Allene Stuart Baumann Oral History
Oral History Item Type Metadata
CHURCHILL COUNTY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
an interview with
ALLENE STUART BAUMANN
December 20, 1990
This interview was conducted by Marianne Papa; transcribed by Pat Boden; edited by Norma Morgan; first draft and final typed by Glenda Price; indexed by Grace Viera; and supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of Oral History Project/Assistant Curator Churchill County Museum.
second interview with
ALLENE STUART BAUMANN
May 25, 1991
This interview was conducted by Marianne Papa; transcribed and first draft by Glenda Price; edited by Sylvia Arden; final by Pat Boden; indexed by Grace Viera; and supervised by Myrl Nygren Director of Oral Histoy Project/Assistant Curator Churchill County; and Sylvia Arden, Humanist-in-Residence.
Third interview with
MYRTLE ALLENE STUART BAUMANN
February 25, 1994
This interview was conducted by Sylvia Arden This interview is part of the socioeconomic studies for Churchill County's Yucca Mountain Planning and Oversight Program
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.
Content Warning: Vivid description of butchering animals as part of farm work.
Allene Baumann is a small, energetic woman who has been active in the community most of her life. She continues to participate in various organizations and reporting local news for the community newspaper. Over the years she has kept many of her articles in a scrapbook which she showed to me.
Her recollections of the socialist colony, Nevada City, were sketchy and based on the Stuart family's experiences. Allene recalled early life in the Harmon District, her work plucking turkeys, and her involvement in 4-H and various community clubs and organizations.
Our interviews took place in the dining area of her home. A quilting frame was set up in the living room. At the time, she was tying a child's quilt. Allene's home is still the social center for women who enjoy quilting. Women from the church or neighborhood often join together to work on a project. The number of ladies who quilt has been diminishing over the years. Many of the older ladies cannot do the close handwork due to failing eyesight and stiffening fingers. Younger people are not continuing this art form. Although Allene's eyes are failing, she wears glasses and uses her husband's old magnifying glass when needed so she can continue doing her quilting which she loves.
There were two interview sessions, the first was December 20, 1990 and the second was May 25, 1991.
Interview with Allene Stuart Baumann
PAPA: This is Marianne Papa with the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project. Today is December 20, 1990 and it is in the afternoon. I am interviewing Allene Baumann at her home at 113 East Richards Street. Allene, would you tell us your parents' names, where they're from and a little bit about them?
BAUMANN: Well, they were born in Georgia, Murray County, and they were married there and lived there until 1913 when we left for Nevada.
PAPA: What's their names?
BAUMANN: Isaac and Ellen Stuart.
PAPA: When you headed out for Nevada you didn't come out west to Nevada first, did you?
BAUMANN: No, we went to Chicago and stayed a couple of days or so visiting my aunt that lived in Chicago. She was training with Bernard McFadden's School of Nursing or Physical Culture School, I guess it was called. Then we went straight across into Winchester, Idaho, and we lived there for six months while my folks was in the saw mill business.
PAPA: Who was all in the family at that time?
BAUMANN: Well, the ones that left together in Georgia was my grandfather, grandmother, my mother and father and us four children. We left there together, by train.
PAPA: You went by train and you stopped in Chicago and then you went on. You said that your father was in the saw mill business?
BAUMANN: Yes, we children saw our first snow as we went through Montana, that was an excitement. They stopped the train so we could get off and go and see it and play in it. We'd never seen snow.
PAPA: What time of the year or what was the date?
BAUMANN: In the spring, I don't know just exactly what date, but it was in the spring.
PAPA: Then what made you decide to come further out west?
BAUMANN: We only stayed there about six months and my folks heard about free land in Oregon, in Harney County, Oregon, that was free if we just went and homesteaded. So being as the Stuarts were adventurous, which they always were, it was always greener on the other side of the fence, why we started out for Oregon.
PAPA: And you actually lived in Oregon?
BAUMANN: Oh, yes, five years.
PAPA: Five years? What was the name of the town?
BAUMANN: There wasn't any (laughing). At the time we went there, we came to Bend, I have no recollection of how we got to Bend, we musta come on the train. But we came to Bend and then we picked up covered wagons and we were thirteen days on the road into the homesteads in Harney County, Oregon, south of Burns.
PAPA: What was it like living there?
BAUMANN: Well, we enjoyed it. We children didn't know the handicaps that the parents had. I look back on it now and wonder how they had the nerve to stay there as long as we did stay. Because there was a few ranches in the valley, couple of schools, but everything was so far apart, we walked three miles to school every day and back. We lived in a tent. We never had a house in all the five years we lived there. We lived in a tent, did Lucy tell you about that? [Lucy Stuart Meledy, also interviewed]
PAPA: Uh hum. How big was the tent?
BAUMANN: I have no idea, as I look back on it now, it seemed awfully small. But it must have been about fourteen by fourteen or something like that. It was dug down in the ground and boarded up on the sides to keep us warm. And we had one tent for living and eating and the other tent was strictly for bedrooms and it was probably ten by twelve.
PAPA: Now, in that land was there snow or a lot of rain?
BAUMANN: No rain at all.
PAPA: No rain?
BAUMANN: That was the problem, it was dry farming. And there was snow just like it is here. In 1915 it was forty below zero there.
PAPA: And you were living there at that time?
BAUMANN: Yes. But we were so long on the road, my mother talks about they had to buy water and there was she and my dad and us four kids, my aunt and uncle and their two children that came into the valley all at the same time, in a covered wagon. The grandparents had already come.
PAPA: With tents like that, did they have floors or was the ground the floor?
BAUMANN: No, we lived on the dirt, we had no floor at all. There may have been a floor of sorts in the bedroom, I don't remember that, but the other had no floor, the dirt was packed hard, my mother swept it just like a floor.
PAPA: Were there neighbors that lived in the same type of housing?
BAUMANN: Not so much in tents, there was some that built houses and lived there, 'cause there was quite a number of people in the valley that all took up these homesteads. Of the Stuart family, my father took up a hundred and sixty, my grandfather had a section and two uncles had a section. We all lived, except for one uncle, where all the sections come together and they built a store there. They ran the store the whole four years we were there. Then my dad started the post office and named it Blitzen, so it did have a name.
PAPA: Has any of your family gone back up and found the town?
BAUMANN: Oh, yes, I went up two years ago. It was a privilege to get back up there for the first time since I left there and it's pretty well as I remember it, except the school house is gone and the buildings are all tumbling down. We couldn't find where the tent was, but the store framework is still there and so is the post office.
PAPA: Now, what made your family decide to leave Blitzen and come to Nevada?
BAUMANN: Mainly because they couldn't make a living. There wasn't any way to make a living. We had 'one crop in five years and then they heard about this socialistic colony and decided to come to Nevada.
PAPA: You said a crop, what type of crop was it?
BAUMANN: Grain. Mostly grain. They didn't have enough to start with cattle or anything they just had to wait on the grain. If they hadn't had the store we would have had to get out a long time ago.
PAPA: So then your family decided to come. Who came to Nevada and how?
BAUMANN: Well, grandfather and grandmother came in about 1916 I guess it was, in a covered wagon from the homestead down to here. But we didn't come until 1918.
PAPA: And did you come with your mother and father or with other relatives?
BAUMANN: No, Lucy and I came down with my uncle, because we came through Cedarville, California, and down by Pyramid Lake. The main road at Pyramid Lake at that time was on the west side and there was a railroad track over there.
PAPA: Did you come by car or by train?
BAUMANN: We came by car.
PAPA: Was that the first time you had ridden in cars or the first car your family owned?
BAUMANN: My family didn't own it, my uncle that had a homestead in Christmas Valley in Lake County came and got us and he brought us down. He had a car. We did not have a car, we just had horses.
PAPA: So you arrived early with your uncle?
PAPA: Where did you live then?
BAUMANN: I lived with my grandparents right here in Fallon, just north of the high school [?] it’s where Mrs… Who’s the lady that has the ice cream factory? Or makes cakes? Vi Catlin [?] In that place there, in that house. I lived with my grandmother and grandfather and two aunts and two uncles.
PAPA: Then your parents came later that summer?
BAUMANN: Yes. They came down later and we moved down on Stillwater Avenue and lived there for a month and then lived over by the old Methodist Church until October when we moved out to the ranch.
PAPA: Now, you said your family was attracted to the area because of the socialist colony?
BAUMANN: That's the reason they came, yeah.
PAPA: How did your family first hear about the socialist colony?
BAUMANN: Through letters first that went out, and people that traveled up there. Sam Taylor from Fallon was up in, I guess it was Lake County, and got my uncle interested in it and as far as I know that's how we got interested in it. 'Cause Sam Taylor used to live out west of town. He was Forrest Taylor's father.
PAPA: And when they were telling people about this socialist colony what were they saying about it? Do you remember?
BAUMANN: No, I was too young to pay any attention to what they said about the colony, I know it sounded wonderful that they would have a place to live and everybody work and divide up profits, but it didn't work that way of course. The colony was broke when we got here anyway, so we never got into it.
PAPA: Do you remember anything else about the colony?
BAUMANN: Well, of course, I've read the book on the colony and my husband worked for the colony before I knew him. He was the milker for that colony for many, many months. And the whole Baumann family was in it so I've heard about it all my life, ever since I came to Nevada.
PAPA: Would you care to tell us some of the stories that he told you?
BAUMANN: Some of them aren't repeatable. (laughing)
PAPA: (laughing) Okay.
BAUMANN: But, my future sister-in-law was the secretary there.
PAPA: What was her name?
BAUMANN: Sophia Riggles. She used to be the one that sent out these brilliant letters, or whatever you want to call 'em, telling people about the socialistic colony and to come to the colony, and when she saw what was happening, that they were cheating the people she sent out letters telling people not to come to Nevada. Then she lost her job, of course, and then the colony went broke.
PAPA: When you said they were- [tape cuts] When you said they were cheating the people, do you mean that they weren't giving them the money they had coming?
BAUMANN: That is correct. And the homesteads that the people had were taken in by the colony, they belonged to the colony, it was an association. I have a book, that's quite thick, of an abstract deed that the Baumanns had to go through court to get their property back after the colony closed. They were absconding with the money and starting another colony in Louisiana someplace, but they were not giving the money to people. My husband worked as a milker and I don't know if he ever did get any money out of it or not.
PAPA: So they were taking the people's land and other possessions and . . .
BAUMANN: And mortgaging it.
PAPA: Uh huh.
BAUMANN: And then using the money to start other colonies, is what-they were doing.
PAPA: But now your husband and his family, they were able to get their property back?
BAUMANN: By going to court, yes. 'Cause it was a long, drawn out process and I've heard my mother-in-law talk about how she wrote to President Wilson. She could not write English, but she had somebody write it in English, and they sent the FBI out here to investigate the colony.
PAPA: What was the name of your mother-in-law?
BAUMANN: Martha Marie [Mary] Baumann.
PAPA: And her husband's name?
BAUMANN: Adolph. Adolph Baumann.
PAPA: And what was your husband's name?
PAPA: Louis. So when they received their property back did they have to pay off the mortgage?
BAUMANN: Yes, they did. They had to pay eight thousand dollars mortgage back.
PAPA: And that was more than when they went into. .
BAUMANN: Oh, definitely.
PAPA: So, they had actually lost money.
BAUMANN: Because when my brother-in-law and my husband took over the original homestead, each one forty acres, we finished paying off the mortgage.
PAPA: Which homestead is that? What property are we talking about?
BAUMANN: Ah, half of it belongs to Nancy Avery now, and the other half belongs to my niece, Andrea -- I never can think of her last name [McNair].
PAPA: We can fill that in later on. When you first came out here you were maybe twelve years old and you went to the Harmon School, correct?
BAUMANN: After we moved out there, yes, I went to Oats Park School in Fallon.
PAPA: For how long?
BAUMANN: Until October, from the time school started until October.
PAPA: So that was just a few months?
BAUMANN: Just a few weeks, actually.
PAPA: What was it like going to the Harmon School?
BAUMANN: Well, it was pretty much like what we had in Oregon. We had a country school there only all we had up there was nine pupils. So I wasn't used to that many pupils.
PAPA: How many were in the classes, you said nine in Oregon?
PAPA: How many here?
BAUMANN: Well, they had two rooms here and they both had anyway from fifteen to eighteen pupils in them. I don't remember exactly.
PAPA: Do you remember who your teachers were?
BAUMANN: Yes, the first teacher we had in the upper room was the name of Pauline Jacques, she later married Mr. Lattin here in Fallon and lived here 'til she died.
PAPA: Do you remember any special stories of things that happened in the classroom?
BAUMANN: No, not particularly for the first few years, I graduated in the next year 'cause I was in the seventh grade when I came here. But, we had the two teachers, Pauline Jacques and Ellen Johnson.
PAPA: What subjects did you take as a student?
BAUMANN: Well, the thing I liked the most was reading and arithmetic. We had reading and arithmetic and English and spelling. We always had spelling bees. And we had writing--penmanship above all--we always had penmanship.
PAPA: What was a typical day in the classroom?
BAUMANN: Well, actually, I don't know if I remember a typical day. We got up in the morning and walked to the barn and milked the cows and came home and ate breakfast and went to school, and played and studied all day. We did study when we went to school. Course my brother and I loved to read, and all of us did, and I'm afraid we read behind the lids of our desks many times when we wasn't supposed to be reading. (laughing)
PAPA: (laughing) That's very different than nowadays.
BAUMANN: Yeah it is.
PAPA: What did you do at recess time?
BAUMANN: We just went outdoors and played, they didn't have very many playground equipment then, we played ball mostly. Run sheep run, things like that, and we got swings.
PAPA: Did you have very much snow that you had to trek through during the winters?
BAUMANN: Oh, there was always some snow, but I don't remember any huge amount of snow, but we lived so close to the school that it was no problem. If we'd have lived further away maybe it would have been different.
PAPA: And what time did your school day end?
BAUMANN: About four o'clock.
PAPA: Then you went home?
BAUMANN: And milked the cows and came home and had supper.
PAPA: As the oldest daughter, was it your responsibility to help your mom in the house?
BAUMANN: More or less, yes, because of course we children all had to work. But then I was the oldest to help with my mother because she wasn't very well.
PAPA: What types of responsibilities and chores did you have?
BAUMANN: Well, of course we milked the cows and then we had to separate. We had a milk house with a separator in the milk house with an engine to start the water and a little stove to heat it in the winter time. We did all that kind of work at the barn most of the time. Sometimes we brought the separator to the house. But we had chickens we had a lot of chickens, hundreds of chickens, and we had to take care of them. My folks always made a huge garden so we canned. I took 4-H work and sewing and canning.
PAPA: Was the 4-H work, at that time, a club in the Harmon District?
BAUMANN: Uh, just what do you mean by "club in the Harmon District", you mean just of Harmon District children?
BAUMANN: Yes. It was.
PAPA: So it was a community club?
BAUMANN: Yes it was under the jurisdiction of the Extension Office, but our leaders came out of Reno mostly. Mrs. Conant was one of our leaders and then we had one by the name of Miss Black, and they were very good leaders. They taught the women how to make a rice bread and potato bread and everything right after the war when things were so bad.
PAPA: When you say leaders, I think there's a difference between what we call a "leader" today and what you're referring to back then. Were those ladies employed through cooperative extension?
BAUMANN: As far as I know, yes.
PAPA: So, we would call them agents.
BAUMANN: Right. That's what they called them--county agents.
PAPA: Uh huh, because when we refer to a 4-H leader nowadays it's a volunteer who isn't paid who does the teaching.
BAUMANN: No, we had the ones that came out and taught us how to sew. That's where I learned to sew.
PAPA: How often did they come out?
BAUMANN: Well, if I remember correctly they came out in 4-H time during the summer about once a month, at least.
Because we did our canning, we learned how to can, we had never done that before and we learned how to dry. My folks had about sixty apple trees on the place and we dried apples until they run out our ears
PAPA: Did they work with individuals in the community, or was it with a homemakers' club?
BAUMANN: No, we had no homemakers' club. Mostly they worked with the homemakers just as a homemaker. They would go into your homes and show you how to do these things.
PAPA: So these ladies would come into your home and work with you and your mother?
PAPA: With Lucy…
BAUMANN: The 4-H work was done at the school house. We did that at school.
PAPA: Uh hum.
BAUMANN: I have a picture of Mrs. Conant and the work that we used to do.
PAPA: Did you enter your things into the fair?
BAUMANN: Later on, at the time, when we began to put things in the fair, this was not a county fair this was a state fair. We had the Nevada State Fair here. And each district had a booth in the State Fair and I used to work in the booth a lot.
PAPA: Do you remember what years those were?
BAUMANN: No, I don't. It was before I was married so it would have been the early twenties. Because I wasn't married yet.
PAPA: So then the people of the District got together and put in their booth, but it wasn't an organized club or anything, doing it at that time?
BAUMANN: Well, we had the Harmony Social Club but they were not the ones who did it. No, it was probably through the Farm Bureau more or less. My sister-in-law, Martha Baumann, was always the head of it. Because she was very good at it and the Harmon District always took first prize. (laughing) But that was a State Fair at that time.
PAPA: Was the State Fair, then, a big activity that people enjoyed?
BAUMANN: Yes, very much so. But there usually was a small admission. Used to be fifty cents, at times. And they had rodeo sometimes, in later years, but it was a big affair really until the State took it away from us and took it to Reno.
PAPA: Where was it located?
BAUMANN: In the same place the old fair grounds was located, just west of town.
PAPA: Was that the corner lot across from where the Depot is now or is it a different location?
BAUMANN: No, it was further. It was right on the edge of town where it makes the Y there, pretty close to in there.
PAPA: By Exxon, where that Exxon gas station is?
BAUMANN: Yeah, you know they tore it down, but that was the old fairgrounds, and they had the rodeo grounds and everything in there.
PAPA: Was it truly a state fair, so people from all over the state came or was it more locally supported?
BAUMANN: Well, in those days, of course, there wasn't too many cars so people couldn't come very far, but Reno and the surrounding towns did help and put in booths and everything. Of course, it wasn't as big as it is now. It was a pretty good little fair. And each District, there was about eight Districts in this County, and they all had a booth and there were wonderful things that they did. We always had 4-H work separately, of course.
PAPA: When you did your 4-H work did you receive ribbons and participate in contests?
BAUMANN: Originally, If I remember, when they had the State Fair here, we got money for 4-H work. It wasn't very much. I think I made fifteen dollars one year and I thought I was a millionaire. But they would give fifty cents for second prize, maybe a dollar for first prize. But they gave money at the beginning. I don't know when that quit but sometime along they started giving ribbons.
PAPA: Then when you graduated from Harmon School, then what did you do?
BAUMANN: Well the next year I went back to Harmon School and reviewed the eighth grade because we could not go to high school at that time. My brother went out to work, but I went back to Harmon.
PAPA: Why couldn't you go to high school?
BAUMANN: The high school did not have a very good reputation at that time and we had no transportation. There was no busses to carry you to school like there is nowadays. So we couldn't go to high school for two years. Then my brother and sister started to high school together. But I didn't go.
PAPA: You didn't go to high school then at all?
PAPA: What did you do?
BAUMANN: Stayed home and helped my mother.
PAPA: And is that the time that you met your husband?
BAUMANN: I met him at my sixteenth birthday party.
PAPA: Would you tell us what happened?
BAUMANN: Well, I don't remember, except that he came with his brother, Ernest, to the birthday party and I met him. We kinda started going together then he went to San Francisco and was gone for several months and we wrote back and forth. Then when he come back we went together for two years before we were married.
PAPA: What was he doing in San Francisco?
BAUMANN: He was working in a garage down there for some friends of his.
PAPA: Uh hum, then you two decided to get married and you had been living at home all that time?
BAUMANN: All that time. I worked out in the summer time, helped people cook for hay men and things like that but I was home, basically.
PAPA: And what was it like getting married in 1925?
BAUMANN: Very simple. (laughing)
PAPA: Families didn't have a lot of money?
BAUMANN: No, they didn't have any money and my folks had never been used to big weddings, they really didn't care too much about them. So I decided I wanted a wedding myself. So I bought a box of stationery and wrote all my invitations by hand and sent them in the mail. We had it at the school house and Martha Baumann was very clever in fixing things and they fixed a bower of roses and the Glaziers across the street--[755 North Harmon Road] Mrs. Glazier brought a white carpet that would go down the aisle so I could walk on a white carpet up to the altar. And we had a bower up there and the minister came from Sparks, and it was just a simple wedding. There was about a hundred people there. We served ice cream and cake.
PAPA: And what about your wedding dress?
BAUMANN: I still have it. It's just a little plain white dress, Mrs. Glasscock made it for me.
PAPA: Did you have bridesmaids?
BAUMANN: Yes, my sister and Ruth Glasscock was bridesmaids and then there was-
PAPA: Your sister Lucy?
BAUMANN: Uh hum. Yeah. The minister came out of Sparks.
PAPA: Did they have some of the same traditions we have nowadays about throwing rice?
BAUMANN: No. Didn't throw your bouquet or anything like that. You got married and then visited with your, friends and everybody went home. (laughing)
PAPA: Did you have a honeymoon?
BAUMANN: No, we didn't have a honeymoon. Too much work on the ranch in June, that's a busy time.
PAPA: Where did you go to live then?
BAUMANN: We lived for a while at Martha Baumann's house, we had an upstairs apartment and we lived there until the next March. Then we moved onto the Gross place where the Allegres live now. Lived there for three years.
PAPA: Were you just working the ranch?
BAUMANN: We had it rented, yes. We had cows and hay and stuff like that, turkeys and chickens.
PAPA: And what was your life like as a homemaker?
BAUMANN: Well, it wasn't too much different than it was before really, except you were your own boss.
PAPA: Did you have to work much outside of the house, or was your work mainly inside the house?
BAUMANN: No, I did both, we had chickens and we had turkeys and we had cows, and I always milked cows and things like that so I worked.
PAPA: Did you have a garden?
BAUMANN: Yes, we always had a garden.
PAPA: Did you raise the produce and the livestock just for your own family or did you sell them?
BAUMANN: No, we raised turkeys to sell, some, not an awful lot. We sold eggs and chickens And beef if we got a chance. But we didn't go into beef or anything, we mostly just had milk products.
PAPA: Would you say that selling the turkeys was a big business or just a sideline that you had some extras so you were selling them?
BAUMANN: No, turkey raising in those days was big business. There was a lot of people with turkeys and my husband and I did picking for people. Hundreds of turkeys at a time.
PAPA: How many turkeys would you have on your property?
BAUMANN: We never raised more than a hundred at any one time, because we just was a small farm.
PAPA: What was it like, raising them?
BAUMANN: It was interesting, I had never raised turkeys before, I'm not sure I'd ever seen one before 'til I came here.
PAPA: What kind of turkeys are they?
BAUMANN: The big bronze turkeys.
PAPA: The bronze turkeys? And how long do you usually feed them before you slaughter them?
BAUMANN: Well, you get them in the spring just like you do baby chickens and then you kill them at Thanksgiving time or Christmas if they weren't ready by Thanksgiving. But we used to pick so many of them for other people.
PAPA: How would you slaughter a turkey?
BAUMANN: Well, my husband was a very good turkey killer. I wouldn't kill one for love or money.
PAPA: And I haven’t had any experience!
BAUMANN: They have a long slender very sharp knife, and they take the turkeys and put a strap on their feet and hang them up and the run this knife blade up their mouth until they hit the brain. And when it hits the brain they quiver and the feathers come loose and if you don't pick 'em then you don't get 'em.
PAPA: So then you and your husband had to pick the turkeys?
BAUMANN: We picked turkeys for other people every Thanksgiving. That was our Christmas money was picking turkeys.
PAPA: How long would it take you to pick a turkey?
BAUMANN: Possibly ten minutes, depends on how fast the feathers do and how pin-feathery. On a warm fall they would be full of pin-feathers and then I had to do that while my husband did the big feathers. But it takes a lot longer. One year we picked for the Vaughns down at Stillwater and we picked more that day than we ever picked at any one time, it was almost a hundred turkeys in one day.
PAPA: And when you say "pick" is there a certain technique?
BAUMANN: Yes, you pull out the feathers and the tail feathers, those are the ones that loosen up when the brain is hit and then after that you pull the other feathers out and then pin 'em. If they have pin-feathers you have to take a spoon and pull the pin-feathers out.
PAPA: Did you wear any protective gloves or anything like that?
BAUMANN: No, you just did it bare. You couldn't work with gloves on those kind of things. But it was interesting, I enjoyed picking turkeys. It was lots of fun. The housewife always cooked us a huge dinner, maybe a breakfast if we went early enough. We surely did have great meals.
PAPA: How long was the picking season?
