effect on the lumber market up and down the coast by the
although California was not as badly hit as Oregon.
In 1931, the mill in Toledo was "running two sides, employing 250 men with reasonable fair assurance that his will continue, at least there is nothing on the surface to the contrary," according to the Lincoln County Leader. The mill was said to: "have a fair order of spruce to be used in the Frigidaire business."
L. E. Huntsucker of Toledo said he recalled C. D. Johnson calling the men out into the mill yard and telling them, "Boys, we may not be able to meet the payroll right now, but you can work if you want to." The company did meet the payroll. The men worked for 25 cents an hour for several years, and later, when pulling on the green chain for 87 and a half cents an hour, the men all were thinking they were really "in the money," Huntsucker said.
The wages being paid at this time were based on what was called the 4-L's emergency scale. The 4-L's was a company union whose initials stood for The Loyal Legion of Loggers & Lumbermen. Its position was that Pacific Spruce Corporation had always been known as a friend to its employees and had paid them a high scale in addition to furnishing them other conveniences. A field officer of the union told them would never fall below $3 per day. They were also told that if they did not adhere to this emergency pay plan, the wages could drop as low as $1.50 per day, "as they have in have other places," and it was also pointed out that they were working an eight-hour shift at this wage, while other mills were working ten-hour shifts at the lower scale.
During one of these eight-hour shifts, a night watchman, walking along one of the loading docks, apparently fell asleep while he walked, and the crew of the Go-Getter, a small company tugboat, was in a position to watch him disappear through a hole in the dock and drop 12 feet onto a log raft, then bounce into the slough. When the boat reached him he was still asleep, and did not wake up until arriving at the hospital.
In August 1931, the 4-L's held a union picnic at The Maples on the Lower Siletz; and offered free ice cream and coffee for all who came. It was considered by some as the best company picnic ever.
Although wages were low, and the mill was sometimes working short weeks, the jobs continued to exist, and many of the men thought they were lucky to have any kind of job at all, because there were plenty of people in the country who had no work whatsoever.
In 1932, when thereat Depression was
worst, the US government passed the Relief and Construction Act.
gave the federal government the responsibility of preserving a
level of employment.
In 1933, the National Industrial Recovery Act was passed, designed to improve labor standards and to prevent unfair competitive practices. Finally, in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act was passed, which came to be known as the Wagner Act, after the author of these bills, Robert F. Wagner (1877-1953), an ally of Roosevelt, during the early days of the New Deal.
What the Wagner Act said was that the employer could not in any way contribute to the labor organization representing the men working for it.
Because of this act, the old 4-L's, with its marching band and its picnics, and its meeting room at the mill was replaced in 1937 by a new bargaining group, the Industrial Employees Union, or IEU. This union now represented the 800 workers of the Pacific Spruce Corporation, which by then was called C. D. Johnson Lumber Company
It was also during this time that the AFL and the CIO, the American Federal of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, started recruitment efforts at the mill. When the mill officials found out about this union activity, 11 men who were affiliated with the AFL and the CIO started picketing the mill.
The mill management argued that the majority of the workers in the mill had voted to belong to the IEU, and for that reason, the bargaining contract had been made with them.
The IEU worked through a conference committee. Any grievances were taken to its members. If those could not be handled by the committee, they were taken to the management. If no satisfaction could be found there, a strike could be called. And a strike was the last resort.
If a strike was called, and during the strike, any property damage occurred to company property, the union was responsible and could be sued. If the strikers went on strike without the union's permission, they would be held responsible for any damage. Many men would not cross the picket lines set up by the AFL and the CIO. For two and a half years, these men did not work at the mill, and some families went to the Willamette Valley to work in the fields to make whatever money they could for food for their families.
The Lincoln County Leader said in an article in August 1937 that:
Although in several cases, father and son are on different sides, the discipline by all union boys, non union, townspeople and industrial management is such as to merit commendations and hope for a speedy and amicable adjustment of what differences there may be.
Ku Klux Klan in Toledo
However amicable the adjustment may
been, there also was a reemergence of the Ku
Klux Klan in Toledo, and the burning of a cross on
one of the
above the town. The Klan had not been seen in the area for about
and some thought there was a direct connection between "labor
and the "grim warnings" of "hooded night riders."
The leader of the Klan, Rev. A. E. Page of Toledo, granted an interview with the Lincoln County Leader on December 9, 1937, after the burning of a cross at the end of Main Street. "Lincoln County is among the first in the state to foster a new KKK, which is growing in leaps and bounds," Page said. When asked about the immediate future plans the Klan had for Lincoln County, he said they could not be revealed,
but, let it be said that certain individuals in this territory who are active in communistic organizations will receive warnings shortly. The fight now is mainly against the forces of communism and fascism, and will not enter into the "religious" or "racial" disputes with the strength of past years.
For many of the union organizers who
working at the big mill, it was not hard to figure out that they
to be displaying communistic tendencies.
Finally, in February 1940, the National Labor Relations Board, meeting in Toledo made a final decision that C. D. Johnson and two other companies had "dominated and supported the IEU" and coerced their employees from bargaining.
Large advertisements were run in the local paper by the IEU denouncing the findings of the NLRB, but on February 8, 1940, C. D. Johnson canceled its contract with the IEU and complied with regulations ordered by the board.
The AFL and CIO came into the mill and began to organize, and by 1942, the majority of the 800 workers at C. D. Johnson were members of these two labor organizations.
Expansion and Modernization
During the late 1930s and early 1940s,
D. Johnson continued to expand its operation.
In March 1939, an announcement was made that a prefabricated housing factory was being constructed at the mill. This new addition would enable the construction of three to four houses a week, complete and ready to assemble. These "Johnsonbilt" homes were placed along the coast, and several were placed near Camp Gorge, out of Logsden.
An article in the April 20, 1939 Lincoln County Leader stated,
From log to finished product in a mill this size is a story of complicated machinery and skilled workmen, some of whom can expectorate farther and cuss louder than a Swedish sailor on shore leave. Some are good church workers and others regular sin-splitters, but the crew, through the years of the plant operation, has earned a reputation in the Northwest for lack of labor troubles, and the plant is known as one of the steadiest working mills in the industry.
In addition to the prefabricated housing a plant being built at the mill, a shipyard was constructed where boats and barges were built and where fishing boats and tugboats could be hauled out on ways [sic] and repaired.
World War II
"Loggers and mill workers, it's up to us now to pass the ammunition!" Lincoln County Leader
At the outbreak of hostilities in
lumber industry became an important part of the war effort, and
D. Johnson Corporation was no exception.
It was said that it took 300 board feet of lumber per soldier to get each one to Europe to fight. Barracks, boats, stretchers—all used wood in their manufacture, and it was up to the loggers and the mill workers to get the timber from the forest into the mill and to the front.
In that vein, "Fighting Man on the Forest Front!" and "Lumber Marches Forward!" were slogans that were popular at the time at the mill, and were printed in the local paper. Tire rationing became a problem with loggers, and the fear of sabotage in the woods by forest fires started by incendiary devices became a real obsession; much energy was put into watching out for this form of attack.
As the war continued, the work Johnson stock would total about $17 million—$15 million more than C. D. Johnson had paid the government in 1920 for its holdings in Lincoln County.
The era of unlimited days of big timber was a thing of the past, and the big mill in Toledo would disappear beneath the shadow of Georgia-Pacific Corporation's first pulp and paper mill.
Last of the Spruce Division Loggers
It was little more than 20 years ago
Georgia-Pacific Corporation's logging railroad operating out of
Oregon delivered its last loaded log cars to the mill. With that
run, an era ended not only for the immediate geographic area,
for a number of other facets related to the history of logging
Georgia-Pacific's Toledo operations had been the final steam-powered logger in the entire state of Oregon, and the railroad was the last line to use disconnected logging trucks in service, rather than railroad cars. Built by the US Army during WWI, Georgia-Pacific's Toledo operation was also the last of the government's Spruce Division logging railroads that were an important part of the end of much more than just another logging line.
The railroad at Toledo could trace its history back, as mentioned previously, to WWI. With the entry of the US into that conflict, the army found itself in dire need of high-quality spruce, which was used for airplane frames. In order to fill that need, the Army designed and built 13 logging railroads in Oregon and Washington to bring spruce out of the woods. Nine of these railroads were to be of a temporary nature, while the remaining four were to be permanent. The 12th of these Spruce Division loggers was built not far from the coast at Toledo, through the community of Siletz and then into the woods. The engine house and shop facilities for the railroad were established at Siletz, while the mill to which the railroad delivered the logs was at Toledo.
After the war the C. D. Johnson Lumber Company acquired the operation in 1922 and under their administration the railroad became well known for its trio of Baldwin 2-6-2T locomotives. To be sure, C. D. Johnson operated other power, including a Shay and a Baldwin logging 2-8-2, but it was the 2-6-2T fleet that caught the attention of photographers.
Aviation was not only to be the cause of the railroad’s original construction, but it was also the creation of the line’s major change in ownership. In 1951, most of the C. D. Johnson family was killed in the crash of a commercial airliner near Niles (now Fremont), California. C. D. Johnson estate sold their entire lumber interests to the Georgia-Pacific Corporation, which at that time was just commencing their expansion into the Western US. It was Georgia-Pacific who operated the railroad in its final years.
After Georgia-Pacific assumed control of the railroad a disastrous fire took place at the enjoins facility at Siletz. Destroyed in the fire were two of the well-known 2-6-2Ts, leaving the log haul short of motive power. Georgia-Pacific, desperate to keep the railroad in operation, quickly transferred their remaining Baldwin logging Mike from the Coos Bay operation further south and purchased a similar 2-8-2 from the Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company at Bend. Both of these locomotives still exists, having been replaced on display after the railroad was abandoned.
Year after year logging trucks took their toll on the railroad log hauls of Oregon. By 1959, only five such railroads remained active within the state and of that number only the Georgia-Pacific railroad to Toledo was still in steam (Georgia-Pacific did have, and still does, a 50-ton GE for a mill switcher but it was not regularly used on the logging railroad). Throughout Oregon steam power had been banished entirely from logging work or at best restricted to occasional sporadic duty in backing up diesel power. At Toledo, however, not only did steam still rule in 1959, but so, too, did the disconnect log truck.
At one time the disconnected log truck, rather than flat or skeleton cars, had been a popular method of moving logs out of the woods. In reality, this method simply involved railroad trucks equipped with log trucks and couplers at both ends. As empties, they were simply coupled together and hauled out into the woods. Upon loading, the trucks were separated and the logs set before control of the train. Each disconnect was thus equipped with hand brakes as well as foot boards on which the brakeman rode while applying the brake. When running out empty into the woods, a large and visible stick was usually stuck in the end disconnect truck so that the brakeman, often riding the locomotive, could quickly tell at a glance that his train was still intact.
The disconnect log trucks were easy to both load and unload, and a number of Northwest loggers had used them. But, it was these operations, where train length was thus somewhat limited, where the impact of the highway log truck was felt first. Crown Zellerbach's railroad operation out of Cathlamet, Washington, when it folded in 1958, had been the next-to-the-last user of disconnects, and the last in Washington state. At Toledo, however, the title of sole user of disconnects was to be short.
November 30, 1959 was scheduled by Georgia-Pacific Corporation as the last day of operation for its Toledo logger. Lack of maintenance and heavy rains had made Georgia-Pacific reluctant to use the big Mikes over the railroad during the final months of life, leaving the line in the hands of Number 9, the sole remaining prairie tank engine. Those same rains, however, also delayed the conversion of the logs to the mill at Toledo to close down the railroad. Today, only a fading scar across the landscape remains to show where Oregon’s last steam logging railroad once ran without any help from diesel power.
With the end of the Toledo logger, the three Mikes were quickly put on display. Toledo itself was given Number 1 [One Spot], which had gone to work for Toledo-based Pacific Spruce Corporation new from Baldwin in 1922 and never left. North Bend, near Georgia-Pacific Corporation's bay operations, received Number 3 relettered back as the 104 to reflect its log career on the Coos Bay logging run before transfer to Toledo. Number 5, the engine brought from Brooks-Scanlon at Bend, went on display at Corvallis. The only remaining 2-6-2T, Number 9, had a much more unique ending.
Number 9 was sold to MGM Productions for use in their movie Ring of Fire! Moved from Toledo to Shelton, Washington and somewhat rebuilt with a tender, the locomotive was hauled into the woods anal scene, it was allowed to fall with a burning bridge into the river. The remains of the locomotive still reside where they landed. Built for operation in the timber, the Number 9 remains in the geographical setting for which it was designed.
Japanese in Oregon
Unlike the Indians who were driven
Africans and Asians had no prior claim to the land. Racism,
and a host of vague fears explain the discrimination they
not white land hunger.
Among early Asian residents of the Pacific Northwest, the Chinese were by far the most numerous. They began arriving as individuals or in groups shortly after 1860, and although they could be found in numerous occupations, mining and railroad construction attracted the greatest numbers. Because Chinese miners were willing to work claims with great patience and accept a small return for their efforts, whites universally regarded their presence in the diggings as a sure sign that a mining region had passed its peak.
The belief that Chinese had
quantities of gold through their frugality led to one of the
massacres in Pacific Northwest history. In that incident, a gang
shot or hacked to death 31 Chinese miners. The site was north of
Canyon, the year was 1881, and robbery was the probable motive.
their slaying, the victims were tortured in an apparent attempt
where they had hidden a supposed cache of gold. Only the death
the slaughter of approximately 50 Chinese by Paiutes in 1866
The following editorial appeared in the March 23, 1884 issue of the Coeur d'Alene Sun during the height of the region's anti-Chinese agitation:
John Chinaman got into the California mines, into many other mines, but he must not think of attempting a visit into those of Northern Idaho. If he insists on coming, however, let him bring a roast hog, plenty of fire crackers, and colored paper, and all the essentials of a first class Chinese funeral. He need not bother to bring the corpse. It will be in readiness. Ta! Ta! John!
On the railroads, trouble arose when
workers feared that the importation of a potentially unlimited
cheap labor threatened their jobs. When hard times hit the
in the mid-1880s, unemployed white workers participated in
to drive the Chinese from the region. The agitation led to
violence in Tacoma
martial law, and the dispatching of federal troops to quell the
The region's Chinese population declined slightly during the 1890s, while numbers of Japanese residents climbed dramatically. The exit of Chinese from the railroad, lumber, and canning industries opened a door for Japanese immigrants, typically young males who arrived without families.
Jobs and land lured Japanese immigrants by the last decade of the 19th Century. Overpopulation and limited opportunity at home, the favorable publicity of labor recruiters, and adventure drew Japanese to Oregon. They found places to work and live. Many men hired on as laborers to build railroads. Tadashichi Tanaka, Shinzaburo Ban, and Shintaro Takaki were all involved in 1891 in recruiting rail workers. The men helped build the Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, feeder lines, and logging railroads.
Japanese immigrant families settled in the Treasure Valley near Ontario, Mount Hood Valley, and at Gresham. The prospect of gaining a few acres, planting a garden, setting out an orchard, and producing high-quality vegetables and fruits drew husbands, wives, and children to work together to established a substantial hold in a new land. Others settled on Second, Third, and Fourth streets in Northwest Portland, where they became shopkeepers. Some men worked in sawmills, but they experienced much the same racial animosity as the Chinese. In 1925, for example, a woman in Toledo on Yaquina Bay sparked a nasty attack on Japanese families. Threats of violence and bricks thrown through windows drove 25 Japanese men, women and children from the town, and earned Rosemary Schenk a court appearance.
In addition to violence directed against Chinese, an anti-Hindu (East Indian) riot erupted in Bellingham and an anti-Japanese riot occurred in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1907. Those were only the major outbursts. Until after WWII, hostility to Asians remained a prominent feature of Pacific Northwest life. At one time it was common for restaurants to post signs reassuring white customers that they employed no Chinese help.
The Toledo Incident 1925
Trouble which has been brewing here
weeks over the employment of Japanese laborers in the mill of
Spruce Corporation came to a head today. After a short mass
the streets a crowd of 250 persons marched on the mill quarters
a brief fistic battle with white mill employees rounded up the
with their luggage and carried them out of the county in
[......] ever since the operators of the lumber mill imported Japanese for certain work for which they declared they had been unable to obtain white help.
Townsmen Take Guns From Mill Employees
Mill employees, stationed as a guard
the Japanese, it was said, drew guns and threatened the
over-powered them and seized their weapons, which they threw
What fighting occurred was between whites. The Japanese offered no resistance and suffered no violence, the townsmen even carrying possessions of the Japanese to the waiting automobiles.
Twelve to 15 Japanese were captured and carried away. It was said that several others were hiding and it was expected that when these were found they would also be deported from the country.
Officials Fail to Halt Mob Action
C. D. Johnson, president of the mill company, Stevens, the manager, and others of the mill owners attempted to reason with the invaders, to no avail. Sheriff Horsfall went to the scene with his deputy and placed H. Germer, Charles A. Buck and W. S. Colvin, alleged members of the mob, under arrest. The crowd was ordered to disperse and did so. [......]
In 1909, F. G. Young stated that
experienced few of the anti-Oriental hostilities which were
and California. Although he did not deny that conflict between
balance of influence was... so clearly on the side of law and
the mischief-making forces desisted." Subsequent studies by
Stearns and Marvin G. Pursinger supported Young's assessment of
of Oregonians. In fact, relations between the Nikkei and
were described as "cordial."
Contrary to these conclusions, Japanese immigrants encountered a great deal of nativism and racism. Most incidents involved few people and never reached the newspapers. But a slap in the face, a rock thrown by a youth, or a few pejorative words often had as lasting effect as mob violence. Riots and group actions directed against Asians were not unknown in Oregon; there were at least six noteworthy events which displayed Oregonians' unfriendliness:
• the Portland Anti-Chinese Riots in 1866;
• the 1898 Railway Riot northwest of Portland;
• the formation of the Hood River Anti-Alien League in 1919;
• the George Shima Incident in Deschutes County;
• the passing of the Alien Land Law in 1923;
• and the Toledo Incident in 1925.
Not all of these incidents were violent, but
had at its core the Asian stereotypes and other misconceptions
and racists commonly promoted.
Several of the events related to the nativists trends throughout the nation and state, especially those that occurred between 1919 and 1924. The 1924 Immigration Act, which imposed a quota on immigration in general and a ban on Japanese immigrants in particular, appeased nativists somewhat. But it did not eliminate the Nikkei nor diminish discrimination against them, for it could not change the attitudes and prejudices of the non-orientals.
The Toledo Incident occurred after the peak years of nativism in Oregon. Although the elements of nativism were strong in this mill town, one hundred percent Americanism, anglo-saxon superiority, and xenophobia do not entirely explain the attitudes of the residents and the riot itself. Another factor—race—enters the calculation. As people of color, the Japanese elicited a fear of the "yellow peril," which community agitators played upon in order to make local employment of Japanese seem to threaten the whole town. Had racial fear and hatred not been amplified by the agitators, the deportation of the Japanese probably would not have occurred.
During the early 1900s, Toledo was a small, coastal town with a population that was conservative, unsophisticated, and fairly removed from many of the problems of larger cities. Toledo had not yet experienced the industrial growth that was burgeoning in other parts of the US, nor had its citizens encountered any minorities except for American Indians. Despite this isolated position, Toledo was not immune to the nativist fervor that spread throughout the nation during the 1920s. From 1923 to early 1924, the Lincoln County Leader, the town newspaper, carried articles and editorials on Americanism and religions. After an implicitly anti-Catholic editorial entitled "Two Religions," the Leader ceased most of its nativist writings.
The Ku Klux Klan, which rose to power amidst the burning cross and public parades of new initiates in Oregon, made its first appearance in Toledo in January 1923.
Oregon, which included a large number of residents whose heritage was that of the Bible Belt, had a tradition of nativism. Together with the wartime mood of distrust and apprehension and the economic chaos caused by runaway inflation by a severe depression, it created the circumstances in which the Ku Klux Klan flourished. Discontent in the South after the Civil War gave rise to the original Klan, which faded away after a decade or two. A second Klan arose in 1915 and borrowed ritual and doctrine from its predecessor. But its targets now included not just the blacks singled out for persecution by the original Klan, but also Catholics, Jews, and immigrant groups.
The Klan entered Oregon from California in 1921 by capitalizing on the fears generated by WWI. Spreading rapidly, it established branches in Portland and a number of outlying communities. By early 1922, its membership was estimated to be at 14,000, with numerous sympathizers adding to its influence.
Much of the Ku Klux Klan movement in the Pacific Northwest made it difficult to categorize. From one perspective it embodies the narrow minded, illiberal spirit that swept across America during WWI. It appeared to be conservative, even reactionary. But the Klan also embodied some of the region's old-time spirit of populism: angry and frightened citizens joining together to combat a hot of, in this case, imagined enemies; Catholics, Jews, foreigners, and radicals substituting for Wall Street bankers and the gold standard of years gone by. In a perverse sort of way, the Klan insurgency tapped the crusading spirit of prewar decades.
By July 1923, interest in the Ku Klux Klan seemed to have cooled; after December, the Klan received no further mention in the pages of the Leader. The rapid decline of nativism was probably due in part to the relative homogeneity of the community and to the absence of a foreign or religious threat, but more importantly a new prosperity had entered the town.
During WWI, in response to the airplane industry's demand for spruce, the US Army spruce division had begun construction of a mill in Toledo. The war, however, ended before the mill was completed. In 1920 the mill was purchased by C. D. Johnson, who organized the Pacific Spruce Corporation from the beginning, the corporation and the community pledged mutual cooperation. At an informal meeting with local residents, Pacific Spruce Corporation officials agreed to encourage men with families to work at the Toledo mill and, according to some "responsible citizens" in attendance, to employ non-oriental labor. Community members in return promised to cooperate in "every way possible" to make the enterprise a success. By 1923, between the mill and related operations, the PSC employed 800 men. The town grew: According to the Leader's conservative estimate, by January 1925, the population was 2,250; three years earlier, it had been approximately 700. But along with the benefits, the corporation brought difficulties to Toledo, difficulties that overrode the informal agreement.
By 1925, the Pacific Spruce Corporation began to have problems with its "green chain." In many industries there is some job that is the most backbreaking and miserable. In the lumber mill, the green chain was that job. A revolving chain carried the green lumber away from the saws. Workers had to remove the lumber from the chain and pile it according to size and grade. Because of rapid turnover and a high absentee rate among green chain workers, Johnson began to look for alternatives and decided to import Japanese labor for this job that non-oriental workers scorned.
