digital initiatives logo library logo

Latah County Oral History Collection

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

« View All Tom Platt interviews

Report a problem with this interview.

Date: December 03, 1974 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

Search This Index
SearchClear

Index

0:00

Download the PDF transcript

Below is unprocessed text taken from a scan of our PDF document. It's messy; we know. If you would like to help us clean up these transcripts, please email Devin Becker at dbecker@uidaho.edu

TOM PLATT: Well, if you'd give us some idea what you're looking for or what you're thinking about. Kenny said something about the town. SAM SCHRAGER: I think your early recollections of the town would be a good place to start. DAVID HICKMAN: I was born and raised right in Genesee. Tom came there when?

SS: Oh, I was born there, but of course, we went back to the Salmon River and stayed there. I never got back to stay there until 1909 when I started to school; the fall of 1909. And I was there during the school term for three years and then wasn't back until I started high school.

SS: Your family had a place on the Salmon, too?

SS: Yes.

SS: Were they ranching there?

SS: Cattle. Dave lived there all the time. He knows a great deal more about it than I do.

SS: What was this town like when you were just a kid? DAVID HICKMAN: Oh, every business house was filled up. Every place along the line had something in it. My dad ran a livery stable there and that was just about the east end of town as far as any business was concerned. But across from us was a creamery, up the line a little ways was a hardware store, furniture store and then just keep right on going through town, every place was filled up. Every thing was lively. There were two or three blacksmith shops. Later, of course, some of those turned - a couple of them turned into garages. But at that time they were blacksmith shops for shoeing

SS:

SS: horses and fixing farm equipment. I don't have any idea how many places there were that were actually places of business, but I can remember when there were a couple of grocery stores and two or three- two merchandise stores. Mercantile stores where they hand led dry goods and this type of thing. And my recollection of the thing that I like to remember about it is that where we lived down on the flat was right in the area where they had the old ball field at one time. And the city ball field was right close there. But it was also the place where the Indians came,A moved into town, or came in for a celebration they came down and stayed right down on that flat close to us. And they would go back and forth across there from town. Seemed like the recollections that I have mostly of Genesee is the old horse?shows. Three days a horse show every spring, and usually two days of rain, so they were always assured of a good crop. „Lots of big horses; lots of draft horses and quite a few head of Herfords and big cattle of some kind there that they were raising, and lots of big, old Percheron and Belgianshire horses. And of course, there at the livery stable there was always two or three stud horses that were standing there during the season to take care of the mares. But I can remember especially those horse shows because you were always assured of at least two days of rain out of the three, was in June. It sounds like it was a three day affair and that was quite a big celebration for the town. Is that right? Well, yes, it was three days of the horse show and rodeo. It was a horse show and rodeo combined. And I can remember one time of Old Sundown Jackson, Nez Perce Indian that was world^ champion rider being there at the fair and I was just a kid around the livery stable, but he gave me the job of excersiSing his horse for him. And I took the horse out for a little ride in the morning then that afternoon he would take the horse and " him down and put a hackamore on him and throw the saddle on him and that thing would just buck and bawl till you would think he was an outlaw, but he was just as tame as could be if he wanted him (to be) and then af ter it was all over he'd put the saddle back on him and away they'd go again.

SS: Do you remember the horse shows, too?

SS: Oh, yes.

SS: I'd like for you guys to describe some more about what it was like and what they did there and just what the celebration was. Were they local stock horses?

SS: Oh, yes, I think most of it was local stock. I think most of the farmers had good stock and this stock was bred to good stallions that were kept around there locally. As I remember it, it was simply a showing of horses, not so much saddle horses, although there were some saddle horses, but mostly draft horses with a few cattle. And the prizes, I don't have any idea now what the prizes were that were offered, but I suppose they weren't very much in cash now compared to what they would have now.

SS: Was this a Genesee specialty?

SS: Yes.

SS: It wasn't something that they did all over?

SS: Oh, no, it was a one year thing and as far as I know, Genesee's horse show was Genesee's.

SS: And I doubt if anyboelyfurther away than Colton came down, or ever got in there, did they?

SS: I don*t suppose. Not many people would get to it, anyway.

SS: Didn't have any trucks in those days. (Chuckles)

SS: Did a lot of folks come in from the country for those days and stay in town?

SS: Oh, they had real big crowds, as I remember it

SS: Yeah, the Indians would come up from the Reservation and stay down there on the flats and of course, they took part in the rodeo and also in the fair.

SS: They were quite a piece of the parade, too. There was quite a stfxic* parade, all these horses and stock and cowboys and

SS: A little different than-

SS: Community Day now? That they have. Oh, yes. Community Day is just something for people to come back to and get acquainted again where this was strictly a stock show. They were showing horses, that's all there was.

SS: What about the other livestock?

SS: I remember some cattle, but I don't remember very many cattle and I think it was mostly horses.

SS: Paraded a few herfords and a few shorthorns, you might say that was about it, I don't remember any dairy cattle ever being in it.

SS: What about the horses that were show horses? Were there certain guys that had certain kind of horses that they used? And other guys had other kinds?

SS: I think this is right; some farmers just prided themselves on their livestock that they had and it was mostly working stock, that is, they worked them on the ranch, they had some mares that they kept for breeding stock. Some of the farmers, of course, just used mixtures of cayuse and Morgan, and Belgian or anything they could get hold of. But these things that were shown on horse show day were good stock. Probably all had IDrbbons on rem.

SS: I would imagine that all the stallions that came up the street were registered.

SS: Oh, yes, I'm sure they were.

SS: And they were real good animals. They were, I suppose you'd say, a good deal more proud of those animals that they worked those days than the farmer out here today is of his D6 or whatever he happens to have.

SS: Some of those fellows were pretty proud of their livestock and the ancestry and the breeding and so forth that they had mixed up in 'em.

SS: Oh, yes. And they knew about it, too.

SS: Were there breeds of horses that were agreed on as being the best for work horses? Were there any outstanding?

SS: I think you run into the same thing that you do with beef cattle or dairy cattle now; the individual. A man^likes a certain indivi dual type of animal will treat it better and he'll get along better with it, and naturally, he likes it better. One man may like a Shire and another man a Percheron.

SS: Percherons, Belgians, Shires, Morgans. Oh, any number of lem. Of course, the Morgan was more or less of a coach horse that was introduced in order to make better driving^ Lighter horses. But as Tom says, the Shires and the Belgians this type of thing, the Percherons were the ones that they really liked.

SS: Did they race at all, in the horse show? Were there races?

SS: I don't remember anything, except maybe there was saddle horse races.

SS: If there were, it was in conjunction with the rodeo. First time I said something about it, I was talking about the old flat down where we lived, then when these horse shows were on they were on a flat closer to town on the south side of town, the same place now that they have the ball field today. And this is where they used to have their rodeos.

SS: Was the rodeo anything like it is today? With the roping and- ?

SS: Oh, yes.

SS: It's about the same thing except that they didn't saddle in the chutes, they saddled out on the grounds.

SS: Geared 'em down and a couple of guys snubbed 'em up. And Kenned Did they have bulldogging?

SS: Well, we didn't at that rodeo that I remember. Rode some steers.

SS: Wild horses, and broncs and that stuff?

SS: I don't remember 'em turning loose wild horses to be roped out there on the grounds.

SS: No, I don't either. But they had lots of things going on all the time. It wasn't a three ring circus like they have now with all the things going on, but they attracted some good people. For in stance this Sundown Jackson was the world's champion in that Pendleton, and it was a good enough show that he was attracted, now whe ther it was the prizes or whether it was close to home, I don't know which, but he was there and riding.

SS: There were other good riders there.

SS: Pruitt. J£~Wo*

SS: Yeah, Pruitt was up there,and White. Bills and Weeks and I don't know who else, (few lines obliterated by the popping of the fire in the fireplace) SS

SS:

SS:

SS: SS

SS: These were all guys that were in the rodeo? Yes. Did you say that this was the greatest event of the year? Oh, yes, there is no question about it, because it was the only real event that they had at that time. And, as Tom says, the In dians made up a good share of the show because they were in the parades, taking part, and then they took part in the rodeo, too, some of 'em. The ones that wanted to. Could you describe about your father's livery and blacksmithing operation there? What he did? What you remember. Well, he had a livery stable, but not blacksmithing, no. There were at least two blacksmiths in town at the time, but he didn't have one. The earliest memory I have of it was probably after it was going downhill a little bit because I only remember him having about twelve or fourteen horses} Six teams or seven teams. And they had teams that were hired out for people to drive and then other teams that they furnished drivers with. At one time, this was in the early days, Genesee was the end of the railroad long before the railroad got into Moscow, and so anyone wanting to go to Lewiston came to Genesee and worked the town there, the drygoods part of it, the drygoods salesmen, and then they took *" hack and went from there on down to Lewiston. And this was the regular run every so often for the livery stable to take two or three drummers down to Lewiston with their suitcases and sample bags and so forth. And it was only about twenty miles, so this wasn't so awfully to travel. And later, oh, about 1914, '15, somewhere along there Dad bought a couple of automobiles. A 1912 Velie and a 1913 Reo. Ran a taxi service then for the next three or four years. And I'm not just sure which year it was or where it comes in, but, oh, about 1917, '18, somewhere along about wartime, why then, Dad went to work for Tom and Kenny's Dad. And then he farmed for them for a couple years and then went out on his own later and bought a farming outfit. But that was the end of the livery stable, about the first of the World War.

SS: Do you think that it had to do with the change over to automobiles that made him decide to

SS: I am sure this was part of it. Of course, at that time there was- In the early days there were no roads. There still weren't any roads in 1915, '16; they were still all dirt roads, except that one stretch of road east of Genesee which had been put in somewhere around 1910, probably. They put in a mile or a little over of rock road there, and this was the only rock road in the country, the rest of it was all dirt. So automobiles weren't very popular in the wintertime for quite sometime. And eventually they could get graveled roads in the country.

SS: Would you happen to knowNv thevj streets in Genesee before they rocked that road, which came first?

SS: I don't know. I always thought that the road out there by the old east end warehouse was one of the first ones put in. It was put in on that Tory ranch.

SS: I'm sure it was the first road, outside of town, but I just kind of wondered whether they rocked Main Street there before they rocked that.

SS: Your dad, Kenny, talks about that in his book. Do you remember what the reference was? I remember reading part of that; one of the references he said was^tney built it out of such heavy rock, just very little crush ing if any, to it that the farmers when they came in they'd drive on the side of the road instead of driving on top of the rock. They stayed off of it until it finally got enough dirt mixed in it that the rock didn't stick up quite so bad. I don't know whether he gives the date in there when this was built or not.

SS: Let me just ask you how they used the teams for taking the sales men- Did he freight very much, was that part of the livery business?

SS: No.

SS: Did he always rent teams?

SS: Just rented teams or horses coming in, of course, to be stabled over a day or a night or for a meal or two or whatever part that people wanted to stay. This way, there were always some animals in fed and to keep a few stallions, this type of thing, were always kept there the year around. But there was no freight, no actual hauling out of there.

SS: Did farmers rent teams to do their farm work, or was that taken care of by their own teams?

SS: They owned their own horses. And mostly the renting of the teams was to people from town or drummers traveling through. "JAP: Do you have any recollection of how many horses there were in the A stable at the time?

SS: I'd have to make an awful guess. I suppose in the neighborhood of forty-five, fifty head they could put up inside the barn without- And there was quite a corral there, Would too, put mangers around the outside; I imagine he could have put up 100 head or horses there without stretching things too far, KP: Did he take over that stuff from

SS: He bought Shelton out. KP: Pop mentions housing a comany of cavalry there one time.J always it was that stable.

SS: It was before my time then, because that would i to have beenwell, I don't know the time it would have been- I was going to say, that probably was when the fort was still there, or was this militia there? KP: It was when he was a boy.

SS: Would have been a little while before my time.

SS: When he was a boy it was Old Town, anyway.

SS: Yeah.

SS: ^Genesee as it's known today.

SS: What do you mean? That was the oldest town? 4fa: There was two Genesees. Genesee originally was on the corner out beyond the east end of the warehouse, if you're acquainted in Genesee at all. And it went around thatcorner and over toward the cemetery, and it was on both sides of the road. Then when the railroad built in there, somebody tried to hold em up and instead of coming on clear into what was the town at that time, they stopped where Genesee is now and said, "Build your town over here." So this is what happened.

SS: How much of that town had to be moved then? Was there much there at the time the railroad came in? 0ft: I don't think they moved very much of it. They just built a new town. NThere was a stage stop and a couple of stores out there. Levi's. I think it just mostly just went a block out there and t— they just left it. I don't think they ever moved very much of it into town.

SS: Was there still much trace when you were there; the old town? ypft: Oh, yes. There must have been close to a dozen buildings out there when we were kids. Now it's all farmland. AThey're all gone now, there's nothing there,

SS: And the story that I read that Vo^Lmer said that it was Jake Rosen stein was holding up that railroad. That is what Volmer said.

SS: Well, this could be. There's one name that I keep kicking around, and I don't know where he fits in, but this Levi had a store at one time there in the early days, and of course, Rosenstein had a store in rtw , and then after him, his son, Mttc Rosenstein ran a store there until they finally went out of business.

SS: Do you remember what the Rosenstein store was like? It was a drygoods store there in Genesee.

SS: Oh, yes. It was quite a store, had a little of everything in it and they were good people to run a store. They wouldn't let you get out without buying something .J* You came in there to buy some thing, you're just about going to buy it! The only thing I re member much about the Rosensteins was that there were two girls, as far as I know they're still alive.

SS: No, one of 'em died about six or eight months ago in Los Angeles.

SS: Oh, is that right?

SS: No, wait a minute now, I'm thinking of

SS: And they were Jewish?

SS: Oh, yes.

SS: Did he take a very active part in the community? The community life?

SS: I just don't remember.

I remember my Dad 3 in that book about Max 4uttmg the Chinaman's clothesline down. (Chuckles)

SS: Max did what?

SS: Chinaman's clothesline down. Had a Chinese laundry and Max cut the clothesline. And got caught at it.

SS: I don't remember that they had any active part in the affairs of the town at all, even who was the mayor or the council or anything else in those days. Well, my dad,,for a while after he quit the stable was street A man and policeman and water superintendent and everything I suppose a jobjjat the present time takes about two or three people to do the same thing. But in those days that's all there was to it. One of the things I remember a long time back is a fellow named Morgan who was head of the telephone company and he lived way up on the north hill, and he would drive in with this old car of his, and I don't remember what make it was, two or three cylin der car; two cylinder maybe, and he'd get just about fifty yards up this first hill, if it was the least bit slick, why, that's as far as he ever went. And then he'd go home and get a pair of mules and take the car on home. Now, I don't know why at that time he always went up that hillVby the old HermannFurniture store, but now there's a pretty good road up the draw, where he could have gone, or looks like he could have gone. Maybe in those days it would have bogged him down, too, maybe it would have been so wet he couldn't got through.

SS: Do you remember about when that telephone came into Genesee? I don't really mean the year, but were you kids at the time that tele phone service came in? it was there as long as I can remember.A Dad had his phone there in the barn, so it had to have been in there after 1910, '12, somewhere along'there that they put it in. The farmers had it, I guess, in the country, although I can't remember anything about the service or anything like that. Maybe it's like they tell about the old phones that were hooked up on the barbed wire fences, because they had lots of barbed wire fences. See, Genesee is only three miles actually from the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, the north boundary of the reservation, although it's all practically owned now by white men. There's no Indian land left at all that I know of, although there probably is some. But, at that time they traveled back and forth to Gene see right along to do some of their trading.

SS: He has all that stuff that Gamble's used to have in there and had and Sweeney's.

SS: What do you guys remember about any particular Indians that you knew when you were young? I can remember going with that uncle of mine, Eli Eichman at Spalding. One old Indian up there that he was quite good friends with, and that was Pio Ptalek but outside of Sundown Jack son or some of those fellows, I really didn't can't remember any names.

SS: Did you know any of the Indians?

SS: Oh, yes, there were a number of Indian kids in school there when I went to high school. And then this one family that moved in each fall to send the kids to school, they lived on their own ranch up there. And there was one boy that stayed with them one winter is

Presbyterian minister now, him real well. Who was it we went to see, Kenny, at Spalding? Oh, yeah, Dan Arthur and his kids. J$: I remember the Arthurs.

SS: When you were young there were still a number of Indians around Genesee?

SS: Oh, yes. Lots of them further down on the Reservation. When I worked for Neil Sweeney that eighty^belonged to an Indian named Cook, and he used to farm it and come up and work on threshing machines there. Apparently he sold that or something, I don't know what. KP: -^scattered pieces of land, in that Of course, you have to remember-when we were kids there was some one living on every eighty acres or every 160 at least. Now, there's someone living on every half section, probably or maybe even not that much. Average size farm is

SS: Was this land originally part of the reservation before- what lar gely happened that Indians sold the land?

SS: No. The land right around Genesee, well, the land that we still have there, the Hickman family, still has was Piatt brothers at one time, or was Piatt's. It was homesteaded by a man named Hanson and then it was bought by Platts. Our grandfather. And then this is the land that we still have there, but you'd have to go about two miles or two and a half miles south before you'd get into the reservation, but the land right around Genesee was all homesteaded. The story is that our folks came here in, I believe '79-

SS: '81. "tt: '81? Well, that's when Mother was born, wasi in '81? But and went to school there, Dave Miles, who was a teacher and a at that time the land around Genesee was all taken up, so they had to buy land. They could have come on farther up toward Moscow Mountain and got land, but around Genesee it was all taken up at that time.

SS: Do you have any idea why they picked that place? Why Genesee?

SS: Well, the story wasAthey came to Uniontown and stayed with a sis ter, wasn't that it? Granddad's sister, stayed over winter with them, and they were about five or six miles south of Uniontown. Apparently they had in mind coming to this Genesee Valley all the time, because^the next year they moved on up into the Genesee Valley. And the way I understand it, they lived out on the old Perkins place for some time, and then finally bought this place from Hanson; still have it.. My dad didn't come there till '89, and he came from North Carolina and just bought him a ticket to the end of the railroad and that was the end of the railroad. So, that's how he landed there.

SS: Do you know how he started in?

SS: Well, he started in working on orchards down in the Snake River and worked on a ranch there for a year or two before he finally bought in- bought this livery stable. But he worked there a lit tle while, anyway, on some of these farms.

SS: When Mr. Piatt came in '81; do you know how developed the land was? Was it very much under the plow already? Was there much of it producing crops? I would doubt that. They had no great place to send a crop. No way to get rid of it. They had to send it to Walla Walla, they had to feed it, if they had the grain they had to feed it to the pigs and drive the pigs somewhere. And hay, they had to feed the

cattle or horses or something of that sort. And there is another factor in there, there's been a big climate change, because it was years before they could raise wheat on Genesee Flats.

SS: 1917. The first war is when it started. ^P: Before that, at the time we're talking about in the 18^0's those flats were in timothy and clover, hay. Course, there was a big demand for hay then; all this work was horses, all transportation was horses.^ So, the whole climate has changed, and we have some pictures around someplace, one of them is with your dad and it's taken in front of Follett's store and you can just see his head over the snowbanks where they shoveled snow off. That was in 1912 or '13, wasn't it? Tunnelled through in order to get from one side of the street to the other.

SS: I don't know, there's been a tremendous change.

SS: So stock was much more important in the early days than it was after the war?

SS: Oh, yes. And it continued to be important for a long time because they drove stock from over around Grangeville, even drove hogs from over in there; Cottonwood and Grangeville to Genesee because Genesee was the end of the railroad. The only place they could go, that's what made Genesee for a long time. W: During the war they came in there with horses for the French Cava lry, before we got mixed up in the war. And they brought those. Salmon River and Grangeville and over in that country; brought them across the Indian Reservation and probably picked up a pony or two as they came along. Anyway, they sold them out then toand the idea there was that they had to ride 'em through the gates in order to show that they were broken. Some of 'em hadn't even had a saddle on 'em before, but they rode 'em through the gate, any- Away. I can remember that.

SS: Who raised the horses?

SS: They came off of Salmon River, I'm not sure where the horses came from in the first place, but they came off of the Salmon River breaks down there someplace. Somebody was in the horse business.

