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HATTIE WILKEN JOHNSON: Camerson area.
SAM SCHRAGER: Is that where you were born?
JOHNSON: I was born there. Let's see, there was Frank and Mary and Herman, hewas born before I was. They lived down near the Pine Creek and that was the ranch thai father §ot the homestead. When they went around and surveyed- those surveyors, they filed on some of and then he bought father and mother came from Minnesota. They came on a train they aame on the Great Northern. And the Northern Pacific, they came from Spokane and then they went down toward Genesee here, Eerry they came up on a boat to Lewis ton and from there up- they brought 'em up here on the hill. They got to Juliaetta and then came back up here on the hill.
SS: How did they know where they wanted to go?
JOHNSON: They talked to the brothers there. There's one homesteadon each side, where father's place. The Wachters, they wrote to him and told him that place, that he could finish up the claim there- what they called it? That land, you know, living on it-
SS: Not homestead?
JOHNSON: Yes, homesteaded it then. And the Wachter brothers, see there s oneon this side and the other one was on this side and they were in there and then for the others that went down to the Potlatch, there was another man had a homestead over there.
SS: Were they friends from back in Minnesota?
JOHNSON: Oh, the Wachters, they were from Germany, I think. Father came fromGermany to Minnesota in 1872. He and mother weren't married until 1876.
SS: Was she from Germany, too?
JOHNSON: No. No, she was born in Milwaukee. Her mother and her grandfatherProm boat they come started from New Orleans and they come on up the Mississippi River to Milwaukee, and she lived there til she was four teen years old. And then her folks moved to Dakota, or Minnesota across the right close to the Dakota line there, but they moved to Minnesota
SS: To do what?
JOHNSON: Yes- my father came- he didn't come until two years later and- afterMother, and they were there already. And then he came from Germany. Some old German folks there that he was acquainted with. And then they worked there and he didn't own any land, but he rented land and worked around there- '86 when he came here to Idaho and then he homesteaded the place and then of course he had his farm from there
SS: Where had your mother's people come from?
JOHNSON: My mother's people, they came from Germany, but just where, I don'tknow. My nephew's been trying to find out. Her mother had been mar ried before and she had one boy and a girl and her husband, he died with consumption and then she lost the little boy, too. And then her father was living here , and she said she just couldn't stand to live there in Germany. And she brought that little girl and her father and they came around by boat to New Orleans and that's where they came up the Mississippi to Milwaukee. And then she married this man up there. And he had one daughter, too, but they lived there Milwaukee til my mother was fourteen. were born too before that time, so I don't know-they must have came there about 18- oh, the '50's sometime, because Mother was born in I860.
SS: What year were you born in?
JOHNSON: That's quite a while ago, but then another year, I couldn't believeit that I came over here. I never thought how old I was til three years ago, it'll be three years this fall, I was up on my ranch here Peck, up the river you know, a And my husband passed away in 1950. But I had lots of friends. And my nephew here, he's writing the story about the whole Wilken family. And he's going And all way back, getting all the dates. He come up every fall, after his father passed away, that was my brother, and he came up, too. And then we went on a trip up to Montana up all through the Rocky Mountains every fall for about ten days or two weeks. We just took it all in. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed my place up there, I just had a big time. After my husband passed away, I just kept one cow and then"raised the cows, you know, the heifers. But I had chickens and all until I finally had pneumonia, the flu, you know that flu going around. And of course the neighbors said I shouldn't try to do that. But I lived there and raised a big garden and had lots of fun. (Chuckles)
SS: Can you tell me about growing up near Cameron. What it was like whenyou were a youngster?
JOHNSON: Well, we were all busy and all working; all the children they had toget in and help. But we went to school and we had a mile to go to school up at Cameron. And there were quite a few of the girls- that started school the same time that I did at Cameron. The old schoolhouse there. The real old one, but it was fairly old when they started to school. Well, we went to schoolfirst it was seven months of the year and then eight monfcbs, and finally nine monhts when we finished up there. And in the wintertime we put on our leggings -
SS: What was his first name?
SS: He made you study?
JOHNSON: Oh, yes. They had the classes and then in the morning - the firstthing was reading, and then spelling and arithmetic. We had that before noon and then we had geography, and then we got up into the A grades, physiology, history. And of course, we had along there, too. It was just everything and we had to take our books home and study I've still got the old geography, would you like to see it?
SS: Oh, sure.
JOHNSON: I brought some of the things, I haven't unpacked everything after Icame over here. years ago. So we stayed here til 1898, when they fixed the railroad to go on down.
SS: You mean the railroad was stopped because it was Indian land?
JOHNSON: They come up to here, that was Indian land and then they went back andPeople forth they a lot of that. Carrying grain up here or anything. People going to Spokane or any And it was after that, of course I wasn't old enough to remember that, but my sisters and brothers ,they told me that and they had big hotels down here, three of them. And my oldest sister was years older than I was. Of course, she worked out here. She was cook in the hotel, that after Iwas older that I remember, when she started, 1900, I was three years old in 1900. And Father and Mother, they were married twenty-five yers in 1901.A There were so many of those men here, you know, they were building the tracks, and then of course, they started building, they cut down the grade down there off the fridge and they got this got the TV gulch road up toward Cameron. And I can remember, i can just faintly remember I was just a little girl then, but of course I remember going in the buckboard, hanging onto the wagon.
SS: What was the ride like? The ride like from Cameron down here?
JOHNSON: Oh, it wasn't very good, it was a narrow road and then they had aturnout that out over the edge of the canyon, you know, it came through below our place. And they had floods up there, you know flash floods that's washed that out and the road's the same, but the road is good now that goes up there. But it was steep, you'd go around a especially if you was up on a grain truckor a grain wagon, not a grain truck. Four horses. And if you had a good driver up there that could keep fem—
SS: Was it scary for a little kid?
JOHNSON: Oh, it was scary. It was scary, I've come down there oh, when I wasabout eleven or twelve riding up on a grain wagon But there were lots of grain wagons come from there down to the ware houses from all the way up to way beyond there. They'd go down in the morning and most of 'em made two loads a day, and some of 'em made only one where they lived back further and maybe there'd be one and the next day there'd be two loads. And they had this chute, that was over in this corner where the and they'd chute it off the top of the grade, you know, way up there on the hill and chute it down to the warehouse.
SS: Did that come off Potlatch Ridge?
JOHNSON: Yes. It came off the Potlatch Ridge warehouse down below.
SS: How far was the top of the chute from Cameron?
JOHNSON: Well, where the chute was from Cameron, about three or four miles,on the other side of where we lived and then over, right along the top of the-
SS: To the chute?
JOHNSON: Yes, the chute was just in this corner, here when you go out you lookwhere the Potlatch makes that turn, it's right in there.
SS: About how big do you think that pipe was?
JOHNSON: There was no pipe. That was just ropes or wires, or whatever, I don'tknow it was, and then the wheat sacks would come down off of that pulley.
SS: Oh, it was on a pulley!
JOHNSON: The pulley would go down and then it would go back up empty and theyput all these sacks on and they'd just chute that.
SS: So it was just a pulley system?
JOHNSON: Yes. Have you been down from Lewiston down to. You knowthey used to have those chutes come down over the hill with the grain.
SS: I've never seen them. Did it work very well?
JOHNSON: Oh, just fine. Then they didn't have to come down this far with thegrain wagons. Four-horse grain wagons, they'd go down - up the grade then through Cameron and just around the top of the ridge. I've often thought about the dust, about knee deep. And then right around the corner, on the crossroads there, and one was through Kendrick, and all that dust come up there to the house.
SS: They went by both ways- you got the dust?
JOHNSON: Yes. They c me down from Cameron to here and then on down to Kendrickand the other one went this way and then that way. You ought to there.
SS: I'm going to. I don't know Cameron.
JOHNSON: Well, you should go up there. Of course Cameron isn't now what itused to be, but the church is up there on top of the hill. That's where the schoolhouse used to be, too. And there were a lot of people store. They had a blacksmith shop; they done lots of work up there.
SS: Blacksmith shop and then there was one general store?
JOHNSON: Well, it was a store and post office together, it wasn't just a generalstore. The postmaster he carried about everything we'd need there til we could go to Leland. And that was quite a store, they had I think two or three churches there and then others later on when I bees grew up. And Father used to raise lots of up there, too. He had up to fifty stands and he sold lots of honey, and ' in the comb and in the extracted honey, too.
SS: Was Leland a lot bigger than Cameron then?
JOHNSON: It was in time, but they didn't have a school at Leland or close toCameron. They had a school for quite a while, but then there was much many more people, they come and settled around Leland, and^it got to be quite a town. It was a bigger town. And they had two general stores they had a drugstore, blacksmith shops and hardware store and of course a general- you could buy anything there. They had a flour mill up there, Van Pelts. They ground the flour up there.
SS: Did your father take his wheat down to Kendrick or did he use the chute?
JOHNSON: No, I brought it down here, down to Kendrick with a wagonbecause we were right at the head of the grade. And he had an interest in this warehouse down here. He was a great fellow to, that is, as I look back, when he came they were building the roads- road overseer for many years, about twenty years up there and he'd go down to Lewiston when the commissioners met down there- at that the committee- the three commissioners, they included Orofino and here and then down at Lewiston. They picked up at Orofino, that was a new- that was the Idaho Oh, what is it?
SS: A separate county, you mean?
JOHNSON: Yes. A separate county, and thenAfrom here and down here at Lewiston.All around. And then the schools- we had, I think in this county there was fifty-six schools. And the superintendent, she'd make the rounds to all of them once a year.
SS: Did your father farm very much land?
JOHNSON: He had 160 acres. Of course, he raised a lot of things on that. Hadcows- well, all of it was in except for just a little canyon; it was all in farmland. Raised corn. He raised corn for the Lilly Seed Com pany. From Seattle, they sent the corn for him to raise that, kept it by itself- the best corn they had. Then the man from Lilly's he came to look it over. I was about that big and of course, I got to ride along out here to the fields when he up
SS: They used the corn for seed?
JOHNSON: They used the corn for seed. They took every bit of the corn thatwas husked, the Lilly's. They took that to their wherever they had the company, you know, they threshed 'em out, you know and then they sold seed.
SS: That's real interesting, but I thought that hardly anybody did growcorn here for their cash crop.
JOHNSON: They had it for a cash crop but mostly to grind it.
SS: So your father's corn was that good?
JOHNSON: That was the best corn, it was a new corn that they had. It was aspecial grade that they got and he grew twenty acres and of course, that was a lot seed.
SS: Did he raise that for many years for them?
JOHNSON: Not many years. I don't remember. He may have raised some more, butthat year I remember that especially, because they drove up. They had livery barns down here; two livery barns^and the men would drive 'em out and some of the men- the drummers, you know they'd go and make rounds for the stores.' And they'd usually go up about Monday morning, and of course, us kids'd be down there at the road to ride. To catch a ride. But the drummers down at the warehouse down here, they were thaones that would bring them up. And the fel low that came from Lilly's he got one of the rigs and he came up and he rode out and of course, I rode along with father, I was small- when I had a chance, you know. But I remember that just so well. Now that was in I imagine, in 1901, because my brother was just older than i was and Papa, they hoed all that corn by hand. You know with a hoe. And we little kids had to go and pull the weeds from around the corn stalks. So I thoroughly remember that. They paid him well for rai sing that corn.
SS: These drummers, did they go around to Southwick and all the —?
SS: And you would ride with them?
JOHNSON: Southwick and then came down around by Leland and over to and all the otherlittle towns was around the river here.