By the end of April, reports that the PSC was planning to bring in Japanese labor circulated throughout town. Members of the Business Men's League of Toledo met with Johnson, who confirmed that ten to 12 Issei laborers would arrive sometime during the coming month. But Johnson assured the group that the corporation had no intentions of bringing in a large number of Mongolian workers, rather, it would bring only enough Japanese to perform the work that non-oriental labor was unwilling to do. Problems with the green chain were not peculiar to the Pacific Spruce Corporation. According to W. G. Ides of the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce, other mills such as the West Coast Lumber Company in Linnton and the Westport Lumber Company in Westport were using Japanese labor on green chains because of the high attrition rates of the non-oriental workers.
In his study of the lumber industry in the US, Vernon Jensen commented on the “unbridled individualism and self-interest” of the lumbermen. Johnson was no exception; he maintained a paternalistic and outwardly cordial policy toward his employees and the community in order to insure steady production. Although the agreement between the town and PSC officials contributed to good relations, the maintenance of those relations was due more to Johnson's benevolent policies, business acumen, and the lack of a crisis situation. To prevent the formation of an industrial union, Johnson allowed the workers to form the Pacific Spruce Employees Association, accompany union. For this union, Johnson furnished a club building and a basketball court. Despite his paternalistic policies, Johnson was unable to avoid problems with the non-oriental workers on the green chain, so he accepted the solution proposed by a labor contractor, who offered "all the [Japanese] men that you want for such and such a figure."
On April 30, the Leader announced that the PSC would hold a meeting with the chamber of commerce on the following day to explain why it had planned to import the "Japs." More than 500 people gathered on the evening of May 1, and, because the room could not accommodate so many, the meeting was adjourned to the streets. Using a truck as a speaker platform, Johnson, who spoke first, attempted to justify the importation of the Japanese. Like other employees who hired immigrant labor over the protests of native workers, he tried to convince his audience by praising the non-oriental workers and by disparaging the Nikkei. "The American laborer," Johnson stated, "had higher ambitions than accepting the lowest paid and hardest job on the works and stay[ing] with it." The non-oriental laborers were "never a success" on the green chains, the position that Johnson described, but whether their lack of success was due to higher ambitions or lack of incentive to perform physically difficult work is open to speculation.
After company officials presented their viewpoints on the planned importation of the Japanese, various townspeople addressed the group. These speeches were almost unanimously against the plan, and anti-importation arguments centered on the gentlemen's agreement between the town and the corporation, the cooperation that had followed the agreement, the displacement of non-oriental labor by Japanese, and the existence of a labor surplus. At this May 1 meeting, Toledo citizens passed a resolution opposing the PSC's plan: They resolved to protest the introduction and employment of Japanese, Chinese and other foreign labor. The tenor of the meeting and of subsequent events was expressed in a prophetic speech by Rosemary Schenk, wife of the town marshal, George Schenk. She declared:
The old-timers and others who have had the interests of Lincoln County at heart had not put forth their efforts intending that Japanese should come in and reap the benefits...
She did not believe the Pacific Spruce
had any right to bring in this Foreign Element and she was one
of Lincoln County who would go to the extremes to prevent it.
meeting signaled the beginning of increasingly overt
in Toledo, a revival of the nativist attitudes of 1923 and early
The May 7 issue of the Leader carried an editorial that
prevalent stereotype of the Japanese not only in Oregon but on
West Coast. To many people in Toledo, the idea of a colony of
the city limits was entirely "repulsive."
By including their resolution, the townspeople excluded not only people of color but also white aliens. On May 12, the Business Men's League corrected the ambiguity of the resolution regarding white immigrants. The group introduced one small but significant change, resolving to protest the introduction only of "Japanese, Chinese, Negroes, Hindus, or any Oriental labor," for the businessmen recognized the existence of "many foreigners who are desirable citizens." This new resolution eliminated virtually all people of color from employment in Toledo. Significantly, townspeople did not object to the change. The issue was not specifically mentioned again in the Leader until July. Apparently the people and businessmen felt satisfied that their views were expressed and heard.
Although the issue of the Japanese importation did not appear in the paper for six weeks, townspeople were very much aware of it. The approach of Memorial Day and Independence Day provided ideal occasions to step up the campaign for increased patriotism and nativism. Patriotic activities were more numerous in Toledo this year than in the preceding two years and more abundant than those in neighboring communities. Beginning in mid-May, speeches and articles on "appropriate topics" were the order of the day. On Sunday, May 17, Frank Purnell, the state evangelist for the Christian churches of Oregon, gave a sermon detailing the four main ingredients necessary to become one hundred percent American. He declared that
one must obeyed the laws; one must be tolerant of other citizens regarding faith and opinions; there must be religious liberty (though America is a Protestant country); and one must serve his country, the greatest service being to stand four-square for the ideals of the land.
Thus far, the sermon could have been interpreted as an attempt to discourage anti-Japanese feelings, though few listeners would have done so. To leave no doubt of his intent, Purnell ended the sermon with the statement:
America has a great mission to perform in the world and to fulfill this mission it must remain a white man's country. The soul of the Oriental is as good in the sight of god as that of the white man, but in the providence of God this country is meant for the white man.
So by "the Providence of God," Purnell
for the people of Lincoln County their discrimination against
and all people of color.
The Rev. Purnell again spoke in a Memorial Day program, but this time the topic was patriotism. This speech, geared to increase patriotic spirit, praised the veterans who fought under Washington, Grant, Roosevelt, and Pershing. He called for people to "rededicate themselves to the principles of freedom so nobly upheld" by the veterans. But the freedoms to which Purnell referred were intended for non-orientals only. He ignored the fact that people of color also fought under the commanders he mentioned, and he implicitly denied to people of color the freedoms whose principles they too had "so nobly upheld." Another example of the "patriotic zeal" that was permeating the town was an ad for the Unique Market stating: "We are one hundred percent American."
In mid-May, the American Legion, an organization which strongly supported the complete exclusion of Japanese immigrants in the quota provisions of the Immigration Act of 1924, organized a nationwide fund raising for the benefit of the veterans.
Oregon governor, Walter M. Pierce (1923-1927) of Pendleton, in response, declared that the week of May 24-30 would be devoted to the fund raising.
Pierce, whose term of office was from January 8, 1923 to January 10, 1927, was elected by the largest vote given a gubernatorial candidate in Oregon up to that time. Though perhaps not a Klansman himself, he enjoyed the Klan’s backing in the general election. As a politician, Pierce was never easy to classify: He possessed a populist streak that in 1919 caused him to cast the sole vote in the Oregon senate against a harsh criminal syndicalism bill. Political opponents later charged that he was a radical, a secret member of the Nonpartisan League. Although defeated in his bid to be reelected governor in 1926, Pierce at the age of 72 made a comeback in 1932, when the Democratic tidal wave swept him into a seat in Congress. There he remained for ten years, a staunch backer of public power, farm relief, and other New Deal measures.
R. H. Howell, the mayor of Toledo, went one step further than the governor: In keeping with the strong patriotic feelings in Toledo, Howell officially declared the same week the American Legion Endowment Week. Of local contributors, the PSC was the largest. Johnson, a shrewd lumberman both in labor relations and community relations, demonstrated by his $100 donation that the corporation shared the town’s concerns and involvements; he thus linked the PSC to the "patriotic fervor" in Toledo.
But the townspeople had begun to realize that the mill was in Toledo for profit. Secondary interests of the industry were goodwill and development of the community. In a feature article about the Pacific Spruce Corporation, Lumber World Review cataloged the benefits that the mill was bringing: employment and construction of facilities—for example, the mill cafeteria, which was described as a "comfortable and high-class place to eat." But these benefits to Toledo were only byproducts of the mill. Lumber production was paramount. If there were any difficulties within the mill, such as labor problems, it was becoming evident that the corporation would handle the matter as it saw best, regardless of community sentiment.
Johnson had decided to bring in the Nikkei. For him, there remained only the matter of preparation: housing had to be built; more importantly, the labor contractor had to be convinced that the community did not oppose the importation of the Japanese. Thus, the Pacific Spruce Corporation waged a campaign aimed at improving relations between the mill and the town. Johnson kept the issue as quiet as possible. Even Leo Martin, the company timber cruiser who often heard managerial decisions before they were made public, was not informed of the decision. Martin heard the rumors through a friend, and when he confronted Johnson with the warning, "If you're persistent in this, you won't have any mill, anymore than a boxcar." Johnson replied, "Well—I can rebuild the mill."
On June 26, the corporation broke the careful silence it had maintained. A meeting between mill officials, the chamber of commerce, and the Business Men's League took place in the PSC cafeteria, thereby avoiding the freer atmosphere of the street meeting of the preceding month. Johnson wanted the May resolution rescinded as proof of nonopposition to the prospective Japanese laborers. He spoke of the need for Japanese labor and announced that "every man in the mill's employ was in favor of bringing them [the Japanese] in providing it was necessary in order to operate the mill successfully." J. H. Vielie, the Japanese labor contractor, spoke favorably about Japanese laborers compared with other foreign laborers. Johnson then promised that no white man in the mill would lose his job because of the Japanese.
After requests that mill officials leave the room or that a secret ballot be taken were denied, apparently by Johnson or mill supporters, a roll call vote was taken. The result was 45 to 11 to rescind the may resolution. Toledo businessmen voted not their approval of the Japanese, but rather for a policy of noninterference with the labor problems of the mill. Also, they were probably voting for the preservation of their businesses; charges were later made by the state chamber of commerce that PSC officials threatened to open a mill commissary.
Along with the pressure exerted by mill officials, the efforts of Johnson and Vielie to dispel "yellow peril" rumors in the community probably helped to effect the businessmen's reversal. Emotional and inaccurate, the rumors that had spread since April were based on fears of displacement of non-oriental workers, lower wages, and a lower standard of living. The argument that the Japanese would take jobs from non-oriental workers was true to an extent, but the Issei were to be hired only for green chain jobs, those with the extremely high turnover rate.
A second rumor was that the Japanese would be paid a lower wage than the normal, that they would work for one half the usual rate—$1.60 to $2 per day—with the difference going to the labor contractor. To the contrary, the Japanese were to receive $4 to $4.50 per day, which was comparable to the wages of the non-oriental workers; there is no reason in this case to believe that the contractor would have received a higher commission. Finally, it was believed that the Japanese would "lower the standard of living" in Toledo. But in a 1924 study of Washington mills, R. L. Olson found that the condition of Japanese communities paralleled that of nearby non-oriental communities:
It is quite extraordinary the way conditions among the whites are reflected among the Japanese. If the white camp is shabby and unkempt, the Japanese camp is almost sure to present a similar appearance. If the buildings are neat, painted, and well-kept, the Japanese houses will in most cases compare favorably with them. In one respect—that of lawns and flower beds—the Japanese rank far above the whites in every instance.
With no evidence to indicate that
Communities in Oregon differed from those in Washington, rumor
On the same day that the businessmen and chamber of commerce rescinded the May 12 resolution, a large group of citizens gathered in the streets to reaffirm the May 1 resolution. It was a short meeting, but before it was adjourned, the participants resolved that a permanent organization be formed and that petitions be sent around the county to support the new organization. Four days later, on June 30, despite all of Johnson's efforts to placate the populace, 200 to 300 people met to form the Lincoln County Protective League. The purpose of this organization was the "use all honorable means to protect our communities from the employment of Japanese or other Oriental labor." League members delegated Rosemary Schenk to deliver the petitions to the governor and the Japanese Consul in Portland as a means of publicizing the organization's position. The validity of those petitions, however, is questionable, for the documents bear signatures of nonresidents of the Lincoln County area. While in Portland, Schenk used an Oregonian interview to forewarn PSC officials and the public that
there is bound to be "trouble" if the Japanese are brought into Toledo, and we want the governor to have facts of the situation at hand in that event.
Despite the open threats of "trouble"
Rosemary Schenk, the formation of the LCPL, the emotional
the Japanese, and the opposition of several of his employees,
in the Nikkei, most of whom were from Multnomah County. When
Johnson the night before the Japanese were to arrive whether
coming in, Johnson replied: "Well—I'll tell you, Martin, I've
given up on the idea of bringing the Japs in here." Martin then
at him as if to say, "You're a damned liar." Johnson either
the extent to which townspeople opposed the plan or was arrogant
to suppose he could proceed regardless of community sentiment.
On July 10, a Friday, 25 Japanese arrived in Toledo; by Saturday the total rose to 35, including a few Women and children. Although they took no action when the Nikkei arrived, the "natives by that time were ...very hostile about it." On Saturday evening, citizens held a meeting to discuss the course of action that should be taken. Racial fear dominated the gathering, but participants also expressed both concern that non-orientals would lose their jobs and increasing antipathy toward the PSC. Those who spoke at this meeting were W. S. Colvin, R. A. Pritchard, and Rosemary Schenk. Nothing was accomplished, however, and the meeting was adjourned until the following day.
Although the LCPL did not act collectively on Saturday, one citizen did act. According to one of the Nikkei, George Schenk, the town marshal, threatened "to throw them [the Japanese] out and possibly kill them on the next day if they had not gone." Schenk denied the charges. As it happened, Friday and Saturday nights were the only nights that the Nikkei spent in "Little Tokyo," the group of houses outside the city limits built for them by the mill on its property.
By Sunday morning, July 12, townspeople realized that the crisis was at hand. Many who were opposed to action against the PSC or the Nikkei either stayed at home or went away. A "whole big party," largely composed of businessmen from the community, went on a picnic up the Siletz River in order to avoid trouble. The rest of the town waited, as agitators prepared for confrontation and some mill officials were deputized and armed to protect mill property and the Japanese. Before noon, cars bearing banners moved through Newport and Toledo. Around 2pm people began to gather around the dock. Between 300 and 500 people heard speeches by agitators, among whom was W. S. Colvin, the owner of the general merchandise store, who appealed "to every man who respects this flag to join in the fight—every red-blooded American." Approximately 75 sufficiently aroused men, women, and children lined up behind H. Germer, who was carrying the American flag. Germer, brandishing the flag and shouting, "Let's take the Japs; string them up," then led the crowd to the mill and "Little Tokyo." When they reached the right-of-way, the marchers were met by Johnson, mill officials, and Sheriff Horsfall and told not to go in and not to "touch those Japs."
If the Issei had not received a favorable impression from the businessmen and mill officials, it is doubtful that they would have entered Toledo. And having once become aware of the intense antipathy of the people, they probably would have agreed to leave town the next day, when the train would again be running. However, the mob was not to be detoured from its mission, and one more day was not acceptable. The crowd was determined to eliminate the Nikkei from Toledo, and soon the riot began. One mill official reported:
An old woman with a stick was about to hit C. D. [Johnson] in the face and I saw men beyond the Southern Pacific right-of-way picking up rocks.
The sheriff then arrested Germer and Colvin,
deputy Jesse Daniel escorted them toward town. The crowd began
but these two men soon returned and began to yell, "Come on
Japs haven't gone yet. They've got to get out this afternoon."
At some point, Johnson departed, leaving Sheriff Horsfall in charge of protecting the Japanese. When one of the deputies reached for his gun, a youngster grabbed him, and the fight erupted. The deputies were disarmed and their weapons thrown into the river. John Markham, head of the office for the mill, also landed in the river for his efforts to defend mill property and the Japanese. During the fist fight, some of the mill employees and deputies were severely beaten. Amid shouts, rocks, and sticks, members of the mob entered the Nikkei's houses through the windows and ordered the occupants to leave. Some of the rioters "helped" the Japanese pack their baggage, albeit not very gently. Told to get out of the house in two minutes, Ito Kawamoto hesitated, then asked why.
"It doesn't make any difference why, we don't allow Japs around here any more."
"I belong with the mill and [am] going to stay right here."
"If you don't get out I'll hang you up and kill you."
Newspaper reports stated that with the exception of Kawamoto, who claimed to have had his nose bloodied when he was knocked to the floor and dragged from his home, the Japanese were not physically molested in the riot. But the reports would have been more accurate to note that there were no broken bones or deaths among the Nikkei. The Japanese escaped extreme violence because they offered no resistance to the mob. Had they attempted to resist, many people would probably have been seriously hurt, since some of the mob were not only armed but intoxicated.
After the mob had forced them from their houses, the Nikkei were "driven like cattle" to the trucks hired specifically to remove them from Toledo. But before loading the Japanese into the trucks, the rioters passed a hat to pay for the train fares from Corvallis to Portland. Over $15 were collected. Then, as though to further the humiliation and fear among the Nikkei, the truck drivers "drove recklessly" and with... "abandon and carelessness."
Sheriff Horsfall did manage to arrest five of the people involved: H. Germer, W. S. Colvin, Charles Buck, H. T. Pritchard and James Stewart. These men, however, were soon released on their personal recognizance. They district attorney of Lincoln County, E. P. Conrad, did not press charges, for it was alleged that the Japanese and suffered no harm—no property was damaged, and nobody was seriously injured. F. W. Stevens, general manager of the mill, also decided not to prosecute. Had mill officials filed charges against the townspeople involved, the action would have completely destroyed the company's already damaged relations with the community.
The impact of the Toledo Incident was considerable. Johnson had doubtlessly believed that whatever was good for the PSC would benefit the community. But his action caused townspeople to recognize the arrogance and unconcern of big business, and it terminated friendly, cooperative relations between the corporation and the town. The incident split Toledo into three factions:
• the Lincoln County Protective League and
• the C. D. Johnson corporation and its supporters, and those who condemned the mob's deportation of the Japanese;
• and the uncommitted.
Only a vague correlation exists
of townspeople and the three positions on the Japanese labor
membership consisted of mill workers and more established
as a merchant, a schoolteacher, and the town marshal's wife.
many have actually feared the Nikkei or their effect upon the
others were motivated by their dislike for people of color.
the LCPL did not object when Mennonites—another culturally
brought in to work on the green chain after the ouster of the
Mill officials, mill workers, and some townspeople comprised the second group. These citizens supported the PSC because of loyalty to the mill, fear of loosing their jobs, or disgust for mob action. The fear of being fired for opposing the importation of the Japanese was not unjustified, for the foreman and other "loyal" employees were permitted (or directed) to "clean the mill" after the riot.
The last group, the uncommitted, consisted mostly of the businessmen and their families who had gone on the picnic that Sunday in July, or otherwise avoided facing the issue of Japanese labor in Toledo. They did not necessarily oppose the ouster, but they were caught between the mill supporters and the protective league. On the one side, the PSC had the threat of a mill commissary if the businessmen were uncooperative. On the other hand, there was the threat of boycott. At least one merchant who expressed his opposition to the riot found his feed store boycotted. So, with no viable alternative if their businesses were to remain in existence, these people refused to take a stand.
The LCPL did initiate action to prevent a recurrence of the Toledo Incident. On Monday, July 13, Rosemary Schenk met with Gov. Pierce and requested that he take official measures to prohibit the return of Asian labor. His help was necessary, according to Schenk, because "the large majority of citizens of Toledo and Lincoln County are opposed to the employment of Japanese laborers..." Likewise, she stated, "we are opposed to mob rule." People who represented the non-oriental labor element, including Lincoln County Judge C. W. James, called for an investigation. In response, Pierce sent W. A. Delzell, his personal secretary, Charles H. Gram, state commissioner of labor, and W. H. Fitzgerald, deputy commissioner of labor, to obtain firsthand knowledge of the situation. When they arrived in Toledo, these men discussed the incident with mill officials and the board of directors of the protective league.
Their investigation was biased and far from complete. The governor's men did not question the Nikkei, who had been returned to Portland. Although some had continued on to a logging camp in Columbia County, the Nikkei were accessible had any effort been made to contact them. But the investigators failed to talk with a single Japanese person expelled from Toledo. Secondly, PSC officials, satisfied that no one was seriously hurt, and wishing not to further antagonize the community, preferred to keep the matter quiet: the Lincoln County Protective League, whose leaders had instigated the riot, carefully avoided admission of violence and was silent about anything that might benefit the Nikkei. Finally, the Pierce administration was itself biased, having strongly pushed for the Alien Land Law. So it is not surprising that, when informed that "warrants for arrest had been issued against several persons implicated in the removal...[and] the law would take its regular course on the case," Delzell decided not to undertake a formal investigation. The "regular course" in the Toledo Incident was suppression of the investigation and non prosecution of participants.
As far as the governor, people of Toledo, and the PSC were concerned, the matter was investigated and closed. Although nativists and racists throughout the state were satisfied, many people were indignant. An editorial in the Corvallis Gazette-Times asserted:
they [Toledo citizens] should have carried the red flag, and bordering as they do on the ocean, they might have united with the black flag of piracy.
Considering the incident closed, the Leader nevertheless recognized the potential for far-reaching repercussions:
If a Japanese should have been killed or injured it would have led to international difficulties...
The Japanese reacted immediately. Newspaper articles reflected their concern over the incident. The editors of the anti-government Yorozu Choho believed that US authorities would not punish the offenders, and declared:
the only course for the Japanese people to take in this matter will be to propagate the barbarous conditions of the American people and expose their shame all over the world.
More moderate, the Asahi expressed disgust with the lawlessness of the ouster and appealed to both governments to take steps to prevent a recurrence. On July 14, two days after the Nikkei were expelled from Toledo, Hisakichi Okamoto, the Japanese Consul in Portland, requested from the governor a full investigation of the incident. Okamoto never received a report, for no official report was ever written. The Japanese government did not let the matter pass. Four months later, it again pressed for a full investigation. This protect, however, was not directed to Pierce but to the state department, and demanded that the leaders of the mob be prosecuted and punished. The letter was forwarded to Salem; with this additional incentive, the governor acted. Pierce immediately wrote to Conrad to determine the status of the matter. One week later, Conrad replied:
I am in receipt of your letter of
21, requesting a detailed statement of the condition of affairs
to the Japanese situation at Toledo. I beg to apologize for not
this matter sooner attention, but an illness of several days has
from my office.
As to the present "condition of affairs" in regard to the above matter, I beg to submit the following:
No prosecution as yet has developed from this incident. I had intended to submit the matter to the grand jury at the last term of the circuit court in this county, but owing to the shortage of time the matter was not taken up.
Finally, in January 1926, Conrad
the case to the grand jury. The community took an active
investigation—interest evidenced by the publication of jurors'
by the anonymous letters sent to intimidate the jury members.
was probably unnecessary. A grand jury indictment of the
would have meant jurors accusing their friends, peers, and
Predictably, the jury returned a verdict not to indict the
So far as the state and county were concerned, the matter was
Had the grand jury investigation actually concluded the Toledo Incident, violation of the treaty rights of the Nikkei would have constituted only a part of the insult to Japan; the failure to prosecute the offenders and redress the Victims as well as the implicit refusal to deter further treaty violations by US citizens would have been grievous additional affronts. A Portland attorney, W. Lair Thompson, viewed the grand jury investigation as a farce:
I should not be surprised to find it [the investigation] propaganda to have a criminal trial in Toledo, where there is a chance of whitewash, rather than a civil trial in Portland where there is a chance that the aliens might win their suit.
