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This conversation with TOM WAHL ELIZABETH GAMBLE WAHL took place at their homein Pullman, Washington on April 4, 1977. The interviewer was SAM SCHRAGER.
TOM WAHL: You won't get muchkbecause I can't remember where we were or what. Ithink you've about pumped me dry.
SAM SCHRAGER: One thing that I was thinking about was, when you were young andgrowing up, how relatively well people were doing around Genesee kno wing that the area was developed earlier comparatively than the rest of the county for farming. I wonder how people were doing in the teens and '20's.
TW: Well, as near as I can tell, of course my memory doesn't start quiteas early as you might wish it would. 1 was born in 1911, as you know. But when I was about six years old, I think farmers, people that had come in early and had land and had stuff to sell, I think they were fairly prosperous by the standards of those times. By that, I mean my saw fit to buy a Ford car in about 1917,. Model T Ford car, this was their first automobile, and I suppose there was a little inflation going on too, because the war was heating up a little later. So in 1918 they traded that Ford car for etoodge and in 1919 they traded that Dodge for a Franklin. So you can kind of see a step up in the quality of the car. However, it might point it up a little better- I did hear my father make the remark that the Dodge car, he got more for it on the trade than he had paid for it. There was no such thing as used cars you know, they were a pretty easy item to sell, but there must have been some inflation there too. jh doubt there was quite a pad in the prices. It seemed to me that that Franklin car probably cost about like a Cadillac would cost, something like that. And I think that he gave something over $2,700 for it.
SS: Do you think that he paid for that in cash at the time?
TW: Oh, I think so. Course, he might have had to borrow the money at abank, but I don't think he ever bought anything on time, time payments.
SS: You say inflation, makes me think of the- you said he never would havebought anything on time?
TW: No. Finance it though a bank. You know, pay as you go hadn't reallystarted then, either. You had credit at the bank, you had credit at the stores, and it was customary for farmers to pay their bills once a people vuher year- after harvest. It was a farm oriented.economy. And the farmers did business, they expected to carry them til after harvest. But probably he bought these things after harvest. Well, come to think of it, he didn't buy the Ford after harvest, because he bought it early in the summer of 1917.
SS: Do you remember the prices as being particularly good?
TW: I canrt tell you what the prices for farm produce were, but compared towhat you buy, I think they probably were pretty good. Now my father told of when he first came there, and that's before there was a rail road at Genesee, they hauled their wheat to Dewiston in those days. And that would be some time after 1880; before my time. Haul a whole load of wheat to Lewiston and only have enough money to buy a pair of cowhide boots. So there was a time before that that had been really tough. And it was really tough, too, from what he has said. Now, I think in maybe 1890- I'm guessing here a little bit- but by 1890, I think things had gotten quite a bit better. But in the year of 1893 they had a wet year and hardly anybody harvested anything in this whole country, this whole Palouse country down there. They didn't have the machinery to thresh with that they have now. They didn't have the machinery to handle it with. .people headed in that time. And a header, as you probably know, is a machine that just cuts wheat about as a combine does, but doesn't thresh it, you have to then put it in a stationary threshing machine or in a stack and later a thre shing machine. He passed up a chance I guess to get his threshed; it was headed already, that is, cut and stacked and he passed up a chance to get it threshed because he was kind of hoping for a better deal on the threshing. And it started raining and nobody that hadn't done it real early, nobody got their crop harvested. And he said that except for the fact that he had- that the merchants and bankers carried them for the next year, it would have been awful tough going because they didn't have any money. Of course, they were not as dependent on money then as you are now. There was very little taxes and very few things you had to buy, most of the stuff you produced and canned it, preser ved it, in one way or another.
SS: What about the role of J. P. at that time?
TW: Itrs all kind of hearsay as far as I'm concerned, but there was an awfullot of land passed into hands, and I think most of it through foreclosure of mortgages. What do you know about his background? How did he come in there? Can you tell me that from what you've heard?
SS: What I've heard that it was largely through Lewiston- that he came toLewiston. And I've heard all kind of stories that he made quite a bit of money on the reservation land. He sold whiskey to the Indians and various things like that which may or may not be true.
TW: Did he come in there and start out running a saloon? Do you know that?
SS: In Lewiston?
SS: Well, in connection with selling whiskey- I've heard about his earlyactivities- whether he had a saloon—
TW: I think I heard someone make this crack, that he came in there withnothing but a bottle of whiskey and a box of cigars. So he didn't start at the top of the totem pole.
SS: By 1890 he certainly had quite a bit of^townsyon the railroad.
TW: There is this that I've heard, and I think it's true enough; he seemedvery much to have his name perpetuated. And he started, somehow or other a number of little towns by either contributing the land or some thing with the stipulation that the town would be called Volmer. And there was one over near Troy, you know, and I think there was one or two up on the Reservation. And every time he did this, so the story goes, the first act of the town meeting was to change the name of the town to something else. Now wasn't Troy Volmer?
SS: Yes, that was the original name.
TW: I think there was one or two over in Nez Perce County.
SS: Well who carried your parents at that time?Genesee there in my memory was a branch of the Lewiston bank. And
TW: Well, I suppose they bankedA the Volmer bank. That is, the bank atthere was two banks there when I was- you, know, within my memory. One was the Genesee Exchange Bank and the other was the First Bank of Genesee. And I think that the First Bank of Genesee was a branch of the Volmer bank at Lewiston. And the Exchange Bank, I think was lo- cally owned. The Exchange Bank went broke in my memory, during the Depression, the other one didn't.
SS: Was there still hard feelings when you were growing up about Volmerand the Volmer bank.
TW: Oh, I think so. Of course, you know, farmers typically are sort ofmad at their bankers, or were. But this bank, they were particularly there was a particular amount of hard feeling between the farmers and the bank, Dont you think, Liz? Vollmer burnt
ELIZABETH WAHL: Yes.
TW: Now there was a man named White and-
EW: And he was highly disliked, I know that.
TW: White worked for J. C. Volmer. And I don't know just whathis duties were, but it's been referred to many times that he was sort of, oh, he did some of the unpleasant things for him. He was not an attractive looking man, but I don't think he was too bad of a man, but he was a sort of what I've heard him referred to as a scalper. And this is not anything really illegal, but- let's see if I could remember this incident- Yes. He acquired a cloud on the title of a piece of property that my father owned, I guess, and it cost my dad some money to get it straightened out. And that was a sort of a way of S. T. White sort of making his living, I guess. Although the families were friend ly, still my father always held that against him. It wasn't a big things it wasn't a thing that you couldn't live with, but it was a thing that he resented,
SS: Did it as an agent of Volmer? Do you think? Or just on his own?
TW: He was in a position to do this probably because he knew things workingfor Volmer that he might not otherwise have known. But, no, I don't think that the bank itself was involved in this.
SS: Volmerrs presence continued to be felt around Genesee long after the'93 depression.
TW: You take the book like this Atlas here, and you go through it and youcan just see an awful lot of farm land listed in the name of J. P. Vollmer mer. Now, land wasn't worth much, and times had been hard and a lot of people quit when they didn't have to quit, and I don't think there'd be anything illegal about it, but a lot of people felt like- particularly the farmers- feel like if he got you in a bind, why he wouldn't back off.
SS: Do you think it happened mostly through the store, through his generalmerchandise store, and those kind of loans? Or through the bank?
TW: My knowledge would have been more through the bank.
SS: Mortgages and things?
TW: Mortgages. Yes, uh-huh. And through the panics and depressions ofthe time,
SS: Do you think that one year was enough to-
TW: I'll bet it's more than one year, because I don't think prosperitystarted very early. I know my people had it really pretty hard through the '80's. I don't believe that their prosperity started til maybe just before '93- '93 probably wiped out what prosperity they had, and then probably beginning 1894- as near as I can tell there must have been quite a little bit of prosperity then from about 1895 on up into and through the '20's. At least, there were better houses, you know, and of course there's lots of things to spend money for, too. Fences and everything else. Machinery. It was the beginning of the mechanization of the country.
SS: What about the Rosenstein store?
TW: Well, my parents liked the Rosensteins very, very well. And, of courseand like all the other merchants I think they put out credit for a year. I don't think anybody did cash business with the farmers. My dad, when the stores started doing it every month he resented it heartily. Just wasn't cricket at all.
SS: Did you know the Rosensteins at all?always gave me a cookie. They owned some land right close to where we
TW: Yes, I can remember them. I liked to go in there, too, because theyfarmed.
SS: How much do you think they were part of being Jewishpeople? They were somewhat set apart?
TW: Well, I don't know. I suppose, people being as they are, there alwayswas a discrimination by some people of almost any minority that you'd care to name. But it was common knowledge that the Rosensteins were Jewish and most people seemed to think quite highly of them. They weren't the only Jewish people there. I don't know when the Casebolts came. I they were Jewish.
SS: And the Levis, I have heard.
TW: Yes. I didn't know them, but I've heard the name.
SS: How much of an influence in the development of the area do you thinkthat the opening of the Reservation land was in f$5? Just in the tra ditions that you've heard about it.
TW: Well, now, I couldn't tell you, I just don't know. My parents boughtIndian land later, and really historically I don't know too much what the opening of the Reservation entailed, but a lot of Indians sold their land- patented their land and sold it in order to get money. A lot of them didn't. There's a lot of land still held by Indians, too, on the Reservation there. I suppose that much fine farm land being open to ahe Indians, being opened for farming, probably made quite a difference. I know a lot of people that were established over near Moscow- well, I shouldn't say I know a lot of people- but some people went over and homesteaded over in the Camas Prairie area. Now I don't know how much of that had been Reservation land. What did they do? Did they open the Reservation to homesteading?
SS: Yeah, in '95. First they distributed the land to those Indians, NezPerces, that were there, I don't know exactly what the amount was, but after they had given them a certain allotment, then they threw the whole thing open.
TW: I see.
SS: Some of what was left. I've seen the old Lewiston Tribune. The dayit was opened and it was a stampede.
