Memories of Lisle Tame, Dead Indian Ranch
We left Cambridge by a county road that led to a crossing of the Snake river about thirty-five miles northwest of the village. It was out of our way, but it was back country and Something new to see. We crossed the Snake river on a ferry - a flat-bottomed scow and if I remember it was the type that used the river current to propel the ferry across the river. We followed back-country roads in a southwesterly direction to Baker, Oregon, where we got onto a major hi-way and on back to the Rogue Valley.
We continued to look at quite a number of properties, mostly ranches. One I remember, was along the Little Applegate river and reportedly had a gold mining claim on the stream. Whence found the place, it had a fairly good house and barn and some other improvements, but very little land that was level enough to dig a well on. So we went on looking. Finally, one day in early summer, 1939 I ran onto Harry Moore, real estate agent, who said he'd like to show us a ranch he thought we'd like. So, I went back to Talent(Mr. Moore contacted me in Ashland) and I got Irma and we drove to Ashland, picked up Mr. Moore and drove up Dead Indian road, all the way up in high gear-Harry said that's the first time he had ever ridden that road in high gear and on across Dead Indian Creek, turned right at the Walter Hash ranch and to the Charles Blake place,the house and barn being about one mile from the turn-off from the Lake-OF-The-Woods road. The place was vacant, except for some few cattle in the meadow. Harry told us the ranch was rented to Austie Baron, cattle Queen. That she used it for summer and fall pasture for a few cows with new calves, needing special care, and for a holding pasture at gathering time, that Mr. Blake would probably consider a trade for a property he could let someone run for a small amount. That as a pasture he was getting a very small income. Sounded like about enough to pay the taxes and insurance on the buildings. The meadows one-half mile square north and west of the buildings, were as green as old Erin and Mt. Pitt Just beyond, with its snowy mass Jutting toward the sky, was Just about the prettiest sight (and still is) in all of Oregon. We fell in love with the place. Gave it the once over, drove to the lower meadow, one mile east of the buildings and separated from the main body of land. There was, so Harry told us, one hundred sixty acres of cut-over timber on the ridge southwest of the buildings a quarter section Mr. Blake had homesteaded when a young man. We didn't give any thought to the possibility of timber. The beautiful meadows, the numerous springs-one near the house-flowing quite a stream. We told Harry to contact Mr. Blake,who lived in Ashland, being too old to carry on a ranching business. This Mr. Moore did and soon brought Mr. Blake down to see the property we owned in Talent. The discussions were brief. We learned that both properties were clear of incumberences and all taxes paid to date. The deal moved swiftly. We each directed Billings and Son to proceed with preparation of deeds,we each tendered abstracts of title and in very short time, after Attorney Billie Briggs examined the abstracts we exchanged deeds and the properties changed ownership. I'll admit I was influenced by the fact we were at last acquiring a ranch, a dream I had held In my heart for many years. We decided to not move onto the ranch for the time and I found a young family who were interested in moving onto it on a share basis. Roy Hill and wife Alcy were eager to get back at ranching, since their fling at it in Wallowa County several years earlier. We decided on sheep. I bought an old model T one-ton truck with high sides. The Hills, Roy, Alcy daughters Tharon and Wanda Lou and Son Royce. Royce was "Sonny" to all of us. The Hills moved onto the ranch and Roy and I began looking for ewes in the Klamath country. Roy had been working, at orchard work for about thirty-five cents per hour. They got a Federal loan bought five or six milk cows,to have living expenses, I bought a one-hundred dollar teem which Roy took over and we were looking to buy a hundred or more ewes which we found In the Klamath country. They were getting on the aged side of life,but they gave us a start.
There is an important period in our life at Talent, I feel would be appropriate for me to digress and put this little story into this record before going on with the acquiring and stocking our small flock ranch. It concerns a visit of our good friends Floyd Clapper and wife Leverna and her son Elton McCauley. It was the summer of 1938 and we had a good visit with them. They stayed perhaps a week and while they were with us, I took Floyd, Irene, Elton and we went to Fish Lake on a fishing trip. We took a lunch and had a lot of fun, rented a boat and caught a limit of ten for each of us. That made such an impression on Floyd, he vowed before leaving for home, to move to the Rogue Valley as soon as he could qualify for retirement. He took early retirement from his Job as pumper in the Long beach fields, working for General Petroleum, in 1947. That story will be inserted in this record further on.
With the ranch came enough haying equipment to start with - an o1d McCormick mower, a dump rake, a broad-tired wagon with a hay rack with six- foot sides and hitched to the hay wagon a hay loader, which in spite of the fact it needed some new wooden slats and ropes, was a real boon to handling fine stem meadow hay. There were rope slings-two, which were part of the hay loading equipment. These-slings -two, one fore, one aft, covered the back floor and were each brought together at the top of the rack and to which were secured iron rings. These rings would be hooked to a swivel-hook on a pulley which was part of a hoisting apparatus when a load was entered in the sixteen-foot-wide driveway. This driveway was in the middle of a large barn - one hundred feet long and sixty feet wide. The hay lofts overhead provided storage for about one hundred tons of loose hay, the floor area providing housing for our two hundred ewes.
There was a general-purpose farm wagon with the regulation box,with side boards, there was no Immediate need to purchase haying equipment. And this ranch was and still is (what the irrigation reservoir,built about 1957,didn't cover) a hay and pasture ranch. The house wasn't much four room, twostory affair( two down,two up). It had been been built by Harry Moore for some of his family, while he operated a small lumber mill Just at the edge of the timber and below a nice spring, about one-half mile from the original home site. This small house, built of tongue-and-grove siding, inside and out,with a tall steep roof. Because of heavy snowfall had been moved to the original home site, after the original large one-and-a-half story house in which Mr. Blake and his parents had lived in since the beginning of the ranch founding. That log house ,we were told by Harry, was a well-built structure, the inside walls finished (polished and oiled logs) and was quite a piece of fine workmanship. I don't know when it burned, but for several years, Mr. Blake and his mother had been living, in Ashland. His mother's health and age had caused him to move into town. Sometime after his mothers death, Mr. Blake had married a widow and at the time we met them they were living on a small dairy acreage, the pasture land being rented. Mr. Blake was near eighty years old, a very fine gentleman. Also, along with the haying. equipment came a "democrat" -to you of younger age- an old-fashioned type of spring wagon. In case the reader (If any) doesn't know what a spring-wagon is, I won't try to explain. When the man who, many years later purchased the ranch and who was forced to sell to the Bureau of Reclamation, moved back to the Southern Pacific switching yards near Sacramento (he was a railway switch man) – he, Mr. Houde took that old democrat along with quite a lot of old-time equipment and other things - a carload as articles he could keep to remind him of his four(?) years of enjoying owning what he said he had always dreamed of since his boyhood years on a ranch somewhere in the middle-west.
The Hills lived on and "farmed" that hay ranch two years and looked after both small bands of sheep. We had separate brands, made with black paint on the rumps of the sheep, Irma and I staid in Talent during those two years, trying to accumulate enough capital to finance the start of our ranching venture. Near the end of thetwo-year period, the Hills rented the Chas Linsay ranch. Just east ofour newly acquired property and moved there with their personal belongings and both bands of sheep.
The buildings consisted of the four-room two-story house , mentionedearlier, never had been paint, and none of the others. The barn wasrusty looking with age, the siding boards up and down, about 1 X 8,with no bate over the cracks and the cracks had Widened with shrinking of the boards, the roof being covered with pine shakes -the last time re-roofed,19l7. The barn was built in 1887. On one of the large upright timbers supporting the over-head beam on the north side of the sixteen foot driveway, still plainly visible, in pencil writing, the name of the contractor, the names of the woodsmen, the names of the craftsmen who shaped the framework, the teamster, the cook and all hands involved and the date finished, August 17 1887 at a certain hour. That barn as viewed from the exterior was anything but beautiful, but inside the workmanship was superb. The base sills supporting the whole structure, were about 16 X 12 inches by 42 feet long, the length of one side from the driveway to the corner, then the same along the length of the driveway-sixty feet , then under the opposite side and across the end that being the base for one half the barn, a distance of two hundred four feet. Then the other half, the same, the driveway-sixteen feet in width-had no base, leaving the opening, in the base for driving in and out. At the eaves, a hewn timber about 6X6 around the entire perimeter, three hundred twenty feet. This plate was supported by timbers set upright on the base sill to a height of about fourteen feet.
All these figures are estimates because I don't remember ever measuring any of them. These upright square posts resting on the base sill and supporting the top plate were probably about 8X8 inches and fourteen feet long(high) . There were smaller beams running lengthwise of the barn, one hundred feet midway between the eaves and the roof-comb(or peak) These long lengths of (maybe 6X6) being in turn supported by upright square timbers that were supported by 8 X 8s on top of the uprights already described as running the length and width of each half of the sixty by one-hundred feet building. I know this description is lacking in accuracy but it is an effort to give an idea of the amount of hand hewn timbers used. Beside the square or rectangular timbers used, there were the peeled poles used for rafters. Here some more guessing. Each rafter extending from the eaves to the roof comb was made of two peeled poles, the larger at the bottom and the smaller joined midway to the other, together spanning the distance from comb to eaves, maybe thirty-five feet. Where the two small peeled fir poles Joined, there was a timber maybe about 6X8 running the full one hundred feet for each side of the roof. This hewn timber being supported by upright timbers set on the mid-way horizontal beams described above. This all is confusing but it is my desire to give a description of the immense amount of hewn timber used. I know I'm not accurate, but it is a rough guess at the framework of the huge barn. Then there were three manger boards, about five inches thick and forty-two feet long. I have looked at those boards (for lack of a better term) and was amazed at the alignment and uniform thickness and length, hardly a broad-axe mark on them. Each hewn from a single tree. The upper beams running the full length of the barn when viewed from one end looked perfectly straight as did the large base sill. That rested on native granite stones spaced at regular intervals and were about sixteen inches above the ground. I have looked at other barns constructed of hand-hewn timbers and I have never seen one that compared to the Blake barn in workmanship. I almost forgot to state that all the Joints were morticed and fastened with dowl pins(round wooden pins about six or eight inches long.) I should have stated the manger boards dimensions as, about 5 inches thick by about 24 Inches wide by about 42 feet long. The boards covering the outside wall, as well as the boards for sheathing under the roof shakes had been hauled from near Grants Pass, according to Mr. Blake. And, if I'm not mistaken the nails were the old square ones. That part of the ranch above the water in the reservoir was returned to private ownership by the bureau of Reclamation about eighty acres of meadow and the cut-over hill land reverting to the ownership of the Lindsay brothers, Henry, Dave and Rolland. The Lindsays had from the very beginning refused to sell any of their holdings, inherited from their father, Billie Lindsay and amounting to a considerable acreage.
I believe somewhere in the proximity of fifteen hundred acres, being timbered and meadow land, which the Bureau had demanded be turned over to the Bureau for the purpose of containing a large portion of what is known as Howard Prairie Lake.
The Lindsays were engaged in logging and milling their own timber -they began this operation after they finished their military service during World War Two. All of their lumber production was pure profit, since they had inherited the land and the timber and they were adamant In their refusal to accept money - they demanded and received acre for acre the last exchange with the Bureau being for the above-mentioned Blake-Tame property. The old buildings are still standing and are used only for storage of the little four man lumber mill, the Lindsays having abandoned the milling operation after they had to move it from it's original site on a small Lindsay meadow, to make way for the large reservoir, whose main body is situated where the Lindsay old home buildings were sitting before the reservoir covered the area - Just near where the store, cafe, boat ramp and other tourist-fishermen facilities are presently located.
To take up where I left off describing the Blake ranch buildings. Besides the small house, the large barn, there were - a general purpose workshop, about twelve by sixteen feet, an old log blacksmith shop in a bad state of existence, but still containing the old forge and anvil. This building was never used after we obtained the property. Then at the rear of a large, fenced garden yard, were a small chicken house and an old partly concealed by aspen trees a two-holer John. The most important item in this large garden-yard enclosure, Just below the house about seventy-five feet in distance and about fifteen feet lower, was the crowning feature of the house-yard-garden area a beautiful cold spring having a fifty-gallon per minute flow the year round. The temperature I don't remember but the temperature was constant and cold enough that milk and cream could be kept in the covered box(about three by seven feet) through which the run-off flowed, the milk and cream could be kept sweet for a whole week. After We had been settled in our new home a short time, I removed the native stone lining the side walls of the spring, placed a concrete tile about sixteen inches in diameter by about two feet deep, cut a hole in the bottom edge -to admit an iron pipe (dimension forgotten) laid the line underground to the kitchen, installed a galvanized sink, a pitcher pump and the Tames had one modem convenience. The tile walling the spring, was covered with a large metal kitchen pot cover. This being to keep out insects, mice, falling leaves etc. The yard-garden area had a large grove of quaking aspen, especially In the yard area and in the perimeter of the garden. These trees were beautiful in spring and summer, pale green in fall beautiful golds and browns. Then In winter, bare of leaves. I have been told, in recent years, most of the aspens have died. That is most regrettable.
Sometime, early spring 1941, after the Hills had moved to the adjoining Chas. Lindsay ranch, which had been unused for some years, I bought a pair of beautiful bay mares, four and five years old, stabled them and pastured them on Fay Clayton's acreage Just west of the railway and south of Talents Wagner avenue. I had them there a few weeks before we were ready to move to the ranch. Then, I rode one and led the other to Ashland and east out Nevada avenue and from there through pastures, skirting along the foothills to the first hairpin turn in the Dead Indian road, about six miles above the Junction of Klamath hi-way and Dead Indian road. On up the county road, partly having rebuilding work under way. On up the west slope of the mountain and over the fifty-two hundred summit and on about five miles further to the ranch, a distance of about twenty-five or more miles, put them in a small pasture Just below the house, caught a truck loaded with logs and back to the valley. About mid June my resignation as postmaster became effective and we moved our meager household and personal effects to the Blake ranch and I began helping look after the three small bands of ewes (Billie Lindsay had decided to "run" about one hundred head.) We three small-time sheep growers pooled our resources and labor and ran the little band as a unit, each having his own painted brand,for identification. Lambing had been done at the Hill place (the Chas. Lindsay ranch) that early spring. I had left the post office in the care of Irma and my assistant postmaster Russell Parks and had helped with the lambing operation which lasted probably, about three weeks altogether.
One incident that stands out in my memory vividly, concerns a prowling bear during lambing time. I was staying with the Hills most of the time during lambing. Roy and I were working shifts, one,midnight till early eve that was my shift. Roy was working after-breakfast-till until midnight. That way we were both on duty during the most of the day taking care of the feeding of the mothers and the bottle-feeding of lambs which, for some reason or other needed hand feeding. Our ewes being old we had some losses by death one reason or another, so we had quite a large nursery at times. The bear incident happened thusly. One midnight when Roy came in my room to wake me for my shift, he said something like "Lisle there's a light snowfall and around the outside of the corral fence (where we had the expecting mothers bedded) their are tracks of a prowling bear. You'd best keep an eye on the ewes bedded outside. The ones with lambs were housed in the barn, then I went on duty, I took a kerosene -lantern and made the rounds and after a complete inspection, I left the lighted lantern hanging on the corral fence. I went out occasionally for a look-see and back to the fire in the living room that is if all was secure and no indications of a ewe getting ready to drop a lamb - or sometimes,two - when I saw a ewe who appeared to be near lambing, I would gently lead and push her into the barn and place her in a small enclosure, about four feet square. Then I would keep close watch that if help was needed, I would be there to give it. Sometime during the small hours of the morning, I heard a threshing around and growling so I knew the bear was still in the vicinity but he didn't come near the corral that I was aware of. Next morning Roy drove down to Ashland and told Rolland of our problem and he drove out to their old home piece, about three miles from our lambing operation, got a bear trap and brought it over to Roy's place. They found a carcass of an old ewe, took it and the trap out in the area where I had heard the noises the previous night, fastened the trap chain to a small log and put the trap near the dead ewe, covered the trap with needles or leaves. The next night, sometime after midnight, I heard a lot of noise, growling, roaring and rattling around in the woods probably about one hundred fifty yards north of the barn and corral and the noise was moving away from the near vicinity. As soon as it was light, I went and woke Roy and Alcy and he took his thirty-thirty rifle and we all set out in quest of the bear. We found him a considerable distance from the trap-set, hung up in the brush, the trap and toggle fouled up in such away the bear could go no further. Roy took aim, Just behind his ear and one shot ended his depredations. We never suspicioned he had actually killed one of our sheep), but we had been finding carcasses, all devoured by some animal, except the pelt -bones and all. He was an old oneclaws badly worn as were his teeth which Indicated he had been around for several years - none of us could even guess. Rolland took the hide. Alcy cooked some of the meat. But I didn't have the stomach for it, couldn't keep from thinking of the fact he had been living on diseased ewes and some which had died from trying to give birth to their lamb.
The story about the bear and our lambing work all took place before we moved to our ranch so I'm again relating things out of sequence. After lambing we three, Roy, Billie and I took turns herding or staying where we could watch the little band. Of course, Irma and I had begun to acquire a few milk cows and as the bummers began to feed on grass we had less need for milk, so we began selling milk to some of the people who worked for the Daly's lumber mill, located half mile east near the county road that ran from the Lake 0' Woods road at the Hash ranch on Dead Indian creek past our house and on easterly and south past the Billie Lindsay ranch and on southerly past (Hyatt) Emigrant Lake, an irrigation reservoir, built I believe in 1927, the source of Talent Irrigation District water. From thence on south about four miles, connecting with the Klamath Falls Highway, now Highway 66, the connection being near the summit of the Green springs mountain pass.
Again, relating events out of sequence - late December, 1940 I had a telegram from my mother In Arkansas asking for a smell sum to help with doctor and hospital bills. I sent It right back by Western Union. Not long after it was the last of December, I received a telegram from my brother saying Mother had died. They had gone back to the middle west in the fall after mother had sold her small home and acreage,near Griffin Creek road. Cecil had been selling household products of some kind, door- to-door. I left for Fort Smith as soon nearly as I received the word. I found Cecil recuperating from the flu in the home of the young nurse who had attended both Cecil and my Mother. Mother was getting ready to be released from the hospital when she, while sitting on the side of her bed fell over dead. Of course my brother and I were grief-stricken but there was the consoling thought she wasn't subjected to the long months -even years - some heart attack victims are. After the funeral I took the bonds Mother had in her personal keeping took them to Tulsa to the creamery company, that had Issued and sold the bonds. The president-manager bought them for his own investment(I'm sure at a discount) and I took the money, paid all the accumulated bills, took out one hundred dollars, at my brothers suggestion for my travel expense, also the small amount I had sent mother during her illness left one half on deposit in a local bank in my brother's name and left for home. I had offered my brother a home with us but he elected to stay in Fort Smith.
I was pleasantly surprised at the fine Job Irma and Mr. Parks had done in getting out the quarterly reports. Of course, they had copies of former reports as a guide. I was glad they hadn't had to deal with the annual reports, June 30th. That reminds me - I must have staid on at the post office until the annual reports were out -for the amount of business transacted, they were "something" Jay Terril, my friend who had been instrumental, in getting me appointed in 1934, was given the Job at my leaving.
The winter and spring of 1941 were wet, lots of rain and of course lots of wet snow in the high country, that is at the 4500 feet elevation of the Dead Indian Valley. That sort of weather is hard on sheep, their fleeces get wet at the beginning of the fall rains and stay wet till dry weather comes. Roy had taken the best care of the ewes possible under the conditions. We had a pretty good lamb crop, even if a lot of them had to be bottle-fed because of poor body conditions and in several cases, death of the mother.
Irma and I moved out to the ranch as soon after closing up the postal records and being relieved by Jay Terrill. There wasn't much we could do except get settled in the little ranch house, help Roy mind the herd and wait for drying weather. I started the first mower going July 15th, about two-three weeks late, but what a hay crop we had. I did the mowing, Billie Lindsay did the raking with my old dump rake and The Hill's- Roy rode that high-Sided hay wagon, placing the hay in place on the slings as it rolled off the top of the loader which was picking it up from the windrow Billie had raked into as straight rows as possible, Tharon, oldest Hill daughter driving team that pulled the hay wagon. When loaded with all the hay Roy could pile on, the load was driven into the center of the driveway the iron rings fastened to the five or six ropes, gathered together, the rings, one from each side, fastened to the down-hanging pulley with hook attached. The team that had pulled the wagon load of hay into the barn was unhitched, driven to the end of the barn-outside-the end in which we were piling the hay, hitched to a pair of double-trees which were in turn fastened to the end of a small pliable steel cable running up the end of the barn, back along the track-to the carriage, latched in place at the roof peak right over the center of the load, down double to the hay slings. The pulley- carriage up at the roof peak had a pull rope which enabled the person- standing near the load to pull the pulley down to the load - then when the sling load had been raised to the track, rolled along the track to the spot Just over where the stacker(Roy) gave the sign, and the person on the rack watching Roy for a signal could pull the trip rope and drop that great big pile of hay about where indicated. By forking the hay both ways from center and "tromping" it a lot of loose fine prairie hay could be stored In the space allotted. Among the three ranches we had a lot of acreage to cover and a lot of hay to put in for winter feed. We finally got it finished. About the time we were moving to our ranch the Dalys family was installing a small lumber mill On the south end of the Charles Lindsay ranch, about one-half mile east of our house. The Dalys had moved their mill from Myrtle Creek, where they had been operating it for several years. There were four families father and mother Daly, son Ivan and wife Gertrude and children, son daughter,t eenagers, Elton wife Thelma & young daughter Shelly, wife Mary and two teenage sons. They all bought homes in Ashland and proceeded to set up their mill. By the time we had our hay Job done, the Daly mill was operating. We three ranchers had divided our flocks, sold our lambs and had settled in for the winter.
That December World War Two erupted. That took a lot of young men out of the country. Consequently, Roy got a Job in the mill, and frequently the Dalys would ask me to work a few days, a few weeks, or until they could find a replacement for a mill hand. When I did work at the mill, even for only a few days, Elton, sawyer always assigned me to the deck - the Job of readying logs to be rolled onto the carriage, Sometime If they we real shorthanded, I would put a choker on a log in the pond, pull it onto the deck-by means of a drum and cable and then proceed to get it ready to roll onto the carriage. In the case of small logs there was little to do and when the carriage had finished with a log the small one would be rolled on by man-power, Elton with peavy at on end and I at the other, same tool, sometimes called a canthook. A swift swing with our canthooks and the log would roll onto the waiting carriage. In the case of large log, I threw a small log chain over the topside, under neath and drove a pike-hook into the bark and by means of an overhead drum Elton would roll the large log in place on the carriage always securing it so it would not move during the sawing operation. One day I had a small log ready to flip onto the carriage when it came back empty, but lost my footing and fell down onto the carriage track striking my right shoulder on the near rail. This happening while the carriage was being whisked back into position. Fortunately, Elton saw my predicament, stopped the carriage and rushed to my aid. I wasn't badly injured Just badly frightened. That shoulder finally developed bursitis and continued to cause trouble until years later an orthopedist examining me for an old back injury had his x-ray technician make some pictures - injected cortisone in a couple of places and – after several months the shoulder ceased to bother.