SS: You would ride with them?
JOHNSON: No, just to school.
SS: Oh, just to school.
JOHNSON: Just to school. They'd come up the grade and us to school atCameron. No, I wouldn't go any further. I didn't know whether I could make it if I had to do a little bit of extra work at home, we just had time to get up there in time for nine o'clock so we'd be up there. No, they went around and then they'd go around the other way through Leland and back down to Kendrick.
SS: What work were you supposed to do at home before school?
JOHNSON: Oh, we had to get out and bring the cows in or maybe after I got olderhad to help milk. We had to wash dishes and help in the house. There was always something. Bring in wood after we come home from school, alwavs chop the wood, we'd bring it in on the porch, pile it up. There was all chores, especially getting the dishes washed and everything that we could do before we'd start to school.
SS: Did you have work when you'd come home in the afternoon, too?
JOHNSON: Oh, in the afternoons? Yes, we had to get right in and get the woodin. And then bring home all of our books; geography was one of 'em. (Not this one, this is the advanced geography.) But we had to bring our homework because we had so many lessons that we had to learn them. After supper we'd wash dishes and do some more studying. And the week days we'd go to bed when the time come, couldn't stay up so much, we'd get up early in the morning. Friday evenings Father and the neighbors^ the men and the women, they'd come too and they'd card the wool and visit. And they'd play They'd sit in the kitchen. And of course, Mother- they had the livingroom. Father allow anybody to smoke in there.. They'd stay out there in the kitchen, the men could smoke out there and play cards. And then on Saturday eve nings though they had the the Angelus at sundown up at the church they'd ring that and of course after that we didn't do anything. We went to bed. Father said we had to go to bed so we'd get up early in the mor ning to go to church; Sunday School.
SS: They'd ring- what would they ring on Saturday evening?
JOHNSON: That was the bell up at the church on Saturday evenings. The Angelus.
SS: The Angelus.
JOHNSON: You've heard about that haven't you?
SS: I think so, but I don't remember.
JOHNSON: Yes, the Angelus. Well, it's when they ring the church bell.
SS: It brings in the Sabbath? The Sunday?
JOHNSON: Rings in the Sabbath coming the next day. It was about sundown. Ican remember looking and seeing the sun set. And Father would always of course after that, why, then we didn't do anything but get ready for bed. And of course, in the wintertime, we wouldn't go to bed right away, naturally, but then we didn't do any- the kids didn't come here to play cards or anything. Sunday evening, that was the evening for my brothers. And they had all the other kids, they came around, the boys, and they'd sit in the kitchen and they'd play cards. And of course, I'd get my lessons in the front room and some- times I'd slip out. And of course, they had all different names for what they were playing. I never knew anything about poker or anything like that, but I knew about the other games or what they would tell me, you know. And I got pretty catty about playing cards, and I'd win and finally they'd pull my hair and I'd get out and get back in the front room. The girls never came down to play, but I played with my brothers, you know, so I knew something about and the boys d come in. There were quite a few, maybe up to eight, nine, ten of them.
SS: Do you remember any of the card games - what they were called?
JOHNSON: It was poker, though later after I found out-
SS: You didn't know it at the time?
JOHNSON: It was poker and then it was 21. I don't know what they edited itbut it was 21. And then there was a Chinese. They arrested them down at Lewiston, though, if they'd catch them playing the I don't know what the name of it was.
SS: But you played them?
JOHNSON: Oh, I played it and after later years when I was down to workingworked down at Portland, the girls- and we had an hour noon; half an hour to ear our dinner but after that we'd sit and play cards. And we played just about all the games- and Chinese- there was a Chinaman, he ran the elevator up and down, he was talking about it you know- and not too long ago when there were quite a few Chinamen down there they were arrested if they'd catch them playing that game. A lottery game.
SS: And you were pretty good at it when you were a youngster?
SS: You beat the older boys?
JOHNSON: Oh, this was the boys, there was no girls -
SS: Were girls kind of not supposed to play cards?
JOHNSON: Oh, they could play cards but they couldn't come out on Sunday evenings so much unless their folks came. And sometimes if there'd be some of the neighbors come, why they'd come, why we'd play, but we wouldn't play those games.
SS: They kept a tighter rein on the girls than on the boys?
JOHNSON: So me of the girls had to stay at home and they'd study for the nextday's school. No the girls didn't go- we were ten and twelve years old, why, we didn't go anyplace, unless we went with the folks.
SS: So the boys kind of had more freedom. They could get around and domore?
JOHNSON: The boys did.. They went more than the girls, but of course, they wereolder, too. My brothers were older. You see, one of 'em was -there was three just older than I was and the other one was about five years older, or six years older. And of course, they were the ones that did the playing, the other ones that come in they were about that age.
SS: You said your father stood to the East when the sun went down? Yousaid your father stood and faced the East when the sun went down?
JOHNSON: Yes. That was with the Angelus, you know. Of course, the church wasup there, too. And when the church bell was ringing up there, why, - course, maybe he was brought up that way back in Germany.
SS: Which denomination was that church?
JOHNSON: Lutheran. Lutheran Church. But they don't do that anymore, they don'tring that bell on Saturday evenings. They did until about 1920, I think, until a different minister came.
SS: What was Sunday routine like? Did everybody go to church in the belong chore.
JOHNSON: They always went to church.K They went with a wagon and team or bugsome of them had kind of nice buggies, others not so much. And rest of us would walk the same as we did to go to school. it was muddy or something like that or snow on the ground they went up with the team, otherwise we walked.
SS: Did you dress in best clothing?
JOHNSON: We had a good coat and our high overshoes and had our coat on,coat. Well, I guess it was the only coat we had, we wore it to school too. And then it was all caps that we wore, usually. A scarf, you know around our
SS: Was it, Sunday School or a regular service?
JOHNSON: We had Sunday School. Get there in time for nine o'clock until ten,that was Sunday School, and then they had a sermon after that til eleven thirty. So, it was just a real church service. The men sat on one side and the women on the other!(Chuckles) Of course laterthe new ministers came in 1920- from then on, of course, then they intermingled. And then when the war broke out, after the war then they had English church once a month, they had English church. Before it was German. And then it went on and finally they had German ser vice. once a month. And then, of course, Good Friday and Thursday, they had for the young folks could come in and then Friday they had for the elderly folks, they had in German. Course now, there aren't any of those old-time people up there; maybe one or two.
JOHNSON: Sunday, the hymnal book, it was in there and the minister, he explainedthat all to us and then we'd have to remember. Now this is a picture taken down here at Kendrick.
SS: Of the family?
JOHNSON: No. Just half of the family that was there, there's another brothercame after that. (Discuss a picture that she has)
SS: Was Luther League mostly for young people?
JOHNSON: Yes, that's the young people. And we had it every two weeks. Andwe'd study and we'd have parties, we'd have lunch. It was in the evenings. That was after 1921, after the minister came.
SS: When you were growing up, was there a minister that lived there?
JOHNSON: He livedKthere.
SS: He lived right there?
JOHNSON: He's Rev. Finky.
SS: This is when you were growing up?
JOHNSON: When I was growing up. He was German. You know,
JOHNSON: She was a Finky girl. See, she's just my age. And Reverend Finkywas her father. They had four girls and had two boys. That is, Mar tha's mother passed away and he got married again to her mother's sis ter. Reverend Finky did. And she was up there. She passed away la ter, too, when Martha was about seventeen or eighteen, I think.
SS: Do you remember him, Reverend Finky?
JOHNSON: He was there then 1920.
SS: What was he like? What kind of a person was he?
JOHNSON: I have some pictures, I haven't got them here, but he was heavyset,a big mustache. And he drove a horse. He drove down to Juliaetta on Sunday afternoons and Cameroon in the mornings, he'd go down there and preached in the afternoons,down there. He was a heavyset man and he was kind of baldheaded with a great big mustache.
SS: Did he farm, too?
SS: Just a minister?
JOHNSON: He was a minister here. Anyway, later on he had a place back up inthe timber, vegetables and all those things there. the farm, they'd take to the minister and of course, he was paid, too, a yearly payment. I don't remember what it was, but of course I was small and I didn't pay too much attention to that.
SS: Did he do much in the community as far as taking care of people's problems and that kind of thing? Did they come to him for help?
JOHNSON: They came up there to him, but he didn't go out any other way, likesome of the other ministers did. They'd go up to his place, he had a study up there, and he had lots of books.
SS: At the parsonage?
JOHNSON: At the parsonage, yes. We had to go to Bible School, that was forlittle-it was the first church, you know. And we had to go a month from New Year's until Palm Sunday, that was the Sunday before Easter, when we were confirmed. We had to go two years and study the Bible. But later on, then they didn't have it, they could learn enough you know without going there, but that sure cut into our school year. Those three months when they only had school for six or seven months there wasn't much time left from when we started, from October and later on it was September. But we had to study it, we did study.
SS: How often did you have to go to the Bible School?
JOHNSON: Oh, that Bible School, that was every day, four days a week for threemonths.
SS: What months of the year would it be?
JOHNSON: January, February, March and then until Palm Sunday, that would bethe Sunday before Easter.
SS: Did you go to school at the same time?
JOHNSON: No, we couldn't go because we'd have to go to that school. That madeit just awful hard. This one of my girl friends that went to the she didn't go to Bible School, she didn't go to church. But she'd bring the lessons down to me so I just kept up with that all of the year. Took my geography and she taught me the lessons and I studied that at home. We went through the eighth grade and I came down here to Kendrick and I started the ninth grade, so I didn't lean anything all except grammar and Latin. Of course, we didnft have any have any Latin and nobody else needed to learn that. We haven't had that for years, Latin, of course, was pretty hard for me.
SS: You went right into the ninth grade down here from the eighth gradeup there?
JOHNSON: They didn't see any difference you know, I graduated up there andI went right along with the other ones.
SS: How old were you when you started the Bible School?
JOHNSON: Well, that was for two years before, that was when I was twelve andthirteen and I was fourteen when I was confirmed. I was fourteen just the week before I was confirmed.
SS: It sounds like the religion was pretty strict. It was pretty important up there.
JOHNSON: Yes, it was. But I went down here to Kendrick then for the monthsof September til New Year's and then, of course I had to finish up my Bible School up there. But I made my grades down here, all of them, but I had to study my Latin- I never did learn it! (Chuckles) And the grammar, I had to learn that, but she was kind of lax on that. And then, of course, the higher grade, that made a difference, too. But all the other ones, history, and reading and writing I just went right along with those.
SS: Would you say that most of the people at Cameron who were- who belonged to the church were very serious about religion?
JOHNSON: They were. They were in those days. There wasn't any time on a Sunday that they weren't at church. But sometimes, of course, maybe if somebody was sick or something, they'd stay at home. Mother didn't go every Sunday because there was a lot of the time that she didn't feel up to it, but all the rest of us went. and when the snow got too deep, why, of course, we went up in the sled with the team.
SS: Did they have revivals up there, too? Or wasn't that a part of thechurch?
JOHNSON: They revived them when they were born! (Laughter) I shouldn't saysomething like that!
SS: The different denominations have different beliefs.
JOHNSON: Yes, oh, I know there are so many different beliefs. I have my nephew.he's down in Utah now, and he's writing a history of the whole family and his wife's family and all. It just happened that my husband was born in Oregon and his wife's folks, they were just of related back there, and have kind of kept together.
SS: I am curious about- because it's the only German congregation that Iknow of right around in this area, I am curious about the-
JOHNSON: Yes, they were very serious the church. And of course, theystarted the church- first, now up at Genesee, they had the church up there. Genesee or Union Town; I guess they're not far apart are they? I've heard lots about them and I've gone through there, but I don't know so much about it. But the minister would come from over there at Genesee, and he was what they called those—
SS: Circuit riders?
JOHNSON: Circuit riders. And he'd come there and he's have a sermon once aweek at the old schoolhouse, and he'd stop at the people around, but that wasn't very often. And then the Germans there they came together and they voted then on the church; that was in 1889 or 1890. And they formed a church up there and they called for a minister and there was a minister, Groshut, was his name, he'd just come from Germany, he and his wife, and he came there and he was there four years. And when he left, he went to Spokane and he had one of those churches up there, he and his wife. His wife had twins up there at Cameron, they lived there those four years. Of course, his wife had come from Germany with him. They were higher up, you know, had ser- vants and she didn't know enough to put wood in the stove when it was cold! All those things; she dressed in her fur coat and all and some body 'd come by and she wanted them to bring the wood in because she was getting cold. I remember them talking about it, of course, I wasn't there, that was before I was born.
SS: So she wasn't ready for pioneer life.
JOHNSON: Oh, not at all. But I don't know whether^Groshut was too much or not.But they went to Spokane and they had the lovely church up there, and she just done very well up there. And then after he left there was a reverend, - oh, I should know- he baptised me anyway after I was born. But his wife was English- American, she didn't know much Ger man. They were here about two years and then after that Reverend hop came. And he was there from 1898 up until 1904, and then after that Reverend Finky came. And he was there until l920- some.
SS: Do you think that his daughter, Mrs. Wilken would remember- I shouldprobably talk to her sometime about him.
JOHNSON: Oh, yes, she could tell you all about Reverend Finky and about thatbecause she's the one that would know. They'd been there for a littel spell in 1898 just for a few months and they they went to another parsonage and this Hujfcp came, and then they came back in 1904 and she could tell you from then on; she could tell you just so much more about it.
SS: At home, did you speak German or English? ,
JOHNSON: Oh, at home, Do you know what ft is?
SS: What is that?
JOHNSON: Mother never spoke that, she always spoke High German. If you knowanything about it- Luther, he formed the church. He went through words Germany and picked out the best ' you know, and that's High German came from, words like that. And the others they were just like like here in the United States, here they talk- in the South- the East-
JOHNSON: Well, that's what the R is.
SS: How do you say it?
JOHNSON: Flat German, I guess.
SS: Flat German, instead of High German. So you spoke Flat German at home?
JOHNSON: We did later on. But Mother never did until she come out here, outWest and she picked up the English language, too. She talked- because there were all the people down^at Kendrick, You know, so many of them that she could talk with. But there were some of them, the women, they never did talk anything but the German. They never did learn to talk English, or they didn't want to, but they probably understand it. But Mother did, right from the beginning. There was one of the neighbors up there was English and of course Mother chummed with her too and visited with her, that is. And they'd go back and forth-- didn't chum much, but, you know, visit back and forth.
SS: Did most of the people speak rather than High German?
JOHNSON: Yes, when they were at home, yes, but when we'd go to church we spokethe High German.
SS: Was there a lot of difference between the two?
JOHNSON: Well, there was quite a bit. And all the different ones that talkedtoo, they didn't speak the same way. There were some of 'em they had a kind of 'h' in there when they're talking, you know, it thick- we always called it the itch, anyway! (Chuckles) Course, we couldn't understand them, hardly, either. But they were German but when they went to church and all, then they talked the High German.
SS: Were they from a different part of Germany?
JOHNSON: Well, I think they came from Minnesota or someplace, I don't knowwhere they came from. They must have come from a different place of Germany. My folks came from Oldenburg in Germany, that is, my father did. But then there's all those little- you know, like the little states here. Or.
SS: When did you start speaking English?
JOHNSON: Oh, just when I started talking German I started talking English,and all of them too, because my older brothers, they were talking English. You see, I had these older brothers that came from back there, some of 'em, they always talked English, and I learned that just as quick as I learned the others. Of course, I learned German at home to talk there. And then pretty soon it was mixed up English words mixed in with it. And then the neighbors down there, they were Eng lish, too and they'd come up, a bunch about the same age as my brothers and girls my age and some of 'em a little bit older. They'd come up one day for supper, and we'd have the whole big, long table there and benches lower than the table, and then at times we'd all be down there. Of course bean soup, a big kettle of bean soup, and beans And milk, you know.
SS: Was there a lot of visiting back and forth?Stokers
JOHNSON: Well, among us there was, that is, among the and our folksbut the other ones, too, they visited on Sundays and after Church, you know. But the , when they lived here, it was just right over the hill from where we lived, it was just back and forth, you know.
SS: But it was mostly other German families.
JOHNSON: No, Stakers, they could talk, but they were English. Andhe came from a different part of Germany. He was the county assessor for years and years, when they first started back, you know. And when he passed away, one of his boys was assessor. And they talked English; course, he'd have to, you know. And we learned that just as quick, course going to school we learned—
SS: When you kids were at school did you speak- among yourselves- not inthe classroom, but when you were playing outside did you speak Eng lish or German?
JOHNSON: Oh, it was English, unless we were at a German school, and then itwas English, too! (Chuckles) younger ones, now I don't know about my older brothers. They always spoke English.
SS: Were you supposed to talk German at the Church School?
JOHNSON: Well, yes, there at school, we were supposed to. We'd go out and playor coast or something like that it was English. It turned into English. But my brothers they always spoke English.
SS: What were some of the old German customs that the families kept cuthere?
JOHNSON: Oh, my folks. I really don't know. We had to butcher a lot. Fatherwas the first one that raised these beans, you know these white beans. had the house finished on our place. And first, Father, he built the barns and cultivate the land and he'd go back and forth and they had raised about five acres of those beans, white navy beans. And the miners would go through going to Pierce, they'd stop and they'd buy thai and father of course, butchered and they'd always take the bacon, and once in a while a ham, it was al ways the bacon, he sold all that to them. And some of the men they'd have to have Mr. Wilken's hams, even after they wentaway from there, they always sent in for them, two of them. One of them was down at Pendleton and the other one was over to Tacoma. But they always butchered quite a few hogs, of course, we had quite a few in our family and we had to have lard and everything. And meatsmoked meat and smoked sausages. those things! And that's where Father, he learned to talk English; the English language, you know, right from the beginning, after he was out here. He was a commissioner. He'd go down to Lewiston to the courthouse, you know what they wanted for the roads up here. The apportionment, you know and all. And I don't know, there was never a time, I don't think we ever talked among ourselves so much, that. It was always, you know, English.
SS: Did he actually work on the roads? Did he do the road work?
JOHNSON: He worked on the roads. He'd have to take the team and go- and he'dhave a long ways to go up around Leland, not quite to Southwick but around there and back down again and all those roads up and down. Of course, the roads, they weren't built right, they had to dig the roads out and he worked on that gulch, too, to dig out a road to go down there to Kendrick. Yes, he worked there about twenty years, but he was overseeing it. (quite a bit of this I cannot understand)
SS: I was thinking about some of the old customs, like, you know thingsthey had done in the old country and things that they had done, that their parents had done. The sorts of things that came from Germany. I was wondering- like besides the going to church- were there holidays they kept that that they had that were special?
JOHNSON: They had their holidays; there they always had in Germany they hadthe Do you know what that is?
JOHNSON: Well, I couldn't tell you either, but that when the young boys, theygathered in the evenings, you know, in Germany. They'd play cards, I suppose and drink some beer and so on. Just like they do now when they go down to the poolroom.
SS: How often did they do that?
JOHNSON: Back in Germany?
JOHNSON: Oh, I guess they'd have it every week, or maybe twice a week.
SS: Did they do that here, too?
JOHNSON: No. After they come out here, I don't know, I don't know what theydone in Minnesota. Of course, I wouldn't know about. But here go to the neighbors, play cards.
SS: Like you were telling me.
JOHNSON: But they didn't have any special- I guess down here when they hadhotels, when they were building the railroad, they had hotels for the men at and they usually had a saloon down here, too. I re member when I was at-I'll always remember that. They had a family, but they were nice people
SS: He kept a saloon.
JOHNSON: He kept a saloon down here.
SS: What about the food? Was the cooking like they had done it in the oldcountry?
JOHNSON: Not so much that I know of. Well, they knew how we used to cook beansor soup and things like that. I really don't know how they cooked much over there, but it was probably on that same order.
SS: One thing that I have heard about- in talking to some people who'sparent's came from the old country- is that the father usually ruled the house with an iron hand, and the mother, the wife, kind of took orders from him. Was that how it was out here, too?
JOHNSON: It wasn't that way here, but over there it was that way. Well, I'vegot some pictures ; they're pictures from Germany. Well, the barn was right next to the house; they were together. And the women they had to milk the cows, and the men- course they had sheep, and they herded the sheep out and they had to learn to knit, the men, so that they wasn't idle, you know, when they were herding sheep. They'd knit. They had wool, and they'd spin the yarn. And they d knit their stockings, that's what the boys had to do.
SS: The boys did that?
JOHNSON: The boys had to do that when they were growing up, they were justboys. And the girls they had to milk the cows and they did those things and help in the house to cook and all those things.
SS: Well, what about in your family? Did your father tell your motherwhat to do?
JOHNSON: No, I don't think so. Not after I was growing up. No, she'd haveher work and he done his work. She'd tell him what to do and tell us kids what to do. And then, you know, looking back, she raised lots grapery of geese and turkeys and all those things, when we still lived in the before they could get their new house built. And I remember I was three years old and I'd go out there and they'd take after me, those gobblers, and go out there again. And father, he'd just bought a hive of bees before that and they were out back of the granery, and I could go out there, the dog. And I was just littlehe had one hive of bees then, and oh, how I loved those bees. And he'd bring me some and I'd take it over to the beehive, I just remember going-there, Aand the bees would come out and they'd come around that honey and oh, how I'd laugh and played with the bees. I never got stung, until af ter I done it for quite a while and the fruit trees were blooming and my sister and my older brothers they garlanded these wreaths around my head, and of course, they wanted to take me in the house so the folks could see me, I got away and I had to run to the bees so they'd see, and I got stung that time.
SS: You knocked; what did you knock?
SS: You said you knocked.
JOHNSON: I ran over to the bees, I wanted them to see me in my apple blossoms,and whatever blossoms we brought out of the orchard. And of course, they wanted some of that honey, you know from those. And Mother came out from the house and Father, and of course, he got after the kids and I ran to Mother and she had a big apron on and put that over me and of course, after I got under there I was away from the bees. That didn't stop me from taking care of my bees. I was out there the next day again.
SS: What did you do to take care of the bees? What did you do?
JOHNSON: Oh, Father took care of them.
SS: You just had fun with them?
JOHNSON: Yes. They had things to- oh, buckwheat they planted, the buckwheatand the different things, the sweet clover that father had around. Some of the neighbors didn't thank him for the sweet clover. Course, they had the other clover, too. And they would get that honey out of that and out of the orchard, too. See that big orchard? All those fruit trees. But I know that he planted those things for the bees.
SS: You say the neighbors didn't care for the clover that he planted, thesweet clover?
JOHNSON: No, they didn't want him to plant that, they said it was a weed. Coursehe didn't plant it on any of their things, it was just around ours, he planted it around there.
SS: I think clover is pretty good for the soil.
JOHNSON: Yes. This sweet clover is, too, but's like alfalfa or something likethat. And then quite a few of those things. you
SS: I wonder why liked bees so much, when you were a child.
JOHNSON: I couldn't play with anything else. And after that my little brothercame along, but I was always out there with the bees. And even as I was growing up I always watch them when they'd swarm and we'd have to catch the queen, you know, to put her in there. I learned how to do all those things.
SS: Did you learn how to catch the queen?
JOHNSON: Yes. Yes, I had to learn all those things. But that was in the summertime and I always had to help and watch if the bees were going to swarm thing like that. And Mother would come out if Father was working on the road, we'd have to get out and catch the queen. There was a whole big bunch of them and they'd settle up on a limb or something and put the queen in the hive and then the other ones would chase down and they'd go down and would go in the hive then af ter her.
SS: I'm surprised that as a little kid you didn't get stung a lot whenyou tried to play with them.
JOHNSON: I went there, too. You know, we kids always had to go barefoot inthe summertime. And in the summer go down to this place down here.
JOHNSON: Yes. We'd all go barefooted. But we didn't go barefooted if we wentto school. Around the house we always went barefooted in the summer; as soon as the summer came.
JOHNSON: Did you want to, or did you just not want to use your shoes?
JOHNSON: Well, we didn't have shoes for summer. They were- got smaller, we'dwore them out during the wintertime. Well, we did get some shoes for Sunday, we had to wear some for Sunday then we'd take 'em off. But we all walked barefoot. And there were some older ladies there that came from Minnesota, they went barefoot too, they come down to the folks. Seems like, looking back the folks had ail the fruit and they had a dryer, where they dried cherries and apples. Cut them in two, you know, apples and prunes. We had to dip them in the lye and the clean then in water and put them out on the and they had to be kept a certain way. And then the neighbors they would come, you know and if there were things they wanted, get some of them from our or chard. There was something going on all the time. Things we had to do. It was a great life, if you look back on it.
SS: Kids were really expected to take a lot of responsibility.
JOHNSON: Just as we got big enough to do that, that we had to do, like watchingthe bees. I had to sit out there and holler, "The bees are swarming." You know, tell Mother or whoever was at the house and Father was uusally out on the road that time of year. Road overseer, you know, grading the roads, and throwing out rocks.
SS: You watched them for when they would swarm?
JOHNSON: When they swarmed, yes. I had to watch for that, you know, see howeverything was. And I helped with different things. We had the honey extractor, that was in the hall. We'd have to take all the honey out of those supers.. We had a lot of them. Papa would fix those combs. We sold the comb honey and then they got the others. We had a thing we put those bigger frames in. And after we'd get the honey out of that, then strain it, then put that in the crocks. It was a lot of work doing all that. Of course, we had a beehouse, but we had to do this in the kitchen. It had to be so warm, you know, to extract it, so we could get it out. And we'd have to go in the north door, I remember that. You couldn't come in the south door because the bees were all around it. It was always a variety. First one thing and going to school and doing chores. We didn't milk so much in the winter time. Because I guess they freshened in the spring, and for a long time we didn't have a separator, down in the cellar we had the pans of milk in kind of a cupboard where they just had that wire on the sides, so it stayed cool and it was cold down in the cellar, just real cold. That's where we put the fruits and everything. It was quite a big place. And the floor was cement. And around the sides there was and it spread out quite a ways down below, we had that so that the water would go out again right away. And it was always real cold down in that cellar. in from the outside, we had some doors we'd open up- at night opened them out. The screen doors was in there when you went into the cellar.
SS: You opened them at night to-— Why did you open them at night?
JOHNSON: Stay cold because of the night. And then went down and skimmed themilk, took the cream off and the milk out and it went out to the pigs. Some of it, we'd make cottage cheese. Take that up and get it warm on the kitchen stove. And then finally made cheese, too, regular cheddar cheese. Made a lot of that. We'd have to put that in the press. That's when the milk came, the first part of May, you know whan there was a lot of milk. And we had everything. You name anything, we had it, you know in cellar. And then all the canning we done; we canned meat and of course made lots of sausage and all those things in the wintertime when they.killed hogs and killed a beef, we canned that. When threshing time come— and in those years there were about thirty-six men. They had ten bundle wagons to the machine and they'd have to have the straw, they'd take the straw back to the enginer that was running it- to the fireman to keep that belt agoing. Haul in the grain. I know they said one day when they was threshing wheat they had over 1800 sacks. Just think of those big sacks a piling there! Right after five o'clock breakfast and about five-thirty they'd finish eating breakfast and at six o'clock the whistle rang; started threshing. At nine o'clock it rang again and we had to bring the lunch out to that were threshing. And there'd be half an hour or fifteen minutes, which it was, we'd bring just whatever cake or cookies. And then at twelve noon, why they was in there and at one o'clock the bell rang and they were back athreshing. Four o'clock, lunch back out there to the men; seven o'clock or seventhirty they came in to eat supper. That's the way the day went! And at eleven o'clock twelve o'clock, we'd cook at the farmers' homes, they didn't have a cook wagon. Some of them they had cook wagons; that was different, they didn't thresh such long hours.
SS: Did you just cook when they were at your house threshing?
JOHNSON: Uh-huh. Unless I'd go at the neighbors and help them. Course, wehad to get somebody to help, too, you know, the girls to wait on tablE and wash dishes and get things ready.
SS: That was a big production.
JOHNSON: That was a big production. A lot of them coming, and boy, we had towork. And sometimes we had to get some meat from down here Longs, They'd bring it up to the- they'd bring it around, of course, they had the meatwagon and we'd get it from them, that is some of the fresh meat and we had hams and all of those other things, the bacon and al 1 that. And we had plenty of eggs and chickens. We'd have sometimesthere had to be five or six chickens for th em. They were dressed in the morning and gotten ready for noon. When we got through with that we were really tired, that is, us women were and I guess the men, they were tired, too.
SS: Did you women know how to work together real well to get this kind ofthing done?
JOHNSON: Yes, yes we did. Some of the girls, the neighbor girls; Martha usedto coem down part time, we'd get some girl that would help and then on Sundays before that, they didn't work on Sundays, and some of the other neighbors would come down and we'd bake cookies. Five o r six big crocks. Six gallon crocks full of cookies. They were baked for when they come. And we were good cookie makers, too, I'll guarantee that! (Chuckles) And baking cakes; have two great big layer cakes for supper. And all the pies for dinner. And they had to have pies! Six or seven pies to feed that many for dinner.
SS: How many women would work to put that kind of feed on for thirty-sixmen?
JOHNSON: Oh, just Mother and my older sister that was there, she couldn't doso much and myself and then another girl. We'd get ready for when they came down to wait on tables, put on the clean white aprons. And there was some of 'em, the sack sewers; there was three sack sewerswhen they'd come, they wanted to come right in the screendoor just as quick as they'd get there and wash up. They'd a big kettle around and towels around, big towels and a washtub to wash. They'd come earlier and I'd always hook the screen and they'd want to get in to get to the table sooner. They didn't get in before they afl come and when they come I'd open the screen and they come and flocked around the table.
SS: How come the sack sewers tried to get in first?
JOHNSON: Oh, there were some of them, they just liked to grab, you know, thefirst thing. They thought they were getting something better, and I know in some places they did get in but-
SS: Not yours?
JOHNSON: When I was old enough to look after it, and that was when I was aboutfourteen, fifteen, sixteen. But after that time then there weren't quite so many of 'em on the threshing machine.
SS: Did the crew appreciate a good meal?
JOHNSON: Oh, yes. Yes, they really ate. Yeah, they had good meals, too. Oh,we had other vegetables, you know, all kinds and cabbage slaw and all those things out of the garden, they were fresh. But then later we raised lots of watermelons and mushmelons in the garden; Father plan ted a big garden. And of course, I always had to be out there putting the seeds in. They liked to go- then after supper, why, we put the watermelons up there, we brought them and put them in the cellar the first thing in the morning so they'd be good and cold. And they could just eat all they wanted to. - not to go down in the patch, you know, to tear around, you know destroy it. And boy, they did eat them. We had to put them out. And they went out there, and just throw them over the fence, you know.
SS: The rinds, you mean? And all that?
JOHNSON: Not the rinds, but then— the rinds, uh-huh. They'd throw the rindsto the pigs. And they really could appreciate because they was cold, you know, just like they'd been on ice, almost.
SS: How long did they stay at your place when they threshed?
JOHNSON: Oh, sometimes three or four days.
SS: How much sleep did you girls get?
JOHNSON: Very little. (Chuckles) Sometimes we had some of the boys come in anddry dishes for us. It would be twelve o'clock before we went to bed and by four o'clock we was rolling out again. But it didn't last too long. Oh, those were the days!
SS: Did you ever worry about getting enough food out for them in a day?
JOHNSON: Oh, no. It was all there. We'd bake bread ahead of time. We'd bakequite a bit maybe in the morning. Mother usually baked the bread. Got the loaves in, we had to get that in the oven at a certain time and then the meat in there. We had just the one big range. The meat and the bread and the pies had to go in there, everything just like clockwork. And sometimes we had to dress chickens for that, too. When we had chicken, but usually we had other meat, you know, a beef sent roast; seventeen pound beef roast. And one time we just down and the butcher he didn't send up- you know, quite a bit of bones in it. So, I was kind of griping about that. So Mother called up and said we'd have to get someKin Cameron and bring it down, and Mother was talking over the phone, after we had the phone and I said- Mother said we to have that much meat and I said, "And tell him them to be sure to have lots of meat on bones' And when it come back- was just that one bone in there.
SS: So it was a lot of meat.
JOHNSON: It was all meat. And Mother she got after me, for telling that andshe said, "Make sure there's some meat on the bones." And she just thought that was terrible.
SS: Why was it terrible? Because you complained?
JOHNSON: Well, I told her to say that, you know, because the other time, wellwe didn't have much, it was mostly bones, you know, it was kind of hard to— And I told her when she called down to get the meat- Oh, I don't know, I've always been kind of-
SS: Speaking your mind.
JOHNSON: Speaking my mind. I tell 'em what to do.
SS: 1 think that's better than not saying what you think.
JOHNSON: Yes, I usually told 'em what I thought. (Laughter) Mother thoughtAnd when she brought it up we had that nice, big roast. There was always lots of good meat. Always plenty to eat. Plenty of pies. And some of the threshers, we'd put the pies on the table, they'd take two or three pieces, and we had to have those little dishes and put a piece of pie on each plate. That, of course, made more dishwashing. That way each guy only took one piece.
JOHNSON: One piece before him, and he couldn't take it from the other fellow.Oh, it was always just fun when the threshers come and so much better when they were gone. We still had things to eat. the machine and give a toot and away they went to the next person where they'd be threshing.
SS: It was better when they were gone?
JOHNSON: Well, no, I was glad when they'd go because we was just tired out.And then after they were gone, why then, we kind of took it easy us womenfolks. We had everything; there was leftovers, you know, we didn't have much to cook.
SS: Was that much of a chance for young people to meet each other? Likeboys and girls to meet?
JOHNSON: Oh, there was boys and girls working there. Course, we knew most allof them. Some of them they'd come from further away, you know, come down to earn some money up to the back up in there, they didn't have as much, you know like the big farmers there. We didn't pay much- Of course the boys, they'd come in and help dry dishes. Some of the young boys our ages, they'd dry dishes for us in the evenings. Of course, I never paid much attention tomboys. I didn't think anything about the boys. never did think about going to dances or anything like that til after I was about nineteen. But I just didn't care about it, going with a fellow. Some of the other ones they were wanting to go with a fellow and all and I had brothers.Then I worked out toodown to my sister- lived down at Walla Walla and I worked over at a house in the summer, the people that could hire the maids. I learned to cook.
