Monday, April 22, 2013

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 15: Churning and Chimneys

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

The farmers share with one another, they exchange work tools etc. Just like when your cow goes dry. You get milk from your neighbor, when his goes dry he gets milk from your cow. The only ketch is the children have to fetch the milk. In pails. Sometime it’s a good half mile, in sunshine, rain, or snow. Sometimes that half mile was a long half mile.

Mother would tell us we weren’t sugar or salt we would’nt melt.

Sometime the neighbors and Dad would go together and by a cow or a pig and go together and kill it and dress it ready to eat. They shared the meat and the cost. It was cheaper than buying at a market. And much better.

The churning of butter was the boys job, but I could help them some. The first churn I remember was a barrel type, it looked like a small barrel laying on its side, a frame to hold it up, a handle we could turn. This churn would have to be turn around and around to make the butter. Sometimes longer than others depending on the cream. Once in a while it woul spring a leak, us kids thought it funny. Our mother didn’t, for she had to clean it up. What made this leak the barrel had dried out between churnings. Mom would have us stop churning while she stuffed a piece of cloth in the hole. It worked. Mother had just scrubbed her floor and then this cream, she wasn’t very happy. The floor was hard to clean It was a bare wood floor. She scrubbed it with a broom, hot water, and homemade soap. Mother said we wouldn’t laugh if we had to clean it up. The cream came out and the turning around and around the cream splattered a ways in the air, covering a pretty big area.

Our lamps were filled with kersene. The lamps had wicks to carry the kerosene, so we could light them. The wicks were about two inches wide. If we turned it up we more light, turn it doun it would dim, it would almost go out, then blow in it and it would go out. If the wick was uneven it would smoke, this would make the chimney black. Every week the chimnies were cleaned and refill. To clean the chimney you would take it off the lamp and then blow into the chimney, then take a piece of newspaper and twist around and round inside the chimney. You might have to blow more moist air into the chimney to release the smoke. More newspaper may be needed.

We had several lamps to go around, they were carried from one room to another. Many times I had awakened and found my mother, lamp in hand looking doun at us. She said we were restless, she was just checking.

We finally had a new churn, this churn had a long handle with four paddles attached to the bottom of the handle. The churn had a lid, the handle coming right up thru it. We would have to pull the handle up and doun until we had butter.

To continue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 12: Dresses

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

Merry Christmas! This installment isn’t quite in keeping with the season, but I believe that the Christmassy portion of Elsie’s manuscript has already been transcribed. So instead we’ll enjoy a little birthday and (previously quoted) Halloween merriment. The theme for this week is dresses.

One day my aunt made me a pink checked dress for my birthday. She gave me a party, so I was suppose to wear this dress. The guests arrived I took them out to see the animals, I was so proud of.

Aunt Sadie came out just as we all got seated on the top of the pig pen. The pen is open with a rail fence all around it. We were sitting on this rail. My aunt “told me what are you thinking sitting on a pig pen. I never made that dress for you to do this.” The pen was new and clean, I couldn’t see what the matter was. She got us together and marched us to the house. She told my mother and Mother said “I don’t see any thing wrong in that.” Aunt Sadie said “I never made that dress to sit on a pig pen.” We never got around to see the rest of the animals.

Talk about dresses Mother, sent away for a red plaid one, from a catalogue. I was in the first grade, I hated that dress. Someon must have hurt my feelings for not liking it. I hid it everywhere, under the bed, under the mattress, in the closet. She found it no matter what, she made me wear that dress. One day I took that dress and hid it under my gunny sack rug in my play house, which was on the canal bank. Mother found it but it was too late, it had mildewed and unable to wear. Mother couldn’t understand what was wrong with that dress. She said I was always so easy to get a long with. I couldn’t tell her why I didn’t like it. I never wore plaids again. I still don’t care for plaids.

These tent houses were made from large gunny sacks, our feed for our cattle and pigs and chicken, came in these large sacks.

Dad lets play with these sacks. So Walter and Bill made us a tent house, one for each of us. These were cool in the summertime, Idaho summers are real hot.

Walter cut out dishes, knives and forks and spoons. Out of tin sheeting Dad had.

On one Halloween we had our jack o lanterns on our (probably a apple box) table. Right close to the opening of our tents. Our dad was on the school board, we were having a program that night. Our teacher was over to our house, she wanted Dad and Mom to drive her on an errand, they were gone a short time, when they came back my teacher asked me to turn around. I turned, all the back of my dress was burned. But how? The only fire I was around was our jack o lanterns. We had lit our lanterns to show the teacher, when she got back. The wind must have blown my dress against the lit pumkin, as I was closing the door of my tent house. I must have sat doun real fast to have put the fire out. I always believed I had a guarding angel. Of course I had to wear my school dress to the program that night. This reminds me of a little poem Mother told me.
(The Girl)     Which dress should I wear?
               My blue one or my new one
               Or the one I wore last.
               The last one you wore last
               It’s the only one you have

Tocontinue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here. 

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 8: The ranch near Meridian

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

We have finally reached a point in Elsie’s manuscript for which I have photographs! It has been quite a while since I have been able to bring Elsie’s words to life with pictures, so I am rather gleeful about the opportunity this week. This installment tells of when the Underwood family moved outside the city of Boise to a farm near Meridian, Idaho. Though it will be a couple weeks yet before we learn of it in Elsie’s words, this is the farm where my grandmother was born. 

Dad was on his way again, this time to the furtile valley of Boise Idaho, ten miles from Boise.

This was a large ranch, over eighty acres of ground. The ranch was located six miles from Meridan and ten miles from Boise, Idaho.

The ranch was owned by two families, the Dorr’s and the Shaws. The two families lived in the city, Boise.

This ranch was bran new, Dad must of worked on this ranch before we moved in, while we were living in Boise. The house was new, up to now this was our first real new house of any size. The house had four bedrooms, living room (parlor in those days) a kitchen and two porches, one in the back and the other in the front. On hot days we would sit on the back porch in the morning and the front porch in the afternoon, when it was shady. Until the trees grew up it was pretty hot, in the sun.

The Shaw’s and Dorr’s came often to see how things were coming along. The Dorr’s had a boy about my age and the Shaw’s had a girl about Walter’s age.

We soon had a well dug, we lived on a small hill, so the well drillers had to go a long ways doun to reach water. They put a motor to pump the water up. We had lots of water now for the house and irrigation. There also was a canel running on one side of the ranch, where the water from the canel was used for watering the fields. No alikali and plenty of water Dad was happy.

They were paying Dad to build this ranch up and plant the eighty acres with prune trees.

The ground was ready to plant, he also had some help (hiredhelp) Also he had us kids, Walter, Bill, and even me.

We soon had the barnes, chicken coupes, and a pig pen, also a shed to cover the pump, it was called the pump house. A root cellar was later built. This was a great blessing for Mother to keep the milk from souring. The root cellar was built under ground, it was much cooler there. We kept our vegetables and fruit there also. We had lots of eggs also.

After the buildings were up and useable, the weather right. Dad started to plant the eighty acres of prunes. These trees were small straight sticks which came bundled so many to a bundle. The sticks (trees) had no leaves. No branches, just a very few roots.

They were planted just so deep and so far a part. Then each tree was wrapped with a piece of tar paper. The paper was cut about fourteen by twelve inches, which came already cut. Thank goodness!

The tar paper was wrapped around the little twig of a tree, several times, then tyed wit bailing twine. The bailing twine came in large round balls. The paper was tyed top and bottom. This was to keep the rabbits from eating the bark off the little trees. Our land was new and we had a lot of rabbits.

My brothers and I would help to put the paper around the trees. Dad and the men planted the trees and we tyed the twine and put the paper around. I’d hold the paper in place while Bill and Walter would tye the twine.

I liked being with my brothers and dad, but my time was limited. Mom had to cook for Dad and the hired men. She needed help at lunch time, she would come out side of the house and wave her tea towel, that was for me to come home and help her. One of my jobs was to set the table which I like to do. Sometimes I was busy to see her waving but Dad would call my attention and saying “I think you Mother is calling”.

