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 Edward Swenson interviews

Report a problem with this interview.

Date: July 02, 1974 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

Search This Index
SearchClear

Index

0:00

Download the PDF transcript

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

Ed Swenson describes more about the early life of Park—clearing, harvesting and other homestead activities, building the Lutheran church and celebrating Christmas, playing in the winter. He tells of the wilderness country around Park, of fishing with spears, hunting, and cougar, and of hauling supplies to an isolated mining camp near Elk River, He speaks of troubles he had with drunks in saloons during the railroad building days, and of the time of saloons in early Troy. Ed also explains how he decided to leave Park in 1910, and how the area changed.

SAM SCHRAGER: What I was wondering about was just sort of an overall feeling for what families did to get by in homesteading?

EDWARD SWENSON: Well, most of fem, the men would work out in harvest out on the prairie, you know, through the harvest season. And then in the late fall and raise a little grain and hay, They'd keep a few head of cattle and so they'd have a few to sell, you know. It took a few years before they got a thrashing outfit to thrash their grain, so they cut most of it for hay until that time. And there were five of the neighbors there that sorta formed a company and went out and bought a used thrashing outfit out in the Genesee I alley. It was a horse power outfit. Brought that home, and they formed a crew for thrashing and exchanged work with each other, so nobody had much of a thrash bill, you know. And then they would haul wheat out to the flour mills and get flour to last through the year, and what more they had they would sell then to the warehouse,

SAM: Was water much of a problem?

ES: No, no. We had lots of snow in the winter in those times. And there were springs that towards fall they would get pretty low, but nearly everybody had water fairly close to the buildings. There was only one family I knew of in there that had to haul water in the summer,

SAM: Go on. They had to haul water,

ES: They had a water tank, and they hauled with wagon and horses, you know, up to the house, and they had a cistern there that they would empty into. But during the wet season, why they nearly all had plenty of water,

SAM: Was most of water come from wells, or did it from springs?

ES: Springs, yeah. Or small creeks, you know, that would run through the summer, the year around. They had to carry it, sometimes they had to carry it maybe a couple a hundred yards or so, but they were used to hardships, and longs as there was plenty water there, why...We had to carry water about I'd say one hundred yards or something like that. And we dug a cistern and lined it up with rocks and hauled water into that, and so we had water close to the house.

SAM: You just used the cistern for storing water that you hauled from your spring?

ES: Yes, yeah.

SAM: What about the work your mother did? What kind of jobs did she do to keep the family going?

ES: Oh, she worked, was at home all the time. Did the housework you know. And we had big gardens and a big orchard, we had oh close to two acres of orchard there, fruit orchard, so she did a lot of canning. And of course we had plenty of milk and cream, and she made butter, stored butter for the winter. We had a good cold cellar. And so she put up a lot of fruit and butter and things like that. And they salted meat in a big barrel. When we butchered in the fall, why we'd have plenty of meat and fruit, and then we had chickens and a couple of pigs, you know, every fall. So we had plenty meat. And the neighbors the same way of course. When butchering time came in the fall, why two or three neighbors get together and they'd butcher on one place then they'd go to the next one, and so they all had their help free of charge. Until the children began to grow up and be a help. I know we boys stayed at home until we were grown up before we tried to get out on our own any, you know, stayed up there. I was the youngest of the boys, so I stayed home to do the work there and take care of the folks when they got old.

SAM: You mentioned this cooperating several times. I get the idea that there was a lot of cooperation between...

ES: Oh yes, that was the general rule there. When you needed help, why you'd call on some neighbor that would help. Then you'd go and help him back again. There was no money exchange on that. No matter what kind of work it was, they were all familiar with it, and they all had the same kind of work practically, so...In breaking up land, someone had a good big breaking plow, and then if more horses were needed, why a neighbor would add on a team, and you'd break awhile on yours and then go break for him.

SAM: Was this breaking a very hard work? I was wondering with it being sort of meadowy, if that would make it easier then some places to break land?

ES: Well the hard part about it was that by that time, why this servicebrush have started growing up, and those roots were kind of hard to break through, you know. So it was slow work. And we didn't have a good grade of horses at that time. They were a mixed breed of horses and not very big horses. An average farm horse in those times would be between fehen hundred and twelve hundred pounds. And that isn't a very big horse. Later on they began to get better horses and do better work.

SAM: Your father had horses when he started, did he? Or did he start without them?

ES: No, it took a couple of years before we...The first thing he got was milk cows, 'cause that was part of our living, you know. And then my oldest brother had horses, and he would help. And then another neighbor that father exchanged work with, he had four pretty good horses, so he would come and break land for us, and then we would help him clear land or something like that, you know, to pay back, until we had horses of our own.

SAM: Can you remember the order of things that were important to your father? You said that you built the cabin first, that was the first thing to do. And then you wanted to get a milk cow right away,* Then what other things were the most important things to get done on the homestead?

ES: Well after we got the house up and moved in, then he began to cut logs for a barn. And there were three or four men., together then to build a barn up, 'cause they were longer and heavier logs, you know. And soon as he got the barn up and had a place for the cows, then he built a chicken house, and then was a cellar, and next was a woodshed. So there was a lot of work to do. The first and second year we were there—he didn't have anything broke up the first year, the second year he got a few acres broke up. And it happened there was an Indian trail through our place from down at Lapwai. They used to come up through the summer and go hunting and fishing back in the woods, you know, and pick berries and take home. So they would come across there until we had the land fenced in. This trail that they had across there was quite close to our buildings, probably something like 30 or 40 yards from the house. And they had a camping place there, where they would stop and eat before they went into the mountains. So the second summer after we moved in, why they came through there and they stopped and camped there and went on. The third summer we had some land broke up, and that took part of that trail they had through there. And father had sowed some oats then for hay. The oats were up a few inches, and the Indians came, and they didn't seem to understand this. They used the same camping place, staked the horses out in the oat field. Father and the older boys were away that day, and mother was worried about them destroying the oat ground there. So she told me I'd better go over and tell 'em to move their horses. Well I was afraid of Indians, you know, after hearing all the old battles they had with 'em, but I got enough courage to go over there. Of course I couldn't speak their language, but I managed some way by pointing and talking that they :should move their horses over on the grass instead. And they were friendly, they agreed, they went and pulled the stakes up, moved the horses. I went back to the house.

Well mother saw that they were friendly, so she said, "You go and tell 'em to come to the house to eat their dinner, their lunch." I don't know how I managed that but somehow or other they understood. And they came to the house. Mother had moved the table out to the middle of the floor so they could set around, there was six or eight of them. And they came in and they just took the table and moved it back to where it was before, and they set around in a circle on the floor, like they would in their camps, you know, and had their food with 'em. Well mother had coffee made, and she put the coffee pot down on the floor among them there, and brought sugar and cream and a little fruit and things like that for them. And they enjoyed that, and they chattered away and enjoyed themselves. Then they went away, and in the fall, early fall, they came back through, why they'd stop and they would buy deer hides. They could tan deer hides and make moccasins and things like that. So they stopped by to buy deer hides. Well we had one deer hide, and it happened to be a nice big one. And the price that they paid ordinarily was 500 for a deer hide. But mother thought that was a pretty nice deer hide, so she wanted more. So she somehow or other made them understand she wanted 750. Then they talked among themselves awhile, and finally agreed to give her 750 for the deer hide. And after that they didn't come then after we had fenced our land in. But we knew if they came anywhere through there, why if we had deer hides, why we'd get in touch with 'em and sell the deer hide, 'cause they were know good to us, you know.