The Charles Lindsay place was sold to Charley Fortmiller(merchant in Ashland) so that let the Hills out of a ranching operation, so they moved back to Ashland. Mr. Fortmiller bought a small herd of cattle, bought Roy's hay, hired Don Gettling (wife Jewel) and they looked after the Fortmiller place for a short time (my memory-fails) but we got to know and like them very much. They stayed only a short time, I don't remember. They were replaced by a bachelor-widower a single man some years older than I. By the way, when we moved to the ranch, July 1941, I was 52 years old, Sept. 26th, 1941. So you see I was launching on to a new venture-I had a small knowledge of handling stock, doing simple farm work but I had no experience in the management of such an operation. And we were in a section of the country where few people stayed through the winter and before we were through with the Job we spent the greater part of every winter with no one nearer than Jim Dodson, who with his wife lived halfway down Ice-house canyon, about eight miles from the Tames. I usually had to do quite a lot of snowplowing some winters very little some, some none and some I had to give up because I had no room to push the snow. I used a home-made V plank outfit, hinged at the front with heavy corral gate strap-iron hinges, thus enabling me to narrow the cut or widen it according to the amount of snow to be moved or the steepness of the grade. My first power was provided by four horses. I had made the plow of 3 inch thick by eighteen inch wide planks I had scrounged from the Daly mill-being inferior material I had made three sets of cross- planks, so I could plow a five foot swath or at the greatest sixteen feet. If snowfall continued, my ability to move the snow off the roadway became restricted to where if the fall continued long enough, I had to call "it a day"' and we would hibernate until a small mill operator on the main Lake-Of-The-Woods road brought a cat in, broke the road from the snowline on the west slope-varying from year to year-over the summit and down to his mill. He always broke "my” road- I was the only person using it in winter- right on through to our front gate. That was usually done, late March or middle April, so he could get a man in to burn the waste-slabs from the previous years operation. During our being "holed up" I took care of our stock we listened to our battery-powered radio, ate popcorn and candy mints. We never felt lonely. During the first years when it was necessary to break the road, as stated, I had horse flesh. That meant I had to have the two teams ready as soon as my feeding chores were done-usually about 9 A.M. I would hitch the four, two, two-horse team's to the plow, set the cut for the five-foot width pull out from the ranch with a sack lunch on my cross-bar seat and by the time I would blade the snow to below the snow line on the western slope, turn the outfit around pull the plow in to the narrowest cut, to make for easier pulling, I would drive back up the bladed roadway to the summit, usually about three miles, reset the plow to its greatest width, because the team could pull it down the eastern slope with greeter ease, a drop of about seven hundred feet, to the ranch. On the pull up the west slope, I had to give the team a rest about every one hundred to one hundred fifty yards. By the time I arrived home it was usually dark or nearly and Irma would tell me she had kept a lookout for about an hour. Of course I had chores to do by lantern light some of which Irma could help me. I never once thought of laboring under hardship A few years later I sold the horses and bought two tractors, a small used crawler and a new rubber tired one. Then I could do my road plowing with ease and never once stopping to rest. Would get home early afternoon. The tractors cost a lot more money than Invested in horses, but they didn't consume any hay which I could feed to a few more stock. So, I guess it balanced off about even.
The first winter we were on the ranch we had prepared for a long "holeup" and about the time we began feeding a little we had an unannounced visitor. A young men rode up to our back yard gate, tied his horse to a fence post and announced he had come for supper. That was our introduction to “Pete" Rosenbaum, who with wife Edna Hash Rosenbaum, became some of our most beloved friends. They were among about two hundred guests at our sixtieth wedding anniversary party, May 15th,1977- Our wedding date is actually the 14th, but because of the fifteenth being on Sunday, enabling many to attend, our good friends, the Osborn's, their sons and daughters- in-law, their grand children, Margery Hemple, her daughter, Irene Alcock Krygier her two oldest and many more gave us a party in our recreation hall here In Horizon Mobile Village that was the most exciting social event of our lives.
Tame ranch pictures
Now that I have Introduced "Pete" Rosenbaum, I'll explain. His wife Edna and year-old son had not yet arrived at the Hash ranch next-door about a mile, Pete told us he would feed Walt's cattle the first part of the winter until the hay from his Dead Indian Ranch was fed up. In a day or so, Edna and baby, Robert came up and they spent the first half of the winter - about two months- at the Hash ranch. We had lots of get-to-gethers, usually at night, playing cards, making and enjoying Ice cream. They always came horse back, baby Robert riding in front of his Daddy in the saddle. One cold night we were eating home-made ice cream and playing cards, when Pete suggested it was time to be heading for home, Pete and I went out to get their saddle horses out of the barn. I glanced at the thermometer and It read 12 degrees below zero. We didn't have much difficulty persuading them to spend the night in a warm house rather than ride a mile, build a fire and finally get warm enough to get to sleep. Pete fed two winters for his father-in-law and that was the beginning of one of our finest friendships. They continue to stop for a visit no matter how brief, every time they come to the valley. They have been living at Potter Valley near Ukiah and Clear Lake for several years. Pete is head sawyer in a large redwood mill and Edna teaches in primary grades in the public school's.
Elton Petri has been one of our special friends through many years. We first knew him when he was a young man delivering milk to customers in Talent and that area using an "old model T Ford for a delivery wagon. We knew him only casually until after we moved to the ranch and through the friendship of the Dalys, Elton and ourselves, we got to know and love him. While still on the dairy farm of his father and mother, he was stricken with paralysis and extreme pain. He told us in later years he lay in bed without anything to relieve the pain and no one seemed to know what had stricken him down. Finally, the Talent Grange took an interest and sent him to Warm Springs Georgia for baths and therapy. His problem was diagnosed as polio and he was paralyzed, partially in the upper body and totally in the lower. From that time on he has had no use or feeling below the waist. He is still confined to a wheel chair and still takes care of his personal needs, doing his own housework. For several years he worked at various Jobs that he couldhandle from his chair.
For sometime, he picked chickens and turkeys for George Frorich poultry processing plant on Water street in Ashland and then for several years operated a sporting goods store on Main street for two different owners, the first name has escaped my memory. The last owner, a Mr. Michael, who while owning the store, having Elton run it worked for the Oregon Motor Vehicles Division in Medford . The store was eventually sold to a Mr. McCarley. During those years, the mother had died, his father sold the farm and bought a tax-title property from the County located on B street close to the center of town. When Mr. Petri died, there was still several hundred dollars owing the county. This indebtedness Elton assumed and eventually paid off. His brother and sister I believe deeded Elton their rights to the house and lot. This all lead to the fact that after the Daly's set up their mill in the Dead Indian and each family bought homes in Ashland and became active members in the Christian Church, we got to know Elton better and in the ensuing years we had him many times as our guest at the ranch for whatever time he could be away from his Job. After his Job at the sporting goods store, Elton took care of the office work for his church for many years, the office being in the basement,with ground level entrance. Elton did regain some of his upper bodily functions, till he was quite able to do things that involved the use of his arms and upper body. During the years he has lived one block from the Christian Church he has served on the church board, taught Sunday school and is still active in the functions of his church. A friend(and probably more than one) has built him an electric-powered three-wheeled car with top and curtains onto which he can propel his chair, lock it in place and do a lot of errands he would otherwise be unable to accomplish.
Irma and I took Elton fishing one day on the south fork of Little Butte creek. We knew of a spot several yards long, Just below the bridge crossing the creek on the Fish Lake road that was quite level and smooth on the south bank. I got Elton out of our pickup truck into his chair and helped him from the truck to the smooth, grassy flat along the creek. He rigged up his fly outfit and was able to snare quite a few pan size trout. I fished below him on rougher ground and together we caught enough trout for a large meal for Irma, Elton and me. The day before, I had taken Elton to Rocky Point on the Klamath Lake. Only we didn't get to the lake. We stopped at the Store-lodge(whatever) that had the boats for rent and they told us they had to move the boats down stream quite a distance due to the low water in the creek flowing into the lake.
We drove down the dirt road, I helped Elton out of the pickup into his chair got him to the stream where we could see the boats for hire. They were moored in a terrible piece. The creek had lots of large boulders and down trees between where we had to leave the pickup and where the boats were tied up. I literally threw up my hands, saying I was not willing to try to pack Elton on my back to where we could get into a boat. In those days I could pack Elton "piggy-back" almost anywhere we wanted to go. Elton insisted we try for it. But I was scared of falling over a boulder, log or other large obstacle, breaking a leg and being In a place where we could not ever expect to summon help. So I refused. We drove back to the ranch. Now comes the reason for telling this story while we were still on the banks off south fork of Little butte. As I was telling, Elton and I had each caught a goodly amount of pan-size trout, had prepared them, Irma had made hotcakes and we had choke cherry syrup over our hot- cakes, the first Elton had ever tasted. On the way back to the ranch the previous day I had spotted a few choke-cherry bushes, had stopped and was picking the berries, maybe a couple of quarts when Elton said, What on earth do you plan to do with those worthless berries? Well, Elton still occasionally mentions the choke-cherry syrup and how good it was.
Another time he was spending a few days with us - I had been In Ashland, laid in a winter's supply of groceries - we usually bought from Chet Walter's Grocerteria . You remember, years before he had helped in our small-town band. After getting the groceries we had listed as being sufficient for the months we might be snow-bound I had picked up Elton and we were on our way. About halfway up the mountain we overtook a young man walking. I stopped, asked if he could use a ride and he accepted. When we arrived at the foot of Icehouse Canyon I got out to put on chains. There was a few inches there and more in the higher country. The young man got out of the pickup bed but didn't offer to help me with the chain Job. Just stood around. I thought that a bit odd. Then, before getting back in the pickup I asked the young fellow where he was headed for. His reply Oh! Just over the hill. I then asked him if he had any particlar place he intended to stay . And his reply was, no Just going up into that country. I told him that the country beyond where we were putting on chains was "No-man's Land" and that if he didn't have a place he knew he could get into and have Supply's he had best turn around and head back down the mountain. He took my advice and about a week later Walter Hash told me he and his punchers had found him lying in an old deserted cabin at Hooper spring. Walt said they managed somehow to get him into a car or truck-probably one following Walt's herd, got him down to Ashland and saw that he had care. He evidently,was a little tetched.
While Elton was with us. I decided to give him a thrill. I had a sleigh- Just the front runners and tongue from a small bobsled, I had inherited with the ranch. I had placed a crude flat-bottomed bed over the runners, and fastened a spring-seat from the old wagon to the flatbed and after getting Elton in place with his chair lashed behind the seat, I brought out my teem of mares that would runaway at the drop of your hat, or even if you didn't drop your hat, hitched them to the Improvised cutter and away we went, no shield in front of us so the mares threw snow clods in our faces all the way to the Darbys and back. Glenn and Stella were "wintering" in their house they had built many years before on their homestead, acquired about 1930. The house stood very close to where the boat ramp- the store, cafe etc. fish-cleaning shed etc now stand, at Howard Prairie resort and lake.
Nickerson cabin in what is now known as the Dunlap Meadows
Elton and Fay Clayton had been "pestering" me for a long time to take them down to the Nickerson Place. Now the Nickerson place was about five miles north of, and about fifteen hundred or more feet lower than the Charles Lindsay ranch whose buildings were facing right up to the Lake- Of-the Woods road, Just about a mile east of Dead Indian Creek, where our road left the Lake-of-the-Woods road, making the Nickerson place about six miles from the Tames. The distance was "no big deal" It was the road_from the Lindsay ranch down the rather steep mountain that was the sticker". It couldn't rightly be called a road- it was just two deep ruts most of the distance, that was most difficult to negotiate. The dim trail from the main road north from the Lindsay was fairly decent and easily traveled. Irma and I had taken Martel and Zola Peters down that road one fall day while they were visiting us, about five or six weeks Just after the war. Martel had been employed for most of the duration at North-American aviation near Los Angeles, but when that work lessened they came to Oregon to visit us before going back to Texas where their parents lived. This trip was uneventful only that it took a lot of maneuvering the pickup to keep the wheels on the ridges instead of in the deep water-washed ruts. Once down the hill, maybe two and a half miles, the view was fantastic. There was a small meadow maybe about five acres, surrounded by huge timber mostly yellow pine, some few trees scattered through the meadow. There was an ordinary small house, a small barn, a chicken house and the crowning feature a small frost-free building. I can't remember the construction - but probably like the others log. That was the material close at hand. The interior had shelves around three sides for storing food stuffs. If my memory serves me rightly, the Nickersons had gone to southern California after the war scare was over . Anyway, the place was deserted when we viewed it. The setting Shanghai the word is not in our little dictionary. The small parcel of land had been "homesteaded" by a Mr. Holt(S) the Nickersons had fled there as a refuge Just prior to the outbreak of World War II. "Nick' was in the view of most of his acquaintances, a little bit different. He claimed to be absorbed in Plato's Demosthenes and other ancient writers whose literature left most people cold. Any way, before and during the war, the Nickersons cared for Mr. Holt and when the man died he left the property to the Nickersons. During those years Nick and the oldest boy had provided the necessities of life by working "outside falling and bucking timber. The irony of the whole thing - some years after the Nickersons left, someone found on searching the records at the court house - the beautiful meadow, buildings and all else had been put on land other than the parcel Mr. Holt had actually filed on as a homestead. I never learned the final disposition of the old Holt-Nickerson place. The beauty of that small piece of meadow, tall yellow pine trees, the surrounding timber-covered slopes simply defy description.
To take up the trip Elton, Fay and I had to the Nickerson place-but we didn't make it down there. It nearly ended in tragedy. One day when they both were our guests, I decided I'd have to satisfy their curiosity. By that time I had sold the horses, bought two tractors, I had a large flatbed two-wheel trailer for hauling hay mostly, but Irma had found the rubber tired tractor and trailer ideal for "scrounging" our winter wood. With Just a few trips into the areas where there had been logging done, we could load a lot of fir limbs, pile them high, tie them down, pull them in to the rear of our large wood-house, set the trailer in the proper position, set the tractor where I could attach a belt to the drive pulley loop the other end over the pulley on the buzz saw, I would take the limbs (some of them large enough for heating stove fuel) place them on the swinging table, push them into the saw-blade at the proper length, Irma would grab the sawed stick and throw it into the wood-house - and In Just a few trips, we'd have our winter supply of fuel. I must insert right here, that we had brought from our living-room in the rear of the cafe an old fashioned wood-burning kitchen range with warming oven and an old blue granite-ware kettle (about five or six gallon) - our hot water supply. I've gone" clear round Robin Hood's barn, but it seemed the place to tell about the many uses we had for the tractor. One was plowing snowy roads and how comfortable to sit up there and not have to worry about the horse-power getting tired,
Again-to make a start with Elton and Fay. I had secured a spring- seat,from the old wagon to the flatbed trailer got Elton on, lathed his chair to the trailer bed. Got the rubber tired tractor hitched, waved to Irma and we took off across the Chas. Lindsay meadow, northeast past the buildings and across the Lake-of-the-Woods road, north following a logging road across about a mile of timberland. We passed the little mill the Farmer brothers were operating, three Farmers In the mill and Glenn skidding In logs from the woods. We drove on a short distance and found ourselves at the end of a skid-road. The main trail had been Obliterated by the logging operation and I had no Idea of where to find the old trail. So we turned around, went beck to the mill and Glenn directed us so that we might get on the road to the Nickerson place. I told him our objective and he gave me explicit instructions how to find our way through the maze of skid-roads and trails so that we were eventually able to get past their logging area and find the old trail. Not far beyond this point we started down the long rutted road. I tried the best I could keeping the tractor and trailer on the ridges rather than trying to travel the deep ruts. We had made it about half-mile down the rutted road when a rear tire on the tractor, on the outside edge of the road slid sidewise far enough before I could cut the ignition and set the brakes, the tractor was sitting at about a forty-five degree angle. I Jumped, looked back and saw the trailer was still on the road way safe. My nervousness subsided. Neither of my passengers seemed to be a bit disturbed. But we had a difficult problem facing us. After a few minutes discussion we decided our only way out was to seek help from the Farmers. Their mill was now probably about a mile behind us. Fay, who no doubt was in his late seventy's proposed he walk back to the mill and ask for help. Fay was pretty sturdy until his death or a few days before at the age of ninety and one half. Fay started the long trudge up that hill and I began getting things ready for the cat I was sure Glenn would bring. I unhitched the trailer so if the tractor did continue to slide the trailer would not be endangered. Elton was still sitting on his chair on the trailer. When Fay got to the mill the Farmers shut down sawing so Glenn could take the cat and come to our rescue. Fay rode back with Glenn. Glenn hooked a small chain onto the trailer's rear, pulled it back to where he could turn it around, then came down with the cat, hitched to its rear hitch, dragged it back up on the road, got it up to where we could hook tractor and trailer again- headed to the Tames ranch and the two sightseers never saw the Nickerson place. I stopped at the mill on the way out and asked what I owed them, shut down their lumber mill, the use of the cat and skinner -what do you think? Ivan,the eldest said since they were a little behind In production if I wanted I could work for them a few days three-four maybe more, which I gladly did. That way I got to know some new, good, old-fashioned friends, Our friendships and relations extended through many years. I may find a place in this Story for some of my contact and relations with the Farmers. Baby Robert Rosenbaum, Just after graduating from high school married his former school-mate-sweet-heart about eighteen years after he used to come to our house, a baby in arms.
Another time having Elton as our guest. It was fall hunting season. I was firing boilers at the Daly mill five days a week, through their milling season- May through October-November, depending on weather. I had taken Elton in the pickup up on the ridge southwest of the house a mile or maybe less, had put him in his chair, handed him his 30-30 and his sack lunch. I left him Stationed on a deer run with the understanding that if he had a kill and needed me to pick him up, he could fire two shots, Just a few seconds after I blew the noon whistle. Just after I pulled the whistle cord, there were two rifle Shots, considerably more then a mile away. As soon as I could bank the fires I Jumped in the pickup, drove the half mile past our house tooting the horn and on about another mile where I found Elton, with a buck lying not far away and a mile-wide smile. I got him, his chair his buck and drove down that mountain as fast as I could, with safety. I unloaded Elton, his chair, his buck, hung the buck for dressing by Elton & Irma, hurried Into the house ate a hurried lunch and drove back to the mill a few minutes before time to blow the starting whistle, the reason for the rush - I had to get up a head of steam, about 150 pounds before the mill could start. During this same stay at our house, Elton had a call to the John, about one hundred feet from our back door. After awhile Irma, heard some loud calling coming from the direction of the John. Upon investigating, Irma could see Elton floundering around in the outhouse and heard him yelling for help. She got there pronto, helped Elton get his pants up, his leg braces fastened and into his chair. He was embarrassed to say the least but Irma assured that he need not be unduly embarrassed, that they were both adults and that the circumstance was unavoidable and to think nothing of it.
There are so many "fun" things to tell about while we lived on the ranch, I haven't found time nor place to tell of the main business-ranching One Christmas-time, the last one infact 1952, Shelly and Mary Daly brought Elton in a pickup with a small sno-cat in back. They unloaded the sno-cat their personals, some Christmas goodies, somewhere on the west side probably about the foot of Ice-house canyon. From there they traveled over snow. After reaching the summit and probably some distance below they were riding over about four feet of settled, packed snow. When they left the Lake-of-the-Woods road at the northwest corner of our meadow they Just angled across the meadows, no rail fences to bother. I don t know the actual measurement, but they told us they Just rode right over where there were buried fences. The snow had started that early winter about November 1st, when we had about eighteen inches for a starter. We continued to have frequent storms, the snow settling between falls of course packing it harder. By the middle of December all the fences were were hidden. We seldom had wind with the storms especially the area near the timber at the south end of the meadows where our ranch buildings were located. We had a merry time -two-three days the Dalys and Elton stayed. During that time Doctor Harvey Woods and party came through via sno-cat, bringing our mail and wishing all a "Merry Christmas". They were on their way to the Wood's summer cabin at Lake-of-the-Woods for the holidays. That winter Irma and I made a decision-we would come spring- offer our place for sale. We had spent several winters in that secluded snowbound valley alone. Ranchers had begun some few years before baling their mountain hay and hauling it down to their valley ranch. A valley ranch - the Tames didn't own. We decided we had pushed our luck far enough. For instance, if I was injured or seriously ill, we would have no means of getting help. Our nearest neighbor being Jim Dodson and wife living about half Way down Ice-house canyon about eight or nine miles distant. While describing the deep snow fun of the 1952-53 winter I thought it a good place to tell that we, while not scared both decided it was not reasonable for us to stay shut off from any help, no phone - and that in the early summer we would offer our place for sale.
I've written so much about things unrelated to our ranch work and my work at the mill. Now- Oh I yes- there is one more. It was Fourth of July, 1942( that being our second summer in the outback) Pete and Edna, and of course Robert came by mid-morning and informed us we were going on a fishing-picnic down on south fork of Little Butte. But they didn't tell us the area. After putting our picnic lunch bucket my fly outfit, Pete drove back to the Dead Indian(Lake-of-the-Woods) road, east to the Junction of the Fish Lake road, thence north about a mile where we left the Fish Lake road, drove onto a dim logging road leading off into the wood where we had never been. After maybe a mile we came to the end of the road, Pete parked the big pickup, we all unload our lunch and fishing gear Pete put Robert, still too small to walk very far, on Pete's back and we all set forth on a dim foot trail, how far? probably about a mile. There we found the creek. No signs of anyone having been near.
It was the very setting I(and Irma, too) had always enjoyed. Primitive areas -wilderness. Later in this story, if I live to complete it, I will tell of many, many trips we have enjoyed -not always in an area where "no white man had ever set foot, but in dozens of areas of scenic grandeur and we have several hundred colored slides to show "we were there'".
This beautiful south fork, a few miles below where Fish Lake road crossed it and where "everybody" fished, was a fisherman's and nature-lovers paradise. We had a grand day. Pete and I caught -well, too many to mention here- enjoyed the wilderness and each others company. And so back home.
We had started ranching with two young mares, sufficient haymaking equipment, about two hundred old Ramboulette ewes and a few bucks of the same small breed. It wasn't long until we realized Dead Indian winters were too wet, that a sheep's fleece would get wet with the first fall rains and stay wet all winter until summer drying would get their fleece dry. When, we started with old ewes. They were vulnerable to all the diseases, colds etc, to the extent that we were having too many losses. We bought Corriedale bucks and started breeding larger animals. The lambs,would be larger at selling time in the fall. We had started with one red part short horn milk cow we bought from Mrs. Powers and daughter Eleanor, while they still lived on their Wagner creek home of many years. We bought this cow the first year we began to have young lambs coming at the ranch while Roy and Alcy and kids were there taking care of both small bands. In no time at all Irma had about a dozen "bummers" in a pen at the side of the house, the one right across the street from city hall. We lived there the two years after trading for the ranch. We rented it of course. We kept the cow at Fay's barn and pasture, I milked the cow and Irma bottle-fed her orphan lambs. That fall we, the Hills and Uncle Billie Lindsay put our lambs together, drove them afoot over the hill and down across pastures to the stockyards in Ashland, near the railroad yards, ran them through a cutting gate, Roy separating the lambs according to brand, we weighed each brand in small bunches on the livestock scales. Some one kept records of weights until each band was weighed and the buyer, a man from Roseburg, paid each of the owners for the total weight of his little bunch of lambs. On the way down the mountain Irma got out of the wagon I was driving, with bedrolls food etc, and when she got out her bummers all came clamoring for Irma's attention, making quite a fuss, even though they had been with the band for several months. Irma was walking, along,at the rear of the band and these orphans, having heard her voice came from all directions, looking up at her nuzzling her legs and reaching for her outstretched hand. Irma had tears on her cheeks.
