Mr. Fred W. Croxen, whose short history of the Tonto precedes this, was interviewed at his home in Tucson, Arizona. His story follows:
Fred, where were you born?
I was born in Muscadine County, Iowa, on October 17, 1887. That makes me 77 years young. I finished high school, and then I went out to Wyoming and worked for R. S. VanTassel at the head of the Niobrara River. Then I went to Nevada, to Tonopah, and I got to Tonapah just five days before the big panic of 1907 - 08. I was fortunate enough to land a job on a newspaper as circulation solicitor and general all-around man.
I left there in June and went over to the Fish Lake Valley in California and worked on the Oasis Ranch. There wasn't much to do there but pitch alfalfa, and another man and I pitched 28 loads of green alfalfa in one day. I would pitch one load and he'd pitch the next, and together we pitched 28 loads in a day, and that was pretty good.
From there I went back to Tonapah, and then on up to Schurz, Nevada, which was on the Piute Indian Reservation. I was actually heading for Siskiyou County, California, but I had to wait on my partner. I had got down to two $10.00 gold pieces. I caught a freight team, one of these jerk-line teams like they used in that country, and went out to Rawhide, Nevada, to the Reid Teaming Company. I was fortunate enough to get a job with them, $2.50 a day and paid a dollar a day board just a common mule-skinner but I was glad to get it. They were hauling people out of Rawhide that had died of one thing or another, and burying them by daylight, right near our camp.
So I left there and went up into the Carson Sink country around Fallon, Nevada. There I worked at various things, but mostly with jerk-line teams - horses. I left there in November to go back to Tonapah, and I packed 37 pounds 33 miles on my back that day that was the hardest day's work I ever did. I went back to Tonapah, and I made a mistake there and went back to Iowa. I liked to have never got enough money together to get out of there, but I came to Arizona in October 1909 on my 22nd birthday.
Over a third of the people were gone from Flagstaff; that's when they had the big snows in the winter and didn't have the equipment to keep the roads open. All the stockmen had gone. I worked with the Street Commissioner for a while and then went out to the Greenlaw Lumber Company and worked there as a limmer in the woods. There came two feet of snow so that a good many of the men were laid off. I was one of the last ones hired, so I was laid off too.
I made a mistake again and went to California, in to Paris Valley. It was hard to get work, but I did get work with the Potts Brothers who were clearing land to put in eucalyptus groves with the idea of making lumber. This never panned out because this eucalyptus here isn't like that in Australia; it wouldn't make good furniture. I left there and went up to Highland, California, and took on a job as orange glommer to get money enough to get back to Arizona. [Presumedly, a limmer trims limbs, and a glommer gathers fruit.]
The latter part of March 1910 I cane back to Flagstaff; stepped off into a foot of snow. Two hundred men had been shipped in there from Kansas City by some railroad contractor. They were goin' to make a double track. I picked up a job with W. L. Haley at Seligman, Arizona, and went down with him it was 40 miles out to his ranch on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. I rode there for him, and I also drove his team some.
A peculiar thing happened there. We were on the spring roundup and were camped at a place called Legume and that was the night the earth went through the tail of Halley's Comet. There was an eclipse of the moon the same night. Several old Supai Indians were horse-wrangling for this roundup outfit, and about a quarter past nine they came into our camp; they couldn't take it any longer. The next day one of the old Supais said to me, "What matter last night. Moon him die?" While I was at the Lagune on that roundup, a census enumerator rode from the Pine Springs Ranch seven miles out there to get my record.
Well, that fellow who ran the ranch had eleven kids; that was just too many for me. My wife the girl who was later my wife was teaching those kids. Her term was out and I had enough to suit me, so we went back to Flagstaff. Her father was logging engineer for the Arizona Lumber & Timber Company; that means he laid out all the tracks and everything else. To get experience on a survey crew I worked for him a while. An old Swede out there in charge of the crew fired me so he could take on another Swede. The other Swede was drunk; I run him out of camp. That's the only time I ever was fired, and that was just to hire this drunk Swede.
I went down to the Greenlaw Lumber Company mill and worked there as oiler until that was in August the mill burned and, they moved our crew from the Greenlaw mill to the Arizona Lumber & Timber Mill and I worked up there on the swing and graveyard shifts as oiler in the mill. I stayed on and eventually went into the blacksmith shop as striker. All I had to do was work ten hours a day and swing a twelve-pound hammer.
I had taken the Forest Ranger examination the fall before in the fall of 1910 and received notice in April that I had passed the examination. Of course I was a tickled kid. Willard M. Drake was Forest Supervisor. I went down to his house and talked to him one Sunday morning. He put me on the Coconino. He issued me tools to go out to camp. I moved out to Woody Mountain as lookout. I'm sure I was the first lookout in Arizona or New Mexico, then called District 3. When I was drawing my tools, I drew a five-pound double-bitted axe. Everybody laughed at me, but it seemed awful light to me after swinging a twelve-pound hammer.
At Woody Mountain we weren't so well organized then as we are now my camp was down at Woody Springs. I had my saddle horse down there and I was supposed to go to any fire within a reasonable distance. Fortunately I didn't have to go to but two fires. I asked Lewis Benedict, the Ranger in charge of the District, when the summer rains started and he said the 30th day of June. Sure enough, on the 30th of June the bottom dropped out.
Then they put me out north of the San Francisco Peaks on what is called Dead Man's Flat. There's a tin shack the Forest Service had out there, with just a little natural water hole in the wash, and I stayed out there and posted the sheep allotments. I was there five days without talking to anybody, and that was long enough to suit me, but I did go to town once in a while.
Then that fall they had two big wood sales at Winona, fourteen miles east of Flagstaff. Will Beason had one, and a man by the name of Watkins who lived at Parks, Arizona, had the other. Now these were 2.000-cord sales. We would mark those juniper trees and sometimes we'd have to crawl eight or ten feet to mark them. It was all silly, but we had to do it anyway because that was the Regulation. Lou Benedict was in charge of the District. Jerry Fisher, an old Ranger who was in charge of the Mormon Lake District, and I worked on those sales together. The cinders were so sharp and getting down on our knees and crawling in there to mark made it a rough job.
Then came spring and we looked over some homesteads and various things like that, and in May the Forest Supervisor I think I mentioned that it was Willard M. Drake transferred me from Assistant on the Flagstaff District to District Ranger in charge of the Munds Park - Sedona District. Munds Park - Sedona District was kind of a two-story affair. Munds Park was up in the pine timber country. That was a summer station, and in the winter I moved down to Sedona which was 2600 feet lower down, and in the Red Rock Country.
When I went to that District the roundup was on, and I went straight to the roundup in order to get acquainted with the grazing permittees and the District, too. I always followed that plan when I took charge of a District and it was quite a benefit. For one thing, I managed to learn my District so I could get around it during fires or anything like that. I don't know of anything in particular down there, except that it was all very pretty country, a wonderful country.
There were hardly any people in there, a few ranchers. The only man that went through there was the mailman twice a week, on horseback. Our post office was up at Indian Gardens, six miles above Sedona, where the Ranger Station was. The mailman left our mail in a separate sack for each man; for the ranchers and myself. We really looked on anyone else going through there with suspicion, because it was an isolated country and most people didn't have any business in there.
Well, in October 1915, John D. Guthrie was Supervisor then, and he stirred up the Rangers so they wouldn't stagnate, and I transferred over to the Mormon Lake Ranger District. I was to winter at what was called the Woodland Ranger Station, clear down in the cedars on the east side of Anderson Mesa. I went down there just before Christmas, and from there I rode up across country to Flagstaff with a saddle horse and a pack horse for the Christmas Holidays.
After I arrived in Flagstaff we had a 64-inch snow, and I didn't get out of Flagstaff until the latter part of March. I worked in the office checking on scale books, etc. To show you how severe that winter was, it snowed for three days and nights. We had 64 inches of snow. Then it cleared up for about a week and dropped down to about 25 degrees below zero, right on the streets of Flagstaff. Then it warmed up all of a sudden and we had three days and nights of rain.
Now that snow held all the rain it could, all the moisture, and then it finally broke water everywhere. It would hit a building, hit a fence, or a log, and it would just cut its own channels everyplace. All kinds of roofs went down; houses fell in; barns were ruined. In Flagstaff, the Opera House roof was fairly level, just enough slope for drainage. They had a dance in there one night until one o'clock in the morning, and at a quarter to six that morning the roof fell in. There didn't happen to be anybody in the Opera House at the time.
Another thing I forgot to tell you: the winter of 1911 - 12. I relieved Jesse Bushnell, who was Assistant Ranger located at Fort Valley, taking the weather report. While I was there, in those few days, I registered the weather one morning at 37 degrees below zero. I learned quite a few years after that from a man named Charlie Corey, who was at the east end of Fort Valley, that he took the same temperature the same reading, the same morning. So after that I knew I had been right and no error. That's the coldest I've ever seen anyplace, and that was the deepest snow I've ever seen, too.
My wife and her mother owned some property at Seligman; they call it the West End, and they wanted me to go down there and look it over and take charge. I made a mistake. I resigned from the Forest Service, instead of asking for a few months' furlough. That was the latter part of May, and on the 28th of June 1916, my wife and I were married at Flagstaff and went down there to Seligman. We stayed there until March 1917. In the meantime I had gone to Flagstaff and conferred with John D. Guthrie, who was still Forest Supervisor. He informed me that Al Morse, who was Ranger in charge of the Beaverhead District, was resigning because he and his wife had a bunch of cattle on that District. There would be an opening and if I wanted to I could be reinstated.
On the 2nd of April 1917 I gladly reinstated. I didn't lose any time under Civil Service until I retired the 15th of July 1946, except about twenty days when I was in the U.S. Border Patrol. I consider that a pretty good record in holding a Civil Service position, because that went through all of the panic in the 1920s.
How did you like it at Beaver Creek?
Well, Beaver Creek that was the old Skagg's Ranch. Skaggs had been a squatter and the Government took it away from him and made an administrative I take it back they didn't take it away from him. He was convicted of murder, killing a young man named Clarke at this place, and he released his right and left the country, and the T Bar S Outfit had that for a winter camp for a few winters. Then it was made an administrative site, and later became the main station for the Beaver Creek District. It was an irrigated, Johnson grass meadow, and I wasn't much of a farmer, irrigation in particular, so I requested a transfer. That fall, along about November, I turned that District over to a Ranger from the Prescott Forest, Percy L. Bonebrake.
I transferred over to the Bly Ranger District over on the east side of the Coconino Forest. The Assistant there was an old man called Bud Jones. He and I made a trip that was in December from Bly Ranger Station south across East Clear Creek to the Buck Springs Ranger Station, then around the Mogollon Rim to what is called the General Springs Ranger Station. From there we came back across Clear Creek again to the Blue Ridge Ranger Station, and back to Bly. That gave me a kind of an idea of the District. By the way, that timber on the Buck Springs District, between there and East Clear Creek, is the best stand of timber in that whole country. I think they're logging it right at present.
The workload on that District well, I can't say that it was too heavy, but there was plenty to do and we had plenty of pole telephone lines to take care of in the spring. That telephone line followed the old military road along the Mogollon Rim. I had to repair that from the old road east to Promontory Butte on the Sitgreaves Forest, west to General Springs. Snow had usually broken it down, and there'd be big drifts in there and some of those drifts were frozen so hard you could ride over drifts four feet deep on a big heavy horse and they wouldn't cave in. And the deer flies were terrible; the horses would almost stampede in there in the early spring when those deer flies would come out.
Then we also had to keep the line up from Bly Ranger Station to Long Valley. Then there's a space in there from Willow Valley to the Mahan Mountain Lookout that I had to keep up. So it was quite a job, but we took care of it all right. There were the long sheep trails in the spring; I always had an Assistant ride that, I rode it some myself. Then there were grazing permittees, both cattle and sheep. I tried to follow the round-ups a good deal in order to keep acquainted with the country, and the sheep outfits. I rode around among them and knew them, too. But I usually had an Assistant there sometimes in the winter.
The first Assistant I had was Roy M. Rice; he had a homestead down in what they called Chavez Pass country. He had worked for Lorenzo Maxwell, a former ranger. I went down and asked him to work as my Assistant, and he did, in 1918 and 1919. In the fall of 1919 he took the Ranger's exam and passed it and they put him in charge of Mormon Lake Ranger District. He and his wife have both passed away.
I don't know who the first Ranger was on the Bly District. The Bly Ranger Station was named for Fletcher Bly who had been a sheepman in that country. He was murdered by a Mexican sheep herder down in the desert country. I never met him. At Blue Ridge that's where we kept the Assistant Ranger on the Bly District in the summer it was about eleven miles up above the Bly Ranger Station. It was a log house; by the way it's still standing, for a wonder, and they made a nice picnic ground there, fireplaces and all that.
Then in January 1921 I had trouble with the Quail outfit; had been having trouble for some time, and had the misfortune to have to kill Charlie Quail. I'd been sent down to his ranch. I had informed Ed Miller, who was the Supervisor then and also Sheriff Bill Campbell, a former Ranger on the Coconino, and told them that I was having trouble with this fellow. He had made threats against me to people down in the desert country, and also made threats to the man who was farming his place, about four or five miles from the Bly Ranger Station, and they had both told me about this.
I received a letter signed by Bob Rhinehart who was Acting Supervisor, and who knew nothing about this trouble. He asked me to go down to see about some business. This letter said that Quail wanted to trim some lower limbs off of pinyon trees out in his pasture so the grass would grow better. I thought maybe it was a put-up job to get me down there, and I studied over it for two or three days and didn't sleep much for two or three nights. Finally, thinks I, "I will be considered a coward if I don't go down; I might just as well quit if I'm a coward."
So I went down, and couldn't do any business with him; he wanted to do business with the Forest Office. I went over about a quarter of a mile to a brother of his; they hadn't been on speaking terms for about a couple of years until just before that. So I went down to his place and he said he was gonna do all his business with the Forest Office, too, so I said, "That's all right." So I had to come back by this Charlie's place.
I heard a rifle shot over by the house. I looked over and there he had tried out his rifle out on a bucket hanging on a post down there about 75 yards from the house. He shoved the rifle in the scabbard of his saddle; he had saddled his saddle mare that he had it was a nice mare, too and he had shoved the rifle in there. Farmer-like, instead of getting on his horse and riding around, why he led her by the bit, and she hung back, fortunately for me.
Well, I had to go through a gate because I wasn't gonna go turn back to old Arthur's place, because he'd probably have his .30 gun out there laying for me, too. I found out later that he didn't carry fire-arms at all. Well, Charlie had to go around to his barn and had mounted his horse. In the meantime I had opened this gate and he came out and spotted me. He rode over and said, "You've trespassed me three times and I'm gonna make you stop it. Understand?" He dropped his hand down to his right trouser pocket. I knew he had a .380 Savage automatic there, that was where he always carried it.
I had my pistol stuck in my belt and I out with it, and I never saw a man move so quick in my life. I shot right where his heart ought to have been and he went off the right-hand side of his horse, and that darned bullet just creased him right across the top of the head. My horse jumped; I'd never shot off this horse before; it was a little horse of my wife's.
He jumped up just right, and I shot him again. It went clear through him and he just reached up and took about a foot and a half shorter grasp on the bridle reins. Then I shot him in the head. The bullet went back and broke his neck, right at the base of the brain. He went down.
I went to the Ranger Station and called Ed Miller and told him. I said, "You get C. B. Wilson." C. B. Wilson was our family attorney as well as the owner of the building that the Forest office was in at the time. I asked Miller to notify Sheriff Campbell, too. C. B. Wilson was in Phoenix, and Sheriff Campbell was at Grand Canyon. They both got there as quick as they could. I told my wife's father: he had just phoned out and told us, "I just sent some fresh pork down to Winslow; you folks go in and get it." And I told him what had just happened.
Well, Campell came from the Grand Canyon, and impaneled a coroner's jury. I asked him to come down; I wanted him to go out to the ranch. They came down and came out from Winslow and met me on the way in to Winslow. I had a Model T Ford, and the front wheels were shimmying, so I went on into town along with the Sheriff. I turned over my six-shooter to Sheriff Campbell and kept my .30 gun. When we got into Winslow we walked up the street, with me still wearing my .30 gun, to the Palace Hotel and secured a room.
When we got into that room he handed me his six-shooter and says, "Here, you take this. If any of those fellows try to break in here, let 'em have it." Well, I took it, and then I thought, "Well, this won't do," so I gave it back to him, and thanked him.
The next day we went out to where this shooting happened, the Quail ranch. I showed them about it, and then we went into Flagstaff to Winslow, rather and then from Winslow to Flagstaff. Next day I told my story before the coroner's jury in there. The coroner's jury brought in a verdict of justifiable homicide. Along some time in February we had a preliminary hearing and the Judge said, "After listening to all this testimony, and in view of the verdict of the coroner's jury, I can't find any grounds for further Court action." And the case was dismissed right there. While we were there, Mrs. Quail was there, and she came over to my wife and put her arm around her and she said, "I'm glad he got it instead of your .... (husband)."
This Quail had a bad reputation, anyway, and he was always wanting to be a bad man, and talkin' about what a fighter he was. When the Marley family were tried for stealing cattle from the Hashknife and the Pitchfork outfits, and so on, why Quail put himself up as a gunman for them, and made the big talk. The last thing they wanted was a gunman. He was on parole from the State Prison at Florence. Old Governor Hunt paroled him. He had been convicted on attempted rape. He was on parole when all this happened. He had no right to pack a gun at all, because a paroled convict has no right to firearms, according to law.
I asked for a transfer to another Forest. There happened to be an opening on the Mazatzal District on the Tonto National Forest. Guy Rancher had been in charge there, and I don't know whether he resigned or transferred. Anyway, I went down there, my wife and I and, by the way, she had stayed with me all through this trouble, and everyplace else.
We went down to what they called the Reno Ranger Station, commonly called Punkin Center. After having spent several years up in that pine timber country, believe me, it was hot down there. We had to build a 'dobe ranger station; we put 6,500 adobes in it. I tromped out most of them myself; that is, with the help of Ray Steward, who later was a ranger.
We had 80 miles of sheep driveway, besides all the cattle grazing permittees, fire hazards in the Mazatzal District, from the Four Peaks clear north to Saddle Mountain country, and a part of the Sierra Anches, too. Took in the J Slash X country. Our older boy was born at the Reno Ranger Station. His name is Charles. An opening occurred at Payson. which has a much more agreeable climate, up in the edge of the pine timber and the live-oak country, and fortunately, I transferred up there. We were up there five and a half years. There was considerable fire hazard there, all along under the Mogollon Rim and in the north end of the Mazatzals.
We had a big fire shortly after I went onto the Tonto. Bert Goddard was Supervisor, and Jim Sizer was Deputy Supervisor. Before we were finished, Goddard had 80 men on that fire. We had one ten inch and one twelve inch Dutch oven to bake bread for those 80 men. Some men were out of Globe, and some out of Miami: they weren't worth hauling out there. But we had some ranch men there and they were really good men. They had been raised up under that Mogollon Rim. The fire was on top of Mazatzal Peak and, by the way, it never could have gotten off of there so we had all the trouble and expense for nothing. We had other fires in the Mazatzals, but nothing that cost like that. And we also had fires under the Mogollon Rim. One fire did get out on top, but Eastburn Smith was Ranger on the Bly District at that time and he brought a crew out there on the Rim and stopped the fire, so it didn't get to spread onto the Coconino.
Well, there were several reasons that I don't have to mention, that we were kind of dissatisfied with, so I applied for a transfer to the Immigration Border Patrol. On February 15 I transferred from the U. S. Forest Service on the Payson District, to the Immigration Border Patrol, with headquarters in Tucson, Arizona. And that separated me from the Forest Service. I liked the Forest Service all right, and there were many good things about it. There were some things I didn't like, and I guess everyone else feels about the same. There was an annual work-plan progress report form that was the biggest thorn in my side. I thought it made a bigger liar out of a man than anything else, and that was one reason I transferred.
I was with the Border Patrol six years and seven months. They didn't pay enough down there on the Border, and moved us too much. I was offered a position in charge of Law and Order on the Navajo Reservation. I transferred up there, and was there six years and four months.
Then from there I transferred to the Navajo Ordnance Depot, and was there for three and a half years. Our two boys, Charles and Fred Jr. Fred Jr., by the way, was born while we were at Payson were both combat veterans, came back and wanted to enter the University of Arizona. That is where I retired from the U.S. Civil Service and went to Tucson. Fortunately, I secured a position as Supervisor on the married veterans' housing project. It wasn't my line of work exactly, but it paid well, apartment furnished, and 30 days' leave. I was there for ten long years. I retired from that job, and we are now in our own home here in Tucson. That's about the extent of my Government and State service.
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Mr. Quincy Randles was imterviewed at his home in Albuquerque. A native of Ohio, Mr. Randles earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Worchester College in 1908 and a Master's degree in Forestry from Michigan in 1911. His story starts with his arrival in Albuquerque. Mr. Randles was for many years the Assistant Regional Forester in charge of the Division of Timber Management.
When I came here in June 1911, the office was located in the Korber Building. I was transferred on the Fourth of July to Flagstaff, and reported to Supervisor Drake. He was rather short-shift. He said "Well. you're goin' out to the AL&T.". Well, I didn't know where the AL&T was. I got organized and they told me where to catch the log run and I went out to the camp. We were cutting timber-rights timber. The man that was there when I got there, he left in about a day, and turned it over to me. That was all the instruction I had as to what it was all about. I talked to the foreman and to the lumberjacks and a few others and got the lay of the land.
Then, in about a month, I was transferred to a new company, the Flagstaff Lumber Company. I gathered up my belongings, what I could carry, including my markin' axe and rule and I crossed country to the FLC and was there for about a month, and then transferred over to the Greenlaw Company. I was doing the marking of the timber and doing such scaling as I had time to do. We didn't have any scaling Manual in those days, and no recognized marking rules for Ponderosa pine. You just had to figure out how you thought it ought to be. Of course I knew something about scaling and that sort of thing. Anyhow we went on that way; I rotated from camp to camp doing the marking.
In the spring of 1912 we had about half a ton of pine seed. Somebody had the brilliant idea that we'd move out and scatter that stuff on the snow, and I did. Got a bunch together, and a cook by the name of Heinie Boogenheim, a German Army guy. About the time we got the camp set up, one night it come one whoopin' snow. I heard a noise in the morning and I looked out and Boogenheim was dancin' all up in the middle of the pots and pans. He had breakfast about ready, and a big gob of snow fell off the trees and smothered his food and his fire. Well, we got reorganized and sowed the seed. Then we went right back to the same old story of scalin' logs and markin' timber.
I think it was in September that I got word to come in to this Albuquerque office and was here about a month and was transferred to one of the Arkansas Forests. At that time we had the Florida Forests and the Arkansas Forests under this Regional Office here. Well, I went down to Arkansas with Joe Kercher. Joe was in the Forest Management Office here. They were selling white oak for barrel staves. They had a Supervisor who; the best you could give him was poor. Joe and I couldn't get any dope on him, but he left in about a month.
I didn't know very much about barrel staves, but I did the best I could. That was the most wasteful operation: trees were felled, bucked into barrel-length cuts. Then they were quartered and the bolts were taken out and stacked until they got dry. Well, I spent 8 months down there on the Ozark and Arkansas Forests; both of whom were selling White oak. At the end of the 8 months, from having lived around the stave camps, I had taken on considerable bulk. I weighed 255, which was about a hundred pounds too much. But I got back here and resumed what work I had in this office, which was to go out and do check-scaling and check-marking, etc. until the fall, when I was transferred to Arkansas again. In the meantime there was an inspector from Washington came out and told the no-good Supervisor he was there to get him, which he did. I continued there until the next spring and started back here.
I picked up a race-horse guy on the train and we came into El Paso and he said, "Do you want to go to the races tomorrow?" I says, "Sure."; I hadn't seen a paper for a couple of days. We found out later that Villa was about to capture Juarez; they'd been fightin' out there for three or four days. We went over to the races; he fixed that up. We went in and that was a mess; but we went to the races and had seats about 15 feet from Villa and his staff.
Villa was dressed in a cowboy hat, no coat, and an Army Khaki shirt. The staff was well dressed up in gold braid and what have you. The soldiers, many of them, were barefooted, but all of them were equipped with extra good guns, and a couple of straps of ammunition reached way around 'em. Some of them had straw hats; some of them didn't have hats.
They quartered the horses, the cavalry horses, in the stands over there where they used to collect customs, and when they peeled the saddles off of them, the hide slipped with it. There were dead horse parts all over town.
I wanted to stay that night, but this race-horse guy said, "You'll go back to El Paso; there's gonna be trouble here tonight. He'll issue Villa money which is not worth anything and by midnight the saloon people and others will have all the Villa money, and they'll have all the sound money. We'll get back." Well, it turned out just that way; there was a bunch of killings.
I was supposed to stop on my way back to Silver City and check on a fellow by the name of ... he had a sawmill up in the Black Range; I'll think of his name after a bit. So I met Case, who was the Forest Assistant at Silver City and we got a car and went to the mouth of the East Canyon and the car broke down. Case and I walked, and got up to Tom O'Briens sawmill at midnight. We had a piano box to sleep in, back in the backyard.