To continue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 14: Animal Tales

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

Well, here we are again. It has been longer than I care to admit since I have posted one of these “weekly” transcriptions, so it’s about time I resumed the habit. This installment tells a few animal tales in the lives of the Underwoods.

One morning Dad came in to the house, Mother could see he was upset about something. “What’s the matter” she asked him. Dad told her that the mother pig refused to let one pig nurse. If this goes on we will lose the little one. I over heard what was going on and volunteered. Dad informed us this little pig had to be kept warm and fed often. Mom agreed to let me take him, if I kept him on a blanket back of the stove. I had to keep him in the kitchen.

I was so happy to have a little pig for a pet. I know how to feed him as had helped feed some calves. I’d get a clean cloth and double it up like a nipple. Put it in a pail of warm milk. Tightly holding on to the nipple, the little pig took to this right away. He was hungry.

Later on I used two fingers held in the pail of warm milk he would suck on my fingers. He seemed to like it. He was hungry all the time. I had a lot of fun trying to keep this little pig in the kitchen and on his blanket back of the stove.

He was pink skin with light short hair. I spent my days chasing this little pig. Mother would say “Get that pig out of here”. So I would run and try to caught him. He was so chubby and fat, I would put both hands around his stomach and try and hold him. Sometimes my hands would slip, I’d get ahold of his leg. He’d squeal something awful. Mother would yell “You’ll break his leg. I don’t think I held him that tight. I would let him go and Mom would yell “Will you get him out of here.” I was trying my best, but pig’s hair grows from the front to the back, making it hard to hang on to.

Well the little pig grewup, he could eat by hisselve now. He got a long with the other pigs. I missed him I wondered did he miss me? I really think Mom missed him too.

I think every child should have a pig for a pet. I’m lucky to have had one, it a great experience.

A magpie is a large bird, very much like a big crow but much uglier. Someone told me if I could catch a magpie and split its tongue it would talk to me. It had to be a baby bird.

Maraget Church my girl friend and I was at the creek, at the far end of our farm. Above us was a big willow tree. There’s nest, after watching for a while, the mom and dad bird appeared. Oh, it’s a magpie couple. We could see the baby birds reaching to be fed. Margaret urged me to climb the tree. So I did. I stole a little bird, we took it home, right into the house. Mom and Margaret’s mom was there. Everything broke loose when my mom saw that bird.

I had never seen Mom mad like that before. She asked what we were thinking about to steal a baby bird from it’s mother. Go back and take that bird to it’s home this minute But Mother we wanted someone to cut it’s tongue so it would talk to us. My mother asked “Who ever put that idea in to your heads? I never heard of such a thing.”

So Margaret and my brother and I took that bird home. The birds parents seemed to be glad it was back. I never found out if we had split it’s tongue if it would talk. The was the first time and last time I ever stold a bird.

Living on a farm the children always had chores to do At least helping with them. Bringing in the wood two kinds kindling, wood for the range and heater. Horses beded doun, and fed, cow to milk, chickens to feed and to gather the eggs, etc.
Our family album has a very decided shortage of pictures from the time covered in Elsie’s manuscript. This is a picture of my grandma, Elsie’s sister Aileen, holding a chicken a decade or so after the incident Elsie describes below.

I used to like to feed the chickens and help gather the eggs. Sometimes one of the hens would decided to sit on some eggs. My brother Bill would, lift the hen up and I would reach under her and get the eggs. Later this hen would be put on a special nest with a dozen eggs to hatch. In a short time we would have some baby chickens. They are so cute. When you hold them in your hand you can feel their little heart beat thru the soft doun feathers.

Never knowing Dad had bought a new rooster, I started to feed the chickens. This rooster knocked me doun and started clawing my face. My dad jumed the fence, grabbed the rooster twisted his head off and threw it over the fence. Mother was upset spending money for the rooster and not having it one day. Dad told her if she had seen that rooster clawing at my face she would have done the same thing. I’m glad my dad was there, I still have the scare right close to my eye.

I remember when Elsie was still alive she showed me the above-mentioned scar. It was faint, so faint that I never would have noticed it if she had not pointed it out to me, but it was visible. I think that this story is the reason that I am wary of chickens to this day.

To continue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here

Friday, April 12, 2013

Walter Underwood: An Unknown Chapter

Although I never met my great-grandfather Walter Underwood, I always had a feeling that I knew him. This was mostly thanks to the many stories that his daughter, my great-aunt Elsie, included in her manuscript. However, even the ancestors you think you know can surprise you.

Walter Underwood had worked as a bobby, or police constable, in England. In the United States he sometimes was gone all night searching for a criminal. Everything I have ever heard portrays him as a fine, upstanding citizen. Yet it seems that shortly before his immigration to the U.S. he had his own brush with the law.

I found this series of articles in the British NewspaperArchive, detailing the episode. Never before had I heard anything about it, and I suspect that he and his wife Flora were inclined to try to forget it. However, it is interesting not only in itself, but also in the timing. This was just over a year before the young family departed for America, and I can’t help but think that perhaps it had something to do with Flora’s willingness to leave England and begin a new life elsewhere. Even though he was acquitted, the vindictiveness of the trial must have been a strain, and one not easily forgotten. I have seen small-town politics at work, and I have seen how a person can come to be ostracized by a community to the point that the only bearable choice is to move away.

Since I cannot add any information to the articles, I will simply present them as they appeared.

Sat 12 Apr 1902, Essex Newsman, p. 2
An Ex-Policeman Charged With Stealing a Bicycle
 On Thursday, at Great Bardfield, Walter Underwood, lately a constable stationed at that place, was charged before the Rev. W. E. L. Lampet, J.P., with stealing a bicycle, the property of Mr. Frank Adams, of the Mount Cycle Works, Great Bardfield. The accused was remanded until the Bench on Monday next. Bail was opposed by the police.

Sat 19 Apr 1902, Essex Newsman, p. 3
Ex-Policeman, the Bike, and the Brace
 At Great Bardfield, on Monday, before the Rev. W. E. L. Lampet, in the chair, Capt. J. N. Harrison, Joseph Smith, and A. W. Ruggles Brise, Esqrs., Walter Underwood, late a police-constable stationed at Bardfield, was charged with stealing a bicycle, the property of Mr. Frank Adams, of Great Bardfield.--Mr. Elliot F. Baker appeared for the accused.--Frank Turner Adams, cycle agent, said: On the 19th of March I was in a cottage in Brook-street, where I keep bicycles. Underwood was there with my brother Ben. Underwood looked at a bicycle which was not finished. I said I had a machine like that, but on looking for it I found it was missing. Underwood said, “You may have sold it, or got it put by somewhere.” On the 9th of April the bicycle was shown to me by P.s. Stock. I value the machine at £9.--Police-sergeant Stock said: On the evening of the 9th inst., on receiving certain information, I had an interview with the accused, and went to a shed in his occupation. He unlocked the shed and I saw something covered up, in a corner. Accused said it was rubbish. I looked and found the bicycle wheels produced, and underneath the other parts produced. Accused said, “This is a nice thing; someone must have put it there while I was away.”
   A second charge against the accused was that of stealing a carpenter’s brace, value 5s., the property of Edward Carder.--Police-sergeant Stock stated: At the interview with the accused I said, “Two or three robberies have taken place since you have been stationed here, and you are suspected. Some boards and a carpenter’s brace have been stolen from the cottage that Carder is building near the chapel.” Accused replied, “I know nothing about them.” Just inside the shed, among some tools, I found the brace. Underwood said, “I borrowed that of a man in this road.” I asked his name, and the accused said, “I cannot think of it now.” Carder identified the brace in the presence of the accused.
   The accused reserved his defence, and was committed for trial at the Adjourned Quarter Session. Bail in two sureties of £40 each and himself in £20 was allowed.
   Underwood is a young married man, and he only resigned the Essex police on April 5.

