The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Max Pracht

A Correspondent Who Wants the Epistolary Efforts to Continue.

    To the Editor of the Examiner--SIR: Max Pracht has made another contribution to the literature of the anti-monopoly campaign, and his last effort is equal to his first production, which we reviewed some time ago. We want him to keep up his lick, for the letters he writes are good arguments on our side of the house. They show how a merchant, when bound hand and foot by a special contract with the monopoly, can lose sight of the interest and welfare of the state in which he lives, and which protects him in the enjoyment of his life and his property. What matters it to him that every industry of our state is crushed beneath the wheels of the Central Pacific juggernaut? He has a "special contract," by which he is enabled to import his twines over the Southern Pacific at one-third of what it would cost anyone else to bring them here by rail without special contract, and he is ready to throw up his hat and cry, "Great is the Central and Southern Pacific, and Stubbs is its prophet." This letter of Mr. Pracht's reveals the whole deformity and corrupting influence of the infamous "special contract" system--a system which destroys every vestige of brotherly love and human sympathy and builds up a favored class on the ruins of an entire community. This letter shows how a man can slavishly worship the enemies of our prosperity and look calmly on at the ruin of our industries when he has got a "good thing" in the shape of reduced and special rates. Mr. Pracht says he doesn't know Mr. Stubbs. This is really unfortunate for both parties. From the tone of Mr. Pracht's first communication we had supposed the most intimate friendly relations existed between the two parties--that they were high-joints, so to speak. Mr. Stubbs' private organ, the Railroad Union (circulation 2,572 copies) patted Mr. Pracht most encouragingly on the back on the appearance of his maiden effort, and really referred to him in such a manner as to make a man up a tree think that Mr. Pracht was one of the happy family located at the corner of Fourth and Townsend streets. But if it be the fact, and we cannot dispute it in the face of Mr. Pracht's assertions, that those two great and noble minds have never yet commingled, we would offer a suggestion tending towards bringing them together. As Mr. Pracht holds a special contract, by the terms of which he is not to ship goods by sea to San Francisco without incurring the displeasure and reproof of the railroad company, just let him buy a few bags of twine at New York City and send them to San Francisco by clipper. He can bet his existence that Mr. Stubbs will find it out before the shores of Sandy Hook have sunk behind the vessel's wake, for the Central Pacific has its spies on every wharf in New York to find out what merchants are violating the "special contracts," and that Mr. Stubbs will soon be around at Mr. Pracht's bag-depot wanting an explanation. This would give Mr. Pracht the long-desired opportunity to make the acquaintsnce of the mighty and puissant railroad official. We throw the suggestion out for what it is worth. We can imagine their meeting.
    Says Mr. Stubbs to Mr. Pracht:
    "We'd like to know if 'tis a fact
    That you have shipped some goods by sea?"
    Says Mr. Pracht to Mr. Stubbs:
    "Your question me severely rubs,
    But confess; have mercy, Stubbs, on me."
    Mr. Pracht says Mr. Stubbs has carefully guarded "the interests of his patrons." Now, here's richness, indeed. Stubbs' guarding care reminds us of the Apaches and old Pegleg Smith. Smith had a cattle ranch in the Apache country in Arizona, in a locality where Indian raids were of almost daily occurrence. The Apaches, however, never cleaned him out entirely. They would raid and carry off some animals but always left enough to stock the ranch, knowing that Pegleg would stick to the business as long as he had a hoof to breed from. The Apaches kept off other Indian tribes and effectually showed their guarding care for Pegleg. Mr. Stubbs throws the same kind of mantle around his special rate patrons. He leaves them something, but woe to the man who hasn't got a special contract. The railroad figures up what profit the unfortunate shipper expects to make, and coolly takes that profit by adding it to the freight charges, until the shipper is in the position of the Arizona miner who shipped some rich ore to a capitalist in San Francisco with a request that the ore be treated and the net results returned to him. The capitalist sent back the empty ore sacks!
    We hope Mr. Pracht will let us hear from him again. If he don't feel inclined to write anymore, we shall miss him from the columns of your paper, and if he retires into seclusion and bags his head in one of his pet San Quentin sacks, we will bow to the inevitable and write his epitaph as follows:
    Beneath this pile of moldering sacks
    Lies, cold and dead, the form of Max.
    He grew too fat on Stubbs' freights;
    Alas, he died of "special rates."
San Francisco, August 18, 1882.
San Francisco Examiner, August 20, 1882, page 5

    Crit. Tolman has departed for Alaska, to assume the office of deputy collector at Kodiak under Collector Pracht. Mrs. Tolman will follow her husband in a short time.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 30, 1889, page 3

    Hon. Max Pracht is still in Washington. He can hardly be expected to turn out and stump Indiana for Harrison. One would as soon expect to hear of 'Lish Applegate joining the Methodist Church.
"Local Notes,"
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 22, 1892, page 3

Some of Mr. Max Pracht's Work and Suggestions as to Fruit.

    People who are fortunate enough to obtain peaches from the "Peachblow Paradise Orchards" of Max Pracht this year will be fully apprised of the celestial character of the fruit, no matter in how distant a clime it may be unpacked and eaten. Mr. Pracht has just had nearly 100,000 peach wrappers printed, each bearing in blue ink on white paper his orchard trademark designed by himself. It advertises the climate of Southern Oregon, the city of Ashland and the orchard business of Mr. Pracht, and there will he no danger of retail dealers in Oregon, Washington, Montana or elsewhere selling his peaches as "California fruit." Neither will there be any likelihood of any scrubby peaches being shipped in these wrappers.
    Mr. Pracht's method of paying the strictest attention to the details of selection, packing and marketing, proves its value from the fact that he is able to ask and receive for his peaches 25 percent above the market price. The farmers of the state should have their attention called to this fact, and much good to Oregon would undoubtedly result if his example were to be generally followed. One of the most striking instances of the injustice he seeks to correct by advertising is the fact that Rogue River apples, pronounced by connoisseurs the finest by long odds on the Coast, are shipped to Eastern markets branded "California fruit."
Oregonian, Portland, August 13, 1893, page 4

The Windy Max Pracht at Washington.
He Rattles Away on Topics of Silver.

