Columns from the Sprague Advocate
|(April 9, 1909)||(April 16, 1909)||(April 23, 1909)||(April 30, 1909)|
|(May 7, 1909)||(May 14, 1909)||(May 21, 1909)||(May 28, 1909)|
|(June 4, 1909)||(June 18, 1909)||(June 11, 1909)||(June 25, 1909)|
|(July 2, 1909)||(July 9 1909)||(July 16, 1909)||(July 23, 1909)|
|(July 30, 1909)||(August 13, 1909)||(August 20, 1909)||(August 27, 1909)|
|(September 3, 1909)||(September 17, 1909)||(October 1, 1909)||(October 16, 1909)|
|(Undated)||(Undated)||(November 5, 1909)||(November 12, 1909)|
|(November 26, 1909)||(December 10, 1909)||(December 17, 1909)||(December 31, 1909)|
|(January 7, 1910)||(January 14, 1910)||(January 21, 1910)||(January 28, 1910)|
|(February 18, 1910)||(February 25, 1910)||(March 4, 1910)||(Undated)|
|(March 18, 1910)||(April 1, 1910)||(April 29,1910)|
William S. Lewis' collection of Cartwright Reminiscences
August 25, 1918 Spokesman Review
Clipping of Unknown Origin
|(April 9, 1909)
In the sixties the old Oregon Steam Navigation Company was formed, by Captain Ainsworth and associates Ladd and Tilton, R.R. Thompson and Sim Reed, to run boats on the Columbia and Williamette rivers. During the Florence Orifino and Palouse palmy days I met two parties east of the Rocky mountains in the early 70's that had prospected and got out lots of gold out of Florence, the first natural gold I had ever seen. In the late 60's Dr. D.S. Baker put an opposition line of boats on the Columbia. Finally the O.S.N. Co., bought the Baker line out. The relics of the first tramway, built in Eastern Washington were at the portage from the lower to upper Cascades some 6 or 8 miles long, the motive power, a big white mule, the rails were 4x4 and 16 feet long gained into the cross ties and wedged solid, 3 feet gauge. It would take about one week to get from Portland to Walla Walla, that is what Wm. Kohlhof told me. There were some soldiers coming to fort Walla Walla, he being the cook for the outfit.
About 1870 Dr. D.S. Baker got a franchise to build a railroad from Wallula to Walla Walla, 32 miles, it being the first road to attempt to open up the garden spot of the coast, what few people there were laughed at him and told him he was cra- zy, everybody that put any money into it would lose out. I have heard the old man tell it
|over and again but he had faith, the company was formed,
it was called the Walla Walla and Columbia river railroad.
In 1871 Dave Small took a gang of men up in the Cascades to get timber and drive down the Yakima, another gang was putting piers at the mouth of the river to make a boom. After Dave had been in the mountains some time Uncle Sam came along and run him off so he had to abandon the Cascades, then he went up the Clearwater and got the timber, driving it down the Snake to Homily Rapids on the Columbia river, there it was boomed and sawed up into different materials for building a wooden railroad, all iron material came from the East around Cape Horn in sailing vessels, to either San Francisco or Portland. It was up hill business to get from Portland to Walla Walla, if a passenger you would take boat in Portland for the lower Cascades, then transfer to a narrow gauge railroad, and ride six miles, then take the boat on the middle river to The Dalles, then take the odd gauge 5 feet 1 inch, 13 miles to Celilo, then take the boat far up river landing, it going to Wallula, the fare was $14, it took two days then your feed. Everything up or down the river had the same transfers to make. The franchise had about run out, it was impossible to place an order for a small batch of light rails in the United States in 1872.
|(April 16, 1909)
The Railroad Company was obliged to try and operate the road, the old O.S.N. Co. was bucking. Dr. Baker always proved too smart for them, hence the old rawhide road rails were 16 feet long 4x6 joined into the ties and wedged, then a strap of iron about 2 inches wide by 1/4 to 3/8 inches thick turned down at each end, holes drilled and counter sunk and spiked into end of rails, each piece had 3 to 5 holes drilled and counter sunk and spiked on top of rails. The first genuine iron rails were shipped from Frisco, they weighed 18 lbs per yard, there were 2 miles bought to lay the worst bridges with. In these days rolling mills were not as plentiful as at present. There was the Jay Cooke panic in 1873. The first 30 miles of iron rails came from Wales and weighed 29 lbs per yard cost $100 per ton laid down in Wallula. All lengths from 12 to 20 feet long, scarcely any two same length.
The first locomotives were the old Walla Walla and Wallula and weighed 7 tons each had 28 inch drivers and saddle tanks which carried 250 gallons of water, the car capacity was 7 tons for flat and 8 tons for box cars, the first wheels and axles were turned in the East, then shipped around Cape Horn and put together on the banks of the Columbia, about 2 miles above old Wallula at the old saw mill. Each wheel and axle had a key seat cut in them and keyed on, there being no wheel presses here
|those days. The first 16 miles from Wallula to Touchet were laid with the wooden rails and strap iron doubled. The old rawhide railroad company had to make a showing or lose their charter, the whole lower country was after Dr. Baker, there was lots of fun. Starting out from Wallula for the front with 2 or 3 cars you always wanted to be sure you had your blankets and camp outfit, for when night overtook them they camped, the Dr. said, days were to work and nights to sleep. He always claimed railroading was dangerous at all times. I worked on the road 3 years and only worked one night. When the gang commenced to lay track a crew and dinky starting out would maybye make Warners or Gid Cummings, Grecian Bend, Pambrum Curve, Buckleys Cabin, Wine Canyon or Hotel De Bum, these were the noted places. The first 7 miles, if they had luck they might get back the same day, other times you would be jogging along and see a black spot in the distance, stop go and see what it was, find a broken rail, if you had none with you, go back of your train, take one out, fix up and go ahead. If you got off the track, all hands get busy getting blocking and levers, go to prying her up, on again and go ahead. We didn't bother sending for the wrecker or even get the frogs from the caboose as we had neither, it was counted lucky to only get off once or twice during the day's running.|
|(April 23, 1909)
On the wooden rail for a while the grain of the wood, would begin to work loose, then the rawhide or strap iron as it was called, would come in play, the iron would work loose and roll around the tread of the wheel, the next thing it would be through the car floor or roof as the case might be.
The first pilot or cowcatcher was a pole with a sharp spike in the end and nailed on the buffer plank, it did very well and there was not much danger no matter how fast she was running when you shut off the throttle, she would stop in her own length. The next was a scotch collie, he would drive the stock a quarter of a mile or so away then sit down and wait for the train to come along. The two dinky engines and 10 or 12 cars were all the rolling stock, till the road got to Whitman station, there the engine shed and car shops were built. The wooden rail reached the Touchet River in 1874, that was as far as the old rawhide run, after that the iron rails commenced to arrive, they came around Cape Horn from Wales to Portland, then up the Columbia River, the frieght rate from Portland to Walla Walla was $30 per ton cubical capacity, or dead weight in which there was more for the company. The railroad company had one half rates or $12.50 per ton from Portland to Wallula, their freight all came dead weight because it would weigh more than it would measure. In 1875 the road reached Whitman station 5
|miles west of Walla Walla. The people in and around Walla Walla
subscribed $25,000 toward building the road into Walla Walla, some subscriptions
were paid in spuds, carrots, turnips, grain and others cash. The
4th day of July 1876 the road was opened to Walla Walla. In the mean
time engine No. 3 named Columbia and a few more cars arrived.
The three engines combined weighed 25 tons. That fall some of the
people wanted to hang Dr. Baker, on account of freight rates. It
cost $4.50 per ton and 25 cents at either end for loading or transferring
as the case might be, $6 from Wallula to Portland. Before the road
was opened it cost from $9 to $14 per ton for
same haul by wagon. Walla Walla was the main center for all the country east of the Columbia, all mail came by stage. At one time there were 12 or 14 stage lines leaving the city, in fact the city was the largest in the territory, east or west, in population about 2,500. Spokane Falls was on the map, also Tacoma and Seattle when the river froze the goats tied up till spring, also the railroad in those days. Ten cents was the smallest change, all gold and silver. Greenbacks were discounted 10 cents on the dollar north of San Francisco. The dime was called the short bit, in 1882 the nickels began to get in circulation, then the country began to dwindle till finally the pennies, then it was gone altogether.
|(April 30, 1909)
The harvest of 1876 was beginning to show what the great Walla Walla valley could do, that was all the country anyone knew much about, most everything else was range, the home of the cayuse, cattle, buckaroos or broncho busters. The first farming done, outside the valley was on the creeks and rivers, the hills were counted worthless. The Railroad Co. had got together three dinkeys or engines, combined weight 25 tons and some 35 cars, the steamboat company had three steamers on the Upper Columbia and Snake rivers, each boat carried 150 to 175
tons in a good stage of water, each boat would make 3 roundtrips per week from Celilo to Wallula, the old town on the bank of the river. There the road connected with the boats. The first person to get pinched or seriously hurt was Ed. S. Babb, he lost the middle finger of his left hand, the next was Ed. Cartwright, who lost the forefinger of his fight hand about six weeks afterward.
The year of 1877 was an eventful one, in the spring the Nez Perces went on the war path, the people of Frisco were up in arms, tried to persuade everyone to not go up the coast, Oregon or Washington was nothing but Siwashes, we came up anyway leaving
on the good old rocking chair, George W. Elder, the first iron steamship to ply between Frisco and Portland. There being two ships on the run the other was the old wooden tub Ajax, always breaking down, they were
|owned by the Oregon Steamboat Co., boats were not as plentiful
those days as now. We left Frisco on Wednesday, arrived at Portland
on Sunday, on Monday morning at 7 a.m., we left for The Dalles. We
came up the lower Columbia to the lower Cascade then transferred to narrow
gauge portage road six mile ride, then took the middle river boat to The
Dalles, arrived at 5 p.m., stayed all night, after breakfast took The Dalles,
Celilo portage road, 13 miles gauge 5 feet 1 inch, then took the upper
river boat the old Almota for Wallula, arrived at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
June 1877 commenced to work on the road at Touchet, firing the Wallula No. 2, on work train, Charley Bradbury engineer, John Carr Conductor, brakeman and foreman white men, laborers chinks, some days we had eight, others up to sixteen, there were four men to a car, the run was four miles each way, some days we made two trips, others three or four, the water tank was a big square box 1500 gallons capacity, raised on a frame, an endless chain of buckets carried the water up from the Touchet river, old man Hatch turned the crank, our engine tank held 250 gallons, sometimes we formed a bucket brigade and watered up from the river. Wages for fireman and laborers $35 per month and board, Sundays overtime. Engineers on work train $75 per month and board, Sundays overtime. We used stove wood each engine carried an axe to split the big pieces.
|(May 7, 1909)
We used all kinds of wood, birch, alder, cotton wood, in fact anything we could get, the shovellers were all white men, about 20. The Nez Perces were on the war path, one evening a couple of cow boys rode into camp and said two buckaroos came in and reported 200 Indians four miles back, camped for the night. There we were, not a gun nor revolver and scarcely a good jack knife in camp. All the settlers pulled for Walla Walla except Robert Cumming's family and they slept in the grass. We kept steam up all night ready to pull out, put out pickets in the draw up the river, don't think anyone slept much that night, the mosquitos were something to talk about, we had to build smudges out of green sage brush, was afraid to let it blaze as it would give us away. In the morning bright and early we got a couple of bronchos and saddles out of Paddy Burns barn, two of the boys rode into the hills, were gone about one and a half hours, came back laughing, told us they found one half dozen squaws and papooses herding 200 head of Indian ponies, that was the nearest we came to seeing the Indians. The Siwash don't fight nights or travel without he is pushed.
All our white men quit and went up the valley haying, har- vesting and hauling grain. Wages were better and labor scarce, the laborers followed the geese those days, some went to Portland, others to Frisco to winter. After the river froze up there was nothing doing till it opened in the spring.
|During the spring and summer of 1877, all roads leading to Walla Walla from Oregon, California, Kelton, Winnemucca, in fact all south of the Snake river were lined with prairie schooners going up the Russel Creek about twelve miles east of Walla Walla to see the young Christ, he was a boy about 10 or 12 years of age, by the name of Davis, they were the long haired people or Joseph Smith Mormons, the men didn't shave or cut their hair, there was a colony of them. Towards fall the diphtheria was very bad around Walla Walla and vicinity, the disease got the best of him, his death broke them up, his father was the leader, so the Josephites scattered. Dr. Baker lost 3 or 4 little children the same fall, in fact, all but one, and that one he sent to Wallula, she stopped with Johnnie Hills family, the disease was very fatal that fall. After the white men quit, the company hired about fifty Chinks or Chinamen. The last part of July the grain began to roll, the work train was pulled off, Hancock was running the Columbia or No. 3 during the summer months, they made half a trip or 32 miles six days per week, on Sunday they doubled the road. The first of August, Hancock's fireman Henry Chase, was set up and I took his place. The company put in a Y. at Divide on the old summit the last Friday, August 31. The first big railroad accident, occurred about one-half mile west of the summit, the key worked out of a wheel the wheel worked back on the axle and caused the wheel to drop on the ties.|
|(May 14, 1909)
The bridge was 40 feet high over a dry gulch, the gulch was full of great boulders. In those days things were different in the cabs then now, on coming to a down grade, the fireman or tallow pot as he was called, would go out on the running board and pilot and oil the valves when the engineer would shut off. We did not have any sight feed or oil cups in cab, it was go out hail, rain or shine. This certain day I had oiled the one on my side was crossing over the engineers side when he called for brakes, I saw slivers flying like
tedding hay of old, he threw her wide open, broke coupling pin between first and second car, we ran about 1/2 mile before we stopped, as the grade was near 90 feet to the mile I could not see anything as the bluff was too high and on a curve, when I got back in the cab, I says, "What is the matter Johnnie?" he said, Oh Jack we have killed old Ben", that was the conductor, he said the whole train was in the gulch, the bridge had given way I said "What about the balance", there was Jimmie Hayes, Jim Murray, half breed Andy and two strangers riding outside, one of Sig Schwabacker's clerks laying in 3rd car back of engine, he happened to be loaded, was on his way to Frisco, the brakemen were Tom Flynn and Ed. McEvoy, seven cars went down, another had it's back broken, we had 16 in train, no caboose, they were not in fashion those days. Ben said he remembered
|running over top of train as it was falling but did not remember how he got on ground, he was riding on second car from engine, everybody broke in those days, air brakes had not got West yet, the first 8 cars were box, Ed McEvoy was in the middle, started back and Tom Flynn ahead putting brakes on and saved part of the train, all hands were on terrafirma when we got back, the half breed was about 300 feet away, up the draw, he was the only one out of six that knew how they got down, Siwash fashion he had a big overcoat on buttoned up tight, he said he flopped his wings like a rooster and jumped off the top of box car making 50 feet, came out alright head a little sick, he said. We dug the man out from among the wheat he was in, in the box car, he had a little scratch on his right shin about 1 1/2 inches long the only injury in the gang. It was and is a conundrum how so many could go down in a wreck and no one get hurt, one thing we were running very slow, we had doubled the hill and just started down, it was two miles to Nine Mile water tank, average 80 feet to mile and pretty crooked, if we got past could not back up, it was no trick to make a stop, it was all hands braking in the West those times, we never thought of cutting off, the fireman would put tank brake on to stop an engine only in very extreme cases was ruled out, meant a lay off or fire if caught doing it. Each man took pride in his engine.|
|(May 21, 1909)
The first word Ben said was, "Jack has got his dream." About two weeks before there were five of us sleeping in cots in Henry Chase's building in Wallula, the room being long, I had the north bed and Ben the south, I dreamed we went through a big bridge, in getting away I ran over Ben, he hollered, Murder, I came in contact with the wall skinned my face and blackened my left eye. When we had a light and kind of patch-
ed me up Ben said, "is anyone hurt" I said "yes me", I saw it just as it looked, after things had settled, several persons were standing around kind of bewildered. When we got back with the engine and car Hancock said old Ben was alright, we expected to find all hands killed or crippled, we looked the wreck over, then gathered ourselves together, loaded all hands on the one car and pulled for Wallula. We found Buckley down the road aways, he had a few men working on the joint, he guarded the wreck till morning, the Railroad Company did not have any telegraph line, the O.S.N. Co. had the only line, it run from Portland to Walla Walla, one wire, Ben reported to the head office, the Dr. happened to be in the telegraph office at the time the news arrived, the first thing he asked, "Is anyone hurt," was told no and he said, "all hands go to bed."
|Next morning we gathered up all the men, carpenters and timbers and left at 6:30, they got the road open Tuesday, had two trains of wheat for Wallula, the Steamboat Co sent up a terrible howl, two boats had to leave light. After we got things straightened out the road run in two divisions, we had the big engine No. 3, made two round trips from Walla Walla to the Summit, 20 miles each way or 80 miles for a day's run, if we made any more we got overtime, the dinkeys made two round trips from Wallula to Summit, 12 miles each way or 48 miles for a days run, any more was overtime. Firemen and brakemen's pay was $2 per day, would board at company section houses. Board was $15 per month for railroad men. The Railroad Company made the Boat Company squeal in two or three weeks, they would not receive any more wheat or down freight. The old man Dr. Baker had a few teams, he put them to hauling material from his dump at Dudley's to Walla Walla, to build cars to replace the ones wrecked. Frank Harris, the boss machinist, went on a drunk for a couple of weeks after the wreck, he blamed himself for the trouble, when he sobered up he quit the first lathe to turn iron used in Eastern Washington. Harris made it out of saw mill machinery, he could do all kinds of light work.|
|(May 28, 1909)
Harris used the old white mule in a tread power to run the lathe, in those days machinery was made to wear not sell. We had great times those days, there were no such thing as upper tens and lower class, every one's door was open and the latch string outside. After Fred Harris quit and the wreck cleared up we did not have any wrecking outfit, the trucks and whole car bodies were lifted out with block and tackle. The first train to cross the bridge after fixing was the two dinkeys and their trains of about 50 tons each. On September 4, we had a new machinist by the name of Wilson, he was a fine mechanic, he did not stay long, he wanted to handle the men, that is to hire and discharge, the Dr. could not see it that way, he said he would attend to that part, the lathe was too much for Mr. Wilson, Granny was his nick name, he stayed about 3 months then returned to Sacramento. His brother was Master Mechanic on the Central Pacific.
After the rush was over Johnnie Hancock got to be machinist. Henry Chase took his engine. One crew was doing the work, the water was getting low in the river, the dinkeys were laid off. During the fall, one of the country's greatest statesmen visited Walla Walla, Hon. Charles Summer, he gave us a little speech at the Summit on his return, there was quite a few of us, three train crews, two or three section crews, several
|cattlemen and their families, he spent several days in the valley and was very much impressed with the country. He said the valley was the garden spot of the Pacific Coast. In those days it was impossible to get the grain out in the fall, there were great piles out all winter some were covered and some not, the warehouses were all full. The river closed about the holidays, the Boat Company had to do some work on the boats, ice only formed about 50 feet from the shore. We were only laid off 3 weeks, the water was very low 100 tons was a big load, the Snake was too low to navigate till the spring raise. The rapids have had lots of work done on them, private and national. It has always heen a great trouble to get any appropriations. John H. Mitchell, State Senator of Oregon, did more for us than all our territorial delegates, he staid with us through thick and thin, we have done a trifle better since becoming a state. California and Oregon must always have the lion's share. P.B. Johnson, editor of the Walla Walla Union dubbed Portland "the fresh water seaport on the creek" Frisco and Portland held on like grim death to a dead nigger, they got the cream we got the milk. When the boats began to run again one train a day of 14 cars would keep all the tonnage they could handle. There were only 3 boats during the year 1878. The Annie Faxon was built also a large wharf boat to be used at Wallula.|
|(June 4, 1909)
In those days things were a great deal different than now, the government hauled a great deal of their freight from Kelton and Boise, it was counted nothing to see 8 or 10 16-mule teams in a train, each team had a trail, all drove with the Jerk lline, I have been in the Blue Mountains and watched them come down the old Meacham road, in places it would have puzzled me to drive one span and keep the grade, let alone 8 span and trail, it was fun to watch those mules jump the chain back and forth. The merchants had a great deal of freight come by Kelton and hauled by wagon to Walla Walla, 8 horses usually on one wagon and trail, it was a fine sight to see 15 or 20 teams in a string with now and then a 6 or 8 horse Rocker Box or Concord stage coach, loaded to the guards with passengers, baggage, express and mail, roads wern't as plentiful as now, some were built by the Territories others by the Government, others by private capital and were toll roads, there was considerable packing done. There was a pack train at Fort Walla Walla, it was fun to see the packers throw the diamond hitch and load up 20 to 50 bronchos in one train. A great many prospectors and miners would winter in Walla Walla, the start out in the spring after the grass got large enough for the animals to live on, Walla Walla was the outfitting point till you would get to
|Lewiston, everything was freighted for the government to Forts Sherman,
Colville and Chelan. Fort Walla Walla was the distributing point,
in fact Walla Walla was the distributing point for all the country north
to the British line and east to Fort Missoula. The government built
the Mullen road from Walla Walla to Missoula also the Fort Colville road
in early days.
Early in the spring of 1878 Sig Schwabachers wheat warehouse collapsed, he made a proposition to the Railway Company to let him have 6 or 8 cars per day he paying $6 per ton while the regular tariff was $4.50 and transfer, all went well for a few days then the other shippers caught on and said they could pay fast freight rates just as well as Sig, so each shipper got two cars each, some days we had 12 others 14 and 16 cars to the train just owing to the boats, half of the train was fast freight the other half was slow, all went on the same boat, it was comical, the company was alright the grain buyers were themselves to blame for the raise.
All the salt meats used were shipped from Frisco, a great many eggs and butter, everything was given up to wheat, it was not an uncommon sight to go on a big ranch and not see one chicken or any other stock except the horses, things have changed since those days.
|(June 18, 1909)
In the spring of 1878 the Moses Indians went on the war path, their first depredation was to murder Mr. and Mrs. Lockwood in the Yakima Country, they were very nice people. I laid off for a couple of weeks borrowed Mrs. Hancock's pony and took a trip in the valley, one day we got on the side of the mountains close to Mr. Lizimby's, the people could see me from Walla Walla through the field glasses and took me for a Siwash, each night there were signal lights out showing there were Indians around, in my travels I did not run across any. I went twelve miles east up Russell Creek, had dinner with Mr. Russell and family, then down Cottonwood to John Hood's place, stopped over night with him, next day I visited Sandy Camer-
on's and Mr. McPhea's families, then ate dinner with Shorty Nutshall, in the afternoon took Dr. Blalock's big ranch in, stopped overnight with Yancy, now Dr. Y.C. Blalock. The ranch was twelve miles south of Walla Walla, in Oregon, stayed most all day, after getting away I was fooling along not noticing the sun, met Mr. Swift gassed with him awhile, intended making Mr. Hood's for the night. Mr. Swift told me by going across his pasture and summer fallow it was two miles with three gates to open and four miles by the road, everything went smooth till the last gate in shutting the gate my cayuse left me, had to walk one mile
|found him at Mr. Hood's that is the beauty of a Siwash cayuse, where night overtakes them they are at home, don't know any certain range, like range horses. Got back again to Whitman station and didn't lose my scalp. Before going to work again Mc Kenzie and myself went to Walla Walla and hired a rig of Tom Tierney on Sunday and drove out to Mrs. Kitchen's to see Sadie and her chum, after tea we returned to Walla Walla everyone was up in arms and excited, the Siwash's were about to swoop down on the town and massacre everybody. The boys were rigging up as volunteers and wanted us to join, we asked where our cayuses were, oh you will have to furnish your own and provisions, gun and ammunition, we told them we had not lost any Siwash's and would try and look out for our own scalps, we hit for the depot and got two loaded cars off the warehouse track and dropped down the grade to Whitman five miles away. That was the way we railroad men did when we would get left in Walla Walla. The trains were all let down by the train crew to Whitman, the engine sheds, car shops and Y were there, I have seen all the train but two cars run down during the night, we left at a certain hour, we would have the engine turned and ready and the cars coupled by the time the crew came down, the grade was 60 feet to the mile for six miles.|
|(June 11, 1909)
After going back to work one day in Wallula we received a message to gather up all the women and children and take them to Walla Walla, the Indians were reported to be between the mouth of the Snake and Wallula. We took up about 200 people, there were about 100 left. They were barricaded on the big wharf boat and would not go. We had orders to run as fast as possible and when we arrived at Walla Walla there were about 150 regular soldiers and two gattling guns ready to load up. I tell you there was something doing. We had six or seven box cars and two flats, they being the only coaches we had.
Everything was hurry on going into Wallula. The men had dug rifle pits; one sentry was walking the beat, gun on one shoulder, lantern in the other hand, prettiest shot you ever saw. We put the train on incline, took the engine to the shed; after wooding up returned to the beach and looked on while the soldiers loaded one gattling gun on the steamboat, North West, the other on the Spokane.
When we looked around not an ounce of ammunition either for gattlings or soldiers; all they had the men had in their belts; then the excitement commenced. Hurry get the engine and take the balance of the people with us to Walla Walla and return with the ammunition, it being left on the platform. The soldiers had the wharf boat for quarters. At break of day a squad put out to look for Siwashes, on returning reported they went south late the evening before, crossed the Walla Walla river at Pamarun
|grade about five miles east of Wallula, heading for the Blue Mountains,
and broke up into small bunches. The boats patrolled the Columbia
and Snake rivers. The pilot houses were lined with sacks of wool;
after the war was over they looked like sieves, all shot full of holes;
they didn't happen to get either captain. They did not like the pepper
boxes when one was turned loose; there were lots of good Indians made by
them. The Indians didn't fear the regular troops, they were afraid
of the volunteers; they fought them in their own fashion and showed them
no quarters, never taking any prisoners. A family by the name of
Chamberlain living on the Snake, had a little girl by the name of Effie.
The brutes cut the end of her tongue off; it got well but made her lisp
for two or three years. The last time I saw her she said she was
glad it wasn't her scalp. They were pretty bad around Umatilla; the
people went into the old Hudson Bay dobie buildings built in 1822 and 3.
One excitable boy fooling with a gun on the third day of July, discharged
it shooting Captain Smith's daughter in the thigh shattering the bone,
causing the limb to be amputated. We took her up to Walla Walla on
the evening of the 4th.
There were a great many renegades among the Umatillas, who as a tribe were friendly, only for them, the government would not have gotten either Chief Joseph or Moses. About harvest time the war was over and things quieted down. The Siwashes got blamed for what the renegade whites did - lots of deviltry.
|(June 25, 1909)
The year 1878 was an eventful one for Eastern Washington. Early in the spring Lang & Co., large stockmen of Kansas City, were here during the round up, bought two large herds of cattle, during the summer drove them to western Nebraska to fatten for the eastern markets. Three and four year old steers were worth from $7.50 to $10.00 each; a good cow and calf $10. The Boat and Railroad companies were at loggerheads. The Railroad co. had surveyors in the field between Wallula and Puget Sound. Captain Ainsworth, president of the O.S.N. Co.,
took a trip to Europe to raise some money to build a railroad from Umatilla to Walla Walla via Pendleton. Sim Reed was vice president, General Sprague superintendent. As soon as the Captain left, the cutting and slashing begun in both wages and grub. Each boat had a bill of fare posted in the cook's galley. Butter, eggs, pie and cake were cut out; then there was a heavy cut in wages. Most all the deck hands, firemen and some engineers quit or tendered their resignations. The heads got scared and persuaded the boys to work till they could hear from the Captain. A cablegram came from him to the men direct telling them to keep working till he returned. On his return he paid all back salary and tore down the bill of fare telling the stewards the best was none too good, he had decked on the Mississippi himself. On his return he bought some rolling stock, one engine 18 ton weight, some 60 cars, three or four coaches and 35 miles of
|33 pound Cambia steel rails. About the same stockholders were
in the Kansas Pacific K.P., Holiday roads in Oregon, O.S.N. Co., and N.P.R.R.
at that time
The N.P. owned within 13 shares of one-half of O.S.N. Co. stock. The R.R. company was getting busy; they sent Dave Small up Clearwater river with a gang of men to get a big drive of timbers down on the rise of water. The Railroad company was threatening to build to the sound or put a line of boats on the river. Portland was afraid of Dr. Baker he would have gone to Astoria with his boats as time will tell. I was sick for two or three weeks just before harvest, laid off in Walla Walla. Before going to work again took a run in the valley to see where the grain came from, landed at John Hood's, six miles south near Oregon line. They were cutting circle in an 80 acre piece of wheat. Mr. Lizimby's machine was to do the threshing from header. I learned through the evening the first fifty bushels threshed in the morning was to go to H.P. Issac's flour mill in Walla Walla to be made into flour and brought home again. We were to have biscuits made out of it for supper. It was to be hauled be two horses each way. Supper was on time at six o'clock; that was pretty good for the old fashioned burrs and water mill. The field of grain made 40 bushels to the acre. I ran the engine all day; it took two days to cut and thresh it. Dr. Blalock Sr. had 3000 acres in one field which made 40 bushels per acre. I found out where the wheat came from that we hauled.
|(July 2, 1909)
During the summer the R.R. Company received two new engines and some car wheels. Everything came around Cape Horn in sailing vessels. After wheat hauling got well under way. Dr. Baker, ex-Governor Miles C. Moore, H.P. Isaacs and a few others, chartered a sailing vessel to load at Astoria with Eastern Washington Territory wheat and flour for the United Kingdom. They also chartered an engine and 14 cars and a line of boats to Lower Cascades and barges from there to Astoria, to haul cargo from Walla Walla. It was fun to hear the howl that Portland set up about the audacity of the Walla Walla people sending stuff out to the world and she losing the credit. Heretofore everything was credited to the Williamette Valley and Portland. By going to Astoria direct it left Portland 12 miles up the creek, hence the world knew that Washington Territory was on the map. After that Walla Walla grains were shipped to Frisco.
In due time the vessel cleared for Cork for orders. It proved to be a successful undertaking all around. I received a letter from the folks in England telling me father had been down to Liverpool and bought some of H.P. Isaac's flour. Portland was afraid of Dr. Baker, they did not want an opposition line of boats. The U.P. did not want a railroad to the Sound, hence it was uphill business to get money. Oregon was fighting Walla Walla, Frisco, the Sound. The Doctor made a trip to Portland and on
|his return his only regret was he was not 40 instead of 60 years of
age. He was a scrapper when he took a notion. There were several
trips made by the Oregon Steam Navigation Company's officials during the
fall to Walla Walla, taking in the situation. After the harvest rush
was over the Railroad Company had several surveys run, trying to do away
with the Summit Hill. The one adopted was the Divide cutoff, 3 to
16 feet deep, three-fourths mile long. It was taken out by No. 2
shovels by chinks. At that time the steam paddies had not got West
yet. The two little dinkie engines and six cars each with from 50
to 75 Chinamen to each crew. The dirt was used to fill up the string
of trestles. My bro- ther run one engine, myself fireman, John Carr
China herder; Henry Lacy the other engineer, Mike Sheridan the herder.
We had fun till cold weather wet in then we laid off six weeks. I
tell you it was cold, 40 below some of the time. The herder and fireman
were the train crew.
It was very hot during the summer, no winter in 1877 and 78. No ice put up; there was none in the country up or down the river. When we were hauling wheat; in the evening at Wallula a couple of us would get a skiff and a dozen or so of buckets and row across the Snake into the Columbia and get a cool drink. It was clear as crystal and cold as ice water while the Snake was muddy and warm. The two rivers run side by side, 13 miles before they mix.
|(July 9 1909)
During the low water in the Snake the light draught boats, Northwest and Spokane, plied between Celilo and Lewiston and sometimes turned at Wallula. The last trip the Spokane was making to Celilo to go on the ways, there was trouble between Mike Whalen and the China cook near Umatilla Rapids. The Chink called Mike an American *****; with that the Chink hit the deck and hollered murder. Big Sandy, the mate, ran down and stopped the fracas. The Chink being a pet with the skipper, Baughman, he being at the wheel headed to the Washington shore and stopped, ran out the gang plank and ordered Mike ashore. He asked for some money which was refused. It was against navigation laws to put anyone ashore away from habitation, which there was none for miles. The captain went into the pilot house and got an old muzzle loading rifle, came down on deck with the gun laying over his left arm, right hand on trigger, and said: "Where is the man that wont go ashore?" Sandy said: "I am going sir." Just then the gun was discharged hitting Mike in the forehead, the bullet going clear through his head and lodging in the upper works of the boat. The blood stains were there, paint and scrapings would not erase them. The company finally removed the planks.
There were several mock trials at the Dalles, the chief witnesses gave straw bail
|then jumped the country. It finally wound up as mutiny.
Mike was a favorite with all from Frisco up the coast to Portland and on
all the navigable rivers that centered in Portland. The captain was
cleared by law, but we had our doubts.
Towards fall the captain was assigned to the boat Annie Faxon; she was run to Wallula. His first crew refused to go on her when they found out who was skipper. Finally they found a crew; everything went smooth till the landing was made at the Wallula wharf boat. The crew struck. The boat company tried to hire the wharf rats but not one would push a truck; they said they were working for the railroad company. There was a bunch of Chinks brought but they left quicker than they came. Things were beginning to look serious; the men would have hung Capt. Eph. Baughman if they had found him. He was hid under a billiard table. About the only friend he had was T.J. Perkins of the Rescue hotel, who got him out and put out into the river in a skiff. Then Jeff Peabody, the company's agent, hired a train to go to Walla Walla and get the sheriff and some deputies. There was not any night running on the road if possible; we were standing on main track 1 mile from siding, 11 miles from Wallula. Our side tracks were not finished; so to push us to siding they put a flat car of lumber ahead of their engine to couple us or there would have been two pilots together.
|(July 16, 1909)
In going through Wine Canyon the train hit a white horse. J.J. McAuliff or Jerry he was known by, was riding the car. He was pinched between car and pilot. Everyone thought there was no chance for him, but the Oregon Steam Navigation Co. and Railroad Co., done all they could and spared no expense and he came out O.K. in the end; it was a close shave. He was the first train man to be hurt very bad.
When the work started up in the fall orders were issued against taking any booze out with us under penalty of dismissal. Rattlesnakes and coyotes were plentiful so in case of need myself and partners took a quart bottle of Frank Stone's best. Pard was in Walla Walla and had the key to trunk when the train reached us. Johnnie Hill rushed into camp and wanted to know if there was any liquor; if so he would like to get some. He was asked about the orders. Orders, ******** it's whiskey we want. I just came in from seeing Jerry, had a sledge hammer to break the trunk, Johnnie watching the prefor- mance. I dug the bottle up; it had not had the cork pulled yet. I gave
| it to him and he said he would send some back in place of it,
which he did the next day by partner Ed. Johnnie Hill was superintendent.
Dr. Blalock said it was the only thing saved Jerry's life.
About the first of December the weather was beginning to get pretty crimpy in the morning. Between Xmas and New Years we took the engine to Whitman to have some work done and have the boiler washed out then returned to camp. It had commenced to snow on the way down and was bitter cold. We were backing up and did not have the drop curtain along, so before turning the engine over to watchman we dropped down to 9 mile water tank and got a tank full for the night. The storm had turned into a blizzard. We found the water tank valve froze up, also overflow pipe on same. We tied a piece of rope to a water pail, one got on water tank and passed the water to the other on engine tank which only held 250 gallons. Some spilled in emptying the bucket, ran down on rail, and when we were ready to leave we found we were frozen to rail.
|July 23, 1909)
The engineer churned her awhile and when she did start it was with a bound. She left the rail and headed for the Walla Walla river about 100 yards away. I had just put a fire in. I says "Ed". Just then he reversed her, the throttle wide open she back tracked, we had been abut 50 feet out in the sage brush, in going back she found an ice berg formed a few feet from tank when we stopped. Before we could get away we had to flange about 200 feet of track, it was getting colder all the time. I tell you we came near freezing. My brother's fingers were frozen on both hands. I had a small sore on my bugle, did not think it amounted to much, was not sore, did not bleed half a dozen drops when hurt. The thermometer registered 40 below. The next morning we pulled into Wallula, the other crew went to Walla Walla, and took the Chinks in. The work shut down, also river and sail. We were idle 6 weeks, the river froze over, there were about 85 single fellows, the most of us stopped with Mr. Hodges at the Old Western Hotel. F.J. Perkins built a new hotel the summer before and called it the Rescue. We wanted to know why he called it the Rescue, he said he wanted to rescue the boys from the bed bugs at Cummings. It did not work. We filled the old house full,
|in the fall we had lots of dances, it was the steamboatmen's families against the railroaders and wharf rats. They thought themselves better than us, when they would have a dance at the Rescue we would let them get good and started then go and steal the girls and bribe the music and have a good time all to ourselves. Girls and music were not very plentiful those times. When we wanted a good time we would bring the girls from Dry Creek and Touchet, they could not have any select dances. When we would have a shindig at the Western, they would come and get up a seat in one end of the room all to themselves. I remember one time in particular they had a select party, us fellows being barred, we got part of the girls and some music away and had our time in the school house. Everything went swimming with them till all at once everyone went to sneezing. Two or three boys got a pan of hot coals and some red pepper and set it at bottom of dining room door, you bet they got out in fresh air. Before the next set a couple of the girls fixed the floor, don't think the bloods ever caught on, that ended the blooded parties in Wallula. It was no trick to get up a dance, one would say dance about 7:30 p.m. the ball would be rolling till about 11:30 p.m. Those were the most enjoyable days I have had in my time|
|(July 30, 1909)
When everything shut down and we got settled for the winter she was a cold and a long one. There were two saloons John Doake run one and Green Hollingsworth the other, after 10 or 12 days we went into a combination all hands at the Western, the first one caught in a saloon while we were idle was to be fined $5, never took in a fine. In a little while Doak closed up during the week opened up several Saturday nights for awhile, we formed in line and marched by twos up and down the sidewalk singing, Marching Through Georgia or Saw My Leg Off, not one entered. A gang went across the Walla Walla river a sniping, the one to hold the sack hit right off. They got a skiff and rowed across the river, the beaters started off, so did the man with the sack, he beat them to the boat and rowed back across the river leaving the beaters afoot. They had to walk to the county bridge by Gid Cummins, making about 5 miles of a walk, cold as blixen and snow on the ground. It would not do to mention sniping for some time afterwards. One of the boys named Ed. Russell was troubled with cold feet, he bought a pair of boots the leather was tanned with hair on the grain outside. The girls felt sorry for Ed. thinking to do him a good turn they put some red pepper in each boot, he did not have cold feet for a few days after. I tell you it was cold, he found out who did him the kindness and to even matters up he got some red pepper and stole into the girls bed room and put
|some in their blankets, sheets were discarded during the winter, there were two double beds in their room four girls occupying them. Only a few of the boys knew about what was going on, after awhile the girls turned in and in a little while something hit the floor with a yell, it would make you laugh to hear the expressions with the thermometer about 40 below zero. No one knew anything about it the next day. No one did it. During the winter Chief Homly of the Umatillas had a camp up at the old saw mill about 4 or 5 miles up the river, once in awhile several of the boys would hire Johnnie Hodges to haul a boat up to his camp, the gang would walk up in the evening, have a little dance and a good time till midnight, then put the skiff in the river and float down to town. All we had to do was eat and sleep during the winter. One would hear Chinook once in awhile but would prove to be a false alarm. The wind was down stream. All the office furniture got broken up, we did not have a chair or anything to sit on. A squad would make themselves some benches and a table to play cards on, when they would leave the house another gang would come in and make a good fire with them, that would save them getting wood off the beach. Everything went if you did not get caught. In the end we would get some blankets sit and play on the floor same as Siwashes. Every night at eleven o'clock Mr. Hodges and family were serenaded. We had a few good singers in the bunch, so we passed the winter of 1878 and 9.|
|(August 13, 1909)
The Columbia froze so one could walk over it. During the winter there was a man came in from the Yakima country, the wind was blowing a hurricane, the ferry boat dared not venture out. Anyone on the west side wanting to come over would holler. He was there 24 hours, he offered $10 to any one to bring him over, we made up a purse of $10 also for any one to get him, he did not suffer much as there was a cave and plenty of wood and he had some grub. There were several boys tried, the wind would blow them to shore, it was dangerous so they gave it up. After awhile a Siwash came down in a birch bark canoe, in fact there were several of them came down going to the mouth of the Walla Walla river fishing. This young buck in particular could talk good English, he said he would bring him over providing the man would agree to be tied down, he was to get our $10 providing the party would not agree to his conditions. We gave the Siwash a note telling the man the buck was O.K. After some parleying he agreed to be tied. Every one young and old was out to see the Siwash bring him over, he did not bring any thing but the man till the wind calmed which was in three or four day.
A birch bark canoe is a very frail looking craft. A man can put one under his arm and not have a very heavy load. I have carried one and had several rides in them
|but don't much fancy them. You have to sit still.
In those days there were not any inhabitants on the Wa-shington side for miles and miles. On the bank of the river two miles down from Wallula is the Oregon line, one Sunday a few of us went to the twin sister rocks and planted the stars and stripes on each, they are pinnacles of rocks one in Oregon the other in Washington, the line goes between them. The government had a little steamer built down the river called the Chelan, she tied up in Wallula for the winter. In the spring she was taken up the river to Fort Chelan to tow logs for the sawmill and for the offices use she proved to be a failure, too heavy draft, could not carry fuel to do her from one landing to another, she was lined over all the rapids up the river.
Captain Pinkston was sent up the river by the Oregon Steam Navigation Co. to explore the river, he was up 500 miles, he engaged 4 Indians, they came down in Birch bark canoes. He was gone something like one year. That is the kind of people that opened the Inland Empire for these latter day empire builders. He was nick-named Captain Hatless, always bareheaded like any Siwash. It was very enjoyable to sit and listen to him tell of the resources of the up river country. I helped to put his canoe on top of a box car, two of us put it up he had two which he took to Walla Walla and presented to his friends.
|(August 20, 1909)
About the middle of February, 1879 the chinook wind began to blow and the ice to break and run. It formed a gorge at the reef of rock just below town and was a pretty sight. I was 3-4 mile wide, 150 feet high with a base of 1/4 mile extending up river. The floes were packed in all conceivable shapes. There is a gap about 200 feet on the reef on the north side of the river where the water is deep enough to float anything in the shape of ship or vessel that floats. That is where the water of the Snake and Columbia mix. They run side by side for thirteen miles. After a hard winter breaks up, the ice goes down the river and forms a gorge at a place in the Cascades called Hell Gate. It is a narrow place in the mountains where the river broke through in days gone by. The Steam Boat Co. would take powder and open a channel so the boats could run, stocks of all kinds would begin to run low after 2 months shutdown. Once in awhile a freight train would make it through from Kelton to Walla Walla, the stages kept the road open. All our mail came by Boise and Winnemucca.
One may think things were slow but I received and read a letter from England the 14th day after being postmarked there about as good as nowadays.
I tell you these old concord coaches just sailed, as a general thing they ran closer to
|schedule than the railroads do. When the ice breaks up, the waters
begin to raise, we caught some old drift logs, some were put in the water
from the banks up stream and floated down and beached at Wallula and made
into wood. The R.R.I.S.B. Co's would buy all we could make.
A little cash came in pretty handy in early spring. Dave Small got
some of his drive down on the first raise of the Clearwater and Snake,
we had gone to work when they arrived. The fall before the Company
bought poles to put up a telephone line to Wallula, the telephone had just
got out here then. Instead of a phone line the company put men to
making ties out of the poles, ties were in very bad shape.
Pete Tully fixed up the West end and John Stafford the East end the best they could. Pete had the worst curves, Pambrun curve was 19 1/2 degree, Grecian Bend 14 degrees reverse 80 feet to mile grade and about 1/4 apart. Pete drove dead men down and put braces to hold rails to place, also had some old strap iron made into bridles and slipped on web of rail, about 3 to rail on the bad curves, anything to hold the rails in place till they could get the saw mill to running.
The Steam Boat Co. was busy hauling iron and material for a railroad from Umatilla to Walla Walla via Pendleton and Weston. They graded some miles from Umatilla.
|(August 27, 1909)
Dr. Baker and his surveyors got busy one Sunday morning bright and early and viewed a branch from Whitman station to the Blue mountains, 14 miles long, to head off the steamboat company. That being about the only pass, the railroad company beat them to it. Early Monday morning Pete Tully had a gang of men and teams throwing dirt. The steamboat company quit grading and opened negotiations, there were several trips made by Gen. Sprague, representing the Northern Pacific interests. Captain J.C. Ainsworth, Messrs. Ladd and Tilton represented the steamboat company. Things were pretty lively there for a while. We were working at the summit with two crews of Chinamen and the branch was building out of Whitman. All at once negotiations opened up in earnest. Dr. Baker took a trip to Portland, came back mad as a hornet, and said if he was only 40 instead of 60 he would open their eyes; said he would build a road to Puget Sound. Come to find out Mr. Zaynor had been out all summer before surveying a route. Colman had a narrow gauge road running from Seattle to the Black Diamond coal mines called the Columbia & Puget Sound railway.
|The N.P. and the S.B. Co. got wind of it and they got busier than ever, and finally bought six-sevenths of the railroad for $600,000. Dr. Baker holding one-seventh, the sticking point was the old rawhide, he made them pay for it. The steamboat company made him build it in the first place to save his charter. In the deal he bought their rolling stock, one engine, some 50 or 60 cars, three coaches and 30 miles of cambria steel rails and fastenings delivered in Wallula. The saw-mill was running cut ties and timber. For 16 miles all the timber they had was waiting for the June raise to drive. Pete Tully brought his gang and laid new ties and steel to Touchet, 16 miles out. The old iron was picked up and hauled to Whitman station. Dr. Blalock built a flume from Blalock mountain to Milton dump, some 20 miles. He flumed lumber, ties and wood. He was about as busy a man as there was in the Inland Empire. He also farmed from 3800 to 4000 acres, running sawmill, flume and pill bags. His flume turned out to be a white elephant and finally busted him. During the summer we found some mammoth bones which we gave to Dr. Blalock.|
|(September 3, 1909)
The cut was from one to sixteen feet deep and 3/4 of a mile long. The shovellers found the imprint of a man's foot, also a fossil fish in the solid rock, they were cut out and sent to Walla Walla. The coyotes were plenty around the camp and would make the night hideous. We tried shooting and trapping them but they were too smart of us, then we tried poisoned meat, that got some of them. Some of them must have gotten either too much or not enough for when they shed they looked like lions. The cut and fills were done about the middle of July and the iron laid thru the cut. I was set up August 1, 1879. Henry Smith was my fireman. We first worked on the train to clear up the old iron and material from nine mile to Touchet flat. About the twentieth we moved to Whitman. The wheat began to roll in. The old crews went on main line, we on construction with Pete Tully up Dry Creek canyon. Two cars of steel and one of ties was our load. The grade was 90 feet to the mile. We had a bucket brigade when we wanted water, the Chinamen would bail with 5 gallon buckets. Our water tank held 250 gallons. Lots of fun. My fireman Smith was a great rustler after fruit which was plentiful up the canyon. Mat Weeks was conductor. Every little while we would lose Smith, Mat would fire for him while he rustled. He always got the best. He did the slickest thing one Saturday when he dropped off the engine abut two miles from Geo. Sargents near an orchard where the folks were picking apples. He cabbaged 5 loaded
|sacks. The man said he didn't care for the
apples but he would like the sacks returned,
which he did with a few extras added. After the harvest was over the company hired for- ty or fifty white men to work in place of the chinks. The meanest man that lived in the canyon had a nice melon patch. He would neither give nor sell us a melon. He and his family went to Pendleton one Friday. The gang found it out, some eight or ten visited the patch that night about two dozen fine melons came into camp and were cached in a culvert. Smith found the cache and made a new one, the boys did not get a smell or a taste. They never did find out what became of them.
Early in October the Northern Pacific broke ground at Ainsworth for the Ponderay division 228 miles to Sand Point, Idaho. Messrs. Harkness and Morrison took a contract to get out ties and timbers for the N.P. They took a gang of men and an outfit into the Cascade mountains. Some of the men were out 14 months. It was a big undertaking and it busted them in the end. The railroad company had to take the contract and saw mill off their hands. When they got the drive down to the mouth of the Yakima and boomed the men tied up the drive. I was running an engine, Bill Barnes conductor, we took General Sprague from Wallula to Walla Walla between two days and got $75,000 in gold out of the Baker and Boyer Bank. It was put on a steamboat and brought to Wallula where it was put on a steamboat and taken to Ainsworth to pay the men off. Greenbacks didn't go those days.
|(September 17, 1909)
In October 1879 the Northern Pacific started grading at Ainsworth to hold their land grant. They had to have 25 miles graded by January 1, 1880. They bought 20,000 narrow gauge ties from Drs. Baker and Blalock. Bill Huff hauled most of them from Milton dump. Every day Pete could spare us we took a load to Wallula, 8 or 9 cars was a train load. They were put on an incline and loaded on a steam boat and taken to Ainsworth. The first engine to run out of Ainsworth was the old 1 spot the Ottertail by name. The first engine the Northern Pacific bought they run on the east end, then they shipped her and a sister engine was brought around the horn to Kalama. This one was called the Minnetonka. They weighed 14 tons each. That was late in 1870 or early in 1871. Kalama was headquarters for the Northern Pacific on the Pacific Coast in those days. That was where Jay Cooke started the N.P. east. He intended going to Bellingham Bay, they got as far as Media, 20 miles south of Tacoma on the old main line, then the crash came. Lots of people remember the Jay Cooke failure in 1873. I know I do. Many men lost a great deal of money in various ways. The contractors and men and what few people there were got together and graded the road to Commencement Bay. That is the way Tacoma got the N.P. The company had the material to lay the track that was the way the men got some of their money in the years to come. The company paid up all their obligations.
The Northern Pacific charter was a great
|instrument, full of riders, one in particular in regard to the rails,
they had to be American steel. Anyone my age knows that steel rolling
mills were not very numerous
back in the 60's and 70's. That rider was put on by the Union Pacific lobby in congress. Refer to Congressional record from 1866 to 69. If there is such a thing as an empire builder Jay Cooke is the father of them all. The company dragged along building as fast as they could out of the earnings. Money was not as plentiful then as now.
The first engineer to run out of Ainsworth was Len Curtis. The first conductor Geary. The first iron, old chair iron. Fuel was shipped from the Sound up the river and was very scarce. We used drift wood and anything we could pick up. The fireman had an ax to chop his wood up with to get it into the fire box. Nothing was thot of it. If the fire went out they would stop and all hands get out and rustle sage brush to start a new one. One trip she died and the crew found some old lumber from a grading outfit. Geary who was very excitable was holding up wood for the fireman to split, he forgot to take his hand away one trip and lost one finger and had two others cut badly. What he said wouldn't look well in print.
Fredrick Ballings was President of the road, Gen. Spra-
gue, general manager with headquarters at Tacoma. Mr. Harris grading contractor, Stevens Bros. track layers. The company appropriated $2,000,000 for the division, 228 miles Ainsworth to Sandpoint, Idaho.
|(October 1, 1909)
Henry Villard had just wound up the receivership of the Halliday roads in the Willamette valley and begun to branch out. He formed the O.R.& N. Co. out of the O.S.N Co. then bought the Scotch roads and formed several other subsidiary companies with headquarters at Portland. Up to this time there were only two steamships plying between Portland and San Francisco, the old Geo. W. Elder and the Ajax, the company was called the Oregon Steamship Co. Every little while there would be an opposition boat on the route. The great Republic was about the last. She was an old wooden tub and her bones are bleaching just below Astoria on the Washington side of the river. When she went down I and some others lost our clothing and watches but as we had insurance we came out O.K. Sam Lesser of Walla Walla bought the things for us in Frisco.
