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This interview with Glen and Agnes Gilder was recorded at their home near SpringValley on July 29, 1975. Interviewer Sam Schrager, Moscow, Idaho.
GLEN GILDER: We were around there, you couldn't help but know him. Laird andHumiston.
SAM SCHRAGER: Do you remember Laird as being sort of an aristocratic kind of aman?
GG: Oh, I think he walked with his shoulders back, alright, but I've seenmen with less that had more swelled head. (Chuckles) He wasn't over bearing or anything. He knew you. No matter where he met you. No mat ter how you were dressed. Then a little bit later they had another one, Irwin. Same way. And O'Connell and some of them birds, they wanted you to know that they were boss. Big shot. A lot of them. There's been a string of them, since those two or three. Laird and Irwin. Irwin didn't stay too long. And O'Connell came and he stayed about ten or twelve years. Then there's been a string of 'em since, I don t know who they are. I liked Irwin the best of all of 'em.
SS: What was he like? What made him—?
GG: Friendly. Just a common old lumberjack, in that big position. But itdidn't go to his head. It's not uncommon and it never has been for a man to get up with a little position to get swelled up about it. Some of 'em were and some of 'em weren't.
SS: I've heard that a number of those people on Nob Hill were not all as welloff, maybe, as they would want people to think.
GG: There was Laird and Humiston and Sagerson. And then around on the sidewas Erick Matson and George Anderson. And Matson was assistant superin tendent, and George Anderson was the banker and Howard Hanson lived up there, he worked in the bank. Oh, it was kinda supposed to be upper crust, nice fellows up there, and pretty good people. I got awful well acquainted with them, because we had a dairy over there and I called at them houses day after day after day with their milk. I got to know 'em real well.
SS: I wondered if they'd have much to do with the ordinary people.
GG: They kinda separated, yeah, they did. They seldom went to the publicdances. the gym. Once in a while there'd be some of em in there, but not too many. They kinda had their own clique and they stayed in that clique. You're talking about Nob Hill.
AGNES GILDER: Snob Hill?
SS: Snob Hill! (Chuckles) Is that what they used to call it?
GG: Oh, they called it everything!! (Laughter) Well, I couldn't see anythingdifferent the people lived on that hill and the people that lived on the other one across the road.
AG: Oh, a few of 'em mixed, not many.
GG: That Shelton Landers outfit, they lived right back of the church andthey were right in between.
AG: You better not tell that one, because—
SS: Oh, that's okay, sounds good.
AG: No, no, you don't need to tell that. He is still around isn't he?
GG: Shelt? No he's dead. But anyway, I think he was the biggest snob in thewhole damn town, ismy opinion of him!
SS: What was he like?
GG: He was a master mechanic. And he got out of school, and just because hewas Shelton Landers, why, Laird put him right in (as) top of the machine shop.
AG: Was he some relation to Laird?
GG: I don't think so.
SS: What was it? Just his manner? jUst his bearing?
GG: I think so. I was sent into the shop over there with a job to be doneat the forge, and Ole was the head blacksmith and he's a very close friend of mine. So Shelt come walking in; I was standing there by the forge and Ole was working and we were talking and Shelt told me that the only people allowed in here were to be working, and turned around and walked away. I had been sent in there by one of the other bosses, so the thing for me to do was to stay there and I did. Pretty soon he come back. "I told you, that the people that are in here are supposed to be working." "I don't know whether I'm working or not, but Brock sent me over here with a job to be done, and I expect Id pro bably get it done." And he turned around and walked away again. That was the last I seen of him, but the only thought he had, he didn't give a damn whether I was there or not, he wanted to throw his voice. And I let him throw it. (Chuckles) But, we were close to the same age, we knew each other we were going to school, and before we were mar ried, around at dances and things. But we never cliqued.
SS: So, it really went to his head, when he got a little power..
GG: Uh-huh. Well, when he went to Lewiston from over there, he went down torun the machine shop in Lewiston, and this Johnny Johnson that owned this place up here where where Milton Baird is now, or has, was under Shelt. And pretty soon he came up the line and went over Shelt, and I knew it and one day I asked Johnny, "How do you get along with Shelt, Johnny?" "Real good." He said, "There's nobody could get along with the S.O.B.." (Chuckles)
SS: He probably didn't have any friends.
GG: Oh, I think he had a lot of friends, that'd scratch his elbow just forthe position he held, and assumed that he held. I think there was a lot of that going on. More of that went on in Potlatch than anyplace I ever
SS: What were you going to say?
GG: Well, think I've said too much already! (Chuckles)
SS: No. Got any matches?
AG: Why don't you put that thing off?
GG: Is that damn thing on? (Laughter)
GG: I think so. Potlatch was just a crosscut of all these little industrialtowns at that time. They had to have— they thought they had to have a separation in society. And that's the way it is. It's the laboring man and the office on up. But you know, I had a funny way of judging that proposition. I was selling milk in there and I sold a lot on Nob Hill and on all the rest of the hills. Those fellows in the higher brackets were always employed. They always had money and they were good pay. Well, over on the other hill, they weren't always employed, they'd be laid off periodically for one reason and another, and a week after they were laid off they were broke. But even people up on Nob Hill they wouldn't have to be laid off, they would stall me off for anything from a few days to a month on that milk bill, that was only from three to six dollars a month.
AG: Twenty-five cents a quart, wasn't it?
GG: No, twelve and a half.
AG: Eight cents a quart.
SS: Huh. That wouldn't add up to too much.
GG: No. No. You take a quart or two — like Eric Matson had quite a family,I think he took three quarts. But it would amaze you, the people up there in that higher bracket, for no reason at all you could see, they have to stall you off for ten, fifteen, twenty days to make the payment. Well, I had people over on the other hill, the common laboring class, and I know three or four of them that were laid off clear through that Depression and never missed a doggone payment. So I figured the best men were over on that hill, in my estimation. The most capable men were on the other hill. Carl Hague never missed a payment— and how many children did they have? Eight?
AG: I don't remember.
GG: There quite a bunch of 'em.
SS: These Nob Hill people still had jobs with Potlatch during that time?
GG: The Nob Hill bunch were yes. They were steady employed because theywere railroad— Gamble and his crew, Marshing and Elsie, and all those people they were employed every doggone day, while the mill crew— see the mill shut down and most of 'em were just in a desperate fix in a pnsin bunch, few days. But there was quite a few of 'em,that weren't ever hurt too bad.
SS: Doesn't seem like a lot of those people, from what you're saying, reallygot ahead very much by the time they're done with what they had to spend their wages on. Some of them just got by for years. Well, most of 'em, that's true. But this Ole Ngaard, he told me this story several times— He came over from the old country and he landed in Potlatch practically broke. I think he had less than five dollars. So he worked a week or two and made a draw and he bought an old second hand cookstove and rented a house and enough dishes and stuff to— so he could cook his own meals and bached. And he waited then until he got another payday and he bought some more blankets that he needed and some more dishes that he needed and got his bills all squared away, but he didn't have a bed to sleep on. He didn't have a table nor a chair in He had some bedding but he slept on the floor. And he said, "I just saved every cent I could, and after a while," he said, "I had enough money saved up to send to the old country for my wife and kids." And, he says, "They came, and I had to get a few more dishes and a little more bedding," he said, "but, we were two months before we had money enough to get tables and chairs and bedsteads!" They slept on the floor- andiate on boxes, just bached in that company house. And when Ole wound up he was wealthy. He owned one of the nicest places between Palouse and Potlatch. Just a hell of a good man. He didn't have anything else, just what he saved out of his wages until he bought the place. And then after he got it paid for, then he had a very good income from his place. I think he told me, the last time I talked to him, he told me it took him twenty-eight years to pay for that place. "But," he says, by gosh, all paid for.
SS: Do you think— did he have a better job?
