Donkey engine and crew, Coats-Fordney Lumber Company, near Aberdeen, ca. 1920
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The Coats-Fordney Lumber Company started out as the A.F. Coats Lumber Company in 1905, headquartered in Aberdeen. It became the Coats-Fordney Lumber Company in 1910, and by 1924, it was called the Donovan-Corkery Lumber Company. Aberdeen is a city in Grays Harbor (formerly called Chehalis) County. The town was platted by Samuel Benn in 1884 on his homestead. Benn was born in New York City and in 1856 he came to San Francisco. Three years later he moved to Washington Territory and settled on the Chehalis River. There are two theories as to how it got its name. Some say it arose from the fact that the Aberdeen Packing Company of Ilwaco established a cannery in early days on the Benn homestead. Others say that the name was suggested by Mrs. James Stewart, who, before her marriage in 1868, was Miss Joan B. Kellan of Aberdeen, Scotland, who had come to America with her parents in 1849 and settled in Ohio. She and her husband moved to Washington Territory in 1874.