Ear: Flavel

The Daily Morning Astorian, in late April 1885, provided another glimpse of Capt. George Flavel's life, not just as a Columbia River bar pilot par excellence, but as a man of varied interests, including being a gentleman farmer.

"Yesterday D. C. Stewart, of Forest Grove, arrived here from Rochester, New York, with 12 head of pure Holstein cattle. They came over the Northern Pacific and arrived in remarkably fine condition," the story says.

"There are nine heifers and three bulls, the oldest being 2 years old and running down to yearlings … Mr. Stewart looked at the best herds of Holstein cattle in the east and selected … the finest from the finest herds.

"… Mr. Stewart will take five of the cattle … The remainder will be taken by Capt. George Flavel to his farm on Clatsop Plains … (who) has great hopes for the future of his new venture."

A week later, in early May, the newspaper reported: "Capt. Flavel's blooded cattle, which are at present on the old Williamson place, attract considerable attention. They will doubtless thrive on his tide land farm, as they are from Holland, which is in some respects similar to their new home."

Note: Flavel was a clever entrepreneur, and aside from creating a monopoly in the bar pilot business, he had many other interests, including selling coal from Australia and operating a dock in Astoria.

However this is the first mention the Ear has seen of his owning a farm, or of raising cattle. No further mention was found about whether or not the venture was a success.

Even so, when the captain died in 1893, at his Eighth Street mansion in Astoria, he was worth $1.9 million, or about $56 million today.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.