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Latah County Oral History Collection

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

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Date: July 01, 1974 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

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Edward Swenson came to the Park valley with his parents in 1891 at the age of eight. They were one of the first families to settle in this little Norwegian community, a remote clearing surrounded by wilderness until Potlatch logging came in the teens, Ed describes their first trip from Moscow to Park, building their homestead cabin and the first survey, the appearance of the valley and its first two settlers, experiences with neighbors and Indians, and the tribulations of building a road which would connect Park with the world outside.

SAM SCHRAGER: Do you know why your parents decided to leave Norway and to come to here?

EDWARD SUENSON: Yes, My father's older brother came before they did and found land in Minnesota, you know. And to the people back in Norway, a hundred and sixty acres of land would be a big farm. And they had heard they could get land on a homestead here, so they decided to go. They saved up enough money for the voyage, you know, and came, and his brother met them in New York, and they came on through. They lived three years in Uisconsin to get a start for homesteading, you know, and then moved into Minnesota and located there with his brother as a neighbor. So they worked together in building up, you know, and got started there. They lived there about 19 years, I believe it was, before they came to Idaho,

SAM: Did you ever hear about what the conditions were like in Norway? Uas it pretty hard in Norway?

ES: Uell, so for as I learned from the folks, it was not bad at all at that time. But of course for a young man to get started there wasn't so easy, be cause the land was all taken up pretty well, you know, and father wanted to be a farmer—that was what hefd learned there. So that's how they came then. And the ship that they came on was a sailship, of course, and it was the maiden voyage for that ship—it had never been on the ocean before. Uhen they got pretty well out on the ocean, why they run into a storm, and for three days they had to tackle back and forth against it to keep from going back, you know. And it was pretty rough. Father got seasick, but not so bad but he got over it. And mother had the two children, you know, to take care of. She said it didn't bother her so much,

SAM: So then they went to Uisconsin for a few years, and then Minnesota for quite a while, but then they decided to leave Minnesota, Why did they decide to come to Idaho?

ES: Well, the storms were so bad there. They lost two crops of grain two years in succession and that discouraged them pretty much. They had heard about this Idaho country, you know, and they decided they wanted to come Uest. My oldest brother went first. He went in the fall of 1890, And then we came in the spring of '91, and settled there together, and built up again. So the folks had quite an experience in pioneering,

SAM: They did it more than once,

ES: Well, you see they came out there on the prairie in Minnesota, no town nearby, and they had to build up the best they could right in the wilderness. There had been an Indian war the year before they came there, but that was settled, so they were safe in that respect. And then no neighbors around close by, you know. And they started with oxen and wagon to get to town, and that took a long time, you know. Mother had to be alone there with the little children until he'd get back. So it wasn't so good,

SAM: How did they decide to come out here? Uhat means did they use to get out?

ES: We came on an immigrant train from I think it was Uilmer, Minnesota, to Troy, Idaho, But in the meantime there had been a slide of land onto the railroad track between Troy and Moscow, so we had to get off at Moscow and go by wagon from there on.

SAM: Do you remember what that trip was like by wagon out to the Park country?

ES: Yes, My oldest brother met us there, you know, with team and wagon, and we'd go part ways. It took us three days from Moscow to Park, Idaho. Very bad roads, you know. My brother and I walked much of the time and father walked most of the time. So what little baggage we had was on the wagon and my mother and my sister would ride in the wagon. There was a farmstead I'd say about a mile east from Joel down there. There was a station there, rail road station, stayed the first night. The second night we got out to Texas Ridge and stayed there. And it took us about a day from there to get over to Park. Uhen we got down to the river the horses had to ford the river. There was no bridge you know, and the mater was high, and they had a foot log there for us to walk across. And when they got across the river they had to take the wagon apart and use just the hind part of the wagon to carry what few things they could load on there, to get up the hill on the east side. And then the next day they came back to get the rest of the things. There wasn't much road there. So we walked all the way across the canyon till we got over to Park. It was just about sunset when we came to my brother's place there,

SAM: Uhere did you cross the canyon?

ES: There was a farmstead named Buckaloo on the west banks of the canyon, and there was a road down from their place, so some of our things were left there. And there was a kind of a makeshift road~it wasn't graded much, so they had to lock the hind wheels, roughlock the hind wheels on the wagon to hold it back, you know. And they had chains along. They cut down a little fir tree and tied behind the wagon to help hold it back. And made it down the hill, I can remember that because I thought it was so odd to see that tree dragging behind the wagon, you know (chuckles). Yeah,

SAM: About where would that be today?

ES: From Deary it'd be just about four miles south and then east, Ue didn't go by Deary at those times, you know. There was a road further south we got across on,

SAM: well why did they go so far? Uhy did your father decide to go all the way to Park?

ES: Because my oldest brother was there and two of his wife's brothers were there at Park, And they had farmed, they had land connected together, you know. And of course we wanted to be with them. So they went across there. And it was so nice—the valley laid there so nice, timber scattered over, and not much underbrush, you know. And it looked so nice that they wanted to be there. And that was why later on when they formed a post office there they named it Park.

SAM: Could you expand on what that country looked like when you first saw it, what it looked like to you?

ES: Uell from the first, the beginning, why there was nothing, there wasn't even any fences or anything, you know. The land wasn't surveyed yet. Each settled where he thought there might be a dividing line. And then eventually they got a survey ran across from a section line on Texas Ridge straight through the valley, and that was staked out. And then the farmers would measure out from that section line, north and south, and get pretty well located, until it was surveyed permanently, I can remember father was with the surveyor, and when they came to a section corner—they were running a line east and west—when they came to a section corner, that was not far from where father had built the house. So father asked the surveyor to view out the line north and south through what would be his west line. And there had been timber burnt down, and there was a big pine stump by itself, and that happened to be right on the line, on the west line of our place. So the surveyor told him that will be your landmark for your west line. Then he measured up from the section corner to get the south line. Then he started from there. But some of the farmers there would be kinda of off. They would be too close to the neighbor when they finally got their lines run, so they would move back then into a better location. My father had built the log house, and he had the logs built up pretty well the height they wanted. And when they measured up, why we were oh about five or ten yards in on our neighbor's place. So they had to tear the logs down and move them. But that didn't take long because they marked each log for each side, you know, and as they moved them up to the permanent side, the logs would be laid on the side where they had been before, and just rolled 'em back up again,

SAM: They didn't have the roof on the place by the time he realized he had to move it?

ES: The roof wasn't on yet when they had to move it, so it didn't take long to move the walls, you know. And the foundation was just a log. They'd smooth the ground out and started with a log on the bottom and up, and then they knocked in the floor just about a log high off'n the ground. So the floor would be up from the ground aways. I can remember when they built that. I wasn't able to do any work but I was always with father, you know, when he was working there. Mother was staying with my oldest brother, mother and my sister. But wherever the men went I was right with them there.

SAM: Did it take 'em very long to build?

ES: No. Several neighbors get together, you know, and it wouldn't take long, and they knew how to fit the logs together, and it didn't take long. They cut down green trees and peeled the logs and notched them together. And they found cedar there, cedar was the best to split for shakes, you know, for the roof. And so they split shakes and put on for the roof. It didn't cost very much to build those days, except a lot of hard work.

SAM: Did you tell me that your father found a man that really knew how to use the broad ax to do,,?

ES: Yes, yes, that was a neighbor. He had come in there just after we did. So we lived in the old cabin you know for I think about eight years. So father made a deal with this man to hew the logs for what we called the new house, you know.

SAM: Oh I see.

ES: And there was no money exchanged. This man needed a lot of fence rails to fence his land in. And we had cedar there to make rails from, and so father made a deal with him to pay him with fence rails. The nan wanted $20 to hew the logs for the house. And fence rails was valued at a cent each then, twelve feet long. So father made 2,000 rails in payment for hewing the logs (chuckles). And by that time why we had the horses and wagon, and so we delivered the fence rails over to the man's place. And he stayed with us, he had room and board with us while he hewed the logs.

SAM: Uell getting back to the first—the old cabin—that you built, was that the first thing that your family did when they got there, was build?

ES: Oh yes, yeah, he located a spring of water, and not very far from the house, and then he got ready to build. You see we came in the spring of the year, and before fall, why we were in our own home there. Then he built a barn and chicken house and things like that, so. He had to stay home and work all that summer. Then the next year when harvest time came, why he went out and worked in the harvest fields. Through the harvest and then back, and they would work on the farm through winter, falling trees and clearing land, you know, to get broke up next summer. So there wasn't much idle time in those days.

