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Tie Hacks and Lumbering

Page history last edited by Judi Myers 14 years, 7 months ago

TIE HACKS and LUMBERING in SUBLETTE COUNTY, WYO.  Oct 7, 2009. Bob Dew and Perry Binning are giving a talk on lumbering and logging & tie hacking in the Upper Green River Valley (Sublette County, Pinedale, WY)(The dots are where I couldn’t understand words on the tape). Connie Binning will be helping.

BOB: …logging on the Upper Green, primarily the old Tie Camps that were here. Perry’s done quite a lot of research on that and has some pictures & all that kind of thing. That was a big operation & worked lots of people. He’ll explain all that to you. We’ll let him go first & after that I’ll talk about some of the smaller operations that came later on. We’ll turn it over to Perry & let him go & see what he knows.

PERRY: Tonight I’m gonna have Holly…Connie…Holly….(Connie: I like that. He calls me Holly all the time). She’s gonna start out reading… I have to talk really slow because I had a stroke awhile back & I’m having a little trouble being able to talk really, so I’m gonna have her start & then I’ll start the pictures before long & then we’ll try to get something going.

CONNIE: He can do fine if he just wouldn’t get nervous about it. He’ll probably take over, but there’s a few things he wants me to say…We want to tell you about why the Tie Hacks were here in this neck of the woods to begin with. We all know that the railroad comes through the southern part of this county…about 100 miles apart…the towns… As they built them there wasn’t much trees down there along that part of the railroad and as they got to here, they needed more timber and they hired people to go up north where we live (Binnings live in the Upper Green at 14 Tie Hack Circle, off Red Cliff Road, off Gypsum Creek Road) & build & construct & cut down the ties and bring them into the yard. This is a little about why they were here. (Connie is reading from a paper that she will get to me). In the 1860s from where the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed to the Montana gold fields was a vast area without settlers, served by a few wandering trappers & Indians. Thousands of people passed over the Oregon Trail through the southern part of this expanse. None stopped to settle. In 1867 a man named Mr. Charles DeLoney, with a group of men, penetrated the Upper Green River to encamp for the winter & cut ties for the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. Mr. DeLoney, disliked publicity & left very little of records of the history of this interesting event. We are indeed ingrated to Francis & Bert Clark, and most of the old timers know these people, for preparing what little bit we have here. Francis is Mr/Mrs DeLoney’s daughter. That’s how come she knew the stuff she did. (Vicky Lunbeck Biffle, who was in the audience, is Mr/Mrs Charles DeLoney’s great-granddaughter). Charles DeLoney was a French Canadian born at Mount Clemens, Michigan, Aug 24, 1842. At the age of 16 he enlisted in Company B, 29th Michigan Volunteer Infantry. He fought through 5 engagements, was wounded and taken prisoner. After the war he came west, seeking adventure. Guess he didn’t have enough. An experienced timber man, having worked in the forests of Michigan & Canada, he took a contract to supply the railroad with ties. After constructing a boom across the Green River at Green River City, which would catch & hold the ties as they floated down the river, he hired a crew of some 30 men and equipped them with tools, clothing & grub & started for the headwaters of the Green River, which was a virgin patch of timber at the time. Wagons could only be hired to haul the equipment & supplies. The men walked over a trackless wilderness, northward. A campsite was chosen & logs were cut & snaked in. We will show you a few of what is left of the campsites laying around our area. We can only guess at what these buildings were. We know one was a blacksmith shop. This area that we show you is just below our house, about a mile. More than likely a commissary, cook shack and offices. The freighter wagon then returned to the railroad. The winter of 1867 & 1868 was spent cutting all the suitable timber near the edgewaters and constructing a log skid down a steep mountain. This skid reaches back into the heavy timber for quite a distance. We were lucky enough years ago to get a picture of this and we’ll show you that too. The logs were worked into the ties & they were skid by hand to where they were shot into the river & stacked. With the high waters of spring they were floated on the first tie drive down the Green River for 130 miles to the railroad. Yesterday Donnie told how the Indians used to watch them as they tugged the drive …longer days…without actually molesting them, they never knew just what to expect or prevent & it bothered them a great deal. They had to camp on the islands in the river and go days soaking wet, not daring to make camp on the banks of the river and the men, too, were strung out for miles trying to keep the ties out of the sloughs & sandbars. They could not carry a firearm because they were wet most of the time & they needed what they had to carry groceries to eat.

