Around the state and across the country, from Montana to Oklahoma, stories from Aberdeen occasionally caught the eye of an editor in some far-flung place. Whether hard news or simple filler, here are some of the stories that spread the name of Aberdeen, Washington, far and wide at the end of the 19th century.
MISS FANNIE CARNEY’S TROUBLES — Two years ago Miss Fannie Carney, residing on the Wishkah River, near Aberdeen, became the mother of twins, whose paternity is not known. Subsequently she found a home with Rev. Byron Aldrich, at Hoquiam. Last fall she went to Tacoma and gave birth to another child, subsequently going to live with Mr. Aldrich, who had removed to Centralia. The girl declares that H. Fessenfeld, of Hoquiam, is the father of the latest child, and brought suit against him at Chehalis for $5,000 damages. Mr. Fessenfeld denies the paternity of the child and says he had nothing whatever to do with her, and his attorney obtained a change of venue to Chehalis County, where he will fight her claims for damages or support of the child. Miss Carney declared to several parties that she would kill Fessenfeld if beaten in court. — The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Feb. 7, 1892
DOES GLASS CAUSE FOREST FIRES? — State Forester Welty, of Washington, is investigating the possibility that broken bottles are sometimes the cause of forest fires. He says in a letter to various forest fire protective associations:
“May not the mysterious origin of fires in forest material be attributed to broken bottle glass?
“Many fires are reported each season by fire wardens, originating from causes unknown, along traveled roads and trails. No doubt, many of these fires can be attributed to the carelessness of travelers along the highways. A cigar stub, cigarette or match carelessly thrown away and left to smolder, is the cause of many fires.
“A Tacoma correspondent says: ‘Eight years ago, while living at Grays Harbor, my duties caused me to cover a good deal of territory in and through the woods. One day at noon I was crossing an unused trail up the Wishkah River, when I discovered a little smoke coming from among a few leaves. I looked about, saw no one, and after carefully investigating, I discovered a broken beer bottle — the bottom reflecting squarely on the sun’s rays, making it act, as it did, a burning-glass. I believe if glass found in the woods, especially in open dry places, was kicked or buried under earth, the glass could not do the work I saw the glass trying to do. Of course, I kicked the bottle under ground, and put out the fire just beginning.” — The Seattle Republican, March 7, 1913
A CORRESPONDENT of the Chehalis Valley Vidette, at Aberdeen, W.T., tells the following interesting story: “A.J. West had a valuable boat built at a cost of $80. One evening about a month ago Crist Damitio took the boat to cross the Wishkah River, but he lost his paddle, deserted his boat and clung to a pile at Waldron’s wharf, when his lusty cries soon brought assistance. In the darkness of the night the boat was lost. The next day an Indian found it on the beach at the entrance and took it up the coast. Next day the Chilean bark was driven ashore by a storm at sea, and the Indians considering their canoes unsafe took Mr. West’s boat and rescued fifteen sailors from their perilous position in the rigging of the vessel. Mr. West has just received his boat back in good condition after the above adventure.” — Indian Chieftain (Vinita, Ok), February 10, 1887.
ILLIFF BROTHERS of Aberdeen, Wash., have built a small boat that probably has no equal for novelty anywhere in the country. The Bulletin states that the boat is virtually driven upstream by the force of the current. At the stern is a wheel like an ordinary stern-wheel streamer. This is connected by chain gearing with levers near the center of the boat which are adjustable to a depth of water of about six feet or less. They act in the manner of a lever with the boat as a fulcrum and the bottom of the river being the farther point of resistance. The current turning the wheel moves the levers and the boat is actually pushed up stream at the rate of two to four miles per hour. A successful trial trip was made on the Wishkah yesterday. Where there is too much water or too little current the wheel is run by hand and the boat can make six or eight miles per hour. — The Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, MT), April 12, 1892
FIRES AT ABERDEEN — Aberdeen, March 26. — (Special) — The Allen hotel, a large three-story frame structure, unoccupied, was nearly destroyed by fire at 11 o’clock last night. The alarm was turned in while some of the members of the volunteer department were at the theater and shortly after the caretaker had left the building. The flames were first discovered in the second story and spread rapidly, and by the time the firemen were at work the fire had gained such headway that, despite the five streams of water pouring on the building, the two upper floors were gutted and the roof entirely burned away. The ground floor was badly damaged by water. For a time it seemed as if the adjoining building, only six inches from the hotel, would also take fire, but by hard work the firemen saved it. C. Johnson’s saloon, also adjoining, was badly wrecked by the zealous efforts of some citizens to save the bar fixtures and stock.
The Allen hotel was at the end of Heron Street, on the banks of the Wishkah River, and had been rebuilt three years ago, at which time it had been destroyed by fire. The building was furnished throughout, and was valued at $7,000, with insurance of only $2,000. It is the property of Samuel Benn. The city’s water system was thoroughly and satisfactorily tested at the fire.
This afternoon another small building in North Aberdeen, belonging to several boys, was entirely destroyed by fire. The boys were melting a pan of tar over the stove, and it took fire. It caused some fear for two large adjacent buildings, but burnt out without further damage. — The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 27, 1893
A DOG COMMITS SUICIDE — Last Friday L.W. Walker was out walking, accompanied by his dog. The animal seemed in the usual contented canine frame of mind on starting out, but before they had gone far, began to howl, and started back to town, tearing over everything that came in his way. On coming to Mr. Walker’s place, on Heron street, he mashed through the building and down the slip leading to the wharf, and made a deliberate plunge into the Wishkah River. He evidently went straight to the bottom, as nothing was seen of him after his plunge. This is the second instance of canine suicide that has occurred here. — The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 20, 1889
Roy Vataja is the son of Finnish immigrants and feels badly for the dog that found itself so demoralized that he chose a copy-cat solution to his temporary puppy-problem.