In the winter of 79 and 80 The O.S.N. and the Walla Walla & Columbia River railroads were merged into the O.R.& N. Co. We were about thru blasting on the Blue Mountain branch by the last of September. I got a larger engine and we moved to Wine Canyon and commenced to widen cuts so as to get the coaches over the road. We were getting tony, had three Harlan & Hollingsworth coaches. We worked until the holidays then everything froze up and the river closed. We all wintered in Walla Walla. There were about 80 of us put up with Ab. Small at the Stine House. The Ward & Cleave Opera Co. stayed in Walla Walla and played in Fagan's
|opera house. After the play, thro by daylight or bust the boiler,
someone in the audience yelled "plug her Sockeye". That was my brother's
nickname. A gang of us repaired to see Billy Meyers, there
was a game of freezeout proposed between four of us to see who treated
the gang. The cards were dealt and on the show down one had four
aces another four kings another four queens and I had four jacks, so of
course I had to buy.
That winter was a cracker-jack. Along in January 1880 fuel was very scarce and snow deep it was impossible to get to the mountains to get fuel. A farmer bought a two horse load of fence rails to town and started down main street with them, the merchants and saloon keepers started to bid on them. Dick Kellig finally got the load for $20. A big portion of the fences were hauled to town for fuel that winter, the farmers making a good profit on them. One day Ab. Small and Bob Turner put up a job on the bar keep, Billy Meyers. There were about 20 of us. Each one was give a short bit to go one at a time and get a mixed drink, lay down the dime and leave. Billy mixed six or eight, then tumbled and said Whiskey straight was good enough for us, gave us the dimes back and started us for Frank Stone's. He tumbled, then Ned Williams, Tex Arberry, Dick Kellig, Jim Chadsey, Harry Howard and Bill Bender's places were visited. Finally we wound up at T.T. Burgess place, there everything was ready, a glass for each and three large pitchers of water on the bar each pitcher tagged "water is good enough for you".
|(October 16, 1909)
Late in 1879, Henry Villard formed the O.R.& N. Company, Jeff Peobody and several others were on the board of directors. At the first election Dr. Baker was elected President. Early in 1880 they commenced to build from Wallula Junction down the Columbia and built to Coyote, 17 miles west of Umatilla. The mileage was 77 miles from Walla Walla to Coyote. During the spring both the N.P. and the O.R.& N. had a survey run from Walla Walla Junction to Ainsworth. General Sprague rushed several hundred Chinamen to the front and beat the O.R. & N. out.
They laid the track as far as it was graded, put old chair iron down, six ties to the rail and 56 pound rail. There were several places where sand bothered, it would put us off the track once in a while took a lot of prying and blocking to get on again, the ties being so far apart. Ties were a scarce article. The Harkness saw mill had commenced to run. It was located on the Columbia river one half mile west of Ainsworth.
During the June raise the boom broke at the mouth of the Yakima and a lot of the logs got away and the people down the river made great money catching them. The Company paid great salvage. There were five small sawmills between Ainsworth and Celilo erected to saw the logs, then the material was hauled back by train and steam boat to Ainsworth. Some of the ties cost a dollar and ten cents each. Timber
|was timber in those days.
During the summer the O.R.& N. Co. started to build a standard gauge up the river from the Dalles. Henry Thielsen Sr. was Chief Engineer, his son Henry, field Engineer. The first rolling stock the Co. bought was called the Thielsen crabs, the engines had low wheels and weighed between 20 and 30 tons, they would run all day to get around a cabbage leaf by night, the capacity of the cars was 24 to 30 thousand pounds each, lots of difference between then and now.
After the N.P. started to build in 1879 the stampede commenced from the Walla Walla to the great Palouse country, which then was reackoned as only a stock country. The creeks water courses and springs were taken up first. The railroad men, steamboat men and wharf rats got the fever. Hancock, Smith, Weeks, Armstrong, Fostelier and Ellis Hodgen were railroad men who settled on Cottonwood creek east of the Damrell ranch on the Colfax road. The Jacobs boys, Turner and several other Walla Wallians settled in Pleasant Valley below St. John. Cashup Davis was about the first settler in the St. John neighborhood, he came up the river in the middle seventies, later he sold to St. John and located on the Snake river on the road from Almota to Spokane. He built a store, hotel and post office. His house was known far and wide he had a fine hall and all the dances were held there and they had good times. His family was a baker's dozen 13 in number, all young folks.
Cashup Davis' house was located on the Colfax road at what was known at Steptoe post office.
In the summer of 1879 Dave Small got the balance of his drive down from the Clearwater. The Railroad Company had a saw mill located between the two Wallulas and sawed the logs. The most of the the ties and timbers were used to build the road down the Columbia. About the holidays of 1879 the river closed, the Co. kept one train and crew on during the winter, it made 12 trips each week to take supplies to the saw mill. On the 9th day of January 1880 we had a terrible wind storm it started in Oregon and died out just east of Spokane, it blew down most everything in its path, the Railroad Company lost one shed and one engine was pretty badly used up, they got one out. It broke the kitchen chimney loose on the south end of Stine's house, myself and three others took ropes and guyed it, while we were on top of the house the wind blew the front of Blackhawk's livery barn and broke a mans arm, blew down the bell tower of John Stall's Opera House by Mill Creek and killed a man at Wallula, it tipped 10 box cars of flour over, the flour was stored for the winter, each car had 4 props to take the weight of the springs, all were coupled together. The train was on its way up the road at Divide trestle 40 feet high, about 25 bents long, the wind had a fair sweep there were about 30 passengers aboard. They stopped the train and passengers alighted and walked around. Henry Chase and fireman were the only persons aboard, the
|hind brakeman put 2 or 3 brakes on to keep the slack out of them and
they got thru O.K. The largest pine tree on Fishtrap Creek fell, some years afterwards I was working for Pat Wallace, I cut 3 two horse loads of wood out of the top of the old tree, the root is still there. I saw a man that finished hauling the trunk, he lives up there. There was a swath about 100 feet wide swept clear along the Hangman Hill side. We were on it in 1881 when we were building the N.P. In another wind storm at Wallula the wind blew some sand on the track in the cut just outside of old Wallula, it was dusk when the train came along the engine left the track, the sand was flying so thick the crew left the train and walked into town till the storm was over. The next morning the crew went out to where they left the train, nothing to be seen but the two last cars, they had six cars in the train, it took 3 teams and 10 or 12 shovelers 2 days to get them out. We had 6 weeks lay off. Those days we prepared for it. Bob Turner the steward at Stine House was the heaviest and largest man in Walla Walla, he would not tell us his weight, one day we took him a buggy ride and forgot the lap robe, at Small's Stable, the platform scales were at the barn, everything was cut and dried, we got his weight, something near 400 pounds, he said we took snap judgement on him, he was always jolly and enjoyed a joke, he was known all over Ogden to Frisco. The Stine House was the starting and stopping place for all stage lines East, West, North and South. There were some 10 or 12 different routes, they carried all the mail.
Between the middle and last of February 1880 the river opened up and work started on the railroad. The water was pretty low in the Columbia, only one engine and train run regular, Henry Chase and Bill Huff engineer and fireman. My brother and myself took engine No. 4 on work train, we moved from the Stine House to the Rounds house, it was located on Main street between first and second. There were two families from Missouri stopping there by the names of Bloomfield and Thomas, said to be uncle and nephew. About the last of February or early in March the men folks started for the Palouse country to look for land, in due time Thomas returned for the women folks saying Mr. Bloomfield had gone on and would wait for them in the 4 lake country. Thomas bought two horses, harness and wagon, he and the two women started, there were several of us saw them leave and wished them luck, things looked a little suspicious on Thomas part, was commented on among us. The Touchet river was rising. A little while after some parties found a man's body lodged in the brush, the beard and hair had been haggled, on examination it was found he had been shot from behind and thrown in the river. At the inquest one witness told of seeing a curious pack on a horse, the corpse resembled Mr. Bloomfield, he had a full beard. All trace was lost for a while of Thomas and the women, settlers were not very plentiful, you could ride all day
|and not see a soul. In due time they came down the Colville road to Sprague and camped just north of the park. Pat Comaskey and Commadore Downs showed us where they built their fire and cooked dinner. It used to be a great camping place. Mrs. Bloomfield was crying, Comaskey asked them to pull over to his house and stay overnight which they did. After breakfast they started for Lyons Ferry, they camped for dinner in the Carico Hills on the Cow Creek road. There Thomas murdered Mrs. Bloomfield, he shot her in the back, dragged her body about 800 feet from the road behind a little bluff, stripped the body and covered it with grass and rubbish and drove on. Stopped with Mr. Bassett on Bassett Springs, sold the team and wagon to Mr. Bassett with the understanding that he take them to Walla Walla which he did. They left on the first train for the river, took the boat for Portland then steamer to San Francisco, there Thomas tried to get money that Mr. Bloomfield deposited on the way out. Could not get identified, so they left right away for Kansas City. During their trip to Frisco the bodies had been found and identified, then the officers got busy, put the telegraph to work too late to catch them in Frisco. The authorities notified the bank in Kansas City also the police department. Mrs. Thomas tried to draw money first, through a ruse Thomas had to come to the bank there and they nabbed him.|
|(October 29, 1909)
John Justice who was Marshall and Deputy Sheriff of Walla Walla, was deputized to go and bring them back. In due time they arrived and all that was lacking was a leader for there would have been a necktie party. The people were in a frenzy, there was a company of soldiers in readiness at the fort if the people had become unmanageable. The man was murdered in Columbia County the woman in Whitman County. They had preliminaries in both counties, were bound over to Judge Wingards court and were kept in Walla Walla County jail, about the only one in Eastern Washington territory that you might call safe. The Grand jury found a true bill against Thomas for the murder of Mr. Bloomfield. He was convicted and hung in Walla Walla court house yard. In the summer of 1880 he confessed to both murders, exonerated Mrs. Thomas and after a few prelimaries Mrs. Thomas was liberated, she lived in Colfax till a few years ago then moved to Tekoa.
The first of the year 1880 things took a change all around on the road. H.W. Fairweather, Superintendent; Bob McGragor, Assistant Master Mechanic under Fred Curtis. The Company commenced running night trains. Early in the spring the Company commenced to build the road down the river from New Wallula to Coyote 17 miles west of Umatilla. The grade was made for standard gauge road but was laid narrow gauge with 35 pound steel.
|Bill Huff run the front engine laying track. All common laborers were Chinese. White men laid the track. There were no steam shovels or track laying machines those days. All arm-strong muscle. No. 2's giant powder was much used, mostly common blasting powder. There was a fair stage of water in the river, the last part of March we were pulled off the work train and put on the road hauling wheat and ties to Wallula. The Company had some ties on Blue Mountain Branch, we took 14 empties from Whitman up the Branch about 2 miles from Blue Mountain station. Pete Tully had his gang up there, he loaded them. We were boarding with Mr. Taylor at Whitman, we forgot our lunch when the cars were spotted we cut the engine off and dropped down the grade to a farm house to try and get dinner, the lady of the house was 75 years of age, she eyed us over and said, "Who be you". We told her our troubles and her answer was, "laws amassa no I would not feed you if you were starving. I don't like railroad men nohow, they tell me railroad men will eat hay if there is whiskey on it. Get off my place don't want to associate with you. We spoke to her dog and she said "keep going don't want you to associate with my dog even". We dropped down to her son's place about 1/2 mile, told him, he said don't mind mother she is old. We got a good dinner, he would not take pay for it, we gave his baby the price of the meal to even things and he gave us a sack of fine apples. He had lots in the cellar and no sale for them.|
|(November 5, 1909)
The high waters in June raised the mischief all over the Walla Walla country, in fact in Eastern Oregon and Washington all rivers were up. I was running the Columbia No. 3 spot, brought a train of wheat to Wallula, got in about 7 o'clock, put engine away, left train on Y, got supper and turned in between 9 and 10 p.m. At 3 o'clock the watchman came and woke us saying we were on an Island about 12 or 15 acres and the water still rising, he said the first bridge was gone, there was between 200 and 300 people marooned, we were 16 days shut off from the outside world. The road had some bad washouts, also several bridges gone, timbers had to be hauled by wagons from the Blue mountains to fix the road to Milton Station. The mouth of Dr. Blalocks flume was about 2 miles from the town of Milton, it was near the old Hudson Bay Farm, the flume was some 12 miles long. The telegraph line was down, all communication was cut off. The 4th of July was very dry we had used up all of Green Hollingsworths, Tony Tubbs and Mike Ungers wet goods and down to 1/2 rations. We were pretty lank and gaunt before relief came. That was one time money was no object, there were 8 or 10 drummers and several passengers, we were all on one level. We had a large piece of sheet iron, would make a fire under it and parch beans and roast spuds, the worst of all
|we run out of salt. The wharf boat was gone and all the small
boats, the milk cows were all out in the hills, everything was against
us. It looked pretty good the evening of the 16th day to see an engine
and box car pull in sight. The workmen had fixed the two bridges
so they run a hand car over from Wallula Junction with some grub which
was thankfully received. When the road was fixed up and in good shape
and the Umatilla extension turned over to the operating
department Henry Villard and the head officials left Umatilla in a special on a tour of inspection. Henry Chase engineer, Charlie Hagen fireman, engine No. 5, Blue Mountain by name, 40 inch driver, Ed. McEvoy conductor. When they arrived at Blue Mountain Station Mr. Villard called the crew into the coach to eat lunch with him saying they must be hungry, he was after eating. They left Blue Mountain Station for Whitman after looking over the engine sheds, car shop and station all ready to start for Walla Walla. Mr. Villard said, "Henry give us a ride to Walla Walla." The distance was five miles, Chase made it in 5 1/4 minutes, the grade is 60 feet to mile for 6 miles. Mr. Villard said pretty good for a rawhide road. In those days things were finished as they want along. We had 77 miles of main line and 14 mile branch, second to nothing in the West. Mr. Villard believed in doing things right, they could not run too fast for him.
|(November 12, 1909)
During the summer of 1880 Mr. Villard formed a blind pool, told the stockholders he wanted $8,000,000 and no questions asked. They threw $16,000,000 at his command. He went into the market and bought Northern Pacific stocks and got the controlling interest. When the election was held in November he was elected president which took Fredrick Billings by surprise in fact every one but a few. The first of January 1881 things began to hum on the N.P.
