December 20, 2014

Death On The Tracks: 1903 Bordeaux Washington

Mumby trucks with old growth logs

Death On The Tracks: 1903 Bordeaux WA

It was an unseasonably warm spring day in April. Blanch Philby, a mother of two toddlers was on her way to the mill to meet her husband Charles who had just been paid that day. She intended to get his paycheck and then go on to the company store where she planned on buying some things for her baby that was soon to be due.

As was most of the homes in the town, Blanch’s house was perched on the hillside making it necessary for her to go down a flight of wooden steps, cross the railroad tracks and then on to the mill.

She got as far as the tracks when she was distracted by a yell from her friend who wanted her to pick up something at the store for her. “A lone engine operated by a fireman blasted around the bend from behind her.”

Glen Whipple had the sorrowful task of picking up what was left of Charles Philby’s wife and unborn child. [Source: The Tacoma News Tribune and Sunday Ledger – 05 October 1969; from an original story for the Tribune by Jeanne D. (Mrs. W. Ken) Adams, an Olympia, WA area freelance writer.]

As you can imagine, a mill town was a very noisy place to live with big saws running, men shouting, railroad engines and other vehicles all in operation at the same time.

Looking at the 1900 Federal Census District #224 for Littlerock, Thurston, WA we find “Charley” age 25, and Blanch, age 15, Philby (no children) residing in their own home. A few residences away is another Philby family, but there is no way to tell if this is a family connection. The head of household in that family was Amos Philby, age 55, so it’s possible he is the father of Charles/Charley Philby. In 1900 Charley was working as a “timber faller” for a logging company. [Source: Ancestry.com]

Further research in the Washington State Archives Digital Records resulted in a different date for Blanch’s death: 1903. Her grave is in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, Thurston (Tumwater, WA). FindAGrave lists her memorial as Memorial# 38299156 and her date of death is also 1903 there as well.

 

© Carol Yates Wilkerson 2012

 

 

 

 

Olympia Motorcycle Club Enduro circa 1938

Olympia Motorcycle Club

Thurston County Motorcycle History

Years ago I put together a shadow box for my parents of Yates memorabilia that included WWI and WWII medals for my grandfather Will Yates and my dad, William Gale Yates respectively. In that shadow box was included a little bit of Olympia Motorcycle Club history.

Olympia Motorcycle Club

My dad isn’t in the above photo because I believe he took the picture, hence the Y shown predominantly in the lower corner of the shot. I am also sorry to say that I can’t precisely date the year it was taken. The accompanying newspaper article was clipped from a page and no date was written on it either.

My dad was born in 1920, so it’s possible this photo could have been taken in 1938, 1939, 1940, or even in 1941. If someone knows motorcycles and can see anything in this photo that would identify a year, please let me know. I’m not sure the photo above even goes with the article. It might just be some of the guys my dad rode with at another time.

Olympia Motorcycle Club Article

The Newspaper Article About the Enduro Contest

DAVE NOURSE  TAKES MOTORCYCLE CONTEST

Dave Nourse, Seattle, American Motorcycle Association, captured the Enduro run Sunday sponsored by the Olympia Motorcycle Club. The 250-mile run was over logging trails, abandoned roads and other difficult routes through Thurston, Lewis and Cowlitz counties, starting and finishing at Littlerock. Fred Travis, Seattle, was a passenger with Nourse. The winner had a score of 872 out of a possible perfect mark of 1000.

Red Farwell, Tacoma Motorcycle Club, took second with a score of 853; Gale Yates, Olympia Motorcycle Club, third with 802 and Gus Peterson, Lewis County Motorcycle Club was the only other motorcycle entry to finish. His score was 607. Kenneth Knutson was a passenger of Peterson’s. Eight started the contest.

Nourse is a former Ohio State Enduro champion in the expert class.  The race here Sunday marked his first since coming west and his 13th in all.  The contest was the first sanctioned endurance event staged in the northwest this year.

gale-yates-1934-with-harley

William Gale Yates 1934

william-gale-yates-1939-harley

William Gale Yates 1939

(He forged his dad’s signature to buy this Harley)

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