SAM: Do you think they were the same Indians that came back that were there the first time?

ES: Well we had a kind of a road made then, you know, through the settlement towards the mountains, so they would come along that road. And that was only a quarter of a mile from our house. So we knew when they came, why we'd go where they camped and make a deal with 'em. 'Course it was the older boys that did that. I wasn't old enough to go hunting or that, but the older boys would manage that.

SAM: What do you remember about your own going fishing and hunting?

ES: Well I didn't go until I was around 12, 13 years old. And by that time father stayed home then, he was getting a little older. So it was just the older boys and I. Two of my brothers and I were the only boys home with the folks then. So we would go back there horseback, go back there and hunt. There was one place on what was called the Long Meadow where there was four big spruce trees in a kind of a group. And they were big trees, and it was always cool and nice around among those trees, so we formed a camp there, built a small fire to do our cooking with. And so that was called "the camp," everybody knew where that was. So when they'd go up there to fish or so, why they'd bring their camp tools along and put up by those trees. So we had a nice place there to camp, stay overnight there when it wasn't storming. And there was still snow in the woods there, there was still snow, so when we caught salmon, why we'd bury them in the snow to keep 'em fresh until^we came home. So that was a change. After having venison so much, we'd have salmon. And then there was partridge and grouse in the woods there, so we'd go and get some of them omce in awhile, have a variety of meat, you know.

SAM: How did you catch the salmon? What did you use?

ES: Spears for salmon. A neighbor of ours had a little blacksmith shop and he was handy with that kind of work, and he made spears for some of the neighbors around there. You'd put a long handle on that like you would a fork handle except it'd be longer. Then you could wade out close to the edge and stand and wait till some of 'em come by and then you'd grab 'em with that spear. Then dress 'em up and put 'em in the snow bank, until we either wanted some of it to eat, or keep till we go home. We'd stay in there a couple of days or so, you know, each time. And in summer there was trout in there, mountain trout. So then we'd go in there with hook and line and catch trouts, you know. Have our frying pans and stuff along and have trout meals a day or two, and bring home some. So that was our vacation, you might call it, for the first few years.

SAM: Well how did it feel to be a boy and growing up in that country?

ES: We really enjoyed it. My brother older than I, that is four years older, we were together a lot, you know. In the summer we'd go back in the woods and pick berries and shoot grouse and pheasants and climb trees. We clumb a lot of trees there when we were growing up. And then of course we'd help father with the haying and do what we could when he was building something. And he would split rails and posts and then we'd help with the fencing what we could. And my brother of course he was soon old enough to do quite a bit of work. And before we got any land broke up for hay, the wild grass grew tall in the woods then, and out in the open. There were no cattle running on the range there you know, so the grass grew. And father had a good scythe and he was pretty handy with that. And he would cut grass around in the openings, and my brother and I would follow with a rake apiece, and rake it up with hand rakes, you know, and then get the wagon and haul it home.

SAM: That made good feed for the cows?

ES: Well it wasn't quite as good as oat hay would be, but we had lots of. it. We only had two cows forseveral years, so we had plenty of it. I know he had built a barn attached to the stable, and we had quite a lot of hay up in there. One winter we ran short of hay, and the cows like the moss that grew on the trees, you know. So when the snow wasn't deep, why when we'd turn 'em out they'd go out there and eat moss. And then they'd have hay in the mangers in the evening again and some in the morning. When the snow got deep, why see father and my next older brother—he was about 18 years old the second year we were there—so he and father would fall trees, and my brother Adolph and I, we took gunny sacks up there and picked moss and put in the sacks and carried it down to the haymow and put it in there. It was only just a short time until spring came, snow went down, and the cows would be out in the woods and forage around. So we managed some way.

SAM: When would your winter come in those days? When would the winter come and snow come to stay?

ES: Oh, latter part of October. And we would get around three feet of snow during the winter, but very little drifting, because there was so much timber further west where most of the wind came. So we didn't have any trouble with snowdrifts to speak of. But we had to shovel snow to get out to the road, to the other road, when the snow got deep, to get out to town. And Troy was our shopping place then, and we'd leave home about three o'clock in the morning with team and a sled, get to Troy about ten o'clock, and let the horse eat and rest 'em until about four in the afternoon, so they were rested for the trip back. And we'd get home about ten o'clock at night. But then after that the horses wouldn't have work to do then for some time, so they had time to rest up again,

SAM: Which road was this that you would take?

ES: That would be the second road that was built across the canyon. The first road didn't amount to anything. The second road, it took about a whole summer to build that.

SAM: Yeah, you were telling me about the building of that.

ES: Yeah, so we would go out that way.

SAM: Well tell me, what did Troy look like to you as a boy?

ES: Well Troy was first built up only about a year before we came to Idaho. So there was almost nothing there. But there was a grocery store, so the folks could buy what they needed. So they didn't go to Troy very often, but like in the fall, shortly before Christmas, they'd go out and supply up for the winter, you know, with groceries and things. And we had only coal oil lamp for lights in the house, so they'd but a five gallon can of coal oil, or kerosene they called it, and that would do for light for most of the winter. And my folks had learned to card and spin wool. They would buy the wool and clean it up and card it, and mother had a spinning wheel, so ahe would spin the yarn. And she knew how to do knitting, you know, so she would knit socks and mittens for us kids, that we had for the winter. When the outside work was done, why then both father and mother would card the wool. They had two sets of cards, they called it, that's the rig you put the wool on—it has fine teeth on it, about half inch long. And they would lay the wool, and take a handful or so and spread it out on the one card, have it turned up, and then they'd turn the other card down, and pull 'em back, back and forth, like if you were combing hair or something. And get the wool all straightened up into nice bunches for spinning then, you know.

And father's work with us boys, we would cut down trees and cut up for wood for the year during the winter, so we had none of that to do in the summer. When I got old enough to help with a crosscut saw, then my brother Adolph and I would do the sawing, and father split it into wood, you know, kitchen wood. We had just the one stove, a cookstove, and in the old house that was big enough to heat the house, because it was only a one room cabin, until we got the other house up. And father was pretty good at making shakes and shingles. He had a rig to shave that with. So we would go out and cut cedars and cut into blocks and bring it home, and he set up a place in the woodshed. So that was part of his winter's work then, and he made shingles and shakes for the neighbors, so he was always busy through the winter. When we didn't make fencerails and posts, why he'd be making shakes and wood for the winter.

SAM: Did you have much free time to be playing? What kind of play did you do besides the hunting and fishing?

ES: Well, father made skis for us. He cut down fir trees just about right size for, say about four inches in diameter, and he'd split them and hew 'em down pretty well, and then he'd use that knife he'd use for making shakes, and he'd shave 'em down to just about right size for skis. And he had a way of bending the front end to make the front end of the skis. The wood would be green when he first made them, and then he would heat them on a fire outside, and he had a way of making a bend in them with some sticks and a pole. I can't tell you just how, but he made them so the front end was bowed up on 'em. And then he put the straps in for our shoes, you know. So then we'd go skiing. There was a pretty good sized hill on one part of our place, and we got that cleared up.

ES: Some of the neighbors had skis, and they would come over there and then we'd have a ski run, you know. And they'd build up snow mounds there to ski ever and that would make a sort of a jump off of there. And they'd build up higher and higher, and finally they built up so they had one part way down the hill and another one a little further down the hill. And you could ride the first one pretty good, but if you didn't have good balance when you hit the next one, you'd land up on your neck and shoulders in the snow.

SAM: Did you sled too?

ES: He made a sled, coasting sled. It was oh about probably five feet long, so there was room for two or three on there. And we used that, like my younger sister and I, before we were able to try and ski any, you know, we would have that sled to ride on. Finally as we got older, then she would get tired of skiing, so then we boys would get on there, about three of us. And it got to be a little too much for the sled, and we landed up breaking one of the runners on it. So that ended that. But we had the kis until we plowed the land up, and we got tired of the skis, and then we had saddle horses instead, so...

SAM: So you rode around a lot too for your pleasure, on saddle horses?

ES: Oh yes, us boys, we had fixed up so we had race ground over there, you know, one good level stretch of road, why we'd go and have races once in awhile. 'Course there wasn't much money involved but there was lots of fun in it. And then we'd go horseback to town if there wasn't much to carry, why we'd rather go horseback than drive a team, you know. We used the horses a lot. (Pause.) Then we took to going further away on hunting trips where the land wasn't settled up so much. We'd have a pack horse and two, three saddle horses and go back up towards Bovill and up in that part, and go camping. My oldest sister and her family come West one fall, and next spring when the snow went off we packed off for a hunting trip back towards St. Maries, up in there. He had never camped out like that 'cause they were on the prairie back East. So he had quite an experience. One day we were camped there in the afternoon, we were gonna catch some fish for fry for the supper, and while we got ready to fish a snowstorm came up. And he thought that was quite a thing to see, catching a fish and have it land in a snowstorm. So he had that to tell when he got back East. And one night the wind came up and a dead pine tree was blown down and the top of that was only just a few steps from our camp. So we was more careful in choosing a place to camp after that.

SAM: Did any people around Park get lost in the woods? Was there ever trouble with anybody getting lost in the woods?

ES: It was only once, one of our neighbors, he got lost (chuckles). He didn't want to fire any shots for help because he didn't have much ammunition with him, and so he just sat down and waited, and when he didn't come home, why the children got worried. Their mother had died, so it was just he and the children. They got worried so they came to us to tell about it, and the neighbors got together. And they knew which direction he had gone, so they spread out in the woods and finally found him towards evening. And they said, "Did you know you were lost?" "No," he said, "I wasn't lost. I was here all the time!" (Laughs.) But other than that, why we'd go hunting so often that we knew all the hills and valleys around there pretty well.

SAM: When you went hunting could you get around in the woods real easily, or did you stick to trails?

ES: No, it was open enough so we would take a route to where we thought there were deer, and if we found fairly good tracks, why we would spread out and work around till we found them. Sometimes we didn't find them. If we were on the wind side and they got our scent, why they'd take off and maybe land miles away. So, that is after hunting had gone on awhile, they began to get more wild, you know, and more careful about where they roamed. But the first few years the deer were not frightened because nobody had been in there to do any hunting much. You'd go out and wait somewhere and pretty soon there might be a deer come walking by, or maybe two or three of them. Other times why you'd go walk around until you jumped one or two, and then you'd take time and sneak up on 'em, get 'em. And there was no season at that time, you could go out and hunt anytime you wanted to. There were some cougars around. The deer would come down from up in the mountains when the snow got deep, and the cougars would .follow. But then when it got settled up and there were dogs around and that, why the cougars stayed back more in the background. It was only once a cougar got into our yard. We had butchered, and we hung the meat up in the woodshed to freeze during the night. This was in cold weather. And a cougar had strayed in there. I went over to a neighbors, a few of us young fellas spent the evening there, playing cards and visiting. I didn't have a gun with me at that time. I went down there horseback. When I came back in the night, the dog met me over at the barn and he was so frightened that I suspicioned something was wrong. So as soon as I had the horse tied and fed, why I started to the house, and the dog followed me so close that he was actually bothering me from walking almost. And when I came around to the gate by the house, walked around to the front end of the cellar and woodshed, I spied the cougar—he was standing among some berry bushes we had there. He didn't leave, but he stood there watching me. And I walked on to the house. As soon as I got in the house I turned the light on—my folks had gone to bed—I turned the light on and went and got my rifle. But when I got out he had left there and he was over on the field at some distance from the house. And he stopped and stood there. It was moonlight enough so I could see him fairly plain but I couldn't see the sights on my gun, so I didn't hit him when I fired at him. And of course then he took off for the woods. Next morning when I got out there I could see his tracks around and around the woodshed. He could smell that meat in there. That's why he was there, trying to get in there, but the door was closed so he couldn't get in. But he didn't come back neither.

There was one instance during the very first days that people lived in there. One man went back in the woods to cut down a tree for shakes, to make shakes. And it wasn't very far so he didn't bother to take a gun with him. He was by himself, and he cut a tree down, and he started to cut off some blocks at the foot of the tree, you know. And after awhile he looked up and there was a cougar laying over by the top of the tree, laying right on the tree, watching him. Well he studied awhile to wonder what to do. He had had his ijnch and he had a lunchpail there, you know, this lunchpail was empty. So he picked up a stick and started pounding on that lunchpail. And the cougar didn't move. So he started walking towards the cougar a little bit, he figured that with that stick he could probably fend himself. So he started walking towards the cougar and pounding on that lunchpail. Finally the cougar went away. A cougar is an odd animal. He is not an animal that will actually tackle anybody unless he's either very hungry or is injured. So if you're bold enough to kind of stand up to him, why he's apt to go away.

SAM: Do you remember when you were back in the woods away from Park going around the countryside, was it still the virgin timber there?

ES: Oh yes, there was. There was no timber cut for market until the Potlatch Company built the railroad in there, and that was along about I'd say some where between 1910 and 1915. We had moved away from there, sold our place and moved to Central Ridge on the Nez Perce country then, so we weren't over there.

SAM: What was it like? What was the timber like around, not in Park itself but in the hills and the mountains and the back country there?

ES: It was mostly yellow pine and fir. The fir timber grew mostly in higher land, drier land, and the yellow pine grew almost anywhere there. And then further back there was white pine and some cedar and tamarack. And of course after the Potlatch Company had took out what timber they had there, and they bought timber from the farmers there, then there was mostly smaller trees, so.

SAM: Was anybody living in this backwoods country then?

ES: There were still several on the valley there, but further back there wasn't very many. There were several that went and filed on land under the Stone and Timber Act, and they didn't have to clear much land. I think they were required to clear up one acre of land. And they had to live on there a certain length of time, I don't remember just how much. And then after they proved up, why they would sell the timber to the Potlatch Company and it would be logged off. I don't remember how many years the company logged back in there, but after they finished their logging, then they took the rails up off the track there, and the land went back to pasture and such like. And of course through the valley where they had built the railroad, when that was tore up why they began to use the land again, you know.

SAM: From what you say this whole great extent of land around Park back especially to the east, I take it, wasrstill almost untouched, had never been used for anything,

ES: Yeah, there was enough timber back there that there wasn't any of the land used for farming, you know. It would just be open range for cattle and such.

SAM: Were people running cattle back in there in the very early days?

ES: I don't believe there was very many. We didn't get over there very often, so I don't know just how they managed back in there. There were some meadows there. Some of that was farmed and some of it was just kept for hay, and they had a few cattle back there. But after we moved away I never went back in that part so I don't know just how they managed.

SAM: When you would go back hunting and horseback riding like you said that you did and when you were getting older, would you find much sign of people having been there before? Were there old campfires that had been used?

ES: Not very much. It was a very bad road back in there. You could get through but you couldn't haul much of a load through there from the valley. So after the Potlatch Company moved out I don't know what they did. While we lived in there there was some mining done back in the Elk River country, before the Potlatch went in there. For a few years I used to haul supplies back in there in the fall and winter. And there would be miles and miles where there was no people living at all. You had to go before the snow got deep, and you had to carry saw and ax and things with you in case there was a tree fallen across the road. So it was a lonesome drive. Took about a day and a half to get in there, and I could come back in a day. As a rule they knew that there would be horses brought in there, bringing the freight in, so they would have a little hay on hand. So I could stay a day or two in there to rest the horses before I'd go back. The very last there was just two brothers. One of them was married. They were placer mining back in there, but they stayed through the winter because they wanted to be there when the snow began to melt so they had high water. They had built up a dam so they had water pressure to slush the dirt away to clear for the placer mining. So I would stay with them a few days when I'd go back in there. They would always have some hay there, and I brought oats with me for the horses, and so we visited then awhile. Later on they moved out of there. They told me that they could take out about $500 worth of gold each spring from their placer mine. They'd take that out and sell it. Gold was worth about $35 an ounce then, and now of course it's many times that much.

SAM: Do you remember their name, or what they called their mine back there?

ES: Their name was Leslie, the surname. They were Russians. They had mined in B. C. awhile before they came into Idaho. And somehow they had heard about this Elk River country and they went back there. They were oh possibly around 30 years old or something like that when they came in there. Very nice people. They treated me just very good when I was there.

SAM: They didn't have a name for that mine that they used, huh?

ES: No, they didn't build up anything except just the dam that they built for slushing the water out. Otherwise they just had their home there, you know, so I don't know as they had a name for it or not.

SAM: Do you know about which creek it was on?

ES: No. There was two streams of water. They filed on 40 acres there, and these streams came down two separate draws or outlets. And there was enough water, they had an four inch hose for slushing the water out. Then they had lots of force on that, so they could cut down quite a bank of stone and soil there. Then they would finish up with a miner's pan, you know. They showed me how they did that. I came in there before their water was very high, the water trickling down. So they took their pan over there and showed me how they would work the stone and the water and would work the gold to the bottom. But when the water was high they had sluice boxes then, you know, they would shovel the rocks and stuff into that and work it out. But I took the pan and worked, and I happened to get a little gold in there, got a few little tiny kernals of gold, you know. I took that home with me and I kept it in a little bottle for years and years. I don't know what happened to it, lost it someway. That was quite a lot of work doing that.

SAM: You said that the first guys, those two men that came into the Park country and lived there, were also miners who decided to locate. Do you know, had they actually been mining in Park or were they passing through there or...?

ES: There were two men that first came to Park. They were probably in their twenties or somewhere along in that. They were looking for minerals, they were miners. They walked across the Potlatch canyon into Park and they couldn't find any good leads for minerals, and they liked the looks Iof the land so well that they decided to homestead there. So they went back out to get filed on the land and bought some things to set up a home, you know. But they had to carry that across, there were no roads at all then. They were big husky men. One was a Norwegian and the other one was a Finnish-Swede from northern part of Sweden. And I remember them telling that they had to carry their cookstoves in. They bought very small stoves and carried them on their back across that canyon. And then they had axes and saws and things to build cabins with. I can remember seeing the cabin of one of 'em. It was just a little bit of room that he built at first, you know, and then he built a bigger one. And they located there. So when we came into Park the road that we came in on led right by, close by the cabin of one of those miners. They were pretty close to the breaks of the Potlatch canyon. So where we lived was further back in the valley.

SAM: Did they become farmers like the other people there?

ES: Oh yes, they cleared up land and exchanged work with the others that settled close to them there.

SAM: How old were they about when you came in?

ES: Well I'd say they would be somewhere near 25 years or so. They looked quite young.

SAM: I'd like you to tell me a little more about the exchange work. I get the idea that there was a lot more exchange work than any other kind of work being done there.

ES: Yes, being in the woods there they had to have more help to clear away and build, you know. After they got houses built and barns and such like, then each would work on his own place then. And of course they were all or practically all were family people, so they soon had boys growing up to help at home. So then they didn't do so much exchange work.

SAM: You mentioned to me that there was once a time when there was a man who was supposed to do some exchange work for your father and he fell through on it, and that just a bad thing for him to do. Remember, you said there was a time where this guy was supposed to do some work for your father, some exchange work for you father, and he reneged on it, he wouldn't do it. And you said you had to go over and tell him he was going to do it.

ES: Oh yes. Well he was pretty much for himself and didn't seem to neighbor much with the others. Father had helped him, was going to exchange with him. I was about grown up at that time and I went out on the prairie to work in the harvest fields. Father managed pretty well at home for awhile while I was away. And we had just a few acres that we could plant wheat on for thrashing. Part of it we kept for hay, you know. And father didn't have a binder yet cause there wasn't enough land broke to justify buying the machinery like that, so he exchanged with his neighbor. And I happened to come home just about the time this wheat was to be cut. And this neighbor had a binder, so father had worked for him and he had promised to cut this wheat for father. And when the time came to cut it, why he seemed to be busy with something else. So I decided I was going to do something about it. So I went down there and had a little talk with the man and told him what would happen if he didn't come and cut the wheat, and he agreed to come, and he came that afternoon...

SAM: I take it that that was the exception to the rule, and most all the time people would.

ES: Oh yes. Yeah, we had a nice neighborhood there and good neighbors. Later on we had time enough so we could build a church in there. And one of our neighbors was a fairly good carpenter. So we had a meeting, got together, formed a committee, and made an agreement that this carpenter would do the finishing work on the building, and the rest of us around there would donate a certain amount of work on putting up the framework and that. So we went to work, and had enough money we could buy the lumber and what was needed for it otherwise without hurting ourselves. So we went to work. My father and I agreed to lay the foundation. It was to be a rock foundation. So we hauled in rocks there, and father had learned a little about stone work, so he could build a pretty good foundation and I was able tor,help him of course. So we hauled rocks over there and leveled up the ground and laid the rock foundation, and then the others went to work on the framework. And soon they had the church up and the roof on. But the steeple had to wait awhile, that stood there about a year or so before we built the steeple. And I had moved away by that time over to Central Ridge, but I came back over to Park and I helped them to put the steeple up. Then it took about another year or so before they hung a bell in the steeple. And I had heard about they were going to do that, and I had a brother and family living there, so I went back to visit them in the winter, and so I got in on that too. I helped to hang the bell there which I was happy to do, because that was still the old stomping grounds, you know, where I used to live. And so then they had their meetings in there.

SAM: So about when was that church built? It was just before you left, huh?

ES: That would be along about 1908, or '09, because we moved away in 1910.

SAM: Was it Norwegian Lutheran?

ES: Oh yes. It was a Lutheran community so this was a Lutheran church.

SAM: Before the church had been built did people get together in the schoolhouse or...?

ES: Yes, we used that both for school and Sunday school and church. We had Christmas trees in there. Father was always delegated to bring the Christmas tree when we had our Christmas doings. And I would help to put the trimmings on. They would bring a pretty big tree, it would reach almost to the ceiling of the schoolhouse. And they hadn't studied out just how to set that tree, to brace it and so on. So father got a good (chuckles) idea, and he went home, he had a big two inch auger. He brought that over and they moved the desk over to one side and they bored a hole through the floor (chuckles), stuck the tree down through that hole in the floor (laughs). And then they fastened the top to the ceiling so it couldn't fall down. So every year after that when Christmas time came, why they'd pull the desk over to one side and stick the Christmas tree down through that hole in the floor (laughs). And we used to string popcorn and tinsel and things like that, you know, and hang on the tree, and presents of course. And we bought caadles—there was no elec tricity there you know—so we bought candles and put on and lit them up, and the tree looked pretty nice. And then had the program of course and handed out the presents. Then we would leave that tree there until after New Year, so there would be New Year's services there, and everybody that hadn't been there for the Christmas doing could still see the tree.

The last year we were there the church was built then, so we had our Christmas doings in the church. And somebody got the idea that we should put up two trees in the church, so we did! And most of us that had helped with the trees in the schoolhouse were still living there, so we got together and put up two trees, and we built that up with decorations to look real nice. We had tinsel and we strung wires across and we made up letters to string across, so we had an arch built. On the arch we had the words "Welcome", and on the string we had the word "Merry Christmas" strung out. And on the wall back of the trees, we covered the wall with cedar boughs and tinsel, and we put up a big lamp there in a sort of a box that was open in the back and front. And in the back of there we had a big star made out of tinsel and a light that shone direct on that star—that was the Bethlehem star. And the wall then was covered with cedar boughs. And there were three windows on each side, and in those windows were candles. And over the windows were boughs, cedar boughs, made into a sort of a you might call it a yule tree or something like that. And then we had more branches left, and we cut them into small parts and covered the aisle on the floor so that the floor was like a carpet of boughs, green boughs. And of course those trees and all that was left until New Years so people that didn't see it before and those that did see it wanted to come back and see it,

SAM: Do you remember what was in the celebration itself? Do you remember what went on in the celebration?

ES: Well we had a little program made up, you know, of songs and recitations, and then the minister had his Christmas message, you know. It wasn't so much but still it was what we were used to.

SAM: Was the service in Norwegian or in English?

ES: It was in Norwegian, yeah.

SAM: In general did the people in Park, just everyday conversation, did they talk mostly Norwegian or mostly English?

ES: It was mostly Norwegian. There were three Swedish bachelors that lived there, but of course they understood Norwegian as well so. There was one family of Seventh Day Adventists, but they came to our services too. So there was no friction there.

SAM: Are there any customs that are Norwegian customs that were kept in Park that would be a little different from some of the other places?

ES: Well, back East as well as back in Norway, they had a feast on the fourth day of Christmas, and it was either the 12th or the 13th day that they would get together and have a good dinner together. And on the fourth day of Christmas that was the children's day, an old custom. We kids would be sort of honored that way, and we would choose what we wanted to eat and all that. They would sort of wait on us_ then (chuckles), which was a big thing for us, you know. Then the 13th day was just getting together for a visit and a dinner together. Everybody brought like they have nowadays when they have what they call a potluck dinner, you know.

SAM: On this fourth day that was the children's day, does that mean it was a holiday for the kids?

ES: Yes, oh yes, we children didn't have any work to do that day (chuckles). We were honored.

SAM: Were there other holidays besides Christmas that were really traditional Norwegian type of celebration?

ES: No, we had the fourth of Duly of course, like the others, and then there were certain holiday in church, you know, that they kept.

SAM: Would you tell me about the way that the naming worked for your family? You told me that story, and that seemed like a Norwegian kind of tradition— how the Rinsagers became the Swensons and the other way around?

ES: Yes. When my folks came from Norway, father had to apply for citizenship in the States, and his full name was Ivor Swenson Rinsage or in Norwegian they could pronouce it Rinsager. Well when he took out his citizenship, that was in the court where they spoke English of course, and they didn't like that Norwegian Rinsager, they couldn't pronounce it very clear. So they talked him into leaving that off and just have his name Ivor Swenson. So from then on, why that was our full name. Except in Minnesota they settled in a Norwegian settlement, and we were known there as the Rinsager family. But legally it was just Ivor Swenson. But when my oldest brother moved away, he was in a settlement where there was another Swenson, and their mail was sometimes mixed up. He always liked the old Rinsager name, so he went to court and had his name changed to Rinsager. That's why my nephews here now are known as Rinsage.

SAM: And the name Rinsager comes from the province or the country in...?

ES: It's from the district. Dust like the counties are here but in a smaller space, you might say. Each district had a separate name. And the name, the place where father was born was Rinsager, so of course he carried that name when he came to the States. Now there, some of the other neighbors, for instance there was one named Kaaen, K-a-a-e-n, That was another district in Norway. Sunby, S-u-n-b-y, was another district. So those names were easy to pronouce in English, so they just kept the same. Torgeson was another name, Hellerud was another name from Norway.

SAM: How did they feel about the kids learning English in school? Did they want the kids to learn English and speak English as quickly as they could?

ES: Well our first experience in English was when we started going to school. The schoolhouse was built, so a year after we came to Idaho we had a schoolhouse, and we had to learn English in the school as much as we did at home. But for young folks it don't take long, you know. But even then when we were at home we talked Norwegian, because our parents didn't talk much English, you know. Father had learned enough in his dealings with people back in Minnesota, he had learned to speak a little English, enough to make himself understood. But mother didn't learn much. So naturally we talked Norwegian when we were at home. When we kids were together, sometimes we'd talk Norwegian and some times English when we were out by ourselves. But in school we had to learn to read English and talk English. The first teacher we had was very good to us, he was very good. During recess he was just like one of the kids. He'd play out there with us and have good times. And that helped us so much. We liked the teacher so naturally we liked to learn the English and do our studies in school.

SAM: He couldn't speak Norwegian though, your teacher, could he?

ES: No, he didn't know a word of Norwegian. And maybe it was good because we had to learn to talk English.

SAM: When you came into Troy did you have any trouble with the kids in Troy who were from different places and had never spoke Norwegian?

ES: Well the man that built one of the first stores there was a Norwegian. The settlement east of Troy was mostly Swedish. So of course Swedish and Norwegian is almost the same, so there was no trouble there. And eventually a blacksmith started a shop there, he was Swedish. And most of the town of Troy was Swedish, and Norwegian. So there was no trouble there. There was a general merchandise store later on in Troy named the Olson, Johnson and Nelson, three men that went together to organize that. So you see Troy was pretty much a Swedish town. The first bank in Troy, I don't remember what nationality he was because I was just a youngster then, but the second bank was organized by a man named Ole Bohman~he was a Swedish man. And he was there until not so long ago when he retired, and by that time Frank Brocke was one of the main clerks there, and he took over and he became the president of the bank.

SAM: Would you describe to me what the saloons were like in Troy when you were a youngster or young man going to town?

ES: Well, they were not as bad as some places used to be. At first it was mostly local people that patronized the saloons. Oh they would get a little top-heavy once in awhile and (chuckles) have a few arguments. When the Potlatch Company began to build the road into Elk River, then there were transients coming in then. One of the livery barns in Troy organized a transportation rig, either wagon or sleigh, and they would take people up to the camps up in the woods, you know. People that came in on the train, and then they'd take 'em in and as a rule there would be some coming out that wanted to quit. A man named Thompson had the hotel and one of the saloons connected with the hotel. And he would keep money on hand so that when these men came from the woods after banking hours, why he could cash their checks. And the saloon was next door so they would go in there and spend some of their money. And in the back room they had the card tables going, and when they got a few drinks they had to go and play cards of course. Some of the money went there. Once in awhile the rest of the money would be delivered to someone in the back alley after they were knocked out (chuckles). But it wasn't bad. There were three saloons there at one time, so they went from one to the other. It was kind of rough on the policeman there, because he was alone, to kind of keep the streets clear. And he had quite a job, but theymanaged.

SAM: Is the policeman that you're talking about Marshall Hays?

ES: Yes. He got in trouble with a family man that lived in Troy. I cbn't remember his name now.

SAM: That would be Payne Sly, you're thinking of the man that shot him,

ES: Yeah, his name was Sly, I don't remember just what it all started about, but this man Sly had made a remark that someday he was gonna get even with that marshall. So finally the marshall went up there to arrest this man. He didn't have a search warrant with him, but he started to enter the house to take this man under arrest. So the man shot him. He didn't quite get back to the streets in town till he went down and he bled to death. Well then Hays had two or three grownup sons there in Troy, so they went on the warpath— they were gonna get this man that shot Hays. But they didn't dare go up to his house. They shot at the house, and this man stepped out and told him, he said, "There's two more men that I am going to get and they're here," and he started shooting. But he didn't get them neither. So finally it died down. This man was arrested and served a few years in the peaitentiary. But later the rumor was that he didn't come back to Troy—he settled some where else, I can't remember just where.

SAM: Well what did you think of Marshall Hays yourself? What kind of a guy did you think he was?

ES: Well what little I saw of him, he kind of had a grudge against the people in Troy, because he sometimes had his hands full. Of course he didn't have any charge except drunk and disorderly, and for that he couldn't shoot a man. So he was kind of grouchy. But they put up with it unitl after he was shot, why they got other men in there.

SAM: Did you think he got worse as the years went on?

ES: Well, he couldn't exactly do as he liked. He had to stay within the law too, you know. A peace officer isn't free to do just what h£ would like to do. He has to do what the law says he should do. So he had to stay within reason. So they just managed, and then after he died, why they got a younger man in there. By that time we had moved over on the reservation so I didn't get to Troy very often.

SAM: Did you talk to him ever, by the way, did you ever talk to Marshall Hays?

ES: Very little, because he was a stranger to me, you know. When I did go to Troy I didn't stay there very long those times. And I managed to stay sober, so I didn't have any trouble with him.

SAM: Did you feel that you had to watch yourself when you were in the saloons in Troy?

ES: No. There were times I was down there that they celebrated, but I didn't do any drinking so I kind of kept to myself. I'd go in and have a glass of beer, and sometimes it'd be quite crowded and noisy in there, but I didn't stay there to celebrate, so I had no trouble with anybody. I could see what was going on. And there were times when if anybody got little noisy, why he'd better stay away from that crowd. Then of course then it wasn't very long till the state went dry, so the saloons were closed up. Family men were kinda—like out in the country and in town—they hated the saloons because a woman walking down the street might meet a bunch of drunk fellas, you know, and that wasn't very nice. And things like that was what helped to form petitions to get the state dry, to get the saloons abolished.

SAM: Who do you think most of the people were that were drinking in the saloons? Were they local guys or were they mostly from the camps or...?

ES: Well at first it was local men, but when the camps were built back there, why then at certain days why they would could come in. But they wouldn't stay long. They'd celebrate awhile...

SAM: Who were these guys that were rolling these drunk fellas back in the alley? I mean who were these, guys they were drinking with, I wonder?

ES: I just heard about that. I never was there to see or to know any of these men. They were local men of course that would watch for those chances. And there wasn't so very much of that neither because it go to be known around, you know, and people coming in there to have drinks, why they'd kind of look out for themselves pretty well.

SAM: Do you think that they were often groups of guys that came in together from the woods?

ES: Yes. They came in and after they had celebrated awhile they'd get on the train and go out other places. People that roamed around from one job to another, you know.

SAM: You mentioned to me once about a time when you had to take care of a guy that was drunk, and he didn't appreciate it very much?

ES: That was just about the time that the railroad was built through there. I went up there to do some carpenter work, and there were two saloons there just built along the road, Roughouse, And the sawmill was located about three miles from there. And those men were hauling lumber to market up on the other railroad, and they could make a trip in a day easily. And there was two men that started stopping in for drinks when they came back with the empty wagon, and they were hauling from that same sawmill. One of them started back home while he was fairly sober but the other one stayed a little longer. When he came out through the door he wasn't able to manage his team. So the saloonman came out and asked me if I would take him home, which I did. There was no wagon box on the wagon when they hauled lumber, they just had the running gears of the wagon. So I had to sit on the back reach of the wagon and kind of hold him while I drove the horses. And he wasn't a bad man, but when we got out aways he felt that he wanted more whiskey. So he wanted to go back, so I had to stop and kind of have a conversation with him and get him cooled down and get him back on the wagon again, drive a ways. We stopped two or three times before we got out to the sawmill. And then he began to half sober up and he got mad at me for taking him home. When he got off the wagon he said, "When I get to the cabin," he says, "I'll fix you," he said, "I got a rifle up there." At that time I was talking with the man that was operating the mill there. And I told some of the men up at the bunkhouse to take care of that man because I said, "If he comes back out "—and I had my hand in my hip pocket—I said, "if he comes out with a gun," I says, "itfegonna be too bad for him." So they grabbed him and took him back in the bunkhouse. I got through talking with the man that ran the sawmill, why I went home. I brought a saddle horse along for me to ride back. Next day when he came through there he came over and apologized to me. He said he was sorry that he caused me any trouble. And he seemed to be a nice decent man when he was sober. So he caused no more trouble. He didn't get that drunk anymore at that place.

SAM: What place was this? Was this out on the Harvard-Deary cutoff area, where they were putting the train through?

ES: Yes. I forget the name of that place where they hauled to.

SAM: But you say they just put up a little shacks and put saloons just as the road was going through, so the men'd have a place to drink?

ES: Yeah. I built a bar in there. He had only a couple of boards nailed on the wall at first, you know, in the place. They built the railroad camp not far from there. So on Saturday night, why the men would come in there to tank up, you know. So I had to stay there in case there was any trouble. And there was another man there. He had been a blacksmith, a young man. He was a pretty husky man. So if it looked like it was going to be too much for me to handle them, why they'd call on him. One night, we found out afterwards that one night, these men—I think there was five of them—they had come down with the intention of robbing the saloon. He didn't have a safe for his money, you know, he just kept 'em in a box there. So they came in and they'd walk up to the bar and take a drink, then they'd stand around the heater there (this was in cold weather) awhile, and then they'd go up to the bar and take another drink. But they didn't talk very much. And this saloon keeper, he began to understand that there was something brewing, so he sent for me. And I came in there, and I'd walk up to the bar with him, but I'd have my drink coming, you see, 'cause I didn't drink. And then they began to get a little bit more talkative as the whiskey took effect. Finally they began to have a little trouble among themselves, didn't amount to much. But they kept on drinking. They had one of these sheet iron heaters in there, and two of them finally began to battle a little bit and they tore that heater down.

So I picked that up and threw it outside. And there is a back room there—I came through that room, and there I saw that blacksmith standing with a full quart bottle in each hand for a weapon. But he stayed back in the dark—so long as he wasn't needed, why he stayed back there. Because the idea was not to cause any trouble as long as these men didn't get too bad, because they were drinking and the bartender was making money, you know. Finally it got pretty rough so...There was a man and woman came in there and one of these fellas started talking bad to the woman, and she was no bashful woman neither, and bhe turned around and kind of started to hit him. And so I took him and put him up against the wall and she walked up and hit him a couple of times in one eye and blacked his eye for him. By that time another man grabbed her and shoved her out through the door. Her man didn't dare to do anything. Then they went up to the bar again, and there was one fella, a young fella with 'em. I guess it was getting towards the time they wanted to rob the bank, you know, and he got his pocket knife out, a big pocket knife he had, andnheld that in his hand. So I sneaked up behind him. He didn't notice me. And I kept quiet until he started to raise his hand like he was gonna strike at the saloon keeper. And I brought my arm down so if he had started strike I woulda held his arm, you know. Then that feller back in the storeroom, he came in. Then we put 'em out. They all went out and went away to the other saloon. But that bartender, he was so cool. He stood with one elbow up on the bar and his back partly turned towards the man that had the knife. But he didn't do a thing until we came in, and then we shoved 'em outside. They didn't come back that night, but they started a little trouble over at the other place, so somebody came and called on us to come over there. So we went over there, but they didn't cause much trouble there. Dust as we come towards the door, why one of them come out, landed head first in the snowbank. But when we came in there, why they seemed to understand that there was more help there, so they quieted down and they went back to camp. After that there was no trouble there.

SAM: Why did he know he could call on you to help?

ES: Well his saloon was only just a few yards from there, you know, so he knew us there and he sent the man over to get us.

SAM: You were working as the carpenter on the...?

ES: Yeah, I stayed up there probably a month's time.

SAM: Were you carpentering for the camps?

ES: No. Two men started a livery setup there, livery barn. I built that livery barn and did that work in the saloon there. And I put up a shack for one of those fellas that was gonna run the liver barn there.

SAM: Was that near Avon by any chance?

ES: Yeah, it was little over a mile, two miles maybe from Avon.

SAM: Did this change the country very much, when the railroad was coming through, did it really make..,?

ES: Oh yeah, they began to haul timber to the railroad then, you know. Several of the farmers up there had quite a lot of timber standing yet on their land, so they hired help and started logging it to the railroad, and that got their land cleared up.

SAM: They are a couple of things about Troy that I wanted to ask you that I didn't yet. One is about how often would you go into town from Park?

ES: Well as the road got improved a little more we would go maybe once a month or so. But we had no reason to go to town much except to get supplies, you know. And there were no cars at those times. To drive twenty miles with a team and wagon, that was no pleasure. So we didn't go very often.

SAM: And when you were there in the early days, what do you remember the town looking like?

ES: The streets were just dirt. They didn't have any gravel or any covering for the road, so when the rain and snow came, why that was pretty rough. We had enough snow so when the winter came, why they'd have a good roadbed with snow. But when that broke up then there was pretty deep mud there.

SAM: And there weren't very many buildings in the town then?

ES: No. But after they began to get better roads, why the town built up pretty fast. What I can remember they must of had a population of a thousand or more. They had two livery barns and two blacksmith shops, a lumber yard, sawmills close by, and I don't remember just how many department stores they had. I remember one, the one I mentioned a little while ago, and they had I think it was two hardware stores, and one or two hotels. And when they began to have cars, why there was service stations built up, you know, right away. And the livery barns began to disappear, then there wasn't so many horses. And they built up warehouses. But we moved away in 1910, so Troy hadn't built up a great deal by that time.

SAM: When you sold the place, how much did you have cleared, roughly?

ES: Oh about 40, 50 acres. I rented some land, so that kind of slowed down on the work at home. I rented a farm nearby there, so I had work to do there much of the time.

SAM: And the place, you said, was 80 acres, is that right?

ES: Yes.

SAM: That's because your father had already homesteaded?

ES: Yes, he homesteaded 80 acres in Minnesota, and then another 80 over at Park. And much of that was quite heavy timbered, so we just kept that for pasture and worked on the more opened land. And there was no market for timber while we lived there, so we didn't have a chance to sell any of the timber.

SAM: Why did you decide to leave the Park area?

ES: My oldest brother homesteaded on what they call Central Ridge. That was prairie land, and he woulda liked to had us come over there. And then finally one of his neighbors decided to sell his farm, and that joined with my brother's place. And land wasn't so high priced then, so I went over there to look at it, and talked with the owner, and he decided he would sell to me for a certain amount down—I think it was 12500 down, and the total price on that land was only 3500. So I could see a fairly good chance of making that. So I bought it on a contract, paid down a certain amount each year. And my oldest brother and I talked over about the place father had over at Park. And we didn't like to sell to a stranger, and my brother and I made a deal that he bought it from us. Well I kind of had charge of the place then. And so he paid down a fair amount on that, and I went and paid that down on the land I bought on Central Ridge, and we moved over there.

