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 email@example.com
SAM SCHRAGER: Your father decided to come out here in the first place, to thiscountry.
BYERS SANDERSON: My father? Yeah. Well, he come out— he was a sawmill man.When he come out here he was running a sawmill— He had a sawmill down to Kendrick, and then from Kendrick, why, he moved up to Prince ton (Idaho). And he sawed the timber for the Princeton, when they was building. By the way, H two buildings are still standing, that big red barn and then the big house as you start up the hill as you're going out of Princeton there.
SS: Which way? Towards Harvard or towards Potlatch?
BS: Toward Potlatch.
SS: Oh, yes, that's right up by Hampton, you mean?
BS: Yeah, that big house he sawed that lumber. Then he located up on—they called it the Beason Meadows then, at that time. And then they left the Beason Meadows and went over on Rock Creek, out of Potlatch. Then they come into this country.
SS: He was working with the sawmill all the time he was there?
BS: He had the sawmill himself.
SS: Oh, it was his mill?
SS: Did he bring out from the Midwest?
BS: No. I think he bought it from a fellow named Hoskins. The old Hoskinssawmill.
SS: What size was that? What kind of a mill was it?
BS: It was a circle saw.It's a good deal of them old-fashioned mills, you know. Then he sawed the timbers for the Potlatch . He sawed the timbers for all these trestles and things. He sawed them. But then they went assistant superintendent for the Potlatch here, when they first started. Him and old Tillie Pelton.
SS: He became an assistant superintendent for them.
BS: Tillie was a camp foreman and Dad was foreman over all the camps.And he had the shops and he had them— let's see, he had fourteen donkeys to look after. And then he done all the ordering at the warehouse.0 the shops. They run him to death. (Chuckles) He was pretty busy. He'd get up lots of times at four o'clock in the morning to get his book work and stuff done. Well, he had that big warehouse. He had a hundred thousand dollar stock that he had to keep up. Then he had all the shop work, too. That made lots of work.
SS: Was he expected to go out there and check on the foremen and see howcamps were going on at the same time?
BS: Oh, yes. He had these donkeys and things. They'd break down, why--It seemed to be at that time he was about the only man that there was in the country to handle things like that.
SS: You said he started at four, when did he get home?
BS: Oh, he— at all hours.(Chuckles) Lots of times he'd work til nine,ten o'clock at night there in the office. They had an office in the shops. He'd work til he gat the books caught up.
SS: Did he have the kind of pay to go along with that kind of responsibility?
BS: Oh, yes.
SS: He got a good wage?
BS: Yes. He got good money, at that time.
BS: At that time all the head men got all of their clothes and Germanrubbers, socks and jack and mackinaw pants.
SS: They got that for free?
BS: Oh, yes. Yes, they got that, you see, being a foreman. All theforemans got 'em, at that time. Old Jimmy Costello run the warehouse and Dad went down one time to get his clothes. Old Jimmy was a kind of a peculiar old fellow, he didn't feel just right, why, he'd get pretty ornery. Dad told him what he wanted. "Well," he says, "I'm not going to give 'em to you today." "Well," Dad says, "I want 'em today." "No," he says, "I'm not going to give 'em to you." "Well," he says, "I'll go see T..." He went — started to go out and Jimmy said, "Wait a minute here," he says, "come back here." He said, "I'll give 'em to youI" (Laughter) "Well," Dad says, "al right." He give 'em to him. Them old fellers sometimes they was pret ty hard.
SS: Well, who was your father responsible to? Was it T. p. Jones, orwas it Deary— which one of them guys was he responsible to?
BS: Well, it was T. f. Jones then. Dad was T. J.'s right hand man foryears then. That is, after they started. You see, there at the shop they had five marions four shaysy fourteen or twenty-one donkeys and then they had— the shays burnt the slab wood at that time. They never had coal. Later years they got coal, but— You'd see them old shays coming along and see the sparks going a hundred feet in the air; cinders. Then we made a respirator and put on the front and it caught the sparks on the 'count of forest fires. They'd set fires a dozen a day and they had to have somebody put 'em out right ' li the engines, right up.
SS: Did this equipment you put on— how did that work? The new stuffyou put on to stop the sparks? Just put a top on it or what?
BS: No, it was just a big cone. The sparks come up in the smokestackand hit this cone and it would whirl 'em and then they had the screen and then on the outside of this cone they'd drop down on the inside of the stack. And then every so often they'd pull the plug out and stop and clean the sparks ou4 out. They'd be out, you know, and they'd get on there.
SS: They had to have a man on each train just to put these fires out?
BS: Well, no, they kept track of the sparks if they started to fire,why, they'd just phone, they had awoods phone, you know. They'd phone and tell 'em where the fire was and they'd put it out. And sometimes they'd follow up with one of these hand scooters, you know, that pump back and forth and they'd put the fires out.
SS: Well, what was it that made your father decide to come to this Idahocountry in the first place? Had he heard about the Potlatch coming out? How did he decide to come?
BS: Well, no, he was a miner, too. A mining engineer. And he comeout and he done lots of mining around, like the Buffalo Hump. He was in the Buffalo Hump there. I think it was 1893, along in there. The depression; wasn't it the depression at that time? '93.
BS: He follered the mining on a side issue. Then in 1904 he discoveredthe Copper King here in the Hoodoos, and that's the place they got that rich ore, you know? Here a few years ago, these college kids went in and relocated it that he had dug out, and they made 30,000 dollars. (Chuckles)
BS: Yeah. But, when Dad had it, why, it was twenty miles into Harvardand there wasn't no railroad or anything to ship out ore.
SS: Did he ever tell you how he discovered it? How it came about getting in there?
SS: Did he work it?
BS: Oh, yes. Yes, they worked it for years. Laird was in withhim. Old Bill Deary was in with him. And after Bill died and Laird took over, why, Laird went in with him. And they kept it for years, then the conditions that they couldn't get their ore out and they just throwed it up; let it go. Then this ore was laying there that they'd handpicked, and that's when them college kids come over—
SS: You mean they just found the ore right on the ground?
BS: Oh, yes. They had it piled up in piles as big as this room. Andthey come in and just located it and went and hauled it to the rail road then— was in to Harvard, you see and up to Bovill here. Had been for years. And they hauled out the high-grade ore and fetche it; and they made 30,000 dollars. (Chuckles)
SS: Did your father work this mine himself or did he hire others to dothat?
BS: They had five or six menAthere for twenty years. They got thishigh-grade out of what they called the blossom. That's the peak of the mine. It's where it leached out fromAthe ore body and deposited it in what they call the blossom.
SS: But the prices weren't good enough to make it worth their while totake that ore out in the first place?
BS: No, at that time, it wasn't. But now, that high-grade ore that theyhad there, why, it'd pay off handsome.
SS: Well, as far as the company first coming out here; Potlatch LumberCompany. What had you heard about hem they found this country in the first place?
BS: Well, Old Bill Deary is the one that found the timber. He—Whenthey was back- I guess it was Cloquet, Minnesota, the Weyerhaeusers, they'd buy— when they'd earn any money, make any money, they'd put it into timber back there. They bought all the timber that they could get and then when they— Bill Deary told 'em, he says; he'd worked for 'em back there, he says, "I know where there is the finest white pine timber that there is in the world— that is known." And they wanted to know where it was. "Well," he says, "I'll tell you where it is, but Iwant to be in on it." And he said, "If I'm not in on it, why, I'll get it myself." Well, they jumped at the chance and they come out and they took saddle horses, and they come up on top of Beaulah's Butte and they looked the country over and Old Charlie Weyerhaeuser says, "We want the whole thing!"(Laughter) Well, they got a lot of it. They got it for practically nothing, you know. Idon't remember what they paid for it, but it just wasn't much.
SS: How did they get it? Who'd they get it from?
BS: They bought it from the State, I guess. It would have to be theState that they bought it from.
SS: Where'd you learn that about Bill Deary telling them about thiscountry?
BS: Old Deary used to come up and talk with Dad, lots. And he'd tellDad different stories and things about Well, the Weyerhaeusers, they were just common people. They was all business, but they— at the same time they was a different class of men than they are today. They had a— they'd find a good man, why, they wasn't afraid to make it known. They'd put him in. Now like they'd come out and if they was doing a good job or something, why they'd go and buy 'em a good suit or something nice and give it to him. That was the old system of having 'em faithful, I guess!
SS: Well, when you say they were common, do you mean that they were stillclose enough to being poor themselves that they knew what it was?
BS: Yes. Yes, when they started out back East there, why they'd even deprive theirselves of stuff to buy timber. There used to be a man here, I don't remember what his name was, I'd know it, too, if i' hear it, that was raised back there, and he'd buy oranges to eat. And the Weyerhaeusers, "My land, wnat do you buy oranges for? Why don't you put your money into timber?" Well, they was getting ' back there, probably a dollar an acre, but they were that way. They put every nickle that they could rake and scrape. And then later years, why, he told this fellow— I wish I could think of his namehe was an old man when he was out here. I knew him well. I used to like to hear him tell the stories. And he'd laugh— the Weyerhaeus ers 'd laugh and shake their finger at him and say, "I told you so! When you was spending your money to put it into timber. Now, he says, "I can buy oranges and you have to go without!" Well, he was right. They made their money right there.
SS: Do you think the laws in those days about buying and cutting timberwere such that a family like the Weyerhaeusers could just start with out nothing and just cut and go?
BS: Yes, The laws at that time,they never paid much attention to the timber. You could buy timber for practically nothing. And everybody'd go in the woods and cut their wood, and there was nothin' ever said. They'd even cut good tamarack trees, and make cord after cord, and pile it up and let it season. They never had any laws regarding the timber. And the first fire patrols that they had in here to watch the timbers— fellow name Fritz Linhart, used to be at Harvard— he had an old motorcycle, and he'd go out on this motorcycle. 'Course, there was only just little old pack trails through the country, and that's tohat he'd do, he'd go up them pack trails. But if he had a forest fire, why, they was lucky if they got anybody to fight it. 'Cause there wasn't nobody in the country to fight it.
SS: He just rode around looking for 'em?
BS: Well, yes, he'd, you might as well say he was a hunter—because hehad a certain trail that he'd go and he'd go like up into the Hoodoos and then he'd come over and take the trail down here at Harvard— or at, oh, this little old town that used to be up here- Slabtown and come on through and go on the trail and go back over to Harvard,where he lived. That was about his territory. But there wasn't any fire patrol like they've got today at all.
SS: Was he on the company payroll?
BS: Yeah, he was on the payroll of Potlatch. That's after they had boughtthe timber, most of the timber in here. Then they bought lots of the old homesteads that was here. They bought them. Fellows'd prove up up on their homesteads and the Potlatch»d buy 'em out.
SS: Do you think they were reluctant to sell, or were most of these guys—?
BS: Oh, yes, they'd sell out for practically nothing. It was— therewas lots of snow at that time and 'course, where they had the meadows, there was a lot of those.fellows that stayed right there. But most of the old homesteaders sold out to the Potlatch, after the Potlatch got to going a little bit. And today they own ninety percent of all of it.
