Helen Blair Millward on Minnie Blair

Dublin Core

Title

Helen Blair Millward on Minnie Blair

Description

Helen Blair Millward on Minnie Blair

Creator

Churchill County Museum Association

Publisher

Churchill County Museum Association

Date

Ca. 1988

Format

Analog Cassette Tape, .docx file, Mp3 Audio

Language

English

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Bunny Corkill

Interviewee

Helen Blair Millward

Location

Fallon, NV

Transcription

Helen Blair Millward Interview for Article on Minnie Blair
Performed by Bunny Corkill, ca. 1988 Transcribed by Raeburn Sottile.
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.
CORKILL: Alright, now we go. This picture
MILLWARD: This is a picture of my father in the American Railway Express car at the station in Placerville [California], and people always waved at the trains and the train personnel always waved back at the people. My mother lived in a house across the street and up on the hill with her sister and her sister’s family, and she worked in the post office in downtown Placerville and she had to walk to work every day and so when she walked to work, she… He waved at her. So, I think then the next time she that figured it was him, she was down there to see who he was, and that was more or less how they got acquainted because my mother had been born in Folsom [California] and had only lived in Placerville a little time- while, at that time.
CORKILL: Now you see, I have that, um, she was… her early years were spent in Folsom and Sacramento. Following the death of her mother, she moved to Placerville to live with an older, married sister.
MILLWARD: That’s right.
CORKILL: And what is the sister’s name?
MILLWARD: Maud, but her married name was… Inch, I-N-C-H.
CORKILL: Okay, very good. And then I also have here in Placerville, your mother worked in the post office and was an operator on the telephone exchange.
MILLWARD: Mm-hmm.
CORKILL: And then that’s where she met your dad.
MILLWARD: Yeah.
CORKILL: If I could just go back a minute, I start out by saying that, “The state of California was admitted to the Union on the ninth of September, 1850. 38 years later, in the town of Folsom, Sacramento County, California, William H. and Christine Wagner Nichols celebrated by giving the world a little girl named Minnie Paulene on the ninth of September, 1886. If we explore this little person’s deep roots, perhaps we can better understand how her spirit grew to nearly touch the sky. Christine Wagner’s Parents-“Now Christine Wagner would be your grandmother?
MILLWARD: Yes.
CORKILL: Her parents were Andrew and Christine Wagner, were of Prussian birth. They came around Cape Horn to California via Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Christine was born on the 26th of December, 1951. Following her marriage to William H. Nichols-
MILLWARD: Now wait a minute.
CORKILL: It’s either Christine…
MILLWARD: Let me just look at-
CORKILL: Yeah, okay, let me get the family- the pedigree chart here, because that’s what I took that off of. I think I skipped a generation when I was talking to you just there. [Long pause, papers rustling] Anyways…
MILLWARD: Let’s see… [More papers rustling] Oh, Bunny, here’s it, just a little bit…
CORKILL: Yeah, well you gave me that… Pedigree chart, which is this just wonderful. [Papers rustling] I guess I have it on my desk at home. Apparently when I talked to you on the phone the other day, I put it someplace else.
MILLWARD: She was born in Philadelphia.
CORKILL: Yeah, yeah. Your grandmother.
MILLWARD: My Grandmother.
CORKILL: Christine?
MILLWARD: Uh-huh.
CORKILL: Well, somehow- it’s not all that clear, but that is in there. That’s what that means, and then when I wrote in the pencil about her parents-
MILLWARD: Yeah, Christine Wagner’s parents were… yeah, Prussian birth.
CORKILL: [Long pause] And they came to California, but Christine was born first.
MILLWARD: Christine was born before that.
CORKILL: But then they came out-
MILLWARD: The father went on his own first, and then he sent for them, so it was the mother and… William and [Further away from the microphone] I gave Melody my important things. I gotta get the others. Here it is. [Drawers opening and closing]
CORKILL: Oh, here’s this- Here’s the pedigree chart that I was looking for, thumping around. [Long pause, drawer closes] Here… Christine Wagner… This, here’s your thing. It was under this pile. Okay, now we will start. Christine Wagner, one more time, we will start with, like this paragraph.
MILLWARD: Yeah.
CORKILL: Okay. Her parents, then, would have been this Andrew Wagner and Christine, maiden name unknown, Wagner.
MILLWARD: Yeah.
CORKILL: Okay, so it was, now you tell me about her parents.
MILLWARD: Uh… [Rustling throughout] Let me just see here what I’ve got… Oh, shucks, I’ve got the wrong one. I’ve got all the rest here… I just took Melody some of these sheets and I got them all mixed up when I did it. That ones in the… Alright uh… They were married in Prussia and… they had a child born there before they came to this country.
CORKILL: And that child was?
MILLWARD: Charles, a boy. [Long pause] Then there was three children born in Philadelphia.
CORKILL: Okay [sounds of writing]. And their names were?
MILLWARD: It was Louise. She was born in ’49. Boy, they sure had three of them fast. I don’t know. It doesn’t look right. And Caroline, and Christine.
CORKILL: Okay, and so Christine is yours.
MILLWARD: Yes.
CORKILL: This is the one we’re working with.
MILLWARD: Yeah, yeah.
CORKILL: Okay.
MILLWARD: And there was two more children born after they got to… to California. A boy, Andrew and a daughter, Pauline.
CORKILL: [Sounds of writing] That’s where your mother got her middle name?
MILLWARD: Uh-huh.
CORKILL: Okay. And so then, when you say they went to California…
MILLWARD: Well, when the… I imagine the mother making the trip with 1, 2, 3, 4 children around the horn. That boggles my mind, but that’s the way they got there.
CORKILL: So Andrew Wagner went ahead?
MILLWARD: Yeah.
CORKILL: Do you think he went over land?
MILLWARD: I think he went over land.
CORKILL: Okay, and then Christine came around the horn? Have you ever been around the horn in all your travels?
MILLWARD: I wanted to go the worst way. I wanted to go to Antarctica, and I wanted to go, and they were gonna come back around via the… that area. That was a tour right after I got out of the shop [Spudnuts Doughnut shop, 1350 S. Taylor St.] Bill wouldn’t go, and he… didn’t want me to go.
CORKILL: Oh…
MILLWARD: He didn’t want me to- he knew something that happened, you know? So I never made it.
CORKILL: Okay, so she came around the horn with four children…. Okay. And let’s see, what did I have here? Alright, and so then back to your Christine, your grandmother. “Following her marriage to William H. Nichols on the 21st of August, 1869 in Shingle Springs, California, she became the mother of three daughters and four sons. Her life was to end shortly before her 47th birthday on the 6th of December 1898.” And so I just might write down the names of your Grandmother’s seven children, if you have those.
MILLWARD: Alright. There was Lina, and William… Charles… And Maud…
CORKILL: Is this with an “E” on the end of Maude?
MILLWARD: No.
CORKILL: No “E,” Alright.
MILLWARD: And then Loren, who died as an infant.
CORKILL: L-A-U-R?
MILLWARD: L-O-R-E-N
CORKILL: Mmm-hmm.
MILLWARD: And, uh… Bertram, or they called him Bert, oh yeah.
CORKILL: That’s that… kind of a… Basque name, now they use it.
MILLWARD: Yeah. And my mother was next. And Clarence.
CORKILL: Okay, that’s good. Now, on your Grandfathers side, this William H. Nichols. Now, I have this kind of screw-ied up because I have taken these little stories and tried to condense them and I ended up kind of fouled up on this one. Okay, “William H. Nichols was born the 16th of July 1848 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His parents, Eli and Lucy Nichols, crossed the plains to California around 1850. Fearing that the long, covered wagon trip across the country would be too hard on their new baby son…” On their new baby… Well, this is where I have it screwed up. They left him in Connecticut with orders that when he was six years old he was to have a shipping tag put around his neck and sent, so he was-
MILLWARD: That’s as much as I can tell you, that he was sent with that shipping tag, and the way they made that trip, it was by ship to… a country in South America, and then it went overland by stage and then he went on the ship to San Francisco. I think it was Managua, but I’m not sure… Is that a country?
CORKILL: Managua, now that’s…
MILLWARD: That’s a town. [Ed- the Capitol of Nicaragua. Given that Nicaragua is in Central America and was considered as a spot for a canal before Panama, this may well have been where the overland route went]
CORKILL: Yeah, that’s a town, I think.
MILLWARD: Now let’s see if I can find it. Wait a minute, why don’t I get my mother’s book out if I can find it? [tape cuts, presumably to give her time to look for the book. When it comes back there is the sound of pages turing.] I wonder if she got that in here… [muttering to herself] That would be his death… Yeah…
CORKILL: Now, this Desert Research Institute book was kind of like the forerunner of the oral histories that they’re doing now at the University [University of Nevada Reno]? Is that?
MILLWARD: This was one of the oral histories.
CORKILL: Oh, one of them.