We rented an old unused place on the side of the mountain, Just off the Shale City road from a Mr. Philpot, who had apparently homesteaded it many years before. The old piece had a "sort of house, a few sheds and a small corral. It lay east of the creek that flows down through the draw from the summit, about two miles above old Shale City. That area got its name from the fact that many years before,there had been a flurry about digging this shale(oil-bearing) running it through some sort of retort, or other extraction process and producing kerosene or some few oil products. I never learned much of the history of the boom but it had progressed to the place where there were several men and teams employed and there were a few buildings erected-some still standing at the time we rented the small abandoned place. While we used the homestead and the surrounding BLM or O & C vacant lands surrounding it, we were too busy riding herd on our small flock, we didn't have time to go exploring. And the only other residents of that area -Evan Jones, about my age and had what I describe as a squirrel ranch lying mostly on the west side of the creek and whose house was on the west side and his barn on the east side of the Shale City road. And those buildings all pretty close to the creek. Our object in renting the old pasture was that grass came quite a bit earlier than on our side of the mountain. And too it enabled us to have more pasture than we otherwise would.
The other resident, old Bill Ferrear(spelled Improperly) He was an Italian, a friend of the Laninis, also Italian-Americans. Mr. Ferrear owned a sizable ranch at the summit of this not-to-high ridge(extending from Old Grizzly, a butte, a land mark northeast of Ashland easterly to where the Dead Indian road crossed the summit, elevation about one mile, from there on southeasterly and becoming a part of the Siskiyou range) Bill had lived up on that summit for many years, I never learned. But while telling about Bill being one of only two ""ranchers'" I had early knowledge of, I'll tell of the end of his life while living there alone. I never heard if he had any relatives or not. Irma and I rode by his ranch home one day while we were out keeping tabs on our sheep. One of us went out horseback shortly after letting them out of the corral in the morning, stayed with them till mid-day, left them grazing, rode Into the house and the other, on our other horse went right out very shortly afterward and stayed with them until evening, when we brought them in and put them in the corral. They would scatter, break into small bunches - and seemingly try to get lost. One day, after hunting in relay for our prized Corriedale buck, we found his body lying in a brushy spot we never were able to determine the cause of his death.
About Bill, I think his name was more nearly spelled "Fererra" . Anyway, some years after we had been keeping our sheep, now grown into a band of about two hundred, two and three year old Corriedale ewes, also about eight or ten mixed breed cows and a whiteface bull, we learned of Bill's death. The report we got was, - Bill had been having a considerable amount of throat soreness, reportedly for some years. Finally,he decided he had cancer of the throat took a pad and pencil, wrote a note saying he was taking his own life and that the ranch and his small herd of cattle were to become the property of Henry Lanini . He lay down under a tree, the note beside him, put a bullet through his brain.
Of course, that note didn't convey title of the property to Henry. The signed statement had not been signed by two witnesses as required by Oregon law. In due time, the Jackson county authorities advertised the property, held a public sale and Henry if I'm not mistaken, was the only bidder. The ranch and livestock became his property through this public sale.
We rented the Philpot property Just one season. We had a hard Job getting the sheep there, then we had to make another trip for the cattle. We had the wagon along with our bedding, cookware, food and extra clothing and so on in the wagon. We took turns hazing the sheep along using two good dogs, the other driving the team and wagon. When we got to the switchback about half mile above the Shale City road, Irma took the sheep and drove them across the mountainside to where Evan Jones place was located. There I was to meet her with our wagon of equipment etc. We still were using the pretty bay mares we had bought Just prior to moving to the ranch. I turned the team up the Shale City road where it Junctioned with the Dead Indian road. Everything worked according to schedule until I got about half mile up the Shale City road. Then the mare Maud Just stopped - and refused to go any further up that fairly steep road. Nothing I could do could change her attitude. She would pull no further, I had experienced this sort of thing once before. I finally gave up, unhitched the horses, tied them to the fence, walked down the road to the Junction, through a gate and on down the hill to the Lanini ranch. Luckily I found Mr. Lanini home. He readily agreed to help me out, harnessed a team, drove them up to where I was stranded, hitched them to the wagon and took our wagon right on up the Shale City road, above the Jones place, he crossed the creek, on up a dim trail about half mile to the Philpot place, unhitched/and went back home. I was waiting for Irma, the dogs and sheep, near Mr. Jones barn. When they arrived in late afternoon we tried getting the sheep across the creek. No soap. It was getting late and we finally decided to camp right there near the barn. There seemed to be no one home, so there was no one to ask permission.
The sheep had grazed some all the way from the ranch and especially on the way across the hillside between the switchback and the Jones place. So, they were ready to bed down. I unharnessed the team, tied- them to trees after watering them I didn't have any grain to offer them but I wasn't too sympathetic as regards their needs anyway. We gathered scraps of wood, limbs whatever we could find, built a good sized fire a few yards from the barn, sat down leaning back against the side of the barn and spent the night. Fortunately there was enough fuel for our fire, limbs, pieces of bark, sticks and pieces that had dropped from the oak trees, that I was able to keep a fire all night. We sat facing it with our backs against the barn. At the first light the sheep began stirring from the bedground so we began another try at getting them to cross the creek. After quite a lot of hassling and worrying with them it finally dawned on one of our minds. Get one ewe across and the rest would follow. It worked, but it was about all I could do to carry one of the old ewes that had a small bell on her neck across that swift-running creek. It wasn't very deep, over the knees on the average, but it took about all the strength I could muster to get that old ewe on the opposite bank. Of course she was agitated and did quite a lot of bleating, but that is Just what we wanted. And while I was sure she wouldn't attempt re-crossing that fast flowing creek, I held onto her until Irma and the dogs could persuade a few other ewes to cross and from there on every sheep in the band couldn't wait to get to the other side. One of us led the team and the other,with the help of the dogs managed to reach our destination, The first time I saw Mr. Lanini I asked what I owed him, he replied "Oh! five dollars be plenty.”
We took the sheep home earlier than the cows. I don't remember why, but I do remember Irma and I riding down from the ranch one day a week or two later to check. We found all the cows, a few with new calves and all seemed alright except the red shorthorn we had purchased from Mrs. Powers. She had dropped a calf but she didn't have it with her and didn't seem to care. We rode all that mountainside looking in every nook and carny. Finally decided the calf had come dead. The trip down was about twelve miles each way, making twenty-four miles besides the miles we rode looking for the calf. During all that ride Irma never once dismounted. When we got home that night I had to help Irma down from her horse, help her get something to eat, get her ready and put her to bed. Next day she was about as good as new. I took the pickup drove down to Charley Fortmillers lower ranch, Just below the Hash ranch. It was purchased from Mr. Edwards longtime resident there and too old to run stock. I found Charley there and borrowed his stock-rack trailer mine was too old and rickety, drove back up to the Philpot, loaded the red cow and one other and hauled them up to the ranch where we could feed her on good oat hay and milk her until I could get a couple of orphan calves for her to raise. She was the "motheringest" cow I ever saw, she would take anything and as many as one would give her. In a day or two we drove to Phoenix and bought at the livestock auction two little stringy half breeds, took them home and gave them to her. About a week after we had first noticed she had given birth to a calf I was down at the Philpot pasture looking the little herd over. After a little while I saw a pretty white-face red calf going from one cow to the other and where-ever he could, would rob some milk. Was I surprised. I managed to get a short cord put it around his neck and started herding and then leading the little calf down that dim trail I couldn't get the car because I couldn't get it across the creek. Two or three times on the way down to the pickup that little calf stopped at a small stream or puddle of water and drank till I would pull him away for fear he would take on too much water. When I got him home his mother accepted him as though he had been by her side from birth. We took one of the Auction calves back and sold it as we didn't have enough milk production to bottle-feed an extra.
On the way up the road with the sheep, our dog Lady was right in the rear helping keep the stranglers moving along and every hour or so, whoever was driving the teem and wagon,would stop, help Lady Into the wagon and she would feed her pups, only a few weeks old. But- here's the payoff - when we reached the foot of the hill(the old road) at the southwest corner of our meadow, Lady forgot about her duties and her family and bolted at a dead run for the house, she was so excited at getting home she didn't come back to help finish the drive or see if her babies needed feeding.
One morning when I went out to the barn on some errand, found a Guernsey heifer, a long yearling, her head in one of the stanchions in the milk barn placidly filling up on hay. We had left her with our small herd on the Philpot, twelve miles from where this heifer had been born and raised. That was the most amazing thing I ever knew a dumb animal to do. While we were looking after the sheep on the Philpot place, one of us were with the sheep nearly every minute they were grazing as noted previously. The ground was so gravelly and wearing on our horses feet, they became lame and had to have shoes. I got Carl Henry who had a small place at the foot of the mountain, a log house, some sheds and spring belonging to a Mr. Spires and had lived there several years to bring some tools and shoes and shoe our horses. A few years later, not too many, I tackled the job and shod the pair at the ranch.
Tame house and barn pictures current day
The first few years Irma and I did all our hay harvest. I would mow a sizable piece of hay-always that growing where the sub-irrigated land produced the biggest growth-- in the afternoon rake what I had mowed the previous day, then Irma and I would hitch to the high-sided hay wagon. She would drive and I would place the hay all over the rack as it came rolling off the loader. When we had all we thought we could get the rope slings to hold and still get the rings together so I could fasten the hoist pulley to the rings, Irma, having unhitched the team, would drive them around to the end of the barn where a set of double-trees lay on the ground fastened to a cable that ran back through a pulley fastened near the ground to the barn base-sill and on up the face of the barn and back to the carriage latched in the center of the driveway at the peak of the roof and down to the pulley with hook I had secured to the rings of one set of slings. When the sling load of hay was over the spot I wanted it, I would pull the trip rope, yell at Irma, she would turn the team around and I would pull the carriage back to the place where it would latch into the place in the center where the carriage would stop and I would pull the pulley-hook down and fasten to the other sling-load of hay and that trip would unload a wagon. Just 2 trips and the load was off. We learned early that the greener we could get the hay stored, the more feed value. Unless the ground was very wet slowing curing time we planned to have a cutting in the barn the third afternoon. Usually two loads took care of one afternoon mowing. One day when we were working near the east side of the meadow we were hailed by men putting in hay for Mr. Fortmiller. One of them said '"Don't you know you are liable to burn your barn down putting in such green hay. I told him I thought it would be alright. I usually planted a few acres of oats and it would yield a lot more tonnage per acre than the wild hay, but it did require a lot of work preparing the ground-usually, springtoothing the land, broadcasting the oats we didn't own a drill- harrowing it in and that was all the work until the grain had blossomed, ripened to the "milk-" stage and it was ready for cutting. Some ranchers insisted the grain had to be almost hard-in the near ripe stage. But by that "time the stalks and leaves had turned from a bright green to a slightly brown color. Most of the protein was lost in aging, consequently, less feed value. The cow that had apparently lost her calf and I had later brought her back to the ranch that year raised two beautiful whiteface calves to the weight they would command a good price, then we secured two more baby calves gave them to her and took them along with our small herd to the lower meadow-separated from and about a mile east of the main ranch.
The move was early fall after that part of the meadow sub-irrigated and producing a lot more growth then the drier portions had been cut and hauled the mile to the barn. We would leave the cattle there until after a heavy frost when that wet land grass became nearly worthless as forage. That fall the red shorthorn bought from the Powers had raised two marketable-size calves, was then mothering the second pair we had bought at the Phoenix auction and after some weeks we thought we'd best have a look. When we found this red cow; she was "thin as a rail" and so weak she could scarcely bawl. We were amazed, ashamed and puzzled. Finally, we discovered the reason for her poor condition. While we sat our horses watching, the cows, first calf, now about eighteen months old, came out of the herd and Joined the two young calves and got a large portion of the mother's Milk. There was only one thing to do take the cow and small calves to the barn leaving the nearly-grown heifer to get along on grass. After a day or so we put the two small calves in the small pasture Just outside our yard fence between the house and the barn, taught them to take milk from a bottle with nipple, then gradually to take a milk-calf starter mixture from a pail with nipple. Then gradually we got them accustomed to come to the small stanchion-part of a string of about ten built into the yard fence. We had been developing a baby calf raising operation to supplement our small bunch of calves raised by their mothers. These calves had been bought at the auction or where ever we could find one for sale. They soon learned when I came from the barn with milk pails they should get their heads and necks through the stanchions and be ready for the feeding they would get by pulling on a rubber nipple Inserted near the bottom of a small galvanized pail. These pails were set in a trough which had dividers in it to prevent buckets being tipped over. This trough of course Just inside the stanchions. We put the red now on oat hay exclusively, I milked her for our own use,(we hadn't yet gotten into supplying people at the mill) The cow could eat oat hay anytime of day or night and believe it or not by spring she was fat.