SAM: Uhere did he go to work in the harvest?

ES: Out in what's called the Genesee l/alley. It's farmland, lived where they were about seven miles north and east from Genesee, where he worked. They raised mostly wheat there, and they used binders to cut it with, and then they stacked it. Then when all the district was stacked, then they'd start thrashing. So he worked until they got through stacking. He was good at stacking grain. And he worked through till that.

SAM: So he'd just go out for the harvest season and then he came back right away?

ES: Yes, he'd come back then. They'd put up hay. The wild grass grew tall there. There was no cattle much around, you know, then, just a cow or two for milk. There was not any young cattle running there then. So the grass grew up good. And he was pretty good with a hand scythe, and he'd go out and cut the grass, and we boys raked it up into little bunches, you know, shocked it up and then hauled it home. There was so much open land so you'd go most anywhere and cut the hay, you know. There wasn't much brush or other small trees. It was really nice there. You'd cut grass along those big pine trees, you know. had only one cow the first winter. Then the next year we had more. But it took a few years before he got enough ground broke up, you know, to raise any hay. So we had that grass. And I remember one winter we were short of hay for the cows, and the cows like the moss that grew on the pine trees. And they were cutting down trees to clear the land anyway, so the cows would come and eat the moss off of the branches, and then he fed 'em hay at night. So we made it through.

SAM: This land being so clear of brush, is that because the Indians kept it burnt?

ES: Uell there were stories about that, that the Indians would set fires when they were coming back out of the woods. But there were also fires from lightning, thunder storms, which we knew happened after we came there, could see trees on fire once in awhile after rainstorm. And of course that would set the grass on fire. Ue kind of believed that that was pretty much what did that. It was claimed that the Indians didn't want the brush to grow because it was easier for them to ride through, but they formed trails, you know, when they went back into the mountains. They had one trail up from Kendrick and up through, and that trail came through our land, almost through the center of it, right close to where we had built our house. They came through there, and going back into the woods to hunt and fish and pick berries. And they had a camping place right close to where father built the barn. And one day they camped there. They staked their horses, Ue had broke up a few acres then, and had seeded to oats for hay. But they stayed on the same camping place, and staked their horses right in the oats field. The oats were out maybe five or six inches high. And they settled down to eat there. Father and the older boys were away that day, so it was mother and my sister and I. And so mother told me, she said, "You better go and tell them to move their horses off of the oats." Uell, I had heard the Indians were wild, you know, and I was pretty well scared of it, but I managed to get over there and showed 'em where they should stake their horses, you know. And they did, they started to move, put their horses over. I ran back to the house. Then mother told me she said, "They were nice to you," so she said, "ask them to come in and have their meal." well of course I couldn't talk to them, but somehow or other I got the message across. So they came to the house. There was five or six of 'em. And mother set the table out so they could eat at the table, but they put the table back where it was, and they set down on the floor in a circle and had their dinner. And mother had coffee for them, and sugar and cream and things like that, you know, a little fruit. So they really enjoyed it, and they managed to try to talk, you know, to each other. So then they went away, and then in the fall, when they came back, they stopped to buy deer hides. You know there was no season on deer, so when you were short of meat you'd go out and shoot a deer. And my older brother, he had a gun that he could shoot deer with, and so we always had deer meat when we wanted it. And we'd heard about this, that the Indians would buy the hides, so we had deer hides on hand. They would pay 500 for a deer hide. But mother thought that wasn't enough money so she held out for 750, And they, through motions and that, why they began to talk trade, you know, and she finally got the 750 (chuckles),

SAM: Did they pay in money or did they pay in trade?

ES: Oh yeah, they had money with 'em, I don't know—you know they used to make up moccasins and things like that and sell to the white people. So they'd have a little money. (Pause.) 'Course then afterwards we fenced the land in so they had to follow the roads then back in,

SAM: How many families would you say were there when you got there?

