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Sam Schrager: Oh, there was a story about Lou and Perry from Colorado, about a catin the stove. Would you tell me that story?
Arthur Bjerke: Idon't know. The snow had been pretty deep and the cold, you know,lfinallyit got so they could get outside there, they'd sat there for three days in the bed, because the water was so deep in the house that they couldn't get out. And they left the cat in there and roan, she jumped off and over on the oven door and laid down in the oven. Well, when they come in, they shut the oven door and never thought about it and build up a fire and then they roasted the cat in it. So that burnt the feet otf from and they had to kill the cat.
SS: How did they find out the cat was in there?
AB: Because she started stinking bad in there in *he cabin. And they were going tolook all over and she was burning up, and it was the cat. It roasted the hair off him.
SS: Did it flood here much?
AB: Hell, in: our house, the house stood down there in the flat, by god, the watercome in the house til it went right up agin the matress in the bed. Hell, I've seen lots flood in there after it was cleared up, a regular .skating rink. Hell, you could skate all over that meadow.
SS: How long would it flood for?
AB: Oh, several days.
SS: What month would be the high month?
AB: Well, generally be along in March, when the snow started going bad, it startin raining and the snow up here is six feet deep, when that got full of water and start in breaking through, by gol, there'd be water all over.
SS: How high above the creek was your place?
AB: Well, it was just pretnear right down level with the bank. It was high forthree years and then moved up oikhe hillside here.
SS: Why did you move it?
AB: Because it was too wet down there. All the neighbors got together and they torethe house down and moved it and set it up again in one day.
SS: Everybody just pitched in and helped like that?
AB: You're damn right. And by god, they were neighbors those days. It ain't likeit is now. And by god, pretnear every Saturday night they'd all get together and they'd have agood time. And when they'd meet on the road they'd always stop and talk. Now, when you meet aneighbor they just drive past ya and look the other way. They ain't neighbors atall anymore.
SS: Did you exchange work a lot with your neighbors?
AB: es, quite alittle. Of course it was mostly dad because Iwas too young tobegin with. But well, I've had this place since 1911, so I've been here quite awhile too. And of course, the folks moved on the place, 1891.
SS: Were there heavy snow winters that you. remember?
AB: Yes, hell, there was nothing to see six and seven feet of snow here. By god,Bovill had nine, Llk River had thirteen feet of snow.
SS: How did you get by when the snow was so deep?
AB: Well, mostly stay home. And if you wanted to go anywheres it was mostly skis,or web shoes. Well, pretnear always got a few sheeps and they cut the wool off from them and spin and make yarn and the women, they'd never go to aneighbor unless they'd be knitting socks or something. When they'd knit there were five needles in those knitting needles,,£8u£nit on and then it was one extra that they thread the loops on and over on the main needle. And the Americans, they generally used a cteochet hook and cfeecheted sweaters for their kids. Now I've seen good many hard times and I hope some of these kids now will never see anything like it. But I've lived through it.
SS: Do you remember the cabin that Joe Wells had?
AB: Yeah it was just alittle log cabin with the bark on the outside with thewindows off of it and the inside. The Indian kids, Iwasn't abit afraid of them, but the nigger kids, they were too dairo black. Iwas alittle spooky of them. But they were damn good friends of mine.
SS: Did Roy and Chuck used to play pranks a lot?
AB: Oh yeah, Chuck you know, he used to play the mouth harp. And boy he liked todance too. And that waltz prommanade. Well, the white girls around here, they wasn't abit of bashful, they'd dance with them nigger boys just as well as anybody else. And boy we just as soon dance with anigger girl as any other.
SS: What kind of music did he play with his mouth harp?
AB: Yeah, it was waltzes and cadrills and stuff like that.
SS: He played at the dances?
AB: Oh yeah. And then the Lawrences come in and they all, there was four boys ofthem and they all played the fiddle alittle and the girls they played the banjo and guitar. Heck, I'll tell you it was lots of fun too^by god, they were all our neighbors.
SS: Would you dance in the schoolhouse?
AB: Oh yeah, therejwas agood many dancAs in the old nigger schoolhouse. And oldJoe Wells, he couldn't dance, but boy, he'd get up and dance ajig. Specially when they'd start in playing 'Old Black Joe*.
SS: Oh is that true? Was Joe a pretty strong man?
AB: Oh yeah, he was a pretty husky nigger.
SS: Why do they call that his schoolhouse?
AB: Well it was built on his place, on the corner of his place, so they called itthe Wells schoolhouse.
SS: Do you know who built it?
AB: Well all the neighbors got together and cut the logs and built it and Joehad a single hoist, and they used that one hoist to roll the logs up.
SS: So he gave them the land.
AB: Yeahf ne gave thm a chance build Qn the landhouse, then Joe's daughter lived in the old schoolhouse for years. And there's one thing I'm mad about, it's them goddamn bastards had to tear that school house down and burn it up. They should've left it. So people could have seen what went down in the olden days.
SS: That's where you went to school, right?
SS: Did you spend much time with Joe?
AB: Oh yeah, you know, he had three kids, was together with the kids. They had onedog out there that got the rabies, and they didn't . And I was over at Anderson's, I was pretty well grown up and Nigger Mary come over there and the dog had the rabies, she sneaked out through the backdoor and they had the n down there. Well Iwent down, I killed the dog alright.
SS: Was Lou Wells, was she a good cook?
AB: None better. She has been the cook for the Wells boys while she was ayounggirl, while she was aslave girl. By god now, she could just as good as any woman in the country.
SS: She'd been a slave in Carolina just like Joel
AB: You bet. Well she was Joe's wife. So when the Wells boys come out they broughther and the Wells boys, you know on this side of Moscow there's adeep cut there? And there is some buildings right across, they cut there. There's where the Wells boys died.
SS: Did the Wells boys treat Joe like a brother?
AB: Youfre damned right they did. And they even helped Joe build the cabin up here.Joe's kids, hell, they were down at the Wells boys have of the time. Frank Wells was agood blacksmith. He done the blacksmith for all the people up in here, and Cram was agood cook. And boy, you never could come down there, it was around meal time or, you had to come in and have dinner with 'em. Frank had alittle black moustache and Cram was always smooth shaved. But he was lighter colored.
SS: Did you ewer heard that old man Wells in Carolina gave Doe money just like hegave Frank and Crora money to cone out here?
AB: You betcha. Well they took 3oe right alone with em. So they all come in thesame bunch.
SS: Did many people stop and eat at the Wells' place?
AB: By god, pretty near everybody that went up and down the road stopped and Bovillate a good many meals at Joe Wells'.
SS: Would there be a lot of people there for a meal?
AB: Oh hell, sometimes they'd have that house full. And ^oe you know, he liked todrink. Well, they'd stop and feed their horses and he'd always have abottle down to the barn and he'd give them teamsters adrink and boy, they waslalways willing to stop there. And hell, whiskey you know, you could buy it for three dollars a gallon in those days. And now, by god, five, six dollars for a fifth.
SS: Did you ever hear of Joe.getting into trouble with Marshall Hays in Troy?
AB: Oh, he got in trouble every once in a while. And, but you know, with Hays youmean?
AB: Yes, and by god, Andrew Olson was there and he took Joe Wells' part. And by godHays out floor head first. And Andrew Olson happened to be married to my oldest sister.
SS: I heard Joe used to go to Troy with some of the boys around here and they'd havea good time.
AS: You're damned right, they'd have a good time. Joe wasn't a damn bit stingy neither.By god, he'd treat just as fast as any of 'em. And Chuck was the same way. But Roy, he wasn't much to drink. He kept pretty sober all the time.
SS: How did Joe make a living?
AB: Oh, hell, as quick as they start in logging,, he had some of the best horsesin the country and he logged by god, now, he took in some real logs. Boy they were good loggers and by god they had a couple of Irishmen that was a working for him,h by god, they wouldn't work fer nobody else but Joe Wells.
SS: Are you saying that Joe was a real hard worker?
AB: You're damned right^Joe would work. Chuck wasn't, he'd work, but you know, hehad diabetical ulcer. So he had to be, that is, one leg, and he had to keep that packed with cotton ell of the time.
SS: Where did Joe log, did he have an operation?
AB: Well, you know, anybody that had logs to sell to the company, he'd take thejob and haul the log in. And he'd get so muchA^^°M89Qdfor logging and that owned the log'd get so much. No, old Joe was all right.
SS: I've heard that Lou used to have sheep.
AB: Oh yeah, yeah, they had sheep. And she had a great big high spinning wheel, Ithink it must have been damn close to seven feet tall. And she'd turn that with her hand and spin yarn and then she'd knit german socks for the men.
SS: German socks?
AB: They were big high socks that would go clean up to the knee. Hell, you ain'tseen german socks or feltboots neither one.
SS: What boots?
AB: Felt boots. They were heavy fait$and by god they were about an inch thick. Andthey'd reach right up to the knee. I've seen 'em and I've wore *em too.
SS: So you're saving that nobody cared if Joe was black or not. Everybody likedhim anyway.
AB: You're damned right. No,^when they built the new Lutheran church, by god, oldJoe put in his share to build that too. Well the first Christmas, they had *i. Christmas tree down there and the nigger^ all of us there and Joe and we all got a bag of candy and boy, them nigger kids were tickled. I guess maybe they never had a bag of candy. No w**h *- fellow sitting thinks' back, it pretnear makes a fella cry.
SS: Did your father have something to do with the first chuach being built?
AB: He was the one that got the $lot for the church and he bagged quite a lot ofmoney for it. And by god, the fella that had the place that the church was built on, he give 'em the timber and they logged the timber down to the mill, and Pete Jellaburg sawed it out for lumber and if they'd furnished the; men he furnished a mill to saw out the lumber. Wail, they got short of money and I and old Olson, we split the shingles for the north side of the church. Martin split 'em and I shaved 'em. For the north side of the church. And it was all volunteer work. And now, it's all being volunteer work, well there's a bunch of Californians coming in, by god, they even try to show us how to walk on the road.
SS: You don't think they're doing much for the country?
AB: No, you're damned right. This neighbor over here, he tried to fence in the roadtoo, and just leave a little, the stred" ten feet wide. But by god, I seen to that the sheriff come out and had a pretty good long talk with him. So he had to move back his fences.
End of side A
Side BSS: Do you remember Nils Lund? The miner. That foolish miner? Over on Boulder Creek.
AB: AYou beteha I remember him. Nils and his brother Martin.
SS: What was he like
AB: Oh they were pretty heavy fellers, ?hey were Swedes.
SS: I thought Nils was sort of a crazy guy.
AB: Yeah, that one of them was. Nils was kind of crazy. He wanted to go back toSweden and he died at sea . And I guess he was buried right in the ocean. Because you know it took seventeen days to cross the ocean.
SS: What was it about Nils that was funny?
AB: Yeah, he wasn't all t,.ere. He allays said there's A North America.
AB: He meant there's crazy north America. This county here* No ne didn't like ithere atall. He was going back to Sweden.
SS: He said this country was crazy?
SS: Did he ever tell you why?
AB: No.But he'd get out and work every summer, so he always had a little money sohe could get along. He had a homestead over there, by the time they monkeyed with him, you know, over in MQscow and tried to put him in the asylum, and he never wouldAgo back to Moscow and prove up on it. So he sold the homestead for fifty dollars. And then he was going back to Sweden. You know, some of these people, the worst thing you can do is wonkey with half crazy people. Because if you leave »em alone, you can get along pretty good with 'em. But if you monkey with 'em you'll just make 'em that much worse.
SS: What was it about him that made people think he wasnit all there?
AB: Well, you know he wouldn't associate with anybody, about the only damned placewould be he'd stop here once in a while. Because dad was one of these fellers you know, he could get along with anybody. If they wanted to say something, by god, dad would help 'em along.
SS: If they wanted to say something?
AB: Yeah, if they were taling, by god, dad would help 'em right along. And dadwould have 'em a-A after a little bit.
SS: Your dad liked people?
AB: Oh yeah, dad could get along with anybody. And mother was the same way.
SS: I heard a story about this man that he said that he would mine where a treepointed. He thought God was showing him where he should dig his holes in the ground.
AB: Oh yeah. Yeah, he believed in God alright.And that's a whole lot more than alot of »em do. And if you stop and think about it, there's some great power that handles this world too. It isn't the people.
SS: Why, do you think that?
AB: Well, the people thinks they know it all, but you take and go out and you dosomething wron$. Well, you get kind of scared, don't ya? wSo nobody don't catch rae.w Wei by gosh, it's your heart that told you that you have done somefching wrong and it kind of scares you a little, don't it? No, by George, I fully believe there's some great overpower from somewhere. But there's a lot of people that don't think that.
SS: I was going to ask you if you remember Big Anderssn. He was an old hermit.He lived by Anderson Crossing. Remetober hi»?
AB: Yeah. We called him Big Anderson.
SS: What was he like?
AB: He was a pretty heavy sort of a man. And Wj, he called him the wild animal.That is, the devil, that was the wild animal and the man above.
SS: That was God?
AB: That was supposed to be God.
SS: Did he talk about religion?
AB: Oh, not too much. A little. But you know he^one of the homesteads, one of thenicest farms on Bear Ridge. And then he laid down!by the side of the creek and prospected and they dug holes in his side to find gold. And rented the place. That's something you know, them prospectors, by gosh, it seemed like it got to be digging in the ground all the time and don't make any difference how good a place they go, got, they'll leave that lay alone and rent it to somebody else. It's just a kind of a damn fever.
SS: He didn't do very good at prospecting.
AB: No. Heck, them old prospectors, there was none of them that done anything. Nowthere was an old fellow Uf here^riame was fcfe- Jackson, he laid up there and prospected for years and he had two of the best farms in the Genesee country and had them rented away. And he spent all the' money he got down there on up there on thcst prospect holes.
SS: Where did he prospect?
AB: Up on Boulder Creek. Outside lots of time, if my e?eAw§ou!8 Le I'd like to goup there and see what that old prospect looks like today where he was.
SS: Did you see it in the old days?
AB: Damned right I did. And it's right where they call it the JACKaon Butte rightnow.
SS: He didn't do vdry good either?
AB: Hell, I don't think he ever made a dollar out of that prospect. Ithink he spentevery dollar he got off from the farm. Sometimes he had a little fellow by the name of Joe Emang to come up there and help him and that Joe Emang, he went back to the old country.
SS: Was he just placer mining or more than that?Christ, there was tunnels there hundred feet long. There's one tunnel right over across the creek here that was put in over eighty years ago, that tunnel is 127 feet long. And I've been to the bottom of it several times. Bears generally go in there and hibernate and mate during the winter.
SS: Do you know who dug the tunnel here?
AB: His name was Day. There was three, four of them Days. They was a Jay Day anda Ira Day and Mark Day.
SS: They live around here?
AB: Yeah, one of them had a farm right down here, and 'bout, Ira Day, he had a cabinout there and it wouldn't surprise me unless cabin still stands there and there's a logging road right over the tunnel now.
SS: Where is that tunnel from here?
AB: Just about straight south of here.
SS: How far?
AB: About three, four miles. But of course, there's no road across there, justwild country. Hell, the river is right down below it. Hell, I've caught lota of fish in there.
SS: Big ones?
AB: Well I've caught some pretty good. Hell, I've got some in there fourteenfifteen pounders. There was one spring I caught eleven salmon down there. And the smallest one was three pounds. From that to fifteen.
SS: Henry Benson told me he used to go fishing down there with you.
AB: Henry? yeah. Is Henry still alive?
SS: He sure is. He lives in Onaway.
AB: He's pretty fat isn't he?
SS: No, no, Iwouldn't say he's fat. He's pretty old, he's in his eighPies.
AB: Yes, he was born right up here.
SS: He told me he used to pal around with you.
AB: Oh yeah,^oh yeah, we have hunted quite a little together too. I think the lasttime I and Henry hunted together, he jumped out a big buck that hogged us 256 pounds. And I sent Henry home with half of that dksri . His brother was on the railroads up here. George is dead, George Benson, and Nina, his oldest sister, she, I think she lives in Palouse.
SS: That's right. I saw her too. She was there with his house when I stopped by.
SS: Didn't you haul logs for the Bovill Hotel when they were building it?
AB: Yes I hauled the logs up to the Benson sawmill, up to the Dallburg sawmilland we sawed the lumber up, we hauled the lumber to Bovill. And by god, mud came to the hubs of the .
SS: What did Bovill look like then?
AB: He was a pretty.
SS: No, I mean the town.inhere was only one house out there. The old Warren house.And that old Warren cabin still stands there and that's over a hundred years old. There was three brother Frank and Ellis, oh, I can't think of the third one's name. I knew all of 'em.