SS: You went to Walla Walla to work?
JOHNSON: I — down there in the wintertime, you know after I was throughhigh school up here. And I was up to Spokane. I went up there with one of the other girls at Camerson, we went up there and were working up there when World War I started. That was in 1917 we went up there. And then I was home, too, to help. Had to help Mother when she was sick, then I'd have to come home. Then after I left there I went to was working Portland, one of the girls down there and I went down there and I worked down there two years. But I come back up and Mother was in the hospital, she'd had an operation, quite a serious operation and I had to come up. She had gallstones. At Moscow, I had to go up there, I went up there a time or two before she could come home. She was in the hospital six weeks and I had to take care of her. And he told me just what to do and the head nurse up there, Mrs. Gritman, she told me all the things we had to have. Had to have that tape in her side, you know, and I had to take care of all of that. And then after that I stayed at home for quite a while. And he wanted me to come up there to be nursing, you know. I was at Cameron then. And then that's when I got married I shouldn't have done it, but I did.
SS: You what?
JOHNSON: Got married.
SS: Yeah, but you said you didn't what? You shouldn't have?
JOHNSON: I wanted to go up there and be a nurse, but I went with another felladown here. Martha married my brother, that's Martha Wilken down here, she married my brother, the same year. I was married in February, the last of February, and Martha and George were married in June.
SS: You met him at Cameron? Your husband?
JOHNSON: Yes, at a dance up there, it was after I'd come back
SS: Was he local? Had he grown up there?
JOHNSON: No. He up at Peck, he was a pioneer there at Peck. Do you knowany of the- oh, up on American Ridge? Frank Benscotter-
JOHNSON: Well, Harriet Benscotter she lived over there- She was teaching at Peck.And Jimmy Caylor, did you happen to hear of him?
JOHNSON: She was a Benscotter and we were friends here and I got over thereand we've been friends ever since. They come here to see me, Jimmy and Harriet. They've been here once a month, they come over here. We're still just good friends and the Benscotters, I ve known them all this time. But he was a blacksmith and then later on there wasn't so much of that blacksmith work and he done tanning and furrier work.
SS: Your husband?
JOHNSON: Yeah. And later on- when he did that blacksmithing he had toget up and be down there to work at five o clock.
SS: At Kendrick?
JOHNSON: No, at Peck.
SS: Oh, at Peck?
JOHNSON: Yes, I went then to Peck to live. And then after that, - of course,blacksmithing it let up when the cars and the trucks came in, hauling grain, you know. And then we worked down there- he worked for the Forest Service, shod horses in the summertimes sometimes. And then it was in '35, '34, '35- there was a place up on the hill from Peck it's just up over the Clearwater out there. Mr. Ctii passed away. federal He had come out to Peck to live and his family- he had a loan, a bank loan, on the place that hadn't been paid which they allowed . the of the taxes, for five years. I heard about that and I said, "Well, let's go up and look at it." And so we went up there and we contacted the brills and they wanted to sell the place. There was just a little bit left, otherwise it xbeen sold and they wouldn't have got a cent out of it. And then the Federal Land Bank down at Lewiston, we talked to him- that fellow's picture was in the paper the other day, he's been working that all this time- and the lawyer down there to get that straightened out so we could buy that without it, you know, have to be sold " the probate. And we took on over that. We had enough money to pay for the back taxes and the back payments on the place and then the rest of it we tookwe took the rest of the payments, you know, we paid twice a year, we had to pay that. And we got all of that and paid Mrs. and then from there we started just from scratch. And then it happened 'awe were coming down that grade, it had quite a grade, and we were going to come over here to Kendrick, or Cameron, to my folks to get some potatoes and things to start and the car went over the grade. AND OF COURSE, I was on crutches then until, oh, it was almost Christmas, it was the last of November. And we had a cow, a milk cow and raised a garden.And I had^nephew came from Walla Walla, he was twelve and another one was about eight from Spokane NI made them do their own washing on the washboard.
SS: That accident? When was that that it happened?
JOHNSON: That happened on the Peck grade. Coming down the grade.
SS: What year was that?
JOHNSON: That was in 1935.
SS: What happened to your husband?
JOHNSON: Well, he got out. His shoulder was dislocated. 'Course, he didn'tthink I was hurt, I didn't say anything, but the fellow- over the ditch and come up, he come running over there and his face was just as white as snow and he came and he said we had to get out, the car was just awful hot, it got hot coming down the grade before it turned over. And Will said, "Well get up." And of course, I had my feet was under there, my and then he helped to life that up and Will helped a little, but of course, they didn't think I was hurt. And I got up and of course, when you're first hurt you can walk, and I walked down this and this fellow came to take us up to Orofino to the hospital. And there was two of the ladies they came down too, and they wanted me to stay there and I'd lifted my dress just enough for them to see my knee. didn't say anything, but I just went up too and Will went up with me. They set his arm and of course he was all right and he went on and the doctor came in to see what I looked like and boy, he fixed me up. And I was on crutches and he put a cast on it, but he couldn't see. you know, walking with the crutches.
SS: Was that grade off of Central Ridge into Peck?
JOHNSON: No, it wasn't off of Central Ridge, it was off of Angel Ridge.
SS: Angel Ridge.
JOHNSON: One of those foresters up there at Orofino,and I stayed there with her. They had a little girl and a little boy came after I had been there. And I still hear from her husband, he's over in Washington, DC. He's clear through with all the Forest Ser vice, you know. He's got way up there.
SS: Before you bought that place outside of Peck did you live in Peck?
JOHNSON: Yes, we right in Peck.
SS: I want to ask you some about working out, when you worked in WallaWalla and in Spokane. Were they rich people that you went to work for?
JOHNSON: Yes, for people that had maids. And in Spokane that's when Iwas working as a maid then I had another friend up there that worked up there, there was a lot of 'em that went to Spokane find she told me about this hotel, and I worked there. Of course, I got better wages.
SS: In Portland?
JOHNSON: In Spokane and later when I went to Portland I went to the MultnomahHotel. That was one of the big " hotels for years.
SS: What was it like to work as a maid? What kind of situation was that?
JOHNSON: I had twenty-one rooms. I done just the— they had a man to doall the sweeping, all of the carpets and a window washer and another lady all she done was take down curtains and put up fresh curtains. Arid there was a little Jap girl had the . They took care of all that, but we girls were- just made the beds and seen that every thing was in order.
SS: This was in Spokane or Portland?
JOHNSON: That was in Portland. That was at the Multnomah Hotel.
SS: I was thinking-
JOHNSON: But up at Spokane, I worked at the Sillman Hotel. That was close tothe Davenport.
SS: When you were in Portland, what did you think of living in the citythere, in Portland?
JOHNSON: I liked it. I had sister and I, we had a room together. Andof course, I got my meals down at the Multnomah, my dinner and they served just anything we'd want to have. There was coffee and milk and there was cream on the table and butter - long just a table, just like a thresher table. That's how I got ac quainted with so many that had come from Europe after the war was over and the Armistice was signed. That year while I was there the Armistice was signed and they came from England, they came from Sweden, they came from Poland. I got acquainted with lots of them, you know.
SS: Were they just emigrants?
JOHNSON: Emigrants, yes, they came from over there, but they could come, youknow, they got free to come. Some of the boys came and the girls came or maybe a sister or brother came with them, but they come to get away from that wartorn country, you know, there. And, of course, I got acquainted with lots of them. Connie worked there, she'd been in England; had worked as a nurse help, and of course, she told us about some of that; the soldiers that were brought in, basket cases and all that. You know, it was kind of gruesome. And she worked there, but she wasn nurse, but she helped there. And this place where she lived was a lady- this was a kind of a castle that was turned over for the soldiers, had the nurses there. Course, she could tell all about that. That was Connie, and she came her brother, came over and she came to America, too.
SS: So most of these people that were immigrants were working at the Multnomah Hotel?
JOHNSON: Yes, a great many of them. And then a great many of 'em was from aroundbut then, a good many came in there.
SS: And they went to work as maids.
JOHNSON: Maids. And Connie was a- let's see, she wasn't a maid, she did someother work. I think she was over the hallway, you know they kept that swept and kept it dusted and then gathered up the linens, you know, to take up to the room where you took it down, they had their own laundry there. And then they'd bring down the linens, you know, so much to our little pantry where kept the linens and all those things. When you'd take it off the bed; they gathered it up, and you had to count the linen all the time. Several of them worked up there in the linen room they had to do all those things. Oh, we had a wide acquaintance. And then after we had our lunch, we always had half an hour on our own, that we'd go up on top of the- I've got a picture where I was standing up by the flag is, you know on the corner. And then we'd go and play cards. And the old man that built the hotel, his son was running it, he was up in his eighties but he around and visited. And he'd just get the most enjoyment out of coming and sitting and watching us play cards. Then there was a lady came from Chicago, she give dancing. They had a dancing room. And then he hired her from twelve til twelve thirty, and in that half hour we'd go and learn to dance all the wal tzes and one-step and two-step.
SS: You mean she spent a half hour teaching you how to dance?
JOHNSON: For that half-hour. And she had another girl that come there thatwas learning to- dancing over the bars, you know, and that kind of Course, we learned ballroom dancing.
SS: So, would you do that every day? Every lunch?
JOHNSON: Well, we done that for once a week I guess for like three weeks orfour weeks, I guess we had four weeks. And don't know after thatthe lady she was getting more money or something, but he paid her for us to learn that. So, that's where we learned to dance. And then that fellow, that headman, he was that old fellow, he'd have a dance every two weeks for the help and we'd go down there. The fellows just went down in the engine room, you know, that heated the whole house and all. We could look at it but nobody could go in; because it had to be kept perfectly clean- what do they call that?
The boiler room?
Yes. He danced, too, he was a good dancer, he was taller than I wasa little bit taller, and he could waltz and I could waltz and we were UP dancing and waltz together and this old man, he'd stand there and watch us dance, and of course, I didn't pay no attention, I was just a foolin' around and I guess he was too, but anyway he got the rest of them to sit down and he was standing there, and we got through and they all clapped. And he just laughed. He come down and he sat at a little table. They had refreshments and we had punch and some other dainties, you know, cookies and whatever they had and he sat there and he just got the biggest kick out of that. This old gentle man.
Would this be in the evening that you would have that?
That was in the evening, about eight o'clock we'd start and we'd dancetil eleven. That was just for the Multnomahs. But every two weeks, they had that. Had that in one of the rooms, the dancing rooms.
Did most of the help go to that?
Yes. Well, it wasn't all the help. These were the maids and thenthey were just special ones, you know andAmaybe at another time they had the other help, you know, the waitresses or those. I didn't as sociate with them.
Not with the waitresses?
Well, the waitresses they had their own work down on another floor.And we couldn t meet, because we d come and^punch in at seventhirty- the clock, you know. And ride up in the elevator, go up in the elevator. We'd come out, it was four-thirty. We didn't work overtime or come too soon. They didn't want us to come too soon but sometimes we'd have to come on a streetcar or something, why, we'd get there a little bit ahead of time, but you just had to wait and not punch in until seven-thirty.
SS: Was the pay good?
JOHNSON: It was good pay.
SS: Was it?
JOHNSON: Yes, he paid good. It was just real good. My sister, Martha comedown later, she worked there and her sister was working as a table waiter. We had a room there. It was good, we had good wages and could save money, you know. And then we had to learn to go to the Jews. Did you know anything about Jews? You know they sell things cheaper on Monday mornings. You know, they want to get the first pa tron in there. If they didn't sell it, that was bad luck and they'd come down on it. Course, Marie, she knew about it and she told me about it. I'd go down if I had Monday off- we had one day a week offand if I had Monday off, why, I go down and get my clothes or what ever I wanted to get, a dress or whatever, I'd get it down there and jew 'em down! (Chuckles) But it didn't take long til the Jews that had been here in America longer, they was onto to that, they didn't do that. But they told me later on but when I was going there I did.
SS: Was there any special store that you went to in Portland?
JOHNSON: was a special store, this Jew. But the other times I'd go toLippmann-Wolf or the other- there was two more big stores down there.
SS: Meier and Frank.
JOHNSON: Yes. That was a good store. And there was another, Lippman-Wolf andthere was another one, You know, I kind of forget. That's a long time ago, more than fifty years ago.
SS: Did you find that all the people that you worked with were good people? Or were there some people that worked that weren't?
JOHNSON: All of them that I met were just real good people. Some of them wentto church; I'd go with them to one church or another, you know if I happened to have Sunday off. And sometimes in an evening, why, we could go to church.
SS: Were most of them young women? That worked there?
JOHNSON: Some of them were quite elderly.
SS: Were some of them married?
JOHNSON: Yes, there were lots of them married, quite a few of them that hadchildren, and they needed to have a little bit more money to keep going, you know.
SS: Do you remember the wages? Do you remember what your wage was?
JOHNSON: The wage there was eighty dollars a month. Course we had to payfor our room, Martha's sister and I. And then of course, we had to go down and buy our meals what we didn't have; we had dinner down at the hotel.
SS: Did you have your room in the hotel?
JOHNSON: Not in that hotel, we had it up at another hotel, a smaller one.
SS: You know eighty dollars a month doesn't sound like a great deal to me.
JOHNSON: Oh, no, not now it isn't, but then that was top wages, a lot of themJust didn't get more than sixty dollars and some fifty dollars. But then of course we had to pay for that and it took quite a bit. We had to buy our breakfast - and evening _, but I didn't eat much, just an orange or something like that and then I had the lunch, you know of course at eleven and in the evening, why Marie and I we'd get some doughnuts, they had these donut shops around. They'd cook the donuts, we'd get 'em fresh. And we just hiked all over to see the country there at Portland.
SS: You would go to a bakery and buy donuts?
JOHNSON: Well, there was just a kind of a little hole in the side where theywere making those donuts- special donuts. And of course they had them in a bag and we'd get about four and sometimes a few more, you know. And we'd eat them, you know, while we was walking.
SS: You say you'd spend the evenings in the parks, maybe?
JOHNSON: Yes, we'd go and spend them in the park and try to see different parks.And go up to higher place, you know, to look over Portland and see the different things, and we'd get ready before we'd go to bed and take our bath and everything, and slip on a clean dress and we'd go down to the little hotel, down to the little restaaurant, little eating house, and pick up our- and we'd have oh, ham and sandwich and maybe a piece of pie andfoffee and things But we always had to have that sandwich and a piece of pie before we'd go to bed. And we'd go to bed and go to sleep and then in the morning we'd get up, I had to go a half hour early^to get ready to punch in at seven-thirty. Oh, it was all fun we had, enjoyed life.
SS: It sounds like it. Did you like working at the Multnomah Hotel better than working as a maid in someone's house?
JOHNSON: Well, it was really better, we had more freedom. Sometimes at thehouse, we had to cook dinner, you know, we had to serve dinner and lunch and there was more, you know. And all the places where I worked they were just real nice, nice homes. Then when I was down there I had more freedom.
SS: What was the pay like in someone's home?
JOHNSON: Fifty or sixty dollars.
SS: And did you get your room and board, too, living in?
SS: I have heard, when other people would talk to me about work that theydid as a maid in someone's house, that sometimes some of the families were a lot more considerate than others.
JOHNSON: Well, I think they were. If I didn't like it very well when I firstWalla Walla- I didn't care so much about it, I soon learned who I wanted to work for. But some of them weren t considerate, I know that.
SS: What would the difference be? Some that weren't considerate comparedto some that were.
JOHNSON: Yes, they weren't considerate in one thing- well, they felt like youwere another being, you know, like you weren t human like the rest of the family. Most all of them that I went to, they were just very nice. Had a nice room. And then the day off, you know, one day a week, usually in the afternoon I didn't have to cook supper. And then some of 'em the man didn't come home for lunch, you know and they just had a little lunch and sometimes the lady'd be gone, too. They'd go golfing or something. was one time I had to come home when Mother was sick and I was working at these folks down at Walla Walla, he was a judge, was a probate judge, and he'd gone to Olympia and was one of those higherups, and he'd go hunting geese, wild geese down there, and she went too, she was a great golfer, they'd go golfing, you know, much of the time. And it was nice, I en joyed working there. And when Mother became ill I had to come home.
SS: Were some of these people social climbers?
JOHNSON: No, I wouldn't— well, some of them might have been, yes, there weresome that Bhight have been, but they weren't, they had it made. Did I tell you what his name was?
SS: No. You said he was a probate judge, though.
JOHNSON: Well, he was a judge and it was Malarky. And it was Malarky-a^and he was the judge and then this other fellow he worked at that, too, but he wasn't— the brother wasn't, but this other Malarky was a brother. Funny how a person—
SS: Can remember.
JOHNSON: But it was the Malarkeys, but I liked them just real well.
SS: Were there places that you decided you didn't want to work?
JOHNSON: Oh, yes, there were some places that I didn't- where they weren't sonice. But this Mrs. Malarky- when I first went there there were dif ferent ones working there, some of them they hadn't cooked things right or served things right and I said if you'll just tell me what you want done, why, I could do that. And of course, I could every time. They moved while I was there and of course I had a week, two weeks that I stayed with my sister while they was moving to a nice new home. And everything was just shape. Nice hardwood floors. There was a good many things that we. had these rugs- nice oriental rugs and I had to clean them with a sweeper though, they didn't have any va cuum yet. Yes, I worked there for quite a bit over a year.
SS: Were you expected to do all the housework and cook the meals?
JOHNSON: Well, I had somebody come in, you know once a month or so that wouldclean it- the carpets and things. And then I done some of the nice washing, you know, nice table linen and things like that I done that and ironed it, but the rest of it went to the laundry.
SS: So what did you do most of the day?
JOHNSON: Oh, I got up and I got breakfast and I got that all done then dustedeverything and got the beds made and all that, and when she was there for lunch I'd get lunch for her and set the table and sometimes there'd be someone else come in to eat lunch too, but not often. And then the afternoon I got ready for . dinner. You know, the table was set, and she served the dinner and I had to pass the plates around. His mother would come; she was just way up there, too, they had lived there for a long time at Walla Walla. And everything had to be just so. And then they'd eat their dinner at— She had- his mother- they had all the family there for dinner and his brother lived next door there, they'd come over on Tuesday evenings for dinner. Monday ev enings, his mother would come for the dinner. And then they'd go over there, you know, back and forth. And I had one day off that I didn't have to be home; Thursday or Friday that I went down at my sister's or my brother's and visit.
SS: Did the Mrs. tell you just how she wanted things done?
JOHNSON: Well, when I first came there she told me how she wanted things doneand how she wanted things cooked, and she said, "I don't like to tell anyone twice." I said well, if she'd tell me anytime. And he liked to go hunting down there for the birds, the geese and ducks down in Oregon. And of course, we'd dress them and I'd bake them or roast them however they wanted them fixed. But outside of that, and she would get the roasts, that standing beef roast- everything was just real nice and of course, I knew how to bake the pies- it had to be cream pie or apple pie; those are the ones that were the favorite. There was some people- they liked lemon pie the best, but that was their favorites were those pies. But I/enjoyed every minute of cooking because I cooked those things. They'd have parties sometimes. About twice a year they'd have- they'd come in and she had a lady- she came in to help with the- to get ready. And then of course, Mrs. Malarky and the other ones, her friends, they'd come out and get the plates from the kitchen, and take the food in there. I didn't have to do any of that. Just get things ready, you know, have it all setting there. Then I had to wash up after they were gone, of course.
SS: That must have been a big job.
JOHNSON: It wasn't a very big job, I had the sink, you know, wash 'em and scald'em and put them up there and they dried themselves.
SS: Did she take a personal interest in you?
JOHNSON: Yes, we were good friends. You know, anytime she'd be there aloneor something like that, and Mr. Malarky, too, he was always just a real good friend.
SS: When she'd be there alone, what?- She would talk to you?
JOHNSON: Yes, she wasn't there alone much of the time. YeS^when she aas there,she'd read or she'd want to know if I'd read this or that in the books or the magazines or things like that, you know, told me which were good and all about it.
JOHNSON: You've probably heard that.
SS: I've heard the name.
JOHNSON: Yes, Sharpste. .. It was German, Sharpstein, you know. And he was theone that was that judge- and his brother was there. And then his sis ter married a man from Spokane. And he was an attorney, I guess, or something. Martha's sister worked there when she was going to business college, and she worked there evenings and afternoons, when she came home, you know. And I got acquainted then with his sister, Mr. Sharpsteig's sister came in to talk to me there. She said that she had heard often of me and she wanted to meet me too, so I got to know her too.
SS: Do you think that they looked at you as an equal rather than as beingless than them because you were poorer than they were?
JOHNSON: No, I don't think so. I guess " had as much money as theydid those days, when I was working out of course. But no, they never acted that way. They never acted or looked down on me I was just one of them. I waited on them and all that.
SS: What about meals? Did you take your meals after they were finishedor how?
JOHNSON: Yes, I'd eat anytime- I'd start to eat- if I was eating the main coursewhile they were eating that and then of course she'd ring and I'd come in and take off the dishes and all the other things and I'd bring in the dessert, and I could eat, you know. I could always eat at my kitchen table, and I had a nice table with a tablecloth on it.
SS: I wanted to ask you something about- During World War I I've beentold like Otto Schupfer was talking about this and I've heard from other people too, that there was feeling against German people at that time around here because of the war with Germany.
JOHNSON: Yes. There was around here. There were quite a few of them that didn'tknow too much about it and they thought- well, these Germans, they're not anything, you know, they was going to take over- the Germans, have to get out of here. And I know some of them- there was one of the bankers down here, he wasn't too good and then a fellow from Craig I think he was from Craig— Leland, they came around about the war bonds, want to sell war bonds. And these three men, they come there and talked to Father about buying them, going to make him buy war bonds was home then and I was listening to all that, of course. And they were telling that he'd have to buy this and that and I brought out 6^ that I'd bought war bond and said that I had some too,. I asked them if they had as many as we had. Well they didn't say anything. We didn't buy any bonds from them. And they didn't come back again. But I did have kind of a sharp tongue at that time, and I was talking to some of those fellows. And they didn't come back again. That banker down here that course, he was going to take that to his bank and father banked at the other one at that time. But when the banks closed, why this Smith;he was Mr. and Mrs. Smith. But the other bank went out of business then, they had the one bank here. And Father took out- helped that they got that started so it wouldn't collapse during- that was quite a while after World Warwhen that was in the late '20's.
SS: Well, did Smith give German people a bad time then, during the war?
