digital initiatives logo library logo

Latah County Oral History Collection

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

« View All Nellie Wood Smith interviews

Report a problem with this interview.

Date: October 03, 1975 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

Search This Index



Download the PDF transcript

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

NELLIE WOOD SMITH: Yes, he would when they that new law and voted in that pension business, that was at a time when he had already been working for 30-40 years and all that time they weren't doing that. Then all he gets is from that time on until he retired.

SS: So what does he...

NS: The later part of his labors here is all we can draw on.

SS: What does it come to?

NS: Thirty-six dollars and twelve cents.

SS: And how many years is that for?

NS: Well, I don't-

SS: That he actually worked for them?

NS: Oh, 53. He didn't retire until he was 83 years old. Because they couldn't find anybody else that could take the place. He ran every machine in the machine shop. He would sometimes have two or three of them going at time. He'd go from one of them to the other. The drill press and the - he had the two lathes there, and I don't know - all those things in the machine shop.

SS: So he was indespensible to them?

NS: Well, they looked around and they couldn't find anybody that could run all those things. They maybe could find somebody that could run one of them but to have somebody to take care of all of them, they'd have to hire five or six men, or three or four, you know, to take care of all those things. Some of them couldn't handle all those. But Ernie was pret-near born with the idea. He just started to work in the machine shop in the East when he was twelve years old. He started firing the engine and cleaning up around them. And he just grew up in the machine shop, you know. His older brother was master mechanic there and he was watching him so whenever time he was putting up some machinery there or setting things up in their lathe - why, he was watching him and he got so he could do it. He just learned from his older brother. Just all he needed to know. He's quite efficient at it in no time. And then after he was kinda grown-up the owner of the shop put him on in to the foundary. They had a foundary in connection with their machine shop and he used to be molder in that foundary and would mold out big things and all.

SS: Do you know where he got the idea of coming West from - Ernie?

NS: Why, he got the idea from the - when his brother and nephew came West. Well, there was another man that had been a great friend of thei rs, Mr. Hollenbeck. And he had come West and had wrote back to them and said, "Why don't you guys all come out here?" He says, "Everything's kinda new and original, you know, and everything's kinda wide open and lots of things to do, you know. And lots of jobs. There's a possibility, you know, of lots of work, you know." And he said, "Why don't you come on out here?" And he liked tt so well and they liked the climate and liked everything about it. And they had been here quite a while. And so, I guess, they decided to come out and look around and see what it looked like out here. And they liked it. And peetty soon they had hired out cutting cordwood. And they found that job - a man wanted some cordwood cut. So they hired out to him. Tbey thought that would do for a meal ticket until they found something different. And so they, I think, they worked the whole winter for that man down at Troy there. His name was Swanson, I think. So they boarded right there and lived right there with the Swansons. They had a room for them and all. And that got them started and then they came on up to Helmer. They got the family out there. They had worked long enough to get money enough to send back and have the family come.

Well, the family moved to Helmer and they lived fhere for quite a,while. There was a school there - the kids could go to school. And so - then Ernie then finally, he got a chance to go up toward Elk River here - at about the Neva Hill place. You probably - well, right along there somewhere is the old Golden Rod Mine and they were working that at the time. So they hired out to that man. And then worked there for him and then he got acquainted with a few other people. The same people that we knew, homesteaders right around . . And, of course, we knew Hollenback because his wife was staying there with us and he was working. I guess, we had gotten acquainted with them before the others came, anyhow. And then, so then he dropped in. Or we told him to bring the folks over, you know, some Friday afternoon or evening, or Saturday and they'd stay over Sunday. And because we knew of Ernie's folks, you know, we knew of them. We'd heard so much about them. Then Mr. and Mrs. Hollenbeck knew the whole bunch of them. So we all planned. "Well, let's come over the next Sunday then and spend Sunday at our place." And they came over and we had a nice garden and all kinds of vegetables and we had chickens and anytime we wanted fried chicken, we'd have fried chicken. Well, the main things - we'd have sometimes a big kettle of beans which was, you know, very decidedly a bachelor's dinner. They could cook beans at home but ours taste better for some reason or another. Mother was a good cook. And so we had those beans and we had lots of nice lettuce and we'd have wilted lettuce in there. And generally with egg sliced right over the top of it. Boy, they thought that - they hadn't cared for lettuce much but^took their eye, that wilted lettuce. And we had our own baked bread, homemade bread, you know. And, I don't know what all.

We'd get an order every once in a while whenever we found one of the neighbors was going out to Helmer, that was our nearest grocery store. And when he'd be going out to Helmer there. And we'd make out a grocery list and get that in there before the day he was to go. Well, he'd bring back ours and everybody else's list, you know, - a whole wagon load. And then you'd go back over to his place - that was about a mile to where they lived. And there's where he'd leave the stuff - Millers . And we'd^et ours and take it on home. And we'd have bacon and eggs and everything. We had our own chickens.

SS: So Ernie and his folks really liked being at your place.

NS: Yes, they just thought they'd found second heaven, pret-near. You know, we were all Missourians from the same place - not from the same place, but near. But didn't know them in Missouri but we were both from Missouri, both. So they just got so, the folks - well, we got a kick out of them. During the daytime the bunch of us sitting around talking and visiting, and the boys would probably get out in the front yard, you know. And we had a grassy front yard and all, and they'd be out there playing some kind of games or something. Or what do I want to say - all kinds of -

SS: Atheletics?

NS: Atheletics. Sometimes they - un-huh, and all things like that. Each fellow trying to out-do the other one in their stunts. Some of them could walk on their hands, you know, and all such foolishness - entertainment. And they always had such a good time. So we would look for them every Sunday. Mother invited them to "C'mon over." She knew thay were lonesome as everything out there at the mine. And there was another - the Zumetagen boys - there was two brothers of them. Awfully nice, they had a homestead not far from us and then Ora Hayes had another homestead about a mile and a halfsanother way. So they all collected right in that way and they'd have a big dinner and just entertain the whole bunch. Sometimes they'd fix it so they'd come and stay all night. They'd fix the - we didn't have bedroom enough but they would - in the summer time - would sleep out. We had quite a lot of bedding.

SS: Well, Nell, I wanted to ask you how Ernie started working for Potlatch. Did he start as soon as they came into Bovill?

NS: Well, yes. He - after he - well, we quit out there and we moved in town because the folks wanted to get us kids in school. And we had missed one term of school. Well, then when we moved in town - I don't know if that made any difference in it or not but anyhow it wasn't long until the group moved into Bovill, that is part of 'em, anyway. And I think things kinda closed down at the mine or something. But anyhow they came in and the Henry Smiths was living here at Helmer and then Ernie was out there. And he started into - to move in or to come into Bovill and, of course, he knew we were living here. We moved away out there. He dropped in to see us and all and got a job right now. They put him busy they had, I think, they had gotten Henry then to work because he was a master mechanic in the East, you see. And they knew machinery from right to left and upside down. And so - I don't know whether he went up to the shops to see Henry or what. But I think Henry was already working there at that time. And they put him in around the machinery, anyhow. There was another fella had the master mechanic's job but Henry was head workman, anyhow. Then Ernie run into them some way or other and they said, "Well, we have a job for you here if you want it." And it was running a donkey engine. So that's the way he started for the Potlatch - was on a donkey engine. And it was up in the old Camp 7, way up in there. And he didn't know anything about donkey engines - running it really. But he knew enough about engines and about machinery that he took it right over. Did you ever see one of them work?

SS: I've never seen 'em running but I've seen pictures of 'em.

NS: There's pictures in that book - of what - you call 'em here. Ernie's on one of the engine's, I think, in that book. But, they run their cable line way out into the woods and hook onto a log or a bunch of logs and then they give the signal, a whistle signal, and that's clear the track. And then they drag that load in and then its loaded onto the car, you know, and that's the way that the logging started up here. He hadn't gotten used to that when they/finally - he worked quite a little while at that and it surprised him. They said he was the best engineer they had, I think, on all the engines at that time. So Ernie - when he was still working there - something happened that they needed somebody at the shop anyhow, somebody had been working at the shop. And I think Henry told Ernie - he knew what was going on around the shop all right from his working in the East. So . he hired.over to the shops and started working there. He went from one job to another, whatever was ground/and finally he was put right in the shop with them lathes and all those things. And finally Henry left and he went onto Teko I think it was. Had a job offered to him up there and a high school where his girls could go to high school. And after Henry was gone, why there was another man that took the master mechanics work and Ernie was put in behind him. But he wouldn't take the lead. He wanted to be the boss but he didn't want - he didn't like to be - he was a good workman aut he didn't want the responsibility - he didn't Have much education in books and things. He never went beyond the, I think, fifth grade or something like that. And quit school.

SS: Why did he not want to be a boss? Did he ever say?

NS: Well, he was afraid these problems would come up and they would require bookwork that maybe he couldn't handle mostly. And the responsibility of it. He didn't like that responsibility but he liked to do the work. Then it got so that after he was put in charge of the lathes^hy someone from camp'd telephoned in that, well. "Enaine number so and so has got to have a new brass. Bring out a general." Or something like that. And they could tell him engine number so and so - he knew every dimension and he didn't keep any books either. He just had it up here. And that's the way he always worked. By the time they got in here to get it or run the engine in or sent somebody in for a piece that could be applied out there, why he had it turned out on the lathe and the dimensions and aeady to go. And that's one reason they - it just wasn't so easy to replace him.

SS: That takes a kind of real special knack to be able to do something like that. Most people never could.

NS: Yes. And well, one of the traveling men that used to come in and get their orders for the material for the shops. And Ernie was setting up a piece of work at the time and they got to talking about it - about the work and all - and he asked about - this fella asked about the way he did it. Ernie just set it up, you know, from memory and all and the fella said something about micrometer. And he said, "No, I don't use one. Never used one." And that fella thought it was kinda funny, that fella in there doing their lead work without knowing - without his micrometer, that would make it perfect. And they got to talking, arguing about it and some of the other fellas standing around too, talking about'and they said, "Well, I'll bet you Smith can put that out in his way and it'd be just as good as your micrometer, maybe better." , they got a bet up that he couldn't do it. So Ernie set up his work and turned it out and the fella measured it up with his micrometer and it was right on the scratch. He said, well, he never saw that before. He wouldn't have believed it.

SS: What do you think it is was that Ernie had - that kind of ability - is that something just born with or what?