MILLWARD: Mary Ellen Glass [?] did this one. [Flipping pages] It’s got a good index, but… I might have got it under Wells Fargo Express too, in here. Hmm… [Continues flipping pages]
CORKILL: Is it Marian LaVoy that lives out by us, kind of, now, she said that she worked with Mary Ellen Glass in doing the transcribing of many of the stories.
MILLWARD: Yeah. You know, the funny thing is I used this at a… I had a big gala at my house in January and used this and… I didn’t- But I talked about my mother’s pen pals, and… Oh, I don’t know where she mentioned about her brother…
CORKILL: Well, so that would be her dad, this William H.?
MILLWARD: It’s probably on this page and I didn’t read it. …It’s right here. Just said- she didn’t give that much… “In 1852 when William, the son, was 6 years old he was shipped by Wells Fargo Express via the Isthmus.” But it wasn’t. I don’t think it was via the Isthmus, because they- I read where other people came, some of the Blairs came, it was up a little higher, and there was a stage that ran across according to the information. [Ed- she is assuming the Isthmus of Panama, but her mother may well have meant any part of Central America, probably Costa Rica or Nicaragua]
CORKILL: So he was sent by ship from Connecticut to Central America. We could say Central America.
MILLWARD: Central America. And by stage…
CORKILL: …Across Central America.
MILLWARD: And then on a ship. She didn’t even tell this in here, but when he got to San Francisco the ship was a day early and there was nobody to meet him, but a lady had befriended him on this last leg or maybe on the whole journey, and she took him to her hotel, and the next morning there was headlines in the paper that he was… a child had been lost, and when she saw it then she took him to the police and they reunited him with his parents.
CORKILL: Well, that’s a wonderful addition to the story. Yeah, that’s great.
MILLWARD: That’s… wait a moment…
CORKILL: Then, well, like I say, my little work’s gonna be kinda insignificant compared to that. I didn’t even realize that one of those was in the world. That’s great.
MILLWARD: Uh… you could take this if you wanted to, to look it over.
CORKILL: Just to look at a little bit of it. That’d be wonderful. Well, then, the next thing that I have, I have that her, your mother’s childhood was spent in Folsom and then she lived with this Maud, and I- All of the things that I have have said “a sister” but I think it’s kind of neat to put the names, yeah.
MILLWARD: Mention the name, yeah.
CORKILL: And then that’s where she met your dad. Well, then it says that the Blair- Well, then this is a little… [Papers rustling] article I just had here a second ago about your dad, telling about his… life history, what little there was… Well, there’s nothing quite like fumbling through papers.
MILLWARD: Oh, I have an awful habit…
CORKILL: I just had my hand on it right there. It wasn’t much, but it was in 1929 and it just said a little bit about his life. [Long pause, more slowly going through papers]
MILLWARD: Did you ever read the mystery- they misspelled “mystery.” I guess that’s the way they spelled it, though, in that… on the cover, maybe.
CORKILL: Yeah.
MILLWARD: Did you ever read it?
CORKILL: No, I didn’t.
MILLWARD: I’ve got it somewhere.
CORKILL: Do you?
MILLWARD: Uh-huh. Just a real small… [Long pause] And, really, there might have been horses and mules sheltered, but there was also oxen.
CORKILL: And oxen.
MILLWARD: Because they used oxen. They were hauling the gold from Virginia City. And they… that was one of their overnights.
CORKILL: So there was mules, horses, and oxen that were down there for the night…
MILLWARD: My… and she was the daughter of Ezra Schooley, instead of William, because William was the one that lived to be 102.
CORKILL: You’re right, see, this little thing… now, am I to return these or did you give me this copy?
MILLWARD: You can have it.
CORKILL: Oh, alright. Well, see, you had it perfectly right. This Ezra, but then like I talked to on the telephone that day, and so I put that William was the… would have been his parent’s… great-
MILLWARD: I made a mistake in spelling here. That’s Coloma C-O-L.
CORKILL: Okay. I know one thing I was gonna ask you. Do you know what… county that Shingle Springs, California is in?
MILLWARD: I think it’s in El Dorado.
CORKILL: I think you’re right. I… saw- you know, it’s really hard to figure out some of those things on the… a map, but I think it is. I think you’re absolutely right. Then, um… Now I know one thing- I don’t know whether this is too personal, but, your mom told my mother one time that when she got to Goldfield [Nevada], she was so happy to have a pregnancy, you know, and then she lost that baby and she just thought- she was so devastated, that was the end of the world, but then she… you came along! And she told my- I don’t know how many times she told my mom, she said, “you know, I just think how selfish I was about that,” Because she said, “If I’d had that kid,” She said, “I’d never had my dear Helen!” And so [Both laughing]. But that was- I’ll never forget that story.
MILLWARD: You know, she and I never ever discussed that.
CORKILL: Well, see, my mother has never ever told me about the child she lost.
MILLWARD: Yeah, well, I can remember hearing… they… It was after Echo [Morgan] and I had started college.
CORKILL: Yeah, it was in like about ’30, 1930
MILLWARD: And they took us, see we went in ’28, and by ’30 I was married, but my mother wrote or told me about it or called me or something. I don’t know just how I heard it. But…
CORKILL: Well see, at the ti- Family sent my mom up to Reno, to that birthing home or whatever that’s supposed to be the finest thing and she should have had a cesarean, I guess, in the very beginning and… But be that as it may be, but… um… I know- Oh, now, see, I guess I have always been a latent historian of some variety, because I find all these little things that I have cut out and tucked away in my-
MILLWARD: Really?
CORKILL: -Belongings, and among them were these two different things. Now this one it gives credit right here of Smiley Kent having written this for the Reno Evening Gazette, and the wording is almost the same, and so I’m sure that this must have come out of the Standard, well, I know it came out of a Fallon paper. And, of course, in those days I wasn’t smart enough to put the name of the paper and the date on it. I guess I figured I would never become senile, I’d always remember, but I’m sure that that is Smiley’s work because it sounds just exactly like his story.
MILLWARD: Here was… Carol Ingram was executor for mother and father’s will.
CORKILL: So, as I say, this one was in 19- [loud noises, possibly papers rubbing the microphone] Over here on this wedding picture, she says “’A 5:30am ceremony [background noise too loud] -outgoing train for Nevada necessitated a simple wedding gown,’ said Mrs. Blair.” So your- they were- had a 5:30am wedding?
MILLWARD: Yeah, uh-huh.
CORKILL: “The insert at the neck is re-embroidered.” What is that? Allen Cotton lace? I’m not into material. “A beautifully tucked bodice extended by tucked and pointed sleeves extending down the hands.” But that was something. They couldn’t have gotten it the night before they-?
MILLWARD: Yeah, see, there was no way because the train then went out at 5 o’clock in the morning and they weren’t about to stay all night in Placerville, or stay up all night, I guess. So they had it, and I think they had a… were served a breakfast, and uh…
CORKILL: So, yeah, isn’t that funny? That’s the only person I ever know, I think- Well, I think my uncle, my brother-in-law, Galen, he got married 2 or 3 o’clock one morning once. But he, you know, he got that down to a science after a while. But this for anybody that only got to do that once! [Laughing] That’s the first time.
MILLWARD: Um, this story would have been in a long time before.
CORKILL: Let me think…
MILLWARD: In the Fallon, because this is September or… September 16, 1957, and that was when… the reason I know the date so well is that… J.D. Edwards was gonna remodel, the first remodel we had on the Spudnuts shop, and he came in and… it was on a Sunday evening and I don’t know… whether it was the labor day weekend or just a Sunday evening, but it was in September, and he said that Claude Smith and his wife just got killed, and it was- you know, he was kind of a brisk many anyway. And I just had to go to the house. I left him there in the shop and ran to the house to tell my mother. But that was also the year that we were starting our remodeling project.
CORKILL: Oh… But I am just sure, now, Mrs. Smiley-
MILLWARD: Smiley might have written this for them.
CORKILL: I’m sure she did. And then, as I say, later on, she wrote this because there are just paragraph after paragraph-
MILLWARD: And when they called about this one… they called and wanted to do it… let’s see… is that 1960?
CORKILL: Uh-huh, and July 12th.
MILLWARD: Well, they called sometime after I had been notified that they were gonna… that somebody was coming to take my picture, and I answered the phone and they said that they wanted to do a story on my mother, and I said, “Are… would it by chance be on me? No, they wanted to do a story on my mother.” So then… I remember when Smiley came out and interviewed her about it. Or maybe… maybe it was Smiley that called me.
CORKILL: It’s possible. Well, anyway, then… Well, like I say, I have- I’m… Well, I’m going to put a bibliography at the bottom of this one.
MILLWARD: Yeah.
CORKILL: You know, so that I- people know just exactly where I got my information because I don’t- I am not a wonderful writer. I do not write well, and so I’m going to plagiarize just a whole bunch of this because I think it’s probably true. [Long pause] Oh, and then the next thing I have after- Well, I don’t know I- Among Willie- oh, excuse me… [long pause] Among the things that they got from the Willie [Possibly Willie Capucci?], there were your father’s fishing licenses.
MILLWARD: Oh, Willie saved everything, you know.
CORKILL: Did he? Well, I’ll tell you, Willie… it just- there just aren’t words that just really do Willie justice, are there? Just aren’t words enough to do that… Oh, and then another article that I found in here was in, um, 1929, I think, and they had started this organization to make ladies- women conscious of political activity, and so your mom got to be the head of that. It was called, um, it said, “30th of April, 1938” not 20, 38, “Mrs. Blair elected the first chairman of the chapter of Pro-America Club. Aim of the Pro-America Club is the political education of that large group of intelligent middle-class women who up to the present time have manifested no interest in the government. Her theory was a non-partisan organization never cost us anything.” I think that’s very true. She just said that they don’t, so you do have to be partisan. And then also in 1938 papers, there was a… a story of the ranch received recognition because they shipped a pair of peafowl to Long Island and another to Kentucky, indicating the far-flung demand for the products for their efforts, and it tells about the familiar sight of the peacocks strutting around and things like that, and I remember all the different birds and things.
MILLWARD: Yeah, uh-huh.
CORKILL: Then, um… well that’s the same one as we had before, and then this little one of the birthday party and things. But then, like you say, you’re the one that needs to have your story done, because good grief, Lady! You’ve certainly contributed your share to this community.
MILLWARD: Well…
CORKILL: If nothing, you’ve made a lot of spare tires in this valley!
MILLWARD: Yeah [Laughs] I feel that… I was gone for quite a few years, so there was a gap in the time, and, of course, I wasn’t born here.
CORKILL: Well, that’s not important.
MILLWARD: But it did feel like Bill and I sort of… filled a need in the valley.
CORKILL: I should say so.
MILLWARD: And, you know, we worked awfully hard but we really, really enjoyed the place. We made lots of friends we… people that we didn’t even know their last names, but they were all our friends.
CORKILL: Now one of the things that I have written in here so far- like I say, this is just, you know, the very, very first roughest draft, but I… I was going to say that… How you- I- what was it I had put in here? I guess the first- Well, I will read you the first thing to see if… if this is alright with you. Otherwise I won't use it. "Committed to memory is the taste of the cool, melodiously smooth, frosty milkshake and giant barbecue beef bun sandwich- or beef sandwich that together cost 25 cents." That Bill, just, every time he says it he makes this, "Boy, I sure wish you could get a good milkshake and a sandwich again for 25 cents!" Like when he was in high school.
MILLWARD: Well they were… I think they were 25 cents each.
CORKILL: Oh, each? Alright. Okay, because he still reme- he thinks it was 25 cent- he's happy thinking he got them both for 25 cents. "Gone are the pump warm Spudnuts with the dollop of soft vanilla ice cream that always had a perfect little twist on the top. Gone are the heavily fragrant smells of the world's flakiest pie crust. Gone is the tidiness of the home and yard on South Taylor street that reached out and welcomed all that passed. They are all gone, but her spirit remains. No one who ever had the privilege of knowing Minnie Paulene Nichols Blair will ever forget her. I was one of the lucky ones. I was given the opportunity to know and admire this special lady. Minnie Blair was a Christian, a life-long Episcopalian, devout, but felt she could worship at home in her own way as well as she could worship in the church. Always attuned to the world about her, she lived all of each day and loved all of each day. She did not have to be reborn a Christian, as is popular these days. She got it right the first time. Always a practical person who thought first of others, she believed in using her mind for thinking, and then having the courage to speak up for what she felt was right. In her home and shop, she cussed and discussed the weather, politics, and current events, and was a confidant of friends and strangers of both sexes, senators and governors, along with millionaires and paupers. Though tiny in structure, she was a physical and mental dynamo, who above all else believed in standing by her man." Is that-?
