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Latah County Oral History Collection

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

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Date: December 16, 1974 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

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SAM SCHRAGER: The shelter that he built when he first cane here.

DORA FLEENER: He must have brought some of the stuff with him. Like big baards and things like that when he come. He brought his wagon and team up from Walla Walla country. And he built his first house,put a canvas over the top, his tarp that he used for freighting.He built kind of a two board high for it. That winter it wasnft cold or anything. They didn!t get much snow and his horses could, he staked one out early days was the people were driving horses in the country to Montana. They picked up everything that was loose. And sometimes a horse that was running on the range, they'd let 'em out.They let by themselves. Colts and stuff. And they'd come and see hprses coming, they'd come into a band, them horses. They'd a bunch. They wouldn't separate 'em out and he lost several that way. And two year olds or something like that. Sometimes they'd round 'em up on purpose 4 Montana needed, the: some reason, I don't know That was a year or two after he came there of course.

SS: Did he ever mention vigillante days?

DF: He did. Coi rse, he wasn't in it but he heard about it.He said he knew a woman that.husband didn't come back and she suppposed that the vigillantes caught him. String him up. It was going on in other parts of Idaho around here. Cows, horse thieves. Horse thieving and cow thieving at that time. He didn't have anything personally to do with it himself though.

SS: He'd heard this where he'd lived?

DF: Oh yes. Another thing I didn't include in my part of it there was the first lights they had. Lard oil they'd use in a can, they' crimped the can. a cloth in there and light it like that.

SS: That was a pretty basic way to get your light.

DF: It wouldn't give much light. Smokey too, I think.

SS: What about early day social life?

DF: They had dances. Mostly dances. And parties.Viola was the first town close by. Viola and Palouse.And people would congregate in there and dance. They had saloons in those days too. They had a high old time, I guess. They used to go horseback riding too. He'd go in the wintertime or anytime they ride horseback. It was the only way that the go. Go to a celebration, they took awagon and the whole family went. On seats, they'd put a board across it, wagon box you knoo.Drive twenty miles that way..Across the country. Talked about going to Colfax to the the fourth of july celebration one time, hey had somebody stay home and look after their stock while they, if they couldn't get back tten.They wouldn't come back the same day, they'd stay overnight probably. Celebrate. and bunting. It was trimmed up gay. I can remember in my day, the horses and flags in their bridles, you know. They had flags on 'em.Speaker's stand was all draped with bunting, red white and blue bunting.

SS: The roads were almost not any.

DF: No they weren't.

SS: It was cross country?

DF: We'd do as much as we could. Course they had to widen some oT the hills. They had some way of going, some trail of some kind.Nothing very direct. They could of course, but then, some people couldn't, go straight through because too hilly . Then after that, after they get so dusty that they couldn't hardly stand it, the automobile came to the country anyway,A dust, they couldn't see where they were going. Course, that was later.

SS: What about the night that he and his friend thought they were lost coming down from a dance?

DF: I think they went to Steptoe that night, a long ways off and^came back in the middle of the night. And it was kind of foggy and snow on the ground. Couldn't hardly tell with the ice* and everything, where they were.No fences and no buildings they could see. To tell where, any marks that they recognize. But they, Huoes thought that they should have taken the wrong direction all the time, but Dave, he knew what to do. He gave his horse free reign and let it go home by itsfclf.And he kept telling Hughes how they would find dome kind of a shack. Somebody'd stay over the rest of the night, they'd get their bearings later. He kept going and kept going, pretty soon they came to a barn building. He turned his horse and went right in the barn. He recognized thetld place. The horse had taken 'em back.

SS: Did he ever talk to you about any of the old characters that he knew?

DF: I don't think he did. Hughes was the only one that was with him. Course it was, Mr. Boles, he was the store keeper at, and postmaster at Viola. He was quite a character but people.liked him . well because he was on the side of people that didn't have much to eat. He'd take wood in place of, trade wood for provisions for wood, rather. And that way they got along pretty well. He had as many as two hundred cords. in his back yard one time. He traded for people.

SS: Is that where Dave Fleener did his trading, Viola?

DF: He did for a while, I guess. And Moscow, Viola was only three miles from there. Moscow is farther. About eight miles from there. Or something like that.

SS: What about the first plowing that he did?

DF: Yes, he did the first plowing that first year he was there. It was such an open winter. Two horses and a breaking plow. He brought a breaking plow with him. Few utensils, few things like that. He knew he'd need. He got his lumber to build his next house next year.Wide board, they call it board and batten, don't they? They built that the next year. An abetter house. Had the lumber from Viola, I think, or some sawmill around. They were getting up sawmills by that time. Those first boards were immense, wide things..Wide boards, there's a few of *em around the countryrnoo in old houses. Big timber, you know.

SS: Did he ever tell you why he turned down Liueallen's offer to start up in the town there?

DF: In the first place, he didn't want to have any town property. Liueallen asked him twice to trade with him. He told him he'd just build a shack there in town..Have it. He didn't care anything about town. He had all he could do with keeping up his own homestead. And then he asked him again to trade his team. Well he needed a team so he Couldn't do that. He wasn't interested.

SS: he talk about seeing how the country got built up with people?

DF: Well yes. One party that came across that settled there, he came to take up the land right across the road from him, would be the road now on the west side. But the woman was, she didn't think there would be any, just be isolated country, always like it was then. She didn't like it so they never even unpacked their stuff. Long before Mr. Collins came in with his family and they settled. Didn't take long for the country to settle up. Railroad commenced to come in about the '80's. Things commenced to be quite normal then after that. Took so long to get the grain to Walla Walla. Took two days, I think, to get all that grain to Walla Walla. The first market. Take the grain down there and then they'd get some provisions that would last them a year..I guess I told you about the woman that wanted to buy a package of needles. She finally went to Walla Walla and that was the only thing she could find. She said,"How come so much? Why does it have such a big price on it?" "Freight." he told her. For needles, she didnH think; that was very much. I guess some of the stuff was freighted to Walula River and then the river took it out to Portland, out that way.

SS: Did he tafck about going to Walla Walla himself?

DF: I don't think aa did. He tried freighting one time but that was before he took up the claim, I think. He didn't like freighting because he couldn't use his team. Wasn't cut out for freighting anyway. He didn't*.

