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In One Ear: Local Brevities

Newsy notes from 1885
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on December 29, 2017 12:01AM

From the Tuesday, Dec. 29, 1885 edition of The Daily Morning Astorian:

• The electric lights will not be lit till the arrival of the new lamps, which are expected on Thursday’s steamer.

• Pilot Gunderson reports that while on the Glengaber on Christmas Eve, about 50 miles west of Cape Hancock they passed the wreck of a schooner, bottom upward. She was about 50 feet in length; the rudder was gone …

Note: Lt. William P. McArthur (pictured, left), surveyed the West Coast in 1849 for the U.S. Coast Survey. In June 1850, he dubbed the Cape Disappointment headland as Cape Hancock, according to, who thought the name was only used until 1870. Apparently not.

• Clarence Whistler (pictured, right), the renowned wrestler, died today from the effects of a big spree.

Note: He actually died Nov. 6, 1885, but the news of his demise was likely delayed because he was in Australia at the time, according to the Pro Wrestling Historical Society. After a championship bout Down Under, Whistler, 29, went on a three-week binge. It’s widely speculated he died either of alcohol poisoning or an infected cut in his mouth caused by “chewing champagne bottles and/or glasses.” The official cause of death was pneumonia.

• It begins to look as though Dawne would make a good starter for the proposed penal colony in Alaska.

Note: Sitka Judge E. J. Dawne fled Alaska to evade arrest for forgery and embezzlement ( Apparently the penal colony was never built, even though it was championed by several newspapers around the nation as an ideal location since the 1870s.

• Upon the arrival of the Idaho at Port Townsend, from Alaska on the 26th, the vessel was searched by custom house officers and $5,250 worth of opium was found aboard.

Note: About $128,000 now. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” — Alphonse Karr


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