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Don Oakes Oral History Interview, April 9, 2014

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DON OAKES: I'm Don Oakes, and I've lived in Benton County all my life, that's 79 years. My great grandfather came here from Missouri in 1876. He came from Missouri. He was in the Civil War, served about 3 hitches in the Civil War, matter of fact. He served about a couple of months at a time during the Civil War period. Then he had a grocery store in Missouri before he came out here. He was, they just run sheep and cattle, had some cows and mostly lived off the ground, off the land here. They used to raise row crop here, vegetables, sold them in Bellfountain, in the logging camps. Raised pigs, sold them in the logging camps. This orchard here behind me, it was one of the original-that's the original trees that they planted when they came. Some of these trees we've had, they are over 150 years old. When I moved here, I bought this from my dad, or from Hull-Oakes Lumber. The berry vines, the blackberry vines were clear up in the top of these trees. It took me 3 years to clear the berry vines out of these trees. I took my tractor and I'd run out into these trees and spray them and it'd pick my tractor off the ground. I'd get that spray as far as I could, and the next year I'd come back and go that much further. That's the way I got them cleaned out, but we've had a lot. We're starting now, we're starting to raise new trees, the same varieties, which is really tough to do because the root stock of these old trees are different from the root stock of the new trees. This root stock is meant to last, and the new stock is only meant to last about 30 years. This is as long as an apple tree is supposed to last for now, at least that's what we found.

In 1884, my grandparents received their homestead certificate from Grover Cleveland, but the only reason they were-they already had the house all built, the barn all built before that-but he had to ride a horse clear to Roseburg to get the file for the homestead, because that was where the office was. So, he rode a horse clear to Roseburg to file for a homestead and that's why it took him so long. Well, I lived down the road down here this side of Bellfountain between Bellfountain and the sawmill, and we moved out to Monroe when I was about 10 or 11 and went there. My mom didn't think we should work in the logging woods. So, put us on the farm. I farmed clear up for a couple years after I got out of high school, and then I came back to logging woods. That was where I was at. But my wife, she was also raised down in Alpine. She went to Alpine school. We have 6 kids. We started an LLC on this place here. Now this is all in the LLC for future generations. In 1997 we built the shelter over there. That was another project. That was our first project, and it's, the house was just this side of the homestead shelter, or, the picnic shelter, and a picnic table is about the backdoor of the house. The cedar trees out in front of the shelter, my grandfather planted those when he got married in 1911. When he got married he lived down the road here between this and the gate down there, that's a picture of him and the three kids. They had 3 kids when they lived down there.

This place was run by, was owned by my grandfather's oldest brother. He lived here until he had to go to the nursing home, and then there was nobody living here for a number of years. The berry vines took it over. My dad was able to buy it from the rest of the kids, and he bought it from Hull-Oakes Lumber Company at that time. After he bought it from Hull-Oakes Lumber Company, I pulled and planted all the trees that are growing here. I can't think of anything else... which we've thinned and processed. I think one of the main things about this place is that Uncle Ed, they moved up here with his brother, which lived here, and they lived here with great grandmother. I can remember my folks talking about her, my mom. He raised a garden just about where the picnic shelter is and back a little further. He raised onions and radishes and lettuce and sold it to Bellfountain. He walked down past the house with his gunny sack full of produce, and take it to the stores, and he sold it down there in February. I always thought that was remarkable, because it grows fast up here, evidently. But he knew how to do it. Oh, Uncle Ed walked down the store is the one that shot the bear just above the house here. That was about '94, I think it was. Well, this was a strawberry field. I'll have to tell you a little bit about that. The spring had a flume that come from the house over to here and one of the girls had a strawberry field up here. My mom used to come up and buy strawberries from her, but this was a strawberry field. When we planted it there was still some old strawberry plants here. But we pulled the trees down here off Malcom place and brought up here and planted this. This has been thinned twice, at least. At least two times, maybe three. I can't remember how many times I have thinned this. But it's due to thin, we're going to thin it here this summer again. Just down here about 200 yards, 300 yards is where my grandfather had his house. After they got married he built a little shack down there. They had a little shack. I don't know-I could never find out how big it was, but it couldn't have been over about maybe 20' by 24' or something like that. It was a real small. I found the rocks to it, the foundation rocks when we planted it. Then he moved on down toward Corvallis after living there.

My wife, Donna, and I have 6 kids. We got married at a very young age. We've been married 61 years now. The oldest, our oldest daughter, Christine, and then I got a son Dennis and another daughter Marsha, and a son Duane, and a son Darrell, and the youngest one just Darwin, or Shorty we call him, but he's 6'2", or 3" or 4" now. But he was about 8 years behind the other 5. So, they all called him Shorty. So, that name stuck. He's still Shorty. Then I got a numerous amount of grandkids and great grandkids. I've got grandkids. But we're going to have a work party up here Saturday, and they're all coming as far as I know. I think I've got 100% coming up for a work party. We're going to work about 2 ½ hours clearing the limbs out of the orchard. We've got a pond down below here that needs some chips. I'll bring a chipper up and we'll chip some limbs up and make for the trail around the pond. We got an oak tree that fell down up by the big tree that went down and we have to clean it up. We're going to clean up the limbs and bring them down there to burn in a pit.

Interesting, the oak tree and the big tree, the Oregon State College came out on the big tree and said it was about 250 years old. The oak tree is 350 years old. It's an interesting example of how many fir trees and oak trees and trees was here back when my grandfather, great grandfather came here. At that time my great grandfather came here and my mom and dad was here, my mom said sitting on the front porch of the house she could watch the people go up in the church at Bellfountain. It's hard to believe you could do that, because there's so many trees you don't have a chance of seeing it now. Or, where the picnic table is by the shelter that was where the house was. When I was a kid, there used to be a flume that came out of the spring and came down across the back porch of the house. If you wanted a drink of water, you came out and pulled the plug out of the flume and put your glass underneath of it and filled your glass. Then you put the plug back in. That flume came on down this way and toward the, and this is where the strawberry field was that they watered out of the flume, the overflow out of it. These cedar trees is the only seeds that I've ever found that came off of the two big cedar trees in the front yard. We've had quite a time keeping them there, because the deer and elk scratched on it last time, but they might make it. Are you ready? This merry-go-round is from my other side of the house, on my Hull side. My Grandmother Hull was a Thompkins and they lived over the behind Green Peak and this merry-go-round was in the Green Peak School yard. Then when they disbanded the Green Peak school, they moved it to Trout Creek School. From the Trout Creek School, when it was out, they moved it to Alpine. My son was at Alpine and he seen them, they was getting ready to load it in the dump truck and haul it to the garbage. So, he says, hey I think my dad would like to have that. So, he come over and told me and we ran over and we got it. When we took it to the house and we rebuilt part of it and put new boards on it. My daughter says, was talking about painting it. She says, well, paint it any color but red. Well, knowing me, I didn't know, I didn't remember, but I remembered the word red, so that's what I painted it [laughs]. The grandkids love it. The great grandkids love it and they like the red. They really like the red merry-go-round.

This over here, there's no trees growing. We planted that, all the trees, but there's none, they didn't make it. The berry vines came up and took them over. That was because that was the hog pen, the hog building. That was a hog building. We tore it down and planted trees in it, but the berry vines had good fertilizer so they grew faster than the trees. We didn't come back here for about 5 years and the berry vines came up and killed all the trees off. So, I didn't plant it back. I made a parking spot out of it. That's why there's no trees there. I found this down by the pond down over the hill here. We got a pond down over the hill; been there since... well, I don't know. It's on the 1936 map, I see it. So, the pond's been there quite a while, but this was above it. I couldn't figure out what to do with it, so I brought it up here and put it here. We talked about making a hitching rack here with it, but the grandkids just love to run down it and see if they can run without falling off it when they cross these crossings, grandkids and great grandkids. But it's sort of unique. It's a fir. It's a Douglas fir that's got twisted up that way. I don't know why. I don't know what else to tell you about it. It's sort of unique, though. You don't see them very often. Once in a while. Okay, this is one of the big trees on the place. There's several of them here. They got a couple more over there, but none as big as this one. This tree here is 31 feet in circumference, the last time I measured it anyways. It could be a little bit bigger. The kids call this the Octopus tree. When I bring grade school kids up, they came back with an octopus. In 1997, or '87, I had a college, a couple college kids come up and they said that tree, they bored it, said that tree is roughly 250 years old. The oak tree over here that blew down now. It used to be standing until this last year, and it's 350 years old. We know there's no fir trees here. This tree was just about dead from the fir trees taking it over, growing over top of it, but it fell over this last winter.

Right down over the hill here is where our spring is, right close to the spring that we get our water for the homestead down there out of. I come up here with Dad one time, and Uncle Ed was cutting hay up here on this, and he had this side mowed, and this side down here he was raking. My dad was real concerned about him cutting it for hay because it had so much bracken fern in it. The horses would-I forget what the disease was they got from eating the bracken fern now, but the bracken fern would make them, well, it'd actually kill them, Dad said. He was raking hay, and I don't know how he sat in that seat in that thing, because this is pretty steep to go sideways on. Down below here you can see a pile of rocks that he picked off the field when he was farming it. He put them all down there in a pile. There's probably, I don't know how many hundred rocks down, but there's quite a bunch. There's a lot of rocks, and some of them are pretty good size. But he probably put them down there with a horse, I imagine. Both sides of this road was cut for hay. And Marsha put the white post down there. That's just so she could take a picture of it and show where the rock pile was so she could show it to people that come up. We should have colored post, is what we needed, a bright pink post or something down there in here, all planted by the winos my dad hired out of Junction City. He didn't think my cousin and I was going to get them planted quick enough. So, he hired a crew to help us.