NS: Well, kind of but, I think, well - you see he started in twelve years old 8. at that, and kinda grew up with it. And he didn't have book education enough to sit down and oh, figure it out - and all the dimensions and all. But he knew them and he'd pick up a tool and he'd tell you, "That one's a 32rd, or this one's a 64th." Or something like that. He just knew the tools and all that was. And he was used to them for years. And I t hink, it was mostly because he didn't have the book training - schooling that he really should have had but he memorized it. He knew if he got it he had to memorize it or else he'd have to start learning again. And it was his choice that he memorized it.

(Somebody: You can go in, I guess. He got in there by himself so I guess you better..)

NS: Yes, it's all right.);

SS: Maybe it worked out better for him that he did have it so that he learned things so well.

NS: Well, where's your shirt?

Somebody: He hasn't got it yet.

SS: Hi Ernie.

Ernie Smith: Hi.

Somebody: He's sitting at the table so I figured I better feed him.

SS: We're talking about how good you was in the machine shop. That's what we're talking about.

Somebody: Com e on, sit down here.

Ernie: By golly, that's all right then.

NS: And that shirt, that black plaid, you know, that hangs on the bedpost. Somebody: Take a step or two before you sit down. There now.

SS: Yah, she's gonna get you. Did I tell you that Axel Anderson, last summer when I was talking to him in Spokane, he told me that Ernie could make anything. That all he had to do was just dnaw him a picture if it was something, you know, he wanted to show him and he could make it just from that.

NS: Yes, he did. He'd go out - anything that they'd send in and want to- he'd just go out and pick up a piece of scrap brass or something - whatever they had to make it out of - and take it in and turn it out on the lathe. Whatever it was they needed, what,they wanted. Oh, let me see, I don't think what it is just now but I will pretty soon. I have a little trinket in there. Anytime I had to be up at the shop and stand talking to him, he'd turn out some little trinket, you know, or something another for me to take home. And there's one thing, it was about that big around one end and a little bigger at the bottom and it was a candle holder. And he turned that out for me while I was standing there from a piece of scrap brass or something, And then he fixed another one time that was about that big around and it was a little bowl, kinda, a shallow bowl. And then the bottom of it came out larger. that was my pin tray. It was just the right size to put my pins in when I'd be sewing. BUt that disappeared.

SS: Was this while you were going together?

NS: No, that was after we were married, after we were married.

SS: Do you thin k that the company and the other people working realized how good Ernie was?

NS: Yes, because one - well, they had a meeting of - oh - some of the upper crust there. Oh, some kind of business meeting and the bosses told 'em they were going to have to lay off some of these old fellas. They were beyond the age, you know, of- and that they were supposed to be retired. And they was naming some and said "Smith". And I don't know, they named another too. And one of the foreman said,"Well, if you're going to lay Smith off, you can give me mine too". Or something like that. And the guy that's started it - and he told them, he said, "If you Smith off you can plan on putting on four or five others to run these different jobs." He said, "He can run every one of 'em, and sometimes three - four at a time." Go from one on to the other and adjust, you know. And then round off to a certain point, why he'd adjust it to go a little further. Anyhow, he stayed. They didn't lay him off, then.

SS: After he was of retirement age, like 65, did it get a lot harder for him to do the work or did he -could - just keep on doing it the same as ever?

NS: Yes. And he worked until he was 83, you see. But, oh, he began to slow up a little but he'd work all night some nights if he had to have a piece of material - some kind of piece of machinery right away, something urgent. Why maybe he'd fix an engine over night. They'd work all night on it. He and maybe somebody else whoever helped with the...

SS: Did he do that a lot in the early days?

NS: Um, hum.

SS: Stay all night and that kind of thing?

NS: Well, every once in awhile. Sometimes he'd just work several hours after working time was up but he'd work for several hours and then he would come on home. But once in a while, there's been a few times, he worked all night when he wanted to be sure to get something out for it was urgent. And he'd come, maybe get in home, maybe 3-4 o'clock in the morning. Lav a sleep an hour or two then be up and gone again. So...

SS: How did you feel about that, that your husband was working so much extra?

NS: Well, I didn't have much to say about it. I knew that.was what he considered necessary and it was urgent stuff and he was - I just expected it every now and aeain. And see, he was two miles up the track, he re, was when the shop was then. And sometimes he'd have to walk those miles, but then sometimes if there was a fellow that was helping would happen to have a car, well, they'd drive him home. But he took his lunch pail and walked for years and years about two miles up there. But he liked the hiking .anyhow. So...

SS: You know, it's funny. It seems like the company should have given him a lot more -

NS: Well, they should have raised his wages too. Where he was doing the work of 3-4 men, you see, why he should have had their share, their wages, as far as that goes. Or upped his wages quite a bit but they didn't.

SS: But this pension of 36 dollars just not right for somebody that worked as long...

NS: Well, I guess, they couldn't. That was the rule. It was only from this certain date on, beyond that time, you see. But they could have raised his wages so he could compare with it and all. But they didn't bother about that. But he used to make - well, in those days it was considered good wages but it wouldn't be half what they're getting now. Every once in a while I run across an old slip - Vine stub end of .his check, you know, with the amounts on it - three or four hundred dollars. And they tried to get him back on the donkey. Once in a while they would have to go out on - to do something, fix something about the donkey, broken down. It was usually something that he could fix pretty quick.

SS: So once he got in the shop he stayed there?

NS: Yah, they kept him right in the shop.

SS: So he became their master mechanic?

NS: Well, the master mechanic would have had the whole lead say so. The boss of it and all he didn't want that. But he was to do all the fancy work, head work, if he wanted but he just didn't want the responsibility of the whole thing. He wasn't a very good boss. He could do all the work he wanted and then some. But he didn't like being boss.


SAM SCHRAGER: .. .off of Beall's Butte in 1914. What, how did it develop? How did knowledge of the fire reach town?

NELL SMITH: Oh, it didn't take it long to reach town. You look out and see a smoke rolling out, it may be four - five - ten miles from here but boy, it rolled up and you'd know pretty soon it was fire, you know. Well, at that time, that fire came in to usjj out across northwest of us here, came southerly. And just started to - they had fire fighters out but it got away from them, see. When mother and them went up to see what, up the other end of town so they could see better and see how that looked there. And they came back and said, "BoyJ" Mother seemed to be kinda astonished. She had never seen just anything quite like that before. And she said, "Oh,it's just a boiling up. The smoke's boiling up above the trees, you know, thoee tall trees, the tall timber." Well, then green stuff in there too. It was young stuff. But anyhow, they said, "It was just big old heavy smoke, black smoke and all. And just clouds of it and all." And said finally it looked like ^ big old ball of gas that'd roll in. Rolling in and dip down near the ground and it'd touch some of the weeds, some of the underbrush,and the little timber^where the grass was growing. And some of the limbs would come loose from the fire and would droop down and catch. And then it would catched in that dry grass, why then, it was just like an explosion and set the whole thing a going. It just came right across the meadow in that grass and all things like that, you know. Things are treacherous.

SS: Well, how did a - Did your mother found out about it just from seeing it? She could see it coming or did you know it was coming?

NS: No. We knew there was fire there out aways, you know. But she thought -

well, she how bad it was or how close it was going to be creeping in toward town or anything. And went up there and it was just coming - getting pretty close. So they hustled on back then and she said, "You know, the people up in the other end of town there are getting ready to leave. The're all getting ready to leave town." And we thought that was kinda funny. I was new to that kind of stuff, was news to us. And we stoodTand talked about it a little bit. And I said, "Well, maybe we'd be wise to - if we went in there and gathered up a few things if they're She said women up there in the other end of town were digging up the ground and burying their silverware and their dishes and things like that. And she was talking. She had heard them talking about it. So when I came down I said, "Well, maybe it'd be a good idea if we went in there and gathered up a few of our things and maybe put them in those old trunkcs that we had there. Each one of us had a trunk - those big old fashioned ones, you know. I said, "There's nothing in them but junk." knick knacks and stuff that had no value, just keep sakes, you know. Well she said, "Maybe it might be a good idea." And she said, "And if we had to leave town we'd have a little of our stuff to take. And if we didn't, why we'd unpack it again, I guess. Well, we didn't have any time for that but we thought we did, you know. So we were in there unpacking, oh, these pretty boxes, candy boxes, you know. He'd come in with a big box of candy every once in a while or something, you know, novel, or something pretty. So we were getting out all the boxes and all the trinkets so we'd have room in the trunk. I had mine just about half unloaded and mother was unloading hers in the other room, I guess, next door to mine. And my sister had said something about, she looked out the side door and sha said, "Well, there comes Ernie." So we thought, well, he's coming down here for something about the fire maybe. But we went ahead unpacking because we it must be more serious than we thought. And waited for him and we were still working at it. And I said, "Well, I thought you said that Ernie was coming?"

And she said, "Well, he was. He was right up the street here a little ways, and coming on the run." So I stepped through into the dining room from the kitchen where I was and the doors were all unlocked. And I looked through that way and he was in the front room and just going this way with the clothes. Taking 'em down - our good clothes and suits and, you know. He was gathering the clothes out the clothes closet - there was a closet right beside the door. And so I said, "Well, he's in there." I stepped back and said, "Well, he's in the front room there gathering our clothes and things." And I went back, hurrying with these, a little faster, and he come * and just dumped 'em all in and liked to dumped me in there with 'em. I was all stooped over there and taking out those things, you know, unpacking. And he just threw them all in - good clothes and all, and I had to fight my way out from under them. I said, "Well, you just about shipped me along with 'em"

SS: He was - he knew it was a lot worse than you thought? You were taking your time getting the stuff out to repack?

