(ROY VATAJA COLLECTION) A view of Cosmopolis taken around 1900 by photographer Lon Lewis showing part of the massive Grays Harbor Commercial Company lumber mill. Cosmopolis was a “company town” and men worked under the tight-fisted rule of mill superintendent Neil Cooney.

Cosmopolis had stories too

  • Fri Dec 16th, 2016 10:00pm
  • Life

Cosmopolis is the smallest and oldest of the three cities that make up the greatest portion of the population on Grays Harbor. Nonetheless, they too had issues that sometimes rivaled those of Aberdeen and Hoquiam. Here are some tales from the “World City” as presented in the pages of the Aberdeen Herald.

DROWNED AT COSMOPOLIS — The Clan McDonald brought down word this morning that one of the Fry boys, supposed to be Jason, was attacked with an epileptic fit and fell from the wharf into the Chehalis River at Cosmopolis. Although he was hauled out of the water almost immediately by the crew of the Clan, when got on board life was extinct. He was about 35 years of age. — Aberdeen Herald, July 21, 1892

Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Hopkins (of Cosmopolis) got one of Mr. Skeen’s boats and rowed to Aberdeen Tuesday evening. While they were attending a religious meeting, some sinner took the boat from under the wharf where it was tied and they had to be set across the river and walk up from South Aberdeen. Next morning the boat was found where it had been left. —Aberdeen Herald, Sept. 17, 1903

The other evening, when walking from Cosmopolis to his logging camp, W.F. Towle was joined by a stranger who walked along with him to a point below the South Aberdeen station, when the stranger held up Towle at the point of a revolver and took five dollars, all the money Mr. Towle had with him. Mr. Towle was not armed. — Aberdeen Herald, Oct. 27, 1902

Ed. Palmer, who has been playing ball with the Cosmopolis team, had his left hand severely cut by a rip saw, Saturday, of last week, in Grays Harbor Commercial Company’s planer department. He is receiving the best of care at Cosmopolis hospital. — Aberdeen Herald, July 10, 1902

Cosmopolis Cornet Band wants to purchase two cornets and two alto horns — second hand. — Aberdeen Herald, June 5, 1902

Lewis Rice and his son, Byron, have constructed a dam across Mill creek, on their Cosmopolis place, which will send the water through a flume and turn a wheel furnishing power for Mr. Rice’s blacksmith shop, for a bone cutter that will make food for their chickens and for any other purpose that may be found convenient. — Aberdeen Herald, Sept. 21, 1903

Last Saturday Mr. A. Dougan opened “Dougan’s Oyster House and Restaurant” in a building on F Street, between Front Street and the City Hall. — Aberdeen Herald, October 17, 1901

Alex Dougan (of Cosmopolis) has had a good deal of trouble with his feet and has tried various remedies, including shoes made to order and metallic insoles. For two weeks he has been at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Aberdeen. It has been found that there is suppuration, and the toe nails have had to be cut in order to allow removal of pus. — Aberdeen Herald, March 23, 1903

About 9 o’clock Thursday morning, Chas. Seaman, tallyman for the Grays Harbor Commercial Company, started to climb a pile of lumber. When he was about eight feet from the ground, the top of the high pile fell, most of it going over him. He fainted, and was taken to his residence on a stretcher. Fortunately, it was found the injury was practically nothing. — Aberdeen Herald, Oct. 17, 1901

Eight Hoquiam shingle weavers were arrested by the Cosmopolis authorities last week charged with cutting the tires of five bicycles at the Cosmopolis shingle mill. The accused parties are union men, and the Cosmopolis mill is non-union, and that fact that these persons were in Cosmopolis the day the wheels were cut led to their suspicion. The accused took a change of venue, and were discharged Friday by Judge Pearson, the evidence being insufficient to convict. — Aberdeen Herald, April 6, 1903

Someone who has been watching the manner of conducting things at the Pacific Saloon gained entrance between 2 and 6 o’clock Thursday morning, and took $15 from the cash register. The outside door to the beer cellar was forced open, and the thief crawled up through the trap door behind the bar. The same morning an attempt was made to get into Bachelor’s Bar. — Aberdeen Herald, Oct. 17, 1901

Finally there is the three-part tale of Ed Nixon and the drunken actions at the Pacific Saloon that got him sent to the state penitentiary in 1915:

NIXON STABS MILLER IN EYE — Edward Nixon is awaiting trial in the county jail in Montesano, charged with second degree assault, the result of a fracas last Monday afternoon in the Pacific Saloon in Cosmopolis. Nixon, according to witnesses, stabbed Joe “Slim” Miller in the eye and Willie Kelly in the leg. Miller, lunch counter tender at the saloon, was painfully but not seriously wounded.

The assault upon the two men followed a fight between Nixon and Miller in which the loser is said to have knocked Nixon down. Nixon left the saloon for a while, and when he returned, say eyewitnesses to the affray, attacked Miller and then Kelly. W.V. McRobie, bartender, held Nixon until the arrival of the police. Nixon has lived in Cosmopolis for the past 18 months. — Aberdeen Herald, March 19, 1915

NIXON PLEADS GUILTY — Montesano, March 19 — Ed. Nixon, arraigned this afternoon before Judge Ben Sheeks on a second degree assault charge, pleaded guilty. He claimed that he was very drunk, remembered nothing of the saloon fight, and threw himself upon the court’s mercy. The case was taken under advisement. — Aberdeen Herald, March 19, 1915

NIXON SENTENCED — Ed Nixon, the young man who, in a saloon fight in Cosmopolis on March 15 slashed John Miller with a knife, cutting out an eye and threatening to kill others in the room if they interfered, was sentenced from one to ten years in the penitentiary today by Judge Sheeks. Nixon pleaded guilty before the judge a few days after the fight. — Aberdeen Herald, April 2, 1915

Roy Vataja is the son of Finnish immigrants and would gladly move to Cosmopolis in the event he is driven out of Aberdeen by a pitchfork-and-torch bearing populace.