MILLWARD: That's good. Yeah, that’s-
CORKILL: is that's alright?
MILLWARD: I say you write very well.
CORKILL: Well, I… I don't have the confidence to do it, but anyway-
MILLWARD: Well, I think that's excellent.
CORKILL: And then I go in the next paragraph, "If she could be with us this fall, she'd be 102 years young. Truly a lady of independence and far-sightedness, a lady for the 80s, 1880s or 1980s." And I could just- I don't think she- mama would have burned a bra, but she'd have been right in the lead still with this woman's… thing, you know?
MILLWARD: Yeah. Uh-huh.
CORKILL: "A lady for and before her time. This is her story." And so then I will go with the other things.
MILLWARD: Yeah. Well that's… that's very good, very good.
CORKILL: Well I- I still have- [Tape cuts out] I would like to talk about your nieces and nephews in their order. Um, there was Michael and Kenneth, and Melody belonged to- were Seward's [James Blair] children?
MILLWARD: Yeah, there's more of them, though.
CORKILL: Okay. [Papers rustle] Is that- I was gonna say, one of those-
MILLWARD: There's a picture taken the same time of all of us, except Valerie wasn't born, and it's right out there in the box I was into today in the garage.
CORKILL: You know, there is that picture in the newspaper. I- that's where I got these names.
MILLWARD: Oh.
CORKILL: There was a little picture of the family reunion. But they're tiny, and then, like, at that time you're standing in the back but I would- can I make a little copy of this? That would be wonderful.
MILLWARD: Yeah. That's… The three children and my mother and father. Now here's
CORKILL: Oh my gosh…
MILLWARD: Younger ones, if…
CORKILL: Oh yeah! Well, see, all I have
MILLWARD: This is… this is the same as this one, it's just a larger size. But-
CORKILL: Oh… And I think, perhaps, this is the clearer, the clearer of the two. Oh, no this one's clearer.
MILLWARD: It's the same.
CORKILL: Yeah, this one's all the- these are
MILLWARD: [talking over] These are the same, and that's a different one. Bud'd [Steward Blair] get- I looked in these old pictures today, and Bud always had kind of a far-away look, it seemed like, in his eyes. Kind of…
CORKILL: Way out there, huh?
MILLWARD: Like he was scared, yeah.
CORKILL: Yeah, bless his heart.
MILLWARD: And this is the-
CORKILL: The wedding dress, aw.
MILLWARD: The wedding dress, and I just got that back from Kenny today, and this is one she had taken in Sacramento when they were… and I think that they're both on the same day.
CORKILL: [Talking over, drowning her out] Oh, well now, isn't that darling? Oh look! Aren't they the cutest little thing? Oh my go- Look at the little- Talk about little impy eyes! I think there was just… Somebody was behind there wanting to… not to be there, was that-?
MILLWARD: Well, when I looked at these pictures-
CORKILL: They're darling!
MILLWARD: -That were in this box today, I thought, "Well… Oh, Bud and I took good pictures because they took our pictures continually. Oh everything- until we came to Fallon. And then it kinda slacked off, but… I think I must have liked having my picture taken.
CORKILL: That's darling! Love it! Well, I will go down to the museum and just make a little copy, and I'll bring these back today.
MILLWARD: Well…
CORKILL: [Talking over] Because I- as I say all I have to- you know, I just take a photo copy of them and that's what I will use. But I will bring these back to you.
MILLWARD: Alright, then to get back to these-
CORKILL: Okay.
MILLWARD: Bud's children were…
CORKILL: Now, when we say Bud, this is-
MILLWARD: That's Seward James.
CORKILL: Seward James is Bud… And he was the next child after you.
MILLWARD: Yes.
CORKILL: [Writing] Okay…
MILLWARD: Uh… see… Melody was the oldest. Then Mickey was next.
CORKILL: Now, that would be Michael?
MILLWARD: Yeah. And Richard was next, and then Kenneth was next, and Valerie was the baby.
CORKILL: Well now, see that Richard was not in that picture that was in the newspaper, because I… There just weren't that many children. Maybe he was sick or something.
MILLWARD: Maybe he didn't… Maybe he didn't come. Maybe he'd gone fishing with somebody or something. He was just a little guy, though.
CORKILL: Okay.
MILLWARD: And then there was… Constance and Janet, and they were Bill [Probably Ernest William Blair jr.] and Margaret's
CORKILL: -And Janet. Okay. Now, there was one of your nephews that used to come to the shop and work, and he was always telling my mother that he was the middle child and nobody ever paid any attention to him.
MILLWARD: That's Ricky.
