Today in History: Old Man Deserted in 1911


    During this week in June 1911, the local sheriff investigated the situation of an old man left by himself in a rental home.

    “In a starving condition and mentally deranged, an old man named Vogal was found yesterday morning by A. Hess, a Chehalis contractor,” The Centralia Weekly Chronicle wrote. “Mr. Hess rented one of his houses to a family of four some time ago, but when he called at the house yesterday, he discovered that the aged man had been shamefully deserted by the other members of the party. Nothing was left but two trunks filled with worthless junk, an old worn out mattress and a comforter. There was nothing to eat in the place and it is not known how long the old man had gone without food.

    “The attention of Sheriff Urquhart was called to the pitiable case, and upon investigation it was discovered that the other members of the family had purchased tickets for Seattle. The sheriff ordered that the aged man be taken to the poor farm, and a strenuous effort will be made to locate the persons who so heartlessly left him in such a helpless condition.”

Centralia Has Energetic Business Men

125 years ago, in 1886

    The Lewis County Bee commented on the state of business in Centralia.

    “The business interests of the town are well looked after by live energetic business men,” the newspaper wrote. “There are four general merchandise stores that carry large stocks of goods, consisting of Messrs. Crosby & Woodham, W.T. Binkley, J.C. McAllister and James Agnew. C.W. Johnson has a neat and nicely selected stock of drugs. E.R. Butterworth does the business of the place in the furniture line, besides carrying a stock of caskets, coffins and the necessary trimmings.”

Speed Queen Offers Year’s Supply of Rinso

75 years ago, in 1936

    By purchasing a Speed Queen washer at Gesler-McNiven Co. Home Furnishers in Centralia, a free year’s supply of Rinso was included.

Over 14,000 Chicks Coming Home to Roost

50 years ago, in 1961

    Perry Farms, six miles east of Chehalis on the Centralia-Alpha Road, completed the building of a fryer house to hold over 14,000 chicks.

Fagerness Is ‘Pioneer of the Year’

25 years ago, in 1986

    Centralian Theodore J. Fagerness, 77, of Swedish-Finnish background, was named the 1986 Pioneer of the Year.  Tom was his name since he started the third grade in the Galvin School.

    “A classmate named Lloyd Anderson called him Tom Sawyer,” The Daily Chronicle reported. “And Arne, his younger brother, was given the name of Huck Finn, which wasn’t too far off because the parents of the Fagerness boys were born in the Swedish-speaking section of Finland.”

Lofton Returns to Centralia

10 years ago, in 2001

    Lewis Lofton, a Centralia High School basketball star in 1991, returned to Centralia to help with Centralia Hoop Camp, run by Tiger hoop coach Ron Brown.

    After two years playing junior college ball, he had played two years at Weber State, when the Wildcats competed at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  He began his pro career in South America, and then moved to Korea.

    “I work twice as hard now as I did in high school and college, because every year there’s a new crop of kids coming out of college who want the roster spot I have,” Lofton said.

Arrington Retiring After 41 Years

Five years ago, in 2006

    A retirement open house was planned for longtime teacher Sharon Arrington. She had taught in Lewis County for 41 years. She taught in the Onalaska School District, and then transferred to Chehalis for the remainder of her career, teaching sixth grade for five years and fifth grade for 34 years.


    From the Files of The Chronicle is compiled by Edna Fund, a Centralian who describes herself as a “history sleuth.” She can be contacted at or at 269-7515.