Thompson served as attorney for five of the deported Japanese who, at the urging of the Japanese Association of Oregon, initiated civil proceedings when it became apparent that criminal action would not succeed. Ichiro Kawamoto, Ito Kawamoto, Y. Mitani, M. Tsubokawa, and T. Ogura alleged that their rights under the Treaty of 1911 had been denied; they brought suit against nine citizens of Toledo: Charles A. Buck, H. Germer, W. S. Colvin, H. T. Pritchard, Frank Sturdevant, Owen Hart, L. D. Emerson, and Rosemary and George Schenk. The Japanese also charged that the defendants
Conspired with other persons maliciously and with reckless disregard for the rights "to oppress, damage, and wrong grossly and humiliate" the Plaintiffs, and forcibly to drive them and other subjects of the Imperial Government of Japan from Toledo and Lincoln County.
The Nikkei claimed to have suffered
mental anguish and fear and to have been humiliated, outraged,
to the extent of $25,000 each.
On the other side, the defendants claimed that
the Orientals left of their own free will after the matter of their not being wanted here by the townsfolk had calmly been explained to them.
In Japan, the press followed the
with great interest, and reported trial testimonies daily.
however, reflected no such concern; in fact, the suit generated
interest outside of Oregon. The New York Times only covered the
its conclusion; the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer failed to mention the suit at
Toledo citizens were attentive to the progress of the suit and concerned for its outcome. Most seemed to feel that the case was important as a precedent: If the Japanese won, their colonies could be established in many industrial sections of Oregon, including Lincoln County and Toledo. B. A. Green, the attorney for the defendants, believed that the suit would test "whether a corporation can import foreign labor and break down the standard of living." The LCPL, of which some of the defendants were members, solicited "liberal donations" and gave receipts. The receipts allegedly facilitated the return of unused monies to the donors, but they may also have been used to pressure other people to contribute. Active in propaganda for the suit, the organization managed to print a paper called the Toledo Defender. No date, editors' or owners' names appeared in print, however the publisher was listed as the Toledo Defensive Committee, and the stated purpose of the paper was "to uphold the principles for which the LCPL was organized." Organizations outside town also lent support to the Toledo defendants. The Oregon State Federation of Labor recommended a lawyer, who donated his services, and the Farm Labor Legal Bureau participated in fund raising. Evidently, these groups shared an interest in restricting Japanese in the state.
In the first hearing of the case, held December 7, judge Wolverton denied a motion by the defendants that the Japanese file a bond of $30,000 because they were not citizens. It seemed that the defendants were going to make the trial as difficult as possible for the plaintiffs. Although they had been US residents for four to 18 years, the Issei were legally aliens because Japanese—unlike white immigrants—were denied the privilege of naturalization.
When the case of the first plaintiff, T. Ogura, began on July 12, 1926, the judge dismissed the actions against Germer, Buck and Emerson. In conflicting testimony, witnesses reported blood shed and physical abuse of the Japanese, and others reported that, despite fighting between townspeople and mill officials, the Japanese had been involved only in discussion. The remaining defendants were found guilty of conspiring against Ogura and effecting his deportation. Ogura was awarded $2500 compensation for damages incurred. Before the other four cases were brought up in September, they were settled out of court and dismissed. These cases won a combined settlement of $190. The grand total of the damages paid out was $2,690. But the importance of the suit lay not in the money but in the rights of the Issei, for the verdict, contrary to the decision of the Lincoln County grand jury, upheld rights assured by the Treaty of 1911. In theory, the trial also established the right of the Japanese to live and work where they pleased.
Undoubtedly the verdict will make for international comity in that it establishes in practical working force the rule that aliens—Japanese and other—legally in the country have rights which may not be nullified by the will of local populations.
The Toledo Incident reveals a basic pattern common to anti-Japanese riots along the West Coast. A large lumber corporation needed men for the local green chain; it decided to bring in Japanese laborers. Mill officials doubtlessly felt that the town would comply with this decision. But the town was not a company town, and a number of citizens with little loyalty to the mill began to arouse other citizens against the Japanese. Rumors influenced people's emotions. Although there was no basis for the rumors—the Nikkei were not to receive lower wages, nor would they have lowered the "standard of living"—many believed the stories and responded accordingly. In the case of Toledo, even though the incident dragged on for more than a year and the defendants lost the civil suit, the townspeople still had the satisfaction of having rid the community of the Japanese. Indeed, at the conclusion of the court case, the Leader, though not condoning mob action, still asserted that the ouster was right:
what part they [the Schenks] did take to rid Lincoln County of what appeared to be a "grave menace" we believe was done in a patriotic spirit...
Unlike other similar incidents, the Toledo ouster ended with compensation for the Japanese. Although the Issei’s lack of resistance when confronted by the angry mob might be interpreted by some as "passivity," the court case shows that the Japanese did resist—and they chose a more rational and effective method than physical struggle. In his study of Japanese immigrants in the Pacific Northwest, Kazuo Ito writes that the Nikkei's satisfaction at being vindicated for their treatment at the hands of Toledo's citizens:
Without knowing any other way, five of the Japanese victims sued six of the riot leaders for compensation for damages. As a result of the case, the six defendants were ordered to pay $6,500 in damages to the victims. After that, the assailants repeatedly begged those victims who had yet brought suit not to do so.
In the end, the Japanese, though shaken by the Toledo Incident, were satisfied that they were able to win a legal battle against non-oriental antagonists. In contrast, the townspeople were bitter about losing the court battle, yet they found some solace in the fact that the Nikkei were out of Toledo.
The Hood River Incident
The story of Japanese
in Hood River echoes the history of minority groups
the US, particularly of non-whites.
As long as immigrants distinguished by color served as menial workers in the early days, they were tolerated, even welcomed. As soon as they began to put down roots, to desire citizenship, they were faced with bigotry and racial discrimination.
It was so in Hood River, as elsewhere. Certain events in the valley since the Japanese first came in 1903 are painful to recall, since they were low points in the community's history.
The long struggled for equality, acceptance and dignity has been alleviated somewhat in recent years by a growing national awareness that each ethnic group brings with it an historic and cultural inheritance which enriches the US and makes a valuable contribution to American life.
Long before the migrations on the Oregon Trail, the first Japanese came to the Pacific Northwest accidentally. In 1832, a 200 ton junk left a southern Japanese port bound for Tokyo, then called Yedo, with a crew of 14 and a cargo of rice, fabric, and porcelain. Left rudderless by a typhoon, it floated on the Japanese current for 14 months, washing ashore near what is now known as Cape Flattery.
The remaining three survivors became Indian slaves. When word of their presence reached Dr. John McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver, he arranged for their release in exchange for gifts. Brought to the fort, they attended school there. The youngest was in his teens.104
Only a few Japanese came to the Northwest before 1900. The 1890 US Census showed 25 Japanese in Oregon, 20 of them in Multnomah County. By then Eastern Oregon's wealth in timber and hard rock gold mining brought a need for narrow gauge railroads to reach from the rugged back country to the newly built Oregon Short Line at Baker, the connecting line with transcontinental lines.
The Oregon Short Line was first to employ Japanese labor in large numbers. With building of the Sumpter Valley Railroad into rich lumber and mining areas, starting in 1892, Japanese immigrants became the chief labor pool, brought under contract to do the hard manual work of the section hands.
By 1900, Japanese in Oregon numbered 2,501. Most of the immigrants from Japan were boys and young men from middle class farm families, with fair educations, out to see the world after their country's long isolation. They intended to work for their "pot of gold" and return home. In 1903, a few Japanese worked in Hood River Valley, where lumbering was still the economic mainstay, and orchards were just beginning to be planted in sizable acreages. In 1905, Taiki Kuma opened the Niguma Variety Store in the growing town center of Hood River, at the northeast corner of First and Oak streets. The six or seven rooms on the second floor served as a rooming house.
Three years before, 16-year-old Masuo Yasui had arrived in Tacoma from Japan. He stayed for a while at the Japanese Methodist Mission there before joining his father and two brothers working on railroad construction in Eastern Oregon. In 1904, he went to Portland as house boy and nursemaid in the home of a prominent attorney. Here he learned English and was free to use the family library. He also took classes at the Couch School, where he was a quick learner.
Yasui and his older brother, Renichi, made a down payment on the Niguma Variety Store in 1908 and moved to Hood River. Although still a young man himself, Yasui became, and remained, the patriarch of the Japanese who stayed in the valley. He admonished the young Japanese, if they intended to stay in Hood River, to give up their bachelor ways, lead exemplary lives to do credit to their countrymen, work hard and think of securing a little land and starting families. Yasui followed his own advice and sent a proposal of marriage to a young lady in his home village in Japan. Shiozuy Miyake accepted his proposal, and Yasui met her in Tacoma and they were married in a Methodist church there in 1911.
Hood River Valley, so distinctive in size and so verdant, reminded homesick young men of the country they had left. And, since 75 percent of Japanese immigrants were from farm backgrounds, the opening of the Valley for agriculture attracted them. By 1910, the number of Japanese in Oregon had increased to 3,418, most of them in Multnomah and Hood River counties. As the count rose with the arrival of "picture brides" and the birth of children so did racial hostility. The 1910 US Census showed 468 Japanese and six Chinese in Hood River County. A year later another source reported eight Japanese-owned farms in the valley, mainly small marginal acreages acquired as payment for clearing the non-oriental owner's property, or raw stumpland bought from the lumber companies for $100 an acre. It took years to ready these submarginal plots, which were put into strawberries and vegetables as quickly as possible while young orchards grew.
The Issei—Japanese immigrants, the first generation to live in the US—participated when they could in community events. In 1914, when Hood River held its first Chautauqua after successful years in Parkdale, "The Mikado" was performed with a local cast under the big trees north of the present Hood River Memorial Hospital. Japanese men formed a choral escort for the entrance of Mikado, sung by George R. Wilbur. Those taking part were M. Yasui, who sang a solo, M. Okido, U. Saiki, C. Nakamura, K. Karasawa, T. Okido, S. Endo, and G. Sasaki.
Trouble surfaced locally in 1917 when George Wilbur, Hood River attorney serving in the state senate, who had, ironically been the local Mikado, sought to stop ownership of land by Japanese in Oregon. His bill, supported by the Pierce administration, got nowhere because of the pressure from federal sources anxious to keep Japan in the allied side in that WWI period. After the war, in October 1919, the Anti-Alien League organized in Hood River with Wilbur as vice-president and legal advisor, announced its goal:
That America should be protected and preserved for Americans... the immigration of Asiatics to the US should be prohibited.
Members further promised that they would not
or lease land to Japanese, and Japanese of the valley met this
by gathering to consider the charges against them, refute some
"statistics" and to see where they could improve relations with
community. Valley Japanese led by Yasui sought conferences with
of their opposition. The "solution" came in 1923 with passage by
legislature of the Alien Property Act, which in effect
growing number of Japanese residents from owning and leasing
measures had already been passed by California and Washington
by federal courts. Ironically, Oregon voters in 1926 repealed
provision barring blacks from the state, and the following year
restrictions that discriminated against black and Chinese
hysteria died down, once its goals were reached.
Oregon’s 1923 law restricting land ownership was pretty well nullified by "loopholes as broad as a barn door," as the Hood River News described them, for there was "nothing in the law to ban purchase of land by children of Japanese parents, the children being born in America, acquiring American citizenship automatically." Through the medium of guardianship established for them by white American friends, land could be bought for those children and operated by their parents.
In the comparatively peaceful years, many Japanese joined and supported the Apple Growers Association cooperative. In 1931, Yasui, continuing to operate his store in Hood River and now a a member of the local Rotary Club, became the first Japanese elected to the AGA board of directors. He took every opportunity to urge the Nikkei, those born in in the US that
You are American citizens. You have an opportunity your parents never had. Go to school and study. Don't miss that opportunity.
In 1925, Japanese in the Hood River
many of them Methodists, erected a building on West Sherman
Avenue as a
meeting place, recreational and cultural center, and Japanese
Church. The Japanese Community Hall was also to be a place where
could learn about their parents' homeland and traditions, and
language. The Rev. Isaac Inouye, a gregarious cultured Japanese
minister arrived in the late 1920s. One of his most successful
to bring a Japanese Prima Donna, Tamaki Mura, and her cast to
for a memorable performance of "Madame Butterfly" in the high
The older Japanese of Hood River wished only for a peaceful, secure existence close to the land and hoped for naturalization, which was not to be granted them for many years yet. They desired that the Nikkei, their children, would appreciate the citizenship enjoyed by right of birth, and that they would be law abiding Americans.
Among the third generation of Japanese ancestry, the Sansei, only a minimal percentage returned to agriculture. The rest have turned their talents to other professional fields and are doctors, dentists, nurses, lawyers, teachers, artists, architects, and designers. As fellow Americans working together, those of Japanese ancestry and their caucasian compatriots have shared their special talents and skills to build a better fruit center, a thriving community and a good place in which their children can grow up.
As farmers, the Nikkei have upheld the exceptionally high standards set for Hood River fruit, keeping step with improvements in horticulture, many having served on the Diamond Fruit Growers board of directors.
The Nikkei of the valley and their children are today valuable members of civic groups, community action programs, cultural and social organizations. The children, always good students, have also proved their leadership in local schools and on into college.
In Hood River Valley the citizens of Japanese ancestry have shown themselves to be good Americans, good students, good farmers, and business people, ready to serve the community for the benefit of all, not as a race nor as an ethnic group, but as individual Americans.
Newport Loyalty Days: 1942-2000
America was built by immigrants. The
Scandinavians, Asians. One of the hallmarks of this nation is
peopled by citizens of every county in the world. Our roads,
mineral deposits, farms, railroads, mineral deposits, farms,
all were developed at the hands of immigrant labor. Each influx
was met with prejudice from those who came before, but somehow,
finds its niche, becomes loyal Americans, and adds a new pattern
quilt that is our society.
Some loyalties are amazing. John Masunaga of Siletz, a Japanese-American soldier, patriot, citizen, graduate of the University of Colorado's School of Pharmacy, sits in his house and tells me his father came to the US from Japan in 1905, his mother five years later. As Asians, they were not allowed to own land, to vote, or to become citizens.
With the attack on Pearl Harbor, John's family immediately became suspect. Executive order 9,066 authorized the rounding up and relocation of all Japanese. The Masunagas' house was invaded by the local sheriff's office, any anything that could have been used as a weapon was seized, including John's BB gun.
Only because of the courage of Colorado's Gov. Carr, did the Japanese-Americans in the state escape placement in internment camps. They were allowed to work their own farms, though as sharecroppers, as they were not allowed to own property.
Masunaga, born in the US, a citizen by birth, volunteered for the Air Force, was turned down, and ended up in the army. Like our African-American brothers and sisters, he belonged to a segregated unit in the US Army, the Nisei 442nd. He served as a medical aide.
The Nisei 442nd, the most decorated group of soldiers in American history, landed at Anzio, were in combat all the way to the Po Valley, and received 3,600 Purple Hearts and 810 Bronze Stars. Masunaga's job was to remove the wounded from the battlefield and get them to an aid station; he and his fellow soldiers saved the lives of many wounded men.
Yet when they came to Rome, as the first army unit to reach the Eternal City, they were told to go around it so a more "appropriate" (read "white") unit could liberate the city.
The commanding officer of the unit was so incensed at this insensitivity that he insisted that some of these loyal and patriotic Americans, who had served so well, must at least get into the city.
Just over a hundred Asican-Americans were allowed to have an audience with the pope in Rome, and John was one of those chosen. His family still has the rosary that received a blessing from the Holy Father.
When Masunaga came home, however, after serving his country honorably, he was not allowed to join the local VFW. And, if it weren’t for the efforts of politicians like Sen. Judd of Minnesota, his parents would still not have been able to own land or to become citizens of the country their son had fought so bravely for.
So on Loyalty Day, when Newporters celebrate this country's military victories, and reflect about their defeats, they know they must never forget that some people volunteered and made many sacrifices, including the ultimate once, for their country, while their families living in the same country, lost their homes, their possessions, everything they had worked for. That is true loyalty.
Chapter 25: Goldrush
A distinction is sometimes made between the kinds of people who went to Oregon and those who favored California. And some say the distinction is valid. From the beginning California tended to attract the single adventurer, particularly with the advent of the goldrush. Oregon, on the other hand, from the beginning often attracted sober and respectable individuals. Hall J. Kelley, the Boston schoolteacher who first encouraged immigration to Oregon, called for "pious and educated young men," and, as we have seen, the first American settlers in Oregon were in fact missionaries. Also that memorial carried by Lee to Congress in 1838 made it clear that the settlers did not care to be joined by the "reckless adventurer," by the "renegade of civilization" or by the unprincipled sharpers of Spanish America, that is, Californians. Some of the diaries and letters of the immigrants tend to confirm this attitude. Charles Pitman, traveling with a group bound for California who had begun to have second thoughts, wrote
If things are not as anticipated when we left, in fact the aristocracy or respectable portion of the companies will go to this valley (in Oregon).
And Jesse Applegate wrote to his brother
...almost all the respectable portion of the California immigrants are going on the new road to Oregon—and nearly all of the respectable immigrants that went last year to California came this year to Oregon.
It is marvelously summed up in the apocryphal story of the branch in the Oregon Trail, the route south to California marked by a cairn of gold quartz, the none north by a sign lettered "To Oregon." Those who could read came here.
Oregon Evacuated During Goldrush 1848
One day in August 1848 Robert Newell
up the Willamette, buying as he went along all the spades he
circumstance found puzzling. When his ship would hold no more of
wheat and other provisions, capt. Newell informed the gulled
gold had been discovered in California.
It is estimated that two-thirds of the able-bodied men of Oregon threw down what was in hand—axes, awls, chisels, plows, pens, scales, forceps, tankards, and Bibles—and departed for California. The most serious of the derelictions was the plow for, after all, the people left behind had to eat. The Oregon City Spector pled with Oregonians to stay on the farm—until, that is, the paper's own printer departed and ended for the time being the paper's publication.
It is possible that the Oregon settlement would not have survived, or if so but lamely, without the California goldrush. Now for the first time there was a nearby market for Oregon products. Also, many Oregonians returned with gold to replace what had been an awkward currency to say the least; what, one bushel equals one dollar.
Finally, there were those who, going off to the goldrush, never returned. Good riddance! Such could not be persons of worth for otherwise they would not have elected to remain in California. Here is Frances Fuller Victor on the subject of the goldrush:
...After all it will be seen that the distance of Oregon from the Sierra Foothills proved at this time the greatest of blessings, being near enough for commercial communication, and yet so far away as to escape the mad scramble for wealth, such as social dissolutions, the rapine of intellect and principle, an overruling spirit of gambling—a delirium of development, attended by robbery, murder, and all uncleanness, and followed by reaction and death.
History of the white man in the Rogue
canyon dates back to the late 1860s. Whiskey
Creek Cabin is one of the few
of the Rogue River goldrush era. Others have fallen victim to
and the ravages of time. The cabin and surrounding area remain
and inaccessible except by river or trail, much like it was when
pioneers first inhabited the area.
In 1973, the BLM purchased the deed to the cabin. Today, Whiskey Creek Cabin is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the old known cabin, still standing, in the remote Lower Rogue River Canyon.
Around 1880, an unknown miner built
cabin at Whiskey Creek. The original structure was little more
shelter, consisting of four walls, a dirt floor and a shake
P. H. Rushmore filed the first recorded mining claim in the area in 1917. He sold the claim to Cy Whiteneck in 1918. Cy improved the cabin by adding a room, laying a floor and constructing the sheds behind the cabin. For several years during his 30-year stay, Cy used hydraulic mining methods at Whiskey Creek bar, but the extent of his success is unknown.
The L. M. Nichols purchased the claim from Cy Whiteneck in 1948. The Nichols' hired Lou Martin in 1957 to care for the claim. Lou added many conveniences to improve livability of the cabin. He built a solar-heated shower and a double-walled, sawdust insulated pantry.
The flume ditch near the cabin was constructed about 1890, beginning one half mile up Whiskey Creek from the cabin and ending at the gully just behind the toolshed. Later, in 1905, it was extended beyond the cabin to a point about 50 feet above Whiskey Creek bar. This flume ditch provided drinking water for the cabin and water for hydraulic mining at both the cabin and the bar.
Do Things Yourself
You learn to do things for yourself when you're in the hills. I had no wood on my side of the creek that I could get anywhere at all for firewood. When you're mining and you logged for your firewood and you logged for your cabin off your claim. --Lou Martin 1976
It took less than two weeks for Lou
to construct a log retrieval cable and dolly-cart system to get
Whiskey Creek. He strung half-inch steel cable 480 feet across
and hand-tightened it with a system of levers and pulleys, a
and hand winch. The cable came from an old elevator in
When in working condition, the cart was powered to the other side of the creek by a "donkey engine." Lou would walk over, cut the wood, load it onto the cart and let gravity take it back across the creek. The cart would pick up so much speed that the impact would jar the load loose, sending logs flying, coming to rest 15 feet from the woodshed where they were stored for the winter.
Lou died in 1977, at the age of 83, after spending most of his years at this cabin along the Rogue River. In 1976 Lou shared recollections of life in the canyon, some of which are quoted here.
A Miner's Life
Miners bought most of their groceries and supplies from mule packers traveling through the area. Lou didn't even keep a garden—he was too busy mining.
In the autumn of the year, I'd get my buck and can it into quart jars. I'd try to find the biggest and fattest one I could find up in the hills. You've got to get up high where they've got food and there's no ticks and they don’t move around so much.
Although the miners were, by nature, solitary people, they were always watching out for one another. Sometimes they had to depend on others for help.
It was always a custom in the hills that whoever came by you'd have a cup of coffee. If we heard something was wrong, we'd go right now, night or day. Otherwise, maybe once a month you'd poke your nose around. That's enough—an hour and a half. You never stayed too long or you'd wear your welcome out. You soon learned that in the hills.
All in a Day's Work
You see, when you mine for yourself, you don't put eight hours in. It's 12, 14 hours a day; time you get your breakfast, time you sweep up, do the dishes, then go to work and come in and do your cooking again. You mind's occupied all the time. In summer you get up about 4am. As soon as daylight you go to work. By 11:30am you'd have to quit because down in them canyons it gets hot. If you want to take a day off and go fishing you take a day off and go fishing. Which I did—for steelhead. After trout it'd be in Whiskey Creek, after salmon it'd be the river.
Even in the winter time, though, you're always working. If you can't mine cause the creek's too high, you cut your next year's wood. I had to use a crosscut saw. I despised that thing. I never hit first base with it. But I still had to cut my wood with it, until the cabin saws came out. Pile it up, tier it up, and be dry for the next winter. If you're going to stay always have to think ahead. Couldn't be like a grasshopper, play around all summer, wouldn't have nothin'.
