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CO: His son said, "He can't do that to me," and the other feller said, "You'rehere, aint't you?" (Laughs)
SS: What's this about a cigar factory? I've never heard of that.
CO: Well, they had it in the saloon, y'know, in the same building. They rolledcigars there. A feller. Ricket, Jack Ricket, he had the cigars with the saloon, y'know. 'Course that didn't last long. He had it though. He'd make cigars there.
SS: I wanted to start asking you some of those things that we never put downthat you were telling me about the last couple of times I was here. Like one of the things you were telling me about— Osterberg.
CO: Oh, Osterberg. Didn't I tell you that when you was here last?
SS: Well, you told me part of it. We never put it down. Now, I really thoughtthat was funny stuff.
CO: Oh, about catching all the fish, crossing the creek by Nora there.He wrote back and told what good country we come to here. He said it took twelve horses to pull the carrots out of the ground! (Laughter) "And here I took and shot forty, fifty deer, Slight here!" he'd say. And then he shot one behind a big bull pine, y'know, a big tree like this. And they said, "How can you hit 'em behind there?" "Oh, he said, "I sighted on the tree, and then when I pulled the trigger, I yanked the gun around and the bullet went around, like that" (Laughs) ... Yeah, he was quite a guy. And then about the hills, y'know. They come from Minnesota, quite a few of them here, and he was too, you know it's level ground there. So then they wrote over here to Osterberg and said, "It's pretty hillj out there, though, isn't it?" He bragged everything else up, y'know, so they thought they was gonna get the best of him there. "Hilly! That's nothing," he said, "it all leans downhill!" (Laughs) Yeah, he was quite a character, all right. He had an old muzzle loader gun, too, y'know, the old muzzle loaders you had to load this way, and then you put the primer on; he had two or three of them. Yeah, he was quite a character, (chuckles) He got way up in his nineties before he died. He said he was going to live till he got to a hundred, but he didn't quite make it.
SS: What's the one about the fish, you started to say?
CO: "Well," he said, "there's a creek running there." There was no bridgesthen, y'know, when they first come here, so they had to drive over the creeks. So he said, "Below where I live, I have to cross the creek in my wagon, and when I got across the creek I had it half full of fish! The wheels caught 'em and throwed 'em up in there," he said. (Laughs) Yeah, he could tell them. There's lots more, too, but I can't ternember all of them.
Then I was gonna tell you about them two bachelors that homesteaded,together, y'know. There's nothing funny about 'em, y'know, but a lot of people done that. They'd build their cabin on the line, half of it would be on this and half on that, and then they lived together there, y'know. So they didn't have to build many cabins. But these fellers never said "No" to .H»einifc' TheY wore the same kind of hat, the same kind of coat, same kind of pants, same kind of a pipe. They smoked a pipe, y'know, and if one lit the other one would light at the same time with the same match, if it didn't burn up too fast. One would say, "Let's go to town today." "Yes." That was all there was to it. And if he'd say, "Let's stay home}" "Yup that was all. That's the way they lived. No argument at all between the fellers. Not at all. And they had the same clothes. If bought a pair of pants, the other one bought one the same time, y'see. Shoes the same way. So they finally sold their place, because there was quite a bit of timber on it, and bought the place out here. He said—Magnus was the name or one.- Magnus walks around the house all night, he can't sleep. We have to get back." And I seen it too. because I worked on the Nora mill there, and I seen them come by every day in their buggy, y'know. Drive up to this place, and then they'd go back, they'd drive up to that, that's the way they kept agoin' three, four weeks, I think. And they was pretty near losing their minds, y'know. So they finally had to buy the place back, and they moved up there again. Yep, I knew them well. I thrashed for them. And then the people said, "I wonder what'11 happen to one of them if one happened to die?" The way they lived together so tight that it was pretty near one person, you might say. But it didn't affect them. One of them died, and he went down and stayed with the widow down there in Troy until he died. They thought maybe he would go loony or something, y'know.
SS: Did one of them get married?
CO: No. No, they never got married. It was fun to watch them when they litthe pipe, y'know, when they'd puff away and then they'd hand the match over to the other one. (Laughs) They were about the same size too, so they looked pretty much the. same. To look at them they wasn't like a pair of twins, though. Yep. That's only a couple of miles east from where you live, where their homestead was.
SS: What was their name, again?
CO: Johanneson. Magnus and John. Yeah. There used to be an old sawmillright below they called the Dry Creek, sawmill. They lived right above that.
SS: Did people make fun of them very much?
CO: Oh, no. We always talked about 'em though, why they got along sogood. And then they were so honest, y'know. So when they logged down to the mill when I was working there, Axel BcKman, he said, "Scale your own logs! We won't have to scale for you." So they scaled their own timber and everything. (Chuckles) Did I tell you the story about the butcher here? I told yon that, didn't I?
CO: We used to have a butcher here, he had a homestead right up there wherewe drilled this new well on his place. Well, the fire extinguisher man come down there. He owned the building down there where Strom is in now. And then he slept upstairs, he was a widow then. And the fire extinguish er man come around there selling these bulbs that hand up, and when it gets so hot they fall down and smash, y'see. So he went in to a fella named Price, he had a restaurant below, and he says to Price, "I'm sel ling fire extinguishers. I'd like to sell you some." "Well," he said, "I don't own the building, the proprietor upstairs owns it. Maybe if you go up there, maybe you can sell him." So this fella said, "He lives in room four." So he walked upstairs and rapped on the door. Old Whis kers knocked a loud, high pitched squeal "That you want, what you want?" "Selling fire extinguishers." Out jumped the old man and said, "Where's the fire! Show me the. fire! Where's the fire? Show me the fire!" Back and forth. And the old salesman, he went down the stairs (laughing) He said, "Christ, that man up there is crazy!" And the Whisker come by laughing and he said, "I know how to get rid of those salesmen!" (Laughs) Yeah, he was a real character, that fella.
And then when the Depression was on, I was sitting out there on thebench, and he used to come over to my station every day with something, y'know, always. So, we was sitting there and a fella come up, he said, "I'm looking for work." "No," I said,"there's no work around here. The Depression is on, and wheat is only worth about thirty, forty cent, a bushel. There's no work here at all." So he took off. (Chuckles) Old Whiskers, he got up, "That's the funniest man I ever seen in my life!" he said. "I'm eighty years old. He's looking for work and I've been try ing to get away from it all my life !" (Laughs) Yeah, there was some truth in that, all right. There's always some work to do, y'know. (Laughs) "Yes sir, I'm eighty years old and I've been trying to get away from work all my life," he said, "and this fella is looking for work."
SS: Well, was this guy sort of crazy when he was young too, or just when hewas old. did he get so funny?
CO: Well, I guess he was pretty funny when he was young, but I didn't knowhim too well then, because we lived far away. But he come and bought a cow from us, he was a butcher, y'know, and he had to lead the cow, so I had to go with him all the way. Walked nine miles and back. He took it up to his place and butchered it, y'know. And I was only about seven, eight years old, I guess. Yep, I remember that pretty well. About eight mile hike, that'd be sixteen miles I had to walk back and forth.(Chuckles) When I was a kid of course that was nothing, I guess. I thought he'd give me a quarter, but I didn't get nothing. (chuckles) Yes, and then he bought beer too, y'know. He'd always come with a couple of bottles in his hand and walk up to his apartment, pretty near every day. Then he met the preacher one day and the preacher said, "You're getting too old for this stuff." "Yes," he said,"l've been figuring on buying it in jugs from now on!" (Laughs) Yeah, he had an answer for everything.
SS: He sounds like it.
CO: Yeah, he was pretty clever. But they come in and stole some money fromhim up there, he told me one time, in his room. They come in through the vent on the roof, y'knoxv, and down to his room. "But, I know how to catch them," he said, I know if it's kids or grownup people that's robbing me. So I took and put some fake money and real money in the drawer, and when they come you can tell who it is. If it's kids they'll take the fake money and everything, but the older people, they'll take the good money only." he said. 'That's the way to find out." (Laughs) Yeah.
SS: That would narrow it down, but it wouldn't tell who was doing it.
CO: No. Let's see if I've got any more stories. I told you about Oscar Burklandthe wizard though, didn't I?
SS: Uh- uh.
CO: Didn't I? Well he was a wizard in figures, y'know, well otherthings too. And he could figure so fast. , He was down at the service station once there and he said, "Turn around and write down about fifteen figures on the paper, and I'll show you how I can add." So I did that and then I turned around and he went over and looked— that fast he had it added up!
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CO: I said, "how could you add so fast? How did you do that? I'd like tolearn that." "Nobody can learn that," he said, "and I'll show you why. When you look up on this side hill there," he said, "and if you see three horses there, you say three, don't you, right away? But if it gets more than three of them, then you'll have to start counting them, don't you?" "Yes," I said. "Well, if I can see twelve there, it's twelve, that fast, so you don't have to count." He sees that bunch just like you see. three. That must be true, because he could add till there was no sense in it, y'know. He was just like lightning. He was smart in a lot of other things, though. He made a speech on Main Street here once about the germ, y'know, and they were just starting to fight the germs at. that time. He said, "The germ is nothing. It's just like a tiger, but it's so small you can't see it," he said, "and you kill the tiger or else he'd eat you up, wouldn't he?" And then he kept telling about how these germs worked in your sy stem, y'know, small things that eat you up. "But they are so small, but still you can't kill them," he said, "like you can a tiger!" (Chuckles) So he was kind of smart. He went to the university, y'know, but he never amounted to anything, really. He just fooled around all the time, y'know.
SS: When he gave his speech, he gave it to a lot of people?
CO: Yeah, there was quite a few there in town. He was so short too, y'know,he stood on a box so you could see him. And they all stood there and listened in on him, y'know. He made them on several places, all kinds of speeches, not about the germs only. Any old thing you brought up, he seemed to know something about it. He'd talk on it. Then he was drafted in the army and he was too short, so they was going to send him home. "Oh," he said, "don't send me home! Take me down to the headquarters, to the office, and I'll show you something,"he said. So they took him down there and (chuckles) he beat the adding machine. So they kept him!
SS: I know a story that I wanted you to tell me was the one about the dreamabout Dry Creek.
CO: Oh, yeah, that dream. That was Henry Anderson and his brother. He had afarm down on Bear Creek there, where the road used to go across the Big Bear y'know. He took it right by the creek because of those meadows there. And his brother, he was something like old Osterberg, y'know, to brag— Henry Anderson, his brother. "Have you heard about Henry's dream?" This fellersaid, "No," he said, "I haven't heard it. It don't make any difference what that feller says if he's asleep or awake." (Chuckles) He dreamt there was gonna be a railroad down Bear Creek, and there's gonna be a big town where he lived, y'know, and on Flodin's place it was gonna be big, rich people gonna live there, it's gonna be big. "And on the other side, the fella that lives there is gonna die out," he said. That was his dream, see. And it pretty near happened that way, too. The homesteader on the other side, he never stayed there, the other feller owns the place too now. And there come a railroad down Bear Creek too, the log railroad come down during First World War. But it never got no big city there though, like he said.
SS: He dreamt there was gonna be a big city?
CO: Yeah, it was gonna be as big as Chicago. (Chuckles) Yep. And then youcan tell how people can think, too. A feller named Hawkinson, he got stuck in the mountains, y'know, the old time car. You know what cars were long ago, the Model T's. They burned out a bearing, see, way up in the mountain all by himself. And you know how he got home? How did he get home with his car when he burnt his bearing out in it? Well, I'll tell you how he did. He was kind of a mechanic too, y'know. He took the pan off under, y'see. He had boots on, and he took a knife and cut a strip of leather, stuck it in there where the bearing was, and bolt her back up and drove home. With a leather bearing. Y'know, they used to use leather bearings long ago on the thrashing machines on certain places that didn't go too fast. So his dad had a thrashing machine. He knew that, y'know, he knew that the leather was all right. But you couldn't speed up much, he drove slow, y'know. He made it clean home, seven, eight, nine miles on the leather bearing. (Chuckles) That's quite a thing to fig ure out, too. (Pause)
I guess I've told, you all of it pretty near now.I don't know any more.
SS: I know a few that you haven't told me. I wanted you ....
CO: Well, I will tell one about me— and this is no trick— and a fella namedCarmen.I was working on the Dry Creek sawmill and so was he. And they had no live rollers in those years, y'know. You had to push the lumber down them wooden rollers they had sitting on the benches, you know how they worked. So, I said to John Carmen, "Golly, I wonder if we couldn't fix it up so we can get live rollers here. I'm tired of pushing that all the time." So, he said, looked over, "Yes! If you come down Sunday, we'll have live rollers for you, fixed up." So we did The shaft happened to run right under the bench like this, y' know, the drive shaft. So we took and cut belts about that wide from this shaft up to the first roller, see, and then from this roller over to the other one, we had a small belt to the other one. So we had about seven live rollers between the saw and where you deliver the lumber to the trimmer man, y'know, so they wouldn't have to push it by hand on those wooden rollers. So nobody knew that we done that at all, y'know, and that was a big joke. (Chuckles) Started up the mill on Monday mor ning, the rollers started moving and the people looked and they thought the mill was going to run away, I guess. They didn't know what had hap pened. And they laughed at us, some of them, they thought that wouldn't work, y'know. So when it come down to where Iworked, y'see, the trim mer was over there, and here's the roller bed, so Ihad to push 'em over there to him. And he figured it would go by_ me then, because of the live rollers, but Ihad a lever here, and when the lumber come Iheaved the lever up and throwed 'em on the skid, see. (Chuckles) Then they were wondering about that, too, y'know. And they worked all season that way. Saved a lot of work. The feller that worked behind the saw, he didn't have to push his lumber hardly any, y'know, but he'd catch the first live roller and away she'd go. Before, he had to walk along the bench and push it, and then I had to take it from there on, see. So it was a big surprise all right to get live rollers in that old sawmill like that.
SS: And when do you think that was, Carl?
CO: 1912. I worked there three different season, '12, '13 and 14.
SS: I wanted you to tell me the story about the Knutson saloon burning down.
CO: Oh, Knutson and Hennings?
CO: Well, Knutson owned the saloon, and he was gonna pay Hennings five hundred dollars to set the fire. He was gonna burn it up so he could get his insurance, see. So he done that, and then when it burned up, then Knutson wouldn't pay him his money. And Knutson figured he wouldn't squeal, because he was in on it. But he squealed! And Knutson got five years and the other one got four for setting the fire. And that's all the story is. It pretty near burnt up the whole town, y'know. They didn't have much fireworks there.
SS: Was Knutson a pretty shady guy?
CO: Well, he had a saloon, y'know, and it wasn't paying. There was so manysaloons in Troy. I think there was four or five here at one time, y'know, and he wasn't getting enough business. And he had it insured so he was gonna get his money that way and quit, y'see. But it didn't work out. (Chuckles) So, that's one thing that happened in Troy.
SS: What about the guy he paid?
CO: He got four years, too.
SS: What did he do before that?
CO: Oh, I don't know, I guess he was just working around here. Maybe he wasa bartender, for all I know, I believe he was a bartender. (Pause) Yep. Then, Charlie Taylor, I got a little story about him. He was a guy that drank quite a bit. This happened in the Depression, but no thing exactly happened.. He was a carpenter and so forth, this guy, in the Depression. He was pretty old then too. And he was broke, see, and he didn't have any money. So, he come in the service station one day and he said, "Have you got agun?" "Yes," Isaid, "i got agun." "Well," he said, "I want to borrow yuz- gun, and then you take me out in a car. I want to kill myself." "Why?" I said. "Well," he said, "I hav en't had anything to eat for three days'.' "And why do you want to drive out there?" "Drive me out of the county!" he said. "Take me out of the county, I don't want to die in the county!" he said. (Chuckles) So I said, "Oh, don't fool around like that! I'll fix it for you." I knew the commissioner, well, y'know, Driscoll. He meant business, though. He would have done it, y'know. So I called up the county commissioner right away, and told him the story. So he went out and seen him, and then every thing was all right. But he meant business, you could tell it on the way he acted. "No," he said/l don't want to die in the county. I want you to take me over the county line, and I'll shoot myself there," he said. "get rid of it.'
SS: What do you think the commissioner did for him? Did he give him food?
CO: Oh yeah, you see, they got food from the county when they were in hardshape, but he didn't know that, you see. He didn't know It. And then he used snoose, y'know, and he hadn't had a box maybe for ten days, and that worked on him, and he was getting up in years too.
SS: Boy, that sounds like a hard time.
CO: Then Alfred Westlund, he was name:? Mox Mox because he looked so muchlike an Indian, he was dark. He was a Swede too. But he was a hell of a nice guy, that Mox Mox. I used to talk to him quite a bit, y'know.
SS: That was just his nickname, because he looked like Mox Mox?
CO: Yeah, his name was Westlund. He had top jobs in the sawmill too, y'know.I worked with him there. He used to run the edger, y'know, the one that pushed the lumber through, and that was next to the sawyer. So he trans ferred from the edger to the sawyer then, given the sawyers job. He come to me and said, "I can't figure out this country or this world at all. Here now, I've got a job that's real hard work, see. Three dollars a day," I believe he got for it, and the sawyer got four. "And here he gives me a better job," he said, "and then more money! Have you heard anything so crazy?" (Laughs) And he was no fool, that guy, he was smart er than the devil. I learned a whole lot from him alone. There was an other bachelor, he was a bachelor too; and my brother Bob, y'know, they had a cabin down here, Alfred Westlund and him. They read all kinds of history and stories, y'know. So I used to go down there once in a while and listen to them. So I learned lots from those people. They were good,
SS: Your brother and he were good friends?
CO: Yep. Yeah, they told me about the Roman Empire and all that stuff, y'know.The Roman Empire was no different from what the United States is now. You know that? No difference.
CO: No. Oh, they didn't have machinery or cars and all that. People got sothey didn't want to do nothing finally, y'know. All the big arenafwe built up is copied from them, y'know, and all the games we play is copied from them, see. And they got so they didn't want to do nothing. And that empire stood for a thousand years, y'know. And here thov come from the outside and just takes them over like that. 'Cause they didn't care to do nothing any more, they just wanted to play! They had races and duels and everything in those places, y'know. And they didn't care to work. So we might go that way, if we ain't careful! (Ch^cle^ Then they said, "Take this book home with you," old Mox said, "and read it, and you'll see." That was Mark Anthony's book I read. Have you read that maybe? I started reading that book and I got about a quarter way through ... "Am i reading about the United States?" I said to myself. It sounds like it. They had republicans and democratsAand all that kind of stuff that we have here. The tax business; they taxed the people so high, y'know, they quit. That's why the Romans went under. But it stood for a thousand years, though.
SS: You mean that when you were reading that book way back then, you thoughtit was like the United States?
CO: Yeah, Well, it's about fifteen, twenty years ago, I guess, since Iread itI thought it was the United States Iwas reading about for awhile, the way it sounded.
SS: You tell me if you've got any more stories written down there, just tellthem to me.
CO: Well, Ithink that's all, only Igot two things. Two things in my lifeI can't figure out, Ijust can't figure them out. And that happened in the army, one of them. And Inever tell very much because there's no way to explain it, and nobody believes it anyway, so I haven't told many. There's nothing funny about it. When Iwas in the army on the coast, it was a heavy fog. That's what I want to start with, so you got something to go by, maybe. And I got up pretty early next morning and the fog was all gone, see. And the sky was so clear and the sun was so bright that I've never seen anything like it in my life. Down there where we were it was foggy all the time anyway. And I felt so doggone good, I didn't believe myself. I had no—you know people scratch themselves once in a while for this and that?— nothing like that. And my head was clear, and when I walked it was no effort at all. No effort at all to walk. So I said to myself, "Do people feel that way? Then I've been cheated all my life." That's no fooling!
And I told a few people "Oh, you took a drink of whiskey'" theysaid. (Laughs) "That's what made you feel that." And I said, "That's no feeling at all compared to what I'm telling you. It's entirely dif ferent! I know what it is to be half drunk," I said, "that's nothing. You feel good and jump around, but this is real!" I said, "Real." And in half an hour it was gone and I was back to myself again. Now what could cause that? If people would feel that way in the world today, would never be trouble, any fights or a thing. 1Couldn't be mean if you want ed to, the way I felt, y'know. So I figured that all people don't feel that way, I just thought that, because it was so much different.
SS: Doesn't sound crazy to me at all. It sounds like you were just....
CO: Well I think that nice weather had a lot of effect on me too. And thesun being so beautiful, just coming up over the ocean, y'know. And the fog has took all that stuff out of the air, so the air was good, y'see. See, I always had pains all the time, all my life, y'know. And none of them were there. That's what puzzled me, y'know. And I started walking, and, why, weeeee, just like I was floating along. It was no effort, no effort. And I suppose what done that maybe was, all your muscles was functioning together like they should do, y'kiKW. So I. suppose that's why I walked so easy. Well in about half an hour I went back to the same story, when I got back to the tent. There were four or five of them sleeping in the tent, y'know.
And the other one, that I read about now, so I think it's somethingto that, all right. In Spokane in 1918, it was. I bought me a car up there, an old Chevrolet touring car. So I went out and was gonna learn to drive it, and I drove down in the railroad section. There was a lot of railroads, y'know. And I got stuck on the railroad. The front wheel jumped over all right, but the back didn't. You know what I done? The train was coming. I jumped out of that car and tossed it off the rail road track! Believe it or not. See, that fella I told you about, that Anderson, that big guy, y'know, he could have done that easy, but look at my arms! How did I do it? But I found out it's possible all right, I read three or four stories about it here. There's a gland in your system here somewheres, and you get scared or something, that thing fun ctions. And you can run like a deer and you can jump over a wall or anything, pretty near. So I guess it works on you that way, all right. I read in a magazine where a car wrecked, and the people was locked in side the doors, couldn't get 'em open. And the fella got so scared he just tore that door off like it was paper. Strength, y'know, that he had. So I guess there's something to that, but this feeling good, I can't quite figure that out, though.
Have you ever had the feeling any other time except that time?
It sounds like it was almost a religious experience, is what it sounds likeYeah.
Sometimes when people talk about religious experiences as being a purebreakthrough, that's what it sounds like. But it wasn't religion, it was something else.
No, it was something else.It was just joy of living.
CO: Well, I think that the beautiful sun and air feeling so good whereyou breathe it and all that had something to do with it. And the si was so perfect, y'know, you never see a real bright sun. There's smoke or something in the front of it all the time. But there that big fog that we had, y'know, it cleaned up everything. So everything was so dog gone nice y'know. But that's kind of a queer thing, though, and I could never figure that out. It'd be fun to live (Chuckles) if we could feel that way all the time. There wouldn't be no trouble no place. So I guess we're a long ways yet from being perfect, huh?
SS: Carl, would you explain to me again what you were talking to me aboutlast time some, when you were talking about a person and his environment? Because this reminds me of that some, y'knox^, what a person does and how his environment affects him?
CO: Sure, that's something you can see yourself, if you start thinking aboutit. It's there. If you live all by yourself like a hermit, y'know what that would be. You'd just sit there, wouldn't you, and eat, and sit and eat. And nothing would happen to you at all, because there's nothing there to change you. But when you meet a different person, and he comes and tells you this, and does this, and what's happening around you— that's what you're living with and you're incorporated in that, see. Well, you know what you had on television a lot of times, they can tell where you're from the way you talk, which state you come from in the United States. They got a different Drogue, a different sound, because that's the way the people talk there, see, that's because you live there, that's why you talk like that. Now the Southerners, y'know, are easy to figure out, you can tell that, but not so much as it used to be. If you lived in a certain community you'd have different brogue, or a different lang uage and a different way of acting and living.
So people think:you are responsible for everything. But I don'tbelieve in that. It's environment that does it. And the way you re born. That's what old Clarence Darrow said when he freed himself from buying out the jury. He said, "I'm not responsible for myself." He said, "I have nothing to say when I come to this world. I didn't put my own brain here, I didn't put my own shape on me. And I am like a doctor: I'll do anything to save my client." Didn't he confess, right there? And the jury was crying and he went free, and the judgde's tears were run ning out of his eyes too. It was a long speech that he made before the jury there. So I believe in him a whole lot. You ain't got anything to say about that, do you? If you could change yourself, you'd be dif ferent maybe, wouldn't you, in some things? You'd be bigger or stronger or something like that, wouldn't you?
SS: Yeah, yeah.
CO: Well there you are, so you ain't got nothing to say about that. Andhe said, "I didn't put my brains here. And I got nothing to say when I come, I got nothing to say when I leave." See, he confessed that he bought the jury off when he said, "I'll do anything that a doctor will do to save my client, anything." So, he paid the jury off, y'know, they claim he bought the jury off once in his case, see. He never lost a case in his life, y'know. He was a criminal lawyer, y'know, too. So you can see it's many things... That's the way I look at the whole world, myself. Do the best you can and that's all you can do.
SS: Are you telling me that it's good that Darrow bought the jury off? Areyou trying to tell me that was good, that he did that? Just that he couldn't help himself?
CO: Well, he didn't mean that, he meant, "They hired me to protect him." Andyou go to a doctor and you expect him to cure you, don't you? So the doc tor will do anything he can to save you. If my job is to save the clients, I'll do anything to save 'em, see. So that meant that he bought the jury Just like old Eisenhower, when he was campaigning, he said the same thing. I remember that speech so well. He said, "I'll do anything to win a battle." See, when they asked him about some certain questions, how he's going to run the country. And he said, "I'll do anything to win the battle." Well, that's what Darrow done. too. He bought off the jury to save that man. 'Course he wasn't a crook, he was one of the best law yers that ever lived, I guess, as far as that's concerned, for ordinary people, y'know.
SS: Do you remember what you started to tell me before, about how you got into arguments with a couple of people about whether or not it was they that made things, or whether it was the environment that made things happen?
CO: Yeah. The environment. Ninety percent of what you do is the environment,the other t n percent you control, y'know. Just like, you know enough to eat, don't you? So you eat. And you see, and you can walk. That's what you're doing, but the other stuff, that's the environment that pushes you around, see. That's the way I see it. So only about ten percent of the person he got control , and the rest he hasn't. He would if he'd sit down and study everything. "Oh, no, I won't do this," see, "you can't tell me nothing, I won't do this." And the other fella, you can tell him the same thing, y 'know. You wouldn't get nowherec then either, would you?
(END OF SIDE B)
CO: .... His wife and him, I said that to him, and he believed^it right awayand when I started telling she didn't, y'know, really. And he said, "If it wouldn't have been for Ed Soderstrom having a gray mare, we'd never been here, you wouldn't be here either today. That's how I took you out the first time," he said. "See, I had one horse, but he had the cut ter, and we had to have two horses. So we met." So Ernst put on one horse and Soderstrom put the other one, they went out and seen these girls, and that's how they got acquainted. "If I wouldn't have had that gray mare," he said, "I maybe never would have knew you. So that horse done it." (Chuckles) See? Well, that's easy to figure out too, when you start thinking.
Just like I told you about Jasman (sp) getting run over with a train,y'know. He used to live in our house down there, when he had a rock crush er here. I got the news,happened to be up, the news at eleven o'clock come in, that's a couple of years ago, more than that, three years. And he was hauling rock around Portland. And a fella stopped him. He wanted to see him about something, about a quarter mile from the railroad track, y'see. And they stood there and talked a while and then they got through, old Jasman started up. I suppose he had something on his mind too, what that fella wanted. And he didn't think about the train, I guess, and he got killed right there on the railroad track. Well if that man had never stopped him he'd been over the railroad track long ago, don't you see? it isn't because anybody wanted to harm you or anything, but that's what we're living with. How do you happen to come up here?
SS: I like to talk to you, or have you talk to me.
CO: You said from Frank Brocke?
SS: That's true.
CO: Yeah. See, if it hadn't been for Frank Brocke you wouldn't have been hereeither, would you?
SS: No, probably not.
CO: No, because things have been all changed, y'see. See, I'm kind of a friendof Brocke, y'know, and he knows I lived here all my life, and that's why he sent you up here, y'see. So there you are. You can prove everything, y'know, if you just stop and think.
SS: Can you tell me what Bob was like, your brother that taught you so much?
CO: Well, he was a born genius, that's all. But he didn't use it, somethinglike Oscar Burkland, y'know, he didn't use it. He was kind of queer that way. He figured that if you come and ask him something then he'd tell it to you, but he figured that you should know that too. That's the way he was, see. He figured that you should know that, because he knew it. Memory no name for it, y'know, he could remember every damn thing. I think he could spell pretty near every word in the dictionary even. And he never went to school much, he didn't go to school no more than I did, less maybe. But he liked to read and study himself, y'know, he built himself up from that. He took a short course in the University for three weeks to learn how tokv , and that's all he spent there. So he was an assayer too, y'know. He could assay a rock and see if it was gold or silver, any thing in it. He had all the chemicals. When he died, when l^e moved out of there, he had a whole case like this full of bottles all over. I said to my brother Albert, the one that lived in Moscow, I said, "We don't dare to mix these up. Let's take them to the dump yard, be cause they might explode." And that's true, y'know, you pour two chem icals wrong bang it- can go. You see, that's what they used it for. If you come in with a piece of ore, and it had some mineral sign in it, he'd use a chemical, and then if it was a blue color maybe it would be silver in there,",a brown color it might be lead, or so on, see. He had all that, y'know, so he could tell what kind of a mineral it was and so on.
SS: So did he work as an assayer for very much of his life?
CO: No, he just did that for his own. He just took that course because hewas doing so much prospecting all the time, him and Albert in Moscow. They were the ones that opened up the Llaybed. The claybed here, they opened that up. It's named the Olson (llaybed now. The government sent people down there, so I was along and drilled holes, y'know. And Bob rked on it too. And then they had some mica up in Mica Mountain. So wo he was real... Well there was two guys that I told you about before, that come down here before he died, a couple of years, wanted to go out. and look at some coal property that they had. When they come back he went into Berlyl Bohman— he had that lumberyard here that burned down, y'know— and he said, What is that man doing in Troy? That's a genius!" "I've never seen anything like it,"he said, "I've never seen anything like it in my life. He can name every damn rock you pick up or any damn thing!" he said. That was true. But he never mixed much with people,y'see, so he wasn't known very much for that reason. Not like I am, y'see. If I had all that stuff, why I'd spread It out to everybody. (Chuckles) No, but that's the way you are. You are born that way and you can't change yourself very much.
SS: Did Bob spend a lot of his time by himself studying?
CO: Oh yeah, yeah, he studied everything. History, Bible and all that kindof stuff, y'know. You could ask him pretty near any questions about those things and he knew them. Knew even the dates when it happened, or all this, y'know. That was the queer part of it. And politics, a hundred percent, he knew everything about the United States, the constitution and all that, y'know. About the presidents that run and how they got defeated and all this, y'know, all that stuff. Anything, I don't care what it was.
SS: You told me that he told you a lot of things that happened when you weretoo young, or before you were born, y'know, to remember. What are some of the things that you've been telling me that he told you?
CO: Well, I suppose I've forgot them now. A lot of the stuff I have told youhere...
SS: .... he told you.
CO: This here Osterberg stuff, he told me all that, because Ue was big enoughto remember him, y'know, and I wasn't. So he'd tell about it, y'know, and other people too. And there's other things like that too.
SS: So he remembered the things that had happened real well too.
CO: Oh yeah, he'd have the dates and everything in his mind, pretty near oneverything, what year it happened, and all that too. Yah, he was pret ty good. Yeah, it's too bad that he isn't alive now. You could have went to him and you would have got a whole lot more. Real happenings that he remembers, especially in mining. (Chuckles) He knew everything. He was mining up at Elk City. He had an old shovel there. I don't know what make it was. And the clutch went out on it, see. And we didn't know where to buy a clutch. He said, "That's the same kind of clutch that the Case has got in their tractor, so let's go to Spokane and get one." And that:s ^hat it was! (Chuckles) Weil it was a half yard shovel, y'know, forgot the name of it now. It had no connection with that at all. But he knew that, y'know, by looking at 'em or something. He run the shovel up there himself. And he could do anything, y'know, without any experience. He never seen a steam shovel or a gas shovel before, but he went up there and run it like he'd run one for ten years. That much difference, see. We had another one that run the shovel there, he pretty near ruined it before he learned how. He dropped the dipper and knocked the teeth out of it. Instead of handling the brake right, y'know, the dipper would get away from him and fall down on the bedrock, and bang! So v/e had to take it to Spokane to get it straightened up. But nothing like that happened when he run it, and he never run a shovel before.
The same with the steam engine here. He got a job from the Schoolersin Genesee to run a steam engine when he was about eighteen years old or something, eighteen, nineteen, I guess. And they had a smut fire down there, and he got credit for the whole thing, saving it. He knew what to do. He never got excited. See, when you got a smut explosion there— they had a wooden machine too I believe— lot of engineers woulda got ex cited, woulda shut the steam engine off right away. You know what woulda happened then? Well, the straw in the machine would have burned and burn ed up the machine! Instead of that, he speeded up the engine and blowed it out through the blower, see. So they saved the machine. It damaged it some, all right. But you see, if he hadn't pushed it out... Why he never seen a smut explosion before. But he knew what to do! So he got bis credit for that, y'know. Everybody talked about him, about saving that machine, they just couldn't get over it. 'Cause they'd got so excited, the others did: "Shut down the engine and run!" I guess, and hollered maybe. He never done those things at all.
SS: Carl, the IWWs, the Wobblies, got blamed for a lot of those explosionsand fires in the fields around that time. Do you think there was much truth to that?
CO: No truth at all. Because they didn't know what smut explosions werebefore, because they never had so much smut, see. And then they imagined that they run and throwed matches in the bundles, y'see. They come down too, when we had our smut explosion down at Happ's place there. They was down there next day and wanted to find out If I had any IWWs working here and all that, and how the fire started. I said, "Started? It just explo ded, that's all. We had one before, the day before", I said, "but that went out because it was a different type of smut." It was a black smut, y'know, and it was so much there that it just choked the fire off. But this red-brown smut, that was real explosive, and it wasn't too much of it, so it mixed just right with the air, y'know. And it went just like that, y'know, and the fire shot out all over. And I said, "That's what caused it. There was no IWWs or anything around here. All the people that's working for me, half of them I know for the last ten years. Farm ers and farm boys," I said, "all of them. No strangers at all!" But they had that story going, y'know. But there wasn't nothing to it.
SS: Well how come there were never smut explosions before about that time?What do you mean by that?
CO: Well they didn't have no smut in the wheat hardly then. See, the smutcome in afterwards, in disease. And then when they got the blue vitriol in, they vitricled their wheat first, and then they wouldn't get the smut. They got some, but not so much. And then the late thrashing machines, y' know, they made a whole lot of difference too because they were speedier, and they created electricity. too, from the belt You go back to the blower belt, there was a long one from the cylinder y'know, Jand it went pretty fast. Certain days, you could put your finger in and see the sparks fly, see, and that's what started a smut explosion, y'know, from the elec tricity. And then if you happened to get a piece of rock or something flew into the cylinder, the teeth would throw a spark too, y'know. But the black smut, that didn't fire off very good, but it went all right, but it "woofs", and that's what fooled me. I didn't know it was so much, or else I would have watched closer down there, maybe. I looked at this wheat and the bundles. I always done that to see how much smut they had so we could be on guard. "Well, what's a head here and there only?" And, I said, "That's nothing, look at the smut we had yesterday— thirty percent! But we had an explosion, all right," I said, "but it went out itself. And here's just a few heads." It set off though. 'Cause it was the red smut, and I didn't know the difference between the red. And then I found that out afterwards, that the red smut was much more explosive. And then the mix had to be right, y'know. When I was thrashing there, I seen two or three machines burn up! From our ridges I could see across the other ridges, y'know, I seen the smoke going up. There was one year there, oh there was five or six machines went up, I think, from smut. It was an awful smut year, that year.
SS: Why do you think that the story was going around that they were tryingto say the Wobblies did it? Why do you think that it was the climate?
CO: Well, it's something like the Communists going on today, it's aboutthe same thing. Talking and talking about something they don't know any thing about. They were fighting the unions then, y'know, the big outfits. And the IWWs were union, y'know, they wanted to make one union, y'see, together, not to have one for automobiles— for the whole works. And that's what they were fighting. They wanted to get rid of them, know. So they brought'everything against them they could find. It was some tricky ones, too, you find that in any old thing, I guess. But so far as the IWW was, there, was nothing dangerous about them. They was try ing to scare the people
See, in those days the working man had it pretty tough, y'know. WhenI worked out— I didn't work out very much because we had the thrashing machine and we made a little there, so we didn't have to. You had to carry your own blanket roll, and walked to your job. Sleep in an old bunkhouse where the bunks were just.... There was one big stove sitting there, and all the wet socks hanging around that stove stunk, from the sweat from the feet— you had to sleep with all that. And that's what the IWWs wanted to clean up, more than anything else, y'know.
But now, I think the unions are going nuts anyway. They are toopowerful now. They're hurting the country, striking when they shouldn't strike, because everything comes to a saturation point, y'know. Well, then when they strike, they have to raise, see, so they can cause inflat ion worse than anyone else now. 'Cause we got automation, and those peo ple working there, they can pay them and pay them, because they got auto mation, make it so fast, see. But when we come to buy it, then we have to pay for it. And then we'll have a lot of unemployment too, y'know, if they don't change that. You should change those times now, y'know— like we used to work sixty hours a week, before we cut it down to forty. Wow- I think it should be down to thirty, to give everybody a job. Instead of letting one union keep striking, y'know. That's why hand labor is so high today, because they're working under automation, these strikers, and you can make a thing so doggone fast that it doesn't pay to fix nothing, throw it away and buy a new one. And that's no good for the country, be cause we'll run out of material after a while, like we're running out of gas and oil now. They don't plan ahead enough. No. Then they call them conservatives. (Chuckles) And what's the other one, now?
CO: Liberals, yah. You're liberal and I'm conservative. I'm a liberal andyou're a conservative too, if you're a common man. Conservatives is no thing—but if you're a conservative, you're no good! But they want to throw that thing to the people, they don't know what they're talking about. If your house is getting time for paint, and you paint it, you're a con servative, you're saving something, aren't you? And if you're a progres sive you want to build up the country, that's fine and dandy, aint't it? So they're fooling the people all the time. A good man is both conserva tive and progressive, is what he is. But here's where they should change the name: A tightwad, and— what in the hell is the other name for the other C — a waster, you could call him. He's wasting everything for nothing. That's the names you'd have on those people. But the conserva tives— everybody is if he isn't a conservative, he'll never get nowheres. He throws away his stuff before it's half wce're out and all that, you see. He's a miser, y' know, that's what you should call them. A real miser, they don't do anything you, they just sit there.
SS: Do you think it's bad that some people have a great deal of wealth?
CO: That's the worst thing that's happening, and ruining our country. We'llbe in feudalism soon. We went away from that, y'know, because a few people owned pretty near everything then. Then it was practically slav ery, y'know. Now, I'll tell you why. You see what's happening in the country, don't you? When I was a" kid, when they had a hundred and sixty acres or two hundred acres of land or three hundred, or whatever, you could go anywhere. You never seen a no trespassing sign. You could go fish ing anywhere. You were free. Now these big farmers have taken the whole thing, and there's no trespassing, or you're put in a cell. You got to live right here in Troy, you can't go nowheres. That's what's happening isn't it?
That's the worst thing in the world when they let the people get thousands of acres of land. That should never have been let happen.
SS: But isn't it true Carl, that there, were real rich people and real poorpeople a hundred years ago, a hundred fifty years ago in our country?
