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.Published in The Weekly Vidette (Montesano)
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.