SS: What was it that he told you about the early harvests that he worked in?

DF: Worked down the Touchet, go down in the summertime, he'd leave his place in the summertime. Harvest. Heading outfits. Threshing outfits.And I guess after he got to finally,he the bundles for the threshing machines. He'd feed it, he'd have a bundle cutter on each side of him. He'd take the bundle and put »em into the machine,And course, it worked pretty fast. And he'd reach out for the bundles and if a fellow was cutting the string at the same time, it might get jammed. It was pretty risky to do it really. Told about that,I guess up and down there, two of them at the bundle. Threshing bundled grain. It was a job. He was the feeder in the threshing team. He couldn't feed too fast. Too slow, they wanted to keep it up. Steady bunch all the time. Take somebody who was an expert to know just how much to put in. Not to put in.

SS: You mentioned that the bronc busting, the guys that were doing that were getting hurt.

DF: The wild horses, the broncs, bring 'em to ride, get on 'em, just ride 'em. Not like they do in the rodeo now. They wouldn't ride 'em for eight minutes or three minutes. They stayed with 'em and they broke 'era in. And he never tried it because he'd see what it did to the fella that rode em. He said they'd bleed from the ears, the nooe. 'Cause of the jarring. Stick with 'em though.That was in the earlier days, in California, I imagine.

SS: And the long trek that he took into Oregon over Siskiy ou Summit? His partner didn't think they were going to make it?

DF: He was a kid. He was sixteen, I think, at the time. I think they went from the end of thefstage line and they had, the stage didn't run over the, was a bad road and high parts of the mountain, snow, so they took that. It didn't take 'em very long to walk it. a day and a night or some thing like that. I think most of it was on top of snow. The snow's crust was hard. It wasn't too hard to go. But he way. To get there. So he was lost on the way. I guess he'd been across it before so he knew about where. He had a hatchet and an axe and he chopped places in the trees as he went along I guess, and when they come through there, why, he could see how deep the snow was. Way up in the trees.

SS: This friend of his thought they weren't going to make it?

DF: Yeah. It was a long one for the kid. He couldn't see

SS: It seems like he had a lot to do with the Hood River Indians.

DF: Yes. A lot of the time f think in every other time just kind of camped out. Like cowboys do sometimes. They come in. Run those provisions. Probably made their ^ camped there, in those badlands, well they're not badlands exactly there. Z-M* beds with their grass. That's where the cattle grazed. The Indian country there. He was in Indians in the north end of California, his own claim. He took a claim there first. Built a shack there, and the Indians used to come, knock on his door, and they didn't knock on his door, they walked in. Hungry as could be and couldn't feed all of 'em. So he had to put a stop to that. The dog got so he wouldn't let an Indian come close to the house after awhile. It was pitiful. They didn't have any clothes on or anything. Shawl over their back. The United States wouldn't provide them anything to eat or anything to wear and they couldn't leave the reservation to hunt.Fish like they should have been able to.The. state, they would go in, big camas and get provisions for the winter here and there. They'd be in their own part of the country but on the reservation, dasn't leave it. Reason it made the trouble I guess. Someone bound to go off. And that's the trouble, the Army trying to make 'em stay on it. They were so hungry that if they found anything dead, if a cow died or anything, they'd eat it anyway. No matter how long it'd been dead, they were so hungry.

SS: What were a couple amusing incidents that he told you took place between him and the Indians?

DF: The one I remember now was about the Indian in cold weather and he didn't have much on him. the bottom and he said,"Aren't you cold there?" And he said,"No, face no cold." Used to it. fit He didn't think that the Indians they hung, that they hung there were that Scar faced Charlie and I can't remember the other name now.

SS: Is that Captain 3ack?

DF: Captain Dack.He didn't think they were anything that bad.They were supposed to have shot 'em, a soldier, an officer in the army or something.

SS: What did he say about, he wasn't down there at the time, was he?

DF: No, but he heard about it. He was right there at the time. And of course he knew 'em probably at the time. Probably on the reservation at that time or that part of the country, but he wasn't there to see the actual trouble.

SS: As I remember, they chased the Indians pretty hard.

DF: Yeah, they did.

SS: You mentioned that when he was younger his brother had T.B. They had a pretty unusual kind of cure?

DF: They had a trumpet that he could blow on, that would straighten his lungs.

SS: Made me think they probably didn't know anything what to do.

DF: There wasn't anything they could do hardly. anything you know.

SS: This diptheria epidemic, Dave's father had his own home cure?

DF: Yeah, burnt elm and slippery elm bark.

SS: I wonder where he picked that up from.

DF: I read something the other day about early rememdies and something.I guess maybe done by Whitnan county Quarterly. This historian that elm tea was good for diptheria. Didn't say slippery elm, didn't say anything about burnt elm either, but(pause in tapp)

SS: You know about Wild Davey?

DF: Well, there was a supposition^ if he was the same as Will Drannan or not. Will Drannan wrote a book, or he didn't write it, but he told the story of 31 Years on the Plains and in the Mountains maybe you've heard it. And Wild Davey, many people think he's the same man. We knew ^different because the Fleeners knew both of 'em. Because one of the Fleeners helped Drannan write it up. He was a newspaper man anyway and Drannan told him the story and he wrote it, see. And Wild Davey was a fella up in the mountains, wore long hair about the same as Drannan and I guess that's reason they got confused. But Wild Davey lived in the mountains and he had dogs. He was a hunter. He'd hunt coyotes, cougars, that was his business.He had so many dogs, they claim he used to eat them too. There's a story, tell about living in the time, these kids told about the time she met Wild Davey, he lived up in the mountains here, Moscow Mountain out of Troy there somewhere. And the womenfolks, they used to be afraid of him.Men were out harvesting, afraid of him, and they would ride their kids on horseback and go stay with each other, neighbors. One day Mrs. Kissing Wild Davey would be coming up to the house, she was just finishing washing the dishes. She met him out the corner of the house and threw the dishwater over him as he came around the corner of the house.(laughs) One way of fixing him. Never bothered her anymore I guess. He wasn't going to bother her anyway probably. But he used to come, the Fleeners tell about how he came one time to horses, the horses got away and he went into the country, try to find them. So they went in there and got acquainted with him. They knew them well, they were two different people. Now I've run across people that knew they were different here. But not very many of the people knew it.