JOHNSON: That was during the war they first came to sell those war bonds.Of course, we had that and then there was Mr. Craig and then they wanted to try to belittle the Cameron people. And they came up there and they flew the American flag, they had it up there and some of them came one night, they found where they pulled down the flag and they tore it.
SS: The American flag?
JOHNSON: The American flag. And the next morning the teacher that was teachingthere, his name was ; he came from over at Genesee country, he was teaching there. He was going with a girl at the time and they were at the schoolhouse, of course it was dark, and he knew all about that and he got a flag and got it up there the next morning. And the flag was still blowing and of course, they put a big piece in the paper about it, oh, they found one of these Odd Fellow I don't know whether they found it there or some of them said he found it in a chickenhouse someplace. But these fellows belonged to the lodge. And anyway, they put a big piece in the paper about that, but the flag was up again the next day.
A new flag?
A new flag.
Were those people from Leland?
They were from Leland, yes, up around Leland, the ones that come upthere to pull the flag down. They thought they was doing a big thing that the old Dutchmen up there was pulling the flag down and tearing it to pieces.
Oh, you mean, they wanted to make it look like the people at Cameron-- yes, at Cameron were doing that.
Was this at the school?
It was at the schoolhouse. But of course, the flag was up blowingthe next morning. Of course they ribbed them people, didn't do any more of that kind of stuff up there.
I heard that they didn't want people to speak German during the war.They didn't want- the English ones didn't. But the Germans, they went on just the same. That's when they started having English once a month at the German church. Of course as it went on, they had the German and the English church part of the time.
They had English one Sunday, and then German the others?
Yes. And then after 1921 when the different minister came, why then,they had the English moreso than they did - than they had German. And then as time went on, then they didn't have the German launguage. Of course there weren't so many Germans over there. And before then the women sat on one side- and after that they mingled, you know, the families they sat together.
Well, did they start using English in the church because of this criticism?
JOHNSON: No,just because of there's more of the young folks, you know theywere taught English all the time anyway. No, it wasn't any more for the criticism after the World War.
SS: So people kept on speaking German just the same?
JOHNSON: Yes, the Germans get together then they'd still talk-
SS: Some people spoke High German to each other?
JOHNSON: Oh, yes. Some of them, they go to church they'd hardly ever—
SS: Would they speak it at home, too, High German?no
JOHNSON: They would at times, but he rest of the time- dependingpn someof them- they talked one and the other ones they talked another kind of Low German, you know.
SS: Do you think they ever came to blows over that during the war? Whenpeople would give them a hard time?
JOHNSON: No, they never did, the Germans just didn't pay any attention, andthey just said,"They don't know any better." (Chuckles)
SS: Do you think that any of the people were afraid that some of thesepeople might really do something to them?
JOHNSON: No, I don't think they did. I think they'd be afraid to do anything,there was too many Germans around here. I think they'd be afraid to do anything else than like doing something like that. And then during the war they had to make things for the soldiers, sewing and everything like that. We had our club there at Cameron and then take it down to Leland- they wanted us to come down there, the ones there. And she1 came there, she was the leader and she came to Cameron too, and she said, "it's so peaceful up here, everybody is just aworking. There's no quarreling or anything." And there's nothing to quarrel over, we'd go up in the mornings, about nine o'clock and the older women'd be knitting stockings and the other onesi they made those, those stockings that you put on, and they knitted one of those stockings and things like that. And we'd make the pajamas and all those things. We'd sew that on the machine. So the girls would take one thing and somebody the others and baste them you know, and some body'd be cutting out. And we worked down there til after we ate lunch up there and then we'd all go home, the different ones.
SS: Where would you work? Did you go to Leland to work?
JOHNSON: Oh, no, at Cameron. At Cameron at the school there. That's wherethe Lutheran League met.
SS: Was it a church group that was doing it? Or was it the Red Cross?
JOHNSON: It was the Red Cross that was doing that, but we were all working upthere, the community. And then they asked us- we had the president and the vice-president and then a treasurer and the secretary. There were the four of us and we met down at Lewiston. And we met there the evenings, we had three days.
Dinner for all of us. Tables. The businessmen down there, they tookus for a ride. That was when the road up towards Genesee- it was when it was first opened. And that was just a short time before, took us up that road, you know. And that was wonderful to drive up there! And then look over the town coming back. And then he took us up to his house, that was Mr. Beech. You know his white house up there.
SS: In Lewiston?
JOHNSON: Down in Lewiston. You go up Ninth Street, I think it is, and it wasright at the top of the hill.
SS: He was the head of the Red Cross?
JOHNSON: He was working with it, yes. He was a banker, but he was working withit. And visited around at some of those other high-up places there. Families, you know.
SS: What was your part in the organization?
JOHNSON: I was the secretary. And Helen Melkey was the treasurer. AndMartha was vice-president, I guess. What did I say?
JOHNSON: The the president was- no, Helen fcftelkey was the president. Mrs.Blund, she was the treasurer and Martha was the secretary.
SS: Well, you said that a person would come up to Cameron and say thatpeople were really working well. Do you think he was saying that you were working better than they were in Leland?
JOHNSON: They would get together, you know, quarreling. Up here, theydidn't, see, each one done their own work. And some of the older ladies, see, they were up in their seventies, maybe up to eighty, knitted stockings. And they sewed on the buttons on those pa jamas and things like that. They couldn't do any other sewing. And Helen Melkey and I, we done the cutting out. We cut out all those things and put it together and they sewed it on a machine. I'd tell them to hook up the machine so it blind stitches. And that just went like clockwork. We all just worked together. And we could laugh and talk too, but we were all serious while we were working. And then after we ate our lunch.together, then we'd go home.
SS: How often would people get together to do that?
JOHNSON: Every week. Once a week that we'd go.
SS: Beside socks, what did they make?
JOHNSON: Oh, they knit those socks and I don't know, they'd made those clothesand there was other things we had to sew to fix. Maybe it was just every two weeks that we met. But I know we went down to Lewiston that time. We stayed down there several days and after that we got first prize for all the communities down there because we'd turned in more things and knew how to do it.
JOHNSON: We had to learn all those things, how to do this and that. And thenlater on after the; we didn't do so much of it. I guess we was in Spokane when the Armistice was signed. We went upwe I guess the first of March^went up there to work. Martha and I. And then the Armistice was in the latter part of March, first part of April. You know, when they rang the bells and everything.
SS: I was wondering- like how did- for instance your father and motherhowdid they feel about that war? That must have been hard because-
JOHNSON: It was hard, their family was over there, not Mother's but Father's.And he knew about it. Then I had a brother went over there from Mon- tana, he joined the-
SS: The army?
JOHNSON: The army and the, I guess it was the army or what was it beside the army?
SS: There was the marines.
JOHNSON: Not the marines. It was the army that he joined and went oyer. Andhe went over that coming fall, when they started the war and when the United States got into it, why, he went over in October, I think. He was one of the first ones that crossed the And there were quite a few from Cameron went. Of course, the Cameron- they had one of those fellows he was a preacher down here, went around, and he was talking about Leland. And there were quite a few of the boys that had to go just right after that, Frank Shoeffler and as many from Cameron as there was from Leland around there, and he was talking . about there, he said if he could go he'd go he'd slit his arm, he had a little bit of German blood in him, he'd squeeze that out, the German blood. There was those German boys around in there; boy, he was hated!
SS: He was a preacher?
JOHNSON: He was a preacher, down here at Kendrick. And later on, why, he wanted to go as a preacher, but they didn't send him overseas.
SS: He was from Kendrick?
JOHNSON: He was at Kendrick, yes. But he come up there, he was at Leland- therewas lots of them at Leland the same way, you know, they thought the Germans- there was nothing good about them. And the Germans they ne ver said anything. But they came from Germany and they'd been over here and United States citizens all those years. Father he became a citizen in 1886 or in 1870 something- he came over and then he was here in Idaho, you know. But he got the land, of course, he'd have to be a citizen to get the land. And then all those years he'd been a citizen of the United States here. Oh, I don't know, we always said they were such dumb people that didn't know better, but anyway they got the flag. And that summer- the German churches said they'd meet up there at the church they was doing all that getting ready and so on. You know to be so ignorant to talk about such things.
SS: This preacher, did he say what he said in front of people from Cameron?About squeezing out his—
JOHNSON: Oh, yes, were all down there, they was having a supper for theseboys that had to go, you know, within the next day the train went and some of us girls, we went down there when the train left down at Lewiston. And the boys all got on, you know, of course we was all bawling about it and all. We all had to go down there in the car and some of us went down on the train and seen the boys off. And the train was there at the depot, and they was getting into those cars you know, we didn't have much use for these fellows that talked about being such good Americans and all. Yes, those were the days and we worked hard for the Red Cross all during that time. Went back and forth down at Lewiston. We knew them as well as anybody did.
SS: This preacher, he was saying that at a farewell dinner at Kendrick?
JOHNSON: It was at Leland. He was the preacher from Kendrick, he preachedhere but he come up to-
SS: And a bunch of you were there at Leland?
JOHNSON: And the boys was sitting on the stage, you know. And there was someof them, they believed like this preacher did, they were boys from Leland and around and then some of them they were up there that didn't come back again. They went overseas, you know, except in a casket. Frank Shoeffler, he was in with the war, just before the Armistice was signed. The Armistice was in November; just that day, that mor ning, is when he shot his fatal shot. And he lived then for several days, a week or so after that. And we got the word that his father, had passed away, this Frank Shoeffler, and his funeral was-course they had the funerals sometimes in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, they had it. And then the messenger came from Kendrick, the telegram, that Frank had passed away. It came that same day. And of course, they put their names up, the boys that- they had a slate, the ones that didn't come back and had the stars on there. It was on there for quite a while. Course, they have the new church and it isn't there. But they probably have it someplace up there.
SS: But I would think it would be hard to think that I might have to befighting against maybe my own relatives, if I had to.
JOHNSON: Well, they were relatives in a way, but they didn't know them, youknow. Of course, my father's- had two brothers left over there and their children, some of them,- course, they went to war, too. And they lost a lot of their's, while they were fighting with France and different ones. They lost a lot too. Course, we didn't know any of There was Father's younger sister came after he cants later and her husband. They came to Minnesota and they were buried there. And they lived there, and then later after the war was over another brother-in-law came, his sister passed away there and this brother-in-law came with the two girls and a boy. They came to Kan sas, they lived there. We got acquainted with them. They came out to visit us. The two girls did at different times. So I don't know too many of them.
SS: Did most of the boys that went overseas see active duty, fighting inthe war?
JOHNSON: All of them did. My brother went over there and then later on hewent under Hoover, passing out food, you know. He worked him for a year before he came back. He didn't come back until 1919, in the fall. I guess it was September when he came home. And then of course he had the post office up at Cameron after that. That's when I went down to Portland to work, 1920, after Christmas. I stayed home for Christmas then I went down there. Oh, I quite a bit, you know, I liked to go work someplace where I could earn more money than I could, you know, close around here. And then the times that I came home mostly after I was older was when Mother'd be sick or some thing and she had an operation the last time, and of course, I took care of her through those months. My youngest brother was home then. And of course, we- after she was able to sit up and be able to get around; it took til spring before she was able to get up and walk, not be up, but be in a chair. And then we papered the house and done things, and then when farming started, then of course, we went ahead with the work. I helped my brother, you know, he worked. I done the milking and things like that. And of course, Father he done what he had to do. We always worked when we was at home. I went to dances later on. After I started going to dances- but I went to dances.
SS: Were people against dancing at Cameron when you were growing up?
