BATES - AUSTIN, OREGON 
A BRIEF HISTORY

(Plus precious treasured memories of those who lived there)

 

For recent email posts, scroll down the page quite a ways. They are listed by date. 

 

BATES - AUSTIN REMEMBERED
 

Click on the red unlined title directly above to read recorded memories from the book published in 1997 by Sonja and Gary Johns.  

 

 

(Photos taken in 1957 by Albert Stone and his daughter Louise Stone Labaugh)
(Click on photos to enlarge)

 


 

Click on the link directly below for easy access to Dr. Mick Watterson's Bates/Austin/Grant County PHOTO website:
 

Bates-Austin/Grant County Area Photo Site

 

Bates Park In The News - October 9, 2011 (Courtesy of Len Cardwell)

 

Two aerial photos taken of the new Bates Park in September 2011, provided by Linda Raines 

 


Click on the photos below to enlarge.  They were taken in late June, 2008. The photo of Clear Creek is taken off the bridge.  Billie Joe (Raines) George says her mother, Teresa, planted the gorgeous yellow roses in photo on right.  - (Norm)


Austin from the highway                       Clear Creek - Former Location Of Bates                  Telephone Shed - Raines' Roses


 

VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THE BATES - AUSTIN - GRANT COUNTY, OREGON AREA YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN SEEING

 

Gregg Smith has been doing historical research on various topics of Eastern Oregon over the years, and he has compiled some valuable facts of the old Austin Cemetery.  To check out his findings, you can click on the following link:  Austin Cemetery  


 

BATES- AUSTIN HISTORY

 

The Sumpter Valley Railroad arrived in Austin during 1905.  In the beginning, the rails stopped at the former stagecoach stop of Austin Station.  A large sawmill owned by Oregon Lumber Company was built beside the tracks at Austin.  This mill was in operation during the decade preceding World War I.  The passenger trains from Baker stopped at the Austin House (Austin Station) for lunch which “Ma” Austin served at her board house.  The means were served “family style” in ample proportions.

 

From Austin, the Oregon Lumber Company laid their own tracks into the timber and brought logs to the big double-sided mill.

 

Austin was quite a town in its day, with several saloons, stores and even a jail.  The buildings had false fronts (there was still one these false fronted buildings standing as late as 1997).  It boasted a board sidewalk also.  The railroad facilities included a four-stall engine house, yard trackage and a water tank. 

 

There was a mill called the Eccles Mill near Austin.  This mill was owned and operated by Bill Eccles, a brother to David Eccles, owner of Oregon Lumber Company.  (NOTE:  Anyone interested in learning more about David Eccles and his lumbering operations, you can click on the following link:  David Eccles Lumbering History.   Thanks goes to Gregg Smith for discovering this achieved newspaper article and bringing it to our attention).

 

The town of Austin was started by a man named Newton.  In the late 1800’s Minot and Linda Austin arrived and purchased the town site, and renamed it Austin.  Minot ran a stage line between Sumpter and Canyon City.  Linda ran the general store, hotel and boarding house.  At one time Austin boasted a population of approximately 500 people. * (NOTE:  See footnote below; this paragraph may not be entirely accurate).  

 

In about 1917 the Oregon Lumber Company built a new double-sided sawmill about a mile down the Middle Fork of the John Day River from Austin.  A company owned town was built for the mill workers and was named Batesville.  Later the name was shortened to Bates.  This mill remained in full operation until October 1975, when a new mill was put into operation in John Day by Edward Hines Lumber Company, the owners at that time.

 

The Oregon Lumber Company built a large while hotel at the side of the track close to the mill.  There was a dance hall near the hotel, (later a truck barn was built on the sight of the dance hall, after it had burned down), where many dances were attended by all.  Oregon Lumber Company built logging tracks down the Middle Fork and had branches up the draws and creeks to supply logs to the new mill.  The lumber was then shipped on the Sumpter Valley Railroad to Baker.  The rails were pulled in the late 1940’s.  At this time off-highway logging trucks began hauling logs in to the mill.  They had 12 foot wide bunks and were stacked close to 20 feet from the ground.

 

There were other sawmills in the area which were the Baker White Pine mill on Crawford Creek, the Stoddard Brothers Lumber Company, later becoming Stoddard Lumber Company, did a lot of logging in the local area, hauling logs on their own trains in to their mill in Baker. 

 

Just west of Austin Junction are the remains of a mill called the Cavenaugh mill, besides Bridge Creek.  A small mill pond is still visible.  This mill was built in 1929, but never sawed a board.  The Depression struck and construction was halted.

 

Bates was tucked into one of the loveliest valleys in Grant County in Eastern Oregon.  It was surrounded by prime timber, with Dixie Butte (elevation 7592 feet above sea level) towering over the town.  Today – Bates along with its saw mill, its railroad and all of the people who once lived there– now only exist as memories and faces in old photos of the former residents.

 

The technique of logging in the beginning at Austin and Bates was simple.  It involved a lot of hard, physical labor.  In those days of the early 1900’s most types of work did involve hard, physical labor. 

 

A crew was sent out to construct the railroad grade, for the tracks to be laid on. The main line of Eccles narrow gauge railroad followed the Middle Fork of the John Day River from Bates, eventually going as afar as Camp Creek.  All the tracks except the main line was temporary track.  As the crew went out and built the grade, another crew followed behind laying track.  These temporary branch lines went out into the canyons where the logging was taking place.

 

The lumber camps came along with the railroad.  The cook shack and dining room were built on railroad cars, as were many of the dwellings (boxcar houses) the men and their families lived in.

 

When an area was logged out, the lumber camp was dismantled.  Much of it was loaded onto the flat cars, the track was taken up behind the train and the work proceeded to another area of the forest.

 

In the beginning, until the dry kilns were built, the lumber produced at the Bates mill was loaded green onto flat cars and hauled to Baker, where it was dried in the kilns at the Oregon Lumber Company mill there.

 

Over the years as the industry progressed, much of the work done by the railroad was gradually replaced by trucks that hauled the logs.  By 1935 there were quite a few trucks in use.  The trucks hauled more and more and the railroad less and less, until about 1946 and 1947 the last rails were pulled up.  That’s when the dry kilns were built.

 

Over the years the population of Bates was between a few hundred to as many as 400.  As machines replaced men the population dwindled.  At one time there were approximately 125 kids in the Bates School.

 

Bates was a close-knit community.  Those who lived there were like one big family.  It was a great place to raise kids.  Everybody watched out for the kids.  To those who lived at Bates, it was a special place and a special time in their lives.  

 

The past Bates residents hold a Bates Reunion every two years, in order to renew old friendships and reminisce about the “Good Ole Days in Bates.”  Those days may be gone, but none of the people will ever forget!
 


 

* Norm Note:  Gregg Smith is a historian, and he emailed me the following information on 11-30-2008.  Much appreciated:

 

Some time ago I read and "filed" some old Grant County deeds and property records.  If I can find my copies I will send them to you to post.  Or, if someone else is interested, they can find them at the Grant County Courthouse.
 
What I remember was that Minot Austin was Mrs. Newton's son.  Mr. Newton must have been her second husband, having been previously married to a man named Austin.  The old maps of the area show the site of Austin as "Newton's."
 
It appears that Mr. Newton died and the property passed to Mrs. Newton.  She then willed the property to Minot.  If I recall, she had other children, whom she each willed $1.00.  So - there must have been some hard feelings.  When Mrs. Newton died, Minot inherited the Newton property.  He was married to Linda and they then renamed the site "Austin." 
 
At some point Minot joined with some other investors to pursue a business venture.  Gold mining perhaps?  Minot secured a loan from a Baker bank and mortgaged the Austin property as security for the loan.  The investment went sour and the bank foreclosed on the mortgage.  Then it appears that Minot left and Linda stayed behind.  She had a viable stage stop business and made a deal with the bank.  Over time she paid off the bank loan and took full possession of the Austin property.
 
Now ... when I was a kid working for Henry Ricco in the mid-1950s, Henry told me a story told to him by 'Doc' Edwards -- Linda Austin's brother.  Doc had moved in with Linda to help her, but it was probably the other way around.  Doc was a terrible alcoholic.  He 'borrowed' things from Linda to buy his booze.  Henry Ricco, who bought the Austin place from 'Doc' Edwards after Linda died, found her wedding ring rolled up in a sock inside a shoe in her bedroom.  It was one thing Doc was unable to "borrow."
 
In any case, Minot apparently wrote Linda that he wanted to come back and would be on a particular stage.  Doc met Minot at the stage and pointed a pistol at him.  Doc said to Minot, paraphrasing, "If you step down from the stage I'll shoot you dead."  Minot wisely stayed on the stage and moved off into history.  Both Linda Austin and Doc Edwards are buried at the Canyon City cemetery.

I spent a lot of time trying to find and get copies of old maps of our country.  Two maps in particular:  In 1890, one map reads that what is now Austin was then "Newton's."  Two years later, in 1892, the map reads "Newton's or Austin's."
 
So Mrs. Newton must have willed the Newton property to Minot Austin around 1891 - plus or minus.  There would probably be records of the probate of Mrs. Newton's will in the Grant County Courthouse.  In fact, I'm sure of it.  Some time ago I read her will.
 
As a side point, the 1890 map shows the stage lines in Baker and Grant County.  The stage trip from Baker to Canyon City covered 85 miles and cost $10.00.  The stage ran Monday through Saturday and left Baker at 1:30 p.m.  I don't know how fast it moved, and whether one team of horses could cover the entire trip.  Since the road was pretty steep out of the Whitney valley and over Dixie Butte, I can't believe they made more than 10 miles per hour average.  That would have put them in Canyon City at 9:30 p.m., I'm estimating?  That seems pretty late.  I wonder whether they stopped overnight at Newton's or Austin's and changed horses?  Anyone know?  -- Gregg Smith

Len Cardwell:  Gregg - It was my understanding (Told to me by my Dad, Arthur Cardwell) that the stage came as far as the Austin House in one day.  They stayed all night there in the Hotel (Still standing behind the house; 2008).  They changed teams also.  The teams were kept in the barn (Still standing) and fresh ones used to go on the Prairie City.

Regarding the old Austin House: Did you folks know that there was also a Turkey Farm at the Austin House when Doc Edwards had the place?

Gregg:  That makes good sense, Len.  The stage road from Baker came up the Sumpter Valley, and then over the hill to the Whitney Valley, then over the hill (via Tipton) to the Austin House.  Climbing up those two hills must have been a hard on the horses.  I can imagine that everyone was happy to stay overnight at the Austin House - and have a great meal at Mrs. Austin's dinning room.

Billie Joe George (Raines): Yep, Len, I knew about the Turkey Farm, because that was one of my Dad's first jobs; helping with the turkeys and splitting wood up on Greenhorn for Sim Richards. Also did you guys know that when my Great Uncle Vern Raines owned Hobbs Ranch it was a Dairy Farm. Dad used to milk cows to.

Len Cardwell 02-16-2009:  The railroad began in Baker City in 1890. It followed the powder River Through Bowen Valley to Salisbury (9 miles south of Baker) and continued on to McEwen. In 1892 a major gold strike was found near Sumpter and the railroad was extended the six miles to Sumpter by 1896.  In 1900 the track was laid over Larch Summit, an altitude of 5094 feet, and down the west side of Huckleberry Mountain. By 1901 the tracks reached Whitney, an Oregon Lumber Company town.  During 1903 the tracks were extended across the Whitney Valley and up Green Mountain pass to the Tipton Summit at 5127 feet. The rails reached Tipton in 1904. It arrived at Austin in 1905. In 1909 the final segment of railway (21 miles) south of Austin. By June 1910 the tracks descended to Prairie City. This completed the 80.1 miles from Baker City.
 
By 1937 passenger service was discontinued and the last freight train steamed into South Baker on 12 June 1947.
 
This material came from "Sumpter Valley Railway Mikados - a web page that was on-line 30 May 2005.
 

The following history was contributed by Richard Lemmon on September 5, 2011.

I worked for the U.S. Forest Service at the old Blue Mountain Ranger Station near Bates from 1945 to 1956.  I thought the following history might be of interest to some:

1)  Forerunners of the Blue Mountain district were the Austin and Susanville Ranger Districts.  They were established in 1907. 

2)  Ranger's headquarters for the Susanville District was located at Sunshine Ranger Station that was abandoned in 1920. 

3)  Ranger's headquarters for the Austin District was changed from Austin to Bates Ranger Station in 1931.  The change in location was from the Phipps Meadow area to the Austin Junction site.  In May 1933 the name was changed from Bates Ranger District to Blue Mountain Ranger Station.

I cannot recall all of the names of the former District Rangers.  One of the earliest that I remember hearing of was Dan Fisk.  He was the Ranger for a considerable number of years.  When I went to work on the District in 1945, Harry Wolfe was Ranger.  I believe Jack Groom preceded him but beyond that I have no recollection.  Lloyd Gilmore succeeded Harry Wolfe in about 1949 or 1950.  Alex Smith came in about 1954.  About 1958 Joe Gjertson was the Ranger until the District was divided between Long Creek and Prairie City Districts.

The lookouts that were in operation on the District were Dixie Butte, Vinegar Hill, Indian Rock, and Crocket Knob.  Also Baldy Mountain was administered by the District for a number of years before being turned over to Prairie City. 

The only developed campground was Dixie Forest Camp near Highway 26 at Dixie Summit.

Most of the timer harvest on the District in the 1940's and 1950's was associated with the Oregon Lumber Company land exchange with the Forest Service.

During the World War II years the Oregon Lumber Company had a logging camp called Camp 2.  It was located at Elkhorn Spring at the headwaters of Dry Fork Clear Creek on road 2640.  The company logged the timber from the South Fork Burnt River drainage that was associated with the aftermath of the Big Cow Burn of 1939.  The timbers was hauled down Dry Fork Clear Creek to the sawmill at Bates. 

The only so called Guard Station was located at Sunshine Guard Station.  Incidentally, the present building at Sunshine was the former cook house at Blue Mountain Ranger Station.

 


PLEASE SEND YOUR PRECIOUS MEMORABLE STORIES

 

I and many others would love to see what Sonja Johns started - continue.  I know the challenges one faces at taking on a project such as what Sonja and Gary took on, both in time and financial sacrifice.  They have my utmost respect for giving so much of themselves into putting the book together, as well as to all those who took the time to write their memories to be published. 

 

Sonja passed a few years back, so she no longer can contribute to what she started.  But with the Internet, the love and energy she gave in trying to capture the rich memories of the past so others could enjoy them ... can keep going on. 

 

Please email me YOUR memorable-humorous-entertaining stories from the past that involves the Bates - Austin area, for others to enjoy.  Lets keep going what Sonja started.  Bates - Austin may be ghost towns ... but rich memories are to be treasured for generations to come by those who love hearing about "The Good Old Wild-West Days of Bates & Austin, Oregon."

 

Please be encouraged to send your memories to me so I can post them for others to enjoy (before they go to the grave with you, or I go to the grave and am no longer able to post them!).  My email address is:  norm@precious-testimonies.com  

 

I feel to expand some from just Bates/Austin memories.  If you have an interesting, outdoor, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, canoeing experience ... PLEASE send it to me.  I'll post it on this page:  AMAZING OUTDOOR LIFE EXPERIENCES

 


 

Friends Of Bates State Park (History)

David Eccles, John Stoddard and their partners incorporated the Oregon Lumber Company on August 9, 1889 and the Sumpter Valley Railway on August 15, 1890.  Linda Austin sold the Bates property to the Oregon Lumber Company on March 19, 1915.  John ‘Jack’ Leishman directed the construction of the Bates mill during the first week of May 1917.  The mill began producing lumber during first week of September 1917.  The first Bates superintendent and postmaster was Norman Y. Stoddard, a son of John Stoddard.

The Oregon Lumber Company sold the Bates mill, equipment and structures to the Edward Hines Lumber Company on December 30, 1960 – for $1.00.  The reason for this nominal sale price is unknown but perhaps the Oregon Lumber Company was concerned about liability.

The Edwards Hines Lumber Company closed the sawmill at Bates in 1975.  The mill was dismantled.  The equipment and material was sold.  The houses were sold to their occupants.  The 131-acre townsite was largely cleared and sold to Henry Ricco, the adjacent ranch owner.  Upon Mr. Ricco’s death the ranch, including the Bates townsite, passed to his niece, Joanne Ricco Vidondo, the widow of Nick Vidondo.  Mrs. Vidondo then willed the property to her hired man, Fermin Echeverria.  When Mrs. Vidondo died, the ‘Ricco’ property passed to Mr. Echeverria and he offered to sell the Bates property to Grant County.

Grant County then created a non-profit entity, the Bates Park and Museum Foundation, with a goal of developing a county park at Bates.  The Bates Foundation, backed by a county guarantee, purchased the Bates property from Mr. Echeverria with a loan from the Old West Federal Credit Union.  The Bates Foundation was charged with obtaining private funds to pay off the credit union loan and then give title to Bates to the county free and clear.  However, in its 16 months of existence the Bates Foundation was unsuccessful in raising funds. Consequently its officers, who lived in Canyon City, resigned in favor of Lana Abarr.  Mrs. Abarr then appointed Jackie Rapp and Leonard Cardwell to the new Bates Foundation board.  The new officers of the Bates Foundation transferred the Bates title to the county and the county sold the property to the State of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department on April 28, 2008, paying off the credit union loan in the process.  The Bates Foundation was then dissolved on April 30, 2008. 

The Friends of Bates State Park

In the place of the Bates Foundation, which did not represent former Bates residents, we created The Friends of Bates State Park on March 14, 2008.  The "Friends" is a non-profit organization established to support the operation of the Bates State Park.   Their very noble mission is stated as follows:

The Mission Of The Friends Of Bates State Park

"To further the education and interpretive opportunities available to park visitors; to promote, preserve and enhance the historical, natural and recreational resources within the park; and to assist with the park improvements and educational programs compatible with the nature of Bates State Park."


MOST RECENT EMAIL POSTS FROM HERE DOWN
Some of the posts won't make total sense unless you read earlier posts scrolling further on down.
 

Tom McGinnis: 1-19-2012:  (Norm Note:  Tom and his family moved to Bates in 1954.  Tom lived in Bates for a time before his dad, Fred McGinnis, took a lumbering job in Burns in 196O.

A few memories Tom has of his Bates days:  Remember when we would take out the single shot .22 rifles and shoot squirrels up on the hill above Bates, and all of the times that we would take fishing poles and fish down the Middle Fork of the John Day river all the way to Vinegar Creek, and then drag ourselves and the fish back to Bates?  I think this was some of the best times I ever had in my life.  I feel sorry for people who did not have this kind of a privilege to run all over the woods and be free.

I remember once that I caught a trout that was so big that it would not go into my fish creel.  I drug it home and found out it was a Steelhead, but we ate it anyhow.  Dad must have figured at my being age 9, I did not know the difference, and back then I do not think anyone cared.  He told me to throw it back if it happened again.

Norm - do you remember the .30-.30 carbine we found back behind the water reservoir? (Norm note: Totally forgot about that incident) I often wonder what happened to the person who owned it.  Remember when your sister Lenora took up off that mountain in her jeep? I will never forget that ride and do not remember any that wild since and I have had some good ones.

For many years, Tom has lived in Springfield, Oregon, but has done some serious hunting around Oregon for many years (as well as around the world).  From time to time, Tom writes me and let's me hear about some of his interesting hunting experiences ... and I mean interesting.  Tom is one of the most dedicated - serious - hunters I've ever known.  Because the Bates page has been so slow in acquiring few new updates, I feel to share one of Tom's hunting experiences, for you avid sportsmen.  As he sends me more of his outdoor experiences, I'll post them on the following link:  AMAZING OUTDOOR LIFE EXPERIENCES  Others are strongly encouraged to send me their amazing outdoor life experiences as well to publish on the same page.):

Shane & Deb (Ducket) Horrell:  We just found this site and was reading some of the stories.  I was a Duckett – we moved there in the summer of 1958.  My dad, Dick, was the machinist there and moved with the mill to John Day and was the machinist until his death in 1981.  I remember the last days of Bates. I had gotten married in August of 1974.  Shane and I moved in with dad (mom and dad had purchased a house in John Day and she had gone ahead there since she was working for the Credit Union that had moved there).  I still have some of the glasses and rugs we purchased during the final sale days at the store.  My husband had gotten a job at the mill and since dad had to be available until the end, we were one of the last families to leave.  I can still remember hauling the last of my childhood toys and things we didn’t need to the old dump.  Dad sold us the house he had purchased for $2.00 and we moved it to Prairie City.  Shane and I have both remarked that if the mill had stayed there we would still be there, too.  Part of the park sits close to our old homesite.  The willow trees that dad planted are still there.  We live in Elgin, OR now but Shane’s parents, Stan and Polly Horrell, live in Prairie City.  We go to see them as often as we can.  Have been watching the progress of the park.  We both have many fond memories of Bates.  horrell@elgintv.com

Bates Guy Norm: 9-29-2011:  Unfortunately my wife and I were not able to attend the official Bates Park Opening celebration, but it's such a blessing to now know that the Park is official.  Again - thanks to ALL who helped make the Park a reality!

Bates Guy Norm: 9-10-2011:  Much thanks to Richard Lemmon for sending some Ranger Station/Lookout history (See above in the Bates-Austin History section). 

Bates Guy Norm Rasmussen:  11-28-2010:   For those of you who have never been to Silver Creek Falls (East of Salem, Oregon), here's some footage of that part of Oregon:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvx-X0wxKWE

Bates Guy Norm: 9-7-2010:  My wife and I were fortunate to be able to travel to Oregon in August and remain until early September.  What was especially delightful was to meet several people at the Bates-Austin County Fair booth during the fair days in John Day, and also be able to attend The Friends Of Bates State Park yearly meeting on September 7, 2010 (not to mention being able to visit a few wonderful friends I grew up with in Bates and Prairie City; seems like there is never enough time to visit all I would like to have seen: Grrr ...).

I want to genuinely thank all the people who have given themselves to The Friends Of Bates State Park efforts.  I was blessed and extremely amazed to see the focused enthusiasm and energetic efforts of the people on the "Park Committee".   Dennis from the Oregon States Park Commission was also "first class" in presenting facts to the "Park Committee", and to others such as myself who were there to be updated on matters from the Park's Commission. 

The Bates-Austin Park is moving forward, folks.  Do to funds being tight in our economy, the Park may not evolve into it's fullest reality as quickly as many might hope ... but I personally have every reason to believe the Park is going to happen!  It has already started!  While in the Bates area, I watched the old sawmill dry kilns vanish into history.  The contractor hired to demolish it and haul away the debris did a first class job at a VERY REASONABLE rate, I might add.  Kudos to whoever hired and negotiated with that contractor.  Kudos also to Pat Voigt for his cooperation in the matter.

From talking with various people around Grant Country -- some who may have had apprehension in the beginning about a Park-History Preservation Site being built on the old Bates Sawmill property -- they are now changing their minds.  The history of Bates - Austin from the pioneer days; the gold mining era; the sawmill-lumbering era - DESERVES to be preserved.  It's not something to be buried with those who go to their graves, but to be REMEMBERED for future generations to come.

As a side note, the salmon run was in full swing the latter days of August and into September.  I witness and videotaped salmon on the Middle Fork of the John Day river zipping up the rippling rapids -- WHAT A THRILL!  Never while I lived in Bates growing up did I ever see so many salmon going up the Middle Fork to spawn!  The water is fresh and clear, thanks to conscientious, eco-nature minded ranchers such at Pat and Heidi Voigt who own the property the Middle Fork runs through on the Austin side of the highway.  Their intensive investigation and implementation over the years in wise irrigation flows has obviously paid off as the abundance of salmon clearly reveals.  (Heck - the water is so clean you could probably take a cup and drink out of it NOW without much worry.  Sure wasn't that way when I lived in Bates for nearly 16 years).

I'm been told that some people on the Western side of Oregon are concerned about salmon not being able to spawn up Bridge Creek.  Salmon never wanted to spawn up Bridge Creek nor did they want to spawn up Clear Creek since time began.  The nature of the salmon in the Middle Fork of the John Day river has always been to remain in the biggest part of a river to spawn.   Yes - they can swim up tributaries of the Middle Fork to spawn, but they never have.  Why would they WANT to?  The deeper pools in the head-waters of the Middle Fork of the John Day river has been the most suitable place for them to continue their species.  Salmon aren't stupid to swim up shallow tributaries when they aren't forced to.  They have an innate sense of KNOWING cougar and bear love fresh salmon.

I don't know if I'll be able to make it out to the Annual Bates-Austin picnic in 2011,  (financially we are only able to get out to Oregon about every 3-4 years), but I would encourage ALL to try to make it, even if for only a few hours.  The more support people show for the Bates-Austin Park ... odds increase that Park monies that would normally be allocated for Park enhancement and growth in Western Oregon will be channeled into Eastern Oregon.  Why not channeled specifically for The Eastern Oregon BATES-AUSTIN Park?!!!   That property has tons of potential for people from all around the WORLD to enjoy.  

Gregg Smith; Don Endecott: 02-24-2010:  Doc. Mick Watterson has discovered an old photo of the SVRR depot in Austin.  Leonard Cardwell lived in Austin as a kid and used to play at the depot.  He remember the man who managed the depot but can't remember the man's name.  Does anyone remember the man's name?

Don Endecott:  Gregg - that man was Elmer Stewart. He had a dodge Turing car.  It had an open top, and he would drive to Bates, or whereever he wanted to go, and if you were walking from Austin to Bates he would stop and give you a ride.

I had a ride with him from Austin to Bates one time.  Let us never forget those great people who blazed the trail so we could walk on them.  And let us never forget old Repass, the bear hunter.  He had a cabin on the Middle Fork just above the Eccles mill.  When he would come to Austin, all the dogs would start to bark and Oz Meadows at the store would say,  "Well here comes Repass!"

And never forget the old cowboy - Whisky Bob - who was tossed into the Austin jail house.  He hollered so loud ... keeping the people awake.  Finally they turned him loose so he would quiet down, so they could get some sleep. 

Leonard Cardwell:  Not sure if many alive remember that there used to be a board walk across the meadow area in Austin -- from the road going to the depot, and to where the railroad tracks were near the Stock Yards.  It had a long flag pole in the middle that the folks there flew the American Flag on.  The walk covered a good sized ditch and we could crawl from one end of it to the other.  Our folks would tell us to stay out of there and that the "Spooks" would get us if we didn't.  Of course being kids, we didn't listen. 

Well Elmer Stewart and Eldie Cook (Train man who lived next to us) saw me and a little girl named Gayle Henshaw go in to the ditch.  They waited until we were in a ways and they howled and yelled in the hole.  Dad says they were laughing so hard they cried as two little kids came flying out of that  ditch.  We always took a light when we went in after that!

Gregg Smith:  01-08-2010:  Somewhere around 1955 I was fishing on Clear Creek just up from Jerry Howard's house.  I looked up on the hill and saw a sheep.  The band had come through several days before so I knew this was a stray.  I ran down to Jerry's house and got a rope from his mother to lasso the sheep.  Skip Miles, me and another kid walked up the hill to get the sheep.  We were about parallel to the top of the upper mill pond.  When we came over the crest of the hill we saw what seemed like hundreds of sheep.  (I don't know how many there were - but lots.) We didn't know what to do but there was supposedly a $2 reward for bringing in a stray sheep.  We thought: 'Pay Day!'

So we began herding the sheep up to Austin where there was a corral.  We packed the sheep into the corral.  We were trying to figure out how to call Black Hans, the sheeps' owner, who lived down between Fox Valley and Monument.  Just then, coming down the road on horseback, with a pack horse, was the sheepherder.  His camp was at Taylor siding. 

He said "What are you boys doing?"  I answered, "We found all these stray sheep and we wanted to turn them in and get a reward."

He said something like: "Fine.  Come down to the store with me."  He bought us each a bottle of pop and a candy bar.  Then we went back to Austin, got the sheep out of the corral and helped him get the sheep back on the road to Taylor Siding.  I asked when we would get our reward?  He said, "Mr. Hanse (or Hansen?) would be up in a day or two and I could talk with him about the reward."  I said, "Fine."

 
So the next day - and then for day after day for a couple of weeks - I would drive my Grandpa's Model A up to Taylor Siding, waiting for Black Hanse.  He never came.  It finally dawned on me that the sheepherder, who was probably drunk, lost half his band.  He was not about to tell Mr. Hansen that he had lost them - and Black Hanse had no plans to come up to see his sheep during summer grazing.  I ended up feeling betrayed - and stupid.
 
The next year I was fishing down below the mill - and saw a sheep up on the hill.  I knew what to do this time.  I went home, got my .22 and drove my Grandpa's Model A up the road to the reservoir.  I walked down to where the sheep was, shot it, gutted it, took it home, skinned it, and we enjoyed eating it for some time.

