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This manuscript is derived from a tape interview conducted by Sam Schragerwith Kate Sanderson Ualdron. The dialogue took place in the Waldron home in Bovill, Idaho eighth, nineteen seventy-six.
KW: southern Idaho and gotten all of our furniture. And it had just come,it wasn't even unpacked. And I felt terribly bad about"it because I some of Ray's mother's furniture and it was antique. Marble topped tables and things like that. I was so happy to have those things. And one of the most beautiful dressers that I have ever seen. It was just mammoth. And the mirror was as long as that post down to there and had little drawers on each side of it. And just a real antique. It might have been Ray's grandmother's. But I was just keen about that. And the forest fire just got everything we had.
SAM: Was that all in Slabtown?
KW: It, well, I wasn't living in Slabtown, it was between where Byer live^ now.Then you go right by Byer's, there's a road, if you follow that road out you'd turn when you get up a ways. And there's where we had bought this little shack, two, three room shack, it really was. And we had moved it. We bought it from a man by the name of Fry. And we had moved it down there into that place.
SAM: You moved it from Slabtown. Was that Sam Fry that you bought it from?
KW: Yes. And we was going to have our, we kind of wanted to be by ourselves.Get out of Slabtown. I didn't live in Slabtown. I did one time but, we wanted to get down near mama, the home where Byer's and John live . We wanted to, and it was just about half way between there and Slabtown.
SAM: Can you tell me what happened that day, the way you remember it?
KW: Oh, land yes. You know, that fire had worried me for days. It was sucha black, black smoke. And my father had told me,"Don't worry. That fire is so far away. It could never come over here. It'd have to come clear over that meadow." And he said,riYou haven't a thing in the world to worry about." But I worried any way. I was afraid of it. So I got up that morning, and dad reassured me again was so far away, it couldn't possibly come over there. Well, I went over to the neighbor's, there was a neighbor lived right across the road. And I said,"Aren't you afraid of that fire?" "Why no, Kate, that fire couldn't possibly come over here." So I went home and mama was ironing. And I was still worried about that fire. And within an hour's time, we were running for our lives. That fire, the wind come up and that fire come across that great meadow. Those miles and miles, just come a-flying. And the first thing I knew, a man came by in a, I don't know whether it was a, what he was driving. It was some kind of a car. I remember, or a pickup, I don't know what it was. And he grabbed both of my kids, and they were little. My little girl was about three and my little boy was about five. And he took, picked up my sister's baby. She was only about a year and a half,.two years old. And he said,"Now you people get out of here and get downtown." He said,"Because that fire's here, 'and it's dangerous." And I wouldn't leave until marna'd leave. And of course, mama, dad had told her, and she had some bonds'that she had there in the house. And she didn't know where dad had put those bonds. And she wasn't going to let those bonds burn up. And she just fooled around and fooled around. I said .^"Marna, we've got to get out of here." There was great balls of fire, oh, about that big around. And they just come through the air and light on a tree and that tree was just aflame. And the awfullest roar and the awfullest wind you ever saw, it was terrible. And that terrible, terrible fire. And mama come out the door. And my mother was. a woman that weighed about two hundred, she was a heavy woman, she wasn't like I am. I waSabout the weight I am now, I guess. And she come down the steps and I was just in front of her, I wouldn't go until she'd go and yet I'd run ahead of her a little ways. And she said afterwards, she said,"I don't know how you ever kept your feet." She said that wind was so terrible, that she said,"I couldn't hardly keep my feet." And how you ever kept your feet, she said, I don't know. And we got downtown to the depot.
SAM: Did you run all the way?
KW: Yes. Dust as hard as we could go. We ran. And the fire was breaking allaround, when we got down to the depot the fire had come over the hiliL, and my brother stayed home, my brother John. And I don't know whether dad did or not. I don't remember, but I know my brother John did. And rny husband was out on the train, he was a fireman on one of the logging engines. And I could hear that engine. I knew every whistle on every shay.,that worked. . I knew their signals and everything. And near my husband blowing that whistle and calling for help. And you might know how that upset me. And said,"That's Ray, mother!" I said,"That's Ray!" and I said"They're calling for help." Of course, I was terribly upset. And...
SAM: That meant they were caught in the fire somewhere?
KW: Well,they were calling for help. They had come on the railroad as far asthey could come and it was great trees on the track. They couldn't get by, and they were calling for help. I guess they got help, because, anyway, I got down to the depot. And of course, I was looking for my youngsters. And my I saw my sister's baby there and she'd been crying. And she was dirty. She'd gotten in the dirt and had rubbed it on her little face, and I didn't know know her. (laughs) And finally I said,"Fly land,Lela," I said,"that's your baby. That's your little girl, that di irty little girl there." And we were just horrified.
SAM: How had she gotten down there?
KW: She had run. She was down to the house and had warned us that the fire wascoming over the meadow. And came down there to bring the news to us.
SAM: The little girl had?
KW: No, my sister, the mother of the little girl. And I found my two kids inthe depot. They were all huddled around there, you know, in the depot,waiting for the flatcars. They had flatcars there and the people were climbing on the flatcars, 'cause the expected Bovill to go. And my brother John, in the little house thata he lives in, you know, it's out there, that fire come right down to that corner where I told you you'd go by to turn, and the wind carried the fire right up that way. Now, I don't know whether you're a Christian or not, or whether, but my brother John is a wonderful Christian man. And that was his home. And he was just married. And it was a brand new home, and he had beautiful furniture in it. And he just prayed. Kept praying. And asking God to protect his home. And that wind, that fire came right down to the corner of my father's land and it turned and went that way, and that saved Bovill and the whole country. Now some people would laugh at that, but that's just exactly what God did. He just turned that fire and it took off up over the hill. And it saved Bovill. And then we were on the flatcar going to Potlatch and...
SAM: Were there a lot of people?
KW: Oh, yes, all the people in Bovill. All the people had climbed on that flatcar'cause ithey didn't know what that fire'd do. It was breaking all over the hills there. And I was on the flatcar. And I looked over at a pile of clothes over there and I said,"You know mother," I said,"that's looks like..." I had a brand new dress, brand new, peculiar shade of blue. And I said, "You know mother," I said,"That looks like^dross." And I said,"That other thing looks like my winter coat." And mama said,"Well go over and see." I went over there and my dress and I never have known where it came from. I never have known. I think somebody went by the house and saw those I had hanging there and just grabbed them and put them on their truck and dumped them on the car and thought the people had disowned them. And when we came home after they said the fire . gone over the hill. Bovill was saved, and we came home, I saw a stove sitting out in the meadow there as you come down that hill to come into Bovill, well that meadow over there, and I said to my mother, I said,"Mama!" I had a brand new range we had just bought it and I said,"That looks like my stove." And "Oh, no,"she said. "That wouldn't be your stove way down heEe." Well I said, it looks like my stove. And got out and went over there and it was my range. I don't know how it ever got there. Somebody just grabbed it out and set it over there where; no fire could get to it. And just took a chance. That's the way people did things. Oh, it was a sure funny experience. I've never never forgotten it, and I have nightmares over that fire. My dad had the awfullest time with me. I slept out on the front porch, and for two, three days, I had a nigtmare. And there'd be a tree that was still burning, you know. And it was at night the wind would burn it up, you know, and it would light up and I would rouse up in my sleep and I would see that and I would scream bloody murder. My dad slept upstairs, he'd come downstairs, "What's the matter." I said,"Everything's on fire again." I said,"Look at that tree." And dad would say,"Katie," he said,"that's just one tree, and it can't do a bit of harm." (laughs). Oh it was an awful experience. I was a wreck for weeks after that. Because we had lost everything we had and we had just sent to southern Idaho and shipped our furniture up here. And I had been up here all winter long and all summer and we nud just gotten along the best way we could, you know, and we sent for our furniture. And we bought that little house.
SAM: So the point where the fire turned from Bovill was the point at Johnny'shouse?
KW: Dust right up at the turn of the road. It would have swept everything andcome right down to Bovill if it hadn't a turned. It would have cleaned this place completely. Because that wind and those great balls of fire they just come sailing through the air. And they'd light in a tree or they'd light on a building. And dad and John fought them. They, those walls of fire were falling when mother and I left. But dad and my brother, John would put them out, would fight them. They stayed there, they didn't leave at all. And Ray would have .been there if he hadn't've been out there on the railroad.
SAM: How long did it take before you found out that Ray was alright?
KW: Oh, I don't remember, but it wasn't very long. The news at that time, youknow, they made special efforts to let the people know.
SAM: Did you go all the way into Potlatch*
KW: Oh, yes. We went clear to Potlatch. All night, I don't remember if westayed all next day or not. It's been so long ago,
SAM: So it upset you for weeks?
KW: Oh, yes. I was a wreck for days. And I was so discouraged because we hadlost everything we had. And the house, and of course, I had lovely bedding. And to just lose everything, I was just... and I was young. I was only twenty-one, I guess.
SAM: How long had you been married at that time?
KW: Oh, I'd been married, three, four years. I had the two children, my littleboy, my little girl was three years old, my baby and my little boy was about five. I've been married... I think if I remember right I'd been married about seven years. Between six and seven years. And...
SAM: What did you do then to start rebuilding again?
KW: Well, we spent the winter with mama at the house, see mama's house was,where Byer live, that's the old homeplace. It don't look like it did then. Terribly run down now. And I lived with mama all that winter. I had to. I had to. We didn't have no place, no home or anything. To keep house with or anything else. And then Ray was just a working man. And we lived with mama that winter. And then the next spring, why, we lived with mama I think, that next summer, too. And then we moved downtown here. That ended ou-T building a home out there. Well we did start us a log cabin out there, once too. Years later. I wanted a log cabin. And we decided we'd build us a log cabin out on the home place. But we gave that up
SAM: It probably took you years to recover what you'd lost.
KW: Oh, yes. We never did recover some things. All my wedding gifts and mysilverware, I recovered a lot of it and kept it as a souvenier. Because it was so that it had just melted, you know. I was thinking, I might have a piece of that, I might show it to you. I don't know.
SAM: the house did burn down though?
KW: Oh, yes, everything burned down but there was some things. Like that silverware,it was in a tub, a zinc tub and there was enough over it so it was just, the heat melted it. I think I have a couple spoons in the house here, I'll bring them out^She gets the spoons). Some of it I've got it's got great big gobs of silver that melted and just stuck up here. But it ruined it. It was brand new stuff. It was, i never had used it.
SAM: It's beautiful. Silver too.
KW: Yeah, it was Roger's silver and I had a lot of extra pieces, berry spoonsand things like that that'.was with it. And I don't know where I put those. I think they're in an old trunk that I have.
SAM: Did many other people lose everything they owned in that fire?
KW: All the people in Slabtown did. Now some of those women, they buried theirfruit. They had their fruit, it was in August you know, and they had their canned fruit. And in Slabtown, they buried their, and they, they saved their fruit. Canned fruit. Course, then canned fruit was lot harder to get up here then it is now cause we didn't have no cars and we just had to buy it down here at the store and can it, you know. Ancj it was really expensive.