SS: They were the first ones in that country.
AB: Yeah. They homesteaded up there then when Warren's come, he bought «em outand he come from Texas. And he was a cowboy, and they shipped the cattle in from Texas to stock their ranch up there.
SS: Is this Bovill? Are you talking about Bovill? Or Warren?
SS: Oh yeah.
AB: And he married a widow, she was the one that had the money and then whenthey get up here, they had twin girls. And Ithink one of 'em is living here down on the coast somewhere, maybe both of 'em.
SS: What kind of guy was Bovill, was he an aristocrat?
AB: Oh he was a pretty good sized man, dark complected, kind of long moustache.Yes, I've et many a dinner at Bovill's. I've hauled lumber up there. It was ^mp the hired men that unload the lumber and we'd go to dinner.
SS: What was the hotel like?
AB: To begin with it was just alittle log cabin}then they built ahotel up thereand that got pretty good, butcher shop and hauled many a beef up there and sold to the fallow that run the butcher shop.
SS: He built the hotel out of the lumber that you brought ^ there?AS: You bet we hauled the lumber up to that hotel. If Icould see, and one thing I would like to see them girls again now. One of 'em was ujfheri\at Bovill four or five years ago visiting. Ithink she had a car wreck and had her leg hurt pretty bad. So I guess she's kind of a cripple.
SS: I think you're right.
AB: I know damn well I am.
SS: What was the place like before the lumber company came in?
AB: Oh it was timber all around it. And by god, it was a good fishing stream too.Hell, it was nothing to catch trouts that long. And the same way all the way up the river here. Shoot, the biggest catch on the creek down here, one hundred and eighty-six trout in one day.
SS: What did you think of Bovill?
AB: What did Ithink of him? By god, old Bovill was a damn nice man. And by god,when you brought a load of lumber up there, by god, you got the cash right now! You didn't have to wait for it. He paid for the hauling.
SS: Did you hear abeut the Agnes Li'Hier killing?
AB: Yes Ido and by god Ican put my fingers on her graveyard too, on her gravetoo.
SS: What happened there?
AB: Oh that damned0688 Dil1RI0e an idea he got herdnto the tunnel and raped herand I suppose she put up a fight and then he just took and killed her. She's buried in the same lot that my neighbor,jfevtift olson is buried on down here at the Luson cemetery. Yes, I knew Agnes well enough, swung her quite a few times on the dancefloor.
SS: Was she a pretty girl?
AB: Yes, she was a nice girl.
SS: I wonder why he bothered her. Did he know her for a long time?
AB: Well, that goddamn Dillraan outfit which was kind of an outlaw outfit anyway.
SS: After he killed her did he shoot himself too or what happened?AS: Yeah he shot himself, and it wasn't his gun, neither, it was her brother's gun he used and there was only one shot left in the gun and he'd thought he'd kill himself and he didn't make it so he didn't die before next day.
SS: Did they drag him out of there?
AB: Yeah, they took him out and Iguess they took him into Bovill to the hospitaland he died there. And he's buried on Mt., Poor Man's graveyard in MQscow, right back of the main graveyard.
SS: He used five bullets before he got to himself?AS: No there was only couple, three bullets in the gun, see. And he didn't have anymore.
SS: I wonder if he thought he was going to get away with it?
AB: Well, see, he shot her and then he shot one, shot at the, at her brother buthe missed him and then used the last one on himself and the gun was empty.
SS: I heard that when people got him they dragged him out of there, they didn'tcare if they killed him or not anymore.
AB: Well they didn't! Old man Dillman said, oh he get away with everything,he'll get out of that too, but he didn't. I knaw his dad well. He was road boss here a good many years. I worked good many days for his dad.
SS: I hope he was a better guy than the son was.
AB: Oh yes.
SS: Did old man Dillman have a bear that he took around the country?
AB: Oh yeah, he used to trap bear all over. And then he'd get out and sell bearmeatand if he could trade bearmeat to some of the people around,and get a dozen eggs, he wanted the soft boiled eggs, he'd sit down and eat a dozen of eggs instead of the meat. And he lived right down by...
AB: And I think I knew the girl too. Because we used to have a place right nextto that schoolhouse,Apretnear all the schoolmarras, they'd ride horseback coming to school in the morning and they'd leave the horse in our barn. Well this fellow, you know, the commissioner over at Moscow.
SS: Ingle. I think Jerry Ingle.
AB: Yeah, hell, I knew his mother well before she was married. Yes, I've swung herin a waltz a time or two, too.
SS: What did you hear about this teacher getting killed?
AB: Well, that's hard to say. You know there was, well, on that grave down thereshoot, there were several girls that w«s killed down there. And there was one from California that disappeared that they never did find. Hell, them girls get killed and their throat cut. And they claimed it was some of them university students from Pullman that done it.
SS: That's over on the Big Bear grade going down towards Kendrick
AB: No, it's on that other grade down there. Going down to the Clearwater. Hell,I've been down that grade too, two, three times.
SS: Where does the road go from to get to the Clearwater?
AB: Start on the other side of Pullman, and instead of coming to Moscow, we gothe other way. Yes, I've been over that grade a couple, three times too.
SS: Didn't Sam Saaovitch shoot a guy?
AB: Yes, and the other fellow tried to kill him with an axe first and he cut Sara'sshoulder so it just hung and Sam had his gun loaded out and T.P. Jones had it and T.P. Jones brought the gun back. And Sam got the gun out and^says, "I'll shoot him once and he still keep acomin' I'll shoot him twice and he still keep acomin'I shoot him three times," but then he says,"he go sit down like a sober man." Hell, I knew Sam Samovdtch just about as well as I knew ray brother. The camp was right over here and he was over here and after he got so he could get around, he'd kick around in the evening and tie swatches for the boy and Hell, Sam SaraoVltch was a damn nice fella.
