Wendell Beeghly Oral History
Oral History Item Type Metadata
CHURCHILL COUNTY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
an interview with
This interview was conducted by Marian LaVoy; transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norma Morgan; final by Pat Baden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of Oral History Project, Churchill County Museum.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Churchill County Museum or any of its employees.
Wendell Beeghly radiates love of family. Our morning recording session at my home was interrupted after thirty minutes-his wife called with a health problem and without hesitation Wendell left to drive her to Reno to consult with her doctor. I planned to finish the interview at a later date, but three hours later my doorbell rang and there was this sturdy octogenarian, ready to continue--he was tired, but determined to complete the interview!
This determination is apparent throughout his life history-he worked hard to excel in sports; to excel in business; to excel as a husband and father; to excel as a private pilot; and to excel as a standard bearer for Alcoholics Anonymous.
This interview immerses the reader into the life of a family of sturdy settlers who worked hard and played hard. It describes the rigors of digging bat guano from ancient Indian caves; it goes through the uncertainties of adolescence and the encouragement and support of a high school principal; the critical illness of his young wife; the struggle to survive the Great Depression and the determination to surmount the unfair trade practices of the service station segment of the oil and gas industry.
Wendell's realization that alcoholism was becoming a problem started him in a new direction and with that same quiet determination he conquered the problem and spent the rest of his employment years helping others overcome the same problem.
Wendell is a role model for fellow octogenarians as well as a role model for the younger segment of our citizenry. If the occasion should arise, I feel that he could still drive heavy equipment, fly an airplane or manage a service station!
Interview with Wendell Beeghly
LaVOY: This is Marian Hennen LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project interviewing Wendell Beeghly at Marian's home, 4325 Schurz Highway, Fallon. The date is August 17, 1994. Good morning, Wen.
BEEGHLY: Good morning, Marian.
LaVOY: Tell me, Wen, when and where were you born?
BEEGHLY: I was born in Fallon, Nevada, on a 360-acre ranch just south of where the present the U.S. Navy [Naval Air Station, Fallon] station's west gate is.
LaVOY: Oh, I see.
BEEGHLY: Which was about one mile south in an old adobe house.
LaVOY: Now, was this adobe house built by your family?
BEEGHLY: No. No, I understand it was built by an old Dutchman who had ran this place, and he had bought the ranch, and he had sold it to my father.
LaVOY: I see. When were you born?
BEEGHLY: On November 7, 1910.
LaVOY: Were you the oldest or the youngest of the children?
BEEGHLY: I was the youngest of the children at that time.
LaVOY: Now, how long did you live out there on the ranch? What age were you when you left?
BEEGHLY: I was just a small baby because I don't remember moving. We moved to Raisin City [California] I was still quite small. We have pictures of me in a dress, yet, so I was quite small. We moved down there because my grandfather had bought a lot of acreage down there and was growing fruits and grapes, and we only lived there a short time, not over a year at the most. One of my sister's [Bernice] chores was to light the lamps because there were certainly no electric lights in those days, and her job was to clean the chimneys, the lamps, fill them with coal oil and get them ready for evening, and she spilled the lamp, tipped over, caught on fire, and burned the house completely to the ground with all of our possessions, and the only thing we had was what we had on.
LaVOY: How tragic!
BEEGHLY: We lost everything.
LaVOY: Now, tell me, where was Raisin, California?
BEEGHLY: Well, the actual location I can't tell you. It was north of Fresno, but they were growing a lot of fruits in that area at that time. My grandfather had a peach orchard there.
LaVOY: What was your grandfather's name?
BEEGHLY: Samuel. My grandmother's name was Frances.
LaVOY: Now, digressing just a bit, what was your father's name?
BEEGHLY: My father's name was Calvin Murray Beeghly. They called him Cal, and lots of people called him C.M.
LaVOY: Where did he come from?
BEEGHLY: He was born in Ashland, Ohio.
LaVOY: And what prompted him to come out to Fallon?
BEEGHLY: He went to school in Ashland, and then his folks moved to Iowa and started farming there. My grandfather had bought a ranch or two ranches there, and they were farming there, and when the Newlands Project started, he, undoubtedly, read and heard about what was happening, and there was a little friction between him and his only brother called Tully. There was a little friction between them, so Dad decided to move to Nevada when he heard about the Newlands Project.
LaVOY: Now, what was your mother's name?
BEEGHLY: My mother's maiden name was Frances Ellen Saylor. She was born in New Paris, Indiana.
LaVOY: Well, where in the world did they meet with one being born one place and one the other?
BEEGHLY: I couldn't answer that with the exception that they probably advertised for a maid for my grandmother. My mother came from New Paris, Indiana, to help my grandmother keep house because she had one bad hand. I think she was born that way, and so she needed help with her homework, and so my mother came out to help her, and that's where my father and mother met.
LaVOY: And they were married in Iowa.
BEEGHLY: They were married in Iowa.
LaVOY: And, as you say, came out to Nevada for this Newlands Project.
LaVOY: And then they lived by the base.
LaVOY: And then your grandparents moved to California, and your parents went to California for what length of time was that did you say?
BEEGHLY: I don't think it was a over a year because as soon as the house burnt down, we moved back to Fallon.
LaVOY: Now, where did you move when you came back to Fallon?
BEEGHLY: We moved back to the old ranch.
LaVOY: You had kept it?
BEEGHLY: We kept it, and we started farming it then.
LaVOY: Now, you say you started farming it. What did you do? Level the sagebrush and all of that?
BEEGHLY: Leveled the sagebrush, grubbed the sagebrush out, started leveling land, started accumulating a few livestock, always put in a big garden, and started growing alfalfa and wheat and corn. But, of course, this took years, but that's what we were doing during those early periods, preparing the place to raise crops. There was nothing there but sagebrush, alkali, and flats.
LaVOY: You got your water from the Newlands Project?
BEEGHLY: Yes. By the time it was completed. Um-hum.
LaVOY: Prior to that, where did you get your water? From wells?
BEEGHLY: We had an artesian well drilled on that ranch which furnished stock and drinking water, but it was terrible drinking water. We didn't have any irrigation water, except what, I think, we got out of the old slough which was the New River Slough running down into what is now known as the Government Pasture where the Greenhead Club is, and, finally, when enough water was in it, it broke out and went down towards Stillwater and run into the Stillwater area.
LaVOY: It's interesting that you mention you were in the Wightman District?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. That's what they called it then.
LaVOY: What were some of your chores as a little boy on the ranch?
BEEGHLY: Everything because we all worked. I helped get in the wood and coal for the coal stoves and, surprisingly, my dad started teaching me how to milk at the age of five, so I started milking then, and I'll never forget. I didn't want to, and I said, "That cow will kick me if I milk her," and he said, "That's the most gentle cow in the country. She won't kick you," and so the very thing happened that I feared. She almost kicked me through the side of the barn.
BEEGHLY: But, I kept on milking, and it wasn't very many years, by the time I was nine or ten, I was helping neighbors milk cows. The Yarborough family were milking eighty, ninety cows by hand. The Fergusons were milking eighty, ninety by hand, and I would help them milk.
LaVOY: Did you get paid for it, or just as a friend?
BEEGHLY: Just as a friend.
LaVOY: I'm surprised that your father would let you go that far away when he needed so much help on the ranch himself.
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. Well, I was also haying for them at the same time. Like the Yarborough ranch which used to be the old Wightman ranch which comprised of about two sections, when they began haying in the spring, they never stopped until fall, because by the time they had irrigated, cut the hay, irrigated, and got the last crop of hay put up for that crop, we could start cutting on that which they had first irrigated that year.
LaVOY: Now, you're talking about cutting. Did you drive the mower?
BEEGHLY: No, I drove a rake when I was that small. I drove derrick. By the time I was about eleven or twelve, I was running a wagon, pitching hay right alongside of grown men, and taking the hay in to the stack and forking it off with a Jackson fork and derrick.
LaVOY: You were a busy young man.
BEEGHLY: Yup. We were all busy.
LaVOY: Tell me, how many brothers and sisters did you have?
BEEGHLY: Well, there were six of us. One sister was the oldest.
LaVOY: And her name?
BEEGHLY: And her name was Bernice. The next was a brother, Elzy. The next was a brother, Lyle. They, by the way, were all born in Indiana. Then, after we moved out here, three more were born. Sam, myself, and my youngest brother was born nine years later called Cal, Junior.. He wasn't junior. His name was Calvin Arthur, -and my father's name was Calvin Murray, but they always called him Cal, Junior.
LaVOY: Now, all of these brothers and sisters worked right with you doing the same types of jobs that you did on the ranch?
BEEGHLY: You bet.
LaVOY: Did you have indoor plumbing?
BEEGHLY: I should say not.
LaVOY: You had the friendly two-holer? (laughing)
BEEGHLY: We always had snow in those winters, the weather has changed completely. We usually had anywhere from two to four inches of snow or more every winter. My job in the morning was to shovel paths to the bunkhouse, the granary, the cow barn, and, especially, to the outdoor privy.
LaVOY: (laughing) Oh, dear. Well, when did you first start school? How old were you?
BEEGHLY: Probably at six, because we all went to Union School. We went in a buggy. A couple of the older ones rode horseback quite often.
LaVOY: Now, with your starting school at six or seven; who was your first teacher, do you remember?
BEEGHLY: Laura Mills.
BEEGHLY: Laura was my first teacher in the first grade. She had to ride horseback clear from the Towle ranch in district… what was that? Anyway, about eight or nine miles.
LaVOY: Was it a one-room schoolhouse?
BEEGHLY: A one-room schoolhouse. Um-hum.
LaVOY: About how many pupils did she have to teach?
BEEGHLY: Well, there were two teachers. One taught the older grades and one the younger grades.
LaVOY: Do you remember the name of the teacher for the older kids?
BEEGHLY: I do not remember her name.
LaVOY: But you had Laura Mills as your teacher.
BEEGHLY: But, I had Laura Mills as my teacher.
LaVOY: Can you think of anything that is of interest when you were attending the school with her as your teacher? Anything of interest that happened at the school?
BEEGHLY: Yes. There were lots of young people who had never been to school, and so there were some grown men going to school that were nineteen or twenty years old because they'd never had any education but what they'd had at home. Therefore, they were going to school, and, of course, a lot of younger children. Some of these older boys didn't like the severe way the principal ran the school, and he was a pretty good-sized man, too, so they challenged him, and he tried to whip them all because--those were fist fights, not a whipping--and they beat him up so bad that he quit as a principal,, and they had to hire a new principal who was a hell of a lot tougher, and he tried to keep those kids in line. One night after school they all waited outside for him and told him, "Now, you just come on outside," and he wouldn't do it, and so, consequently, the school board had a meeting, and I've forgotten whether they had to fire him and get somebody else that could control those older boys or whether he stayed on and the school board helped settle this matter and shaped those kids up. Some of them quit going to school. I remember that.
LaVOY: Now, was the principal over the two teachers, or did he have other schools besides that one?
BEEGHLY: No, just over those two teachers.
LaVOY: That's unusual. Do you remember any of the principals' names?
LaVOY: Did you see any of the fights?
BEEGHLY: Oh, yes.
LaVOY: Did it frighten you?
BEEGHLY: You bet! I thought they's going to kill each other and probably would have if they could have.
LaVOY: That was very difficult being a teacher or principal in those days. What were some of the classes that you had in that school?
BEEGHLY: I only went there the first and, I think, the second grade, and then the schools consolidated. They had what's called Consolidated B School District then. So they closed most of the country schools and started running buses to pick the children up to bring them to school.
LaVOY: What was the first school that you attended then in Fallon in the Consolidated District?
BEEGHLY: It was the West End School.
LaVOY: Do you recall your teachers there?
BEEGHLY: No, I don't.
LaVOY: Did you enjoy going to the West End School?
BEEGHLY: Oh, yes. Um-hum.
LaVOY: What were some of the games and exercises that you had at that school?
BEEGHLY: Well, we always had to take calisthenics. They made us march into school. You didn't run in to school in a pack, then. You had to line up and march in to school. We played baseball a lot. That was before football was even known in this country. I can remember we had a young man who was probably twenty, twenty-one years old, and he'd always give us little kids a bad time, and so I said, "Well, we can take care of that. I'll get my oldest brother to come in here and beat hell out of him," and so my oldest brother did. He got on his horse, and he came to town when school was out, and they got in a fight, and this young Basque man beat hell out of my brother.
LaVOY: (laughing) Well, that didn't take care of the problem, did it!
BEEGHLY: (laughing) No.
LaVOY: Did that make it worse for you?
LaVOY: How did he happen to be so old being in the West End School?
BEEGHLY: Well, I guess he'd started school someplace else or that's where they placed him, but there were many older children going to school then because many of them had never started to school.
LaVOY: Was the West End School where it is now?
BEEGHLY: Yes, but, of course, it's rebuilt completely. It used to be a two-story brick building. Right behind on the west side of the school there was an irrigation ditch or a drainage ditch, and it came down along the west side of the school and then turned towards Fallon. There was an estate there that they called the Verplank estate. It was all sagebrush and just weeds and all fenced' in. That ran as far south as from Richards Street to the high school football field, and that drain ditch ran down through that property, and we played in that ditch at different times, you know.
LaVOY: Did you go to school wet?
LaVOY: You were careful and didn't fall in the ditch.
BEEGHLY: Yup. Yup. Um-hum.
LaVOY: Who was the principal of that school, or do you remember?
BEEGHLY: I don't remember that. No.
LaVOY: Who were some of your friends in the school at that time?
