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Sam Schrager: What year were you born?
John Eikum: I was born in 1888.
SS: And were you born here or back in the old country?
JE: Back in Norway. I was born in Norway, October the 28, 1888.
SS: How old were you when your folks came over here?
JE: Well, I lacked three months of being five years. We came to Genesee in 1893,the fifth day of August.
SS: Do you remeber anything about that trip over here from Norway?
JE: Oh, not very much. I was only four years old. Little over four and a half yearsold. I remember coming through Montana. Wy mother bought a currant pie,and she opened it up to see what was inside of it, and she just threw it out the car window. And then she saw some Indians outside long that platform and she got so scared, we just hid under the seats in the train. We heard so many Indian stories, you know, about the atrocities that the Indians...
SS: Did your mother hide too? Hid the kids.
SS: Why/did ahe throw the pie out the window?
JE: She didn't know what it was. She said she wasn't about to eat anything like that.
SS: Do you know how your parents happened to wind up going to Genesee?
JE: Well yes. You see, there vtfft$ four or five bachelors from the same piece inNorway as my folks and they came over here before and they wrote back what nice country it was out here so dad came over first. He came over in April, of 1893 and then he sent back and brought the family over. And mother had a time on the trip. She got one of her sisters and another girl that was going to Alma, Wisconsin and they both, to help care for the babies, you know, she had a four months old baby to take care of, and they got so seasick that they couldn't do a thing. So she had four children and her sister and this other girl to take care of. She didn't get seasick atall. So I guess that was a pretty good thing. And August fifthjwe landed in Genesee.
SS: Did your father have a place ready for you, a home?
JE: Well, he had bought eighty acres but then he had been hired out to one of theneighbors up there. So it was November before we moved into the place that he bought. That was that wet year, you know when they couldn't get their hatvesting done.
SS: Where did you live while you waited to move into your house.
JE: Well we lived at the family where my dad was working. She had that baby aboutthat time, she had a baby that first part of October so mother took care of the baby and he was, he cried a lot, you know, and mother fixed that. She mashed potatoes and butter together and she just fed that two week old baby all the butter: and potatoes he could eat. Then he seemed satisfied. And he's still living up there. He's eighty two years old now.
SS: What do you remember about that wet harvest?
JE: I remember it. I remember when we moved over to the 80 acres that dad had bought.It was a driving rain. We were just as wet as drowned rats were when we got over to the place. It was over a mile and a half. But you know travel in those daye was pretty slow.
SS: Did you have a wagon to travel in?
JE: Yeah. He bought a wagon and three head of horses ftom one of the neighbors.That's all to start. Well in those days, the neighbors were all close together because they all had 80 acres apiece all down the valley, you know. That made it pretty thickly populated for a while. Now when you go back in the valley, you don't see but half of the buildings that were there at that time.
SS: What happened during the 1893 wet harvest? Did many people go under in that?They all went under. All but two or three. Then they moved out.In 1895 they opened the Nez Perce Indian Reservation for settlement. Some of them went there and lots of 'em went up to Troy, settled around Troy. Well, it was pretty hard times. No money. They couldn't pay their debts. And there was no chance of borrowing any money in those days. See dad, when he bought 80 acres, and he had to go clear to Colfax to get a loan, to the Vermont Loan Company. And the same way when he paid it off, ha had to go clear to Colfax. That was...I remember the time he went to Colfax to pay off his debts. Course, he didn't pay much for it. He paid 700 dollars Cor the 80 acres.
SS: He paid the whole debt off at once?
JE: Weil, not all at once. But the final payment, he had to go to Colfax. TheVermont Trust and Loan Company, they had offices in Colfax.
SS: Who got the land when people went under in that depression?
JE: Well, John P. Vollmer got the most of it and the bank. Bank of Geneseegot the four hundred acres I talked about the other day, you know.
SS: Which four hundred?
JE: Dust below the church. At that time it belonged to Sam 3ohnson. He went broke.He owed four hundred dollars at the store and the bank took over you see. They took the four hundred acres for the four hundred dollars store bill. They moved up over on the prarie.
SS: Things were that bad that he couldn't manage to come up with four hundred dollars?
JE: Well, they didn't save a bushel of their grain that fall, you know. It juststood in the field and rotted. Wouldn't get no harvesting done..Course in those daya, they all had spring grain. There was no such a thing as fall grain, fall seeded grain. That made the hervest awful late. See, the first harvesting they tried to do was about the 10 day of September, that's when the wet weather Mstarted. It rained continually for six weeks. And they had a few steam thrashers but the ground was so wet they couldn't move the...I remember there were, my folks stayed, they got mired down on top of the hill, they were there for pretnear a week to get this, the tractor loose, steam engine. It was mired right down, you know. And I remember in 1894, I remember the first harvest that we had. We had some boats down on the flata, and we got our next door neighbor to get that with a reaper. Have you ever seen one of 'em?
SS: I've seen pictures of 'em. The old reapers.
JE: They had no drapers, they had a platform and then they had an arm with foursweeps on and that would come down and it would sweep off the grain and leave it loose, it didn't tie it. Then of course you had to tie it by hand. I remember mother and I went out and tied it by hand. Everytime the sweep jould come around, they had four sweeps, you know, it would just sweep it off, you know, and leave it on the ground. Leave the bunches on the ground. Instead of tying it in bundles, we'd just left it loose.
SS: How much land did he have planted in oats that year?
JE: Oh, about fifteen acres. Fifteen acres of oats down on the flat. And then theway they harvested, well, I guess I'm getting a little anead of the way they farmed. It was all foot burners or walking plows. Three head of horses and a plow. But the farms weren't very big. And there was no summerfallow either, in those days. It was all spring seeded. But after awhile the wild oats, got too foul with wild oats, they had to summer fallow. In order to kill the wild oats. You should have seen some of the fields at harvest time. Because, went out and cut for hay, they cut out the worst patches, you know, of wild oats, used that for hay. They had a great, patch here and there all over the field, cut out for the, there wasn't anything but wild oats.
SS: Did they just keep getting worse as the years went on?
JE: Sure. Well you see, they used headers. You had to wait til the grain was deadripe, like we called it. It had to be dry. And then the wild oats got ahead of the wheat and the wild oats would all scatter out, cover the ground again. I picked up a clod when I was plowing the next spring, I picked up a clod about that big, and there were fifty wild oats in that little clod. No, it got so bad. Then they got the binders. Then you cut the grain before it was entirely ripe, you know. So you got lots of wild oats out of there.
SS: About what year did they start summer fallowing?
JE: Oh around the year 1900 or,it was in the 1900's ,they start summer fallowing.The way c!«$ worked it, see, well at that time in 1901 he bought an extra 40 sm he had 120. Of course he could have bought 80, he could have bought 80 acres three years before and he could've got the 80 acres for 1300. But he said he didn't want it at any price. Three years later he bought back half of 40 acres and paid 1600 for the forty acres.
SS: The land got that much more valuable that fast?
JE: Yeeh. But it isn't compared to the price now, you know. They sold the ForestRanch up there that I considered the pore forest, sold the other day for 1300 dollars an acre. But, he owned half of the country. Course, thet was, that bordered the Genesee valley but, it was also what they called the German settle ment. See, the way they settled that country, there's a valley that runs up from Genesee along the, well, you come down there now, the main highway down there from Moscow.
SS: Yeah, the valley runs along the creek?
JE: That's Thorn Creek. That was a German settlement. And the Cow Creek of theGenesee valley was all settled my Norwegians. And when you get over about a mile and a half further east, it was the Little Potlatch, that was all settled by Irishmen. So they had three settlements there, the Irish, and the Scandinavians and the Irish.
SS: When they fire't farming there they didn't have to do too much clearing, didthey?
JE: There was no clearing at all, no timber at all. It was all open prairie, in theGenesee valley. Of course, over in the Linnville country, where the Irishmen settled down on the Little Potlatch, that was scattered timber. Bull pine mostly, what we call bull pine. The German settlement, that was open prairis too, til you got pretty close to Moscow.
SS: What was growing on that originally?
JE: Bunch grass. You know, two sections out of every township was school land. Calledthat schooled section, two sections, section 16 and section 36. I remember that was open country til 1901. I had two uncles, they bought 80 acres a piece of that school land when it was open for sale. See the money derived from the school section and went to the school district.
SS: This bunch grass, did it take much work to get it ready to plant?
JE: No, you just run a plow through it. They had what they called a breaking plow.It was awful rich land, though. Course, in those days they raised all their crope without fertilizers, of any kind. And if they got fifty buehels they thought they had a bumper crop. The average was about thirty five bushels to the acre. But they had a different method of farming. You plowed it and scattered the seed, right, they had broadcast seeders, most of 'em, and broadcast right
SS: Broadcast by hand?
JE: No. No, we had a seven foot, seven foot seeder, or they called it drills bythis time. And they had tubes go down there and they'd head down and let it scatter. Little shoe, it looked like a little shoo down there when they hit the that, why you know, fly all over around in that so,,seeded broadcast. Seven and eight feet wide. It was quite awhile before I ever saw a grain drill. Dad didn't like it, he'd never liked a drill, because there was too much open ground in between the drill rows, where there was nothing growing, you know. So we had grain drill, one of those old seeders -Hi. It must have been 1918.
SS: Dur ing the 1893 depression, did you tell me about them trying to foreclose onthe farms in Moscow?