BAUMANN: Usually about two weeks before Thanksgiving. Because they had to be shipped all over the country and they had to get them into market before Thanksgiving.
PAPA: After they were picked what did they do with the turkey?
BAUMANN: They leave them hanging up over [End of tape 1 side A]
PAPA: Then what did you do with the turkeys after you picked them?
BAUMANN: They leave them hanging up overnight in the sheds out there and then take them into market in the morning. Kents' usually was the biggest market there was for turkeys.
PAPA: And the weather was usually cold?
PAPA: So, they didn't pack them in any special way?
BAUMANN: No. Just hung them up and lay 'em on the back of a truck on a canvas or something to keep 'em clean and that's all. I don't know how they do it nowadays, but that's the way we used to do it.
PAPA: And do you know what they did with the feathers?
BAUMANN: Just threw them away. I don't think the little feathers would even have made pillows and the big feathers wouldn't certainly do it. They are pretty coarse feathers.
PAPA: You lived at that place for three years, then what did you do?
BAUMANN: Well, then we went over and rented a place over at, where Van Dykes [340 North Harmon Road] are today and we stayed there for a year and then we went back down to take charge, help with the Baumanns because they were old and needed some help. We took forty acres and my brother-in-law, Ernest, took the other forty and we lived there until we moved to town.
PAPA: How did you make your living at that time on those forty acres?
BAUMANN: Well, my husband worked for T.C.I.D. [Truckee-Carson Irrigation District]. During the War he worked at the Base in Hawthorne. They all worked down there, they commuted back and forth. We raised chickens we had cows, we had ducks and we had geese, and we had rabbits and we had pigs and a few other things.
PAPA: So during the War, what did your husband do?
BAUMANN: He worked at the Base in Hawthorne.
PAPA: And what did you do?
BAUMANN: Just stayed home and took care of the kids. (laughing) Because they were all in school.
PAPA: Your children were born at home?
PAPA: Would you tell me what it was like to be pregnant during those times and to give birth?
BAUMANN: Well, I can't see that it was probably any different than today except everything was common. We never went to doctors too much until just before, really. It was under the doctor's care but most of us had our babies at home.
PAPA: Where was the doctor?
BAUMANN: In town, in Fallon.
PAPA: And so it was the doctor who delivered the baby?
BAUMANN: When you were ready for delivery, you called the doctor and he came out.
PAPA: Was it common to use a midwife?
BAUMANN: Yes, as a rule. I had Martha Baumann, my sister-in-law, for a midwife for all of mine. Because she was a midwife.
PAPA: Now, during those years were you active in the homemakers?
BAUMANN: Well, I didn't join the Harmony Social Club at that time, no. As far as that homemakers I was very active in the 4-H work and Farm Bureau work, we had lots of Farm Bureau work and things like that. I joined the Club around 1928. I don’t know exactly, but somewhere around 1928.
PAPA: You said you were active in 4-H at that time, in what way?
BAUMANN: Well, until I was married I took 4-H work and then after that I helped with other things. Later on I was a Leader in 4-H, but not right away until I had my first child.
PAPA: When you were a Leader, what kind of club did you have?
BAUMANN: Sewing. Norma Stark and I were Leaders for quite sometime.
PAPA: You've always enjoyed sewing, haven't you?
BAUMANN: Very much so.
PAPA: I recall once that you said that you wanted to be a tailor?
BAUMANN: Uh hum.
PAPA: We surprised your sister when we were playing that game. You had written you wanted to be a tailor and Lucy never knew that about you. (laughing)
BAUMANN: Well, it was no use talking about it, I couldn't do it and so there was no point. If they'd have let me go to high school and just taken tailoring I'd have gone but they didn't let me.
PAPA: Did you sew just for your family?
PAPA: You didn't sew commercially?
BAUMANN: No, oh, I'd help neighbors once in awhile make something, or something like that, but I never sewed commercially, no. Not that good at it, but I sewed for my own family and made their clothes over and new too. And I loved fancy work and I did a lot of that.
PAPA: In those days did you usually buy your material at the store or did you re-use and re-make dresses?
BAUMANN: We made a lot of re-makes, too. Yes. Sometimes we bought material but not very often in town. We ordered it from Sears or Wards or Chicago Mail Order or some of those places at ten cents a yard.
PAPA: Did you ever use flour sacks?
BAUMANN: Oh, many times.
PAPA: What did you do with them?
BAUMANN: We made underwear out of them and panties and slips.
PAPA: Were they soft?
BAUMANN: Very much so. Once in awhile had a letter left on 'em but then that's all right. (laughing)
PAPA: What did you usually do, bleach them out?
BAUMANN: Yes. We washed them and bleached them in boiling water, they didn't always come perfectly white but, we didn't have any other things to make underwear out of and that's what we used. And aprons. Then they got the colored ones and they were fancy.
PAPA: Were there different brands of flour so that you would have your choice of which flour sacks you had?
BAUMANN: Not earlier, no, because we had our own flour mill here in Fallon and we got sacks from them, so we didn't have much choice, but later on we did.
PAPA: Was that a common practice that people would do that or was it just the poorer families?
BAUMANN: No, I think everybody used flour sacks, I don't think anybody wasted them. Because when they got the colored ones they were beautiful. And the others they used for aprons and little things like that. There was always a use for them. We even sewed them together and made sheets and pillow cases out of 'em before we got anything else.
PAPA: What was your sewing machine like?
BAUMANN: Well, actually, we didn't have a sewing machine 'til about 1922. Most of our work was done by hand and then my folks bought a sewing machine in 1922. I still have it.
PAPA: Was that a treadle?
BAUMANN: Yes, it was then. It's not now.
PAPA: When you sewed did you use patterns or how did you design the garment?
BAUMANN: No, we had patterns. And the 4-H Leaders helped us with a lot of things. We needed something, they would show us how to do it. They were really wonderful to us. All of us.
PAPA: And would neighbors help each other out quite a bit?
BAUMANN: In the farming business, yes, they did. Or in case of necessity or sickness or anything they were always there. 'Cause my folks were the kind of people that did help and they got help.
PAPA: What about the Farm Bureau, what was that like in the early twenties?
BAUMANN: I don't remember too much about the Farm Bureau in the twenties. Later on we were in the Farm Bureau, quite active. Farm Bureau used to have a big organization. They met at the Harmon School. But it's been so many years ago that I don't remember too much about what went on. But we did have a big Farm Bureau. Everybody nearly always belonged to it, and we had a co-op here for a long time and it was quite an active thing.
PAPA: Were most of the people in the District members?
BAUMANN: A good many of them, yes. Oh, there's always a few doubters, but most of them belonged.
PAPA: What kind of projects would they take up?
BAUMANN: Well, I don't remember they'd take up any particular project other than just their farm work, you know, trying to get better crops.
PAPA: And the Extension Office worked quite closely with the Farm Bureau?
BAUMANN: Very much so, yes. Well, with all the farmers, the Extension Office was always very helpful. Always had good agents and everything. [tape cuts] They used to stay with my grandparents a lot.
PAPA: Now, in this time of your life, you have four children? Where are you living when you had the four children?
BAUMANN: Well, the first one was born on the Gross Ranch, like I say, where the Allegres live now. And the next three was born down on the Baumann place where we lived later. Well, actually, Lida was born over here to the midwife's home. But the other two were born over there.
PAPA: And when the children were growing up they pretty much worked along side of you?
BAUMANN: Oh, yes.
PAPA: They had chores?
BAUMANN: Yeah, they always had 4-H projects. All our kids were. into 4-H. Two girls went to Chicago [4-H Club Congress] at different times and the other one got married too quick so she didn't make it to Chicago. But they all had their 4-H projects from animals, pigs and things, up to sewing and canning and they always took canning and sewing in 4-H.
PAPA: And where did they go to school?
BAUMANN: Oh, to Harmon School. They all graduated from Harmon School at different times.
PAPA: Now could you contrast the difference from when you were growing up and the types of responsibilities that you had to when your children were growing up and the types of responsibilities they had?
BAUMANN: Well, actually, when my kids were smaller there wasn't too much difference. They still had to work at home, they went to high school but they had to come home on the bus, there was no after school activities 'cause there was no other way to get home.
PAPA: But they did take a bus to school?
BAUMANN: Yes. Two of 'em were bus drivers at various times. But they did take a bus. And they always had to come home on the bus, the only one that did not come home on the bus was my youngest daughter who worked for the Fallon Standard after school until late at night many times, folding papers.
PAPA: Now, you said they were bus drivers, how old were they when they were bus drivers?
BAUMANN: Well, they were in high school, but I don't remember the exact age. My son drove a bus and my daughter, Edith, drove a bus at various times.
PAPA: So then they would drive the bus, go to school during the day, and then drive the bus back at night? And how many children were on their busses?
BAUMANN: Well, the busses weren't as big, as huge as they are now, but they were usually quite full because we didn't have as many busses. But not like it is today. I think they got what--sixty passenger busses now?
PAPA: Yes. And in those days?
BAUMANN: Thirty or forty at the most. Thirty usually, I think, in the twenties.
PAPA: Would you say your kids had a lot more leisure time than you did?
BAUMANN: No, I don't think so. Because they always had chores, they always had 4-H and they took sewing and they always had to help us do other things. I don't think they had an awful lot more time--ask them I'm sure they'll say "No." (laughing) I think they had more chances to join other things than what we had because we were very limited on what we could join because there wasn't anything to join. And they did get to go to town to a show or something like that which when we grew up we never did. The first show I ever saw was when I came--in Cedarville, California when I came from Oregon down here. And then I don't think I saw another one until I started going with my husband.
PAPA: Do you remember what the first show was?
BAUMANN: No, I wished I did, I wished to goodness I could remember but I can't. That was the first show Lucy and I had ever seen. I'm sure we were quite excited.
PAPA: Was it a western or ...?
BAUMANN: No idea. Probably a comedy. (laughing). I haven't the faintest idea, just can't remember that. But I think our children grew up and had more opportunities to join things. I had two children in the orchestra in high school and they loved the orchestra work but they had to practice at noon. There was no after school practicing because they had to go on those busses.
PAPA: Do you remember the first car that your family owned?
BAUMANN: Well, my husband had a car when we got married, I think the first one that we owned as a couple was just a little old pickup that we had to have to haul things around. It didn't even have a top on it, nor doors in it. We had that until our baby came and then we had to get something a little warmer. (laughing)
PAPA: Were you still using horses in those days?
BAUMANN: Yes, we were using horses on the ranch.
PAPA: But not for your transportation.
BAUMANN: No, no. I never drove horses at all. They scare me to death. We used to ride 'em to town, my dad drove 'em but not me. I'd rather walk. And we never had riding horses or anything like that on the place. Couldn't afford 'em.
PAPA: Now, when you said that your girls were interested in 4-H and had won their trip to Chicago, which is Club Congress, was that in their sewing projects?
BAUMANN: No, my oldest daughter won on canning. And the second one went on record books, I believe. Because she was in nurses school in Boise at the time we didn't think she would get to go, but they let her off at the nurses place and she joined the other 4-Hers from Nevada in Utah in Salt Lake City. They let her join them. She came with the Idaho bunch down that far and then went on with them. So both Crystal and Edith went to Chicago.
PAPA: So when you were canning for your family, how many jars would you put up in a year?
BAUMANN: Well, that's hard to say. We lived where we couldn't have a garden because the ground wasn't good enough. So my husband and I and the children too, helped out my parents. They had a big garden and we would help them and we would can. We canned probably hundred fifty two hundred quarts of beans and the same of corn, and then we dried an awful lot of things too. We dried corn in those days, a lot of it. It was lots of fun, though, we'd all go over there and the men folks would help gather the vegetables and fix them ready and then we'd can 'em.
PAPA: How many people were in the kitchen working, it would be you and your mother-in-law?
BAUMANN: Just with my mother not my mother-in-law.
PAPA: Your mother?
BAUMANN: Yeah, my mother and my father and my husband whenever he could get off work. The kids would help shuck corn, and gather it too, when they weren't in school. So, it was a family project.
PAPA: And you used pressure canners in those days?
BAUMANN: No, no such thing as pressure canners. Nobody ever had any of those.
PAPA: Well how did you prepare your green beans and corn which are low acid vegetables?
BAUMANN: I know, we had no problems we never lost any at all. We, of course, always were very fussy. We got 'em in the cans within four hours after they were gathered. We never picked them today and canned them tomorrow, like they do today. But, we used what we called Conservos which are steam cookers and that was after the late twenties or early thirties before we ever had those. We canned in wash boilers out doors.
