digital initiatives logo library logo

Latah County Oral History Collection

Remembering Latah County and Idaho Life at the turn of the 20th century

« View All John (Dick) & Ella May Benge interviews

Report a problem with this interview.

Date: April 27, 1976 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

Search This Index



Download the PDF transcript

Below is unprocessed text taken from a scan of our PDF document. It's messy; we know. If you would like to help us clean up these transcripts, please email Devin Becker at

The first part of this interview was with DickcBenge, the second with his wife, ELLA MAY ARDEN BENGE, and her daughter, PEGGY SHOTT. The interview took place at their home on Hatter Creek, near Princeton, Idaho, on April 27, 1976.

SAM SCHRAGER: -- how your parents raised you.


SS: Yeah, how they raised you.

DB: I was raised in Nebraska, on a farm.

SS: You told me that, but I was wondering about how they did. I mean, how-- whether they were strict with you, or lenient, or made you toe the line, or what.

DB: Oh ^hey were lenient, but, Ihad to work. Dad, he wasn't very healthy, he had— them days they called it consumption. Well, the old feller, you know, he seen an advertisement in the paper— lung Germine

SS: What?

DB: Lung Germine. Made in Germany. Medicine. He had to send to Germany to get it. So, he took that for six months. And the glass, everywhere he took it up to, in four weeks, it just crumbled that glass. So it must have been pretty powerful! Well, he got all right.

SS: That did it for him?

DB: Huh?

SS: That cured him?

DB: Well, it got him a lot better anyhow. So then, a doctor told him, he said— we was down and he was atalkin' to him, and he said, "I believe if I was you, I'd^get out of here." Said, "You can't stand it here long. Now, if you'll go to some mountain region, you might be good for a long time." Well, he did. We come out here. And that's how we come to come. Yeah. Oh, Dad, he was very lenient with me, 'course, he made me mind, yes. Had to work six days a week, but Saturday night and Sunday was mine. (Chuckles)

DB: I had a horse to ride and got a little older, I had a buggy. Got a brand new buggy for me and a good drivin' horse. Well, what more could you ask? Nowdays, they get 'em an automobile.

SS: What was the work that he was having you do when you were a kid?

DB: Farmin'.

SS: All farm work?

DB: All farm work. Diversified farming. He raised— well, I'll give you the layout; he had ten milk cows. He had eleven brood mares. And he had fifteen sows for pigs; and he bred 'em all every year. Well, that was when the tractor first come out, and so, he had five good teams to sell. They run 'em one year and the next year they run 'em in the fence corner and the next year they all went back to hor ses and mules. Yeah, they wouldn't monkey with the damn things. They couldn't get 'em to start of a cold morning.

SS: They run 'em in a fence corner? What do you mean?

DB: They just quit 'em. Yeah.

SS: Was this in Nebraska?

DB: Uh-huh. Yeah, we was sixty-five miles south of Lincoln. We was right down, oh, we was only- what?- about twelve, thirteen miles from the Kansas line.

SS: Did you have many neighbors there, like here? DH: Oh, that was thickly settled, you know. There was a house on every— well, half section, a hundred and sixty acres, anyhow. But I was back there last fall, a year ago this fall. Well, now, there's a mile through there that they was— well, I'll have to count up and see now- There was one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight houses at that time. Well, when I was back there^-, the house that we lived in when we left there— nothing there. A nice ten acre is gone. A nice mapie grove, it was gone. Farmin'I The house set up on a little raise, that is, well, here, I don't know what they would call it, just kind of a level place. So, I just walked up over the hill where the house used to be,ytjust over a little slope, and I don't know, I'd say, there sat two million and a half dollars worth of farm machinery. Corn planters, corn huskers, everything. Five tractors.A No wonder the country's into it, is it? No, no wonder they're going belly up! Automobiles and machinery's put 'em into it, too.A You put it this way: you know, when I was growin' up, we tried to get ahold of a piece of land or something when we'd get a job, but now the kids get a job, they stop on his road home, after he gets his job, buys him a car!

SS: Were the people there, your neighbors there, were they at all differ ent? Was the neighborhood any different from the way it was over here? Yes, it was. They was more of a clan. Over there? Uh-huh. What was that ? Well, they all, you know, knowed one another, and, you know, neighbored afoot back and forth, Go Saturday nightr and see their neighbor, and stay til midnight or one o'clock, and have supper and play cards, and be sociable. Now, they don't do that, you know. They was all sociable there!

SS: Were they that way over there than they were like, say, around here? Yeah. 'Course, now, this country here was a good deal that way when we come here; but not so much as it was back there. But, it's a slip-

SS: I'm thinking back in them days, I wonder why they were closer back there? Maybe 'cause they'd been there longer?

DB: Well, I'll put it this way— to my notion, there's a different class of people. You know, more sociable. Wanted to get out, have a lit tle fun, be sociable and not be out much. Yeah. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know, but that's the way I always looked at it. Dad and I talked it over lots. About the difference in the people. Yeah.

SS: There was mostly farmers there? Right?

DB: All farmers. Nothing but farmin' there. And stock raising.

SS: Maybe that had something to do with it, too.

DB: Course, they all had a farm. Had a bunch of stock on it. Bunch of milk cows, a bunch of brood mares, a bunch of brood sows. Well, you know, that made their livin'. I know there, one time, a year before we left back there, yeah, — We had— milking the ten cows, churning the butter, feeding the buttermilk to the brood sows and little pigs, we were two hundred and seventy-four dollars ahead of the store that spring, when we started a farmin'. Well, two hundred and seventyfour dollars run us pretty much through the summer, at that time. Of course, we raised our eggs and butter and had our milk and meat. But, we went down to the store and everything we wanted, clothes and all, for the summer. So, you tell me somebody now that's ahead of the store.(Chuckles)

SS: When you sold out, did you get out ahead? Did you get much to bring over here to start out with?

DB: Oh, I don't know; we had ten, twelve thousand dollars when W got here. It cost us a hundred and fifty dollars for a car to ship out here on. We brung a team and wagon and a buggy and a whole lot of house furni ture and such as that with us. We didn't sell out there, you know. The way this old world turns over!

SS: The way it does what?

DB: Turns over! (Chuckles)

SS: What did you think about leaving, at the time? Were you sorry to go?

DB: No. No, I'll tell ya, I was glad to get away for Dad's sake. The doctor told him he'd have to go. And we knowed some folks lived here at Princeton, so he wrote out to 'em and found out, so we come. We come out.

SS: Was it easy for him to start up farming here, again?

DB: Well, you know, comical; We went to Potlatch and got a brand new plow, walkin' plow. Half regular, twelve inch, 'cause we only had the lit tle team. Dad started aplowin' on it with the twelve inch plow, and Dad come on around and I said, "By God, if that's all that'll turn over, we never will get done." We was used to them gangs and all that, you know, it took four, five, six feet at a shot. And that way you'd have to make that many rounds with this one. But, we didn't have much to plow.

SS: Was that all you could use here? A twelve inch plow? No, we just had one team. We just fetched the one team with us. So, that's why we got the twelve inch plow. Well, they're nice in stumpy, too. They're light, theyVe woocUvx keftm^ they're nice to get around the stumps. Of course, we went around and talked to all these fellers that'd been raised around here and all, you know, AVsd .which'd be the most suitable. We didn't know. You got to learn, you go in to a new country, you gotta ask a few questions and learn a little. Who is right up to date. You know, I worked out some there after we got our work done: Dollar a day! Twenty-five dollars a month and board, or a dollar a day and board, or, I mean, yeah, a dollar a day and board. Geez, we come out here and they give me a dollar and a

DB: half a day. I thought I'd make money. Come to find out, it took it all for clothes and tobacco, that extra fifty cents. Just that much higher here. I wasn't ahead.

SS: Not ahead, at all. Just the same.

DB: Just the same thing, she just leveled off.

SS: Where did you do most of the working out that you did, when you did work out? Before you started in the woods? Was it mostly like for harvest and that?

DB: Yeah, harvest. Well, I worked down there in the flat, this side of Princeton there for Bert Roe. I worked for him. He give me a dollar and a half a day. God, I thought I'd make 'er! Come to find out at the end of the month, I was just as far behind as I would have been in Nebraska at a dollar a day. I found out, you're gonna pay a lot more money here than you did back there. So then, out here we took in har vest, I did; two and a quarter a day, boy, that was money! Jesus Christ, uh, up 'fore daylight in the fall and summertime in the threshing season; stayed with her til dark«A That's the hours we got in, in the harvest rig. Boy! And we was with Baine Mc Farland and they were pretty light on the men. A lot of 'em blow their whistle to go to work, and he'd blow his whistle for us to get up. I don't know, he was a good threshing machine man, and he got more threshing than the rest of 'em. That first year I was here, we put in sixtyfive days on that threshing machine. Boy, you'd get kind of tired of that. But, I was workin', good money. Well, that was good money then, you know. Jesus, the hours!

SS: You must have been feeling like a dead dog at the end of the day.

DB: No. You was outdoors all time, slept out of a night. You know, four or five hours sleeping out under the stars done you as much good as six or eight in the house. Yeah. Pretty good.

SS: What about the crew? Working with all these other men there in the harvest? Was that kind of fun? Working together?

DB: Oh, yeah. Well, there's one morning I'll never forget. There was two sleepin', John Burton and George Basler and George wouldn't get up. John'd try to get him upland he wouldn't get up. John come down by me one morning, he said, "I'm gonna set that Goddam bed afire, one of these mornings." Next morning he got up and he said, "George, get up." "Nope." Said, "George, get up." "Nope." He said, "Ive told you the last time; I'm gonna set this Goddam bed afire, and I'll bet you do get up!" The next morning he did set her afire! George» he was in it. It was half his bed and he just stuck his hands in his pockets and went down towards the cookhouse whistlin'. (Chuckles) George come out of it. It was his bed, half of it was his bed and half of it was Old John's bed. Yeah, they was a good outfit to work for they didn't work us like some of 'em.

SS: That was the end of it? He just jumped out and the bed burned up?

DB: No. He beat her out. Yeah, they had straw under the bed. He took a quilt or a blanket or something and got a handful of burning straw and rolled her out. (Laughter) Next morning, he got up. That God dam son of a bitch, he'll get up in the morning. He did.

SS: You say some of these outfits really did work the men, eh?

DB: Ohhhh! work 'em. Yeah. Some of 'em, you know, in the fall; blow that whistle for 'em to go to work just at daylight, and work 'er just as long as they could see.

SS: Did they pay much more?

DB: Two and a half a day for pitchin'. And boy, that was hard pitchin', too, 'cause we went on up the river. Most of us stacked grain and hat was hard pitchin'! We had a 36-60 separator to try to keep a goin', you know. That old girl'd eat a lot of grain, and eat it in a hurry!

SS: Did you have a cookhouse with you, or did you eat at the farmer's place?

DB: We had a cookhouse. No, that's one thing— oh, once in a while we couldn't get the cookhouse close to the machines, as a rule we had — never had to go over a hundred yards, anyhow. And that helps.

SS: Yeah, I heard that women in the cookhouse worked plenty hard, too.

DB: Oh, my God, did they work! Yeah. The last two years I was — Baine and Mc Farland.moved the cookhouse, me and another (coughing spell) boy- they worked. We had a lot of fun, but, you paid for it-AYou know, the laboring man right now- they got the fellers working in the woods, they wouldn't get out and work the way we worked for forty dollars a day. No,they wouldn't. Now, you know, theyAhave forty, fifty, sixty dollars a day now. Well, it's no wonder our lumber and everything's going up, is it? That's what's a doin1 it. Labor's a driving it up.

SS: One thing I was gonna ask you about, along this line about working. Did you, yourself, have much ambition to be a farmer? Or did you pre fer to work in the woods?

DB: Well, you know, I liked woods work the better. 'Course, it was a littie more dangerous. Had toAwatch^everything. But, when you was workin' in the woods, when you got your day in, you was done. And when I went to work, see, they was workin' ten hours, that was before 1917, before the IWWs struck. Well, they didn't strike for more money, all they struck for was better conditions. And at that time, you know, we was all packin' our own quilts. we called 'em. And, I was workin' in the camp, working in the kitchen, and I took two weeks off and I come home and I went back. And it was way late when I got into camp that night. Had to walk about seven or eight mile. Well, I pooped around down in Bovill it got dark before I left there, and I heard some little motor running, and I thought, "Well, holy God, somebody get hurt?" And they got the speeder up there ahaulin' 'em out, or what?" Well, I was going along up there and they had a copthe strike was on then— and they had a cop out there and he met me, and Jesus, before I got to camp, why, I looked and see the whole woods was lit up. Electric lights. And this little motor running. It was in the washroom. So, I asked the cop what was the matter, what was goin' on? "Oh, by God, Dick, you won't know the camp." He said, "She's all painted. Got steel bunks. They're furnishin' the blankets, and they're furnishing the mattress." Steel beds and everything! He said, "You're lost." So, he took me in the little shack that he had there, and he had a steel bed, sheets, blankets and everything.

SS: It was the IWW that done that?

DB: Yeah. Well, they had another good rig that I didn't like— they didn't like this gyppoing and contractin' —A they didn't like that. Well, it's all contracting. That's one way the company had a getting around 'em, see. I could see what wasRgoin' on.

SS: How did the company take advantage of that?

DB: Well, they went to contracting.

SS: To get you to work harder?

DB: Well, I don't know as you worked much harder, cause the most of them old foremens, they give you the whiplash, anykow. And, when they went to gyppoing, you see, well, then— always before the company hauled hot dinners out to us. And when they went to gyppoing, well, the working man , didn't have sense enough himself to take care of it. What he done— he worked the noonhour; gyppoin' you see. Making more money. Well, the boss and I we were pretty well acquaint ed; I was running the slide and taking off the corners, so the first day we was working out there, why, there was three of us, and we got three carloads out and loaded by one o'clock, so we quit. I was gowe in' down the track and « met the foreman and he said, "What's the mat ter, Johnny? You broke down?" And I said, "Nope." "What's the mat ter?" "Well," I said, "we got three carloads out and loaded. We got a car apiece. Isn't that enough? Well," I said, "we quit." And, I said, "As long as we can get a car apiece— whenever we get 'em load ed, we're going to camp." "Well," he said, "You'll hold the price up if you keep that up." And he was a brother to the woods superintend ent. So, he wasn't a bit afraid to tell the truth of- who it hurt.

SS: In other words, cut the price on it.