Ex-Mayor Darcy at the Capital, but Now en Route to His Salem Home.
    Washington, D.C., July 28.--(Special to the Statesman.)--Max Pracht, a well-known citizen of Oregon, of enthusiastic Republican proclivities, struck town yesterday simultaneously with the torrid wave. Mr. Pracht was chairman of the delegation from his state to the recent Denver convention of Republican League clubs, and he had a good deal to say about the silver plank adopted at that meeting, and the adverse criticism thereon by the Minneapolis Journal, a criticism which was the basis of an editorial in yesterday's issue of the Washington Post.
    "That plank," said Mr. Pracht, "was an eighteen-carat gem. I felt particularly good over its adoption, and the success Oregon scored as a level-headed mediator between the factions of the extreme East and the Pacific Coast. The fact is the Republicans representing the extreme ideas came together on a middle ground at the Mississippi River, so to speak, and we there built a boat which will carry us all to victory.
    "The slogan of the convention was 'protection and bimetallism; not one, but both,' and that is really the battle cry of the Republican Party today. These are the issues, and they are going to win, to use the homely old comparison, just as easy as falling off a log. Lately, by the good grace of the strikers, I had plenty of time to look thoroughly into the Colorado silver question. What do we find? The Comstock as a silver producer played out; Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah in a silver decline, and all of them showing a marked increase in the output of gold; California coming to the front again as a gold state, and Oregon opening up new quartz mines in nearly every range of mountains; phenomenal finds in South Africa and the development of new fields in Australia. On top of all this I herewith assume the role of prophet and declare that by the time we have inaugurated our next Republican President, March 4, 1897, the apparent discrepancy between the world's visible supply of gold and silver will have so nearly disappeared that the resumption of silver coinage will come of itself, the metals will be on a parity as to their coinage values and likely to stay so for a long time.
    "People have no idea of the enormous amount of silver now being used in the arts, and the consumption is always on the increase. An official of one of the big sliver smelters of Colorado told me lately that he had orders for silver on hand largely in excess of the capacity of his plant from America silver plating works. Everybody buys plated ware now, and the old single plate has given sway to triple and quadruple. All this goes to show that bimetallism is a thing of the near future, and the Republican Party is the only party that can bring it about, the only party that has the courage to grasp and the ability to handle great questions.
    "The pops, did you say? Ah, judge! Have you forgotten here in Washington how Oregon laid the populists to eternal sleep on the 4th of last June?"
Statesman Journal, Salem, August 4, 1894, page 3

    PRACHT, MAX, of Ashland, was born in the Palatinate, Germany, in 1846, and two years later his father fled from the persecution that also drove Schurz, Hecker, Sigel and Rosecrans to the land of liberty, and brought his family to America. He served in the navy during the Rebellion, and is a comrade of Burnside Post, No. 23, G.A.R. He is the proprietor of the famous Peachblow Paradise orchards, at Ashland, and is still waiting for the Cleveland administration to raise enough revenue or sell enough bonds to buy him the gold medal he won as the first prize against all comers at the World's Fair. He is a Republican of irrepressible enthusiasm. It was born and bred in him. Much of his time the past two years has been spent traveling in the interest of the American Protective Tariff League, of which he is financial secretary. During the last Republican administration he was Collector of Customs and special commissioner in charge of the salmon fisheries of Alaska, and his Republicanism was so offensive that, as soon as Cleveland was inaugurated, the telegraph and a special steamer were used to inform him that he was removed from office. In 1894 Mr. Pracht was chairman of the Oregon delegation at the National League convention, at Denver, and was made vice-president for Oregon for the ensuing year. Wherever he goes, whether at home or abroad, his voice and pen are used to acquaint the world with the beauties and resources of Oregon, inducing both immigration and the investment of capital.
Republican League Register, Portland, 1896, page 260

    The Medford Monitor refers to Max Peaches Pracht as "insufferable egotism."

"All About the Fools," Daily Capital Journal, Salem, April 1, 1896, page 4

Max Pracht's South Oregon Eulogy.
    Max Pracht, of Ashland, is considerable of a politician. Sometimes he sidetracks himself from the main line and says some very clever and appreciated words for Southern Oregon, especially that part of it covered by Rogue River Valley. Our good friend Peter Applegate, of Central Point, has sent us a copy of the Salt Lake City Daily Tribune, of date April 17th, in which is printed an interview with Mr. Pracht upon Oregon. The greater part of the interview is political, but the paragraph printed below is where he sidetracks, and is good reading--for everybody:
    "Utah has much in common with Oregon," continued Mr. Pracht, "and it needs only closer communication by rail to materially benefit both. Some years ago a local corporation built a line from Jacksonville to the main line of the Southern Pacific, which runs almost due north from Sacramento to Portland, at Medford. From the latter point surveys have been made and right-of-ways secured to a point near the headwaters of Rogue River, and it is the intention of the incorporators, if times ever get back to the point where capital can be enlisted in such enterprise, to build over the Cascade Range by the way of the old Applegate survey to Klamath Falls, Lakeview and other points in the southernmost tier of counties, aiming for Kelton on the Great Salt Lake hoping to meet there a railway direct from Salt Lake City, via the west shore. I am informed that the maximum grade over the Cascades is only seventy-six feet per mile, and neither tunnels nor snowsheds will be required. The largest forest of sugar pine timber in the world is tapped by this survey, and Crater Lake, Oregon's greatest natural wonder, can be reached by the line. A direct line from Salt Lake to Medford would be the base of two acute angles, one having its apex at Sacramento, the other at Portland, and a vast stretch of rich country from which the great markets of the United States cannot now be reached, except in expensive and roundabout way, will be opened. There are great possibilities in store for Utah in this direction. Will she come to meet us?
Medford Mail, April 24, 1896, page 4

Max Pracht of the Protective Tariff League Talks.
But It Was Only After Some Effort
and Because "De Old Man" Has Aspirations.

