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Latah County Oral History Collection

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

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Date: February 20, 1974 Interviewer: Rob Moore

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ROB MOORE: I wanted to ask you again about moonshining. How would you go and set yourself up? How would you build a still?

ULYSSES SHOWALTER: Well, you're going to put that on tape?

ROB: Uh-huh.

US: I don't know, should we?

ROB: Oh sure. There's nothing wrong with that is there?

US: No, there ain't nothing wrong with it. I'd make some more right now if I dared (laughs) because the moonshine that I made was medicine. You know, you'd never have any stomach trouble if you had some of that every day.

ROB: Why is that?

US: Well, it was the stuff it was made out of. It was made out of bran instead of other grain, you see. Bran has a tendency, you know, to move your bowels, that bran. It's the juice out of it. I'll tell you anyway. I don't suppose you can get it now, you might get it somewhere, but now wait though. If you get these here copper boilers, wash boilers, you know what I mean don't ya? (Yes.) You make one right out of that. Or you can have it made by some tinsmith, you know.

ROB: Okay. You have a boiler and what do you do with that?

US: Well you see if you got the boiler (but of course you can have it made,, you see, this other stuff too might be a little handier than the wash boiler) but you see you take the lid and you cut a hole in about the middle of the top of the lid. Then you have (of course I could see to solder) and I soldered me a funnel to set on that, then run over here and run out.

ROB: Is that where you use the copper tubing?

US: Yeah, then it runs into the copper tubing, you see.

ROB: Oh, from the top of the boiler.

US: From the top of the boiler, yes. Fits in there and it runs on through on that. You'd have a wooden keg, or any kind, metal or anything, for water. That would hold water, have water running in there to keep it cool, you see, that's what...

ROB: And the coil runs through that?

US: Yeah, and the coil runs through the water. And bourse the water's running and you got to keep that cool if it gets too hot and it evaporates it won't make the moonshine. See what it does is the steam it makes runs through that water, condenses and runs down into your vessel, moonshine. It's strong at first. Probably well...

ROB: What is double-run moonshine?

US: Well double-run means, say put your mash in a barrel, you know, wooden barrel. You're taking this all down now? (Yeah.) See you should take your 50 gallon barrel, wooden barrel, you can take a smaller one as far as that's concerned. But anyway you should take it and pour gasoline in it and set it afire, you know what I mean? The barrel, char it a little all around. 'Course you'd wanta look out or you'll burn a hole in it, too. But that keeps it from tast ing like wood. If you put it in a barrel long enough without having it charred, it gets to tasting woody. Kind of sour like and something. But then this here, you char it and then put it in. Of course, I could tell you all about it. I built a little shack out of logs I guess it was about eight feet by six or maybe eight by eight, I don't remember. But you got an idea anyhow. A little shack out of logs. It had corners in there, two by fours, nailed 'em together. Corners, you know. 'Course you could build that little log shack any way you wanted to. That was the easiest way. Cut your logs just the right length and you can put 'em in there and nail in these two by fours, you know, on the end. But that's immaterial because you could make it out of lumber anything, a little shack, or of course you can get out without any shack. Take oatmeal and make your moonshine. Say in the summertin^ if you was outside then you'd have your little bench, your barrel sittin' on it. Rut a lantern just under this bench you see. Well, now wait. There's a little thing you know, you'd built up and set the barrel on top. But it had a place under there to stick the lantern under you know, and turn it down. If you turn it on full blast it'd get too hot. Your mash would, you'd lose it.

ROB: That's before you put it in the still?

US: Yeah. And then when it sours so long...

ROB: How long is it suppose to sour?

US: Well, til it quits workin*. And the way to do it, now I can tell ya 50 pounds of sugar to a 50 gallon barrel. And about three gallon of bran. And then the yeast to make it work. But of course you can put corn in there too, and give it the corn flavor.

ROB: Did you usually do that?

US: After.I got wise to it I did. See, 'course I started milking what one fella told me and worked up my different one you know. A double-run, see, is say for instance here you take it out of the barrel. You strain that through a gunny sack or anything, you know, into your still.

ROB: Oh, so you take all the solid stuff out?

US: Yeah. And then you run it through first til it gets down til just about all the alcohol out of the there. When it gets coming, let's say wou'd have a little tester, see they used to (I don't know if you can get 'em now or not, but that was durhing the Prohibition) you could get testers at any drugstore. Test the hell out of it.

ROB: Why is that? Why do you think you could do that? If you went and bought a tester wouldn't people know you were going to buy it to make moonshine with.

US: Yah, but who cared them days. Everybody was making moonshine in those days, (laughs). Just about. After I got caught for moonshining why I found out all my neighbors was making it too. (Oh really.) Yeah, that was practically all of 'em. Gust two or three of us got caught around then. 'Course I could go in and make a long story out of it but I ain't goin' to, about that. But anyway you run it through, you see, til you pret'near get all the alcohol out of it and it probably would test 70 per cent then. That's the first run. Well, maybe that ain't right, but it's close anyway. Then you put it aside, put it in a vessel to hold it. I had a big 20 gallon crock you know, jar, that I put that in, then I'd run the other barrel, if I had two barrels set at once. Well, for now I'll just go from the one instead of taking the two. (Okay.) Take this here, and reduce it with water, plain water, to 60 per cent.

ROB: 60 per cent or 60 proof?

US: 60 proof. (Okay.) If you get it much stronger than that then you're liable to blow your still up. Then you can run it again. Put it in there, 60 proof, and run it again. Heat, you got heat. I had a little oil stove that I had on it, used to run mine with. 'Course you could run it on a cookstove or anything like the oldtimers I don't know, you have trouble runnin' it on an electric cook stove (laughs). Now gas, you can run it on one of these gas stoves, too. Heat it you see. Not run it too fast anytime but just about so. Then you get it down to...well the way I done it was 100, you see, after I was double-runnin* it back to a 100, got so's I could catch some of that in that little tube, you know, and test it to 100. Then I'd cut that off and run of that. I'd cut that off there, it would be 140 and then I'd reduce it down to 100. I had two testers, one was a government tester and the other was the little tube tester. 'Course it wasn't government, out you could tell what you was doing by it.

I was making some down there at Dayton, and there was a fella was hellering about it wasn't strong enough. I'd tested it in the cold, cold weather, and it would test at 100 in that tube tester. It didn't burn, you know, like roost strong whiskey. And he thought it was too weak. I didn't dare tell him that I was makin' it. But I told him I seen the fella test it. The way I tested it, you see, was down in the basement and it was cold. I tested it and it was up to 100 then with that tube and of course that had it normal like it come from the still, like it supposed to be. But it tested at about 118. And he didn't think it was stiff enough. But of course I learned a lot of that after I was talking to him. Of course as you went along you learnt more, you know, learnt more. It was just wonderful. And then of course to color it, well I'd reduce in here and cut it off at a 100, you know. Tested a 100i

ROB: What would you thin it out with?

US: With good clear spring water, you know. 'Course I had all the spring water in the world there where I was runnin' it. I tested it down with that to the 100. Test 100 with that there. That double-run would test 140, would test 140 proof. Then I'd reduce it down to that 100 with spring water. 'Course I had the government tester there too. And that showed you a lot different than that other one. It didn't matter whether your liquor was warm or cold. It'd give you the right test to it, the government tester did. 'Course I don't know where a feller would ever get a government tester now.

ROB: Did you say that you used to color it also?

US: Yeah, then we'd color it. 'Course my brother was up at Spokane, and I found out the thing to do it to color it, to make it taste like old whiskey. What made the old color and everything was the keg that it was put in, you see. And time. See, you put it in a barrel, they're all charred I think, put it in there and leave it a year. See, this was beating the time by taking the oak shavings and scorching 'em and put 'em in. Well, say you had that big jar. Twenty gallons, probably fifteen gallon, and put in about balf a gallon of them shavings, them parched oak shavings. You can buy 'em by the gunny sack full in Spokane. My brother, he sent up there for 'em to get one and send it down. A sack you know.

ROB: Was your brother a moonshiner too?

US: He knew how. He wasn't moonshining. He made some once in awhile for his own use but he didn't try to make a business out of it. See, the reason I was making a business out of it was heck! you couldn't get any work. Started in in '29 I think, or something like that when I started making it, but then... let's see now I don't remember just what time it was. But anyway, I'd sell it for five dollars a gallon. 'Course there was other fellers...that was the reason I got caught. There was other fellers that was selling their booze for four dollars, you see, and they'd buy mine for five and in preference to this other for four.

ROB: Were there a lot of people that was making moonshine to sell?

US: Yeah. Gosh, there wasn't no work. If you cut wood you might get a few cord to cut, and if you worked in the sawmill maybe you'd get two days a week at two dollars a day if you could get it. But you couldn't hardly get work. just a few, you know.

ROB: How much money could you make off of one batch of moon?

US: Well, I got so I could run about six gallon out of one barrel. That would be 30 dollars. Then you had to buy your sugar, and your bran, and your yeast, and the jugs. There's one thing and another. I'd been doing pretty well then, you know, for just a common plug for a living as a man. Living and paying a few debts, you see.

ROB: How long would it take you to make that batch?

US: Well I'll tell you. After you get started you could get a barrel of mash ready to go in about four days or less sometimes. It depended a little on circumstances. Four days, then you can run that off. You just take one barrel, you'd run that off and double it back in about one day. 'Course you see night nor morning nor day didn't make any difference to me. I could go to bed and set the clock, the alarm, to go off so's I could go to sleep and get up and go and attend to it different times like that. 'Course if you want a real start to make it, why you can come back again we can write it all down. I have it here but I'm jumping around so darn much with my thought I'm going to mix you up.

ROB: Was there a lot of competition between different moonshiners?

US: Not a awful lot. There's just a few crooked moonshiners. Like this one fella, he tricked me. He didn't make it at that. One fella, you know, he got jealous. His moonshine...he had trouble selling it for four dollars and they'd buy mine right out from under him for five dollars. So he figured a scheme. Had his boy to get a friend...there was one feller there, a Scotsman, him and I didn't get along at all, the Scotsman and I. He had a boy about seventeen or eighteen. So this other feller, this moonshiner boy...'dourse the old man himself was the father of the deal. See, they got him...he was a snooper. He'd look around there and he told me one day says, "Everytime," he says, "you move your still," (I'd move it in the summertime, it wouldn't take long to move the darn thing) he says, "Every time you moved your still," he says, "I knew where it was at." So he had to snoop to find it, he had to snoop around to see where the still was. So then he got his boy, his oldest boy, to take this seventeen or eighteen year old boy, and told him where my still was and they run right down on to it. Of course he knew where it was but...

ROB: Now who was this that ran right into it?

US: It was the other moonshiner's boy and then .this here Scotsman's boy. He figured if the Scotsman got ahold of it he'd peddle it all over the world. And of course I guess he didn't know...but that wasn't where I got caught.

ROB: What did they do when they got there? Did they take your still or take the moon or what?

US: They poured the moon out, all but some of it. They took a gallon of the clear 140 proof stuff. And then I had about a little over a half gallon already fixed up to drink. They took that. Well you see there's nothing honest about that darn thing anyway. You see up there at Kellogg, it wasn't exactly right at Kellogg, up there there was a creek and they called it Moon Creek. The reason they called it Moon Creek was 'cause there was so much moonshine made on it. There was a Italian, well maybe three or four of 'em I don't know. Anyway they built a house there that would hold probably 100 of them barrels. And they had it up in there. You didn't have to have a lantern under it if you had it warm enough to let it work. So they had that warm enough to work and they had the these here see they was protected by these Federals they figured, clear from the moon Moon Creek in there clear into Spokane.

ROB: How were they protected?

US: Well they...what do you call them darn things? They're moonshine hunters though.

ROB: Revenuers.

US: Revenuers. They're the guys and they protect 'em. Well now let's say I wanted. at that time we all knew about it and wanted too. Of course at my size why I couldn't afford to pay protection for the amount of moon I was making. 'Cause they paid 35 dollars a day for protection, you see.

ROB: That was up at Moon Creek they did that?

US: Yeah. At one time. See after they used it and left it...they left all their barrels there. See they run...I don't know I'm getting mixed up. But it wouldn't matter anyway. Seems like it was 3,000 gallons or somethin* of moon they run there. That one outfit, see? They were protected about 35 days after they got started. But anyway if you wanted protection, you'd know who these revenuers was. Well you could go to one of 'em and tell 'em you'd like some protection. "Oh no, you're looking up the wrong feller don't fool around me or I'll have you put in jail." And he says, "If you don't believe it you go over here and see Bob Moon. He'll tell ya." So you go over and see Bob Moon and he'd say, "How much moon this time do you want to make?" You tell him and he'll tell ya how much you had to pay to make it. So...

ROB: Oh I see. So they wouldn't be directly involved with it?

US: No, you couldn't prove anything with them Federals.

ROB: Did that happen around here too?

US: That happened, yeah. I don't know just where it was around here, but I know'd about that one up at Moon because they was a fella that married my niece that lived right there on Moon Creek. He wasn't the one that was making... called them dago's. But you know what they was was off-breeds, those kinds that was in there. It seemed like they cuuld get into things like that and get out of it. But even at that, they didn't that one but a lot of times fcha revenuers would double-cross 'em and catch 'em anyway. Have an outsider come in and get 'em. They was framed both ways, you see.

ROB: Who were the revenuers here in Moscow?

US: Well there was no revenuers, really, but there was a feller here was a federal man. But he told me he says, "I donH look for moon shiners," he says. "They sign a warrant for me and I take 'em in."

ROB: Do you remember his name?

US: Yeah, Bob West. He owned this whole hill here once. You know all the houses on it. A lot of the land too.

ROB: Was he the man who arrested you?

US: No. The ones that arrested me was from up at Coeur d'Alene. No, up from Kellogg one of them was and the other one belonged to Coeur d'Alene. Let's see I forget their names.

ROB: Were they accompanied by a local sheriff too?

US: Yes, they was accompanied by the sheriff here.

ROB: Which one was that?

US: Sheriff Summerfield. He was a good guy too.

ROB: How was it that you came to be arrested? How did that happen?

US: Well, there was a fella was runnin' a restaurant down here on Third Street and selling moonshine on the side. And I never seen the fella...

ROB: Who was that?

US: I don't know if there's some of his relations around here yet. I won't tell ya. (Okay.) But anyway...

ROB: I don't think it makes any difference at this point...

US: I'm talking about some of his folks might not ever knowed about him. About being into moonshining or something...

ROB: They'd probably be proud of it by now, you know.

US: They might be. But the chances are...they're a lot of people thats queer, See now, like here a lot of people in my shape that had made it and got caught and put the search on. They wouldn't tell on a bet, you know, that they'd ever been in jail. But happened, what's the use in lieing about it? (Right, exactly.) But anyway, I'd like to have some of that old moonshine at about five dollars a gallon. For my stomeoh, you see. First started there and I started making it. Well there was some people down in Kahlotus that made it first. That's down this side of Pasco, probably fifty miles or more. Yeah, I guess a little more than fifty miles above Pasco in the Dusty country. Well anyway they had it down there. They'd run off fifteen or twenty gallons before harvest so we had moonshine all harvest. You know take a drink in the morning, drink at noon, drink at night before supper. But anyway I had ulcers, you see, and had be alert to that. It was up here (pointing to his upper stomach). I started to making some. The work went out anyway, you know.

The logging camps at Potlatch, all of them, just about everyone of them, shut down at that time. And so I went to making a little of that moonshine. I had ulcers, you know what they are. When they get in your stomach it doesn't feel good. But you know that darn moonshine cured that up. Of course then I went from here...I had a little battle with a fella and he knew about me making this moonshine and I thought I'd better get out. So I went up to Sacheen Lake. I was up there and a friend that I used to know was a doing a little bit of wood business, hauling wood to Spokane. Hauling about forty miles. I guess it was a good forty miles from Sacheen Lake to Spokane. So I got a job cutting a little wood. But it snowed so deep that you couldn't work so I went down and borrowed some money from a fella to live on, baching. It didn't take too much to bach. And later on that winter, killed deer for meat. You know, you'd kill deer in there anytime, pert'near. As far as the law is concerned they didn't pay much attention. That was during that hard time, you see.

One old fella on the other side of the lake the next year he got caught for moonshining. But he asked the game warden, he said, "What would you do?" That was the year I was in there. He asked him, he said, "What would you do if you caught me with a deer out of season?" 'Course it was out of season in the wintertime. Well he says, "I'd arrest ya." (What did he say?) But anyway he was saying there was nothing to it. By the time he got done, "It was nothing," he said. That was the second winter. Why I had a little rig. It was a six gallon thing that the Monkey Ward's and I guess Sears and Roebuck all of 'em was making in those days especially for little moonshiners.

ROB: Oh, you could buy 'era through the catalogue?

US: Yeah. The only difference was you had to work 'em over a little bit. It was six gallons, you see, with a slip-on lid. Then you put a rag around there with a little dough on it and it soon baked tight. Yeah I had a six gallon and then I had a four...

ROB: Since liquor was illegal, wouldn't it be illegal to sell the things to make liquor too?

US: Then? Well, that's what they was after you for. That's what they pinched you for was selling the liquor.

ROB: No, I mean wouldn't it be illegal for Montgomery Wards or somebody to sell stills?

US: Oh no, they didn't sell no stills. They just sold an outfit on purpose so's you could make a still out of it easy enough. (Oh, I see.) A little one was six gallon. It would take you quite a while. Well run off a fifty gallon barrel of moonshine why it would take you fourteen or fifteen hours with that little thing. And a boiler, why you could do a lot better with that. You see the boiler'd hold 14 gallon at a time. You could buy that and put the thing on there, start it on an oil stove and leave it till the oil stove died. Six hours you could leave it and that would run it off single. You go up and change it, and pour that there into another vessel and put on a new batch. Time it again and you have it in six hours. About 18 hours would run off the barrel full of mash.

ROB: You were starting to tell me how you got arrested.

US: Oh yeah. Well, the way it was this fella here in town was running a restaurant and he had a partner and his partner was doing the bootleggin' of the moonshine. So he sold it to some kid over by Garfield, I guess it was over there, and the fella he got drunk, you know, the kid did. Thought he was drunk, I suppose. He was only eighteen years old or something like that, so the policeman got ahold of him. They told him that if he'd help get the fella that sold it to him, why they'd let him free. Well, he did see this fella and they caught this fella that sold it to him and give him six months in this county jail here at the court house. Well, I don't know what in the Sam Hill was the matter with him, but they got him down in the bottom there in the sheriff's office and they was a'quizzing him, you know, and he told every fella that he'd ever heard of making moonshine or anything. Told the officials, you see. 'Course these Federals were around, waiting for *em to round up somebody to...

(End of Side A)

ROB: You say you were the only one right here in Moscow?

US: Yeah right around that I know of. There was qqite a few of 'em around on the other side of Kendrick over around Southwick in there. And let's see, there's several of them that got searched here and they had a little stuff on 'em. Well this one fella that was framing on me, you know.

ROB: Oh, the bootlegger?

US: Oh, he was a moonshiner too. See, they got me first and then they went after him and they found him up in the woods. He had about three boys or something like that. One feller stayed down there at the house while the other two or three went up there to the woods where the moonshiner was, you see. So this one kid that was up here with him, why he went along and run in all the way. They had the moonshine, but they didn't have it. Well, the wife... the officals had got there and told her what they was after, and while they was gone why she had four or five gallon of moonshine already made and it was upstairs. And she slipped up and poured it out, it run down through the house there I guess somewhere. Anyway then the fellas if they'd caught the mash, you see, why then they'd have got him. This darn kid he slipped in ahead and upset the mash barrel. They had probably they was running only ten or twelve gallons of mash, you know. Keep it in a little keg. He upset it and it mixed in with some pickle brine I think. (Laughs.) Just anyway to get rid of it, to get it poured into something. They got some but it wasn't enough to convict him on so they...

ROB: Were you at your still house when...

US: Yeah, yeah. I was right there. I was just finishing up there. By gosh I had about fifteen gallon of that...well maybe not quite that much. Ten or twelve gallon of that 140 proof stuff just to put in and get it out of there. And of course there was a little circumstances that had come up or I would have had it all run out two or three days ahead of that. Then the other thing was, too...see I was married to my different wife than this one. She had a daughter and the daughter could have opened the window, could have opened it up some (it's on hinges and a catch there) and that was at the back of the house. And this daughter was twenty-one or two, told her mother, "I could jump out this window and run down and tell dad." I could see if that would have happened...but she was looking out for her own skin. The old lady was. She was afraid that the girl might get into trouble you see if she did and they caught her. So she didn't come but I always appreciated it.

ROB: She thought about it?

US: Yeah. She thought about letting me know, she didn't want me...Why that's just like a rat in a trap you know. The old lady had told 'em where I was at. Of course she didn't know I was right in there but she knowed that I was within fifty yards of it. I was cutting some poles to make a meat house out of. She told 'em right where I was at and of course all they had to do was go down*the side of the road. If I'd a known they was out there or anything why I wouldn't have been making any noise in there. Rattling tin stuff, you know. I had a bucket that I bailed this stuff out of one place and another, the mash. Like that one fella he heard...see I had that little cabin made out of logs and covered over with brush. I was cutting brush trees and trim ming em up and limbs and piling 'em on top of that little cabin. Well I had a place there that I could sneak in. So he heard me in there and he seen that that place there and he went in. Come into me. I told you that before I think. Says, "How ya doin'?" "Well," I says, "I was a doing pretty good 'til you come along." (Laughs.)

ROB: Who was that that come in and said that?

US: That was a federal man.

ROB: That was a federal man. Was that West?

US: Noj no West as I told you he never went out.

ROB: Oh that's right. That's right.

US: He'd just...they'd swear out a warrant for him to come and get it was everything I guess. They'd swear out warrant to him and he'd go get the man. He killed one Negro here in town when me lived here. Someplace around one of these houses. He was kind of a tough character. He kicked that Negro to death. Knocked him down on his belly. It was about a horse. The Negro had the horse, running horse. 'Course he was a southern this West was. You know they hated Negros and that's the reason. And this Negro had a horse out on the pasture, just roped him out and then West come along and said something to him. He sassed West and West jumped onto him. He was a big man too and I guess he hit him quite a wallop and knocked him down then jumped onto him and tramped him to death.

ROB: Well did West loose his job for that or ever stand trial for it?

US: Heck no. No he went right on.

ROB: Did he ever stand trial for it?

US: I don't think so. I never heard of it if he did. 'Course I was out in the country and them days I guess it was in the papers about it. I doubt it. Probably didn't put it in. But you know used to be lawful I guess to kill somebody and get by with it sometimes, or something like that.

ROB: Well the law probably wasn't enforced very well.

US: No, especially where it was a Negro that got killed, why it wasn't nothing said about it. He was a nice old Negro, old gray-haired fella you know.

ROB: Hap Moody was telling us about moonshining days and he was saying that there really wasn't much hard feeling between the cops and the moonshiners. That was his opinion. Do you think that was true?

US: Well that was true. Of course these federal men, they was out to get the reputation up and keep it. But just take the common law like sheriff, some of them...of course I didn't do it but there was some that would take the sheriff a gallon of moonshine and they'd give 'em a little advantage by letting 'em know when the federals was around in the country. See, I had a friend, but he wasn't in on it enough. He was a cop and one time he phones me up and he says, "There's hunters." Of course this was in the middle 6f the summer. "There's hunters out in the country now." I wasn't a makin' no moon but he didn't know whether I was. He told me he says, "There's hunters out here in the country." I told him "heck," I says, "there ain't no game open!" He said, "That don't matter, there's hunters." I knew what he meant. There was stool pigeons looking for stills.

ROB: Was there a lot of stool pigeons around?

US: Yeah. There was a lot of them. That one had that had his boy and that other fella come to mine, what'd you call him but a stool pigeon?

ROB: Well did stool pigeons get paid for turning people in?

US: Well I dontt think so, in them days. There was one stool pigeon over at Troy. I was kind of lucky I was (laughs). See when I was a kid there, I was about sixteen, there was a Roland bunch. There was one barber here, and this Roland. He usually worked in harvest fields and was around the sawmill or something. Bunt Roland they called him. I niust have been sixteen. He borrowed a dollar of roe and in a few months I could meet him right on the streets and he didn't even know me. 'Course he was older than I was, he was up in the twenties somewhere. So well, that went on there for probably twenty years. And I was moving down to Troy for a while there, I was working in the woods so I thought I might just as well be at there Troy as anywhere. Rented, of course. I had a place, ten acres out here then, but it was too far for my work. 'Course I had to go to logging camps and stay all week and come home Saturday nights. But anyway he was a'bootlegging there from...well there was a fella that run a service station, and he made his headquarters there and bootlegged all over town.

ROB: Is that Carl Olson's service station?

US: Let's see Carl, Olson? It would be Sam Olson was at Troy them days, he's in Deary now. Sam Olson. He was alright, Sam was.

ROB: That was his gas station?

US: Yeah, he was running a service station you see. And this here fella kinda made his headquarters there. I don't know where he kept his booze. But anyway, it'd been twenty years since I'd seen that fella, since he borrowed that one dollar. So when he seen me there in Troy, you know he yelled clear across the stree, "Hey Ulys!" Cut it short. Otherwise before that, before he got to be a bootlegger, he could see me in town and he didn't even know me. That dollar, see I told myself now there's something the matter with that fella. Every time he'd see me cross the street or anywhere he'd yell at me and take and give me two or three drinks. Moonshine. And of course X didn't bufc none of him. So I thought well there's something fishy about that fella. So to run on, I was in harvest and I got out of harvest and I was right there in Troy. He comes in one day in a hurry, oh a big hurry you know. "Say," he says, "do you know where I can get two gallon of whiskey?" he says. I think it was selling for 10 dollars a gallon then. And he says, "I got the sale for two. I been a'getting mine at Chaney and I ain't got time to get it," he says. I'm liable to lose the sale if I don't get it right away." 'Course that other stuff was a'hanging in m|n craw, that there was some thing the matter with that fella. So I told him, "I don't know." But I did know where I could have got it in fifteen or twenty minutes. But I told him I'd been out in harvest, said I don't know much of the business around here.

So I went over to this Sam Olson. I said, "That confounded Bunt Roland is a stool pigeon." He says, "Oh no, he sells more whiskey than any man in the country." So it went on for nearly about two weeks. I went by there. I'd been... I ain't just sure where I'd been. Working a little bit out somewhere then and hadn't been around there. I went by the service station there. You know he says, "How did you know that Bunt Roland was a stool pigeon?" I never did tell him why I knew but let him think I was smart. He turned in two thet he'd got that same time that he was trying to get me to get him some moonshine. "Course he didn't figure I was making it, but he knowd that I could get him some. And that's what he thought. I didn't matter to him. But of course the way it was, the officais here in Moscow told him...the sheriff or I don't know some federal men or something told him...he could bootleg just as much as he wanted to but he had to turn in somebody once in awhile you know, a moonshiner. So he was free, gosh, he was open with that bootlegging.

ROB: That's kind of a way of getting protection then isn't it?

US: Yeah. 'Course they don't...well too now, this other one that was the barber here in town. They'd been somebody had a nephew that was a moonshiner too. He got caught with I think seven gallon on him, in his premises somewhere, this barber. I forget what they fined him, a hundred dollars something like that. I told my bother I says, "By gosh a fella wants to look out for him, for Roland." He was brother to the other fella. But he was a different one. There was E. P. Roland, and Bunt Roland, and George Roland. I don't know just how many Rolands there was of that tribe, and they had some nephews you know and things. So by golly sure enough in a day or two or maybe a week this nephew who was moonshining he got caught. They give him six months in the county jail here.

ROB: How come you got sent to McNeil's Island instead of to the county jail?

US: Well, all of them that got caught the same time as I did was up and they could take their choice. They could get a lawyer for free or they could have their own lawyer. I'll tell ya, it doesn't make any difference. I won't say it but anyway the sheriff...

ROB: What were you going to say?

US: I was going to tell you about the reason I got the year and day at McNeil's Island and the others didn't.

ROB: The reason you ended up on McNeil's Island.

US: Yeah was I could...see my wife that I had then she'd had cancer of the liver and she died...

ROB: She died before you got arrested?

US: Yeah. No she died after I got arrested. I was out on bail. She died. She had cancer in her liver and everything was just a mess of stuff I guess. But anyway she died and of course there I had to pay the operation and the funeral and everything. Why heck I didn't have no money. But there was a drun fella here in town that I knowed quite awhile. I never did think much of his dad because he was up at there at the courthouse one time, his dad, and I always figured a person had the right to be whatever he wanted to in politics, and he was making fun of somebody, talking about somebody who was voting socialist. Making all kinds of fun. I thought I liked that fella pretty well before that. I heard him, he was a'going on, him and two or three fella bigshots, a'laughing and talking about his fella voting socialists and that ended me with him and after that. I figured that the was his business...(Yeah. Right.) ...whatever he wanted to vote why he had a right to vote that way. And so it was his boy that sent word for me to come and see 'em after I'd got caught and was out on bond. So I went to see him just for fun and he told me he says, "I can save you three months in time."

ROB: His boy was a lawyer?

US: Yeah, this fellers little boy was a lawyer. He sent for me to come and see him and I went to his office. I didn't have nothing else to do, just fooling around waiting to be sentenced. So he told me he says, "I can save you three months," he says, "and I'll wait till you get out of there before you pay me and you pay me seventy-five dollars." I told him "no" I says, "I'm going to take her on the nose." And so of course I could see after I went through it where he was a'willing to wait and to defend me, 'cause he wouldn't be there only ten or fifteen minutes for seventy-five dollars, and wait till I got out and everything and save me three months. Well them that had a lawyer, afforded 'em or appointed for 'em on anyway them that had a lawyer they got nine months at a road camp. And then I was the only one that took it on the nose. I got a year and a day in the penitentiary at McNeil's Island. But the fella that told me was a good friend of mine and that's the reason I didn't want to say anything about who his name was you know. Here. But he was a friend of mine. Of course he knowed that...I guess he knowed that I was a'moonshining before I got caught. Anyway he was the sheriff and he told me.

ROB: Oh, is that Summerfield?

US: How do I know?

ROB: Okay. (Laughs.) Go on.

US: And so he told me he says, "Well you can do as you please." Then "I'd advise you take it on the nose. You'll be out before any of these fellas that got a lawyer will be. They'll put them in on the road camp and you'll probably get a year in the penitentiary but you'll get out a month before they do."

ROB: On good behavior or something like that?

US: Good behavior and everything you see. I took his word for it and I just lacked one day of being six months from the day I was sentenced here 'til I was back in Moscow.

ROB: Only six months?

US: Yeah. Not quite, just lacked one day of being six months.

ROB: Well what was it like at McNeil Island?

US: Well I'll tell ya, it was all right only it was a little dangerous.

ROB: In what way?

US: Well in this way. There was all kinds of people in there. some for murder... and they all eat in the same mess hall. And they'd strike. Then of course all around up here there was a big cage and a fella up there with a machine gun, a guard, and then out on the walk on the outside there was another feller with a couple six-shooters on him going back and forth. But of course he wasn't dangerous there, but you see some of these here real mean ones they didn't give a cuss whether...they was probably in for so long it'd just as well be their life as not. They might have started something and got that fella with the machine gun turned loose up there and hard telling whovwould have got killed. That was the only thing I didn't like about it. You know that darn thing. They had a habit of having them strikes. They didn't like the food or something you know. Heck the food was good.

ROB: The food was good?

US: Yeah, good food. You had plenty of it and everything. But these mean ones, real mean fellers, they wanted to raise heck anyway.

ROB: Well when you got there did you have to have a couple of fights or something to show you were...

US: No, if you'd fight they'd put you in the dungeon without anything but bread and water to eat. Down in a dark one, you know. No, you didn't dare to fight hardly. 'Course you would, if somebody got you mad enough you'd fight anyway. Might'nt happen to him, that he was mad enough to fight.

ROB: What did you do to pass your time in there?

US: Well they played checkers or dominoes or you could read or anything. You could get any book they had, all kinds of books. You could send and tell 'em what you wanted, just write it and leave it on the table and tell 'em what you wanted, JGet any,book you wanted to read, any book you wanted anywhere they knew about why they could get it for you. 'Course then they let you write once a month I think. Furnished you your paper and the stamp and envelope and everything. Of course they'd always read your letter that you wrote and if you had a letter come it was always read before you got it. That didn't matter, you wasn't going to write anything that was going to hurt anybody anyway. (Laughs.)

Oh it was pretty good. I had some good friends in there, too. I learned something there so it was probably worth something. When I knowed about these fellas getting sentenced in the penitentiary why I thought they're just unlucky and they don't belong there. But I found out that pret'near every darn one of them there should be kept there for life. Moonshiners or bootleggers or something like that wasn't, but there was any amount of 'em. One fella, well heck there was a third cousin of mine in there. He had the highest I. Q. there was in there. There was about a thousand when I was in there, but he had the highest I. Q. of anybody in the penitentiary. But do you know what he was in there for? (No.) Someway, I don't know what it was, but he robbed orphans. You know, some kind of a deal for the orphans and he robbed 'em. 'Course now you take fellas like him now. she was a woman, the one that was giving out the paroles...she thought that fella was oh just big because he was so well educated. Me, I walked in there, they wanted a Showalter and I walked in and she was looking for that fBlla. "Oh," she said, "I can tell by the looks of you you ain't the men I want to look at or see." I knew what it was, it was the education that made her think that he was some thing. But that was something that I would no more thought about doing than anything in the world was robbing orphans. It was alright. He tried to make up to me but I didn't make up to him. I didn't want nothing to do with him. Because a fella that would do that. course I guess maybe a fella ain't got any right to say anything about it, but...

ROB: That seems like one of the worst crimes around.

US: Yeah, it's not quite the worst. There's some around that's. molest little girls, that's worst ones. I think if that old...oh-oh, thet's something I don't want to say either.

ROB: Okay. I was reading Ram in the Thicket the other day, you know, Robinson's book, Frank Robinson's book?

US: Yeah. Uh-huh.

ROB: And the picture he paints of the people that lived up around the foothills of noscow Mountain. He paints them as being a pretty tough bunch.

US: He did?

ROB: Yeah. Do you think that was true that they were pretty tough and there were feuds and things like that?

US: No.

ROB: Not serious ones...

US: Only one fella that was bad really. He was from Tennessee and he wasn't very smart. He was liable to kill a fella. But otherwise..

ROB: He's the man your father got in a fight with?

US: Yeah. See you take as far as the others was concerned. well they was a little tough, you know. Fist fighters around, there were a few of 'em get a few drinks of liquor in 'em and they was pretty tough characters thataway. They wouldn't kill a man. Well I ain't so darn sure. (Laughs.) But anyway, this Guy that cut my dad up, well Guy had yelled at him or something. He was part Indian, I guess, and he sneaked up one day with one of them old big lead guns, black powder, and got up there. This old Guy was in the orchard. 'Course he was ambusing him from maybe from 150 yards or maybe 200. Them old guns, heck take .40-.65 or .45-.90, they was big enough to go miles but they wouldn't carry much over 50 yards if you had 'em sighted in for 50 yards. You'd think that the darn things would shoot for a quarter of a mile. But anyway he got the first shot. He was out in the orchard, this Guy was, and he cut a limb right over his head and it fell on him. This old Guy, he'd come from Tennessee where they really was mean and he knew the score. He ducked and flattened on the ground and sneaked and crawled and everything else till he got out of there and out of sight. Got his own gun but I guess he didn't get in sight then. That fella shot two or three times at him. Finally that fella went somewhere and he got stuck on a school teacher and I guess she thought he was alright too. He was going to get married and of course if he'd write why her folks would get that letter and she'd never get it. So he went to the schoolhouse where she was teaching. He hadn't got a letter from her for a long time and he figured she'd discarded him. He was part Indian, maybe all Indian I forget just what. Or part something. But anyway by golly he went to the schoolhouse and kilied her. It was a dang shame that he didn't kill that old Guy. He probably would have got a bonus for that. He was kinda off his balance anyway, had to be to do a trick like that. The girl she was innocent about it. She apparently thought a lot of him. She never got his letters. You know, there's a lot of stuff like that somebody gets the worse of it from somebody over doing 'em a little bit.

ROB: Would the folks from that stump-ranching Moscow Mountain area go into Moscow fairly often?

US: Oh yes. Some of 'em would haul wood every day. Some would go to town once a week anyway.

ROB: Would they get pretty wild in Moscow on a Friday or Saturday night?

US: Well, not very much. The wilder ones was right here in Moscow. They'd get drunk. There was this one fellow, he lived out there. Old 3ohn Quist, he finally moved to Palouse. Pret'near every time he'd get drunk they'd throw him in and fine him ten dollars. He made the brag that after awhile he'd paved Moscow. Paid enough fines to pave it. He moved to Paiuse, and I don't know how he made it over there, whether he kept a'drinking or not.

ROB: Maybe he paved Paloaee, too. (Laughs.)

US: Yeah* Maybe. (Laughs.) Started here anyway. Oh there was some that was a little tough. Here in Moscow there were more tough guys right here in Moscow than there was out ther though there was this other pretty darn...

(End of Side B)

...Charley Rambo. He was from Missouri. He weighed about 200 pounds. According to his brother he could whip is weight in wildcats. He could. He was a big man and strong, always laughing. (Laughs.)

This here brother was telling me about it. He was out there and there was a fella crazy out there. They was backing out there, Charley and his brother, he said that fella would come visit 'em on a Sunday and he was a telling, "See my old mother there? Tell 'em what she done and everything. This here one that was telling me, nope. He said the hair just grew up on the back of his neck, you know. And he said his brother just got the biggest kick out of it, it didn't bother him at all. But you know that darn fella that was crazy, he'd killed a man in the insane asylum and he'd be in there. Every once in a while he*d get in there. They said that he was as strong as four or five men there. But this old Charley he didn't care if he was that strong, he wasn't a bit scared of him. No way. But finally this old Charlie was such a skookum man he went over to Potlatch Lumber sawmill and he lost a leg. And that's the last I ever heard of him. He lost a leg and he got married over there. He had some kids but I don't know what ever become of them. But he was quite a fella.

Then this old Lew Rambo he was a gambler, both of 'em. But that Luv Rambo he was as honest, outside of gambling, as anybody you know. Dust as honest as he could be. If he owed you a dollar he'd pay it. If he told you anything, why he kept his word. Old Charley though he was different, he was crooked in every way.

ROB: What kind of things would people do for entertainment if they came in and they'd be working hard, like out in the camps, working hard and wanted to come down to have a good time? What kind of things would they do?

US: Go to a dance or something. See they'd have dances out there in the country you know. It was pret'near all them darn fellas...somebody around there that would fiddle. Big times when you went to dances out there in the country inthem days. It was an all night affair. It didn't quit a twelve nor one it went 'til daylight, next morning. Oh, it was quite a thing. 'Course it's the same as it is now. Those people that went to churches didn't go to cances and everything. Most people weren't really mean. Dust a few of them fellas that was mean. There's Pattersons a little wild, a bunch of them. I don't know how many of them there was. One Henry Patterson was the oldest one, and there was Dohn Patterson he was next to the oldest, and then there was a Ernst Patterson too and a Charley Patterson and about four of them Pattersons. They'd all drink and they'd all fight at the drop of a hat. Dropped the hat their selves. (Laughs.) No it was quite a thing. All good fellers though I think. 'Course they'd have a fight and get whipped and be just as friendly as they could be or whip the other fella and try and run over him to say they whipped him. That's one thing that so many people do; if they can whip some body why they'll run over him after they whip him. They never tried to... 'course they don't always make it stick.

ROB: Somebody told me a couple of months back that there used to be whorehouses over on the other side of the tracks.

US: Whorehouses? Yeah, there was three of them, not on this side of the tracks, but down. let's see, oh you know where the Idaho Hotel is? It would have been west of there about a couple of blocks. There was three whorehouses on a string, kind of in a circle. One north and south, and one on the east side of that. That's 444, that's the name of that one. And this other one was 222 and one was 111

ROB: Was that the addresses or was that just the names of 'em?

US: It was the number of 'em, the houses.

ROB: Were they ell owned by the same folks?

US: No, each one had a different outfit. Grace Fleming was the landlady of one and I forget what the other one's names was. There was three landladies over in the three houses, one in each house. Of course they'd have girls a'going and a'coming you know.

ROB: Where most of the customers single men from back in the hills, or from around here?

US: By golly no. At least part of their customers were married men.

ROB: That's odd.

US: Yeah. 'Course single ones went too, but some of 'em were married men, quite a few married men went. 'Course it was kind of a funny thing about them days, you know, maybe their old ladies wouldn't let 'em. Tired of letting 'em have it as often as they wanted it.

ROB: I couldn't hear you.

US: I say maybe I've talked to dang much now.

ROB: No. It's okay, really.

US: Where are you gonna to play them tapes at?

ROB: We're not going to play 'em. We're trying to find out information, you know.

US: Oh that's all. You're not going to play 'em to anybody?

ROB: No we're not going to put 'em on the radio or anything.

US: Oh.

ROB: It's just for the information. We need to know all this sort of stuff.

US: Well that's different I could have told you every thing as for as that's concerned. I thought maybe you was going to spread it out.

ROB: No.

US: You see I kept...I don't know where you was last fall when that one fella shot himself out there in the woods, Tom Hendricks.

ROB: I didn't hear about it.

US: He did it about a year ago. Well that was the son-of-a-gun that sent his boy and the other fella to spy on me you know. He shot himself here about a year ago.

ROB: Maybe he felt sorry for doing it.

US: No. It took more than that. He fooled around and he thought he was a gigilo I guess. His wife died and he was chasing a wild woman around here. I don't know, I think she killed her husband and so then I think she got in jail you see in the penitentiary. Probably told him she was coming back to marry him and he thought what that would be like you know, be like married to her and shooting her husband. Why it left a scare in him so he thought he'd rather kill himself I guess. So he did. Shot himself with a .30-.30 carbine.

ROB: Were the whorehouses pretty well kept up? Were they pretty clean places and everything?

US: They were supposed to be but you was just as apt to catch a dose there as you was anywhere.

ROB: Were they legal then?

US: Oh the whorehouses? Yeah, they was legal. They was supposed to be examined every week, each one of the girls you know. You was just as apt to catch a dose there they tell me as you was anywheres running loose. You wouldn't catch any more dose as you would right there at the whorehouse.

ROB: Right. Right.

US: Because they pay 'em off, the whores for examination, but they'd let 'em go on. I don't know. 'Course that made work for the doctors and all.

ROB: Was this around the Prohibition days?

US: No, that was before Prohibition. It was wide open them days you see. Let's see did I tell you how many saloons and things was in here the other time you was here?

ROB: No.

US: Well, right there on Third Street, on the other side over there on the north side of Third Street about the second block up from Main there was a feller by the name of Dohn Olsen had a saloon. And right straight across on Third there was the Work Horse Saloon, they called it the Wonder Saloon. A little further up there was another one I guess they was Swedes or Norwegian I don't know what. Up just about in the same block. And then down on the corner of Third and Main was a saloon that was Miller's Saloon but they called it the Corner Saloon. And across there at the Moscow Hotel there was a saloon in there. Then north of Third Street there was I ain't sure one or two saloons. And there was brewery. There was a saloon down there below the Moscow Hotel. It wasn't a very big one it was just small saloon. I don't know, I guess there was about seven or eight saloons all together.

ROB: They all had pretty good business?

US: They all had pretty good business. That brewery made the best beer you ever drank.

ROB: What was it called?

US: What did they call it?

ROB: Yeah.

US: It didn't have no name.

ROB: For the beer or the brewery?

US: No the brewery didn't.

ROB: Did the beer have a name?

US: No, not that I ever heard of. We called it the Moscow beer, you know. And there was an old fella what was he? He wasn't a German, he wasn't a Switzer. He's the one that made the beer boy and it was good. He talked foreigner and he was a good honest fella too. You see there was a fella that lost a leg. See in them days why money wasn't like it is now. But if you went to him for donations you know he'd give a hundred dollars, to whoever took up the collections see. And later on when we got Prohibition you know and he kept a-tryin' to run, bootlegging a little beer, I'll be darned if this here fella didn't doublecross him and let 'em catch him. Catch the old brewer. This fella he'd give a hundred dollars to the cause, somebody else had taken it up. He'd know'd who'd give all the money. Can you feature that kind of a deal where this fella had helped him and turned around...course he wouldn't have gotten over twentyfive dollars for double-crossing him. They don't get very much for turning in somebody. They figure they just get that much and that's it.

There was some pretty wonderful old fellas in Moscow too, you know. Some of the best fellas I ever knew I think. There was one fella by the name of Bill Hardesty he went from here up to Weippe. He was kinda fat and the darndest fella to laugh you ever seen. He'd chuckle, and he was a good worker too. He was little on the fat. I don't know he just loved kids, boys. 'Course I suppose he loved girls too, you know, but boys was his main fault. He just loved 'em. Yeah, kind of funny. And fish, he was the darndest fisher you ever seen. He wasn't a fly fisher either he was just a bait fisher. Really catch. In these streams them days there was really some fishing. Elk River, Potlatch, and all of them. Used to be no trouble at all in the Elk River to catch trout up to 18 inches and probably in Potlatch too. In Potlatch river where it forks. I've done a lot of fishing back in Elk River there. First time I ever went to Elk River, dad took us. It took us...I'm not sure how long it took us I guess a couple of days to get there with the wagon...we got over there and we didn't have no bait and we didn't know nothing about fishing in the first place. Dust had some plain hooks and some line. Couldn't find any bait, it was dry in the summertime. So caught one, found a fly hook. (Laughs.) Instead of knowing anything about fly fishing or anything, didn't know anything about it. This hook I just found it on the bank where somebody had a been a'changing hooks or something and left it. And I caught one fish with that. We got up to the top of the hill there to an old barn or old cabin. There'd been a couple of young fellas come in there the night before as we was a going out. And they had I guess twenty gallons worth of kegs in there. They said before night they'd have them all full. Had the insides cleaned out on *em. They was a'fishing and selling 'em. 'Course then there was nothing to prohibit 'em from selling 'em. So many fish you know. I know one other fella he had... I bet you he had twenty hooks on one outfit. But I never seen any fish. A kid was showing it to us you know, he'd throw it out in the creek but there was no fish there. I suppose the kids had it all caught out. He was a'showing us. I was just a'wondering what he would have done if he had that in Elk River at that time. It was the same time we went there and only caught one fish on a hook of course...