SS: You mean the land in through this country?
SS: What about the Forest Service land?
BS: Well, there wasn't any Forest Service then. But now, the Forest Service, they took over lots of the land. I don't know how the Forest Service took over their ground. But, you see, the railroads that come through there, the country, they give 'em thousands of acres that they wasn't entitiled to at all to get the railroads to come through. And they're having trouble over that even yet today. They're took it up and trying— I don't know whether they've got any of it back or not, but, now you take the Milwaukee Land — all the railroads through the country, why, they give em thousands of acres to get their roads through. Of course, they had millions of acres then.
SS: Do you know what the thinking was about building a whole company townthere at Potlatch? Along with the mill?
BS: Oh, they built the town theirself; the Potlatch did. And they rentedtheir houses out to the people that worked in the mill. After the mill got started, why then they built the town. And the store and everything was run by the Potlatch.
SS: Did they figure that they'd make money that way? Or did they justdo it to have a place for the people who worked to live?
BS: Oh, they made money there that way. They had — After they'd builtthe town, why the store, it was Potlatch store and you'd buy your groceries, why, they'd just hold it out of your check. And then the houses—they never rented for much, I think it was ten, twelve dol lars a month, something like that. And lots of times, the fellows'd that they were renting- They were a good company to help the working man at that time. they've always been agood company to work forwant to do buildings theirself onto the houses...
BS: Even when the wood was here, the families would come in, they wouldn'thave any saws or anything, why, they'd give 'em a crosscut saw and an axe amd a and spli-ib 5mauls to cut their own wood. Well, they done that to get the people to stay in and work.
SS: I didn't know that they did that.
BS: Oh, yes. Yeah, they were very good that way.
SS: I've heard in Potlatch they would let people charge in the store rightaway when they went to work for 'em.
BS: Oh, yes.
SS: You came in with nothing.
BS: Yeah, you could come and move right into one of thehouses and if youwere going to work for the company you could move right in and they'd take everything right out of their check and give 'em credit. Which was a godsend to the people at that time, you know. At that time, why, if you earned three or four hundred dollars a year, why you was doing good. You take in the Palouse country in the early day, the harvest in gathering was the main support of the whole country. The merchants, Old Fredrickson, "Fuzzy", would carry families through all year, and then when they got their in, -they'd (jo. in and pay up their bills. Course, you could borrow different than you do today! (Chuckles)
SS: Where was this Fredrickson at?
BS: He was in Palouse. He was the big grocery man there.
SS: This was really up until Potlatch came?
BS: Even after the Potlatch got the mill built there at Potlatch, whythe storekeepers there Palouse would carry 'em. And they'd come in — The people, I think, were different those days, if they owed you a dollar, why, they'd come and pay it. They never lost any money by charging accounts. Same way at Potlatch. Harvard, when Harvard got started, why, the little store there run by the Smiths, he always carried all the settlers in there. Sometimes he'd carry 'em pretty near a year.
SS: Was it that the storekeeper knew the people better, knew 'em personally? Was that why he'd trust 'em?
BS: Well, it probably was. They was homesteading and what little workthey'd get, why, they'd go in and pay on their bills. But Flory Smith, he was in the courthouse in later years, but he'd— in his home there he had a little store. And, like the mine, they'd go down there and they'd get, oh, seventy-five or a hundred dollars worth of groceries and never thought about paying for 'em til, oh, they'd , take every thirty-sixty days, they'd go in and pay up. But the whole thing was run on credit. And they made money. 'Course a dollar at that time was worth a good many times what it is now. (Laughter)
SS: Well, when did your father first go to work for Potlatch? Was itwhen they were building out through Deary?
BS: Dad went to work for the Potlatch back in 1903, I believe it was, and'04. And that's when the mining first started up in the country and he'd work up at Harvard. You see at Harvard, the railroad wasn't in there then. The railroad never went in til 1906, but at Harvard, what logging they done, was done by the people that had horses. And they'd pull their logs into the river and then they'd flume 'em down to Palouse in the spring; to the Palouse mill. Then after they got the railroad up as far as Harvard, why, then they put in a big camp there at Harvard and logged that country in there. But they flumed—
SS: Was this Cod ?
SS: Was this Cod, or was thic: pi was this Potlatch who was doing this logging?
BS: The Potlatch. They-
SS: They were logging before 1906? Before they built the mill?
BS: Yeah. Yeah, before they got the mill, you see, they was cutting theirtimber at the Palouse mill. I think Old Mc Cormick is the one that owned the mill down there then. And he'd cut their timber for 'em. Old Mc Ccfrmick - he was a mill man. In fluming they had dams - every so often, oh, like at Harvard they'd have a dam and they'd hold the water til they'd get a big body of water and they they'd turn it loose onto the logs and wash em.down to Princeton. And they worked that way down to palouse. And then at Palouse they had a big dam. They'd let the logs fill up in there and then they'd get the men and open up the dam and they'd shoot 'em through the dam on down; the water'd carry 'em on down to the mill. I've got pictures- I don't know where they are- I was going to look 'em up, of some of the logs at the old town was, oh, they for a mile, mile and a half up the river.
SS: I've seen a picture of Palouse just covered with logs.
BS: Yeah. Then after they got the mill at Potlatch, why, and the railroad at Harvard, they brought the logs down to Harvard and cut 'em there at Potlatch. But they flumed here before the railroad got up to here, you see; the railroad never got up here til 1907, I believe it was. And theyAhad a dam up here at Slabtown and they'd put 'em in there and then they'd flume 'em on down to the Red Dam, down below here. Oh, it's about four miles down below, and then they had a big dam there and the railroad— they had the railroad in 1906 up to there, — and they'd pick 'em out of the pond and load 'em onto their train and take 'em to Potlatch.
SS: To what point was this, where they had the ?
BS: The Old dam. They called it the old Red Dam.
SS: Where is that located?
BS: That's about two-three miles below Bovill here. Part of the old dam'sthere yet.
SS: Well, what was the flume construction like in those real early ones?
BS: They never built a flume like they did in later years. They'd justhaul 'em to the creek. And they had a crew; they'd go through and if any trees was across the creek or anything, they'd cut 'em out, so it would be clear. And in high water they'd hold this water back and then they'd turn the water loose, and then they'd go along and if they hung up anywhere, they had a big pike pole and peavey and they'd roll 'em into the creek again and away they'd go!!
SS: In other words, the water did all the work?
BS: The water done all the work.
SS: For them getting 'em untangled?
BS: Yeah. Outside of , if they'd hang up or anything, they'd take thepeavies and foller the drive right down.
SS: Was the creek very big?
BS: Oh, not necessarily, no. In later years, of course, the creeks filled up with brush and stuff going along, but when thetf'd turn that water loose, why, the creek'd be as wide as this room and they'd float 'em right on down. There was no trouble in floating 'em.
SS: Did they have to do this in high water?
BS: Oh, yes. Yeah. They done lots of it in the high water. But that'sthe reason they built the dams, to make the high water. You see, the creeks run at that time the year around. After they cut the timber off, why, it didn't have no watershed and the creeks dried up practi cally in the summer. But at that time the creeks run the year around.
SS: So they had— they would have log decks all along the creek waitingto roll the logs in?
BS: Oh, yes. Wherever they was logging. Now, here in this country, here,they anything that was close to the river with theA' teams and they'd pull the logs over— and they was short logs, they wasn't long logs— and they'd pull 'em to the dam and roll 'em into the dam and then when they got a head of water up, why, they'd open up the dam and shoot 'em down to this other dam, you see. And the same way at Palouse.
SS: Did they pole the logs up at the dam, or did they also have 'em stacked along the creek itself?
BS: No. No, no. They pulled 'em into the dam. And they logged just aroundthe dam. 'Course, the timber come right down to the edge of the creeks then. And they was beautiful big white pine. Sam Frei up at CollinsJlt,r~ he had his homestead— well, the Frei boys all had their homesteadsand they got four dollars a thousand by the Potlatch after the rail road first got in here. Four dollars a thousand for their timber and they had to cut it and haul it to the landing, for four dollars a thousand! (Chuckles) Now, you couldn't even— you couldn't look at it at all. It'd cost you, I suppose around sixty-seventy dollars a thousand, just for the timber stumpage.
SS: Well, what year do you think they started doing logging in here forthe company?
BS: Oh, they started in 1906, I believe. '05 or '06, up here. They started in 1903 or '04 there at Harvard. They flumed there at Harvard you know, until the railroads— and they got the mill built, the Potlatch mill was built in about 1906, wasn't it? I know to go maybe the railroad started in 1906\up to Potlatch. So, the railroad started before that. The railroad started —
SS: In '05?
BS: Yeah. '04 and '05. But they never got it into Potlatch until—That was all done by handwork, too, at that time. And team work. I think it was done by flips— seems to me like it was flips. The team'd pull this flip, you know. They'd blast the rock down and then they'd go in and haul the rock out and make the railroad bed. They was lots of men at that time. When they put that railroad in there must have been two, three hundred men KSHjrking.
SS: Where did they come from?
BS: The most of 'em were Italians. And they could get 'em to work forpractically nothing. And they were powder men. They claimed to be powder men, at that time.
SS: What's a powder man?
BS: Well, dynamite. They used dynamite.
SS: The most of them came into the country just right then? They hadn'tbeen living here or anything? They brought 'em in?
BS: No. They brought 'em in. When ' railroads come in there, intoPalouse, why they was— they'd build their camps right along side of the railroad where they were working and then they'd go out and work— blast. And if they'd get a rock too big to handle or anything, they'd take and drill it and blow it apart. It was all handwork. Then later they had old shovels— great big fellows that could— well, they looked big as a locomotive at that time—and they brought them in. And there was a wooden structure over the machines, but them old dip pers, the stuff'd run off like a shovel— but they were crude, but they done the work.
SS: This was after the railroad had been built?
BS: Most of it, yeah.
SS: You said that Helmer was the first big camp that they had on this sideof the hills?
BS: No. Harvard.
SS: No, I mean over on this side.
BS: On the Palouse side?
SS: Yeah. I was thinking over in the Deary, Bovill country.
BS: Yeah. Helmer was about 1906 and '07. The Potlatch put up a big campthere, and Dad had the sawmill and he cut the timber for the railroad to come on in. From Harvard on, you see, they had to have timbers ~h go across and that's what he was doing, was cutting out the timbers for 'em. And they had the sawmill set right in the gully below Hel mer, there now. And they'd bring the logs into the landing by team and then they had the camp— Tillie Pelton the camp— and that was the first big camp they had.
SS: How many men were in the camp when— ? Just roughly?
BS: There was seventy-five, eighty men there then.
SS: Was most of the lumber they were cutting going to make these timbers,at the time?