Got up the next morning at daylight and started up to see this sawmill. As I went out the kitchen door I felt something go "Whoof" in my ear and it was Tom's pet bear, but I didn't know he was a pet. The noise didn't sound like a pet, but I made a valiant leap. Well, we went up and inspected the sale and come back down. The old boy had the car fixed by that time and we got into Silver City. I took the train for Albuquerque. Well, that was the last trip I made to Arkansas. Then I remained in this office from that time on until I retired. I had several details back on the Farmer's Cooperative Lumber Study in Madison, Wisconsin, then came back here.
In the meantime, the timber sale business had picked up immensely. We hadn't any volume tables, so I was detailed to measure a bunch of Yellow pines and Blackjacks and try to get the material for a volume table, which I did. They probably have a better one now, but that was in use when I retired. In the meantime, the appraisal work in the region was kind of touch-and-go, and they put me on that along with other stuff. There again we had to more or less feel our way because there wasn't any Appraisal Manual at the start. Somehow we come out.
I don't doubt they've got a better method of getting information on which to base an appraisal. In those days, the companies weren't very anxious to turn loose any figures at all, but we finally come out with some stuff. It's rather interesting; in those days the average mill-run selling price of Ponderosa pine, which included all grades, No, 3, common, and better, the selling price at the big mills was about $13.50, $14.50 a thousand. I haven't seen a figure showing what it is lately, but it must be $70 or $80. Lumberjacks' wages in those days; the best men got $3 a day; the worst of 'em got a little less than that. But they were good men.
All the logging was horse logging, big wheels, and skiddin' teamsters to bunch logs for the wheels. The logs were taken into the landing and laid out in wonderful shape for scaling. They were picked up with a steam loader and outside of that, it was just about the same as today.
The absence of sound marking rules based on experimental work made it rather difficult to get a uniform result in the marking. And we had one other additional problem. The railroads were depended on for transportation from the woods to the mill, and railroads cost considerable money, so the contracts in those days were based on a two-thirds cut. Sometimes in the marking we would lop over and leave a little more than that, which brought on a considerable squawk from the Company, which was logical. It was only later that we were required to check certain sections to see whether or not we were holding up our end of the contract by leaving only one-third.
The same with the scaling; as I say, we had no scaling manual, and everybody had more or less his own system. But through rather frequent check-scaling we came out with a pretty close result. The logs were laid out on the landing and they were clean on the ends ... you could see what was going on and our scaling was, I think, as sound as was possible to get it. The Company was running scalers all the time to check on the output of saw crews and they didn't hesitate to check us once in a while. Then this office did some checking.
Of course, with the collection of the volume of table material we finally got a volume table, which permitted us to do a little better job on cruising of cutover stands than we were able to do before. I'll admit that it always cramped your style a little bit when the published manuals came out, if they varied from what you'd been doing. The result of course was good because it was possible to put on some untrained men, and not rely on somebody who had been trained someplace else.
In the early days, practically all of our timber sale force were former lumberjacks and until about 1911 there were no technical men in the woods on sale work. And after 1911 we began to get a few. None of them were very anxious to go into the sales business because it was pretty rough and rugged stuff in those days. We had to board at the camps, which was a lucky thing because they had good eats.
Sometimes we had to put up tents in the camps to stay in because we had no cabins of our own. Finally we got cabins, and the company of course when they moved camp would pick ours up along with the rest and set us off someplace. About the only equipment in those cabins, even when we had 'em, was a little old tin stove, and a waterbucket which of course we had to furnish, and a washpan and, of course, our own beds. Everybody carried his own bed; he didn't take any chances with anything else. I'd gone through that; the company furnished beds up in Michigan, and that was a mess. But down here everybody carried his own bed, and that made it a whole lot better.
I can remember one time when I was camped at the AT&L camp. We had no cabin. I had a fellow by the name of Pete ... his last name I don't remember right now, but anyway we had a camp in the middle of the winter. The hogs in the camp were supposed to have been kept penned. Well it come a couple of feet of snow and the camp superintendent figured that would be bad for the pigs so he turned 'em loose. Well, I had a cot in the tent with my bed on it, and Pete just had his on the ground. When we got back from breakfast there was an old sow and about 10 pigs in Pete's bed. It was a mess. He took a scale stick and begin to pile pigs out of the bed. He couldn't chase 'em all at once or they'd have torn up the camp and bed, too. After we got 'em out we went down and told the Superintendent to pen those hogs or we'd do something desperate. Which he did.
Tell me about some of the troubles you may have had with some of the timber operators.
Well, let's see. The relation between timber-sale purchasers and the Forest Service in the beginning were rather cordial. About the only complaint we used to hear was that we were not marking enough timber to justify the building of a railroad. Once in a while there would be some question about the scaling, and that was more or less cured. We'd go in and check a section to determine what percentage of it was being marked, and if it was undermarked we'd have to do a little more heavy work on the axe. And scaling, we met that thing by check-scalers.
Occasionally there would be a purchaser who, through lack of efficiency in the woods, was not making as much money as he thought he should. That brought on complaints from him. One company in particular. which I remember, was the Hallack and Howard Company of Denver, who had a continual request for checking the marking, scaling, boundaries, and what-not. There were continual trips to the sale which, by the way, had to be made from Albuquerque by going to Santa Fe on the train and catching the narrow gauge over to the mill, and then the log run from there up to the woods, which made a rather long and involved transportation job. But we kept fighting along, and meeting one complaint after another, and finally closed out the sale when it was completed. But there was never another sale made; I guess it was partly a desire on the part of the company never to get mixed up again with the Forest Service.
One large trespass case on the Santa Fe involved the Grosse-Kelly Company, and their tie and prop cuttings. There were several months spent in the woods in checking on the amount of timber which had been removed. Having been removed, it was necessary to check the volume by measuring from the stump to the top and getting the diameter of the logs, or the tree, from those measurements. There was a long time in getting the material, but once that was secured, we didn't have much trouble in settling the trespass case.
There wasn't much trespass, if any, on the big sales because the boundaries were established when the appraisal was made. They were marked by posters and there wasn't any excuse for anyone to get off the reservation, so to speak. Most of the trespass cases involved small sales which had been laid out by the Ranger, and the boundary hadn't been understood by the purchaser. Few trees were involved, but nothing in the way of big stuff.
When I arrived in the Region, there were very few technical men, and practically none on the sales. The scaling was done by former lumberjacks who were rather efficient. Later, there were examinations for the ranger work, which involved timber sale work. Some young fellows who were not technical men came into the Region and they picked up the work and became extremely efficient. Many of them stayed on until retirement. Included among those who stayed on were Homer German, who was an extra good sale man, and Robert Rhinehart, who also stayed until retirement, and many others whose names at the moment have slipped away from me.
During the First World War we were up against it for sale men and we had to take on whoever showed up who showed any ability at all to handle the work. Some of these turned out to be very fine me, Gordon Bade, for instance. Some fellows who went into sales work from a Ranger District later became Supervisors, like Fred Merkle, Hienie Merker, and men of that type. Nick Carter did some cruising of timber in the early days on that timber that McGaffey later purchased, and then was transferred back to Washington in charge of Timber Management until he retired. He's very familiar with this Region and was a very fine Inspector.
We had a rather interesting experience one time. I think Fred Merkle was Supervisor ... no, I've forgotten what Fred was in those days, but anyhow Carter and Fred and I were coming in to make an inspection of that sale, McGaffey's. There was a young fellow and his wife who'd been married a short time, moved in to work on the sale. We figured we'd get by the Ranger Station and go down to the cookhouse; we didn't want to bother them. But she saw us go by and flagged us down and said she'd been out and collected a bunch of mushrooms and was gonna have 'em for supper and wanted us to come back. Well, I wasn't too sure of her ability to select mushrooms, but we had to go back. She had a marvelous feast of mushrooms fixed up. I found out later that she was a graduate of a school up in the Northwest and was very familiar with the mushroom business. So we survived that in great shape.
Nick Carter was about the only Inspector in Forest Management that I remember all the time I was in this Region, and it was a pleasure to work with him.
The Forest Service entered into a cooperative arrangement to exchange timber lands for timber. The lands and timber were in the Zuni Mountains and the timber to pay for that land was on what is now the Carson National Forest. People cutting the timber was the Santa Barbara Tie & Pole Company, who cut ties and banked 'em on the Rio Pueblo and drove them down the Embudo and rafted 'em at the mouth of the Embudo until the flash flood come on the Rio Grande. Then they were driven down to the Santo Domingo boom where they were taken out and loaded on a spur, then taken to the Albuquerque Tie Fitting plant.
In 1912 I was sent to the cutting. In those days we had to go by narrow gauge railroad to Embudo where I was met by a log wagon, at 6 o'clock in the evening, and the Company took me over Penasco Hill up to the Santa Barbara Tie & Pole Company headquarters, which was east of Penasco several miles. We got in around midnight.
The next morning we got horses and rode over to the top of U. S. Hill, where the company was cutting ties. The Ranger in charge of the sale was Wayne Russell. He had to handle some hundred men cutting ties and, to say the least, he had more than his hands full. As soon as I got back, I recommended that we send a couple of men up, at least one, to help out George Kimball was unlucky enough to get elected to the job, and had to work on that sale during the summer.
One other recommendation I made, was that the contract with the Santa Barbara Tie & Pole Company was not being fulfilled, in that they were limiting their cuts to ties, whereas the contract called for the removal of saw logs. As a result of that recommendation, I was persona non grata to the then Supervisor. It was several years before I got back to look over the operation.
I didn't realize that we had log drives in the Region.
Oh yeah; not log drives, tie drives.
Were there any other places in the Region where we ever had a log drive or a tie drive?
Well, we had a try at one back after 1914. The Arizona Copper Company at Clifton was bringing mine timbers down from the Northwest by boat to San Pedro, and then on a mining timber rate over the Southern Pacific to Clifton. They could stand in Clifton and look up on what's now the Apache Forest and see standing timber.
There was a former Canadian, ex-Mounted Policeman, came down to Clifton and sized up the situation, and conceived the idea of building a narrow gauge railroad up into that country. Well, I was detailed to be the railroad engineer with him and we worked our way up to Metcalf. We camped the first night at Metcalf by a goat ranch. We were camped quite a little way from the goat ranch, but you'd still know' it was there!
Early in the morning a fellow rode up and said the partners had fallen out and one had killed the other, and "If you fellows don't want to get on a jury you'd better pack up and get out of here." So we hurriedly packed up and got out of there. Anyway, we worked around and figured we could get a railroad up into the timber on the Black River drainage. In August of 1914 we figured we had the thing made. A cowpuncher came riding through the country while we were camped on Beavercreek and told us the War had broken out in Europe but they didn't think it would last over a few days. We were bemoaning the fact that we would not get in to read the papers about it. But we did. That AC Company's money was Scotch and English, and that blew up the railroad business.
Then later this same Christy, who was the "father" of the Railroad, had an idea of drivin' the Blue. I went down to the Blue and we marked up a bunch of timber up on Turkey Crick. They brought in some cutters and cut 'em and stacked the mine timbers on the banks of the Blue, waitin' for a freshet, which happened in the spring. There were mine timbers scattered all over, from Turkey Crick to Clifton! So that idea was a complete flop, and somebody lost considerable money.
The next scheme was a road up from Clifton, which is now the Hannegan Meadow-Clifton road, but that didn't pan out either. Then of course the timber was taken out to the north through the McNary set-up. Clifton was still without its mining timbers. At that time they were using a caving system: mining and shootin' down the timbers and workin' under a mat of timber all the time. They used lots of timber and couldn't recover any of it. Now they're gettin' most of their stuff from that Morency Mine where it's open pit.
I made a cruise on the Sitgreaves: started out with a wagon and a compass man who was also a cook and a teamster. We camped the first night at the Wallace Ranger Station on the 7th of July. It rained that night and it rained 60 out of the next 90 days as we were movin across the whole Sitgreaves Forest collecting growth data and checkin' the estimates and what-not. We wound up in the fall at Snowflake, which was the headquarters. I finished up a management plan for it, such as it was, and figured out in my feeble way how to get the timber out, which didn't work out, because about that time the railroad business for logging blew up in a big way. Trucks came in, and I don't think the management plan is now in use; it's probably been modified terrifically. They probably have better growth data than we had, and probably better estimates for the timber.
I am not familiar with what's happened in the last 20 years. I made up my mind that when I retired I wouldn't try to second-guess this present generation. They have better information and are better able to gauge the trend than I am. Of course they've got to meet an entirely different set of conditions.
Take tractor logging; I don't think they can get anyways near as accurate a scale as we used to, not through any fault of the men, nor the Company, but through the sheer mess of things that come in: double-length logs, and havin' to scale at the head of the bull chain, you know, and in sight of a cut-off saw which can cut you in two in a second, and the logs are all smeared with mud and dirt. That's the best they can do: they can't do any better. I don't know, they are no doubt meeting it.
I don't think they have quite as experienced sale men in the woods as they used to have; they keep movin 'em to much. They don't stay long enough to become experts. I feel sorry for a scaler that has to scale on a deck, because you take it in the winter when that deck's frozen, you're just liable to fall into a bull chain or cut-off saw, or something, you know.
You can't be at your best. There's no way to scale 'em in the pond, and not much chance of scalin' in the woods. But anyhow, this present generation is perfectly able to come up with bright ideas to solve their various problems.
I don't know how they're recruiting sale men now, whether they're all technical men or not. As a rule, in the early days, technical men didn't take to that sort of thing. I remember once I had five fellows come out to the top scaling positions. I worked a week or two and I had a check-scale and nobody come any closer than 20% of me. Of course, I may have been wrong, but we had to go through another course of sprouts. We got down, finally, to a reasonable percentage of difference. But it's just wrong; they didn't have any basic experience before they went into it and they didn't get it in school; so they were handicapped. I knew what they were up against. I'd worked in the woods and I knew what they were up against.
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Mr. Fred Merkle was interviewed in Phoenix, Arizona. Fred was born in Oregon but grew up on a homestead in Oklahoma. His career in the Forest Service included his being a Forest Ranger, Ranger in Charge of a big timber sale, Timber Staffman on two Forests, and Supervisor of the Sitgreaves. In addition, he was Game Warden for the State of Arizona for a period of years. His story starts with how and why he entered the Forest Service.
In 1908 I went hunting out in New Mexico, in the Sandia Mountains out of Albuquerue. A party of us were hunting, and two Forest Rangers rode into camp, horseback. Of course they had to act as Game Wardens in those days. They questioned us about our hunting licenses and gave us some good instructions on how to build a fire. I decided at that time that was the life for me if I could get in.
After I went home I was reading the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and saw that they were giving examinations for Forest Rangers. That was in the fall of 1909. I took the examination at Cache, Oklahoma, where the Wichita Forest was. That was the headquarters, and Frank Rush was the Supervisor. He gave the examination. I passed, but I didn't receive an appointment. My eligibility expired in 1911. Another examination was held in the fall of 1911, and 25 of us reported to take it. I was the only one that passed. They put me on as Forest Guard. It was more improvement work than anything else, and I stayed on until the next spring. February of 1913, when I was transferred out to the Manzano Forest at Guam, New Mexico. Ed Miller was District Ranger.
I reported in at the Regional Office in Albuquerque on my way out. Hugh Calkins was Forest Supervisor on the old Manzano Forest at that time. He supplied me with one of those little canvas bags and gave me the necessary papers, and a diary, and telegraphed Ed Miller that I'd be out on the midnight train, and to meet me. Ed was stationed at Guam.
The snow was about two feet deep when I got off that train at midnight. I saw my trunk standing on end in the snow down the track a ways, and I also saw a lantern bobbin' up and down, and that proved to be Ed Miller. We left the trunk standin' there 'til morning. He had arranged for me to bunk in a Mexican house for the rest of the night, and for a few days until I could get located. He took me to this house. It wasn't much of a house. There was a kerosene lamp on the table, and the light was on. There was a human skull on a trunk. What had happened was the railroad was double-tracking through there and in the excavations they had uncovered an old Indian ruins. A white boy who lived here had married a Mexican girl. Of course he was intrigued with this skull and brought it home. I was evidently sleeping in his room. I didn't stay there long. In fact, we soon left there.
We moved from Guam down to Thoreau because there was a train stop there. You see Guam was just obliterated; it was gone. Even the old Indian Trading Post was gone. The McGaffey home was moved away. They had to build two shacks for us down at Thoreau; one for Ed and one for me. I was with Ed there from February until, well, I guess it was November 1913.
You were working on that McGaffey sale?
No, not then. There was a man by the name of Bob Moke who was in charge of the sale. Ed was Ranger in Charge of the District. When Bob Moke would get crowded up there on a sale it developed into quite a sale they were cutting 25,000 or 30,000 feet of lumber a day, why Ed would have to help out. He'd send me up there to work. That's how I got into the timber end of it. Now I think Ed left there in 1914 and I was placed in charge of that District, but they didn't give me an assistant. I was alone. I was helping out Bob Moke too.
I was married in November of 1916. My wife lived in Pasco, Oklahoma. We got married in November of 1916 in Pasco, and I brought her out to Thoreau. We were there until I was moved up to McGaffey's mill. It was in the Zuni Mountains and I was put in charge of the timber sale. On days off I worked as Ranger out there.
You were still in charge of the District, even though you were at the mill?
Yes, I was in charge of the District. Ed had been transferred to Socorro, New Mexico, on the Datil Forest. I was there with Bob Moke for a while, just a short time though, and Bob resigned, and that's when I took over his job, as well as the District job. We would ride horseback, had a pack outfit, and we stayed out overnight many times. There was a little mining goin' on in that country, and mining claims had to be examined, you know. Besides, there was what they called the June 11 homesteads.
There were always some little old sawmills starting up somewhere. I stayed there at McGaffey until 1918, when I was transferred up to the Santa Fe Forest, to work on the New Mexico Lumber Company timber sale. That was out on the Coyote District of the Santa Fe Forest. I think that was the year the War was in progress. I was up there alone on that sale well, I had a scaler. What was his name? He was a French-Canadian, an old lumberjack. Charles Laller, that was his name. Of course I had all the marking to do, marking all the timber. They were cutting about 100,000 feet a day. It was at El Vado, out from Durango, Colorado. The company was located in Denver, Colorado; the New Mexico Lumber Company.
The headquarters of the mill was located at El Vado? Was that on the D&RGW Railroad?
Yes, the D&RGW [Denver & Rio Grande Western] ran down from Antonito, Colorado, through can't think of the name of that little old town we had to go down from Antonito. It was on that narrow-gauge D&RG. It was pretty rough goin' and it was snowed in part of the winter and they couldn't keep the track open. It connected at Antonito and ran up to Alamosa, Colorado, where it connected with the wide-gauge tracks on into Denver. It went from Antonito down to Durango. That year I lived in scaler shacks, they called them. They moved them along the railroad tracks, you know; just picked up the whole rig, family, furniture and all, loaded onto a railroad car. Our living quarters were built for easy transportation: had big old log skids under them.
That was strictly a horse-logging operation up there. It was different from McGaffey; McGaffey had been usin' these, oh, not a dredge what do you call that? A sled. They used high wheels in the summertime. But the snow was so bad it was difficult in the wintertime, and they used a sledding operation, the front runners of a bobsled. They loaded the front end of the logs on the sled runners and the rear of the logs would drag. On a regular bobsled operation, they would have four runners on the sled load them up by cross haul in the woods and drag them in. Now this operation at El Vado was a sleigh operation. They had 120 horses in the barn up there.
In the spring of 1920, I was moved down to the Pecos, still on the Santa Fe. I had charge of the timber sales there. Had some prop sales for local mining, and two pretty good sized sawmills up there. H. K. Leonard outfit was up in the mountains cutting up there. I lived at Pecos, New Mexico.
I had some mules up on the mountain, across the mountains from Las Vegas. I had government mules. It was 15 miles from my station to that sawmill, and I'd ride that mule over, get started about 6 o'clock in the morning and cross the Pecos River, ride over the mountains, scale logs, and get back that night. No place to stay there, just an old logging outfit. That's a pretty good day's work. I remember one day I scaled up 350 logs that day; went over there in the morning and got back home rather late that night, around 10 o'clock.
H. K, Leonard was the operator [H. K. was the father of Bob Leonard and the grandfather of Bill Leonard, currently Recreation and Lands staff on the Lincoln National Forest]. He got a contract to saw lumber for a new high school at Las Vegas. They didn't specify as to how the dimension lumber should be cut out of Yellow pine or Douglas fir. There was quite a bit of White fir there and it was cheaper stumpage than either Douglas fir or Western Yellow pine. He cut his dimension lumber from the White fir. You know that when it would dry out it would check down the growth rings and would shatter, and was anything but satisfactory. They sued him but I don't know how it came out. I left there before it was settled, I didn't stay there very long. I went up to that operation on the Sitgreaves then.
They called that the Apache Lumber Company. That was a big operation. They transferred me over there in charge of that. I was moved up there. They were not equipped to operate; the operation was just starting up. Later on they cut out some right of way and those logs had to be taken care of. The mill was called Cooley then. It's the Southwest Lumber Company now.
Anyway, I was moved over there. There was a man from Minnesota went out as scaler, and Ray King, who had worked with me at McGaffey. I was sure glad to see Ray King. He was a hard-working, hardheaded man. We started that operation off; that was in 1920. I got over there on Election Day of 1920. The headquarters of the Sitgreaves Forest then was at Snowflake. That was Election Day in 1920 that I arrived there. It's McNary now; it was Cooley then. They cut that winter and then hard times hit. There was no sale for lumber, and so they closed down the mill for a while.
I was moved down to Snowflake in the office there with Tim Hoyt, the Forest Supervisor. When Tim left there, Paul Roberts came as Forest Supervisor. He moved his headquarters from Snowflake to Holbrook. I worked in the office there for a while. Then they transferred me up to Flagstaff in charge of timber sales. Ed Miller was Forest Supervisor. I was with Ed Miller again, you see. I was there for only a year, and then transferred to Williams as Deputy Supervisor.
Bob Rhinehart was in charge of timber sales at Flagstaff on the Coconino, but he didn't like it; he was an old lumberjack and wanted back in the woods. They transferred me over to Williams and I was there just a year when they asked me to come back to Flagstaff in charge of timber sales on the Coconino. There were two large sales: the Flagstaff Lumber Company and the AL&T, and several small sales. So I went back to Flagstaff, and was there for ten years.
In the meantime, two or three times, I was sent down to Holbrook to take charge of the Sitgreaves while they were changing Supervisors there. Somehow or other, those Supervisors didn't like to live there, or their families didn't like to live in Holbrook. It was all right there for me.
While I was on the Coconino there, I acted as Forest Supervisor at various times. Once I went to Williams as Acting Supervisor when George Kimball went to Albuquerque. I was back and forth several times on these Forests. One of these times I was Acting Supervisor on the Sitgreaves, that was when the Standard Mill was operating it was later bought by the McNary outfit it's the Southwest now. They are doing big business now, doing fine. In 1935 I was transferred to the Sitgreaves as Forest Supervisor. Bill Baldwin was Assistant Supervisor, and he was followed by Bill Beveridge. I stayed there until May 1, 1941, when I retired from the Forest Service. I am 85 years old now.
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Mr. Edward Ancona, a native of Pennsylvania, was interviewed at his home in Albuquerque. His story starts with his coming to the Southwest.
How did you get out in this country, out in the Southwest?
During the last few weeks in College at Penn State, in our Senior year, the Forest Service at that time was out 'fishing' for foresters. A few years later I think we had a surplus, but at that time they'd come out and give the examinations to seniors, the graduating seniors, and we took the examination at Penn State in May. I think, of 1912, and about a year later I got my appointment to Arizona. But in the interim I'd been chasing the Chestnut blight disease over Pennsylvania's forests, for the State of Pennsylvania; spent the interim waiting for the notice to come to Arizona. I slipped through the examination just by a whisker; otherwise I might've been something else; Goodness knows what, probably not much. But I did pass the examination.
Then you came to the Prescott first?
Well, my first appointment was to Flagstaff. I don't think they really knew what to do with me. I was a Junior Forester; there weren't so many of them at that time. After I got there they said, "Well, we'll put you down on a lookout point." I found the lookout point was the extreme south end of the Coconino. I've forgotten the names of these lookouts. The only thing about it was I had to get a horse (I'd never been on a horse) and ride ... I suppose it's 40 or 50 miles down there. It was right on the Rim of the Coconino Plateau, and I had to live in a situation I had never experienced before. I wasn't afraid of the cooking part of it because, having been raised in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, we were pretty much accustomed to helping ourselves in cooking and food preparation. The thing that faced me, though, was the terrific job of getting a horse, buying a horse and riding to a far distant point down on the Coconino Plateau.
But Fate intervened. The Ranger at Prescott, who had a small District, at that time we had much smaller Districts than we have now well the Ranger died. He was the brother of the Supervisor. His name was Ed Hinderer, I believe. Instead of going down to this far distant lookout point, I went to Prescott, but I still couldn't avoid the job of buying horses because that was the horse day. There were very few roads, and all of our work was on horseback. So I landed at Prescott on the Prescott District; that was really my first assignment.
I had done some horseback riding at Flagstaff, which was a pretty tough experience for me, and fought fire for the whole two weeks that I was there. So my initiation was a rough one, the bottom and top, because I was worn pretty thin on the seat after two weeks of ridin' after fires. I remember getting on the horse the first day in Flagstaff. I had rented a horse and the Ranger had his horse, of course, and he said, "We're goin' out to a point east of here. At the boundary of the Forest we have some sheep to look over." He says, "I'll rent you a horse."
