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Latah County Oral History Collection

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

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Date: May 15, 1974 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

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0:00 - Joe Wells influence; Halloween pranks

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Segment Synopsis: Joe Wells and family. The kids put cow manure over the schoolhouse door as a Halloween prank. Lou's snoose and tobacco. The Wells schoolhouse was also the church.

8:00 - Getting by in the early days

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Segment Synopsis: Getting by in the early days: making lunches for the railroad crews, and growing food. Norwegians around Deary. Caskets. Ice for Magnuson's meat market.

15:00 - Clearing the homestead

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Segment Synopsis: Clearing the homestead. Girdling trees. Using scythes and cradles.

20:00 - Relationship with Bjerke family

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Segment Synopsis: Old man Bjerke had a homemade lock on his granary. He worked with a grubhoe when he was old. Catching trout with Arthur Bjerke on the little Potlatch.

23:00 - Pneumonia almost kills Henry as a child

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Segment Synopsis: Henry almost dies from pneumonia as a boy.

25:00 - Trading with Native Americans; camas picking; mineral springs

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Segment Synopsis: Giving hides to the Indian bands that passed through. They picked camas between Helmer and Bovill on the meadows. Mineral springs.

28:00 - Church gatherings

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Segment Synopsis: Church social gatherings.

29:00 - Railroad engine

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Segment Synopsis: Firing the little engine on the railroad.

30:00 - Building Potlatch mill

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Segment Synopsis: Building the Potlatch mill.

32:00 - Railroad stations

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Segment Synopsis: The stations on the railroad run.

35:00 - Relationship with bums and the train

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Segment Synopsis: Henry's orders were to kick "bums" off the train, but then he was yelled at for running behind schedule. The bums had spots in Palouse, Potlatch and Bovill to "mulligan up", and slept on the cars; Henry liked them.

38:00 - Building the railroad with horses

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Segment Synopsis: Pile driving with a horse team to build the railroad.

39:00 - Engine conversion from slobber stacks to superheaters

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Segment Synopsis: Converting the engines from slobber stacks to superheaters- this meant the engines needed much less water. Running checks on the engines.

42:00 - Train derailment reviewed by Potlatch

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Segment Synopsis: An 18 car derailment caused by a log rolling of at a switch at Vassar. Management from Potlatch views the damage.

46:00 - Problems with bridges; refusal to cross them

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Segment Synopsis: He refuses to go over Bridge 10 after the sway braces crack; or Bridge 18 after a mud slide, which took six days to fix. Bridge 13 was bad.

50:00 - IWW and labor unions

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Segment Synopsis: Engineer and section crews both paid 27 cents an hour around 1920. Unions forced the pay up. The IWWs straightened out the camps.

52:00 - Drinking apple cider after enlisting for World War I

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Segment Synopsis: After he enlists during World War I, the Moscow sheriff (Jab Campbell) takes the Deary enlistees to Troy to get drunk on apple cider.

56:00 - Freighting with Joe Wells

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Segment Synopsis: Freighting with his father and Joe Wells for Camp 6 with sleighs.

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