    There is a McKinley leader in town preparing to fire the first gun in the Canton man's campaign in Missouri.
    His name is Max Pracht, and he stands as near the throne and as near the barrel as any of Mark Hanna's henchmen.
    Mr. Pracht is a resident of Ashland, Ore., and is Financial Secretary of the American Protective Tariff League; at least that is what his card sets forth, but he hastens to explain that the printer made a mistake, and that he is in reality traveling secretary.
    There was a well-defined rumor Tuesday that he was getting ready to make a distribution from the Little Corporal's barrel.
    Mr. Pracht was in business in St. Louis 20 years ago, being then a member of the now-extinct firm of C. R. Williamson & Co., wholesale paper dealers. He said to a Post-Dispatch reporter:
    "I am here primarily to secure quarters for the Oregon delegation. Our state is a gold state, and will send a solid sound money delegation to St. Louis, instructed for McKinley, first, last and all the time. Oregon was at one time assumed to be a free sliver state because the majority of the state's representatives in Congress were for free silver. Since 1890 there has been a change, so that now the majority of the people of the state are for sound money. The firm stand taken on protection and finance has had a good effect along the coast.
    "I have no doubt that the Sacramento convention, which is being held today, will follow Oregon's lead, both as to the character and complexion of the delegation and in instructing for McKinley. The state of Washington can safely be claimed for protection and sound money.
    "So, you see, McKinley has captured the entire Pacific Slope.
    "I don't intend to make an active canvass for McKinley here, as 1 believe that no outside interference is required in Missouri."
    When asked what he thought of the local McKinley leaders, Mr. Pracht said:
    "I know your Mr. Kerens personally, and know that he is an enthusiastic worker for McKinley's cause."
    Then, as Mr. Pracht paused, he was asked how Mr. Filley stood as a McKinley supporter.
    "Filley? Filley?" he said, "let me see. Oh, yes; he's the man that wants to be delegate-at-large. Chauncey is his first name, isn't it? Well, as to Mr. Filley, you might say for me that he is an old acquaintance of mine and that I am glad to see him put to the front as a delegate-at-large. He is sure to do good work for the party."
    While here Mr. Pracht will visit prominent local members of the tariff league. He thinks the issue will be protection and sound money and that McKinley will be nominated on the first ballot.
    Though he thinks the combine against McKinley is very strong, he doesn't think it will prevail. He puts it: "Protection, reciprocity, sound money and the Monroe Doctrine are four aces in a hand that can't be beat."
    When not dallying with the Tariff League barrel Mr. Pracht raises fruit in the Oregon "peachblow paradise." He has not been in St. Louis for years and was much surprised at recent improvements. He spent ten months in Europe lately and says that while there he found nowhere a hotel so elegantly appointed or with such accommodations as can be found in St. Louis, which, he says, indicates in itself the progress of this city in the last ten years.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 5, 1896, page 2

    Max Pracht, of Portland, was on his way south Saturday via the Roseburg mail train, and among his thirty-three fellow passengers was a certain Populist presidential elector of this city. It was a case of "tow and fire" as soon as they realized each other's presence, and a red hot "monetary" argument was instantly under way. After a while it came to a matter of proof as to the prevailing popular sentiment and the burden of proof lay upon Mr. Pracht. He disposed of the question by polling the train in company with his opponent, with the result that thirty-two voted for the great son of Ohio and two for Bryan. Born of Nebraska and of this pitiful minority, the said Populist elector constituted one-half.--Salem Statesman.
    The above is pure fiction, reported by this Pracht, of Ashland. No vote was taken. No discussion was had. We never rode ten miles in our life with Pracht.
    Pracht is one of Mark Hanna's apostate Jews, distributing McKinley literature on a Southern Pacific free pass. He incidentally remarked that he was a German, when a traveling man remarked that he was no more a German than were Ickelheimer, Goldstein & Co., of the gold bond syndicate fame. A Jew who is ashamed of his race often tries to pass himself off on Americans as a German. That is what this man Pracht is doing.
Capital Journal, Salem, October 1, 1896, page 3

Kate Field Was Amazed at the Landscape Gardening in Oregon.

    From the Washington Post: "Kate Field made an excursion trip to Alaska; I think it was in the summer of '86," said ex-Consul Max Pracht of Oregon, to the Post reporter at the Hotel Johnson. "I was then running a salmon-curing concern at a place called Loring-on-Naha Bay, one of the most delightful spots imaginable, but somewhat off the main line of excursion travel. Miss Field had Margaretta Weppenens' description of its scenic beauties, and coaxed Capt. Hunter to bring his ship in. I was busy in the fish house up on the first rapids out of Lake Adorable (so named in honor of Mrs. Richardson Clover, when she was yet Miss Dora Miller), and did not know of the steamer's arrival in the lower bay until Capt. Hunter's gig, with Miss Field and a few friends,
landed below the fish house. Being dressed a la Siwash--in gum boots and
yellow oil slickers, wading around in the day's catch of salmon piled up on
the floor to a depth of two feet or more--I did not consider myself in proper
costume to meet the ladies, and was making my way over the hill through
the huckleberry bushes to the seclusion of the mess house, when the jolly captain saw and hailed me; like Davy Crockett's coon, I came down.
    "'I want you to take--oh, excuse me; this is Miss Kate Field of Washington--these ladies through the lake and up Naha River to the falls.'
    "'Certainly, captain, if the ladies will ride in the fish boats--and the ladies would, even though the latter had not yet been washed of the slime from the morning's fishing. So we filled two skiffs, and off up the lake we went, Miss Field in fresh ecstasies as each succeeding point passed opened up newer and more glorious vistas. She was so enthused that she stood up in the boat all the way, and kept me busy answering questions, and I think I rather did the honors right up to the handle.
    "Now, it so happened that a few days before a heavy rain up in the mountains filled the upper lakes, and, together with the fast-melting snow, created a freshet, which, rushing down the connecting reaches of river, carried with it thousands of salmon, already almost dead from the labor and distress of the spawning beds, and the freshet being higher than usual, filled the lower Naha River and overflowed the meadows near its mouth, so that the lower branches of the hemlock and spruce trees were covered, and the rapidly receding waters, as they found their way out into the bay over the rapids at low tide, left many of these discolored and emaciated salmon hanging over the limbs, a feast for the ravens. Miss Field saw and perhaps, also smelled them.
    "'Oh, Mr. Pracht, how do you account for those fish in the trees?'
    "'Those,' said I, 'Why, that is the way we raise salmon here.'
    "She gave me a look which not even the childlike and bland smile I assumed could dispel, then turned her back on me, and never asked me another other question during the trip. Now, what I want to know is, who was victim of the joke--Kate Field or Max Pracht?"
Galesburg Enterprise, Galesburg, Kansas, March 12, 1897, page 5

    . . .
the fact may be noted that the largest apple, the largest pear and the largest cherries exhibited at the [1893] Columbian Exposition were grown in Oregon, and that a special gold medal was awarded to Max Pracht of Ashland for the largest and best-flavored peaches.
R. L. Fulton, "The Yamhill Country," Overland Monthly, May 1897, page 500

Result of an Advertisement Offering to Buy Ten Horned Toads.