PAPA: Could you tell us a little bit more what that was like?
BAUMANN: Well, we had a thing outside--my dad had built a metal thing and put a tub down in it and we canned out there when the weather was permissible so it wouldn't break as we took 'em out. We boiled the jars out there and then otherwise we boiled them in a wash boiler in on the kitchen stove.
PAPA: And how long would you have to boil them?
BAUMANN: Four hours, for corn and beans. Then we got the steamers, the Conservos, but it was still four hours just the same. We done lots of canning and never had any problems.
PAPA: And you didn't have any trouble with botulism?
BAUMANN: No one ever had a can that spoiled, if it didn't look right, we threw it away. But it was very rarely, because we was very careful about canning stuff.
PAPA: Did you also preserve meats in those days?
BAUMANN: Yes, we always made our own hams and bacon at home.
BAUMANN: But you smoked the hams and bacon.
PAPA: Well, my dad used a good deal of that liquid smoke. But we did smoke some. Yeah, we always butchered our own pigs and our own cattle and chickens and everything like that.
PAPA: Did you ever can chickens?
BAUMANN: No, I don't remember that we ever canned chickens, because we always had 'em that we could kill fresh so there was no point. After I was married, I canned fish, later on, that came from Pyramid Lake. But not chickens because we always kept chickens and turkeys. geese and ducks and a few other things. We ate good.
PAPA: You joined the Harmon Social Club, you think, in 1928 or along that time?
BAUMANN: Yes, somewhere around there, I know my girl was about a year or two old when I joined.
PAPA: Had your mother been active in the Club before that?
BAUMANN: My mother had been in the Club since about 1922, I think, or somewhere around there. I see her name in the old record books.
PAPA: What was the function of the homemakers clubs in that time?
BAUMANN: Well, mostly to help the people and to help the school. The Harmony Social Club was organized, more or less, like a PTA [Parent Teachers Association]. They helped the school. Anything that we could do for the school or the people in the District, they did.
PAPA: Did most of the ladies of the District belong to the Club?
At that time, yes, they did.
PAPA: What would they do for fund raisers?
BAUMANN: Oh, they gave dances and they gave box socials and they gave plays and all. That was before I came here that they gave the play or at least before I joined. Anything that they could to raise money they did.
PAPA: But it still centered around the Harmon School?
BAUMANN: Yes, more or less. Of course, now there is no school there so it's mostly just a social club, actually. We don't raise money for any particular thing. We had the scholarships for a while that we raised money for, then we had to give up the scholarships when they took all the Districts away. So we don't even do that anymore. So it's just strictly social.
PAPA: But in the early years, didn't the Harmony Club buy the piano that was out there?
BAUMANN: Oh, yes, they bought an awful lot of things for the school. They bought books for the library, they bought the playground equipment. Some of that was done before I even came here. And they put down the new floor and deck in the big auditorium for a dance floor, that hardwood floor. They built the teacherage and added the stage and built the basement, that is, remodeled the basement into a kitchen.
PAPA: And what was the teacherage like?
BAUMANN: It was a three room--well, actually you call it a three room--the bedroom and the front room was practically the same thing, but it had a dining room and a kitchen. It was built on the school grounds in order to board the teachers. They used it for many, many years.
PAPA: So there would be two teachers living out there?
BAUMANN: No. Usually one 'cause the upper grade teacher quite often was married, not always, but there was two there for awhile. Later years after we children left home my mother and father boarded the other teacher.
PAPA: I don't recall seeing the teacherage out there now.
BAUMANN: It's there.
PAPA: Oh, it is?
BAUMANN: Uh hum.
PAPA: Still there?
BAUMANN: But it's pretty well wrecked. It's to the north of the school bell and a little bit to the east. As you drive toward the school you can see it back in the background but it's just kind of torn to pieces. It was a nice little stucco building back there between the school and the restrooms that was there. They used to have the outside restrooms.
PAPA: Oh, I didn't know that. (laughing)
BAUMANN: You didn't know we had outside restrooms?
BAUMANN: Well, we sure did. Those toilets that's in there weren't built too many years before the school closed. The Club put those in too. I was on the school board for many years before it closed.
PAPA: So then they had outhouses?
PAPA: In the back?
BAUMANN: Uh huh.
PAPA: Did the kids ever vandalize them like at Halloween time or anything?
BAUMANN: Oh, once in awhile, they put something up on top, but never anything really bad, you know. Because they were used many years and then when the WPA came why I think they built big ones, somewhere during that time we acquired larger, nicer outside bathrooms.
PAPA: What was the WPA?
BAUMANN: It was Workers… I don't know what the "P,' stands for, Association. [Works Progress Administration] It was started during the Depression to give men work. They didn't get very much money but at least they were employed. They built those toilets better than what we used to have. They built toilets all over this valley. Outhouses for the people. I imagine the one is still on the place where I used to live. I guess it was more sanitary than what we were used to having. But they were still outdoors. They did for the grown men what the CC [Civilian Conservation Corps] did for the boys. [inaudible] that they had.
PAPA: Can you think of any happenings in the valley that you recall? When we talked earlier, you said that you recalled the first time that the Dam overflowed the ditches?
BAUMANN: No, it overflowed the Dam.
PAPA: Oh, excuse me, it overflowed the Dam.
BAUMANN: Yeah, that was in about 1920, I know that the Dalbeys took me up there to see it because I had never seen the Dam before and it was going over the spillway up there. I know we walked up and down those steps out there and I wouldn't walk up and down them now for nobody. (laughing)
PAPA: Do you recall the attitude of the people toward the Dam? Now it was in when you moved up here-
PAPA: but were people happy that the Dam was built?
BAUMANN: I never heard any word, never heard any censure of the Dam being built at all. Not ever in my lifetime, because everybody was happy to have water to raise crops with. Because before it was just strictly dry farming unless they had a well that they could pump or something. But no, I never heard any objections to the Dam at all. It was quite an attraction. We took everybody to see it that came to Nevada.
PAPA: When you were raising your crops and your livestock, your turkeys and that, did you irrigate and use the water?
BAUMANN: For the fields, yes.
PAPA: Would you say that there was a spirit of cooperation among the farmers?
BAUMANN: Very much so.
PAPA: Looking back on history, they never dreamt that- I don’t wanna put words in your mouth. Did they have drought years and how did they handle that?
BAUMANN: We had drought years in the thirties. A very bad drought for several years, but the farmers learned to cope. Instead of irrigating every check in their fields they irrigated every other check. And we had good crops most of the time. Of course, we had a lot of dust, that was the biggest problems with the drought. And we got a moratorium on paying our water bills 'til after the drought was over, which helped the farmers, they couldn't have hung on if it hadn't been for that. But it was a bad time.
PAPA: So they had the rationing, they handled it a little bit differently than they are now.
BAUMANN: Definitely. Well, they rationed the water, too, you know, only so much. But by irrigating every other check, which is what we did, we had a fair crop. We never was without a crop.
PAPA: And what was your crop?
BAUMANN: Alfalfa mostly and grain. With forty acres you don't raise an awful lot. It wasn't too good a soil to begin with, it was the original Baumann homestead and I think they got the worst place in the valley, as far as alkali was concerned. (laughing) It was more alkali out there than anything else.
PAPA: Well, that seems to be a problem throughout the whole valley.
BAUMANN: Yes, well that section there, the Alex place was a lot of alkali too. Yeah, there is a lot of alkali in this valley. But, no, it was a good place to live. Harmon District was a good place to live. I've enjoyed it here.
PAPA: And when one family was in trouble was there a lot of support from neighboring families?
BAUMANN: Absolutely. Absolutely. We always went over there to help. Well, they didn't have any money to hire anybody a great deal during those Depression years at least, and they had to help each other there was no other way out.
PAPA: And they didn't have any insurance like we have now, so if somebody's hurt on the job, they had to depend on family and friends?
BAUMANN: They certainly did. And there was many accidents, you can look back and see where people were killed by farm accidents. That happens everywhere. Sometimes it was the children that got killed or hurt or something, seems like things do happen. But it was a good place to live. To me Harmon District has more cooperation, or did, more cooperation among their people, than any other District, maybe that's just because I lived there. I don't know. But, I do think they did. They had a very strong Harmony Social Club and PTA, we even had hot lunches out there in the basement there for a couple three years. We served our own hot lunches.
PAPA: And who was the cook, did you hire a cook?
BAUMANN: Yes, we hired a cook. We had a couple of 'em. One of 'em was a Mrs. Stewart that used to live over in the southern part of the District there but I don't know what became of her. But, we hired a cook to cook and we served good meals. They were up to standard, you know, we had to be up to standard. And the kids liked them.
PAPA: Did you serve dinners for the community there?
BAUMANN: Oh, definitely, I mean for special occasions. At those dances they used to serve refreshments in the basement. Chicken sandwiches mainly, that was their mainstay. Hot coffee and cake and everything down in the basement after the big dances and we had dances there--one year every month we had a dance. In fact, Harmon District had dances until the drinking problem forced them to quit it. They got into fights so we just called it off and never had another dance.
PAPA: What year was that?
BAUMANN: I don't remember. I was on the School Board but I don't remember what year it was. We didn’t- the School Board didn't have anything to do with the dances. The Club ran the dances, but when they got to fighting why they just called it a day, we didn't have more.
PAPA: When you would have your functions there and you were selling food, did you have to worry about health codes or having inspections?
BAUMANN: We never sold food. They paid so much for the dance and the food was free. No, we never run into any health code at all, at no time. They used to have the electioneering places out there. Democrats and Republicans would all go out to Harmon and hire-nowadays they want the ladies to furnish everything-they hired the Club to put on the meal. Not a meal, just refreshments. Sandwiches and cake and coffee, usually. And they hired them. I know they used to pay us forty dollars for serving the evening meal and they'd go out there and have their discussions of what their politics was. And nowadays politicians want us to furnish everything.
PAPA: End of-
[End of tape 1, end of first interview]
Second Interview with Allene Stuart Baumann
PAPA: This is Marianne Papa with the Churchill County Oral History Project. This is tape one of the second interview with Allene Baumann. It's May twenty-fifth, 1991, around noon at Allene's dining room table. Allene, would you tell us a little bit about the socialist colony? Do you remember what the name of it was?
BAUMANN: It was the Nevada Colony.
PAPA: And how did your family hear about it?
BAUMANN: Through a man by the name of Sam Taylor, probably that had literature with him although I don't remember for sure about the literature. He traveled in southern Oregon and told people about it.
PAPA: Do you remember any of the promises that they made to entice people to come out here?
BAUMANN: No, except that it was supposed to be a Utopia. Everybody worked and everybody shared with what they gained.
PAPA: Now your family didn't have any land. Is that correct?
BAUMANN: Not in Nevada, no.
PAPA: Did you pay to join the colony?
BAUMANN: Yes, they were paying ten dollars a month for several months before we came here.
PAPA: But you don't know what the total amount was?
BAUMANN: No, I don't, no idea.
PAPA: Now, when you got to Nevada, what was the state of the colony then?
BAUMANN: Well, as far as we knew, my grandparents had come ahead of us. He had gotten sick and the colony was broken in the meantime before he got well enough to join for the Stuart family.
PAPA: Do you remember what year that was?
PAPA: But your husband was involved and his family, with the colony.
BAUMANN: Very much so.
PAPA: And what were their names?
BAUMANN: Adolph and Martha Baumann.
PAPA: And how many children did they have?
PAPA: Now, did they own land?
PAPA: And how did they join the Colony?
BAUMANN: I imagine when they got up here, through their literature and through their talks, but they were here long before the Colony was.
PAPA: Did they own their land free before joining the Colony?
BAUMANN: It was homesteaded land.
PAPA: Did they have to turn their land over to the Colony?
PAPA: Do you know what eventually happened with the land? Did the Colony mortgage it or sell it or anything like that?
BAUMANN: I would think that they mortgaged it. I think that was how they did, was get the land and then mortgage it and skip out with the money because they did take the money when they left here. I know the Baumanns had to go to court for a long, long time before they could get their place cleared again, but they did get it.
PAPA: So, they got their land back.
PAPA: But, did they have a mortgage attached to it when they got it back?
PAPA: The second time?
BAUMANN: Yes. They did.
PAPA: Do you remember how much that was?
BAUMANN: Not the total amount. I know when I married into the family they still had a thousand dollars.
PAPA: Did the Colony ever receive any of the money from mortgaging that land?
BAUMANN: I would say the guys that were the head of it did. I can't answer that for sure.
PAPA: Okay, but the average family didn't?
BAUMANN: No, no. As my husband was the milker there and he never got any wages or anything at all.
PAPA: So certain families came in, they all joined, or gave their land to the Colony; other people or families coming in gave their money to the Colony. How did the Colony then decide who would get a house or who would get what?
BAUMANN: I'm really not very clear on that subject. There was a lot of houses built by the Colony people on what is now South Harmon Road and when the people would come here, they would 'live in these houses. I have pictures of some of those houses that were there.
PAPA: Did most of the people live in the houses or did some live in tents?
BAUMANN: No, as far I as know, they all lived in houses. There was no tents here when I came anyway.
PAPA: And, then, for example, your husband was the milker-
BAUMANN: One of the milkers.
PAPA: One of the milkers, so they would milk and then divide-every family would get milk from that?
BAUMANN: That was the general idea. I wasn't here, you know, and never thought to ask that kind of a question, but they were to divide up the milk and the money was to go into the general fund.
PAPA: How did they treat single people opposed to married people? Were they all given an equal share, or did a married person receive more because there were more people involved or …?
BAUMANN: I can't answer that question. My husband, he didn't join the Colony. He just helped there because his folks belonged. Children did what their parents told them to do in those days.
PAPA: Do you remember anything about how they handled the food?
BAUMANN: No, no. Nothing at all. It may be in the Colony book, but I can't remember whether it was or not. Have you read the book?
PAPA: I've glanced through it, but we're trying to see if you have any personal recollections or any stories that your husband told or their family told?
BAUMANN: He was very bitter about the Colony because he didn't like what they were doing to the people because when they were trying to get out of the Colony, I know they had quite a time getting out of the Colony after they once got in there.
PAPA: Now, the Colony leaders invested money in other colonies?
BAUMANN: Apparently so, because they went from here to somewhere in Louisiana to start another colony and this one, Llanno, or however they pronounced it, was in California before they came here.
PAPA: Did people know that they were taking some of the money earned here and investing it other places?
BAUMANN: Not at first, no. My sister-in-law, Sophie Baumann, was the secretary and she's the one that alerted people to what was happening.
PAPA: Would you say that most of the people who were involved had bitter feelings such as your husband did?
BAUMANN: I'm sure most of them did, yes, 'cause they lost everything they had.
PAPA: Did other people get some of their land back?
BAUMANN: I don't know about that. I know there was a ranch down in Stillwater which was called the Seiffert Place and it belonged to someone later, but I don't know whether they got it from the Colony or whether it was sold to them or what. I just don't know.
PAPA: But your family never got any of its money back or anything like that?
BAUMANN: No, oh no.
PAPA: So your family suffered a loss through investment?
BAUMANN: Not a big loss like a lot of people did, but they did suffer what they had paid into it--my father and uncles, all the family, really, grandparents.
PAPA: In our first interview, you talked about your life with your husband, living on the forty acres and him working for TCID. What time period was that? Do you remember?
BAUMANN: During the thirties, mostly. Course he was still working for TCID when he passed away.
PAPA: When you said you were living on forty acres, which land were you referring to?
BAUMANN: Well, after we were first married, we lived on what is now the Allegre place. I don't know if that was a forty or an eighty, but we lived there three years, then went back to the Baumanns on what was their homestead and we had forty of that and Louie's brother had the other forty.
PAPA: And did you work the land?
PAPA: In alfalfa?
BAUMANN: Yeah, mostly.
PAPA: And, then, at the same time, your husband worked for TCID?
PAPA: What was his job like working for TCID in those days?
BAUMANN: Well, when he first started working he was just a general worker for them. They cleaned the ditches and took the moss out of the ditches and repaired them and whatever had to be done. In later years he was an oiler on a dragline for the District.
PAPA: Can you see a difference in the jobs that they did when he first started working there as to people who work there now?
BAUMANN: Definitely so.
PAPA: What were some of the differences?
BAUMANN: Well, for instance, when they used to clean the moss out of the canals, they had horses on each side of the canal with big chains and they drug the chains up the ditch to pull out the moss and all those things were done by hand.
PAPA: Was there water in the ditch at that time or were the ditches dry?
BAUMANN: No, there was water, as the moss came in the summertime when the water was in the ditch.
PAPA: When he worked, did he work just certain months of the year, or was it a year-round job?
BAUMANN: Practically a year-round job, whenever they were needed.
PAPA: Are there any other differences that you could see?
BAUMANN: Well, there's a difference in cleaning out the ditches as they have now. Nowadays, they spray everything which goes down to the wetlands, but in those days they burned. Whenever they had weeds or anything in the ditches, they cleaned them out and burned them.
PAPA: When people would order their water was there a lot more irrigating and more water available then?
BAUMANN: I don't think so, 'cause there's more farms now, so there has to be more water.
PAPA: But they also had their dry periods?
BAUMANN: What do you mean?
PAPA: Drought periods, such as we're experiencing now?
BAUMANN: Yes, yes, in the thirties, very much so.
PAPA: After he started working there, then you said he advanced to a different type of job?
BAUMANN: Yes, in later years.
PAPA: What was that job like?
BAUMANN: Well, during the war he went to Hawthorne to work, and when he came back he had the oiling job.
PAPA: And what did that entail?
BAUMANN: Just oiling the dragline and doing whatever had to be done for the operator of the dragline to operate correctly.
PAPA: In those days do you remember how many people worked for TCID?
BAUMANN: No, not particularly. It varied according to the season and what had to be done. He just happened to be a steady worker most of the time.
PAPA: And you have any other recollections of TCID or how people felt about it or anything in those days?
BAUMANN: Well, TCID was our living and the man that was in charge of it was Mr. Wallace and he was a very wonderful manager of the District's water and they really got along fine.
PAPA: On a personal side, can you tell us what it was like to be a member of the community and a member of the churches in Fallon in the 1920s or thirties?
BAUMANN: Well, when we first came here in the 1918, my sister and I went to the Methodist Church, and when my folks came in later, in 1918, we moved to the ranch and we had no way to come to church, only just once in a great while.
PAPA: Did the church provide social activities as well as religious training?
BAUMANN: Oh, yes, when we went to the Methodist Church they used to have plays. I remember being in some of them, but . . . of course, I think they had a lot more today in the line of that situation than we did in those days.
PAPA: Would you say that most people attended church in those days?
BAUMANN: Probably the church of their choice. Course there wasn't that many that I knew that was in our church because I wasn't there that long.
PAPA: And, did the church people help their neighbors, would you say, more in those days or do you think that they do more service nowadays, one neighbor to another or one church member to another?
BAUMANN: No, I don't think they do as much nowadays. People don't know each other as well. You can go to church for weeks and not know a lot of people. And in those days everybody knew everybody and everybody had to help each other.
PAPA: And with the Methodist Church, where was that located?
BAUMANN: It was located on North Broadway and A Street in those days.
PAPA: And do you remember who the pastor was?
BAUMANN: Pastor Wachub [J. A. Wachub, 1915-1919] was there when I came.
PAPA: And about how many people were attending there?
BAUMANN: I can't answer that because mostly I went to Sunday School, not very much in church.
PAPA: And when we were talking earlier, you said that you belonged to some clubs and organizations such as Rebekahs and Woodcraft, Pythian Sisters, the Cloverleaf Club and the Harmon Social Club. On our last tape, we discussed the Harmon Social Club, but would you mind telling us about some of the other clubs, what their activities were, what a typical meeting would cover, when you belonged to them, that type of information?
BAUMANN: Well, the Cloverleaf Club was strictly a social club. They didn't do an awful lot of philanthropic work like the Harmony Social Club did. The Harmony Social Club did a lot of work for the community. The Cloverleaf Club would help anybody. They made quilts for people that needed them and things like that, but it was just such a very small organization of the people in Wildes District, 'cause it was strictly a Wildes District thing. I didn't join in the beginning. I didn't join until quite a number of years later.
PAPA: And what years would that be, do you have some recollection?
BAUMANN: No, not the Cloverleaf Club, I don't.
PAPA: What about your activities in the Pythian Sisters?
BAUMANN: Well, I joined the Pythian Sisters when I moved into town because I belonged to Woodcraft when I lived on the range and we used to come in with Carmen Downs and she and I would come into Woodcraft. But I didn't join the Pythian Sisters 'til after I came to town.
PAPA: What kind of functions did the Pythian Sisters conduct?
BAUMANN: Well, it is a fraternal organization. It's the women of the Knights of Pythians and they would do things for the community and raise money and give card parties and dances and things to raise money for their projects that they had. It's just like most any other fraternal organization.
PAPA: Do you remember what years you belonged to that?
BAUMANN: No, I must have joined around the late 1950s or early sixties.
PAPA: And you had mentioned the Woodcraft Club?
BAUMANN: Well, the Woodcraft is an insurance organization. It is not a fraternal organization. You do not have to take out insurance in order to join. You can be just a social member which is much less dues. But it is an insurance organization and that's why we joined in order to have an insurance.
PAPA: And which type of insurance do they provide?
BAUMANN: Death benefits. That's the only kind of insurance they had. We would take out so much policy and that would depend on your payments, what the amount of your policy was. Most of us, in those days, were interested in finding something that would pay a burial fund in case we ever had to have it.
PAPA: Did people have other types of insurance during those days, medical insurance or workman's compensation or things such as that?
BAUMANN: Well, I think if you work for some company that carries medical insurance, but as far as farmers or anything like that there was no insurance for them.
PAPA: So the majority of people who took out Woodcraft would have been farmers and self-employed people?
BAUMANN: No, most of the people that took out Woodcraft were women, and women was after some kind of a burial policy in case they had to do it. Men could join, but there wasn't that many men that belonged here in this valley.
PAPA: How were the-men covered by insurance then?
BAUMANN: The same way with a burial fund. They could take out any amount they wanted to. Most of us just took out maybe five hundred or a thousand. In those days, that was enough to bury you. Today, it don't start.
PAPA: Then, you would have been the only member of your family covered, your husband had his own insurance policy?
PAPA: Through work?
BAUMANN: No, he was covered through another separate insurance company, West Coast Life, which is still an organization, I believe.
PAPA: Did you insure children during that time too?
BAUMANN: You can insure children, yes. You could take out a college fund through the insurance place for the children and they would collect the money when they were of college age, when they were through high school, about eighteen.
PAPA: Did many people do that?
BAUMANN: Yes, quite a few.
PAPA: And what about the Rebekahs? When did you join the Rebekahs?
BAUMANN: Well, I joined them somewhere in the 1960s, I would think, at the request of one of our members of the Harmony Social Club, but it is a fraternal order, just the same as the Pythian Sisters. Their aims are about the same and they would help the community or the people or whatever. Again they gave dances, card parties, and food sales and everything to raise money for their organization.
PAPA: Now, did you join these organizations one at a time, or did you have overlapping membership?
BAUMANN: Well, The Woodcraft was the first organization I belonged to and then I joined the Pythian Sisters and then later I joined the Rebekahs.
PAPA: And what made you join one over the other?
BAUMANN: Probably because my friends asked me to. (laughing)
PAPA: Right. (laughing)
BAUMANN: I had no particular reason. My father was an Oddfellow when he left Georgia. He dropped his membership when he came West because, I don't know if there was, I suppose there was an organization here, but he never did join 'cause he couldn't come in.
PAPA: Well, I know that you've lived in different locations. Would that ever affect which organizations you joined?
BAUMANN: As far as Woodcraft is concerned, yes. The Woodcraft was only in the eight western states. It wasn't anywhere else, but the other lodges are international.
PAPA: So, if you moved from one location to the other, you wouldn't join, like Harmony, only when you lived in the Harmon District?
BAUMANN: In the original, yes. But, later on, after Harmon District was incorporated with Con B [school district], then we took in other members other than what lived in Harmon District.
PAPA: Now I know that you write for the newspaper. How did you get started doing that?
BAUMANN: Well, before I was married in 1925, a lady by the name of Jessie Freeman had been writing for the newspaper-the Fallon Eagle here--for quite some time. She got ill and wanted somebody to take it over and she called me in May of 1925 and asked me if I would take it over and I said I would. I've been at it ever since.
PAPA: Who determines what type of articles you write? Do they give you an assignment or was that your choice?
BAUMANN: That is our choice. Just whatever would happen in the District connected with District people or of general interest was what we wrote. They give us no rules whatsoever.
PAPA: And you started in, you said, 1925?
PAPA: Have you wrote continually since then?
