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 email@example.com
JOE HOLLAND: Us guys here were up in the woods.
SAM SCHRAGER: you got there?
JH: Well, the first one here is Haul Brown. He was a job that they calledhaul, it was gettin logs out. So he got named on account of them: " Haul" Brown. Then we had another "Laughin." He laughed most all the time see. And nobody knew him by his real name, that "Laughin." And then we had another fellah: "Three-finger Nels." I don't know, I thiik he was a sawyer at one time, three fingers cut off of one hand so he was "Three-finger Nels." And we had one guy there, the "Cryin Gus." He the cedar maker. He'd get to drinkin a little bit and he'd cry. And another guy, he was quite a guy around there, he worked mostly with the horses, he was a teaster too: "Samuel T. Red Rosey Joe."
SAM: Well, where'd he ever get a name. . .?
JH: Oh, I don't hangin I guess. And we had anotherguy, they called him the "Chipmunk." He was a but he was a very small He was gettin out logs for differed ones. He didn't do too well about it either. But he was the "Chipmunk." Yep. And when you'd mention any of those names everybody there'd know just who you were talkin about, exactly. Well, old Sled Haul as he got older he up around the restaurant there that Mrs. Watts was running. And oh they used to argue back and forth. And she'd want him to go out and get in some wood. And he said he was hungry. He wanted to eat first. She vanted him to get the wood in first. And then the argument startedAnf think she threw a cup or something at him. he brushed and he says, "I'll bombard your cabin? (Chuckles), with a few cuss words in there. But then they got together about it and it was all right. I don't know who won out, yep.
SAM: Did this Mrs. Watts have a boarding house for a long time?
JH: It was a restaurant; they did have some rooms up overhead, but oh yeah, manyyears the restaurant. And she was an oldtlmer just like the rest of them there. And she stayed with it a long time md fed everybody, never turned anybody away whether they had the money for not. So she never got rich at it but she lived, that's all she interested in. Nice woman, very nice.
SAM: What were the other places that lumberjacks stayed in there in town?
JH: Well, there was a hotel that was along on Main Street. They called it theSpokane Hotel, that was the name of it, painted on it-Spokane Hotel. That was one place. And then the Bovill Hotel, part of that building wasilog. And oh in earlier dfy there was a Mrs. David that used to have a boarding house which was both board and room. Quite a few stayed there. But oh let me see that'd juct be the ones in town,because whenever they were workin they were out in the woods somewhere at 4 camp. Watts* , they had some rooms over the restaurant. Weil, they had a pool room there too, Billy Watts, husband of Mrs. Watts they had a pool room and those rooms and the restaurant. SAM Was the pool room very popular?
JH: Yeah, it was. It was a popular place, yeaa. And there was one other pool roomthere also—Jimmy Gilroy—that was qute popular. But that Billy Watts' was the rcost popular. And the jacks seemed to hang around there and there were always card games goin on, what not. And Watts, in the earlier days, he used to work in the woods too. I think he was a donkey man had a high-line there one time, now that's befoie my time and that was with a donkey power. This hig transport the logs across that high-line to where they wanted em. And they had a target there, want over there that you'd trip that. I believe for a while they used to shoot this target with a shotgun. And then when it'd trip that log drop down where you wanted it. Then there was another time when somethin jammed and the log was up there, in mid-air, no way of hat. gettin it down. And they said , thij Billy Watts with a rifle, I don't know what the distance'd be but off quite a ways. He shot repeatedly until he cut that chain, and a big, heavy Shain it was. But he cut it in two and the thing came loose and they were in business. But you'i have to shoot almost exactly in the way you did before. And in that load they must have had steel bullets too, shells because the old lead wouldn't do much with a steel chain it took a lot of shooting but he cut it in two.
SAM: Maybe he was a good shot and a good pool player both.
JH: Me was a good shot, allright, with a gun. I dont know about plyin poolbut he was a good shot. He'd have to be to accomplish a feat like that. Because that thing wouldn't up there either you know. It swing and sway.
SAM: I was going to ask you if on the whole the lumberjacks and townspeople hada lot to do with each other or if they really were quite separate?
JH: Well, they always got abng. Of course there'd be a lot of lur.beij acks thatdidn't get very well acquainted with the townspeole. But however I suppose every jack that ever came in and stayed over a weekend or so they'd get acquainted with at least one or two of the families. No, they were respected and all that, there was no reason why. No, the townspeople knew em pretty well.
SAM: I was wonderin what Bovill—what the town felt like when you were first there?What, if you think back on it, what strikes your memory of the sights and the sounds in that town?
JH: Well, of course it was a sill town. I went there in April, 1925. Andthe street was a sea of mud. It was just dirt streets is all they were, no gravel, rock of any kind. Ad w^ were so muddy that wagons pretty near bury down to the axels pull through there. And . would remain that way until it dried more. It was that way a long time. That was at first and that vas the same way for a couple of yaars or more. I think it about 1929 before we got gravel on those streets and made^quite a difference. But they couldn't do much about that either after those muddy streets. But oh used to have big drags there and floats or whoever they called them.Packers of some kinds, about four houses on them. And they'd go over and over and over and it helped to pack down. the top and then if you had a load that was very heavy at all it'd push on down through. But it didn't bother people. They knew that they had that every year I guessi They knew that. Of -ouro'i it was a kind of busy place for. Two railroads there and everything that came into the town went out had to go by rail. So we hailed just about everything that there was. Oh I don't know, besid that. Athat was really only industry right in town and that was the cedar yard know people average worked there, probably twenty or twenty-live maybe. That was in town. They had a high school there but they didn't have a gym. However the gym was built shortly after we went there. I think it was started in '25. Maybe it wasn't completed that same yer. It was a brick gym; that was quite an addition to the town because the kids before that more or less basketball outdoo whenever the weather d permit. So consequently they didn't have any kind of when they'd go to another town where well the Bovill kids had no chance at all to compete. It wasn't too long after they that gym that they we e right up there in competition,any and all of em. Pretty good basketball teams. Every once in a while there'd be a district tournament held there. And those times it'd be packed every corner. You couldn't get another person in em. I even get em out if somethin happened in there like a fire don't Yeah.
SAM: Can you give me an idea of what the train schedules were like? How much movedin and out of that town?
JH: Well, on the WIM we had what what they called a logger. That came to Bovillearly every morning and took the logs back to Potlatch that would have been cut and hauled into Bovill the day before. And then on the WIM we had a passenger train which was a mixed train. Thy hauled some freight and passengers. And that made a round trip from Psbuse up to Bovill back to Palouse and back to Potlatch.That was daily except Sunday; they were all daily except Sunday. Then the Milwaukee, they didn't have a logger because there Wire no logs movin in that direction. They had a freight that would run to Elk River one day from St. Maries and then back to St. Maries the next day. But the Milwaukee also had a passenger train, that was strictly a passenger train. About threee coaches, mail car and an express car. That would go from St. Maries to Elk River and return daily except Sunday. It had quite few passengers. Anway it kept a-goin for several years but as the Depression was coming along finally about in '30 or something ilk that the passengertrain was discontinued to Elk River. Elk River had e. good-sized sawmill there for right up to about 1930. I don't know the exact year but just about up to 1930. And it closed a vear or more down. I don't know when, a couple years maybe afterwards they burned it. jjnoved everything in it.
SAM: Were these railroad rne.i pretty m-:ch a fraternity of their own? Did theystick together in their own group?
JH: The on*s that were on the railroads, we didn't have anybody tie up inBovill, The WI and M crews all tied up in Potlatch, the Milwaukee be tying up in St. Maries over Elk River. "was just otuce in a while that we'd have a turn around, a freight that would run between Bovill and Elk River and :vould tie up in Bovill. Of course there was a lot of train men there that was Potlatch Lumber Company. They did the same work as train man would do on any ordinary railroad however they were not a carrier. They were just lumber company railroad workers. That was about all you could put em as, but they were of course conductors, engmeeers, brakemen and so on. There crews of those. Andthey were more or less family men that lived in Bovill. Most of them were family men. No, they were just Ordinary citizen?. They didn't congregate together in their leisure time. I guess they'd see enough of each other when they were work in.(Chuckles).
SAM: Oh, I was think ing of that really because of the railroad lingo and youknow, the ways of talkin about the railroads that I've heard that they had.
JH: Oh yeah.
SAM: It sounded like a sort of specialized occupation as far as that gots.
JH: Well, yes. And especially at that time it was good. I guess it's still good.There's fewer people working because of the longer trains and the diesel engines, they put so many units together. I don't know how many they could put on one train with several, one engineer, trains anywhere from a mile, mile and a half long. And the cars are all gettin bigger. For a forty foot boxcar used to be considered a good-sized car. Now it's a small one because they did have thirty-six foot box before that. And now, fifty and up.
SAM: What kindof size did they have then? I was thinking of the train length.