GG: He was a blacksmith. A forge blacksmith. And he is absolutely an artist. Anything you could throw in front of him, if there was a broken iron in that mill, he could fix it. And that's a fact. They had artists in those days— they had a man that used to fix them belts, the belts were all leather, and they were twelve feet wide down to an inch and a half. Lee Larimore was a belt man and if they'd break a belt he had another one he'd slip on and then he had a bunch of adjustable wheels that he'd put just the width that he wanted 'em, for most belts, but not all of 'em. And then he'd get in there with a plane and he'd plane that leather down and he d insert a patch of that leather there with glue and this and that and you couldn't hardly tell where it was patched. He was just that good. You know that big belt that run that whole sawmill, eight or ten or twelve feet wide, I don't remember, they were wide and they broke that one day and he didn't have any place to splice it excepting right on the wheel. He made a couple of clamps and put on there and bolted 'em together, pulled that belt back to where he wanted it, and then he started in and he spliced that belt, and so help me, you couldn't hardly tell where he'd been working on it! Just that smooth. He'd leave one piece of leather a little bit thick, next one under it he'd thin it down just a certain amount, and then he'd makeAkind of a wedge. There was three or four plies and no two plies had the joint in the same place; they'd be about that far apart. (Indicates width with hands). And he'd spliced that belt one evening when Iwas on shift, on the afternoon shift, and I spent half of my shift watching him.
SS: Did guys like him and the blacksmiths, who were really highly skilledin their field, did they get much better pay than the others?
GG: I think so. I think they did. But it'd just be peanuts to what theywould get today. And those skills don't exist. You couldn't find a man in the State of Idaho could splice a belt, I'll bet you!! I don't think you could find a man in the State of Idaho could make a tool as quick and it would stand up as good as old Ole could. Ed Compton, and Stover Douglas and Mike Murphy over there at Millwrights They had a big job on their hands, that's a big mill,but they kept her running. If they had to work all night, they'd work, but they got her. Malcolm Greer was one of the crew. Ed Compton, Stover Douglas, Mike Murphy, Guy Puckett— if there's any more've forgotten. By darn if she broke down, they might miss their supper and breakfast, but they'd get her together! They grew up in sawmills and they grew up under men that had more adverse conditions in a sawmill than they had, and they really knew their business. They came West with the company and died right there on the job, you know, in town anyway.
SS: Were they a set crew? The maintenance crew? And that was their job.
SS: Was most of that work usually done at night?
GG: Yes. Well, if they had to shut a machine down and there was room towork around it, then they could do it and the rest of the mill running, but if a machine couldn't be worked on while the mill was running, if it wasn't something that shut the saws and the edger and so forth down,why they just keep right on going and then when the whistle blew these guys'd pitch into it. You know you hear men whine and grumble about their jobs now being such a headache and such a hard job and all this and that. I've known them men to be called out at midnight; something'd break and it might be thirty below zero. They didn't kick, they come down there just as good natured as if they . going to a party; go to work, just fine. You never hear one of 'em kick.
SS: I sort of wonder about these hours and the wages in those days— ArtSundberg was telling me it was a ten hour day—
SS: No overtime.
SS: And you could expect on a lot of jobs, fairly often, to work an extratwo and a half hours in the mill.
GG: That's right. For some reason, always needed, and you were expected todo it. No excuse. Take us guys that were on shift, and somebody on one side or the other of us would be sick or couldn't come to work, or didn't come to work, if you were on the shift and he was next, no quest ions asked, you stay right there the next eight hours. Sixteen hours straight through. And you were lucky your wife or somebody brought your lunch, that was fine, but if they didn't, that was fine, too. No body give a damn. That seems unbelievable, but it's a fact.
SS: You guys didn't think twice about it yourself. Did you feel that itwas pretty tough then, or did it just seem the way things ought to be done.
GG: No. It was just something — what had to be done, and it just fell yourluck to do it, so, do it and keep quiet about it. Just got paid at the same rate per hour for sixteen hours, as if you had just put in eight hours. No difference. You just got sixteen hours. Oh, we liked that same as they like overtime now. In a way, we liked it financially, but it was— lots of them jobs were darn hard work, and you were pretty damn tired when night come, after sixteen hours of it.
SS: What were you doing in the mill when you started working there?
GG: Firing the boilers.
SS: When was it?
GG: 1928. Started the mill. I fired for two or three years, and then gotin a fight and got promoted.
SS: Yeah, you told me about that. (Chuckles) That was a good story.Glen what was the story you told me about the doctor telling you that you were going to stay there? What was that?
GG: Oh, I told him I— he asked me what I was doing and I told him I workedin the mill. He figure if you ever started to work in the mill you'd never leave it. And most of 'em didn't, either.
SS: What do you think that caused so much brownnosing in a place like Potlatch?
GG: Well, actually it wasn't any worse at Potlatch than it was any placeelse. There's a class of people even today that'll do that. Try to pro mote themselves, if they have to demote somebody else, that's all right. But I heard a preacher say one time that that's a sin and I wouldn't be surprised that maybe it is. I don't know. You take a hundred men in a crew and you're just going to find it then or now or fifty years before or fifty years after. They never gain anything by it, never. Oh, boys like Art can tell you that sawmill story better than I could, because I didn't stay there— ten years— 'cause my wings weren't clipped. Art spent his life there, and I don't blame him. Bryberrys ther— and Comptons other and Tom Donohue's another and just go on and on. They spent their life there. I don't think they did wrong.
(End of Side A)
SS: I was thinking about the other day-just a cog in those wheels. There'sso many hundreds of people involved in getting out these products. And other people are profiting quite a bit from it, the stockholders, the shareholders. The difference between that and the small farmer, who was the kind of guy that broke the frontier and pioneered the country— they seem like such a different way of life to me. Like the old way that made the West and then this new way which sort of dominates Amer ica— it seems like a real big difference when I think about it and the kind of way the whole business is set up. You're a farmer, you're just doing it for yourself; one-man operation, and if you're working for the mill you're part of a big corporation.
GG: You are a cog. Well, there is, there always has been and always willbe people that can fit in and be a crew and under a boss and they're satisfied there. And it isn't any reflection on their judgement or any thing; it's what they like to do. Now they don't have any responsibility excepting just this little niche that they're in. And then you find guys like myself that don't like to work for somebody else, and don't like to be told what to do. And if I earn a dollar, I don't want to split it seventy to thirty, or ninety to ten. That's the reason fellows like me get away from it, and that's the reason that the other guys that are satisfied, they stay there. Now chances are good that they had a darn sight easier life, less worry and less bother, or less worry and less concern than I had, because I had to fight my way through it, moneywise, get the work done, get equipment to do the work with and all those things They didn't have that worry. They didn't want it. But I did. I wanted to fight my own, and that's the reason that I got away from it. Those guys are retired, they got problems all solved, a little savings and pretty good pension, and they're fine, they're just okay. And I'm just in the same boat, that's all. After it's all wound up, I'm just the same boat. I'm coasting along fine, doing alright. That's what I worked forwhat I had planned and I made it.
SS: Course the thing that I think goes along with that, which I think wouldbe tough, I wonder how people would a place like Potlatch where you got all the brass up on Nob Hill— There's such a hierarchy, or such a system, you got your place and then these other guys are above you and then Laird sits there on top of the whole heap and you have to live with it. It seemed very set up in a pattern that way. Well, the guy who works for himself isn't
GG: Well, he's not in that hierarchy, but at the same time, don't think hedon't have problems. But, those guys had a good life? and they're doing fine now. And, after all, what else is there?
SS: I was going to ask you about when you started working here, when you werea kid. What work did you do, when you started working out?
GG: Anything I could get. Generally I could get a job driving somebody'shorses. Doing something. That come just as natural to me as breathing. And I generally followed that. Then when I went into the mill, I worked around the boilers for a few years. Fired and tended water and watched what was going on, and when I left there, why then I went out running a engine in a small mill. And I run that until steam went out of style, and then that was it. Then I learned to edge and finished out a few years farming and sawmilling— sawmill nights— or sawmill daytimes and farm nights.
SS: Farm nights?
GG: Yeah. And Sundays. For quite a few years I and the boys did all thework here on the place, kept it right up to snuff.
SS: With a headlight on the horseteam?
