A tragic new year in Hoquiam 110 years ago

Hoquiam was jubilant as it rang in the New Year in 1909 with great expectations for the upcoming 12 months. For three Hoquiam families the joyous holiday season was quickly turned on its head as they awaited word on the fate of their teenage sons who had gone on a hunting trip up the Humptulips. Here is their tale as reported in the pages of the Aberdeen Herald.

THREE HUNTERS MISSING — Three Youths From Hoquiam Are Feared to Have Lost Their Lives While Hunting — The finding of an empty canoe in which three Hoquiam lads started on a hunting trip gave rise to the fear Saturday that Harry Sanborn, Loren Cogdill and James Burrows, sons of well-known Hoquiam people, have been drowned in the lower harbor.

Search for the missing boys was instituted Saturday morning, and the searchers have so far been unable to find any trace of them.

Finding of the boys’ empty canoe gave the first intimation of probable disaster. The canoe was picked up near the mouth of the Humptulips River on Friday. Search for the boys was made on that day, but no trace of them having been discovered, word was forwarded to this city. Saturday morning Captain George E. Sanborn, father of one of the lads, was notified of the disappearance of the youthful hunters and lost no time in hastening to the lower harbor.

The three boys, each 17 years of age, left Hoquiam on Tuesday for the O.P. Burrows ranch on the Humptulips River. They had planned a hunting trip extending over several days and took with them enough provisions to last them through the week. They selected a cabin near the mouth of the Humptulips and there made their headquarters. — Aberdeen Herald, Jan. 4, 1909

SEARCH FOR BODIES — In the hope that the bodies of James Burrows, Loren Cogdill and Harry Sanborn may be recovered, a party of men left last evening for the lower harbor to drag the waters of the bay with grappling hooks.

All hope for the safety of the boys was abandoned yesterday by even the most sanguine of their friends. The idea that possibly the boys had gone into the woods and lost their way was cherished by the searchers, but, as heretofore stated, it was a forlorn hope. Mr. Burrows and Captain Sanborn yesterday admitted that the chance of the boys being found alive was now too remote for speculation.

That the three boys perished in the waters of the harbor is regarded as absolutely certain, and other theories as to the manner in which they met their death are dispelled as idle.

On all hands this much is agreed, but it is also agreed that the exact manner in which the lads were lost will never be known. Whether the boys’ boat swamped, compelling them to take to the water, or whether they were marooned on a spit and engulfed by the rising tide is a question which can be answered only in a problematic manner. — Aberdeen Herald, Jan. 9, 1909

TWO BODIES RECOVERED — The bodies of two of the three Hoquiam boys who were drowned on the afternoon of December 31, while hunting on the lower harbor have been found by a searching party headed by O.P. Burrows, father of one of the boys, in Campbell’s slough. The body of James Burrows was brought up by grappling hooks on Monday evening, and that of Loren Cogdill Tuesday afternoon. The rifle belonging to the third boy, Harry Sanborn, was also brought up by the grapples.

Speaking of the sad affair, Mr. Burrows gave out the following opinion of the manner in which the boys lost their lives:

“It is my firm belief the boys’ boat went adrift while they were on a spit a short distance southwest of Campbell’s slough,” said Mr. Burrows. “Realizing that they would have to swim to reach shore, the boys endeavored to cross a small slough adjoining Campbell’s slough on the southwest. While all of the other sloughs in that immediate vicinity flow about northeast into Campbell’s slough, the small slough in which the boys perished runs almost parallel to Campbell’s slough.

“Thus the boys, instead of making squarely across the smaller slough, as they believed that they were doing, really swam up the slough. It was too much for them and they were lost.”

The body of James Burrows was taken to Portland yesterday, where it will be cremated. From Portland the Burrows family will go to Hot Lake to remain for a few weeks, in the hope of Mrs. Burrow’s relief who is prostrated with grief over the sad fate of her son.

The funeral of Loren Cogdill took place this afternoon, services being held in the Hoquiam Presbyterian Church, Rev. Laurie officiating. — Aberdeen Herald, Jan. 21, 1909

Five months later, the Sanborn family received closure:

BODY FOUND — The body of Harry Sanborn, son of Captain Geo. E. Sanborn, of Hoquiam, who was drowned along with two companions, James Burrows and Loren Cogdill, on December 31, last, was found by two Indians on Sand Island Tuesday, who brought the news to the bereaved father.

Captain Sanborn at once proceeded to the island, and identified the body, which, considering the length of time, was in a fair state of preservation. The body was brought to Hoquiam for burial.

Harry Sanborn was born at St. Stevens, New Brunswick, August 5, 1891. He had lived in Hoquiam about five years with his parents, George E. and Harriet E. Sanborn. He attended the high school here, was an apt student, very popular with teachers and fellow students alike. Besides the parents, three brothers survive, Ned, John and Edward Sanborn. — Aberdeen Herald, May 6, 1909

Theirs was not the only tragic story of the budding new year:

DROPS DEAD WHILE TRYING TO QUIET BABY — Hoquiam, Jan. 9 — Robert E. Morse, a native of Scappoose, Ore., dropped dead of heart failure at an early hour this morning while trying to quiet his little daughter who lay crying in a cradle. Deceased was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, serving with an Oregon regiment. He was a member of the Eagles lodge, and will be buried here with military honors. — Aberdeen Herald, Jan. 11, 1909

FRACTURED HER SKULL — Hoquiam, Jan. 1 — Mrs. Gordon, of the Gordon-Booth trio trick bicyclists, sustained a fractured skull last night, in a fall while her husband was carrying her around the stage of the Novelty Theater on his shoulders while he rode the bicycle around the small stage. While engaged in the performance last evening the wheel suddenly slipped and the woman fell headlong against the scenery and to the floor. It was necessary to bring down the curtain. — Aberdeen Herald, January 1, 1909

Roy Vataja is the son of Finnish immigrants and while he has never hunted, he certainly hopes that everyone who goes out comes back in as good-a-shape as they left.