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LS: Tell that one.
AA: Well, you heard it before, you know, no change in that one.We got all the locomotives together, we had three of them, Potlatch had three of them and MilwaukeeAone or two and we had the sawmill there and got 'em all together. I went down and talked to the night watches, and got 'em all together and they pulled the locomotives all together and tied down the whistle string and let it go on for about five minutes, long as they had steam . Yeah that aas quite a racket there at twelve o'clock, well at midnight. I think everybody was up anyway. It was a nice friend ly little town, Elk River, when the mill was running, you know. It was just like a big family. We lived in the same house there for twenty years, and we didn't own a key. We never locked the door. Oh, some people some times they come in, our friends come in and they might have been at a card party or something, you know, and come on in at three or four o'clock in the morning woke us up, talked a while and started for home. Yeah, that was a pretty nice little place.
LS: Were there dances?
AA: Oh yes, oh, you bet, they had a bifi gymnasium for the school, you knowthey could use, and they had an Odd Feller (Fellow) hall, and they had a masonic hall big enough to dance. The gymnasium was plenty big where they could get ten, fifteen couple at a time. And they had a balcony on there you know, get off'n the floor and get up on the balcony clean around it, that was good then. I think that burnt up.
SS: Would you tell us the story about the time you took the payroll—
AA: Huh, that was in Minnesota. Yeah, I thought that was I been thinkingI never thought anything about it then— that was the first winter I was here in the country, in the winter of 1905 and '06. You know I was thinking afterwards, you know,. I was a big kid— leaving me and sending me out to pack that payroll— that was in money, envelopes. I don't know what I had to carry it in, I had an old whaat sack or something on my back, I don't know. But I walked along this roadbed, you know, and delivered from one cabin or shack to another one. Those people were baching, you know, camped along the roadbed there in the swamps, and there was a lot of money, there was a heck of alot of money in there and trusting me with that— send me out and pack it— I went from one end of it to the other. I think I stayed overnight in one cabin. But you know to send a kid out with that, I thought that— afterwards, I was wondering whyAthe heck they would do that. Not pick on some reliable older man to carry that out.
SS: What kind of money was being paid out in that?
AA: Oh, that was paper money, in the East was paper money.
SS: Was it large amounts to some of these guys?
AA: Oh, yes, it was— some of themhad up to a thousand dollar or more. Idon't know how much, I had no idea. I know there was money in it, there was money in them envelopes, you know for each man, but it was funny that— to me, it was afterwards. Then I didn't think mothing about it because it was just in a day's work, I was paid by the day. I think I got a dollar and eighty cents a day, I think, at that time.
LS: Did most of those guys just take their pay and leave with it?
AA: Oh, no, oh, no, some of them didn't, you know. No, they stayed on. Nothey stayed on, it was just that one in particular I told you about. When I come back, you know, he was all ready and he walked back with me to the tailroad. And I just happened to see him when he come back, back from where he had to blow in. He was only gone three, four days, I guess and he come back and, boy, I tell you he blew it. And he was blue!! And he had the same overall and the same, jacket. He didn't get any of the clothes he was going in to get, he forgot all about it.
LS: Was he depressed at all that he'd done that?
AA: Well I don't know whether he was or not,Ahe didn't feel very good anywayEither mentally or physically. (Laughs) give him a good going over. I tell you his face was just like an old hamburger cut up, blue and the other was all cuts. I don't know if he even had a haircut, I don't remember now, but it run in my mind quite a while.
LS: Were most of the lumberjacks out here, were they, you know in the earlyyears did they do the same thing? Would they take their payroll and...?
AA: No. No. No, payrolls—they were paid in camp, see. The companies that Iworked for, I didn't work for any
LS: I meant to ask whether the lumberjacks were paid—
AA: Went to town and blow it? Oh, yes!! Sure, sure, they did. Them years,you know, forty years ago, thirty years, too. Yes, you bet you, they go into town and blow it. Just in a few days. Never took a sober breath from the time they come in till they left. Maybe some saloonkeeper where they spend the most, you know, bought 'em ticket and put 'em on the train and send 'em back. (Chuckles) Give 'em a bottle and send 'em back, and get another one, get another stake.
SS: I'm still trying to figure out, that out, Axel. Because from what you sayand what other guys say, it seems like, just about all lumberjacks blew in, well, nowdays, everybody tries to save a little money, so we save, save, sounds like nobody saved, hardly. Do you know why it was that way? Every body spent everything?
AA: No, I couldn't tell you. The lumberjack, you know, there was— oh therewas a lot of married men working in the crews, but they had steady jobs you know, and that was that floating population. There were so many camps. It was so much different from what it ;ls now. There is no comparison. You know, each and every one of us, you know when I first come out here,y. car ried pOc own blankets and in Minnesota, where I worked in Wisconsin, when I worked in the camps there, they had— the lumber cmmpanies had camps, you know and they had blankets in there, and I don't know if they ever was laundried from the time they put 'em in the camp till the camp burnt up— burned down or something. They were lousy and bedbugs and everything you could think of was in them. And when I come back West, you know, each one of us had to carry our own blankets. And you know how that happened you, you go from one camp to another and whatever got into them blankets, you carried from one place to the next one, up the strike— during the World Warl, when they had to change it.
That took away the blanket bundle— the company furnished blankets after that, and clean sheets, pillow slips. Oh there was no comparisonAthen— and the lumberjack, you know, he was really an outcast, you know, there was nothing for him to look forward to, or any thing. So I guess whenever he had a little a little fun, he thought he had it when he got into town and got drunk. Nowdays, I don't know if there is any more camps in the woods or not. There's too many roads, everybody got cars, and machines, you know— the lumberjack he lives in town— he lives among the other people, and there isn't any lumberjack like it used to be. Now, most of them that get the logs now is cat drivers and they're mechanics, and they're the best of the land, compared to what it used to be. Some of themci go out in the camp there and they cL stay fors 0h sometimes they stayed up to a year. Oh, I don't know, they'd make it a point that they want to stay a year. We had an old bullcook there where I was there one time, and they asked him— his name was Nels Munson, he died in Spokane shortly after he thought he had a little saved up, enough so he could live the rest of it— they asked him one time,A 'How long, Nels, how long have you been in the camp?" He said, "Let me see", he said, "I've been here two years and seventeen months and so many days." That he hadn't been to town. He hadn't been to town, you see in that length of time,"Two years and seventeen months,"he said. That was pretty near three years and a half, isn't it?
LS: Were they sort of hermits, or something? (Laughter)
AA: No, they were good. Oh heck, no. They were generous, you know, wide open,by golly, generous, you know. Anybody come over there, you know and they — one help the other, you bet. They didn't think nothing of money, too much, you know. If you needed money, "Sure, I got some." Oh, no, they were very-
LS: How come the guys wouldn't go to town for an afternoon, if they were closeddown?
AA: You couldn'i: make it. It would take you days to get to town. See therewas no trucks and no cars.
LS: Well, some of the camps were pretty near
AA: Only on the railroad, but you had to take the train, you see, if you wantto go anyplace, you had to take the train. It wasn't like it is now, you know. Now you can be out there in the Idaho woods, and hop in the car and two hours you're in Spokane. Then, you know, you had to walk out and get down to the—
LS: I meant that they didn't even go to Elk River, or, you know.
AA: Oh, yes, oh they did, they did. But you know there was no facilities tostay very much, you know. They had boardinghouses and places and a rest aurant, too. Oh, yes, they get down there all right.
SS: Were most of the 'jacks older men in the old days?
AA: Yes, yes, they were mostly older ones. Well there were younger ones, too.I was a kid when I started in. Yes, started young, I think.
LS: Were a lot of them — lumberjacks, you know— did they work in the woodsback East before they came out here?
AA: Some of them did. Most of them was from down here, you know, Spokane. Butthey drift you know. I know one man that come up in 1911 and he started out hiking from— well he took— they would always let 'em ride on the train, you know. They get in a boxcar or something and the train stopped at every station and get off where they wanted and there were a lot of camps. But he was telling me he was six weeks going from St. Maries to Elk River. He never lost a meal and he always had a bed every night and he never had a cent. They always put 'em up in the camp, you know, if a guy come in there he stayed over night and he had supper and breakfast, andsometimes they were full and he couldn't get on and a lot of times they asked him and he didn't like it so he took his bundle or packsack and started for the next camp. Stayed overnight there. This particular man, you know, he said he put in six weeks, and he never done a day's work, and he never lost a meal and he always had a bed. (Chuckles) You couldn't do that nowdays, there isn't anything like that.
SS: You haven't told us anything about- much about gambling. And I had the ideathat that was a big kind of recreation.
AA: No. No, all they did was play cribbage and pinochle. No, you hardly everseen any gambling in the camp. They didn't allow it,'cause if they startlgambling, you know, that meant a fight. And you always had trouble over it. So there was no gambling. That was an unwritten law, I think, right in the camp. No gambling. That meant trouble whenever they started to gamble over money that meant trouble. And you very, very, seldom see a fight in the camp, for some reason. Everybody got along. They could work together there for months and when it got too much, why, some body pulled out and go to the next camp.
