News of the Week, August 21 to August 27

The tone of the news is set by the editor, or Publisher and Proprietor as several Oregon City newspapers titled the man in charge. In 1856 William L. Adams, publisher of the Oregon Argus, was not shy about sharing his highly partisan opinions, filling most of the four page weekly newspaper with political news from around the United States. He also carried on lively battles in print with other editors around the region who did not share his political views. The small amount of local news rating space in the paper was brief but of great local interest…

Oregon City Argus, August 23, 1856

J. F. Thomas of Portland killed himself with a pistol in Linn City, last Wednesday night. He and his wife had parted a short time since, and at the time of the suicide she was living with Robert Moore, of Linn City. Thomas came up from Portland on Wednesday, and just before bed time made his appearance at Moore’s window, pointed a revolver at Mrs. Thomas who was just in the act of blowing out the candle, and fired. Supposing probably that he had killed her, he put the pistol to his own mouth and blew out his own brains.


Linn City, 1858, from Joseph Gaston’s Centennial History of Oregon.
In April 1861 a fire destroyed the mills, a warehouse and a steam boat moored at the dock. December 1861 brought the highest recorded river level since American settlement of the area around the falls began in 1842. The flood “washed Linn City from the face of the earth” according to the press of the day. Two houses and a warehouse were all that remained on the west bank of the Willamette River when the water receded.
Robert Moore did not live to see the destruction of his town, having died in 1857, one day before Dr. John McLoughlin, founder of Oregon City on the opposite bank of the Willamette River, who died on September 3, 1857.

The undermentioned Jury being duly sworn, as having heard the report of witnesses, have given the following verdict:
We hereby certify that we have carefully examined into the cause of death of Julius F. Thomas, and we are satisfied that the said Julius F. Thomas came to his death by his own hands, first firing a pistol shot through the bedroom window of Mr. Moore’s, Linn City, and then discharging a ball through his mouth, entering the upper jaw, fracturing it, and entering the brain, causing almost instant death.
L. Holmes; E. B. Fellows; R. Pentland; E. W. Everts; M. L. Barton; W. Whitlock.
Forbes Barclay, Coroner. Linn City, August 20, 1856.

The Argus does not state whether Mr. Thomas’s shot struck or missed Mrs. Thomas, but no notice of her death appears in the newspaper. There is also a question over her “living with Robert Moore”. Robert Moore, founder of Linn City, was 75 years old at the time of this article, and had been married to 47 year-old Jane Tubbs Apperson since 1851. The choice of wording in the article leaves one wondering…

Frank S. Dement, Proprietor and Publisher of the Oregon City Enterprise in 1876 knew how to turn a phrase and inject a little humor in the news…
Oregon City Enterprise, August 25, 1876

  • DON’T BORROW – The young and fascinating dispenser of fluids at the Shades Saloon has come to grief. It seems that on the 4th of July Mr. Jas. Harding loaned him a ring, which was to be returned on demand. Last Saturday Harding called for the ring, and they young gent did not know where it was. The demand has been repeated several times, but the ring was not forthcoming. On complaint of Harding the Bourbon knight was arrested on a charge of “larceny by bailee,” and Judge Athey “set him up” for #25 and costs, amounting to $36 – or 18 days in limbo. The borrower of the ring skirmished around and secured $14, and decided to take the remaining 11 days in the Hotel de Willis.
  • BOUND FOR THE MOUNTAINS – Last Saturday a party of our citizens – F. O. McCown, Geo. A. Harding, S. L. Stevens, David Caufield and Chas. Caufield – left for Table Rock, about 15 miles south-east of Wilhoit’s Soda Springs. The party are determined to bring a wagon load of game home with them, and intend to kill it all in two weeks. We imagine that we can see them coming in town with a wagon load – of dusty, ragged, sun-burnt individuals.
  • THE night watchman consigned a disturber of the peace to the county jail last Sunday night, and was surprised to find that he had disappeared next morning. He had forgotten about the hole made by the prisoners who escaped last week. Our informant says the prisoner arrived down town before the watchman had the door locked.
  • G. W. CARVER, of Oswego, has left for parts unknown, and several creditors in this city and Oswego, mourn his untimely departure.

The New Tax Bill.
For kissing a pretty girl, one dollar.
For kissing a homely one, two dollars. (The tax is levied in order to break up the custom altogether, it being regarded as a piece of inexcusable absurity.)
For every flirtation, ten cents.
For every young man who has more than one girl, five dollars.
Courting in the kitchen, twenty-five cents.
Courting in the parlor, five dollars.
Courting in romantic places, five dollars, and fifty cents thereafter.
For a girl giving a young man the mitten, five dollars and cost of suit.
Seeing a young lady home from church, twenty cents.
Failing to see her home, five dollars.
For ladies who paint, two dollars. Proceeds to be devoted to the relief of disconsolate husbands who have been deceived by outward appearances.
Wearing a low-necked dress, one dollar. Proceeds to be devoted to frail old bachelors whose early welfare has been put in jeopardy by these fashions.
Wearing hoops over eight feet in diameter, eight cents per hoop.
Bachelors over thirty years old, ten dollars and banished to Utah.
Each boy baby, fifty cents.
Each girl baby, ten cents.
Twins, one hundred dollars premium to be paid out of the funds accruing from the tax on old bachelors.
Head of families of more than thirteen children, fined a hundred dollars and sent to jail.