SS: I heard that Wild Davey used to tell some wild stories. That had something to do with why people thought he was Drannan. I heard him called the Wind jammer.

DF: I don't know about that, but he was, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he they did. This Mr. Gamble, Lola Clyde's brother, he said he used to work in the harvest with him, that Wild Davey, he didn't have much sense. He couldn't write a book he said, or anything. His name was O.C. he said. Right name was. He was, on my side anyway, I try to prove these things if I can, I go around, try to find his, somebody said he was buried in Troy cemetery and went down to Troy one day and I asked the post* if he knew where the cemetery is and she said,"Which one?" She said,"There's seven of 'am around here." I wasn't about to hunt 'em all up and find out.

SS: Do you think he really did bother the ladies?

DF: No, I don't think so.Anyway, he had long hair and he looked like he was wild you know, and he had so many dogs and he lived by himself. They were afraid of anybody that didn't look right, I suppose. New country, of.most anything that didn't look quite right I suppose.

SS: Are there any other characters that you heard about?

DF: Can't recall any right now. We knsw a man that used to get drunk a lot and he used to stop at the schoolhouse and wave to us and the teacher. And if we were out playing in the yard and one time he came by my home, my mother was out hanging out clothes and he stopped and yelled to her. She didn't pay any attention to him, I was scared to death. I was about seven, eight years old then. But since we moved to Whitman county, be moved over there too and he used to come home drunk at night. And one night he and his wife stayed all night in the straw stack 'cause they couldn't get home. Another time he run off the road and tipped over the buggy and it didnH hurt him, but he lost his hat. That him worse than anything else 'cause he lost his hat.

(End of side A)

DF: Steffens shotf. nire in Moscow, that happened just before we came. Read about it and heard about it, but....

SS: What about the drive for prohibition in this county? Was there strong feeling?

DF: I think there was. In town there was. I oWt know whether they had any big fights or anything about it, but then, they had lots of saloons in here when they first came. I used to hear the music and I wanted to go in so bad,'cause I loved music and they had music. That old saloon piano would just, tantilizing to me. It wasn't very many years that they had the saloons after we came. And parades and a lot of things like that to get up support against the saloons. And they went out and they'd booze anyway. In our neighborhood there was a family that moved away and a new family came in and they didn't seem to have much to do with anybody. People didn't go to visit 'em they always noticed applesauce cooking on the stove.EVery time they mentioned that, there was people coming and going more or less at night, they noticed. After a while the authorities caught on to it and they had a still in their house, a trap door in the pantry^and they, that was the nearest we ever came to it.

SS: Do you think it cut down the drinking, to have prohibition?

DF: I don't know. They say it didn't. I don't know, I couldn't tell.

SS: What about the women's right to vote?

DF: I don't remember anything about that. I don't think it affected us much. At least I don't remember my folks ever saying anything. Course they weren't people to say much about anything any way.They didn't discuss anything in front of us kids, seems like. ^they'd done more of it I think I'd been a little bit better informed, at the early age, than I was. They never spoke anything bad about anybody or anything, why or wherefore. I know we were going to school when they had, I guess,.when Teddy Roosevelt was coming into, up for election. Part of the kids were from Republican parents, and part were Democrats. We.called them "damn rats" Not to their face.(laughs) The Munson girls were democrats, or fepublicans. Their father was in the legislature in. Idaho at that time. So, pretty strong Republicans. But that's about as much as I rmember about being involved in politics at all.

SS: What about the revivals that came to Moscow? Did you have anything to do with them?

DF: Only one of 'em I think. The Lowery meetings, that was the only one I rmember anything about. That was a preacher and Moody was the choir leader. I liked to sing so I was in the choir. Anybody that wanted to sing, they could sing. The funny part of it was, he had a chair at the, on the platform, and Ican't rememberin the back, you know how it is. You know what the spindles are, don't you?

SS: Explain it to me.

DF: The thing that go up and down the back And he wanted to get the attention of the audience or the congregation he 'd rip that baton across that and make that .noise. Everybody was startled and they quit talking and pay attention. That was in a tent, I guess that was in a tent.So about it, I Took about a Fourth of a block there betwen Jefferson and Third. The sawdust on the floor and I don't know whether they had benches or what, backs to 'em anyway. Kind of a crude outfit. We had lots of fun in it. That winter there was an awful lot of snow too. out any It was deepv they didn't plow snow. People didn't shovel off their walks or anything either. Tramp the snow down on top of the drift and pack the snow and kept on the trail, that's all they did. Course, farmers liked snow in town because they had to use sleds in the country and they'd come clear down to town in sleds. They couldn't run, didn't have any snowplows anyway.

SS: Do you remember when this was?

DF: 1912. February 1912.

SS: You performed for the adults? The choir?

DF: Well they gave the altar call they were supposed to leave the platform and go down among, mingle with the people and ask tiiem if they were Christians and if they wouldn't want to be. I wasn't very good at it, I just kind of bluffed it.(laughs)Never was very good with words anyway. a point. That part of it I didn't do too well.

SS: Was it a quiet or noisy meeting? Did peopoe get excited?

DF: It wasn't that kind. I remember it was quite tame. It was quite successful as far as I remember. I was used to really a laud preacher anyway. The Methodist preacher they had at that time was really a stomper rounder. Pace up and down the platform, up and down the pulpit. Pound his podium or whatever you call it. And So I don't know, I was used to being pretty loud preacher anyway, so maybe it was ordinaryHe must nave been there about two weeks I think.It was my second year of high school, I think, that year.Tihe choir was made up of young people, mostly school kids, I think.

SS: I would like to know about the early threshing operations. What are the earliest ones you know about?