JE: Oh yes, yeah, that was when 3udge Fiefer, he issued an order, if that orderwent into effect (Phone is ringing, interuption in conversation)
SS: What did he do?
JE: He give an order that, if that order stood,it would mean that he'd have a...a receiver for every or every farmer on there. So the farmers all got together, went up to Moscow, they had a big crowd, they had a big crowd, it clear from Main street up to the courthouse, and that's quite a ways, you know. And they were going to hang the judge. They had the rope there and they were going to hang the judge unless he recinded the order, but they couldn't find the judge. He sent one of his clerks out to meet the delegation. But he recinded the order right away because, they would've hung him if they found him. Because they were determined to do that.
SS: Things bad that year?
JE: Things were that bad. That was in 1894.
SS: So they didn't recover right away after the bad harvest?
JE: Oh, well, gradually. The ones, that could Ning on. Now there's several thathang on, now, the place that we stayed, at Hoveys, they hung on, he had quite a bit of land, he had about 240 acres. One of the bigger farms.
SS: Is that Hovey's father in-law?
SS: That's the place that your father was working when you came over?
JE: Well, that's where he was working.
SS: So they had a pretty good size farm already?
JE: eah. Well you know in those days, you could take up a three quarter section.You could take it up on homestead, or you could take it up on premp-hon and you could take another quarter on timber claim. You had to plant so many trees if you plsnted so many trees, you got.So the first ranchers in there, they. I know Mr. Smith,, he uoed all three of his.
SS: What did Mr. Smith think when he lost all that land for so little money?
JE: I don't know. You mean tho one that lost the four hundred acres? That wasJohnson. Well,what coold he do? He spent all his money beforehand. He even had a negro cook, you know. He was one of the higher ups. No, he had a negro cook, he had all kinds of servants.
SS: Maybe he overspent then
JE: Yeh, he overspent, that's it. Like some people do now you know, they overspend.
SS: It seemed to me that later years, they seemed to carry farmers over til thenext year.
JE: Yeah, but there was no credit in those days. Unless the guy said, if you wentdown there and bought an item for 50 cents and asked for credit, you couldn't get it. I know mother went out one day, she had some eggs she aent in but she wanted a pound of coffee.that was twenty cents. And dad had loaddd up his load of wheat and she didn't know how she was going to get that pound of coffee. There she walked down a half a mile whore dad had aoaded up? As she walked along, she happened toA a dime, in the dust. And she walked a little further, she found another dime. There she had her twenty cents to buy her coffee. No, they, they had to trade their butter and eggs for t£ieir groceries. But by 1901, everything was hunky-dory again. We lived in a little shack. It washroom and two little bedrooms off to the side. There was thirteen of us in there at one time. Ten children and two older folks and,my uncle stayed there too. Course we had, we had a, what we called a davenport, called it a sofa then we could open up, you know. That's where my uncle and I slept, in the living room, living room-kitchen, general utility room all in one.
SS: Where did the rest of the family sleep?
JE: Slept like hogs. Some at the head or some at the foot. You know how. hogs sleep,Feet and feet together. Never built the, in 1909, dad built the house after all the family was ready to leave, some of 'em had already left. He put up a full two stories, full 18 foot to the beam, with five bedrooms, four upstairs and one down, and a parlor and a big diningroom, sixteen by iighteen, and a kitchen and a pantry. No bathroom in those days.
SS: Sounds like real luxury compared to what you had.
JE: Well, you really got lost in there. And that's where I leerned papering. I putthe wall cloth, papered all the rooms. This would be a good step because after I had my operation in Portland in '44, I couldn't do anymore farming, so I went...
JE: ...about 150 houses in the valley and it's all in Moscow and in Lewiston.
SS: What was it like for so many kids growing up in one small space?
JE: They didn't all grow up. Course, they had to have big families in those days.They all had big families, ten was about the smallest number. Then it's from there up to twenty two. Twenty two children in a cabin, well, he lived east of Genesee, she had twenty two. And no twins in the family.
SS: How could you care for so many kids at once?
JE: Well, they didn't get much care. But they had to have so many spares becausethere was sot many died off. Now, our neighbors, they lost six, six children with the croup and...
SS: Did they get tuberculosis too?
JE: My sister, my oldest sister passed away with tuberculosis.
SS: Your oldest; sister died from turberculosis when she was young?
JE: She was 16 years old.
SS: Do you remember what happened to her. Did it just happen all of a sudden?
JE: No, she had it for quite awhile and she was just about over it. Then she wentto visit one of her friends, one of her girlfriodds that had, they had moved away, they were living, in Bedrock Canyon over here, you know where that's at? Bedrock Canyon? 0n the other side of Leland.
JE: That big cooyon that goes down there. And they were foolirtg around, you know,she was just about through with it, just about cured, and this girl, they were out there on the lawn, or out in the yard, fooling around, she turned the cold water hose on her. And her, my sister was so lonsry, she wouldn't go and change clotheo, you know, and she oeught an awful cold and that started it up again. I think she was the only one that passed away while we were iving down there. After we got up in the fejig house, why,I had a sister 16 years old pass away with a brain fever. They called it brain fever in those days.
SS: What was it?
JE: Well, that's what they called it. Now, I don't know what they'd call it now.
SS: What happened to her?
JE: She lost consciousness. Rust be kind of a hemmorage. She was going to schoolin town, to high school. I wasn't there at the time. I t was the time I was up on the reservation, on the homestead. But, I got a telegram one morning that she had passed away. That's the first I knew she was ailing. She got it suddenly.
SS: Were you the oldest of the kids in the family?
JE: No, my sister that passed away of tuberculosis was the oldest.
SS: Were you the oldest boy?
JE: Ygah. Well, there was only two boys and eight girls in the family.
SS: Did you have a lot of responsibiliy, being the oldest boy?
JE: Well, I started hauling the footburner when I was fourteen years old. So, Idone practically all the farm work after I was fourteen. But when I was 21 I took up a homestead and moved away.
SS: Did your father supervise you when you were working on the farm?
JE: No. Oh, he'd help. He always liked to do the seeding or the drilling himself.But I had to do all the plowing and preparing the ground. So I done lots of walking in my time.
JE: Oh, pretty fair. There wasn't any of that prepard stuff to buy at the store,those days. Everything was in bulk, you know. Coffee come in great big, big sacks, about 200 pounds. And they'd put it on the floor of the store, it would be open, you know, If you wanted any they'd weigh out a pound or two, whatever you wanted, and put in a big coffee mill they had there and grind it for you. And you didn't get any of the extry. I know the store keeper up» there,^kind of a crippled fella, he'd weigh out the doffee, and if it weighed a little bit over, he'd pick out one bean, one coffee bean to make it balance. Same way with sugar lumps. You see, the Norwegians, they're great on that sugar lump. If it weighed too heavy, he'd take a lump out and it wouldn't be quite enough so he'd just take a knife and he'd cut the lump in two. That made it balance. It had to be everything exact. He walked with e cane. There were three brothers there.
SS: Which store was this?
JE: At that time it was Follet's. Fallot brothers.
SS: Were your parents pretty strict with the kids, or did they let them do whatthey wanted to?
JE: No, you had to tow the line. Well, I was the same way, after I got married andthey grew up, when I come to the house, I heard the kids, Well here comes dad!" And they'd run and hide. Well, you had to be strict. Course we had ceiling lights, you know, that looked like a big bowl, and they used that for a basket ball basket.
SS: Was your mother easier going than your father?
JE: She was easier going. No, dad was pretty strict. He only hit me once. I supposedto feed the chickens early in the morning and I didn't go out there as fast as he thought I should, so he give me a cuff ling side of the ear. And I was strict with the kids, just about as strict as he was, and I think it's paid off. Thaw* all doing pretty well.
SS: Did your parents treat the girls differently than the boys?
JE: No. Nope, about the same.
SS: Did you speak English before you started school?
JE: No. It was pretty hard, you know, because when yoo was at home you usedNorwegian. When you went to school, you used English. But then, it was just two months in the fall and two months in the spring. That's all the schooling you had. Now they don't get any schooling atall. It's all ath letics.
SS: Did you learn much when you went to school?
JE: Yeah. All that I ever knew. I could outfigure anybody in school. They had along row of figgers, about that long, as a test. And the teacher said,"The first one that got his answer up to the desk and had it right, would get a nickel. So I took it home and i figured it out. But then he ployed a trick on her you know. The. next morning he sold to taki^a certain figure out of there and then figure it out, see. So I just subtracted the figure he told me to take out. I wound up with the number 1. Well right now, if I could see, I con outfigure any college graduate. And I learned that when I played pinochle, you know, I could, ..just as fast as I could shuffle the cards out, I cofeld count 'em and you count every point, like jacks and queens, the jacks are two and the queens are three and the kings are four.
SS: Wer you playing pinochle when you were a kid?
JE: Oh, yes, well it waan't pinochle, it was the old Norwegian game of 'Whist'.Old Norwegian 'Whist'. But I was too loeky at cards. We hadjone of mother's brothere came out from Canada and a cousin came from Minnesota. They visited there one winter, and we played 'Whist' my dad and his partner and Mr. Brown and I, that was ma's cousin* were partners. And we beat every game in 'Whist'.
SS: Were you betting?
JE: No. No betting. That's whare dad mode the remark about me. I was just a kid,I guess I was about seventeen or eighteen. Dad got disgustod, said,"The devil helps his own. (laughs)
SS: Did you and your dad get along a little rough at times?