Bates Guy Norm: 01-08-2010:  (Gregg's sheep story has given me the courage to share MINE).  A guy I chummed around with some at Bates by the name of Edward Rutz lived just across the creek from us.  We were somewhere between the ages 11-13.  That was in the 1950's. I don't recall what his dad did at the mill, but his mother taught some there at the grade school for maybe part of a year.  Ed built a wooded fort out back of his house and we slept overnight in it from time to time.  As BORED boys sometimes got at Bates, we sometimes crossed the line of "responsible" and thought that mischievousness was sometimes acceptable as long as we didn't get caught.

Sheep were corralled at Austin in the sheep/cattle pens at the time.  While we lay there in the dark in our sleeping bags munching chocolate Oreo Creme cookies (Ed was addicted to them.  Pimples on his face sometimes looked like tiny Oreo's) in the fort, one of us came up with the idea that it would be fun to experience what sheep rustling would be like.  We even thought it might look good someday on our resumes.  Hyped up on a sugar overdose, the more we talked about it, the less sleepy we became, and by midnight, we talked ourselves into walking to Austin to each rustle a sheep.   

We kept our flashlights off so as not to be spotted.  Neither of us were very big nor strong, so hoisting a sheep in the dark over a pretty tall wooden corral fence in the dark became no easy task -- especially as the sheep were trying to kick your teeth and eyes out!  After much loud "bahhhhhhhhhhhing" by all the other sheep fearing for THEIR lives, and the two sheep we chose to rustle NOT desiring all that much to be busted out of prison ... we finally managed to each rustle us two fine sheep. 

With the sheep continuing to loudly "bahhhhhHHHHH" all the while we tussled and tugged on the ropes we had tired to each of them, we pulled them up the hill above the corrals.  Once we were about half a mile away from Austin in the deepest woods we could find, we tied the sheep to trees, and beat it back to Bates.  Before hopping into our sleeping bags, we washed the pungent odor of sheep smell off us as best we could.  I can assure you that we didn't count sheep EITHER to get to sleep!  We were two exhausted boys who had put in a hard night's work.

Okay - now that we were accomplished, fully professional, sheep rustlers, what to DO with them?  We had no clue.  Edward asked his folks the next day if they liked mutton, but both firmly answered, "No!  WHY?"

"Because Norm and I spotted a couple of stray sheep up on the far end of the Airport hill yesterday up above Austin, and was wondering if you might want to eat one if we could somehow capture one?"

My parents weren't interested in fresh mutton either, so now we had a dilemma.  What to do with our two prizes?  Neither of us were into 4-H. 

A couple of days passed, and nothing came to mind, so we decided we would do the RIGHT thing and return the sheep to where we got them.  But much to our SURPRISE ... all the sheep in the pens were now gone!  "Oh no - we aren't going to get caught putting two solitary sheep back in the pens," we told ourselves.  "No way!" 

Okay - are you ready for a happy/sad ending?  We turned the sheep loose and let them have their freedom.  Whether they were able to join up with their buddies, or whether they became someone's dinner, we never found out.  (Upon reading Gregg's sheep story above ... after all these years ... I may now have the answer!)

Donald Anderson: 01-04-2010:  I am a former resident of the town of Bates and Knuteville.  I recognized some names of people that have contributed to your website.  My family lived in the area from 1942 until 1946.  I went to school at Bates-Austin from the third grade 1943 to 1946.  I also recognized Dave Connolly.  I don't know if this is the same David Connolly that I knew but would like to contact both of these people. 

I am in the process of writing a biography for my children.  When we lived in Bates we used to swim in the upper mill pond.  We lived in the upper row of housing in what was then known as Knuteville.  I returned to Bates in 1980.  All that was left were the tall smoke stacks for the mill.  I have some photographs of that visit.  Thank you for any help you may wish to give. 

Email:  donald.anderson44@yahoo.com

Danny Bogart: 12-20-09:  Reading Gregg's memories about dynamite below ... I'm reminded of another incident.  Some of us kids (Jerry, Gregg, myself and probably Skip) decided to use some of the explosives to go fishing on the pond on the airport hill.  We paddled a makeshift raft out into the middle of the pond using some long picket fence poles as oars.  A stick of dynamite was charged with a cap and fuse.  One of us fools (Jerry) lit the dang thing and dropped it off the edge of the raft into the water and we all begin paddling as hard and fast as you could paddle a log raft with sticks!  FORTUNATELY... the dang thing didn't go off.  If it had, it would have blown us to bits (as we had gotten no where with our furious paddling) and probably blown the earth damn out, and all the water that supported the fire fighting hydrants would have flowed down the hill into the Middle Fork below. 

Exciting; but scared the crap out of us and we told NO ONE of this routine day in the lives of the Bates kids. 

Gregg Smith: 12-20-2009:  Today they close the schools if there is even a threat of snow.  That reminds me of a severe winter in Bates.  It may have been the winter of 1957/58. We had two or three feet of new snow over night.  There was so much snow the high school bus, even with chains, couldn’t move. So the company provided a D-8 cat.  The cat attached a chain to the front of the school bus and literally dragged the bus one mile up to the State Highway at the ‘Y.’  At that point the highway crew had plowed the highway all the way to Prairie City. We were late getting to school that morning but we got there. In those days they didn’t close school unless there was a serious problem.  This wasn’t a serious problem.

Gregg Smith: 12-19-2009:  Sometimes it got a bit boring living in the Bates - Austin area.  There just wasn't things for boys to do like there are in the big cities.  Thus, sometimes - to liven up things up a little - it called for some higher level creativity ... as in "Raiding The Powder House". 

Now before I make this confession ... I often thought that if we Bates kids did some things in a city that we did in Bates, we would have spent our youth in reform school.  A case in point: a burglary, theft of private property, destruction of government assets, vandalism, illegal fishing, etc., etc.

I think it was the summer of 1955. Jerry Howard, Errol Frazier, Oakie Joe Johnson and I drove down to the company powder house on Ruby Creek on the Middle Fork across from the DeWitt ranch.  We were curious.  The company powder house was built into the hillside with large logs.  The door was massive.  It was secured with a large logging chain and a huge lock.  There was no way to break through it.  However, the powder house was built into the hillside.  The roof was corrugated tin panels.  We walked up the hillside and onto the roof of the powder house.  Then, with a claw hammer, we pulled nails out of the tin roof panels and created an opening.  We then lowered Oakie Joe down into the powder house and he handed up several cases of dynamite.  We then re-nailed the roof panels.

What we needed then was dynamite caps and fuse.  The cap house set several feet away from the powder house.  It was an old outhouse that had metal plates all around.  The door of the cap house was locked with a padlock, but the padlock was located high up on the door – I assume so that kids couldn’t mess with it.  However, because the lock was so high on the door, we could push the bottom of the door open five or six inches with our feet.  That allowed us to slide Jerry’s scissor jack into the crack of the door.  We then carefully jacked open a space large enough for Jerry to slither inside and grab boxes of dynamite caps and many feet of fuse.

We played with dynamite and blasting caps all that summer.  At one point Jerry Howard, Skip Miles and I were paddling a raft around the upper pond.  Skip was at the bow of the raft.  I was at the aft.  Jerry was in the middle. I decided to scare Skip so I picked up a piece of floating bark.  I drilled a hole in it with my pocket knife and poked a blasting cap into the bark, intending to throw it ahead of us to startle Skip.  Unfortunately I cut the fuse too short and as I pulled my hand back to throw the bark, the cap exploded about ear level on my right side.  My hand was miraculously protected by the bark, which absorbed much of the explosion.  But about 32 pieces of metal hit my ribs and stomach.  If those metal fragments had hit me in the face I would have been blinded.  Jerry remembers that we went to Mabel Johns, the company nurse, and she helped dig out the metal fragments out of my rib cage and stomach.  I dug metal fragments out of my body with a needle for weeks.  I told my grandmother a large fire cracker had exploded, it startled me and I fell back on a pile of brush - and that explained all the blood. 

Kids have their cover stories.  I did come away with a powder burn on my right eye.  We went to the John Day optometrist.  I told him the burn was from a fire cracker.  I think he gave me some salve for my eye.  I still see a dark spot when I look through a peep sight caused by the scar on my right eye.  Kids probably shouldn't play with dynamite and blasting caps - but we did.

We then spent the rest of the summer blowing up trees, ‘fishing’ in deep holes in the river and creating general mayhem. The caps were great ‘fire crackers.’ Some of the caps were used to blow out the ends of peoples’ round newspaper cans.  We used the dynamite to dig a tunnel in the cut across from the dam at the upper millpond.  We would punch a hole into the hillside, slide in sticks of dynamite, set a charge with a long fuse and go downtown to the store.  We would stand around in front of the store until the explosion could be heard all around town.  Hey!  It couldn’t be us!  We were down at the store where anyone could see us.

The various explosions rattled the dishes in my grandmother’s house and my grandfather asked about that.  I told him I thought the power company was digging holes for new power poles.  Phew.  Safe.

There is more ... but I don’t know whether the statute of limitation has expired or not.

mgreggsmith@comcast.net

Dr. Mick Watterson: 12-17-2009:  When I was about five or six, I begged Mom and Dad for a pair of cowboy boots.  Just before school started, Mom and Dad went to town to buy us all shoes for school.  I had my heart set on those "Cowboy Kickers". 

I didn't get those boots.  Rather, I got a pair of cute little RED loafers with silly little silver buckles.  Imagine ... a boy of five or six, in Bates no less ... walking around with little RED loafers!

To avoid embarrassment at school, I proceeded to throw my little RED loafers in Clear Creek and watch them begin their long journey to the John Day River ... and ultimately to the Pacific Ocean. 

I need not elaborate further.  My hind end still aches from Dad's discipline.

Bill Nut:  12-17-2009:   I lived in Bates from 1944 to 1954. Well, actually in Knuteville. We were in house #4. My aunt Sue Spainhoward was next door and my Uncle Russell Chandler and Aunt Mae Connelly were just down the line from us. Gregg Smith and I were classmates at Bates Grade School.

I was going to school at the Austin school when the train left. Art Cardwell was the principal and Miss Black was the first-grade teacher. We drank from a well with a hand pump out front using little paper cups.  I still have a scar in between my index and middle finger on my left hand from a rusty nail on that pump. One day, there was a furor and it turned out one of the girls - I think it was Betty Lou Shea - had pumped a salamander into her paper cup.

Miss Black used to make us wash up with something like Pine-Sol. She also used to whack our knuckles for a variety of reasons.  I still have a scar over my left eye from the time my cousin, Karen Nutt, pushed me and I hit the railing around the porch of the old school.

I remember the day the train left. I loved that train and I came out for recess and it was just next to the school. They were pulling up the rails and putting them on flat cars. That was a devastating day for me because I used to just love to got downtown and see the train.

My Uncle Russell was a carpenter and got the material from the company to build the new school and the gym. My dad and lots of men from the town pitched in and built the new school and the gym. One weekend, my dad and I put in the sprinkling system for the lawn there.

I completed grade school there. My father, Bill Nutt, was the diesel mechanic and worked on the caterpillars and other equipment in the woods. He was also a welder. He had started as a logger with his twin brother Walt. Dad went to mechanicing and Walt worked in the offices after he had his leg badly broken by a log at the mill pond. There were four of us kids; Dolores, me, Gary and Greg. Greg was born in 1950 in Prairie City.

In the fall of 1954 we moved to Boise, Idaho.  I have so many memories of Bates. The last time I was there was when I was going to Paris and stopped in to see our old place. The Boyers were living there then. The next time I came back, it was all gone. Even though I haven't seen Bates in 35 years, it remains pretty much alive for me.

I ran across the discussion back in 2008 about Carol Curtis. She was a very pretty woman and a several years older than I was. She and some other kids were being pulled by a Model A. I think she was on a toboggan.

Something happened and she slid under the car. Her foot go caught in the spokes and it was mangled pretty badly. It was a long time before they finally amputated her foot. She had to undergo several unsuccessful attempts to save her foot.

She wore a sort of flesh-colored, hard plastic prosthetic. One day I was staring at it and she asked me if I was getting a good look. I felt a little foolish, but I think she meant no harm with her chiding me and it just reflected the fact that she was dealing with it.

It was an unfortunate accident and it obviously shook up a lot of parents, because all of us kids got warned about the dangers of hooky-bobbing by our parents. 

Bill's email:  drwnutt@juno.com  

(Bates Guy Norm:  Hearing that Bill had become a Nuclear Physicist, I asked him if he would be willing to share a biography of himself, and he has complied.  So - Bill is the FIRST to let me share his story after leaving the Bates-Austin area.  Go to the Biographies link near the top of the page to read it, and others, if you would like.)

Bill again:  I came across a mention of a guitar player in a December 6, 2008, note from Rial Green. Depending on when that was, that could well have been Clarence Luther. He was there from the early '50s and played at dances. He was married to my cousin, Lucille Luther. 

Don Endicott:  11-04-2009:  Clifton Woolman emailed me on October 10th: 

Don - I found a new photo of Stoddard Lumber Co. Heisler # 5. S/N 1360 built in May 1917, 36 tons 2 trucks. The locomotive was previously numbered # 3 by Stoddard.  Any comments?

My reply:  The pictures of the old girl look great and what wonderful stories it could tell. One of the interesting times ... my Uncle Bee Brown was running the 10 spot, pulling the passenger from Prairie City to Baker.  His fireman was Dick Martin, and the conductor was Calhoun. Keeping your loco on time was a real importance on the railroad, and running late or fast was never allowed.

About five (5) miles from Baker was a long straightaway, and Bee was running for town on time, moving on down the track.  But up ahead ... a big bull was on the track.  He had gotten out from a pasture along where the track ran.

They laid down on the train whistle and rang the bell, but the old bull just kept chewing his cud.  To keep from hitting the bull, Bee slowed down the train and stopped in front of the old guy, and after a few choice words ... with the help of a few hard rocks, the bull got off the track.

Bee opened up the old 10 spot and made a mad dash for town, and when he came into the yards, he was running over 10 minutes late.  The superintendent happened to be at the depot and cornered Bee in the cab, and really raked him over the coals.   Running late was no excuse -- what ever the reason -- and it was never to happen again.

Now Bee was one of the best fast running engineers they had, and he did not like to be dressed down by any one. 

The very next day, he and his crew are going down the same straightaway ...  heading for Baker on time.  Down the track was the very same bull!  

Bee laid down on the whistle, but never slacked off the throttle this time.  The speed she was making was a good 35 - 40 miles an hour. 

Bee said, "I was SURE the bull would move off the track with all the noise I was making, but you know - that old bull just kept watching me until the locomotive made contact.  Parts of the bull went on one side, and parts on the other, but most was deposited on the front of the old 10 spot."

And what happened?  Sumpter Valley Railroad paid $300 dollars for the bull and Uncle Bee got a 30 day suspension.

And this is one of many stories that could be told about the old 10 spot.

Norm Guy Here:  11-03-2009:  Things to post here from folks have been a bit slow the last few months, so to add something NEW, I'm going to post Len Cardwell's hunting experience.  (Len turned 72 yesterday, by the way).  In asking Len if he could/would share with me about his hunting this fall, here was his reply:

"So Norm -- You want a deer hunting story????
 
"As I started to leave home, my dear wife said I ought to check the trailer tires.  Sooo ...  I went to Les Schwab's in Pendleton.  They found a break in two of them so I bought 4 new 10-plys. 
 
"I got to Idaho Creek to camp and a fool had tents all over the camp area.  He was waiting for ALL his hunting buddies from the valley to show up.   I had to park in another spot. 

"I backed my trailer up but it wouldn't seem to go back.  Got a little run and WHAM!  Looked in the mirror to see a 10-inch tree rocking.  The spare tire holder and trailer bumper are now indented in the tree.
 
"The first night the furnace went out due to low batteries ... soooo ...  off to Les Schwab's in John Day.   Load test was bad and the date on the batteries was 10 - 2006.   You guessed it -- Three years almost to the day.  No warrantee, so two new batteries.  

"Back to the trailer but the furnace still not working.   Went to Prairie City to get Gunther Clark to fix the furnace but he is gone hunting.   

"Back to the trailer and I was told the furnace was working now.   Problem was no propane. 

"Sooo ...  then my brother fell in the trailer and tore my fire extinguisher off the wall. 

"Then  we are setting at the dinner table with the New Champion 5500 KW Generator running when all of a sudden "Bang - grunt" and it stopped.  Went to see what the problem was and it is froze up solid. 

"Finally shot a forked horn. 

"Then went to clean my gun on the way home and my 25 year old .30-06 pump would not eject.  

"Got home and after filling my propane tank, I found out it had a leak.  Lost all the propane again and had to buy a new tank.  Generator to the shop and the intake valve sucked into the piston.  No can fix so bought a new generator (Electric start).

"Still waiting on my gun.

 
"So #$%& much fun I went back for Elk!  

"No Elk !!!!!!!!!!   But all went well and a safe trip home.

"Can't wait for NEXT season to get here!"

 

Judith Nielson:  7-29-2009:  I wrote some memories some time ago about the years my family lived at the Y Junction.  What I wanted to do this time is inform the readers that my uncle, Lawrence Nielsen, published a number of books on pioneer roads in Oregon.  One of these books, "In the Ruts of the Wagon Wheels - Pioneer Roads in Central Oregon," has a chapter on the Prairie City to Baker Road concerning the old stage and freight roads between the two towns.  It has the location of the stage stops between the two places, maps, and history.  It is not being published now but for anyone who would like to read this informative book it can be found in libraries.

Greg Whiteaker: 7-7-2009:  Hey Norm -  It's getting to be that time of year again, where us bow hunters head over to the Bates-Austin area! We just returned from a scouting trip today and I have a few pics to share. I took my dad with me, who has never camped in his life, and he couldn't get enough of the beauty of the area.

This year I plan to hunt a little further off the road than I had before, and being 29 now, I better do it while I can. After looking at several aerial photos of the area, I picked out a meadow on the east side of Dixie mountain and plugged the coordinates into my GPS and strapped on my hiking boots to go and check it out. When I finally got there, (those GPS's tell you how to get there, but never the EASIEST WAY to get there) I was amazed. It has to be the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I was lucky enough to share it with my dad (56) and my grandpa (70) who decided to make that huge hike with me, both carrying a full load on their backs! As we walked out into the meadow we saw a huge dump of cans (oil?, food?) and an old broken down cabin on the east side of the meadow. On the west side of the meadow there was a HUGE sign stuck to a tree that read NELSONS MEADOW. I just wondered if you had any info of what the cabin was used for or who used it, and who NELSON was?  I enclosed a picture of the sign, and another item we found there. I was wondering if you could shed some light on it for me. One of the pieces I didn't get a pic of had the words ALDON CHICAGO, ILL on it.. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the pics; please share them with whoever you like! I will let you know how my hunt goes in September!  (Photos to be posted as soon as I can get my wife to post them; preoccupied with spoiling 3 grandsons at the present!).

Rial Green Update:  7-4-2009:  If you have taken the time to read the many posts that follow, you'll no doubt be blessed by most of the posts Rial Green forwarded so they could be shared with others.  Rial recently passed into the next life a few ago, and many of us can't be thankful enough for Rial taking the time to share his past memories and PRECIOUS humor with us!  I'm going to share a few emails I received from Rial over the last few months, but didn't post, because they were more of a personal nature.  If any of Rial's family objects to my posting them, please let me know, and I'll remove them.  I don't want this forum to be a source of offense to anyone:

4-1-2009:  (Norm's post to Rial:  "We ALL miss your posts.  You still able to punch computer keys?  What's happening?  How's your health?  - Bates Guy Norm Rasmussen and the REST")

4-4-2009:  (Rial's final email to Norm):  You might say I'm a little lazy now.  I hardly do anything now but sleep and take some tasty pills.  The Hospice nurses come to see me once a week and adjust my medications and my body tries to keep up with the new regimen. I am feeling better now and maybe I will start writing more.  I also need to get into my storage and go through pictures, of which I have quite a few.

My daughter and her husband wait on me so much and take such good care of me -- I told them that if they keep up this much care, I just might decide to keep on living!
                                     
All the best,  Rial

12-27-2008:  I got my results back. Some good; some not so good. They discovered on the last cat scan and pet scan I have "Epigastric Mass" Lymphoma.  They couldn't see it before.  it looks like a sheet of saran wrap -- transparent until it wads up and is not hidden behind something else.  I asked that doctor for a second opinion.  He said," O.K., You're ugly".  I asked my cancer doctor how long I have.  She said,  "About three months".  I said, "Doc, I can't pay my bill in that time."  She said, "Alright - I'll give you another three months." The good news is I can't be given chemotherapy because I have an anourism (sic) and I can't have surgery because my platelets are too low. So I don't have to do anything but lay around, which I have found I am good at.  My daughter and I are going to try to dig up more pictures to send about Bates and the Sumpter Valley RY.  Have a good new Year.  I am enjoying mine, really!  - Rial

12-24-2008:  A merry Christmas to you and yours. I have been a little lax on sending in anything lately.  My time has been consumed by taking tests and cat scans.  But that is over now so perhaps I will be able to contribute a little. - Rial

Bates Guy Norm: 5-14-2009:  Okay - spring is here.  Folks have put snowblowers and snowmobile suits away and now planting gardens.  It is to be realized that writing Bates/Austin memories gets to the bottom of the "to-do-list" this time of year ... but the absence of memories to publish here is making me squirm a little.  Okay - what do I do about it?  Tell a memory of my OWN!  

How many remember Art Cardwell during school hours and his "apple a day keeps the doctor away?"  He would take out that VERY SHARP pocketknife of his and slice that red delicious apple so carefully into just their proper sections.  Then he would nibble away at those apples slices ... all the while reading something or other.  Was it only ME who would lust after one of those slices of of his apple?  I have NEVER had such an impressionable memory imprinted on my brain as Art and his daily apple.  To this very day, while I'm shopping at the store, and I walk past red delicious apples, I have faint flashbacks of Art and his daily "apple encounter." 

I really don't know if he engaged in that "apple encounter" every day of the school year, or just when apples were in season.  Would anyone happen to remember?

Juanita Gabiola Moore:  4-23-2009:  Congratulations on the  terrific web site. I have enjoyed the Bates site very much. I was just 4 or 5 in 1944 when Dad moved the family from Bates to Boise, so I have few actual memories of Bates.  However, Dad continued to work there and commuted from Bates to Boise once a month or so.  He worked at the mill from the early 1920's to the early 1950's. If any of you old timers out there have memories of him that you can share with me, I would appreciate it so much. His name was Chappo Gabiola. My e-mail address is Neeter1815@aol.com.  Kindest regards.

Sharon Haynes: 4-22-2009:   Some of you may still remember the old Company Ranch down the river from Bates.  Here are some memories I recall about it: 

In 1949 there were no realtors in Grant County, so my parents leased the Company Ranch from John Forrest’s uncle: A 3 -4 year lease.  The buildings had been used for horse logging.  The main house floor was splintered from logger spikes on their boots.  There was no electric power; a hand pump for water, and we had dug for a well for water supply.  We had Aladdin lamps for light, wood cook stove.  We tore down several old buildings; that was part of the lease agreement, to clean up the place.  We ran upwards of 300 head of cows, in the spring we drove over Dixie camp in the backside of the mill.  We milked about 10 cows for milk and cream.  We had four or five chicken houses; we started the chicks in Prairie City and sold fryers to the Bates people along with the milk and cream. 

One of the chicken houses was on Vincent Creek. It must have been where the chickens got the gold nuggets in their craw the Bates people found.  I swore up and down I’d never own a chicken for it was my job to clean the chicken houses.  We also sold eggs and butter.  I would go to town (Prairie City) once a week to do laundry and yard work.  We had garden in town, a push lawn mower - no gas mowers then. 

My dad was good friends of the OxBow ranch manager.  The Oxbow had Morgan horses so my dad bought me a Morgan horse to ride, a mare.  I rode several times a week.  Redney was a very smooth, fast walker. 

 

 
     



One summer we had pinkeye in our cattle.  We ran them through the corral once a week for doctoring.  The dust in the corral was a foot deep and it was my job to keep the gas pumps going so to sprinkle the corral to keep the dust down, at least four pumps.

I fished every day, and my mom made me eat every one for breakfast.  There were several beaver ponds on backside of the railroad bed that had trout; they were very wild; you couldn’t fish with a pole with eyes; you had to fish with a long stick and short line. 

If there was a cloud of dust in the distance it was a log truck coming and we’d bet a quarter the number on the truck. 

My grandfather started betting a quarter for every sage rat (ground squirrels) we could kill with a b-b gun.  Most of the time the b-b would just bounce off.  I had to share the gun with my cousin.  He never got a rat, but I did, because I figured how to hit them in the head.  My grandfather gave us the money.  I am still a good shot with a b-b gun.  I practice with clothes pins on a line. 

There is nothing more heavenly that pure quiet, and the fresh smell of the earth (dirt) when it rains.  It’s been a long time since I’ve smelled that scent that was at Bates.

One summer we put up hay, using the horses.  We used a large rope net to pull up the stacks and I would pull the net off the stack with my horse and a rope.  I was using my uncle’s paint horse.  You didn’t dare get a rope close to it’s hind legs or you’d be airborne.  Well, it happened, and my dad came off that stack so fast it was amazing. 

We left our horses there that winter. Twice a week we went and threw them hay.  They fare pretty well in deep snow.

Nobody has mentioned the Chinese artifacts there were buried down river.  People dug them up for several years ---  and how about the people from Sumpter that came over and burned the old gold dredge on the DeWitt Ranch? 

At one time there was a post office on the Dewitt Ranch.  When the snow was so deep - there were gallon cans of coyote bait behind one of the out houses; it stunk to high heaven.  My brother got into it; he stunk for several days. You could not wash it off and that house could not be used, the stink was so bad.  Later we were told it was bear grease.  There had been several outhouse and we tore them down. 

The huge barn had 3 lofts in it; storage for hay in the winter; we never used that barn.

My dad bought some wild cows; they’d never been worked with.  I always helped out but he didn’t want me in the corral so I was sitting on the fence this one particular time. 

My grandfather had a stock yard near Vale.  One time he was visiting at the house.  He had come only to see how things were going.  He was good with a rope, but he couldn’t catch  the wild cows either, no matter how hard he tried. 

My dad was on his horse Sunshine.  Grandpa walked up to Sunshine, and my Dad handed him the rope, and fell over dead.  He was a true cowman.  I put his picture in our cowboy museum.

I remember a Sumpter train engine at Austin, and they decided they’d better get it out of there before there were no tracks.  There was a story in the paper about it - the smoke bellowing out of the engine. My dad helped get it started.

When the water in the river (Middle Fork of the John Day) got real warm there were eels -- lots of them.  Terrible looking things.  I imagine they eat lots of fish.  My dad caught a large steelhead or salmon one time.  That fish was so skinny my mom made him bury it in the garden. 

We saw a meteorite land in the field one time.  We found it and I had it for years. 

I was always looking for agates on Vincent Creek, and one time I found somebody’s eye balls.  I looked at them and looked at them, not believing what I was seeing.  But by dang it, they were eye balls!  I quick stuck them in my pocket. 

I couldn’t stand them in my pocket – they sort of gave me the creeps - so the next day I went back to where I found them; closed my eyes and spun around and around and let them go.  Unless someone ever found them … two eyes still search for gold day and night on Vincent Creek!

Does anybody remember the nickel stamp mill I think was at Camp Creek?  One of those draws down there was heavily posted: No Trespassing.  I think the owner of the property was Hankins, but not positive. 

We had the company Ranch for 8 – 9 years. 

I don’t know why Camp Creek sticks in my mind – it was across from the DeWitt Ranch.  That all changed so much – some by the Forest Service – they closed one of those roads.


Norm Note:  Thanks so much, Sandy, for sharing some of this precious history with us Sandy mailed me a copy of an official OREGON LUMBER COMPANY letter head.  It has a logo of three tree-like objects, with these words at the top:

LUMBER MANUFACTURERS SINCE 1889        John Day Ponderosa Pine Trim  -  Mt. Hood Douglas Fir  -  Allwood Hardboard     Mills at Baker,  Bates and Dee,  Oregon                 Ponderosa Pine Sales -- Baker, Oregon                 Douglas Fir Sales -- Dee, Oregon 


Nelson Thompson: 4-20-2009:  I lived in Bates in the middle 1940s.  We moved down from Camp 2 and lived in the second house next to the Lee's house on the left hand side.  My father, Lyle Thompson, worked there and my brothers Bert and Elmer also worked there after the war.  I'm 79 years old and my brother Elmer is 88. 

I went to the old school up the tracks.  Mrs Hickerson was my first teacher. then I had Mr.Caldwell the rest of the time thru the 8th grade.  I started the 9th grade in Prairie City.  I went 3 weeks and quit.  I left Bates and went to Ritzville Washington for awhile, then went to Umatilla, Oregon and worked on a Dairy Farm until I went in the Navy at age 18.  I retired from the Navy in 1970 and am living in Newport, Rhode Island.    

