The Telegraph on the Northwest Coast, screw glass insulators used

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegrapher

New York, NY, United States

The Telegraph on the Northwest Coast.





ACCORDING to my promise made in a previous letter I will now give, for the information of your readers, ar [sic] as full and accurate an account as possible of telegraphic matters in the Northwestern coast of Uncle Sam's territory, which, but comparatively a short time since, was almost an unknown wilderness to the settled portion of the country. Now we have here a thriving and growing community, and the State of Oregon is by no means the least important of the sovereign States which compose the American Union.

The columns of THE TELEGRAPHER have brought the telegraph and telegraphers of this section to the notice and acquaintance of our professional brethren and the country, and it is an always welcome visitor to all in this section engaged or interested in telegraphy.

In the first place we will consider the Western Union lines, as that company owns and operates the through line from San Francisco to Victoria, British Columbia. Dr. O. P. S. Plummer is the Superintendent of the Oregon district, and a more able and popular Superintendent cannot be found on any district of the Western Union Company. Your columns have recently recorded the manifestation of the good will and appreciation of his associates in the Western Union service, and it was no formal or forced affair, but a genuine expression of the feelings of all engaged with him in this distant section. That he may long continue to represent the company is the sincere desire of one and all of them.

I am not familiar with the officers and employes of the company below Yreka, Cal., and will commence with that office, where we find Mr. J. Waldo Thompson, who is the chief operator of the Oregon district, a first class telegrapher and a perfect gentleman, with Mr. G. Q. Stewart as his assistant. The next office in succession is Cottonwood, Cal., with Miss Hortense Eubanks as operator. At Ashland Messrs. J. M. McCall and C. K. Klum attend to the interests of the company and the public. At Jacksonville, Oregon, Wm. M. Turner, who is a good fellow, and F. Krause, represent the telegraphic fraternity to the credit and satisfaction of all concerned. It would occupy too much space in THE TELEGRAPHER to give the characteristics of all who administer telegraphically to the public, and I must content myself with a mere mention of them and their offices. At Grant's Pass, Oregon, Jos. B. Purdon; Grove Creek, Oregon, Homer D. Harkness; at Canyonville, Oregon, Volney and G. W. Colvig; at Rosebury, S. and F. Hamilton; at Oakland, Wm. W. Skinner; at Eugene, A. V. and J. K. Peters; at Albany, A. F. Wheeler; at Salem, George W. Richards; at Oregon City, G. A. Taylor; at Portland, (which is the main office in Oregon), James Guild is manager, and Wm. J. Leahy, G. W. Thurman and - - Jacoby are operators.

On the northern circuit from Portland first is Vancouver, W. T., and next Martin's Bluff. Fred W. Bier is the operator at Vancouver and John Martin at Martin's Bluff. Then comes Kaloma, C. E. Thayer, operator; Monticello, Miss Vie. Huntington; Cowlitz, E. Valliere; Pumphreys, Ed. Stevens; Steilacoom, John Latham; Puyallup, J. W. Wright; Seattle, J. M. Lyon; Olympia, W. T. H. Pitts, operator; W. Wallis, assistant; Point Elliott, E. Kromer; Holt's Camp, G. Kellogg; Utsalady, C. P. Uggard; La Couvre, J. A. Gilliland; American Camp, J. V. Dawson; and at English Camp, Jas, Stone (these last two offices are on San Juan Island); and Victoria, B. C., E. Jungerman and J. H. Carmichael. These, with Mr. F. H. Lamb, who is Superintendent of the Northern Circuit, with headquarters at Seattle, W. T., comprise the personnel of the Western Union service.

The Northern Pacific Railroad have a line sixty-five miles in length, from Kalama, W. T., to Tenino, the terminus, constructed along the line of their railroad, built in a most substantial manner, with screw glass insulators and brackets. As yet there has been no superintendent of telegraph or train dispatcher appointed. The following are the operators on this line: "Headquarters," Kalama, Clarence E. Fagen, Supt. pro tem, manager operator, messenger, etc.; Cowlitz Station, Edward Valiere, agent and operator; Oleque, Edward Stevens, agent and operator, and at Tenino, J. A. Devlin. Line works clean as a crystal.

The Oregon Steam Navigation Company own and operate a line from Portland, Oregon, up the Columbia River to Walla Walla, W. T., of which Mr. D. Leahy, of Portland, is Superintendent. The names of the operators I gave through THE TELEGRAPHER not long since.

The Puget Sound Telegraph Company now have their lines very nearly completed between the principal ports and towns on Puget Sound. Will furnish the details in regard to this line as soon as practicable.

There is also a line running north from Victoria, B. C., owned by our British friends.

The Oregon Central Railroad operate a telegraph line in connection with the railroad from Portland to St. Joe, Oregon, a distance of fifty miles, of which Mr. Charles D. Faling, of Portland, is Superintendent and train dispatcher; G. H. Shaw, agent and operator at Cornelius; and Isaac P. Fish agent and operator at St. Joe.

The Oregon and California Railroad run a line of two hundred miles in length along their road. A new office was opened on this line at Rosebury (the present terminus of the road) a day or two since, with Mr. Frank Hamilton as operator, and Mr. H. H. Rogers, formerly an operator, as agent. Mr. C. D. Faling is also Supt. of Telegraph and train dispatcher on this road.

These, with the exception of a short "local" line from Albany to Corvallis, Oregon, comprise the telegraph system of Oregon, Washington Territory and British Columbia. The lines generally work splendidly, in fact, much better than could be expected, taking into consideration the extent of primeval forest through which so much of the lines necessarily run.

With a "Merry Christmas" and a "Happy New Year" to all, I will close this communication.



Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:October 17, 2005 by: Elton Gish;