SAM: But they didn't have warning either?
KW: No, they didn't. They did bury, people in town here, lot's of people, theold timers, I don't think any there are any of them left, Nell bmith might be one of them, that was here then.
SAM: I've spoken to her. he was here then.
KW: (Laughs) And you know, I went upstairs and packed a suitcase, and I thoughtof that when I thought of Nell. 'Cause Nell did the same identical thing with some of her clothes. She just made a mess out of everything. So didr.I. ^nd I grabbed a suitcase, I guess anything I'd see and I had my sister's grad uating underskirt. Mama made it with strips of insertion and little tucks, you know.And it was a beautiful lace skirt. I had that, in my suitcase. And I had, I had an evening slip, I had one of her slippers, just, .one. Didn't have the pair. I had one. And I had the awfullest mess in that suit case you just wouldn't think anybody that was, I wasn't sane. You I was just insane. At the things, anything I could see, I grabbed and shoved into that suitcase. I didn't have anything that amounted to anything.
SAM: I can understand, to have everything at once, going.
KW: And you just, you're in such a hurry to get it out and you'd want to netthings that you prized, you know. Mama didn't prize nothing but those bonds, that's what she was after, what held her up.
SAM: Did it hold her up for long?
KW: No. She realized that she had to let them burn and we started out fortown. The fire was breaking in all around and that wind was just, that wind carried you, you didn't have to run, just take a step, you know the wind was so bad. And, but the bonds didn't burn because the house didn't burn. And, but it was a sure funny trip. And the terrible thing. And I'm deathly afraid, that's the only thing I'm afraid of hers. We don't the snow and things like that don't bother me a bit, but Ilam deathly afraid of forest fires. I just scared to death of them. A pile of smoke coming up unexpectedly, even as long as been it jusijsends chills down my back. Cause I'm so afraid of them. But thank goodness we don't have any of their right around here. We haven'.t had. But you could never, never, never, it could be clear over there on those mountains and I'd want to leave and get out because you can't tell. My father been up here, an old man that had worked up here for years and years and years, and that neighbor was an elderly man,"Why that fire couldn't any more come across that meadow than it could fly." " think it was seven, eight miles away, I don't know know how far it was. Across that meadow. "You haven't a thing in the world to fear." And within an half hour or an hour, anyway, we were running for our lives. That very morning. And dad had warned me every morning, cause that fire had been going there for days. And it, smoke was so terrible, and the air was so heavy, and it just worried me to death. But, nobody thought, none of the people, none of the old people that knew about the fire, had worked in this country, thought that fire would ever do any damage. They had no idea of it. And that's why people weren't prepared, but there were people here in Bovill, a lot of them that buried their fine china and their silverware. They just didn't know. They were like I was, just didn't know. And I didn't think about doing anything like that, that wasn't what was bothering me. I wanted to get out with my kids. Get away.
SAM: I suppose that you'd heard the story that T.P. Jones had to let it burn.
KW: Yes. I donf.t know whether my brother, Byers told you or not but years andyears later he was working on the CC and he had a crew of men out here in the mountains somewhere. And he had a general that was working there. He was one of the head men. He might have had a crow of men, boys, himself. And he come tearing into camp one night and he says,"What are we going to do?" He says,;,The whole country here is on fire!" And Byers says,"Well, where?" He says."Where's the fire?" And he says,"Well, come up here and seet" Byers went up the road a little ways, looked around, and he said, "Well, where's the fire?" And he said,"Well, can't you see it?" And, well Byers says, That's the sun set." He said,"Didn't you ever see a western sunset before?" He says,"I never saw a sunset like that in my life!" He says,"You're wrong." Well Byers just laughed. He said,"I am not wrong." He says,"Why, we have those sunsets all the time." The poor old general, he felt so silly, but he'd lived back there in New York where they can't see anything but the sky, you know. And do well, I guess, to see that. Because he had boys that had never, never, never, been able to sit and look like we do how at the heavens. They was raised right there in New York, you And they mnever could see anything.
SAM: Were you here when they had the fire the year before, the one that burnedtown?
KW: Yes, I was living out at Slabtown at that time. When Bovill burned down?I was living out there then. I was just a little ways from the shop, you know. And Ray worked, when we first come^here, that's where we lived. Because Ray was a fireman and the trains all come into that shop there. My dad was foreman there. He had^seven hundred men under him. And they had a big payroll. They thought when Bovill first started, you know that it was going to be a marvelous town. had a fine hospital, we had banks, we had two fine dry goods stores, and two fine grocery stores, and there was a tavern and roaming houses, and a beautiful drugstore. And we had a doctor and two, three nurses. And the hospital, it was a well run hospital. And they thought that Bovill was going to be quite a village, quite a town. And, because Elk River's so far away. Hnd this was the location that they thought was ...
SAM: Did it boom?
KW: Oh, yes, it boomed. It boomed for a number of years. It boomed. And thenthey commenced gyppoing, that's what played havoc with everything. It's when they commenced gyppoing. It just went down and down and down. I don't think we even have a grocery store now. I guess there's a tavern that carries bread and a little milk.
SAM: Why did the gyppoing do that?
KW: Well, it did away with the railroad train, and it was cheaper for the Potlatchto let the,sod the trucks and the cars came in and it gave the m«n a better chance to make big money, and I guess it was cheaper for the Potlatch then for them to keep up their roads and their railroad tracks and their engines. I think they had four or five, I used to know exactly how many shays and engines they . Let's see, there was the Hundred and Twenty-three, and several others. I think they had about five.
SAM: The more they went to gyppoing, the more they got rid of their shays andall that?
KW: Yes. Uh,huh, The Potlatch moved just, bought the, sold the lumber, sold thegyppoing logs to the men. And they been doing that ever since. And it's proved out very good, cause those truckers, they make good, big money.
SAM: But that hasn't done much for Bovill.
KW: But it added nothing to the city, to our village. It added nothing to it.drugstore went out and the bank went out and the hospital went out. The big stores went out. And they were beautiful stores, two beautiful dry goods stores. They just carried, you know, everything. And the drugstores, that woman, she just carried everything. The finest of china, gifts, you know. And besides her drugs. And the hospital, they had two, three nurses. And, of course, that took care of the men that were hurt, you know. Sick, what sick people were here.
SAM: Were there many social activities in the town?
KW: Oh, yes. Land, yes. People qamc here to the dances they'd have. And thesmorgasbord dinners that they'd have. We have a beautiful recreation room here now. Have you ever seen it? It's downtown by where the depot is. You ought to go in there. It's a beautiful, and there's pictures on the wall. You might be interested in seeing. Nell smith's husband, you know, worked fifty-two years for the Potlatch. All his life. Till he retired. And^a good picture of him there.
SAM: So there was a lot of get-togethers?
KW: Oh, yes. In this church. And a Catholic church. The old Catholic churchused to be right up behind that house. It burned down. It's alittle church now, down, as you come down the hill, it's the little church,you see. Pretty little church. And we just had high times. Smorgasbord, people from all over the country would come to our smorgasbord. And...
SAM: Who would put these on?
KW: Oh, the Ladies Aid. The Ladies Aid would put them on.
KW: ...The Ladies Aid. And it wasn't bad at all, and the dances, people camefrom as Garfield to the dances. And the had a moving picture house, good shows. They had good shows. That's the old picture house down there, right straight down the street. That old gray, big old,,I don't know why they don't tear it down, now.
SAM: The old building that says "museum" on it?
KW: That old gray big old building right straight down the street there. Isthe old opera house.
SAM: Did they dance in that opera house?
KW: Oh, yes. Danced upstairs. They had a big nice dance floor. Yes. I tookseveral prizes...
KW: Danced the two-step and waltz and
SAM: With prizes?
KW: Oh, yes. Beautiful prizes.
SAM: Do you remember the Bovills?
KW: yes, yes, yes. I remember the Bovills. Nice family. We came up here beforeever I was married on the first train that ever came to Bovill. It was a Byers and John were on that train, too. And we had, there wasn't anything here in Bovill but that old hotel down,where Mrs. Waneke lives. And there wasn't any other buildings here at that time That little old log cabin was there and it was in that yard I we sat and ate our lunch that we had, there was a group of us young people. My dad worked for T.P. He was a great friend of T.P.'s and he worked for T.P. and of course, we lived in Palouse, we were educated in Palouse and we never came up here to live until, oh, years later, because I was through school and married and so was my sister. John wasn't married, but he was up here working with dad and course, he's the oldest'.-.one in the family. And Byers wasn't married then either. In fact, he was only in about the eighth grade when we moved up here. And my little, my baby was six months old, my daughter, when we came up here. And I thought it was the jumping off place on the map. I didn't like it at all. I just, I just, I'd been living in southern Idaho where there was sunshine. But mama and dad were here and John was here, Byers and finally my sister and her husband came. And she, they were living in Kennewick and he was head carpenter here til he retired. All their married life.
SAM: Why had you moved to southern Idaho?
KW: Well, I was married in Palouse. And Ray's father was a real estate .man downthere in southern Idaho and we went down there. To live near his dad. And we were there for, oh, four years, I guess or five. And Bay's father had land there. He gave each one of his sons forty acres. And it's beautiful country down there. Down close to Boise, you know. And that's where both of my children were born was down there in southern Idaho. And we had forty acres of land down there. And they were drilling for oil. And they had rock, that, and the soil was for oil and when we moved up here, why, we just decided that we wouldn't sell that land. That we would just keep it. Because they sometime might find oil on it. Well, I kept it and my husband died. And I kept it til about eight years ago. The taxes weren't too much on and I sold it. And I hadn't sold itiwell, I hadn't really hardly finished the deal until they went drilling for oil again.
SAM: Did they find an)
SAM: I didn't think so.
KW: But they didn't know that at that time, and my brother Byers said to me,he said,"That's just the Sanderson luck." He said,"You held that land for all these years, paid the taxes, and now," he says"their going to find oil on it." He said,"That's your Sanderson luck!" But they didn't. I followed it very closely in the paper, I couldn't help but laugh. I sale, oh, I said,"I don't know when they'll find oil or not.'' "No they're up to you. Now that's been a long time." And I don't know if I was glad or sorry that they didn't find oil. I guess I was glad.
SAM: I would have been.
KW: I think I was too. Cause I would've felt terrible if I would have held thatland all those years and kept the taxes up on it. Wasn't very much tax. But, still it was taxes. And then sell it and have them find oil right after I sold it(laughs).
SAM: Well, when you moved back up here, and you were with the kids ;idid youspend most of your time with the family or did you spend much time in the community?