DF: Well, I saw a few that were very feeble. The engine wasn't powerful enough to propel itself.They hitched horses on to it to pull it out. And, from one place to another. I heard about, somebody telling about a story, I guess they were about that day, they were telling about early day threshing. The horses were pulling this machine through this, one thing to another. It dropped into a ditch, the front end of it, they drove it into a ditch and the horses couldn't pull it out. He was talking about it while they were eating dinner one day. The kind of worried about it. She said,"It didn't knock the water closet off. Laughs don't know And the tank was in front of the engine room, I smokestack, come pretty close to the ground. But it made all them people laugh because the water closet was the toilet in those days. But wasn't long before they got so.the engine would pull the separator. 'Bout '90, whatever * Just very few of 'em that couldn't pull, propel themselves around. Got bigger and bigger and bigger, you know, til they couldn't accomodate all the men in the homes so somebody had the. idea to build a cookhouse. That was with the machine always you know. I guess as many as thirty or thirty men in the crew then, at that time.Big outfits. The money then was real cash, they knew begining of the way very easy. Busy man had a team he'd take out and team the wagon with it, paid pretty good

SS: What was the cooking situation like?

DF: It was pretty awful I'd think. They had to get up pretty early in the morning.They had pretty long days because the farmers wanted the work done before the rain came, and for the right season. Got up about three thirty in the morning and went to the cookhouse, the kerosene lamps, started the fire and get breakfast. The men slept in the straw stack and the fireman, I guess he was the one that woke 'em up in the morning. He was the one that had to get up.steam to get up fire. He's ready to go right after breakfast. Men had to get up and feed and harness their horses too. .to be done before breakfast. Had to get up early too. The cooks,Ima Platz, he tells about the experience, she worked for seven years for the same man. And she was saying that, well they had to be real economical with their , they had to their meals on time. She said they had to fry a whole milk pan full of steaks for break fast. Had everything, warm biscuits you know. Baking powder biscuits and everything that goes along, eggs andAeverything. Moving day^. they were libel to pick up and move 'em any time, it didn't matter whether they were baking or what they were doing. She said they never lost any cakes or anything like that from falling or anything. Had to hold oQto the door^ lot of times though when they rough around, leave the oven door open in the cookhouse. Be hotter in the dickens in there and you can imagine what it would be like in the summer. Wtta^ Had a side that they could raise and throgh.

SS: The sides raised?

DF: Kind of like awning. They had a water barrel outside where they set it outside with a little platform, it was by the cookhouse too. Fhe flunky kept that full of water for the cooks. And kept the wood split for 'em in ahandy place. Went to town and got the provisions for 'em and all. Got their milk from the country. If they had cows they might want to he'd go and get milk for 'em. The only refrigeration they had was just a tub of water to milk in. How they got along.

SS: Did she talk about how hard the work was?they got the Uork done at night. They practically met themselves getting up in the morning, she said.Didn't come to eat until they couldn't thresh any more. Had to go up to work, the men had to do all their work.

SS: What about the work of the crewsi Seems like the work was dusty.

DF: Sure it was, it was terrible. didn't have any blower and they had to keep mowing that straw back from, put it out on the straw stack with a draper, and the draper'd drop down. They'd keep em out of that back, and that was terrible hard, dusty work. That chaff. They'd hang handkerchief over their face to keep inbreathing it so much.

SS: Did they have a hard time holding the crews?

DF: No, they loved it. People just, the men liked to get together for one thing. They had a big time.And they'd all try to outdo each other in the working. Course, they didn't know any better to do that in those days, there wasn't any clean way to do anything. Sleeping in the straw stack wasn't very good either. Idon't think. They'd be pretty dirty and chaffy. Menfd be full of chaff.

SS: Did they take much time to socialize when they weren't working? Story telling? DF- They didn't have time, they didn't have time at all. Sometimes they'd have time to go and suck eggs. a tell about how they use to, when the young fellas used to rob the chicken houses of some farmers they knew raal well and knew they wouldn't care and they'd see if they couldn't suck the eggs. They'd try to get one of them fellas to suck eggs and he wouldn't, it just come right back up again, he just couldn't stand it. Some would like it.

SS: Dust put a hole in the egg and suck it?

DF: Yeah.I muldn't like that very well either, would you?

SS: I hear that old saying, "They sure broke him from sucking eggs."

DF: Here, they don*t know any better to suck eggs, too, they'd make that remark.

SS: Were most of the guys in the crew local?

DF: Yeah. Usually family men. Leave their wives at home an^go out and make money. That wasAthe only money they made the year, real cash. Iknow my sister, she used to, her husband'd go out to work, why she'd always get up and do something important like papering or some big job. She couldn't do very well when she had to get meals together. Either she'd change her furniture around one time,Ashc*h'a*nge her bedroom or her living room. Change the bedroom to the living room and the living room to the bedroom. Came back from working Saturday night, couldn't find the bed(laughs) But they always worked a full week and they came home, nobody work on Sundays, those days.And the stores didn't open, they couldn't buy anything. And the blue law at one time, it was against the law to have anything open. But they'd come home, get a change of clothes, take a sort of a bath, I suppose. Jump in the creek or something. They didn't have any bathing facilities at all. Shower or bath.(pause in tape)

SS: That sounds like it was a celebration.

DF: It was, yes. Men looked forward to it every year. Get together for men. And have a high old time. I guess they played more or less pranks on each other while they worked. But then, they didn't stop work to do it. In the combine days, I know they used to play a prank on each other. They'd with grease when they were greasing the combine and stuff like that.They didn't have much time, and they were older men usually.

SS: How. would the threshing operation be owned by one guy?

DF: Yes.Partner sometime,but usually just one man ride the machine and he'd get around to everyone that he could. He'd ikoX* out in the country probably.They liked to have the best operating machine, one that didn't break down so much and the farmers would speak for him ahead of time. Supposed to come after so and so got his done, well then, they'd have theirs. Sometime he had a break doan and he couldn't get there and it looked rainy, why a farmer might get somebody els'e who was handy. That'd make the threshing machine man mad that was going to do his. Cheat him out of that much money. Work the other way too, sometimes.Somebody begged him and paid him a little bit, a bonus or something, he might,one fella,take somebody else's Wontf* or something, work both ways. And so, some hard feelings?started that way. So then when they got the combines, that didn't happen ajy more. Each man had his own, go into partnership, go into the combine business to sometimes. That wasn't too good either because one farmer wanted to do all the say so about it and the other one was pretty meek why he got left out, and if he wasn't meek why they had harsh words at each other. Now that we got the old combine, it cost an awful lot of money but then, they're in debt up to their ears. And they have more fun with it days if they want to and as long as they want to, nobody bothered 'em.

SS: The old threshing machines, they gave a lot of trouble?