JOHNSON: No. We had dances up there, the young people, they always danced.And my brother played the accordian and Bill he played the violin. And, let's see, there was another one, he played the horn. And it was just, oh, lots of fun, dancing.
SS: What kind of music did they play?
JOHNSON: Oh, just all the- they had waltzes and one-stop, two-step and sometimes square dances. And then we'd have to try to get the girls to didn't, dance, you know. Go look around and those that^try to get the girls off of their feet.
SS: Where would they hold the dances?
JOHNSON: At the hall in Cameron. There was kind of a hall there, used to bethe post office, and they moved the post office a different place and they called that the hall. And they could dance there, and they kept the floor pretty slick and seats around the side. Sometimes there'd be people come in; these medicine men- have you seen those?
SS: I've heard of 'em.
JOHNSON: They'd come in and peddle their wares and give a show and so on, andafter that was over with they had dances there. Usually kind of to ward spring, they'd have something like that.
SS: How did they keep the floor slick?
JOHNSON: Oh, they kept it slick- whenever they put that down- I don't know, ifthe floor was a little bit rough it didn t make any difference, you still dance! (Chuckles)
SS: Did these guys sell medicine when they put on the show?
JOHNSON: with the medicine and everything, why they packed up and sometimes they'd stay and dance, too. But usually they'd go on, or some times they'd have someplace to stay.
SS: Did people buy the medicine?
JOHNSON: Oh, some of them did. Some of 'em, if they had the kind of medicinethat'd go down, make 'em feel good! (Chuckles) They had several things, there was medicines; that was Prohibition at that time.
SS: So they were alcoholic?
JOHNSON: Alcoholic, and then some of the other ones too- the men, you know atCameron they'd take some of those- that was medicine, too, liniment and stuff like that They could always get plenty of that stuff, too. No every time, but sometimes they'd have that outside.
SS: Was there much moonshine made around, do you think, around Cameron?
JOHNSON: Not any moonshine, I never heard of anybody making moonshine. Oh,some of us made wine; we always made wine at home. Black cherries, all that stuff, we always made up a bunch of wine. I even made some dandelion wine. Made a crock, and it was good. I picked my dande lions, and I followed that- it was an old cookbook. And I walked clear down to Leland to get some lemons and orange-, and I had that crock, after I had strained it all out and had to age a while and I bottled it in the cellar. And one of my brothers, he liked that too well, and I - down there and I hid it, and of course I gave it to Father and Mother. I forgot about it then, I was working out then in the wintertime and I didn't come back and Father was talking to some man that- somebody stopped there and visiting with Father and he'd eat dinner; and he was eating dinner and Father was telling about some wine that I had made, how good my wine was, and I just happened to think and I went down the cellar and it was up there where I'd put it, where I'd hid that because no kids could find that and I brought that up and there was cobwebs over it, and boy, that was good. And I gave Mother some and all of us we drank a bottle about that high. We all drank that wine. And it was good. I never tasted wine that tasted like that; I don't drink wine. You know, you taste that wine, cherry wine; something that we had, you know.
SS: I know what you're talking about, because I've had a little dandelionwine once and I thought it was just the best wine I'd ever had.
JOHNSON: Well, it's kind of light-colored, kind of like a dandelion, you know.And that was good, I liked it myself.
SS: So people didn't care about that, whether it was Prohibition or not?They'd still make wine?
JOHNSON: Yes, they still made it. That's when we made that. But Father neverbrought in anything.
SS: What about beer? Didn't a lot of people like to drink beer?
JOHNSON: Yes. The Germans, they usually always got a keg of beer or two whenthey had a party or something like that.
SS: How did they get that during Prohibition?
JOHNSON: That was before Prohibition started. During Prhibition I don't rememberany of them had any beer. But I don't remember that any of them had beer during Prohibition.
SS: Did your folks- when the war first started, do you know whether theythought it was going to go as long as it did?
JOHNSON: Did what?
SS: You know that First World War was long; it started in 1914 and itwent—
JOHNSON: Yes, overseas, and then over here it was 1917.
SS: Yeah, 1917 and then it ended in 1918. But I was thinking; I wonderwhat they - I wonder if they just thought it might end really quickly, because it went on so long.
JOHNSON: Well, they didn't know because- the war over there- and of course theysympathized with their relatives back there but when the war started here, they was with the Americans, with the troops, you know, when they had to go. You never heard of the Germans, you know, like some of the English- some of the other people you know, that weren't German. A lot of them they tried to talk down they could take the land away from the German people here and so on. They were real snob bish or snotty that way. But it didn't work out that way. They went right on a working. And of course, they couldn't hear from Germany. Til then he always took the twice a week Spokesman and the Lewiston Tribune, too, and after the war came he took the Lewiston daily paper and sameKwith the Spokane paper. He got all the news, and of course, he took a lot of the other German papers from back East and he done lots of reading. And I guess that's where we got our reading. Mother read quite a bit, especially cookbooks or recipe^ and I read all the magazines i could lay my hands on or had money for.
SS: So you started getting the newspaper every day?
JOHNSON: Yes, every day we had to go up to Cameron, and Father'd sit there onthe porch, the front porch, to see when the mail carrier came up to the cabin. Kids'd have to hike up and get the papers.
SS: And then he'd sit and read 'em?
SS: And he would sit on the porch and read them?
JOHNSON: He'd read them as soon as we got the paper from Cameron, that'd beabout four o'clock or half-past four, he'd be sitting on the porch and read those papers.
SS: You know, one thing about the boys going to war that I think is intereting, is that I have known some of the Swedish people and Norwegian people; they told me that they didn't- when they were kids they didn't want to go into the war, into the first war. They didn't want to fight. They weren't for that. They didn't like going, some of them. They thought they'd rather be on the farm and they didn't think we ought to be in a war, anyway. That was their attitude. But I was thinking that for folks that were German maybe they would feel that they had to fight to prove that they were loyal,
JOHNSON: Yes, the ones that were here, they were Americans. And of course,they felt bad for their families over there; their brothers and rela tives back there.
SS: Do you think that the boys really wanted to go to fight?
JOHNSON: Well, it 's just like they would go anyplace else, any other place,you know, they were called on and they had to obey the laws here. And of course, they didn't know whether they'd be in France or where so much of the time. My brother when he went over, that was in France. They come over from England to France,^he was over in France. And they had to obey the flag. And of course, Father, he had to do what they do here in America. He was an American and he joined the Ameri can people. But of course, he felt bad about those over in Germany; And they lost over there, those relatives. his brother's children and grandchildren. You know, they lost quite a few over there too of those that had to go to war. We had pictures of them.
SS: Do you think that they took more German boys than others?
JOHNSON: Whatever community they was in, anyone's eighteen, why they had to go.And it didn't make any difference whether they were German or English or any other. There were others that were French descent, some of them of other descent, you know.
SS: Did all the boys go who were called?
JOHNSON: All of 'em, when they were called, they went. Yes. There was noother way, unless they were— they were sent down there to the doctors at Lewiston, they examined you and if they were able to go, physically able to go, they had to go. And some of them, of course, they wouldn't be able to go, there would be something wrong, they were lame or their eyes or something that they couldn't go.
SS: Do you remember the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's?
JOHNSON: Yes. There weren't so many of those in this country here. Butback in North and South Carolina and Georgia down in there, there were a lot of those Ku Klux Klan. And some of them, they came, A doctor at Peck, he come from that part of the country and his brother was a pharmacist- He was with them back in North Carolina. He had to leave there, he went to Denver or someplace, but his family came came West oh, quite a few years after that, they came to Peck.
SS: Was he in the Klan at Peck?
JOHNSON: Oh, there was Peck. No, they didn't have any in there.I don't know of any of it around here,
SS: I think there was some around here. I don't think there was a lot.
JOHNSON: —some of them, like around, like I was telling you about, Lelandthat tried to belittle the Germans up there and the church, like taking that flag down.
SS: Some of them were the Klan?
JOHNSON: I don't think there was any the Klan, they were kind of together.Called em crazy nuts, or something.
SS: You mena, they were a group?
JOHNSON: There was a group of them, but I don't think they were just a solidbig group or not, but there was just some of them.
SS: But it wasn't the Klan?
JOHNSON: No there was no Klan. Never any Klan or anything like that that Iknow of. Not around here, this part of the country. I never heard of it.
SS: I heard there was a small group in Kendrick.
JOHNSON: There were small groups of them, like that minister that I was tel-ling you about that tried to, you know, look down on them , or tried to do what they could. But the trouble was that those Germans, they bought those war bonds, you know, when the time came and they bought more than some of the other ones because they had the money and they put it in that. And Father bought one for me and of course, I had the money saved up, I could buy myself one.
SS: Were the people doing pretty well at that time, farming?
JOHNSON: They were farming and they had their cattle, and the grain.
SS: So they had money?
JOHNSON: They the money; they had the beef that they sold, and sold honeyand Father worked on the grades, you know, on the roads. And we worked all the time.
J0HNS0N: He was the head man around here. They had this andthat.Troy was for a long time and then over at, its Craigmont now.It used to be l/ollmer and then another town they were just about a parked car, there was a road went between fera.They didn't find any United with Craigmant.
SS: I know in some places, foreclosed and people complained,hegot to be a big land owner that way.
JOHNS0N: I suppose he was. I donft know so much about it.I never heard 'em tellso much about it. I know father, he was with the other farmers, they cosolidated and built their own warehouses here. I know that was the first one when they built Kendrick, he was one of the big ones here to get the railroad down.
SS: You didn't hear people talk about what kind of a person he was?
JOHNSON: Not so much because we lived up there and I was going to school.
SS: He was awfully wealthy.
J0HNS0N: I think that he was. Bas he in some of those banks?
SS: The Genesee bank was his.
J0HNS0N: I think he had banks different places. Yes he had lots of money.I was just growing up then, didn't mean much to me.
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60:00 - She helped take care of the bees. Family fruit dryer. Keeping produce in the cool cellar. Making cheese; meat.
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Segment Synopsis: She didn't care about boys. She worked in Walla Walla and then returned to care for her mother after her operation. She met her husband from Peck at a Cameron dance; his work. They bought a farm near Peck in 1934. Car accident on grade to Peck - her husband didn't know she was hurt.
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90:00 - Work at the hotel. The owner hired a dance teacher to teach the employees ballroom dancing. Evening dances for the help.
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101:00 - Less freedom working in someone's home than at the hotel; some families inconsiderate of maids
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Segment Synopsis: Less freedom working in someone's home than at the hotel. Some families weren't considerate of maids, treating them as inferior. Working as a maid for a probate judge and his wife in Walla Walla - daily tasks. Her enjoyment of the cooking; big parties. The woman talked to her about books; she was treated as one of them.
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Segment Synopsis: Anti-German sentiment during the First World War. Some wanted to take over Germans' land. Pressure to buy more was bonds. Some Leland people ripped up the Hag at the Cameron School, trying to show that Cameron people weren't patriotic. Criticism of speaking German; during the war some services were in English, and more were after. Those hostile to Germans were afraid to try direct action. Diligent Red Cross work at Cameron compared to Leland.
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Segment Synopsis: Cameron Red Cross work during the First War; they won first prize for most work at Lewiston. A Kendrick minister insulted the Germans at the farewell dinner for the boys at Leland. People who were anti-German were "dumb" to them. The girls saw the boys off on the train at Lewiston. Frank Shoeffler was fatally shot on Armistice Day. They received word the day they buried his father. Boys fought for America.
132:00 - Caring for mother in illness; dances at Cameron; medicine shows sold alcoholic medicine during prohibition
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