KW: Oh, I had my nose into everything. We had a pinochle: club and we had abridge club and I was in church work and I was, I used to live in the house right over there. That big house over there. It didn't look like that, it had a great big beautiful porch on it at the time I moved there. And cement fence all around it and cement walX. It was a nice place, rtpd I lived parsonage once too. I moved from the parsonage over to that house. And you know now, this is kind of funny, because rent, you know how high rent is. Well, I was paying twelve dollars a month rent for the parsonage and when I rented that house, I paid twenty five dollars a..month for that house. And my brother just had a fit. "Twenty five dollars for renT? That's ridiculous." "Well," I said,"I wanted this house and I'm willing to pay twenty five dollars or forty dollars," I said,"I'm sick and tired of living over inhere in that shack." Said,"I'm not going to live there any more. My brother thought it was terrible cause his wife, you know, when I had better house, she wanted a better house. That's what was griping him. But I laugh at that now because that was horrible rent. And now they rent these little timy old shacks around here for fifty, sixty. And this little green house over here rent for a hundred and twenty dollars a month and that'1 little trailer down there the second trailer is renting and the woman that owns it is living in Lewiston, she rent for a hundred and fifty-five dollars a month. Her trailer. And rent sky high'^here. It's just ridiculous. I think.
SAM: Most of the woman didn't work here did they?
SAM: 'Cause their husbands mainly worked in the woods...
KW: can tell you something very interesting. Oh, when Mr. Nogle was head manhere, I don't remember just what year he took over here. But it was after T.P. They never had had anything but men flunkies. And I had a, my boy was fourteen and my little girl was oh, twenty two months younger than he. And I went and asked mama if I, this woman and I, and I said to her, I said,"Let's get us a job." Our husbands were working out in the woods, gone, not home only on the weekend maybe or maybe they didn't get home on the weekend. And if they were way off in the Elk River country, you know, it was so far away, why they would probably work sixteen hours a day. And I said,"Let's get us a job."' And she says, "Well, what king of a job?" And I said,"I want some hew drapes." And I said,"Let's go out and work this summer,let'g go up and see Nogle, the head man. See if he'll hire us as flunkies." "Oh, "she '•says, "Kate, .do you think we could flunky?" I said "Sure we could flunky." I said,"I know how." I said,"I've been the camps and eaten there, watched.them." I said,"I know I can wait on men at the table," I said,"I can peel vegetables." And so, we went up to Mr. Nagle and asked him and he looked at us and laughed. He said,"We've never hired we women flunkies." No," and I said,"that's just why ,. think you ought to try.' I said,"Be kind of nice to have women flunkies." "Yes,"he said,"it would be. He said,"I'll tell you what I'll do." He said,"I'll give you women a job, and if you make good,"he said,"we'll hire women flunkies." And if you don't make good,"he said,"we'll Jriever hire any." So we went out and I said well, I'd have to take my fourteen year old son with me because I said I'm not going to leave him in town with my mother, his grandmother. I said, I can leave my little girl with my grandmother, but I said, I want my boy with me. I said I wanted to take care of him. Watch over him. So he said, "Well, alright," he said."You can take your boy with you." I had my son with me and never charged rne a cent of board for him. And we made good. Well, I worked all summer until school started. I had to quit when school started, the other lady didn't have any children. And we moved to Spokane then. My husband was working for the cedar yard plant and they moved to Sprang. Offered him a good job and good money so we moved to Spokane. And but the other girl, the other woman, she worked for years and years. And when I went to Mr. Nagle, told him I had to leave, I said,"We're going to move to Spokane, jo put tine kids in school up there, where we could give them music and a few things,we couldn't give them here." "Well," he says,"Ms. Waldron, you girls have made wonderful, wonderful flunkies. He said,"We're going to have women flunkies now." And he said,"If you ever want another job, just come and ask me. And I'll be sure and give it to you." And they have women flunkies, right up even now.
SAM: Sounds like you had quite a bit of weight on your shoulders. If you didn'tdo well, they wouldn't hire women. i
KW: No, that's what he said. He said, I knew we'd make good. And there wasone old lumberjack, I'll never forget that. He knew my dad of course, well. And he called me by my maiden name. And I had had my washing out on the line. Both of us did. And we had dresses and aprons and I had boys' shirts and all our clothes, you know. And this old lumberjack came in the house in the cookhouse. We had a lovely little cook, §horty, we called him. He was clean...
SAM: Shorty Dustice?
SAM: I spoke to him in Spokane.
KW: Yeah, well, Shorty he knows rne well and he was the cook and he was clean.And he was the best cook. And he was just swell. My, he was a nice little fellow. We just thought the world of him. And he said, I was in the cook house and this old lumberjack come in; and he looked at me and he said,"You know,"then he turned to Dustice and he said,"Sanderson,"he called me by my maiden name, he said,"I've been a lumberjack for forty years." And he said,"I never saw, on the line like that."(Laughs) Well you know how the lumberjacks wash. They wash their clothes and then they don't use any clothes pins, they just throw it over the line. And you know how they look. And there our beautiful washing was, our aprons, white aprons and everything, you know. Fluttering in the wind, you know. Arid he just stood there and looked. He says,"Well, I've been a lumberjack, Sanderson, for forty years,"and he said, "I never saw washing like that in a lumber camp beforef"(laughs) And after he left, when I came home, -we'd come downtown whenever we wanted to you know. I asked my dad,dad laughed and he told me who it was. I said, well I wondered how he knew me. He called me by my maiden name. And dad said,"Oh, he's known you since you were that high." But it was a nice experience. We enjoyed it very, very much. And the work wasn't a bit hard. We would, of course, we had to get up early. And the men, it only took them about a half hour to eat. They didn't allow them to visit very much at the table. They were to eat and get out of there. That was the rule.
SAM: They weren't supposed to talk?
KW: They could talk, but they had to be out of there. They were not allowed tosit there and visit like we do at the table you know. Take their time. They were supposed to eat. They did talk, that's true. And the first morning we went there, that's funny. The first morning we went there, those men came in there, and their hair standing up all over their heads. And some of them was washed and some of them weren't. They were the awfullest looking mess you ever saw in your life. And the next morning they came in, their hair was all combed and their.were washed,.and they were slick as buttons.(LaughsQ And it made all the difference in the would. It just made all the dirrerence in the would among those men. And Mr. Nogle said that it was wonderful to have the women in the camp. Their influence over the men alone, that much, was just wonderful. And they were just as nice as they could be. That's what my dad had always told me about a lumberjack, cause Ray was gone so much of the time. I had my two little kids and I was afraid, I was afraid at night. And dad said,"You don't need to be afraid of a lumberjack."Said, "A lumberjack, if he come to your door and see you and those two little kids,"he said,"They have all the respect in the world. They wouldn't harm a hair on your head. But I still afraid. And it made a big,big difference in the men. And I've got pictures. I wish I knew just where they were. Well, I do I guess, but still, I'm not sure. And I'm pritnear blind, you know, I can't but I've got pictures. We had all kind of pictures taken and.. I was driving those great big beautiful horses, you know. We'd go out and the girl and I, the woman that worked with me, and when they'd those teams would come by, stop to come and get a bite at the cookhouse or some thing, you know. The cook always took care of them, we never did. We only were in the dining room at dinner time. And after dinner, we cleaned up the dishes. They had a dishwasher. We just took the dishes out and reset the table and swept the floors and that was our work. And then in the morning help peel the vegetables. And we were through by nine o'clock. By nine o'clock, breakfast was over and the table set for dinner and house all cleaned up and we were cut to our own cabin. We had a nice little cabin, there. Cabins were nice, the Potlatch built nice, heavy cabins. And,
SAM: When did you have to go back to work.
KW: At eleven. We'd go back at eleven. By nine o'clock we had all the Vegetablespeeled for that day that we'd have to peel. Potatoes and vegetables of any kind, you know. And then werwere free until eleven o'clock. And then we'd come in and put the butter on the table and get whatever was necessary, jellies, or jams,.things like that. And then they'd dinner, see, at twelve. From twelve to one. And by two o'clock, why we were all through again^ after dinner. And the table was set. We were free then until four o'clock. So it was a snap of a job and good money for those days. It wouldn't be anything for now, but still they have flunkies. My neighbor up there, Mrs. Thomas, flunkies every summer with her husband. Goes out, he works out in the woods. And they have, that big white home up there.
SAM: Do you remember how much you were making?
KW: Oh, I think, after everything was taken out of it, I think we had ninetyor a hundred dollars clear. But that was good money in those days. That was goad money.
SAM: What time did you have to get up in the morning.
KW: Oh, we got up, oh, about four thirty. We got up in time to clean ourselvesup, to wash and comb our hair and to go into the cookhouse to fix the coffee pots and things like that you know. And.but it was nice work. And Shorty was so nice to work with. He was a lovely man. Dust so nice and clean, but never leaned against anything he cooked, 'cause he just was so nice. And a good cook. He was a lovely cook. But he sure did enjo^ it. And my friend, Mrs, Preallj - my lands, she worked for years and years after I quit 'cause she didn't have any children, but we moved to Spokane, And lived up there for several years,
SAM: And then came back down?
KW: A'nd then we moved up to Moscow, We moved to Moscow, 'nd then the Depressionhit and we didn't come back up here until, oh, years later. About twenty years later, I guess. Because I worked. I worked in Moscow all the time.
SAM: Doing what?
KW: I was clerking. I was clerking in the store. And I was head lady.
SAM: For which store?
KW: Well, it was a Ben Franklin store then. And I could have worked at David's.They tried their best, I worked for David's. They tried their best to get me there. Well, land I used to get so disgusted. I couldn't go to a sale to buy something for myself for what they'd want to put me to work. (Laughs). And then Icould have gone into Creighton's too. Creightcn's wanted me one time, too. And, but my boss raised my wages and he wouldn't let me go. So I stayed with him. And worked for years. Well then we came back up here. And we bought this place. And we were only here two years when my husband's health broke. He got up one morning to go to work, he was working in the shop then. And he just coughed and coughed and coughed. And I said"Ray,"I said,"you've got a terrible cough." I said,"You can't go to work." Isays,"We better go over to Moscow to the doctor and get something for that cough." He said,"Well, alright." And that was the end. He had heart trouble and the doctor, Lore, was then doctor, and told me, he said,"Your husband is ill. Desperately ill. And there isn't a thing we can do for He didn't tell Ray that, but he told me. And I was just, you might know how I felt, I just couldn't believe it. And that was the end. He never could work any more. We'd only been here two years. Dust got started on our, on fixing our house, we'd been working on the inside all the time. But we had great plans and dreams. That^what Itell my grandchildren now.(break in tape)
SAM: What you were saying to him made me think of, is this division you say betweenthe ^ who drink beer and the people who go to church, was this in the town in the early days too?
KW: Yes, to a certain extent, there's always been the two classes. And therewere, it wasn't so bad as it is now. It wasn't so bad as it is now, because there were, it was a bigger place and there were other things, you know, to interest... there is nothing here for the young people, really. But to b go down there to the tavern. And the young, they're not interested in the church. And I don't know they go out of town for their parties and things. 1 really don't know much about that.
SAM: But in the early days, there would still be that.KW: That division.
