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This side of the following tape was recorded on Duly 5, 1973 at the home offir. Rudolph Nordby in Gene see, Idaho. The voices on the tape arg those of Rudolph Nordby and the interviewer, Rob Moore.
Interviewer: The story you told about being dropped off at bhe farm place inPalouse was pretty interesting. I wonder if you could talk of that again.
Mr. Nordby: When we moved in there?
Interviewer: Right, when you came by train into Palouse and what happened then.
MR. NORDBY: We carne in by train into Palouse and then of course, hired a cabwith a driver to take us out. This was in February and the roads were just breaking up. Great big holes and we'd be going along there and those holes would be full of water and he'd be driving and he'd go bingoi down in those holes.(chuckles) And of course, the interesting thing about that foas that my grandmother was there. Of course, she talked nothing but Norwegian. And she scolded this fellow that was driving so much, about his carelessness in driving, see? So it went on for quite awhile and pretty soon he... his name was Oohnson.
INTERVIEWER: Did he speak Norwegian?
MR. NORDBY: He was a Norwegian.(laughs)she of course had no idea that theNorwegians had ever gotten out here. But it was kind of interesting. It was a six and a half mile drive.
INTERVIEWER: Did he ever say anything back to her? Did he ever tell her thathe spoke Norwegian?
MR. NORDBY: Yes. He talked to her in Norwegian afterwards. Then of courseshe felt so terrible.
INTERVIEWER: Well, how many of you were there?
MR. NORDBY: Well there were five children and the two and then grandmother.That'd be eight. It made quite a hackload.
INTERVIEWER: Well, did you have all your tools and things along with you onthat trip when you came out?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah, they were shipped out, you see. And then of course, hehad to go in and get a team and go in and get the stuff the next day. That's about a day's drive right there.
INTERVIEWER: So you were stranded out on the hompplace there?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah.
INTERVIEWER: Were there buildings up then or anything?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah, there was. Several old buildings there. So anyway, wewere kind of comfortable. Of course, in those days they could make, they could make food out of most anything.
INTERVIEWER: Well, had you brought a bunch of food in with you, or did youhave to start...
MR. NORDBY: Well, I suspect that we bought some groceries in Palouse beforewe went out. That would be my guess, I don't remember what we actually did do. We didn't have any relatives that we could sponge on. So I think that was about the upshot of the thing.
INTERVIEWER: Well what kind of things did you start doing when you got thereto the Palouse place?
MR. NORDBY: Well, along about the first hing they did was to try to fix upthe house a little so it was a little more livable. And get organized on that. Had to get out and start buying horses and equipment which was very mediocre, of course. Host of it was used machinery when we bought it. So it was pretty tough.
INTERVIEWER: Was there land cleared on this place already?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, oh yeah. The biggest part of it was developed m Crops.
INTERVIEWER: What crops?
MR. NORDBY: Well, it was mainly wheat and barley, and oats.
INTERVIEWER: you came in February, so was there a crop of winter wheatthen, that you could start working right away?
MR. NORDBY: I don't remember whether there was any winter wheat there. I rathersuspect, maybe, that everything went into spring crop.
INTERVIEWER: You were eleven then, right?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: What kind of job did you have to do when you got there?
MR. NORDBY: Oh, it would be milking cows. Maybe herding them out thereover across from Princeton. I used to have to do quite a bit of the work that had to be done.
INTERVIEWER: Was herding cows an all-day job?
MR. NORDBY: Well, if the pasture was good, of course, we could bring 'emin, leave 'em in the corral and then turn 'em back out
INTERVIEWER: I guess it was still pretty wild up there wasn't it?
MR. NORDBY: Oh, yeah. It was a little wild. And there were very few churchpeople in there. And of course we had come from and area where the church was number one of course with the folks. And that's on reason that mother was discontented living under those conditions. So then they made a trip down to Genesee, and they had a brother about three miles from Genesee to see 'em and then they got to looking around and they liked this part of the country so well. It looked more like Tovva. So they had a chance to buy this 320-acre farm.