This is the first nursery trees the Hull-Oakes ever planted. Before that we pulled them, planted all, everything. These are lady slippers, or orchids. They grow under the second growth. They grow under old growth, too, but the second growth they seem to come up pretty good on, and they grow, some places they grow really thick and you can pick them and they're really fragrant. They've got a beautiful smell, you pick enough of them and put them in a big bouquet of them. Gary was just telling me you can pick them and they come back. Didn't seem to bother them any. I think he's right. I've picked a lot of them and they come right back. Like so, now we used to be able to stand two people in here, and it's growing together. I got a picture of this on the back of my motor home. I had a guy draw it. It didn't quite come out as good as I hoped it did, but after I bought the place, I brought Ralph up and showed him this tree that he didn't know he had. I didn't tell him I was-he probably charged me extra for this tree if he had known it was on the property. He took me over to show an oak tree that had grown together like that that he had, that he knew about. Boy, more work. Well, we're at Bunker Hill School House above, what's that road that goes up that other way there? Going over to Starr Creek, it goes over to Starr Creek.

I think this is where the sidewalk was, was on the other side of this-this is the gate post. It's got to be. There was concrete in the ground right here, three steps as I remembered it. There was a big-I say big, probably wasn't that big, because it was big to me. That building might have been 24'x30' or something like that, was as big as it was for the schoolhouse. Wasn't very big as we know them today. I remember having an outhouse out behind it. We had a little outhouse out there. Matter of fact, the outhouse was there the last time. Well, when I planted this Christmas trees out here the first time the outhouse was still here out behind here. It fell over, but it was still there. But the school burned down, or it was tore down. I can't remember now which.

GARY BLANCHARD: When do you think the school ended?

DO: About 1941, I think. '42? Well, it seems like it was about 2 years after I started school at Bellfountain, the kids come from here to Bellfountain. The school bus come up and picked them up down here in that school bus turnaround thing, all the kids that lived up here. The Diamond kids, I remember Francene Diamond, she went to school down there. She was a couple years younger than I was, maybe 3 years younger than I was. Well this is a daffodil and I think, let's see, the other plant I got a hold of here has got a blue flower on it.

GB: Vinca.

DO: Vinca. It's around where home sites and stuff are at. We think this is where the school was at. I know the bunker house school was located right in here, but I'm not sure where it sat, because I can remember seeing it, playing. Like I say, it was only about a, maybe a 20'x30' building. Wasn't very big. So, I don't think it had only about 12, 16 kids going to it. It was about all it had. I don't even remember where the teacher lived. It had an outhouse, and the outhouse was still there the first time I come in here to plant the trees out here, clear the ground to plant Christmas trees on. It was still out there. But there was some big fir trees out there, too. They're all gone now.

MARSHA CARR: Okay, so over the years I know you've logged for Hull-Oakes since...45. Is that what you said? Earlier?

DO: Yeah, 45 years.

MC: 45. So, I'm sure you've logged a lot of this.

DO: Not this.

MC: Not over on this side?

DO: I'm not sure what thickets. It could be down there on that end. I'm not sure where them clearcuts are at. From up here, I don't recognize where I'm at.

MC: Yeah.

DO: Is my trouble. I know when we were logging one of them I could look down and see Highway 34 over there.

MC: And 34 is just on the other side of those.

DO: Yeah, just on the other side of it. But when I started working in the woods, the side of Marys Peak up there when the sun hit it just right in the evening, it was all white with snags. It was a snag patch you never could believe. I looked at the sail up there one time, and I think it must have been that little sail just down this side where somebody's clear cut it or back that way. But there were trees down there that they cut snags that were 5, 6 foot through and they left them. They had burned in that 1850 fire and killed them. They'd get a lightning fire. Every summer they were fighting fire over there on that. So, the government put out a contract. In the summertime they'd cut snags. I don't know how many guys were working on it, but they worked on it for about 5, 6 years, just falling snags. That's all they did. There were no roads. You had to walk in a long ways to get to them. The same thing, when they were fighting the fire. There were no roads. I know one time they said had a 1,200 people out there on a fire, up there on Marys Peak. That was in the late '50s. It looks a lot better now. It looks a lot better. But a lot of trees growing out across here. Then we did the railroad grade down around here somewhere. I'm not sure where. Took the old railroad grade out. One field we had, that we took out, we got 7 loads of logs out of it, where they fell the logs into the draw and raised the draw up and they fell logs across it, trees across it, and notched them and put the ties on them. I couldn't ever-and them logs were just as sound as the day they were put in there.

MC: Were they fir?

DO: Yeah, Doug fir.

MC: Douglas fir?

DO: But it was one of the unusual-est things I've ever seen in that area. That's where the pipeline, I noticed the pipeline was there. About every 400 feet they had a sandpipe coming out along this railroad grade. They had this, I think it was an inch and a quarter pipe right along the edge of the railroad track. About every 400 feet they had a sandpipe come up and we had, of course, we had a lot of fun with that taking them out. You had to take them out of there to get the road built. They'd get wrapped up in the Cat tracks and everywhere else.