ROB: You need a little bait to catch 'em, usually.

US: On this side of Elk River there was what they called Bull Run. There was two creeks there. And fish in there, you can see where somebody had caught some fish and cleaned 'em there and the eyes was in the heads. We used the eyes and we caught some fish there but not too many. Probably fifteen or twenty around through the brush. It was raining most of the time we was gone anyway. If we'd a had them eyes over there at Elk River we probably would have caught a fish big enough to pull us in (laughs). We finally done something there if we'd had any brains we'd never done it you know. There was a pole bridge and we drove the team across there by golly. The water was deep then too. But we got by with it. Drove the team across and unhooked 'em over there and stayed all night over there on that side and the next morning went back. See we was gone about four days altogether. We'd had some of them eyes for bait when we was there why we would have. sure made a difference in catching fish. But then another thing that's true, we didn't know where to fish. Instead of fishing the ripples we was trying to fish a hole where it was clear and deep, instead of where the fish was.

ROB: Were you young then?

US: Oh yes. I don't know I was probably twenty-two or three.

ROB: Where did people do their gambling around here mostly?

US: Gambling? Where there was an outfit. There at the Wonder Seloon they had a place back there. Separate room. They'd play in there. But of course what they got out of it they paid the saloon keeper.a percentage. Them fellers was professional gamblers. They had marked cards. Of course they had em marked in the saloon there. Want a new deck of cards, why call for a new deck of cards. Somebody was getting beat, and call for a new deck and the whole thing would be marked, you see.

ROB: Well wouldn't it be kinda hard for professional gamblers around here 'cause wouldn't people catch on pretty soon that they were being cheated?

US: Heck no. Some of them that was smart enough to catch on didn't gamble. But them others, farmers, there was several farms lost piece by piece. Several crops and then get the mortgage on their place. There was a lot of good houses built from gamblers you know. Beat these fellers out...

ROB: Were there many professional gamblers here?

US: Yeah, they was professional you know, they had the marked cards an everything, They knowed how to play 'em was one thing about it too. 'Course I'd seen a lot of gamblers, but this one Lev when I was up there in the...

ROB: This one who?

US: Lev Rambo. He's the brother of that husky fella I was telling you about, that Charlie. We was up there in the camp, the logging camp, and he marked the cards with his knife just a little nick, and boy he'd take 'em every night. But if he owed you a dollar he'd pay it, or ten dollars he'd pay it, or more. He was honest except he would cheat on the cards.

ROB: Did you used to play with Lev?

US: Yeah. But I didn't lose anything.

ROB: Were you sorta partners with him when you went to the logging camps up there?

US: Yeah. I'd start the game and he'd finish it. You know I'd start. I wanted to play and I'd get some. "Well you fellas get this" I'd say, "You're done for tonight." Of course I'd quit you see because that fella could see them doggone little specks a'flying in the air.

ROB: You'd go into the bunkhouse or something and get a game started?

US: Yeah, right there in the main bunkhouse.

ROB: Where would Lev be? 59

US: He'd be right there in the bunkhouse too. See I was the one that would act like I wanted to play cards, poker. He was quite a laugher himself like the other one was. There was one fella that I knowed, I won't say what his nat ionality was, but he thought he was pretty smart. He lost all of his money some before we got there. Maybe had it coming you see because he was only making about eighteen dollars a month clear, above the board. But he got in there several different times, be playing solitare with that deck of cards. Of course you take a new deck in there and they wouldn't play with that at all. They wanted that old leathery deck, you know. There a little something to that...

ROB: Why did they want that old leathery deck?

US: Well they figured that it wasn't marked or nothing. They didn't know anything too much about marks anyway. But they figured that had been played so long you couldn't see nothing. This one fella he come in there and was playing solitare, and he was a'looking and a'looking. He'd played this Rambo every night, you know, so he told some of the fellas he said, "Maybe you're playing paper." That's what they called the marked cards, paper. And left it alone that night. He had his month's check cashed, eighteen dollars, and he spent the whole darn thing in about two hours. He was so smart, you know, or thought he was. "Maybe you're playing paper." 'Course a new deck they wouldn't play with at all.

ROB: Well after you'd start the game and then you'd quit, would you lose money or would you go ahead...?

US: Oh yeah, I'd usually lose that money that took out...

ROB: To start the game with.

US: Yeah, I'd usually lose on purpose.

ROB: Right. Then Lev would split with you or something?

US: Oh heck, every dime. He was as honest a fella in that line I'd ever seen anywhere. I was telling knowed something about that there double-cross didn't ya?

ROB: A little bit, it kind of confused me though. You told it to me that last time. I got kind of confused about how it worked. Well what do you mean by cold-decking in the first place?

US: That's run a deck in on *em. Well say like here, maybe you was in a hotel room, that's where we always played then, and have a bed here and have just the two chairs. One straight back chair over here, and the man that's going to win really in that chair over there. And this here sucker on the bed. Of course part of the time he was playing no marked cards, but he had a glass on his finger here and he'd kick it back a little and you can see every card he was a dealing to this other fella. He'd see that this other fella didn't have nothing you know and he'd bet a 100 dollars maybe on nothing, maybe have a little bit of a pair or something. Looked like he didn't know nothing about cards. So after while he'd eat something that didn't agree with him and he had to go to the lavatory...

ROB: Well who would have the mirror? The guy on the bed?

US: No. The other fella had it on his hand here.

ROB: The guy in the chair?

US: Yeah. About the size of a dime. A mirror he could kick back with his thumb and see what the card was and when it got again he knew what he had on his deal. On this here fellas deal.

ROB: So when he dealt he would know what everybody would have?

US: He'd just know what that fella had because on me he wouldn't be a kicking back to me because I was in on the deal. 'Course I shouldn't be a telling but then it's past so it might save you some time. 'Course thB re's lot of them things. But anyway you'd see then while he was gone I'd say, "Well gosh oh mighty, the way that fella bets a fella could just beat him in nothing flat." So when he come back in you see why I'd have it made up this way and I played all my chips to him. When this other fella come back in, just be in the deal. And I'd tell *em, "Oh I'm going to quit awhile and watch you fellas play and I'd get behind him in sight of his hand.

ROB: Oh you told this before to the guy on the bed?

US: Yeah, tell the fella on the bed. Sign a hand to him you see (making hand signals) one pair, two pair, three of a kind, and pat hand. And so then about the time when he come back from the lavatory why he opened a pack of cigarettes you know and usually he put it on the bed first and pass it to him. I'd take 'em you see and I'd throw 'era over on the bed behind the feller on the bed. So then when it come around to his deal again why...

ROB: When it come around to whose deal?

US: The fella on the bed. He'd be a'shuffling 'em up and get ready to set 'em out you see for the fella on the chair to cut. And he'd say, "Where's them cigarettes?" to me, and I'd say, "They're over here behind this fella on the bed," calling him by name or something like that. Dack or something. He'd reach around and get it you see. The fella what he done he'd come out with this deck you see and had his finger in it cut it and set it down and put the lid on it.

ROB: Pick up the other deck.

US: Well he had that, he'd take that south. So this was what he was a'dealihg now you see, and signing. After the deal why sign one pair you see, and he had two pair. Of course we knowed that. We'd got that deck already fixed up. He had a pair of aces end a pair of kings. So I'd sign him first one pair and after the draw why sign him two pair. Why heck he had the two biggest pair in the world that fella on the bed so he knowed he had a cinch on it. So he bet back and forth you see till he got *em all in. The other fella on the chair he'd say why I guess you got it. I only got two pair they'd look and see but he had a queen that out niggered that other fella's jack.

ROB: Oh, I see.

US: Aces and kings and jack is what the fella on the bed had. And the other fella had aces and kings and a queen to nigger with. (Laughs.) And I wasn't a'giving him the wrong steer, no time. But they' usually tell somebody that knew something about that stuff and they'd get wised up. You could steer some of 'em two or three times. They'd go and get more money.

ROB: Yeah, I was wondering how many times you could work that on one person.

US: I've seen it worked three times on one fella. All in the same setting you

All in the same night? Yeah, go get some more money you know. Wouldn't you have to change the... Sucker? No, you couldn't give him the same aces, kings and jack again could you? Not him, no but you give him some other...

(End of Side C)

ROB: ...same night?

US: No, you couldn't go. It wouldn't have worked you see. That was the only one there that worked. See he would be wise to it cause somebody had told him and explained how it was done. Well now like my brother. He went down to Ritzville and put in a harvest. He was sewing sacks and got three and half a day at that time. He was going to get married after harvest. He made 160 dollars I believe and bought him a suit of clothes and was a'waiting for a train down home. He was in Spokane. So this fella come along and seen him standing around here. He says, "Hey where's the post office at?" Brother told him so-and«so someplace. "Well," he said, "what are you doing?" "Well," he said, "I'm waiting for a train." "Why don't you go along with me," he seid, "and I'll buy you a drink when we get back. Show me the post office." 'Course he didn't care a damn where the post office was, he knowed better than my brother did. And he got back and he says, "Id like to go in this saloon here to get my beer." He says, "If I'm broke why he'll trust me for a dollar or two." So they went in there. Course this was all loaded you know. So there was a couple of fellers sitting over there and they was about half drunk, you know, acting. And they was playing pitch. You know how to play pitch don't you?

