The Odessa Record -

This Week in Odessa History

"Odessa U" founder goes to jail; Finney honored


G. W. Finney

100 years ago

The Odessa Record

September 22, 1916

Henry Clough is once more free: Henry Clough is free again. After having served over two months in the Spokane county jail awaiting trial on the charge of using the United States mails for fraudulent purposes, the secretary of the "Odessa University," an institution located in a small rock cabin a few miles east of Odessa, was released from custody by Federal Judge Rudkin last Friday and later the United States department of justice consenting to suspend sentence.

The "Odessa University," an institution which has gained for Odessa no small amount of undesirable advertising, was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia and Clough was president, secretary and faculty. He made a business of soliciting subscriptions for the mystic "U" and for various considerations issued all manner of degrees from a Bachelor of Science to a Doctor of Divinity. He also did a little real estate work on the side and at one time divided five acres of land in New Jersey into 280 fifteen-acre tracts, some of which he had disposed of when arrested.

He was arrested July 8 after having been brought to Odessa by Post Office Inspector Swenson, who in addition to other evidence already at hand, found incriminating matter here. Three counts were filed against him and he pleaded guilty and was ordered to appear before Judge Rudkin at the next term of federal court in December for sentence. On account of Clough's age, 79 years, United States Attorney Garrecht favored lenience for the shrewd old man and communicated with the department of Justice at the capital in an effort to have the department consent to a suspended sentence.

Athletic Club reorganized.

The Odessa Athletic Club was reorganized Tuesday evening at a meeting held in W.L. Michaelsen's office, where the members present selected the following officers for the ensuing year: Ed Koth, president and manager, and H. Rieke, secretary. The primary object for the reorganization of the club at this time is to create a renewal of the basketball spirit in Odessa and with this end in view, it is the intention of the club to temporarily organize a six or eight team league of town players, including the high school team which promises to be the best ever this season.

75 years ago

The Odessa Record

September 18, 1941

Pioneer saw Odessa grow.

The coming of the Great Northern railway to this area changed the homestead of G.W. Finney into the busy town of Odessa, with a sudden growth in which Mr. Finney was slated to take an active part.

The Big Bend of that time was cattle country, and Mr. Finney followed the trend of the time, grazing his herds on the rich bunch grass along Crab Creek. He built a home, planted a small orchard. Neighbors were far between, and each ranch home became a stopping place for the travelers going through in the spirit of the open west.

One of a family of 10 brothers and three sisters, Mr. Finney, now aged 80, came to the Wilson Creek country in 1889 and soon after took a homestead here. Almost to the turn of the century the railroad company started construction, and in it Mr. Finney found sale for many head of his cattle.

The original Finney home was near the present Dormaier house. In 1899 the town had started its growth and Mr. Finney opened his lumber yard. A mill had started to operate a short time before on the Spokane river. In the ensuing years Mr. Finney as director and president of various Odessa banks, built seven business blocks, either by himself or in partnership.

In 1900 he built his present home. At that time there were two "show" houses in the town, the Finney home and that occupied by Carl Wederspahn.

Today Mr. Finney walks about the streets with a step belying his age, takes an active interest in the management of his businesses. Two living members of his family, Mrs. Trella Wagner and Mrs. Pearl Huesinga, live in Odessa. On Saturday, as part of the festival program, Odessa's new playfield will be dedicated in honor of this pioneer, whose generosity has made possible many of the town's improvements. This field will be known as Finney field.

50 years ago

The Odessa Record

September 22, 1966

Odessa dumps Coulee Dam.

Using the entire squad of 30 players, the Odessa Tigers shut out the Coulee Dam Beavers by score of 44 to 0 Friday night.

The Tigers first score came on a pass play from Steve Lightbody to Jim Evavold for 61 yards. Forrey Walter plunged for the extra point. The second score came on a one-yard plunge by Tom Schafer. The third score came early in the second quarter when Jim Evavold scampered around right end for 10 yards and pay dirt. Lightbody hit Walter in the end zone for the extra point. Lightbody showed great accuracy in his passing, hitting 13 of 17. Stan Weber and Terry Smith were the two outstanding surprises on defense with Stan getting 13 tackles and Terry getting 10.

Gold course progress noted.

Good progress is being reported on the landscaping of the Odessa Golf course. The Spokane contractor has been busy discing and harrowing the fairways, with that work expected to be completed within a few days, Merle Janke reported to Odessa chamber members yesterday. Grass will be seeded next week, it is anticipated.


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