SS: You know, when you read about the old logging days someplaces, they make abig deal out of that: fights. They say there were a lot of fights—lumber jacks, all the time. I've never really believed that.
AA: Honestly I never saw it and I was in camps,around the camps there for years,I didn't work only for one outfit, so I didn't only if we went to some other places, we just went there to see how they were logging, what methods they were using and see if we could improve anything. if we see anything that would help us. No, I never did see any fights in the camp.
LS: Is there anything that some of the lumberjacks would do for, you know, topass the time, like sing songs or read?
AA: Oh, you bet, they read everything that was loose. Anything they couldfind, you bet ya.
LS: They would read anything they could find?
AA: If there was any reading matter there, but you didn't have any magazineslike we have now, you know. The sonly thing would be books, you know, if somebody bring in newspaper once in a while. 'Course later years, you know, we had the newspaper come up to camp every day, in the last few years. But in the beginning there wasn't too much of that. When I first come out there to Idaho,in the timber there we didn't— well like I told you in Elk River, we got in there— I walked in there in the first few days of— I don't know if it was the last few days of October or the first few days of November, I don't remember, in 1909. Walked in from Bovill. There was a rail up to Bovill from Palouse. The Milwaukee— they were building it. That road wasn't in there yet, and no rails into Elk River so we got snowed in there in December and I walked out for the mail in April; that's the first mail, you see. From November to April when I walked out into Bovill on snowshoes and got it. So there wasn't much news, no telephone. We didn't get the telephone in there until in, oh, in '10. Then when the rail come in,xthen we had the phone, and then they brought in another line from Orofino. First line we had was the railroad and I guess the company could talk over that, cut in there at Bovill and talk over that line for a few months; few days. But there were no telephone office there till, I think there at Clearwater, there was some outfit there in Orofino, Snider, I think they brought the phone in there first and put in an office in Elk River, so you could call out and then to call — you had to ring the phone in them days, you know. And I think we could call Orofino and if you want to get to Spokane they go to Orofino and Colfax, I think, and then into Spokane. One office rung the next one, one rail to -foe next. It would take sometime, oh, five minutes, you know, before you could get— if you get 'em at all. System wasn't very good. (Chuckles)
SS: Did you know Dick Farrel?
AA: Ohhhh, you bet you. Yes, bet you. He preached— sometime— first I likedhim very good, but I think he got a little greedy towards the end. But the best sermon I ever heard him speak was at Avery, Idaho on a Easter Sun day I think he was up there. 'hey called him the lumberjack evangelist, He go from one camp to another. He had a packsack and he had a pass, you know, he could ride on the trains wherever he want to go, so he never paid anything. And whenever he come to the camp, you know, there was always a bed for him and he got his meals. He took up a little collection. He'd get in the diningroom, you know, the diningcar whatever it was, give a lit tle sermon in the evening and next day, walk to the next camp. But he gave a good one there at Avery. And I talked to him— oh I knew him well, and I told him that was the best one I ever heard him give.
LS: Were his sermons very long?
AA: No, not very long. He'd tell a story and he'd give a little prayer, andread a little chapter out of the Bible. No he mostly, talk and tell about what he saw in the other camps and how they were doing it over there, and who he met, and he saw so-and-so. Only thing I didn't like about him, when he start to use the fist on the table or something, by God, I didn't like that. That shouldn't go with a prayer, no need to pound it in!! When he was a young feller he was a prizefighter. When he was young. He was a husky guy. I wouldn't want to tangle with him!
LS: Would any other guys come out and preach?
AA: No. No. No, ,1 didn't hear any.
SS: When he pounded his fist, was that the fire and brimstone part of it?
AA: I don't know what that meant.
SS: Well some preachers they, you know, they tell you— and you're going theother place.
AA: Yeah, yeah. I've seen scrwe of them on the pulpit, you know, on theor hit it with the fist or something, you know, they tell you what gonna happen to you, and how big a sinner you was and everything. I guess they made it more impressive, thought they'd give it to you a little stronger, I don't know. It never appealed to me very much.
LS: Were the men pretty respectful of him?
AA: Oh, yes . Oh, nobody never said anything, oh, no.
LS: Would some guys leave?
AA: Oh, yes. They sit there a while and then walk out. Oh, yes. You know,some of them liked him and others didn't, that's natural.
SS: I heard that there were peddlers used to come into camps.
AA: Oh, you bet. You bet. You bet there were peddlers fiome selling stuff,watches and clothes, you bet, underwear and shirts. Well we had one, I think he's living down there yet, I think he was an old lumberjack. He was peddling watches; good ones, too, and rings, and so-forth, you know. He'd do a pretty good business there when he was in camp, always. Always sell a few watches and a few rings and a few watch chains and so-forth, you know. You bet. Yes, there were several peddlers, they let 'em come in. I don't think they ever paid anything for staying , I don't think anybody ever cared. They was so many meals given away, that was in the business. Nobody was turned down.
LS: Would some guys sort of hang around, you know?
AA: Oh, yes.
LS: See how long they could stay?
AA: Oh, yes, some of 'em. Then it wasup to the camp foreman to go and tell 'em"Your visit is over, you better get your packsack and go. You been here long enough. Better change the boardinghouse, get another one!(Chuckles)
LS: Sounds like
AA: Go from camp to camp, you know, they work a little, work a day or two youknow then go to another one. That way they had a few dollars, and they al ways had a place to go. They had a bunk. Oh, yes, there were a lot of them too that didn't stay anyplace, in one place, always a litt. e. greener on the other side of the fence so they went over and kept agoing. Yesa lot of them there, you know, I don't think there was a camp in three states that they hadn't visited or seen. (Chuckles)
SS: Albert mentioned the story yesterday about one time when this guy got stuckup above Clarkia someplace in a bad winter storm snowed his truck in. I guess he was up after some scrap or something the way he remembered it, and you sant up a bulldozer or some big machinery to get him out. Do you rememeber it?
AA: Oh, that could be it. I don't know, there was so many things happen, a lotof things that I couldn't— never thought anything more about. Oh that could happen. It happen every so often, but that was something a feller never paid any attention to, if you give 'em a little lift OK, that was all right.
SS: Was there much— did that happen that men get lost or snowed in?
AA: Not very often, no. The 'jacks had pretty good directions, you know, theycould find their way in the timber. I was lost a few times, myself. You know especially in a snow storm, it was snowing, and you haven't got the sun. The sun was your best help, then you know which way you want to headNto try to get back. Yeah, I got lost a few times that way, not too long. But I got out on the wrong places—when you get out in the timber then winter and summer it change, you know, it always changing. But I got out where I find myself again, I was a few miles farther away from where I wanted to go than I was in the beginning, and wading in snow up to mid section. (Laughs) And especially if it got dusk or dark on you, that's worse. When you can't see the sun your halper is gone. You don't know whether you're going east-west-south or north. All you can see is up through the timber and see the sky and then you're lost. But I never got lost that I had to stay over night, or anything I always made it out.
SS: Did you bother to take a compass with you?
AA: No. NO, never carried a compass. No, I never carried a compass. You knowyou could always find the section lines. In 1911 they surveyed that part of Idaho. It hadn't been surveyed up to that time. Then they put in sec tions corners and corner posts and blazed the line, you know and you could always follow it and wherever we were working, you know, well we blazed up the line a little more, cut a little bark off the trees, you know, so you could see where the line was. So you always find a section corner you know where you was. They were marked, you know. They put in a big post there about that high, you know and they had a timber scribe and put in section on four sides, maybe section one and two, three and four, you know. Well, you know which way you want to go and you know where you are. So we had no trouble. The cruiser always, he used it, 'cause he had to— the only time I ever usedwas when I was with the cruiser. I done pretty well there— one time I — we were out in the woods and we had pace out four forties, we had to go so many paces and they were in L shape, and I paced around 'em and I got to the fourth corner that would be a mile something- I was only ten p.vde off from the corner, after I That was pretty good, I figured I could take about three foot to the step and I had to count the steps as I went and then when I got so far, then turn right angle or left angle, you know, and go so many tallies again, then turn again and go another direction.
LS: You didn't have a compass?
AA: Yes, I had a compass. I followed that you know, look ahead as far as Icould see, you know, and take a mark and walk to that and then set up again. But I had to keep in my mind, you know, how far I went, so I had to know exactly where I was, and I was just only just a few paces off when we got around. Even the cruiser thought that was pretty good 'cause I hadn't done a heck of a lot of that. He counted in threes and I tell him where wa was and he had the book, you know, he marked down. He marked it down as we went and I counted in three's. That's how they bought the timber, you know, on estimate. He was estimating the timber t/oti see, how much there'd be on an acre.
LS: Would he measure the trees? Or just guess?
AA: No.Guess o it. Take an average, just in his own mind, you know. He couldtell pretty close. See a tree like that, you know, that one probably be three hundred feet of lumber in it. 'Course them little trees they didn't botbwith, you know, just anything that was sawlogs. And then when he went along, you know he' whether it was a white pine, white fir, red fir or cedar, he'd space the trees as he counted 'em,so much distance, then when he come home, you know, the he'd add it all together and ha'd go so much and then he d double up, you know, and what he didn't see he figured that it was all about the same. And they get pretty close, and the company'd buy that tim ber on his estimate. Sometime it cut over and sometime it cut under, that was a guess.