ROB: I'm not sure.

US: Six cards to each one and they bid on 'em. Four is the most you can bid. So they was over there and they'd pitch and they'd get to betting between themselves. These two fellas they'd bet four or five dollars on a little something or nothing. So this fella that had my brother show him the post office, he said, "Let's set over there and play them a little bit for the drinks." Well my brother says, "All right." You know that fella was a likeable fella (laughing) that he'd showed the post office to, so they set over there. 'Course these fellas was still a'betting and acting crazy between themselves so this fella that he was with yeah set on this side of him...

ROB: Over to his left.

US: his left and the other two was around there. So come my brothers deal you know and that fella that was on his left was acting like, took his handkerchief and was rubbing brothers leg and he says, "By gosh," he says, "I'm afraid I spit on you a little bit." My brother looked to see and then picked up the deck and went to dealing 'em you see. Then the first fella he didn't bet, and the other fella over there he didn*t bet either. He passed, this fella over here was pretty slow, and he kind of exposed his hand a little bit. My brother seen it. He had three queens and another pair, I believe it was a pair of tens. Well my brother he bet that 160 dollars. My brother seen what he had, that he didn*t have much you know. (Laughs.)

ROB: Well did you brother have a good hand? Your brother had three queens and a pair of tens?

US: No the other fella had...

ROB: What did your brother have?

US: My brother had...wait a minute. Think back a little, it doesn't matter if I do get that a little mixed you can understand it anyway.

ROB: Your brother had a better hand than that guy.

US: Than this fella did, yeah.

ROB: Than the guy that was pretending to be drunk?

US: Yeah. And he could see he had a better hand so he had 30 dollars from this fella and he had 130 dollars of his own. And so he was going to rake in the bucks, ray brother-was. And the fella over there eays, "Wait a minute I've got a chance at this." I guess it was but anyway why he had the best hand of the whole bunch. So he took the whole caboodle you see, and of course when they got rid of my brother why they split up their winnings. So that was the way my brother got into that stuff. But he knowed it was on the square, you know, he dealt it himself.

ROB: But he got cold-decked?

US: He got cold-decked.

ROB: Was it possible to get en honest game of poker in Moscow?

US: No I don't think it was. It could have been, but the only one would have been a bunch got off together.

ROB: I mean if you walked into a saloon was it possible to get an honest game of poker?

US: Not a chance in the world. It was always loaded. When we was up there at Bonners Ferry this Lev Rambo and I, he was up there at Bonners Ferry playing the logging camp. There was a friend of mine, his name was Nelson. Nelson Noie, Nelson was his given name and Noie was his surname. And he was over at Soap Lake. He knew we went into that stuff and was pretty good at it. And by golly he wrote home and my wife sent it up to me, that was my first wife. So he wrote to me and he told me to come over he says you and one of your brothers, one or two of you. Says, "Money's no object, I've got plenty of money." But he says, "There's a gambling game a'going on over here and money/ changes hands everynight." 'Course I knew what the score was you see, so I wrote back and told him and thanked him for it but if he'd look that over every night he'd find out one or two of the seme persons won every night. And I says that's loaded. I says we wouldn't monkey about getting into a loaded game, that wouldn't be fair, you know.

ROB: If it was going to be loaded you want to load it yourself?

US: Yeeh. So he never wrote beck to me then after that. What he meant by money, he hed all kinds of money. And he'd furnish ell the money I needed. 'Course he didn't know enything about this crooked stuff.

ROB: The games were crooked? I was just wondering beck to the whorehouses again, were you safe in a whorehouse or was it like that sort of thing can be now where you might get rolled.

US: 'Course you see the ones that would get rolled in the whorehouse would be the drunks you know. Get in there and the gal would roll him for a little bit, maybe ell of it. But there wasn't much money roaming around in them days. And anybody going down there would probably have eight or ten dollars. Some fella would want to stay all night would cost you ten I guess. And things like that.

ROB: How much would just a short time cost?

US: Two and a half. Dust two and a half. 'Course in Spokene you know you cen get...there was whole houses fullof 'em for a dollar a chunk. I don't know whether it's that way anymore or not.

ROB: I haven't been in Spokane in awhile.

US: I haven't either.

ROB: They were pretty safe in there. You didn't have to worry about getting rolled or arrested or anything.

US: No not in particular. The only ways is if the gal would roll you if she could. Say you had some money and if you didn't take off your pants why she'd try to roll you and see where you put your money, try and to slip it out of your pocket.

ROB: While you were otherwise occupied?

US: Yeah. I guess they got by with it once in awhile.

ROB: Were most of the girls in the houses from someplace else or were some of them local girls that had kind of gone bad?

US: No there was pret'near all that was there...'course there was one...

ROB: Pret'near all of them were what?

US: From someplace else, come in you know. There was one she'd been a marned woman. Beales was her name. And her and her husband had separated. She was in there, Daisy Beales. She was in there. That was the only one that I knowed belonged around here. She'd been married here in Moscow to this fella Beales.

ROB: Do you think they got a very good deal, the girls themselves got a very good deal from the owners of the houses?

US: Let's see I think that the girl...I wouldn't ssy I think the girl got a dollar and a half but she had to pay her board out of that to the landlady. They'd have a cook, some woman cooking, maybe a man but most of the time a woman cooking. And the whores would get two end a half and I ain't sure whether they'd give the landlady a dollar or a dollar and a half. I didn't know anything about their deals on that.

But you're just as apt to catch a dose from the whore as you was anywhere. But there was some awful disease around here. There was sift around here for awhile. See this here Lev Rambo that I was telling you about he knowed some people by the name of Caldwell. They'd been friends a long time. This one she was married to him and of course Rambo he'd heard about her having the sift, after he was down there. They had a boarding house. They'd usually patronize that, they'd knowed the old felle and his wife that run it. But anyway he steyed down there. So she got after him, this here girl did. She wanted some beer, wanted to go down to the brewery. So he was a goodhearted fella, he didn't think that she would try it on him. They went down and stayed there about two or three hours, drank some beer. On the way back why she even sat down by him. He said she tried to get him to rope her, and had that sift. She died in about a week. He'd give her any money or anything to help her to get rid of it. Any money he had. You know that would take the starch out of a feller. To think that somebody they thought was a friend and then try that on him you know. See there was one fella, a friend of his, had already died with sift that he got from her. His name was Munger, George Munger. He wasn't a bad one or nothing. He wasn't married, he was just fooling around and he boarded down there too. You know rented a room and things. A fella would have thought they was all friends you know. She got after him after he'd taken her somewhere and done something and give it to him. Oh I don't know there was four or five that died around here about that time. Of course this Munger he waited too long. They claimed that if you had it and you get a dose of smallpox. If you was clear of the smallpox why you was clear of the sift. He got sift, he got his smallpox but he died anyway. He was too far gone. He was out at the poorhouse. They used to have a poorhouse out north of town there.

ROB: How did that run anyway? How did that work?

US: Well that was where they were not able to pay their way or nothing. They just stayed in the poorhouse. Of course like this fella, they had a pest house there too you see where he had that.

ROB: What's a pest house?

US: Pest house, put him off there by himself. See if they had smallpox why they'd put 'em off by their self. Anything that was catching why they'd put 'em off by theirself.

ROB: Well would people voluntairly move out to the poorhouse? If they couldn't make it any more would they just move out there?

US: Yeah. Well they'd get sent out there.

ROB: Who'd support 'em when they're out in the poorhouse?

US: The taxpayers. See just like it is here. I suppose it's the same ones that pays for the people in jail here. They feed 'em and the taxpayers comes out of it. It's quite a thing. (Untranscribed.)

ROB: Was it an accident that blinded you?

No it wasn't. It was glancoma.

I want to get back to the old days a little bit again, okay?

Oh, okay.

Talking about this woman that you were talking about.

The one that tried to get that fella to rope her?


She died of course...

Well I started now there's dating and people drive around in cars and they go to movies and they do this and that. And if they want to go out and do something they go out and park in their cars or something. What was the social or the dating life or the taking out girls and everything, what was that like in the early days? How would that work?

US: It depends on the person the man or boy and the girl. There was lots of nice girls you see and lots of nice boys too. But there was a lot of tough girls that'd give it to 'em. And there was tough boys that'd take it. Of c course if a fella was smart he wouldn't bother with *em because he's liable to get a dose of some kind of clap or something.

ROB: Was there a way of curing clap then?