ES: I think there were about six families in there that next summer after we came, I couldn't say just what there was when we came, 'cause I don't remember that. But as they came in they began to get acquainted, you know, and visited back and forth. I can remember there was about six right in the main part of the valley there. And they began to help each other, you know. As each new settler came, why the others would go and help them get started, and neighbor with them, Ue didn't have any schoolhouse the first year we were there. The second year—that would be in 1892—they built the schoolhouse. By going together and getting logs, built up a log schoolhouse. So that fall we had a little school, but it wasn't until next spring that we really had a school term. But I can remember going to school after snow came in the fall. But then they waited till next spring then. So I was between nine and ten years old before I went to school. And I couldn't speak English (chuckles), but the school was in English, of course, Ue lived in a Norwegian settlement back East you know, back in Minnesota. But it didn't take long. Ue had a very good teacher, I can remember the first teacher we had, teacher named Ramsey. And he was very good with us children. He seemed like he was like one of us, you know. So we got along pretty good,

SAM: Uere the other families Norwegian too when you first got here?

ES: Yes, I know four of them were. There was one family, they were supposed to be French Canadians, Their language was a little different, I mean their English language was mixed a little with French words, you know. But they spoke pretty plain English anyway. But they didn't have children old enough to go to school until after they'd lived there awhile. Their first child was born after they settled there, so they were among the smaller ones when I quit school there, I went to school until I was about fourteen years old. By that time the older boys were out on their own pretty much, you know, and I had to help father with the work, and so I had to quit school, Ue had our school terms in the spring then, you know, and summer, Ue had only four months of school at first. So it didn't take long, but we managed.

SAM: Uas this teacher hired from the outside?

ES: Yes, and they boarded with some of the settlers in there then, you know, I can remember towards the end of the years that I went to school we had— I can't remember, I think her name was Longfellow, And she boarded with a Norwegian family. She couldn't speak Norwegian, but they managed that. And she had to apy $45 a month for board and room, and she was getting $60 a month for teaching,..

SAM: So she didn't have much left by the end of the term, huh?

ES: No, but you know a dollar was pretty big at those times, and wages were small.

SAM: Uhat about this fella that you mentioned to me before that you called "the land grabber"? This guy sounds like a real character in the early days.

ES: Yeah, they had located there before we came. It was on his land that father first started his cabin. And when the survey was made that section line came right by his house, just a few rods from the house. So he was lucky to be built so he didn't have to move. And so we had to move again. And the reason why he was kind of a loner was, when he moved in there, he had a little money, and he brought a car load of cattle and furniture and stuff you know, horses and wagons. And so he was considered a little richer than the rest of em. That didn't go very good because the others were good neighbors, exchanged work and all, but he didn't. So it kinda created a friction there, you know. You know in those times, why law enforcement wasn't as strict as it was later on. A man could carry a gun any time he wanted to, and if he got crowded he might be tempted to use it. So he began to get a little bit afraid of some of his neighbors there, so he strapped a gun on his hip and carried that around with him (chuckles). And of course that didn't help any to be a neighbor. But eventually why he began to see he didn't gain anything by it, so he put his gun away and became a neighbor.

SAM: You told me he got into a big argument about where the school should ought to be built?

ES: Yes, they started building a school, and he thought it was too far from his place, and he began to object. So there was another Norwegian joining him on the west of his land, and so he offered to give an acre of land to put the school over there. And the majority ruled on that, well he fought that, and he finally pulled his gun, but he didn't (chuckles) have time to use it. One of the men took the gun away from him and emptied the shots in the gun and stuck it in his own pocket. So they went to work and moved the logs over to the other place and started building there. Uhen they went home in the evening he give the gun back to this fella. After that he didn't carry it when he came to work,(chuckles). Uell of course there was a little fistfight included with it before they settled. He didn't stand any show there so...

SAM: Uell did they call him "the land grabber," because he tried to grab the good land?

ES: Yes. Before the survey was made, he had run a temporary fence around over 200 acres of land there, you know. So when the survey was made, why he had to move his fences. He had a boy—one of his, the oldest boy in that family was the same age as I was. Uell at first why I kind of shied away from him, but we become good friends. Ue were in the same class in school. So we had no trouble at all. And eventually they began to get more neighborly. This man's wife and my mother were good friends. They got to visiting each other, and were real good friends. So the rest of us, like my sister and their girls, were good friends, you know. Ue began to neighbor back and forth, and things were pretty good.

SAM: what part of Park did he stake out for his place? I take it he was close to the first person in there, and had a chance to take the place that he wanted for his own.

ES: Yeah, each one when he came in, he just walked around there until he found where he'd like to be, and that's where they located.

SAM: Uhere did this guy pick for his land?

ES: He was right in the center of the valley. He was one of the first ones. And he located right in the center there, pretty well. Uell there were others just about as close in, but I mean the first group, y'know, that came in there, would locate in the center, and he was one of them. There were two others I know that were right close in. The line came pretty close to the buildings of the first three settlers there, three or four, and he was one of 'em.

SAM: How would you describe the shape of the Park country, what it looks like and how big it is?

ES: the biggest part of the valley laid quite level. There were couple little creeks of water running through during high water time, and pretty well into summer, but in later years they dried up. So that was why too that they settled like that—they all wanted to be close to water, you know. And these little streams run through the land where they settled.

SAM: And the timber was mostly yellow pine growing in the open, and with grass?

ES: Yes, on the flat there was mostly yellow pine. And there was fir thickets, young trees. The fir likes to grow where there's moisture, so wherever the land would hold moisture long, that's where the fir trees would get started growing. So there was thickets of fir tree and then yellow pine scattered. There wasn't so much trees there that what you could look down through the valley, you know, all over there. That's why it looked just like a park, like the trees had been planted there.

SAM: And then around the Park area itself was forest, was woods?

ES: Oh yes. See the valley was surrounded on three sides by mountains, and the timber would grow down onto the flats. Uhenever the snow melted in the spring, a lot of that would seep down onto lower land you know, so there was moisture for the timber to grow. But out on the main valley, the main level land wouldn't be so much moisture, so the trees were more scattered.

SAM: Did you depend on wild game a lot in those days?

ES: Of course we did, because nobody had cattle to speak of. As they started settling there they would bring a milk cow or two, and it took awhile to have beef cattle. So it was venison, and they had grouse and partridge. And then there was some meadows east of there about five miles, and in high water in the spring there would be salmon come up there, so the men would go back there with their spears and bring home a few salmon. So we had a variety. And of course when they'd go out to town, if they had to have other meat they'd bring home some from there, but very seldom they would have to buy meat at the market. There was no season on game, you could kill as many as you wanted. And the first summer that my older brother lived out there, he traded venison for meat at the meat market in Troy. He'd go out and shoot some deer and dress 'em up and take em to town.

SAM: Would you say that the main part of your diet would be the venison and other things that you shot in the wild in the first years, or would you have a lot of store-bought food too?

ES: No, venison was the main meat supply. In the spring they'd have salmon, and then of course they had partridge and grouse for a change. There were bear scattered here and there. Before there were any dogs in the valley, why the bears would be roaming around, but it seemed like people at that time didn't take to bear meat much because they didn't eat it. But occassionally there was some that would kill a bear and use that meat.

SAM: Now for supplies in the early years when you were first there, where did you go and how did you get there?

ES: Well we had Kendrick on the southwest from us and Troy on west side. There wasn't much road to either place. But the neighbors got together and talked over which would be the best route to take to town, 'cause they had to build a road, you know. So Troy was chosen as the best town. It was the biggest town then, Troy was built before Kendrick was. And so the farmers went together, and they chose a couple of men to represent the district to go to Troy to see what deal they could make with the merchants there, because they needed to have a supply of provisions, groceries, to have while working on the road. They couldn't go out and earn money any other way then, you know. It took a lot of time and work to build that road, especially across the Potlatch canyon. So the grocers in Troy agreed to furnish groceries and dynamite for blasting. And so the men could spend their time working on that. And by that time the settlement had grown so there were oh probably a dozen or more of good young men to work on the road. And they had horses and plows for plowing up wherever they could. But in the canyon they couldn't use much of that. They used the horses to kind of drag the trees from where they were building the road. They'd cut down trees and there were trees laying down, and they'd cut off enough of the tree to have a space to drive through, you know. And they'd use the horses to drag those logs out of the way. The rest of it was handwork. There was a bachelor there that had done some mining, and he was familiar with using dynamite, so when they run into rock, why he would do the blasting. So they went on.

SAM: Uell, where did the road go to connect up with the main road there?

ES: It was a little further up the river, further north. There were some homesteaders on the west side named Morris, two brothers and their mother and father. And they had a road out to their place, you know, out on the breaks of the canyon, so the people at Park then continued on from that road and down across the canyon. There was no bridge there neither the first few years, but the main thing was to get the road—they could ford the river. So after they had the road built, then they built a bridge.

SAM: Uas this road very switchbacky?

ES: Yes. On the west side was quite a flat. There was no what you might call creeks running down to cause any depression in the soil there, so they could go quite aways. They only made three switchbacks on the west side to get up. But on the east side there were fifteen switchbacks. They followed the ridge pretty well on the east side to go up. And those switchbacks, they were switchbacks OK. They were turned pretty short. Uhen you got to dig into a steep sidehill to make a turn, why you don't dig very wide. But they made it. I know you couldn't drive four horses around those switchbacks. So they managed to get along anyway.

SAM: It was hand tools and muscle power, huh?

ES: Yes, pick and shovel and ax and a crosscut saw—that was the equipment they had.

SAM: I imagine it took them a real long time to put it in too.

ES: I can't remember how long it took because I was only about nine, ten years old then, you know. So I don't remember that.

SAM: About where did it connect up with the road into Troy?

ES: Well, you know the land settled up, as a rule they'd start close to town to settle up you know, and as they settled back, why they built roads through. And that road was built clear out to the breaks of the Potlatch canyon. So then when we got connected up, why we followed their roads on to Troy.

SAM: Well before that time where did the people trade, before they put that road in?

ES: Some went to Kendrick and some went to Troy. They had to go horseback and pack the goods in then, you know. And there was a post office located pretty well towards the first road they had in there, and they had a little grocery store there. So the men would go horseback across there and load their groceries on their saddle and pack it home that way. And get the mail there, until they got the other road built.

SAM: Was this Anderson?

ES: Anderson was the name. That was the name of the people that homesteaded there.

SAM: Was there an actual trail there or would it be just a crosscountry?

ES: Well I suppose they cut a kind of a trail through, you know, so they could go through with a pack horse. The first two men that ever came to that valley were two miners. Big husky men—one was named Durgesen and the other one was name Goldstrom. Ourgesen was a Norwegian and Goldstrom was a Swede. And they walked across the canyon, they were prospecting. And they walked across the canyon and came in on that valley, and it looked so nice in there they decided to settle there. So they staked out where they wanted to be, and then they went back to bring in supplies. They even carried their own cookstove in on their back, and other supplies that they needed, and built a cabin and settled down. They were pretty close to the edge of the canyon there where they settled.

SAM: Were they still there when your family came?

ES: Yeah, they were there when we came. Of course the stoves that they carried across were not the full size cookstove, they were little bitty things that they could carry, but they would do, Uhen there was just one man in each house, you know, why they managed.

SAM: Would a guy have to lead his horse and pack the supplies on top of it?

ES: Well, not when we came. They had that first road where we came through with a wagon, you know. So they would use that road until they built the other one.

SAM: And that road went fairly close to Anderson?

ES: It was further north than Anderson, if I remember correctly. I'm not sure about this.

SAM: What about this other road? You told me that there was another one that wound up getting built somehow in a crazy location.

ES: Yes, that was about 1908 or''09. There was a little friction there about that. Some of the neighbors there wanted a certain route close to their place, you know, and the others wanted another route. So we got a surveyor to come in, and he was more friendly to the people on what we call the east road, the east route. That went north across the mountain and over towards Helmer, after the Potlatch had built their road through. So they made a survey on that route, Uhen the surveyor got to the top of the mountain, he began to look around, and he saw there was no good place to go down without a lot of grading. So he stopped there, and he went back to Moscow and reported in on that. Then it wasn't long till there was another route started, and he went back and surveyed a part of that, and it would have been a much better route. By that time election came and he didn't get elected for the next term. They got another man voted in, and he went there, and he voted in favor of the east route. And that was built. But it just wasn't used very long, because by that time the Potlatch Company built a road into Park for logging, built a railroad in for logging out their timber. And as soon as that was finished, why when they pulled the rails out of there, why the settlers in there built that into a permanent road to market. And I believe that road is still being used.

SAM: Uell what you say sounds like it was just a very isolated piece of country in the early days. Isolated from the...

