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Latah County Oral History Collection

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

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Date: June 22, 1978 Interviewer: Rachel Foxwell

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0:00No transcript available.

0:00 - Introduction

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1:00 - Baking with potato flour in Sweden. Prices of potato’s down, had extras and decided to make potato meal with excess. Describing process of building potato mill and creating potato meal. Got seventy-five cents per sack of potato starch.

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6:00 - Churned butter, traded it for groceries. In winter the cream looked pale. Grandmother advised to add some carrots shavings while churning the butter to add color back into the butter. Had to have permission from local court to sell butter, from food patrol, in 1917 or 1918. Needed to know who and how they made the butter. Put Crisco in the butter, called it margarine.

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9:00 - Mayonnaise. When it freezes, it separates and is very hard to mix back together. Made cakes out of mayonnaise; took one cup of (separated) mayonnaise, one cup of sugar, two cups of flour, used some baking powder and baking soda, salt it a bit, three-fourths of a cup of warm water, added chocolate. Had to pay five dollars to register the recipe to the mayonnaise company; ended up getting thirty-five dollars for it in the mail.

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13:00 - Get along with what you have, and change based on what you have. Used some beans to create pumpkin pie substitute, used the spices but still had different flavor. Had to be clever to survive. She would know how to make something based off of simple ingredients. Lived in remote areas.

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18:00 - Used inner bark of trees, peeled it and ground it, to make substitute flour.

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20:00 - Father-in-Law came to the US because he wanted an “adventure” of coming out to a new country; also wanted to escape the famine in Sweden. Was a lumberjack. After mill burned went to Minnesota. Came in the 1800s, before the railroads in Moscow. Book, The Trees Were Tall, John Miller, in the Bovill area.

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26:00 - Set up sawmill in Minnesota first, then he moved out to Troy. Had a prune orchard as well. Nazarene Church in the area. Three cents a pound for prunes, very low price. After Father-in-Law was done with the prune orchard and prune dryer, she and her husband took it over. Father-in-Law also had a brick factory going at the same time.

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32:00 - Town of Nora. Needed to cooperate with Troy and Deary, children needed to go to school and be educated. Turned Nora back into Farming. Moscow benefited more than any other place from farming. Not a fan of big companies coming in and taking over; makes it harder for younger people. Cuts out the smaller person that tries to make a living. Young people can’t start a family if they have nothing to make a living off of with the big companies.

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38:00 - Birds would eat seeds; coyotes ate many of the squirrels. Trappers getting leather and beaver.

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39:00 - How different the towns look; the Convention. Church is very active in the area. Grants. Senior Citizens need lots of help; meals on wheels. Firmly believes in helping the community. People that had a low Social Security are now getting bonuses.

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50:00 - Create memorial of the school. Brickyard in Troy. Father-in-Law came up with brick factory; tried to take clay in the yard and make brick, but realized it was firing clay. Started the brick factory to make fired brick. Pub Mill: put clay into hopper, mix it, fixed up the burner to burn the clay. Called White Crown Firebrick, then renamed Idaho Fire Brick. Claimed an orchard and homestead as well.

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58:00 - Father came to US first; both parents from Norway. Nothing to live off of in Norway, looking for work. Had an uncle who came out to the railroads; father and grandfather were sailors, ship-builders, and grandfather was captain. Father came to Iowa because he had an uncle there, her mother wanted him to quit sailing; she returned to Norway until he had a new job. When father had job on railroad, she came back to the US. Difficult travelling accommodations.

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73:00 - Women working at the mill, she was the only one. Lumber was dry. Native Americans looked for shop lumber, traded horses. Chief Joseph buried in Washington. Chief Joseph Senior and Chief Joseph Junior, confusion between the two.

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86:00 - Troy was originally named Volmer. Volmer was a greedy money lender, and when they couldn’t pay he took their homes. Not approved by the community, he became very wealthy, but he eventually moved to Lewiston. Community took over when Volmer left. Father became Justice of the Peace in 1918.

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89:00 - Made potato starch to sell for extra. Still had the Brick Factory.

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94:00 - Had to operate at a hospital because she had obstructions of large intestine. Most of the time people didn’t pay attention to illnesses, but it gradually became more serious. She was so sick she didn’t realize how serious it was. She had three doctors and several nurses operated on.

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104:00 - Travelling locally. Used horses mainly, road horseback to school, Troy for trading. She had a horse that if she let loose when she got to school, the horse would walk back home. Occasionally tied up her horse during school.

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111:00 - Chores. Regular wash day Monday, ironing Tuesday, scrubbing Wednesday, Thursday was free, Friday was baking for Saturday, and Sunday they went to Sunday school. Did lots of canning for the winter. Cellar had to be cool, made their own ice boxes.

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113:00 - Sawdust from the mill, used as fertilizer with food waste. Family practices, such as burning fields, using ashes as fertilizer.

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115:00 - Feel the need to replenish the trees that they cut down. Rotate crops. Father had several acres

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