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 Michael Bubuly interviews

Report a problem with this interview.

Date: August 14, 1974 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

SAM SCHRAGER: Mike, I'm going to start asking you some more things about the old days, okay? We'll talk about that while I'm here.


SAM: I'll ask you some of the same things Idid before, some of them. But, one thing I was wondering about, is, do you know how your dad learned about the United States and decided to come to Idaho? How he happened to get out here?

MB: Well, he came to this country in the earlier days. We people went here and there, because there was no industry where we was, at the time. And, he thought he'd go somewhere where he could make some money support family. I think there were four children and my mother. And he borrowed money for his fare to Andie to Minnesota, Iguess, and faced the Minnesota wilds- come over here, worked there, and finally, he heard about the woods work out here in the western part of the country, so he decided to come to Idaho. And come to Bovil and he worked around there for several years. Send some money to family to support 'em back there; finally, I got big enough, and I decided I wanted to come over here, too. My older brother wanted to come, but I wouldn't stand for it, I wanted to come. 'Cause I barely remembered my dad and I wanted to see him, and I wanted— you know, I had a desire to travel and see some of the world. So, he sent me the money I came. And, I went to work— of course, he had a job for me, Potlatch. That was my first place to work when Lwas a kid. And I worked with him with the horses and all, swamping, what they call swamping^limbs off the treeslogs and stuff like that; and sawed logs, crosscut saw. Which was mighty hard work, now, I can tell ya that. And, that was in 1913 when I came here, and my dad. he was only fifty six years old then, but he was gettin' crippled up with rheumatism so bad that he couldn't, he was afraid he couldn't continue working, and didn't have enough money that he could retire and live. So, he decided he'd better leave and go back and see the rest of his family. He didn't have much money, he had about three thousand dollars. All his life savings. And he went back there and he bought some land. And then a drought began to hit that country in there: They couldn't raise athing.

And they had to buy know, they couldn't raise anything of their own, and I think that he spent had. And I helped him a little from here, myself. And then the war broke out and he- I think he was about seventy eight when he died. And my mother died before that. Anyway, I had two brothers and both, when the Germans invaded the country took off with the guerillas, to fight, you know, you go out and fought to keep 'em off. My older brother^ he was out as aguerilla fighter, and they had no place to stay, they just stayed in the timber in the mountains in the rocks, in the caves, . And, finally, he caught pneumonia and died. My younger brother, he was well educated, he was guide at the- well, he had military school when the World War Ibroke out. Took him out of school and put him in the military officer training, and he had agood education, good schooling and he was pretty smart, intelligent, guy. Anyway, when the Germans got in there, they got ahold of him someway, and he died before afiring squad. And he left twothree children. That picture over on there, by the clock there, that's one of his daughters, my niece. And that was^pretty hard for me to take. Well, any way, Icome over here and Iwas probably lucky that Idid. I'd aprobably been in there, I'd probably been before a firing squad, too. But Icame over and my dad went back and he wanted me to go with him. Itold him that Ididn't have money, I'd only been here afew years, and Igot alittle extravagent, Iwas spending my money. Igive them my checks for quite awhile. And he had probably a thousand dollars. He told me, "You give me your money, you're paying your own way. I said, "No, money beside that." He finally had to leave and Istayed. Tell you one thing, it was^pretty lonesome kid, after he left. And in St. Maries where he took the train, I went that far with him, after he left I was pretty lonesome nights, because Iknew But, anyway, I got by pretty good. Iworked and my health was good, and Iworked and made agood living. Never had to go on any WPA or relief of any kind.

SAM: It was pretty easy to spend your money in those times.

MB: yeah. Well, they wasn't muoh money to spend. Igot so Iwanted aoar, stuff like that, you know, and that oosts money. So, anyway, Iwas pretty fortunate 'til IIn 193 Igot jammed up pretty bad; Igot my back broke. And it took me along time to get- -bout three years before Ioould do anything. The doctor didn't think I'd ever go back to work. But, anyway, fused my spine, operated on it and Igot feeling fairly good, you know, so Iwent back to the woods again.

SAM: How did that happen? Did it happen in the woods?

MB: Yeah, yeah, it happenedj back up in the woods, you know. I was toploading logs on the cars. Top man on the skip and tongs. You probably never— haven't seen tongs..

SAM: I've seen pictures of them.

MB: Have ya?

SAM: Yeah.

MB: tongs on logs comes up there, I stay up there and trip 'em, you know, the logs in place to shape the load. And I had the hoister, the old guy that run the hoist, he was, poor guy he was sick, he had a cancer, nerves all shot. I didn't know it cat the time but he died shortly after that. He couldn't handle the logs very good, you know, and Iwasn't afraid of anything. And, anyway, I was on top of the load, way up high, pretty rough down there. I was just what they call puttin' the face log on, you know, to build the load out, why, you've gotta put 'em pretty straight; sometimes square 'em right off and you'd get more on the car. And I was holding one face log, what they call face log, outside log,while he was puttin' the other one on, on the other side, so I could put a chain around there. And that log they was bringin' up got away somehow from him and I had my head turned and it caught me right across here. Well, it was about fifteen-twenty feet down, and I lit right on my— the log with my head and lit right on my shoulder with my feet right straight up. I was knocked out when it hit me across the back. Jammed my back, just like that (clapped hands with a sharp slapping sound). A knot come out bigger than my fist, right on the center of my back. Well, when I come to, why, I on my way to the hospital, on that logging train, you know, a flatcar, that they load logs on. And I says, "Wheat in the hell happened?" "Well, you got hurt." Boy, I tried to move; I'll say I was hurt. Couldn't budge my back, couldn't budge— couldn't move my shoulders. Got to Elk River and then from Elk River I had to find transportation to Potlatch. And, you've got a guy there th an old car, the nurse was with me and we got in the car and, boy, every time he made a turn, why, boy, I just Kept feeding me the morphine or tablets, you know, those painkillers. I got to Potlatch, why, they took x-rays. I knew the doctor well, you know. He knew my dad and doctored my dad Art and he told me what took pce. And, he said; he told me, he said, acouple of days later, "I don't want to discourage you, but, you'll never top load logs again." Isaid, "What did you say?" He said, "That's what Imean." He said, "Hope that .' discouragj^ou." Isaid, "No," Isays, "That's not very good news, but ']*L1 have to take it." So, anyway, I was there for twelve weeks. Laying on my back with my feet down here and my head down here, under here, see, and my stomach way up here. Icouldn't turn over, couldn't— figured that would heal that way. Well, anyway, after twelve weeks, why, it wasn't heal ing, so they put me in a brace and I wore that for eighteen months. That didn't do any good. So, finally decided that I'd have to have the operation. And so, I went for the operation, which was quite an ordeal. Jt took from eight o'clock 'til almost one o'clock. And, I haven't been very good since with my back, it still bothers me. I still have drainage in my back, and it was 1935 when they operated on me. Still have a drain in my back.

SAM: You went back out in the woods anyway.

MB: Yeah, I went back to the woods, worked in the woods, the last ten years now, last ten years I worked, it was in the woods. Doin' the same thing I was doin' before. Oh, I wasn't as good as I was, that is, good on my feet as I was, but I didn't mind it, I toughed it out. Sometimes it was pretty tough, and sometimes it wasn't too bad, so. But then Ihead to work

SS: Did you ever see any other guys get hurt, in the woods, bad?

MB: Yes. I've seen guys get killed. Iseen aguy that was sawin', he was sawin' in the woods. And he sawed the logs off on a side hill, and he was on the lower side. Well, anyway, you block a log so it won't roll when it's cut off, but, any way when they sawed it off, this log dropped, and the block come out and the log his head dropped, and rolled down and he fell down and it caught -just right between the stump, just like that. That was the awfullest sight I ever seen in my life. It just looked like a pumpkin, if you take a pumpkin or squash and hit or drop some thing heavy on it. Oh, I tell ya, it was sickening. That man never knew what happened to him. (slapped hands together sharply) Just squirted, just like that like he had laid it there and dropped a brick weight on it. and, oh, see minor injuries, .... this one was the worst one Iever seen, though. I've seen the minor accidents, that didn't amount, you know; broken legs, something like that. I've seen guys drivin' a team of horses, and what they call loggedlogged together, you know astring of logs, and they come to acurve, and this log that the horses was hooked on to* walking along side of it, the log caught someplace back there, and hooked onto something, and it lifted the front log and drove that against his leg. Shoved this bone clear out here. And there he was Says, "ye, God," he says, "i jdon't know." He bled to death before they got him to the hospital. Well, he died in the hospital operating table. Young man, twenty two or three years old. And, that wasn't avery pretty sight to see, either. Miles away, you know, thirty miles away from ahospital or any thing. That was up in that Marble Creek country, way back. Takes you along time to get aman out. I've taken some of them out in the car. Ihad an automobile, and I've drove some of 'em out of there, when they'd get hurt they'd come and get me to get 'em to the hospital. I've drove somebody to the hospital when I really, really it was pitiful when the— every time the rough roadsi every time you hit a bump or something, they'd scream, but you couldn t help it over the country, mountain roads. And I've told guys, "I don't want to hurt you, but I'm gonna get ya there. Oh, it was—

SAM: Do you think that there'd be accidents 'cause it was just real dangerous, or do you think that the company didn't do enough for safety, or the men didn't do enough, or what?

MB: Well,Xthe company always cautioned the guy to be careful. They didn t want the guys hurt. Because, naturally most of the foremen, they're human, you know, and management, they hate to see the accidents. But, the men working, sometimes more the cause of it than the company. There was a little bit carelessness. They get too confident. They think— Like that young fellow, I told you was drivin' a if team if he'd awatched himself,Ahe'd been on the right side of that, that wouldn't have happened. He should never been on the inside where that log was pullin' towards him. He should have been on the other side.A something caught back there the log wouldn't get away from him. But he just happened to be a little bit careless going along/on the inside of that, here when it caught back there, this log come right over, right agin his leg- and crushed it. So, it was just his own hard luck and fault. But, you know, the company always tells you to be careful. Safety First— whatever you do. I took chances myself , and so did everybody else, fig uring well, it can't happen to me. But it does. I didn't think I'd ever get my back broke either, but I did. I didn't think it would happen to me, I thought I could get out of the way of anything. But at this time, I just happened to glance down there, well, in fact, the log I was holding, you know, to get the chain under it to raise the other one on there the logs come off the chute, they were all peeled and slicker— you know, the bark knocked off— slicker than eels. And it just slud right off and took my what they call peay with it and I looked downj^looked^like that, when the log caught me across there. If I'd abeen watching, if I hadn't looked down there, that log wouldn thave gotten me, 'cause I could have dodged— I'd a ducked under it or done something, or grabbed it and hung onto it, which I did lots of times. Grab a cable, you know, to keep ttee log to from sweeping clear off the load This time, Ijust hap pened to look down there, thinking that he'd lay that log there, you know, gotta have confidence that he would- but it was, logs are pretty slick, you know, cornin' off the chute, they get the bark knocked of 'em, and just sap, and everything, just touch anything, it would Aslide right off. You laid one end, and brought the other one over, why, the other end slipped off. I got crippled up, which will stay with me as long ,s I live. I still say that I'm pretty lucky I'm in as good a shape as Iam now, as to years Iam in age; I'll be seventy eight next week. Sohaven't done too bad, that is for—

SAM: I'll sayt after what happened.

MB: Well, for what I've gone through, I think I'm pretty lucky.

SAM: What about that fire in Bovill that they had, just soon after you came?

MB: 191 That was my first experience on the fire- forest fire. on what they call Beal's Butte, north of Bovill there, And they had acamp right on top, right on top of the feutte,' up there. They brought in supplies and stuff with the horses up ahandgraded road around the hill there. Anyway, that was a pretty good stand of timber up there, ana they rigged up what they call endless line, ahighlinej take the logs from the top of the mountain, bring 'em down there. And at that time, that was one of +he first outfits experiment for something like that up there in this country. The logs, they had what they called they'd pick up, you know and stop. at the back end.them trolleys come down low to what they called skidway. They'd put logs in^trolleys, in the sling)and the next one'd come along- they was about as far as from here to that tree apart- and that line was amile and ahalf long. And, at one time, they probably be twenty or twenty five carloads of logs hanging right on that line from up there to down. See, they'd load one bunch of logs down there, and trolley sets on the other line goin' back, see. And it was just what they called a merry-go-'round— empty trolleys goin' back, logs coming down. Anyway, they were going at apretty good gait, and they were gettin* lots of logs out, and Ithink it was in either July, Ithink it was July then, July, somewheres along there then. Fire broke out down old slashing at the foot of camp five. And, old slash ing, that, in those days, they just slashed^right on the ground, then- That stuff drv_as apowder, And fire got started there and got out of control; started up that mountain. Well, anyway, it was about two o'clock in the morning, two or three o'clock in the morning. They had those, what they called man was out there pounding that to beat hell, and everybody, fire fire fire, boys!" You could hear a roaring from down there someplace. And boy, we got outta there, just as fast as we could. the ridge, *way from the fire. And we got down on the other- below the fire. And you oughta seen that fire goin' up that mountain; what they call a crown fire. I'll bet you could hear it five miles away, the^froa^ of it, just like one of these planes, 'way over head. That's the way it sounded, goin' up that mountain. Right on top- that crown fire just took everything, clear up to the top of it. And logs, and everything, and the line, the whole thing was gone. What they called the donkey— donkey engines, and everything was , even the camp, the whole thing was burned up. But there was no lives lost in that.

SAM: What did you guys do, that were up on the mountain working?

MB: We was cuttin' logs—

SAM: I mean, what did you do when the fire came?

MB: We got out. The foreman led the crew outta there. Clear around on the other side over the ridge. There was a big ridge runs around that basin, that Cougar country's abig basin. Well/ we had to go clear around to get down below the fire. Because the fire was headin' north, straight north. We went east. east to get around it, 'til we got down below it, of course thenT we all had to go to work and fight fire, down there.

SAM: What do you remember about the fighting of the fire itself? Must have been a hell of a fire to fight.

MB: It was. It finally got out of control altogether, til it burned itself out. It came almost to Bovill, and thought it was gonna take Bovill^ too, but the wind changed ' that time. The wind changed in time, and was against it, you know, wind was blowing against the fire, so that kinda checked it, and that's the way they -ot it under control. But if the wind hadn't changed, it would a went clear— it would have been clear over into the Elk River and all over, the way the wind was coming. It - I blowed clear over Bovill and over east of that. But the wind changed and as luck would have it, the wind changed, and it give 'em a chance to get it under control.

SAM: Where were you trying to fight it? Where did you guys stop it?

MB: Right out of Bovill, there. What they call Camp Eight. That's just alittle ways towards Clarkia. You haven't been out around there, you're not acquainted, are ya?

SAM: Well, I know the area, but I donit know where Camp Eight was.

MB: Well, towards Clarkia, about amile out of Bovill, where you go up towards St. Maries. And all them bare hills back there, that was all timber. And that's where the fire stopped. But all that flat there, that Cougar Meadow country, what they call Cougar Meadow country? That was all burned. That big butte back there, over towards Clarkia, you know, where you go over the divide there,nover to

SAM: Did you have anything to do with when they- Did you see when the people were trying to get out of the towns? Evacuating?

MB: Well, they were gettin' out of town before we got there. When we got to Camp Eight, the company had alogging train there, you know, bring the people out, bring the men out. We got there, and the Milwaukee railroad bridge was afire there. Just across a little creek, it wasn't probably thirty feet long, or forty, but it afire under it and burning, and £ was afraid to go across it. 'Course, most of us could have walked out there, the road— walked down, but they were all on that train, about five or six hundred men, ftnd one of the engineers, said, "Well, my family's in Bovill, .I'm gonna cross there." So, he took his engine right across, the rest of 'em followed. He got across they figured it was safe .. But, anyway, most of the people was gone out of Bovill, they went to Potlatch and down that way, The train took 'em down there. And everybody was gettin' ready to leave. That's a experience that a fellow don't very forget, to see a blaze like that; how fast it can travel. It's amazing. It travel I've heard 'em say down here that a fire travels seventy miles an hour coming up the bridge there, but no fire travels that fast, but it travels fast enough that you'd have quite a time keepin' ahead of it if you was tryin' to get it,

SAM: On foot, or in a car?

