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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Wed., Sept. 11, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Jared Herdlick, the socialist mayor of Hillyard, finally surfaced after being missing for nearly three months.

He told his wife in a letter that he was in the hills near Portland, where he had been ever since losing his memory, “obliterating all cognizance of his personality, relatives and social and political interests.”

He even forgot he was the mayor of Hillyard. Only recently had the fog cleared, enabling him to remember his identity.

In his letter, he explained this only by saying that he had not “been himself” since disappearing from Hillyard in June. Later, Herdlick would claim that “the horrible gray wolf called capitalism drove me plumb bugs.”

Herdlick’s reappearance created a problem for the Hillyard City Council, which had declared the office of mayor vacant the week before and had appointed a mayor pro tem.

The Hillyard city attorney said he believed that, legally, Herdlick should have his old job back if he wanted it. But the attorney said it was “very improbable” that Herdlick would want it.

The attorney was wrong about that. On Dec. 18, 1913, Herdlick showed up at a Hillyard City Council meeting and asked to be reinstated. The council declined. Herdlick eventually withdrew the request and disappeared from Hillyard politics.


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