University of Idaho logo

Special Collections & Archives

Manuscript Group 52


Records, 1927-1930
4.5 l.f.

The descriptive inventory of the papers of Potlatch Forests, Inc., Camp 6 in the University of Idaho Library was prepared by Judith Nielsen October 1981.


The Potlatch Lumber Company was organized as a corporation in 1904 and in September 1905 began erecting its mill in Potlatch, Idaho.

The Washington, Idaho and Montana Railway, although not part of the Potlatch Company, also had its headquarters in Potlatch. The railway was completed in 1907, and spanned the 47 miles from Palouse, Washington to Bovill, Idaho which was the main point of logging activity and the railroad switching point for logs which were then routed to the mill. The town of Bovill depended almost entirely on this timber, and was established by the Potlatch Company because of its proximity to a stand of the best white pine in North Idaho. Logging in the region north and west of Bovill was begun even before the railway line was completed.

Potlatch Company's Camp 6 was located on the railway line northwest of Helmer, Idaho, which was a small, unincorporated town southwest of Bovill. It was laid out in 1910 and was named after a Potlatch Forest timber cruiser, William Helmer. Camp 6, the headquarters camp and one of the company's largest, was built around 1917. Each bunk house contained beds for sixty men. Unlike most camps, this one had good laundry facilities; hot water was obtained via a system of coils directly from water heated on the wood stove.

In spite of this, body lice and bed bugs were common. As in most of the camps the meals served to the loggers by the camp cook were also a source of complaint. Two unions were active in the camps, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) and the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen (4-L). They caused no serious problems and were successful in improving conditions.

The logging activity tended to taper off a little in the 1920's with the depletion of the prime stands of timber. When the depression began to be felt in 1930 operations slowed considerably. This was the end of the boom for the area. Logging operations eventually ceased, leaving nothing but the logging litter, broken trees, rusted machinery, etc., as a reminder of the past.


Culp, Perry. "Village of Janeville Preceded Helmer Nearly Twenty Years." Moscow, News-Review, August 24, 1934.

Lawrence, Floyd. "Oral History Interview With Floyd Lawrence and Nona Wilkins Lawrence." Moscow, Idaho, 1977.

Miller, John B. "Oral History Interview With John B. Miller." Moscow, Idaho, 1973.

Miller, John B. The Trees Grew Tall. Moscow, Idaho, News Review Publishing Company, 1972.


The papers relating to logging camp six of the Potlatch Company are contained in two file boxes. The types of material include time books, time sheets, employment tickets, payroll check stubs, payroll ledgers, scale cards, inventory books, invoices, and requisitions. All material is from the years 1927 to 1930 with the exception of the payroll ledgers which have entries for camps 2 and 3 which date back to 1914.

The material in this group does not in any way complement the material in the other two archival groups which concern the Potlatch Corporation (Potlatch Forests, Inc., MG 96, or the George Frederick Jewett Papers in MG 43) but is simply a miscellaneous collection of financial records for one of the many logging camps of the company.

A more detailed description of this material is contained in the following Description of Series.


The material in this group was separated by type. The first series includes the miscellaneous material which relates to the employees, the scale cards, and inventory books. The second series contains the invoices and requisitions.


I. Miscellaneous Financial Material Box 1

II. Invoices and Requisitions Box 2



I. Miscellaneous Financial Material

The items in this series consist of various types of ledgers and printed forms which have been sorted by type, then arranged chronologically. Unless otherwise indicated, all material refers to camp six.

An Alphabetical List of Items in Series I:

Camp Ledger and Time Sheets

Each sheet gives the worker's name, the time worked, the deductions for board and wanagan, and the balance due. Time sheets exist for the following months:

1927. July - September, December

1928. March - September, November, December

1929. January, May, June, September, December

1930. January, March - June

Commissary Book (Continues Wanagan Day Book)

June 1, 1929 - April 30, 1930

Daily Loading Scale Book

This book is unused.

Employment Tickets .

These 51/2" x 4" printed slips were used in making applications for work. Some in November 1929 are from the Featherstone Labor Agency in Spokane, the rest were used when the applicant appeared in person. Forms exist for the following months:

1927. September, November

1928. February, April - December

1929. January, March - September, November, December

Payroll Check Stub Books (22 books, 1 book is unused and has checks attached)

The information on the stubs includes the employee's name, hours worked, hourly rate, deductions, and amount due. Payroll records for the following dates are included in this series:

1927. July - December

1928. January - December

1929. January - March, June, September - November

1930. February - June 7

Payroll Ledgers (3)

For each name on the page there is a column for occupation, days worked, rate of pay, amount earned, amount of deductions, and balance due. The contents of each book are as follows:

Book 1. Camp 3. July - September 1914

Camp 2. November, December 1914; January - May, September - October 1915

Book 2 Camp 2. May - December 1922; May - September 1923

Book 3. Camp 6. July - December 1929; January - March 1930

Receipt Book

The book is unused with the exception of receipt number 5 dated July 22, 1941.

Requisition for supplies (4 books)

These were requests sent by the camp to the main office; the requisitions sent by the main office to the suppliers are in series two. The following books are contained in this box:

Book 1. July - October 1927

Book 2. July - September 1928

Book 3. September - October 1928

Book 4. October - December 1928

Scale Cards

There are 43 printed cards measuring 41/2" x 8" for the months of March and April 1929.

Scale Totals for Each Day

Daily Totals for January 1930

Totals for each of 18 saws, January 1-4, 1930

Totals for each of 17 teams, January 1-4, 1930

Logging Costs per Month, January - March 1930

Saw Scale & Gyppo Scale Monthly Totals, January - May 1930

Store Camp Inventory Books (5)

These include both the Cookhouse and Wanagan (Commissary)

Book 1. July December 1927

Book 2. May October 1928

Book 3. November 1928 - March 1929

Book 4. March - August 1929

Book 5. August 1929 - June 1930

Time, Board and Wanagan (2 books)

Monthly report forms include employee's name, time worked (by day), total hours worked, and board and wanagan costs. These forms were sent from camp six to the other logging camps and several other employers such as a construction company and the Washington, Idaho & Montana Railway.

Book 1. October 1928 - June 1929

Book 2. July - December 1929

Time, Board and Wanagan (in folder)

These forms were sent to camp six by the following camps:

Camp 1. 1930. April

Camp 2. 1930. May

Camp 4. 1929. August - December; 1930. January, April, May

Camp 5. 1929. December; 1930. January

Camp 7. 1929. August - December; 1930. January

Camp 12. 1929. January, December. 1930. January, March

Time Books (2)

Book 1. January - June 1926 (Camp 11)

October 1928 (Camp 7)

November - December 1928 (Camp 6)

January - June 1929 (Camp 6)

Book 2. April 1927 - January 1930 (Camp 3)

February - April 1930 Wanagan charges (Camps 8 & 9)

Voided Checks

Some of these payroll checks are marked "void" or "canceled," others have the authorizing signature torn off. There are four checks for 1927, twenty-three in 1928, and nineteen in 1929.

Wanagan Day Book

This lists the purchases of each man in the camp and whether the purchase was a cash transaction or charged to payroll. It includes the dates July 17, 1927 to May 30, 1929. (See Commissary Day Book for subsequent entries)

Weekly Scale Report

Under each type of wood there are columns for the number of logs and the number of board feet. The months for which there are reports include:

1929. January - September, November, December

1930. January - June

II. Invoices and Requisitions

In addition to the invoices from suppliers, this series also includes bills of lading from several railroads and invoices for supplies sent from the main office of the Potlatch Lumber Company. Material has been arranged first by year, then alphabetically by company. Where more than one invoice exists from the same company within a particular year, these invoices are arranged chronologically. An alphabetical list of suppliers, including the years for which invoices are present, follows.

Adams Leather Company. 1929, 1930
American Railway Express Company. 1928, 1929
Black Manufacturing Company. 1929, 1930
Brownie Baking Company. 1929, 1930
Carstens Packing Company. 1929, 1930
Centennial Mill Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Chicago, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Commercial Creamery Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Continental Oil Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Dwight Edwards (Coffee) Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Fairbanks Morse & Company. 1929
Fairmont Creamery Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Fleischmann Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Frisbie Maple Sugar and Maple Syrup Company, Inc. 1929, 1930
Hagan & Cushing Company. 1929
Heater Glove Company. 1930
Hofius Steel & Equipment Company. 1929
Holley-Mason Hardware Company. 1929
Idaho Laundry Company. 1929, 1930
Inland Products Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Kromer Cap Company. 1930
Lewiston Mercantile Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Marshall Wells Company. 1929, 1930
McClintock Trunkey Company. 1930
McKesson-Spokane Drug Company. 1930
Neustadter Brothers. 1928
Northern Pacific Railway Company. 1929, 1930
Nott-Atwater Company. 1930
Pacific Coast Biscuit Company. 1928
Pacific Rubber Shoe Company. 1929
Potlatch Lumber Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Potlatch Lumber Company, Logging Department. 1928, 1929, 1930
Potlatch Mercantile Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Powell-Sanders Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Railway Express Agency. 1929, 1930
Rasher-Kingman-Herrin. 1928, 1929, 1930
Roundup Grocery Company. 1930
Seattle Frog & Switch Company. 1928
Sebastian-Stuart Fish Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Shell Company of California. 1929
Smith's Creamery. 1928, 1929, 1930
Spokane Drug Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Spokane Dry Goods Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Standard Oil Company of California. 1929
Swift and Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Tru-Blu Biscuit Company. 1928, 1929, 1930
Victor-Johnson Company. 1928, 1930
Washington, Idaho & Montana Railway Company. 1928, 1929, 1930

The carbon copies of the requisitions for supplies which were sent from the Logging Department of the Potlatch Company to the various suppliers are the final items in this series. They begin with number 3714 (September 23, 1929) and end with number 6969 (July 22, 1930). Many numbers are missing, but it is quite possible that these were not requisitions for camp six and that most of the camp six requisitions for these dates are included in the folders.

July 1997/ mg052.htm

UI Library| Special Collections