SS: How did that fight start?
AB: Well, Sam was the section foreman and he fired this fella, well, this fellasays^he can't do work, you can't neither and he was going to kill him with an axe. And that's how it started and that started right in the country road, where the railroad crossed the county road down here at Backer.
SS: Did Sam have the gun on him at the time?
AB: No. T.P. J0nes had just brought the gun back and handed it to him.
SS: Did T.P. hand him the gun after he got axed or before?
AB: Before he killed him, well, you know, T.P. brought back the gun that morningafter he went back to work, because it was quite a lot of Bohunk trouble at that time and pretnear all the bosses carried a gun. And T.P. didn't have one so he borrowed Sam's til he could get one of his own. And when he got one of his own he brought Sam'sAback.
SS: Did Sam kill this guy?
AB: Oh yeah, Sam killed him alright. And I think thatfek is buriedfup there in theBovill cemetery.
SS: Why were they having trouble, why were the foremen carrying guns?
AB: Well hell, there was always some of them fellers coming around causing troublein camp. And when they'd catch one of them fellows coming down and making trouble they'd run 'em out of the country. The camp was right over here and I've seen lot of that.
SS: Was, the IWW?
AB: Yeah, IW and they called it »I Want Work'. And others said'I Won't Work'.They all spelled IW's, see, it all spelt the same.
SS: WAs it the IWW's that was causing the trouble?
AB: They were causing trouble. One of them bastards come along, you know and justhead in the bunkhouse, ^^L trouble on boys and damn they'd like every damn strike on boys and next morning there wouldn't be a man to go to work. That's the way it went.
SS: Did you ever hear that the IWW's were the ones that got better conditions? Inthe camp?
AB: Well,oh they got, I don't think they got any better food.^'they got maybe alittle better pay.
SS: Did the Potlatch lumber company start the town at Deary? Or did McGowan andHenry do it by themselves? ABS Well, McGowan, Hugh McGowan I think bought that land from and then of course, he got permission from the railroad company and the railroad company put in a depot and they surveyed the town.
SS: Did McGowan work for Potlatch?AB: No, they kind of worked for themselves. Oh yeah, they had offices right here in Potlatch, in Deary,AI pointed out some of the government's corners for them too. I knew pretnear every government corner in this country. Because I done alot of huntin' and ever)|damn time I'd find a government corner, I'd pay a attention to it. And by god it was one thing, if IAwent to a government corner, I could always go back. And I wouldn't need no compass, neither. You take the timber just as good as a compass. You look at a tree and by god, you can tell where north and south is.
AB: Well sir, you know, all the big limbs is on the south side of, tree and thebark is darker on the north side, or lighter on the north side of the tree than it is on the south side. And twelve o'clock at any time, the sun, |~ you can see it is straight south.There's a lot of people that don't know that. Hell if I ever was to a place, I could go back to it.
SS: Would you ever get lost in these woods?
AB: N0t for very long. Unless it was a hell of a snow storm, that was a twistingthe trees around so you cotildn't see, and snow was blowing so you couldn't open your eyes, then I've been turned around, but if you sit down, if you get twined around and just pull your coat over your head and sit down awhile, by god, pretty soon the weather will turn right around and you'll come stnaight again. There's a lot of people that don't know that. By god, some people when they get good and lost, by god ecen if they get into their own house, they don't know their own home.
SS: Is that true?
AB: Damned right it's true, because I've seen it happen to my mother. When I broughther in she said,"What place is this?" And she was rigkVthorns.
SS: How had she gotten lost?
AB: Out picking huckleberries and got turned around, and a cloudy day, of course.
SS: She just didn't know which way she was going?
AB: No, she didn't have no idea where she was going. Yes and dad got lost one nightSaturday night right in the woods^and he couldn't find his way out of the woodshed. Lots of things will happen.
SS: Did you find your mother when she was lost?
AB: You bet I didu I could track pretnear as good as a dog. And I had a dog thatwas a damn sight better, I put him on the track and by god, he found her. And I was right behind of him, too.
SS: How long was she lost for?
AB: Oh, just a couple hours.
SS: Did you give the dog some of her clothes to smell?
AB: Yes, I told the dog to go find hste, and by god, he took right off. And by god,I was right behind of him too. And those days I could travel pretty much like a racehorse. It was no trouble with me to take a thirty five.blanket roll and after working all day and start from Genesee and walk in here next morning. A thirty mile hike.
SS: Yousd just go all night?
SS: That must have been hard.
AB: It was and generally no service road and the dust always shod horses, the dustthat deep in the road, every four or five miles you'd have to stop and take your shoes off and shake the dirt out of your shoes to be able to walk.
SS: So you'd go on foot all the way?
AB: You're damned right I know one time I started from down there atGenesee about fiee o'clock in the evening and I walked in here when the folks down to breakfast.
SS: When Potlatfefr came in here and started buying the timber, I heard they boughtit very cheap.
AB: Well, hell, only timber they bought was the pine and they bought that for adollar a thousand. And when they just counted the trees and them trees had to be sixteen inches through or bigger at the stump. Well all the fir and tamarack, they didn't survey that atall, and when they got the timber deed they got a dead for the timber, such and such a section, and fir and tamarack and white fir and spruce and tamarack, that waa all a gift. They got that for nothing.
SS: So what kinds of trees did they count in the survey?
