Jernberg Family Stories


In 1982 Elaine Munns and her sister Kay Bare stayed in Phoenix with their parents Dave and Cleo Jernberg.  While there, they recorded 3 tapes, both sides, of stories told by Dave and Cleo of their early years, homesteading in Idaho, and raising a family.  The tapes were transcribed many years ago.  The stores were then arranged as best as possible in chronological order.  There are many hours of stories, so it will be split into sections.  This is part 1 of the series.

1899 Moving from Chicago to Idaho

ELAINE:  Tell me, what, you were born in Chicago and then how old were you when you came to Pocatello? 

DAVE:  Three years old.

Do you remember coming to Pocatello? 

DAVE:  Oh, a little bit.  I can remember when I got to Pocatello, my Dad was there, and he had grown a mustache and I said “that ain’t my Daddy.”  My Daddy had grown a mustache. 

Living in Pocatello – Dad builds their houses

ELAINE:  What did Grandpa do in Pocatello?  

DAVE:  Oh, he was working in the car shop and he was, got to be superintendent in there, at the car shop. 

CLEO:  On the railroad.

DAVE:  Railroad, yeah.  

Did he build the houses that you lived in in Pocatello? 

DAVE:  Yeah.

What were they like?

DAVE:  Oh, well we first lived over in what they called the Y and then the place there and then he built a house over on Main Street and it was a, one – two – three, five room, five-room house.

It was pretty fancy then.

DAVE:  Yep. 

You had a telephone.

DAVE:  We had a telephone.

And a parlor.

DAVE:  Yeah, a parlor and a dining room, kitchen.

You had electricity, too, didn’t you?

DAVE:  Yeah, we had electricity.  No, at first we didn’t have electricity.  We had coal-oil lamps.  We had electricity later because I know we didn’t have a refrigerator.  We had ice box and the ice man would come every day and bring ice. 

DAVE:  I remember when my Dad was working down at the car shop, us kids got typhoid, or not typhoid, we got measles or some kind of disease.  So, my Dad, he stayed someplace else and went to work and stayed someplace else. 

DAVE:  And another time I remember, my Dad was telling about it, a story about he went out one morning to go to work and thought of something and had to come back.  An, my Mother was standing by the stove cooking kind of on the back side and she said put the ice on the porch.

CLEO:  He told all kind of stories.  Another story you can tell, she said to him, you are the worst man I ever slept with.  He pulled covers or something and she was mad at him for pulling the covers, and she said “you are the worst man I ever slept with.”  He’d tell that one on her all the time.

Did you get to play in the parlor?

DAVE:  No, they kept the door locked. 

Who used it?

DAVE:  They just used it when they had company in the parlor.  We lived in the dining room, kind of a dining room

The Jernberg Boys:  Elmer, Ed, George, Dave, and Roy 

ELAINE:  Now where were you and Elmer and Ed?

DAVE:  George.

CLEO:  Elmer wasn’t home much was he?

DAVE:  Well, he was at first he was, then later on he left.

What did he do?

DAVE:  Oh, he run all over the country.  Went down into Mexico and hired out.  Think he got $5 a day to fight in the revolution at Villa a via, Poncho Via.

Poncho via.

DAVE:  They paid him $5 a day and guys went down there.

What about George?

DAVE:  He went to school.  And when he got grown up, he went to work in the car shop.

Do you remember when Roy was born?

DAVE:  Yeah.

You told me once about why you didn’t like cabbage and piano music.

DAVE:  Oh, it’s when we went, we went to school and had to …. went in the morning and then we’d always come home at noon for dinner and go back to school.  Come home at night, and on the way you could hear oh oh, do you smell that cabbage cooking and hear them old player pianos a going. 

Was it player pianos or kids practicing?

DAVE:  They had player pianos then.

ELAINE:  Grandma said something about she used to give you guys money and send you to church two or three times on Sunday.

DAVE:  Oh yes, she’d give us a nickel to put in the …. my Mother would give us a nickel and we couldn’t see any sense in giving them a nickel.  And, so we’d get it changed into pennies and we’d buy licorice sticks with the rest of it, and we’d put a penny in the collection box.

