The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Medford Pioneers: Delroy Getchell

Galion, Crawford County, Ohio
Edward Getchell, 41, born in Pennsylvania, works in railroad machine shop
Edward Getchell, son, 18, born in Massachusetts, railroad machine shop
Delroy Getchell, son, 8, born in Ohio
U.S. Census, enumerated August 19, 1870

St. Paul, Minnesota
Dell R. Getchell, 19, born in Ohio, typesetter, father born in Maine, mother Mass.
U.S. Census, enumerated June 4, 1880

D. E. Getchell Willing to Start One in Southtown.
    Some progress in the movement of founding a bank on the south side was made last evening at the meeting of the South Minneapolis Commercial Club. D. E. Getchell, who runs a bank on the north side [The Standard Bank], stated that he was willing to open a bank provided he had assurances of ample support from the business men. A committee consisting of J. D. Holtzerman, P. E. Olson, W. E. Atkins, E. Miller and Julius H. Shaw was appointed to confer with Mr. Getchell and also to ascertain the sentiments of the residents of Southtown.
Minneapolis Journal, January 7, 1898, page 7

227 North Oakdale, Medford, Oregon
Delroy Getchell, 41, born in Minnesota, parents born in Wisconsin
Allancia M. Getchell, 30, wife, born in Minnesota, parents born in Minnesota
Bayard M. Getchell, 1, born in Oregon
U.S. Census, enumerated May 5, 1910

    Delroy Getchell, who recently took the presidency of the Farmers and Fruitgrowers' Bank to succeed Geo. Davis, has the following complimentary notice in the Pacific Banker, the well-known financial magazine of the Northwest.
    Delroy Getchell, who has bought a substantial interest in and succeeded to the presidency of the Farmers & Fruitgrowers' Bank of Medford, is an old-time Minnesota banker, having carried his bank in that state successfully through the trying days of 1893. For about eighteen years Mr. Getchell was a Minneapolis banker and incidentally was the first man in the banking business that Emery Olmstead, now manager of the Portland Trust Company, ever worked for, the latter remaining with him for six years. And there has been a close bond of friendship between them ever since. Mr. Getchell came out to the Rogue River Valley as a retired capitalist and because he liked the climate. But, like the warhorse of the scripture, he snuffed the banking business from afar until, upon a proper showing, he has succumbed to the real thing once more. Mr. Getchell is a public-spirited citizen and a genuine booster for Medford and the Rogue River Valley. Come on, you effete East, and send us more men like Mr. Getchell.
Medford Sun, April 30, 1912, page 6

    Delroy Getchell--A nation cannot rise above its source. Votes for women would elevate the source, if women brought their minds to bear upon the problems of the country.
"What Medford Men Think About Suffrage for Women," Medford Mail Tribune, May 11, 1912, page 8

1121 South Oakdale, Medford, Oregon
Delroy Getchell, 55, born in Ohio, parents born in U.S.
Alice Getchell, 36, wife, born in Minnesota, father born in Maine, mother Mass.
Bayard Getchell, 10, born in Oregon
Valerie Getchell, 4 years 3 months, born in Oregon
U.S. Census, enumerated January 12, 1920

    An attempt was made last night to enter several other houses in the south end of town, among them having been Delroy Getchell's home. When Mr. Getchell arose this morning he found a window halfway open, and it is supposed that thieves had made an attempt to enter. However, Mr. Getchell did not go to bed until late, and it is expected that the thieves were frightened away by his presence.
"Two Prominent Citizens Victims House Breakers," Medford Mail Tribune, April 28, 1922, page 6