AB: Just yellow pine and white pine, black pine and all the rest of it wasn'tcounted at all. And than when they bought it, the state give 'em the timber dedf the state give 'em the rest of the timber and of course the farmers that had homesteads, just the same damn thing.The Potlatch, the Weyhausers, what it was called then, didn't buy, I don't think a more of the tenth of the timber then pay for it, ^eif9was°all agift.
SS: So when you were out with Bill Helmer, the only timber he cruised was thewhite and yellow pine?
SS: That's all he counted.
AB: That's all they counted because, well, he was more to open up the lines andstake out the railroads for us to log, he wasn't cruising much, unless it was somebody that wanted to sell a piece of land, then he'd cruise it for him. And the Milwaukee the same way. And by god, the Milwaukee cruisers, they'd cruise li, and by god you could sell your timber right at home, and you'd get a check right at home and then, they do the rest of it.
SS: Was it a pretty good deal for the homesteaders, or did they get rooked?
AB: Oh hell, the homesteaders didn't get much out of it. Hell, it was the companygetting all the drag out of it.
SS: All the what?
AB: It was the company that was gettin' all of the profit.
SS: Did you sell timber to them, your father?
AB: Yeah, father sold the timber on the place here, and then by god, it was tenyears that it stood here that we couldn't do a damn thing till ^ion this forty he saved the black pine on that so he could cut out the black pine out and make wood.
SS: So that Potlatch didn't help the people so much as they helped themselves.
A8: They helped themselves a Mhole lot more than they helped the people. Of coursethey got so the people could get work alright in camps.
SS: Do you remember what it was like snowshoeing with Bill Helmer or snowshoeingin the winter?
AB: You're damn right I remember what it was like. And I walked a good many hundredmiles on snowshoes.
SS: How did you do it?
AB: Well them snowshoes, well there was long ones, th«*rw^ctthe trarapers, but thebear aws, they.iwere just kind of a three corneid, you could walk and turn around on them, and that's what we always used in the woods. Hell, I had a set of snowehoes since those buildings went up and they burnt up. Hell, I snowshoed a lot of 'em.
SS: Could you use the same trail over again?
AB: Oh yeah. Yes, used the same trail over and over. And then we had to ski, Iused to ski a lot. Shit, it was nothing for me to make fifty and sixty foot jumps on a steep hillside. You see that mountain up there?
SS: Which direction?
AB: Cherry Butte. I've come down^rom the top of that, clean to the bottom on skisin early days. In early days, by god, when the snow got deep9 we'd ski down here on the banks and kill a deer every once in awhile when we run short of something to eat.
SS: You mean you'd just camp out in the winter?
AB: No, we'd go down in the morning and come back at night.
SS: And kill a deer for dinner?
AB: Well, we'd generally and then make a packsack out of the deer, come backat night, come home at night, I've carried quite a few deer on my back.
SS: Where was your lower place, where you wintered? 0W the ridge.
AB: You know where the Steele schoolhouse used to be?
SS: I don't think so.
AB: Well, that Steele schoolhouse was on our place.
SS: Whereabouts would that be now?
AB: You know where Waha Lake is?
AB: Well, it'd be north and east of Waha Lake. You know where the Four Corners isdown!there and you know where that church is down there?
SS: I think I do, I'm not sure. That's where in there?
AB: Yeah, well there w«M; two churches down there, the Lutheran and then therewas the American church and it wasn't too, well you know where Ed Halsey lived?
AB: Hell the Lutheran church I think was right at the corner of the place whereEd Halsey lived.
SS: So you weren't too far from his place?
AB: Yeah, but further north, a couple, three miles further north.
SS: Are you thinking of Atwater Lake?
SS: Do you remember what instruments foa used to survey with Bill Helmer?
AB: Just a compass.
Side DSS: How long did you go to school, what grade did you go up to?
AB: Well sir, to tell the truth, the way that it is now), I don't think it'd bemore than^tnl third grade now. Because, hell, a fella go to school, the best was two and three months. Well, what you learned one time you forgot to the next one. So what little I know, I've studied that myself.
SS: How old wece you when you stopped going to school?
AB: OH, about fourteen, fifteen.
SS: What was the grass like that the cattle grazed on?
AB: Oh, it was just common pine grass, the same kind of a grass that it is now.But those days, it wasn't wore to death, that damn grass wooid get that high.
SS: Maybe two feet.
AB: By god, those Indian^kept it burnt off, there were places down here betweenthe big timber that you could take a mowing machine and a team of horsee and mow grass in among the big timber. And rake it up. Noe,by god, you can't walk in among the big timber.
SS: Are you sure the Indians burnt the grass here?
AB: Well, either the Indians or the lighting. It was nothing those days to haveseveral lightening storms during the summer.
SS: But you think the Indians did it?
AB: Well, when they was up here, when they'd leave in the fall, they wasn't pariculan*about the fire. Hell, I know they used to camp up here, when they'd leave, hell ok there'd always be smoke behindA'em.
SS: Do you think they burnt the country to make better grazing for their horses?
AB: Yes, and easier huntin. Gettin' around. And you know, the Indians, the bucks,they didn't do anything, they'd go out and hunt. But the damn squaws, they'd be the ones ^have to pack in the meat and take care of the hides and make the mocasins and all of that, and dry the meat. That was just squaws work. The bucks wouldn't do that. And by god, when the whites started in coming in here, there's^damn good many half breeds and quarter breeds right around here now. Even some of my neighbors is^quite alot of Indian blaod in'em. Because, when she'd move in with a white man, she didn't have to work so hard because he'd bring the meat in and dress that. She wouldn't have to do that.
SS: So you say it was eaier for her to live with a white man.
AB: Yeah, hell, they, and mostly frenchmen that married squaws.
SS: I didn't know there were frenchmen in here.
