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Harrington news

RIP Allen Barth; Slack assumes PDA presidency; cemetery histories



The Harrington Public Development Authority met June 20 at city hall, called to order by Vice President Heather Slack. Present were Paul Charlton, Tim Tipton, Jill Plaskon, Jay Gossett, Margie Hall and Bunny Haugan. The group voted to have the current vice president assume the position of president due to the recent death of Allen Barth who was the newly elected President in May. Slack accepted the position which leaves the vice president position currently vacant. It was announced that the 2016 Annual Report for the PDA was filed by the former president, Josh Steward, with the state of Washington and that a copy is on file at city hall.

When Jay Gossett and Tim Tipton expressed interest in becoming members of the PDA a short discussion ensued regarding the PDA being an “arm” of the city government and that as such they would each need to submit a letter to the city council stating their interest in membership. Each membership is appointed by the council.

Allen Barth had planned for the PDA to hold a fund-raiser “Pig Roast” in July. The PDA is continuing those plans and will incorporate it into a memorial for Allen Barth. The date is now set for Saturday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This will be pre-planned for about 200 guests. Plaskon will be in charge of the menu and her crew will do the serving. She will obtain any necessary permits. A raffle is being planned for the benefit of Allen’s family and will be sponsored by a non-profit organization. Plaskon will also take care of the flyer for the raffle and the BBQ. Food will be served about 11 a.m. and the memorial will be a casual time for remembrance. Jill Plaskon, daughter of Allen Barth, commented that the Studebaker Garage will continue to operate as usual.

Short discussion was held regarding the vacant lot at the corner of Third and Willis, once referred to as the Opera House Square. Of the surveys available during Cruizin Harrington for people to make their preferences for its use, some have been returned to city hall but have not been reviewed. From a quick scan it appears that a green area with tables and chairs was a popular choice.

Mention was made of an Odessa visitor’s guide that the Odessa Record is printing and if there was interest in Harrington businesses putting an ad in it. PDA was willing to display a “form” if one was available; there was no other interest in pursuing this.

Heather Slack and Margie Hall of the Economic Development Council attended a seminar on “Promoting Small Communities.” Three points they shared were: 1) Try everything; 2) Use your downtown empty windows for displays; 3) Promote an “open-minded” community. Other ideas heard from the audience were to do some Christmas window painting if a painter could be found and advertising the car show next year by using an old vehicle attached to a sign promoting Cruizin’ Days with it located on a piece of property along the highway. The next PDA meeting is planned for July 18 at 7 p.m. at city hall.

Interest in cemeteries

This past week a request came in to the Harrington Public Library regarding the status of the older cemetery near Sprague. Sprague has three large cemeteries, the Sprague Catholic Cemetery, the Maccabee (currently used) and Lakeview Cemetery (abutting Maccabee). The inquiry came from Tom Pelley who has worked at cleaning the Lakeview Cemetery in two previous summers and wanted to continue working at it.

Shelley Johnston, Lincoln County Auditor, informs us that Lakeview Cemetery is in Cemetery District #7 which has three cemetery commissioners: Joy Vold, Don Bonk and Terry Shields. Lakeview Cemetery was dedicated May 21, 1890, filing by W.W. Sprague and Louise V. Sprague; and Jones Addition to Lakeview was made April 13, 1900. Lakeview Cemetery contains 10 acres in the SE corner of Section 15 in Twp 21 Range 38. Cemetery lots were sold in December of 1888 to Annie Fallow, in May and August of 1889 to Simon Ladd and in May of 1889 to the heirs of H.L. White, all preceding the dedication of the cemetery.

Lorraine Cook White in May 1973 copied the tombstones that could be found in Lakeview Cemetery as part of a county-wide project by a couple named Lartigue to document all the tombstones. At that time some of the stones were lying face down and the cemetery appeared abandoned. In 1973, 149 markers were located. For those unfamiliar with this area, rattlers have been seen in this cemetery, making for an uneasy feeling while investigating this old cemetery. Of those markers found by Cook, the earliest recorded death date was March 8, 1882, on the marker of Florence Newton Bauder, aged two years, three months and 16 days. The cemetery contains quite a number of military headstones, most of which have name and rank with no dates. There were four “Unknown U.S. Soldier” tombstones and two wooden markers with no lettering visible. Alphabetically, the first listing shown was that of Daniel Aebly, son of Fred and Ida, who died September 1, 1888, at the age of three years and nine months.

The most recent burial by tombstone date of those found by Cook was that of Roy E. Conley who died November 29, 1947. In the alphabetized listing of surnames in Lakeview, the last listed was Womach. Of interest to this author, Cook recorded the tombstone of James S. Womach, son of A.J. and Nancy A. Womach. He was one of their nine children. James died November 8, 1891 from a gunshot wound. Cook did not record the words on the stone, and later in spite of potential rattling in the territory, the stone was found to read: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb, dumb before his shearer, opened he not his mouth, for his life is taken from the earth.” A Sprague Herald excerpt of November 11, 1891 says, “At an early hour Monday morning Abe Whitestein came into the city with the information that James Womach, a young man aged eighteen years, in the employ of I. Revenaugh as a farm hand, had killed himself accidentally with a revolver. Prosecuting Attorney Merritt instructed Justice Pendleton to act as coroner and hold an inquest at the place of the tragedy.”

In 1999, Ron Miller worked on cleaning the cemetery of its overgrowth, and he recorded tombstones as he went. Prior to completing his rehabilitation project on the cemetery, he died. Combining his listing with death records, family records, funeral home ledgers and obituaries, a current listing of the burials in Lakeview now shows 244 graves. It is assumed that when a thorough renovation of the cemetery occurs and sonar detection for buried stone locations is employed, there may be even more names to add to the listing. Great damage was done during the long period of time that cattle were allowed to roam through the cemetery for pasture.

It might be recalled that Sprague was the county seat of Lincoln County for a period of time. The first permanent courthouse was built in Sprague in 1886. The great fire of August 3, 1895 changed Sprague’s history forever, and “all from a spark of fire from a blacksmith’s chimney.” The courthouse in Davenport was completed in July 1897.


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