The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., December 23, 1915, page 1
H.L HOWE WAS PIONEER TEACHER
First Clerk in First Local Store
Place of Business Begun by E.L. Smith. The Early Day Houses Were Crude Affairs
Henry L. Howe, city recorder and judge of the municipal
court, having held the office for five consecutive terms, was a pioneer
schoolmaster of the community and has the distinction of having been the
first clerk in Hood River's first store. Mr. Howe was elected to the recordership
in December 1911, having defeated his competitor, Geo. W. Dimmick by one
vote. Since then, usually without opposition, he has romped in the polls
Mr. Howe has been a servant of the public since he reached manhood. He was born at West Union, Fayette county, Iowa, 59 years ago. In 1864 the family removed to Janesville, Minn., where they remained until 1871, when they removed to Grand Island, Neb. In the public schools of the latter place, with an additional winter's work at Lincoln, the Hood River valley's pioneer schoolmaster secured his educational training. His first school was taught in 1876 at Spring Branch, Neb., and for four years Mr. Howe spent the winter months teaching, while the summers were passed at work on the farm.
Mr. Howe arrived in Hood River in 1880. He was given a charge of the East Side school, the homes of the patrons of which were scattered over an area of 13,000 acres. The school house, of rude structure, built of roughly clapboards, was located where the present station, Lenz, on the Mount Hood Railway Co.'s line now stands. The directors of the large pioneer school district where D.A. Turner, F.M. Jackson and Mason Baldwin. In the late fall of 1888 E.L. Smith opened the valley's first store in the district now known as Ruthton, just west of the present city of Hood River. Mr. Howe was employed as clerk there until August of 1881. In the early winter of '81 Mr. Howe journeyed back to Elysian, Neb., where on December 10 his wedding to Miss Bell Bishop was solemnized. He returned with his bride in the spring of 1882. On his second arrival he was given a charge of the Pine Grove school district, the large East Side school district having been divided into the Odell and Pine Grove districts. The first Pine Grove school, located at the foot of Van Horn butte, of was built of hewn logs.
During the summer of 1882 Mr. and Mrs. Howe spent their first honeymoon days in Hood River encamped in a tent near the old home of D.A. Turner.
With much merryment today, although at the time it cost him much chagrin, Mr. Howe tells the story of how he pitched the tent. "I had never put up a tent," he says, "and it never entered my mind that a center pole would be necessary. I worked away manfully, and no sooner did I have the canvas stretched than the entire roof and walls came tumbling down on me. It would never do to let those older boys, my students, know of this episode. A knowledge of the art of living in the woods and the ways of the frontier was necessary to maintain the best discipline." The story was told to the heads of families of the pioneers, and Mr. Hall was the victim of much joshing, but the secret was kept from the boys, and it is possible that until this day some of them have never heard of the incident.
Another laughable incident of the early days, one that is often told at the meetings of the Hood River Pioneer Association, of which Mr. Howe is secretary, concerns the first mountain trout caught by Mrs. Howe.
Hood River furnished the pioneers with much delectable food. It was easy to fill a creel in a few hours, so plentiful were the trout. Mrs. Howe accompanied a party on an outing. Her hook was baited by D.A. Turner, a member of the party. "Just drop it over in that deep pool," said Mr. Turner, and no sooner said than the bait was tempting the finny population of the mountain stream. In an instant a big fellow had struck, and Mrs. Howe jerked him ashore. "Come quick," she called, "I've got him! I've got him! But what must I do with him?"
Mrs. Howe taught at the Barrett school district on the West Side in 1882. From that year until 1901 Mr. Howe taught in the local schools and at White Salmon. He spent 14 years teaching at the Barrett school. In the summer months he was employed clerking at the local stores.
In 1901 Mr. Howe was appointed clerk of the Burns land office. He was transferred to the Roseburg office in 1903 and remained there until 1905 when the Roseburg office was placed under suspension because of the celebrated land fraud trials. Mr. Howe, however, was transferred to the Walla Walla land office, where he remained until 1910, when he resigned to accept a position as cashier and bookkeeper of the Bragg Mercantile Co., a position he held until his election as city recorder.
Mr. and Mrs. Howe have three children: Geo. I Howe, a member of the postoffice force, Mrs. Paul S. Treiber, of Portland; and Miss Marion Howe, a student at the Oregon State Normal school at Monmouth.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer