digital initiatives logo library logo

Latah County Oral History Collection

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

« View All Lela Grace Jain Wicks interviews

Report a problem with this interview.

Date: October 08, 1974 Interviewer: Sam Schrager

Search This Index
SearchClear

Index

0:00

Download the PDF transcript

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

SAM SCHRAGER: Grace Wicks recalls many Gensee families and their interrelationships frrom those who are buried near the Jain fai mily plot to Timothy Driscoll and his wife. She speaks of honoring the Northern Ciyil War yeterans in parades? of Decoration Day, her family's Republicanism The bells the town lived by Old Kentuck and the woman who shared his home, and the importance of water and wheat. She concludes with the recent funeral of a former resident^ and how it reaffirmed the close ties of families and friends in Genesee.

MRS. WICKS. QK, I wanted to talk a bit about saddlebags because we see on the TV all the time where people eat on the trail, and we know that men existed for years, from what they could carry on the back of a saddle or in a pack on a mule, or wherever. Men spent whole lives living that kind of food. And as a child, I had the idea that food that was made into a lunch was delicious J because when it alongside my mama as she prepared the lunches for the youngsters in the family who went down^to country school, nothing, it looked to me, but ambrosia itself, went into that food. Because there would deviled eggs, and there would be the best cookies, and there would be sandwiches made with delicious meat con tents, and I just thought that there was nothing in this world that could be so tasty and so good as school lunches. And then when the older ones of the family would come home, and I would dig into those saddlebags, and once in a while there'd be a cookie left, once in aijwhile there d be a sandwich left. My disillusion ment was always there--because leather makes things_smell, and leather makes things taste, and those bits of food which should have been just the most delic ious in the world would be beyond eating. Aatf ihat was probably by five o'clock in the afternoon0 the day they were made. JUS, I've often thought about the food that men lived on for years; "TheM talk about jerky nave you ever eaten jerky? Well, it takes an awful lot of imagination to make it anything but just something to hold soul and body together. The same with dried corn, yuk! The same with the bacon and beans, and all of that stuff. How would they have time to cook beans long enough over a campfire to make them digestible? I know that in sheep camps^where they had a little more permanent place to live, and where there was a chance to carry food from place to place with perhaps a wagon or a pack mule or something| that sheepherders would make their dough biscuits or doughgods, or whateyer they called them, in the top of their sacks of flour. igg this was done by opening the sack and hollowing out a little mmmd_ and putting into it a little saleratus'^this umr} the pioneer name for soda--and then they d put in a little sour milk maybe, or maybe just water, and a little grease, and mix it up in enough flour so that that would get into a soft ballj and then they would cook it over campfire in the grease left from frying their bacon or frying their ham, or fiying their rabbit, or whatever it was they fried. But they had to have a little fat to do this.

Rabbit has very little fat on it, or any of the fowl that they would till, like prairie chickens, ox grouse, or pheasant, whatever would be around. *W there weren't many pheasants until they were imported, of course. w\iy I've often thought about the fare which they lived on. It was very, very, meager, and you had to be a hungry man out in the open who didn't want to starve to death to relish it very much, I am sure, (chuckles) So that's what I wanted to say about the fare and the food of the early day set tler in this area. Also I might add that in the winter, unless one had a deep pit or hilled things over outside with straw and earth, there wasn't much chance of keeping em from freezing-'which meant that your diet in the winter was meat, potatoes and gravy, and that was it. And you were lucky if you got the potatoes through. Many times it would have to be meat, biscuits and gravy. Well, of course if you're exercising a great deal you can live on that and be healthy and do just fine. But the limited diets were hard on people who didn't have the capa city to digest them.