NS: We were going to redo our things up nice and then there wouldn't be anything upset or anything. We just start from where we left off. We'd unpack. And if we didn't have to go,why it would give us som ething to do, unpack and we wouldn't know the difference. Wouldn't be messed up. Anyhow, we got those - he said, you know, well, they dug all.they could at the camp, at the machine shops and all. They wet everything down with a hose. They just soaked everything, there because the fire was getting so close there to them. And there was people that lived up there and he said that he and another fella had soaked all the buildings, you know, all the roofs and everything so that they wouldn't catch very easy. And he said they did all they could. then they struck out for town to see what had become of the rest of us. And they - I think he said, I think that he came down ahead - no, he didn't. He came afterward. That engine that was bringing the people from Camp 8. They was just this side of the machine shops, was what they called Slabtown and that's where several families lived. There, oh, 8-10 people I guess, that lived there. And they had stopped, and he had said when he cdme in that the people up in the other end of town there, they were pulling out. They were shipping them out or something like that. They had come down already on the freight train - on the flat cars. And he said that they couldn't do anymore up there so he came on down here. And when he told us that, well, we began to hurry. And he said, "Well, come on. Get yourselves ready here and lets go to - so we can get down there. They're waiting down at the depot to carry the people out of here. To take the people out on the flats." And he said to Dad, "Dad, why don't you go get the dray and have them pick up these trunks, will ya?" Well, Dad struck outAon high and there was an old fella that had a dray line here. St. Germain was his name. And he- pretty soon he came back with the dray man and he backed right up to the backdoor. But meanwhile, we saw him coming, you see, and we said, "What do we do with these?" The tuVnks were just old and they had no locks or keys or anything. And, you know, there's always so much plundering going on at times like that. There's always a lot of snooping into everything. We wondered what we'd do about that. And no way of tying it. We had no ropes or anything. And Ernie said we couldn't fix it because we didn't have no rope. I said, "Go get the clothesline!" And he said, well, he couldn't. He didn't have time to cut it. I said, "Well, take the ax and cut it down." I was in ... and so he did. He whistled out and got it. And had the clothesline all wound up and put him in the dray with our trunks and him - shoved him right in there with 'em. No. Dad was. We shoved him in there to tie those, rope those trunks after they got on the dray, and on the flat cars up there. So, they got there just in time, at the depot, with our trunks? to just unload them

right off the wagon and onto the flatcars, just the round flatcars. And Dad with 'em ' cause we told him - we all told him - "Well, now, don't you dare leave those trunks a minute until you get them all tied on. You take care of those 'cause that may be all we'll ever have." Because we figured we're burning out. So Dad thought he had to do that or he knew we'd all be on his neck. So...

SS: You went down to the - you walked down to the depot yourselves ?

NS: I did , un-huh. But the freight cars - or the flatcars, they had pulled out then, by that time. Dad just go there in time to get those on there and the train pulled out. And old Dad went on down as far as Deary and, I guess, he'd got the things wired up by that time or he had them put off, anyhow, at Deary. And then he got them wired sometime or other - either on its way or after he got there, I don't know which. And then he got somebody to bring him back up here to see what became of us.

SS: Well, what became of you? You went down to the depot and you said you were dressed up in a lot of clothes.

NS: I was really dressed up. I had, well, - as soon as - after we got - they started out with our trunks, then we began to think. Ernie was hurrying us, we thought, well, we better get out of there then before, we said - before that train pulled I out. We didn't know that was gone until we got there. But they had run in some passenger coaches from Potlatch. At that time, they had wired ahead and had an engine come up here and bring up some passenger coaches to take the people out of there.

And so, we all got ready to start and I was expecting to be - as I say - expecting my baby any day then. Well, the doctor told me that I could expect him around the fifth of August he thought. And I thought, I don't think he knows, because I was planning on being,-well, I don't know. Maybe I'm getting that crooked.^ I planned on the fifth of August 'cause he told me one time there when he was checking me before hand, "Now if you go beyond the 25th of July, you'll probably go to the 25th of August." And I thought, I don't think he knows what he's talking about, but I thought I won't argue. But anyhow, that was the third of August when this fire come along. So I thought, "Well, anything could happen, I guess." So I prepared. So I got my suitcase that I had everything packed that I had laid away for a whole month in readiness. If anything happens sudden, well, all I had to do was pick up the suitcase and it was all there. I had a couple of sheets, and a couple of diapers, I think, and a little outfit - just the first dressing and all . there. So, I picked up my suitcase. And then we'd taken all the blankets and things off the bed, most all of 'em. And spread them out on the floor and dumped all the pillows and covers in and tied the four corners and they went with the trunks and all, so we 'd have some bedding. And then when we started to go down there, well, I happened to think, "Oh!". Well, I hadn't gotten my dress. That was my aunt's dress there - my great-aunt. And I was so big that I couldn't wear any decent clothes. But Aunt Mary - I had borrowed one of her dresses one time because we had all wanted to go somewhere. And she weighed about two hundred/ twenty-five or two-fifty. And I had her dress so I had to wear that whatever I was going to do. So I had it there, I hadn't sent it home yet. I had my old mother Hubbard, just plain blue calico dress on. It was the only thing I could wear. And I happened to think as I was about to pass the little closet - clothes closet in my bedroom - why, there was Aunt Mary's dress hanging there. I thought, "Oh, my goodness. I can't let that dress burn up." And I grabbed it and put it on over top of what I had on. It was nice material. It was a good dress, and it had a lacy front in here. Oh, I'd give a nickle if I had a picture of some of that stuff, because it looked funny at the time but its got to be funny afterwards. I put the dress on and I had that safe,I figured. And I started to go out through.. .and I thought, "Oh, my goodness, I can't go like this. Why there's only two diapers in that suitcase and if anything'd happened to me along the way, why that's the first thing they'd have to do is send somebody to the store down fhere for outing flannel."

SS: For what?

NS: For outing flannel. For baby flannet to make diapers, if anything like that should happen. So I said they'd have to go to Potlatch store there and get some. So I - "Now wait a minute!" and I ran and I had another calico dress hanging there that I wasn't taking that.. .but finally, I wondered what in the world could I take them in and I saw that dress and I spread it on the bed. And then I piled in a few dozen - all the diapers I could count. I had, I think, five or six dozen made and stored in the little dresser there - they called the commode, there by me. And I piled them in there and I tied four corners of that blue calico dress. And then I could run my arm through where it was tied. And I had thatAalright. And I went to the front room then and I was getting ready to go out the front door. And oh, as I went out, went to - we were outside there, I saw my guitar. No. I think it was my hat I saw first. But anyhow, there was my hat. I had a white horsehair braid hat, and it was quite a pretty thing. The ladies had just been in here. They used to come in every week or two, or once a month,anyhow, with millinery goods, and selling hats and things. They had all of it. I had bought a beautiful blue - it's a gulf blue, I guess, you'd call it. No, it was more like a - it was^varigated slightly. But it was an ostrich plume. I think, right where they sliced those things on the feathers, you know, to make them droopy, to make them a lot longer. Well, I had bought a plume for that hat just a while before, and I just couldn't stand to see that hat go up in to smoke. I grabbed it and put it on. My hair was in a lot worse mess than it is now. I was just all wrinkles - hadn't combed it yet. I had been busy packing. So I pinned it on right, too.

SS: On top of your other hat?

NS: No, I didn't have any hat on. I just had my hair all stringy around. Stringy hair. And ^hen I happened to think about - took a look behind the curtain just right beside the door there - at the clothes closet - and, oh, there was my guitar. And I'd had that ever since I was twelve years old. Mother and Dad had got it for me for Christmas and I just couldn't stand to see that go up in smoke. So, well, I loaded that on. And I can't figure what I looked like but here I was: a suitcase in one hand and a big bundle of diapers in the other; the guitar tucked under this way and the hat. I don't know whether I had anything more, but that was about all I could carry. And I was going along then, wobbling.

And so, we all started out then to walk to the depot. So anyhow, we got out the front of our lot where we joined the street and Aunt Mary and her husband and her brother were coming from their - she was my great-aunt. They just came up the street and joined us in front of our house there. And Aunt Mary had dressed - well, looked the same way she had things gathered up, and she thought.. .They had mostly suitcases though. And she happened to see - she had kind of a Mexican sunhat, kind a, she always wore around when she was out running up and down to our place, or any, j ust to shade, for shade. So she had that hat on while she was working around, and she happened to look up. Hanging on a nail there, "Oh, my goodness", there was her good hat and she didn't want to loose that. So she grabbed it and put it on that peak and put a pin through it, on^top of that peaked hat, you know.

SS: What kind of a hat was this she put on? On top of it?

NS: Well, that was.dress hat really, a Sunday-go-to-meeting dressy hat, and it was pinned on to the top of that straw hat, sun hat. She looked funny with that dangling on the top of that with a pin run through it to hold it.

(Aside to Ernie) (back to interviewer) Well, I guess he decided he wants a different chair for some reason or another.

And, then, she had some suitcases and traveling bags. And Uncle Ed, her husband, had some other things. Then her brother, Uncle Henry Smith,had.... (to Ernie) Here! Now I think I heard you spitting around there. No. That don't go. There's spit cans over there.

And, Uncle Henry was going along . He had two of these men's traveling bags, like they used to have. And he had them in his hands. And he was a great big ., about two-fifty, big man - big tummy on him. And he had them and then he walked with a wobble, as he walked along. And he was dressed in a - well, he was always kinda dressed up,when he wasn't working or anything. And he had his white shirt and suit on and he chewed tobacco. He was walking along and he'd just.. j(spitting sound).. . like this, and he'd spit and splattered on his shirt. And he said,"Oh, I'm so darn scared I can't spit over my chin." So we just laughed.

Anyhow, we kept on and got down to the depot, got on the train then. And then they had time to kill there for about five hours. They were just waiting for the emergency signal. Anytime.they thought it was necessary they'd give the signal and/pull out that train with all that was on it. But, they us there until about ten o'clock and I think we went down about five. And it was about 10 o'clock that theyAnotified us. They said, "Well, you folks just as well go home now and go to bed. Get some rest because they think that the danger is over for the night." The winds had changed and it was going kinda back, away from us. And so they said, "Get some rest ." And then they said, "If worse comes to worse, if it dees get any worse by we'll give the signal so that you can all get here in time." And there'd be four long whistles so that engine - and that 23 was an engine that had pulled the things in there - one. of the main logging engines. And anyhow, it had a terrible siren of a whistle on it and they said they'd give four long signals. And that means "Come on, that there's danger." And so we all went home then. There wasn't much place to sleep or much bedding or anything but we got by. And anyhow, when we were asleep in bed, about three o'clock in the morning, something like that, I heard the whistle start. It woke me up. Ernie was so tired, I guess,from what he'd run home from the shop and been working, that he slept through it. I was... I heard that whistle start blowing. And I laid real still, here come another one. I laid still, and uh-oh, I'm afraid that's it. Then came a third blast. And now,I was just kinda waiting, and here come the fourth blast. And I nudged Ernie/and said, "Hey, there's your whistle." And he said, "How many is that?" And I said, "There were four long whistles from that engine." And he just jumped out of bed into his britches, I think, on the run. And he said, "Pfell, you folks get ready. I'll run up and see if it's O.K. See what the alarm is about." You know, he was going to go up and find out. And the smoke was so thick in town you could hardly get your breath and it just got in your eyes. You know, it was just real smokey. The whole town was that way.

