THE LUCK OF THE SEVENTH SON
Autobiography by Charles C. Roberts
Sisters and Brothers of Charlie:
I am writing this at the request of my daughter, Patricia Lou Dunn. For that reason I mention myself more than the others of my family.
I was born in Panther, West Virginia (a) on May 31, 1900. I had six wonderful brothers and six wonderful sisters. Also, a wonderful mother. (c) Father was good to us other than making us work too young on the farm.
Brother Andrew, the oldest child, born August 11, 1882 and a cousin, J.W.Roberts, (b) the same age, beat their way on freight trains (d) from West Virginia to Washington when they were fifteen years old. They had a tough time from what I heard. They came down with deptheria, I think in St. Paul. Minnesota, and were put in a pest house where the Salvation Army took care of them. A large Negro brought food to them and started a fight with J.W. and was going to beat him up. Andrew could harldy stand up, but managed to get out of bed and hit the Negro over the head with the heavy brass tray. It nearly killed him and may have done so. The police were going to put them into jail when they were well, but the Salvation Army helped the boys. They knew the Negro was mean.
They dressed the boys in girls clothes and got them out of town. I hardly ever pass the girls with the bells, but what I think of Andrew and drop coins in the pot.
The boys finally made it to Chehalis, Washington and found work. Andrew did not have much schooling so did a lot of studying. He wrote Father and finally convinced his to sell out and come to Washington. It mush have been a boost to the railroad. Mother, Father and nine kids. The three youngest were born in Washington.
We left West Virginia in 1901 (e). I learned to walk on the train. The train was held up and some of the passengers were robbed. Brother Lewis, the next oldest child, jumped up and told one of the robbers he was not going to rob his dad. The robber grinned at him and said, "No, Son. We will not rob your dad." I imagine they would have gotten all the money we had as Dad did not put his money in the banks.
We arrived in Chehalis, Washington, bought horses, wagons, a young team of mules and moved somewhere above Randle in Lewis County, Washington. We do not stay there long, but I remember of them telling about the cougars that were there. If there was any meat in the house, they would come right up on the porch at night. It is a wonder that they did not get some of the kids. We were taught to fear nothing. Father told us if we started a fight, he would give us a beating, and if someone started a fight with us and we did not win, he would do the same.
Father bought a place near Glenoma, west of where we were living, and closer to Chehalis. A nice farm.
I don't remember much until I was about five years old. I do remember the mules and how good they were to us kids. Two or three kids would get on each mule to ride him to water, and when they got to the bank, they would duck their heads down, and we would slide to the ground. They would drink and then stand still until we got back on. One was not so good to me once. I had sneaked up behind her and gave her tail a jerk. She let me have it with both feet in the stomach. She would not have done it if I had not sneaked up on her.
Brother Ari and I were over a mile from home climbing alder trees to see who could get up the highest. I got up the highest and wa much higher than Ari. I swung the tree back and forth to draw his attention and the top broke out, and I fell forty feet. I could nearly always land on my feet, so had a bad sprained ankle. Ari had to pack me home.
When Brother Lee was fourteen years old and John two years older, they left home and walked over the hills to Yakima, which must have been one hundred miles or over, and got jobs on a farm there.
When I was six years old, Sister Leona dropped a pike pole (h) on my instep from the third story of our house and it nearly went through.
John carried the mail from Chehalis and had to cross the Cowlitz or the Cispus River in a canoe as the horse could not swim across. I believe he was a day each way.
Brother Lewis ran logs down the Cowlitz River in 1905 or 1906, and I have heard he and a man by the name of Johnson could swim the Cowlitz anywhere. Later Johnson did drown near Toledo, Washington.
Lewis killed a bear near Mossyrock with a broked hunting knife. The bear was about to kill his dog. The bear opened his mouth wide to bite Lewis, and Lewis shoved his left elbow so far down its mouth, it could not bite hard and then Lewis cut its throat.
Lewis would rather walk than ride a horse, so he walked from Pe Ell to Gle noma through the woods. He nearly always had a pistol. It must have taken him two or three days for that walk.
Lewis was supposed to fight a man that worked in the Fire Department in Chehalis. They did not know each other. Lewis walked by the fire house to get acquainted, and the man turned the hose on his dog. Lewis gave him a good beating. The bets that had been up for the fight were all off then.
In the spring of 1907 I stepped on a nail and it went through my big toe. It did not keep Ari and me from plowing the field. I would drive the mules while Ari handled the plow. That year John brought a saddle horse home and told me to take care of it. He knew I loved horses. All went well until one morning while I was riding him to water, he felt quite frisky and started jumping all the stumps in the field. I had no saddle, and he threw me over his head and stepped on my stomach.
Brother Lee brought a twelve gauge shotgun home and He and I went bird hunting. When we were near home, Lee told me if I could hit the end of a log above the road he would give me the shot gun. I went below the road, put the gun on a large boulder, took aim and let go. The blow knocked me over the bank and rocks and I got up crying and asked Lee if I hit the log. He never looked, but said yes. No more crying.
The boys were out working most of the time except Ari and I. Andrew and Lewis came home once in a while to straighten things up on the farm for Mother. They were hauling cascara bark. Ari and I were in the empty wagon trying to balance ouselves standing up. My legs were too short to reach both sides. The wagon hit a boulder throwing me out and under the rear wheel and ran over my stomach. It was bouncing over the rocks or it probably would have killed me. Had trouble with my stomach for a long time after that.
Once I cut a rope in half and tried to blame it on Ari. Dad knew better and was giving me a thrashing. Brother Lee was there and told me to hit Dat with the axe that was in the chopping block. I got it and gave dad a good whack on the shin with the blunt side of the pole axe. It did me no good but Lee got a good laugh out of it. I would have done most anything for Lee after he gave me the shot gun.
Dad siad Lee would not work when he was a kid. He told Lee if he did not work he would chop his head off. Lee laid his head on the chopping block and told dad to whack it off. He would rather do that than have to work. I never saw a harder worker when he was grown. Back in West Virginia they were hoeing corn and Lee would not work. Dad picked up what he thought was a harmless snake and threw it at Lee. While the snake was in the air he noticed it was a poison snake. Dad fainted and Lee ducked.
Brother Kelly was a tough one. He was younger than Lee and John, but neither one could lick him. The teacher was going to give him a licking, when Kelly was thirteen or fourteen years old, but he could not do it. Kelly would have died before he would give in to anyone.
Sister Donna was going to her first dance. We were all playing close to the creek and I found some turkey eggs that probably did not hatch the spring before. I picked up a couple and threatened to throw one at Donna. She dared me to thow it. She had long thick black hair. It turned white and yellow after the rotten egg hit her. I could outrun Donna but I forgot about getting home to Mother. She washed Donna's hair the rest of the day to get the smell out. I won't tell what happened to me.
Andrew and Lewis wanted us kids to come to Chehalis to see the Buffalo Bill Fair. Donna the oldest, Leona, Ari and I took the wagon and mules. We stopped overnight with some friends on the east side of the Cowlitz River. The next morning we had a time trying to get the mules to cross the rived on the bridge. Mules don't like water and they get their rear ends together and go cross ways. With help from the friends we made it. Made it fine until we got to Chehalis and the train came through blowing the whistle. We had a bad time until Andrewand Lewis came to our rescue. The fair was worth our troubles. We had not seen anything like it bofore.
In 1906 or 1907 we saw our first automobile. We watched it from the third story of our house until it was out of sight. I thought the smoke coming out of the back was pushing it.
That fall Father took us huckleberry picking on Huckleberry Mountain. Dad shot a deer. We camped that night and the cougars howled all night. I had to stay all the next day to smoke the deer since I was the smallest. I was scared.
In 1908 Father bought a farm in BC between Beaver Lake and Horse Fly on the old Caribou Trail from Ashcroft. We had lots of turkeys as did everyone else; so no one would buy them, and we had turkey every day until we left. To kill a turkey each kid carried a long stick and when he got close enough would hit the turkey.
Dad shipped the wagons and stock from Chehalis to Ashcroft, BC. The oldest girl, Clara, and her husband went with us. John rode the freight to take care of the stock. Andrew, Lewis, Kelly, and Lee did not go.
We had to stay in Ashcroft because we lost a horse and had to look for it. I never will forget the hot sandy hills we kids hiked over. If we stopped to rest the sand would burn our feet. There was not shade. I don't know whether we had shoes or not, but I do know that we did not wear any. We never did find the horse. There were wild horses there and he probably joined them.
We had the mules and a good team of black horses. I don't remember how many others. We had the mules on one wagon and the blacks on the other. We led the rest except for one which John rode. He rode ahead to pick out camp sites. The first night we camped by an alkali lake. We could not drink the eater so did not camp by anymore lakes.
They had roadhouses about every twenty five miles which was one day's drive for freight wagons and sleds.
We had eighty three miles to go. I got tired of riding the wagon, so decided if the horses could lead, I could also. I tied a rope around my neck and to the wagon. When the mules came to a dip in the road, they would run down it to get a start for the other side. I did not see this dip and was jerked off my feet and dragged by the neck for about fifty feet before I could get up and untie the rope. I never trid that again. However, I never did become wise enough not to get hurt as you will find if you read on.
We finally made it to our new home eight miles from Beaver Lake and sixteen miles from Horse Fly. There were w\seven lakes between our place and Beaver Lake.* I don't know how many to Horse Fly, but there was a string of them and fish in all of them. * Beaver Lake was too large to fish in without a boat so they fished in a smaller lake that they could fish from the bank with poles. This lake is called "Roberts' Lake."
Anyone coming by would stop and talk and probably stay for lunch. The bachelors would get Ari and me to help in their gardens and pay us well. I believe they just wanted someone to talk to. They had small gardens. One of them had me help him and the next day took me to Horse Fly and bouth me a new pair of overalls. When we got to his place, he told me never to go around with out matches. He stuck a handful in my back pocket. I surely wished afterwards that he had not been so generous. I was felling pretty good when I got home and got sassy with Mother. I whould have known better, as she had a broom in her hand. I stareted to run and climb something. I didn't care what. Too late. She got me on the backside and set off the matches. Then she hit me many times more to put the fire out. I had a hole in my new overalls as large as a grape fruit and a blister nearly as large. The girls today are wearing hot pants, but I doubt if they have any that hot.
When we went fishing, we would catch a few horseflies for bait and use nothing after that but the eyes of the fish. We had no reels, only a pole with a line tied to the end. We caught all the trout we wanted.
There was a stale lake below the house, and the girls wanted Ari and me to wade out into it to see if it was alright for them to wade in. Ari had too much sense, but I waded out over my head. They picked some kind of leeches off me for an hour.
We were not there long when we got word that Brother Kelly was badly hurt fighting a forest fire on the Cispus in Eastern Lewis County in Washington. They had to pack him forty five miles. They did not dare haul him in a buggy. He had to have a silver plate put into his head. He seemed to get over it quite well.
Mother and Father separated.(1) Mother took the older girls back to Chehalis, and Father took Ari and me and the three young girls to West Virginia after selling the farm to Brother Lewis.
We had to travel the 183 miles back to Ashcroft by wagon but had no delay that time.
When we got off the train in Panther, West Virginia, I saw a negro boy. I yelled Ari to see the nigger. We had never seen one before. We found they did not like being called nigger. Dad had to separate us. I also found they knew how to fight.
We stayed with our Uncle Miles that fall and winter and went to school. We had to go into the same grade as before, since we had missed a lot of school.
We had a cousin there that was not bright. He was large and very strong, and could stand, pick up a nine hundred pound railroad rail and turn it around. He was always slapping Virgie, who was only six years old. Dad had bought Ari and me a Barlow knife and sharpened them for us. Our cousin slapped Virgie and I told him to leave her alone. He only laughed at me. I had the knife in my hand and made a pass at him. He ducked back, and I cut his shirt and some hide from his shoulder to elbow. He did not bother Virgie after that.
We had to walk over a mile down a steep hill and back to go to school. We would throw slate rock when coming home from school. Slate rock is just like the slate on a blackboard. I believe a person could sail one for half a mile down the hill.
On Saturdays we would have to pack corn to the mill to get it ground for bread.
After we finished school. We stayed at Panther for awhile. l We did not have much to eat. The ducks laid eggs in the river, and I would wade out into the river over my head to get the eggs. I could not swim, but I was the only one that would do it. I guess I was the most follish.
Father took us back to the farm in BC. Uncle Miles(f) and two or three cousins went along. Dad always had to be around people. Again we had to travel the 183 miles from Ashcroft by wagon. Our cousin (f) Chloe was Ari's age and had to do most of the cooking. Our horses went lame, so Dad sent Ari, two cousins and me ahead with two horses. We took turns riding.
The men shot some suckers in the creek, and I had to wade in over my head to get them. I nearly froze. The horses were old. Ari and I got tired of going so slowly, and so got up early and left the others. It was about twenty five miles to Beaver Lake, and there folk loaned us a horse to go the eight miles to the farm. Lewis was glad to see us. I think he didn't care too much about the others except for our sisters.
Father did not stay very long, as Lewis did not like the way he treated Mother; so they all left but Ari and me. Dad left us with Lewis. I guess he took the girls to Chehalis for mother to take care of, as that was the way it turned out. (g)
Ari and I worked for Lewis all that summer, and I mean we worked - from 6 AM to 6 PM besides doing the cooking and the chores. I don't believe anyone in BC worked as hard as Lewis did. He did it when he was young so guess he did not think it would hurt us kids. We had to haul rocks out of the field that we could hardly lift. And I was a runt for my age!
That fall Lewis took us to Horse Fly to go to school. We had to go into the same grade as school is a lot harder in BC than in the States. The sixth grade is about the same as the eighth grade here - or was at that time.
We stayed with a family by the name of Walters who had four children. Theoldest girl was the first white girl born in the Caribou District. Ivan was a year older than Ari, Lloyd a year older than I, and Glen a year younger, but larger than I.
Lloyd and I got along well as we both liked to hunt. We would shoot bows and arrows tos see who would do the chores. Ari and Ivan had to do them most of the time.
There were seven pupils in the school. They had to have seven to get a teacher. The Indians and half breeds did not go to school, not there anyway. There were plenty of them around.
Lloyd and I would wade the Horse Fly River to hunt and I would have to pack a large rock at times to hold me down. The water was very swift sometimes. Lloyd was as heavy as Ari, but not so tall.
After the snow came, Lloyd and I would hunt snowshoe rabbits by moonlight. About all we could see were their pink eyes. Lloyd had a .22 riffle. I would hold a match to the sight while he shot. Sometimes I would shoot. We hardly ever missed. The Indians would snare the rabbits with copper wire. We did not like that and would destroy the snares. The rabbits were about the best food we had all winter. We had butter which Lewis made. He was the only one I knew of that made butter. Butter came from Ashcroft and was real strong.
Brother Kelly came up and stayed with Lewis after he got out of the hospital in Tacoma, Washington. (2) Brother John was driving freight wagons and sleds from Ashcroft to Prince Albert. That spring he left for the States and joined the army. l He was sent to the Philippine Islands and broke mules for the army. We did not see him for some time. Andrew and Lee were working in the woods in Washington.
I roped a young horse when there were six inches of snow on the ground. The rope got twisted around my leg and the horse jerked me off my feet and headed for the timber dragging me by the leg. I stuck my free foot against a tree to hold him. If the rope had not unwrapped he have had my leg. I got only a rope burn.
Lloyd and I went bird hunting in eight inches of snow. The grouse would sit under the trees too cold to fly. We went too far and could just as well have not made it back. We must have walked twenty five miles. Lloyd broke trail, but my legs were too short to step into his tracks. When we got to the house, we flopped on the floor, tired out. I did not get to stay there long. Ivand and Ari got into a fight. Ari was doing alright until the girl Hazel stepped in to help her brother. She was fourteen or fifteen years old. Ari and I had been real close all our lives, and I did not intend to let two beat him up. We were taught not to help if there were only one. "Fight your own battles," so said Dad. I don't know how I did it. I was so tired I could hardly move, but I jumped up and floored Hazel with one blow to the jaw. Brother Kelly just happened in and stopped the fight. Ivan's parents did not say a word, and Lloyd did not get up off the floor. I don't know how the fight started. Ari was easy to get along with, lots easier than I.
A box of .22 shells cost fifty cents and a muskrat hide sold for the same. Lloyd and I would shoot or trap a muskrat before we ran out of shells. Some times we would sell a grouse to the school teacher for twenty five cents.
There were but few white married men up there - trappers, prospectors and farmers - that did not farm. They would trap enough in the winter to pay the grocery bill in the spring. Lewis was the only one I knew of who tried to farm, and he was good at it.
Christmas came and we had a ball. The bachelors brought us presents, candy and nuts. They had a dance and it lasted three days. The white girls and boys would drive for miles in sleds for the dance.
The snow was about three feet deep and we could walk on top of it. We played in it when it was 50' below. IT froze a 60' government thermometer in the schoolhouse over one weekend. We had ice skates and skis that we made ourselves. We would grease a cowhide and take it up on a hill. One would hold the tail, one each leg and really go. The trouble was getting the hide back up the hill. We knoced holes in the crust of the snow, tunneled under it ten or fifteen feet, knocked a hole and came out. We would shake ouselves and the snow would be all gone. We had lots of fun and quite a few fights. Glen, the youngest boy, took care of the chickens, and when one would cackle, he would run out and get the egg befroe it froze.
The grownups would skate for miles up the river. One man fell through an air hole and came out another fifty yards below. He had help getting out. His clothes froze solid in minutes, but they got him thawed out.
Lewis went hunting to get a deer. There were not many up there as they would break through the crust of the snow and the timber wolves would get them. Lewis told Kelly where he was going, and that probably saved his life. A wind storm came up and blew the fine snow so thick he could not see where he was going, nor could he get a fire started. He ran around a tree all night to keep from freezing. Kelly went after him the next morning, and just happened to run into him. They were fifteen feet apart before they saw each other. The snow had not filled Kelly's tracks, and they were able to follow them back to the road.
There was an old abandoned mine with a large mound of waste ore over thirty feet high. It made a good place for us kids to go down belly buster on our sleds. We made a bump at the bottom and would hit it and go quite a ways into the air. I was sitting on my sled backwards and Glen gave me a push. I went in all directions, and it jarred me up pretty badly. I didn't say a word, found my sled and went back. Just before I got to the top, I stopped and got my wind. Then I went to the top and knocked Glen down. Lloyd had come up the hill but without a rest. He started to help his brother. I knocked him down also. I reall used my head by resting; otherwise Lloyd would probably have beat me up.That was the only fight Lloyd and I ever had.
I don't know what the other three boys did when not in school, but Lloyd and I were always out trapping or hunting. The timber wolves would follow us for miles but a good distance behind. We would only see them on a ridge once in awhile.
Lloyd went home with us over the Xmas holdays. There wasn't much to do there; so the three of us wanted to go with Lewis over his trap lines. He laughed at us. He finally told us we could go since we could follow our tracks back when we got tired. We made it all the way. I tagged behind because I could not step in their tracks; so I had it tougher. We were tired, but no one knew how tired I was. I felt bad about being smaller than the other boys so tried to make it up by being tough.
We would go to Horse Fly in the sled. Sometimes I would get sleepy and cold. Lewis watched me, and when he thought I was going to sleep would backhand me off the sled and make me run until I was warm. You did not dare go to sleep when it was that cold.
There were sheep at Horse Fly and this ram would butt us every time he got the chance. We boys would take turns standing by the river bank. When the ram would run at us, we would step aside and he would go into the river. He would come out, shake himself and do it over and over. Rams always close their eyes before they hit anything, and that is the time when we ducked. However, he would get us sometimes too, when our backs were turned.
When school was out we stayed with Lewis and worked the same hours as the summer before. Lewis caught a cub bear, and we had fun with him - also troubles. He followed us around like a dog and was always in the way. Lewis always walked the eight miles to Beaver Lae for the mail. The bear followed him, and Lewis gave him a spanking and sent him home, - he thought. "While he was talking to the postmaster, they heard a racket in the ketchen. The bear had chased allt he women out and was in the sugar bin having a ball until Lewis got him by the neck. Some lady thought that was the cutest thing she ever saw and gave Lewis five dollars for him. Ari and I felt bad but were really glad to get rid of him.
The mules wandered off, and Lewis told me to take a rope and go tind them, I was to take the shotgun, too, in case I saw a grouse. We could always track the mules by their small feet, and they were the only ones up there. I found them three miles from home, tied the rope on one and rode it. The other would follow. It was just my luck to see a grouse. I stopped the mule and shot right between his ears. She jumped right out from under me. I landed on the ground with the gun at my shoulder, two miles from home. Lewis wondered how the mules got there ahead of me. I don't remember ever telling him. We all knew mules were touchy about their ears.
We nearly always worked seven days a week, but would go fishing once in awhile. I was always lucky fishing, sometimes catching as many as both of the others.
Lewis sent me to a farmer's place to borrow something. The farmer was not home. Coming back I saw a cub bear and though I could catch him. I looked all over for its mother and did not see her, so sneaked up on the cub. When I got close, it cried. The mother came through the bush like a bulldozer. I doubt is anything before had ever made two miles quicker than I did.
One marning I saw a four point buck walking up the road. I told Ari which was a mistake. He beat me to the rifle. We fought over it for awhile and I grabbed the shsotgun. Ari missed with the rifle, but I knoced the buck down with the shotgun; only he jumped up and ran. I don't know what we would have done if we had killed it as we could not have packed it.
We decided to cook a pot of beans one day. We filled the pot clear full of beans. When they started to swell, we would get another pot. If I remember correctly, we had five pots of beans before we finished. We thought we could do better baking a cake, but it was the reverse. I guess we forgot the baking powder as it was just like our hotcakes. It was sweet, ghout: so we like it.
I had a riding horse that wasn't broken. Ari and I tried to get him into the barn. Ari hit him with a rock and the war was on. We threw rocks at each other. Ari hit me in the head with one. I fell down and played dead. Ari asked me it I was hurt. I kicked my feet a few times and Ari said, "Please don't die." He held me saying over and over, "Please don't die." I had to laugh and am sure he felt like killing me then. I only had a small cut on my head. We never told Lewis, but he seemed to know.
John brought a horse to the farm before he left BC, and left a note saying, "Take care of my horse." We were not home. Lewis sent me to chase the cows out of the field; so I took the horse. I told Lewis I believed he would buck. He just laughed at me. The next time the cows were in the field Lewis got on the horse and it threw him and shook him up badly as he lit on rocks. Lewis asked John were he had gotten the horse. John said he had gotten it from an outlaw. The fellow said if he could ride it, he could have it. I guess the horse didn't mind me so much since I did not weight much. Lewis would have weighed close to 200 pounds and no fat. John was a good rider.
In the fall of 1911 Lewis wanted us to go to school in the States; so he took us to Ashcroft part way by sled. Then we rode, Ari and I on the mules and Lewis on a horse. Just before we arrived at Ashcroft, we met a car, the second one we had seen. The mules went wild and ran with Ari and me. Lewis rescued us. Ari swore he would never own one of those crazy things.
We got to Ashcroft and took a train to Seattle where Lewis wanted to sell some furs. You were not supposed to pack a gun on the train, but Lewis had his on the seat beside him all the way, and he had bought me a single barrel .22 pistol with a twelve inch barrel which I had in my pocket also.
We went to Chehalis and stayed with Mother and the four youngest girls. When Lewis left to go back to BC, we all went to see him off on the train. The last thing we ever heard him say was, "I know I will miss the little boys." He shot himself accidently on Decmber 27, 1912.
I am not sure whether it was 1911 or 1912 that Brother Lee was in the hospital in Aberdeen and wanted Ari and me to come down and keep him company. Brother Andrew had a room in a hotel, and since he was working we stayed in his room. I think they had call-girls in all the hotels in Aberdeen at that time. The girls were not angels but treated us about as well as angels could have. We were too young to know about the "birds and bees", and so they way they dressed was the only thing that we did not like. The landlady treated us as well as if we were her own sons. Some would not have called her a lady, but she surely was to us.
Some of the logers would stay in camp for five or six months and then come to town and spend all their wages in two or three nights. The landlady would keep them until they were ready to go back to work. She made money by doing this. Most of the others kicked the men out as soon as their money was gone.
That was the best time Ari and I ever had. The landlady, the girls, Andrew and Lee would give us money to spend. We went to the hospital twice a day tosee Lee. We wandered into the old Humbolt Saloon one day and were kicked out. Andrew came in Saturday night and we told him about it. He took us down to the Humbolt and told the manager we could go any place he could go and that was any place he wanted to go. Ari and I spent hours in the old saloon after that. There were all kinds of relics in there and pictures all over the walls. There was a picture of old donkeys, one of an old doll pin donkey - a horse pulled the line out and donkey pulled the log in. Andrew's picture was there also.
The old Humbolt Saloon became famous. I have read stories about it and not all good. No one bothered us. Nearly everyone knew Lee and Andrew, and no one cared to fool with either of them. There were lots of bodies found floating near there.
After school was out in 1912, Mother took us all out to Klaber out of Chehalis a ways to train and pick hops. There were three of us old enough, and we got one dollar a day each. Mother got $2.50 a day as she was a foreman over a bunch of us kids. I guess that was the most money we had ever had.
Could you be tickled to death? I think so. I don't know what I had done, but Leona and Ari took me down and tickled me. The more I laughed, the more they tickled me. I believe I was never in more misery. Mother came to my rescue. And I was tickled.
The Indians came to pick hops, and I had to get in a fight with one of the boys. He threw rocks at us while we were on a raft in the river. He was a lot larger than I, but I was older. We fought for over an hour until someone got the sheriff to stop us. The Indians stood and laughed at us. They were real good to me after that.
In the fall of 1912 I stayed with my sister Donna and her husband Clarence Ross. They lived between Morton and Riffe in Highland Valley on a farm. I worked for my room and board. I milked cows and did all the chores. The cows were hard to find because they were turned loose, and there was lots of brush for them to hide in. I would have to run to school lots of times to get there in time. Sometimes it would be 8 or 9 PM before I finished with all the chores. I had some good days there also. Clarence would take me fishing once in awhile, and he was one I could not beat.
Brother Lewis was killed that December and Andrew went up to bring the body back. It took ten days, part way by dog sleds, then by horse and sled to Ashcroft, and then by train to Chehalis. He was still frozen when he was buried. His death was a shock to all of us. I have never heard of anyone who had put so much in so short a life as Lewis did. He ran a saw mill out of Chehalis for awhile, was in San Francisco during the big fire, which I think was in 1906, with a friend went to Alaska to hunt polar bear and lost their canoe and all their provisions and had to walk for miles through the woods. He filed saws and won bucking contests, made shoes for the horses and mules and shod them. He could hit a cherry thrown in the air with a pistol. He never put the gun to his shoulder to shoot a deer. He was twenty severn shen he was accidentally killed.
In the fall of 1913 I attended the same school and passed the fourthe and fifth grades both that year since I had a teacher I liked. I passed only the sixthe grade the next year, as I had a teacher I did not like.
In 1915 Brother Andrew was killed in a logging accident in Oregon. Ari was there at the time. That was a shock also. He was the oldest and made a lot of decisions for Mother. He was thirty years old when he was killed. I was never around Andrew much. He was a steady worker and away from home most of the time He could do most anything he cared to. He played baseball, was a good carpenter, a good blackshmith, and got to be quite a politician. He had a letter written in longhand from President Wilson. He was stout for a small man, and could hold himself straight out on any upright object he could get his hands around.
They started logging alder on my sister's place; so I quit school in 1915 and bucked alder logs. Ari was there for awhile also. After the logging job was finsished, he got a job in a furniture factory in Chehalis. I stayed for awhile longer. Clarence Ross was anice man, but was not interested in the farm. He would hardly use the horses at all. I got digusted. Clarence made good cruising timber later on and was very good at that. I left but we were friends until he died.
I wanted to be with Ari, so got up one morning, packed my things in my overalls, tied them up and left at 6 AM without breakfast. I had over two dollars but did not want to spend it for stage fare. When I got tired of walking, I ran. I was at Mother's place in Chehalis at 6 PM. That was a trip of over forty five miles. Ari got me a job in the furniture factory the next day, and the day after that I went to work for ten cents an hour, ten hours a day. I gave mother fifty cents a day for board. In a short while Ari got a job in the woods and left. I was too small to work in the woods.
I had a friend, Bill Williams, who was always trying to make a dime or so. We would sneak in back of the fire department, climb up to the fire bell and set figure four traps and catch pigeons. We got twenty five cents for each of them.
On my sixteenth birthday I asked for ten cents more a day. It was a hard job. Most men were not quick enough to do it, and they had to stoop over too far. I was short so it did not bother me so much. Anyway they refused the raise, and Ari got me a job bucking wood for a donkey at Ed Lester's camp two miles east of Montesano. I worked ten hours a day for two dollars and fifty cents, and had to walk two miles each way. I had to pay seventy five cents for board and had to pack my own blankets. There was straw in the bunks and no mattress. I though I would get rich. I worked six days a week. I started on my first million, but soon gave that up and started on the second. I never did achieve that either. Packing the eight foot saw was hard for me being so short and weighing only eighty six pounds.
One Sunday I was in Chehalis and talked Bill Williams into going to camp with me. We rode our bicycles, got on the wrong road and had to come back. We rode severty two miles that day. I have never seen anyone as tired as Bill was. He only stayed a short while. I was surprised, because he would do almost anything for money. He would take bottles from the back of the saloon, go to the front and sell them back.
They must have felt sorry for me, because they gave me a job blowing the whistle for a donkey. That was easy, but I did not like it. They gave me a job bucking and splitting wood for the locomotive which was easy and close to camp. I had wood all over the place. I had cut my left instep while at my sister Donna's place, so cut the right one pretty bad. I was off ten days, came back and my wood was all gone. They had not put anyone in my place.
Ari and I had gotten acquainted with Otho Tice. He was about my age but larger. We talked it over and then all quite. We stayed at Otho's parents' place in Aberdeen. We had a room there, Ari until he married in 1922, and I until I married in 1927.
All three of us got a job at Polson's Logging Company, two miles above Humptulips. The rigging crew had all quit. They put Ari tending hook, me pulling rigging, and Otho setting chokers. That was my first job in the rigging. We were all the crew except for the whistle punk. There should have been four more in the crew. In a month or so I had hurt my leg and had to leave. Ari and Otho quit, and we left them shorhanded, but found we could always go back. The three of us got cut a lot of logs in ten hours.
Lee was working at Coats Fordney on the Wiskebah River out of Aberdeen. Ari and I got a job there and worked all that winter from daylight to dark. We followed a latern out in the morning and back in the evening. I had never seen it rain so hard that you couldn't take more than two bites out of a sanwich before it was soaked. A man packed lunch out on a pack board.
We quit work the spring of 1917, and went to work at Copalis Crossing not far from the beach. Otho Tice was a good worker but did not care to work too steady. Besides he had a home to go to.
Lee had heard of high lead logging so told the foreman if he would high lead, he would do the climbing. Lee topped and rigged the first tree that we knew of on Grays Harbor. Some said it had been done before this, but I worked awhile for Clemons Logging Company which was an up-to-date camp. I worked building a pole road. They used a bull block on a stump about ten feet high in 1917.
Watching Lee top and rig the tree fascinated me; so I decided to be a high climber. I was always climbing trees as a kid, and height did not bother me.
Brother Kelly came there and worked for awhile. He had been working in the mines in Butte, Montana and had gotten married. When he left us, it was the last time we saw him alive. A man by the name of Dick Gobas told Kelly time after time not to go back to the mine. He said, "I know you will get killed if you do." Kelly was killed in a mine explosion with 161 other men. That was the longest I had ever been around Kelly except as a child. He was twenty five years old.
Lee lived in a house below camp a ways and had his wife and twin boys with him. Ari and I would walk down every night to see the twins. We rented an old house near Lee's place and batched. When we were kids, Ari and I had lots of fights which were mostly my fault I suppose. However, no one dared say anything about one of us to the other. We played hard, worked hard, and fought hard, and thought the world of each other, but Ari wanted to be boss since he was larger and older. That was alright until I was seventeen years old; then I wanted to be my own boss.
I was working on a bicyle and swore a little. Ari always swore more than I, nevertheless he bawled me out for it. We went at it. We ended up breaking a couple of chairs over each other, then used the pieces to fight with. We were not getting anywhere, but tired, real tired. Ari was strong and lots heavier than I, but I was lots quicker and good at ducking. We stood in the room and glared at each other for awhile and then both began to a laugh. We had some bumps on our heads, but soon forgot them. We never had a fight after that. I was seventeen, and Ari twenty months older.
A while later I quit and went to Chehalis to see Mother. Opal was the youngest girl and the only one at home.
I got a job at Cedar Ville and rode the bicyle with my blankets on the handle bars. They had just started to high lead. They pulled the climber up on a rope at that time. The high lead block burned up so they pulled me up to see what was wrong since I was the lightest. I got to practise a little climbing there. On Sundays I practised climbing trees with belt and spurs.
Lee, Ari and I got jobs at Coats Fordney again. Lee had a Model T Ford car and wanted one with a self starter; so Ari and I bought his.
There was a farmer there whose family did the washing for some of the men. He lived a mile below camp. Lee asked me why I did not ask him if I could bring my laundry down to be washed; so I asked him and this is what he siad. "You little squirt, if I catch you around my girls, I will blow your head off with a shotgun. I did not know he had any girls, but believed him and did my own laundry. I would hardly talk to a girl at that time. I found out later Lee had told him not to let me around his girls, as I was a bad one with women. Lee got a big laugh out of that, and said I looked so silly. I found out later why this farmer did not want anyone around his girls. He wanted them for himself.
That winter we were all broke. Xmas came, and also the snow. The foreman let Lee, Ari and me stay in camp and batch. We were to change the water peipeand pump. I thought that would be easy, but found out no one had it easy working with Lee. The pipe was two inch, twenty one foot joints which we had to pack up a steep hill in eighteen inches of snow. We had all the sacks we could find on our shoulders, and they were still raw. If Lee should have said, "Let's take five," it could not have meant anything but five joints of pipe. He sure had chnaged since he was a kid and offered to let Dad cut his head off rather than work.
We all quit in the spring. Ari, Otho and I had a lot of fun in the Ford car. If we ran into the ditch or got stuck, Ari and I would lifet it out one end at a time. Otho would stand and laugh at us. I don't remember that we ever had a girl in the car. We never got a ticket or had a wreck. We did not drink, so never had trouble with the police. Ari and I had quite a few fights.
Loggers were a pretty tough lot at that time, but Ari and I had boxed a lot which helped me since I was still samll. Most loggers were not good fighters unless they could get hold of you. Most of them were stout but awkward. Otho never had fights. He could laugh himself out of almost any trouble.
John, Lee and Kelly had worked in the mines in Butte, Montana after John got out of the army in 1913 or 1914. Kelly stayed until 1917 except when he was at Copalis.
None of us could join the army since the older boys were supposed to be good loggers. I tried, but was too small and young looking. They told me to grow up and come back. They had sent a lot of good loggers overseas, so had to put soldiers in the woods. They needed spruce for airplanes. The soldiers did not want to work int the woods as they had joined to go overseas. Most of them were from the east and did not like the rain. The last few months of the war, I might have gotten into the army since I had gained weight, but I was a climber and would have been put back into the woods.
John was working at Shaffer Brothers Logging Company out of Montesano on the Satsop River. Lee, Ari and I went out there in early 1918. I was climbing with Lee. Ari and I were still boxing. We were about the only ones to use the recreation hall which they had had to have for the soldiers. If there was no one around to keep time, we would put a three minute record on the phonograph and box until it ran down, then wind it up and start over. We would box eight or ten rounds after working all day. While I was there I cut two and a half strands out of my three strand climbing rope. There were no wire cores at that time. I was always being foolish and trying something different.
Otho, Ari and I got a job with the Kello Logging Company on the Wynoochie River. They had soldiers working there and a corporal trained us some in case we had to go into the army. We learned quite a lot about boxing there as one of the soldiers fought in the ring. I was so righthanded it was pitiful. He had us tie our right hands behind our backs and box lefthanded. I soon learned to hit as hard and fast with one hand as with the other. They put the logs in a pond down a skid road, and we had to walk across the pond on the logs and up a long skid road. We would roll logs as we came home at night. Ari and Otho had both worked on the ponds; so I was rolled in every night. We were going to Aberdeen on Saturday night and I played sick, stayed in camp and rolled logs all day Sunday. Monday I rolled them both in. They quit rolling logs not long after that.
Ari and I went back to Shaffers climbing for awhile. The food was bad; so we did not stay long. We boxed all the time we were there.
Ari, Otho, and I went back to Wynoochie. We still had to walk up the long skid road. One morning Otho bought half a dozen candy bars. I wanted one. He told me if I would pack him up the skid road, he would give me the rest of the bars he had in his pocket. I let him off at the top of the road. He had a silly grin on his face. He had eaten them all while I packed him. You couldn't get mad at him. He would only laugh at you. Otho could fight if he got mad, but never boxed with Ari and me.
Somehow my name got mixed up with Ari's age, and I had to take the examination for the army. Ari went along with me to Chehalis. They decided to examine him also, and Ari didn't like it. There were about sixty of us in the roon and all as naked as we ever were, when someone came in and told us the war was over November 11, 1918. They still examined us, and I still have my card, A-1.
When we went back to camp nearly everyone had the flu. There were eighteen men in the bunkhouse we\here we stayed and fifteen of them had it. Ari and I did not get it. Three men died, all large husky men. Otho had it a few days later, and it nearly killed him.
Ari and I felled timber for our brother-in-law, Clarence Ross, across from Morton on a steep hill. Lots of the trees would up end and go to the bottom of the hill. We traded our Ford car to Ross for twenty acres of land. Ari quit, and I worked on for awhile. I bought an old Maxwell car from my brother John.
Lee, Ari and Otho came by and wanted me to go to the Hot Springs with them, twelve miles above Lewis which is Packwood now. Lee had a Ford bug. Two could sit in the seat, and two on top when it was down. My car was broke down; so I left it in Morton to be fixed. We got to Lewis and the bearings burned out. We hiked the twelve miles over a trail to the Hot Springs, stayed there ten days, and then walked the twelve miles to Lewis. The bug would run some, but we had to push it up all the hills, walk on the level, and ride down the hills. About five miles from Morton it was nearly all dowhill; so Lee ran off and left us. He lost a blanket or I doubt wheter Otho could have made it. Ari and I looped the blanket under his seat and dragged him to Morton. We walked, pushed, dragged about forty five miles besides the twelve mile walk out of the Hot Springs. My car was repaired, so I traded with Lee and went on to Aberdeen. (The Hot Springs are the Ohanapakosh Springs in Tatoosh Wilderness area)
In 1919 times were bad and we had to take any kind of work we could get. Lee was foreman of Coats Fordney and wanted Ari and me up there. We did anything Lee asked us to do, as he could not get good loggers.
While loading logs, I got a compound fracture of my right ankle. The men thought it was a bad sprain. We had to go by speeder then by stage thirty miles to Aberdeen. I was hurt at 9 AM and did not get to the hospital until 8 PM to have it xrayed. I had hobbled on it all day. The doctor did not set it ritht and I have had trouble with it ever since. I went back too soon to work and my leg would be so swollen in the evening that I would have to rub it for an hour to get the blood to circulate.
I accidently stepped on a man's coat that he had left on a log, and which he should not have done. He took after me with an axe. I did not run. I went toward him slowly, and he backed up a little. The holedigger handed me his axe. The man took off. It is no fun to face a double bitted axe, but I felt he would not have hit me unless my back was turned.
In 1920 I got a job climbing at McCormick six miles from Pe Ell, Washinton. I had two sides to climb for. It was a tough job as the sides were so far apart and the hills steep. I would not have stayed, but had a good friend there. Ezra Blanenship. He had me watch him Make whiskey one night until 3 AM. Later three other young fellows and I hiked the six miles to Pe Ell. I took a quart of the whiskey along, drank some in town, and I had never drunk before. It went down like water; so I figured it could not hurt me. In about two hours it hit me hard. We were half way to camp, and I wanted to go back to town. I had a new suit on and the boys tore it up trying to hold me. They finally got me to camp and in bed. I was sure sick, and I had to work the next day. I never did ask Ezra what he had put in it, but it cured me from drinking. I have drunk very little since.
John was foreman at Independence Logging Company. Ari was there tending hook. They wanted me to work with them. I pulled rigging for Ari, and he and I did the climbing and split the climber's wages. That was quite a boost in wages, as I was getting severn dollars a day at McCormick. I worked there for sometime - until I was hit with the haul-back, thrown in the air, and lit on my back on a stump. Ari and one of the men took me by the feet and dragged me down the muddy skyline road and after a shower, sent me to the hospital.
After I got out of the hospital, I went to work for Al McCloud. I was second loading. His climber quite and he wanted me to to the climbing. I told him I had planned to quit on Sarturday, because the high lead strap had the tree nearly cut in two. He said we could rig it lower on Sunday. I told him it would happen again because the tree was too small. He told me to think of some thing. Saturday morning I told Al he could have some irons made with hooks on them for the strap, one inch think, four inches wide, and three feet long with holes to fasten them to the tree. He told me to have the blacksmith make them. We rigged the tree on Sunday and it finished the setting. That was the first tree plates any of us had ever heard of. It was the State law, sometime after that, that you had to use them on all tress. I never even thought of getting a patent on them.
In the spring of 1921 I went back to McCormich climbing. The fireman let me out of a tree and I fell forty feet onto a coil of steel cable. It shook me up pretty badly. He did it on purpose, but was sorry afterwards. That was the only time I ever had the urge to kill someone. I was lucky I did not get hurt badly.
The foreman quit and I was put in his place. I did the climbing as well, and was getting the same wages as the Superintendent. I was not quite twenty one years old at the time. I was the youngest foreman in the State at the time. I joined the Masonic Lodge that summer and was said to be the youngest Mason in the State also. I went in the next meeting after I was twenty one years old.
I had been doing stunts in trees since I started to climb, that I should not have been doing. I would sit on the top after I had cut the top out of them, then I stareted standing on the top of them, and then finally standing on my head. I nearly lost my life standing on top of one while it was still swaying. I cut over two strands out of my stree strand rope again while there and came down a tree sixty feet in three jumps on a bet. I can seem to feet it still in my legs. The most dangerous thing about climbing was depending on the engineer and fireman, that is, if you were careful yourself. I was pulled into a guy line once. It was the engineer's fault, and it pulled a muscle in my arm. However, after a few days it did not seem to bother me.
We worked in eighteen inches of snow that fall and that was not fun on those steep hills. It finally got so bad we had to close down.
I met Ari in Aberdeen after we had not seen each other for awhile and hat lots to talk about. We got a room in the old Savoy Hotel since we were too late to go to Tice's place. I am sure that was the first time we had stayed in a Hotel together since we had the room at Tice's. I wanted to go to sleep, and Ari wanted to talk. I always slept in front on account of having asthma at times. I don't know how I did it, but I threw Ari over me and on to the floor,blankets and all. We wrestled, not getting mad. The manager came up and tried to stop us, but gave up when we asked if he would like to come in and wrestle with us.
In January 1922 I met a man by the name of Kennedy whom I had worked with. He asked me if I would go to Arizona with him. He was a brakeman and belonged to the Trainmans Union. He said we could ride the freights. I said, "why not?" I did not know he had a wife and three kids.
We bought our tickets to Portland, Oregon and caught a freight out of Oregon City. I believe he would have frozen to death if I had not kicked him off going over the Blue Mountains and made him run while they were taking on water. We had been on top of a lumber car. The brakeman saw us and let us in a boxcar. It was plenty cold in there. After we got to the bottom of the hill the weather was better and really nice going through California.
We went to Bisbee, Arizona. The mines were closed but were supposed to open soon. We stayed there ten days without work, and so hiked to Naco, Mexico. We had some trouble there at a dance, or I did, and was glad to get out of there. We spent our last thirty cents for two bowls of chili that was so hot we could harldy eat it. We caught a mail train to Tucson, Arizona. We were lucky, because the Marines were riding the mail trains with orders to shoot. We then caught a freight to Yuma, Arizona. The brakeman was going to kick me off, since I had no union card. I told him I would rather take a chance with him than jump off the train going that fast. Kennedy talked him out of trying to throw me off.
Out of Yuma I gave a brakeman my pocket knife to let us ride in a box car. He locked us in and said he would let us out at the division point. They put the car on a stock loading spur, and if I had not been able to yell loud enough to draw the attention of a section crew that was working nearby, I don't know how long we would have been there. They let us out, and we caught the back end of the same freight. I did not see the brakeman again.
We went to Miami, Arizona and got jobs in the copper mine. They put me in what they called the "hot house". All I wore were shoes, overalls, and a cap for the carbide lights.
I foungt in the ring at a lodge "doings". I had not trained, but came out alright, since it was only four rounds. I had never intended to fight in the ring because of my asthma, but it did not bother me while I was in Miami. They gave me ten dollars and the other fellow five. We were awfully tired for that money.
I did not like working undergound. You had to stoop to walk through the tunnels, and it was awfully hot in there. They had eleven ambulances waiting all the time because so many men were hurt. It was called a cave-in system.
We road the freights back to Aberdeen. I saved my money for "eats", but found Kennedy had spent his for drinks. My money ran out and we got pretty hungry at times. I never saw or heard of Kennedy again and never cared to. I did meet some smart men on that trip. They never worked, but read a lot and could talk on any subject. One man told me sometime they would have places in the sky to stay. Of course I did not believe him in 1922. We had been gone for three months.
Brother Lee was foreman at McCormick's and wanted me to tend hook for hom. I weighted 159 pounds, the most I had ever weighted, but was soon down to 145 pounds again.
Lee stayed a few months and quit, and they put me on as foreman. That was easy for awhile, but then the climber quit and I did the climbing also. It was no easy job, and the food was not good, but I stayed until the fail.
Brother Ari married Carrie Vantervantes on December 23 1922 while I was chasing around. I did not know he was getting married, so missed the wedding.
In 1923 the I. W. W. Union was going strong. They have taken credit for getting the eight hour day. The soldiers had a lot to do with it. When they were in the woods, the Government would not let the soldiers be worked over eight hours. In the winter they could not work over that anyway.
The I. W. W. threatened to shoot anyone off the stage who was going to work for Saginaw Logging Company which was on strike. I wanted to see the fun so hired out to climb for them. They were on the North River, thirty miles from Aberdeen. No one bothered us.
I worked there for some time. Otho Tice worked there for awhile and Ari also. Ari was foreman there for awhile, and we boxed nearly every night. Ari fought in the ring a few times, but started too late in life and had jumped over too many logs and stiffened up.
When Ari was camp foreman, I climbed for him. We had to put a new eye on the tail-hold on skyline carriage. We did it after work hours. Ari was on the donkey. I tied the carriage up with a rope to keep it from tunning down the skyline. I sat straddled on the carriage and pulled slack on the mainline. I got the pin out, but the clevis stuck. I leaned over and hit it with the hammer. It came loosed the carriage turned over. I dropped the hammer, and just happened to catch hold of a nut on each side of the carriage. These nuts stuck out about three quarters of an inch. I hung 160 feet in the air with my feet hanging down. I looked down and could see the whites of Ari's eyes all the way around. I had to chin myself as high as I could and let go with one hand and grab the skyline real quick praying that the rope would not break and take me for a ride down the skyline. I crawled back on the carriage to wait until they had spliced a new eye and put it back on. No one below thought I would get out of that one alive. I did not either until I got my hand on the skyline. I or anyone else could not do that again. It was an accident that I happened to get hold of those nuts.
Clarence Jastad wanted me to climb for him. I had worked with him in 1919. He was foreman at Independence Logging Company. I asked him if it was because he had large trees that he could not keep a climber. He said he had one fairly large one. I told him if he would hold the job for Ari, I would climb for him as he had a house in camp Ari could live in.
His fairly large tree took forty five feet of rope to reach around the bottom. I found the axe and saw on the first limb. I don't know why the climber quit, since the worst was over when he got to the first limb unless he was too tired to go on. It was easy compared to the next one. It had five large suckers on it that the four foot saw would hardly reach through. It took me five hours, the longest I had ever been up a tree. If we had only had the power saws then.
Ari came up in about a month, and Clarence wanted me to tend hook for him. I worked at that over a month until I was hit on the hip by a tree and went back to the hospital.
In 1924 I went back to Saginaw. Lee was foreman on one side and John was tending hook on the other. I was climbing on the side John was on.
The manager and owner of the Company had three boys and he sent one boy, Edd Morley to work at other camps to see how they did things. Edd was working at Clemons on the section. They logged across the hill from Saginaw. Bing Crosby was working on the section there also. Edd said he sang as he worked all day long.
Lee's climber and I both topped a tree each for the Hollywood movies. He sat on top of his, and I stood on top of mine while it was still swaying. They wanted me to go to Hollywood as a stunt man. I liked the woods and did not want to be a dummy for some good looking actor. If I had known what was ahead for me, I would have gone.
John and I hauled some water pipe up a steep incline on a rush car made to haul steel and ties for laying the track. They let it down and pulled it up with the haul back on a donkey. We decided to ride it down. That may sound silly, but with a good engineer it would have been safe. I knew it was going to fast and told John to hang on. We were going around a curve and before we could get hold of anything the engineer put the brake on hard. The car stopped so quickly it threw John off to the side and me in the middle of the track. I tried to crawl over the track but before I could do so, the engineer let it go again. It ran over my back and wrecked the car. It took four men to put the car back on the track.
I was in the hospital two days, and all they gave me was some pills. I left and went to my room at Tice's place. I stayed there for two days, and Mrs. Tice talked me into going back to the hospital. More pills. I stayed two days and went back to my job. The second day I topped a large spar tree. It was in August and hot. I did not prespire as usual and knew something was wrong. The next morning I was swollen so badly, I could hardly see my eyes. I went back to my room at Tice's place. I was there two days so sick I could not eat anything. Lee came to see why I was not at work, took one look at me, and took me to Dr. I. R. Watkins ofrice where I should have gone in the first place. He told Lee to get me to the hospital quick. I had damaged my liver and both kidneys.
I was not expected to live for three months. They sent for Lee three times thinking I would not live through the night. The poison blood caused arthritis in my left foot and middle right finger, and I hae acute Bright's disease, also neuritis. They could not give me anything for pain, because my heart was poisoned, I had three glasses of milk a day, nothing else.
Lee would drive thirty miles each way nearly every day to see me. He would put his head on my bed and go to sleep. I never knew how curly his hair was before that. Ari came as often as he could. John came once, but did not like to see me that way and never came again. His wife came once in awhile. She was there when I had a bad spell with my heart. The nurse gave me a shot of something, and I told here not to bother, because I wouldn't live anyway. The Doctor came and they put me in a small dark room. I knew what that was for, but did not seem to care. They gave me cracked ice all night. The next day I would look out the small window, and if I could not see the trees clearly, would ring for more ice. They gave me all I wanted. I had not been so hot since Mother hit me on the backside and lit the matches in BC.
The fever broke, and I heard the doctor tell Lee he thought the crisis was over, and they put me back in the large room. Dr. Watkins was on vacation for ten days, and another doctor was supposed to take care of me. He told me he was going to cure me and get me out of the hospital. It sounded awfully good to me at first. He gave me sever large capsules five times a day, or five, seven time a day, I forget which, but do know it was thirty five a day. I had an awful time getting even one down and would have to drink half a glass of water for each one. I could drink all the water I wanted. In a few days my ears started to ring, and they have done so ever since. I was glad when my doctor returned.
I did not have many visitors and really did not care for many except the family. I had gone to lodge with one man and he would come after visiting hours, since he could not come earlier. He would climb up on the porch and through my window. I could not help but appreciate his visits. Mr. Tice came to visit me once, and looked at me, stood by the window for a few minutes and left with tears in his eyes, I knew I had some friends.
I would dream of monkeys teasing me and would sure get mad at them, then wake up. Somone asked a large Negro that worked there how I was getting along,and the Negro told him I done died.
When I would sleep which wasn't often, I would sometimes dream of flying, but would always have to get on something high to get a start, then sail like a bird. I have done that since, even a few months ago. I often wonder if others do that. I hope not. Sometimes the landings are not too soft.
If someone should ask me how it felt to die, I am sure I could tell them. Clarence Ross asked me later if it would hurt to die. He knew he did not have long to live. I told him, no. I would have told him that anyway. He died in his sleep in 1937.
I was still on the three glasses of milk a day. I must have slept some, because I would dream of killing a deer and eating it raw.
I was there for over three months when I heard the doctor tell Lee he was going to send me to the sanitarium in Hot Lake, Oregon, for they had wonderful mineral water and a "hell of a good doctor" as he put it. Later I found out that Dr W J Phy was the third best doctor in the United States.
They gave me some milk toast for three days, and Ari and Lee came to take me to Hot Lake. I had worn size twenty eight dress pants, and they had to get me a pair of thirty four overalls as I was still swollen so badly.
At Hot Lake Dr Phy read Dr Watkins report and told the boys they might as well take me back. Lee and Ari insisted I stay. He then asked them if I drank. When they said, "No," he said to leave me, but he would not promise any results Who could have better brothers than I had, in fact, who could have had a better family than I.
Lee left the next morning, since he had to get back to his job. Ari stayed two days and left after loaning me his watch. I had left mine at Tices.
I thought sure I would get something to eat the morning after I got there. They brought me a large bowl and a glass of milk. There was a large pill in the bowl. I would have over three more months of three glasses of milk a day. I was sure disgusted. Going down on the train I told Lee I wanted some toast and coffee. When Lee got to the diner, the cook told him it was closed. Lee stepped in and told him it was open now and his brother wanted some toast and coffee. Dr Watkins told him afterwards that buttered toast and coffee could have killed me. But my good old brothers meant well.
After drinking my milk that morning, they wheeled me to the bathroom and put me in a hot tub of mineral water. They made me drimk cup after cup of the hot mineral water which tasted bad. It took one a a half hours to take the bath including the steam room and drying off period. In three weeks the swelling was all gone. I took the baths as hot as I could and drank the water as hot as I could for the Doctor told me the hotter the better.
Each morning the Doctor came through and asked me how I felt. I would tell him fine, thinking I would get something to eat. When I mentioned food he would turn and walk out. I think he wanted to talk to me as I am sure Lee or Air had told him about my climbing. The nurses asked me about it. I did not want to talk about it, because I was sleeping quite well and would dream about it and about falling out of trees. I would always wake up before landing. I got along well with everyone unless they bumped my foot. It was still swollen as tight as could be.
That hospital was the most lonesome place I was evern in even with so many people around me. I had only two visitors while there and they were just passing through.
I had two shots in the vein every day and lots of others. The Doctor gave me two blood transfusions, a quart each time. That is when they first started giving them.
I was hard for me to write an account of my stiff finger; so I did not get many letters.
I wrote to Ari, Lee, Mother, and Lena Malstrom whom I had been going with before the accident and later married. I was flat on my back over three months there plus all the time I was in the Aberdeen Hospital.
It wasn't so bad there for the patients that could get around, since they had a dining room, cafeteria, pool hall barber shop, and recreation hall. These were on the first floor with the Doctor's office. The second floor was the hotel and the third the hospital. Each patient had a small Xmas tree all lit up with presents and cards, but no eats for me.
The first of March or sooner they fed me for three weeks and when I got up, I weighted 112 pounds. The Doctor said I would not have weighted over ninety pounds before they started feeding me. I never could figure out why they fed me so much all at once.
The Doctor and I got along fine. I found out he did not like anyone who drank. He would have nothing to do with them. He would make me put weight on my foot and bend my finger until I would nearly cry with pain. I was glad to do it if it would help. I did not want to be a cripple.
I was walking before the last of March 1925, so asked the doctor if I could leave. He said yes, but if I would stay six months longer, he would send me out a well man, but I insisted on leaving I should come back for ten days each year to take the hot mineral baths. I was tired of the baths. I had taken one every day I had been there. I should have stayed, though, because I have had trouble with my kidneys ever since.
The Doctor told me I had been one of the best patients, if not the best, he had ever had, and he wanted me to take care of myself and not work in the woodsagain. I don't think I would have been such a good patient if I had not thought it would get me something to eat. I never was inclined to be too good natured. A young fellow was there one day before I was that had arthritis in his middle left finger and right foot, the reverse of mine. He left the day before I did, but dthey had to put him under and break his foot up and put it in a cast, as he would not try to bend it himself. He went out on crutches, and I walked. The Doctor wanted him to bend his finger, but it hurt so badly he would not do it; so the Doctor bent it for hiim. I believe I have never heard anyone yell so loud. The Doctor told him to exercise the finger or he would do it for him. I was sure glad I had exercised mine. I knew how badly that hurt. I saw women there with their fingers curled in all directions with rheumatoid arthritis.
People came from different parts of the world to Doctor Phy. They had twoor three other doctors there also, but I hardly ever saw any of them. Not many of them lasted long there. If the Doctor lost a patient, he would stay in his room for two days not talking to anyone.
I found out after I left that Doctor Phy had accidently shot and killed his brother, and vowed to save all the lives he could for the one he had taken. He surely did a good job of it. I have wondered whay he could have done with the medicine they have now.
If he operated on someone and their heart was in good shape, they would be put in the hot tub of meneral water the next morning. I believe Dr Phy died before 1935.
I had a litter from Father while at Hot Lake. He was on the farm in BC and wanted me to come up there as he was sick. I think he was just lonesome.
I went to Aberdeen then to Olympia. The State gave me six hundred dollars for the accident, no disability. I bought a 1923 Chevrolet roadster, put four spare tires in it, visited all my folks and after telling my future wife, goodby left for Beaver Lake, BC, April 6 1925.
The "three-A" told me the road was open from Sumas to Beaver Lake. They were awfully wrong. I drove to Hope, BC, and it took me four hours to get toYale, fourteen miles. They had logged with horses over the road. It was a foolish trip to make after just getting out of the hospital. At Yale I ran out of road and had to ship my car by railroad seventy five miles. I would not have gotten a car to ship my car on if I hadn't been a Mason as the agent was one. He had a new Hupmobile that he was proud of. He had four miles to drive it over, and these led to a few farms. He was in hopes they would get the road through in a couple of years.
The agent said it would be alright if I got in my car and rode the freight I stayed overnight at a road camp. The freight left earlier than the agent said it would; so I had to catch an oil car and sit on the brake staff for seventy miles. There were lots of tunnels to go through, and they burned coal. I was the balckest white man in BC.
When I went to get my car, the brakeman told the agent I had rode the freight, and they charged me full fare. The agent asked me if I had ridden the freight, I told him, no, that I had walked. He said, "You sure look like it." I did not know how black my face was.
The road was not too bad to Ashcroft, but awfully narrow and crooked with few turnouts. I had to stay the night in Ashcroft as I had to get permission from the road supervisor to go on. He did not want to let me go, but when I told him father was sick, he let me go. I could not buy any chains there for the car, but had some wire cable with me in the car.
About forty miles from Ashcroft I ran into snow, wrapped the cables around the tires. The wheels in those days had spokes in them. I picked up a man with a camping oufit on his back. He was walking to Prince Albert. We had to tramp down snow in places with our feet. It was too deep for the car. We got to the top of a hill and stareted down. There was ice under the snow, and we would slide into the sleigh ruts. I thought sure I would bread a wheel or spring. The man wanted to get out and walk. I wanted him to stay as I was afraid I would get stuck and need his help. He stayed.
We made it to the 150 mile house in sixteen hours. There I had to get permission from the road supervisor to go on to Beaver Lake. I did not get it. He told me to leave the car in his barn and catch the freight wagon at the 153 mile house at 6 AM in the morning. I hiked the three miles and stayed there. We caught the six-horse freight at 6 AM. They had six passengers. We had to walk up all the hills, for they had a heavy load of freight. An Indian woman was on the freight that owned it. I knew her, for she and her husband ran the roadhouse store and post office at Beaver Lake.
The wagon broke down about half way. We waited until an Indian came along with his wife and kids in an old wagon. Mrs. Hamilton talked them into staying with the freight, and we took the wagon on. We arrived in Beaver Lake at 10 PM. We had traveled twenty three miles that day. My foot was still bad and was not dressed for the weather. There was still some snow, and lots of mud.
Father came after me the next morning. He told me a couple would be coming up from Yakima, Washington to rent the place, people by the name of Campbell. I doubted that.
We fenced in about forty acres. I caught a ride and brought my car back. I got stuck four miles from home and had to walk. It was late and I could only see the outline of the lakes. We went after the car the next morning, but could get it out until a man came along with a large team of horses. The gas cap was just sticking out. We had worked all day on it.
We had lunch, and Dad went to sleep, tired out. I took his gun and went huntin. A creek ran by the house and a lake a mile above. I was going there but saw a moose track and followed it. I went too far and it got dark. I went around in circles. There was still snow in the hills in places and I saw my tracks and knew what I was doing. I climbed a jack fir, saw the outline of a hill and went straight for it. I came out at a lake, but not the one I had been heading for. I had heard of a lake above the one I wanted. I could see some while near the lake, so went through the brush on the side of the lake. I came to the creek and waded it to the other lake, went around it, and started down the creek. I knew it came out by the house. I fell over a falls, went back to the lake and finally got a sfire started. I had no hat or coat. After spending a cold night, I stared down the trail at daw. I did not go far until I heard the shotgun. I knew Dad was out looking for me, and answered with the rifle. Dad was afraid I had gootten killed as Lewis did. He cried like a child when we met.
About the first of May the renters came and was I surprised. He drove a pickup and she the six horse team with horses tied behind. He had his right hand off below the wrist. There were no fingers at all on that hand, but he found he could anything he wanted to do. She worked like a man. Her face was not always clean, but her hands were while she was cooking, and I was glad to eat her cooking after a month of mine.
I wanted to get out of there before the mosquitos came, but they beat me.They came in droves and stampeded the horses, and they started back to the States. I did not blame them. I started after them in the car early in the morning and found them eight or ten miles from Beaver Lake. I tied the lead mare to the lid of the trunk. She did not like the exhaust fumes and tore the lid off. I tied her to the axle and nearly dragged her to Beaver Lake. I left my car there and rode her home the eight miles. It was 10 PM when I got there.
Dad acted as though he wanted to stay there, but I had no intentions ofdoing so. I remembered we had to cut through eight to ten inches of ice to water the horses each morning in the lake at Horse Fly in 1910.
We helped the renter to more fencing, put in a garden and I had to buy the place to get Dad out of there.
It was a lucky think I had put in the four spare tires, because we had severn flats before we got to Ashcroft. The jack was broken and I had to lift the car for Dad to put the jack under the axle. There was no place up there to get a tire fixed. I had only the four tires when I got back, because I had cut the others up to repair the ones on the car.
We came back by way of Okanogan. There was this shortcut over the hill - sixteen miles over the hill and one hundred miles around. I inquired about the shortcut, and the man told me he thought I could make it. I could have gone around much quicker. You wee supposed to drag a log or tree behind the car when going down the hill, but the man forgot to tell me about that. I thought sure I would tear the motor out of low tear. I could only use the brakes until Ismelled them burn. I tried to get Dad to jump out, but there was very little place for him to land or he would have gone over the cliff. He stayed. We met a bunch of cows coming up the road, and I though we had had it. There was hardly room to pass one cow, but that was the nicest bunch of cows I had ever seen. One by one they stepped right against the bank. I had just enough room to pass. When we got to the bottom, I told Dad someone was getting some nice wood from the looks of the trees and logs there.
There was a store there, and I had to stop for water. A lady standing on the porch said, "Merciful God, how did you get down the hill?" I told her I practically slid over. She said that mine was the only car to come over without dragging a tree or log behind the car.
I had some trouble at the border because I had not gotten a permit to stay longer than mine stated from the U S. customs. One of the officers got nasty about it and threatened to take my car away from me. I had to lose my good temper, or I may have done better. I told him I would take it back and run it into the river before he would get it. Another officer came in and they finally let us through. I still had my care and was still mad. The Candaians had been good about everything. They even let me take a gun up there that I was not supposed to have without a license.
The little car and I had gone through a lot together. I pulled cars out of the ditches and mud with it while in BC. The Indians that owned mines were about the only ones that had cars, and they were poor drivers.
Brother Lee was foreman at Saginaw and gave me a job running pump which was easy. I was far from well, but this job did not last long. The climber quit and Lee wanted me to take the job. He said he would help me. He must have forgotten, because I did all the climbing. Lee and I thought the world of each other, but that did not keep him from getting all the work out of me he could, or out of anyone else. He would do more to get one more log a day than anyone I ever knew. He was the best logger I ever knew.
Ezra Blankenship wanted me to take a trip around Hood Canal with him. We camped out. I decided to take a swim one evening. I was out about fifty yards, dove and came up within five feet of I don't know what - a sea lion, or walrus, perhaps. It had long tusks and was very large. I had never seen anything like it. We looked each other in the eyes. I know my hair would have stood on end it it had not been wet. It may have anyway. I dove twenty feet, and it came up right by me. If I dived, he would also. I decided it wanted to play. I played toward shore and was glad to get out of there. Other than that we had a good trip.
In 1926 John was tending hook, and Lee quit. They put John on as foreman. I climbed for him until fall, and then the superintendent quit. They put John in his place and me as foreman. I never did quit climbing as long as I worked in the woods. Two men could rig a tree easier and quicker than one. If the climber were not around, I would do the climbing. I hardly ever used the belt and spurs to change the blocks on a small tree. I would hang on to the guy lines with my hands.
December 23, 1927 I married Lena Mae Malstorm, and she has practically been my nurse ever since. I had trouble with my kidneys and the doctor put me on a diet with no meat, salt or eggs for ten years. My wife saw to it that I stayed on it.
Brother Ari was climbing for me, and I had him doing some other work. They were ready to rig a tree. I told the hook tender, Jim Belcher, I would rig it, but was in a hurry. When I started up, I looked at my watch. Jim did also. I was down in thirty six minutes, the tree completely rigged. They used clevises then which were slower than the peter hooks they used later. I don't know of anyone that had ever beat that time, but everything turned out just right. It had to.
In 1928 they were down for awhile. My wife and I stayed in camp by ouselves. I took her fishing, and when she got tired, I would pack her "piggy'back". When we went berry picking and she got tired, I would pack her, and she would pack the berries.
In the fall of 1928 I went to Hot Lake, Oregon. My wife went on to Boise, Idaho to see her sister. Dr Phy was surpised that I was working in the woods, and tol my wife that she would have to watch me.
In 1930 I had my right wrist broken. It bothered me when climbing, but did not stop me. It still bothers me some.
In 1930 one other man and I were late for lunch and had to walk over a bridge that was at least seventy feet high and 300 feet long. The locomotive was stopped at the other end where they were logging. We never thought anything of it, as we figured they would be there for sometime. When we were half way across, the train started. There was no room on the bridge to stand, and we could not get the train stopped because they always look back when pulling out of a landing. I told the man to get under the bridge and hang on to a brace as I intended to do. He was on the opposite side. The brace shook too much so I had to hang on by my fingers on the ties. After the train went by, I got back on the bridge. The other man was already there, as white as a sheet. I asked him where he had gone to get out of the way. He could not tell me, and I never did find out.
In 1930 I had a kink in my hip and could harldy walk. A friend told me a man in the Savoy Hotel could cure anything, so I went to him. He put something down my spine and told me to let him know when it got warm. He then put a strip of cotton down my spine six inches wide. My wife and I went to a show and I nearly burned up. I went back the next week. He said, thank the Lord I was the only one ever to come back the second time. He did the same thing only it was worse. Fire could have not been any hotter. I was like the bug that hit the windshield. I did not have the guts to do it again. I did not feel the pain in my back again. Maybe I couldn't feel it for the heat. In a few days I took a real hot bath, and there was a water blister down my back four inches wide and the full length of my back. The blister did not seem to hurt or bother much.
In 1930 my father died. I had to pay all his doctor, hospital, and funeral bills as I still owed him some on the place in BC and times were not good.
In 1931 we caught a bouncing baby daughter and she has been bouncing ever since. She nearly broke us, but was worth it. What little money we had, we lost in the Aberdeen Savings and Loan. I was off the payroll when Patricia Lou was born July 22, 1931. The hospital took Savings and Loan stock and the good doctor went easy on us, or we would have been in trouble financially. We were living in Brooklyn. I was still foreman at Saginaw.
They started logging, and I was getting 125 dollars a month, and was glad to get it. I sent nearly all my checks to the hospital and doctor that had taken care of Father.
I did not have much time to spend with my wife and daughter. I was up at 4:45 AM and back at 6:30 PM if lucky. Our daughter hardly ever cried and did not wake us at night. That was a blessing for us. When she was four years old, I taught her to swim, and she was in the river most of the time in good weather. I made her a playhouse and she and her girlfriend played in that when the weather was bad.
In 1942 I had a fractured left elbow, and my right side bothered me a lot. I thought I might have cancer, so in September I went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I was there three weeks. I don't know how many xrays they took, some the full length of my spine. They finally gave me a spinal puncture, took too much fluid off my spine and had to feed me through the veins to build it up again. I was in the hospital for four days. I was mad and went back to my room in the hotel. I couldn't get up for two days more. Before I left the doctor told me I had lifted so much I had flattened the cushions between the vertebras in my back. I had osteoarthritis in my spine and neck and adhesions in my right side from getting run over in 1924. I was not to work in the woods anymore, and they would send me something to ease the arthritis.
I did not intend to work in the woods anymore. I told the manager what they had said at the clinic. He told me not to worry, since they were sending John to Oregon and wanted me to take his place.
I never did want the superintendent job. I thought there wasn't enough action in it. That was the mistake of my life. They had taken all the good men to Oregon and left me to finish up on North River. We could not get men as the war was on.
I had to do the climbing for both sides for sometime. They had let things run down, because they had planned on finishing sooner on North River.
The Mayo Clinic sent me a half round reflector for four one hundred watt bulbs. I was to lie under that for thirty minutes with a sheet over me and then have a light massage for fifteen minutes which was a chore for my wife. I also had to stretch my neck for three minutes. The lights went out at 9 PM, so I would just have time to say goodnight to my wife and daughter.
In the fall of 1943 I had another accident, a bad one. I dislocated my left hip, had ruptured ligaments of my left knee, and a fracture of the left tibia. I was in the hospital for three weeks and in bed at home for sometime. I worked on crutches for sometime, then on a cane. I was looking for a road and stuck the cane in a yellow jacket nest. I could not run and was stung all over, five times on my neck. They say bee stings are good for arthritis. If it had been, I would have been cured. I wasn't. I should have quit, but they had no one to take my place, and the war was still on.
There was no one to help me repair the railroad bridges except for Lee Goheen. He was a fire warden at the time.
The Company started selling the excess equipment off, and I had to do that also - over one hundred miles of steel rail, five locomotives, two cranes, thirty three donkeys plus all the shop equipment, some buildings, land and timber. I set the prices. None of the managers were hardly up from Oregon. I would never do that again for anyone.
Dr. Watkins told me if I would quit, he would guarantee I would get full State compensation for the rest of my life. In the fall of 1943 I had a fracture of my lower jaw, also some ribs. I was driving my car from the Company a car ran into me on my side of the road. My car was nearly totalled out. The doctor wired my teeth together and I went to work the next day. I had to eat baby food through a straw for six weeks. The Company promised me a new car, and it should still be new, because I have never seen it.
The climber quit and I went to Aberdeen and hired one by the name of Hayes. He was a good climber. I don't remember how long he stayed, but when he left we had to get by with anyone who could get up a tree. I could not climb on account
of my hip Hayes is now owner and editor of the Loggers World Magazine at Mary's Corner, east of Chehalis.
In 1946 we finished logging with the railroad and started logging with gas donkeys and trucks on Blue Mountain below Brooklyn. The climber left a tree in the open over the Xmas holdiays. It would have blown down; so I topped it - the last tree I ever topped - Decmber 1946.
I did some logging for the Company on the Raymond Road, sold the rest of the equipment and was through with Saginaw after twenty four years of working with them.
They did promise me any job I wanted at Valsetz, but I did not want to move my wife and daughter there, as it was hard to get in and out, and my health was not good.
Anderson and Middleton owned part of Saginaw and had a large mill in Aberdeen. They wanted me to log for them on the Humptulips. I did not care to, because it was too much driving. They had a man logging for them on the Raymond Road, but he was about through. They offered me good pay; so I took the job but told the manager I not be able to stay long because of my hip.
My wife and I bought a place in Aberdeen. It was our first time to live in town in twenty years of marriage.
They finished logging on the Raymond Road, and I moved all the equipment into the hills our of Humptulips. We turned off the highway where Ar, Otho, and I had worked for Polsons in 1916.
I bought extra logging equipment for the Company including ten GMC logging trucks and had over ten miles of logging road built. I hired Cliff Morgan, who was a good logger and a good climber, as foreman. I would hesitate to hire a foreman who could not climb.
After the snow was off in March 1948, we started logging. The trucks made three trips a day, forty five miles each way. We hired other trucks besides.
When we were snowed out in the winter of 1949 and 1950, I went to the Rinehart Clinic in Wheeler, Oregon for arthritis. The doctor told me my hip joint was about worn out.
Not long after we started up in 1950, Cliff Morgan was sick and off for a month. I had to do his work as well as mine, and I unrigged atree - the last one I was ever up.
The riding was too much for my kidneys and hip. I spent four days in the hospital with my kidneys in July and four days in August with them.
In 1949 I had gone to Dr Osheroff, a State doctor. I went for my hip injury. He looked at the xrays and asked me if I could bend the hip. I told him I had been working on it for six years. He said I should not be able to bend it the way it was broken. He said he would close the case and open it in one year. By then I would have to have the hip pinned and fused. I went back to him in 1950, and when I told him I was still working, he told me he did not want anything to do with me and to go back to my old doctor. He said that there would not be one man in one hundred that would walk on that leg.
I was scared, and told Dr Watkins what Osheroff had said. He told me he did not think the hip would go stiff with me, but if it did he would dig in there and make some kind of a joint for me. That did not sound so good to me either.
After spending four days in the hospital in Augsut I decided I had had about enough. I was using an aze that I carried to mark trees with as a cane on the steep hills. So I quit.
Anderson and Middleton were the best people I ever worked for. I really had no boss over me. The manager told me they were not loggers and did not want to be, and to use my own judgment. I enjoyed working for them. It was a lot different from working for Saginaw Logging Company.
When I told Dr Watkins I had quit, he said, "You should have done so, when I told you in 1943."
The manager asked me who I thought he should put in my place. I told him I did not think he could get a better man than Cliff Morgan. I believe Morgan was on the job nearly eighteen years and now is logging himself.
I went to Dr Goodnow for a state examination. After the examination he told me not to let anyone try to put a new joint in my hip for they could not do so. If they did, I would not have a leg anyway on account of the knee. He also said, he thought I could make it on my own without State help. He knew where I worked and what I did.
I told him I might if it were not for the hospital and medical bills. He said he would get that for me. I know he wrote the letter, but the State denied getting it and so turned me down with over 150 degrees disability. If they think you have anything, you do not get anything from the State, but if you sit in a tavern and drink everything up, they are all for you.
I was examined by a Dr Habila by the State in 1955 for my kidneys. I told him not to run wires in my kidneys as the doctors in the Mayo Clinic told me not to let anyone do it. The first thing he did was to put me under and use the wires. I stayed in the hospital that night and the next day. He told me my kidneys were not bad. I told him that was fine and started to leave. He said, "Roberts." I turned and he told me not to eat any green onions and to lay off the spices and not to drink alcohol. I wondered a lot about that. If there was nothing wrong with me, why couldn't I eat gren onions which I love?
I had bought eighteen acres of land in Mossyrock, Washington in 1937 and had a house built on it. My daughter married Reynold Dunn, October 7 1950, and we moved to Mossyrock on November 7 1950 and have been there since. Our house is about sixty feet from the road we moved up on in 1901.
I read a story not long ago in Loggers' World written by Art Mackay. He started it in 1906 and ended it in 1932 during the depression. He mentioned a man named Loomis that ran a store in Humptulips that I knew well, also a man they called Togo, whom I am sure I worked with at Saginaw. He fell or was pushed off the F Street Bridge in 1930. I was there shortly after he fell. He fell about twenty five feet, lit on a raft of logs and was killed.
I got sore at the police and packed him up some steps that were nailed to the piling. I believe that was the hardest thing I had ever done. The steps were slimy from tide water. Togo was short and heavy. He had hands like hams. When he was in town, he was drunk most of the time. Two policemen could not handle him if he could get those hands on them.
The same day I saw two Greeks fighting. One had a longshoreman's hook, the other a sap. There was lots of blood on F Street that day. When the longshoremen and loggrs got together, there was lots of blood on the streets of Aberdeen. I have seen some good clean fights, and some dirty ones - mostly on Heron and F Street.
Art Mackey's story was typical of most loggers at that time, but the few married men that worked in the woods were not so bad. After the 1932 depression I believe there were as many married men in the woods as single and there was a lot less trouble.
In the early days the loggers would go to town with their calk shoes on and the sparks would fly on the pavement. They would not hesitate to use them on you if necessary.
Since I am writing this for my daughter, I did not mention my sistes much as she knew them quite well. She never saw Andrew, Lewis, or Kelly. I only wish she could have.
Brother Lee was killed in Valsetz, Oregon. He and Ari were contract logging. Lee was a real good climber, but did not climb as much as Ari and I did. Lee was killed in 1953.
Brother John was killed in a car accident at the age of sixty. John did some climbing also, but not much.
Andrew, John, Lee and I were the same height, five feet, six and a half inches. The other three boys were taller, but Lee would have weighed as much as Ari, and Ari was six feet tall.
Ari died on March 24, 1970 with his belt and spurs on. He was climbing trees around the place with a power saw. He turned it off, climbed down, and died with a bad heart. He was the only boy to die a natural death.
Ari and I rigged a lot of trees together. He climbed for me for a long time. Ari did not seem to care to be a foreman, but was a real good climber and logger. He had his share of close calls, but neither he nor I were ever hurt badly in a tree. I don't know of anyone who thought more of his family than Ari did.
If you wonder why we brothers worked together so much, it was not because we got any favors or expected any. I am sure we worked together more than others would have just because we like being together.
My oldest sister Clara died in 1970 also. It was not a good year for my wife and me or my two last sisters, Loucretia and Opal. My wife and I were sick most of the year and the loss of Ari and Clara did not help.
There is hardly anyone to keep the family name. Lee's twin boys did when young. John's son, Gilber, had a son, but Gilbert was killed in World War II, and his son's name was changed when his mother remarried. Ari had two sons, and the oldest, Ari Lee, has a son that will probably be the only one to keep the family name.
I am on another diet now, and my wife sees that I stay on it. She looks after me, but I can't seem to do the same for her. We have three grandchildren, two boys and agirl, that we enjoy and worry over, but do not see very often. The oldest boy is married, but does not plan on children for awhile. I was in hopes of seeing a great grandchild, and have not given up hope yet.
I may have gotten some of the dates wrong as we worked in so many places, but I did get the important ones right, and also what I have written is the truth, I can prove everything I have written.
I can't keep from wondering if the teenagers today had to work and live as we did, would they demonstrate against any and everything our wonderful country gives them. I think not. They would not have time to do so, and if they did would be put in jail as they should be now. I would not care to see them have to work as hard as we did, and live under those conditions, but do think they should have to work.
Charlie C Roberts
Notes by Opal Roberts Sutterfield:
1. For reasons so petty, Charlie hasn't any idea the "whys", he and Ari hadn't
been friends for a long time, I've noidea the length of time, but do know thru
Ari and Carrie some of the shys. This hurt, and does yet, Charlie so much, it's
really heart breaking for him. I can't help but believe if it hadn't been for
Carrie and the family, Ari would of made things alrright with Charlie, tho this
is a guess of mine. This Biography would of made Clara very unhappy, apparently
Charlie didn't know him (Jacob Roberts) as well as Clara, of course he didn't.
Clara thought a lot of Charlie so would of made an excuse for Charlie not being
honest about his Dad. Lewis told his Dad once if he ever saw or heard about Dad
laying a hand on him Mother he would kill him.
In book I marked (1) Dad stole us. Mother got custody in divorce, (three little
girls) he has been mixed up in several places according to papers I have of
Mother's. (RDV: My Mother, Virginia, said that Jacob took them from Chehalis
while their mother was at work)
(2) When Jack came back from Canada he hauled mail and met a Indian girl on
road, shot a gun in air, she was expecting Baby, she thought he was shooting at
her, whe fell and died, John go away in hurry. There was plenty Indians after
him, plus U.S. Government over mail. (This is when joined the Army and served
time in the Phillipines fighting the Morrows) (RDV: As I recall my Mother said
this happened up Highland Valley by Morton, Wash.)
Notes by Rodney D. Veitschegger (son of Virginia Roberts Veitschegger)
a. Georges Fork of Panther Creek in McDowell County, WV, there is a Federal park
and camp grounds at the place now. The hearth stones of the old dog-trot cabin are still visible
b. John Wiley Roberts, son of Miles, Jacob's brother.
c. "Mother" was Phylow Frances GODFREY, daughter of Lewis Gerome Godfrey
and Susanna Cornett.
d. The rail tracks were built up the Tug River in 1890's. Probably had
other realtive in Washington prior to this.
e. They were on the train west when President McKinley was killed, Sep 6,
1901, and arrived Sep 17, 1901 in Chehalis, according to Clara.
f. I had been told by others that it was Uncle Neil Roberts (father of
Chloe Goheen) who went to Canada with Jake. Maybe Miles went also. Neil was in
Canada and then came to Chehalis & Randle, WA for a time before returning to
g. My Mother told that when Lewis found out about Jake taking the 3 little
girls from their Mother, he was furious, and made him take them back to Che
h. A pike pole is a steel tipped pole with sharp point.
i. The towns of Brooklyn, WA, Valsetz, OR were logging camps and have
disappeared from maps since the logging was finished.
j. The town of Glenoma, WA was originally named Fairview.