GG: No. No, didn't seem like we had to. We didn't need a headlight untilwe got a tractor. We'd always keep right up . Than after we got a trac tor— 'course we had more land by that time and more to do. I used to figure:come home Friday night and run til eleven or twelve o'clock with the tractor, then come in and sleep and go back out probably eight o'clock and run til eleven or twelve again. Then on Sunday—then I was late up, I'd figure on getting to work about eight or nine and I'd quit at six or someplace along there, so I wouldn't be too groggy on Monday morning. Made it alright. When I got through and retired Social Security sent me a list of every penny I'd made all my life, or it was supposed to be, but it was what I'd made since they'd passed the Social Security law. bo L at that, and then one day I was just studying around here and adding up the value of the place and the value of the equipment on it and stock on it, and added it all up and according to Social Security why, I'd never spent a cent in my life!! It was just about over and above what they knew about it— than I had made. So, I guess they think I'm pretty much of a tightwad!! (Chuckles)
SS: I guess your work was yielding some pretty good dividends, that younever collected.
GG: Yeah, I think that probably it. No, I'd have to plow back, I did plowback, if we'd get a few dollars we'd make some improvements; maybe clear some land or get some stock or maybe this or that, those things. But you had to plow everything that you made— I plowed back everything above our living and taxes and plow it back into the place. You couldn't see where you were making a doggone bit of headway. You'd think you were going behind, but I don't believe I was.
SS: Do you think there's a real difference— like talking about some of thesepeople at Potlatch couldn't get ahead it seems, others seemed to save it up and keep saving it and saving it. Even today, when I think about— some people that make a lot of money never have any, you know? Never manage to hold on to any. Is it something to do with thrift that some people can just get what they need and others needs are so much greater?
GG: Well, what do they call that? Keeping up with the Jonses? That was everyplace, they live at the very extreme of their means and sometimes, most of the time, beyond it. While there was others that tried to make a little headway every day. And that'd be guys that after the mill was down for six months or a year could still pay their bills. Yeah, there was all types of humanity in Potlatch and Palouse and every place else around here.
GG: It is. Cars big house, and they're either laid off or have tostop working have nothing at all.
GG: But it didn't only happen in Potlatch, it happened every place. WhenBoeing shut down in Seattle over there— we know several instances,people had Nob Hill jobs, they were right up at the top, and they shut that plant down and it wasn't only a matter of days til they were desparate. Well, it's true today in Detroit, too. They hatfc nothing at all. You read about or see on TV how some of 'em have gone to Florida.
SS: What about the early days, like when you were a kid and you had a familyfarm, your father did, — did he see in the future that he'd be able to get out at daylight— you know, have the place paid off and everything going well? Could he really see the light at the end of the tunnel, or was he just holding on and trying to get by?
GG: No, most of 'em thought, most of 'em figured, that light was going toshow up there pretty close ahead of 'em. Some of 'em took a long time; some of 'em didn't make it. But that was the idea, that it's gonna be okay, if I can just get over the hump. Economic conditions would break some of 'em and then— well, economic conditions would just break 'em. I don't know where mismanagement ever broke any of 'em. But I do know a lot of 'em where the price cycle would bust 'em.
SS: Do you think most of the neighbors and people around there were— thefarmers were real careful about saving and trying to get ahead?
GG: You bet your life they were. They had to be. They didn't, as a rule,have very big savings. They didn't have very much money in the bank, but they did try to know that there's going to be plenty of food and everything that they need to live has got to be there where they can put their finger on it as they need it. It was a must! And they did it. Garden, stock, milk, cream, butter, eggs, chickens, flour all came in in the scheme of things and were planned from year to year and worked out as a schedule. They had to.
SS: What about the kids, like you, start working out? Did you get to keepthe money that you made when you worked out, or did it go to the family?
GG: They never asked me to give 'em a dime butif they needed anything; itthere was some bill coming up that was going to be hard to pay, why, mon ey didn't mean anything to us: "Here Dad." We all did that. Everybody did. We'd buy our own clothes, the first thing. All our school clothes, all the clothes we'd need for the whole school year. And after that if we had a dollar or two a week, that's all we needed. A dollar a week was plenty. It was not uncommon for the boys to help Dad, all over the neighborhood, place. Well, they were part of the machine just the same as any other member of the family. They considered themselves that way and the rest of the family considered it that way. Frugal. There was no trying to splurge or put on a big front, you just put on the front that you had. All through that farming country there or here or anyplace else, everybody was on the same plane, there was no distinction.
SS: What do you mean? Everybody was more or less in about the same well off?Or even if people weren't the same, it didn't matter?
GG: Well, there was a difference in the length of time that they'd been operating or how much success they'd had, there would have to be that. But success didn't matter, they were all farmers, they were all neighbors and they were all grangers and they all went to the dance— there were no lines drawn between 'em. There were no rich farmers or poor ones. They were all the same.
SS: Do you think there was competition among the farmers? Or was it all juststrictly cooperative? I mean, were they competing with each other in fact at all?
GG: No. No.
SS: Nothing had to be done at the cost of the other guy?
GG: No. Because your line fence, on both sides of your house was where yourjurisdiction stopped, what you should do. And your neighbor was the same way. He could do just as he pleased, make any effort he wanted to and the whole neighborhood'd help him if he needed it. No, there wasn't no competition. No, not in that way.
SS: Was there competition ? I imagine everybody'd want to get ahead asmuch as he could, I mean, get as well off as he could. But that wasn't a matter of competing.
GG: No, there no competition. No. It was up to you to pull your self.Nobody tried to discourage you or hold you back. They were a darned sight more apt to go and help you. No, there was no competition between the farmers, because they sold their produce on the common market, to the stockyards and the warehouses. No, there was nothing to compete for.
GG: No. A man knew better than to make it at the expense of another person,because he had to live in that neighborhood and he knew what the neigh borhood's opinion was gonna be if he didn't behave himself. fc$: I think probably the basic thing that they had was the land, gave 'em a degree of security. And they didn't feel that they had to cheat or lie or steal because they simply had the security of their own property. And that gave them a certain dignity.
GG: No, if a man would lie or steal for the first sixty years of my life,by golly, he was just automatically kind of put down. He was kind of ostracized against a little bit. He didn't have the confidence of the whole neighborhood, that's what I mean. But they didn't— they wouldn't lie to you. Dammit, a man's word was his bond, and that's all the bond he had.
SS: Ithink it must have than today.
GG: Well, I'm sure of it. If a man's crooked, the whole neighborhood knewit and treated him as such. And sometimes it would go to the whole ex tent where it was the whole county. If your word was no good people knew that they didn't have much in that man to invest in Confidence was the only thing that you had to deal on. Good, reliable, stable confidence was the biggest thing you could have.
SS: Do you think it's changed a lot?
GG: Sure has.
SS: What would be the reason, would it be because they're not the same inthe community any more?
GG: Well, the community life has changed and the political aspect has changed.The whole thing, I think, has changed from the bottom to the top; from one end of this nation to the other. Systems have changed. Some ways they're better and some ways I can't say that they are better.
SS: Do you think there was more democracy?
GG: Oh, yeah, there certainly was. You know we reached the peak of somethingat the beginning of World War II and we went over that peak and I kind a think that democracy, morals, honesty and integrity have all depreciat ed from that point down. That might just be my crazy idea but I think it.
SS: Do you have an idea why?
GG: No. No, I can't pinpoint it. No.
SS: What's funny about it to me is that in the early days, I think, peopletried to get— advance themselves and profit was important, you know making something out of your work. But now, profit seems more important than it used to. Material things seem even more important than they used to to people. And it's funny about it because everybody's much better off, too, than they used to be. There seems to be almost more devotion to those material things, than there used to be.
GG: Well, I think there is in a way. I don't know just how to get out acomparison there, but, you know, when we were young— if we made three dollars a day we were making good money. And we had all the thing that we needed. And now, if you're not making thirty dollars a day, you don't have all the things you need or want. Now there's a difference there, too. There's a hell of a lot of difference between need and want. Now there's two kinds of wants, too. Wanting something that's necessary and wanting— well, pick off the top of the rainbow. (Chuckles) It's a basic one, I mean. You know until 1930 a new family'd move into the neighborhood and the neighbors'd watch 'em, closely. And if they thought they needed help— I've known 'em to just make the great big neighborhood party up at those people's places and everybody'd take 'em a present. Maybe a sack of flour, or maybe a sack of spuds, or maybe a ham, or a strip of bacon or a quilt the old lady'd made. And, God, I can just tell you all kinds of parties that they had of that kind. If a house burned down, inside of a week they had a new one. And the carpentry didn't cost 'em a penny!! (Chuckles) One time there at Harvard, Elmer Roberts ' house burned down, I don't know who owns it now.
