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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: May 03, 1976 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

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0:00 - He ran away to neighbors as a child; uncle went into dentistry to escape farming; father came home with news about McKinley's shooting

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Segment Synopsis: Running away to the neighbor's as a child. His uncle went into dentistry to get out of farming; he found it to be isolated. Father hiked in from Lewiston; there was no fence on his route. Father came home with news of McKinley's shooting.

10:00 - Early activity in Genesee; four general stores; barber shops

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Segment Synopsis: Early activity in Genesee. Many more people lived in the surrounding area. Beginning of Follett store in 1896. A historical shoe invoice. Four general stores in Genesee. Six or seven worked in Follett's store. Saturday night business. Barber shop baths for hired men.

21:00 - Attended Northwestern Business College in Spokane and worked at banks in Spokane and Genesee; enlisted during WWI

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Segment Synopsis: He attended Northwestern Business College in Spokane and worked in banks in Spokane and Genesee. Serving in the army in New York City. They were treated very well; he enlisted with friends from Spokane. Solid support for First World War.

29:00 - Started working at uncle's store instead of bank

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Segment Synopsis: He decided that working for his uncle's store would get him ahead more quickly than the bank. Good roads and automobiles hurt the small town.

30:00 - Decline of store in the twenties, intensified during the Deppression; description of what people bought

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Segment Synopsis: Decline of store began in twenties, intensified in depression; it recovered somewhat when there was less competition. What people bought at the store. Dripping of bulk molasses; careful handling of kerosene. Trading eggs. Mixed quality of butter - they threw some out after they bought it.

39:00 - Credit and money in small town during the Depression; people paid more often but bought less

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Segment Synopsis: Carrying farmers from year to year. Credit was the small town merchant's biggest headache. Money on books from the depression. Discounts from quick payment to merchandisers off set bank borrowing. Most people were trustworthy; it was hard to collect if they couldn't pay. Changing population in town. Some bought with the intention of never paying. In the depression people paid up better than they had before, while they bought less.

51:00 - Failure of Genesee bank in the depression; Troy bank in Genesee was popular

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Segment Synopsis: Failure of Genesee bank in the depression. Popularity of Troy bank in Genesee. Store's problem with paying creditors after bank closed.

57:00 - Competition among grocers; more rivalry now

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Segment Synopsis: The older Rosensteins didn't mingle with other towns people very much. Cooperation with other grocers; there was more rivalry in the earlier days. Some customers cited lower prices elsewhere.

60:00 - Thrashing outfits coming in from Troy; women stayed in store; Indian trading

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Segment Synopsis: Putting up orders. Threshing outfits came from Troy. High school kids "hung out" at Smolts. In the early days the women would stay around the store. Indian trade: they bought one item at a time.

70:00 - Social life revived with dances; different church groups didn't associate until recently

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Segment Synopsis: Social life - revival meetings were rather radical; dances in town and country. Visiting was similar in town and country. Different groups and churches didn't associate until recently. Community activities - horse show, ball games. Few farming families appeared to be "country people."

79:00 - Genesee decline as business town due to location between Lewison and Moscow

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Segment Synopsis: Genesee's decline as business town may come from its position between Lewiston and Moscow. Follett's tried to carry ready-to-wear clothes.

90:00 - Revivals had little effect on most people's habits; more drinking during prohibition, mostly moonshine was bought

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Segment Synopsis: Revivals had little effect on most people's habits. A baseball playing minister got people to be broader minded. Most moonshine was brought in; there was more drinking during prohibition because it was illegal. Political speakers drew crowds because there wasn't much else to do.

99:00 - Vollmer's bank in Genesee didn't do much business because people didn't like Vollmer

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Segment Synopsis: Vollmer's bank in Genesee didn't do much business because people didn't like Vollmer.

102:00 - Moving Genesee from "old town" to new

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Segment Synopsis: Moving Genesee from "old town" to new. Rosenstein would not have held the railroad up, as is often claimed, because he had to move his store.

107:00 - Genesee as a thriving young town.

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Segment Synopsis: Genesee as a thriving young town.

112:00 - Hobo jungle at Genesee - dependability of men varied; Gradual decline of Genesee; He sold out business for a year, then bought it back

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Segment Synopsis: Hobo jungle at Genesee - dependability of men varied. Gradual decline of Genesee. He sold out business for a year, then bought it back.

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