Posts Tagged ‘1916 letters’

Dale’s summer jobs seem to dry up quickly in the summer of 1916, an unfortunate situation as he’s trying to earn enough to stay in school!

Newberg, Ore. July 16, ’16

Dear Folks,

      Well, we have moved and are nearly ready to run the rack through, but a rain came up yesterday and stopped us. That kind of business eats up the profit but it cannot be helped, I guess.

     I haven’t had a letter from you for a long time, but there must be one in Eugene for me. I hope you are all well in this hot weather that I read about back there.

     I am thinking of going to eastern Oregon, because I have only about fifteen dollars to my credit since school is out and I have only a month and a half more to make my pill pile.

    Oswald Best is going east in a week or so to a job which will pay $2.50 and $3.00 and board for common labor. He wants Andy and I to go with him but I am afraid that we cannot get any money from Hanson before the first of next month. Of course, it is not what one makes, but what one saves that counts. However when we are laid off a day now and then for breakage, or moving, and still have to eat, it eats up the savings.

     If Andy and I were not college studes (sic), we would go up where he was last fall in Canada when he got $3.50 and board for three or four months. I heard through Andy that Buster is going up there this fall. He is still sore at me, by the way.

     The rain seems to be over, so I guess we will work to-morrow. There is not much of interest to write so I will close hoping that you folks are as well as the hot weather will allow.

  Your son


I am curious as to what he meant by “ready to run the rack through”.  He is apparently working for Hanson, he of the missed pay-checks and much griping about in 1915. Hanson was a contractor for the State or County, and was dependent on being paid by them first (or so he said). In 1915, paving employed something called a sack bundling rack (I don’t know if the link will work or not; it’s an item in an online 1915 Engineering book I found by googling: “1915 rack road construction”) That’s definitely something for an engineering type to research!


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017018The letter of October 19, 1915 was the last missive for that year. I then have three empty envelopes with 2¢ postage. Three are postmarked Eugene, Oregon. Feb 15-16, Feb 29-16 (someone doodled on it), Mar 13-16 (with a side note When Dale was in Grantsburg with Parke & Harry– Except that was during the summer of 1915). The last one is postmarked Vida, Oregon, June 19, 1916. Vida is just west of Eugene. I place the following letter inside this envelope despite the odd date in the upper right corner. I know Dale didn’t write it in 1919 – he didn’t live that long.

Vida, Ore. June 18, ’19

Dear Folks,

     I must write this in a hurry and get this away at on o’clock with Brown when he goes to the store.

    I saw Grace. She’s changed a lot since I saw her last. Next morning I came out here. Got a ride on the running board of a car as far as the fish-hatchery so I had to walk only about seven miles. I was here in time to eat breakfast about noon.

    We have been working hard the past week. It takes about an hour to climb to the slashing and about an hour to come back. We work ten hours slashing between times. The work will be finished about the last of this week.

    Dad you know lots about measuring land. How would you measure a slashing that is not in rectangular form? Brown says that we should measure the distance around it in rods, divide that number by 4 times the number of rods in an acre, and square the quotient. I say that we should take the number of rods around it and treat the piece as a circle, find the diameter, and the area in sq. rods. then divide that number by the number of sq. rodds rds. in an acre. We want some scheme so that we can figure 16 acres out of a piece 1100 yds in circumference.

    One of Brown’s neighbors wants us to cut seven acres of clover for him. We could get about $1.50 per day and board. We may do it, but it would not be a very long job just to run the scythe over seven acres, would it? How many acres should one man cut in a day?

    We went fishing last Sunday afternoon an hour or so and caught a few small ones. There are three men from Portland on the creek to day but they cant catch anything. It is funny to see them try.

    I am standing the work fine, better than I expected. The wages are $1.50 per diem but I will not collect over $1.25 if I have anything to say about it.

    Did you hear that the cannery at Newberg had been burned and that the company is working on the new building both day and night to get ready for fruit.

    We have nothing in sight after the hay job. We may go down to Portland and look around. There is nothing here but section work and the board is high.

    I must stop now. Your letter hasn’t been here yet for this week. I will send my grades as soon as I get to Eugene.


Comments: who wants to take on the math question posed?

Slashing – Clearing up the left over debris after logging (commonly referred to as “slash”)

You may note Dale said they would go “down” to Portland when Portland is clearly to the north of Vida. He is correct: the Willamette River flows north and Portland is downriver from Eugene.


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