Fielding "Jake" McClaine

Fielding Jake McClaineFrom "The Country Boy" by H.C. Davenport - 1910: Jake McClaine made the best chief marshal at the Fourth of July parade of anybody around; in fact, you put a red or blue sash around him and he looked like a Greek god. His beard hung in ringlets like ancient Homer's; his clothes were worn with the most artistic careless swing imaginable. But there was something more to Jake McClaine than artistically hung clothes, something more than any other banker in the world.

True, he would take advantage of you in money matters the same as other bankers; he would squeeze money till it got slick and shiny and to avoid argument I can say that he had perhaps all the small business ways of great financiers; but there was another side to him, another Jake McClaine, who lived in the same house with the banker, and with that Jake McClaine there were no partners, and nobody ever asked to be his partner. Few, if any, were capable.

I never saw a funeral pass through Silverton that Jake McClaine didn't ride his bay mare at the head of the procession, and I heard of one passing through town where he rode at the head that I was unfortunate enough not to see. They were the only times he ever grew very serious; no one ever died in the vicinity but what Jake McClaine was there when they needed help. If they were poor or rich or just well to do, he took complete charge; made the arrangements for the funeral and rode ahead and let down the gaps in the rail fences and whether the funeral was over a fellow pioneer or someone's hired man, with bare head, with his white curly hair and beard, he looked as fine a type of just plain man as you ever saw.

Image Courtesy Oregon State Library Photographic Collection