We were working toward a cow herd and preparing to dispose of our sheep. This we did not too long after our experience with taking them over the mountain for earlier pasture. We began building toward a herd of milking shorthorns, which we thought would give us milk producers as well as bringing calves sired by a whitefece bull, that would develop into heavier animals when sold for beef slaughter. Frank Holdridge had a heifer coming two years old and which would calve in the spring. She looked like a pure bred shorthorn, had been raised to be as gentle as a pet. I propositioned him that he give me the young shorthorn for a Guernsey heifer the same age and bred to bear a cross whiteface calf. She was Just as pretty as Franks red shorthorn. We agreed on a trade. I took the Guernsey down to Frank's place on Wagner creek road close to Talent and got the beautiful red heifer in the stock trailer and took her home. She was perfectly gentle and took her place in the milk-barn with stanchions for about nine or ten cows. She caused no problems and had the privilege of feeding on oat hay along with the few cows we were milking. Next spring she dropped a nice calf and we took it right away and put it with our hand-fed bunch feeding at the stanchions near the back yard. So, I proceeded to milk the heifer. When she showed some objections, Just for safety sake, I put on kicking chains and sat down again to take her milk. She simply threw a fit, bucked and bawled, threw herself, her body on the milk-barn floor and her head still in the stanchion. I got her loose from the stanchion petted her got her quieted a bit and put the chains on and had another try. Same result, I gave up, let her have her calf to raise. That fall I sold her to a dairyman,who had a small herd and was a neighbor of our mail-carrier. I sold her for Just what we agreed would be fair market price for a beef animal, she being not very fat after raising her calf. He was sure he could make a milk cow of her. But all his efforts failed and he finally took her to the auction.
Sometime during the first years on the ranch, Mrs. Nickerson, her two younger sons, one about fifteen, the other about twelve came up from their hideaway place(briefly described -see page 106-) for their mail. The mail was delivered once,weekly by Kenneth Damon, whose main interest was operating a small dairy a short distance northeast of Ashland, his mail- carrying Job being a contract "star route". The end of his route being the Charles Lindsay ranch, now the Charles Fortmiller ranch. "Nick" Nickerson and their oldest son, about seventeen being up near Prospect falling and bucking timber. Mrs. Nickerson and the boys had come one afternoon planning to stay alnight at the Fortmiller place where Mart Dodson was feeding the small herd of cattle and taking care of the team and a couple of saddle-horses. That night we had a snow storm putting down about a foot on top of six or so inches. The next afternoon the middle-aged boy(name forgotten) came across the snow covered meadows on a pair of long-model snowshoes and said his mother would like me to come help them get back home, that I would come on snow shoes to help them. I don't remember if they had a pair each or not. But I told the young man I would come the following day with saddle-horses, that I was not accustomed to traveling the distance involved. That he tell his mother to be ready about ten o'clock. Then I said, if he thought it would be alright he could spend the night with us. he replied that if asked to stay it would be alright. The following morning after getting my feeding chores finished, I saddled the two original horses, both being excellent saddle animals. I knew Mart had one saddle horse that was trustworthy and our Maud, the balky one could be ridden by an inexperienced child. So I knew I had the proper equipment to transport the three, whom I was sure didn't have any experience with saddle stock. On my way to the Fortmiller ranch, both animals got down twice. Once out into the far side north of the meadow I began finding drifts. That was where the wind which seldom accompanied a storm could pile the snow in drifts. The area where the horses got down was in the edge of the timber Just far enough the wind had piled snow in drifts over downed logs. when I finally reached the Fortmiller ranch,I found the three waiting for me. Mart had saddled the stiff-legged bay and we were ready to make a start. I told Mrs. N. She should ride the gimpy-legged bay, I helped the boys on to Maud where I knew it would be almost impossible to have any trouble. I took their show shoes, two pair of long slim model, put the snow shoes where I could reach them, swung them over my left shoulder and led the way, It wasn't far into the timber that we met our first obstacle, a medium-size log covered high with drifted snow. I had to find a way around. When we came to a small snow covered log Queen would Jump it Maude, with the boys astride would follow. But when the bay carrying. Mrs. N. came to the log he Just stood there. I would have to dismount, stand the snowshoes on end, trudge back through near waist-deep drifts, back to where I could switch the bay across the rear, he would go on to the next obstacle, where the performance would have to be repeated. Mrs. Nickerson knew nothing of how to handle a horse and this old faker soon realized he could do Just about as he pleased. Knowing the way through this logged-over land probably a mile, came in very good play. We finally found our way to the place where the old washed-out road began the decent, so of course our travel was easier, luckily having no blow downs across the road. In due time we arrived at about half-mile from the Nickerson's home, the snow depth was only about shoe top deep so I told them I would be heading back home. They clambered off their mounts, I got on the Fortmiller horse after tying the bridle reins to the saddle horn on Maud's and Queen's saddle. I started them off ahead of me thinking it would be much easier than leading them. They started at a walk, then broke into a slow trot and before long were in full gallop. Not too long and the bay mares were out of sight and all I could do was follow their tracks which were plain enough. But my mount wasn't much interested in a gait faster than a walk.
Their tracks went in a generally westerly direction but they wound around a lot, even sometimes in circles. Finally, I spotted them standing quietly not very far from the Deed Indian road near the Hash ranch. I caught them, took their reins and led them home about a mile. It was nearly dark when I reached home, being a mid-winter evening.
There we were, living, in an isolated area, no modern conveniences, no social contacts or very few, and yet there are so many events to tell about I can hardly get them all in this record. After all the things that happened were important to us.
I did get a chance to trade the balky mare Maud for a smaller older mare. I traded with Jim Dodson my neighbor, Just over the summit about eight miles distant. He sold Maud right away to a neighbor who had need for a trustworthy saddle horse. I found the gray a very eager worker. I never had the courage to mount her, typical bronc. I had bought a bay mare from Wayne Heard who was ranching for a living at the time. He was quite a horse trader. I bought the bay mare Just on his word-that she was a good worker.
I had raised a colt born to Maud the first summer and by this time he was three and old enough to break. He was about the size of the Queen mare so I mated them up as a team. The bronc I got from Jim and the bay I bought from Wayne Heard made a perfect match. Willingness and general disposition were concerned. They would pull anything they were hitched to. The only problem,I could never put the lines down and leave them. These two mares made the team I used to take Elton Petri on the sleigh ride, narrated on page 105.
During all the years we lived on the ranch I would occasionally get a call from the Dalys to help at the mill while they looked for a permanent mill worker. This occasional working for the Dalys continued until the early summer of 1948. Their fireman became ill and quit. One of the Daly men came one evening and asked if I would consider taking the Job on a permanent basis. By this time I had sold our horses and bought a used small crawler tractor and a new rubber tired tractor. The new one had lights and if necessary, I could cut and rake hay after dark. So I said yes I'd try. I'd never fired with sawdust for fuel but they were willing to take a chance, so I went down next morning and began a five year Job. Shelly's youngest son Gene was filling in and he gave me pointers on what he had learned. Of course years before in the Salt Creek oil fields I had picked up a fair knowledge of injectors, water pumps, water levels in the boiler etc. so it didn't take too long to get the hang of keeping a head of steam using sawdust for fuel instead of natural gas. While firing I had plenty of time to watch the waste material riding the conveyor headed for the burner. I "scrounged" not only my cooking and heating fuel, but was able to throw out cull pieces of lumber for which I found many uses.
As near as I could discern, my relations with the Daly brothers was always good. We formed friendships there that have lasted through the years. Only one brother living, Shelly the youngest. He and Mary live west of Jacksonville. The youngest son Is employed by the Medford fire department, has been there many years, Don the older has been at the Rogue Valley Manor maintainence work for many years, Ivan and Elton both deceased long time, Eltons wife lives in Medford. The daughter, Carmella married Art Hotho many years ago and they live in Medford. Gertrude, Ivan's wife lives in a retirement home Christian Church Sponsored, her daughter Betty and Husband Art Coulter live in central California. The Dalys shut down their mill the same fall we moved off our ranch-1953. They had bought at the time of setting up their mill a huge acreage of stumpage. They had run out of stumpage the same year we sold the ranch.
There was no doubt a lot of events connected with our operating a small ranch that I have overlooked. But as they come to mind I will Jot them down as part of our experience in living in "the outback
About the year the War ended, Our good friend of many years Agnes Buxton and her teenage daughter Nancy came to visit us. We had no word they were coming. One day when we were in Ashland doing our regular weekly errands and laying in supply's, the first place we entered one of the salesmen said Did your friends from southern California find you"? It was the same question in several stores. Finally, someone told us our friends had gone out to Clarence Homes service station near the college to wait a ride out to Dead Indian on a logging truck. We had completed our purchases and picked up our mail(which we could do from a locked box, when in town) and then drove out to Clarence's station and, there we found Agnes and Nancy waiting a ride . We put their luggage in the rear of the pickup, two of the gals got In the pickup box in the rear and we were off. We had a wonderful visiting time, in fact Agnes staid about six weeks. Nancy, much to her dislike had to return to Pasadena to her grandmothers home on north Hill Avenue and to high school. While our guests were with us we did everything we could think of for fun, but I think the most enjoyment Agnes and Nancy had was riding horseback. They used Queen and Dolly the mare I had bought from Wayne Heard—and really had a wonderful time. We still have some B&W snapshots of the ladies on their mounts.
It must have been the same fall that Agnes and Nancy visited us that Martel and Zola Peters came back from a brief visit to their parents (1945 )in Texas. I was working temporarily at the mill as usual on the deck. I suggested to Mart that he could probably get that Job. So we talked to Elton and Mart watched and helped one day and I quit and Martel took over. They set up house-keeping in our large garage, a well-built 14 X24 feet building, built by Mr. Blake in the early days of automobiles to house a Stanley Steamer. Someone told me that steamer was the only auto in the country that could negotiate the the old grade that followed the canyon bottom most of the way and then climbed out at the foot of Ice-house canyon, angled across northeast on a steep grade,where it topped the summit at the same pass the later and now present road goes through the pass a mile high. Martel worked that job until the mill closed for the winter. Then they moved to Ashland, somehow got acquainted with Ralph & Lena Foster and made a deal for them to share their apartment and for Martel to work for Ralph in their Union service station, directly across Main street from the Lithia Hotel. The Fosters had come to the valley having their youngest son Ralph Jr. still at home, a young teenager. Ralph and Lena had been running the station working together long hours and probably were glad to get some help. They had come to the valley from eastern Oregon having lived in that area for many years after leaving their home town Buffalo Wyoming before I went there In 1915. I had never heard of them until they arrived in the valley and bought a small country grocery, if I remember, near the junction of Bealle Lane and South Stage road. We must have gotten acquainted with them through the friendship of another native-born Wyomingite Mrs. Baylor who with husband and family had moved to Talent in the Thirties from southern California. Martel worked for Ralph quite some time, two years, maybe more and finally bought Ralph's lease, continued to run the station until the Union Co. builded a new station at the east side Interchange of I-5, Martel moved his business to the new location, the Union Company let their main street lease expire and Martel continued to operate at the new location until Just a few years ago when on reaching the age of sixty-five the Company forced his retirement. That nearly broke Martel's heart. There's an odd angle to our becoming friends with Ralph and Lena Foster. They were both born and reared in and near Buffalo, had married and moved west before we had even thought of living in Johnson county. We don't know the date but it must have been many years before our arrival. Otto Hart took me out to Ralph's fathers homestead Shortly after I arrived in Buffalo, I had purchased the beautiful gray mares and I had a few times seen the parents later.
