The Souvenir of Western Women/Pine Needle Industry

Pine Needle Industry

By MRS. W. P. LORD, Salem

ONE of the unique industries of the country is located at Grant's Pass, Oregon—that of the Pacific Pine Needle Company—the development of which is in the hands of a woman, Mrs. Mathilde Cords.

Mrs. Cords is German by birth, the descendant of a family noted for philanthropic work. Her father was a patron - of Froebel, and aided him financially in developing his kindergarten theory. Miss Kinehardt (Mrs. Cords), at that time a young girl in her teens, and under his instruction, took charge of one of the first kindergartens.

Mrs. Cords has had an eventful career. Inheriting a fortune, and losing by death nearly all of her nearest of kin. she joined a brother in Mexico, and at his death came to San Francisco, where she married Dr. D. A. Cords. She became interested in the benefits of the pine needle remedies, which are manufactured in Norway, and for which the demand in this country is great. Being acquainted with the process, she placed a factory at Grant's Pass, near the sugar pine forests. The machinery not being satisfactory, she invented improvements on the old patent, which greatly enhanced the value of the product. Then she secured patents on both product and process. Her abandoned machines were bought and used by unscrupulous men to flood the market with inferior goods. But notwithstanding these difficulties, the value of her preparations are now recognized.

The gold medal for highest grade has been awarded her at three expositions—the last at St. Louis. The pure extract of pine needles is the basic principle in cough remedies, in catarrhal affection, and incipient consumption. Her hope is to be able to establish eventually sanitariums where the air will be charged with this life-giving and health-restoring principle.

To illustrate the spirit possessing many, in fact, most, of the pioneer women who came to Oregon in the early days, Mr. George H. Himes gives the following: Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Riggs, who lived in La Grange, Illinois, became possessed of a desire to emigrate to Oregon as a result of the public discussions going on in the early '40s relating to the "Oregon question." At length they decided to make the journey, and Mr. Riggs said to his wife, "I will go out there and get a home started and then will return, or send, for you and the children." "No, sir," said his wife; "I will go when you go; I will follow you as long as there is a button left on your coat, and then I will sew on another." This family came to Oregon in 1853 and settled in Polk County. The husband went to his reward in 1872 and the wife passed away recently in her 87th year, surrounded by sons and daughters, who are numbered among the best citizens of that county.