    Special Agent Max Pracht of the federal building in Santa Fe the other day inserted an advertisement in The New Mexican, offering to buy ten horned toads. When he arrived at his office in the morning, he found an army of people lined up in the corridor, like the rush at Durango when the Ute lands were opened. The first ones in line seemed to have been there all night. Every grade of citizenship and servitude was represented. They had brought horned toads of all kinds, color, class and condition. Some were as small as a bedbug and others as large as a mud turtle. They were housed in cigar boxes, old hat boxes, handkerchiefs, shawls and satchels.
    All day long young and old, large and tall, clean and dirty people called, offering horned toads for sale, until everyone in the federal building had a creepy, crawly, clammy feeling, and Mr. Pracht had selected the finest specimens that ever found their way to a zoological garden. He is convinced by this time that there are more horned toads in and around Santa Fe than anything else. The rush became so great in the afternoon that the sign "No More Horned Toads Wanted" was put out. But still they came, and Mr. Pracht was compelled to seize his hat and coat and flee into the jungle not far from the federal building.--Santa Fe New Mexican.
Leavenworth Times,
Leavenworth, Kansas, June 10, 1899, page 3

A Story of Max Pracht.
    I heard a good story on the versatile Max Pracht the other day, or, perhaps, it was on the General Land Office. At least it is worth repeating. A year or more ago there was considerable demand for information regarding the cliff dwellers' ruins in Arizona, and after looking the field over, it was decided that Max Pracht, then a special agent in the Land Office, should be sent on this mission. Those who knew Max are thoroughly familiar with his self-confident and all-important manner. In due time he hired himself as far as Durango, Colo. And that was as near the ruins as Max ever got. He fell in with the natives, gave them to understand that he was special agent of the General Land Office, and from his manner many gathered the impression that he was pretty near the whole government at Washington. Max, soon after reaching Durango, happened to stumble over a museum on one of the main thoroughfares, where parts of the cliff dwellers' ruins were exhibited, and in he went, to enlighten himself. After listening to the explanation of the exhibitor, Max concluded he knew enough about the ruins without going further, and in the most comfortable quarters  Durango could afford he wrote out his report on the ruins of Arizona. This was duly submitted to the department at Washington, and with it the bill of expenses. The department, it may be added, learned more from the expense account than it did from the report, and Max was given to understand that he was rather a luxury, when next he came to Washington. He was not the least disturbed, but rather lay back and laughed most heartily to think that he had taken in the department, and that from Durango he could write up an instructive report on ruins in Arizona.
Oregonian, Portland, April 28, 1901, page 17

    ALEXANDER H. PRACHT. Conspicuous among the rising young business men of Jackson County is Alexander H. Pracht, who is well and favorably known to many of the patrons of the Southern Pacific Railway line as proprietor of the Depot Hotel at Ashland. Active, enterprising, genial and accommodating, he is an ideal host, and is meeting with excellent success in the management of his house, which is well patronized and very popular with the traveling public. A native of Missouri, he was born February 18, 1875, in St. Louis, a son of Max Pracht.
    Born and reared in Germany, Max Pracht came with his parents to America, and for a while lived in Ohio. During the Civil War he served as a soldier, being connected with the United States navy. He was subsequently commercial salesman for a St. Louis firm for a while, and then settled in San Francisco, Cal., where he traveled for Neville & Co. for a number of years, for about ten years being a member of the firm. Going thence to Alaska, he was engaged in salmon packing at Loring until 1887, when he came to Oregon, locating in Ashland, where he became identified with the Ashland Woolen Mills. Subsequently buying twenty-five acres of raw land, he improved it and set out a large number of fruit trees, establishing the now celebrated Peachblow Paradise orchard, which contains a choice variety of peach trees and other varieties of fruit. As head of the firm of Max Pracht & Sons, he is carrying on an extensive and remunerative fruit business, having his own packing house and shipping principally to Portland and the Sound cities. The products of the Peachblow orchard are widely and favorably known, having taken premiums and gold medals at several expositions, including the World's Fair, held at Chicago in 1893; the Pan American Exposition, held in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1901, and at Charleston, S.C. Under President Harrison Max Pracht served as collector of customs for the district of Alaska, being located in Sitka. He drafted and secured the passage of the bill establishing the Alaska Fish Commission, and was afterwards fish commissioner in Alaska. He married Mary Winings, a native of Ohio, and of their union three children were born, namely: W. B., of Ashland; Alexander H., the subject of this sketch; and Charlotte Bronte, wife of A. R. Wilkins, of Dunsmuir, Cal.
    Removing with his parents to San Francisco when quite young. Alexander H. Pracht attended the public schools of that city until 1888, when he came to Ashland, where he continued his studies, completing his education at the public schools. He subsequently assisted in the care of the home orchard until 1891, when he became clerk in the large hotel, The Oregon, which his father owned and managed from 1891 until 1892. Since that time Mr. Pracht has been in the hotel business more or less. Entering the employ of J. A. Gross in 1895, he became clerk at the Depot Hotel, with which he is now connected, and gradually worked his way up to manager of the house. In 1901 Mr. Pracht bought out Mr. Gross' interest in the house, which he has since conducted with good success, making it one of the leading hotels of Southern Oregon, being especially patronized by transient guests.
    In Portland, Ore., October 15, 1899, Mr. Pracht married Miss Susie Martin, who was born and bred in Chippewa Falls, Wis. In politics Mr. Pracht is a firm adherent of the Republican Party and has served as councilman one
term, representing the first ward. Fraternally he is a member of Roseburg Lodge, No. 326, B.P.O.E.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, Chicago 1904, page 308

Lot of a Special Agent Not Wholly a Happy One.

Pagosa Springs (Colo.) Times.

    On the evening of January 22, just after supper at the Commercial Hotel, Max Pracht, the special agent of the General Land Office, was sitting in the office, near the counter, reading. There was in the room also Miss Belle Seavy, daughter of the hotel proprietress, Mrs. Cora E. Seavy, who sat in the angle of the wall behind the stove, distant about ten feet. Mrs. Seavy came into the office with one Emmett Wirt and introduced him to Special Agent Pracht. Whatever was said when Mr. Pracht arose from his rocking chair and extended his hand towards Emmett Wirt was not overheard, but Mr. Pracht, who is physically a much smaller man and a much older man--being a veteran of the Civil War--was seen to fall back into his chair as if pushed down by a superior weight, while Emmett Wirt, with his right hand grasping the handle of his revolver on his right hip, stood before and over Special Agent Pracht making threatening motions with his left hand and roaring out his words in such a loud tone of voice as to attract the attention of passersby. Mrs. Seavy was seen to rush up to the foot of the stairway which leads up to the bedroom part of the hotel, evidently much frightened, but the young girl sat still, too much scared to move. Emmett Wirt was heard to say, among other things unprintable:
    "You made a report against my homestead at Lumberton which was a d----d lie and you did not have the decency to come to me and get my version, and two other special agents came after you--Mathews and Forrest McKinley--and they both threw you down and made favorable reports, and I have got the patent to my land."
    At this Special Agent Pracht spoke up and said: "Whatever they may have reported I don't know, but I do know that I reported according to the facts and the law, and if I had the same investigation [to do] over again I would make exactly the same report and recommendation."
    "Yes!" shrieked Emmett Wirt, "and you would repeat the same d----d lie--I know what you reported!"
    "That is impossible," said Agent Pracht, "for my report is in the secret archives of the department and you cannot see it."
    "Yes, I did see it!" roared Emmett Wirt: "Forrest McKinley had a copy of it--he showed it to me and I read it! And he sent for the witnesses you claimed to have seen--they came to my store and they all swore that they had not seen you or made any such statements to you."
    About this time Mrs. Seavy plucked up courage to return to the room and Emmett Wirt sat down in a chair before the stove, Mr. Pracht remaining seated in his rocking chair at the end of the counter, outside of it, Mrs. Seavy taking a vacant chair at the end of the counter, but inside of it, directly under the clock hanging on the wall. Emmett Wirt was evidently in a condition of suppressed excitement. Mr. Pracht appeared cool and collected. After a few minutes, during which Emmett Wirt tried to compose himself sufficiently to start a conversation with Mrs. Seavy in a high, piping, nervous voice, Mr. Pracht addressed him suddenly:
    "Do you mean to tell me, Mr. Wirt, that Special Agent Forrest McKinley did such an unofficerlike and unheard-of thing as to show you a copy of my report--a part of the secret archives of the General Land Office?"
    "Yes!" retorted Wirt, "he did, and I never paid him a dollar for doing it."
    "That is all," said Mr. Pracht, "I just wanted you to repeat this statement before witnesses."
    Wirt appeared to say something more which was inaudible to our reporter, but Pracht waved his hand towards him and said, "I will not discuss this matter with you any further," and took up his book and went on reading.
Oregonian, Portland, February 6, 1904, page 12