So, we were up getting ready to go. We didn't do much undressing or fussing around. He come back pretty soon. He come running on back and he said, "No. It's a false alarm." We have to go. He said it was some kind of a mix-up in the instructions

the night crew - firefighting crew - call 'em in and send the day crew out. And so, they got it mixed up there, their instructions. So we didn't have to go down. But while we were down there on that train, I was standing around looking while everything was going on and everybody else was too. Well, sister-in-law lived up there at Camp 8 - .. .at Slabtown, and.. ( to Ernie)

Aren't you going to fall down? You better be careful.

Ernie: What?

NS: You better be careful. You'll fall down here.

Ernie: O.K.

NS: You want this cane? Hey. You want this?

SS: You want the cane Ernie?

Ernie: No.

NS: Well, you would be a little more sure of yourself if you'd take it. But my sister-in-law lived up there at the Slabtown and they'd been working hard all day, they had been ironing - she and her daughter both. Her daughter was, I guess, about twelve-thirteen years old. And they'd been ironing and just working like beavers. Had a big wash and then she'd run from the house, kinda down the where they took and carried some hill. They had a pig pen down there to Carr] the water down to the pigs, and the chickens and all. And she would feed them and keep them cool- it was awful hot/ of course, in August. And ... (aside) do you want to try that?


NS: They .. ."fWgot down there, they had to change clothes because they were - had on their raggedy, dirty clothes. They wanted to hurry get that ironing done so they could have a good bath, both of them, and clean up. And they were just making the best of what they had then. And that caught them at that time. And she come in with a dirty dress and she was with her housekeeping, her clothes and everything. She was plum nasty-nice, we always called them.

SS: What does that mean? Nasty-nice?

NS: Well, they were just extra nice - . . Too nice for any good use. And so she got on there and the little girl went to scrubbing and combing her hair. And her mother was fising her up and then washing herself and she had her own hair to comb and held out some clothes from their suitcases and get dressed. And her stockings, well, she'd kicked off her shoes because her feet were bothering her standing and ironing and all. And she was running around in stockings and she had old stockings anyway. And she was running around in her stocking feet and well, up and down that little hill. Oh, it must have been the length of the lot, probably, from the house or maybe a little more and kinda through the brueh and she was snagged until the stockings - well, the heels of them were clear up in the back.

SS: Around her ankles?

NS: Yes, clear up - the back of 'em clear up - and they were raggedy. So, I know it. was just a picture to see - a picture to see her as she was and the girl. And along side of her were some of the ladies who lived in the edge of town here: the banker's wife, and the hotel lady - that ran the hotel. And, I don't know, several people.

SS: T.P.Jones' wife?

NS: Yes - well, I guess* I don't know if she was here at the time, or not. She might have been gone. I don't remember her inparticular. But Mrs. Nelson, that's the banker's wife, and Mrs. Ellison, and some of them up in that corner that well, kinda, I guess, kinda thought they lived on bug row or something. You know, kinda fancy dressers and persnickedy. Andfnose two women that I mentioned, Nelson and Ellison, they had did like we did. They were going to take their good things,you know, have them saved. And,I guess,they buried their linens and silverware and everything. I thought they mast have got their best out, they tharve got advance notice, out of all that when we didn't know anything about it. But, of course, they up there where they could see it and hear of it too. But they had gotten all dressed up in their best clothes and all. Put on their thingsHo take along. And then here it was in August and one of 'em had her furs on and earmuffs and all. In August, you can imagine. And their hats, just like they were going to a wedding or something somewhere.

SS: It must have really been a sight.

NS: It was. And little - variation, each little bunch wasAgathered and had something to do for the time. A nd then the time came when everybody was hungry and the stores had burned down just a day or two before. No, they'd burned out the third of July. And well, they had set up a tent in that kinda of a space after the town park thing up there. And it was just right close to the depot. And they had set up tents and were trying to||a store there, to keep all the necessities and to keep people going till they could do a little better. And people'd run down over there and get some bread and whatever they could get that they didn't have to cook. And sausages any kind of cheese in . lunch meats or anything like that. And then aur bunch went over and got some things. And UttMcookies, if we could eat us a little snack And the doctor then, he would come by the cars and drop in up there. "Well, Mrs. Smith, how you coming? How you getting along?" I said, "Fine. Having lots of fun." So he said, "Hang on here. Just take it easy. If worse comes to worse, we'll just turn one of these coaches into a hospital and have that baby right here. In fact, on the Potlatch if necessary. 'Don't let it bother you any." And I wasn't. I was just taking it as it come. I couldn't help but laugh at part of things.

SS: You could laught at it even then?

NS: Yes. And I was laughing at myself partly. Such a combination of outfits I had on and like that. 'it reminded me of the pictures I've seen of the big olcWwasherwoman, you see 'em or the negro washerwoman/with the big bundle of clothes on their head. And the big ones they carried with the four corners tied. I said it reminded me of those pictures I'd seen.

SS: Well, were the people down there at the - waiting at the depot, do you think they were more fearful or more hopeful or were they both?

NS: Well, I guess, both. They all stayed right there because they expected that engine to pull out any minute maybe. They were waiting till the people all got there, and then they figured they better not go back because they might have to run right back in a few minutes because they were just standing guard watching that fire. And then at ten o'clock, why it changed then. The wind changed.

SS: Were you very afraid about loosing the house and everything you had?

NS: Well, we were very about it and yet we didn't have time at all. Just take it or leave it. We figured if it's there we'll be glad to have it but if it's gone there's nothing we can do about it. And we kind of had to take that attitude because we couldn't tell whether burn out. You know? So.eo

SS: Well, what was the mood like on the train? What were people talking about while they were waiting all those hours?

NS: Well, just a little bit of everything. Someone said, well, "..about what I did when I went home" and somebody else did. and how they tried to gather up a few things. And one fella from Slabtown, no from Camp 8, there was a settlement there at Camp 8, right across the track from the shops. He was a time keeper ,1 think. But anyway, he had - they were going to go get on those flat cars, you know, to come out. And said that, he grabbed up, I think it was a puppy that they had, or a kitten - no, I think it was a puppy. He grabbed up the pup in his arms and grabbed a mop. And they all laughed about that that he had the mop and that little pup/was all he had with him. And his wife was still trying to gather up some things and he run to get on the train. And they told it on him, they said that he got way over to the train and left her way along behind. And she was gathering up things that were worthwhile and all but he was so excited that's all he got. He said what-in-the-world he ever thought of saving that mop. And then as he went - you see, they had to come from Camp 8 up there down through the, they had a thing - the track ran right through Slabtown,you know, on the way to town. Well, when they got down to Slabtown they picked up all these other people that had been packing, my sister-in-law and that bunch. Well, everything they had burnt - all those people. And the fire got them. And the fire didn't get the shops, so they wet it down so thoroughly and it helped it from sparks and all. And I don't know, why maybe it was a change in the wind or something, that it might have made a difference. But anyhow, the shops didn't go but just a ways down the track there was Slabtown and all the buildings burned there. And my sister-in-law, everything they had burned. And they got on these flat cars and got the people all on there and what, stuff they gathered up, put it on. But it was so smokey and all, they couldn't hardly get their breath on those cars. And they had to take blankets and put over their heads to breath. Blanketed their heads til they get to town.

And then about halfway between the Slabtown and Bovill, why the old fireman, Red somebody - they called him Red, anyhow - he looked out the engine, looked out the window there from the engine - he was the fireman on the engine - and he looked back and said, "Hey.' Hurry up. Hfty Taxbox, get ready to jump. There's a tree across the track." Or something like that. "Get ready to jump." And, or "Come on hurry up." Or something like that. And they said Tarbox just grabbed a wrench and turned around and turned on him and said, "You jump and I'll just crown you with this wrench. You shovel coal faster than you ever shoveled in your life. " And "You pour it on." And the kid kinda got scared of him because he was drawn back to whack him one. So he went to pouring the coal on and by the time they got down to the thing, he had her good and hot. And what - there was a tree had burned and fallen across the tracks right in front of that train load of people. And so Tarbox said that the only thing he could think of to do was to fire it up and hit it hard and maybe he could break it. And It looked like it'd be an average, you know, a small enough tree that he thought he could break it and go on through. And he hit that and he broke the thing through, broke the tree and went on through with his crew. Got there, everything safe and sound.

SS: Did that train have the men coming down from the camps as well as the people from Slabtown?

NS: Well, I don't know whether if there was many of the workmen from some of the camps. I think they were already out, maybe, from that one camp up in that area, because of the fire. And they were fighting fire anyway. All the men they could get were fighting fire. And so, I guess, they had different, I don't remember about that. I guess they had different ways of taking care of them. Getting them in and out, chey could. And then Tarbox was the one that run that engine, you know, that had to break that and come in. He was the one that later on when they were going to the....

SS: Are you thinking of the armistice story that you told me about the same guy?

NS: Armistice, yah. I couldn't say that. Un-huh, the same one.

SS: I had heard that T.P.Jones had said, "Let it burn." Is that true?

NS: I don't know.

SS: Somebody told me that, that in the beginning when it first started - the fire first started.

NS: Sometimes if they - in the old days - they would. If they don't see any chance of saving the thing and it'll endanger the men and all. Sometimes they get surrounded and locked in, you know. Makes it pretty tough.

SS: Was the smoke bad in town there during the afternoon, that afternoon when you went down? It was just at night that it got bad?

NS: No, it wasn't so bad then. The air settled, you know, in, I guess, the dampness, It wouldn't be so damp with a hot fire, I guess, but we always have an evening dew here that sticks like rain, you know. You go out in the evening orAthe morning, first thing, and at night,why you wade in the grass and it's just like wadding in a creek. I guess they have that down where you live, don't they? So...

SS: It's worse in the canyon than it is on top of the ridge. Well, then, when the next morning came, was the danger gone?

NS: Um-hum.It was but, goodness sakes, we kept the doors shut as tight as we could because, till it helped the smoke.. .kinda cleared, you know. Till it had blowed away Or lifted or something. And it helped it because if you had your door open why thw^smoke just come right in. And it made it awful. We were thankful we had a house to go to. Ours wasn't that much. Ours was just like the pictures over on the.. .No,it doesn't show the house, though. But it's a that book that shows us out in front of the house, my family in front of the house down there. And there was just a small place that Dad built/to house us, you know, to take care of us when we moved out there. And he just hurried up and threw that up there in a hurry to have a place to live until we could do better. Until we could find a place to buy or build or something. And he bought that lot and built us a little house on it and, I guess.

SS: The fire just sounds incredible. The whole experience sounds....

NS: Yah, nothing to be sneezed at. ., some of it was pretty funny after it was all over with. It wasn't a bit funny that day.

SS: I suppose when you went back home in the evening you must have felt better about it?

NS: Yah. We thought,"Ch,dear, what a mess." You know, we were mighty thankful to have it. it was a mess. you know,grab here and there. And all kinds of things mixed together, even with whatwe did take in the trucks. And I think I went and grabbed the silverware and stuck it in there and oh, everything we'd think of in a minute. You know,you can't think of things and I told mother when I said, "Now let's go in and unpack those trunks and put some things that are more valuable - things that amount to something - or we'll probably get there with something - like the fella, you know, tossed the looking glass out the window carried the feather bed down, or something." That kind of stuff. I said, "We'd probably wind up with a lot of stuff, grabbing it in a hurry, that didn't amount to hill of beans and leave the stuff we couldn't replace. So,...

SS: But Ernie rushed ya., rushed you out, anyway.

NS: Un-huh. Yes. And we had some lunch on over at the store and got by all right. But, you know, that other fire that they had from up around Dent, from - do you know where Dent is? Up in the Southwick - beyond Southwicjs, or someplace up in there. Well that i was more or less a wilderness at the time. It's kind of all open country now up there. But there was some people that we knew real well, Wrist - she was a Wrist. And they had a son and daughter, just young kids. And they were homesteading up in there, and they buried their stuff- a lot of it. when they .. .they just got out by the skin of their teeth where they were living up there. I don't know whether it burned their place or not. But somebody told me just recently that somebody said yes, and they never had found where they had buried some stuff. Never did - could find it again.

SS: I think that was the Boles, because I think I mentioned that to you when I was here before. 'Cause Wallace Bole told me that they never found their silverware. That was the same time, about 1910?

NS: Yah,um-hum. And that - didn't, spread from along this way and wind up at St. Maries right up.. .and it burned a lot of men, burned up some men then?

SS: Yah.

NS: I don't remember, but several were burned up in that fire.

SS: Yah, quite a few. It was really bad around Aveury and Wallace. Did this fire, this one in 1914, was it the wind that stopped it? Was that it?

NS: Well, it kinda blew - it kinda blew back and it changed it. Well, a lot of people have different ideas. Now, of course that was a big change . John says that God had something to do with that. That He changed the wind, the way of the wind. What would you want to call it?

SS: The direction?

NS: The direction, that's it. I'm getting so I can't say it - or talk coke. to. And I had kind of a light stroke, he said, ' oh, several years ago. And ever since that I can't think of a word that I want, sometimes,a simple little old word that I use everyday.

SS: You don't seem to have any trouble to me.

NS: Well, I guess I'm such a gabber* TheOT I talk an awful lot. I don't know if I say so much when I talk. I get awful mixed up sometimes trying to think of a word. Simple thing, but...

SS: Was this John Sanderson?

NS: Um-hum. But he said that that fire was coming right for their house and it was just, And knnw. he told ahont how far. but I don't remember what he said. And he said it just bouia^ mc? ,it was just coming a tearing - heading right for their place and all. And he £aid he just grabbed his wife and pulled her and said, "Come on! We got to go." And he said they stopped and prayed that the - prayed to God that He would save their house, you know, that the things woalcL be

spared and that things would be all right. And'said, almost iMvnediately that the wind turned and the fire begin to go the other way. And I suppose you could say there's a lot of truth in things like that. But just such, like that have happened a good many times. You can think back of things that had a hand in that men couldn't handle. And it stopped right there andfyou couldn't tell him that God didn't answer prayer. Prayer saved him, he said, andtfheir home and even their furniture.

SS: Well, did John Sanderson think that God caused the fire not to come into Bovill itself?

NS: Well, I don't know. He was - I don't know whether he - I never heard him say anything about that. But he knew - he said he knew that - it stopped there at right at the -their place just like a wall in front of the fire. And he said that that sure saved their place there. No doubt there was several of 'em that went to praying about that, that they think maybe they helped to save the town,, probably, as far as that goes. But you know" ffiere is no secret to what God can dd1,- that song - "what hfe's done for others, He'll do for you." ( sings) "Keep your heart open, He'll pardon you. In: is no secret, what God can do." Well, He a lot from all of us we figure. We all feel pretty lucky that He He has his hand in a lot of things that He never gets credit for.

SS: Do you think at the time,Nell, when that happened and after it was over, did most people feel that it was luck or did most people feel that it was something religious going on?

NS: Well, I can't say. I don't know haw they all felt. But, of course, they generally, anything like that, they generally, "Oh, well. It would have happened anyhow." Or something like that. They ...

SS: Fate.

NS: Um-hum. They didn't give credit any - lookAat that cat on the side of that porch. He shows up - his color shows up plain against that paint.

SS: You've got good eyesight to see him.

NS: Yah, at a distance I can see^good but my, I'm getting nearsighted as can be. And I can't hardly read the fine print in the paper - the newspaper - anymore. I can if I've rested a little bit,but it don't take much to tire me. I have an appointment at.i the eye doctor's for the 27th, and so...

SS: I think I should probably get going,it's lunch.

NS: Well, I don't - it won't be their lunch for quite a while yet^I don't think. one or two o'clock, something like that.

SS: Well, I wanted to ask you about the Jones, too. And I had heard that Mrs. T.P. Jones was sort of the town's leading socialite while T.P. was working for Potlatch. Is that true? she sort of run the town in those years?

NS: She did try to, anyway. And, you've been talking to somebody that was an old-timer here, and what they said no doubt was true because she was - well,- I guess it's not proper to talk about people who have passed away. But it's true. She did - I don't know whether - why she was that way. But she did. And once she got ahold oh things and she always - now his name was Tom Jones,a so she always called him Tommy, her Tommy, anyhow. And when we'd be talking about anything that - when it come to collecting money for some event or well, she was a great hand to get in on the Red Cross at that time. And she was - oh, she was boss - made herself the boss of it. And she'd3° in the camps;and collect from the men for the Red Cross businesses. I don't know what all they did with it or what she told them they'd do with it, but anyhow it was for Red Cross. And she'd collect this up from the men and one of them would say,"Well, I don't have any money with me. I don't have any money now. I'll have to wait till payday." "Well, that's alright. You just give me permission and I'll have Tommy take it out of your check." And so she went to the next one. "I don't have any money with me now, but I could give it to you later, maybe." Well, she said, "No. I'll have Tommy take it out of your check. That's all. It'll be alright."

SS: She was pushy.

NS: Oh, was she! And she - she would get maybe five dollars from each one. She had the cinch on them, you see. If they said 'no', why they were liable to loose their job. So she had one corner that she -


SAM SCHRAGER: Mrs. Jones was - how did the social life go at that time if she was at the center of it?

NELL SMITH: Well, she didn't mix too well with the kind of people - she was kinda - well, she was bossy on some things, but some occasions and some events that were taking place, she didn't always get in on. She kinda stayed to her - kinda to herself in a way. But pretty much of everything that she in on) she to be boss of it. Oh, was at the time - I was president of the cemetery committee, up here, the cemetery. And were trying to get that cemetery in to working order. And it was just a big weed patch,/^disgraceful looking place. And so we decided, a bunch of us women decided we'd go up and do something about it. We didn't get the men at it and they were all working anyhow,so we thought, we'd go up and dig around a little. And pull weeds and we could make an effort. And so we started in and I was president, that time. And we thought, well, we'd gojas far as we could go and we had - there were stumps there there had been taking the great big trees, you know, had been cut there. And they'd been - and I don't know - there was humps and holes, sometimes loker they had blasted out a tree, a great hollow. And it was just awful looking mess. And so we decided we'd get busy and make some money., some way or other and? hire somebody to do that that could do it. So we talked it over and decided we'd just keep on until we got that - we could fill up some of those holes and we'd plow it - have it plowed and harrowed, you know, raked good and then plant it with grass.

Well, that was all our plans.

Well, we decided we'd give a big oyster supper at the restaurant and so we rented the diningroom for the evening. And we had a big oyster supper there and we took in $163.03. And we had - well, not that, I didn't take that all in on the supper. That was part. But that particular time, we had great big tents. It was when - what did you call it? Armistice was signed and we had a big play on - a big ta-do on that and there was great big tents, enormous tents set up all over that little park up there above town. And we had all kinds of entertainment and everything and singing and music and everything. And we served a big dinner. We had gotten that time, was a big dinner and had, I guess, the oysters too I think, came before that. We had - we didn't make enough. We did good but we didn't have enough to do what we wanted to do. And so we were in on that. And she came just as nice as pie, "But, Mrs. Smith, we were just thinking, the Red Cross has had so many things gathered up for them, and we thought it would be kind of nice if you'd like to - like to give you ladies a chance at that if you would like to have a chance of, you know, serving the dinner." They wanted to have a big dinner down there. And we considered it and we thought it would be a good idea. And that's when we served dinner to the lumberjacks. Well, it was the whole - I don't know, it was supper, I guess. I don't think we had it in the early day but - in the early part of the day, I mean. But it was, I guess, our supper because it last"up into the night, I know, with entertainment. And We had everything. We had big roasts and all the goodies. Wonderful dinner there. And all the lumberjacks and everybody came in ikere. dinner and then raved about it.