Fri 30 May 1902, Chelmsford Chronicle, p. 5
At the Quarter Session
 A case which excited more than common interest was that in which Walter Underwood, a young man who had been in the Essex Constabulary but had resigned, was charged, on one count, with stealing a carpenter’s brace, and, on another, with stealing a bicycle at Great Bardfield. The carpenter’s brace was alleged to have been the property of Edward Carder, and to have been stolen on the 8th Feb. last, and the bicycle, the property of Frank Turner Adams, was alleged to have been stolen on the 19th of March. The defence urged was that the brace had been the property of the accused for some years, and that the bicycle was planted upon him by some person who placed it in his shed, in pieces, while he was away on a holiday. Captain Showers, the Chief Constable, gave the accused a good character, and he was found not guilty and discharged.

Fri 30 May 1902, Chelmsford Chronicle, p. 7
Ex-Policeman Charged
 Walter Underwood, 25, a fitter, on bail, a smart handsome man, was charged with stealing a brace, the property of Edward Carder, at Great Bardfield, on Feb. 8; and with stealing a bicycle, the property of Frank Turner Adams, at Great Bardfield, on March 19.--Mr. Warburton prosecuted; and Mr. Jones defended.--Mr. Warburton stated that the prisoner was in the Essex Police Force, but retired on April 5th.--The prosecutor said he was a cycle maker, and had built a number of machines and placed them in an upstair room of a cottage. The prisoner was friendly with him, and was teaching witness’s brother photography. He missed the bicycle.--P.s. Stock deposed that he went to the prisoner’s house, and on looking into a shed where the accused said there was some rubbish he found the missing bicycle. The prisoner exclaimed, “This is a nice thing; someone must have put it there while I was away.” --Cross-examined, witness said he intimated to the accused that he did not think the bicycle was stolen at all.--The prisoner, on oath, stated that he joined the police force on Jan. 11, 1897, and was stationed at Chelmsford, Southend, and Bardfield. He resigned voluntarily, as he wished to take a restaurant at Bardfield, together with a newspaper agency. He also purposed starting a photographer’s business. He went away for two days’ holiday early in April, and on coming back the bicycle was found in his shed. P.s. Stock told him in the presence of his wife that he did not think “this” would have happened had the prisoner stopped at home. The shed was a common one, with a padlock on the door, and a footpath passed close by. He denied most emphatically stealing the bicycle or going into the prosecutor’s shop except when the prosecutor was there.--P.s. Stock stated that he did not use the remark attributed to him by the prisoner.--The prisoner’s wife deposed that there was no bicycle in the shed when she and her husband went away in April.--Captain Showers, chief constable of Essex, said the prisoner bore an exemplary character while in the Police Force.--Mr. Jones, in his speech, suggested that some other person took the bicycle, and, to get rid of any evidence, put it in the prisoner’s shed while the accused was away. The prisoner had also, about this time, complained to P.s. Stock that he had missed some coal from the shed.--The prisoner was found not guilty on the charge of stealing the bicycle.--The indictment for stealing a brace was proceeded with.--Mr. Warburton said the brace was found in the prisoner's possession.--The accused, on oath, said he bought the brace at a rummage sale at Maldon nine years ago. He always had a lot of tools.—Prisoner’s wife stated that her husband possessed the brace in question long before they went to Bardfield.--Other relatives deposed that they believed the brace to be the one they had seen the prisoner use. --Mr. Jones, in addressing the jury, said that in his 13 years’ experience he did not think he had seen a case conducted with greater vindictiveness that this one.--The prisoner was found not guilty of this charge also, and he was discharged.

Incidentally, the July 4th edition of the Chelmsford Chronicle of that year records that the license for the Engineers Arms in Latchingdon was transferred to Walter Underwood on June 28. I can only presume that this is my Walter Underwood, based on the statement above that “he wished to take a restaurant at Bardfield.”


“An Ex-Policeman Charged With Stealing a Bicycle.” Essex Newsman [Chelmsford] 12 Apr 1902: 2. British Newspaper Archive. Web. Accessed 26 Dec 2012.

“At the Quarter Session” Chelmsford Chronicle 30 May 1902: 5. British Newspaper Archive. Web. Accessed 6 Nov 2012.

“Ex-Policeman Charged” Chelmsford Chronicle 30 May 1902: 7. British Newspaper Archive. Web. Accessed 26 Dec 2012.