INTERVIEWER: How much did the farm sell for?
MR. NORDBY: At that time?
MR. NORDBY: Twenty-five dollars an acre. (chuckles) Yeah. It was cheap.But it took so many years to get it. You know, to produce it. The first spring, seeded a lot of wheat. One year they seeded the whole thing, sprinkled it and in the fall, they couldn't see any wheat at all. so bad, which was up above it. So, they had to cut hay. They as I remember, one hundred and fifty tons. And that hay sold for six dollars a ton. (chuckles) They weren't getting rich very fast.
INTERVIEWER: Do you remember the move down?
MR. NORDBY: From Palouse?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yes. That was quite interesting too. It was in February ofcourse and part of the way, it was pretty good. And part of the way it was nothing—maybe one track, you'd get one track from Moscow and going north, too. So we started out before daylight from up there. It was a thirty-mile drive and we got into one of the neighbors up here oh late—way after dark. And we kids were riding in the hack and of course we were just so tired out between trips. And then everytime we got to a big hill, why Dad said, "You've got to get up. You have to get out and walk be easier on the team." And he wanted to keep us awake, see. (chuckles) So we didn't sleep well. That was kind of exciting of course for us to get off.
INTERVIEWER: How many trips down did you have to make?
MR. NORDBY: Oh, that I don't remember because we hadn't accumulated too muchstuff in two years . And some of it, of course had to wait until the roads got better so we could use the wagon.
INTERVIEWER: So then you moved onto this place?
MR. NORDBY: Um-hm.
INTERVIEWER: And there was a house here then?
MR. NORDBY: Yes, It seemed like an old time house that had been used—a portionused for a grocery store. And the counter, or bench that they usedfras stilljhere. They had set it outside of the house so they could use the whole room. And then this barn out there was built in—it had been built twenty-seven years when we came here. Twenty-seven years old. So that would be about '75 when it was built. Mr. (knew all about it, he was the guy that first started it.
INTERVIEWER: Well this place that was the old store here that the counter wasout of it? Was that counter, the counter that they bought stuff over or was it also like a serving counter for the—
MR. NORDBY: Yeah. All that,it was just a counter to set the stuff on andrap it up.
INTERVIEWER: It wasn't like an eating counter.
MR. NORDBY: Oh no.
INTERVIEWER: Because you said that the place was also a stage stop.
MR. NORDBY: Well, they of course, Isuppose had. 4Wc house.
INTERVIEWER: How long did the stage stop? How long was th*£tagestop?
MR. NORDBY: Well, I'm not sure what that was.
INTERVIEWER: Did it stop before you came?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah. It'd been going for quite some time, Felix Warren wasthe driver. And of course, in later years, we knew him very well. He was in Lewiston for a long time.
INTERVIEWER: What kind of goods did the store sell? Was it—
MR. NORDBY: Oh it would probably have some old bottles and a littleyou know. And then
INTERVIEWER: Was it a basic, general merchandise store?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: The people who owned the place before you—were they stilloperating store? Or had the store stopped operation before?
MR. NORDBY: No, it had stopped, it had stopped by that time.
INTERVIEWER: The post office was no longer there?
MR. NORDBY: No. No, I think at that time, they had built up the—what theycalled the old up there, east of where it is now. So that's where it is now.
INTERVIEWER: The picture of your father with the five deer that he killed?I wondered if you had ever gone hunting with your father?
MR. NORDBY: No, I never did. We usually had to be home to take care of thelivestock. And I didn't have much interest in it at that time. I think my older brother went with him a time or two. Sometimes they'd go and come back with nothing, see? But I can recall that my dad had a big heavy skin-lined coat, sheep-lined coat that he wore and then he'd pants were just about as thick as my finger.