So some of the ladies waited tables. We had all little tables all through there, you know. And everything fixed just so-so. And had our hot dishes we'd carried over to serve it hot, otherwise. And my sister-in-law had been sick in bed. She used to live right next door here. She'd been sick in bed for several days but she was one of us and she thought, well, she'd try to get up and make it down there. She'd try and help, so she felt a little better. So she went down to go - she got up and went to the party down there, and^said, well, "Lou," I said, "You can - why don't you just sit and take - be the cashier," I said, and take the cash. And that will be easier on you." And she said yes, she thought she could do that. And that's the way tt was arranged. However, long into the evening -(prettv well into the evening until we were getting, oh, sort of finish of it, and Mrs. Jones was there. And of course, she was a busy-busy-busy like an old bumble bee. And she finally said - she says, "Mrs. Smith, couldn't you take - you're such a good cook and so handy at these things - couldn't you take this dish-up" - well, anyway dishing up and serving these meals - "And let Mrs. Campbell take - ", well, Mrs. Campbell was her sister-in-law - and let her take the cash, change for that time. And she could have done it wouldn't have hurt her. She was a little thing but it wouldn't have hurt her a bit. She changed them around. And when the thing was over, Mrs. Campbell got up and took the money and scooted off up to her house. And that was the last we saw of it for a long while. Mrs. Jones' doings, now. So that's when we had the $163.03.

SS: That's what you made from that event?

NS: Just that one thing.

SS: For the cemetery, notAthe Red Cross?

NS: No, it was for the cemetery. Anyhow, we had been asked about it - about how much we made and all. But they didn't know just yet because there was some things that we bought that had to pay for - the ice cream and some of the things and all this and that. And they would - couldn't say that until we got it all me I think about it. Then we'd wait a little while and ask about it again.

Well, she hadn't^ yet - to send those yet. And she kept putting us off and putting us off, and finally, "Well, St. Maries Creamery up there." She hadn't gotten around to do that yet. It was - I guess it was months before we/got any settlement out of her. And, well, she had been working at the young folks. They had adopted the care of an orphan overseas and they had to pay for her first and then we would have m£$ left. And I don't know what all she didn't have. But anyhow, we tackled her every once in a while. And I thought that was just all on my shoulders, I was president of the thing. And I didn't know how to get a settlement out of her. And anyhow, she finally said, well, we waited to the last there. I met her on the street down there right where that corner cafe is now, or that tavern. It was the bank at that time. And then that service station is right out in the middle of the street there. And I met her and I had asked her so many times. I asked her to come and meet with us or have us meet with her. But didn't want to go to her house because one lady had gone to her house with the Red Cross - well, the lady was suppose to have - she was the secretary of the Red Cross yywvoj. But Mrs. Jones had collected the money and she had it. And the other woman - the secretary, the treasurer - couldn't get it from her. So we were not taking any chances - oh, yes, and Mrs. Williams. the one that was treasurer,and she was the dentist's wife here. And she went up to Mts. Jones' one day and was asking about it and tried to get the Red Cross money. She was responsible for that Red Cross money because she held that office and yet somebody else was the running of it and the spending of it or anything. And she - I couldn't blame her for not wanting that straightened out. Well, anyhow...

SS: She couldn't get it though?

NS: She couldn't get it. And she finally, she got kinda - well, she got kinda mad at her and Mrs. Jones threw her out - threw her out. "Po:t her out of here." And Ruby said, "Don't bother yourself. When I get ready to go, I'll go. I don't have to be thrown out." she said. "I'll leave on my own accord when I get through." And she did too. So, then...

SS: You met her on the street...

NS: Right out in the middle of the street there, she wasn't going to throw me anywhere. But I asked her then, I said, "Now we're having our meeting,"-I don't remember if it was that afternoon or the next day or something - "again of these ladies." And I said, "They are all anxious to know what we're going to do about this. We're needing our money to go ahead fix up that work up there." We had already hired some men to do some work and we owad them for that and I told her about it. And I said,"And I think we should get this settled. We've asked you so many times to meet with us and settle it someway or other and we've never gotten anything done." And I said, "But I would like to settle the thing right now." Well, she said —I -we Well, I said, I told her we've already hired some men to plbuJ , and harrow up there and all. And she said, "Oh, v didn't need it." or something like that. And I said, "Well, you know" I said, "that was surveyed in the first place,*'! and I said, "There's a great deep hole there where they blasted out a stump and bdieVe ct the peg of that survey is right in the bottom of that hole." And I said, "What are you going to do?' Let somebody stand and hold that peg while they fill it up and put it down again?" And "Why, that's not so!" And she knew full well that that wasn't true because, "Tommy and I go up there on our - it's up on the hill there - up at our corner lots - the corners of our lot and look at it every once in a while. And they're not rotted out." And she said, - she And I walked right up to her and I looked her in the eye and I said, "Mrs. Jones, I'm not in the habit of being called a liar. I don't like it." And I said, "I've got just one thing to say - that I can prove every word I've got to say and you can't." And I said, "Well, come right along with me and we'll go prove it right now." And she had to turn turtle. She wouldn't go. And I was going to take her into the pool hall right on^where the grocery store is ow, and I was going in - and he was the one that plowed the ground with a company team and the driver was a company man too. And they loaned us the men to do the work and so, anyhow, I told her, "I can prove what I've got to say - you cant." So I was going to jump. I never felt like fighting before. . I thought it always looked silly seeing men fight over everything. But that day I was ready to clean her clock.

SS: So what happened?

NS: Well, she said - well, anyhow, she crawfished out of it someway or another. you know, She said that ftiere's didn't rot - she knew ours didn't.

SS: That what didn't rot - the markers?

NS: Un-huh. They markers and they would pit - the things rotted off, practically, level with the grown there. Then the holes and things. You couldn't - she said,"Yous -" -she always said 'yous' for everything - "Yous . turned up the survey." And I said, "No, we were planning on us having it surveyed again and it's all you can do." I said, "You can't^somebody hold a stake over the spot until we get it fixed up." And I said, "That's got to be re-surveyed and we know it."

SS: So what she was trying to do was take over the cemetery - the tunning of the plan and she didn't have anything to do with it?

NS: Well, I don't know whether she wanted to run it -

SS: She wanted to tell you how to do it.

NS: Yah. I don't know whether she was or she wanted the money. She thought eventually she'd get it. I don't know which it was. But, she got ahold of a little money she liked to keep it pretty well. But anyhow, she didn't want to go. I wanted to take her in to that - so she didn't want to go. Well, anyhow, I don't remember how - I was so mad I don't remember how that did come out, what was said, hardly.

SS: Did she give you back your money?

NS: No, she didn't - not then. And it went on and on and on. Well, we just dropped her after that - after we had that spat. And we just dropped her and said, "Well, we guess there's just no use a trying to /anything with her. We'll i, go ahead and have something else and make some more money. " And then after, I guess, it was a year or two - and she had this money all the time - and I guess she finally got the ice cream paid for and all these things that she said t. Then we soliciated the town for that money - they could have sued us for damages - we soliciated the whole town for the - oh, for cakes and pies and things, you know, for that big dinner down there. And the whole town went out. They wanted to. They could have gotten after us for soliciating those eats and then not getting a thing back. So, oh, everybody was mad about that. And she didn't kick with anything then. And a year or two later, I got so - well, I didn't speak to her for a long time. Then finally I thought, "That's a hurting me too." I thought that you can just carry an old grudge around in your gizzard until it'll eat you up, , if you carry it long enough. It'll bring you up and you'll suffer for it yourself. You know, I was suffering everything for that, because I thought what the ladies will all think that maybe - well, they didn't think much about me - but I felt conscious over it..

SS: They didn't blame you, but you felt bad.

NS: I felt bad to think that I was at the head of it and w/osnN; getting anything done.

And so, I was down at the store one day - well, I thought well, we're to pray for our enemies instead of just despising, you know. And we're supposed to do a lot of these things in a more Christian-like way. And I thought well, I've got to take a different attitude toward this 'cause it's just hurting me all over. And so I did. I begin to think the thing over andX thought, "Well, I'll just speak to her on the street as we go along. And have nothing to do with her particularly, but I'll speak to her as a friend and so on and go about my business." And that's what I did, from there on. And I don't know if she was friendly enough but I spoke to her, you know, and just - well, one day there in the grocery store - it was a year or two later - and she came to me and she was just so nice pie, you ever saw. She just - butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, she was so nice. And she aaid, "Well, I was just thinking, Mrs. Smith, you know, I have that money over in the bank and I was just thinking now if you ladies like to have that now you can have that for your workat the cemetery. And if you want it." And I said, "Yes. We'd be glad to have it." I didn't talk much with her but she - well, she'd give it to us. And I thought, I'll keep a hold of my temper until I get ahold of it,anyhow. And so, she wanted know if she should fix it so we could get it at the bank and well, we didn't get near all of it because, you know, because there was so much she had to hold out for this and that, and something else. But she did give us And I thought, I just kinda - after I got thinking that over and got a different attitude and prayer about it awhile - all of a sudden it just left me. I thought, it's just not worth ruining your whole system and your brain worrying over something like that. Why, it's not worth it. I thought, I can't do nothings according to Hoyle anyway, I just betfer forget it.

SS: And yonrchange in attitude must of worked.It mist have had something to do with why she finally came around.

NS: Yes, it must have been that. But she was just as nice as pie. You wouldn't know anything had ever happened. So now, - and Mrs. Woody I told you was the secretary - the treasurer- well, had - she had let hers go for so long, just like I did, and she couldn't get the money out of her. So finally, I think, she turned it over to the Moscow - they call it their camp or whatever it is - I think, she turned it to Moscow for awhile and told them that she couldn't get the money. Told them about it and told them that she wasted tc/be released from that office or for it. And then they worked on it awhile and they didn't get anything. Then it was referred to Washington, D..C., to the Red Cross. And then, finally, she got-after her, the headquarters, and I guess, they finally got part of their money. I don't know how much they had to forfeit but anyhow, they got a settlement out of her. But she wouldn't give them - I think they took it up to Seattle in between and talked to them and they said, I think it to Washington DC

SS: Why do you think she did things like that?

NS: Well, I don't know. She just wanted to run things so much herself and liked the feeling of money in her hand - I don't know which., now. I don't because she was stingy as could be. And then it came out in the paper about the-settlement from Washington. And it told about how she had said she had kept out, I think, a hundred and some dollars for the cemetery - for the cementery committee. Now,

SS: Out of the Red Cross?

NS: Yes. She had that mixed in. And I said, "Well, she never put in a cent of it." And she had used it for the cemetery fund. Well, she never used a cent of it in it because I was the head of it, and I know. The rest of the ladies were too

SS: Did it have much to do with the fact that her husband was the head of the woods operation?

NS: Well, yes. She kinda felt that - oh, quite a swell over that Kinda swelled over her husband's office or title, whatever you call it. He was wood's ...