It used to be Chase then Roberts and then Butthat house burned down and they took up a collection to buy windows and nails and hinges. A neighborhood collection and they sent somebody to Potlatch to get that the next day. They sent everybody that could spare a dollar or two or had a few logs— they'd go out and cut these logs— and everybody's pitch in. They had a team, maybe that could only haul three or four logs, or maybe.haul seven or eight, but they took 'em to the mill and the miller didn't charge 'em a cent to saw that up into lumber. And as soon as it was sawed into lumber the farmers were right there to it back. And from the tree to that house that Robert's house is still standing up there and that lumber wasn't any of it a week old, and it was lived in. (Chuckles) They just fixed him up good! And it wasn't only there, it was up at Ray Smith's,Aover at Matt Barrigers.
SS: Did the men come and build the house up for 'em?
GG: They not only built the house, they logged the logs and sawed them into lumber and furnished the hinges, nails and window glass. And it didn't cost anybody only a dollar or two, and a day or two's work.
SS: And the family didn't feel like it was charity?
GG: It wasn't!! It wasn't, it was an obligation.
SS: Do you think that the community people thought about did democracyhave any particular meaning to people in those days?
GG: Naw. Did it?
AG: Yes, more than it does now. I think people were more patriotic.
GG: Well, that's true. How many times do you see a Fourth of July party now?
AG: We used to always have one. I've heard about it, but I've never been to one.
AG: Or have a Fourth of July p-: ionic—
GG: Well, I misinterpreted that different than you did. Democracy, to me,is a level of living and thought. It wasn't going to a celebration or having a big time. But if they did go to a celebration or party; democ racy, yes, they were all one level.
SS: Well, I meant living in thought to what you say, because it seems to methat it was very democratic in that way. If everybody was important— If each person mattered— if a family mattered that much, it sounds pretty democratic. Maybe they didn't talk about democracy the way peo ple do today. But maybe it meant more.
GG: It meant more, but it never was mentioned in that way. Oh, I don't know,(sigh) Democratic, yes. People were democratic one hundred percent. Hfi: I think people think more about it now because they're to the government more.
AG: Well, I think after Watergate people thought about it more, because theywere so jolted by what could have been done there, or what they could have done without our knowing it, and did do without our knowing it, that I think it scared 'em. When the people saw how bizzare Watergate is, the people involved in it it shocked 'em, how close we came to having a dictator. Somebody up there where I work said that he thought that if Nixon hadn't been kicked out or impeached, gotten out of the White House, that he would have been tor And that's really not too far off. We haven't had an elected one since and who knows if we will again. If Ford gets back in there—
SS: I wanted to ask you about that family that was different because theMother was very odd. You know you were telling me something about that family? Remember that the people in it didn't have anything to do with the other folks. I forget the name.
GG: Oh, Shallops?
SS: Yeah. What was the deal on them? They really were sort of cut off fromthe rest of the community because they kept so much to themselves?
GG: Well, they just isolated themselves. I think they felt that they were—how would you say it? They felt that because she was radically insane that it kind of put a stigma on 'em, or something. But, anyway, they never— one girl married— no two girls married but the boys, none of 'em did. And they just got their cabin back there and lived there. They tended to their own business strictly. If somebody needed help— my dad used to send me over there numerous times and want Bill or Charlie or some of 'em to come over and help him a day or two, come wil lingly. But there was this much that they would do— they brought their own lunch, they didn't go to the house, they didn't go in the house and when quitting time come they just took off over the hill, and that was all there was to it. But, actually, they were darn good people. Real good. Honest as the day is long.
AG: You know, I never heard the end of it from your mother of those people.They were supposed to look into windows and they were supposed to do this and do that.
AG: I lived there from, what?— '34 to almost 1940 and I never saw a thingof them or never heard a thing and they never bothered in any way.
GG: Never, in any way. Never.
AG: If they were bothering her it was because they—
GG: They never bothered her.
AG: I know they didn't, but she thought they did. I don't know.
GG: No. They tended to their own business.
SS: They sound so shy though. The men in the family that they just didn'tsocialize.
AG: Maybe at some time or other they did try, and maybe they thought peoplewere looking at 'em.
GG: I Kwas all in their own mind. I don't think the neighborhood ever lookeddown on 'em.
AG: Somebody was telling after we moved away from there that they brought 'emout to a nursing home or something, that they got along with them fine and they didn't see any reason for being worried about 'em or anything else, and neither did we.
GG: Well, they did land each one of 'em— John, Charlie and Bill, landedin the hospital at different times, just once. John never shaved, and he never trimmed his beard. He was shaggy. Well, he landed in the hos pital up here, sick. And the nurses took him over, you know. And they lionized him. When they left him out of there he had the neatest Van dyke you ever seen, and they had him all dressed up in a real nice suit; all clean clothes, and John come out of there strutting just the same as anybody else would. (Chuckles) He went back home but he only lasted two or three months and he passed away. Bill always wore a mustou che, he always kept it neatly trimmed, and Charlie was always smooth shaven. And Ed kind of— sometimes he'd have a beard and sometimes he was smooth shaven, and then the next time maybe he'd have a mustflt che. He just kinda kidded himself along with it. They were good workers, all of 'em. They made a living trapping.
AG: Well, they're quite a bit like I am, back there in the woods and didn'tsee any reason to get out. (Chuckles)
SS: Well, somebody said that if you did get to talking with one of the fellows that he really wanted to talk, that he had quite a bit to say. Do you remember that?
GG: That's right. Yes. Sociable.
AG: We used to send the papers up there.
GG: Oh, they loved to get newspapers or magazines.
AG: Didn't get very many ourselves.
SS: But the mother lived there for many years and the kids took care of her?
GG: Oh, yes. Yes, they took very good care of her. Yeah, they did alright.Wonderful job. Now, they just slap 'em in an asylum and that's the end the end of it!!
SS: In those days that was fairly common that if a person was crazy thatthey just and/go live with the family.
GG: Yeah. They took care of their own, they didn't ask help, unless— Onecase up there where the fellow was— well, he was dangerous. He'd hit anybody or anything like that, he was dangerous. Well, he went right now!! To Orofino and he stayed there, or three or four months. Oh, he died in three or four months. I think it was some kind of a brain tumor, possibly. But anyway he was dangerous. But they had to take him some place, they had to do something with him. So that's what they did. But, as a rule,.just rode it out with 'em; took care of 'em.
SS: I was going to ask you about the story of that fellow that disappeared.Was that Harris?
GG: Yes, uh-huh. Well, he just disappeared. The family didn't know, nobodyknew. He just walked out. And the whole county turned out in force, I'll bet you there was seven or eight hundred people walked every inch of that country back in there for days, and they couldn't find a trace of him. We were up to Harrison and she ran into his sister, years and years later, and he had been home— he'd been in touch with 'em, but it had only been the last year or two that he got in touch with his family. And then he passed away and that was the end of that.
AG: He must have thought he was about ready to—
SS: He must have thought he was about ready to die?
AG: I didn't think so, I don't know. He just figured, I guess, that everybody had forgotten or forgiven him or something. I don't know.
GG: Oh, he was heavy in debt, I think.
AG: You way back when?
GG: Don't you think that was ?
AG: yes, he was. His family tried to buy all the land in the country, uparound that Gold Hill, and they just got in over their heads and couldn't pay it. It must have been '23. Oh, about '21, '22 they had real high prices on wheat, and then it went down and they had, not a depression, a recession, I ' you'd call it, and he was about to lose his place and so I guess he thought there wasn't any use; he got out. Hit the old folks kind of hard, because they lost their place and lost him and ev erything all at once. They didn't have any idea, of course, what he had done, they thought he died.
SS: Oh, he was working with his family?
AG: Yeah, uh-huh. Yeah, there was two boys— his next younger brother andof his folksall working— instead of renting very much, why, they bought; and they bought and bought. I was going to school with the two girls, we were in the same class. And someone got talking about how much land b00$h+ they got and they started adding up, "We got this place andthis place and that, and even after that they bought more. They contracted for seven or eight hundred acres,something like that, I don't know how much, but around that. A lot, anyway, even for this country. Was he supposed to have gone off on a hunt or something in the hills? Was that the idea?
They were quite religious, I don't know what denomination or anythinglike that, but they were quite religious, the whole bunch of the kids. Well, he didn't go to church that day, but took off for a walk, I don't know whether he had a dog along or not. Anyway, he started walking and got on the train, I guess , around between Garfield and
GG: Uh-huh. Belmont.And somebody saw him, but they didn't know for sure that they saw him, they thought it was him, but they weren't sure. Until he showed up again, why nobody knew— his sister said he'd been in almost every state in the union, on the continent here, I don't know whether he went to Alaska or not or Hawaii, Well, they must have been pretty sure he was lost and not run away if they started a big search for him.
They certainly did search. No, they were positive that something hadhappened to him; that he had got lost back in the woods, got hurt— No there was nobody ever dreamed that he just walked out. They had little mining holes and they thought maybe he had stumbled in to one of those and just, you know, and nobne could see him.
SS: How long did they search for him?
GG: By golly, it went on alternately, off and on, for a whole year. Butthis realbig search went on for a week or ten days. People in there by the hundreds.
AG: It was just before harvest?
GG: It was in harvest.Anyway, they had quite a number of crews together that the whole crew went. We shut down our machine and the whole crew went. Wonder if he had amnesia or something? No. He told the family; he just wanted to get away from there and he went! Well, he could see a darn dark time acoming. He was gonna lose everything he had and he just didn't have the guts to take it. Was he planning to get married at that time?
SS: He walked out on her, too?
AG: I don t know whether he had 4 of knowing what happened back hereorback there in Potlatch, but he sure never let anybody know until , oh, it must have been twenty years or more— it must have been more than that,
AG: It happened in, let's see, '22 or '23, somewhere along in there.And he never got in touch with his folks until in the last five years or such a matter.
AG: He knew w here they'd been buried. Anyway, I guess they went back toOregon. They had come from, oh, there's a/town named after the family, Harrisburg— whether the old fokks were buried there or around Roseburg, I don't know which it is, but anyway, he went back and looked up the graves, and while he was there some of the family was there too and he asked and they knew who he was then .
SS: He actually spoke to the family members to find out?
AG: I guess so. Either a family member or somebody that knew the family.
SS: So it sounds like it was, maybe, a matter of them finding out than himtelling them?
AG: Well, it might have been. But I kind of took it that he was ready to showup.
SS: Did you know the girl he was engaged to?
GG: Oh, yeah.
AG: Yeah. I sat right behind her in school
SS: Do you remember how she felt after he was lost?
AG: Well, no. I wasn't anywhere— She was teaching, I think. I think shewas teaching.
GG: She'd taught a year or two.
AG: Where was she teaching at that time?
GG: I don't remember, but it was around the neighborhood.
AG: She taught up there at—
SS: Cedar Creek?
GG: Timber Flat?
AG: No. Up there by Johnson's.
GG: Oh, That's right.
AG: That's where she started to teach.
GG: That's right.
AG: I didn't see her after.
SS: So you didn't know what effect that had on her?
AG: Oh, I imagine it was quite a shock because they were intending to getmarried, I'm sure of that.
SS: Did you know how the family felt about this guy, all these years laterwhen he showed up? Did they say they were glad to see him, or wished they'd never heard about him!!
GG: Oh, they were glad to see him.
AG: I don't know, I -f really how she felt when I talked to her.Part of the family had died, and of course the old folks had died, sisters had died, two of 'em, I think.
GG: One or both brothers.
AG: Yeah. I think the oldest—
AG: Yes, is still alive.
GG: I don't know.
AG: I don't either. I never thought to ask her. He lived a long time afterthat. She didn't seem very emotional about it. She was the oldest girl that I talked to.
GG: Well, they were just a bunch of
AG: It's been almost fifty years, so how would you feel after that time?even care too much I would be kind of resentful, in fact.
SS: I'm surprised that such a big effort was made to— was he an especiallypopular person, or is that just what they'd do if anybody was lost?
GG: That's what they'd do if anybody was lost. Because Clavanaugh was lostup there a few years later and they did the same thing.
SS: That was from Genesee, right?
GG: Right. They did the same thing. They went out there and it was snowingand blowing and raining and cold; hundreds on hundreds of 'em just spent days out there. And they got just as much satisfaction out of that trip as they did out of Harrises; they never found him or any trace of him.
AG: Well, they figured
GG: They figured here just the last few years that he did, but during thetime they were making that search they did not turn up a single thing. Well, then just in the last few years there was another man,— there was an old settler around Palouse and he had lived in Moscow the last few years— he disappeared. And the same thing. They hunted and hunted and hunted for him. Well, then the next year there was somebody from Wal lace disappeared at Clarkia; and the same thing. They turned out by the thousands.
AG: They found him in a couple of months though.
GG: They found him the next spring, up there on Mallory Creek.
AG: He had walked the wrong way. This Clavanaugh had walked the wrong waytoo. He was found—
GG: Ten miles. Farnsworth walked fifteen.
AG: Yeah. His name wasn't Farnsworth.
GG: No, it wasn't Farnsworth.I had it in my mind a minute ago. Jody McCowen's father-in-law. Was there any method for the searching? When they searched for these people in the old days?
GG: Yes. They had crew leaders and they'd take a trail and they'd walk upto the top of the mountain and then they'd space out about every eight feet, and every other man— one man'd go this way and the alternate man go this way. Opposite directions? And they'd search that country over every inch. There was a kid lost out here not too far away from here. Over at White Pine. And they did that and they walked right by him, and one guy— something was in the silt of his eye ofr something and he looked around at just the right time and they found him. He had fallen off a stump and shot himself as he fell.
GG: Now they have Search and Rescue. They do the same thing though
SS: The first settlers, way back in the 1870's even, they used to come allthe way out to the Hoodoos and up to the head of the Palouse River to huckleberry. They came in big parties.
GG: That's right.up into that country too to get wood too. I've heard some of 'em tell how they did.
GG: But they did that. They'd come from Palouse or snyplace. Maybe there'd- op be two or three wagons with fifteen or twenty people in them,"[back up there and they had everything all equipped. They'd dry their berries and if they had jars they canned 'em right up there. (Chuckles) And boy! did they have a ball. I think they kind of made jam of them or something.
SS: When you were young, did they used to do that too? Did you neighborsgo up and—
GG: Two or three families'd go together. Oh, we just had a big time!!
GG: We still do it when we can. We always get some of the neighbors to gowith us. Frank Herog and his brohter-in-law— two of his brothers-inlaw and his brother and my dad and my brother, they drove a team— each had a team— there were three teams, and they drove in there at the head of the Palouse River and then we took a trail and went right up on the top of Baldy, about two or three miles, and we'd stay up there over night and the second night my dad carried carried two of them old square oil cans, ten gallons, five gallons on each side of him and us boys had all the buckets we could carry, and we were just little fellows, come down off there with— gee, we had berries. And that was just customary. One year the Duntons, the Malcoms, the Barrigers and my folks, they all went in a group and they had a time up there berryingr We had a .22; somebody had shot enough pheasants for supper. And we just had 'em on the camp fire frying out good and the ganfwarden, Ed Harris,came along. Oh, some of 'em were just frantic, you know, that they was just really gonna get pinched, andmy dad says, "Come on, Ed, and have supper." Ed come in and never said a word. Chicken to himl ! (Chuckles) The fire warden was game warden and the deputy sheriff in those days. He just rode into camp on his old roan horse. I can see him coming. And then, sure, r "What'll we do? What'll we do?" (Chuckles) Dad says,and have supper."
SS: Did your dad know him pretty well?
GG: Oh, yeah, well, he just lived two or three miles from us. Yeah, we knewhim real well. Fact of the matter is, everybody in the party knew him. But, you know, because he was a game warden, why, we had illegal game but, he never said a word. He was a good old sport. And I think he ap preciated that supper, he was still twelve miles from home and it was right in the shank of the evening. He was gonna get home in plumb dark and if he didn't get supper he was gonna be damn hungry.
SS: What was that story you told me about that mule trade over near KennedyFord? That really good story you told me! I don't remember all the details. There was this guymule trading with somebody else?
GG: Was he trading him that blind mule?
GG: That happened just south of Linville but he lives in Palouse now. Let'ssee, Sam was coming in up out of the canyon with six head, two and two, and he met somebody right at the top. A Neighbor that lived right at the top of the grade going down, and the neighbor had a mule that looked like one that was in Sam's string, they'd make almost identical mates, so he wanted him. And Sam says, "No, you don't want him, he doesn't look good." "Oh, he looks alright to me." Kept arguing, and convinced Sam that he really wanted him, and 8am, as far as he was concerned, was convinced that he didn't want him, so he traded with him. And a couple of days later they met again and he says,to Sam, "Why didn't you tell me that mule was blind?" Sam says, "I did, I told you he didn't look good." (Chuckles) That was the end of it.
SS: Did you tell me that that telephone there— who was it had the telephone in thecountry? In that area? By Kennedy Ford? Was that at the Grange, the telephone? Or was it one of the farmers. There was that place that you went to make a telephone call.
GG: oh to Effrige's? Oh,phones were pretty general, but we had been tothe warehouse and my grandmother called the warehouse and wanted us to tell Mrs. Effrige something, I don't remember what. But my uncle didn't care who it was, if he could get a joke on him, he got a kick out of it. So just before we got to Effrige's he took a chew of tobacco. Well, I was a big shot about ten years old, I figured I had to have a chew too, so I got my chew and just got it good and juicy and come up to Mrs. Ef frige' s gate and he said1,'How you go in and tell her what Grandma said." So I strutted off and walked, went up and knocked on the door and she come to the door, and I had my mouth full of tobacco juice, couldn't say a word! Rushed back off the porch and spit and went back, gave her the message and took off down the sidewalk. Were you embarrassed to have to do that? No, hell, you couldn't embarrass me, I wasn't smart enough. (Chuckles) How did the two of you meet? Grange, I guess. Down at the Kennedy Ford Grange hall. That's where most people met, ev ery Friday night. (Chuckles)
AG: If it hadn't been for the Grange, I don't know.
GG: The Grange hall'd be so full of people you couldn't hardly dance. Tremendous crowds in there. Two bits a ticket. Two bits a ticket?! Either that or it was completely free. What time period was that, when you two met? Pardon? When was it that you met at the Grange? What time period was this? Oh, about 20's? Yeah. Early 20's. '21 or'22, somewhere around there. I guess, wasn't
GG: Yes, it would have to be along in there, I don't remember exactly.
SS: Did you know each other for very long before you started courting?
AG: (Chuckles) Oh, about three or four years, I guess. We started goingtogether in about '26.
GG: Yeah, she went with me two years before we got married. Just about anyway.
SS: What was it like then to go together? What did you do for—?
AG: Went to dances, mostly.. Oh, shows, we had a picture show there in, Potlatch.
GG: Dances, parties, picnics. Grange. We didn't miss anything.
SS: Sounds like there was really a lot to do.
AG: Well, not much in the week times, but weekends were pretty well filledwith something or other. Not like it is now.
GG: Well, we just had to, more or less, the whole neighborhood createdtheir own amusement. Grange, dances, parties, picnics. You know they used toin the horse days, they'd drive sled loads of people from Ken nedy Ford up to Harvard to Grange and drive from Harvard down to Kennedy Ford to Grange for dances.
AG: Spend the whole day going and more than half the night getting home again!
GG: Weather thirty below zero, we were just as comfortable and had just asgood a time as if the sun was shining!!
SS: Wrapped up pretty good?
AG: We put a lantern inside and blankets over the—
GG: And then go in great big parties, they had sixteen foot California racks.And there was eight inch sides and then they put twelve, fourteen inch sideboards above that and then put in about that much fresh hay.
SS: A few inches?
GG: And then put a big tarp over it, and a lot of these laprobes and blanketsand such and such and put them over us and then a canvas tarp over the whole thing. And we'd just set in there and have a party going and com ing] How many people could ride in the back of one of those? Oh, fifteen, sixteen. Depend on how much we wanted to get crowded! Us kidsliked to have 'em crowd pretty good, you know. Take a girl and go!! (Chuckles) The older folks'd get mad at us.
AG: He was coming to Kennedy Ford, . he was going from Harvardto Kennedy Ford, that was before he and Did many of the young folks get married , like that?
GG: Sure. What else was there?A lot of people were married just locally then? Just right in the area, didn't go that far to— No, they were mostly local. There were cars, but in the wintertime nobody used 'em. Put 'em up for the winter.
GG: They didn't have roads to use 'em on.They didn't dig 'em out like they do now, you know, didn't plow 'em out like they do now. I mean, a lot of the young people just got married right there. You didn't go to Moscow or Spokane to meet the girls? No, hot as a rule. Some of them did. Yeah, 'course. Iwas thinking here lately there's been several around that way, either go to church the same place or school or something like that, they're doing about the same as they used to, marry close to home as they ever did. I've read about, say that there's more marriages made in the same town than there are ever from away. 'Course, I suppose now that the boys are in the army they do meet more girls, but as a rule, they are almost the same as— Did they get married pretty young? About the same. About the same as now, you think? Yeah, lots of 'em got married real young, and then— her and I— I was twenty-six, I think, twenty-seven. She was two years younger. Twenty-six when you got married, it was, oh, '25. Were you pretty concerned about having enough to set up a household when you got married? Was that a big concern? Oh, no. I was baching before we got married, and Frank Kilmer was going to leave the neighborhood and go down to Bend, Oregon, I think, and he said, to Harold, he says, "I want to sell this furniture, the whole house full." Took out a few pieces he wanted to keep and Harold says, "How much you want for it?" And he said, "Ten dollars." And Harold come and talked to me about it and I think we each had five dollars, so we bought it. So, it was no problem then. When we got married her mother bought her a new bed; mattress and springs, and we were set up, we had everything. We had four old skates horses and two or three cows. Four old skate? What's that?
Weill, they was old horses, they'd passed their prime.With that ten dollars you got some farm machinery, too, didn't you? No. You didn't? No, we got farm machinery from Gus Clum, I think we give him twenty-five dollars. And at a sale I bought a plow and harness and we bought horses at a sale. Bought one of the cows over at Glen Emery's sale. I don't know where we got the other one. But we were on the road. Then after got married- my brother and Iused to keep track of every damn penny we spent, and we put it in a book. So Igot married andhe was gonna get married, so he made a deal to buy a little Place up there right by the Hlt cemetery. Doesn't show there any more. And he says, "Who's gonna buy who out?" And I said,"Well, it's here, let me buy you out." "OK." We took the book and added it up and divided it in half and the whole deal took about ten minutes, and didn't involve a hundred dollars! (Chuckles) So you bought the outfit that you'd been sharing? Yeah.
SS: Did you think you needed much to set up housekeeping in those days? Imean when you got married?
AG: No. They giveshower and with afew wedding gifts, it was wU/ allIneeded. I think soon afterward he bought that desk over there and we had afew chairs. And, well, we had that outfit that he was telling you about and it was enough. It could have been more, but then it was enough to get by, so we did.
GG: It wasn't too fancy. (Chuckles) I got akick out of-- tMs spring.We got married andRose Mary got married, and she had an entirely different deal.
AG: We looked for ajudge and got married. (Chuckles) It took about fiveminutes.
GG: The night before- I to get off work at three o'clock and she wasgonna meet me over at the mill, so she met me at three o'clock and we never told her folks, my folks, or nobody else, we just drove over to Moscow to the justice of the peace and got married.
AG: Judge Nelson.
GG: Yeah. Come back and did our chores and had supper and went over to herfolks and told them that we'd got married. Made her mother mad 'cause we did it that way, just on general principles. (Chuckles) I thought she never would make up with us, but she did, a couple of days.
AG: Oh, she was okay, she got over it.
GG: Yup. Couple of days.
SS: Did you want to get married without telling 'em because you were worriedthat they'd want to make a big deal out of it?
GG: No. No, we just didn't give a whoop. We wanted to get married and wewent over and got married. And, boy, the next night we got shivareed. And we had a house that didn't have any studding in it. It was not a frame house, they called 'em a box. They just took the inside wall and the outside wall up just like that— a two-by-four at the top and one at the bottom and then two inch air space between. And we seen these cars coming in and we knew what was happening so we went outside. And that gang come up there and they started shivareeing us. And Ray Hanson and my brother and I guess one of the Walker boys got an old post and went to banging on that wall. Hell, it'd shake it that far you know, in and out, and I had just got through milking and carried a three gal lon bucket of milk in and set it on the drainboard by the sink and there was another two gallon bucket of water setting on there. Well, they was they right behind that and kicked that off onto the floor. About that time we thought we'd better go inside. And there was that water an inch deep all over the floor and that crowd just come right on in, didn't pay any attention to it. They swept it out a little and mopped it up a little. But the next morning when she went to scrub the floor, why that milk had begun to sour! Guess she had quite a job!!
Got most of it out the first night, I think.Swept all I could, but So after they came in, what did they do, dance or what? No. Just a party? Yeah. You were supposed to give 'em candy and cookies or whatever you had, oh, gum. I don't know, they didn't ask for beer or anything like that, but they used to in the old days. They had to have beer.
GG: No, we didn't have anything to drink, that night.
AG: We had candy, but we didn't make coffee or anything.
SS: You were ready for 'em? Yeah, we had to be ready for 'em.
SS: Did you have a little place ready to move into then?OH, yeah. I'd been living on that place, baching for a couple of years. Got tired of my own cooking!! In fact, I got tired of beans and fried eggs!! (Chuckles) Well, Harold was apretty good cook, better than Iwas at that time; We didn't have time to cook. Your brothers? Yeah. You were working that hard, you didn't have time? We were both working at the mill. And farming. You hadn't had that much cooking experience at that time? I hadn't had a great deal. My mother thought she could do it better so she wanted to do it. (Chuckles) I didn't know how to cook meat or make pies or biscuits. I had to learn all that after. I could boil potatoes, I guess. She wasn't worried about teaching you those homearts, so you'd be able to catch yourself a handsome man? No, she— what she liked to do, she did. She liked to make pies. She didn't like to make cakes, so I'd make cakes and she made pies. And she liked biscuits, so she made biscuits. So I had to sort of learn— of course I knew how to do it because I'd watched her enough. So, I had a lot to learn. She learned it in a hurry. She only had two fizzles on her biscuits. One of 'em didn't rise only about that much and the other one rose up pretty darn nice and she burned it!!
AG: Well, I dont remember it.You mean, you forgot it. Do you think your mother was altogether sur prised when you came back married? Or do you think she really expected it? Oh, I don't think she was too surprised. I don't think she liked it very well. she on. She didn't want to lose a daughter and she didn't particularly want to get another son! (Chuckles)
AG: She worked hard and needed help. She was about -eight years old.She was forty-four when I was born, so about the time she needed help, I got out and that didn't set right.
SS: Well, I thought most mothers were so concerned about marrying theirdaughters off before they had to be old maids.
GG: They used to claim that, but I don't know as it was really true.
AG: Well, she worked hard. She milked half the cows, I guess, and that wouldbe from fifteen to twenty, I think, the way I remember it. And she'd milk her half and I helped with the rest of them. So when she had to do it all it was a little bit too much for her. Would have been for me I know. You were the only one left at home? Well, my brother was there, but he never did milk. They had bought a milking machine at that time, to go along and strip afterwards. Go along and what? Milk after the machine. Oh, you had to strip after with those old first model- 'Cause they didn't do very good job? No, they didn't. Would you have to work most of the day to do the work you had to do around the house? Oh, about a half a day— the morning, you know the morning, and a couple of hours at night. Help take care of the night milking. Were you doing canning and all that stuff then, back then like you do now? Sure, sure.
I can't remember my mother canning when I was a child, but in later yearsshe canned everything she could get her hands on. She had lived in North Dakota and that was the worst place for— So when she came West to the Coast she canned everything she saw and a lot of stuff that really wasn't worth it but she thought she had to can it. It was kind of a compulsion with her.k We'd boil the fruit in the sugar and water enough to— we'd make this— can it in the kettle and then dip it out of the kettle inte the jars and sealed it and turji 'em upside down. Along about 1930 or '35 I started in canning like I do now. Put 'em in the jars and then poured the water over them and boiled them in the canner. And they called it cold packing then. And then we got a pressure cook er after while.
AG: Well, I never pressure cooked fruit, just vegetables.
SS: You learned to can from just watching them do it, when you were growingup?
AG: UH-huh. It isn't hard. It's hard work, but then it isn't hard to can.Nothing complicated about it.
SS: Did she use a lot of old home remedies that you learned about when ?
AG: Not a great deal. No. She had some cough syrup she made, that I usedcold. to love. Seemed like she used honey and butter and something else, I u don't know what it was, but anyway it tasted good.' They boiled it up together. My dad used to take these bob he bought it and then he'd put some alcohol with it someway and we used to take that for cough syrup, put it on sugar. I used to like to have cold for that. (Laughter)
GG: Well, we used to—
AG: A drop or two of it.
GG: Along about that time we still used mustard plasters and kerosene andlard, it was kinda going out, but we still used it.
AG: You know, that's something my folks never, fact is, never did use amustard plaster. I didn't use it on my own kids , either.
GG: Well, I got my share of 'em plastered on me!! Every time we'd catchcold that's what we'd get.
AG: Vaporub, we used Vaporub when our kids were little. Didn't want to get a coldvery often;
GG: No. We didn't get colds
AG: Another remedy they used was a plaster on the chest
SS: In a poultice type thing?Yeah. I think you put it on a cloth and put it on your chest. I saw a woman fix a pan of onions and put it on a cow one time. The cow had a nail or something in her gullet or stomach. This woman thought that she had a cold so she fixed that up. But the cow died of this wire. Iryer
GG: She had a wire in her heart.
AG: One time my brother, that was back in Wisconsin, was telling about thathe got an awful cold and she thought he had pneumonia real bad, so she put hot pancakes on his chest. And she was frying away and making new ones, and she decided there was no need of making more pancakes, she took the ones that were already made and warmed 'em up and put them on his chest. It stopped the cold.
SS: Oh, really! (Laughter)
GG: Well, we was a long way from a doctor as a rule and we tried everythingunder the sun before we'd—
AG: Well, some of those old methods were just as good as a doctor anyway.Anyway it worked. And I'm still around. (Chuckles)
SS: Was there any precautions that you were told, that you learned aboutwhen you were pregnant or ideas of ways to do thingswhen you were having a kid?
AG: Well, we had one old wivejs' tales. Well, that was kinda before my time.I had an old doctor book there, I used to— not here but there at Potlatch I used to that doggone doctor book and finally got the third one and I didn't have to look at it any more. (Laughter) Got thrown away, don't know where it is, but, boy, that really had some old wive stales in that. Curl your hair! (Chuckles)
SS: Were there midwives when you were young in the area?
AG: My mother was about the same as an and she took care of babies ifthe doctor didn't happen to be there in time why, she took care of 'ein, went through the whole deal. That was over on the Coast, around Seattle and Glenwood— it wasn't called Glenwood then, we called In fact, I think the doctor was just a little bit pokey and didn't care whether he got there. He always charged just the same but he didn't have to be there when she was there.
SS: I've heard stories like you had to watch out for the cats with a newbaby because they'd try to scratch their eyes out or something like that.
AG: And they did say they'd take their breath away. Well, what the cat wastrymg to do was to get warm, you know. The baby was warm; a cat'11 sit on your lap or get on your chest, you know to keep warm, that was all. do I don't think it ever hurt— it might have hurt a very young baby, but I don't think they ever bothered anything.
GG: Most people didn't let 'em get close enough to find out.
AG: Scream their heads off.
GG: They still believed it, in a way.
GG: I think I still do.
AG: I don't want any cats around my kids, either, but it wasn't on that account. I never figured that there was any bother made.
AG: Well, I suppose in a few cases they smothered 'em, but that wouldn'thappen very often.
AG: I never saw a cat get any farther than just on a child's chest.
SS: What about this idea of a certain length of time that you were supposedto do nothing after you had a baby? What was that?
GG: That was about fourteen days that you were supposed to. in bed andthen you could get up and go. I don't know why anybody would want to stay in bed two weeks. Now they get up about the third day at the very latest. And you weren't supposed to do anything for fourteen days.
SS: Somebody told me once that that was a way that the women.working so hard,that that was the way to make sure that they didn't overdo it.
GG: Well, there was a lot in it because they had to carry water and theydid all kinds of outside things.
AG: Well, at the same time they knew that the Indian women were getting upthe same day and if they could stand it the white women could have, but they didn't want to, really. But they told you to stay down so most of 'em did.
SS: I think you'd be awfully weak when you finally got up after that.
AG: Yes, that was it. Your feet would feel like you had needles and pinsin 'em.
GG: I think, near as I can remember, you never got out of bed short ofseven, eight, ten days.
AG: Well, yeah. -and she carrled em out
GG: That was the orders she got, and she carried 'em out.
AG: Wher When we went to the hospital, though, they got down to four or five daysyou up and walked you around at least. That was better, because you didn't have that awful feeling in your feet as though you hadn't been on 'em for a month.
Did you try to be very careful when you were expecting a kid to followwhatever—
AG: Tried to do what I was supposed to, yeah. I never had too much trouble.Going back to that cat or kitten getting on the baby: One time I went in to see why our oldest one was real quiet and she was still asleep but there was a little mouse curled up on her— and I let out a scream— she didn't even know it, that little thing was curled up just like a cat. I watched her more closely after that than I did for the cat!! Do you think you brought up your kids the same way you were brought up? Or do you think you were very different? Never thought of it. Well, yeah, I think our kids were brought up different than I was, because I was the youngest of our family, and I had three sisters and two brothers. And all the sisters anyway, had to bring me up. (Laughter) They brought me up. And I'd get so aggravated when I was a child that the whole bunch of 'em light on me every time I did anything that they thought wrong or how they wanted it ,, why, they'd tell me. So I kind of laid down the rule that one person was sup posed to do the disciplining— that isn't the word, but anyway— One person should do it and not the whole family, you know what I mean. I think we pretty well held to that.
SS: That person was you and not—?
AG: No, he did his part. What I mean is, if it was real bad, why, I'd tellhim about it, if it wasn't too bad and I didn't want 'em yelled at too much, why, I did the yelling. Maybe I did more than he did, I don't know. How about it? What do you think of that? ftG: Oh, I think it depended upon who was around.
AG: Well, that was right, whoever was there .. . Another thing about bringing up kids, if you wait too long to discipline them, you forget and—
GG: And it didn't take effect either.
AG: It's better to when you see something to tell 'em to behave themselvesthen, and not wait 'til they've forgotten it, and you've forgotten it.
SS: Do you think that you were easier on the kids than your parents were onyou? I wondered how these things changed with time from the early days to getting on, you know, with this younger generation?
AG: Well, As far as my family was concerned, I was the youngest and my dadharsh on the older ones. But, my mother— I was told this after I was almost as old as I am now—but, anyway, my sister said that my mother said that if he spanked me like he did the older ones that she was gonna get out and he wouldn't get a chance to do it again. I only remember one spanking and then he was feeling bad and he thought differently than it was, what I figured was the spanking for nothing. And my mother, I only remember one spanking; I called her a devil! She turned me over her knee so fast that I didn't know what was happening!! (Chuckles)
SS: Do you remember, Glen, when we were talking to Mamie Worman and MaryLynn, that they were both saying that they steered clear of their fathers pretty much of the time? That they didn't want to get in his way, they were much closer to their mothers, both of them. Their fathers seemed to be a little farther away from them, stricter?
GG: I think they were because the father was— from daylight to dark— outin the field. They never seen him.
AG: I thought more of my dad than I did of my mother. We lived an hour'sride from town on a ferry boat from Seattle and he was working there and we were on the farm, and Ialways thought a lot of my dad. Never had any fear of him. And that spanking happened before we moved here, so I really thought more of him than I did my mother. I thought alot Gf her too, it wasn't that I didn't have any lack of love for her, but just that I him more. But I was always afraid that if anything happened that, I knew that I could not tell a lit. A lot of times pretty worried that I'd have to — I wanted to say a lie but I was ;to because I knew he'd find it out. Well, even in that case, Ithink it wasre in connection with the other brothers and sisters that something would hap pen and if he would ask me I wouldn't want to tell him what happened. But IKhad to. I got around that a lot by not saying anything. Not letting him know that I knew anything. I tell him that I knew all about it!!
SS: Do you think they brought up you girls very differently from the boys?Or that people did that?
AG: No. I don't think so.
GG: Tried to make all of 'em toe the line pretty good.Tried to, didn't always make it work; most of the time, I guess it's a good average. The girls got out— the two girls were4 oldejffand when they needed help, why they got out and helped right along with the boys 'cause Lloyd was the third one and he was about five or six years younger than the oldest girl, so he couldn't do a great deal at first. Oh, they liked to go out with me and they did go out with me. went out with a pitchfork, why I had to have a pitchfork for each of them. If I went out to do something else they had their hand right in it with me, and they thought they were bigger than I was. And they all of 'em were that way. If I'd go out to fix fence they all went with me.
AG: Katherine used to go out and fix fence with him, she was one of the veryyounger ones and she'd go out andbe fixing fence on a day like this and mvanably she'd come in soaked to the skin. . Seemed like they'd go out and it'd start to pour. Well, there was one year that it was especially rainy and my stock were bothering me,on the back end of the place we had very poor fence to no fence. So, I'd go back there every day rain or shine and she'd go with me andNit just seemed like every time we'd get back there, in the mid dle of the afternoon it'd rain, pour down.
AG: I think the rest of 'em were in school. She was four years younger thanEdgar so she was the young one.
GG: I used to ride a horse back there and she'd ride with me. But they wanted to be out there doing whatever we were doing.
AG: Oh, things have changed a lot since we were but in a wayit's about the same. Maybe they feed 'em a little different and take care of 'em different, but Iknow they always have alot more clo thes than we ever had for our kids, andjf btlore different foods that they— they all made it, grown up, anyway. They're all ahealthy, husky bunch. Had appendicitis or two and Jane had kidney trouble, but as ageneral thing they were husky, healthy. Do you think there is more difference in the way we raise kids now than in the old days, when you were raising your kids. What I'm wondering about is if you raised your kids the way you were raised, you know when you were ?
Pretty much the same.I think we tried to, at any rate, Ithink you're trying to get me, or us to say that- what's the difference in the little kids now'when we were raising them. Aren't you? No. Yeah, Iguess I'm interested in that, but I'm wondering how these things change through time, you know, 'cause if you raised your kids pretty much the way you were raised- seems like these things have changed. Maybe we were alittle bit-I think every grandparent thinks the gener ation with their grandchildren- their parents are alittle more lenient with them. But Iimagine they're one generation to another. If they were real strict with 'em, why they're gonna be strict with their kids. But sometimes it doesn't work that way too, sometimes it works just the opposite; maybe we were alittle strict, I don't know. You probably figged your kids had to tell the truth just like you had to tell the truth. We wanted 'em to, Isure tried to tell 'em to, but sometimes I- Isup pose my folks did, too, " me.
It seems like when your kids were growing up, things were maybe not assettled as en you were growing. dont know whether what I'm saying is true. Iam wondering, because times have changed more, further away from the old pioneering times. Well, Iwas raised, and Glen, too, Ithink, pioneering was just about over for my folks anyway. We didn't have agreat deal to do with. I don't know, my folks really weren't pioneers. Maybe they were back in North Dakota or Wisconsin, but when Icame along why they I used when Iwas ayoung person. We didn't have electricity until '43 here. Maybe our eyes would have been better, but Idon't know that otherwise Idon't know that they're any better off than- 'Course I the etricity for lamps any more. bat Oh, boy, six o'clock. I didn't know it was so late,
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Segment Synopsis: Disappearance of Harris, and his reappearance decades later. His family was heavily in debt because they'd overexpanded and bean caught in the post-World War I depression. Hundreds of people searched the woods for him. He deserted his fiancée. Subsequent searches for Clavanaugh and other lost people. Method of searching.
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Segment Synopsis: The Gilders met at the Kennedy Ford Grange Hall. Courting entertainments. Sleigh party trips to Grange. Setting up house. Marriage without telling parents. Shivaree. He was tired of his own cooking; she had a lot to learn about cooking. Her mother not anxious for her to marry, because she needed help at home, Canning.
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