SS: Just about everybody over there had a few horses.

SS: That's funny, because I'm thinking that it was so completely farming country; you don't think of it much as being horse country. fj$: Yes, but if every farmland, or every piece of land, say 160 acres had to have- well, we had eight or ten horses there when we farmed that 160 there at home, 170 acres, and if every piece of land had that many horses, there was an enormous amount of that land that was going right back into feed-.and, grain to feed those horses. Well, take Hampton and Driscoll out there with theAbig outfits they had, and they had a bunch of mules-

SS: Thirty, forty mules I don't know how many mules they would have to farm a layout like they had, but ~ was a good many of 'em. Took seven horses, usually, on a gangplow, two-bottom plow, and now they start out with a six or eight-bottom plow behind one cf these tractors.

SS: What about the marketing problems? Do you remember much about what that was like, or what they used to say it was like, in the early days? : Well, when you got the point where you had transportation and could sell grain and stuff like that for cash it was the same as it is today, as far as I know. And of course, the big packing companies were not long in establishing packing houses in Spokane

and Seattle. Cudahy and

SS: And you can remember, Tom, when they had the hay warehouse there at Genesee?

SS: Oh, yes, sure.

SS: Had apple packing house there. One time, I don't remember it, necessarily, but they must have had prune dryers, because there were prune orchards scattered all over that area. Did the Genesee slaughterhouse slaughter for outshipments, or just local? That was still operating.

SS: In my time old Wi WL and Raders and so forth, they were just doing their own butchering or butchering for people, local people, I don ft know that they were hutching for anybody out of town at all.

SS: I was thinking more about the time before 1900, when you were saying that there wasn't much of a market. I would imagine it would be a lot more difficult. Now, Tom mentioned driving pigs. Now, I can't imagine driving pigs but this was one of Mildred's dad's stories that he used to tell; how they used to raise pigs out here in this Lenville country where they lived, the Armstrongs, and then when they got 'em ready for market they'd drive them to Colfax, across country. Well, I

imagine driving pigs. (Chuckles) KIt don't seem possible, but I guess they did it! I know my dad said the first time he saw Obergs, they were coming the with a drive of pigs.

SS: What was it like down to Lewiston? From Genesee, in the early days?

SS: What was it like to get down?

SS: Was that grade pretty tough?

SS: Well, the grade's been improved time after time, but the old cen^ tral grade, and there was a grade that came up through by Archibalds, came that central grade and then the old Uniontown grade was- they've been there, well, I guess ever since there were peo ple up on these hills. Just here a while back they made this Collins place a historical site, the house and the granery. And that was right on the old stage road. And then, of course, there was another stage road that came out of Lewiston and came up through Genesee, when Genesee was down at the old town, and went right on through past the fort and came up through Moscow and Farmington. I believe Farmington was the end of the route, and then they turned around there; went on back.

SS: If you were trading, would you be more likely to trade in Lewiston or Moscow in Genesee?

SS: I don't know, I would suspect that at that time you would be apt to stay in Genesee, because I think they had the transportation and the goods in the stores.

SS: I was thinking of if you had to go to a bigger town, which was the town that Genesee would feel closer to?

SS: Gee, I don't know.

SS: I would imagine Lewiston, because Lewiston in those days was what A. they called the seaport. They were bringing boats in there in the early days. In fact, they tell the story that when they were building, later, building that railroad up the river, Orofino up in there, one railroad ran a boat with a high mast up there A and put in drawbridges all the way to Kooskia, while the other railroad was building in there, so that whole area is drawbridges. They knocked the bottom out of the boat every time they went up and back.A I don't know but Tom says they were pretty well selfsupporting, but I've heard old-timers tell, and Mildred's Dad was one of 'em, about going to Palouse to get their flour ground because there was a flour mill at Palouse. Of course, I imagine there was a flour mill maybe in Colfax or maybe Lewiston and some of these other towns all this time, too. So they had to go that far? Go over one day get their wheat ground and then lay over a day and then bring it home the next day. Or just trade it for wheat, I don't know which they would do. That's pretty interesting, because I know that people in the end of the county went to Palouse, but I had no idea that the draw was so big, getting people all the way down to Genesee. Did you guys know your Grandfather Piatt? Was he still alive? Oh, yes, yes. What do you remember about him? I remember great grandfather Harris. But mostly what I can remember about him was the old corncake that he used to smoke in that pipe of his. remember him better than Grandpa Piatt, he was in that little house back of the churcl^when I lived with Grandma and went to school there. I used to go over there quite a bit, and he came over. Well, Grandpa Piatt apparently was quite a public minded citizen, because he was mixed up in quite a few things ^helpingjthe community. But this great grandfather we talked about,^he was an old minister, Methodist minister, and retired at the time Tom and I knew him. But he married my dad and mother in '98, and^was retired, of course, when I knew him. But he used to come down every Sunday, or almost

every Sunday and have dinner with us down at the house and sit on the back porch and watch the ballgame and smoke his corn cob pipe and give the folks the fits for playing ball on Sunday! But he didn't miss a day anyway to come down.

SS: He had been in Genesee as minister in the early days? He was a minister at Leland when he married Dad and Mother. He came from England. But, I don't know that he ever was a minister in Genesee. P: Well, he didn't come even until after Grandpa and Grandma were set tled there. H2H: No, that's right. He wasn't one of the real early ones. He came later anyway.

SS: What do you remember about the farm when you were a kid growing up there? Did your father have a big operation?

SS: Well, pretty sizeable one, yes. Well, he had one big ranch and a little bit of cattle.

SS: They farmed that ranch there in town, 170 acres or so, then they rented a little more around there and then they had 700 acres out on that Follett place plus the canyon, which was another 700 acres or so. That all was farmed with horses. And besides Tom's folks there, Tom and Kenny's folks both, had at least 200 head of pure bred herefords, that were kept there on the place in town. I say they were kept there, later when they got the Follett place they were run in the canyons, too, some of 'em.

SS: Do you know about when they started bringing in the purebred stock? 1ft: I would think it was in the spring of 1915, wasn't it? Either '14 or '15. It was just before the start of the war, I imagine. And suspect that he brought the first Hereford cattle to Idaho. amy others,

SS: What do you know about how he brought them in? Where he got them and how he got them here? He got them in Iowa and Nebraska. Just went back there and picked out what he wanted - I guess I should put it another way, picked out he could afford and shipped them out here.

SS: And later some of them came from Kansas City when they took a bunch of stock back to that show back there and came back with a bigger carload than they took back in the first place. "Jfp: He went back there at a time when he was getting so many calls for bulls that he couldn't begin to supply it and went back there and bought a carload of young bulls and shipped out here. And brought Archie Cane along with him.

SS: Archie Cane?

SS: He was the herdsman for sometime.

SS: By that time they were putting out a showherd and they needed a herdsman.

SS: Do you know what made your father decide to go from his earlier operation to purebred? No, I don't, really. Maybe just wandered into it. Probably seemed like a good investment at the time,and I guess probably it was..

SS: They always told me, both John and Bill, two brothers, that they owed about $125,000 to an outfit that was investing in livestock. It was a livestock organization that loaned money and they had of fered to pay it up time and again, but this outfit was never in terested in being paid up, it was just a good investment for them to leave it there and take the interest on it. Well, then when things began to get tough and they really got^to the place where the boys were getting pinched a bit, why then this outfit stepped in and said, "We have to have our money." And when they did that was practically the end of it. I can remember purebred Herefords being sold for- heifers being sold- for $32 a head, right at the end of the Depression, or right at the start of the Depression. Of course, they certainly couldn't come out with anything like that. ss. At the beginning of the purebed operation, how many did he start with? Do you know? About what size it was?

SS: Do you remember how many stanchions there was on each side of the old barn there? g#: No, I don't, but I would suppose twenty on each side, probably.

SS: Was there that many? I know that in the winter of '17, after I got out of the hospital with the typhoid, I went up and helped feed them and they put the cows all in, and I can remember there was twelve in that old barn, where they built the new horse barn, and we put the rest of them in the stanchions on the two sides of the old barn. We had everything covered. That was the extent of the cow Vk*N^

SS: Forty-five, fifty head at the most^4hen-probably. KP: So I would say that he brought a carload, and those were cattle that you tied up in a car, so probably he started with around twen ty-five head of cows and heifers.

SS: But one winter there Dad and I hauled straw, and that*s practically the only thing we did that winter was break trail out of there to haul straw for horses, for bedding, and I am sure that at that time they had about 200 head of purebreds. So that had kept building up anyway where they had quite a few head.

SS: Do you remember how many years later that would have been?

SS: Well, that wouldn't have been

SS: The early '20's, huh?

SS: I wasn't going to say it was even that far along, maybe it was '19. But in 1921 or '22, Dad was farming the Follett place. He was out there, so it was before that time, so it might have been just about in 1920.

SS: Did he find much demand for the stock?

SS: For a while there. It's a thing that goes up and down. When cattle are high there is a big demand for good bulls because people are stocking up their cattle, When they go down people begin to sell off and your market begins to drop on them, too. So it's an up and down roller coaster sort of a thing. KI don't know how you'd get away from that.^ 6""3C^.

SS: Do you think that his bringing in that purebred Herefords had much of an effect on stock growing in that area? Do you think people started geting a lot more interested in a good breed of cattle?

SS: Well, there is- a stockman, if he's any good, is always looking to better himself. He knows that when he betters his cattle he bet ters himself; so, yes, I think that it had a good deal of influence.

SS: That would be like the demand for bulls.

SS: Yes.

SS: Of course, you have to remember too, that these two fellows had 11,000 head of range stock on Salmon River. It took some bulls to keep that outfit going. They owned that much, you see, besides a couple of bands of sheep. KP: Actually the demand for purebred bulls was not in the Genesee community, it was in the outlying range areas, where range cat- tie were. So far as I know, my father the only purebred. in the area. They didn t sell to other farmers around that area, their sales were farther away, out on the breaks, people that had pasture like Clearwater Ranch and those people had a lot of canyon pasture out there. KP: I think you could say that the whole development of Gensee related to other areas. And when our grandparents came there, as Dave has said, the land ' already * taken up, they had to buy land they couldn't homestead. And when my father got old enough to start doing stuff on his own, there was not an opportunity to go into farming in the Genesee area without buying land or renting' So grandfather sent him off to Salmon River. And for many A years there was kind of a mutual benefit relationship between the stock in Genesee and the^stock on the range areas- Genesee being the supply point- Genesee had from 1888 on, and Lewiston didn't get it until 1898, And during that ten years Genesee was the jumping-off place for freighting. Not only for the Clearwater Valley but. on as south and east as Grangeville. And the salesmen that came to Genesee hired buggies and teams and went on off into the back country to take orders and so on. So that Genesee was a strategic town for many years. And because this was before the time of automobiles there was quite a bit of re finement in the use of horses.fe Dave mentioned that his dad ran a livery stable but he didn't do freight hauling. Well, in townj the local hauling was done by people in was a lot of specialization in the use of horses. In those days every grocery store made deliveries around town and they would have their own cart or their own rig or else they rented it from a dray outfit to do their delivering for them. And this was big business to haul everything around to the people that they bought. Maybe just a little bit of groceries, but then whatever it was, you had to haul it. You had to deliver it in those days. : Even in time a couple of families made a living on that, right in Genesee.

SS: Oh, yes! : The Gilts, had two dray lines.

SS: Well, everybody didn't have a pickup truck. Everybody didn't have a one ton or anything of the kind, so if they wanted coal or any thing else somebody had to haul it to them, (recorder off) plain fact that they couldn't get enough decent bulls. There were some pretty poor bulls in there. They were registered bulls and all that, but there just wasn't enough good ones around and they wanted better ones and they couldn't get 'em. ftp; To go back a little farther than your questioning went, Sam, our Grandfather and father went to a purebred Hereford bull sale at Pendleton, I think it was.

SS: La Grande. KP: 4La Grande? And that was in '96, I think.

SS: I believe that's right. KP: And bought, I think, three bulls and put them on the range at Sal mon River. And to begin with, they were the laughingstock of the range com munity there because they were much smaller, looked smaller, than the big, longlegged cattle. But the end of the second year when they began to have the saleable steers from those bulls, they found out that they weighed a good deal more than the other cattle So this was one of the many factors that kind of worked together to get my dad and his brother into the^cattle busi ness twenty years later. They were known as having introduced these bulls, had the reputation of having the best range cattle in the area where they operated. It was a chore to get enough good bulls cattle of their own to supply part of their own demand some other people's demands. And it made a logical combination of enterprises. the operation at Salmon River they had this family farm at Genesee, that they had to take over responsibility for operating because Grandfather had died in 1912. And I guess they rented the place out for a few years. Didn't Kraut rent the farming place for a while?

SS: I don't think Kraut ever did, but Stucker had it for a year or two. And Post had it for a couple of years. I don't know if there was anybody else. Do you know of anybody else? £: They got back onto it in 1915, that would be about the end of it unless someone rented while Grand was still alive.

SS: Do you know much aboutN Salmon River operation was set up? What kind of an area they had and the seasonal work situation? "^8$: Well, Tom would remember that better than I.

SS: Well, it was a typical range cattle outfit and as far as this area is concerned was rough country; very rough. Cheat grass, bunch grass, not very much brush.^ They summered on the mountain. summered here in the meadows up here.^ Raise enough hay on the river to winter the cattle. And of course, it grass beef, They didn*t feed 'em. Easily sold to buyers from- oh, some of the packers in Spokane or Seattle or somewhere like that. SWiten fry Mooldj So |-h ,. KP: Cattle were ordinarily sold right on the range,

SS: Quite often. But those buyers like John B$ar for instance, he represented £ Spokane outfit. He was buying with their check book.

SS: Where on the Salmon River was the operation? ?

SS: Do you know where Winchester is?K It was about twenty miles straight south; due south. KP: It was on both sides of the river, from there to the mouth of the river.

SS: That area was heavily used by a number of ranchers in those days?

SS: Yeah, there was lots of homesteaders in there. They were very late surveying, around 1909 or '10 that it was surveyed out and after wards, after it became surveyed the homesteaders just flocked in there and took it all.

SS: Was your father's place purchased or was it homesteaded?

SS: It was his homestead. 10: There was some irrigated land later on this Deer Creek place, wasn't there?

SS: Oh, yes, there was; they used to call it twenty acres, but I questionitwenty, but that's what they called it. It was very produc tive, it had never been really cropped, you see, it was virgin land. Put water on alfalfa in that kind of soil and it will do pretty well. I don't know, he bought Wes's relinquishment on that, but it had never been surveyed at the time so actually he was the original entry on it. Couldn't say what or Wesls squatter right and Wes bought his from another fellow.A No one knew what they were taking up or where it was. It was not according to the survey^ or anything like that, you just had a place there and you was there and in possession nobody bothered you. At that particular time there was lots of land, but a few years later it was gone. But of course, these homesteaders such steep country that they had no way on 160 to make a living, just spent the win ter and what part of the spring they couldn't find a job on the place and planted a garden and built a house and managed to prove up^then^sold it. If they couldn't sell it to one of the stockmen they mortgaged it to the bank and let the bank take it over. That was it.

SS: What about the old Deer Creek mine there? Was it early days or wasn't it?

SS: Well, the Deer Creek mine was fairly early days. The Horseman Mine on top of the hill-

SS: That's the one I was talking of.

SS: I thought maybe it was. But that came along just before the First World War, that they started that. But the other one was around 1900, on down below where they had the big tunnel and where they put in the mill down there. I don't know, it was a typical pro motion. They did have considerable value in both those places, but it's just not concentrated enough that you can go in there and make it pay off. And, I don't know, with gold the price it is now, maybe those mines could be profitably operated, if somebody wanted to take a chance on how long those prices would stay up.

SS: Did you help very much when you were a kid, on the place?

SS: Oh, yes. My dad bought me a saddle horse when I was five years old, and I've been punching cows ever since until here four years ago I had a stroke and I had to sell the ranch. You started riding at five then? I don't know how old he was when he used to ride at these rodeos. Thought he was making pretty good money at five dollars a head for riding ponies out of the chute. I'd like to know what it was like when you were a kid working on the place; what kind of work you did. Oh, I did about everything. Pitched a little hay, fed a few cows with it. About everything you do on a saddle horse. Did you start to do some pretty man sized work when you were just a kid, then? Well, I don't know; I used to. with my dad up the mountain, have to move the cattle out and he'd go off and leave me to run the place when I was nine, ten years old. So, I guess that was doing what a man does. You have to put the Salmon River and Genesee operations together. How did they fit together? After- the pattle operation^ setup, complement to the ex tent that the Genesee ranch produced the herd bulls for the range operation. never used thdTGenesee operation to provide feed for the range, that was entirely a different type of wintering. You're not entirely truthful there. Did they send some grain—? No. But in the beginning the beef cattle were brought to - beef cattle were brought from Salmon River and fed at Genesee. Just before they were sold? Yes. They were sold as fed cattle rather than grass cattle. This is in the beginning. Now when my grandfather was running the operation and my dad was just a kid helping him. KP: Was that some use of the hay that was made that Pop used to bale then?^ Baling outfit? I suspect he didn t bale very much.hay, I think he was in that for A a few side dollars. According to the book that I had on his opera tions there- I don't know whether you got that or I still got it down there, but there's no £latthay listed as being baled. It's people mostly on the breaks on the reservation. TRH-: I didn t remember about the cattle ever being fed there.

SS: Yes. KP: This must have been very early in the operation, in the '90's.

SS: I know part of it was when we had the butchershop. .You didn't even A know about that I suppose. Can't think of the other Dutchman's name, he ran off with all the- Oh, yeah, Piatt and Bomberg. And Piatt and Bomberg had a butchershop once- I can still remember -getting the books out on that butchershop operation and you'd be surprised how many people around Genesee owed Piatt and Bomberg a butcher bill that they never did pay.

SS: That butcher shop operation was pretty much cutting out the middle man?

SS: It was, but it went broke anyway. (Chuckles)

SS: Talking about Bomberg then, what was the guy's name that drown down at the Clearwater, that was with Eli that time? It was a name something like that. I don t know that was it. He drown there at the railroad bridge.

SS: I know, they used to ford that river there. I remember sitting on Watson's front porch and he was telling about that. But I don't know the name. SS; W^hat was it happened when this guy drowned? across the river and, apparently got in trouble and he didn't get off of him, he was still sitting on him and down he went. -The horse just fell down or went into a deep hole or something; stepped into a hole.^ It was kind of a dangerous ford anyway. £ft. As I got the story, this was a heck of a big man anyway, horse didn't even come up for a while. When you were talking about the operation and you were saying about how the. two tied together, raising the bulls in Genesee. It was short lived because of the post World War I depression, that there wasn't much of a story to tell, but it seemed to me a natural putting together of resources. Had the family farm in Genesee that needed to be used and was the logical place to raise purebred cattle because they needed a different kind of care; supervised breeding, to the range set up. And then, of course, they still had the range setup and they supplied the bulls andoccasionally they even weeded out the cows. So it made a natural combination of resources. Also, there was the factor that my father and uncle each^fully compe tent of running either end of it, they didn't need both of them on one so they divided forces for that. So it was a natural^enterprlse. from

SS: Was that pretty wild country when you were growing up there, the Salmon River? I've heard some more West kind of tales from North Idaho coming out of that country.

SS: Most of that sort of thing is made up, but it wasn't all made up. a rough country in there; real steep, you don t go any- where much without a saddle horse, it's too hard walking, and there's no other way. You can fly over it with an airplane but you can't land one there.

SS: Are there any incidents, the stories that they told?

SS: Oh, there were rough times there. There were sheepmen killed eveM and horse thieves hung and one thing and another. I knew a man he had a scar that ran right across there, Monv ' :he said a rancher caught him stealing a horse one time and that's where a .30-30 creased him! He didn't get away with the horse. KP: We used to hear allegations of cattle rustling and horse thieving and so on I don't know how much of it was ever true. It's one thing to miss a cow or a steer and another thing to find it in somebody else's possession. There was some of that went on.

SS: Well, I've heard the stories, too about that country; somebody said one time about a cowboy coming up there from Texas or down in that country and after about a month or so 0J6 that Salmon River country he was all through with the idea that land so steep that a cow couldn't even stay on the sidehill. That wasn't his idea of a place to ride or herd cows. Find someplace else to herd. I guess this happened, too, quite regular,^Tom, that in a bad winter they'd slip off the hillsides.

SS: Oh, you bet, a cow or a horse'11 slide.in that country. And you go in there now in some of those places I used to trot and run a saddle horse down, I wouldn't run nothin' down there now. You couldn't pay me enough to run a saddle horse down some of those hills.

SS: Did you get snowed in there for months at a time in the winter?

SS: Sometimes.

SS: See, they had to come over the hill by the forest and come out over the top of the Craig Mountain in order to get out of there.

SS: At that time you could figure on about five feet of snow on Craig Mountain _ Unless there was a good deal of travel through that kept the trail packed, you could get into a lot of trouble. You could even then because if it happened to warm up and^ thaw slide off the trail and get bogged down in the snow on the other side. And there were years when they had lots more snow than that. I don't know if you'd remember, Kenneth, but remember where the shop was at the Yates place in the mountains there?. Maybe you remember there were some black pine trees there. Well, there used to be a lot more of those I guess, but there was three or four stumps out in there and you take a horse about size and ride out there and just reach over and lay your hand on top of the stumps. Yateses got caught there one winter and that's where they sawed the trees down on top of the snow for wood, right there, it was just about seven feet of snow. The answer to your question, Sam, is that people who lived down in the bottom of the Salmon River Canyon ordinarily packed in their winter's supplies in the fall and they expected to be up for from three to five months.

SS: Do you remember pretty much what you lived on in the way of food? During the winter there.

SS: Oh, I suppose I do. We usually had plenty of home grown spuds and quite a lot of canned vegetables; bought some in cans. I guess mostly what anybody else would live on. $ft: Had your own bacon, and beef. Had hogs, too.

SS: No, we didn't raise hogs there. It wasn't very successful. That packing grain fourteen miles on a pack horse to raise hogs! It didn't work either way. In 1919 there was a lot of grain over on Dumac there and Billjhe bought a whole bunch of this wheat over there and then bought feeder pigs and took 'em in and along in the wintertime they got ready for market so he started to drive them out to Grangeville and drove them up to Whitebird and got over the hill down towards Toto Lake there and got 'em into a barn overnight and when they went out the next morning, it was zero weather, the damn pigs was all piled in one corner and only the ones on top was alive! So it wasn't a paying proposition. KP: My recollection of what we ate includes lots of beans and rice and macaroni, almost all kinds of dried fruits. We had relatives in California and we'd send there and get raisins and dried prunes in wholesale lots. The bacon we bought in whole sides, of course. And I suppose there was some salt pork and that sort of thing, too, wasn't there Tom? Lots of cured and dried stuff that we packed and kept without a storage problem.

SS: There was no refrigeration in those days. People that lived where they could cut ice of course had iceboxes, but out on a lone ranch there was not much chance of that. So you had to buy things that could be stored.

SS: What about the neighbors around you when you were on the ranch there? Did you see other people much in the winter?

SS: Oh, occasionally there was dances and one thing and another through the winter. Kind of got 'em together. I suppose by today's standard, you. didn t see very much of each other, really. 1$: How far did Harry live from us?

SS: Five miles. By saddle horse. Was he a close neighbor? Well, no, we had one neighbor a mile away. As as long as Ross was .there, but he proved up and moved right out. We had one a mile away in each direction then. Well, I guess, Tonu during the - say from about 1910 to '15 when the homesteads were being mostly being taken up and the country was mostly being filled up with young people, we had housewarmings and weddings and that sort of thing. Didn't take too much of an excuse to get people to go somewhere.

SS: No, they kind of looked for an excuse to go somewhere, I think.

SS: But there was no store- but, was there a school in there? KP: It was at our house.

SS: Only private. KP: Just our family. Father hired a teacher that lived at our house, and taught there. There was one housewarming I remember, I didn't go to it, I was too small, but my dad and mother went to a home stead cabin housewarming two miles up the river from us. Mother made a cake to take along and also took along a kerosene lamp to light up the occasion. When they got there they found the lamp- the kerosene had soaked out of the lamp into the cake!

SS: Was the teacher there for just a part of the year? KP: The months that we were holed up on Salmon River. About five months,^that she taught there, something like that.

SS: Had her closer to six. It was pretty standard, I guess. I know that as a seventh grader I came out to Genesee just a couple of weeks before the end of the term, and enrolled into the seventh if grade and passed the examination there with no problem. So I think that what was taught was pretty standard stuff.

SS: Did you have a number of teachers through the years, or would the same person come back? KP: We had one teacher two different terms.

SS: Were they very hard on you as far as making you stick to the grindstone? With you not being in a classroom with a lot of kids I'd wonder—? If: As I recall, we observed school hours pretty closely. School was always and adventure to me, so it was never a hardship. I wasn't even aware that school was supposed to be hard.

SS: Well, there probably wasn't much you could have done at that time of year anyway outside, so you probably would have been in anyway.

SS: How many of you were there of you kids going to school? KP: I guess five is the most. I know sister was just barely old A enough to start to school, the last year at Salmon. Tom, you had a couple of years in Genesee before thatAstarted, didn't you?

SS: Three years, I think. I wouldn't swear to it anymore, I think it was three years ^4V\oo^V\. $H: You stayed with Grandma Piatt and went to school.

SS: Would you tell about the bad winter again? What that was like when it was so hard on the cattle after the war? When was that?

SS: 1919 and '20.

SS: What was it that happened?

SS: Well, it was just a winter with a lot of snow and a lot of cold and short feed. That particular area just didn't have any feed in there. It was an extremely dry, cold summer and the grass never grew very well, and so when it come time to put cattle in the feed lots, why, they just didn't have enough feed. Eventually seven hundred head ended up down at Toppenish, the feed lots down there. Well, in numbers that would indicate that they were something like 60% short of feed. And it was cold enough that they drove those 700 cattle across Salmon River on the ice; which is getting pretty cold if you've seen the Salmon River, because it's a pretty fast, turbulent stream, when they went to take them out of there. B#: As I remember the story, at the time they said that they started feeding- John says in thisAthey started feeding thie 700 head of cattle $7 a ton hay and before they got through it was $50 a ton. But the thing I remembered was that the price of beef was about $36 when they went there, . was only $9 in the spring and they fed them all winter, brought 'em through the winter. So they had to bring part of 'em back home, there wasn't anything they could do with it. They did sell quite a few of 'em.

SS: Would you tell me again about how hard that was on the cattle; that cold weather?

SS: Well, the cow that consistently stays that cold, unless she's awfully well fed, she just won't hold her own or do any good. And of course, it stayed cold way late in the spring so they lost a lot of calves. And the cows were in such poor condition that they didn't pring back and the next year's calf crop wasn't any good. And a thing like that carries on for several years. the teats

SS: Did you ever see any that were so cold that they froze? KP: Yes. Cows that were sucking calves, the calves would suck and get the cow's teat wet and then it was so cold that it would freeze and drop off, destroyed the uddersof the cow.

SS: I think the remarkable thing about this whole thing though was way that Bill and John, after they had gone through this and had everything put up for sale, and John took 350 head of gummer ewes, the ewes that wouldn't sell anyway, the old ones, Bill took six teen or seventeen head of bred Hereford heifers and they went their own way and within two or three years, John was a sheepman and had a band of sheep and Bill was back in the cattle business. This, to me, is the remarkable thing that cattlemen or stockmen can just sit back and wait for nature to take its:course and the increase will come if they can wait long enough. KP: If you can find some way to eat, while that's going

SS: Oh, okay, that probably was part of it.

SS: How would you recall just what that postwas depression meant in this area for farmers that had a hard time?

SS: Well, I wouldn't say that farmers generally had a hard time. The price of wheat stayed reasonably good, it wasn't like it was, but it wasn't too many years until it was $1.25 or $1.50, around there. It was because of the shortage of hay in certain areas, well, in fact, on large areas that hurt the stockman. The ones that sold his beef during the summer when he could have got a good price for it instead of holding it for a higher price, he didn't do too bad. And a lot of farmers will cry about that because they could have sold their wheat for $1.45- or $2.45 aiid was going to have $2.50 and eventually they took $1.25 for it.

SS: Why did the bottom fall out of the cattle market?

SS: I wouldn't for sure know. .The war was over and maybe there was a little more meat around than they needed or something. The govern ment quit buying tremendous amounts of this, you see, and when they brought a couple of million men home from France and quit haying to ship that stuff oyer there to feed 'em, why, they just didn't buy any more.

SS: This came quite a little while before the start of the real depression. This was ten years before. If this came in 1920, say, A or shortly after that- the farmers were still enjoying pretty fair prices through 1929, at least. Then they began to get the pinch. As Tom said, some of 'em took $1.25- I've had 'em tell me they took 35C and some of 'em as low as 17c a bushel.

SS: What time are we talking now?

SS: In the early '30's then. Yeah, so far as the Latah county farmer is concerned the^ 30's were far, far worse than the other one.

SS: Oh, yeah. No question about that.

SS: But to the ranchers, would you say the earlier one was as severe?

SS: Don't you suppose this came; as Tom said, from a poor grass crop, a poor crop of hay and having all this stock that had to be fed, this just naturally threw these fellows into a depression, maybe it wasn't wide, although it must have been wide, too, because if they said that they could have got 36c for their beef when they took it down there and could only get 90 when they got ready to move it out of there, beef must have been dropping pretty fast over the winter. Well, after that war, the fact that a lot of industries shut down, too; there was a good deal of unemployment and there wasn't the money around to buy high priced stuff that had been a short while before. Itf: There was a different cause of difficulty in Latah County among the folks " were strictly farmers, and that is that during the last years of World War I, the price of wheat got up to $2.50 a bushelvmaybe higher, and this touched off a lot of land buying speculation. Land in the Genesee area that had been worth maybe $75 an acre before the war was selling for $200, $250 an acre. And people who bought that land and went out on a limb without in laid enough money.to pay for it were caught in the depression after the war. low crop prices.wouldn't pay for it at land valued that And some of those folks had to give up; lost their farms and this was a kind of beginning of combining farms into either patches for folks that had big enough areas and were well enough financed to stay with it and bought up some of these farms be abandoned bankruptcy.