MC: So, when we were talking earlier about when we were coming up Oliver Creek and you were talking about somebody who, when you were first learning to log somebody was teaching you how to-somebody you went with at first, was it Standrough? Who was it that you talked about you first started out teaching you how to log?

DO: Yeah, Ralph Standrough.

MC: Ralph Standrough, okay.

DO: Yeah.

MC: He's the first one you went with, and then you learned from Uncle Russ and Oscar and?

DO: Uncle Russ taught me how to run the Cat. My great uncle Will Thompkins, Russ Oakes. They were the first teachers.

MC: Russ Oscar? Oscar Oakes?

DO: Yeah, he was a second cousin or something. He was a woods foreman when I started.

MC: So, grandpa's brothers are Russ.

DO: Russ, Ken.

MC: Ken Oakes is the one I'm thinking of. Ken-you learned a lot from Ken. You worked with Ken, right?

DO: Oh, Ken was the best faller in the country.

MC: And Russ was the best Cat driver.

DO: Cat driver. The CCC boys taught my uncle Russ to run Cat, and he could build more road than an average guy could build in a week. He'd do it in a day.

MC: Now, did he put the roads in at Burl Tom? Our property at Burl Tom?

DO: Yes.

MC: Russ did that? Through the cut bank and down along through there?

DO: Yeah, through the cuts and around the hillside.

MC: Yeah.

DO: Down over the hills. He'd go anywhere with a Cat. Yeah, we've done a lot of things. Of course, I used to top trees too, that's the other thing, on the high leads. I don't know how many. I think one time I topped about 50-some trees and rigged them with cables in the woods. We used to do it all by hand. Had sled yarders, sled loaders. So, for all the modern machines. We didn't have any modern machinery until way up into the '80s like we got now.

MC: What about the trucks back then? They brought a lot of the mills you said before that, the history before you were logging, they brought a lot of the mills to the woods to log instead of taking the logs to the mills like we do now.

DO: No. They always hauled the logs to the mill, but there was a lot of mills. A lot of little mills. Lot of little mills. I don't know what we-we had 500 mills not very many years ago. I don't know what we got now, 150 or '40 or something mills left in Oregon. But back in early days, well, like when West Miller started Hull-Oakes lumber-the mill where Hull-Oakes Lumber is-that was in 1918, but there must have been, well, I know of 5 mills right in that area that was little mills that was just a traction engine, and they had just a sawmill and cut lumber for all projects. I'm going to go down and pick up the other one down here.

If you noticed I got 7 foot chokers on it that I use. They're pretty short for this kind of logging, but they do fit, except that one there I had to double them up on because I bonused it. I put a bridle on that one so I could bring them in. In here 99% of the logs the chokers will go around. Once in a great long while I find one that won't fit. The best thing about them is, the footers in the back it picks them up off the ground and I can back up with no problem at all and don't get on the top of the chokers. Pretty fancy Cat for an old guy. This old Cat's got air conditioning and a heater in it. So, it makes it pretty easy on an old man. My son, Dennis, and I are logging this. He falls the trees, and I yard them in. He falls and bucks them and I yard them in, and my mind went blank... but, we get a load a day. I work from 8:00 to 1:00. Then he takes the truck in at 12:00 and I finish it up after that. We don't have a problem getting a load a day. This is going through here. This will be the second time this stand has been thinned. This was pretty late when we got the first thinning and it's been about 15 years now since the first thinning was in here. I think we're getting about four or five thousand feet to an acre.

So, I think this is the Master's place, if I remember right. The fruit trees behind and several others around here, a plum tree across the road. At one time, my grandfather owned this and I was, when I was born in Junction City, my folks lived in a house on my grandfather's place just down the road here about a half mile. Mrs. Masters used to come down to see if I was alright, and the Watson place is the next place down. That's, my grandfather fell in a well down there one time and broke his leg about 20 feet deep, but the only thing he had was an axe. He crawled back up out of the well by chopping holes in the side of it. Got back out, got on his horse, and rode home. Then he had a cast on it. It seemed like a long time. He'd done good on that. Recovered good from that. He was a tough-but he run about 400 head of sheep and about 100 head of goats up here on this place, on these places. I don't know how many hundred acres he owned up here, but I know it was over twelve or fourteen hundred. When I was a kid, this was all open ground. My grandfather ran the sheep in here and then he had goats to keep the brush all down. Now it's all come up to trees. They've logged at least once. Some of it's been logged twice, and it's all coming back up. It needs to be thinned again, looks to me like. Down past where I was, after I was born and my folks lived, I came back up there in about, oh, I don't know I was 5 or 6 years old and we were in the barn down below the house. These two hounds was chasing this coyote down the ridge. You could see for miles then. There were no trees out there anywhere, except for a few oak trees. The big old Walker hound. He grabbed the coyote by the rear, and the coyote ran around fighting him. Then the redbone had catch up with them a little bit, because he was slower. He was just ready, redbone was just ready to grab the coyote and my grandfather came up behind me and said, hey, you boys, get back in the barn. He wouldn't let us watch that coyote, or that dog kill that coyote. But that redbone would kill them.

