Handy Herbert Jack Of All Trades
(Page 7 of 11)
We were married June 10, 1925 in Minneapolis. We had enough
savings to build a new home and start housekeeping. We took all our
savings out of the Minneapolis Bank and sent it to a Greenbush
Bank. When we got back from our honeymoon, found the Farmers &
Merchants Bank closed. We had only ten dollars left. As we did not
want to live with our folks, we pitched our honeymoon tent and
lived in that until I got started threshing. My new bride helped
the farm women where I threshed. We were soon able to build a
12' x 24' two room home. From 1926 to 1930 I had the
Overland car agency at my shop in the old Creamery Building that 1
had bought in 1924. I quit custom threshing in 1929 as there were
too many small machines coming into the area. In 1930, I traded off
my Mogul and Racine Separator to Louis Grund at Pitt, Minnesota,
for lumber. He used the Mogul for several years to power a sawmill.
He sold it for scrap in 1940. I am sorry I did not buy it back --
sure would like to have it now.
Maynard Peterson and Harold Grill in 1929 at Herbert
Reese's. Both men are now deceased. The gas tractors are 30
Caterpillars. They were pulling stumps to clear gravel pit when
picture was taken.
From 1926 to 1930 my salesman and I sold about 500 Whippets,
Over-lands, Willys and Willys Knight Cars. I sold the Border Patrol
twelve new Whippets in one order. In 1930, the Overland Co. went
broke during the depression. 1 had to take back over thirty cars.
Nobody had any money and times were hard. I was glad 1 could get a
few township and county road jobs. I had an Austin Western
Elevating Grader and the Stockland 10 foot blade. It was made in
Minneapolis and had a Best 60, a 10 ton Holt A.C. Model L.gas 6
cylinder Cat and an Ateco Scraper. Work picked up by 1934 and in
19351 took my first State Highway job on Highway 59 between Halma
& Lake Bronson, Minnesota. I got $18,000 for the six miles of
new highway which included culverts, clearing and graveling. I
bought two Cat Wagons, a Diesel 75 and a Cat 48'
power-controlled elevating grader and a used D & H Dragline for
the job. Had good luck and made a little money. 1 kept buying more
machinery and got bigger jobs. By 1942 I had two D8 Cats and
Scrapers working on Wold Chamberlin Field, St. Paul. Also, had a
Dragline, trucks and other equipment putting in eleven miles of
train sorting track grade in Laurel, Montana, for the N. P.
Railroad. Had Highway 32 Oscan Schenky between Red Lake Falls and
Thief River Falls to finish in 1942.
In May of 1942, the U. S. Government wanted me to take a job on
the Alaska highway to work with the Army. In order to handle the
job, I took in a partner, G. A. Olson from Marshall, Minnesota. He
had 38% and I 62% in our joint venture. He brought men from
Marshall and other places. I recruited most of all my old crews
that wanted to go and hired many more. At the peak we had about 300
men in our camp. We shipped over 20 carloads of machinery and
supplied to Dawson Creek, B. C., Canada. We had to walk our
machinery over a hundred miles to the beginning of our job. We had
to ferry it across the Peace River. The crew lived in tents, the
same as the Army men. The work moved into the wilderness further
every week as the road was built. We helped build about 118 miles
of the road the first year and helped put in many culverts and
bridges. The Army had a new sawmill and asked us to get it started.
We began in October, 1942, and sawed lumber to build our winter
camp. The Government and everyone needed lumber. They kept us busy
sawing day and night until June of 1943. We sawed approximately ?
million board feet. We used a D-8 Cat with power take off to run
the sawmill. We had a light plant. It was a 30 KW Cat Diesel. It
was not stopped from October, 1942, until about a year later. Many
of the men in camp had radios and would holler if the plant was
shut down even for a minute. The kitchen had several electrical
appliances too. So, we decided to let it run all the time. We
filled in fuel and changed oil while running. It got down to 60
below zero some days. We changed crews every four hours cutting and
skidding logs in the daytime, as we had to get enough logs ahead to
keep the mill going at night.
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