My Pioneer Mother's Story: Addie Skeeters Martin 1959
Francis I. Simpson and his wife,
the Plains in 1853.
My mother, Grace Jane Simpson, 14, kept a diary while en route on that memorable trek which was six months long. She celebrated her 15th birthday en route. That was August 25, 1853.
The Simpsons, together with 14 other wagons, drawn by oxen and horses, left Missouri, May 1, 1853, and began the long trek over what was later called The Oregon Trail. The trail was composed of many happy families. My grandfather, Francis I. Simpson, was the leader, the captain of his train.
There were nine of the Simpson children who started out with the wagon train from Missouri. However, a son, the oldest, started ahead with another train. The eight remaining stayed with the train until its final destination. The youngest was Narcissus Maria, she was four years old. She always rode in the front seat of the wagon. One day, the oxen became frightened at something and ran away. The little girl thought it was a lot of fun to see the oxen running. She clapped her hands and laughed and jumped around until she fell out over the side of the wagon. There was a great deal of excitement in the camp about this time, but the little girl was not hurt badly. The oxen were subdued and all ended well.
My mother always said that there was one thing that she detested doing and that was picking up dried buffalo chips which were used for fuel. However, this disagreeable task was shared with all the other children of the train, so her misery was shared together with the others. Fuel was a very important necessity on the plains. There was no wood and only in a few spots were dried grasses to be found.
Mother often spoke of the hot springs they encountered on the trek. There they did their laundry with the hot water and rinsed in the cold. They also had an improvised "bathroom" which was a blanket held up to insure privacy. The cold water was put into large canvas bags which accompanied each wagon.
When they arrived at Grand Ronde, the first couple that they picked up on the road left camp and started out alone. The next morning, one of their oxen was missing. It was tracked to the river but no further traced of it was found. It was presumed that the man stole the ox.
The second couple, who had the little boy, offered to pay for Grandpa for his kindness, but he would accept nothing. The youngers were honest people and everyone liked them.
The 15 wagons separated at Grand Ronde. The Simpson family, with one ox and a horse forming the team for their wagon because the other ox had been stolen, made their way to The Dalles, where they sold their ox and horses. With their belongings, they boarded the old sternwheeler, the Fashion. That old boat took them to Sauvies Island, where they arrived October 30, 1853. Thus ended the trek which was six months in the making.
Grandpa Simpson had a son, by a previous marriage, living on Sauvies Island, named Horace McIntyre. He had married Narcissus Marie Miller, and had taken up a donation land claim of 720 acres. He built a comfortable home on the Island. They had several small children when the Simpsons arrived, and mother enjoyed caring for them and playing with them. They would gather the wild flowers which grew so abundantly all over the Island. Narcissus Marie Miller McIntyre was the daughter of Robert Miller and Sarah Ferguson.
In the early summer of 1854, Grandpa Simpson moved to Portland. He bought a strip of land commencing at the northeast corner of 3rd and Washington streets and extending to the Willamette River. The area was fenced and pastured the family cow. My mother tended the cow, leading it to water in a small stream which flowed from Portland Heights. She often told me that she led the cow to drink at the place where J. K. Gill's Book Store was formerly located, at 3rd and Alder streets.
My grandparents managed a boardinghouse while they lived in Portland. Since they had three daughters—my mother, Grace Jane and my aunts Catherine Thomas and Margaret Frances—old enough to wait on the tables, they were fairly successful. Little Narcissus Marie would entertain the customers with ballet dancing.
The Simpsons Move to Jacksonville
At that time, there were only three
in Portland, and one of those was operated by a colored
name of Francis. The next year, news came of another big gold
in Southern Oregon. The Simpsons traded their boardinghouse and
a good wagon and team of horses. They loaded their belongings
to the new El Dorado. Sarah Simpson was delighted with that turn
careers, as she had many relatives living in Southern Oregon—the
and the Baybees.
They first went to Sterlingville, a small mining town a few miles south of Jacksonville, and started another boardinghouse, and where the miners paid their board bills with gold nuggets, and little Narcissus Marie entertained with her beautiful dancing. The miners would reward her by throwing gold nuggets at the conclusion of her dance. She was a great favorite of all who knew her. When she passed away at the age of 18, the entire community was grief-stricken. Later, the family moved to Jacksonville where they lived in a home northwest of the courthouse which is now the museum. While they lived there, Grandma Simpson planted a grape vine which is still a center of attraction as it is so large and old.
Mother married Isaac Goodman Skeeters. The marriage ceremony, which took place in her home, was performed by my grandfather, who was justice of the peace at the time.
Isaac Skeeters was born in Kentucky on December 19, 1825. He was the son of James Skeeters and Lucy Rutledge. My dad was an acquaintance of Abe Lincoln's; they were boyhood friends. He grew to manhood in Montezuma, Indiana, and crossed the Plains in 1850. Father settled in Jacksonville, where he operated a general store. He often told of the time when there was a salt famine in camp. That is to say, there was only a small amount of salt left in his store. Therefore, he traded an ounce of salt for an ounce of gold, as long as the supply lasted—until there remained only the empty sack which held the salt. One of the miners asked that the sack be weighed and said he would pay for it with gold! With this done, the miner boiled the sack and father remarked that the miner received much more salt than by purchasing the pure salt alone, for he had salt water for quite some time.
In the spring of 1853, 11 miners from
California stopped in for supplies at I. G. Skeeters' mercantile
in Jacksonville. They began bragging that they knew how to find
Lost Cabin gold mine. Skeeters quickly gathered up ten other
and set out, using the information overheard in this store. The
financed by John
Hillman, a 21 year old who had recently returned
a successful trip to the California goldfields. They were out of
so they decided to hunt for game. As they ascended a rise to the
the hill. On June 12, three members from this party came upon a
of water sitting in a huge depression. They were spellbound with
before them. Hillman, Skeeters and Henry Klippel had dismounted
mules and stood quite speechless for several seconds. Finally,
spoke as though addressing someone far distant: "Boys, that's
lake I ever saw," and Skeeters said: "Well, let's name it Deep
Klippel then spoke up: "It's such a mysterious looking lake,
it Lake Mystery." Lack of provisions soon drove the miners down
and back to Jacksonville
(which is approximately 90 miles from Crater Lake) where they
the discovery of the lake. However, without prospects of gold
of the unknown region to the north, there was no interest in
this discovery. It was soon forgotten.
In 1882, another party of Oregon prospectors explored this area of the Cascade Range, including Crater Lake. The slip of paper containing the names of Hillman, Skeeters and Klippel—who had wound it around a stick and forced it into a crevice of a rock—was found. The leader, Chauncy Nye, subsequently wrote a short article for the Jacksonville Oregon Sentinel. His article stated, "The waters were of a deeply blue color causing us to name it Blue Lake." This piece is the first published description of the lake.
Hostilities between settlers and Indians developed in the area. In response, the US Army established Fort Klamath seven miles southeast of the present park boundary in 1863. This led to the construction of a wagon road from Prospect in the Rogue River Valley to the newly established Fort Klamath. On August 1, 1865, the lake was "rediscovered" by two hunters attached to the road crews. Several soldiers and civilians journeyed to see the how-legendary lake. One of the participants, Sgt. Orsen Stearns, was so awestruck by what he saw that he climbed down into the caldera and became the first non-indian to reach the shore of Crater Lake. Cpt. R. B. Sprague soon joined him and suggested they name Lake Majesty.
In July, 1869, newspaper editor Jim Sutton and several others decided to visit Lake Majesty and explore it by boat. By August, a canvas boat had been constructed and lowered onto the lake. Five people reached Wizard Island and spent several hours exploring the cinder cone. Sutton wrote an article describing the trip for his Jacksonville newspaper. Instead of Lake Majesty, Sutton substituted the name Crater Lake for the crater on top of Wizard Island.
My grandparents were buried in the old Jacksonville Cemetery among the blooming Madrona trees. My parents were buried in the Kerby Cemetery. Of the 11 Skeeters children, I am the only one living.
Crater Lake has long attracted the
and admiration of people all over the world. Its depth of 1,932
it the deepest lake in the United States. The lake formed after
of an ancient volcano now called
Mount Mazama. This collapse formed a caldera which
is a Spanish
work for "kettle" or "boiler" and is used by geologists to
basin-shaped volcanic depression. This eruption is estimated to
7,700 years ago. The interaction of people and this place is
for at least this many years.
Volcanic Crater Lake
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Klamaths Occupied Mount Mazama Region 7,700 Years Ago
The Amerindian connection with this area is traced back to pre-eruption. Archaeologists have found sandals and other artifacts under layers of ash, dust, and pumice from the eruption of Mount Mazama approximately 5,500 BCE. To date, there is little evidence indicating that Mount Mazama was a permanent home to people; however, it was used as a temporary camping site. Accounts of the eruption can be found in Stories told by the Klamath, who are the descendants of the Maklaks people. The Maklaks lived in an area southeast of the present park. Because information was passed down orally, there are many different versions. The Umpqua people have a similar story, using different Spirits. The Maklaks legend is as follows:
The Spirit of the Mountain was called
of the Below World (Llao). The Spirit of the Sky was called
Above World (Skell). Sometimes Lao came up from his home inside
and stood on top of Mount Mazama, one of the highest mountains
During one of these visits, he saw the Maklaks chief's beautiful
and fell in love with her. He promised her eternal life if she
with him to his lodge below the mountain. When she refused, he
and declared that h would destroy her people with fire. In his
rushed up through the opening of his Mountain and stood on top
began to hurl fire down upon them. The mighty Skell took pity on
and stood atop Mount
Shasta to defend them. From their mountaintops, the
began to wage a furious battle. They hurled red hot rocks as
They made the Earth tremble and caused great landslides of fire.
fled in terror to the waters of Klamath
Lake. Two holy men offered to sacrifice themselves
the pit of fire on top of Llao's Mountain. Skell was moved by
and drove Llao back into Mount Mazama. When the sun rose next,
Mount Mazama was gone. It had fallen in on Llao. All that
a large hole. Rain fell in torrents, filling the hole with clear
This is now called Crater Lake.
Early settlers and explorers did not hear about Crater Lake from the original inhabitants because this place is sacred to most Amerindians of Oregon and Northern California. Maklaks held fast to the belief that this place was so holy that looking upon it would lead to death. There are no stories relating to the resulting hole in the Earth and crystal blue lake after the eruption, indicating that these people became silent on the issue of Mount Mazama, the mountain that was no longer. Even today, some Native Americans choose not to view Crater Lake. Its beauty and mystery from a religious context. As you view this lake and explores this place of earthly violence and unearthly quiet, honor its sacred qualities. Llao and Skell remain just below the surface or just above us in the sky, waiting and watching.
Klamath County Created 1882
Klamath County, which has an area of 6,113 square miles, was created October 17, 1882, by the state legislature. It was taken from Lake County as sit existed at that time. It was named for the Maklaks or Klamath tribe by the white travelers. The first appearance of the name as far as the compiler knows is in a letter from Peter Skene Ogden dated Burnt River, July 1, 1826, which refers to the "Claminitt Country." On October 5, 1826, David Douglas wrote of looking into the country called "Clamite" by the natives who inhabited it. Ogden, who used the form "Clammitte" on November 5, 1826, reached the headwaters of the Klamath drainage on November 27 of that year, but indicates in his diary that McKay and McDonald, of his party had been there before. The theory has been advanced that the name originated with the French words clair metis, meaning light mist, which frequently lies above Upper Klamath Lake. The trouble with this notion is that the French style would be metis clair, and if these words mean anything, They mean a light colored half-blood. However they may be, both Indians and non-indians used the name at any early day, the former for the lakes, and the latter for the Indians. The name may be a corruption of Maklaks. Among the spellings used by early writers are: Clemmat, Clam-ath, Klamet, Clemet, Tlamath and many others. The Klamath are classed as a Lutuamian tribe, living about Upper Klamath Lake, also on Williamson and Sprague rivers. They called themselves Eukshikni, or Auksni, "the People of the Lake."
City of Klamath Falls Incorporated 1905
Klamath Falls, incorporated in 1905, is situated at the falls of Link River, where that stream flows into Lake Ewauna. The place was originally known as Linkville and was named for the Link River. The Klamath name for the place was Yulalona, or Luauna, which referred to the peculiar blowing backward of the waters of Link River during strong south winds. The Klamath name for the falls in Link River was Tiwishkeni, or rush of falling waters place. George Nurse founded the town of Linkville in 1867, and a bronze memorial tablet commemorating the event is installed in one of the concrete columns of the Link River Bridge, in the west part of Klamath Falls. The name was changed to Klamath Falls in 1892-1893.
Gold Rush China Towns
In goldrush days, there were several Chinatowns in the California gold country, but most of them gradually disappeared as the gold-mining industry declined. Chinese were in Hawaii in 1794 and in Los Angeles and San Diego either at the same time as they reached San Francisco or soon after. By the 1850s, some 10,000 Chinese passed on into Washington and Oregon following the mining discoveries there. There were 1,200 in Jackson and Josephine counties in 1857.
Chinese Miners in Oregon
There’s a dry open look to the forests
the Applegate. The pre-brown bark of the Madrona trees and
glows against shiny green foliage. The land wears traces of
mining heritage. One of mining's more diligent practitioners was
whose mining site is still visible south of Ruch, just past the
on the Gin
Gin Lin began mining here in 1881. It's staggering to imagine
of work involved in mining this site—miles of trenches dug,
and no small amount of gold washed into the sluices. By the time
returned home to China, he had deposited over a million dollars
gold dust in the Jacksonville bank. According to one source, Gin
robbed and fatally beaten as he got off the return ship to
Gin Lin wasn't the only Chinese miner in the area. Many Chinese men came to work in California and drifted to other Oregon gold strikes. The Chinese didn't usually settle permanently—they faced discrimination (by unfair taxes as well as unfair attitudes), and they were expected by their own families to return to China. Once the gold played out, young Chinese men tended to do railroad work or work as cooks, launderers, and general household helpers.
In 1968, Edith Moore of the Days Creek-Tiller area recalled:
A whole book could be written about the mining era of the country, with many stories available concerning Coffee Creek, Shivelery, Pats Creek and many of the smaller tributaries. Chinese were brought in to work some of these spots with veritable villages being built, including commissaries, bunkhouses and workshops.
In the days of placer mining in the
Northwest and particularly near Lewiston there were a great many
panning for gold, and there are China bars, China creeks and
in many parts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. It was at these
large colonies of Chinese carried on their mining operations.
lies at the mouth of a long draw named Alkali
Canyon. Most of the year this canyon is dry but when
branch of the Union Pacific was built in 1904, a drainage ditch
alongside the railroad grade. Much of the work was done by
When the job was finished, one family stayed and built a laundry
the ditch which was soon known as China Ditch.
The John Day Kam Wah Chung & Company Museum is a unique historical site. The building, constructed as a trading post on The Dalles Military Road in 1860s for the Chinese Community in Eastern Oregon until the early 1940s. The original building now contains thousands of artifacts and relics which illustrate the many former uses of the site... as a general store, pharmacy, doctor's office, Chinese temple and home. In 1887, two young immigrants, Ing Hay and Lung On, bought the Kam Wah Chung & Company building, constructed in the 1860s. They became important and honored members of the local community. With their home in the Kam Wah Chung building, they were major participants in the building of the dynamic economy and culture of Eastern Oregon. The development of that economy and culture is uniquely represented in today’s John Day Kam Wah Chung Museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
North of Granite, are rock walls in the stream bottom made by Chinese miners 100 years ago. They built the walls by hand moving large boulders to work the gravel and sand beneath.
On Telegraph Hill, in the northern end of Coos Bay, is a Chinese Cemetery, relic of the days when Oriental labor was imported to work in the coal mines. According to Chinese custom, many of the bodies have been exhumed and sent back to China.
In addition to railroad construction, work as cooks, launderers, and general household helpers, Chinese laborers worked in the salmon canneries on the Oregon Coast.
In 1968, Helen Sullivan Couglar of Canyonville recalled:
In early days, hundreds of Chinamen were employed in the mining from Canyonville to Riddle. After they were gone, one of the younger ones stayed here and became a cook at the Overland Hotel for many years.
Florence was the hub of the central
fishing and lumber industry. The salmon canning industry, a
year industry in the late 1800s, employed great numbers of
The clean and cut the fish, cut the metal and formed the cans,
the lids shut on the filled and steaming cans. Most Chinese
in their own community.
The names of many geographical features in Oregon have names reminiscent of a Chinese presence.
China Cap, in the southwest part of Wallowa Mountains, bears a close similarity to the hats worn by Chinese miners throughout the Pacific Northwest in the early days of development. The same is true for China Hat, a butte east of Paulina Mountains.
Arlington lies at the mouth of a long draw named Alkali Canyon. Most of the year this canyon is dry but when the Condon branch of the Union Pacific was built in 1904, a drainage ditch was dug alongside the railroad grade. Much of the work was done by Chinese laborers. When the job was finished, one family stayed and built a laundry West of the ditch which was soon known as China Ditch.
The Western Mountain States
The Chinese then moved into the western mountain states such as Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Arizona in the 1860s and 1870s. In these states, new Chinatowns were gradually established, such as in Portland (1851) or Seattle (1860). After completion of the first continental railway eased their way, the Chinese immigrants in 1869-1870 passed on into Chicago and St. Louis (1870); Mississippi (1869); New York and Philadelphia (1869); Boston (1870); Augusta, Georgia (1873); and Minnesota (1870s). They reached, and some of them settled in, El Paso when 1,200 of them, working on the Southern Pacific's most southerly transcontinental line, passed that point.
Kerby is a very old community in Oregon, and was established in the days of gold mining in the southwest part of the state. It was named for James Kerby or Kerbey, who was consistent in the way he spelled his last name. The name of the community has had even more variations. Josephine County was established by an act passed January 22, 1856, and it was provided that the county seat was to be selected at the next county election. Among the polling places was listed Kerbey's Ranch. Kerby and Samuel Hicks were in the general mercantile and supply business, and according to James T. Chinnock of Grants Pass, in a letter in the Grants Pass Courier, December 21, 1928, probably founded a town for the county seat race. The election was held in June 1857, and Kerbyville was selected. In 1857-1858, Dr. D. S. Holton got a large interest in the town of Kerbyville. He was probably responsible for an act of the legislature December 18, 1856, changing the name of Kerbyville to Napoleon. This was either because of the association of the name of the county and the Empress Josephine, or because Holton was an admirer of Napoleon III. The new name was not popular. In the autumn of 1860 the house passed a bill to change the name from Napoleon to Kerbyville, but on October 10, Holton succeeded in getting the bill referred to the senate judiciary committee, where it is still embalmed. The county commissioners used the name Napoleon for a short time, but seem to have dropped it in favor of Kerbyville about April 1860. A list of county seats in the Oregon Statesman, February 11, 1861, includes Kerbyville, and that is the name that was used for a good many years, despite the fact that the legislature declined to restore it. Later still the name was changed to Kerby in the interest of simplicity, and Kerby it now is. The name of the first post office has had a much simpler history. Kerby office was established in September 1856, with James Kerbey postmaster. It is still operating with the original name. It is said that in the mining days one of the founders of the original town brought a pool table on his pack train from Crescent City. The table was intended for another mining camp, but on arrival near the site of the present town of Kerby, the mule packing the principal part of the table strayed away one night, loaded, and the weight of his load was so great that he died before morning. The packer concluded that the location was as good a place for a pool hall as any, and after burying the mule, set up shop on the spot. On December 4, 1937, the Grants Pass Courier printed an interview with B. Kerbey Short of Auburn, Washington, in which Short said he was a grandson of the man for whom Kerby was named and that the family spelling was Kerbey. It seems improbable that the name of the community will be changed.
Chapter 26: Chinese Slavery
So venerated were white women during
California goldrush because of their rarity that they were
by men almost beyond life itself. This was not true for women of
who were subject to physical abuse, sexual exploitation, or
Men who had previously lived contentedly with Indian women were dubbed "squaw men" and a number abandoned their families in the face of social stigma.
In the California mining area Latino men tried to protect the women. It is no accident of myth-making that the legendary Joaquin Murietta, famed bandit of frontier California, is portrayed as having been driven to a life of crime when non-latino men assaulted his wife, Rosita. In the Latino version of the Joaquin saga, Rosita rides by his side in the raids of vengeance upon the gringos.
Madam Ah Toy 1850
Tall and with an ivory complexion, Ah
Toy in her youth was so beautiful that when news of
reached the goldfields in that land bereft of women, miners put
picks and shovels and traveled a hundred miles to San Francisco
look at her. She had arrived in the city alone with her amah and
her salon in a courtyard on Clay Street between Dupont (now
She gave no favors to anyone but charged an ounce of gold dust (at $18 an ounce) just for the privilege of looking at her face. Men lined up in an queue that stretched for a block or more. At the height of her fame in the early 1850s, when the boat from Sacramento touched shore men would leap from the gunwhales and race to her courtyard in hopes of catching a glimpse of her. She was as famous in her day as Lola Montez the dancer was in hers.
Legend has embellished the hard facts contained in the city's police and court records. She once had two miners arrested for trying to pass off brass filings as gold. Her appearance in court before police judge George Baker in this case was a sensation. She pointed out a number of others among the spectators as having committed a like deception on her. Their confusion was obvious. Yet, notwithstanding a basin full of brass filings that she fetched in for the judge to see, she lost the case.
In a remarkable show of spirit, she soon appeared in court again, this time as an unlicensed advocate, to defend a woman friend accused of beating a gentleman named Jonathan Nissum. Ah Toy eloquently pleaded that the beating had been provoked because Nissum had neglected to pay a certain debt. However, she lost this case too, and the defendant had to pay a fine of $20.
When she appeared again in San Francisco, it was as the first madam of its emerging Chinatown and owner of a flourishing brothel at her Clay Street address. Several nice shanties in the courtyard had been occupied by gentlemen who had been forced to move on account of the goings-on there. But when Madam Ah Toy was served with a complaint for keeping a house of ill fame, she showed that she had learned the law and the case was dismissed by Judge R. H. Waller of the recorder's court.
Madam Ah Toy, several times married, lived to a venerable age. Unlike tens of thousands [of women] in her line of work, she is now enshrined in the hall of famous memories of this remarkable city, which admires enterprise, courage, and the sort of character that could cope with the hazards of survival in the Wild West. It is a commentary on the times that the business she engaged in was one of the very few that in those days could give her an independent living.
We have long stereotyped 19th Century
immigrant women as prostitutes, and as with all stereotypes, the
contains some truth. In the first pathbreaking article on
women, Lucie Cheng estimated that the proportion of prostitutes
Chinese female population in San Francisco was 85 percent in
percent in 1870. These lurid numbers fueled anti-Chinese
resulting in enactment of the Pace Act of 1875 and the Chinese
Act of 1882, which excluded most women by portraying them all as
Though the faces of Chinese pioneer women have been even less visible than those of most women in the American West, they are essential to any accurate picture—not in the passive, simplistic stereotypes of prostitutes and imported wives that texts have customarily shown, but in the details of their individual vitality.
The independent woman who "makes out," as It were, has only recently begun to emerge; she belies traditional stereotypes and forces us to look at Chinese immigrant women, Chinese American culture, and western history from a new angle. It is not the hardships and horrors that Chinese pioneer women have had to endure, then, that tell the final tale, nor how many numbers women totaled in relation to men. It is rather the deeds that individual women performed and the courageous independence with which they responded to circumstances. It is the fight they waged for the survival of themselves, their families, and valued cultural traditions.
Chinese tradition may have dictated that no "decent" woman could travel, yet Judy Yung clearly shows Chinese women immigrating to the Western Frontier as early as Chinese men. The first recorded of these women, Marie Seise, stepped off a ship named The Eagle in San Francisco in 1848 as the servant of a family of traders, the Gillespies of New York. Lest her journey sound trivial, it is worth emphasizing the route Marie traversed before meeting the Gillespies: She ran away from her parents in China to avoid being sold, worked as a servant in Macao, married a Portuguese sailor, and moved as a servant with another family to the Sandwich Islands after the sailor deserted her. Marie Seise was obviously determined, at whatever expense, to chart her own course.
Nor was Seise alone. Another "China Mary"—a generic name, Young explains, ascribed to many Chinese immigrant women by their new frontier neighbors—ran away from her home in China when she was nine, had made her way to Canada at age 13, outlived two husbands, and then moved to Sitka, Alaska, where she survived as a fisherwoman, hunter and prospector, restaurant keeper, nurse, laundress, and official matron of the Sitka jail. Yet another, Yuen, similarly outlived three husbands and was said to have been "the toast of her countrymen" in the Wyoming mining and railroad camps where she cooked during Pony Express days. Another notable woman was Mary Tape, who sailed from Shanghai with missionaries at age 11, then married and lived in California. Mary Tape worked as an interpreter and contractor of labor, taught herself photography and telegraphy, and, when they tried to bar her daughter from public schools, won a case against the San Francisco Board of Education in court.
Slaves and Small Humans
To appreciate the odds these women
in the ways they responded to life’s experience, despite rules
on either side of the Pacific had charted for them—we need to
positions traditionally assigned to women in both China and the
mid-19th Century. Amy Ling notes that Confucius classified women
slaves and small humans" and further cites that "a code
and training of women, called the Three Obediences and Four
promulgated by imperial decree throughout China and remained
effective ...until the early 20th Century." Basically, this code
that a woman must "obey her father before marriage, her husband
and her oldest son after her husband's death"—all roles of
sanctioned by conventions so ancient that to defy them was to
the sacred. When the injunction is added that no "decent" woman
Chinese upper or middle class could travel even to a shop in the
without escort and covered face, it became obvious that a
the Pacific would have taken some courage. Once she arrived, the
US Chinatowns applied these same restrictions for women of the
middle classes. Yet of the "protection" Sojourner Truth
Century African American women—none at all. In the words of the
in Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior, "Girls are maggots in
the need arose, they could be sold. Such a transaction forced
females into journeys of which the old doctrine took no account.
Added to her subordination by gender in the American West, the Chinese immigrant woman also faced, on that US side of the waters, hostile immigration laws and dehumanizing stereotypes imposed by the Westerners on all Chinese. The writer Edith Maud Eaton (Si Sin Far) (1865-1914) refers to this when she describes being told by an editor, "I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that the Chinese are humans like ourselves; their faces seem so utterly void of expression that I cannot help but doubt." The dehumanization assumed in the editor's remark becomes a mockery when viewed alongside the courageous ingenuity of women such as Marie Seise who were determined to have a voice in their own journeys, whatever the odds. The gap between the editor's stereotype and the complex human details of Chinese pioneer women's everyday lives proves the editor's ignorance.
Equally removed from reality was the stereotype Sui Sin Far confronted when she was advised that "to succeed in literature in America I should dress in Chinese costume, carry a fan in my hand, wear a pair of scarlet beaded slippers, live in New York, and come of high birth." The posed China Doll Sui Sin Far was invited to emulate reflected a popular conception of both the Chinese noblewoman and the successful courtesan and hearkened back to the days when Chinese women were brought by entrepreneurs and exhibitors to the US. Like a doll, a woman named Pwan Yekoo was displayed at Barnum's Chinese Museum in 1850, eating with chopsticks, playing Chinese musical instruments, and twinkling her tiny "fairy feet (only two and a half inches long)." But as historian Lucie Cheng Hirata shows, in reality most Chinese immigrant women in the 19th Century were working-class wage earners and wives. Besides cooking and cleaning and making clothing and shoes for her own family, the immigrant woman—in common with most other pioneer women of America's West—usually worked also at sewing, cooking, and cleaning for others, along with doing laundry and gardening. Quock Jung Mey's mother sailed to Monterey, California, where she gave birth to her daughter in 1859 and worked throughout her life at baiting fishing hooks, processing each day's catch, and gathering seaweed.
Chinese Slaves and Prostitutes in the West
In the first years of the goldrush
Chinese women were brought to North America to serve as slaves
for men of every racial descent, on a western frontier where few
of any race existed and were sexual pressure was increased on
immigrants by miscegenation laws that forbade them to marry or
with non-oriental women.
Dorothy Gray, author of Women of the West, however, is quick to point out that it was scarcely fair to term them "women." Many of the slaves hidden in Chinatowns's teeming alleys and crannies were girls as young as ten or 12. In some cases slavers actually owned girl babies whom they would raise to a more profitable maturity as household slaves or prostitutes. Gray writes:
The girl slave’s life was cruel to the extreme. Of course they got neither the payment for their sale or debauching, nor any of the income from their prostitution. They went out a few times a month under heavy guard to "take the air." The rules were like those of a medieval prelate's prison. Beatings were common, and burning with a hot iron was done, but since that would mark the merchandise it was only for extreme cases. Failure to please a customer of any kind and in any condition brought starvation, flogging... Some people who have studied the condition have stated that a crib girl lasted from six to eight years at her degrading task. The frugal owner, when a girl became diseased, broken-minded, senile before her time, often made her "escape" to the Salvation Army, thus avoiding the problem of disposing of a worn-out item. If the owners of slave girls had to end the career of a crib inmate themselves, they provided what was called "hospitals."
A newspaper reporter found conditions grim:
When any of the unfortunate harlots is no longer useful and a Chinese physician passes his opinion that her disease is incurable, she is notified that she must die... Led by night to this hole of a "hospital," she is forced within the door and made to lie down upon the shelf. A cup of water, another of boiled rice, and a little metal oil lamp are placed by her side... Those who have immediate charge of the establishment know how long the oil should last, and when the limit is reached they return to the "hospital" unbar the door and enter ...Generally the woman is dead, either by starvation or from her own hand.
An white madam wrote of the Chinese slave trade in her memoirs:
When I got to San Francisco in 1898, I had as a laundry woman an old Harridan named Lai Chow, who was once a slave girl, brought in for the "sports" in Little China (Chinatown). She told me she came in with 12-year-old girls, two dozen of them in padded crates billed as "dishware."
An even more extreme case of the baby
brought to the US by a "grandmother" who had purchased the baby
in China and planned to raise her as an "investment" in future
merchandise, in actuality, is what the enslaved female became
course of her journey.
A method that superficially sounds more legitimate was the "contract," similar to indentured servitude except that the women whose lives were quite literally being laid on the line could neither read nor write. They "signed" not with a name but with a thumbprint affixed to the bottom of the document after the deal had been settled. Simple purchase was frequent. Hirata tells of an old woman slave in California who had been resold four times, the first at age seven when her way of fighting against banishment from home and family was to cry and hide under the bed. If all else failed, there was kidnapping, as in the case of the woman who was invited by a man to tour a streamer anchored at the dock in Shanghai, then found herself sailing across the Pacific in the bottom of the coal bucket he had pushed her into.
Female Slavery: A Chinese-American Cooperative Venture
The usual attitude in the US was to
the Chinese exclusively for this trade in female slavery. But
have to seek far to find a more mutually cooperative
in the 19th Century than the enslavement of these Chinese women.
Historian Dorothy Gray describes the dual responsibility:
The system had its roots in the culture of the homeland China where prostitution and slavery were open practices. But in America the slave system of prostitution contravened the most essential aspect of law and was possible only through the continued connivance of American officials who amassed fortunes in graft.
This point again illustrates how the
woman was often caught between the repressive aspects of her
culture and the unbridled exploitation of the new capitalism.
The enslaved immigrant woman's immediate destination was customarily San Francisco, where she was held in a kind of underground warehouse termed a "barracoon." There—unless a purchase had been made in advance—she was put up for bid. Her purchaser might be a Chinatown merchant seeking a slave wife. It might be the owner of a local brothel. It might be, in the case of Lalu Nathoy, who became Polly Bemis, a saloonkeeper from an Idaho mining camp, a transaction causing her journey to swerve from urban to rural.
Lalu Nathoy was a slave girl, brought to Grangeville, Idaho from China when she was 19, and won by Charles Bemis, who aced out her Chinese master in a poker game. Bemis protected "Polly" from the burly miners in the dance hall where she worked, and, when he was shot in the eye after a poker quarrel, Polly nursed him back to health. After they were married, Polly lived on a ranch near the Salmon River where she grew plums, pears, grapes, and cherries and raised chickens and cows. "She was gentle and kind to all and had many friends," we learned from Sister M. Alfreda Eisensohn, who has collected many of Polly's memorabilia at the convent at Cottonwood. Polly, who died in 1933 when she was 80 years old, is buried here. A tiny pagoda is carved on her tombstone.
Although Lalu led a long life, Yung notes that "prostitutes could meet with no worse fate than to be banished to the mining camps, where they led lives as harsh as they were short."
Emancipation Proclamation Ex-Cludes Chinese Females
Altogether, evidence indicates that the enslavement of Chinese immigrant women was the most widely known secret in the American West in the mid-19th Century. In the same era that Lincoln was signing the Emancipation Proclamation to freed black slaves in the Confederacy, Gray estimates that several thousand Chinese females a year were being smuggled through San Francisco's immigrant station to be sold into slavery. Public knowledge of the slave trade was such that, in 1869, the San Francisco Chronicle could report the arrival of a ship from China in this manner:
The particular fine portions of the cargo, the fresh and pretty females who came from the interior, are used to fill special orders from wealthy merchants and prosperous tradesmen. A very considerable portion are sent into the interior... in answer to demands from well-to-do miners and successful vegetable producers.
The slave trade continued in full force in San Francisco's Chinatown right up until the 1920s:
It seems impossible that people made little or no protest against the vice and horror of the slave girls of Chinatown, so near the good cuisine at Marchands and the Poodle Dog. The early "scorchers" rushed by on the first cycles in Golden Gate Park, the Gibson girls went boating on the ferryboat El Capitan singing "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home." And the town remained docile, passive, and yet somehow uneasy over the inhumanity of actual slavery in a major American city.
Protestant Mission Houses and the Anti-Slavery Reform Movement in the West
Protestant mission houses, opening on
edges of Chinatown during the Progressive Era, offered an option
to escape prostitution. Launching what was as close to an
movement as the West would experience, the christian missions
connection with China. Missionaries coming from China frequently
converts back, and those in American Chinatowns, as noted by
to be a vital link" in joining homebound immigrant wives to a
this small flats.
Margaret Culbertson, director of the Presbyterian Chinese Mission later to achieve fame as San Francisco's Cameron House, issued a challenge in regard to prostituted immigrant women: "Cannot anyone suggest a plan to remedy this evil?" Writers of purple prose were fond of scenes in which runaway women slaves fell at the feet of pallid policemen, begging for help. The lawmen, if they did not hand the women back to the "highbinders," usually passed them along to the Presbyterian mission. This was especially true after the arrival of Donaldina Cameron, who set about to free enslaved Chinatown women with a fervor causing Dorothy Gray to term her "the most active and daring freedom fighter in the history of the West."
More than 3,000 young and innocent Chinese women who were being sold into prostitution and slavery were rescued during 40 years of tireless work by Donaldina Cameron, "Lo Mo"—Little Mother—to those grateful children. As manager of the Chinese Presbyterian Mission Home from 1895 on, Cameron would assist the police in their raids on brothels and go to court to prevent the vile traders from reclaiming the women they dishonestly called "their wives." Cameron cared for the women who had no homes, always respecting their culture and educating them in its traditions. Many give credit to Cameron's bold and timely efforts for the passage of the Red Light Abatement Act of 1914 which helped eradicate large-scale prostitution in Chinatown.
The Chinese Exclusion Act 1882
In 1882 the US government enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act, which stopped all Chinese women, except the wives (or wives-to-be) of Chinese American merchants, from being admitted as legal immigrants. The value of the wife of a merchant thus stood very high, as a measure that parallels in some ways, yet differs profoundly from, the value of women prostitutes during the earlier years. Merchants' wives were brought to North America from China to begin raising families, implicitly making possible the establishment of permanent communities in the new world—a threat to the European-based cultures of Canada and the US that later exclusionary legislation in both countries would attempt to eliminate.
Chinese in Oregon
• 1851: Sung Sung was the first person of
ancestry to settle in Oregon.
• 1867: The first Chinese Temple or "Jesse House" was built in Oregon and dedicated to Kuan-yin, a revered Buddhist saint.
• 1890: The Chinese Consolidate Benevolent Association was established in Oregon. It reorganized in 1910 and incorporated in 1911.
• 1915: Portland Chapter of Chinese American Citizens Alliance Formed. The organization of the native Sons of the Golden State in San Francisco in 1895 marked the start of a new period in the history of the Chinese community in America. It was organized by the increasing number of native-born Chinese Americans determined to secure and defend their civil rights as American citizens, Chinese with votes. By 1915, under their new name of Chinese American Citizens Alliance, they had additional chapters in Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, Houston, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Diego, Salinas, Oakland, and Portland, Oregon. Their newspaper, the Chinese Times, founded in 1921, had the largest circulation of any Chinese language newspaper in the country. Their 1913 success in blocking the proposal by state senator Camminetti to disenfranchise Chinese Americans brought them prestige, but the elitist character of the organization, Republican-oriented and primarily of and for businessmen and professionals, led to its gradual decline and ability to gain a wider constituency.
Xenophobia and the Experience of Chinese Women in the West
In the words of Benson Tong about prostituted Chinese women, the "not only survived subjugation but also, in many cases, summoned the strength to change their fate." Moreover, the dynamics of Chinese pioneer women's participation in the American westering experience shifts the shape of the whole. It cannot be claimed that Chinese immigrant women did not suffer oppression or that they were always able to overcome it. It is obvious, first, that they came up against as many difficulties as did other pioneer women, and, second, that these difficulties were multiplied because they were of Chinese descent in a racist society during an era of extreme Xenophobia. Nevertheless, the above examples clearly demonstrate the courage and independence of Chinese pioneer women and the vital roles they played in the creation of an emerging Chinese American culture.
Changing Patterns of Chinatowns in the Pacific Northwest
From the 1850s till today, Chinatowns
displayed a changing pattern not only in their nature but in
Chinese communities spread to the northwestern states of Washington and Oregon at an early date as the lumber industry, mining, and salmon canneries developed there in the early and mid-1850s. In the 1860s and 1870s, they moved to Idaho and Montana to work in the mining industries. All the smaller Chinatowns disappeared during the exclusion period. Only the larger ones in Portland and Seattle have survived. In the lumber areas, Chinese were mainly cooks and storekeepers.
The number of Chinese miners were not large. In 1870, there were 7,740 in the four states, with 234 on the Columbia River. A young Chinese named Chin Chun Hook arrived in Seattle in 1860 and in 1868 opened a general good store by the waterfront. This was the beginning of Seattle's Chinatown, which grew in numbers when coal mining and the railway came to the area. They worked in the Yesler Saw Mill and followed their usual occupations as laundrymen, domestics, restaurant and hotel keepers, and cigar makers. As in California, when the economy faltered in 1873 and 1875, the Chinese became the scapegoats and were driven out of most northwestern towns. In Seattle, of the 350 forced out of their homes, 196 were shipped to San Francisco on the Queen of the Pacific on February 7, 1886. A week later, 110 were shipped out on the George W. Elder. Federal troops stopped the riot there.
But the growing Northwest needed labor and the Chinese had their defenders. Chinatown managed to hold on. Chinese worked on the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909 and the Lake Washington Ship Canal in 1910-1915. Seattle Chinatown had a single Overseas Chinese Benevolent Association uniting people of all districts and family names. The community grew back to over 7,500 in the 1970s and more modern types of social organizations were formed.
Chapter 26: Railroad West
Without the "Chinaman's" knowledge and respect for explosive powders, ability to work on the side of near vertical cliffs at dizzying heights and survive hardships which white men could not endure the Central Pacific would never have been completed when it was but much later. --R. W. Howard, The Great Iron Trail
The Chinese filled swamps, cut into mountains, dug tunnels, built bridges. As one historian notes, "The work was so obviously needed and all groups and areas vied with each other to build a railroad in their area, so that they would have welcomed the devil himself had he built a road. The lack of white laborers was too evident to cause even the most ardent anti-Chinese to resent their employment on such work." --Robert E. Wynne, Reaction to the Chinese in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia
The expansion of the railroad system
US was astonishingly swift. England had pioneered the building
and for a time was the acknowledged leader in the field, but
sighted saw railways as the obvious solution for transport
spaces of the American continent. By 1850, 9,000 miles of rails
laid in the eastern states and up to the Mississippi. The
and the opening of the American West made talk about a
line more urgent. As too often happens, war spurred the
The West was on. California was a rich and influential state, but a wide unsettled belt of desert, plain, and mountains separated it and Oregon from the rest of the states. As the economic separation of North and South showed, this situation was fraught with danger. It could lead to a political rift. In 1860, it was cheaper and quicker to reach San Francisco from Canton in China—a six-day voyage by sea—than from the Missouri River, six months away by wagon. The urgent need was to link California firmly with the industrialized eastern states and their 30,000 miles of railways. A railway would cut the journey by a week. The threat of Civil War loomed larger between North and South over the slavery issue. Abraham Lincoln's Republican administration saw a northern transcontinental railway as a means to outflank the south by drawing the western states closer to the North. In 1862, Congress voted funds to build the 2,500-mile-long railway. It required enormous resourcefulness and determination to get this giant project off the drawing boards. Not much imagination was required to see its necessity, but the actual building presented daunting difficulties. It was calculated that its cost would mount to $100 million, double the federal budget of 1861.
It was Theodore Judah, described by his contemporaries as "Pacific Railroad Crazy," who began to give substance to the dream. An eastern engineer who had come west to build the short Sacramento Valley Railroad, he undertook a preliminary survey and reported that he had found a feasible route crossing the Sierra by way of Dutch Flat. But the mainly small investors who supported his efforts could not carry through the whole immense undertaking. With rumors of Civil War between North and South, San Francisco capitalists, mostly Southerners, boycotted the scheme as a northern plot, and pressed for a southern route.
The Big Four: Stanford, Huntington, Hopkins and Crocker 1849
Then the Big Four, Sacrament merchants, took
the challenge: Leland
Stanford (1824-1893) as president, Collis P.
Mark Hopkins as treasurer, and Charles Crocker, in charge of
formed the Central
Railway Company. Judah was elbowed out.
The Big Four came as gold seekers in 1849 or soon after but found that there was more money to be made in storekeeping than in scabbling in the rocks in mountains. As Republicans, they held the state for the Union against the secessionists. Leland Stanford, the first president of the Central Pacific, was also the first Republican governor of California.
The beginnings were not auspicious. The Union Pacific was building from Omaha in the East over the Plains to the Rockies, but supplies had to come in by water or wagon because the railways had not yet reached Omaha. The Civil War now raged and manpower, materials and funds were hard to get. The Indians were still contesting invasion of their lands. By 1864, however, with the Civil War ending, these problems were solved.
Union Pacific Hires Indian Women to Build Line 1864
The UP hired Civil War veterans, Irish
fleeing famine and even Indian women, and the line began to move
In his paper, "Toledo, Oregon 1866-1900," Oregon historian Robert Johnston wrote:
...the Indians provided free labor for the very important task of building roads, as long as they were fed—and they would refuse to work if not fed.
The Central Pacific, building eastward
Sacramento, had broken ground on January 8, 1863, but in 1864,
money and labor problems, It had built only 31 miles of track.
even more intractable manpower problem than the UP. California
populated, and the gold mines, homesteading, and other lucrative
offered stiff competition for labor. Brought to the railhead,
of every five men quit immediately and took off for the better
of the new Nevada silver strikes. Even Charles Crocker, boss of
and raging like a mad bull in the railway camps. Could not
In the winter of 1864, the company had only 600 men working on
when it had advertised for 5,000. Up to then, only non-oriental
been recruited and California laborers were still motivated by
syndrome. They wanted quick wealth, not hard, regimented railway
After two years only 50 miles of track had been laid.
James Strobridge, superintendent of construction, testified to the 1876 Joint Congressional Committee on Chinese immigration:
[These] were unsteady men, unreliable. Some would not go to work at all ...Some would stay until pay day, get a little money, get drunk and clear out.
Something drastic had to be done.
In 1858, 50 Chinese had helped to build the California Central Railroad from Sacramento to Marysville. In 1860, Chinese were working on the San Jose Railway and giving a good account of themselves, so it is surprising that there was so much hesitation about employing them on the Central Pacific's western end of the first transcontinental railway. Faced with a growing crisis of no work done and mounting costs, Crocker suggested hiring Chinese. Strobridge strongly objected:
I will not boss Chinese. I don't think they could build a railroad.
Leland Stanford was also reluctant. He had advocated exclusion of the Chinese from California and was embarrassed to reverse himself. Crocker, Huntington, Hopkins, and Stanford, the "Big Four" of the Central Pacific, were all merchants in hardware, dried goods, and groceries in the little town of Sacramento. Originally, they knew nothing about railroad building. Wasted time was wasted money. The CP's need for labor was critical. The men they already had were threatening to strike. Finally 50 Chinese were hired for a trial.
Union Pacific Hires Chinese to Build Transcontinental Railroad 1865
In February 1865, they marched up in self-formed gangs of 12 to 20 men with their own supplies and cooks for each mess. They ate a meal of rice and dried cuddlefish, washed and slept, and early next morning were ready for work filling dump carts. Their discipline and grading—preparing the ground for track laying—delighted Strobridge. Soon 50 more were hired, and finally some 15,000 had been put on the payroll. Crocker was enthusiastic:
They prove nearly equal to white men in the amount of labor they perform, and are much more reliable. No danger of strikes among them. We are training them to all kinds of labor: blasting, driving horses, handling rock as well as pick and shovel.
Countering Strobridge's argument that the
were "not masons," Crocker pointed out that the race that built
Wall could certainly build a railroad culvert. Up on the Donner
Pass today the fine stonework embankments built by
serving well after 100 years.
Charles Nordhoff, an acute observer, reports Strobridge telling him, "[The Chinese] learn all parts of the work easily." Nordhoff says he saw them
...employed on every kind of work... They do not drink, fight or strike; they do gamble, if it is not prevented, and it is always said of them that they are very cleanly in their habits. It is the custom, among them, after they have had their suppers every evening, to bathe with the help of small tubs. I doubt if the white laborers do as much.
As well he might. Well-run boardinghouses in
in those days proudly advertised that they provided guests with
Their wages at the start were $28 a month (26 working days), and they furnished all their own food, cooking utensils, and tents. The headman of each gang, or sometimes an American employed as clerk by them received all the wages and handed them out to the members of the work gang according to what had been earned. "Complete and wonderfully effective because tireless and unremitting in their industry," they worked from sun-up to sun-down.
All observers remarked on the frugality of the Chinese. This was not surprising in view of the fact that, with a strong sense of filial duty, they came to America in order to save money and return as soon as possible to their homes and families in China. So their dwellings were of the simplest, and they usually dressed poorly. In Land of Gold, Hinton Rowan Helper finds their mere appearance and habit of dress is "uncouth" and offensive.
[John Chinaman's feet enclosed in rude wooden shoes, his legs bare, his breeches loosely flapping against his knees, his skirtless, long-sleeved, big-bodied pea-jacket, hanging in large folds around his waist, his broad-brimmed chapeau rocking carelessly on his head, and his cue [sic] suspended and gently sweeping around his back! I can compare him to nothing so appropriately as a tadpole walking upon stilts.!
However, they ate well:
...rice and vermicelli (noodles) garnished with meats and vegetables, fish, dried oysters, cuttlefish, bacon and pork, and chicken on holidays, abalone meat, five kinds of dried vegetables, bamboo shoots, seaweed, salted cabbage, and mushroom, four kinds of dried fruit, and peanut oil and tea.
This diet shows a considerable degree of
and balance compared to the beef, beans, potatoes, bread, and
Stereotypically, the Chinese are identified with eating dogs and cats, animals that are domesticated but not raised for food. The consumption of dogs and cats is the most common image of Chinese foodways; typical of these images are these stanzas from Luke Schoolcraft's "Heathen Chinee."
Lady she am vellie good, plenty chow chow
She live way up top side house,
Take a little pussy cat and a little bow wow
Boil em in a pot of stew with a little mouse
Hi! hi! hi!
Some say pig meat make good chow chow
Too much largie, no muchie small
Up sky, down sky, down come chow chow
Down come a pussy cat, bow wow and all
Hi! hi! hi!
The Chinese are also identified as eating mice and rats, animals considered filthy and disease-carrying and therefore dangerous and polluting. In the last stanza of Billy Rice's "Chinese Ball," the visitor recounts an imagined Chinese supper.
For supper we had red-eyed cats
And boot-legs stuffed with fleas.
We had fish boiled in castor oil,
Fried clams and elephant knees,
We had sauerkraut and pickled meuse,
And oysters on the half-shell.
We had Japanese tea in the key of G,
Which made us feel quite well.
Other supplies were purchased from the shop maintained by a Chinese merchant contractor in one of the railway cars that followed them as they carried the railway line forward. Here they could buy
pipes, tobacco, bowls, chopsticks, lamps, Chinese-style shoes of cotton with soft cotton soles, and ready-made clothing imported from China.
On Sundays, they rested, did their
and gambled. They were prone to argue noisily, but did not
with whiskey and make themselves unfit for work on Monday. Their
was much appreciated by their employers.
According to Violet Updike (1893-1980), who grew up in Oysterville, Chinese laborers were a tight knit group:
We had Chinese laborers who came in here and worked on the railroad. They were always ignored. Nobody made an issue of their being here. They worked in our salmon canneries in Waldport and Oysterville. But they lived off to themselves. They were here during the pack season and then they were gone.
Curtis, the engineer in charge, described them as "the best roadbuilders in the world." The once skeptical Strobridge, a smart, pushing Irishman, also now pronounced them "the best in the world." Leland Stanford described them in a report on October 10, 1865, to Andrew Jackson:
As a class, they are quiet, peaceable, patient, industrious, and economical. More prudent and economical [than white laborers] they are contented with less wages. We find them organized for mutual aid and assistance. Without them, it would be impossible to complete the western portion of this great national enterprise within the time required by the act of Congress.
Crocker testified before the congressional
that "if we found that we were in a hurry for a job of work, it
to put on Chinese at once." All these men had originally
of Chinese on the railway.
Four-fifths of the grading labor from Sacramento to Ogden was done by Chinese. In a couple of years more, of 13,400 workers on the payroll, 12,000 were Chinese. They were nicknamed "Crocker's Pets."
Stanford Wills Permanent Employment for Chinese
The Chinese crews won their reputation the hard way. They outperformed Cornish men brought in at extra wages to cut rock. Crocker testified:
The would cut more rock in a week than the Cornish miners, and it was hard work, bone labor. [They] were skilled in using the hammer and drill, and they proved themselves equal to the very best Cornish miners in that work. They were very trusty, they were intelligent, and they lived up to their contracts.
Stanford held the Chinese workers in
high esteem that he provided in his will for the permanent
a large number on his estates. In the 1930s, some of their
were still living and working lands now owned by Stanford
The Chinese saved the day for Crocker and his colleagues. The terms of agreement with the government were that the railway companies would be paid from $16,000 to $48,000 for each mile of track laid. But there were only so many miles between the two terminal points of the projected line. The Union Pacific Company, working with 10,000 mainly Irish immigrants and Civil War veterans, had the advantage of building the line through Nebraska over the plains and made steady progress. The Central Pacific, after the first easy 23 miles between Newcastle and Colfax, had to conquer the granite mountains and gorges of the Sierra Nevada and Rockies before it could emerge onto the Nevada-Utah plains and make real speed and money. The line had to raise 7,000 feet in 100 miles over daunting terrain. Crocker and the Chinese proved up to the challenge.
Between Heaven and Earth
After reaching Cisco, there was no easy
The line had to be literally carved out of the Sierra granite,
tunnels and on rock ledges cut on the sides of precipices.
Using techniques from China, they attacked one of the most difficult parts of the work: carrying the line over Cape Horn, with its sheer granite buttresses and steep shale embankments, 2,000 feet above the American River canyon. There was no foothold on its flanks. The indomitable Chinese, using age-old ways, were lowered from above in rope-held baskets, and there, suspended between earth and sky, they began to chip away with hammer and crowbar to form the narrow ledge that was later laboriously deepened to a shelf wide enough for the railway roadbed, 1,400 feet above the river.
Behind the advancing crews of Chinese builders came the money and supplies to keep the work going. This was an awesome exercise in logistics. The Big Four, unscrupulous, dishonest, and ruthless on a grand scale, were the geniuses of this effort. The marvel of engineering skill being created by Strobridge and his Chinese and Irish workers up in the Sierra was fed by a stream of iron rails, spikes, tools, blasting powder, locomotives, cars, and machinery. These materials arrived after an expensive and hazardous eight-month, 15,000-mile voyage from East Coast ports around Cape Horn to San Francisco, thence by river boat to Sacramento, and so to the railhead by road.
The weather, as well as the terrain, was harsh. The winter of 1865-1866 was one of the severest on record. Snow fell early, and storm after storm blanketed the Sierra Nevada. The ground froze solid. Sixty-foot drifts of snow had to be shoveled away before the graders could even reach the roadbed. Nearly half the work force of 9,000 men were set to clearing snow.
In these conditions, construction crews tackled the most formidable obstacle in their path: building the ten Summit Tunnels on the 20-mile stretch between Cisco, 92 miles from Sacramento and Lake Ridge just west of Cold Stream Valley on the eastern slope of the summit. Work went on at all the tunnels simultaneously. Three shifts of eight hours each worked day and night.
Chinese Railroad Workers Killed by Avalanches
The builders lived an eerie existence. In The Big Four, Oscar Lewis writes,
Tunnels were dug beneath 45-foot drifts and for months, 3000 workmen lived curious mole-like lives, passing from work to living quarters in dim passages far beneath the snow's surface... There was constant danger, for as snows accumulated on the upper ridges, avalanches grew frequent, their approach heralded only by a brief thunderous roar. A second later, a work crew, a bunkhouse, an entire camp would go hurtling at a dizzy speed down miles of frozen canyon. Not until months later were the bodies recovered; sometimes groups were found with shovels or picks still clutched in their frozen hands.
On Christmas day, 1866, the papers
that "a gang of Chinamen employed by the railroad were covered
up by a
snow slide and four or five [note the imprecision] died before
be exhumed." A whole camp of Chinese railway workers was
one night and had to be rescued by shovelers the next day.
No one has recorded the names of those who gave their lives in this stupendous undertaking. It is known that the bones of 1,200 men were shipped back to China to be buried in the land of their forefathers, but that was by no means the total score. The engineer John Gills recalled that "at Tunnel No. 10, some 15 to 20 Chinese [again, note the imprecision] were killed by a slide that winter." The year before, in the winter of 1864-1865, two wagon road repairers had been buried and killed by a slide at the same location.
A. P. Partridge, who worked on the line, describes how 3,000 Chinese builders were driven out of the mountains by the early snows.
Most ...came to Truckee and filled up all the old buildings and sheds. And old barn collapsed and killed four Chinese. A good many were frozen to death.
One is astonished at the fortitude,
and dedication of the Chinese railroad workers.
Many years later, looking at the Union Pacific section of the line, an old railway man remarked, "There's an Irishman buried under every tie of that road." Brawling, drink, cholera, and malaria took a heavy toll. The construction crew towns on the Union Pacific part of the track, with their saloons, gambling dens, and bordellos, were nicknamed "hells on wheels." Jack Casement, in charge of construction there, had been a general in the Civil War and prided himself on the discipline of his fighting forces. His work crews worked with military precision, but off the job they let themselves go. One day, after gambling in the streets on payday (instigated by professional gamblers) had gotten too much out of hand, a visitor, finding the street suddenly very quiet, asked him where the gamblers had gone. Casement pointed to a nearby cemetery and replied, "They all died with their boots on." It was still the Wild West.
It is characteristic that only one single case of violent brawling was reported among the Chinese from the time they started work until they completed the job.
The Central Pacific's Chinese became expert at all kinds of work: grading, drilling, masonry, and demolition. Using black powder, they could average 1.18 feet daily through granite so hard that an incautiously placed charge could blow out backward. The Summit Tunnel work force was entirely composed of Chinese, with mainly Irish foremen. Thirty to 40 worked on each face, with 12 to 15 on the heading and the rest on the bottom removing material.
The Donner tunnels, totaling 1,695 feet, had to be bored through solid rock, and 9,000 Chinese worked on them. To speed the work, a new and untried explosive, nitroglycerin, was used. The tunnels were completed November 1867, after 13 months. But winter began before the way could be opened and the tracks laid. That winter was worse than the preceding one, but to save time it was necessary to send crews ahead to continue building the line even while the tunnels were being cut. Therefore, 3,000 men were sent with 400 carts and horses to Palisade Canyon, 300 miles in advance of the railhead. "Hay, grain and all supplies for men and horses had to be hauled by teams over the deserts for that great distance," writes Strobridge. "Water for men and animals was hauled at times 40 miles." Trees were felled and the logs laid side by side to form a “corduroy” roadway. On log sleds greased with lard, hundreds of Chinese manhandled three locomotives and 40 wagons over the mountains. Strobridge later testified that it "cost nearly three times what it would have cost to have done it in the summertime when it should have been done." But we shortened the time seven years from what Congress expected when the act was passed.
Between 10,000 and 11,000 men were kept working on the line from 1866 to 1869. The Sisson and Wallace Company (in which Crocker's brother was a leading member) and the Dutch merchant Cornelius Koopmanschap of San Francisco procured these men for the line. Through the summer of 1866, Crocker's Pets—6,000 strong—swarmed over the upper canyons of the Sierra, methodically slicing cuttings and pouring rock and debris to make landfills and strengthen the foundations of trestle bridges. Unlike the caucasian laborers, who drank boiled stream water, the Chinese slaked their thirst with weak tea and boiled water kept in old whiskey kegs filled by their mess cooks.
According to Morris Smith, a member of the Lincoln County Historical Society:
On the railroad side of Chitwood there
a bridge crew that replaced rotten piling and braces or what
They had a flat car that hauled timbers and tools to the work
were also two big passenger cars painted red. Inside there were
the men to sleep in. And, of course, there was a cook car.
The crew had a Chinese cook. At noontime, he loaded the men's lunch up on one of those three-wheel speeders and took it to them, and when the lunch hour was over he went back. Now, generally if you appreciate a Chinese cook's food he's very generous. He knew kids liked pastries, so he made more cakes and pies and donuts than the men could ever eat. He always managed to get back to the schoolhouse gate ten or 15 minutes before 1pm and before the lunch bell rang and we had to go in. When we'd see him coming the gate would fly open and there'd be 20 or 25 kids eagerly waiting there. We'd flock around him, and it didn't take long for the pastries to disappear.
Historian Robert Johnston refers to another Chinese cook in Lincoln County:
The only incident of conflict in the city's economy reported by the Leader drew the comment, "Toledo rarely ever has labor troubles, but it was the scene of a strike last Friday." Apparently the Chinese cook at the Blake House refused to cook, "or even wash dishes" and was promptly fired.
They kept themselves clean and healthy by
sponge baths in tubs of hot water prepared by their cooks, and
went steadily forward.
Crocker has been described as a "hulking, relentless driver of men." But his Chinese crews responded to his leadership and drive and were caught up in the spirit of the epic work on which They were engaged. They cheered and waved their cartwheel hats as the first through train swept down the eastern slopes of the Sierra to the meeting of the lines. They worked with devotion and self-sacrifice to lay that 20-odd miles of track for the Central Pacific Company in 1866 over the most difficult terrain. The cost of those miles was enormous—$280,000 a mile—but it brought the builders in sight of the easier terrain beyond the Sierra and the Rockies. Here costs of construction by veteran crews were only half the estimated amount of federal pay.
By summer, 1868, an army of 14,000 railway builders was passing over the mountains into the great interior plain. Nine-tenths of that work force was Chinese. More than a quarter of all Chinese in the country were building the railway.
Snakes Big Enough to Swallow a Man 1868
When every available Chinese in
had been recruited for the work, the Central Pacific arranged
labor contractors in San Francisco to get men direct from China
them up to the railhead. It was evidently some of these
for the Paiute Indian's tall tales of snakes in the desert "big
to swallow a man easily." Thereupon "four or five hundred
their belongings and struck out to return directly to
the Alta California. "Crocker and Company had spent quite a
to secure them and they sent men on horseback after them. Most
came back again kind of quieted down, and after nothing happened
never saw any of the snakes, they forgot about them." At least
quit the job for a similar reason. His daughter, married to a
of Chinese art, told me that her father had worked on the
because "He was scared of the bears." He later went into
By September 1868, the track was completed for 307 miles from Sacramento, and the crews were laying rails across the plain east of the Sierra. Parallel with the track layers when the telegraph installers, stringing their wires on the poles and keeping the planners back at headquarters precisely appraised of where the end of the track was.
The Great Railway Competition
On the Plains, the Chinese worked in
with all the Indians Crocker could entice to work on the iron
began to hear of the exploits of the Union Pacific's "Irish
from the east. One day, the Irish laid six miles of track. The
topped this with seven. "No Chinaman is going to beat us,"
Irish, and the next day, they laid seven and a half miles of
swore that they would outperform the competition no matter what
Crocker taunted the Union Pacific that his men could lay ten miles of track a day. Durant, president of the rival line, laid a $10,000 wager that it could not be done. Crocker took no chances. He waited until the day before the last 16 miles of track had been laid and brought up all needed supplies for instant use. Then he unleased his crews. On April 28, 1869, while the Union Pacific checkers and newspaper reporters looked on, a combined gang of Chinese and eight picked Irish rail handlers laid ten miles and 1,800 feet more of track in 12 hours. This record was never unsurpassed until the advent of mechanized track laying. Each Irishman that day walked a total distance often miles, and their combined muscle handled 60 tons of rail.
Two Ends Meet in the Middle at Promontory 1869
So keep was the competition that when
two lines approached each other, instead of changing direction
up, their builders careened on and on for 100 miles, building
would never meet. Finally, the government prescribed that the
be Promontory, Utah.
Competition was keen, but there seems to be no truth in the story that the Chinese and Irish in this phase of work were trying to blow each other up with explosives. It is a fact, however, that when the two lines were very near each other, the Union Pacific blasters did not give the Central Pacific men timely warning when setting off a charge, and several Chinese were hurt. Then a Central Pacific charge went off unannounced and several Irishmen found themselves buried in dirt. This forced the foremen to take up the matter and an amicable settlement was arranged. There was no further trouble.
On May 10, 1869, the two lines were officially joined at Promontory, north of Ogden in Utah. A great crowd gathered. A band played. An Irish crew and a Chinese crew were chosen to lay the last two rails side by side. The last tie was made of polished California laurel with a silver plate in its center proclaiming it
The last tie laid on the completion of
the Pacific Railroad, May 10, 1869.
But when the time came it was nowhere to be
As consternation mounted, four Chinese approached with it on
and the laid it beneath the rails. A photographer stepped up and
shouted to him “Shoot!” The Chinese only knew one meaning for
They fled. But order was restored and the famous ceremony began;
drove a golden spike into the last tie with a silver hammer. The
by telegraph to a waiting nation. But no Chinese appears in that
picture of the toast celebrating the joining of the rails.
Crocker was one of the few who paid tribute to the Chinese that day:
I wish to call to your minds that the early completion of this railroad we have built has been in large measure due to that poor, despised class of laborers called the Chinese, to the fidelity and industry they have shown.
No one even mentioned the name of Judah.
The building of the first transcontinental railway stands as a monument to the Union of Yankee and Chinese-Irish drive and know-how. This was a formidable combination; they all complemented each other. Together they did in seven years what was expected to take at least 14.
In his book on the building of the railway, John Galloway, the noted transportation engineer, described this as "without doubt the greatest engineering feat of the 19th Century," and that has never been disputed. David C. Colton, then vice-president of the Southern Pacific, was similarly generous in his praise of the Chinese contribution. He was asked, while giving evidence before the 1876 congressional committee, "I do not think it could have been constructed so quickly, and with anything like the same amount of certainty as to what we were going to accomplish in the same length of time."
And, in answer to the question, "Do you think the Chinese have been a benefit to the state?" West Evens, a railway contractor, testified,
I do not see how we could do the work we have done, here, without them; at least I have done work that would not have been done if it had not been for the Chinamen, work that could not have been done without them.
It was heroic work. The Sierra and
mountains, over sagebrush desert and plain. The Union Pacific
689 miles, over much easier terrain. It had 500 miles in which
its part of the line to a height of 5,000 feet, with another 50
in which to reach the high passes of the Black Hills. With newly
crews, the Central Pacific had to gain an altitude of 7,000 feet
plain in just over 100 miles and make a climb of 2,000 feet in
All this monumental work was done before the age of mechanization. It was pick and shovel, hammer and crowbar work, with baskets of earth carried slung from the shoulder poles and put on one-horse carts.
For their heroic work, the Chinese workmen began with a wage of $26 a month, providing their own food and shelter. This was gradually raised to $30 to $35 a month. Caucasians were paid the same amount of money, but their food and shelter were provided. Because it cost 75 cents to a dollar a day to feed a white unskilled worker, each Chinese save the Central Pacific, at a minimum, two-thirds the price of a non-oriental laborer (1865 rates). Chinese worked as masons, dynamiters, and blacksmiths and at other skilled jobs that saved about $5 million by hiring Chinese work.
Did this really "deprive white workers of jobs" as anti-Chinese agitators claimed. Certainly not. In the first place, experience had proved that non-oriental workers simply did not want the jobs the Chinese took on the railroad. In fact, the Chinese created jobs for non-oriental workers as straw bosses, foremen, railhandlers, teamsters, and supervisors.
The wages paid to the Chinese were, in fact, comparable to those paid unskilled or semiskilled labor in the East (where labor was relatively plentiful), and the Chinese were at first satisfied. Charles Nordhoff estimated that the frugal Chinese could save about $13 a month out of those wages. The Alta California estimated their savings at $20 a month and later, perhaps, as wages increased, they could lay aside even more. With a bit of luck, a year and a half or two years of work would enable them to return to China with $400 to buy a bit of land and be well-to-do farmers.
Two Thousand Tunnelers Strike for Higher Wages 1867
But the Chinese began to learn the
way of life. On one occasion in June 1867, 2,000 tunnelers went
asking for $40 a month an eight-hour day in the tunnels, and an
beating by foremen. "Eight hours a day good for white man, all
for Chinese,'' said their spokesman in the pigeon English common
construction camps. But solidarity with the other workers was
and after a week the strike was called off when the Chinese
Crocker was recruiting strikebreakers from the eastern states.
When the task was done, most of the Chinese railwaymen were paid off. Some returned to China with their hard-earned savings, and the epic story of building the Iron Horse's pathway across the continent must have regaled many a family gathering there. Some returned with souvenirs of the great work, chips of one of the last ties, which had been dug up and split up among them. Some settled in the little towns that had grown up along the line of the railway. Others took the railway to seek adventure further east and south. Most made their way back to California and took what jobs they could find in that state's growing industries, trades, and other occupations. Many used their traditional and newly acquired skills on the other transcontinental lines and railways that were being swiftly built in the West and Midwest. This was the start of the disapproval of the Chinese immigrants in America.
The Union and Central Pacific tycoons had done well out of the building of the line. Congressional investigation committees later calculated that, of $73 million poured into the Union Pacific coffers, no more than $50 million could be justified as true costs. The Big Four and their associates in the Central Pacific had done even better. They had made at least $63 million and owned most of the CP stock worth around $100 million and 9 million acres of land grants to boot.
Building Other Lines
The expansion of the railroads was
in the following decade. In 1850, the US had 9,000 miles of
it had 30,000. In 1890, it had over 70,000 miles. Three years
had five transcontinental lines.