INTERVIEWER: They were wool pants?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah. And he'd get up there in EL tree and lay up on top of alimb maybe four or five hours waiting for the deer to come out to eat. And he would just try not to move the limb at all and he'd get one or two elk.
INTERVIEWER: That was in the wintertime?
MR. NORDBY: Well, yes and the season, of course, is in the winter.And couldn't it at that season flu they got information. They always took a lot of cheesecloth, thin cloth see that they buy at the store. And they'd take and wipe all ther wipe it clean. And they found that the meat would keep so much better.
INTERVIEWER: ffo it was mostly kept just by the cold?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, you bet ya. That's all they had.
INTERVIEWER: You didn't try smoking it?
MR. NORDBY: Oh .It kept much better. But for the most part, they werein good condition. Sometimes they'd have to feed some of it to the dogs I guess but they'd have things to wrap it up to keep it hanging out at nights you know. more than in the daytime. And then of course if the weather turned warm, they'd sell some. Sometimes it'd be eight or ten days before they'd cook that meat.
INTERVIEWER: Well when they brought the meat back then, would they keep itthen, were they keeping it the same way in the cold?
MR. NORDBY: Well, they used to can it see. Cook it up and put it in jars.And if it was cold, well then they hang it out on the wall and they'd there and they'd put a little cheesecloth around it and hang it up there and when they wanted a roastifor something, chips cut off of there why they'd bring it in, cut it off, an hang it up. Then it stood about so much of that too, of course, it would turn warm mother would have to try to can it. Put it in the cans or that. And we kept grease helped so it'd cover all the meat so it wasn't exposed to the air.
INTERVIEWER: How long did you live in that old house before you built thisone?
MR. NORDBY: I think it was about two years before we built this one.
INTERVIEWER: And how long did this one take to build?
MR. NORDBY: Oh, it took two or three months. This same neighbor, Mr. Tweedbuilt the house. And then we had helpers, of course. And all the Johnsons, they lived here. That was two days for atrip. We'd sometimes get back as off up on him There isn't lace now. And there the teams, lumber would stay night, those that had too far to go. And I've seen the time when you couldn't hardly find aplace there in aquarter of amile.
MR. NOBDBY: They'd pliace up and they had an oldpump, everybody could help themselves.
INTERVIEWER: What was the fella's name?
MR. NORDBY: Oh I can't remember.
MR. NORDBY: Oh yes. I hauled
INTERVIEWER: Were you driving by yourself when you did that?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah.
INTERVIEWER: How old were you then?
MR. NORDBY: Well, Ididn't get to do that til Iwas oh, fifteen, fifteen toeighteen. One time back in there to get aload of and I had six horses and two wagons, trailing. And Ithought Iwas good driver and Igot there-and I knew that-it . looked like it was going to storm. So Igot up at three o'clock in the morning and got horses ready and started out, and by the time I got on this side of Cornwall, it was—no on the other side of Cornwall, between Cornwall and the loading place, it started to snow. And I started out leading up with this outfit and the horses of course, couldn't pull it and the brakes wouldn't work. So I thought sure I was gonna have trouble and run over the horse or something. But they all stayed on their feet and then I came out of that, Well, I pulled around a curve and it's kind of simple on the path but I kept the horses clear over to one lane. But So the rack of posts. I think I had something like 220 posts, I think. And then I didn't dare to drag it any farther and then I unloaded the other. And then the next day, I went up and drove down the man's field and got on the lower side and I had somebody with me so that we could put that old rack on. So that's some of the good experiences that we had.
INTERVIEWER: You mean, by the time you were fifteen or so, you were pretty muchtaking a man's job around here?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yes.
INTERVIEWER: What would sort of a typical day, be like?
MR. NORDBY: Well, we'd get up and have breakfast at six o'clock probably.
INTERVIEWER: A big breakfast?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah. And then in the evening we'd probably come in depending onhow we were rushed. If it was a great rush we probably wouldn't quit til seven or seven thirty. So we didn't get (chuckles)
INTERVIEWER: Were there threshing teams that came around here?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah. Yeah, people from up around Troy -followedthey'd come in .here and they had as high as ten teams to a big machine. And I can recall one little time that they pulled ifl on my brother's field. They had a big job there, there were I think thirty-eight stacks of bundles stacked up. And they pulled in there and they threshed tong enough to get the field opened up so that they could— and then it started raining and it rained for two weeks. It rained for two weeks. And of course we had to feetf all those horses. (chuckles) So that kind of cut into the pocket.
INTERVIEWER: It didn't ruin the wheat though?
MR. NORDBY: No, it was in bundles. It dried out, you know. We had to walkaround of course and if there was some down bundles, we'd have to pick 'em up and set 'em up straight so the air would get to them.
INTERVIEWER: What job did you do when the threshers worked.
MR. NORDBY: Well, I drove one of the bundle
INTERVIEWER: How did the threshers work?
MR. NORDBY: What are Y?
INTERVIEWER: No, how. What did they do and how did they do it? How did the machinerywork and how did the men work with 'em?
MR. NORDBY: Well, the old machines of course had a long feeder on it .whichwould feed the grain in. For awhile, they had a sharp feeder and they were pitching it and they had two men cubing bundles. Cut the string off and then one man feeding it into the mouth of the So talk about adirty job, they sure had it, they could standi And so much trouble with smut at that time. You couldn't hardly see with all that smut. And how they could stand it I never could figure out. It was hard enough to haulir course we were so much.
INTERVIEWER: Well when the grain came out of the thres her, was there anotherwagon waiting there to receive it? or what?
MR. NORDBY: No, it stuck it in sacks, put it in sacks.
INTERVIEWER: About how many days would it usually take to thresh. Say somthinglike your A would be like that?
MR. NORDBY: Well, I imagine, it took three or four days at the best to get itall done.
INTERVIEWER: And the threshing machine and crew was rented?
MR. NORDBY: Well, they owned the machine.
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, and then we hired 'em and paid 'em so much, oh they'd chargeten, twelve or fifteen cents a bushel. And we'd figure a sack would be two bushels or two and ahalf depending on how much trash -that was in there.
MR. NORDBY: about hundred and thirty fiveto hundred and forty pounds a sack, which would be two and a half bushel I guess.
INTERVIEWER: Was this price per bushel in addition to room and board or did theypay you then for their room and board or what?
MR. NORDBY: No. Of course after they got that big an outfit, they had cookwagons.They had cookwagons and two cooks in there so that they of course would have everything^ . And it got so they had those bigger outfits and of course they couldn't keep 'em in the house, it was just too many.
INTERVIEWER: About how many menwould there be in one of the bigger outfits?
MR. NORDBY: Well it would be between twenty and thirty men. There'd be apitcher for every two wagons and they'd have ten wagons and there'd be ten drivers. And there'd be five or six pitchers and then you'd have two sack and the sack And then the water-hauler hauling water for the engine.
INTERVIEWER: You mean plus the man who is feeding?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, towards the last, of course, they had extended feeders andthey would just toss a cut in there. And they'd cut the bundles with that. So that was terrific when they got
INTERVIEWER: That was some sort of conveyor belt or somthing?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah. They had a conveyor and it ran over and carried it intothe machine.
INTERVIEWER: But when the crews, when the smaller crews come around there,it would be that the farm wife would have to prepare all the meals for 'em?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah. Of course, the neighbors would get together. "You comeand help me and I'll come and help you." See? So that worked out. They were very much different than what they are now. People are more to themselves. They re just as sociable but. things like that. just don't get together unless someb ody happens to get injured or something, or get behind with ft cutting. They two or three extra combines
INTERVIEWER: How was the threshing season worked and how was it determined whogot the machine first, in what order the people worked?