DF: Well yes, it was like any machinery. If they didn't have it up good. It was a kind of rattletrap thing to start with anyway. Kind of older. Fix "em up with haywire, they didn't last. Then just like they did after, with their combine, now they have to get 'em probably in perfect shape before they even start or they end up having trouble during the season.

SS: Were there jobs that were top jobs on the operation?

DF: Engineer and the separator man of course. The separator man was the owner because he, the separator was the biggest responsibility of the whole thing. Keep it going and and when it was about to break down or it was plugged up sometimes, watch it pretty careful And the fireman he had to know his business, had to keep up the steam all the time. Work straw, he had to keep stuffing in there pretty fast. They felt a little above everybody else. Easier than fireman and the sack sewer too, he was pretty important. Cook. Two women were cooking together. Hardly ever one could hardly manage to work alone.

SS: They usually, were they hired like the men were?

DF: Yeah. Well, yes they were. But if they wanted the job and they were the best one, why they'd take it. Weren't very many people that wanted the job of cooking because it was hard work and they had usually girls eighteen or so, single girls or else, young married women. They didn't have any she children, no responsibilities at home.Ima Platz young married women at that time. And the husband worked on the machine too. Dora Hill that was a partner with her, she was a married girl of eighteen I think at that time.

SS: Was the pay pretty good compared with the men's?

DF: I don't really know what the pay was. I imagine it was pretty good for the cook. I asked Ima if she was the head cook and she said no, they both shared alike. And said they, either one of 'em plans all the meals and the other one helps out. She said they just worked together. They got both the same pay I think. Eight ddllars a day was pretty good pay at that time. I know men carpenters oot three dollars a day. My dad had somebody build him a chicken house and he only paid him eight dollars a day, for carpenter work. The man, he had a team of horses and wagon, he'd get more for them. Wasn't much more, but...

SS: If he had that, then he'd haul the grain??

DF: Haul the bundles in, he was the bundle hauler. Go out in the field and pick up the shocks..Quite a number of them, six or eight or ten I guess, bundle wagona. Racks onto aw outfit and running gives along with the men. Team would be with the wagon. But they had to go all over the field and pick up the shocks. One man was armed with a gun and the other the bundle wagon, man that was on the ground, he'd take a bundle and throw it up to the fella on the wagon, and the fella on the wagon would catch it on his fork and put it in place. And they always put it so that when they handed it up so that when they took it down they wouldn't break the heads off. That's what, they load their wagon.

SS: What you remember, were they still using headers?

DF: No, they didn't use headers in my country at all. That was down the river from the Touchet country. All along Waitsburg and down that way. Seen pictures of 'em, but I never seen it, work at all.

SS: What do you remember about the first cars coming into the country?

DF: The first one I remember anything about was our neighbors had a car.^Had that about 1912, I imagine. I remember it didn't have any top on it and tne steerisDgu,heeonwSRe other side of what they have now . On the right hand side instead of the left. And all the gears on the side where the door would be on that running board. They all had running boards then too. Gears, brake and the honker. Squeeze on a bulb and it honked. I guess about that time we got a few doctors around town got cars, but the Lincoln country people couldn't use 'em. People in town couldn't get out in the country either, in the wintertime, becauseAmud and things.And they didn't clear the roads and there wasn't any road service or anything at that time. You could get a cax for about a thousand dollars. Got our first car in 1917 I guess it was. Maxwell. The tires were so expensive and so hard to keep from cracking a nd deteriorating from the amount of sun, the ^would crack you know, and they had cotton fabric and if the rubber cracked then the water would get in there and cause a blowout and they had a lot of tire trouble in those days. If you had tire trouble, you had to fix your own, too. They had rims instead of wheels. Rims, the tire was on a rim and you'd unbolt it from the wheel and take it off and try to get the tire off the rim then. Some job to do that. Didn't have any hydraulic jack. You had to get under the car and put it under the axel. These lumberjacks, you've probably seen 'em, haven't you? Didn't have to go very high cinder car in those days. The Model T was kind of car because they were higher off the ground and could,^didn't get hung up in deep ruts. And in the mountains where there were rocks and stumps still in the road, they used to be. They got more and more cars, then the roads were so dusty that they couldn't see where they were going, why they had to do something about the roads then, you see. One thing followed another that way. 'Bout 1917-18 I think it was, a lot ofAcars come into the country.

SS: What did your folks think about cars when they first came in?

DF: I don't know what my folks thought. Used to hear a lot of talk about they'd never amount to anything because it wasn't practical to have and they scared too many horses and caused to many runaways and everything. They wouldn't last, they were a passing fad, they thought it was.(pause in tape)

SS: Is that where Drannan met the Fleeners?

DF: Yeah. They lived in Moscow. He came there to write, or every day the kids would go to read what they had written during the day, and had a great time reading because it was always interesting. And I know that they say that they called father, that's my husband's father, once in awhile to verify some of the facts, because he'd been in the Modoc war down there in California. So he helped out with that some. I know.

SS: That's where they helped him?

DF: Henry Fleener was the one that did most of the helping. He did most of the writing, he and his wife. He did the actual writing of it. I understand. They called him Dave Fleener, that's my husband's half-brother Henry. Being as how he'd been in the same part of the country they wrote about he wanted to verify some of the facts in the writing, that part of the country only. You've read that book, Jiaven't you?

SS: I've read the book by a man name Bate about that book called Frontier Legend. It was written to show that Drannan's was a bunoh of lies.

DF: Personally I've never read it, but I've heard that there is such a book.

(End of Side B)

SS: Drannan's wife...

DF: He never had any wife.

SS: He was married later, after he was in Moscow. He didn't have a wife when he was here?

DF: No, I don't think so.I don't think he lived very long after that, did hej?

SS: I think he died in 1913. In the southwest.

DF: It was Seattle where he died.

SS: He was in Seattle for a while. The story that Bate tells is that he died in the Southwest.

DF: There might have been some of that story was not made up, but I know some of it wasn't either.I'm sure it wasn't all fiction.

SS: He was working on the book here in Moscow?

DF: Oh yes.That's a story about him one way or another, I don't know. All I know is what I know, that's all.

SS: I was wondering what you knew. When Dave's half brother was helping him, was he writing the stuff about Kit Carson?