JH: Oh, I don't know, of course in there where we were it was hilly, twenty-five,thirty cars would be a long train because they'd have to get signals, see so many curves and what not. No radio, they have radio now. The conductor can set in his caboose and talk to the engineer with a radio. Well, before it was hand signals. a train of boxcars or flat cars or somethm like that, brakeman could go over the top and get to give signals to the head end. But where you have logs in between or poles or any commodity, . a brakeman coitldnt. over em .well that'd be out then. Well, they just had to get out and walk until they could get around the curve enough to know that the head end So you always get stopped, y'know, everything stops. But Ah they don't like to do that unless they have to because then you get flat we els from sudden stops. Oh but right there in Bovill. thtt area I think they'd hsve at least three big units. I guess sometimes more, diesel units, logs. Tie as many behind em as they could pull. But the train men therf, the laws on era are changing some. It used to be sixteen hours, the sixteen hour law. A couldn't work more than sixteen hours. Now its dropped down to fourteen a few years ago and I'm not so ?ure but maybe it's only twelve now. It's going to gradually get down. No, I think the train men bucked that pretty strong too but theless it came.
SAM: How'd the sixteen hours work? Was it eight hours straight and then time anda half?
JH: Yeah, that's jift about the way it was, yeah. But they don't go by time, theygo by miles. A hundred miles is supposed to have been a day's work. And th.it 'was figured out, if you figured it down it would mean about eight and a half hours. So the man's time and engineer too, it's all so many miles. They don't put th e hours down. Butit means the same thing hut still for all it was miles. A hudred miles, was supposed to be a day's work. And then after that it was an inch and a half they'd call it. So that's what they liked to get in on, overtime. Of course they had stipulations in there too obcut switching. switching they'd do before they left the terminal. It's called terminal delay. And that was more miles per hour than the ordinary running. But switching in between terminals that was nothing more than just time consuming.
SAM: What did they call that time when they were stopped in a station?
JH: Well, they had adel--y report. And I don't know it's called arfthingmore than station switching. But if it was the terminal,boy they went to work or there'd be terminal delay. But if it was a station that was in between the terminals it would just be nothing more than station switching.
SAM: Did thv-y have to account for the time that was spent in a station?
JH: Every minute, every minute. They had delay report at the end of the daygives where ttfy were and what they were doing every innate. Sometime and quite often they would write down the five minute items, yeah. I don't know why it was called a delay report. It we the ordinary work that they'd have to do, but that's what it was called.
SAM: Do you remember what the wages were when you came?
JH: I remember what mine was. 1925 when I went to Bovill my salary was a hundredand fifty-five dollars a month plu? express commisfton. And that express commission averaged those years about fifty-five dollars a month. You see a railroad agent is aft express agent. And that's the way the express company pays you is on commission, fou get ten percent of everything you handle. sales all this express traffic. So that's what I was getting. It would average about two hundred and ten dollars a month, somethin like that averaged which was good because oh, I don't know. A hundred and twenty-five dollars a month was pretty fair wages for other types of work.
SAM: Do you relmber how many men were on a crew on one of the, let's say on thefreight train, what the crew consisted of?
JH: Well, the engineer and fireman, and Amost time two brake headbrakeman and rear brakeman—and then the conductor Once in a great while you'd see three brakeman but that wasn't regular. So that's about it, five men. Yeah.
SAM: ...That you mentioned the first time I was here about the conductor andthe engineer that didn't get along at all. And I was thinkin maybe if just didn't mention the names of the partucular individuals involved that that was quite a good
JH: Well, this conductor and engineer, they just get along and still theyhad to work together. There was no other way out of it. And I don't know how long that went on, but it have been for months. And this conductor^he was telling me, he says,"The only thing I figured I could do was to kill him. That's what I was gonna do." And this particular day when they tied up he went somewh re, I don't know whether he went home, he went somewhere and he got a gun. And he had to walk back through some part of the town, ec of the town to get to where he was gonna kill this engineer. And he met a brakeman that he knew quite well. And they talked and well, this talked him out of it is all. It toak a long time but he said hen he got through talkin? he says,"I went back home and ^it was out of my system, I didn't want af terwards to kill him after that." St I think that they never were on good terras either but it wasn't quite as bad as before. I think this brakeman sort of explained to him that well, relations wasn't good but maybe he could still live with it if he tried. So I think that's what he did afterwards, just tried to live with It, I don't know vhy told me that either but he was a fellah At you could believe too what he'd say.Yep, he said,"I'd given it a lot of thought. And just that's the only thing that f can do. Thatfs all that's left to do," So he'd kill him. Well, I asked, I said,"Did you ever thiik what would happen to you?" "No," he said,"never fought about that part." But when he didn't say it;it seemed that he was thankin this brakeman, and just by accident that he run into this brakeman. Just happened to meet up on his way to the engineer's.The engineer and the fireman gets a little more time than the conductor or brakeraen when they do tie up. They get a little time with the inspection or something about the engine afterwards. And that*s why the engineer would have been there a little longer. Yep, the way that went.
SAM: Is it true that the mductor was over the engineer?
JH: Oh, yes. The conductor's in charge of the train. Yep, he is the boss.Whatever orders he'd give, of course they would have to be within the riles. If he tried to tell an engineer to go somewhere and A knew the track was washed out or somethin, why he wouldn't do it. But the conductor is in charge of the train and responsible for anything that happens. Of course a de-railrrent or an accident or a crossing accident of some kind, maybe an engineer might have been negligent about it. Well, that wouldn't involve the conductor, he wouldn't be held responsible for that because he wouldn't have been in no position to do anything about it. But generally speaking, the conductor is in charge of the train.
Little comical things happen sometimes. They sat right in front of thedepot there in Bovill, the Milwaukee Railroad, see, is a big m lroad, Chicago, Seattle. And this WI and M is approximately fifty miles. Well these two trains, was switchin, workin around and all that, they came face to face on the main track. And they do have some rules that who is supposed to have preference and this and that. But they just wasn't budgin theie for a while and nobody was going give up. was going to back up and get out of there. And this one WI and M brakeman, he sat down on the rail in front of the engine and he told the other brakeman, the says,"Well, my railroad isn't as long as yours but it's just as wide.(Chuckles). Well, by that time? before long the conductors got together and when they did they had not was just these two brakemen. They got a little stubborn.
SAM: Were operating procedures uniform from railroad to railroad?
JH: Oh yes. Yeah, they were. There was very, very little difference. The ralebook was the rule book and it seemed to apply wherever vou went.
SAM: I've been told that one guy said that he'd wished he'd gone in the railroadwork instead of logging because he felt he would have had more security and better pay. Do you think that's true?
JH: Well, it would depend, you know. If he could have worked steadily, well, yes.He'd a had more pay because the woods, there are a few good, high-paying jobs in the woods but generally speaking they * quite a bit of time every year, weather and what not. B if you could work steady, but then you'd be up against that seniority again, you know. A new man starting up would have to expect to not be able to work steady. But oh yeah, I would think it'd be better for somebody to start on the railroad than it would start into the woods. Because with railroad work you can generally work right on as you get older you're probably a little valuable to the ctfiapany through your experience. And there isnt that kind of physioi strength that you have to have as compared to the woods. In the woods you hare to be pretty able-bodied you know to hit that hard work all the time, you stand up under it. when you get a little old you've got to get out of there and then there's no place to go exept fpr the few you know that will get to be supervisors of some fcin4 that's a small percentage. No, the woods is really no place for an old man. But on the railroads, train service, I guess they're gettin a little about it now. But it was really horrible. Well, they had no rules governing it and some of those old engineers, y'know, pushin eighty years old and still runnin those engines. And they couldn't get em off of there. But these last years though they are doing somethhg along with thatOh, it was hard for the union to do anything. the young fellahs wanted to get the old ones off. But there wasn't enough young fellahs for the votes' though the union. There weriore old guys than there were young. And the engineers, they hung on to theirs longer that the conductors but finally then they compromised. Forced retirement - say was seventy years. All right next year it'll be sixty-nine and the folding year sixty-eight and then sixty-seven and then sixty-six and then sixty-five. Get £own to sixty-five but it'd take about five years to do that. So along that line, they went for that because it just didn't throw everybody out that was over sixty-five, y'see. It gave em a little time to thfrk about it. So, I don't know, I believe maybe right now it'l to where forced retirement on the railroad probably is sixty-five or not much more. But years ago they didn't have any and they should have. My wife had an uncle t;frat was an engineer on the Milwaukee and he lived at South Dakota a long time. And he got to be number one engineer in seniority on the railroad. So his last years were strictly on passenger train.
