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Latah County Oral History Collection

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

« View All Fannie Cuthbert Byers interviews

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Date: December 17, 1976 Interviewer: n/a

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0:00No transcript available.

0:00 - Family and childhood information

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Segment Synopsis: Born in Viola, parents moved to Idaho from Scotland in 1888, had 9 children including Fannie, bought a homestead from the Sanders family; she attended school in Viola and Moscow.

3:00 - Father's background

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Segment Synopsis: Her parents were David and Mary Cuthbert; her father logged and harvested, cleared land.

4:00 - 1893 wet harvest was good for her father

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Segment Synopsis: The 1893 wet harvest that devastated so many families was actually good for her family; he raised cattle that could graze all over, feed was cheap.

5:00 - Parents from Scotland

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Segment Synopsis: Her parents moved from Scotland to the United States three times, lived in Iowa, Idaho.

6:00 - Fire in Viola

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Segment Synopsis: Fire set by teenage boys burnt down the church and schoolhouse; boys set other things on fire purposely.

9:00 - Strawberry patches

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Segment Synopsis: Her family grew many strawberry patches, both for food and used to trade for goods in the summer months, saved up to trade things when prosperous.

12:00 - Hotel in Viola

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Segment Synopsis: Buggies with tops were a big deal; Viola had a three-story hotel - her mother used to keep a few rooms there in the winter months during the school week, so much snow they could not travel back home during the week. Housekeeping rooms allwoed them to prepare food and not eat out a lot.

14:00 - Doctors in Viola

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Segment Synopsis: There were two doctors in Viola, Dr. Barnum, and another doctor known for helping a man who cut off his legs accidentally in a feed grinder.

16:00 - Sawmill in Viola

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Segment Synopsis: Sawmill was nearby Viola, employed most of the town. Boarding school up on the hill, later moved near main road.

20:00 - Businesses in Viola

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Segment Synopsis: Pool hall was really a shack, livery stable, some gambling. Sawmill kept people employed in spring and fall, people played cards in between.

23:00 - Women's life in Viola

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Segment Synopsis: Women would congregate at someone’s home, parties, playing cards. Stories about Harrison family. Talk about the old days.

25:00 - People not caring about what other thought

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Segment Synopsis: People didn't keep up with the Jones's as much as they do now; people didn't accumulate so much stuff.

26:00 - Fannie was a cook

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Segment Synopsis: Fannie received $5.00 per day as a cook (not good money), she traveled around with threshing crews and took care of horses. When feed got too expensive, tractors were being introduced.

27:00 - How she met her husband

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Segment Synopsis: Met her husband because his family farmed on other side of Moscow. Train went to town then. Story of man being struck by lightning. Her husband worked in the woods and as a farmer.

31:00 - Stories about her sister; parents lived to old age

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Segment Synopsis: Her sister was trained as a nurse locally who moved to Coos Bay, Oregon. Her sister met her husband there before she traveled to France during World War I. Didn’t return to this area until 1940, moved to Walla Walla after husband died. Father lived to age 99, mother to age 92.

34:00 - Stories of neighborhood kids

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Segment Synopsis: Stories of neighborhoods kids, used to have a raft to get over the creek in spring. Two small girls died near the creek when she was a child.

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