I remember Mr.Caldwell.  He was a tough man but a very fair man.  I was back to Oregon one time to see my brothers.  Bert lived in Prairie and Elmer lived in Canyon City at the time.  (Elmer and his wife Jean now live in Mt. Vernon).  We drove to Bates but there was nothing there -- all gone.

Here's some memories that come to mind of the old Bates days:  Dean and Carl Doe, Jack Howard, Wayne Heaton and I used to walk the logs in the mill pond to see who would be the first to fall in.  Luckily, none of us ever did.

During school, we used to have to go up and sit on a long bench in front of Mr.Cardwell's desk and recite.  We would sit: boy-girl-boy-girl; etc.,  I was sitting on the end and Barbara Kranenburg got up to read.  I bent down to make faces at her.  Mr. Cardwell saw me and told me take my desk.  As I got up to leave, he caught me at the end of his desk -- grabbed me by the arm and threw me about 8 feet up against the blackboard, telling me to go to my desk, get my books and go home.  As I got to the door to leave, he met me there and threw me back to my seat and told me to sit down.  He didn't hurt me physically; just my feelings.  But to this day, I think He was a great man and teacher, in my book.

Another time, all us boys were out in the big field where a large creek went through.  One place had a deep hole where we used to swim.  Of course we didn't have swim suits so we were all in the raw.  Some kids snuck up on us and stole our clothes - running off with them.  Well, all we could do was get out of the water and chase them.  When we were about 25 feet from them, they dropped our clothes and ran off.  I've often thought how funny that would have been to have a picture of that happening!  We had a lot of fun as kids at Bates. 

Rial Green Update:  4-1-2009

Was snowing in Bates with snow on the ground this morning.  Burrrrrr!  Poor robins have to be pretty depressed.

We have a small lull in posting Bates-Austin memories the last few days so I thought I would make mention of something that I may be a bit late on. 

If anyone who has read Rial Green’s posts and were blessed by them in any way, I would like to encourage you to fire him off an email, and let him know you appreciate him.  More than likely, he may be in his final moments of being in his worn out body, and will be taking an extended vacation to another dimension.  He wrote back in mid-winter that the doctors didn’t give him many more months to live, and he has given MUCH to this board for the younger generation to receive from in years to come.  Personally, I wish I lived closer to this grand gentleman.  I would be so blessed to spend some time with him in his last days of this life.  I've written him a number of emails over the last few weeks, and have not heard back from him.  If anyone else has, and he's okay, please let the board know, okay?  Thanks
His email address is:   rialg4719@hotmail.com

  (Don on #7: Click on photo to enlarge)

Don Endecott 02-22-2009:  Norm - you asked what my most memorable experience was when I lived at Bates.  My most memorable experiences would be when my dad, Emmet, and I would go on a Sunday-together-ride on the # 7 SHAY (steam locomotive), and go to the wood yard below Bates at Placer Gulch and wood the # 7 up -- get her ready for the run down the river the next day -- and some times he would say, "Ok - get over on the engineer's side and run her." 

Nearly 70 years ago ... at 8 years old ... with the throttle in your hand - that was just about as close to heaven as you could get!  But sometimes I would get a little over exited, and give her too much throttle, and Dad would say it was time for me to let him run her, and I would go over on the fireman’s side and pretend I was running her from there.  Yes - those were wonderful memories. 

In the summer time, once school was out, we would stay at the railroad camp in a camp car.  That way Dad did not have a long way to go to be together with his family, and on a weekend, we would ride to Bates on the # 7.  Mom - my 2 brothers and sister up in the cab heading for town, and Dad pulling around 25 to 30 loaded log cars for the mill.  How special that was.

On one particular trip going up the river, Dad hit a soft spot on a fill and # 7 jumped the track.  That in itself would have been no problem, but on the fill, the ground was soft and the 7 was sinking, and there was a good chance she could have turned over.  But as luck would have it, Dad heard a logging cat.  He made a bee line and got Dallas Fraser (who was running the cat), and they put a bull line from the cat to the steam dome on the 7 to steady her up.  Then it was an easy job to use the frogs to get the 7 back on the track.  We got back aboard and went on into town.  Just a typical day on the railroad. 

The 7 never was tipped over.  She jumped the track a few times but never hurt anyone.  She is still running in a train park on about 3 miles of track in a little place called La Porte, Indiana.  I went back there in 2007, and they gave me the privilege to once again pull the throttle of that old girl.  It was like I was suddenly in some sort of time warp ... the sounds ... the smells ... just like it was back when I was a young boy on 7 when she was at Bates ... and I am sure my Dad was there with me also. 

Here is some video footage of Don on the # 7 Shay taken in 2007 that you may greatly enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJBssetM4P4

Don's Email: rakkason2@comcast.net
 
Don was born at Austin in 1931.  The first time he left Bates was in 1942.  He came back to Bates at different times - ending out his work career at Bates driving a log truck from 1963 - 1965.   I asked Don if he could share any logging truck memories, and here are some:

I had a few wild times driving truck there at Bates.  I was hauling logs by train one time up the Dry Fork.  It was real steep, and after you were loaded, it was a wild ride to town.  The trucks had water breaks, so about half way down the hill, you ran out of water.  Then the brakes would get real hot and fade on you, so the rest of the way off the hill was a control run away. 

We were down at Camp Creek.  There were steep hills on that run as well.  When the water breaks would fade to nothing, there were the best drivers coming off the hill.  You always knew that the ones coming up empty would keep out of your way -- except one time a new driver thought he could make a turn out coming up empty. As I was coming down loaded, I could not stop, and he was on the inside, so instead of having a head-on collision, or whatever could happen -- to keep that from happening  -- I put the truck over the bank; dumped the load; put the truck on her side.  To say the least, that was not a good day, but they sent a cat and loader down, and got me back on the road.  They reloaded the logs, and except for a broken mirror, I was back on the road again and made a another trip that day.

I can't say enough about the loading crew.  They could put a load of logs on the truck ...  if you saw one coming down the road, you would think:  How could anyone put that many logs on any truck?!  We hauled a lot of big loads.

My only bad time was when a good friend of mine, Don King, was killed behind my truck loading logs.  I think about him quite a bit, and also I had two uncles killed there.  One was loading logs, and the other was unloading logs.  Even with all the wonderful times we had, there were some bad ones to.

Back to trains: Here are some comments/memories from my brother, Elvin Endecott, you might be interested in posting for others to read.  He passed away last year, and I know he would want others to be able to have access to them.  This is dialogue between Elvin and Casey Carlson, a fellow train enthusiast. 

My brother Elvin Endecott's accounts:

I started in 1936 when I was 16 years old, firing the # 102 laying steel up the river.  Pay was 45 cents an hour if I remember right.  I was lucky to get the job as it was still during the depression.  I never would have got it had it not been for my dad.  He started on the Sumpter Valley when he was 15 on the big cut there in Austin, then he became a brakeman on the Sumpter when he was 19.  He got into some trouble and got fired; then went to work on the logging roads.  He brought the longest train into Bates -- 35 ends.  And end is two singles, so basically it was two loads on one car.

I was working out on Camp Creek and # 102 got out of control - runaway train!  I'm telling you ... it's quite a trick to find a place to jump where you won't roll back into the train when you are going down a mountain fast and it's at night!  As luck would have it - just before deciding to jump - the last car on the train derailed, and that drug us down ... and we got things calmed down. 

Another time when I was engineering, I was pushing a couple of cars up to Camp Sheldon with # 104 and I laid her against the bank.  The cars were behind the tender and I was backing up the hill.  We started to go into a curve and I felt the engine start to lean.  I walked over to the middle of the gangway, because I felt something was going wrong.  Jack Frasier had been working on the track all summer, and he had gotten laid off the day before.  I knew if anything went wrong, they couldn't blame him. 

Anyway, the engine started to go over and I told the conductor to get out, which he did.  But my fireman froze in the door, so I helped him out with my FOOT, and followed. 

The next day we came up with the # 102 and the Cats (Short for Catapillar tractors for you city folk) to pick her up.  They put two Cats above her and one below with cables attached underneath the tender and the smokebox, I believe.  The Cat below gave a tug and the other two eased her down.  The whole rescue effort didn't last more than ten minutes and the only damage to the engine was a cracked elbow on her exhaust pipe near the smokebox. 

I was on the 102 bringing her back down into camp, and I told my fireman to go back on the 104.  "If she starts shoving real hard on me, reverse her to help me out."  Fortunately I got 'em both down fine.  The 104 ran for another week before going back to town.

I never killed anyone but my uncle did.  He was bringing a trainload of steel down from Prairie when it got away from him.  There were Japanese riding the cars and one poor guy jumped off onto a hill and rolled back into the train.  A journal box hit him in the head and killed him. 

My uncle got killed at the log pond at Bates.  They were unloading and he unloaded one trip chain, but for some reason the others wouldn't let go.  Even though the hogger said not to ... he hit the chain with a hammer, and the logs hit him.  He didn't die outright.  They put him in a boxcar and hooked the 10 spot to it and made a run for the hospital in Prairie City.  He died the next morning.

One Saturday my dad, Emmet, had to pull a train out of the camp we were in.  Mom said she wasn't going to wait for him to come back to do the shopping and so she was going to town.  Dad took the train into the woods.  Pretty soon here comes the 104, and of course Mom knew the crew: she was related to them.  They were going to town, so of course they let Mom ride with them.  She had her little baby in her arms, and the fireman, John Combs, let her ride his seat.  They got to going down the hill - pulling a train behind them.  Pretty soon, my Mom says, "Do you feel her slide?  Plain as day!"  The engineer and the hogger didn't say anything. 

Pretty soon she felt her slide again, and she said so.  Then the hogger realized they were running away and started working her in the back motion.  They were moving along at a pretty good clip and the engineer said, "Pick a spot to jump!  Make sure you don't roll back into the train!"  To Mom he yelled, "John will take your baby, but don't jump quite yet!" 

After a couple of minutes things slacked off and he got her under control.  It's a good thing too, because Mom wouldn't have jumped.  After that she only rode engines with Dad though!

I was working on the Western Pacific out of Stockton right after Brooks Scanlon went out of business.  My uncle and I applied for a job with the WP and the next day we got a telegram to report for work ASAP.  This was during the war and all the railroads were shorthanded.   You could quit one job at breakfast and have another job by lunch. 

My first student trip was out of Oroville to Stockton if I remember right, and it was foggy.  The whole crew on that train wasn't much older that I was.  We had a rookie fireman and brakeman and hogger that hadn't been running more than a year.  I took a seat on the sandbox to watch things.  We started out and everything was going okay until our first meet.  We took the hole, and while we were sitting there the engineer kept looking at his orders, his timetable, his watch ... over and over again.

Pretty soon he says, "I don't know what the hell I was thinking!  We can make the next siding.  Get the gate, brakie!"

So the gateman got off, threw the switch, and we started out.  We got the engine and part of the train on the main when all of a sudden the hogger reached up, slammed his throttle shut; hit the independent and horsed the power reverse over!  He really must have woke the guys in the crummy up.  We no sooner got back into the siding and the brakeman still threw the switch back to the main ... then here comes a train barreling out of the fog!  We couldn't see her headlight until she was right on top of us!  That was the closest I've ever come to dying on a train.

Then of course I've been hurt a couple of times - probably worst was once when I was wooding up that old # 7.  As soon a business dropped off, the brakie was the first to go.  But when he was there, he helped the fireman wood up on his side, while the conductor and the engineer wooded up their side.  Things had slacked off and I was loading wood all by myself on my side.  I laid a piece of wood from the ground to the gangway to walk up with my load of wood.  I got this great big armful of wood and start walking up this piece of wood to walk up to unload my wood and when I had one foot in the gangway with the other foot still on the wood, the darn thing broke!  I turned as I fell and landed on the corner of the gangway going into the cab, on my tailbone.  Boy did it hurt!  I didn't tell anyone and finished the day.  But then it got so bad I couldn't roll over in the bed.  So I went to the Doc in Baker and he put a ray lamp on it and said I wasn't going to work for a week.  They fixed me up pretty good but when I went into the Navy they said, "That's some neck you got down there!"  Ha, leave it to the Navy.

Then another time we pulled into Big Boulder with the # 7, and I had my fire built up real heavy for the grade ahead.  For some reason the woods train was delayed so my dad told me to cap the stack so we wouldn't pop off.  I did and I think we ate lunch.  Pretty soon the train of logs came in and Dad said, "Take the cap off and we'll go."  So I went up and PUSHED the cap off across to the other side.  Well - instead of smoke coming out of the stack it was fire!  That burned my arm pretty good but I never pushed it across again!

I remember once when I was firing the # 100 on Bear Creek.  The hogger, that damn b&%$#@d - his family and mine never got along, and he decided to take it out on me, the punk kid.  We started up the hill outside of Galena and he had the throttle wide open and the bar in the corner.  I was able to keep up with him on the steam, but I kept losing water.  I told him to ease off or we would run out of water, because my injector was on wide and and we were still losing water.  He kept going, and when we topped the hill that plug let go!  It sounded like a pop went off in the firebox.  We both knew what had happened and the conductor went back and tied down all the brakes on the empties, and we started downhill.  After awhile I decided I had better take a look in there and see what was going on, and it was a good thing I did because those logs were starting to burn again!  I got the tongs and they stopped the train while I dumped the fire.  Then Lou Smith, the master mechanic, came up and wanted to know what had happened.  The engineer blamed it on me and I was about to get fired, but thank God the conductor stood up for me and told Lou how I had my injector wide open and the hogger was beating her so hard it couldn't keep up.  He went on to tell how the engineer wouldn't turn his gun on or ease up.  Lou straightened that engineer out good!  

The typical day started out about seven if we were the day crew.  We'd get the engine back up to steam since the night crew had usually tied up a couple of hours before.  I'd get on and blow her water glass out and test her gauge cocks.  Any dern fool can tell you whether there is plenty of water or not; steam and water make completely different sounds.  After we got up to steam, we'd blow her down, opening the valve for about two seconds, then waiting until she settled, and do it again a couple of times.  The Oregon Lumber Co. was real particular about taking care of them boilers.  We washed them out every couple of weeks, but we put a lot of water in from the creeks.  We had a boiler treatment, like put a cup of this stuff in or throw one of the little balls in after taking water.

Then we would start out, engine on the front of the train - tender first, hauling about 15 empties behind us. The # 7 was almost always the engine since she was the road loco.  It was 23 miles to the nearest reload point.  We'd pull in and drop off our empties, and take the train of logs.  We'd take wood and water at Big Boulder, and the 101 and the 102 would usually couple on to the end of the train to help us into Bates.  We'd usually be doing fine until we got to the gorge; right across from the DeWitt Ranch we'd usually hang up.  If Dad was in a good mood, we'd buck slack; if not, we'd double the hill.  If we'd buck slack he'd back up to get slack, then horse the bar over and reef on the throttle - all the way through the gorge and sometimes up to the meadow at Bates.  Surprisingly, even with all that slack action, we never broke anything.  Then we'd dump the logs into the pond and with the steam shovel.  We brought about 60 cars down every 24 hours with two trains.  The fireman would run the engine and the engineer the steam shovel dumping the logs. 

After we dumped the logs, if we were the day crew, we'd turn it over to the night crew. If we were the night crew, and it was winter time we'd pull up to the engine house.  Then I'd fill the firebox with wood clear up to the crown sheet, put on the injector until it flooded out, and cap the stack.  Then I'd get the heaters going on the injector - you know - close the the overflow valve (?).  Get them going so you could barely hear them "kick" in the tender.  This way things didn't freeze.  It wasn't uncommon to have 100 pounds of steam in the morning and water still in the glass.  It worked real good.

An amazing thing is that with all those wood burners we had over there and all the trains we had, we never set any fires.  We put a screen on the stack before we left Bates and that seemed to do the trick.  But you had to take them off once in awhile and beat 'em with a rock or stick to clean them so you could keep the engine drafting well. 

One night I was on the 102 as a helper going through the gorge and my fireman looked at me and said, "I can't make no steam no matter what!"  I told him, "Well go up and beat the stack."  Well ... the Forest Service superintendant was right along side us on the road and when we pulled into Bates he said, "I could have you fired for what you did tonight.  Did you SEE all those sparks that came out of the stack when he beat it?!"  Luckily he kind of laughed about it. The Forest Service cleared brush all summer and burned it in the fall.  Evidently whatever they did worked.

Those locomotive engines had personalities, I'm telling you!  Take the 101 and the 102 for example.  The 101 ran like a top - steamed like a house afire.  The 102 steamed hard and didn't ride as nice.  But the 102 had been wrecked a number of times.  Her cab had been replaced and all sorts of stuff.  The two were sisters, but couldn't be more different.  Then the 100 was a real good Heisler.  They bought her new and she was designed pretty good I think.  She rode and steamed better than the 104.  Of course the 104 was alright, considering she had been cut down from standard gauge.  Then that little 105 was okay; her firebox was so small they had to cut special wood for her.  Something you ought to know is that short pieces of wood - like what you use between the back of your firebox and the end of your cordwood, are called grousers. 

The master mechanic's name was Lou Smith and he came from La Grande where he worked for UP in the 20's.  He really knew his stuff and kept our engines in good shape.  Like I say, we washed them boilers out every Sunday two weeks apart.  Do the tubes first and work our way back and down.  Then close her up and fill her with water, light the fire and go eat dinner.  Come back and you'd have enough steam for her blower.

Every once in awhile they would have to take an engine into McKims down at Baker.  Dad took the DWP engines down every once in awhile and I can think of at least two times he and Claude Green took the # 7 into Baker.  One time they did and my mom and I were supposed to follow them in and pick them up.  Well, it had snowed about six inches the night before and froze so the roads weren't too good, and we were going over Dooley Mountain.  Mom was driving and of course was a skookum driver since she'd been living in logging camps and the high country for years.  We went into this one curve that was slightly elevated, and when we did the car just slid into the snowbank on the inside of the curve.  I could look over mom's lap and down the mountain and it was at least a mile straight down with not even a tree to stop anything!  I told Mom we had to get out, but she had to get out first because it was my weight that was holding the car up.  So I managed to get my door opened and stood on the footboard and used the door as a lever while Mom slip out past me.  Once she got out I let go and the car just stayed there.  Pretty soon a fellow came along in a truck and took us into to Baker. 

You know that whistle over there on your Heisler?  Well, I'll tell you about it.  The Oregon Lumber Co. bought a two truck shay, their # 105.  That engine was being shipped on a barge when it fell off into the water, and they let it sit there for a long time.  Finally they pulled it out and they rebuilt her, and when they did they put a new whistle on her.  That whistle was off a tugboat they were scrapping.  Then along about 1938, the Japs bought the 105, 10, and 103 and a flatcar of old wheels for scrap.  I fired that train into Austin. Anyway, they took the # 105's whistle off and put it on the 102.  When the 102 was sold that whistle went in a box in the Austin engine house where my brother picked it up when they were tearing everything down.  The bullet holes got there from a fireman I had one day.  He had a .22 and when we were drifting down a grade he said, "I'll bet I can hit that whistle."  I told him he had better not but BAMM!  Idiot did!  My brother Don got it out of the Austin engine house when they were tearing it down.

Yeah - I rode the mallets a couple of times with Mike Welter, and I remember one time I rode with him on the # 20 out of Whitney.  We must have had 20 cars with the 19 on the end of the train.  A. B. Jackson was the engineer, but I can't remember who the firemen were.  I sat on the left hand seat box all day except to help them wood up and stuff.  Mike ran up the first hill and then switched with his fireman on the second.   That way they both got some rest.  He had the 20 loaded up all the way to the door and he didn't have any trouble at all. 

Then when they ran the 250 for the first time up to Austin they brought the 19 up with her, mainly because they were scared of that big mallett.   But she was just a simple articulated; sounded just like a doubleheader when she ran.  Beavers and Mike were on the 250 and Jackson was on the 19 if I remember right.  I remember when they came in it caused quite a commotion that was quite something else with all that power we had up there then.  All that geared power and the rod engines.  At first the mallets were kind of slippery, but they got that fine tuned.  The guys just had to get used to them mainly. 

One time I was riding the caboose up Larch and old Beavers was on the front with 250.  She slipped and all the slack ran in, and then he got some sand under her and got her back on her feet and yanked all the slack back out.  Well, it ripped the nails right out of the stove!  That was some bad slack action!

The first trip I ever fired was on 102 pulling a camp train out of Whitney.  We started out with a cook car, bunk car, shower car and several others.  John Combs was engineer and we were really clipping along the flats out of Whitney.  I couldn't get my injector started and we were really losing steam.  John was starting to grumble and got his gun on and I started throwing wood.  We started up the hill and about a mile or so later we slowed down and let the brakeman off to throw us into a siding.  No sooner than had we stopped when here came the 19 poking around a curve on the passenger.  When they saw we were in the clear they whistled and away they went.  If I hadn't got the steam back up as quick as I did we would have been out of a job!

I spent a lot of time there at Austin, and when I was young I used to play on the engines there in the roadhouse.  The Prairie passenger would leave as a freight in the morning, make their run to Prairie with a couple boxcars and whatnot and a caboose.  They would drop them off and pick up the passenger at the depot and run up to meet the Bates passenger at Bates.  Then they would run back to Prairie and drop off the passenger, pick up the freight, and come back to Austin.  (To be continued ...)

Tom McGinnis 02-21-2009:  A couple of Bates memories come to mind.  Do you remember when we were just kids in Bates, and it was winter and very cold.  The snow plow had pushed all the snow against the garages at the end of our road.  You and I were jumping off the top or the garages into the snow, and my Dad caught us and took a bunch of willows and beat my back side all the way home.  I had welts for a month.

Then there was the time we shot our very first porcupine.  I think I shot half of a box of shells through my .22, and I think you shot it with a few more shells than I did.  (The only small animal that was harder to kill was a Badger).  When we killed it, you and I skinned it, and boy did it stink!  We showed him off to everyone we could in town, and then we put him up in your back yard where we though it would be safe. Low and behold - somehow the dogs got it and packed it off.  We were going to use the quills for something or other, but your dad put them in a box and took them away. 

When you think about it ... what an adventure for a couple of seven year olds. When I was 10, Dad and I hiked with one of his friends, Mrs. Ford and a daughter, into Blue Lake above Council, Idaho.  Mrs. Ford kept falling down during the four and a half miles of the five mile hike, and ended up braking her leg.  So a one day trip turned into an overnight stay.  We had no food, so I make three lean-twos against the rocks and built up a big fire, while Dad (Fred) went hunting.  He found a porcupine, which he killed and skinned and tried to tell me it was a rabbit but, I remembered the smell from our encounter at Bates!

The next morning we tried to get the fish to bite and they would not, so Dad said we would use "lead sinkers."  We went down to the spillway and saw the fish swimming, so Dad took out his .38 Special and told me to strip down - which I did - and he shot the fish. I swam out and got them so we had something to eat.  We cut them and roasted them on a willow, and I could not believe how good fish could taste when you are really hungry.  We made a litter and packed Mrs. Ford out, which took all day to cover the five miles.

Do you remember the time that your Brother Floyd and one of his friends were with us, and we were going along the creek bank and found a green spear head, and a yellow arrowhead, and four obsidian arrowheads -- and Floyd said he would take care of them -- and I was wondering if you ever saw them again.  For me this started a desire to collect Indian artifacts.  I have a large collection or old octagon barreled rifles. Some were owned by Indians, and are quite nice.  .38-55 caliber is one. I have spears, bows, tomahawks, beads, grinding tables and stones.  I also have a large collection of swords.  This all started with that simple day on the river.  I can tell that I must be getting old with all of the stories that are going through my head of the past.

Tom:  You think YOU must be getting old?!  I don't remember us finding those arrowheads period!  Have no idea what brother Floyd might have done with them.  I'll ask him next time I talk with him.  What do you figure they might be worth on Ebay?  I could donate the proceeds to the Bates Friendly Park fund  - Norm

Richard (Dobie) Shoun  02-14-2009:  (Email to Dr. Mick that Richard gave his permission to post): 

Dr. Mick - I'm not sure if you remember me, as it's been a few years since we've seen each other. We went to High School together, although you were a grade ahead of me. I just wanted to contact you as I found this web site you've set up with pictures and articles of Bates and the surrounding area's. I'm just blown away with what you have done. It brings back so many memories growing up in Prairie City and going to Bates during High School, until the mill was closed with the town being dismantled. Those days will always be some of the best times of my life growing up over there. All the Bates kids (especially the girls) I went to High School with and there parents who always were so supportive, and made you feel like part of the family. If I ever had a time of my life I'd like to re-live ... it would be then.

I have been living in the Tualatin (Oregon) area just south of Portland ever since I graduated from the University of Oregon in 1976. I've raised two children and still reside here until my wife retires from Xerox and then we will be relocating to Bend where I have my business. In the meanwhile, I've never lost my connection with Eastern Oregon, as I'm over there as often as I can.

I just purchase our old home back I was raised in last year. It's just down the street where I was born, so my roots are well planted there. The house is next to Greg Smith's grand parents home where he was raised. I remember Greg when he lived there. I got to talk to him at the 2005 class reunion. I see he's been quite involved with what's been going on with the Park and has some very interesting articles and pictures about the area.

When I go home, I always take a ride over Dixie to Bates.  I like to walk the site and just enjoy the surroundings as I did growing up. Every once in a while I will run into someone I knew and we'd have a great conversation about the past.  I'm hoping I'll run into Norm, as I see he's been there a lot over the years.

I'm looking forward to the reunion this summer (2009). The Park will be nice when it is completed. I'm just sorry it's taken so long, as a lot of the people who live there are no longer with us, and it would have been great for them to enjoy it.

I wanted to mention - I have some pictures I would like to send you. They are of different things that went on in Grant County. Also, my older brother "big Mike" took movies of Bates and surrounding area when he worked there. I have contacted him to send them to me. These were taken in the late 60's and early 70's. I will get them converted to DVD's or whatever you need, so you can add them to your web site.

I look forward to many more good times in Bates and will get back to you soon. (Richard:  So will many be excited about seeing YOU!  Thanks so much for writing! - Norm)

Richard (Dobie) Shoun
Email:  richard.shoun@verizon.net

Gregg Smith: 2-9-2009:  Rial - do you know anything about a CCC camp that was located near Bates?

Rial Green:  2-9-2009:  The CCC camp was near the junction about a mile west on the road to Baker.  Clinton Fanning was very young then so he probably does not remember it. A lot of the local boys joined up there.  Most of the boys were from western states and locally.  Army officers were in charge of the camp.  A little later a camp was established down the river from Bates at a place we called Desolation - which was very wild country and a good place to hunt.  The men sent to that camp were from the streets of New York and Chicago.  They were a wild bunch; according to some of them, one of their party tried to rob the mail car between New York and Chicago and was jailed in Chicago. They were put on the Sumpter valley passenger train in Baker to go to Bates and then loaded in trucks to go down the river. On their way from Baker City to Bates they were having fun; they depanted one guy and threw his pants out the back.  He pulled the emergency cord and the train stopped and waited for him to go back and get his pants.

When the train pulled into Bates, some of them were riding on top of the engine, tooting the whistle and ringing the bell. The train crew was glad to get rid of them. None of them had been out in the woods so us kids told them that where they were going to Desolation, they would be around cougars and bears and they worried about the animals a lot.  Tthese tough kids could have fought a grizzly with a switchblade they were so tough ,,, and we had them scared of mountain lions, etc!

The local CCC boys worked around our area building trails and fighting forest fires and some buildings for the forest service.  All  of the CCC boys only got $35.00 per month, of which they had to send $30.00 home to their folks, so they had only $5.00 for tobacco and stuff at the camp Post exchange for themselves. The $30.00 helped many families get by during the depression.  Some of the families had jobs and would send the $30.00 back to their sons. They were the lucky ones who had money to spend.

We saw a  lot of them at our local Saturday dances,  The girls liked them a lot but there some fights with the locals.

Bates Norm Guy: 2-6-2009:  It's been rather quiet here for a spell so I thought I'd post a story someone sent me.  I don't know how true it is, but strange and amazing things have been known to happen from folks who once lived at Bates.

The story is titled:  "OLD BLUE"

A young man who reportedly lived in Bates at one time went off to college.  Half way through the semester, he foolishly squandered all his money. 

He called home.  "Dad," he says, "You won't believe what modern education is developing.  They actually have a program here on campus that will teach our dog, Ol' Blue how to talk!"

"That's amazing," his Dad said. "How do I get Ol' Blue in that program?"
 
"Just send him down here with $1,000" the young man says. "I'll get him in the course."

So, his father sends the dog and $1,000.
 
About two-thirds of the way through the semester, the money again runs out.  The boy calls home.

"So how's Ol' Blue doing son?" his father asks.
 