DF: I guess so. Drannan told him the story and he wrote it down. He told me if'-r Drannan couldn't even write. I don't know about that, but he was^ able to put down what he wanted to say in good order, anyway. Been said that he went to the university and got it written. But I don't know if there's any truth in that. He might have got it rewritten or something, I don't know. They ended up there something. I know that Henry's kids, they were just youngsters, they liked to read his, what his folks had written day, every day. Because it was interesting. Theymust have written the whole thing I think from begining to end.As it was told to them.

SS: Did they think it was true?

DF: I suppose they did. I don't know. Never heard. One vja\j or 4he oAhey~.

SS: Bate's story is that it wasn't true.

DF: I know. I've heard that. They were telling something about that book.

SS: I've heard that they use to have dances up there. Yeah. It was quite a place. It was isolated one thing, and it was hard to get to it. Up there in that butte.

SS: How did the people get up there?

DF: They went horseback mostly, I guess. Must have been some kind of a road up there. It was quite a feat to get the road cut out like it is now. You've been up there, haven't you?

SS: I haven't been up the top of the butte.

DF: A winding Doad and it wasn't very wide either.Kind of scary to look down the ledge. I don't like, I was born in the prairie country I guess, don't like these roads way up on the aide of the hills.(pause in tape)

SS: What do you remember about it burning down?

DF: We lived of the university, out in the country. About, it was sort of high. You see it burning in the middle of the night. We were looking out of our window upstairs window, see it. That's all I remember about it. People mourned about the fact that it burned up so many df their records and so many of their trophies and everything too.

SS: What was the kind of car you were describing that was a mud slinger?

DF: Boys,^all them mechanical minded and they'd see if they could find an old motor to fix up. And the chassis, they had to have a body to put it on. They'd build a wooden seat and bed for it, kind of a pick up thing out of it. Board across it'for a seat and a back. No fenders. Wasn't any fenders. Sling the mud if they went through mud. Be called mud slingers.

SS: Did you do much working out?

DF: Yeah, I did^a lot of it. My sister's older than I am and she wasn't very well, so she taught school but she didn't work out. She had an^ that she'd teach. In those to teach you passed an examination. She taught school when she was eighteen. And she stayed home summers and I worked out then. Different places around the neighborhood. I was good at sewing, to sew and so I had me sewing and doing housework . Five dollars aaeek. Igot paid. Pretty good pay,days. Bought a piano and Ihad an awful time paying for it, Inever did get it entirely paid for. Ipaid a hundred dollars for it. My dad paid for it. He didn't think Ineeded it. But my mother spoke up for me and so I., got it. But I worked there for the people that had the piano, they wanted to get rid of it and so Iworked for them. Took the job before Iknew anything about the piano really, but Ifound out they wanted to get rid of the piano and Iwanted apiano so bad. Got achange to have it that way by turning my wages over to my dad, all that I made for that year I worked out. Worked out for one family while they were baling, balers, Idon't know how many men, awhole table full and they had so many flies. 0ne plaee- Iworked, the bedbugs ate me up at night. Terrible place to work. I worked for these other people that had the piano, Iworked there cooking, helping cook for the warehouse men and the sacks that came in, sacked all the grain at that time. They had men that piled the sacks in the warehouse. Whitman county in Pullman and Palouse.

SS: Theee people with the bedbugs, what were ou doing for them?

DF: Ifollowed the main cook. They had baler crew or two. Idon't know whether it was one or two crews, but Iknow that there was alot of men baling hay.

SS: Did you stick with the job?

Week. That was all Ineeded. I didn't tell'em about the bedbugs because I knew, Ididn't want to complain or something Iguess. Idon't know why I didn't. Iguess Isuppose if Idid I'd need another room that wasJ, e£ bad Iwould have. Itold her when Isettled up Ithought Ideserved more than five dollars aweek. Adollar aday, Isuppose Iwas supposed to get a dollar a day there because Iwas alone.J. know the first night Iwent to bed, took alamp upstairs, we had coal, we didn't have electricity or any thing of course. And Iwas dead tired, got to bed awful late because I worked until dark and had to feed 'em after that and work afterwards. But Iwas tired and Iwent to sleep right away. So Icommenced to feel some thing crawling all over me and biting me. I had an idea what it was though I never experienced it before. I'd heard about 'em. So I got up and I thought I'll light the lampand they won't bother se then. Bedbugs never bothered anybody in the daytime. Bother you at night. I'd heard, I don't know whether that was true or not, but that's the way they bother mostly. But that didn't stop 'em. So I thought I'd let 'em have the bed and I'd qet down on the floor on the rug. They beat me to the rug I think. Couldn't i told her I didn't like the bedbugs and I thought I wought to have more pay,'cause I worked hard and put up with so much. She said,"Why didn't you tell me, I'd given you another room?" But I still figured the other room would be as bad as one. I was the kind to never complain, I always took things as they come.So.

SS: Did you get more pay?

DF: I got ten dollars.

SS: How did you feel about the piano after you got it? Had you played piano before?

DF: We had before and I loved it so much. But it didn't have a keyboard that I liked. I wanted a little more keys on it. Organ has so many octaves. Piano has more. I got an awful lot of good out of it though. I got married before I got it paid for. My husband paid the rest of it. Like 35 dollars a hundred. I worked for a dressmaker too, in Pullman. Quite a long time, worked for my board while I was working over there so I wouldn't have to pay for my board. I don't remember what I got there but I got more there than I got for working for Dr. Rounds in Pullman too. Day work. We lived so far away I couldn't work for my board. I worked downtown too. So I got another p3a ce with a preacher and his wife, Methodist preacher. That was a terrible place, the parsonage. Oust a ramshackle of a place and I didn't like him either, so I quit there pretty soon. I don't know whether he left the country or why the family left. He got transferred or whether I just quite, but I got another job. I stay, room and board with another couple I had lots of fun with. They wanted me to play 500 I made an extra hand to play cards. I use to entertain 'em by kicking up in my bunny suit at night and try to take a light up to the ceiling. They had light on a string, hanging from the ceiling. Drop cord I guess they called it. It didnH have any shade on it or anything. But I had to do the washing there and oh my, I had to do it in the basement and everything was coal. Burn coal in the stove. Coal smoke in the mist and the air from that washing. Couldn't see anything) couldn't tell you were washing anything clean or anything. I didn't stay very long there either. Mrs. was the person I was working for there in She got ailing and couldn't keep up with her work so she called me. I was gonna go on and do dressmaking by myself, I had plenty of work that people had come and give me their work. But I was just tired out and I couldn't. Couldn't sleep nights for worrying about the work. So I quit that and got married. That's the end of that. I tried going to school too. Before I worked and before I started working in these places. After I worked at Cassidy, that was the place that found WSC, at that time. It's WSU now. One semester and I thought I'd - ' some credits there and I'd teach. But I got sick of that because I couldn't ge^t the subjects I wanted to andso I quit that and got married. Go out and took this other job, rather. Other jobs. And then I got married after that. 1916 I was married.