    Thirty years ago, when he first came to Medford, Delroy Getchell said that what the city needed most for rapid progress was a direct highway to the coast. He made that statement in an interview with Robert W. Ruhl, then a reporter for the old Sun, now editor of the Mail Tribune.
    Yesterday, in an interview with the Mail Tribune on the 30th anniversary of his arrival in Medford, Mr. Getchell declared that what the city needed was a direct highway to the coast. Provisions should be made for constructing the highway by an annual budget a section of the roadway to be built each year, Mr. Getchell suggested.
    Two other needs were seen for Medford by Mr. Getchell: (1) a military school for girls and (2) a finishing school for girls.
    It was 30 years ago last Friday, January 20, 1909, that Mr. Getchell and his wife arrived here from Minneapolis, Minn. He had been in the banking business for 18 years in Minneapolis and had decided to find an ideal place to live. Before starting in search of his dream of a place to live, Mr. Getchell had visited numerous cities and read about many others, paying especial attention to weather conditions.
    When they left Minneapolis, however, Mr. and Mrs. Getchell had no idea of coming to Medford. In fact, they had bought railroad tickets to Los Angeles. Medford, however, was finally chosen deliberately, Mr. Getchell emphasized.
    When the train stopped at Grants Pass, Mr. and Mrs. Getchell were favorably impressed by the scenery and especially the climate, Mr. Getchell recalled yesterday.
    "Everything looked pleasant, delightful, from our car window, and so we procured a stopover at Medford," said Mr. Getchell, now known as the "banker-poet." (He is head of the Farmers & Fruitgrowers Bank and writes poetry for the pleasure of it.)
    "When we got off the train, there was a thin veil of snow on the ground, and spring violets were peeping through. It was a lovely day--the sun was shining and there was no wind. We stopped at the Nash Hotel and procured one of its two bathrooms.
    "At that time the only paved street in Medford extended from Kentner's store at the corner now occupied by Luman Brothers to the old Washington School, where the courthouse stands now. At the end of the pavement near the school there was a large mudhole, and farmers coming to town in their wagons would often dump rocks into it so they could get over it.
    "From the school corner north on Oakdale Avenue was a strip of concrete sidewalk that extended to Fourth Street. There was only one vacant house in town, a cottage on North Oakdale which is now occupied by the C. C. Lemmon family. I bought that bungalow, and we moved into it three days before our son Bayard was born.
    "I cashed in our railroad tickets to Los Angeles, and we have been here ever since."
    Noting the change in conditions, Mr. Getchell said: "Now we have over 21 miles of well-paved streets and many fine roads through beautiful surrounding country well watered by rivers and lakes."
    It was not so in the early days of Mr. Getchell's residence here however. He recalled that when he bought the North Oakdale cottage a four-horse team and wagon were stuck in a mud puddle in front it. Going to the east side of town to look around to see whether he had made a poor buy, Mr. Getchell saw another four-horse team and wagon stuck in a mudhole just the other side of Bear Creek, he remembered.
    "In those days I attended all the meetings and dinners and whooped it up for a new water supply," Mr. Getchell said. "The city was then getting its water from Bear Creek. Finally Fish Lake dam was built. Then the water, because vegetation had been killed by backwash, became unpleasant in taste and smell, though it was not harmful. It became necessary to get a new source, and after years of effort and agitation the city built the present system to the Big Butte Spring. Our water now is the purest in the world."
    Upon his arrival here, Medford had about 3000 inhabitants. There was much planting of fruit trees, he recalled, and decorative trees had been planted in [the] city park by James P. Hansen, whose son, William P. Hansen, now operates the Hansen Hardware Company.
    There was much mining interest here then, also, and when he arrived there was excitement over the Blue Ledge mine and the prospects of building the Great Northern Railroad through here to the coast, Mr. Getchell related.
    "We have never regretted that we did not go on to Los Angeles," Mr. Getchell said in reply to a question. "We have a finer climate for active men than Los Angeles has. I know, for I spent seven winters and one summer in Los Angeles after I had retired  from banking in Minneapolis. We wanted to be where grass grew and rivers ran. From my personal experiences, conversations with travelers and study, I can say that this is the finest place in the world to live."
\Medford Mail Tribune, January 22, 1939, page 3