BS: Oh, yes. They was making lumber to bring the railroad in, and theywas building the camps. They used it in building thecamps, too. Now they had wagons— they'd load a wagon up with lumber and they'd haul it clear through up to here. Then Sam Frei got the idea of put ting in a little mill himself. He wouldn't finish the lumber, it'd be just cut off in slabs, rough; sometimes the bark'd still be on the lumber. But they built Slabtown out— that's where it got it's name— just slabwood.
SS: Slabwood cut by Sam Frei's mill?
BS: Yeah. But Camp 8 was built by lumber that they sawed at Helmer. Theybrought it in by wagon. But Sam Frei, he built Slabtown and then he built, sold the lumber for most of Bovill, at that time to build. You could buy it for nothing!!(Chuckles)
SS: Well, this was Camp 6, the one at Helmer? Was that what it was called then?
BS: Yeah. Old Camp 6. It wasn't the new Camp 6; it was old Camp 6.
SS: You lived there when you were a kid? That right?
BS: Yes, I played there. We lived in Palouse, but we'd come up everyyear and stay there— camp out and stay. Dad'd come home every even ing, you see in the summer. And that's one thing Old Tillie Pelton, at that time— the farmers, they wasn't farmers then, they was settlers around— the kids'd come for miles around to see the logging camp. And they'd stand outside; they could smell the old cookhouse, you know, you could smell the cakes and stuff they was makin'. And Old Tillie'd come up, "Come on, boys, come on!" Take 'em into the cookhouse. "Cook", he says, "fix 'em up something to eat!" And he'd go and get the meat and cookies and cakes and pies and put 'em out there and they'd— ev eryone of 'em'd eat til they'd pretty near pop open! (Chcukles) Dad asked Tillie one time; it amused Dad, and Dad said, "Tillie, how is it that you gather up all of these kids that come up around here and take 'em into the camp for something to eat?" Old Tillie looked over and he says, "I'll tell you, Charlie, I was a kid once myself, and I was always hungry!" (LAUGHTER) He was a good old fellow. He told me one time, we was packed up and ready to go on home and they had a lot of little pigs and he says, "Byers," he says, "if you want one of those little pigs," he says, "when the wagon comes by you get 'em herded up by the road here, and when the wagon comes by, you grab one and get onto the wagon," he says, "the old sow'11 take after you when he squeals."
So, I herded all day til the folks come by, and I grabbed one of thoselittle pigs, and says, "whaaaaa," he said! The old sow took after me and, boy, I just barely did get on the wagon, too! Now I'll tell you! (CHUCKLES) But I took that pig home, clear to Palouse. I took care of him, too, until we got home. And we raised him. We com menced missing the milk of our cows. And one morning-we didn't know why the milk'd be gone— every morning they'd go out to milk and she'd be dry. We looked out one morning and here set this pig, settin' up there, and he was sucking the cow and she was standing there chewing her cud! (LAUGHTER) Well, we kept the pig in the pen after that. And finally we let the pig out and he'd come and watch Mother, she was making preserves and stuff, and she had a big dishpan full of preserves and he'd lay his head in at the door and she'd go into the front room, he'd run around to the other door, but he wouldn't come in the house. One day they ordered flour and stuff from the delivery that come up once a week, and they brought the sack of flour and set it down on the table and she was making these preserves that day, and she went to town and when she come back the delivery wagon had come up and set this flour down the table; never put it up at all. They'd put the groceries up on the table and the flour down there. Well, this bloomin' pig got in the house and he rooted this sack of flour open; had it all over and the pan of preserves he'd stirred up and rooted the preserves off there and he had the awfullest mess that you ever seen! And there was tracks right into the front room and through into the bedroom. Mother went in there and here laid that Vf- pig and.had his head on the pillow, and all over flour and preserves! Well, that was the end of the pig! (Chuckles) They butchered him right away! I laughed, and Mother laughed, too! It was disgusting but she had to laugh at the bloomin' pig. She says, "Well, that's what you get for stealing a pig!" Didn't steal it, Old Tillie give
SS: Tillie doesn't sound like he was too hard on the men.
BS: Oh, no, no, no. Tillie was a good man. He wasn't a hard man at allhis men. And they all liked him. He was well liked. I guess Homer, I think it's Homer, had some pictures the last time I seen him and he showed 'em to me. I think it was in 19— oh, it must have been 1905, when the picture. I think had it in 1904, but I don't believe it was 1905, that he had some pictures of old Camp 8, and they had moved up from Camp 6. They moved up from Camp 6 and moved into one of the shacks that was built.
SS: I've seen those pictures, too. That's their dogs, right?
SS: He showed them to me when I was over. Do you remember what the living quarterswere at Camp 6? Old Camp 6?
SS: What was it?
BS: They had shacks. Just shacks, was all there was, put up all around.Now, Tillie moved into one. The Slabtown, they had a dozen houses there, too. But all around Camp 8, there, they had little shacks; one room, sometimes they had two rooms. And they'd cook and sleep all in the same room. And then, they had the two big bunkhouses, and they had a big barn there, and then the cookhouse and cellars.
SS: Is this Camp 8?
BS: Yeah. And they had a lot of buildings there at that time. 'Course,there wasn't any big buildings, they was just shacks put up for the accommodations of the— then they had some tents put up, too, with walls on 'em, you know, all around the foot of the walls. But the main body of the men that was working, they stayed in the bunkhouses. And then, the horses, they had the big barn there, and they had— lots of the men even slept in the barn; in the hay. They had the dam, I used to go up in the evenings and watch 'em roll the logs, them old 'jacks, they'd get out there and they'd cuff them logs. They'd roll the logs to see which one could stay on the longest. It was more like a big family, at that time. The lumberjacks was all— they all knew one another and they'd get out there and roll logs; have a high old time driving those logs—. They'd open the dam and they'd— it wasn't very steep- but the water, theyK come out and they could go down— well they'd jump on a big log and down through the chutes they'd go! Lots of 'em would fall off, you know, but they never got hurt; many of 'em. They'd ride those logs. Some of 'em'd ride 'em for, oh, maybe oh, two, three hundred feet down the river and then they'd jump off.
SS: Would they straddle the log, and just hold onto it with their legs?
BS: Stand on it. 'Course, they had cork (caulked) boots, and they'd seewhich one could ride the furtherest. I used to get quite a kick out of watching 'em cuff the logs there. They'd get out there and some of them logs before they'd open the dam, they'd just sing .They'd go til one of 'em'd be bucked off and then somebody else'd get on and go around. Did you ever see 'em birl the logs?
SS: Yeah, but I've never seen anybody do it well. I've seen kids do it.
BS: Yeah, those old 'jacks, boy, now I'll tell you, they was balanced atall times on them logs. 'Course, they'd get right out into the pond and they'd go across the logs, and the logs'd hit and go down when their weight'd go on 'em, and yet they'd sail along them just like a fly. Very seldom one of 'em went into the water. They was trained on that. That's what they done in the early days in the log drives. They'd ride the logs a lots. Then if they'd see a log that was hung up on the bank why, they'd jump off and wade ashore and kick it in.
SS: So here they were doing it for entertainment?
BS: Oh, yes, yeah. They got quite a kick out of it. But most of the birllingwas in the evenings after the work was through, they'd go down to the pond and get out and birl the logs to see who could stay on the longest.
SS: Was it tough on those guys? I mean,— I've heard that there was also quite a bit of fighting, especially when they drank.
BS: Yes. They always had a bully of the camp. Now, Old Charlie Whitewas the bully of the camp there when Pelton had the camp, til an old fellow, named Joe Rivers, come in from Cloquet, Minnesota. And Joe was a big Indian, and he took over. But they'd battle once camp again st the other! (Laughter)
SS: Well, this Joe Rivers, did he have to beat up Charlie White to becomebull of the ?
BS: Oh, yes, he had to lick him. Yes, he had to lick Charlie to be callecrbullof the woods. Old Joe was a pretty skookum man. He lost his leg after he was out here a while. I don't know just how he lost it. But even with his leg off, why, he'd run, put one hand on the ground and turn a flip-flop in the air and light on his foot; the one foot. He was that supple, you know.
SS: Did he have a wooden leg?
BS: Yes. He had an old wooden leg. He made it himself. He was an oldblacksmith, and he made this leg himself. Then later on, why, he bought his legs. I think at that time, they'd have to go to Spokane and go in and be fitted two or three times. A fellow up there was making artificial limbs; legs.
SS: Did Joe Rivers keep working after he lost his leg?
BS: Yeah. He worked up til he retired.
SS: Was he restricted so far as the kind of work he could do compared towhat he'd done before?
BS: Oh, he done blacksmithing. He went to blacksmithing helper later,because he couldn't get around too good, and he could stand, you see and use a sledge.
SS: Is that what he did before he got hurt? Was he a blacksmith beforethat?
BS: Well, yeah. He was blacksmith back in Cloquet, Minnesota and bartender. He was a bartender and then he went — at the logging camps he always went in as a blacksmith. He got a little bit— ten cents an hour, maybe, more for blacksmith than he did at the other work. But he was a pretty good old blacksmith. He'd make, pike poles, spikes and hooks. He'd make ice tongs. In the winter he'd make ice tongs to put up ice with
SS: What's this idea of bully in the woods, though? Does this mean thatthe bully of the woods, he's got to be able to take on all comers? Is that the idea?
BS: Well, they did in the fighting. If he was fighting for the bully ofthe camp it seemed to be that it was an honor, like a prizefighter today. It was just an honor for him to be a bully of the woods. Then they'd have competition between camps.
SS: The bully from one and the bully from the other?
BS: Yeah. Yes, they'd fight like buzz saws. But they were honorable inthe fights, when they'd lick the other fellow and had him licked, they'd let it go at that. They'd be good friends. But it was quite an honor to be a bully of the woods. Yeah, that bully of the woods even went up to the time that Nogle took over as superintendent here. And over at Moscow one time, they made a big cage and they put Nogle in it and across the top of the cage: BULLY OF THE WOODS! (LAUGHTER) Old Joe Rivers, he— they was two brothers of 'em, and when they got so old that they couldn't take care of theirselves, why, they took 'em over to the county home. Old Joe lived to, I think Joe lived ' ninety some and his brother lived to a hundred and three, I think it was. They was all hard drinkers, too. Johnny Grover was a hundred and three. Joe Grover he lived to pret'near a hundred.
SS: Do you think ? I know I've read about like in the Midwest, therewas a lot of fighting that went. Do you think there was a lot here too among the lumberjacks. Would it only be like when they'd been drinking? Or how did that go?
BS: The bull of the woods— Oh, without a question it was when they wasdrinking more than— 1 fighting, but they— For the bull of the woods a new man come into the camp and if he happened to challenge this other feller at all, why, they was a fight right now! And they really battled. They never had no gloves or anything. They went at it til the other'n hollered: one or the other hollered. But they'd get drtf.nk, that's a different thing. They was always a fight ing. And they were tougher in those days than they are now. 'Course, these young kids they get to drinking and they want to fight, too, but they're more of a bluffin' type! In those days, why, you had to fight. If you're looking for trouble, there was always somebody to accommodate 'em! (LAUGHTER) They really went at it.
SS: Do you remember seeing fights when you were in the woods?
BS: Oh, yeah. I seen lots of 'em. I always had a horror of it. AndI've seen 'em at Palouse when they'd come to Palouse to celebrate there. There was thirteen saloons in Palouse. I've seen 'em— the blood'd be just a spurting out of some of 'em. Saloon fights. Re gular free-for-allj into the saloons. You'd see 'em the next day on the street; they'd have bands around their heads and patches over their eyes! (Chuckles) Some of 'em'd have their teeth knocked out. And the cops, the cops were brutal at that time. Old Joe Davis and Tom Hopkins— they were the cops— and they had a cane and they had a ball about that big around outta brass on the end of their canes, and they'd see some of these old 'jacks walking up the street were drunk, they'd slip up behind 'em and they'd rap 'em with this knob; knock 'em out cold. Pret' near kill 'em, and blood'd be spurt ing and they'd get ahold of 'em and they'd drag 'em up and put 'em into a little— well, it was six feet wide and eight feet long and about six feet high, and then there was a little square window, like that, about that high.
SS: Square five inches?
BS: And I've heard those fellows, as a kid, I'd stand there by the windowlots of times and listen to 'em beg for a drink of water. And we'd ~water and pour it through the and they'd take a drink. And they never had no SooX I on the floor at all or no toilet in the inside, they just go in one corner, and they was worse than beasts. That's the reason I had such a horror of those things at that time.
SS: Well, would these cells be inside the jail or would they be outsideright on the—
BS: Just alongside of the street. And it was a building six feet wideand about eight feet long. And they put 'em in there, no sugans or anything. And they'd keep 'em overnight, and they had to lay down on the floor and sleep.
SS: Did they have a bunch of these? One for each guy?
BS: No. No, no. Just the one.
BS: One for half a dozen of 'em. Then, later on, ' they built a jail.Because they had a problem in keeping 'em. And they built — Brown built a building, oh, probably fifty feet square of brick and then they made iron cells, then they'd put 'em in there, and held the court and everything right in the jail.
SS: This idea of five guys in a little box like that, there probably wasn't room enough for any of 'em to lie down or anything.
BS: No. no. That's what I say, it was worse than cattle. Old Joe Davis,he'd sneak up— he was a big man, too— he'd sneak up behind 'em and he'd rap 'em over the head before they had a chance to say a word or anything else. And the saloons, lots of times the saloonkeeper!d come out and make 'em leave 'em alone. And they'd promise to take 'em off of the street and they'd take 'em into a backroom and they had sawdust all over the floor and they'd let 'em lay down on the saw dust and sleep off their jag.
SS: Was the idea there that they didn't want anybody that was drunk walking around the street? Was that the idea?
BS: Oh, yeah. Against the law to be out on the street drunk. And that'swhy they took advantage of it. They'd rap 'em over the head and knock 'em out.
SS: Would they get fined, too? Or would they just let 'em out the nextday?
BS: Oh, they'd fine 'em. Most of the fines was only two, three dollars.Because they knew they didn't have any money. That the saloonkeepers got all their money before they—
SS: Was this when you were a kid in Palouse, you saw this?
SS: I heard Palouse was really quite a wild town in those early days.
BS: It was. Yes. I see some awful beatin' ups there! I saw fellersthat'd— they'd take 'em to the doctor and the doctor'd have to keep 'em for two, three days sometimes to get 'em onto their feet! They were cruel. I've seen 'em use knucks; the saloonkeepers, the bar tenders'd use knucks on 'em lots of times. They'd hit some of those jacks and the blood'd just spurt. You knew they had knucks on! They'd make 'em out of lead. Did you ever see 'em?
BS: They had where they could put 'em through and they'd stick up aboutthat high. When they'd hit they'd cut just like a knife.
SS: Why do you think that the climate used to be like that? Was everythingjust really tough in those days? Or why would the guys ?
BS: O'They were tough.
SS: Well, were these 'jacks—? I thought the 'jacks were really sortof a harmless bunch. I mean, I thought they weren't bad guys.
BS: Later years, they were. But the 'jacks wasn't hurting a thing, theywould get so drunk they could hardly walk, and they'd walk up the street, they wasn t bothering anybody, but these cops were brutal. Maybe that where lots of the people got so they hated the cops, is 'cause they was so brutal.
SS: I've heard quite a few people mention the red-light district they hadin Palouse that went along with the saloons.
BS: Yeah, they had three big houses there. I used to sellvegetables,radishes and cucumbers and tomatoes and stuff. I'd fill up my little red wagon and I'd go over there and they'd buy the whole load! And the other kids in town finally found out— boy you had to get up ear ly in the morning and get there before they did! But, they'd buy the whole load, you know. You'd go over there with these little wag ons— Oh, I had a wagon probably three feet long, and then it had sides up on it and I'd wash my radishes and cucumbers and then I had a white cloth I'd run over the sides and lay 'em all in there and then I " a wet cloth over the top so no dust'd get on 'em. I'd light out and I'd go up to these houses and they all had Chinese cooks, And they'd come out and they'd talk in Chinese— the girls'd have to come out and do the buying, because I couldn't understand Chinese!!! But they'd take the whole load. 'Course, it'd .nly amount to atiollar for the whole load. When the rest of the kids found out where I was selling my outfit , why they got to going there, too.
SS: Did many of the 'jacks actually go and live in the houses or staythere for quite a while?
BS: Oh, yes. Yeah, til their money got gone and then they come out!!(Laughter)
SS: The cops put up with that though?
BS: They couldn't do anything about it. They was licensed. You see, thetown licensed the houses. The cops had no businessKthere at all, unless they was called. But these girls'd come down on the street with them cops a following around and watching 'em like hawks.They'd try to get something on 'em to pinch 'em, you know. But, that's what I say, they were cruel. They thought they was the law.
SS: I imagine there must have been a lot of the respectable people intown, especially the women, that didn't like them at all.
BS: No, they didn't. They was lots of trouble. Some of the men'd, ifthey found out that they was around them, why there was lots of trouble over it. One of our main — Old Fuzzy— one of the girls come down on the street, he was trying to jew her down, and she fired him out, and she saw him on the street and boy, she really told him. She blurted right out that he was trying to do business with her for less money than they was supposed to get. He shut her up quick. And paid her off! (Chuckles) But there was some beautiful girls over there. The most of them left Palouse and come up here.
BS: Yeah. They had three houses here after the railroad in.
SS: Were they the same girls?
BS: Oh, yes. They come up before the railroad was even in here becausethey knew it was going to be a—
SS: Probably in those days there wasn't probably much of a way for a lotof women if they were single, unless they could be a schoolteacher or cook, there wasn't too many other things they could do.
BS: No. There wasn't no jobs then to amount to anything outside of housekeeping. And they never got nothing for housekeeping.
SS: Do you think many of these girls ever saved up enough money to getout of the business and become respectable?
BS: No. No. They spent their money as fast as they got it.
SS: Did they have Madams, too, like you hear about now. A Madam for thehouse, you know? A lady that run the place?
BS: Oh, yes. Yes the lady of the house, she took a rakeoff of all thegirls. That's how they run the house.
SS: Were you here at the same time, Byers, that that fire hit?
BS: Oh, yes.
SS: Right here?
BS: Yes, I was running the stationary engine up at Camp 8 and the pumpingsystem. I was the last one that left Camp 8. Got the hose, fixed awell I took a cross, like that, took a hose and wired it onto the side of the shop, and turned the pumps on before I left. Then I come down the railroad track and come across from the railroad track over across here. There was woods clear across here then. But when the fire was starting I blowed the whistle; pulled the whistle to warH the people that it was crowning and coming over fast. And, boy, there was chunks of wood, that long, that big around, just sailing right through the air, afire.
BS: They'd go two, three hundred yards and drop, and they'd set anotherfire. That's why it traveled so fast.
SS: Chunks of wood, maybe two, three feet long and six, eight inches wide?
BS: Limbs of trees - the top of the Butte, the wind come up on one sideand the fire on the other and when they met, why, it twisted off trees that big round. Just twist 'em off, like matches. It was ter rible. And the clouds come ov er Camp 8 there in Slabtown, black from crowning, and it just exploded. Just big flash0 It was gas, . what it was. And set fire all along in there. And, boy, I'll tell you, it killed horses, cows, chickens, pigs, everything.
SS: Byers, when did you first know that the fire was on it's way? Howmuch warning did you have?
JOHN SANDERSON: Oh, boy! It roared like a thousand freight trains. It was anawful roar.
BS: When it first started the Potlatch set it, was burning the slashings,which they done every year. But they come down and they told Jones that the fire was getting away from 'em, he'd better get some more men onto it. He says, "Let 'er burn!" He says, "That'll clean it up!" It cleaned it up, but it got away from 'em, entirely then. And—
SS: And so did they actually let it burn a while because Jones said to?
BS: Well, yes. They didn't try to control it then. They didn't know itwas gonna bust out like it did. But when it broke out, why, L tell you it was a terrible thing.
SS: How fast did it move then, when it broke away? It came off Beale'sButte?
BS: Yep. Up by Beale's Butte. The fire went up Beale's Butte and alsothis way, see. Oh, it traveled faster than a horse could run.
JS: After it got out here it just traveled terrible fast.
SS: Where were you when you first found out about it? Were you at home?
JS: No, we's at the shop. You could hear it.
BS: You could hear it. They all left the shop and come down. But Istayed there for quite a while. After they'd all gone and turned the water pumps— I had the water pumps and stuff turned onto the shop.
SS: Just soaking the shop down?
JS: Yeah. saved the shops. The fire went over the top.
BS: The fire, as I say, the cloud jumped clear over the shop and lit downon the other side and started a racing up through the woods And when I come down home here, why, it was all afire, all in here. Up there it burnt that laundry out that used to be up there. Burnt all of Slabtown out.
SS: It burnt the whole town? Slabtown?
BS: Yeah, yeah. And it killed chickens and pigs. Up there at Slabtown
they all had pigs and—Chickens. Chickens. How much warning did the people of Slabtown have? They didn't have much. They . their trunks packed— Hamilton was up at Collins talking to the camps and they come down, Old Tarbox was running the 23 and the twins— his wife had twins that morning—and they was wantin' them to stay there. But he says, "You fellas can stay here if you want to, but," he says, "I'm taking the engine. into Bovill." And he come in. Why did they want to stay there? Was there too much fire on the tracks? Well, worrying about his family, I suppose. No, but I mean on the—
The other fellowsin case they had to get out of there, why, theywanted the engine and flatcars there to pull 'em out, but he says, "I've got a wife and babies there, and," he says, "I'm not staying here and let them get a chance of burning 'em up." So he took the train— He was the engineer. Where was the train at? Up above Collins there at one of the camps. Did he pick up people as he came in?