MB: Afoot. But, I've heard tell down here, this Biglow Gulch down here, whatever they call it, that the fire was traveling seventy miles an hour. Fire don t if travel that fast. Wind don't blow that fast. So,Awe get seventy mile wind there wouldn't be much left in front of it, would it? I don t think in a fire... but I'll say that it'll travel ten miles an hour get the right., and a little UDhill. Boy, she crowns pretty fast because that heat...

SAM: Did you tell that Bovill it self— wasn't there a fire there about the same time as that, in the town?

MB: Well, that was when the town burned up.

SAM: Were you there when that happened?

MB: Yes, Iwas there that night. Fourth of July Eve. And I was in town. Iwas in town for the Fourth of July celebration. And they got us out of bed. We were— Well, the building that I was in didn't burn. It stopped where the highway goes through there. And the guy that owned the building there, he got everybody up and — the town is burning, so, all we could do was to get out there and watch it burn. There was nothin' that you could do. She was a pretty hot fire there, too. Peonle- everybody in town was out there watchin' .. And nobody could do anything about it, see. Water oressure wasn't good enough and the firefighting equipment was absolutely none, practically none, there was some, but didn t amount to anything. So the bank burned up there and hotels and restaurants and post office and the whole thing went there. It was ail frame buildings. No brick building there. Well, anyway, a lot of guys was nervous that the money burned up, the bank and everything burned up, you know. But, nobody lost anything in the bank there at that time. 'Cause they had everything in the safe. I know, next day I was around there and they asked me if I want to work. I say, "Hell, yes,"a little extra money. So, I worked, helped uncover the safe, you know, them hot coals and stuff, you know, uncover the safe. And nothing in the safe was burned up, everything else was level. All the hotels,... and frames and all that was twisted from the heat.

SAM: Do you have an idea how that fire started?

MB: Well, they figure— the one guy—the guy that— couple of guys that had some money in the bank, and I understood that one of them drew seven hundred dollars or something like that out of the bank the day before, that day, the same day the fire, that night the fire started. And, them guys, I think two of 'em burned up in the fire. And there was rumors that somebody could have went in there and rob bed them, and perhaps killed 'em, and set a fire. And that could— and that was nothin' possible, but there was nothin' ever- definite-^been proved on anybody, or proved what happened, but there was pretty strong suspicion that something like that had happened. Because, them two guys was the only ones that burned up. This guy that drew money out and his pardner. So, somethin' like that could have happened because, those days, it was very rare for somethin' like to happen, but still coulda happened. And, finally after all the town rebuilt and went pretty good for a while, and I don't know how it is now, but I Imagine she's pretty well rundown that is, the town part of it.

SAM: They rebuilt fast after that?

MB: Yeah, Yeah, they started right after the fire, they started rebuilding. And they hauled up and brick— brick building, there was no frame buildings there.

SAM: Well, what did you think when you first came over— when you first came to Bovill? It sounds like it was a pretty wild and wooley country for a young kid.

MB: Well, it was kinda strange. Language was the biggest barrier. The people was all right, but 1 couldn't understand what they were saying. What they were talk ing about. You know, it's quite a feeling when somebody's talkin' to you and you don't know what they mean, what the meaning is. I'd say, I don't know, I don't understand you, but alot of them, you know, they talk to you, and oh, it's kinda strange feeling. You could imagine yourself now goin' into Russia or some place, and they can talk to you in Russian— you know they're talkin' to i ya, but don't know what the hell they're saying. But it didn t take me long to catch on. I began to— Oh, my dad was pretty good, he didn't speak too plain, but he understood better than he could speak it. And he began to teach me right away. In another month or two, I could understand a hell of a lot what theyvere saying. It's easier to understand thanKto speak it. It's easier to understand word than to speak — pronounce . But, oh, a year or two I was around with the young people and chasin' around alittle bit- gettin' acquainted with the girlsand I got along pretty good, (chuckles)

SAM: Was there a pretty good social life there when you were growing up there? A teenager?

MB: Yes, I think it was. I think— I really think it was better than it is today. Truthfully. The people was alittle friendlier. That is, you know, get acquaint ed easier. I didn't have no trouble at all gettin' acquainted with the people and people accepted me as one of them, and Ifelt as one of 'em. And got along with 'em good. Well, you know, first few years, why, perhaps, didn t understand everything they were saying, but— well, anyway, I'd figure out what they were sayin' later,you know. And I got so I could write and read—

SAM: Like you were sayin' about the girls— that's something I've wondered about. I probably figured that thereAcouldn t be very many girls with all the lumberjacks around. But for the young guys it wasn't too hard to get dates and stuff like that?

MB: Oh, yes.

SAM: With the town girls, huh?

MB: Yeah, sure. The young, you know— you get among the young people then in those days, not like it is days— There was a lot of girls, you know, they see some one— "Well, I'd like to get acquainted with him." And you'd see a girl. Well, I'm gonna get acquainted with her. And eventually you'd get together.

SAM: I just figured there'd be a lot of lumberjacks and there wouldn't be very many towns—

MB: Well, most of the lumberjacks were older people. Most of the lumberjacks— there wasn't too many young lumberjacks in those days. Mostly older people. Occasionally you'd find two or three young fellers in a camp. Generally they you know, in their thirties and forties. And, nowadays, there's more young people in there, because they're makin' more money nowadays. More lumberjacks today— 'course, today, they wouldn't hire old lumberjacks— they gotta be young— (chuckles) men that they hire. In those days, they hired older ones, experienced. Every town— there wasn't too many, too many girls in Bovill, that is— town was only about five hundred, six, at that time. But, it wasn't too hard to get acquainted. There's one thing that I never did take to, was danc ing. I couldn't— never learned to dance. But I'd go to dances, but I wouldn't dance. I'd go there and I'd sit around, talk with people, but to dance, I never I don't know^never did take a fancy to it. And, that kinda holds a guy back, you know. If you get dancing, and — you'd get acquainted quicker.

SAM: Did they have much parties and stuff like that, too?

MB: Oh, yes, yeah. Gatherings. In the later years, oh, God, it was parties changed a little bit, it was more to drinking, more drinkin: parties. But in the first days I was around there wasn't too much of that agom1 on. You know, young neonle didn t take to these wild drinking parties 'til, oh, later in the twenties. You take in— before twenties, there wasn't too many of tnose— too many young people drinking. But after the twenties, there, boy they made up for it. Moonshine come in.

SAM: I wonder why that was? Nowadays the young people drink, that's the way it is.

MB: Well, I don't know. Just to be doin' something, I guess. It the kind of recrea tion, I guess. Something—

SAM: I mean, I was thinking, why they didn't drink before, back in before the twen ties.

MB: Well, I'll tell ya. I don't think there was so much drinking among the older people in those days, either. I think where the younger people learn, is right at home. Most of them. I think the example is set for them; I think they follow it.

SAM: What about the old lumberjacks? Were they— what kind of guys were they like? The guys that would be the lumberjacks in the camps, when you were young, and the oldtimers that were in those camps?

MB: Well, only one thing that I found out, when I was a kid, some of the old lumber jacks, they didn't like the foreign people. I know one guy in particular, boy, and every time, Why did you come here? And, thought Iwas kinda, Idon't know- If he'd only stop and think of some of his an cestors came just like I did. But, some of 'em don't see it that way. I was talkin' to a guy the other day, he called me on the telephone, he says to me, "I'm not a foreigner, like you are." "Oh,", I said, "You're just not smart enough to realize it, that you are." "No, I'm not," he says, "I didn't come from over there." I says, "You probably didn't, but," I says, "where in the hell did your ancestors come?" "Oh, they probably come from England someplace. Iwas never there." I said, "Well, where do you figure you're more American than any body else?" And, as I said about this- some of them old guys— one guy in partictular, boy, he didn t like me, he just thought I was gonna take his job or- or do something, 1 don't know what— hurt him. And he didn t like me, I know, because he just— but a lot of 'em were just as nice to me as my dad was, you know, to wards me.

SAM: V/ere a lot of them bachelors?

MB: Mostly bachelors. Mostly bachelors. Probably fifty percent just go around, come from some place and goin' from heit and there. And that's the way By the way, I- you read that book, The Trees Grow Tall?

SAM: Yes.

MB: I wish I could get ahold of that guy that wrote that book, I'd correct him on some things. When he said that old Sam Pivach was the guy that murdered a guy in Elk River in 19— '12 or '14. Well, he was just all wrong. Because old Sam Pivach never was in Elk River 'til almost in— in the early twenties. Never been to Elk River. He was livin' In Bovill but he just never went to Elk River. And I'd like to see that guy sometime— and I might see him and I'll ask him where in the hell he got his information.

SAM: Did you know Sam Pivach?

MB: He was a very good friend of mine. Friend of my dad's. They were partners for years, you know, they bached together and had their homes together, and everything. And, my dad had a reputation one— with being one of the honest guys, one of the best integrityn, honesty that anybody could have. He never had a bad word for any body or would do harm to anybody. And he was real honest man, and old Sam was his best friend, and they were together— in fact, when this murder took place- I know where it took place. I never was up there before that, it was quite a while after that, but I know, just exactly where it took place. And the guy that did it, he was never caught. He got out of there, and he was gone; nobody ever saw him^since. But the way he got out of there, he rode the train out, and nobody knew it. With a cast on his leg. After he got outAthere, that cast was off, but he was gone. But, anyway, the murder was forced onto him. This bully guy- it was a public place where it happened- wild house- and this guy was a big bruiser, twice as big as the other guy, an he was abusing him, beatin' him up, kickin' him and.everything' and the guy got tired of it, and he just took q(knife and ripped him open, and got out. And the only way he could get out of Elk River was- these guys, cast on his leg, put him on atrain. And where he went from there, God knows, they never did find him. But, anyway, this guy said it was Sam Pivach that did it. Sam did not do it.

SAM: This bully that got killed, he been around there for very long? Did he have a reputation for being a bully?

MB: Mo. Oh, the guy that got killed?

SAM: Yeah.

MB: Oh, yeah, yeah, he was awful abusive. Abusive because he was big and powerful. He just thought there was nobody as big or as strong as he is, and alittle liquor was very abusive. I knew a couple instances like that— another one happened out of Fernwood in the same manner, only happened on the job. Big guy, he was kinda overseer, and he was a bully and he got pickin' on a little bit of a guy, little guy weigh about a hundred fifteen- twenty pounds, and slappin' him and stuff like that, and the guy got tired of that. So he took a gun and shot him. Killed him. Killed him in self-defense. But, anyway, the guy went to the peniten tiary, and he died. Died there, ^ever did get out. So, that's the way Al. Kirbank says it happened. Guy took it as long as he could, and the guy wouldn't leave him alone, kept following him around, so, he just thought, "Well, I'll have to do some thing, can't handle him otherwise." And he just stuck aknife through him something, and went on about his business.

SAM: Oh, so there were quite afew people saw that, 'cause it was in a public place, there.

MB: Yeah, they know who did it. They know who did it. But they never could find him.

SAM: Did the people not want to tell at the time? They wanted this guy to get away because it wasn't his fault.

MB: Well, some of them didn't tell it, because it wasn't his fault. Most of the people wanted him to get away. Because this guy was abusing him, and, you know, a man so much stronger than you are, you can't just sit there and let him beat the hell outta ya.(chuckles) Just because he was bigger. So them people know that friends was the ones that fixed him up in a cast and put him on a train, figured out the way to get out. And he got out that way. He got out right on the train, they didn't- never did catch up with him. Where he went, I don't know. God knows where he went.

SAM: Was there a lawman there, a cop, in Elk River at that time, I wonder?

MB: Well, they usually have akind of adeputy or something around the town, but, that was outside of the city limits of that town. That was in the county, but the- The guy was gone, and the other guy was dead, so- There was court or trial over that or nothin'. Because, they couldn't find the guy. ^He was gone. They just couldn't figure out where he went.

SAM: Well, what about Sam Pivach? I've heard of him before. I've heard that he had a real successful business through the years. He did good in the area. I mean that he kept going and gave a lot of people jobs.

MB: Well, during the Depression, he was the only oneK hiring around there. He had a little dinky logging business, and he kept a lot of guys from goin' hungry. He was makin' fence posts, and cuttin' pulpwood and saw logs and stuff like that, and gettin' guys, you know- lot of family guys around there- that's the only thing they could do,tcould find to do. Old Sam had somethin' fer 'em- didn't pay much. Couldn't pay much because he wasn't gettin' very much fer his stuff. But, anyway, they made aliving. And, he was good for the town. He helped out- supported quite a few in that town during that depression. He didn t make any money himself, but he had the pleasure of hiring somebody and give 'em a chance to work. And, he didn t become rich or anything like that. He was a good hearted man. He'd help anybody that was in need. And, he did help a lot of them. He was liked by some and disliked by some. Some of them didn t like him because he was— figured he was makin' money doing good for himself. But he really didn't make any money. He never— Oh, he had enough


MB: - I want* to borrow four-five hundred dollars, just my plain note, nothing else, I paid it back. An:] he always told me, "Mike, if you need anything, let me know."

SAM: Yeah, he's that kind of a guy. He's just- he's just a great—

MB: He's the guy that built that business in that bank. He's the guy that made that bank what it is. That bank is got over somethin' like twenty five million dollar deposit there, in a town of six-seven hundred population.

SAM: That's the biggest bank in the- over a big area.

MB: Yeah. Frank Brooke's the one that built it. I knew Ole Bowman, that was a part owner there And I knew Willis Bowman, you probably know him? And he was a pretty nice guy, I liked Willis. And— but this guy that's in there now, that's president of the bank, I don't recall him. Noonan, isn't it?

SAM: Yeah, Noonan.

MB: V/as he in there when Brocke was in there?

SAM: I don't know how long he was there. He was in there for several years.

MB: What kind of a lookin' guy is he?

SAM: He's bald, tall, quite tall, bald—

MB: Kinda dark and bald, or?

SAM: Yeah,. Yeah, he's dark-bald.

MB: Iknow who he was. Iknow now who he is, because he was in there before because he was the guy- he was setting there inside there, workin' all time, at the desk.

SAM: Yeah, he was in there for some years.

MB: Yeah.

SAM: Sundstrom.

MB: Sundstrom. Yeah, yeah. Sundstrom. He's been dead quite awhile, too. Ray, Ray, isn't it?

SAM: Yeah, Ray Sundstrom.

MB: I know his Dad well.

SAM: Oh, I was gonna ask you about Pat Malone.

MB: Pat? Oh, Pat, a humorous guy. He was a deputy there, and he had alittle authority. And, of course, he had to show-- h* do somethin' for his money he was getting, for the little he was getting. And every once in awhile he had to get onto somebody and bawl 'em out, or tell 'em what he was going to do to 'em. thought I was bring whiskey into town, andj hve I said, "Okay, Pat, sto me." I said, "I'll never resist," go ahead, anytime yvoouu want to stop me, you slop I said, "I'm willing to let you search me or car any time." "I'll get you," he says. "They tell me that you're bringing whiskey into town." I says, "Yes, right in here." "Oh,",he said, "You're bringing whiskey, they tell me." I said, "They'll tell ya a lot of stuff, Pat," I said, "I'm not." "Well, be careful, I'm layin' for you." (laughter) I said, "Thank you for warnin' me." But then, he was really a good old guy. He had dinner with us several times, you know, my wife and me.

