Philomath High’s Class of 1923 featured 10 graduates. (Photo by rattanakun via Canva)

Philomath High School’s graduating classes a century ago were roughly a 10th of the size of those we see today. The local high school’s Class of 1923 included 10 graduates with a ceremony at the IOOF Hall.

Following is an item published May 29, 1923, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times on the baccalaureate sermon that preceded the commencement ceremony:

“Rev. J.D. Nisewonder delivered the baccalaureate sermon to the high school senior class Sunday evening, May 27th. “The Inevitable Tragedy” is the subject of Prof. P.L. Edwards, of the public speaking department at O.A.C., has chosen to deliver to the Philomath High School graduating class on Thursday evening, May 31, at the I.O.O.F. hall. There are ten graduates — June de France, Helen Cobb, Ardath Thompson, Edith Jones, Beulah Pound, Elsie Brown Rice, Francis Brady, Earl Lee, Kenneth Watkins and Lawrence Hathaway.”

John D. Nisewonder was the pastor at the United Brethren Church in Philomath for years. Nisewonder and his wife, Nellie, came to Oregon from Dayton, Ohio.

150 years ago

Buggy accident: On last Tuesday morning, Mr. James Greer, of this city, started in a one horse open buggy to take his daughter, Fannie, and little grandson to Albany to meet the cars for Portland. They had proceeded only about a mile below town when the horse became frightened at a horseman who came up behind him, on a “bucking” horse, made a sudden start in a short curve of the road, upset the buggy, and tumbled the three occupants and a large trunk out by the road side. Mr. Greer was badly stunned by the fall and lay for some minutes in an unconscious state. Miss Greer received a very severe bruise on the left check, while the little boy, Oscar Hubbard, escaped unhurt. It was a most fortunate accident — as no bones were broken. The little boy was sent to town for help, but before it could arrive, a farmer came along and brought them all home. One shaft was broken and the buggy otherwise injured but the horse did not get loose, and only ran a few steps. (Published May 31, 1873, in the Corvallis Gazette).

125 years ago

Philomath items: Guy Frink and Miss Grace Jolly each ride new wheels. … Dr. R.O. Loggan is stumping Lane county for the republican ticket. … The candidates will speak at Odd Fellow’s hall next Monday at 2:30 p.m. … Prof. J.J. Bryan is teaching school in Kings Valley, while George Brown “swings around the circle.” … Died, May 23, 1898, Mrs. Geo. Brown, of cancerous tumor. The remains will be taken to Iowa for burial. … The Benton County Veteran Association will hold a reunion at the camp ground west of the city, June 16, 1898. … A cycle club has been organized here with Ed. L. Bryan, president, Millard Long, secretary, Fred Ingle, treasurer. The club is building a circular track in the college campus. (Published May 27, 1898, in the Corvallis Gazette).

100 years ago

Bicyclist injured: Floyd Watson, fifteen or sixteen-year-old son of R.O. Watson, of near Philomath, lies at the Corvallis General Hospital with a broken thigh. While bicycling yesterday afternoon toward Philomath he was struck at the Westwood church corner by an automobile going in the other direction and was hurt as stated. The city ambulance brought him in and the boy is now getting along as nicely as could be expected, though he was considerably jarred up. The accident is said to have been due to the fact that the road there is very narrow, the turn sharp and the view obscured by the overhanging brush. The occupants of the auto were men connected with the road improvement west of Philomath. (Published May 28, 1923, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

75 years ago

Veterans honored: Glen R. Hawkins of Shedd and Warren W. Perin of Philomath, former enlisted men who had distinguished themselves in the Naval Air Corps, were presented decorations in evening ceremonies of the Corvallis Naval Reserve unit recently. Hawkins was presented the Air Medal and Gold Stars in lieu of 2nd and 3rd Air Medals. … Perin received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Gold Stars in lieu of 2nd and 3rd Air Medals. (Published May 28, 1948, in Greater Oregon, Albany).

50 years ago

Police chief: G.J. (Joe) Murphy, 58, was sworn in before the city council Tuesday as Philomath’s new chief of police. Murphy took the oath of office in a brief ceremony conducted by Mayor Martin Hoffman. A former chief of police at Tekon, Wash., Murphy succeeds Frank Blackmer as head of the three-man Philomath Police Department. Blackmer, 67, officially retires July 5. (Published May 30, 1973, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).

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