Seattleite commits betting scam on election returns in Port Townsend on June 6, 1870.

  • By Greg Lange and Kit Oldham
  • Posted 7/29/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1598
Immediately after the results of the June 6, 1870, election reach Seattle by telegraph, Capt. H. H. Hyde travels to Port Townsend, which lacks communication by telegraph, and places bets with several people that Seleucius Garfielde running for Delegate to U. S. Congress (nonvoting member) would win by at least 600 votes. As Hyde knows, the official return gives Garfielde a 735-vote majority over J. D. Mix.

When the con became known, H. S. Fowler, one of the Port Townsend losers, sued Hyde for the $100 bet he lost. Judge Orange Jacobs ruled in Fowler’s favor and Hyde was required to pay the $100 plus interest and court costs.

In July 1872, Port Townsend civic leader Dr. Thomas T. Minor (1844-1889) and area mill owners formed the Puget Sound Telegraph Company to bring telegraph service to Port Townsend. Using wires strung on trees for much of the distance, the company established a line from West Seattle via Port Blakely, Port Madison, Port Gamble, Port Ludlow, and Chimacum to Port Townsend.


Sources: Thomas Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle from 1850 to 1897" (Typescript, dated 1900-1901, Northwest Collection, University of Washington Library, Seattle), 207, 218; T. M. Pelly, Dr. Minor: A Sketch of the Background and Life of Thos. T. Minor, M.D. (1844-1889) (Seattle: Lowman and Hanford Company, 1933), 40-41.
Note: This essay was revised on August 13, 2004.

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