SAM: Were the church going people really oposed to the drinking that was goingon during Prohibition? Cause there sure was a..lot of it.. powder
KW: Un huh. Yes, they had one minister over here and he wasn'tand he said to my brother John, we had a fireplace out in the yard, standing around there and he acused my brother John of being a bootlegger and he said, "I know you can oive me some liquor." he said,"I know you can." John said, "You don't know such a thing." Because my brother Jbhn was a fine Christian man. I never heard a slang phrase ever passed his lips in my life. Not even 'darn'. And he's never said an unkind word .to me.-; We have never quarried. And I'm eighty six. And he's ninety three. And he's just a good man.
SAM: How long has he been a Christian?
KW: Oh, about eighty one years.
SAM: He was just a boy.
KW: Yeah, he was only about eleven or twelve years old. And we was, my motherwas to a big convention, big camp meeting up there and I don't even remember and my brother John was on crutches. He's broken his ankle.And he was healed. A couple ministers that were preaching there, came along and they said, you know, John remembers this. They said to each other, they said, you know, that doesn't look well to see a little boy around on crutches like that. And they talked with John. And prayed for him and he was healed instantly. That impressed him of course, greatly. And he was converted and he's been a Christian all his life. And then my mother was a very devout Christian woman. We were raised in a Christian home. And then the oldest one in the family, he's always been such a nice Christian before us, it's impressed the family, you know. And, but I wasn't a, I've been a Christian, too for forty years, any way. But, my brother Byers is a Christian. He goes to church every Sunday and is a Christian. Very devout.
SAM: Before you were a Christian, what made the difference? You were raised ina Christian home. uoesn't that make you a Christian?
KW: I had gone to church and Sunday School and I knew what was right andwhat was wrong. But I had never consecrated myself and had repented of my sins, whatever they were, and asked the Lord to fooiite me and taken my stand and been baptized, that I was going to be a Christian. I had never done that. And .'when my kids were about, my little girl, I think, welikt was after, it was just, it was after the forest fire. I think she, no, it was before the forest fire. Why I was living up there in Slabtown and there was about fourteen little kids there. They had a school out there. There were so many children they had a school out at Slabtown. And T couldn't come downtown here, we didn't have car with two lottle children. I did come on the train when I shopped, the train run. But it didn't run on Sunday^ and I had no way getting downtown here and I wanted my children in Sunday School. So I started a Sunday School myself. I financed it and I had little Catholic children too. There . Catholic families there and one woman had five, six, seven youngsters and the other had children. And I had oh, fourteen, fifteen little youngsters. And I had it in my home. And I started sunday School for my own little children.
SAM: What was the course of the Sunday School.
KW: I had little Bible stories and I had little song books with little religioussongs in them that I taught the children and we didn't have crayolas in those days. So that they could color like they do now. We had little sewing cards. And I'd buy pretty cards for them. And then I would read, talk to
them and the Bible stories. And kids .. like to, children like stories.And I would read and we would sing... And I would read and we would sing and then we would have prayer and I'd talk to them. I just talked to them. That's the way I'd talk to them. And I had I jhave a woman who visits me nearly every summer now. She was one of those kids. And she lives in Spokane, but she always comes and sees me. nnd we talk about our little Sunday School that we had. And I have several women living in town here that I taught Sunday School. I taught Sunday School a lot over here. And she's, oh, she must be sixty five, sixty six years old. And she takes delight in telling every new minister who comes here,"Ms. Waldron was my Sunday School teacher." I says,"Yeah, that's why she's good today."(Laughs)
SAM: What made you decide to become a Christian?
KW: I always wanted to be a Christian, but I was too much of a butterfly. WhenI was young.
SAM: Even when you were teaching Sunday School, you don't feel then you wereyet a Christian?
KW: Yes, I wanted to be a real Christian. And I knew from the teaching that Ihad had in my 5unday School years, I knew that what I had to do. And I just decided that, and then my brother was an awful influence in the home for all of us, because he was the oldest kid in the family and mother was a devout Christian and we were always taught tight, you know. And it was things like that that influenced. I believe definetely, if you raise a child and take him to Sunday School and teach him, I believe
KW: Really consecrated rny life to Christ. I didn't, I hadn't grasped, I don'tthink I had grasped really what it means. But I wanted my children, it was my children that I was thinking of see, and those other little children. They needed a unday School and I think it was the spirit of God working with me. Cause God knows everything. He can see the future, you know. And I think that it affected me as much as it did the children, but I wasn't consci' of it, see. Because it was, oh, it was a number of years later That I really was converted and baptized.
SAM: Is that what made the difference, to be baptized?
KW: Yes. That was the greatest experience I ever had, When I went down intothat water. I felt just like I was being buried with Christ. That's what it represents to the world, you know, that you're buried. And when I came up out of that water I was a new creature, I never had any.for the world after that. And that was the most wonderful experience I ever had. And my father was converted by seeing me baptized. They said, people told me he was converted the next night. And people told me that he sat on that bank and tears just rolled down his face. They said they felt so sorry for him. They didn't want to baptize me, the ministers didn't. Because I was the only one, they'd had their bapti^JHH service and they just didn't really want to baptize me. And I said well, I said,I must be baptized. I said, I'm not leaving this campground, I said, until I'm baptized. I said I want to be baptized. I just want to be. So they did. And I was the only one and they held the whole service and I, and it was me going down into that water. But my dad just couldn't take it.
SAM: Where was this carnp meeting at?
KW: Well, it was down towards Colfax. It's gone now. That campground's entirelygone. But it was down towards Colfax.
SAM: Would it go on for like a week?