BEEGHLY: Oh, Johnny Sanford, Andy Danielson, the Ernst children, Daisy and Dorothy and their older brother, Shorty, and, I think, Thorne Springer was going to school then. I should have written those all down, but I've forgotten a lot of them.
LaVOY: Well, I think it's good that you remember those. You came by bus to school at that point.
BEEGHLY: At that point. Old Model T Ford. Bus with curtains on the back and just board benches to sit on.
LaVOY: That must have been cold in the winter.
BEEGHLY: It was awful cold. Sometimes we'd get stuck, and us kids'd have to get out and push to be able to get the bus moving again.
LaVOY: Learning wasn't easy, was it?
BEEGHLY: No, it wasn't.
LaVOY: You mentioned to me that you had an uncle that came to visit you in about 1916 that had an interesting story that added a dimension to your life. Would you tell me about that?
BEEGHLY: Well, this uncle, he was called Vern Saylor, that was my mother's brother, and he had lived in Alaska for years. He done a lot of hunting and fishing and mined for gold. I remember him talking about going into the interior of Alaska on a dog sled because he knew where there was some placer gold. But he said you could only get in there for about three weeks out of the whole year, and he went in with a dog sled and was able to recover some gold and came back to Juneau, Alaska. That's where he was from, and he never did ever go back in there again.
LaVOY: Why did he come to Fallon?
BEEGHLY: Well, my mother and father had the ranch, and World War I was going on, and my uncle had the bright idea that he would come down here. He had been here visiting before, and he knew there were lots of wild horses in this country. Well, the Government was paying high prices for horses for cavalry remounts. So, he came down and stayed with the folks and, with the help of Bert Whitney and Bill… Fisk, they started gathering wild horses and bringing them into the ranch. The first thing we knew, the ranch was covered with wild horses, and the corrals were full of wild horses, and they were breaking them to ride because these guys were old-time cowboys, and my oldest brother was pretty good at that, too, and he was selling them to the Army for remounts.
LaVOY: Do you remember how much he got for each horse?
BEEGHLY: I don't have any idea, but he finally agreed to give each one of us kids, let us pick a horse out for our own because my oldest brother and my second oldest brother, Lyle, only had two riding horses, and none of the rest of us kids had a horse of our own, so we used to use theirs, and my uncle thought each one of us should have one, so he let us pick one out, and, of course, this made my dad very upset. There was a lot of tenseness at that time, and he didn't want him around because the horses were eating up all of his hay and pasture, and so, after he'd given us the horses, the War was winding down at that time, and he went back to Alaska. Nobody was any happier than my dad to see him go.
LaVOY: But, you kids hated to see him go.
BEEGHLY: Oh, yeah. We were having a ball.
LaVOY: Were you able to keep the horses?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. Yeah, he let us keep our horses.
LaVOY: Well, now, you're talking about him taking the horses, and you mentioned that you kids were always getting into mischief. How'd you do that with the horses?
BEEGHLY: Well, we had an old buggy on the ranch, and we took everything off of it but the running gear, and to replace the reach [the rod joining the hind axle to the forward bolster of a wagon. Ed.] in the running gear, we bolted a two by twelve plank about, oh, eight feet long, probably, on it and left the tongue on it, of course. Then we'd hitch up two of those wild horses to that contraption and lead them out into the desert which was only about a quarter of a mile from our front gate to the desert where the Navy base now sits, and that was all just sand hills, flats, and sagebrush. We'd lead them out there, and my oldest brother was always the driver. He'd sit in front, and us kids'd all line up on that plank and then turn them loose, and they'd just go like hell out across the sagebrush and over those sand hills and kids flying in every direction, you know. It's a wonder we didn't all get killed, but we had a hell of a good time.
LaVOY: It's a wonder your father didn't have doctor bills that wouldn't quit.
LaVOY: I'll bet your mother didn't appreciate that.
BEEGHLY: She didn't, but she was a very kind and compassionate woman and very easy going.
LaVOY: Well, I imagine that you could have been kicked or anything else.
BEEGHLY: Oh, yes. Well, we used to have to tie them down to harness them, you know. Ear them down. Get kicked.
LaVOY: You mean you actually tied their feet?
LaVOY: And put them down.
LaVOY: To put the harness on them so that you could turn them loose and ride on the board?
LaVOY: Oh, my. We talk about bad entertainment these days. It was pretty bad then, wasn't it?
BEEGHLY: Well, we never lacked for fun. Other kids, in this day and age, "Well, there is nothing to do." We always found something to do, even if it was getting in some kind of mischief.
LaVOY: Now, your ranch was next to the Grimes ranch. Is that correct?
BEEGHLY: The Grimes ranch was on the east side, and it was a, they probably had two sections of ground in that ranch, and Grimes used to run lots of cattle loose on the range. That was before the Bureau of Land Management, et cetera, and he'd let them run loose, and most of them were Longhorn cattle. A lot of Longhorn cattle. Not Texas Longhorns, but they never did dehorn any of them, and Lish Sanford ran that ranch for him.
BEEGHLY: Lish Sanford. His name was Eliah. Elisha was his real name, but everybody called him Lish, and his wife's name was Ida, and we were very close friends.
LaVOY: Well, now, how far was the Sanford ranch from the Grimes ranch?
BEEGHLY: They didn't have a ranch. Sanfords ran the ranch for Grimes.
LaVOY: Oh, I see.
BEEGHLY: It was called the Grimes ranch.
LaVOY: And that's where Grimes Point is now.
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. The ranch was just this side of it. The Navy base has all of that ground now.
LaVOY: Now, something that I just happened to think of. If you were all around in that area, then you must have seen those petroglyphs long before anybody else did.
BEEGHLY: Long before anybody even, you know, and this is such a sad story. We used to go and look at those. If people think that [End of tape 1 side A] they know anything about the Indian writing on Grimes Point or the Bat Caves, as they were called, they know about them secondhand because we found those when we were real small kids. We used to ride all over the desert. We'd go everywhere, and, of course, they were known to the adult people, and we found out about that Indian writing, but, in the interim, my dad, and we were always crawling in those caves and exploring them, and he found that they were full of bat guano which was a very high grade of fertilizer. As high a grade as you could find, so he started digging into this bat guano, and we started shipping it by the carload. He had all us kids out there working. We had wheel barrows and built a path up to the mouth of the caves, and we'd dig that hat guano out, run it down to where we could get a truck, and pile it up, and then, if I remember right, Vern Babb and his brother, Jay Babb had a couple of old Moreland trucks [hard rubber pressed on wheels], and they used to haul it to town and load it on the railroad, and my dad shipped it to I don't know where, but he done better at mining that fertilizer than he ever made mining, I think, because he got a real good price for it.
LaVOY: Yes, it's still considered an outstanding fertilizer.
BEEGHLY: And then as far as the petroglyphs. We knew about those all the time. We used to go look at them, and you could actually read them yourself. They drew those so well. An archaeologist from New York City some way or other found out about those, and he got in contact with my dad and Mr. [Edwin Putnam SG] Osgood, and he came out here and wanted them to show him those. I was the only kid along. We went out to Grimes Point. My dad, Mr. Osgood, and this geologist. Evidently, he knew what he wanted because he had us take a bunch of chalk out with him and took cameras, and we drew in all of those things with chalk and then took pictures of them, and, of course, the chalk washed off in years. We didn't disturb anything, and we had a lot of those pictures, and they have all disappeared. I had one left. I remember looking it up, maybe ten years ago. I wondered where the rest of them were, and we had a lot of them. I imagine we had a hundred pictures because this man was really interested in it. I don't know what part of my family, or maybe Mr. Osgood's family, had some of those pictures, but I'm sure no one else in Fallon did, and it was such a shame that those were lost. I tried to find the last one I had, and I couldn't find it.
LaVOY: I'm wondering if you remembered which museum the man was from, and, perhaps, they could get them back.
BEEGHLY: Don't have any idea whatever.
LaVOY: Now, that was about what year, roughly?
BEEGHLY: Oh, I was probably ten or eleven, twelve, somewhere around there, so that had to be around 1920. Maybe even before that. Maybe younger than that even.
LaVOY: Well, that's very interesting. I have never heard anything mentioned about the petroglyphs before. Did you find any other Indian artifacts up there?
BEEGHLY: When we were digging in the cave, we found all kinds of them because that bat guano was quite deep in the cave, and we'd dig in there and we'd find parts of spears and arrowheads and clay cooking pots the Indians had used and nets that they had caught fish and rabbits and ducks with that were woven by the Indians. They'd be all rolled up. They were all buried in this guano and we even found a lot of bones. Whether they were human bones or animal bones, I couldn't say. But, we threw all of that stuff away. We were totally not interested in that. Just threw it away.
LaVOY: You had a treasure trove right at your fingertips.
BEEGHLY: Yup, and the people who are digging in today think they're finding artifacts which really, the artifacts are all gone.
LaVOY: Do you think anybody else from the other family that was helping you dig took any of those artifacts home?
BEEGHLY: I doubt it very much. Mr. Osgood's dead. Most of his family's gone. His son, [Edwin Putnam (Kewp) Jr.] about the same age as I am, lives in Reno, now. He's an engineer. I just went up to his fiftieth anniversary about a year and a half ago. He wasn't there, and he was never interested in that, and I don't know whether his mother is still alive, and whether possibly she would have them. That would be Goldie [Ed- original transcript says Margarite] deBraga was her maiden name. She married Henry Osgood, but I would have no idea where those pictures ever went to.
LaVOY: Well, it's a shame that that's all lost to the community, but, at least, you had the pleasure of seeing them as a little kid.
LaVOY: Now, I'm going to back to school. From West End, where did you go?
BEEGHLY: I went to Oats Park at probably, the third grade. Then I graduated from Oats Park School.
LaVOY: In the eighth grade?
BEEGHLY: In the eighth grade.
LaVOY: What are your memories of the school?
BEEGHLY: Well, we had a tough principal. His name was… now, there I go, total blank. But, he was really for discipline, and he used to keep a loaded black snake in his office. His name was Beatty.
LaVOY: Oh, my goodness!
BEEGHLY: And, when he licked a kid, he really licked them. The kids were always getting in fist fights in those days, and I can remember Dan Kinney fighting another boy. The Kinneys lived just up the road here a half a mile.
LaVOY: On the Schurz Highway?
BEEGHLY: Uh-huh, and they were fighting out in back of the school bus sheds, and, of course, there were fifty kids around watching the fight, and the principal walked up to the edge of the crowd, watched the fight for a little bit, and he said, "That's enough, Dan," and with that, the principal just walked through the kids and went over to him and knocked him cold.
LaVOY: Oh, my goodness!
BEEGHLY: And he said, "That'll take care of that." That's the kind of a fellow he was, and if he didn't think you'd received enough punishment with the quirt end of that black loaded quirt, he'd take the other end and hit you over the head with it, but he had discipline, I'll tell you.
LaVOY: I can see why. That was not Mr. Best, was it?
LaVOY: Was that prior to Mr. Best?
BEEGHLY: Prior to Mr. Best.
LaVOY: I'd love to know what his name was because he sounds like he was pretty dangerous. (laughing)
BEEGHLY: I'll remember it.
LaVOY: Now, with your being in that school, what was your favorite course? What did you enjoy studying?
BEEGHLY: Oh, I always loved geography and history and math. I didn't like English or spelling, but always got along well, and most of the time I got good grades, surprisingly. Primarily, because I think I was afraid of authority figures, and, to me, these were authority figures. When they spoke, I paid attention. Of course, we had a baseball team.
LaVOY: When you were in eighth grade?
BEEGHLY: Oh, before that. We played ball the minute we started going down there. We played ball during recess and after school and on weekends, and we always had a contest every year between the Harmon School and the Oats Park School, and I think we beat 'em every year we played 'em. I was always the catcher, and we had no regular catcher mitts or face masks in those days. I can remember the pitcher was a kid by the name of Oscar Sloane, and, boy, he could throw a fast ball, and one time he threw one, and the fellow just kept it foul. It hit me right square between the eyes and knocked me colder than a wedge. That's how fast he could throw that ball.
LaVOY: Oh, my! They ran and got the school nurse for you, I bet.
BEEGHLY: No, I don't think so. We didn't have a school nurse then.
LaVOY: You just came to.
BEEGHLY: Came to and kept on playing ball.
LaVOY: Well, what year did you graduate, do you think, from eighth grade there? Approximately.
BEEGHLY: Well, I graduated from high school in 1930, so I went to high school about five years because while I was in grammar school we had a teacher by the name of Mrs. Marshall who was a penmanship teacher. Our folks had taken a trip the summer before school started that year and took some of us kids with them, and we stayed three months back there, so I was a month late getting back to school. I was tardy a month after school started, and at the end--we used to have half terms, A and B classes, so she flunked me that half term, and I pleaded with her to pass me, and she said, "No, I'm not going to pass you."
LaVOY: Just for penmanship?
BEEGHLY: Yeah. "You flunked because you weren't here a full term."
LaVOY: The other teachers didn't do that, did they?
BEEGHLY: No. No, they didn't flunk me in nothing else. Just her, so, consequently, that set me back a half a grade, so I didn't get to graduate with the class that I'd been going to school with all the time.
LaVOY: So, approximately, 1926, is when you, roughly, 1925, 1926 is when you . . .
BEEGHLY: 1925 or 1926, when I went into high school.
LaVOY: Now, I understand that just shortly before that point in time, your father lost his ranch, or he went into the bee and honey business. Will you explain that?