SS: Superintendent?

NS: Superintendent. Um-hum. And,...

SS: Did she have friends in the town among the ladies?

NS: Oh, there were friends, in a way, but I think they all deep down thought about the same of her . They didn't think of her very deeply, I don't think, as a really a true friend. But they all kind of treated her nice. Some of them just treated her nice just to keep her on the right side - to keep on the right side of her, not have any chewing matches with her ear, or anything. Not have any arguments. But...

SS: Do you think that she ever would try to get her husband to fire people working in the woods?

NS: Well, I don't know - they all seemed to think she would. They were pretty near afraid to not something. And she/jset the prices about - she talked them in to signing up - "I'll have Tommy put you down thejv for five " all right?" She'd ask if that'd be all right - well, yes - the only thing they could say was "yes". They didn't dare say otherwise.

SS: you ever hear much about the Wobblies, the IWWs?

NS: Yah. They used to have them in through here. I don't know. I know I've there always heard of them for so long. They were quite thick here for awhile. But, I don't know. I had any real dealings with them or anything.

SS: Do you know how Ernie about - I know that these IWWs were - oh, I guess they had strikes and they were really pushing to change the conditions in the woods. Did Ernie ever talk about that? Was he very strong on improving the conditions ?

NS: They all wanted conditions improved, I think. But the men that were working here, they all wanted that but they didn't all OK - I don't think they all okayed the methods they used sometimes. I think that was mostly the hang-up. Because they would - like they had things - well, that's one thing, you know, they used to - they had the camp shacks out there, the camp houses. And the men could - well, let's see they had, I don't know, some kind of bunks. But anyhow, I don't remember, they had straw ticks to sleep on or not but anyhow, they got so that their shacks, their bunkhouses, were ready to walk away with bedbugs. And they - oh, they were just thick. We got them here at our house from Grandpa, his father was working out -^cooking out there and getting water in the woods and stuff, you know. And he was sleeping out there. And then when he'd come in the weekends, why I'd suppose, he'd bring in a few. And first thing I knew, why, I went upstairs one day and I discovered some. And I went to looking, and the upstairs room that he had was ready to walk away. And Boy! I chased bedbugs for the longest time. I used everything I could think of and I put lye water and I had it boiling hot and I poured it through the springs. And everything I could think of. And I filled the springs - s ; old-fashioned springs that, oh, there was a metal part that clamped over the ends of those wires, you, that springs they used to be a wire - they didn't have a big -well, they was in a little fine wires, they were moving into that over here. There were so many of those little things that went into that. But anyhow, it was a spring that kind of leveled off and I don't think there was any other springs either - just that stretch wire. And then they - it was a»piece of metal that was clamped over the end of those springs, you know, that held thejn. And then it was fastened on to a wood bar that went across the bed. Well, anyhow - well, now just under that little piece where they'd cross, that'd be just full of bedbugs and eggs. Why, you never saw the like in your life!


NELL SMITH: The methods then, you see, they were in the early - around the windows and doors. They'd even climbed behind the casings and everywhere. And I smoked with out the inside oh, what's this stuff- formaldehyde. I used a formaldehyde treatment and I worked up there for - and then I kept on afterwards. I thought,well, there's probably a few eggs left that'll hatch later on, so I kept on. But I just couldn't find a one. Finally when I got through,and I kept looking all the time for fear there was a straggler, that I'd find. But, my goodness,

And you know, there's another thing in this country that you - another thing. They tore down an old warehouse up here at the shops at some time. And I guess the sparrows or the swallows or the - some kind of bird, anyhow, - built their nests in there. And after they tore that down, why they found that those - they were carrying bedbugs. Those birds, um-hum. And that's why we started chasing 'em - they were building nests under the eaves, you know.

SS: Probably swallows, huh?

NS: Something, I don't know what kind. But anyhow, Wayne the hose and knock down some nests from up there. And we come to examine those, some of those had bedbugs in them, in those nests. So then we had to watch. We soused them good with the hose and we don't get anything. I got one or two that I caught in the house but that's not the only thing - years ago.

SS: Well, what would happen if his father would come back every weekend?

NS: Well, that's why I had to watch like everything. And then, I think, he quit shortly after that anyway. I didn't - or maybe the - I think he still worked for awhile after I found that out. But I was watching constantly for them. And, I was sure - but, of course, he couldn't help it, working out there. But I sure was upset to think I had that mess to deal with.

SS: Did you know whether people were for the IWWs or against them?.

NS: No, I don't know. That gets kinda gets into too much like politics and I was never a very good politician myself. I don't know much about it and I get - I never took much - very deep - interest in it. I might havet^-^^0 an idea that they had, maybe. The next one, I'd be against, I didn't like. And I was kinda on the fence. I didn't know where I was. So, I was never very - and not yet today - I think when I go down to vote - it makes me mad when here for awhile you had to declare your party before you could vote. And that made me mad. I thought it was none of their business who I'm voting for. I can't see where that'd help any. Why should they do that? Now, can you tell me?

SS: I think the only reason they can give for that is if you want to vote in a primary, they wanted to make sure that you vote for the party that you believe in and not vote for the other party to get somebody else on the ticket. You see what I mean?

NS: Well, yes. That's...

SS: 'Cause in the primary you picking who the candidate's going to be. But I don't think they have that anymore.

NS: No. I think they kinda did away with it. But it seems like - now the last time or two that they —something kinda comes up again along that fine. I don't know. Then this thing - voting for the primary...

SS: You can only pick one party when you go in there - for the primary. You can only vote either for the democrats or the republicans. In the primary.

NS: Um-hum.

SS: But then in the election you vote forwhoever you want to.

NS: Scatter it all around. And that's what I - I always go in and I pick the ones^I know. And part are democrats and part are republicans. And I thought, "I know those would like to people personally and I have quite a lot of confidence in them. That's the one I vote for. This one I don't from Adam, I don't know how he'd do."

SS: What do if you don't know any of them? Like the big offices in the state, you're not likely to know who's who.

NS: Well, sometimes . I think I didn't vote for anybody - I just skip a bunch or two. But I didn't know them. But-

SS: So you really didn't care about politics in the early days? Was there a lot of it going on Bovill, in those days2 Was it very important? I think,

NS: Yes. It the men mostly, took careof the mostly the policitical side of the story. But, they had their ups and downs. But I don't remember much about it. I know Lheard about the Wobblies and that's about like the - what other group was it in here? Some of the CCs - or the ? I don't know.

SS: That was government. That was the - in the depression.

NS: There was one group of those that they all kind of spoke of- but most of them kinda spoke of the Wobblies as being kind of unnecessary listf They seemed to be not too much in favor of 'em. Of course, some of it were but I believe that the favor, the majority, was more or less against the Wobblies. Now, my brother-in-law was running camp or something —he was put an as watchman or something. And they were afraid of the Wobblies setting fires and things like that. I.remember that. But I don't know if they ever set any fires or not. I don't remember. But they were trying to watch them closely so that they didn't do anything.

SS: Well, what were you worrying about in those days? About raising a family?

NS: Well, I had plenty of that to do. I had. little folks and he was just as much help as a comb in your broomstick or something. had to raise the kids. He'd sometimes get after them for something or other and^didn't even matter but needed it. And I told a story about that he would get after them about something or other and then they would get kinda - well, argue about it. Or they hadn't done what he had suggested right away quick, you know. So he'd, "Well. Get after this kid." Wok this kid . He won't do this or that." And I said, "OK, if he needs a licking, go ahead and give it to him. You started this, I didn't." And I don't think he ever^give one in his life. But I always got that job. And sometimes I could see that see that the kid needed a licking for what he was jawing about. I said, "No." So I left it up to him so it-so, If he it, go ahead and give it to him. " The only time I know, he was putting in the big - oh, what do you call these ?

SS: The pipe?

NS: The pipe -

SS: Conduit for the water?

NS: For the water or the bridges or something - some of those. Oh, there was a great big - Oh, it was about that wide across, and ityclumped out here on th«£ corned they was going to put that in somewhere ^r crtWr, And the little kids came - mine, well, Marvin was oldest then- and I don't have anymore that at that time were big enough. We'd lost our two tiny babies after Marvin came. We lost two of them. And the next one was too small yet to be running out. But Marvin was out there playing with the other little kids. His two cousins lived right there on that block, lived up there. Oh, all the little kids around thfSarea - quite a few little kids then. And they were busy playing and that - what'd they call it - they called it cl. I think. They were running back and forth through that tunnel and just having a glorious old time. They were having more fun than - well, now about the only way they could have hurt themselves would be if someone pushed them or they run against the edge of that thing. They could of, you know, could have gotten hurt. But it wasn't likely. They were just running and playing through that. Well, I had gone to Ladies' Aid, I think, that afternoon and - or anyway, the kids were playing. Marvin was out there with the rest of 'em. And Ernie came along and he yelled, "Get in here, out of that thing. You're going to get hurt out there. You don't have any business playing in there, anyway. Iknd he wanted him to get in. And when I got home, he was all set. "Get out here and lick this kid. Give this kid a whipping." He tried to get him to come in there and he wouldn't. And so, my sister-in-law told me, she said, "I had a notion to get out there and give Ernie a licking myself." She they were playing nicely together. Just running through that thing and laughing and had a notion to give Ernie a licking myself. They weren't hurting anything."

SS: Is that, do you think it was that way for most of the family men in those days, that they didn't take much to do with the kids?

NS: Well, I don't know. ^bout most of the men. All I know about is about my own.

SS: Because I think I've heard that before. It just sounds like that it seems to me that other people said to me that the, you know, mother wound up with that job and the father

NS: He'd work with whatever it was, I guess. that time. I think that's kinda the way they figured

SS: Did he spent much time with the kids to do with them or anything.