MB: He had dinner five days before he died.

MB: Yeah, just shortly before he died. I had beer and he liked beer and he liked whiskey. But, he told me, he said, "I'll have a drink with you people, but,"he said, " I don't do it with everybody." (chuckles) I said, "Pat, you're just as safe here having a drink here as anything, so don't worry. Nobody'U know it." And he trusted us.

SAM: Tell me that story about how first they stopped you out on the road,Athen in town and you had some stuff. That was such a good story, I really liked that one. That was the one where Pat was— this happened to other guys, too. You said you were on your way back from Spokane, or some place and Pat and

MB: Pat and the sheriff stopped me?

SAM: Yes.

MB: Well, I was comin' back from Spokane; that's before I was married, I wasn't even married then, I was quite— gettin' around quite a lot, you know. Just running into Spokane and here and there. Of course, I always liked a little nip of whiskey, moonshine. I never carried it to excess, but I always liked to have a drink occasionally— and .anyway, I had a- it was a big touring car, great big Stevens, don't build 'em anymore. But, anyway, I was comin' from Spokane and I came out of Deary, and the old road went right straight ahead and swang this way over the hill there, what they called Benson Hill, down Deary. The road was way down around that way, and then what they call Benson Hill went around that uoint. There was a curve there, just like uphill and a curve. I come down through there, and there was acar right straight ghe railroad. What m the hell is going on here? *We gotcha*, (chuckles) Isaid, "What?" "We gotcha this time." And, I said, "Oh, what the hell you got me for? What're you talking about." I said "You got me blocked, Iknow." He said, "Where's the whiskey?" "Right here." "Oh, you got some here." I said, "No, Ihaven't." And Ihad had alittle bottle like that, I'd just drank it before, after I left Troy, and threw the bottle out. "Well," Isaid, "Go ahead." Igot out, you know. He said, "Get out." So Igot out. "Where do you carry it?" I said, "Gee, why ask me?" I said, "There's the car, look." "We'll get you yet."

SAM: This Pat, too?

MB: Yeah, Pat was there, yeah. He didn't say, but.... Said, I'll be watching for you. I said, "Well, thank you." I says, "Nobody's gotta watch for me." So Pat told me after that, he said, "Mike," he said, "we had a report that you was comin' through with a load of whiskey." And he said, "Charley," Charlie Summerfield, "called me up, and he said, "Come up and get me." I said, "You didn't get any, Pat". He says, "No," he said, "we didn't." "I was glad we didn't, I was glad we didn't." (chuckles) And, then another time, why, I came— I did have— that time I really did have whiskey. I had five gallons in the back seat in the same car. Blanket hanging over the front seat, and right in the back seat touring car. Back seat, and blanket over it, that way. And I stopped right in front of the hotel. Old Pat seen me and he come out. He said, "Tell me you: 're running whiskey, you're bringing whiskey into this town." He says, "I'm gonna get you." I said, "Pat, you're welcome to stop me any time you want to." I said, "Anytime you want to stop me; stop me." I said, "I'll stop, and you go search." He said, "I'll go do it." I said, "Okay," I says,"Pat, I'm hungry, I'm gonna eat." And Pat followed me right in, set along side me while I was eatin', atalkin' to me. (chuckles) I says, "Five gallons of moonshine in the back seat of that car, right there in front." Well, he didn't think I'd be foolish enough to bring the whiskey in the day. I wasn't selling it. I just bought it for, you know, myself and my chums, you know. They'll pay so much, and I'll pay so much and we'll all, you know, have moonshine. And, I had a good notion to tell him after that, but I don't think I ever told him. I'll betcha he'd alaughed to himself, if I did. His nose right over it, the damn thing, talkin' to me and a five gallon keg in there.

SAM: How did you happen to have five gallons in the back at once?

MB: Five gallon keg, wooden keg, you know. I bought it, to you know, working with the guys and say, "Well, if you ever run onto a good bargain on whiskey, get^ I'll take a gallon." And the other guys'd take a gallon, so I paid so much for it, and they pay me and I had my own and they had their own. And I was takin' it for them guys, you know. It was divided up. Pay a equal amount and divide the whiskey.

SAM: Was that one that you got a real good deal on; on that five gallon?

MB: Yeah.

SAM: This guy had to get rid of it.

MB: Yes. In fact, I got it— it was, they was selling it for fifteen between fifteen and twenty dollars. This guy said, he said, "Mike," said, "I got—" he had ten gallons—He said, "Pat is after me," he said, "They're onto my trail," he said, "Would you take this offa my hands?" I said, "Gee, what in the hell would I do?" I said, uI can't take all of it." So, I said, "I'll take five gallons." He said, "I'll take fifty dollars for five gallons." I think he was selling it for eight een or twenty dollars a gallon. He said, "I want to get rid of it." I said, "I'll take five gallons." So I give him fifty dollars. He said, "What the hell am I going to do with this other five?" I said, "Well, I don't know. I haven't got no more money." I says, "I give you all the money I had." And I didn't have any more. I had fifty dollars, and I give it all— probably had a dollar or two. And he said, "I'll tell ya, take the damn stuff and hide it someplace." So I takes it and hides it in the woods, ,^about a mile and a half outta Bovill there. And I went back to camp, and I had the other, you know, guys that wanted me to buy 'em some, and I got that stuff for them and they paid me their share, and I went back to camp. And I was— Oh, it was about two or three weeks and I come back, and I didn't come through there for about a month. And here they had a railroad rightof- way cut through there where I had the damn whiskey hid. I said to myself,"What in the helll" I went over and it was gone. They cut right through there where I had it hid. And a fellow by the name of Frank Mallory was the right-of-way fore man, you know, grading foreman, and told me, one day, he said, "You know," he said, "a funny thing happened," he said, "I took a crew out there," and he said, "told what to do, and put 'em— and I left." He said, "I come back and every one of 'em was drunker than a skunk." I said, "How can that be?" He said, "I don't know." I said, "Iflknow." He says, "What do you mean?" I said,"I had some whiskey hid in there," I said, ( laughter) He said, "Was it you? Did you hide it there?" I said, "Yes, I did." I said, "I suppose you're gonna pay for it?" He said, "Hell, no." I says, "I wouldn't either, it didn't cost me anything, either." And, anyway, I told him,., that was Leslie MaHory, and he said, "My God, I couldn't figure out how in the hell," he said, "Every one of the fellers was dead drunk and you couldn't budge 'em." Well, anyway that guy, that bootlegger,^next time Isaw him, Isaid, "Well," Isays, "Your keg of whiskey," I says, "that I hid, you better collect from Leslie Mallory for it." He said, "What do you mean?" And, I said, "His crew found it and got drunk on it, they couldn't work for two days." (laughter) He said he couldn't figure out^his men got drunk on the job, see, because they all carried just a lunch, and he know4Q they didn't take any booze in there. Well, anyway, they found a way to get ityou know, they had this lunch, thermos bottles and stuff, they just kept filling 'em. I don't know whether they drank all five gallons, or whether somebody stashed some of it away, but anyway, twenty five men, you know, they were all drunker'n hell. Layin' down, fallin' all over the ground; nobody workin*. And that was my fault, because I cached it in the wrong place. Never dreamt that they was gonna cut right-of-way through there. I knowed they was gonna put a railroad through there sometime, but I didn't know that it was gonna go right through there where I put the damn keg.

SAM: Well, did most of the moonshine that was drunk around there, did it come from Boville, or did it come from— was it brought in from Spokane, or far away?

MB: Most of it come from Orofino. Most of it come from Ahsahka, around Ahsahka. Orofino or Ahsahka, and Greer country. Some come from Spokane, but most of it come from up there. There was one guy that, he had a pretty big outfit, fellow by the name Scholz. And, he'd always, he'd always look me up to see if there was any— give him a hint where he could do some business. Of course, he always give me a bottle or two (chuckles) I'd give him a hint, if somebody wants to buy a— (You don't mind if I smoke?)