BEEGHLY: He lost the ranch. He had a mortgage against it, and Fred Wightman, I know, who was one of the bankers here of the old Wingfield banks, he was a next-door neighbor on the south to us, and he had loaned Dad money on the ranch, and, evidently, foreclosed on him. That was when I was twelve and a half, so that would have been about in 1922 sometime, and I can remember Mr. Wightman coming up, had all the papers with him, and they had, undoubtedly, talked about it before. We sat in the kitchen, and Dad and Mother and Mr. Wightman, and I was sitting in there listening to all the conversation because I was a kind of nosy kid, anyway. I wanted to know what was going on, and he said, "You know, I own everything." Well, Mother says, "Well, you're not going to take my stove, I'll tell you that!" because she was proud of that stove. It was, of course, an old wood and coal stove, but it had water tanks on the end to warm the water, and it had heating ovens above it, and she always kept that stove immaculate, and she says, "You're not taking my stove." He said, "Now, just relax, Mrs. Beeghly. Just relax. I'm going to give you enough money that you can buy a stove exactly like that or a better one, but I would like to have you leave the stove here." So, when she found out she was going to get one as good or better, she was perfectly willing to let him have the stove then, but he was not going to get that stove unless she had something in return for it.
LaVOY: Now, I don't understand. Why would he give her money for the stove if they owed him money?
BEEGHLY: He was a pretty nice man. I think he just wanted to be nice to her.
LaVOY: Then, did he buy the ranch, or who bought the ranch?
BEEGHLY: Who bought it from him, I don't know. We moved then, about three or four times around the valley.
LaVOY: Now, just going back a moment, how did your father happen to lose it? Were crops not good, or Can you explain that to me?
BEEGHLY: Well, the War was on during all of those years, and then…
LaVOY: World War I?
BEEGHLY: World War I, and then a depression hit, and Dad had always had the mining bug, so he really wasn't too interested in farming, and he was going to make it rich, so he was gone a lot. Out prospecting and mining and this, and I think he would have survived if he'd just a kept us kids at home working, and he would have worked himself. He probably could have survived through that, but he did lose it, and I think Mr. Wightman must have given him some money or something because we had enough money to make that trip back to Indiana and Ohio. We stayed back there all summer long.
LaVOY: And he decided that he wanted to come back out to Nevada?
BEEGHLY: Oh, yes. Well, I think we left all of our belongings here. What furniture and things we had, and we rented a little place right of north of where we lived. We only lived there, probably, six months.
LaVOY: North of the ranch?
BEEGHLY: Northwest, kind of, and we just lived there a little while, and then we moved again to the Towle ranch out in the Sheckler District. That's the place where Lattins have now. That used to be Lon Towle and his brother's ranch. On the lower end of the ranch, they had another house. It was a pretty large ranch. They had another house down there, and Dad rented that, and we lived in that for probably a year and a half. Something like that.
LaVOY: What did he do at that point in time?
BEEGHLY: At that time, I think, he had started in the bee business, and then he was doing odd work for different people.
LaVOY: Now, with the bee business, did he start the hives and everything?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. He finally… he bought some and he kept increasing them until eventually, when he went out of the bee business, he had almost four hundred colonies of bees, and he done quite well in them because the price of honey was pretty high.
LaVOY: Who did he sell his honey to?
BEEGHLY: All over the country. He used to sell a lot of it to Kent's. He just went out and peddled a lot of it to people, but he had a name of having the clearest honey of anybody in the country.
LaVOY: Did he have his own label?
BEEGHLY: No, he never did label it.
LaVOY: Just actually had it in jars?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. I used to help him in the bees. I hated it, but he seemed to always pick on me because I was the youngest, so I got the dirty end of the details. I used to help him cap the honey, decap it, you know. You had to steam knives, take the cap off the honeycomb, put it in a separator and separate the hone) out, and then we would put it in five-gallon cans, and a lot of it he put in quart cans, half-gallon cans, gallon cans, and he'd sell that all over.
LaVOY: Now, how long was he in that business?
BEEGHLY: He stayed in that, between that and the mining, he stayed in it until he got too old to work anymore.
LaVOY: And you did all of this on that Towle ranch?
BEEGHLY: No. After we left the Towle ranch, we moved right on up the canal, that's called Pole Line Road, now, I think, to the corner of Sheckler where Sheckler goes straight west and then turns north and runs into Highway 50 again. There was a dirt road, went straight ahead and went up clear as far as Lahonton Dam just following the electric power line, but there was no road turning east there. That was all farm ground, and right in the corner of that there was a ranch called the Sullivan ranch, so he rented that for a few years, and we lived there. That's where I first started driving school bus. I was fourteen years old. I know I was still in the eighth grade. I know that. And people wouldn't believe it. Said a kid in the eighth grade wouldn't be driving a school bus. It was a brand-new Dodge school bus. I had the best bus on the route. A lot of kids drove school bus, but they'd be the last ones on the route. The furthest ones out. If they could drive a bus, they got the job driving it because they didn't have to double back and pick anyone up, so I was driving school bus by the time I was fourteen. You see, you didn't need a driver's license, and as long as you could see over the top of the steering wheel and drive, they'd let you drive it.
LaVOY: My goodness! What were some of the pupils that you picked up in route?
BEEGHLY: Oh, used to pick up some of the Bell family and the Frank Hill family, Harvey and Cy, and Balgoynes and Waldrens and . . .
LaVOY: What was the route that you drove?
BEEGHLY: First we went north towards the main canal that comes out of Diversion Dam, and between our ranch and the canal, we picked up the Bells and the Hill boys. Then we picked up Balgoynes right at the canal, and then the road crossed the canal, went up the other side, and we went up what is now called Alcorn Road, I guess, because it's an extension of Alcorn Road, anyway. Maybe part of that is now called Kirn Road, I'm not sure, because Buck Kirn lived on it. They may have changed that, but, at that time, it wasn't even called Alcorn Road because Alcorns hadn't moved here by then. So I've forgotten the name of the road as they called it, but that's the end of the county that I picked up kids on.
LaVOY: And, did you pick up just elementary school children?
BEEGHLY: No, no. High school, too.
LaVOY: Well, that must have been something you're being as young as you were sitting up there driving all the high school students, too.
LaVOY: I know I've talked to several people who have driven the school bus throughout the years. One that I'm thinking of is Harold Rogers. He drove one of the routes. I think John Rebol drove another one of them, and here you were eighth grade driving them. Now, while your father was out there on the Towle ranch, you would have been in the Oats Park School.
LaVOY: All right, then, from the Oats Park School, where did you go?
BEEGHLY: Then I went to high school.
LaVOY: And which high school was that?
BEEGHLY: That was the new Churchill County High School.
LaVOY: The green one?
BEEGHLY: Yeah, the green one [650 S Maine St]. The old high school was where the Cottage Schools are now. So this was a pretty new school, which was right on Maine Street. 'Course I went in in midterm because I was a year behind my other classmates, and I hated every minute of it because I didn't know many kids, so I quit school, and that was a great experience. That was a leveler for me because my dad got me a job for board and room out at C.P. Whitney ranch. That's on the road to the base, now, along the canal. Got me a job out there hoeing foxtail for my board and room, and so I hoed foxtail until it was running out my ears. In fact, I had to help him with the chores, too. There was a feller who lived below us called Herbert Huttman. His father was a painter, and they'd built a nice new home below Whitney's clear off of the road. A big two-story brick house, and so I happened to run into--we called him Hutty--and he said, "I'm going to the dance tonight. Do you want a ride in, Wen?" and I said, "Sure, I'd like to ride in." So, I went in to Mr. Whitney, and I said, "Can I have enough money to buy a pair of new Levis to go to the dance in?" He looked at me like a snake or a worm, and he said, "You came out here to work for your board and room. No, you can't have any money." So, me being me, I went to the dance anyway, and that's the first time in my life I ever got drunk. I was a little mad and upset, and Prohibition was in force in those days, of course, and any kid could get booze if they wanted it, and, so I got drunk, and not only did I get drunk, I got awful sick.
BEEGHLY: I remember going home. We lived on Ada Street then which was only about three blocks off of Maine Street, and the house had a back porch on it which was screened in, and I was so drunk I couldn't find the door to get in there, so I was walking up and down the side of this screened porch at midnight or so scraping along that screen, and, of course, he heard that, but I didn't know it, so I finally found the screen door and opened it. Well, then when you walked across the screened-in porch it was pretty easy to find the kitchen door because it was almost in the corner of that, so I found that door all right and got into the kitchen, but the kitchen light had a globe in the center of the room with a string hanging down on it to turn it on, and there I was walking across that kitchen floor, or staggering across it, with my arms up in the air trying to find that string. I finally found it and pulled it on, and when I pulled it on I looked right square into my dad's face.
LaVOY: Oh, my!
BEEGHLY: He'd been standing there watching this all the time, and he said, "You're not in very good shape, are you?" And I said, "No, I'm not." "Well," he said, "I'll help you to bed, and we'll talk about this tomorrow." He knew there was no sense talking to me then. So, he put me to bed, and I woke up the next morning, and he wasn't there right then, and I told my mother [End of tape 1]
BEEGHLY: I told my mother that if Mr. Whitney came looking for me that she didn't know where I was because I was never going to go back to work for him again, and I never did. So I stayed out of the school the rest of that term. Then the next year when school started, in the fall term, I started back to school again.
LaVOY: You didn't finish telling me what your father said to you the next morning.
BEEGHLY: He never said a word. I know he went out and talked to Mr. Whitney about it, but he never did ever condemn me for that, and I don't remember to this day of him ever, ever mentioning it.
LaVOY: And at that point in time, you think you were about fifteen?
BEEGHLY: About that.
LaVOY: Well, now, in school, was Mr. McCracken the principal?
BEEGHLY: Mr. McCracken was the principal.
LaVOY: And what were your feelings about Mr. McCracken?
BEEGHLY: Well, I thought he was a very severe principal which he was. He demanded order and got it, and he demanded respect and got it. I thought he was kind of a tough man, but I always got along good with him. He was a firm man, but he was, also, an equal man. He never picked on kids. In fact, I know he gave lots of them a break. That year, I went back to school and started practicing football which I love. I was small for my age and small for a football player, but I started playing football. I remember that I had only gone to school for about two weeks, and I quit again. I'd gone to work for Art Downs in the service station. Was getting a dollar a night to work in the service station.
LaVOY: Where was this service station?
BEEGHLY: That was the Maine Service Station on the corner of Maine Street and Center Street. He had just built it a year or two before, and I went to work for him, and I hadn't been out of school three days when in drove George McCracken, and he said, "Where have you been?" I said, "Well, I've got a job, and I'm working for Art Downs." He said, "I want to see you at my office as soon as you get off work. I don't care what time it is. As soon as you get off work, you come to my office because I'll be there. I want to talk to you." Well, like I said, he was a disciplinarian and an authority figure, and I was afraid to defy him, so I was there. When he told me to come, I was there, and he said, "Now, what's your problem? Why did you quit school?" And so to make it as easy on myself as I could, I said, "Well, you know, I have to make enough money to buy clothes to go to school," and that's when I really got a good lecture. And that's when I learned what a good man he was because you see that was a lie. I could afford to buy clothes to go to school. Maybe not fancy ones, but I could afford it, but he told me, "If you ever need any clothes to go to school, you come and ask me. I'll see you get the clothes, but I want you to promise me that you'll come back to school," and I said, "All right. I promise you I'll come back," and so I did. I went back to school, and I kept going to school until I graduated from school, but he was a very fair man. He done a lot of good things to help kids through school because I think if he'd of let me get away with that, I would have kept on working and probably never would have finished school.
LaVOY: Now, were you active with the school social activities, or did you have to work?
BEEGHLY: Generally, I worked after school, but I did play football all the way through school. I played in four years. Was captain of the football team one year. We won the State Championship the last year I was in school.
BEEGHLY: Well, it was in 1929 actually because it was 1930 when they printed the annual that the school picture's in.
LaVOY: Now, who did you defeat to win the State championship?
BEEGHLY: Well, we beat Reno to win the State championship, but then the coach said – This might get some people at the school district fired, I don’t know – But the coach then got word from Las Vegas, because Las Vegas was just starting to build up. Always before whoever won the State championship in northern Nevada won it. Las Vegas called up the local school said, "You haven't won the State championship yet. You haven't beat us yet." So, they lined up a ball game for us to be played, and I think it was over the Thanksgiving holiday that we had to go down and play them.
LaVOY: In Las Vegas?
BEEGHLY: In Las Vegas. But, the coach had told us that he knew that half of us kids drank booze anyway and smoked, and he was a great guy. Whitey Lawson was his name, and he was one of the greatest guys that I'll ever remember, and he told us, "If you beat Reno for the championship, I'll buy you guys a case of gin, and we'll have the greatest party you ever had. We'll go down and rent the Chinese restaurant and we'll open that case of gin and have a helluva party." And, we said, "We'll guarantee you we'll beat them." So we beat them, and he bought the case of gin.
LaVOY: Now, this was you defeated Las Vegas?
BEEGHLY: No, that's when we defeated Reno. So then after we defeated Reno . .
LaVOY: Now, just a minute here. So, you have the case of gin, and you players drank the case of gin?
BEEGHLY: No. We didn't drink a drop of it.
BEEGHLY: We brought it home because we were going to have a party about the next week or two when he rented a restaurant downtown. So, I kept the case of gin. I had it hid under my bed. There was twelve quarts of gin. A case.
LaVOY: And that's because you were the captain of the team?
BEEGHLY: Yeah. Well, I don't know whether I was the captain that year or not. I was quarterback. I was a quarterback all through high school, and so, after Las Vegas had called and said, "No, you haven't won the championship," the coach came to me. He said, "For God's sake, don't open that gin. We've got another ball game to play." So, it was never opened, and then came time to play Las Vegas. We hired one Hiskey bus I know. The Hiskey Bus Company ran from Reno to Fallon and on to Ely, and then they hired another small bus that held about eight people, and those were the two things that we took the whole football team to Las Vegas in. Well, in those days, there were just graveled roads and dirt roads. There were no oiled roads. It took us two days to get to Las Vegas. I have to go back a little ways because it was comical. We stopped in Mina for lunch, and a fellow that I knew whose mother years later took care of my wife one time when she was sick, was running this restaurant, and that's where we stopped to have lunch, the whole football team. Well, there was about twenty-eight of us which filled the place clear full, and I'm sure we used every knife, fork, and spoon they had, and we had lunch and started to get in the bus to leave and here come Hugh Mulvaney out the door, and he said, "Hey, wait a minute. You can't leave yet. You kids got all of my eatin' tools."
BEEGHLY: We'd all stole knives and forks for remembrances of this trip. So, they frisked us all. They made us give them all back to him.
LaVOY: (laughing) Oh, dear! As if you didn't have knives and forks at home. (laughing)
BEEGHLY: Yeah. So, that night we made it to the Goldfield Hotel. Goldfield Hotel was still operating, and boy, that was a fancy place. But we stayed there overnight, and then the next day we started on for Las Vegas.
LaVOY: You didn't steal the linens from the hotel?
BEEGHLY: No, we didn't steal anything from the hotel I don't think. We started for Las Vegas, and half of the way down there we had to travel on one of the old railroad grades because there were no graded roads. Just a dirt road ran hither and yon, and so they had bladed the top of this old railroad grade the trains no longer run on. I think it was the old Bullfrog Line at that time that ran that way. See, in those mining days, there were about three different train lines ran into Tonapah and Goldfield area, and we traveled on top of this old railroad grade, and where every one of those ties were, there was a bump. They had pulled the ties out, but the gravel had kicked out, and it was like riding a bucking horse. Pert near shook those buses apart. We got to Beatty and something happened to the biggest bus. They were having drive line trouble with it and it heated up. Stopped there for an hour, two hours, I don't remember, and a mechanic finally got it running all right. Hooked up what was loose or whatever, and we got to Las Vegas. Played the game next day. The coach kept a close eye on me because I had to sleep in the room with him and the guy that we took from here to referee the game because the coach said, "We have to take a referee that I know that I played ball with so that we'll have an even break with those people." His name was Bert Burkham. He had gone to school with Whitey Lawson at the University of Nevada, and he was going to be one of the officials at the football game. So, to see that I stayed out of trouble, why, I had to sleep in the same room as they did. We got to Las Vegas, and the same thing applied. Every night we stayed there I had to sleep in the same room with the coach and the referee. But, we played the game, and we beat Las Vegas.
BEEGHLY: And, so we said, "Now we won the State championship." And I can remember the Boulder News and the Las Vegas News had front page pictures of it, of our team and what great players we were and this and that. We all had a copy of the paper, and I'm sure we all threw them away. Who was interested in keeping that stuff? So, that's the night we drank the gin then.
LaVOY: Oh, you had taken the gin with you?
BEEGHLY: I had packed that down there. Took it out of the case and wrapped every bottle in newspaper, and put it in a big suitcase, and I packed that everywhere I went. I didn't let that get out of my sight. We even took it out on the football field with us.
BEEGHLY: Because we's afraid if we left it in the room, somebody'd steal it. So it was my job to distribute that gin between the football players. So I knew who drank and who didn't, so those who drank too much I'd split them up with a couple of guys that didn't drink hardly anything so they'd have plenty to drink, (laughing) and some of those kids didn't drink at all. But, anyway, we all got hilariously drunk and mostly sick.
LaVOY: (laughing) Oh, dear. Where did you stay in Las Vegas?
BEEGHLY: At the Overland. It was a railroad hotel right across from Union Pacific Railroad.
LaVOY: Well, I hope that you weren't all too terribly ill for your stay at the hotel.
BEEGHLY: No, we weren't quite that bad, but a lot of us didn't feel too good.
LaVOY: It's a good thing that your parents didn't make the trip down with you.
BEEGHLY: Oh, it's a good thing. It's a good thing the school system didn't find out about it. If the coach would've made that kind of deal, I'm sure they'd of fired him and probably kicked us all out of school.
BEEGHLY: But, that's all right.
LaVOY: (laughing) Oh, dear. Well, then you graduated in 1930, and then after you graduated, what did you do with your life?
BEEGHLY: I was working for Art Downs.
LaVOY: The same man that owned the service station?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum, and I was driving truck for him and hauling gas all over the country. He had the Shell agency, and he also had the Shell service station, and when I wasn't driving truck I was working in the service station. Of course, there were no eight-hour days back in any of those days that I'm speaking of. It was from can see to can't see. You worked until your work was done. So, I used to haul gas as far as Austin, even further than Austin. He had a road contractor he was hauling to. I hauled as far south as Hawthorne and the ammunition depot down there and hauled it and serviced the light beacons across this section of the state of Nevada because they had light beacons then to guide the airplanes at night flying because they flew at night, too. Those beacons were, oh, in this country, probably thirty-five to forty miles apart, and they came on automatically at dark by a battery being hooked up to them.
LaVOY: Why did you need the gas?
BEEGHLY: To run the plant to run the rotary beacon, and engine, and that all started automatically.
LaVOY: Oh, I see.
BEEGHLY: It had a starter on the engine, I guess, and when it got dark it would kick that on and start the engine, and that rotated the beacon and also made light.
LaVOY: Oh! Now, did you put the gas into the tanks yourself?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. It had one tank on it which was outside. It had an iron ladder up it. It was about eight feet in the air, and you had to bucket each five-gallon can out of the tank truck, crawl up that ladder, and dump it in the tank with a funnel until it was full.
LaVOY: It's a good thing you'd been a football player.
BEEGHLY: Yeah. You got lots of exercise.
LaVOY: I imagine so. And, you did that all over this section of the state?
LaVOY: That's very interesting. I've never heard that that's how those ran before.
LaVOY: Then, when did you meet your wife?
BEEGHLY: In 1930. 1929, actually, I guess. I met her when she came to town to go to school. I thought she was a pretty nice looking girl.
LaVOY: Where did she come from?
BEEGHLY: She came here from Elko. Her father was a butcher, and he was a kind of traveling butcher, and her grandfather was a barber, and they always seemed to travel pretty close together. The grandpa and grandma and her father and mother. They started out from Texas and Oklahoma, and they wound up in Idaho. They lived in Blackfoot for some years, and then they moved to another town in Idaho. I don't remember where. Then they moved to Elko, and my wife's father was butchering in Elko for Sewell's. That's when the Sewell's stores first opened, and some of the Sewell family still lives in Elko. Then her folks moved to Battle Mountain. Her grandfather moved to here and started barbering, and the two girls--she had a sister by the name of Delores moved to Fallon to stay with their grandfather and grandmother and go to high school. So that's how I became acquainted with her.
LaVOY: Now, tell me her name.
BEEGHLY: Genevieve. Everybody calls her Jenny.
LaVOY: And her last name?
BEEGHLY: Longley. Genevieve Longley.
LaVOY: And how long did you date before you were married?
BEEGHLY: Oh, I'd say about five, six months.
LaVOY: Oh, this was a quick date and marriage.
BEEGHLY: Oh, yes. You bet.
BEEGHLY: She set a trap for me, and I wasn't going to let her get away.
LaVOY: Well, that's the way it's been, and now sixty-four years later .
BEEGHLY: Sixty-four years later we're still here.
LaVOY: You still feel the same way. Tell me some of the places that you went on dates.
BEEGHLY: Oh, we didn't have dates, then. You worked all the time, and Saturday nights was the only night because we worked seven days a week. You worked ten, twelve hours a day, and so . .
LaVOY: And on Saturday night what did you do?
BEEGHLY: We usually went to dance. She loved to dance, and so did I.
LaVOY: And where were the dances held?
BEEGHLY: Mostly in the country dances. Of course, some of them were held in the Fraternal Hall [39 South Maine] in Fallon. We took in all of those.
LaVOY: Where did the musicians come from?
BEEGHLY: Mostly local. Mostly local musicians. The Marsh brothers had a band. Frank and Harry Marsh, and his wife played the piano, and I think about then Monty Robinson used to play drums. Ray Alcorn played saxophone, and they played the old time love songs.
LaVOY: That you could dance to.
BEEGHLY: Thirties, forties, and fifties was the greatest music that's ever been made.
LaVOY: Well, I have to agree with you on that. I certainly do. Then, when you decided to get married, where was your wedding held?
BEEGHLY: It was held in a minister's home in Reno about twelve o'clock midnight, so we really never did know whether we were married on the seventh or the sixth of September, 1930. I think it was the seventh.
LaVOY: What preacher married you?
BEEGHLY: He was a Methodist minister, and I've forgotten his name. I have it at home.
LaVOY: I just wondered if it was Brewster Adams because he married many people from Fallon.
BEEGHLY: No. It was not Brewster.
LaVOY: So, you were married in Reno.
BEEGHLY: Uh-huh. We had to get the justice of the peace which was [Bill] Beemer then. The old man, not the younger Beemer. Fred Wightman and his wife took us to Reno to get married, and Fred called him up because it was pretty late at night when we got up there. Fred and his wife and I and my wife-to-be had gone swimming that day out in the canal north of town, and we were swimming, and Fred or his wife, one of them, said, "Why don't you two get married?" So we just laid there on the bank and talked about it and finally said, "Well, hell, that might be a good idea." And that's just the way it happened.
LaVOY: You didn't tell your parents or anybody?
BEEGHLY: We never told anybody. We just… Fred said, "I'll buy the ring if you'll get married." So he went and got the jeweler up. It was on a Sunday, I'm pretty sure. I think it was on a Sunday.
LaVOY: Who was the jeweler?
BEEGHLY: Howard Young. Went got him. Got the ring. Went home, changed clothes. She went to her house. I went to mine, and we changed clothes. We never told anybody. Fred had a new car, a Hudson automobile, and we went to Reno and proceeded to get married after we'd woken up the county clerk we had to get the marriage certificate from. And then it was so late we had to wake up the minister and his wife.
LaVOY: Well, I imagine they appreciated that.
BEEGHLY: Oh, I'm sure they did, but they were very gracious about it.
BEEGHLY: All of them except Mr. Beemer. He wasn't too happy to be getting up about 9:30, ten o'clock getting somebody a marriage license.
LaVOY: And then where did you honeymoon, or did you come right back to Fallon?
BEEGHLY: We came right back to Fallon the next morning. I was late to work the next morning, and somebody come up and said, " Hey, Art needs you right away." So that was the length of my honeymoon was that night right there.
LaVOY: (laughs) Now, may I ask where did you spent the night? Your house or hers?
BEEGHLY: That was in the Overland Hotel in Reno. I know that. We stayed there all night.
LaVOY: And the Wightmans stayed there. too?
LaVOY: And then brought you back home?
BEEGHLY: Brought us right back to Fallon.
LaVOY: Well, that's very interesting. I haven't heard of a wedding ceremony quite like that for a long time.
BEEGHLY: Oh, it was a pip.
BEEGHLY: So, I'll have to give you the rest of it, you see. We hadn't had a drink and after we got the marriage license I think was about the time when Fred said, "You know, we should have a drink to celebrate this." Most all the bars then were on Douglas Alley or Center Street or Lake Street, further down the crummier they got, but at the end of Center, the Golden Hotel set at the north end of the railroad tracks and the Reno Garage was at the south end of Center Street by the river. We'd just registered and gone to our rooms, and Fred come and knocked on our door. I'd just taken my coat off, and he said, "Come with me. I forgot to put the car in the garage." Well, I put my coat back on. I said, "Jenny, we'll be back in a few minutes. We've got to put car in the garage." So, we went down, put the car in the Reno Garage, and on the way back you passed about eight speakeasies. [End of tape 2 side A] The problem was we didn't pass them. The first one we came to, Fred said, "We'd better go in and have a drink to celebrate this marriage." I says, "I think that's a fine idea." 'Course we walked in the door, and the first thing he said, "Meet the new groom. He just got married," and, of course, pert near every place was the same, everybody happy-go-lucky, and everybody said, "Well, let's buy him a drink then." So, I don't have idea what transpired in these places, but, we'd have a drink or two in each one, and everybody congratulating you. "Glad you're married," you know, and here I'm a young nineteen and a half kid, not quite twenty, yet, and by the time we got back to the hotel the elevator had quit running. I was so drunk that I had to crawl up the stairs on my hands and knees.
BEEGHLY: So, my wife and I had a wonderful honeymoon. You can imagine.
LaVOY: It's a wonder she didn't kill you when you walked in the door . . . or crawled in the door.
BEEGHLY: If she hadn't of been the type of person she was, she would have. She'd have probably divorced me right on the spot.
LaVOY: (laughing) Oh dear!
BEEGHLY: But, she knew I drank when she married me, and so nothing was ever really said about it.
LaVOY: Well, when did you tell your family that you got married?
BEEGHLY: Well, we'd gotten up early in Reno so I could get back to work, but I didn't feel so good, and they had a bed on the screened-in porch down where they still lived on Taylor Street.
LaVOY: Your parents?
BEEGHLY: Yes, so when Fred dumped us off, I had to change clothes to go to work, and that's where I was still staying so we went in there, and I took my clothes off, and the first thing I done was lay down on the bed and pass out again, see. I don't know whether Jenny tried to wake me up or not, but they came up about an hour or two later, and someone from the station had tried to get me up and get down there to go to work.
LaVOY: Now, tell me, what did your parents say when you brought Jenny home?
