Paul J. Williams Oral History

Dublin Core


Paul J. Williams Oral History


Paul J. Williams Oral History


Paul J. Williams Oral History


Churchill County Museum Association


Churchill County Museum Association


July 13, 1990


Analog Cassette Tape, .docx file, Mp3 Audio



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Eleanor Ahern


Paul J. Williams


1700 Agency Road, Fallon


Churchill County Oral History Project

an interview with Paul J. Williams

Fallon, Nevada

conducted by  on Eleanor Ahern

This interview was transcribed by Marilyn A. Goble.

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.


Eleanor Ahern: This is Eleanor Ahern of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project. Interviewing Paul J. Williams at his home at 1700 Agency Road. The date is Friday, July 13th 1990. This is tape 1 side 1. Good morning Mr. Williams. Um, tell me about your father. Was he uh…he was half white and half Indian.

Paul Williams: Yeah, I guess he was. (laughing) Well there wasn’t much about him. All they did was…done a lot of freighting and stuff from Wonder.

EA: He started in Wonder?

PW: Yeah, mine at Wonder and Lovelock. All those places when they was moving them old houses and stuff. They brought lumber and stuff from there to here to Stillwater.

EA: Now your father was born here in Fallon?

PW: No, he was born in Ellsworth.

 EA: Ellsworth? Nevada?

PW: Ellsworth Nevada.

EA: Ok. Spell that please. Spell that. E-L-L-S-W-O-R-T-H.

PW: Hm.

EA: How did he meet your mother? Did he meet her here in Fallon?

PW: Uh I don’t know about that. (laughing) Must met him here in Stillwater when the town was on…because she was…she was uh native right here.

EA: She was a full blooded Paiute?

PW: Yeah. She lived…her parents were gone too when she young. And her aunt raised them.

EA: Where were your mothers parents? Where did they go to?

PW: Well, I don’t know where they went.

EA: Um. How many children were there in your family?

PW: 7.

EA: And they’re all boys or girls?

PW: 2 girls and 5 boys.

EA: Are they all alive, living today?

PW: No. Sister gone, 2 brothers gone.

EA: You were born here in Fallon right?

PW: Stillwater.

EA: In the Stillwater.

PW: Yeah, that was when the county seat was…

EA: Oh I remember. Yes.

PW: Yeah. They moved that out to Fallon later.

EA: I read about that yes, yes. Um, and when they moved that...they brought…Stillwater tried to bring it back, right?

PW: Yeah.

EA: Um, you said you worked hard all your life. Can you remember what’s the earliest age you started working?

PW: Oh well. Worked on these little ranches.

EA: How…can you remember how old you were when you started working full-time? Or did you work after school?

PW: No, it was mostly during the summer. School time I never did…had enough work at home…had to milk cows.

EA: Oh you were raised on a ranch then?

PW: No, we had cows, the ranch owned the cows. We moved from one place to another all over. And the tax made us uh…we had to give it up…tax.

EA: Oh your father lost his land because he couldn’t pay the taxes?

PW: Yeah. And that’s when we moved to…when they gave the allotments here that’s what we moved into. There was a vacant…

EA: How big were the allotments?

PW: How many?

EA: How many acres?

PW: 10 acre allotments. (laughing) They gave 160 for 10 acres.

EA: You originally had 160 and then from then you moved on to a 10 acre lot.

PW: Yeah. The reservation was…this valley clear over to Grimes…clear up to Fallon…and where the town is Old River. That was all Indian ground.

EA: And then…

PW: And then the government says well we’ll give you 10 acres and the good 10 acres. Good farming ground and water rights. So when they did…they gave us a bumless[?] ground in the valley and took our 120…60 acres and that’s…that’s what we’re fighting on that water now.

EA: I see. Um, when you worked in the summers did you work for other ranchers around town?

PW: Well right here mostly.

EA: Mostly in the Stillwater area?

PW: Yeah.

EA: What kind of work did you do?

PW: Well driving dairy…herding cow.

EA: You herd the…

PW: Pitching hay, raking…(chuckling)

EA: All…just usually farm work huh?

PW: Yeah.

EA: When you herded the cow did you have your own horse to herd them?

PW: Yeah.

EA: Um, what did you do with the money that you earned?

PW: What amount?

EA: When you were working…um…uh your money what did you do with it? What did you spend your money on?

PW: Uh, well buy a $1 pair of shoes or a $1.50 pair of britches. The clothes were cheap.

EA: So you spent your money mainly on clothing?

PW: Clothing, yeah. Never spent it for anything else. Grocery and stuff.

EA: Uh-huh.

PW: Nowadays you can’t even buy it…(chuckle).

EA: Not for a dollar no. When you weren’t working what did you do for fun?

PW: What I’d do? I stayed at home and herd our cows too. We had our own cows.

EA: Mm-hm.

PW: Yeah. Then winter time come, why we’d go get some wood. We’d break sagebrush like this. We had two horses on this side and two horses on that side…and a rail running over. Then us kids would go along and pile them roots you know they’re a pretty good size.

EA: Uh-huh.

PW: And then we’d load it up in the hay wagon, then we’d bring it home. Oh we’d make a stack from here to the drain ditch further…Next summer, boy that was all gone. Greasewood.

EA: I see. Yeah.

PW: Yeah.

EA: But uh, in the summer after you were done with your chores. Did you go swimming or hunting?

PW: Yeah.

EA: Where did you go?

PW: Well, sometime we went Pyramid Lake fishing.

EA: How did you get to Pyramid Lake?

PW: Wagon.

EA: Oh you had…

PW: A team and a buggy. You go around this main road here to Fallon. From Fallon you go down Eddie Harriman’s- that’s a backway by George Fran up there…

EA: Uh-huh.

PW: Then you hit on top of Bench…

EA: Swingle Bench, yes.

PW: Bench then you hit Hazen.

EA: Uh-huh.

PW: Then went…

EA: Oh you went around that way?

PW: Yeah.

EA: Yeah.

PW: Then you had to cross a river on an old bridge. You go like this…

EA: Uh-huh.

PW: And that river was running high too. All the time. We had a…an uncle there in Pyramid Lake that we’d go and uh, from their house was just over about oh…not even to that fence…the water’s running. My dad go over there and catch some trout

EA: Oh I see. So it’s like from here to that fence.

PW: Yeah.

EA: It was about um…what’d you say?

PW: Oh not even…maybe 300-400 yards. Maybe not even that.

EA: Oh and the water was right there.

PW: Yeah, watch the water run.

EA: Oh I see. Was the fishing very good there?

PW: Yeah.

EA: What did you catch?

PW: Oh I can catch any kind…(laughing) catfish.

EA: Oh really.

PW: We…we’s…that’s what spoiled it to themselves.

EA: What’s that?

PW: The Pyramid Lake. You know…They used to catch them fish and dry ‘em…well just load them in the wagon or whatever they had and send them all over the valley.

EA: Hm.

PW: When the…during the spring of the year when they started spawning why they…

EA: Oh I see.

PW: Use a grab hook and catch them. They did the same thing to cui when almost got rid of them too.

EA: Now going back to your family. Did all the kids have blue eyes like you?

PW: Uh-huh.

EA: They all had blue eyes. Did anybody comment on you being part Indian and having blue eyes?

PW: No, I don’t…

EA: They never mentioned anything about that?

PW: Uh-uh.

EA: Now you went to the school here, right? In Stillwater?

PW: Yeah.

EA: Did you go up until high school or just into what…?

PW: Just to the eighth grade. After that then I went up to town school.

EA: Then you went into Fallon. The loc…public school.

PW: Yeah. E.C. Best

EA: Uh-huh.

PW: (laughing) Oats Park.

EA: Now after you graduated then you…you stayed here in Fallon and you still worked on the ranches?

PW: Yeah, worked all the time.

EA: And you met your wife in town too?

PW: Yeah, I met her in Fallon.

EA: I see. Now your wife is now from a full-blooded Paiute right?

PW: Mm-hm. Then I went to school a couple years in Stewart in Carson City.

EA: Now in Stewart, is that the Indian School.

PW: Indian School.

EA: How old were you when you went to that school?

PW: Uh…I don’t know. That’s when they said I couldn’t go to school up here anymore. They didn’t want me to go to school.

EA: Who’s “they”?

PW: So…Discrimination.

EA: No, but who’s “they”? Were they the school teachers that said you couldn’t go to that school?

PW: Yeah. So they said well he’ll have to go to Stewart School…Indian School in Carson City.

EA: I see. Um…why did they tell you that?

PW: I don’t know.

EA: Was…because…do you think…is it because that you’re…

PW: I don’t know, there was some people that was talking so…Some said I was no good Indian or good Indian or something like that. (laughing) But look like they wouldn’t’ve done that because we gave the school the ground. My dad gave them that.

EA: Your dad owned the…

PW: Off of our place.

EA: Your dad owned that land that the Stillwater School was on?

PW: Yeah.

EA: And he donated it to the school to build the school.

PW: Mm-hm.

EA: When your dad moved onto the reservation. Um, did he…he still continued farming right?

PW: Yeah, well…Well he had few head of cattle all the time with him and then we just moved them. We tried…mostly on dairy…we had around 20 cows something like that…milk cows.

EA: Did you also raise your own alfalfa?

PW: Yeah.

EA: How many acres of alfalfa did you have then?

PW: Oh I think we had about 30-40 acres.

EA: Did you lease the land from your neighbors when you raised your alfalfa? Because…so you said your family only had 10acres.

PW: Oh yeah. My aunt and my uncle…they lived right next to…Allen…Carson Allen.

EA: Mm-hm.

PW: They was all…we was all close together.

EA: Now when the Newlands Project came along uh and it was developed with the Lahontan Dam. Uh…was it a better…was it good for your father when he was farming?

PW: Well it was…it bettered the farmers alright enough. But…didn’t…dry years you can’t do nothing. You ain’t got no water left.

EA: Even with the dam?

PW: Before the dam was built… when I was a kid we used to go to Old River. Way up down Old River and uh…it would…boy that thing was running full all the time.

EA: When…

PW: Going down through the Sand Hills back there toward Lovelock.

EA: When you talk about the Old River where is it now? Is it still around?

PW: Yeah, there is a river.

EA: What street is it by the Lovelock highway?

PW: Well it’s from that Indian Lake.

EA: Okay.

PW: Big Indian, Little Indian, all…(laughing)

EA: Okay.

PW: They had a swinging bridge that we had to cross there. It was cable. You had to hold it like that when you go through.

EA: How long was the bridge?

PW: Oh, it must have ben around 100 feet long.

EA: Huh. And that’s how you got across on the other side?

PW: Oh it was deep! (Both chuckling) Yeah…Yeah used to cross. Then it later on it got dry again! And we used to drive…go after wood and drive across Indian Lake over there. We could drive right straight across because there was no water.

EA: When the summers were dry and you didn’t have any water, I guess you didn’t plant any…your alfalfa couldn’t be raised then without any water?

PW: Yeah.

EA: So where did you get the feed? Did you have to buy the feed for your milk cows then?

PW: Oh, we always kept some. You never sold any.

EA: Oh, I see.

PW: Just had enough for your cows.

EA: Mm-hm.

PW: Never sold no hay. Some people that didn’t have any stock they sold the hay and stuff. But it wasn’t worth maybe $10 or $20 a ton. (laughing)

EA: Was it because it was really weedy? Too many weeds in it?

PW: Weeds? Weed was about round $40 or $30. (laughing) Harvester… Run the harvester…I run the harvester, I run the harvester. I run them from Yerington clear to here. Harvest little places here, harvester here. Then I had thr…three balers and I come from Lahontan from Mrs. Cadets, George Frey’s, all of them come down there, clear to Hammie Kents. Baling hay. Get through over here, go back again and start it. (laughing)

EA: Okay. Paul you said that you did custom haying and you had some equipment. Um, how did you about with your equipment? Did you buy all your equipment all at once?

PW: Well we had to buy them.

EA: But um…all those equipment were your own. You owned it right?

PW: Yeah, them tool, I and my brother had them together. Then we split up, he took his and I took mine.

EA: When you and your brother split up did you still go on and buy more equipment?

PW: No we…we quit.

EA: Oh I see. How long were you doing this custom haying?

PW: Oh…been quite a while too.

EA: Did you start when you were just out of high school or was it later?

PW: Um, when I was… growing up pretty good, I guess.

EA: Do you remember about how old you were then?

PW: Oh I don’t know. Already married. Probably 100 years ago. (Laughing)

3RD PERSON: Not very funny.

PW: No I don’t know.

EA: Ok. But you were one of the few people who had all the equipment to do custom haying right?

PW: Yeah. We even went to Smokey Valley.

EA: Oh really.

PW: Baled hay.

EA: Yeah.

PW: We was there for over a month, wasn’t it? Our old ranch we worked for Lee Henderson.

EA: You…you were telling me…Well, when we had talked early that um before there was any work on the reservation the um Indians would go out and work for the whites and some of them had gotten their names that way. Could you tell me about that?

PW: Well we had to work out on the ranch all the time. Out on the reservation you didn’t have nothing.

EA: Uh-huh. So you came into Fallon to help the other ranchers?

PW: Yeah, like John A. Oats, Tom Downs…

EA: But you said some of the Indians then got their names from the ranchers?

PW: Um.

EA: Could you tell me about that?

PW: Let’s see…

3RD PERSON: He’s not that good with memory.

PW: Cushman, Lionel Hoytman[?], Wayne Wightman, all of them. I worked with all of them.

EA: You first bought your equipment in 1946, is that right?

PW: Yeah.

EA: How much were they then? How much did it cost you?

PW: $3,500.

EA: For everything?

PW: A John Deere G.

EA: What was that? A Swather or a Baler?

PW: Well, they never had no baler.

EA: Oh it just was…

PW: Balers came on later. Balers come out around 19…53 or 4. I can’t…

EA: So you paid 3500 for the Swather?

PW: Yeah, uh, tractor.

EA: Tractor.

PW: Yeah, G tractor.

EA: Hm.

PW: I had 2 of them and from then on then we had uh number 5 mowers on them. We would mow with them…uh tractors. Side delivery rig was only about three or four hundred dollars. And…that’s what we worked with and the rest of it was horse drawn wagons and stuff that we used to stack the hay…nets.

EA: I see.

PW: Done lot of that over there at Pete Cushmans. (laughing)

EA: Now when you first started this custom haying, was your father still alive? Did he help you?

PW: No. Dad, he…he died when he was young. Around 45 years old.

EA: What did he die of?

PW: 1932 or 31.

EA: What did he die of?

PW: I don’t know…just heart…And uh that’s when we had to go our… do our own…get around do our own work.

EA: Yeah.

PW: Nobody to do it for us.

EA: How old were you when  your dad died?

PW: Well I must have been around 15…15 years old. I wasn’t very old. Behind this…kind on this ranch right here, we was out duck hunting, when I come back they said he was gone.

EA: You mentioned before that when you were in school your parents were up in the mountains gathering Pine Nuts.

PW: Oh yeah. They gathered Pine Nuts all the time.

EA: Now did they camp out in the mountains?

PW: Yeah.

EA: And you stayed home alone with your brothers and sisters?

PW: We’d…we’d took care of the stock…milking and stuff. Then they up there pine nutting.

EA: How long did they stay up in the mountains?

PW: Oh sometimes 2…2 weeks, 3 weeks.

EA: Did they have um a wagon or they just went up on horseback?

PW: No.

EA: How did they go up to the mountains?

PW: They had them…we had to drive them up there, you know.

EA: Oh you left them there.

PW: We’d drive them up there then we’d bring the horses back. Leave the wagon, grocery and stuff. Then they’d tell us, “Go down there and maybe come back in a week or 3 or 4 days.” Then we would go, bring grocery and stuff. Sometimes we’d stop down there in the lake and shoot ducks. Bring ducks for them.

EA: Oh I see. What did they do with the pine nuts?

PW: Pine nuts?

EA: What did they do with it?

PW: See it.

EA: Oh.

PW: They didn’t get very much. Maybe 5 cents a pound. (laughing) $5 sack $100…100 pound sack. And they kept some for ourselves own use.

EA: Did you raise most of your food?

PW: Oh yeah.

EA: Did you have a vegetable garden?

PA: My mother was a real gardener. She’d raised mostly what we used, potatoes. Went fall there [?] we all gathered potatoes and…but like garden: carrots, turnips, all of that stuff. They raised cantaloupe, watermelon. Had watermelon that big [showing with hands], big watermelons.

EA: Bet it looked about a foot.

PW: Nah, they are only that big.

EA: Your watermelon looked like it was about two feet?

PW: Then…my dad one time made a mistake on the seed. She…he popped and it was uh…for uh…the hogs. And there were watermelons that was that big. (laughing)

EA: Was that about three feet?

PW: Really big watermelon. (laughing) But they were not good eating.

EA: Why’s that? They didn’t have any taste?

PW: Yeah. Just no taste.

EA: When did you first um…your brand is called the Four Spike Circle?

PW: Mm-hm.

EA: It wasn’t always your brand was it?

PW: No.

EA: Do you remember who had it before you did?

PW: Yeah. John Ballard and Jim Ballard. Over there in Reese River…Ione Valley anyway…right there…close to Donna Shore. Right in there somewhere they had a horse ranch and they had that.

EA: Uh-huh.

PW: Then they were so old that they got rid of it. Then this one guy I was working with says “Well why don’t you get that iron, they don’t use it no more.” So I applied for it and got it.

EA: Your brand is now considered one of the oldest brand in Nevada.

PW: Yeah.

EA: And your still using it today?

PW: Yeah.

EA: How many cattle…head of cattle do you have today?

PW: Who me? I ain’t got any now.

EA: Oh well…

PW: I had 150 head of cows…cows. Well, I got rid of them because I couldn’t take care of them.

EA: You got rid of them within…this is recently?

PW: Oh, I’ve got seven head though. (laughing) Got rid of my horses. Everything I got rid of.

EA: Why did you get rid of your livestock?

PW: When?

EA: Why?

PW: Oh here about a couple of years ago.

EA: But why did you do that?

PW: In the fall of the year.

EA: Um…Do you think with the Dam did it change the Stillwater area, the Reservation when they erected the dam? The Newlands Project? Did things change when that came in?

PW: I don’t know. We weren’t living…

EA: No, like were there more wildlife before the Newlands Project?

PW: Uh…

EA: Were there most ducks and rabbits out here? When the uh, Newlands Project, the uh, when they had the dam for the irrigation come up? Did um…did uh…it affect the wildlife? Did you see the wildlife leave or…?

PW: Oh wildlife? Well I don’t know. I don’t think they’d done much. Yeah, I think they just wrecked the place. (laughing)

EA: Why did you say that?

PW: Because uh…they’re building reservoirs when they didn’t need them. Why they…like ducks and stuff they don’t nest in them. Lakes and stuff like that…they nest out in the dry and then wherever there’s water that’s where they go out and feed. The lake and what they built over here was for uh…likely planting bass and stuff in there. And I just…That’s what they’re building wells for mostly…But that’s what’s…kind of ruin the place and then they are building roads out there. Well when we used to go out there we had to go take a saddle horse or go in a buggy to go where we gonna go hunt.

EA: But now it’s all underwater?

PW: Yeah. And the limit was 25 ducks now you only get 3 or 4. (chuckle)

EA: Is it because there’s hardly any ducks here?

PW: No…just too many hunters I think. Kind of went up to. Those days when we was there, they wasn’t too many hunters. Just few.

EA: You don’t remember your grandparents at all? Your grandmother or your grandfather?

PW: My grandmother I do.

EA: You do?

PW: I used to stay with her all the time.

EA: Now your grandmother was also full-blooded Paiute?

PW: Yeah, she used to like to go to town you know. Then my dad built a little cabin over there about Rattlesnake Hill now. I used to stay with her and go to school at Oats Park. She used to go…She died when she was 105.

EA: Oh wow.

PW: Yeah, she couldn’t hardly get.. around. Just like a little baby. (laughing)

EA: Is uh she the one who taught you to speak Paiute?

PW: Yeah.

EA: And did you speak it often with her and with your mother and father? Did you speak Paiute with your mother and father?

PW: Oh yeah. I talk…That’s why I talk. I can talk my language like nobody else. Yeah I can talk it good. They say why…sometime I just stand there and listen to them guys. They think I don’t know how to talk, but I knew how to talk.

EA: So you also…Did you learn to speak English first and then Paiute?

PW: Well when we went to school in Stewart and around why they wanted to get rid of that Indian language. They want you to speak English and you was just like a soldier when you was in there. Every morning you get up around 5 o’clock (made noise with mouth), stand up there like a soldier. Just like a reformative school. And you had to run around the area every morning. Get in line, just like a soldier and that’s the way it was. (laughing) That’s the way they wanted us to do away with the Indian culture and stuff. They want us to learn the white way and that’s the way they was training us. (chuckle).

EA: When did you go home? Did you go home on weekend from that school?

PW: No.

EA: When did you come home?

PW: Stay there, stay there all winter. After the schools out that’s about round…well…all winter from September clear up to… probably June. That’s when we come back.

EA: And then when September came you went back to the school?

PW: Yeah, we’d come home then you go back to school.

EA: And you were at the school for how many years?

PW: I was there for about couple three years.

EA: And when you got out how old were you then when you left the school? After the three years?

PW: What’d I do?

EA: How old were you?

PW: Oh I must have been around eighteen or something.

EA: They um…They said that…I read an article and they said you were one of the few farmers on the reservation. There weren’t very many Indian farmers.

PW: Uh-uh

EA: Why’s that?

PW: There aren’t many farmer, just fields. Nobody wants to farm anymore to. Just about…well Fred Akes [EDIT: Best guess spelling of last name], and Dale Stein, myself. Chris Akes does a little bit of it. Then that’s about all there is. George [?]

EA: These are all the people who are on the reservation right?

PW: Yeah.

EA: Well um, is there anything you can tell me that I might have forgotten to ask you?

PW: What’s that?

EA: Oh about maybe be growing up as a young boy?

PW: When I was young? Well there ain’t much about me when I’m young. All I do is work and work and that’s about all. But uh, I worked all over this valley and I went out back east down that…that…

EA: When you say east uh, that would be going up towards Austin area?

PW: Yeah. Well I worked for Amachea[?]. Worked for Pete Cushman…all of that…Jack Brian…RO[?] Ranch…all the ones in the country…John Potts, George Bogs, Pine Creek Ranch.

EA: You um…now that uh…how old are you now?

PW: 77

EA: And uh are you still farming or are you now just um retired?

PW: Yeah.

EA: Which one?

PW: (laughing) Yeah.

EA: Are you retired or farming?

PW: Oh no I’m not…

EA: You’re still farming?

PW: Yeah, I’m still farming. I don’t think I’ll quit. (chuckle)

EA: Now this farming that you do this is on your own land?

PW: Mm-hm.

EA: And you raised alfalfa?

PW: Yeah.

EA: This is for your own use?

PW: I…I bought this…I bought this in 19 um…50 I guess.

EA: How many acres?

PW: 10 acre here, 10 acre there, 10 acre there. Six people in this place here…Sixty acres in this place here.

EA: Mm-hm.

PW: Then I bought 10 acre over there and another 10 acre…and there’s a 40 acre over there. I bought all of them, 10 acre lots. I just happened to get them when they was…when they won the heirs on them.

EA: Oh I see.