SS: Do you have much idea about how much he could cruise in a day?
AA: Oh, I don't know. I don't remember. No, I couldn't tell you that. Oh, welocated roads at the same time.
LS: Who was that you worked with?
AA: Oh, his name was Bill Helmer. He's an old cruiser, he was one of the firstcruisers for Potlatch. I think he come out from the East. Bill Helmer and Bloom, Bill Deary, he was manager, I think they come out with him before Potlatch was started. I believe they come out there in 1901, they were telling me. And cruised,then the Potlatch— then the company'd buy up, you know, timber, buy up — some they bought the land and all, private. From State and government they bought the timber and not the land and had so many years to log it. And the mill wasn't built yet. So first there, when they started, they had to hustle and get to them parcels of timber, you know,4to get the timber off of 'em, or else they'd go back to the state.
LS: What year was thatyou did that cruising?
AA: Oh, that I did? Oh, that was in— oh, let me see, I guess that was in the'20's, the early 20's, I think.
LS: Would you make it back to camp every night?
AA: Oh, we found a you know , where there'd be some stone and timberyou could take a stone and timber claim and do a little bit of improvement and you get a patent on it from the government. Well, there was a lot of them cabins there, you could always find a place to stay. They were gone but the cabin was there.
AA: We stayed about half way between Elk River and Orofino. That man there,his name was Neitzer. He was clerking in a store there.later. And we found his cabin, it was a heck of a nice cabin. They had built it— set the posts up and down, all of them. By golly, was a nice cabin, and the inside with newspaper, stuck on the wall all around it. (Chuckles) Well, we must have stayed there— good roof on it— we put in weeks there in that cabin, then we found another one; moved. Worked from this one as far as we could, you know, go back and forth, evening morning, snowshoeing. We were on snowshoes all winter.
SS: So those old timber claims, stone and timber claims were sold to Potlatch?Potlatch bought 'em?
AA: Uh-huh. Sometimes Potlatch bought 'em, and some other feller, and some of'em go back to the state, never know. If they didn't keep on paying taxes, you know, they finally go back to the state, or something, somebody bought it. They go in and sell it to the company. Homesteaders and timber claims. I never had sense enough to get in on that. (Chuckles)
SS: Did you see many wild animals when you were out there? In the woods?
AA: Oh, you bet. Oh, yes, they were all around there. Elk, deers, bears andcoyotes. Once in a while you could get a glimpse of a wildcat. Not very often, they were shy. They stayed away, and so were the coyotes, they didn't get very close. But the deer, you know, they stop and look at you. First moose cow I ever saw up there, that was out from AveryAftn Windy Peak near lookout and it scared the hell out of me. was the most ugliest thing that I ever seen. I come walking down the trail and the huckleberry bushes, you know, were grown over, the trail was pretty near filled up, and I come on down and I saw that damn face looking at me, and I tell you, I didn't know what to do. So I stood still and finally she turned and boy I did move. I got out of there in a hurry. But they're ugly. When they look at you, they don't look good.
AA: One held me there in Avery after we got up there logging. That time Iwas looking for a campground, before we got started up in there, see where we could build a campground and be pretty well in the center of us when we get the road in. But later after we got the road in and I had a pickup, driving up along the road and there was that moose in front of me. She run for a ways and then finally she laid down right in the middle of the road and I got pretty near up to her, you know, she'd face me and her eyes was just red, just like two red— they were just shiny. She'd tackle a car, so I'd wait and, by God, I sat there, I think I was on the road there for two hours that night. I didn't get up to camp until after midnight. So I told Dooley, he was my assistant, and I told him what happened that night I said I was down there 'til pretty near two o'clock before I got.there. He says, "She won't do that to me." "Ok," I says, "but I had lots of respect I waited, I wasn't going to tackle her." He said,"I'd take the axe and go after her." I said, "Maybe you would, but I wouldn't." I waited, I took my time and„it wasn t but a few days later, you know I went out there and I looked at his pickup and I say, "What happened to the hood?" And he said, "That Goddamned moose got on it." (Laughs) he thought he could make it afraid, you know, she turned around and she just caved thedjfcop right in!! But I was wishing if I had a gun I'd ashot that damn thing, but I didn't have anything. I had an axe alright, but I wasn't gonna tackle her with the axe. The cow was worse than the bull. The bull,he'd run, you know. cut Did you ever go up and see in Bovill?
SS: No, I've talked to him on the phone, but I haven't visited him. I plan tosee him.
AA: He's about the only one there in Bovill now, isn't he? Him and Old ErnieSmith. Oh, yes, you've got a couple of them Carlins there.
AA: The they're all gone I guess. I don't know.
AA: But the oldtimers that I knew theyA practically all out of there.
LS: When you were out, you know, in the woods and around camp and saw a deeror an elk, would you try to shoot it to have the meat for camp?
AA: No, no. huh-uh. I shot one deer one time to put it in in the mulligan,the cook did. Nobody ever mentioned it. The cookhouse bunch, me included, we had a few steaks out of it, but the rest of it they threw it in that stew pot. (Chuckles) No,never shot any meat for the camp, no. We did in Minnesota. I boarded at the sectionhouse there one time and we had the meat three times a day all winter. The section boss there he'd take a couple of his men and send 'em out there in the swamp and they come home with two-three deers. Had a little bit of sowbelly, you know, a little bacon, not much, mostly deer meat.
SS: Was there mu£t\ bear hanging around the camps.
AA: It was up at Avery there. We had a dump there where we put the garbage overthe sidehill there, just throwed out the garbage not too far from the camp. You could count twenty of them or more or less. They were there all day digging. They kept it pretty well cleaned up. But finally they got too close, so they— started to come into camp A they had to move that. The garbage wagon went out, you know, go about a mile away and dump it. And when that garbage truck come, you know, by go they was sitting all around there waiting for him, and just as soon as he had unloaded they took over. They didn't try to fight us any, they stay at a safe distance. My wife was with me there one summer and we had a cabin there and bear come up there, by God, -- the other door open— the bear come there and she had a shotgun she popped 'em right in the belly with that little birdshot, but he didn't tear the cabin down, he took off. I think they, I believe they shot that bear there in the fall and when they skinned him— them little birdshot, you know, they just go through the skin, that was all. They fell out when they was skinnin'him, them little pebbles were falling all over the floor. (Chuckles) They had that shotgun of mine up there at the kitchen and the flunkies were out there popping at 4fa -Ik-a all the time. (Chuckles) We had the lady flunkies there at one time and I come walking down the camp and I saw two bear cubs heading for the camp and I watched 'em and they got under the diningcar, you know, so I went in the kitchen and I told 'em, the cook and the flunkies—No, I got in there and they all of them was right in the middle of the floor,Awhen they scrub bed the floor, you know, they had a hole in there so they could let the water run through, and they were all—— the whole bunch of them laying down there looking, and I say, "What the hell you got?" I was going to tell 'em about those bear cubs— they were feeding them!! They had 'em underneath— them little bear cubs knew where they were going. Them flunkies had been feeding them, you know, there for probably for weeks!! (Chuckles) And they were looking at 'em, you know. You could see— the buildings on skids, daylight under them, so they could see them, and they were giving them cookies and stuff Myou know, that's why they come there, they knew it. The only time they got mad at 'em was when they dump the garbage barrels, you know, had there. Some morning when they come up, you know, they were all scattered all over the kitchen, the platform there back of the kitchen, so then we had to move and get the garbage way out. And we had to tie them barrels to the wall so they couldn't tip 'em. They got up there in the night after everything quiet and then the bear come around and they'd tip them barrels over and pick what they wanted and the rest was left.
LS: Did they have many women flunkies in the beginning when you were in thewoods?
AA: Not in the beginning. No. But after the World War I, you see, then theyduring that time they started it in the camps. See all the young fellers were gone, and the old fellers- they wouldn't— they were too slow to be around in the kitchen, only cooking. But the flunkies, you know, they had to be light on their foot and could travel. And the young fellow, you know, there were all out in the war and in the army, so they to get...
LS: Were some cooks in camps and some foremen didn't want to have women flunkies?
AA: Oh, yes, yes. There was a lot of thf, too.
LS: But why didnlr, they want them?
AA: I don't know. Well, Iwas with afeller, he's alive now, too. He livesin Lewiston. We worked together in the CC camp up there on the St. Joe. And one night, you know, he lived in Bovill, we went home one time, both of us, and they had trouble in the camp while we were gone, so Itold him, Isays, "After this, we never go together, you and I1,' he was my assistant, so Isaid, "now you take, if you want to go to Maries, all right, you go down and I'll stay. Next Sunday, if Iwant to go,then £ou stay." was lit up and he was singing, he said, "if there was no womens, we'd ahad no war." And maybe that was the idea in the camp, too, where there is womensconnected there is more or less trouble; jealousy, or some thing. And in the kitchen crew they show favorslndgfess that made more difficulties for the cook, Ithink. That's why they 'em you know, in the camp. Otherwise, Icouldn't see anything wrong. For my part it was all right. But Icould see the cook's idea, alright. You know, they could make a little jealousy in the camp.