And he visited us at Bovill one winter. He stayed all winter there after heretired and his wife pasjed away. And we were talkin there and I said, "Oh, Uncle Jim,"(that's whatyyou probably went to sleep too runnin those engines."Never," he said,ever." And he turned around,"On passengers. Zeal, I have on freights." And then he started tellin me about the freight train." says,"Everybody on that train went to sleep. And we went through a station and we were about eight miles beyond it vhen sonebody woke up when he woke up he didn» t know when he was at . And then they got the others awake and it was at night and they did get back in. They backed into the station and they covered where it never was reported. And he said,"They could have canned all of us. I don't know." Oh yea? engineers on freights, what they used to say? I've only seen one that an in. He started goin up a grade and then he'd go to sleep. But just as soon as that engine pitches over the top they wake right up. The difference in the working of the engine. Yeah, get on the next one and they do the same. Well, they'd work sixteen hours and then they'd have to eat And you just can't jump into bed the minute after you eat, y'know. You want to take a little time for something or other. And then in the morning you've only got eight hours in between there, y'see—in the morning you have to get up in time, shave, do whatever you have to do andetreakfast before you go to work. So I don't know, but it would cut their sleeping time down to five and a half, six hours, I suppose. So you could see why ttey'd get pretty sleepy. Yes, I guess it's all right unless everybody goes to sleep at the same time. That's the bad one.
SAM: Well, how many days would they work before they'd get off?
JH: Well, they did bring in some rules on that too. And now I can't tell youthe number of miles it was. I don't know now but there was a figure. And they'd reach so many miles in a month and then they were forced to lay off they had a maximum of miles.
SAM: But in the old days these guys would work five days and then have a weekendoff or would it be even worse than that
JH: Oh no, a lot of those jobs were seven days a week. They were workin Sundaysjust about as much as any day. And for freight trains, vhy they all the time. And the passenger trains,there were less of those, the branch lines, thev however the main lines they, y'know, operated passenger trains the same on Sunday as any day. They'd run every day. Holidays too—Fourth of July, Christmas, every day. But some of the branch line wouldn't be running on Sunday but the main line passenger trains, Sunday was just another day. And they never got any extra pay for it either, Saturday or Sunday. The pay was the same as it was on Monday.
SAM: What sort traffic did you have with passengers in Bovill, very many people?
JH: Well, itslough to keep things going. I don't know I coldn't come up witha figure but the only transportation in snd out. And there'd be a number of people. Bovill, that was kind of a headquarters for where the lumberjacks come to and where they would leave from after they quit or got canned or whatever happened. So, of course the passenger trains carried the mail on express and that all helped.
SAM: What did it cost to get do^n to Potlatch from here?
JH: Oh that was somethin that I'm tellin you, that is something. Aid I don'tthat know how long before I knew of it in 1925. They were charging five cants a mile on that WIM Railroad. I don't know why it was they could charge so much, but when they were charging five cents a mile on all other railroads it was about two cents. But they come under the short line railroad. And short line railroads do have some special provisions for them that the interstate and other trains doesn't have. I was going to say $2.65 from Bovill to Palouse and I think that's exactly what it was. If it was fifty miles it'd be two fifty but it seems the fare was $2.65.
SAM: I would think a fare like that wold discourage people from using it unlessthey needed to.
JH: That was the only way could get there, y'see. No buses, the only otherway would be to walk. Very few cars in the country at the time and then for so many of winter months from, oh late in 0ctober to well out in May there was no cars gettin out of town at all. Dirt roads whereever you'd go to and goin through the woods which ever direction you tried to go it. And they were wet soggy there was no gravel on em. So people there, I'd say oh, late in October dn an average year set their cars up on blocks, a piece of cordwood. And they'd set there. I heard one fellah he believed it was a good deal."You get that car on blocks and you get a chance to catch up on your grocery bill."Of ocurse the storea there were always lenient on credit. Supposed to pay every month but there'd be different ones that you know and get in several months without paying. Storekeepers sure lost quite a lot therebn the credit bills that people got out. Oh, one storekeeper there, old John Groh, he was an old pioneer. And he was tellin me about a family that lived at Camp 8» And Camp 8 was oh, roughly a mile and a halfn@rt- Sovill. But they called it Camp 8. One time it had a chcolhouse thece, there waa a little settlement and shop? there.
But I guess there was two families that moved in thereAnd they started trading with his store, and two families, they bought quite a lot of stuff and didn't pay for it. And then, this John Groh used to deliver out there, I guess it was once a week. He tvad a team and hack that he delivered with. He had a young lad doin it. But these two couples, the men come in and thought after they'd credit for a month they con:e in and paid for it. And he thought he had a couple real good customers there. And they said,"Well now, winter's comin on and I know you probably won't like to be comin out there anymore than you have to. Snow'11 be deep. Maybe if we could lay in the heavier commodities, it'd just be light stuff. "Yes." So old John, he thought that'd be a darn good idea. So tiey loaded up, And heavy and everything. They got pretty good. about a week or so went by and Charlie was down there at least once a week, but about a week went by and none of them showed up. So he inquired,"Oh, no, they left three or four days ago." They went out the other way. He never said any more.(Chuckles). Now those people wouldn't have been lumberjacks. They just come in there to do that kind - a job, y'know. Get a winter's supply of groceries He didn't get any trace out of em anyway.Of course you know, the phone system wasn't much defending them. They had some I suppose but not much. And then a head start on, he wouldn't know Many years afterwards he was still pretty perturbed about it.
SAM: Madeleine Gorman was telling my wife that John Groh really liked a good joke,that he was quite a trickster.
JH: That Madeleine, you say, she'd be a niece.
SAM: She was Tom's daughter.
JH: Tom's daughter, yeah. Tom and John war e partners for a while. Oh yeah.Was John sort of a hot-tempered guy?
JH: He was kind of so, yeiu He got all right. Never withme, but I know he was kinda hotheaded. That was a funny thing, those two brothers. One was a German, the other was a Frenchman And they were born in the same house. And then they had a sister, Mrs. And her nationality was Alsace-Lorraine All three born in the same house. But the countries had changed. (Chuckles)Well, the men, and John, they got along all right but their wives didn't. Tom's wife was a French woman from France and she could speak very little English. And John's wife was German, really German and she could speak English, she couldn't read or write English but she could speak it. But all this friction between those two women, they didn't get along good at all. two brothers know hot many, but it was a number. I'm sure th ey never had any trouble.
SAM: I was going to ask you about that time you mentioned when there was a trainaccident right by the depot there. was it?
JH: Well, we had several of the early trains there in the yards. And in thewinter it was nothing to see three or four engines stelled when they couldn't go ahead or back. Trying to plow snow and they'd get in and get helpless. And then get off the track of course. Oh yeah, you'd see quite a few derailments around yards where they're swithin. But don'tknow, the switch sometimes don't close properly and on wrong track. There was one deal there that was kind of comical . Oh, this was after passengertrains was off. But the Milwaukee they'd have a passe;.ger coach on this mixed train. And there was a fellah that came to town the night before, maybe the day before, but he kinda got high-centered and he wanted to get the train out that day but he didn't make it. And he said somethin kinda bkW make the train the next day he was still drinkin quite a little bit this next day. And he had his ticket in a pack sack and he set right there and he sure didAt want to miss that train that day. And there wasAkind of a raised there. And right the main line where this train would be goin by. And he set right there, but here was a doggone de-railment occured down at the other end of the switch so they worked around there and was able to back up and get out of town by coming through what they called the house track. Well, that goes around the back of the depot. And they was there a coupl3 hours gettin the engine back on and what not. And then they
JH: . . .and he was settin there side of his pack sack,and I says,"By gosh fellah, that twin's gone!" He said,"It never came by here." Ani it didn't. He was there waitin for it but he was watchin the main line. Oh, I felt sorry for the guy but he wasn't one of thore fellahs that doe a lot of cussin or nothin. Well, he sure runnin bad luck. That was the second day that he tried to get out of town. And now it was going to go to the third day.
Oh, I another comical thing happen with one fellah. The same way. Hegot high-centered around there and he was broke. And he to 5-0 down on was at Bovill the WI and M. So this WIM train was, it about thirty mi utes or something likefaat every day. And they'd come into Bovill and they'd "Y" and it took em about thirty minutes to do what they had to do before they left. I talked to the conductor about this fellah, that he was buke and^ if he could him down to Palouse he could get a chance maybe to get out of tlere. rwas a pretty good fellah. "All right," he says,"I'll take him." So I told the train first pull in I wa* out thereand I said, "Now you get on there and stay on there. And you'll be all right. He's willing to take you to Palouse." "Okay," and he thanked me. And he got on. Well, the train pulls up the othtr end of the yard, y'know and they take water. This was a mixed train as well a little switching to do, some cars to pick up and set out and then go around the "Y". Well, this guy was dead for sleep and what not that just as soon as he got on that train he fairly went to sleep. And then with all this swi€hin and back down and they stopped. And I just happened to out there on the platform, there was a passenger coach stopped there. So he come turn off the y'know. And he looked at me and he says,"What? You here too?" Poor guy thought he was in Palouse! Yeah, ah, yeah, you do things you shouldn't I had another guy there that wanted to get out of town one day. And we emptied boxcars there. And it was fall but it wasn't cold. Of course they had strict orders the crew was not to let anybody ride and rightly so. But you know you have to^ sometimes. He wanted to crawl into an empty boxcar that was settin right there in front of the depot, the engine was switchin somewhere. "Oh," I said,"I don't think they'll bother you if you get in there and lay down." He was pretty shaky. He told me, he said,"I'm so shaky, when I get in there will you shut the door and lock it because it jarred open the shape I'm in I might fall out that door." So I did. Shouldn't have done that. Oh, a de-railment or anything you know a man could get killed and his people could sue the railroad But ne as far as I Know.
SAM: He even got out.
JH: But a conductor on that WIM, a logger told me one time, he let a fellahget in the boxcar. And so why he shut the door. But he did this he told the guy,"I'll put you in there, I'll lock the door." "That's all right," the guy said,"just so you let me out,when we get down to Potlatch." "Yeah," the conductor would and he meant to but he forgot ul about that guy. And he never thought of him until the next morning after he was goin to work, Ye thought,"My , I forgot to let that guy out of that boxcar." So very first thing he done was go to tha t particular car and get the guy out of But that particular car, and you wouldn't see any more at all a wooden door. The but of course the whole boxcar was wooden But this fellah, he apparently had a good jacknifc because he whittled right around the latch, hatch they call it, just a moon in that door and he got it open and he got out of there. But this conductor said, "That's prettiest, neatest piece rf-work I'd ever seen with a jacknife. He cut that just as nice as could be." But that's about the way he could do railroad had it, you know. He said tha aoor, was in his favor they had th^ put out a new door some time or other and it was white pine. It wasn't too hard to handle. And he said,"That was a pretty job."
SAM: Well I've heard that quite a few hobos road the rails. I mean hobos, I don'tknow whether they were lumberjacks out of work or down on their luck like these guys you were describing.
SAM: Were there any jungles around?
JH: Yeah, in the earlier days there was jungles there. And they never botheredanybody though. In fact t 6% down near the water tank there's a few trees and every day they'd see five or six or more guys in that jungle. Andthey'd have a little wash out. Their clothes would be hangin on a limb of ome kind and a little bonfire going. And they'd be cookin up something. I used to to walk by there in my work and up into the yard, check tie yard. And I tell you, it wan kind of enticing, I thought lots of times I just wish I had the time, I could just go in there r.nd join them and set around and talk with them. But I never had that kind of time. But I've heard some of them talk , especially in tha, ©h you take now like this time of year. Somebody'd get somewhere,a garden or other and talk soirebdy dfc of some spuds. And someone else would maybe get turnips or cabbage or carrots or somethin like that.And another one maybe would get to a store and mayhe could do a little work for soup bones or somethh. And put it all together, know, they'd come up with a stew. Then sometimes the stores would give em some of the old bread stales bread that was three or four or more days old, that they'd have to throw out anyway.
And thed make out. But those guys if they'd a meal, oh a good meal aboutonce a week I thfmk it'd hold em, didn't need much in betweet But yeah, they used to ride the pretty much. But then, I know, the railroads pretty strong rgainst that and all employees had instructions not to have anybody ride. But they used to do it anyway.
SAM: Henry Benson told me that when he was on a railrrad he always let em ride.
J H Yeah.He was an engineer. Now his son is the number one engineer on thatrailroad, Max. SAM You said ttfy didn't need more than one good meal a week.
JH: I don't suppose. Those guys that's on the bum you know if they get one goodmeal and little fill-ins between, they'd make out, Oh sometimes when they start talking about the they eat they go back quite a few days sometimes. "Yeah, I had breakfast but it wasn't today and it wasn't yesterday. I don't know if I had breakfast the day Before that." You'd hear that kind of talk. Oh if they could get a good and go and get washed up too, y'know, get their clothes washed up a little bit out. I don't know, I guess just everybody couldn't be a hobo. (Chuckles). But there's a lot work at it. I guess they have a organization don't they of, not a union, but they have acnue kind of association Oh yeah, yeah I think once a year they have a convention some place or other, hobos.
SAM: Did you ever notice whether the same guys would stick around there for verylong or would it just be a stop for a day or two?
JH: It'd just be a days but the next year you'd see the same faces aroundthere. they wouldn't stay long. They would kinda keep on the move. really good feed and get their clothes washed up and then get to movin.
SAM: Were these guys then they were sort of a group of their own. They weren'tlike say lumberjacks who were down on their luck, just had no money or anything?
JH: No, no a hobo and a lumberjack two different things, that's twodifferent things. No, there was a fellah, and I got to know him quite well. In Moscow he was a banker, he was a caiiier in one of those banks in Moscow at the time. And his wife, before they were married, she had been a schoolteacher in Bovill. In fact she was one of the very first schoolteachers. She'd be quite a bit ahead of my time . But now they were livin in Moscow. This man told me this, he sad,"My wife and I was lookin out here thi s the window one morning and one fellah come along there and he started comin into our place. And I said,"Here comes a bum for a handout." My wife didn't say anything but she just kept lookin at that man comin. And then she told me,"That's no bum, that's a lumberjack." "Do you know him?" "No, I never seen him before, but he's a lumberjack." that was the case. I let the guy come in. Yeah, he was a lumberjack."But she knew, from seein lumberjacks, y'know, and I forget the rest of the story but he got to know the fellah and then he kept track of him too. But there was a difference. No, a lumberjack, he wouldn't 30 down along the track and get in the jungles, yeah. No, Spokane was the headquarter? for the jacks, know. And I don't know what they done, shack up I guess. Two or three of em get together. Oh there'd be a percentage- of em, it might be sill but there'd be a percentage of the jacks that would save their money so they'd have a little money. They wouldn't it away. And they'd generally be pretty generous about helpi.i another was broke if, y'know, he was a fair sort of a guy. Probably fay him back if he could.
SAM: Do you have any idea about why nine lumberjacks out of ten or better fromwhat the lumberjacks tell me just blew in and that was the end of thdr year's earnings? I meai, have you got any idea why it was just so pervasive that money just went like that and there wasn't savings? Was it that they really didn't care about makin money in a way or.
JH: Well, they cared about makin it but they wanted to spend it. And theywere generally people that flidn't have any ties, they woe single to start with and probably lost most all ties with brothers or sisters, or any family. And I don*t it seemed to be a thing of the nature of most of em that oh yeah,in the woods they'd say they would knit their socks and wear their clothes until they were threadbare and all those things to save everything they could. But it keeps workin on em. And the bosses would know certain ones that would get on edge, y'know, and cranky, mean. They knew that that^certain guy had to get out. And he'd get out and he'd go and have himself - Big drunk. And when it vas all over and he was dead and borrowed all he could and spent it he'd go back to work and do the same thing over again. Same old cycle.I dont know why but that's the life of the lumberjack. Of course I'm not talking about a hundred percent, but the big majority. That's what they worked for. (Chuckles). Well, he'd be a pretty big shot, y'know. Get and "Timber", say it loud, y'know. Everybody'd race up to the bar to get their drink. And a lot of them themselves say "That foolish guy, y'know." And still they'd take his drink."Well," they'd say,,:if he wouldn't buy it for me it'd be someone else.- But generally speaking about what they oed they were fairly honorable. And they'd get back to work. Oh yes, that's one t^ing they had to do, a must with em. They %$i to tay those debts,y'know. They'd get to work and they'd have to work quite a while to up what they'd borrowed on their last drunk. They'd always get ttft paW, they'd seen to that. cause they knew if they didn't they couldn't borrow it from the same people again. So they'd get that paid off and do it all over again. Well, there's no more lumberjacks around this part of the country. I don't if there are anywhere else or not. There are sure none around here, The lumberjack now is a young married mm with family. Drives his car as close to work as he can. And he's got a power saw and h* s drivin a cat or a loader or a truck or somethin like that. They tell me a lot d! them in the woods nowadays don't hardly know what or a peavey is because of so much machine work. But those power saws, I guess they knock down more loga than eight or ten sawyers ould, maybe more.
SAM: When you're talkii about times changing it makes me wonder when you werefirst there in Bovill, when you first came, did they talk much about the old days then, I mean Bovill was twenty ysars old then.
SAM: Did they talk about the start of the town and vhat it was like back then.
JH: Oh yeah, yeah. sure. I know one woman, well, she was working for Bovillsthat the town was named after because the town was on part of their--I guess it would have been a homestead maybe. But she was just working there. And she said that this place here was where the boats used to tie up. Well, that's before the railroad ever come through. And so there's a big meadow there. And for a lot of the year, spring and fall, I guess, it was covered with water where the boats used to tie up. Well, when the railroads come through it split that, y'know, and thatand channels were formed. Oh yes, I've heard them talkin about goin right through Bovill when Bovill wasn't hardly anything, just sombody livin there and go around to Collins which'd be probably two and a half miles north of Bovill. There was a post office there. And it went tight "ttfrmrgh Bovill. But then later Bovill became the post office. And I thiik at that tine the mail probably used to come out of Troy because that railroad, the Northern Pacific^went to Troy quite a number of years ago. I just when. And I think that was the rail head. Palouse is quite old too. I don't know what but Palouse was Northern Pacific as well,y'see. would been. Palouse there with the rails sometime before there ever was a Troy.
SAM: Yeah, I think thatfe true. It was in the 1880's. Did people talk about theearly days in Bovill, like the days before prohibition had come in there?
JH: Oh yes, yeah, there was a. . .You know, they'd pint out to you where thesaloons used to be. They weren't on Main Street. They were mostly on the back street. was the same block but on the other part of the block. So the saloons were mostly along there, had quite a number of em. Oh I that would have been the real days.(Chuckles) To have seen things there. Because the woods--oh they were logging right back at Bovill one time, and the logging camp just about there in the park. I don't , you've talked to some of those younger people up there though, like maybe the Cranes.
JH: I couldn't probably supply too much either.
SAM: I was just curious about the kinds of things that they used to tell aboutit when you hadn't been there very long. I was wondering was sort of tradition sort of had ccne down fromthose early years.
JH: Well, when I first went there the logging wasn't too far out of Bovill.You could walk out to a logging ramp easily, three or four miles. Of course those saloons. And there were some businesses that had, I guess, been pretty good but had closed out then-"a clothing store and a few things like that. And they had quite a lot of business there at one time. Well, you have to have a little of everything, y'know, when there's, you couldn't get in or out for so many months in the fall, winter and spring. In those days they had a doctor there too and a hospital. He didn't amount to misch but still for all it was a hospital and a doctor. There was only one doctor there, didn't matter what it was, he had to do it.
Kinda too bad that he didn't know more about it but he would havto go at it, y'know. He certainly wasn't stingy with the knife, that Dr. Gibson. Good doctor, good fellow, all that. Well, they'd drag somebody in there, my gosh, y'know, you got to try . save his life. And if cuttin his leg off would do it, well that's what you do. I imagine that he cut off many, many legs that nowadays wouldn't have to be done. Ke didn't hesitate to saw off a leg. He said to me one time, he says,"I'm not stingy with a knife. I guess he wasn't.
SAM: Did they ever talk about the oldmanagement people? Bill Deary, was he goneby the time you got there?
JH: Yeah, I never seen him. He was probably the first general manager 'A thatarea for that Potlatch Lumber Company, I think he probably was. Well, there was a story about him, that's before the railroad, the WI and M Railroad , the Potlatch Mill or anything was established there. The Weyerhaeuser people were all out in this area and the plans were formulated to put in a mill but they didn't know just where. And some of them had thought about Moscow, some of the Weyerhaeuers. And because there were two railroads there at the time anyway, the Northern Pacific and Union Pacifc was there. I don't think that Inland Empire was in there yet. Butthey; had a hot room in Moscow where the board of directors of the Weyerhaeuser people were all out there from St. Paul, that's where headquarter there. And this Bill Deary he was out around town scoutin on around and he come back to the rooms that they had and were holdin this meeting.
JH: He hung around town and of course he was down on the totem pole a ways, y'know,these guys, the Weyhaeusers that the vote meant something. And he got back in the room there an' it seemed liked they'd decided that that's where they we e going to have the mill in Moscow. "What ?" he says, Moscow? rhere isn't water enough in thes town to baptise a Baptist bastard!"(Chuckles). And hf threw down whatever he had in his hands and that's all he said. And they didn't put the mill at Moscow. They got it over there in Potlatch on the Palouse River. That was quite true. Thre was no water in Moscow and 4 I don't know why those people ever about that, but after he said that knew. they had the railroads. But it was only ten miles up from Palouse to Potlatch to build a railroad. And the logs come down that draw just as well and better than they could through Moscow. But I guess he was quite an old guy I don' t know how long he was general manager there tie had doTe pioneer work.
SAM: I was wondering about the CCC's and what you remember about them.
JH: Oh, that was quite a deal. There was no work, of course, around thare nothingso that Potlatch Company was shut down tight. And there wasn't a speck of work. And I think that must have been, let's see, early summer of '33 I 'hink the first that in there. And y'see, was elected in November of Yeah, I think it was about May or maybe June of '33. And oh they sire crowded up that branch. I think it was eight passenger trains in one day, and they were long passenger trains, sleapin cars on all of them. These CC's had come that route and mostly from New York and New Jersey. And they just got bout the woods. It was all under the United States Army. And they were regular army men too that was handling it that year. Later they were, oh, reserve people. it was regular army captains and what not the first year. And oh yeah, the camps, oh probably as many as five. They was right around here say stone's throw Bovill and five or six miles out.
SAM: How did these kids take to the woods?
JH: Oh, a lot of them quit--, y'know. They'd never seen woods before. Butsome some, you know, stayed on. But th?re was many of them going back. Every day there was some of them. But when they'd quit they'd get transportation home. Oh, I remember the first day that they ever came in there. And then this was sort of late in the evening but daylight. And a whole bunch of them w^s over there on Main Street And a, kid, he reached down and he touched the sidewalk. Well, it was concrete sidewalk there on Main Street. That was about the only cement there was in town. It was tiere and he looked at another kid and he says,"Cement! Cement!" It was strange yall had ideas, y'know, that when they got out to this stop that they was really, really in the wilderness electric lights and cement sidewalks.
(Chuckles). they set up those camps and they hired a lot of people anundBovill for overhead; say, what would they call em—not gang leaders. But oh, they'd have to have a man with every five or six of those young fellahs, you know, whatever they were doin. They had another name for that. And then they had to have foreman and they had to have superintendents, that was all civilian. But that took up a lot of the slack inthe unemployment.And then' our young fellahs they couldn't join em that year. Acouple of years later they could, one year later, maybe. But oh yes, some of those lads,and some of them stayed there, y'know and got married. But oh, ninety-five of them were through well for the season, they all went back. Then just as many trains up that branch again to haul em out as they did to bring em in. My lad! Those train,y'know, just a couple hours behind each other. It was an awful on the railroad.
SAM: Was there a lot of jokes floatin around about these greenhorns thatdidn't know anything about what they were about?
JH: Oh yeah, sure. Yeah, that's always the case, y'know. But there was alot of those lads, those CC Isds that had never had a job, ever, y'know. They didn't know what it was to work for anybody'cause they'd never had any jobs. And some of them just couldn't become accustomed to being told what to do. And oh, some of em only be there a few days and away they'd go. And others stayed on pretty good. And there was a lot of good lads in that bunch, y'know. I guess they were all pretty much all right. I kinda felt sorry for the negroes. They had, I don't know how many, but not too many, maybe twelve or fourteen. But they kept those all in one camp. But they wouldn't let em come in to town. They couldn't come to Bovill because the overhead said that Bovill was too sm ill a town. But oh, I don't think tney done it once a week, they'd take a truck and they'd take the whole bunch of them to Moscow. And I think there was a CCC Camp right on the edge of Moscow and that's probably where they housed em overnight and then they'd brins em back. As far as they couldn't come in there at all. And that was the only reason that I ever heard given was it was just too Pinal 1 a town to turn that many loose. my wife and I and another couple was invited out to this particular camp one Sunday where the negroes were held. And they were just settin there eating at one table and they didn't seem to want to talk to anybody at all. Well, I guess you couldn't blame em. I didn't, I felt sorry for em but I didn't know what to do about it. Well, they'd eat and just as soon as chey got through eating they all disappeared back into their quarters it was. But they didn't have any trouble. I don't think they any trouble in Moscow either. I never heard of any if they did.
SAM: That's too bad.
JH: Yeah, yeah that was bad.
SAM: Did you ever know any negro lumberjacks beside- be Veils. Do you know ofJoe Wells at
JH: I know of him, y'ste, but again, Joe Wells was ahead of my time. ButChuck Wells, and I guess Chu-ck was his son, but older than I am. He was around, in fact I knew him quite well. They lived out there, y'know, just a half mile or a mile out from Deary toward Bovill. I heard they were, and I don't know if it'd be true about that Joe Wells, Let's see. This was in but it's Deary before Deary was a town. It was kind of a half-way house there, and I guess it was supposed to have been in Deary though. But fellah that house told me this was a real, honorable, truthful fellrh. And tiis was ahalf-way and Joe and maybe his wife was kind of running it or at least he was workin there or 3omethin. But there was one fellah that got unuly there and a fight started and they were both down there on the floor. But this Billy that was tellin me, and Joe was on top And he lifted his fist like that to drive one at this guy's head and the guy seen it comin and he just shoved his head out of the way of the fist in time. And this Billy says,"That fist of Nigger Joe (that's wh?t they called him) went right down through the floor! Andit was an ordinary floor."Well sure it was probably only single boards but he said,"His firt went right down through thar1 floor. Now that's how strong he. He was an awfully strong man. It was sure lucky for guy because if that blow had ever hit him." No, I can't really, putting my mind to it, it does seem that I did see Nigger Joe but I don't know.
SAM: What about Chuck? I heard he was a pretty strong fellah too.
JH: Oh, no doubt.But I never heard anything like.
SAM: DM he log for a livin?
JH: Oh, I suppose he did at times but more or less probably on his own, agyppo deal, you know. You get so much a thousand for gettin in some logs. He lived down there, oh I don't know, it's probably half-way between Deary and Helmer he had a place. And he couldn't raise anything there. I don't know, he may have had a little livestock but I don't think he workeo in the woods very much but would Oh, his wives, I don't know, he had two or three of them divorce him, run away from him and what not.
SAM: Kare his wives negro?
JH: Yeah, they were all negroes. But I don't think they were able to getalong. And Chuck used to drink pretty heavy, I know that. He wound up his last days in the nursing home in Moscow. Yeah.What kind of a deal did you have yesterday with Joe Maloney and Dan Murphy or did you?
SAM: I did.
JH: used to, I thine it at that time probably five cent beer. But he'dgive em dmost meal with it. There was a lunch there; there was crackers and cheese and what not. And so they co'ild go in there and fill up on that. Oh, I first come to Spokane I into that urKin place avd little Jimmy was quite an old man then, and I noticed the times that I was there, not too ir any, but just killin time in there. And he come in and right behind the " in the front window, he had a little raised platform there ta9 a chair. And that's where he'd be. And he always wore a straw hat whether it was winter or summer or otherwise he had a straw hat on. But nil the jacks he knew, old Jimmy Durkin. I guess he done pretty well in a day. In fact, that place no doubt has been demolished for quite a while. If it hadn't a been Expo surely would have taken it out. That street'11 never took the same again but it's all for the better.
SAM: About the school there. I see that you were head of the school boardwhen they had a school, and I was wondering a little bit abat the school leaving Bovill, the high school leaving and how that came about, and whether that was a blow to the town?
JH: Well, it was during the consolidation of school movement that was on allover the state at the time. And yes it was and the town was quite divided abr it it. There was some that thought, "Well, I guess we don't have the poulation enough, student population to really maintain the school." And then e others thought,"Yes, we did have." One of the plans was that* Ek River come to Bovill. However they're irii different county but that could be done too if they were willing. And Clarkia was wanting and beggin to come. And we thought that about Helmer could come into Bovill. Well, that would have made it a good-sized school. And then Deary and Troy could have gone down there, whatever they wanted to do. So there was quite a division of thought in Bovill, what to do. But then, oh there was a board, county board to evaluate and recommend.what schools dc consolicrte. And that was what they came up with was Bovill. There was kind of compromise thore too. But it -wound up with Bovill, Deary, Troy world be together in one district. Troy would be the seat of government. Deary would maintain the high school as long as it was feasible to. Bovill, grade school only. But then the school building, it was a brick building, three story, and oh that building looked just as nice on the outside the day it was built. But the floorr. were sagging, I don't know, I never was satisfied that that building couldn't have been renovated and repdred. But they had different architects look it over and come up with appraisals of what it would cost to do all this. the floors all sagging, cheaper knock it down. so that's what happened. And we had a bond election there to build a new grade school. And there was quite a lot of interest to try to do that too because they didn't think that the district would vote 59 do it. But they did and by quite a good-sized plurality. 3o they have a grade school. But that would have been a pretty good set up. And now, you see, Elk River, why their school population is so few you that iP it wasn't for the federal grants that they get because of being able to qualify as--I forget rhat they call it. There's a name for it. It comes under that category of school districts, the unfortunates 5ctttu$kand all that. Distress area I blieve long as maybe they call it. That doesn't new quite the right name, but as they keep gettin this federal grant they can keep that school going but that could quit any year, just any year. And if it does it's a long ways to transport those kids to probably Orofino. And you know yen don't have that kind of highways through there either.
SAM: Did the town of Bovill vote to consolidate?
JH: They didn't have a vote. Let's see now, the whole area voted. And they come tothis compromise arangement about Troy, Deary, Bovill. And then the whole area voted. And it was carried that that, whac to be done. But that was on the recommendation of these five. I forget what the title they carried. I think t'tey were people that were by the state superintendent of schools. I do believe. What did they call it? Asbury and Asbury, I believe that's the name of the plan that hired specialists to work up the county and see what was best.
SAM: And this was after the war that this happened?
JH: Yes, but it seems just after.
SAM: Did it have much effect on Bovill to not have a high school there?
JH: Oh, I don't knw that the town would otherwise. It certainlyhasn't since. It may have, you know5 been a better town had the high school remained. And I guess there would have been some more people would have stayed there but really no great change because it wasn't a long distance to transport the kids just to Deary, you know, ten miles. So I don't know but. Now Deary to be along a little bit every year and a little bit better town. And Bovill is just going to go the other way. School has something to do with it. Atry to move the high school out 01 Troy, like to consolidate with Moscow, you'd have to do it over a lot of dead bodies in Troy. Yeah. But I don't know, they had an awful battle there, for yearsy build a new school. One time they thought they had it pretty well settled about half-way out there between Troy and Deary and that fell through. I don t think that would have been very good anyway, y'know. Everybody would have had to have been transported then. And no incorporated town out there, no facilities, no water, nothin. You'd have to have a custodian day and night the year round. So I guess it wasn't but for a while they thought,"Yeah, the answer." Because some towns have, you know, when they couldn't agree they'd finally half-way.
SAM: If you looked at Bovill's past is there any time that you thirk wouldstand out as being the best time for the town?
JH: Well before the Depression. I would say that, yes, alongprobably in about '29 was quite abanner year. There was a lot of things going on, afot of woods work,and the Potlatch Cowptay built quite along piece of railroad into the country. And they had those contractors that graveled it. I guess they built it, crushed rock on it, activity around there. Everybody workin. Things were goin fine but bdST of course as you know that's the year of the stock market. No that didn't happen till did it? '29 was the boom year. So '29. That would have had to have been that spell there that was the best activity around there. Businesses was goin pretty good. Lots of employment, put gravel on a lot of the streets for Bovill gravel on the higway. Oh, tell you (Chuckles). But after the Depression it never,never lfeally came back. Of course during the war everything was filled up there hardly get room but war the case everywhere. Those merchants you know, anybody that had anything to sell during the war they really had it made because you didn't have to . All you had to do was try to buy some goods, you'd get some goods in your stcre and it'd go just like that. Yeah. Well, I hope we don't have another Depression that last one. But some that are talking, they sav,"I don't know. "The stock market is goin down, down, down down. Tonight's news it's under the seven hundred mark. Now I don't know how they evaluate those figures but starting with a thousand, now it's down under seven hundred for just so far this year.AIt means that a third of the value is wiped out in the last year. I don't know, I figure it isn't going to make or break me but that's was caused the trouble in the other one.
SAM: I'm wondering, how did you wind up doing so many civic things around Bovill?How all these different responsibilites?
JH: Well, one things leads to the other. The very first, outside the railroadwas village clerk. And then the next thing that I took on was secretary treasurer of tlfie highway district just because it became available and that they'd give me the job, thoy said,"Well, you're in a good position. You're accounts, handle "Wus, And now, tilt's just the way it goes. know, it's so much easier to be a big frog in a little puddle than it is a little frog in a big pond. (Chuckles). Well, yeah and then of along. Well, let's get a justice of the peace here now. Justice of the peace, wel1 how about it? You let ydt name go on a ballot and yafre elected and then you've got that. keeps on. Oh you're in a good position do it. Kind of interesting too when you get into those things, you know, you kinda like it too. Then oh, I was city clerk there for twelve years. Then I was on the And then I was till on the Kouncil but then mayor for a while. All in all in twenty years wivh the village.
SAM: Did you get any insight in the time in what makes a small town like Bovillrun? How it runs?
JH: Oh well, I don't know just how you mean now. How or why?
SAM: Oh no, it's gotta run, but I mean how things do get done?
JH: Oh well sure, you know, you know how much money you're going tc get beforeyou get it. And you figure your Have to have a budget and go by it. And that's about the only way you can do. your taxes won't be all paid but the tables, the percentage that's based over the years you know abo t how much you've got. So you know nretty well You have a fixed income and you can only spend 30 much. Oh it's kinda easy to run financially. Sure there's sometimes, you know, like to have a policeman, should Well, if you don't have the money don't nave police. You just can't spend more than yov take in, those first years we it wasn't hard to balance the budget. And had to pay off. When we got that paid off then we had a little more to s And that highway district too. It wasn'tibad. When they formed that higway district about 1920, I guess, bonded the district. But the bonds were issued they could not be redeemed until a certain date. And at oretty high interest too. They could not be redeemed. Oh they went you know, payin the interest but not accumulating anything, in fact I tnink it was unlawful at the time too. You couldn't levy more than what money you needed. then all at once here these bonds start comin due ind your interest as well. We couldn't pay em, we paid a few, yeah. And then we got fcig stockholders together and re-issuea the bonds at a lower rate of interest and out another years but with the provision that you could pay em off anytime you wanted to. Well, we got those paid off but while obing it, you know, couldn't do hardly any work at all. Just prepare is all you could do. And get those bonds out of the then you started gettin a few No, it isn't too hard to figure out. Oh, always in a , you know, there's difference of opinion and it's good that there b. And no matter what you do, you know. But you know that before -du start. You're not going to satisfy everybody. If you satisfy the majority, why that's pretty good.
SAM: Did very many people take an active interest in the running of the townor was it a few who did it?
JH: Oh every election, of course thered be new names that would run for election,but sometimes more than likey old Heads would be elected to keep on. But, oh yes, they took an interest because every once in a while there'd be petitions and you'd have to do this and do that. And well, call a general meeting and explain you know And it always comes back to what you going to pay we can raise your watery Oh no, we're payin too damn much now ( Chuckles) the only thing we could do in the village in the years was raise the water rent. And when it'd come to the fall - we'd levy the taxes, what, nobody wanted to spend any more taxes and you didn't blame em. everything, but it's always been that way.
SAM: Do you remember wfit anybody war tioning about? What any of the thirpswere that were desired?
JH: Well, there was one there about hard-topping some the streets. Therewas a petition about that. But the ones that they had no idea of the expense of it. And then where are you going to do it? You just can't pick out certain streets in a small town, you know, and do somethin. And some Ohh, why didn't they do that to my place?" And so as far as hard-toppin Bovill, no, all the e is is that main drag and that is generally known as the business district) downtown. The only got that doae was the state one time see, the state highway goes right through Bovill, and they had their equipment and everything there. state can do work like that if it's adjacent to their work. And it'd be at cost. So we got our main street's business district hard-topped by the state and just at cost But they couldn't have there'd been a separation, a quarter of a mile anything away from the highway. Why didn't you do it twenty years ago?"We just do it twenty years ago because the stste hadn*t hard-topped theirs there. (Chuckles) No, there was never any big things there "Nobody was ever thrown out of office there that I know of. Some wouldn't be successful in re-election. But I guess I was lucky, it nevtr happened to me. I was elected every time I run for somethin. But started off on those things retire and didn't want to be tied down.
SAM: Do you know when that town started to be a Democratic town? I've noticedthat it goes very Democratic in the elections nowadays.
JH: Where first Bovill it was the other way around. But I believe FDRwas the turning point. When F.D.R. was first elected because oh people were so bitter against Hoover. All they had against him was the Depression. That was bad enough. Oh Hoover. "Don't mention thename!" I believed for a whils there that they disliked Hoover worse than they before he got out. And Hoover kept on living, my golly, he £ot to be a pretty respectable guy before he died. I think some of them probably began to Realize that the man couMn't do anything about it. He was try. people around him knaw what to do„ And that what we're into now. This inflation, I'm sure nobody knows what to do about it. If they did they'd get started a doing it. But they just dofl^t know. And when you don't know yourself you can't go no.
SAM: I wanted to ask you one thing about F;tlatch. And that is, my impressionhas been from talking to a number of people there real mixed feeing about Potlatch. On the one hand there's a respect on other hand. . . Think the best way I can put the feeling that people seem to have is that they were cheap,you know, that they wouldn't give a guy any more than they absolutely had to. What your way of looking t that? Are both those things sort of true?
JH: Yes, they are. Now about the scaling logs. They could say your way andWell the correct way and then the Potlatch the Potlatch way is the way you've gotta go by. I don't know enough about saling logs because I never scaled any. But I've heard so many talk and even scalers working for the Potlatch that no, they don't believe in the system but it's the Potlatch system and if you're going to work for them that's what you gotta do. And the "There's so much there, you know it's by the thousands, most of the wcrk is by the thousands in the woods. And you've way take the scaling. And it sort of always has been that, and we call em cheapskates and what notjbut still they are a big outfit, y'see and the big reliable. And you know, quite a number of people aid worked or em and would get oeaved and quit and they'd g? for some small for a few years and then somethin come up there and pretty Soon you'd see him treking back to the Potlatch. So, yeah they continued to work for cm and still there wasn't that much love for the company because tney're big and oh, they can dictate, you know. They can control ya,and they If you don't like it go somewhere else. but I guess that would probably be true with any big outfit, maybe, I don't know, probably would. Yeah, it was Papa Potlatch.
SAM: Is that what they called it?
JH: Oh some, yeah, Papa Potlatch and he hears his mater's voice. That's whatthey'd say. Bet over the years you know they've kept up a pretty steady employment, periodic shut-downs that they have every year and that's all right too, I guess. They do it at the time of year. I wouldn't like that if I was working for em as a foreman or any of the overhead supervisors because while they^siut down im those spring months that's when they overhead has to take their vacations. Well, you know ordinarily you don't like to take a vacation in February and March. But that's what you gotta do, Became when the good weather comes they're going to be workin. So do they that,But of course they'd be paid vacations, I don't know what they'd get now. They rust get at least a month now of paid vacatim, maybe lore.
SAM: The overhead?
JH: Everybody. Well, no, I'll correct that say overhead because I dontthink the contract workers, no I don't think they^ that. But Im would sure of the overhead foremen and anybody up in there probably get a month.
SAM: I have one more thing that I want to ask you and that's the story of theclock here. How you came to get it and what you know about it.
JH: Oh, well of course the clock was, when I was agent to Bovill the clockwas installed. We hs.1 another clock and it went haywire and therysent it down to Potlatch. They had a jeweler at the time at potlatch. And he looked the other over,"No," he said,"it's just worn out? There's no need to try and do anything with that." Sov they got a new one that was one. I presume it was new, look? new. And they sent it up to Bovill. And it was there all those years—forty at least. And then when I retired and I told the agent,"Now, that's a clock and it hasn't been in many years hung up kinda high. The ceilings there in the depot were real high but I told em just hew I did it, easy job if you knew how to wind it."Yeah." Well, I was gore three months and when I got back to Bovill wne of the first things I done was go down to the depot and there the clock was stopped. And I said,"George, you didn't wind that clock." "No," he says,"and that's only half of it. I'm not gonna wind it." I says,"How come?" He says,"You're the only one that's ever wound that clock." Well, I realty hadn't thought of that myself but when I got to thinking back, yes, I was the only one that ever wound that clock. Because on my vacations, three weeks was the most I ever got and I would always wait till the first of the to get the monthly reports out of the way before I would go on vacation and then ar.- mze to be back before the end of the month to get them out. I'd wind the clock before I could go and when Z got back. "No," he said,"it's your clock." "Well," I said,"how do you know it is?" "Well," he says, said,'It's you clock.' "Well," I sad, "the WIM hasn't got all the say about this. The Milwaukee owns half of that clock. The WIM can't just give it to me." "Well," hefsay- , "I'll contact the Milwaukee. You come back in a few days to see what they say." So I come back in a few days or a week. "Okay," hasays,"I cleared with the Milwaukee. It's your clock. You better take it before someone else comes along and takes it." So, okay. I took the clock home and that's how I hppen to have it.When I sold the house Bovill and the wife of the people that bought it was lookin the house over and,"Of course," she says,"the clock'11 go with it." when And then she chuckles a little bit too- the seen my face."No," shf says, "I know I couldn't be that lucky." (Chuckles). So that's abaat the clock.
SAM: Had that clock been stopped before during the years you were at Bovill?
JH: I've never known it to. I've never known it to stop. No, I don't so.it was right. a little can of kerosene settin down there in the bottom. And just the fumes from that is all the lubricatbn that that clock needs. If you try to even the finest of w^ch ail, if they have such a thing, I suppose they do? it would still be too heavy and it would get gummy. Just the fumes of that kerosene is just all the lubrication that needs. And that's been doin it for many, many years. But I'm sure it's the kerosene that does it. And it does keep good time. If you was to call on that phone and it with that you'd just be within a very, very few seconds, I know. Well, that's how I have the clock.
JH: I wasn't goof in off. is was, it was on a Saturday. And I had to cashierand I had to baggageman. And this fellah was sheepman. And had about eight carloads of to load and get on this train that left at 1:45. Well, this train was also the mail train, see, and passenger. And they had a connection at Palouse that theywanted to make because if you don't get the mail through, well, y'know, pretty scon maybe you won't have the contract so that's important. But this day this sheepman watched them unload. Some days and nobody knows why, some days those sheep can have one sheep go up, especially in the top deck, y'see was two decks. On the lower deck they go up pretty good. But the upper deck, it's a little higher and they'll take a of sheep up there, know. And there were others that were afrad. They' get up there p,srt way and they'd stampede back down. And why, you almost have to carry em in till you get a certain number in and then in they'll come. But then there's other days that they'll walk right up there. Nobody knows why that is. And they do it the same way each time. But there's days they'll just go up fine and there's other days they fight, get in those Well, these guys were workin out there, all of em and the section crew was workin too and they wasn't suposed to, it was the sheepmen that was supposed to load those sheep. But we had a section crew around there, workin around the yards that day and I asked the foreman, "It's gonna be tough," I said,"gettin those sheep loaded and get em out because you'd load a car and then you'd have to move it by hand. Well, they have track movers and bars and what not, you know. Yu have to move it up, then get another empty in there. And they were loadin so slow this day, so slow and all it was on a Saturday. And this man, he had to get permission to those sheep in, y'know, and he'£ been in an awful fix, util Monday.