JE: Yeah. After I grew up. I know one time, after we got the derrick, after webuilt the new barn, got a cable and derrick in there and he was supposed to drive the derrick horse. Well, it was just a young colt, a three year old. And he'd never been, single and dad, dad lost his temper. And he jerked on the lines SO hard that he broke the line. I kind of lost my temper. And he says, "Now," he says,"you go down there," he says," and you run your pitchfork right through that so and so!"
SS: The colt?
JE: Yeah. So I just told him, I says,"Dad," I says,"you better look out or you mightget a taste of the pitchfork yourself." He sure was awful quick tempered Well, he caulda led the horse to start with, you know, so he knew what to do after he got used to it, why, it went fine and dandy.
SS: Do you think it was hard for him to have so many kids and try to make a livingfrom such a rough start?
JE: Yeah. He wasn't used to that, you know. Now in Norway, he never done any farmwork. He had, he was always in the government, local government. Same as a county commissioner out here or, he never was home. He had all hired help. But you seo, that land he had back there, it was a little bigger than a whole township. But there wasn't much farm land on it.
SS: Why did he leave that for a little homestead in America?
JE: Well, it was too heavy a responsibility, because there, you see, the oldest sonalways took over. And then he had to take care of his parents, his grandparents and his great-grandparents. That's quite a load. And there wasn't much land he could farm, it was mostly grazing land. That was quite a chore. Because you couldn't get off the farmstead back there unless you went. Go and transport your cattle up through summer grazing up on top, you had to take 'em all in a boat.
SS: Where was this in Norway?
JE: Sugnen ford.(sp) You've heard of the Sugnen ford, haven't you?
SS: I'm not sure if I've heard of that one or not. what's the nearest town?
JE: The nearest big town is Bergen. And this was about 32 Norwegian miles, northwestof Bergen. But you know, 32 Norwegian miles, a mile in Norway was equivalent to 7 miles in this country.
SS: Ed Ramsdale told me he came from an area not too far from there. Bergen wasthe nearest town for his parents too.
JE: Well, they had little groceries and stuff like that in pretnear every communityyou know. Now mother was roised further in. Fufcthor in the fiord, the fiord goes way into Norway, pretnear cutstit in two. And her dad was a merchant, called him a merchant. He had a store where they sold everything. Even sold whiskey.
SS: So it was quite a change for them to be farming in Genesee?
SS: Was the land that your father had, how did it compare in how good it was to theother places it was around?
JE: Oh, it was just as good. Of course the land in the valley itself, that was, mostlybottom land, you know. Well, you know how it is up there when you go down through the volley. We lived across the hill further east, you know where the church is up there?
SS: Yeah. We're talking about Cow Creek..
JE: Yeah. Our farm was about three quarters of a mile north and east of the churchup there, you had to go over that first ridge. That's where all of my wife's folks lived on that other little valley that goes down.
SS: How many familiee were there in the Norwogion community when you were a youngater?
JE: Oh, there must have been forty or fifty families living in there. Well, you know,they only had 80 acres a piece. With thet exception of that 400 acre farm. Some had forty acres and some had eighty acres.
SS: I did some research on that church from a ninetieth anniversary issue of thechurch magazine.
JE: Well, the early years was before my time. In 1878 I think it was, wasn't it?
SS: That's right. That's when they first started.
SS: That was Our Savior's
JE: Yeah, Our Savior's. That's eru WcrVr, of God. That's the upper church, we colledit. he lower church was the United.
SS: North of God was what you called the upper one?
JE: That*s what I colled it.
SS: 'Cause you belonged to the lower one, right?
JE: No, I belonged to the upper one. It was funny. Most of those that belong to thelower church lived on the other aids of the upper church, so they had to pass, you aee, and it was quite a, whenever they passed one church, they had to look, the other way so they didn't even want to look at the church. And the ones up above, they had to go to the lower church and the lower ones had to go to the upper church. So they had to pass they church that they didn't like every time they went to church.
SS: Wbre they not suppose to associate with the members of the other church?
JE: Well, it didn't matter. Course there was no low against it. But then, it wasfrowned opon anyway. But we didn't take, of course now, most of my uncles that lived there on the flat, belonged to the lower church and we belonged to the upper church. During Christmas we all got together.
SS: Why did your family belong to the upper church instead of the lower one?
JE: Well, because that's the closest. And we thought it was awful if we ever wentdown to the other church. That's ths worse thing. But .you know, when you compare that tho salary? the ministertgot at that time and the salaries they get now, there's no comparison. I know Reverend Braddock, his salary was 150 dollars a year. And he had a crop thereof forty acres. For$y belonged to the parsonage. SO one day every spring all the parishoners would go over there and put the crop in. They'd go over there with four or five plows or a couple of harrows and a drill or two and do it all in one day.
SS: Then that crop was his?
JE: That crop was his. But they didn't raise much. But he hed 150 dollars salarya year. And them the two offerings, the two holidsy offerings belonged to the minister. That was Christmas and Easter, jfook up a special offering on those days. But then, he had quite a family. He had four or was it five children? So I guess he didn't live too high.
SS: I guess not.
JE: On that salary.
SS: What was the basis of the disagreement so that there were two churches insteadof one, in the area?
JE: Well they, it's from this statement in the Bibles'Many are called, but few arechosen.' Now in the United church down there, they claimed that they were the chossn ones. They couldn't agree on that.
SS: What did the other church say?
JE: The United, or the Synod?
JE: Well, they claimed that anybody could, anybody if they believed they would besaved. But the other side said, only the ones that the Holy Ghost chooses, will be saved. Of course, that was handed down from the main church body you know. They were at odds too, same toe.
SS: The ones that said about the Holy Ghost, was that Our Saviors?
SS: That was the other one?
JE: That's the other one.
SS: Then ...
JE: Well, that's what the controversy was over, but the main controversy was everyone wanted to be the head man, you see. The big one in the church. Now there's old man Kittling, he was the prime mover in the United church. And the Smiths were the main mover in the upper church.
SS: So it got down more to two different factions, would that be acurate to say?
JE: Yeah. It wasn't so much their creed, but that it was differences between thetwo factions. Both wanted to be the leaders. Nobody wanted to give in so they just split. In 1878, thst was long before my time. What was the name of, was that...
SS: That was..
JE: Lebanon, wasn't it? Waon't it called the Lebanon church?
SS: Well, I have it written down here. The first one t-jaa called Our Saviors Lutheranchurch. The second one was called the Lebanon Trinity church. And the first one was called Our Saviors.
JE: Oh, the first church that was built. That's the one that was a barn.Did you ever see that barn?
JE: Yeah, that was built first. That's when they had the split, you know.
SS: But you belonged to Our Saviors?
JE: Our Saviors Lutheran.
SS: Our Saviors said that anyone who believed would be saved?
SS: I read that there was a dispute, that Our Savior was aliened to the old countryNorwegian church and also to ths Missouri Synod and the other became part of the anti-Missouri Synod, so that figured into it. Because, I read that when they agreed to combine into one Synod, that the same year, 1918, 1917...
JE: 1917, yeah...
JE: Now to make a go of it, they had to combine.
SS: It oaid in this book that the young people were the leaders really, as far asbreaking down the barriers between the churches. uo you rsmember?
JE: Oh yes, they had the young people society you know, and they, that was mostlyin the Our Saviors Lutheran, but then the young people from the United church, they called it the Trinity, the United Trinity, they'd come to our young people's society yoo know, because, we had a big society. I guess we had about seventy or eighty kids get together.
SS: What did you do when yoy got together?
JE: Oh, they had their programs. And they played games. Had refreshments. I waspresident for one year Of our young people's oociety up there.
SS: What would the program be, for example?
JE: Oh, recitations and songs. It was mostly like another program, like thpy haveschool program or...(tape momentarily stops)
SS: Was the group mostly serious or fun for the kids?
JE: Mostly fun. Well, there was several of 'em. There was one family that wouldn'thave anything to do with them, you know. They wouldn't come out to anything. And you know, when they went together, the records of Our Saviors were lost soroewheres. Because « member of the lower group or what you'd call the United Trinity, got ahold of, they wanted to see the records of Our Saviors. And our secretary termed the records over to them end they disappeared, they couldn't find 'em again.
SS: Do you think it was a mistake or could it have been on purpose?
JE: Well, Iwouldn't say for sure, but they were strictly for the Trinity church.
SS: Do you: remember what happened when the churches combined? How that worked?
JE: Well, Iwasn't here at the time, ijuam in the service at the time. See, Iwentinto the service in '17, and didn't get back til '19.
SS: When you came back there was just one congregation.
JE: One congregation. It went alright. Same as they are now, I guess. Course, allthe old warrior heads are gone.
SS: When you were yoong, could you see any difference between the two choeches?
JE: I couldn't see any differeoco, but it felt different. You could see the difference,you know.
SS: Do you know how the difference felt?
JE: Well, you looked down upon the ones in the Trinity church. And Iguess they feltthe same about the ones in Our Saviors church. But it finally had to ele out gradually.
SS: Why did you call it North of God?
JE: It'a, it was just myself that called it that, you know. Same as the Methodist,Methodist church, the Methodist church north and the Methodist church south. So one is north of God and is south of God.
SS: I see. God's somewhere in between them.
JE: There is such a thing you know as the Methodist south and the Methodist north.
SS: Yes, on American Ridge they had them both on different edges of the ridge.I know that Methodist north was on the south edge of the ridge and vice versa. I know a lady, when she was a girl, couldn't figure out why.
