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Forest Grove People

Manche Langley

Two unique names for two unique ladies. One, known to millions of people, is now the most famous archer in the world, star of “The Hunger Games” books and movie. What a remarkable character is young Katniss Everdeen. Though she’s a fictional character, she has many positive and inspiring attributes.

However, “somewhere in time” more than a century ago, there was a very real young female archer who lived in Forest Grove, Oregon. Though she was no Katniss Everdeen, this accomplished young woman practiced the sport of archery while studying at Pacific University. There she was a member of the archery club led by a remarkable man named Friend Barnes. One of the finest bow makers in the United States, Barnes often wandered the hills and fields around Forest Grove with fellow archers, matching shots in a game he called “roving.” One of those fellow archers was our second unique young lady. Her name was Manche Langley and she, too, had many positive and inspiring attributes.

A serious student, Manche graduated from Pacific University and moved on to law school at Lewis and Clark College in Portland. Following law school, Manche passed the Oregon bar in 1909. Accepting a position at the firm of Langley and Son, she joined her father and brother as part of a formidable civil law practice, becoming one of the first female attorneys in Forest Grove. Only three years later, in 1912, the Centennial History of Oregon described Miss Langley with these words: “Endowed by nature with keen intellectuality, Miss Langley has so directed her studies that when intricate legal problems arise she finds ready solutions for them. She has ever been careful in the preparation of cases; her deductions are, at all times, logical and her reasoning is clear and forceful.” Her characteristics clearly reflect the keen eye, upright posture, and forceful determination of the skilled archer.

From that promising beginning, Manche Langley went on to enjoy a long and very distinguished legal career. Participating enthusiastically in many phases of her Archery Club, 1901. Native Oregon yew trees became famous thanks to Friends Barnes, a bow maker and archery instructor at Pacific University. The archery club’s members pictured here are, from left to right, Margaret Hinman, Mary MacKenzie, Anna Penfield, A U. Marsh, Dr. H. L. Bates, Arlye Marsh (behind target), Margaret Marsh, Barnes, Professor Orr, Lela Micklin, Lillian Bain, Prof. Bin Kori, Manche Langley, and a Mr. Cook. (Courtesy of Pacific University) profession, she was still actively practicing law when she died at age 79 in 1963. One of her favorite activities was the Queen’s Bench at Lewis and Clark, an association of women attorneys Manche had helped found in 1948. Queen’s Bench members revered and loved Manche as a matriarch, for she was bright, accomplished, and a leader of great professional integrity; she was charismatic, fun-loving and very caring, especially toward younger attorneys. In recognition of this amazing lady, the Manche Langley Scholarship Fund was established “to recognize individuals, especially women, with superior integrity and intelligence who have chosen to pursue legal education and a career in law.”

In grateful appreciation of a real-life archer who became a real-life heroine to those fortunate enough to know her, FHFG was proud to announce that one of the homes open to visitors during the annual “Tour of Historic Homes” in Forest Grove on the afternoon of September 23, 2012, was the home where Manche Langley lived. It wasn’t difficult to imagine Manche in her back yard a century ago, firing arrows into her hay-bale target and enjoying an autumn evening in Forest Grove.

FHFG were delighted so many people came out to “The Grove” and returned with them to a place “Somewhere In Time,” where individuals could possibly meet some people we all wish we had known. With a little luck, some of us spied Manche Langley and Friend Barnes walking across a field outside their beloved Forest Grove, playing a game called “roving” and sharing stories of the good old days.

We knew you wouldn’t want to miss that.

Learn more about the photograph above here.

[Editor's note: The author of this article was not noted in the original; possibly Skip Buhler?]

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