SS: I've heard that alot of the cooks were touchy. They were asort of touchybunch about their cooking, and they'd get pretty sensitive.
AA: Oh, yes, yes, you bet.
LS: You mean, if someone complained they'd get mad, or something?
SS: Yeah,I don't know— Yeah, they were just a pretty touchy bunch.
AA: Well, you know, you take— even at home— you can start tacjh-f from home.You know you eat at home all the time and you get out and buy a meal and it isn t any better, but, boy, you think that tasted good, and boy, how you eat. Ain't that right? You eat your own cooking and you get tired of it. Don't you feel that way?
LS: I get tired of cooking. (Chuckles)
AA: Yes, yes, and you're tired of your own cooking, in other uords, don't you?Well, that's the same in the camp, you know. You sit with the same cook, you know, he'll be there and he cook every day for the whole year, you know he can't change it very much, where you have a hundred and fifty up to two hundred people to cook for. No, you can't change your menu too much and it got to be the same thing over and over and over again. Every morning you have bacon and eggs and hotcake and the next morning you have ham and eggs and hotcake, next day, you know, you go back to the ham and eggs again or bacon and eggs and sometime you have sausage and it's all alike, isn't it? And a bowl of mush. (Chuckles) And for dinner, you know, well, that's the same, a big roast or a big mulligan or stew or something. Supper tha same thing. Steak. But, you know, you can't change it. It's so big, you know, you gotta have so much of it, so you can't change it, you gotta stay with— and they get tired of it. And the crew they say, that old mulligan mixer, it's no good, and it never was any good. And it is good.
End Side 1
AA: And the cook, you know, if they want to take off, or take a vacation andstay away a few days, you know, somebody come in — and well his ideas were a little bit different and it was a little different. Probably wasn't half as good as what they had before and not enough of it, and so forth, and they say, "Now, boy, there's a good cook! That is a good one! That tasted good. That was fine." Few days, you know, and then by golly, then it was different. But for a few days, you know everything tasted good, it was a little dif ferent, see. They have a little different way of seasoning or something. That was quite a job. Albert was good. I don't think I ever heard anybody kick on him.
SS: You said the men talked a lot about the chuck in the camps.
AA: Oh, you bet. Well, that was the main thing was the chuck What theyhad in the camp. That what held 'em. If you were feeding good, you know, by God, the crew stayed. Yeah, if you didn't have a good cookhouse boy, then you were up — you were in a heck of a place. You know, that's quite a job. There like we had over three hundred or three hundred and fifty men and Albert stayed there all the way through. That whole winter he had a helper, he had an assistant, second cook, and a baker.
LS: Is that all? Just one assistant cook?
AA: Well, they were two of them. The stove was only so big you know. I thinkthere were three ovens in that one. I guess— Well the lange stoves therefired with wood. Oh, I don t know, there must have been eight-nine feet long, I think, maybeAten foot, I don't know. There were three ovens, two fire places and the top, you know, was big enough— 'course we had hotcake grid dles, you know, that they could put on. and they had room for all of that you know when they made hotcakes for probably around two hundred and fifty was in for breakfast, the rest of 'em was probably sleeping, working nights you know, and they were probably in bed. Train crews out, so forth, either come in later or had had it in the night. That bakeV you know, he served dinner at midnight. He worked nights, he didn't work in the daytime, there were not room enough, the stove wasn't big enough. Kitchen wasn't big enough, you know, so the baking was always done at night, after they got cleaned up in the evening and the table set then he went to work. And he was there all night. He made- oh, he must have made around anywhere from seventy to ninety loaves of bread every day, every night. Three-four doz en pie and that many cakes, and I don't know how much doughnut, they make hundreds of them and cookies and so forth, you know. He worked all night and at the same time, you know, he fed the night crew that was on— there was jotae4sta twenty or more that he had to feed in the middle of the night, when they come in for dinner. That was quite a chore. And all night and all day, you know, everybody come in for lunch, -fhey had a cup of coffee and a donut, piece of pie. One go and another one come in, sometime three or four of them. The cook never say anything, they go and help themself. They know where it was: In between meals. I did. I think I had more meals be tween meals than I did at the table. (Chuckles) I go in the kitchen and have something and then I probably wouldn't see them there until long after supper was over, and I come in and I go get a little something, whatever I can pick up.
LS: Were they starting to use some machinery by that time? You know, chainsaws?
AA: No, they didn't come for— after World War II, in the '40's. I saw one, wewent to Winchester one time up there A Craigmont, that's up there somewhere on top of the, well you can Lewiston,, where they were logging, or you can go up through Cul de Sac and go on up the hill there and get up to Craigmont, but I think when we went op there we went in around through Lewiston, what do you call that lake up there on top? When you go to Lewiston and then on up—
AA: Waha Lake,A something like that. Well, they were logging in there, and wewent out there and they had a power saw. I forget whether that was — but I think that was a gas one they had. But they had a five foot blade, I think one on each end, Cutting titiber with. They just knocked 'em down; felled 'em you see. And they had cats and they pulled 'em in the tree lengths in to the landing and barked 'em off. But then shortly after that, you know, they come with those little fellows, where you could stay on the landing and bark 'em off, you know, that's where the saving come in, and just one man then. That when they start to come in fast. But that was later in the '40's.
SS: Were they gas powered, the first ones you saw?
AA: Yah. We had one, the first one was electric. We had a little generator onthe little cat there and pulled it along. That was pretty good too. But not so handy as the later one. Now they're prefect, you know. We built a bridge there one time, that was the last work I done there— we built a bridge across the North Fork, three hundred and fifty feet across the river, drove piling and that was thirty-five feet up in the air, and we cut all the timber in the woods, leveled 'em off with the power saw. Had the chalk line, you know how a chalk line is, how they work to get the straight line to cut the top off it—
SS: I don't think I do.
AA: Well, we made it anyway. We used a powersaw, level 'em off. And you know,by God, it was just as straight as if you'd a cut it with a bandsaw in the middle. and then they chopped it down and set the cap on the pil ing. That's quite an undertaking to bend that over— in the middle of it there was a big bench of rock, bedrock, under the river, under the gravel, used the dozer and shoved the river over this way and banked her up so that it run there and then we dozed on the other side and drove pilings- we drilled that eleven foot holes and loosen up that rock and then drove piling in it. And they were using it up 'til—now I guess it's under water, if they didn't tear it down. That was up near Bole's cabin, way up. Three hundred feet across there,we had, oh, I don't know how many pilings. We drove a lot of them. But it stayed during high water for a truck road. That road come up to— we crossed the river twice, crossed over, and then about ten miles farther up we crossed back again, and hit Cedar Creek— that went up there to Bossereau's then way up there in there in the moun tain toward Avery.
SS: Do you remember when they took the horses out the last time?
AA: I see they're coming back now. I see in the paper today, oh, not today, yesterday,Awhere there's an outfit there in Montana, they took one job there, a million and a half, and they're going to log it with horses. Now that was in '39 there, now wait a minute— yeah, '39, I think it was, we were out on Mason Meadow when we got the first cats. Well, we had a few be fore then, but after that they let loose of the horses and so when we moved -fe 35 we had no horses, and I was wishing we had the old horses back. The old cat was sitting tn the sidehill, stuck, mired down, couldn't get up the hill, and if I'd a had horses there I could a got oodles of sawlogs. .'Here's a ing I carried for over fifty years.
SS: What's it say?
AA: That's a Mason You're a Catholic, ain't you? No? I thoughtyou said you were a — down to the
SS: Oh, I just went over —
AA: Oh, just went over. That was when Joe and his wife had their anniversary.Joe Holland. That was in the Hall there. Few years ago. Not so many is it?
How long ago is that? Five years, four years? Five years isn't it?
I don't know.
AA: I went over there. I met quite a few. That's where I saw again JackDowney. He was gray headed. Is he white now?
AA: He's pretty white. I think I'm older than he is, I'm sure I am, by severalyears. Oh, yes, I went down to esncii's store yesterday and there was a lady sitting in a pickup there, and I parked next to her and when I opened the door, she says, "How old are you?" (Laughs) I said, I'm pretty old." She said, "Are you seventy-one?" And I said, "Yes, I'm seventy-one, I've seen that." (Chuckles) I sat there and I talked to her quite a while. She said she had to get out, she says she don't like the town, "I got to get out in the woods." And I said, "Well, that's where I was raised," and I said, "I've put in lots and lots of years in the woods." She said, "You feel good yet?" And I said, "Yeah, I feel fine, I feel fine." "But," I said, "my legs are wore out, that's all." Oh, I don't know, she said she gotta get out in the woods and get away from town, "I don't like it." (Oh, looka there, that's high, ain't? — sound of plane) (See it, that plane? Does he go through that cloud? No, he's under it. Well, I'll be golldarned, he's under that cloud. I can still see it. I can see it, but I can't hear it now. That's pretty good for an old buck, like me? That's many miles away ain't it? Ya, I sit there once in a while and I test myself that way and see if I can see them, then I lose the sound of 'em. I can see 'em a little bit farther, if it's clear, if he don't get into a cloud. The sound'11 die out, you know, but I still can see them. No glasses. Is there somethingthat, you know, they tell me now, my hair don't turn gray very fast, you know, there probably solid concrete under, nothing under it. Is that right? (Chuckles) That the hair keep growin'— nothing under it. (Chuckles)
LS: I never heard that.
AA: Might be something to it.
SS: That's true though, your hair is- Well— Lot of it's—
AA: I had it cut yesterday. That here is gray, white.
SS: Laura's getting white hairs already, too. A few.
AA: Oh, well, some people get gray hair when— before thirty, in thirtie s..I guess the change of color, it don't hurt nothing. It don't hurt any thing, does it? I know I can't feel anything bad over it. A lot of people ask me, "How come your hair stay so good?" "Well," I said, "that's a reason for everything." I say, "There's nothing under it,just growing there
SS: I was wondering about the strike of '36. You talked just a little bit aboutit before. I was wondering about what caused it and what you remember from it.
AA: I don't know what caused it. I could not tell you. They were striking forhigher wages. And there was nobody in the camp that worked, really, for a hourly wage only the cookhouse, the section crews and the train crews; they were the only ones that worked hourly wages. The others had contract or gyppo and they made twice what the wages was, and they didn't strike. They was satisfied where they were. So what put it on, I don't know.
LS: Well who struck then?
AA: Well, the lumberjacks did, they walked out, see on us, or started to. Butas I said, they was striking over wages. The ones that worked for day wages they weoe. satisfied, they wasn't even in on it. Well, they were in the camp. They had, I think, just agitators, you know, worked the crew up. Agitators, you know, where they'd go around from one camp to the other and preach, you know, how they didn't get enough when they was too damn old, and all of this and that. I never knew what it was, and as it turned out to be there, we didn't have no strike. We give 'em that week of lay off over the Fourth of Tuly, and when they come back, they kept a working and along towards the fall, you know, the camp was full again. We never stopped. They did on the Clearwater side, they were shut down for a while, but on the Potlatch end there we kept agoing.
SS: You shut down a week at the Fourth of July just to stop a strike?
AA: No, the Fourth of July was coming, and I talked to Nogle there, he was thesuperintendent, and I said, "Give 'em ten days, or something like that— Fourtn of July vacation," and I said, "they'll go out anyway, and so, let's give it to 'em, now." And, we did. I told 'em, the crew there, I called up the camp up above there, run that, I said, "Tell 'em the same thing." And I told 'em here that if they want to go out, OK, we'll pay them all off, pay them all off, and I said, "Anybody wants to come back after the Fourth of July, we'll have the train crew in Bovill two days after the Fourth was over", I said, "we'll have plenty flatcar," I said, "bring 'em all backagain, take 'em home." -vgive 'em a ride out, too. Went up there about noon, if you have a train ready, let us know when you have the checks ready for them, let us know, and I'll send the train crew up. Keep feeding 'em. Nothing ever happened. Breakfast the next morning and dinner the same as usual and put 'em all on the train, And, by God, I got 'em all back but seven. The whole crew come back. Seven men, all that stayed out. I got the whole crew back in there after the ten days was over. I don't know, if you give a 'jack ten dollars and he's hard to talk to. I said, "Let'em stay in town and blow it all in," I said, "by God, we can all talk to 'em."
I said, "They'll ."... be back. They'll beback." They did, too. No, we had no trouble, I got a little Pamphlet every day, however it come in there, I don't know, that the strikers— the Wobblies were putting out. I think— I don't know if they come from Spokane or— I don't know where it come from, where they printed it. But I got one every day. They always see to it that I got one. And they said Axel and the finks, (chuckles) They called 'em all finks. Towards the end there, you know, we send out thirty-two carloads every day from them two camps. And they said, "It won't be long now, he's got nothing; only college kids, and they'll be gone, they'll be out of there." And, by God, we never slowed up. There was a few, we had a lot of college kids there. Then there was had a crew all the
Did some of the other camps around have more trouble?
Well, on the Clearwater side they did have.
Not on the Potlatch?
AA: We only had the two camps, and they were both together, they were only twomiles apart. They were on the rail there, and them two camps there they run, they kept agoing.
SS: The pamphlets said, "Axel"— right in the pamphlets? That you got, theytalked about you?
AA: Yes. "Axel and his Finks" (Chuckles) No, they were a little—that eveningthey talked. Nogle come in, he was the superintendent, and the sheriff come in, and that's why they thought I had— I knew that they were coming; and I didn't, I didn't know that the sheriff was coming, and I don't think Nogle did either. But he must have had a Sheriff Summerfield and Moody, and what's the other—?
AA: Jordan. Moody and Jordan and Summerfield. They were all there and theypopped up there— and I didn't know— but lots of them blamed me, they thought that I had called 'em in, and I had not asked anybody. I was in nocent on that one. But they started to have a fight there and then— tare was them three, there were three loaded gravel cars there, gondolas, they were standing on top of that. So Summerfield holler out and he says, "No and fighting," he says, "be quiet disperse, " he says, "or I'll throw—," some of he had them smoke bombs with them, and he said, "I'll throw this into you." By God, they quieted down. All over. But they were going to set out— they wanted my crew to go with them other ones, but they didn't. So both crews come back after all the talking there, they done.
SS: Did the sheriffs make arrests?
AA: No. No. 'Course they had their pickets on every road leading in. Anda tent Moody he come out, for one,he stayed there in ..about— the road leading to Southwick, him and another feller. I guess must have been there 'til late in the fall; two months or more that he sit up there. We carried chuck up to him every day, from the camp. And then we had another one on the railhead down to Round Meadow. That was the only two roads leading in there, you see on the railroad. But they never bothered us any.
SS: Who? The pickets or the police?
AA: No. Pickets. They never bothered anys They never come in. I used togo through them, talk to them, every so often. I knew all of them. On the Clearwater they had a little trouble. I guess they had a few fights there. But their camps were shut down there, I guess, for a couple of months or more. But there was nothing settled. The next winter— in the fall there I think they shut down. They shut down in November, the next fall. There was nothing settled
SS: Did you say that there were guys that quit that wanted to come back and youwouldn't let 'em? I wasn't thinking of any names, but I—?
SS: I was thinking of guys that changed their minds about that strike.
AA: No, I think that most of 'em was back. Yeah, I think they all come back,most of them. 'Course, it just blew over, there was no settlement in that strike at all. They just had to walk out, and after they come back in they were all satisfied. Same thing. We didn't change anything in the camp, that I know of.
LS: Do you know anything about the bullpens in that first strike?
AA: No, I was in France.
LS: So, that was after—?
AA: I was gone then. I was here, I was working when they struck, but I heardabout it. But, no, I didn't know anything, 'cause I was out of the country. I had— my good chum there in France, and the Wobblies killed him. He was from Centralia, Washington. Dale Hubbard. He got in a fight with somebody he 'em and took after — just what I read in the paper. But there was kind of a hw-oc or something. I went through Centralia a few times, but I couldn't tell you anything— but anyway, he took after one there and I'll be damned if they got doos? there in the woods, in the brush, you know, and tee shot him.
SS: The last time you heard pretty much of the Wobblies, that '36 strike?
AA: Oh we had a little strike up there in '48, I think it was. We were shutdown for, oh, for a couple of months. But that ended about the same way. That's the last, I guess I ever heard of the Wobblies. The CIO come in and the AFL and took over. I guess that was the last real Wobbly talk we ever heard of. Some way— they wanted to have one big union,/;they said— I guess that ended it. It didn t pan out. Nobody knows what they really was after. But they done one good thing that we all got to give 'em credit for, they took out the blankets, out of there. The companies had to buy the blankets and clean up the cars and make more room; make better living in the camp. That much they did. That was during the War I. I know when I left fox France, and left the camp there, I think we had sixteen bunks in each car. When I come back they were down to eight, half of that. And the company was furnishing all the beddings; clean sheets and pillow slips.
Oh, that madequite a difference in the camp, you bet you. It was needed,it was necessary. I don't think the company felt bad over it either. And they got the eight hour day. That come in at that time. We was on daylight to dark, you know before, when I left, and when I come back there were the, eight hours. I just got started when I— and crew come in eight hours up. Four o'clock, and hell, you know, the sun was up too high for me — When I left you know,Ahad a couple good hours work after that. So the Wobblies done a lot of good. When I come back, they had a union there, they called it the Four L's (LLLL). That wore out. They tried anything to hold a crew. And it didn't work out, that died out, and then after that they come with the— I can't tell you, I don't know what the hell they called that union. But it didn't seem to work out 'til they the got the AFL in. Then it kind of settled down again , quite a bit, that was pret ty good. I never belonged to a union in my life, in any of 'em. If you were in the supervisory end you couldn't, they wouldn't let you.
LS: Would the men complain to you about, you know, something that was botheringin the camp?
AA: Yes, yes.
LS: What did they usually complain about?
AA: If I heard anything I tried to correct it. Oh, I don't know what they'd —had nothing in particular—
LS: If a guy couldn't work with someone else, would you transfer him?
