Legendary citizens of Orient, Washington

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

There was the local storekeeper who had paid a visit to the ‘house’. Someone warned his wife and she headed for the joint with a horsewhip. He managed to dodge her but had to jump out a window in his shirt tail.

The saloonkeeper, ‘Farmer’ Jones, was bitten in the thumb by a drunk he was trying to roll and died of blood poisoning as a result.

‘Old August’ was a German immigrant and local handyman. Someone got him drunk at a dance one night and suggested that he play the piano, which he did with surprising ability. Under questioning, he admitted that he had once done a command performance for the Kaiser.

‘Old Man Schmidt’ was a cranky old bachelor who lived at Barstow, which at that time was just a siding and an openfronted shed by the railroad. He was sometimes called “The Mayor”. The Mayor had one fixed peculiarity. He ate lots of fried food and would use no other shortening than bacon grease which, of course, he carefully saved. Some newcomers, short on money, arrived nearby. They had, as he knew, just been to Orient and back, so assuming they had any money or credit, they should have come back well supplied with groceries. Well, in the evening they (the womenfolk) came over to borrow some lard. Naturally he had no desire to give away any of his precious bacon grease, so his reply was, “Borrow? Hell! I buys my grayse!” He shut the door in their faces. Courtesy of the Old West. The Mayor died in the Ferry County Poorhouse at the age of ninety. The Poorhouse was still a very real thing in the early days of the Great Depression, and was still known by that name.


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