JE: Well, when you have it that way, when you have a Methodiet north and a Methodistsouth, they have to be, somebody hao to be between the two of 'em.
SS: These families that were big in the other church, were they leaders in thecommunity?
JE: They wanted to be, yes.This one up at Trinity, he wanted to be named king.And at Our Saviors church, they were mostly all related. See, the Teglons and the Smiths and the Bargons were all related. Inter-married.
SS: I wonder if it was the same at the oouth church, if they were intermarried too.
JE: Not so much. Not so much.
SS: Did they ever talk about the old ministers, Thormesgard and Christiansen?
JE: No. They did mention in Oor Saviora, mention. Let's see, Thormesgard, Thormesgard,yeah, I was trying to think of the other one up at tw4hA church.
SS: Well Christiansen was the first...
SS: He wes there til...
JE: Thormesgard came.
SS: In '84.
JE: But when we came in '93, in Our Saviora, it was Tennyson.
JE: Tennyson. And then Ithink It was Martin cSistiansen.
SS: That was the other Christionsen's son?
JE: yeah. And by the time I was confirmed, it took three of 'em to confirmed.I started with Rev. Anderson, Christian Anderson, and when he left, he was called to another church back east, so we had Rev. Mohan come and rehearse, Rev. Mohan from Spokane and Rev. Bleckhardt from Rockford came down, they came down once a week. And by the time I was to be confirmed, they'd called a new minister, Rev. O.C. Helickson. So it took four of 'em to confirm me.
SS: You were a hard case.
JE: Must've been.
SS: How important was the church in the community to the people living there in theearly days?
JE: Well, I don*t think it was an important the as it is now. Course, they go outto church, go to communion in the morning and work the fields in the afternoon. And one farmer had his hired men stay at home, do the work, and he'd go to church, he'd go to communion. As far as that goes, oh, there might be a few of 'em that take it seriously now, but, but it's their standing in the community thet they figure on. Their prestige in the community, that's why, they attend church regularly.
SS: You don't think it was that way in the early days?
JE: Well, not so much. Because they hadn't quite got away from what they had inNorway, you know. Most of those old timers came from Norway in the first place. And anybody that belonged to the church, like a minister or a bishop,especially, if you happened to be out walking out on the road and you met the bishop or any of the county or precint, you had to step aside, step off the road and take off your hat and bow as he went by.(laughs) That's like the fella said back there, he would* take his hat off to the sheHff, he said, even if he had nothing but a ragged old cap on his head.
SS: Somebody said that in Genesee?
JE: No, that was in the old country. In Norway.
SS: ...go to church in those days and sit through the services?
JE: Sure. You always stayed through the services. Well, all the kids'd go first youknow, and thee they'd go home.
SS: Did everybody wear their best clothes to church?
JE: Yeah. Wte have to dress up to go to church.
SS: Would you say that it was quite a social occasion for the community? Or was itstrictly religious?
JE: Oh, they had social. If you'd call it social. I know at our place, all thebachelors there, foo© or five bachelors come over every Sunday and they'd all firing a full quart of alcohol along. They'd socialize for awhile, but after awhile, they got so they wasn't able to do anything. We had a nice place for em to meet. We had a square buiid, I wouldn't call it a building, but it was poles set up and down, you know, these, and it was planted hops all around in the summer that hops wouldtgrow up\all over there and you'd have a regular arbor in there.
JE: No. This was at our homeplace. No, they had no, all they had at the church onSunday was services. Services at 11 o'clock in the morning. And when the young people met, they'd meet out at different houses, for their social gathering. That lasted all the way from o'clock til midnight.
SS: What would people do there, dancing?
JE: No, no dancing.
SS: No dancing. That was frowned upon?
JE: hat was forbidden, to dance.
SS: What could you do, play games?
JE: They played games. Parlor games, parlor games, played them outside. The transportation in those days, well, they had a stage line from Spokane to Mt. Idaho. It run down through the valley about once a week or once every too weeks. Course, it took quite awhile Spokane to Mt. Idaho horses. I guess you heard of That's old stage driver.
SS: Do you remember him?
JE: No, I was too young to remember him. I seen a picture of him.
SS: I want you to tell me about the two suicides on the same night.
JE: Well, we were quite shocked. See, my sister was taking instructions to go toconfirmation and she went out the morning of February the 14th, that's St. Valentine's day. And after she come home she was all out of breath to tell us the news, you know. one farmer had hung himself down at the barn and this other farmer had gone over to the barn belonging to this fella that hung himself at the other fella's barn.
SS: What was it happened to each of those men. Why did they kill themselves?
JE: Why did they? Well this first one, he come out from North Dakota, he'd been asheriff back there, and he'd quite a few men back there in Dakotas, where he was sheriff. He was quite a gambler. He'd been in town andfheJd gambled and he'd lost all his money and he also lost the family cow. To one of his neighbors. So when he went home that night, it was a little snow on the ground, and he'd been walking back and forth between his house and this other place where he hung himself. He had a solid trail through the snow where he'd been walking back and forth, studying about this all night, I guess. So when this farmer come to, down to his barn, he opened the door and there was the old man standing, he was dead but of course, he didn't realize it, 'cause this fella had long whiskers and it hid the rope. And his toes just about reached the floor. So he told him the night before, he took him home from town, that come down next morning and they'd go in and straiten things out. He grabbed ahold of his hand to say good morning, to shake hands with him and his hand was stiff. It give him quite a shock, he didn't live on that place long after that. He sold out. This other fella, he was 80 years old. And I guess he got pretty hard to take he'd overheard hie father and his father's wife discuss..
SS: You mean his son.
JE: Yeah, his son had discussed with his wife, they didn't know what they shoulddo with the old man because he was getting to be such a burden to 'em. And the old man had overheard that. So I guess he just figured if he was in the way, he'd fix it so he'd get out of the way.
SS: So he went down to the man's barn that had killed himself?
JE: Yeah. We often wondered what would have happened if they'd happened to meet.In one place.
SS: They didn't know about the other one?
JE: Not at all. Oh no, didn't know about the other one at all.
SS: The man that shook the dead man's hand, did you say he was a reverend?
SS: He was just going to help him out.
JE: He was just going to help him out. Go down and straiten things out next morning.
SS: What would straiten things out mean? Try to get a loan?
JE: No, I don't know. They said he'd straiten it out. I don't think anybody'd loanhim any money. 'Cause the first thing he'd do if he had any money, he'd go to the gambling table again.
SS: He had a wife and children?
JE: Yeah, he had a wife. Let's see there,was Oscar and Elmer, I think he had fooo,four children.
JE: Were these too men very good friends?
JE: They didn't hardy know each other.
SS: But they were neighbors?
JE: They were neighbors. No, when you get to be 80 years old, you don't get aroundvery much. And one belonged to the Trinity Lutheran, the other ot Our Saviors Lutheran. So they didn't mingle much there either, going to church. Two different factions.
SS: What did people think about suicides in those days? Were they disturbed?
JE: Well, yes. But that year there were so many of them that there was at leastfive suicides in Genesee that year, or in the country around.
SS: Do you remember what year that was?
JE: 1901. Because my sister was born in 1887 and she was going on fifteen, so 57,or '87 to 01 would be fourteen...
SS: You mean, fifteen when she was confirmed?
JE: Yeah, she was confirmed in the summer afterwards or late spring afterwards. SoI guess it was about 1911. St. Valentine's day.
SS: Tell me about the other suicide.
JE: That was in Genesee. And that's part of the Genesee valley too. I don't knowwhat his trouble was. They found him sitting in a chair. He run a livery barn and they found him sitting dead in a choir, he'd shot himself.
SS: There was that other fella that you said killed himself over a girl
JE: This was the one down at the livery barn. This other one had family troubles.And there was oo such a thing as getting divorce in those days, you know. If you had divorce you were disgraced forever. And now adays, it's a common thing. You know, there used to me two Genesees at one time. Town and new town. I told you how that happened.
SS: How did it happen?
JE: It's when the railroad built in there. They asked too much for the land whenthey, old town was already started. So they just moved back a mile and started Genesee as it is now. Then they had to move all their old buildings from old town over to the new side.
SS: Who was it that asked for too much money?
JE: The farmers around there. See, there was Mr. Wallby, he one of the farmersthere. And Mr. jim Hanson was another one. So if they'd 've moved the depot over there it would have been e mile further east...(talks with his wife)
SS: So they pretty much had to rebuild the town?
JE: Yeah. Well they moved some buildings over. Moved by oxen. Yoke of oxen. I knowHanson's father helped them move some buildings over. And there was no bridge across the creek there, they, house got stuck in the creek overnight. They just left it there and got drunk during the night, so Iguess they moved it next morning.
SS: Was that a store or a house?
JE: It was a store. I think it was old Rosensteins store.
SS: What was Jake Rosenstein like?
JE: He was little, short, with a white moustache. Wore a pair of glasses. I was inhis store several times. He had a son and two daughters. Mox, Mae Rosenstein and, (talke to wife) Mom, do you know the Rosenstein's girls names?
Mrs.E: No. I didn't know 'em.
JE: Well I knew both of 'em. But they moved to New York, the girls did, and the oldman moved on to California, I guess. He came back to Genesee one time and he was talking about Genesee. He said,"All this town needs," he says," is a post office and a service station." You know, when he left, there were eight or nine stores in Genesee. All kinds of businesses, but now there's nothing.
SS: Was he a very good business man?