CORKILL: This is Richard? Well, somehow in my mind I had him as being a Bill. And I don't know why, but Richard, okay, he's the middle one. And then he had a poem that your mom gave him one time that told about how the middle one was the lucky one because the oldest one they expected… Well, I think, you know, everybody, the first child almost they should have it and raise it and throw it away and start over again because the poor first one, everybody wants their child to be perfect, and the poor little first ones they really get it! But then the baby gets favored, but anyhow, it was a really a cute poem, and I know in… Bill's [Bill Corkill] family, you know, he's the one that was the dependable one, Galen was always out in space, and Harry is 50 years old and hasn't had time to grow up yet, and… poor old Willie, he was the one that was up clogging along and got it all done, you know. But that's… I'll never forget that, but that was Richard, because I says, in my mind I was thinking his name was Bill too, but he was the middle one. And now, he's the one that wrote that little story about Spudnut Shop?
MILLWARD: No, that's Kenneth.
CORKILL: Okay, he's the one that wrote the story.
MILLWARD: Yeah.
CORKILL: Because we're gonna put that in, the copy of that that you gave me.
MILLWARD: Okay. He… He's quite interested in his… genealogy and family history. He gets… he started out with a newsletter three times- four times a year, then things kinda got piled up, but this is Volume 5 number 2 and number 3 is just about ready to come, and he hopes he's gonna get four out before the end of the year, or else in January.
CORKILL: Well, I will tell the young man, I know very little about anything, but I know about quarterlies, and they come very, very quickly. You think-
MILLWARD: I don't know how he gets it done.
CORKILL: Oh my gosh…
MILLWARD: And he's got- he's got his mother's family in here now, and… then I had a letter from him today and he puts- he cuts out little things and puts in every once in a while, and he's got rubber stamp things here that he uses to… you know.
CORKILL: Isn't that cute? Well, that is very ambitious.
MILLWARD: Now, there were these twin babies here.
CORKILL: Uh-huh. "Charlie Hatch with Alexander and Vicki Hatch with coal. The babies were 8 months old-" Oh yeah, they were.
MILLWARD: Alright. He was back there for a visit, and she was pregnant and the babies were about to be born and they all went on a picnic up around the…. Onto the Great Lakes or somewhere, and they ended up all coming back to the hospital and I all stayed all night until the babies were born, and here's old Kennie, a bachelor there, you know, right with the family as if…
CORKILL: Now this is… Who are these Hatches that had some…
MILLWARD: Now, his mother was a Hatch.
CORKILL: Oh, I see.
MILLWARD: And her mother divorced Hatch when she was about a year old or so and came West, and then she married her second husband.
CORKILL: Oh, okay.
MILLWARD: And Ruth Ann never knew her father or father's family, but when she and Bud, after Bud retired, they followed the Aes [Spelling?] back East on one of their road trips, and went to every city the Aes went to and they stopped and met… then met her father. But Kenny's been back to see them two or three times.
CORKILL: Oh, that's great.
MILLWARD: So now we've got all that line in there. And then he wrote me a letter today, and he went to his… he and Melody and Valerie went to a family reunion for the… Deeches or Dyches, Dyches I think it is, but that was her… Ruth Ann's mother's family name.
CORKILL: Oh.
MILLWARD: And, so Kenny met this man who was 88 years old, and he was Ruth Ann's mother's uncle, but he was a year younger than she was, and he said, "It's as close as I can come to talking to anybody about the past in the family," and he was quite delighted when he mentioned in his letter today.
CORKILL: Well now, here's all… This is already done practically, isn't it? I guess, yes. And do you know anything about this, the mystery of the mother and the uncle?
MILLWARD: Mother and I went through these, and mother thought this was Uncle Bert, and I had a baby dress which she said was Uncle Bert's, but it wasn't this dress, so I'm not sure, but I kind of think maybe that was Uncle Bert. And this-
CORKILL: Well this face looks just a little bit longer doesn't it, beside them?
MILLWARD: Yeah, and I kind of think this was mother, but I couldn't say for sure. And then there was one where her dog Tauser. Let's see…
CORKILL: Uh-huh, and that's that…
MILLWARD: Over here, and I know for sure that was mother. Down here with her dog.
CORKILL: Well, this is… I would love to make a copy of this one too, that’s…
MILLWARD: Uh… I don't have that picture because-
