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Montesano's Great Loss

January 29, 1897:

In every community there is nearly always to be found some man to whom, more than to any other, his fellow citizens look to and depend upon in the affairs of business which concern the interests of that community. In any proposition which is brought forward for the consideration of the people the question is sure to be asked, What does he think of it? And if the question be answered by saying that the one spoken of favors the proposition, and is willing to do what he can to make it a success, you will find a majority of his townsmen favoring it also.

In Montesano, C. N. Byles occupied that position. No matter what proposition was brought before the people, it was to him that all turned as to one who could be depended upon to act for the best interests of the town, and if he endorsed and approved the measure it was considered that it would be a success. While a thoroughly conservative man on all questions, he was a liberal subscriber to any measure which would tend to the advancement of Montesano, whether in business, social or educational matters, it mattered not, he was the one who was always looked to as the main one to insure success.

Having practically founded the town of Montesano (he platted the three blocks which lie on the west side of Main street, in 1882), Mr. Byles was always particularly interested in seeing the town advance and prosper, and was never found wanting when called upon to aid in raising any of the numerous subsidies which Montesano has donated to the mills which have been located here; but on the contrary, was always one of the heaviest subscribers toward the measures.

He served the people of the city and county in many public capacities, as county auditor, county treasurer, mayor, councilman, school director, and school clerk, and in each and every office he gave the people honest, able, conscientious and efficient service, and it speaks volumes for his character to be able to say, and say truly, that in one of the several offices he filled were his services anything but satisfactory to those he served.

Of the highest integrity, so thoroughly conscientious in all his dealings, that “as honest as Charles Byles” was the highest certificate you could give a person; with a word of encouragement for those who needed it (and who does not at times?); a hand always open to aid those who needed it; with a fund of sympathy which caused him to grieve with those bereft; with a fortune which enabled him to follow the dictates of his promptings and give largely to all public enterprises; and withal, the fact that he was a thoroughly consistent and honest Christian, such a man could not be taken from any community without leaving a deep feeling of regret and grief over his departure, and especially is this the case here where the great services of Mr. Byles to the people are known and recognized by everyone; where his uprightness of character was such as to form an example to the younger generations, and an admonition to those older.

To very few men are given the qualities of character which enable them to occupy for years as prominent a position as did Mr. Byles, and yet retain the respect and esteem of all in the marked degree in which he did. Montesano indeed loses greatly by the death of C. N. Byles, and The Vidette has never been called upon to chronicle any misfortune to the town which will be more severely felt.

Published in The Weekly Vidette (Montesano)

Charles N. Byles 

July 20, 1897 (Tuesday):

The following account of the death of Charles N. BYLES is taken from a Washington paper of date of January 29, 1897. Mr. BYLES was formerly a citizen of Hopkins county and has many relatives living in the county at this time:

The city flag at half-mast early Tuesday morning announced to the citizens of Montesano that Charles N. BYLES, the founder of the town of Montesano, and her foremost citizen, had passed away. While the announcement had been expected for several weeks, the stern reality caused a no less feeling of profound sorrow at the untimely death of one who had done so much for the community and stood so high in the estimation of all.

Mr. BYLES had suffered from asthma and heart troubles for many years, and many times has been at death's door. Had he given up his interests in Montesano and gone to a different climate a few years ago, his useful life might have been prolonged for many years. But he considered this his post of duty and remained faithful to the end.

Mr. BYLES was seized with an attack of the grip early in the fall; he recovered sufficiently to go to the polls in November and cast his vote for the Republican candidates, as had always been his custom. The diseases which had long battled for his life took a fresh hold, and despite the best of care and most skillful medical aid that could be secured, the end came all too soon.

The funeral services were held at the Methodist church Thursday afternoon, and according to the request of Mr. BYLES, were conducted by his old-time pastor, Rev. W.I. COSPER, assisted by Revs. SMITH and STRYCKER. Despite the terribly disagreeable weather, the church was filled to overflowing. Many were present from other towns of the county to pay their last respects to
their esteemed friend.

Published in The Hustler (Madisonville, Kentucky)