Harold Charles Newman Oral History - Interview 1 of 2

Dublin Core


Harold Charles Newman Oral History - Interview 1 of 2


Harold Charles Newman Oral History - Interview 1 of 2


Churchill County Museum Association


Churchill County Museum Association


October 20, 1998


Part 1 of 2. Part two is here.


Analog Cassette Tape, .docx File, Mp3 Audio



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Marian Hennen LaVoy


Harold Charles Newman


4325 Schurz Highway, Fallon, NV


Churchill County Oral History Project

an interview with


conducted by


October 20, 1998

This interview was transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norine Arciniega; final by Patricia Soden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of the Oral History Project, Churchill County Museum

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Churchill County Museum or any of its employees.

Preface - Initial Interview

Harold Phillip and Dorthy Strobel Newman produced a most unusual son in Hal. Hal Newman has a prodigious memory and discussed his formative years as clearly as if he were reliving them today.

His father was a mining engineer and his mother a teacher. Their first child was born in Peru and ultimately died and was buried in Lima, Peru. This sad episode prompted the young couple to move to Canada where Hal was born. From there they moved to Luanskya, Rhodesia, where Hal was overseen by a houseboy while his parents golfed, played bridge and lived the life of Americans in a British enclave. The British soon arrived in force with British mining engineers and Mr. and Mrs. Newman returned to America, but prior to arriving home they chose to take Hal with them on a freighter around the coasts of Africa. A new opening had been found in King Tutankahem's tomb and engineer Newman wanted to explore it, so Hal, who was three by now, was left with a cab driver for three hours. Hal wanted to go into the tomb, too, so many tears ensued much to the chagrin of the Egyptian cab driver! Photos of Hal on a camel are wonderful. He's in tears again as he didn't want to ride the darned old camel!

Hal's life in Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and Detroit, Michigan, is extremely interesting reading as is life in Arizona where Hal's drug-store stool mate turned out to be the illustrious General George Patton who, upon Hal's recommendation, ate the same type of butterscotch sundae that Hal was eating. Winnemucca was one Nevada town that saw the Newman family, then the Mill City area and finally Berlin. Mrs. Newman's eastern family did not approve of the family's life in Berlin, but Dorthy was a great sport and enjoyed living wherever her husband ventured.

Hal started his junior year in Churchill County High School. He was only four feet tall--a family genetic trait, but actually grew one inch a month during his senior year in 1948! His locating places to board and room while attending high school in Fallon makes for amusing reading, but each summer he worked in Berlin helping Dr. Camp of UC Berkeley dig icthyosaur bones and uncover the specimen that is now on display to the public. He and his father were partners in a gold mine in the area so time was also spent digging tunnels, etc. Dignitaries from the paleontology world visited the icthyosaur dig regularly as did Margaret Wheat, Fallon's noted scholar.

This oral history ends at Harold's graduation from Churchill County High School in 1948.

Interview with Harold Newman

LaVOY:  This is Marian Hennen LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project interviewing Harold Charles Newman at my home 4325 Schurz Highway. The date is October 20, 1998. Good afternoon, Hal.

NEWMAN: Good afternoon, Marian.

LaVOY:  So nice to have you here and to be getting your life history. Would you tell me something about your grandparents? Their names, where they came from, how they happened to come to America.

NEWMAN: My grandparents on my father's side was Frank Neumann. My grandmother's name was Stella Jane, and they all came from heartland Germany on my father's side.

LaVOY:  Excuse me, Stella Jane what? Do you remember her maiden name?

NEWMAN: I believe it's Wilmes. I'll have to go back and restudy it. I have a whole family tree with that on. On my mother's side my grandmother's name was Emma . . . I don't remember the last name. That could be the Wilmes. Their married name was Strobel. Grandfather's name was Charles Strobel, and they came, also, from the heartland of Germany. Charles came over because this was the land of opportunity. This had to be before the turn of the century, and he spent his first two years working on freighters in the Great Lakes, plying back and forth in the Great Lakes region. I believe that he saw opportunity in what they call the Keweenaw Peninsula or upper Michigan relative to copper mining. The Keweenaw Peninsula is really a unique part of the copper industry because terribly big masses of native copper were found there. Some as large as whole houses. Just solid pieces of native copper that they couldn't even take out. They had to drive tunnels around. It was so rich they couldn't cut through it. They couldn't find any decent way to cut through it. So, anyway, then he worked in the mines for awhile, and then he became a businessman and had a business in Houghton, Michigan. Across the upper peninsula there's a waterway where the freighters would cross. Instead of going all the way around the peninsula they would cross the peninsula, and the two sister cities is Houghton and Hancock one on each side of the portage lake. He and my grandmother resided there for the rest of their life having three daughters, one of which was my mother. One daughter died in her younger years. Probably in her early twenties. She was married with three children, so the rest of the family all kind of helped take care of these children. One of those children was Jack Burnell, and Jack became an English professor at Ann Arbor University and later moved to California. He taught in Istanbul, Turkey, and married an Armenian princess and then finished his career teaching at the University of California in the Los Angeles area.

LaVOY:  How did your mother happen to migrate?

NEWMAN: My mother was born in Houghton, Michigan. All of these three girls were born in Houghton, Michigan, and were all raised there. That was the only children he had. On my mother's side they were all girls. That's pretty much it. Because he was a business man, he probably had more monetary means than anybody else in the family, so eventually my mother's sister whose name was Gladys Cochran married all-American football star from the state of Michigan. His name was Bill Cochran. He was all-American back in the teens somewhere, and so Bill went to my grandfather and got a small loan in those days and started a drayage company. He finally ended up with a fleet of line trucks and freight terminals all over Michigan and Wisconsin and became quite successful at that. All with the seed money from my grandfather. He met an early demise. He had a heart attack and died probably six months later at a modestly young age. In the interim he became friends with Soapy Williams, the governor of the state of Michigan, and were greatly involved in politics. They lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the time when the winter olympics was held in Ann Arbor. My aunt Gladys just recently died not too many years ago. Everybody else in the family is pretty well gone. Everybody's gone except me. I still have communication with Aunt Gladys' son who ended up as the trade council worldwide for the state of Michigan. He also was a major in the Army and sat two years on the Nuremberg trials in Germany, so he has a lot of interesting stories about World War II. They're not stories. They're actual life incidents. He's still alive today. He, also, was on the board of directors for the Mackinaw Straits Bridge which is one of the largest bridges in the world. This used to be a ferry boat ride for about an hour. Now this bridge takes its place, so all of the family were pretty much Michiganders.

NEWMAN: My father was born in Port Huron which is directly across from a small town called Sarnia. Interesting that Dr. [Kurt] Carlson and his wife are from Sarnia. He did his high school in Port Huron. It must have really been an interesting era because all the great bands seem to have had some roots because Guy Lombardo used to come and play for the high school and Wayne King and all of the big bands would come and play. In the wintertime the contraband booze prohibition runners would get the high school kids to help unload the sleighs. The lake would be frozen over, and they'd bring the whiskey across from Canada on sleighs and store it in the summer homes. Obviously in the winter nobody was in the summer homes, so they could pick up a little bit of extra capital by doing that once in awhile. Upon completing high school in Port Huron my father went to the Michigan College of Mines which was part of the University of Michigan which today is called Michigan Tech. It is located in Houghton, Michigan, and obviously that's where he met my mother.

LaVOY:  Was your mother attending the university there?

NEWMAN: No, after my mother finished school in Houghton, she went and completed school at Milwaukee Normal which now has a different name. It was a teachers' college.

LaVOY:  Was she teaching when she met your father?

NEWMAN: I don't know. My mother had a sleigh accident or something when she was a young woman, and she got her teaching certificate and taught maybe for a year or two and went deaf. So that was a real demise for her teaching career until the advent of hearing aids and things like that. Her first hearing aid she had a battery that was half the size of a car battery that was strapped on her waist. I watched her go through life with--she was a good lip reader. Eventually with good hearing aids she was able to resume teaching and taught while I was in college. At the Ione School she taught all eight grades for a number of years.

LaVOY:  How did your parents happen to meet?

NEWMAN: Don't know. They never told me.

LaVOY:  What prompted them to come to Nevada?

NEWMAN: Now you're going a little too fast. Her home was there in Houghton, and my father finished school in Houghton and somewhere in there they met, obviously. They were married probably in 1927, and my father took a job at Cerro de Pasco in Peru, South America. They left Houghton and went straight to South America. Cerro de Pasco was a really high camp. I think the living quarters were at eighteen thousand feet, and they rode in on llama back. They had to acclimate for two weeks just because of the lack of oxygen. They had to be very sedentary until they could build up. The rigors of life down there were very difficult. They weren't there too long, and my sister, Elizabeth Anne, was born in 1929. She lived almost two years, and she died of sirochi which is lack of oxygen and mountain sickness. It probably was some kind of viral infection or respiratory infection. They didn't have the treatment methods, and that was the end of my father's career at Cerro de Pasco because of the trauma of losing the first child. Interesting to note that the two camp doctors were the McCormack brothers who later opened the clinic up in Boulder City [Nevada] and who later after their death, they gave the house and their property and everything to an Episcopal women's retreat house. It's the tallest building in Boulder City today. The house stands on top of a hill. Interesting that the McCormack brothers had been in South America and then came up and did service in Boulder City.

NEWMAN: After the demise of losing a child, they came back to the United States and weren't here too very long. Again, I don't know what they did in the interim. They always stayed at the grandparents either in Detroit or up in Port Huron. He and my uncle had previously diamond drilled the Noranda mine up in Ontario, Canada. They were paying in scrip so my dad left. This was prior to the South American thing, and my uncle stayed with Noranda. Stayed through hard times for probably a decade. Noranda eventually ended up as a major worldwide mining company, and he ended up retiring as vice president of Noranda mines, so we were back at Noranda when I was born at Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, July 31, 1930. We were staying in a little town called Rouyn. I did have the privilege of going back there just a few years ago, and the same old house is still sitting on the hill. It's still the mine manager's house for that operation. It looks no different today than it did except the hills in retrospect are smaller because as child when I was there they looked larger. So there I am born in Canada with two American parents. I was only several months old, and my father took a contract in South Africa, so we journeyed to New York City.

LaVOY:  How old were you at this time?

NEWMAN: Oh, just a few months old. We went to northern Rhodesia, He worked for a company called the Roan Antelope Mine, and he loved it there. It was really a good place to work. This was in the days of the Depression. He was paid well, and he sent a lot of money back to the States to help his mom who wasn't doing so well during the Depression.

LaVOY:  What do you remember about your life as a little tiny child in Rhodesia?

NEWMAN: Well, strangely enough, a lot of people say that they don't remember much about their early life, but my memory bank kicked in probably when I was about two or three years old. Some instances really stick out in my mind. Army ants were on the march, and I walked out in the middle of this stream of ants. My mother came out. We had two houseboys. One to cook and one took care of me. Screaming and yelling. I remember they put me up on a table and stripped all my clothes off, and everybody was picking these giant ants off of me. I was covered with probably a thousand or two thousand ants.

LaVOY:  How fortunate you didn't have a reaction to it.

NEWMAN: They didn't bite me. They were just crawling all over me. I can remember our bedposts were all in buckets of water to keep the varmints from crawling up the bedposts so they didn't join you in your slumbers at night. There were other young people there.

LaVOY:  How long did you live there?

NEWMAN: My father stayed until he was- He was the last American engineer. The English wanted to Englishize this place, so he was the last American to leave. He would never have left, I don't believe. He really loved his job and his work. They played a lot of golf. They played eighteen holes in the morning and eighteen holes in the afternoon. They were serious golfers and they played daily.

LaVOY:  You yourself was having a houseboy that was taking care of you, what were some of the things that you did as a little boy?

NEWMAN: I'm showing Marian some pictures. Obviously there were some costumes. They had a lot of parties. They must have been birthday parties or something, but I can remember there were always parties for the kids.

LaVOY:  Did you see a lot of wild game?

NEWMAN: My folks came home one night, and I did not see this, but they drove into the garage and there was a leopard in the garage, so he called the houseboy and the houseboy come out and killed the leopard. My mother had a black coat trimmed with that leopard skin. The housing was excellent over there, and really good housing. They had a lot of unique things. There were a lot of unique stories. He had a mine boy that would meet him at the mine everyday with his hat and lamp so he'd have his equipment to go down in the hole.

LaVOY:  What kind of a mine was it?

NEWMAN: It was a copper mine. A very deep copper mine. Still runs today. My dad said that his mine boy was very faithful, and the guy said, "He's more than faithful. He reads your mind. They have an extra sense." He said, "I don't understand. What are you saying?" The mine boy had to come from where the encampment for the natives was, he had to run about a mile to get to the shaft. And he said, "Sometime, somewhere, just don't tell anybody, and you walk over to the mine collar and prepare to go underground, and your mine boy will be there with your hat and lamp. And don't do it at a regular time. Do it at an unusual time, and don't tell a single soul." And my father said, "I don't believe you," and he did it. Sure enough there was the mine boy with his hat and lamp. Just like they're wired together with a seventh sense or something, so he was always impressed. He thought the real demise was the missionaries that came over there and worked with the natives. He thought they corrupted the natives pretty bad. My father was pretty outspoken. At the end of his tour over there between 1934 and 1935, my father and mother and myself, they decided to circle the continent of Africa, so they took a freighter ship and circled the whole continent of Africa. This picture are cloves drying on the island of Zanzibar waiting export to the United States. I can remember that was one of the great chastisements of my early, early life because I walked out into the cloves and I got severely chastised for walking out there in the cloves that were drying.

LaVOY:  They were on the ground?

NEWMAN: Laying on the ground in the city square drying before they shipped them over.

LaVOY:  And what other places in Africa do you remember as a small boy?

NEWMAN: I can really remember that because I caught hell over that. When we went to Egypt they had just found another entrance into King Tut's tomb, and they were hawking the stuff on the street. They were bringing jewelry out of King Tut's tomb, and so my mother bought a scarab stone mounted in gold that had just come out of King Tut's tomb. That belongs today to my oldest daughter. That was the one thing in life she said she wanted. Probably belongs to the museum in England, but my daughter still has it. They'd just found this new entryway in a new tunnel, and my dad was really interested in going into this tunnel with my mother which they did, and they left me with a cab driver, and they wanted a picture of me on a camel, and I did not want to get on a camel. That was another hizzy fit. I guess I must have thrown a terrible fit, but I did not want to get on that camel. The taxi cab driver did not like me, I'm sure. It was probably the worst three hours of his life because he took care of me, and I guess I was not nice. I distinctly remember the camel and the cab driver, and the fact that I wanted to go in the tomb, and they wouldn't let me. I was amazed at the size of the stones on the Great Pyramid which is just outside of Cairo. Most people don't realize that Cairo lies right on the flank of the Great Pyramid. You always see the pictures of the pyramids like they're out in the desert, but Cairo's right next to that. We, also, in Cairo went through a perfume palace. It was a really ornate place, and the guy was trying to sell perfume to my folks, so he put a dash of perfume on my head so they could smell it. When I came out of there I smelled like some kind of a something else when that was all over. They did buy a bottle of perfume. It broke in a steamer trunk some years later, and that scent stayed probably for thirty or forty years. So, now we've finished the contract and we've circled the continent of Africa and we spent two weeks in England and toured the London Bridge, and it was time to return home to America. We came back to America in probably 1935. He went to work as an engineer for Ford Motor Company troubleshooting on the production line in cars and things like that. That really wasn't his forte because that was not what he was educated for. So, probably through letter writing, I don't know how, but, anyway, in 1936, he was offered manager's job at the Virgilia Mine in Feather River out of Quincy, California, which is over by Beldon.

LaVCY:  How long were you in Beldon?

NEWMAN: I started school in Beldon, so that must have been my first grade. We were there through the winter of 1936, and there was a tremendous flood in 1936.

LaVCY:  What kind of a mine was he working on there?

NEWMAN: This mine was called the Virgilia Mine, and it was a gold lode mine, underground, and the shaft was up on the hill just a little bit, but the mine workings were substantially below the Feather River. There was a lot of gold being worked in there because we were still in the Depression days, and there were still a lot of people in tents panning for gold because they could make five dollars a day panning for gold. That was better than they could do for real work. Things were pretty devastating. I can recall that they sent me down to the store for a loaf of bread. Bread was ten cents a loaf. I dropped this thin dime at the threshold of the store in the grass, and I looked and I looked and I looked, and I couldn't find it. Again, I caught holy hell for losing a dime in the middle of the Depression for a whole loaf of bread. I couldn't believe that it was that serious, but it was, and I went back and kept on looking and never did find the dime.

LaVOY:  Did the grocer give you the loaf of bread, or did you have to go home without it?

NEWMAN: I went home without it, I believe. I think I went home in tears. About that time I was plagued with allergies. It was an open field of weeds and flowers, typical California flowers. At the wrong time of the year I couldn't make it across the field without my eyes swelling shut. But, anyway, I went to school over there in Beldon, and we went through this astronomically bad winter. All the roads were washed out, all the bridges were washed out. Finally my father and five or six other guys got in the 1936 Ford and decided they were going to go to Reno and buy some groceries. They took their shovels and made their merry way to Reno. At this time Reno had like six feet of snow down town. They had it piled up in front of Harold's Club. It was piled up as high as they could throw it. You couldn't even see Harold's Club from the traffic lane. Then, of course, when the spring thaw came after that, then came just terrible floods. In Marysville and Yuba City the waters were rising to the second story in those buildings down there. So it was really exciting. They had a CCC camp there, and they'd just finished a new highway, and a lot of their big concrete bridges got washed out and destroyed. They just had the opening of the highway, and the next year they had to re-build it again.

LaVOY:  They re-built the bridge?

NEWMAN: Bridges. There were twenty-some odd bridges, and probably half of them were destroyed. Trains were trapped, landslides. It was really a survival time for a lot of folks.

LaVOY:  So then you father decided not to stay in that area?

NEWMAN: Then he had an offer from a company in New York City to open a silver mine up by Winnemucca out of Mill City, so that we did.

LaVOY:  You moved to Mill City?

NEWMAN: Yep, and the name of the mine was called the White Bear Mine. It was small mine. Had about a fifty-ton per day mill doing a bulk flotation concentrate, and we were shipping those out of Mill City.

LaVOY:  Did you go to school in Mill City?

NEWMAN: It was summertime. I did not go to school. I don't recall ever going to school there.

LaVOY:  So, literally, he worked there just during that particular summer.

NEWMAN: Yeah. I'm not really too sure when we went there. We must have gone there in the spring and maybe went to fall or something like that. I don't remember any winter.

LaVOY:  Did you have friends that you could play with in Mill City?

NEWMAN:  There was nobody there.

LaVOY:  Just you and your mother and your father?

NEWMAN: And the miners.

LaVOY:  That must have been rather hard for you as a young boy to put up with.

NEWMAN: It never seemed to bother me. I guess I was a self-starter or something [End of tape 1 side A]

LaVOY:  It was a break-even mine?

NEWMAN: It means you weren't making any money.

LaVOY:  So, what did your father do?

NEWMAN: I guess they agreed to stop. There was probably a combination of things. Maybe it was time for me to go back to school again or something. Maybe Father stayed there for awhile. My mother and I went back to Ontario, Canada, and I spent my third grade in Ontario, Canada.

LaVOY:  And then when did you re-join your father?

NEWMAN: Somewhere in there I went back to Detroit. I went to school for a little while and then moved to Ontario for the third grade. Then he took a job at Miama Copper in Miama, Arizona, and we moved to Globe, Arizona, so I went to the fourth grade and the fifth grade in Globe, Arizona.

LaVOY:  He was a mining engineer?

NEWMAN: Yes. Now, this is the time that World War II broke out, roughly 1940, and there was a critical need for strategic minerals. Probably close to 1941 we went back to Washington, D.C., and he became part of the Corps of Strategic Minerals purchasing program which is kind like what GSA is today, but this was just for war minerals. There was a handful of engineers that were called back there to work on this project. At the time we had no manganese mines and we need manganese to make steel. Birmingham, Alabama was about shut down, and all the manganese ships were all sunk by u-boats, so he was commissioned to find some manganese right away for the steel mills in Birmingham. He researched the geological library to see where manganese really was and what might be found. At the same time I did a six-weeks tour of Washington, D.C. I remember they captured a U-boat. It must have been German, and they had these prisoners, and they actually tried them in the Supreme Court.

LaVOY:  In Washington, D.C.?

NEWMAN: In Washington, D.C., and they had these big black limos. There was nobody on the street. There were some officers hurrying back and forth and things like that. There was absolutely nobody on the streets, and I remember this big convoy bringing the prisoners down for trial before they executed them.

LaVOY:  Did we actually execute them?