The 2nd winter by necessity they’re going farther into the trees & they decided at this point they couldn’t get the ties to the little shoot thing to shoot them off the mountain & they were going to stack them & have freighter wagons come in & bring them down to the river. I think they did this, but when the railroads had enough ties – they had all these piles of ties – stacked & when we started living up there, there were these mounds, big piles of ties everywhere. They worked pretty hard for their 20 cents.

On May 10, 1869 a Utah broadcast proclaimed, "At noon today in the vicinity of the north shores of the Great Salt Lake the last rails will be laid on the great ironway that spans from ocean to ocean, the American continent. This grand plan of American skill & enterprise is an event of which the nation may well be proud. It is unequaled in the annals of railroad building. As a work of enterprise & energy it stands unrivaled in world. When the last spike shall be drilled the men will flash the glorious news to the 4 corners of the globe. The benefits that will occur to our country & the world at large by the completion of the Union Pacific & Central Railroad can scarcely be grasped, so vast, so stupendous will they be. Upon the bosoms of this nations high rank… will convey the commerce of many nations." These…decorations proved true for the railroad changed the face of the West. It provided easy access forever, increasing numbers of people wishing to visit, conduct business, or settle out West. In 1869 a Union Pacific poster grasped the change of that vice…? Travelers for pleasure, health or business to enjoy luxurious cars promising they could find the trip over the Rocky Mountains healthy & pleasant. But also allured gold, silver & other miners. Now is the time to seek your fortune’s end. Nebraska, Wyoming, Arizona, Washington, the Dakotas, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Idaho, Nevada or California. Indeed, the railroad proved a vital factor in the continuing settlement of the West. In fact, the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May the 10th, 1869 brought the end to the vast immigration by wagon trains. The vanguard wagon trip of 1847 from the Missouri River to Utah took 4 months at that time. In 1869 the railroad trip took only 8 days. So it did prove to be helpful to all. And I think now Perry’s going to show his slides.

PERRY: At the back (of the room) is a tie that was probably cut 130 years ago at our house just south. Our daughter found 4 of them stacked up, and down toward the bottom of the stack was one still good. We were able to get a tie that was made at that time. The tools on there (on the table in the back of the room) are the things they used to level it and get it ready to go down the river and then on the railroad. (silence/mumbling as DVD slide show is begun). What we’re looking at right here was from across to where…just a minute…This is off of our building. … We’re looking across from the other side of the mountain and this is our house. Where they built the tie hack (village) was to the left. Some of the animals we have up there. (Picture of moose) That’s our team. We have these (martens) living with us where we feed. (Turned off tape during slide show. Not on tape: Perry & Connie have 5 tie hack buildings on their property. They had dirt roofs. There are 8-10 buildings in ‘Tie Hack Village’ on National Forest property. They also found a bunch more buildings back in the woods, in much better shape because no one visits them. Perry had his picture taken by a tree stump standing 10 feet high. It shows how deep the snow was when that tree was cut. There are big piles of logs that were never moved. A sawmill was located at the end of the pavement on the road to Green River Lakes. Bud Decker said that in winter the tie hacks made potato whiskey. Perry said that the snow was so deep they had to get the horses to a lower elevation as there was no feed for them. The tie hacks piled the logs and got them out when the horses could come back.)

BOB: Over on the Twin Creek side where I was raised we had another one of these big (tie hack) camps, same company. They float the ties over there down little streams. There’s water in particular that I remember that you could step across. When I was a boy you could still see where they’d gone down through there with an axe and chopped the roots out of the crick and straightened out some of the curves. And then the old-timers told me that they logged in there all winter. There’s cabins there that had corrals on the back of the cabins. Must have been horse…. So they lived in the front & the horses lived in the back. We don’t know how they got the hay there to winter those horses because there’s been people who got in trouble with staying in there too late & couldn’t get out with their horses. So, they either had to have enough hay to keep them all winter, which I’m kinda suspicious that they probably did because this one little group, you can see where they put monster piles of ties & then they floated them out in the spring. And they told me that when the crick fell in & opened up in the spring it was 24 hour a day job to just put one tie at a time in that creek …going down the country…then they went to bigger creek and eventually into the river and then down to Green River City. Most of these ties were chopped in the winter because the tie is a lot easier to chop when it’s colder than it is when it’s thawed out in the summer time. All of this is hearsay. In later years, like down in LaBarge country, they chopped a lot of ties all summer long, my understanding… These guys up here like old Billy Hill said, most of them went down with the ties in the spring & then they trickled back in the fall when the colder weather came. And I’m sure there were all different types of operators. The ties went out in the spring and this hay thing is a real question because, you see, the ranches along the river bottom were not there then. So, the hay had to come. There was a shortage of hay in Wyoming at that time, so where did the hay come from? We don’t know.

Audience Man: They probably cut all the sloughs.

BOB: Yeah. There was a guy by the name of Bear Face Dodge that did a lot of the freighting for them. They had a road from the O Bar Y up by Dodge Butte and when it went down off the side, then it went to Sawmill Meadows. They moved the sawmill in there. But, our question is we don’t know what different sawmill material ? because they were working here in 1906, when the national forest was made. The story that I get out of this is the Forest Service told them they had to go back & clean up all their mess that they had made before they would give them another timber sale. And they said, "No, we don’t have to do anything. We can leave." And that’s the mystery of why some of these places they just went away and left them – because there’s a cabin or 2 that was tie hack…go to work there and they were cutting ties. The story that I get on that, the guys that moved in there & then when they made the national forest they just shut it all down & left. See, they made a terrible mess & I can still remember that as a boy because they cut the little trees down first, chopped them off and fell them this way and then fall the tie trees on top of them so they didn’t go down in the snow. Then they had them up where they could work on them. And, cutting off a few trees would mean nothing to those guys. Because there on the Twin Creek where they logged, it was a mess in my time. There was one place over there where we found they had come around this side hill for a long ways & felled logs along there and then built in with brush & little trees behind it and then probably shoveled snow on top of all that & then hauled the ties down that way. At the bottom at one time we found a forked tree thing evidently made. It was somebody’s idea to chain the ties down on that and then hook the team on the front of it and here we go. One of the reasons for doing this in the winter is because the chips popped off the tie a lot easier than they do in the summer. They had to be some good, determined people.

Audience man: How did they mark the ties?

BOB: I don’t know. PERRY: They had a brand.

BOB: This brings up another question. You see this tie (the one Perry brought in) here has been chopped on the ends (ends were the shape of an axe blade). Somewhere along the line they made them saw those off. I don’t know when that happened. Up by Perry’s house we were logging there one time and we found a whole bunch of these pieces that were still held together. They were rotten, but they were held together - a whole pile of them where they had sawed those ties off by hand and squared the ends of them. What purpose that served, I don’t know but the railroad was in charge of….square on the end. They probably had a brand on them or marked them in some way.

PERRY: At one time the railroad wouldn’t take anything that was sawed. Then wanted it cut (by hand) because it wouldn’t rot.

BOB: This was one of the reasons that they hewed ties even after they had these small sawmills. Before they started treating them they had to plane them or be chopped before the railroad would take them. They used to have these big monster single surfacer that they run the ties over by hand. That’s another thing that took a lot of work. You laid it on there and pushed it across, just like an overgrown shop joiner & some of them had power feed on them & some of them didn’t. When they started trimming them then they started taking them …. to sawmill? In later years they had to all be peeled – all the bark off them. They didn’t take the chopped tie that had bark on it. So, they had to peel them. In the early days, I imagine, the bark went with them.

PERRY: I was going to make one of them once & I wouldn’t have made much money doing it. The sawmill – I’m really impressed with it.

Audience: Did they build flumes?

BOB: Not so much here. There’s one over where Perry’s house is, is the only one I knew of. On the Dubois side they built lots of flumes and I’ve got an idea about that. There’s no evidence here. The one by Perry’s house is the only one that I know of that was built in this area here.

PERRY: And, I don’t think that was built until the 2nd bunch that come in to cut. (Charles DeLoney & crew came in 1867-1869 and then there were no tie hacks until the early 1900s). The first ones all took them out with their horses.

BOB: Somebody else probably knows, but I don’t know if this flume by Perry’s house was a dry flume or a wet one. They made both. When I was a boy we built a dry one that shot a bunch of mine props off the top of the hill there. (by Flying A) That was quite an experience with that thing. They really go. You don’t have to have a lot of grade & those things will go. It’s like logging twice because you skidded them in there and put them in the shoot at the top and then you had to down at the bottom and & throw them out of this terrible pile that you’ve built down there and put them in stacks where they belong.

Audience: Dubois…

BOB: This pushing ties down the river is not just as simple as you would think because the river fluctuates. They start out with these ties and they’re in there for days. They had no control over whether the river went up or down. When the river went down they had all these ties in the rivers & not in the sloughs all the way down the river. The tie hacks followed them to GR City camped their way along….had to pack those ties out of the woods and put them back in the river. Otherwise they lost a lot of them. The ranches that were built along the river – most of their old buildings were made out of ties.

Audience: End price of ties? PERRY: 20 cents a tie in Green River.

BOB: I’ve got in my paperwork here some of Charlie Thomas’s old paperwork and he was paying his neighbor in the sawmill at Loomis Park $3 a day. I can remember when I was a boy, guys working for $4 a day. One of the tricks of the logging camps was if the company fed you they charged you board so you got some rainy weather (& couldn’t work, couldn’t get paid, but still had to eat). That’s where the story came "I gotta work, so I could get even so I could quit!"

PERRY: I noticed looking at all the old pictures of these guys there’s no fat ones!

BOB: We don’t know how many people were working here, but in 2 pictures I got from the museum there’s about 30 people in that picture. Well, not everybody would’ve gone to the picnic or whatever was going on, so they probably had over 100 people working in these camps at that time. The one on Twin Creek that I talk about (Logging Camp) there was some big buildings in the w…? and I don’t remember, but it seems to me like I found 14 or 15 single cabins surrounded that. My thinking is I don’t think these tie hacks walked very far to work. I imagine when they got up the country a mile or something, they went and built another cabin instead of walking back & forth. On that side over there (Twin Creek) that was all done in 1906. They were working in there in 1906 when they made it a forest. All of those cabins had stoves in them. There wasn’t a fireplace in them. You get over here where Perry was and you can see where they had fireplaces.

MONTE SKINNER: The river when they were floating those ties, they claim there was a crown on the river when it was coming up and when it was going down it was lower in the middle and they tried to catch it when it was going down so the ties would float to the center.

BOB: It’s kind of unbelievable the amount of work that they did there & of course, you see, we don’t know but maybe one of the reasons that there was this separation in the railroad was that they took all new ties when they built it and then how many years would it be before those ties started rotting out. When they rotted out would have been when they came in here the 2nd time. The first go ‘round with this railroad they’d all rot out not at the same time, because of climate, atmospheric conditions were different up & down the road. They wouldn’t need any ties for a number of years. It’s kind of amazing now that the railroad’s gone to cement blocks (for) all the new railroads. Where the heavy traffic is, they devised a process to make concrete ones now.

DAVE VLCEK: What about the low windows on the cabins in Perry’s photos?

BOB: My guess would be that the building got lower because the logs on the bottom rot out 1st & it just keeps coming down. We don’t know whether that hold in the wall was made for some other purpose. Maybe they made that hold to put their firewood through or something & put it down low. We’re just guessing at that.

PERRY: I found buildings that they were putting in their elk or deers and they just had little doors through it. They probably kept their food in an area like that, small.

BOB: This hay thing is a thing that concerned me quite a bit. I can’t figure out what they did with that because the old-time ranchers didn’t have hay enough to winter their cows….

PERRY: What Dale (Jensen) was talking about – we have a lot of big meadow….our house and I believe they could get hay off of that if they took the cattle or horses off of it and then get that & put it in the little buildings – some of them buildings with short doors. They maybe put it in for the winter & I bet they horses probably didn’t go through too fast.

BOB: Another thing with those horses in this deep snow and this Boulder Basin sawmill – I understand they got in trouble even there, where they didn’t have too far to go. You either gotta to get the horses out of there fairly early before the snow gets really, really deep or you gotta have enough food for them for all winter long. …February…When you get late they may be able to get across the snow. They may go through it. My uncle worked for a guy at the Wells Place (late 1800s/early 1900s Dude Ranch) one time when he was just a boy & they got a herd of horses snowed in at this Wells Place up there. They realized they were gonna run out of hay so they started ….the horses out of there. My uncle was only about 18. He said that was an experience. They took the best snow horse they had and led him on snow shoes as far as he could go until he played out that day and then they left him there and packed hay by hand to him to feed him. Then they got him the next morning & went on with it. And they didn’t get to where they didn’t have trouble going until they got to Black Butte, which is 7 miles down there. But somebody’s pencil wasn’t very sharp to run out of hay.

