Elvin Newton, of Philomath, was a candidate for Benton County assessor in 1898. (Photo by Daphne Zheng/Getty Images via Canva)

The latest election here in Benton County is underway with folks voting by mail leading up to Election Day on May 16.

In 1898, Philomath resident Elvin Newton was running for Benton County assessor. The Corvallis Gazette didn’t hold back with its opinion of Newton’s candidacy with the following published in its May 13, 1898 edition under the headline, “A Wise Nomination”:

“‘Mr. Newton, of Philomath, is declared the nominee of this convention for the office of assessor of Benton County.’ So said Chairman Edwards of the Benton county republican convention.

“There is usually some good reason for a man being nominated for office by a party. And it is not giving away any political secrets to say Mr. Newton was nominated because it was thought he would make a strong canvass, hold his party vote, secure votes from the opposition and be elected.

“Mr. Elvin Newton will make a just and proper assessment within the time prescribed by law. He will make up the rolls correctly and with all possible dispatch and economy. He is acquainted with the value of property in the county and will depend as assessor up on intelligent observation and business judgment — not upon guess work.”

The newspaper’s opinion didn’t lead to victory for Newton. He was defeated by Asa Alexander by a margin of 963 to 893.

150 years ago

Basket picnic: The schools and the citizens of Philomath will hold a Basket Picnic on next Tuesday, the 20th inst., on the old camp ground, a mile and a half south of Mr. Hartless’ farm. Music, the crowning of a May Queen, and other interesting exercises may be expected. Prof. Selwood will deliver the address. A cordial invitation is extended to all. (Published May 17, 1873, in the Corvallis Gazette).

125 years ago

Candidate advertisement: J.R. Sovereign, union candidate for governor and grand master of the Knights of Labor of America, will address the people of Lincoln County at the court house in Toledo on Monday evening, May 16th. Everybody come and hear the Union candidate for governor. It will be an opportunity of a lifetime to hear a grand address by the great labor champion of America, Hon. J.R. Sovereign. A steamer will run from Newport and Yaquina. Round trip on cars from Albany, Corvallis and Philomath, two dollars. One fare for round trip from all points west of Philomath. (Published May 13, 1898, in the Lincoln County Leader).

100 years ago

Local operetta: bA comic operetta, “Singbad the Sailor,” will be presented by the “Avenehi” Camp Fire Saturday evening, May 12, at the I.O.O.F. hall. The Camp Fire girls will be assisted by the best actors and singers of Philomath and the whole play promises to be something different from the usual entertainment and a big laugh from start to finish. (Published May 11, 1923, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

75 years ago

Graduation event: The 21st annual community eighth grade graduation exercises of western Benton schools will be held in the Philomath high school auditorium, May 18 at 8 p.m. Schools participating will be Philomath, Kings Valley, Blodgett, Hoskins, Evergreen and Nois. The graduating address will be given by Carl E. Aschenbrenner on the subject, “Accentuate the Positive.” (Published May 15, 1948, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

50 years ago

Philomath College: From atop a flatbed truck volunteer auctioneers Bill Dowless and John Hanger coaxed $4,000 in cash and $2,700 in checks from some 700 persons bidding at the Philomath College Building Restoration auction Sunday. Bill G. Fendall, vice chairman of the Philomath College Building Restoration Committee, said that $11,000 to date has been raised for restoration of the 107-year-old structure at 11th and Main. A minimum of $40,000 will be needed to start restoration of the building’s interior and exterior and laying of parking area, Fendall said. (Published May 14, 1973, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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