BAUMANN: Continually with the exception of several months in the forties. I don't even remember what year. They had a new editor of the Eagle. He bought the paper and he did not want the local news. But other than that, I have written continually.
PAPA: But then he changed his policy after that?
BAUMANN: No, he sold out. Somebody else took it over. I think it was about a period of a year or two, maybe. I don't just remember.
PAPA: Can you think of any changes in the newspaper business that has occurred over the last sixty-five years?
BAUMANN: Well, yes, because people are not as interested in the local news of the districts as they were then. In those days all eight districts in Churchill County had a reporter for the newspapers--some for the Standard, some for the Eagle. And it was reported religiously every week. But nowadays the paper is a daily paper and the news doesn't mean that much.
PAPA: Now, were you paid to write for the paper?
BAUMANN: No, we never received any money for writing for the paper, at any time.
PAPA: What was their policy? You would have a regular column and they would always print it faithfully?
BAUMANN: Yes, they always printed the news of the districts, not just mine, but everybody else's.
PAPA: When you submitted your articles, did you usually handwrite them, or did you have typewriters available, or how did you do this?
BAUMANN: No, they're all handwritten, ever since I started.
PAPA: And you're still in the newspaper?
PAPA: And you still turn in the handwritten columns and they still print them up for you?
PAPA: Do you find that it's harder getting news from people nowadays?
BAUMANN: Definitely. Very much so. They like to read the paper but they do not like to give you news.
PAPA: So how did you go about recruiting your news information?
BAUMANN: Well, when I lived in the District it was no problem because we had our club meetings and everything and you would get it there. Now it's pretty hard sometimes 'cause you don't have that personal contact that we had when Harmon District was Harmon District.
PAPA: And another thing that I know you're well known for is your quilting. How did you get started in quilting?
BAUMANN: That's a long story. (laughing) In 1931, before my second child was born, an aunt came out from Texas here to take care of her parents who were – well, her mother actually, her father had passed away- she came out to take care of her mother, and she was a quilter back in Texas and did a lot of quilting for the people at a dollar a spool. That's what they quilted for.
PAPA: And what was her name?
BAUMANN: Amanda Holland. And she was out here from Texas so they gave me a shower before my baby was born and she made a little baby quilt and brought it to the shower and everybody was so enthused. I had some unbleached muslin that I had bought and I donated the muslin, somebody else donated something else and we were in the quilt business and been there ever since.
PAPA: Now how have you quilted over the years--for what organizations or have you done this strictly personally?
BAUMANN: No, the Harmony Social Club made quilts for people. They did quilting for people by the quilt, and we used to have it sometimes in the schoolhouse. We had two quilts up at once and they would be working on them and would get them done in a day even. We had that many quilters. But it was strictly a social job. If you wanted a quilt done, you fixed a dinner and called in your neighbors and they came and helped you.
PAPA: And how has that changed over the years?
BAUMANN: Most of the quilters that we had in those days got too old and they couldn't do it anymore and the younger generation is not too interested. At that time, they weren't too interested-in learning to quilt, so it's gradually gotten to be a very past job, really.
PAPA: Now, I notice you have a quilt set up in your living room. Who are you quilting for now?
BAUMANN: I'm not quilting particularly. That one belongs to the UMW, this quilt that I've got set up.
PAPA: Who is UMW?
BAUMANN: United Methodist Women. And they make the quilts, I have nothing to do with that anymore 'cause I can't see how to quilt and then they comes to my house and we tie them. We don't do quilting anymore, it's just tying.
PAPA: And this is done more through the church group now rather than the Harmony Social Club?
BAUMANN: Yes, the Harmony Social Club doesn't do that anymore. There are a few that still make quilts including June Harrigan, who is a beautiful quilter, and she makes them all the time and my sister is a beautiful quilter and she did a lot of it too, but her eyesight won't let her do much anymore. But as far as the Club doing it any more, there's no members left that do that job any more.
PAPA: Have you found that the younger generation is having a revived interest in quilting?
BAUMANN: In some places, yes, I think there is, but we don't have that many younger members in our club, so as a club we don't do anything like that anymore. We still get offers once in awhile, or requests, maybe I should say, to quilt for people.
PAPA: But most of the quilting that is being done is tied, rather than . . .
BAUMANN: Yes. The Mormon Church does a lot of quilting.
PAPA: Have they ever asked for lessons or do they pretty much teach themselves?
BAUMANN: I think they teach themselves. I don't really know, but there were quite a few Mormons in our Harmony Social Club and they were all beautiful quilters, but most of them have passed away.
PAPA: Well, this is Marianne Papa and I would like to thank Allene Baumann for our second interview. This is the end of the interview. [End of tape 2, End of interview 2]
SYLVIA ARDEN: This is Sylvia Arden, interviewer for the Churchill County Oral History Project. Myrtle Allene Stuart Baumann was interviewed for the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project December 20, 1990, by Marianna Pappa. This interview today, February 25, 1994, at 113 East Richards Street is a second interview [ed- technically the third], concentrating on the Newlands Irrigation Project, Lahontan Dam, TCID [Truckee-Carson Irrigation District], ranching, and agriculture. Good morning, Ailene. I'm so pleased that you're allowing me to come to interview you as a second interview to add to the first one. What I want to ask you first is, would you please tell us your full name, where you were born, and when.
ALLENE BAUMANN: Myrtle Allene Baumann – Or Stewart, really. And I was born in Chatsworth, Georgia--or Springplace, Georgia, really.
ARDEN: And what date?
BAUMANN: October 22, 1906. [tape cuts]
ARDEN: I know that you first arrived about 1918, is that right?
BAUMANN: That is correct.
ARDEN: You mentioned you saw Pyramid Lake, but what I want to ask you is, if you can recall two things: first, what did Pyramid Lake look like? And when you first arrived, what did Fallon look like to you?
BAUMANN: Well, I was pretty young at the time, and coming in from Pyramid Lake it was dusk, so I couldn't see too much of it back in those days. But Fallon I was quite surprised to see it as big as it was, because we lived out in no place!
ARDEN: Now, when you first saw Pyramid Lake in the daytime, what did it look like to you, the lake and the surroundings?
BAUMANN: Well, it was kind of a surprise, really, because we lived in dry country up in Oregon where we had no water, so I had not seen a lake like that, really, that I could remember at all. So it was quite a surprise to see what it was like.
ARDEN: And around the lake, what was the land like?
BAUMANN: Well, that's kind of hard to remember, but just ground that I wasn't used to, because in Oregon it had sagebrush everyplace, and I wasn't used to anything like Pyramid Lake.
ARDEN: Was it pretty barren?
BAUMANN: You mean up by the lake?
BAUMANN: Well, there wasn't any buildings like there is now, that's true. It was just the bare lake coming in.
ARDEN: And then when you arrived in Fallon, and let's say the first year, what did you observe in the kind of trees or foliage or farming? I know you were young, but what did it look like? Not just the buildings, but the land and the surrounding area.
BAUMANN: Well, it's kind of hard to remember. Like I say, I wasn't that old, and kids don't pay too much attention to those kind of things. But it was a surprise to see a town, really, and people, because up in Oregon we were just homesteading and lived out where there wasn't anybody.
ARDEN: And as you were going through your teens, as you were getting older and observing, did you see a change in the green around and in the things that were being raised, the agriculture, due to the new irrigation?
BAUMANN: Oh, definitely so, because I was not used to having crops. We didn't have alfalfa or anything like that up there. I was used to lots of sagebrush and open country. So it was kind of a surprise to see the trees and the people that were here.
ARDEN: Did you see fields of alfalfa growing? Did you see orchards or fruit trees or crops of other kinds of produce?
BAUMANN: Well, there was very few trees, really here--just the ones that were planted, or trees set out along the ditch banks for fence lines, and all the fence posts grew into trees, because they were cottonwood.
ARDEN: Of course that is part of the irrigation, so that's what I'm interested in. So there were a lot of cottonwoods?
BAUMANN: Well there wasn't too many in those days, but there were cottonwoods along all the fence lines where the posts would grow into trees. But they've all been gone now.
ARDEN: Did you observe any of the ranches? Were there cattle yet?
BAUMANN: There were some cattle here yet, and of course I was pretty young and kids don't remember all those kind of things. Where we lived up in Oregon they didn't have any trees or anything like that.
ARDEN: But as you were getting up into your upper teens, as you were getting a little bit older, tell me what kind of changes you observed, let's say, in a period 'til about 1930. Did you see dramatic changes in the region as far as the agriculture and ranches and trees?
BAUMANN: Definitely so, because during that time we had the cantaloupe, what should I say, people came here, that lived here, planted cantaloupes which they harvested. It was entirely different than living out in the desert like we lived up in Oregon. Of course when kids are growing up, you don't pay much attention to those things. You just grow. (laughter)
ARDEN: Well, move to a period when you were a little bit older and could observe changes that would be directly influenced by this remarkable project, because you just go away from Fallon, and of course most of the state is desert. So what I want you to think about is as the project was moving along, what kind of changes in ranches or agriculture--I know that there was the cantaloupe--but did you begin to observe more greenery?
BAUMANN: Well, we also had the sugar beet project here too, where people grew sugar beets, with a factory that made the sugar and everything. That was quite an undertaking here in the valley.
ARDEN: Did you see the first plantings of the fields of those sugar beets?
BAUMANN: Oh yes, because my dad had a couple of acres. In fact, everybody in the valley, prit near, grew a few sugar beets to sell for sugar.
ARDEN: Did he also raise some cantaloupe?
BAUMANN: Oh yes, he had an acre, I think, of cantaloupes too, when that was in. They tried everything in this valley to make a living.
ARDEN: Do you have any photographs that you've given the museum on that, or in your collection?
BAUMANN. I don't think so. I can't remember, because nobody had cameras much in those days, so there wasn't much pictures taken.
ARDEN: Describe your family's ranch over that ten-year period. You've just mentioned two things that they started, and what else was on your ranch?
BAUMANN: Well, we mostly milked cows. We had about eighteen, twenty cows all the time to milk, and separate. We sold the cream and gave the skim milk to the pigs. And that was the main crop. Mostly alfalfa was grown here at that time.
ARDEN: Was that to feed your cattle?
BAUMANN: Yes, that was to feed the cattle, or sell if you had extra.
ARDEN: And where did they sell the milk?
BAUMANN: There was a cooperative creamery here in Fallon down by the railroad tracks, and a lot of the milk went there and they made it into butter and skim milk and sold it.
ARDEN: Was your father able to make a living from the ranch?
BAUMANN: Yes, he did. He didn't work out, unless it was just for neighbors exchanging haying or something like that. But he did not work anywhere out.
ARDEN: Tell me about the irrigation process on that ranch, and the ditches. Tell me how he irrigated, and if the irrigation process changed over time.
BAUMANN: Well, of course, as a kid you don't notice those things like you do when you get grown up. But the ditch came into the ranch in the front, and then a big ditch ran the length of the place, and then you leveled the land and watered from that.
ARDEN: Were the ditches at first dirt? And did they later cement them?
BAUMANN: Well there was no cement ditches in those days. They were all just dug ditches.
ARDEN: Later when the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] came in to cement the ditches, were yours some of them?
BAUMANN: Yes, my husband worked for the CC camp, in charge of a bunch of boys, and they did a lot of that kind of work.
ARDEN: So whatever you can tell me about that, both if your father talked to you, or if you observed the CCC, tell me as much as you can.
BAUMANN: Well I was married at that time, and we had our own place, and my husband did work for it--my father did not. But it did help this valley, because they were able to do a lot of things the farmers could not afford to hire done.
ARDEN: So when these CCC were in town--and you were a grown woman by then--tell me a little about them. They were here several years, right?
BAUMANN: That is true. They were very helpful in this valley in doing things. They had their own camps and everything. In fact, the camps, some of them were moved into town. The VFW hall is one of them what was a CC camp eventually.
ARDEN: Where was the other camp?
BAUMANN: I don't remember how many there were here, I just don't.
ARDEN: I saw a picture where I think they were--they had a picture where Gallagher's Stockade is. Were they there?
BAUMANN: Out that way someplace, yeah.
ARDEN: Did you observe them in town? Did they come into town, and did you get to see or meet any of them?
BAUMANN: I did not live in town.
ARDEN: Oh, okay.
BAUMANN: We lived in the country. I never moved to town until after my husband was gone, and I moved here in 1957.
ARDEN: Did you come back to visit your family on their ranch?
BAUMANN: You mean my father's place?
BAUMANN: Oh, we only lived about a mile-and-a-half from them after I was married.
ARDEN: Oh, so you were still in Churchill County?