Max Pracht Inflicts First Campaign Verses Upon a Suffering Public.

    The horrors of campaign poetry are now Upon us. Here is No. 1 from Max Pracht, the poet of Peachblow Paradise:

A woodpecker pecked on the hopvine tree--
    Oh, swallow ME, oh, Swallow:
And he pecked away as gay as could be--
    The Swallow, yes, The Swallow,
It's local option for old Oregon state,
And the Prohis have it good and straight.
And coming and going you paint through my gate,
    What Swallow--yes swallow the Swallow.
It's miles from the Army brave Miles is seen,
    He's Swallowed, Swallowed, yes, Swallowed.
Oh, it's miles to the Post, and the way it is rough,
    He's Swallowed, He's Swallowed, He's Swallowed.
Oh, the deadfalls are more than ever have been,
For Miles he abolished the Army canteen,
And now for a drink the soldier must sin,
    And rotgut must swallow, oh, Swallow.
The old hens are fussy and feathered and fat,
    They swallow the Swallow, their Swallow!
And the men don't know wherever they're at,
    Put swallow Prohibition and Swallow!
And prohibition Oregon raises hops to sell,
But never a hop to make itself well--
The hop is a plant direct from hell--
    To swallow, to swallow, to swallow.
The soldier in khaki, if he wants a cool beer,
    To swallow, to swallow, to swallow!
Must go outside the Post to a deadfall that's near,
    To swallow a swallow to Swallow.
And red liquor he licks till the air turns blue,
And Miles he curses, as I would and you,
And the Miles boom for President smaller it grew,
    But larger for Swallow, for Swallow!
Consistence a jewel that Miles hasn't got,
    For swallow a Swallow he'd swallow,
For a man may drink beer and not be a sot,
    So swallow a swallow, not Swallow.
Where Miles takes a cocktail the club door is tight,
But the man in khaki must stay out all night,
And swallow red liquor till he's full of fight,
    And swallow red liquor, oh, Swallow!
Oh, the Prohi ticket is jalap to me,
    And swallow it, Swallow, oh, Swallow!
I mustn't drink beer, but I must drink tea--
    Does Oregon swallow the Swallow?
And it's oh, I'm wicked and full of sin,
The old maids' heaven I'll never get in,
For if I can't get beer, I'll swallow gin.
    Oh swallow old Swallow, full Swallow!
An American soldier can wear his khaki,
    And Swallow, vote swallow what? Swallow!
But the brave little Jap can have his sake
    To swallow, to swallow, to swallow!
The W.C.T.U. is a great thing, you see,
To keep us sober, both you and me,
While they take sugar and (?) in their tea,
    And swallow and swallow and swallow!
Oregonian, Portland, July 15, 1904, page 8

Tramp "Eliminator."
    The following communication, lately received by the Portland Oregonian, is self-explanatory: "Max Pracht has completed the details and will apply for patent No. 4-11-44 on an invention which he calls 'Pracht's Patent Steam Tramp Eliminator.' Manager Calvin thinks it is great, and he may offer a million or more for the control of the patent. With this invention in use it will not be necessary for the engineer to dump his clinkers and live coals on the tracks at Oregon City, and then slowly pull the train over it, causing the tramps to lose their hold on the hog chains and drop off on the broiler, creating a bad smell. In short, Pracht's invention consists of a series of rotary diaphragms, similar to some in use on hose nozzles for watering lawns. These are attached to a pipe running along the underside of the coaches, baggage and express cars, coupled together at the ends, similar to the air-brake pipes, and connected with the boiler of the engine, so arranged that anyone of the train crew can, by operating a simple device in the coaches, etc., turn on the steam, thus causing the sputter mechanism under the train to revolve and scald off the clinging tramp, without causing an offensive smell; and also give the tramps the ever-needed bath. What Oregon City may do with the derelicts after the bath is an open question, but there are those in Falls City who seem to prefer the tramps to the railroad."
Daily Herald, Biloxi, Mississippi, February 16, 1905, page 2

Senator Mitchell Demands Early Trial.
How Max Pracht Got a Job by Giving a Tip.
By Informing Government of Iis Existence, He Caused its Capture,
and Earned His Reward--Robertson Not Dismissed.

    OREGONIAN NEWS BUREAU, Washington, Feb. 21.--Senator Mitchell is not at all satisfied with District Attorney Heney's plan to commence the trial of the land fraud cases in June. When told of this arrangement, the Senator today declared that he would not consent to such delay if he could help it, but would insist upon being given a trial in April.
    He said he would be in Portland about March 12 and intended immediately to see Judge Bellinger and ascertain whether or not it will be necessary to postpone the trials until June. He does not believe there is any good and sufficient reason for delay and, unless ample reason is furnished, he will oppose the present plan.
    Senator Mitchell says that Mr. Heney some weeks ago publicly declared that he (Mitchell) should have a speedy trial, that there would be no unnecessary delay. If Mr. Heney declines to allow the case to be brought into court in April, Senator Mitchell says he will be breaking that promise. It is the Senator's opinion that Judge Bellinger will consent to give his case an early hearing. He has no idea how long the trial will continue, but is apparently very confident that a verdict will be rendered in his favor.
    Harry C. Robertson, Senator Mitchell's private secretary, whose testimony before the grand jury and before Judge Bellinger in Portland was anything but favorable to Senator Mitchell, has not lost his position, as was anticipated, but has resumed his duties at the Capitol. Senator Mitchell declines to say whether or not he intends to dismiss Mr. Robertson, but it appears that for the present nothing will be done.
    In connection with Mitchell's letter to Tanner, it develops that Max Pracht, who delivered the letter to Robertson, turned a sharp trick to his own advantage. Pracht recently resigned as special agent of the Land Office and came to Washington seeking an appointment in some other department, but his closest friends, Mitchell and Hermann, were indicted and could not help him. When Mitchell decided to write Tanner, he did not trust Robertson either to write or to knowingly carry any word to his law partner, and had Pracht hand the fatal letter to Robertson to throw him off the scent. Pracht was shrewd enough to surmise that the letter was important, and on the quiet he informed the Secret Service people of the Treasury that Robertson was carrying an important paper to Tanner. Pracht's tip led to the capture of this very important document in the government's case, and a few days later Pracht was appointed special agent in the Treasury Department.
Oregonian, Portland, February 22, 1905, page 2

Wants Screens to Keep Insects Out of Open Street Cars.