The first continental railway was soon followed by four more links: (1) the Southern Pacific-Texas and Pacific, completed in 1883 from San Francisco to Texas by way of Yuma, Tucson, and El Paso; (2) the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, completed in 1885 from Kansas City to Los Angeles via Santa Fe and Albuquerque; (3) the Northern Pacific completed in 1883 from Duluth, Minnesota to Portland, Oregon, and the Great Northern (1893). The skill of the Chinese as railroad builders was much sought after, and Chinese worked on all the lines. Some 15,000 worked on the Northern Pacific, laying tracks in Washington, Idaho, and Montana; 250 on the Houston and Texas line; 600 on the Alabama and Chattanooga line; 70 on the New Orleans line. Nearly 500 Chinese were recruited for the Union Pacific even after the lines were joined. Many worked in the Wyoming coal mines and during the summer months doubled as track laborers. They carried the Southern Pacific line over the burning Mojave Desert.
In 1881, Chinese laborers, many of whom had seen previous service on the Oregon & California Railroad, were hired by the Oregon Pacific Railroad Company to do the heavy work of grading, boring through the tunnels, and laying the track over the Coast Range. They helped link San Francisco with Portland in 1887. At Summit, 500 Chinese laborers, working for minimal wage and under harsh conditions, constructed the Corvallis & Eastern Railway. They also worked on the line north from Sacramento along the Shasta route to Portland, which was reached in 1887.
However, after 30 years of exploitation on the railroads, Oregon's romance with Chinese labor turned to livid racial hatred:
Chinese immigration in Oregon began in
In that year, the scarcity of common labor, caused by the rush
whites to the California goldfields, became so acute that Asians
The influx increased with the years, and the construction of the
beginning in 1862, brought the Chinese pouring into the state.
At first everybody was satisfied. The Chinese were patient workers, willing to toil long hours for small wages. But a reversal of feeling came with the completion of the first overland railroad in 1869. With swarms of Coolie laborers released to compete with white laborers for jobs that were none too many, they were soon regarded as a "menace" by non-oriental workers in general all along the Pacific Coast. In Oregon, displaced Chinese workers flocked to Portland, Oregon City, and other large towns.
For many years after 1870, anti-Chinese demonstrations were frequent. In Portland, white agitators met in open lots and harangued against the Orientals, while conservative newspapers defended them. Torch-light processions marched through the streets, carrying anti-Chinese banners. A committee of 15 was chosen to notify the hated foreigners to "git up an' git." Masked whites terrorized the Chinese by dynamiting their homes. Chinese lives were sacrificed on the alters of white imperialism and hatred, and nothing was done about it. The militia was finally called out to cope with the terrorism, but did no permanent good. It was only through passing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that violent race prejudice was finally appeased and the anti-Chinese feeling died down.
Speaking eloquently in favor of Chinese immigrants, Oswald Garrison Villard (1872-1949), the son of social reformer Helen Frances Garrison and railroad financier, Henry Villard, said,
I want to remind you of the things that Chinese labor did in opening up the Western portion of this country... [They] stormed the forest fastnesses, endured cold and heat and the risk of death at hands of hostile Indians to aid in the opening up of our northwestern empire. I have a dispatch from the chief engineer of the Northwestern Pacific telling how Chinese laborers went out into eight feet of snow with the temperature far below zero to carry on the work when no American dared face the conditions.
And these men were from China's
south, where it never snows.
In certain circles, there has been a conspiracy of silence about the Chinese railroadmen and what they did. When US secretary of transportation John Volpe spoke at the "Golden Spike" centenary, not a single Chinese American was invited, and he made no mention in his speech of the Chinese railroad builders.
Railroad Transforms Oregon 1868
Since settlement, no single event did
to transform Oregon than did the railroads. The first, promoted
Holladay (1819-1887) in 1868, was to link Portland to San
1782 it had reached Roseburg and thus, by that date, was the
With the arrival in 1883 of that first transcontinental train in
and the completion of Holladay's line to San Francisco in 1887,
was, as the president of the Portland Board of Trade put it,
with the rest of the world." In the next years local lines were
to the coast, in the interior and all though the valley. By the
the century Oregon, excepting the southeast corner, was fully
by its rails.
A number of consequences followed. Now agriculture was no longer limited to areas served by water routes. In the interior the railroads affected the transition from a cattle-raising economy to one of wheat and wool. The coast at Astoria, Newport and Coos Bay was relieved to some degree of its isolation. New towns developed at important junctions, and more than one county seat was moved to be closer to the locomotives' toot. Portland, where all rails met, became more than ever the economic center of the state. Finally, the railroads facilitated immigration into Oregon from all regions of the country.
There was, however, one consequence of the railroads not foreseen or, at any rate, not desired—the high freight rates. For farmers these could be prohibitive. Efforts to have them lowered were initially defeated due to the alliance between the railroads and government. In the last decades of the century, government in Oregon was largely in the hands of the colorful but conservative wing of the Republican party. The color came from such figures as John Mitchell. When US Senator Mitchell, for example, died in office in 1905, he had been convicted of both bigamy and bribery. It was in response to such escapades, but in particular to the freight rates, then the first, but unsuccessful, protests were mounted by the new Oregon Grange in the 1870s.
The story of the Yaquina Railroad was
of those dreams, nurtured and motivated by well meaning
good intentions, but lacking the final push, it failed to
The growth of the route from tidewater at the Pacific Ocean
Willamette Valley and eastward to the foot of the Cascades.
a lonely Indian trail to the present railroad operation under
Pacific. The line passed through several ownerships with each
own respective idea as to the ultimate goal and purpose of the
The history of the line can be divided into three phases: the railroad under Colonel T. Egenton Hogg (1828-1898), the visionary; under Andrew Benoni Hammond, the lumberman; and lastly under the methodical hand of the Southern Pacific.
Under Colonel Hogg, the venture was one of defeat and disappointment; his visionary dream devoid of the adequate purpose and planning, failed miserably. A. B. Hammond saw the tremendous lumber potential, while the Southern Pacific demoted the line to a feeder basis serving their already vast system of western lines.
T. Egenton Hogg (1828-1898)
Thomas Egenton Hogg (1828-1898),
to War Department records, was a captain in 1861 in the
On November 16, 1863, at Matamoros, Mexico, with five men, Hogg boarded the schooner Joseph L. Gerrity, American registry, carrying 122 bales of cotton, bound for New York City. The second night out, Hogg and his men, all Confederate sympathizers, seized the ship, stranding crew and officers on the coast of Yucatan November 26. From there, Hogg sailed to Belize, British Honduras, where he entered the ship as a blockade runner from the Texas coast and sold the cargo. He was reported and identified by the stranded crew and then pursued by British authorities, but he successfully eluded capture. His exploits in these ventures may have formed the basis for Hogg's ultimate commission on May 7, 1864, as acting master, CSN. He was directed to strike the California trade and whalemen in the Pacific.
The reference War of the Rebellion yields confused and cryptic clues to Hogg's past as a soldier. On November 16, 1864, Charles A. Dana (1819-1897), then assistant secretary of war (1863-1865), wrote to Maj. Gen. Irwin McDowell (1818-1885), commandant of Union forces at San Francisco:
A party of rebels at Havana have undertaken to seize a streamer running between San Francisco and Idaho. There are 15 of them, and ten had started in two or three squads before October 1. They are to rendezvous at Idaho November 15, and to embark as passengers. Their captain is Thomas E. Hogg.
In May 1864, Steven Russell Mallory
Secretary of the Navy, CSN, ordered Hogg to proceed with his men
Delaware, to Panama by the shortest and safest route. He was to
on the Guatemala or the San Salvador, to take steps to capture
to arm it, and to "proceed to cruise against the enemy in the
including attacks on California shipping. More details appear in
reports of acting Rear-Admiral George F. Pearson.
Pearson writes that the captain of the American steamer Salvador asked for his aid in preventing "a number of desperate men" from seizing his vessel. Their plan was to prevent the inspection of their luggage and thus allow them to bring aboard arms and explosives to use in commandeering the vessel. This vessel was then to be used in further depredation of other shipping.
Pearson ordered Commander H. K. Davenport to board the Salvador to protect the officers and passengers during the inspection of the luggage. This was deemed the only sure method of detecting the pirates.
The records show that Hogg and his companions were arrested before any attempt was made to commandeer the vessel. He and his six associates were then sent to San Francisco and tried by a military commission which sentenced them to be hanged as belligerents, violating the rules of war. Gen. McDowell commuted Hogg's sentence to life imprisonment, and his accomplices to ten years.
Hogg was in prison from November 1864 to may 1866. His sentence was commuted by the end of the hostilities. Then began his adventures in Oregon.
Hogg told Nash that he had been a prisoner at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, and that he had spent some time in the hospital after the war recovering from "wounds and sufferings." He added that his antebellum world had been lost or destroyed, including property in New Orleans where he had been a merchant. Once released he sought out his brother, William Moffatt Hoag, a noted financier in San Francisco and a Union sympathizer. Hoag sent Hogg north to Oregon.
According to Keith Clark in Oregon Historical Quarterly, Hogg arrived on the Oregon scene of the early 1870s with a vague past. He proposed a trans-Oregon railroad from Yaquina Bay to Boise City, by way of Corvallis and Albany, thence over the Cascades. By 1874 the route had been laid out as far as the Cascade summit at Hogg Pass. Hogg was the construction superintendent and became receiver near the close of the debt-ridden enterprise.
Hogg was removed from any control of the ill-fated railroad venture in 1893.
On December 26, 1896, the aging colonel married Naomi C. Hogg on December 26, 1896, somewhere in the East. He was then 68 years old, and that was his first marriage.
Hogg died on a streetcar in Philadelphia, December 9, 1898, of apoplexy. He was buried in the same city in Woodlands Cemetery. The superintendent of the cemetery reports:
Colonel Hogg’s place of rest is the only lot, and there is no stone over his final resting place. The lot is neglected, and to our knowledge no one visits the grave.
At the time of his death in 1896, he
only a nominal estate, which included several thousand dollars
and some lands valued less than $5000.
Naomi Hogg was born in England, March 6, 1874. About 1905, she was remarried to Schuyler Colfex Spencer, a Portland attorney. Spencer attempted, on November 11, 1920, to murder his spouse; and, believing he had done so, turned the same gun on himself. She recovered, but Spencer died.
Naomi Hogg Spencer returned East after this tragedy, and obtained a position with the Library of Congress until her retirement on October 22, 1938.
The concluding lines from the editorial of the Albany, Sunday Daily Herald of January 1, 1888 read:
So far as human foresight goes, it is not rash to prophesy that next year the Oregon Pacific Railroad will chronicle the completion of their railroad which will stand to all time, as the monument of the man who designed it, of him who planned its development from East to West, of him who was its surveyor, engineer, land agent, legal advisor, financial agent, capitalist, president, whom financial crisis did not daunt, whom open and secret enemies could not crush, whom faint-hearted friends could not discourage, whom sickness and exhaustion did not weary, whom financial prospects and golden offers could not tempt away. And no Oregonian needs to be told that this man's name is Thomas Egenton Hogg.
Colonel Hogg first came to Yaquina Bay
1872, and visualized a great plan which culminated in the
the wagon road from Corvallis to Elk City; the incorporation and
of the Oregon Pacific Railroad, and connecting river boat
Willamette to the larger cities; the deepening of the bar at the
of Yaquina Bay; and the establishment of a line of ocean
It was a brilliant and daring enterprise.
History records that often times a "leader comes forth among the people to lead them," and surely the colonel, as an individual, was made of that stuff.
William Moffat Hoag (1827-1909)
William M. Hoag was born in 1827, and,
his younger brother, was from New Orleans, Louisiana.
His war days were spent in California working as a contractor and builder; and, apparently, he was a financial success at this occupation.
Early in his life, he requested the California legislature to change his name from Hogg to Hoag, which not only changed the spelling but also the pronunciation. The legislature granted him this request. His brother, T. Egenton Hogg, was asked why he, too, did not change his name. The colonel replied, "I was born a Hogg and I'll die one."
History has not recorded how the elder Hoggs felt about young William's abandonment of the family name, but the name has a proud heritage, according to newspaper columnist, Ann Landers:
James Stephen Hogg was the first
governor of Texas (1891-1895). He had three sons and his wife
to their only daughter, Ima, in 1882. The governor did not name
of spite. His brother, Thomas Elisha Hogg, had written a Civil
about a beautiful Southern girl named Ima (1882-1973), which is
version of Imogene, who took care of a Union soldier. Gov. Hogg
Ima was a lovely name.
Ima grew up to be a well-respected and much-admired philanthropist and founder of the Houston Symphony. She also started the first child guidance clinic in the US in 1927 and founded the Hogg Mental Health Foundation in Houston. She never married or had children, and she died in 1975 at the ripe old age of 93. At the time of her death, she had given all her wealth away to various charities and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, which owns and manages her magnificent home, Bayou Bend.
William Hoag heard of the possibility
building the railroad in Oregon, and suggested to his brother
to Oregon and investigate this situation. Colonel Hogg found the
inviting, and soon afterwards his brother joined him in
the Oregon Pacific Railroad.
Hoag handled the business end of the railroad; and, generally speaking, was considered to be the practical one of the two brothers.
Hoag was widowed early in his life and never remarried. He died in San Francisco, January 1, 1909, leaving an estate of some $200,000. He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in San Francisco.
The Midwest Connection
Colonel Hogg contemplated building a
600 miles long, from a harbor on Yaquina Bay at the Pacific
Idaho. This line would cross the state of Oregon in an east and
almost midway between north and south boundaries of the state.
line, its nearest competitor on the north would be the Union
direct at all points on an average of over 100 miles; in the
its only competitor would be the Central Pacific about 400 miles
Taking Chicago as a basing point—and the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was the more favorable one for the Oregon Pacific to connect with at Boise, Idaho—such a new through line would be 250 miles shorter to the Pacific Coast—an immense advantage in itself. Starting from Yaquina Bay, the Oregon Pacific would climb over the Coast Range of mountains at the low elevation of 760 feet. The next 50 miles would cross the heart of the Willamette Valley. Following this, the Cascades were to be crossed at the very low elevation of 4,600 feet. Short and easy grades would carry the line to the high and level plateau country of Eastern Oregon, an immense expanse of an almost level area. The surveyed line would then leave Eastern Oregon through what has been called its "key"—the Malheur Canyon.
The prospectus prepared by the railroad company came out loud and strong so that all could read and understand:
The Oregon Pacific Railroad Company
organized for the purpose of providing for the state of Oregon a
urgently needed channel of communication with other states and
countries by means of a railroad through the central portion of
Yaquina Bay is the safest, and, all things considered, the best harbor between the mouth of the Columbia and the Golden Gate...
If ever nature made plain the way for the building of a great railroad, she has done so in the case of the Oregon Pacific, in letters so large that he who runs may read...
To transport timber to market, directly tributary to the Oregon Pacific line, carrying 10,000 board feet to a car, and moving 100 cars per day for 313 working days per year, would require 109 years...
In this property, the owners have the nucleus of one of the most profitable roads in the US...
Yaquina Bay Harbor
The Oregon Pacific would be doomed to
unless Yaquina Bay could be made accessible to ocean traffic.
spent much of his time in Washington DC, securing appropriations
to deepen the entrance channel from the Pacific Ocean into the
rewards were gratifying, but they were slow in coming, and the
of money appropriated were small.
In 1890, the bar had only seven to eight feet of water, and would only permit small vessels; in fact, only some eight ships entered Yaquina Bay during the entire year. By 1888, vessels drawing 13 to 15 feet were crossing the bar in safety as a result of Colonel Hogg's persistent effort to secure funds for this work.
Money for dredging a deeper channel must be forthcoming from Congress. The Portland interests, influential in Congress and led by the Oregonian, strongly felt the growth of the Yaquina Bay might ultimately lead to the loss of future traffic now being handled via the Columbia and through the Portland gateway into the Willamette Valley.
The Oregon Pacific, in their prospectus, unhesitatingly discussed the subject of freight and passenger rates, stressing cost of handling:
The freight rate on wheat from the
portion of the Willamette Valley to San Francisco, via Portland
Columbia, is $7 per ton. The Oregon Pacific proposes to reduce
to $5.50 per ton...
The present charge on passenger travel over the same route averaging $19,188 has been as great a drawback to the growth and prosperity of the state as the excessive rates for freight. This company can profitably do the business, which, at a moderate estimate, will reach 30,000 passengers per annum, at a half these prices...
Two of the Oregon Pacific's ships were completely destroyed while entering the harbor; and the Portland interests played up the incidents to the utmost, but an official investigation came up with the following report:
Neither of these wrecks can be attributed to any fault of the harbor entrance or to insufficient depth over the bar, but rather to carelessness and other causes.
There are many today who believe these shipwrecks were "payoffs" from rival interests who did not welcome the growth of the Oregon Pacific, or of the cities through which it passed.
On to Boise!
"On to Boise!" was the cry of the
Pacific. But, the iron rail was to be full of pitfalls,
and the owners were soon to find themselves plagued with
anything they might have expected.
Colonel Hogg set up an office in New York City in order to be near the financial circles of the country. He commuted frequently between the East and the West coasts. The colonel was successful in securing adequate finances to get the railroad under way and in befriending individuals who could best help him accomplish this mission.
The Oregon Pacific had repeatedly asserted that they would make a connection with the Chicago & Northwestern at Boise. At this particular time, the Chicago & Northwestern were extending their tracks west of Iowa and into South Dakota Territory (1861-1889). They too, had grandiose ideas which included reaching the Pacific Coast with the last 600 miles of the trip being made over the tracks of the Oregon Pacific.
John Isley Blair and Percy R. Pyne
Two of the strong financial interests
the Oregon Pacific were John Isley Blair and Percy R. Pyne, both
board of directors of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad.
Blair was on the board of directors of the Chicago & Northwestern from June 4, 1885 to December 2, 1899. He was the first president of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad Company, and the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Company when these roads were established as parts of the Chicago & Northwestern. Both were leased railroads operated by the Chicago & Northwestern until purchased by the parent company the fiscal year of 1883-1884.
Pyne was on the board of directors of the Chicago & Northwestern from June 3, 1886 to February 14, 1895. Pyne, a New York City banker, was the son-in-law of Moses Taylor, who founded the National City Bank in New York.
Blair was a close friend of William Butler Ogden (1805-1877), the first president of the Chicago & Northwestern. Ogden had delegated Blair to personally handle the Oregon Pacific end of their proposed extension to the Pacific Coast. Most railroads were built and planned on a secretive basis; thus the general public knew little about the arrangements between the Chicago & Northwestern and the Oregon Pacific. These developers literally threw millions of dollars behind the project, and the future of the Oregon Pacific seemed assured.
Later, Blair, apparently representing the Chicago & Northwestern, withdrew his financial support and attempted to take over the ownership of the Oregon Pacific.
The Yaquina City-Corvallis Connection
The citizens of Benton County organized to build a road from Yaquina City to Corvallis in 1867 and then again in 1871, but both efforts had failed. In 1874, Colonel Hogg incorporated the Willamette Valley & Coast Railroad Company, declaring his intentions to
build a narrow gauge line from Yaquina City to a point on the Oregon & California Railroad in Linn County.
The Oregon Pacific organized September 25, 1880, and on the same day its board of directors resolved to enter into a contract with the Willamette Valley & Coast for the
construction and equipment of its railroad, in consideration of the concurrence of that company in the execution of joint mortgage bonds to the total amount of $15 million.
The draft of the proposed mortgage, or
of trust, in favor of the Farmers Loan & Trust Company, was
at this same meeting.
The Pacific Construction Company was organized March 31, 1884. The function of this incorporated company was
to construct standard gauge track in consideration of the transfer to the Pacific Construction Company of first mortgage bonds of the railroad company.
The Oregon Development Company was organized in 1884 for the purpose of handling the water divisions consisting of the ocean liners that ran to California and the river boats on the Willamette:
For Willamette River connections, the railroad company built three large steamers—William M. Hoag, N. S. Bentley, and Three Sisters, which together maintained an alternate day service between Portland and Corvallis. The trip took two days, with one night stay in Salem. These water lines were operated by the Oregon Development Company, a subsidiary of the Oregon Pacific. They were essential as "feeders" to the railroad.
There were all various corporations set up by Colonel Hogg and were often confusing to the general public. They were later to be the target of upstate editorial writers who challenged their purpose.
Chinese Laborers Begin Laying Track 1881
Track laying was started at the
and the Yaquina City ends of the line in July 1881. Motive power
arrived and were soon put into operation. Three second-hand
in San Francisco and built by T. W. Wasson Company of
were shipped by water and delivered in sections and assembled at
The Chinese laborers, many of whom had seen previous service on the Oregon & California Railroad, were hired to do the heavy work of grading, boring through the tunnels, and laying the track. According to Wallis Nash,
A year passed, and then with a new grading contract in effect, September 9, 1881, a labor force of 500 Chinese made the dirt fly. Within a month, more than 800 men were building the new standard gauge roadbed toward Philomath, ignoring the narrow gauge roadbed previously graded by the Willamette Valley & Coast Railroad, now called the "Wet Valley & Constant Rain Region."
The track consisted of 50 pound steel
with much of it coming from the Krupp Steel Works in Germany.
fir ties were secured locally with the exception of a short
laid with redwood ties brought from California. Later, the
the policy of buying sawed ties as these were free of sapwood
a more even roadbed. The company paid from 17 cents to 19 cents
for fir ties delivered to them.
Very little rock was used in ballasting as most of the roadbed was laid on top of the ground. Split-spring switches were the only kind used on the railroad. The switch stands had never been provided with switch-lights, possibly because so few trains ran at night.
Telegraph Line from Yaquina City to Corvallis 1882
The railroad built 50 feet wooden
at Yaquina City, Nashville, Corvallis and Detroit. Telegraph
built from Yaquina City to Corvallis in 1882 and 1883. Grain
and railroad stations were built along the line to accommodate
public. A costly hotel was constructed at Yaquina City to house
awaiting the arrival of the ships to California.
Three tunnels were built, all laying west of the summit of the Coast Range; bridges totaling 30,156 feet were constructed, making a total of a little over eight solid miles of bridging.
As track laying progressed, the expenses involved ran much higher than the original plans. It soon became obvious that the Oregon Pacific was spending too much money on outside activities, such as offices in New York and San Francisco, along with purchasing large blocks of property for future expansion purposes. Wages for the help delivered in a railroad pay car were seen less and less frequently.
Hogg tried to complete the line from Corvallis to Yaquina City by October 4, 1884, the date specified in the charter. The last spike was finally driven at Harris Station on the Mary's River, on December 31, 1884, by William Hoag, the general manager of the road.