Audience man: My father used to tell me that when they were floating the ties down the river, anytime they had a big dam (a sinker?), they had one man that was really experienced & he could walk around the dam & figure what was the key log that was holding that and….?

Bud Decker…(mumbling)

BOB: They had to be tough characters.

Perry: You want to just go on?

BOB: I got a couple notes back here. I don’t remember who I am…? We’ll process on down to a later time here. By no means are we going to touch on all the sawmills that were here because, for one reason, we don’t have the knowledge. I don’t know how many are…but there’s one or 2 that I know a little bit about & we’ll talk about them some. Charlie Thomas had a sawmill & my understanding was that his sawmill came from the one at Sawmill Meadows along with the ties. When they went out, he got that sawmill & took it to Willow Creek. Now I got some more information the other day. It looks like that sawmill was moved to Fremont Lake. It says that they set it up on Sandy Beach (it was called Sand Beach in the early 1900s). According to that paperwork, it was only there for about a year. Then he moved it to Willow Creek which was a steam-fired piece of equipment. He left Sandy Beach in 1913 and that’s when the sawmill was closed. He set it up on Willow Creek in 1914. They sledded all the logs into that mill so they did all their logging in the wintertime. Forest Service then was in charge so they just did a partial cut so it wasn’t long before they got too far from his mill to sled the logs in to the mill. They always did their logging in the winter because they could pull more logs with a team of horses on a sled than you could on bare ground. So they tried to do…to deck their logs in the fall and in the winter take them to the mill…and then saw it out in the spring. Well, he got too far, for whatever reason and he closed the Willow Creek sawmill somewhere around 1918 and he left WY and went back to Arkansas. I don’t know what kind of problems he had back there, but he ended up - the story I get is that he went completely broke and came back and his sawmill was still in the ? and the citizens of the Upper Green River Valley got together and moved his sawmill to Loomis Park. I knew him personally and he told me the year he moved in there that he when he started sawing & logging that he logged until Christmas and lived in a tent before he built a house to live in. There’s some pictures around of his log piles & how he went at it. Then he later sold that mill to Bill Thomas. Bill moved it to Daniel. There’s some cement blocks in the sagebrush right over there by the junction and that’s where that mill was set up. It was eventually sold to somebody else. Then we bought a portable mill & moved it back to the woods. That went through various hands and Melvin McLaughlin ended up with it. He still has a sawmill on his ranch. It’s a different one. There was several more of them around. A man by the name of Blackmon, which was a Daniel native & had a family there, had a sawmill on the Hoback. In these pictures over here there’s some logs on a wagon with a team of bulls hooked on. I was told that that went with this Charlie Thomas thing, but I’m suspicious that that was Blackmon’s bulls. I don’t think oxen in the woods was too successful. He’d bring his lumber to the highway from up the Hoback with these bulls. He had a couple of sheds down by the road. I can remember them. When he went to Jackson. He’d haul whatever lumber he had left in the fall…?…haul it down there & put it in those sheds & sell it out. He did his skidding with his bulls. Lawrence Shaul went up there once and had to wait. He was getting a load of house logs off a truck. They stopped to each lunch and nothing was happening so he told me, "I thought I’d do something like get a few more logs while they were eating lunch." He said he took off with these bulls & went back to the brush to get some logs and he said he wasn’t that smart about working bulls and he said, "You’ve never been kicked until you’ve been kicked by one of those bulls!" This old Dewey Blackmon. When we bought our sawmill & moved it up to Twin Creek, he was probably about as old as I am now and he had to come up there & help us get that rolling. He had fell over in his sawmill & sawed his leg off when he was younger. So, here he was with this wood leg, stumbling around in the trash we had there & it just looked like an accident waiting for a place to happen. But the old boy was doing the best he could. See, there were several mills? The Pennocks had a mill down in Boulder country. Lots of small mills around. Now, prior to these steam mills they had some water powered units here. I have a picture over there of one belonged to Sandy Marshall and he had it set up on Boulder Creek up the Green River. I’m sure there’s various varieties of those. It says in Richard Hecox’s book about one of these, that they set the saw (for the board’s thickness) with this water power & started it into the log and then all went to lunch and when they got through eating lunch the board was done. My uncle’s ranch at the O Bar Y had boards in the roofs of some of the old buildings that were sawed by Sandy Marshall. They sawed the bigger logs because they made just as good headway with them as with the little ones. That was a far cry from the way we do it now.