BEEGHLY: Well, I didn't actually bring her home. You see, that same day she went and rented a place to live in.
LaVOY: Well, when did you tell your parents that you had gotten married?
BEEGHLY: Well, I imagine the next day. ….Or that morning, maybe. But, to tell you the truth, I couldn't tell you when.
LaVOY: Nothing like breaking the news gently.
BEEGHLY: Oh, yeah, gently.
LaVOY: (laughing) So where did you and she end up living, then, for your first home?
BEEGHLY: We rented a little place down on Broadway Street. A fellow who used to own the theaters had built about five or six small buildings with a bedroom and a bathroom and a kitchen. That was about it. Kitchen big enough to eat in, so that was the first place we stayed in.
LaVOY: Well, then, did you continue working for Downs?
BEEGHLY: Oh, yes. Um-hum. I think our total assets---I think I had about 120 dollars when we got married, but he was paying me 125 a month which was real good money for those days. Store clerks were making about probably fifteen, twenty dollars, dollars a month. So, that wasn't much money, but we got by great on it. I worked for him until our son was born in 1932, and that's about the time he decided he was having a tough time with credit like everyone else.
LaVOY: Who was his biggest creditor?
BEEGHLY: Oh, I wouldn't tell you if I had to because I think some of the family's still alive. So, anyway, a lot of people owed him money. A lot of contractors who were in businesses owed him money, and he was having a tough time of it then so he decided that he was going to go in the gambling and bar business, and he and Fred Saunders bought out the Barrel House and asked me if my brother and I didn't want to run the service station. Of course, I took him up on it, and my brother and I lasted in that together about two months because that relationship wasn't too good. Immediately it was explosive.
LaVOY: Which brother?
BEEGHLY: That was Sam, the one that eventually owned, the meat market. And that was about the time, anyway, that my wife got sick, and our baby had been born which was a seven-month term baby so small that they had to put him in the hospital boiler room by the furnace to keep him alive with hot water bottles around him.
LaVOY: Was that here in Fallon?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. The old Moore hospital.
LaVOY: And who was the doctor?
BEEGHLY: Carmichael. He later on moved to Grand Coulee, Washington.
LaVOY: How long was the baby in the hospital?
BEEGHLY: Quite a while. He and Jenny and both were in--it seems to me--three or four weeks. He only weighed, I think, about three and a quarter pounds, and very few of the premature babies lived in those days.
LaVOY: What did you name him?
BEEGHLY: Bill. He's still alive and still running a service station.
LaVOY: When was he born?
BEEGHLY: November 4, 1932.
LaVOY: Well, after he and your wife got out of the hospital, why then you . . .
BEEGHLY: We had moved again in the interim to 280 West Richards, and it's on the alley right in back of where we live now, off to one side a little bit. The depot dispatcher down here at the depot owned that property, and he had this little house on the back. It was just an old shack, but it had a bedroom in it, and it had a bathroom and a kitchen and front room. Small, but adequate. We took him home, and her grandmother came. Her grandfather by then was living in Hawthorne barbering, so her grandmother come over here to stay with us and help with the baby. We'd only had him home about a week at the most, and he got pneumonia, and we had to take him back to the hospital again, and he stayed there that time for a week or ten days. So we had a lot of problems with illness along about then. I can remember walking the floor with that poor little kid. When she'd give out, I'd take over. Well, I was running the service station twelve or fourteen hours every day, and, of course, she was taking care of this sickly child, and she was always tired, and she just walked the floor, and he'd cry all the time. Just cry and cry and cry. He kept losing weight then and we took him to Dr. Summerbell, This was in a period of about a year because he'd grown a little bit, and then he started losing weight and got sick and Dr. Summerbell put him on egg white and orange juice. That was all. No milk or nothin'. God, I thought he'd starve, but he eventually came out of it. Husky and healthy, and he's still going strong.
LaVOY: Well, that's good. I'm glad to hear that. Now, with your business, how long did you stay? When your brother went out of the business, did you have another partner, or did you continue on your own?
BEEGHLY: No. I tried to run it myself, and I stayed open twenty-four hours a day. I got an old cushion out of a Model-T Ford and put it on the floor and laid down on that and went to sleep, and if a customer come in, I got up and waited on him. My wife stayed at home with the baby, and when it come time to eat she'd bring my breakfast, lunch and dinner up to the service station in a little red wagon with the kid, and I'd eat and she'd go home, and I'd go back to work again.
LaVOY: People just do not realize how the Depression affected families.
BEEGHLY: It was tough, but we all survived. Not only that, we learned from it.
LaVOY: That's true.
BEEGHLY: We learned how to be real conservative. We learned not to trust everybody. But there were a lot of good people, but if there hadn't of been a lot of good people, a lot of us couldn't survive because people would help you. They knew what kind of shape you were in. I remember Eddie Harriman, the Harriman family who's lived here for a hundred years or more. Every time they butchered, Ed'd come to town, and he always stop at the service station. He never bought any gas because they had gas delivered to the ranch, but he'd stop at the service station, drive in, hand me a package, say, "Here's some meat for you, Wen." And you never asked for anything. This was all voluntary. Never did ask for anything, but people were like that. They always helped one another.
LaVOY: Well, that's very admirable. Then, how long did you keep the service station going?
BEEGHLY: Uh, well, I ran it alone for awhile, and then my brother, Lyle, came down and worked with me for awhile. I couldn't afford to hire him really, so I couldn't pay him very much, and he didn't like it very well either, but he did help me out. But, before my brother, Sam, got out of the station, he got upset because I was drawing more money out of it than he was because-my wife had got sick. I'd taken her to Dr. Summerbell, and he had called me up after he'd examined her that night and told me to come up to the office when I got off work, and I said, "I can't get up there before ten o'clock." He said, "I don't care when you come. I'll be here." So, I got up there about ten o'clock and sat down, and I can never forget it because the first thing he done was reach down and open a drawer and set a bottle of Four Roses booze on the top of his desk, and he said, "You better have a drink because when I get done telling you what I'm going to tell you, you might need it." So, I said, "All right." He said, "Your wife has tuberculosis."
LaVOY: Oh, my.
BEEGHLY: Well, in those days, that far back, he'd just as well told me she had cancer, terminal cancer, because tuberculosis in those days was known as a dirty disease that only filthy people had. And I know my wife wasn't dirty, and I know she wasn't filthy. She's one of the cleanest people and the most immaculate housekeeper. But he told me that's what she had. My God, it just shocked me so bad that I didn't know what to do. I don't remember it, but I'm sure I had a drink of that booze, and I said, "Well, I don't know what to do, but," I said, "let me ask you a question. What would you do if that was your own wife or daughter?" He said, "There's only one place I'd take her. That's to the Southern Sierra Sanitarium in Banning, California, but you can't afford it, Wen." And I said, "Doc, if that's the only place that's going to help her, that's where she's going. I don't care if I have to rob a bank. That's where she's going." So, I took her down there, and I borrowed all the money I could, and I was able to get enough to get her in there. My older brother was skinning cat working for Nevada Rock and Sand down by Las Vegas, so we went that way just so I could put the rigging on him for some money, and I did, and he said, "How much do you want?" and I said, "All you can get." So I got it, and I got it from everybody I asked, and she only stayed in there for a couple of months, and then I found that this Mulvaney boy that I talked about us stealing the silverware in Mina, pert near all of his mother's family had had tuberculosis, and she knew how to deal with it. She found out my wife had tuberculosis, and I had her down in a sanitarium, and she said, "Wen, why don't bring her up here?" She said, "I have a nice screened-in front porch. She can be isolated all alone, and I'll take care of her." And, so that's what happened. That's how she got back home, and she took wonderful care of her. Because they advised dry weather and dry climate and plenty of fresh air and total bed rest. That was their prescription for healing tubercular patients. In the town of Banning everybody almost was a tubercular. So, at noon, everything come to a stop. Everybody took their rests never opened up again, regardless of what business or anything until 3:30, 4:00 in the afternoon.
LaVOY: Now, who took care of the baby while she was down there?
BEEGHLY: Everybody. My mother, my sister, Grandma, just kind of swapped around. I drove that just about 500 miles, 1000 miles round trip. I had it figured every Friday night I would work all night. I would work all day Friday and Friday night up until Saturday. Then I would gas the car up. I had an old 1932 V-8 Ford, and I would take a fifteen-gallon barrel of gas in the trunk, and I'd put plenty of oil in the trunk, and every Saturday night I'd say, "I'll work up until six o'clock tonight. Then I won't be back until Monday morning because I'm going to go see my wife," and I'd jump in that car and drive clear to Banning, California, just about a thousand mile round trip, visit with her for a few hours, and turn around and drive back to Fallon and be here in time to work Monday morning and work all day Monday and hadn't slept from Friday night until Monday night.
LaVOY: Well, that was a very hard thing for you to do, but you loved her, and you went down there and did it. You knew what you had to do.
LaVOY: How long did it take her to recover?
BEEGHLY: About a year. She was fully recovered in a year. Maybe it was even a little bit less than that. Mrs. Mulvaney took wonderful care of her. I even forget what she charged me, but it was very minimal, I'll tell you.
LaVOY: Well, now, did Mrs. Mulvaney have a rest home?
LaVOY: It was in her own home?
BEEGHLY: Just in her own home.
LaVOY: Well, that's very, very good.
BEEGHLY: She just had the one daughter named Liz. She eventually married Art Downs after Art and his first wife had divorced, and they lived together for the rest of their life. But, she had about three sons, and I think all three sons had tuberculosis. I guess they contracted it from each other.
LaVOY: My goodness gracious. Now, you were still living in the small home behind Richards Street.
LaVOY: And working at the service station. Did you continue working with the service station until the War broke out, until World War Two broke out or did you . . .
BEEGHLY: Yes, I stayed right in it, but by then Don Hennen came in partners with me after that.
LaVOY: About what year was that?
BEEGHLY: It had to be about 1933 or about then. We ran it a year and a half or two years before we finally went broke because of credit, and I just locked the station up one night. There was no money, no gas, no nothing left, and the door sill was worn. It was a wooden door sill, and I thought, "This is the end of this," and I just laid the key down and kicked it back through that hole under the door, and said, "That's it." Never took a screwdriver. Never took any of those bills that people owed me. Had over twelve thousand dollars on the books. Never could collect a penny.
LaVOY: People just did not have the money.
BEEGHLY: They didn't have the money. Go ask them for somethin', and they said, "We don't have any money. We owe a lot of other people too. People owe us money, but nobody has any." And, so, it was very difficult.
LaVOY: What'd you do?
BEEGHLY: And, it was a sad day when Don left me because there was no money left in the till, and I told him there wasn't. So, a great friendship separated under tough conditions, and that was a kid I loved very much. He was one of the finest young men I ever knew in my life. And later, after I left the station, I went to work for Andy Drumm out towards Carson City on the Weeks Road. He had an oil job out there, and I went to work for him for thirty-five cents an hour picking rocks out of the oil with a pitchfork throwing them off to the side of the road.
LaVOY: You found some interesting jobs. (laughing)
BEEGHLY: All the equipment Drumm had left from his bankruptcy was what he'd practically stolen back from the Internal Revenue, and all he had was oiling equipment. He didn't have any contracting equipment as such because he had no crushers, no nothing. So we had disks and harrows and a couple of Caterpillars, so he could only oil during the summertime.
LaVOY: Had he been a big contractor in this county?
BEEGHLY: Andy Drumm? Oh, yes. He was one of the biggest before he went bankrupt. He had a lot of equipment. Done a lot of work.
LaVOY: Now, about what year did he go bankrupt?
BEEGHLY: About the same time the stock market went broke, kaput, and the banks all closed. Of course, the Shell Oil Company was his biggest creditor that he owed more money to than anybody else, and they just foreclosed on him, and Internal Revenue took it over and made the Dodge Brothers administrator of it.
LaVOY: And, then, is that when the Dodge Construction started?
BEEGHLY: No, they were already running. Mr. Drumm had two brand-new Buick coupe roadsters, and they confiscated those, of course, and the next day they were parked down in front of the Dodge Construction Company, and he didn't like it very well, let me tell you. He was a very unhappy man, but he was a very good friend of mine, and he was a very fine man. I worked for him off and on for years.
LaVOY: Well, did he get his company going again?
BEEGHLY: Oh, yes.
LaVOY: And when did he do this?
BEEGHLY: Well, this was about a year, probably about 1934, he started again. He started with just a couple of Caterpillars and a couple of disks and harrows.
LaVOY: And you worked for him?
BEEGHLY: Well, when I finally quit the station, I went to work for him, but my brother had already gone to work for him, and they were doing an oiling job at that time – that early – over in Utah, and then they had various oil jobs around Nevada. That's how he got started again and was able to build up into a bigger contractor because I'm sure he was worth eight, nine million dollars when he died, and they disbanded the Drumm name.
LaVOY: Now, did you work for him then? For how many years after that?
BEEGHLY: As I told you, I went to pick rocks that summer. Well, when winter come along there was no work, so your brother, Don [Hennen] and I rustled up enough money to open a Twenty-one game in the Sagebrush where the Nugget now is, but the Sagebrush was the corner building on this end of it, and Bill Powell ran it. We asked him if we got the money if we could open up a Twenty-one game there, and he said, "Sure." So, we rustled up enough money. We didn't have much, but we started it, and we made a living out of it during the period of time we stayed in it. I think it was just through the winter months and maybe partially into the next spring because I went to work for Drumm. Then I'm not too sure when Don went back to Elko, or what, do you have…?
LaVOY: I really don’t know. And then you continued working for Drumm?
LaVOY: Full time?
