The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., January 20, 1916, page 1

E.S. Olinger Dean Of Constables
Numerous Records Held - Hood River's First Liveryman and Early Fire Fighter at Salem

     With the exception of Joe Day, dean of Portland detectives, E.S. Olinger, constable and deputy sheriff, has probably been and officer longer than any other man in Oregon. Mr. Olinger was appointed a constable in 1881 by County Judge Savage, of Wasco county, Hood River county at that time having been a part of Wasco. He has served ever since, except for a four year term filled out by William Ganger, now a resident of Bull Run. He was a deputy sheriff under Tom Dri_er, Tom Kelly and F.C. Sexton, sheriff of Wasco county. Since Hood River county was established he has been deputy under Sheriff Johnson.
     It is likely that no rural officer in the northwest has ever served more papers than E.S. Olinger. For the past ten years it has been a rare week when he did not have to serve several papers. In the run of a year the instruments served by the constable run into the hundreds. Let a local man tinker with the law, and very soon Mr. Olinger puts in his appearance; let him be delinquent with the payment of a debt, causing a creditor to seek a judgment, and Oregon's dean of constables will serve him with a summons or give notice of the attachment of property.
     Mr. Olinger -- he is known as "Eph" to his close friends -- has the further distinction of being a native Oregonian. He was born in the Waldo hills, seven miles east of Salem, on March 26, 1848. On the first day of May, 1880, he and his wife and oldest daughter, Miss Me_la Olinger, of Portland, arrived in Hood River, having come to take charge of a farm owned by W.B. Bark_s, Mrs. Olinger's father.
     "It was shortly after hour of rival in Hood River," says Mrs. Olinger, "That I first became acquainted with Joe Day. He came here to look up a trunk that had been shipped by mistake to Mrs. E.A. Jerome, who with her husband, boarded at our house. Mrs. Jerome's trunk and that of another woman had become mixed in transportation and Detective Day was getting the tangle straightened out. Mr. Jerome was owner of the little Columbia river steamer, Luella, of which I was shortly after his arrival here, a pilot for a time."
     When Mr. Olinger left the river he entered the teaming and livery business. He was Hood River's first liveryman. When the Cloud Cap Inn stage road was built 26 years ago, Mr. Olinger and C.R. Bone formed a partnership and opened a livery stable. They operated a stage line between this city and the Inn. While a small barn had been erected on the present Mount Hood hotel block, the huge structure, known as "The Red Barn," was the first building devoted exclusively to the livery business in Hood River.
     "At the first election held in the Hood River valley, all of the voters coming to the city to cast their ballots, after I came here," says Mr. Olinger, "but 41 that votes were cast. I was one of the election officers. There were not over 175 people in the entire community. When I entered business with Mr. Bone stores were being operated by Geo. Champlin, E.L. Smith and John Barker. J.H. Gerdes, who now operates the Gerdes rooming house, was running a little confectionery store, and on certain days of the week he offered meat for sale."
     Mr. Olinger continues to make his headquarters at the office of the Fashion Livery Co. He still does some driving for the company. It is said by his associates that no man in Oregon understands horses better than the veteran driver. It is very probable that no man in the country has driven a hearse at more funerals then has Mr. Olinger. In the past dozen years he has missed but few Hood River funerals; for local undertakers, when ordering the hearse sent out from the barn always ask that "Eph drive." Last week a funeral procession wended its way slowly up the city's main street. On the driver's seat of the hearse sat Mr. Olinger, speaking now and then a quieting word to his team.
     "There goes Eph again," said an aged resident, "I have often wondered who will drive the hearse as his funeral."
     But Mr. Olinger, though he will soon be three score and ten, is still a young man. To see his buoyant tread, his military bearing, one would not take him to be over 45 years of age. He has a black mustache and sparkling black eyes. The only sign that might be taken to signify age is the bald spot that is prominent when he doffs his hat, and yet many younger men have far less hair. There are but a few gray hairs among the black ones of Eph Olinger.
     Mr. Olinger gets his erect bearing and military dignity, perhaps, from service in Company D. Third regiment, of the Oregon National Guards, a quarter of a century ago the pride of Hood River. Then the old Armory building, destroyed by fire last July, was the principal building of the valley. Company D. was considered the crack organization of the state. At an encampment at The Dalles chief honors were won by the local soldiers. Mr. Olinger was second lieutenant of the company.
     Before coming to Hood River Mr. Olinger had been in the livery business in Salem. Before he entered business for himself he drove for a number of years for an early Salem livery concern.
     "John Mento, now superintendent of the state penitentiary, and I were boyhood companions," says Mr. Olinger. "John and I drove hack together for several years."
     Before he reached his majority Mr. Olinger became a member of Tiger Engine Co. No. 2, of the Salem Volunteer fire department. He later became chief engineer of the department, having been the first man elected for two consecutive terms. During the time he was being promoted in Tiger Company, No. 2, Justice of the Supreme Court Burnett was keeping pace with him in Company 1. Judge Burnett and Mr. Olinger have maintained a close friendship from boyhood days to the present time. The former never comes to Hood River that he does not have a long visit with the companion of his youth.
     One of the most interesting incidents recalled by Mr. Olinger at the time of his service in the Salem fire department was in 1875, when the fire laddies of the capital city were called to assist in gaining control of a bad fire in Portland.
     "In an hour and 21 minutes after we had left Salem," he says, "we had unloaded our apparatus on the East Side, had crossed the bridge and were shooting a stream of water on the old Hotel St. Charles."
     While it has never been the lot of Mr. Olinger to arrest any desperate criminals, his life has not been devoid of thrills; for on several occasions he has a single handed made the capture of burglars in local stores. He has never failed in his duty, and, judging by the character of the man, he would have been nothing daunted by the most notorious and bold criminal.
     Several years ago a burglar entered the store of Frank A. Cram. The burglar was making his getaway when discovered. Mr. Olinger was the first officer on the scene. He gave chase, and following the man under an old building captured him. When he was searched all the money stolen from the cash drawer, with the exception of 21 pennies, was found. Going back to the old building Mr. Olinger scratched around in the rubbish under the floor and found every last cent.
     As John Day is known and respected in Portland, so is Mr. Olinger passing the shady side of his life in the little Apple City. The law abiding have no fear of him, but woe to the man who has a transgressed.
     Mr. Olinger is a lifelong Republican, and he is a strong exponent of military preparedness.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer