The Section Boss said, “You go back the way you came.” So I had to back up, and the tracks on the Cat sure did tear splinters off of the railroad ties, doing far more damage than if he had let me go ahead. When he got back down to the tracks and saw the damage I had done, really threw a running fit, shook his fist and jumped up and down. By this time, the shovel had cleared the road and it was my turn to tell it to my boss. I told him where to put the damned outfit and it wasn’t in his pock- et. I quit, and was going to get my car and when I came back with it, the shovel operator said, “Wait a minute until I get my stuff, I’m going with you.” The boss got on the shovel thinking he was quite an operator and would show us he didn’t need us, but the second cast he made, he pulled the cable into the fair leads and broke it just as we were driving off. We went down the grade until we met the grade boss who was a Polander. He asked us where we were going and we told him we had quit and were leaving. He said, “Let me in,” and he went with us also. I heard later Hoops was going to send me to Nevada where they had a highway contract.
Also heard when Mr. Hoops came back to Boise, he sent my old boss up the trail hunting for a job. I knew a lot of fellows who worked on construction and word gets around, but never worked for Hoops again. Hoops got a contract on a road south of Hansen, Idaho and the “Pollock” who quit when I did got on a big drunk in Boise. Fred Hoops looked him up when he got back to Boise and rehired him, and he was working on the road south of Hansen. He told me all about what happened when Mr. Hoops got back to Boise, shortly after I left. When I came back from Boise, I went to work for Aslett Construction Company They were building a part of Highway 25.
I drilled and blasted the rock out at Sugar Loaf. According to the contract, we were only allowed forty hours and then if there was someone else who wanted to work at your job, they could work their forty hours, so I quit and went back to the Vulcan Mine in Nevada and worked the summer there. That fall, I came back to the farm and helped father with the harvest as he was getting along in years. I worked through the winter at whatever work I could find. I had quite a few different jobs. I helped with the sheep father had on the farm until summer when he and the neighbors would put their sheep together making a band big enough so they could hire a herder and the herder would take the sheep and follow the grass to the mountains for the summer. I kept close to the farm and Vulcan until I937.
When we were through at the Vulcan, Andrew Martin wrote and asked me to come to Kernville, California as he had a mine he wanted me to look at. I went down to Kernville and worked a few days. The mine was at Fairview on the Kern River. I only worked a few days until I knew we were working for a Pocket Miner Outfit. A promoter from Los Angeles had only one clean shirt and when it got dirty, he would be gone, so I went to the office and quit. He gave me a check and when I cashed it, it was returned due to lack of funds. It was a waste of time going down there.
We left Kernville and went to Downieville in northern California where Alice’s brother had a mine on Goodyear Creek at Goodyear Bar. There was no place to live at Goodyear Bar, only a store and service station there. I found a house at a place called Coyoteville between Goodyear Bar and Downieville. It was on the Yuba River, a good place to work. It was a placer mine and good. He wanted to run a drift through a rock point so he could put the creek through the drift and work some virgin ground. It was tricky ground to work in as the rocky point was mostly big boulders and we had to timber heavy to hold the back up. We were making good progress when a flood came. It washed out a lot of houses. A big concrete bridge across the river was broken into, and it was the main bridge on the highway, and we were cut off from home for two days. Bridges over Goodyear Creek were gone and the brother-in-law’s mine was wrecked. It was covered with so many big rocks and debris that it would not have paid to clean it off. It was my luck to meet a fellow who was working for the California Highway Department. He was stranded in Downieville. The department had been working on the road but the crew had all gone to San Francisco for the weekend and could not get back to Coyoteville until the water went down. He asked me if I could run a shovel and I told him I could and he hired me to fill some washouts. We finally got back to Coyoteville and to the house. We were all worn out but glad to be home. I was never paid for the shovel work and the state of California still owes me.
I cut meat for a while to keep busy and I needed the money. Then I got a job up at a mine high on a mountain where the flood did not reach. The mine was called “Young America” I worked there until it came time to go to the Vulcan again. When I worked at the Vulcan, I could have the family with me and Alice cooked for the crew which consisted of three men. We came back to the farm after the summer at the Vulcan.
In October, the wife became ill and I took her to the hospital where she was operated on for appendicitis but complication set in, and after a month in the hospital she passed away The doctor said it was gangrene that took her away. If this had happened a few years later after penicillin was discovered, she would have survived. It was Thanksgiving Day 1938, when she died. I was left with the children. Vivian was thirteen and Bryson was 10. I helped with the sheep that winter and lived with the folks. My mother looked after the kids as they were in school going to Russell Lane. I stayed at home that summer and worked on the farm for father until the crop was harvested.
That Fall I met a man who had a mine on Mount Harrison near Albion, Idaho. The mine had been in his family, I believe he told me since 1876. I met him in the store in Hansen, his ‘name was Tom Walton. Jack Goertzen owned the store and he and Mr. Walton were old friends. Mr. Walton had helped Goertzen when he was a boy at Rockland, Idaho. I had known Mr. Goertzen for many years and he had told Mr. Walton that I was a miner so he asked me if I would look at his property on Mount Harrison. Mr. Walton, Jack Goertzen, and I went up to the mine and I decided to do some work on it that winter. I did not have much money, and Mr. Goertzen wanted to be a partner and go 50-50 on the partnership. He would furnish the groceries and send a man to help and I would furnish the outfit and powder.
In October, we moved up to the property. There was a cabin and an old building Walton used as an assay house. Pink Brixie was the -man Mr. Goertzen sent up to work with me. We cleaned up the cabin which was constructed of logs many years before. We chinked it well and fixed the roof. When we were done, it was a very good cabin as mining cabins go. I took a cat which I owned and pulled a bunch of logs up to the cabin for fuel, making sure we had enough to last the winter and also enough to build a shaft house as I had decided to sink on a small vein.
We got the cat off of the hill before the big snow came, and we went right to building the shaft house. Mr. Goertzen brought up a pickup load of groceries. We got the shaft house built before any big snow, put in a stove in the shaft house and were ready for the winter. We cut a rick of wood for the cook house and some for the shaft house. On a tall stump, in the timber, we built a box so nothing could get in it as it was six feet off the ground. The bottom of the box covered the stump enough so that animals could not climb up the stump and get to the meat. Mr. Goertzen came up and we killed three deer, skinned and dressed them, cut up the. meat and put it in the box we had built. It was a very good deep freeze since the weather stayed below freezing. We also covered the box with tin so that when birds landed on it there was no chance of the meat being contaminated. The magpies knew the meat was in the box but were not able to get to it as they sit on the box and really chatter.
We had to keep the powder in the cook house until we got the shaft down to keep it from freezing. We had two snows but the first one went into the ground. The second snow did not all go away and we knew when the third snow came, there would be no more car travel. I made a deal with a garage man in Albion to store my car in his garage for the winter, and Mr. Goertzen brought up the last groceries. He brought three dozen loaves of “Sid’s Old Fashion Bread,” so we put it in the meat box. We still had some bread left in the spring when we came out and it was still good. One evening about dusk, the deer started bunching on a little flat out east of the cabin and be morning there were at least forty, so we knew we would be walking from then on. We had skis and snow shoes at the cabin. The snow came and it did not let up for three days and nights and there was about three feet of snow when it stopped. It was okay until the wind started blowing. Out shaft house was on the west slope of the mountain and the cook house on the east slope. The wind blew the hill bare, so it was easy to walk between the shaft house and the cook house. They were about a quarter of a mile apart.
The snow would pile up in the timber where our spring was and we got our water. When we got the shaft down twenty feet, we put a floor over it with a trap door in it for the hoist way so we could keep our dynamite from freezing and we could get it out of the cook house. We piled our ore outside and it would drift over with snow. We had to spend two nights in the shaft. It snowed all day and the wind came up, it was a severe blizzard and you could not see ten feet ahead of you and could hardly breathe so we were unable to get back to the cook house. We had put groceries in the shaft house and we had car- bide lights and a stove and plenty of wood. The shaft house let some snow blow in though we were unable to see any holes in the walls. Anyhow, there was quite a drift of snow in the house the next morning. We went down the shaft and closed the trap door. We had a floor over us and were warn so we slept all night. We could not hear the wind when we were in the shaft. We had a good night’s sleep and when daylight came, we walked to the cook house on bare ground.
The wind had quit and the sun was shining but it was very cold. The coldest temperature I had seen that winter was five degrees below zero. The second night we had to spend in the shaft was longer. We could not get out till late afternoon and the cook house was almost drifted over. We had to dig in and when we got in, there was a big drift in the house even though we were sure when we caulked it in the fall we had made it wind proof. When we had to come down off the mountain for something, we would have to come down on skis and when we went back up, if we were lucky, we might be able to walk most of the way on bare ridges where the snow had blown off. I can honestly tell you that the wind can howl on Mount Harrison and the snow can really pile up.
The old natives told us that it was a good winter, not nearly as bad as they had seen. I know it did not get as cold as I thought it might. I saw trees I know were thirty feet tall and they only looked like Christmas Trees when the snow quit and the wind stopped blowing. We drilled the blasting holes by hand, either by the “Single Jack Method,” which is one man using a four pound hammer in one hand while holding and turning the drill steel with the other hand, or by the “Double jack Method,” which is two men, one man using an eight pound hammer with both hands to strike the drill steel while the other man holds and turns the drill steel. A variation of the Double Jack Method is three men, two men using eight pound hammers to strike the steel while one man holds the drill steel and turns it between blows of the hammer.
While drilling one day, I got a piece of steel from the drill steel in my eye, so we had to come down from the mine to the doctor to have it removed. After the doctor had removed the steel from my eye and we were ready to return to the mine, storm came up and we had to wait a couple of days for it to quit so we could return. we got a late start from Albion on the second day but decided to return to the mine that evening anyway. It was about seven miles from Albion up the mountains to the mine but we made good time as the wind had blown the snow from the ridges and they were bare but still it was dark before we got to the top of the mountain. There was a meadow east of the cabin and the snow in this meadow was very deep so we had to put on our skis in order to get across it to the cabin. Although it was dark, we could make out the dark outline of the timber west of the cabin but could not see it.
Finally we arrived at a spot where we were sure the cabin had to be, but could not see it. By chance I caught a ski in a wire, and it turned out to be one of three wires we had used to secure the stove pipe extending up from the roof so we knew we were home at last. The cabin was completely covered with snow. We had to use a snow shoe to dig down to the door so we could get in the cabin. Upon entering the cabin, we found a large snow drift inside and spent the rest of the night cleaning out the cabin and getting it livable again. It has always seemed funny to me how snow driven by wind can penetrate a building that you think has been weather-proofed completely. By morning, we were able to walk to the shaft house as the top of the hill had been blown bare. The shaft house had only a small drift behind it. The rest of the winter we had several storms but were able to work all the time and we got out two truck loads of ore which assayed one hundred and forty dollars per ton. We thought we had really opened up a mine, but about forty feet down the vein was cut off by a “Fault” and we were unable to find even a trace of the vein, not even a fissure. It was as smooth as a floor where the hill had slipped.
With reluctance and disappointment we gave up on the mine, built a toboggan loaded it with our outfit and pulled and slid it down to the bottom of the hill to the road which had been plowed out and secured it. We got the car out of the garage in Albion and came home, got a truck and returned for the outfit we had left.
In the spring, we returned with the truck and loaded the ore we had piled up and hauled it to Murray, Utah to the smelter and so ended our mining on Mount Harrison. I came home to the farm in March and we put in a crop. My father told me it was his turn to go mining as he had become interested in a mine in the Big Hole Basin in Montana, out of Gibbonsville, Idaho. I hired Lois Brown, my late wife’s half sister, and her husband Kenny, to help me on the farm. My folks moved to the camp at the Big Hole Basin in Montana and took Vivian with them. Bryson stayed with me on the farm. We had a fair crop and the folks returned in time to get Vivian in school. When the crop was all harvested, I went to work for the government who had Nevada Massachusetts Company treating the ore. Headquarters were Mill City, Nevada. We worked mostly at Golconda, Nevada where I spent a good part of the winter with Ed Claiborne’s family I met two fellows, Ed Dickerson and Jim Clifford, both many years older than I, and as I knew nothing about “Tungsten ore,” they taught me all I know about it.
When spring came, I returned to work on the farm. I had told Jim Clifford about my experience with mining on Mount Harrison. He said, “I believe I know what happened to you. I am going to come and visit you and take a look at that property.” Jim was a wizard at finding ore as he had found two very rich mines at Goldfield and Tonapah, Nevada. In the summer he came and brought a young man with him, also brought a complete prospecting outfit. I showed him the property and he stayed up there a week before returning to the farm. He always called me “Charley.” He said, “Charley, I think you got it. That mountain slid a long way, no use trying there anymore.” I later got a study report on that area by the Idaho School of Mines and they confirmed out theory that the mountain had slipped. I have never returned to the mine at Mount Harrison and that was the last time I ever saw Jim Clifford.
Years later, I was down in that part of Nevada and wanted to see Ed Dickerson who had lived at Yearington, Nevada when I worked with him, so I drove to Yearington and inquired at a service station as to where I might find him. I was saddened to learn that he had died. He was a very good friend and always ready for what came. I farmed with father the year of nineteen forty-one and after harvest went back to Nevada to work for Anaconda Copper Company. I was always able to get a job with them no matter where they worked. This was at Copper Canyon south of Battle Mountain, Nevada. They were sinking a shaft on an old property that had been worked years before, and Anaconda had purchased it. We sank a shaft four hundred feet. It was a two compartment shaft with high speed hoist and very particular dimensions. We were only allowed one half inch of tolerance in the timbering. The guides were new for the very high speed of the cage travel. The Head Frame was from the old Pennsylvania Mine in Battle Mountain.
While I was working there, news came that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. There was quite a scare. I do not know how the rumor got started but the talk was that they were going to send a bunch of Civilian Shaft Men to Pearl Harbor to put a shaft down in the coral. I was on the look out for another job and one night some- one knocked a rock down the man-way in the shaft and it hit my hard hat and knocked a hole in it. Also gave me a knot on my head. The man-way was to be closed always, never opened while men were working in the shaft. I went to the office and drew my pay. The boss asked me why I was quitting and I told him I was riding a hunch, and I never worked for Anaconda again. I came home to the farm as it was nearly time to start spring work.
While I was away, Jack Goertzen, who was my partner on the Mount Harrison mining venture, had bought a saddle horse and a riding outfit. He hired a neighbor boy, Art Tattersal, to break the horse to ride, and was keeping the horse at the farm. Jack came out to ride the horse one day and although the horse was only green broke, we got the saddle on it and he was getting on when the horse started bucking before he got into the saddle and threw him off onto the ground, breaking his leg. We got some laths and put them around his leg and got him in the car. I took him to the hospital, then went to tell his wife and to assure her he was all right. Jack also asked me to help his wife in the store for a few days until he could walk with a cast on his leg The break would not knit and the doctor kept his leg in traction for most of the summer.
I had to farm, so I would go to the store after supper and cut meat for the next day’s business and help his wife close up. I would not get home until midnight and it made long days as I had to get up at five o’clock in the morning to irrigate. Jack was in the hospital almost all summer. I had met Betty Kratzberg, ad widow, when she worked for Jack Goertzen in the Hansen Store. She was working in the Eden Store while I was there, helping the Goertzens. That summer she and I were married on August 6, 1942. She had an eight year old son named Edwin George Kratzberg. Goertzen had come home from the hospital so I was free to work the farm. Betty worked at the store until they could find a girl to take her place. The folks had grown too old to work the farm alone so after we finished the harvest that fall, we fixed up the old house. It had not been lived in for a while. We put in a crop the next spring and settled down to farming. I was of draft age and the draft board said “Farm or Mine” so I could not mine in the winter and farm in the summer any more. We put in a crop the next spring and on August third, my daughter Vivian was married to Donald Cress here on the farm. They moved to California.
We just kept farming as the war was still going on. In 1949 son Bryson and married Lois Elvon Kenner in Ely, Nevada on October seventh. Betty and I continued to run the farm. Betty’s son George Kratzberg, graduated from Eden High School in May of 1951 and in July, enlisted in the Navy. Betty’s father Edwin S. King passed away in August at 79 years of age. George Kratzberg married Mary Parker in October of 1957. Mrs. Rena King, Betty’s mother passed away June 18, 1976, at age 96. In 1963, Clyde Vinyard died at Long Beach, California and his wife Mae Vinyard came to the farm and lived in her trailer house. She moved to a retirement home in Twin Falls, in 1970. She passed away in I980. Son Bryson enlisted in the Air Force in October 1951. The following spring he was stationed in England. My father, Charles Vinyard, became ill and passed away on July 5, 1952. In the fall, Lois was allowed to join Bryson in England and we helped her to get ready. She went by train from Shoshone, Idaho to New York, then by ship to Southampton, England. In May 1955, Maude Vinyard passed away after a long illness. Soon after my mother’s death, Bryson and Lois returned from England bringing their son Charles David Vinyard, who was born in a military hospital at Burderop Park, England. On April 19, 1957, daughter Patricia Elaine was born to Bryson and Lois. In 1975, Bryson and Lois divorced and Lois went to live in Washington State near Spokane. Bryson worked on the farm and in a warehouse in Hansen, Idaho and in 1980, married Marybell Howard. They moved to the farm in 1980 and have farmed here since then. There are many more strange events I could tell about, but I just heard of them and did not know of them first hand. I do not want to tell of an event that I cannot vouch for its I authenticity.