Good Old Days: May 9, 2019


The 1918 Palouse High School basketball team: The 1918 Palouse High School basketball team was, according to a player's son, Tom McFarland, "the best team around." They often traveled by train, playing teams such as Medical Lake. Second from left is Lawton "Packy" McFarland, raised in Palouse, who later ran a store in Colfax. His son, Tom, was raised in Colfax and now lives in Sagle, Idaho. Others pictured are _______ Magnetti, McFarland, W. Lawton, Thomas Potter, _______ Parker, _______ Miller and _______ Dasch.

125 years ago

The Commoner, May 11, 1894

Postmaster William L. Brown, of Hooper, who spent Tuesday in Colfax, brought details to the Commoner of a rather sensational piece of news from Washtuchna, a station 10 miles below Hooper.

In the summer of 1893, a young man who gave his name as William Herrick appeared in Washtuchna and found employment there as a "broncho buster." He worked the greater part of his time for George W. Bassett and obtained the reputation of being an all-round tough character. He was called "Bill" when he made his advent in Washtuchna, and later on the people dubbed him "Wild Bill." He was a light complexioned fellow, about 25 years of age, had a light moustache, was five feet nine inches in height, and weighed about 190. He was a reckless daredevil, and a dead shot.

About two weeks ago, "Wild Bill" went to the ranch of Anson Mercer, near Washtuchna. It was shortly after noon, and Mr. Mercer was absent from the premises. Going to the house, "Wild Bill" engaged Mrs. Mercer in conversation and then laid violent hands on her. The woman fought and screamed, and the scoundrel had her almost overpowered when the noise of approaching horse hoofs alarmed the villain, and he beat a hasty retreat.

Mercer found his wife almost dead with fright and exhaustion, and covered with bruises, when he returned to the house. He learned the story as soon as the woman recovered composure, and started out on "Wild Bill's" trail.

On the following morning, he tracked Herrick to the ranch of Robert Greene, on the Palouse river. There Greene heard a couple of shots, and later upon going out to enquire the cause, found Mercer alone, and was told by the latter that he had just been trying his gun.

A horse with a saddle on it was found in Greene's enclosure. It was the steed Herrick had ridden, and the saddle belonged to Herrick. Mercer took the saddle off and appropriated it.

100 years ago

The Colfax Commoner, May 9, 1919

Geo. H. McCroskey was in the city Tuesday, and he stated that he had just come up from Almota, the place where the family had crossed the river in coming to Colfax 40 years ago. "Almost forty years ago it was one of the leading towns in Washington and it was the distributing point for all of that section of the state north of the Snake river," said Mr. McCroskey.


The members of the Commercial Club went on record Wednesday in favor of the county commissioners employing a special officer to arrest automobile speeders. There was a delegation of visitors present from Pullman who laid the questions before the members of the club and when the matter was considered it was carried with only one member voting against the proposition.

W. L. Greenwalt of Pullman stated that the Pullman Chamber of Commerce had endorsed the proposition of the county commissioners employing an officer to enforce the speed laws of the state. He said the laws were being disregarded and the speeders were becoming a source of danger to the traveling public. The members of the Pullman chamber had gone on record as pledging themselves to appear before the proper authorities and make complaints against any one and every one whom they caught speeding.

75 years ago

Colfax Gazette Commoner, May 5, 1944

The little town of Almota on the Snake river had more than its share of excitement Sunday morning when a freight train on the Lewiston-Riparia line was wrecked near the road crossing, piling 12 gravel cars into a space normally occupied by less than half that number. No loss of life or injury to members of the train crew resulted.

The wreck was caused by the opening of the floor of one of the dump cars as the train was enroute up river to Lewiston from a quarry at Riparia, where the gravel had been uploaded.


Faced with prospects of less favorable growing conditions, smaller food reserves, less manpower and a scarcity of farm machinery and supplies, the Washington State Grange, the Farm Bureau and the Council of Farmer Cooperatives have jointly protested against drafting all skilled farm hands under 26 into the armed forces.

It is important to hold the greatest possible number of skilled workers on the farm to prevent food shortages, broken morale and disruption of our war efficiency, the three organizations agreed at the recent meeting.

50 years ago

Colfax Gazette, May 1, 1969

Rain-and in some cases snow-poured on the county Monday and Tuesday, extending a wet weather siege on farmers who are itching to get pea and lentil seed into their fields. The percent of wet fields waiting for seed increases in a northerly direction with most of the farmers in the Tekoa and Farmington area still waiting to start.

The two days of rain followed wet weather last week which took its toll on fields.

25 years ago

Colfax Gazette, May 12, 1994

The county commissioners tabled the proposed county graffiti ordinance Monday after two Colfax attorneys questioned the ordinance's legality and intent.

"The issue I have is a very serious question about the constitutionality of this ordinance," Colfax attorney Wes Nuxoll, told the commissioners. "I would frankly be amazed if the court would uphold this ordinance."

The ordinance is based on a Spokane law that was recently adopted, but had never been challenged in court.


Whitman County Parks Board learned there is strong support and vocal opposition to the Moscow/Pullman bike path when it heard public input last week on the park's comprehensive plan.

The bike path was listed as the top project in the county parks and recreation capital improvement rankings.

The county has secured $900,000 in Department of Transportation funding for path construction, and it is also seeking an additional $300,000 in improvements to accommodate the trail. There are also several other public and private projects slated that would affect the trail.

10 years ago

Whitman County Gazette, April 30, 2009

A benefit concert and auction for the McGraw family of Colfax drew nearly 300 people to the Palouse Empire Fairgrounds Sunday afternoon.

The local community came together to help offset expenses incurred when two-year old Walter McGraw burned the lower part of his right leg March 1. The event raised $10,048.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019