In 1896, Publisher and Proprietor Charles Meserve who had purchased the Oregon City Enterprise in 1889, oversaw an expanded weekly newspaper of eight pages with more news from around the county and a less tongue in cheek approach to crime and local news. But you can still “hear” a little twinkle in his eye…

Oregon City Enterprise, August 21, 1896

FELL IN A WELL – P. D. Curran, a well known citizen, residing in that part of Oregon City known as Ely, concluded to clean out his well Tuesday afternoon as the water was getting very low in the bottom. A short ladder was placed in the bottom, and his daughter let him down by means of a windlass and rope. He had no sooner gotten fairly started on his downward trip, when the old rotten rope broke and he fell to the bottom. J. N. Harrington and several other neighbors were immediately summoned, and one of their number was let down to get the old gentleman out. He found him sitting on one of the rounds of the ladder, where he had raised himself up from the bottom, and in answer to the inquiry if he was hut, replied that both legs were broken. He calmly told them to get another rope, and directed them where to find it. A stick was fastened to the end of the rope and he was hauled to the top astride the stock and holding the to the rope with both hands. When he was lifted upon the ground his daughters were crying and wringing their hands, but he told them to keep quiet, as he would be well and sound within a couple of weeks. Dr. Paine was called and found that the left ankle was fractured and the other was badly cut. Mr. Currin is over 60 years of age, and it was astonishing to note the fortitude he displayed throughout the entire ordeal. (Mr. Curran recovered from his injury and died in 1909 at age 73)

Otto Freytag and Seward Rasmussen, two young men of this city, mounted their wheels last Saturday at 5 a.m. for a record-smashing trip to Mt. Hood. They reached Sandy in time for breakfast and carried lunch to do them until their return to that place, eating their supper at the timber line at 6 p.m. Sunday at daylight they began the ascent to the summit and upon arriving there put their names in the Mazama box and viewed the Eastern Oregon scenery along the Columbia River, the Willamette Valley not being visible on account of clouds. The return trip to the timber line was made in a short time and the boys found that the time consumed by the round trip had been 5 hours and 40 minutes. From this time the run was made to Sandy in time for supper, then started on home reaching this place at 11:45 p.m. They had not accidents and report having had a most enjoyable trip, the roads being in good condition the greater part of the way. The Powells Valley road was chosen for the home run, then along the Clackamas road this way being considered the safest for night riding. Both these young men work in the Oregon City Ice works, and went to work Monday morning none the worse for their long ride.

OREGON CITY’S MT. HOOD RECORD – Quite a record has been established by our mountain climbers going from this city to the peak of Oregon’s hoary old monarch recently and we give below a resume of these important facts: The youngest person to reach the summit is Hattie Church, aged 9 years, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler Church; the oldest is Rufus Pease, aged 76; the heaviest lady is Miss Fannie G. Porter, the school teacher; and the fastest time ever made was that accomplished by Otto Freytag and Seward Rasmussen who rode from here to the mountain and returned in 42 hours and 45 minutes.


  • During the latter part of last week, T. C. Keller and R. B. Smith were peddling hams and bacon in the city and were placed under arrest by Chief of Police burns. They were suspected of being the parties who had been robbing the smoke houses in Molalla country, but it transpired that they had purchased the meat from the Union Dressed Meat company. However, when they were arraigned Friday, they were fined $10 each for peddling meat without a license.
  • Wang Hing, a Parkplace Chinaman, is in the toils, all the same as any ordinary American citizen. He went out bird shooting on Captain Apperson’s premises, and was caught in the act. Tuesday morning he had a hearing before Justice Schuebel, but he refused to plead guilty. Before the court convened he made the statement that he had shot at a pheasant, but upon being arraigned claimed that he was asleep at the time the offense should have been committed. He was fined $10 for trespass.
  • From Highland – Constable Harrington was on Mill Creek to arrest some hoodlums that disturbed the Salvation Army. We hope the boys will pay dear for their fun…

IN HIGHLAND COURT – There was an important case in Justice Kandle’s court at Highland last Saturday afternoon. James Bonney, Joe Carlson and Will Hedgecomb were up before the justice charged with disturbing religious worship at a church on Mill Creek on August 9th. Considerable evidence was adduced both for and against the defendants. G. B. Dimick appeared for the prosecution, William Bonney, father of one of the defendants, represented the defendants. It was a jury trial, which after being out for short time, brought in a verdict of guilty. Justice Kandle imposed a fine of $10 each on the defendants which amounts were paid.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s