A century ago in the Grays Harbor Washingtonian


March 2, 1913

Polson Bros. deny fixing log prices

Under the big heading of “Quinault timber goal of loggers,” the Post-Intelligencer lately a weird tale of how the Polson Bros. and other logging companies were engaged in a mad race to reach the timber of the Quinault. Of course, the Polson Bros., probably because they are the biggest and best employers of labor in Washington, also valuable and public spirited citizens, came in for a lot of misrepresentation and innuendo, to the effect that they were in absolute control of the logging situation and dictated prices on Grays Harbor. Equally, of course, the Polson’s resent such palpable misrepresentation and Mr. Alex Polson has written the following answer to the irresponsible article in question:

“In the Post-Intelligencer of February 23d appears an article written either by a careless space writer or a maliciously inclined person in which they state that the Polson Logging company of Hoquiam, has grown so great that they now dictate the price of stumpage and the price of logs on Grays Harbor. Any sane intelligent person who cares to investigate can easily find out how maliciously false those statements are. I am greatly surprised that a paper with the standing and character of the Post-Intelligencer should lay itself liable for such a story.

“Many of the concerns owning and operating mills on Grays Harbor were wealthy people when the writer stood on the chopping board falling timber for some of them in the early history of Grays Harbor. Carlisle & Pennel are amply able to build hundreds of miles of railroad without borrowing a dollar. Neff and Prentzel, Bowing estate, France and Low, E. K. Wood lumber company, S. E. Slade Lumber company, Cosmopolis Commercial company, the Big Creek Timber Company, The Warren Company, North Western Lumber Co., Grays Harbor Lumber Co., Wilson Bros., Chas. Clemens, Saginaw Timber Co., Greenwood Timber Co., Anderson & Middleton Lumber Co., A. J. West & Sons Lumber Co., the Hoquiam Lumber & Shingle Co., Coates-Fordney Logging Co., besides many others not mentioned above are doing their own logging. This is to say nothing of the wealthiest lumber company in the United States, the Weyerhaeusers, who could build a railroad across the continent. It is absurd to even think the Polson Logging company were dictating the price of stumpage and logs in the midst of all these concerns.

“The Polson logging company do not belong to any association in regard to the price of logs or the wages paid to the men in the woods or any other association or combination of any kind or description, whatever, and are not going to. The reason for the scarcity of logs on Grays Harbor was the low price of lumber prevailing the last couple of years which drove many of the concerns out of business for the time being. Then, again, the long and hard winter which prevented a great many of the logging and mill companies from operating. All these conditions will remedy themselves in a short time.

“The Oregon & Washington, the Milwaukee and the Northern Pacific are now dumpimg large quantities of logs from different camps situated on their roads at the mills on the Harbor. The Northern Pacific several years ago secured the right of way through the Quinault Indian reservation, as has also the Milwaukee in recent years. There is nothing the writer knows of to prevent from building as soon as conditions justify.

“With these facts it is absurd to think that the Polson Logging company has any control over the situation in the Grays Harbor country, they are simply an independent logging concern. They have operated their camps many times at a loss to enable their customers to meet conditions arising in other lumber centers on the coast. They have not asked or received as much for their logs as some other concerns on Grays Harbor during the shortage of logs this winter, as several manufacturing concerns had to pay more for logs than they were getting for their lumber, in order to fill some off shore cargoes or — pay demurrage. With better weather conditions, when all logging camps are in full operation, there will be plenty of logs for every mill on Grays Harbor in a short time.”

March 2, 1913

Report: Tornow may have been seen near Allyn

TACOMA, March 1 — Shelle Mathews, sheriff of Chehalis county, with a posse of deputies passed through Tacoma today in the search for John Tornow, the outlaw of that county. Word was received by Mathews Friday that a man answering Tornow’s description had demanded food at several ranches near Allyn, 18 miles from Tacoma, at the head of North Bay. It is said that Mathews and deputies will work for several days in the vicinity of Allyn.

March 4, 1913

Foster Store is entered by burglars

Gaining entrance to the building by drilling a number of holes through the main entrance door and unlocking it from the interior, burglars made a bold but unsuccessful attempt to rob the big vault in the F. O. Foster company’s offices, Ninth and I streets, Saturday night.

Discovery of the attempt to rob the store was made Sunday morning, although it was not until yesterday morning when clerks entered the small compartment near the vault that the evident purpose of the robbers was realized. A number of bricks had been removed from the vault walls and an effort made to drill through the solid steel vault.

Yesterday morning a careful inventory of the stock was made, but nothing was missing. No attempt was made by the burglars to tamper with the cash register, their sole purpose evidently being a “big haul.” They left no clue for the police to work upon.