“Awesome, Dad; he's talking up a storm!" he answers. "But you just won't believe this.  They've had such good results they have started to teach the animals how to read!"

"Read!?" exclaims his father, "No kidding!  How do we get Blue in that program?"

"Just send $2,500.   I'll get him in the class."
 
The money promptly arrives.  But our Eastern Oregon hero has a problem.  At the end of the year, his father will find out the dog can neither talk, nor read.  So he shoots the dog.

When he arrives home at the end of the year, his father is all excited. "Where's Ol' Blue?  I just can't wait to see him read something and talk!"

"Dad," the boy says, "I have some grim news.  Yesterday morning … just before we left to drive home, Ol' Blue was in the living room ... kicked back in the recliner, reading the Wall Street Journal ... like he usually does.  Then he turned to me and asked, "So, is your daddy still messing' around with that little redhead who lives in John Day?"

The father exclaimed, "I hope you shot that son-of-a-#%@&# before he talks to your Mother!"

"I sure did, Dad!"
 
"That's my boy!"
 
The former Bates lad went on to be a lawyer, and word has it that he went on to become a politician in high places.

Gregg Smith: For many years people would drive up the road above the Bates spring on the south side of Knuteville and dump their trash alongside the road.  (You could follow that road all the way to Phipps Meadow.)  Later they would dump their trash over a rocky cliff just north of the "Y" (Called the AUSTIN INN now) on the Bridge Creek side. 
 
If you would go up the road to the ridge top above Oz White's (on Clear Creek), you would find that the oldest dump was up there on top of the ridge.  The road casually snaked along the ridge to the "Y."  I think they moved the dump from that location because getting up that steep road beside Oz White's was difficult in the winter, or when the road was muddy.

Len Cardwell:  Do you remember there was a flat field right in back of that "Y" dump site that was a baseball field?  You had to turn in beside the "Y," or go just around it and up the hill.  We used to put signs up at the "Y" so people could get there.  We had a big wooden backstop built.  Most of the players were older high school kids and some just out of school. One of the pitchers worked for the State Highway Dept.  He threw side arm and was a very good pitcher.  We called him Spider.  Jack Reid was another pitcher.  I played first base - same as in high school. I played on the Bates town team in 1954 and 1955, and we had our home games there.  We had a good team and played Unity, Herford, Prairie City, John Day and Seneca.  The beer flowed after each game.

Bates Guy Norm:  There were wild cats at the dump that kept the mice population thinned out.  I'll bet you never remember ever seeing a mouse at the dump, did you?  Some guys would shoot at those cats, so the kitty-cats became very weary when a person showed up.  If you carried a gun ... those cats could go from 0-60 MPH in less than 5 seconds across the top of trash to find their escape tunnel.

Billie Jo George:  When they widened the highway to Prairie City in the 1990's, they dumped all the big rock and dirt on top of the dump and buried it.

Bates Buy Norm:  God rest the souls of those poor kitty-cats that were hiding deep in their escape tunnels when it was being covered over with tons of debris.  Mice don't have souls, so no need to grieve for them.

 
Wanted!  Any photographs of Hobbs Ranch:  If you have a photograph of Hobbs Ranch, or MORE than one photo, please pretty please (grovel, grovel, beg, beg)  find some way to get it/them to Dr. Mick Watterson so he can post them on the Net for all to see.  I'll say "THANKS" in advance!

Billie Joe George (Raines): 12-29-2008:  I was reading Len's post about the hooky bobbing behind the lumber trucks.  We never did that.  My Uncle Jim's (Curtis), sister Carol Curtis lost her leg up by the Y one year hooky bobbing behind someone's car.  Len and Gregg might remember when that happened. So that was a definite No-No, at our house.  We were just sledders.  I remember when I was little ... thinking that hill in the field was so big. Then as I got older we used to sled on the one there where you went into where Coalwell's house is now.  Someone would wait at the bottom and make sure no cars were coming, then off we would go. Hope everyone else's Holiday was as good as ours.

Gregg responses:   I remember that event.  The young folks were pulling sleds behind a car.  I think it was an older vehicle, with spokes.  The tow rope got wound around a rear tire and Carol was pulled into the turning wheel, severely breaking her leg.  In those days medicine was not what it is today.  She had several operation trying to mend her broken leg, but nothing really worked very well.  I remember her hobbling around Bates.  It was a very sad situation.

Leonard Cardwell: 12-23-2008:  I'm sitting here watching the snow and thinking of the winter nights in Bates. Hookybob time behind the lumber trucks from the turn to Knuitville.  Wore out a lot of soles on my overboots and Mom never could figure it out.  Blamed Sears- Roebuck on bad rubber.  Ha!  Merry Christmas everyone.
 

Gregg M. Smith:  12-23-2008:  My cousin, Jerry Vernon, was visiting from Hermiston (or was it Pendelton?). He grabbed onto the back of a lumber truck near to the truck garages. The truck sped up out of town and Jerry was afraid to let go.  So he rode it (slid it) all the way to "The Y" where the truck slowed down at the intersection.  Jerry finally felt it was safe to let go then.  I don't know -- without the slow-down would he have ridden that truck all the way to Baker?  He pretty much ruined his shoes.  When we got home, Grandma asked what we had been doing (since it was dark).  Jerry told the truth.  After all, he had a good story to tell.
 
My Grandmother was was disgusted and said: "Why aren't you good like Gregg?"  (Sorry. She really said that.  She just didn't know all the crazy things I did.)   I had fun but I wasn't reckless.  Well, sometimes......
 
Norm: 12-23-2008: As the snow accumulates here in Michigan and snow piles get HUGE in big parking lots, my thoughts go back to Bates when we dug snow tunnels into the huge piles of snow created by the big rig that plowed feet and more feet of snow out of the roadways. Inside those snow tunnels we lit candles, ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and felt as important as every adult in town. And if the snow tunneling ever got too boring, there was always Hookybobbing to Knuitville behind a lumber truck, as long as your bruises were gone from the last Hookybob ride you attempted to make yet didn't succeed in.

Norm: 12-23-2008:  And we must cherish the search in the snowy forest for the "perfect Christmas tree" at this time of year while living in Bates/Knuteville/Austin. Finding that PERFECT TREE was almost as thrilling as the family putting the tree decorations on it! Anyone have any treasured memories to share about find that "perfect tree" at Christmas time?

Flora Cheadle (Rasmussen): 12:23-2008: After we found that perfect tree we would dress the tree with lights, special decorations and add the final touches of threaded popcorn & cranberries, then wrap it around the tree like a vine. It never seemed to be long enough once it was placed on the tree. Lastly was the tinsel. The family would all listening to dad's favorite music, polka's and waltzes. We watched on as dad and mother tapped their toes to the memories in their head that went along with the music. Tennessee Ernie Ford had a wonderful Christmas Album that mother would play at least once. Perhaps a hot egg-nag was shared then we were off to bed. with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads and tiny feet prancing on the rooftop... and snow gently falling outside the window. Surely Christmas had finally come..

Dr. Mick W: 12-17-2008:  After reading the memory posts on this site and performing maintenance on Bates Photos, I'm convinced that we lived in the "best days".  We may have been poor in terms of income, but we were indeed rich in terms of faith and moral compass.  America may have a future...a future that is at best ill-defined.  I do know that America had a past...a past that was fun with a  flame that illuminated a bright future.  America's flame, over time and incompetent leadership, has been extinguished.  I fear we now walk in darkness.  Well, so much for my philosophical diatribe this evening.  I just want you to know that I truly value the friendship of the constant presence of so many of you in these difficult times.

Norm response:  Dr. Mick:  I believe the secret to solve America's problems lies in the wisdom of the Friends of Bates State Park Committee.  However, wisdom is not to found down there where they sit up easy chairs under RV awnings, sipping icy-cold Orange Crush, munching on peanuts and tator chips.  One must climb up the hill and sit smack dab on the top of Big Rock, and wait for wisdom to descend from above.  Sometimes one must sit there a long time before it downloads, but eventually, it will come.  (Tip: Take a roll of toilet paper with you when you go up there, in case of any delay.  Pine cones are neat to look at, and make fancy artwork out of, and that's ALL!).

Dr. Mick W: 12-17-2008:  Billie Jo ...You asked in an email yesterday if I remembered the large swings near your home in Knuteville.  Absolutely, and as I recall, it was very large with a total of three single swings on one "A" frame.  I remember playing on that swing many times and was sorry to hear that it was torn down one Halloween.  It was a gathering place for many Bates & Knuteville kids…we would spend many hours there.  I also remember playing baseball in the cow pasture.  I rounded third many times while dodging a number of fresh cow pies.  No problem sliding into Home Plate...provided you found the right cow pie and then timed it perfectly.

Norm comment:  Dr. Mick ... I think more people would watch Professional Baseball if the players had to dodge cow pies like WE did!  Shucks - running the bases ... ANYONE can do (who has the ability to run, of course).  But dodging cow pies without getting thrown out ... now that requires GREAT skill!  Speaking of cow pies ... my dear departed mother grew some of the best tasting strawberries there in Bates I've ever tasted.  But she had a "secret" that I will now reveal.  She would make her children go out into the cow pasture/baseball field and scoop up the oldest cow pies to mix them in the garden soil. Fertilizer from a bag or can wasn't even a consideration on her part.  Of course, us kids who were assigned this task REFUSED to scoop up cow pies during the daylight hours, for fear of what our friends might think.  Thus we scooped cow pies covertly after dark.  The difficulty in all this was that one had to be very, very careful while walking in the dark to NOT step in a freshly deposited cow pie.  If that happened, which it did from time to time, one found oneself looking up at the stars very quickly. 

Yep - we had many challenges to overcome while growing up in Bates.  Personally, in learning the skill of dodging cow pies in the dark, it kept me from stepping on mines in Vietnam.  As one develops one's sense of smelling a fresh cow pie in the dark before stepping in it - one also learns to sense a nearby landmine before stepping on it.  Landmines you can't smell, but you can learn to pick up the faint odor of sweat molecules from the person who placed the mine there, hoping it wouldn't blow up in their face.

I sent an email to the Top Dog commander in Iraq awhile back, offering my services in helping conduct courses in teaching our troops how to detect fresh camel poop in the dark for the purpose of learning how to hone one's smelling capabilities to thus avoid driving over landmines, but I've yet to hear anything back on the matter.  Least I gave it the old Bates try ...

Norm: 12-16-08:  I must confess that I get a bit "pushy" with certain people who dare to email me, asking them to share old memories, and Billie Jo George (Raines) happens to be one of them, bless her heart.  Here is a short email from her, and I'll respond to her following it.

Billie Jo:  You are always wanting us to remember ... here's one for you ... something I bet you both (Dr. Mick) have forgotten.  How much fun did you have at the old swing that was across the road from our house? (By the telephone house).  You know - the giant one that someone pushed over on Halloween one year and it never got replaced.  I remember you guys used to put a long board through the ropes that held the individual swing sets and the whole town of kids could set on it and swing.

Norm answer:  Wow - BJ - you are correct.  I had totally forgotten about that old swing!  That swing brought so much happiness to so many kids, didn't it?  How terrible it was the swing got wrecked too.  I remember that particular Halloween.  The youth out that night were filled with the devilment, and I was along with them, I'm ashamed to say.  I remember the swing going over, and I remember someone sort of got hung up on it somehow, and was hoisted into the air briefly. I don't remember who that was now.  Out-houses got tipped over that night; roadblocks got put in the road to keep the school bus from going to Prairie City the next day; a group put a Willie's Jeep OVER the fence and onto the lawn near the grade school flag pole, and the night ended out in a gang war of sorts.  I don't remember who all it was that remained, but some of the guys got into a fight, and I think once that happened, everyone decided they had better go home and cool down, because things were getting way out of hand.  Now BJ, the question IS ... were you home behaving that night, handing out goodies to the little kiddies who knocked at your door, or were you out with the local Bates "terrorists" that night, ripping up the town?

BJ answer:  I don't know; do you remember what year it was? There was one Halloween I didn't get to go Trick-or-Treating, because I had hurt my leg when I fell across the ditch going to school.  Mom and Dad took me to the doctor in John Day, who sent us to some quack in Pendleton, who told them I had polio, so I spent that Halloween confined to a wheel chair. I spent all that year either in that chair or on crutches. Then Dad got mad at the doctor in Pendleton and took me to a different Doctor. All it was, was a very badly torn muscle in my leg.  With a little therapy and exercise, it started to heal.  I got off the crutches the day school was out, and came down with the 3-days measles the next day.  Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.  All I wanted to do was go outside and play.

Norm answer:  I'm guessing that particular Halloween was around 1959 - 1962.  Bummer with what happened to you and that quack doctor in Pendleton, BJ.  What say next Halloween we go to his gravesite and spit Copenhagen 'bacca juice on his tombstone?!

Gregg Smith response:  For you kids, I remember the board swing at the Bates school.  The board was about 5' or 6' long.  One kid would stand on each end, holding onto the chain.  Then they would pump.  Three or four kids would sit in the middle.  Of course, sitting in the middle you had zero support.  As the 'pumpers' would take the swing higher and higher the sitting kids were at their mercy.  I remember sitting on the board and being terrified that I would fall off. 

More questions to Rial:  12-07-08:  Do you remember any bear and/or cougar stories from the Bates/Austin days?

Rial:  A man named Carl (last name forgotten) had a couple of logging horses in an old garage up the road from Bates about 1/2 mile.  He asked Cowboy Busby and me to take them to the trough set up in front of the Bates store and service station for the winter .. and water them.  While we were gone, he climbed up in the brush across the road from the temporary barn and Marion Busby (Cowboy's younger sister) sat in front of the barn in a buckboard.  When we came back, riding the horses, Carl started shaking the brush and had Marion shout out:  "IT'S A COUGAR - IT'S A COUGAR!" 

Cowboy and I tried to get the horses to run but they just poked along.  We were about to get down and teach them how to run when Carl came out laughing.  He had constantly told us cougar stories and had us spooked.

What he was using as a barn had been a garage for two or three cars.  Chet and Rocky John's parents had just the month before bought a new Model A ford sedan.  At the time, it was a beautiful car. Some other fellows had an older car in the garage and were gassing it up with a gasoline can when it caught fire and burned up the John's new car.  They got their car out but the John's car was in gear and they couldn't push it out. Later I found in the ashes a funnel with a cigarette butt stuck in it.  They must have been smoking as they poured the gas and dropped the lit cigarette from their mouth.
 

More questions to Rial: 12-06-08:  Did you ever do much fishing while you lived in the Bates-Austin area?

Rial:  We fished a lot in the river, and Clear Creek.  During the steelhead run and the salmon run all the men and boys gigged salmon, which later became unlawful. We fished in Strawberry lake, Olive lake and Magone Lake, over by Prairie City.

One time we were camped at the campground one mile from Strawberry lake, and a State Policeman parked there and walked up to the lake to check the fishermen.  One of our party had a car bomb which we wired up in the cop's car.  When he came back from the lake, his engine was missing and when he raised the hood, the bomb went off.  We laughed so hard!  Ge got mad and slammed the hood down and took off with the car still missing on one cylinder. Every one told me to get in the tent or he might arrest me, but I couldn't get up; I was laughing so hard.

More questions to Rial:  Where did everyone swim who lived there?  Any memorable experiences?

Rial:  We used a beaver dam, or sometimes built our own dam out in the field.  One summer, a small circus came to town, and there were several big strong black men workers, putting up the tents, etc. We told them about our swimming hole and several of them came, and we all went swimming naked. We didn't know it but the women in the row of houses next to Clear Creek could look out the kitchen window and see naked white kids and black men running around in the field and diving in the water. What a thrill for all those housewives!

Another time Eileen Endicott's brother rode his horse down from Austin.  He had a .22 rifle with him, and he unloaded the gun, and they were playing-like shooting boys diving in.  After awhile he reloaded the gun and one of the girls didn't know the gun was loaded, and as Chuck Porrit dove in, she shot him in the stomach.  He got hauled to the hospital in Prairie City and was in there a couple of weeks.  He said that was the best time he ever had; they gave him all the ice cream he wanted. He survived that and grew up to be a big strong man.

My Dad wouldn't let me play with guns.  I was taught never to point a gun at anyone even if it was unloaded. I had my first gun when I was 9 but could not take it out without one of my parents until I was 12.
 

Norm questions to Rial:  12-06-08:  What did people do there for amusement - entertainment?  I'm assuming they had dances now and then.  What were those dances like?  Who played music?  Was there a lot of drinking going on; women chasing; men fighting?  Were children allowed to attend?  Was New Years a typical time to have a blow out dance party, like it always was when I lived in Bates from roughly 1953 - 1966?

Rial:  We had frequent dances.  Mrs. Kranenburg played the piano.  Her youngest son, Franz, played the sax, Mrs. Darrow played the violin, and Clarence ( a memory lapse here) played the guitar.  Quite good music for dancing.  We also had many house parties.  Many people played cards, especially the older folks.

One year when the AFL was trying to organize, some of the company men started our own private union to keep out the AFL. We paid 50 cents a month for dues.  After quite some time, the AFL was able to overcome this company union so we had a meeting to decide what to do with all the 50 cents dues we all had paid in.  The married men voted to split up the money, but we single men had more votes, and we voted to have a party. So all the women in town saved up fruit juice to which was added 5 gallons of grain alcohol, and we had 5 gallons of whisky and 17 cases of beer.

The juice drink was very potent - causing some people to get aggressive and others to get dreamy.  I was one of the dreamers.  Most of the men wore suits to these affairs, although some never wore a tie with their suits.  One man, Paul Carp - a nice young man with a nice wife - walked in and Paul drank one tumbler of the juice and fell over immediately ... so we carried him out to his car.

At midnight, the ladies served midnight supper and we formed circles on the dance floor with a case of beer in the middle.  By that time Paul Carp had recovered and came back in and sat in our circle where his wife was sitting.  She was a little tipsy, and after he sat down, she poured a bottle of beer on his head.  They were both giggling and he rolled around on the dusty floor with his new suit and got all muddy.  Later some men were fighting outside, and with a bottle of beer in my mouth, I walked out and someone threw another bottle and hit my bottle.  I still have a chipped tooth but no other damage.  

All I can say it was some party; even some of the women fought -- pulling hair -- and we would take them out and put them over the railing and into the swampy ground to let them cool down.

By Monday, everyone went back to work and all was normal and forgotten.  At some dances we had square dances like the old West and one man who knew how to call the moves took over.  At some house parties a few of us would go and steal chickens and the wife of that house would cook up a nice chicken dinner.  

When a couple got married, we had a Shivaree; pounding on tubs or garbage can lids until they invited us in for drinks.  It was a hassle for them sometimes but a lot of liquor was consumed. Sometimes - I  have heard of - they would kidnap the groom or bride to foul up the first night for the couple, but we didn't do any thing like that.

After the dances, us kids would pick up the empty flasks and sell them to the bootleggers and get spending money.  When our best bootlegger, Kilgore, came to town in his Limo, you could hear bottles and jugs rattle all over town as the kids ran with a sack of flasks and gallon jugs to sell. He was the largest bootlegger, and had his operation down the river from Bates.  Big trucks came by at night, bringing in grain and sugar and trucks came by at night hauling whisky to Portland and Seattle.  The revenuers never bothered him.  His whisky was the best; it tasted just like Jack Daniels Tennessee sour mash which I think is the best in the world surpassing Canadian Club. As a matter of fact, I happen to have a bottle of Jack Daniels by my desk and have a little sip now and then to remind me of the good old days!! 

Norm Rasmussen:  12-06-2008:  (My email to Rial Green):  Were you around when they put up the three smoke stacks at the Bates mill?  That had to be quite an undertaking of putting up that tallest one.  Do you remember anything about the project?

Rial Green:  (Rials's reply)I watched some when they put up a stack.  It was put up from the inside - a 1/2 section at a time. Therefore you couldn't see the workers since they were inside the stack.

Billie Joe George: 12-05-2008:  (My email to Rial Green):  Good Afternoon Rial.  How are you today?  Norm and I were emailing and he asked me about Hobbes Ranch.  I don't really know that much about it other than Uncle Vern Raines owned it once and had dairy cows there. What can you tell us about it?

Rial Green:  (Rials's reply):  Tom Hobbes had the ranch long before Bates was built.  Even after Bates was there he would still walk to Austin to get his mail.  Anyway, some con men had gotten Tom to invest in an oil well in Texas, which was a scam, but he believed in them.  He thought he would be very rich.  Sometimes they would send him a check and I remember he would get my Dad to haul him to Prairie City to cash it and stock up on groceries.  Many times the check hadn't been signed and he thought they had forgotten to sign it, so he would send it back and tell them to re-invest it. Sometimes my Dad would pay for his groceries.  Those people got every cent he had and he borrowed money from your uncle Vernon against the ranch.  He owed Vernon $12,000 and Vernon carried him a long time when he couldn't pay it back. Finally Vernon and his wife were forced to take over the ranch.  We used to visit them there.  They told old Tom that he could live upstairs for as long as he lived and could eat his meals with them. This worked for some time but then old Tom 'kinda went off his rocker.  He would get pine limbs that were pitchy and make them into torches and put them up around upstairs for light.  Vernon and Mrs. Raines were afraid he would catch the house on fire and burn them all up, so they finally had to get in touch with the Sheriff.

At that time we were living on the summit of Dixie.  A rancher from Prairie City named George Velvin would butcher a beef every week and when he got to the summit, he would hire me to drive his new Ford pickup to all the camps and Bates and Austin. He always had a jug of wine he drank all day, which is why he needed a driver. One day we were in Austin selling meat and Sheriff Hazeltine asked George Velvin to go to the Hobbes ranch and get old Tom to come out and show him some of the property markers.  Old Tom had a .22 rifle upstairs and wouldn't let anyone come up there.  So George and I went to the ranch and George got Tom to come out and the sheriff and a deputy went in and got the gun.  Then they took old Tom to what they called the "poor house" three miles from Baker, where they had other old people who were homeless or half-crazy.  Old Tom died there about two months after he was put in there. The old people in there didn't seem to last long in there.  Your uncle Vernon was really sorry about that but he had no choice.  They would have been burned up otherwise.

We all liked old Tom.  He was a good old man, but he still believed in those crooks who fleeced him out of everything.  It was sad for all who knew him.  Have a nice holiday - Rial

Norm Note:  Gregg filled in a few facts from Rials above post.  Gregg quotes Rial, then types in purple his inserted facts/commentary.  Thanks, Gregg!

Gregg:  Tom Hobbes had the ranch long before Bates was built.  1917
 
Even after Bates was there he would still walk to Austin to get his mail.  ....up until 1919 when Bates got it's own post office.
 
Those people got every cent he had and he borrowed money from your uncle Vernon against the ranch.  I remember in the early 1950s people talked about Mr. Hobbes and how he would come to the post office every day waiting for his big check - which never came.
 
Vernon and Mrs. Raines were afraid he would catch the house on fire and burn them all up. So they finally had to get in touch with the Sheriff.
Question:  Was Vernon a Raines or a Reynolds?  I thought the last people who owned the Hobbs ranch before the Riccos bought it was a Reynolds family.  (But I could easily be wrong.)
 
At that time we were living on the summit of Dixie.  A rancher from Prairie City named George Velvin would butcher a beef every week and when he got to the summit he would hire me to drive his new Ford pickup to all the camps and Bates and Austin. He always had a jug of wine he drank all day which is why he needed a driver.  George Velvin was English.  His son, Tom, took over the ranch and ran it into the ground.  People used to laugh at his hay stacks. Tom didn't take care of his dad and I think there was a sad ending - but I can't remember the details now.  Eventually Tom had to sell out.  He moved to the coast, where he bought a bowling alley.  I doubt that worked out well. 
 

We all liked old Tom, he was a good old man but he still believed in those crooks who fleeced him out of everything.  It was sad for all who knew him. 
The old 'poor farm' is still standing.  It is in a gully on the left side going into Baker from the south.  I'm sorry to hear the end of Mr. Hobbes' story but in my research on death certificates in Baker and Grant county there is information on lots of old single men who died in their cabins of starvation, illness or suicide.  It was a tough time.  We need to be grateful for the lives we have now.
 
Gregg

Gregg Smith:  12-03-2008:  Dr. Mick posted a picture of Art Cardwell and son Len when Len was very young.  Turkeys everywhere - everywhere!
Some people may not know that turkeys were a major industry in Eastern Oregon in the 1930s (and perhaps 1920s).  The Ricco brothers got their ranching start raising turkeys on the home place up Dixie Creek.  My Dad spent part of a summer on a turkey ranch in Drewsey, until he developed tick fever.  I think Mr. Wishard in Prairie City got his start with turkeys.

And.....for what it's worth, there are now quite a few wild turkeys in Eastern Oregon.  I saw a large flock this past summer in the meadow on McNamee Gulch on the 1035 road from Tipton to Greenhorn. 

Billie Joe George:  12-02-2008:  When I was little, Dad used to raise pigs up behind Newtville where Immose's log cabin was.  We lived in Grandma Raines house then. They all used to tell the story about one old pig that had 33 babies.  Mom would laugh about how they kept the ones the mom couldn't take in boxes around the stove to keep them warm.  And they would rotate them at feeding time,so that all would get some natural milk. She said they did a good job of taking care of them; they only lost 6 out of the 33.

I was thinking today ... as you guys are always talk fall and hunting.  I always had another reason for looking forward to fall.  That was when Dad would make his Homebrew and Root Beer for the winter.  We would gather the brown stubby bottles all spring and summer, then when fall came Mom and us girls would get them all washed up and sterilized.  Dad would start mixing up the family's winter refreshment. It would set in the cellar for about three weeks, I think, in the crocks covered with cheese cloth.  Then the fun day would come -- bottling day. Out would come the little hose and the boxes of bottle caps and the funny little thing that pressed the caps on. Then on its side it would lay on shelves in the cellar until it was ready to drink. Every once in awhile you would hear small explosions in the cellar when one blew up.  Winnie (Sterling) Smith always said it was the best home brew around. Not too long before she passed away she sent me the receipt that Dad had given her.  We still have all of that stuff.

Norm response:  Billie Joe ... well then, there you go!  You make Homebrew and Root Beer and I'll tend the 'shine still underground where they used to raise turkeys and we can go into a business partnership right there at the Austin House!  Shucks, Gregg and Len can put together a revamped stage line from Baker City to the Austin House for nostalgia sakes, (Wireless Internet and the whole nine yards on those buggies!) and then let 'em run on over to Prairie City - Bend - Salem - Portland - Anchorage, Alaska - round the world and back to Baker City from the backside.  Dr. Mick can be the Public Relations director and market the whole thing!  Shuck sakes alive ... lets get some tourists ($$$$$) coming over there to Austinville.  Good Homebrew will bring rich Saudi Oil princes to the Austin House.  They can drill for "oil" out back where the turkey's used to gobble and I'll let them find some Norm's Pig's-Ear-Silk-Smooth-Austinville Shine as they drill.  Let's put the Austin House on the global map for the WHOLE WORLD to come and taste that BJ - Forrest's World Famous Homebrew!

And of course, there would be the BJ - Forrest's World Famous Root Beer for the fainthearted and the youth.  The sky's the limit on this!

Arden May:  12-02-2008:  Hi.  I remember living in Bates and going to school there a short while.  The teacher was Miss Gause.  I was looking on Dr. Mick's site at the Bates Majorettes and recognized one: her name was Donna Howell.  My folks lived in one of the houses that was built around a tree in Knuteville.  Some of you may know my dad, Jess May.  My mom and dad are still alive, and in fairly good health.  I think his brother, Walt May, came there after we moved away.  His wife was named jewel.  The kids were Walter, Jim, Rick and Susan.  Jewel passed away a couple years or so ago. 

More about the tree in our house.  I spoke with my dad recently, to refresh some of my memory.  Dad said the tree was in the living room part of the wall.  Mom said it was on the outside and the walls were built around the tree.  I think Mom is right because that is how I remembered it.  The tree did go up through the roof.  We lived in the second or third house on the bottom row of houses there in Knuteville.  Mom said I walked across the field to go to school.  Dad said we could walk to church.  Mom remembers the pastor was a women minister, but didn't remember her name. I believe it was an Assemblies of God church. 

Dad was the head machinist there and worked with Lew Smith.  Another person he mention was Jack Fraiser.  Dad said the Machine shop was painted red and was next to the mill.  Dad said he didn't know if they had taken many or if any pictures, but I know they did because I remember seeing some; they will look and see.  I am the same age as you, Norm. Age 62; birth date 9/22/46.  We probably had Agnes L. Gause at the same time as our 3rd grade teacher.  

We moved from Long Creek to Bates in 1954 and then moved to Klamath, CA in 1955.  Leland Simonson offered dad a job to come to California to help him build a mill in Klamath.  Leland did work for Hines lumber Co.  He also had a large mill in Smith River, CA.  I went through some of my pictures and found a class picture from Long Creek and also my third grade report card from Bates.  Wow - I didn't remember I had it. Was there a place called Jump mber it. 