TW: Well, that probably explains how come that I had an uncle that homesteadedover near Ferdinand. And my father, you understand, never homesteaded. His father homesteaded and all of his brothers aid sisters homesteaded some place or other, but he didn't. He was 'the oldest sur- viving son after his brother died and it was necessary for one mature man to be sort of in charge of the father's affairs. See there was the widow and all the kids to take care of and he was the oldest and there was, I think, twelve kids. And, let's see, my dad was ten years old, I guess, when they they came there- he was born in '70- and he was about twenty years old when his father died- eighteen.
SS: And he took over the family?
TW: Well, his brother- he had a brother that was a couple of years olderbut he got killed a couple of years later, I guess.
EW: He was eighteen, I believe, when his brother oW/ntd. He was born in 1870.Very noisy- some of the next few sentences were obliterated.
TW: , my dad was born in 1870, February 5, 1870. His father died in1887, leaving John, the oldest son in charge of the place there. But John died in 1893. So my father would have been at that time- would have been twenty-three years old.
SS: Did he have many brothers and sisters in the family?
TW: They would, of course, have all been younger. And one of 'em was anepileptic, and that putlthe others quite a bit younger and quite a few of them were girls. But all of them, I think, with the possible excep tion of the epileptic homesteaded some land somewhere. And two of them went to college, which my father helped them do; helped them go to college. And he always felt like he had given up his chance for an education by doing that.
SS: Did it cause him to delay his marriage at all?
TW: Well, yes. Let's see, my dad didn't marry until 1907. So that wouldhave made him 37 years old.
SS: I wonder if that child that was epileptic, I wonder if that was theone that Mary Edwards mentioned to me?
TW: She probably knew about it, but I doubt if she knew him. Let's see, hedied- I don't have the date of his death. No, I don't have the date of his death.
SS: Was it your mother or your grandmother that she adored so much?
TW: My mother. She was probably talking about my brother, who was a cripple, but he wasn^t epileptic.
EW: He was spastic, Tom's brother was spastic.
SS: She told me that she thought so highly of your mother. She just adoredher.
TW: Well, my mother thought a great deal of all of the Gr«y children, too.Course my mother was the young matron of the community and they were the kids, you know, of her friends- of friends that were older, of course than my people. And they were our closest neighbors, Mary and her bro thers. And, well, her brothers, at least some of them sort of started their first job working for my dad. And this young couple, I think they were quite pleased to have these nice, intelligent, young kids in their house.
SS: I'm sure she's told me how she would love to come over and play thepiano with your mother.
TW: Mother was a teacher, and I think by instinct a teacher too. Wasn'tshe Liz?
EW: Oh, yes. Pretty good teacher.
TW: She couldn't help but try to teach anybody that came within her reach.
SS: That would explain why she she said she'd rather been at your housethan anywhere.
TW: Uh-huh. Probably.
EW: And Tom's mother taught her how to sew.
TW: And Mary and her sister and her brothers, of course they were all older than I was but they were always real nice to me. You know, older kids can make it kind of miserable for a younger kid or they can make it pretty nice. Well, they made it pretty nice for me. And one of the nice things they did- these kids had an awful lot of freedom, even for these kind of times, and one thing they had was a coaster wagon and an old gray horse. And they hitched the singletree to this horse to this little kids wagon and dragged it back and forth. See, they farmed on each side of us, and so sometimes there was cooking going on down at this place about two or three miles below or south of us, or the cooking was going on at their place about three-quarters of a mile north of us. So every day,maybe several times a day, these kids'd make this trip with the old gray horse and the kid's wagon. So I got to ride in this wagon once in a while.
SS: You say the cooking was going on.
TW: Well, where ever they were working, you know, why, probably their mother would be cooking the meals at one place or the other. Because, you know, with horses you don't jump in the car and drive from where you feed the horses, you don't go home every time. If you're working in the field this far away, you " arrange to live there somehow or other. I think really, how came these two farms- well, now, the Gray homestead was down there and then one of the Gr^y boys when he got older bought a place between the homestead and our place. And then there was the land to the north of us: I don't know how they acquired it, but as far back as my memory reaches and before that, they had this land on both sides of us. that
SS: The average farm^wasn't split though, you wouldn't be doing that, youwould have to be cooking out in the fields, would you? Or would people still ?
TW: Well, I'll tell you how we farmed. We had a farm in Nez Perce Countyand a farm in Latah County and they were three or four miles apart, and there was a barn and my father built a house- a barn- this was on the Reservation, three or four miles from where his home was, and when they were farming down there they just simply moved down there. Or, sometimes his brother would farm down there and one of his sisters would cook down at this other place. Later he rented it, they kind of split up and they had two outfits to farm with then and it wasn't necessary to all this moving back and forth. No, with horses, when you moved down to one farm you moved your horses there and stayed there and took care of them. And you know, you couldn't quickly move from one place to the other. It might take you, well, to go down four or five miles and get your horses hooked up and do any work and get unhookedwith horses, you just/can't take your lunch either, you've got to stop and feed the horses. It takes you an hour and a half for noon, you know. You're working but the horses aren't. You come in about eleven thirty and you've got all those horses to feed before you get your food and then you've got to hook 'em up again, see that they're watered. And night you've got to feed 'em when you bring 'em in from the field and unharness them and after supper you've got to go out and feed 'em again and in the morning you've got to get up and harness them and feed them and then after breakfast you've got to go out. to the imple ment you're pulling. It's a lot different from running a tractor. So, you can't- well, just to give you an idea; now my father didn't T particularly hard, he didn't work his men particularly hard by the standards of those times, but even as a kid. I was running a team for 'em- I had to get up at five-thirty'd be the latest, and you'd go out and feed and harness your horses and clean out your barn. There was all that manure, too, you know that's got to be pitched out. And then come back in and eat and then go back out and get 'em strung out and you were expected to be in the field with that team by seven; not eight or nine, but seven o'clock! Or at the very latest seven-thirty. But when you consider that you gotta stop by eleven-thirty, why you don't get an awful lot of plowing done. And when you consider that the outfit that one man drove usually consisted of two fourteen-inch plows and eight head of horses and compare thatwwith what a tractor can do
TW: — plowing 160 acres. You spent all summer, near, it seemed like.
SS: That would mean then a good long period of time at the other placewhen you were down there?
TW: Yeah, and you'd be- Well, farming- what you would do then- you didwhat farming you could do, and you got done what you could do. And it depended on the weather as it does now, but more so. And in the spring, as early as you possibly could you'd probably start plowing, and if you could get some of that work done and seeded, if you felt like you had to you might, but most likely you would seed ground that you had plowed the previous fall if you was going to put in any spring crop. But we, in my youth, very little spring crops that we put in usually started this way; you somehow or other got your land plowed and you summer fallowed it that summer, worked it, you know, kept the weeds down and then seeded it in the fall to fall wheat. Say half your place. And the other half presumably, seeded the fall before. Now if you didn't get it seeded in the fall you might then have to scurry around and try to seed it in the spring. Or, if the year gave you a little bit of leeway you might seed some of the land that you plowed in the fall, you might work it up and seed it in the spring and have a spring crop and a fall crop. You might follow a rotation that wor ked somewhat like this; a fall crop; a spring crop and a year idle for summer fallow. But that was pretty much the way it went. And then you probably had some land- well, you had to have some land in hay of some kind or other. The meadows, all the lowlands would be in timothy and you had the hay to put up and you might have some alfalfa on some land that- well, it needed the alfalfa for the land and you needed for the hay. You had some cattle; most everybody had some cattle. Enough for their own meat and their own milk and maybe sell some.
SS: Was fallow usually a clover or something like that?
TW: Fallow means to leave it bare and work it to preserve the moisture andkill the weeds.
SS: You said about half of the place—
TW: Yeah, that was the rotation, people followed most of the time- was halfsummer fallow and half wheat. That is, of the ]and that you plow. The alfalfa, of course, is^perennial legume and you didn't plow it up til it had been in a number of years and wasn't producing hay very well. Then you might put alfalfa on another piece of ground and break up that alfalfa ground into- and plant a grain crop on it because it would produce pretty well, you know, following that rest.
SS: Do you think that they knew by experience that that was the best partof the potation to fallow like that? Or do you think it was more old-
TW: For the time, I think it's the only thing they could do. That was sodwhen they came here, you know. And it's a battle to grow stuff on sod, you break the ground down as fast as you can, it's vegetable material and the land is fertile and so you decompose that vegetable ma terial. So I think that in breaking up new country I think it's al most would have to do that. Not now, not maybe a desert; but this bunchgrass country. Not only was there, bunchgrass years and years of bunchgrass in various stages of decay, but also the brush and so on that was mixed in with the bunchgrass.'; Quite a job to break up a piece of ground. That was one of the things the homesteaders had to f ace that probably made the years from 1880 to 1890 kind of tough. Pretty hard to get enough stuff to grow to support a family.
SS: Do you think it was hard breaking the bunchgrass sod?
TW: Oh, you bet your life it was hard. You didn't plow that with twoyouplowed that with one foot runner, a sodbuster. Have you ever seen one? Yeah, then you kind of know what- oh, that's hard work. I haven't done it- I haven't done any of it, but Elizabeth's brother broke out some land in recent years. Her brother John broke two fcfbs running that footburner and he was a real strong husky man. When a part of this footburner hits a root and you don't happen to have hold of the handles right and they hit you in the sides, why, break a rib. And what do you plow in a day? An acre? I don't know. Not very much. Well, you could figure that out, how much you plow in a day. An acres of ground is a strip of ground a half a mile long and sixteen and a half feet wide, and this plow would probably take maybe anywhere fr om twelve to sixteen inches, depending on what kind of a size of plow you used. But say that it was a twelve inch plowT^reaking sod, that'd be eight and a quarter miles you'd have to hold the handles of that ., and at the same time drive team and take care of the team and go home and milk cows after you got them taken care of. And you walked of course. The horses pulled the plow, but you had to keep it upright and you had to guide the horses and you had to guide the plow, and pretty rough day's work by the time you walked.
SS: Dd you have to cut brush very much?
TW: If there was brush, you would have to at least get it to thethat you could get a plow through it.
SS: You know, when I've heard people talk in other patts of the countyabout the '90's when their parents first homesteaded, I repeatedly hear that the parents' father went to Genesee during the harvest in the '90's and that would be the only money that they would be able to bring h ome for the year you had to stay there for the whole season, so here com pared to the other parts of the county that were in the timber country Genesee had not only land broken up by that time but they must have had money, too, to be able to pay for the threshing that these men were doing.
TW: Well, I think that they started out with very little money, and I thinkthey went on credit, all of them looking forward and realizing that if there wasn't any harvest nobody was going to make it, the merchant or anybody else. Now, a lot of people, or some people I should say,.came in there with more money than others. You didn't go homesteading with nothing but your bare hands, you had to have something behind you; you had to have an outfit or something. It didn't take much of an outfit. You might catch some of the Indian horses and break them. And just to show you what little bit they would put in an outfit of course, they'd have to have a plow. Hopefully they'd have a harrow, but I've heard of them using some of the brush that they cut off of the place to har row it with. Harrow it with thornbrush. Drag the brush around on top of th^sod that you broke up to try to smooth it off and get it down to some semblance of a seedbed. Of course the soil was just abundantly fertile and you could get away with murder as far as the way you treated the soil was concerned. You didn't have enough power to do much harm to the soil anyway. Not like a tractor.
SS: Was it enough to have a breaking plow? Did you have to have anotherplow too?
TW: You couldn't use the other plow til after you'd got it broken up. Iimagine you'd use a breaking plow for several years. I can't really say for sure, but - the second time you plowed it still wouldn't plow like you wanted it to, I'm sure of that.
SS: What would be the next plow that you would use?
TW: Well, what you called a gangplow. We used gangplow. Sulky would bea plow with one bottom that you rode on, the gangplow has two bottoms or more. But there was an awful lot of footburners, as they called 'em, that were like a sodbreaker excepting that the mold board was more abrupt and usually they were a bigger plow and a more abrupt mold board. .And by abrupt I mean the angle between the mold board and the land side would be larger.
SS: What else would be the minimum outfit that you're talking about?
TW: The minimum outfit would be two harnesses.a sodbuster and some kindof a plow. If you bought up land that had already been broken out, maybe you had a better plow than that, or access to one. And I imagine that there was homesteads started with nothing more than. horses and harness and plow. You'd have a wagon of some sort or you never would have gotten there, probably. Although I had an aunt whose hus band walked up from QjJLHrk and he brought everything he brought in on his back and lived in a dugout out here near Johnson, his first win ter. He bought a relinquishment I believe that had a shack on it and the shack fell down, but he continued to live in a hole that he co vered with the shack.
SS: That was not unusual to have a dugout?
WT: Oh, it was a little bit unusual because in proving up on a homesteadyou had to make certain improvements. And usually one of the first im provements they made was build a house of some kind. Now these hou ses usually- I've seen some of them- were usually one room with an open attic and the boards on the outside were vertical boards wi th the cracks covered with battens-about twelve inche board covered with about a four inch batten on the outside and then maybe three horizontal two-by-fours inside the house that those boards were nailed to. And one that I saw was at our house, we used it for a bunkhouse for quite a while. The rafters were split rails, and it had a ceiling in it, and the ceiling joists were split rails with boards nailed to them. I suppose kind of smoothed off as best they could with an axe.
SS: Were log cabins real rare?
TW: Down here they were because there weren't logs. By down here, I meanGenesee. There were a few logs in some of the canyons, but pretty early they got lumber. Most of those houses were lumber or used some lumber. I think that probably the*re were some sawmills in during the mining days, maybe. Because in this part of the country I don't know of any log houses that the settlers had. They got the lumber somewhere, shipped it in. See, there was the boat traffic up the river and it wasn't very long til there was a railroad came to Colfax. And quite a while before that miners had been building buildings and sluiceboxes and so forth.
SS: There was a mill in the foothills on Moscow Mountain. Barton had asawmill, the guy that had that early hotel in Moscow, that's the ear liest sawmill I've heard of.
TW: You know when?
SS: Well, I think it was in the '70's.
TW: Well, a lot of these people came in must have- '70 would have been awfully early to be homesteading. Most of them that- I don't know of anybody homesteading before the '70's. And most of them seemed to have come in around Genesee there in the rather late '70's or early '80's. My grandfather must have known, or must have had his place located be fore then because- you know a year before then because he spent the win ter, the fall of '79 down here at Johnson and didn't move his family up to the homestead until 1880. I think that there were several of the neighbors in there yet and possibly not all the land was taken up then, even then. I can still show you- well, I don't know, I was going to say I could show you one pretty early house. The one that Liz and I first lived in is still standing. It's built with square nails. It's pretty early. Her mother's house is still standing and it's pretty early. It has square nails and some rough lumber but some pretty high quality lumber in it, too. Both of them have some beaded larch in the wainscotting, something like that. My dad tells the story of an early day pioneer there that came in and built a brick kiln and burned bricks and built a house of bricks that he made right there out of his own dirt on his own farm. And it's not very far from where he farmed but I don't know- I couldn't point out the location but just a year or so ago I found one of those bricks, or t' to be one of those bricks. Because my dad, we were out plowing one day and turned up one of these bricks and he told me the story then.
SS: Any idea where that man came from?
TW: I suppose that this was his trade, you know. A lot of people had atrade, and he may very well have sold some of these bricks, I don't know. Pretty early in the game there was a man named Herbert that was burning bricks and tile down at Uniontown then,- But I don't know how-
SS: The market in chimneys for peoples' fire.
TW: Yeah, there's always be a market for brick, alright. I've seen someearly houses up in this country that are made of rock and stone. I have seen some shelters later than that.were used by Chinese I guess when the railroad was built down around Lewiston there, kind of an oval like an igloo shape house out of rock.
SS: Down by Lewiston?
SS: Well, getting by with the minimum in these early days; what do youknow about what people ate and what food they had?
TW: Well, I'll tell you one thing that Earl Clyde told me, that his peoplehad it real tough I think it was the first winter but I can't name the date; but his people had a haystack up the draw from where their house is- you know where Lola lives there- and Earl ha$ told me that his parents told him that they didn't think they'd a made it that winter if it hadn't been for the prairie chickens that they were able to kill at that haystack. My dad has told me about go: out in the early part of the year and gather a hatful of prairie chicken eggs, so I know they ate them and considered it a treat. Of course, I suppose all pioneers had as soon as they could or whenever they had the opportunity butchered and cured some pork. And that's the meat that apparently every one of them knew how to cure. All of my early childhood a big part of the winter was- you butchered some pigs and then you took care of that meat and you salted it and then you smoked it and then th at lasted us all through summer. We didn't buy much meat in the summertime. There wasn't much opportunity to buy meat in the summer. You had chickens, because you could not only eat the eggs, but you coulda family could eat a chicken or two before they would spoil. But there there was no refrigeration. If there were a few more people around, you might arrange to get a sheep and butcher it sometimes. You had to eat something that was small enough that you could eat it before it all spoiled. You might killa' small calf or a youngish calf and divide it among the neighbors to have summer meat. You know, like if there was a crew or during the harvest time it was not at all uncommon in my memory in harvesttime that of the neighbors would get together and they'd decide, well, I'll take a quarter and I'll take a quarter and I'll take a quarter. And maybe among four families with their hired men and the harvesters that you have extra they could eat this up before it spoiled. But there has been lots of meat spoiled, too, that I've seen. Lots of times in the summer if people with sheep would come through looking for sheep pasture, why, you'd arrange to get a sheep, because you could butcher that and eat it up pretty fast. And real good, too, a^welcome change from bacon and ham. And then they canned lots of meat. Without pressure cookers Either, and people didn't die. My mother canned meat all the time. A lot of the choice meat like the tenderloin from a pig. You'd can it rather than cure it. That's the same cut that you make Canadian bacon of. It's the round that comes alongside of the backbone. You'd eat it now for pork chops. Sell the people the bones instead of just eating the meat. But we threw the bones away and canned the meat. We ate what we couldn't get off the bones, we ate it then,
SS: Did you have your big meal at lunchtime?
TW: Yes, yes. Your noon meal was your big meal. Although you ate threethat'sone thing, we ate three pretty nice meals. But very few of us got fat!
SS: Was breakfast a big meal?
TW: Yeah, you ate a pretty good meal. You get up at five-thirty and feedand curry and harness eight horses and maybe milk two cows and then come in and eat breakfast, why, you'd eat a pretty good breakfast.
SS: What would you eat usually for breakfast?
TW: I still eat this kind of breakfast. Well, I can't now, but I wouldlike to. You'd have eggs or bacon or ham or a combination of two of 'em. Potatoes always, potatoes. Bread or toast or hotcakes, milk and coffee and that's pretty much it. Well, you might have some mush; bowl of mush along with it. And you ate all you wanted of it. When you got full you quit. If you wanted three eggs, you ate three eggs, if you wanted four, you ate four. You didn't want as much bacon or ham as you would want now, and for this reason; there wasn't any water added to;7your ham, and you didn't have to put salt on it to make it salty enough because it was salty enough that it would last for four months in the heat of the summer. And by the time you're ready to butcher the next hog, you're lucky if you could even cut that bacon or ham. And one of the things that you almost always did if you were preparing bacon, slice it and boil it and then fry it. Or parboil it, as they called it to get some of the salt out of it.
SS: Was supper very much like dinner?
TW: Pretty much. Pretty much. Usually you didn't have so much fried stuffYou had your fried things at breakfast and then by dinner and supper time- that's what we called it, breakfast dinner and supper. We never ate dinner at night; we ate supper. And it would be- you left the field at six, you got in and you probably ate your supper at six-thirty or something like that, maybe a little after six, and then you went out and did your chores then you came in and went to bed. And so you ate a pretty good supper and you worked part of it off doing your chores and you went to bed and you usually went right to sleep. Morning came awful early, even though you went to bed early.
SS: You mean there wasn't much socializing at night after dinner?
TW: There was no radio.
SS: Well, I mean, just the family.
TW: Oh, yes, you enjoyed a little of the evening. My dad always went tobed pretty early. My mother'd sit up for a while. And in the winter time, that's when you did your socializing. But in the long summer evenings, you know, if there's a bunch of hired men around, you know, maybe some evenings you'd all take a notion- maybe somebody could play a harmonica or sing or something. It was real interesting, real fun. And, oh, we read. Sometimes aloud, mostly to ourselves.
SS: What kind of books? Just out of curiosity. Just curious as to whatkind of reading do you do? Was it Rover Boys or the classics?
TW: (Laughter) The first book that I read was the Man on the Box It wasa dime novel sort of a romance. Don't know if I have— yes, I have a copy of it someplace. It was a lovestory, that one was. I don't know what else we read. Of course, I read everything I could get my hands on. I was a reader. I learned to read early and it was easy for me and I just read everything. If there wasn't anything else left to read I read the Sears Roebuck catalogue, or the label en the baking powder can, it didn't make much difference. But we had a set of books of and it was just almost like that only it was a little older set than this. We picked this up in sets. And oh, it just fascinated me. I'd take a volume at random. You can use them like an encyclopedia or you can just leaf through them and you'll find something that in terests you every page you turned to. It was a real privilege I had that a lot of kids didn't have; most kids didn't have, but my father bought these- my mother and father bought these- and his broiiier bo ught some for my cousins. And so I had just from those a pretty good back ground.
SS: In school were they using Mc Guffy?
TW: No, not in my time. It was Free and Treadwell and Searson and Martin,
SS: Searson and Martin. Well, do you think that when you were in school-
TW: Here's a first reader, that we used when I was going to school, it'snot mine but it's one like mine.
SS: When you were in school as a youngster, do you think that yourinterest in reading put you apart from any or most of the boys in school? I have the feeling that- from the little bit I heard that an awful lot of kids didn't- weren't particularly excited by the reading part of it.
TW: Well, yes. I know a lot of kids had a lot more difficulty readingthan I did. But there's an awful lot of them that developed the skill too. One of the nice things about the one room country school was, that the first grader got to listen to all the other seven grades re cite and read aloud and of course the old kids got to listen to the lit tle kids make their first feeble attempts at reading and spelling. And there was quite a bit of sympathy too, you know, and of course lot of these kids- the oldest kid was related probably a brother to the littlest kid, and a bunch of 'em in between. That is something that it's too bad they miss, this continual disability to see where you're going and also where you've come from, and all the review of all the stuff, you've learned for eight years. By the time you're ready to finish the eighth grade you pretty well know what the first graders are doing. And you've also heard eight years of eighth grader recited their own, too. So by the time you're in the second grade you knew pretty much what you were going to do. It's a learning process - I don't think with the kindergarten and everything else, I don't think anywhere near as good a system as this one where you get to hear the old kids; the old kids hear the little ones and they guide each other and help each other and fight with each other and keep order! Idon't believe they have anything
—In pioneering times is that, especially it seems for boys, when therewas any important work to be done at home on the farm that there was no question about it- The generation before me, that was quite true. My dad only went through the fifth grade. He did manage to go to some private schools on his own later, but I think about the fifth grade was the limit of his formal schooling. He had some place or other, he picked up algebra. He could write a real good letter and he could read anything. But he had the advantage though, his father was an educated man. His father had a degree in engineering. Civil engineering, which he acqui red in Germany. So that's quite an advantage to kids. Now the Gamble kids, thej^were both educated people. And although the boys in the Gamble family didn't go very far in school, still they were pretty well educated if they hadn't gone to school at all .parents like that. His father was aminister and his motherjkas a schoolteacher. And she was remarkably well educated woman. Now, when I was a student in college, Mrs. Gamble, Elizabeth's mother, she could sit down and derive the formula for taking the square root of a number by using the theorum which I had gone through, but I couldn't do it now, but she could after she'd had a chance to forget it for twenty years or thirty she was able to sit right down and go right through. That's unusual for anyone, particularly you'd think for a woman teacher but she was pretty smart and had a pretty good education. She was good.at describing and taking the meaning from a book. And I've seen Elizabeth if she had to make a book report, give her mother the book to read and her mother tells her what's in it and Elizabeth gets an A on the book report! (Chuckles) So there's quite a bi t of ability in the mother as well as the daughter to be able to do that.
SS: Do you think that the way the system worked then that it favored girlsgoing on in school rather than boys?
TW: Just previous to my time, yes. In fact, it was a kind of sacrificeon the part of my father that they sent me off to start college I did. You see, I didn't get to finish college either until years after I was married. I went three years to college then my father died so then I quit. Sort of parallel roughly to his. I'd been out of school
SS: Well, do you think—?twelve or thirteen years before I went back and started again. You went back- Imean, you went on then? Uh-huh.
TW: Well, my sister as you pointed out, my sister went on to school.
SS: What about in your father s family, were the going on furtherthan the boys then?
TW: Yes. One girl- one of the older girls took nurse's training up hereat Spokane and ' younger one graduated from the University of Idaho. And her twin brother didn't graduate, although he went for a while. There was mahy opportunities without going to school for a man. There was cheap land to be had and employment. And school teach ; was more or less for a girl, although the previous time- now my grandfather being an educated, one of the first things he did to sort of augment his m- come here was to teach the country school.
SS: And farm at the same time?
TW: Uh-huh. But he had a big family of boys, you know, to work. Well,I suppose he did lots of work too.
SS: I seem to remember you saying to me one time when I met you at Lola'shouse that in your generation a man teaching- a man was looked on as being kind of strange.
TW: Yeah, ghat's true. He was kind of a sissy or something. You didn tsee any men teachers hardly at all. But when I got to high school, of course, there were lots of men taught in high school. They coached of course. And very much like now, but they coached, they taught manual training. They taught math- well, not altogether, no. Some of them taught mathmatics, but my first two math teachers were women in high school.
SS: But the grade schools you said it was—
TW: I never went to a grade school that was taught by a man, although myfather did. And Elizabeth's brothers did. I think there was just a change at that time. You previously it was schoolmasters, all your eastern history seems to be schoolmasters, but out here, it was schoolma'ms. Have you ever read Wister's book, The Virginian? No-
SS: But I know of the book.
TW: There was a schoolma'm in that. It seems like most of the Westernschools must have been taught by women, at least all that I went to. It was an opportunity for a girl.
SS: Now a lot oS girls were really determined to take advantage of it.
TW: Yes, I think so and then it was necessary, too. Times by our standards, times were tough. There was employment for women. And the family made quite a sacrifice to send these girls to school. And the girls wanted to get to teaching as as they could. And most of 'em- you didn't have to have a college degree to teach, you went to normal school and you got a certificate, maybe a temporary certi ficate- you taught a while and then maybe you went back to college a while and then you taught a while. Now by the time I was going to college- that was Depression kids then- a lot of men got into this too. Into the teaching too, because it was an opportunity for th em. Pre vious to that time the men were all trying to get a farm of their own. That was the custom then.A Get an outfit and then we're going to farm. And well, it was more attractive than teaching. Your chances were better. The girl- of course, teaching was a stepping-stone. You got out in the country and met these young men and you married one of 'em. That happened over and over and over. That's how my mother met my father. She boarded at their house part of the time. Not at all uncommon. Little country school, the closest one to us, I think those schoolma'ams married local farm boys.
SS: Lot of turnover then?
TW: Yeah. I never had, in the grades, I never had the same teacher fortwo consecutive years. New teacher every year.
SS: Was that marriage every year?No. They had a year's experience after they taught once and a lot of them then moved on to abetter salary someplace. Oh, this really)was n't typitcal, there were plenty of schools that hired the same teacher over and over. But there might be^ reasons why you'd get a dif- ferent teacher. Maybe she'd go back to school again, you know, maybe she only had a temporary certificate and then she had to go back to school I don't know all the reasons. Liz can tell you.
SS: How tough would the community maybe be on a teacher? Did they reallyjudge her pretty well?
TW: Yeah, sometimes they made it real tough for her and sometimes shemade it tough for them. And the teacher} she was looked at pretty clo sely, you know. She was the stranger in the community. She was the giver of knowledge of course, and you looked at her pretty critically. And of course, there's the same jealousy between parents about their kids, that they're looking for injustice and so forth. And people are people, weren't any better then than they are now. And then of course too, there wasn't any radio; nothing to take mind off of what was going on at the schoolhouse. And a thing that maybe we should touch on; the schoolhouse in a country district, this was the center of the community. Everything that happened in the community centered around the schoolhouse. If you had Sunday School, that tie schoolhouse. If you had a dance ' at the schoolhouse. If you had a neighborhood party it was at the schoolhouse. As soon as they consolidated the schools you destroyed community. Now we used to every Christmas way way back that I can remember, we had dinner at the schoolhouse. Party was there. kids were old enough to go to school and it took in a lot of other people, too. Some commu nities have a thing against dancing, wouldn't dance. Some had a thing against card playing and wouldn't play cards. We're talking about the country school, I wish you'd get in on this.
EW: I think that was Thanksgiving and not Christmas.
TW: Well, we had many of each. Many of times it was a program and we ateafterwards, you know. I was asking him about how close the school looked at the teacher. He's saying that they looked at her pretty carefully with a pretty cri tical eye at what she did. The community? Yeah. Yes, I think so. He was saying that they only stayed like a year in his school. six I know of a school where teachers stayed years, you know, one right after another six years, but that's unusual. Sometimes they stayed two and three years. And.they liked to go on, some to what they thought was a better job, and others just moving to go different places What would be the kind of thing that would get a teacher on the wrong side in her community, I mean that would make them not want her to come back the next year? Well, maybe poor discipline. And the farmers were great to want their children disciplined. And if the children went too wild in the school then that might be one of the reasons. And that would be about the only thing I think. Was wild tame to what we would say wild is now? I think so. Yes, there'd be no drinking and no use of marijuana or anything like that; nothing like that was going on in the school. But if the kids talked back to her, would that be a lack of discip line? Did that happen in the classroom? "there was too much of it, I think. Also, they didn't like lots of noise. Now the noisy classy that they have now wasn't tol erated at all. It was quiet and children sitting quiety and study. A little busy sound, you know, but not lots of noise at all. And there wouldn't be so much of this having pets in the schoolhouse and having goldfish and things like that.
SS: What about the way she conducted herself in the community? Her moralsand that kind of thing?
EW: Oh, yes, that would be watched very carefully; very carefully. Butshe was not expected to come out to all the little gatherings at peo ple's homes, like the card games and things like that. They didn't expect to see the teachers there- the teacher there- but, yes, she'd have to behave herself pretty well, I'll tell you.
SS: You mean she wasn't supposed to come or they didn't make her come?
EW: She wasn't really- they didn't make her come. They didn't expecther to come and she could come if she wanted to. But that was more for the older families. The teacher just kept to her room and workedor corrected her papers and things.
SS: Well, was she open to court? Could she be courted while she wasteaching? Was that okay? Or was that frowned on?
EW: frowned on, I think. Yes. Yes.
SS: Well, the funny thing about that is, from what people told me, itseems like so many of the teachers met their husbands while they were teaching.
EW: That's right. That's right.
SS: But does that mean that they didn't feel free to go out on a date?
EW: I don't think they felt very free. No. No. They might pursue thes-edates in vacation time. Something more like that. Not when she was busy with her school work. There were some married teachers, too. Quite a few married ladies teaching.
SS: Young married teachers, or older?fairly fairly
EW: Well, young, -young, in their thirties maybe.
SS: I have heard that the young teacher when she got married had to expectto have to give up her job. Now is that true? I heard that this was written in the contract. They just couldnlt marry.
EW: There was a time through the Depression when only a man or his wifecould have a job. If they both were employed, that wouldn't do be cause it was so hard to get jobs. And either the man could stay home and take care of the children and the wife have employment or visa versa.
SS: Well before that you said that it would be okay for them to keep onteaching after she got married.
EW: Yes. Yes.
SS: Did you do that after you were married? Keep on teaching?
EW: I taught one year after I was married but I had stopped teaching agood many years.
SS: Before that?
EW: Yes. And then I taught school one year, taught high school after I was married.
SS: Lola quit when she got married.
SS: You quit when you got married.
SS: How come that you didn't keep teaching?
EW: Well, the farm was a pretty busy place and there was a lot to do. Andsee, she had four children right soon and I had one child and I had to leave it for my mother-in-law to take care of while I went and tau ght. There wasn't all this provision for babysitters in the good old days.
SS: I don't mean to keep asking you about the teaching, but it does seemto me, from what I've heard as being the main opportunity that the young had in those days to really get out there and take a leadership role. Doesn't seem like there was that many other choices that were open.
EW: True, there were not so many other choices, no.YowHad to go out andhave a lot more education, and you see, you could teach by going to normal school just a short time, a year or so, then you could go out and teach for three years and you could go back for a year. And from a normal school you graduated with just two years of work. Now, you see, you have to go four and five years before you're allowed to teach.
SS: What did that mean as far as the youngest age that women could teachat in those days? How young could you start at?
EW: Well, now, I believe that in later years it was required that youshould be eighteen years old on or before the middle of October. And before that you could teach any time you got your certificate. Be cause there was a lady who taught down in the Genesee area years ago, and she was fifteen years old. That was the youngest teacher they ever had at a rural school.
SS: That would be that you would go through eighth grade, then you couldgo one year to Lewiston Normal-
EW: No, in those days- that would be before I was teaching- even beforeI was going to school- you could finish the eighth grade, or not even finish the eighth grade but you were given a teacher's examination and if you passed that teacher's examination then you could go ahead and teach.
SS: You could do that without even a year at the normal school?
EW: Yes, with no time at all at any normal school. And the first teacherthat my brothers had, she had finished the eighth grade and she had taken her examination; she was eighteen years old, and she taught and did a very nice job. She loved the children. She was real good to the children and she did a very fine job although she was inexperienced, young. Another teacher that my brothers had was a man, and I don't know that he had ever finished grade school, but he passed the exami nation and went out and taught school and did pretty well, I think. Good singer. He lead them in singing and taught them all the old hymns. Things that they wouldn't allow to be sung in school now. You see you can't sing hymns, you can't even read a little out of the B ible anymore. But this man taught them the hymns and sang away. Taught them many other things, too!
SS: Tom told me that he remembers the parents as being jealous about, youknow, looking to make sure that the teacher didn't favor one kid over another.
EW: Oh, yes, that would make trouble. That would make trouble in a school.Teachers were really- the most that I ever knew were very fair. Tried to be very fair. But some parents were looking, you know, and feeling their children were not treated quite right. That was very bad for the teachers. Very bad.
SS: How forward were parents about those kids of objections in those days?Did they feel free to come in and give the teacher a dressing down?
EW: No, they really didn't. They just talked something about it and theymight sometimes talk to the directors of the school and complain about it; not very often. Sometimes they would write a note to the teacher telling them what was wrong.
SS: You mean a grievance saying, "You're not treating my Tommy well enough."
EW: Yes, well, you know, say something that some other child had been favored. But I had a very nice note once when I was teaching in a coun try school. This man had children in my school and he wrote saying, "I know a teacher may get many notes when things are going wrong, but I want you to get this note when everything is going just right." He had been a schoolteacher himself.
SS: But that's the exception more than the rule.
EW: Yes. And I think that anyone who has ever taught a country school ^ic/would be more understanding, you know, and tell you that everything was going just right.
SS: How would they express a grievance? Send it with a kid to school?
EW: A note, yes. Probably a note. Sometimes they would come to theplace where the teacher would be boarding and say a few things, but often it would be to the directors. Complaining to the directors. But all the farm people were pretty busy and if things were going at all smoothly at school they were happy and happy to have the children out from underfoot and down where somebody was teaching them something and keeping a pretty firm hand and pretty much disciplined. (Chuckles)
SS: Would mothers come to the class at school to see what school was likein a country school? I've heard about that in ., I'm wondering if that happened here.
EW: I had a lady who visited my school, but she had been ateacher herself, and that is why she was interested in visiting the school? Very pleasant visitor. Very helpful visitor. I remember her coming. And once in a while some mothers would come to the school to visit. Always had something kind to say. And whether they were the mothers of children KI went to school with or whether they were the mothers of children I taught, they were always very nice in the school room. We had a man teacher who taught us one year when I went to "Tomer . And he established discipline the year he was there. He did some whipping and he kept people after school for whispering o#Atalking when they weren't supposed to, and he was very, very much liked by all the community, because they were happy to have his good discipline. And he had been receiving the wage of seventy-five dol lars a month, but when he came to the end of his term the school board offered him $100 a month if he would just stay with them. And that was just unheard of. $100 a month was just unheard of. And he told them life was too short! (Chuckles)
SS: You mean, he didn't stay?
EW: No, he didn't stay $100.
SS: Well, what did the kids think about it? Were they very happy with hismethods?
EW: Well, it was kind of this way; they didn't like it so well when waswith them, but as they looked back upon it the next year, I would hear them telling what a fine teacher this man had been. And the thing they liked about him was the severe discipline.^ Everybody mind and toe the mark!
SS: Do you think the kids actually appreciated it?
EW: Yes, they did. And of course, they hear at tome what a good teacherthis was that didn't allow any nonsense. They'd hear this at home.
SS: Would women teachers be as strict as he was?
EW: The women teachers that I had were not as strict as he. No, they werenot. They all did some spanking, but they were not as strict as man teacher was.
SS: Did your generation have teachers believe in spanking and corporal punishment, too?
EW: Not so much. No. Not nearly so much.
SS: I wonder what happened between then and you that gave that up.
EW: Oh, I just don't know.
SS: It's certainly the modern tendency.
EW: Yes, it is. But all the children that I went to school with were accustomed to having spankings at home, andy many of th e children that I taught were accustomed to having spankings at home, too. So that was generally accepted methods of discipline.
SS: Would a teacher spank a kid in front of the whole class?
EW: No. No. Now, this man teacher that I mentioned, he twoboys playing hookey one afternoon and he took them into the cloak room, as we called it, there was a boys' cloakroom and a girls' cloak room, and he took down his little buggy whip from behing the mapcase and led these boys one at a time out into this hall and you could hear him spanking them. And I tell you, it put fear into all of us!(Laughs) But one thing I could say for this man, he could have avoided some of his disciplinary problems had he gone out on the plyaground with the boys and girls and played with them in their play period. And that's where the fights start, you know, is over games. And these children had all gone down on the ice-skating, and these two boys had stayed out all afternoon and had not returned to school, whereas the rest of us had gone back to school. Well, if he had walked down to the ice with us, even if he didn't have skates with him, but if he had just walked down to the ice and been with us while we were skating, that would never have happened, and could have run. his bell and said, 'Now we have to go back to school."
SS: But he didn't mix with the kids?
EW: He didn't play with them, no. He sat in the schoolhouse. And I knowI avoided much disciplinary trouble by playing with the children. And playing all the games. I was not a good baseball player, but I could play all the games like, oh, darebase and prisoners base and any of those games where you ran and had fun. It was also good for the teacher as well as good for the children. Gave you your exercise! Gave you.exercise and you let down the bars for a little while and just played as one of them. Then when the bell rang things went right back into their ordinary position
SS: You mean when you were on the playground with the kids you were nolonger the teacher?
EW: Yes I was in a way. But, still I would take my place- take a placethe kids would chose me just as if I were another child and we played together and - they might want me to settle dis putes and I would do that.
SS: But you certainly didn't idscipline or you didn't boss them around.
EW: No. no, no. We all let down and says, "Come on, come on, we'll play."And they always loved to have the teacher play. Even the big ones loved to have the teacher play.
EW: — country school, it was. Although this man teacher that I had didnot play with us. The lady before did not play with us, but the lady following the man teacher, she came out on the playground and she played largely with the smaller children. The games that you play in circles and sing. She was a good singer. She sang she didn't play so much the games of competition; more the circle games. And the year when I was in the eighth grade we had a teacher^ was real good to play with us. Real fast runner and play. all the competitive games.
SS: It does to me seem that for a lot of the country girls it was kind ofa chance to get off of the farm to go and train to become a teacher.
EW: Yes, that's true. And with the ones that took very little trainingit was a method of making a little money and bring it back to the home, too. Because that was a very difficult thing in the early days, was to make a living. And that's why, these men teachers that I mentioned they had to support their families that way, and a way to help support the family.
SS: But you would say that a lot of that money the teacher made went tothe family instead of into her own pocket.
EW: Yes, yea. Now that's not true of all of them. But with a greatmany it was. But I do know some girls who were such spendthrifts and had such beautiful clothing and things that their parents even had to help them. They couldn't make it on their own with their job!
SS: Even as teachers?
EW: Yes. I think that the first teachers that I've heard of atgot about forty dollars a month and then the teaching would only be maybe three months and then another period of three months. It would n't be more than six months. And then in later years when they got up to $100 a month and over $100 a month, that was very good.
SS: Do you think this playing on the playground with the kids made themlose their fear of the teacher?
EW: Yes, it made them- I don t know, it was very good. And some would saythat you should keep yourself aloof and not be one of them, but no, you find your children minded you better had much better discipline if they got acquainted with you well on the schoolground. And then you came in, you just old 'em if anybody started thinking it was still play time, told 'em, this is school. And then they have to buckle right down again. But it: improved the discipline. Kept all these fights from getting started out on the schoolgrounds.
SS: Did you ever hit kids when you taught? Did you have to do that?
SS: You never did?
EW: Never used any hitting or spanking.
SS: Did you threaten them?
EW: Well, maybe about once. (Laughter) But I never had to spank them. Ofcourse I had great backing from all the parents. They just backed me on everything I tried to do. And that makes such a differenc e.
SS: Do you really think that a teacher really brought culture to the community that she taught in? Or is that just kind of a myth?
EW: I think that in the early days they certainly did. And the schoolsthat I taught in, the people there were already quite cultured people. I taught at Mt. Tomr and many parents there who had been teachers and many who were well educated and many, if not so well educated, were very intelligent. They were exceptional people. And I don t think I could have taught them very much that they already didn't have. But still I could bring out things; for instance there were quite a few Norwegian children there and I could bring some of the customs of their country and what their fathers and mothers had done, and that was a kind of a contribution, you know.
SS: You mean, you taught them respect for their own culture?
EW: Yes. And for children who were not of that background why, that gavethem some idea of how things were done in jdifferent country . And I know that I was in the fourth grade- we had a teacher there who bro ught us things that I hadn't had. She sang very well and played the reed organ; taught us many, many nice songs; children's songs, you know, and we sang and sang. And she taught us a little botany. None of us had had any botany, she taught us the parts of flowers and the names of flowers. She taught us besides music and botany she taught us art, she taught us quite a little art that we never had any chance at. So she indeed brought culture with her into the community.
SS: Was she older than most teachers?
EW: No. No, I believe she was eighteen or not more than twenty and shehad attended the normal school.
SS: And so it was from normal school that she got that?
EW: She came from the normal school; I imagine she got a lo t of it inher home. She probably had music lessons when she was a little girl. But she sang and she played.
SS: What about the community at large, I mean beyond the children themselves;now TomfclT like you say, the people were kind of cultured. But was it the same other places too? I've heard in some places that the schoolteacher really was a resource person for the community.
EW: Well, I imagine that would be in earlier days then when I was doingthe teaching. I taught also at a school called Lenville and there in that community. produced America s John Mc Cormick and that was a young man named Alfred Brigham and he was a grand singer, learned at the University of Idaho. He went to Chicago and sang there in com petition; fifteen western states and Canada sent singers and he was this lovely tenor and he was named America's John Mc Cormick and first tenor. The next year this minister of music from Spokane sang in the same competition. He was a baritone and he was named second best bari tone in this same group. So you see we had quite talented people down in that part of the country. And there was a man there who had been a legislator down to Boise, lived in the Lenville area. So, I don't know-
SS: It's interesting to me what you say about the culture of these peoplebecause it seems like they were putting themselves in a much more dif ficult situation economically compared to perhaps that they had grown up with- their parents. You know what I mean?
SS: You grow up in a cultured home, here they were out on the raw, newland that had much more limited cultural opportunities, wouldn't that be so?
EW: Yes. That is so. And I think they made quite a contribution there,and I know from the college they used to send out a lady who was head of the music department. She'd come out and sing in the country schools. And my superintendent, Miss Ellen Peterson, would come out and play the reed organ. We'd have " in the evenings and sing. And then there was a man who taught what he called a business college in Moscow. And through the wintertime he would have night schools at schoolhouses, and the farmers, adult men all would come there and he would teach them forms of math that they could use on the farm, you know, how to figure how much hay there was in a haystack and how to figure how much there was in a cord of wood and all these things that were very, very useful to them. And how to write a business letter. His name was Crick' and he ran Crickner's Business College in Moscow years ago. Then he would do this teaching at nights of the adult men. Also the University of Idaho would send out to some of the country schools the home ec lady and she would teach sewing. Maybe that would be on a Saturday and the women would come to the schoolhouse. So you see the schoolhouse was really quite the community center.
SS: Would this be when you were growing up?
EW: No, this would be when I was teaching.
SS: That the women would come out.
EW: Right, right. Well, I guess a little before I was teaching too.
SS: To the adult women rather than to the girls?
EW: Yes. Yes, that's right.
SS: Was there much quilting being done when you were growing up?
EW: No, no, there wasn't. It was being done before I was growing up andit's being done again now.
SS: When you were a child do you remember—?
EW: Well, my mother never did it. But I think there was some quilting anda 1ot of tying of quilts. Instead of all these little small stitches they would tie quilts. And that was rather common when I was a girl. And now the making of quilts is right back ' the swing again!
SS: Well for your mother, Lola's when she's talked to me about her has saidthat she really keenly felt the deprivation of the culture that she knew in Victoria.
EW: Well, that's true.
SS: Do you think that her isolation was a common experience for women inthe rural areas here?
EW: Yes, it was, although she was there so early that she said the firstyear that she was there- you see she came in 1889- and the first year she was there she saw only one white woman, and she came riding^on horseback, otherwise any women she saw were Indian women. So then you would miss quite a bit, although the Indian women had their own cul ture and they brought for her. moccasins for all her boys. Had made moccasins. She could have learned bead work and things like that from them, but they didn't even speakAEnglish very well.
SS: You know, talk about Indians; makes me wonder about that- the kind ofattitudes that people had in those days towards the Indians, how they looked at them. What do you think?
EW: In the time my mother- now this would be before I was born- whenshe just had four little boys, she was just a little bit afraid of them, A little bit afraid. But by the time I was in the grades I would see them at the fairs and riding through the country and we accepted them very well.
SS: Do you think, now I know that this is kind of a hard qu estion, do youthink that the opinion of people at that time was that they were in ferior?
EW: That they were inferior?
EW: Well, no, I don't believe- it was not with my family, anyway. And atthe Mount Tomer school there was a girl went there for a while was part Indian and she was a very good student and got along just fine. Pretty well accepted.
SS: The mixing though, there wasn't too much, was there? And it seems likemost of the Indians did stay down on the —
EW: Yes, this girl was a home, sort of an adopted home. And wasnot with her parents, and she had come from Lewiston and was helping an elderly lady there with her work and then coming to school every day. Fifth or sixth grader. And was company too for this lady.
SS: I was asking about the attitude the people had towards the Indiansin the early days and what they felt about them.
TW: Well, I think my dad's feeling toward them in general was really pretty good. Quite a bit of respect for them. Course, I think any person probably would be struck by the difference in their feelings towards certain problems compared, you know, two different social cultures, look at human problems quite differently sometimes. And this struck him, but he thought quite highly of the Nez Perce Indians here. And so highly that possibly if there'd been no country schoolteachers- if the country schoolteachers had all been men, I wouldn't be surprised if I'd turned to be half Indian! (Laughter) This diary here contains a trip through Canada looking at land for a group of farmers in this country and the partner that he had with him on this trip was married to an Indian and Dad was very fond of this man's daughters, so that fits right into your question.
SS: Was this afer he lived in - well, it would have been after-
TW: This was before he met my mother sometime; well, it was 19- well,it wasn't before he met my mother, it was 1905 and he married her in 1907, so he'd known her a while. But he had also known this man a long time too.
SS: Did you feel in general the community- was there any looking down atthe mixed marriages at that time?
TW: There was by some people. And it was resented by some people and itwas- I don't know. I went to school with people that were of mixed parentage. We thought real highly of them. One of the most popular families in our neighborhood was a mixed marriage and I think the peo ple felt more highly of the Indian side of the family than the other. Not because the man had married an Indian, just felt like the Indian family was kind of their people, nicer people, easier to get along with, There was this thing that I think probably led to a lot of this feeling that you expressed was the fact that the Indians did have this land, and a white man that married an Indian that had a nice allotment of land had an easier deal than the white man that married a white woman. And ^ think there was jealousy because of this difference right there, this money thing. There's always jealousy if the other guy has made some money and you haven't. And I think that might have had as much to do with it as anything else. But some of the Indians were highly thought of. Quite capable people. They had different values, you know, they didn't drive as hard for financial success. They valued some other things too. And eventually I think practically all the Indians have turned out to - found it to their advantage to their land out to white farmers, although there are some that farmed their own land. In the early days a lot of them did, but as things got more complicated, I guess, they didn't do that so much.
SS: When you say they valued other things, what are you thinking of?
TW: Well, an Indian would think Nothing of when it was time to go digcamas or hunt deer or go to a rodeo or a ballgame, they're quite ath letic- you know, quite interested in athletics-think toothing of lea ving his farm at no matter what critical a time and going and taking his day off. That is, I think they were aware that financially they wouldn't be ahead, but they also think that they'd rather do this other thing and do it! (Chuckles)
SS: What about in mixing at dances and that kind of thing? Was there anytaboo about dancing?
TW: Not at our dances. Not in our district. Of course there were onlytwo families that came to our dances. Well, at one time I guess there was another family there. But, oh, gee, they were popular people to dance with. There was this feeling about a lot of people; some Reser vation Indians you felt were not as clean physically. And there was this feeling alright, but the Indians in our neighborhood were- as far as housekeeping and so forth, the most of the rest of us. So this would depend. But, yes- you see I was- our family was real friendly with the few Indians that were around; thought real highly of them and so we have also heard some of their feelings of the unfairness of the treatment that they've had. Our sympathies were with them. I guess there were people that apparently would go out of their way to make them feel worse for having been Indian- or moreso than that- now one of our Indian friends, or our half-breed friends, I should probably say, was telling my mother about how difficult it was to be of mixed blood because she said, "The White people hate you and the Indians don't like you." So there was a problem. We, of course, didn't feel it and we didn't participate in it, but i think you'd have to say, yes, by and large, like all the, they haven't been dealt fairly with. I think it's probably better now,
SS: Although I have heard many people say that they felt highly towardsthe Indians, that they liked them very much.
TW: My dad did.
SS: I almost wonder whether in some ways there might have been more contact in those days between the races-
TW: There was. There was. Now some of the most pleasant memories I haveare when an Indian man and his, three-quarters I guess, son-worked on the same combine that I did. And they were just a lot of fun. They were fun to work with and nice, and we shared a lot of things that I would be much worse off not to havex for instance, Indian words, Indian language. They've got a keen sense of humor; real keen, real sharp. And also, they're quite mechanically inclined. Quite ingenious. And when it comes to hardship, they're real tough, you know, they're not complaining and crying about conditions that are tough. They acknowtbor- ledge it being tough, but it's with a sort of a humor that you . to respect. In the Indian language there aren't any swear words as we know swear words. But it used to be quite a lot of fun then, insteading of swearing about wind to, use Indian words that had other meanings that still when translated into English would be swearing. And this sort of helped to pass the time.
SS: Can you give me an example of that?
TW: Oh, no, it would be hard to bring it out because I'd have to say Indian words in Indian that it gets so involved translating something that's funny in one language- you had to- it takes the two languages - to see the joke. Well, I'll give you one little rough joke that we sort of enjoyed. In Indian a possessive is usually formed by an ap pendage on the end of a word. And that word is often discriptive. But the Indian possessive is often "heen". Now when they try to say a bull, they'll use the word for cow and follow it by "talaheen". being an Indian word for testicle, meaning testicle. Or as we would say "ball". This animal which possesses balls- that would be the translation of the Indian word "Talaheen". Well, this was real funny when we had trouble on the combine to use the Indian sentence that would say, "We have lost our ballbearing." This ended with the word "talaheen", which means bull! But anyhow the Indians would chuckles over these things all the time, and of course they'd tell us the joke and we would too. And this was the kind of thing that went on! (Laugh)
SS: Talaheen, was bull? There wasn't another word you had to use beforetalaheen?
TW: Well, usually they would say of a bull, "Talaheen", you know thatwas enough, if you're talking about cattle. And it would work- if you're talking about sheep of course, it probably would work just as well, too. enough Understandably the word for rooster, it's manchicken. Or chicken man. (Chuckles) Because you see, it wouldn't describe a rooster.
SS: They expressed their feelings to your family, the feelings of mistreatment; that indicates to me that they must have felt pretty good about your family to be that frank.
TW: Oh, yes. I think so. I don't think they would say this to everybody.But they would say it to, well, anybody that they considered close friend I suppose. And of course, they wouldnrt- their close friends wouldn't be the people that, mistreated them.
SS: What kind of mistreatment do you think they went through? Manipulation?
TW: Oh,yes, I think that there was sometimes were- they were taken advantage of. Although I think that that is a knife that cut both ways. That is to try to take financial advantage of one another, people do it between people of their own race, too, you know and the Indians are just as bad to the Indians as the Whites were bad to the Indians or the Indians to the Whites. But one of the things most resented was derogatory remarks or something. And even that was taken with some humor. This same Indian that I speak of told me of an incident of somebody saying something to him, I guess he meant it as a joke, I don't know, but anyhow- I can't remember the exact words used but Dan Arthur, the Indian was telling me about a man from Missouri who said to him something to the effect, "You damn Siwash, I'll knock your block off." or something like that, and Dan quoted himself as saying, "Alright, M you damAMissourian come ahead." And Dan told this without resentment, I think mostly as kind of a joke and he sort of felt like he had got it on the Missourian because he had used a worse word than Siwash. And Siwish is the word you could use against an Indian because it means halfbreed. Which bears out what this other person said, you know.
SS: For an Indian to marry a White in someways it status for both.Some ways.
TW: I think so, yes, I think so. You know, in some ways.
SS: Sffuaw Man is the term that I have heard used.
TW: Yeah, that was the thing. I know of a falling-out between two neighbors that never was healed just because of that. The white man had called the other white man, who had married an Indian squaw a "Squawman". Insulting him and insulting his wife, and a pretty serious thing, too. And it was serious because the man was angry when he said it. Now, I knew another man who felt a great deal of friendship for a man that was married to an Indian in the neighborhood there. So much so-these people were so much accepted that you had to kind of guard yourself to remember that they were Indians, and they didn't think of them as Indians, they thought of them dif ferently. Well, this fellow always referred to his wife as the "Old Squaw", his own wife as the old squaw, just in a way of speaking, and he would commonly say to any other white man, "Well, bring your old squaw over." Get the old squaws together. Well, he said, before he could stop himself, he said to this man who was married to an Indian "Well, bring the old squaw over someday, or tomorrow or next day or something like that." And he said he no more than said it than he just wished he could die, there was no undoing it. But as far as I knew or ever heard there never was any resentment by the man who he said it to because he understood it exactly as it was meant. Well, another example of how you can get into that kind of a trap; there was a Negro boy that worked for us and he was with us, in the house with us, and I liked him, I liked his brother, and he was telling us of a thing that had happened to him when he was young. He and his brother, they were raised by their grandfather, their father had left them, abandonded them, I guess,but he and Stan, this La Verne was the one that worked for us and Stan was his brother, telling about one time he and Stan were out and got into some kind of a minor scrape like kids will, and Stan says, "Well-" Or I said to Stan, "; we tell Grandpa?" And Stan said, "Hell, no, we're free, white and twenty-one." Well, I had a hell of a time keeping a straight face! Verne, I don't think ever noticed that he'd ever said it. Another time we were sitting at the table and we were talking about something or other that somebody had done, or some mistake a hired man had made or something like that, or something that he'd done that he shouldn't have done, and I said something to the effect, "Well, Verne would certainly never make that mistake." And my mother said, "Well, Verne is a white man." My mother never even realized what she'd said. I don't know that Verne did, no thing was ever said about it. I sure felt embarrassed.
SS: Do you think that those young fellows experienced any problems or anything while they were- not from your family, I'm sure, but still, they would have stood out quite a bit in the community.
TW: Well, La Verne was always welcomeAand treated real well by this Indian-White family. I think he was treated equ. ally well by others, ihlat is, the boy, but he always, I think felt more easy with us ..Negro. felt more easy with us and this Negro family than he did with some of the others. Of course, this was back when La Verne- although he was a well-liked student in high school, and was a top athlete and had lots of friends, and the family is an old established family; " pioneer family, yet he couldn't get his hair cut in the daytime in a barbershop in Mos cow, anyway. And one time he and I were eating in a restaurant in Coeur d'Alene and he said to me, "You know, if I wasn't with you, they wouldn't have served me here." And I hadn't realized this you know. But there were lots of restaurants where he could go. There was a Neg ro athlete in high school in Lewiston when I went there and this foot ball team was in a neighboring town and they just treated this Negro swell. And there was another time, I think it was in a restaurant in Lewiston where the football team went in to eat and they wouldn't serve the Negro, so the whole team walked out. And this was not uncommon, although I hadn't realized it so much so until I had a few of these brought to my attention.
SS: Was Verne a Lewiston boy?
TW: No, he was Moscow.
SS: What's the last name?
TW: You know Gene Settles.
SS: Yeah, I know Gene Pretty well.
TW: He was Gene's nephew. He was at the memorial services this last Decoration Day, Verne was. Of course, the Settles, people don't think of them as being Negro, you know. An awful lot of people don't. Even the people that are- people that discriminate, or think they do, or feel they do, think of the Settles as being a little different. Which I probably is true because they are intelligent people and they adjusted. Now the Settles, as little boys, went to school with Elizabeth's brothers. But, I don't know, things like that, they're getting better and better all the time I think.
SS: I talked to Gene at length about what it was like for his family backin those days and he has a great deal of pride.
TW: Yeah. They are people that are intelligent enough, you know, to makea lot of room for other people, and overlook as nearly as you can slights and so on, 'cause I'm sure they must have felt them one place and another. I was with La Verne in Coeur d'Alene one time, besides this restaurant that I mentioned where nothing bad happened, this was during wartime- there was an army officer from the South someplace who really went out of his way to be nasty to La Verne, a perfect stranger.
SS: World War II?
SS: You know when Gene became the warehouse superintendent for Grain Growers, he said to me that it surprised a lot of people and someone else told me, who's husband was on the board at that time for the Grain Gro wers, that he was fit to be tied at the time when that happened. He was quite disturbed thinking thinking it was very. But to me the fact that Gene got that position is very interesting because he was in charge of a lot of white men.
TW: Yeah, and probably Gene being the kind of a man he is, probably thepeople that worked with and under him resented him less than the one that you speak of.
TW: Because they were nice people. They were just nice people.
SS: And I think independent because of the fact that they were farmers.Do you think that made a difference?
TW: Well, you went to the home where Gene was raised, or that is, hisparents later got, it was one of the nicest homes in Moscow; one of the nicest kept up and neat and clean. And Stanley, La Verne's brother he had manners. They just made me ashamed of myself, I mean, he was really polished.
SS: One of the things I want to ask you about was the change that went onduring- through time, as the farms began to become larger and as the families grew up, what I'm thinking now is the problem that I sense was by the fact that only a limited number of the boys could stay on the farm and become the operators. Seems like things like things were going that way.
TW: Yes, I think that's probably a problem. Of course in our family, ourfamily - generation after generation got smaller and smaller, so that it just fitted very well. But I have neighbors who had several sons on the farm and of course they either got to buy and acquire more land if they all want to be farmers or else some of them got to decide not to be farmers. One of the boys that worked for me for several years,^through most of his highschool and most of his college years, he is one of three or four boys, I guess, not counting any of the girls, and he took up agricultural engineering. And I don't know what his ol der brother did, but it wasn't farming, but I think the younger son has been a farmer. Might very well be though that the younger son won ft farm either. His dad is still doing the farming and he's a man about my age.
When did the farms start to reduce in number? Began to be larger andmore consolidated?