Yeah, he picked up people as he come through. But when+hesj comethrough Camp 8, now I'll tell you, he was traveling. And they told him the bridge was on fire, the railroad bridge, and that made him all the worse, he opened it up and, boy, he went across that bridge miles an hour. Come down to Bovill here and they picked the flatcars up and loaded the people in town and everybody that wanted to got on there and away they went to Potlatch. And the bookkeeper at Camp 8 got down to Potlatch and he had a little fox terrier dog, Old Jack Donovan, and he had this dog under his arm hunting for his wife and his wife hadn't got on the train, she was up here in Bovill. They had quite a story about that. (Chuckles) He grabbed his pooch and let us wife go!
SS: Well, there must have been terrible confusion.
BS: Oh, there was, there was. They was people down here that knew Dadand they run in and they was lugging the furniture.out in the meadow here and was going to leave it out in the meadow. Dad says, "Just lug her back in the house," he says, "if she burns, we'll let her burn!" He says, "Tear it all to pieces, any , getting it out and in," he says, "no use of spoiling everything!" He says, "I ain't afraid but what we can save the house." Course, the creek was running then. There was lots of water in the creek, and they'd filled buckets of and had one up on the roof and pouring water as the sparks would light on the house they'd pour water on it.
SS: Is that what you did? Did you take part in that?
BS: No, I didn't get down until the fire had kinda died down. I stayedup at Camp 8.
JS: I was here, puttin' fire out on my house, and Dad was working onhis'n. And 'f'ioyd A on his. On the other'n over there.
SS: What did you do? Did you stand on the roof and have somebody hand youbuckets of water? Or what?
JS: Well, I'd run down the ladder and git water and go up.
BS: Well, Dad had help there to get water out of the creek.
JS: Put my wife on the train with her folks, and I come back and when shegot to Potlatch and found I wasn't there, she was mad!! (Chuckles) "What are you going to do about burning my houses up?" Jones says,
BS: ATe Potlatch, Sam Frei went after the fire, he went after Jones, says,"I'm not going to do anything." Sam says, "Yes, you are," he says, "it was your fire and your fault," he says, "my houses and stores and stuff burnt up," and he says, "you're going to pay for 'em." He says, "If you don't I'm going to start suit onto you right away." Old Jones says, "What do you want for 'em?" I think he said, twentyfive hundred dollars, didn't he?
JS: I don't remember.
BS: Yeah, I think it was twenty-five hundred dollars. "Oh," he says,"that's too much." "No," he says "it ain't too much. And I'll get the suit started against the Potlatch right away." He started out again, and Jones says, "Well, come back." He told the timekeeper to make him out a check for two thousand— he knew that they'd started the fire and they had proof of it and was responsible for it— he paid him off! Mrs. Stockwell come down and he was talking with Mrs. Stockwell and she's the one that owned the laundry up here. She said, "I can't get a thing out of him." Well, Sam says, "You come go with me." She went down to the office and Jones happened to be in, he says, "Mr. Jones, what are you going to do about Mrs. Stockwell's laundry up there?" He says, "You burnt that out." "Well," he says, "I can't do anything there. We can't do anything." "Well," he says, "you are going to do something. You're gonna pay her for her house, too." He says, "I don't care about anybody else," he says, "her house you're gonna pay." He give her two thousand dollars. (Chuckles)
SS: Why did Sam Frei care so much about her place? 'Cause it was her business that got burned out?
JS: He was just a friend.
BS: He was just a friend and Sam knew he had him over a barrel and hejust-retied for Mrs. Stockwell. They was old settlers in here together, you see.
SS: Well, what kind of proof did Sam have? Had somebody told him?
BS: Oh, the camp, the camp, yes, the camp set the fire up there at Camp14, wasn't it?
JS: It might have been if; back up that draw, at the foot of Beale's Butte.
BS: And they was burning the slashings. And then Old Sam and them heard-em when they told him the fire was getting away, he heard Jones say, "Let 'er burn!"
SS: Did the people in Bovill think that the town was a goner?
JS: Oh, yeah.
JS: They all left. The most of 'em took down to Potlatch onflatcars.
BS: They just grabbed what few belongings they hadAand left.
SS: Did you ever hear the story that the engineer tried to get Tarbox tojump or stop and Tarbox threatened to hit him with a wrench? Did you ever hear that one?
SS: I've heard that story someplace.
BS: No, Tarbox didn't. — But come to think about it, I think he did tell'em up there at Collins when they was gonna stop him, not let him come, and he grabbed a wrench, "You try to stop me, and I'll knock you in the head!" And he got up on the engine and took off.
SS: Was it really that dangerous for him to bring the train down intoBovill at that point?
BS: Oh, yes. Yeah, the fire was burning the bridge then. And he pulledher wide open. I'll tell you, I seen that old engine when it went across there and just like that.
SS: This bridge was at Camp 8?
BS: And he had the whistle blowing to let 'em know that it was comin'.And the little fireman, Dick Thomas, was his name, had his head out the window. Boy, he was just as white as a sheet. (Chuckles) Scared to death.
SS: Were all the people from Slabtown on this train that he was takingin?
BS: No. They'd come on into Bovill.
SS: They'd walked in?
JS: There was a lot of teams in the company barn, packing, hauling stuffout.
SS: So he was hauling mostly the men from—
BS: Then after they got to Bovill, why, they grabbed three, four flatcarsmore and loaded the people town and took 'em to Potlatch. And by that time the fire was burning even down by Harvard. Twenty-five mile front.
JS: Used to have some awful fires.
BS: Yes, they'd take us out of the shop. I've walked in the trails,the trails going in; dust'd be that deep. Run just like water down the mountainsides and the men awalkin'. The dust was running right ahead of 'em.
SS: Half way up to your knees.
BS: Yeah. You couldn't tell a man was a coon, or what he was when they'dget down. They always grabbed me and put me in a camp a flunkin'. That's 'cause I was a young kid, I guess.
JS: They had a fire out here on Mc Gary Butte. You were in that, too.
BS: Yeah, I and Tarbox.
JS: They had me down watching the cars at the end of the horse ranch.After the fire brokteup, away from 'em, young Mathews, he come tear ing out all by himself,"Well," he says, "I got out, but I guess the rest of 'em all burnt up!" (Chuckles)
BS: I walked in under fire that time, it was crowning, I walked in underoh, for two hundred yards. All afire above me, just like a big oven, Your head and hat and shoulders got so hot you could hardly stand it, An. .d Old Tarbox, the old engineer on the 1914 fire, was mopping his head with an old red bandam a, and he had it wet, and he was mopu ping his head as he was comin' out and he stopped to rest. Well, I stopped, he says, "Go on, Byers," he says, "go on, go on, get out of here!" I says, "I'm not going til you get out of here!" "Oh," he says, "I'll get out alright." "Well," I said, "yeah, and I'll go out with you," I says, "I'm not going til you go." And we was the last ones to get out of the fire. He was pretty old at that time.
JS: Yeah. Everybody down below all thought he was burnt up.
BS: Yeah, they thought we was burnt up. Our wives and them was downthere, or their's was, bawling and squalling! (Chuckles)
SS: How did it happen you guys got stuck behind the others?
BS: Well, they went on a dead run, you know. And Old Tarbox got tiredand he couldn't make it, and I stopped with him. I was gonna see that he got out.
SS: That's why the fire crowned over your head; got past you.
BS: Well, no, the fire crowned over the head— when we come over theMc Gary Butte there. You see, Frank Mallory he led us right down inwell, here's your gully, here's a hogoack and a hogback here and we was going down this gully, making a trail down to get in to cut the fire off, and they was a wind blowing then, and I says to Old Frank Mallory, I says, "Frank," I says, "it's pretty dangerous agoin' down ahead of this fire isn't it?" He says, "What do you suppose they got me in here for?" He says, "I know what I'm adoin'." Well, Ray Waldeon, Kate's husband, says, "I don't believe you do know what you're doin'" he says, "that fire crowns," he says, "you're gonna burn the whole bunch of us up!" And just then, why, it started to roaring, and the men started arunnin' in every direction and Old Mallory's eyes got that big and he said, "This way, this way!" And boy, they was going just like sheep. And he took off on a high lope, just as hard as he could go to the top of the hill. And we all was arunnin' then. And we got over to the top of the hill and going down on the other side it slowed up some. But it was crowning over us before we got up to the top and on the other side. The bottom of the trees wasn't burning then. The wind was taking it right over the tops of the trees.
SS: It was blowing from one . to the other.
BS: Yes. And Axel Anderson was the walker was with us. And I toldhim, I said, "By gollies," I says, "I tried to tell Mallory that he was leading us into an awful trap, the way he was doin'." "Yes," he says, "I know it. And I thought of it, too." He says, "But he won't be a foreman any more— a fire warden any more." Sure enough, they got rid of him. Never did put him back onto a fire warden. He led us right into that trap. It's the biggest wonder in the world that he didn't burn us up. They was fellows lost their jackets. Took their jackets off, got hot, you know, and they took their jackets off so that they could run faster.
SS: Once you broke over to the other side, were people safe?
BS: Oh, no.
SS: Had to run all the way down?
BS: was fires all around 'em as they come through. You see thesesparks was going a hundred yards a head of you all the time, settin' new fires and it's dry as powder. It took right off on high. You could hear that fire aroar for a mile.
SS: Why was it that the guy couldn't judge something like that? I mean,the men could see it, right? I mean the men could see the danger of getting in a place like that.
BS: Well, he seen it, too, but he was bullheaded and he didn't want nobodyto tell him anything. That the way Mallory was. He was even that way up til he died. You couldn't tell him anything. And then he left here and he got a job as superintendent over in Montana, there.
BS: No. No, he got into a bat over there, over the same thing, bullheaded,he wouldn't listen to anybody.
SS: Well, during that fire what were you doing? You were down below?
JS: No. I was working up at Camp 8,.and I come down, I wanted to get mywife out. She lived where we are now. Got her downtown, onto the train; left and I come back up. There were three hundred men, they came up from Potlatch about the time I got here. They started right out along the fire.
SS: Right out in the ' here?
JS: Yeah. They went along the side of the fire; kept it from comin' thisway.
SS: What about that Mc Gary Butte fire, what were you doing then? Didhis wife really think that he got killed in the fire?
JS: Didn't know. They put me watching cars at the other end of the horseranch. That was right at the foot of Mc Gary Butte, and they were fighting fire then, —
JS: I saw that wind coming and.that took the fire right away from 'em.Started go— and I was fearful of what it might do to the men. I knew there was a lot of men out in there. And pretty quick here come Delbert Mathews. "Well," he says to me, "I got out, but I don't think the rest of 'em will." He said, "They'll be burnt up!"
SS: He really thought that, huh?
JS: Yeah, he really thought that. But in a few moments here come somemore of 'em. "Well, we got out.'J Don't know whether the rest vull make it or not." But, they kept comin' until it was Tarbox and Byers that was left. They said, "I don't know whether Old Tarbox'11 get out or not."
BS: Oh, I'd worked with Tarbox for years, and I knew he was old, and Inever thought about courage or anything, but I wasn't going to leave him there alone.