    OREGONIAN NEWS BUREAU, Washington, Aug. 7.--Max Pracht, of Oregon (and there's only one Max Pracht in the world), dearly loves to see his name in print. The time was when it appeared frequently--in the days when Max was a special agent of the Land Office and kept himself in hot water because of friction with headquarters in Washington. But lately Max has been holding down an inconspicuous desk in the Treasury Department, and his work is not such as to bring him in the limelight. A year ago Max tired of the simple life, so he tried to lift a Washington street car off the track, with disastrous results--for Max. Then he got a little notoriety and a black eye.
    But a year is about as long as Max can remain in seclusion. His year was up last week, so he bethought him to take a trolley ride out to one of Washington's famous suburbs. The ride furnished him with the wherewithal to break into print, and he availed himself of the opportunity. The day following the ride Max hied himself to the sanctum of the Washington Post with his tale of woe, and this is the way that paper dished him up. It reads as if Max had written it himself:
    Flying insects, beating against the back of his neck as he sat in the front seat of a suburban street car, resulted in a mild case of blood poisoning to Max Pracht.
    Mr. Pracht recently spent the evening at an upriver resort. and when returning home was obliged to sit on the first seat inside the car, facing the rear. The road runs for quite a distance through a dense wood, and the speed of the car caused a current of air to enter through the open window in front, driving the insects violently against his neck.
    The following morning Mr. Pracht found his neck raw and blistered, and his physician promptly told him it had the effects of blood poisoning. After continuous treatment for several days the infected spot became better and is now almost well.
    Mr. Pracht said last night: "With the car making spurts of 40 miles an hour, the insects pelted my neck and kept me busy brushing them off. They were dead as a rule, the impact being so great as to kill them outright.
    "I am convinced it is dangerous to ride on the inside front seat facing the rear. To close the front windows of the car to protect the passengers situated as I was is impracticable--the passengers further aft would rebel.
    "I think that fine wire screens that would sift out the mosquitoes, gallinippers, alligators and mock turtles might be put in. In default of that plan, a bottle of Listerine or some other remedy might be hung up in some convenient spot, where passengers with insect-burned skins could apply it."
Oregonian, Portland, August 10, 1906, page 5

Max Pracht Enters Protest Against Practice of the Bakers.

    Editor Post: Bread is the staff of life. Bread is made from grain ground fine, mixed with water, flavored with salt, and raised with yeast, or some other gas resulting from chemical action. The holes in light bread are simply expansion chambers for the gas--the latter passes off and usually leave no harmful residuum. Bread so constituted is bread, lawful, clean, healthy bread, and any deleterious substance added to it takes it out of the category of pure food. Perhaps the most offensive and most sickening substance usually added to bread, as it comes from the baker's, is a piece of paper, made from rags and other offal, stuck on with the help of paste-glue or mucilage, none of which are prime articles of food, and fit feed only for cockroaches.
    I have a stomach, this I know, for I have crossed the Atlantic and Pacific a number of times, and, in nautical parlance I am not a good sailor, hence I am very careful to cut off, cut out and throw away this addition to the loaf, with a considerable portion of the crust with it. I don't fancy the stuff that soaks in when the "spit" label is stuck on, but quite recently I neglected to inspect a piece of restaurant toast, and I am sorry. I chewed and chewed and dribbled and swallowed, but something refused to move on, and discreetly coughing it up, it proved to be a mass of paper pulp! The remains of the "spit" label! Was I sick? Well, I guess yes! Did I utter the thoughts that in me rose! No! The company was not of that kind. So I paid the bill and hied me to my quarters, and took a dose out of a bottle that showed a red bird on its outside, and behold, I am again on deck, serene--but thinking thoughts of what I would do if I were the President: I would certainly and surely make my administration forever known and blessed, its name at the head of those who have done things for love of their fellow man, by abolishing the "spit" label on our daily bread.
MAX PRACHT, of Oregon.
Washington Post, August 27, 1906, page 16


    Max Pracht, veteran politician and hotel man, one of Oregon's old guard, has been spending a few days in town renewing friendships and attending to some business matters which require his attention before he leaves for Washington, D.C. Among several subjects mentioned, he had to say:
    "As to politics, such as we used to have with a big 'P,'" said Max Pracht to the Astorian representative, "there ain't any! Time was when a man with eyes shut and football upholstery all over him might stumble to a conclusion of coming events with reasonable accuracy as easy as not. Oh yes! When McKinley and Mr. Hanna sent me to Oregon, in 1896, and I secured for the St. Louis convention the first instructed delegation, one with the spirit of prophecy could foretell, and I did to such a precise degree that Mr. McKinley afterwards in the parlor of his modest home in Canton, in the presence of Mr. Payne, afterwards Postmaster General, and John Boyle, his private secretary, did me the honor to say, 'This is my friend, Max Pracht; all of his reports are reliable, and all his prophecies came true.' Who is to succeed Mr. Roosevelt as President? No man can tell, and it's the wildest guessing only that gets into print. I have been a Republican since 1856 when I carried a torch in the 'wide-awake' processions in Cincinnati, and I have been a wide-awake Republican ever since, and have an honorable Civil War record, but what I may be driven to before the next campaign is on in Oregon is debatable at this time. In Washington, where I am now stationed, the dear old reliable Washington Post is in the habit of blaming Loeb for everything that goes wrong, and Post may be right, I dunno! Anyhow, I am willing to let Loeb have the blame, though the Post's obvious but ineffectual attempts to confound him with that celebrated French hero of the chase 'Tartarin of Tarascon' is very, very reprehensible, and should be frowned down.
    "I expect to return to Washington on the 9th of November, resume my desk in the Department, and hold my peace. I have a placard hanging over my desk which reads as follows:
    "'A wise man and a fool may quarrel, but not if the wise man holdeth his peace,' and it's a good maxim in that latitude and longitude."
Morning Astorian, October 29, 1907, page 2

Max Pracht Tells of its Past, Present and Glorious Future

Room 424, Treasury Department,
    Washington, Feb. 19, 1910.
Ashland Commercial Club, Ashland, Oregon.
    Gentlemen:--The receipt of two beautifully gotten up and artistically printed booklets from your secretary has made me homesick, and I cannot help letting you know how much I appreciated your efforts in advertising our unapproachable climate and unique little city. When in December, 1887, I arrived in Ashland to help celebrate the driving of the last spike as one of Mr. Crocker's guests to the ceremonies which finally linked Oregon and California, I looked over the scattered village of Ashland, took cognizance of its 1800 inhabitants, drank of the mineral waters running to waste in the streets, was enchanted with its reposeful setting in the outstretched arms of hoary old Siskiyou and felt the spirit of prophecy setting upon me and I straightaway told the old-timers that here would be built a city of ten thousand people, but there were many to scoff and few believed.
    I had already purchased, as a flyer, while on one of my overland stage trips between Alaska and San Francisco, the land of which the Peachblow Paradise Orchard is now a part, but having faith in my own prognostications I immediately bought more and more of the lands in the district now known as East and South Ashland, and selling our my holdings in Alaska became a working citizen of Ashland. It was hard work at the outset; the mossback was still glooming the atmosphere and glowering at the cheechako, the newcomer, the tenderfoot, he who dared to invade his blissful repose, improve the city and by making improvements increase values, and to the everlasting sorrow of the mossback, thereby increase the taxes. The opening of the Boulevard, the best move Ashland had till then made, to a degree scattered the forces of the pullbacks; some gave up their contrary ghosts, others moved away, and a few stayed, and were converted to the gospel of progress. We had to take one of the leaders into court and by open offers of more than he himself had figured his land was worth overwhelmed him with our generosity, but he would not stay, our blessings following him. From that day to this, barring the political setback during the period 1893 to 1897, our city has progressed, the newcomers have been made welcome and become assimilated, Ashland has expanded, bloomed and fructified, its fame heralded by its wonderful fruit, has gone the length and breadth of the land, even Alaska has sent a colony to follow up my lead, and today there is not a more prosperous, healthful or desirable little city on the Pacific Slope, and how near my prophecy is to its fulfillment, the six thousand happy and contented citizens, active pushers and boomers all, can testify.
    When the first settlers creaked into the mining camp on the creek, where now the plaza opens into Chautauqua Park, way back in the fifties, their faith and endurance was rewarded in the promises of peace and plenty in a land of sunshine and perfumed forests and many of them settled down to a life of ease and comfort, satisfied with the surfeit of good things nature had provided, happy in their own companionship, and it was not until the railroad pierced the granite walls of the Siskiyous and brought men and money for planning and developing that Ashland began to find herself and, today, radiating out from the original miners' business center like a senorita's fan, the spirit of Ashland smiles at the overlapping mountains north, east and west, and is bringing to her feet the seekers after health and education and a competence. The new Carnegie Library building, on the spot where stood John Gum's barn and blocked the way of progress, accentuates the fact that Ashland has burst into full bloom, her ever-increasing charms bringing to her embrace the cultivated men and women of all the union.
    Ashland, my Ashland, how sittest thou upon thy everlasting mountains and glorifies the rising sun! My heart is with thee ever.
Ashland Tidings, February 24, 1910, page 1

Max Pracht, of Jackson County, Develops Luscious Variety.

    Since retiring from the government service at Washington, Max Pracht, well known in Portland, has developed into a practical horticulturist. He resides near Ashland, Jackson County, where he first came into prominence as a successful peach culturist. More recently he has produced a new variety of cherry, which is pronounced by experts to be one of the best commercial varieties that is grown in the Pacific Northwest. This cherry in many respects resembles the Bing, being large, firm and of exceptional flavor.
    Mr. Pracht sent a sample box of the fruit, which he has christened the Pracht Imperial, to his friend, Phil Metschan, proprietor of the Imperial Hotel. The box arrived yesterday, but the demand for "just a taste" of the cherries was so great that the supply proved insufficient to go the rounds.
Oregonian, Portland, July 7, 1912, page 15

Soul Kiss Is Nothing New, According to Max Pracht
Washington's Expert on Osculation, Discussing the Matter,
Tells Interesting Little Story of an Incident of Early Days in Missouri.

    "Ah, me! The soul kiss! Something new, you think? Nay, nay, good soul, think not thusly. 'Tis as old as our good friend Solomon; aye, as old as time itself."
    Thus declares Washington's osculatory expert, Max Pracht, veteran of the Civil War and student of the art of soulful kissing.
    "There is nothing new under the sun, not even the soul kiss," he continued, bringing his cane to the pavement with a thump, as a reporter, who had buttonholed him on the street corner, listened to his authoritative words. "I have no doubt but that Solomon kept them in stock and regaled his wives with them. The educated and refined kissers of Missouri certainly knew how to administer them as first aid in times of stress and perturbation, for I lived in Missouri, both 'befoh and aftah de wah.'
    "I am naming no personages, but there was once a young man who had occasion to go from Jefferson City to the wilds of the Ozarks on horseback. And, by the way, that's the place where the 'houn' dawgs' come from. Well, one day, while ambling along, he came upon a log cabin, near which, in a clump of chinquapins, stood a farmer's fair daughter, sizing the stranger up. He asked for a cool drink, and in a moment the lass had before him a gourd filled with sparkling water. He gazed at the beautiful wood nymph, standing with downcast eyes and bashful flush at his stirrups, and then, returning to her the emptied gourd, he placed a shining coin in her hand.
Took Kiss Instead.
    "'Stranger, what is this for?' said the maiden. 'For your goodness in giving a gourd of cold water at my request,' responded the traveler. 'Well, answered the lass, handing back the coin, 'we uns down here don't charge strangers for water.' 'Ah, well, then, my pretty lass,' said the traveler, 'keep the coin anyway, and give me a sweet little kiss.'
    "The maiden said nothing, so the horseman jumped down, pulled the face of the lass up to his, and--and--well, after what might have been an eternity to a man looking on, but what seemed to the traveler like only a fleeting moment, he let her down, limp, dreamy-eyed, and breathless. For a moment it seemed that both were dazed, but the maiden came to first and, holding out her palm on which lay the coin, she panted, 'Stranger, take back yer coin, and give me another one of them 'ere kisses.'
    "So, I just guess the thing they call the soul kiss isn't so new after all. Eh?"
    And, slapping the reporter on the shoulder and bursting into a wry laugh, Max went along his way.
Washington Herald, July 30, 1913, page 4

Max Pracht Deplores Culinary Deficiency of Local Chefs, but Holds Out Hope.