KW: Oh, yes, about ton days, it used to be about ten days or two weeks, you know.And we'd go right down there and camp. And I finally, years later, I had a cabin built, but they sold that campground. Now they, I guess they meet mostly up at Loon Lake have any regular campground any more.
SAM: Did it strike you all of a sudden that you wanted to be baptized?
KW: Oh, yes, I wanted everything. Everything that the bible tells you to do Iwanted to do.
SAM: uid you know it would have the effect on you that it had before you accepted?
KW: No. I didn't have any idea. The minute I stepped into that water. CL course,I was saying to myself that the Lord Desus, I'm going to be buried and I don't know what I said. I don't remember. But I think I was reading a prayer. Because I was scared to death to be baptized, I didn't like the idea of going down under that water. I wasn't sprinkled. I don't call that baptist I was baptized. I went, waded down into the water, clear up to here. And then I held my nose. I was just scared to ideath. And, but I was going to do it. And I did it, and I was glad I did it. I felt like a different person when I came up. It was the most wonderful experience I have ever had. And I tell my friends, and when I'm teaching I tell my classes. Of,course, I don't teach any more because my eyes and my hearing too, isn't too good and I haveh.'t taught Sunday School now or worked, I was on the church board for twenty five years. I have a nice silver dish that was given to me. And I've acted as superintendent over here at the Bible class and the high school class. In Moscow it was college kids. And young married couples and high school youngsters, I never did teach little, tiny children,
SAM: What is it that you would tell your class?
KW: ch, I would tell them of my experiences of my baptism. And tell them toalways try to have that same experience. That just to feel that you're going down into the water. It represents to the world a burial and we're buried with Christ and we will be raised with him. And it's a wonderful experience.
SAM: What denomination was this?
KW: Church of God. Not that cult that's around. There's a cult now, there'stwo three cults that call themselves, Church of God. But they're not. There's one in Lewiston, I know...
SAM: And they're the ones that had the camp meeting by Colfax?
KW: Uh, huh. There headquarters are in Anderson, Indiana. They have the biggest,one of the biggest printing houses, their literature that they put out, in America. That's the Warner press company. They're not like these cults. I've seen these cults. Several of them. They call themselves, Church of God, but they're not.
SAM: What's unique about the Church of God?
KW: They're not a sect. You can't join the Church of Gad. If you are Christian,even if you belong over here, you're in the Church of God. But we don't, the Christian Church, you know is that way too. You can't join the Christian Church. We're not a sect. We just don't join. I've never had my name on a church book in my life. And I never will. When you become a Christian, you're born, Desus said you must be born again. You know, that's what ho said to Nicodemus.Ye must be born again. And when you are and really and truly converted, you're borned into the Church of God and you're a member whether you realize it or not, you're a member of the Church of God. And you don't need that extra name. You don't peed Baptist, you don't need Methodist. Of course, now, the Christians in all of those churches, even in the Catholic Church are Christian people. Don't say that there's not because there is. And our motto has always been," We extend the hand of matter what church they're in. They're a child of God, they belong to the Church of God.
SAM: What does blood washed mean? Born again?
KW: Yes. To be born again. Blood. I've been washed in the blood, how is that?I've been born of the spirit. Born of the spirit and washed in the blood.
SAM: I've kept you long enough..
0:00 - Discussion about the 1914 forest fire; loss of mother in law's furniture; her fears of fire afterwards; finding the children at the depot
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Segment Synopsis: 1914 fire. Loss of mother-in-law's furniture, which had just been shipped from southern Idaho. Her fear about the fire, although others didn't think it was serious. Fast approach of fire; fleeing of the family to Bovill. She was upset by hearing her husband's shay engine calling for help. Finding the children at the depot.
9:00 - Thought her brother's prayers cause the fire to turn, saving his home and Bovill; continual nightmares of the fire
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30:00 - Taking the first excursion train to Bovill; selling land near Boise; renting a more expensive house
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38:00 - Trying to get work because the husbands were away from home; getting jobs as women flunkies in camps; lumberjacks improved their appearance because of women there; she was afraid of the lumberjacks; their work schedules as flunkies
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Segment Synopsis: Deciding to try to get work, since their husbands were away from home working so much of the time. Getting jobs as the first women flunkies in the vicinity, as an experiment. She took her son with her. They did well. They enjoyed cooking for Shorty Justice. A lumberjack teased her about their working on the line. The men improved their appearance because the women were there; Nogle, the superintendent, thought they had a marvelous influence on the men. Her father told her that lumberjacks would never bother her, but she was still afraid. Their work schedule as flunkies.
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52:00 - Division between church going people and drinking people in Bovill; her brother never swears; her brother's conversion to Christianity
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Segment Synopsis: Division between church-going people and drinking people at Bovill. Her brother John never swears, or gets cross with her, Foolish suspicion of a minister that John had moonshine. John became a Christian as a boy when his injured leg was healed instantly by two ministers. His devoutness has made a big impression on the family.
56:00 - Grew up with Christian precepts; began a Sunday school in Slabtown; growing desire to become a Christian
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60:00 - How her Sunday school teaching affected her; her father converted after seeing her baptised; discussion of the revival meeting of Church of God; beliefs of Church of God
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Segment Synopsis: Her Sunday school teaching affected her, though she didn't realize it. Her experience of rebirth through baptism. Her father was converted by seeing her baptised. She insisted on them baptising her; she was scared of it. The revival meeting ground near Colfax of the Church of God. Her teaching of youth. Church of God is not a sect: its born-again creed embraces all Christians, regardless of church.