SS: What's a buny suit?

DF: All over night clothes. Feet And all.

SS: Did you know your husband long before you got married?

DF: Was quite a long time because he was in the same neighborhood with us. Bachelor, I don't think he would have ever got married if I hadn't picked him up. There was something queer about it. This Fleener that crossed the plains in '52 that got about here. My husband's father was the only male left from that family. See the one boy died across the plains. The other one died of T.B. That left only Dave, in that family, that was a male He had one son that was Ansel and my husband. And although this Samuel that crossed the plain in '52, he was married again. He had four sons that time and none of these sons ever had a manchild that carried on the name. So I'm the sole person that propigated the Fleener name. That strain. So I feel pretty good about marrying him, after all.(laughs) And it looked for a while as though my sons wouldn't have any manchild either. The oldest one didn't have any children at all, they had to adopt one. They managed to adopt a boy, when they was quite along in years. But another son, his first one was a girl. Youngest son , he didn't have any for a while because he aas younger. He finally came up with three. We got six boys out of the 29 grandchildren named Fleener. It's up to them now to carry it on. That one strain of the country,now. Escept for that one. Samuel.

SS: From looking at these cures, are there any you remember from your younger days, any home remedies you heard about or tried?

DF: I can't remember any around here. But my folks were great people to give us turpentine and sugar, and kerosene and sugar for sore throats. of sugar with a few drops of kerosene on it. Or turpentine or something like that. I remember.

SS: Did they work?

DF: I don't know. Something to do I guess. I don't know. It didn't cure us right off, I know that.

SS: What about when you were working with animals? Were there any tricks that you used for treating them?

DF: Well, my dad used to use coal tar for everything. His time. I know, I didn't do that so much. He never had any horses have any wire cuts, but he'd use coal tar if they had 'em I know. Had one mare that bruised her hoof above the hair line, you know, the hoof. Thought sure she'd lose her hoof, but I don't know what he did, but she didn't lose her hoof after all.He was a great doctor, he was. He'd doctor those kids with home remedies. had a sore throat, he was awful worried about dintheria, It was that age when there was so much of that around.Looked down our throat and if he saw any white patches down our throat why he'd blow sulpher in our throat. Make a funnel out of a paper and put the small end and then he'd blow it down the throat. We breathed in ia lot of it go in our lungs. If any of 'em were drawing in their breatfcat that time, why, wasn't very comfortable. His remedy a kid. All through my life really. He used to, for fever, he'd give aconite and belladonna. In a few drops of water.We were supposed to take that every little bit. Teaspoonful or two. Earache, he'd blow tobacco smoke in our ear. He wasn't any hand to smoke a pipe or anything. He'd just have a corncob pipe. Mother would ask him to blow smoke in our ear, warm smoke. That was supposed to relieve the ache somewhat. I never 5-iock I usually treat 'em like I did wdath people. Stomachache, I'd give 'em a drop of peppermint or something like that.

SS: Did he have any beliefs about weather prediction?

DF: Oh yeah. Ansel's dad was a great hand to predict all the time about the circle around the sun mean so and so. He was a great one to believe in...

SS: Circle around the sun would mean what?

DF: Mean a storm. If the circle got bigger it meant the storm wasn't going to come, I guess. I think that's the way it went I might be wrong. But the sunrise and the sunset, the different colors meant so and so too. A colored sunrise meant a storm. And he was a great believer in planting in the dark of the moon and the light of the moon, too. Heard about that I guess. I don't know which is which. I suppose, plant things in the ground that have the roots in the ground certain dark or light of the moon. I don't know which it is.

SS: I think you plant things that grow in the ground with roots in the dark the ground.

DF: My dad never went for it at all, but he always had good crops. I don't know much of it myself. There's something in it, I guess, alright. If you put something like a board or something on the grass,it'll die out if it's in a certain time of the moon. Then a certain dark or light, it'll kill out.

SS: You mean the grass underneath the board?

DF: Yeah. It won't if it's the other. I don't know which is which, though. I've seen things die out laying on the ground that way. Some of it sticks down close to the ground and can't get it.

SS: Was he much of a believer in good and bad luck?

DF: I don't think so.No I don't think of that. I don't think they were superstitious. anything like that. Like cats or a ladder or anything like that. He never mentioned it.Talked about his grandfather, though. Grandpa Fleener telling about his grandpa. Ansel's father's father. He'd could see a ghost, seems like his wife had to go after water down in the spring. They were back east in Indiana or Missouri or someplace. And he was afraid of this ghoat and he'd go with his wife to get water and let her bring the water back. Go with her keep this ghost from bothering her. Story they used to tell.

SS: Did he know where the ghoat came from?

DF: No. there at the spring. That's all he. It might molest his wife and so he went with her to keep the ghost away from her.

SS: And let her carry the water?

DF: Yeah. I don't know why he didn't go alone then. I could never figure out, but that's the way the story went.

SS: Did you ever hear that out here? People coming back after death?

DF: Well let's see. He used to tell us stories about such things. He said there was a girl one time that died and then she came back to life and they asked her what she saw. She said while she was gone there were a lot of little kids there and everything was so beautiful, she said. I remember him telling that story, he'd tell that story too. He'd tell some pretty weird ones sometimes,about bears getting after people and tearing 'em up. remember more details about what he used to say, but I don't good enough remember it.

SS: I thought the story about this friend's mother, wouldn't let the boy go swimming? I thought that was a funny story.

DF: He did too, that was very funny.