JE: He was a 3ew, they ought to be a good businessman. See, that town was settledby Jews. Old Simon Levi, he run the warehouse. I talked with a relation of hers that lived...he could, if he was alive he could tell you lots of stories. He lived to be 102. He came there in 1878 or '79. He passed away up at Cour d' Alene Home. He could tell you about old times.
SS: Did he know Levi?
JE: Sure he knew Levi. Jake Rosenstein and the other jews.
SS: There was another Jew there, you mentined him before, a pioneer?
JE: The jews?
SS: Yeah, you saidi somebody else.
JE: Alex...there's one by the name of Alexander and London. They had a grocery store,Alexander and London. They were importers. And this old fella, you know, they had to haul their wheat clear to Lewiston. Before they got the railroad into Genesee. Their nearest trading place was Lewiston So he said, the 3ews mould stand down here on the sidewalk and had glasses, they'd see the formers coming up there, they'd get together and decide what they going to pay for the wheat. Got about twenty four cents a bushel, I guess. Twenty five cents a bushel and it took 'em two days to deliver a load.
SS: Two days to get here?
JE: Ome dey down and one day back.
SS: reputation for being fair?
SS: Honest in Genesee?
JE: Yeah. He'd...he'd never tell you the price of anything. You go in and look etc'an article and ask him how much he wanted Cor it."Oh," he said,"it's reaeonable, it's reasonable." That's the only answer you got out of him. "It was reasonable."
SS: Didn't he hatie the first safe in Genesee where people kept theio valuables?
SS: I heard his son Moe was sort of a hell raiser.
JE: Mox was, yeah. He'd go to Spokone, spend a week or so. And the ranchers knewwhen Mox went to Spokane, they'd come in and want to pay their bills. And made...old 3ake mad. He sure cussed that kid for running off. But then,you know was here they'd never show up to pay their bills. But they knew he was gone so,0"he was a bookkeeper, the old man couldn't do anything without Mox.
SS: Pretty smart.
JE: I know one time, a Dutchman, whoever. He went to Moscow and bought a hack loadof groceries. So then he come into Rosenstein next day and wanted to buy a sack of sugar. So he told Jake, he says,"I went to Moscow yesterday, I should have got the sugar up there," he said,"Out I had so much groceries in my hack, I didn't have room for the sugar." So Jake says,"Yeah, that's the way, that's the way. You go to Moscow," he says,"spend your cash up there, then you come down here and ask me for a sack of sugar and charge it." He was after the money.
SS: Where did most of the Norwegians trade?
JE: At the Beehive. George Hobson. That was a cheap store, you know. You could getcalico for 3 cents a yard, 5 cents. But then the big merchants were London. Alexander and London. But they sold out to Follet brothers. That's where we done all our trading, was Follet brothers. That's old Alexander and London's store.
SS: Did most of the Norwegians trade with the Beehive or Follets?
JE: Follets in later years. I told you about that guy that would pick out a coffeebean or split a sugar lump. That's the place.
SS: We did they trade there instead of, say, Rosenstein's? Were the prices better?
JE: Well, no,^they had a better stock. See, Rosenstein had a little lowdown storestuck way back in the hillside, and it was pretty dark in there, you couldn't see a darn thing in there. And these were brick buildings on Main street. Of course, he was on Main street, he was on the west end of Main. Right across from the livery barn. They had the livery barn on Main street. I guess they moved the livery barn brick there. They mow have an apartment house there.
SS: Did you spend much time in Genesee when you were a young man?
JE: Oh, I spent most of my time out on the ranch. On the fiarra. I didn't go to town.Dad went - to work on the building this railroad up the river. He was gone for two or three weeks. I had to walk to town. I made quite a few trips walking to town. (Wife is talking to je). All she does is have coffee and yak.
SS: Is that different than it was in the early days with women?
JE: No, they get together once in a while. Course, they, it wasn't quite as easyto get around as it is now. Just the nearest neighbors. Come and visit once in awhile.
SS: Was going to town much of an occassion in those days?
JE: No. Nothing special. Saturday afternoons mostly.
SS: Would they trade then?
JE: Yeah, they'd trade. That's when they done their trading. After awhile we gotso we'd go to Moscow. You could drive to Moscow in an hour and a half. If you had a fast team. No, they didn't drink coffee like they drink coffee now, you know. They'd make a pot in the morning and they'd drink on that all day long. When they got the final, fine squitts that's in the bottom of the can, that be just as black as tar. And they never throw the grounds out. They'd just put new coffee on the old grounds. Til the can got so many grounds in it it wouldn't hold any more water.
SS: What do you remember about the town of Genesee. What it was like when you wereyoung.
JE: When I was just a youngster, well, I didn't go to town very much, Out I knowthey had, let's see, one, two,three, four, five, six saloons. And they were all pretty well patronized. And they had7, they had 6 grocery stores and a couple of dry goods stores and 2 hardware stores, or 3, 3 hardware stores. And they had a jeweler and a millinery shop and real estate, insurance, and they even had a lawyer.
SS: Sounds like quite a town.
JE: It was quite a town, yeah, it was a live town then. Especially at election time.These candidates would comedown, you see, and they knew they were going to be in town and all the ranchers would come in there because, then they'd follow the, it was all free drinks. From one ssloon to the other, he'd have this whole herd of farmers following him.
SS: The candidate would etand the drinks?
JE: Beg pardon?
SS: The candidate would stand drinks all around?
JE: Yeah. Sure, that's the way he advertized, you know. The drinks were cheap atthat time. You know, you could go down to the brewery, they had a brewery in Genesee too, the Genesee brewery. You coUld get a glass of beer for a nickel, big schooner for a nickel and a sandwich thrown in.
SS: Were the politics of the town strong Democrats or Republican?
JE: Oh yeah.
SS: Was it a Republican town moatly?
JE: Supposed to be, well,you see, Latah county was supposed to be a Republicancounty. They had mostly Republicans. So Genesee was a Republican town.
SS: How much did people of one nationelity mix oith the townspeople?
JE: Well they mixed alright. Same as they do now. There was no difference. Onlyduring the first World War, there was quite difference. If you was German, German descent, why you had to be pretty careful what you said. Or they'd pick you up.The old roadboss we had was a Gormen. Everytime he'd talk, he'd look around to see if anybody wae listening to him. He says,"You know, I have to be pretty careful what I say." No, there was no difference. They mingled.
SS: I've heard there was some pretty strong feelings against Germans during thatwar.
JE: Yeah, there was. They had to be pretty careful what they said. I don't knowif their phones were bugged or anything, but, out in the open they had to... We had several arguements. He was the roadboss, this German. So then the news come out in the paper thOt the Germane took the dead soldiers and renered their bodies to make, get grease, you know, to make araunition. He aays, The Germans ain't civilized yet." he says.(laughs)
SS: It would be tough if you were from a country that waa at war with the U.S.
JE: Well you see he came over. He emigrated from Germany years ago. He lived inMinnesota. And then he moved out weet. Bought that place, those four hundred acres, he bought that.
SS: From the bank?
SS: You mentioned Vollmer getting a lot of land in '93. I guess people didn't likehim too well.
JE: No they didn't like him. You see, he had the bank, bank in Genesee. He run thebank there. And I guess they borrowed a few dollars from him and they couldn't pay him back that hard yeorg so he just took over. Dozens and dozens of farms around there.(Wife bringa in tea, change of subject matterssugar in tea) I know ysars ago when they had to board in the house, the thrashing crews, she hated the Swedes when they come round. She says you clean out their cups and there's half a cup of sugar after they drank their coffee out of it, so it didn't ell disolve.(Wife is talking to her husband) Well, it was pretty late when I came to Genesee, you know.
SS: Yeah, but compared to most people that are still alive, it was pretty early.
JE: It's 82 years ago since I came to Genesee. And that isn't very long.
JE: But meet some that come here in 1878, why, 1877. You know, they had quite anexciting time, 1877 Indian Uprising. That's when they built the fort out there east of Genesee. I remember the fort.
SS: They were really afraid of being attacked in that war?
JE: That was long before my time, but the fort was still there after we came to thecountry. It was big heavy logs set up on ends right close together, you know. Just solid.
SS: Was it being used for enything?
JE: No, it was out thsre in the middle of the field. About a mile and a half eastof the town of Genesee. No, that was in case the Indians come, then they go to the fort for safety. Outside of that it was abondoned.
SS: They had some pretty good sized thrashing crews around Genesee.
JE: Yeah, pretty good size. The crews, see, the big outfits had eight bundle wagonsand it took four pitchers and they had a separator man, let's see, he took about up to twenty-twenty four men. And that was quite a bunch to gdt into your house when they boarded in the houses. cart id in the
SS: fhey boarded in the houses, I thought they had...
JE: Cookwagons? That come later. Cookwagons came a whole lot later. But to startwith they boarded in the house.
SS: So each farmwife had to prepare the meals for them while they were there?
JE: Yeah. She generally got help from a neighbor. Neighbor girls. I know we hadSena Olson, or Sena Hoveland, she always helped with the cooking. But it was a long time before they got the cookwagons. No, I remember, in six weeks, the place we stayed, Hovey's, and see, the crew never went home. They stayed there through six weeks and I guess he had to butcher a couple a cows and a hog or two, and it all went. Well, you take about twenty-twenty four men feeding for six weeks,(Wife is speaking in background)
SS: That's because it was raining, they had to stay there until the /rain stopped,right?
(this is in reply to the wife)
SS: That was 1893.