The winter of 1880 and 1881 was the worst the Eastern part of Washington Territory and Eastern Oregon had experienced up to that time. It commenced to snow about the 15th of November and the last storm was the 15th of March 81. All the sage brush around where Pasco is was buried in snow and ice. We had not begun to keep our eye on Pasco, she was not on the map or thought of. All was Ainsworth, it was estimated 2,000,000 head of cattle perished by starvation in Eastern Washington alone. Ben Snipes of the Dalles lost 100,000 head alone in the Yakima country. One train crew in making the round trip from Ainsworth to Twin Wells 96 miles, pushed off 96 head, run into 16 head on one cut, they had to put them out of their misery, took the switch rope and dragged them out. When a critter fell it never got up. It was dangerous to run nights so many were lying between the rails, had to be rolled off the track. If you came onto any standing up you had to hit them, it was more than a man's life
|was worth to be caught on foot. Pen cannot describe the suffering
the poor brutes went through. A great many horses died also.
From 30 mile well, Mesa now, to Eagle Rock some 4 to 5 miles it was estimated
5,000 head of cattle perished by falling off bluffs into the drifts below.
Early in the winter the steel was laid to west end of Providence cut, the cut must be 40 or more high, it drifted full of snow and packed, the track layers carried a few ties and laid rails so they could get a push car over and shovel the snow and run it out and dump same.
In those days we went by Wells bridges and cuts there being no settlement after leaving Ainsworth. The first settler we run across was Pat Comaskey at the head of Big Lake, the run was 107 miles. The first trip I made there was one lone house, the old Ritz hotel in the Ritzville, no one lived in it. Sprague had eight buildings and two or three tents. The track in the Canyon from Twin Wells to 9 miles west went out slick and clean, there was no Palouse Junction or Hatton those times. The original well at Ell-to-pay was 120 or 160 feet deep anyway, the bottom length of pipe froze and busted. I saw it taken out. Gassy Williams the pumper neglected to bleed it. There was a cold current of air run in the bottom of the well, the engineers claimed it was the outlet of Washtucna Lake. There was a mistake in the survey, an Englishman
found it, it put a fill 20 feet high, "right here is 'Ellto- pay' he exclaimed, the name was white-washed and called Eltopia.
|(November 26, 1909)
The road was finished and turned over to the operating department the last of July or first of August 1880. The first trip I made over it was on Sunday. Bob Tufts fireman, Jerry McAuliff conductor. We had a train of new grain and barley. If I remember right we were jogging along between Wallula and Fordyce, just coming out of a small cut, I saw a critters heels in the air, we had hit him and broke his hind leg, he belonged to the Sullivan boys. The company paid $250 for him. John Stafford was sitting on fireman's seat he and Bob were talking, did not see any stock on track. The crew were in caboose. Didn't see any stock, in those days did not have any stock reports to make out. The whole crew outside of myself were questioned if we struck any stock, no one saw any hit. In the spring of 1884 I strolled into Sprague from the country. I went into Jim Dillons saloon. H.W. Fairweather ex-superintendent, and Johnathan Evans, then Master Mechanic were standing at the bar. I was asked to join them in the conversation. H.W. Fairweather asked me if I knew who hit Sullivans bull, I told him "I did", he said "why didn't you tell me at the time" my answer was "it's a good man who minds his own business." If I had been asked at the time I would have told them.
When the threshing was in full blast we had a distingui- shed party of visitors come to visit the Walla Walla country. Rutherford B. Hayes president of the United States, the
|first president to visit the Pacific Coast while in office. I
tell you it was a gala day, the decorations and arch have not been beaten
since. The arch was built of the products of the valley. In
his speech he told us he could scarcely believe his own eyes. The
3 spot pulled the party from Umatilla to Walla Walla. Bob McGregor
M.M. run her, I fired her, Charlie Hagen passed me wood. We made
the run in a little over 3 hours, 60 miles, 3 coaches, the engine weighed
11 tons more or less up grade. Walla Walla is 700 or 800 feet higher
than Wallula. The last 6 miles is 60 feet to mile. After we
had put the train away and washed up H.W. Fairweather and Bob McGregor
M.M. gave Charlie and I $2.50 each and told us the day was ours to go and
enjoy ourselves. I was a little tired, we could not get any beds
in Umatilla the night before, everything full. People came for miles
in wagons to see a live President, hacks and buggies were a luxury outside
About 3 o'clock they hunted us up to see if we wouldn't take 6 cars to Milton, they were most compelled to go, it was agreed Bob and myself should stand up against the Stine house wall to see which one was the nearest sober. Bob fell over but he was sober, so I had to go. Charlie my fireman run the engine, Mat Weeks the conductor fired, I slept all the way out and back, woke up in Whitman, didn't know how I got there don't remember leaving Walla Walla.
|(December 10, 1909)
The first of July 1880 Johnnie Hancock, our late foreman left the road and started with his family for Cottonwood 22 miles south of Sprague on the Colfax road. Several more of the boys had taken up homesteads adjoining him. The O.R.& N.
Co. took full charge the first of July. Bob McGregor had just returned from South America, he and several others went with conductor Meigs of San Francisco, they went to Peru, this was right away after Jay Cook's failure in 1873. Jay Cooke was the Father of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Everything ran smooth on the road till the fall after the rush was over. I went to Umatilla and run the front engine, finished pushing material to Coyote Station, that was as far as the narrow gauge run. I was in Umatilla about the first of November. I received a telegram telling me to come to Walla Walla on first train as my brother was very low, he was at St. Mary's Hospital with typhoid pneumonia and took a relapse. I arrived on Sunday morning and he died on Monday morning at 7 o'clock. After the funeral before going back to work I was taken with the mountain fever and went to the hospital for about 3 weeks. I had the same fever every fall I was in Walla Walla. After reporting for work was put to running on main line, there was some very cold weather and lots of snow. We had 2 old-time engineers Frenchy Bellanger and Ed McCall, they came over from Puget Sound. Frenchy left in a little while and came over to
|Ainsworth. We started from Walla Walla with a train for Umatilla made it fairly well to Wallula, there we side-tracked everything but 2 box cars and gondola car of wood, wood car next to tender. Pete Tully had a gang of about 50 men they were put in the box cars for shovellers. Pete and myself made a snow plow out of red fir plank and nailed it on pilot, it did very well for a make shift it is 28 miles from Wallula to Umatilla, we were 60 hours getting from Walla Walla to Umatilla distance 60 miles. As soon as we pulled out of Wallula 2 men were put on engine to shovel snow into tank to make water and keep wood on engine from gondola. We found lots of snow all the way down and drifted badly, mixed with sand and packed so hard in places it would carry the engine. We were off the rail several times. Would shovel away and block up and get back again, at times some one would go ahead and see how far it was to next drift, when everything was ready we would take a run and go as far as we could, then stop and back out, the shovellers would break then we would try it again, we had lots of trouble on the Summit. The company sent Captain Gray up the river with his steamboat with some grub to us, they found us near starvation point about 12 miles from Umatilla by river. Captain asked about Agent Peabody who was running the engine he was told "Jack" "oh" says the Captain "I must take him some refreshments." Everything came in very handy, we had been near 40 hours without anything to eat.|
|(December 17, 1909)
I had a lunch bucket filled before leaving Wallula, gave it to fireman, he was working the hardest. The Company tried to keep the road open as they were carrying the mails but it was up hill business. Ed. McCall engineer, Jim Cutting conductor, left Walla Walla for Blue Mountain Station just ahead of us, they ran into a drift up Dry Creek Canyon, got off the track and laid there 24 hours, till another engine and help arrived. They had not been used to primitive ways and methods, they were used to engine frogs and other conveniences which we did not have. About the middle of December myself and Charlie Hagan my fireman were sent to Umatilla to relieve Dave Pool and his fireman, they were running a dinkey on the incline at Umatilla landing. Umatilla was as far as most of the boats run up river at that time. One boat was tied up at Starvation Point 12 miles up river from Umatilla, it was sheltered from the storms.
The winter of 1880 and 81 was a singer, snow, freeze and chinook from middle of November to middle of March. The Railroad Company quit trying to operate the road from Wallula to Umatilla. The wind blew continually, filled the cuts as fast as they were cleared of sand and snow. On December 31, in the evening, a telegram was sent from headquarters to Portland, to the Captain at Starvation Point, in care of Agent Peabody, no one wanted to venture out
|with 9 miles of snow to wade. There were several volunteers ready
to go in the morning, one young fellow, an operator wanted to go so bad
Peabody finally consented, all us fellows tried to persuade him to let
some one go that was used to roughing it. He remarked to one and
"Do you think a man from the East if babyish?" He started about the middle of the forenoon of January 1st, after traveling between 7 and 8 miles he became bewildered and perished. On the morning of the 2nd, Big Sandy the mate of the boat and a couple of deck hands started for Umatilla. The storm had abated and sun came out, after traveling some distance they found this man. They could not do anything for him so they hurried to town for help. Sandy slipped off the end of a tie and hurt his knee, one man helped him along while the other one came to tell the news. There were quite a bunch of men, they hunted me up to see if I would run the engine out and try and get the man and pick Sandy up. I said "sure". We filled our wood box good and full, we took 40 or 50 men to shovel and pushed a box car ahead of us to break the road. The first 6 miles we did fairly well, there were no cuts when we would come to a cut the boys shovelled it out so we could get through. About 4 miles out we picked Sandy and his partner up, it took about 1 1/2 hours to get the man, he was breathing when we found him.
|(December 31, 1909)
The man died before reaching Umatilla. It was a pitiful sight, his hands were torn and his finger ends worn where he had tried to get some slivers off the telegraph poles to try and build a fire. He had tried for half a mile, even tried to burn the sagebrush, he got within one mile of the boat. He was raised in Canada. The company wanted the boat to go to Celilo for the overhauling; that was where the ways were for up river boats. The captain could not get her out, as the river was frozen. They had to wait for the January thaw. There were two or three weeks we did not turn a wheel, only to get wood and water. Charlie looked after her nights, me days, we stood her on incline about 50 feet from the hotel. The office was open day and night. When the boiler needed water we would run her up and down the track and pump her up; injectors were scarce articles these days, most all crosshead pumps. One morning Charlie started for the water tank, he had to open switch after taking water, he stopped to close the switch, she followed him and found the short rail before he could catch her. We were at breakfast thinking Charlie had been gone a long time, the brakeman went to look for him and found him in trouble, trying to get her back on the track alone. Mat Weeks, the yard master, the brakeman and myself went to his assistance. On the way Mat says "Let's put her on, don't say a word to Charlie, he feels bad enough anyway." We got some blocks, links and fish plates, had her on the rail the second pull, it took about
|ten minutes, it wasn't much trouble to put them little dinkies on track, they would work very time you would open the throttle. It is different with the big lubbers of today, they are as helpless as a baby when they get on the ground. A little while after superintendent Fairweather came down to Umatilla, he noticed the ties marked, asked Mat who had been off the track, Mat guessed some of them roadmen. Mr. Peters, the section foreman, fixed the switch and made the marks look old. After we had broke the road to the summit. Mr. Peters took his chinks to clean out a bad rock cut about one mile further up the road; there we found the man, it got dusk on him before he returned. In passing the place where the man lay four of the Chinamen refused to go any further on hand car, so they walked away round. Three of them got lost, one came back to the car, there was six, and the boss dared not leave the car to hunt for the lost ones, as he was apt to have to walk. So they left the three to get in the best way they could. After Mr. Peters had got supper, we took the engine and box car to hunt for them. After a two or three hour search the moon had got up, it was bright, the night was cold. About two miles from town we saw two objects between us and the river. It was two Chinks, their hands and ears frostbitten. We took them to their camp, the other one stayed out all night. Mr. Peters found him in the morning pretty badly frozen, brought him in and he was put in an old shed. The other Chinks would not have anything to do with him.|
|(January 7, 1910)
Among us he was looked after and in a little while he came out all right. The Chinese are very superstitious, they will not have anything to do with anyone that is sick and especially one that gets hurt. I have the first crippled or maimed Chinaman to see. They get hurt - a pill is given and that ends it. They were on the O.R.& N. grade by the thousands, in fact they were about all the laborers there were. White laborers were a very scarce article, the whites would migrate in the fall to the climate that suited their clothes and come back in the spring.