SAM: Oh, no.

MB: I'd give him a hint if somebody wants to buy a gallon or so, you know. Evan family guys used to buy a gallon of it and have it at home. 'Course, I think as long as there's nothing wrong about that a man didn't go to extremes.

(conversation regarding smoking has been left out)

MB: Yeah, anyway, life is one big experience. You learn to live and live to learn. And a lot of things happen—interesting things— some things that not too interesting. But, anyway, you look back after you get to be up in years, like I am, you can look back and say, "Well, a lot of those things I enjoyed." It was kinda tough, but I enjoyed 'em anyway. Like working hard and having close calls and accidents and stuff like that. And, all-in-all, there's a lot of pleasant exper iences; lot of bad ones, too, in the course of fifty years, sixty years, fifty years on the slave market. You learn a lot of things. One thing, that's wrong with it, you don't learn enough to come: as a wealthy man or something, (chuckles)

SAM: Well, probably better off that way. Lot better off to be honest.

MB: I believe, right today, I think I am happier than a lot of guys, lot of people, that's got a lot of money. I know that I have not hurt anybody, robbed anybody, killed anybody. I know that my mind is clear and my conscience is clear. And I think that's something that's really worthwhile. I think. I always paid my bills. My credit has always been good, and still is good. And I never— couldn't say that i want for anything today; I'm livin' good.

SAM: I hope I can say the same thing when I'm your age. That I've never hurt anybody.

MB: I hope you can, too, that's something that's really worthwhile, I think. I al ways figure a man, if you got— I don t care how much you've got— it's yours, and what I got I figger it's mine. If I need anything, I'll come over and ask you for it. And if you need anything, if I got it, come over and ask me, and we'd get along. And if we'd all do that, this would be a better world to live in instead of going and say, "I'll take it." Because, what belongs— what's yoursif you've got a dollar; if you got a thousand dollars; if you got ten thousand dollars; or twenty thousand dollars, or more, it's yours. I didn t work for it, I didn't make it, it's yours. And the same way applies to me, same thing applies to me- If I'm in need or somethin', and if I need somethin', if I know you, I'll say well, "Friend, I need somethin', if you could help me out." All right." And I'd feel the same way if the people come to me. If I had it and was in a position to heir) somebody if I can. Perhaps, in my days, I did. And, I don t think that I lost too much. Perhaps, lost a few dollars here and there, but what in the hell is the difference? A few dollars didn t hurt me, and probably helped them, so

SAM: Is there any time you're thinking of particularly, when this guy needed help in times, in the old days, when you had money and the other guys didn't?

MB: Well, not really, not really any emergency. It probably come at the time, somebody asked me for somethin' that probably didn t need. I'd say, "No" it a worthwhile purpose." You know, like, a guy wants to borrow or somethin' you know to go on, have a big drunk or something. I don't think that's necessary. But if a family run short of something, if I have it, i'll gladly split with 'em. But, otherwise, I never had too much experience with somebody, you know.

SAM: Sorta like Frank Brocke, I think he's the same way, he'd really help a guy out if he thought he needed it.

MB: Frank is, I think, is one mail that I know of, one that I knowAwould do things like that, for people that he knows that all they got is what they earn. But Frank is a pretty honest man himself, and he trust* honesty. I went to Frank time or two, and I really had to have some money. I said, "Frank, I'll give you my note, mortgage." Ihad ahouse. "No, Mike," he says,"your word is So, five hundred dollars, I wanted five hundred loan somebody that's just working for a living. And Frank has never turned me down. And when this old Sam Pivach died, he had a guy that was with 'im all time there, ani old guy, he was absolutely worthless, but old Sam was honest ani he thought the old guy should— that he should take care of the old guy. Well, he wasn't well enough fixed financially to do that. And before he died, I was here in Spokane, why I got a call from Potlatch, from the doctor, he said, "Your friend Sam is— if you want to see him you'd better come down." He said, "He's not gonna be around too much longer." He had heart trouble. And, I went down that night after I come from work. K^M/* And' 01d Sam' he wanted me to take over his business where he left off. And, I told him, I said, "No, Sam, I can't do that." At the same time I got sick and I was off work for quite some time. And, anyway, I told 'im, I told Brocke, I said, I told him what Sam said. "Well," he said, "go down there, and I'll talk to Sam." And he owed the bank quite a lot of money, something like eight thousand dollars. So, told Frank, I said, "As far as I'm concerned, I know that I'm not, I'm not- There's not enough there for me to even bother with it. But I will kind of look after things 'til after he passed away." I told him,"look after things, and you'll perhaps get your money back out of it, and whatever is left, he wants— you'll keep the old guy— to keep it for the old guy to keep him going 'til—. But anyway after it was all settled, there was about forty five hundred dollars left. And Frank, he said, "We've got to put a limit to this," he said, "We can't leave him in your care forever," he said,"you've got to limit there, to the amount of money that's in there." He said, "After that money's gone, you'll have to keep him if you dont." So he made out a will man thought it was all right. And that's the way it went. I kept the old guy, you know, kep' him with the money from the estate 'til it was all gone. 'Course, I got my administrator's fee out of it. I had to have somethin' out of it. And the old guy— after the money was gone, I couldn t keep him, I had no— he was no relation to me or anything, so, I just told the attorney what's what. "Well," he said, "all we can do is. put him in a home." I said, "Well, I haven t got," I said, "i can't keep him, because I've got myself to take care of and my wife and my home," I said, »IJust can't possibly do anything for him." "Well," he said, "I'll just have him put in a home." So, put him in a home and he passed away there. So, I didn't get very much, I didn't hardly get paid for my work— ray time I spent up around there. Traveling back and forth from here to there. All those years tha t I took care of I got nine hundred dollars out of the whole thing, and I know I spent more than that travelin'. And some people thought that Iwas— that I inhereted a lot of money there." Everything was on the paper there, what he owed and bills that he run here and there. He had cattle, he had almost a hundred head of cattle, but the cattle wasn't worth a darn, seven cents a pound. So, Frank arranged and sold the whole thing,^and must not have left any in the bank to take care of the old guy.

SAM: Did Sam come from the same part of Europe that your father came from?

MB: Yes. Yes. Not exactly from the same town, or territory, but the same province.

SAM: Were there a lot of guys out there that came from Yugoslavia, in that area? Were there a lot of guys around Bovill?

MB: There was at that time. Yeah, there was at that time, in early '10 before I came there, and when I came there, there was quite a few of 'em. I'll sam probably acouple of hundred workin' 'round there. There wasn't,you know, they didn t have their homes, they were just lumberjacks. When they were not working they were in Spokane, or- had a little shack in town someplace, Troy or Deary, or Bovill or someplace. A shanty and when they's not working they bach, see. They do their own cooking and stuff like that. Work opens up again, they go to work.

SAM: Do you know if a lot of these guys started on the «jctn*w gang, or did they start as lumberjacks, right

MB: Well, most of 'em was lumberjacks. Some of them worked on what they call section work, 7 railroads,7 keep and stuff like that. Bot the most of 'em was lumberjacks. Sawyers, sawyers, sawing or decking or somethin' like that you know; skid ding. More of sawyers than anything else. Sawing logs with a crosscut saw, not these power saws, crosscut.

SAM: Is there timbering in Yugoslavia, too? Or had they had lumberjack experiende before they came over? forests.

MB: Yeah, there was quite a bit of the part where I came from there was quite a forest industry, not too far from there. And a lot of 'era worked wood there. But most of them, most of 'em came to Idaho and Washington and Oregon. Mostly Idaho and they were raised right in the timber and natural, you know, see, that they just lived to be in the timber, want to be in the wilderness. They enjoyed it. And that why most of them come out this way. Lot of »em liked mining and stuff like that; they went to mining, but then most of 'em come out here just for that reason, because they loved to be in the timber. The trees, more natural, birds, streams and natural springs and stuff like that, and that was aheaven up there around Marble Creek and also around Bovill there. They'd come through there and come to a spring coming right out of the rocks, and in July and August wh it's ahundred in the shade, that water ice cold, you know. And when you got down there and drank, it's so cold it'd hurt your teeth. But, that was pure water. That wasn't polluted. Ithink that's somethin' that's very important to life- somethin' that's pure like that. And most of 'em enjoyed outing— being out in the open.