AB: Oh yes, there were quite a few frenchmen in here. There's se-ieraA of theneighbor women right here that's got Indian block in 'em and quite a little too. And one of my friends is married to a full-blooded squaw. She's right around nin^y years old.
SS: Did those marriages work out prettyjgood? With an Indian and white?
AB: By god, they got along good. They got along a damn sight better than a lot ofthe whites did.
SS: So marriages didn't always work out in the old days either?
AB: Oh hell, well now you know Nina Benson? Her mother and father was always afightin'.And whuppin' the kids. Oh it would be kind of fun to if a fellow could hear and see to see Nina again.
SS: How come you never got married?
AB: Too damn many people had too many things to say.
SS: What do you mean?
AB: To damn many people had too damn many lies to tell.They knew a lot of thingsthat they didn't know a damn thing about. And you know how that is? A \ck people's got to tell something about somebody that they don't know a damn thing about and it be just a great big long lie.
SS: I'm not sure Iknow why that means you didn't get married. Did JSopie^ry^o push
AB: No, they just told the girls I went with too damn many lies. I don't think Iwould have had very much trouble to get Nina Benson to stay right here neither.
SS: Well there's lots of old timers that are bachelors.
AB: Oh, there was quite a few.
SS: When you say the whites ruined the country and the Indians took good care ofit, what do you mean?
AB: Well, the whites come in here and they ruined all of the timber and all theberries and all the fishing. And if that ain't ruinin', I'd like to know what was. And you know, as far as that go, this country, all of the United States, there isn't a country at all, just all kinds of a nation moved in, all kinds of people, there isn't one nation atall. Just a mixed up bunch. And you know that.
SS: Did you ever think about leaving this area? And going someplace else?
AB: No, because there has been too damn many that want to get me out of hereand they're still bothering their heads about me staying here.
SS: I was thinking about when you were a young man. When you were twenty or thirty.
AB: Well, mother was alive and I agreed with dad that I'd see mother through andI did. I didn't do like a lot of the other fellows, go and marry a young girl and bring her into live with your mother. That's entirely wrong. But there were lots of 'em that done that and they always got a little trouble in the family too.
SS: Why? Because the girl and mother don't get along?
AB: Maybe a lot of the times they donH. Now the mother, be living on what was themother's farm, see. Well she thinks she's got more right than the young woman. Well, they kind of get in an argument otfer it. And youjknow, that isn't fair. That isn't fair to bring a young woman in to live A an old mother-in-law. I wouldn't think about it. And that's why I seayed single too.
SS: What year did your mother die?
AB: 1928. Dad died in 1911.
SS: When you had the cattle on the range, did they have brands then?
AB: No it was just a farmers brand.
SS: Did they have a brand on them?
AB: Yeah. Hooker's cattle was AH. And Ivor Bjerke's was 8. And I heeded the cattlefor 'em three years and I lost only one head, he might have fell into a prospects hole, so I could prove for that one.
SS: Did some people have trouble with rustlers in those days?
AB: Oh, I guess there was some cattle butchers alright but I didn't have any trouble.Because a lot of »em, you know wouldn't have herders with 'era hvt I was right with the cattle all of the time. And all knew I had a damn good dog that could track.
SS: And they probably knew you had a good gun too.
AB: Yeah, and a good many of 'em knew I could use it. I was good enough to standup sixty, seventy feet and shoot flash when they'd land on the biggest .
SS: That's awful good, Arthur. How old did the cattle get before you would shipthem to market?
AB: Well they'd take 'em down on the place, see, they had home places and keep 'emthere and then they'd sell 'em at home there, Hooker, and Weeden, they shipped in a bunch from Montana and there was two cattle loads in that bunch. I got the promise to kill them. So I shot them down there on the ridge.
SS: Buchered 'em too?
AB: Yeah. When they was going to butcher 'em, they had me go up and shoot 'em.I had a damn good horse, I could ride pretty close to 'em I'.d ride out horseback and then I'd slide off'n the horse and lean my gun over the saddle and kill the cattle that was out in the field.
SS: How close would you get to them?
AB: Oh, 100,150 feet.That was nothing for me.
SS: Where did you aim for?
AB: Generally right side of the head, of the forehead. Whichever come the handiest.Oh hell, I wouldn't shoot through the body. That would ruin too much meat. Those days you had to be kind of careful too. Ingles down there, they were going to butcher a wild one they had, by god, * guess they shot about thirty times, they shot at that damn thing and they couldn't get it and finally I killed it for 'em. I was a pretty good shot on the run, it didn't make much difference whether a deer stood or run, I could generally stop him.
SS: Would they cut the throat right away?
AB: They? Hell, I did. They were a couple of miles behind and that poor damn beefwas just bleedin' all over.
SS: You say that Green saved the bank in Troy during the depression? Frank Green.
AB: Well he happened to have enough money on hand, you know, and fft other banks.So he could take over. So he really took over the bank in Troy. And it wouldn't surprise meAif there was some of Green's money in that bank now.
SS: Was that depression anywhere near as bad as the one in 1893?
AB: Yeah, and later you know, there's been a couple depressions. There was. in 1908too.
SS: How much money did it take to file on a homestead?
AB: I think it was six dollars. And about ten to prove up.
SS: And the people couldn't afford that much money?
AB: Hell, there wasn't that much, hardly that much money in the county. What inhell woold you do if you had to go out and work for a livin* and only get fifty and seventy five cents a day, and then work fifteen and sixteen hours a day to get that fifty cents? I've worked many a day for less than a dollar a day. And worked damned hard too.
SS: I don't see how people could get by on that little money.