US: Yeah, if you got the right doctor. See there was a fella out home there he got it and doctored with one doctor here in town. Doctored and doctored it for two or three years. Dust kept a'leading him on. Maybe he didn't know any better. So he told me about it and I knew a drug store fella pretty well here and I asked him I says, "Do you know any doctor that could cure clap." He said, "Hell yes. Old doc McGee." He was down there on A Street I believe had a hospital down there. So this fella went down there to him. I told him ebout it you know and he went down and talked to him and he said, "Yeah I'll cure you up." "Mow much is it going to cost me?" "I'll take it for fifty dollars." And this fella says to him he says, "Will you guarantee a cure for fifty dollars?" The fella says, "Yes you don't have to pay me." So heck in two weeks he was out of it. And he'd carried that damn thing for two years. Dust that confound doctor didn't know anything. There's another doctor Gritman down here he didn't know how to cure the clap I don't think. 'Course this old fat fellows that I was telling you about, the one that's quite a fisherman and used bait, he'd carried it for a long time. He finally cured himself with soap. Bought soap and got it pretty strong and inject that instead of the stuff that Gritman was a'giving him. He got cured up, I knowed several of 'em that got cured with soap. Boil it and make it thick first. This one fella said it was pretty painful.

ROB: Yeah, I imagine it would be.

US: But there was a fella up there at a logging camp...well it wasn't a logging camp it was just a three or four man outfit. By gosh it was funny. He went from here up there the same time as I did. Only I knew about who he was then, the other fella I didn't know and got up there you know and he told me he had a dose of clap. He'd been a'doctoring, asked if he had a syringe and he said yeah. So I told him about what they told me about boiling the soap, getting it strong. Then 'course he used his head with it, he couldn't stand it too long and he'd take clear water and syringe it out and kill that burning. But then I guess I quit before he did. My brother come along and decided to go somewhere else and work where we could make more money. So we quit there and I sesn him later on and asked him if that cured him and he said, "Yep" and he said, "Yeah,and dam the luck I got it in the sarae place." After he got back down home you know. But I think when he died he had trouble with it afterwards.

ROB: Was it a pretty common disease around here?

US: Yeah, by gosh it must be pretty tough right now from what you...

ROB: I guess they do consider it to be a real problem now. I just never heard that it used to be a problem too.

US: Yeah, used to be but not so bad as it is now. By gosh I think you wouldn't dare to pick her up in the street. 'Course that don't bother me any I've been pulled out. (Untranscribed.)

ROB: Did kids have to fight much to make a place for themselves or to prove themselves?

US: Not much, not there in the country where we was. I guess they had quite a little of that in Moscow here. Where they had to prove it out at swimming holes and one thing and another. You know they'd go to the swimming hole and some of them darn kids you had to fight to stay out of trouble kids anywheres no matter where they're at. There was one fella here in Moscow, he was telling me that he'd never been whipped in his life. So it wasn't a week till...we had a mug here at Moscow. I don't know if you ever knowed about that or not?

ROB: A mug?

US: A mug. It was a beer parlor, they called it a mug. And I don't think he told me three or four days before this happened that he picked a fight with a sailor here in the mug and I think the fella whipped him in about a minute I guess.

ROB: The sailor did.

US: The sailor whipped him. So then he fooled around awhile and acted pretty drunk, this fella did, and finally he decided he'd try him again. And the sailor took him again in about the same length of time. So he then fooled around awhile and fell down and acted like he was drunker, he wasn't so drunk though. He was trying to make people think that was the reason he got whipped. He wanted to fight the fella again and he says, "Hell, you can't fight." (Laughs.) He told the fella. That fella didn't have a mark on him, that sailor didn't. The other fella was scratched up a little. They was going at it pretty lively all right, that's where the bragger thought he had anybody else. He thought he was quicker than they were. But that darn sailor was as quick as he was and knowed how to handle himself.

ROB: Well folks up around Princeton area have told us that sometimes the Princeton boys would take on the Onoway boys. Did that sort of thing happen around here like the Moscow boys against the Moscow Mountains boys or...

US: Not to amount to anything.

ROB: Like fights after a baseball game or after a dance or something like that?'

US: No not very much. Once in awhile somebody'd get somebody's girl away from him and he'd get mad and tryhto fight anyway. You know what I mean? You know a fella that's crazy enough to fight over a girl if she quit him and went with another fella and he figured he could whip that fella, why he couldn't fight anyhow. You know what I mean?

ROB: If he's crazy enough to fight in the first place?

US: Yeah. Over a girl. Of course the fella that took his girl away would usually whip him. (Laughs.) No it's kind of a funny thing the way these things work out, one way and another you know. But that there, he hadn't told me over a week before that that he'd never been whipped in his life, then he got twice defeated. If the fella hadn't had let him alone he'd have whipped him just as often as he tried to fight. The funny part of it was he told his dad, he told him about the fight you see. (His dad) says, "You seen it did you?" And I says, "Yeah." He says, "Who whipped?" I says, "The sailor whipped." He says, "He didn't tell that, he said he whipped him." He asked me he says, "Who started the fight?" And I says, "He did.n Your boy started the fight tried to hit him when he wasn't a looking." (Laughs.) That sailor had been places, I guess, huh? He didn't get hit afceall, the sailor. But see he thought he was getting him poked before the fella knew to fight.

ROB: Right. Right, thought he might be able to win before it really got started.

US: But he got fooled pretty badly. And course I guess he put up a pretty good fight, different times, but that all depends on the other fella a heck of a lot. See one fella you could jump out here and whip him maybe pretty easy, but next fella you tie into maybe he ain't going to be so easy. My brother he weighed about 150 I guess he was a small fella about five foot eight or nine. I ain't sure. But there was a dance one time up there in the winter and had plenty of booze, of course we wasn't a'making it we was a'buying it. So there was this fella up there, I don't know what the dickens was the matter with the nut but anyway him and my brother was kind of sparring with one another. There was about three foot of loose snow so my brother, just like he wasn't afraid of nothing, he fell over backwards in the snow. That fella thought boy I'll make a fight out of this and get me a reputation, so he says, "Now tear in you son of a bitch." And boy brother had him hit four or five time before he could say jack robinson, come out of that snow on top of him. So I told my brother I seys, "Let him go." He wasn't drunk either, the fella that done that. He just thought he'd make a reputation for himself. Of course my brother he didn't care enough about his reputation but he really could move and move fast. He's about as fast as anybody I'd ever seen move. Fell right over backwards in the snow and this fella climbed right on, or thought he was a'climbing on. "Now tear in you son of a bitch." After my brother fell over backwards, just fooling. Fell over backwards for fun. Why he thought he'd make a fight out of it then. He did.

ROB: But your brother tore in too, huh?

US: He tore in fast.

1:00 - Building a still; how to make moonshine

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Segment Synopsis: Building a still. How to make moonshine. Double-run moonshine, flavored with oak shavings.

17:00 - Stool-pigeons; paying protection; operation on Moon Creek

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Segment Synopsis: Stool-pigeons and reveneurs. Paying protection. Massive operation on Moon Creek.

25:00 - Starting as a moonshiner; curing ulcers; squealers

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Segment Synopsis: Ulysses' start as a moonshiner. Moonshine cures his ulcers. Buying a still from Montgomery-Wards. Squealers.

31:00 - Moonshiner competition; busts and close escapes; caught by Federals

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Segment Synopsis: Competition between moonshiners. Busts and close escapes. Ulysses caught in his still-house by the Federal.

40:00 - Bunt Roland was a stool pigeon; Bunt tries to set him up; turning informer after they were arrested

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Segment Synopsis: Bob West beats a Negro to death. West wouldn't go looking for stills, would only serve warrants. Bunt Roland, stool pigeon, tries to set Ulysses up. Some people would turn informer after they were arrested.

49:00 - Ulysses' trial; McNeil's Island Penitentiary; cousin was a con man

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Ulysses' trial. A sharp lawyer tries to get him to fight it. Life at McNeil's Island Penitentiary. One of Ulysses' cousins was a con man.

54:00 - Moscow Mountain settlers; Lee Guy gets shot

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Segment Synopsis: Moscow Mountain settlers. Lee Guy gets shot at.

61:00 - Charley Rambo and Lev Rambo; the Peterson brothers

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Segment Synopsis: Charley Rambo, a good fighter. Lev Rambo, a gambler. The Patterson brothers, a tough bunch.

66:00 - Grace Fleming; houses free of disease

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Segment Synopsis: Three whorehouses west of the tracks. Grace Fleming, madam. The whorehouses were supposed to be free of disease.

71:00 - Moscow saloons; Moscow brewery; informers

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Segment Synopsis: Saloons in Moscow. Moscow brewery. Informers.

76:00 - Fishing without bait

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Segment Synopsis: Fishing without bait.

78:00 - Gambling in Moscow; games in the logging camps; feared new decks were marked

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Segment Synopsis: Gambling in Moscow; you couldn't find an honest game. Ulysses shilled games in the logging camps. Loggers wouldn't play with a new deck, fearing it was marked.

86:00 - Set-ups and cold-decking

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Segment Synopsis: Set-ups and cold-decking. Playing the suckers.

91:00 - Cold-decking; brother conned in Spokane

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Segment Synopsis: Cold-decking (continued). Ulysses brother is conned and cleaned in Spokane.

96:00 - Curing illnesses with smallpox

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Segment Synopsis: Getting rolled in the whorehouse. Ten dollars a night, two and a half a chunk. Most whores were from out-of-town. Clap was a problem everywhere. Curing clap with smallpox.

100:00 - Houses outside Moscow; doctors that could cure illnesses

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Segment Synopsis: Poorhouse and Pesthouse outside Moscow. Curing clap. Dr. McGee could cure clap and Dr. Gritman couldn't.

115:00 - Fights; beer parlors; bullies

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Segment Synopsis: Fights, beer parlors, and bullies. "Now tear in you son of a bitch."


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