Due to a heavy storm causing considerable damage, the first train from Corvallis to Yaquina City was not operated until March 1885, with one of the first excursion trains operated over the line on April 4, 1885. According to Benton County historian D. D. Fagan,
Every effort was made to insure the completion and operating of the road between Corvallis and Yaquina City by October 14, 1884, the date specified in the charter. But the elements were against it, and it was the second week in December before the day could be fixed on which the last spike could be driven, at a point near Harris' Mill, on the Mary's River about 15 miles from Corvallis. The invitations to the governor, and other state officials, and to other friends of the enterprise, to grace the ceremony with their presence, were in the act of being issued, when the terrible snow storm of December 1884 set in without warning. For three days and nights it snowed without intermission, until through the Summit district there was the most unusual depth of 24 inches on the level. Then came 12 hours thaw and rain, which set the rivers running full, and then it froze hard again. This resulted in an icy covering an inch thick being formed over the snow. The roads and trails became absolutely impassable, while the mingled snow and ice in the rivers carried down large quantities of driftwood, both brush and logs. Then the temporary work on some ten or 12 places, thus disabling the engines from keeping the line open as far as laid, and cutting off supplies by the railroad.
Strikes and labor troubles were now
quite common on the Oregon Pacific as the pay car was rarely
In January 1887, the first train crossed the Willamette and operated into Albany. The line reached Gates, August 26, 1889, and was completed to Boulder Creek, beyond Hoover, sometime in 1890.
The track was graded by the Oregon Pacific a little beyond Tunnel Creek and not quite to Whitewater Creek located on the Eastern Marion-Linn county border.
In 1940, the Southern Pacific extended the trackage for about two to three miles beyond Idanha and this was as far as the railroad was ever built.
Southern Pacific valuation maps for the area show that the railroad had intended building some 11 miles of track beyond Idanha and had incorporated this trackage under the name of the Marion and Linn County; however, the track never reached the Linn County line as planned.
Farmer’s Loan & Trust Brings Suit 1895
In March 1895, Roswell G. Ralston,
of Farmer's Loan & Trust Company, brought suit against the
The railroad had sold 1,500 $1,000 bonds for a total value of
in order to build the lines. One of the first things Colonel
for $600,000 was the lands of the Willamette Valley &
Military Wagon Road Company, and this included the Deschutes
Bonds were payable at the Oregon Pacific office in either New York City or in London, on October 1, 1900. They drew six percent interest payable twice a year.
As early as 1866, the Oregon Pacific began to default on their bonds, and by 1890 they had hardly paid anything on them at all.
In order to build a railroad, the state of Oregon had given the Oregon Pacific all of the tide and marsh lands situated in Benton County.
The county, at that time, included Lincoln County, and extended from Willamette River to the Pacific Ocean. The state had also given the company a 50 feet right-of-way, and from this they could have all lumber, stone, water, and other materials found within this 50 feet. space. They were also allowed 20 acres of land for each railroad station, as long as they did not have a station more often than every ten miles.
On October 28, 1890, the Farmers Loan & Trust Company appealed to judge Martin Luther Pipes of Corvallis, asking that a receiver be appointed for the railroad. A receiver would be under the scrutiny of the court, and must account for all moneys spent. Judge Pipes granted this request, and appointed Colonel Hogg as receiver, much to the dislike of the Eastern bond holders.
Before taking over as receiver, Hogg asked that certain privileges be allowed him:
(1) He asked that the 205 feet steamer Willamette River be allowed to continue operating between Yaquina City and San Francisco. (2) Two previous judgments that had been obtained against the Oregon Pacific. One was for over $8,000 for materials furnished to build the line, and the other for over $12,000 for construction work.
Hogg asked Judge Pipes that he be
to issue receiver’s obligations. One hundred and fifty thousand
obligations would release and put the steamer Willamette Valley
service, and the remainder of some $30,000 would go to pay back
Additional certificates would be issued, according to Hogg, not
$70,000 to take care of other liens against the line.
The court felt this was in order and dictated "a mortgage of further assurance" to the Farmers Loan & Trust Company. This lien included a first mortgage on the Willamette Valley, which had previously been in Colonel Hogg's own name. He had transferred the ship to himself at an earlier date to take care of salaries due him.
The court showed that the $15 million had been spent as follows:
(1) $9,492,000 had been negotiated and sold. (2) $5,508,000 had been issued, and were outstanding as security for the Oregon Pacific's indebtedness.
On April 13, 1891, the court issued a
that the property and railroad should be sold in its entirety to
charges against the line. A sheriff’s sale was ordered by the
the court ruled that the sale must not be for less than $1
Zephin Job, one of Hogg's supporters, purchased the line for $1 million and paid $25,000 down, which the court required as a minimum token of good faith. The court, after reasonable time, set the sale aside in as much as Job could not raise another $975,000.
On October 23, 1891, the Blair-Wharton interests representing the Eastern bondholders again petitioned the court asking that Colonel Hogg be removed as receiver. They felt they would have a better chance of recovering their money if they had someone more favorable to their interests. They presented evidence to the court showing that various business concerns throughout the country were hesitant to gamble on Hogg's ability. It was even hinted that they were not too certain of his sincerity or honesty. On October 24, 1891, the petition was denied.
From October 29, 1890 to December 31, 1891, the Oregon Pacific income amounted to $196,003, while the expenses had succeeded in breaking even for this three and a half month period.
The various counties were also pressing for back taxes from 1889 to 1891 for the amount of $22,780. The Eastern bondholders again appealed to the court to have Colonel Hogg removed as receiver. On March 6, 1893, Hogg was replaced as receiver by Everest W. Hadley for the Oregon Pacific Railroad.
Oregon Pacific Hires Milwaukee Railroad Superintendent Hadley 1890
Everest W. Hadley was hired by general
William Hoag, of the Oregon Pacific Railroad Company in April
to the general manager at a salary of $300 per month.
Hadley, before coming to the Oregon Pacific, had been a local division superintendent of the Milwaukee Railroad in Wisconsin. He resigned from the Milwaukee Railroad to accept this position with the Oregon Pacific.
On February 6, 1891, Hadley became superintendent of the Oregon Pacific Railroad. He held this position until the late autumn of 1892; when, at his own request, he resigned stating it was necessary to do so because of illness.
Five months after his resignation, he was appointed receiver for the Oregon Pacific, serving in this position from March 6, 1893 to January 5, 1894.
March 4, 1893, Judge Fullerton appointed a receiver, Ernest W. Hadley, who had served as superintendent of the road and was a resident of Corvallis. This change followed the wishes of the Blair-Wharton bondholders. Their attorney, John P. Fay, of Seattle, said that they had long wished reorganization and desired then to develop the property. Judge Fullerton's order removing Hogg cited that the latter was "no longer a suitable person to serve as such receiver; he had neglected the duties of his trust in that he had since his appointment constantly resided outside of the state of Oregon; had delegated his duties to subordinates; his interests are directly opposed and antagonistic to the interests of a large number of bondholders; he hindered and delayed the experts sent out to examine the properties advertised to be sold; the interests of all concerned will be conserved by the removal."
As receiver, Hadley was paid a salary
$12,000 a year.
Hadley's previous experience with the Oregon Pacific was helpful in handling his new assignment as receiver for the line. He made a valiant effort to keep the railroad running by cutting all expenses.
Hadley's receivership, from March 4, 1893 to January 4, 1894, piled up a further deficit of $59,864—earning $171,045; expenses $230,909208—this despite his best efforts to economize. This was in the midst of the "hard times" of the period, which of course, added to the troubles of the company. All three divisions of traffic, ocean, rail and river, showed heavy losses during Hadley's period. Repairs cost $60,000—necessary because the road was on the verge of physical wreck. In his final report, he stated that his economics amounted to $1 million a year over Hogg's receivership.
He published his results that all
the efforts of his labor. Many of these accusations were
Nash, vice-president and general solicitor for the Oregon
Leslie M. Scott, author of an article about the railroad that appeared in the September 1915 edition of the Oregon Historical Quarterly, wrote:
A well-known and esteemed citizen of Oregon, Wallis Nash, who gave many of his best years to the Oregon Pacific, tells me that the project was wrecked by factional dissensions which balked its completion and final success. On account of my high regard for Wallis Nash, I wish to insert here a paragraph from one of his recent letters on this subject:
It is just to remember that no one connected with the management of the company had any idea except that the receivership (October 1890) was a step in the way to reorganization by the bondholders. Dissensions among those bondholders and financiers, of the most virulent kind, was the cause of the total wreck of the enterprise. This same dissension foiled every effort that Colonel Hogg put forth until he died (1890) for the resumption and completion of the road.
Hadley advertised that Hoag owned considerable underlying property over which the Oregon Pacific rails operated. He also made quite an issue of the fact that the spring furnishing water for the engines at Yaquina City also was in Hoag's name. The railroad paid rental charges each month for the use of the property. Nash answered these statements explaining that there was nothing illegal about one of the heaviest stockholders on the railroad holding railroad property in his own name.
Hadley, endeavoring to save money,
the use of wood for coal in the operation of the steamers
Yaquina City and California. There, of course, was a great
wood in Oregon. Nash answered this move by stating that it was
to utilize valuable cargo space for wood when the same area
for revenue freight. Coal did not require nearly as much space
In his own defense, Hadley stated:
Every effort had been made to arrive at any amicable understanding with the Southern Pacific in Oregon by which the Oregon Pacific would receive and interchange business with the Southern Pacific until we are in a position to demand and not supplicate.
Hadley did, however, succeed in working out a traffic agreement with the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company, who operated a fleet of sternwheelers on Willamette River. The ORNC agreed to refrain from operating their boats on the river south of Salem in consideration of the Oregon Pacific, agreeing not to compete for San Francisco to Portland business.
Second Sheriff's Sale 1893
The court again ordered a sheriff's
to be held for the sale of the railroad. At this time, the line
for $200,000 to Charles Evans Hughs (1862-1948), a lawyer who
a well known political figure, and Fabius M. Clark. The court,
16, 1893, refused this bid as it felt the amount was so much
the actual debts of the company which had now mounted to more
E. W. Hadley, as receiver, also objected to this bid of
$200,000, as he
had prepared a detailed analysis of the line showing the
cost $3,500,000 to replace, and would have a scrap value of
In spite of Hadley's hard earned efforts, he was unable to curb the growing deficit of the railroad, and from March 4, 1893 to January 5, 1894, the Oregon Pacific had incurred a further loss of $59,864.
Clark, who succeeded Hadley as receiver on January 4, 1894, was also unable to check the growing deficit of the Oregon Pacific. In the court of this year, it became manifest that the only remedy was to sell the property for what it would actually bring—not at what it was worth. The court had mainly fixed the minimum price of $1 million, and then $1,250,000 in 1892-1893. By December 1894, the accumulated claims were more than $1,166,000. On July 23, 1894, the sheriff again offered the property, but received no bid.
Andrew B. Hammond the Lumberman
Andrew Benoni Hammond came West from
Brunswick, leaving home in 1866. His first stop was near Orono,
on the Penobscot above Bangor, where he was a chopper in the
a short time he worked westward, and for a while was at
Virginia, and later stacked logs for J. W. & J. H. Cochran
branch of the Monongahelia near Pittsburgh. There, the woodsman
report of gold being found in quantity in Montana, so Hammond
He went through Missoula, Montana, to Puget Sound, and worked for Cyrus Walker on Hoods Canal in Washington. Walker was one of the Pope & Talbot group. Hammond returned to Missoula sometime in 1869. He went to work for a Widow, Ms. White, at Hellgate, four miles below Missoula. At this time, there was a store at Missoula run by the firm of Bonner & Walsh. This is the same Edward L. Bonner who later joined with Hammond in the Astoria Company and other activities on the coast. The manager of the store was Edwin Stone. One winter, Bonner & Walsh being in New York, Edwin Stone became sick and hired mr Hammond to help him.
Eventually, ownership of that store rested in Andy Hammond & Company August 10, 1885, the Missoula Mercantile Company was organized and took over Hammond's store.
In the course of time, Edward Stone went to the Pacific Coast, and was active in much of the preliminary scouting for the route of the Northwestern Pacific through Montana and westward. In 1894, Stone, then living in Portland, Oregon, knew of the plight of the Oregon Pacific and informed Hammond thereof. Hammond was attracted by the story, and came to Portland, and bought the Oregon Pacific Railroad at a sheriff's sale in Corvallis.
With the $100,000 (money Hammond paid for the Oregon Pacific), the receiver was able to pay nine cents on the dollar for the labor certificates held by the railroad employees. No other creditors got anything. Hammond ran the road until February 1907, when it was sold to the Southern Pacific for $1 million.
Hammond and Bonner offered $100,000
for the railroad on December 22, 1894. Judge J. C. Fullerton
of the above bid and, with the approval of the state supreme
very low bid was accepted. Letters from shippers, employees,
and civic figures, flooded the court requesting the judge to
railroad to Hammond.
Editorials in various Oregon presses flowed with words over the fact that the $200,000 bid had been refused, while the line was eventually sold for $100,000. The courts were tired of the troublesome 142 mile pike, and were glad to dump the "hot potato" on Hammond, who they knew had the finances to adequately operate the line.
The Oregon supreme court, in allowing the sale offered:
It must be admitted that every presumption in law and equity is against the confirmation of a sale for $100,000 by the court, of property on which $15 million of first mortgage bonds has been issued, and which one of the hostile experts valued at not less than $3 million, two years ago, and on which property of the court itself has sanctioned an indebtedness of over $800,000 on receiver's certificates, with interest, and probably $300,000, for labor and material claims. Can the confirmation of this sale be held to be within the limits of a sound, judicial discretion? The property sold, comprises a railroad laid with steel rails and operated for some 140 miles, a telegraph line and instruments, 16 locomotives, upwards of 500 freight cars, seven passenger coaches, and four baggage cars and post office cars, three river steamboats on the Willamette River, which cost $57,000, along with the usual and adequate office furniture and fittings. It is in no sense an exaggerated statement that the court might have sold off movable property to the value over twice the whole amount of the purchase money bid by mssers. Hammond and Bonner. ...
But the Oregon State Supreme Court did approve of the sale for $100,000; it was a bonanza for the new owners.
The Oregon Pacific Under Hammond
Following the sheriff's sale on
22, 1894, Hammond owned the Oregon Pacific Railroad lock, stock
He had previously been in the state making surveys to build a
railroad between Astoria and Goble along the south bank of the
This line would connect Seashore Railroad running from Astoria
with the Northern Pacific Railroad which operated from Goble
In one of his first press interviews, Hammond explained that he intended to operate the Oregon Pacific, but that he would build the Astoria & Columbia River, between Astoria and Goble with some of the excess rolling stock and railroad equipment.
Hammond was a good businessman and a good lumberman. He had purchased the Oregon Pacific knowing that the Southern Pacific would eventually want the line. He had watched the "Big Four," the builders of the Central Pacific Railroad: Collis Potter Huntington (1821-1900), Charles Crocker (1822-1888), Amasa Leland Stanford (1824-1893) and Mark Hopkins, buy up many of the short line railroads operating in the states of California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas, and he felt it would only be a matter of time until they would be turning their attentions to Oregon. He also had seen the large stands of virgin timber bordering the railroad.
Oregon Pacific Jumps the Track
Less than four months after Hammond
over the line, the Oregon Pacific had its worst train wreck. A
train on the afternoon of May 6, 1895, was passing over Bridge
when it fell. The entire train with the exception of the engine,
and one freight car fell into the river, killing the conductor
On April 11, 1895, Hammond changed the name of the Oregon Pacific to Oregon Central & Eastern.
Oregon Central & Eastern
Sometime during the next two years,
B. Hammond sold the Oregon Central & Eastern to Collis P.
and Thomas Hamlin Hubbard for an undisclosed amount of money.
Huntington was a financial genius. He raised most of the money used by the Big Four in constructing the first sections of the Central Pacific's line to the East in 1893.
Thomas Hubbard was a member of the legal firm, Butler, Stillman & Hubbard in New York from 1875-1896. He was vice-president and director of the Southern Pacific from 1896-1900.
Huntington & Hubbard, both Southern Pacific officials acting on their private account and not on behalf of Southern Pacific, incorporated the Corvallis & Eastern on December 15, 1897. They retained Andrew Hammond as president of the line. The actual management of the railroad fell to Edwin Stone who had been connected with Hammond in the mercantile business in Montana. James Knox Weatherford (1850-1935), an Albany attorney, was also one of the top officials of the company as well as handling all of the railroad’s legal matters.
Passenger Service Increases
At this point in the Corvallis &
history, there was a heavy growth of population in the
This growth was not noticeable in freight revenues but it did
the tourist passenger business to the coast. Some Saturdays and
the Corvallis & Eastern would operate four and five sections
regular passenger train bringing 2,500 people to the coastal
Yaquina Bay over a summer weekend.
Newport advertised that there were plenty of balmy breezes
with the tang of the ocean's caress, and where health is contagious as they described their beautiful beach, their enjoyable bay, and their restful hotels.
Colonel Hogg, after losing the railroad in 1895, married for the first time the following year. He died in 1898 at the age of 70 years, still working feverishly to get back into the railroad picture here in Oregon.
Edward Henry Harriman: President of Southern Pacific
It was to be some ten years before
Pacific got around to buying the Corvallis & Eastern; and,
time, all of the Big Four were dead, including C. P. Huntington.
Pacific now belonged to Edward Henry Harriman (1848-1909).
After Huntington's death on August 13, 1900, the heirs were anxious to dispose of their railroad properties.
The Corvallis & Eastern had no further plans of expansion, but the completion of the railroad to Boise was still prevalent in the minds of many. Wallis Nash incorporated the Cooperative Christian Federation in February 1906. He hoped to buy the Corvallis & Eastern and to continue construction on to Boise as was originally planned by Colonel Hogg. In June 1907, Nash was in the East attempting to secure the necessary backing when word came to him that the Corvallis & Eastern had been sold to E. H. Harriman, president of the Southern Pacific. Nash immediately dropped his proposed idea of building across the Cascades.
A. B. Hammond had sold the line for T. H. Hubbard and the C. P. Huntington Estate.
The 20th Century
The Southern Pacific continued operating the Corvallis & Eastern under this name from 1907 to 1915. James Thomas Walsh, who had served as superintendent for A. B. Hammond, continued under the Southern Pacific ownership until his death on September 19, 1911. Walsh was given the position upon the death of the previous superintendent, Cornelius Henry "Con" Sullivan, who died on June 2, 1906. John Henry Stevens replaced Walsh, and was the last Corvallis & Eastern superintendent.
Catholic Chapel Car Spreads Christianity in Polk and Yamhill Counties 1907
The Chapel Car, funded by the Catholic
Society, was an old Pullman Coach, adapted in 1907 as a
conference hall and living quarters for a permanent
railroad companies would haul it and park it, free of charge, at
requested. The novelty of the thing was enough to draw crowds.
did it bring Catholics back to the sacraments and pave the way
countless local churches; it also dissipated the anti-Catholic
of many Protestants and from the beginning gave the new parishes
name in town. At the end of 1909, the Chapel Car played an
role in the dedication of the newly-built church at Newberg, but
then mission seems to have been reassigned to priests from
At Sheridan, where the church was not yet complete, the Chapel
a more pioneering role, housing the masses and instructions for
and the lectures for interested non-catholics. The goodwill so
seen again a couple of years later, then Fr. Charles Raymond,
Priest of Siletz," gave a sacred concert in the local opera
Methodist minister, Rev. Kuhlmann, exhorted his flock to attend
A visit of the Chapel Car to Dallas sped up the completion of a church already begun by fr. H. J. McDevitt. At Independence, a visit led to the purchase and adaptation of a disused Methodist church. At Falls City, the Chapel Car was used in conjunction with a local hall, lent for the occasion. But at Yamhill, last of Fr. Raymond's outlaying churches, the Chapel Car seems not to have played a role.
The Coming of the Automobile
Passenger service continued with heavy crowds up to and through WWI. During the early 1920s, this type of business began to drop off as the private automobile became more common. Passenger train Number 401 and 402 made its last trip on Labor Day in 1928. The Southern Pacific substituted their own Silver Gray stage line. It was not too long before Southern Pacific realized that operating stages was not to their liking. This service was taken over by Peacock Stages, Oregon Motor Stages, and later Pacific Greyhound Lines.
With the withdrawal of passenger
it was no longer necessary to operate trains into Yaquina City.
1937, trackage was removed between Toledo and, leaving the proud
which once boasted several hundred people, with one general
office operated by "Yaquina" Pete Rasmussen.
Today, the big diesels groan their way over the Coast Range where once the tiny little Oregon Pacific locomotives puffed pipe dreams for Colonel Hogg.
A Fair Evaluation
Historians today attempting to give a
evaluation of the accomplishments of the Hogg-Hoag Brothers, who
to build the Oregon Pacific, feel that they, as individuals,
as much as other railroad builders in this state.
Ben Holladay lost the Oregon & California Railroad, after completing trackage to Roseburg and Saint Joseph, the terminus of the west-side Oregon Central Railroad. Henry Villard (1835-1900) took over from the defeated Holladay only himself to lose out after controlling all of the transportation systems, including rail and water in the entire Pacific Northwest.
These men failed in the final analysis, as did Colonel Hogg and his brother, W. M. Hoag. Yet, all of these men succeeded in building a railroad and performing a service that is a credit to the state of Oregon today.
The Oregon Pacific failed because men with money grew faint-hearted,
and cash no longer came at the call of the spectacular Colonel Hogg. The stupendous size of the undertaking demanded new capital, without which it languished; and within a short time the creditors grew restive...
It was wrecked by factional dissensions which balked its completion and final success.
The loss of local business was their undoing. They saw only the transcontinental freight shipments that would accrue to them upon the completion of the line at Boise...
Sermons (1): An Online Ministry of Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel
Early Words and Sermons (2) Early Words and Sermons (3)
by Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel I II
Oregon History Online: Volume I Volume II
Volume III Volume IV Volume V
Volume VI Volume VII Volume VIII
Volume IX Volume XOregon History CD Edition
1870 Benton County Oregon Census A-ICensus J-RCensus S-Z
1870 Polk County Oregon Census A-M1870 Census N-Z
Wild Women West: One-Eyed CharlieWestern Warrior Women
Black Pioneers Settle Oregon CoastYaquina Bay Oyster Wars
Wolf Creek SanctuaryRogue River CommunitiesGolden Campbellites
Murder on the Gold Special: The D'AutremontsTyee View Cemetery
Eddyville CemeteriesOlex CemeteryApplegate Pioneer Cemetery
Thomason CemeterySiletz Valley CemeteriesSiletz Indian Shakers
Glenwood, Harlan, Chitwood CemeteriesElk City Pioneer Cemetery
Eureka CemeteryToledo Pioneer CemeteryGuardino Family History
"So Be It" Autobiography by Mariano Guardino
Dobbie-Smith Genealogy "Aunt Edie" by Harriet Guardino
Dobbie Obituaries and Letters
Historic Oregon Coast AlbumHistoric Grants Pass Oregon Album
"The Great Pal" by Harriet Guardino