Harrington news

Spaghetti feed, after-school, mayor breakfast, art


April 26, 2018

Spaghetti feed

Cars began arriving at 5:30 p.m. Thursday for the benefit Spaghetti Feed for the family of Lorne Howe who recently lost his battle against cancer. Dinner was held at 6:30 with more than 70 in attendance. Lorne had been an active participant and supporter of the annual Cruizin’ Harrington events. Donations can be made by contacting petermad012@gmail.com .

After-school program

Twelve young ones aged 2 years to 13 met Thursday, April 19, at the Harrington Public Library with the Library Board in charge for a creative event of painting after snacks. The instructors were well prepared with shirts for the children to protect their school clothes and plastic cloths to cover the library tables. Each child created his or her own drawing and then painted it using the basic colors that were provided. Several of the children checked out books before leaving.

Breakfast with the mayor

Saturday, April 21, at 8 a.m. a dozen people met with Mayor Dillon Haas for a quarterly “Breakfast With the Mayor” in which citizens receive a free breakfast and a free exchange of ideas. The breakfasts are originated and organized by Susie Harding, part-time cook for Senior Meals and resident of Harrington for about seven years. The cooks and servers were Susie, Jen Mallory and Meka Eaton. Breakfast was biscuits with gravy and oatmeal with raisins. Some of those present with the mayor included County Commissioner Mark Stedman, chef and author Dave Michaelson, webmaster Karen Robertson, Nazarene Pastor Cade Clarke and even two from beyond the Harrington boundaries. Each event is different from the previous in that those that attend select topics of discussion. One topic was the need to encourage attendance at Senior Meals which tend to be well promoted. One person asked who is responsible if a tree’s growth and roots cause a sidewalk to disintegrate. This presented too many variables to answer directly, so a person would need to bring the specifics to city hall. Another asked that the city post a brief summary of city ordinances and scanned copies of actual ordinances for more detailed reference for the Harrington website.

Art class

A floral water color class was taught Saturday afternoon at The Post & Office which was well attended. Each seemed to enjoy the one and one half hour class taught by artist Rose Hooten of Spokane.

Historic review:

A.G. Mitchum

Descendants of A.G. Mitchum, looking for details of his pioneer life, were provided some of the information below.

Albert Gallitan Mitchum was born July 15, 1861 at Colusa, Calif. At age 18, his adventuresome spirit brought him on a wagon trip to the site which became the town of Harrington. However, in 1879 there was no semblance of a town. He penned a brief description of that trip in 1939 in which he wrote:

“After traveling 50 days with a wagon train, we arrived at Walla Walla 60 years ago last month (July 1879). After camping there a few days we wended our way farther north and the last camp we made before the wagon train broke up was where the town of Cheney now stands. No one lived there, but there was an abundance of grass and splendid water. A few of us went from there to Medical Lake and camped. There were few settlers in that vicinity. There was a small settlement where Spokane is and the only post office was in a log cabin called Four Lakes and the postmaster was Col. Morgan who in later years was I.N. Peyton of Spokane. We made a permanent camp at Medical Lake and scouted over the country. We camped where Davenport stands, which was called Cottonwood Springs. No one lived there but the water and grass was abundant. We camped where Harrington now stands where the grass was so tall it would almost hide the horses. There was also a nice grove of cottonwood trees near plenty of good water. The country never has been as beautiful as in those days with the tall bunch grass covering all the hills. The only railroad in the Territory of Washington at that time was a narrow-gauge 30 miles long from Walla Walla to Walula. I made a trip on it in the fall of 1879 and it took six hours.”

“Adam Ludy and his son, Jake, left Colusa County, Calif., in the spring or early summer of 1879 in a spring wagon with a team, camp outfit and a Henry rifle, headed for Washington Territory.” He was credited with building the first house, a log cabin, in Harrington. Adam’s wife and daughter joined them in June of 1880. They were part of the migration of Colusa residents. At that early point in local history, Jake with Charles Hannum and Albert Mitchum were surveying this new territory. This was prior to the marriage of Albert to Charles’ sister, Mattie Hannum. Jake Ludy also earned his living by teaching school. It was from the writings of Adam Ludy that we received the graphic descriptions of the territory these men settled. “We returned to Cold Creek and camped by a large spring, and reviewed a large section of country. The country here lies in easy swells, was covered by a very heavy growth of grass and was well watered with springs and branches. The water was pure and cold from which the creek derived its name. There were numerous small, natural meadows and numerous beautiful groves of tall but small trees, the largest not exceeding 12 inches in diameter. Cold Creek was about 40 miles in length and had not a single occupant until we located. We were 15 miles from fine timber and no roads but Indian trails.”

Joseph Tierney came to Washington with John F. Green, and C.W. Bethel in 1884, from California with his team; they were 30 days on the trail and averaged about 30 miles a day, taking a route through the eastern Oregon wilderness. Descriptions of their trip included seeing vast herds of antelope with as many as 300 to 400 at a time and shooting at an enormous panther, but as they traveled along, they admitted that they didn’t know for sure if it was a panther or a mountain lion, as they shot, and it lunged out of site, disappearing into the timber. Another story was told of shooting at a white object in the sage brush, thinking it was a polar bear, but he missed, and a white calf jumped out. Charles Bethel in addition to managing his homestead was also justice of the peace and later state senator.

At what point Mitchum returned to California is not known. However, on June 21, 1883 he married Martha E. Hannum (Mattie) in Yolo, Callif. and their honeymoon was spent en route to Wash., arriving in Sprague July 15, 1883. Charles Griffith wrote that he and A.G. Mitchum came to this country together in 1883, from San Francisco, making the trip by water. They settled upon homesteads about three miles apart, Griffith in the SE ¼ and SW ¼ of 2-22-35. Unlike many of Mitchum’s other friends, Griffith was not from Colusa. He was a single man until 1893. It was A.G. Mitchum who turned the “first furrow on Mr. Griffith’s timber culture, breaking out five acres for him.” In so doing, Mitchum earned money to continue improving his own property. With such a short distance between their homes, they knew well the paths to take to cross the three miles of unfenced land. One evening, however, Griffith laid out all night as he got himself so turned around he didn’t know which direction to go. For years their friends would hear that tale. Their friendship extended beyond the farming ventures, as when Charles Griffith won the seat as Lincoln County treasurer in 1896, and A.G. Mitchum served as his chief deputy.

It will be remembered that the firm of Harrington, Firth & Robinson, all residents of Colusa, purchased 15,000 acres of land in what was then the most unsettled part of the Big Bend country, including the area where Harrington now exists. The acreage was deeded to the California Land and Stock Company, managed by John F. Green. Mrs. Cutter purchased the area and paid for the surveying of the townsite and named it “Harrington” after W.P. Harrington, in 1883, well before the 1892 development caused by the railroad coming through this exact place. Had the train’s platted path gone elsewhere, Mrs. Cutter would have lost her fortune.

Mitchums established their home on Coal Creek southwest of Harrington for several years where their three children were born: Lela 1885, Anna Althea 1886 who failed to thrive and died in 1887 and Imogene born in 1888. Mitchum, at age 22, applied for a homestead in Section 32 of Twp 23 Range 36 on Dec. 8, 1883 for which he received patent in 1888. The children attended Harrington school where Mrs. Mitchum was a teacher from 1895 to 1898. (It is interesting to note that Imogene later taught in the Harrington school in 1911, having obtained her degree from the University of Washington.)

Albert Mitchum worked as county surveyor in the 1880s. In 1894, he was appointed postmaster of Harrington for four years. In 1897, he was chief deputy under Charles Griffith, County Treasurer. Mitchum and M.F. Adams business was begun in 1894 but greatly increased in 1898 when they ran ads weekly as follows: “Adams & Mitchum. The Oldest Firm in Harrington, Carries a Full Line of Dry Goods, Gents Furnishing Goods, Hats, Caps, Boots, Shoes, Rubber Goods, Suits and Overcoats. We Also Carry a Complete Line of Fancy and Staple Groceries and everything else needed by the public. We buy our Dry Goods Direct From the Manufacturers and Pay Spot Cash, thereby saving the jobbers profits and getting the benefit of all discounts. We have no rent to pay and do our own work. We defy even Spokane merchants, Montgomery Wards & Co, or Smith’s Cash Store To Compete With Our Prices. Call and See Us and Be Convinced. Adams & Mitchum.” (Citizen: 11-11-1898)

In 1898, Mitchum was the cashier of The Bank of Harrington, whose president was John F. Green and VP was M.F. Adams. In 1901, in partnership with Adams, he built a large bank block on the corner of Willis and Third which housed the opera house, a bank, attorney offices and a drug store owned by his brother-in-law, W.C. Hannum. They continued to operate this bank until 1910, and even began a bank at Sprague. In 1905, A.G. Mitchum built a new home at Fifth and Lincoln, a house which continues to be a grand home in Harrington. They were thus well-established citizens after the many struggles of pioneer days.


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