JS: My brother-in-law in town, his wife and mine were out at the mine.Well, that fire went toward the mine and it broke over the hill and it didn't travel so fast. Nogle was up there with me then, firehose, and "You can't go through here now, fire is over the road." "Well," he says, "I'm going through." Nogle says you can't. "Well," he says, "there's nobody stopping me. My wife is back there and I'm going to see that she's all right." And he went. That was Helen's husband.
JS: He got through alright. Hadn't anything fell over the road yet. Buta half an hour from that time he couldn't a got through.
SS: He got through and he came back out with her?
JS: No, he didn't come out.
SS: He stayed?
JS: The fire didn't reach 'em, slowed down on the other side of the hill.Didn't travel downhill like it did going up.
SS: Did Oden Tarbox— did he say anything to you about it? Afterwards?That you'd stayed with hica? BJ: No, oh, no. But he always called me Byron. He said, "Byron, go on, go on. Get out of here." He said, "I'll get out alright." I says, "I ain't going. I'm going out with you." I stayed and we come out together. But I told Axel Anderson about Mallory, and I told him that we tried to warn him, several of us tried to warn him about going into the head of the gully that way and cutting trails right down the hogback. At that time we was used to fightin' fire every year, and we knew what the fires were.
SS: How should that have been fought, if you were running that fire? Howwould you ?
BS: y in below it. Come in around the bottom, you see. Cut yourtrail around below it, — the wind always goes up the gullies.
SS: So he sent you down around behind it and over into it? Is that whathe did?
BS: No, he took us up at the head. We went up over Mc Gary on the topand was walking down towards the fire. Chopping a trail right down, straight into the fire. Well, if the wind comes up, why, it always, fire always runs uphill.
JS: Yeah. And it makes a wind, too.
BS: The fire creates its own wind. And when it gets to roaring, why, youknow it's crowning. And when it crowns, it'll outrun a racehorse. That's why we were in under this oven coming out. You see, if we'd a been a little bit later, further down the hill, chances are some of us would got burnt up, because we was under the oven as it was be fore we got to the top of the hill, but after we dropped over the top of the hill the fire was lighting ahaead of us and fires was start- ing on the other side and it was coming back at us. Zigzagged through and went on down.
SS: Well, you ran back out the way you came in?
SS: How high above the ground was the fire probably when it was crowning?
BS: Oh, fifty, seventy-five feet.
SS: What did it sound like?
BS: Did you ever hear a cyclone? (Chuckles)
SS: Not really. I've heard reports.
BS: Just a roar.
JS: Terrible roar.
BS: Yes. And when they get to crowning you'll see black smoke in ballsthat look just like a big balloon. Then they'll bust, and fire'11 shoot out from 'em. That's gas. It makes gas, you see, and it's traveling in that ball and when that explodes it gets so hot that it explodes, and then it sets fires again. It's an awful thing, I'll tell you when a fire gets to crowning.
SS: When you look up, do you see that and a lot of flame? Is there a lotof flame in that, or is there too much smoke?
BS: Yeah, there are flames right in the air. It's the gases that's burningin the air along with the sticks and limbs flying. Well, you've seen these whirlpools, lots of times the winds'11 come up and take the roof right off of the buildings around. Well, that's what it does, only much stronger. It just takes the limbs and stuff and starts em awhirling and they'll go a hundred yards ahead of you before they drop. And sets the fire ahead of it all the time. At the top of the butte there the wind on the other side and the wind on this side, when they met, why, they took trees that big around and just twist 'em off like matches.
SS: How did they finally stop the Mc Gary Butte fire?
BS: It burnt itself out. They had over five hundred men on it. They hadall the men they could get from out of Spokane and all over on it.
SS: Do you remember about which year that was?
BS: The what?
SS: What year that was?
BS: Yeah, 1914.
SS: The Mc Gary Butte one?
SS: That was the same year as the Beale's Butte one?
BS: Yeah. Oh, no! The Mc Gary Butte- no, that was, that was in about'31, '32. The Mc Gary Butte fire.
SS: When the people got burned out at Slabtown?
BS: Yeah, that was 1914.
SS: Did they come back and build it again after that? What did people do?
BS: Oh, there was one or two of 'em that built. Old Peg O'Keefe built ahouse, didn't he?
BS: And Nelson built a house, I think there. Then they moved that Nelsonplace over across the river there. It's up there yet.
JS: Kate and them they burnt out.
BS: They built a house.
JS: Right up here.
BS: Right up onto the corner here. They lost everything.
JS: Yeah. And didn't get nothing out of it either.
BS: Nope. They wouldn've if they'd went after it.
SS: Her place was right near here?
BS: Yeah, it was right up the road here. Right up on the corner, up there.
SS: Why did her place burn down?
JS: Well, the fire went through there.
BS: The fire went through there and nobody to fight it. I went down theroad here even the next night after the fire'd crowned, at twelve o'clock at night you could take a newspaper and hold it up and read it. The sky was lit up even yet. There was bear, all kinds of things going across the road. They never paid no attention to you! They wouldn't anyhow, but they was agoin' like scared rabbits.
JS: Getting away from the fire.
BS: I had a gold chain that I'd got up at— there was two twenty dollargold pieces, two ten dollar gold pieces and a five dollar gold piece on a chain and I give 'em to Dad and Mother when I come home and Mother lost 'em. She lost her pocketbook, didn't she, John? as: Well, I think so.
BS: And somebody found 'em, either Dad found 'em or somebody found 'emand give 'em to Dad— Dad enquired about 'em—but Mother hated that because she lost those gold pieces.
SS: Did they turn up in the pocketbook? Were they still there?
BS: No, whoever found 'em— well, I guess they was in the pocketbook.But Dad enquired about 'em and they found 'em— somebody found 'em and give 'em to him.
SS: How did the women do in that kind of crisis? Did they stay prettycoolheaded? Did they do about as well as the men did?
JS: As well as the men did. They were scared. They all got out of here.
BS: The old store up at Slabtown there, they used it for a gambling den.At that time the lumberjacks'd come down there and they'd play cards and gamble there. Some of those fellers was real gamblers, now, too, I'll tell you!
SS: I've heard quite a bit of money changed hands. I also heard thatsharpers would come in there, too.
BS: Yeah. When these lumberjacks got into to town and they had money,there was lots of gambling, anyhow. They'd go up into a room, rent the room and play cards all night.
JS: Fellow I went in with, he took three hundred dollars away from DocHarbison the night before, and went over to Grangeville and/beat that game and got three hundred dollars. Then he went down to Whitebird and he took them for another three hundred. They were laying for himat Grangeville and he knew it. Them fellers made a living by gambling. And I told him when he came back, I says, "Rennick, you'd better stay out of that game," I says, "they're laying for you and they're gonna take you." He said, "They won't take me." But they took him that night. Took six hijaflbred dollars away from him.
BS: Easiest thing in the world if two or three fellers ganged up on acard game, you know, to take your money away from you. They'd play draw poker; if you've got a pair, you hold your cards with two fin gers back of the cards, if you've got three of a kind, why, why you've got three fingers, back there. And if he's got it, well, there are three, four in the game playing against the other, and if he's got a pat hand, why, he'll hold his cards here, and you won't have any fin gers back there, you see. Lots of 'em take a toothpick, and have a toothpick in their mouth, chewing a toothpick, and it'll be here— a cigarette, they'll have a cigarette here and pretty soon they'll have it over here or have it in the middle of their mouth. Unless you're up on those antics, why, they'll clean you out in no time!
SS: I imagine the way that works is if the guy doesn't know he's beingtaken, and that must happen a lot.
JS: Yeah. Especially if he gets drinking and gets about half drunk,then they got a good chance to get ya.
BS: That's the most common though, is your cards and lookin'through 'em, and if you've got three of a kind, why, you'll have three fingers back of your cards, see. Or if you've got two pair, you'll have it up here— have the four fingers out.
SS: Is poker mostly what they played?
BS: Yeah. Draw poker, or, what is that other? Stud poker. That's whereyou deal out onto the deck, and then if they've got a good hand, his partners'd always drop out. Whichever one's got the best hand, part ner'11 drop out. And you're playing four or five hands against one, you might say, and they'll clean a fellow out in just no time whelP- they band together that way.
SS: What would happen when a lumberjack would figure out that he was beingtaken?
JS: All they can do is to quit the game.
BS: All they can do is to quit the game. They get pretty tough sometimes.I saw Old Sam Piwsh pull a knife out because they was playin' crook ed and threatened to cut 'em up. And France O'Keefe, he jumped up across the table from Old Sam, and he says, "You pull that knife on me," he says, "I'll throw you out this upstairs window here." He says, "Don't you think that you'll pull a knife on me and get away with it." France was scared to death. Old Sam'd a cut him all to pieces! That's the fella that killed that fella up in Elk River.
SS: Did many people know that Sam had killed that man in Elk River?
BS: No. No, there wasn't nobody knew that, only me, and I wasn't sure ofit at that time. But Old Sam and Mike Bubuly were always together. He raised Mike, you know. And Mike run in and hit this fellow over the head with a six-shooter, about that long, when they was fight ing. And he knocked him down and I remember a little bald-headed fellow jumped over him with a knife about that long; a butcher knife is what it was, and, boy, he just quicker'n scat, he just slashed him all to pieces. Killed Big Red right there on the floor. Of course, they all run, and I beat it right over town and told the deputy sheriff. I went up to the dance and got him out and told him to get over there. And I told him what I'd seen. And I says, "Them bohunks, they ganged up, and," I says, "there was ten, twelve of - bohunks there and they was only this fella and myself and another lad there. The white fellas." And I says, "You'd better get over there and get that fella." They went over there, but these other bohunks had grabbed Old Sam and took him out to camp and hid him., They went through the camps and couldn't find him and they give it up. Never tried to find him much after that. I jumped onto Old Pat several times,asked him what they was doing? "Oh, we'll get him, we'll get him." And that's as far as it got. They never even went out of town to get him.
SS: Was it Pat you went to get that first time, when it happened?
BS: No. That was at Elk River. No that was Old Leeper, was the sheriffthere then.
SS: Now, you told me, you saw the trouble coming?
Yeah, I got him out the first time he got in there and he hit two orthree of those bohunks and knocked 'em end over end. I heard these bohunks talking and I told him, I says, "Let's get out of here." I says, "Go over town." "Oh," he says, "I can lick them fellows as fast as they get to me." Well, he could, if they'd a fought fair, but when four or five of 'em jumped onto him at the same time, you know, — and I seen Mike, just a big kid, hit this fella over the head with that gun! And that's where Sam was.
Well, how did he come to start fighting with them in the first place?
Oh, I don't know. They was probably drinkin', and he probably didn'tlike the bohunks or something. But, he was drinkin'. And some of those fellows are awful quarrelsome when they get to drinkin'. We had a big fella here, Elmer Rainier, a Kentuckian, he'd get drunk and he was six foot two, three, big husky— he was a railroad fireman— and I've seen him get drunk and fight with Old Pat. Old Pat took his billy club- or that is, what is it they call it?