BEEGHLY: Yes. In 1936 I went to work for him full time, and we worked all over the state of Nevada. By then he had accumulated a little bit and was able to get a little money to operate on, and he started in the contracting business. My brother and I and his wife Doris’s brother was named Lyle Whightman. And he was a welder. And he could weld- [End of tape 2]
BEEGHLY: Lyle Wightman could weld almost anything. And Drumm got a contract job up out of Winnemucca towards Golconda, building an overpass across the Humboldt River and another job right below there where the hot springs are. I can't the remember the name of it. It was about seven or eight miles off the highway.
LaVOY: By Beowawe?
BEEGHLY: By Beowawe. We got a gravel job there, and so he brought up some equipment. He brought up a crusher and the frame had to be made for it. Brought a bunch of iron. Brought Lyle Wightman, my brother, Lyle, who was a mechanic for Drumm then, and myself, and, of course, he had another crew of men working. We built the gravel plant that he used for years right there on that Beowawe job, and Lyle Wightman and my brother, Lyle, welded most of it. The conveyors and all. Put it together right there, and from then on he was in the contracting business.
LaVOY: Now, basically, what did you do working for him?
BEEGHLY: Everything. I ran the gravel plant after we built it. I was the gravel plant operator. When we were working on the job north of Humboldt on the bridge he drove me up on that one morning at five o'clock, and he said, "See that crane and those twenty-one foot long I beams? You're going to run that. We're going to put those upon top of that bridge because you see they're bolting them down to the bridge frame." I said, "I don't even know how to start that thing." He said, "Ryan'll [Earl] show you how to start it." And that's the way he was with me all of his life. I learned to run every piece of equipment he had. He would just tell me to get on it and go to work, and, so, at different times I was doing everything from running a front end loader to running the gravel plant to running the oil crew. He fired his superintendent on the job at Wells at one time so I was the superintendent for a few weeks. He would let me do anything. I don't why. He trusted me, I guess, and I trusted him. He knew that when I worked, I done a day's work. People used to tell me what an ornery man he was to work with. Well, he blew his stack, I'll guarantee you that. Plenty of times, and he was like that, but he was also a nice man. I think I quit him and worked for him five different times, but he would always hire me back.
LaVOY: Did he come to get you?
BEEGHLY: One time he came to get me. Yeah. The rest of the time, like I'd get mad at dealing with the oil companies because they were giving people the shaft in those days, and they're still doing it today. So, he would always give me a job. I had a different look at him than most people did because not only was he my boss a lot, but I could almost feel a friendship there. I was one of the few people that I ever knew that he could confide in. He used to come down on Sunday because he loved to play Solo with all of these older men in town, and if they weren't there to play Solo, he'd walk over to my service station and set on the curb and talk to me. So this one time, then in later years, he came down one day and sat on the curb talking to me, and he said, "Wen, I know you've done a lot of' flying, and I've had a heart attack, and I can't get my license anymore," and he said, "Mrs. Drumm won't let me fly without a co-pilot, so," he said, "you're not making enough money in this service station anyway. Why don't you just sell out and come back and go to work for me? I'd like to have you be my co-pilot."' So, I said, "Sure."
LaVOY: So, all in all, you worked for him until you retired?
BEEGHLY: No, I worked for him a lot, but at different times. No great length of time. I probably spent more time in service stations than anything else, but I did work for him, like I say, I think five different times, and I could have worked for him as long as I wanted to, but friction used to be there between the hired help. I was never afraid to quit a job. I was never afraid to quit because I was going to starve. The only times that I had any fear of that was the years I stayed in the service station when I should have been out doing something else because I always figured I was smarter than that to stay in one of those damned service stations where they had full control over it, and you didn't have much to say about it. Still, you were the operator.
LaVOY: Well, now, besides the Maine Street Service Station, which ones did you have and at what time frame?
BEEGHLY: Well, the Maine [Service] Station I had worked for Art in for about three years. Then I and Don ran it for, say, a year and a half; two years. I ran it alone, and my brother, Lyle, helped me for a year, year and a half, and that was in about 1936 that I quit then and went to work for Drumm. Then that winter came along that Don and I run the Twenty-one game, and the next year the minute good weather came, I went back to work to work for Drumm and started oiling again.
LaVOY: And then when did you go into a station?
BEEGHLY: Well, I worked for him until about 1939. Yeah, 1939 we had finished the job up in Wells, I think it was, and I left mad because Drumm's road foreman wanted me to move the shovel so that he could use it to put in drain boxes on the roadway, and I was setting up the gravel plant with it. I said, "Whitehead, you can't have the shovel. I'll be done with it in three more hours." I was putting the screen clear up on top of it with a crane, and he said, "Well, I have to have it right away." I said, "You can't have it." He didn't have any more authority than I had. He was a road boss, and I was the gravel plant boss. About that time, a big cloud of dust came down the road, and Whitehead had gone back to his job, and I knew what was taking place. Here come Drumm again, and. so he stopped down there and he came up, and I wouldn't even get off the plant. I just kept on working clear up on top. I made him crawl up there. He said, "You'd better let Whitehead have that shovel." And I said, "Fine. He can have the whole damn outfit," and that's all that was said. I just crawled off of the gravel plant. I was staying, in a ranch house about a mile from the job there at Deeth, and I went over and packed my suitcase. At that time, I was driving one of Drumm's pickups which I took with me wherever I went. So I just went over and gassed up the pickup, packed my suitcase and came to Fallon. I never told him I was quitting. I just left.
LaVOY: Your wife stayed in Fallon all the time you were out on these road trips?
BEEGHLY: Pert near all the time.
LaVOY: Now, did you have another child?
BEEGHLY: Janice. Seven years younger than Bill. She was born, in 1939 on January 30.
LaVOY: And was she born here in Fallon?
LaVOY: And you had no problems whatsoever with her?
BEEGHLY: None with her.
LaVOY: Well, that's great. I'm just curious to know. When you were in the service station business, didn't you have a baseball team or something? You were on a baseball team?
BEEGHLY: I used to help sponsor the town baseball team when I was in the service station.
LaVOY: “The town baseball team." Explain that to me.
BEEGHLY: A lot of the CC boy's had came in here, and a lot of them were pretty fair ball players. We had a lot of local players that were pretty good, and they had what they called a town team. I think it finally graduated out of the American Legion baseball team and became the City of Fallon town team. That's the only name I know-they had for it. Anyway, they always needed sponsors, and so one year I'd buy all the baseballs they used, and the next year maybe I'd buy all the bats they used and then give them donations for signs. One year they won the western area of the league they were in, and they got to go to Omaha, Nebraska, to play for the championship. So half a dozen or so of us fellows that were in business in town at that time put in together and thought the cheapest way to get them there and get them back home would be to buy a used bus, and we told them, "We'll buy one that's in pretty good shape. Have a mechanic go through it, and you guys can drive that back to Omaha, Nebraska, and play ball and bring it back and then you'll always have a bus.." (laughing) Well, they got back there all right and they played the ball games all right, but they didn't win the championship, and on the way home, the bus broke down, and I don't know what the hell ever happened to it. (laughing)
LaVOY: They did get back to Fallon, though?
BEEGHLY: They got back to Fallon.
LaVOY: That's good. Now, tell me the other service stations you owned besides the Maine Street one.
BEEGHLY: I didn't own any of these. I was leasing them all.
LaVOY: From the oil company?
BEEGHLY: Yeah. The Richfield Service Station in 1939--this was the time I left Drumm when I just walked off. Never told him I quit. I just went got the pickup, came home, took the keys that I had, his office was open because I got home in the daytime, and I just threw them on the desk and told his bookkeeper, "Send me my check. I won't be back." So, I was looking for a job, and there wasn't too many available right then. Bill Foster had opened up the old Inman Garage which one of the older settlers of the valley Allen Inman used to run. He was a machinist, and he had moved down where the Kolstrup Garage is now. So Bill Foster was going in there and sell DeSoto automobiles. So, he cleaned the front end of the place all up, and got one car. Cars were really hard to get then, and, of course, money was still tight, and he opened that place up and had hired a mechanic from Drumm by the name of Jess Baker. So I went down and was talking to him. He wasn't doing any business at all. He didn't have anybody to grease cars. He didn't have anybody to wash cars. He didn't have anybody to paint cars or do body and fender work. He had one mechanic. So, I'd already had experience in all of this. I'd done lots of spray painting when I was working for Drumm. I sprayed all of his bunkhouses, his equipment, hundreds of miles of guard rail on the highway and overhead passes where you'd spray paint all those steel beams on the end of a shovel boom, platform four feet square. All overhead and all that paint spray. Your body would be up in this sixteen square feet capacity, and at night the paint'd just be running off of my face and chin. So I done lots of painting, and I used to knock out some of his rough work and paint, and then I learned how to paint cars just by painting. But to get that paint off of me, then, at night when I came in the only way to get it off was to get a five-gallon bucket of gas and just wash my face and hair. The way I lived my life is a wonder I'm sitting here because I ate enough dust, drank enough gas, breathed enough gas fumes, was in danger enough places I should have been killed ten thousand times.
LaVOY: (laughing) But, anyway, then, getting back to the mechanic to the DeSoto store.
BEEGHLY: Well, he was telling me, he said, "I don't know whether I can make it in here or not," and I says, "Well, I'm not working now, Bill, and so, why don't you hire me? You have an old grease rack out here in back. You have an old washing machine--" it was one of those pressurized washing machines. "Why don't you hire me, and I'll come in here and help you get this going?" Because I knew a lot of people. I knew people from Las Vegas, Ely, Elko, you name it, because I used to go all over. Lot of people traded with me. Every time they'd go through Fallon, they'd stop. Well, he knew that, and he knew that every time I went out of the service station business, the minute I went back in, I had all my business back again, and so he said, "Why, I couldn't hire a jack rabbit. I don't have any money to hire anybody. I'll be lucky if I can pay Jess's wages." I said, "You don't need to pay me wages. You don't have to pay me a dime. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll come in here and clean that thing up in the back end where the greasing outfit is and make a paint rack back, there. Clean it all up, wash cars, paint cars, grease cars, but I want a cut. I want fifty percent of the profit. You ain't getting that now, so you're getting my labor free, so I want fifty percent on everything I do. Not of your cost. Like if I sell a battery, and the battery costs you thirty dollars, I don't want fifty percent of that. All I want is fifty percent of the profit. You might make eight bucks off of that. I want four of it." So, he says, "Well, that don't sound like it's going to cost me anything." And, I said, "It isn't going to cost you nothing. It's going to cost me a lot of work. That's what it's going to cost." So, he agreed to hire me under those conditions, so I went to work for him, and I started rustling business. I cleaned that place in back and worked like a dog to get it operable and went out to all my old customers. "You need your cars washed or greased, I'm down there at Bill Foster's. Let me know. I'll come and get them." Inside of a week I was as busy as could be. I was doing everything. I was changing tires, greasing cars, washing cars, painting cars, helping with mechanics at work, selling batteries, doing everything. And I worked for him for about… That was in the late spring or right in the early part of summer when I went to work for Bill. I went to work there for about four months, and, hell, I was doing a good business. Then he came to me one day, and he said, "Wen, I can't afford to hire you." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "You're making more money that I am." I said, "I knew that all the time, Bill. Didn't you know that? I was getting half of the profit, and you had to pay the overhead. Weren't you smart enough to see that?" He said, "Yeah, but you're making more money than I am." "Yeah, but," I said, "you wasn't getting anything." I'm trying to tell him, "Hey, you're still getting half of what I'm earning, and if I leave, you won't have a dime of that coming in." "Well," he said, "I can't afford to pay you. You're making me more money than I am." So, I said, "Fine, then." So, I left. Right at that time, the Wallace family had been running the Richfield bulk agency, and they decided that they would build a service station and really go in the gasoline business. So they built a brand new Richfield station down by the Fallon Garage west side of the street. Toughest competition in town. They come down and said, "Would you like to run that station for us?" I said, "Sure." They said, "Well, we'll hire two men. If you're willing to run it, we'll hire Jim Woods and you can run it." I said, "Fine." So, I ran that then.
LaVOY: Was this Joe Wallace?
BEEGHLY: Joe and Jim were kind of in it together, although Jim was also running the Fallon Garage, but they were in kind of partnerships. Joe, actually, was running most of the Richfield part.
LaVOY: The bulk business?
BEEGHLY: Bulk business. Jim was running the Ford garage. So, I ran that station.
LaVOY: For how long?
BEEGHLY:1939, 1940, War broke out in 1941, wasn't it? World War II?
LaVOY: Yes. December 7, 1941.
BEEGHLY: 1941. So, I was still in it then. 1942, till about 1943 I ran that, and that's when they put in rationing, and it was tough.
LaVOY: Now, were you called into service?
BEEGHLY: No. I had two children by then. Three of us owned an airplane together. A small Piper Cub.
LaVOY: Who were the three?
BEEGHLY: Mutt Downs, Gene York, and myself, and we were doing a lot of flying out here. All the time we could get in. Of course, the government had a lot of restrictions on planes, and they made us take the ailerons, the elevators, and the wheels off of our airplane, so we couldn't fly it.
BEEGHLY: The civilians couldn't be flying around the country with government airplanes. It was hazardous plus if people had airplanes they could sabotage anything if people had airplanes. This was their fear, so they grounded a lot of private pilots. Period. So, the airplane was just setting there. The Army had started a training school in Lovelock to train glider pilots and heard about it, and they came over and offered to buy it very cheaply, of course, because we couldn't fly it. We had it in the hangar right across from the Experiment Farm.