SS: There were speculators, too; for instance in the early days here this man Williamson that had the store here in Moscow, was a speculator. His son is my neighbor now. And Frank told me that he always worked on the idea that once he had enough of a hold on a ranch that he could borrow some money on it, he'd go out and put it down on something else. Well, when he got all through Frank ended up by having just one 160 acre ranch over at Pullman that he could save out of all that his dad had. And the Toomey place down at Genesee was one of 'em that he had at one time, you know. But he just kept buying everytime he got a foothold on a piece of land and could borrow some more money, then he'd go out and buy some thing else. And if times would have kept going up, why, he'd a been alright. But they didn't. What I wonder about now, aren't we in the same kind of a thing, right now? We were talking, Kenny, about the price going from $75 to $250 or something, now they tell me that some of our farm land is selling as high as $850 an acre. No one can make that kind of money from that piece of land, if they depend on the piece of land to make the money. KP: That's right, and it isn't farmers that are offering that kind of money, it's people who have other income; people who have in dustrial income or some other enterprise; against which they can take a loss on a farm and take a tax credit for it. I was told by fludcflph M^ty,tne last time x talked to him that one of his neighwas bors.offered $1,200 an acre for 1,000 acres of land over toward Uniontown. And this was not an offer made by another farmer, it was an offer made by a California investor, who perhaps has an industrial development or some other business against which he can take credit in a tax writeoff What would his long range interest be in owning land that would cost him that much? What would he be able to do with it?

SS: Under our present income tax setup he can take off any loss- if it- he can show a loss on this farm that isn't paying out, he can take this directly out of his profits from the other organization, whatever he has. Until they straighten up this kind of a thing, there'll always be some of that going on. But, I know, Kenny, one or two cases where it has been the farmer who bought the land but it was land that joined him and he could farm it without any additional equipment and he probably had the money to buy it. KP: In this circumstance it makes some sense.

SS: You were talking about speculation; they say that a lot of places there was a certain amount of speculation in the pioneer days, some more than others. Some places had boosters come in, guys that were just trying to take advantage of the fact that the land was just opening up, didn't plan to stay there. Do you knowhow much of that there was around here and Genesee, opposed to people just coming in to buy and settle for what they could?

SS: From what I can remember, I would say that most of the people who came in there, came in with the idea of staying, because the valley to the north was Scandinavian; the valley to the west was Germans. They just kind of came and landed in communities and they built their homes and built a church, planned to stay right there, I don't think there was very little speculation. The place where there might have been a little speculation early, would have been like this town of Blaine, which isn't even here anymore, just over Paradise Jfill, used to be on the old Genesee to Moscow road. There was a sawmill, a grocery store and a church and a school, and cut quite a little timber right in there, but now it's all farm land; it's all been cleared and it's all open to farm land. Might have been some speculation in places like that.

SS: That speculation was mostly on the town probably, that there might be a town there that would be something. 8: I think that's true and that was a phase which passed very early. It was part of1 tide of land settlement and early development. Before the railroads came there was always an uncertainty of where the railroad would be when it did come, so there was speculation on that. You can read the history of the railroads in Latah Counfind ty and adjoining Whitman County and. a half a dozen towns thought they were going to be the capital of the state one of these days the railroad was going to come there first. But it didn't it went somewhere else, so a lot of these little towns just stabi lized at a much lower level and some disappeared almost entirely. They didn't get a permanent setup to back up their needs.

SS: In the first ten or twenty years of a lot of pioneer communities, from what I've read, there was a great deal of turnover. Trying to do some statistical research they find that 70-80% of the peo ple would not stay from one census to the next. Do you think that around Genesee there was a lot of stability? KB: Yes, I do. I think Dave has the right idea; people that came to settle most of that country came intending to stay. They came from harder circumstances when they came, too, even though this was a pioneer country. The Scandinavian people and^ German people who came in here came from much more difficult climate and limited land resources and limited opportunities and they had no way to go but up, when they got to a good farming country where they had their own land and all persevere. And that's pretty much how it went. It's a commplace.land development in most areas that it takes about three generations of investment before the land ac tually pays back enough to pay off the last investment. This has been true of virtually all of the irrigation project*' Idaho, doe example. McnM irrigation project has opened up and peopie move in and homestead land and they spend all^their resources in developing as much of the land as they can, and they find they can't make a living so they sell out to somebody else, ordinarily taking considerable loss on their investment up to that point. some more land The next fellow puts in his investment and develops,^ and he can't make a go of it and finally the third investor comes along and enough of by that time.the previous investment has been written off jprice that he pays and enough improvement has been made in the resource that he can make a living, and. stabilize .

SS: And the third one's probably got a bigger ranch. He probably got two ranches or more by that time. I think this is true, I think this is true about in the irrigated country, in the Big Bend and all that country. So, I don't know whether this goes so much that way, but I think of the Genesee country now— you fellows remember young Crauley, Ernest Crauley down there. His dad raised a family - I don't know how big a family on 80 acres. When he started farming he had to have two or three times that much, now his son is far ming and I don't know what size his ranch is, but I suppose 800 acres or 700 acres, like all the rest of them down there to make a living. But still, his dad raised a family on 80 acres. KP: This is part of the explanation, or at least relates to the explanaadditional tion of why farmers can pay seemingly impossible prices now for^ farm land; you usually find that the farmer pays such a high price already has a substantial, going outfit and if he's a third generation farmer like the Crauley grandson, who is now far ming in the Genesee area, he has pretty much inherited what he has. So if he has 1,000 acres for which he paid nothing, say, he can buy another 160 acres to average in with that at a very high price and his overall cost of land is still a reasonable figure. This samNman, if he had to go to the bank and borrow the money and buy that land and pay off a loan covering the whole value of the land assets that cost much less.

SS: I always think of that way of old Charley Funkhouser who was a banker at Palouse for many years; he owned a couple hundred acres out there and he always claimed that Palouse land was only worth $67 an acre, but it come time to sell his he got $200 or $225 for it. But probably as far as the bank was concerned, $67 would have been the figure they'd started using; that'd been the amount they'd loan on it.

SS: Speaking about that post World War I tough winter, and I was just was that felt strictly by the cattlemen or wondering about was it across the board for what it did in the country around here?

SS: I'd say it was on all livestock men, anyway, sheep and cattle, any way. I don't suppose it affected the hogs very much because in the wintertime hogs are locked up anyway.

SS: It must have affected the labor market though I ran a camp, NRA, which was the National Resource Act, I believe- Recovery fct- and they paid those boys 60£ an hour, I think, $1 an hour for cooks and so forth, but they had plenty of takers and that was something on the order of the CCC, except that they were just working for wages, and so I would imagine that there was plenty of labor force that was looking for work. fc£: What year was that?

SS: That was '34,

SS: I was talking about the 19- we're skipping around- 1918-'19.

SS: Okay. You're still talking about 1919 and 1920.

SS: You said the horse's tails-

SS: Cow's tails froze down at nights when they lay down. And when they get up they just pull the hair out of their tails. There was cows all over the country without any bush on their tails, next spring. VitaM i^d ^where they d tuck their tail between their tail between their legs and the heat on the body would melt 'em down in but during the night it'd get so cold they'd freeze up again. And I remember Bill Piatt coming out here and telling it was so damn cold that they had cows laying down on the bed grounds that were froze down, they couldn't get up, right on the bed ground in the feed lot. And these were well fed cattle he was talking about; reasonably well fed. And they had to go around in the morning and break 'em lose so they could stand up.

SS: I don't think wages were very good for sometime after this '20 thing, because I can remember working for the Genesee Union Ware house for a couple of years and I'm sure I worked for about 600 an hour or something of the kind, working in the warehouse. And before that and after that, wages went up some in price, although maybe not so awully high. KP: By the time I was working for wages out in harvest in the,/20's two bits an hour was harvest wage, $4 a day for a twelve hour day.^

SS: Figuring along that same line I worked for Bunker Hill and Sullivan for six months in the mines, and that was either in '20 or '21 and I got $4.25 a day for that.

SS: Eight hours?

SS: Eight hours. So that wages weren't anything outstanding.

SS: You didn't have very much.time you paid for your bed and your board.

SS: Paid for your room and board adn so forth; I've forgotten now what it cost, but it couldn't have been more than $30 a month or so.

SS: Did you find on your operation you could keep your help pretty well?

SS: Oh, I don't know, we had quite a few incompetent people out there at the ranch at different times that I remember of. Kids that came out of Spokane and one thing and another. Take 'em out to a1000*" pitch hay and you'd just.as well pitch it yourself, you got along better. They never had a pitchfork in their hands before you know, didn t know what to do with it.

SS: By and large now, I don t think that Bill had any trouble on Sal mon River. He had experienced men there all the time. But they were homesteaders from around there that had been there a while and knew something about the country. W: tor a ew dollars.

SS: Yeah. And he didn't have any trouble there. KP: I would think that by and large, all through that period.until after the 1930's depression, the labor market was largely a buyer's market, even on ranches. There were some men who were pretty hcu) mock picky and choosey about where they worked and they got paid, but you could nearly always find men who were looking for work. There was a great deal of itinerant labor needed the Palouse country then, because the harvesting piled up, the grain was bound combineAand the harvesting required a lot of extra help to manage the horses and pitch the bundles and thresh the grain and so on. And there was quite a lot needed in haying time. There was a lot of seasonal work. With the tractors, and selfpropelled combines they do up this work in thirty days that used to take a much longer time with horsepower and handpower, and lot fewer people to do it.

SS: Well, I tell the story Kenny, that^along '18, '19 somewhere along in there they had a contract south of Genesee building road. That was one of their first jobs, probably, and all in the world that outfit owned was a tent for a cookhouse, and a tent to cover the horses and some horses and a plow or a couple of plows and Fresnoes. That's the way they built that Genesee highway, to start with. And it's still in the same place it was built then although they've come in since then and cut one or two of the hills

down a little more. But they went on from that and went off down i that Boise country and during the second war or something they became another Morrison-Knudsen and went all over the world building airfields and so forth.

