Saturday, January 19, 2013

Da Judge

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Many years ago in Jacksonville, a friend of mine found a bottle sticking out of the dirt down the hill from the stable up at the "Hanna House" off of Pine St. Turns out, there wasn't just "a bottle", it was a dump and the bottles were packed into the hill like cordwood. It was, as they say, "stacked".

Judge Hiero K. Hanna, the owner of the Hanna House, was a circuit court judge here in town back in the day and presided in the massive Italianate Brick Courthouse. And he lived in his home on the hill, just a few blocks from the courthouse for many, many years; from the 1870's on past the turn of the century.

Here's a brief history of his life;

Hiero K. (H.K.) Hanna was born in Steuben County. New York, May 22, 1832. He attended the public school until he was fourteen years old, when he entered a dry goods store as salesman. In 1848 he immigrated to Wayne County, Ohio, and found employment in the Recorder's office. Succumbing to the Western fever, he came to California in 1850 and at once struck out for the gold fields of the interior. He remained in California for about eight years, and working his way northward, we find him a resident of Josephine County in 1858, still following his avocation as a miner while devoting his spare time to preparation for a thorough course in the study of law. He was admitted to the bar and he moved to Jacksonville in 1872.  He was re-elected in 1874 and again in 1876. In 1878 Governor Thayer appointed Judge Hanna Circuit Judge of the First Judicial District. In 1880 he was nominated and elected as his own successor, and he continued to occupy the same high and honorable position until his death on July 25, 1910. He was, obviously, successful.

An article of the time read;

There is probably no member of the legal profession better or more favorably known throughout Southern Oregon that H. K. Hanna. His enterprise and integrity have made for him friends among all classes of society, and his name is a synonym for honesty and industry. He is a man of rare worth and intelligence. He is remarkably clear-headed and grasps with readiness any knotty problem of law, and is quick in forming an opinion and rendering a decision. None are more independent than himself, and neither fear nor favor control his acts in either public or private life. He is married and has three children, one of which is adopted. He has won a warm corner in the hearts of the people of Southern Oregon, and we bespeak for him many years of usefulness.

He was active in civics, being a past Master Workman of A. O. U. W. "ANCIENT ORDER OF UNITED WORKMEN", and Past Sachem of I. O. E. M. (no record of this organization found) and a Member of the Oregon Historical Society.

Public opinion seems to portray a saint...

For some reason, around the turn of the century, for a short period of time, he decided to dispose of his trash on the side hill instead of taking advantage of the Chinee used bottle and rag man that lived just north, over in Chinatown. Apparently, he liked to drink; a lot. And some of the other items recovered during the dig raised a lot more questions.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe first bottle that popped out was a Kellogg's whiskey.

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Nice start!

And then another, and another and....

Like I said, cordwood.

After the first pile of Kellogg's made their appearance, Wakelee's Cameline's (you know, the cobalt blue rectangles with the flared tops) started coming out; one after another after...

Cameline was marketed as a cosmetic with the obvious target customer being the ladies by promising to "impart a healthful, natural complexion" by "softening and beautifying the complexion".

Along with the Kellogg's and Cameline by the pile, a large quantity of odd looking hard rubber tubes around 4" long, with holes in the side - sealed on one end and with a fitting on the other, began appearing. First just one here and one there, and then by the score. Huh?

Day turned into evening, and he'd hardly made a dent in the dump. Back at sunup, the previous days rewards were repeated. This time quite a bit in the way of Chinese pottery made it's appearance, along with a broken Acoma Indian pottery bowl. These finds in turn gave way to another hoard of Wakelee's which was followed up by another few dozen whole and broken Kellogg's. Sadly, all good things come to an end and the dump finally pinched out. Besides the mountain of rusted metal, common household bottles and Chinese stuff, there were the funny black hard rubber things, a couple dozen intact Camelines and several dozen broken Kellogg's along with 26 intact ones, some with labels still legible. And then there was that broken Acoma Indian pottery bowl.

Inquisitive minds want to know~

The Chinee pottery is probably easy to explain. Chinatown was large, just down the hill from the Hanna place and the pottery was everywhere. It no doubt made good planters and flower vases.

But why the broken Indian bowl? Aha, the railroad came to the Rogue Valley in 1887. Newspapers reports of the day mention H. K. Hanna and family boarding the train and touring the Southwest. The bowl, no doubt a souvenir of the trip, was a fond memento of this trip until it was broken and discarded around the turn of the century.

Why so much in the way of Kellogg's whiskey in such a short window of time, and where did it come from? We're not talking about a bottle or two; we're talking cases and cases! A couple of ideas come to mind. One possibility is that the pressure of the job had begun to wear on Judge Hanna and this was his way of coping with it.

As far as the source of the Kellogg's; the photo shows the front of the Table Rock Saloon. It was a mere two blocks from home. Notice the sign?
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Ray Charles could see this one...

Back to the quantity; maybe there was a different reason for that much whiskey, one that tied into those funny little hard rubber tubes and the piles of Cameline bottles. We dug a pit in back of a "home for soiled doves" down south years ago. Along with cosmetic bottles and piles of champagne, wine and liquor bottles, we also found quantities of the " hard rubber tubes". Later, we found out that they were part of a "kit" that was invaluable in keeping the soiled doves from smelling, uh - soiled. And with that, one has to wonder if Judge Hanna wasn't presiding over more than just court.

Nah, not Judge Hanna~ Or?

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