Spokane Daily Chronicle - October 12, 1951

John Paxon Harlan

      Orofino, Idaho, Oct. 12 - Veterans of Foreign Wars post 3296 conducted graveside rites following funeral services at the Methodist church Wednesday for John Paxon Harlan, 85, who died last Sunday following a cerebral hemorrhage.

      The Rev. James Farrell of the Christian church conducted services, Gilbert chapel in charge.

      Harlan, an enthusiastic student of historical area lore, had been a county assessor, county commissioner and miner here.

      In later years he studied and wrote on the Lewis-Clark expedition and was considered one of the best-versed authorities on the two explorers. He was instrumental in promoting several cairns and other makers along the famous Lewis-Clark trail and instigated several public gatherings commemorating the expedition.

      He followed mining much of his life, and discovered several important gold and copper properties in British Columbia before volunteering for army service during the Spanish-American war. He spent 12 months in the Philippines during that war and saw 128 consecutive days of combat at one time under Gen. Arthur MacArthur, father of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

      Was County Commissioner

      He was a member of the board of county commissioners for Clearwater County in 1915 and 1916 and served from 1918 to 1922 as county assessor and from 1926 to 1933 as deputy assessor.

      He was born at Guthrie Center Iowa, February 9, 1866, and moved with his parents to Leadville, Colo., in 1879, where his father was the first justice of the peace. He studied law two years in Colorado and taught school at Humptulips, Wash.

      In 1902 he moved to Pierce and in 1906 to Orofino. He was married to Emma Stiles of Weippe at Lewiston on September 26, 1905. She died in 1912.

      After entering semi-retirement as an assayer, miner and prospector, he did various kinds of work here while promoting at all times public interest in the historical lore of north central Idaho. At one time he owned a feed store at the site now occupied by the Helgeson hotel and for a number of years he operated a farm in the Harmony Height area. He also has operated sawmills and at one time was known as the "wood king" of Clearwater county, having cut as much as 3000 cords in a year.

      Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Stila Gleason, Orofino; a son George W. Harlan, Orofino; six grandchildren.

Rocky Mountain Sun (Aspen, Pitkin County) - Saturday, December 03, 1898

John P. Harlan, "Curly Jack"

      Many old-time Aspenites will remember John P. Harlan, "Curly Jack" as he was familarly known, who several years ago was assayer at the Montezuma mine. Mr. Harlan has seen something of the world since leaving the camp. He went to British Columbia, among other places, and it was while he was there that he heard of the opening of hostilities between Uncle Sam and the dons. He was about to return to the states and upon reaching San Francisco he enlisted in the South Dakota regiment which was at that time recruiting, and is now with General Otis' command in Manila.

      Mr. Harlan's mother, Mrs. G. W. Harlan, of Lancaster, Pa., who is visiting her son-in-law, E. R. Willey, recently received the following letter from her soldier son, which THE TRIBUNE is permitted to publish:

      MANILA, P.I., Oct. 7, 1898;

      My Dear Mother - I will pen thee a few lines to inform thee that I am still alive and enjoying the best of health. There is a great deal of sickness among the soldiers, but thanks to a strong physical condition and good care, through my own actions, I have not missed one hour of duty nor a roll-call. Stomach complaint is the general failing. But I notice that those addicted to strong drink are the ones mostly affected. There are several cases of small pox and cholera. Malarial fever catches most of them. Not many are dying, but a few each day are being buried. We buried two boys from our company, and sixteen are on the sick list but none are serious in the least.

      Since I wrote thee last at Cavite, we were moved to Manila on the 10th of September. There was a rumor of disarming the natives and we thought that we might have to go into action against them, but it blew over and everything is quiet and peaceable here now. When I first landed at Cavite I made the assertion that we (the South Dakota volunteers) would never fire a gun in anger against an enemy and we never will. All the talk now among the boys is of getting home. Nearly everyone is homesick and I don't blame the privates.

      To be a soldier in time of peace is something unendurable to an ambitious person. Most of the officers would like to stay longer as, of course, many are making more that they ever did before and get it very easily, too. It is a veritable prison to me. I am leading a lazy, inactive life. There is little to do and much less one cares to do in this climate. In many ways I have enjoyed myself more or less, but on the whole the "game is not worth the chase." I shall be very glad when it is over with. I have diverted my mind largely by studying the Spanish language. I am getting along very well. I can read quite well and converse a little. I have a small history of Spain and the Philippine Islands which I take much pleasure in reading. I also have a Spanish geography, and by being able to read Spanish I get a good deal of knowledge in regard to the islands.

      When I am tired of loafing around the barracks, I dress myself up and go about town conversing with the Spanish and Filipinos. My attire is quite swell: I have a white Nubian cap, a black silk shirt, pure white pants, black patent leather shoes and a black belt in which I carry my money and gold watch and chain. In this attire and with my watch chain dangling, and carrying a dark rosewood cane, I strut along the street attracting much attention.

      White clothing is the prevailing dress for both men and women. The soldiers wear white on dress parade. One's white clothing doesn't cost much, keeping them clean costs the most. Still our washing is cheap enough; it costs 5 cents for a pair of pants, 5 cents for a coat, 5 cents for an overshirt, 2 1/2 cents for an undershirt, 2 1/2 for a pair of drawers, and 1 cent for a pair of socks. I bathe regularly every day. I lay it to this for my good health. The rules require us to bathe daily but the most of the boys neglect it.

      Manila is not a town an American would care to live in. It is too Spanish and there is not the opportunity to do well as one would wish. Since the American soldiers have come here though it has been a lively place and the Spaniards have seen more money than they ever did before. Our advent has caused a perfect avalanche of business and success for them. They surely would hate to see the Americans leave. The Spanish soldiers say, as a rule, that they had rather be American prisoners than Spanish soldiers. Why shouldn't they? They are much better fed and treated.

      I am afraid that the United States did not acquire much when it took the island of Luzon. Still the soil is here and a fine climate for all kinds of tropical products, and when backed by money and enterprise this island could be made a veritable paradise. Just as it now is it does not amount to much. Everything by way of industry has gone down - fruit, vegetables and live stock is left entirely to natural selection and consequently has deteriorated in quality. There is a large part of the interior of which little or nothing is known. The people are more or less indolent. The Spaniards have domineered over the native Filipinos, and compelled them to labor for little or nothing. No one seems to have taken any intelligent interest in the industrial advancement of the island. I am afraid the Americans may be affected in the same way. It is in the climate. Still if taken hold of properly the island may be brought to the front. There is a different atmosphere of push in the Hawaiian islands, which takes one home, and is due to American influence.

      I have as yet been unable to get a permit to go into the interior prospecting. I will try that beloved colonel of ours. I have tried the major but he tries to make me think that it is impossible to go, on account of the danger from Negritos, who are cannibals in disposition. But I will take my chances, if I can only get out.

      JOHN P. HARLAN, Private Company M, South Dakota Volunteers.

Transcribed by Jo Frederiksen, 2014

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