Perry & I have a little bit better equipment to work with but still our machinery don’t count when sawmill…? I started in 1952 & run mine until…well, we took it away when we sold out (Bob sold Dew Lumber in 2005), but I hadn’t run it for a couple years and we run that…mill for 50 year - (but moving parts started as wooden & Bob gradually changed it to steel). Can’t be too smart or you’d a got something better to work with.

PERRY: The sawmill I’m running right now is one of the old ones he’s talking about…(can’t hear)…It keeps running & running & running.

BOB: I started sawing with a Ford truck motor. It was an industrial engine. We did that for years and then I went to an International engine and then probably when I moved it to town, I put electricity on it (Dew Lumber was located at 167 Industrial, west of Pinedale). I sat down once & was going to try to figure out how many miles the carriage had on it. I did quite a little bit of pencil work, but I never came up with an answer because those…wheels only had 6 inch wheels on it. And, can you imagine, for each board you had to go down 40 feet and back 40 feet and did that all day long for 50 years. How many miles? Still the original wheels on it. Well, they’re still on it yet today.

Audience: Not the original wheel bearings?

BOB: Yeah. They had their own system of bearings…. You wouldn’t have thought they’d lasted a week. Looked like a…60…spikes cut off and then put in this casting and then it had ….over each end of it. That’s still the same ones in there that came with it. You have all kinds of experiences with these & you’re limited as to how big of a log you can saw. It looks like you’ve got a blade that high, but ….48 inch saw you only get about 19 inches of depth to cut. …So..reach through it anymore, it takes a little ingenuity. First we started chopping those things off…forever… Then we learned to do it with a chainsaw. Then…

Judi Myers: Where did you start your sawmill? When did you move over here (to west of town)?

BOB: We moved out here in 1958. Started in the woods in ’52 (3 miles north of the Flying A Ranch where Bob grew up). And then the season of ’58 I sawed in the woods and then that fall I moved into town. By Chauncey Clark’s.

Monte Skinner: Sawmill in Boiler Park?

BOB: That one I don’t really know. I don’t remember who that was. Fay Barger had the one down at his farm down there (between Pinedale & Boulder). Somebody else had one. I think they had it set up here by the cemetery for awhile. There was some guys here by the name of Goosh & they had a couple Army trucks and they were going to haul logs from Surveyor Park down there all winter. The snow wasn’t going to stop them. That didn’t go very far. And then, you see, Johnny Wright had a deal on top of the hill (behind the ski area), a portable deal, up by the ski area for several years. And then there was another one. Can’t think of his name. ..Yeah, Melgaard had a sawmill on Little Flat Top. Those others escape me, but there was several of those around.

Audience: Ed P Steele had one, for years…?

BOB: Yeah….and there’s undoubtedly more. Bowlsby over in the Basin (Bondurant) had one. Evidently they were connected with – the Bowlsby family came here with this tie operation on the Green River….Yeah, Albert had one. Right after WWII when you could get power for them, then it was nothing to have a sawmill. They were a major thing when you had a steam engine that took quite an installation to put them together. But when we got to where you could run them with a truck engine, that was it. Like Charlie White had several of them in the woods up there when he was working there & on down to LaBarge Creek… This one at Boulder Basin. They came in there - in 1912 they started in. They run it, the same deal, until I’m not sure just when. They sold out eventually to a guy named Welsh from Salt Lake. And then that mill was junked out and it’s mentioned in Hecox’s book. The buildings were all burned down. This Welsh bought it to get lumber. He had a planer? operation in Salt Lake. He never was up here himself. He had other people running it. The Hagenstein family was involved in that deal with Lee Cooper and Bob Rickert at Boulder Basin. Gallimant work at Boulder Basin sawmill for many, many years. Doc Rickert & Lee Thompson were the owners of the thing & this Mack Marshall – I don’t know how many years he was there. He cooked at a Dude Ranch one year and then went over there & was there for many years after that. (audience..can’t hear) Well, I think that’s about all. If anybody had questions, well, we’ll continue.

Audience: Sawmill at Wells Dude Ranch?

BOB: I have no knowledge on that, but I have a suspicion that they just set that up to saw wood for the roofs on the cabins. It was a water-power thing and there were several of those around. I know a place over west of Big Piney where they had one. (END OF SIDE A)

Audience…Cora…snow was too deep…Cora Store

BOB: We have a gentleman sitting back here who’s relation to…back here…DECKER…(they came with Maylene & Bob Boyce) (not Bud Decker) - his dad was one of the loggers on Gypsum Creek when they had the big bug (bugs were killing the spruce) timber sale. They split that into 2 timber sales – his father worked for the Anderson concern & then I worked for Art Though (rhymes with throw) which was Minnesota people, got the upper sale. They may have different logging methods in Minnesota then they have other places, but there was a lot of …not too many logs made it out of the woods. He had 5 tractors, 5 Cats & I went up there to drive a Cat. I learned how to skid logs with a Cat. I skidded logs half a day and the rest of the winter I spent in camp.

Audience: sawmill on Horse Creek for Standard Timber Company….

BOB: Yeah, we went down that side because there was a Standard Timber on LaBarge and then Charlie White moved into up here on Beaver. I don’t know when Standard Timber started, but they went through the war years, didn’t they? (Audience: LaBarge…CCCs …Cottonwood)

BOB: Everything leads to another story. This Bird Brothers sawmill –when I was going to this boarding school down in Utah (Wasatch Academy in SLC). They had this old guy taking care of the furnace down there. Well, that was my kind of people you associated with the cooks & the guys taking care of the furnace. He found out where I came from and he said, "Well, did you know anything about the Bird Brothers? I worked for a company that made steam tractors and they shipped this tractor to Opal on the railroad. I went with it. I had a couple of wagons to haul coal in and I took off from Opal going up to Big Piney driving this tractor. I got caught rain…out in the desert and I had to pull over for 2 or 3 days and bolt the nuts on the wheel of this monster thing so I could get up the hill." (Bob later said this tractor was a miniature locomotive with an 8-10 ft drive wheel. The Birds farmed with it. The wagons carried the fuel – coal – for it but once the got to the woods they used slab to fire it). That must have been quite an experience at that time.

Audience: (Dale Jensen?) My grandfather bought the place where I was raised down in Boulder. Lot of land that wasn’t plowed & was gonna put it in. The Bird Brothers probably brought that same tractor…(mumbling)

BOB: …name was Howard (Bird). He was a real nice old guy. I thought here I was going to have an experience, learn something about the sawmill business when I hired him because he worked on the mills out in Oregon. Thought I’d learn a few things here, but I didn’t learn too much. He was a real nice old guy & a hard worker and he’d really try. But, I came home one day and I told him, Howard, you had this… Here’s this 14 inch saw & it’s turning down here just below where the board goes by. It has a thing with 2 pins in it that steadies the saw, so if you bump it or something it will keep it from flopping. Well, you adjust that with the saw running. He was down there tinkering with that all the time, trying to hold it into the log or out of the log or something. I told him, "Howard, don’t fool with that thing when the saw’s running. I’ll show you how I do it." I had a system. I found a bump on the saw and I’d set it to that when it was setting still and then turn it on & then just where ever it was gonna go. He kept fooling with it, fooling with it. I said "Howard, I don’t like that. You’re gonna get your hand in the saw one day." I come home from trucking one day & he says, "See my watch?" And he’d sawed the crystal out of his watch. Those circular saws – OSHA won’t let you have them now unless the sawyer’s in a cage. They’re really not dangerous. You just have to…respect. PERRY: He’s still got all his fingers.

BOB: He’s got all of his and I’ve got all of mine. Well, no I don’t have all of mine. One of them’s short, but I didn’t saw it off.

PERRY: He worked longer than I did. We ‘re thankful for all the people that went ahead of us and made it a lot easier for us to go on. (END OF RECORDING) Bob later said the first mills were water powered. Then steam & then the portable mills that could be moved around. (Judi Myers, transcriber)

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