I remember in the winter time sledding down a hill. All the kids were there; It was a lot of fun, and the fires to help keep us warm.  I believe in the field, water had frozen and people were skating and there were bonfires to keep warm, and also the snow ball fights.  I remember getting clobbered.  I remember Dad bringing home two nice bucks.  He really liked to hunt and so do I.  I also remember fishing off the bridge and creek -- catching trout. Now I go out under the Golden Gate SF and catch large salmon, rock cod, and  ling cod.  I have one son and three daughters, three grandchildren, two dogs, one cat, and three foreign exchange students.

Arden May [ampmay@prodigy.net


Billie Joe' George's response to Arden's post:  Yes - there is a Lake called Jump Off Joe. It's down by Desolation Meadows on the back side of Vinegar - kind of in the Indian Rock area.  We used to go there a lot.  Dad would trap live mice and float them out on a thin board and you still couldn't get those huge trout to bite.  It is so clear and very deep.  Around the edge the water is really pretty, but not to far out it just turns black when it starts getting deep. It is about a 1/2 mile walk off the road to Desolation Meadows, from the Crocket Knob - Indian Rock Rd. 
 

Billie Joe George (Raines):  12-01-2008:  We just returned from our week-end at Austin. You will not believe this. First of Dec. and no snow anywhere.  None on Dixie; very little on Vinegar; Tipton was bare to. Terry and I were mad at ourselves.  We could have spent Thanksgiving at the cabin for the first time since I can remember. Yesterday I made us turkey sandwiches and we had a picnic out back while we burned the summer's lawn clippings.  No coats necessary. It was an Indian Summer day.  We are all ready for when the cold hits however, as we know it will probably be real soon.

Norm Note:  I asked Billie Joe earlier today in an email if she ever had a chance to do much snowmobiling in the Bates/Austin area growing up.  I thought her answer should be posted here.  She experienced something I never experienced living there.  "I wanna go home; I wanna go home; ohhhhh how I wannnna ... goooo home." 

We used to but not so much any more. After Mom (Teresa Raines; wife of Forrest) got sick it was mostly taking care of the things she couldn't do. So we just never got to do it any more. There is nothing like a midnight snowmobile ride on Christmas night. My husband Terry, Phronsie (Older sister and twin to Francis) and I did that a couple times. Talk about making you appreciate the day. Clear sky and the stars shining overhead, and just enough moon to give some light. Take off at Austin - go up the rail road tracks to the far end of the meadow - cut up over the hill, and come out on the new road that goes above the old Vinegar Creek Swimming hole, and down onto the Middle Fork. It was a beautiful ride. Made you remember what the day was all about.  I remember setting on the hill just before you drop onto the Middle Fork Road, with Dixie Mountain in the back ground ... and thanking God for letting me be so lucky to be where we were on that night.  It took my breath away.  It was so beautiful.

Norm Rasmussen: 11-25-2008:  I'm buying a tent and moving to Bates and setting up a moonshine still in them thar mountains somewhere!  I'm convinced that The Mother of All Bubbles is U.S. Government debt! 

Gregg Smith: 11-24-2008:  Here is the story about the location of the White Pine mill after talking with Elwood Greear in John Day.  He is in hisearly 90s.  He grew up in Austin and Bates and was the last mill boss in Bates. Elwood said the White Pine mill was about 1/2 mile north of Sixteen Gulch at a little meadow on Crawford Creek.  They called the meadow "Jap Meadow" because there were a number of Japanese working there. A team of Australians cut the grades for the logging train.  They used pick and shovel and a horse drawn 'Fresno' scraper.  They also built the bridges.  Then a Japanese crew came along and laid the ties and rails.

The oldest people from the Bates / Austin area are in their 90s.  Carol Johns, Elwood Greear and Rial Green.  If you have any more question, ask them soon.

Len Cardwell: 11-24:  Thought I would add a little to Gregg's post above.  If you take the Crawford Creek road from either the top of Tipton (Hwy 7) or at Crawford Meadows (Hwy 26), you will come to a intersection about half way through.  Beside the road is some concrete blocks that the White Pine Boiler sat on.  Just over across the creek is the road up to Jap Meadows.  The old railroad grade is still there along Crawford road.  It ties in to the main line at the upper end of Taylor Siding were we had the Bates Reunion.  That was also PRIME Art Cardwell and Leonard Watterson Hunting Country.  I killed my first buck right there.  (Norm note:  Care to offer some specific details about that first buck, Len?  Like - how old were you?  Did you get buck fever?  How many times did you shoot at him before he ran into a bullet? After the point of the bullet's impact, how long did it take for his tongue to flop out his mouth and droop over to the side?  Details, my man, details!  We need more interesting DETAILS to these posts, otherwise people are going to go back and start reading old Ann Landers archives).

Rial's Answer to Gregg About The Camp's Questions Below: 11-20-08:  When I lived there, my dad worked in Camp 1 and Sherm Coulter was camp boss and Camp 2 was bossed by Richard Hyatt.  The camps moved quite often.  When that section had been logged they moved camp. We lived in a camp up Vinegar creek, which ran into the John Day River about 3 miles down the river from Bates. The other camp was somewhere west of us quite a few miles.  At another time we lived on the summit of Dixie mountain -- however the camp was a mile down the hill towards Prairie City.  We lived right by the highway and I caught the school bus there that year. Another rime our camp was down the river close to Susanville. One year we lived in Whitney where the Oregon Lumber Co. built another mill.  When they started to haul some logs by truck, there was another camp on Dixie before you reached the summit.  We turned left from the highway and it was about 2 miles up the road.  The first trucks were only 1 1/2 ton trucks, and while riding down the hill the floor shuddered so much you thought the transmission was coming up through the floor.  Later they used bigger trucks after they quit the railroad.

When I got back from the Air Force in 1945 my dad and his crew were pulling up the last of the steel from the Sumpter Valley tracks near Baker City.  Later a group from Baker started a restoration project. Union Pacific gave them some old steel which they laid on the old road bed from McEwen to Sumpter and they got some old locomotives and restored them. At least two of the Sumpter Valley engines were brought back from The White Pass and Yukon railroad which runs from Skagway Alaska to Whithorse Yukon territory.  They had bought the engines from the SVRR and when they changed to Diesel engines the old SVRR engines were retired. They also have a Heisler engine which they restored and run it from McEwen with a couple of passenger cars to Sumpter for tourists in the summer.  That engine is one my dad ran for the Baker White Pine Lbr. Co. in 1914. I have a book called Rails, Sagebrush and Pine written by Mallory Hope Ferrell which is about the Sumpter Valley RR and the Oregon Lbr. Co. which at one time was the longest narrow gauge railroad in the USA when the tracks still ran over to Prairie City.  About half of the pictures in the book were furnished by my dad but after the book was published I had a hard time getting the pictures back and many were never returned.  I have them in storage someplace; perhaps in my storage unit here in Spokane. I do have one box of pictures there and a couple of boxes here in the house.  The book has pictures of all the Sumpter Valley locomotives and all of it's rolling stock. The book is out of print now. Years ago I did find one which I gave to my youngest son who lives in Anchorage, AK.

Next Email from Rial to Gregg:  Elwood is right.  It was not the ditch to feed the mill pond.  As you look at the photo at the far end of the houses to the right, the ditch ran on the flat behind the houses and curved along the brush line you see.  If this picture was taken in 1923 when I lived there, I was too young to notice it.  In about 1930 I played on that hillside some and I don't remember that line.  It might have been removed by then.  Elwood lived in a house at the far right end of the houses and knows where the ditch ran behind his house. His uncle Mr. Johnston pulled me out of that ditch once in the winter. I had been sleigh riding with some others on the right side of the hill and they took a shortcut down the hill behind the Jonston's house and across a bridge over the creek.  I was behind and to catch up I rode my sled down the hill and missed the bridge and dove into the ditch.  There was about 3 or 4 feet of snow and I was standing in waist deep water and I couldn't get out.  It was very cold and I started calling for help.  Fortunately Mr. Jonston was in the outhouse beside the ditch and heard me.  I held up my sled and he reached down and pulled me out.  I don't think I would have lasted much longer if he hadn't been there to help me. I often wonder why I have lived so long. I've had a lot of close calls but none more close than that time.

As with everyone else, that line is a mystery to me  The road into Bates ran between the houses until about the fifth house on the far right and then turned toward the flat and the store, etc.  We need someone older than me to solve the puzzle!

(The photo being discussed is the one taken of Bates in 1920.  It is on Dr. Mick's site.)

Norm Note: 11-20-08:  I'm beginning to question my wisdom of putting most recent emails here at the top, rather than putting them at the bottom.  It may be difficult for some people to grasp the flow correctly of these emails I'm positing.  Having said such ...

Gregg Smith has been dialoguing with Rial Green about Bates/Austin things, and Gregg has been forwarding me a copy of their dialogue, which is really some very precious history that I want to record here, otherwise it will probably be lost:

 
Rial - I've interlineated my purple comments in your e-mail.
 
The building on the edge of the bridge was the sand house.  Sand was used with the locomotives to get traction.  The building was also used as a barn for some logging horses.
 
Wonderful information.  Elwood Greear mentioned that the building at the end of the bridge sometimes housed horses.  If I remember correctly he said something about deputy sheriff xx Gibbs (can't remember his name) stabling his horses there when he tracked down illegal stills during Prohibition.
 
If we are talking about the same line above the houses, it was the road that ran behind the community hall, the hotel and what they called around the turn where there were several houses.  They were beyond where the dry kilns were.  The dry kilns were built after I left Bates so I never saw them. In the other direction the road ran up Clear Creek to the wye (?) where the road went to Austin.  At that point was the spring house or reservoir which was the water supply for Bates. Rocky Johns was in my older sisters class, three years ahead of me.  I think he got injured playing football.  He was a nice guy.  When I was there he fed the logs onto the bull chain which carried the logs into the mill. He married the company nurse (Mabel Johns) when I was still there.  I lived in at least 5 of the houses in Bates over the years since we moved out to the logging camps in the summer sometimes.  
 
Where was Camp One?  Where was Camp Two?  I recall, perhaps incorrectly, Camp Two was moved to Bates and became Knuteville.  Is that correct?

I didn't know Fermi after she was that old; she was about 14 or 15 when I knew her.  Her older sister, Martha was in my class and was also one of the best students.
 
I don't have Fermi's exact age.  I thought she was my father's age.  He was born in 1914.  So...that would have made him 94.

At one time we lived next door to the John's and I knew them all.  Chet Johns was also ahead of me in school. His wife, Carol Cook rode the bus to Prairie City at the same time I did.
 
Carol is still as spry as ever.  She lives at the Valley View Assisted Living project in John Day.  Chet has largely lost his mind and is a nursing home in Canyon City.
 
I hope you are able to overcome your illness.
 
No, this is just Nature.  You live a while and then you pass on.  I'm just trying to get a few things done while I am still able.

New Email:  Rial responds back to Gregg:  Elwood Greer was right and a few locals went to prison.  Our most famous bootlegger was named Kilgore. His operation was down the river near Susanville I think.  His whiskey was the best and some went to Portland and Seattle.  The revenuers never bothered him. After the local dances us kids collected whisky flasks and Kilgore bought them.  5 cents or 10 cents for flasks and 25 cents for a gallon jug.  That way we got our spending money -- some of which we took to Bert Dustin's store in Austin and he would sell us Bull Durham. He would show us a picture in a book he had showing a drawing of lung cancer and one for mouth cancer, but he still sold us the tobacco.  He was a great old guy though and warned us to quit smoking.  

I was sorry to hear about Chet Johns; everyone liked all the Johns.

In Bates all of the houses had their main light switch on the porch.  Just a blade switch with two circuits.  One thing some of us did was get a lath with a bent nail on the end and sneak up and pull the switch and turn off the lights and run like hell.  One time me and my friend Frank Crowley turned off the lights where Elwood and his folks lived.  I got away but Elwood caught Frank and stuck a broom through his suspenders on his overalls and dropped Frank down the toilet hole in their outdoor privy. After an hour or so he turned Frank loose but we didn't turn out their lights again.  I worked with Elwood in the mill when I was 16 or 17 and he was the ratchet setter and I was front dogger.  He taught me a lot when I was first learning.  I remember the old Star car he had and the Indian motorcycle. He was a great guy, he never picked on smaller kids.

Rial Green via Leonard Cardwell: 11-19-08:  Actually all of the Rouki kids were Americans: they were born here. FDR not only interned thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry, but many Italians as well. The Italians were mostly from east coast places and had boats. Of course all Japanese property was illegally taken and given to big land owners in California and never given back.  Fourty-three Italian men were held at Fort Missoula in Missoula, MT.  They were able to roam at will around town and even married some women there.  I was in Pasadena, CA shortly after the war started and we walked over to Santa Anita race track and an American Military Policeman made us get away from the fence.  We could see in the distance that they had housed many Japanese Americans in the stables. I think they were later moved to internment camps farther inland. All of this was unconstitutional and certainly a black mark against President FDR.  It still makes me mad.  Many of the Japanese American young men in internment camps enlisted in the American army and fought through Italy. They had the most awards and medals of any unit their size.  When they came home, some of them were from Hood River, OR.  The American Legion post there refused to let them join. They had been in combat and had many casualties and many of the Legion members had never left the country. Sometimes our government needs watching and I am concerned about developments now.

Gregg Smith:  11-18-2008:  (Norm Note:  Gregg has been sending Dr. Mick a lot of old photographs, and Gregg has graciously been CC'ing a copy of each email to me that he's sending to Mick.  Here is some history Gregg has attached to one of those recent emails to Dr. Mick that I think is quite precious and certainly worth recording).


Attached, for example, is a June 1955 photo of the back of the dry kiln.  The sign on the roof was for airplanes - showing that the next airport was 26 miles in the direction of the arrow (at John Day).  In another later photo I sent you they had re-roofed the dry kiln and covered up or removed the airplane direction.  The photo was take by John Borth, the husband of Fermi (Francis), who was one of the Japanese families who lived and worked in Bates.  A lot of the Sumpter Valley Railway beds and tracks were built by Japanese laborers.  Some worked at the mill. 
 
Fermi was a good friend of my family.  She was the Valedictorian of her Prairie City high school class.  Just before the start of the war the Japanese government sent out recruiters and urged people of Japanese ancestry to return to Japan.  Fermi's parents spoke Japanese, but she and her siblings did not.  When they got to Japan they were totally lost.  They thought of themselves as Americans - and couldn't speak the language.  They were considered foreigners and were not accepted.  When the war ended Fermi got a job with the U.S. occupation government and married an American soldier.  They returned to the U.S. and settled in California.
 
If Fermi's family had stayed, they would have been imprisoned during the war.  It was a great injustice.  So Fermi had a hard life. John and Fermi visited Bates in 1955 and John took a number of photos, which Francis gave to me.  (I'm in regular contact with her.) 

Len Cardwell:  11-18-2008:  Greg/Norm - Must be a small world.   My dad kept in contact with the Fermi and her brother George through the years.   I have (Someplace) several letters written to him by both of them during/after the war.  I am also in contact with Fermi in California, with mailing during Christmas.  She came and visited the folks in Woodburn after Dad retired.   After the folks passed away we have still shared notes at Christmas.

Norm Rasmussen: 11-17-2008:  The annual Bates Company/Union summer picnic blowout always created a lot of memories.  There was all the free cold beer the adults wanted, and all the free cold pop the children wanted.  You could always count on at least one good playful wrestling match between the drunken lumberjacks, to see who could throw who in the tub of ice water that kept the beverages icy cold. That was always the best entertainment; least I thought. One particular occasion, some of the kids started a contest to see who could drink the most Cokes.  Though I won't reveal his name, this one boy was in the lead, having guzzled 18 bottles of ice cold Coke.  The day was long, and the soda pop was almost gone.  There remained one last bottle of Coke in the ice tub, and it seemed a bit strange that other kids weren't falling over each other trying to snap it up before someone else did.  Instead, a number of the kids kept chiding the leader:  "Betca' can't drink 19 Cokes!  Betcha' - betcha' - betcha'!"  So this kid with 18 bottles of Coke down his pipe, figured ... What the heck.  Gotta' be room for one last Coke, so he went to pop the cap on the bottle and interestingly, it came off much too easy.  But, from being so buzzed up on caffeine, he wasn't quite sure he could trust his judgment, so slowly down the hatch went that last bottle of ... of ... well, it wasn't exactly all Coke.  Someone had gone Number 1 in it, and when the bottle was empty, all the kids started splitting a gut at this guy drinking some yellowish flavored Coke.  When the guy realized what he had just DONE, up came 19 bottles of liquid, (minus any that was used to sprinkle the backside of a Ponderosa Pine, anyway), which means technically ... he lost the contest. 

Anyone remember who did most of the fighting/wrestling at those picnics?

Billie Jo George (Raines): 11-14-2008:  Does anyone remember the story about the Chinaman who was a cook for Ma Austin, and someone cut his pigtail off?  This is most likely hearsay, or should I say ... a father trying to scare the crap out of his girls.  However: this was Dad's story:

There was a Chinaman who did some of the cooking for Ma Austin. One night some of the male guests thought it would be funny to cut off his pig tail . He missed his pig tail so much that he eventually died. And every once in awhile he comes back looking for his pig tail and the person who cut it off.  Supposedly, once in a while you can see him in the house searching for his pigtail.  He told it in more detail. I was just wondering if there was anyone else out there who had heard the story, or if it really is a "Forrest Raines Scare-The-Crap-Out-Of-You-Tale"?

Unrelated, here is a neat website that reminds me so much of the pine trees there around Bates:  http://wandascountryhome.com/pinetrees/index.html

Gregg Smith:  11-14-2008:  To the above post:  Until the Chinese revolution of 1911 all Han Chinese men were forced to wear a pigtail.  The

country had been run by the Ch'ing or Qing dynasty - which was originally Manchu (Mongol).  The Manchu made all Han Chinese wear a pigtail as a sign they were slaves of the Manchu.  If you think about it, if you grab a man's pigtail, he can't easily fight back.
 
Yes, I remember the story.  Linda Austin (who died in 1940 and is buried in Canyon City) had a Chinese cook/helper.  He probably cut his pigtail off himself when he learned that the revolution had succeeded - and he could safely go back to China with a haircut.  I doubt that any white cut off his pigtail - but I don't know.  I don't know what became of the Chinese cook.

I'll add more Bambi stories to the ones already mentioned below.  Bambi loved raisins.  When she came to my grandparent's place, as she often did, I would get some raisins and feed her out of my hand. 

 
One day, sitting on the front porch (you've seen the photo of me and Bambi on the porch) ... anyway, one day I was sitting on the front door steps feeding Bambi carrots and raisins.  I decided to tease her by closing my fist around the raisins.  WHACK!  She took one front leg and whacked me on the top of my right shoulder!  I involuntarily opened my fist and she got the raisins.

Dr. Mick Watterson: 11-14-2008:  I vaguely remember Bambi the pet town deer.  I would have been about 5 or 6 during her hayday.  I do remember being in the Bates store with Mom one day and Bambi just wandered in.  She ambled over to where the potato chips were on display.  Carl Leishman opened a bag of Idaho Potato Chips and Bambi began munching away.  Mom and Dad told me that the entire town just loved her and when she was shot by some Portland hunters, the Bates kids and most of the town were in mourning for weeks if not months.  Dad told me that the Portland hunters were in serious danger.  They were basically told to leave town and never come back. 

Billie Jo George (Raines): 11-14-2008:  Reading Gregg's words below regarding Bambi, I thought I would share this.  I think that Bambi was one of the twin fawns that Dad (Forrest Raines) brought home when he hit their Mom on the sharp corner coming out of Unity, just before you get to the church. One didn't make it, but the other one became the town pet. Dad was always bringing something home for us kids to take care of. We would nurse them and raise them 'till they could make it on there own, and them we would set them free to go on with their natural life. Boy was that hard sometimes. I will never forget the time Dad brought home baby snowshoe rabbits. When it was time to turn them lose, he told us to take them back up on the hill and let them go.  Well - we did some - but not all. And for a long time Mom (Teresa) and the neighbors cussed the snowshoes that were eating their flowers in the summer!  Still to this day I think of them.

While on the topic of Bates pets ... does anyone remember Percy the pig that the McConnell's had?  When he was a little piglet, he slept in a box behind the stove.  As he grew, he became a house pig.  He was potty trained and would go to the the door and bang it with his nose when he had to go. There he was -- this huge pig -- and the only part of him that would fit behind the wood stove was his nose!  I loved him so.  He followed me everywhere I went.  He was my watch pig.  If I went to the store, he would try to follow me.  He would follow us to school sometimes. Then Cody and Marnie McConnell moved to Galena, and one day Percy wasn't there anymore.  Several years ago we went to visit Marnie and Cody, and they finally told me,  "We  ate Percy."  I was probably age 45 or so.  I guess I always knew -- I just didn't want to think about it.

Norm - regarding your questions on Dr. Mick's blog. If I remember correctly, Jack was Irish. because he always said he only celebrated two days each year: Valentines Day -- that was his birthday -- and St Patricks Day.  I think he came to Bates as a unpaying train rider and just never left. He was a wonderful guy.  I can remember in the summer time, Mom would clean us all up to go to the store, and Jack would be setting on the bench outside with half-melted Hershey Bars.  He would give each one of us one and by the time we got inside, we would be covered in chocolate. Mom would never tell him 'No.'

You know - another one that I think about is Henry Rockenbrant.  He was a wonderful guy to. Remember the parties he used to have for us at the hall?  Always a ham dinner with all the trimmings, and there were prizes to.  I still have the baseball bat I won at one of his parties.  It is still my pride and joy. We would eat dinner, and dance; it seemed forever ... and sometime in the dancing he would draw names for the prizes. OH WHAT FUN WE HAD.  I think he is also the one who bought the juke box for the hall.

Norm Rasmussen: 11-14-2008:  This is a special acknowledgment of Gregg Smith on behalf of myself and Dr. Mick Watterson (and I'm sure many OTHERS) for all the efforts Gregg has made, and continues to make, to get old photographs to Dr. Mick to post on his photo site.  The old photographs Gregg has provided him for all to enjoy are absolutely PRICELESS!  Thanks so much, Gregg!

From time to time, Gregg also emails me little "snippets" about certain people who used to live at Bates.  I'm going to start putting those "snippets" here on the site, for others to appreciate:

"I loved Jack Kearney.  He was a typical Irishman.  He had lots of stories and was always in good spirits.  There was lots of 'down time' in the powerhouse as Jack made his night-watchman rounds.  So Jack would tell stories about being in World War I.  Jack lived in a railroad car 'cabin' behind the car garages directly behind Harold Blooms'." - Nov. 12

"I don't know whether you remember Bambi. Unlike the Disney young buck named Bambi, our Bambi was a doe.  She hung around Bates in the early 1950s.  Someone took Bambi, as a fawn, took her home after her mother was killed on the highway.  The family and neighborhood raised Bambi - and she stayed close to the food supply even in the middle of winter. She also provided several men with fall meat.  She'd go out in the woods, meet a young buck and bring him home.  The young buck, more interested in Bambi than his own safety, would end up hanging in someone's woodshed. Each fall people would hang a red sweater around Bambi's neck to make sure that someone would not shoot her.  I n the fall of 1953 or 1954 someone put a red sweater around her neck and also painted a white square on her sides. You couldn't miss her.  Bambi was up at the Y one day and a Portland hunter shot her.  People were so upset that if they had caught the b*****d, they would have shot him!"  - Nov 12

"I can't tell you who took this photo or what the date is.  Perhaps my grandmother took the photo.  In the late 1920s?  My grandparents came to Bates in 1922.  Note that the main street had willows growing up in it.  There seems to have been few cars.  Most people traveled into and out of Bates on the SVRR. There is one car on the left.  What is the structure on the far left behind the houses? Note also that the main street did not extend to the south.  My grandfather told me that Bates men built the road with pick and shovel.  At that time to get to Highway 26 at the Y they had to go to Austin then double back to the highway.  My guess is that the company did not have cats (bulldozers) at that time so roads were built by hand or a horse-drawn 'Fresno' scraper."  - Nov 13

"Dr. Mick:  I'm sending you an out-of-focus photo of the Bates post office, May 1959.  Also, I'm enclosing a photo of Rose Haskell, the Bates postmistress from December 15, 1944 through July 4 (yes!), 1955.  It is Rose that I remember most vividly. Rose was succeeded by Madalene Hutchinson Kendall.  " - Nov. 14

Len Cardwell -- Rial Green email dialogue 10-29-2008:  Rial - I don't remember (Ha) if I told you or not.  Elvin Endecott passed away a short time ago.  He was at the last reunion and was having a hard time breathing. The only one left is Don Endecott (youngest).  He lives in McMinnville, Oregon.  Bob lived with my folks for a lot of his younger life and was like a brother to me.  His daughter, Carla, still comes to the reunion along with Don.  A lot of hunting stories with them.  Elvin was the BIG knowledge of the Sumpter Valley Railroad history.  He had some great pictures and I am trying to get them.

Rial's response to Len:  Len - Much of this is news to me.  I did not know Don, and Bobby was a little kid when I knew Elvin.  His dad, Emmett was one of the engineers for the Oregon Lumber Company.  Elvin also had a younger sister named Beverly.   I know Elvin and I had the most interest in railroading and Elvin one winter ran a locomotive to move lumber cars away from the mill and switch in empties to be loaded.

My dad furnished a large portion of the pictures for the book by Mallory Hope Ferrell called: Rails, Sagebrush and Pine. There is a short story in the book about my dad catching a runaway engine and avoiding a wreck. After the book was published I had a hard time getting my dad's pictures back from the publisher and about half of the pictures were never returned.  I still have a cigar box full of them someplace in storage.

After WW2 a group of citizens from Baker started the SUMPTER VALLEY RAILROAD RESTORATION, INC., and Union Pacific gave them enough rails to rebuild the tracks from McEwen to Sumpter. (My dad and his crew had pulled the last of the steel from the old track in 1945). The restoration group built a small station in McEwen and got some of the old engines.  Some of the Sumpter Valley locomotives were returned from Alaska and Canada.  These engines had been sold to the White Pass and Yukon Railroad and then retired when the White Pass and Yukon changed to diesel. They got some of the rolling stock like old passenger cars, etc., and had an Oregon Lumber Co. Heisler logging engine which they used to run tourists from McEwen to Sumpter.  My dad had run this engine at Camp Creek Lumber. in 1914.   

At the McEwen station I was able to get another copy of Ferrell's book for one of my sons, but I think the book is no longer in publication.
My grandpa Green used to tell me stories about Sumpter during the boom days.  He cruised timber for the Oregon Lumber. Co for 11 years .  One summer my dad, my uncle Herb and Marriner Eccles were his chain crew while surveying. David Eccles had put his son, Marriner, to work that summer to keep him busy!  During World War 2,  Marriner Eccles was head of the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C.

Gregg Smith response to Len per the above email: 

I've been in touch with Don Endecott.  He is a real SVRR fan.  He traced down OLC engines #7.  #7 engine is in La Porte, Indiana.  Don went to see it.

Norm note:  Thanks, Len, for passing along the treasured memories Rial has locked inside him.  We wouldn't have Rial's memories to document if you didn't take it upon yourself to prod his memory and then forward those memories to me to post here.                                            

Dr. Mick Watterson 10-10-2008:  Your recent video post of the Bates Upper Pond has “triggered” some select memories:

1.  Norm learns to water ski behind my Dad’s boat.  Norm decides to pull on the rope rather than let the boat pull him.  As a consequence, Norm spends approximately 90% of his skiing experience on his derriere.

2.  Bonnie Vincent (I'm pretty sure it was her) takes a wide turn, can’t control the skis, and crashes into the rocky South shore.  Poor lady had scrapes and scratches from stem to stern.

3.  Mick, while showing off in front of the Bates girls, hits the dock at full throttle.  Mick caroms over the dock while both skis continued to float near the point of impact.

Yes, we had some great times on the Upper Pond.  Frankly, it’s a wonder we’re alive and willing to talk about it today.

Dr. Mick Watterson: 10-09-2008:  Norm - I just finished viewing your recent YouTube video streams of the Bates area.  You are correct; things

were jumping around a bit, but not severe enough to pull from your site or YouTube.  The source tape was a little de-graded, but still, I could make things out.  My favorite was Part 3; Big Rock and the bucks.  Seeing those bucks and Big Rock brought tears to my eyes.  And who would have thought that portions of the tree forts would still be standing at that time.  Amazing!  In 1981, I visited the Upper Mill Pond.  The dock was still there and most of the dry kiln.  By 1992, most of that was gone.  Anyway, thanks for posting, I sure enjoyed it!