MR. NORDBY: Well the man that was wide awake, of course, he'd engaged if you canthresh for me if you come when I'm ready for it." If you had a good job why, that would just about hold it for you. But we're little bit piggish, we^ help but think about ourselves.
INTERVIEWER: Well about how long would the whole season go on and the differentfarmers would be going around helping each other out?
MR. NORDBY: The harvest.
MR. NORDBY: Well, they used to figure harvest would be about thirty to fortydays. Now they do it in ten days of course, if it ripens.
INTERVIEWER: Well, this cooperatiorjthat the farmers would give each otheron the farms, you said that when you built this house here, did alot of a Mr. Tweed came over and helped and did more neighbors come help then?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yes. Oh, you mean for building?
MR. NORDBY: Well, that was alittle different of course. Some of the simplework they could do that but most everything is alittle complicated unless jrou're used to doing alittle carpentry, .He would be carpenter, He wouldn't, I would.
INTERVIEWER: Well was Mr. Tweed acarpenter by profession?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yes. He charged two and ahalf dollars aday and he workedfrom early morning til late at nights.
INTERVIEWER: Did he work with apretty big crew, usually?
MR. NORDBY: Oh no. No, it'd be probably three men. Of course dad helped hihere and we boys did what we could and we could clean up the trash and take care of it. That shortened his job a little.
INTERVIEWER: So when you were about fifteen, you took over a.nan's portion ofwork around here?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, pretty much.
INTERVIEWER: You did alot of plowing and harrowing?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah. We harvested and Iusually drove the binder.
INTERVIEWER: How many teams would you hav^riving the binder?
MR. NORDBY: How many teams? Well, we never had .ore than one binder to eachpart. Yet some of then, with alarger farm, of course, did. Then of course, we got into apush binder and they were atwelve-foot cut and they'd cut twice as much as apull binder. You could raise t much you wouldn't have to put a whole bunch of straw in. Sometimes that straw would go through once. And that was quite a for thing.
INTERVIEWER: How many horses did it take to pull one of those bigbinders?
MR. NORDBY: Uh six horses. Somewhere I've got a picture of that that I'll bringout. I'll try to get some of those things. When you know what you're after why someday that I'm not too busy, I'll see if I can get or So I won't be too busy. You'd think that Iwouldn't have much to do see?
INTERVIEWER: I don't think that.
MR. NORDBY: Well, I've got my daughters down here now, they came down fromSpokane. And uh oh they come down about every ten days. My wife hasn't been too good for a couple years. It's been three or four years Yep.
INTERVIEWER: You were telling us before that when you had your first couplechildren, you had 'em here at this house?
MR. NORDBY: Um-hm.
INTERVIEWER: And uh you probably didn't like that. How did that work. Howdid you feel about that?
MR. NORDBY: Well, there wasn't much else, we didn't have much choice. We justhad to take it.
INTERVIEWER: What would the midwife have you do?
MR. NORDBY: Well, of course I had too. But we didn'twant to We were big men. (chuckles)
INTERVIEWER: I'd like to hear some more about the farming techniques youused and the kind of equipment you used and when you were quite young, when you were still horse-farming you know.
MR. NORDBY: Well, of course we, tractors came in, we started totry to accumulate money so we could buy one because we saw the difference and Ithink the first thing Ihad was a fcrdsort that I could plow with and I could seed with. And that had steel wheels on it.
INTERVIEWER: About when was that?
MR. NORDBY: Well, I don't know, I can't, I'd have to do a little thinking aboutthat.
INTERVIEWER: Was that in the Twenties or later than that?
MR. NORDBY: Oh, it in the Twenties I guess.
INTERVIEWER: When you were farming with horses, how long would it take you toplow an acre or get an acre ready for seeding?
MR. NORDBY: Well, it depended a lot on the weather of course, if it was realhot, you had to rest much of the time. But with, I finally got a Plow, twelve inch with three Then I used eight horses on it and I could plow, oh, six, seven acres aday. Of course twice that much. So.
