The Odessa Record -

Harrington news

Opera House concert, council meeting, historical research on Wm. Pemberton


October 5, 2017


With many alumni coming into Harrington and a number of class reunions occurring on Friday, September 22, on the eve of the Fall Festival, the Church of the Nazarene hosted the return of the Needhams to the Harrington Opera House. With a brief introduction, the Needhams began another spectacular performance to an audience of nearly 70. Most of the songs were written by the Needhams. For this performance, the Needhams consisted of Dave, his sister Diane Mummert and Diane’s son Steve Jr. Their repertoire included “Streams of Living Water,” “Welcome Home My Child,” “Tell Me One More Time,” “I’m Going Through,” “Simple Things Teach Us the Most,” “In the Middle of a Miracle,” “You Are Jesus to Me,” “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be” and “Give Me Jesus.”

Diane spoke briefly of a pregnant friend who had received bad news, and although we believe in miracles, sometimes we learn to live with “When He Tells Us No.” Several numbers were sung a cappella, including “America, America” which stirred the audience. Near the end of their performance, Dave quietly played the grand piano while Steve spoke the message of salvation. They played a concluding song, but the audience cheered for more, and the Needhams were gracious to continue with an a cappella rendition of “It is Well With My Soul.” Their intentions: “See you next year.”

City Council

The Harrington City Council met September 28 with Dillon Haas, Bunny Haugan, Rick Becker, Peter Davenport, Mike Cronrath, Levi Schenk, Paul Gilliland and Marge Womach present. Justin Slack was connected by phone. Mayor Haas opened the Revenue Sources Hearing. The council listened as the mayor listed potential sources of revenue which included grants, minimum fees, surplus and scrap items that could be sold, empty lots that should be evaluated for potential sale, changing the lighting in city hall, creating our own certifying lab and raising the minimum sewer fee for the downtown district. The MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) hauler proposals were discussed briefly and moved to the October meeting for decisions. The council insisted that the mayor gather more information for the proposals for garbage collection. The mayor called for an executive session regarding enforcement personnel, which lasted about 12 minutes. Upon their return to the hearing, they decided to postpone a decision. The Revenue Meeting was closed, followed by adjournment.


September 18, while our little community was busy in preparation for the Harrington Fall Festival, Daniel Wickwire of Vancouver, Wash. came in search of data pertaining to an early dentist, Wm. S. Pemberton. Pemberton was born near Corbin, Whitley Co., Kentucky in 1883 and remained there until completing his studies. In Sept 1907, the Lexington Herald at Corbin announced that Dr. Wm. Pemberton was leaving for Spokane where he intended to establish a dental practice. His name appears in the 1908 R.L. Polk Business Directory, so one can assume he came rapidly and directly to Harrington where he remained in practice until 1926. Pemberton appeared in the local talent show of “Jephthah and His Daughter.” He boarded with Dr. L.F. Wagner until his marriage in 1912 to Ethel Adams whose family also came from Kentucky. The marriage ceremony occurred at the old Catholic church which still stands on the corner of 2nd and Alice streets. Rev. MacAleer officiated with a large number of friends and relatives witnessing the event. Their attendants were Jennie Wagner and Wade Adams. On their return from the St. Joe River wedding trip they were to live next door to John Weisgerber on Glover Street. In 1912, most of the Citizen readers knew which house that was!

Easier pieces of Pemberton’s life were determining where his dental office was. He held regular office hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the old Plough building. Even in those years, the Plough building was already old. The following item appears to be the well-known Plough building. “Messrs. Turner & Plough, the leading hardware merchants of Davenport, will have a force of men at work excavating and preparing the ground work for a two story frame building, 32 X 100, on Monday, in Harrington.” (LCT: 6-22-1894) By 1916, the Plough building was considered an eyesore as the main business district was becoming entirely constructed of brick. Several attempts were made to sell the building to be torn down for lumber. In 1919, the Harrington Fuel and Transfer Co. bid $325 and agreed to have it torn down and off the property within six weeks. In 1922, the building was gone but the ground had never been leveled. The lodges went to work to remedy the property, with an intention of creating a children’s park. By 1925, the property was owned by G.E. Davis, and he was building the Harrington Service Station, which still stands on the corner of 3rd and Willis.

