Thursday, January 19, 2006

100 Years Ago at Town Hall

A summary of the 1906 Sherwood Town Council Minutes.

January 6 Election results show Joe Morback's brother Jack on the Town Council alongside J. C. Smock. Joseph E. Morback was elected Town Recorder. Arthur W. Hall, another member of the family, was elected Mayor.

Under Old Business, saloon owner Frank Colfelt was acquitted of assault and battery. We don't know what the conflict was about but we do know that the Colfelt family still owns the business 100 years later. It is "Clancy's Tavern."

(BACKGROUND: Joseph Edward Morback was the son in law of James Christopher and Mary Ellen Smock. The Smocks founded the Town of Sherwood as "Smock Ville" in 1889. Morback arrived in that year and lived to be addressed as "The Dean of Oregon Mayors" by the League of Oregon Cities. J. C. Smock had been adopted into the Hall family, but retained his biological father's name.)

In those days you could not serve in the town government without two $1,000 bonds being posted on your behalf. Joe Morback's bonds were posted by Mary Ellen Smock and Dr. Rickard. Mary Ellen was the only woman in Sherwood who played such a prominant role in town government during those days when women weren't even allowed to vote.

People listened to speeches then the way we watch television now... for hours on end and for no particular reason. Rhetoric was an art-form, like pitching a baseball or playing the violin. According to Minutes for the first Council meeting of the year: "At this juncture of the proceeding, speach making by the newly installed officers were in order, which was quite generally indulged in by all."

Eliza Hagey poses with "Old Betsy" circa 1920. Note lightning rod rising from Town Hall in background.

Law enforcement was still a sticky wicket in 1906: "Upon motion the marshal was instructed to take up the matter of locating the handcuffs, nippers and billy belonging to the town which is now missing." (March 2) No wonder there was only " arrest during the quarter, same being on account of drunk and disorderly and released upon the promise of good behavior." (July 7 Quarterly Report) No one wanted to be Town Marshal, so the Town Fathers tried something else. They appointed a "special Poliece" instead. The interesting Mr. Colfelt raised his hand and "...was declared duly elected to serve as special Poliece at the pleasure of the Common Council." Colfelt later resigned because he didn't get paid.

Public Works Report: A committee was appointed " inspect the frame-work of the water-tower, it being considered under ordinary circumstances that there might be a possibility of the timbers being defected with decay at the joints." Repairs were successful and the tower lasted into the 1940's. The Council Minutes also report that bricks from the defunct Portland Pressed Brick Company were being used to fix up the streets. This experiment was not so successful. PPBC brick have been floating to the surface ever since.


Lilly Morgen said...

Really, Mistar Llist, You shouldn't be givven away all our old town secrets! on this here internet!

jaycee said...

Schliesz dein maul, Lilly. Ooops! There, I did it too. I sometimes slip into my native Dutch just like you Lilly.

Lilly Morgen said...

Really, Mistar Llist this is my German drawl. (Low-German drawl that is...)

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