LaVOY: Where the regional park is now?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. Where the regional park is. That used to be the old landing field. And, so, we sold it to them, and so that was the end of my flying at that time. And that is the time, I'd left the other service station. Jimmie Allison was running the Union Oil station where the Standard Oil station now is, and he'd gotten out of it because it was either time for him to go in the Army or, maybe he just wanted to get out, I don't remember. Anyhow, a fellow by the name of Exide Handley who used to work for the Fallon Garage was running that Union station at that time, and I found out that he wanted out because pert near everybody wanted out then because of the gas rationing. You couldn't sell tires, you couldn't sell anything without ration coupons, and it was tough. So I knew that was a much better location. That I could do better up there than I did where I was. So I bought him out. I ran both stations for four or five, six weeks until I found somebody to buy the one down by Coverstons'. And soon as I found somebody to buy it, I just sold everything out and moved completely up to the other one. But, when I moved up there to the Union station, I hadn't been there a week until the inspector for OPA [Office of Price Administration] came through and measured my gas tanks. He said, "Hey! You're short about three thousand gallons of gas. Where are the coupons, or where's the gas?" I said, "My friend, I just moved in here a week ago. I couldn't of give that much gas away let alone sell it." So, I told him what had happened. I said, "I certainly haven't got enough stamps to cover it, and the gas isn't in the tanks, but what I got in there I paid for. I'll tell you that." He was a nice fellow. He was the only one I ever found that was, in that OPA. He says, "Well, I just left Reno, the main office, and I'm headed clear around the State. I'm going to go through Elko, Lovelock, Winnemucca, Ely, [Las] Vegas, I'll be back here in about three weeks or a month, and I'll check you again." Really nothing crooked about it. There was no payoff or nothing, but he said, "You've got a lot of friends in this town. While I'm gone, why don't you go around to your farmer friends and people in business and tell them the situation you're in. You can tell them you need some stamps to replace those stamps that are missing." Hell, I went around to these ranches, and to my brother, Lyle, who was in the furniture store. He could get all the R stamps he wanted, to deliver furniture out to the Base and Gabbs Valley and Hawthorne. [End of tape 3 side A] So, I'd asked these farmers, people in business if they could help me out with any stamps, and they'd say, "How many sheets do you want?" So, I think it only took me one day. I gathered up enough stamps to have more than enough to fill those tanks full of gas because as long as they was full, I didn't need any stamps. They were covered, and so when he came back, I said, "Well, here's your stamps," and he said, "Thanks very much." I said, "Well, it's a pleasure doing business with you." He never bothered me at all, and all the time some of my competitors were… black-marketing gas and everything else, but I never would. My friends were all over there being shot, and, regardless of how I felt or how much money I could have made I would never ever do it. If people come' in in desperate shape, I'd say, "Well, why don't you buy five gallons of solvent or five gallons of kerosene, because you didn't have to have stamps for them and go to the closest service station and buy three or four gallons of gas to mix with it, and your car'll still run. Might not run very good, but it'll still run." But I would never black market anything. I had people come in. Good friends of mine said, "Need a new set of tires." I'd say, "Do you have the certificates?" "No. I'm in the gambling business or the bar business, and they won't give me any certificates." And I'd say, "Well, I'm sorry. I can't sell you any tires."
LaVOY: Well, now, how many years did you have the Union station?
BEEGHLY: I was still running it in 1952. I stayed in that one longer than I stayed any place.
LaVOY: And then after that what did you go into?
BEEGHLY: Then… I went to work… I don’t know whether *right* at that time. But then I went to work for the Naval Air station as a heavy equipment operator.
LaVOY: About 1952?
BEEGHLY: Probably about 1953.
LaVOY: And did you work out there then until you retired?
BEEGHLY: No, I worked out there two years.
LaVOY: Was that when they were starting the base over again when the Navy took it over?
BEEGHLY: No. They were going full bore out there when I went to work for them.
LaVOY: It was the Naval Auxiliary Station?
BEEGHLY: It was the Auxiliary Station, uh-huh, and all the squadrons were coming in off the coast and training out here.
LaVOY: It was during the time of the Korean War? And, you were working heavy equipment at the base?
LaVOY: Now, after you finished the two years at the base, then what did you do?
BEEGHLY: Then I went to work for Jack Tedford. He was running a small gravel plant up by Hazen, and he had started doing some road work and oiling work. So I worked for him on oil jobs at Carson City and over at Wabuska and down at Lee Vining [California] and around Fallon, and the street work around the new subdivision on the west side of town, running different equipment for him and worked for him… before I had gone to work at the base. Then with all the carrier squadrons and all this coming in I enjoyed the work. I enjoyed running equipment, but they could never line up enough work to keep you busy, and I'd been earning my living and paying taxes all my life and when I looked around and seen half of the personnel on that base doing nothing but hiding out, I got so disgusted with bureaucratese and the bureaucratic system that I thought about going to school back at the University of Iowa and so I said, "This is what I want to do is go into teaching, actually, and counseling alcoholic and drug addicts," because I'd volunteered this work for ten years and talked to people about it and they said, "Well, why don't you come back to Iowa and get some training, and then I'm sure there'll be work for you." So I went in to the base personnel and asked them if I could have a year's leave of absence to go to school, and they said, "Absolutely not," and I said, "Well, then you can take this job because I'm going to school anyway." And that's just what I did.
LaVOY: Now, did you move your family to Iowa?
BEEGHLY: No. My wife stayed right here. She was working at the five and dime store at that time, and I told her, "The State will pay for my tuition if I go back there because they want some trained people out here. I won't need any money, and you won't because you've got enough with what you make. You can live here until I get back because I'm only going to be gone six months." That guy told me that I could do that course in six months with the background I had. So that's what I did.
LaVOY: What part of Iowa?
BEEGHLY: It was right out of Iowa City about twelve miles. It was an old tubercular sanatorium that was self-contained. It had everything there, and this is where they were training alcoholics. They had many other things going on at Oakdale because they were doing scientific research. They were doing cancer research there.
LaVOY: But, you, basically, went there for drug rehabilitation training, or was it alcohol?
BEEGHLY: Alcohol, primarily. They added the word drug on just so the federal government would get more involved. Years before, when we started working with alcoholics, always when you talked to the bureaucrats they wanted that drug system in there, and we said, "They won't coincide. They won't work together. Talking to an alcoholic is altogether different than talking to a drug addict. As different aa night and day." So, they said; "Well, if you're ever going to raise any money you're going to have to get the word 'drugs' in there." I finished the school in six months. I was on that school ground every day except Thanksgiving. I flew home for Christmas and stayed five days but by the first of the year I was back in Iowa City again, and I was studying or working with the staff from five thirty in the morning until anywhere from one thirty to three o'clock the next morning every day for six months.
LaVOY: Now, why did you choose to go into alcohol rehabilitation?
BEEGHLY: How so? Because I turned into an alcoholic myself.
LaVOY: Oh, I didn't know that.
BEEGHLY: I didn't know it either. I was the last person to know it.
LaVOY: Oh, I see, and that's why you went into the . . .
BEEGHLY: Sure. One time when I was drunk, a fellow drove into my service station. I was washing his windshield, and I said I'd heard about AA [Alcoholics Anonymous], but I had never thought that that applied to me. That only applied to them drunken bums laying in the gutter down here. Hell, I was still in business making money. How could I be an alcoholic? By the way, he was a businessman, and I asked him, "What is this AA business?" And he said, "Well, are you really interested?" I said, "Wouldn't ask you if I wasn't." He said, "Well, it just happens that about five of us are going to Lovelock in thirty minutes to an AA meeting. So if you're interested why don't you just jump in your car, go home and change clothes, and I'll meet you back here and pick you up in thirty minutes." So that's what happened. He picked me up, and I never had another drink. I went to that AA meeting
LaVOY: Well, that's very admirable. When you finished your school in Iowa, what did you do?
BEEGHLY: I came back. There were no jobs available in that field, so I had another good friend who was in AA. Of course, I think the world of all these people because ninety-nine percent of them, they have to be honest people or they'll never stay sober. They never will, and so they became more trustworthy than the average public ever thought of being. I told a minister one time--he was from Las Vegas and we had an alcoholism school at the University of Nevada--and he was saying, "Well, we should get all of these people in church and this and that and that's how you get them sober," and I said, "Look, my friend, most of these people have already tried church. You haven't helped any of them. The last thing you want to do is talk about seeing God in church to a drunk because he'll turn you off just like that." "Well, not our church we wouldn't." And I said, "Well, let me ask you a question. How many alcoholics did you ever sober up?" He said, "Well, I don't know of any." So we got in quite an argument, and there were quite a few heavy words spoken, and I told him, "Well, I'd rather trust an alcoholic any day than I would a member of your church, if he's a sober alcoholic." He was really defiant then, so that night he must have talked to someone because he came up to me the next morning, and he said, "I apologize to you the way I talked to you." "Well," I said, "I apologize to you, too, the way I talked to you because we have to cooperate in this thing. We can't be at swords point loggerheads you know", and so we both came out with good feelings but that's why I got into that field.
LaVOY: How long did you stay in the field working?
BEEGHLY: I wasn't working at all because I was trying to promote the drug and alcohol abuse rehab in Fallon. I had the backing of Grant Harris who was the administrator of the State alcoholism program at that time, and at that time it was strictly state alcoholism programs. The drug name wasn't added on to it. So it was an agency by itself, and no one could work in that agency as an administrator unless they were a recovered alcoholic themselves because they knew what a difficult problem it was to get through to these people. So, he helped me get into the school in Iowa by getting the State to pay for my tuition. When I came back, of course, I had no job, so I set to work because I knew how many people needed it here. I'd been to AA meetings all over the state of Nevada almost, and knew how much it was needed, so I just to set to work on a voluntary basis. Went around contacting all the people I knew in Fallon and see how much help they could give. If it was only a verbal help, if they'd pull for us, fine. "We're going to have meetings. We're going to, invite people to the meetings. See what you think of it. We'll lay it out on the table and see what you think of it." Went to the County Commissioners, went to the City Council, went to the churches, talked to all of them.
LaVOY: Well, then, with your doing all of this, you were not employed per se at that point in time?
BEEGHLY: No. Not for quite some time. Not for, I'd say, almost a year.
LaVOY: Then did you go back into another station?
LaVOY: Or did you go strictly into the alcohol program?
BEEGHLY: We were finally able to organize and wrote a grant, I helped write it, and what was his name now? He used to write grants for the school district. He knew how to write grants and get money, so he helped write that grant, too, and wrote a grant for a drug and alcohol information, counseling, and referral service. We had brochures printed. The City of Fallon and Churchill County with a joint meeting agreed to find us a place to rent for an office. They would take care of that. They would take so much of the county tax, so much of the city tax which would allow about, seven thousand dollars payroll. So, they paid me seven thousand dollars a year from that point on.
LaVOY: And how long did you run that?
BEEGHLY: Uh, I think it was thirteen or fourteen months, but by that time we had the board of directors all set up. We had people coming in. They could walk in. By then I was going all over this end of the state telling people about our program here in Fallon. We'd help people set one up because this is what Grant Harris, said, "We gotta educate people first." So I was going all over the state of Nevada. Then, he quit his job and Joe Pritchard got that job, and so I kept doing the same thing. But, by this time, we had opened this office, and we had referrals of people. We had articles in the newspaper. We were interviewed by the newspaper asking what services we offered. We had a total meeting at the library of all the state and county offices in the community, with me telling them what kind of help we needed from them to make our program to work, what they could do to help us, and also telling them what we could do to help them. So we got this off of the ground, got it going and it's been successful ever since. I guess it's still successful. It's running.
LaVOY: I'm certain that it is. Now, getting back to your life, this is a very admirable thing that you were undertaking, and we have gotten up to it must be probably about 1960. Is that correct?
BEEGHLY: ….No, we're further than that. [tape cuts out]
LaVOY: Well, Wendell, you were with this drug abuse program here in Fallon, then you went over to Carson City for two years. Is that correct?
LaVOY: And, then after your two years were up in Carson City, did you retire from working the service stations and the drug abuse?
LaVOY: And you've been retired ever since?
BEEGHLY: Ever since. Right.
LaVOY: And what have you been doing in your retirement?
BEEGHLY: I have done an awful lot of volunteer work. I never did hold another job. I've done a lot of things to help a lot of other people, and I've never taken a dime for the things that I've ever done to help them. I still work with people who have a drinking problem or a drug problem who want some help who will come to me or call me. I'll still help them. But I've not held down a paying job ever since I got out with one exception. After I had retired the man who was working what they call the roads and grounds crew at the naval station called me up one day. All he'd ever done was run a bug spray outfit out there, and he was a housing administrator for a while. Then they made him the boss over the roads and ground crew and that's when he called me up and he said, "Are you fully retired, Wen?" and I said, "Yes, I am." And he said, "Well, I know you worked out here for a couple of years, and I know you're one of the best men they ever had out here because you got excellent rating the first year you ever worked here, and nobody ever got that before. I know that. I wonder if you can come out and help me because they gave me this job, and I don't have anybody I can depend on and I need somebody that's been experienced out here that knows this equipment and knows what to do. Can you come help me for six months?" I said, "No, I won't do it," And he said, "Well, can you come and help me for three months. I'm desperate. I knew what it was like working out there, and, so, I said to him, "John [Paul], you're that desperate, I will come out and help you for six months, but that's all." He said, "Fine. Come to work tomorrow." I said, "All right." Well, when you go to work at the base, they run you through all of these tests and look at your teeth and your tonsils and toenails and everything else to find out if you're physically okay. They didn't do one thing to me. They just put me to work the next day, and I thought, "Well, that same old crap's going on." They just had a big area there, probably, oh, three acres in size and ten feet deep that was just a gully down through there, and they had a contracting outfit from Reno hauling sand in there to fill that. They had surveyed it and knew the yardage that they had to have and they just dumped it in there and so they needed somebody to put that to grade. So we went out and resurveyed, it, put in the redheads, and now all this sand had to be sloped to grade and he said, "There's your job." I said, "Well, which patrol can I have?" He said, "Take any one you want. Now, you're going to have to help the pipe crew, too, because you're going to have to run the blade and the ditcher and you're going to have do all this type work around." They were putting in new lawns around the housing, totally new electric sprinkler system, and he said, "You're going to have to run all of this stuff when they need you." So, the first day, I contacted them and they said, "We'll pick you up at working time every morning." Well, every morning they'd pick me up thirty, forty-five minutes late. I was mad the first time it happened. We no more than got out on the job and they looked it over, and they said, "Well, we have to go back to the shop now and cut some pipe." So, they'd go back, and they'd tell me, "You just as well come along 'cause you can't do anything until we get back here." So, I'd go in and have coffee with them, and they'd stay in there until about nine thirty, maybe ten o'clock. Just no more than get out there and do one thing maybe, and they'd say, "Well, it's coffee break time.