SS: This the Turteling outfit.

SS: Turteling Brothers. They started here at Moscow. In fact, there's one of them living at Boise now. Well, there may be more than one of 'em, but there's one of the grandsons living at Boise now, they tell me. that has a big ranch out there and he's collecting old machines and old sawmills or anything of this kind that the next generation would be interested in and is making it into a kind of amusement park, I think, to take children out to to let them see how things went on in the 'good days', if that's what you call 'em.

SS: Did you have to cross the Salmon At other times with cattle? Was river crossing part of the operation?

SS: At times when it had to be. That's too big a rivef* cattle won't cross that unless they're forced to it, of course. But in our mis time there were no bridges, and £ beef cut being taken from Joseph (fountain on the other side of the river had to be swum across. There was no other way. They did have a ferry at RJtce Creek and .Whitebird, but there was no corrals or anything leading onto it, so there was no way to get these cattle on there.

SS: Did you lead cattle across yourself?

SS: I've helped swim cattle at Salmon many times.

SS: What's it like?

SS: Oh, you just take a small bunch that you can be sure to handle, maybe seven or eight or ten head and decidw - you're going to put 'em in and two or three fellows- a couple behind and one on

each side to start 'em on the run down to the river and they'll go in. If you can keep that lead bunch headed across the others will go fairly easy. The early day people and maybe still some of 'em do, they swam cattle across the Snake, too. K!fJ: Tom, did you ever see the technique used of putting a young calf in the back of a rowboat and coaxing the mother in?

SS: No, but I've coaxed a whole herd up ^ highway that way, not in a rowboat! Wrtll a calf in a pickup. right! Put a calf in a pickup and let ma find out exactly where he is and you've got a leader right up the highway. Take the whole bunch and just go! (Chuckles) lift: That's the technique as old as time, I've seen in the old tomb inscriptions in Egypt, in the^ inscriptions there, a picture of a a calf bawling °o4r of boat crossing a body of water with the back end and the mother following along bawling. I suppose they were crossing the Nile.

SS: I'd like to ask you a little bit about what you remember about the World War I years in the Genesee area; how the local people reacted to the war and what effect that had on them. What the people did. KP: Well, I saw it of course with very young eyes, because I was only ten years old in 1917 when we moved to the Genesee country from the Salmon River. But I remember it created a great dedication on the part of everybody. In school we knit mittens and we sewed this and that and so on for the soldiers and we saved prune pits because they took the nuts out of those and extracted something that was used to make gas masks. We saved all kinds of stuff; tinfoil, I remember was something we were supposed to save. And there was great enthusiasm whenever there was a bond sale or any kind of a money raising deal. I remember we had an old rooster that must have been about a ten pounder, he was a great, big Plymouth Rock and old as time, and my Dad took him to an auction sale and he was sold several times at this sale, nobody wanted to keep him, so they'd buy him and put him backpn sale and my dad finally came home with him! That one rooster raised $15 or $20, by being sold over and over again.

SS: Incidentlaly they used the shell, the nut shells and the shells of the prune pits or anything like that was transformed into char coal for the gas masks. That's what they used.

SS: Well, one thing I knew about it was that this- there was an Idaho company down on the Mexican border before this thing started, they were training down there, they were called into active duty and then taken down to guard the railroads and.type of thing before they finally went into this western outfit that went overseas. And there were quite a few boys from Genesee area that were in ac tive duty over there. Kenny says he was about ten years old, I was seventeen- would have been seventeen at the end of 1917, so I was just about to the age where I could have gotten in when the thing ended.

SS: Do you remember there being much concern locally about the IWWs?

SS: Oh,okay, I'll tell you a story. The IWWs had been in full swing anyway, for some little time, and I was working for an outfit, Jones, Frank Jones was one of 'em, I can't tell you the other guy's name now, but anyway, there was two partners in on this threshing machine. We pulled into a field and were threshing on it, and we were threshing loose oats, and the wind was coming just the wrong way and it was coming right back in our face, and I went in once and unloaded, came out choking to death. And so when I went out in the field then to load up again with the wagon, I came back in and I told these fellows, I said, "I'm not going back in there any more. That isn't any place for a guy to be at all, unless you want to turn this machine around, I'm just going to unhook. And some of your other fellows are going to quit you, too, because they're all grumbling about it." Well, that was the wrong thing to say, because right away they said, "We'll just take you to town then for IWW And this was Frank Jones and the other fellow that was there he just kind of laughed about it and he wrote out my check and he offered me a ride to town, anyway. But Frank was all for taking me in to Moscow; I was one of the strike leaders! I would have been alright if I'd just told him I was going to quit, that I was through, but when I told him the rest of 'em didn't like it that was- that they were all going to quit-taking her a little too far, I guess.

SS: Well, I've heard rumors about suspected sabotage that the IWWs did in the farming country. But from what I've heard from old loggers, it was pretty much along the lines that they didn't be lieve that they did much damage during that period of time in the farming country.

SS: The idea was that they were supposed to have boxes of matches or something of this kind in the separators and the separators blew up and smut explosions. But how many of 'em were just smut explosions and how many of 'em were- had something to do with PLATT/HICKMAN/PLATT 53 somebody settin' 'em off, I don't have any idea.

SS: I think there were two or three sizeable grain fires in the Big Bend that were set. Who set 'em, that's something else, and they who never did prove did. I don't think that it amounted to much.

SS: Was smut a big problem: were smut fires real dangerous? A real possibility in the Genesee country?

SS: Oh, yes.

SS: Always dangerous. $J: They didn't have the smut resistant wheat varities the|. Smut was much more common. I was involved in a smut explosion in the threshing crews I worked with one year. I was the last wagon unloading at the end of the day when you scoop up the accumu lated stuff off the bottom of the rack, that you shattered out in your bundle rack the day.A Anyway, the machine exploded while I was unloading, but the operator was all braced for it, it was a smutty field and he was operating a steam powered outfit and he had a steam line from this boiler right into the separator, and when that machine blew, the engineer revved up the engine, turned the steam ir^ the separator and the separator tender stood up on the top of that separator in a flash, if he wasn't there already and he cranked the straw blower away from the straw stack and, blew the A fire right out of that machine. It was out in less than five minu tes. It blew a big hunk of flaming straw out onto the edge of the straw stack but there were a half a dozen guys standing around there and they got in with their pitchforks and shoved that away from the straw stack and it burned a piece of stubble maybe half as big as this house and in^ two minutes maybe, it was over with, They replaced some burned out in the machine that night and the next morning it started off on time. But I think this is probably no different from most smut explosions that time, they didn't have to be set. The operators were taking every possible precaution to avoid it, and be ready for it if it did occur. handled.

SS: Did the smut problem start in the teens or was it something that was there from the beginning? Do you know? fcft: Well, I don't know, but I presume we always had it from the time we got wheat into the country. Especially here. Especially Red Russian. KP: The smut spore gets onto the healthy wheat kernels, and is carried wherever the wheat goes. If you imported seed from an area where smut was common you'd have smut with it. Then when you plant the seed, the smut germinates along with the wheat and grows right in the wheat kernel and comes up. the stem of the wheat as a parasite and invades the new head, takes over the kernels there and just multiplies until it completely replaces the normal vegetation there in the wheat kernel.

SS: I wonder how much of a problem that was, Kenny, though in the early days when they used more headers. Didn't have the bundles and so forth. They headed the wheat and put it right into the machine. Do you suppose that this reduced the smut possibility a little? KP: Don't know how it could have any effect.

SS: Well, I was thinking it might be a little more moist by still being standing wheat. KP: When the wheat was headed that early it was stacked, and ripened in the stack, rather than going direct in the machine.

SS: I worked on one of the last header outfits Sherm Wall had out fo\M of Header boK -Qr i there, just for a short time, and that was going directly into a machine. Well, you haddry what.

SS: Uh-huh. KP: But one of the reasons the header went out and another system came back in was that they could not wait until the wheat was ripe because by the time they got around to the last wheat it was shat- tered badly, on account of the wind.

SS: I've heard all over the eastern part of the county, Park, Deary, Troy that in the early days people used to come to Genesee for the harvest from there, as just a regular part of the work when they were homesteading out in the Troy area, and so I get the idea that the harvest was really quite a big time for the county centered around Genesee in the early days.

SS: Well, I think this last outfit I worked on down there had something like sixteen wagons, so that would have been sixteen wagons there plus four pitchers in the field, plus a separator tender and the guy hauling water and the cooks and the engine man and all this type of thing; there probably were thirty people; twenty-five to thirty people up this operation and this could go on for thirtythirty- five days.

SS: Were these owned by an individual or were they owned by a—?

SS: By individuals, mostly. This one that I was telling about- one of them that I worked on was this Kloster and Jones and then I re member another one, Old he ran there for years. That's all he did was just run this threshing outfit in the summertime.

SS: He made enough threshing to

SS: (Chuckles), for the rest of the year!. Yeah, I guess. It was a big business time you got all these men together and then by the time the farmer fed all these horses out of the stock that was out there- out of the grain that was there- so this took an enormous amount of grain , to keep the outfit going, too. You asked something about wheat— Up until the first war, there at Genesee, wheat wasn't such - really such a big business probably, because none of those flats up there were even in wheat, they were all either in hay or pasture; one or the other. The hills were raising grain alright, and it was after the start of this First World War that they finally decided they could raise wheat on the; flats. So now it's strictly a wheat country.

SS: You were talking about the weather changing. That's a common thing that climate's changed around this county. Have you got any ideas about anything that people would say- used to say about why it changed; how it changed? I know it changed, but what's the specu lation on that? JB$: Did it change because the timberline moved back? Does that make a difference? I don't know.

SS: Of course the timberline has been moved back.

SS: It's moved back a long ways.

SS: Used to be timber clear down around Blaine and in there. KP: This winter change seems to be a worldwide phenomonen. I ve articles recently about this and what effect it may have^ So-«*• I certainly recollect much harder winters when we were kids than we encounter.

SS: Course, one thing about these, Kenny, too, is they didn*t have any equipment for moving snow, so wherever it fell that's just where it stayed. They just tromped it down and left it right there, where now they'll come«long with the motorized equipment and they'll knock it all off the highway and put it over on the edge of the road.