SAM: Were there many guys young like you, or were most of the guys older?

MB: Well, most of them— they was mostly older guys. They was a few young ones that came, akid now and then, you know, their brother»d be here or somebody, an and they'd come, uncle or Dad or something'd send for them, But towards the last, now you take around , some of them youer guys that was lumberjacks. They got around cities like Spokane and Seattle Or stuff like that, and they see the bootlegging and that stuff there, and a lot of 'em went into that. Instead of working, say "Hell, I can make easier money than logging, go into moonshine, or run moonshine for somebody or somethin'." Which I was offered that job time and time again. I had a big car andAguy right here in town. "Why do you stay in the woods, why don't you get down town here and live like a man?" I said, "I'm living like a man where I'm at," I says, "livin' better'n you are." "Oh, the hell you are. You're not makin' money that you can make here." Them guys offered me two hundred, two hundred fifty dollars a week to run whiskey from Metaline Falls here. I said, "No, no, No, no." They said, "You go to jail, we'll pay you ten dollars a day while you're in jail." I said, "No, I don't want to go to jail." But a lot of went for it 'em, you know, fall for that. A lot of them young guys-- Oh, ' good but after all, they come out broke, and no better than I did workin' in the woods. Some of 'em got in trouble, was deported, because they wasn't citizens, they war*, deported. They got in trouble so many times, that they got tired and kick 'em out of the country, if they'd ' worked like they should, they'dve been better off. You know, you get into something like that, you make money all right, but you don't hang onto that money. The more you make, the more you feel free that you can spend. First thing you know, you're buying automobiles that's way beyon^ your means. You're taking a lot of trips and traveling way beyond your means. You're getting into things, that you really shouldn't. Of all the "big shots", bootleggers around here, everyone that I know went broke. One guy, a particular good friend of mine, he had a hundred thousand dollars, that's a lot of money, a common he had no education, couldn't read or write. And, he got buying cars, Cadillacs and Lincolns and all that, and drinking, driving. Until one day ke run into a doctor in town, and wrecked, and I think the doctor died, killed Boy, that cost him a lot of money to get out of that. And he got in trouble over income tax, income tax people, and they got onto him and they broke him. He died, he didn t have no more than I got.

SAM: Was that around Bovill, or was that in Spokane?

MB: Oh, that 's the guy, he used to be- he used to work in the woods. He worked m business the woods, lot , out he got into down here, that's why he got away. I believe, if I ever got into that much money, I don't think I'd stay in the bus iness. I think I'd quit the business and I'd just take life easy. I'd do a little traveling. I'd go here and there and if I see a place stop for a few days, I'd stop there, and keep going. I think I could spend a lot of time that way. But he didn't.

SAM: I guess you get greedy.

MB: He didn't seem to be greedy. He was free with his money, he spend. But money was comin' in, you know. He wasn't stingy. He wasn t stingy. Hell, he'd buy, you know if somebody needed he'd hand 'em the money, and somebody hungry, he'd feed 'em and see that they had a place to stay, and stuff like that, but, he just figured that's gonna keep comin' all the time. But, once you get in trouble, once uncle Sam gets after you, you've got to have a lot of money to fight him. And, anyway, (remarks ret conversation left out)

SAM: What about Pat? Pat Malone? he really death on bootleggers or not? Did he have— he's the guy that drank some?

MB: Not really, unless they got onto him from Moscow. Unless the| got onto him. On his own initiative I don't think he would bother very much. But he had to do 'course somethin', you Imow, people from town there complained, why,Ahe ot his orders from Moscow, and he had to do something or— and the old man, you know, he was gettin' old, you know, and there was nothin' else he can do. So, he had to do somethin, he had to make a little showing. Idon't think he was really bad, he really wanted to hurt anybody or really be dirty with 'em, on his own. But he had to have something to do, you know, made a little showing. I think that's why one thing about Pat he always warned you, always warned you. (chuckles) Just as much as to say, "Well, watch for me." (chuckles)

SAM: Well, were there people, or a group in Bovill; that put pressure on Pat? Gave him a hard time?

MB: Yeah. Yeah, a lot of, well, I. the churches. A lot of those church wob Now, I've nothin' against the church, but, the church should stay with it's own scope. They didn t they don t believe in drinking, which, they have that right, but, I don t think they should try to control somebody else's life. If you want to drink, if you want to do things, why, it's none of my business. You're still a human being to me and a friend, regardless of what you do, if you don't hurtif you don't try to hurt me, or do me harm. But, some people's different, because they don t believe in something you shouldn't be doin', they don t want to do, we all are individuals and we have our own way of seein' things or interpreting things. And old Pat, he was a good guy. He had to listen to people; naturally people was payin' him, he was gettin' paid from the taxpayer's money, he had to do somethin' but for it. (chuckles) So don' think he was— he was not too unreasonable. I think he was a good old guy.

SAM: when did you first hear about the V/obblies in the woods?

MB: That was in—Oh, it was shortly after I came to the country. I think it was about 1915 somewheres along there. They showed up around there. IWW, 'course they in existence long before that, in different places. But the Potlatch was always kinda tough against the union any . They didn t want the men to organize or anything. The union— I'm all for unions— Unions all right. The Union's got the system, but the wobblies didn't have no system. They had no system whatsoever. They had no leaders. There was no leaders. Somebody like myself come sawou join it's Tigonna cost you two and a half or somethin'. Well, you join, they give you a little card, why, where that two and a half went, nobody knows, because, there was no headquarters,Kno locals. I couldn't see joinin' anything like that. I belong to the Union. I belong to the Teamsters Union, and International Labor organ- Unitedization and the Mine Jorkers. Them unions all right for working people. If it wasn't for that I don't think working people'! get very far, would be improved as much as they are now, if it hadn t been for organized labor. But I couldn't see it in the IWW. I couldn't get their system through my head. How they gonna have a organization— no treasury, no organized headquarters to handle things.

SAM: Did they have a man in each camp? That was permanent, that was the head, that was the representative?

MB: No. No. They wouldn't let him stay in camp. come^along, and you were in town or somebody sneak into camp and try to sell some memberships tell you, ex plain things or something like that. 1t was probably a good idea, but there was no system. You take the United Mine workers, you joined them and you were right on the books and you pay your dues and they'll go to bat for you. And the wages is negotiated through your leaders. And they had the by-laws and agreements that the corporations can't break. They're broken occasionally, but they run into trouble when they did. The IWWs didn t have that. They had nobody to negotiate and you could't negotiate with the corporation because you haven't got no author ity. You got to have authority someplace ^ order to come in and represent a ounch of men. well, they couldn t show that to nobody because that organiz ation was not recognized, not even by labor or the government. And, therefore, I didn t think it was the right set up. They meant well, but then, but what they meant and what they could do was different things.

SAM: You didn t join it?