Varied Career of Local Resident Closed--Resident Here for 30 Years
    The Farmers and Fruitgrowers Bank will be closed all day Monday in respect to the memory of Delroy Getchell, president of the institution.
    Death early Saturday morning closed the long and active career of Delroy Getchell, president of the Farmers and Fruitgrowers Bank since 1912, and one of Medford's best known and most public-spirited citizens. Mr. Getchell succumbed to pneumonia after only a few days' illness.
    He was born October 27, 1861 in Galion, Ohio, the son of Edwin and Mary Ellen (Smith) Getchell. His mother died when he was four years old. At the age of 13, while away at school, he learned his father had suffered financial reverses and young Getchell insisted upon returning home and going to work to help his father recoup his fortune.
Was Newspaper Man
    Mr. Getchell first engaged in the newspaper business in Cincinnati, Ohio, training himself through extensive reading for a journalistic career. At the age of 20 he was president of the Minneapolis Typographical Union, and for distinguished service to this organization was presented, upon retirement from office, with a gold-headed cane inscribed "Sans Luche, Sans Peur et Sans Reproche." [French for "without luche, without fear and without reproach." "Luche" may be a typo for "lucre."]
    His newspaper experience included experience as reporter and associate editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minneapolis Tribune and Minneapolis Journal. Eye trouble, resulting from several hours in the icy waters of a Minnesota lake when a launch capsized, forced abandonment of his newspaper career.
    Next, becoming interested in lumbering, he engaged in the wholesale branch of that industry
for about two years, developing a remarkable faculty for judging land values. This ability brought opportunity to enter the banking business in Minneapolis, where his rise was rapid. He organized the Standard Bank of Minneapolis, and later the People's Bank, of which he was vice-president and manager. He was also vice-president of the Merchants Bank of St. Cloud, Minn.
Health Forced Change
    Later he consolidated his banking interests with others, forming the Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis, which developed into the great Northwest Bancorporation, with branches extending to the Pacific coast, and of which his lifelong friend, E. W. Decker, became president.
    In 1905, Mr. Getchell, advised by his physician and friend, Dr. G. G. Eitel, to seek a  milder climate, began spending part of each winter in Los Angeles. In Pasadena he met Miss Alice McClure, who was spending a vacation there from school in New York, and the resulting romance was culminated by their marriage in 1908.
    They decided to establish a home in Pasadena, and while en route there from the East in 1909 Mr. and Mrs. Getchell stopped off in Medford to make an investment and were persuaded to take up their residence here.
Cited for Service
    Mr. Getchell was prevailed upon to take over the Farmers and Fruitgrowers Bank, assuming the presidency. Earlier successes in banking, which saw him, the youngest bank president in Minneapolis, guide two institutions of that city through the panic of 1893-5 when fourteen others closed their doors, were repeated here. Mr. Getchell took great pride in the fact that during the World War, his bank bought more Liberty Bonds per capita than any other bank in the United States. For his patriotic efforts in this instance he received a medal from the government.
    Always thoughtful of the welfare of his bank patrons and members of his staff, his wise counsel and sympathetic interest were outstanding factors in his business career.
    He loved books and was probably one of the best-read men of the valley, his preference running to history and Shakespeare. Mr. Getchell achieved a measure of literary distinction, chiefly in poetry, a gift inherited from his mother. He was widely known as the "Banker Poet," a title affectionately bestowed by Arthur Perry, Mail Tribune columnist.
Survivors Live Here
    Besides his widow, Mr. Getchell is survived by a son, Bayard M. Getchell, a daughter, Valerie Gloria Getchell, and two grandchildren, Philip Armour and Ruth Diana Getchell, all of whom reside here.
    Father William B. Hamilton, of Yreka, Cal., former rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church here, and longtime friend of the deceased, will officiate at funeral services to be held Monday at 2 p.m. at the Getchell residence, 1121 South Oakdale Avenue. Friends are invited to attend.
    The Elks Lodge, of which Mr. Getchell had been a prominent member for many years, will conduct services at the graveside in Siskiyou Memorial Park.
    Active pallbearers will be W. A. Gates, Fred Erickson, H. S. Deuel, George Porter, Fletcher Fish and George A. Codding.
    Honorary pallbearers: Dr. F. G. Thayer, Dr. J. C. Hayes, J. A. Perry, C. E. Gates, T. G. Bradley, W. J. Looker, Arthur Perry, E. C. Ferguson, Reginald Parsons, Lee Watson, Diamond Flynn, Dr. R. E. Green, F. E. Wahl, James Owen, Frank C. Clark, H. N. Butler, Laurence D. Brass, J. V. Watson, Otto Jeldness and John Denison.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 19, 1939, page 1

Delroy Getchell Dies in Oregon at Age of 79
    Delroy Getchell of Medford, Ore., pioneer North Dakota editor, died at his Medford home Friday, Nov. 17, of pneumonia. He was 79 years old and was president of the Medford Farmers and Fruitgrowers Bank at the time.
    A native of Galion, Ohio, Mr. Getchell came west as a young man and worked on Minneapolis, St. Paul and Valley City newspapers. He was a poet of considerable repute.
Bismarck Tribune, November 27, 1939, page 1

Last revised July 9, 2021