The Local Treasure of Garfield County

The Local Treasure of Garfield County

Imagine this: It’s deep winter in the southeast corner of Washington state — wheat country. Blowing snow builds on the icy country roads and two-lane highways. Cell phones don’t exist because it’s 1970. You’re worried you will arrive late for jury duty; but when you get to Pomeroy, you discover court has been canceled for the day. Oh no!

Enter Doris Landkammer, Garfield County Clerk. Known for going above and beyond her official duties, she fills you with hot coffee and her homemade chocolate chip cookies before she sends you back out into the snow. For Landkammer, who is familiar with the challenges of rural life in Washington, it’s standard practice to offer small comforts.

Doris Landkammer with her daughter Doris Ann Todd

Fast forward to 2019. Debbie Bahn, the Electronic Records Archivist at the Digital Archives, recently had the pleasure to meet the 91-year-old retired clerk when she visited the Eastern Regional Branch and Digital Archives Building in Cheney. Doris came to reunite with historical records she transferred to the Archives years before. Her daughter, Doris Ann Todd (shown in the photo with Mom), recalled that she sat among these volumes in the cool courthouse vault as a kid to read and escape the summer heat.

Born on Easter Sunday of 1928, in Pomeroy (Garfield’s county seat), Landkammer spent 17 years as a legal secretary before she won the first of seven elections for County Clerk in 1966. She moved from the law office right next door into the courthouse and assumed the office she would hold for the next 27 years.

When Debbie and Doris met, Doris shared memories about different aspects of the job — genealogy and local history, beneficial changes in both telephone and filing systems technology over the years, and the great responsibility to care for unique records. Her most poignant story involved a surprise discovery in her own vault. As she paged through a 1941 Jury Sign-In book, Doris discovered her father’s signature — Rado Bond, an uncommon name.  After that, she occasionally opened to page eight and ran her fingers over the signature of the man who died when she was just 15 years old.

Thank you, Doris, for being such a responsible custodian of these important materials. The records were transferred to the Archives in clean and well-preserved condition, and they serve as a link to Garfield County’s past.

Those interested in Garfield County records held by the State Archives in Cheney can contact the Eastern Regional Branch at 509-235-7500, extension 100; or write to EABranchArchives@sos.wa.gov.

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