JE: Well, I guess they didn't have much to eat at home and they lived good there.They all come down from Troy, you know. That's where all the harvest hands came from. These homesteaders up around Troy. I guess they took a homestead or timber claim, whatever they did when they moved out of the Genesee country. Or was pushed out of the Genesee country.
SS: Quite a few of those people around Troy did come from Genesee originally?
SS: Then they'd go back to the harvest to mske some money for the winter?
JE: Yeeh, get a grubstake for the winter.
SS: So Genesee was more advanced than these other parts of the county that was justgetting started.
JE: Oh yes. No, we, Troy didn't like the name they had so they changed it to Troy.That was Vollmer. For a long time.
SS: They didn't like him either.
JE: No. Same way over on the prairie they didn't like Vollmer. There's a Vollmerover there and they changed it to Craigmont. There's two towns, one on each side of the railroad track over Craigmont, one was Ilo and one was Vollmer. Vollmer was on thejleft hand side going that way and Ilo was on the right hand side of the track. They decided they'd unite and make one town out of it and call it Craigmont. You know how Vollmer came into Lewiston? He walked. He walked into Lewiston with a five gallon keg of whiskey on his shoulder, started selling booze to the Indians. That's where he made his start.
SS: I wonder what kind of reputation he has in Lewiston?
JE: I think Lewiston's forgotten all about him. Only thing, they have a park namedfor him, Vollmer Park. But they want to change that to the City Park.
SS: What happened to all the land that Vollmer got from all the foreclosures aroundGenesee? Did he sell it off or what?
JE: He sold it off. There was two right across from the church,Knudsen and Nutland,that's all sold. Later years some of these fellas that come from the East, you know, they sold out back East and they had alittle money ought the land and then as they got alittle more money on their farming operations, why then they'd buy adjoining land. Now you see, her brothers, they started with farming eighty two acres. And during the firtt World War, they expanded to 1400 acres. Course they rented all of it, they rented land and then they started buying land. First they bought 72 acres, then he bought 80 acres. And his brother bought 235 acres. Then they all farmed together til they had all their debts paid and money ahead and then they split up. One of 'em passed away suddenly, a little over a year ago. I guess it's two years ago. He was out helping his brother paint the fence around the barnyard, and he told his brother, he says,"I don't feel very well." The older brother said,"Well you better go to the house there and lie down and rest awhile. You might feel better." Well, he says,"I'11 come and look to you m a little while." He waited 20 minutes and he went to see. H18 brother had gone down to the basement to lay down on the couch they had down in the basement, he found him dead at the foot of the stairs. And her younger brother, her youngest brother, he got his start in Alaska. Well, he didn't get much of a start out there. He worked for the Juneau Mining Company up there. But then he earned Genesee valley and he started a dairy herd. But he had hard luck. He had four big stacks of hay right close to his dairy barn, you know, and they went in f for dinner, to eat dinner, and they looked out and the stacks were afire. He lost all his hay but he didn't loselany buildings. They put cables around the haystacks and^drug 'em off with^ tractor, you know. And Iknow how that started, course they said it couldn't start that way, but the fella that he had to stack the hay, he always smoked his pipe while he was stacking hay. You know, it was easy enough for a spark to fall down in that dry hay and start it. And that was an awful day. That's when the big hailstorm went through there. My uncle lost all his crop.
SS: What year was this?
JE: Oh, it must have been in 19..Wifes He moved out there on the plains in '43 Ithink.
JE: Who? Tim? *43. Well it was '44 then. Hailstorm went through there. He was justready to get the combines in there. They were coming in in the evening and this happened in the afternoon. Left nothing but stubble about that high.
SS: How did you come to homestead on the Cour d'Alene Reservation. What's the storybehind that?
JE: Well the story behind that, in 1908 they opened they opened, the Caldwell Reservation,.theFlathead Reservation and the Cour d'Alene Reservation. I went to Coor d'Alene and regietered for the Cour d'Alene Reserva tion. Then they had a drawing. And I happened to get one late number, 2436 was my number. So I got a piece of land, but I didn't know anything about timber, but I could've had a good timber claim, you know. White pine timber. The best claim up there where I was on, the Alder Creek country, you had over ten million of big white pine and 7 or 8 million of mixed timber. He proved up and lived there about a year and then he sold out to the lumber company for sixteen thousand dollars.
SS: You could have gotten white pine but you didn't?
SS: Why not?
JE: I didn't know anything about timber. I could've got a claim there. I think hesold out, course, he didn't have a number. Then after all the numbers were drawn, they waited so long and then they threw it open anybody could go in there and take a homestead.
SS: What kind of land did you pick?
JE: Scrub brush. I was looking for farm land, I wasn't looking for timber land. Icould've had 160 acres there that sold for eight thousand dollars.
SS: When you got the land, was it hard to clear?
JE: No, it was mostly lodgol pole pine. Little, oh, about two or three inches through.
SS: Say .that again?
JE: One raised hell, he said, and the other one just raised an umbrella. That's allthey raised on the homesteads. That's the way they talked, officials talked too, because that was a rough town.
SS: What town is this?
JE: St. Maries.
SS: Why do you think it was a rough place?
JE: They had a population of 900, and I went up there in 1910, and they had sevensaloons. And all were doing big business* See, the lumberjacks, they'd work thirty days and they'd go into town and stay a week and spend it all, there in town. Until 1917. In 1917, they turned around. They refused to spend any money in St. Maries. They'd work a month, a month and a half or two months and^they'd get their grubstake and they'd come into St. Maries. Well, they'd leave from about 25 to 50 dollars there with Oliver j'itson to take care of til they come back from Spokane, 'cause they knew that when they went to Spokane, they'd be broke before they got out of there. So he charged ten % for taking care of their money. He wae a Jew. Oliver Neilson.
SS: That was his religion?
JE: He was a Jew. He was a Jew. You could come in there on Monday morning, if youwere the first customer in there, you could get any article you wanted at your own price. 'Cause he believed he had to make a sale. The first man that come in the morning, he had to make a sale or he wouldn't have any luck all week.
SS: Is that a Jewish idea?
JE: Yep. He wouldn't have any fate all week if he didn't make a sale to the firstcustomer that come in on Monday morning. And he was a Jew. I heard him. I went in there and bought a pair of rubbers. They were $1.25, one of these light rubbers on my.,.like a light shoe, you know. $1.25. Another fella come in and he looked at it, he says,"You better have a pair of rubbers, it's getting pretty wet out." He says,"Maybe I should have." He took him to the side and he whispered to him. He says,"These rubbers sell for $1.75, but you're a good customer of mine, I'll let you have it for $1.25." Well that's just what I paid. He thought he was getting a big bargain.
SS: Did you build your own cabin.
JE: Yes, I built...(talks to wife) Mom, find the cabin I built up there. All: I couldraise was strawberries, great strawberry country. I had sent out of Hood River, Oregon for 100 plants of strawberries and the moose got away with 25 of 'em and I had 75 plants left, half acrate of strawberries every other day. Ieven took some down to her mother's, I picked half a crate took down one time I drove down.
SS: How far were you from Sanders? Is that the closest town?
JE: Yeah, but that wasn't, I'll tell you, I was ten miles north of Sanders.Wifes Here's that big cabin. Looks like an old time cabin, doesn't it?
SS: Is that you? That's quite a few years ago, you know.
SS: I guess. Nice picture. Wifes About 1924.
SS: john looks like a young rake with that hat. Did you enjoy living up there? Howdid that compare with Genesee as a place to live?
JE: Oh, it didn't make much difference. Up there? I had a good time up there. Wehad a dance every Saturday night, we danced clear til 8 o'clock next morning. And then we'd go home and brush up a little for Sunday morning and then we'd go to Sunday School afterwards. Course, we didn't have any minister or anything, but then we had this international pamphlet they send out. Sunday School.
SS: Was there ouch of a community there?
JE: Yes. And then in the afternoon, we'd have a ballgame every day. From April, the1st of April til the last of September.
SS: Every day?
JE: Yeah. We had two teams, that's all they had to do, holding down homestead, youknow. We had two teams, the East and the West. Oh, there was quite a community.
SS: What was East and West of what? Of the valley?
JE: Of the valley.
SS: Alder Creek?
JE: Alder Creek.velley. See, Alder Creek run right through!the valley and out andjoin the St. Maries River about ten or twelve railee above St. Maries on the St. Maries River. That's where Alder Creek come out. That run all the year long. It's cold, cold amount of water, cold, it'd hit you in the forehead if you drank it quick.
SS: Was it hard to make a go on that homestead or was it easy?
JE: Oh, no, not too bad. 'Cause groceries were cheap then, you know. Didn't takemuch of a grubstake. If ym had a hundred dollars, you could live like a king all year long.
SS: Did you work out at all?
JE: Oh yes. That's where I got crippled up. Didn't you know I was crippled? I crushedthe left foot. I got a log right across there, you see, I tried to draw my foot out and I had it canted like that when the log hit it. Broke all the bones here in ray instep. Way it happened, they just started to sieigh haul in the winter time. Well the skids were frozen, there was frost on the skids. I grabbed the log and held it, but it shoved me right backwards. To start the deck. And there was Just one place, one saddle left. You know what the distance between two logs like that. When you put two logs together, why there's kind of a little trough there. There's just that one trough left. If it hadn't been for that, I'd been better off, because the log'd've rolled right over me.
SS: Were you working for somebody else?
JE: Yeah, I was walking for gyppo ..