the other thing we wanted to talk about was, early day politics: Well, of course, the national news percolated out here via newspaper and telegraph, etc., and my family was split by the silver Populists. My father was onejand my mother remained staunchly Republican. «$ Dad voted for William Jennings Bryan.and I don't think Mother did. However, when election day came, no matter how pressing '' the home work was, and what they were in the midst of doing, «ihey got into their better clothes, got into the wagon and went/to vote. Election Day was sacred to voting. And their opinions were very often discussed in front of us children. Whenever there was a gathering}with Grandfather and Grandmother Jain particularly, there was lots of talk, 4m iur folks were staunch Republicans; because Grandfather, being an migrant from Switzerland} had had to make up his mind about this democracy and how far he was going to go with it. Well, his father had made a mil lion sacrifices to bring him here along with his numerous family,* and then the/^^ Civil War engulfed Granddad, who fought in a regiment from Wisconsin along with two of his brothers, ^Sd. Never to him was there any deviation from the side of the Republicans, which to him was the true party of .democracy. He always voted'" i and so did my father for many yearsJ*t'the little circle which was provided on at the top of the ticket,' and that circle if you put an X in it meant that you voted for all the candidates from that party who were named beneath the circle. My father had to leave this practice,. though, one time when a friend of his named Jim Kane ran for sheriff. Jim was a Democrat, but he was A j3uch a good man, (chuckles) and Dad was so respectful of him, he had to split his ticket, and that was the first time I ever heard of a heresy like that! I can tell you. (laughter) This was probably along in the late teens or early twen ties. Politics were always brought out in - .every stock show, Fourth of July, or any other big picnic where people gathered and there was any kind of a parade, *mtt hey had a parade at the drop of fekehat. The old soldiers always had a special conveyance. In the early times I remember it was'a nicely decorated wagon, then later it was in a two seated hack, and later then in an open car. -^ftf hose old gentlemen, Mr -. €smiliralj|e, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Hollister, Mr. Roderick, Mr. Jain; ihose were the ones that were always there, ar IThen there were others that from time to time camWlong. Bttc those were the gentlemen who had fought in the Civil War and belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic. MM. Their women were in the auxiliary. Of course, at the time I came along they were all very old people, in their seventies? so there wasn't a great deal of activity;and the women, mostly, were dead by that time. Sat those old gentlemen would totter along Y^6 their canes and be boosted up into those vehic les and down the street they would gOj their hats set ffay upon their brow*--all of them in uniform dark blue with big broad-brimmed black Stetson hats. And they were proud, and we were proud of them. Let's see, that's enough on politics.

Then, let's talk about I wanted to talk about an early pioneer- and this is hearsay from-iny parents,* Wmt my grandfather broke a great deal of sod-63- in this area. This was the first time that the plow was ever inserted in the sur face of this surrounding territory, and it was a terrific task and it took immense strength on the part of the team t^pull the vehicle, though it was just a one* burner plow. That sod was so heavy and the earth to which the roots were mm cling ing was so black and heavy and solidy that it took immense strength to pull that metal affair through this resisting medium. Grandfather had good oxen, and he had good horses? but he also employed the horses of Old Kentuck, who was a character. He'used/the wild horses of this horsa-man for the breaking of them; 4n other words, he'd go down to the river where the man lived at the mouth of the Hatwaj Creek, and bring home wild stock, which Grandfather used the following season, and brought them back in the fall as a seasoned team. Which of course meant that this service was of exceeding value to Kentuck, and at the same time gave Grandfather the horseflesh to do the job he was doing. In breaking this sod. there was an amusing sideJLight, in that my father, who was just a little boy-5—eleven, twelve, etc had his tender heart touched by the plight of the little prairie chickens. They would be disturbed in their nesting area by the encroachment of the plow,' and as the low moved with it s furrow the little birds would try to go over this Jmemw back to where they belonged, near the nest, and they would get plowed under. *|mF Mf father would run with his little old bare feet in there and pick them up and take them to the edge of the plowed sur face. But before he could get back with his next load of little birds, they would be crawling.back over these furrows to find their former home and get mmmm* est-.under-. He said the prairie chickens were so numerous that they made a stack of hay look gray with their feathers. A: Qhey were a main staple of diet, this excellent fowl. Plump from the grain, plump from the see% plump from the good food that was around, they were very fine eating. Dad used to shoot them too, for food, Never was wants'^ shooting done unless it was ^-^^fut Tor food, my tather was_J . Aefi t(e had as his weapon an old muzzle-loader of Grand- / dad's. And he'd cock it between the toes of his bare front footfajpt only a child could have done this. ikmm\\\wW* he would lean back and with that foot as a rest, he would shoot the gun which would kick terribly, but it would be accurate., be cause the kick didn't come until after the shot was fired. flST, Dad could bring down a prairie chicken^every shot.

go back to Kentuck: fiis name actually was John Talent as I under stand it, and he was a remittance manTa very fine family from Kentucky. 4o Siince he was not talking a great deal about his antecedents, people called hin/'oid Kentuck, Old didn't mean that he was old in years, just meant that he was a familiar per son, and someone whom everyone recognized by being called Kentuck; so it was Old Kentuck. He was a single man when I first heard of him. $ad* l|e pretty well cornered the pinto ponies that the Nez Perce squaws had in the area. Just how he acquired them is somewhat cloudy, but he did get the majority of these animals in his possessior^ cmd sold them to people who were coming through to settle the homesteads and to make their place in this area,, i*hen their moving stock was weary or ill, or whatever, his place was a source of supply, $fed fme day, to his place came a man and wife, and I don't know how many, but more than one child. 40 they camped there a day or two; and the man took off and abandoned his wife and children . She stayed on and became housekeeper for Kentuck, Sft $ course she was not a divorced woman, n4 she sorely needed shelter, and so, in due time they had children. I don't know how many, but more than one, and since there was great disgrace to illegitimate children at this time, this was a very heartsore situation. ,M^gjifeaBMaBe. gear husband was living, but was someplace and J alive, -^^assumed **?. there was no divorce. Amtf'Sivorce was not common then anyway. The courts were not numerous att^fehe- eOurs~jee.4xa at hand, Tdrpti pioneer measures often crossed the lines of the law. ^ ' Ft his children: One was named who died when he was just a little boy. Kentuck mourned deeply for this child. $M he was always known as Peteil/ick because they could Vt put a surname to his little moniker. He was buried up above the family home on the point of, the-65- hill to the south of the opening of th Hat wai Creek. J$SS in due time when ^ Kentuck died^ he was buried beside his little boy.

Her family came along, and there was a widower with children, know whether Kentuck had died by this time or not, but the woman involved was still around with her two families. WJ. Jpbr some reason, probably because they got word that the first husband had died, she was able to marry this widower. ! together they had one the? -child. Marriage took place another place in this fam ily, because a daughter of the first family and a son of the widower were married. They were no blood relation of course of any kind, and they were a wonderful family who have descendants practically all over this area. Wonderfully res pected, good people to which there is no cloud of anything in th?^background. These tangles occurred because of the lack of convenience of arranging legality and in the face of pioneer necessity. Each union that this woman was a party tOy she was faithful to her partner during that time,; .She was an honorable woman and a deeply loved woman, though this very tangled background was there, H3l some of her children squirm about it presently, but they shouldn't because she was a fine person. Now what else was I going to talk about?

Oh! I wanted to talk about Timothy Driscoll, our town's most eminent citizen. He was a man of money, and a dear, dear person. His wife was a woman of culture^ and they held themselves to a high standard of living. There was always good lit erature in their home, a gracious table, and an interest in opera, Shakespeare, and the best of whatever came to the area, or whatever they^could encourage to come to the area. Mr. Driscoll was the richest man, and he did many things up and down Main Street that jone .ever knew about, that were kind and helpful to people in the community. For example: At graduation time from high school"-and this was a great big deal, because many people didn't go on to school after high school"" Mr. Driscoll usually gave a present , a well-chosen present, to every graduate. His daughter ,Edna ,took on the social responsibility in Mr.-66- Driscoll's life, and carried on with the strength 4$ character which he and his r wife showed. His wife was rarely seen because she was mostly at home, in very handsome clothing in her lovely home, but not a person to invite in a lot of people, or to ever accept an invitation. 6t "she was recognized as the community intellectual leaderM* Mr. Driscoll's land is still owned by Edna, who has been a wonderful custodian of the estate. She is now a woman in her nineties, living in lewiston. ^ffi3"'%hether she'd be capable of an interview or not is a question. But her mind has been wonderful always. She never married. Her younger sister. Dorothy did. She married a man named Pond, from the Southern Idaho Ponds, a fine old family there. Their marriage ended along the way-j-I don't know why. And finally Dorothy died in a nursing home in Gooding, Idaho. She is buried in the family plot in the Genesee Catholic cemetery, where in due time. I am sure Edna plans to be placed beside her father and mother. Mr. Driscoll was in part nership with Fred Hampton for many years; and the Hampton-Driscoll holdings were extensive. At the time of Mr. Hampton's death the estate—or holdings—were div ided so that there was then the Hampton holdings and the Driscoll holdings in separate condition.

I want to talk about the Follett s. pioneer merchants^^farmers first and then merchants in the area; We revolved around Follett 's store as a center of 6 merchandise. They sold everything from a spool of thread to a cookie with cocanut on top, that so entic ingly was in the drawer of cookies with a glass in front to make a little girl's mouth just drool at it_s beauty and itjs known deliciousness. They had some clerks that were as well known as store and the family of Follett : one of them was Jim Jackson. He was Superintendent of the Sunday School. "d- wis teeth weren't in very good shape, but I can remember. Mr.Jackson standing up in front of our community church'~at that time it was the Congregational Church Sunday School-"and singing with gusto the wonderful old hymns. His hamiBdmr cros sed by a gold chain with a fob on it, his hymnal red of cM6r, held in his hand-67- and his singingjmm* unbridled joy. He was great in the store. He never let a customer leave without a tiny little sly gift— many times that cherished and longed-for cookie to a little girl. I don't know whether he made a lot of money for the Follett s because of these numerous gifts, but they were never very big; they were mainly just an effort at public relations. because he liked everybody and he wanted them to feel good and to come back. And- of course they always did. As I said the other day, the grocery bill was paid once a year. And so the books had to be kept over a very long time; but after all, income came once a year when the crop was sold^ so this was the custom and the way it was done. Some of the Follett^s are still living in Genesee. As a matter of fact, the last man to own the Follett store was Mahlon , grandson of the founder^! His father was Georgef -and: he is a fine man, and I hope you get to interview him. I think he would be able to give you an excellent interview, Mahlon.: Follett . They were dear friends of my folks, the Jains, and I can remember, too, that Mrs. George Follett 's cookies at the Sunday School picnics were the best sour cream sugar delectable^ that a little girl ever had a chance to eat, 3la her motherin-law, Mrs. John Follett , Sr., made a handie handkerchief as a birthday pre sent for my grandmother, Adelia Jain, which was so beautiful that Grandmother never used it. Ma^m^am, after nearly a hundred years had gone by, I found this treasure with a note as to what it was^ and gnve it to the great-great-granddaughter of the creator on the occasion of her wedding. J she carried it x her wedding.. Her name was Johnny Sue Brown, and she loved it. Now I forget the name of the man she married, but the little remembrance of all that"generations of loving friends and neighbors was kept alive in this way.

The Follett s were good farmers. Fred Follett was a business man and wound up in business or\^he coast. He was a money maker too. Then there was a dentist^ There was Leon Follett7 who carried on the grocery store along with his brother, George. Leon Follett sang in the Congregational choir; he sang-68- -formy father's funeral. He was a bass and very faithful way going to churchy which was certainly a warm neighborhood center. My grandfather, Lewis Jain? gave the Bible to this church. . I found it when I was a teenager," and by the time I was enough aware of history and the passage of time and what happens to things to preserve that tfible., I couldn't find it. So we don't have it, but it was getting pretty dogeared, and te^/\ used so very much. c. *ya.S large and unwi.ldly; so, I am sure that it went the way of all flesh. The early people in the Congregational Church vntft. surely dedicated, and through the years, they missed few services. This was the same with the church a block away where the Methodists gathered, and another one a block further down the hill where the Christians gathered. "Walt icertainly, the faithful on the hill to the west that went to the Catholic Churchy the same fam^y^ names, still are there. niEE9just diagonally across the street Lwas the German Luther-* an Church; which now is combined with the Norwegian Lutheran Church as one congregation. THfc German was spoken'in both the Catholic and the Lutheran -SermetoC. Norwegian or Swedish, or whatever, was spoken in the Lutheran church, Earlier, the services always took place in Genesee Valley Church-;-still a viable institution where families come home frfm afar, to be buried with those who love^them. ad where, wonder of wonders, the tombstone markers have been kept in symmetrical surveyor straight lines^ fhe only cemetery with such exactitude that I have seen. 4H kjpw that we have the flat markers, it's not so important, but when you go out of the doorway of the Valley Lutheran Church you don't see a mish-mash of stones. You see a nice row up the hill, diagonally, so that all is in order. It was done as a labor of love, I am sure.

The church of the Catholics with their chimes^ which were taken from the church after a big fire.) ruled our lives. We didn't wake up in the morning%i.l the six o'clock bell had chimed. We ate dinner at noon, by the twelve o'clock bell, and we had a bite of supper at night with the six o'clock bell. Thererapidly., It was right in the middle of the town where everybody could hear it. It would carry on the night air, and it meant .terrible menace. Many timers my mother wouldn't let us go to the fire. Then- again, if it was a great big one we would go. And I remember shivering while she held me and while she sat me on a post to watch the Genesee Hotel burn. It was on a corner down where the present highway is. across the street from warehouses, and they didn't want the warehouses to catch. m. this was before the day of very many water hydrants, and, so when something took fire, it pretty much burned. All you hoped for was to keep neighboring structures from catching. 4m that was the first time in my life that I remember trembling with fear, or the nervous tension of great unease. I remember trembling that night. ftOftV iver after, the sound of that fire bell was even more terrifying, faamkkn my piano I picked out two notes when played to gether that made the same relative sound of that bell. I would sometimes play that sound as I was killing time, and was just a little kid around, just to see if I could make the same terrifying sound. Of course, I knew it wasn't the same thing, but it still made me very uncomfortable, (laughter) Aren't kids funny? And those were the bells in my life, and in the life of the whole community. Of course, Genesee's firefighting equipment was all volunteer, which it still is were higher and lower tones of bells. But the main one that chimed the hours absolutely ruled our lives, and how glad we were to have .*em. Why, It made sense to a little girl playing off some place—Ummm- there was the Catholic bellbetter get home! (chuckles) And that's the way we lived. The whole town lived by those bells.' imd we just loved 'em. We weren't conscious of it This was just part of life. There was a school bell,, too. And then there was a fire bell. And that fire bell had the most_awful clang,. hen it would wake you out of a sound sleep in the middle of the night, you would just practically jump out of your skin.

(End of Side A)

which Moscow's is. There isn't a paid fire department in the county. Lewiston is a little bit bigger, and it has paid firemen.But regularly employed people were somewhat contemptuous of men who worked for the Fire Department^ because it was such a lazy life—a long time between fires. Wtt you had to have a fireman and a skilled person for this job. when the time came$ nut this business of having a volunteer fire department has worked exceedingly well, in our area. We have rural and urban, and they really are highly skilled. They have their own drills; they have very fine equipment, and they're johnny-on-the-spot. It's amazing if you have a fire how fast those people get to you, and what a lot they can get accomplished in a hurry. Now, what else were we going to talk about?

SAM SCHRAGER:You were going to talk about Ed

MRS. WICKS: Oh, I couldn't talk about my childhood in Genesee without Ed Venook bless his dear. old. tobacco chewing face* Xt's just right in front of me. He was the oldest child of a widow, who later had married a man and had ttfflSy children by a man name* Springer. But he was one of mm children named Venule-*. IIn an . There was Ed, and there was Pearl, who was the nurse who told me about the child with rabies, and there was Jake, who w«8*tas family of people still living in Genesee? Ed never married. He was the support of the family, though his mother had a very, very fine boardinghouse. where everybody went to eat. anM Ed and his mother were a great team to raise these younger children. Ed had the dray; Ed took the tickets at the shows; Ed took the tickets at the local baseball field; Ed took the tickets for the high school games; Ed would get dres sed up with every badge he owned on his coat, and go and faithfully serve the community. AT. He was greatly loved and appreciated^ though considered just a little bit simple. I don't know that Ed was simple. I think really. -Ed just had never had a chance to go to school^ because he was earning, and helping to feed the family, when a very small little boy. ft rfis mother was a great-71- cook and .wonderful character. She JLoved her ,kids. TfiT gy the time she got to the baby of her family, and he with a good voice, there was time for him to have a few music lessons and a little grace in life. So I couldn't possibly talk about Genesee without mentioning Ed. He lived to a very old age and was tenderly cared for in the home of this younger half-brother, Markie Springer.

SAM SCHRAGER: I was going to say Decoration Days, something—

MRS. WICKS: Yes, that was something else. I wanted to say that one of the few homesteaders I ever saw in my life was Bill Springer, an older half-brother of Ed Venook. And he had a very small holding of tillable landj and the rest in canyon land bordering my father's place down on the ftfim |^ock. 4S3 Bill Springer built a little house which he had on the corner, near my father's townhouse, and which Dad later bought and moved over next door to our front porch to house my mother's aunt, who had come, from r-' Michigan to homestead and to live with her brother and his wife. their deaths/ had moved to Genesee and lived in the little house, which Bill Springer built. That little house ^presently as the bunkhouse down on Dad's place, having been'moved there. So*-- it still would serve were anyone of a mind to use it though it's been vacant now since the renter doesn't need it. fc-i I was going to talk about what, did you say?

SAM SCHRAGER: Decoration Day.

MRS. WICKS: Oh, Decoration Day was a big day for everybody. SEl (n that day many times old soldiers^wore their uniforms\ and then after World War II, there were in uni forms who played taps and shot their guns on Decoration Day to honor the war dead. JaWm) t /everybody else honored their loving memories of their dead. there probably weren't bouquets that were domestically grown on one out of ten graves at the cemeter'^ but there were wild flowers in abundance, fed tneY were put there in fruit jars or in cans, though this came later because we didn't have any cans when I was real small. BSfct the flowers often were just laid lovingly on the top of the graves. Everybody took the day off and went to town in their very best and. met for whatever ceremony there was. Perhaps the preacher said a few words; perhaps a politician was invited in; or the mayor of the town spoke and there'd be a gathering. An4* then everyone would go to the cwmef, either before or after this town occasion. AndVthen there'd be dinners*in relative s' homes, all over the place, because Decoration Day was one where you paid atten tion. My grandmother's two little girls had died: One of Aem in childbirth, and one of-\em at fifteen pinal meningitis. They were beautiful little girls, and always, in Grandmother's bedroom were the two pictures, side by side. This was a crushing blow to the whole family; because they died within five months of each other, and they were so well known in the community. And my wedding occurred just forty M$ years from the wedding of the 1^$m^older girl, who died in childbirth. Her husband was Dr. W. C. Cox, a pioneer physician in the area. $ /the wedding was very formally done with white gloves on the ushers, and white silk ties J and in the museum, presently, are my father's pair of white gloves, and his cravat from being an usher at his sister's wedding. The recep tion was held downtown and everyone was invited. This was a very important social occasion, law fny wedding, which occurred all these many years later, was in the church, and was also attended by numerous people~~the church was full.(laughter) And, we didn't have a reception for everybody, we jusd had our family and close friends to dinner. Fried chicken from the beginning to the end of all the fried chicken dinners mean in Genesee; and we just had it for fifty-two.

Dr. Cox was one of the very first physicians in the area. ABBf* JTbr his wife to have to die in childbirth., was a cruel irony. He was a most interesting man. He graduated from Jefferson Medical School about 1886, if I'm not mistaken. May be it was 1882; it was early. I went to Jeff-erson on a trip one time," and they were very wonderful to me and took me all over the place, including the old op erating room where he had learned his skills. This was before the day of anesthesia, and the boards of the operating table were, on either side, ~ chains hanging down because the patient had to be chained to endure the agony of being-73- cut in that way without anesthesia. The heartfelt care of whole families by family physicians was an important part of pioneer life. imBt Dr. Cox was a deeply respected person as a family physician. However, as time went by he moved to Everett, Washington to practice, and it was there that his wife died. «*$ the cruelest blow of all, she died of pueperal fever. Which means some where in her care, there was someone or something that was not sterilized. They didn't know, Pasteur had not discovered germs at that time," and doctors, midwives, and nurses were not always careful to wash their hands because they didn't know that it did any particular harm for a physician to go -is'one pWsoa to another. And *J^fe4*€ Grace died of puerperal fever and so did her baby. And ,they lie together side by^side^in arow: Adelia and Lewis^ Grace and her little boy, Carrie; and then Walter and my father and my mother,Lela. They are in a row in the Genesee cemetery.

Before I leave the subject of cemetery, where I expect to lie, one day Just a little west of my family's plot--*"here is a tall shaft tfaaate for Wallace Cool, the husband of Marie NebeJ$fick. He was the deputy sheriff, shot on the streets of Moscow when the man named- Steffens. went berserk, and killed Dr. Watkins. This tragedy is written as a central theme in the book BUFFALO COAT, by Carol Ryrie Brink; Wallace Cool rests in the cemetery at Genesee, /ilongside him is his sister-in-law, Emma, a delightful NebelSik daughter who used to visit my family and was a charming, and lovely person. She married rather late in life, a man over in Oregon, and in due time walked into the river and took her life. So. two tragedies in the Nebelsrck family occurred, and the two people involved lie there side by side near the Jain and the Wicks plots. There's another plot right beside it, for the Hollisters. Mr, Hollister was a GAR and owned the Genesee Hotel and raised a family there. His sister-in-law, Lena Favre, owned the building in which I now sit, at one time together with her husband^ They were a pioneer family. Mrs. Favre and Mrs. Hollister's maiden name was Camp, and they came of very fine people. The Hollister graves. are distinguished by a tombstone with a sweet little dog on it. That is to their dog, an Airedale named Dawn. And the tombstone reads: Dawm, our faith ful friend. Because one time Mrs. Hollister got lost over on a homestead near the Camas Prairie as she went to get the family cow. Down in the canyon, she lost her way and they couldiff find her all night, -sttfl it rained just a bit, and she would have died if it hadn'i^ been that she was protected from exposure by the fact that Baw, their dog, nestled in her lap and kept her warm. So 3mm, I remember as we would walk by as we would go to school, was a very old and deeply loved pet, fUSt* he lies right beside — no, I believe at the foot, of Mr. and Mrs. Hollister.

There is just a bit east the Wahl plot, and this is a large area in which the twins are buried, that my grandmother helped bring into the world and fed them the little cordial made of Oregon Grape jelly. They lie there, and their brother, Sherman, who 1 e - told my father of his sad financial pre diction, which proved to not be correct, mm his wife Mary Wahl;. she was a Moscow pioneer: Mary Mc Farland, one of the first graduates of the University of Idaho. A marvelous woman. She was a bit old when they had their children be cause she married a little later in life^ which was perhaps why her first child was a spastic and could not walk by himself. Aid I remember so many times, see ing Mrs. Wahl with her son, Kellis, held with her two arms held under his arms; fothands clasped across his little chest, his two feet resting on her feet, as she brought him into the opera house for plays or graduations, or whatever the occasion was. She was a beautiful woman, and so devoted to her child*/ She had a slow and difficult birth and my mother always said that the doctor became panicky and took Kellis which resulted in the damage that caused his spasticity. He was intel ligent, and kept the books of the family farming business. But at about age* thirty-two, he tipped himself from his wheelchair into the farmyard watering trough and took his life. He had very fine brother and sister, the man o*whom%ma\. is on the staff of WSU. at this time. A most substantial citizen of our area who's married to the sister, the baby of the family of Lola Clyde— the baby of the Gamble family, that is. And- of course, their father was the first Presbyan terian minister here. As fine Irish gentleman as ever was. I heard of him one time; that when there was a smallpox epidemic, Daniel Gamble was the person who went from sticken household to stjdcken household, and helped everyone and re mained immune from the disease. He was truly a Christian man. So the families spread, and family mingles with family, and east of the Wahl plot is that of the Breslersu'" dear, wonderful people. Grandmother "Breser was a distinguished lady from Kentucky, and she came West with money. mamX Her son,Fred Brevier, was the local banker that I knew during my early years as- the banker. He had an affliction on his hand, which still is in the family strain. Some of the fingers were not separated from each other, and I remember how strange his hand looked as he wrote with a pen. at the bank window. But with what a flowing, beautiful script he produced. He had three children and a wife who was the daughter of Newton Hollister, whom I have just spoken about, who honored his pet. Bertha Hollister was Mrs. Fred Brevier. I can remember sitting on Mr. Bresler's lap and eating some of Mrs. Bresler's delicious divinity candy which made my fingers a little sticky. Pcdl I remember asking Mr. Bresler why his fin gers were the way they were, and playing with his hand, putting it up to my cheek, because I loved him. And. he said, with the sweetest tone, he said, "Why, Gracie, when I was little, I ate divinity candy and my hands got sticky, and you know, I did it so JbtxKK, and my mama didn't wash it very carefully, and you know they just grew like thats." iMff so he passed off what could have been a hurtful epi sode because he was so mature and so kind. Mrs. Bresler was a very individual woman, Ashe outlived her husband though she was always ilJ a great deal. She inherited the large family estate and eventually lived with her daughter, Adelene, the youngest of the family, in Spokane. Don Bresler was the first man I kissedc because he was the man in the play, where I hated to be involved, (chuckles) ^ Alas, his life was somewhat wasted because while still in his thirties, he became ill from alcoholism and became a heartbreaking figure beyond help for those of us who loved him, and so wished to keep his great workh. He had been a captain in World War I; he had been in business with his father in the bank; he had married one of the Mattaly girls, Irene, a delightful belle of the town«$M6 they had one child, who presently lives in Genesee. His descend ants are still with us" and wonderful people. If we only knew then what we know now about Alcoholics Annonymous, there was no reason to lose Don. These were family friends.

In speaking of Genesee, I should also speak of the Larabee family. Mr. Larabee had the store that was down the street from Follett's one block. Ittoo, had the delicious smell of all the goodies that you could get there, and you could buy everything. Mr. Larabee was married to a woman who's maiden name had been Wells, ^gl "fhe Wells family was numerous in the area., also. The Larabee children were numbered four, three girls and a boy. They all were handsome people and prominent in community life. The kind of people who had the leads in plays, and were valedictorians and were the most sought-after dates, and went far away to live, and had nice lives. Someone else I should sreak about when talking of Genesee is the Burr family, and the Gray fanriJv. I'll speak first of the Burrs. W. W. Burr was the community record keeper. He was a notary public; he was the town clerk; he did title business; eventually sold insurance, and he had a little office where people could get intellectual chores done, and legal chores done, of this nature. He had a nice family, and his wife was a prominent Rebecca. Their home was open to warm hospitality, and their daughter, Laura, was a lovely singer. She sang at both my father's and my mother's funerals and was a dearly loved companion, and presently lives in the back of what used to be the Bresler Bank, and what eventually was her husband's place of business because her husband, Bill Burr, followed in his father's footsteps in this same kind of clerical business. 4ad Laura lives there to this day. The Grays were two farmers, William and Robert. William never married. -As2- hey were both money-makers;-very successful farmers. Robert Gray, Bob, had ten children, of which there are so few descendants of the name, that you can hardly believe it: Just two. There were other grandchildren, but their name was not Gray. Bob and Bill Gray were half-brothers of a man named Andrew Wardrobe who had fourteen children. 4tf there are an amazingly few people named Wardrobe who lived to carry on the name. As a matter of fact, I only know one. Sc of all these many sons, in twenty four descendants, I think I can name just three: Two Grays, and one Wardrobe. This is the way life goes. Now.the women of the family, the daughters, had children, but of course, their names were lost, belibber cause of our way of just carrying on the male name. If I am a woman's '., it is certainly in that, because many times in m woman's obituaries you have to read clear to the end and hope that you find a brother of the woman involved, because only then do you find out who she was. To me this is hurtful and a little shameful. It should not be. Mt the long hyphenated name that the Europeans have, of course, to Americans, would seem silly. But in only that way is a woman's identity preserved.

The Grays inherited from Uncle Bill— they inherited from their father. They were good custodians and they have inherited from each other. two or three of them are pergf-wealthy people who had no children. The next generation—-Robert-has no children. The present generation, Charlie—has one. Lester had two, of which one died early in life. And now, there is Cecil, who never married. Jessie never married. Elbert never married.

End of Side B

0:00 - Life on the trail

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Meager fare on the trail. Saddlebags gave food a leathery taste on the same day it was made. Cooking bread in sheep camps. There was even less variety in winter.

6:00 - Grandfather's Politics

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Politics : though a staunch Republican, her father voted for Bryan and the silver populists. Election day was sacred. Grandfather Jain decided that Republicans were the party of democracy. The old Civil War veterans of the Union were always honored with special decorated wagons in parades.

10:00 - Wild horses, prairie chickens, ponies and Grandfather's life

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Grandfather took wild horses from Old Kentuck in the spring, used them to plow up the hard sod, and returned them in the fall, As a boy, father tried to save prairie chickens from being killed by the plow; he cocked his muzzleloader between his toes. Kentuck (John Talen t) cornered the pinto pony market. A woman traveler, left by her husband near Kentuck's place, lived with him; their children had no last name because she had no way to get divorced. Her third union.

19:00 - Timothy Driscoll, Genesee's leading citizen

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Timothy Driscoll, Genesee's leading citizen, did unknown good deeds for the town; his wife who stayed at home was known as the leading intellectual.

22:00 - Follett Family, and Jim Jackson

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Follett family and store. Jim Jackson ran the Sunday school and gave something extra to each customer in the store. The handmade handkerchief which passed between the Follett and Jain families.

27:00 - Churches in Genesee

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The well-attended Genesee churches. Genesee Valley Lutheran Church cemetery is laid out symetrically in straight lines. The chimes of the Catholic Church ruled the town's daily life. The terrifying clang of the fire bell.

30:00 - Genesee Hotel Fire

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Watching the Genesee Hotel burn, Grace trembled with fear. She imitated the sound of the fire bell on the piano. Volunteer fire departments.

33:00 - Ed Vanouck and Bill Sprenger

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Ed Vanouck did all sorts of public service work for Genesee. Bill Sprenger's house.

37:00 - Decoration day and health of father's sisters

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Decoration Day celebration, wildflowers honored graves. Two of father's sisters died, one of spinal meningitis, the other of puerperal fever (following childbirth). This sister was married to Dr. Cox, a pioneer physician; Grace visited the Jefferson Medical School and saw the operating room where he learned.

43:00 - Genesee cemetary inhabitants

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: In the Genesee cemetery, near the Jain plot, Wallace Cool (killed by Steffen), and the Nebelsiecks ,another tragedy. The Hollisters and their dog Don, who saved the wife's life. The Wahls, and their paralyzed child. (Rev. Gamble, Lola Clyde's father, attended the sick during a smallpox epidemic.) The Bresslers; as a child, Grace teased Mr. Bressler, the banker, about his hand.

54:00 - People and names of Genesee

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Larabees had popular children. Burr, the community recordkeeper. Gray and Wardrobe had many children, but the family name has been almost lost. It's wrong that women's maiden names are ignored.

60:00 - Water availabilty in early days

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Water. The artesian spring on the Hanson place has always flowed. A stoneboat had to be used to fetch water when the family spring dried up. Getting water in a bucket meant conserving it. Dynamiting the spring for more water. It s quality. Cold springs on the Little Potlatch, a well used spot in the old days^ is now forgotten.

69:00 - Wheat history and development

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Wheat yields of forty bushels were great in the old days; with the development of Gains wheat by Vogel at Washington State College, yields increased tremendously. The Piatt brothers introduced blooded herefords to the area.

73:00 - Pioneer Genesee doctors

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: Pioneer Genesee doctors: Drs. Conant, Ellen, Tourney. They knew the families so well that they were loved friends and advisors.

76:00 - More on Geneseee families and local lore

Play segmentSegment link

Segment Synopsis: The Sprenger family. Hamptons provide music for the community. The Walter Clavanaugh funeral was a testimony to family love and community tradition. The Glavanaugh family. Walter's brother Reuben disappeared while hunting in the Potlatch country; his mother cooked while they searched, to no avail. Carey Mae Hickman, Walter's wife, took in Grace's dress for graduation. Hickman family marriages show interrelationships in Genesee. The gathering following the funeral helps bring the grieving back to life.

X


Collections A-Z