SS: When people started growing what on the flats, was it because they thought the winters were getting milder or were they just experi menting? Do you know how that development came about? KP: I would venture a couple of guesses: it sort of coincided with the A high price of wheat during World War I. It was worth taking a flyer meadows to plow up some pasture and.try to grow some wheat. Another guess would be that probably more winter-hardy or frost resistant varieties had been developed by the experiment stations up to that time. So, I think it was probably a natural change. And then, of course, once the tractors started coming in they didn't need all that mea dow and hay ground and they had to find something else to put Gn and wheat was the natural thing. We always had lots of livestock to feed and so we raised feed crops on our flat ground. We had clover and grass mixtures on some of it and we raised summer crops, corn or sunflowers or something like that on some of the other. But I think that's probably an explanation of the changes. There has been, I'm convinced, some change of climate but some of these other changes would have occurred whether the climate changed or not.

SS: The change has reduced the water level around Genesee, considerably. I don't know if you know about it, but Rudolph has got a shallow well out there back of the barn, a pitcher pump in it and a small trough and he always, when he was using horses and milking cows there, he d just by hand pump water for i livestock, and he had all the water he wanted. Now he can pump it dry in a few minutes. Gone down that much. Of course, that's just a shallow thing, but still the water is just plain lower, even on the flats, that that KP: But I would guess.again, resulted in a combination of factors. When we used to summer fallow half the land, and was only cropped every other year, and now we crop every year, if it isn't wheat it's peas or barley or lentils or something else every year. And every year there's a crop and crops require tremendous amounts of water. And when half the ground was summer fallowed there was a chance for some of that water to go on down and add to the ground water. Very little of it gets there any more.

SS: There is one area we haven't talked about at all that I would like to ask you to give some general impressions on, and that is the different cultural groups that were around at the time, and any recollections you have of some of the early differences in ways between the Germans and Norwegians and other groups that were there.

SS: I don't remember much about the early days because I didn't have much contact probably with those people. The Germans and the Catholics, probably, were pretty much west of town. The Scandina vians were north of town and pretty much in one valley. But when I was working with the CCC boys along in the late '30's, I found that these Scandinavians, anyway, you never could go to their house without having cookies and coffee and so forth. Well, they had it for themselves there and anybody that came in had to stop and eat with them, that's all there was to it. You at least had coffee and cookies. But I think they were people who were kind of clannish but still they were all progressive and they all worked in the community, I don't think they were clannish to the place where they wouldn't associate with anyone else. The need for interchange of labor in harvest, I think pretty The need to well bridged whatever cultrual gap there might be. . work to- gether i a pioneer situation. I was never aware that there were any cultural barriers Then you had these little towns, like Lenville and Blaine, they were quite the litte community there at one time, when people didn't have to go to town to buy a couple of pounds of sugar or something of this kind, whatever they needed. Most of the things they could raise on the ranch, and so they could go to these smaller places and buy them. And each one of these little towns usually turned out with a ball team of some kind. Something to keep the community spirit going.

SS: There were some flaky times around during the First World War about the Germans around town. It never was very bad.

SS: Oh, yeah, I guess there was.

SS: I guess was the only one that I knew of ever having They fixed his place of business up pretty good. Didn't do him any damage as far as I remember. JBfl: They plaster it with signs or something?

SS: Didn't they move an outhouse close to his door and put up some signs there and one thing and another? I think that's about what they did. KP: There was plenty of that done free for nothing on Hallowe'en!

SS: Especially in the vestibule of the schoolhouse, or something that Kind.

SS: Was there much moonshing and that sort of thing around Genesee, like th. ere was in some places?

SS: There was an old boy named Hardy that had the reputation anyway. I notice that Old John talks about him there in that book, also had the reputation around Palouse, so I imagine there was some moonshining going on, alright, I don't know that there was any great amount of it.

SS: Doubt if he was mixed up in any moonshining, just plain bootleg ging.

SS: Yeah, he was. Don't know whether he made it or whether he was just peddling it. There was quite a number of people that made a little and there was a lot of 'em made their beer. Not very many people that sold it. Just home use thing.

1:00 - Genesee businesses; rodeo largest community event; Sundown Jackson

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Early day Genesee was busy with businesses. Genesee's three day horse show and rodeo. Sundown Jackson had Dave exercise his "wild" horse. Quality of the working stock. The rodeo attracted good riders. The biggest community event of the year.

16:00 - Hickman livery barn, 1914-1915

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Dave Hickman's father's livery barn. Because railroad ended at Genesee, they conveyed salesmen down to Lewiston. About 1914 his father put two automobiles on the line. In 1915 there was only about a mile of rock road in the country, and it was hard to use. He rented teams, stabled horses overnight, kept stallions at stud, but didn't freight. There was room for fifty head of horses in the stable, and fifty more in the corral.

24:00 - Two towns of Genesee (old and new); Rosenstein store; winter

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: There are two towns of Genesee: the "old town" was abandoned when an effort was made to charge the railroad for the depot, and the road simply relocated the town. The Rosenstein store: Max Rosenstein cut the Chinese laundryman's clothesline. Morgan the telephone man had to pull his car up the hill to his house with a pair of mules in the winter.

29:00 - Native Americans traded goods in Genesee

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: With Genesee only three miles from the Nez Perce reservation boundary, Indians traded there, but own little land in the area now. (continued)

30:00 - Native Americans near Genesee; no homesteading land left in 1881

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Indian families in the Genesee area. When the Platts came in 1881, there was no homestead land left. Dave's father came in 1889 with a ticket to the end of the railroad line.

36:00 - Marketing grain; importance of horses; stage routes and railroad.

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Problem with marketing grain in the early days. The change in climate made it possible to grow wheat on the flats starting in 1917. Tunneling under the snowpack across the street in Genesee. Driving stock from Cottonwood and Grangeville to Genesee, because it was the end of the line. "Tame" horses were shipped from Genesee for the French Cavalry. Importance of horses in early farming. Hay and fruit warehouses. Driving pigs from Lenville to Colfax. Stage routes un the grade from Lewiston. Going to Palouse from Genesee to the flour mill.

48:00 - Harris was Methodist minister

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Great-grandfather Harris, a Methodist minister, watched the Sunday ball games and complained.

50:00 - Platt cattle operation;

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Platt operation comprised owned and rented land around Genesee and homestead and range on the Salmon River. In 1915 John Platt brought in a big stock of Hereford cattle from Iowa and Nebraska. ; the first in Idaho. The enterprise failed when the livestock investors demanded their money at a difficult time. Their stock built up from 20 purebreds to over 200. Fluctuation of cattle market. Demand for purebred bulls was mainly in range areas. Genesee tied to the development of other areas, (cont.)

60:00 - Genesee as strategic location

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Genesee's strategic location in early years. Specialization in use of horses, home delivery of purchases.

62:00 - Platt cattle known as best around; Salmon River operation

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Platts first bought three purebred Herefords in LaGrande in 1896 and introduced them to the Salmon River range herd. At first they were laughed at because of the small size of the bulls, but soon they were known as the best cattle in the country. The Salmon River cattle operation described. Located due south of Winchester, it was squatter's land not surveyed until 1910, then homesteaded.

72:00 - Tom in charge

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Tom got a saddle horse at five and ran the place in his father's absence by nine or ten.

74:00 - Purebred cattle; drowned cattle while fording

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The purebreds were raised at Genesee, then taken down to the range. In early years range cattle were fed at Genesee. Platt^partner in the butcher shop absconded with money. A drowning on the Clearwater at Spalding while fording cattle. The family operation was a natural combination of resources.

81:00 - Salmon River country had rough weather, land

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Salmon River was rough country. Rumors of stock stealing. Country too steep for a Texan. Tough winters: people expected to be holed up for three to five months. Winter diet. Pigs too much trouble to raise there. Homestead social life.

90:00 - Effects of winter on cattle operation, hay; post WWI depression difficult

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Private school at the Platt homestead during the winter. The severe winter conditions of 1919-20. A 60% shortage of feed forced them to drive the cattle across the frozen Salmon River. Hay prices went from $7 to $50 a ton, and beef fell from $36 to $9. Effects of that winter cold on the cattle. After selling off almost all of their herd, John and Bill Platt started up again. The post World War I Depression was hard on the stockman.

91:00 - Post WWI depression prices, farmland as tax write-off

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Farmers had speculated on more land with high wheat prices, and were caught short after the war with the falling market. Williamson of Moscow invested in new land as soon as he could borrow on his other holdings, and lost almost all of it. Farmland is now being bought by non-farm interests at inflated prices and used a s a tax write-off.

96:00 - Settlement of Genesee; railroad

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Genesee area was early settled by people and groups who intended to stay and found more opportunity than where they'd come from. Speculation in towns which hoped the railroad would pass through them. It commonly takes three generations of investors in a place to realize profit; expansion of farms from an inherited base isn't hard.

115:00 - Winter 1919 was awful; no work, low wages, bodies froze

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: During the bad winter of 1919 the cows tails and even their bodies froze to the ground. Wages were low after the war, though there was much work. Some ranch hands were not competent.

120:00 - Turteling Brothers

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Turteling brothers started as a one tent construction operation in the country and became big.

122:00 - Driving cattle across the Salmon

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Tom describes driving cattle across the Salmon; using a calf to lead the rest.

125:00 - Local support for WWI

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Local effort to support World War I; selling the family's unwanted Plymouth Rock, rooster. An Idaho company was early involved in the war.

128:00 - IWW accusing; fires in Big Bend; smut explosion

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Dave was accused of being an IWW when he complained about dusty conditions while thrashing. Several fires in Big Bend country were never solved. Quick action in a smut explusion. How smut grows on wheat. Headers were replaced because the delay before thrashing caused some wheat to shatter. Thrashing outfits were a big business.

138:00 - Growing wheat good on flat and in the hills

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Reasons for growing wheat on the flat as well as in the hills include the high price of wheat during the war. The climate has moderated; and the water table has appreciably dropped one reason being the intense cropping of the soil.

144:00 - Scandinavians; anti-German pranks; moonshine

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Scandinavian hospitality. Anti-German prank-during World War I. Most moonshine around Genesee was made for home use.

X


Collections A-Z