SS: So they what happened to you?
JE: Well, they took me, sled, as far as Benawah, then he got his old Dodge car theyput me in a Dodge car and he was going to take me down to the hospital in St. Maries. And he got down as far as the cemetery by St. Maries and he run out of gas. And he didn't know what to do, so he saw a couple up there. And it was in the middle of the winter and in the middle of the night and there was a couple up there making love up there in the cemetery.(laughs) And it was pretnear zero. So he got that guy to take him down to St. Maries to get oome gas, but his car made the way in, so I got into, this happened about fcs30 in the afternoon and I got into the hospital about lls30 that night. So, they didn't do anything that n$.eht, she just come with a hypo and that didn't affect me at all. She come back in about 20 minutes1, and it^hadn't taken effect. She said,"I don't know what to do with you. I guess I'll have to get a hammer and knoek you in the head to knock you out." And I was in the hospital from the 9th day of January til the 5th day of May. But thatfs the best time of my life. Ail those nice nurses taking care of you.
SS: What about your foot?
JE: It got so I could walk on crutches, use crutches. There was four of us, all oncrutches, we'd go downtown and play pool. And in between time, I'd send downtown and get some cream puffs and a quart of ice cream, and then the nurses and I would go in the linen room and(laughs) have an ice cream social. See, there was no strict regulations up there, it was a lumberjack hospital. Belonged tot the Western Hospital Association. Oidn't cost me anything. Getting paid 50 of my wages, besides. My wages werenft very big, they were four dollars a day. So I got two dollars a day.
SS: What happened to the homestead? Did you give it up?
JE: No, I sold it. I sold it for, what was, 250 or 300 dollars. Sold it to one ofthe neighbors. But he was a financer. He went downtown and he bought 160, it was another 160, he went downtown, to the bank and borrowed 2500 on the whole works. And then he skipped out to Spokane and left the banker hold the sack. That's the only way you make any money in this world. I found that out, but It's too late.
SS: Maybe it's better not to make any money if that's the only way you can do it.I want to know about yourpxperience in WWI. You said you were in an underground footress?
JE: That was over. It wasn't a fortress. It was just a big undergroundcave. It was all cemented up on the sides and it had alleys going out on either side. But there was no light in there. No light at all. The lights came on an hour at noon and an hour in the evening. Outside of that you was in total darkness. Of course the cooks prepared the soup out at the entrance to the under ground cave. And the big shells would come over, you know, stir up the sand so you got half soup and half sand.
SS: You said there was a lot of rats in there too.
JE: Oh yeah. Everytime you lay down in the middle of the day, the rats would scamperall over you. Well, I'll tell you, in nine months, I was overseas, well I was overseas twelve months, eleven months. But in nine months time I took one bath. And in eight months I never sat down at a table to eat. You'd stand around out side.
SS: What about changing your clothes? Did the men ever change their uniforms at all?
JE: You never took your clothes off. You spread one of those thin old D blanketson the ground and lie down on it, put the other blanket over you.
SS: Sounds like pretty tough conditions. Worse thao lumber camps.
JE: Worse than the lumber camps used to be. Now the lumberjacks are just like ahotel. You have clean sheets and pillowcases every week.
SS: What were you doing in this underground.
JE: Just leid there.
SS: But what was the point of the men being there?
JE: Well we was in Reserve. All we done, we carried amuntion up to the trenches afterdark, after night. I know I carried a crate of live bombs on my left shoulder, in the dark. You had to go through these trenches, you know how they go. And we made fun One fellow says,"What happens if you drop those bombs?" Weill I says we get a quick ticket to kingdom come. But they all joked about it. We were Reserve and the other battlions were up in the treoshes.
SS: What's the story of the mythical story at Verdun.
JE: Yeah, well that was it, the mythical army of Verdune.(his proneetjciation)They took us out afer dark and marched us back. Back behind the lines. And they take us up again the next day. or next night. That way went on for a week. And the Germans thought thew..was new troops coming in all the time.
SS: They had you march back under cover of darkness?
SS: And have you march up?
JE: They marched back under cover of darkness and we couldn't figure why in the worldwe was up there one night, we was in the town one night and marched up there and next night they'd march*us right back to the same town. They kept that up and we couldn't figure what in the world they were doing that for. But they had, that was the mythical army.
SS: When did you find out why they didrthat?
JE: After Igot home here, Iread it in the paper. They had an article about themythical army of Verdune.
SS: That's why you guys were marching back and forth?
JE: We couldn't figure out. Ididn't know til after Igot here, Iread the story onthe mythical arm* of Verdune. There was two battalions, two battalions of Americans and they were holding four German divisions. You see, they would like to have sent relief up to Sudan, and they didn't let go because they figured if they moved them up there, why, we would break through there at Sudan and cut their rayline Sudan. So they left that German Intelligence listen in and they heard these new troops coming up every night,it was the doggone same outfit. They were kind of eneaky. No, Ilaughed about that after I got home and read the story in the paper here about the mothical army of Verdune.
SS: That was you.
JE: Yeah, that was me. But we was in there for nine days. And you know when we comeout, we were so weak after we hadn't had any exercise, we couldn't hardily stand up when we got
SS: Out of the underground?
JE: Yeah. Because we didn't have eny water there, all the water you got was thatcanteen and that had to last you/ine days. You never washed your face or your hands for nine days. And ths night of the armistice we voce moeiftg down towards Mest. We were supposed to start the drive on Mets on the 13th of November. That night we slept on the banks of the ' River. So there was two msn to a pop tent. And this partner of mine, that occupied my tent, we went down to the river bank and broke off a lot of cattails and put that underneath on the ground to keep some of the dampness out. Next morning, we got up, we just saw the impressions of our bodies right in the mud. About when the Red Cross man came old Downer, he says,"Well boys," he says,"the war is over." "It'll be over at" And that's when hell broke loose. Some of 'em started shooting up their guns, their rifles to celebrate, you know and that was strictly forbidden. But the first night, I couldn't sleep. Because I'd been used to all that thunder all roar ail day and day and night, you knew. And^it got so still that Icouldn't go to sleep. Everything got quiet.
SS: You mentioned that there was a general that wanted all the mines cleared out.
JE: Yes. That was General Dugan. He was an Irishman, Dugan, but to sound a littlebetter he changed it to Dugan.(emphasis on the last syllable) We come to acamp there, whenever you came to a camp you had to clean it all up. We started to clean it up and one guy got his arm shot off. He'd picked up agrenade, you know. A live grenade. It was all covered with grenades end pieces of shell. So the sargent, he quit. So the general come along after a little while and he said, "I thought Igave orders to have this place thoroughly policed up!" Well, the sargent said,"We got out here, started to police up and a guy got his hand shot off." Well the general said,"This ground has to be thoroughly policed." he said. That meant cleaned up. "Even if it takes every man in ray command!"he says. "It has to be cleaned up." He was pretty good, though. Captain Ray was the captain of our company and he put on, he bought himself^that* went down here with afur collar on it. He always kept his cap over on the side, you know. The general happened to meet him one day in the orderly room. Or the room where, it was nothing but a tent. So the general, General Dugan got right up in front of the captain, he took his cap and put it on the side of his head, hung it over his ear like the captain had his cap. "Now," he said, "wouldn't I be a hell of a looking soldier if I walked around with my cap like that all the time?"No, the guy Ihate was Captain Burnside. And if he had been in coomand of the company when they went up to the front lines, he'd be the first man, he'd be the first casualty.
SS: What was he like that made him so bad?
JE: He's about six foot four and about 22 years old. He asked one of these, he wasn'twe him, your serial number?" He says,"Well," he says, made a pretty good guess,and a half." And we hated him from the time we left the states.
SS: He didn't know much about it?
JE: No. He eaid, ha lined us up when we were 9oin9 on the boat. Ha says,tell you one thing. No if thare's anyone of you that yellow streak down his baok, you oan step out," he e,ys,»end you won't heve to go across." That made us mad. Thare'a only one guy that stepped out of the 250. And another they wouldn't let ... They wouldn't send him across. 'Cue. he hed the Garman vacination mark and if you're ever taken aprisoner, why they'd take him out and shoot him.
SS: He had a German vaccination mark?
JE: He'd been, he'd bae vaccinated in Germany. His name was Prinz.
SS: Why would thay shoot him, because he was aGer.an fighting for the Amaricans?
JE: He might ba aGerman spy. Wa evan have a, wa had aargent major down in CampLewie, wa had him in detantion. Srgant flajor Hittar. He was aGerman. He'd been in the Garman arm. We had him in solitsry confinement down hare at Camp Lewis becauaa thare was some sacrat papers that had disappeared from the division headquartara down thare. And he waa in charge of that, you know.
SS: So they thought he was guilty?
JE: They thought he might be guilty of sending out thosa secret papers. We took himout once a day to exercise.
SS: Was he ever cleared?
JE: Idon't know. We left befora bs ever had ahearing.
SS: You said thare waa ona guy that really waa afraid to eight.
JE: Oh that was going aaross. Ha was abig Swede and he's afraid. afraid that sub Iwould. So he sat down at tha lowar stap of the ladder that want up on deck every night. He never coin a wink going across. It took us 14 days to cross. It was the first time I seen a snowstormlin July. We run into: a snowstorm because we went from, we went from New York, or from Staten Island up along the coast til we pretnear hit Greenland then we went along the coast of Greenland til we got over there end then we went down south again, got into the Irish Sea. That's theyway we got into Liverpool.