BAUMANN: Yes, definitely. I haven't left here since 1918.
ARDEN: But you mean you didn't come into town?
BAUMANN: No, we very seldom--didn't come to town unless we needed groceries or something. My dad used to come in once a week, but the family did not go.
ARDEN: Tell me a little where you lived in the country, because that would be interesting. What was that like? Was it green, did it have trees, did you have irrigation? I want to concentrate on that part of the county.
BAUMANN: Well, it was very much of a surprise to us, because we came from Oregon on dry farms, down here. And to have irrigation water and water it when you wanted it to irrigate what you wanted to was quite a surprise and a delight, really.
ARDEN: What were some of the crops or produce or animals that you had on your place?
BAUMANN: Well, my parents had cows--we milked about eighteen cows all the time, and we sold cream and fed the skim milk to the pigs for our own use. But that was about the main crop except for the alfalfa. We also raised cantaloupes.
ARDEN: But now you said you married and you moved to the country. Did you have a small farm or ranch?
BAUMANN: Well, yes, we lived within two miles of where I was raised, and we had a ranch and did alfalfa and cows, just like everybody else did. Everybody had to have a few cows.
ARDEN: I want you to describe in quite detail, your place after you married: the land around it, how many acres, and the house, and your kind of a life on that ranch after your marriage.
BAUMANN: Well, we didn't own a place for a few years after we were married. We rented, or leased places, like, three years at a time, and ran alfalfa, chickens and turkeys, and always milk cows.
ARDEN: Did you plant any orchards or vegetables or fruit trees?
BAUMANN: Well, nearly everybody planted fruit trees, a few of them. They didn't always grow, but they always planted them. But a lot of the times we raised cantaloupes when the cantaloupe season was on. In fact, just generally run alfalfa ranches.
ARDEN: Tell me about the irrigation there. By then, while you lived there, did those ditches get cemented? Did the irrigation system change?
BAUMANN: Yes, it changed dramatically. There wasn't no cement ditches when we first came here--not for many, many years--not until after I think the CC boys came in here and helped cement the first ditches. People could not afford to do that.
ARDEN: Were yours part of the work by the CCC?
BAUMANN: My husband worked for the CC--he was a foreman for the CC boys.
ARDEN: Did he tell you very much about that experience? Did he talk about the workers and where they might have come from and the variety of kinds of young men who came?
BAUMANN: Well, I presume so, but I don't remember those kind of things, you know.
ARDEN: Did they work all over the county? Did he supervise them in the work on the ditches and the cementing and the cleaning of the canals?
BAUMANN: Yes, this is true. They worked everywhere in the county. They had their own buildings and all in fact, one of the CC buildings is the VFW hall at the present time,
ARDEN: I notice your husband worked for TCID. Is that when he supervised the CCC?
BAUMANN: Well, I can't say that for sure. I think it was a little before he worked for TCID.
ARDEN: When he worked for the TCID, what were his responsibilities then?
BAUMANN: He worked with the drag lines. There was a supervisor on the drag line that run it that lived down at Stillwater, and my husband was what they called the oiler for the drag line.
ARDEN: Now for those of us who aren't accustomed to that, can you describe to me what a drag line is, and what it does?
BAUMANN: A drag line is a big machine that digs the ditches, or cleans them out or whatever had to be done in the district. In other words, they prepared the water to go through without weeds or anything like that. That was before they had cement ditches.
ARDEN: So then he worked quite early. Do you remember the time period that he worked for TCID?
BAUMANN: Well, he practically worked for 'em 'til he passed away, but various times, not always. During the war he worked in Hawthorne, and didn't work for TCID. But he worked for TCID quite a lot.
ARDEN: In some of the interviews, I hear about people swimming in the ditches, and yesterday Mr. Woodliff told me they went ice skating on the frozen ditches. Tell me if you enjoyed them for recreation.
BAUMANN: No, I didn't enjoy it. I've seen it done, and my family did it, and my husband did too, but I did not like swimming, and I didn't skate either. But they used to skate on the frozen canals, that's true.
ARDEN: I'd love to see a picture of that, wouldn't you?
BAUMANN: Yeah, it would be nice!
ARDEN: I read in other places that sometimes children would drown in ditches or canals. Was there some of that here?
BAUMANN: There was plenty of it here--too much of It. Quite a lot of people would drown. And then one time they had a skating accident out here and there was four killed in that. And so it was a dangerous business, but that was life I guess.
ARDEN: Like today it's cars or guns, right?
BAUMANN: Very true, very true. I don't think it was any worse! (laughter)
ARDEN: Now, somewhere in your first interview you mentioned eating fish from Pyramid Lake, so I have two questions: What kind of fish, and who caught the fish?
BAUMANN: Well, they were trout. They were called Pyramid trout, I think, or lake trout in those days. And the Indians would bring 'em down here, and you could buy a great big fish for fifty cents, and they were delicious.
ARDEN: How would they sell them? Would they put up stands or bring them to the stores or what?
BAUMANN: No, they went around in their little horse and buggies, and sold 'em from door to door, I think. So when they'd come around, if you wanted one, fifty cents was about what you paid for a great big trout.
ARDEN: Oh! Well, that was enterprising!
BAUMANN: Yes, it was.
ARDEN: Were there, from farmers that raised produce and fruit, Would there be fruit and vegetable stands where the city people who didn't grow it?
BAUMANN: Well, really, not until they used to have the fairs here which were state fairs when I first came here, and they would have those things there. But no, they did not have fruit stands in those early days.
ARDEN: When people wanted to sell their crops or their fruit, how would they do it?
BAUMANN: Well, people would come and get it, usually to the place. They knew you raised it, or else they would have a stand put up maybe in town or something, you know, to do it. But mostly they just sold to the other ranchers.
ARDEN: So people knew each other and maybe would trade crops?
BAUMANN: Yes, definitely so.
ARDEN: You mentioned the sugar beet industry, and I know that was short-lived, but do you remember when the factory was built?
BAUMANN: Yes, and when it was torn down also. They shipped it to Japan, and people used to make the remark that Japan fired it back at us with shells, during the war, which was true, that metal.
ARDEN: Oh! And tell me a little more about the turkeys, because I read that that was a very big industry here, and you had some. Where was the turkey market? Did they mainly raise it locally, or were those shipped around?
BAUMANN: No, the turkeys went all over the country. They killed them here and shipped 'em. They went clear back East. They froze them. My husband and I were turkey pickers, and so we used to pick maybe five or six hundred every Christmas or mostly at Thanksgiving. It was a big business here. They had lots of turkeys here until we got the turkey thieves in here, and then people gradually quit. They had a gang of thieves that came in here and stole the turkeys at night.
ARDEN: What?! Where did they come from?
BAUMANN: We don't know. They were just people that didn't want to work and just made a living.
ARDEN: And they took the turkeys over piglets or chickens?
BAUMANN: Whatever they could get, they took! (laughs)
ARDEN: Oh my! I hadn't heard that. Now I'm sure there were problems during drought or flood periods. Can you remember any that you can describe and the results of them?
BAUMANN: Well, in the thirties we did have a drought for about three years, and it was hard for the farmers, but we did have irrigation water most of the time. But the dam, eventually it got pretty low and didn't have water, so it was kind of rough. But that was during the early thirties. I don't remember any other one.
ARDEN: What about floods?
BAUMANN: No, we never was bothered with floods after we came here. They did have floods here along about 1908 or 1909, I was told. My husband was here, but I was not. So I have no firsthand knowledge of the floods.
ARDEN: Now, I've heard about, and read a lot about water rights. Tell me about water rights when your father came.
BAUMANN: Well, when we first came here, we bought a place out in Harmon District, near the Harmon School, and that's where I'd grown up. And when I married I lived in the same district. They did have water rights. The people that came here first paid twenty-two dollars, I think it was, an acre for their land. And gradually as more people came in and the water got scarcer, they upped that water right, so I don't know what it is today. But in those days it was about twenty-two dollars an acre that you paid for your water.
ARDEN: Was that for water rights, or did you have to also pay an amount every month according to acre? How did that work?
BAUMANN: Well, frankly, of course, being a young girl, I didn't have anything much to do with it, but they did pay so much per acre for water rights. The early settlers paid twenty-two dollars an acre for their water, and gradually as time went on, I don't know what it is today.
ARDEN: During the Depression years, what was the effect, and did people begin losing their farms or ranches or houses during any of the Depression period?
BAUMANN: Well, I imagine some of them did lose 'em, but most of 'em worked together, they helped each other, and they survived. But it was pretty rough during the Depression years. Water was scarce, and they didn't have any other way to make a living, really, but we made it.
ARDEN: Was there any local welfare group to help people who might not have been able to make it?
BAUMANN: Well, if there was, I was not aware of it at that time. Being a young
person, you don't pay that much attention to those things.
ARDEN: Uh-huh, and living on the ranch.
BAUMANN: You had all your own milk and bread and you know, your gardens and everything. We raised prit near everything we used. We done a lot of canning, and so did everybody else. So we managed very well, even during the Depression.
ARDEN: And also, from what I read, a lot of people here built their houses, or they were not so expensive that they'd have the big mortgages people have today.
BAUMANN: That's very true. Very few people had mortgages, unless they did a lot of improving and had to borrow some money. They helped each other and did without, is about what they did. If they didn't have it, we did without it.
ARDEN: Now, during the war years, I saw a big flier about encouraging people to have victory gardens, but probably most people already had their gardens.
BAUMANN: They certainly did. They just maybe increased the acreage a little bit, and took care of it, tried to can more. We did an awful lot of canning at our place. We put up about two or three hundred quarts every year.
ARDEN: Oh my! Now, was that just for your own use? Or did you sell some?
BAUMANN: No, we did not sell it, it was just for our own use. We had a big pit outside where we buried punkins and stuff like that, squash for the winter, and we canned, like I say, a lot of beans and corn and tomatoes and everything. We grew it ourselves in the garden. My folks had a big garden.
ARDEN: So you knew you'd never starve!
BAUMANN: That's for sure! (laughter) That's for sure.
ARDEN: I also read where because of Lahontan Dam, electricity came especially early to Fallon--I don't know about the ranches--much earlier, than, let's say where I've done work in northern Nevada or other places. Did you have electricity early?
BAUMANN: No, we all had kerosene lights, and some people had acetylene lights that they put in their house, but we never did--just had kerosene. But electricity came here in 1929, to our district.
ARDEN: So you were not in the city of Fallon itself?
BAUMANN: No, we lived in the country, we lived in Harmon District.
ARDEN: And what about plumbing?
BAUMANN: Well, we didn't have it. (laughter) You had a pump outside the door--or we did anyway, and many others did too. Some had wells where they pulled it up, but we just had a pump, and we pumped our water out there for home use.
ARDEN: Where did you pump it from? The canals?
BAUMANN: No, it came up from in the ground.
ARDEN: Oh, from underground.
BAUMANN: Yes. The wells were about fifteen feet deep. Then my dad put in an engine in the cellar where we could pump it into the house and the chickens and things like that.
ARDEN: Was there always enough water in your irrigation ditches? Was it rationed at periods that it was low? Did you ever have a problem getting water?
BAUMANN: Yes, during the early thirties they had a drought here, and it was quite difficult. Everybody was rationed as to water, for irrigation purposes. And it didn't last the whole season, but we managed to get through.
ARDEN: Did you have to raise less crops?
BAUMANN: Well, by the time they knew there was going to be that big a shortage, most of the crops were in. Most of the people raised alfalfa anyway, which is a year-round crop. The other things, they just curtailed a little bit.
ARDEN: In your other interview you mentioned in the saving of water that they irrigated every other check. Not being a farmer, what is a check?
BAUMANN: Well, the land wasn't level when they came here. They took drag lines and scrapers and tailboards and leveled the land so that the water would run over it. And a check would be as wide as they wanted it--some of it were quite wide--and the water ran between those raises to make the checks to get to the crop. If you just put it out in the field, you'd only get part of it wet. So checks were put between these levees and the water ran down between.
ARDEN: So they only then would bring water to every other. . . . You said every other check they would irrigate.
BAUMANN: During the droughts, yes. Not everybody did that, but we did and it was very successful with it.
ARDEN: Now did your family, or did you and your husband or anyone in your family do much fishing or hunting?
BAUMANN: Well, we always fished down in the drain ditches down toward Stillwater. We'd take the family and go down and fish. But as far as commercial fishing, in the early days we didn't do too much of that.
ARDEN: But for fun fishing, did they fill the streams with fish? Is that how they got into the ditches?