AB: If they happened to have a cow or two and a few chickens, they would. Thatwas generally their ufeWU Eggs and bread. And maybe after they got a cow, a little milk to drink. And then they'd cook mush. Milk and water together and a little salt, and use flour in it and cook it and make a stiff mush out of it. That was generally their supper. No, I wish some of these smart alecks that KM* come in here now, trying to show the old timers how to walk the trails and have to put in a winter and cet of N summer, same condition and maybe they wouldn't be so goddamned £*s-¥ .
SS: Do you think this couny changed a lot when Potlatch came in?
AB: Oh yeah, it changed so it got a little work for the people and they could getout and work and get a little work and then it got so they could cut a little wood and ship out because the Genesee country didn't have any timber you know and Moscow and that way, they'd buy wood.
SS: Has it changed more now than it did when Potlatch came in? Is this more ofa change than that was?
AB: Oh yeah. Well it got so, that it wasn't so much of a starvation. Because ailthose fellows that was able to work could get out and work in the camps like I have, when the camp was over here. Hell, I sawed logs and the snow was deep, and the boss over there said,"Oh hell," he says,"you can't saw logs alone." I said,"By god, I can try." And after a few days he found out that I made more money than any two men in camp. Because they'd have to shovel that deep snow while right up on the log and sawed down and sa« the logs up.
End of side D
Side EAB: sawed and never paid much attention to it. Just let him goAthrough one ear and out through the other one. And mostly all of 'em were Swedish story, because there was more Swedes than anything else in this country.
SS: Do you remember the kinds of stories they used to tell, these lies?
AB: Oh, I can't say that I paid too much attention to 'em.
SS: Do you have any ways of predicting the weather? Any signs that you use?then when
AB: No, not anything else ^ the stars would fall and one thing another, thenyou could pretnear guess, and then, suh dogs, you could pretnear tell it was a change in the eeather, alright.
SS: What's a sundog?
AB: Well, it'd be a long streak on the side of the sun. You could see them everyonce in a while. When it was bad weather. And you could tell,when the geese and the ducks would go over too, whether it was going to be a hard or light winter. If they'd come early in the fall, and go south, you could bet on a hard winter. But if they'd wait late, you'd have a light winter.
SS: Did you have anyway of knowing when spring was going to come?
AB: Well, you know, a fellow kind of looked quite a little, light or thedark of the moon, too. Went by the moon quite a little. And the same way with planting grain. Plant your grain in the light of the moon, while the sign is way up in the body. And if you want to cut a hog or a pig, wait til the sign get down to^ the bottom of the foot and they wouldn't bleed. And like wheat and oats, plant that in the light of the moon and spuds, plant them in the dark of the moon. Spuds and rutabagas and turnips and carrots and stuff like that, plant them in the dark of the moon.
SS: Why is that?
AB: Well, it seems like the signs and the weather has got a whole lot to do. There'sa lot of people that don't believe in the signs, but those two brothers down here, I've thrashed for ithem for years and by god, you couldn't change them and they always had the best grain of any of the people in the country. So it had something to do.with it. And by god, the knew itl
SS: Did your father plant by signs too?
AB: No, father didn't go much by signs.
SS: These fellas did everything by signs?
AB: yeah. Some of 'em do. Not like Tom up here, just, "Mo," he says,"themoon ain't got nothing to do with it." By George, the moon and the sun has got the whole thing to do with it. And by gosh, you know, even raisin' cattle and makes a hell of a little difference what time of the day you breed that cow, too. Whether you want a bull calf or a heifer calf. People-don't believe that, but by gosh, that's truth because I've tried that several times.
SS: Which time of the day do you use?
AB: Morning for a heifer and evening for a bull calK.
SS: Are there harvest signs too?
AB: Yeah. N«wi here, the McKinleys, they all of them, they wanted a girl in thefamily. And by god, every child that's been born has been a boy. By god, I think it's just the time they top them women up. Whether it was in the morning or in the evening.
SS: Have you heard about ghosts?
SS: I thought maybe there might be signs for deathf too.
AB: Well, it could be. But I don't know.Well, you know, late years, I paid anyattention to anything, so I've forgot pretnear everything I paid attention to when I was young.
SS: Well, it seems to me you still remember a lot.
AB: was able to do any good for the kids, I'm glad of that, because the kidshas always been my friends. NQw Ronnie Halsey, he's got a little girl and a boy, they come down and visit with me about every other day. And boy, that little boy is a real talking machine. *nd I pretnear always manage to have a piece of candy or something for him.
End of tape.
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10:00 - Joe Wells (African American) family; schoolhouse built on his land; hard-working gyppo; Lutheran Church
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Segment Synopsis: Joe Wells family. Chuck played a harmonica at dances; Joe liked to jig. Schoolhouse built on Joe Wells' land, with his horse. Lou Wells, a fine cook, cooked as a slave in Carolina. Closeness of Joe's family with Frank and Crom Wells. Popularity of their halfway house. Joe gave drinks to the teamsters. Joe beats up Marshall Hays, with Andrew Olson's help. Joe was a hard-working gyppo logger - several Irishmen would work only for him. Lou's big spinning wheel. Joe contributed to Lutheran Church.
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Segment Synopsis: Nils Lund, the foolish miner, died at sea while going back to Sweden. He thought America was crazy. He wouldn't come to Moscow to prove up on his homestead, because he thought they were trying to put him in an asylum. He was friends with Arthur's father, who got along with everybody.
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Segment Synopsis: Big Anderson called the devil "the wild animal", and God "the man above." Like some other farmers, he rented his good land and went gold prospecting, never finding anything. Pete Jackson, a Genesee farmer, prospected by Jackson Butte. Bears hibernate in a long tunnel a few miles south of Arthur's, by Potlatch River.
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