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Pete Bicart recalls 1943 exodus of farmers from Idaho to Madras in 1993 interview.

MADRAS PIONEER LOGO - The Madras Pioneer looks back through the past 100 years of newspaper archives.100 YEARS AGO

December 19, 1918

Nearly 2,140,000 head of cattle and more than 8,450,000 sheep were grazed under permit on the national forests of the country during the 1918 season, according to the report of the secretary of agriculture for 1918, which has just been received by district Forester George H. Cecil, Portland.

In two years, there have been placed on the forests approximately 1 million additional head of livestock, representing about 25 million pounds of beef, 16 million pounds of mutton, and 4 million pounds of wool. This material increase in the production for meat and wool on the forest ranges was brought about after careful observation of range conditions and studying of methods by which the most complete utilization of the forage might be secured without overgrazing the forests.

The season of 1918 illustrated in a striking manner the advantages offered by the national forest ranges to the Western livestock industry. Because of drought conditions, the ranges throughout the West outside the forests were generally in bad shape. Owners dependent upon the open public range find the livestock business becoming so precarious that many are closing out and the number of range stock is being reduced.

On the other hand, the use of the National Forest ranges is increasing and their productivity is rising under the system of regulation. The wisdom of government control of these ranges was never more manifest than at the present time, according to the secretary.

75 YEARS AGO

December 16, 1943

To every patriotic employer: Today good public relations are measured by your effort in the war.

This year's earning will probably make Christmas 1943 the greatest year-end occasion for expressions of appreciation of employee loyalty in many years. Many business firms are even now giving consideration to implementing this spirit through bonuses and Christmas gifts to employees.

When we think these days of gifts are fine, we must think of special gifts of assisting the war effort first. Gifts this year, no matter how small or large, can best be expressed in war bonds and stamps. This is particularly appropriate because it does aid the war effort and because it is a gift that increases in value while it is working for Uncle Sam.

Moreover, war bonds and stamps encourage the practice of thrift. Thrift now on the part of your employees not only makes them better citizens, but does much to insure the stability of our future national economy.

This year, the women's division of the War Finance Committee is all out to insure the greatest investment in war bonds and stamps for Christmas purchases totally in stamps or bonds or at least some with every gift purchased.

50 YEARS AGO

December 19, 1968

Prompted by the many telephone calls and inquiries received at the Physician's Consultation Center regarding plants, flowers and berries, the Oregon Poison Control Registry is warning parents of small children to be extra cautious during the holiday season.

Houseplants widely used at Christmas, such as poinsettias, mistletoe, and Jerusalum cherry, are deadly when eaten. One leaf of a poinsettia can kill a child, and both children and adults have died after eating mistletoe berries. When ingested, holly berries have also resulted in poisonings. The Jerusalem cherry, frequently grown for its bright orange cherry-like ornamental berries, contains solanine, solanidine and the alkaloid, solanocapsine. The commonest type of solanine poisoning, the nervous form, produces symptoms of narcosis and paralysis. The gastric form of poisoning produces salivation, vomiting, bloating and diarrhea.

The home garden often contains many plants that can also kill when eaten. These include rhubarb leaves, daphne berries, yew berries, foxglove leaves, golden chain seed capsules, jessamine berries, lantana berries, and foliage and all parts of laurel, castor beans, rhododendrons and azaleas.

Plant poisoning chances are small, but they do exist. The holiday season is an appropriate time to warn parents and patients of the hazards.

25 YEARS AGO

December 16, 1993

How did all those Idahoans wind up in Madras?

According to Pete Bicart of Agency Plains, he with his three brothers and three other friends started the Idaho exodus 50 years ago Dec. 11, 1943, when they came from Idaho to purchase land in the Madras area.

"They are all deceased now but me. I still live on the 80 acres I bought and I've been there for 40 years," Bicart said, noting he lived on another piece of land when he first came to the area until the Agency Plains land got water.

According to Bicart, the seven who started the "land rush" were himself, his brothers Joe, Eugene and Leo Bicart, Homer Beard, Art Shelton and Harry Cockrum.

He said he and his brother "Gene" had moved from Caldwell, Idaho, to Ontario, Oregon. "We rented a place in Ontario from Harry Cockrum and he told us how pretty it was over in Madras.

Me and my brother came over and were really sold on it and couldn't wait to get back over and buy some land. I guess the rest thought so too, when they saw it," he said.

"We were the first ones (from Idaho) that bought land over here and a world of them came after that," Bicart added.

Most of the Idaho seven bought 80 acres, with the exception of Eugene Bicart, who bought 160 acres and Cockrum, who bought 560 acres.

"(Cockrum) had the money to buy more and I didn't. I paid $500 down and the rest when I took possession," Bicart recalled. He said the full price was $1,050 and he sold seven Holstein cattle to raise the money for the purchase.

His land didn't get water until 1948, and the farm house was built in 1952. For 25 years, Bicart ran a feed lot, besides farming on his North Adams Drive acreage.

His nephew, Kenneth Bicart, now farms his brother Leo's place.

The influx of families from Idaho brought potatoes to the area and for a while, Idaho transplants enjoyed each others' company at meetings of the Idaho Club.

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