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Pierce Justice of the Peace Landsdowne Osenten is the answer for Week 112 of Orofino History Trivia, a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.
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Osenten is mentioned in Samuel Swayne's book Tales of the Clearwater and characterized as quite a character himself. His obituary in the May 15, 1947 issue of the Clearwater Tribune is a little less colorful.
In the obituary he is called the "Law of the Bitterroots" because he ruled Pierce for 17 years dispensing justice fairly and fearlessly. He was born March 25, 1871 in Cerdio, WV, but was raised in Kentucky. He was involved in the Spanish American War.
He came to Pierce in 1930 and that is when he started dispensing law. Though his obituary speaks of a wife and children out of state, Swayne says Osenten lived alone on the outskirts of Pierce in a little cabin decorated with signs. He also did carpenter work for the city and others.
Osenten had great faith in Pierce, once the mecca of goldseekers. He platted a new addition that turned into a "suburb" in the direction of Cardiff mill site.
The obituary says he dispensed justice "fairly and fearlessly" in many important cases during their preliminary stages, as well as cases of a lower consequence. Swayne tells some more colorful stories of cases he heard about or was involved in having settled.
Osenten died in May of 1947 sitting in a chair at his home. He had suffered a heart attack about two weeks before. A large funeral was conducted during which all the stores in Pierce were closed.
Wednesday: Ardent sportsman
Thursday: Platted an addition to the town
Friday: Handled many cases in their preliminary stage and earned a reputation for fairness
Saturday: 17 years as Justice of the Peace in Pierce
Monday: "Law of the Bitterroots"
Tuesday: Was 76 when he died in 1947.
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