    Ears of local chefs register far above the normal these days, if that time-honored superstition that fever lurks in the hearing apparati of those being maligned counts for aught. For at least one epicure is abroad saying things that uphold the reputation of the catfish and reflect on the ability of local chefdom. He is Max Pracht, well known to the gourmets of the local fish and oyster marts.
    "There is nobody hereabouts who can cook a catfish as it should be cooked," bemoans Max Pracht. "Catfish is the greatest dainty ever if cooked properly," he continues, in support of his piscatory highness. "I tasted catfish cooked a la Creole in New Orleans in 1851, and I've had the craving to let Washingtonians know what the delicacy is ever since."
    Optimism is held out for local epicures, however, by the critic of the Capital's chefs. He says that "Mother" Gibson, who has a "little cubby" at the oyster wharf, intends to serve the fish a la Creole as soon as the District builds the new fish market at the wharf. Since "Mother" Gibson has made this announcement Max Pracht vociferously shouts, "give us the market quickly, so the lost chord in the appetites of Washington lovers of good things to eat will be found."
Washington Herald, Washington, D.C., September 22, 1913, page 10

Writer Thinks Another Correspondent Applied Wrong Term to President.
    PORTLAND, July 27.--(To the Editor.)--The writer was deeply impressed with the patriotic spirit exemplified by Mr. Max Pracht in his recent communication, regarding the devout allegiance to the United States of all American citizens coming from German parentage. It appealed to me in many ways, particularly because it came from a German-American himself. But in concluding Mr. Pracht remarks, "There will be no war with Germany, thanks to cold-blooded, level-headed Woodrow Wilson." The article was appreciated very much up to this point, but when our friend expressed the feeling that President Wilson was "cold-blooded," it somehow rather went against the grain.
    We can easily see wherein Mr. Wilson is level-headed, but it is difficult to perceive wherein he deserves this other attribute. I am a Republican, but, nevertheless, have heard of nothing ever done or said during President Wilson's administration that would lead one to believe he were in any way "cold-blooded." I have looked at the word from every angle but have not succeeded so far in making it fit just right. If we cannot take it for what it appears to mean, there are just two possible solutions for the use of the word: Either the writer through mistake really meant cool-headed or else, let us hope, it was a typographical error.
    Instead of possessing the characteristics implied in the word, we have, to the contrary, perceived in President Wilson a man, though harassed by scheming politicians, hampered by contriving money interests bent on plunging this country into war with Mexico or Germany for their own personal gain, still firmly pursuing an unwavering course, seeing steadily the right and standing ever by it; doing everything in his power to ease the suffering of a stricken people laboring late into the hours of the night preparing official notes to foreign powers whose unscrupulous, domineering rulers persist in trampling the rights and freedom of American citizens beneath their feet; forgetting his duty to himself and his own personal comfort, all for the sake of suffering humanity. What more could one ask of a man to prove his warm-hearted sympathies toward mankind?
    If, for a moment, anyone believes that President Wilson is unsympathetic or "cold-blooded" for not dealing more harshly with the perpetrators of the Lusitania affair, it is not because he has not seen the horrors of the crime, it is not because he has not viewed the piracy of the offenders with ever-increasing disgust and detestation, but because of his own generous regard for the lives of other Americans, respect for happiness of the American home, love of peace and prosperity within the greatest government on earth. His better judgment has restrained his own personal impulses for the sake of these principles, midst the turmoil and excited cries of fanatics on every side for war. If it takes "cold-bloodedness" to make a great leader. then God pity the people of the empire under whose ruler they serve.
Oreognian, Portland, July 28, 1915, page 6

    William Pracht has returned from a two weeks' stay at Sawtelle, Cal., where his father, Max Pracht, is in a hospital.
"Local and Personal," Ashland Tidings, May 3, 1917, page 8

Eventful Life Comes to Close
    A long and eventful life of one of Ashland's most respected citizens came to a close Tuesday morning at the National Soldiers' Home at Sawtelle, Cal., when Max Pracht passed away at the age of 70 years and seven months. The remains will be brought here for burial and the services will be held from the family residence Saturday at 2:30, under the auspices of the Elks Lodge.
    Mr. Pracht first became enamored of Ashland in 1886, bought a tract of land and laid out the famous "Peachblow Paradise," in the center of which stands the Pracht home. Although absent most of the time on various government employments, he built up a wide circle of friends here.
    Mr. Pracht was a fine example of the self-made man. He was highly educated in the school of experience, master of several languages, broad in his grasp of public affairs, a delightful friend and respected enemy. He was a member of Burnside Grand Army post of Ashland and a charter member of Ashland Lodge No. 944, B.P.O. Elks and had the distinction of holding the first bond of the series it issued for the building of its temple.
    Max Pracht was born in Bavaria in 1846, coming to this country at the age of six years with his parents, who settled in Cincinnati. He led a varied career which carried him into many different business ventures and all over the world. He was one of the pioneer Alaska fishery men and gained an insight into conditions there which resulted in his appointment as the first government fish commissioner of Alaska. He also served as collector of customs at Sitka under President Harrison. In various other capacities he served the government, both at Washington city and elsewhere. He was in the Treasury Department at the capital for a time and served the Interior Department in handling public lands in the Southwest. He was also in the health department and at one time went to Europe as a member of the protective tariff board. At another time he went to Europe as representative of an American firm in the East which was introducing wire cables and kindred products and the machinery to produce them. For a time he represented this firm at Manchester, England.
    Mr. Pracht was married October 21, 1867, to Miss Mary Winnings of Cincinnati. To them were born three children, all of whom survive him to mourn with their mother. They are W. B. Pracht and A. H. Pracht of Ashland and Mrs. A. R. Wilkins of Dunsmuir, Cal.
Ashland Tidings, May 24, 1917, page 8

Sudden Death of Well-Known Woman
    Mrs. Alva R. Wilkins of Dunsmuir died at the home of her brother, A. H. Pracht, on Vista Street last Sunday morning, at the age of 40 years. She had been in poor health for a long time and had come to Ashland several weeks ago to be with her mother and brother, and though her condition was serious, her death came unexpectedly at the end.
    Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon from the home of her mother, Mrs. Max Pracht, Mrs. Pernie Johnson officiating. Mrs. Henry Enders presided at the piano and Mrs. D. D. Norris sang two solos. Interment was made in Mountain Cemetery. Mrs. Wilkins is survived by her husband, two daughters, her mother, Mrs. Max Pracht, two brothers, William B. Pracht, in the U.S. naval service at Bremerton, and A. H. Pracht of Ashland.,
Ashland Tidings, July 25, 1918, page 1

Last revised April 15, 2019