Early Days in the Forest Service
Volume 2

October 1955

By William G. Weigle

The new Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad was under construction through the St. Joe Forest in 1909. There were seven tunnels on the forest, one of which was over two miles long. This gives some idea of the number of men employed, and also the number of saloons and other unlawful dives, all on the national forest without permit.

The forester sent me an order to clean out these saloons. I sent three rangers to these places to notify the owners that we were requested to close their places and that they would have to go along to Wallace to appear before the district attorney. When the ranger informed me that all but two agreed to comply, I told him that I would be over in the morning. It was 22 miles from Wallace to Grand Forks where the men were located and by trail the entire way through heavy timber. I first went to the sheriff and got two pair of handcuffs and a deputy sheriff's commission. I had a good saddle horse so I started about. 10:00 p.m. and reached Grand Forks shortly after daylight. After breakfast we called on the nine men who were supposed to return to Wallace and the two who previously had said they would not go but who now agreed to go. The rangers and the men had to walk three miles to the Northern Pacific Railroad at Taft to catch the train to Wallace. I reached Wallace before they did. The men appeared before the district attorney and instead of finding them guilty he turned them all loose. I rearrested them and took them to Moscow where the court was in session. They were all found guilty and fined for running a saloon on the national forest without a license and were ordered to close up.

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Volume 3 >>>

Last Updated: 15-Oct-2010