Hello from the History Department.
Read about Sheriff John Hoggatt, one member of seven generations of Hoggatts who still call Kalama, WA, home. His story can be connected back to not one, but two current McMenamins properties.
In 1888, the Hoggatt family journeyed by rail from the Kansas plains to the mountainous timberland of Washington Territory. Mary Hoggatt and her younger sons, Clarence and George, traveled in a passenger car, while her husband Andrew and 18-year-old son John William rode in a livestock car, taking care of the family’s horses and cattle.
Upon arrival, the family homesteaded a ranch on the Kalama River and, in time, grew to seven sons and one daughter. Within a few years, the Hoggatts expanded their farming operation to include a meat market in Kalama. John worked with his father, honing his butcher skills. By 1910, following the closure of the market, John and his brothers George and Irv opened their own butchery.
It was a solid profession for a family man, and John’s own family was growing. He had married fellow Midwesterner Nellie Harvey in 1893 (seated at left, in a double wedding with John’s brother and wife) and they became parents of three boys and a girl. As for the family butcher shop, John bought out his brothers’ shares and operated it himself (though his kids likely lent a hand – as was Hoggatt family tradition).
In those days, the neighborhood butcher shop was a mainstay of small-town America. Certainly in Kalama, everyone knew John as an upstanding businessman and citizen, evidenced by the fact that he was elected sheriff in 1918. He promptly shuttered his shop and traded his cotton apron for a metal badge.
Sheriff Hoggatt served two terms (1919–23), with his son Glenn as deputy during the second term. The day to day was relatively quiet for the new sheriff, but in 1921, two major crimes put his detective skills to the test and thrust his county into the national spotlight.
The first was the murder of Michael Whalen in March 1921. Suspicion focused on Whalen’s now-vanished hired man, Frank Dalton. Using only a telegraph, the postal service and good old-fashioned groundwork, Hoggatt unmasked Dalton as a con man with numerous aliases. This discovery assisted California law enforcement in arresting him nearly a decade later.
The other crime occurred in June 1921, while Hoggatt was hunting for Dalton. “Gentleman train robber” Roy Gardner had already grabbed national headlines by the time law enforcement officers transported the celebrity crook by train to McNeil Island Penitentiary. When the train pulled into a station north of Kalama (but still within Sheriff Hoggatt’s jurisdiction), Gardner gave his captors the slip and dashed away into thin air. Hoggatt formed a posse, posting a force of 40 men to guard all potential paths out of town. Gardner’s only route to freedom was through the forested hills. Though the sheriff’s posse was hot on Gardner’s trail several times, “The King of Escape Artists” eluded capture, resulting in even bigger headlines across the country. The long arm of the law did catch up with Gardner days later at what is now McMenamins Olympic Club (for that story, head north to Centralia, WA).
Life in Kalama returned to its quiet, small-town ways, but Sheriff Hoggatt and Deputy Glenn Hoggatt kept busy, busting bootleggers and confiscating stills, as this was in the middle of Prohibition.
In 1924, Hoggatt family tradition resumed when John and Glenn opened the Pioneer Meat Market in Kalama. Glenn ran it with his father until the latter retired in 1944. The family business continued on with the next generation, and all told, ran for 45 years.
After a long and productive life, John Hoggatt passed away in 1949. Over the last 120 years, there have been seven generations of Hoggatts in Kalama, with three generations still currently residing here. And so the Hoggatt family legend continues.…
Written by Assistant Historian Emlyn Stenger