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BACHELORS



While the Clydes, the Sudderths, and the Walkers were the only families at Axford in the 1880s, there were several bachelors.

One was Clem Brown. After proving up on his homestead, he married and moved over near Elma. It was rumored that once he came home from town lying in the wagon box drunk. His wife, who didn't approve of drink, took the horsewhip to him. In telling of it afterward, Clem said, "Oh, I guess I had it coming to me."

Another bachelor was T. L. Knauss who proved up on a claim.

In 1888 or 1889 Billy Pearson and Hugh Hopkins had adjoining claims.

Another homesteader was Captain W. A. Thompson, of the "Romp", the first boat between New London and Hoquiam. It was a gasoline-powered launch that carried passengers and freight. But it had so little power that it had to go with the tide, and progressed not much faster than one could row a boat. Besides, the engine frequently "died" and had to be adjusted or repaired. When this happened, a passenger might have to wade ashore and tie the boat to a tree.

Capt. Thompson liked to have people ride with him at $1.00 apiece, but the loggers around New London would rather row the seven miles. At that time one could rent a boat at Hoquiam for 50 cents, row to New London and leave it there. Then when someone from upriver wanted to come to town he'd pay 50 cents and bring it back.

So the fellows from the camps would go down to New London and eat dinner at Ellingson's with Calt Thompson. He'd see quite a crowd and think he was going to do a lot of business. "Going down with me today?", he'd ask.

Someone would reply, "No. We're in a hurry. Can't hardly wait on you."

They'd let him get a start, then two fellows at the oars would row past him. To plague him, they'd waive gaily and call out, "Well, goodbye, Captain, see you in Hoquiam."

Harry Evans, Sr. was carrying the mail at that time and he always rode to and from Hoquiam on the "Romp". Capt. Thompson would be so angry at the loggers, and so chagrinned at their jibes, that he'd cuss the air blue. It's alleged he taught Evans how to swear.

Capt. Thompson later ran the Hoquiam river ferry. It was operated by man-power. Two men, one at each end of a sweep, pushed it around in a circle to wind the cable on the spool. Later a street car motor furnished the power. Norman McDonald, husband of Lyda Brittain of Humptulips, bought Thompson out.