PW: The other allotments around them maybe got 40 or 50 heirs on them and you can’t buy them. Some of them’s too young they can’t sign for their sale too. So I just happened to get this woman, she had all these heirs and I bought it. That’s when I was working over there at um…19 uh…42 when I went over there at Hawthorne when the war was on. That’s when I was working over there and I was…I bought bombs and stuff…goin to…when I come out I had enough to pay for all this.

EA: This is…you’re talking when you say the war is on, this is World War II?

PW: Yeah.

EA: And you…you…

PW: But I was always about a year older that I didn’t go into the…but I worked in the plants.

EA: You work…Now in Hawthorne you’re talking about the munitions plant.

PW: Oh yeah.

EA: Is that where you worked for a while?

PW: Torpedoes, hand grenades, shells of all types. We used to get fleet returns come back, clean them up and reset them. We worked with hand grenades over there that was five seconds, w put up to three seconds. Set them that way. One of them blew up and I…um I had about 15 womens…there and when I was an ordinance and one of them dropped it, it was contact and dropped it. Uh…I had to get rid of those in five seconds…push them out. Then I was the last one there and then there was a stack of hand grenades there and I got behind it and it blowed up. (chuckle)

EA: Was anybody hurt?

PW: Both those 2x6’s why that explosion went right through them.

EA: Was anybody hurt when it blew up?

PW: Uh-uh. And when I got to start fixing things around they knocked the whole crate of one of hand grenades but they never contacted. They’re just not powerful. (laughing) And I was sitting right by in a chair while they…concrete just like uh…(laugh)That’s how I got this place.

EA: You got this place because you put your money into savings bonds.

PW: Yeah. That’s how I bought the place.

EA: So now all you do is raise alfalfa? Is it for your own use?

PW: Yeah. I done that with my own…had some horses…I’d levelled the ground and break the brush. Then later on…why about 19…45 or 46. I went to work for Bunny’s dad.

EA: This is Bunny Corkill.

PW: Yeah and I was working for him and I was over there at Eastgate. So I told him I says, “Well, I’ll stay if you get some cows for me.” So he was looked around and said “Yeah, I’ll get some for ya.” And then we got it from Chodarrens[?]. We got 20 head, $100 a head (laughing) so I went into bank signed up for it, I went to work for Pete and got around cows up there. When I come back I had 35 head.

EA: When you say you worked for Pete, who’s he?

PW: 13years I worked for him.

EA: But Pete, what is Pete’s last name?

PW: Yeah, Pete? Yeah.

EA: What’s his last name?

PW: What’s his what?

EA: Last name.

PW: Cushman.

EA: Oh okay.

PW: Bunny’s dad.

EA: Okay. Did your children help you when you were farming?

PW: Well he helped me that way.

EA: No your children. Did you…how many children do you have?

PW: Only had 3.

EA: 3 daughters, sons?

PW: 1 son and 2 daughters.

EA: And did your son and daughters help you when you were farming?

PW: Uh-uh. There two of…two were mostly all grown but I only got 1 daughter left.

EA: Mm-hm. So you did the farming all by yourself?

PW: Oh yeah. Then the foreman hired somebody. Anyhow, he got them cows for me. I stayed over there for 13 years with him. Then I come back again and start farming again. But I always farmed back in…bank and forth…

EA: Well, Mr.

PW: He’s uh…He’s the one that helped me. Pete Cushman.

EA: How did he help you in getting started in your farming business.

PW: Started me on cows and…on them cows. Why then when I come back here, I had them cows and then I kept on going. I had what 150 head of cows…Bunny was little (laughing)…used to get kick out of…got a picture in there when I was little.

EA: Oh good. Well, we’ll look at that later. Um…well Mr. Williams on behalf of the Churchill County Museum I want to thank you for letting me talk to you. I enjoyed it, thank you.

PW: (laughing) Yeah.

EA: This is the end of tape side one.

[End of interview]

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Paul J. Williams Oral History, “Paul J. Williams Oral History,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed October 28, 2020,