Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Good Old Days: August 22, 2019


August 22, 2019

125 years ago

The Commoner

August 24, 1894

John McFee Braithwaite, who shot a hole through the right lung of James Tow, in the saloon of Hugh McKune at Winona, on Saturday, August 11, was Monday afternoon examined before Justice Zimmerman on a charge of assault with intent to commit murder. Prosecuting Attorney Pickrell represented the state, and Attorney Jos. Sessions appeared for the defense. The evidence of the prosecution was sufficient of itself to establish a case of self-defense, and Mr. Sessions had nothing to add to it on the part of his client. But Mr. Pickrell thought the testimony ought to be transcribed, and he wanted to deliver a speech in the case, and so he moved the court to continue the matter till 2 o’clock Tuesday. This means one day more of costs and witness fees and a much bigger stenographer’s bill, and Justice Zimmerman late in the afternoon gave Pickrell a few pointers regarding the folly and expense of dilly-dallying with a case which no conviction could ever be reached in any court. Shorthand Reporter W.J. Bryant told the prosecutor that two days would be required to transcribe his notes. Mr. Bryant was told that he needn’t mind transcribing his notes, and Mr. Pickrell concluded not to advertise himself with a speech at all, but to let John McFee Braithwaite go free on the ground of insufficient evidence. If the prosecutor had been given full swing, however, his reputation as an expense-builder would have been better sustained.


Oakesdale is no longer a prohibition stronghold. The advocates of the licenses saloon Monday night won a decisive victory was obtained through a piece of political work that the “no saloon” element will denounce as unworthy of a christian civilization. Oakesdale has no saloon license, and its common council refused to draft one, so that the single saloon in the city has been running without a license, and the city attorney, Thad. Riddle, has been doing his level best to close it by legal methods. Thad himself is a victim of Monday night’s wicked scheme.


Everyone is getting ready for harvest. The threshing crews are being engaged, and the whistle of their engines is heard on every side. The farmers are rejoicing over the outlook, and all things point to a better harvest than last year.

Messrs. Fady, Hermon and Smith, with a crew of 12 men, commenced threshing on R. M. Mudgett’s ranch on the Rimrock Wednesday afternoon and others commence next week. The town is full of men looking for employment, and by next week every available hand will be at work.

100 years ago

The Colfax Commoner

August 15, 1919

Joe Case died Tuesday night at 12:30 from the effects of burns and bruises, caused by a gasoline tank which exploded in his shop which he was at work with his blow torch fixing up a leak.

The tank belonged to F. P. Copley, who had brought it to the shop to be repaired. The tank had been drained of its contents and there was supposed to be no gasoline inside. Joe Case went to work on the tank with his blow-torch and he stood at one end of the tank while at work and Mr. Copley stood at the other end. He had been at work on the tank only a short time when there was a deafing explosion, and the head of the tank next to Mr. Case blew up and crushed both bones in his leg from the knee down. There was still some of the liquid in the tank and this liquid was sprayed over the unfortunate man’s clothing, cooking the flesh all over his body. His ears were burned almost to a crisp, his eye lashes were burned off and the flesh on his body and hands was almost cooked before the flames could be extinguished.


Chas. L. MacKenzie, who is financing the Whitman county fair this year, appeared before the members of the commercial club Wednesday and asked the business men of the city to aid in advertising the Whitman county fair this fall. Mr. MacKenzie stated that he had secured some of the best strings of horses that has ever appeared in the Northwest. The best horses that appear at the Spokane and Yakima state fair will be entered in the Whitman county race this year.


Hog cholera which broke out in the Robert Warner herd at Oakesdale last week threatens to wipe out the entire herd. Many of the hogs were ready for the market and the loss promises to be one of the largest losses that has been sustained in Whitman county from hog cholera in many years.


A complete distillery was located west of Winona this week by one of the deputy officers stationed at Winona. The outfit was located west of Winona and it was loaded onto a truck and the entire equipment was brought to the court house Wednesday night.

Among the outfit that was captured was a condensing worm, 100 gallons of marsh and a quantity of syrup. It is said to be the most complete outfit that has been discovered in the state and those who know, state that the whiskey is of a good quality.

75 years ago

The Colfax Gazette-Commoner

August 18, 1944

Whitman county will probably still pull out of its harvest-time tribulations of wind and rain with a gross agricultural income which will equal or exceed last year’s all-time peak estimated $38,000,000 gross value of its farm products, believe Troy Lindley, county agent. Harvest is helped by a pleasantly plentiful labor supply.

Clearing skies and warmer weather from midweek on compensated in some measure for heavy weekend rains and untimely, mildly destructive winds of last week which preceded the rains. At presstime harvest operations were in steady swing throughout the county, except in the lower country of the western part of Whitman where it had all been happily completed before the weather took a delaying hand.


The bright and shining face of danger, the colorful tapestries of grandiose pageantry, the recurring humbug of youth and oddity and music and crowded excitement all drew an estimated thirty-five hundred people nearly to crowd the Beatty-Russel Bros. combined circus to capacity as it showed at a single performance Tuesday night.

50 years ago

The Colfax Gazette

August 21, 1969

Operation grandstand went on the road―Morton street―Tuesday night as volunteer workers began to move a 42-foot section of the Schmuck park grandstand from the third base sideline of the baseball diamond to the football field.

John Archer, Coach Jerry Parrish and Jack Reynolds worked all day Tuesday preparing the section of grandstand for the after-hours volunteers who showed up with seven lift trucks to pull the bulky structure off its blocks and onto Morton street.


The Uniontown Journal suspended publication with last week’s issue―after serving southeastern Whitman county for 48 years.

Publisher Larry C. Mattoon, who has owned the paper for 44 of its 48 years, announced last week that he was “several years past the statutory retirement time” and had considered suspension of publication for some time. The newspaper’s subscription list was sold to an Idaho newspaper’s and Mattoon announced that he would remain in the job printing business in Uniontown where he intends to retain his home.

25 years ago

Whitman County Gazette

August 25, 1994

Almost hidden below the barren rock road which looks out over the expanse of Snake River are the trees of the Warm Springs ranch at Penawawa. The patch of green contrasts with the rocks and brown fields of the river breaks in the month of August.

Loaded on the green tree branches are golden peaches, the crop which made Penawawa famous with generations of area residents.

Stacy and Shirley Eggers now have about 300 trees along the river at the same location where for years their family produced fruit for area homes.


A tabulation from the Colfax sprinkler zone went through the mail last week. Colfax residents sustained a summer of ‘94 jolt when they cracked open their water bills.

As the bills indicate, city water users set a record. Water usage between July 15 and Aug. 15 totaled out at 7,554,179 cubic feet which smashes any previous record.

10 years ago

Whitman County Gazette

August 20, 2009

A crew from the state Department of Ecology sampled the flood control channel in Colfax Tuesday to target the source of high levels of fecal coliform found in the South Palouse River.

Tuesday, the crew of Matt Hammer, Colfax wastewater treatment plant manager; Elaine Snouwaert, Ecology water quality manager, and Jim Ross, Ecology natural resource scientist, measured the flow and took sampled of the river where drain pipes dump into the channel.


Fixing up the boiler, buying brand-new bleachers, and even a new roof are now possible for four school districts in Whitman County who were awarded state grants for building repairs.

Oakesdale, Palouse, Colton, and St. John all applied for the state’s small repair grant program and were awarded funds from among 120 districts. The top 47 projects were picked as the most urgent.


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