The Covingtons had been "long-time" residents of Buffalo. Lena's youngest sister, I believe,the youngest of the family had been Irma's class-mate-in high school the term Irma attended Buffalo school prior to our marriage the following spring. It requires a lot of "back tracking" to get all these stories tied together. And then, I'm sure there will be some events we think important I'll neglect to get into this Memwars" account.
About this same winter 1945, Irma and I having disposed of all out livestock decided we'd spend part of the winter with her mother and stepfather in Santa Barbara. We had made several yellow cheeses from the accumulated milk after the mill workers had left. I improvised a press for the curd. Set it on the old table on the back porch, using for a container, a gallon or no.10 fruit can with both ends removed. This container, or press would make about a six-pound cheese. Irma. read up on cheese making in The Oregon Farmer,the source of most of our information for a lot of our experimentations. I won't attempt to describe the way I held pressure on the wooden inch-thick block placed on top the curd, the bottom of the can of curd sitting on a wooden piece with drain grooves cut in the boards surface so the whey could drain away. After a number of hours under pressure,the curd would form a solid-like body the same as the commercial cheese you buy-in the food market. The milk, fresh and sweet was placed in a graniteware kettle-about five gallon size-put on the rear of the kitchen range and after stirring a Certain amount of rennet a curdling powder, so much for so much sweet milk, and after a few hours,the curd would be ready to pour through a sieve or sack and left hanging to remove all possible whey. When the curd had hung over a vessel until it was almost dry, it would be removed from each and pressed into the gallon can sitting on the drain board. Before the milk had begun to curdle a coloring powder, called butter color, was stirred into the milk. It sounds rather complicated and it really was quite an involved process – but the end result a yellowish cheese, the shape of a gallon can and a little smaller due to the loss of whey.
We took six of these cheeses for gifts wherever we visited briefly. We secured a barrel, heavy card-board, formerly a container for a produce shipped to a grocery Store. This barrel we filled with frozen beef from our locker at Ashland cold storage plant, we rented a locker there for all the years we lived on the ranch because we had no way at the ranch to keep meat, except by canning in a glass fruit Jar. The barrel was filled with probably about a hundred pounds of different cuts of beef, wrapped in locker paper. The cover was secured so that it could not be opened with ordinary means. the barrel taken to the express office and addressed to be delivered at the Overands west side address, Santa Barbara. The cheeses, we took in our hand luggage. We spent a portion of three winters with Ed and Mother O. two at Santa Barbara and one at Santa Rosa. Each winter our barrel of frozen beef arrived with no signs of tampering and was seemingly as hard-frozen as when we packed it.
The first winter at Santa Barbara after visiting perhaps a couple of weeks, Just after the holidays, we bought tickets by bus, the same way we had come from Ashland stopped in Hollywood briefly to visit Irma's Aunt Flossie Thompson. After a few days I called Floyd Clapper in west Los Angeles, told him we would like to come down. He asked me "Where are you" My reply "I have no idea" He told us to board a certain city bus, make transfers at certain streets and get off at a certain street. We followed his instructions and after stepping off the last bus in west Los Angeles there was Floyd waiting to take us to their home only a short distance away. I do remember his home was in suburban southwest part of the city. From there Floyd took us over to Pasadena where we visited Agnes, her mother, Mrs. Williams and Nancy were there for the Rose Parade on New Years- Day. I looked back through this story thinking I had previously told of our visit to these friends, but I could find no mention of it.
Our visit was brief but we had a lot of fun. On the morning of January first Agnes took Irma and me and Nancy down Hill avenue to Colorado blvd. where Agnes was employed in the office of a mortuary, parked Agnes car in the parking lot, got four folding chairs from the mortuary, took them out- to the curb, sat on them on the sidewalk, with no big Jam of people, watched the-parade, took our chairs back where they belonged, got in the car and drove back to the Williams-Buxton home on north Hill avenue and in due time set down to a sumptuous New Year Day dinner.
We visited the Stahls overnight they were friends from Buffalo and Marshfield and then we rode a bus back to Santa Barbara for several weeks and then on back to Ashland.
One winter when Irma was going to Santa Barbara to spend a couple of months I had plowed the road with tractor to a point about half mile west of the summit where the snow was not heavy enough to bother. The temperature had dropped to several degrees below freezing during the night. we left home about ten o'clock allowing plenty of time. When we got out on the road we found I had failed to remove all the snow for long stretches in places. I had left three-four inches wet, soft snow and next day we found that much frozen snow which required a lot more traction and a lot more time. We did fairly well until we reached the cattle-guard, about half mile-or more- below the summit. And this half mile was the steepest grade in the five miles from the ranch to the summit. That was an ordeal. Of course I shoveled, backed up and ran at it and did every thing I could to break through that half mile. As near as I remember we were about two hours making that half mile. Once over the summit not much difficulty. Ran out of snow a short distance down the west slope. Then part way down Ice-house Canyon there we found a medium size tree fallen right across the road. I walked on down to Jim Dodson's place. Luckily Jim and his wife were home. He got his cross-cut saw, we trudged back up to where the tree lay across the road, maybe a half mile. We soon had a hunk of tree cut and off the roadway. Jim got in the rear of the pickup, we let him off at home, thanked him, and were on our way. We arrived at the bus station in plenty of time even though it was about four o'clock. Irma Insisted I go right on back, the valley being gocked-in, in thick fog. I did stop at the Grocerteria for some supplies and then on out the road. It was thick fog until I reached the Hash ranch about two miles above the Dead Indian-Klamath Falls junction. Then, bright blue sky, although the sun had already set. I had no problems the rest of the trip.
One winter early in our ranching life Irma wanted to go down to spend part of the winter with her parents on their chicken ranch near Santa Cruz I got in touch with Evan Jones, offered him a Job cutting yew wood posts. We had a lot of yews in our cut-over land and I imagined some day I would have need of them. We had about five miles of Split rail fencing on the ranch and it was still good. Anyway, Evan agreed to cut posts for me until I thought we had enough and then would spend the remainder of the winter with me while Irma was away. Irma left and Evan cut yew wood posts about a month. I paid him the going wage which by today's standards would be very small. Then at the time I decided he must have enough posts lying in the woods, Walter Hash needed a feeder. So Evan asked and was given the feeding Job which lasted about half the winter. The only time I saw Evan after taking the feeding Job would be mail day-once a week. I had an agreement with Kenneth Damon who carried the mail on that star route that he drive as far as he could make it with chains and I would meet him there horseback. I didn't have to do this, but it gave me something to do mid-day when there were no chores to do and it helped Kenneth in that he didn't have to trudge 5-6-7-8 miles on snow shoes. When I got the posts all gathered and hauled in and piled in a rick just outside the corral, there were about four huh dred John Owens, father of Roscoe and uncle of Henry Owens came along one day and offered me forty cents for the small posts and one dollar for those large enough for gate posts.
About two-three years before we decided to get out of that way of life because of the fact no one continued to keep men as feeders on the montains even for part of the winter months. we rented the Spires piece, a forty acre poison oak covered hillside. Carl Henry had moved off after having lived there several years. We, like all the other ranchers were baling our hay were hiring it done so that made for quick, easy handling. We decided to have a try at wintering "down below". After I had mowed and raked the hay in windrows, someone, there were several available, would bale the hay. I had made a flatbed long two-wheeled trailer that would enable me to move quickly quite a lot of hay by having Irma drive tractor for me. We had "traded up to a larger pickup for which I had built stock-rack sides about five feet-that is including the height of the sides of the bed. The stock rack was built to extend beyond the length of the box and including the width of the endgate when let down and suspended by the chains attached to the bed corner. That gave me a small truck in which I could move two full grown beef animals. Then, by hitching the flat-bed trailer behind I could haul about near three quarters ton of hay.
But- there was hardly one thing related to wintering at the foot of the mountain that was good. Everything necessary to moving our stock, young and old, our crawler tractor, our personal necessities and household effects all was too much sugar for a cent. We learned a lot of things during our ranching experience and in fact are still learning a few things. We learned them all the hard way. We rented the Spires place two years and decided there was nothing about living down there in that sticky mud, no shelter for the cows we did have a shelter and small lot for our bucket calves. The losses among the calves was much greater than while we wintered on the mountain. The calves, always thought, contracted colds and diarrhea from infections from animals housed there in previous years. At our mountain ranch I had two sixteen-feetlong hay feeders with V shaped slatted overhead storage. By filling these feeders full each morning the cattle-could stand along the underside bunk, pull down hay from overhead and all their hay they dropped would fall in the bunk and would be picked up later without getting muddy or wet. The animals could stand up to those feeders all day and night if they wanted to. I had them trained that when they had all the hay they wanted they would amble off to the timber and bed down under a big fir tree on nearly dry ground. Our bucket-fed calves had an open ended shed adjoining the Stanchions where they got twice daily their milk-plus-calfstarter ration. This starter purchased from the C.O.P. and probably was made up of some drypowder-milk, some finely ground grain. They did well on this food until old enough to go on pasture and a regular grain ration. Some years we could secure Quite good "baby" calves of course,they were all from dairies, usually whiteface sire and either guernsey or Jersey. We tried to always get the guernsey -Whiteface if possible. They always made better veal or baby beef or even breeding stock if female. We never had enough pasture and hay to carry very many head of cattle. I believe the last year we were on the ranch we had fifty two head, old and young. We had learned early on that we could sell all the animals in good enough weight by the quarter and the half. So, I became accustomed to butchering an animal, dressing it out, hanging in the middle of the driveway suspended to the hay cable pulley. The last spring we had to make a move back from the Spires place, the Lindsay boys hauled the crawler tractor up to the mountain ranch. I worked in the woods setting chokers to repay them-Just one day. I needed the crawler tractor at the Spires piece to haul hay up along the hillsides, every day scattering the hay along a different area. The sticky soil was not good for stock to feed on. That winter, I forgot to drain the radiator-using only water- one day when finished feeding. The following morning when I filled the radiator water came out of a large crack in the water pump and the crankcase filled brim full. Meaning the previous night the water pump and at least one cylinder froze. I drove over to Ashland, purchased three small bottles of "stop leak" mixed a pail full of the crack sealer, emptied the radiator and drained the oil, then refilled the radiator with the "stop leak"first having replaced the motor oil, started the motor and let it run until it was quite warm. When the motor was cold the crack in the water pump was sealed and scarcely visible. I had no way of knowing, the extent of cylinder damage, but the water level remained at the "full" mark. I used the tractor that day to feed and from that day until the day I sold the crawler the cooling system seemed to be in perfect order.
That was the last year of our ranching venture. As stated earlier, during the winter 1952-53 we decided we were foolish spending two-three or more months each winter with no one we could call on in case of emergency. I probably noted earlier that winter we had four or more feet of snow and we took into consideration that if I should become disabled Irma would not have the strength to crank the crawler tractor, the only possible way we would have of getting out for help if needed.