TW: Oh, it's been going on since before the first homesteads were proyedup on. Lot of people would come in and homestead a piece of land just for the sake of selling out their rights before they proved up on the homestead. And I think it's a process that went on right from the be ginning. My dad operated his mother's farm, had an outfit- or his fa ther's farm- had an outfit to operate with, and he had several brothers and so he had some source of labor; paid for it, of course. But he just merely bought up land around there as opportunity presented itself and bought the land and really accumulated more land than any of his brothers, or all of 'em put together, for that matter. And never got any free land. But, some of the first land he bought, I think he got for in the neighborhood of, oh, somewhere between sixteen and twenty dollars an acre. But you must remember, that in 1932 or '33 some of that land right down there sold for about thirty-four dollars an acre. That's Depression time. And some sold for forty. In 1945 some choice land south of Moscow sold for the unheard of price, the sky high price of fifty dollars an acre. And that's within three miles of Moscow. And now, you hear of a man selling for $1,500 an acre. So what's land worth, is more of a question of what's money worth. Seems like anytime you buy land you gotta pay more than it looks like it would pay out. And if you don't buy land you haven't got security because you can lose your lease in a hurry.
SS: That's something that in fact, Gene Settle talked to me about. Geneabout other people that in the '20ls as people Settle talked to me started going to gas machinery that there was a big squeeze on renters who didn't have it; had horses.
TW: Uh-huh. I think probably I should have answered your question thisway; of course, the big incentive toward owning more ]and had to come when you had easier ways of farming, of course with the tractors and with the advanced machinery and so on. And with the acquiring of capital, too; the ability to finance purchase of this kind of machinery when it became available.
SS: In your family, when did the tractors first—
TW: We bought our first tractor in 1930. And it was owned by my fatherand a brother in partnership, who still used horses at the same time, too.
SS: Did the tractor make a big difference in
TW: Yeah, yeah. You could, you could not only farm more land but youcould farm it faster and better, do a better job of it. Produce more. Well, one thing, you think of the land you had to devote to just pro ducing feed for the horses thatiyou worked; took quite a lot of that. And doing your work at the right time made a lot of difference. Another thing, they were always short of horses when needed them and had too many when ' didn't have any work for them. Tractor, when you get done in the fall you just put it in the shed. The horses, you got to work for them all winter. Of course, a lot of the year, they could gather their own feed if you were lucky enough to have some inexpensive pasture land, that would help you winter them over. That was really a pretty good thing. the horses, too, dry feed isn't the best way to maintain animals all the time either.
SS: Now, before I go, I wanted to ask you-It's something that Mary Edwardssaid to me about your mother, that after your brother that was spastic was born, that she really had to devote a great deal of her effort to take care of him.
TW: Yeah, yeah, she did. But of course, you must understand that he wasable to do quite a few things. He learned to drive a car. He could take her anyplace she wanted to go and he kept the books, the records for the operation there and did the banking; ran a lot of the errands. But he had to be dressed and put to bed and cleaned and cared for, you know. And I have never heard her complain about it though.
SS: It seems like the kind of thing that would make you have more compassion for other people to have that in your own family.
TW: Well, yes, you do. But there's also- there's something else that goesalong with it too, and IAwould be dishonest if I didn't admit it, but I think probably most people would too- you have this compassion, al right, but also it takes any pleasure that you might otherwise haveit kind of destroys it for you, that the less fortunate one can't en joy it with you. Or also, there's a feeling of guilt in any pleasuresay it's me- any pleasure that I might have there's always a feeling of guilt that accompanies that. Still, you have- there's a lo t of things that you feel that you ou ght to have a right to do without being handicapped by the fact that your brother is a cripple. Why should I be crippled, just because my brother is crippled? Why should I act as a cripple? Why should I have to take it everyplace I go? And yet, you feel guilty if you don't. Now there's this aspect of it too. So I don't know what kind of an answer to give you on that. I think probably I'm compassionate in a way and still having that ex perience, I think it's almost inevitable that maybe you develop a sort of a numbness or a lack of conscience. You also have this feeling of guilt that goes along with it, too. So I don't know. You look back you know, now that he's dead,Athen you think of all the things thatlittle sacrifices that I might have made and made it better for him and you feel ashamed that you didn't. And yet, were X back there, I doubt if I would have the character to act any better than I did. I don't know I can explain it any better than that or not. But that is a part of it.
SS: You probably had a pretty strong feeling of protecting him.
TW: Oh, yes, and it starts from before you can even remember. Oh, youfight with a crippled brother the same as you'd have to fight with any other brother, they're no more of an angel than you are, either. Maybe not as much. He was pretty good. He was never spoiled, you know because of being unfortunate. I thought this was a pretty difficult thing for my parents to do, but they tried to be as just to the well kids as they would be to the crippled one. And of course, the crippled kid has to be punished once in a while, too. that must be pretty tough on a parent. Oh, we had lots of fun together, too. Lots of things to enjoy. He was generous, very generous, brother.
SS: Mary Edwards really remembers that- as your mother being the idealhomemaker and housekeeper. She feels that your house was the most out standing one of all of 'em, as far as how clean it was and how nice it was and the feeling the atmosphere, and that's what she remembers.
TW: Did Mary ever tell you how she keeps her house? Well, I imagine thatshe put my mother to shame, really, her house is splendid. I think kids sort of pick an ideal older person to sort of pattern themselves after. And speaking of my mother the way she did, why, I really think that if my mother was her example she outdid her example.^ Lovely housekeeper! Always neat. Always made you welcome in her house, too. The same as my mother.
SS: Do you think that that was in itself a real important value withpeople at that time? The pride in the kind of house they kept?
TW: Housekeeping? Oh, yes, it was a sort of a plume that a lot of peopleheld up too, because it was quite difficult. And now just to show you how difficult; you've heard Mary describe the kind of a housekeeper my mother was; well, I overhauled an automobile on the floor of her livingroom one winter! So she didn't sacrifice everything to the house keeping. And manys the time we've had a baby pig in the house to thaw out. All the chickens that we dressed, you know, part of the dressing was done in the house on the kitchen table. And so, the house is part of the farm, the farmhouse is, and still Mother managed to keep a pret ty nice house. And she took quite a pride when she was young enough and strong enough that when the men came in from the field that the table looked nice and there was a white tablecloth on the table and the table was set nice. Everything was right. Yeah, I think that's right; I think the pioneer women took quite a pride in their house. It was the only thing they had really, was their house. Oh, of course people took pride in the horses too.
SS: But women, maybe more the house.
TW: More the house. The house was the woman's. They weren't very manyof 'em able to keep much of a lawn or yard, you know. They would like to, but there were very few pressure water systems, and by pressure I mean gravity water systems. Windmills,of course you had water when the wind blew, and you pumped it and carried it in a bucket when it didn't.
SS: Were they common, windmills, at that time?
TW: No, I would say they were a little less than common.* Most peoplecarried their water in buckets.
SS: What you're saying is, really it was a struggle for a woman to beable to keep a house clean for lack of water.
TW: Uh-huh. Now my mother was a little bit lucky in this respect, shehad lived in town soem and her father was a tinner and a pretty good plumber, and my dad was pretty ingenious, too, and so as far back as I can remember there was a water system in every house that I lived in, although it wasn't always in working order. v. there was plum bing there inside.plumbing. Of course part of that might have been because my brother was crippled. But we also had outdoor plumbing, too. Because everybody did.
SS: Well, I guess I had better get going it's nearly 10:30.
TW: I don't think I have helped you much.
TW: I always thought of this country where I first discovered myself asbeing an old, established country and the older I get, and I look b ack and get a better perspective on iy, I see how close to the edge of the pioneering I was in. Yeah, when I was born was.thirty-one years after the Wahl people had moved into this country, and I'm sixty-five years old. But when I was about ten years old, it seemed to me like- I thought to myself it must have been going on about like that forever! And still, I can remember fairly respectable caravans of Indians coming by our place on the way to the mountains to pick huckleberries, or whatever they went there for. I don't remember ever seeing any wild horses, but I suppose the last of 'em must have been around somewhere very shortly before I was born. Maybe were still here.
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16:00 - Rosensteins were highly thought of; expansion onto reservation land; closeness of Grey and Wahl families
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Segment Synopsis: Rosensteins were highly thought of. Expansion onto reservation land. Troy Swedes changed name of town, using as an excuse that they couldn't say "Voller". Father's family responsibilities, taking over after his father's death. Closeness of Grey and Wahl families; Mary Edward's love of Mrs. Wahl. He was well treated by older Grey children.
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Segment Synopsis: Lack of schooling for pioneer boys. Mrs. Gamble's mental ability. His need to quit college after father's death. Girls tended to go farther in school; men had more opportunities. Men teaching grade school were considered "sissies" in his youth. Importance of teaching for women. Transience of teachers. Critical eye of community on its teacher. Centrality of school for community activity; consolidation destroyed community feeling.
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Segment Synopsis: (Elizabeth Wahl:) Expectations of discipline in school room. Teacher was often expected to be somewhat apart, and couldn't court too openly. Married teachers and raising a family. Lack of preparation necessary to be teacher in early times: a fifteen year old teacher. All it took was passing teacher's examination. Families' sensitivity to unfair treatment of children; they complained by notes to the teacher. A positive note. Parents' desire for smoothly functioning school; a male disciplinarian who was extremely popular in the community. Discipline in school room. The important benefits of playing with the children during recess, (continued)
90:00 - Playing with children improved discipline; some young women unable to support themselves teaching
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Segment Synopsis: Playing with children improved discipline. Importance of teaching as income for families. Some young women were unable to support themselves teaching. Education and intelligence of Mr. Tomer settlers. She tried to teach Norwegian children their own cultural traditions. An outstanding teacher of culture. Local talent.
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Segment Synopsis: Moscow educators sang in rural school evening meetings. Moscow business college offered might classes to farmers in schools in winter. Home economics teachers offered Saturday classes to women. Mother saw only Indian women her first year here. At first mother was a little afraid. Acceptance of Indians.
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Segment Synopsis: (Tom Wahl:) Father's high regard for Indians. Resentment towards mixed marriages was based on the easy acquisition of farmland. Indian values made leisure important. A mixed-blood discussed discrimination with his mother. Clean Indian homes. Indian character and humor; joking in Nez Perce in harvest. Taking advantage of others took place regardless of race. An Indian retort to an insult.
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