to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
The lush mature beauty of Spring continues into the months of mid-summer. All attention is now focused on getting the hay put up. Like everything else the way this once back-breaking project was done some years ago has faded in memory from a 10-man project to just a man or two and their machines. Twenty horsepower has been multiplied to 10 times that and even more. Terms like bindershocks, slings, butt-chains, double and single trees, hawes and harness, collars, breast collars, 4-6-8 ft. mowers, stackers, stone sleds, chopped hay and for the most part even pitchforks have all slipped out of our daily language. Now our balers make 400 lb. to 2000 lbs. bales. Our tub grinders are powered by 200 to 400 Hp. Tractors. One man and his machine put up as many tons as a crew of 8 or 10 did years ago.
A man who left all this in the past wouldn’t understand what the hell is going on today! Another thing is most people have no idea how big the haying time really is in central Idaho. Even some of the farms that raise no cattle raise big money hay crops and because of their income averaging year after year, they prefer a haying harvest type of income rather than only one or the other.
I had lunch with another old –timer and also a great man to pursue the story of people and things now left for history. We talked about some of the people who truly left part of themselves in many people’s lives. We both agreed that Bernice Buettner was one of those remarkable people. Let’s have a go at polishing the old apple for her and others in the teaching profession. We have been talking about her for many years with many of her former students both from here and Grangeville. It is pretty well established by one and all that she was the best teacher they ever had. Her classroom was not only a place for the great learning process to excel but also the very root of common sense. She always left room to discuss history and problems of our daily lives. She lost her husband while he was undergoing surgery here in the local hospital and was made a widow and left with a young son to raise. She and her son Richard took over the running of the Fred Simon (her father) home and also the home of Harold (her brother). They built a new home just above the old Community Hall where Cottonwood’s first IOOF Hall was located near where the Post Office stands now. This new home was built just east of their old home which was then sold to Clem and Maggie Riener just after World War II. In addition to her teaching duties, Bernie also kept the family business books as well as the matters of the household. Both Harold and Bernice loved to play Bridge and were members of an ongoing playing group for many years. The Simon family was a very active business part of Cottonwood practically from early 1900 on. They were involved in the slaughter house, meat market, a traveling meat wagon as well as hardware, motor cars and a farm implement business.
Another name that came to the surface in our conversation which we both thought should be brought into one of these story telling efforts was that of Carl Kilwein. As we recall, Carl went into a partnership with Ben Seubert in the Royal Room about the end of WWII. I believe they took over from Claude Hinkley and possibly Kelly Kurdy. After several years there they sold out and Ben moved to Lewiston and Carl ran the Stockman’s Bar, serving drinks and also had a lunch counter. In addition to the bar operations Carl like to do a little custom farming on the side. So, every year come harvest time Carl would leave Main Street to run his Massey Harris combine. I and my counterpart cannot ever remember seeing Carl get upset. He was a great man to work behind the bar and loved to eat his own hamburgers! I remember also Carol drove an old but classy car that had what we called fins which gave it a somewhat of an airplane running backwards look. He also was a great party man and had many friends. Carl was a veteran of WWII and besides is a souvenir collector. He could relate many good war stories. Because of his gentle nature I believe he was like by all and will not be soon forgotten! As I remember Carl lived in a remodeled apartment across the street from the north LGG warehouse in west Cottonwood. I am advised that Carl later retired to Lewiston and then ended up in a nursing home in Boise. Thanks for your memories Carl!
Today it is not uncommon to hear all sorts of stress and adjustment problems encountered by men after serving in the Armed Forces. Back in the forties and early fifties a lot of our boys returned and were left to work out their own problems. Our record books show that when a lot of these problems were recognized and brought out in the open Congress did put out some great programs for WWII Vets that WWI Vets did not have. Some of the more prominent programs were in VA involvement in Health, Housing and Education. Almost every Vet has had the chance to benefit and we see the results of good programs all around us. I personally remember those long “war years” and the vast gap left by the absence of most of the eligible men then in the war effort. This was a long and terrible struggle that threatened our very roots. These men who left here to insure the future for all certainly have proven worthy of the programs that were started to help fill the gap made in their lives. Many of these Vets have gone on to their final rest. How could we go on without a fitting tribute to them all! Memories taken from these men and women who fought the good fight serve to once again fill our hearts when we recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” or sing the “Star Spangled Banner.” Thanks to all who share in the praise we no give to all our soldiers who “offered their all!”
As always the danger here as we recall all the veterans, is that some will be left out and we do want to include all. Just stop and think, almost every family listed in the phonebook had a Vet and some even five or six. Imagine what this area was like without these people. Look around you at all the development that has been reached by these liberty conscious people! We owe our respect and see them in everything we now have. I’m sorry for being long-winded with this but these people are at the very stem of our pride in this and all other areas that make up the good ole USA. This makes us all realize how valuable our country is – what could be more proof than the willingness of those who put their life on the line.
This, the 4th of July Week is a fitting time to recall all the special events in our lives where these vets have stepped forward to commemorate members of their ranks who are now laid to eternal rest. They not only put on their old uniforms for all the public displays but hold regular meetings in which American Pride and respect is preserved for our nation, its flag and all the men and women who have served these causes. Next time you get a chance, tell a Vet how much you appreciate what he does!
As I believe, the American Legion was founded here in this area sometime shortly after WWI and in our record search we came up with a charter in the later twenties bearing the names of 64 charter members. Although the VFW was formed separately the two groups merge into serving as one when it comes to funerals, parades and other time when they were asked for carrying the colors. The group has varied in numbers from about 75 down to 35 or so but their willingness to serve has not wavered. Some of these Vets like Bernard Seubert as you remember, took part in these various services for about 60 years! The local commander is now Fred Seubert who himself has served over 50 years. The local VFW Post is named after Richard Jacobs who was killed at Wake Island in WWII. Four local men who were taken prisoner in WWII were Cliff Lange, Ray Sager, Arlie VonTersch and Aly Seubert.
The 150-year books now have a total of just under 500 business and personal stories. We are still gathering quotes for a final price. Betty Clark, home from college, is now inserting photos and typing business stories into Publisher. We are excited to show “The Book” and hope to have some on display at the Fair.