DB: That's right. The workin' man cut his own throat right in the woods. Yeah. Just by not havin' sense enough to — Well,AI got all the cor ners skidded out and loaded out and then he give me a nice, big team he had to skid with, and my brother-in-law went swampin' for me. two of us, and come along one time just before quittin txme, and there I was sittin' on a log a smokin'. He come right up behind me and he said, "Say, Johnny, you broke down?" And, I said, "Nope." He said, "What's the matter?". And I said, "Bob, we got enough logs today, the two of us, to make her pay," I said, "we made about forty dollars apiece, today. That's enough, for one team." He said, "It sure is." And, I said, "I'm not agoin' above that. I'd rather go below it. Hold the price up." "Well," he said, — his brother was woods superintendent— "brother Tom's gonna cut the price on you fel lers anyhow." "Yeah, let him cut it." So, it wasn't but a few days til Tom come up, and he come out where I was and he said, "What you gonna do? Keep on a skiddin' logs?" I said, "I figured on it." He said, "There's three skinners here in camp-- that is teamsters— he said, "I'm not agoin' to cut the price on you," he said, "you're takin' better care of your horses than the rest of 'em— these three skinners," and he said, "long as you take that good care of your hor ses. I'm gonna hold the price right up." "Now, listen," ' said, "there's another question—" "As long as you stay in camp. And when ever you quit and leave, when you come back, you'll go to work at the same price as the others." So I found that out. He did. But, his brother, Bob, I was working for him, he said, "We can get around that. By God, I'll fix her." So, he slipped the price up a little, see, so I could make good money.

SS: This is when you come back to camp?

DB: Yeah. I was gone three, four weeks. You know that's one thing I lik ed working in the woods them days; you'd work in camp and something fix you up a hike happened, you'd quit. Tell the boss. Yup. You'd go in and he'd^ hand it to you. "Now," he says, "when you go spend that, come back and go to work."

SS: Fix you up a hike?

DB: Yup. That's what we called gettin' your pay. So, when we went back to camp,Awe always had a job.

SS: Did you like to do that? Take off for a couple of weeks or something like that?

DB: Oh, yeah. Sometimes. Snow got right deep there; I took off for three months, one time. Well, I went and I'd a been a runnin' a donkey, and it was agittin' my kidneys.

SS: Working on a steam donkey?

DB: Uh-huh. So, I went in and told him. And, he said, "I'll tell you what you do. You go to Soap Lake. Stay up there for twenty-eight days and see if it don't help you." So, I did. Give me a check. "Well," he sa^d, "When you go to Soap Lake and come back and feel good, come up and go to work." Well, I didn't get back. I come back from Soap Lake and I pooped around a couple of weeks and I wrote my brother-in-law, he was working; I wrote him a letter. I shouldn'ta done it. Of course, he had to tell Old Bob about it. And in the next day or two I got a special delivery letter from Old Bob to come up and drive team. (Chuckles) They don't do that now. Uh-huh.

SS: They try to get one man?

DB: Yeah. He wanted me to come up and drive a team he had. He had a team that was hard to drive, and he had a lot of trouble gettin' work out of 'em. I never had a bit of trouble with 'em.

SS: Was that Prince?

DB: Uh-huh. Old Cap and Prince.

SS: Well, why did working on the donkey jar your kidneys up? What was—?

DB: Well, I'll tell you— they got 'em on cables and they was fastened to stumps. There was six or eight lines run out from 'em, to hold 'em while they're pulling. You know they're stout. If you git coming around a stump or something, and she hangs up on you, you'll open her up once or twice to see if you can't get her around, well, when that comes around, that old donkey's a pullin' her best, and that comes around loose right quick, your donkey'11 just go that way, you know, and, boy, does that shake you. And that's what hurt my kidneys.

SS: So you were running a donkey, then?

DB: Yeah.

SS: You were standing right on it?

DB: Standing right on it. Yeah.

SS: Had you been working on it long? When it got to your kidneys?

DB: Oh, I'd been working on it, I guess, two months.

SS: Well, what was Soap Lake like? Was that a nice place to go?

DB: Very nice. I went over there. You see— that water— you go over there and take your baths, and it changes your entire blood in twen ty-eight days! And, he had been there, the boss had been there, and that's why he told me to go over. Course, I went. I'll never regret it.

SS: Did you spend a lot of time in the bath?

DB: No. I'll tell you, that water was so strong that you take your bath in— I had a room just about as long as this'n, I guess, and the north side of it was all bathtubs. So, there was a feller right in there all time,look after 'em. So, he come to me the second day. And he said, "You never took baths here before, did you?" And, I said, "Nope." "Now," he said, "I'm gonna tell you something— I'm in here all time, and if you can't get out of the tub, lep me know." So, the second day— you're supposed to take ten minutes— it just weakens you that fast. Didn't use soap, just rub yourself, and it'd foammm you know, and by gosh, whenever it'd quit foamin' you're clean!

MRS. BENGE:NGE: How you comin?

DB: Alright, why?

MRS. BENGE:NGE: I wondered.

DB: If I can quit coughin! I can't quit coughing. I'll see Brooks and see if I can get something to stop that. I'll tell her, when she's here. She'll be here after while.

MRS. BENGE:NGE: I already told her. She said she would see if she could'nt get you an extra digitalis.

DB: I've been atakin' two right along, now.

MRS. BENGE: Just one a day. Just one a day.

DB: Two. I've been takin' two every day, that you didn't know nothin' about.

MRS.B: You can't do that all the time, though.

DB: I know it. They're poison. Did you know that?

SS: They're strong.

MRS.B: You get those and I'll call 'em in to the drugstore, so they'll be filled.

DB: They're poison. Ya get too much of it.

SS: You said this guy was going to— told you to let him know if you couldn't get out of the bath. After you were in there for ten minu tes. Did you need him?

DB: No. I made it. But I had to roll over and get on my hands and knees to get out. It was just that—

SS: Strong.

DB: went in there and I wondered, you know— they had two tables in there, and I don't know how long trey was - they must have been fortyfive feet. And they was full, all time. Jesus, I walked in there the second morning— a feller he'd be eatin' away and drop everything ,went to the toilet. Oh, she does clean you up! nmimmmm.

SS: So you come back pretty much as good as new, then?

DB: Oh, ya. Felt good and limber as a cat. Slept well of nights. Before, when my kidneys bothered me, had to get up about ten or twelve times of a night, you know. That weakens a fella.

SS: But you didn't go back on the donkey after that, did you?

DB: Huh?

SS: You didn't go back on the donkey, then?

DB: Yeah. Yeah, I went back and finished the job. It didn't take but a little bit.

SS: You know, this talking about gyppoing— you said the IWW, they was against gyppoing.

DB: They was.

SS: Were you ag#_nst it, too.'

DB: Well, I didn't care for it. I knowed— we didn't gyppo a week til I could see what was going to happen. The lumberjack was gonna cut his own throat. Working noonhour, and all. Well, before, you know, the company always brung us out a hot lunch at noon. Well, Then they all ordered— when they got to gyppoing, they all ordered lunch buckets. Well, they sent and got half a carload of lunch buckets and give 'em all one.A In about two weeks, why, the cook said, "There's no use in making lunches any more."

SS: Was a hot lunch better?

DB: Oh, boy, yeah. Brung her out there, you know, covered up and wrapped up, smokin' hot. If it was rainin' or something, it taste awful good! There one time, and they hadn't taken the hot lunch away from 'em but a few days and it was rainin'. And they was settin' out there under a tree eatin1, and this one feller^was agrouchin' about it. He liked the hot lunch. And another feller was a settin' there by him, he says, "You son of a bitch, I hope you starve to death on it." Says, "You wanted it, you got it! ^Eat her, Goddamn, you." (chuckles) Yeah, them old buzzards, you know, they come ^straight out with it. They didn't beat around the bush. I liked to work in the woods. God bless it. There was lots of fun.

SS: You're saying though, that the foremen kind of drove the men some times.

DB: They used to, yeah.

SS: How did that work? I would think the men wouldn't care for that very much.

DB: Well, they was all used to it the early days. You know, them old foremens, they used to— we had one over here on the steel gang, and lots of times they had the logging gangs and then they'd bring the steel gangs in. And Mc Quarlan run the steel gang. Now, he'd go ev ery morning, or at noon, kick your door open and,"Roll up and roll out!" Well, that was it. You'd either roll your soogans and get ready to travel or go to work. It was that way at morning and that way at noon. So, a man was used to it. They never thought nothin' about it. IWW took it over and they kinda changed things. But, then, you know, the gyppo then he kinda taken over and he'd get up from the table eatin' his last hotcake). before he got to the barn to get his team, so he could get to work.

SS: It sounds like some of these guys like T.P. Jonts' brother, Bob Jones, it sounds like he was a little more—

DB: Lenient.

SS: Yeah.

DB: Lenient with the crew.

SS: But most of these guys would try to get everything out of you they could.

DB: That's right. Yep.

SS: Did that do anything for them? Did that give them more money? Make 'em look better? Why were they pushing the men like that?

DB: Oh, that, I don't know. But, you take every camp; I worked in sev eral of 'em, all the foremen,they got their men. They got their pets. And they favor them. Well, all you can do, is let it go, I guess. Or, that's the way they did. Yeah.

SS: Would the foreman's pets be their personal friends?

DB: Oh, yeah. Had one, Tom Kelly, I worked for him over at Camp 5. I worked in the kitchen there for eighteen months.A I never did like it. Then, I come down home, had two carloads of wood to haul out, down to Princeton, cordwood, we'd cut that winter and so I was gettin' that out. And T.P. sent me a letter to come up; had a new job for me. He knowed I didn't like it, so I went up and he put me to scal ing, out in the woods. That was good. That wasn't hard work; easy. So, there was nothin' to that.h One winter there, he was down to Camp 6, and I was scaling down there. There was seventeen saws to scale after. That makes lots of logs, in good timber, that is, it don't make as many logs^to scale. Yep. He'd drop the work right onto you, don't think he wouldn't. Well, I'll tell you what he was, he was an old railroad cook. He was cooking on the line when they put the In land through to Moscow from Spokane. Well, he cooked on that. And the feller that was cookin' there then had flunkied for him down here at Palouse, when they was amakin' that cut there. Shorty Tribble. Hersheil's brother was cookin'. He was working on the kitchen, there and Tom learnt him to cook. That old Tom was a good cook.

SS: That's where Shorty Tribble learned? From Tom Kelly?

DB: Tom Kelly, yeah. .It was along one fall, we was workin' there; Shorty could not make any bread worth a darn to eat. He tried it for four or five days andRKelly^had a certain place to eat— they all had their certain place to eat at the table—every time I'd go by Tom he'd grin and he'd shake his head and point at the bread. So, one morning he come in there and he said, "What's the matter?- he always called the cook Palouser—

SS: What did he say?

DB: Called him Palouser.

SS: Palouser?

DB: Yeah. Said, "What's the matter, Palouser? What's the matter with your bread?" Shorty said, "I don't know, I've done every damn thing I can think to do to it, and I can't make it come out of it." "Well," Tom said, "I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll go turn the crew on out the rest of 'em, and see that they're all workin', then I'll come back and wash and put on aclean shirt and show you how." So he did, he back in about a half an hour or an hour. He worked the bread down and he throwed it up on the— Now, he said, "just let that go. Don't touch it. That bread," he said, "don't work it down." Said, "You've been aworkin' it down two or three times, but don't do it on this." So, Shorty did. Gee* we had good bread for supper. He come in, looked at me and winked, and he said, "Hey, Palouser, how'd your bread come out?" Old Shorty said, "Alright, I guess." (Chuckles) He knew damn well Tom was tryin' to get a raise out of him, and he seen that wasn't going to happen.

SS: He wouldn't let it rise?


SS: He wasn't lettin' it rise?

DB: Yeah. Now, I'll tell you what had happened: It was along, oh, right after the first of the year and there was newAwheat, and Tom said that new wheat, you couldn't work it like you did the old wheat. If you did, it wouldn't rise up. Well, after it set a while, Shorty done like Tom done, from then on, he mixed her up, worked her down and throwed her up on the bread rack and let her go til she started to run over the edge of the pan and „then take her down, rolled her out, put her in a pan and let her raise again, and bake 'em. He had good bread. So, I learned something, too.

SS: I heard that the men were pretty particular about the food.

DB: Oh, you take a bunch of old lumberjacks is the hardest layout to cook for that there is. One time they didn't have— oh, they had— it was iust after the strike and they was kinda settlin' down, and they had— boy that was comin' back in, and so they talked to a bunch of 'expand they said "Well today was thet last day. What's the matter?" Well, they said, "We're going down tomorrow." "What's the matter?" "Well," said, "We can get ten cents an hour more over at Blackwell and Rutledge." Well, of course, they's a regular old-time bunch of jacks. I didn't pay no attention to that. But I knowed there was something and I couldn't figure it out. Well, they drawed all their money went into Spokane and blowed in and come back. I think they come back to Rutledge's, there at Coeur d'Alene. Well, they worked there one payday, and here they come back. "What's the matter? I thought you fellers was going over there to make big money?" "Well," said, "the money was alright, but they the goddam chuck, we couldn't eat her." There it was. 'Course, they could al ways bla^e it onto the chuck, you know. Yep, you could always blame it onto the chuck! He was a good cook; Shorty was a good cook. He always cooked everything good and done and good flavor, good taste to it. And the best meat cutter I ever saw. Well, he had a butcher shop of his own, and he could get you a good steak right up around the horn. (Chuckles) Boy, I never seen a man could cut meat like he could and save it. Save on it, see.

SS: And you were talking about being a teamster and with this team of horses that was a tough one to handle, and you were telling me about that when I was here last time, but I couldn't figure why you could handle 'em when these other teamsters like this good one couldn't. Why was it?

DB: Well, it's the way I treated 'em. You know, a horse is like a human being, you got to treat him good if you get anything out of him. And what happened to this feller— they tried to whipbreak him and couldn't. So, I went to put the harness on him that morning and, boy,^went behind him and he kicked at me,; both feet! "Well," I said, "that won't work, so I'll try it the other way." Well, they had a place built up between the horses, and I got over next to the »rf and went up to the front end, and he struck at me. "Well," I said, "this won't work." And I had the blacksmith, and the barn boss and bullcook and all of us, and we couldn't get the harness on. He said, "What're you gonna do?" I said, "I'm going "h go get some sugar." So I went and got a cup of sugar; give him a bite or two, you knowm- m-m-, that was good. Right there's where we got in friends! I didn't know then what had happened to him. I knowed there was some thing, but I just couldn't figure it out— what they'd done to him that made him that bad. The third day, the other team, he drug out a log, and oh, they was a limb on it, eightj ten feet long and it was layin' in the road and I didn't want to get the old feller tangled up in it and get him to kicking at me out there, so I walked around in front of him and picked it up, and when I picked it up, here he come with mouth open and apawin' the air! And I said, "Oh, I know what's the matter with you now. They tried to whipbreak you, didn't they?" And the breaking went the other way. So, we got along pret ty good from then on.