CO: Oh yeah, yeah. Most of them were poor. And the rich come in afterwards,y'know, when they had the people. If you haven't got the people, your money is no good. Because you got to manufacture and sell, do something and sell, y'know. And there's where they're falling down, they class the people who're unclassed here, or anywhere^s in the world, as far as that goes. Everybody is necessary. If you don't have no customers, you have no business, have you? If you have nobody that lays the ties on the railroad, you'd have no railroad. If you didn't have a man that climbs the poles you wouldn't have no electricity or telephones, would you? That_ man is just as important as the other one! But they don't look at it that way. They classify him! What would the country be for all these rich peo ple , if they didn't have the people, the poor people to buy it from them?
I don't say there shouldn't be big factories. Some fellers, "Well,the government should run them, run all those things." I don't believe in that a hundred percent at all. I believe it should be controlled though, see, so they can't do those things. Now you see what happened to the factories. It will be Ford and maybe General Motors left, and may be it will be only General Motors, pretty soon, (chuckles) see. It wouldn't make any difference who runs the thing if it was run right, so the people gets the benefit, see. We're travelling, y' know, in that direction now, just like this energy business is going. Just think what a jam we'd be in if they start a war, and that's what's scaring them to death, y'see. See, they don't get no oil from Arabia; we're going to be out of oil, and couldn't put our farms in, we couldn't run our airship-. or anything. Going to sleep on the job! Petple don't realize that. We're the most vulnerable country in the world. Three or four atomic bombs, we are paralyzed, absolutely paralyzed. We couldn't get our wheat in, we couldn't do nothing. Knock out all the power plants, where are you? No electricity, no nothing. No gas, because you couldn't pump your wells, no nothing. There i s only one nation in the world that can stand war, and that's China, 'cause they haven5t advanced that far yet, see. They live on the land, over there. So dropping a bomb on China don't mean no thing, because they'd live anyway. But they're coming up.
I'm not against this stuff. But I'm just talking about how did thatstuff run away from themself, y'know, not hold her down. Yeah, we could have the best government in the world here if we run it right. Shouldn't have no depressions! What should we have a depression for, when we're a self-supporting country, practically a hundred percent. Now we're get ting short of oil. That isn't because we haven't got it. We got it. They don't dig it out. That shale down there in Utah down there, y'know, they tried to get that going ten, fifteen years ago. No, no, they didn't want to touch it. Then they fought the pipeline up in Alaska, and here we sit. You can't run a nation that way. You got to follow up with every thing. You can't let anything get behind. You take me now, my age— and you're younger you don't know what will happen yet to you. What use was it for me to save mymoney when I worked for a dollar a day, two dollars ajday or something like that? Maybe I saved up ten thousand in my whole lifetime. In one year I was wiped out, the way things are going how, isn't it? There's no sense in anything like that, y'know, no sense at all.
It's the big money men that's just playing with the money, making aliving on money; Them stock markets they got I think is the biggest hum bug in the world. How can a stock go up twenty points in a day and then drop twenty the next day, huh? Well, it's the stock they got in the factory, isn't it,or something? Do the dividends change that quick? The stock is worth whatever the dividend you get out of it, that's the price of it, see? But you just keep on playing with it, up and down,up and down, up and down. Just like a gambling game, poker, that's all it amounts to.
SS: So some people are making money by doing that?
CO: Why sure. Then they got these stools out to start-- I read about ithere in a magazine ten years ago. They got fellers out and they start rumors, y'know, that something is going to happen. And the stock goes down, see. Then they'll buy it up, and then they'll have another one go around telling there's something big gonna happen there. Then they'll go up, and then they sell, see? See, that's the way they work it. Because you can see yourself, if you got a farm out here, and if it produces twenty, thirty bushels of wheat to the acre, that's all the farm is worth, no nat ter how you play it. That's all it can produce, see. And the same way with the factory, it can only make so many automobiles, or so many of this. How can the stock— maybe the end of the year it could jump up a little bit if you had a good year, see, and at the end of the year,if it was a poor year it might go down a little— but not go down and up every day. (Chuckles) That's what I can't figure out. Every day they go up and down. No.
SS: Will you tell me some about what it was like in the Depression here?
CO: Well, we didn't get hurt much here, because we didn't have no labor problems to speak of, and there were a lot of small farmers. And to tell you the truth, we never knew there was any depression till about 1931 here. And they had it in '29 back there. It took about three years to affect us here. 'Cause they were farmers, y'know, most of them. And now if you got a job and if you can't work all year 'round you're in bad shape. When I grew up there was no such thing as all year 'round jobs anywhere. Book keeper might have one, but what did he get, he only got fifty, sixty dollars a month then, they only made six hundred a year. But these small sawmills, thirty-forty days work, harvest thirty forty days , and haying maybe ten days. And the few logging outfits going up here, they hauled off enough logs in the winter so you could run the mill about twenty, thirty days a year. And that's what we lived with! So it didn't affect us at all here. And then the people were more united then than they are,see. They were smaller farms, y'know. They all have their fuel, their wood, out in the woods, y'know.
In the Depression, at every cabin in the mountains was somebody in,every empty house was somebody in!. The biggest census we had here in Troy was Depression; sve had six hundred people in the Depres sion. There used to be about four hundred fifty, five hundred. Come from all over the country, back East and every where, 'cause they could live here. Because if you lived in an old shack up in the mountains, there was your fuel, the wood and everything for you, see. And the farmers,they raised eggs here and the butter and everything was pretty cheap, y'know. And they butchered their own hog and then they'd sell a half a hog to some body else, or a quarter.' didn't cost much, see. So we didn't feel it much here in the Depression. The only thing that done any trouble at all was the banks closing up, but our bank didn't go broke even, in Troy. But Deary went under; and Bovill and Elk River, those three went under. But here in Troy, heck, I built my service station right in the Dep ression days— 1929, and I opened up in '30. The builder was up on the wall there, when I was building the shop, up on a stepladder. I'll never forget that. I was just joking with him, I said, "Look out, you might fall, you're up pretty high. The stock market fell today," I said. "Oh, heck, that's nothing, it'll be much worse tomorrow," he said, "so I'd rather fall today then." (Chuckles) And I didn't know anything about the Depression. Never heard anything, hardly. It was the same thing here, see. We were living on ordinary wages, and they couldn't be any less, hardly. And there was farming all over, and the "sawmills were still here. So they worked them y'know, only about a month or so in the year. And then on the harvest. The wheat wasn't worth anything, but you had to thrash it anyway. Then a lot of places you worked, you got your board, y'know, you wasn't out anything. The sawmill, they paid you so much a day and you got your board, and when you went out thrashing, you got your board there. So you got something to eat, if you didn't get the money right away even, see. So you see that's why the Depression didn't hit much here. But when you get into the bigger cities, then it' show tip. But here, they used to go in my service station about a dozen at a time, y'know, someone would start hollering. Some of them got pinched, know that, some people that started up earlier and owed money, y'know. I said, "What you hollering about, you fellers? This is the best time I ever had in my life!" That was true. I just come in from the farm, y'know, I was still single, I had my bed upstairs in the service station. Went across the street and had a hamburger, and sold maybe fifty gallons of gas a day. I couldn't see anything horse. I had to do the same thing when it was good times. (Chuckles)
Only difference, I : the bank was gonna go broke, so I started putting away all the cash in the safe. So I had six hundred dollars in the safe when the bank closed up. So I was named the Second Bank of Troy. (Chuckles) The people in town, y'know; one feller he got a check for some wheat. They got a carload of wheat together, I believe, and shipped it back to the teast and they got checks from there. They went into the bank and they just wanted to cash 'em. "You can't cash them here," they said, "go over to the service station, they got all the money in town!" (Chuckles) So one fella come in, and he had a twenty-five dollar check or something. He couldn't hardly believe it when I paid him twenty-five dollars for that check. And it helped me collect bills too. They'd come in there and want a little money, and then I'd take off so much cash, y'know, to pay the bill, and then when the bank opened up, why the check was all right y'see. So I come out ahead there. No, I didn't feel the Depression at all.
SS: And you trusted the people?
CO: Yeah, I felt sorry for a lot of them. I helped them out a little bitwhen I had the chance to. I told you about the guy that was hauling wood, y'know, that throwed it off? Did I tell you that?
SS: Tell me it again.
CO: There was a fella that lived in Helmer and he used to haul his wood downto Moscow, sixteen inch wood, and he got two and a half a cord, and that's a long haul, y'know. And he owed me three or four dollars for gas already. And he come down, just run out of gas up by the brickyard here. He said, "I want to get three gallons of gas on time so I can get to Moscow with my wood." I said, "Throw off the wood and I'll give you three gallons to go home where you belong. You know you can't feed your family getting two and a half for wood, hauling it twenty, thirty, forty miles a trip. Burn up that much gas, pretty near. "And then 'I said, 'f you get a flat tire or something where are you then? You alreadv owe me six dollars'," I said. So he throwed off the wood and went back, and I told him, "Go to the county commissioners for help, that's all you can do." He had two, three kids to feed, y'know.
There's another guy come in there, and he had an old Model-T, and itwas raining and weather like it is now about. "I got to have three gal lons of gas, I got to get to Potlatch," he said, "I ain't got no money. You can have my coat," he said. (Chuckles) I gave him the gas, and I said, "Here's your coat, I don't want you to freeze to death." He come back and paid it, too. Yep. It wasn't bad here in the Depression. Some of them took some losses, all right.
SS: Well, what happened in '31 and '32, when the Depression started to hit?What made the difference, what made the Depression start to hit here?
CO: Well it's just like this one we're having now, we haven't seen too much.It's just starting to hit us here now, the inflation, for the last six months or so. Well, where the people are, that's where it shows up the quickest, y'know. In big cities you get so many poor people right away, y'know, and all that. When you're self supporting, like we were here, you didn't notice it much. See, you raised your own food, so you wouldn't have to worry about that so much. They had chickens and they had cows. Made butter, made their butter, y'know, and they had their own eggs, and then they had some to sell. So the town got that, and they didn't cost much, y'know. My folks I think sold eggs as low as six cents a dozen at one time, see. They had to sell them because we couldn't use them all, so whatever you got was profit.
SS: Well when you think about it, these good times and bad times, what timesstand out to you as being the really good times in the past, and what times were the worst?
CO: Well the best times we had here according to my mother, and she ought toknow more than I did, that was in 1916. That's when the war broke out in Europe, y'know, and we wasn't in it yet. Then you could sell your stuff and you got more for a dollar then than you ever did, she said. Eggs and butter got a little better price and the laboring people started getting work because they were selling their stuff, y'know, to that war. But then after we got in the war, then you started getting inflation again. But there for two, three years there, y'know— See the war broke out in 1914 in Europe, and she told me that that's the best times they've had in this land yet! There was more for your money than any time before, because it was more equalized, y'see. And that was true, all right.
SS: What about the bad times? Do you think the Depression was the worst timearound here, or do you think there's been worse times than that?
CO: Well in 1893— that's before my time— I think that was a bad depression.That hurt them all here for this reason, that it was a wet fall and they lost their crops, see. Wheat rotting, and that's all they had to sell, y'know. It was all right for feed, I guess, they could feed their hogs with it yet, all right. And I think that was the worst times they went through. And I don't know what caused that depression either. It was before my time, two years before I was borned/, y'see. But it was hard on the farmers. Only except one, he knew how to sell his wheat. I told you about him, I guess, that put the stovepipe in the bag? (Chuckles)
SS: No, you didn't tell me that.
CO: The next year, y'know, the wheat was all right. So then he had this oldsprouted wheat left over. See, they bought everything in sacks, those days. There was no elevators, all sacks. So he put a stovepipe right in the center of the bag, see, and he put good wheat all around the and then he filled the stovepipe up with that poor wheat, and then he sew ed up the sack, see. And then when they tested the wheat, y'know, they got a little puncher they punch in the sack and wheat runs out. Well they never run the puncher that deep, y'see. So he sold quite a bit. And then somebody told the warehouse man about that. (Laughs) Next time he come in, he rammed that in the middle of the bag! It was up in Kendrick, I forgot his name. I bet ya he got surprised when he saw that old punch go in.
SS: Does anything stand out to you, Carl, as being the turning point, if therewas turning point in the history of this country? One. particular time that was the most important change in this country? What would you say it would be?
CO: Well, I don't know. That's pretty hard to tell. See, we didn't knoweverything then like you do now. We had no telephones, no radios, and most people didn't even have a newspaper. So we didn't know much from the outside here at all hardly, only what you heard. The first newspaper my dad had was The Spokesman Review; it come twice a week only. But that was enough. But they didn't have any there for a while, no papers at all. And there was no use, if you lived nine, ten miles from town, y'know, you couldn't go doxm and get your paper every day. You went to town maybe once a month only, sometimes, once a month, and bought some groceries. So the people that lived here in Troy, they'd know what was going on all right, more than the people in the country. But you didn't get to know too much either. They had the telegraph then that they used, y'know. I know that when I first started to vote here, they went down to the depot, and there's where they got the votes, from the telegraph. They had a big blackboard down there and the names on it, then the telegraph would come in, how many votes this guy got and so on, on election day. So you see, people didn't get much news.
SS: Well, how did the news spread? Did somebody read a newspaper and then tellsomebody else?
CO: Yeah, they'd tell somebody else then, y'see, that's the only way. Butthey had no phones, so they couldn't tell very quick either. He might live four, five miles away from you, y'see. So the only place you could pick up any news is when you went downtown here, but they didn't go to town more than maybe twice a month, some of them not that much even. So you didn't get much news.
SS: What happened when you were justice of the peace?
CO: Oh, didn't much happen. I didn't run, they just put my name down. And Igot two votes, and the other fella's name down, he got one, so you see! I went in two to one. (Chuckles) I didn't want it, and I told 'em. Then the prosecuting attorney from Moscow come down. "Oh, hell," he said, "you better have it, they got to have one down here. I'll help you out," he said. I said, "I don't know anything about that stuff." So I kept it anyway then. And I married a couple, and fined one guy twenty-five dollars for setting a fire. That's all I had to do. Yah.
SS: What about as road commissioner, what about that?
CO: Well, I liked that pretty good. I wasn't on more than four years, I guess.I got beat next time. The farmers didn't want no commissioner out of town here, 'cause they figured they didn't get the right representative. I didn't want it the first time anyway. But they appointed me, so I took it. No, they wanted 'em out in the country, and there was something to that, y'know, live where the roads were. They had one commissioner this way and one there and one there, see, so they could watch the roads.
SS: You rxe told me something about how during the Depression you saw howpeople were out of work and the roads weren't being built? Do you remem ber that? Can you tell me something about that?
CO: Well, that's in the early days, when they had poll tax to work out? Everybody had a two dollar poll tax, y'know, I think it was two dollars. Then they could work it out on the road if they wanted to, or pay it. That's the way the roads got built. So things are a whole lot different today than they used to be, all right. I don't see how they got their roads built at all, out in this rough country, timber and brush and everything^ and stumps and rocks. Course they dodged a lot of that, the roads was long and crooked too then. But then they'd follow the lines too, so we had a lot of uphills too. If there was no hazards, then they'd fol low the lines between two farmers, y'know. The road would be like this.
SS: Up and down.
CO: Hills, hills, yeah. And then when it got muddy, y'know, you couldn't hardly haul a thing on those roads. So you pret'near had to wait on the snow in the winter to do the hauling. So the winter was one of the best things there was for them, especially the loggers, 'cause you couldn't log on a wagon at all, hardly. They tried it, it didn't work. They'd break the wheelsjdown, and dusty. And you couldn't take much of a load, y'know, or nothing on it, so that didn't work out. Sled was the only thing. So that counted, they wanted a good winter. Then they had pretty good winters too, right along. They hauled a lot of wood and ties and stuff like that, and the grain then, they hauled that too, y'know.
SS: Was the winter pretty rough on the cars, to get around on the snowy roads?
CO: On the cars? Didn't have any cars then.
SS: This is before 1920, then.