LaVOY: And for a man that's worked all of his life . .
BEEGHLY: So, back to the base we'd go and drink coffee for another half an hour, and by that time, it's lunchtime. So, for somebody who worked and paid taxes all their life to see this stuff go on, I lasted twelve and a half days. The bean feed came on for the children at the grammar school which I think they still have every year to raise money for different events which is a very worthwhile thing. But, here come the notice out this morning, "Today's bean feed day. Anybody on the base who wants off to go to the bean feed is welcome to go. Their paycheck still goes on."
LaVOY: And with that you quit?
BEEGHLY: No. I finished half a day's work. I went out and finished what I had to do, and I came in to eat my lunch, and I think I was about the only guy on the base. I think they all left because they weren't going to get docked in pay, and I know how they worked out there, so I sat down and was reading a magazine eating my lunch. About thirty minutes passed, and this is the way I always operated, a thought just flashed through my mind. "Beeghly, what in the hell are you doing here?" And with that, I threw the magazine on the counter, grabbed my lunch bucket, went over and punched the time card, and never showed up again. Never told anybody I quit. I just didn't show up. Two weeks passed, and one day he called me up. He said, "Wen; are you coming back to work?" I said, "Work? What the hell work are you talking about? That ain't work out there. That's just a place for people to draw their check and laugh at the taxpayers. No, I'm not coming back to work." And that was it.
LaVOY: Now, what are some of the things you and your wife have able to do in your retirement years?
BEEGHLY: We just stay home, and I do a lot of work in the yard. I go have coffee twice a day with some of my old friends at nine o'clock in the morning and two o'clock in the afternoon. Visit our family a lot in Reno and Sparks. We love them to death. My son still runs a station in Fallon, and he's been a great son because every day that goes by, unless something turns up, he stops at our house every night after work. He's sixty-two years old, and he still does it.
LaVOY: That's wonderful. Do you have grandchildren by your son?
BEEGHLY: Um-hum. He had a boy and a girl. Her name was Marla Beeghly, and now it's Marla Smith. She lives in Verdi, and her husband is in the insurance business.
LaVOY: And then your other one?
BEEGHLY: And their son's name is Philip [Beeghly], and he works for his dad at the service station.
LaVOY: And how about your daughter?
BEEGHLY: My daughter [Janice] lives in Reno and is now Mrs. Joe Howard and he's a principal and SAE Engineer and has been for years. She's a librarian for the Mt. Rose School, [End of tape 3] and they have three children. The oldest is married and lives in California, has a degree in engineering, works for one of the big companies in Campbell, California. She's married and has a great-grandson of ours who's about nineteen months old right now, and her husband's an electrical engineer. Works for one of the big companies in California, and right now they're sending him to Stanford for a year to learn something new and getting paid while he's going, so I guess they're both doing all right.
LaVOY: Well, I certainly think so. Now, we've covered your life very, very thoroughly, but before we close I want to ask you what are your reflections about how Fallon has changed since you were born?
BEEGHLY: Well, I know that you have to go forward, and you can't go backward, but I enjoyed life more when I was young, during the Depression, during all the hard times or what tragedies or sickness we had. I enjoyed all those years more than I've enjoyed anything since because everybody wants growth, and Fallon has grown to the point where we've lost touch with everything that was old, and everything has to be new now. So, now we're getting new County Commissioners, new City Councilmen, new everybody in Fallon who are ex-military people or ex-Civil Service people, and, so now, instead of the old-timers having control of what's going on, the water situation is a good example. The Reclamation Bureau and the U.S. government promised these people a lifetime of water providing. Well, they met the provisions, and now they're not getting the water. I hate this, and so I have to say then that I hate advancement really, because even the people are different. You meet them on the street, say, "Hello", and they won't even speak to you. I regret this very much, and so I still choose to live here because it's always been my home. I still like Fallon. I don't necessarily like the way the county, the city, or the state's being run, but I wouldn't live any place else in the world. There's a few other towns in Nevada that I really like that I would have lived in at different times, but there's no other place else that I would like to live because I've been back in Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Arkansas, or even Washington, etcetera, and I wouldn't trade them one of these sand hills for their whole damn state because I love it here. I grew up here and I had some of the greatest friends and the greatest experiences and some of the finest people that God ever created, and. I wouldn't forget that for anything. I actually think, and I've told people this, and some very intelligent people and some business people and medical people have told me the same thing, I said, "They talk about we have to advance, and we have to build, and we have to do this, and we have to do that." I said, "Yeah, I know- all about it. I know all about the drug business for example. Who's running the country?" The drug kingpins are because I know when I worked in the prisons I had full privileges to go into that prison anytime day or night that I wanted to and I was working with prisoners in this field, and I said the prisoners knew more about what's going on than our local politicians do, and I like some of these people. That isn't the idea. I think we're headed backwards. I think we're headed back towards the dark ages when we can't control the plague. We have AIDS now. People are getting tuberculosis again when it was completely wiped out. People are getting smallpox. I don't like it. I like the good old days and everybody said, "Hi." If you come within four hours of lunch time and you wouldn't stay for your lunch, you were their enemy because you had to stay. You were their friend, and if you were hung up at night, you had to stay all night. I, myself, have traveled hundreds of miles to help people in the mountains that were in a tough position. Today, I don't know, you can't find anybody to help you. They want to get paid.
LaVOY: Well, that is one way of looking at it, and I can see your point of view on many of those things, but you've given us a beautiful interview, and on behalf of the Churchill County, Museum I want to thank you for all the time that you have taken to give us this interview, and we certainly do appreciate it.
BEEGHLY: Well, I thank you very much.
LaVOY: This is the end of the Interview. [Tape cuts] I am adding this as an addendum to Wendell Beeghly’s interview. It can be put any place that you care to put it throughout the interview [ed- as that is not how addendums work, they have been returned to the back] Wendell, would you tell me about the moving of cattle through the town of Fallon when you were a little boy?
BEEGHLY: When I was real small I remember very distinctly the Sanford family who were real good friends of ours, and Lish [Elisha] used to move most of the cattle that were moved into this country to be fed during the winter time. He would pick them up at the stockyards because everything was moved by railroad then, and we would move them out to different ranches who had contracted to feed their hay to the cattle. In the spring he would reverse the procedure and move the cattle back to the stockyards again, picking them up all along the way, and Lish's son, John, and I were good friends and couldn't have been over six or seven years old, and he would hire us as cowboys to help move those cattle both in the spring and the fall and pay us men's wages. He never expected something for nothing, and, on top of that, he used to love to play draw poker. He just loved that. So, sometimes he would stop in town before he went home. He lived on the Grimes Ranch almost ten miles out of town. He would go into the Barrel House and take us two kids with him. He would get in a poker game and pull up a chair along each side of him and say, "Now, you kids can learn how to play poker," and we were supposed to watch him and keep him awake. In those days there were free meals on the bar. They'd have bologna and crackers and cheese and popcorn, maybe, and you could go up and help yourself. Lish would say, "Now, you if kids are hungry you go up there and get somethin' to eat, and I'll buy you a beer." 'Course we'd always do it, but it was near beer. It wasn't the real McCoy. He'd buy us a bottle of near beer, and we thought that was gr-r-eat stuff. Boy, we was big men! I'll tell ya'. But, he loved kids, and he knew how to treat them.
LaVOY: Now, tell me, he brought the cattle in from the ranches, and where did he gather them to bring them through town?
BEEGHLY: Well, we'd take them different ways. Sometimes we’d take them--depending where you picked them up. We always tried to take them the shortest way. Sometimes we'd take them in back of the Grimes ranch and go around that way. Sometimes we'd take them in this way up Allen Road. Sometimes we'd take them right up this road because this was Highway 50 in those days.
LaVOY: Schurz Highway.
BEEGHLY: That's why I mentioned the Beckstead Store. That's where old Highway 50 came right through the Grimes ranch from Grimes Point. Came past the other ranches I mentioned, came out at the Beckstead corner on the corner of Corkill Lane and Highway 95 and turned right, and that's the way you went into Fallon.
LaVOY: And they drove cattle that way?
BEEGHLY: Drove cattle that way.
LaVOY: Now, how did the Fallon residents react when the cattle were coming down through the streets of the town?
BEEGHLY: We'd usually take them down the edge of the town. Never went down Maine Street as I ever remember it.
LaVOY: But, you came in through what's Taylor Street?
BEEGHLY: No, it wouldn't be Taylor. It would be Allen Road. Over further.
LaVOY: That must have been quite a thing to see.
BEEGHLY: You bet it was.
LaVOY: Those cattle. Most of them belonged to whom?
BEEGHLY: People in California or [William] Moffitt. He was a big, big man. He used to keep a man here all the time just to watch out for his cattle here. …I knew his name for years but I’ve forgot it…
LaVOY: When did they stop those cattle drives?
BEEGHLY: Oh, when the trucks started hauling cattle, and they made stock trucks. It was a long time because they drove ‘em… they were still driving cattle back and forth up into the late 1920's.
LaVOY: That's interesting. Now, one other thing that you mentioned, the Barrel House. There's a very funny story about that. Would you care to repeat that?
BEEGHLY: Oh, the Barrel House. Yes. It used to be a two-story building. It isn't anymore.
LaVOY: Where was it approximately?
BEEGHLY: That was about in the middle of Maine Street on the west side, and there used to be some red-light girls practice their wares upstairs. The Barrel House caught on fire one night and, luckily, the fire department got it put it out before it completely burned down, but it was just a shell left. One of the Cushman boys, Frank Cushman--his nickname was Brady--the next morning was setting up in the window upstairs that was all burnt up and he had found the girls' charge book where these people had charged for some of their wares, and he was setting up there reading their names off, and there was some people in that crowd I'm quite sure that would have liked to killed him, and it's a wonder somebody didn't.
LaVOY: (laughing) You mean he was actually calling out names?
BEEGHLY: Calling out. Yeah. Joe Blow owes so much money to Minnie, you know. I bet they could of killed him.
LaVOY: (laughing) I think that's just wonderful. And, then the next thing that I want you to tell us about was about Big Mose, the Indian.
BEEGHLY: Oh. One night my folks had left home to go visit one of the neighbors, and I don't know which one because the closest neighbor we had was a mile away so it might have been several. Anyway, us kids were all home alone and it was night and dark, and someone knocked on the back screen door. My sister who was the oldest went to the door and here stood this great big Indian man who used to be, I'm sure he was six feet tall and he must have weighed two hundred and forty pounds. He always wore a big hat and this night, because the mosquitoes were so thick in those days that they'd pack you off if you weren't tied down, and Big Mose came to the door, and he had a red bandanna tied around right under his eyes so he could see but he wouldn't breathe in those mosquitoes or swallow them, and he had that big hat pulled down right over his forehead and a real deep voice. When my sister opened the door she looked up and seen him, and he said right then, "Anybody home?" and my sister just passed out cold and fell over on the floor.
BEEGHLY: And the next day he came and seen my father, and he was so apologetic that he'd scared--he turned around and left then, and he was so apologetic that he had scared her he came back and he said, "No scare 'em. No scare 'em. No mean to scare 'em. Sorry." He just apologized practically out of his boots, but he was a nice man.
LaVOY: Something that I wonder is, how long did it take you to bring her to?
BEEGHLY: Not very long. She come right to.
LaVOY: (laughing) That's a priceless story. Thank you so much for sharing these stories with us, Wendell.
BEEGHLY: The Beckstead store too. The Beckstead store sat right where Corkill Lane and Highway 95 come together now. In those days Highway 50 went from the what is now 95 straight east from Beckstead store down past the Cushman ranch, the Ernst ranch, down the south side of our old ranch, through the north then to the north side of our ranch, and then turned south and went through the Sanford ranch and it went between the house and the corrals and those long line skinners used to drive eighteen, twenty horses with a long line on them, they called them, because the skinner sat on the rear wheeler horse in a saddle and he just called those horses by name and popped a whip and make them do what he wanted to. I mentioned that Beckstead store because the old man that ran it used to trade us peppermint candy for arrowheads and we would hunt all over the country. Of course there was lots of them in those days. We used to find literally hundreds of them right where the Navy base is today. We'd pick them up, bring 'em to the store, and he'd give us 'as much candy in a sack as we had in a sack of arrowheads. So that's how we got our candy.
LaVOY: Well, he did very well, I am sure. Probably sold them at a fortune apiece. Well thank you for sharing these stories with us, Wendell, I really appreciate it,
BEEGHLEY: You’re welcome, Marion.