Norm note:  If anyone watches Part 2 on YouTube -- the footage of the Upper Mill Pond -- I didn't mention it on the video, but Mick's dad, Howard, was gracious to let me learn to water-ski behind his boat on the pond.  Those were some awesome thrills!  Mick - what gal was it that was skiing behind your dad's boat, and she made a turn too wide and crashed onto the rocky shore?  Maybe that was someone else's boat; I don't remember now.

 

Ken Palmer:  10-06-2008:  I just stumbled upon your website and I wanted to say thank you.  My dad and grandfather started going deer hunting at Bates/Austin in 1959.  I started going with them in 1960 at the age of 10.  I have hunted and camped at Granite Boulder Creek for nearly 41 years, rarely missing a year.  Six years ago I moved to Colorado, so I've missed the past 7 or 8 years.  I'm planning on getting an out of state deer tag next year, so I can return with family and friends.  We had made it a family event over the past 25 years.  I took my son when he was 3.  We have hunted as father, son and grandfather for many years.  The photos and the history were a delight to see and read.  Thank you so much for the great memories and hard work to find the information and maintain this site!  I’m going to see if I can get my dad, who is 86 this year, back over next year even for a few days!  He still lives in Portland!    (Ken's Email:  kenpalmer@q.com)

 

Ken - Thanks so much for taking the time to write and share.  Wow - that is some family heritage!  In the late 1950's my father and mother would take us kids to Granite Boulder Creek on Saturdays/Sundays.  My father cut firewood for the winter while my brother and I helped chop the blocks of wood and stack them in back of the truck, while my mother and sisters would pick huckleberries. Once we finished with woodcutting, all the family enjoyed a wonderful picnic as close to the creek as we could get.  It was the highlight of the day for us kids, because after eating we would jump into the creek to cool off and just have fun.  That water would be so cold you couldn't stay in for very long though!  About 10 years ago I took my wife to Granite Boulder.  I wanted to show her what a crystal clear stream studded with golden glitter LOOKS LIKE!  She caught herself being so mesmerized by the sparkle the river omits when the sun rays glisten off it -- both from the prism-like effect of the water itself as it ripples and gurgles and sings -- but also the glitter of the flecks of fools gold embedded in the granite rocks at the bottom of the creek  ... she almost refused to EVER leave the spot!  She said, "This it is the most picturesque creek I have EVER seen!"  I whole-heartedly agreed.  I have photos my wife took of me laying down on the granite rocks and sticking my face in it ... drinking as much as I could ... just to take a little of the creek and the moment back with me to Michigan.  When you leave Granite Boulder Creek and are driving to get back onto the Middle Fork Road, you come to that big open meadow dotted with virgin Ponderosa Pines.  Time after time I've said to whoever was with me at the time that of all places I would love to have a little get-away cabin, it would be on the eastern edge of that meadow where I could sit on my porch drinking hot coffee and see Dixie Butte off to the West/Southwest.  With a little snow on top of Dixie Butte in early June on a blue-sky day; the wildflowers giving vibrant color and tantalizing fragrance to the lush green meadow; the stately Ponderosa Pines near meadow's edge sort of standing guard-like to make certain nothing can harm the beauty of the meadow ... well, WOW.  One incredibly gorgeous spot on planet earth to see. If you have any specific fond or funny memories while camping there you wouldn't mind sharing ... many would no doubt love to hear them!  - Norm

Gregg Whiteaker: 10-03-2008:  Well - you asked me to send you an account of what happened while we were over to the Bates/Austin area elk hunting this year, so here it is:

I couldn't wait to get out of town on that Thursday. The thought of getting back to camp was on my mind night and day.  I had driven the 6 hours down and hunted for a quick couple days, but now I was heading back for the long trip.  A whole 8 days spent out in the woods of beautiful Grant County.  As we drove down Hwy 395 from Pendleton, my buddy and I could barely contain our excitement.  We had never even seen an elk in the wild, and we had dreams of being surrounded by their bugles all week long.   As we headed up the highway near Battle Mountain, I noticed a herd of elk on the next ridge.  I screamed like a little boy at Christmas!  We got out the binoculars and parked in the middle of the highway and just stared at them for about 10 minutes.  It was such a beautiful sight.  My heart was beating out of my chest! 

That set the tone for the trip.  We drove as fast as we could go with a 25 foot trailer behind us.  We hit Country Rd 20, or Middle Fork Rd, I think it is called.  What a beautiful drive that is all the way to Deerhorn Camp. We must have seen 60 deer in the next hour. We pulled into camp about 7:30 with lots of stories to tell.

My buddy and I are beginning bow hunters -- this being our first real year hunting with some sort of clue into what we were doing.  I had an idea as to where we were going to hunt, so we set up camp and barely slept that night ... with the thought of what awaited us the next day.

After about 6 days of seeing many deer and no elk, I was at my wits end.  I was frustrated and tired after miles of hiking.  I decided to take the day off, and we went fishing at a pond right at the intersection of Highway 7 and Middle Fork road.  It was behind an old run down structure that I hear used to be a mill of some sort.  I guess the county is going to turn it in to a RV park pretty soon.  We caught a few fish, and I felt energized again that night, after taking a day off.

The next day was very hot.  I was feeling like it would be a good day to visit a water hole I had spotted over in the Buelah Unit across Hwy 26 from the Austin House.  My buddy and I thought that if the Elk were in there, today was the day we would find them at that water hole since it was so hot.  I left camp about 2 that afternoon.  We stopped by the spring at the Highway 7 - Middle Fork Road junction, to fill our water bottles.  You guys should bottle that and sell it!  It was great.

We parked about a mile from the water hole because I did not want to take any chance of scaring them off with the sound of a Dodge Diesel rumbling down the road.  As we neared the hole, we began to slow our pace in case they were there.  Sure enough, as I looked up ahead, not 20 yards away was a HUGE BULL bedded down behind a log!  I couldn't believe he had not seen us come in!  He was biting at the flies, not paying any attention to us. This being my first encounter with an Elk in the wild ... I was shaking with excitement and fear at the same time.  My buddy and I looked at each other and decided to take different routes and try to get a good shot.

As I pulled my bow back, I was still walking slowly ... trying to get a good shot.  As I passed the end of the log, I saw enough of him that I thought I could get a shot.  I took it.

The bull sprang up from his bed as my arrow stuck in the ground not 3 inches from his lungs!  He didn't know what hit him! (Well, nothing HAD him ...). 

My buddy had a perfect angle and he shot.  The arrow was headed straight for him, but hit a limb and went right over his back!!  The bull disappeared into the timber ...

I tried to call him back with a few calls.  I heard noise off to my left.  A young cow had come around to the calls.  She stood there at 40 yards and I shot a perfect arrow.  She went only 30 yards and was done.

Although I am kicking myself for not waiting until that bull stood up, I am so happy with my first elk.  It was almost as if a higher power was telling me that I didn't deserve that bull yet, as I had only been hunting a year or so, but he gave me a memory that will keep me coming back for years to come.  I can't think of a better gift than that!

Thanks to all of you who shared your beautiful towns with me and my family!  I work all year so that I can come hunt in September in your special place.  I met a few nice people, and had a great meal at the Austin House ... (which took down their sign for some reason).

I heard stories of the old folks who lived near the road to Vinegar Hill, and a guy who used to live over the little bridge behind their house.  I hear he had walked every hill in that country and was a great outdoorsman.  Do any of you know who I am talking about?

Funny Story:  When my wife (Heather; photo below; also my daughter, Avery) came over about 4 days into the hunt, she forgot to bring socks.  She complained enough that I took her into Prairie City, even though I knew they didn't have what she was looking for.  She walked into the little market and asked where she could find some socks.  The guy behind the counter kind of snickered ....."In Grant County?" he asked...."On a Sunday?"...."I've never heard that one before!"  She left quietly.....

Norm response:  Too awesome, Gregg!  Thanks so much for sharing your hunting trip so I could post it here for ALL to enjoy!  Thanks also for sending the photos!  (The photo of the creek is located at Deerhorn Campground where Gregg Camped.  It is located on the Middle Fork of the John Day river -- located a few miles downriver from where Bates used to be, for any visitors new to Grant County.  I posted Greg's question on Mick's blog in hopes someone can answer him).

 

Len response: 10-04-2008:  No doubt he is talking about Harold Edwards.  He lived in a boxcar shack , across the river from Chet & Carol Johns.  Ralph Busby lived beside him for years. 

 

9-02-08:  Hey Greg (W):  Are you itching more than usual lately?  It's a phenomenon that happens this time a year with many bow hunters ... eager to be out there in the Eastern Oregon wild, stalking a 1,200 pound bull elk who has YOUR name on it!  Whatever you do, do NOT forget to take your digital camera with you up to the Middle Fork, okay?  Promise?!

 

Mick Watterson: 8-7-08:  Reading Greg's love for hunting in Grant County as a youth brings back a hunting story I recall.  As summer fades and fall approaches, my thoughts turn to hunting…hunting in Eastern Oregon.  I remember one hunting episode that occurred in the fall of 1962.  I refer to it as The Watterson Chukar Hunt.  Seems my Dad (Howard), uncle Lee, my brother Dave, our bird dog Sam, and I, all decided to go Chukar hunting in the Burnt River Canyon.  So, early one Saturday morning we all head to the canyon just East of Hereford.  We arrive just before 7AM and the birds are running everywhere…over and under rocks, through the pungent sagebrush, across the road, and down along the banks of Burnt River.  Without hesitation, we grab our firearms and begin blasting away.  The pellets are flying, birds are dropping, and old Sam is nearing cardiac arrest due to all the retrieval.  After about an hour of an all-out assault, my uncle Lee decides to call it quits.  We load out spoils (about 44 Chukars) and head back to Bates. 

 

We get back to Bates around 5PM and begin cleaning Chukars in the garage.  Mid-way through the cleaning process, a friend of Dad’s (who shall remain nameless) asks about our trip.  Dad explains that we had a very successful hunt and bagged about 44 birds.  My uncle Lee goes on to explain that others driving by did not fire a shot and that we had the place all to ourselves.  My Dad’s friend smiles and informs us that Chukar season did not open until NEXT weekend. 

 

Dad and Lee turned a little pale, their mouths dropped, and they began to pick up the cleaning pace.  About this time…enter my Mother (Virginia).  Dad informs Mother that there has been a mistake and that the birds were taken out of season.  Mother lets out a high-pitched scream, grabs as many bird carcasses as she can muster, and heads directly for the kitchen.  She begins frying Chukars as fast as a Jack Rabbits can mate.  As I recall, and in a gallant attempt to devour the evidence, Mom invited all the relatives and neighbors to participate in a “Bird Buffet”…the all-you-can-eat-variety.

 

Gregg Whiteaker:  8-4-08:   I must tell you, I have bumped into your site about 2 hours ago, and cannot stop reading!  What a great way for you all to keep the memory of your towns going!

Although I was never a Bates-Austin resident, that place has never left my heart.  As a kid I would look forward to late August when my grandpa would take me camping along the middle fork of the John Day river, just a few miles from your towns.  I lived for this time of year.  Even as a child I felt something special about that area.  While my grandpa hunted, I would have to stay at camp.  The camp was next to a small watering hole on the John Day river that some of the kids from the town would go cool off in when the weather was too hot.  I met a few of the locals, and spent a few summers playing with them in that river.  I admired their simplicity.  The family was so happy and lived such a simple life -- so different from mine in the big city. 

When my grandpa died in 1991, I was 12 years old -- just old enough to begin hunting with him. The trips to the Middle Fork ended, and broke my heart.  I cried for days come the next August.  I couldn't understand why no one else in my family liked to hunt or camp.  I have never forgotten those times ...

I have picked up bow hunting now, as a 28 year old man, and will be making my first trip back to that same old camping spot next month.  Although I hear the road is no longer gravel and the spot is an actual campground now where they make you pay money to stay.  Back then it was just a small clearing next to a dirt road with a nice watering hole for us kids.  I wish I could remember those kids' names whom I played with so many summers ago ...

I don't think I can accurately express the emotion that I feel, now that I will be returning to the area where I "grew up".  Just the smell of the ponderosa, and the sound of that river running by will surely bring tears to my eyes.  I have missed that place for almost 20 years.  I will be bringing my children there every summer.  I cant think of a better gift to give them  ...

You folks have a beautiful area. Thank you for sharing. 

Greg's email:  Gregg_whiteaker@yahoo.com  (Greg currently lives in Clackamas, Oregon). 

Norm Response:  Thank YOU for taking the time to share, Greg!   Very few bow hunted during the Bates - Austin days.  I think Larry Losey was about the first.  With the increase of elk in Eastern Oregon, bow hunting is actually becoming some of the most thrilling hunting Oregon has to offer, especially if a person can get away during the rut.  PLEASE share your experiences with us after you get back home this fall, if you would.  Many of us would love to hear how Grant Country treats you this fall!  Take some photos as well, and forward them to us, if the fancy strikes you.  Mick Watterson may just post them on his site.

Mick Watterson: 5-01-08:  Just to share a little update on my end of things.  The photo site has become quite popular with ODOT folks and many, many others.  You might say - and I mean this sincerely - that Len, Helen and Stella have become quite the celebrities due to their photos.  These three people deserve the accolades.  Again, I am so proud of them.

  
I loaded the photos and then performed a "test run".  During the test run, all was going well....photos were moving in the proper sequence.  Then the Harold Blume photo came up; it was viewed, and then the next photo.  All of a sudden, Harold showed up in the background of the new photo.  This continued (i.e. the "ghosting") until Road Trip left the Dixie Valley and headed toward Baker.  It hasn't happened since, but I'm telling you it was "eerie"....it was like Harold was talking and thanking me from above.  Way to go Harold!

 

Special Note Of Thanks:  4-29-08:  To Len Cardwell for going over to Grant County from the Pendleton area and securing more photos for the photo website Mick Watterson is building for all to enjoy.  To Helen Bogart and Stella McCauley (Blume) for allowing Len to take photos of some old Bates photos both of these two dear ladies had tucked away.  To all OTHERS who will try hard to get photos to Mick for all of us and people around the world to enjoy.  Speaking of Mick, he might strangle me next time I get out to Oregon for saying this, but he has already put a minimum of $1,400 of his personal money into building the photo site.  If anyone has a crazy notion that he is making this photo site to gain attention or try to be some "big shot" ... I ASSURE he is NOT.  A number of people have asked if I wanted photos to post to this Bates - Austin site, and I had to tell them that funds just were not available to be able to do that, because photos eat up a lot of server space, and server space costs $$$$$.  I all but politely begged Mick to strongly consider taking it upon himself to start a photo website, mostly because he's the only one I know who has as much interest in Eastern Oregon (and especially Bates-Austin) as he does, and knows computers and websites and related issues.  That is what he has done for a living for the State, so it's not something he has to learn from scratch.  Mick has shared with me that he's received recently what I call "sniper emails."  They are accusation emails implying that Mick has selfish motives for doing the photo site.  Please - don't send him emails like that.  Mick is giving of his time and talents in hopes of being a blessing to others, as many have emailed him and told him so ... from all over the country.  From people who has never even been to Grant Country, no less!  We don't need to discourage him from the awesome job he is doing.  If anything, he needs encouraged, okay?   This photo site he's building is not some ego-kick for him.  The people of Bates-Austin helped shape his life in his younger years, and both Mick and I and several others feel this is a small way of showing some appreciation for having the chance to be raised in that environment.  Maybe we thought living there wasn't so wonderful at times while we lived there, but once you get out into the "bigger world," you come to realize that being raised in Bates-Austin was a whole lot better than being raised in the ghettos of most larger cities, or in parts of Africa, for instance, where civil strife tries to kill your desire to live and hunger and disease is what you go to sleep with at night instead of the whistle down at the mill blowing and the sound of the sawmill machinery throbbing.  Furthermore, if Bates was still standing, maybe none of us would care all that much to remember Bates-Austin.  But because our "hometown" was taken away from us ... there is something inside a person that says:  "NO!  They will NOT take my hometown roots away!  Not completely, anyway!"   - Norm R.

 

Rial Green: 4-23-08:   [Rial has been dialoging with Len Cardwell via email, sharing memories - history from time to time, and Len has been forwarding them to me so I can post them. Leonard asked Rial if he knew any of the Oriental's who lived in the Bates-Austin area, especially two people whose names were Sing and Fermi.  Following is Rial's answer to Len]:

 

I remember Sing.  He had a Chinese song book which was quite thick.  We would open a page and ask him to sing that song and he would sing it, however they all sounded the same.  I also remember his big toe nails were almost an inch thick.  He disliked the Japanese since at that time they had invaded his country.
 
I knew the Rouiki family.  Fermi was a little younger than me but we saw her often when she visited the Roberts family.  Her older sister, Martha was in my age group and rode the bus to Prairie City.  Martha was an excellent student and got better grades than almost everybody. Their father took them all back to Japan in 1940; I think many of the Japanese families were called back; then I heard years later that Fermi had married a Texas boy. Is this true? I would like to have her address and send her a card.

In 1940 Franz Kranenburg and I were in Tulsa, OK going to the Spartan school of Aeronautics and I remember Franz writing to Martha in Japan and he sent her a box of candy.  When he mailed it the post office opened the box and inspected every chocolate.  This was in August and I guess the government knew we were going to be at war with Japan.

I used to take a young Japanese man called Harry hunting deer.  I think he also went back to Japan. My dad had many Japanese friends since they were the section gangs who repaired the Oregon Lumber Co. RR tracks.  Many times we would stop at the Japanese camp and go in and drink Saki with them.  They always gave dad a gallon jug of home made Saki, which is much better than what you get in the stores. I will tell you more about the Japanese when I write again.

 

Rial Green: 04-22-08:  Thanks to all responsible for posting the photo of the old schoolhouse.  [See Mick's photo website].  You can see why we had to walk up the railroad track from Bates in the winter.  Sometimes we had to get out into the snowbank when a train came by.  I have walked to school from Bates when it was 30 below zero.  Some kids opted to stay home when it got that cold but I didn't miss a day.  We walked about three-quarters of a mile from Bates and the Austin kids walked about a quarter mile from Austin.

 

In the summertime we could walk on the road which paralleled the tracks.  I graduated from 8th grade there in 1931 and then rode that old bus to Prairie City.  Marshall Pruitt was the driver then.  One time, coming back from school when we got to the switchback on Dixie Mountain, Bob Edwards hopped out of the back of the bus and climbed the hill real fast and stood there hitchhiking when the bus got there!  Marshall Pruitt tried to go faster so Bob couldn't hop back on but the old bus wouldn't climb the hill very fast so Bob climbed back in the back door.  We always had fun with Bob's daring escapades and sense of humor.

 

Norm Rasmussen: 04-22-08:  Len Cardwell sent me an email today that I have to share with everyone.  It is an encounter between a bull elk and a hunter that is a MUST WATCH:  http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=2rGGxMaWuaQ  Also - I hope everyone is keeping up with Mick's photo website.  Isn't he doing an awesome job?  Alert everyone you know who might be interested in seeing it; especially to people you think might have old photos to get to Mick to post!  Len has been forwarding him many of the old photos of the Bates-Austin area for all to enjoy.  Hats off to you, Mick and Len!

 

Email sent 03-30-08:

THE BATES REUNION


Every two years, as summertime nears,
An announcement arrives in the mail,
A reunion is planned; it'll be really grand;
Make plans to attend without fail.


I'll never forget the first time we met;
We tried so hard to impress.
We drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars,
And wore our most elegant cloths.

It was quite an affair; the whole town was there.
It was held at Deerhorn Campground.
We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined,
And everyone thought it was swell.

The men all conversed about who had been first
To achieve great fortune and fame.
Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses
And how beautiful their children became.

The home town ladies, who once had been lean,
Now weighed in at one-ninety-six.
The jocks who were there had all lost their hair,
And the little kids could no longer do kicks.

No one had heard about the town nerd
Who'd guided a spacecraft to the moon;
Or poor little Jane, who's always been plain;
She married a shipping tycoon.

The boy we'd decreed 'most apt to succeed'
Had served ten years in the pen,
While the one voted 'least' now was a priest;
Just shows you can be wrong now and then.

They awarded a prize to one of the guys
Who seemed to have aged the least.
Another was given to the one who had driven
The farthest to attend the feast.

They took a Group picture, a curious mixture
Of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties.
Tall, short, or skinny, the style was the mini;
You never saw so many thighs.


At our next get-together, no one cared whether
They impressed their old friends or not.
The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal;
By this time we'd all gone to pot.

It was still out-of-doors, at Taylor Siding;
We ate hamburgers, coleslaw, and beans.
Then most of us lay around in the shade,
In our comfortable T-shirts and jeans. 

In the next few years, it was abundantly clear,
We were definitely over the hill.
Those who weren't dead had to crawl out of bed,
And leave for home in time for their pill.

And now I can't wait; they've set the date;
Our next one is coming, I'm told.
It should be a ball, they've rented a hall
At the Bates State Park for the old.

Repairs have been made on my hearing aid;
My pacemaker's been turned up on high.
My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled;
And I've bought a new wig and glass eye.

I'm feeling quite hearty, and I'm ready to party
I'm 'gonna dance 'til dawn's early light.
It'll be lots of fun; But I just hope that there's one
Other person who can make it all night.

Leonard Cardwell  2008


 

Rial Green: 03-19-08:   I am now 88 years old and live in Spokane Valley, Washington.  I was born in Baker, but when I was three years old my father, Claude Green, moved us to Bates.  He ran a locomotive for over 45 years for the Oregon Lumber Co.  He ran the engine when they pulled the last rails up in 1947.

My sister was three years older than me so she started school before Mr. Cardwell came there.  At that time the Bates kids walked up the track and went to school at the Austin school (about a 1/4 mile from Austin).  The year before she started, the principal was a small man named Thompson.  When he tried to discipline the younger boys, they would run into the other room and get their big brother to beat up the principal.  Some of these older boys were practically full grown men - perhaps 17 years old still in school. At any rate Mr. Thompson only lasted six months and quit.  

They then got this large woman principal and she whacked these older boys with a triangular ruler and they finally quit school and went to work logging.  Art Cardwell came the next year and very quickly had the remainder of the older boys under control. The year before I started first grade, some older boys put a thumb tack on Mr. Cardwell's chair while he was out getting wood for the furnace. The boys fled out a window and Mr. Cardwell said, "All of you kids stay in your seats!" and he ran out the door, and in 30 minutes all four boys came back with a hound-dog look and were good boys after that.
 

When I was in the 7th grade Mr. Cardwell gave us an oral test on agriculture.  I didn't have the faintest clue about farming: all I knew about was logging.  This day I had not studied my lesson and when he asked me what the farmer stored in his silo, I couldn't come up with the answer.  He said "I know your dad cuts up cabbage and puts it down in a big crock, which works the same as a silo. Now what do you call what the farmer puts in his silo?"  

"Oh ..." I said. "Sauerkraut."  

Mr. Cardwell said,  "No - it is called silage, and for your smart-aleck answer you can stand in the corner for an hour."  I decided I would study my lessons after that, although I appreciated the laughs I got.

 
I was the best speller in class and on one written test of about 20 words I allowed Bob Edwards (who was the poorest student in class) to peek at my paper.  He copied all the words but thought he would change one word so Mr. Cardwell wouldn't know he had copied.  To my dismay, he had changed the only word I had gotten wrong and had it right!  Mr. Cardwell could never figure out how Bob could get 100% on a test and me only 90%. I never let Bob copy from me after that.

Bob had started school when my sister did, three years before me, but since she had taught me what she learned as a first and second grader, I was able to read some and knew some arithmetic.  I was skipped to the second grade and didn't have to do the first grade.  What with failed classes for Bob and his brother Jake, I caught up with them. When I graduated in Prairie City high, Jake and I graduated together and Bob was still a freshman.  Bob only liked to go to school during football season and then drop out until the next year.

 
 

I found Mr. Cardwell was one of the best teachers I ever had.  He was well respected by everyone; even the ones he had spanked earlier. All of us boys learned to smoke very early (I started when I was 10) but if Mr. Cardwell saw us smoking, even out of school in the middle of the summer, he would pull out his leather strap and give us a few whacks. And if we complained to our parents we got another one at home. I really believe he changed the lives of many who got very little quality parenting at home.

I graduated from the Austin - Bates school in 1932. 

 
I rode the bus to Prairie City to high school and graduated from there in 1936.  We had only 12 graduating students that year.  In those days no student could drive a car to school; you rode the bus or walked.  I am amazed at the parking lots in schools now.  Every kid has a car and beware of the traffic when school lets out!

I went to work in the mill in Bates that year at age 16 and in 1940 enlisted in the Air Force along with Franz Knanenburg and two other friends.  Franz was the youngest son of Mrs Kranenburg and after the war he became postmaster in Prairie City.

 
I worked for Ellingston in their mills after the war and got married in 1952 and moved to Montana until 2005, and then moved to Spokane Valley where I live with my daughter.  My wife passed away a month after we moved over here.
 
While we still lived in Montana several years ago, my wife and I took two of our granddaughters on a trip to the coast of Oregon.  On the way I drove into the Bates townsite to show them where I grew up and  Bates was missing!  I really felt bad, but still have many good memories of life and school there.  I wish I had known about the Bates Reunion get-togethers every few years. I would have loved to have seen Mr. Cardwell again, and any others I knew.

Email:  rialg4719@hotmail.com

 

 

Carol Johns: 02-02-2008:  (Phone conversation): "Chet is outside blowing snow with the blower.  We've got about five feet of snow here in Bates and it's snowing hard." 

 

Norm Rasmussen: 01-30-2008:  Staff writer Jayson Jacoby from the Baker City Herald Newspaper granted permission to reprint his entire article about the new proposed Bates Park that recently got picked up by the Associated Press (Thanks, Jayson!)

By: Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald

The remnants of the sawmill that gave birth to Bates, a Grant County ghost town that was quite lively as recently as the mid 1970s, will become Oregon's newest state park.  The state Parks and Recreation Commission has authorized state officials to spend as much as $500,000 in lottery revenue to buy the 131-acre property that includes the site of the Oregon Lumber Company sawmill that was Bates' centerpiece, and the reason the company-owned town was founded in 1917.

Bates, which had a population of about 300, basically folded in October 1975 when the Edward Hines Lumber Company, which then owned the mill, closed the operation, moved the equipment to John Day and sold the other buildings, including several dozen houses.  Many of those houses were moved to either Prairie City or John Day, where they're still used as residences.

The 131-acre property is just west and south of the intersection of Oregon Highway 7 and Grant County Road 20, which follows the Middle Fork of the John Day River.  That intersection is about a mile north of Austin Junction, where Highway 7 and Highway 26 meet.  Bates is several miles from the Baker County-Grant County line, about 48 miles, by Highway 7, from Baker City.

"The 131-acre parcel is near, but does not include, the Bates townsite," said Dennis Reynolds, a John Day resident and board member of the Bates Park and Museum Foundation, the private nonprofit group that bought the property in December 2006.  Reynolds said the Foundation originally intended to transfer the property to Grant County.  But he said county officials were concerned that the county could not afford to build a park at the site, so they suggested the Foundation talk instead with state parks officials.  Foundation board members agreed, Reynolds said.  Their main goal is to preserve the property, and along with it the story of Bates, Reynolds said.

Right now there isn¹t even a sign to indicate that the thriving little town existed as recently as the Gerald Ford administration.

"It would be nice to give the area some recognition," said Chris Havel, a spokesman for the State Parks and Recreation Department.

Havel expects the agency will take ownership of the Bates property by late spring or early summer.  State officials probably will need at least a couple of years, however, to decide what type of state park to build.

Parks range from day-use sites such as the nearby Sumpter Valley Dredge, to parks with campgrounds equipped with water, sewer and electrical hookups for RVs, such Farewell Bend near Huntington.  Havel said state officials hope to open the Bates park in 2011.

Grant County Judge Mark Webb is excited about the prospects for the Bates property.  "Having it become a state park would reward the vision and diligent efforts of former Bates residents who wanted this area recognized and protected for its many attributes, and developed to its full potential,"  Webb said, according to a press release from the Parks Department.

Norm Rasmussen is one of those former residents.  Rasmussen, 61, lives near Grand Rapids, Michigan, "But I always tell people that at heart I'm a hillbilly from Eastern Oregon," Rasmussen said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his home.  "Bates is home and I love it and want to see it prosper." 

Rasmussen thinks a state park at Bates could attract thousands of visitors whom he predicts will be fascinated by this mostly forgotten place's legacy as a classic Oregon company sawmill town. "Those places are becoming a thing of the past," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen moved with his family from Long Creek, also in Grant County, to Bates in 1951, when he was five.  He attended school in Bates through eighth grade.  Because Bates never had a high school, students had to ride the bus about 17 miles, over the sometimes treacherous Dixie Butte pass, to Prairie City.  Rasmussen graduated from Prairie City High School in 1965. He moved away and never again lived in Bates.