SS: And he was afraid about fighting?
JE: He thought, sub...he was afraid of the submarines.
SS: I thought it was because he was afraid he was going to be killed.
JE: Well that's what he's afraid of. And he's the first man hurt.
SS: WEre you afraid of aying in that war?
JE: We didn't think about it. Not oven the night I was on guard. if course, we didn'tface any small rifle fire. It was mostly miniwaffers. You know what they are? Little bombs with the propeller at the back of it. You could hear the big shells coming. You could hear the whine of a big shell long before they came there. But the miniwaffers, they'd^come up and they'd say,"Boof." And explode right away. That's what we called 'era. They'd just make a grunt when they'd come over, you know, that's why we called 'em flying pigs. No, I was in a predicament, one night. We got the gas alarm and here I was trying to get out and put on my gasmask and wrapped lej^tis come unwrapped and I was dragging that and I was trying to get my mask on and get my leggin back on.
SS: You managed it alright?
JE: Then I went down in a dugout. They had dugouts up there. I barely misa gettinghit. I heard a piece of shrapnel go past and miss ray back and hit the wall on the other side. Well, scared me. I went right out again. We had to keep account of the shells that exploded that night. They threw over 2500 shells. Bombs is what they were. They were great big shells, oh, about that long. And then they were loaded with all kinds of scrap iron. And when they exploded, the scrap iron would fly all over, you know.
SS: Did you think, what did you think of being over there?
JE: Well, like the fella says about his wife, he wouldn't take a million for theexperience and wouldn't give a damn for another one just like it.(laughs)
SS: That's how you felt about being over there?
JE: Oh, we hed a good time. After the armistice. I made a friend with an old Frenchman,His name was Sri c Servain. Ibed alittle notebook and he autographed,put his autograph in there. He says his name is SVic Servain and fiftyfive years, he'd been around the American and English camps. I made friends with him. I gave him a ten franc note one night. And he jumped up and down,he said,"Pour moi,pour moi." For me? For me? I says Oui. Pour vous." So next day he invited me down to the winehouse and he treated me to a glass of wine. I had his name and address in that little notebook.AThat was thrown out when we cleaned out everything and left the ranch. I left all ray trophies up there too. I had a 7gmm shell, empty shell all stamped out you know, with flowers. We had a guy there that stamped out, he just had a little, not a chisel, but a punch, ai.punch and a hammer is all he used.
SS: I've seen those.
JE: That was left on the ranch. And Ihad aclip of French ambition. That was left.And I had a bullet that the guards used.^The guards used dum-dum bullets. And when they'd hit you, they'd explode inside you and just blow you wide open. But i, the best thing I had got stolen from me on the boat, coming across, home. I had a cigarette lighter made out of an empty bombshell. All decorated up, you know. Y0u could flipKlike you do an ordinary,^had a flint in there. It looked like a little book about, oh it's about so wide*! I guess, and about so high. Shaped like binding on a Bible. And all decorated up with the puooh marks.
SS: I'm going to have to leave.(explanation of who Sara is going to see.) I wantto ask you your opinion about the community near Genesee and the two churchs, do you think that having the two churches when they combined them into one, did that end the division?
JE: That end the division, of course. They had to put up with.it. Now in Geneseethat's combined with the Lutheran, that's combined with St. John's Lutheran in Genesee now. They have the same mininster, they call the same minister.
SS: Do you think when they had the two churches, it stood in the way of people being42 friends with each other.
JE: I don't think so.
SS: You think the people didn't pay much attention to it?
JE: No. Only a few. Few of the higher ups. They never visit with any of the upperchurch. The especially. They were pretty strict on their own church.
SS: What about when you were young, did you play with kids from both churches? Ordid you stick with kids from the upper church?
JE: Well, mostly the upper church. We'd get together once in awhile. See, I waspretty sweet on Palma. I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the community. She belonged to the lower church. She belonged to the Trinity. Course they didn't call it Trinity in those days, it was a Norwegian name.
SS: So you spent a little time down there?
JE: Well, I spent most of the time down at my uncle and aunt and they just livedright across the 40 acres, half across the 40 acres, from Hanson. Her name was Palma Hanson. I was too old and she was too old when'.I got ready to get married. I was 36 when I got married and my wife wae just past 20. I josh her several times and I said, she was too darn old when I married her. She was 20 and I was 36. She was a neighbor girl we lived only about a half a mile apart.
SS: In those days, were they very strict about courting?Qid you go to social gatherings.
JE: Oh yes. You hardly ever took a girl out by yourself. In the earliest days. Butthen, before.I got married, that was in '25,the restrictions. I took Ester along on a trip up to the homestead, we took a trip down to St. Maries and out along the North and Sooth highway out towards Harrison. And back. That's where I pret near got wrecked. We went to a dance and dancecd all night and then started on that trip out to St. Maries. That was 22 miles. We had lunch at St. Maries and then we took a trip out towards Harrison and drove back to her place and then I started from her place to come down here to the folks where I stayed in Lewiston. That was too much.You know where the upper spring is? Up on top of the hill? I was about half asleep, I was sittin' there about half asleep and driving the old Star. And I just happened to see that it was getting out in the gravel and Iwoke up with a start and Iwas clear out over the edge. And then Istopped at the spring, they have a spring up there, wash my face in cold water and when Igot halfways down the hill, Istopped again, they hed awater trocjgh there and Iwashed my face in cold water there again. So Imade it. It was pretty tough going.
SS: That's about the way the Indians were treated on the Reservation. You told methe time you were up there the Cour d'Alenos. weren't treated very well.
JE: No, no, they weren't treated very well. That's about the episode there, Iworkedout in the hay at Emida about 8or 9miles from the homestead. The deputy assesorvrne wanted aman to go haying. And here, the Indian woman, she come with her hand on abucket one day and wanted some skim milk. So she poured out acouple of gellons of skim milk, old Indian woman,"we want more, me want more. So the lady just took the milk and the back in her railk can and let her go without any milk. They hated Indians up there because they came out there on the flato east of Sanders, west of Emida. They dug caraus all roots. See the caraus grows over...
SS: And they didn't like that?
JE: No, they didn't want 'era on the fields. They hated the sight of an Indian anyway.And then that Indian come to one of the boys, he had two boys and bought some hay, bought four shocks of hay. So the kid told him, well it'll cost you 250 a shock. So when the Indian come next morning to get his hay, why the old man was there, old man Wells was there. He wouldn't let him have any hay. And the Indian said,"Last night,"he says,"I'm buying hay, Ibuy one shock, 250, two shocks,5O0 three cents,750 and foor shocks, a dollar!" Says, "I want my hay? But he didn't
SS: Had he already paid for it?
JE: I don't think he had. If he had he should have got the hay anyway.
SS: But he arranged to get it.
SS: I wonder why they hated them so much.If you get 'em started, they come and demand everything, you know. But I had a talk with the old sqaw. She's over 80 years old, old Spotty, She had one dark spot and one bright spot all over her face. She was all spotted and called her Old Spotty. She come one day, and they had one car there, and she was driving an old grey team. And the went through. She says,"(whistle sound.) He come, he come?" I says, no, he won't come. She was afraid of the car, you see. She says,(ahistle sound) "He comd, he come, old grey horse!" The old greyl horse would ^^ when the car came. "I said,"He won't come. He just made a trip once a day."
SS: There weren't many cars in that country.
JE: No, just one. But I didn't give a darn. I told her anyhow that it wouldn't come.Then she asked me if I had any tobac, tobacco. She wanted to have some tobacco. I said,"No, no tobac." And then the hired man, he was getting some shock in a ways out. "He tobac, he tobac!" I said, no, he no tobac.
SS: Do you think the Indians up there were mistreated or they deserved what theygot?
JE: I don't know. You know, they weren't like the Nez Perce Indians. The Nez PerceIndians are the most advanced Indians of all the tribes. They're pretty well educated. And you could see the difference. The Cour d'Alene Indians, they're smaller than the Nez Perce Indians. And they all look olid before their age. But you take these Indians out here, they ell look well fed. Especially one, he's dead now, Types. Chill Types. He's a good friend of mine, but he weighed about 240 pounds. He's a great baseball player. He was a catcher. I see him send a drive out there to center field, we played against Genesee. The center fielder caught it^about that high off^the ground, you know. And he tripped over it three or four times, ask Phil about that, after I met him down in Lewiston. We played cards together down here in Lewiston. Well, Ty said,"That's the hardest ball I ever hit. He got clear down to second base before he ever caught it and he wouldn't believe he was out. He says, That's the hardest ball I ever hit. He says, I don't see how that other fella caught it.
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12:00 - Settlements with different nationalities; harvest methods and machinery over the years; crops
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Segment Synopsis: History of two Norwegian Lutheran Churches on Cow Creek. People did not look at the other church as they walked by, and were discouraged from associating with members of the other church. Support of minister by community. Basis of dispute between churches in Scripture: "Many are called but few are chosen." Desire of local factions to be leader.
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120:00 - St. Maries as a logger's town; Jewish merchants; Alder Creek homestead; social activities; logging accidents
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Segment Synopsis: World War I experiences. Living in an underground cave at Verdun. Terrible living conditions. Carrying live ammunition. "The Mythical Army at Verdun." Armistice Day; he couldn't sleep after the shelling stopped. A general's order. A captain with airs. A lousy captain. Anti-German feeling in army. A man afraid of submarines on the boat. "Flying pig" bombs.
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