History of Seattle Municipal Railway's Division C, the streetcar line that once connected Burien with White Center and Seattle.
July 17, 2005
History of Seattle pp 477-479

William V Rinehart, Sr.

RINEHART WILLIAM V., was born December 28, 1835, at Clark’s Hill, Tippecanoe county, Indiana. He was raised on a farm and educated at Farmer’s Institute, a Quaker school located eight miles from La Fayette, Indiana. At the age of eighteen, he crossed the plains, driving an ox team, and entered the gold mines at Downieville, California, August 25, 1854. In March, 1856, he removed to Aulthouse creek mines, in Josephine county, in southern Oregon, arriving there in the midst of the Rogue river Indian war, and assisted in the protection of the settlers against Indian depredations, being one of the miners to help build the stockades for the protection of the families located in Illinois valley. In 1859 he left the mines and entered the general store of A. B. Mcllwaine, at Sailor Diggings, now the town of Waldo.

When the war of the rebellion commenced, the regular troops were withdrawn from the different military posts in eastern Oregon, leaving the country with its scattered population subject to Indian depredations. The settlers were therefore obliged to rely upon themselves for protection. In this emergency Mr. Rinehart was prompt to respond to the call of duty. In December, 1861, he assisted in recruiting Company F, First Oregon Cavalry, at Kirbyville, Oregon, and was mustered in as its First Lieutenant, January 2, 1862. His promotion on account of eminent fitness quickly followed. April 23, 1862, he was made Regimental Adjutant; Captain December 22, 1863, and Major of the First Oregon Infantry, June 24, 1865, serving in the latter capacity as commandant of Fort Klamath until it was garrisoned by regular troops, August 25, 1866.

One intimately acquainted with the services rendered by Major Rinehart during this period, bears the following testimony to his soldierly qualities: “He always had the reputation of being a cool, daring and brave man. He was well acquainted with the Indian character, his mode of warfare and habits of life, and no more fit person could have been selected to fill the important position he occupied during this period of danger. His prompt and thorough measures for the protection of the exposed settlers kept the Indians in subjection and prevented any serious depredations.”

After the close of his military career he entered mercantile life, but his natural qualities of leadership soon made him a prominent figure in public affairs, and one of the most active Republicans in eastern Oregon. In 1868 he made a thorough at canvass of Grant county in behalf of his party, and two years later made the race for state senator in the interest of Hon. George H. Williams for the United States senate, but was defeated by a close vote. He was postmaster at Canyon City from 1869 to 1874 and Indian agent at Malheur, Oregon, from 1876 to 1882, and during the entire period of his residence in Eastern Oregon, was one of its foremost citizens.

In December, 1882, Major Rinehart removed to Seattle and engaged in the grocery business but gave his attention principally to real estate matters. His abilities as a man of force and energy were soon recognized and he early became one of the trusted leaders of the Republican party and has repeatedly been selected to fill positions of honor and trust in city and state affairs. He was a councilman from the First ward in 1884-85. In 1888 he was elected a member of the territorial legislator but did not serve as before his term of service began the territory was admitted as a state. Under the first election for state officers he was elected state senator. Not desiring the office for a second term, he accepted the position of commissioner of public works. This is the most responsible position under the new municipal charter. Major Rinehart’s appointment was warmly approved by the press and public irrespective of party lines.

An ardent Republican, he has taken an active and influential part in behalf his party ever since he has been in Seattle, and that it owes much to his sagacious counsel and untiring efforts is a conceded fact. Always using honorable means to accomplish his ends, he has the absolute confidence of his political friends and the respect of even his opponents. He is a forcible speaker, and the sincerity and candor which characterize his political addresses carry weight and influence. As a public officer he has ever been painstaking and efficient and characterized by broad minded and liberal views, while his well recognized integrity of character as a man has made him universally respected. He has for many years taken an active interest in the Masonic order and is now grand high priest of Royal Arch Masons of Washington, and also eminent commander of Seattle Commandary No. 2, K. T., the heading commandary of this jurisdiction.

Posted by Rob Ketcherside at July 17, 2005 3:29 PM
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