ES: Between us and the market, yes. On that route that was mostly just timber. And I remember we had to get permission from the Potlatch Lumber Company to build that road, because they owned the timber through there, and they objected to having timber cut down just to build a road. So we made up a petition, and took over to Potlatch to get their signature, and I was appointed to take that over there. And Uilliam Deary, the head of the...had his office there. But that was the main office, there was another office that you came into first. I forget the name of that office or the manager of that office. But anyway, I presented my petition there, and he looked at it, and he said that he would take it into the main office. He took it in there and it was turned down immediately. Mr. Deary said he would have no road built across that, on account of danger of fires being set by people travelling through. Uell I got a bright idea, so I told him I should think that road would be an advantage through there because if any lightning fire or other fires whould get started, they would have a road to get closer to their timber, to fight the fire. So the petition went back into Mr. Deary's office and he signed it with reservation. He said that they should not cut any timber that was not actually needed for the road, and not build a right of way through there. And we agreed to that, so the road was built. No trouble. The road being referred to is "the east route" which had caused some controversy,

SAM: He just turned it down and then he changed his mind and approved it on the spot, huh?

ES: Yeah, he did. So then the survey was made permanent, and the road was built. And they complied with that pretty well. They didn't cut trees that were not needed. See, as the road was surveyed, they just cut timber wide enough to form a roadway through. And the road was narrow, so that if two trucks met, why they had to work their way carefully to get by, you know. But it answered the purpose until they got a better road.

1:00 - His parents come from Norway to farm; Coming from Minnesota to Idaho

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Segment Synopsis: His parents came to the U.S. from Norway to get 160 acres of land. They took a sailing ship across the sea. Pioneering in Minnesota; deciding to come to Idaho.

6:00 - Coming from Moscow to Park; how Park looked in 1891

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Segment Synopsis: The trip from Moscow to Park; crossing the Potlatch canyon. How Park looked in 1891.

11:00 - How the land wasn't surveyed before they arrived; building their homestead

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Segment Synopsis: Land wasn't surveyed when they arrived. After a rough survey line was extended from Texas Ridge, families could lay out their places better. The Swensons found they had been building their cabin on their neighbor's land. Building the cabin. Splitting rails in return for hewing cabin logs.

18:00 - His father working on Genesee Valley harvest; cutting native grass for hay; feeding moss to cattle; creating brush fires

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Segment Synopsis: Father worked out on Genesee Valley harvest, stacking grain. Cutting native grass in Park for hay. Feeding moss from trees to the cattle when there was no hay. Lightning fires kept brush burnt off.

23:00 - Asking a Native American group to move their camp; selling deer hides to the Native Americans

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Segment Synopsis: An Indian trail passed through their place. As a boy, Ed asked a group to move their camp from a spot that had been cleared, and then his mother invited them in for coffee. Selling deer hides to the Indians.

27:00 - Who was in Park before the Swensons' came; learning English at the new school; the teacher's salary in Park

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Segment Synopsis: There were six families in the Park area when the Swensons' came. The school was built the following year, and Ed learned English. Besides the Norwegian families, there was one French Canadian. Of a teacher's $60 monthly salary, $45 went for board and room.

30:00 - Discussion of the "Land Grabber" and him putting 200 acres at the center of the valley under fence before the survey

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Segment Synopsis: The "Land Grabber" thought he was better than the other people. His gun is taken away when he threatens to use it in an argument over the location of the school. He put 200 acres in the center of the valley under fence before they survey.

37:00 - Description of the Park valley

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Segment Synopsis: The Park valley was nearly level,with several streams, scattered yellow pine, and young fir thickets, surrounded by mountains.

39:00 - Importance of game for the food supply

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Segment Synopsis: Importance of deer, partridge, grouse and salmon for food supply. Bear wasn't eaten much.

42:00 - How the people of Park built a road to Troy and why it was important

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Segment Synopsis: The people decided to build a road to Troy. They made a deal with the merchants of Troy, who gave them provisions and dynamite while they were working. Building the road, switchbacks up the breaks of Potlatch canyon. Before then, much provisioning was done at Anderson.

51:00 - Who were the first two settlers of Park

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Segment Synopsis: The first two settlers at Park were Jurgesen and Goldstrom, who were prospecting when they discovered the pretty valley and decided to stay.

53:00 - Why a road was built over the top of a mountain; Ed persuaded Bill Deary to change his mind to build a road through Potlatch Company timber

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Segment Synopsis: A road was built over the top of a mountain because of an election and a disagreement among settlers. Ed persuaded Bill Deary to change his mind after he turned down a proposal from Park to build a road through Potlatch Company timber.


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