BAUMANN: I don't know how they got in, but down towards Stillwater, down there, there was quite a lot of fishing in the ditches. And there was always carp, what they called, which was a... what should I say? A scrap fish that not too many people ate, but they weren't too bad eating. And they just developed in the drain ditches there,
ARDEN: And did they have any limit on how many fish you could catch?
BAUMANN: Not in those days, no. Could have all you wanted.
ARDEN: So that looks like people at least would be able to eat and not starve.
BAUMANN: And nearly everybody had a cow and chickens. I know my dad had, we milked about eighteen cows all the time. They would buy about a thousand chickens every spring and we always sold the fryers, a lot of them, and kept the hens to lay. So we always had chickens and eggs and stuff like that.
ARDEN: Did you do milking of cows?
BAUMANN: Oh yes! That was a job I enjoyed doing.
ARDEN: Did you?
BAUMANN: I didn't mind milking at all. The corrals was a quarter of a mile away from the house when we grew up, and we'd have to get up about 4:30 in the morning and walk to the corrals and milk the eighteen cows and head back home in time to go to school.
ARDEN: Oh my! You worked hard in your lifetime. Where did you buy the things that weren't grown on your ranches? Let's say your household or your personal things. Where would you purchase? Would you use catalogs?
BAUMANN: A good deal. Nearly everybody had catalogs. But people didn't buy very much. They'd give us what they had, and my dad would go to town maybe once a week, maybe once every two weeks, and buy sugar or flour or whatever we might need there. But most of it we raised ourselves.
ARDEN: Now what about laundry?
BAUMANN: Well, early days, a lot of the people that had the money, would hire squaws, the Indian women. And they would come in once a week and do your laundry. Otherwise, I know my folks had a furnace or something outdoors--I don't know what you would call it--it was a tub set down into a kind of furnace. We heated the water out there and did our own. We never hired it done, but a lot of people did hire the squaws to do their laundry.
ARDEN: How did you do your laundry?
BAUMANN: We just did it on washboards. My dad put some boards between a couple of trees and we put our tubs on that. And we had a big kettle--a tub, really--set down in a furnace outside that we heated the water in and boiled the clothes. You always boiled your white clothes in those days. And we boiled the clothes in that, and that's where we washed, was outside.
ARDEN: Now, when you say you boiled the clothes, what kind of heat, what kind of stove?
BAUMANN: Well, this was just a big kind of furnace like. Actually, it was a tub set down in a metal thing and built the fire underneath it then to heat the water to wash.
ARDEN: You mean with wood, like a campfire?
BAUMANN: Yes, with wood, just like a campfire, and we always boiled your white clothes. Otherwise, we used washboards, and rubbed our clothes clean on washboards. No machines in those days.
ARDEN: You worked very hard! Was there ever a problem getting water to do the laundry?
BAUMANN: Not on our place. Some people did have trouble, but we never had a shortage, because we had a well close to the house and one at the corral, and we always had water. [End of side A]
ARDEN: I know from your first interview that your family came because they were attracted by word of a socialist colony here. Whatever you can remember, or were told about, because you weren't even old enough--tell me about that.
BAUMANN: Well, the socialistic colony advertisements went all over the world. Well, all over the United States, I should say--not the world. And there was a man by the name of Mr. Taylor and he used to travel around in these western states and advertise it. And he came up to Oregon in Lakeview County where my aunt and uncle lived, and also in Harney County where we lived, and talked about this colony that they wanted everybody to join, because it was a socialistic colony. And that's what brought us, really, to Nevada.
ARDEN: And did your dad tell you what happened when they arrived? How long did they live in that colony, what was it like?
BAUMANN: No, when we came here the colony was broke, and it wasn't in existence any more. My grandfather and grandmother came down here in a covered wagon from Oregon, and they got here. . . . Well, what saved them from losing everything they had in the colony, my grandfather got sick the day they arrived, and by the time he got well, the colony was broke. But my husband's people came here and joined the colony. They were here already, but they did join the colony when it was here.
ARDEN: Did they lose any money?
BAUMANN: No, they lost their ranches. They put their ranches into the colony, and then when it went broke, some of them got them back, some of them did not. But they didn't put much money into it, it was just their farms was what they put into it.
ARDEN: Was it the ones they had homesteaded?
BAUMANN: Yes. It was colony homes down to Stillwater, the old Sifford place down there was into the colony. A lot of them were.
ARDEN: Did the law ever catch these people?
BAUMANN: No, not really. They left here and went to Louisiana and did some other colony work down there. They had done it in other places in the West also. This was just another spot on the road, really.
ARDEN: I hope they were punished legally some way.
BAUMANN: I don't think so. I have the book on the colony and the socialistic thing they had, with the trial and everything, you know. I do have that book.
ARDEN: I'd like to see it one time.
BAUMANN: if I can find it! (laughter)
ARDEN: Now, during your father's and you and your husband's ranching days, did you finally move to some equipment, rather than doing everything by hand, when new equipment started to come in?
BAUMANN: Well, yes. Drag lines was about the first thing that came in here to really do a lot, and they dug the ditches. You could hire them to come and dig ditches, which was a big help. The early ditches and things was done by team and by hand, really.
ARDEN: Were there other things that came? Were there other tractors or other farming equipment that you were able to buy?
BAUMANN: Yes, if you had the money. Because my husband worked for TCID for many, many years, and helped run the drag line, so he got in on a lot of that. But yes, they mostly was horses and tailboards and scrapers and things like that that leveled this land in this valley.
ARDEN: Did your family use the mules that I've read about, to help, instead of horses, with the equipment?
BAUMANN: No, we never had any mules, we just had horses. And we only had one team of that. That was all. But later they got the tractors.
ARDEN: Did you ride horseback?
BAUMANN: No, very little. Me and horses didn't get along. (laughter) I'm scared to death of the things! I did a little, but. . . . We were lucky that the folks bought a place close to school and it was only a quarter of a mile and we could walk to school, so we did not have the use for the horses that some of the farmers did, you know, who lived further away.
ARDEN: Now, over the years, did the irrigation system change? Was it always the same? Or did anyone ever have the irrigation sprinklers?
BAUMANN: Well, there wasn't too many sprinklers because the flow of water wasn't--not enough power behind it, let's put it that way. But they had the scrapers and they had to have the ditches. But most of 'em was just ditches.
ARDEN: So the ditches ran to the fields. Was there something to lift to let the water in? How did it work?
BAUMANN: Well, the ditches came down through the canals and the big ditches, and whenever you wanted it, you called the ditch rider and ordered so much feet of water, whatever you wanted for a certain length of time, and he would go and turn it into your ditches, which you had ditches running to your own place.
ARDEN: And so everyone had to dig their own ditches.
BAUMANN: That's true. That's true, part of the process.
ARDEN: And those ditches, were those also later cemented?Or just the main ditches?
BAUMANN: There was no cement in the early days, but later years they did cement it in order to conserve water.
ARDEN: I know that there's the big stockade, the cattle auction here in Fallon every Wednesday, and I understand--don't know if it's true--I read that it's the only cattle auction place in the state. And tell me whatever you can. Did you ever sell cattle there?
BAUMANN: Not really, because by the time the cattle auction got into business, we were not doing it. My husband wasn't well enough, and we didn't have cattle. In fact, we never did run cattle, we just had milk cows.
ARDEN: Do you know anything about that stockade or about when it started or the activity?
BAUMANN: No, not offhand that I could say free, because we lived in the country and you didn't go to those things.
ARDEN: Since you've been living in Fallon, do you see any of that activity on a Wednesday? I mean, does it affect the town?
BAUMANN: Well, it doesn't me, because I don't, you know, have anything to do with the ranches any more, so it doesn't affect me. But I know a lot of people that sell there and are very active in it, and I think it's a wonderful thing, really.
ARDEN: Now, I also notice here that there are many, many, many, huge freight trucks coming through Fallon. It seems to be a hub here. Do you know anything about that?
BAUMANN: Well, I think that's because of the auction sale. They bring cattle in here to sell, because my son-in -law was here just last week, and he went to the sale, and he lives in Montana. And he just was telling me the different trucks that was coming in from all over the other states and things, because I've never gone to a sale myself, personally.
ARDEN: So they come from far and wide?
BAUMANN: Very much so, yes. And they bring their cattle here to be sold. Yes, that's true.
ARDEN: That's probably why I saw the parade of huge trucks when I was going to the museum Wednesday.
BAUMANN: No doubt, because it is on Wednesday, that's true.
ARDEN: Oh my! Well, that must bring business to the town.
BAUMANN: I would think so, but of course I don't know because I don't (chuckles) have any business.
ARDEN: Sure. But it shows how Fallon has so much going on, as far as the agriculture and ranching.
BAUMANN: Very much so. It certainly has changed in the years that I've been here. [tape cuts]
ARDEN: I know, just from the few years that I've been coming, that there's a huge Navy base here that's increasing. I come from California, and our Top Gun [Miramar Naval Air Station] is moving up here, and I was driving out just yesterday and seeing new housing, and I went to a talk at the Navy and they're buying up ranches. When did all this start happening, and how do Fallon residents feel?
BAUMANN: Well, of course I know how I feel, and some of the others are beginning to feel that way. When they first came in, they thought it was a wonderful thing, it was going to help the valley and everything. But I don't think they realized then, how many ranches it was going to encompass, and it's sad, because they've just taken so much of our land. That's the way I feel anyway.
ARDEN: Uh-huh. And do they also impact--because I understand they have water rights and it's a big operation. Do they help the town? Is there activity financially or economically from them for the town?
BAUMANN: I would think so, but of course not being active in it, I can't say. But they do buy the ranches, but to me it's sad, because the people that worked so hard on those places, and to sell it because Wildes District, and Island District and all those where a lot of farmers used to live, is just nothing but the Navy, you know. To me, it's sad.
ARDEN: Now did the owners have to sell it? Was it condemned by the government so they'd have to sell it?
BAUMANN: Well, I don't know that for sure. But I imagine some of them down near the base, I imagine they would have been.
ARDEN: Allene, is there anything else that you can share with us on the topic that we're discussing today before we end the interview?
BAUMANN: Well, probably so if I had time to think about it. But offhand, I've about said most of it.
ARDEN: Well, I'll come back in April to see your articles and whatever material you can have. And on behalf of Churchill County, I want to thank you so much for sharing all of this information with us today. This is the end of the interview.
Obituary (December 1998)
Allene S. Baumann
Funeral services for long-time Fallon resident Allene Stuart Baumann, 92, will be conducted Saturday, 1 p.m., at Epworth United Methodist Church officiated by Rev. Gary Pope-Sears and Rev. R. Dean Ashley. Interment will follow at the Fallon Cemetery.
Visitation is Friday, 7-8 p.m. at Smith Family Funeral Home.
Born Oct. 22, 1906 - in Springplace, Ga., to Isaac' and Ellen Roberts Stuart, the family moved to Harney County, Ore. in 1913 and then to Fallon in 1918. She worked as a cook for Churchill County schools for many years, served on the county cemetery board, Harmon District School Board, Harmon School Reunion Committee and WCTU. She and her husband, Louis W. Baumann who she married on June 24, 1925, also played the guitar for Harmon School dances. She also served as a 4-H leader and was a member of Neighbors of Woodcraft, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, Pythian Sisters, Eastern Star, Rebekkahs, Eagles Auxiliary, Harmony Social Club, Cloverleaf Club, Artemisia Club and Epworth Methodist Church Women.
For 67 Years she wrote the Harmon News column and also wrote about other social events for the Lahontan Valley News-Fallon Eagle Standard. In 1993, she retired and the LVN-FES retired the column in her honor. She also enjoyed quilting, crocheting, and communicating with pen pals. Mrs. Baumann was preceeded in death by husband Louis on Oct. 27, 1957; brother, William "Harland" Stuart; sister, Unadel Dodge; and grandson, Christopher Vogel.
Survivors include daughters, Crystal E. Broady of Reno, Edith A. Relf of Monroe, Ore., and Lida A. Robinson of Challis, Idaho; son, Robert O. of North Las Vegas; sister, Lucy Melendy and brother, Earl Stuart, both of Fallon; brother, George "Harry" Stuart of San Diego, Calif.; 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law Beatrice Stuart of Wasilla, Ark., and Patti Stuart of San Diego, Calif.; and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
Memorials may be sent to the Churchill County Museum, 1050 S. Maine St., or Epworth United Methodist Church, 280 E. Stillwater Ave.,Fallon 89406.