NEWMAN: I believe so. Don't know that for a fact because those weren't high things on my mind. I do know that they were tried there. That's when I crawled up on Lincoln's lap and did a few things that you would not be allowed to do today. Also went in the Senate and House and watched the happenings and toured all the museums and all of those things. It was really a delightful time for me because my mind was fertile enough to absorb some of the things that were in Washington, D.C. After a number of weeks my father was through with his library work, and he probably made some side trips. We moved to a little town called Elizabethton, Tennessee, which is outside of Johnson City which is on the eastern tip of Tennessee. Sure enough there was manganese nodules in the farm fields down there, and the farmers had been taking these rocks out. The manganese rocks were black rocks, and the rest of the rocks were white rocks, so it was really not hard to distinguish the manganese. He immediately tried to buy some of the fence rows, and that just didn't happen overnight. The farmer said, "Well, how am I going to fence my field?" So, finally, he said, "You sell the rocks off that fence row to the government, and we'll see that there's a fence up there. So, we had to go get fence contractors to put new fences up where he'd taken the rock hedge rows down. They were loading these rocks up by the truckload and take them straight to Birmingham. I can remember the smelter manager calling my dad and saying, "You've got to do something. We've only got enough manganese for two more days. You've got to send me another load of manganese, or I can't make steel." Finally that turned into a prosperous business for the farmers. Then he went out and showed the farmers how to get more manganese out of their fields. They took old cement trucks, and they'd load the dirt out of the field into the cement truck and put water in it and slurry it up, then screen all the rocks out. They had somebody to sort the black rocks from the white rocks, and they took all the rocks out of the field and just put the dirt back into the field so the farmer now had a good field, and he made a lot of money at it. One old farmer, I can remember, he got a check for like twenty-two thousand dollars. The farmer says, "What'll I do with this?" and my dad took him down to the banker and told the banker, "This guy's got his first shipment check and show him what to do," so he did that. My dad said about a week later, the banker came and said, "I'm buying your coffee today, and I want you to come with me." They went and had coffee, and said, "Now, you come to the bank with me. We're going to open. Now, you watch that guy." And here was the farmer, and he went over to the window, and he wrote out a withdrawal slip for twenty-two thousand dollars and counted it all out. Then he gave him a deposit slip and shoved it back and said, "Yup, it's still all there," and left. He said, "That guy's been coming every day and getting his money and counting it and then putting it back in it. If you send me any more of those I'm going to take you out and kill you."

LaVOY:  [laughing]

NEWMAN: About the same time they put the first nylon factory for making parachutes in World War II there. The average educational age was about fourth grade. When they had the draft only about three or four hundred were literate enough to be accepted in the draft. That was really back woodsy country. The women worked in the nylon factory. The first check they'd go out--they didn't know any better--they'd buy a nightgown, put it on, and wear it down the street.

LaVOY:  Oh, for heaven's sake!

NEWMAN:          It was just a purty dress. So, anyway, life in Tennessee. We wintered there one winter. That went well, and he got that all established with the weigh stations and extraction methods to get the manganese out of the ground, and it was going pretty well, so they decided to ship us to Parker, Arizona.

LaVOY:  Now, you went to school for that one year in Tennessee. How were the classes in the school?

NEWMAN: I don't remember much. You know, most of the schooling that I did, I remember quite well, except for the part in Tennessee must have been very mundane because in Canada in the third grade I was really impressed with the science books. In that region there were a bunch of escaped Germans that had escaped before World War II.

LaVOY:  Now, this is in Canada?

NEWMAN: In Canada, and their children were in school up there in the third grade. They were so far ahead of me I couldn't believe it. Everybody was bilingual. Everybody spoke French, and the scientific thing that these German engineers brought into that area, there were kids there that were again in the third grade, so that makes them about nine years old, that had steam engines and generator plants and electric trains and just awesome toys that had come from this German engineering background that they'd brought over. This was a pretty elite bunch of Germans that had come into Canada to escape Hitler and the wrath of what they saw was coming down. They did that in the late thirties.

LaVOY:  So then when you went down to Tennessee…

NEWMAN: It must have been mundane because I really don't remember. I remember walking back and forth to school, but I don't remember the quality of education in Tennessee.

LaVOY:  And then you moved to Arizona.

NEWMAN: Yep. Again, this was the second time now in Arizona. I do remember that Globe and Miama and that school was more than an adequate school, so we moved to Parker, Arizona probably 1942ish. He, again, set up government stockpiles and purchasing programs and weigh scales and assaying techniques and started buying. By this time he was buying anything that was strategic to war efforts if it was manganese, tungsten, quartz crystals, mercury, any of the commodities they needed for the war effort. Parker was really an exciting place to live because General [George] Patton was training his Afrika Corps out of Parker out there desert center. There were tanks and planes. P51 Mustangs were buzzing the schools. They would do that just to traumatize the poor old principal. It'd make him livid. I remember a P38 pilot came in and landed. It was after some thunder showers, and my dad brought him for dinner. He elected he wasn't going to leave that night. He'd already been to Italy and had a hole shot through his hand and was anxious to get back into the War and into the fray again. In the meantime the Army was laying pontoon bridges across the Colorado River. One time it took two days, forty-eight hours for the whole string of tanks to go through town spaced at about a hundred foot intervals.

LaVOY:  Oh, my goodness!

NEWMAN: I mean that's thousands of tanks. A few of the servicemen--very few--I bet five percent didn't get any leave or anything, time off. [tape cuts out] These few servicemen, like all servicemen, like to have a beer or two, and beer bottles were really at a premium. They'd drink the beer and put the beer bottles back in the case. Some mornings if I got up really early I could get four or five cases of empty beer bottles, and this would bring a modest amount of change to my pocket everyday before eight o'clock in the morning. Coke bottles, I think, were worth two cents, and beer bottles were worth a nickel apiece, so this was a big deal. All bottles at that time were all refilled, so they wanted the bottles back. Desperately wanted the bottles back. So, I'd do that, and then I'd take my money, and I'd go treat myself. One drugstore in town, right on the main street, and I'd go in there, and I'd have a butterscotch sundae with nuts and a cherry on top. This was a real soda fountain with real stuff. So, I'm in there one day having my sundae about ten o'clock, and this burly old guy jumps off his tank and comes in the door and asks me if he can sit down by me. He looked at that sundae, and he said, "Is that as good as it looks?" I said, "Yes, sir, it is." So, he told the girl, "Make one just like my friend." It was General [George] Patton.

LaVOY:  Oh, for heaven sakes! And he sat there and ate his next to you and visited with you?


LaVOY:  And what did you visit about?

NEWMAN: Oh, he just wished a good life and a fond farewell and ran out the door and jumped on the tank, and he was gone.

LaVOY:  And all the rest of the men were sitting out in their tanks?

NEWMAN: Well, the tanks were going down the road still. He just went out and got on another tank.

LaVOY:  Oh.

NEWMAN: My grandmother on my father's side knew him, also, when he was growing up.

LaVOY:  Was he from that part of the world?

NEWMAN: From over in Michigan. Somewhere back there. I don't know just what it was, but she'd always talk about what she knew about him which I didn't document or anything like that. Pretty soon they came in with many, many flat cars, and the tanks came in, and they drove them up on the flat cars on the trains. My dad, they had a little coffee clutch, you know, and so they're loading these trains, and Dad would say, "Well, I guess they're probably going to attack in Africa," and he circled a date on a calendar in a drug store, and said, "My guess is that that's when it'll be." What he'd done is he'd calculated the train time to New York City, the off loading time onto the vessels, the shipping time across the ocean, and that's what he'd kind of calculated. Well, he missed by a day, but if you'll go back and look in the history records you'll find that they went through one of the most ungodly storms out there in the Atlantic, and it set them a day behind.

LaVOY:  Well, he was certainly the mathematician, wasn't he?

NEWMAN: So, they all thought he was a soothsayer. Now, there's a General Patton memorial and a whole bunch of stuff down in southern California.

LaVOY:  Is there anything at all in the town in Arizona where you met him?

NEWMAN: Relevant to Patton? Nothing of significance. At the same time they had a camp called Posten which was a Japanese internment camp. We had one down in the flank of the Sierras down by Bishop [California] and Posten over in Arizona, and there was another big one over in Utah where they'd uplifted anybody that was of Japanese descent and moved them inland. The judges and lawyers took their property and all got rich off of it.

LaVOY:  Unfortunately that's very true.

NEWMAN: It is. That's the way it was. So, there were twenty thousand Japanese, and I'd walk on the outside of the wire, and I could not figure out why these little kids on the inside of the wire, why there was a wire between us. I did not understand.

LaVOY:  And they didn't understand either.

NEWMAN: They probably didn't understand either, no. That was probably the most significant thing that happened to Parker. Today Parker doesn't look a heck of a lot different than it did then. A little bit, but not a heck of a lot. They're a little more agriculturally oriented now. They grow a lot of melons and things like that. They still have an alumni association down there. Still send me letters.

LaVOY:  Oh, from the Parker High School. You were what a freshman probably then?

NEWMAN: When I left there. Yeah, I remember doing the eighth grade there. I was a freshman there. Then the War was over, and we purchased the tungsten stockpile and processed it and took it to Los Angeles and sold it.

LaVOY:  By we, speaking of your father?

NEWMAN: Yeah. Father and I. Everything we did was a partnership venture in that family. One of the things I did for side money was work for an apiarier, a bee raiser, and I made beehives, nailed them together. This guy was really significant bee raiser. He was out of southern Idaho, and he had his own little lumber mill. They sawed their own boards for their beehives. He had hives all the way down to the Mexican border, and, of course, honey was really an important thing.

LaVOY:  With sugar rationing.

NEWMAN: We were shipping probably twenty tons of honey out every four or five days.

LaVOY:  From…

NEWMAN: Parker.

LaVOY:  Shipping it to governments?

NEWMAN: To market. I don't know where the market was.

LaVOY:  Probably the government was buying it.

NEWMAN: We were processing beeswax in five-foot round circles about a foot and a half thick and pouring it into these big large disks.

LaVOY:  You did this after school?

NEWMAN: Yep. They were next-door neighbors to us. His wife used to dip her little pinky in beeswax and put it on the board. She'd make little things down there, and she'd make new queen bees. She'd put whatever they do. They put something in there, royal something or other, and hatch her own queens. He had hives all the way up and down. It was mesquite honey. Really lovely honey. They over robbed them once and it got a little cold, so they had to bring in a railroad car of sugar to feed the bees, so we had no sugar shortage during that period in time. [laughing] But, it was a different part of life, and he had an airplane so he used to take me out flying, and I thought that was a pretty neat thing.

LaVOY:  I imagine so. Then when your father sold the tungsten, then did you remain in Parker, or did you go some place else?

NEWMAN: Nope. We went some place else.

LaVOY:  Where did you go? [tape cuts out]

NEWMAN: Just wanted you to see, I really did go to church when I was [inaudible]

LaVOY: You just showed me your perfect attendance of the school you had to go to in Barker, Arizona.

NEWMAN:  No, that was Houghton, Michigan. That was before Parker. Don’t even worry about that. It was 1946, and my dad had decided that the War was over, and we were going have a depression. When we previously had been up to Winnemucca, he'd found this gold and silver property up in Nye County which is out there at Berlin, and he had a lease on that. During the War everything was stopped, and nobody mined gold and silver. We decided we were going to go up there and take the big plunge and go mine gold and silver.

LaVOY:  In Berlin, Nevada.

NEWMAN: So, we gathered up all our earthy possessions and moved to Berlin.

LaVOY:  There wasn't much out there, was there?

NEWMAN: Just what there is today. We moved to the little 'dobe house up in the canyon. It still stands today. It was the fall of 1946, so we had another family meeting what to do with this high school kid. So, it was elected that I go to Grandma's house in Detroit. They put me on a train, and I rode the train, my first time away from home, I rode the train to Chicago and the bus to Detroit. The first time away from home, nine months with Grandma.

LaVOY:  You were what, a sophomore at that time?

NEWMAN:          I'm a sophomore now, and I went to a central high school in Detroit, Michigan, which was about thirty-five hundred students. It was run like a college. They really didn't care if you were there or not, and if you didn't have a class, don't be there. Classes started like seven in the morning and ran till seven at night. Since I'd come from a small high school, I was out of sequence in mathematics, so I hadn't had algebra. I had general math. I had had to have an emergency crash course in algebra. I took algebra in night school over on the Black side of town. I mean I'm talking a hundred per cent Black. In that algebra class, I'd been there about five or six weeks, and finally the instructor said, "You know what, if you'd just help me tutor these guys." So, I tutored the rest and made a straight A in math, and tutored all these Blacks in algebra. Of course, when you tutor somebody, you learn twice as fast anyway. It really brought my algebra right up to speed. The rest of the school was fairly significant. The shop training was better than anything I've ever seen since. They wanted to train people to work in the automobile industry, and the metal working part was better then. There were some really unique things. We had mandatory swimming. Boys swam one hour, and girls swam the next hour all during the hours. No bathing suits were allowed, so the lady running the girls, she'd go over to the door, and she'd say the area is clear, and they'd go down and lock the door. The boys were allowed in, and the boys would swim for an hour. Then they'd go knock on the door and tell the girls they could come back and swim.

LaVOY:  How long did you stay with your grandmother?

NEWMAN: Nine months.

LaVOY:  And then what did you do?

NEWMAN: I'm not quite through with the nine months, yet.

LaVOY:  Okay.

NEWMAN: I had weekends to do things. The other part was the Spanish class. We had a woman that taught Spanish, and I took Spanish I from her. She wanted you to speak Spanish. That was her goal in life, and that was very, very good. I came to Churchill County High School the next year and took Spanish II. All she wanted to do was teach verb conjugations. No speech. Really different from one place to another. I went back to Detroit in Levis coming from Parker, Arizona, and they about laughed me out of school because everybody wore corduroys back there. I guess I was twenty years ahead of time back there. It was always a style thing. You go to Canada, you had to wear knickers. Detroit you wore corduroys, and Parker you wore Levis. I was never, never dressed properly for school at the beginning because my parents would always dress me in the way they thought I ought to be dressed. I got a newspaper route. I peddled the Detroit News. I had three city blocks long. Every customer on one side of the street and almost everybody on the other side. I delivered a hundred and twenty papers a day on that three-block route.

LaVOY:  You were an ambitious young fellow.

NEWMAN: I was the only school boy that didn't get robbed.

LaVOY:  Why?

NEWMAN: I don't know. All the other boys got robbed, but I never got robbed.

LaVOY:  Well, that speaks well for you.

NEWMAN: It was luck.

LaVOY: Either you knew the people real well, or they thought you'd come from Arizona and might have pistols on you or something.

NEWMAN: I remember once it was snow on the ground, and I had the newspapers on a bicycle, and I was crossing six lanes of traffic and two street car rails. I got on that steel rail with that bicycle, and I lost it. I spilled all the papers right in front of the street car. The conductor stopped and got out and helped me and put all the papers in the bag, got me up and got me across the street. Then he went back to his street car and went on.

LaVOY:  That wouldn't happen today.

NEWMAN: I don't know. There's still a lot of good people in the world. I had three Jewish rabbis that were really tough because collection day was Friday night, and if it was sundown I couldn't collect from them. They wouldn't touch money until Saturday night. So, I told them I was a Christian boy, so, boy, I was back there on Sunday morning. I went pounding on their door saying, "It's time to pay your dues.” [laughs] There were an awful lot of murders, awful lot of stabbings, a lot of shootings. There was no Sunday school one Sunday because the Sunday school teacher had a thousand ice pick holes in her body.

LaVOY:  Oh, my!

NEWMAN: Going to school one day there were two little twin sisters hanging from the rafters in the basement of one of the houses.

LaVOY:  Been murdered.

NEWMAN: Yep. Oh, yeah, it was a common thing. You were allowed to buy one pair of nylon hose. You'd go downtown and stand in line, and I'd buy a pair of nylon hose and then I'd mail it to my mom. The next weekend I'd do the same thing and give it to my grandma. Interspersed in that I would go to the museums. The Fisher building had a beautiful museum and General Motors had a lot of science museums, so there was really a lot of things to see. If I took the bus and got transfers and rode street cars and did a whole bunch of gymnastics, on the one fare I could end up about a mile from the house so I could do the whole thing, then walk that last mile back. I can remember I was on a bus and kind of right behind the driver hanging on to the loops. He called the street and some guy kind of shuffled by me and bumped me and went out the door. The bus driver turned to me and said, "I wonder what his hurry is." He was really, really running as hard as anybody could ever run. He'd razored the guy next to me, and he'd cut him open. Had his whole stomach open. The guy just fell out the door. I don't know if he lived or not. He just fell out the door with his intestines all hanging out.

LaVOY:  Well, wouldn't that scare you to death for living in that area?

NEWMAN: You know I never really thought about it. My grandma was always worried. She was out there one night. It was collection night. She was out in the alley waiting for me. I said, "Grandma, what the hell are you going to do if I do meet something bad?" She pulled the biggest butcher knife you ever saw out of the sleeve of her coat, and she says, "I'll take care of you. Nobody's going to hurt my grandson." It was notorious for a lot of shootings and a lot of trauma.

LaVOY:  Which part of Detroit was this?

NEWMAN: This was Fourteenth Street. It was north about two or three miles probably from the heart of town. Whites kept moving farther out. The Blacks would move and the whites would move, and they'd go farther and farther out all the time.

LaVOY:  And your grandmother had originally been in a white section and then had to move again.

NEWMAN: She actually was manager of the women's floor, the fourteenth floor, of J.L. Hudson's for many years. She tried to stay. She'd been raised there. She knew the town, and then my grandfather worked at Brigg's Body, and they were stamping car tops and doors and stuff like that.

LaVOY:  Then your family decided to bring you back to Nevada.

NEWMAN: They didn't decided. I knew at the end of the school year I was not going to stay there. I was coming home, so I came back and I helped my dad. By that time we had an underground contract at the Berlin mine and came back and started this underground contract. [End of tape 1] This is the fall, 1946, and now it's time to go to high school again. So, what to do with me.

LaVOY:  You're a junior.

NEWMAN: Yeah, I'm a junior in Churchill County High School. The first thing was they didn't think they wanted to let me go to Churchill County High School because I lived in Nye County and there wasn't revenue for me, so after a day or two of controversy over whether to allow me to go to school or not, they finally acquiesced that yes, indeed, I could go to Churchill County High School. Tonopah was sixty miles dirt road. It was not a place that we went to shop or anything. We always shopped in Fallon. Everything was done in Fallon. Ninety-two miles to Fallon. It was our trade center.

LaVOY:  Where did you live when you were in this area, Berlin?

NEWMAN: This was the second year now. We've moved out of the 'dobe road, and we moved into the house which still stands today which they call the Office which is the northernmost building in Berlin. We fixed that building up. We lived there about a year, and then we moved to one across the street. It is the same house today that the rangers live in. We fixed that house up.

LaVOY:  It just seems to me that it must have been very hard on your mother from having started out her marriage with having houseboys and everything else in Africa and then coming to Nevada and living out in the middle of the nowhere in a little house.

NEWMAN: Probably was.

LaVOY:  But, she never complained.


LaVOY:  You'd never hear her complain to her parents?

NEWMAN: No. The parents complained. Her parents, my grandparents, thought it was criminal. They were not happy about it. It didn't seem to bother her. She always had things to do. She wrote for the Lahontan Valley News for awhile, and she taught school out there for awhile. She was an excellent German cook, and she cooked everything religiously. Anyway,  So, now, we're back in Churchill County High School, and they finally said, "Yeah, you can go to Churchill County High School." The first thing was I had to have a place to lay my head. Down just a few doors from the old high school which is now the junior high, there was a woman that said I could use the bed on her front porch. She'd rent that to me.

LaVOY:  Who was that?

NEWMAN: Her name was Mamie Couch, and she was the mother of Ray Couch, and Ray Couch was the head of T.C.I.D. [Truckee-Carson Irrigation District]. The sub-station out on the Reno Highway is named after him. Called the Ray Couch Sub-station. My folks allowed as how they'd figure out how to get me to Berlin on the weekends, so Friday night I'd go back to Berlin, and I'd come in Monday morning to school.

LaVOY:  Did they come in and get you?

NEWMAN: In the beginning. Then there was a problem about food. Where the parking lot at the Nugget is on the corner, that used to be called the Esquire Club and the Fallon Coffee Shop. A Chinaman was running it and Louie cooking there. I can still remember the menu because liver and onions were seventy-five cents and pie ala mode was twenty-five cents, and I could sign the ticket. What I did was eat a bowl of cereal in the morning. I can't for the life of me remember what the hell I'd eat for lunch. Always had a good evening meal down at the Fallon Coffee Shop. There were a few single teachers. One was a male English teacher, and he'd come down and tell me all of his woes from teaching in class all day long. He was kind of bored down there. The board bill wasn't too bad. It was only thirty-three to five dollars a month. I'd eat at home on Friday night. So that went along fine till Christmas, and I went home for Christmas vacation and came back after Christmas vacation and Mamie threw me out for drinking. She'd turned the mattress and found a whiskey bottle under the bed. A few weeks went by and then she apologized, but by that time I'd packed my bags and moved.

LaVOY:  Was the whiskey bottle yours?

NEWMAN: No. Then she said, "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I was double dipping. I rented that to a painter while you were gone, and he must have left that whiskey bottle under the bed.

LaVOY:  [laughing] Oh, for heaven's sake!

NEWMAN: So, she double dipped on that bed.

LaVOY:  Was that porch screened, or were you just open to the world when you were getting up in the morning?

NEWMAN: Screened. I was allowed to use the bathroom.

LaVOY:  That's good.

NEWMAN: Yeah. Colder than hell out there, I'll tell you. Really cold.

LaVOY:  I imagine so. Was this on the street or in the back of the house?

NEWMAN: On the street side. It's still there today. You can still drive by and see the porch today.

LaVOY:  And here you had to keep your clothes and everything else.

NEWMAN: Yeah, but I traveled light. By that time I'd made a friend. His name was Stanley Williams, and his mother had a little white concrete house on . . . today it's Harrigan Road. It used to be the highway. She allowed as how if I gave her fifty dollars a month for room and board, she'd take me in. This worked out well because her son was my best friend and still is today. Saw him at the class reunion last month, and he's now retired and moved over to Smith Valley. Oh, before I moved in with Stanley I roomed at the, over by where the Alcohol and Drug Center is now was somebody's rooming house. I stayed there.

LaVOY:  That was interesting.

NEWMAN: Yeah, it was too interesting.

LaVOY:  What happened there?

NEWMAN: You don't want to know.

LaVOY:  I'd like to know something about your year in school there. Who was your favorite teacher in the school?

NEWMAN: I just didn't have any favorites. School antics I can remember. We used to eat pine nuts in school, and the school was all hardwood floors, and half pine nut shells do not sweep on hardwood floors, so there was always this great game about not getting caught eating pine nuts.

LaVOY:  Who was your school principal?

NEWMAN: I believe his name was Snuffy [Pat] Smith, a little short guy in the beginning. Alice [Maffi] Scholz, you know, goes to our parish, was our school secretary.

LaVOY:  Did you go to any of the school functions, and what kind of functions did they have?

NEWMAN: Yeah, I played basketball and broke my front tooth playing basketball. I was not very good at it. One thing I didn't tell you, Marian, that I was the smallest kid in Churchill County High School. I was only forty-eight inches tall my junior year.

LaVOY:  Oh, for heaven sakes!

NEWMAN: Even the girls would walk around and pat me on my head, so I wasn't really a likely candidate for the football team.

LaVOY:  And when did you get your growth?

NEWMAN: I started to grow in my senior year, and I grew about twelve inches that one year. Just an inch a month. My grandmother always told me not to worry that in our family we'd grow until we were twenty-five, and she was right because I kept right on growing till I was twenty-five.

LaVOY:  But, you were, in high school, just four feet tall.


LaVOY:  That must have given you a lot of problems with being teased.

NEWMAN: No, I wasn't teased. I just wasn't much. I can remember Smitten and Beeghly, they were playing basketball, and I thought they were giants.

LaVOY:  And they're really very short men.

NEWMAN: They're very petite, yeah.

LaVOY:  Did you go to the basketball games on the weekends, or did you always go home?

NEWMAN: I pretty much went home on the weekends.

LaVOY:  So, you had Monday through Friday that you went to school and had no particular favorite teachers or particular favorite friends other than the ones you lived with.

NEWMAN: I was friends with a lot of folks. Jimmy Wilson and his mother lived here. I met him the other day again after a long time. His mother was, if the weather was inclement or something, I was always welcome there for chicken dinner every Sunday. So, that was kind of neat. The Farmer's Garage was functioning. I don't know what they call it today. The shop down at the north end of town. There was two guys there, the owner and his son, Bill Boak. Bill's sister is still here today and runs the travel agency. Was. I don't know if she still is or not. I was really good friends. I spent a lot of time down in that auto shop, and I bought an old Model A Ford and totally rebuilt it from the ground up down there. That became my transportation, and I was no longer afoot. I put a hundred thousand miles on that Model A so fast you couldn't believe it.

LaVOY:  Did you get into Reno very often, or did you basically stay in the Fallon area?

NEWMAN: We always had need to go to Reno. We went on a modestly frequent basis. We stayed at the Carlton Hotel, and my dad would always take the owner of that place out. He'd always want to go out for a golf lesson, so my dad would take him out to the golf course.

LaVOY:  Where was the Carlton Hotel?

NEWMAN: The Carlton Hotel was next to the Wigwam Coffee Shop.

LaVOY:  Oh, on Sierra Street and Second.

NEWMAN: That's about the area where it was. I caddied for my dad for years on many golf courses around the country. He was a phenomenal golfer. He had the most unconventional swing. I still have his Scottish golf clubs at home today.

LaVOY:  There was one story that you told me about a Thanksgiving meal that you were supposed to bring the turkey home to Berlin. Do you recall that?

NEWMAN:          Every week I had this want list, you know. "When you come home, these are the things I want you to bring." It was Thanksgiving so I had all this stuff, and I did not wish to put the turkey in the car too early. I wanted to keep it cold, and the turkey was at Heck's Meat Market. I was driving another guy's car, an old Chevrolet, and it was snowing. It was about six inches of snow on the ground. Some pranksters had crossed the wires on this old Chevrolet, so I had major car trouble. It threw me in a total tizzy till I got that sorted out and got the car running again. I drove off, and I'm worried about the storm and the chains. A teenager driving ninety miles. People didn't travel the roads in those days.

LaVOY:  No, and that's way out in the boonies.

NEWMAN: Yeah, way out in the bushes, so, anyway, I'm up in lone Valley, and I'm just thanking my lucky stars that I made it over the summit, and I'm going across the valley, and it dawns on me I've left the damn turkey at Heck's Meat Market.

LaVOY:  [laughing]

NEWMAN: So, I arrived home in tears, and the old German, Tiefel, up there in the little house said not to worry. He'd just poached a deer, so we had a lovely hind quarter of deer for Thanksgiving, and we re-celebrated Thanksgiving the following week with the turkey. The guys at Heck's Meat Market, the old-timers, still remember chasing up and down the street looking for me 'cause they knew I'd forgot the damn turkey. [laughing] Now, those were home-grown turkeys here in the valley which was a big business, and they were much more expensive than turkey is today. It seems to me like they were almost a dollar a pound.

LaVOY:  You mentioned a name that I didn't quite catch. The man that had poached the deer?

NEWMAN: The man's a German. His name was R.L. Tiefel. He lived in a little house under the dump in Berlin proper. The last house to the east. A little tiny house, and it still bears his name.

