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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
Mason County Journal
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November 20, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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November 20, 2014

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• Page A-26 - Mason County Journal - Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 continued from page A-25 Her casual inquiry turned into six months of research; although she unearthed a lot of infor- mation, she couldn't tie any of it specifically to the North Bay site. She is now hoping, as is Olson, that Journal readers will be able to come up with more iden- tifying details about the incident. Here is an overview of the information she did find: • That particular North Bay site had been used as a log dump since well before the turn of the century. Former resident Jerry Fowler shared an 1893 photo of the same site, showing a logging train poised on a wooden tres- tle built far out into the bay. The train hauled logs to that site from cut- ting sites in Victor and beyond. • Many area resi- dents know the location as the site of the old Overton logging camp. Belfair resident Ken VanBuskirk noted that in Mary Theler~s diaries, excerpts of which are published each week in the Journal, she makes mention of going to a dance at the Overton camp. David Overton, a de- scendant of the family, confirmed that his great- grandfather and grand- father built the camp in the 1920s and ran log- ging operations there un- til it was sold in the early 1930s. The family has no further records about the property. Establishing the site's ownership at the time of the accident Olson wit- nessed might be a fruit- less endeavor anyway. The owner might not have been the logging op- erator. Various logging com- panies could have been leasing or subleasing the site, and independent contractors, with drivers hired as occasional help, might have owned or leased the trucks being used at the log-dumping site. • Olson remembers Newman Family Chiropractic Sarah Newman, DC • Work Injuries • Car Accidents • Wellness Care Accepting Medicare and most Insurances OPEN 6 DAYS A WEEK 2211 Jefferson Street, Shelton WA 98584 newmanfamil ,chiro.com • (360) 426-3886 NORTH MASON FIBER COMPANY RO. Box 275. NE 431 Log Yard Rd.. Belfair, WA 98528 Thq Place YARD & Contractors Welcome Per Small ( k.upS ) Load* *Price 1 based onl size of I vehicle ] OPEN MON-FRI 7AM-4:30PM" SAT. ONLY 8AM-4PM 275-0228 Please co" for directions and more information NO Plastics or Garbage PLEASE Photo courtesy of Liz Case Justin Cowling, curator of the Mason County Historical Museum, scans archived issues of the Shelton-Mason County Journal while researching a North Mason logging accident in the 1950s. his grandmother phon- ing for help, but Mason County had no central- ized 911 system in the 1950s. Depending on what year the accident took place, that call could have been made to Allyn's Fire District 5 (organized in 1954), Bel- fair's Fire District 2 (or- ganized in 1947) or the Mason County Sheriffs Office. In any case, present state law requires that these first-responders keep their call records for 30 years, after which they are destroyed. The relevant infor- mation would have been culled in the 1980s. • Olson has assumed that the accident killed the driver. If the driver had died on the scene or at Shelton General Hos- pital, his death would have been recorded with the Mason County Coro- ne~s Office. All such records (state- wide) are now digitized and kept on file with the state and are search- able by county through county coroner's offices. However, these records are not in any sort of chronological order, nor are they indexed• The Mason County Coroner's Office ar- ranged for a search of these records over that general time period. However, no records were found whose details remotely resembled this event. One possibility is that the driver somehow sur- vived the accident, which isn't very likely. Another is that he was transport- ed outside county lines and died at either Olym- pia's St. Peter Hospita! or Bremerton's Harrison Hospital. If he had died across either county line, the record would have been filed with the correspond- ing county's coronmZs office, and the search would require at least a name to go on. • Because this was an on-the-job accident, it's possible that it was reported to the Wash- ington State Department of Labor and Industries. However, a Public Dis- closure Request to that agency turned up no re- cords, and the agency noted that its records are kept for only seven years. In addition, the agen- cy could not confirm that such a record even ex- isted. Had the driver been self-employed, for in- stance, it might have exempted the accident from state investigation• • A search of the Shelton-Mason County Journal archive turned up no information either. Logging accidents back in the 1950s were far more common than in the present day, but not all deaths received news- paper coverage• In addition, the de- ceased's family often called in such informa- tion to the newspaper. If the logger lived else- where, the family was more likely to notify the paper that served the community in which the logger lived. As an example, Case pursued one lead about logger Ron Brown, who was killed when the carryall in which he was riding collided with a log truck. Brown had lived in Vaughn in Pierce Coun- ty and was employed by Buck Mountain Logging Co,, which was based in Grays Harbor County. He died on a company logging road, two miles west of Kitsap Lake in Kitsap County. His obituary appeared in the Tacoma News Tri- bune, and his death was recorded with the Kitsap County Coroner's Office. • One lead that Case has not been able to con- firm came from Dorothy Harper, a co-owner and founding pharmacist of the old Belfair Drug Store. Harper, now a resi- dent of Fir Lane Health and Rehabilitation Cen- ter in Shelton, remem- bers a patron who oper- ated a private nursing home in Vaughn. The woman often came into the store to buy medicine and supplies for her resi- dents. Her two grown daugh- ters and small grand- daughter usually accom- panied her. The daughter with the young girl was also ex- pecting a baby. She died giving birth to her son, and the day after her fu- neral, her husband was killed in a logging acci- dent. Harper believes this might well have been the accident Olson wit- nessed, but remembers no names. She is certain, howev- er, that the accident took place between the time she opened the store in December 1949 and her own daughter's arrival in 1954. Shelton historian Car- olyn Maddux thinks the Vaughn nursing home might have been affiliat- ed with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church but has no more specifics. Case hopes that someone reading this will remember the '50s- era logging accident at the North Bay log dump and contact her. She can be reached at 275- 5432 or at casecroft@ hotmail.com. CALENDAR SATURDAY each event. Attend one or all. The NOV. 27 North Mason Timberland Library Friends of the North Mason Timber- North Mason Resources will present NaNoWriMo Write-In land Library is sponsoring the event, will have a Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for adult For more information, call 275-3232. breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon at and teen writers high school age and 140 NE state Route 300, Belfair. up. Write a novel, start to finish, for MONDAY Free. For more information, call National Novel Writing Month. Come Mason County Cemetery District552-2303. to the library for quiet space, free 1 will have its annual budget meet- Wi-Fi, notebooks, pens, snacks, and ing at 4 p.m. at the QFC Historical • To submit a calendar item, email caffeine. Prizes are being offered at Room in Belfair. Open to the public, news@masoncounty.com. ' Clean. Secure ] November is 1 ,Professional / "Adopta j Construction, Inc. 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