SS: This deal— you told me about this deal that the foreman made. He said he'd pay you and that you also could get—

DB: Ye I got day's wages out of it besides.

SS: And you got money for the scaling, you got gyppo for the scale" Is that right?

DB: No. Yeah, I got the scale out of it, but then I got a day's labor for driving the team— for driving

SS: How much of the scale did you get?

DB: Oh, just whatever we could get a day. It was a good team, and I was careful about breakin' 'em. They'd fell every time you asked 'em. And that's what helps, you know. So, I come out alright. An old foreman, Tracy, Art Tracy, he come around in a day or two and I was workin' the old feller, and he said, "You and Old Hogle jobbed me,," "No, who jobbed who." And he said, "You two." I said, "If you think you can handle him, go ahead. Just pick you up a little switch and pick up the lines and see how you come out." "Oh, no, he said, "I won't do that." "Well," I said, "what're you hollering about?" "Well," he said, "I still think you fellers jobbed me." "Well, alright.If that's your belief, go ahead." But I did, I worked there, oh, I worked him, I guess, about two months and a half. So Old Nogle.he come down one day and he come out in the woods and he was standing there at tfefc skidway and he said, "Dick," he said, "don't you think that we've pulled Old Tracy's leg long enough?" "Well, , you're arunnin' it." "Well," he said, "I'm gonna give you back your old team. And, I'll put Jee Pierson with that team." Says, "He's a nice easy skinner." So Nogle asked me what was the matter with the horse, and I just up and told him. And when Joe left there, Joe was there about eighteen months, when he left, Nogle the give him team. That was the last of old Cap and Prince in the woods. He took 'em home. Nogle did. I said, "Why in the name of God, did you do that fer?" "Well." he said, "if somebody else gets him beat' him, and he's too good a horse for that." I know Joe won't. So, Jee didn't, and Joe kept him til he died. Went out in the woods one day and the old feller just started up the hill, and he got about half way up it, and Joe he wanted to give 'em a rest; hollered "Whoa," and the old feller just fell over dead. Yeah.

SS: Ihe name was Cap and Prince?

DB: Uh-huh. Yeah. Boy, they that black horse. Had an awful good skinner from Palouse, he brung 'em down to Bovill. He unharnes sed the bay, but I knowed him, I knowed the team was acomin1 that day, and he said, "Dick, I brung a team down fer you to work." And I said, "Old Cap and Prince?" "Yeah." He said, "Prince still got the harness on him." I said, "I thought you was a good skinner." "Well," he said, "not for that one." And I said, "Well, what's the matter with you?" Red Lucas, was his name. "Well," he said, "I don't know, I don't want to undo him." "Alright." "Well," I said, "we'll wait til after supper. I'll go up and pull the harnesSfvof him." I went up, walked in, and called him by name, and he just looked rigght straight at me, laid his head right back again his rib and looked at me, right in the face with those eyes. I got a little closer and he commenced ahuntin' sugar. Just nuzzled me under the arms and all over! Well, I didn't have any, but soon as I got the harness off of him, and got him curried, I went down and took out some sugar and give him. The old feller hadn't forgot, and neither had I.

SS: Did you like working with horses better than the other kinds of work in the woods?

Well, yes. See, I was raised on a farm, and I liked horses better'n I did Cats. 'Course now, I coulda had— well, the company got the Cats in 1918, put 'em in there at Camp 6, and Morgan and I was asawin' logs, and they brung a Cat out where we were workin'. They had no rockrails on 'em, you couldn't keep 'em on the track, run over a little stickyand she'd run off of the track, and Oh, boy! Have to hunt another stick and unhitch it, back it up, run it out and get it out and get you a pole you could lay under it and run that one side so's you could climb back on again. Ahh!A That was the old Holt. You know, coming home and getting a chance to stay at home, would be real

DB: Well, down below here, now, the folks lived down there— two mile and a quarter, right down the creek there, well, that was long before I was married. When I come down here I stayed at home. And save that dollar — what was we paytathen? I believe we was payin' a dol lar and twenty cents a day board— save that. Yup. But, a feller staying to home, he's not with the crew, and there's lots of things he can do with his team up there of an evening; dress 'em up and curry 'em up, kinda slick 'em up. Take good care of 'em. So, I had one team there, a bay team I drove, oh, about five years, I guess Wtter And Old Nogle he came out one day and he said, "You got any idea, Dick, how many logs that you've skidded with that team?" "NopeV "Well," he said, "you've skidded enough logs with that team to cordu roy a road to Seattle and half way back." And, I said, "Jesus Christ, you done a lot of figuring, didn't you?" "#ope," he said, " didn't do that. Said, "Black did." Well, he took, I think, four hundred logs and figured up the width of each log— course, it was right on there, could get it right off of the scale book, and he just figured it up. God, he was good in figures. I wish I was as good as he was. be talkin' about something, loggin' or somethin', he'd stand there and listen, and he'd have it all figured up when you got done talkin'! You know a feller like that's pretty good.

SS: What did he do there?

DB: Huh?

SS: What was his job there?

DB: Clerkin'. Ya, he done all the figuring for the camp. But, he got told there— Boy, I never got so tickled in my life: we was always Kelly breaking our decking lines, they was all old- And said, "Dick, I'm going into camp." "What you going into camp for?" I broke my. decking line twice, while he was there He said, "I'm gonna get you fellers some new deckin' lines." He said, "I'm gettin' tired a the way you're breakin' 'em." And all this and that, and he 5--Hd, KV^t: gonna stop it. So, he said, "I believe I'll go in right now and have Black"— that was the clerk, the feller that was good with figures- Well, it was only one more day to payday; end of the month. Kelly told him,Asaid, "Black, I want you to go to town"— we didn't have no phone out there— "and phone out to Bovill and order a barrel of chain: decking line."

SS: What kind of chain?

DB: Deckin' line.

SS: You said, barley chain, did you say?

DB: A barrel of chain.

SS: A barrel of chain.

DB: It come in barrels. Oh, the barrels was, I don't know, I guess they'd hold fifty, sixty gallon. And that was full of chain, they was hard to handle. And Tom went in the office, he told me and he said, "Black, I want you to go to town." He said, "What's the matter?" He said, "I want you to go on down and order a barrel of chain and stay down there til Van comes down, that was the bull cook, and help him load it, and get it up here tonight." And Black said, "I can't do that." And Tom said, "Why?" He said, "I got my payroll made out." Tom said, "I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll make a deal with you." He said, "You go order the chain and I'll pay for it. And the next month if we have to get another barrel, you can pay for it." So, that was shoot ing it pretty straight at him. (Chuckles) So, he got the barrel of chain down there. Yeah, he sure got her down there. Well, Tom was awful good for riggin'. Well, him and I was talkin' one time, I was down to the office chewin' the rag with him; rainin' and we couldn't go out and he said, somethin' about riggin', I don't know, and I said, "Tom, you're the best foreman I ever worked for for riggin'." He. said, A man can*t log unless he's got it." Said, "it takes good riggin' to log with." Well, he was right there.

SS: When you said he was good with the rigging. Do you mean—?

DB: Get good riggin' fer ya.

SS: He kept the stuff in good repair?

You betcha. If he had a blacksmith, and if he didn't keep that rigrin' up he didn't stay. He had one blacksmith, he was here with 'em most of the time, Bill Seii*3 . Boy, he was a good blacksmith. Built anything. Anything that he wanted to build, he'd build it right there in - at- the blacksmith forge. Used to be rainy days, well I d help him.^ Just help him to kill time. Boy, that old feller could work anything out, figure it out, you know, and she'd work. He was quite a hand to drink. 'Course, I was stayin'^to home then and I had an old Dodge car, and I missed the bridge, course, I was a little full, alright. So, I was supposed to come and get him the next mor ning and take him to town so he could get some; well, he come out to the barn, and he said, "Where the hell is your car?" And, I said, "It's down home." He said, "What's the matter?" I said, "I missed the bridge last night." "What's the matter?" I said, "I broke every leaf in one front spring." "Well, why didn't you bring it over?" And, I says, "I don't know." He said, "You go get it and I'll fin ish taking care of your team, and run her right in the shop, and we'll tear her up and I'll weld 'em together." My God, he welded all them springs, and I drove it three years after that and it was still a movin'. So, he knowed what he was doing when it came to welding. So, one time there, we didn't have no welding compound; one of my horses pu!lol a shoe. I was talkin' to him the night before, he said, "I can't put it on. ." I said, "What's the matter, Bill?" He says, "I got no welding compound or toe corks." "Boy," I said, "what am I going to do?" "Oh," he said, "come up in the morning and we'll strai ghten it out." Went up in the morning and he said, "Why can't you build some welding compound?" I said, "Outta what?" "Well," he said, you go down to the creek and get you some nice clean sand and wash it. Just small stuff. And bring it up; chop her up right fine, with the hammer on the anvil." And he said, "When you get that done, go get you a pint bottle; glas^; break it up, chop it up fine." And so, he said, "When you get that donethe two of 'em together." So, I thought— uh learnt something. So, he said, "You know," we shod the horse and he put the toe corks Well, the toe corks held just as good as if he'd had welding compound.

SS: Toe corks?

DB: Toe corks. Uh-huh. So, he told me, he said, "Dick, you know, that was my first job in Wisconsin." He said, "We was eighty mile from town, up on the river. That was my job, I was only fifteen, sixteen, that was my job, gathering sand and bottles and making compound for the blacksmith." And, he said, "I'd help him here and there," and, he said, "along towards the last, I was doin' pretty good helping him and all." So, he told Bill one day, he said, "You comin' back next year?" "Yeah." "Alright," he said, "if you come back," he said, "you can have his job, he's not acomin' back." Said, "That'll stick you up one notch." So, Bill, he went back up as helper. Blacksmith's helper. And, he said, he was a good smith, so he said,"I helped him two years there." And he said, "Then I took over."^ And he said, "He was a better blacksmith than I was." And, I said, "I don't see how." "Well," he said, "he was." So, he learned Old Bill all he knowed, Course now, Bill picked up a lot of it hisself. And he was good, very good, figuring out anything. You go in and tell him what you wanted, and he's one blacksmith that I've seen—you'd be workin', he'd come out in the woods to see how your riggin' was. "How are your peaveys, and^your cant hooks, tongs." How everything was work ing. And if you had something that didn't look just right, "Say, don't you suppose you'd better bring that in tonight, we'll work her over." "That's workin' alright, Bill." "No, it's not good enough." up tell you, if he made you a cant hook and you throwed it to a log, if you didn't want to catch that log, you'd better move back, because you'd have it before you knowed it. That old hook'd never let go!

SS: That's something. Sounds like he really looked after his work. sending

DB: Oh, he did. Well, I went to up out there in the woods. Bill come out and he picked up the cant hook that I was using. He said, "Where did you get that?" And, I said, "It was here when I come. That's what the other feller was using yesterday." So, Old Nogle, he come along about that time, and he said, "Say, you got any so-and-so iron up there?" "Yeah." He said, "You go up and send me down"— I think he wanted forty feet of it— Clairfe said, "What in the hell are you going to do now?" He said, "I'm gonna make these boys some cant hooks of my own." Well, he made 'em. Well, you know, M knowed what he was doin'. Yup. So, I got a hook out here yet that he made me. He made me two; I used one,, all the time I was sending up. Care ful with it. Never sprung it nor nothin'. So, he said, - when we got done— he said, — I was staying to home— he said, "Do you know where that old windfall red fir tree is?" "Yup." "Well," he said, "when you go home ,"Khe said, "go on the lower side of that and look, and there's some brush and stuff piled in there," and he said, "you dig under that brush and there's a brand new cant hook under there that I built." He said, "I want you to take it home, to remember me by." I got it out there yet! 'Course, Peggy caught a log, when she didn't aim to catch it, but she did, and boy it throwed her and kinda split the handle outta the cant hook, the top end.

SS: He wasn't supposed to give it to you, so he hid it in the woods? Is that it?

DB: He hid it so I could find it and take it home with me to keep.

SS: That's nice. Sounds like a nice man.

DB: Yup. He always went overboard for me. He made me a pair of skidding tongs, that was made over two years and I never used 'em. So, there was a feller there, he was breaking a pair of tongs about ev ery day, and I just happened to be in the shop, and I see them new tongs layin' en the floor. So, he said,^"Let me tell you something, Dick has used them pair of tongs he's got right now a little over two years, I know. He never breaks 'em." So, he said, "I've an idea you better hang them new tongs back up, they don't belong to you.I left them for him nearly two years ago to have 'em ready for him." Said, "He takes care of his riggin', and that's the fellers I take care of first. less trouble to me." So, he walked out, by God and never said a word. About all he could do, cause Old Bill woulda made him.

SS: I wonder why that is that some guy like that would keep breaking it? And you'd never break it.

DB: Didn't understand the woods, see. He might take a tong and thr :ow it right around a stump, you know, and leave the crook in there and try to roll his log out, pulling straight agin the stump. You can't do that without breaking something directly. Boy,^he was toploading, and he wanted to know if I wouldn't send up, and the feller that was good sending up, Powder Puff Johnny, he's hook man, he was sending up, but he worked at it one day and Envl was on top, and that night Johnny said,"I think I'll go down." And the boss said, "What's the matter?" "Huh," he said, "what do you think?" "You think I'm gonna work out there and him a sending up." He said, "Me a sending up or a man like that on top that never worked on top before?" "Well," he said, "you'll have to get somebody else." Old Nogle come in the door about that time.A So him and Jack talked a little bit, and they come on back where I was currying the team and Nogle said, "Do you 'spose you can send up?" I said, "I can try it." He said, "I know you have." Said, "You might be a little out of practice; it'll come back to you. So go ahead.' So, I did. I worked with him one day and I went in that night, and I said, "That all you got for a man on top?" "Yup." "Well," I said, "count me out." So, the next morning we went out and he said, "Who you going to get?" And, I said, "D'm gonna get my pardner, Andy Kidwell." He only weighed about a hundred and twenty pounds, but, boy, you ever got a log^up them skids, that was his. And he never let his chain get away from him. Old Nogle, he come up after Andy and I had been workin' there about an hour, I guess, that next morning, and Nogle looked over and he said, "That little bugger, I didn't think he could work on top." I said, "You don't know him like I do." So, he said, "Alright." Well, Andy and I had worked together then two years before. So, he said, "Well, I have to make it up to Andy some way." "That's up to you." So we finished the job.