The January thaw came for a few days, took some of the snow off and raised the river a few inches. There were two boats tied up at Umatilla landing, the D.S. Baker and Annie Faxon. The ice began to break and run, the captains were afraid the boats would come to grief as they were ice bound, especially if the ice in the eddy gave way. It was watched, but one day there was a floe 10 or 15 acres in extent broke off and came down. Every one surmised when it came in contact with anything it would break. It did not, it ducked under the Baker, broke all the lines that made her fast and put her adrift with two men on board, the watchman and a deck hand. When the ice was under her she nearly lost her balance and we all thought she would capsize. The ice carried her out 30 to 50 feet to where the ice was thinner and rotten. The men were unable to made a landing only having a small head of steam, the current carried them down stream, the watchman rustled and got up steam and run
|the engines while the deck hand tedded the steering part. The
excitement on the beach was great, everybody thought she would get wrecked
going through Hell Gate as it is a treacherous place or was in those days.
We got out dinky and box car and started down the road with the captain
and engineers and a few men. Four or five miles down the road comes
pretty close to the river. The bunch got off and run to the bank,
the helmsmen was heading towards the bank under slow steam. It kept
the two men pretty busy to keep her from going through Hell Gate.
Everything came out OK after a close shave. The boat was pretty badly
wrenched and twisted and was taken to Celilo and over-hauled.
Before the river got clear of ice there came another freeze and closed it up again for a while but along about the first of February the river broke up for good and the water raised. Everything was moved from Umatilla to Wallula. I was give the Blue Mountain No. 4 - a little mogul. We hauled material for the N.P. from the different saw mills along the river.
The Harkness & Morrison drive broke loose the fall before and the logs were caught at different points between the mouth of Yakima and Celilo. It was pretty cold with lots of snow. It was estimated that 2,000,000 head of cattle perished during the winter. One trip on our return from Walla Walla the cattle were very troublesome - head brakeman Johnnie McEvoy had to get down and drive them off the track.
|(January 14, 1910)
In Wine canyon they turned on Johnnie and put him to flight, just as he made the gangway one big steer caught his horn in hand hold on tank and broke his horn off and threw him down the fill never to get up again. It was a pitiful sight to see the poor animals starving, thousands died for want of water. We train crews would break the ice at the watering places along the Walla Walla river that would help to keep them off the track. The first trip we and the train crew made between Wallula Junction and South Ainsworth we took up a train of material, it was fine and clear. Going up we took our bearings and spotted some land marks we were delayed in Ainsworth till after dark, it began to snow, not one of the crew had been over the road before. In returning we lost our bearings and were lost, the storm was something fierce, at times we could not see the headlight. We were over 3 hours making 13 miles, we flagged half the way. After awhile Jimmie Hayes the brakeman saw the graveyard so we knew where we were. We had to be careful, if we went down one leg of the Y we would have 8 or 10 feet of a jump off. The other one had a closed switch, by going through it we wold probably land in the Walla Walla river. In those days there was a heavy down grade into the yard for 3/4 of a mile, the construction crew was widening the cuts and some fills, getting ready to widen the gauge from 3 feet to 4 feet 8 1/2 inches we had to be careful after night.
About the middle of February we left
|Umatilla for Ainsworth with a train of material, it was bitter cold, I had on a seal skin cap and gloves, heavy overcoat and cavalry overshoes, then near froze. After going 10 miles the Chinook wind hit us, when we got in the flat near Fordyce water tank the water coming off the hills flooded the track for about 200 feet. We stopped and found the sand washed out from under the rail for about 25 or 30 feet. We had a caboose full of passengers, among them was Billy Fairweather's wife and sister and several other ladies, also Ed. Sykes, a cigar drummer and several others. It would have done any one good to see those ladies and drummers pack ties through the mud and slush while the train crew and myself cribbed up under the ties, all hands were mud from head to foot, it was a case of have to, as we were 14 miles from any place. We had to work fast as every minute counted, all hands but myself and fireman walked past the break. After getting the train over 200 feet of washed out track we left the track hanging, a close shave. We stopped on terra firma and loaded the passengers. Near William Martins ranch, about 2 miles west of Wallula there was a bridge, we saw a man running down the track waving something red, he had torn a piece of red flannel off his undershirt. We stopped and he said the approach at west end of bridge had washed out. Our laborers got busy again, packing ties. The worst of all was, we had 3 or 4 box cars next to engine, loaded with provisions and locked which made it so much harder to get the material.|
|(January 21, 1910)
After awhile we got fixed up and pulled into Wallula and got dinner, afterwards pulling out for Ainsworth. The drummers worked the town and returned to Wallula with us. The rivers were rising fast, they were bank full. We arrived back about 9:30 p.m., turned in as soon as possible being tired and worn out. Between 4 and 5 o'clock the watchman called us saying we were on an island and the first bridge gone and the waters still rising, we got up and it was still dark. We had to grin and bear it. When daylight came the wharf boat was gone also all the skiffs and small boats, there were over 200 people marooned, the telegraph wire down, there we were, it looked pretty blue I'll tell you. We were there 16 days every river in the country on a rampage, the worst washouts the country had ever seen up to that time, not much worse since, there were miles of the road gone, every bridge between Walla Walla and Wallula washed out, all the low lands flooded. The N.P. was hit hard, the whole canyon from Palouse Junction or 39 mile post to 48 mile well gone, some minor washouts between Ainsworth and 39 mile post. In those days everything went by wells from the Snake River to Ritzville except Paha Springs. That was a great watering place for the range stock, also a stopping place for the Buckaroo who rode the range. During our 16 days isolation in Old Wallula our rations run very low, all communication cut off, the last few days one feed a day and
|light at that, it looked like there was no bottom left in the country. The R.R. Co. started a pack train from Walla Walla for Wallula, it got as far as the Touchet flat, part of the pack horsed mired, their frames were in sight for some time afterwards. When the water began to go down the company started a work train and a large gang of carpenters and laborers to fix up the road. Frenchy Bellanger engineer, George McEvoy fireman No. 6. After getting over the Touchet river Frenchy went into the caboose which was coupled to the draw bar of the pilot, the engine was backing up he was getting a cup of hot coffee. George was handling engine, after going near a mile there was a small fill and a pond of water, on the south side of track the pond was covered with ice the tender went over, George went through the cab window into the pond and under the ice came out some 75 or 80 feet away from wreck. The ice being rotten he said daylight looked good to him. We had no wrecking cranes those days, the gang got busy, sunk a couple of dead men to make fast to, got some heavy blocks and tackle and righted her up again. The company hired a couple of 4-horse teams to bring us some supplies, when they arrived there we were the Walla Walla River between us, some of the men made a raft and after a struggle got the grub over, you bet it looked good. In due time the train arrived at Wallula Junction, the two Wallulas are about 2 miles apart, there were two bridges gone between them, the waters still raging.|
|(January 28, 1910)
That was one time every one was equal; there was considerable money in the bunch; what good was it? The feed and whiskey all gone, we couldn't eat it. Ed Sykes, a cigar drummer from Frisco, opened up his sample case, telling us to help ourselves as long it lasted. One lady, Mrs. Breen, of 48 Mile Wells section house, was on her way to Walla Walla to get supplies. She was the life of the gang and we had many a good laugh afterwards when a few of us met.
Pete Tully was roadmaster and a good man in washouts and troubles on a railroad. He put his gang helping the carpenters all they could fixing the bridge so they could get the handcar over and get some provisions to us. No one would ride the first handcar load over as all that carried the lower or down stream rail and ties was the fish plate. The mudsills under six bents were more or less washed out, three in particular. The bents were sixteen feet apart, the bridge being about twenty feet high over the channel. The mudsills were weighted with rocks and no current unless the water was high, it was kind of funny, yet not very pleasant to be hungry with lots in sight as it put us in mind of the old fable of the fox and the grapes. One young fellow said he would get the car over or die trying. He got a couple of hundred feet of clothes line and carried it over, tied one rope to each end of the handcar so we could pull the car either way, and the car was not loaded very heavily. In due time we got one square meal. The water or flood went down so the men could probe and find out how bad the sills were undermined. They made a raft out of timber, we had two
|engines in Wallula and the company wanted the dinky out very badas she was light, as the road in places was in very bad shape for the larger engines. In the meantime the boys had found several of the skiffs and small boats lodged and got them fixed up and they came in great play. The civil engineer was about half crazy as he wanted to take the engines out right away. Jeff Peabody, the agent, had the operator wire the superintendent at Walla Walla telling the condition of things and the superintendent wired Pete to not to let Estep do anything foolish. Several places had washed out again, so there was no communication, only by wire. In a few days the engineer on the dinky let Civil Engineer Estep run his dinky over, saying he would rather be a live coward than a dead hero. She came within an ace of going down. When Bob McGregor, the master mechanic, got hold of Jimmie he put him on the run. Mr. Estep made his brags how he was going to take out the 4-spot. I showed him I was running her. I wired the master mechanic, also the superintendent, as I had Pete S. Barnes, the conductor, at my back, and got an answer back that when the bridge was safe to come out and not before it took all summer. Estop was very angry. When Pete said that we would try it we went but it was risky business. I would not take the chances again for $10,000. No one was on the engine but myself and all the town was out to see us go over the break. All the boats were out with ropes to catch me if she failed. All hands thought she was gone and I came near going through the cab window. We came out all right but no more such chances for me.|
|(February 18, 1910)
It was nearly one month before things got to running smooth. About the first of March I was given the dinkey on the Ainsworth branch, and run from Wallula to South Ainsworth - 13 miles. Billy Barnes was the conductor. We made one round trip per day except Sunday; it was a snap except when the wind was blowing and sand flying. We left Wallula at 2:45 a.m., made the run in one hur if possible, left Ainsworth on return trip at two p.m. The first part of March there was a change of superintendents, H.W. Fairweather left the O.R.& N. and came to the N.P. as superintendent, with headquarters at Ainsworth. J.M. Buckley took his place. There were great changes among the officials, the Kansans and Missourians began to arrive, followers of Henry Villard and C.H. Prescott. It was quite a habit in those days to have a change of administration all around, a practice which was followed up till about 1889. I remember one trip especially. The wind had blown fierce and there were three bad places where the rails would get covered with sand, but if it was daylight we would take chances. This one particular day J.M. Buckley was at Wallula and he was in a hurry for us to take him to Walla Walla. We ran into some sand about one mile from Wallula and got off the track. The old man came up ripping and snorting and said some things that would not look well in print - he was not alone either. He wanted to know if we were nt aware that sand would ditch us. All hands were busy prying and blocking. Barnes told him to help, then we would talk about things afterwards -- that cooled the old man down. He used to tell me about it years afterward. He told me to be careful and not let it happen again. We laid for him. Every little while he would ride to Ainsworth
|with us. A few days afterwards he wanted to go with Supt. Fairweather
to the front and the train was being held for him. Charley Irwin,
our operator, put us next. The wind had been blowing during the night
and we knew
just where to look for the sand but we took our time. He sent Barnes over to the engine to see if we could not do better as he was in a terrible hurry. I sent word back that I had no headlight or pilot and did not intend to let it happen again as the wind had been blowing the night before. On arriving at Ainsworth he treated all hands. Fairweather laughed - he had been there before. We were one hour and 45 minutes in making the run.
There was a terrible tough element in Ainsworth - the opium dens, black legs and cutthroats. The company furnished us six-shooters and ammunition and the sheriff told us to use them if we were molested and be sure to go two or three together. I have seen nine fights and cutting scrapes between 3:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. There was no civil law closer than Walla Walla. All the country north of Snake river was in Whitman county and all south of the river in Walla Walla county.
Captain Smith had a ferry boat and when she was out of commission Fred Taylor would run a small boat. We have made some risky trips, one that I remember in particular when there
were eleven persons aboard besides the mail and express. The load put her within two inches of the top rail and one man baled with a can and two ladies took their slippers. We landed two miles down the river. I was steering and we were certainly a scared lot. Don't know what would have become of us if we had got into the Columbia river.
|(February 25, 1910)
Frank Vaughn was the leading light, Sam Vincent, Wm. Carlow, Mr. Shepard and several others banded together and formed the vigilance committee or 601. The blacklegs from all over gathered at Ainsworth forming a very rough element. Ainsworth was a very busy place, hundreds of men being employed in all branches at all times, checks were paid from there, all material and supplies were received and distributed from there, everything in the money line was gold and silver - greenbacks were at a discount up to this time. One Saturday near the end of March the 601 got after the dope joints and their friends, trying to break them up. The 601 confiscated several opium outfits and considerable opium. Black Dick, a fiend, blamed several parties for the raid and started out with murder in his eye looking for them. He landed in John Shafer's saloon and as there was a large crowd there he was not noticed. Dell Manchester was the man he was looking for. He mistook a man by the name of Lawn or Skagit, a professional gambler, for him. Lawn was as honorable a man as there was in the country - he was known and respected all over the coast and British Columbia. Myself and Conductor Barnes took a cigar with him as we were leaving for the ferry boat about 1:30 p.m. to leave for Wallula. Black Dick stabbed him sometime between 1:30 and 3:00 p.m. the operator told us. Lawn was dead by the time we got to Wallula. Dick was put under guard right
|away and kept out of sight till in the evening, when the 601 took him
out and hung him, using Ed Hill's dance house fence for a gallows.