MB: No, I didn't, i never did join. When they had a lot of trouble there in - around Moscow there, the stockade for a while there, they put the men in there the guys that went on a strike. They built the stockade like we do for stock, and herded 'em in there, put 'em in there. I wasn't around there then, I went to Wyoming, went to work in a mine. And they was for help for the IWWs, 'cause lot of people donated the money and sent 'em. And to help out when they had the big affair Centralia. Some of them - I there was shooting there and killing and everything* in Centralia. There was a drive to raise funds for the guys jail. 'Course a lot of people donated, in fact, I did too I a few dollars, probably five or ten dollars towards cause, because it wasn't exactly legal, it was for benefit of the working people This United Mine workers they was one of the best unions that was ever organized. anything John L. Lewis, the old labor leader, the one that they couldn't find wrong with, he was the leader that was incorruptible. wouldn t be corrupted. He talked to President Roosevelt, just the same as he would to me or you. And he talked to the big corporation heads just as tough as he would to anybody else. They couldn't say he was a Communist, Socialist or anything else. They couldn't find anything corrupt about him. But he was the only one I know of in the last fifty years, the rest of 'em all get power drunk, money hungry, corrupt, they sell out, sellKlabor out for their own benefit, but John L. Lewis was the one that I know they didn't do it. they offered to raise his salary from twenty five thousand dollars a year to fifty thousand dollars, the union itself offered to raise his wages to fifty thousand dollars a year. He said, "Mo, twenty five thousand dol lars is enough for me. I don't need more." Look, after he died what Tony Boyle did. He goes to work and raises his own salary to fifty thousand a year, .and his own pension for fifty thousand a year after retirement. Then one that opposed him, Yablonsky, Jack Yablonsky, he goes and arranges to have him murdered. Him and his wife and a daughter. Just to better himself, to keep that fifty thousand a year and ^ pension.

SAM: I want to ask you one— about, one thing more about the IWW. Do you think that it was the IWW that got the better conditions in the camp there?

MB: Undoubtedly, undoubtedly, it did. They finally realized, the companies finally realized that they'd have to better the conditions or have trouble all the time. So, they did. They made better living quarters, better camps, better board, eat ing conditions and furnished the bedding, which lumberjacks in those days, had to carry ins own bedding all^his belongings on his bank from camp to camp, town to camp. They changed that, they did that I know, that they were the ones that brought that up. And that's one good turn that I know they did in the labor. .. And if they had had a right start, if they had the leader, like John L. Lewis, they'd have much better, but they didn't. They didn t have the— anyone that I know that was worthy of support to carry on the labor organization.. Big Bill Haywood, they tell me he was a Coramunist, but he was the head of the whole somewhere. And he was back there in ChicagoA,he didn't know anything about what's going on out here, in fact nobody's ever seen him out here. If he'd a be John L. Lewis he'd a been out to see what the conditions are. 'Cause,evidently he must a been paid by somebody, some of the labor or those people and these guys, working people.

SAM: I understand he had been in the Western Federation of Miners before he got in the IWW. He had been in there, and then got in the IWW after that.

MB: I don t know, I don't remember of him ever being in the raining organization.

SAM: Wasn't Mine Workers, it was the other union, the Western Federation of Miners it was the other organization.

MB: Oh,, could be. Not United Mine Workers, he could have been with West ern Federation of Miners, or somethin' like that. He had his fingers in a lot of things, but he couldn't have got by with United Mine Workers, because there was just one head in that, that was John L. Lewis. And before him was Green, Wil liam Green. After John L. Lewis took over, nobody else was, nobody else was head of that but him. He had his guys under him, you know. But Tony Boyle, he was under John L. Lewis, he was all right as long as John L. was around. But after John L. passed away, of course, Boyle inherited the presidency, and he really corrupted things. When it comes to arranging for murders^for his own benefit, that's very serious. Those guys used to get power drunk, that's all, money hungry and power drunk. They think they're above Look, our good President Nixon, he thought he was above God and everybody else. That's the way it was with Boyle. too bad that they didn't make him pay the concequences. Because he's sick- I feel sorry for anybody that's sick, but a man like that, he didn't feel sorry for the family or the people he had murdered. You know, those people died, Yablonsky, hell of a lot he was probably aAbetter man than Boyle. If he hadn't went crooked and cheated on votes and all that. And when the other guy was gonna expose it all, had it all exposed, ha$ him killed. That's not really the way of doin' things.

1:00 - Father emmigrated to US in 1906 from Bosnia; two brothers fought as guerillas in WWI

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: His father came to the U.S. in 1906 to get work to support his family in Bosnia. Mike followed in 1913. Father returned home and bought land, but had a hard time. Two brothers fought as guerillas and died during World War I.

10:00 - Broke his back while logging in 1939; recovery

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Mike's back was broken by a log that got loose while he was toploading at Elk River in 1939. It took three years and a serious operation to recover, after being told he would never work in the woods again.

17:00 - Logging accidents; carelessness a factor

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: He saw a man's head crushed between a log and a stump. A man bled to death in another accident. Accidents were caused by taking chances, by the men's carelessness.

25:00 - 1914 Beals Butte fire

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The 1914 Beals, Butte fire. The endless skyline that was used to log the mountain. A brush fire turned into a crown fire and destroyed the camp and timber as the crew fled over Cougar Meadows, (cont.)

31:00 - 1914 Beals Butte fire; fighting the fire

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The fire nearly burnt up Bovill, but the wind changed. An engineer crossed the burning bridge with his train because his family was still in Bovill, and the other trains with firefighters then followed.

36:00 - 1914 Beals Butte fire; Bovill bank; robbery

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The 1914 Bovill fire levelled much of the town. People were concerned that the bank's money burnt up, but it was saved in the safe. There was suspicion that the fire was set by someone who robbed a man killed in the fire.

41:00 - Language barriers; social life; drinking

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Mike's biggest problem when he first was in Bovill was understanding the language. Social life was good, and it was easy to get acquainted with girls. In the twenties there was much more drinking by both older and younger people.

49:00 - Discrimination against immigrants

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Some old lumberjacks disliked foreign people, not realizing that their ancestors came from overseas.

52:00 - Sam Pivach rumored crime; true story that happened in Elk River

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Sam Pivach did not kill a man at Elk River, as rumored in The Trees Grew Tall. Mike's father, a man of great honesty, was Sam's best friend. The killer escaped from Elk River by train, disguised with a cast on his leg. The man killed was an abusive bully who had been beating up the small guy. A similar incident happened in Fernwood when a man shot the overseer who kept picking on him on the job. The people wanted the man in Elk River to get away, because it wasn't his fault.

59:00 - Sam Pivach provided work during Great Depression, made little money

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Sam Pivach gave many men work in the Depression with his gyppo operation, but made little money with it.

60:00 - Bank of Troy

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Bank of Troy personnel.

63:00 - Pat Malone moonshine; drinking

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Pat Malone used to warn Mike he was after him for moonshine. Summerfield and Pat lay in wait for Mike one night by the road on a tip, and searched his car but didn't find any. Mike had five gallons in the back of his car in Bovill when Pat told him he was going to catch him, but Pat didn't bother to look. Mike divided up moonshine with his friends, but didn't sell for profit. A man who Pat was after gave Mike five gallons which Mike hid, only to discover a railroad cut there a month later; Frank Mallory's whole crew had got dead drunk on it. Most Bovill moonshine came from Ahsahka. Sholz had a big operation, and gave Mike some free in return for information.

79:00 - Living a rich life without money; got a mortgage from Frank Brocke based on his word

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Life is full of learning. Mike isn't wealthy, but knows he has hurt no one. What you earn is yours; but if you need help you should get it. Frank Brocke took Mike's word as a mortgage.

85:00 - Sam Pivach estate

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Mike took care of Sam Pivach's estate.

90:00 - Yugoslavians were lumberjacks, lived in the woods

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: There were a couple hundred Yugoslavians who worked in the woods in the area. They'd lived in woods in Europe, and loved to be in wilderness.

95:00 - Young lumberjacks involved with bootlegging; Mike turned down bootlegging gig

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: In the twenties younger lumberjacks moved to cities and got involved with bootlegging. Mike was offered 1250 a week to run whiskey and money if he went to jail, but he wouldn't. All the big bootleggers Mike knew went broke.

100:00 - Pat Malone and moonshine; Bovill church women against drinking

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Pat Malone went after moonshine when he was pushed by Moscow. He was also pressured by church women in Bovill who were against drinking.

103:00 - IWW brough better working conditions to Potlatch; Mike did not join but donated money

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The IWW had no system nor leaders. They had no authority to negotiate with corporations. Mike refused to join, but donated to the fund for the Centralia trouble. John L. Lewis was the incorruptible labor leader. IWW brought about better conditions because Potlatch realized they'd have trouble all the time. Men like Tony Boyle and Nixon are power drunk.


Collections A-Z