digital initiatives logo library logo

Latah County Oral History Collection

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

« View All Glen & Agnes Gilder interviews

Report a problem with this interview.

Date: May 22, 1975 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

Search This Index



Download the PDF transcript

Below is unprocessed text taken from a scan of our PDF document. It's messy; we know. If you would like to help us clean up these transcripts, please email Devin Becker at

GLEN GILDER: He was a buffalo hunter I think. Hunted for the railroads, butAeverybody hunted for the railroads. I have an idea that when Bill Cody went out to get a buffalo for the railroad h% probably took some Indian kid along to do the shootin and skinnin'and he got the glory. That was like him. There was no sincerity to lim.

SAM SCHRAGER: It's a funny thing that he's the one that people think about what the west was really like, y'know.

GG: Well, there hasn't been anybody had ballyhoo. And he promoted his show from Texas to Dakota on to Madison Square Garden, to Europe,4nd Ike was a showman, a promoter. He was in it for the glory of the almighty dollar.(Chuckles). Well, that's my opinion, you know, somebody else has got a different opinion. Maybe one or the other of us could be right.

SS: bet you're right, I'll bet you are. It's just funny. It seems like the story of what the west is really like is somethin'that most people don't even know about, and that's what they think.

GG: any man that I know of. There are others. This man from Texas, I'm trying to think of his name.

SS: Dobie?

GG: Yes.

SS: He's good.

GG: Yeah, he's awful good. I've read every book that I could get that he has written, enjoyed every minute of it, Frank Dobie.

SS: You think the truth about the west is better than the fiction about it?

GG: Yes, yes. The truth about the west has made up tve basis for a lot of good novels. And the funny thing is that it was made up and segregated into agriculture and mining, milling, fishing, lagging, lumbering. And they're good subjectif they're handled good they make a good book. I like all those up there. Sawmilling, railroading, logging.

SS: But, you know, it seems to me about ninety-five percent of the stuff about the west that you read is all about the cowboys and the cattle on the range. I can't quite figure that one out.

GG: Well, it was here and the festern version of the west ashe came through, prairie states and seen that. But there've betn some remarkably good stories written on wheat farming, on homesteading, Fisher from south Idaho, have you ever got ahold of anything?

SS: A little bit. I read that Mountain Man of his that you had.

GG: Well, I didn't think was one of em;but he wrote of the railroad coming in and e wrote of homesteading. He wrote a novel or two on homesteading. He took it from the day they went out there to the homestead. And there was another one. A fellah the nme of Estes wrote abook about the country just southeast of Denver, one of the best examples I think I read of it.

SS: What is it that makes that kind of a book work? What is it that Aakes be a real successful book?

GG: You know these books haven't really hit the top bracket because they adhere so darn cl;;ee to the truth. They leave out the fiction, the part. They are thinking of it seriously. I don't know, I couldn't answer it.

SS: Yea I don't know. You read one of those Davis books, H. L. Davis, I gave you that Hunting in the Horn I think. Did you like that one?-

GG: Pretty good.

SS: It was fiction.

GG: Yeah, yeah. He took, the basis of his story was taken from books like West of Wide Missouri.

SS: Urn hum.

GG: Oh, books, books, books, books. the libraries are throwing away the good ones and keepin the junk. Throwing the good ones in the dump. after a book isn't in demand anymore, away she goes. If they put a new cover on it it might hit the market as a best seller.

SS: Um hum, num. I'll tell you though there's been more good stories that I heard from talkin' to people around here that I've never seen in books, well, hardly anything like'em in books. When you told me there was a helluva story out there, that all I had to do was ask people about it you were really right 'cause that's all I did.

GG: Well, there's an interesting history in this country and it's hard to get all of it from any one point. You've got to see so awful many . Emmett Utt give you a start, George Nichol's got a story over there that'd make a book. And the same way.

SS: I don't think any two stories are close to the same, any two stories that I've heard, y'know. Everybody's life is different, more than you'd expect bein from the same area.

GG: live0on adjoining farms and would be a little bit different. Well, that's the way it goes. Did you have quite a talk with

SS: Um hum. I spent an hour or so with him. It was a good talk; I'm going to go back and talk with him again.

GG: I would and when you do, if you could get him with Frank Herzog, get the story. And get the Gilbert story on cleanin up that meadow up there on the Kinman homestead.

SS: What's that story?

GG: That's a good one.

SS: Well, tell me it.

GG: Well, it's so long ago I've heard it, I don't know whether I can or not to get it exactly right, but when the Potlatch first come into the country we put a camp there close to Bennett's mill, south and up on the hill. And they put another one up on a part of the Und that Jess O.lcr owns "he got from Ben Stuart, Stuart got it from Bill Helmer and that was And then Camp 4 was less than a mile from there. I don't know why, a different time. And Gil evidently was a foreman, kindcf over all of'em. But they wanted to land teir log off of Jerome Creek, on the bank of the Palouse. Well, that put it on Kihman's pl«ce. I don't know whether Gil didn't know who owned the land or what. But he went in there and started cutting the logs and thlyrtning them along the river there, cuttin'the brush and cleanir.' it all us. And they filled that meadow, oh it was ten acres there solid with logs. And they got ready to put the drag on. And Kinman said No, you can't move these logs until you pay for the privilege of putting them on that land." And by golly, they didn't. They cleaned his land and then they paid him for I think it which is oh, exactly what I'd a done toomider the circumstance, Those things.