“Ex-Policeman, the Bike, and the Brace” Essex Newsman [Chelmsford] 19 Apr 1902: 3. British Newspaper Archive. Web. Accessed 26 Dec 2012.

“Petty Sessions: Latchingdon, June 28.” Chelmsford Chronicle 4 July 1902: 2. British Newspaper Archive. Web. Accessed 26 Dec 2012.

A Vision for the Garibaldi Smokestack

The Garibaldi Smokestack in April 2013

Imagine: an approximately 200-foot tall historic smokestack, the centerpiece of a small bayside nature park, complete with informative interpretive signs describing the history (both human and natural) of the area. Over here are some picnic tables, and over there perhaps a bird watching platform, and off that way are a few rustic campsites. This is part of the vision that my dad and I put together when we read in a recent issue of Tillamook county’s Headlight Herald that the iconic smokestack on Garibaldi’s waterfront is in danger of demolition.

It came as no surprise to us that the Garibaldi city council has been advised that the stack has “started to disintegrate and has become a safety hazard”; we’ve been observing its deterioration for decades (Wrabek A1). But a spark of hope was kindled when I read that “councilor John Foulk suggested fiberglassing the smokestack, as was reportedly done with the Astoria Column,” and I was not altogether disheartened at the suggestion put forth by others to demolish only a part of the stack and leave a portion standing (Wrabek A3). Moreover, the article reports that the property owner has offered to donate the stack and a small piece of the surrounding land to the city.

These possibilities got me envisioning what a lovely little park could be created around the smokestack. The article does not state how much land is included in the offer, but I think that our ideas could be adjusted to fit a smaller or larger park. If the city council were to put together a cohesive plan and explain the long-term vision, perhaps they could even raise the money to purchase more land, little by little, or come to an agreement with the property owner.

Naturally, our fondest hopes are that the smokestack might be saved, but the next-best option would be to preserve a portion of it. Even, if worst came to worst, just the remaining foundation could become an attraction. As suggested above, the smokestack (or its remains) would be the centerpiece of the park, with a series of interpretive signs or a kiosk explaining the history of the place. I thought that, given the historical value of the structure, it might be beneficial for the city to partner with the Garibaldi Historical Museum, which stands only a block or so down, on the other side of the highway. Perhaps the park could even be used as an extension of the museum. In fact, if a proposed Miami Cove shoreline trail goes through (see Garibaldi Connections Project), the locations could make a very interesting and appealing complex.

Dreaming even bigger, my dad tells me that a bike route has been proposed along the railroad tracks through Rockaway Beach. If that route were to be continued south through Garibaldi, a park by the smokestack could easily become a nice stopover for bicyclists riding down the Oregon coast. A campsite or two, with a drop-box for fees and donations toward maintenance, might be able to fit in a corner of our imagined park. Although the camp would be primitive, the view would be ample consolation.

The smokestack was built in 1927, the same year that the Hammond-Tillamook Lumber Co. took over the mill from the Whitney Co. Prior to that, two relatively short metal smokestacks served the mill. A photo printed in Jack L. Graves’ book “Now” Never Lasts shows the smoke-enveloped town, virtually invisible through the haze. Clearly the situation was far from ideal. It was decided that a taller chimney was needed to lift the smoke above the city and thereby improve air quality. The result was the now-beloved landmark. Originally built at a height of 225 feet, some of its height has been lost due to removal and deterioration, but it remains one of the tallest manmade structures on the Oregon coast (Graves 201).

Looking across Miami Cove at the smokestack and the Big G on the hill in the distance. Picture taken in April 2013.

Garibaldi Connections Project Design Action Team. “Garibaldi Connections Project.” City of Garibaldi. Oregon Coastal Futures Project, Feb 2006. Web. Accessed 10 Apr 2013.

Graves, Jack L. “Now” Never Lasts. Bend: Maverick Publications, Inc., 1995. Print.

Wrabek, Joe. “No more smokestack?” Headlight Herald [Tillamook]. 27 Mar 2013: A1 & A3. Print.