SS: You said to me before that Laird would come out and he would check the men on the job, too? Would he do that?

DB: No, uh-huh.

SS: No.

DB: No. I never seen Laird in the woods but once. That was the last time I ever seen him in the woods. He was up there at old Camp 5, and I was workin' in the kitchen and we got our work done after dinner and Marian we went out and theA was loading logs, oh, I'd say, probably a hundred and fifty feet above camp, and it was rainin' a little and Old Laird and four or five of them was there and they had umbrellas and Bill Bailey, he was running the Marian, and he was good with it. So, we was skiddin' a few long logs, so they kept crowdin' in, crowdin' in, Bill looked at me and winked, and I knowed somethin' was gon na happen, but I couldn't think what. Old Laird, he was standing there, oh, boy, he was so interested, you know, leaning holding his umbrella, you know, and Old Bill he swung the log around, grinnin' and looked at me and winked, you know, and he just let 'her down on the umbrella, easy, eased down, eased down. Old Lairdyhe didn't know what was happenin', and pretty soon the handle was slippin' in his hands, and he tried to get it up and he couldn't. And he looked up and he seen that log, BOY!, he left, umbrella and all! (Chuckles) But, he took the hint. He knowed Old Bill was just ask ing for room. Why, he shouldn't abeen in there. Nope. He seen some body else in there, I suppose he'd a thought, "Well, hell, he'll get killed and we'll have to pay for him!" Some of them fellers, you know, they was awful wise, and still they don't know nothin'! Jim 0' Connel down there, I was a unloadin' trucks and/[had the long trucks in there, you know, and once in a while they'd break a cable- loadin' cable— well, whenever they broke one and had that trailer about rig,": where she belonged, she'd go down that ramp and the tongue'd snap a couple of times and when she would straighten out, she'd just break and go right on. Jim and this other feller — Billings from Lewiston— they was down there watchin' 'em aworkin' and they was follerin' that trailer right up. So I stopped the trucker and I said, "Fellers, I don't believe I'd foiler that trailer any further." "Why?" I said, "If he breaks that loadin' cable, that trailer'11 go back there so fast that it'll catch you both, and you wouldn't have a chance to get out of the road." Boy, their faces turned white and they got out of the road and stayed out. You didn't have to tell 'em a second time.

SS: I was going to ask you, too, about what you thought of Potlatch, the town, when it was a company town there. You didn't live there much did you?

DB: I wouldn't live there at all.

SS: What did you think of the place? A company town?

DB: Well, it was a company town; one-man town. And that don't work. A one-man^ if you've been raised out in the country, that don't suit ya. They used to always try to get me to move to town. I was workin' down to the mill, unloading logs. They wanted me to go down there and live. Uh-huh. I couldn't see it. Havin' a hard enough time gettin' along up here. They've never got over it, the town's never got over it. Here this spring, you know— both ministers, one of 'em retired and the other one^quit, from the Lutheran Church, and so— yeah, they was gonna have one minister for both churches. I said, "Look, that ain't agoin' to work, either. It's been a one-man town too long for that." And they got all the old heads in there and that's just what happened. And it didn't work! They blowed up a time or two and had two or three ministers in there. Well, when the Presbyterians, they finally gave up that they weren't handlin' it right. Give both churches a little say in it and they been agettin' along a little better ever since. But it hurts 'em.

SS: x don't quite understand, what that means. I mean, if you got a oneman town, that means that people can't worfc together? Is that it?

DB: No. One man abossin' the whole thing. There's just one man bossin'. And, that don't work.

SS: They used to have a Nob Hill. All the brass used to live up there. Yep. That's on the southside. That's on that hill just as you come into town.

SS: Kind of like there was two classes in the town, huh? One up on Nob Hill and the other ones down.

DB: a Well, you see, all the ones that had the good jobs, they lived on nob Hill. 'Course, the other fellas - just a common man^they would n't rent him a house, either. Well, that made it bad. Well, now they incorporated the town, all these fellers that bought the property^ I don't know what's the matter with 'em. Afraid to get up and speak their piece or say anything, or what. But I know if I had, I'd get up and speak my piece.

SS: Wasn't it a lot harder to get a union and organized in the sawmill in Potlatch than it was out in the woods?

DB: No.

SS: Wasn't any harder?

DB: hard. (End of a cassette)

DB: Yeah.

SS: You in favor of it?

DB: No, I was not. Neither was the company. So it hung fire for about a month, six weeks, so they sent eight carloads of lumber from Lewiston to Chicago, and I woke up one morning and they was asettin' down here on the track in Lewiston. Well, they got her back here, and they wouldn't unload it. Why wouldn't they unload it? Wasn't union loaded. So, we all joined the union, alright. (Chuckles) Boy, they sent four or five of 'em out of the mill, all around, signing us up! Well, I guess, you couldn't blame 'em. It was either sign up or they was gonna have to shut down or get another crew. Well, I don't know. The unions may be alright, but I don't go for 'em.

SS: I was thinking about Princeton and the town. Did you have much to do with the town when you lived out here in the early days. Was there much going at the town, then?

DB: Yeah. Well, we lived there six weeks when we first come here. Then we bought a place, and then, after that, why, fellers kept buying a little property in Princeton and work at the mills. They drive back and forth, but they didn't want to live there in town, so that's the way they worked it. Buying a little piece of property here.and drive back and forth.

SS: Did they used to have anything on Fourth of July?

DB: Oh, boy, did they!! Boy, you betcha. They used to celebrate!! A feller lives over here on the flat, Bert Roe, he always scraped around and got a little fairAin the fall. Had a fair, and he'd sell this and sell that and give money for small prized, you know.A Well, he sold out and moved away. Well, when he done that, that fell out. Oh, well, she had to change. Yep, everything changes, you know.

SS: Did you used to do most of your trading at Princeton?

DB: Yeah. Wilson, down there, he run a store for several years there. That was all, ran two years. And that was right after the Depression. From the company. And I went to work for the county, on the road, Carl King and I. And, God, I owed him nearly five hundred dollars. Every time I went, tell him, "Well, Bill, I ain't got no money." "I know it. What'ya want?" Tell him. "Now, you're sure that's all?" Well, a feller like that, pretty nice. He said, "I know you'll get your money sometime." So when I got my money, why, I went in and paid him off. And I appreciated it.ft Had five kids at that time. Come pretty handy, feller get all his groceries.

SS: Had he known you for a long time before that?

DB: His father had, he run the store there first; his father had run a store there. Well, I kind of think the old feller was implicated in the store then, too. But, nobody never knowed that he was, nor he wasn't. But I know he hung around tne store lots.

SS: Do you think that everybody that needed credit got it then? Around Princeton? Or was there some people that couldn't get it, like you could?

DB: There was some that couldn't get it. They know 'em. If a poor devil don't keep his credit up, he hasn't got much credit. Yeah, I know that, well, when I first got married, I only had fourteen dollars left. I bought a feller out there, bought all his— what stock he had and his house furnishings, and his lease on the place for a year. Well, I went down to Potlatch to get the money and I told him, I saia, I had to go to Potlatch to get the money. Jesus Christ, went down there and they wouldn't let me have it. And I'd done business with them for years, and I said, "Alright, that's fine." So, Old Lennons there in Princeton, he used to let lots of money out, you know. I'd borrowed money off of him three or four times. So, stopped to see him. "Hope," he said, "I haven't got her, Dick, but I'll tell you what to do . You come down tomorrow afternoon, bring your car, I'll take you where you can get it." And, he said, "I'll see that you do get it." Well, he took me down to the Old National Bank there in Palouse; so we went in, he give me an introduction to him, and we talked there for a little bit, and pretty soon Mac said, "What's your business?" I told him I'd like to geta— needed a hundred and fifty dollars pretty bad. Said, "What you going to do with it?" I explained it. First time I was ever in a bank. But, of course Old Lennons had been in there, that's where he done all his banking busin ess. So. "Yeah," he said, 'let him." I got it on a straight note, beings Old Man Lennons was with me. Lennon told him, "I know he's good because he's borrowed money off of me several times." And, he said, "He always paid it back, a little before due, some of it." Well Mc Pherson said, "We'll let that go," he said, "I'll give him the money, don't worry." So, I got the money and come on home.

SS: What happened with people like them that couldn't get money if they needed it, say, during the Depression, and couldn't buy food, couldn't buy what they needed at Wasson , what would they do?

DB: Well, I don't know how they did get by. Got by, a lot of it, on com modities and stuff that Uncle Sam put out.

MRS. BENGE:NGE: We didn't get too many of 'em.

DB: Well, we didn't need it, all time and I'd rather let have 'em that I knowedAneed 'em. I'll tell ya, some of 'em got down pretty tough. Ya, some of 'em got pretty tough. He wouldn't kill a hog or a beef or anything til the sign was right. And then you take— I've seen him kill hogs- Oh, he said there was nothing to it alright, he says, "You have it your way and I'll think as I damn please." Old feller was a little rough anyhow. So, he got a great big hog, oh, she weighed about seven hundred and we skinned her. Well, he kept her for ten days til the sign got right and then he said, "I'll have Mom to cook some of that side pork to day noon for us," and he said, "you see if there ain't a difference." So, she fried it, done a good job; set it on the table. All the grease was out of it, just fried nice, but still just as thick as when she cut it. Well, we got half done eatin', and he said, "See any dif ference in the meat?" Why, it's nice, holds it shape good, and he said','That's why I waited til today to kill it." Yeah. He planted everything. Well, I know there in Nebraska we had a three corner fence come in there on the line, like that, and Dad planted this lit tle three cornered strip in spuds, and the other feller did. So, that s fine. So, boy, that other feller's vines got up high as that; bloomed andxas nice lookin' spuds as you ever saw. So, we was down there one day hoeing and he was out a hoeing. He said, "Yeah, Dave," he said, "what'd I tell ya? Do you figure these spuds is gonna be any good?" "Well," Dad £aid, "they're alright if they don't all go to vine." Dad's little old vines was about that high, you know, and they was bloomin' and growing to beat the devil, and we got way over double the amount of spuds that he got, and his vines was up, oh, that high, and our's was about like that.% ht. asked him, "Why is that?" "Well," he said, "you planted yours the wrong time of the moon." "What difference does that make?" He said, "Mine is growin' under the ground and yours are growing on top." So, I don't know.

SS: Do you know how he figured when he ought to plant? What was guiding him there?

DB: Well, he went by the almanac. It's all marked out in that, you know. I never could read it.

MRS. BENGE: I asked him one time how he judges the pork.

SS: Judges the what?

MRS. BENGE:NGE: How he knew when to butcher. And he said, "Well, when there was a moon, a moon. When the moon ^ heoo and growing." '^ was just almost full. And then butcher. But if you wait untilAit's full and starts on the decline, then it'll all fry out to grease.

DB: Well, I'll tell you, it's got something to do with it. I don't know what. The moon even controls the tide of the ocean. Now how it gets that, I don't know. But I know it does.

SS: Well, go ahead, what were you going to say?

PEGGY SCOTT: We raised rats for a while. You know, well, for experimental purposes; universities, you know. Sold rats. We had two, three thou sand at a time, you know. And, we noticed according to the moon, we kept records, and according to the moon, the conception was almost three times as good during the growing part of the moon, as it was in the declining part of the moon. We would only have to breed about a third as many rats, I mean— don't ask me why, I don't know. But it was very true. And the litters were bigger. Now science will— oh, go fly a kite. But it proved out over a period of years, and it is really true.

SS: That is really interesting. I don't doubt it.

PS: This was just according to our records. Certainly nothing offic ial, but we did keep He had mentioned it to the kids at the university, and they says "Well, this is when you start keeping records. This is when you prove a theory. Where you have the equipment to do it with." And we start ed keeping records, and it did prove out.

DB: Well, I do know when I was down there to Johnny's one day, and we wanted to go clamming. And he said, "Nope, not today, nor tomorrow or next day." "Why?" Said, "The clams won't come in." "How?" "Well," he said, "the moon brings 'em in." So, we waited three days and we went down there, and boy, we just a little late that morning. Boy, all the sand was just bubblin', this way, you know. Oh, I don't know. How did the Indians get by? They went by the moon. And they could tell ya what the winter was gonna be, what the summer was gonna be. All the seasons, they knowed what they was. They had no books; no nothin'! There was one old feller— Indian there, I was working at the sawmill there, and I had four Indians working for me, and three of their dads— their father come up and lived with 'em, and they was Spokane Indians. And that's where I got a lot of my advice, was off a him. He was ninety-six. Still peggin' around in pretty good shape. And he told me, "Dick," he said, "we got an awful prob lem." "How's that?" "Well," he said, "they made us sign up, I'm a Spokane Indian, and they made us sign up and they give us a reserva tion around Spokane. Well," he said, "we had it two years and they took it away from us." Said they didn't have no fish, no place to fish in or nothin'. "Then," he said, "they sent us over to Coeur d' Alene. Sent us over there two years." And, he said, "That was no good for us," he said, "then they sent us down to—"

SS: Nez Perce, Lapwai?

DB: No. That place near there in Spokane— ah—

SS: Yakima?

DB: No. It's right on 95, between here and—I thought that was the Coeur d'Alene Reservation. Uh-huh. No. He didn't belong to the Coeur d'Alene Reservation.

SS: Plummer—

DB: Ahhhhh—

SS: Well, it don't matter.

DB: Plummer. But what's the name of the— that ain't what they called it. It's a mission, see they got a mission there. Yeah.

So, away she went.

So, he wasn't happy about it?

Oh, boy! It burnt him up, when they took the Indian Reservation there in Spokane, the Whites- and moved 'em over to Coeur d'Alene. That burnt him up. And from then on he was upset and backwards. Yeah. Nice old feller. He wasn't nasty about it, but how the whites treated 'em. See.

SS: That was pretty bad.

DB: Wasn't it. Well, they blamed the Indians for fightin'. What would we do if the Roosians come in here and 4w to overhaul us like we did them? Ain't we all gonna fight back? Huh? And right now. That's the reason I don't go for that gun law. They could; they're liable to. The Roosians are not too dependable. That's their busin ess, I guess, not mine.