No feed there, he'd have to've taken em back out and he'd haveto get permission from people and a lot of damage is done, gardens and what not. So to be certain I was out there helpin, the baggageman, the cashier was helpin. They were all, you know, tryin to get those sheep out. And well, this Gamble, he called me,"How are they comin?" "Well pretty good now. I don't think it'll be long." "Well, you can hold maybe twenty minutes more." "Okay." I knew that twenty minutes was not enough, they couldn't possible be done twenty minutes. "And call me back." So I called him back,"No, there's still three or four car to load ." "Well, we can't wait," he says," you turn that loose at" and he gave me a time. It was 2:20 or 2:30, whatever it was. He says,"You turn that train loose at 2:307 we'll say. Well, I was about twenty-seven years old then, I suppose. And the conductor was right there aside of me. And I took the clearance that the conductor has to have before he can leave on and I just folded that up and put it in my pocket and started out to the sotckyards which is just at the end of th? depot. Conductor just grimnin, on him because he couldn't go until he had that clearance. And oh, I'll tell you, we worked like slaves out there. And I never went back into that cfpot, didn't report of nothin. And we the last sheep loaded and got em out of there. When I got back in of the phone was a-ringin and knew it would be, you know. And,"Couldn't get ya." "No, I wasn't in here." "WrnH did the train get out?" I said, "Just now, I can still see it goin." He said,"Didr't I tell you to turn that train loose at 2:30?" I said,"You sure did, Mr. Gamble." Zingo! Dovm the receiver went. And I really thought, "Well, I guess come Monday I'll be out of a job." But know when you're that young you don't worry too much about it. And I knew I could do the work somewhere else if I couldn't work there. So all right, Monday, the passenger train comes in, Mr. Gamble is the first one to step off of the came in. My baggageman and cashier was out there workin the tiain, which they always did. I stayed inside and he came in and we talked about everything under the sun. politics and baseball but he never once mentioned the sheep(Chuckles). Not a word was said about that train Saturday. Of course I was really thankful. And I wasn't about the bring it up. But he never said one word. I stayed late that night to be sure, and I'd made a few phone calls though to Palouse. And I had the assurance that they would hold for that connection, y'see. I knew that. And I had worked at Palouse before and for that railroad. And I thought I could depend on em, you know. And sure enough that train went through, the sheep moved, the connection was made, the passengers made the and everything. And besides we made a little money, y'know with eight carloads of sheep. And satisfying customer, you might get his next sheep for the next year. Well, 1 guess over the weekend Mr. Gamble, thought about that, y'know, a little bit. And well, everything worked out all right. So he never said a word, not one word. And I was really--He would have been justified. He actually would have en justified. If you can't take orders you can't work here. And he'd have been justified in doing it. But I was so set in getting those sheep out that nothing was going to stop me, and it didn't.
SAM: On the Monday morning train.
JH: I thought it was. However, he used to come up, , about once a week,you know. Sometimes it'd be a couple of weeks. He'd be away soltimes. Oh, he didn't come up that often. No, I thought it was a little rare. But on the other hand I sort of expected him. I really expected hirn. But I'm telling you, I was so astonished because he was so nice about everything. We talked about business, we talked other things too. We taltcei about eveirythin but what had happened Saturday. Not a word.
SAM: I wonder if he had decided in his mind for sure before he got up there andtared to you what he was going to do?
JH: Oh, oh I'm sure he did. I'm sure that y'see he had the rest of the dayand all day Sunday an1 half a day Monday. Oh, I'm sure when he seen thrt that train got and made the connection and another thing the train being late didn't cost him a penny of overtime for the train crew and I don't know whether they still have it or not had an deal. They paid em ten hours for a day's work if they worked over five. If you worked over five hours you get paid for ten. So they always tried to get their work done in seven or eight hours, never worked the ten, but they paid em forjten. But if you worked the f'ill ten you got no mors1 than if you'd worked five and a half hours.So it never cost him a penny extra for train crew and engine crew. And thar: connection made, the sheep got on their way, and the mail went through, rssengers went through, everything. So he had all that to think about, know. And, money that came from it.
SAM: He' took a big gamble.
JH: He did, but youknow it's different. I wouldn't have donethat same thitg twenty-five years afterwards, no. But. I don't suppose I would. at that time I did. But you see I had a good reason to think that everything would work out all right as far as malfcin that connection down there. Because those people told me hold. Of course anything happened on the w^ydown, if there'd a beef^ a de-railment or a delay, you know, an hour more. No, they couldn't have held because that train, Palouse, had to Spokar-e by a certain time make the connections, y'see, for passenger for the east, but everything worked. No, he was justified though. If he'd a told me, "Well, that's it, sorry." I would have said,"Okay." But I wouldn't have worried about a job because I knew I could do the work and I'd worked for the Great Northern before ard they told me,"Anytime you want to come back we'll have a place for you." I'd have to start a new man, of course. We it makes a difference in your age. And I owned my house in Bovill, too, I'd bought it and paid for it. But it didn't mae any difference.
1:00 - Nicknames given to different workers; Boarding houses in Bovill; Watts shooting the chain apart when the high line jammed
Direct segment link:
10:00 - The deep muddy streets of Bovill in the spring; the Bovill gym improved the basketball teams.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Regular trains that went through Bovill. Potlatch Company railroad crews. Length of trains and cars, then and now. Declining maximum work time; time figured by one hundred miles as a regular work day, with "inch and-a-half" for overtime. Switching in and out of stations. Daily delay report had to account for every minute of stopped time. Joe's salary and express commission in 1925. Size of freight train crew.
30:00 - Stories from the railroad crews; advantages to working for the railroad compared to woods work; trouble staying awake on trains; lack of time off
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: A conductor tells Joe that a brakeman persuaded him not to murder the engineer he hated. The conductor is in charge of the trains. A WI and M brakeman ribs a brakeman from the Milwaukee. Advantages in job security of railroad work compared to woods work; in fact for years old-timers on the railroad wouldn't retire. His wife's uncle, an engineer, tells how his whole freight crew would fall asleep, and once went eight miles past a station before waking up. Troubles staying awake on trains, and lack of time off.
Direct segment link:
53:00 - Grocery getting stuck with a winter's supply of groceries for another family; Different nationalities in Groh household
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Missing a train. A man who gets on a train in Bovill and falls asleep while it’s switching, gets off before it leaves, thinking he's in Potlatch. Joe closes the boxcar door behind a shaky hobo at his request. A conductor forgets to let a hobo out of a locked car, but he escapes with a jackknife. The Bovill hobo jungle near the depot was enticing to Joe; how they got food to eat. Hoboes kept on the move.
Direct segment link:
75:00 - Some lumberjacks saved money and helped others while others spent their money; all the lumberjacks are gone
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
88:00 - Doctor Gibson did all the doctoring; Bill Deary tells Weyerhaeuser were mill should be located
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
92:00 - The Civilian Conservation Corp comes to Bovill in 1933; Joe felt sorry for the American-Americans
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: The CCC's. Eight long passenger trains of CCC's arrived in Bovill one day in 1933. Many quit and went back. One kid was shocked by the cement sidewalks. They gave employment to local men to supervise the boys, for many of whom it was their first job. He felt sorry for the Negroes, who were kept in a single camp and not allowed to go to Bovill; he sees that they kept to themselves in camp.
Direct segment link:
106:00 - Durkins in Spokane was very popular with the jacks, and gave free lunches with nickel beer.
Direct segment link:
107:00 - Joe as head of the school board and controversy of school consolidation; discussion of 1970s school controversy
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: When Joe was head of the school board, just after the second world war, there was much conflict in Bovill over the issue of school consolidation. Some favored maintaining the high school with kids from Clarkia and Elk River, which still are in trouble. Joe believed that their three story brick building could likely be saved by repairing the buckling floors, but it was torn down. Since Bovill lost its high school on the basis of a county study, the town has gone down. Current school controversy.
117:00 - When Bovill's best years were; how in 1929 a lot of things got done; getting goods to sell was key during World War 2
Direct segment link:
120:00 - How Joe got different responsibilities within Bovill city government; Discussion of town politics; how main street got paved by the state
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: One responsibility led Joe to another: starting with village clerk, then secretary-treasurer of highway district, justice of the peace, councilman. Running the town on tax money. Bonded indebtedness of the highway district hampered improvements. Petitions were met with lack of money; one was for hard topping streets. Tax money came through raising the water rate, which wasn't popular. How Main Street got paved by the state.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Attitudes towards Potlatch. Scaling "your way, the correct way, and the Potlatch way." People who left Potlatch often came back. Most workers don't have much love for the company, because they're big and can dictate. Poppa Potlatch. The "overhead" get their vacations when Potlatch is shut down in late winter.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: One Saturday everybody at the Bovill depot was trying to load sheep on a train. The animals were fighting and the train was falling way behind schedule. Joe ignored W. J. Gamble's (the general manager) orders to release the train before it was loaded and was prepared to lose his job. Only he didn't.