Nearly a century ago, John Tornow, the Wildman of the Wynooche, the alleged killer of six men, was slain in a shootout on April 16, 1913, at what is widely known as Tornow Lake, about 27 miles north of Montesano.
A group of Tornow history buffs, is planning a re-enactment of the final shootout and needs the community’s help. Anyone with period apparel — hickory shirts, suspenders, caulk boots, woodsman’s hats, and of course, a .30-.30 Winchester rifle — is encouraged to participate in the event. It is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at the shootout site. This re-enactment and other interviews will be recorded for use on a website and YouTube.
Tornow was slain there by Deputy Giles Quimby after the fugitive had gunned down deputies Charles Lathrop and Louis Blair. That ended a 19-month manhunt that began when Tornow allegedly killed his nephews, John and William Bauer. Tornow went on the lam and was rarely seen. Bounty hunter Colin McKenzie and game warden A.V. Elmer met their demise in March 1912.
A committee has been meeting for more than two years to establish a memorial at the shootout site, dedicated to the memory of the six who lost their lives throughout the John Tornow story. That granite memorial will be unveiled at a public ceremony on April 20. More details will be released in a few weeks.
Anyone interested in participating in the re-enactment is asked to call Dana Anderson (360) 229-1680 for more information, times and directions to the site.