Before telling about our selling and moving back to the valley I need to tell that about 1947 Floyd Clapper and his young neighbor-friend came from Los Angeles and bought a ten-acre tract of land on Ashland Mine road about a quarter mile maybe more above the Southern Pacific railway-South Pacific highway underpass, the hi-way underneath. The acreage had an old house, barn and well with pump-house over the well. Dick Osborn, Floyd's Los Angeles neighbor and friend took the north six acres with the old buildings. Floyd took the south four acres with no improvements except a fence of sorts along the east and south sides. Dick was able to move his family right in to a usable but badly rundown house. Floyd, wife LaVerna, made their home temporarily With Floyd's niece Zola and her husband Martel Peters. The two men had work to do. I forgot to say, Dick's family consisted of wife, Lorraine, son Kip and son Virgil 3. Of course we were still on the ranch and didn't get into visit often but we were happy to have more of our friends moving to the valley. We become acquainted with the Osborns the winter we visited the Clappers in west Los Angeles. Floyd bought some wood-working tools, powered, bought lumber and began building a two bedroom home. I had never known of Floyd building anything more complicated than a chicken house which he had done on his suburban property in L. A. he did all the work from the foundation to roofing with the exception of having a craftsman build and install door and window frames. Then I gave him a hand in getting the ceilings in place. He made the walls and ceilings of four by eight feet plaster board. When it came time to put the plaster board on the ceilings Floyd made a tall carpenters horse high enough that we could place a two by six about eight feet long with a wide board, about six feet long on top the short end of the two-by six. This to be used as a fulcrum to hoist the four feet wide plaster board up flat against the ceiling Joists and while I sat on the long end keeping the plasterboard in place, Floyd would climb a short step-ladder and nail the plaster board to the ceiling Joints. This is a poor description of how we managed to fasten the ceiling to the Joists, but in simpler terms my weight on the long end of a two x six providing the power to hold a four by eight piece of ceiling material while Floyd nailed it to the joists. I should note here, that Floyd was a handicapped person - but he never admitted or recognized the fact. He had fallen in a sugar factory in Rocky Ford,Colorado when he was about eighteen. he had broken his left leg in two places, had waited for that double break to heal, then went to a specialist, had the leg re-broken and re-set, but still as long as he lived had a short leg and walked with a decided limp, while he worked as driller in the oilfields, Los Angeles-Long Beach, he lost a thumb got it caught in a place where the drilling cable sawed it off, then just before Irma and I visited them in 1922 on our long, long trek in our new Model T, He had gotten a small piece off the steel drilling cable in an eye, finally had to have the eyeball removed. He was in the hospital during our brief stay in Southern California, 1922.
Floyds house was well designed, a moderately sized living room and adjoining dining-room-kitchen the length of the east or front side of the house. Through the length of the house, north-south, he left room for a hallway. This hallway had a south door for the rear entrance. About midway was built a brick chimney-now I'm not sure, but I believe Floyd built that chimney - there weren't many Jobs he wouldn't try. In the middle of that hallway he placed a rather large wood-burning air-circulating heater. Of course the rear of the hallway served for heating wood storage. The front entrance was about midway the front wall of the living room and a small porch with cement steps from the small concrete walkway being their front entrance. Floyd was about a year completing this building project and when finished with pastel colored painted walls and ceilings, sanded, stained and varnished floors and the Clappers had a real nice home. I forgot to mention the west portion -two bedrooms with bathroom between. Floyd built beautiful cupboards for the kitchen cabinets for bathroom, clothes closets at the end of hallway. All-in-all it was a well built, well designed and well finished house. Them-having all those woodworking tools, Floyd began doing odd Jobs without pay for friends, their friends, fellow church members. Countless Jobs, repairs, remodeling and on and on. And then he began doing repair Jobs at the Methodist church - all kinds, taking up old worn flooring putting down new. Making roof repairs, any place there was need of replacement or repair,Floyd did it for years. I know, because after moving into town I help Floyd on several occasions where he needed another pair of hands and feet. Floyd continued repair and upkeep work at the church as long as he lived. He suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized briefly. But was back working as usual. I don't remember the year, but some time after the heart attack, he was doing some lathe work for Mr. Leach who owned and operated a myrtlewood shop on north main. I don't know how many days Floyd had worked there, but- one day he went out to Bill and Colleen Lewis home, Colleen being his niece, sister to Zola Peters. Floyd asked Bill to go with him out to Doctor Turner's office, that he wanted to pay Doctor Turner s bill. Bill went along and when they got to the doctors office, south beyond the college, Floyd asked the doctor to check. Only a few minutes and the doctor had a room at the hospital reserved for Floyd, gave him some nitro to place under his tongue and ordered Floyd to the hospital. Bill told me afterwards, Floyd said as they got into Floyd car "If this is to be my last trip, I am going to do the driving" Floyd lived about-two hours. As I look back I'm still amazed at Floyds ability to drive and work at precision work. He and I used to go to Howard Prairie occasionally fishing. If I could manage It I would take my car, I was a little afraid of Floyd's driving. Sometimes I had to humor him and go with him. One day we had been to the reservoir and were on our way home down Dead Indian road Floyd taking those curves at about fifty. On one short piece of straight-away I saw two whiteface cows each with a halfgrown calf at her side. They were Just ahead of us maybe a hundred yards walking along single file along our right side edge of the blacktop. After a few moments of regular speed(about 50) I became concerned that a cow brute is unpredictable as to which way she will walk or turn, they might suddenly take a notion to cross right in front of a driver. After waiting as long as I could stand it, I said Floyd do you see those cows and calves Just ahead? His reply "No, I hadn't seen them". Then I said "You'd better slow your pace until we are past the cattle”. This all took place in seconds. After we had safely passed, I said to Floyd something about not watching the road carefully. He said Well, you know I have vision in only one eye and that is impaired. I look through a hole like looking through a donut -no side, vision" Word to that effect. I told him he was driving much too fast for his ability to see. He took it in good spirits but continued to drive too fast. At another time further down the road I was acting a little bothered and Floyd asked if I was scared and I said "No, I'm not much.
About the time Virgil was ready to start school Lorraine took a Job with a Junior High School working at secretarial work in the office. If my memory serves me right she was there until Davis & Ainsworth attorneys opened an office. Then, she took a job with that firm and for quite a few years was the only secretary employed. Mr. Ainsworth was Just starting his career as an attorney having just finished law school. I believe Mr. Davis was also just beginning the practice of law. Lorraine worked for that firm fifteen years and quit to take a job at the college physical education department as secretary and general office work. At the present time Feburary 1979 Lorraine is still on that job and says she likes it very much. Virgil completed schooling -grades and high and April 1967(?) was wed to Beverly Janny McCarley. It was a beautiful wedding in the Methodist church, former pastor Rev. McAlvenna coming from from a distance to officiate. It as a grand occasion for me, Janny had called me previously and asked me to give her in marriage. I was flattered and elated I was old enough to be Janny's grandfather and now their beautiful daughter Rachelle Shelly to all of us who know and love her, is beautiful in face and body as well as beautiful in character and mentality. Virgil got a Job with the Medford fire department,which made it possible for him to attend Southern Oregon college two years. Then, with Janny's help and his working part time and I'm sure some help from Mom and Dad,Virgil took a course in law at a University in Fayetteville Arkansas where Janny had relatives, obtained his law degree, came back to Oregon and within a few months took the bar examination and received a license to practice law and immediately went to work in the Davis & Ainsworth office. Later he set up his own private practice, where he is at this writing,1979.
I have brought this story to the place where we were at the winter of 1952-53 and had made the decision to offer the ranch for sale. we had been selling a large part of our marketable beef by the quarter and the half.
O when the roads were finally broken in the spring of 1953,we began selling to whomever we could find in need of locker beef. But, we still had about fifty to,,,fifty-two head to dispose. Early in the spring I contacted my friend Guy Hayes who had come to the Talent area before we moved to the ranch and who had eventually obtained a realtor's license, opened a real estate sales office in Medford. I didn't really expect an early sale but we went right ahead making preparations. I Sold our irrigation equipment- a nine horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine coupled to a centrifugal pump, about twenty lengths of two-inch aluminum pipe( no,there were more than that for we had twenty-three sprinkler heads, Rainbird, and that meant we had several Joints leading to the twenty-three with sprinkler heads. I believe, we got about what we had invested in the system from the first person to come to look. Equipment and machinery had been in short supply during the war and had still some catching up with demand partly because of increasing population. Then we sold the little crawler tractor, not getting what we had invested, but fairly close and it sold to the first looker. Then we found we had about forty acres, the southeast forty of the Charles Blake homestead that had never had a saw or axe mark on a tree. We didn't have any idea how much merchantable timber it had on it but we had two offers, the last from Glenn Farmer, who, you remember rescued me and my party on the way to the Nickerson place. Glenn offered me ten dollars for the white fir and twelve for the red fir. I didn't know values but that was so far above what we had sold about two million board feet for in earlier years we thought that a real good deal. There is a sequel to selling the forty acres of virgin timber to Glenn. After we had sold the ranch disposed of our livestock etc. we were living temporarily near Phoenix(that's another story) Glenn came to our apartment one day and said the log market had dropped to the extent that he couldn't come out on the deal we had made orally of course,but propositioned me that he would give us a total of five thousand dollars he had paid down three thousand So after a few minutes thought, Irma and I told him we would go for the five thousand total. He gave us a check for the two thousand, saying that if the market picked up to the extent that he would net more money on the timber there would be some more money for us.
I have just had one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I want to tell you about it. Two weeks ago, three or four days after his 91st birthday, Lisle Tame passed away, he had been failing but was still active, even driving his own car to the dentist to have a tooth pulled the week before. He and Irma had decided on cremation and she carried out his wish. Saturday there was a short memorial service at the little Presbyterian church that we attend. Irma had requested no floral pieces but asked for some of my roses if they were" still blooming. I have a large cutglass vase that Granny gave me long ago. We had that full of beautiful red and white roses. Another friend had brought her some red roses and an out of town friend had sent chryahthemums from the florist. A dear friend who had known Lisle and Irma all her life played the organ and sang, "Until Then". This is a song that they often sang together as a duet. Lisle had a fine voice and sang in the choir till he was over 90 and his strength began to fail. Two pastors said a few words of hope and promise. The church was almost full with the many friends they have made in the over 50 years they have lived in this area.. me the real tribute to Lisle came Sunday. After church we went to Irma's home, in a mobile home park nearby to share a meal of the food that had been brought for her.. This was a small group of close friends. They had had no children of their own but had given a home to Irene during her high school and college years. She was there from Portland with one of her sons and her sister who lives in Ashland. Dick and Loraine Osborn and their son Virgil who were also friends of Nancy's when she lived in Ashland when Rick was born have been very close to Lisle and Irma for many years. Then there was car household-Nancy, Jamie, Gallia, Larry, Linda, Kathy, and I and the four little ones.
As soon as we had eaten we left for the mountain ranch where Lisle and Irma had lived for many years. This beautiful place has wonderful memories for most of the little group who went. How I wish I could have known them then. It reminds me in many ways of Calyton. The house and barn are on one side of a large mountain meadow with the fir forest behind. After a very hot, dry spell the weather had turned, cool and rainy. The air was clear with gray, cloudy sky obscuring the distant mountain peaks. Kathy, Brooke, Jamie and I arrived first and while we were waiting a beautiful rainbow filled the sky clear across the meadow. When the others arrived, we all drove past the barn onto the meadow. Virgil and Dick helped Irma open the box of ashes and then Dick read scripture form John of everlasting love. Following a prayer Irma walked alone away from the group, and a handful at a time scattered the ashes onto the ground that Lisle had worked and loved. There was a slight breeze blowing and it made the fine ash drift down onto the dry, golden grass. Irma was not sad but quietly happy at being able to do this last loving act for Lisle secure in the knowledge of being held up by dear friends. Without family of their own these two people have lived a life of service to others just doing the little things they saw were needed wherever they might be. What a rare privilege it had been to know them these past ten years. After the ashes were all spread. on the earth, we all joined hands while Virgil read from the Bible and said a short prayer.
"when we got home Larry said,"It was hard to feel sad except maybe when Irma was alone on the meadow-everything seemed so right for Lisle. We all loved him so that he will always be with us. I find as I grow older that my dearest friends have much in common. Whether they are business people, laborers, teachers, ranchers or housewives; whether they are young just getting started or grandparents of my generation; those I have known most of my life or new friends I have made here, they are loving, giving people whose interests and concerns grow wider with the years and who find each day and each situation a new challenge to be savored. Lisle Tame was this kind of a person.
Love to all,
The photograph's are of the Tame ranch, house and barn. In the background is Mt. Pit that Lisle talked about. You can see the lake where their hay field was.
Also below is a report of the Lily Glenn barn burning, that barn and property adjoined the tames ranch on the north side. But was not part of their ranch.