NS: Not like some people. He, well, he was around where they were raised, you know, right around the home and all. But he was always at work, all day. And then when he got home in the evening, why it wasn't long until bedtime and he had to go to bed early because he got up about four o'clock in the morning and later he got up at three- . And then he'd - I didn't get up then to fix his breakfast. I said, "Well, you get up at a decent hour and I'll get up and get your breakfast." But all he'd want an egg and some bacon, anyway, so he didn't mind fixing that. like he did sometimes, and I said, "Well,-" He would get that bacon and egg and^he'd sit and eat that and read the paper. Well, then he had to sit and rest a while. And then he'd sit there until the fella picked him up - after he was riding in the car, he wasn't walking any longer. And he - the night watchman would pick him up, I think. And he would sit there until pretty near seven o'clock and then he'd catch his ride But he'd just sit there and kill time and didn't know what else to do. And I said, "Well, I'm not getting up and getting breakfast at three o'clock and go back to bed. It would so long before I could go to sleep again why the kids would be waking up by that time. And I wouldn't get any sleep at all." And I said, "If you'd get up when you should, why"- he used to get just ixp- oh - a half hour or so to fix his breakfast. And if it was early and if I felt like tt - like I needed to - I could go back to bed a little while but generally by that time it was time to stay up. So...

SS: So he wasn't leaving until seven even though he was getting up at three-thirty?

NS: No, he'd - he did that.y It was just a habit he got into. He would sit around and get rested. Because if he could of rested in bed, he probably would have got a whole lot more good out of it. But he couldn't sleep - so. I thought well, if he wants to do that, why, ok. But I don't intend to ruin my day, getting tired for it. So. Him getting up at three-thirty, having the kids to take care of, the washing and things to -for a long time, we didn't have do, and we didn't have washing machines and things. I had many a day of washing the - all those Irish washerwoman's beaded

SS: Scrub board?

NS: Yeh. And then that was his dirty work clothes and he worked in the machine shop. They were greasy andlso I -

SS: How did you get them clean?

NS: Well, you just rubbed until you got claan and poured on the soap and elbow grease. So I had all that.

SS: Was washing the whole day's work when you did it? Or how did it go?

NS: Oh, it took up plenty time. You might have to divide it and wash some another time or something. But then after I got a washing machine, oh boy, I thought I was a flying. And the first one I got was - someone had this and wanted to sell it and I bought it And it was a water-witch or some kind of a water power. It was - you put your clothes in the barrel thing and hitched a hose onto the facet. And let that water run through there and that turned your machine. And then there was another one that turned - drained it out. Another hose that drained it out. And then that was fine for me. I thought it was just fine. But then , oh, after it was a while, I got a chance to get a - I think it was a Maytag - but anyhow to get an electric and the other one worked the other way. So I was. fine then. But my goodness, that - I don't know yet how I ever got - I can't see how our parents and grandparents all did that. They worked - they - thlf isn't all. They the clothes were made out ofthey made their clothes and raised the children. And knitted socks for all of them. And their husband too. I can't see how - there must have been more hours in their day, then there are now. But, goodness sakes, my grandmother had eight children and then there's grandpa.

And then my great-grandmother too,they all made their men's clothes, for their dress-up clothes and their work-clothes and all. And they knitted their socks and they wove their cloth and carded their wool and made it out of they raised their sheep and carded their wool. And made the yarn and then turned that into cloth or knitted it into gloves and things. I'm awful afraid the fellas toes would get awful cold before I got their socks made if I had to do it. I can knit but I'm very slow at it. the first knitting I ever did to amount to anything, I did - I had learned to knit a potholder. Knitting back and forth you can make a potholder. I learned how that was done. Then I could branch off from that and do pretty near anything I wanted to. But I decided Marvin was- well, he was about, oh I don't know, six nine months old, or something like that. I had - oh, I was going to make him a little sweater suit and I thought now that was my first grandchild and all, I'm going to dress him all up. So I made him a little sweater boys' style,his little collar turned back and the buttons sewed down the front, you know. And the buttonholes were knitted right in and all. But I did that, but I had no pattern to make it by. But I could crochet anything I wanted to.

So I just used my ideas of crocheting and guided it to the knitting. And then kind a made the little sleeves and fixed little cuff on and all. And it was the cutest little thing It was white and trimmed in blue. And then when I got through, there was a lady that lived in the second house - it is now. This house wasn't here. This other one here. But she was - she had a baby about the same age and she had knitted before. She had knitted socks for the Army, for the Red Cross, so she knew about knitting. But I just knew the plain knitting stitch and so she'd be working on - and well, I figured out how many stitches I'd need to the inch, you know, and how big I could make it for that. And so I knew how to set it up. So she was working with me, she was going to make one for; her baby waa a girl. She was going to make it a jacket and I was going to make him one. Well, she was knitting away and after we got to - oh, part of it done, quite a lot of it done, she says, "Well, mine doesn't look like yours Nell. There's something wrong with it and I don't know what it is." And I said, "Well, I don't see anything wrong with it. It looks all right." She says, "Jo , it's got a ridge in it here, somewhere, it different." And we compared the two and it was different. And I couldn't tell her. I said, " Well, I can't tell you what's a matter with it, I don't really know." I said, "Unless I see you do it or unravel a bit and see you do it." when she - she went ahead. I said, "Go ahead and knit a line or two on that and let me see ya. Maybe I can tell you what's wrong." And when she started knitting I could see what was wrong. She threw her thread the wrong way and it made a twist in it and instead of coming through in a straight loop it was in a backward loop. And that made a ridge where that twist was. And when she crocheted back the other way, it was all right - or knitted. So she said, "Well, what can I do about that?" I said, "Well, there isn't much you can do without raveling it all out. And I wouldn't ravel that out after getting that much in." And I said,"What you can do - just finish it like it is." "No, I don't want it that way. It don't look right. I don't want it that way." So I told her then, I said, "Well, -" She left it that way and she said she'd - she hadn't decided what she'd do with it. Finally one day she said, "I'm going to stick the thing in the stove. I don't want to bother with it. I don't want to ravel it out. I don't want to - " And I said, "For goodness sakes, don't stick it in the stove." I said, "That's fine yarn we ordered from Spokane." I said, "If you're positive that you're not going to do anything with it, why," I said, "I'll buy it from you. And I'll make some little leggings to go with his sweater. Make a legging suit." And then she sold me her yarn that she had left and I knitted him a little pair of leggings with the feet in.And I finally got that done, I still had some yarn left. So I thought well, I'll make him a cap; I'll make him a pullover,, little toboggan cap and with the knob on the top. And it was cute as a bug's ear. And then I still had a little bit of yarn left when I got that done, so I made some mittens for him - mittens. So I had the whole the outfit. But -\kcdtuo-S just - the idea that she just had thrown her thread different on that, when she would knit on - it was all right - but when she would turn to come back, then'd she'd throw a twist in her yarn some way or other. She'd been used to knitting socks and you just knit round and round and round. So - it made a difference.

Say, by the way, I just thought of something....


1:00 - Husband learned machine shop work; came west for early jobs and to visit the Wood family

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Ernie (her husband) learned machine shop work as a boy in the East. Smiths came west because their friend liked it so well - early jobs, and visits to Wood family.

12:00 - Husband worked for the company; lacked formal education and couldn't read books; didn't want to be foreman

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Ernie started working for the company on shays and in the shop. His skill at precision manufacture of parts from memory. Men in the shop bet that he could work as accurately by estimation as a man with a micrometer. He lacked formal education and couldn't read books, so he didn't want to be foreman.

25:00 - Indispensability to the company; hiking two miles to work

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: His indispensability to the company - he worked till 83. Working all night; hiking two miles to work. He didn't want responsibility of being foreman.

30:00 - 1914 fire; women leisurely packed their trunks; the severity of the fire

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: 1914 fire. Its intensity. The women were leisurely packing their trunks, when Ernie came in a great hurry. His report of the severity of the fire. Getting their trunks to the depot.

43:00 - Looked ridiculous going to the depot; great aunt and uncle's excitement

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: She wore all sorts of valuables, and looked ridiculous going to the depot. Great aunt and uncle's excitement.

56:00 - Sat on the train in the station until ten at night; evacuation signal whistle blown by mistake

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The people sat on the train in the station until ten at night, then were sent home because danger was lessened. During the night the evacuation signal whistle was blown by mistake.

61:00 - Sister-in-law caught in dirty clothes; waiting at the depot; man who left his wife during the fire

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Her sister-in-law was caught in dirty clothes when the fire started, which bothered her, being "nasty-nice." The well-to-do ladies wore their furs to the station. Waiting at the depot for hours. The doctor told her she could have the baby right on the train. The man who grabbed his dog and left his wife during the fire.

72:00 - Evacuation of Slabtown; bravery of Tarbox; feelings about likelihood of losing home; panic of taking belongings

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Evacuation of Slabtown - people had blankets over their heads. Bravery of Tarbox, who pushed the engine through a burning log across the track, and threatened his fireman, who wanted to jump. Feelings of family about likelihood of losing home. Panic of taking belongings.

83:00 - God changed direction of the wind; importance of God's help; most people thought it was luck

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Perhaps God changed the direction of the wind during the fire. John Sanderson prayed when the wind changed direction at his home. Importance of God's help; most people thought being saved from the fire was luck.

90:00 - Mrs. T.P.Jones tried to run to Bovill; pressured lumberjacks to donate to the Red Cross; armistice celebration; Mrs. Jones refused to give the Red Cross the money

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. T.P.Jones tried to run Bovill. She pressured lumberjacks to donate to the Red Cross. Mrs. Jones invited the ladies' cemetery committee, headed by Nell, to serve a big dinner for the lumberjacks during the armistice celebration. Mr. Jones took the proceeds and refused to turn them over to the committee. She also refused to give the Red Cross money to the treasurer. Nell confronted her on the street of Bovill. Nell's responsibility for soliciting the town for the food for the affair. Finally she decided to forget about it because a grudge hurts the person who holds it. One day Mrs. Jones sweetly offered them their money.

113:00 - Mrs. Jones' fight with the Red Cross; lack of true friends

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: More of Mrs. Jones' fight with the Red Cross. Her probable motivation - swelled up over her husband's position. Her lack of true friends.

117:00 - Bedbugs from the camps

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Nell's father-in-law brought bedbugs from the camps, and she eradicated them.

120:00 - Birds' nests had bedbugs; men did most politicising

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Birds' nests were found to have bedbugs. She is not a politician; men did most politicizing.

129:00 - Had to do most the child raising; husband's habit of rising extremely early

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: She had to do all the child raising. Ernie didn't help, but asked her to hit them when they displeased him. Ernie's habit of rising extremely early; she wouldn't get up that early to make breakfast.

137:00 - Washing clothes; Grandmother's work making clothes from sheep's wool

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Washing clothes. Grandmother's work- making clothes from the sheep's wool. Nell's first knitting, when her friend had trouble.


Collections A-Z