At that time, you could see for miles. All this country, none of it had trees on it. The oak trees on it were probably 300 years old. Then we got fir trees everywhere. The whole thing has come back up to fir trees. A lot of them are planted now but a lot of them are natural. Mother Nature, you can't stop it. You can't stop her from, of course we got blackberry vines growing here, too. Mother Nature's taking over-would take over this road if we didn't do something with it. You have to spray it. We're on Starker ground looking down into Trout Creek. A lot of beautiful ground. This peak's right underneath of us here, my dad bought it from I think it's a couple of farmers. I can't remember what. When we went down to visit them, they were living right there and they were raising goats. I remember that. Then they moved out to South Fork. South Fork had the deadwood highway and built a house out there. They were, God, that must have been about 1957 or '8 when we were in there. But looking out across this, that big valley over there on the other side of this government timber down below us here, just on the other side of that government timber is where the Trout Creek School was. All that freshly logged off area way over there is where Doc Howard had his sheep ranch. He had the corrals right down in the bottom here off Trout Creek. There's a big sheep corrals down in there. Beautiful stand here. Beautiful. I don't know-over on the far hill, that fresh logging is where I started in about 1956. I started out in the high lead over there. My dad put me out there by myself. You wouldn't do that nowadays, but I was out there working with a guy on a high lead and my dad says, well, he's really fast. I said, yeah. I can be fast, too, if I sit on a stump all day and punch a whistle. That was the last day he was out there with me. I was out there by myself after that. I learned how to pull rigging the hard way.

This is, I don't know what else to tell you. I'm lost. Trout Creek is right down at the bottom of this draw right down below us here. Beautiful. We used to fish that, and good fishing. Doc Howard ran about 400 head of sheep over on that hill. Curley Hockett's dad worked for him herding sheep. This is the ridge that the Att girls walked over. They walked over this ridge from the Alsea over and went to Trout Creek school. You sort of see how rough the ground was. I don't remember where the road was here. We're on the property. There's a turkey barn here someplace, a turkey shed. I think it's on the other side of the hill. Way over in the far distance, you can see Green Peak sticking up out of the clouds just about to come in. We get a little mist on it. That's on the back side of Green Peak. That's where my dad used to camp over there on the side of that on Saturday nights when they were deer hunting. They'd walk up from the mill and go over there and camp just about where you can see the Greek Peak coming down there. There used to be a big tree there. I used to be able to find it, but I don't see it over there now. Somebody cut it. Used to hunt there and they'd come back this way to the next hill we see and that's where they'd shoot the deer at, walk down into Green Peak Creek and back up the other side and back to the [unclear].

We're on Starker's property. I think its part of the Att Place. These are the walnut trees that are ancient walnut trees. Gary Blanchard says he never gets any walnuts out of; the squirrels always beat him to them. I just noticed something here on the bottom of this tree. We got some bedding to keep the deer from eating it. It must work. The tree looks pretty good. Over across the way over there, you see the corner of Burrough Tom. Starker has logged down one side and across the end just a little bit. Beautiful job over there. That's a pretty picture. Got the yarder sitting on top of the ridge. That's beautiful job. The Att girls used to walk from the bottom of the Alsea River up over this ridge and we just had a picture of the Trout Creek side over at the school, and that's where they walked to school. I met one of the girls up at the Green Peak Falls and she was with her husband, was a pool. I can't remember his first name, but my dad told me about him. They were fist boxers. They didn't wear gloves. His hands were as big as a horse's foot. I bet it probably felt like one. From over on our property we used to be able to look across here. Do you want me to walk over there by the-?

GB: Yeah.

DO: We'd walk over from the Earl Tom Place. I used to be able to look across here and there was a turkey barn over here someplace. Gary says he thinks it was up here behind this, this pear tree. It's where that barn used to be. It was pretty long. It was probably 80 feet long, I would guess, from my recollection 50 years ago. When I was logging up on Earl Tom, we was taking big old growth trees out that was left that nobody could, they wouldn't take in the '40s. The sawmills wouldn't accept them. We was back in and cleaning up and taking all them big old trees out. You could look across from down there and look up here and see it. They said that they, Earl Tom said that they brought the feed in up the county road through Earl Tom's and then out the ridge to the turkey barn. Today is July 3, 2014. We're sitting on the railroad grade going to Dawson. I was going to talk about the railroad coming down through here when I was about 4 years old. They were hauling logs down this railroad grade with a steam-powered locomotive. They'd have four-maybe 4 or 5 cars. I don't remember exactly. I do remember the cattle guard on the front of the train, though. It was a monster steel thing that was out there to shove the cows off the track. I was about 4 or 5 that seemed like a big deal to me. They logged down Oliver Creek, which was-they bought them logs from the Highway 34 that goes to Alsea and came down Oliver Creek with them. That was a lot of country up there that they logged, come down this. As I remember they had about 3 or 4 cars of trains a day went down this with logs. The last train that went down it that had the passenger car on it, my uncle came and got me and my brother. We rode the passenger train to Monroe and had lunch. Then we got on the passenger train and came back, the passenger car. That was the last day they ran that passenger thing.

I loved over here where my sister lives now. That cedar tree used to be right against the front porch. That cedar tree's got to be 80 or 90 years old, or maybe older. It was older than I am, I'm sure, because the house was-well, maybe not, about the same age. It's had a rough life, though. The ice got it a couple times. We had a silver fall here in 1940 or '41, they tell me. The county road used to go behind the house, not out here in front. The county road, it's still-you can see the remnants of the grade out there that went up the canyon, went up Oliver Creek. But my dad built this house, oh, God, I don't-I was only about 2 years old when he built the house after we came back from living on the railroad grade over at Valsetz. We had this little houses that they hauled on the train and they'd move camp from one place to the next. They set them off the side of the track and they'd put them together-one or two or three, how much of a family you had, you'd have these little houses you'd put together to make you a living quarters. Then they had a boardwalk that went all the way down the street into town, into the stores there in Valsetz. In 1950, I think it was, my dad took us over there and wanted to know if we could find where we lived. We showed him right exactly where we lived. He said, yeah, that's exactly where our house was, but there was nothing left there. They took all the thing down and tore it all out. But the pond and the railroad track and there was a tree, it seemed to me like it was a big tree, but it hadn't grown a bit. It was still about the same size as when I lived there. It was right alongside the railroad track, between the railroad track and the house. My dad thought that was pretty funny that we could remember where we lived when I was that young.

Well, Union Pacific sold the right away to the Benton County for almost half a million dollars. Then we got a contract in here taking the track and the ties and everything out.

They're talking about making a bike path out of it or something. The farmers and all the property rights people along the railroads are having a dispute about that, and we don't know who's going to win that yet, still in the works. When the county, if the county puts a bike path in here they're going to have to do a lot of work on it. My deed says that there will be a fence put in and it will be maintained by them. The crossing zone-I have three crossings and the crossings have to be established to where a wagon can go across it without rattling it and scaring the horses, I think it says on the thing. But that's in the deed. This is a 40 foot right away up through here. Most of this fence I've built, a lot of it I've built myself, so I didn't want to disturb the railroad any. They've been trying to take this track out for 30 years, probably. Since I was involved with Hull-Oakes. Well, I didn't want to disturb them and aggravate them any about anything else. We gave the railroad ties to keep them running here and so it's been a battle all the way, and then we lost in the end. The county's' going to have a terrible time over here over time. Some of the guys have figured out how much it's going to cost them a mile to build this fence and rebuild them. This fence right here is shot. We've had a terrible time. I rented this out and the people that rented it, they put two new barb wires on it to keep the cows from going over it, but just up the fence here a little ways, the steel fence posts have even rusted off that I put in. Down the track here a ways there's one stretched down there that they were heavy-duty fence posts and they were rusted off. So, I don't know how they're going to keep this. It's going to be a never-ending battle to keep that fence up, according to the contract that we have. Plus, you can see the brush is growing over it and to keep it so you can ride a bicycle up it you're going to have a terrible maintenance cost of keeping it maintained. Plus, if you're going to pave it, that's another problem. Plus, I don't know how much fire danger you're going to have. I've put two fires out for the fishermen down here in the years I've lived here. The fisherman come down, they sit on the trestle down here or on a railroad tie. Both of my fires have been on the railroad ties, and burned, not that much. I had a fire protection thing and I ran down and had a sprayer and kept 100 gallons of water in it. I could run down there right quick and put it out. If I hadn't done that, it'd probably be over top of that mountain because this time of the year it's, well, it's not too bad right now but it will be in another month. You can't run fast as the fire can go here. That's what I'm scared to death of. Of course, I'm trying to raise trees, and that's-if you want trees to keep the air pure and clean, you've got to keep them going. You can't burn them.

From here, we're about 2 miles from the house on Oliver Creek. The rails used to go up this creek here and they'd put logs down wherever they crossed and then they'd put timbers on it and the ties on top of that, and then the rails. When I was a kid, there wasn't any rails left here and most of the ties were gone except where it was real marshy and stuff. They never took them out. They'd just put planks on them to get across it. But some of those logs, where them big logs were in the creek, well that was some good fishing holes. There were some good fishing holes in here. But my mom used to get real worried. I was only about 8, maybe 9. We had to have 2 kids go together. Well, two of us would have to go. It was the only stipulation. She was scared we were going to drown in here. We could catch quite a few fish out of there.

