Looking back through the pages of the Pioneer: 100, 75, 50 and 25 years in the past


February 2, 1922

If anyone thinks that the Groundhogs Day legend is true, they had better get out their raincoats, umbrellas and galooshes. The morning of Groundhog Day dawned excellent for future prospects with a low sky well filled with overhanging clouds. Continuing throughout the morning and until in the afternoon the local weather prognosticators who believe in the Groundhog theory and the ordinary pessimists had begun to take on almost human looks and if conditions had continued good with a snow or something, it is probable that they would have smiled within an hour or so. But these things couldn't continue, promptly at 3:10 and ½ p.m. the wonderful sun that has made Central Oregon even more famous than Milwaukie could ever expect to be, came out from behind a bank of mist and gave the hog a chance. All he had to do was to look about two points over his left front shoulder and he could have easily seen his shadow in the snow.

What effect this occurrence will have on the sale this season of Easter hats remains, of course to be seen. Within six weeks we should be able to judge with fair ability on the trueness of the Groundhog Day supposition. With vapor being emitted from Mt. Hood, earthquakes in the Willamette valley, rattlesnake prospects good for next summer and definite assurance that the groundhog saw his shadow, we hate to make any predictions in regard to the future, especially as regarding the outcome of the trial of Fatty Arbuckle.


February 7, 1946

The Warm Springs Sawmill owned by Ray Wilson and sons, for the past several months undergoing a thorough remodeling is now one of the outstanding sawmills of the country, according to Joe Gravel, construction builder, who expects to turn the plant to the owners in a few days as a complete new set-up.

Mr. Gravel is an outstanding authority on sawmill construction and has installed mills for his company all over the Pacific Northwest. He had charge of installation of the mill at Bend some 25 years ago. Gravel also installed for the Boise Payette Lumber Company at Council, Idaho, a modern mill several years ago. Says Mr. Gravel, the Wilson mill at Warm Springs has equally as good material as the equipment at the two-million-dollar plant at Lewiston, Idaho, known as the Potlatch Lumber Company. Gravel states the Warm Springs mill has not as much equipment as the Potlatch mill, but that that has been installed is equally as modern.

Mr. Gravel will leave here for Oregon City, where another construction and installation job awaits him. He says he will return this fall, however, and complete roofing the dry chain shed at the plaining mill. He says it's too wet to get the fir timber for the roofing now, but they can operate until fall when he will complete the job. The plant at Warm Springs which has been in operation only a few days operating a hair-dog says Gravel. Within two or three days the planing mill will be in operation. A hair-dog has been installed in the carriage at the mill and it is working perfectly he says.

Gravel told of a labor-saving lumber stacker with which two men can handle the entire output of the mill and stack every stick of lumber that comes through the mill. He says there is also a hand-unstacker which one man can operate and feed all the lumber that goes through the planing mill. He calls it an automatic unstacker and says it works by pushing a button to start its operation and it will feed the lumber of a pile through the planer.


February 3, 1972

Another tale from Cecil Moore, a Bend real estate broker, who reared in Madras in the early days of the 1900s.

This tale, around 1907, was one of our annual pilgrimages to the huckleberry patches near Mount Jefferson. We needed the berries in our diet for to live with the meager amount of fruit gave a hunger that a jar of pickles couldn't satisfy. Besides, there is more iron in one huckleberry than the body can absorb from a truck load of pills.

We went by wagon and horseback. Across Crooked River at Trail Crossing then to Tetherow or Lower Bridge on the Deschutes, across the hills and down the Metolius River on the west side. After fording Eagle Creek (now Abbot), where the water sometimes ran into the wagon box when fording, we came to the end of the road and packed in from there. Generally, the migration was strung out so that some of the families had their tents up before the second and third stages of packing was accomplished. To be a youngster having on behind the saddle it seemed a long and hazardous trip.

Forty years ago, I noticed an old rusty tin sign marked "Campbell Camp" fastened to a tree along a trail near Cabot Lake. I had long forgotten the site and probably couldn't find it today. For a short time each year in the berry season it was populated better than some of our towns.

Meals were near community affairs at times and when you said "pass the bread" you had to be on guard as a hot "dough god" might come sailing through the air from the far end of the canvas spread on the ground where the bread was baking in the frying pans around the fire.

There was an Indian family camped a couple of hundred yards away, the Corbett Hote family. They preferred quietness compared to the continual noise of the youngsters in our camps. Besides the magnificent, intelligent dogs that each white family kept always looked down on the Indian dogs!

We were short of cans for our berries, so I was with my father when he visited the Hote camp to see if they had any cedar baskets to sell. They made them from the bark around a tree, sewed up the side and with the bottom turned up inside, the top being so as to make a handle. They didn't care to part with any, but I observed a toddler rummage through a bag and come out with a dried grasshopper which it devoured with pleasure after picking off the legs! I was concerned but afraid to call attention to it. Since then, I have wondered what it tasted like but still haven't built up enough interest to find out.

In the evenings the men and boys would gather at a warming fire off to one side where the men talked of super intelligent dogs and horses and many impossible things. Most of the stories started out with the narrator disgorging a moderate amount of tobacco juice (the main reason for being off to themselves as the womenfolk wouldn't put up with it around the tents) and seizing the moment when he could find a gap in the conversation with the statement "I shor laffed wunct" which was a variation of "Once upon a time"!

One windy evening, when the fire wasn't satisfactory, someone said "what we need is a stove". This was just a shot in the dark as everything had been told at least twice and was an invitation to bring up something new. Corbett Hote, squatting on his heels, ventured that he had made stoves one time. This caught everyone's attention as it was an entirely new subject. After the proper pause, someone asked him "where did you make stoves"? Hote said "In the penitentiary down at Salem". There was a much longer pause while the information was evaluated. Then someone asked, "What was you in the penitentiary for"? (Foolish question as he was making stoves!) Corbett Hote quickly answered, "I killed Jim Stacona".

That took a lot of careful thinking space before the rest of the story was coaxed out in short sentences between periods of silence. The story is similar to problems of today. The actors are different, and the conditions are modified but the overall picture is the same.

Hote and Stacona had ridden into Madras. They have bargained for and acquired a taste of whiskey. That brought on the overwhelming desire and later when their ponies and property had been exchanged for more firewater their presence was undesirable. They were started home.

Hote said they started out in the evening and got up the old grade to the edge of the trim where they sit down to rest. Later Stacona was urged to get up and come on! "He wouldn't talk" and sat there in a drunken stupor.

The story seemed to have ended without a climax. Hote was asked, "How did you kill Jim?" He answered "I took off his hat, put a rock on top of his head, put his hat back on. Then I picked up a big rock and hit him on top of his head."

No more questions were asked. The fire went down, the small boys were sent to the tents to bed. The men spit the last charges of chewing tobacco into the embers.

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