And I was there about five years. The first year I lost thirty acres of beans that froze, and that didn't help much, and I began to get discouraged about farming. I had heard about land up in Canada that was to be bought cheap, and also that there was rangeland for cattle there. So my brother and I and my folks made arrangements that they would live with him and I would sell my place and move to Canada. So I was there about eight years. Where I located it was good farming land, but the climate wasn't very good. It would either freeze out or dry out some years. So we decided to move back to the States and sold there. But I didn't do any more farming after that, I worked mainly on carpenter work.

SAM: How did you feel about leaving Park when you left?

ES: Well I wasn't really happy about it because that's where I grew up, you know, and that had been my home all those years. But I could see a better life ahead over yonder so we decided to move. But I went back there to visit my brother and the neighbors there every year while we lived on Central Ridge. I spent many good days back there.

SAM: Had Park changed very much by the time that you left? I mean I know it got built up while you were growing up, but had the area changed, had the people changed a lot?

ES: Several of them sold out and moved away from there. And I didn't get very well acquainted with the new people that came in, because I wasn't over there very often. So it began to change. Then at a certain time after the Potlatch Company had logged the land off, more people wanted to sell. And there was a businessman named Powell in Moscow that bought up some of that land, and another party bought up other parts there, made bigger farms of it. And that meant fewer people over there so. Now there aren't very many living there anymore.

SAM: Do you have any feeling about when you think the best times were for Park, for the community?

ES: No, things didn't change much, you know, so. We grew up with the land being settled more. But I was never satisfied really to be there, because there didn't seem to be much of a future there. So when we moved away from there, why I began to lose interest. Except to go back there and visit with my brother who lived there, and the oldtimers that were there.

SAM: Why do you feel there wasn't much of a future?

ES: Well we had only a small farm there, and it would have taken ages to make all of that into farmland. And there was no sale for timber at the time we moved away from there, I rented some farmland there, and that was enough to keep us going, but I couldn't see any chance to improve much on it.

SAM: There was one story about the community that we didn't get down, and that was about them building a lot of houses at once. Did you tell me they got together and built maybe six, seven houses at once in the early days?

ES: Yes, that was in the earlier days. That was the time that my father built the second house, or what we still call the new house, you know. Most of the settlers in there were men that were used to working with timber, so they were good at that kind of work. And they were doing exchange work, and so they talked over that about five of them wanted to build a new house, and they agreed to work together, exchange work. So when one of them was ready to build, why the others would come, and they would built that up to the top plate, to where they would put the roof on. Then they would go to the next one, and so on around. They all had their logs ready to...So they built up those five houses in one summer, between spring work and harvest. And then each one would hire somebody to help put the roof on, that meant carpenter work. One of our neighbors was a carpenter, and he came and helped with the roof on our house. Did the measuring and the cutting of the rafters and such like.

0:00 - Discussion of harvesting in Park; where they got water; the difficulty in clearing the land with small horses

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Harvesting at Park. Springs supplied water. Preserving foods. Exchanging work. Difficulty clearing service brush with small horses. The order in which his father built on the homestead.

12:00 - Native Americans who camped out on their land; bought deer hides from Ed

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Indians camped in their old spot on some cleared ground, and Ed asked them to move; his mother then invited them in for coffee. They bought deer hides when they passed through on the trail.

18:00 - Hunting and fishing in the area and what they used; playing in the woods

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The hunting camp on Long Meadow. Fishing for salmon with spears, and for trout in summer. Playing in the woods.

23:00 - Helping father harvest wild grass for hay; feeding cows moss in the winter; carding wool; getting skis from father

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Helping father harvest the wild grass for hay. Picking moss for the cows to eat in winter. Snow came in late October. A day's trip to early Troy. Carding wool for spinning. Making wood in winter. Father made skis for the boys.

30:00 - Winter activities in Park; riding horses and camping; hunting deer was easier in the first years

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Park ski run, and sledding. Riding horses and camping. A neighbor got lost. Hunting deer was easier in the first years, because they hadn't been hunted before.

38:00 - Cougars following the deer out of the mountains and causing problems

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Cougar followed deer down from mountains. A cougar went after meat on their homestead. A neighbor was confronted by a cougar in the woods.

44:00 - Discussion of the timber around Park; what the area around Park was used before and after Potlatch logged it

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The timber in the country around Park. A few people held Stone and Timber claims, and sold out to Potlatch. Use of the country around Park, before and after Potlatch logged it.

49:00 - Hauling supplies to mines in Elk River; two miners were Park's first settlers

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Ed hauled supplies through the desolate country to mines by Elk River. The Leslie brothers' placer mine. Two miners were Park's first settlers.

58:00 - A neighbor who fails to return work for Ed's father changes his mind when Ed threatens him.

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: A neighbor who fails to return work for Ed's father changes his mind when Ed threatens him.

60:00 - Building the Park church; father drilling a hole for the Christmas tree; decorating for Christmas

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Building the Park church. Father bore a hole in the schoolhouse floor to stand the Christmas tree in. Decorating the new church for Christmas.

70:00 - What was spoken in Park; celebrating Children's Day

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Most talk in Park was in Norwegian. The fourth day of Christmas was Children's Day, honoring the children.

74:00 - Where Norwegian names come from; His father changing his name but his brother keeping the old name; learning English in school

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Norwegian last names come from the district the person was born in; Ed's father was persuaded to drop "Rinsage", but his brother took that name back. Learning English in school.

80:00 - Troy was mostly Swedish; transporting people from Troy to logging camps; cashing logging checks at the saloon; card games in the saloon

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Troy was mostly Swedish. A wagon and sleigh from Troy took people to and from the logging camps. Thompson cashed loggers' checks so they could spend their money in his saloon. There were card games in the back rooms, and men were rolled in the alley.

85:00 - Hard to keep Marshall Hays to keep order; Hays killed in a shootout; Disorder helped dry up the state

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: It was hard for Marshall Hays to keep order at times. Hays was killed in a shootout. He had a grudge against the people. Disorderliness helped the drive to dry up the state.

90:00 - Hauling a drunk man home from new saloon

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: When the railroad was being built near Avon, Ed hauled a drunk man home from a new saloon, and the man threatened to shoot him.

96:00 - Ed and saloon keep thwart a plan to rob the saloon

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: One night five men drank in the saloon, intending to rob it. Ed helped the saloon keeper thwart their plan.

103:00 - The Swensons went to Troy about once a month; appearance of the early town.

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Swensons went to Troy about once a month. Appearance of the early town.

108:00 - The amount of clearing on the homestead; why Ed left Park; Park homestead sold to his brother

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Amount of clearing on the homestead. Ed left Park to buy a farm next to his brother on Central Ridge and then tried farming in Canada. The Park homestead was sold to his brother, and he returned often to visit.

114:00 - Discussion of the shifting population and the prospects for staying weren't goo

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Shifting population in Park as people sold out and land was combined into bigger farms with fewer people. Prospects for staying there weren't good.

117:00 - Building five houses at once by exchange

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Building five houses at once by exchange.

X


Collections A-Z