I remember Grandma telling about you wearing your socks out, too.  What did you do?

DAVE:  Oh, we used to play marbles and wear the knees of our socks out all the time.

You were knickers-type pants?

DAVE:  Yeah, I wore short pants.  We didn’t have.

How old were you before you had long pants?

DAVE:  I was 15 years old before I had my first long pants.  (in 1911)

So then you wore long socks and?

CLEO:  And Grandma had to knit those socks and then she’d mend, she darned them.  She darned the holes in them.

DAVE:  Yeah, we wore black socks and short pants.

What did you do for fun?  What did you play?

DAVE:  Oh, we played marbles and we played games with, we’d go out with lights at night and play all kinds of games.  Any kind of game you could think of.

CLEO:  Well, I remember him saying they were down at the river a lot of times fishing.

DAVE:  Oh and then we was down at the river.  Every summer, we’d go down to the river all day long swimming and fishing, playing.

You said something about somebody had a magpie that talked, too, that you talked to on the way home from school?

DAVE:  Oh, we had a magpie, that’s when I was, when we lived in the Y before we’d, he’d say, he’d holler Elmer all the time and yeah Rover, yeah Rover.  We had a dog named Rover and he’d say yeah Rover, yeah Rover. 

Had they clipped his tongue or something?

DAVE:  No.

Did you go down and visit with any of the Indians in Fort Hall?

DAVE:  No.  We didn’t go down to Fort Hall.  The Indians used to camp right outside of our place.  The kids used to go down there and visit with them and they’d take these gophers and clean them, put them in a bowl of clay and put them in the fire and cook them and then we’d help them eat them.

Gopher pretty good?

DAVE:  Oh, it tastes all right.

Cousins Oscar and Hiney (John) Erickson

ELAINE:  Tell me about Oscar and Hiney.

DAVE:  Oh, they were my cousins.  They stayed there.  They worked in the shops and they stayed, boarded there with my Mother and Dad.  And he was, Hiney was the oldest one, Oscar was the oldest one, Hiney was the youngest one.  Hiney went and got drunk every Saturday night.  Spent whatever money he made the rest of the week.

What happened to them?

DAVE:  Oh, Oscar got killed in a Klamath Falls argument.  He was a gambler and I guess he must’ve gambled away in the night and made quite a bit of money and when he stepped out of the place where he was gambling, a couple of guys just shot him and took his money.  They didn’t try to hold him up or nothing.

What happened to Hiney?

DAVE:  He got a job shipbuilding when a plate of steel fell from up above him, just cut his head right off. 

What was his last name?

DAVE:  Erickson.

What were their real names?

DAVE:  John and Oscar Erickson.

And they were cousins?  They were Grandma’s nephews.

DAVE:  They were Grandma’s nephews.

Were they the ones that put the coal in your stocking one Christmas?

DAVE:  That was Hiney, yeah.  One Christmas, we hung our, we used to hang our socks up to get presents, and we got up one morning and there was this sock full of coal.  Hiney had took the stuff out and put coal in.

Grandpa Going To School

ELAINE:  Tell me about going to school.  Did you like school?

DAVE:  Oh yeah, we used to go to school.  We had to walk a mile to school, and we’d come home a mile at noon and go back after noon and come home in the evening.

CLEO:  Had hot lunches.

DAVE:  We had to come home to eat and we’d play marbles on the way and fight.  We used to put a chip on our shoulder and walk around and then some other kids would knock it off and we’d have a fight.

Who were some of the other kids?  Do you remember some of their names?

DAVE:  Orle Nelson and Farley, Emel Farley, a couple of neighbor boys.

Did you and Roy?

DAVE:  Roy was little then, he didn’t.

But then you and Elmer and George huh?

DAVE:  Yes.

What year was it when.

DAVE:  Elmer would go to school.  Before he would go to school in the morning, he would put some gunny sacks in the back, in the seat of his pants because he figured on getting a whipping.  He’d put some sacks in there so it wouldn’t hurt so much.  He got in a lot of trouble.

1911 Dave Moves to Mud Lake

ELAINE:  How old were you when you went to Mud Lake then?

DAVE:  I was 15. 

What did you do when you went out there then?

DAVE:  When we went to Mud Lake.?  Trying to clean sage brush, that was our big job at first was clearing sage brush.

How did you do that?

DAVE:  Oh we had a, we had a grubbing hole and we’d grub and pile it up and burn it and later on then we got a team of horses and we got a rail and railed the brush down, kind of raked it up and burned it.

All that farm then you live now was sage brush?

DAVE:  Yeah. 

How many acres did you?

DAVE:  It was 160 at first and then my Dad filed on another 160 desert right after that, the next year I think it was.

So, then you lived out there.  Who lived out there with you then?

DAVE:  Well, I kind of, was just batched and George and Elmer didn’t come.  Well, and they went out and they went down to Pocatello and worked, and I was there by myself for quite a while.

When did Roy come out?

DAVE:  Well he used to come out when he, after his, if he went to school then he would come out in the summertime until he got out of high school and then he stayed out there and got married.

CLEO:  He got married right after he got out of high school.

DAVE:  And they moved out there.

ELAINE:  But what did you farm?  What kind of machinery did you have?

DAVE:  We had a, my Dad bought a mowing machine for $40 and a hay rake for $25.  We bought a binder for $75.

ELAINE:  What about the Fresno that you made the ditches with?  Was it Fresno?[1]

DAVE:  What?


DAVE:  Yeah, the first year we had sled scrapers working making ditches for one team and a sled scraper building ditches and then the next year we got another team and we got a Fresno and was building ditches to get water down to our place, building ditches.

ELAINE:  What did you do in the wintertime?

DAVE:  Oh, we had a few head of stock and took care of them.

Did you read?  I remember you telling me you’d read everything.

DAVE:  I was there all alone all the time, I’d read all night long sometimes.

ELAINE:  What did you read?

DAVE:  Just stories.

ELAINE:  Anything you could get your hands on huh?

DAVE:  Any kind of book I could get my hands on.

ELAINE:  Did you used to have rodeos?

DAVE:  Yeah, after we was there a few years when, that was after you was there wasn’t it Cleo?

CLEO:  Yes.

DAVE:  After I got married, why we had a rodeo there pretty near every Sunday for the winter or in the summer.  We’d have a rodeo pretty near every summer and some guy drove in there one day and he said where is the road to Birch Creek and I says “you were on it.”  I says you should have followed the most traveled road and he said I did, come in to the rodeo.

You used your stock that you had there.

DAVE:  My own stock or whatever stock could get around there, yeah.

Were there a lot of people in Mud Lake when you moved out there?

DAVE:  There wasn’t very many.

Who were some of the people that were there?

DAVE:  Well, when we come out, there was Louie Froosy and Abbott and John Hansen and Nordstrom was about the only ones and about the time we come out there was a fellow named Ashfelder and Les Hughes was there when we got there, too.  He was already out there.  Kelch.  There was lots in around us and then there was a few around Mud Lake.

They were all farmers, farming and proving up on homesteads?

DAVE:  Yeah, there were no farmers, it was all people, carpenters and miners and that.  They didn’t know nothing about farming.

But they just had filed on a homestead.

DAVE:  Filed on a homestead, yeah.

Did, you hadn’t farmed before either, Grandma or anybody?

DAVE:  No.  I naturally lived out there a few years.  Then a Mormon church kind of OK'd the place, and then a bunch of Mormon farmers come out there and started farming.

Did you raise good crop?

DAVE:  I only raised hay and a little grain.  The first, we was lucky the first 20.  We had 25 acres of hay, about 20 acres of hay.  They was building that Comstock ditch out there, and we got $25 a ton for that hay that time. 

That would be a lot of money.

DAVE:  Yeah, at that time.

CLEO:  They had a lot of horses then that they were building ditches.

Dave Built a Lot of Ditches

ELAINE:  Now when you said the Comstock ditch, which ditch is that?

DAVE:  It was the old ditch they built from the lake to get water but they never did get it.  They never got water in it.

There wasn’t enough water to come down it huh?

DAVE:  When they decreed the water, they didn’t have any water.

Now you said you were building ditches.  Where did you get your water from?

DAVE:  We had water.  We had a reservoir up there; we built a reservoir up above where we lived and that’s where we got our water.

You said up above where you lived.

DAVE:  Yeah, northeast of where we lived, there were slews[2] up there and we had a reservoir, built a reservoir on springs up there.

You mean north of where we lived when we were kids, our home place?

DAVE:  No.  Yeah on the old home place, yeah.

Then that ditch that went by where we lived when we were kids.  Did it go clear down to the farm where you live now?

DAVE:  No, it didn’t, yeah, that’s where I built it down there.

You built that ditch?

DAVE:  I planted crops there.

Did you have plenty of water?

DAVE:  Oh yeah.  For a while, then the water got, they started drilling wells in another place and the water got short.  We had to drill wells to get our water then.

Now is that when they hit those artesian?

DAVE:  No.

CLEO:  The Jefferson wells.

DAVE:  Jefferson wells.

But before the Jefferson wells then, you just had a reservoir?

DAVE:  We just had a reservoir and had water.  At first we had quite a bit until finally it got so there wasn’t hardly any.

CLEO:  Well, those artesian wells were flowing when I first came out there.  I remember going up real high.

DAVE:  The wells and they flowed.

They weren’t surface water there from those artesian wells until they drilled them then.

DAVE:  There were some springs there.

ELAINE:  So you knew water was close to the surface.  Who drilled the wells?

DAVE:  Oh I don’t know.  Copes, I guess Copes drilled most of the wells in that country.

Did you help build the ditch did you down, up there?

DAVE:  Yeah.  We built ditch and took ditch stock for our pay.  We didn’t get no pay for it, just took stock in the ditch.

1912 Charles and Mary Jernberg Build A House in Mud Lake

ELAINE:  What year did Grandpa build that house that he and Grandma lived in?

DAVE:  What year did he build it?  1912. 

CLEO:  When I came out.

ELAINE:  Well, that was a nice house.

CLEO:  It isn’t like it was now.

DAVE:  It was just two rooms.

CLEO:  It was just two rooms.

But when you and Roy first moved out there when you were young, where did you live then?

CLEO:  Well, that’s where they lived.

That was in 1912?

DAVE:  We moved out there in 1912.… left Pocatello in July and got there in the first part of August, and lived in a tent down by Jones’s, down where Jones lived.  It was a fellow by the name of Hughes lived there then - where we could get water and everything.

ELAINE:  Did he have a well?  Hughes.

DAVE:  Yeah.

CLEO:  We had a well, that’s why he lived down in the tent.

DAVE:  While we lived down there, my Dad and brother built the house, that’s where we lived.

ELAINE:  Which brother?

DAVE:  Ed.

ELAINE:  Did Ed ever live out to Mud Lake?

DAVE:  Not very much.  He just helped for a little and then he went back and went to work.

CLEO:  And he sent the family money.

DAVE:  He sent money.  He gave money, most of his wages, every month.

CLEO:  For them to get along with while they were proving up on this one.

DAVE:  And my Dad went to work.  They both went to work after they got the house built.  Mother and us kids used to live out there in the winter.  Ed lived in Pocatello with my Dad.

CLEO:  And then your Mother finally went back to Pocatello.

DAVE:  Yeah, and then she went back and lived there.

ELAINE: You batched it there for a while huh?

DAVE:  Yeah, and then when Freddie and Roy got married, they lived there.

CLEO:  And then Daddy stayed with them.

DAVE:  I stayed with them.

1912 Charles Jernberg Gets Lost in the Desert

CLEO:  Tell them about your Dad getting lost when you first came out here.

DAVE:  Well, that was, the first year we went out there in August.  Palmgren took along one, was thinking about some more land that they could file desert claims on out west somewhere.  So, he took my Dad out there with him one day to look at the land, and my Dad got tired and sat down and wanted to rest.  Palmgren went on and walked all around and looked at the land, and then he came back and my Dad was gone.  Moved and they couldn’t, they didn’t know where he went and they didn’t come in that evening.  We built big fires so he would know …. could see them and maybe come to the fires when he got lost.  He was three days out there in the desert in August without water and ended up at the Reno Ranch. 

I can remember him saying he saw mirages. 

DAVE:  Yeah, he saw lights and everything out there.

CLEO:  They said his tongue was so swollen, he couldn’t talk when he got there, so he saw this, finally got to this place up there in Reno and he rolled in their ditch.  He just rolled in their ditch a long while before he drank.  He still knew that he wasn’t, he wasn’t unconscious or anything, he still knew that he had better not drink a lot of water before he cooled his body off.  So, he just rolled in the water before he drank.

Was there anybody there that could help him?

DAVE:  They brought him back.

CLEO:  But imagine how Grandma …Daddy said Grandma was just absolutely beside herself.  Just imagine knowing somebody was out there for three days without any water.  They built big, got sage brush, and built huge bonfires. 

Where was he when he got lost?  How many miles did he have to travel back to the Reno Ranch?

DAVE:  Well, that would be between 15 and 20 miles.

CLEO:  He must’ve just kept going pretty good, huh?  Even so.

1912 Louie Froosy

ELAINE:  You talked about Louie Froosy.  Tell me what you know about Louie Froosy.  I’ve kind of forgotten.

DAVE:  Oh he was there, he’s an Italian, he was there when we got there in 1912.  He came two or three years before that.  He lived neighbors to us. 

Is he the one that used to wipe Grandma’s plates with his elbow?

DAVE:  Yeah.  He lived in a dugout and had a dirt, straw and dirt roof.  And the dirt used to sift down into his plate when he’d eat.  He’d rub his elbow on his plate and he’d come over to our place.  Once my Mother sat at the table and he took his plate and rubbed his elbow on it and it made her kind of mad.

KAY:  His shirt probably wasn’t very clean huh?  Was he the one that stored his, skimmed his coffee after he put the sugar in it.

DAVE:  No, that was McAllister.

Where did McAllister live?

DAVE:  He lived down on the lake, down by the lake there.  He only stayed there a few years.  He used to run some herd stuff in there. He’s the guy that used to have to skim his coffee out on account of the mice. 

He drank it anyway huh?

DAVE:  Yeah. 

Did you use sugar in your coffee when you went to see him?

DAVE:  Yeah.

And you’d skim yours too, huh? 

DAVE:  Yeah.

Taste all right?

DAVE:  (laughed).

CLEO:  I think I’d have quit coffee and everything else.

That would’ve been a quick cure. 

After 1913 – Dave Meets Jack Gerard

ELAINE:  Where did you first meet, when did you first meet Jack Gerard?

DAVE:  Gerards come there in 1913. 

And he moved there from Rigby then. 

DAVE:  No. 

Mother said Della lived next door.

DAVE:  That’s after they lived there a lot of years they went back. 

CLEO:  They went to ...

DAVE:  He got the job as ...

CLEO:  Della didn’t live there, just her folks and she’d come to visit.

DAVE:  Deputy sheriff.  He got a job as Deputy, no Gerards moved out there and lived out there in a dugout for several years before they went to town.

KAY:  And Ed Cope.  When did you first meet him?

DAVE:  I don’t know exactly.  It would probably be a few years after that.

KAY:  Copes moved out to Mud Lake?

DAVE:  Yeah.

1914 – The Jacksons Move to Mud Lake

Who else were some of the old timers out to Mud Lake?  What stories do you remember about them?  What about Jacksons?  When did they come out there?

DAVE:  I imagine about 1914 probably about that time.

That was Mildred Staley’s.

DAVE:  Yeah, that was Mildred Staley’s Granddad.  And then they had Earl, that was their boy and he, the old fella carried the mail and then he died and then Earl was there after that for a while, carried the mail.

1914 – 1918 Getting Farm Hands During the War

ELAINE:  During the first World War or the second World War when help was hard to get, what were some of your experiences then?  Who helped you?

DAVE:  Oh, in the Depression, guys would come around, I remember we had a Lieutenant Colonel once wanting to hay, a job stacking hay.  They’d get any kind of work that they could do, any of them.

When all of the boys were in the service, where did you get your help?

DAVE:  Oh, I don’t know.

Didn’t you used to go into Idaho Falls and pick them up at the bar?

DAVE:  We used to when we hayed.  We used to go and get these old winos from the bar.  They were pretty good hands but they could only hay about so long and then they had to go and ….

ELAINE:  Had to go to town.

DAVE:  Go to town.

Do you remember the two that you hauled out and they just stayed all night?

DAVE:  Yeah, we hauled one crew out and they … There was two guys and I remember once hauling two guys out.  Had to wait until after midnight to pick them up until the bars closed and then I brought them home.   And the next morning they got up and one of them looked at the harness and stuff and says, he says, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to work for any haywired outfit.”  The other guy says, “I don’t care if its haywire or not as long as I get my pay, I’ll work.”

CLEO:  One time, Daddy brought out a couple of guys and put them to bed out in that old house you know and.

You know they though you were a sucker, didn’t you?

CLEO:  No, no I didn’t.  That’s why I said it wasn’t my fault.  It wasn’t my cooking because he’d brought them home late and put them to bed and I got up to fix breakfast for them.  And I told Daddy to go tell them breakfast was ready, and he went out there and they were gone.  So, I said well that wasn’t my fault cause they never did eat any of my food.

Wasn’t any of my cooking, huh?

CLEO:  We could see them walking down the road I remember.  They decided they didn’t want to work after all.

ELAINE:  Do you remember some of the guys we had?  Some of the old guys we had.  I remember one.  I think Kay was little that had false teeth that would sit there and take his teeth in and out.

CLEO:  Oh really?

Put on a big show for us.

CLEO:  I don’t remember that.

DAVE:  I remember one guy was an old Russian.  I don’t know what his name was but he had, he wore number 16 shoes and very big feet.

You and Roy talked about somebody that used to live out at Mud Lake that had such big feet, too.  Who was that?  Do you remember?

CLEO:  Maybe it was me.

DAVE:  No I don’t.

It was some guy that had really big feet.  I’ll have to ask Roy about it.

CLEO:  Yeah, it was that Malone or something.  Had a boy. 

DAVE:  His feet was so big, he was, what was the name?  Yeah, this guy had a homestead and lived out there and his feet, he, were so big his feet was sideways when he walked kind of walked, scraped the ground walking sideways.  His feet stuck way out.

CLEO:  Dudley Malone, was that his name?

DAVE:  Malaney.

CLEO:  Malaney.

DAVE:  Malaney.

CLEO:  Is that who it was?  It just seems like that name comes to, I didn’t know him.

DAVE:  Well, he had big feet and then his, they were stuck out endways, sideways, he walked kind of sideways.

CLEO:  Like a duck, huh?

1915 Going to the Dentist

KAY:  You used to tell us some pretty good stories about going to the doctor and the dentist and stuff, too, so that wasn’t much fun back before they had any kind of pain killers, huh?

DAVE:  When we used to go to get a tooth filled, they put cyanide in there to kill your tooth and put some cotton stuff and later on, I was talking to a doctor about it and they said they had to quit that because there was enough poison if that stuff had got out and got in your mouth, it’d kill about 5 or 6 men.

ELAINE:  Probably happened a time or two, huh?

DAVE:  Yeah.

1916 – 1918 – Dave was a Constable

ELAINE:  Well, you were the Constable in 1916?

DAVE:  Yeah, where the Merritt Owsleys were.  We had the election over at the Owsley place and I was Constable then.  An then it was about 1918 when I was Constable again.  My job then was to not allow more than two people to congregate in one place on account of the flu.

When they came to vote and ….?

CLEO:  That was his job.  But well, he’s been Constable every year until just a couple of years ago.

DAVE:  Yeah.  I’ve been Constable pretty near all the time near then.

CLEO:  Every year.

That was a long job wasn’t it? 

1918 Dave's First Tractor

You talked about farming out there with horses.  When did you get your first tractor?

DAVE:  Oh, my Dad.  I don’t know when we got that big International.  We got it ….

CLEO:  You know, the one the Benny was sitting on when your Dad was there, the one your Dad was buying.

DAVE:  No, the big International.  It’s still there, that big one.  I imagine.  I wouldn’t even know.

Not anywhere near huh?

DAVE:  Probably about 1918 or something.

1919 Brother George Jernberg Dies

What year was it when your brother died?

DAVE:  In 1919 I think.

That was after you out to Mud Lake then.

DAVE:  Tell us about that.  What happened?  Oh, he was drinking, went up town and on the way back, he got in trouble with some other guys and they got in a fight and knocked him down and his head hit on the cement and they put him in a room and they thought he was drunk.  Police come and got him and put him in jail, thought he was drunk and he was dead the next morning.

Must’ve had a concussion or something.

Skull fracture probably.

ELAINE:  How old was he then when he died about?

DAVE:  Oh, 1919, he was, I was.

CLEO:  You were 22 in 1919.

DAVE:  He was eight years older than I am so he would’ve been 30 years old.

He had never married or anything. 

DAVE:  No.  He went to Chicago to work and worked in Chicago in the Pullman company.  And he was coming home one time and got between two cars, and the couplers broke and broke his back.  And it heaved up into a big bump on his back.  I remember one time we was up getting some timber out of, up at Birch Creek and laying on the bed and he thought there was a rock in the bed; he had a bump in his back and he thought it was a rock.

1919 The Winter the Livestock froze 

ELAINE:  Were the winters hard then?

DAVE:  Yes.

Harder than we have now?

DAVE:  Well they were worse than they have been lately.  We’ve had some bad ones since then but not the last number of years, it ain’t been near as bad.

I remember you saying that sometimes that the livestock would freeze.

DAVE:  Yeah, we had one year, we had, it was about 1919, we had 40 below zero for two weeks and it would get up to 20 below in the daytime.  The cattle couldn’t hardly take it.  Only lasted a couple of weeks in that kind of weather.

You heated your house with sagebrush?

DAVE:  Yes.

What kind of stoves did you have?

DAVE:  You tell them.

CLEO:  Oh, we had a cook stove that we heated most of our, well our house.

DAVE:  We had a trash burner.

CLEO:  Well, that was up where we lived before, just before we lived up there, there was a trash burner, Kay knows about the trash burner.  But when we first started to live on the homestead, we just had our cook stove, that’s all we had.  We didn’t have a heater, just our cook stove to heat with. 

ELAINE:  You told me about him having a … you found an arrowhead or something.  Did you tell me you had found an arrowhead out in Mud Lake?

DAVE:  Oh yeah, I’d found, I found an arrowhead.  It was kind of a pretty one.  It was kind of a transparent red colored one.  I gave it to Indiana Watson charm made on it, out of it, and he went down to Pocatello, he went into some joint down there in Drake and somebody held the joint up and took the, his watch and his watch charm. 

1920 The Pig at Halloween

Tell us about some of the things you used to do at Halloween and some of the things they used to do out to Mud Lake. 

DAVE:  Oh, we used to go around tipping toilets over. 

And you told me a story about a pig.

DAVE:  Oh, that was. 


DAVE:  Underwood.  And he, a pig got over to their place and they said that Mrs. Underwood stuck it with a pitchfork.  So, we got the pig.  He had a kind of a little sleigh outfit with a whited seat cover on it.  And I got the pig and put it on the seat and put a corncob pipe in its mouth and sent it over to Ceady’s with that outfit.  And then he lived down the road about a half a mile from that place where they had that outfit and we took it to the sheriff. Underwood had fallen short and he wanted him to come out, wanted the sheriff to come out and they took the pig and moved it on the wagon and put it on under the bridge over to Baromadid’s?? place.  And then we drove all around by Gerard’s.  The sheriff come out and they found the tracks out by Gerards and figured Jack Gerard did it.

ELAINE:  Jack had done it instead of you guys, huh?

He wasn’t very thrilled about having the pig there, then was he?

DAVE:  No.

1926 or 1927 – Grandpa Wrecks his Dad’s Car

Mother said something about you wrecking your Dad’s car.  Did you do that?  You said your hat blew off.

DAVE:  I didn’t wreck no car.

CLEO:  Didn’t you run it, what happened when your hat blew off?

DAVE:  I looked back and my hat blew off and I looked back to see and I run in the barrow pit.

CLEO:  And then the one time you run into the garage and took the door off of it?  Isn’t that wrecking cars?

DAVE:  Oh, no I didn’t.

You don’t remember that huh?

DAVE:  Well, I borrowed his car and I was backing out of the garage and had the door part open to look and hit the edge of the door, took the door off the car.

 What kind of car was that?

DAVE:  It was a Buick, 1926 Buick.

It was brand new when he got it huh?

DAVE:  Uh huh. 

About 1927 The Sailboat Ride on the Lake

ELAINE:  Why don’t you tell us about your sailboat ride on the lake?

DAVE:  Oh I remember we were batching there together and Charlie Roth, his wife come and stayed.  She did the cooking and Charlie was helping us and they built a sailboat.  We was waiting in May sometime, we was waiting for the weather to get nice and we’d go sailboat riding.  So, we decided to go sailboat riding and there was water in the ditch right, come right pretty near to our house, big ditch. 

So, we put the boat on there and went out on the lake.  And, the wind come up and we started … we got so much water to come over, big waves would come over into our boat.  So, we had a five gallon can, we’d dip into that.  And finally couldn’t dip fast enough and the boat went under and then tipped over.  I lit way back.  I was on the back end so I had to climb, so I had to swim back.  Had all my clothes on.  It was a hard job to swim, but I made it to the boat, and then we hung onto that boat for a couple, 2 or 3 hours. 

We weren’t moving very fast, we was just about standing still.  I was in the back steering the boat and Elmer was handling the sails and Charlie, we called him the captain, and he was up in front.  Charlie Roth … and after about 3 or 4 hours, we got, the weather was awful cold.  He finally couldn’t take it anymore, he jumped at me and says “save me Dave” and knocked me off.  And by the time I swum back the boat and looked back, well, I could see him for the last time going down.  He drowned. 

And I remember and then we decided we had to do something.  So, Elmer dove under and pulled a, pulled the pole with the sail on, on the boat so the boat, got it out of there.  And then the boat straightened and then we got each on one side of the boat, straddling the side of the boat and the wind drove us into an island in the night.  I imagine it was about, it was way after dark when we got to that island so we covered ourselves with a bunch of tool leaves and tried to go to sleep there on that island, stayed there all night, the rest of the night, didn’t have no matches cause the matches all floated out of our pocket.

When we woke up in the morning, it was snowing on our tool leaves but the boat was there so we got in the boat and paddled over to Ann Beckner’s, and he took us on home then.  And we told Charlie’s wife about that he drowned and she didn’t believe us at first.  He’d been telling her so many stories, she didn’t believe us at first.

ELAINE:  That was sad wasn’t it?

DAVE:  Yes.

Lyle Mitchel gets killed

ELAINE:  Do you remember how Lyle Mitchell got killed?

DAVE:  He was stocking hay on the derrick when the derrick pull come loose and hit him.

Building Derricks

ELAINE:  What about these derricks?  Did you used to build them?

DAVE:  Yeah.  We used to go up the hills and get a big long log, and then put a framework and hang it up on the chain.  Then we put a winch on it to lift the hay up.  We’d have nets to put the hay on and then fasten them on the nets and lift up a load of hay and put it on the stack.

With all the horses it took to run all that stuff, did they eat most of the hay?

DAVE:  They ate a lot of hay.  It took, we had three teams on the sleds and then the derrick team.  It took four teams to hay and then we had, it took seven people.

To run everything.

CLEO:  And the women had to cook for those guys three times a day.



[1] The Fresno Scraper is a machine pulled by horses used for constructing canals and ditches.  The Fresno Scraper may be most famous for helping to scoop out the Panama Canal.

[2] A slew or slough is a wet, spongy land; low ground saturated with water.  It is often a swamp or shallow lake system, usually a backwater to a larger body of water.