SS: You know, Dick, I was going to ask you something about the difference— Did you raise your kids about the same way your parents raised you? Or was it much different?

DB: Well, there might have been little difference. I made 'em mind And I told 'em when they got away from home, I wanted 'em to do the same way. If they ever got into anything or done anything that wasn't right, well, they'd have to pay for it one way or the other. So, made her fine and dandy. The boy he got arrested once. Boy, I laugh ed til I cried over that; he was trying to go with a cop's daughter down in Palouse. Well, I knowed that old feller and he was pretty grouchy. So, Johnny he aggravated the old feller then with his car down Palouse of a night. Well, I kinda figured there was some thing going on, and it went on and went on, and we was settin' eatin' breakfast, and I could see, boy, there was something bothering him. We was both working down atAPotlatch sawmill. I'd bought him a good car and we was using rf to go back and forth, and so I could see in his face— we got about half done eatin' and he said, "How much mon ey you got;in the bank, Dad?" I knowed then that they'd picked him up. So, I told him. "Well," he said, "I give a check for you on your name." His is J. H. Benge and mine is A. L. Benge. So he just wrote it A. L.. And he told me what he'd done. I said, "That's alright." Well, he give 'em a check for his fine and come back home that night. What he d done, went to Palouse and crossed that^highway and made his U-turn there. You can't do that. And, he said, "Dad, I know I shouldn't a done it, but I did." And, I said, "Well, what you gonna do about it?" "Well," he said, "I have to go back Tuesday night. Gonna have a hearing." I said, "Alright, I'll go with you." So we went down and we went down across a aerial highway." No aerial sign up. Well, when we come back up the other side, there wasn't none over there. "Now," I said, "let me tell you something— you ask 'em why they haven't got their signs up. It takes two signs one over on that corner and one over here." I said, "They're just using that now to pick up people that don't know 'em." So, we went in. So, they asked him why he done it. He said, "I didn't see no sign up that it was a aerial highway." Said, 'You're supposed to have a sign up there. How would a stranger know?" He said, "I should a knowed, but it just slipped my mind." Well, they talked around there a while and finally they give him back twelve dollars. Turned him loose. "Now," he said, "I'm acoming down tomorrow night, and if you fellers ain't got them aerial signs up; two of 'em, one over here and one over there, I'm gonna see what I can-do with the city." So, we went down the next night and they was up. One over there and one over here. Well,Athey'd tore them down just catch people. Well, you know, that's the way the cop there in Palouse, that's the way he gets his money, most of it.

SS: Your son was going with his daughter, huh?

DB: Tryin' to. The old feller didn't like him and he was just aggravatin' the old feller. Well, you know, you cross the railroad track up at this end of Palouse. Johnny turned in one time and come down the railroad track on the rail with his car, down there; cop caught him at that. Well, that didn't help. I didn't know a car would stick to a set of rails like they do. Ever see that tried out? They'll stick right on 'em! Yeah. You just let your^steering wheel go, she'll stay right on the rail. Oh, them kids, they learn lots of stuff that us older people didn't know.

SS: So you really never wanted to farm very much, yourself? Or did you?

DB: Not after I got to loggin' Nope. Johnny, he, that's the boy, he worked over there for Hugo Walter; he worked over there three years. He was just a kid and Hugo, he wanted to lease him his whole place and furnish all the machinery. He wouldn't do it. I was running a camp at the time when Hugo offered him that, so he come up, well he was workin' at the mill, too, parttime—and he come up and asked me what I thought about it. And, I said, "Listen, you're eighteen a little ovt*~.. You're old enough, you ought to know what you want. I don't. You suit yourself." So, he said, "I believe I'll tell Hugo to take 'er." So, he come out and went driving skidding Cat for me. Well, he could make as much in one month as he could for three for Hugo, see. Well, you couldn't blame him, for wantin' to work up there where he was makin' more money. So, he worked up there til camp went down, then he come down and he worked at this little sawmill here. Frandsen went out in the woods with a loggin' crew. Well, his brotherin- law wasflrunnin' it. ^The other feller thought Johnny wanted his job. Well, he coulda got it, yes. But,— so my boy come up from Cali fornia and he said, he was talkin'— no, it was my nephew— and he was talkin' to Johnny about it. And, he said, "Come and go back with me. I've got a danged good job for you." And Johnny said,' What is it?" "Running dozer. Making road." Johnny said, "Well, I never run a dozer." They got a better loggin' road than this highway is down here Princeton. He's two tanks there that he heats his oil in, two stir fires, three road graders. Five dozers. And if the road gets too bad he can,get in part of the loggin' crew. Old Timson's got to come and help him. Which helps.

SS: Six hundred miles of road.

DB: Lot of road.

SS: One thing I was thinking about when you were raising a family. Was it real hard for you to not be home for a good part of the time, working out?

DB: Well, I was home most of the time. You see, all the time the camp was around here, I stayed home and go back and forth. And the boss, he took pity on me one winter there, and he said, "Dick, it's a little too hard on you . Running up and down that railroad track night and morning. You come up to camp and stay and I won't charge you a cent board." That was Old Kelly. So, I just went up to camp and stayed. Yeah, she's sure, sure changed. Boy, the timber when I first come here was sure pretty. All the hills in here, all around, big old yellow pine and tamarack. We cut her down and hauled her down on the truck and loaded her up and took her to Potlatch.

SS: When Dick was gone, you really raised the family.

MRS. BENGE: Well, I had cows to milk and my day consisted of packing his lunch pail and sending him to work and going out and milking the cows and getting the kids up and getting 'em off to school. Then there was certain times in the year that we did clearing, and that was the hardest. And just as soon as the kids were gone and the separator wash ed— and to heck with the dishes! (Chuckles) And take off in the woods and fix up all my fires and pick up and burn and I had a pair of coveralls.. Working in black wood, you'd just get terrifically dirty; just black. And then I'd work until I heard the four o'clock whistle blow. And then I'd come down and the kids'd be coming home. The girls were old enough and they'd wash up the dishes and sweep the floor and I would do other things and get the meal ready, and then they'd wash the supper dishes and I'd take off back up the hill and Dick would be there and the two of us would work til dark. Burning the stumps out; a lot of 'em. Maybe six weeks at a time, almost. Have to take a day off now and then to wash.

PEGGY SCHOTT: And pack water and wash by hand.

MRS. BENGE: Packed water and washed on the board. And if you didn't think the house got to be a mess! At such a time. Course, the two older girls did a lot of it. And Peggy helped. She was pretty good to pack water in a gallon bucket. That is one of the things I did! And then I always raised a big garden, which was nothing small. We didn't have irrigation. We had it over on the creek and we had a steam en gine, and we'd hook the hose down into the creek, you know, and wat er it that way. And that's just about all, I guess.

SS: Did you grow enough of a garden to pretty much take care of the vege tables?

MRS. BENGE: For the family of seven, potato wise, perhaps and some of the other things. I canned everything I could. And cabbage, I always pitted, and carrots, I pitted.A I sold quite a lot of stuff to Roy Guernsey's store. He had a store in Onaway. I even had head lettuce that I took down one year, and then take it out in trade. Oh, and we always had eggs. And during the real Depression, if I got those things to town, I had to pack 'em.

SS: Walk 'em in?

MRS. BENGE: Walk 'em in. Yeah. And take two water buckets full of eggs, and a couple of kids with me, and they could pack a gallon of cream. Some times two gallon and they'd switch back and forth. And drop the eggs off at Princeton and I had to take the cream on to Potlatch. And, get— we got four cents a dozen for the eggs.

SS: That's a long walk.


SS: A real long walk!

MRS. BENGE: And, I don't know, maybe we'd get a dollar and a half a bucket for the cream. And, oh, yeah, I always bought the kids something if they went and helped. Sometimes the older girls would take the two buc kets of eggs and go to town. And they could always buy a penny can dy bar. Which was bigger than a dime one is now. (Chuckles)

PS: We didn t feel abused, because everybody avr\£ the same thing.

MRS. BENGE: Everybody done the same thing. We used to have quite a lot of dances during those times. Well, we had an organ that worked pretty good; they had a lot of 'em here, and Dick had a violin and several others had a violin, and they'd all come and bring some food; you know, what ever they happened to have, and we'd dance until midnight then we'd stop and have coffee and whatever there was to eat and then we'd dance til daylight on a one-by-twelve board floor with cracks in it. You know, you can't get them if they're rough, oh, they lacked that far of being together. The men when they were logging, hauling wood, you know, during Depression, used to get out in the mud and get their tires all muddy, you know, an awful mess, and I didn't object and they'd bring them in and put 'em behind She heatin' stove and let 'em set there a day.

SS: What?

MRS. BENGE: Their tires. And then get right out here and bounce 'em up and down to get all of the dirt off of 'em. And then they'd sweep it down the cracks. (Chuckles) If they swept it up good, I didn't mind. I never complained, because I knew how hard it would be with no place to work outdoors with the mud on 'em.

SS: The dances sound like real togetherness. Real neighborliness.

MRS. BENGE: Yes, it was.

SS: Do you think that the Depression made people draw closer together?

MRS. BENGE: Well, it sure didn't drive 'em apart!

PS: One particular instance— I guess I can talk—

SS: Oh, sure. Yeah.

PS: Well, one particular instance I remember. We didn't have any coffee. Course, I was just quite small, but, they didn't have any coffee, and our neighbor lady down there in this first house. So she sent Catc.t word up saying they had gotten some coffee and she had a cup of sugar, so she made a cake, and they invited everybody down. You know, big deal! You know, it was really togetherness and gung-ho, just like you were having a fiftieth anniversary now. Big deal! ^Cake and a cup of coffee! Went down, and they drank coffee all afternoon and nobody slept for three days, because they hadn't had any coffee and the caffein kept them awake for about three days! Now, I mean, this is togetherness. You drank together and everybody suffered together. I do remember that.

MRS. BENGE: And one Christmas during the Depression we didn't have any money at all, but we sold two cord of wood at Potlatch and got it hauled down and they measured it up, and we didn't have anything left at all. Just macaroni and flour and oh, some sugar. And I had to get stock ings for the girls, they were going to school, and I just squeezed every penny I could get out of it. And bought a fifty cent doll for Peggy.A And then come Christmas in a couple of days. 'Course, I made 'em doll clothes and things like that, but I didn't know what to have for Christmas dinner, and I didn't have any chocolate; I thought I could make a chocolate cake. And we hadn't had anything except, you know, just plain cake, and so, I went down to the neigh bors and asked her if she had any chocolate. She had just gotten a great big box of chocolate, and she give me a cup of cocoa. And I come home— and see there was five of us— and I killed two old hens and stuffed 'em and cooked 'em, and we had potatoes and gravy and a canned vegetable and I made a chocolate pie, and put whipped cream on it for supper. And we just had the loveliest Christmas dinner that you ever saw. Just real nice! With nothing else, and I don't know, I think I had something that I give her in place of the cocoa. And that's the way it went. And, sometimes here would come a peddler from down in the Palouse country and he'd have, oh, grain or potatoes or something like that that he'd want to trade for wood and we'd trade him that for wood. Traded for a pig or just anything. But, the only time, and I'll tell you about that, -HmlV I was ever really worried; we didn't have any flour. We didn't have any sugar. We didn't have any spuds. We had some peas, but they was weevilly, and I soaked 'em overnight and tried to pick all thatAweevils out of 'em, and they weren't worth cooking, so I put some wheat on to cook. And Dick and I went up on the hill, it was in the summertime. "Just what are we gonna eat? AWhat are we going to do? If we kill the chickens, we won't have any eggs or any money. If we eat the eggs, we won't have anything at all to buy anything with. We got milk. We gotta save that cream for a few pennies."

And Edgar Adair, a man who was in Princeton and he had a truck; and we was settin' up on the hill just a talkin'- "What the heck we gonna do?" I hadn't had any soap for three weeks; I didn't have any baking powder; I didn't have anything, you know, as far as commodities was concerned. And Dick and I both just run down over the hill right over the logs and everything and got down there. "Oh, boy, am I glad to see you!" He said, "I sold,"- I don't know how many cords of wood it was- "but", he said, "I gotta take four cord out in groceries. And if you'll give me eight cord, I'll let you have the groceries." Well, my goodness, you know, beg gars can't be choosers, so we got up there, and we had an awful lot split, and we just blame soon loaded that car full— a big truck load. And, Dick went to town with him and he brought back— He took two cord down, and then I think Edgar got groceries with the other two cords. But, you know, for two cords, you could get quite a lot of groceries. We got a barrel of flour, and we got twenty-five pounds of sugar and we got, oh, boy!, we got a lot of soap and we just got everything. And when he came back by, he came back by Flannsberg, Adown in Palouse, and he had an old sow that had pigged that year, and she'd been running out in the pea field, and she was just real nice. Not all of that terrible fat. And so Dick bought that, traded her for wood, and Flannsberg come and got the wood. We brought the sow home with us. Made a whole fifty gallon barrel full, and it was awful nice meat. Then they come by— oh, I can't think of the name of the guy at Palouse— but he never turned anybody down that went in there. And you'd take a load of wood in there and he'd let you have flour and feed and a tank full of gas, and you got your money's worth for the wood. Edgar took two cord of wood down for us.

SS: So you got two cords worth of groceries, and two cords worth of buying power.


SS: From that wood. And that's because he just made the sale.

MRS. BENGE: Oh, boy! You know, sometimes we get awfully discouraged, but when we look back on it, when we're doing the best we can, and saying a little prayer, and you don't know where from which way, and you don't expect the least, that's where it comes from. And we used to raise quite a few chickens, and the peddlars would come by. Had those great big Rhode Island Reds, and they'd trade me a box of peaches for a chicken. And apples and tomatoes, and that way I could can my Oh, I canned everything I could get my hands on.

SS: They would kill the chicken and just take it with 'em.

MRS. BENGE: Just take it with 'em. As a rule. And I canned about six to eight hundred quarts; not all at once, but, you know, when some of the jars were empty, well then in the fall of the year^there was carrots and cabbage to can, and all that stuff, you know. Just everything I could. And that's kinda the way it helped out, too. 'Course, when he went back to work, you know, after the Depression— at the end of the Dep ression, why, then, it was considerable easier going.

SS: When you said this place in Palouse which would trade—

MRS. BENGE: It wasn't Palouse, it was Colfax, wasn't it?

PS: Pullman.

MRS. BENGE: Pullman, yeah. Whai was his name

SS: I wonder if that's part of the same that came from Troy?

PS: I don't know.

SS: But, if he was always there and you could trade with him, how come you were in such desperate —?