INTERVIEWER: Was that kind of plow they used to call a foot burner?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, that's the footburner. You bet ya. The year it started uphere, we had three foot burners. And I was, of course, pretty small and I had well, Ihad aforteen inch and I"d get to the corner, l a put the on top of the handle on top of the shoulder so Icould drag it out. Lot of people thought, worked; too hard out there but I enjoyed it. (chuckles)
INTERVIEWER: Well when you first came, out how many acres were you first cultivating then, was it three places?
MR. NORDBY: Well, it was all under cultivation, all but thecreek. And of course we used to have quite abit of ground in hay so that we wouldn't have been quite an experience to go through.
INTERVIEWER: Did you also harrow at that time?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yeah.
INTERVIEWER: What kind of harrow did you use?
MR. NORDBY: Oh we usually had three sections and then we got four sowe put six horses on it and C0mkk.^fhig outflt. And we seeded we could cover quite a bit of ground.
INTERVIEWER: What did that harrow look like? How was it shaped?
MR.NORDBY: Well, it's fivefer you know, then the tinesare about so far apart.
INTERVIEWER: About twelve inches?
MR.NORDBY: Yeah. About ten fe twelve inches. And then, on ittoolset it steep or you could slope.
INTERVIEWER: And there were any sections of those bars?
MR.NORDBY: There were five bars to asection.
INTERVIEWER: Five bars,, uuum.-hurmn.. It was square shape
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, it was Just. square.
INTERVIEWER: How about seed drills and stuff like that. Did you use those?
MR. NORDBY: Seed drills?
MR. NORDBY: Oh Yes. The drills„ were something that they had of course, prettyearly. I don't remember seeding in any other way here. They had what they called shotgun. They had double outfits on the backend'ol the wagon that they could fill up wlth wheat. wheels turned this that would turn this thing. It feould shoot it up or on ft side.
INTERVIEWER: Just scatter it and it didn't cover it over or anything.
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, never had to harrow too.
INTERVIEWER: So you. when you were about eleven?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: All the way on.
MR. NORDBY: on this place.
INTERVIEWER: And you went to primary school here in Genesee?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah. Yep.
INTERVIEWER: What was that like?
MR. NORDBY: What was it like?
MR. NORDBY: Well, they had a good school. They had good teachers.
INTERVIEWER: If you were already working so hard when you were so young then,when did you have time to go to school?
MR. NORDBY; Well, of course, there were short terms at that time.
INTERVIEWER: How short?
MR. NORDBY: Well, when we were back in Iowa when I was akid, they'd havetwo months in the fall and two months in the spring. And then sometimes summer school, see. So; because everybody had to work. In the wintertime, it was kind of But here, it's pretty good right here. So we had a pretty good school.
INTERVIEWER: Was it a one-room school?
MR. NORDBY: No, down here of course, it was graded.
INTERVIEWER: They had grades?
MR. NORDBY: Yeah, theyy had school. two grades together.First and second, third and fourth, fifth and sixth, and seventh and eighth. And the high school would be like now.
INTERVIEWER: Well, how big a town was Genesee at that time?
MR. NORDBY: Oh, between eight and nine hundred. It was bigger than itis now. Well, of course, we've grown again now, Genesee is growing again now. We've got quite a few people that moved in here from Moscow last year and they're still living here. They like our water better income places.
INTERVIEWER: Did you have to walk to school?
MR. NORDBY: Oh yes.. especiallyif the water got too high,, father would hitch up to the wagon or the hack and take us in and come and get us. But many a time we came home from school and we'd just have to follow. We couldn't because it was too went around and stayed
INTERVIEWER: How far was it to walk?
MR. NORDBY: Well
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7:00 - Mother discontent with Potlatch area because of scarcity of churches; family moves to Genesee
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