SS: That's how he told it, he wouldn't let her go swimming til he learned how?

DF: Couldn't go near the water til he learned how to swim. How do you learn how to swim any other way I wonder?

SS: He really believed that there were going to be airplanes?

DF: I guess so. I ob n't think he believed that, he had the idea that he could build one. rHis dad thought he was crazy, thought he was getting off the beaten path. When he got in his mind something, he ought to be more, he ought to have his mind on something else that was more necessary then such crazy things as airplanes. Are there any other questions you wanted to ask?

SS: That's mostly it. Is there anything else that comes to your mind?

DF: Not now, anyway. Probably will be after while. That happens, you know. (pause in tape)

DF: ... couldn't prove my point. Even Mr. David, when he wrote the history, why he said they were the same one, but...Before Ansel's dad died, why we he said to me he knew they were different persons.

SS: I never could figure out why Davey wouldn't call himself Drannan if that's who he was.

DF: I don't either. There's Bill Drannan and Wild Davey. Where they got that, I don't know where they got the connection Davey, and Bill Drannan. I don't know how Davey got the name Davey either really because his mane was no Davey about it.

SS: Did Davey live here for quite a while?

DF: I guess so. He was here in the country when we came in here. I don't know how long before that.

SS: Drannan didn't stay for very long?

DF: No he didn't. As soon as he got it written, I think he left. Far as I know. I think the Fleeners^got some pay for helping him, but he never paid 'em anything. There was some hard feeling about it somehow anyway Kind of skipped out, you know. Took his manuscript and left.

SS: Did the Fleeners know much about history? Were they very interested in it?

DF: I don't know. I don't have any idea. I don't know how they could tell if it was authentic or not or anything about that. I suppose they took it that he was telling the truth. Put down as they were told.

(End of tape)

0:00 - Dave Fleener; father-in-law built shelter near Moscow; Fourth of July in Colfax

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Segment Synopsis: Her father-in-law, Dave Fleener, built a shelter when he homesteaded near Moscow. Horses often lost in "round-up" drives to Montana; rumor of vigilantes. Lard oil lights. Riding was cross-country. Fourth of July in Colfax.

6:00 - Dance at Steptoe; helped people by trading for wood; turns down offer for free Moscow property

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Segment Synopsis: Coming back from dance at Steptoe, his partner thinks they're lost, but Dave lets his horse find the way. Mr. Boles, the Viola storekeeper, helped people by trading for wood instead of money. Dave's first plowing with a breaking plow. He turns down offer from Lieuallen for free Moscow property, if he built a shack on it.

11:00 - Hauled grain to Walla Walla; working harvest in Touchet; thrashing machine

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Segment Synopsis: Two days to haul grain to Walla Walla. Their first market. High cost of freight for needles. Working harvest in Touchet. feeding bundled grain in the thrashing machine.

15:00 - Injuries to men breaking horses; crossing Siskiyou Summit; Pit River Native Americans; tuberculosis; diphtheria

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Segment Synopsis: Injuries to men breaking horses. Crossing Siskiyou Summit on foot in deep snow. Pit River Indians unable to leave reservation to forage for food, causing their rebellion. An Indian with no clothes in the cold. Blowing on a trumpet to cure tuberculosis. Burnt alum and slippery elm bark cure for diphtheria.

23:00 - Wild Davey and Will Drannan; women afraid of Wild Davey

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Segment Synopsis: Wild Davy and Will Drannan (author of 31 Years on the Plains and in the Mountains) were not the same man. Fleener family knew them both. Wild Davey hunted with a dog pack. Women were afraid of him; one threw a pan of dishwater on his head.

28:00 - Drunk who tipped over his buggy

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Segment Synopsis: A drunk who used to holler at people; he tipped over his buggy.

30:00 - Music in saloons; Republican kids called Democrat kids names

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Segment Synopsis: She was attracted by sound of music in saloons. During T. Roosevelt's campaign, Republican kids called Democrat kids "damn rats. Lowery revival meetings (1912). The Methodist preacher was loud.

38:00 - Threshing; working in the cookhouse; men harvested

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Segment Synopsis: Early threshing. Working in the cookhouse was a long, hard job. Men enjoyed harvest, though it was dirty work. Sucking eggs for entertainment Women might do a big project at home while the men were away in harvest.

49:00 - Problems over order of threshing farms; spectator and engineer jobs

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Segment Synopsis: How problems over the order of threshing farms could arise. Combine owner could disagree Separator and engineer were top jobs. Hauling on bundle wagons.

56:00 - First car; poor road conditions; cars were an impractical fad

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Segment Synopsis: The first car she remembers, a Hudson about 1912. They weren't too useful because road conditions were poor, but roads improved as cars increased. Changing tires was difficult. Many thought cars were an impractical fad.

59:00 - Henry Fleener wrote for Drannan's book; events in the Modoc country

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Segment Synopsis: Henry Fleener (Dave's half-brother) and his wife did much of the writing for Drannan's book. Henry's kids enjoyed reading what had been written that day. Dave was asked to provide verification for events in the Modoc country, (continued)

60:00 - Drannan's book

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Segment Synopsis: More about Drannan's book writing; he wasn't married in Moscow.

62:00 - Steptoe Butte; first hot rods

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Segment Synopsis: The road to Steptoe Butte. First hot rods were "mud slingers."

66:00 - Working to own a piano; bedbugs; working in a Methodist parsonage

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Segment Synopsis: Her experience working out. Working to own a piano. Putting up with bedbugs cooking for a harvest crew. Unpleasant work in a Methodist parsonage; difficult washing; helping a dressmaker.

74:00 - Father's cures; cures for sore throat, diphtheria, fevers, earache; predicted weather; ghosts; believed in airplanes

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Segment Synopsis: Sons to carry on the Fleener family name. Father's cures: turpentine or kerosene for sore throat; coal tar for horses; blowing sulphur down the throat to prevent diphtheria; aconite and belladonna for fevers; blowing tobacco smoke in the ear for earache. He predicted weather from the sky. A board on the grass will kill it during certain phases to the moon. David Fleener's father went with his wife to the spring because of ghosts; a report from heaven. Ansel Fleener, David's father, believed in airplanes.

87:00 - Wild Davey and Will Drannan

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Segment Synopsis: More about Davey and Drannan.


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