MRS. BENGE: Well, sir, we didn't have a truck at that time. I don't remember how it was, but we didn't have a truck; no way of hauling anything. There was nothing to do but just make wood.

SS: Was Dick walking to Potlatch when he had work?

MRS. BENGE: He wasn't working then, there was no work at that particular time.

SS: That's why you were walking into town?

MRS. BENGE: Yeah. I didn't have no way to get there.

SS: It's too bad that

MRS. BENGE: It was about the same time as they put out this work—

SS: WPA work?

MRS. BENGE: Yeah. WPA work. They'd go work a couple of months— a week, a month— and they got nineteen dollars a week. That was the beginning of the letup.

SS: Did Dick get on with that?

MRS. BENGE: Uh-huh. And, of course, you hated to kill your beef, and there was little "government beef" running up around the country, sometimes it'd fall and break their neck and we'd use them! (Chuckles)

SS: Government beef?


SS: They had cattle running around.the country?

PS: Government beef are wild critters.

SS: I see, win, I see. I get it.These wild animals do die!

MRS. BENGE: Yes, yes. Nothing to waste, though. it, and I don't know whether it was any good or not, but thenAI'd can it. But, anyhow, I canned a lot.

SS: Did many people think of leaving from around here, during the Depres sion? Or would it have just been too rough to go anyplace else?

MRS. BENGE: We never thought of leaving. Never did.

SS: I meant trying their luck somewhere else.

MRS. BENGE: Some of 'em did. Some of 'em did, but we never thought of such a thing. And, you know, my house didn't amount to much, well, it was two thickness of one-by twelve boards, inside, with tar paper between it. And then I had another pasteboard thing that had gottenfour times, it had gotten so hard, and put on top of that; tacked it all over. But it was heavy like that.

SS: Was it pasteboard?

MRS. BENGE: I don't know what it was. We had that on the house, and then two-byfours— and there was nothing on the outside. And then, there was just a door here, and steps up to that. You know the little shacks we bought to build it out of in the first place? All the windows we had was in them. And, you know, they're little squares like this, you know, and we had one here and one here and two back there. And boy, when I first got my windows in, I felt plumb naked! I'm tellin' ya! I really did. But I'd had it without any—

SS: So, you'd had it withoufckny windows in it.

MRS. BENGE: But, we got our place paid for, then we got a well dug, and we gotlifted the old house up and put it on a foundation.

SS: This right here? This house?

MRS. BENGE: Lifted it up and put it on a foundation, and then built on, and fin ally built a good barn. Just inched it up a step at a time.

SS: Do you think that most everybody else in the neighborhood here was pretty much in the same boat during the Depression?

MRS. BENGE: Everybody was in the same boat. There was a few men that managed to work at Potlatch, considerable. But Dick was a logger, and so there wasn't much work for him. We managed to get a payment down on a truck and he went and took it and went over to Joel and around over in there and hauled, to pay for the truck. Hauled grain all one fall.

SS: I imagine walking into Potlatch and back must have taken you most of the day.

MRS. BENGE: Oh, I was young then, I didn't mind it. There was only one time that I remember that it kinda laid me low. But, my sister-in-law was going with me, Lola Tribble, and so I got ready to go and it was mud dy, oh, my goodness, it was muddy, and going down that road it was the hardest walking you ever saw, and I was tired when I got there, and she come to the door and said, "I got lunch all ready for u why don't you come over?" And, I said, "Lola I'm tired already, and I don't want to come over there and then walk back. I think I got a lot to do down there and we'd better get a goin'." So she come on down across the bridge, and we went to Princeton. And about when we crossed the river bridge, somebody come along and give us a ride in to Princeton. And we had some business to tend to in Princeton, and then we walked on to Potlatch. All the way, and when we got just past the graveyard, down there, somebody come along and give us a lift on into Potlatch. Then we had to go to Onaway. We walked over the hill. And then we come back and-there was a lumberyard down about where Carter's is, and we had to walk down there and then we had to go back to Onaway and come back over to Potlatch. And, I'll tell ya I was purty tired when we got there! (Chuckles) We walked every step of the way from Potlatch to Princeton. And I got to Princeton and I went in and I sit down like this and Bill was sitting fn a chair on the other side of me. And the man that was teaching school up here, I can't remember his name.

PS: Douglas.

MRS. BENGE: No, it was the one after him. And he said, "My goodness, you girls look all in." And, I said, '^1 sure am." And he said, "I'll bet you walked all the way to Potlatch and back, and didn't get much ride." And we said, "We sure did." And he said, "Well, how many groceries you got to walk home? I said, "So many, that I don't think I'll take 'em." "Well," he said, "go get them, and I'll take you girls home." So, he brought us home. And I sure appreciated it.

SS: I guess that ordinarily you really couldn't figure you could ask a neighbor to give you a ride, that had a car?

MRS. BENGE: There wasn't any of 'em passed us, None of them passed us, they just didn't happen to be going our way at the right time. (Chuckles) Not a £He of em passed us! But thatj,, either Lola or I will ever forget. I made more fuss about it than she did, but she stayed in bed all the next day and I didn't. Oh, yeah, I walked to Potlatch and back many times. But that was just real hard goin'! And the extra we had to walk. I don't remember, it's been so long ago, I think we

SS: would get together for dance after dance.

MRS. BENGE: I don't know if this is fit to put in there or not, but— I felt just like dancin' and having one heck of a time, and Mosses lived at the house, and you go down here to that turn, and go right straight back it's up the hill Athat little log house up there. Maybe you've noticed it, have you?

SS: I think I've seen it, yeah.

MRS. BENGE: And they lived there. Well, we went to the dance, and I went in and we went right to dancin' and pretty soon I come out to the sink and this Gale Leroux, oh, he must have been about sixteen, and he lived just up the road there. They done the house over a lot. And he said, "May, how much it take to get a man drunk?" "Oh," I said, "anybody that's any kind of a man can stand a quart." "Really?" I said, "Ya, you 11 feel pretty good quart, you'd better not try more than that." And, I think he'd never had a drink in his life. And hid uncle and another fellow had managed to get about three quarts of whiskey, and they'd had a drink when they first got there, and the kids had found their cache. And Gale downed a quart, and the other kids got rid of the other quart, and there was only about that much left in one quart! And were those men ever mad! Oh, blow me down! (Chuckles) And, Violet, Gale's sister come in.and she said, "Gale's deadly He's dead." And I went out there and he was just out like just out like a light. He never come to til the next morning. So help me! And, oh, Violet was mad. (Laughter) And Larry was mad!

SS: Did you know that he'd never even had a drink before?

MRS. BENGE: Yes. PS: Did you know he had the liquor when you said that?

MRS. BENGE: I had an idea he'd-Coodd Ben t .cache, cause if n could get and he'd figured on taking the men out, maybe after sup per and giving 'em a drink apiece. Him and the man that run the comranch, his name was Hans Peterson. And they're the ones that had the liquor. Oh, boy.

SS: How often, May, would there be dances in those days?

MRS.B.: Well, there was a couple of winters there was either a pinochle party or a dance every Saturday night. Costs nobody anything except may be a little food.

SS: How far up and down the creek did the families come from?

MRS. BENGE: Well, let's see; Gages wasn't here at that time, were there?

PS: No, on the hill, which is two miles, two miles that way and two miles down.

MRS. BENGE: Yeah, that's about all.

SS: And about how many families would there be, usually?

MRS. BENGE: Well, let's see, there would be Rozells, and Schweiders, and they didn't come very much, and two families of Lerouxs, and Weavers, and Brownings, and Mc Veys, and Mosses, and Tibbies and Twogoods, and Carrs, and Carrs didn't always come. And Rosses. I believe that's all. OH, Jonses. But they all had young people, you know, like Jonses had six kids up here. And then other people'd float in from here and there, too, you know. So, that was lots of fun. Oh, Joe Pierson and his family; off over there by Baleses. They used to come. There two girls and.three boys.

SS: You said a little while ago that you kind of helped raise some of the neighbors' kids, too.

MRS.B.: Oh, I always had kids and the other kids 'd come and stay a week.

P.S.: This wasn't at that time particularly, though.

MRS. BENGE: No, but later on, yes, and then, too. There was always kids around here. Always kids around. But, as for to take any of 'em and keep 'em, I never did. Oh, Wests lived upAthe creek, too. There were quite a few families.

SS: Do you think that parents, when you were raising kids, that parents acted very differently than parents do nowdays with their kids?

MRS.B.: I haven't been around how they act. Been out of circulation too long. But the girls was going to the dances,A and maybe she'd changed twice, that is, she danced with 'em and she ate supper with 'em and she came home with us. But they were going together, just the same. Or they thought they was. They were making eyes atewe Another, We was and holdin' hands, and that was it. a little older, we didn't have so many dances here, when Peggy got old enough to grow up, we used to go, oh, what creek was that on, where we used to go up to

P.S.: Kinmans?

MRS. BENGE: Kinmans.

Side I

And go to this Flat Creek schoolhouse.

P.S.: Grouse Creek.

MRS. BENGE: Grouse Creek schoolhouse, yeah.

P.S.: It wasn't a schoolhouse, it was a logging—

MRS. BENGE: I know, but then we did have 'em on Flat Creek schoolhouse. Two or three dances I went up to up there with you.

P.S.: It was the Grange hall.

MRS. BENGE: Was it the Grange hall? But Peggy was old enough, at least part of that time to pick her own boyfriend and he'd come and get her. Many times she worried me to death.

SS: I think it's interesting how, you know, nowdays it seems like parents give their kids a lot of latitude about going on dates and all that. feeling And I have the ,. that in those days a lot of courting was carried on under the watchful eyes of the parents, by comparison to today.

P.S.: Well, there again, we didn't have cars even when I was in high school. There was no gas available during the war. I mean, if you did have a boyfriend and his folks had a car, once a month was all he could ever get it, so six, or eight or ten kids went together. It was very, very different. There's no getting around' . There's an entirely different aspect on the whole thing. Now, if a child, even at thir teen to fourteen can't get in a car and go from here to Spokane to see a show, they just aren't living. Where us, we could go to one of these parties, and that's all— just to run off our energy. My boys, we were very fortunate, they lived out here and they all had horses, and after they graduated from horses, they went to cycles, but we in sisted on an offhighway bike.. So even I don't understand this. But mamas working— I shouldn't mention this, this is my hangup— mama's are working; she comes home from work, she's got her own work to do, she is tired; the kids are out of sight, out of mind, to heck with it! In fact my son-in-law— my daughter-in-law doesn't like to stay home— and he says her home- their home- they live in Moscow, and mama works and daddy works— she took care of the kids from the time she was a firstgrader on- the younger brothers and sisters— she got 'em ready for school, and he said their home was a place to come to when you got hungry and "* to sleep. And it was just a house. There was no point in coming home 'cause mama wasn't there. There was no home there!

MRS. BENGE: One time Peggy give me some bad time , and we had a car and there wasn't too much gas available, but this Ernest Hayfield lived up over the hill this way, and he'd been trying to get a date with her and she wasn't too crazy about it. But, there was two other girls and two boys come and she said she'd go, and she didn't know whether to or not, but she finally went. And, I expected 'em to be home; Dick was workin' nights, and got home at two o'clock, and I woke up and she wasn't here and I went out— it was summertime and it got daylight pretty quick— and I set on the steps and I didn't know whether to take off and go just straight up or just what to do, or whether the car'd broke down or they'd run outta gas, and it was just daylight when they came home. I went out there abawlin'. "Whatever did you do this to me for?" "Well, Mother," she said, "the dance stayed, and we danced til daylight." She said, "You said you used to dance til daylight." It probably must have been about five o'clock!! But all six of 'em were there yet. They were all together. Oh, boy!

SS: Were you mad?

MRS. BENGE: No, I wasn't mad.

SS: Kind of glad to see her again, eh?

MRS. BENGE: And then another time, she was going with this Curley Plumly, and they went to the show in Palouse, and they got back as far as Kennedy Ford, and they run out of gas. AThey had quite a bit of time left, and Peggy said, "Daddy gets off at two o'clock." And so they played around so much and finally had toAhurry because it was get ting close to that time. They got there and was running right out to try to stop Daddy, and he went right on by! Well, Giesa, our oldest daughter was married and lived in Onaway and she went over there. But, anyhow, I worried^ And Curly brought her home the next morning.

P.S.: We didn't have telephones, then.

MRS. BENGE: No, we didn't have telephones .. So, people do have times rais ing their kids. Not that at either time had she really done anything so wrong, except that I walked the floor. That's all. And I wasn't mad. You're too scairt to get mad!

SS: When your kids were just little babies and children, were there things that you were supposed to do or not supposed to do with the kids? You know, when I was growing up, a lot of mothers were raising their kids by— according to Dr. Spock, you know. He had come out with some books about child raising and that's how a lot of mothers were raising their kids, when I grew up.

P.S.: We didn't have social problems.

MRS. BENGE: Uh-huh.

P.S.: Really. What we done, we done together, which didn't leave the children on their own hardly anything— like the parties and this type of thing. I was playing pinochle with veterans when I was a first grad er. Because you grow up with it and you learn.

SS: Did you try to break the kids into working, pretty young?

MRS. BENGE: You betcha! (Chuckles) Just recently I had a girl come and stay and— with me. And they said, "Will May make her work? Will she make her do anything?" And Judy said, "Huh, I'd just like to see you be around Mom and not do any work!" Yes. My kids worked. Always. "You better get up and get busy." (Laughter) Yes, they worked and they're all good workers, every one of 'em.Johnny worked.

P.S: But there again, we didn't work alone. We weren't sent to do a job ftirhculfirif we went to help with the job. I mean, there's a difference send a child out to hoe in the garden for two hours, it's pretty rough, and works for two hours. There's a difference.

SS: Uh-huh. There really is a difference.

P.S.: I mean if mama goes out to work now, and tells her child to stay home and do the dishes and the housework, it's very different, than if Mom says, "I'll wash, if you'll dry."

SS: Yeah. Well, you said that you had a run in with greybacks. He said that when I was over talking to Dick last time, and I was wondering about that time you had a run in with greybacks.

MRS. BENGE: We had a cousin— he had a cousin- Johnny Sparks from back East, and he'd been out on the road, and he'd worked a little here and a lit tle there and he'd slept out on the railroad track, you know, and in blankets, just where he could, and he got greybacks; which is not unusual. And he was here a week and he slept in our bed^ and I did wash his clothes. And I saw those funny looking bugs on his clo thes after I'd washed 'em. They were dead and -he took a bath. But, boy, we had greybacks. And, you know, I had to wash all the quilts and all the sheets and all the pillow cases and give everybody a bath in lye soap. We used homemade lye soap. And, I'm tellin' you that was something.