CO: No, the cars, they started getting them in about 1915, somewhere in there,I think. There was a few before that. But anyway, from 1915 up, we'll say, when the snow come they'd put the cars in the garage; took the wheels off, never used them at all, never figured on taking them out in the snow. When I was in the service station, when I first started, and that was in '29, half the cars was blocked then. They didn't use them at all in the winter. Well, they didn't have vie' gravel roads even! All mud roads, y'know. You couldn't get out in the snow -T'cff that, you'd get stuck right away. You had to pry them out. Run ahead with a stick and see how deep the hole was, and see if you could make it, and measure it. They had a lot of that on the Model-T's. They didn't have too much power, anyway. And you'd measure the mud holes with the stick. If it was over six inches deep, why you'd better not try it. Yah.
SS: What about you being on the Troy City council? You were on that for along time, weren't you?
CO: Twenty-four years. Well, they appointed me the first time, and Istayedon and on and on. They wouldn't let me quit, so I didn't care. I didn't have no business. See, if you got business in a small town, you better stay off the council, y'know. That just hurts your business to be on there. They get mad at you cr something, y'know, and all that. I was just about ready to quit the service station when I took it. So I was on then from '38 on up, to tfoO-something. And I had three more years to go y'know, too, but I quit because I wasn't feeling good and my hearing wasn't good, and I didn't want to stay with it, so I quit. If I'd stayed on I'd been on for twenty-seven years.
SS: What were the type of things that would happen in the council while you wereon there that were interesting?
CO: Oh, you mean in town, here?
CO: Well, we done a lot of stuff. We put in the sewer system, the water system from the mountain, paved Main Street, ana there was that much mud in it before. And then we got .fire trucki, set up a good fire truck and the station for that. And .new dump ground. I don't know, that's about all the main things, I guess. Yes, and then we bought a lot of tim ber up in the mountains; we made big money on that. We sold about half a million feet here not long ago for the new water system, from the tim ber we bought when I was in. We sold timber for 100,000 I think all together, got a whole section up there. The x^ter system was the main thing. Of course.,we had government help on that. Some of them thought it wouldn't work, it wouldn't pay, but we got it through though. You know, that's the best system there is if you got enough water. You don't have no pumping expenses, flows down itself, y'know. But now when the town has been grow ing, and all those washing machines come in.and sewer, it isn't enough water, so we had the well drilled.We had a couple of small ones before too. But they got a big one up there, y'know, got about a hundred gallons a minute. And that's my well. I tried to get it in there when I was on there, and couldn't make it. So that's my well.
SS: You worked for the well a long time?
CO: Yeah, I worked for the well several years, because I figured the pipeline is getting old and might bust, and then we'd be in an awful pickle. So we need something there, and then if the water is too little, we can just start to pump up, and in that spot, y'know. Then they went and raised the pond instead up there, and that wasn't any good. So then this new mayor, he called me up two or three times, y'know, and I said, "Up there, up on that Johnson place is the place to drill, and there's where you'll find water." Well they drilled, and they went up on the hill first and went down two hundred and fifty feet and they got about twenty gallons, I think there. And then he called me up again, I said, "Well, that's the place to go. Because, my brother, he was a geologist, and I learned a lot from him," I said. So they finally went down there, y' know what happened? They got down fifty feet (chuckles) and they pretty near had an artesian well. Yeh. So they drilled down about two hundred and fifty feet.
The reason I knew that — because if you know something about rockand formations, like he did, when you get down to granite, granite is solid, there s no cracks in it. There's no water in granite unless you find a fissure or a fault, see. And I said, "When you drill down and hit the granite, you'll hit the water down there at the granite, but not in it. And that's what is up here," I said, "because the mountain is sticking up there and slopes down this way. Then the basalt is flowed in here, you drill through the basalt here and hit the granite, you'll have water!" That's what happened, but I didn't think it was going to be a well like that. What happened, it was a big sand streak in there, and gravel. You see, that's what held it, just like a dam up there, I guess. There's a big meadow up aWe- too, y'know, and all that flat, and in the lower end then the canyon comes together this way. And there's where we drilled, just above that. So. it's a dam under ground that we're getting the water from, just like the Fells Wells. I showed them to you, didn't I?
SS: The what?
CO: Fells Wells in Ogden, Utah. I got a cousin lived there. He took medown to the wells, we wanted to go down and see the Fells Wells. They're artesian though, they're artesian wells. See the mountain range over here? (He has a picture) There's a big basin in there, and then she pinches off here, pret' near right here, see. Here's the biggest well, just flowing up. And it's the same thing up here in this mountain, only it's on a small scale. That covered hundreds of acres, thousands of acres in this basin. And then the water flows down to Ogden City now, y' know. They didn't have to pump it. And that's one thing I used for to compare up here, so much the same, because you got a mountain back there and you got a stream coming down, and the lower end is blocked up so it built up a dam, see. And that's what it don? here. See, here's the narrow part of it, where the first well is. Then you get up there, then you're in a big flat, see. But they're going down, they told me, a little. They're, using them so much and you have to pump maybe, after a while. But now they don't have to pump at all. It just flows into the pipe and down she goes.
No, and then we had proof here. I told them then we had proof, because in order to see, they drilled a well five hundred feet deep here by the depot. And I asked my brother, "Why didn't they get water in that well?" He said, "They started in the granite!" And they were in the granite all the time, see. And then we drilled one up on that ball diamond and they didn't get no water there. So I said there was no use for drilling in this draw, because it's got no basin anywheres, reallyunless you go way up, you might have had one all right. They got one well here right in town that pumps about fifteen gallons a minute, that st only down sixty feet. And that s down to the granite there. There's where the water is there, sixty feet. And if you go any deeper you hit granite, and then you won't get no more water unless you happen to hit the fault, if it's broken up. So you get pret'near all your water in the basalt, because that rock is flowed in, that's full of pores, holes, cracks, and basins. You know how it looks where lava has flowed, it'll be big caves even. And then if it's blocked off anywheres then that water stays up there just like a dammed pool that's under ground. And that's what happened here. And it proved out.
But it surprised me though when it was that big well there, y'know.That water commissioner, I hired him, and he's still on here, y'know. We had an awful time hiring a man that could run anything. So I told 'em, you got to get a man that's had a business before so he knows to plan ahead a little bit. So I said, "Durham is the guy to get." And they finally got him and he's still here. So he come and told me, "Gee whiz," he said, "you've been trying to get a well up there so long, now you ought to look at it. The water is coming up everywhere." I didn't hardly believe him, so I went up and they were pumping it, y'know, and they had a little river running. So I thought if they'd get the well maybe fifteen, twenty gallons or fifty gallons, or less than that even, pay to have it on a pipeline, y'know. Because it'd give you the help, and you don't have to lay any pipeline or nothing..
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Segment Synopsis: More about Copper Chief, the Olson family mine. Cox, the first miner. Hand drilling for aluminium in clay between Troy and Deary for the government during World War II. Copper Chief gets its name. Get-togethers in the mine; different shafts. Good mineral land couldn't be homesteaded. Diamond drilling for cobalt.
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45:00 - Anecdotes about Alfred Westlund; Carl Olson relates the fall of the Roman Empire to the decline of the United States
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Segment Synopsis: Brother Bob, a self-taught, retiring genius. He learned how to assay at the University, and prospected widely. He told Carl much of what he remembers of the old times. With no prior experience, he can handle machinery; he saves a steam engine from being destroyed in a smut explosion.
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Segment Synopsis: Modern problems. Now labor strikes cause inflation; maybe we should work 30 hour week. False distinction between conservative and liberal: a good man is both - he wants to save and to progress. Bad people are misers or wasters. Bad to have concentration of wealth and land ownership. Each worker is as important to the country as every other person. Industry must be controlled.
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Segment Synopsis: Depression. Fuel and food were cheap here: The population increased around Troy. People joke about the market crash. Carl does well at his service station; saving money in his safe, he is nicknamed the Second Bank of Troy. Carl deals with poor men that need gas. Effects not bad here.
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Segment Synopsis: Carl served on Troy City Council for many years. Council accomplishments for the town. The new well for the Troy water supply (finished in 1973) was Carl's idea, and concerned him for many years. He told them where to drill, based on brother Bob's knowledge. Understanding geologic formations in order to find water. The well a big success.