As It Was: Oregon Widow Claims Her Share of Husband’s Saloon

Oct 30, 2017

Oregon was a rough place to live in 1911, especially for widows, but Oregon women demonstrated repeatedly that they were not to be dismissed lightly.

Take the case of Mrs. Frances Snyder, whose husband, Victor, owned the Office Bar saloon in Medford, Ore. When he died, John Harrington ran the bar, telling the widow that her husband’s interest in the saloon had no value for her.

Mrs. Snyder decided to claim her share no matter what the consequences.  She took Harrington to court in 1907, fighting a legal battle all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court to claim her rights.  She succeeded more than three years later in 1911 when the court ruled that Mrs. Snyder owned everything from floor to ceiling of the Office Bar, including the fixtures. 

But how to claim her inheritance? 

Frances Snyder did not hesitate.  She entered the bar crowded with men in the early afternoon with a crew of carpenters.  It was said she stood calmly in the center of the bar room as her wrecking crew wielded screw drivers and claw hammers to dismantle it.

Source: "Mail Tribune 100, Feb.1, 1911." Medford Mail Tribune, 1 Feb. 2011.