P.S.: I still have homemade soap that I made. And anotherithing that we did, that might be interesting, got the itch in the school down here. And if you think that isn't hard to

MRS. BENGE: get rid of! Because, you'd get your kids cured up and the others aren't cured up and they're just, well, wash their hands in the same pan and they got it again! But I used to give 'em a bath in lye soap, and mix sulfur and lard and rub all over their bodies, and it got rid of it. You know, you go through a lot of things. Well, I think years and years ago, they used to have hair lice, but I never had anything to do with that.

P.S.: Oh, yes, we did.

MRS. BENGE: Did you?

P.S.: When you were in Spokane working.

MRS. BENGE: And you washed it in coal^ Grandma come up and helped.

P.S.: Daddy made us— well— we were going to Princeton to school, I know the report got out, I don't think I ever had any. But he made us saturate our hair in mineral oil, and we had to wear it that way for a week. He wouldn't let us wash it out, and wear a scarf around it.

MRS. BENGE: Peggy was a senior in high school.

P.S.: No, I was going to school in Princeton, at the time; eight grader, maybe, seventh or eighth. And this cloth would become so saturated with oil, you know, during the day and it would run down your neck. I think the lice might have been simpler.

MRS. BENGE: No, honey, you couldn't have been in the eighth grade.

P.S.: I was going to school in Princeton at the time.

MRS. BENGE: No, you was going to school in Potlatch. You went to school in Potlatch before I went to work at the mill.

P.S.: You worked at the mill and then went to Spokane, remember? So, it was during this period of time. When you came back, I was going to—

SS: I was going to ask you now about— you mentioned this a little bit before about working at the mill. And I was wondering. Now the rea son that came about was because there was a real shortage during the war? That's why the women could go and work in the mill? And what did you think it was like to work there?

MRS. BENGE: Well, I don't think it hurt me any. Some^women claimed it did, but I didn't think so. Peggy worked there a year. I don't think it ever hurt you, did it?

P.S.: No. Worked a lot harder at home.

SS: What was the main work that you did?

MRS. BENGE: Well, Peggy never done anything except pick lath. But, I used to pack lumber back over to the green— from the grader back over to the resaw. Or get it there somehow, shove it or pull it. Anyhow, I done it and clean up the mill. But I worked there four years. There were quite a lot of women working there.

P.S.: All defense plants pretty much had women working. Remember the song, ROSIE THE RIVETER? You know, they had women.

SS: Was most of the lumber that you were handling stuff that you could carry, or did you push a—

MRS. BENGE: Well, it come down on chains. It come from the edger down on chains. And as it went through the trimmer and then over onto the graders, and the grader found some board that needed to be cut down, and he'd pull it off, and then I had to get it back over to the edger. And I didn't have too much trouble. I didn't manhandle 'em, I got me a hook and hooked into it and drug it over. But, once in a while— and I never had any trouble getting along with men— because I done— you know, I worked hard— but there would be a plank, a tamarack plank, maybe four inches thick and twenty foot long and green,-and do you know anything about timber at all?

SS: A little.

MRS. BENGE: Well, you know how heavy tamarack is; and I couldn't even budge it. I relieved the men on the trimmer, so I knew how to do that, you know, straightening the boards on the trimmer, and I'd go over there and I'd say, "I think you're awful pretty. Gee, I think you're real nice." And they'd say, "Now, what do you want?" "Oh, there's some boards." And so, I'd spot while they went and packed the boards back. But, they never complained, or anything. But it just was too much for me. That's all. Sometimes there'd be weeks that there wouldn't be any.

SS: Did the women working at the mill pretty much spend a lot of their time together? Like their break time?

MRS. BENGE: We had our special room. And there was a bed in it. If we wanted to lay down at noon, we could, or ten minutes at lunch, you know. If we got in there early in the morning, or something, but, there was a bed in there for us to lay Pretty^comfortable bed. And we had water and lavoratories and a table and earthing. And as far as I know, or at least speaking for myself, the men were good to the women. I never had any trouble with the men anyhow. I worked over in Moscow eleven years; three years for girls and the rest of the time for the boys in fraternities and a sorority. And, I don't thim T lnk Xever had I had hashers in the sorority. And my hashers were just as cooperative as could be. No trouble at all.

SS: You were cooking? How did you find that to be? That job; cooking for the college kids? Was that enjoyable work?

MRS. BENGE: I had been up to Fernwood, and I'd been working in the mill up there and then my daughter got ill and it was the end of the season; she had another baby. I went down there and when I come back, well, I thought, "I'll just draw my unemployment this winter." And, I had cooked in a camp two years up there. I'd cooked in camps before. "And what do you do?" And I told 'em. And they said, "Well, we've got a job for you. The Pi Phi Sorority up here wants a cook." It was just right after Christmas. Well, you just about got to take it you know. So that got me started. But my kids were all grown then and I'd went up to Fernwood where Dick was working, the next summer and worked up there. And then in Moscow in the winter. I worked in Moscow eleven years. I was up there and I had surgery, and they told me I could go back. And, boy, I went back to work, and I thought it was gonna kill me. And I come back home and Doug Schofield was here and wanted me to come over there and cook. And, I sure did take it, because, I'll tell you, handling them boards up there was more than I could— well, it was just about to kill me. I just thought I couldn't take it.

SS: At Potlatch or Fernwood?

MRS. BENGE: At Fernwood, yeah.

SS: Was that heavier work than at Potlatch? Or was it about the same?

MRS. BENGE: Well, it was about the same, only I had to pack about eight boards, just literally pack 'em up four steps and pile 'em for. guy to resaw 'em. Which wasn't very good. Or I thought it wasn't.

SS: Doesn't sound very good to me.

MRS. BENGE: Well, not when you just got out of the hospital.

SS: Well, I was thinking about sometimes— I've wondered, if say, some times those men at the Potlatch mill would have had any idea that women couldn't cut the mustard for doing the kind of work that men usually did. Do you think there was much of that thinking?

MRS. BENGE: Right at first there was. But, as long as a woman done her work— and nobody kicked because I asked 'em to pack that, because they knew that was too much for me. And, al ways, even if I was busy and the lumber got to comin' awful fast on the chain, well, I'd just fly right in and help 'em. Get 'em straightened out, you know.. All those things. And I kept the place clean, slick as a whistle. P.S.: And most of the women were local people that lived on stump ranches. That means a lot of hard work; clearing land,Ait's very hard work. So most of them did know what hard work was.

SS: Do you have an idea of about how many women there were working in the mill at a time? Say, during the war.

MRS. BENGE: About as many as there ever was, when you was working there. How many was there? About?

P.S.: Thirty, thirty-five. In that area. Between twenty-five and forty.

SS: And-

MRS. BENGE: Peggy got laid off. And she took her money and went to Moscow and spent it all on a suit and a hat and shoes and got married.

P.S.: Furniture. Grandma, I bought a lot of furniture.

MRS. BENGE: And, furniture, yeah.

SS: Did many women not stick with it? Or did most of the people stick with it, when they started at the mill?

MRS. BENGE: Yeah, the most of 'em stuck with it. A few of 'em— oh, like one girl I knew— she wanted a rug, and she was a good worker, and boy she come up there and she just worked to beat the band, and then she got money enough to buy her rug and a new dinette set.

SS: The wages were

P.S.: We got men's wages. Which was unheard of, you know. Wait tables for sixty cents an hour and we went down there for— must have been less than that— I started at sixty-five cents an hour?

MRS. BENGE:: I don't know. P.S.: Eighty-five. Which was really top wages, the same as five and a half or six and a half now.

MRS. BENGE: A dollar sixty-five, you mean.

P.S.: It may have been a dollar sixty-five.

SS: You said you just about built the house by working there.


P.S.: So you can work pretty hard, you know, work extra hard for that much money.

MRS. BENGE: That is, I dug the well, and put in the water, and then fixed the bedroom and the bathroom, in here, and then went forty-two hundred dollars in debt and built the rest of it.(Chuckles) But it's paid for. There was more than that went into it, too. See, it is from that there on over, and it startedAfrom the middle of the house and went out. So, see, I have lots of room upstairs. I used to get so tickled at my husband; when I first went to work at the mill, "Soon's I can get enough money ahead I'm gonna put a great big window in here. And I'm gonna put the door on this side." "Oh, no, you do that and the house'11 fall down for sure'" And the other day something hap pened and he told me, "Well, see there, now the house is all going out of shape. I told you it would." I put that in first, and put the windows in, you know, and the bathroom, and all that. And then I built on out, and the foundation around it, and the up stairs and the fireplace. The fireplace cost six hundred dollars. I wonder just what it would cost now.

SS: A great deal more.

P.S.: Two thousand.

SS: At least.

MRS. BENGE: Because it is a nice fireplace. And Dick just loves the windows, especially this one. He calls it his huntin' window! And, I like my house. Every bit of it!

SS: A beautiful house.

MRS. BENGE: It's not as good as if it had all been built at once.

SS: Hardly notice it. I'd have never known if you didn't tell me, really that it was in parts. A lot of houses are like that. We were talking a little bit about whether you worked for yourself or worked for somebody else. And some people like one or the other. You were saying pretty much you think that you're just kind of bet ter off not working for yourself.

MRS. BENGE: I don't know. Dick always worked out. Now, Herman's father work^out^. And Herman didn't work outAtil he got his place paid for and^his kids raised. Isn't that right, Peggy?

P.S.: Uh-huh.

MRS. BENGE: Very, very little. Maybe just a little^in a great while.

P.S.: The world thought has changed, too. The general attitude of people. It is terribly expenseAto get set up in any kind of a business. When we first started farming, and that's not so long ago; we didn't have any money, so we used old bed springs. We'd go along in our pickup and spread the seed, we'd use old bedsprings a harrow. Well, nowdays, this would be out of the question. It would be impossible. So, it depends on how bad you want to work for yourself. If you can stand the guff, starting out. It's very difficult. There ian't any of our children ^do, they could have taken over the farm. But it wasn't in the cards.

MRS. BENGE: How much land do you have now? P.S.: Four hundred and forty. But that's beside the matter, it's the in dividual person. My husband is just such a sort of individual that if somebody else can run a business, there's no reason why I can't But this has changed now If you were into business for yourself, it would be very, very difficult. Even without interest, to find the money to back you. So, I think our young people have turned to education, to improve themselves rather than to start their own business. Not that it's impossible, but far more difficult than when we were getting started.

SS: Did you say that Dick did farm once for a few years?

MRS. BENGE: About two years. He's no farmer. I know the last year he farmed, he went eight hundred dollars in the hole. He is just not the farmer.

P.S.: It's a matter of working for yourself. When you work for someone else for so many, many years, unless you have a dream of doing some thing for yourself, it's a matter of putting in the hours. Then you get your money, and after you've done this for so many, many years, you come home and unless there is someone to oversee you and to tell you to go ahead, it's hard to get the job done. You put in your twelve hours, but the job isn't done. And this is not being criti cal; no way. This is the habit you've developed.

MRS. BENGE: Johnny farmed one year, and he raised a good crop. But, I bawled Dick out once. He had a '30 Cat, and it takes a lot of gas, and he had a team here, but he had three sections df harrow which the team would have drug. And he was going over the ground with that Cat. It just didn't pay.

SS: Well, when we talked about it, Dick was saying he preferred the woods work.

MRS. BENGE: Oh, yeah. He always liked it. He thought he liked to farm, but he didn't. And we was milkin' cows and when he started farming, "I ain't got time to fool with them." And he turned 'em all out. I was working at the mill at the time, and he should have been able to make it good, but he didn't.

PS: In my opinion, it all boils down to the theory if you're working for yourself, you take care of all the little jobs, see that all the little jobs are done. The big jobs'll take care of themselves. When it« time it gets done. But the little jobs; fixing the fence, the little jobs,^you take care of them, the big ones'll take care of themselves. And someone that works out for wages or really don't see the little jobs, take care of the big jobs, and the little jobsit collapses the big jobs.

MRS. BENGE: Dick was, he was a master logger. He was very, very, very good at his job. Excellent logger. And people always come— oh, in late years, when it's changed so much, he probably wouldn't be so invaluable— "Come and look over this timber for me, lay where you think I should put the roads." And do this and do that. And he was a very, very excellent farmer.

SS: So Dick really had a fine reputation. That doesn't surprise me at all. Because he certainly seems to know logging from one end to the other.

MRS. BENGE: Yes, he's a good logger and he understands it, and he knows how to take advantage of it. He knows what logs is. He's just real good at it. That's just the truth.

SS: Would you tell me a little more about this land clearing that you would do together? It was quite a job and one that would never end.

MRS. BENGE: After we got this steam engine, it wasn't so bad. But, I'll tell ya, this hillside up here, I know, I worked at it all one spring. And, Like I say, I put on coveralls— cover, you know, completelyand then when I'd come home,AI'd turn 'em wrong side out and come in and put cold cream on my face. I couldn't wash my face, because there was so much black, you know, so much of that lye in there. But that was hard work. Pick up and pull it over, and pile it together, and chop it up. AI think one spring when it got— when I had to quit be cause it got too dry, I counted sixty-three stumps that I could stand on and they would come up to here. It was getting kinda hot one Sat urday and some other boys was over there on the creek$layin' and I had all the kids up there picking up sticks and the older girls was in the house doing— gettin' supper and doing the ironing and things that had to be done, and Johnny'd stop and he'd look over at the creek and Dick was up there with us because it happened to be on Saturday, "Come on, here, pick that up. You get busy." And Peggy never had to be told. She just plowed right into it. And he looked over there and he said, "Oh, dear,"— and there was a dog a layin* in the shade of a log, and he said, "I wish I was a dog!" (Chuckles) "I wish I was a dog! " But, he learned to drive the Cat when he was quite young, and he then went to work for other farmers. Two years he worked for Walsters. Hugo Walster, down here. And, made good money.

SS: Before you married Dick and came up here, where was it that you lived before?

MRS. BENGE: Well, I was born in Pomeroy, Washington. And then, my mother died when Iwas eighteen months old, and then my grandparents took me to Winchester (Idaho). And I was there til I was about seven. Then we moved to Lewiston. And I was in Lewiston til I was eighteen— seventeen. Then I was twenty-two when I married Dick.

SS: What did you think of this area when you first moved over here?

MRS. BENGE: Well, I come up and got a job as a hasher— working in a logging camp in the cookshack, you know. Waiting table . And, oh, I was just busy as a bee, you know. Just aflyin' around there. And this guy settin' over there, see. And he smiled at me so nice and said, "Is there any warm hotcakes?" And, I looked him over— and he was thirty and I thought, "Huh, boy, I'll bet he's good to his wife." Then I had a blind date, and it turned out to be him. And, I looked at him and I said, "Oh, so you're the one they call Dick Benge, are you?" He said, "Part of the time." And, my goodness, I couldn't get rid of him! I couldn't get rid of him, he was right there every time I turned around.

SS: He must have taken a liking to you.

MRS. BENGE: He evidently did, because, he was right there all the time. He was more lumberjack style. He didn't have anything the first two times he took me out except anew pair of bib overalls and aclean shirt. And one time he wore a pair of Malone pants. And the next time he come to get me he had a brand new suit, and his tie was on crooked! Bless his heart! Yep. His tie was on crooked.

SS: I was gonna ask you about church, too. Around here when you were first married and with the little kids, was there a community church here in Princeton at that time?

MRS. BENGE: Well, yes. But then they went mostly to the Nazarene Church. cause the Nazarene minister would come out and get them, and I didn't go. Wasn't that terrible?

SS: Not at all.

MRS. BENGE: I wish I would have. But I didn't. Then after I became a Christian I prayed so hard — my kids went to Bible School. They weren't com pletely ignorant. And they went to Sunday School,— that they would come to the Lord, they did. Peggy joined the Catholic Church, and Judy joined the Lutheran and Johnny joined the Baptist and (kitha joined the Christian. Johnny's a Mason now.

P.S.: And we have one sister that is a Mormon, and one's a First Christian. Religion is very seldom discussed with a family, that way.

MRS. BENGE: Cora Belle joined the Mormon Church. P.S.: Mormon, Catholic, Lutheran,. Christian, Mason.

MRS. BENGE: Well, that should be a lesson for me, shouldn't it? Yeah. It doesn't matter where they come, as long as they belong to the Lord. We just don't discuss it too much. We don't avoid it. No.

PS.: But no discussions about it.

SS: Sounds like the family, though, is still kind of close.

MRS. BENGE: Oh, you'll never find a family that's closer. You never could find a family that was any clos(t)er. Or that stick together when anything happens to one. They're right there. In fact, my sister is probably the best friend I've ever had. Judy the one that was here, when you were here before. We're just real good friends. I don't think I've ever had a better friend. Sister? It doesn't make abit of difference, she's my friend. We've always been real close. And my husband and her are especially close. Now this sounds ridiculous, because they're not related. Imean, but they're just exceptionally close. I don't think that if either one

P.S.: of them ever needed help, I am sure that's just right where they'd go. And this is great! He's far closer to her than he is to any of his sisters and she is far closer to him than her brother. We're close to my brother, but family wise, we don't know him any more as a friend, let's put it that way; he's a brother, sure, we love him, but we don't know him as a person because he's been in California for fifteen years. And as a friend— we know he's there if we need him. But distance has lessened this friendship-type thing.

MRS. BENGE: When Judy was growing up, you know, and starting to go with the boys, she was a few years younger than Johnny, and Boy, he kept an eagle eye on her. I'm tellin' you. (Chuckles) One time in Princeton the lavoratories was out behind the house, and she come and asked me if she could go out, and I said, "Come right back." And I was helping back in the kitchen, you know, and I guess she didn't even get that far because there was some boys out there started a hollerin' at her, you know, and Johnny just went and grabbed her around the waist and brought her in the house and sit her down! She bawled a while, and I just thought, weii, let'em—Alet him handle it. And pretty soon I looked around and they was out on the floor dancin'. And if she was goin' with a new boy that he wasn't sure about, he'd follow 'em all the way home, and back his car up back of their's and wait til she come in the house. (Chuckles)

SS: Do you think families are as close now as the families used to be in the early days? Seems to me the families used to be a lot closer than the average is today.

MRS. BENGE: We're all close together when we're together, but the three of us are here, and then Clair's clear down in lower California and Johnny's up around Arcadia, and we don't see Clair so very much, she'd got six kids and she's got about all she can handle.

P-S: I think the difference is that , we strive so much to become individuals, they st^Lve for this from the time they're in the first grade on, to become an individual; do your own thing, you know this type of thing. And families are close but when they get in school and each individual goes their own way. And we used to all go the same way. Another thing that's good or bad, but I think it has done a lot to destroy— not destroy— it doesn't encourage this family unit closeness. Of course, we were just very fortunate, and the boys are so very, very close.

MRS. BENGE: And they're all together, yet.

P.S.: Yeah, they're all home at least once a week, and even when I'm down here, they all come at least once a week and sometimes twice a week.

SS: Do you think that maybe the most of families were tended to be real close, like back in the early days when you were growing up? Do you think families were a lot closer then than most of 'em are nowdays?

MRS. BENGE: Well, see, I only had one half sister. And my grandparents raised me.

SS: That's right.

MRS. BENGE: And, of course, in the summer when school was out, we'd go around and visit all summer to each one of the boys, you know. And she had seven sons and a daughter. And, my father married again, and we'd go and visi t every one of 'em. Oh, stay a week, ten days and maybe with my Aunt than that. So, I got to know all of my cou sins real well. And I guess the family was close. They never had a great many family gatherings; there were nearly always some of 'em there. And, then, the ones that lived close would come for Christ mas dinner, but they never come very far to come to a big dinner. I try to have Thanksgiving dinner. I have pretty good luck, they pret ty much come, and you can't insist on— if it was your kids, but your grandkids kinda get tired of going up to the old folks. They don't act it, but then, they pretty much come, don't they Peggy?

P.S.: Yes. Transportation in those days did alter the fact that they moved away. That they weren't as close then.

MRS. BENGE: Johnny has been up here he came up in August, wasn't it? P.S.: He was here in January.

MRS. BENGE: For a reunion? And he's been up once since.

P.S.: I meant when you were growing up, do you think transportation did alter the ?


P.S.: The family togetherness type of thing?

SS: Did you have much to do with the school? Did parents become much involved in it?

MRS. BENGE: No. The only thing is that I gave dances down here in the schoolhouse, About four of 'em, to get money to buy— when we had the log schoolhouse down here.

SS: To get money to buy what?

MRS. BENGE: Seats, and some more blackboards and things for the school. And then the only other thing I done was when they were consolidating and the board said we cannot afford a bus, we just can't. And Peggy was married then, weren't you?A And I put on a small half hour play, and two smaller ones. And then had a basket social and a dance. And then when we had that I got up and announced that if I could get enough volunteers that wanted to be in it, that we would put on a full length play, and maybe we could raise the rest of the money for the bus. We put it on three times. But I never worked with a group of children, or a group of young people that was so willing and worked together so good. And then, another thing, they were all high schoolers, and they would stop as they came home on the bus, most of 'em was on the bus— and Iwould be there and have the hall warm, and we'd practice until about six-thirty or seven. And then they took turns bringing food, you know, and we'd eat our dinner and wash our dishes. And then practice until nine. And that wasn't so late but what the kids could go home and do some homework if they had to. About three nights a week. And we put it on three times.

SS: Do you remember what play it was?

: 0h yes Object Matrimony. And they was twelve children in it. I don't know, the one down hereVas a two and ahalf hour play and we had something in between each play, you know, there was three acts, and it was all one scene, but—

What was Object Matrimony about? Sounds like it was about marriage. Object Matrimony. Well, there were these girls, these six girls, and there was no boys around or anything, and they was wantin' boy friends, and they didn't know, so one of 'em— one of the boys come in, that was a reporter there and he said, "Well, let me put it in the paper." Idon't remember what the ad was, but then, he put it in the paper, and then these guys showed up. And Clair was the cook, and she was an older girl, and Johnny was the old soldier— dressed up in an old soldier suit— that come courtin' her! Everybody got married in the end. (Chuckles) All six of 'em! And it was cute, wasn't it honey?

P.S.: Yeah, it was. Lot of work.

SS: And it{quite a bit of money then?

MRS. BENGE: Yes, it raised the money.

SS: What hall was this? Was this in the schoolhouse?

MRS. BENGE: It was inAPrinceton Hall.

SS: The Princeton Hall?

SS: Sounds really like fun.

P.S.: That isn't the first time you had done it. Other high school kids wouldn't have anything to do in the winter, you know, and gas was at a premium; it wasn't available, during the war; we had stamps to get gas, and when the stamps were gone, that was it.


Transcribed by Frances Rawlins, August 15, 1976

0:00 - Life in Nebraska, farming; family moved to Idaho due to illness

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Father's consumption caused them to come to Idaho; he treated it with German medicine. Dick had to work, but got a wagon of his own. Early tractors were no good for farming. Decline of population in Dick's old Nebraska neighborhood; over dependence on machinery. With diversified farming, they had cash-in-hand the last year in Nebraska.

13:00 - Differences in farming between Idaho and Nebraska; equipment, wages, cost of living

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Shock of using a 12 inch plow because of stumps here. Need to ask questions in a new country to find how things are done. He got $1.50 a day instead of $1 in Nebraska, but prices were higher. Working in harvest: long days and fun. High wage demands by labor.

25:00 - Preference of working in the woods; IWW strike caused improvement in conditions; gyppos

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: He preferred woods work to farming. IWW strike caused a remarkable improvement of conditions. The men hurt themselves by gyppoing; he stopped working after a carload, to keep the prices up.

30:00 - Recovery from being hurt on the job at Soap Lake

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Foreman saw to it he'd get a high price. After hurting his kidneys on the donkey, he went to Soap Lake to recuperate for a month.

42:00 - Gyppos work schedule; foremen worked them hard; Shorty Tribble

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Gyppos wanted to work during lunch, so they gave up hot lunches for lunch buckets. Foremen worked the men hard, as a rule. Foremen had pets. Tom Kelly taught Shorty Tribble to bake bread.

53:00 - Workers who returned; Shorty Tribble

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Men who quit and later came back because of the chuck. Shorty Tribble's ability as cook and meat cutter.

56:00 - Breaking a horse

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Breaking a horse whom they'd tried to whip break unsuccessfully before, (continued)

60:00 -

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: More history of Cap and Prince (team of horses). First logging cats were poor.

64:00 - Stories of men who returned home in the evenings, what they missed out on

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Staying at home, a man can't care for his team as well. With one team Dick could have corduroyed a road to Seattle and half-way back. Black, the clerk, was great at figuring; he didn't want to go to town to order new chain.

70:00 - Bill the blacksmith; relationship with Dick

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Bill's skill as a blacksmith. How he had Dick make a caulking compound for horseshoes. Bill's training. His particularity about the condition of tools. He made Dick a gift of a canthook. He wouldn't let a sloppy copper take the new tongs he had reserved for Dick. Replacing an incompetent top loader.

84:00 - Dangerous situations in the woods; Laird

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Laird crowded a logger and learned a lesson. The bosses missed a dangerous situation.

88:00 - Potlatch as company town; who lived in town, relationships

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Potlatch was " a one man town," which won't work. Even now people can't cooperate there. Working men couldn't live on Nob Hill.

90:00 - Potlatch had to unionize; workers brought property and lived in Princeton, commuted to work

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Potlatch had to unionize. People owned property in Princeton and worked at the mill. Princeton fair.

94:00 - Princeton store owner Bill Wilson generous with credit during the Depression; not everyone had good credit

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Credit from the Princeton store during the Depression. Some couldn't get credit. Borrowing money to set up after marrying. Some depended on commodities.

100:00 - Father followed the almanac for slaughtering and planting; mistreatment of Native Americans in area

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Father slaughtered and planted by the signs. Importance of moon and tides. Indians lived by signs. Mistreatment of Indians, who defended their land as we would.

113:00 - Working while raising a family of five kids; son's arrest

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: He raised children to mind at home. His son's arrest for a traffic violation; he fought it in court, because they'd taken down the signs. His son chose not to farm.

120:00 - Cutting down timber on the creek

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: (May Benge and Peggy Schott, their daughter speaking) Staying at camp for free. Cutting down the timber on the creek.

123:00 - Housework completed by May (gardening, water, selling produce)

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: May's daily work. Burning slash and stumps to clear land. Packing water. Raising a big garden. Selling produce to Guernsey's store at Onoway.

127:00 - Family hiking to Princeton to sell goods; Life during the Depression

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Hiking to Princeton to sell eggs, to Potlatch with cream during the Depression. Rewarding the kids with candy for helping. Dances during the depression. Drying mud off the tires inside. A family had the neighborhood for a party when she got coffee.

132:00 - Christmas during the Depression; bartering food and wood

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Making a Christmas feast and presents in the depression. Finding a way to sell wood in desperate straits in the depression. Trading chickens to peddlers for fruit. Canning hundreds of quarts. Duthie in Pullman would always trade for wood. Eating "government beef" (deer).

144:00 - Building the house a bit at a time

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Building up the house from two merion shacks a bit at a time. Dick was unemployed, being a logger.

147:00 - Hiking to Potlatch to visit family

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: A very rugged hike to Potlatch with her sister-in-law.

150:00 - Neighborhood parties; drinking; dancing

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: She tells a young man that a man can handle a quart of liquor, and he gets drunk. Every Saturday night was a dance or party for the neighborhood. Her fear when Peggy stayed out all night dancing; another time her car broke down. She expected her children to work.

166:00 - School experience with lice

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Fighting greybacks at home. The itch at school. Head lice.

170:00 - Women working at Potlatch; women's life in mill

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Working at the Potlatch mill - she packed boards for resawing, and kept the work area clean. She got help when the wood was too much to handle. The women had their own room. How she began to cook at fraternities and sororities. The work at Fernwood became too difficult after she was sick. She did well at the Potlatch mill.

180:00 - Built house by working at mill; Dick an excellent logger but not farmer

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: She built the house by working at the mill. Working for yourself versus working out; Dick wasn't a good farmer, but he was an excellent logger.

190:00 - Clearing land with help from the kids

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: More about clearing land. The kids pitched in too.

194:00 - Courtship between May and Dick

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Where she lived. How she met Dick. What Dick wore on their dates.

197:00 - Family and religion; family spread out across distances

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: She hoped that her children would find the Lord, and they have, closeness of the family. Johnny protected his younger sister. Difficulty for family to get together because of distance.

206:00 - May working with schoolchildren, raising money

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Her work putting on dances and plays with the school kids to raise money for Hatter Creek School and the school bus. The full-length play: Object Matrimony.


Collections A-Z