I came out of the livery stable, and I didn't know how to steer the darned beast. So, I sat on top with a pair of reins and used two of them. Well, he didn't know where he wanted to go, and neither was I quite sure where I wanted to go. We ended up by crossing the street; the horse went up on the sidewalk and mounted part-way up the stairs of the Opera House before I got him turned around and back into the street, In the meantime, the Ranger had jogged off down the street, in a typical slow jog-trot, and I followed him. I don't think I caught him for about three or four miles. I think he was pretty much disgusted. I trailed him all the way out; some twelve or fourteen miles out, and twelve or fourteen back, and I was 'skunned' from here to there! That was my first horseback ride.
I learned though after that, because all of my work was on horses. You just had to adapt yourself to it, or you were sunk. We didn't have the smell of gasoline and oil on us then; it was the smell of the barn and the horse sweat.
Was the station for Prescott at Willow?
It was called the Willow Creek Station, although it was a privately owned ranch where this former Ranger had lived. I moved into his place just outside of Prescott three or four miles. We called it the Willow Creek Ranger Station. But he owned this ranch and, by the way, he ran cattle. That was before the days when those things were thoroughly separated, so he had a few head of cattle there on his District, and ran a little ranch in addition to being a Forest Ranger.
But while I was there we built the station, at that time with a $600 limitation on the building construction, over at what I suppose is now the present site, called Willow Creek Station. It's over in a big pasture that we had a little north, actually north of Willow Creek. I helped to build that station, but I never lived in it. I think we stayed within our $600 limit, if you can imagine building a house, a three or four room house, for $600. It took some finagling.
Then I went to Crown King, down on the south end of the Forest. That was a pretty rugged district, one of the roughest Districts in the Region. It was all horseback trails; no roads. There was an old road in there, from the early mining days, that came in from Prescott. You couldn't traverse it with a wagon. One or two people did it, but they had to bring along a bunch of men to move rocks and cut their way through. But we did have a railroad into the town. The train came in there about once every three days. I think twice a week we had rail service. It was very convenient. Once in a while in the summertime we'd get a little ice in, but we'd order 200 pounds when we wanted a hundred. It had to go through that hot country down around Turkey to get to Crown King, and we lost half of our ice on the way.
What was your early work like, as Ranger at Crown King?
Crown King work was a few small timber sales for mining props and stulls, and lagging were some of the items we used to sell. Mining was still active there, even though it had passed the high point, which was in the early 1900s, when a lot of those mines in the Bradshaws were active. But we still sold some mining timbers.
We had quite a bit of grazing, of course, cattle, etc.; no sheep. Our sheep grazing was trespass, always, and was one of the toughest jobs we had in the wintertime going down along the Border and camping down there, trying to catch the sheep inside of the Border, as they went up and down the driveway between the southern part of the State and the northern grazing lands, where they grazed in the summer. We had lots of cattle on the range and it was extremely rough country. They were tough fellows, those cattlemen and cowboys of that day.
The Ranger tried to be tough, but I doubt if he succeeded very much, because they were tougher. But I think normally we had excellent control of our grazing. The people we dealt with were definitely, certainly honest. We rode with them of course on roundups, and so on, and made rough checks. We could check their sales and knew pretty well what they were raising each year and how many on the range.
We did a little trail work. That I did without a cent of appropriation of money. I talked some cowmen, cowboys, and miners into contributing their time on the trail. That was something to do; get a cowboy off his horse and get him to take a pick and shovel and help to build a trail.
I did manage to get the price of a brush-cutting tool, because that whole country was heavily covered with brush plus a lot of timbered area. The brush was our main problem in clearing out the trails. Supervisor Hinderer finally somewhere found two or three dollars. That was a large sum in those days: you know, we had no allowance for travel, no per-diem, nothing of that sort. We cadged our meals as we went along. It wasnt' a good arrangement. He got this two or three dollars together and he bought me a great big clipper that I could cut through about a half-inch oak tree with. We did a lot of brush clearing with that one clipper and a few other brush hooks, and picks and shovels. I suppose we cleared out some ten or fifteen miles of trail around Crown King, which was very important for our traveling, and we did it with voluntary help.
Down in that rough country, a trail was essential.
Oh, it was. You could go through that brush, traveling on a trail, but if you had to get off in order to visit a water development or to get to some distant corral, or to check on some cattle, you practically had the clothes torn off your back. On a fire, quite frequently I'd have to go into that manzanita and oak brush.
We wore leather chaps and they were not a gadget or a movie type thing to have. You needed 'em for protection. They saved your knees constantly. I practically wore out a pair or two of good stout leather chaps in that brush. And you never rode without boots; they were highly important because they protected the lower part of your leg, and the chaps the upper part.
That brush sometimes was way over your head as you rode horseback, and you had to force your way through it. It was pretty rough stuff. So we built trails in self defense, you might say. Nearly always we'd carry something along with us; a short-handled axe to hack out places where we could get through these trails, open em up a little.
Now, Ed, you mentioned that some of your permittees were pretty rough, rugged individuals. Did you have much trouble getting them to accept Forest Service policies and practices?
No, I think by that time the edge had been taken off of the distrust of the Forest Service. I think that come off a few years before I got there. Those people were quite receptive. They were friendly; I used to drop in and stay overnight frequently with 'em. I'd ride with them on their roundups and they were always quite friendly. In fact, I had a very good dog that I had acquired up at Prescott and he turned out to be a pretty good cow chaser. First thing I knew he disappeared. He went back to his old trail urge helping to round up cattle. It was three months later when one of my permittees said, "Well. I'm about through with your dog. You can take him back. He came to my camp one day and he does like to help round up cattle. I'd like to have that dog." I said, "No, he's mine."
So we were friendly; we'd even trade our dogs around. But in my case it was inadvertent; I hadn't intended that he should take my dog. The dog decided he wanted to chase cows. But we were quite friendly with them, and had no difficulty that I recall. We never had any shootin' matches, or nothin.
Well, the miners, did you get along all right with them?
The miners were sometimes a little they were strange people anyway. They were the old fellows who were left by the backdraft from the days when the mines were really running. These were the fellows that were left there. They were usually, you might say, "loners." I had, oh, a half dozen of those old fellows living in cabins around where they were still sitting on some claim, hoping against hope that mining would revive and that the tide would come back. It never came back.
They were a little bit of fish. Sometimes I'd have to be over-cautious about not imposing myself on 'em, but before long, after passin' 'em a few times, you began to find that they did like you to come because they were as lonely as all get-out, those fellows. They lived alone. One old fellow lived away over deep in the Horsethief country there, big timber, and he always had an American flag flying over his little cabin. You'd see that flag through the brush and timber and you'd know you were getting to this old fellow's shack.
There was one very queer old fellow called Burro Jack, I believe his name was, down on the lower end, in the desert area of my District, which is down below Turkey Creek. He was a queer old fellow, definitely a little bit 'teched,' but friendly as all get-out. You never passed there; you always had to stay with these fellows and have a meal with them, if it was around mealtime. They insisted on your staying. The food was very simple. The mainstay was beans, and they always had a can of syrup. That was their dessert. They'd have syrup on their biscuits. There was no canned fruit, or stuff like that. Most of 'em couldn't afford it.
Some of 'em were living on little relief checks, maybe a primitive sort of relief they had in those days. The County would support them there rather than put 'em in a home. This Burro Jack, out in the flat country toward the desert there. I know he got a little check from the County every month. It was enough to keep him in simple food.
From Crown King, where did you go?
From Crown King I was transferred directly to Taos. That was in 1916. Of course I had to dispose of my horses down at Crown King. I hated to see the first one go; he was my original horse and I turned him over to some friends, though, so he'd have a good home, Then I went up to Taos and there I had to begin buying horses again. I ended up with four horses at Taos, which was a little too many for a staffman. We had to have driving teams, a team of horses that could both ride, pack, and drive. I had two teams toward the end of the job because we went enormous distances there.
We'd drive clear from Taos out to Dulce, and the Jicarilla country. We'd drive to Tres Piedras and all that country, clear over to Canjilon. That was big country and the roads very primitive, lots of 'em deep in sand. So you had to have horses that could drive, pack, or ride, because we'd go as far as we could driving, then we'd leave this mountain wagon an' then we'd put on our saddle and our pack outfit and go on.
The work at Taos was completely different from the work down in Arizona. This was high mountain country, running streams which we had none of down in Prescott. We were lucky if we had a spring down there. This country was high and cold and I learned to shiver.
I remember one trip I made. We had an inspection trip over at the Vallecitos Ranger Station. I think the temperature that morning when we got up was about 18 or 20 below, and the horses were crazy and wild and we had an awful job gettin' 'em. They were all pretty what do you call it; 'cocky'? some word that's used for a horse that was on the prod. They wanted to jump out of their skins, in other words. It was chilly! We wanted to get on and they didn't want us on.
We went down below Vallecitos that morning, bundled up on these horses. We came to the little village of Vallecitos and there was some Church celebration on. I think it was getting along toward Lent, but it was still cold and wintry. Some darned fool up in the belfry of the Church there was firing a shot gun, and that didn't do anything but separate the entire Forest Service cowboys and scatter them over the place. We got together beyond the village, but we were pretty much disrupted in tryin' to get through there with this shotgun going off and these horses already 'cocky.'
There were quite a few sheep in there, which we didn't have down below in Arizona. Lots of sheep range, and summer range 'way up high where they could graze for a couple of months in the middle of the summer right up around timberline. I liked the job in Northern New Mexico; it was more like what you'd expect real forestry to be, because it was wild county.
You were on the Supervisor's staff there?
I was on the Supervisor's staff there, yes, but helped out quite a bit on timber sales. Because I was a Junior Forester, you'd be expected to be the timber sale man. I think that was my designation.
We had a big railroad operation, something you don't see much of any more. We had a real railroad operation on the Forest at that time. The LaMadera had a big mill over there. I guess it was big; it looked big to me in those days. I guess it wasn't big according to today's standards, but it was a sizeable mill. The firm was the Hallack & Howard Lumber Company of Denver.
They logged that whole Division of the Forest over a period of eight or ten years. It was done with Forest Service limitations on cut and so on. I don't think that today you can hardly find where they cut. I've been there only once since then, three of four years ago, and I went to places I thought, "Well, this is where we had a big logging camp." There was no trace of it, and the timber has grown up and it's hard to see where that big operation was carried on, which I think is a good sample of what you can consider conservative forestry, or farm forestry forestry in which you expect another crop. That railroad operation was interesting. They had a big lumbering town at La Madera, and they hauled the lumber; most of it went up to Colorado. I worked on that sale frequently. I'd help out when things were bad, and that was during World War I had started.
I took the draft for World War I induction up at Red River. I was sent up there by the Draft Board, and of course had to go up there on horseback, It was about a two day trip. And I waited there. We got out of the hills there finally oozed two fellows that took the draft, and I don't think they came in voluntarily. I think somebody told 'em they'd better come in. I think there were two fellows that I registered for the World War I draft, and they weren't very happy about it; they didn't like to leave 'them thar hills.'
But the War then sent me back. I was slated to go to an Engineering training camp in I think they made me a Second Louie down in the South somewhere, as a follow-up for the Tenth Engineers which had been one of the first outfits to go to France. You remember the Tenth Engineers had the name 'Forestry', one of the very early ones, and a number of our people went with that; some of the people from the Carson, by the way.
Then they were raising the Twentieth Engineers. The War was still humping along and I had orders to go down there. Then they changed them suddenly because the Forest Products Laboratory at Madison was just booming and they ran from about 40 or 50 people up to about 400. They were embarked completely on war work; largely with airplanes, because airplanes were built of wood in those days. So I was sent to the Forest Products Lab at Madison, just before the War ended. I was there two or three months and I came back then to Albuquerque where I was in the Regional Office, the rest of my time.
Much of the time I was in the field during the CCC camp days. We had started off with, I believe, 32 camps, and we ended up with usually 18 the last two or three years of the CCC program. I was out in the field about half the time those last three or four years.
Now, before we get away from the Carson, I would gather from your remarks about the Howard & Halleck sale that you feel that the forestry practices on that sale were very sound?
They must have been. My contact with it I don't like the word 'contact' but my further experience with it, was one trip through there, and that was the thing that struck me. "I wouldn't know this country hardly; it doesn't look at all like it did when they were logging here, when there was brush everywhere, and stumps, and wide-open spaces where we had cleared off for logging camps." It had all grown up, so it certainly looked as if we knew what we were doing.
It's a sort of casual thing, because you'd have to really go into that a little more thoroughly. But I'm sure we did the right thing there. I'm sure that was a good example of forestry. I don't know when the next cut is due there, I suppose the timber sale people know when they're gonna cut there again. But that was a big operation, to run a railroad up in there. I know I rode in there on top of the logs several times.
Let's see, Mr. Barker must've been Supervisor then?
When I first went there Raymond C. Marsh was Supervisor. I visited him once in Washington, in the Washington Office. I'm quite sure he's long since retired. He'd been one of the old Reconnaissance men, had done some of the early reconnaissance on the Carson, a timber reconnaissance, and later ended up as Supervisor. He was a Forester. Then Elliott Barker took over and I was Assistant Supervisor. Then I went from there, of course, to Madison. Wisconsin. Quite a change. More cold; more cold weather, but in a big city, a very progressive city.
After you came into the RO, when you returned from the Army, what kind of work did you do then?
Well, I was practically the Office Manager. It was called OM in those days: it was part of Operation. It was really a job of office management: purchasing, hiring of clerks, all that sort of thing. And some field trips that I made. Later I was doing quite a bit of auditing for Fiscal Control, helping out with fiscal audits. Then later I went into CCC camps and did an enormous amount of purchasing for that work. That was handled incidental to my other work with the CCC camps, as work programs and such things.
We had to do the buying in our office for the CC camps. We'd buy stuff by the trainload, you might say. I got to a point where specifications and purchasing really were my major jobs although I had two or three very good people in that work and they used to do most of it. We'd think nothing of ordering 10 or 15 carloads of dynamite, or that many carloads of culverts. One time I sent an order for a carload of wheelbarrows. That's when we first started the CCs. We even were down to wheelbarrows and picks and shovels, before we got some of this big horse-operated equipment, and eventually tractors, and so on. This was during the Depression, in 1933; I sent this order to a firm back in Ohio for a carload of wheelbarrows, a hurry-up order. He cane back with a note, "My God! I don't even have enough steel in the plant to make that many wheelbarrows." But we got them in pretty good time.
Then I went into Personnel Management and was Training and Safety Officer for the Region, which I enjoyed very much. It was interesting work as Safety man for a couple of years. I ran Fort Valley for two or three years, which was our training camp then. After Earl Loveridge started it, you remember, years ago; he was the original 'dean' of the college out there. I took over the same functions later, and we ran a pretty good training camp out there at Fort Valley.
One of my biggest jobs was to clean out the debris of the past there. I found some of the attics of those buildings had accumulated a lot of stuff from the past. We didn't throw things away; everything was too valuable. If we could save an axe handle or a pick handle. we sure didn't burn it. If it was broken, we'd try to patch it up.
To get back to the start of the CCs, when you were doing this purchasing in carload lots and trainload lots, you must've had a warehouse then?
We'd had our own warehouse here in town, and again we didn't appreciate the size of the job, what it was going to be. Sometimes we were working from hand to mouth, with insufficient equipment. Later we rented a big warehouse out in the north part of town, took over from one of the tractor people who had the building but weren't ready to use it yet. So we built quite a sizeable warehouse up there with shops, and did a lot of our own maintenance on vehicles.
We repaired trucks that cane in, in almost trainload lots, for the CCC camps. We'd make alterations on 'em, and additions, safety features, tops for them for hauling men. We did a lot of that work here. Of course, later then we established shops at three or four other places in the Region, and Engineering took over most of that work, that maintenance on equipment. But in the early times we had our own shop here and did a lot of maintenance work on trucks. It was all done under the CC organization really, because they had most of the equipment. They had 300 or 400 motor vehicles in the CC work. We had to learn how to take care of 'em, quick, because facilities generally didn't exist for such large volumes of work.
We'd buy the stuff and store-keep it and set up catalogs. We did a regular mail-order business here for a number of years to supply everything they needed in the way of equipment. I understand we've got a Division of the Government now that does a lot of that work.
Yes - General Services.
We ran our own stores, and so on, at that time. We had to, in self-defense, because no one else was prepared to do it.
Ed, in your Personnel work, was that mostly in the field of Safety?
Yes, it was. I remember one thing we used to, an interesting aspect. We used to recruit Foresters. The Forest Service had a method of each Region would send two or three people from Personnel Management to the Forestry school nearest to them to recruit Foresters, or to look over the crop of new Foresters, among the Seniors. I remember one wintry spring I went up to Utah State, which had a Forestry school, and we were recruiting there. Then other Regions would take other schools near them.
Then the Safety feature began to bear down and we made quite a drive on that, and I handled quite a bit of that for a couple of years. We had a special safety man in Washington who would direct, or particularly ride herd, on that work over the country. We were very safety conscious; I suppose we still are. I don't know exactly any more. But we followed up very closely on that, and were particularly conscious of the ratings they gave us. I think we got some good rating several times for freedom from lost-time accidents. That was the thing you were always tryin' to avoid lost time accidents. We didn't prop 'em up exactly, when they had a little accident, but we fanned 'em a little bit and got 'em to walk, so they wouldn't become a lost-timer. We were always conscious of avoiding accidents, and I think that generally we were successful, without cutting foolishly into the work, the progress of the work.
Fire control work was interesting over the years; I had two or three years of that. I had the very sad job while in Safety, of going down and investigating the accident that killed Claude McKenzie, with whom I worked for some years in Fire Control. We never knew what happened. It was one of those funny things that you couldn't explain why that car went off the grade. Two men were killed. We turned the car on its wheels and drove it back to Albuquerque. There wasn't a bit of damage to the car. There was a case where you might say that seat belts would have saved two lives. Both of then had crushed heads or broken necks through being thrown out of the car.
The Safety work was interesting, particularly in checking our Ranger Station. I remember going to one Ranger Station and walking into the basement it was one of our southern Stations, on the Coronado Forest and the Ranger's wife, very nice people, she was working on a wet floor. There was a leak of some kind; she had a washing machine going. And they had loose electrical wires. They had electricity down there. It was a very advanced station; they had electricity. This was in recent years when we had local current from local plants, usually REA plants.
She was working there with loose connections all around; the most hazardous thing I think I ever saw. Well, I bundled her out of there and we sat down with the Ranger and discussed the matter of getting rid of all those loose and certainly dangerous wires that he had on this wet floor. That woman could have touched the wrong wire there, and with that floor, she'd have been electrocuted quicker than a flash. Those were the things that you had to look for.
I never went through a doorway in those days, particularly in the attics of our stations, without dipping my head because, while I'm not very tall, I was always aware of low doorways, and we had plenty of 'em. But I got so it became a habit with me to duck when I went through a doorway, even if it was 6 feet above my head, because I was getting safety conscious myself.
As you look back on your career, it's been a most varied one, would you make the same choice again?
Yes, I got into Forestry because I was born in Pennsylvania. At that time Gifford Pinchot was the idol of the foresters. We knew him; knew of him. He was Teddy Roosevelt's main stay, main hand, in withdrawing most of the National Forest lands. The State of Pennsylvania had already gone into forestry and withdrawn a number of areas of these cutover lands. I was born in an atmosphere that promoted an interest in forestry as a career.
I took the examination for the Pennsylvania State Forest Service. There must've been eight or twelve more ahead of me because, I don't know, they must have graded above 100 on that examination, 'cause I got a grade of 97, and there were twelve other fellows that were ahead of me. I was always glad that I didn't get the appointment, because I don't think I'd 've cared for it. I worked on the State Forests in Pennsylvania one summer. They were nice people, and so on, but it would not have been the experience that I think I would have preferred. I've never regretted going into forestry, and it was largely because of the atmosphere in which we were raised about that time, in Pennsylvania. We knew about forestry; it was obvious.
The main thing about the Forest Service work was it put you into areas that you never would have been in, in any other job. You saw part of the past, a lot of the past, the early days; you could almost say the late-early days of the West. It was a terrific experience then and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. It never made you a millionaire, but it was a darned nice life. The satisfaction of people and places.
I got into trouble only once. I stole a lot of telephone line and poles. I did it because the telephone poles hadn't been used for about ten or fifteen years, but some company still, I think, claimed them. They were four by six redwood, beautiful things, and I needed a barn at my Ranger Station in Crown King. Incidentally, I owned the Ranger Station. We had no Ranger Station there; I had to buy my own Ranger Station another little wrinkle of the early days when you had to make do.
I went out and chopped down a number of these four by six redwood poles of an abandoned telephone line that used to run from Prescott to Phoenix. The whole country was pulling in these poles and rolling up the wire, which was very convenient to anybody. Those ranchers could always use some nice galvanized wire, and also some four by six redwoods. I built a nice barn out of them, but they found out afterwards that I had stolen those telephone poles. I suppose there's a mark somewhere on my record that I was a high-grader.
I was on a mining claim for a while, but in my mother's name. We had to stake out a mining claim to cover this Ranger Station I owned. That was in Crown King. It was on a mining claim and I had to buy it under pressure one time. There was four feet of snow in Crown King one time, and the woman who owned the house that we were using as a Ranger Station, a rented house, which I had to buy, or else. So I 'or-elsed', and stayed there and bought the Ranger Station. But we found that the land under it was National Forest land, so we staked out a mining claim to cover it. I guess that claim is still there. I believe the house burned, though.
Do you still own the claim?
I never did. It was in my mother's name and she died some 20 years ago, so I can't be held on any sense of having violated the Forest Service regulations in owning a mining claim. It was a family matter. In fact, we named it after her.
I suppose it's on the books in Yavapai County. It wasn't patented though. We did our assessment work by digging the well a little deeper and getting more water, because we had to have that water. We used to hang our ice tea and sometimes bottled beer down in the well to keep cool. It was the only way we had of cooling our drinks. Of course we used drip refrigerators then, so-called, and these ollas for cooling water because we had no ice.
The only time I ever got mad, was really sore at my job, was the night we had shipped in a couple of hundred pounds of ice, one hot summer day. An old fellow had some cows there in the Basin and he saved the cream for about a week or two, to make ice cream. The ice came in and the cream was there, and the ice cream was made, and we were all at this party at this fellow's house.
We were just about ready to serve the ice cream when a fellow rode up outside and knocked on the door and he said. "Is the Ranger here?" I scringed down, and somebody said, "He's over there." He says, "Well, you've got a fire up on the ridge up above here. The lightning just struck a big pine. I can see it from my place; it's on the second or third ridge over." The call of duty was stronger than that of the ice cream; I had to leave. I never got any of that ice cream, and that's one of the big regrets of my life. I went out and sat by that burning tree all night while my friends were eating up the little ice cream that there was . . . the only ice cream that was in Crown King while I was there that two years. But I put the fire out, by golly. I sat by it until there was nothing left of it.
Well, one more question, Ed. From your varied experiences, do you feel that the Forest Service has met the objectives as originally set up to be a conservation agency?
Yes, I think so. They've overcome a tremendous amount of 'rugged Americanism' to start with, when the cattle and sheep and timber interests were all against us. There's no doubt about it that the Forest Service has amply met its original objectives.
* * * * * * * * *
Mr. Morton M. Cheney was interviewed at his home in Albuquerque. Mr. Cheney, a native of New Hampshire, graduated in 1906 from the Law School of George Washington University. He practiced law briefly in New Hampshire, occupied a position in the office of the Assistamt Attorney General for the Post Office Department, and for two years was in the General Land Office, specializing in land law. For about the last 10 years of his work in the Forest Service, Mr. Cheney was an Associate Regional Forester. His story starts with his transfer from the General Land Office to the Forest Service in Albuquerque.
I arrived here on Washington's birthday, 1913, and reported for duty in the then District Office in the Stricker-Luna Building on North Second Street, the following day.
I had a letter of introduction to a Mrs. Wigley who conducted a Forest Service Boarding House on Coal Avenue, and made my home with her until my family arrived several months later, Her son, Floyd Wigley, was at that time a District Ranger on the Sitgreaves Forest.
District 3 had already been organized at that time, hadn't it?
Yes, yes. District 3 was organized, as I understand, in 1908, and at that time Arthur Ringland was District Forester. There were two Assistant District Foresters in Operation, A. O. Waha and Colonel Peck.
Is that the Colonel Peck that went on to Region 2?
He was Regional Forester later in Denver, yes.
The Regional Office of Lands was at that time heavily overloaded with work in land classification and claims work. Recreation had not been heard of. Frank Peeler, as Assistant District Forester, had requested my assignment from Washington. I had transferred from the Land Office as a land lawyer to become his assistant.
I suppose that June 11 claims work made a tremendous load on the Lands Division?
Yes, I think at that time we were handling about 100 applications a month for the homesteading. We had in Lands a clerk who recorded applications exclusively, and another who handled the listings after the reports had come in from the Rangers. The Rangers did remarkable work in their mapping in those early days. There was very little material available and each piece of land had to be surveyed, with a compass survey, and typed, both as to cover and as to soil characteristics, and of course reports were detailed. After the reports were in, the listings were forwarded to the Land Office and we had very complete records. It was necessary to keep priorities on applications.
Then, as time went on, Congress passed the Classification Act. E. A. Sherman, who had been District Forester in, I believe, both Missoula and Ogden, I'm not sure of that, was in charge of that work in Washington and he initiated an extensive land classification. We took the best map available on any scale whatsoever of each township and sent it to Washington. They returned those maps to us on a four inch scale. Our reports came in from the field in the rough, and the cover was imposed on those maps by type, and covered the entire Forest, excluding the doubtful areas which were then examined intensively by a group of specialists, including such men as Rex King and Harrison Burrall. The entire area of the Region was covered.
At that time the Lincoln Forest was in two units the Alamo, with headquarters at Alamogordo, and the Lincoln under Supervisor Kinney, with headquarters at Capitan.
Santa Fe was then two Forests the Pecos with headquarters at Cowles, at the head of the Pecos River; and the Jemez, with headquarters at Santa Fe.
The Coronado: the Eastern Divisions were a separate Forest, known as the Chiricahua, under Supervisor Arthur Zachau.
To get back to the work on the June 11 claims, was there much opposition to the way we classified, and the way we made our decisions as to whether it was agricultural or forest lands?
Well, of course there were occasional appeals, but by and large we were able to convince the applicants of the soundness of our position. Later, there were enough questions asked that the Department established an Appeals Officer who made trips to the Regions to go over the doubtful cases. But it didn't result in any considerable change.
Now, what was the procedure, Mr. Cheney? The Ranger made the original decision?
Yes, the application was referred to the Forest, assigned to the Ranger, who examined the land, made the report and the map.
Then if there was any controversy I guess the appeal procedure was just like it is now?
Through the Supervisor, then the Regional Office?
Very seldom anything went beyond the District Office. We had some complications in overlapping applications, and the matter of determining priorities in case of overlapping applications became very delicate at times.
After the Classification procedure was fully operative, we had a Soils expert for a time to examine the cases where soil was a big factor. The Land Office was always very cooperative, and the procedure was fairly rapid, from application to examination to a decision. When the report was favorable, we wrote what we call a listing. The Land Office picked it up and opened that particular piece of land to entry, and we had to keep a record of occupancy, and the Ranger had to make three actual examinations and reports on occupancy.
When the application for patent was filed in the Land Office, we again had to make a final report on compliance with the law. At that time there were a good many individual cases where compliance was doubtful, and they went to a hearing. This hearing was of course handled locally, before a Justice of the Peace or a U. S. Commissioner. The law officer for the Region conducted those hearings.
Well, actually, wasn't the attitude of the Service quite sympathetic toward the homesteaders?
Yes, yes, as to many small areas that were obviously within reach of market and could produce crops, it was quite liberal.
From Lands work, you got into the Law Office for a while?
Yes. J. O. Seth resigned as Assistant to the Solicitor for the Department, and became Assistant United States Attorney, and I took over his work as Assistant to the Solicitor. The Service was so new; there were so many undetermined factors, that a heavy part of that work was Opinion work, answering questions from Supervisors and others as to what the law was, applicable to a particular situation. They also had the custom on major questions of preparing a formal written opinion. This was prepared in duplicate and a copy sent to the Law Officer of each of the other Regions and to Washington for review, so that you got, in the end, the opinion of the entire legal staff of all nine Regions, and the Washington Office.
That was the heavy part of the work. The handling of the homestead hearings, and the mining claims, was considerable, and of course grazing trespass was a big thing. The stockmen did not take kindly to regulation, limited numbers, and thought they could run more stock than was permitted. There was a constant flow of trespass cases. One year when I was in Law we collected over $30,000 in trespass fees in this Region.
Did you, as Law Officer, get out on the ground in any of those cases?
Before a case went to trial, I usually got familiar with it on the ground, yes.
The mining claims, of course, required an examination by a qualified miner. Ted Swift, who was Supervisor of the Crook, was our mineral man, and examined all these claims. The Interior Department, from their Field Division made available mining experts to work with him. They constituted our battery of witnesses when we went to a hearing.
Did Ted Swift do that mining work while he was Supervisor?
That was just extra?
Yes. The biggest mining situation that developed was at the Grand Canyon. At that time the Grand Canyon was under Forest Service supervision as part of the Tusayan National Forest. Ralph Cameron, later United States Senator, filed many claims along the Rim and down the Bright Angel Trail and on other trails, and would have taken over the entire Canyon under those mining claims if he had been allowed to proceed. He carried one claim, at the base of one of the points on the South Rim of the Canyon, known as the Magician, and this, it appeared, was the construction of a road west from El Tovar.
We proceeded to contest eleven or twelve of his claims at key locations. It was customary then to wait until the mining claimant applied for patent before any action was taken. In the meantime, they frequently occupied mining claims under an allegation of discovery without any mineral basis.
Cameron employed two ex-United States Attorneys and put up a pretty vigorous fight. We went to the hearing in Phoenix before the Land Office, on our contest of his claims, and were met with an application for injunction for the United States Federal Court. This case went to trial in Prescott and Tucson, and we were successful in establishing that the Government had the right to contest a claim before application for patent. It went to the Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. United States Attorney Flynn and I argued the case and we were successful. I was pleased to receive a letter of Congratulation from the Chief Counsel of the Santa Fe Railroad on my handling of the case. I've still got it.
Later, the Forest Service continued and then the Land Office followed up and they cancelled many, many additional claims. One interesting feature was, having established a pretty complete case that there was no copper or more valuable mineral in those claims, Cameron switched and said he didn't claim copper out of that; it was platinum, and there was so much platinum there that you could see it clear across the Canyon! We had to bring a platinum expert in from South America to meet this contention.
We had some very interesting land grant cases in those days grants that had been made by the Spanish Government in the early days, where boundaries were uncertain. There was a series of grants known as the Baca Floats. Baca Float No, 1 is located in the heart of the Jemez Division of the Santa Fe Forest. Those grants were surveyed differently from most grants. They, as I understand it, established a center, and then ran out from that center to the boundaries, to lay out 100,000 acres in a rectangle. It raised some question as to where the boundaries were; that was litigated before I was in the work.
Then on the east side of the Carson Forest was the Mora Grant. The west border was common with the Forest but of uncertain location, and that was a matter of interesting litigation. There were two monuments, one to the north and one to the south of the Rio Pueblo; they were alleged to be original monuments of the west side of the Mora Grant.
We found an aged Spanish-American who said that during the Civil War he remembered the soldiers coming through for the Battle of Glorietta, which was before he left the side of his mother. But that later when he was herding sheep in the Rio Pueblo country, he saw men come and set up those two monuments, which of course was many, many years after the original survey when they were supposed to have been set.
The original surveyor of the Mora Grant, by the name of Means, started at a well known spring and ran north to the north boundary and then west, and established a mound of earth on the north boundary, and calculated the distance from there to the northwest corner, saying, "further I cannot go." He then retraced and ran around the base of the mountains to the east and to an established community which he referred to as Upper Mora.
In our day there was no Upper Mora, but it was supposed to have been Cleveland. Means set up his transit in the Plaza of Upper Mora, and sighted the west boundary of the grant which was some two or three miles east of these stones we've been talking about. He could not have seen the place where those stones were found, because they were down on the west slope. He then ran south to the Sapello, and up the Sapello to the southwest corner of the grant, and set up a stone. There was no alignment between that stone and those on the banks of the Rio Pueblo, or any place that would have been called for by his calculations on the north boundary. Mr. Means completed his notes by saying that he had made this survey in 11 days and was well satisfied.
Our contention the Government's contention, represented by both the Agricultural Department and the Interior Department was that there had never been a survey. But we lost. I've gone into those cases in considerable detail, but they were the two outstanding ones that I happen to remember.
Had some very interesting cases against the Empire Zinc Company down east of Silver City. Had to go to Des Moines to try a case against them. That was in the 'teens, I imagine, about 1916.
There was a Lands meeting of Regional Foresters and Lands men I think it was at Ogden, and Regional Forester Coert DeBois of San Francisco made the statement that the Forest Service had reached the end of the Lands work, the boundaries being established. E. A. Sherman did not agree.
But it was years after that before anybody mentioned the subject of Recreation. And if I remember rightly, the first national appropriation for Recreation for the entire Service was $15,000. Of course, Land Exchange was away in the future then. I think very largely the credit for that should go to Mr. Sherman, who devolved the theory of being able to acquire land in exchange for timber, the timber to be designated after the agreement was reached. We were able to acquire some pretty valuable land under that procedure and I guess they're still using it.
One of the better features of administration of lands in those early days was our relation with the State Lands Commissions. Of course they were politicians, but as a rule they were very cooperative and very ready to not merely accept but to seek advice, and to enter into cooperative agreements for the Forest Service to handle their timbered areas. Johnny Miles, ex-Governor, who was Land Commissioner, was particularly cooperative.
Governor Clyde Tingley worked directly with us in getting the legislation which authorized the exchange, the acquisition of State lands through exchange. Captain Reed, who was at that time Chief Counsel for the Santa Fe Railroad, worked with us to get that legislation. Colen Neblitt, who was at that time District Federal Judge, active in game matters, was rather hesitant at first, but helped materially.
I guess it's safe to say that I spent personally a good many weeks in Santa Fe in each legislative session, not as a lobbyist, but to be available to answer questions. Fred Arthur and I were prosecuted for illegal lobbying! I had a letter from Fred the other day about it. Complaint by a stockman by the name of White in the Roswell country. Fred said he never knew why I was prosecuted; and I never knew why he was. All I did was answer questions. Occasionally I had breakfast with a legislator, but I didn't consider myself a lobbyist.
Along that same line, one of the Commissioners, after he had just taken office, felt that he needed some assistance and called the Regional Office. The Regional Forester, Frank Peeler, and I went up. He began the conversation by saying, "Can't you boys tell us of any good Democrats that could handle this situation?" His Assistant immediately spoke up, "Mr. Commissioner, these men don't know the difference between a Democrat and a Republican."
To get back to your alleged lobbying, you and Mr. Arthur, were you actually tried in Court?
Not in Court, no. It was a complaint filed with the Forest Service and we were tried by Frank Peeler. Hearings were held in a hotel at Roswell. I wasn't worried and I don't remember much of the evidence, but it was a case of this man seeking rights of way and it required State legislation. It was a matter of fact we were favorable to the legislation, and were not desirous of blocking it. If I had said anything on the subject, it would have been favorable, if anyone had asked me.
You were so interested in the law, and your background was in law, I would think you would have stayed with it.
Well, I never did get out of it. For many years I worked with men in Law, and helped try cases. I resigned while I was in Law; I had an offer from a law office in Phoenix, and went to Phoenix to practice law. I didn't like Phoenix; didn't like the heat.
I came back to the Service, and went into a vacancy in Lands temporarily. Charles Brothers had taken my place in Law. They figured there were too many Law men here, and asked us about transfers. Charles said he would go to Portland or San Francisco, and I said I would go to Missoula or Denver. They sent him to Missoula, and I took over Law.
The shameful part of the story is that when the first of July came, they gave me a little promotion, but it was not what I expected, and I hit the ceiling. The Solicitor said if I didn't like it, I could get out. And I wired back, "I'm out." Later I saw my Personnel file in the Washington Office. The Solicitor had written across the top, "This man is too rich for my blood."
So, I didn't lose touch with the law, but another thing that appealed to me very much was the field work. While you'd get out a little bit in the law work, it didn't give you the opportunity for contacts on the ground that field work did, and administrative work.
I later had an opportunity to take up the Law work in Denver. Colonel Peck offered me that place, but I had become so attached to the travel that's what I miss now, is the travel.
You must have had several incidents in connection with your grazing trespasses that would be interesting.
A permittee in the Tonto Basin country over above Young, was supposed to have run some stock around the roundup in the night, and so forth. Paul Roberts was handling grazing here at that time, and Bert Goddard was Supervisor at Roosevelt. Paul and I went down and had a session with the gentleman. He came into the office pretty heavily armed; he had quite a reputation. Afterwards I said, "Paul, what would you have done if that man had pulled one of those guns?" Paul said, "There'd have been a new door in that office right then!"
We had some fairly substantial cases, and of course it was a matter of getting a count and an estimate, and getting qualified men to testify as to the estimate of miss.
We tried a case before Judge Neblitt in Santa Fe. It was out in that Mt. Taylor country, a grazing trespass. Our witness came into Court that morning a little heavy under, and every now and then he'd stand up, and the Judge would say, "Sit down," and he would sit down and in a few minutes he'd stand up again. He wasn't in the witness box; he was waiting to be called. Finally he stood up so many times that Judge Neblitt said, "Marshall, take that man and put him in jail." And he was OUR witness!
So when the time came we told the Judge he had our witness. The Judge said, "You people go into chambers, and reach a settlement." And that was what we had to do.
Of course, the boys in the field did some mighty handsome work sometimes in running down those cases, but it wasn't always possible. I understand that some of the men in the Service today think we were a little lax in the early days in reducing stock on the range, but we tried. It was a constant fight, and by and large, Washington backed us up.
After I transferred from Law to Administrative work John D. Jones was Chief of Lands. He had been brought from Washington, and I was serving as his Assistant. They decided to establish an Information and Education Division. Mr. Sherman came out from Washington and talked with Frank and he sent for me, said they proposed to transfer John D. to the new Division and if they gave me Lands, could I handle it without any assistance? I said I could, and we made the transfer. We gradually found some Assistants, but we didn't find quite as many as they now have.
Pink Arnold had been Ranger on the Sitgreaves but left the Service, came back and was Ranger out here at Tijeras. Zane Smith was his Assistant on that District. Of course they were close enough that I got very well acquainted with them. I asked for Pink to come in and handle the Recreation work and he brought Zane with him. In later years in Lands I gave very much of my attention to Land Exchange, although I was interested in Recreation. Of course at that time, Albuquerque was under 40,000; the recreation problem was entirely different from what it is today, with 300,000.
In 1920 they had one of the worst fire seasons Northern Arizona ever had. Ed Miller was Supervisor at Flagstaff. Had a big fire north of the Peaks in Dead Man Flat. They fought that for about a week. After they had got it under control, on the way back, they ran into a fire on Black Bill, at the foot of Eldon. And there was a big fire at Kendrick, and there was a big fire west of Flagstaff, right on the highway. I guess they had a thousand men on those several fires. They'd brought men in from the Tonto and the Prescott, and I don't know for what reason, but they asked for Rex King and me to go.
We took a new Dodge truck and went to the fire at Black Bill east of Flagstaff. Took us four days to get there. That was the highway! If I remember rightly, we got to Winslow the last night, then there was no road from Winslow to Flagstaff. We had to go north to Tuba City.
It used to be an all-day trip from here [Albuquerque] to Taos. You did pretty well if you got through Santa Fe; from there on up you had to fight your way to Taos with a car. The road to Frijoles from Santa Fe, instead of going north to San Ildefonso, you struck right across country to Putnam and across the Rio Grande on the narrow gauge railroad bridge.
A railroad bridge?
Yeh, it wasn't a covered bridge; just rails across the River, and we bumped across on the ties. I went across there with Earl Loveridge, and he wasn't the most comfortable man to drive with!
Now, I'd like to get your ideas about our Forest Service Policies. Do you feel that we have met our responsibilities as set up, in the Forest Service?
Well, of course I haven't been in touch; I don't really feel that I know. I do feel that the Service has always stood very high with the people of both Arizona and New Mexico, and that the people continue to look to the Forest Service as one of the outstanding Government services in which they have confidence. I don't know what the range situation is, whether you've been able to gain in the 20 years I've been gone. This is my 21st year of retirement. As I've already said, I recognize the distinct difference in policy in Recreation. I might be expected to be critical of it, but I'm not, although I don't like the new charging for admission, definitely. It's wrong.
The impact of the population with more leisure time, and more money to spend, is tremendous.
Oh, yes. As I say, I'm not sufficiently in touch to feel that I can comment very loud.
There was a range management man in this Region that I worked very closely with. He later went to another Region and I visited him, and he told me how few appeals he had. I immediately questioned whether there shouldn't be appeals. But you see I don't know what's being done.
Well, originally, we were practically the only truly conservation agency.
How was that managed; to bring people from the East . . . when they came out here, how did they become imbued with the conservation principle?
Because they did; they already had it, they brought it. It did not originate here. It wasn't that they came and were imbued with it after they came. They were foreigners' and that was their point of view. They were outsiders and strangers, and they had to convert the local people, both in range management and in timber management.
Then it was really an Eastern influence?
I think so. It was the East, and Congress, that supported it.
Well, I know that in talking with some of these old so-called cowboy rangers that we had and some of them are still able to talk very intelligently about their work; they're imbued with that idea of conservation.
Well, how did that come about, now? Was it from training sessions?
I think it was actual experience in dealing with the problems as they came up. They might not have known there was a problem until they were thrown right into it. And then with the leadership; men like Lee Kneipp and E. A. Sherman were Westerners, and they stepped right into the lead on the right side. I think T. T. Swift was also a Westerner.
And Barnes: Will C. Barnes.
And Potter; they were Westerners.
And they had a tremendous influence on ourgrazing policy.
Oh yes. Now a man like John Kerr, of course he was Assistant District Forester when I came. But he was loved, not only in the Service but by the stockmen universally. He was not easy-spoken, but they had confidence in his fairness, and of course in a quiet way he exercised tremendous influence over the years. He didn't move as fast as Paul Roberts, or Scotty, (James A. Scott) but he had the hand on it; he had the right point of view. Men in the Sevice and stockmen looked to him. That was fundamental.
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From the Use Book - 1908. Ranger Meetings. "They should be held, as far as possible, not in towns, but on Forests. Meetings in large towns and cities should especially be avoided."
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At those old Ranger meetings, those original meetings, what sort of things were covered?
Well, I came here in February; that Willow Creek meeting was in October of that year. I had practically never been on a horse. I'd been doing some riding here locally, in anticipation of that meeting. They sent Bert Reed, Howard Waha, and myself as District Office representatives to that meeting.
I don't know how the other two got there, but I went to Silver City and, with Don Johnston and the office stenographer, we drove to Mogollon and spent the night there. It was a live mining camp, Saturday night; I'll never forget it. We took horses the next day and rode from Mogollon to Willow Creek, about 20 miles. Jim Simmons was the Ranger, I guess, over on the Black Range. He was over there at Mogollon and he just fell in alongside of me and I had a day's coaching in riding, and I'll never forget that, either.
We spent a week there at Willow Creek. Of course they had a big circle, fire, and logs around it, and everything that was going on with the Forest Service was discussed, with some man designated to lead. I didn't know much about it, but they had me talk about land classification. As I say, I'd been in the West (west of Chicago), for the first time, for about six months. Don Johnston was presiding. He said, "Now, we'll take this area right here (Willow Creek); classify it for us." And I did. I did it very largely by asking the aid of Ranger Rogers or Ranger Rencher. "How far out here would you go into that?" I classified it by asking questions.
Of course we had mock trials, barbecues, but the days were spent in solid discussion. One of the big questions that the Rangers were very keen on was I think they called it the 10 percent road fund that it should go direct to the County where it was paid, instead of going through and being distributed on a State basis; things like that, that the Rangers had very close to their heart and wanted explained. Of course we had a day of discussion on grazing trespass, how to make those counts.
One of the prettiest things I ever saw was when we were already in camp. The Apaches came in, the entire Apache Forest, including the cook. Made the two day ride from Springerville to Willow Creek. As you drop into Willow Creek you drop off the first ridge and the switchback down into the Flat, and that group of Forest Officers, in uniform, with John D. Guthrie on a big black, switchbacking down into camp; it was a beautiful sight.
When I went out with Bert Goddard in the Datils, I rode Bass Wales' big bay over to Iron Creek. Bert had rented a car over in Magdalena, with a driver. They got that car as far as Iron Creek and got it mired down in the Creek and left it and came on to camp. We went out; we had to get the car out of the creek and get it to runnin'. We made it over to Negrite Station and stopped for a bit to eat and started out of there about 1 o'clock in the afternoon and got into Magdalena about six the next morning! Flats, flats, flats, and we finally went into Magdalena on the rim. They could hear us coming for ten miles. The man that owned the car came out and met us as we rolled into Magdalena. He looked at the driver and said. "You're fired!" To me that was a great experience.
Bert Reed and I had shared a tent. I unrolled my bedroll and put my bed rope which I had bought in a hardware store a few days earlier; it was brand new. I coiled it and put it under my bed. At the end of the week I rolled up my bed, and there was no bed rope. I didn't say a word; I just left it. When the pack outfit was back in Silver City, they shipped my bed back from Silver City. When it arrived at my home, had a beautiful bed rope, all made to the coils, etc., beautifully done. That was the type of men they were. I was a tenderfoot but they weren't taking it out on me; they were doin' things for me.
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Mr. Stanley F. Wilson was interviewed at his home in Phoenix. He was born in Ohio. He starts his story at the Yale Forestry School.
I went to the Yale Forestry School and graduated from there in 1914. I had worked one summer in California, the summer of 1913, and I had listed the Southwest as my preference. Well, actually, California first and the Southwest next. When I didn't hear from the Civil Service examination in time, I got a job as lookout, up above Truckee in California.
I went out there and reported for duty on the 3rd of July, and the next day, the Fourth, the Ranger called me early in the morning and said a wood-burning locomotive had gone up in the woods and set 19 fires. So we went out and fought fires for a couple of days and came back and I found a wire saying that I was appointed to Region 3, had passed the Civil Service examination, and been appointed to Region 3. I went on down to San Francisco and tried to persuade them to keep me in Region 5. They were willing to borrow me, but they weren't willing to keep me. So I said, "Uh huh."
I went to Albuquerque and was assigned to the Huachuca District on the Coronado, and reported to Tucson on July 13, 1914. I was sent down to the Canelo Ranger District in the Huachucas. Robert A. Rogers, the 53 year-old Ranger from the East, met me at Elgen and took me up to Canelo.
He had told the Supervisor, Selkirk, over the phone that the fire season was just over; that they'd had general rains and the fire season was over. As a result of that I always think of the typical rainy season as starting about the 10th of July and lasting for two months, and then quitting until winter. The Ranger also told me that the range was pretty well eaten out, but he said in another two weeks the neck yoke of the horses would be pushing grass that high out of the middle of the road. I didn't believe it, but it was true.
Well, on the Coronado our principal work was grazing and examining homestead applications. Of course we didn't have automobiles. I had a couple of horses and Bill Darby, also down there as Assistant Ranger, had a horse. He and I spent most of our time, I think, on June 11 examinations.
I should say, though, that about the first job I had down there, and certainly one of the most interesting for an Easterner coming out, was attending a roundup for about a month. Frank Mosen had (he may get me for libel on some of this!), but Frank had stolen a couple hundred head of cattle in Mexico and smuggled 'em across the line and branded 'em Forked Lightning and turned 'em loose on the Forest. The roundup was conducted by the Customs Service. Theoretically there were three people after him, i.e., three organizations; the Customs Service, the Sanitary Board, and the Forest Service. I spent about a month on that roundup, and we gathered several hundred cattle. The Mexican riders for the real owners of the cattle were there, and I saw some of the best ridin' and ropin' I've ever seen in my life. Well, we gathered a couple of hundred head of cattle and took 'em across through Garden Canyon over at the east side of the Huachucas, held 'em in a pasture at the Ranger Station we had there.
The Customs Service people came in and asked Mr. Mosen if that was his brand and he says, "Yes," and "Do you claim the cattle?" and he said, "No," so they did nothing. The Sanitary Board threw down a few cows and said they didn't have any ticks, and they went home. We made a report to the Regional Office, the Forest Supervisor's office and the Regional Office, on the trespass. All the word we got back was that we didn't have enough evidence, and that we should dig up more evidence. The Ranger wrote back and said he had enough evidence to convict a man of murder in the first degree and we couldn't get any more. So that was the end of that.
I spent nearly a year on the Huachuca District and, oh, I think it was July or August 1915, when I had a month's detail to the Fort Valley experiment station, which was very interesting, with Old Gus Pearson. I remember the time very definitely because on my birthday, September 5, we climbed the San Francisco Peaks.
Well, when I came back to the Coronado I found that I was being transferred as District Ranger to the Catalina District of the Coronado. I had a horse and a pack horse. I put all my worldly possessions this sounds impossible now, but was entirely possible then I put all my worldly possessions on the pack horse and rode the first day 40 miles from Canelo over to the Rosemont Ranger Station, where Carl Scolfield was Ranger. Then the next day I rode another 40 miles, and got into Tucson. What I always remember about that was the last 21 miles; that hot ride from Vail to Tucson, and Brother, it was hot!
Then I reported to the Supervisor, who was R. J. Selkirk. He sent me out, still horseback, to the Lowell Ranger Station at the foot of the Catalinas. By that time it was gettin' kinda late, and I wondered how far I was from Soldiers Camp. I called up Clifford McKibben who was holding the fort up at Soldiers Camp at the top of the Catalinas. He, by the way, invented the McKibben fire tool [McKibben says no; probably confused with McLeod tool] that we used for a while once upon a time. And Mac said, "It's 21 miles up to the top of the mountain." He says, "You stay right where you are until morning." So I stayed there and the next day I rode the 21 miles up on top.
I stayed up there until the snows came. All the company I had was six Government burros, with a Mexican who herded 'em. I learned a very little Mexican then. That was kinda fun, though. Well, so the snows came, as I remember, along in November, or something like that, and I moved down to the Oracle Ranger Station and spent about a year as District Ranger with summer headquarters in the Catalinas, and the winter headquarters at Oracle I'll tell you about that in a minute.
In the Catalinas there were principally two lines of work, well, three; we had the grazing of course, and we had Fire, and then I think that I wrote out the first summer homes, under the summer homes deal. Aldo Leopold came down from the Regional Office and we made the first map of home sites and water development, and all that sort of thing in the Catalinas.
Then another interesting thing to me is, I remember no fires on the Huachuca District. Undoubtedly I must have been to some fires on the Huachuca District, but I don't remember them. But in the Catalina District we were building a tower on Mt. Bigelow. Somebody before me had put four stubs in the ground and cut some of the stuff, and we were to build the tower. That of course was entirely foreign to my experience.
I knew that I wanted an eight foot platform, 40 feet up, and I didn't know exactly how to get it. We had the base, so we drew an eight foot square on the ground inside of the base, and then we raised one pole with a string for a plumb bob, something about 40 feet, and angled it until we got the plum bob over the corner of this square. Then we put up the other three. Well, we worked pretty hard on that job.
We were coming in one Saturday night and I said, "Well, it's Saturday; tomorrow's a Holiday. If there's a fire I wouldn't go to it." And Frank Howe said, "Wouldn't you, really, Stan?" I said, "Of course not." I said, "Tomorrow's a Holiday." So we got into camp, Soldiers' Camp, that is, it was a cabin, not a camp. And pretty soon we got word that there was a fire, so we started off to that fire; it was a little different from what you start with now, We started to that fire with a fellow named Frank Howe, who was workin' for me, and with Charlie Pickerel, who later was at the University of Arizona. He was a kid then. And with an old fellow by the name of Henry Hiller.
We started afoot down the ridge on the back side of Bigelow, which was pretty rough country, carryin' shovels. Pick was a big awkward kid, and every once in a while he'd lose his shovel, and Frank Howe would say, "Stan, Pick's lost his shovel." We'd stop and dig up his shovel for him. Well, finally we got to this fire it was between Edgar and Alder Canyons on the east side of the Catalinas, and we started at the top of the ridge between 'em. I said, "Frank, you and Pick take one side and Henry and I will take the other."
Well, actually we were whippin' with pine boughs, not usin' our shovels. The last thing I heard of Frank Howe and Pick, Frank said, "Stan, Pick's lost his shovel, so how the Devil shall we fight the fire?" I said, "Go ahead and fight the fire." So we fought that thing and we were doin' pretty well 'til about 10 o'clock in the morning when the wind began to whip up. Well, Henry Hiller was quite an old man, and he slipped and slid down the side of the hill. A little tongue of fire got away from him, and that was that.
It went then for another week, and burned 5,000 acres. There were many, many people on it before it was put out. Now that's particularly interesting to me because later on when I was in the Regional Office, we had a quota out here of 7,000 acres for the whole Region and I had burned most of that quota in one fire in my day!
I was made Assistant Supervisor on the Coronado in the spring of 1917, but hardly had time to get organized before I got a detail to Tusayan to learn something about timber. I was theoretically a Forester, but up to this time practically all of my work had been grazing work. I went up and spent the summer up on the Tusayan. Well, I came back down in the late summer and found that Hugh Bryan was in the Supervisor's Office, holdin' down the Forest. There was a really big fire goin' over in the Chiricahuas. As I remember, it burned something like 70.000 acres; I never got to it. Hugh and I held down the fort. Paul P. Pitchlynn was the Supervisor and in charge of the fire.
I went to the War shortly thereafter, and after I came back from the War, I went back and read the report on that fire. I always got a big kick out of one thing; there was great detail about lightning strikes and about the fire going here and the fire going there, and all the things they did. And it went on for a long time, and then they started putting it out and that was very hurried. They said, well, there was a little rain, etc., but they got the fire out. I think the rain had a great deal to do with it, myself.
Well, I should have said, I guess, that when I came into the Forest Service, Arthur Ringland was the Regional Forester. One amusing thing on my detail to the Fort Valley Experiment Station in 1915, I had never met the Regional Forester up to that time, and I was going to meet him and I was all thrilled about it. The party came, and there was a big, fine-looking man that I supposed was the Regional Forester; I met a man named Ringland, but I didn't pay any attention to him because I was looking at this man that I thought was the Regional Forester and it was John D. Guthrie. He was a very imposing, fine-looking man. Of course Ringland had a lot of brains and a lot of ability, but he was not the imposing man that John D. was.
When I came back, Paul G. Redington was the Regional Forester. They had it all fixed up that they were gonna send me to the Coconino. Well, I had been goin' to strange places and livin' with strange people for too long a time, and I wanted to get back to people I knew. I said, "Look, I've got a line of retreat back to the Coronado." Well, actually, Bass Wales was down there.
I was feeling pretty independent. I'd been makin' about twice as much in the Army as I made in the Forest Service. A fellow in the Army said, "Why don't you stay in the Army, Stan?" he says, 'You say you're makin' about twice as much as you make in the Forest Service." I said, "If I made four times as much, I wouldn't I just don't like it and I do like the Forest Service."
Well, I did tell Paul Redington that I didn't think I was gonna go to the Coconino. So the next day Redington called me in again and he said they were gonna send me down to the Coronado, that Bass Wales was gonna become Supervisor and Pitchlynn was going somewhere else. Bass was gonna become Supervisor, and I would be Assistant Supervisor. So I went down there and worked for about a year.
While I was Assistant Supervisor on the Coronado I got mixed up with more trespass cases and some of the things I learned and heard made a great impression on me. We had a trespass case against J. E. Wise of the Nogales country. I went along for a couple of months and we finally settled out of court for about 50 cents on the dollar. When we got through, Harry Saxon, who was a permittee in the Nogales country, and who was later President of the Arizona Cattlemen's Association, came to us and said, "Gentlemen, I've learned a lesson. You had a trespass case on me and I came and settled with you like a little man. Now," he says, "J. E. Wise told you to go plumb to hell and he fought with you all over the lot, and you have just settled with him for 50 cents on the dollar." He said, "Gentlemen, when you come to me again, you're gonna have a fight."
Well, we had a number of interesting cases. There was a fellow named Bill Hathaway in the Patagonia Mountains, whom frankly up to this time I had not liked very much. He came in to see me and told me that he had written a letter in to Wales about the trespass situation down there. I said, well, we hadn't gotten it, and we talked a while and Will finally said, "Well, Wilson, we understand each other. You think either I didn't write any letter or it got lost in the mail and" he says, "I think it either got lost in the mail or you threw it in the wastepaper basket."
What had actually happened, it had been put in Bass Wales' personal mail and when Bass came in from a field trip, the letter was there. So he sent me down in charge of a roundup of the Sarles' cattle that was the stuff that Hathaway said was trespassing on the west side of the Patagonias. I had with me a bunch of Rangers. We had Bob Thompson from the Nogales District, Carl Scolfield, and I've forgotten we had five or six Rangers and we rode in pairs. One man from the Forest Service rode along with a cowman, either from the Hathaway tribe or the Sarles tribe.
Well, this deal was an on-and-off permit. At that time, what theoretically we could do, if we found more than the total number on there, why then we could figure that actually the permit was for only this average number and everything else was in excess. As I remember it, we found about 2900 head trespass on about a 550-head permit. The interesting thing about it to me was that when we got through I had changed my allegiances completely. I had always rather thought from Old Robert A. Rogers that the Sarles were pretty fine people and the Hathaways weren't so much. I found that Will Hathaway was one of the squarest men in the world.
There came a question of riding up into the LaPaloma Basin, which was pretty rough country. We were just counting; we weren't gathering. I'd always try to find out, is this gonna be worthwhile? So I said, "Will, how many cattle will we get up there?" He says, "If we don't find 300 head, why we don't make any work at all." Old Sarles says, "Aw, we won't get anything like that many." Well, Will says, "Let us round up, you know what we found up there, let's us round up and see what we get." Sarles didn't want to round up, of course, but we counted and we got about 500 head. In getting that 500 head some of them were Will Hathaway's and he knew they were there by getting that 500 head we put Will Hathaway in trespass too, but moderately. I always had a good deal of respect for Will because he knew darned will that we were gonna find him in trespass but we were gonna find the other people so much more.
Right here I would like to make an observation. I of course was from the East. I knew nothing about cattle. While I was in Forestry school, Will C. Barnes came and gave us a couple of weeks' talks on grazing. Old H. H. Chapman said, "These fellows come in here and they don't have any idea of lecturing; all they do is talk." Well, I learned more from Will C. Barnes' two weeks of talks than I did from quite a few courses in the Forestry school they had in about a year. I also got Will C. Barnes' book which I still have. Western Grazing Lands and Forest Ranges. I was interested in brands and earmarks.
One thing that I know, any good cowman knows how many cattle he's got. Anybody that tells you that their trespass is an accident, they're full of prunes. A cowman knows within a very close figure how many he's got.
Along in early 1920, I was transferred to the Datil Forest, where A. H. Douglas was Supervisor. William John Anderson and I, both landing there at the same time, were the two Deputies. The Datil was, of course, a land of vast open spaces. The first thing I had to travel on was a motorcycle and sidecar. It seems there had been two of them but when Bobby Monroe transferred to the Coconino he took the best one with him. So the one I had was not too hot. But we did have automobiles, too, by that time, not very many of them, though.
I got a little bit Bolshevik about the grazing stuff by that time, because we spent so much time on cases and we got so little result. One of our permittees was Ray Morley, who was quite a man. Ray had an interesting way of letting' his mail pile up and then he'd read it all at once. He came into the office one day. I happened to be Acting Supervisor and Ray says, "Wilson," he says, "I've got notices from the Regional Office to give my side of the three trespass cases that you've reported on."
That was the custom we followed at that time in trespass cases. Send it to the Regional Office and the Regional Office wrote to the permittee and asked his side of the case. And we went on from there.
So Ray says to me, "What am I gonna tell 'em, Wilson?" I said, "Well, Ray, that's up to you. Well, I can tell 'em . . ." and he went off on a string of stuff; and I said, "Ray, don't tell them that because we can prove that isn't true." So then he tried something else, and I said, "No, don't tell 'em that either." "Oh," he says, "I got something; did you know this Watson, the man that looks after my sheep is sick with stomach trouble and he's been in Albuquerque. They've been putting barium in him and takin' X-rays to see what's wrong with him, some sheep were neglected while he was in there." "Ray," I said, "that's new material; that's something you can tell 'em." So he says, "Let me borrow a stenographer, will you, Wilson?" And I said, "Sure." So he sat down and wrote three letters to the Regional Office, one on each of these three cases, and he got out of all three of 'em, just like that.
Well, I got so I was pretty tired of the trespass cases. There was one against a man by the name of Burroughs over on the San Mateos, Spike S brand. We made a count on hiia and found such a tremendous excess that we decided to have a roundup. It was a tremendously mishandled roundup. Douglas had found that these were supposed to be dangerous people and he told us all to wear guns. Well, this was perfectly ridiculous. I would have been of no use in a gunfight because I wouldn't have known when to start! I mean, somebody could have killed me three times before I ever pulled out my gun. Second line of defense, maybe yes, but the gun would do me no good.
Now the only fellow that I figured had real brains in that thing was Garvin Smith; that was Zane's father. Garvin said.,"I'm not wearin' a gun. It's not my game and I'm not wearin' a gun for anybody." Well, we got out to make this roundup and we hadn't told the people about it. We got there and finally Doug sent Garvin and me down to advise Burroughs that we were countin' his stuff.
I had an Army gun on my hip. I tried to hide it under my sweater, but it didn't work very well. We got down to Burroughs's. Burroughs took one look at us and, Boy, he went in and came out with a rifle! I told Mr. Burroughs that we were roundin' up his stock and we had a little conversation about it. So then we started pickin' up his stock right there at his ranch and drivin' 'em, and, Boy, I didn't feel happy about that because you were turnin' your back on people and you didn't know what they were gonna do.
Well, interesting thing was, it was a foggy morning and they thought they could get in there and run their cattle off the Forest. Instead of botherin' with us, just as soon as we were out of sight, he and his two sons saddled up and went up in the Forest. Well, as it happened, we had quite a few people. They went along a ridge and they met two of our men. then they went somewhere else and they met two more, so they decided it wasn't lucky. They threw in with us, but they'd beat us just as much as they could. It was a very unhappy time.
I remember I was ridin' a little gray horse. I was punchin' some cattle on top of a canyon and there was kind of a steep edge. I heard Burroughs say, "Well, I don't wish that gray horse any ill luck, but I wish he'd go over that cliff." He says, "There'd be one so-and-so less." So it was quite unhappy.
Now the thing that made me further unhappy about this was that we saw the tremendous excess of cattle that was grazing on everybody else's range. Of course, we made our report on this. John Kerr was Chief of Grazing, and a finer man never lived, but John would always say, "Let's be fair to the man," and he was so fair to the man that he was unfair to all the other permittees. Now a case in point right there; there was a fellow I can't think of his name right now but he was on the west side of the San Mateos. He asked me what we were gonna do to Burroughs. I said, "Well, I can't tell you that; it's not my say-so. I can tell you what I'm gonna recommend."
Well, we made our recommendation, but what happened? The Regional Office gave Burroughs his excess stock and there were some 400 or 500 head of 'em under temporary permit until such time as he showed by good behavior that his herds were all right, and he'd get a permanent permit. Now, I met this man from the west side of the San Mateos and he says, "Wilson, I want to build a pasture on the Forest but," he says, "I think I'll just go out and build it," he says, "there isn't any sense in talkin' to you people." I said, "Well, I understand how you feel and I can't say that I blame you," but I said, "Don't do it, because occasionally we check up on somebody, and you just might be the one that we'd work against."
Well, on that Burroughs deal, just to show how it went on, there was another outfit there, Woofter and Logan. Woofter had worked with us on the Burroughs cattle count. He understood that he was not on the outs with Burroughs. He went for a ride up where Burroughs was, and when he was squattin' down eatin' his lunch, Burroughs jumped on him and beat him up. When we were talkin' about our case, why the Regional Office said, "Well, Woofter's an enemy of Burroughs." I said, "Well, Good Golly, do you mean we don't trust our friends, we only trust our enemies?" We have a similar situation in the world today, as you know.
Now, a further thing in the Burroughs case; I just tell this to show how monkeyin' around with people can lead to trouble. We had a case over on the Lincoln where there was an old man woolied around this way and we never did anything with it. He finally killed a Forest Service man on the Lincoln.
Well, on this Burroughs deal, Lee Kirby became Supervisor of the Datil Forest, and Burroughs told him, "Well," he says, "I don't think I should pay any attention to the Forest Service. When you fellows come around I think I'll just run you off." Well, Lee, as you know, is a very diplomatic fellow, but he's a very nervy man. Lee says, "Mr. Burroughs, I'm sorry you feel that way. But I think I ought to tell you that I won't run from you."
After Lee was Supervisor there, Johnny Adams became Supervisor on the Datil. They had a stock association and they wanted some things done. Burroughs wasn't cooperating. There was a fellow named John Ring that was I think an officer of the association, and he went over with Johnny Adams to Burroughs' place. The door was partly open and they shouted and nobody came. They knocked on the door and finally John Ring said, "Anybody in there?" Burroughs says, "Yes, but I think we'll come out shooting'." Johnny said, "Come right ahead, Mr. Burroughs, we'll meet you runnin' to you." There was no trouble.
I don't want to stress too much about how I feel about grazing, because I want to say again that I've never met finer men than I did in the Service. I've never enjoyed any work in my life as much as I did my work in the Forest Service in the Region. But some of this stuff did get under my skin because it was pretty frustrating.
Along in 1922, I was married then, and Douglas, the Supervisor, called us up one night and asked us to come up to his house, that there was a man from the Washington Office there. Well, I went up and met this man from the Washington Office on the porch in the dark and I didn't catch his name. We were talking, and finally he said something about Harold Spyde, who was a classmate of mine at Yale. I said, "how did you know Harold Spyde?" And he said, "Well, who do you think I am?" I said, "I don't know who you are." He said, "Well, I'm Tom Gill; I went to school with you." He was in the class behind me.
Tom was working in the Washington Office and had something to do with the Washington Bulletin. We talked about the grazing situation, and he said, "Why don't you write for the Bulletin how you feel about the grazing situation?" I said, "Tom, I'll do it on one condition; what I write I don't want to be edited. Either you print it, or you throw it into the wastebasket." And he said, "All right." So I sat down and I wrote an article. I kept it for two days to be sure I hadn't said anything that I couldn't prove, then I sent it in.
Nothing happened, and pretty soon there was an article in the Washington Bulletin by Regional Forester Frank Peeler on the grazing situation. After that my article was published. So I got a letter from Frank. I know of course that my article had been sent to him. I got a letter from Frank and he said he was much interested in my article; that it had appeared in the Bulletin after his but it had very evidently been written before. He said it was a very severe indictment of the Regional grazing policy, and would I go to the files and sit down and look over the trespass cases and write to him the ones that I thought had been mishandled, how they had been mishandled, and who was responsible.
Well, I didn't fall for that one. But I sat down, and I found much more corroboration then I had thought I had. I went over all these cases and I told him the cases and I told him where I thought they had been mishandled, but of course I didn't say who was responsible. One reason I didn't was that John Kerr, who was Chief of Grazing, had been the former Supervisor of the Datil Forest. Well, I didn't get any reply to this at all. Finally I was at a Supervisors' meeting up in the Regional Office, Frank Peeler came to me and said, "Stan, I was very interested in that stuff that you wrote and," he said, "we made some changes which I hope will be more in line with what you think."
I was transferred from the Datil to the Santa Fe Forest in the fall of 1923. I spent very little time on the Santa Fe, just until the spring of '24, and then was made the Supervisor of the Carson. I had a feeling that John Kerr felt, "This is terrible; Stan Wilson's gonna go up on the Carson and just tear things loose from the grazing standpoint." When I got up on the Carson I found that the Mexican permittees were pretty active, believed you knew what you were talking about, and were not very hard to deal with. So for two years I didn't send in a grazing trespass case.
In the meantime, Dave Shumaker had come to the Region, and the policy was beginning to change. So I sent in a trespass case and I made it as strong as I could, of course. I gave 'em all the evidence I had, but I only asked for something quite small; small punitive damages. I got a letter back signed by Dave that liked to have knocked me for a loop. He said, "if this man is as bad as his record shows, wouldn't you like to consider cancelling his preference?" I wrote back and said, "I'm not shy. It is wonderful to have some support of this kind, but in this particular case, what I've asked for will be sufficient. But it's awfully nice to know that there's the other thing in the background there."
On this grazing thing, my letter to the Washington Office. E. L. Perry had written an article for the Washington Bulletin in which a timber man had told him that we made them obey our regulations when it came to timber but the grazing people could get by with murder. I pretty well agreed with that. My reference in here is to that.
Here's the letter I wrote I think this must have been 1922 it had to be 1922 or 1923. It is headed, Are we proud of our grazing record?
I was Supervisor on the Carson Forest from 1924 until the spring of 1927. It was a very pleasant place to work and very nice people to work with. One thing that was interesting; we had, on the Carson, the first, I think it was G-12, no, T-12 trespass case that was held in the Region or in the Forest Service. In 1925 we issued notices that the trespass horses on the Canjilon District of the Carson would be rounded up, and that permittees could redeem their stock caught in the roundup by paying the cost per head of the roundup, and the rest of the stock would be sold at auction.
We rounded up 1200 head of wild horses. Very peculiarly, when you looked at them in the bunch it looked like there were some pretty good horses, but actually when you got among 'em, they were all small, so one that was a little bigger kinda stood out.
Well, I figured that the cost per head was three dollars, so we let people redeem their stock at three dollars a head. Some were redeemed, but not a great many, but some were redeemed. Well, then we started out by letting people go in and pick out some they wanted, and pay three dollars for it. Well, that wasn't good because we were creamin' our bunch. So then we offered to sell the whole outfit at auction, and that didn't work. We had no bidders.
So then we decided we could sell them by private contact. I think the first sale we made there were three young fellows from Colorado who had worked on some of the Forests on Fire up there and had some Government checks. They said they were willing to spend them on horses if we didn't charge too much. We asked them how many they wanted, and, as I remember, they said they would take a couple of hundred head. We said we'd give 'em to them for 50 cents apiece and throw in the colts. And also we would let them have five percent cut on horses they didn't want.
So we started countin' out their horses. We came to one with a hip knocked down and the fellows said, "Well, we don't want that one." L. L. Feight, who was the District Ranger, said, "That's all right; take that one and we'll give you an extra one for him." We let them take whatever it was, a couple hundred head I think and then we gave them additionally, for the ones they complained of, of course what we wanted to do was get rid of horses.
Well, we sold some to the local people. Frank Andrews griped about it because he said that one fellow took the horses from our Forest and came down and turned 'em loose on the Santa Fe, where he was Supervisor.
There was one more interesting incident: these three boys from Colorado kinda got cold feet on their job and so they started sellin' these horses. There were people came around and you could sell a better horse obviously for more than 50 cents. So one of 'em said, "Well, I'll tell you, we'll sell enough horses to get our money back, and we'll turn the rest of 'em loose."
Well, Locke Feight happens to be a very ingenious fellow. It was a little difficult brandin' all those horses. Locke made up some stamp brandin' irons so we could just hit 'em once instead of doin' it the hard way. We got these horses and we had a chute and we put'em in there and we branded 'em. When we got pretty near through, I said to one of these fellows who was figurin' on turnin' these horses loose, I said, "You know, when we have a lot of horses belonging to many owners, it's very difficult for us to do anything, because you can't make 50 trespass cases against 50 owners for three head apiece." "But," I said, "when we've got one owner that has an appreciable number of horses, why we can go to Court and make it stick."
I says, "Furthermore, if you're worryin' about the difficulty of drivin' your horses back into Colorado, we'll lend you a couple of Rangers to help you get over across the line." So we actually did get rid of them, 1200 horses, OK.
Wonder what Region 2 thought of that?
I never found out about that.
In February of 1927 I was moved into the Regional Office as Assistant Chief of Operations under Hugh Calkins. Our work there was very interesting and very pleasant. I had a chance to get all over the Region and see everybody. Before I left the Region it was my proud boast that I knew every person working for the Forest Service in Region 3.
In 1933 the emergency programs began to hit us, and of course the big one was the CCC. I was rather amazed at how wonderfully Hugh Calkins found camp sites and places and work for all of the camps. My own part of it I was Assistant Chief of Operations and was handling Personnel.
At that time, when we got technical Foresters, we used to send to the Forestry schools and they would send us the names of men and all of their qualifications. We'd peruse the lists and look wise, and pick out the people we wanted. Of course it didn't do us any real good. We had no Forest schools in our Region, so prior to the start of CCC I made arrangements with ten Forest schools and I said, "Now, look, I don't want your histories of these men; they mean nothing to me. What I want to do is to be able to call upon you for so many men with qualifications to be either Camp Superintendent, or to be Camp Foreman, and here are the qualifications. But when I call on you I want to say. 'Please send me so many men to report at such-and-such places as camp foremen or camp superintendents. I don't want their qualifications because I want you to be willing to stand behind them.'"
So, when the CCC broke, I sent for 80 men, from the ten Forest schools. Then there was a delay in the program and for a day or two we didn't know whether we were goin' forward or back. Well, I was afraid to take the men, yet on the other hand, I knew if I cancelled the order for 'em I was out of luck. So we sat tight and fortunately the order to go ahead came, and we got 80 men from the Forestry schools. The heads of the Forest schools did such a good job that actually we had no actual lemons in those 80 men. I think we had unquestionably the best group of technical Foresters any Region got.
I know that Region 9 was very worried about it; they said, "You fellows came and took men from our Forest schools; why don't you take them from your own Region?" Well, of course we had no Region school to take 'em from.
The only people we got that there was any question about at all. I'd say, was the Chief of one Forestry school (I won't mention his name), who was an optimist who believed that everybody was good. He sent us a couple that really were a little questionable, but I would say no actual lemons.
Well, as an interesting sidelight on that I moved into Milwaukee as Associate Regional Forester, of Region 9, in 1936, and I met these different Forest school heads that I'd only known by reputation and correspondence before. When I met Dean Dana of the University of Michigan, he says, "Stan, I liked the way you hired your technical Foresters; you didn't make us go through a lot of red tape. You just asked us to send good men, and we did." He says, "That's fine. I like it."
Then I ran into Henry Smith over at Minnesota and Henry said, "Stan, you kinda put us on the spot, the way you asked us to recommend men instead of pickin' 'em out yourself." "Well," I said, "Didn't you like it?" "No," he said, "I'd rather you picked 'em out." "Well," I said, "Thank you; at least you sent us good men." Minnesota did send us darned good men. So that was an interesting slot. I don't think I had any particular problem on the CCC, as such.
The organization expanded so rapidly, when the CC started, were there any particular problems connected with that?
Well, we got our technical Foresters, as I say, and we kept getting more of them, too. We had no trouble with technical Foresters. And of course we had to take local men to go with that, but I would say that we didn't have too much difficulty with that.
Were most of the Forests able to provide their own local men?
Now was there any political tie-up on hiring the men?
Well, that's an interesting thing. We of course, later on in the NIRA program and all the rest of it, we had those political lists. Well, actually out here in Region 3 we had practically no trouble on that. I don't remember all the people we dealt with; one of them was Isabella Greenway, and she was very nice to get along with. As I remember, we got along so well that later on when Professor Chapman of Yale who, of course, was bitterly opposed to this political thing as of course we all are, basically when Chapman was trying to gather some material for that, he wrote to me to find out all the troubles we'd had. I wrote back to him and told him I wasn't giving any complaints, that the Senators we dealt with were fine, that they listed anybody that came to them, but on the other hand they didn't want us to take a man unless he was good.
Now you may find some other people locally that had trouble. Back in Region 9 there was trouble. After I got back there I could tell you of some cases of a Congressman who interfered with our stuff, and so forth, but I would say that out here we had very little trouble.
Some of the angles on this technical stuff tickles me. Of course in this Region we had a lot of Supervisors who were not technical men and some of them had their own ideas on the subject. Now I'm not pointin' a finger at anybody; I've got a lot of friends here and I liked 'em all. But when Hugh Calkins came in from the Prescott Forest he says, "Stan, Frank Grubb isn't satisfied with the technical Foresters you sent him," and conceivably he might not have got as good ones as somebody else. He says, "Why don't you make him a trade?" I said, "OK, Hugh, there's a Davie tree expect here that wants a job. I don't know anything about Davie tree experts and I've always wanted to. What they're doin' down on the Prescott is twig blight control, so a Davie tree expert ought to be as good as anybody else." I was going down to the Prescott, and I said, "I'll talk to Frank."
So I went down there and I says, "Frank, I'm sending you a Davie tree expert, and I want one of your men. Which one are you gonna give me?" He says, "Well, Stambaugh is a pretty good man; I don't believe I want to give you him." Then he mentioned I can't think of the name of this fellow; he later transferred to Region 9 can't think of his name. He says, "He's a pretty good man." "Well," he says, "that leaves Pat Murray." Well, about then Deputy Supervisor McNulty came up, and he said, "Well, Pat Murray is young, but he certainly knows how to handle men. So Frank says, "Well. Stan, I guess I'd better keep 'em all." And I says, "You're not; we're sendin' you a Davie tree expert because you were complainin' and we want one of your other men." So we got this one that I can't think of, and he went back to Region 9. He was a good man; there was no reflection on this fellow. That incident interested me a good deal.
We mentioned Ray Morley when we were talkin' about the Datil, and of course Ray Morley's sister, Mrs. Agnes Cleveland, wrote a book, No Life for a Lady. She said that Ray Morley had become a myth; that's very true. Ray was a very interesting man. He had been an All-American football player at Columbia, and he wasn't big. He was about 5 feet 11. But he was all muscle, low neck. He'd go into a saloon and invite 'em to put him down, and they couldn't enough people get hold of him to put him down.
There were lots of things that Ray did that were most interesting. He moved a house from White House Canyon down to the forks where one road goes to Quemado and one goes to Reserve, coming out from Datil. He used to have people there and he used to regale them with stories. I got in there one night with a nephew of mine. I thought, Gee, this kid has a chance to hear something he'll remember all his life, so I said, "Ray, I've been hearin' some stories about you; are they true?" He says, "Well, it depends on what you were hearin'. Wilson, What'd you hear?" "Well," I said, "the story about you killin' a lion by holdin his head under snow water." Me said, "Oh yes, yes, that's true."
He said, "I was ridin' up in White House Canyon. There'd been an early snow, or a late snow I'd have to figure out which time the fawns come." He said, "I saw a fawn behind a down log and I figured I'd get off my horse and sneak around until I was behind that log and then I'd make a flying leap over the log, catch this fawn and take it home for a pet."
He says, "I went around a circuitous way, and I peeped over the log and I saw a tiny thing there, and I made a big jump over the log and unfortunately I came up with a full grown mountain lion. Well, he says, "there was a pine tree between it and me, and I had it by the scruff of the neck with my left hand and it was around the tree and I had its tail in my right hand and," he says, "it kept comin' after me and I kept backin' up, and my boot heels got hot and melted the snow, and pretty soon I got enough water so I held his head under and drowned it."
There were 21 people in the room there; most of 'em were Oklahomans who firmly believed that without a quibble. One of 'em said, "Is this the skin here, Mr. Morley?" "No," he says, "it's the one out in the other room. But I'll tell you about this one. This one jumped on the running board of my car and I killed it by sticking it in the eye with a hatpin." Well, he went on and finally he told a story that I knew to be absolutely true.
He said that he was gonna make a trip in a jeep in the early days from Datil to Magdalena, which is 34 miles, and he says, "We were gonna make a record; we were gonna make it in two hours." It'd never been made in two hours before. He had in the jeep John Kerr and a couple of other men. They started out and passed a teamster and hollered at him that they were gonna set a record, that they were gonna get to Magdalena in two hours. Well, about that time Morley wasn't watchin' where he was goin' and he turned the jeep over. Nobody was hurt. The teamster came up and helped them to put it together again, and Morley turns around and says, "We can still make it in two hours," and he started again.
Then, he says, "We got to the Continental Divide, twelve miles out of Magdalena, and we hit a rock that musta been fastened to the center of the earth," and he said, "We turned over again and that time I thought I was dead. They couldn't hear me; they thought I must be dead but," he said, "I was crowded under the front seat of the car and couldn't do anything. When they rolled the car off of me I wasn't hurt but," he says, "John Kerr had a broken shoulder." Well, that was true. John Kerr did get a broken shoulder and he was always uneasy ridin' fast with people after that. But when he got done, one of these Oklahomans says, "Mr. Morley, that's one I don't believe." I said, "Ray, I see why you lie. That's a story I personally know to be absolutely true, and it's the only one you tell that anybody doubts!"
I'll tell you another story. This one a partly written up in Mrs. Cleveland's book, but I think I have a little more stuff on it than she had.
Fred Winn, when he came to this country, he'd been kicked out of Princeton, which he always considered a tribute; he was proud of that. He had come out here as a cowboy-artist. He had lost his hearing in an ice-boat accident on the lakes outside of Madison, Wisconsin.
Well, Fred was staying at Morley's place, and there was a young fellow that Ray met down at the Post Office. Lots of people came out here to Arizona for their health in those days, and this young fellow asked Mr. Morley if he could give him a job. Ray said, "Well, you come up to my place and you keep the wood box filled and do odd jobs, and it'll be worth your board and I'll pay you a little money. If you're worth anything, I'll take you on." Well, he was in the latter category; he wasn't worth anything. So they arranged that they would pull a game on him.
There was a fellow named Johnny Payne; they called him Bow-legs because he was bow-legged. I can't think of the other men. They arranged that they would have a fight. Well, in planning all this thing, Fred Winn, being deaf, couldn't hear the plans. They took the bullets out of their cartridges when they got ready to go on this thing, and Johnny Payne brought his dog in the house and the other fellow took a kick at it. Johnny says, "You can't kick my dog," and he pulled his gun. This boy started tryin' to get out the door; the other fellow grabbed him and held him so he couldn't get to the door. They exchanged shots and finally Ray Morley fell over on his back, apparently dead.
Fred Winn had jumped up on something that put him high up so he had to stoop against the ceiling; he thought this was real, you see. He was lookin' down at what was goin' on. Ray Morley looked up and winked at him, and Fred was mad; he was really mad. So then they decided that this boy would probably go over to Mrs. Cleveland's and she would be worried to hear that Ray was dead.
Johnny says, "Well, I'll saddle my horse and lope over there and tell her that this was a joke." So he did, and when he came back he remembered that he had used all his cartridges. He got out his six-shooter and started to load it as he was goin' over a little bridge. Well, this young fellow was hidin' under that bridge. He came out and says, "Please don't shoot me." Johnny says, "Now look, you're in a tough situation," he says, "Ray Morlely's dead and I know you didn't kill him, but that other fellow's gonna say you did, so," he says, "the only thing I can think of for you to do is just get out of here." So the boy left.
Later on, Ray used to go back and ride in parades and things back East, and he saw this young fellow once and the fellow told him, "Mr. Morley, you missed your calling. You should've been an actor!"
Well, one more story, and then we'll quit. Fred was out in that country and one morning he saw that at Baldwin's store there was a new buckboard and a team of mules. He asked what it was, and they said, "Ray Morley has come home." He had come home with a new wife, but they didn't tell Fred that. They said, "Ray's in such-and-such a room."
Fred went in and knocked on the door and Ray tried to tell him that he had his wife in there and he couldn't let him in, but Fred didn't hear him. So Fred went around to a window and he pried the window open. There was a trunk there and he came in on his hands and knees over this trunk and when he got in, there was this woman sitting up in bed with a blanket wrapped around her, screaming bloody murder! And Fred, of course, being shy, it almost killed him. He backed out.
I said I'd stop after that one, but I've just got to tell one more.
Old Steve Garst was the black sheep son of a retired Navy Admiral. He weighed about 250 pounds, but his brains were not fat. Steve really had a real good head. He wasn't appreciated by the Forest Service. People that knew him liked him, but in the higher offices he wasn't cared for.
Ray was out there in the Datil country and we sent Steve over as the new Ranger. He very shortly found that Ray was runnin' some cattle that he had no permit for, so he called up Ray and he says, "Ray, I've found some trespass cattle on your range." Ray says, "Why, Gee, Steve, that's bad. We ought to get rid of 'em; whose are they?" And Steve said, "Well, I don't just know; I haven't found out yet, but they're branded so-and-so." They turned out to be Ray's, so he said. "Oh Heck . . ."
They opened the Black Canyon Refuge to hunting; you may remember when that happened? Morley went down there with a wagon and he came out with six deer over the limit. When he came up to the head of Railroad Canyon, why these officers met him and they took him over to Dub Evans, the JP. Dub fined him $50 for each extra deer $300. Ray said, "Now, Dub, and you fellows, now that's perfectly all right. I took a chance and I'm perfectly willin' to pay my money, but" he says, "For God's sake, don't ever tell Steve Garst about this because I'll never hear the last of it." Dub says, "Ray, who do you think tipped us off? It was Steve Garst!"
Some of these things I tell you are just stories, but the informality of our times might make a point. One of the most interesting things I ever had was a case when I was Supervisor on the Carson. It was when we were bein' hard-boiled on fires when we'd prose cute, regardless. Ed Cottam was Ranger up on the Rio Hondo District. He called me up and said that some campers had a fire and they hadn't put it entirely out and he wanted to file a case against them; they'd left.
Then it developed that Ed had a no-good Airedale dog that had gone off with them. He was interested in this Airedale dog. So we found that these people had gone off to Red River. We called up the Ranger on the Questa District and asked him to try to see that these people stayed there until we got there, not to tell 'em what it was all about, but to see that they stayed there until we got there. Well, then we went down to the Justice of the Peace and got a warrant against them in case we had difficulty. Ed and another fellow and I went up, and these fellows had gone fishing and they didn't come in til late that evening.
The man's name was Bradford. He was a man that had oil wells in Texas. He had all kinds of money and was a real nice fellow. Well, when I told him that they had gone away without puttin' out their fire and it was up to us to prosecute him, he said, "No, I'm very sure we had put that fire out; we poured water on it," etc. So I said, "Well, I'll tell you, Mr. Bradford, we got out a warrant to take you back to Taos in case you proved difficult, but you seem to be an awfully nice fellow and I'll make you a proposition." I says, "There's a Justice of the Peace here. He doesn't talk much English so we'll have to use an interpreter, but" I says, "we'll take you before this Justice of the Peace and you represent your group and I'll represent us, and we'll put the case up before the JP." So he says, "All right."
Well, he put one of his men on the stand and he started gettin' kinda nasty so I said, "Well, now, wait, let's not do that." I says, "if you get nasty we can mention that you ran off with Ed Cottam's dog. I know that you didn't want him, but anyway you've got him." Bradford said, "Now wait a minute. I'll keep my people in line." So we put up our case.
I had arranged with Ed and this other fellow before we started. I said, "Now if we get stuck with the costs; if we lose this case and we get stuck with the costs, why the three of us share them." They said All Right. Well, the big difficulty we ran into in this case was that another car came in there after they left and there was a question of which car did what. We couldn't prove by the tracks what was what, etc. But we thought we'd made a pretty good case.
When we got done the JP says, "Mr. Bradford, I find you Not Guilty. Now, who's gonna pay the costs?"
So I said, "We are." Then Mr. Bradford said, "Now Mr. Wilson," he says, "I'm a rich man. I have more money than I know what to do with or that I'll ever be able to spend," and he says, "You men work for salaries, and I'd consider it a favor if you'd let me pay the costs." "Well," I said, "I can't complain about that; that's very nice of you." He says, "Now you brought a witness up here, who's gonna pay him?" "Oh," I said, "We'll take care of that." I said, "You know, Mr. Bradford, you make me feel embarrassed. We bring you up here and we take you before the JP, and we do our darndest to convict you, and then when we get through, why, you want to do everything for us."
"Well," he says, "You've been fair and nice with us, and I appreciate it. That's fine." We started home and this fellow with Ed Cottam says, "Well, I still think they're guilty." I said, "Well, darn it, you had a chance to prove it and you didn't do it. Now let's shut up."
Well, you know, for the remaining years that I was up there, Bradford would come in every year and see me. And that points up something. Maybe it's all right to put it in here because it's an interesting thing to me. I was a Game Warden, of course, in the Forest Service, and an officer of sorts, and I was always amazed at how nice people were to you, when it looked like you were pretty ornery to them.
I was out with my wife one Sunday. We were going to the Lateer Lakes on the Questa District. We got up to Questa Lake and there was a fellow fishing out in a boat. Well, I wouldn't a bothered him; he was out in a boat and I wouldn't a bothered him. But he turned in. And when he came in I asked him if he had a fishing license.
He said, No, he had stopped down the night before but the man that sold licenses was away and he'd cone up and was fishin' without a license. I said, "Well, doggone you. I'm on vacation, and tomorrow I'll have to take you down to the JP at Questa." I took him and his partner down to Questa and he said, "Would you mind stopping where they sell licenses, and get that fellow and have him tell that he was gone when we stopped for a license last night?" I said, "Sure."
So we stopped and got that guy and we went up to the JP and put up our cases. The JP said, "Well, we've got to be careful about this thing. I'm not gonna fine you anything, but you must go and buy you a license. And this other man must buy a license." I said, "Well now, wait a minute; this other man wasn't fishin'." So he said, "Well, all right then, he doesn't need to buy a license."
We went down and this fellow bought a license and then he said, "Now, Mr. Wilson, can I do something for you?" I said, "No, I'm just doin' my job." "Well," he said, "but you were on leave. It isn't your job today. You were on leave and I've interrupted your pleasure. Can't I at least buy you a tank of gasoline?" I said, "No."
Now one thing, I think some of our Deputy Game Wardens make mistakes in not asking to see peoples' licenses more than they do, because if people have their licenses, they like to show 'em. If they go out and go fishin' and come back and haven't shown their license, they feel cheated and disappointed.
But so many times I've had a number of other experiences where sometimes the people were so doggone nice. I put it up to Morton Cheney one day. I said, "Morton, why is it people do that; be so darned nice when actually you're not bein' especially nice to them." Morton says, "Well, I'll tell you, Stan, what I think it is." He says, "You're in a strange land and you have no friends, and the fellow that arrests you is not a friend. The Judge he takes you before is not a friend. And consequently if you treat them in such a way that they think they're getting a square deal, well, by golly, they're happy and appreciative about it," and I think that's true.
As a retiree who knows nothing about the facts, I just want to make an observation or two. In my day of course we rode horseback. We were encouraged to make trips where we had nothing in particular to do except see the country. I never made a trip of that sort but what I came up with something that I ought to know.
I remember a trip I made on the Catalinas. I just went into an area to see the country. I found goats in trespass. I didn't know there were any goats in the Catalinas. I found a fence that had been built. Well, basically, we were doin' this to get acquainted with our District. We did know the nooks and corners, but, as I say, we almost always found some good reason for bein' in that place, that we couldn't think of.
Well now, I know of course that there are roads everywhere. We have roads up to our lookouts; we have roads everywhere. But I also notice that from the 7,000 acre quota that we had back in 1934 and which we used to keep, a good deal more is burned than used to be. There are many reasons, but I can't help thinking that one reason is that men don't know their Districts as well, traveling in a car.
Now, when I moved out here from Milwaukee, I made two or three trips by car out here to Phoenix carryin' some of my stuff, before I finally moved out. I ran into Hugh Cassady up at Springerville and he said, "Stan," he said, "when you move out here and get settled, come on up here and take a week's trip with me."
"Well," I said, "I'd love to, Hugh. I haven't forked a horse in 15 years." Hugh said, "Who said anything about a horse? We're goin' in a car." I said, "Go to the Devil; I don't want to ride with you." And I never went.
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Mr. Paul Roberts, interviewed at his home in Prescott, Arizona, is a product of Nebraska. He was born in that State, grew up on a ranch there, and graduated in Forestry from the University of Nebraska. His story starts with his first work in District 3.
During the time I was in school, I went out to the Coconino and between my Junior and Senior years joined the second grazing reconnaissance party. The first one had been under Jardine the year before. It was sort of an experimental party and also a working party, to try out Jardine's method of estimating grazing capacity. I was out there that summer.
Then the next year I put in a short hitch on the Manti Forest in Utah. Then I was out of school for about a year; I went back and graduated in 1915, and came out to Region 3. We had a party on the Datil, the old Datil, that summer. Late that fall we went over to the Apache Forest and tried out the first horseback reconnaissance. You see it had all been walking reconnaissance up to that time, and that fall we tried out the horseback reconnaissance. The next year we went to the Coronado and did the Santa Ritas and the Huachucas on a horseback reconnaissance.
We had two old rangers on that first party in 1912 on the Coconino. One of them was Jim Sizer, who later became a Supervisor, and the other was Day W. S. Day. He was a Ranger on the Datil. I remember our first camp was out at Dead Man's tanks on the Coconino, and coming back we were so heavily loaded that old Sizer and I were walking. We were coming up that long grade up to the top of Summit Pass. I don't think Sizer had ever walked that far in his life. He was an old cowboy. As a matter of fact, Sizer had been wagon boss for that big Haley outfit in Northwestern Colorado in 1906 - 07. We got to the top; it was a fairly warm day and old Sizer sat down and leaned against a tree. He had on a pair of heavy boots and he said, "By God, I'm about caught up on this walkin'!" And he sure was.
During the early part of the War we spent about a year making range examinations to see if we could put more stock on the ranges. Of course, that was actually the thing that broke the ranges. We didn't put so much stock on it; we just put trespassing stock under permit in Region 3.
Just after the War when I became Inspector of Grazing, we got a long report from the Tonto Forest. I had made an examination of the Tonto Forest during the summer of 1918. Then I went to the Army for about two months. When I got back I tried to help old John Kerr write the grazing reports. We had a report asking for an authorization for the Tonto of 82,000 head. John Kerr said to me, "Paul, you handle this." He said; "You know we sure done a lot on the Tonto. Bert Reed made a grazing inspection down there in 1914 and we had 50,000 head, and we decided we'd better reduce, and we've reduced all the way up to 82,000 head!"
Shortly after that they had a count on the Tonto and Sizer was the man that ran a lot of that count. He was the Deputy Supervisor, they called it then. I think they counted something like 30,000 head of excess stock on the Tonto Forest that fall.
To go back a little bit into the history; at the time they made the withdrawals for the Roosevelt Reservoir and the ones below it, and also along the Verde River, they reduced sheep, but they didn't reduce cattle. Most of the grazing damage was attributed to sheep. Old Dr. Colwell, in his first examination of the problem on the Cascade Forest in Oregon, talked about the evils of sheep grazing, so everybody attributed a lot of the overgrazing to sheep. Of course, it was overgrazed by both cattle and sheep.
At that time a lot of the sheep wintered on the Tonto west of the Mazatzals and on the old Verde Forest. I think it was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 sheep wintered there instead of going clear down on the desert. They had examination after examination, and that number was reduced. They reduced them by 60,000 head and then later on they took them all off. But the sheepmen, they were pretty hostile about that because they thought the Forest Service was reducing sheep, but not reducing cattle. For year after year they had a resolution in their minutes referring back to this and criticizing the Forest Service because they didn't reduce cattle.
There is one thing I ought to say about the Arizona Woolgrowers Association: that Association was controlled by the same group of men for almost a third of a century. They were the old, original woolgrowers. Some of them came off the Santa Fe Railroad. They were workers on the Santa Fe Railroad; they saw an opportunity to go into the sheep business and they did. They might hold different positions, but year after year it was the same group who held the top position in the Arizona Woolgrowers Association. Hugh Campbell was probably the one that was President most of the time during that period.
But with all their trouble with the Forest Service, there was only twice in 33 years that they ever took action against an individual Forest officer, or ever personally criticized publicly, at least in their meetings, an individual Forest Officer. One of those was Chad Hinderer, who was Supervisor of the Prescott Forest, and who they thought was being influenced too much by the Reclamation Service in his decisions. I might say about Hinderer, later they came back and left it up to him to make the allotments because they didn't want to make them. They would rather have him make them than to make them.
Then they criticized Gus Pearson; took action one time to have the Fort Valley Experiment Station discontinued on account of Gus Pearson's fight over the Yellow pine seedling crop. That came along about 1919. I think that was quite a remarkable thing. Those men were very public spirited men actually.
As a result of that squabble over the Yellow pine seedlings we finally divided the range on the Coconino Forest and the Sitgreaves Forest between sheep and cattle. The sheepmen in one of their meetings in Phoenix called Ed Miller, who was then Supervisor of the Coconino, into the meeting and they saidm "Ed, what're we gonna do?" Ed suggested, "Why don't you propose a division of the range?"
They did propose a division of the range. I think Harry Embach was the one who was instrumental in getting Greeley, who was then Chief Forester, to approve that division of the range. That was probably the most cooperative effort that was ever pulled off between the cattlemen and the sheepmen and the Forest Service in the State of Arizona. Everybody worked hard and it was all done cooperatively and in a feeling of good will, and they gave up a lot.
The cattlemen gave up watering places they had had for years and years and years, and the sheepmen did too. When we started to reduce this, you see, it reduced the size of the allotment automatically because if you are only gonna run sheep, why you reduce the amount that had been given for cattle before, so that they were restricted.
I remember one particular instance with Chet Houck. Chet Houck was a brother of old Jim Houck, who was mixed up in the Pleasant Valley war. The day they had the meeting Chat was coning up from Phoenix, came up over the Rim and he was delayed by a storm or something. He came in and had asked us if we would be sure to let him have a watering hole on Chevelon Canyon because it was the only place that we had permanent water. He came in and he didn't look at the size of his range or anything. He said, "Have you given me that watering place?" He said, "I know you've given me my share of the grass, but did you give me that watering place?" We said, "Yes," and he was satisfied and that was all there was to it.
Paul, before this meeting, was the range used jointly?
Yes, it was all used jointly by sheep and cattle, every bit of it.
I think the Mormons had brought in some of the first cattle, along in the Seventies. There were some sheep; the Scott brothers were from Oregon and they brought sheep in from Oregon. Old Joe Scott over at Showlow was one of the early sheepmen.
There was no range developed back when the first Forest was created. The Black Mesa was created in the Nineties, and the range was overgrazed around the permanent waters, but there was a lot of the range that never was used at all. The idea was very prevalent at that time; if they could just get water and relieve the overgrazing around the permanent watering places, there would be plenty of range for everybody. Which didn't happen to be the case, as it finally worked out.
Then another thing that influenced the condition of the range on the Sitgreaves Forest was that before they fenced the Indian Reservation the cattle grazed up in the pines on the north side in the summer and went south of the Rim and grazed off the Indian Reservation during the winter. Well, when they fenced that, that threw all the cattle back on the north side. And another factor that was very important was that the early spring feed was in the swales, not the creek bottoms but in the drainage ponds. That was where the bluestem, as they called it then, the old wheatgrass came up early in the spring and provided the early spring feed. Then, later, when the rains come, the stock moved out onto the ridges.
Then the homesteaders came along and homesteaded all of those good swales so that they didn't have any spring feed. Our big problem when I went to the Sitgreaves was to get the number of stock reduced down to carrying capacity of those ridges because these swales were gone. That was way along in 1922, you see.
We had a few recalcitrants, but most of the people worked very cooperatively to get those distributions made, and the reductions made. I told McDuff one time that I thought I had reduced, had cut the cattle and sheep about in two, and he said that was right because he had checked up on it and that we had done that. And still that wasn't enough, really.
Paul, when did they start wintering the sheep in the valley and coming up on the mountains in the summer?
That started way back in the Nineties. They didn't have any particular trails then. They just went to the valley and came back up in the spring wherever they wanted to go. After the Forest was created they established the Heber-Reno Trail and the old Mud Tanks Trail, and all those trails. The sheepmen couldn't ship because the feed was gone in the valley early and, if they shipped, they got out before they could go on the ranges up north, so they had to go by the trails. It took 'em about three months to get up there and that gave them just about the right amount of time. Of course those trails were overgrazed and still are, and badly used, but that was the real reason for the trails. It provided a natural movement path for them and of course shipping was expensive too.
Then along after the War, after irrigation started so profitably in the Salt River Valley, that took up a lot of their old sheep range, which was desert range. Then the sheepmen had to go on the alfalfa fields and boy, they had a time because that was expensive. I think they paid around 5 cents a day per head of sheep, to winter on those alfalfa fields down there.
The livestock business was going through a continual process of change. I doubt if any State in the United States was affected so drastically by the conservation movement as Arizona, as far as the livestock business was concerned. The impact of it was tremendous because, you see, the Reclamation Act was passed about 1902. They started these withdrawals and adjustments to try to do something for the watersheds. The Forests were created and they started reducing and trying to put into effect range management. The impact along about that time, probably for 20 years, was as great as it was any place in the United States. It was really the dry ranges in Region 3 and Region 4 where the big impact took place in the livestock industry.
Down there in the desert, what was the reaction of the livestock men to the conservation movement?
I would say up until the time of the War and during the War, it was very cooperative generally. That doesn't mean that there weren't recalcitrants, people who were hit hard, but generally it was very cooperative because, you see, this thing this new idea of range management was an entirely new idea and there was a lot of feeling that it would cure a lot of the ills of overgrazing, see? They would have range development, the building of tanks, the development of watering places out on the dry ranges that stock had never used except for short grazing periods when there was temporary water. They thought that there was enough range so that if they developed water and built some drift fences and that sort of thing range improvements, that it would be possible to spread the stock and relieve this terrific amount of overgrazing.
I can remember a time when the Forest Service went to a Woolgrowers meeting. We stayed through their closed sessions. They would say everybody had to leave but the Forest Service. "You Forest Service boys can stay," and we would stay. They were cooperative and all of the livestock associations, the cattle, and the woolgrowers, all made recommendations on the development of the Regulations. You see the first regulations were published, I think, six months after the Forest Service was created. February first, I think the Regulations were published the first of July 1905.
Well, they were very good, but they were still in more or less of an embryo form. Over those early years oh, I can remember up until 1920 and after that, there were almost constant amendments and new regulations issued, and a lot of these suggestions came from the stockmen themselves. The Idaho and the Arizona Woolgrowers Associations were probably the two most active Associations in the west from that standpoint.
That is, from the standpoint of helping?
Well, yes, I think they were two of the most active Associations, actually, and they were often very active in proposing amendments and improvements in the Regulations, so there was a lot of that going on. A lot of it came from the cattlemen, and a lot of those were transmitted by the Rangers; the Rangers had a lot to offer. All through those years there was a constant development of the Regulations.
What about the influence of our early stockmen, like John Kerr, Will C. Barnes, and Jardine?
Well, they had a tremendous influence.
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From the Use Book, 1906: "The leading objects of the grazing Regulations are:
(a) The protection and conservative use of all Forest Reserve land adapted for grazing.
(b) The best permanent good of all livestock industry through proper care and improvement of the grazing lands.
(c) The protection of the settler and home builder against unfair competition in the use of the range."
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Potter of course was a stockman in Arizona. Potter came here in 1883 from California and his headquarters was in Holbrook. He knew all those old-timers up there and it was partly on the advice of some of his stockmen friends that Potter accepted the job offered him by Pinchot as Chief of Grazing. Actually he went into the old Bureau of Forestry as a grazing expert. I think he was the first grazing expert in the Department of Agriculture. He went in, in 1900 or 1901. When Forestry was transferred from Interior to Agriculture, he became the first Chief of Grazing, in the Forest Service. Barnes had been a stockman in both Arizona and New Mexico. Barnes didn't come in, however, until 1907. Potter had been there for six or seven years then.
Jesse Nelson had been in Wyoming and had worked for Buffalo Bill; actually had been one of Buffalo Bill's bronc riders when he needed him in the show. He looked after Buffalo Bill's ranches, mostly horse ranches in Wyoming. Buffalo Bill was a great reclamationist; he was a promoter of reclamation, particularly in Wyoming and that country up there. Jesse made quite a few trips for Buffalo Bill, before he came into the Forest Service, with Mead who, I believe, was the first Chief of Reclamation, looking over dam sites and looking over areas for reclamation. Then, in 1905 Jesse came in as a Ranger on the old Sunlight Basin District of the old Timberland National Forest Reserve, they called it, which is up near Yellowstone Park. He and old C. H. Willet, and a fellow by the name of Graham, Fred Graham, were the first three Rangers. I think, side by side.
(Hr. Nelson was the first Ranger on the Yellowstone Forest Reserve, the first Forest Reserve so designated. He later became Inspector of Grazing in the Washington Office, and was the Chief of Grazing in Regions 2 and 5. His later years in the Forest Service were spent in Research. Mr. Nelson was in District 3 as an Inspector of Grazing. With the help of Will C. Barnes and Leon Kneipp, he was instrumental in putting across the Grazing Regulations with the livestock men.)
Those were great days, and they were developmental days. It was the early days of range reconnaissance. After the first allotments were made we found out that the range was still overgrazed. The allotments had been made on the basis of the Rangers' estimates and the stockmen's estimates, and then we got grazing reconnaissance and found out we had to readjust those. We were all still too optimistic. It was just a constant pressure of adjustments and I would say that continued until probably the middle of the Twenties.
But the War came along and the War disrupted everything. If it hadn't been for the War, I think we'd have been pretty well off by the middle of the Twenties.
That pressure to raise more beef?
That's right. Then, you see, the ranges were overstocked and after the War the livestock industry hit a terrific depression there in the early Twenties; the ranges were all overstocked and they couldn't sell anything. A lot of that stuff stayed on the range and the Forest Service gave them permission to divide up their payments over a period and gave them non-use in some cases. They were allowed to keep their stuff on the range, partly from political pressure, and partly because they simply couldn't get rid of then. That was the thing that put the greatest burden on the ranges that was ever put on 'em. That was a lot worse than any overgrazing that we had prior to that time. That was what caused a lot of the heavy damage in Region 3. They had the same thing in other Regions, but not to the extent that it had the drastic effect.
That was because our ranges were yearlong and the northern ranges were more seasonal?
Yes. All that stock went off those northern ranges in the wintertime, but here they stayed on all the time and you didn't know how much you had. Even the stockmen didn't know how many they had, so there was just this tremendous pressure.
After the reconnaissance on the Sitgreaves Forest in 1916, I stayed on the Sitgreaves and made the grazing management plan. Always before that we had had a great big atlas-sized report on the reconnaissance. I devised the idea that instead of having that I got the idea from the working circle for timber management I decided that we had better have a grazing area plan for every allotment. I wrote that up and it was published in the Washington newsletter that they used to get out at that time. Shortly after that they had the famous grazing conference at Ogden and they adopted that system.
Now here's the peculiar thing; At the time I wrote and recommended grazing management plan by allotments, my only two critics were Chapline, who was head of grazing studies, and Foraling, who was out on some kind of study work. Both of them I had gone to school with. But those were the only two who were critical. I got letters from fellows like Smith, who was Chief of Grazing in Region 1, and from all these fellows who had been in Administration. They were all praising that thing and wanted to adopt it, and they did adopt it too, so that was quite a thing.
Now, before we leave grazing, when the sheepmen and the cattlemen were using the range jointly, didn't that cause a lot of conflict?
No, it didn't cause too much conflict because they had grown up together on the Colorado Plateau. The bulk of our troubles were on the Colorado Plateau. Actually, the Coronado Forest was not so badly overgrazed; the Coronado Forest was in pretty good shape. For some reason those southern Forests didn't seem to have the same degree of overgrazing. Of course they had been cattle Forests; they hadn't been any dual use on those Forests. There was overgrazing along the water courses because some of those slopes were so precipitous that stock didn't move out and they couldn't get 'em out. The range generally was not overgrazed as it was on the Colorado Plateau, where stock could get everywhere, after they developed water.
The Mormons brought in sheep and these fellows had started with sheep. The railroad went through in 1882, and a lot of the sheep outfits, they built up about that time. Of course cattle were building up oh, there were not nearly as many small owners at that time, so the two types of industry had grown up more or less together.
They had some sheep and cattle war type incidents, but they never had the intense sheep and cattle wars in New Mexico and Arizona that they did in Montana and Wyoming and a part of western Colorado where the sheep moved in. Up there the sheep moved in on an established cattle industry, but down here, sheep were in New Mexico long before cattle. Sheep were brought in by the Spanish about 1598 when the Onates brought in sheep and there had been sheep around those pueblos from then on. But that wasn't true in the North. Where they grew up together there weren't many incidents. I think they ran some sheep into the quicksand over on the Colorado River, and they killed a few sheep, but there wasn't anywhere near as much difficulty over sheep and cattle here as there had been.
The sheep in the Pleasant Valley War, that was just an incident. They got that outfit to get the sheep in there. They ran 'em out and killed a herder, and that was all there was to that.
I understood that the Hashknife dealt a lot of misery to the sheepmen.
Well, I think probably they did give them some difficulty, but not too much. The Hashknife actually was a short-lived outfit. The Hashknife was organized I think probably by the people that owned the alternate sections of railroad land, the old Atlantic-Pacific Railroad grant land. Some of the railroad people that had been interested got together and organized this Hashknife. They unloaded 28,000 head of cattle in one fell swoop in the spring of 1885, which was enough to overstock a lot of range at that time, you see, until they got 'em distributed around.
They lasted from 1885 until about 1900. That outfit was sold out to Babbitt in 1900. So they were there only about 15 years, and the sheep were established in there by that time. So that while there were some troubles, they weren't anything like they were up in the Central Rockies country.
Potter's ranch was just the other side of the Petrified Forest. It's fenced now. There's Potter's Well and then the mesa that you go up on, just as you pass the Petrified Forest, as you go up on that big flat mesa, that's Potter's Mesa. That was sort of his headquarters when he was in the cattle business. Then he and Barnes, they dried out and went broke. I think it was the drouth of '93, the fall of '93 or '94, I've forgotten the year now.
Then Potter went into the sheep business. He decided that if McKinley was elected, why the price of sheep would go up, also wool. So he went out and got a lot of options on sheep outfits and then he fixed up a relay of saddle horses and was down at Winslow gettin' the returns. When he found that McKinley had been elected he went back and picked up all his options.
He made a pretty good stake out of the sheep business, but he didn't stay in it very long. While he was in the sheep business he actually headquartered with Robert Scott up at Showlow. Then he went out of business, oh, I guess about 1899, at the time they were having a big fight over the exclusion of sheep on the Colorado Plateau. That was when Pinchot got acquainted with him; on that tour that they made to look over the ranges with Dr. Colwell.
Potter went out of business and spent some time traveling over the west, probably looking for range or something. Pinchot asked him to come into the Service and he came into the Service. He went in partly on the advice of a lot of his friends in the stock business; they wanted a stockman in the Service to see that they got a square deal, I guess, among all the Foresters. You see, our Forestry was based on European Forestry. We didn't have any American Forestry. The old thing of grazing, established grazing rights, they all knew about it and they were scared to death of it. They were afraid of grazing, and afraid they were gonna put all the sheep off the Forests, particularly the dry Forests. That battle was part of it.
Want about the influence of people like John Kerr, those that were more closely associated with Region 3?
Well, those men were very influential, because they were known. The stockmen all liked John Kerr, John was very fair. It was an inter-developmental time, and nobody knew anything about the grazing capacity of the ranges. The first job was to really make some kind of reasonably fair distribution of the range on the Forests between the old prior users, and get them located on allotments.
But sheep sheep went everywhere; they didn't have any allotments. They had to get them tied down some way, and that was the big job for a good many years. As a matter of fact they didn't establish allotments in a lot of places for several years after the Forests were established. Permits were just issued on a numbers basis. They established the number as best they could by prior use, by what people had run there before. That was pretty feeble in many cases. The numbers we could establish any prior use for were far beyond any reasonable carrying capacity of the range.
I can remember we were having a big fight over the seedling damage, and it was really tough. We were under a tremendous amount of pressure. H. H. Chapman was taking a year's sabbatical leave from Yale; he was Chief of Silviculture, they called it then, in Albuquerque that year. I remember one afternoon he came in and was talking to John about sheep damage, and of course Chapman was hell-bent on getting rid of all the sheep. Old John would never talk during the day, but along about 4 o'clock, when we quit in those days, John would lean back and he'd philosophize to me.
Chapman had been there all afternoon. I was sittin' across the desk workin', not payin' too much attention to what they were sayin'. But after Chapman left, and 4 o'clock came along, John leaned back and said, "Paul, that man Chapman has got a good education, hasn't he?" And I said, "Yeah, John, I guess he has." Then he said, "That's the only thing he's got that I'd want." He and Chapman didn't get along; they tangled over this grazing business all the time.
John Kerr was criticized. I think all of those oldtimers were criticized later on for not doing more to reduce the numbers of stock, but they were handicapped. Nobody had the knowledge of what the capacity was. They actually did a tremendous job of getting any kind of compliance and they made a lot of friends among the stockmen. There was a lot of cooperation in those days.
In Arizona, the attitude of the sheepgrowers is mighty good now. I'll tell you, Harry Embach has had a tremendous influence. A part of the attitude was due to the fact that Potter had been a sheepman and everybody knew him and were convinced of Potter's fairness and all that sort of thing.
Then Harry came in and he was the first paid Secretary that the Arizona Woolgrowers ever had. He came in in 1923, and he was instrumental in dividing up the range, etc. He was always cooperative in working with the Forest Service. There isn't any doubt but that he had a tremendous influence on the attitude of the Arizona Woolgrowers Association.
Of course in those days we had almost a million sheep in this State; now we have 100,000, or something like that. I checked that up here a while back, I think there was something over 900,000 of the white-owned sheep, and probably 600,000 or 700,000 of the Navajo Indian-owned sheep, back about the early Twenties.
How about Timber Management in the early days?
Well, of course, when the Forest Service first started operation, the main operations in Arizona were the Saginaw up at Flagstaff and the old Reardon outfit.
They didn't have marking rules to start with, you know. I think they established sort of arbitrary marking rules. I don't know whether it was before the Regions were established or not, but it probably wasn't before 1908, or '09, or '10, along in there. A lot of the timber men were just simply cowboys or men who had worked in the woods for lumber companies, or that sort of thing. We had very few technical Foresters, because there weren't any technical Foresters. They struggled along for quite a long time and gradually established some studies. They brought in Quincy Randles, Joe Kercher, Ray Marsh, and some of those Yale and Syracuse Foresters. They gradually established marking rules.
The big sale on the Sitgreaves started just before I went out there as Forest Supervisor, and I had a big scrap. They came out and made an inspection. I had asked for technical Foresters on that sale. I didn't have but one; I didn't have but one technical Forester on that whole sale. I'm not sure but that they took him and put him on a Ranger District. They were taking technical Foresters and putting them on Ranger Districts and giving then administrative training and then they were transferred.
I had an old Texas cowpuncher up there by the name of Carlisle who got drunk and we finally fired him for drinking. He was in charge of this big sale up there. Peeler was in Washington on some kind of detail and I think Quincy Randles came out and made the inspection. He criticized the marking on that big sale.
I sat down and wrote in and I said, "I'll take my share of the responsibility for the marking, but I'm not going to take it all because you people the Regional Office is responsible. You had better assume your responsibility, too." I said, "I've been asking for technical Foresters," and I said, "who have I got? I haven't got a one on that sale." I said, "My marking is being done by ex-cowboys. The man, the head of the timber sale; the man in charge of the sale, is a practical timber sale man. He was trained, I think, on the Coconino. He's not a technical Forester. I didn't have a one." So I added, "You just take your part of the responsibility, and I'll take mine."
I had a ranger who was Chief Clerk. He had gotten hurt. But anyway I wrote this letter and I gave it to him to read and he said, "My God, Paul, are you gonna send that to the Regional Forester?" And I said, "You're damned right. I'm gonna send it, because I'm not gonna be ridden for this stuff when I haven't got any technical Foresters."
So I sent it in there and, by Golly, they admitted it, and I began to get a few technical Foresters then. I got Hienie Merker, and Bade came along; Bade came out in an old trailer that he had made himself, from back East. I think he had gone to the Syracuse Ranger school. As I remember, Quincy Randles sent him on out to me and I put him to work up on the big sale. I had Jim Monaghan, too, and I gradually accumulated a few technical Foresters then.
Oh, this old Carlisle, he got on a big drunk. It was the third of July and we had 10,000 acres of dry brush up there on the east end of the Sitgreaves Forest. I said to Bob Salton, who was in charge of Sales in my office, I said, "Bob, let's roll our beds and go up there on Lake Mountain and be there tomorrow, so if we have a fire we'll be up there." We went up there that night and got up early in the morning. I called old Carlisle, and Carlisle was drunk. I didn't know it because his Dad was there and his Dad had answered the phone and he talked just like Kim, you see, I thought I was talking to Kim.
When I went over by the house, old Kim was so drunk he could hardly get up and get out to see me. I just said, "You're suspended, by Darn, and you're not goin' back to work." I put one of the other boys in charge of the sale and Bob and I went up on the mountain and stayed up there. When we came back that night old Kim was sober, and wanted me to put him back on but I said, "No Kim, I won't do it."
I called the Regional Office and told 'em what I had done. They sent Hugh Calkins out. Calkins came through and he said, "Paul, how can you suspend old Kim? Nobody can suspend a man except the Secretary of Agriculture." I said, "Well by God, I suspended a man anyway, and he's not goin' back to work." "Well," Hugh says, "Frank's comin' along and," he added. "he'll talk to you about it." They had had some fires over on the Apache and he came down to see me. We put old Kim on furlough for 30 days, I think it was, and then he came back to work, but he couldn't lay off the whiskey. I think they finally had to fire him.
That was the second time I usurped the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture. The other time was when I selected and established a grazing study plot on the Tonto when I was down there in 1918 making that inspection. I was supposed to get 'em fenced. We put out bids, got bids out on wire and everything. I accepted all those bids and sent 'em in to Albert Morris (Fiscal Agent). Old Albert wrote back and said, "Paul, only the Secretary of Agriculture can accept a bid over $1,200," or something like that. And I said, "Well, the bids are accepted, so you'd better fix 'em up or we're gonna go to jail."
I arrived on the Sitgreaves in July 1922. The day I took charge of the Forest we had 35 fires reported, lightning fires. Well hell, I didn't know anything about it; I just turned it over to Bill Williams. Bill was lookout at the Deer Springs Lookout and he knew that whole country. I just turned the darned thing over to him and I said, "Boy, you can just go ahead and handle 'em." Well, they got all the fires, but that was my introduction to the Sitgreaves Forest.
We were making a range appraisal at that time. Hoyt had been Supervisor. He was supposed to finish up the range appraisal and he didn't get it done, so the Forest was late. I'd been pushin' to get that range appraisal fixed up. I had Kenner Kartchner's brother, Lafe Kartchner, as the Ranger up at Showlow. It was a light District, so we made old Lafe stick there and finish that report. He put in a lot of time in the office that year. Kelly came out and made an inspection and, of course, Lafe's diary was one of the diaries he asked for and here Lafe had spent all this time in the office when they thought he should've been in the field. Of course they jumped on me for it. Old Peeler came out and wrote me a tough letter.
Old Jim Mullin had told me one time, he said, "Paul, you know Frank likes big words and sometimes you can floor him with big words." I wrote them this letter and I told him why old Lafe had been in the office. I said, by golly, he is finishing up that range appraisal that hadn't been finished on time when it should have been done, and we had to get it done. In order to do so, he had to stay in the office a little while. Now, by golly, if that isn't okay, you can come out here and fire Lafe, and me too so far as I'm concerned. That was the way the job went.
In this letter I had used "ameliorate" someplace I don't know where it was and old Jim got hold of it and he said, "That's what got you by." Frank came back with a very nice letter you see.
Then another time we got an awful lot of fencing done, you see, we were doing a lot of fencing, a lot of drift-fence fencing. Frank came out and made an inspection. We had sections of overgrazed range, and he asked me what we'd been doing about it. He acted like we hadn't been doing much of anything about it. Ray Marsh was on that trip, and somebody else they were with old Frank. They were leaving the next morning, so I went over to see Frank.
They were over at the hotel and I said, "Frank, before you leave here there's one thing I'd like to tell you," and he said, "Fine, Paul, fine." I said, "I just wanted to tell you that Lessel and I are still working for the Forest Service." I said, "I thought maybe you thought we were workin' for the stockmen the way you were talkin' about that over-grazed range." He looked at me a minute and then he said, "Well, that's all right," he says, "I'll tell you, you've been under a lot here; you'd better take a vacation." And, by golly, I did. I took a vacation. I hadn't had one for a long time. I went home and I think I was gone about five weeks.
Another funny incident was when John Zalaha, who had worked for the old Apache Lumber Company which started a big sale, got a bonus for selling that outfit when they sold. They sold to I think they sold to the KT Lumber Corporation, and the KT Lumber Corporation sold out to the McQuarter outfit, the Southwest. John got quite a little bunch of money when he made that sale, and he bought the sale over at Mortonson's Wash and started the Standard Lumber Company.
John was runnin' this sale. I didn't know anything about timber sales except what was in the book. I'll tell you where I learned the most about timber sales, about makin' appraisals. Old Hoyt made the appraisal on that sale and, by golly, I think he did everything wrong that he could possible get wrong. He sent that in to the Regional Office and they told him where he was wrong, every place, see, and that was my Bible. I used that instead of the Regulations. If I wanted to find out what was wrong in a timber sale appraisal, all I had to do was go back over old Hoyt's timber sale appraisal!
Well anyway, I was really makin' 'em pile brush and clean it up. They had nice piles, and everything four inches and under was laid up along those piles; it was a beautiful job. So Greeley came through on an inspection trip. Well, John had complained to the Regional Office, and Peeler was on this trip. We came into this sale and Peeler was ridin' with me. Ray Marsh, Greeley, and old Gus Pearson were along; they were in the front car. Pooler was with me in the back car.
Peeler saw these piles and this clean-up and, he said, "Paul, we just can't insist on this good stuff; it'll be too costly." I was makin' 'em hew to the line, you see. The front car stopped and they got out, and old Gus Pearson, he stretched his arms out and he looked around and said, "This is Forestry; this is the first real forestry I've seen in Region 3." Pooler said to me, "Paul, just forget what I said." So we stood there and talked a while and they thought it was pretty good, you know. So that was one extreme.
Fred Merkle was in charge of the big sale. You know our burning conditions were not good and we had tremendous acreages of brush piled up there during the summer, and it'd be dry. We just had to take advantage of every opportunity that we had to burn. Well, Fred had burned and the fire had run a little bit and had burned some seedlings around the piles. That was in the spring. Then Peeler and Greeley came through that summer. They criticized old Fred to beat the band. In fact, Fred was due a promotion and they wouldn't give him the promotion on account of it.
So that winter, that was the winter of 1922, I think, they had the big famous Cooley conference on Timber Management, up at Cooley; then later it was McNary. Greeley wanted to go back out and see the burned trees. So Greeley and Peeler and Pearson again, and Fred Merkle and I went out there to look at this. Fred took 'em to the place where they had criticized. Well, by that time the needles were all off, dropped, and it didn't look near as bad as it did before, Greeley said, well he thought that was pretty good.
He said, "Gus, what do you think about this anyway?" Gus said, "Well, there's still lots of seedlings around here." And Pooler said to Fred, "Fred, are you sure this is the place you showed me last summer?", and Fred said, "Yeah." Greeley said, "Well, I'd hate to call you a liar", and Fred said, "Well, nobody's ever done it and felt well the next day!" That ended that conversation, right there.
I was gonna tell you about this horse shooting. I've forgotten just what year it was, but first on this wild horse thing was, we had the impoundment regulations. Well, we could never get rid of 'em; by God, they'd come and get 'em and take 'em home and then in a little while they'd be back on the Forest. We rounded up some we had some horses that you couldn't round up.
We rounded up the east end of the Forest one time and we put these horses all in a pasture near Showlow. Then we put a guard on the pasture so they couldn't get 'em out of there, while we went on further east and rounded 'em up. We went further east and rounded 'em up and brought 'em back. When we got back with this outfit from the east end of the Forest, we'd been gone about a couple of days, well, By God, you'da thought Coxey's Army was camped on that flat. There were just bedrolls all over that flat.
We only had one corral and we had to rope 'em out of there. Old Captain Hale was an old cowhand just off the Forest, I guess Cap musta' been about 70 years old at that time. By Golly, he and I roped horses out of that corral all day long. I was ridin' a great big gray horse, one of Clyde Shumway's horses. I was ridin' him because he was big and stout to rope on, You know that was the only time in my life that I ever pulled the cinch rings oblong on a saddle, but that night my cinch rings were just pulled out oblong ropin' those horses an' draggin' 'em out of there. Old Captain and I roped there all day long. One thing, though; it took guys a little while to find out that I'd been raised on a ranch and I could do some of that stuff about as well as some of them could.
Then we started the shooting business. Those fellows that owned horses would go out in the spring, when the colts were weak, and they'd rope 'em and brand 'em, see? Then they might never see those horses again. Well, in shootin' horses, why Dolph Slosser (Ranger at Pinedale) I think it was Bill Porter (Assistant) shot a couple of branded horses and this Pearce outfit they beat up on Porter and put him in the hospital for a while. They tried to get to Old Dolph, but someway they didn't do it.
I was up in Denver and I got a wire to get back home quick. They were gonna have a hearing up at Taylor. So I flew back as far as I could, then I had to take a train. My wife met the train and took me up to Taylor. They guarded me goin' into the JP's office, up there. We got in there and I went on the stand Old French was the attorney without talking to French one second about this case.
[NOTE; A complete transcript of the trial in the Justice of the Peace Court at Taylor is located in the Forest Service Museum collection, now located at the Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona.]
Well, anyway, they bound these two fellows over to the Superior Court. In the meantime, we applied for an injunction in the Federal Court. We came down to Phoenix whenever the case was set, and went into the Federal Court. Judge Jacobs was the Judge then; Federal Judge. Of course, we were actually enjoining the County from interfering with us in shootin' wild horses, 'cause they brought their case through the County. And Old Dan (Navajo County Sheriff) was sittin' beside me. The case didn't look very good for us for a while, either, shootin' these branded horses.
Well, that day we had eaten breakfast in either Grant's Cafe or Central Cafe, and in came all these fellows that were prosecutin' the case. They all filed by me and they all spoke to me said, "Hello, Paul", and smiled at me, you know. They thought they had an open-and-shut case. Old Dooley McCauley was County Attorney. We went over to Court and had quite a session.
Dan was sittin' by the side of me and he says, "Paul, I think we're gonna lose this case. And he was the one that was bringin' the case against us; he wanted to be enjoined. He thought the Forest Service was gonna lose. He says, "We're gonna lose this case."
Well, anyway, the thing went on for quite a while. The Judge called a recess and went back in his chambers and came out. He was only gone for about five minutes. He came back out and gave us an injunction.
That night I was sittin' over in the same cafe and these guys all came in to eat supper and there wasn't a damn one of them that would speak to me. But we won that case.
I don't know whether this is true or not, but I think it was French told me that the Judge looked up the definition of a wild horse in the dictionary and it said any horse that was on the range and had the appearance of bein' wild was a wild horse. But that was the one that cracked the Secretary's shooting order, wild horse shooting order. I don't think there was ever very much difficulty about it afterwards.
As I recall, there were about 4,000 head of horses killed on the Coconino, and about a thousand head killed on the Sitgreaves; horses and burros. We killed horses on the Chevelon District that were wearin' brands that hadn't been run for 20 years. It's a wonder that there was any range left. That took a big load off of the range.
Well, the timber business: we had some trouble when Southwestern came out there. McWaters was a pretty fine man but he didn't know anything about the timber business. I think he had operated down in old Mexico; I think he had some mining interests down there. He wasn't there long until he wanted to sell out.
Brooks Scanlon came out from the Southwest to look the outfit over. McWaters asked if I'd go with him, 'cause he wanted to sell him the rest of the timber out on the Rim. So I went with them on that trip and they looked it all over. They didn't buy him out.
I remember one of the fellows from up there you see those were Prohibition days he had a demijohn of whiskey. Bill Baldwin and I slept in the guard station at Promontory Lookout. Bill and I I don't know whether we were gettin' breakfast or whether we were eatin' breakfast, but we had just gotten up anyway. One of these fellows came in; he had a glass tumbler and he poured that practically full of whiskey, and just drank the whole damn thing off. He turned around and looked up and said, "I always like a little drink before breakfast!" Old Bill looked at me and says, "Oh, my God!, I wonder what he'd call a big drink." Anyway we made that trip around. They didn't sell out.
We had a little trouble with them, not a great deal. They didn't get their engines fireproofed one year. I remember we'd been fiddlin' around tryin' to get these engines fireproofed. Finally I gave 'em a date that those things had to be in shape, which actually I shouldn't have done. I guess, because they weren't supposed to have any grace on the thing, but I did anyway. I said we were gonna have a man on the line on a certain date and any engine that isn't fully fireproofed isn't goin' across the line. That's it.
I sent a copy of the letter to the Regional Office. Bob Salton went up and stayed there and he said they just worked night and day but, By Golly, every engine that went over the line that morning was fully fireproofed. And you know Hugh Calkins, he was a kind of an easy-goin' fellow, and I said, "What did you think about that letter?" "Well," he said, "I thought that was pretty tough." And I said, "Well, by God, we gotta be tough." But the Regional Office, from then they never made a decision on that big mill at all.
I know one time McWater and McNary wanted to high-grade out on the Standard. Well, those ridges out there were dry and that timber was poor on those ridges and they didn't want to go up there an cut it, see? They wanted us to let 'em leave that and take the draws. They went in to see Old Frank, and Frank sent 'em back to me. And I told 'em, By Golly, we wouldn't let em do it; they had to take the poor along with the good. And they did.
But timber was Gosh, when I look back and think of the technical advancements over the years; why you know it's just a doggone wonder that we did as well as we did in those early years. We know so much more now than we did then, technically, that there's no comparison. I hear a lot of oldtimers say, "Well, these young fellows, they don't do as good a job as we did," and a lot of that kind of stuff, when, as a matter of fact, they're probably doin' ten times better job than we ever did, see? Because they've got much more basic information and are much better trained basically, technically, before they ever get out of the schools than we were. They can't help but do a much better job. So I think they ought to be given credit for it.
The lumber companies and the stockgrowers themselves; you take a lot of these fellows that are runnin' stock nowadays are graduates of agricultural schools. They've had a lot of training; they know the ropes too. And good American citizens everywhere; I suppose they want to protect America too, as soon as they get the lowdown and know what's happening to the country.
Those were the good old days and we'll never see anything like 'em again. It was a period of tremendous crusading spirit; I don't know whether the Forest Service could ever get that same type of thing again or not, because a lot of those fellows that had the crusading spirit didn't know anything about Forestry. They were ax-cowboys and lumberjacks and all that sort of thing, but they believed in it. Most of 'em went into it because of the spirit of adventure, and because it was something worthwhile.
It took a hardy breed to do the job they did.
It sure did. Whatever their faults and failures were, they still had a tremendous job of getting the forests established and going. They weren't technically trained Foresters, but they did a Forestry job.
One thing I wonder about now, when I think of the first 20 years I was in the Service. I never took all my annual leave. We never thought about work hours or anything. When I started we never thought of an eight hour day; there wasn't any such thing. When I quit I had 90 days annual leave comin' to me. I took that vacation at the time Old Pooler told me I'd better take it. He thought I might have to take a real long one if I didn't. But that was the first real vacation I'd ever had, since I'd been in the Service.
Frank was very loyal to his men. Frank Pooler came out here as a TB [tuberculosis patient], you know. I heard he came to the Prescott on a stretcher. He was a Ranger on this Forest Survey and he lived in a tent because he had TB for a long time. He was one of those well, Greeley used to more or less brag about the fact that he had only one technical Forester. That was the Regional Forester, or District Forester in those days.
I went out to the Sitgreaves in July of '22. In those days we had very poor transportation. We had no good roads away from the main roads, on the Forest.
It was about that time that the program of starting truck trails was inaugurated. We cleaned out the old Rim Road, the Apache Camp/Verde military road along the Rim, as far as the Coconino Forest. The Coconino cleared it out from there on. Of course, all the canyons headed up close to the Rim, so the road headed the canyons. Once we got that cleared out we built truck trails. There wasn't much building; we cut truck trails and cleaned 'em out down between the canyons so we could get in to fires with men and equipment a good deal faster than we could in the old days with packhorses.
One of our early experiments somebody got the idea that we might put a truck equipped with tools, fire-fighting equipment, between Wildcat and Chevelon Canyons. So we rented a truck, took it up around the Rim and down between the canyons, and placed it where we could get to it as quick as we could get over there on saddle horses. The first fire we had was a lightning strike and it was right near the truck and burned the whole outfit up before we could try out how effective our experiment was. It took us about a year to get approval to pay the fellow for the truck.
Then the next flurry we decided to build a road, a crossing on Wildcat Canyon. Aldo Leopold was Chief of Operation and I was just a young Supervisor and inexperienced. Why Leonard Lessel (the Assistant Supervisor) had more experience than I had, so I took him into the conference. When we asked for an allotment to build a road across Wildcat. Aldo was so dumfounded he said, "Well, that was a crazy idea," and since I was a young Supervisor and inexperienced, I wouldn't be reprimanded for such an idea, but that was totally impossible.
But the next year, Evan Kelly, who was an engineer and a road builder, came along on an inspection, and he said, "Paul, why don't you build a road across Wildcat Canyon and across Chevelon too, so you can get across there." We built the road across Wildcat while I was there and later, soon after I left, they built a crossing on Chevelon Canyon.
Of course, fire hazard in Region 3 in those days in most areas was probably not comparable to fire in the timbered areas; most of our fires were ground fires and, if we could get to them quickly, they were not too difficult to control with shovels and rakes and that kind of equipment. But later on, about the time I was leaving the Forest, the reproduction had gotten up to the point where it would crown up in a high wind and would carry fire and we were having considerable more difficulty. I think that was probably one of the reasons why some of the oldtimers don't understand why Region 3 has more trouble with fires now than they used to have. But conservation carries some of its own penalties, and that's one of 'em. The timber conservation really increased the fire hazard through the Colorado Plateau.
We had a few incendiary fires. One year on the Lakeside District we had quite a little trouble with incendiaries. Shumway was Ranger up there and everybody knew him, so I knew that he'd have a hard time detecting the culprit. I had Bill Freeman, who was a resident of Snowflake, and Bill always liked to work for the different Federal agencies; so I played Bill as a detective to go up and see if he could find, or apprehend, the incendiary. Bill went up and spent about a week up there, and thought that he had discovered the culprit. He went in to McNary where the JP was located then, to make arrangements to bring the fellow in to the JP and have a hearing.
Well, while Bill was tellin' the JP about the case, the JP became very interested in it and after a while he said to Bill, "Well, how much shall we fine him?" Bill said, "We haven't found him guilty yet." And the JP said, "Oh, Hell, he's guilty all right. It's just a question of how much we'll fine him." So Bill took him in the next day, I think, and the JP fined him $25 and costs. Well, $25 happened to be all the money the fellow had and of course that didn't leave the JP anything, so he rescinded the $25 fine and fined the fellow $22.50, plus $2.50 court costs!
Every once in a while some of the farmers would want to smoke out bees in a bee-tree. We had one case on the Pinedale District where a fellow smoked out the bees, but he hadn't put his fire out and the fire spread a little bit. Dolph Slosser, who was a pretty good detective, went over and saw horse tracks. Dolph could read horse tracks as well as he could read writing. He started sleuthin' around to find out who'd been up there.
He was sittin' on the corral one day and the fellow denied that he had anything to do with the fire. Dolph saw a horse track and recognized it as one of the horses that had been tied up there near the fire. He said, "Well, Bill, (or whatever this fellow's name was) that horse track is the same track that was up there at that bee tree," so the fellow said, "Well, that's mine all right," he says. "There ain't no law against lyin' a little to keep out of trouble, is there?"
We had one incendiary case on the Pinedale District that Dolph followed up for about six months. We finally apprehended the offenders by some excellent detective work on Dolph's part. Took 'em before the United States Marshal and they were fined, I believe, $200, or something like that. They finally confessed after the trail got pretty hot.
One of the big problems was getting to the fire fast, and where we could get to them fast we didn't really have a great deal of trouble. We did go two years without having a Class C fire. We organized the trades people, the county officers, local Constables, and many of the people in the local communities. When called on they would organize crews and send 'em out with food and tools to fight fires. But I think from what I have seen that the fire hazard is probably considerably greater, at least on the Colorado Plateau than it was in the days when I was the Forest Supervisor out there.
Is that because of the reproduction?
Yeah. I think so, and I presume that there's more grass in those areas. Conservation has actually resulted in conditions which create some greater fire hazard than in the old days.
Did you have any trouble in the old days with fires comin' in from off the Reservation?
Yes, we had a little trouble, but not too much trouble. There were some fires that we had to go in and fight over there on the old timber sale area, to keep 'em from coming on the Forest. Well, actually, all along the north side of the Indian Reservation we'd go in to any fire that was reported in there. But we never did have a big fire come across.
I remember particularly about a road up to the lookout on Lake Mountain. I checked up with Lessel and he said we had plenty of money to finish that road. So I went ahead and built the road and when I got through I found out that I was $800 short.
So, I wrote in Jim Mullin was handling allotments then and so I wrote in to Jim and I said, "We're $800 short; we need to increase our allotment." And Jim wrote back a little note and said, "You can overdraw on the checkbook, but you can't overdraw at the bank." I had a well experienced clerk there and he said, "Well, the Government always pays its bills; let's just wait and see what they do." So we never wrote in to the Regional Office about that any more. We just sat there, and in about a couple of months, along came an increase of allotment in the amount of $800.
Of course, there were no paved roads in Arizona, except a few miles out of Phoenix at that time. As I remember, along in '30 or '31 they built a mile of experimental oiled road between Holbrook and Gallup. That was the first oiled road that we had. Of course, as I have said. transportation was slow.
Right after the War, while I was still in Albuquerque, the office asked me to take a Ford sedan, which was a transfer from the War Department, out to the Tusayan from Albuquerque. Tusayan was having some fire difficulties and they wanted to speed up their transportation. I thought that would be a good trip for my wife to go along, so we left Albuquerque that morning about 10 o'clock and got to Thoreau that night, late that night. But before we got into Thoreau, we'd gone through an arroyo and twisted the hose connection off the radiator and had to walk in about a mile.
They were havin' an oil boom at Thoreau at that time and the oil men were havin' a poker game in the hotel and one of 'em said as soon as he'd lost his stack he'd go out and pull me in. Well, he won a little money before he lost it, but he finally lost what he had and we went out to get the car and bring it in.
We made the necessary repairs that night and started out at sun-up the next morning and by driving real fast and hard we got into Holbrook that night. That was 3 days from Albuquerque in a Model T Ford. After that we took a vacation and went up to Grand Canyon. That gives you some idea of the speed of transportation in those times.
Then, in the fall of 1929, or '30, the first emergency money that we got, it was still in the Hoover administration. They asked us how soon we could start crews to work, if we had the money. I told 'em we could start the next morning. I believe we got an allotment of about $3,000.
Right at that time, or about that time, we had started the road crossing, at what we called the Mormon Crossing, on the Chevelon District, down near the old Marquette Ranger Station. All the drilling for use of powder was done by hand. Well, we got a jackhammer. It was the first one on the Forest.
Bill Baldwin had laid out the road so we'd have the easiest going with the ordinary methods of construction, and I'd approved the location. About two or three weeks later I went back out there to see how they were gettin' along. In the meantime, Bill had gotten the jackhammer and he'd completely changed the location of the road. He was going around a rock ledge which really was a better location. They were really usin' that jackhammer to blow out that road and get around there. They thought that was really something. Those tractors and that jackhammer were the first two pieces of real equipment that went out on the Sitgreaves Forest.
The first trucking of lumber was done by John Zalaha from the Standard mill; he had two Coleman trucks. These trucks when they came had hard tires. John started to hauling lumber with trucks and he went to Winslow with it at the time; went down through Holbrook to Winslow. Well, the Goodyear Tire Company talked John into equipping these trucks with pneumatic tires. Under the deal they were supposed to keep him furnished with pneumatic tires if John would use 'em on his trucks. I had a letter from John when I was digging up some of that information a few years ago. He said he didn't know who got tired first, he or the Goodyear Company, but they had so many blowouts that finally they quit the pneumatic tires and went back to hard tires.
Jimmy Douglas, the late Jimmy Douglas who was the father of the Douglas who was Ambassador to the Court of St. James in the Roosevelt administration, and of course one of the promoters of the mines at Jerome, had quite a few interests in the country. He had some interests, I believe, in lumbering. He was out to see John one time, and saw John hauling lumber with trucks and he said it was the craziest idea he ever heard of, hauling lumber out with trucks. Those were some of the conditions at that time.
Paul, you've worked in various Regions, in the Washington Office, on various projects, what do you feel the Forest Service has accomplished in the way of conservation? Have we met the objectives that were originally set up?
Well, my experience in the Regions has been in Region 3 and in Region 1. Of course, I've seen a lot of the other Regions, in the West, particularly. I feel that tremendous progress has been made, and is being made.
I think one of the great things has been the public opinion concerning conservation. As I was telling you a while ago, I don't know whether I told it on the tape or not of hearing this talk by the President of the Utah Woolgrowers the other night when the principal theme of his talk seemed to be that they must conserve the resources which they were using. That is a tremendous step forward. I think that the old-time stockmen used to talk about conserving the resource and a lot of them did try to conserve the resource, but in those days nobody really knew how to conserve it.
It has taken years of research and years of administrative experience to get to the point where we are now. I think there's still lots to be done, and I think that probably there'll always be a lot to be done. I always thought that the Forest Service was not a very good public relations organization. They never seemed to be able to put the story across too well, someway, but I think they must be doing that now.
I think such things as the 4H clubs, and the various agricultural activities among the youths, so that a greater number of the younger generation who are going to the colleges and studying husbandry and management; all this is contributing to what is almost a tremendous movement for the conservation of natural resources. They will have a realization that if we are going to continue to use these things, which have contributed so much to the country, that they will have to be protected.
Under the old system it would not have been too long before we would not have had the resources to use. There probably is a growing realization of what the natural resource of the country contributed to the country itself; actually they produced the wealth which made us a great nation, and they will continue to do that if we take care of them. They not only produced the wealth; they molded the character of the people.
Well, had your career in the Forest Service been satisfactory; one that you look back on with pride, or would you have changed your life if you could live it over again?
I sure wouldn't! No, Of course, I don't think anybody else ever had quite the career that I had. No one ever will, because when I was on these emergency projects I was practically my own boss while I was on 'em, for years. I was probably the only man, as far as I know, who ever had the complete authority of the Secretary of Agriculture himself to administer a project and incur bills, and all that sort of thing. On the beetle project in Colorado we had complete authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to make contracts, approve contracts, etc. That in itself was quite a responsibility.
You were on the Guayule Project?
Yeah, that was a wartime project.
And the Shelterbelt?
Have you been back on the Shelterbelt since?
Oh yeah, I've seen a lot of the Shelterbelt. A lot of the trees are growing in good condition yet. A lot of the oldtimers said that was really a second Crusades. The Guayule project was a little bit different. We had a lot of fun out of it. Of course Evan Kelly was Director for the first couple of years; then I was Director. I'd had more experience on emergency projects than Evan had. Of course, an emergency project is not usually a highly efficient thing because you can't organize that fast or train men that fast, and the lack of efficiency used to get Evan's goat.
I remember one time Evan and I both used to go out and see how the crews were getting started in the morning and I went out one morning and I met Evan coming in from a nursery project. Well, they were leveling land and harrowing land and getting it ready to plant. There were machines going in every direction. It was one of the most confusing looking things that anybody ever saw. Well, I had been having conferences with these boys and they were tryin' to get it smoothed out.
Evan came in as I was goin' out, and he said he put his arm up and he said "Paul, look at this!" he said, "God damn it, I just can't hardly stand it." I said, "Evan, let 'em go for about a week. They're workin' on it and they can't get any place else, because they can't get off of this; there isn't anything else ready to go on. I said, "If, by the end of the week, we haven't got 'em straightened out, why, we'll get together with 'em," but I said, "We're workin' with 'em and I'm talkin' to 'em every night and tryin' to get things organized. They're pretty good at it themselves, so I think by the end of the week we'll have this thing lined out." And by the end of the week we did. That was one of the funniest things I ever saw.
Evan was tremendously patriotic and he just thought that everybody ought to you know, the efforts of everybody, farmers and everybody else, ought to be directed toward winning the War. And of course the farmers thought that by raising these other crops, they were, We had a lot of trouble gettin' land. He didn't do very much on the public relations end of it; he was too busily engaged in getting this project rolling. So we did have some public relations problems. As a matter of fact, they continued more or less through the project because it was more or less a controversial project anyway. But we did produce some rubber, too. You simply had to bypass some of your ideas of Forest Service efficiency and sort of roll with the punch. And after a while, if you're lucky, you get the thing straightened out.
We did a lot of things. In the first place we had 33,000 pounds of Guayule seed. That was the only Guayule seed in existence; we just had to make that stuff grow. Well, the Continental Rubber Company had developed certain methods, but on a minimal scale, compared to what we had to do.
One of the first battles was that we had to soak the seed someway. I don't remember all of the technical processes we had to go through, but one of 'em was that we had to soak the seed in order to germinate it, and we didn't have any place to soak em in. We had to build a complete building for the processing of that seed, which we did in about two or three weeks. Then we had to get some sort of machinery to get some kind of continuous flow, soaking and preparing the seed so it would germinate. Well, actually what we did I didn't do it I think John Emerson and a chap by the name of Taylor we had, and maybe Hank Lowenstein, were instrumental in this. We went out and bought a lot of old washing machines and we ran that seed through a continuous soaking process in those old mechanical washing machines. I think we even left the beaters in 'em.
And another thing, of course, machinery was difficult to get, and the War Production Board had the first call on machinery. We found a whole bunch of cleat-track tractors, small cleat-track tractors that we needed for cultivation, and for some other purposes. We discovered these; they weren't even assembled. When we discovered them and notified Washington that we wanted 'em, why then the War Department wanted 'em. We had to divvy up with them and the War Production Board took a bunch of them. I think they wanted 'em to pull airplanes around on landing fields, in North Africa at that time. But we finally got a bunch of these cleat-tracks.
Then, of course, we had the Alaska spruce project. We were scrambling for machinery and I got a call from Ilfeld up on the spruce project and he said, "My Gosh, we're just destitute for machinery; can you ship us some machinery?"
Well, we had just finished scouring the Midwest and found several carloads of machinery, so without breaking the seal on the boxcar I shipped one boxcar of that to Seattle to go up to the Alaska spruce project. They took it up the Inside Passage by barge. That was before they blew out the rocks and they sank the whole works in that riptide up there! So it never did get up to the spruce project.
We just scrounged for machinery everywhere. We had a bunch of pretty inventive men from Region 5, machine men and shop men who developed a lot of machinery. They developed a method of collecting seed by machinery, which had never been done before. We invented an in-row cultivator that nobody had ever had before, and several things like that.
On the Shelterbelt, there was some controversy about who developed the first tree planting machine, between the Forest Service and the Soil Conservation Service. Hank Lowenstein was instrumental in developing the first tree planting machine that was actually put into use. That was first operated in Oklahoma. The last year or two of the project we were doing practically all of the planting by machine, and actually it was more effective planting than hand-planting because the trees were tamped in better. We got a higher rate of survival on the machine-planted trees than we did on the hand-planted.
We did have fine luck with the tree-planting crews. We were using all WPA labor and we trained these men in planting so that an average rate of planting was about a tree a minute. A good crew of 10 men would plant a tree a minute for each of the 10 planting men. We had bankers and everybody else stop and watch those crews, and then they'd come and ask us, "How the hell do you get such fast work out of those fellows?"
Well, one reason was that they not only were trained in how to do it fast, but most of them took a good deal of pride in planting the trees. Many of 'em stayed with us for several years, and after a year or two they saw these trees growin' and they'd point over to a shelterbelt and say, "I helped plant that." Well, the success was pretty good. I think the last survey was made by Munns and Speckler. They gave it about an 85 percent rating, at that time, of success.
Were quite a few of the men on that project from Region 3?
We got quite a few from Region 3. Louie Cottam came up there with us for a while, and of course John B. Jones was with us through a great deal of the project. Ed Perry, who had been in Region 3 but at that time was not working for Region 3, went to work for us. We had quite a few men from Region 9, and quite a few from Region 1; we had quite a number of men. All the Regions contributed some men.
We applied, really, the first scientific method of tree planting that was ever applied in that area, with the exception of some of the work that had been done by the Clark-McNary people. As a matter of fact, our first methodologies were taken to a great extent from the work of Ernie George up at the Mandan Station in North Dakota, and to some extent from the work of the Station at Cheyenne, Wyoming. We used every bit of experience and scientific help that we could find. Dr. Condure, head of the Conservation Department at the University of Nebraska, said the preliminary work that was done on the project was the best that had been done on any of the emergency work that was started at that time.
There was one study made. We asked the Extension Service in South Dakota and the Extension Service in Nebraska to make a study among their farmers whom they contacted regularly for information on projects, to get some idea of the value, what they thought was the value of the Shelterbelts financially, to them. The results were so astounding that we hardly dared use them in our publicity. They certainly gave the Shelterbelts a high rating. As I recall, if we had used those figures, the benefits would have covered the whole cost of the project in about three years.
The cooperation from the States and Counties was tremendous. They even bought machinery and furnished it to us: tractors. We had practically free office space all through the States. I think by the time we quit we were paying for very little office space. I believe that I figured at one time that the free cooperation we were getting throughout the States amounted to about two-thirds of the total cost of the work.
Where did your planting stock come from - your seed?
Well, we started the first collection of seed, and after about the first two years we didn't plant any seed in any area that wasn't collected within a certain radius of that particular area. We bought the first seedlings that we planted from commercial nurserymen. We did have quite a little trouble with the commercial nurserymen when we started to operate our own nurseries. But later on, through one of the Senators from South Dakota, particularly, we worked out a cooperative arrangement with the nurserymen. After that we had very little difficulty with 'em. But seed was collected locally, and processed, and Boy, we sure had some big processing operations.
You really have had a unique career.
Oh yes. I've always said that I never took a job that I knew anything about. Of course I was partly trained for range reconnaissance, and I stayed with that about three or four years. Then I went in as Inspector of Grazing without having had very much administrative experience. From there I went to Washington as Administrative Officer in the Branch of Research; I was the first Administrative Officer in the Branch of Research. I really had some fun getting that lined out because everybody had operated more or less independently.
Then from there I went out on the Shelterbelt project and of course that was entirely new. From there I went to the Guayule project, and I didn't get back to where I had my feet on the ground again until I went up to Region 1 as Chief of Grazing. And even while I was there I was on emergency projects a good share of time. So, as I've often said, I quit the "regular" Forest Service back in 1934 and didn't get back to it until 1946.
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