BS: It's a leather rig about that long.
SS: Yeah, I know what you're talking about.
BS: And he hit Elmer over the head. Elmer kept apushin' him off, and hegrabbed this slug and he hit Elmer over the head and made him mad at him, and he took it away from him and beat Old Pat over the head with it. And Pat's head swelled up that big! Oh, his eyes was puffed way out here, and pretty near killed Old Pat. But he was that way. I seen him take another— Mike Hoskins, he was a little fella, about your size, and he just grabbed him by the shirt and held him up against the wall and hit him four or five times and dropped him, and he just went right down; knocked completely out. And he was always in a fight when he was drunk. But he was quarrelsome. Well, that's the way a lot of these fellas are, you know. They get to drinkin' and they get quarrelsome.
SS: Sober, he was OK?
BS: Yes. Sober, why, a finer fella you never met.
SS: What did Pat do with a guy like that? Just leave 'em alone?
BS: Oh, they had quite a trial over it. But they didn't do anything.Fined him, I think. But, Old Pat wasn't afraid. The old fella.he'd wade right in.
SS: Well, this one with Big Red— from what you could see what was goingon—Was Big Red asking for it? Was he asking for trouble or anything?
BS: Oh, yes. He was quarreling.
SS: Do you think he was being abusive to the foreigners?
BS: Well, there's no question but what he was. I didn't see it, when itfirst started, but after he got into the first fight and I see that they was gonna gang on him, why, I went up, and I told him, I says, "Let's get out of here." I said, "Too many of these bohunks." And I heard 'em a talkin' and they figured on ganging up. And I says, "We get out of here." He says, "I can lick 'em just as fast as they get to me." "Well," I says, "you better get outta here. Come on." And I just stepped out the door and I expected he was going to foller me, you know, when I got out of there. But when I looked in again, he had a dozen of 'em around him. And I see Mike Bubuly hit him with that gun.
SS: Was this a saloon?
SS: A house?
SS: So there real!}? wasn't any other Americans there, except for you andhim and the guy you were with?
BS: No. You see, they was loggin' right there on the meadows; donkeys.And the camps was just right close there and they grabbed Old Sam; I know it was Sam, because he was a little glassey-eyed, bald-headed fellow—
SS: What do you mean? Glassey-eyed?
BS: Well, he had a peculiar eye. If you'd seen Sam, why, you'd a seenwhat I meant. His eyes are glasy; and he's a little bald-headed fellow.
JS: He didn't have no hair, at all.
SS: Was one of his eyes false? Or just that he had funny eyes?
BS: Just funny eyes.
SS: And you could see that?
BS: Yes. And I remembered the picture.
SS: How much later was it that you saw him and identified him and knew itwas him?
BS: Oh, several years before I put two and two together. You see, Bubulyup til he was eighteen years old, Sam raised him. And he was just a punk of a kid when he come out here. And him and Sam was always to gether. Wherever you saw one, you saw the other. And Sam was the only little, bald-headed fellow there was in that bunch.
BS: So, I knew positive that it was Sam.
SS: Did they stick together for a long time?
BS: They did til recent years.I don't mean Sam and Mike, but I mean the Bohemians, these Bohunks, as a group did they stick together? Yes, they was clannish. They are clannish. If you had one fight with one bohunk, why you had 'em all to lick. Was that what happened to this Red? Did he pick out one guy, or was
BS: I don't know just how the fight started there, in the first place,but when I heard these fellows talking and I knew Red was in on the fight, why, I tried to get— well, I did get Red out and everything, and then I told him, I says, "Too many of them Bohunks," I says, "gang- ing up, and," I says,— I don't know I might have made him mad, and he says, "I can lick 'em just as fast as they get to me." And he could. Boy, he'd hit one and they'd go a sprawlin' and he'd hit another, and he'd sprawl him— He was a big man. Husky man.
SS: Did you know him at all before this?
SS: Sounds like one of these guys that could have been— I mean, one ofthese bully of the camp type guys, huh?
BS: No. No, he wasn't. He was from Pasco, I think, or Kennewick. He hada wife and two little girls, I found out later.
SS: Back home?
SS: Sounds like it wasn't very easy to catch a criminal in those days.No, it wasn't. They never paid much attention.. Pat was just here to make things look good.
BS: That's all he was. They never figured he was much at Moscow, at all.hye just had him here to make things look good. He was an old Irishman. Never had any education. But he done just what they told him to do and that was all.
BS: Yeah. Moscow. You see, he was under Summerfield and all them old—He was even under Hap Moody. Who was the marshall when Old Pat was in here?
SS: Summerfield was for quite a few years there.
BS: Yeah, Summerfield.
JS: He wasn't in law, just the sheriff in the county.
BS: But it was before Summerfield, there. I forget his name.
JS: Old Jordan was under Summerfield.
SS: Yeah. He just died.
BS: He was another bulldog, just like Old Pat Malone.
SS: Would he keep coming at you?
BS: Well, he was overbearing. He was worse than Old Pat. Pat wasn'toverbearing, at all. Pat was kind of more like an old-time detective. He'd hunt around and get something on you and then he'd wait and watch and hide and peek around at the bootleggers, and that. Jordan
JS: I was down at the shop and Sandy was home, and come up at the shopand told me that I had to take Sandy back. Well, I says, "I'm going to. I'm going to take him back."
JS: That's my boy. And I kind of laughed. Boy,—
BS: Jordan, called him all the sons of bitches and everything else hecould think of.
JS: And he got mad and ba-alied me out, to beat the band. And John Sedrocome along and heard him, and he was mad at Jordan. And he told Jordan, he said, "Don't you ever come up and bother my men again, until you've seen me." He says, "I'm supposed to— He says, "I'm running the shop, and you come and see me." He says, "You needn't come up here." And, he says, "Til you get permission, don't come in here at all my men." And he just done Old Jordan Had Jordan caught him? Had Jordan caught Sandy? No. He come up and jumped onto John over— Sandy—
Jordan killed that other fellow that was into the home. Andhe got up and come home, and they looked out the window and seen the sheriff and them acomin' up and the fella, he run up through the or chard. Old Jordan pulled his gun out and killed him. What was he after him for? Because he waskout of Orofino down there. And they was pretty angry bunch about that. Ihe fella wasn't trying to do any harm at all. He wasn't harming anybody. But he wasn't going back there, and he took off and was running up through their orchard. Where did this happen?
Over at Moscow. at Moscow, there. Jordan pulled a gun and killedhim. "Oh," he says, "I didn't mean to hit him." And, he says, "I was shooting over his head to scare him. Make him stop." Well, Jordan had no business pulling a gun onto him at all. He could a caught him without pulling a gun onto him at all. He wasn't a criminal, at all. He was just a gettin' away from him. Didn't want to go back. Sometimes, I get the feeling that in the early days, even more than now, a lot of people used to think of people who were in an institution or something like that, as being— as not worth them being alive.
Just not even people.
BS: Old Jordan, he showed it time after time with different ones he wasafter. He was awful lucky he didn't get killed over at Pullman there. That fellow they killed up on the hill there— what was it —? But anyhow he barricaded himself up on the hills at Pullman and Summerfield and Old Jordan come out there and Old Jordan he jumped out of the car and run right out in plain sight and there the fellow was up on the hill. If he'd a had a high-powered rifle, he probably would a killed him. But he only had a .22, I guess with a scope sight on. And a bunch of 'em sneaked around and took a shot at him and killed him. But Jordan jumped out there ' cause Jordan thought he wasn't bullet proof, I guess. But if that fell'd had a high-powered rifle, why he'd a picked him off.
SS: Do you remember any people from here going crazy and being taken downto Orofino?
BS: No. Now Charles wasn't crazy, at all. He got hit on the head; hewas working for Ed Hall, driving a cat— hit on the head. A
JS: And a limb dropped and hit him on the head.
BS: And he was out of his head, and they took him down there til he gotwell. Now, he's on a farm. They still keep him but he's perfectly rational. But when he got hit on the head, why, that done it.
SS: I was gonna ask you about Pat. I've heard so many things about OldPat. Did he really care about catching moonshiners?
BS: Oh, yes, he did. He'd try to catch moonshiners. He come around toa bunch of us fellas there one night. He got tipped off that there was a moonshiner coming in. Oh, there was a fellow named Harry something—
JS: Harry Holt.
BS: Harry Roche.
JS: Harry Roche, yeah.
BS: and we all went out and Old Pat come and got us. Hethought we knew where the cache was and wanted to find it. Well, we all got together and made it up and I was to lead Old Pat off the opposiite direction where they was hunting. And I told 'em to take and shoot, one of 'em,—Pat give a pistol to shoot and let 'em know if they found the cache. And so, I led Old Pat way up on the hill on one side and they went on the other and they found the cache the first thing. And they took and hid all the bottled stuff, sealed stuff, and they was two suitcases full of sealed liquor, and they rehid it and then they was a ten gallon barrel full of moonshine. And they left the barrel there and shot the gun. And, I says, "Come on, Pat," I says, "they found it." "oh, boy, oh, boy," he says, and away we went and went down, and we got the barrel and brought it in and put it in the car and took it into town. And Shel Mc says, "Well," he says, "Pat, you're not going to leave us without a drink, are you?" "Oh, you bet I'm not. You bet I'm not," he says, "you get a pail." And they went and got a pail and he filled it full of moon shine. (Chuckles) Half of the town got drunk on the moonshine!! They had an awful time in the park that night! The nurses in the hos pital says— and they laughed and says, "I don't know what kind of liquor you fellas had down there in the park, but," she says," such talking I never heardj" Well, they took this other liquor, after Pat give us the liquor, and they went out— Shel and them went out and got the liquor and brought it in— and they divided it up. I didn't get any of it. I didn't want any of it. I wasn't much of a drinker anyhow. And they give it to different ones. Well, this Leo Gilfoy he was always full of fun. And he had a letter from Summerfield something about some land or something from the office there, and he took this envelope and he typed off a letter and he named everyone that was in the raid and how much liquor each man got and he went around and showed it to these fellers. Showed it to Ray and showed it to this little Frenchman— what was his name? Harry Roche was one of 'em— and Summerfield says, "I want you all to be together, and," he says, "we've got to go to court."
BS: Yeah. And so we went around— and this little Frenchman he commencedto pack his car full of junk and Ray, he, run up home and packed his suitcase and was gonna take off down to Parma! (Chuckles) And we told Leo, "Land sakes, you better get around and explain to these fellows, that that was just an envelope!! (Chuckles) Well, he did, he caught 'em just as they was getting ready to pull out of town. And, oh, they was mad at Leo!! (Chuckles) But, boy, that tickled Leo. The tables turned on him and he was pretty scairt, too, because
SS: I talked to Leo several times when he was still living here. He hada lot of funny stories. He really liked to pull those practical jokes. Oh, yes, any time he could pull a fast one, now, he was doing it. He'd take and get back in the poolroom there, he'd punch a hole through the paper and hold it up here and he'd look and see who come in; he'd see somebody come in that hi knew, "Well, what do you know about this, Jimmy?" Jim said, "About what?" And he'd spiel off about,"This fella that come in, he's under suspicion committing a crime of some kind here." He says, "I'll read it to you." And he'd read off the spiel. He'd have it already, and the feller'd commence to look around and he'd look at people and he walk back, "Let me see that paper!"