SS: Well, who's this £une Joe?

GG: He was Bill Helmer's ranch foreman. You'd get that story from Frank Herzog. Frank's a little older and knew him a little better tan I did.

SS: Well, tell me what you heard anyway.

GG: Well, I didn't hear it, I knew the guy. Why they called him Prune Joe, I don't know. I've heard a dozen different stories that they made wine out of prunes. He was an Austrian.Whether that's half of their diet, prunes and beans, I couldn't say, but that was his name. Hecleared up all that land from Bill Helmer. He cleaned up hundred and twenty t better than he cleared up.two hunored acres out of heavy timber and put it in crop. But of course he had access to all of them when he wanted. I don't know that Bill Helmer had that much money or not, but there was always a crew there, a lot of men. You get that story from Frank.

SS: Dm hum. Well, Helmer was their main cruiser, right?

GG: Yeah, yeah, head cruiser.

SS: Do you know what the story is on how the mill came to Potlatc?

GG: Well, that's where Deary wanted it. You see the mill was first to come to Moscow and they were putting a railroad through Moscow. They were going to get up into the Bovill area some way. And they done a lot of work on it. They made that cut where they had that sanitary landfill' between Troy and Moscow, $hat was the cut for the company's railroad. Now when they got that far they ere having a meeting in Moscow and it was raining and Bill Helmer come in there and Deary. I guess they were sopping wet; they'd been out in the brush all day. And Deary was kind of angry. He told 'em to stop it. He took a map, he it down and he poked a ;pencil down through that mar and he said,"That mill's going to be right there." And he poked it down where Potlatch is. They didn't want to clear over there. This going from Moscow to Bovill wouldn'tgot any excessive amount of timber, but going fFom Palouse to Bovill they went through the whole thing. grade practically. So that's where the railroad went and that's where the mill went.

SS: Didn't you tell me he had afetory, I mean didn't he have a reason about Moscow? Didn't you tell me in Moscow there wasn't enough water in Moscow?

GG: Oh, there wasn't anything there. There wasn't anything there to influence it» No, Deary was right. You know this is all written up by, who wrote it? I don't know, I don't remember but. . .

A: Miller book, wasn't it?

GG: Possibly, part of it. The fellah that told me tis story was the engineer. His name was Talbot. He's dead now, and he told me that story about ten, fifteen years ago. He was there.

SS: Before they started the town there at Potlatch you were tellin'me that Palouse was really the big center. It was really the important place for1 the people in the country.

GG: Well, it was. It was the only. . .There was a stage stop and post office at Woodfell, a stage stop and post office at Hampton, and one at Kennedy- Ford. I guerp they fcaflled the mail and probably part of the time a few groceries. But if you wanted any groceries and lived at Harvard or Avon Drove a team or whatever, you had to go to Palouse after it, u Sometimes that took quite a while and some of 'em had teams that could go down there pretty darn quick. 0o from Harvard to Potlatch and back and do the shoppin' in two hours and a half. You can't do that with a Model-T Ford. Well, that's right.

SS: What was that road like when you were growin up there?

GG: Oh, about six inches wider than a wagon. Mud deep all winter and dust half-way up all summer. There were a few days when it was pretty early nice, likein the spring, late in the fall. Some of those horses made some awful runs, accidents, things like that.

SS: You mean running into each other on that road?

GG: No, no, no. Say that somebody got hurt and they sent somebody after a doctor. Wouldn't take him long to go twenty-five miles He's kick that horse in high gsar and he the bottom and had the stamina to stay and make the trip, and when he got that one made he took a feed of oats and a drink of water and went £ack.

SS: What made your parents decide to come out here to this area? Where did they come from?

GG: Well, my mother came from Ida. She was just a little girl when she came, I guess,, young girl. And my dad must have been eighteen or nine/tsen years old. He came from St Sr Marie to Dakota and he didn't like it. He'd heard about the Palouse country so he came on to Palouse. Oh, he had itchy feet, I guess, that's about the only reason I know But the west had been told and played up by .railroads and peoplepiat vad gone back. £0 fantastically wonderful that every easterner would have came out here if he could have.

SS: I wonder why he didn't like Dakota?

GG: Oh, drought and grasshoppers chased him out of there. There wasn't much left after those two things got through with him. Oh, I don't know, the four boys came west. One came to Sweet Grass in Montana and stayed there. Had a very successful life. And then Charlie came to Palouse and and Albion because Dad had came; partly. And then one went on over to Vancouver.

SS: About when did your father get out here? Do you know?

GG: Must have been about '90 or '91. My mother, her folks must have come out about '85 or someiere's around in that area .

SS: It seems like this country was one of the last pfeces that was real good land to get settled up, thw whole Palouse country. Sure a lot better than Dakota.

GG: Well, I think that's right. They was kinda slow getting in vere but when the did get,they stayed, Its in the book up there of Whitman County history, it tells the dates and all tese things, settling Pullman and Union Flat.

SS: Your folks didn't move up by Harvard at first, right? They were someplace. ..

GG: No Dad homesteaded down at Hooper, about mybe ten miles the other side of LaCross. And he stayed there five or six years and broke up that prairie . And he knew he didn't have very good wheat land and he wanted to raise wheat. So he put in two or three crops that weren't very good and finally he got a good crop. And that crop sold the place so he got out of there. Then came up to Palouse, and then up to Harvard.

SS: Did he buy the place there?

GG: Urn hum. He bought eighty acres from Potlatch Lumber Company and a hundred and twenty from Bill Helmer. And logged over it. It was mostly brush. He cleared it up.the hard way with a team of horses—a team of horses and a grub hoe.

SS: you get to do much of that vourself?

GG: You betcha. A boy was a man about that time when he was about eleven, twelve years old, he could drive a team, why he was as good as a man. That's the way it worked. It didn't take 'em long to learn how to run one end of a cross-cut saw. About the next thing he got to be expert with, was an axe. He could just about plane a board with an axe.

SS: .. what you're saying.

GG: Well, yes you did. Us boys, we would learn to feed the horses and milk the cows or maybe clean out barns or after school we'd go out on the range and get the milk cows in. And if there was a team to drive Saturday, like clearing or doing anything, why you just naturally grew into it.

SS: It was expected of you, I mean there was just no other way about it.

GG: It was partly that, it was partly that you wanted to do it. It was something, It seems like youngsters had an idea of helping and appreciating their dad that you develop and accomplish things that we knew had to be accomplished for our own benefit like building a house or a barn or a fence. We'd get right in there and do what we could. by the time our kid was fourteen or fifteen years old, why hell, he was anan. He'd go out and drive horses for anybody.

SS: How much of that stuff could your family clear up in a year?

GG: Well, to start with it was pretty difficult to clear more than an acre, acre and a half. But as you worked ahead spent about two years breaking up twenty-seven acres. But we worked ahead on that one, slshed it off and burned it and let it rot. And when we tied into that, why it went pretty fast but it was all planned quite a ways ahead. But to start with we always considered ourself lucky if we'd get an act or two.

SS: How much time would you have during the season to clear?

GG: Oh, not too much, not as near as much as you think because wh?t little crop you had was put in. It took time and fences had to be worifed. Kids were in school most of the time. I don't know, somehow or another we didn't consider time. I don't think we did like we do how.

SS: Was it longer?

GG: No, no, no, no. It just flew by. But we just made kind of a general plan and carried out if we could, when we could. Sometimes they'd get a piece of ground cleared up way up in June that they'd get through with it, you know, maybe a; half an acre or an acre. It's too late to put it in grain. They'd plow it and put it in spuds or summer it fallow, put it in crop the next year. On the tiny scale it was just like they worked it after they got on a bigger scale, only it was a tiny scale, I'm tellin you. Half an acre—it was important. Now it, fence corner.

SS: It seems like now a farmer's got to put every square inch under if he can.

GG: Yeah, they're doing it that way. My dad had the idea that another acre of wheat was a way of getting. I never agreed with him. I never seen the day when I considered wheat a good crop. I don't know why. I'd sooner have hay or a cow or some other way, but I just all my life I just distrusted wheat. I thought it was unreliable; it was insecure, unless you could just be in the very biggest bracket. And it's probably partly the reason some of the very ones during the 1920's and along in there were the first ones to go broke. At least they had wonderful auction sales.(Chuckles).Thirty, fifty head of horses, all the harness and gear and riggin and equipment, a good time was had by all.

SS: The wheat market went down fast after the first war, right?

GG: After all wars. I think the country got hurt the worst after World War I, unless it's being hurt the worst right now, I don't know.

SS: But your father believed in wheat, and probably most people did, huh?

GG: Yes. No, not most, they all. . .That was a cas crop, grain. They make it one year and bust it the next. And make it "gain the next year and bust the next, up and down.

SS: Did your father work out wenyou were a kid?

GG: Yeah, everybody did. He'd work at any job he could find around close to home. be a day or two, maybe a month. There wasn't any work in the wintertime, scarcely ever. But during that time fe build or stake fanes do something. never was idle, that's for damn sure. He was more ambitious than I've ever been. He was ready to start at six o'clock in the morning and he wasn't ready to quit until six o'clock at night either. I've never been that much to crowd things.

SS: Well, how many brothers and sisters? How big was the family?

GG: Six. There were three girls and three boys.

SS: Well, and parents.

GG: I vas thinkin'of my own family. It was a hard deal to support that many. A kid nowadays in school has more laid out on'em in one year than that whole family had in two. But we didn't miss anything. Somehow or other you can't miss anything that you don't know exists.

SS: Ignorance is bliss.

GG: We had food and clothes. There never was a shortage of that. But the clothes weren't fancy. They were just common, every day old work clothes. But they were warm and most of the time, dry. Ten dollars would buy all the clothes I needed for winter when I was about, oh, twelve, thirteen years old. I know because I earned that much and bought my own clothes. And I had all I needed. Of course, there was a lot of difference between a tuxedo and a pair of overalls.

SS: What'd you do to earn that mohey?

GG: Eh, generally drove horses for somebody puttin'in a crop or anything. But that's the way those kids did earn money though. Theyd drive horses for somebody. They'd sit on the seat, y'know. It was nothing to see a twelve, tHrteen year old kid drivin six or eight Worses. They could handle 'em just as good as their great grandpa. But anyway, you didn't have to have six or eight if they couldtwo or any unit of it. It would depend on the size of the operation ana wncr© it was. They didn't have six horse teams around Harvard but tvey did around below Potlatch.

SS: What did you have in the way of stock when you were, oh, ten or a youngster? I imagine brood

GG: Oh, about three horses and cows and maybe two or three sows, and a few ehittkcftts- That's about it. And then got more as the place grew larger. As cleared land increased, why then each of those things increased as there was feed for'em. But you started small and had to start small. You couldn't buy hay; you couldn't buy grain. In the first place you didn't have tte money ano.n the second place it wasn't for sale.

SS: Would you say it was pretty much self-sufficient, the farm?

GG: As near as possible, yes. And it was pretty much possible. We'd take our own wheat to a mill someplace. . first they didnt only into a good grade of hog feed, hut there was chop and made food. But I think they took a sack of wheat to Palouse to old And I think he sent them back a sack of flour,fifty pounds for each sack of wheat. And he also sent back farina and bran, and that was tfceir flour. Just practically grown on the place, spuds, milk, butter, eggs, vegetables. There wasn't much to buy: coffee sugar. You made your own soap most of the time. Baking powder was an awful expense, about fifty cents a can for a two or three pound can. Oh, I don't know, it was a good life, Sam, I don't thinkany of us got any kick or any regrets on it. We done our work and we had bur time to play just the same as they got now. I think even more. We made our own amusement: dances, parties, shimming, sleigh rides. My brother and I used to like to walk. We'd climb a hill, the highest hill that we could see. It matter if it was ten miles away, we'd climb it. Go fishing, hunting, trapping. And we found a lot of things then that were just everyday occurrences that people pay two hundred and fifty dollars a week to do now. You know they do come out from the city and pay two hundred and three hundred and fifty dollars a week to do what we played at as kids znd all of our life.

SS: You did trapping, hh?

GG: Oh, we used to trap, sure. Gol on the way to school we'd cross the river and we had a string of traps up and down the river. traps back in te wods that we went to once a week. Frank Herzog, he was a better trapper than I am. He'd get back a get the bobcats and bear. His dad got fifteen one summer.

SS: Fifteen. . . ?

GG: Bear, big ones. They used tc be thick. His dad used to come by our place on his way to and from his traps and he'd always leave a quarter of a bear steak for us about once a week. He caught a it and he was going to bobcat one time and he had - take it home to skin it and the damn thing come to in the sack arid scratched him a little bit. He just went on home with it and put a collar around its neck and tied it in the back of te woodshed. And that cat was around there for a long time. But the kids used to,trap muskrats and mink, a few coyotes, quite a few weasels when they get white, nd generally made fifteen, twenty dollars in a winter's time.

SS: How'd you get around mostly in the winter when you were a kid, Glen?

GG: Shank skinnies.Of course we had our saddle horses too, but then any horses we had were certainly broke to ride and they furnished our transportation. But mostly we walked, or we seldom walked, we'd run. If I were going to go to Troy when I was fifteen or eighteen years old I wouldn't walk. I'd run two-thirds of the way in there.

SS: How would you go?

GG: Straight through, didn't follow the roads, I went straight through. And we had these coyote traps bacleup there and there was three of us in on it and we'd run seven or eight miles, I imagine around the string. Each of us would step in the guy ahead of him's tracks without disturbing that track. That was a game with us. You'd get pretty darn exoftft at it.

SS: In the winter did you snowshoe much? or

GG: If needed be. We generally had snowshoes or skiis, but we made'em ourselves if we did have.

SS: take from Troy to Harvard, that interests me how you'd go over the divide there and get into town here. I know it's not very fay far by land but it sure is Nowadays to get from one to the oter.

GG: It is, yeah, um hum. When I moved over here from this place, I moved from Harvard here and the road came just as it now but after you got up there, oh, where Pritter used to live the road cuts through by White Pine Mill and we'd come up right in front of Hunt's house. And then we'd have to go down tothe highway and down to Nora Crick and then get off the highway and come in here. But I moved the whole outfit excepting, I think, a load of stock and a load or two of hay, I moved em all with horses, household goods and foolishly moved my old junk machinery over here which I shouldn't have done. I should have sold it over there and bought it tack over here because that would have been possible, didn't need much.

SS: What year was this when you moved here?

GG: '39. There was no snow that winter, no sleighing. It was all wagon. One morning I thought I had sleighing enough to get a load over here and I loaded the sled and pulled cut over there, and I got to this side of Avon and the snow just simply gave out. There wasn't any; it melted. And I struggled all day to get up there just about where Gil Price lives and. unhook, left my sled setting and went back and stayed all nigh+ with and got a team from him the next rooming and come on and moved that rig on over here. Then I took a wagon for the balance of it. But there wasn't any snow. The ground didn't get white all winter but two or three days. Then the next winter it made up for it.

SS: What about the fishin1up there when you were a kid?

GG: It was good; it was real good anyplace. You never got big fish, oh, sixteen, eighteen incheSlong, but they was. . .You got enough in a little while to have a good meal out of them. We used to go up to and get in the crick and wade down anoje'd get out and take her up the fish and three or four thimbleberry leaves and just make a mud hUl fv them, put em in the coals, put a soud in there with 'em alongside of 'em in the ashes, cover it up good, and an egg or two, you'd have a pretty good meal. In the afternoon, why, we'd rrobably fish on down to, oh a couple of miles. But we'd have nice messes. Steelheads mostly, they were about eight ten inches long. I think they were the meat was just yellow as salmon.

SS: Had that country up in there been logped when you were a kid?

GG: No, they were logging it. No, they were logging it. Of course, they got down about around Harvard, they got pretty well done bybout 1910 or '12. The Potlatch had pulled out of there andjone up, Helmer, up in that area, Bovill. But there was always some logging going on. After we kids got a little size on us, why we used to saw during the summer for some of those little loggers around cl6se, or drove team or whatever.

SS: Did you ever run into much of those rakers that were up back in that country?

GG: Hoodoos?

SS: Yeah.

GG: Sure, sure. We'd loved em, us kids did (Chuckles). Steffens, Billy, Connors. We used to go up tere and Lou Watson , do their work for some of 'em, for Lou Watson we did for several years. But they were all bachelors and they liked kids. And on Friday night after school we'd quite often go up there and stay Friday night, Saturday night, and then Sunday, walk back home. We had some good friends up there among them old fellows. They liked to see us kids comin.' (Chuckles). And us kids liked to go.

SS: They didn't mind having you around their diggin's and stuff like that?

GG: Oh, no. We didn't bother'em. We soon learned that there were limitations of what privileges we had while we were visiting one of em but we'd just play around the woods or cut wood for 'em or if it looked like they had anything that needed to be done we'd do it, y'know, and they'd visit with us. And I think they enjoyed it; I know they did.

SS: Thoseguys must have been pretty lonely by themselves sometimes, being alone all the. . .

GG: It didn't bother them, that's the way they wanted it. No, they'd live there within a quarter of a mile or half mile of each other 8d wouldn't go in each other's cabins once ayear, most of 'em. We used to get paid pretty good to take ateam and wagon and take their groceries up to 'em once or twice a year. We used to do that with , and once or twice wit Steffens. And for Lou Watson we used to have a regular run there. We'd have to go up tere abouttwo or three weeks all summer, so up one day and back the next.

SAM: Is this your family?

GG: No, no, just one or two of us boys.

SS: Where were they located, the. miners that you're speaking of?

GG: Have you been up. . .?

SS: I know the area pretty well.

GG: You know where the north fork and the south fork of the Falouse fork up there?

SS: Sure.

GG: Well, there was one below that fork about a half a mile, a " by the name of Livingston. And then the rest of 'em were up the north fork, oh just back in there and they were bout a mile. And then Steffens and Doffner and O'Connor, just scattered along.

SS: Did they do very good up there, mining?

GG: told me one time that they took out six dollars a day while they could wash on their claim. There'd be two of them working. That was pretty good money then. The rest of 'em were alone, you didn't know what they did. They never tell you. They didn't leave any tremendous estates though, I know that.

SS: Do you thin Glen, that there was kind of difference in the kind of people they were from thesettiers, kind of people that settled and had farms? Were they a special breed?

GG: No, I don't think so. They just wanted to be independent of the rest of the world, and they sure as hell were. No, they weren't, they just didn't marry. That's about the only difference I can see in them. And there John English and Jack Connor, Gene three of em got married. Livingston was married when he come in there. No, I don't think they were any different. I've seen the type right out in the heart of the wheat country. Charlie was one

SS: You've got to tell me what you mean by independent. I mean they didn't Want to be messed with more than most people, is that. . .?

GG: Well, I think they had that but they didn't want to be dependent on anybody for anything. And I don't think they wanted anybody to be dependent oAthem from the way it worked out. They were nice old guys. thev wee Cranky sometimes and most of the time though. . .I'll tell you,cranRy with each other, but I never seen a day when they weren't with my brothers or I or our families when they happened to be up in that area, huckleberrying or fishing or something lke that. Sometimes they'd go with us and sow us where the good natch or glad to see us,I think, acted sttpsjthey were.

SS: Some of those men stayed up in there for many years didn't they?

GG: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. They went in there young men and died up there. George and Bill to« and John English, Charlie Wagner. They went in there young men and died up there.

SS: Do you think they had among themselves many stories about hidden gold, lost mines?

GG: No, I don't. Well, there was aSoctor in Palouse had a lost mine, a Lost Wheelbarrow nine up there, it would be the west side of Gold Hill. And he blew that up pretty big but actually it was just an abandoned mine and there was no great a lot of ore there. The Carricos and and others were in there. There was lots of prospecting done, and that was for deeu mines after the gold rush was over. You see, there was quite a little gold rush in that area at first. Then after the country was worked out there was some deep prospects went in: one on Baby Grand and the ' ,and the Gold Bug. And the Carricos or whoever that Lost Wheelbarrow was, I don't remember, but they were deep. But they never had enough to justify their keeping going.

SS: You knew Pennell didn't you?

GG: Um hum, you bet. Real well. He was the Gold Bug, yeah.

SS: What's the deal on him? They say he had quite a bit of worthless mining stock that a lot of people bought. Nobody wants to admit they did buy it themselves but. they say everybody else did.

GG: Well, the Gold Bug showed pretty good prospected to miners. I wouldn't know nothin'about it. But Ed. . . Well, there were quite a number involved in it. They actually believed in it. and they worked itfror years. And when they'd get short of money they'd go out and sell stock. And they'd work that up and heat it up and go sell some more. But it never turned out. But the Northrops inGold Bug, they worked the same deal. They didn't have money enough to develop it but they had a faith that it was going to eventaully turn good. And they'd work for years and get every dollar they could, sellin' stock or trading, dickering to keep going. Keep going down, down. But both of these places shipped ore and,quite a bit. But tey couldn't make it pay. It wasn't rich enough, too expensive to mine it perhaps. There's a man, works up in the Bunker Hill, Marvin Darrow. And he still has stock in the and several clains in there on Crick. He spent his life in mining, in the big mines up there and he's still got his confidence and faith in it. So, who knows. Someday they might. Marvin Darrow is a man that—I think he knows what he's talking about. He's not trying to sell me any or the fact is Tpon't think he would sell me any. But he gets all of it he can get his hands on. And there's others up there right in with him.

SS: they probably took quite a bit of out of there, didn't they?

GG: Yeah. Afellah hauled that out with asix-hoe team and wagon,trail wagon. I don't think, I don't know, maybe they trucked some of it out, but I think this was all done before there were trucks.

SS: Glen, what's the story that you know about that Duff-Wagner feud in on the creekthere?

GG: Well, I don't think anybody knows too much about that. But old Billy Duff was sleeping soundly as could be and old Wag ner, Charlie, come in and opened the door a8d jumped on top of him,and he fired one shot down alongside of his head and then started beatin'him with a pistol. No, I don't know what caused that. I knew both of 'em, and I've talked to both of em about it. I don think they had had apy argument before that. I don't think they had any particular trouble. They never neighbored. They lived adjoining. I can't see any justifiable reason for it happen ing but that just what happened. Andafter he beat him a little bit, why he got up off of him and went back outside and went home. And I don't think it was two words said the wole time he was in there. And Duff swore out a warrant for him and had him arrested, and Jnaa a trial over it. And Duff packed a pistol on his hip though from that day till the day he died. He put that on the first thing when he got up in the morning and he slpt with it under his pillow.(Chuckles). But tey never had any more trouble, that was it.

SS: Neither of them ever told you their side of it?

GG: Duff did. that's all the side of it that he had. Wagner wouldn't say very much. He didn't say nothing of any consequence. He didn't want to talk about it. Duff didn't mind. But that's just about all the story that Duff told. Well, he liked to visit. He used to come and get me in my team or my dad's team, whichever were available, every spring, and we'd repair all the roads between where the highway is now—the Kinmans and Colemans into the head of the road both on the heads of the Paliuse River. And we'd grade that road with a little old orse grader that you could pretty near pick up and carry, four horses on it. I drove em. And we'd fix a culvert here, and majrbe a ditch there, maybe take out a stump someplace but. But it generally took about ten, twelve days to repair that road-real good. And I don't remember what I got in wages. Three or four dollar dollars a day I think for me and the team, pretty good stake.

SS: Did the county pay for that?

GG: um hum. Yeah, I had to walk down to Princeton to get my check for that. A fellah by the name of Hawkins was treasurer of the road district for a few years and then I thin he died and a fellah by the name of Lanhart took it over then. But I know many times I've walked down from home to Princeton to get that check.

SS: Just where was the homeplace from Harvard?

GG: You know when you're driving out going to?

SS: Um hum.

GG: From the time you get to the store there at Harvard you go up quite a long grade there,just a slight low grade. When you get to the top of that you look straight east and my home, that's it. There's a white house and big barn, Jess down at the foot of the hill and my folks place was back on top of the hill. and his mother own that now. There's just two farms in that area now where there used to be five. Two guys have got the whole country in there.

SS: Was it a real community when you were growing up there?

GG: Yep, Harvard was a hub and a, pretty darn nice store, hotel, blacksmith shop, livery stable and an ice cream parlor. That was it. But. it was a community center and abou+ one or two nights a week there'd be something social or. . .They had a good Grange, dances, parties, literaries. And we had the church in the schoolhouse until, gee, I believe it must have been pretty near 1925 or before tey built a church up there. They were a religious community but they never had money enough to build a church, I guess. They always the schoolhouse. SAMs Is the schoolhouse where the community get togethers were mostly?

GG: Well.or the Grange Hall, yeah. No, that's the only two places there were: Grange and dances and parties, literary. There was always something they had a lot of good times there. No friction and they all enjoyed themselves. I don't think there was such a thing as jealousy or fiction in the entire neighborhood. For a Grange master they'd elect just about anybody, and always different ones, thes're always satisfied with the way it went. And the church and the Sunday school was about the same way. any arguments or anything.

SS: When they had parties would they mostly be like big feeds too?

GG: Oh yeah, sure, sure. Fourth of July and Lincoln's Birthday, Christmas. And anything goin' on like that, didn't just a few go. Evervbody in the neighborhood went. If there was good skating, and there gsed to be some tremendous skating. About six o'clock there'd be a hundred and fifty people skatinaaround there, coming from every direction. And believe me the. people that grew up around the Great Lakes or up in Minnesota, those states—you talk about skaters. They don't have 'em any better than the shows they have there in Spokane.

SS: Well, what would one be like? Everybody would skate till dark and then go in and have abig feed, tat kind of thing?

GG: Oh, just about anything you could imagine. They might go and play games for a while.

SS: Did they vave thosaparty Fames like "Skip to my Lou" and things like thatl

GG: Sure. They had to think of something and they thoughtof everything. Crazy games, all kinds of—anything. and at the heck, "Heavy, Heavy Hanps Tver Your Head." You'd see a bunch of people of all ages playing these games that were invented for kids, I guess. But darnit, they had fun. Sleigh rides in the wintertime."I tried to pet you to get Carl to tell you about a bunch of us sleigh ridin'one night. Did he tell you about having tve chicken ed at te end of it?

SS: You know, I can't remember now wat it was that he said. . . .

SS: . .another story about s+ealin' chickens. I don't know.

GG: Well, I don't know. We'd been for sleigh ridini The road used to make a big loop around tere below Harvard and come back by Kennet Butterfield, Jim Cochran's old place. No, there was a crowd of us in tve sled. There was probably a fourthorse team on it too. I don't remember. I think there was. And we took the sleigh bells off before we get to Jim's place and we slipped into his chickenhouse and took out half a dozen old ens.I guess and then went op and yelled out to him and he come to the door and we asked him if thought they'd be good enough for a cMcken feed. He said he thought it would. Well, we told him we had some chickens and he said," Well, put your goddamn horses in the barn and come en up." And we had a load of people in the house and it filled it up till it was just about packed. The rest of us went and took care of our horses and he took the chickens in and we put on a party there that lasted just about all night. And the next day at noon when the train come in—everybody went to the store at noon and post office for the mail. That was just in the wintertime. They'd have a big blowout there. Well, here come Jim walkin'in and he looked at Carl and any of the rest of em that was around there and he says,"I'll be goddamned if you guys di.dn't get the only white hen I had." He thought we had § on chickens someplace else and brought 'em and had a feed, but it was his.

SS: He took it though.

GG: oh, sure. He was good-natured. He didn't care. He had as much fun out of it as we did.

SS: Besides you got some chickens.

GG: Yeah. Yeah, the train came in at twelve o'clock and by golly everybody had somebody in the family in there at noon to get the paper and mail. And they'd Everyrown at the store at noon? have a big talkfest there for about an hour, all take off for home. And then Saturday quite a crowd in there. The wuole family would come in that day in the wintertime. Summertime the mail could pile up; they didn't give a darn about it. But in the wintertime they had to have that paper. They'd get the Palouse Republic , that was for sure. If they were real they got the Spokane-Review twice a week. We used to sit there around that stove and listen to them old fellows and my dad and of his neighbors. Straighten out the conditions all over the United States just as we straighten em out now.

SS: I wonder how much the problems looked the same ten as they do now or if they were just altogether different.

GG: Well, they were different. They didn't have thvolume they have now, but the similarity was there. They haven't changed a great deal. They revolved around the political, then just involved chicken feed to what they do now. And of course they had to solve all these pros and cons for everybody that was running for office. The price of wheat only thing is now, you see one or two guys at a time. They used to get in there, ten or fifteen of em. I don't see how they got so much to talk about out of them two little papers, but they did. And now we got the television, radio, papers. Don't seem to cover it any better. But I do think the things that they cover now are more disgusting, discouraginand disturbing than they were then. But they had the they were similar.

SS: What do you think thev thought about prohibition? That always seemed like such a dumb one to never affected that area up there very much. Their dances was seldom if ever anybody took a bottle to them. And there were, I think there were two stills in the area but their market was outside of the area. But they never got excited. There wasn't a drinkins crowd ur there.Most any of em. They might make some wine but they didn't take it very seriously. There were no serious drinkers up that was different, there. But you go down to Potlatch and that's changed.Tney were pretty serious about it down there. But anyway, there was two stills in that country up there. And I don't think there ever was any more. If there a been I'd a known about it. But ye gods around Potlatch and - Latah County there was one in almost every section. Once in a great while one of us kids would get ahold of a pop bottle And probably about fifteen or twenty of us would smell the cork and be drunker than hell but that's about all it amounted to. (Break). . . .community up there. It just a hundred percent.

SS: What about young people goin'together? Many marriages come out of the young people in the community, meetin'each other up there?

GG: Yeah, sure. Most 'em married right around the community there. A few of us cl£dn't. I wentlear down to Potlatch. Most of em net their girls clser to home. A lot of rivalry, some friction, a few fights, but not too many. No, there were many, many, many of them people around there. Emmett, Cochrans, Canfields. Oh heck, that's most of 'em. Ninety percent of'em would just marry right in the neighborhood.

SS: What was courting like in those days?

GG: Well I think it was just about the same as it is now o$Ly they either walked or drove team and buggy. Went to dances, shows, picnics, whatever. Church, mostly, that was important. Church was important too. That's where all the big girls went soothe big boys did too. I don't think that's about changed too much. The means of transportation, that's11 and the cost. It used to cost four bits to take a girl out but now they say it takes fifty dollars. I don't know.

SS: They don't shivaree any more.

GG: Well, that's too bad. Boy, they sure shivareed us. They damn near tore our house down. It was just an old| tarpaper shack but I thought they were gonna tear it down. I had a bucket of milk, I just got through milking And it was set on a drain board. I hadn't skimmed it yet. It was about three gallons of it. And a couple of guys got back behind that with a fencepost and banging on the wall. And they tipped that bucket of milk over on the kitchen floor. And Agnes and I had seen them coming; we weren't in the house. We were out with the shivaree crowd and they didn't know it. We were just a-shivareeing Glen and Agnes to beat the band but when they tipped our bucket of milk over on the floor, well the whole crowd tripped right in, waded through it. Yeah put in an evening, y'know, bavin'a lot of fun. But the house was a mess. Three gallons of milk goes quite a ways mixed with some mud. But they all met up down at the highway, I guess, I don't know, but anyway we seen 'em coming and we went outside and hid when they come up in the yard we just mixed right in with em. It was dark, they couldn't tell the difference. And we were just a-shivareein to beat the band. Well, that was a part of it.

SS: Yeah, it seems like a good custom to me.

GG: And then they had their showers for the kids. Oh, I don't know. They had fun. They worked hard. They were honest, conscientious. I didn't know anybody on the Palouse River that wasn't

SS: That speaks real highly of people.

GG: Yes, that's the way they were. We Palousers see each other now from Lewiston to Spokane or wherever we're scattered, about two or three times a year I believe one of'em tells me or tells my friends that are 'iith me,"Don't ever believe that fellah. He'd drink a drink out of that Palouse River and anybody that drinks out of the Palouse River'll never tell the truth again. And by golly if s man give you his word up there, I'll tell you, you could take it. If it was for a flollar or a thousand or whatever it was, you wouldn't need a note.

SS: I suppose I should be gettin' goin'.

1:00 - Outstanding western writers; The truth about the West

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Buffalo Bill Cody was a promoter and a phoney. DeVoto, Dobie and Fisher were outstanding western writers. Truth about the West in books. Need to talk to so many people to get the real story of the area.

11:00 - Potlatch Lumber Co. had to pay to use Mr. Kinman's land; Prune Joe, Bill Helmer's foreman

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Kinman forces Potlatch Lumber Co. to pay for using his land for a log landing. Prune Joe, Bill Helmer's foreman.

16:00 - Why the Potlatch mill was put in Potlatch instead of Moscow

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Why the Potlatch mill was put in Potlatch instead of Moscow.

19:00 - The Palouse River area before Potlatch; Riding hard for a doctor

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Palouse River country before Potlatch - it depended on Palouse, Wash. The old road to Palouse. Hard riding for a doctor.

22:00 - Father homesteaded at Hooper, WA; Sold the homestead for better land near Palouse, WA

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Father came here because the West was so "played up." He homesteaded at Hooper, Washington, selling the land so he could get better wheat land near Palouse.

28:00 - Skills a boy needed before he could be called a man

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: A boy became a man when he could handle a team. Other skills he learned.

30:00 - Youngsters did men's work

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Youngsters did men's work.

32:00 - Clearing land for wheat; Sales and failures of wheat after WWI

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The slowness of clearing land, and the importance of land cleared. Father believed in wheat, but Glen distrusted it. Auction sales and failures of big wheat farms after WWI.

39:00 - Father worked hard; Family had the necessities

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Father a hard worker. Family had the necessities, which were few. Boys earned clothes by driving team.

45:00 - Livestock on the farmland; Grinding flour

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Small amount of livestock on the farm. Self-sufficiency. Grinding flour in Palouse.

50:00 - Running around the country

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Play - running around and seeing the country, what city people pay money for now. Trapping. Running to Troy from Harvard.

55:00 - Becoming stranded while moving the household to Troy

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Moving the household to Troy - getting stranded by using a sled on melting snow.

58:00 - Fishing in the creeks; Potlatch Logging

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Fishing in the creeks. Potlatch logging.

60:00 - Miners on the Palouse River; the Mizpah Mines

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Visiting with the miners on the Palouse River. Their independence, and the kind of people they were. History of the mining country. The Gold Bug and Mizpah Mines.

77:00 - The Duff-Wagner feud

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Duff-Wagner feud.

81:00 - Repairing the Palouse River road

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Repairing the Palouse River road.

83:00 - The Family farm near Harvard; Community social life

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Site of the family farm near Harvard. Community social life - get togethers for parties and skating.

90:00 - Having a chicken feed using stolen chicken

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Having a chicken feed with the man they'd stolen the chickens from.

94:00 - Meeting at the store for mail and talk at noon

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Meeting at the store for mail and talk at noon. Discussing the world's problems.

98:00 - Not much drinking the Harvard area

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Drinking not very strong in Harvard area at dances - two stills, fewer than other places in the county.

101:00 - Marriages in the area; Glen's shivaree

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Courting - many marriages in the area. Glen's shivaree.

107:00 - Quality of the Palousers

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Quality of the Palousers.


Collections A-Z