But Rasmussen still cherishes his years growing up in Bates.  "The best years of my childhood," he said. "Tons of memories." And most of them are good memories.

Except certain ones involving Dooley Mountain and throwing up, which is a combination anyone who has ever traveled that serpentine route will understand.

Because Bates was relatively isolated, Prairie City is the nearest other town of consequence, and getting there was no minor matter when snow was three feet deep and the temperature 35 below.  "Bates kids weren't accustomed to traveling," Rasmussen said.

"For a kid up to say 15 or 16 years old, going to John Day, which is where all the parents went to get groceries or see a movie. . . . wow, it was kind of like you or I going to Hollywood," he said. "In our mind that was a long ways away." John Day is 13 miles past Prairie City.

"But the journey to John Day," Rasmussen said, "Was commonplace compared with the nearly epic expedition to Baker."  He said his family made that excursion maybe twice a year, including one in late summer to buy school clothes because prices were cheaper in Baker.

Today, the easiest route from Bates to Baker is Highway 7.  It's a bit curvy in places but it's not like, say, one of those amusement park rides where a low-ranking worker is always stationed with a shovel and a bucket of sawdust.  Back in the 1950s, though, what¹s now Highway 7 was a rough dirt road.

The only paved route to Baker was east on Highway 26 to the Unity Junction, then past Unity Reservoir and along the Burnt River to Dooley Mountain.  The highway that climbs Dooley (it was, curiously, Highway 7 then, and is Highway 245 now) has more squiggles than a toddler¹s first drawing.  Rasmussen's stomach did not appreciate this.

"I threw up every time," he said, chuckling at memories which, half a century on, have made that magical transformation from unpleasant (and messy) to humorously nostalgic.  "My parents hated to take me," Rasmussen said.  Sour stomach aside, he said the family's arrival in Baker never seemed less than a wondrous event to him.  "To us Bates kids, John Day was big but Baker was huge; just a huge city," he said. "It was just the largest city around." 

Leonard Cardwell shares both Rasmussen's love for Bates, and hopes that the creation of a state park will help preserve the town's history.

"There's a real need there," said Cardwell, who was born in 1937 and lived in Bates until he graduated from Prairie City High School in 1955 and joined the Navy.  Cardwell, who has lived in Pendleton since 1989, owned a cabin at Bates for many years which he used as a base camp for hunting and fishing trips.  He attends the reunions that former Bates residents put on at the site every two years.  About 300 people came to the most recent reunion last year.

"There's still a sense of home there whether there's houses or not," Cardwell said. "The people had real close family ties, and most everybody who lived in Bates has stayed in touch over the years.  It's home. Still home."

SIDEBAR:  Bates got its start when the Oregon Lumber Company built a sawmill near the Middle Fork in 1917.  The Sumpter Valley Railroad, the famous Stump Dodger, passed nearby on its way to its terminus in Prairie City.  According to Oregon Geographic Names, Bates post office was established on March 24, 1919, and was named for Paul C. Bates, a Portland insurance agent involved in the Oregon Lumber Company's negotiations to buy timberland near its sawmill.

 

Lenora Healy (Rasmussen):  01-29-2008:  It was good to be able to read the many memories recorded in Sonja's book, and the memories and thoughts others have shared below.  Reading them has brought back many memories of my own, and I'll share some of them.

 

Ruby Mc Callister, daughter of Riley and Elizabeth Mc Callister, was one of my best friends in Bates.  We were in the same grade.  I don't recall now exactly what year it happened, but in was somewhere between 1953-1955.  We were between the ages of 11-13.  Ruby was an excellent swimmer.  One day she and I were swimming in one of the "dredge" holes in the river down from the saw mill.  She was teaching me how to swim.  I could dog paddle, and that was all.  I ventured out into deeper water.  I couldn't touch bottom and started to panic.  I bobbed up and down in the water, thrashed my hands and feet and coughed and choked.  I lost control and feared I was drowning.  Ruby swam to me, pulled me to shore and slapped my back to expel more water.  I don't remember if we were with anyone else, or how we got home.  I only know Ruby saved my life that day and I will always be grateful to her.  Ruby lived in The Dalles, Oregon, where she deceased in 2004. 
 
Marlene Blume was another best friend, also in the same grade.  Sometimes we would go to the Bates Hotel, where her mother, Hazel Blume, cooked for the men who boarded there.  Hazel fed us many home-cooked meals and I thought she was the best cook in all the world.  We were only allowed to go into the kitchen, and could never speak or mingle with any of the boarders.
 

I spent many hours in the home of Lyle and Hazel Blume.  Marlene and I had several "sleep-overs" and I remember waking up to the smell of bacon, eggs, and pancakes - Hazel made for us for breakfast.  Lyla Blume was Marlene's younger sister.  She could play "honky tonk" piano like me.  We used to takes turns at the piano in their home trying to out-do one another on the keyboard.  Hazel and Lyle would join us in singing.  Their favorite song then was "Mocking Bird Hill."  I loved to play that song and they loved to sing it.
 
My interest in learning to play the piano started in the 4th grade when Raymond Rasmussen moved his family from Long Creek to Bates.  I attended the Assembly of God Church and was allowed to stay after meetings and plunk on the piano.  Mrs. Davis was the lady minister then.  She could sing and play the guitar.  She made music come alive for me and sang solos in church meetings.  She encouraged me to play on the piano and to sing.  She had two step-sons, Vern and Ralph, who were also my friends.  I taught myself to play the piano by ear.  I started with a simple tune of "Mary Had A Little Lamb."  As I hummed and plunked out the keys that matched my hums, slowly I put together melodies and chords.  As time went on, I learned how to use full-octive chords, syncopation, rolling and sliding chords.  I developed a "honky tonk" sound that I became very good at over the years.  Eventually I was able to play some of the gospel tunes in the meetings in that church.  Mrs. Davis gave me my first Bible.  I earned it in summer vacation Bible school.  It was white leather with a zipper.  I prized it, read it, and marked it. 

 

My piano playing continued in the Bates grade school.  I often stayed inside at recess, and after school, to play the piano.  When I was in the 5th grade, my parents bought a piano.  It was a surprise, and the day I came home from school and saw it in our living room, I screamed and cried.  I have that piano in my home today and it has the best touch for Honky Tonk playing.  My parents, Ray and Edna Rasmussen, had previously traveled to Portland and mother picked it out for me.  They made payments of $10 a month until it was paid for.  I still have the receipts.
 
The Hines Lumber Company made available wall paper and paint for employees to fix up their houses.  Dad brought home wall paper samples in a big book and we choose our designs and colors for each room in the house.  Because I had a keen interest in art and working with color, Mom let me make most of the choices for the house.  We worked together as a family decorating each room.  I remember Mom making wall-paper paste out of flour.  Dad brushed the paper with the paste, and hung it on the wall.  Our house came alive with color.

 

Mrs. Kranenburg (not sure if this is the proper spelling of her name) hired me to trim the grass in her yard.  I did not mow the lawn.  My job was to trim where the lawn mower couldn't mow.  I used her clippers to trim under fences, around flower beds, and next to the house.  I weeded flower beds.  She gave me cold drinks of lemonade or Kool-Aid with homemade cookies for refreshment. She instilled within me a sense of pride to do the very best job I could and was generous in paying me, thus developing my work ethic.  Working in the summers for Mrs. Kranenburg was the first job I ever had.  I remember how grown-up and important I felt to be earning my own money.  I saved my money to buy clothes for school.  Mrs. Kranenburg was always friendly and kind to me.  Going to her house was like going to a "Grandmother's" house, a blessing I never had with my own grandparents, who were deceased, or lived too far away.  I will always remember the little white-haired lady who lived at the end of the middle row of houses closest to the airport hill.
 

After I graduated from the 8th grade in 1956, I attended high school in Prairie City for the next two years.  Mrs. Kranenburg had moved to Prairie City at some point around that time.  One day I went to visit her on my lunch time, and she made me a huge breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, and milk.  I don't remember ever seeing her again.  I really liked Mrs. Kranenburg.

 

I was employed by the Allenbaugh family, who lived in Newtville, to babysit their children for three days while they were on a trip.  I stayed at their house, did the cooking, and got us all off to school.  The year was about 1955-56.  I don't remember the names of the children, but the oldest daughter helped me make dinner one night and asked if she could make the dessert.  She opened home-canned peaches and bing cherries, mixed them together, and called them "Pa-cherries."  We all laughed at her creativity in the name she called her dessert.  The combination tasted good....especially with cream.
 
My classmate, Marilyn Jones, swallowed an opened safety pin one day while sitting in class.  It was the 5th and 6th grade room because I remember Mr. Cardwell, the Principal, coming in being very concerned about her. (About 1953-1954).  It was decided that she would go home so her parents could take her to the doctor.  When she returned she told us that the doctor told her to eat a lot of bread to bind around the pin and that it would pass from her body.  I imagined all sorts of horror that pin might cause for my friend.

 
The first time I remember driving a car while living at Bates, was a time Larry Immoos drove his car to Unity with a car full of kids to get a Coke at the Unity Store.  My older sister, Yvonne, had taught me a little about driving, so on the way home Larry asked me to drive the car to the "Y" Junction, so he could sit in the back seat with his girl friend, Lana Owens, who was my classmate.  Larry gave me pointers from the back seat on driving until he felt confident I could handle driving the car.  We arrived safely, and I will always remember how I held the lives of those people in my hands, while Larry held his girlfriend in his arms.  Larry and Lana got married a few years later.

 

My father, Raymond Rasmussen, was a champion cribbage player.  He often went to the Bates Hotel in the evenings to play his favorite card game.  One December, the "Y" Junction Inn had prizes of boxes of chocolates they were giving away to the winner of card games.  My dad came home with boxes of chocolates every time he went to play a game.  There were several boxes of chocolates in our utility room where they were stored.  I opened the boxes and looked for my favorite chocolates.  Seemed someone else beat me to my favorites, because all the carmel nut ones had all been eaten and all I could find was a coffee-mocha soft filling I did not like.  I went through a lot of candy trying to find one that tasted good.  One day my Dad went to get some candy, and found so many missing, and shouted out to his children, "Who's been eating my chocolates?"  I did not answer, thinking it would pass and one of my siblings would get blamed. After a period of days, my conscience burned, because I knew I was the guilty party.  I confessed that I was the chocolate sampler.  I never knew who ate the "good" ones, and since Dad kept bringing home more and more boxes of candy, he did not punish me for telling the truth.
 
My mother, Edna Rasmussen, loved to pick huckleberries.  One day in August about 1954 - 1955, she and I drove our green Buick "down the river" to one of her favorite berry patches.  We walked a long way through a small valley and up the side of a mountain to find a good patch.  While filling our buckets, we heard a loud snort in the bushes.  I was scared stiff, and shouted to my mother, "Bear, bear!"  We both took off running down the mountain not looking back.  When we reached the bottom, there was nothing following us so we stopped to rest.  Mom said it must have been a buck deer snorting in the woods, and not a bear.  We walked out that day with only a few berries.  We found an old gold mining dredge hole, and went swimming - in our clothes.  Mom was a very good swimmer and I marveled at how smooth she was in the water.  It was the only time I ever saw her swim ... it was the only day I ever had a one-on-one day with my mother.  Mom died June 1996 in her home in Bend, Oregon; 86 years old.

 

One afternoon one of my friends and I went for a hike up Airport Hill.  I can't remember who was with me.  It was either Darlene Caldwell, Ruby Mc Callister, or Marlene Blume, as those where the friends I played with the most, who were all in my classmates.  I got the big idea to push a big rock down the hill to see how fast it would gather momentum, thinking it would end up in the big mill pond at the base of the mountain.  We both pushed, and away it rolled......faster and faster down the hill.  Suddenly we saw an empty logging truck headed down the river to bring back another load of logs.  I clenched my teeth, squeezed my hands together, and watched the horror of the rock hitting the road at the same time the truck aligned with it.  The truck high-centered on the rock, and stopped.  My friend and I high-tailed it over the mountain, scared to death to go home and face our parents.  I knew my Dad would be very upset with me if he found out.  Somehow we worked our way around the mountain and went home.  I said nothing to my parents about the incident.  Strangely, Dad never mentioned it as part of the "scuttle-but" mill talk that passes through a small sawmill town.  I carried the guilt for a long time, wondering what kind of damage I did to that logging truck.  I never found out. 

 

(Uncalledfor Editorial Comment:  Suppose this was how the term came to be: Rock-In-Roll?  Furthermore ... wouldn't it be "interesting" to know just how many kids rolled rocks down that SAME hill?  I can raise MY hand!)

 

Lenora's Email:  paulandnorahealey@hotmail.com

 

Norm Rasmussen: 01-20-2008:  Len Cardwell emailed me the proposed site plans in attachment form of the future Bates Mill Park, but I'm not able to post them on this site for some unknown reason.  There are some nice aerial photos of the Bates area in these attachments, so you can email Len and ask him to forward them to you, or I'll be glad to email them to you.  My email is: norm@precious-testimonies.com

 

Mick Watterson: 01-18-2008:  News Flash!  Bates Mill Park APPROVED!  (Thanks for updating us, Mick!)

"State Parks panel says "YES!" to Bates site.  The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission voted Thursday, Jan. 17, to proceed with buying the Bates mill town property in Grant County for development as a state park."

 

From Mick Watterson: 01-14-2008:  (Mick dug up this old news article somewhere on the Internet and thought maybe someone might be interested in reading it.  It was published in 1936):

 

BATES RECOVERS AS LUMBER CREWS BUSY

Oregon Company Has About 250 men in Several Woods, Mill Crews.

A crew of about 250 men is now employed in the lumbering operations at Bates, including three logging crews, and that town is enjoying the greatest prosperity for several years.

The Bates mill of the Oregon Lumber company is now operating two cutting crews days and one crew at night, and is turning out lumber for the trade at the rate of about 165,000 feet a day.

There are three logging camps; a railroad camp on the west side of Dixie mountain in charge of S.W. Coulter; a truck camp on the east side of Dixie in charge of R. M. Hiatt; and a contractor camp operated by Frank Gardiner on White Pine siding over further east. The work of constructing ten miles of new railroad line to tap a belt of timber 20 miles up the Middle Fork was started this week and it is expected that logging operations will be transferred to that section this fall.  The rail line now extends ten miles north and the extension will be ten miles beyond that.

C.A. McElroy is wood superintendent at Bates operations, and Damian Gabiola is mill superintendent.  In charge of the timekeepers office is Carl Leishman, with Rosco Johns assisting him – John Day Valley Ranger
 

Norm's note here:  If anyone wants to forward me newspaper clippings such as this one, feel free to do so.  If I get enough of them, I'll build a separate folder to put them in, so we don't clutter up this section of the Bates/Austin site.  I want to keep it solely for personal dialogue, because some may not want to read old news clippings along with personal dialogue from former Bates/Austin-onians.   I recently contacted the Manager of the Blue Mountain Eagle, and they do NOT have old newspaper clippings on their Internet data base.  They are filed in a different manner, and would require a person to go there and spend a great deal of time searching, copying, then emailing them to me.  The Manager said it would be much easier for a person to go to the County Library and search for past news clippings from their microfiche records. 

 
Linda Mathison 01-15-2008:  That's a very intriguing newspaper article!
 
I knew: Bill Hiatt (ran the big snowplow and managed the highway department which was across the street from Blue Mtn. Ranger Station). He was the guy we were so glad to see on those snowy days, plowing our highway between Bates and Prairie City.  I am sure he had a crew working with him.  We always supposed it was Bill Hiatt behind the wheel.  We used to follow the snowplow in our car, if possible, so as not to slip. 

I knew of Carl Leishman and I knew "Punkie Welch." Wasn't she the daughter? 

I knew Roscoe Johns; he was the Clerk in the ranger station.  My dad worked at the John Day Ranger Station (compound) before he was transferred to become the USFS Ranger at the Blue Mountain Ranger Station.

 
At some point we might get the "big picture" of what actually happened on and around Dixie Mountain from the late 1800's to when the town left and it all returned to a meadow.
 
Anyway, yes, we surely did know Bill Hiatt.  He and his wife, Dutchie, used to visit our home or we visited their home, and we sometimes had some pie and ice cream while watching a favorite TV. show, usually Rawhide or Have Gun will Travel, one of those, on an evening when we could get together.  My mother and Mrs. Hiatt, Dutchie, were friends.  Dutchie developed cancer although almost no one knew it. She asked my mother if she could please have me accompany her to church on Sundays. I happily did this.  We went to the Pentecostal brown church that had once been a home but was made into a church.  I used to call it "the Holy Roller church" although maybe it was 7th Day Adventist?  I was 13.  I played the piano for the church services there for one year.  Georgia Frasier led the service.  She always wore black, a long black dress or a robe, and I think possibly a hat with a veil. She played a tambourine.  I chose the church service music from their hymnals.  I loved the song, "Up from the grave He arose."  It would start softly.  "Lo, in the grave He lay, Jesus, my Savior. Waiting the coming day, Jesus, my Lord."  "Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o'er His foes, He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His Saints to reign, He Arose, He Arose, Hallelujah, Christ Arose."  We also sang many favorite hymns from the hymnal. I remember "Love Lifted Me" was a favorite. 

I was always so very humbled by the people, a small group, who would steadfastly go to church there on Sunday. I loved them. After about one year at church services, Dutchie passed away.  I am still grateful spending time in church with Dutchie and those people.  What stays with me about Bates is: although many people might have struggled, there was a spiritual light.  I saw the strength of people who loved the Sabbath.  (As you keep the Sabbath, so will it keep you...)

 
As for Rocky Johns, he was a favorite of mine, at the ranger station.  He was a popular clerk.  He always welcomed me or other kids who might wander in, looking for Dad.  He had candy in his desk drawer which he would give to the little kid, Dennis Stull.  Dennis was the little brother of John Quisenberry and Eileen, his sister.
 
As for Leishman's Merc, we just loved that store.  I liked to look for anything kids would like, and especially the 45 records that started to show up.  Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini was my first record from the Merc.
 
Take care, keep looking for information, this is very intriguing to me,
Linda

 

Eunice (Olsen) Bullis:  11-06-2007:

 

I'm the oldest daughter of Almer Olsen. Our family moved to Bates in 1956, when Dad came to pastor the church there; he pastored for four years.  On the first sunday that we came - before actually deciding to move there, I was invited by Lenora Rasmussen and Darlene Coalwell to go for a walk in the afternoon.  We walked from the church down to Austin and back.  It's probably close to a mile, so we had plenty of time to visit and get acquainted.  They made us feel so welcome - and it didn't seem so scary to move to a place where I already knew somebody!  Lenora and Darlene were both in my class.  Lenora and I both played piano and sang; so we did duets several times at church - and at least once at a baccalaureate of one of the classes ahead of us.

I remember the cold winters - it was not uncommon to be - 20 to - 40 degrees in the mornings.  I tell my friends that Bates had 3 seasons: July, August, and Winter!  We'd stand out on the street waiting for the school bus, and dance a jig - trying to keep from freezing.   It was also not uncommon to have 20" to 30" of snow.  I am amused that the schools and businesses are closed in the Willamette Valley of Oregon - with a couple inches of snow!  But of course they don't have the plows and equipment to deal with it.

The bus took us 17 miles each way - up over Dixie Pass (almost 1 mile high) to high school in Prairie City.  With all the stops for kids along the way, it was almost an hour each way.  I remember one time that our bus driver (the high school science teacher, Mr. Bolen) evidently miss-judged the amount of gas in the bus.  The bus ran out of gas - just as we were getting to the summit of Dixie.  Of course the students were all cheering!  "No School!"  WRONG!  As a science teacher, Mr. Bolen knew that gas runs down-hill; so he let gravity pull the bus backwards, while turning the wheel hard.  He kept the wheel turned, and let the momentum carry the bus until it was headed slightly downhill; then he restarted the engine (as it now had gas) and backed over the summit!  As I recall, he didn't stop for any kids on the way down the hill that day - he coasted the whole way to town!

 

Along with the snow, came sledding!  We'd climb the hill near the church - I'm talking half of the kids in town!  We would step sideways in itty-bitty steps, to pack down the snow, making a sled run - otherwise the snow was so deep that the sled wouldn't go.  Then we'd pile on the sleds - sometimes more than one of us to a sled - and down the hill we'd go.  I remember Floyd Rasmussen brought a car hood to slide on, once.  It went real fast; but when it hit a stump and stopped suddenly, he got a nasty gash from the edges.  I don't think anyone tried using a hood after that!
 
We climbed all over the mountains around the town.  We'd key in on the noise from the mill, if we weren't sure of our direction - that would take us back to town.  Sometimes it was fun just to sit on top of one of the hills, and watch the town go by.  Such care-free days!  My kids just can't believe it. They ask "What did you do?"  I don't remember ever being bored!  There was a swing built near the water station, across the paved road from the church.  We would hang out there sometimes, and just visit.  I don't remember any vandalism, or trouble.  We all had values instilled into us.
 
My Dad worked in the woods, in the mill, and on the pond --- right along with everyone else.  Then they found out that he was a carpenter, so he was put in charge of maintenance of the company houses - literally every house in town.  So he did plumbing repairs, roof leaks, etc.  He really loved Bates.  Many times I heard him say, "I left Bates, but Bates never left me!"  He returned to as many Bates reunions as his health would allow.
 
The town needed more water, so Dad also "witched" for water above the highway, in the late 50's.  He told them it was "77 feet down".  Sure enough, when they got down to that level, they found water.  And, not only was it water, but it was the artesian well that is still flowing along the highway - where all the locals stop to fill their water containers, when they're in that area.

We return to Bates every-other-year, for the reunion - I think I've only missed one of them over the years.  And it's been nice the last couple of times to have them at the Bates site.

Judith Nielsen: 10-30-2007:


Hi Norm.  I went to school with Floyd and Flora Rasmussen and remember them well.  I still have a Bates Elementary School class picture that includes them and some of my other classmates.


I read with interest the story about "Bambi", the pet deer that was kept at the "Y" Junction, because Bambi was brought home by my brother, Dan, after her mother was killed by a hunter.  When she grew so large that we couldn't contain her, the "Y" Junction owners kept her there. One day she disappeared and I did not know what happened to her, so when I read the story about how hunters killed her, even though she had red tags on, I had closure about what happened to that little deer I loved so well. We still have a photograph of her when she was living with us.


My family was more familiar with the "Y" Junction, which at that time was owned by the Imooses, then we were with Bates.  We did live on and off at Bates for a few years in one of the company houses across the meadow from the main part of town, near the McConnells and Sibleys.  My little brother, "Butchie", died while we were there.  My parents then bought a trailer and we moved on the hill above the "Y".


My Dad, Frank Nielsen, worked as a bulldozer operator for the Hines Lumber Company; my Mother, Maggie, was a 4-H and Brownie leader; my brother, Dan and I attended the Bates school.  The young people we went to school with were:  Floyd and Flora Rasmussen, Maxine and Gary Ackerson, Nancy and Lois Olson (the Assembly of God pastor's girls), Cliff, Larry, and Danny Barnhart, Ginger and Larry Johns, Susan and Mike Bogart, Larry and Myron Losey, Gladys McAllister, Richard Boyer, Beverly Gates, Stephen Frazier, Ruth Wilkes, Linda Gray, Tommy Davis, Deloras Allenbaugh, Connie Gause, Lyla Blume, Terry Ewing, and John Quisenberry (from the Blue Mountain Ranger Station).  (It's not that my memory is that sharp.  It's that I recorded the names of most of these students on the back of the class picture.)


My brother, Dan and I, stumbled onto the old Hobbs Ranch when we were exploring the woods near the "Y".  I never knew the name of it until I read the stories and letters in the "Bates Memories".  At that time the beautiful old house and barns were still standing.  The most scenic meadow I have ever seen is the one behind the old structures.


Our family and some of our friends, such as the Sibleys, found an abundance of agates along the Middle Fork of the John Day River and up Camp Creek.  Some of the residents used them to decorate their yards.
    

A young pastor from Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon by the name of Floyd Moore, began preaching services in the back room of the school gym (community hall).  It was during one of these services that I accepted the Lord Jesus as my savior.  Since we either didn't have a piano, or no one could play one, my Dad played his ukeline during the services and I sometimes accompanied him by singing.  Mrs. Grames was the Sunday School teacher. 
    

Pastor Moore went away for awhile and returned with his new bride, Marion.  He and Marion took it good naturedly when someone put their car up on blocks and removed the tires.  Floyd and Marion bought a trailer and moved near us on the hill along with another Christian couple, Ray and Hazel Ewing.  Our white cat used to visit Floyd and Marion, for a few extra morsels, as it were, but it returned to us one day with a ring of food coloring around its tail.  We painted a ring of a different color on its tail and sent it back in their direction.  It came back with another colored ring around its tail.  This kept up until we either ran out of food coloring, or tail. 
    

My brother, Dan, and the other boys in the vicinity of the "Y" built a tree house in the woods.  I was the only girl in the area so occasionally the boys took pity on me and allowed me access to the tree house. 
    

Ray and Hazel Ewing's son, Terry, was my best friend and we would ride our bikes on the woodland trails and roll tires down the hill.  Terry went into the ministry and was married with children when he died in a mine accident in Canada.  When I went back to the Bates area years later it saddened me to see the buildings gone and the original "Y" Junction torn down, but when I walked in the woods near where we lived, I saw an old tire leaning up against a tree, and a lump rose in my throat.  It was as if Terry and I were kids again, whooping, laughing, and rolling old tires down the hill as we once did.

 
Our Mom would take us huckleberrying between Dixie Pass and the "Y" so that we had an ample supply for pies, jelly, and syrup.  But, the best harvest we gleaned in the Bates area were the lifelong friendships with the Sibleys, Ackersons, Allenbaughs, Fraziers, Moores, Gates, Ewings, and others who were family friends for years.  Bates was congenial for forging lifelong friendships with the potlucks, picnics, and sledding parties that brought the whole town together.  Surrounded there by Christian neighbors I was spiritually and emotionally nurtured.  It is the one place from my childhood that is the most precious to me.


When I graduated from high school, I attended - for a time - the same bible college that Floyd and Marion attended.  I was married in 1966 to a born again Christian by the name of John Goodman and we had one son, Jason Shawn.  In about 1973, an independent Baptist Church started in our home in Glendale, Arizona that later became Greater Phoenix Baptist.  John and I divorced in 1993, sadly something that sometimes happens to Christian couples.  I am active in an independent Baptist Church here in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  My brother, Dan, is retired and living in the Philippines.  My Mom, Maggie, died a few years ago, but my Dad, Frank, is living in Union, Oregon and stays busy playing his unusual stringed music instruments at concerts in Baker.  For quite a few years, Ray and Hazel Ewing had a ministry of carrying Spanish language bibles into Mexico.
    

I so enjoyed reading the letters and stories about the Bates area.  I sincerely hope that more people who lived there will contribute to the wealth of stories that already exist.

 

Judith Nielsen

Email: judithn945@hotmail.com

 

 

Mick Watterson:  08-01-07:  I remember an incident that occurred on Unity Lake when I was about 14 or 15 years old.  A cousin of mine, Jane Anne, and her husband met the family at Unity Lake one hot Saturday afternoon.  Jane Anne wanted Dad to teach her how to ski and Dad was more than happy to oblige.  She got up for a few seconds and then fell.  Dad circled her with the rope dragging behind the boat and told her to grab the rope and when the rope was taut to holler "HIT  IT!" Well, we hear the words "HIT IT!" and Dad shoved the coal to the old Evinrude.  I looked in back of the boat and no Jane Anne ... just circular rings and a big bubble ... a big bubble where she used to be. 

 

It seems that when my cousin grabbed the rope, she put it over her head thereby causing a half-hitch noose around her neck.  When she saw the rope go slightly taut........well, she yelled, "HIT IT!" and basically the power of the boat and tight rope caused her to corkscrew about four to five feet under the water.  When she finally emerged, she had neck burns and the top of her bathing suit was torn off.  Yes, torn off, and the upper anatomy was floating about for all to see!!  She began to cuss my Dad over and over.....emphasizing that she would never do this sort of insane thing again.  Over the years, she came to our house quite often so I assume she eventually forgave Dad.  According to my Mother, she never tried skiing again and forbid her kids to partake in the sport. 

 

Linda (Gjertson) Mathison: 07-24-07:   My sister, Julie (Gjertson) Thomas and I, attended grade school at Bates, from 1956 to around 1963.  We lived at Blue Mountain Ranger Station, two miles away, and had to ride to school.  My sister remembers Mrs. Koberneck, in first grade, who would slam a ruler on her desk to get everyone's attention.  I remember Mrs. Benson, third and fourth grade teacher, who played piano to start the day.  Our most remembered song was: "Up we go into the wild, blue yonder." (Air Force.) 