CORKILL: But I mean, just take it.
MILLWARD: You can take it from that, if you want because he…. I called him to send me the wedding picture, this one.
CORKILL: Oh.
MILLWARD: I couldn’t find it anywhere and… so anyway, he came today. And this was our last vacation as a family. We went to Santa Cruz first. I met my Uncle Roy and his wife and their children, and then we came back to Placerville and then we went over by Bishop [California], Thomson Creek or Deadman's Creek to fish, and something happened to this old seven-passenger Chandler car, and we stripped all the gears, I think, I don't know. So anyway they had to call somebody from Bishop to come tow him into Bishop, and they had to go down a steep grade and the man wouldn't tow him down the grade, so we had to ride with the man in the tow car, and I don't know whether we left the dog ride with my father or not, but it was questionable whether he was gonna get down the grade all in one piece, you know, or he'd have to keep running in the bank to slow the car down, but he made it, and so then while they repaired the car we stayed at a very… What would it be? You know, one of the early motels.
CORKILL: Oh yeah! [Laughing]
MILLWARD: And they loaned him a Ford station wagon to drive around him, and we went to the Kios [?], they had a hot spring and a pool, and then they cooked dinner for us in their home and served it to us that night, and I'll never forget it. We had veal t-bone chops that were breaded, and that was the closest thing to heaven that I ever ate in my life.
CORKILL: Oh yeah?
MILLWARD: Oh, they were so good! But-
CORKILL: Now this is the Kios that were lived out in Smokey Valley?
MILLWARD: Oh, it's a relative of them, I think.
CORKILL: Oh, uh-huh. Because there were- the Kios out there had a hot springs too.
MILLWARD: Yeah, well this is a hot springs in… I'm pretty sure they were Kios, I'm almost sure.
CORKILL: Yeah, that, sure it could be.
MILLWARD: I'll have to ask Ima Jean… if I'm write on that. Gallagher.
CORKILL: She comes from that country down there?
MILLWARD: She- yeah. But I think I mentioned this incident to her. And I'm sure, but- If I called it Kios, she would have corrected me.
CORKILL: Well, the mind is a wonderful thing, isn't it? The things that it can remember, and you know the funny thing, you can take any given instance and you can have ten people that were there, and there'll be ten stories.
MILLWARD: Mmm-hmm.
CORKILL: Isn't it funny the things people remember? What's important to… just what it is that… people remember? Well, that's great.
MILLWARD: You know, I think that Bill Lee might make a good story.
CORKILL: I have called him a number of times about little things. Because he just…
MILLWARD: Well, I just kind of think that- You know, they… don't they have five boys?
CORKILL: The oldest one, Devin, was hers when she came.
MILLWARD: Oh, yeah, that's right, I did know that.
CORKILL: And then, yes, they do have four, four other ones. And Jo's always said, "My boys were wonderful boys, but they didn't make very good husbands!" [Laughs]
MILLWARD: [Laughs] They went pining a lot and, you know, they lived a good outdoor life and she drove a school bus and it just seems like they might have a lot to tell about early Fallon.
CORKILL: In fact, I have some checks that I found a while back that- Bill used to work for my dad in the haying, and I think his weekly wage was $3.75 or something like that and I was gonna give it to him. I keep thinking I've gotta find… give him that because I said, "That's when men got… were paid what they were worth," you know? But they are characters, and they're very, very active still and they do, they take good, great pride in their grandchildren and things, but…
MILLWARD: Uh-huh.
CORKILL: But I remember Bill first when he worked down at… the Fallon Flour Mill, I think. I think that's when I first remember him. But the Lee family before that, they- and they were related to the Inmans or Mrs. Inman was a Lee.
MILLWARD: Yeah
CORKILL: But they've been here since the beginning of time! Oh, forever!
MILLWARD: [Talking over] The beginning, yeah, they were, yeah.
CORKILL: They were in Dayton and in… I think around Mason or Yerington, that area, and they've been here forever. Well… [Tape cuts. End of tape]

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Audio Cassette

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41:09

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Millward, Helen Blair On Minnie Blair.mp3
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Churchill County Museum Association, “Helen Blair Millward on Minnie Blair,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed October 20, 2021, https://ccmuseum.omeka.net/items/show/663.