LaVOY:  He was friends of your parents?

NEWMAN: Yeah. He was a most interesting old guy. He'd gone to a prestigious university in the east. He was probably in his second year of college and was probably going get married and something happened, and his bride-to-be was killed. He found his salvation in the bottle, so he became an alcoholic and dropped out of school. Came out here. He was a good carpenter, so he did a lot of carpentry work. If he needed a little money, he'd carpenter for awhile. Didn't cost anything to live in the little cabin out there, and he did a little mining. He was anti-social. He would not socialize much unless he'd been drinking.

LaVOY:  I surmise your folks had invited him to Thanksgiving dinner.

NEWMAN: Oh, sure. He came down frequently. He'd do home rolled cigarettes. He'd shake those wooden matches, and they wouldn't quite go out, and he'd just throw them in the wood box. My mother would stand there with the fire extinguisher [laughing] all the time waiting for the house to burn down. When he'd been drinking he'd come down and he would recite Edgar Allen Poe and poetry that you only get out of classical English books. When he sobered up that was the end of it.

LaVOY:  Couldn't remember anything.

NEWMAN: He come down on a real toot one night. He said, "You know, it's storming. We should go deer hunting tomorrow." Well, I'd never been deer hunting in my life. When he left, he said, "You come up and have breakfast, and we'll go deer hunting." I went up there. Of course, he was just sobering up. He remembered his promise. So, he did. He cooked a lovely buckwheat hotcake breakfast and eggs and bacon, and he drank about a pot of coffee and sobered himself up and away we went. We hiked to the top of Berlin Peak and we split up there. He told me I should have a gun, and I was really not gun smart at that time because my dad didn't hunt, so he gave me a .22 long rifle. Well, there I am with a .22 long rifle, and we'd split up, and here's a big three-point buck stands up right in front of me, so I wait for Tiefel to shoot, and he never shoots. Finally I shot, and the buck went down. You really shouldn't be shooting a deer with a .22 long rifle. So then I didn't know what to do. The buck was trying to get up, so I put the gun down and ran down and jumped on the buck's back and grabbed the horns. Tiefel finally shows up and he looks at me, and he says, "You should not a do that. You can get hurt." The buck is still trying to get up, and Tifel's trying to figure how to kill the buck so he doesn't hurt me. [laughing] So, that was my first deer, and the deer lost.

LaVOY:  [laughing] You were what, a junior or a senior at that point in time?

NEWMAN: A junior, probably.

LaVOY:  So, for two years you just traveled back and forth every weekend?


LaVOY:  You graduated in what year?

NEWMAN: It must have been 1948.

LaVOY:  Did you go on to college?

NEWMAN: I left out one interesting thing. To note the change in the weather because on Labor Day, the two years that I came into Fallon to go to high school, I put chains on to leave Berlin on Labor Day. We always got our first storm on Labor Day. By October we always had a foot or two of snow up there.

LaVOY:  I'm thinking of your poor mother living out there. I have great empathy for her.

NEWMAN: I enrolled in Mackay School of Mines that fall.

LaVOY:  When did you become so involved with the gentleman that you mentioned that your father used to play bridge with a lot? The gentleman that I believe had something to do with the ichthyosaur. Was that your senior year?

NEWMAN: Yeah, it was probably along in there.

LaVOY:  What was this man's name, and where did he move from?

NEWMAN: Dr. Charles Camp, and he never did move. He lived down out of Berkeley, California.

LaVOY:  Why did he come to that area?

NEWMAN: He was the paleontologist for years at the University of California.

LaVOY:  Why did he come to that area?

NEWMAN: To work on the ichthyosaur bones.

LaVOY:  How did he know they were there?

NEWMAN: A guy named Sy Muller who's the head of the U.S. Geological Survey at first identified and found ichthyosaur bones out there, and then Margaret Wheat who was a local Fallon person, married to Wendell Wheat whose daughter I took to the senior prom. [laughing] Margaret Wheat was really different. She wrote some books about Indian lore and stuff like that. Margaret Wheat came out there, and she got so excited because these bones were just laying all over the top of the ground, so she went over there and said, "Look, Dr. Camp, you can just take a broom and sweep them off, and there they are." Now, in dinosaur you have to chip all the rock away to find each and every bone. It's a long and laborious task. He came over and said, "Yes, indeed, this is a great find. The largest ichthyosaur find in the world. The largest specie in the world. Yes, the bones are really easy to exhume." So, he started doing that and bringing fifteen, twenty kids from over there in California that were studying paleontology or something like that. They'd come over and help during the summer periodically. In the meantime he would come and work there. As the money was available, we uncovered more bones. We mapped all the bones. He was a diabetic so he built that little rock fireplace that's in the camp up there now. Ey that railroad car thing. My folks played a lot of bridge. They played bridge way over in Africa. I guess that must have been a thing to do. So, Dr. Camp kind of taught me to play bridge so that if someone didn't show up they'd have enough people to play a round of bridge.

LaVOY:  This would be on the weekends that you would come home?

NEWMAN: Yeah, and during the summers. He was a very interesting old gentleman. Generally, he was a good scientist, a good paleontologist. I learned a lot from him. He attracted a lot of people. The editor of the San Francisco Examiner was a close friend of his, and he used to come out and spend a week at the park.

LaVOY:  Where did they stay? Did they bring their own tents?

NEWMAN: Yeah, they'd just come out and camp. If there weren't too many of them, Mom would invite everybody for dinner.

LaVOY:  And in the meantime your father was doing his mining in the- [Dianna Mine].

NEWMAN: We had a contract tunnel to do on the Berlin and that was bread and butter. We did a lot of the excavation on the ichthyosaur.

LaVOY:  Your father and your company did?

NEWMAN: Yeah, 'cause we were there. And then because we were there, they allowed as how we should watch the place for, fundamentally, for no remuneration in the beginning. Then later on they allowed as how that we ought to get five hundred a month for taking care of the bone yard. But that was only the summer months. The other months there wasn't any, so we supplied our own gasoline, our own transportation to give tours up there for five hundred a month.

LaVOY:  Well, actually, at that point in time, that was pretty good wages.

NEWMAN: Yeah. It was still pretty boney. Then the governor wanted to start a park commission, and my dad was on the first park commission. When we started looking after the park, then he resigned off the park commission. Fundamentally, he became the first State Park Ranger of Nevada.

LaVOY:  Did he give up his mining then, or did he do that on the side?

NEWMAN: He still did that on the side.

LaVOY:  Well, Hal, we have gone as far as you have the time to go today, so this will be the end of the interview for the first interview, and we will get together again for the second interview to continue on with your life at the University of Nevada after that.


Original Format

Audio Cassette


1:01:40, 24:22

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newman, harold Interview 1 part 1 of 2.mp3
Newman, Harold Interview 1 part 2 of 2.mp3
Harold Newman Oral History Transcrpt 1.docx


Churchill County Museum Association, “Harold Charles Newman Oral History - Interview 1 of 2,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed July 1, 2022, https://ccmuseum.omeka.net/items/show/634.