He hung there till about 9 a.m. Sunday morning when a man came along and
cut him down and took the rope to tie up his blankets as he was going
to the front, remarking as he did so that Dick had used the rope long enough.
Dick had been cooking in Shell's collar and elbow eating house. He
was buried that afternoon and that ended it.
It was not safe for a woman to go down the street in the middle of the day for fear of being robbed. Something had to be done. The nearest civil law was Walla Walla, 45 miles a- way, and we were in Whitman county with Colfax the county seat, which was a long way off. I tell you when the 601 got in working order they made things count and were feared. When a party received an envelope with a piece of rope about one or two inches long and a slip of paper with six or twelve hours notice to leave you can bet it was heeded. One day the boys made a raid on the joints and found several hitting the pipe. They were given notice and left promptly. In one room laying
stupefied was a woman called "the ghost," and she was picked up and thrown thro the window; Tommy, the flunky, was passing and he tried to catch her and break the fall which he did or it would have broken her neck. She left on the next boat down the river. I tell you things were quite lively for a while.
|(March 4, 1910)
One day in April we were waiting for the N.P. train from the front, we strolled into Gray's saloon, conductor Barnes, two friends and myself. We sat down and played several games of 4-hand cribbage. After awhile a well dressed man dropped in and demanded the best the house afforded, laying down on the counter two ugly looking revolvers remarking that he didn't give a --- for all the 601's on earth, he had two more friends outside with two guns each, so let your --- 601 come on. There had been several parties sitting around previously but when we came to look around we were alone, outside of the barkeep and his friend. All at once the walls seemed to open and all the make ups one could imagine were there. The leader dropped a noose over the loud party's neck, others grabbed his guns, not a word was spoken. He went right down on his boots and wilted, they took him down to the beach, put him in Fred Taylor's skiff, gave Fred .50, motioned across the Snake, not a word spoken, all signs. The bunch scattered don't know who they were. The next morning he got his breakfast at Tony Tubbs eating house in Wallula. He had discarded his nice black pants and got a pair of overalls from the Siwash camp as he came down the river, don't know that I have seen him since. In a few days the Siwashes came down the river and one big fellow was wearing the black pants, saying they were skookum. The 601 was O.K. for those days. A little of their law would help things at times now. Too many loop holes to crawl out of. Civil law is too slow. A certain
|portion of our people don't fear it. I have been in several places where vigilance committees were the ruling law during my 39 years of frontier life. Where the committee is in vogue, generally there is good order. A holdup or petty thief gives the place a wide berth. Hank Vaughn was a man about 5 feet 10 inches high, weight about 160 pounds to 175 quick in action, true as steel to a friend. He followed gambling, Buckaroo and in fact was an all-around sport, a thorough frontiers man and did not fear God, man nor devil. When he got on a tantrum his wife was the only person he feared. He died some years since in Oregon in a gun play. One day he proposed to his friends they hire a special coach and engine to take them to Walla Walla, there were about 30 of them went. You bet things flew high, everything free to us, the engine and train crew. Those were happy days, not so much red tape as now. If any of our friends came along and wanted to go our way we would put them on engine, no matter man or woman it made no difference who was on train. There was Father Duffy who when he would go over the road invariably rode on the engine, did not like the coaches. He said it was time enough to ride in the hearse when you were dead. One trip in particular he rode to Ainsworth and back. Charlie Irwin the operator had fixed up his electric batteries. There were 9 of us joined hands to take a shock. I held the steel, Charlie worked the key. Father Duffy and one or two others danced the jig. He was always in for fun, he said a man was never too old to learn. He was an old frontiers man and enjoyed a joke.|
The O.R.& N. Co. was getting ready to widen the gauge from Coyote Station to Walla Walla 77 miles. Theilson Sr. had been East and bought some light standard engines called crabs, they weighed about 25 tons, he bought some cars just think 20,000 capacity, such rolling stock now a days would be worn for watch charms figuratively speaking. They were plenty heavy enough for the rails, the rails were 35 pounds cambria steel and light ties. Remember those were pioneer days, the country was just beginning to develop and to show such men as D.C. Corbin, J.J. Hill and others that there was something worth reaching for. When they got here the country was in full bloom. Henry Villard did more towards developing this part of the country than all the rest combined. Henry Villard knew the country by foot and horse back riding and hard knocks. Not by riding over it and looking out of palace car windows and rear
|end of coaches and giving sweet talks and promises.
The first of April Bob McGregor our foreman and several of the boys quit the O.R.& N. Co. and came to Ainsworth. A man by the name of Jack Corder took Bob's place as foreman at Whitman, before he had been in office one month he had only one engine man left, that is of the old hands, the one was Bill Huff. The last trip I made was April 27, 1881. We left Wallula as usual in the morning, turned around right back from Ainsworth intending to make two trips, on arriving at Wallula Mr. Corder was there with an engine. He had found a short rail, consequence engine stuck her nose into sand bank. He tried to blame me for the switch being left wrong. We had a few words I put my coat on and that ended my services on O.R.& N. The first of May the gauge was widened from Coyote to Wallula. Thos. Flaberty Sr. had a gang of chinks riprapping some fills down the river during the summer.
|(March 18, 1910)
May 1st, 1881, I commenced firing on the N.P. at Ainsworth, on engine No. 23, with Tom Benjamin as engineer and Charlie Benson conductor. The engine - a standard Baldwin - 16 cars and a caboose made up the train, with slab wood for fuel. We left a 7 o'clock a.m. sharp for the front which was about ten miles east of Ritzville or near Tokio; the wye was there and the end of the track was between the wye and Big Lake - Lake Colville now. We ate dinner and picked up a train of empties for return trip, arriving at Ainsworth about 7:30 p.m. The only habitations in 80 miles in sight of the track was the section house and water tank at 20-mile well, Eltopia now; the same at 30-mile well, Mesa now; water tank and pump house at 39-mile post, Connell now. The most noted place was 48-mile well, Hatton now, and the end of the telegraph line. We got orders to run to the front and return to 48-mile well. The next place was a stock man's house looking down the canyon at the east end of the cut on Summit, now Providence. Next came 67-mile well, section house not yet finished, pump house and tank. We took wood and water at
|each place, except at Summit. Next came Paha Springs, there were three small tanks set on the bank and filled by gravity, there were some round up cabins and sheds a short distance away - up on the canyon. Next came the famous city of Ritzville, the Ritz Hotel being the only building except the water tank and dry well. The hotel was deserted, it was a dreary and desolate trip and a hard one on me. The balance of the crew had been on the road some time and Billy Walker, the brakeman, rustled me a hand-out at 30-mile well on our way out. Mike and Mother Cuddy and Mr. Kilroy's family lived in the section house. Mike run west, Kilroy east, and the Jerrys were Chinks. Billy got me another lunch from Mrs. Breen at 48-mile well - they were wholesouled people. Those days brakeing was no picnic, wood up at every station where there was a water tank, all hands twisting - no air. Deck her in all weather and think nothing of it, make just as good stops as are made now, cars were 40,000 capacity and 40 ton engines. I was put watching the wood pile for 8 or 9 days, the wood had caught fire at times from sparks.|
|(April 1, 1910)
May 10, 1881, I went on the road firing for John Johnston, known as "Fog" Johnston. It was his first trip and first work on the N.P. He had just come out from Nova Scotia and he was given No. 23 for a regular engine, and myself for fireman. The road had got to Sprague some days before. Jim Evans, the front conductor, lost a leg - the first train man to get seriously hurt on the Ponderay Division. Henry Villard sent him east when he got able to travel, gave him a good education, got him a cork leg and afterwards started him in business. Those were pioneer days, when the eastern people thought we were all cut throats and outlaws. We had more civilization then than now. Today a man is not safe with $10.00 in his pocket if it be known. In those days there were no safes and only one bank - that was the Baker & Boyer in Walla Walla. The money in circulation was gold and silver, paper money did not go. Ten cents was the smallest change, if you wanted to buy a spool of thread, paper or pins or a glass of beer and laid down 25 cents you would get 10 cents in change. They were called the long and short bits, the 10 cents went just the same as the long bit and everybody had money. Now we have got down to pennies and no one has money, it seems like. A common hold up was not heard of in those days. We have spread our blankets on the north side of the track and slept over night with lots of money in our jeans and felt just as safe or safer than under lock and key these days. There are several old timers here yet who will bear me out, I think for instance Charlie Fish, Tom Flaherty, Matt Brislawn, Ben Ettelson, Charlie Hagan, Jack
|McElroy, Jack Harding, Bill White and the Mc- Nall family. Give
me the frontier in preference to bloated civilization. I started
40 years ago this October to follow Horace Greely's advice to "go west,
young man, and grow up with the country," and I am sorry I am at the jumping
We arrived in Sprague in the afternoon, having passed one lone habitation, Pat Komaskey at this end of the lake. Outside of the section houses were Commodore Down's sheep corral and habitation and Mr. White's residence, both the last were in sight of where Sprague is now. The end of the track was near the Hoodoo place, now know as the Supply Co.'s ranch. We had 16 cars of trestle timbers and steel, the old trestles are filled now. All trestle timbers were framed and steel curved before leaving Ainsworth. Sprague was quite a burg, John Cody's hotel, Joe Bryant's residence, White & Rickert's saloon, and a blacksmith shop on Railway avenue, E.M. Kinnear's residence and store combined on First street, Joe Beeler's family lived in a tent opposite the Sprague hotel, on the north side of the track was Ed Dean's warehouse and commissary, which building answered for a depot. A building with shed roof occupied by Mr. Murray and family as a dwelling and blacksmith shop. Jim Ryan had a nail lumber and tent saloon which he moved as the boarding cars were moved. Beds were scarce and we did not have our blankets along. "Fog" and conductor slept at Cody's in the only bed left. The two brakemen and myself slept on Pat Dillon's billiard table, we had a mattress and lots of blankets. Such was the life at the front. Happy days then - not so much red tape as now.
On the morning of May 11 we picked up a train of empties and returned to Ainsworth. We had a certain hour to leave on. Anyone meeting us between Sprague and Hatton looked out for us. Hatton was the end of the telegraph line east. The company had eight engines - six standard Baldwins, one Pittsburgh and one dinkey. The numbers ran in rotation. No. 15, Pittsburgh, engineer Seneca Ladd, balance Baldwins. No. 18 engineer Bob McGregor. No. 19 Billy Henderson. No. 20 Frenchy Bellinger, No. 21 Ed McCall, No. 23 John or "Fog" Johnson, No 25 O.M. Godfrey, the dinkey, Otter Tail, worked on incline. These were road engines, they had lots of brass and nice jackets and were expected to be kept half way clean, the tallow pot or fireman cleaned all above the running board, the wipers below. The first engine the Northern Pacific bought, named Otter Tail, was shipped around the Horn from the Lakes in 1870 to Kalama. She had a romantic career, handled the first train on the east end, the first on the Pacific end, also first on the Ponderay division. The company fixed her up nice and sent her to the World's Fair at Chicago in 1892. She is in the Smithsonian Institute now I am told.
After resting up we returned to the front again with a load of material. The front was moved to near Kline and we were held for second engine to haul gravel. Tied up at Sprague nights. We had a bunch of Chinks, Tom McCarty herder, and they opened the gravel pit between here and Kline. There
|was a bad piece of track in Komaskey field, every time a train would
go over it there was no track to be seen. We had nearly 200 Chinks,
some grubbing and cutting brush, others hauling, others putting it under
the track. They could not use horses and all was done by main strength.
Komaskey gave them the brush and poles for clearing the land. We
hauled gravel for ten days. They called it corduroy. There
is not as much water running in the ditch now as then. The first
year or so after the grade went through the water run all the year.
The company tanks were filled by gravity. There was a pipe laid to
Knob Hill, the force would throw a stream over Joe Hall's house.
Bigfoot Peterson owned the spring and the railroad company offered him
$1000 for it; he wanted more but they finally got control of the water
by some hook or crook. It was the finest and largest spring around
and the best water for all purposes.
Cribbage was a great game. When we had nothing else to do we would go into the caboose and play single or four-handed, as the case might be. I know I lost $10 on a hand I bet on the play. McCarty took me up and we left it to "Sporting Life," with the stakes in "Fog's" hands. When we got returns I was out and injured - such is life.
One Sunday a few weeks since I was going to get me a cigar; there were four of us met, Charlie Fish who helped to build the grade, Frank Renaud who made the ties, Jim Corcoran who worked on the iron car laying track, and myself who fired the engine.
RAILROADING IS THRILLER
Reminiscences of Pioneer, Now Dead, Concern Days When
Old Jack Cartwright, who recently finished his run
at a little farm near Twisp, Wash., was among the interesting railroad
characters of the west. He first opened his eyes on the
REGULAR PASSENGER TRAIN IN SUMMER OF '81
Jack Cartwright Tells of Pioneer Railroading Days
He was a passenger on a gondola car on
the first train that ever pulled over the ties and rails into the city
limits of Spokane and he was a fireman on the first regular passenger train,
engine number 23, by the way, that came into Spokane. That is more
than 35 years ago but Jack Cartwright remembers all the incidents surrounding
the coming of the railroad to Spokane with startling clearness.
transcriptions by Kelly Stafford
web page ©M.Huntington 2002
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