In 1914, Dr. Pemberton began building a new office space, across the street from the Plough building. “Brick is being placed on the ground for Dr. W.S. Pemberton’s new office building, which is to be 28 X 34 of white brick and black mortar. Workmen are awaiting a chinook or warmer weather before beginning the work.” (Citizen: 12-25-1914) It has been related that his office was on the east end of the new brick building, with the Washington Water Power and the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. each acquiring a five-year lease. His office space was to be finished in Philippine mahogany. This building is now a three-apartment complex.

In 1917, Pembertons built their dream home. “The foundation is completed and the frame work up, for a new bungalow to be built for Dr. W.S. Pemberton on the property adjoining the Presbyterian church on the west. The house will have five rooms and a bath, with front and rear porches. There will be a full basement with a refrigerator room, below stairs. The whole structure will be modern in architecture and in finish and will add much to the appearance of that street. J.P. Purvis is the contractor.” (Citizen: 4-13-1917) Just over one hundred years ago this home was completed and stands now as a credit to the workmanship of that era.

William and Ethel Pemberton had two children prior to Ethel’s death in December 1918, leaving Wm. with Frances, age 5, and Dorothy, just one day old. The cause of death was shown as puerperal eclampsia. Ethel came from a large family and left her parents, one sister, Marguerite, and six brothers Wade, Hubert, Robert, Guy, Bertrand and Eli to mourn her loss. Within a year, Dr. Pemberton sold the home he had built for his wife and family to Chas. Moore. He and his children took refuge with the M.F. Adams family. Marion Adams retired in 1922 and moved to Spokane.

At the age of 38, Pemberton married Ethel Rieth, age 37, on August 6, 1921. They were married at Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in Spokane with witnesses Ben B. Adams and Rega M. Rieth. Ethel was the daughter of Louis and Maude Rieth of Lord’s Valley. From 1916 through 1925, William Pemberton was involved in the local city government as councilman and then as mayor from 1924-25. Suddenly without forewarning, Pemberton sold his business. “On Monday of this week Dr. W.S. Pemberton sold his office equipment to Dr. Erwin G. Brown of Portland, Ore. Dr. Brown took immediate possession but Dr. Pemberton will remain in the office until next week. Dr. Pemberton has been in business in Harrington for the past 18 years and during this time has enjoyed a good practice. He has held important positions of responsibility here at various times and has always been interested in public enterprises. As a member of the city council and later as mayor he rendered valuable service to the community. His departure from Harrington will be a severe loss to the Commercial Club as he has taken a prominent part in the work of this organization for many years. During the past 18 years Dr. Pemberton might well be classed as one of the builders of the community. While here he has erected two of our fine residential properties as well as the brick block which he still owns. His plans for the immediate future are somewhat indefinite but he has long wanted a period of rest when he could get more out into the open and enjoy a change of scene as well as a change in occupation. Dr. Brown is a young unmarried man who has been connected with Dr. Stratton, one of the leading dentists of Portland for some time. The people of Harrington will welcome him here and hope that he will feel well satisfied at having cast his lot with us.” (Citizen: 1-22-1926)

Following his departure, little mention was made locally of the Pemberton family until a notice appeared in the Citizen: “Pemberton—Wickwire. “Miss Dorothy Pemberton, daughter of Dr. W.S. Pemberton and granddaughter of Mrs. M.F. Adams of Spokane, was married Saturday in St. Aloysius church, to James Wickwire, an attorney, and their home will be in Olympia, Washington. Miss Margaret Davidson was bridesmaid and Frank Wickwire, a brother of the bridegroom, was best man. Guy Adams, uncle of the bride gave her away. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bellenger (Frances Pemberton) of Wenatchee were among the guests. Following a wedding breakfast at the Davenport, the newlyweds left for the Coast. Mr. Wickwire was graduated from the Gonzaga law school last year.” (Citizen: 6-02-1939) The next notice for Pemberton was the announcement of his death in August 1961 followed by the notice for his wife, Ethel M Pemberton in March 1967.

Mr. Wickwire intends to return to Harrington to search the old Citizen papers for other special pieces of information to add to his files. Hopefully he will have the time to view the old Catholic church and determine which other house on Glover his ancestor had lived in.


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