 

At recess we loved to play in the adjacent field outside school.  Boys would scare girls with frogs from the ditch.  I remember music class - "Special Requests." This is where anyone could raise their hand and request someone to sing in front of the class.  My song was: "The Wayward Wind."  I can still sing this and gasp for breath.  Mick Watterson was very famous for "Blue Swede Shoes."  Also, Frances and Phronsie Raines could sing, "I Love Little Willie, I Do, Ma Ma."  I still sing this.  Singing was great, and I liked: "Comin' Around the Mountain, When She Comes, Toot Toot." 

 

Other memories that come to mind: Desks welded together all in a row, and ink wells with real ink pens for the penmanship.  I enjoyed Mrs. Polly's fifth and sixth grade room.  Boys and girls started to date around that age.  I think we bought either blue or red scarves from the Bates Mercantile store and the boy would wear the scarf if dating the girl.  One day some boy asked me to dance and I slapped him, as I had seen this in a movie somewhere.  I surprised both of us!  We were very embarrassed and didn't ever dance. 

 

Yet then we went into Mister Cardwell's seventh and eighth grade.  At this age, we had sock hops on Friday evenings in the gymnasium with a record player on the stage, and 45 records we had bought from the Bates Mercantile.  My first record was: "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" -- the 45's were cheap and sung by imitators of the real singers, but what did we know?  They were proof of rock 'n roll existing in Bates. 

 

I remember going to the dances.  There was not enough boys to go around, so girls danced together.  Oh that Alice ... Alice Vincent; Nancy Workman; Carol Reid; ... such delightful, fun classmates; others.  After dancing, one of the parents who sponsored sock hops would feed us a cupcake and Cool Aid in the church part of the building behind the stage.  It was divine. 

 

In that very same alcove, I attended church.  I must have gotten saved about 10 times in the kitchen!  We had to go in there so it would be private.  Then we would be escorted onto the stage where the pastor would explain that now we were in the Lamb's Book of Life.  I was very impressed.  I also played piano for this church, and for the church in the brown house on the hill.  I began playing at age 13 and decided to create a music program.  We had just a few faithful.  I loved fast songs and liked to see anything that would make them jump up.  Such power.  I still love country gospel hymns and I always play this at home if I need music.

I remember the love of the teachers for the students (most of the time) and the attention and care we were given.  I especially remember the Christmas program in the community hall (gym), with first the manger scene. We had a little play about it.  I remember being the angel once.  I still remember that speech.  Everyone got to play a part if possible, and rotate it.  We sang religious Christmas songs.  Then we sang popular Christmas songs.  It didn't hurt, blending the two together that way.  At the end, one of the Bates' dads would come into the gymnasium dressed like Santa, bringing those red net stockings that held candy, giving one to everybody. 

Winters were cold around there, but the community was warm.  We would go home to our house where we got T.V. on two stations via a television antenna.  If the picture was too snowy, we suggested to our father that he would climb on the roof and turn the antenna until the picture got better.

I did a lot of hiking around where I lived and loved Clear Creek, with its little baby rainbow trout.  I found a bog where "spring peepers" lived.  My sister and I would creep over there in the spring, in the evening,  listen to the peepers --  little tree frogs.  If they heard any noise, they would all shut up.  Slowly then they would peep, till' all were a chorus again. 

I also found a mesmerizing beaver dam, watching beavers falling trees.  Surprisingly, I found a deer trail that led me to the road that went to Bates so I would walk around quite a distance to get there.  The woods were beautiful, and the air was clean.

I remember where we lived; our house always got some black ice on the stairs to our front porch during the winter's bad weather.  My sister and I would be dressed for school and come marching out of the front door with our books and lunch boxes; take one step on the stairs, and fall backwards and slide into the snow bank.  Of course this knocked all the stuff out of the lunchbox!  Then we would crawl around and look down the street and see John Quisenberry come out of his house, slip on the steps and slide into the snow bank too.  So Funny!

I remember Mister Bolen and the school bus taking the 9-12th graders over Dixie Pass to school at Prairie City.  The bus was always warmed up good before kids got in it. We were a happy bunch and often would sing together.  I remember the road so clearly that I even sometimes dream of it. 

Freshmen were hazed at Prairie City and I remember wearing long johns and a bathing suit.  The Freshmen had to do whatever the Seniors wanted.  Finally we got that over with and then we were launched into high school.  It was bliss.  I was a Panther.  I wrote a newspaper column: "The Panther Purr."  Great days - such precious memories. 

Hello to classmates; bless you all!
Linda (Gjertson) Mathison   
Email:  lmathisn@netzero.net 

Duane Flower:  07-07-07:  I was surprised to find this Bates-Austin site on the internet and recognize quite a few names from the stories contained within. 
 
During the time I lived in Bates I was known as Duane Rood, or "Little Rood," since I had an older brother, Richard.
 
We moved to Bates in 1956.  I have lived in small logging towns all over eastern Oregon, and this one appeared no different, other than being a little more remote.  My folks worked for Henry Ricco, who owned about a four thousand acre summer ranch, of which about 700 - 800 acres were irrigatable.   During the summer months, Henry ran about 400 - 500 cows and calves on this acreage.  Al Rood, my step-dad -- his job was to irrigate the meadows from one of four main ditches which were fed from the Middle Fork of the John Day river and ran down both sides of the valley.   I spent many hours walking those ditches plugging up squirrel holes.  During the winter months, the livestock was trucked down to Prairie City to Henry's main ranch.  My step-dad would drive down there each day to help feed.
 
Once I got to know the kids in Bates, I really enjoyed living in this area.  We lived in what was called the "Old Austin House."  At one time, back in the late 1800's, it was a hotel and stagecoach stop.  Henry bulldozed down most of the "hotel" wing and made it a single family residence. 

We found several postcards in the old and original roll top desk that showed a stagecoach loaded with passengers and their luggage out in front.  Two books (volumes) of the hotel register were still in this desk, and my mom, Norma Rood, had sorted out the ones she could read and found almost every country in the world represented.  Henry didn’t care about this kind of stuff so Mom donated it to the museum in Prairie City.  I don’t remember the dates included in these old registers. 

Other out-buildings were the woodshed; and old log structure that appears in many ghost town books; the garage and work shop, which at one time was the Austin store; and the railroad crew house, a two-story, eight room structure out behind our house.  Down the road a little bit was the barn, a rather large one that has stood the test of time and still stands.

 
Our house was about a mile out of the town of Bates, and I think I walked and biked that road way too many times.  We did not have TV and I would go down to Bates to visit friends that did have TV.  I probably wore out my welcome more that once, but nothing was ever said.  One night after watching a rather scary movie, I was walking home and looking out for whatever was out there.  I started jogging to shorten the period of danger.  As I jogged by some cows, they spooked and took off at a run.  Not realizing what was happening, I kicked it into high gear and made record time to home.
 
I went to the eight grade in Bates.  As many others have mentioned, I too enjoyed the lessons taught by Mr. Arthur Cardwell, although at the time I probably didn’t realize it.  Especially the time I was with a group of other kids who must of thought soaping the school house windows would be fun.  Well, Mr. Cardwell was inside the building with a flashlight and I thought it was just a reflection of a light held by one of the other kids. WRONG!  The next day when we were cleaning all of the windows of the school, we decided how wrong we were! 

Mr. Cardwell was a very positive influence on my life.  I attended all four years of high school in Prairie City and will always remember the many times we were bussed over the Dixie Pass.

 
Growing up in a small town like this, one enjoys many freedoms that I suppose other kids in larger towns would never know.  My folks never worried when I took off fishing most of the day.  I always brought home a mess of trout, albeit small ones.  From many borrowed and old forgotten bikes, I was always able to make my transportation.  The hardest part about putting together a bike was getting the tires, tubes, and the gooseneck bolt for the handle bars.  My folks didn’t have any extra money for such stuff, and I had to hunt around for what I could find. 

Another nice memory of my time at Bates was to hunt.  You only had to step across the back lawn fence and you were likely to see deer.  Maybe a little out of season, but success was a little better then.

 
I played sports in high school and remember riding the athletic bus from Prairie City to Bates.  The bus driver, who was usually just another student that live in Prairie City, was eager to get back home and would just drop us all off at Bates and I had to walk the mile to my house.  It was not too bad in fall and spring, but ohhhh ... those cold winter months.  It was damn cold at times, but I was not about to give up basketball.  I graduated from Prairie City High in 1961.
 
Since we always had horses at the ranch, we would often ride down into Bates to pickup the mail or get a few groceries at Leishman's grocery store.  Back then we could just sign our name to a running ledger for groceries needed and then once a month on payday, pay off the tab we had run up.  I had a job for a short time delivering newspapers around Bates.  I would always pickup my papers in the back of Leishman's store and then make the rounds, probably about 30 or 40 customers.  Well, the boxes of candy bars were also kept in the this back room.  I was tempted, and one day when no one was about, I took a box of 24 Hershey bars with nuts and stuck them in my newspaper bag.  I had to finished them off before I got home.  I was one sick puppy by the time I got home.  It was a lesson learned the hard way.
 
I am glad that I had the opportunity to grow up in a small town like this.  There were many things we missed that we didn’t even know we were missing, but we had a life style that was envied by many.  I know I sure look back at all of the small towns that we lived in, and wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.  We made our own fun back then.  I am thinking of so many other stories and exciting times that I could tell about.  Maybe later in another e-mail.
 
Thanks,
 
Duane Flower
4355 Mustang Dr
Boise, Idaho 83709
Email: spikeisbck@msn.com

 

Mick L. Watterson:  06-06-07:  I just read your post, Leonard.  Excellent!  Sure brought back some memories…..like the 25 cent haircut at Art & Louise’s row house.  I remember the sparsely furnished house, the school clock that continually ticked in the kitchen, and the sour dough crock that sat next to the sink on the kitchen counter.  Moreover, and for some odd reason, I remember the smell of sauerkraut and Louise sweeping the floor with an old bristle broom.  Lastly, I certainly remember Art’s brown suspenders.  Art was into suspenders long before Larry King.

 

Leonard Cardwell: 05-22-07:  Email:  lenc@oregontrail.net

 

As I begin to write a few chapters in this continuing Book of Bates/Austin, I would be remiss if I didn't pay tribute to my father, Art Cardwell.  I am proud to say that I feel no one was more respected in our years there than "Mr. Cardwell."   

Dad and my mother, Louise, first came to the area in September 1925, from Long Creek.  Dad had been asked to become the principal at the school as no one could keep order.  He taught 6th, 7th and 8th grades.   His biggest challenge, as he told me, was that some of the 8th grade boys were big enough to whip the teacher.  He told me it didn't take long to be challenged and "The War" was on.  It was short lived as he was a bull of a man and could out run and catch them with his strap as needed. 

Things settled down; however, for some reason, something happened and he quit the school in 1935 (mid-year) and moved back to Long Creek.  He taught school in Fox, Oregon, halfway through 1935 and then through 1936.  In 1937 he moved back to Austin.

He and Mother lived in an addition on the old school for some time.  I was born that year in November and began my life with them at the old Austin School.  Dad taught in Bates/Austin until 1946, when he was hired to be the principal at John Day.  After this one year he was asked to return to Austin.  We moved to a row house at Bates, never moving again. 

Dad continued to teach students until he retired in 1963. He said that the third generation of some families had started and it was time to go. The folks moved to the Woodburn Senior Estates in Woodburn, Oregon where they lived until mother's death.  Dad had lost his sight, so he moved in with us until he passed away. 

A fond memory was that I was able to take him back to two Bates/Austin Reunions held at Deerhorn Campground.  What an awesome sight to see so many of his students lined up to shake his hand.  He couldn't see them, however, but at the sound of their voice and a word or to about them, he knew them. He had a story to tell each one. 

Later when we were alone, he would ask me about some of them, wondering what they looked like.  He would say " They all were GOOD kids," and he was proud of them all and their families.

 
I will leave this Chapter with a article he wrote after he left Bates:

"A Toast"  out of the gracious hands of time,
we are about to begin another year. 
Each of us from day to day, will write upon it's pages clear.
 
God grant that we may kinder be,
speak less in shame and more in praise;
And by the splendor of our lives,
 make it a year of happy days. 

 
To be  continued ...
 

Norm Rasmussen: 02-26-07:  Been slow getting responses from others so I thought I'd share another "Bates Story." 

 

I receive an email from my son's wife, Ellen, yesterday.  Brian and Ellen Rasmussen live in Chicago, Illinois with our three grandsons, William, Gabriel, & Collin.  It read:

 

Hey everyone!  I just wanted to share a small part of my day with you.  Sometimes while doing work around the house I end up not being in exactly the same place as one or all of our children; today that means Colin.  I was upstairs quickly doing something while he was downstairs watching a favorite show.  Perfectly fine!  It was just for a minute ….  When I returned I found that my sweet son had raided the pantry, a favorite pastime of his even while I am standing right there.  I should have known!  In his mouth and all over the floor and couch were dozens of chocolate covered coffee beans.  The package was emptied and tossed on the floor.  As soon as he saw me he ran away, realizing his error.  I have no idea how many he actually ate, but I am wondering if he will be able to take a nap this afternoon!  Have a great day! --  Ellen

I wrote Ellen back this reply, which is my "Bates Story:" 

When I was about five years old, a friend (whose name I've forgotten unfortunately) and I stole a bunch of Ex-Lax out of someone's car.  We just thought it was chocolate; didn't have a CLUE!  For whatever reason (it probably was GOD protecting us) ... we didn't swallow any of the "candy."  I can't tell you why we didn't; we just didn't.  BUT ... we would chew it some, then spit it out, leaving a trail like Hansome and Gristle (sp?) with their bread crumbs. 
 
Somehow we got wind that much of the entire TOWN was out looking for us and we were certain we were in BIG TROUBLE for stealing someone's candy with so many people looking for us! 
 
So ... we hid under my house.  Under our house was nothing but darkness, dirt, bugs - mostly spiders - and of course, goblins.  We figured no one would come looking for us under THERE!
 
By meticulously following out "chocolate drop" trail, they found our hideout.  However, we were so scared that we were going to be hung on the gallows at high noon that we would not come out, no matter how much coaxing came from them.
 
What was too funny is that they were so worried about he and I dying (from the "runs" I'm assuming!) that they had the entire SCHOOL out on a manhunt for us as well as every available adult!  With that big of a swarm, we were convinced that would probably even string us up by the FEET on the gallows at high noon, showing no mercy!
 
They kept yelling under the house that they were only concerned about our safety, and we KNEW they had to be lying once they tried that ploy.
 
I don't remember now how they managed to talk us out of there: probably was getting near supper time and we hadn't eaten since breakfast.  That is an eternity for a young boy, right?! 
 
So ... this little story is what prompted me to write what I wrote to you yesterday, Ellen.  Keep the laxatives and the chocolate coffee beans locked up!  -- Norm
 

If there are any class reunions planned at Prairie City, would someone please send details, so they can be posted here?  Thanks!

 

In recent communication with Mick Watterson, he brought up something that I think should be posted here.  Why isn't there some sort of memorial marker - sign - SOMETHING ... that lets people know where Bates used to be?  Maybe the Country or State would put up some sort of memorial marker - sign; etc., -- if someone would take it upon themselves to contact the proper officials.

 

Here is a newspaper Bates-related article that lends itself strongly to what Mick addresses:

 

http://www.bakercityherald.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=4825

 

  -- Norm R.

Mick L. Watterson: 12-21-06:  Below is an abbreviated list of my memories of Bates.  I left Bates in the Fall of 1965.

  • I remember the smell of Ponderosa Pine.  I especially remember the popping sound of lumber as it was being stacked at the Green chain.  You could hear the popping sound from the Bates store.
     
  • The Bates store was special; where else could you find a beer hall, butcher shop, post office and general merchandise under one roof?  Where else would you find a proprietor as fair and nice as Carl Leishman?
     
  • How about the winters.  I remember the snow caves, twenty below mornings and the bus ride to high school in Prairie City.  Poor old bus didn’t warn up until we arrived at the Golden West Motel stop.
     
  • I remember paydays.  The population dropped dramatically in Bates as hard-working Bates folks took their kids and funds and headed to the big cities of Baker and John Day.
     
  • I remember the Bates girls…..very pretty, very smart, and mostly intolerant of those rowdy Bates boys.
     
  • The Bates school and Art Cardwell.  You were going to learn whether you wanted to or not.  I remember Art making me sit under the school clock in the hallway one afternoon for throwing a spit ball at Carol Reid.  I think all the boys in Bates had a crush on Carol at one time or another.
     
  • Who can forget the Bates Community Hall?  I remember the grade school dances, ham feeds, Christmas concerts and basketball games.  And who can forget when our parents would go to the New Years dance at the Bates Hall.  I consider it prudent not to go into detail here.  Suffice to say that some friendships suffered as a result of the gala festivities.
     
  • I remember hunting season in October.  I loved the fresh deer steaks….deer steaks with Mom’s brown gravy and pancakes.  I can still taste the Elk roast in November.   

These are just a few of my memories of Bates.  I’ll always remember the people…people who taught me honesty, friendship, and the value of hard work.

Mick's email is:  Mick.L.WATTERSON@odot.state.or.us

Norm Rasmussen - November 2006:  My wife and I made a spontaneous visit to Grant Country to attend the funeral of my brother-in-law, Jerry Cheadle.  Regrettably, there were many friends I was not able to visit with during our stay, mainly because I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my father, Ray Rasmussen, after the funeral.  At his age of 102, there won't be many times left to do so.  However, I did somehow manage to catch the spirit of adventure that blows through Grant County at some of the strangest times, and if you are interested in reading about my delightful little hike into Slide Lake during an early November snowstorm, you can click on the link. 

 

While out there, I was able to visit with Chet and Carol Johns a short while, who are still living in Bates.  Chet is 91, and Carol is 87, I believe.  Two of the finest people I have ever met.  (Can anyone tell us if it is THIS couple Dave Connolly writes about in his Vinegar Hill encounter?)  I was on my way over to Baker to see if I could find Gary Johns, their son, to see if he would grant me permission to publish Sonja's book here on the Internet, and it so happened that Gary popped in only minutes after I arrived there.  What a delightful surprise!  He was on his way over to Prairie.  

 

Lee Siegrist:  05-08-2006:   We never met, but I knew your brother Dale; he was a couple of years older than myself. The story about your hunting trips with your father brought back a ton of memories from Bates. My family moved there in 1962. I was in the second grade. I remember the Cardwell Elementary School just like it was yesterday. My daughters actually attended the same school building after it was moved to Prairie City behind the High School.  Thanks for posting these stories on the internet, and God bless.

 

Chester Willis (Brosig):  1-21-2006: 

 

Hello Norman!  My name is Chester (Chet) Willis.  I used the last name of my step dad, (Brosig) while I lived in Bates.  I was one year ahead of you in school.  I read with interest your story on the Internet of hunting with your dad in 1957.  (Tribute To A Hunter).  I attended the Bates reunion this last summer (2005) and visited some with your dad and your older brother Floyd. 

 

I too got my 50-cent haircuts from Mr. Cardwell.  Yes, he was exceptional.  When he left the room, Tip Frazier and I would grab yardsticks and sword fight and somehow he always knew.  I also visited Mr. Cardwell in his late years at Leonard Cardwell’s in Woodburn.  The man remembered many he had taught over the years and there were many who looked him up long after school.  What an impression he left on all of us.  I was in the 8th grade class that went to Prairie City so I only had the opportunity to learn from him just one year. 

 

I really enjoyed the 2005 reunion, although the only one there that I ran around with some was Gunther Clark.  Charlie Workman still lives there but didn't come down to the reunion, although his sister GeorgeAnne did.  I did visit Charlie at his home. 

 

I live in Shedd, Oregon, which is 15 miles south of Albany, so I have been back to Bates many times and have kept contact with Charlie all along.  My cousin, Roger Derrick, who has always lived in Unity, works with Charlie at the highway department and I visit him also. 

 

You remember Raymond Brooks.   I used to run around with Raymond and Jim Combs a lot when I lived at Bates.  I thought you went hunting with us once with Billy Campbell.  Bill used to drive over a lot and we would either take his car or Jim's.  One of them (I don’t remember which one) had no brakes and we would run into a bank to slow it down.  The good Lord had to be watching down on us in those days because I have no idea how we survived. 

 

I remember once Jim talked me into trading rifles and after just a few minutes I realized why.  Jim's rifle was a 30-40 Craig and was extremely heavy.  My rifle was a 30-30 Marlin - much lighter!

 

As for me, my folks moved from Bates just before my senior year of high school and would not allow me to stay with the Workman’s to finish school. 

 

I never fit in at Santiam in Mill City. They refereed to me as the hillbilly, although I still don’t know how they thought they were any better.  Like at Bates, most of the kids were children of loggers and mill workers.

 

My soul however has never left Eastern Oregon. As a child we moved back and forth between Unity, Bates, and Prairie City. That did leave me with and advantage because I went to grade school in all three places so I knew most of the kids.

 

I knew most of the people in Bates because I shared the Oregonian paper route with Charlie Workman.  Don Sterling and Mike Biedesello shared the Oregon Journal. 

 

When we first moved to Bates we lived in Knuteville between Rod Frazier and Merlin Vasbinder.  We later moved down on the back road by the river next to Larry McGinnis.  I used to take care of Larry's wood and he paid me $5 a week year-round for doing so.  I had to get up early in the morning when it was cold and start the fire so I probably earned every cent. 

 

I can probably recall about every waking minute I spent in Bates because it was the greatest place I ever lived. I got my first gun, a .22 rifle when I was 11.  I wrecked Rod Frazier’s Buick when I was 12, and he still let me drive it after that.  I remember selling shiners to Mr. Bolin for a dollar for a coffee can full.   I have wonderful memories that would take a long book to record …

  

Chet's email is:  hortonjohnny@msn.com

 

Norm Rasmussen: 12-04-05:     In recent email dialogue with Russ Miles, former resident of Bates, he brought up the name of Arthur Cardwell, and some hilarious memories of Mr. Cardwell came up about his giving haircuts on the side.  I had totally forgotten about Art giving haircuts, and when Russ mentioned it, it suddenly came back!  (There’s hope for my aging memory after all!).  I’m sure story after story could be told about getting haircuts by Art, so I’ll tell one of my own.

First off, I have to mention that I was most likely one of Art’s worse “thorns in the flesh.”  I did not enjoy going to grade school all that much.  There were snowshoe rabbits to hunt in the winter, fish to catch in the spring and summer, and deer and elk to stalk in the fall … and none of that could be done in school. 

 

As many former residents of Bates remembers, Art was the principal of the grade school.  He was one strong disciplinarian, and he was physically strong enough to handle any “rebellious toughy” who dared rebel against his authority.

 

Because I was the tallest kid in the 6th grade class, I was set in the very back so other classmates wouldn’t have to try to see over my head.  We were allowed to put together a puzzle on a table in the back of the room during class breaks, and I loved doing that.  To this day, I don’t know if Art ordered my teacher to sit me near the table the puzzle pieces were on ... just because he was bored with teaching and needed some excitement as well ... or things just accidentally worked out that way.

 

At different times during the school day I would eye pieces of the puzzle from my desk.  When I saw a piece that I was confident would fit, when the teacher turned her back to the class, I would reach over as quick as I could and put the piece of the puzzle where it fit, if it did.  On occasion she would catch me at it, but she was very lenient with me as best as I remember. 

 

However, she had a “Sergeant-At-Arms” available to her.  His name was Art. 

 

Art had the most quiet walking shoes in the world.  Hunters would have paid thousands to own Art’s shoes, because is soles just didn’t make any noise when he would peak through the cracked door that separated the 7-8th grade classroom, where he always taught, and the 5-6th grade classroom.  Art would wait to see me stretching over and putting a piece of the puzzle in place … then quickly sneak up behind me and grab me by the shoulders and start shaking the ever- living boredom out of me.   I’m not exaggerating.  If you had a loose tooth, it most likely would have fallen out.  Those shakings sometimes triggered California earthquakes, I declare! 

 

After a bone-jarring shaking, I would stay patient for a few days, then temptation would knock and I would buckle.  Puzzles can never be put together quickly enough at recess time.  Time after time, you could feel a 7.9 Bates earthquake on the Art Cardwell Scale, as Art would catch me, and shake me a little harder than the time before, to try to get me to behave. 

 

To this day, I believe I have eyesight behind my head … developed during the 6th grade.  I would wait for that door to open a tiny crack, and then I would be the best student in the class, eyes glued on the desk or the teacher.  It must have spoiled his moment time and time again, at least I was hoping.

 

Eventually it became a duel of wits, I think.  At times Art would be so upset at me for continuing to sneak working on that puzzle during class that I would be set out in the hallway as punishment, desk and all.  That was almost prison in a way, but yet it gave me the opportunity to get out of class, so that was a huge positive.  Anything closer to the outside schoolhouse door was better than nothing, I figured.

 

Art never lost a “duel” that I’m aware of, and he certainly didn’t lose the one between him and I.  Here’s how he won. 

 

I quit putting pieces of the puzzle together before the end of the school year in the 6th grade … because something else was happening.   When I would go to his house for a haircut after class, I began to have fear come upon me that while I was in the barber seat with my back to him, he might grab hold of my shoulders and start shaking the hair out of my scalp instead of cutting it.

No kidding.  I started have nightmares about him doing that to me.  After those nightmares, I became almost paranoid that is was going to really happen, although it never did. 

 

Nevertheless … my fear of Art taking advantage of me in his barber seat was what caused me to start behaving by the time I graduated from the 6th grade class. 

 

Years later I was out to Oregon from Michigan to visit my family.  I was visiting my sister, Yvonne, in Salem, and found out that Art was still alive, and was living not all that far away.  I got his son’s phone number, which happened to be where Art lived, and arrangements were made for me to go see him, one last time.

 

When I saw Art, I almost went into shock.  I stood 6”-4” and he didn’t look to be much more than five and a half feet.  He was bent over considerably.  I always held the picture of him in my mind as a giant, which he was a sturdy man in his prime, and much taller.   It had been some 20 years since I had seen him last.  

 

I believe Art was in his 80’s at that time.  I don’t remember the year – somewhere in the 1980’s I believe.  He was nearly blind, and couldn’t see my face very clearly. 

 

When I introduced myself to him, he remembered my name.  He was so delighted that I stopped in.  We had usual conversation … he wanting me to give him an overview of where life had taken me from Bates, and then the impulse struck me:  I wanted to reach up and grab him by the shoulders and shake the ever-loving tranquility out of him as paybacks! 

 

Just kidding - though the thought ran through my mind, and when it did, I impulsively asked him if he remembered the puzzle-shaking episodes, and try as hard as he could, he said he didn’t. 

 

He then followed up with, “I don’t believe I ever had one student who was a bad kid.  All of them were good kids that I remember, including you.”

 

It was such a blessing to hear him say that.  I really believe he meant it.

 

Art also mentioned that he had kept a diary over the years, and would have to go back and see if he had written anything about shaking people during school.  I never thought to ask him about it then, but I sure would like to read that diary now.  I'll bet it would be a blessing to many.

 

Art "impacted" my life greatly ... perhaps me more than many others.

 

 

Russ Miles: 12-3-05:  By all means, Norm, feel free to link to the stories from off my website.  If they will bless anyone, great: that's why I took the time to write them.
 

I have learned more from the brief history write-up Sonja wrote that you reprinted at the top about Bates/Austin than I ever knew.  Thanks!  I wish I could get a copy of the book she published, as I know my brother and sister would like one as well.

You may recall my sister Rita's husband, Gene Larkin. Gene's mother, Della, and her husband, Earl Raines, bought Austin when I was in high school. I last went there as a senior, as I recall, to stay at their Austin house to go deer hunting.

 
That opening weekend, my Dad and Earl Raines and crazy cousin Jerry, (recently from Tennessee), went up to - I think it was called "Desolation" - in a Jeep.  In route, 57 head of elk crossed the road right in front of us. I'll never forget it. Dad said he had never, in all of his life, seen so many bull elk.
 
When we arrived at the place Dad wanted to hunt, we each branched out. I got lucky and shot a forked-horn in the heart. He was running so fast I found him hanging by his antlers in a tree that stopped him. Dad got a spike too. As I had brought my girlfriend to Austin with me, much to the appall of my parents who didn't know I was even coming, I returned to Portland a hero to my girlfriend, and an embarrassment to my parents. That was the last deer I ever killed.

Other published writings - links - about Bates - Austin, Oregon you might be interested in reading:

 

Growing Up In A Logging Town
Russ Miles (Chapter 1)

 

Growing Up In A Logging Town

Russ Miles (Chapter 3)

 

 Tribute To A Hunter

(Story of Ray Rasmussen)

 

Reflections On Early Prairie City

By: Inez Blinn Boggs

 

  BIOGRAPHIES (Of former Bates-Austin resident)

 

http://www.thedashmovie.com/ - Len Cardwell forwarded this to me.  It's too precious not to post. TURN UP THE SOUND
 
 
 


 

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