We're on Oliver Creek. This is where the Southern Pacific train quit. The train out of the woods come down and I think it was 3 sightings here. Garth Rickard told me that he worked up on that. He was one of my employees. He retired running shovel for me. He was telling about they'd bring the cars from the woods down, one or two cars at a time, with a Shay, I think he said, and brought them down here and then they'd take them from here to Corvallis on the main track. They'd put, it seemed to me like they had 5 or 6 cars when they'd go by our house down there on the train. It was all they took. They weren't very big cars. The train looked awful small compared-I've seen some of those trains back in the museum and stuff, and they're pretty small trains that they used to use. Pretty small rail, too. I think it was probably 80 pound rails, and we run about 150 pound rail now, or something like that. At one time you could go out here and you could find the gravel that they'd put on the rails, the ties. When we first worked this up, we stirred up the, it was mountain rock that they used under the ties to hold them up out of the mud here or out of the dirt. Right now we're about a mile and a half above the sawmill, and this is where the mainline quit. Now the boy that's got this now is using this for a wood yard. The people that own it now. When I was first married this was all horses. Shetland ponies were a popular thing. You could look up the hill here for a quarter of a mile and there was nothing. This was all field. Beautiful place. It's pretty now, too. It's got trees.

We're up Rickard Creek, which is a tributary off of Oliver Creek where the railroad ran up to here. A Chinese camp was just across the creek from where we're at. This is concrete here was Pistol Pacamawa's house, or, the house that Floyd Blackburn built when he was logging foreman for Corvallis Log. The last person I knew to live in this house was Clayton Dement. He drove dump for us for about 30 years, or 40. A long time. It was a log house. The front door was at least 2 inches thick, hand hewed. I remember that very plainly. It was a big, heavy hinges, sort of after Mount Hood's lodge, designed about-that kind of a design. You could build a fire in the house, and you had to haul wood. I don't know. I think Clayton said it took about 10 cords of wood a year to keep the house. I don't think it was that big. It wasn't very much cubic feet. Pistol Pacamawa was, she drove a buggy and she picked up Hazel Cleveland down the creek here, down Oliver Creek. They'd go to Bellfountain, and she carried a pistol on her hip. As kids, we heard stories about her. We was scared to death of her. Her and Mrs. Baxter, that's a pretty bad name, you know? That's a big name. We was scared to death of her. We'd see her coming, we'd run back to the house. Then after I got married and knew Hazel, well Hazel just laughed. She thought that was funnier than heck. I told her about all the stuff we heard about Pistol Pacamawa. Hazel said she could walk a tin can down the road with that pistol, so... she was pretty good with that pistol. I don't know what ever happened to her when she moved out of here. I remember the Chinese camp across the creek, and Garth Rickard said it was about 16, he thought 16 or up to size 20 people lived there at one time.

Pistol Pacamawa, she raised-I don't remember if it was turkeys or chickens she raised down there in those barracks, but she made it into a poultry house. I think it might have been turkeys back in '39, or '40, or right in that period of time. Later on, they moved a bunch of the barracks from Camp Adair out and put them across the creek here. There was, I don't know how many families lived over there, but there was about 4 or 5 of those barracks they had put over there, because you'd get them, if you were a war veteran, Second World War veteran, you could get those for pretty near nothing. So, a lot of people got those and then they'd move them out here in the woods. Folks come back from the service and get away from the country and get away from everything. They'd move back up here in the hills. These are sweet, wild-well, they're not wild. They were planted by somebody, but my uncle Ralph he said that all the old timers had these because they could carry the seeds and plant them anyplace and they'd grow anywhere. That was one of the first flowers that came across in a covered wagon. That's where they got started here. The history of this property here is, I think Corvallis Log owned it originally. Then I don't know who owned it after that, whether Pistol Pacamawa owned it. I'm sure she did. Then Homer got it, my uncle Homer Hull. Then had it until he sold it to, the kids sold out to Roseboro and then Roseboro sold it to Starker Forest. Now Starker Forest has it now at this time. Right now we're on Green Peak Creek. We're about a quarter of a mile above the Green Peak Falls right here. There's some big falls down here. It's opposite the Alsea Falls. It's on the same rock fault. There's about 4 falls on this rock fault in about 6 miles here along the mountain. This is John and Sarah Thompkins homestead. It's a plaque that they put here for that. John had a shingle mill right over the bank opposite this plaque. That's the way he made his living. It was a large family. I don't remember how many kids, whether it was 9 or 10. My grandmother was born here, and her brother and uncle, Bill Thompkins, I worked with him for a number of years. He was a Cat driver for Hull-Oakes Lumber. Bessie Miller, I mean Bessie Thompkins, which married Wes Miller which started the sawmill down at Dawson was born here. There were several of them, Mabel, and I don't remember all the rest of them-Rose, but Uncle Bill was the one that was most notable, because he was always up to something. A little scrape this week, or last week, I can't remember what day. But, man, I thought it was done had it.

GB: Is that right?

DO: I got thrown out of my Cat.

GB: Oh, wow.

DO: The Cat went backwards, and I broke a log. I was pulling a log and coming down against a maple. It was about that big around [makes a hand gesture to display circumference], and that God dang thing-the Cat came up tight and I turned around and looked behind me. About then, that damn thing broke and that Cat went pff [makes forward-throwing motion] like that, that jarred. It threw me out the door. Then the Cat rolled backwards. Man, alive, I thought. Man alive. Then I got to thinking about all the other times, you know, all the logs that's went over top of me. I had one time we had a big old log, oh it was about, oh, hell it was that far through [holds hand up to shoulder], and it rolled down over top of me. It was a rotten log. That thing rolled down and just disintegrated, and the guys on the landing. They came running around and had the stretcher to come down and dig us out. It just went over top of us and disintegrated. They got this set up in an LLC. We set it up about 15 years ago now. We try to have 3 meetings. We just started a new thing with the grandkids. They are printing a newspaper, and it comes out 3 times a year or 4 times-four times a year I guess it is. They print this out and one of my granddaughters is doing this to get more kids involved in it. So, we try to keep them interested in it so we can keep it moving. So, I keep them interested in it. Then we've been debating about how much financial stuff we should involve them in, so they don't think they can just run out and sell it for a big pile of money or something. That's my worst thought, is they think, well, shoot we can get all the money out of it and be gone. But, the trees keep growing and as long as the trees keep growing, well, the income will be coming in all the time. It's not going to be a whole pile, but like I told them, you can't live on Social Security. That's what my dad told me. He says, you better plan on doing something else or having some extra money because Social Security may not be around. When you get to where you can't work, you're going to have some other income. So, that's what I'm sort of hoping they'll do with this, is use this for extra income when they get 65. My kids have seen that and I think they pretty much planned on it, and we do log. I'm logging. Even though I'm alive now, we're still logging, and we do split some of the income off of the logging with them every time we do a logging. So, that keeps them wanting to do a little logging and interested in what we're doing by giving them a little money off of it, and I try to get them, I tell them to give some of their kids some of the money that you received off of it. Maybe that'll help them get interested in keeping it going. But I don't know. You know, there's probably more people that's got better education or better ideas than I have. You got to do something.

My great grandkids have planted some of these trees that's just down the road down here, right along the edge here. We didn't get this all planted, this whole landing site here. So, I had my great grandkids, they were up here. My grandkids, kids, and great grandkids were up here and I had a little granddaughter, she was about 3 and she stomped in some of these trees over here. I dug the whole, and she put the tree in it. I put the dirt around it and then she stomped on it with her little foot about 2 inches long or 4 inches long. I think she was 2 or 3. But she really thought that was good. I know which tree it is. I'll show it to her. That's one of our things. We come out pretty near every year and we plant a few trees with all the kids. That's one of our meetings that we have with the family LLC. We do some kind of a project, whether it's cleaning a pond. We've got a pond at the homestead that we have to keep the brush cut away from. There's a trail around it. We put chips on it and stuff like that to keep them interested in it. Then we have a barbeque or something there at the homestead when we do that. I try to involve all the kids in it, and grandkids. I had one of my grandkids, matter of fact he went to, we call it the Black Forest. It's was a real dense stand that we thinned. He had never been in a forest at all, and so I gave him a row of tape, or about 6 rows of tape, I guess. I told him what I wanted. I told him a tree, if it's under-storied, or if it's got the top broke out of it, which we had a lot of broken tops this last winter, that's the ones we put the ribbon around so we know which ones to fall when we go through. He marked that, probably about 20 acres there. I think we had 2 trees that we didn't take that he had marked. Maybe not more than 5 that he didn't mark that he missed in that whole thing. That was really remarkable that he did as good a job for no experience, no education, just what I showed him. But he's, what is he now? 16. So, he was doing good. He did really good.

I've got kids all the time, grandkids that want to do that all the time. I take them out and show them, but they usually get bored in just a little bit. One or two trees. Oh, yeah, that tree needs to go and that one, oh, no. Pretty quickly, they'd see a water dog crawling up the hill or a frog on the side of a tree or some moss or some coyote dung or something that distracts them, and there off on a different thing. But it's a challenge to keep them going. You raise kids, well, you learn you got to keep working on it. But I think the best thing we've done is that magazine we're writing that one of my granddaughters is putting out. That's really been good and she sends it to all the kids and grandkids every time, so we know the meetings coming and what we're going to be doing. She puts it in the paper, what we're going to be doing and they all really appreciate that. They really think that's a neat magazine. We try to get a couple pictures in it about something that we've done or are doing. I don't know just how much financials to get them involved in yet. I haven't quite figured that out. Maybe I'll get some education someday to teach me how much I should be doing toward that. This is a new experience for me, of course. You only live life once and to get it all right, I don't know if you can do that or not. I would hope I can do as good a job as-I'm doing as good a job as I know I can do, but sometimes I think I should be doing better.