AA: Oh, yes, we try to change him, change him around. Yes there was one—one morning he come in, that was Charlie. You talked about him the other day, didn't you? He come in one morning and he says, "I'm bunching it. "I'm going down." I said, "What's wrong9 Charlie?" "Oh," he said, "nothing. I just quitting." And I said, "I don't think so." I said, "Charlie, you want a different swamper, don't you?" I said, "You want a different man to work with you. That it?" "No, no, I'm quitting. "Well," I said— there was a fellow working with him, his name was Bill Zimmerman. They were, oh, I don't know if they went to school togetherbut one was raised out on Cedar Creek and the other one- Charlie was raised at Park, you know, only a few miles apart, where their folks lived. So, I said, "I'll take Bill away from you," I said, "I'll send so-and-so,go on out." And he took the team and he went back to work. No more said about it. They got so much a thousand. They wasn't working by the hourly rate, theyAworking by so much a thousand. The more logs they get in the more money they made. And morethey could get, the cheaper you got 'em. That didn't cut too much difference on the price. If they give you lots of logs, you know, you can pay them more, and you still got cheap logs. The idea was, the more logs you get in the camp, it cut down on over head, that'd cut down— you know everything was based on the logs you put in. The cost of the log- that was the base of all the logging, in the camps, and everywheres, so-
More logs you could get, you know, they could spread out and they could cutproduce down, all over. I didn't any logs, I was just marking down there, and you know, the more logs they get, you know, they cut down on paying my sal ary— whatever I got. Cut down on everybody, now like the blacksmith, they didn't produce anything. Cookhouse crew didn't produce anything. They didn't pull in any logs, so the base was to get more logs, the cheaper logs we had. The logs didn't come in, you know, everything is run up. The last log is the one to get, if they were gyppoing, you know, if they tried to get as many logs as they possibly could, you know, then we got cheap logs. And if you were going the other way and tried to just put the day in, you didn't get any sawlogs. That what the foreman's job is to try to see that he get all the sawlogs that he possibly can get out of the woods.
LS: Were your camps largely gyppo? Or would they be—?
AA: Well towards the - the later years they, mostly gyppos. I don't know forsome reason, you know, when it started,just after the World War I, we used to let a contract andApay them day wages as long as they were working and we set a price on 'em, on the logs to them, but we didn't— at the end- at the end of the job when they were finished, theft you called it a bonus, see. Everybody was paid just the same as if they worked by the day, their daily wages, and then at the end of the job, when they were done, then they divide up the bonus according to days they work— days that they put in on the whole job. A man that quit in the meantime, he didn't get none of that, he didn't get— that was the bonus, that was left for the other fellows to divide up. So we had one job there in particular, that I remember I think that lasted eighteen months, and I hdiv, there was something around thirty thousand dollars worth of bonus there when they ended up. In them days, you know, that was a hell of a lot of money, that was in the 20's, and that was a lot of money.
LS: How big a crew would work together?
AA: I think they had a highline donkey— there were twenty-one, I think. Ithink there were three gangs of sawyers, that's six, and, let's see, there was a fireman, engineer, was two, that would be eight- a toploader, be nine,— How in the hell did that figure out? See the engineer and the fireman and the toploader, two hookers, they were on the landing and then they had four to six saw gangs in the woods, and punk, and the hook tenders and two, that'd be four more— there were around twanty men, anyway in that crew.
SS: How many in a saw gang?
AA: Two. One on each end of the crosscut saw.
SS: Was this Pelton's operation, you're thinking of.
AA: Yeah, that was one of 'em.
LS: What did the hook tender do?
AA: Well, he's the one that— he's the bossman on the job, you see, on that par-ticular job, He see that the rigging is set up and kept running. It's two of them, they're the one that run the machine and the hooktender, that's the two head men on the crew, you see. Yeah, they they worked. Adrian Pelton, he run the donkey and Homer was hooktender, the one that's in Pot latch. And the brother Luther, he was the best— no he was the hoister.
I believe theold man was the punk, he blew the whistle out in thewoods Pelton, the old man. And there was one more, by God, there was still another Pelton in there. And Adrian was married, and she run the cookhouse. They done their own cooking. They really did gyppo. They called that place there the gyppoville, or- Peltonville. Peltonville, what they called it. Mostly— well the whole family there, the whole Pelton family, they stayed there in tents and stayed pretty close to the job. There was a few more in there but— in the camp, at the cookhouse. Now that was a big donkey, they went out a mile, they had a mile of cable- tightline out to get the sawlogs. That was the last donkey they stripped and sent to the scrap pile. They called that a Potlatch special— I guess that's the only one they ever made. I think that had five drums on it.
SS: you tell us a story of the time that you got hurt, in the snowplow?
AA: I think I did, didn't I? Well, they ain't much to tell about it. We wentover the side of the bridge. I went down in the river, and two more in it with me. And I still have it, I can't raise that arm, only that far, that's it. That's as far as I can get that. And that was hanging there for two years, pretty near. Oh, I went to a lot of doctors, and all of them told me the same story, if you ever want to get any good out of it, you got to do it yourself, I can't help you. I went in there to see a bone specialist, I forget his name now, he' in the Medical Building. And I drove from Bovill down, and I got in pretty late, I guess I was late, it was in the afternoon. But I had no appointment with him, see I just to see him, and the girl asked me, said. "Have you got an appointment?" And I said, "No, I got no appointment." Well she said, "You have to have an appoint ment." And I said is, "Is Dr. so-and-so in?" "Oh, yes, yes, he's here." And I said, "I come a hundred and fifty miles to see him." And, I said, "I'd like to see him." "Well, but it's after hours." I said, "That's too bad, I come all the way ," and I said, "won't you even let me see him?" She say, "No, it's after hours. The office is closed." And I said, "Well, is the doctor in there now?" And she said, "Yes." I said, "This is the only way out, he come out this way?" She said, "Yes." "Well,"I said, "You tell him." "Anyway," I said, "I want to see him. I'm gonna stay right here."(Chuckles.)
She laughed a little bit she walked in there and the two of themcome out, and they were both laughing. Well, esaid, Here I amM I come a long ways to see you. I don't know if you can do me any good or not," "but," I said, "I thought I'd see you anyway. Even if you do anything or not." He says, "Come on in." "OK". So he examined me and took a picture and so forth. Said, "No, I can't do nothing for you." So when I got out of there he V twenty dollars, and I left. (Chuckles) But anyway I got the satisfaction of seeing him. I saw him anyway. Old Gibson told me that in Potlatch. And then I saw Armstrong there in Moscow, he told me the same thing. I went to Jacobson down in Lewiston, he told me the same thing. I went to Murray up to Wallace, he told me the same thing. All of them told me exactly the same thing, they said, "Nobody can do anything for you." Said, "You've got to do it." So I did. I got a pretty good grip on it. I Could get that back. I was sure, you know, they thought I never come out of it . They thought I was gone. I think Gibson was sure that I wouldn't make it. They never— if they'd of put me in a cast, you know, put that up I think, and worked them muscles out a little bit, I Mkvt they could have done something, maybe, that's my idea, that they could have helped me to get to get that back. But they just hung it up like this, you know, and from there on it was up to me. I only stayed in the hospital three weeks over it.
SS: Do you know how the accident happened? I mean, what caused it?We were out of air, you see.
AA: Yeah. W£ were out of air. The front dropped down on the rail in the middle of the bridge, and it caught somewheres, see. I didn't know, but I seen it. See I tried to blow the whistle and no air. They didn't blow. Someway, something went wrong with the air- it's hard to say. It was all done. You know that could have been the engineer's fault, and mine, too, just as well, I had a gauge up there in the— and I didn't watch it. But I think that was it.
SS: How did they get you—? Did they just get you down to Potlatch from thereright away?
AA: Yeah, they come and helped me and the you see, that engineer hau presence of mind enough to force that lever over and get the locomotice in reverse motion so when the snowplow uncoupled you see, when it broke over it uncoupled from the locomotive, and the snowplow and us we went down in the river and the engine backed down the road again, back the way she come. So they come and helped us. Oh, I remember part of the way, when I walked away, they were telling me the snowplow was afire, and I said, "Put it out, there's no use to let it burn up." I remember that. And remember when they got down to the locomotive, they helped me up and I don't know how in the heck I got up in there. I couldn't tell you how I got up in that— on the locomotive, up in the cabin there. I don't know. In the cab, I don't know. But I was sitting on the sandbox there— I come to again. And I come to again when we got up to the switch, up to the mainline. Had a telephone there they could call Bovill. And they had that little bug there on the rail, you knowM but they had the little bug there to haul passengers you know from Palouse and the mail from Palouse to Bovill, A little car they had on the rail, little Buick they had on the rail. Steel wheels on it. So they held that up in Bovill til I got up there, I rem ember that. And I remember when they packed me, lifted me out of the cabin and down on the platform and laid me on the platform there. It was cold, I didn't feel no cold or anything, but I was in and out.
I remembera tew times I remember when they got to Potlatch. A couple of days there I was in and outu. But I only stayed three weeks. I took the bug up to Bovill and the doc told me, said, "Don't take the car." And I said, "No." f] I lived in Elk River see. h said, "Don't touch that car." And I said, 'No, I won't." So the first thing I did when I went there, that had been settin' there for them three weeks. I went out and started it. We had a little cabin there, I lived in. I went in there and built a fire and sat there a while and got out and shut off the car. I was thinking about it— I was gonna take the Goddamn car, you know, lived at Southwick, see, above Kendrick, between Kendrick and Ah''/ki:- that where I lived. But my intention was to take that car, but somehow I was sittin' there, around the fire. There was a feller come in there, he was the tire man for the company, and his name was Banks, I think, or something. John Banks, I for get now. But he happened to come in and so I asked him, I says, "You going to Lewiston?" and he said, "Yes." I said, "Would you mind hauling me up to Southwick on your way home?" He had a car and he was going to Lewiston. "No, heck, no," he said, "fine." So, I said, "OK." And you know when I got down on Kendrick I passed out. i was dead to the world, going down the hill there. Coming from Deary down to Kendrick, down that hill. I woke up again, come to again after we crossed the bridge and going up on out the other sidef Kendrick. I come to again. I don't know—something— you know so after I got home . the wife had a little store there she was running. So I asked her if she had any bandage there; wide bandage. And she said "Yes." So we got that and I stripped, and I told her, "You wrap me up." The ribs were broken. And Goddammit the doctor never looked at that for some reason. That on the back, you know, that's where I was hurt rr tty bad. So I had that on for a long time,Cvvi GcX.I didn't pass out any more. Nose was broke head was split, forehead was split. Yeah, that was a tough one.But I'm still here. That makes me think, you know, by God, that our days is counted. My days was not out yet. I'm still here, and that was in '43. Quite a ways back, ain't it? Seventy-three, thirty years then.
LS: Did you see many accidents in the woods?
AA: Oh, lots of them. You bet. Lots of them. Oh, not too many, but I've seenquite a few, yeah.
LS: How would they usually happen?
AA: Simplest thing you ever saw, all of them, mostly. You know they allcould be prevented. This one if I'd - I blame myself just as much as any body else for mine. If I'd a been awake and looked at that little clock up there on the wall you know, that showed me where the air was, we could have stopped down on the flat you know and took care of before we went over that bridge. But, you know, you're always in a hurry, want to go places, that's it. Oh most of them,iX simple. I've a man cut in two with a snag, root from a stump come and cut him in two. If he'd a stood still, but he was running, and looking at it, and they both made it at the same time. He got just there in time, that root come through the air and just knocked him cuckoo right there. And he must have run two hundred feet to get there. If he'd a stood still he was all right, nothing'd have happened. I saw another saw gang there one time, I didn't see it but I see it afterwards they felled a tree and it Wcked cw-hs another one, bent over and come backwards and he run about forty feet back, you know just in time fore the snag to hit him. If he'd a stood still nothing happen. So you never know. That what make me think that our days is counted before we wh come, and we're gonna die- some die in bed, some die at something else, that's it. When the days are over— when your day's work is done you're gonna leave. And I think — I believe that.
END OF REEL
AA: if you make any history or use it, I mean. I don't want to say anythinghere, in my 'bobble senseless talking— just rattling along.
SS: I can't think of anything that you said that would be like that, but, I'lltell you— I'll make sure that nothing like that—
AA: Anybody that'd be implicated in it— like I said something that the companyorouttit that I worked for— anything that they would object to. Because you know I've been rattling along here now for quite a bit of time. 'Cause Iwas satisfied with them, they done fine with me all the way or else I wouldn't have been there, and I guess in other things I think I done the fair thing with them or they wouldn't kept me. So that's the way I feel about it. You know there is none of us— but everybody makes mistakes, and if you make too many you cfc fired, so, I don't know with all the mistakes I made and they didn't fire me so I guess maybe there's something behind it, I don't know. But anyway I stayed there til I was too old. I worked with them til I was sixty-six years old. One year over the limit. They said I wouldn't have to leave if I didn't want to. I'd never had a day in my whole life that Icould count my own. Ana Icar, stil get "around, and Isaid, by God I should be entitled to a few days. By God, that es on twenty-three years now since I quit working. So I guess I— but before that time, by God, honestly, I never had that I could know of a day that I could really count my own. Didn't for the company, that's rure enough.
SS: You didn't take vacations then?
AA: Well, there wasn't any vacations. They didn't have no paid vacations likeyou have now. There was no such a thing, you know. That come in after I quit working. No, I never had a day— only once, I think I had a few days they were shut down and I took the family and Idrovetfto the coast and come up the Columbia and come back to Lewiston. Had a week off that way. Usually when you didn't work, there was no pay until the later years, they give us a week andAthey usually had it fixed up for us,we ha;3 to go and visit some other logging outfit, and that was worse than staying at home. Could have just as well have been working.
SS: What did you do when you retired, when you quit?
AA: Well, Ithought- The wife went out: her dad died, she was from Oregonand she went out to that funeral, buried him. And Itold her then, "See any place there that you like that we can- Iwas getting pretty old then- that was in '48. So she wrote me and told me that she could buy a place there on an acre of ground, little house on it. And I told her that be just fine. That was , hamt miles away from Bovill. That what Iwant to go, long ways from Bovill. I know too many there, and I know that after I quit working, you know, by God, on that little bit we had we couldn't get a loan on it. So we got it and Iworked there through '51, and Iworked three years when she was down there. She bought the place. And we lived there for twelve years. That was a good time Iliked it, Idrove around. We practically lived in the car. Them years, by God, there wasn't ayear what we put over thirty miles on the car. We drove from there into Mexico and a few places. We drove to Canada. I drove far east as Chicago; come back again. Idrove in Yellowstone a few times and, oh, in California, Iguess Icrossed every road there is north and east and west and north and south in Oregon and a lot of them in California. We were on the go all the time. Stay at home a little bit and got tired, we took the car, went away, stayed aweek and then come back and clean up, cut the grass and pull out the weeds then we take off again. We were out on the coast.
SS: How many thousand miles ayear would you figure you put on?
AA: Well Iknow Iput in W than half amillion miles. Ican count them upon the cars.
SS: You figured you said about thirty thousand a year?
AA: When we were in Oregon every year we put in over thirty thousand a year.I drove one car there a hundred and sixty-four thousand miles. Then I had lots of than sixty, seventy-five— but that's the only car I went over a hundred thousand on. Now this one, I've had it hereAfor five years and I only got eighty thousand. If I'd a been in Oregon a few years ago, I'd put that on in the first two years. I used to go do\m there and trade in the car and they said come back when you get five hundred miles or two days, and I was back. They said, "Have you got five hundred on?" And I said, "Look at it." I.ell, they said, "You put that on now?" I said, "Well I got the car to drive it. Yes I got the car to use it," said, "be using it." (Chuckles)
Next week Twag back there for the thousand checkup. And about two more weeks and I had two thousand on it, go back in. I liked to drive and that never tires me, that doesn't bother me now, only I don't want to be on the highway after dark. But in the daytime when I get out on the road, I'm fine. That don't bother me ab.i. I don't get tired that's all right, I'm just sitting there, I sit anyway. But after you got to use the lights, it bother my eyes a little bit and Iget kind of— Oh, yeah, sometime— I know I come back from Oregon, that's about a year ago, and I left Medford Oregon a little after one and I turn off the— oh I thought I'd drive a ways, and I told the kids there I'd stop overnight, I wouldn't go all the way, but, by God, I was in Spokane here at twelve o'clock that evening. I thought I'd stop a few places, as you come out at Biggs and I walked around the car and had a cup of coffee, and walked around the car, oh, I said, I'd drive a little farther, feel all right, so then I thought I'd go as far as Umatilla, I got to Umatilla and I still feeling fine; went around and had a little lunch, cup of coffee. Ohhh- I thought I go a little farther, I'll go over to— there quite a few towns between Umatilla and here, you know— get to Pasco. So I kept on agoing and finally — so I had the radio on and I got interested in the ballgame had football game on, and that was-the Seattle 60 was playing the Buffalo Bills. I remember it. They were on and by, God, (chuckles) the first thing I know I was out here by Cheney, and the ballgame was over. Well, I set there a listenin' and I got just into the city limit and twelve o'clock and the news come on, and when the news was over I was home. But a few times there I had to slow up a little bit, the light come pretty heavy meetin' fem,they were pretty bright, you know, it bothered me a little bit that's all, otherwise as far as driving OK, but I slowed down a lit tle bit til I got past them again.
SS: Axel, I wanted to ask you, do you think we're heading for a depression?
AA: What do you call this? That we're in now. What is me is how isit going to end? How in the world is it going to end? Can it end without a revolution? You know everything is out of control. They haven't got anything that they can control in this country, no more, that I can see. Can you? No, I don't know. It's too for me. I quit thinking about it even. It's no use. It's going from bad to worse, it seems to me like every day. And what worries me is how in the world — how can they ever level this up again and get it back to normal. When you stop and think, everything is raising,every time you go to the store it's higher. And if you want to do anything and hire anything, the wages is out of sight. You can't ask anybody to do anything for you, 'cause, Jesus, you know the amount you got to pay for it is enormous. We had that put on here, and by God, I'll tell you, it stunned me, what I had to pay for that. You know it isn't worth it. And it seems like every time you talk to them,thi has raised so much, so they had to— well, cost went up.
SS: Have you got an idea yourself of how long it's been going on? Looking backin the past and how long things have been getting worse?
AA: Every since the World War II. That's when it started. Real bad. I nevergot into any after '50, after 1950 is when wages got to go up and materials start to raise and from that time on, you know— Most of that I can't even express myself to talk to anybody about it. I can't find words enough to Ican't explain myself, you know what Ithink, what Ifeel about it.But you know, you take now like I told you the other day.A When I quit working the average wage was fifty cents an hour, in '51, that's the last work I done. And here the other day I looked in the union paper— and the sawyers rate then was fifty cents an hour, and then it was eighty-seven dollars for eight hours a day work! Eighty-seven dollars from up to, now we're in the '70's— twenty five years, you know— how much percentage is that?
SS: Just guessing, I would say about two thousand percent.
AA: Them days people was satisfied,, and lived good— we lived— we had plentyto eat, sleep, had clothes— we didn't have much money. I agree with Lauder on that— he said, "We never had much money, but we had a lot of fun!" And that was, I guess them days that's all we could expect. But you know, there wasn't the grief and the grind you have today. Now, nobody is satisfied, really. And you turn around, you go store, you canretty near put what youjget for twenty dollars.. go to the restaurant, you know, and you look over it and you know it's somethat you paid a dollar for a few years ago, now you pay five or six, don't you? You know if you went to a eating place there thirty-forty years ago you hardly ever paid up to a dollar, you got all you could eat. Now every thing is out of kilter. Absolutely. And how in the worldou gonna level that up, that's beyond me. (Chuckles) I remember I was in Duluth and I used to go out there and— I come from Sweden there, you know, we didn't have too much to eat, that's how I come over here. I thought it'd be better over on this side, and I'm sure tickled I did. I never had any feeling of going back again, any more. But you go out there on a restaurant, you Know, with a big_ ham and eggs, you know for two bits, and all the hot cakes and fried potatoes that you could eat! Twenty-five cents! Now what do you pay for it? 'Course' wages were smaller, but the dollar was worth a hundred cent, Now it isn't worth very much, is it? Around thirty, is it? Or less. Now, I've seen a lot of changes in this country. Now you go and pay— you go and get a hamburger— we used to go over there to the you know and they were just about the size of plate, all you could eat; twenty cents!! And a lot of fried potatoes with it and probably throw a couple of eggs on top of it. And now you go and get a little biteven a ham sandwich now or a hamburger sandwich now, up towards a dollar, ain't it? I never go and get any but I think they are.
SS: They are.
AA: And a little bit of a chunk there, you know, that you can put in your vestpocket. (Chuckles) In the last- I was in the '07, in 1907 when they had the depression, but we had lots to eat. There was no money. Iwas lucky that time too, to stay on. I was new here and we were working at Camp 8 out of Bovill, and the manager,Bill Dear£ he was manager then, he come up and T. P. Jones was the logging superintendent and Deary was the manager of Potlatch Lumber Company— and one night there, you know, we were setting at the supper table and they come in, them two, and T. P. told 'em, or told us that that Deary wanted to say a few words. So he told us that there was— they couldn't sell any lumber, they couldn't even sell it, and he said no price for it. He says, "We have to tighten up." And the Pot latch was only two years old, after they started. They started the mill in f05 and this was in '07, And they said, "We got to let lots of 'em go," he said, "we're gonna try and keep afew," he say|, "and we can't sell any lumber, but," he says, "we're gonna try and do the same thing with the saw mill. Gonna try and keep a few there and run the mill one shift over win ter to keep a few men working." "But," he said, "we gotta cut the wages", "but," he says, "like I said, I will keep a few here, if you want to stay." He says, "I hope you'll all go," he says, "I really hope you'llgo. But," he said, "if you do stay, I'm gonna keep a few." So I was choose, and I was a young kid, and I thought, by God, here's where I go. And I didn't know where the hell to go. There were no work, I'd been running around that fall, you know, — there was lots of work, but all the camps and everything was full. There was no place to stay. I went over here to Lind on the Milwaukee road; hired out as team. And we slept in the barn, me and another feller, we slept in the barn that night, bunks were all full. So next morning we took off again, and headed back up in the woods for Potlatch when we come in. And now, I thought, now I'm on the road again. But in the morning here come the boss, and he said, "Axel," he said, "you stick around", he said, "I'm gonna have Camp 6 this winter," he says,"you stay right here," he says "you go with me. We'll go down there in a couple of days ." And, boy, I was tickled.
SS: Who was the boss?
AA: His name was Munson. I worked with him there little bit, couple ofmonths So I guess I was all right. I lucky. I had a job all winter. I stayed 'til the breakup in the spring. Ya, no matter where I worked, I worked on several places, and they always asked me to come back. And the only place I ever come back was to Potlatch. For some reason. Whatever it was, I don't know. And that's where I ended up. So they were good to me.' maybe I deserved some of it, maybe. Don't know.
SS: You kept going back to Potlatch. Potlatch must be a half all right company.
AA: They were. They were a good company. Like I said, they paid— in thebeginning there they paid a little less, now I think they're up with the top of them. The last few years, boy, they been making money up in there. You bet you. But, like, you know, the company-- they can't make money, they can't run. We know that. So they got to make money. They gotta try in every way shape or form thry could. SometimeAag in us, you know. I know I got m dutch a lot of times— most of the time I got in dutch with 'em was over trying to help someone. Not for my own benefit, but— 'course I got on the carpet for it.(Chuckles) But I think for the work, I think I doneall right, or else they wouldn't a kept me. Lot of time I wonder they didn't fire me too 'cause I did little tricks, you know, not for my ownself, but to try to keep agoin, keep the work agoin'. Trying to hold a crew together and so forth, you know. And sometime I done break the law I guess.
SS: I think about trying to control inflation, stopping what's going on...Do you think the government can do it? The government wants to do it?
AA: I don't know. I don't know. It's beyond me. No, that's something that,by God, all the smart people we got can't figure that out. So there's no use for us to ever think about it huh-uh. No, I don't know. I don't know. You know, you take over two hundred million people, you can't do that over night. And where they gonna begin? And how? That is something that none of us can ever figure out. When the big fellows can't do it, you know, that's but I sure we can t. I hope it don't go the way I think it may have to go, Jiope it don't. You know other countries been in the same way and they have to go back and start from the beginning, you've seen that. You know Germany come back from nothing. They were absolutely down too, to the ground you know. I know a feller up there in Elk River he was a German, he had the meatmarket there. He bought a million or more (Chuckles) what'd they call them in France? What they call that money in Germany?
AA: Marks, yeah. He had a million or two marks bought, you know, for a fewhe bought 'em. dollars, oh, I don't know, ten dollars, something,A I think he still had 'em when he died. They're useless, you know, they're worthless, nothing. And I hope this country don't have to go back to that. But I know— if it should happen that, s . But how in the world can they go to get this leveled off? Everything is out of reach now. You can't keep on going up, up, up and up. Seem to me like every time they raise it-the value of the dollar goes down; takes more of them.
SS: I guess we have to be going, pretty soon.
AA: When you come back again? You come back some time?
SS: Oh, yeah, sometime. But you know you might be down before we come back.
AA: I might be gone, too, at my age, you know. I tell my daughter here, I tellher, "You look in where I'm sleeping", I said, 'in the morning before you go to work and see if I'm there, and if I'm awake." So she does.6c yw know, anything can happen to an old buck like me. Go to sleep and forget to wake up again. (Chuckle)
SS: You know, Axel, you've got so much life in you that I just don't see thathappening,
AA: I don't know. Lot of the old fellas go that way.
SS: That's a rretty good way to go.
AA: Yes, I hope so. It's a good way to go. Well, I hope what little, what ycutalked to me, that nobody gets offended over it. That what worries me. I rattle along too much that somebody should take offense to it. You know, when you sit there and rattle and talk—
No, I don't think so, Axel.
I don't think you said anything that—
No worse than I was, no better, I guess. But I was one of them, all theway. To my own sorrow.
SS: I drank more damn whiskey than I could float a battleship.
AA: As much as you could float a battleship in. That's right. No. I made alot of mistakes, too, for myself that I know. I had opportunities, and I turned 'em down, foolishly. That I shouldn't, missed 'em, missed 'em.
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12:00 - Early camp conditions: carrying blankets, strike brought clean blankets and sheets; today's lumberjack; camp inspector
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51:00 - Women flunkeys started when there was a shortage of men in camps; caused jealousies in camps
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Segment Synopsis: 1936 strike was for higher wages, although most were gyppoing. Giving the men ten days off over July 4; most came back. By letting them blow-in,they spent all their money and came back. The pamphlets talked of "Axel and his Finks." Appearance of lawmen on the scene. Potlatch camps never shut down, but Clearwater did. No settlement of strike.
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93:00 - Switching a partner so a man wouldn't quit; pressures of gyppo logging; Pelton family operation
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120:00 - Good relationship with the Company; moved to Oregon on retirement; driving for leisure time from Medford to Spokane
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