BS: He'd look in there and he'd hunt for this piece and Leo'd be grinning like a cat! (Laughter) Yeah, I've seen him pull that stunt time and time again with different ones. He'd have a hole punched through there and he'd hold the paper up and he'd look through there and see who come in. He'd call their name out. He's still holding the paper up here where he knew that they could see him. Yeah, Leo, he had names made up for all the different fellas. He made up a lot of names, too, that wasn't there.
SS: You mean, that if they didn't have one, he'd give 'em one?
BS: Yeah, if they didn't have a name, why, he'd made up a name to give'em. Him and Jerry Carlin. Jerry was always pullin' a fast one, too. Jerry was quarrelsome, though, when he was young. He's a bad egg.
JS: Got in with a kind of a tough felland held up a beer parlour overthere,over in Montana. And this fellow hopped to the counter and he was getting some money from the bartender and this woman stuck a sixshooter out the door in the backend and shot at Jerry. Jerry says, "I quit right theft" He says, "That was close enough."
BS: He got out of the country; him and the fella got outta the country.They didn't give back the money, though.
BS: And he took off and his Dad told it on him. He says, "He got learntright there." But there was another holdup on a card game, gambling game, up here at Lewis' mill.
JS: Yeah, I was there. I guess he got quite a bunch of money out of that.
BS: Yes. They got eight hundred dollars, that night.
JS: Yeah. There was one fellow—
BS: There was one fella that recognized 'em. He claimed it was Jerry andsome other fellow there.
JS: Jim Harris.
BS: But they don't know for sure whether it was him or not. But theother fellows laying up on the cot, they had three or four hundred dollars in their pocket. And this fellow, he was peculiar talking, he says, "You get back on the bed and lay up there," he says, "we don't want your money. It's just these fellows that are gambling, and got money to throw away, that we're taking." Old Spooky Nelson, he had ten dollars in his pocket here, and he didn't say anything about it. They went through his pocket and they found it, and they shot down into the floor and Old Spooky he pretty near mussed his pants!! (Laughter)
JS: He thought he was shot!!
BS: They never had any proof who it was, but they had surmised pretty wellbecause one of 'em talked so that you could tell him anywhere you ever heard him.
SS: I'm surprised that anybody would do a holdup close to home, you know,you'd think they'd go someplace else.
BS: Well, they knew that they had a walkaway.
SS: Well, I heard that Pat liked moonshine enough himself that sometimesit stood in the way of his work.
BS: Well, Old Cougar Jack, he was a main bootlegger in this country, andhe come up town and Old Pat seen him come into town and he went to Old Man Pike and says, "Pike," he says, "I want you to go and take two and a half and go to Old Cougar Jack and buy a pint of whiskey," he says, "he's been a selling it around here."
JS: Some "cold tea". Buy some "cold tea" of him.
SS: "Cold tea"?
JS: They called that "cold tea".
BS: They called it "cold tea". He says, "He'll sell you." So Pike, hedid. And Old Pat hid behind the icehouse, out back there. And he come out. And Pike, he asked Cougar Jack if he had any "cold tea". He says, "Yes." "Well," he says, "give him two and a half and bring me out a pint." He went in and he had—
JS: Mrs. Watts.
BS: Mrs. Watts pour some ice tea into the bottle and brought it out andcorked it up and brought it out, and give it to Pike.
JS: Got the money.
BS: Pat come jumping out, "Oh, we got you now! We got ya now!" AndOld what-you-call-'im, he says, "Got who?" He says, "You, moonshining." Sold him some moonshine. And, he says, "I didn't sell"— Old Cougar Jack says, "I didn't sell him any moonshine," he says, "he asked for cold tea"—
JS: "And, that's what I sold him!"
BS: "And that's what I sold him!" They took the bottle and smelled ofit; took a taste of it, and it was nothin' but tea! "Well," he says, "you gotta give us our two and a half back." He says, "Nothin' doing," he says, "you wanted cold tea, and I charged you two and a half a bot tle, and that's what you got!" (Laughter)
JS: He wouldn't give him his money back at all.
SS: Well, Cougar Jack, he must have known it was a setup, huh?
BS: Why, yes, of course he did. Yes, he knew it was a-A Old Cougar Jackhe knew every person in the country, you know.
SS: And he knew this Pike wasn't really going to buy it for himself?
BS: Yeah. Yes,he knew Pike— his wife was a churchworker!
SS: That's a funny guy to send out to buy — to make your buy for you.
BS: Yeah, Old Pike just happened to be there when he come up and Old Patgive him two and a half to buy this liquor! Then, he wanted the mon ey back! Old Cougar Jack says, "Nothin' doing," he says, "you wanted cold tea, and that's what I sold you; sold you is cold tea!" (Laughs)
JS: He knew that they thought that he had moonshine, but it wasn't.
SS: What was Pat's idea about these clues?
BS: Oh, anybody could tell him anything and he'd believe it. That's what1 say., he was just a big, ignorant, Irishman. He got. a bunch of the boys, and he had the goods on em, alright; they had the moonshine. And he took the whole bunch of 'em over to Moscow. He got Gus Burton to drive 'em over in the car. Well, Old Charley Budoon, he says, "Well, Pat, you've got us, alright, dead to rights." He says, "It's no use taking this whole bottle over there to Moscow and let them have it," he says, "give us a drink before we go over there, anyhow. As long as you got some, why, that's all you need." "Well," Old Pat says, "No, no, that's against the law, against the law." Old Charley argued with him. "Well," he says, "I'll give you one drink apiece." And, he says, "That's all." They handed the bottle back to him, and of course, Old Pat hollered for the bottle, but they drank every bit of it. And he had the empty bottle. K "Gosh", he says, "stop the car, stop the car, at the graveyard," he says, "no use agoin' in there now, they drank up all my evidence." He says, "We got to go back home." And he had to pay Gus out of his own money! (Laughter)
SS: That Pat really sounds like quite a character.
BS: Oh, he was a character. Everybody just loved the old fellow. He wasa good old soul.
JS: Yeah. Well, Big Joe— a lumberjack— Big Gil, he was fishing up Collins. Summerfield took him up. He figured that Old Gil had some moonshine, and he sent Pat up to search the car. Pat went up and saw the bottle and he hid the bottle; went back and told Summerfield, "There's nothin' up there."
BS: Summerfield was just as crooked as he was.
JS: Oh, yeah.
BS: Summerfield told me, he was after Phillips; Phillips was another bootlegger, you know. He made good whiskey. And Summerfield had the bot tle of it then, and, "You know, Byers," he says, "it's a shame to ar rest a man like Phillips." He says, "He makes good liquor," he says, "there's no question about it. I've tasted his liquor a number of times." And he says, "He makes good liquor," he says, "it's a shame that they run a man like that out and then turn somebody else loose that is making inferior stuff and making you go blind and everything else." But, they never did catch Old Phillips... Holly Hughes thought he was gonna get him. He was going up a gulch and Phillips saw him coming and he shot, and loll straightened up and looked all around.
BS: He shot a limb right above his head; on a tree. Bark flew all overhim. hollered, he says, "Hey," he says, "quit your shooting down this way," he says, "I'm down here." And Phillips never said a work, you know. And Old Ollie— they didn't shoot anymore. And Old Ollie, he started to go up the trail a little bit further and Phillips he clipped another limb just above his head off. He turned and run like a whitehead.
SS: Like a what?
BS: A whitehead. He was scared. He scared him that time. He put the bullet right in close to him. Old Phillips knew where he was shooting, you know.
JS: Yeah, he was a good shot.
SS: Inever heard that 'whitehead' before.
SS: That's an old one.
BS: Phillips laughed and told me one time; him and Bert Irwins was the
main bootleggers and he says, "I'll tell ya," he says, "I'm just alittle too smart for 'em," he says, "they've been lots of 'em hunt ing for my cache, but," he says, "they don't find it." He says, "I put a bottle here and a bottle there and a bottle here and a bottle there." He says, "Once in a while, maybe, they'll pick up a bottle on me," he says, "but, they don't get it all." The main road used to come in front of the house here, and I went down and climbed this big white pine down there, clear up into the top. I knew it was Saturday night and they was coming in for the dance, and I knew they was gonna bring their liquor, and I knew that they'd cache it in close to town so they didn't have to go too far to get it. And, I watched. Well, the trail was, oh, half as high as this wall, where the snowplow had come through and plowed the snow, and they'd walk along the bank and they'd reach in, like that, and shove attottle in there, then they'd take and pat it and they wouldn't move their feet, they'd just pack the snow down around it. And I watched 'em. I could see clear down town, I could see clear up to the corner, and then if they had a gallon jug, they'd take one of the light poles and they'd throw it out over by the light pole, and they wouldn't go out into the snow, they ...
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
52:00 - Old Camp 6 at Helmer in 1906; Sam Frei's mill; Building railroad from Harvard, Slabtown, and Bovill
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
68:00 - Joe Rivers, a Native American from Cloquet; His work in the woods, as a blacksmith, and bartender
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Saloon fighting in Palouse was steady. The cops were brutal, using a cane with a brass knob on the end, and then throwing the jacks into a tiny jail with no room and terrible conditions. Saloon keepers sometimes stuck up for jacks, and let them sleep on sawdust in the back. Cruelty of beatings, using knuckles.
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Three big houses of ill-repute in Palouse. He sold his garden produce there as a boy. Jacks lived there till their money was gone, and then were kicked out. The houses were licensed. Respectable women got very mad when their husbands went to the houses. Some of the girls were beautiful.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Fire of 1914. Speed and power of fire. T.P.Jones told them to let the fire burn, and then it got completely out of control. Byers soaked the shop down. Tarbox took the train into Bovill through the bridge on fire because his wife and children were there. The bookkeeper remembered his dogs and forgot his wife.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: McGary Butte fire. The crew boss leads the fire crew into a dangerous position. The wind picks up, nearly trapping the men. They flee back over the top of the butte as the fire crowns overhead. Tarbox falls behind because he's old but Byers sticks with him. The first man out of the fire thinks that all the others were killed. At the bottom of the hill, John sees all the other men get out except the two. Axel Anderson sees that the boss is taken off fire control.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Killing of Big Red at Elk River in a fight with Slavs. Byers saw it happen and knew in later years that Sam Piwash was the one that stabbed him. Byers tried to get him to leave when he saw trouble coming, but Red wouldn't listen and was being abusive to the foreigners. They hid Sam out until things quieted down. Elmer Rainier became so abusive when drunk that he beat Pat Malone with his nightstick.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link: