Jack N. Tedford Oral History
Oral History Item Type Metadata
CHURCHILL COUNTY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
an interview with JACK N. TEDFORD
September 28, 1992
This interview was conducted by Marian LaVoy; transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norine Arciniega; final typed by Pat Soden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of Oral History Project/Assistant Curator 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.
Jack Tedford is a distinguished looking gentleman with a beautiful smile and a memory as sharp as a tack.
He brings to life what living in Fallon was like as a young boy--the construction equipment parked on East Williams Street lots--the two-story schools that had the lower grades on the first floor and the next grade on the second floor--the family "table games" that occupied winter evenings, etc.
He brings to mind the mule-drawn scrapers that pulled sagebrush and created streets and roads not only in Fallon but in outlying areas. During summer vacations he worked for his father, and at times wages were small and usually consisted of a tank full of gas so he and his friends could "cruise Maine" or go hunting.
Jack's extreme youth on entering the University of Nevada appeared to him to be a handicap, but his math acumen more than made up for his tender years.
Living through the Depression is forgotten and as a result he has been The JACK N. TEDFORD CO. is one of the Churchill County. He has his son and it now, but Jack is there each day as to do." something Jack has never a prudent business man. best known businesses in son-in-law helping him with he "has to have something
Jack's father served as Fallon's mayor for a good number of years, and Jack served in that capacity, too--like father, like son. There is no doubt but what he guided the affairs of the City of Fallon with the same sure hand that he has guided his own business operations.
His love for his family is evident in every statement and his comment, "I don't judge anyone on his actions," leads me to believe he is a God-fearing man--a man to respect! I enjoyed recording his oral history and know that researchers of the future will find a wealth of information in it.
Interview with Jack N. Tedford
This is Marian Hennen LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project interviewing Jack N. Tedford at her [LaVoy’s] home 4325 Schurz Highway, Fallon [Nevada]. The date is September 28, 1992.
LaVOY: Good morning, Jack.
TEDFORD: Good morning.
LaVOY: I'm so glad that we have finally gotten a member of the Tedford family for an interview. Your family is a very civic minded one, and the oral history project is very anxious to get all the information that we can on you. So shall we start with my asking you when you were born?
TEDFORD: I was born in 1916 in San Francisco [California].
LaVOY: Why were you born in San Francisco?
TEDFORD: At that time my mother was older. She was thirty eight years old when I was born, and I think my dad wanted to take more precautions and they went to San Francisco. She stayed there until we were born…I was born and my brother, also, later. So then they brought us home and that was it but I feel like a native Nevadan, and the California thing was good for us in those days.
LaVOY: Well… You were born on March 27, 1916?
LaVOY: What was your father's name?
TEDFORD: My father's name was John Tedford. We've always gone by Jack. My dad was Senior and I was Junior, and I don't know if I should tell you all this, but I just felt so threatened to be called Junior all my life that finally I outlived it and I didn't ever get called it. As soon as my father died I sure dropped the Junior, and from then on why . . . my son is Jack Tedford the Third, and sometimes people write down I'm Jack Tedford the Second.
LaVOY: Well now, tell me I understand that your father was born in Nova Scotia.
TEDFORD: Yes, in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
LaVOY: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
LaVOY: Do you remember the date of his birth?
TEDFORD: Yes, he was April 23, 197-let’s see… 1874.
LaVOY: Alright. Now, what was your mother's name?
TEDFORD: My mother's name was May Hunt, and she was born in Digbee, Nova Scotia. They both moved to… I believe that they met in Boston [Massachusetts]. My dad went into Boston to work, and I think my mother did. However, she was a school teacher in Nova Scotia for a while.
LaVOY: When was she born?
TEDFORD: She was born on February 27 . She died when she was seventy. I presume she was must have been whatever 70 is from that.
LaVOY: And they went down to Boston to work. What was your father's occupation?
TEDFORD: He just did anything at that time when he was there. I think he worked in a store as a salesman. He took us back there once when we were older, and I remember that was the place we went for one of the stops of the trip, and I think that’s what he did.
LaVOY: What prompted your mother and father to move to Fallon?
TEDFORD: Takes a while to tell you.
LaVOY: We'd love to hear it.
TEDFORD: My dad had the great urge to come West. He thought there were lots of opportunities and had a lot of feeling to get out of the East, I guess. The first year he and two other men were coming together. They both backed out on him, so he waited one more year and then came with one of the men. They had uh…I think he told me he first went to Butte, Montana, and then he went down to Bisbee, Arizona. Then they heard about Tonopah and Goldfield [Nevada], and he came there. He was not a miner at all, but he had the desire to be in the West, and he knew that that's where things were happening. So he stayed there for quite a little while. He did all kinds of jobs. He wasn't real proud like maybe some of us today are, but he did most anything. Worked in restaurants and even owned a restaurant, sold it. He bought two teams of horses to go freighting. He went back in the meantime and got Mother and married her, and they came back to Tonopah. They got the two teams, and they came to Fallon. They'd heard of the Wonder and Fairview mines and there was a man here who was doing the freighting in there, and he wanted to get out. My dad bought him out, and they started their life in Fallon right then, and they freighted to the mines. It must have been for five or six years.
LaVOY: Do you recall the name of the man…Did he ever mention the name of the man that he bought out?
TEDFORD: His name was Gilson. I always remember it. I don't know why.
LaVOY: So, he did freighting then from Fallon to Fairview and Wonder.
TEDFORD: With freight teams. The twenty-two horse teams, you know, that they had in those days. They'd take three wagons and a feed wagon. I can remember them fairly well. But anyway I think it was profitable for my folks and they seemed to enjoy Fallon and stayed.
LaVOY: Well, that's wonderful! What did your mother do in Fallon?
TEDFORD: I don’t think she ever…She never taught anymore. She kept my father's books and ran the finances, and I think that's about all she did.
LaVOY: I see. What year was that that they came to Fallon?
TEDFORD: 1910, I think.
LaVOY: 1910. And they were here for six years then before you were born. When you were born, your family… your mother went to San Francisco, as you say, then brought you right back to Fallon. Tell me some of the things that you remember your very, very earliest years in Fallon. Preschool, if you can recall.
TEDFORD: I remember those freight teams. They used to go by our house. I remember those as a little boy and, of course, the streets were terrible. You know dirt. There wasn't even gravel on them, and I can remember the wagons slopping along when it rained. I remember going out with my father once. He had a car in 1915, and I remember going out with him on what's now the Four-Mile and the Eight-Mile Flats where the teams were stuck. I remember he left me in the car most of the day, but I watched them get the teams out. I can remember those things. I remember the home… I remember home living to some point. I must have been five years old…four…three or four.
LaVOY: Where did you live?
TEDFORD: We lived . . . do you know where the laundry is now?
LaVOY: The Japanese laundry? [Fallon Steam Laundry & Cleaners, 155 Williams Avenue.]
TEDFORD: Yes. My folks lived there. They lived in the house. There wasn't anything out in back, and they built a two-car garage. They lived there all their lives, both dad and mother. We sold it to some other Japanese people that built the laundry...I don’t if these people…anyway the laundry got built. 'Course Ken and I hated to see the old garage go and those things that they had but they lived there and then they had the teams. I have my business [235 East Williams Avenue] down the street a block from that. And they were across the street from there. In fact he [Dad] built the old metal building there. I can remember them working on the wagons. Also, I can remember those things that went with teams and wagons.
LaVOY: Do you remember the names of some of the men that you saw working?
TEDFORD: Not very many. Hardly any. A fellow by the name of Roy Lindsay who was related to Lela Zaugg [now Lela Larkin]. He came to see me a few times before he died. He lived over in Ely and would tell me some of the things you know [that happened in freighting]… I don’t really remember them.
LaVOY: That must have been very interesting. Tell me something about your house. Did you have electricity and indoor plumbing or…?
LaVOY: You did! You were one of the fortunate ones.
TEDFORD: Not all the houses had it, but I think that it must have been about in that time, when they were starting to get houses- I remember always the house had the bathroom. I think that after mother and dad moved in they rented it, they were renting it, and a man built two bedrooms on it for them. But there was electricity. It was faint lights in those days, it wasn’t as nice as today, and of course the water was alright. We had a cook stove in the kitchen and I can remember Mother cooking on the stove. I don’t think that that part of Fallon- I think sometime between the start of Fallon and 19… by the time that I can remember they had developed and must have had a water system in. And I think the sewage system was in.
LaVOY: Do you recall did you had to carry in wood for the stove? Was it a wooden cook stove?
TEDFORD: Wood and coal. That was first thing we did, even after started school that was the first thing we did was get the wood and coal in [Transcript notes that was him and his brother]
LaVOY: Those were your chores.
TEDFORD: We didn't have very many. I used to feel sorry for the ranch kids that had to go home and work and do things. But my brother and I would do those things. Oh, she had us do other things. We didn't have any sisters, so we learned to wash dishes at a young age.
LaVOY: Oh, so you helped wash dishes, too?
TEDFORD: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
LaVOY: Tell me, what did Sunday mean to you in those days? Were you active in a local church or not?
TEDFORD: My mother and father were active in the First Baptist Church which was where the county offices are now on Carson or LaVerne street [190 West 1st Street], and they went there, and I can remember going when I was real young. Probably I was around four years old. I don’t know.
LaVOY: But Sunday was basically a day for church.
LaVOY: What were some of the things that you and your brother and your mother and father did for entertainment when you were small?
TEDFORD: (laughing) You know I don’t know you know before radios came. I think they must have come in that period, I think we listened to that. I remember that we had a radio. Must have been in 19…must have been 1926. Squeaked and squalled, but it was there. (laughing) I don't remember. Oh, we played games. We had table games, and we played those, especially with Mom. My dad… When the freight mines closed, when Wonder and Fairview closed – I don’t know which one closed first. Wonder was a big deal – Dad had all those horses left so he bought some scrapers and went out and started building roads with scrapers. That was the common thing of that day. So a lot of times his jobs were in different parts of the state and he wouldn't be home for, oh, maybe a month, you know six weeks.
LaVOY: Did you ever go to any of the job sites as a boy?
TEDFORD: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. As we got older – I suppose when I was real small I don’t remember any of those things, I suppose the work he did was close to home. But the second a day or two of vacation came, we headed for the job. Spent all summer there.
LaVOY: What kind of work did you do?
TEDFORD: Well, we didn't do anything when we were real small, but as soon as we got old enough we hauled hay to the horses and water. We did a lot of things. There weren't drivers' licenses then, and we could do things like that maybe when we were ten years old…eleven. One thing I am grateful for is my Dad taught us how to work. He didn’t abuse us or anything, he just taught us how to work. My mother taught us how to go to school.
LaVOY: Well, he instilled a work ethic in you, and that doesn't hurt anyone.
TEDFORD: It was wonderful, and today lots of times my brother and I are talking about it and we say we're sure glad that Dad took time to teach us.
LaVOY: Now tell me when your brother was born and his name.
TEDFORD: His name is Ken. Kenneth Hunt Tedford, and he was born in just eighteen months after I was. Maybe seventeen.
LaVOY: And he was born . .
TEDFORD: Same way. San Francisco back, same old way.
LaVOY: When did you first start school?
TEDFORD: My mother was a scholar, and so in…you know in those days it was all phonics which I thought was a terrible thing when they took it out of the schools and I think they've got it back in some semblance today, but she bought all these charts and stuff at home and taught us. I know it's hard for you to believe today but it wasn’t then, but I started in the second grade when I was five years old, and I don't think it was a good thing for me. I knew it wasn't later in life you know, but, anyway, that's what I did. She [my mother] made them [the schools] a deal with the schools that if I didn't keep up why she would put me back, but she made sure I kept up. (laughing) And Ken I think he started early, too. I don't know why Mother did that unless she was older and… you know a lot of things we never asked her. Lots of things I wished I’d’ve asked them you know that now I try to answer all my kids questions cause I like talking you know I like to know why things happen. I think she was older and wanted to rush us along. I don’t know that.
LaVOY: Well, I suspect that she was a very proud mother and you were probably a very smart boy and she just simply wanted to have you at the head of the class all the time.
TEDFORD: Well, yeah I don’t suppose I was at the head of the class, I don't want to leave that impression, but I did get good grades. But where I found that it hurt me more is, when I got to high school I did all right, but when I went to University I think I was too young.
LaVOY: That happened to many young men in those days.
TEDFORD: Sixteen years of age when I got out of high school, and I didn't know what I wanted to be. I'd have done something altogether different. I was good in mathematics, so Mother thought I ought to be an engineer, so I took engineering, but, you know, I don't think I liked it. Mom was always trying to help us. I don't think she'd ever hurt us on purpose. So anyway, I think that hurt me. I know it did. Cause by the time I’m there kids that are eighteen are going to school and I don’t know I think I suffered for that but that didn’t hurt me any you know I survived.
LaVOY: Well, now regressing a bit, who was the first teacher after your mother that you recall?
TEDFORD: Oh, a lady by the name of Mrs. McKay in second grade.
LaVOY: What school did you attend?
TEDFORD: You know where the Cottage Schools are now? They had the old brick building there with four classrooms, and I was in one of those. The second grade was upstairs, and the first grade was downstairs. I lived about…It was only about three or four blocks from home, and I could run there and walk there. That's where I went to school, and that lady was a good teacher. A very lovely lady and she taught you the whole year.
LaVOY: Then you stayed in that school for how many years?
TEDFORD: Just one year is all I did. It was just first and second.
LaVOY: Oh, I see. Then what school did you go to?
TEDFORD: Well, they had a building just like it down where West End is in the middle of the yard down there, and it's gone, of course, was torn down. It had third and fourth grade in the same type of an arrangement. You went to the third on the bottom floor and fourth on the upper floor. Cause I guess you were older. I don’t know…anyway…
LaVOY: Do you recall any of those teachers' names?
TEDFORD: Oh, there was a lovely lady by the name of Mrs. Burton. Mrs. Burton's been dead a long time, but she was a good teacher, and I remember her.
LaVOY: That was Lucy Burton?
TEDFORD: Mm-hm, and then one of the Mills ladies taught. I can't remember.
LaVOY: Was that Laura Mills?
TEDFORD: No. I had Laura Mills in the eighth grade. Everybody had her in the eighth grade. That's where she was, and oh, she was a firm woman! (laughing)
LaVOY: Then from that school, West End School, where did you go?
TEDFORD: Then you went to Oats Park. See that time you were in the fourth grade so you went to the fifth grade in Oats Park and then you went through the eighth grade there. Then they always…I noticed they’ve gone back to it because I got grandchildren that…for a long time they didn’t have any graduation but it they had quite a ceremony or graduation from the eighth grade when I was in the eighth grade… you know time of my life there
LaVOY: Tell me something about your eighth grade graduation.
TEDFORD: Oh I can’t remember you know they sing cantatas. You know they’d have a uh…I can tell you something I always was amusing but they had uh one of them was which ever one it was Hiawassee or Hiawassee we sang that one. So I couldn’t sing very good you know and I was aware of it but some of the ones sang all of the time and then some of the rest of them just sang once in a while and I couldn’t figure out wonder why this man has me there. But you know a few years later, one time I was riding along when I got older I remembered I know why. You know in those days the grammar grades were separate from the high school and there was a school board for grammar and a school board for high school and so Mother was on the school board for grammar school and I think the reason that he had me sing was to try to appease my mother but she didn’t care. But I do I wasn’t good a enough singer to sing the whole thing.
LaVOY: Tell me now who were some of your close friends when you were at Oats Park School.
TEDFORD: You know, I can't remember them. Always a close friend of mine was Lloyd Parrish. He's the father of some of the Parrish boys…two Parrish boys that are here and they have two girls [edit: Jim and Mike Parrish]. He died real young and he was a close friend. Harvey Kolhoss was a good friend. By the time I got into the eighth grade why you know I think Irving Sanford was in our class. He was a fairly close friend. I can’t remember them right now. Sometimes I think of instances where we were all involved. I don't remember very many of them. Robert Best. His dad was the principal. We started a friendship in about the fifth grade when he came here but it endured a long time and we still are good friends. He was probably the closest friend that I can remember. One that has withstood the years.
LaVOY: He's a very nice man. He taught me in high school in Elko.
TEDFORD: Did he really?
LaVOY: Very nice man.
TEDFORD: Well, you know, he always had a real love for Elko, but he left Elko to go to Hawthorne just to get ahead in life, but he would've never left there.
LaVOY: Can’t blame him for that.
TEDFORD: Do you know Jack McCullough?
LaVOY: Very well.
TEDFORD: He’s my dentist. He’s my brothers brother-in-law.
LaVOY: I know Jack very well.
TEDFORD: Yeah, yeah. He’s quite a man. Saw him again this year.
LaVOY: Now tell me, when you finished the eighth grade where did you go to high school?
TEDFORD: We went to what they're using for a junior high now. They just had the four years there then.
LaVOY: What were some of the things that you specialized in, in in high school?
TEDFORD: What do you mean? Grades? Subjects?
LaVOY: Subjects and sports.
TEDFORD: That was one of my drawbacks of being younger, and I didn't do much in sports. I enjoyed playing basketball. I enjoyed them, but I did them on an intermural level- is that what you call it?- between the classroom, but I didn't do a lot with sports. I didn't want to play football. I was younger. I was big, but I wasn't ready for that, and if I'd been two years older I probably would have. I took uh…I think…The high school was run by a man by the name of McCracken.
LaVOY: I've heard a great deal about him. What's your impression?
TEDFORD: He was good and tough, but he was fair, and he ran a real tight ship. If you did anything, you were kicked out of school, and he hung on to that for a long time and he ran good. I knew someday something would happen and the school board overrode him on a couple of kids he'd penalized. The only the only thing they penalized you in high school for was three days or two weeks off, and they overrode him. After that, he… I don’t think he…they took the heart out of him. But he was a very good man. I took math, from him. He was a very good teacher. Very, very good. Very firm, but we all needed it. I took math and I took general science from Mr. Giblin who was a nice man. I did those. I took all the kind of subjects that would lead you to engineering. But I didn’t…
LaVOY: But because of your age you probably were not so involved in any of the social activities at the school.
TEDFORD: We'd just go to the high school parties. That was all. I don't think they had the parties like they have now. I don't think we had anything after ball games or that type of thing. I think it was mostly each class probably had a party a year. I don’t think there was a great strain on that.
LaVOY: Well now this…You probably finished high school about in 19…?
LaVOY: 32 is when you graduated. Well, now I want to regress just a bit.
LaVOY: Didn't your father enter politics in 1923?
TEDFORD: 5, 25. 1925-1937. People came to him and asked him to run for mayor. There'd been some problems. I have no idea what they were. And so…He was a great public speaker. In fact, I can remember later that he'd really work on those trying to give those talks to us all in the house you know but um there wasn’t much of that in it. So he ran for mayor in 1925 and was elected. And then he stayed twelve years.
TEDFORD: [EDIT: Tape cuts] Change that to 23.
LaVOY: Now you say he was elected in 1925. I believe that he was elected May the 12th 1923 but that’s… Tell me something about his years as mayor. I notice that there was a little bit of a problem in 1931 when your father was not in attendance at one of the meetings. Can you… Do you have any idea what that was?
TEDFORD: A Burge had made up his mind that he had wanted to get rid of Cann and also I think Nablock. Now I’ll tell you a strange thing happened in there Mr. Wilson was working for my dad bookkeeper out on the job. And Nablock and Wilson almost traded cause dad then took Nablock up to be uh… the uh bookkeeper for him. I don’t want to put all that in there but all I can say is that I think Burge wanted to replace Cann and Nablock and if dad was there he didn’t have the vote see it. So dad had missed this meeting and so they did this. They hurt my dad’s feeling a lot. But on the other hand he found that I think dad went to uh…not Nablock…not Cann…he went to another lawyer and asked him what he could do and they told him that he could probably win it if he wanted to go to court but he didn’t want to go to court. You know. And then, so Kaiser who was a young… in with Erney Hursh for a long time in the insurance business the two of them were able to do it. Two councilmen can do something…one mayor…the mayor and one councilman can’t do much. So dad…he decided well maybe that they shouldn’t be there so anyway they uh… I can remember it wasn't anything terrible around the house. It was just Dad was kind of hurt because they did this while he was gone, but he went back at it. My Dad, he was really a tremendous man in a lot of things. You know like he never held grudges, and he never swore. The worst thing he'd say is "goodness gracious". But you know in this thing I think it did hurt him, but I think he just thought, "Well, if that's what the people want and they elected these two men, then let them do it." You know and probably…the oh probably the Nablock and the… you know between us…now I don’t want that but probably…[tape cuts]
LaVOY: What were some of the changes that your father was able to bring about in the city of Fallon during his years as mayor?
TEDFORD:. Well, they made a lot of changes in the water system. They made changes in the electrical system. Improved it. Later on, again, in the fifties or sixties Fallon made great strides. In the early parts of… that I can remember it was just like a little light globe almost for two blocks. They built the present city hall. The old city hall was just a little wooden building. There's pictures of it available but it didn’t amount…Well, I think it’s over there in the museum right now. Isn’t that…isn’t that Woodliff…no that’s the Woodliff Building. But, anyway, it was a small building there, and it wasn't big enough, so they went ahead and built the building. And uh…and there’s…you know he’s kind of proud of it…There's a plaque inside that shows my dad's name being mayor and the council members who were council members who were in office then. I think it was built in 1930 or. 1931. It was a good asset, and I have to say it was certainly a good building because it's withstood earthquakes and it's still there. I remember going to the laying of the cornerstone. I can remember going to that as a young boy. 'Course by that time I'd got up around fourteen, fifteen years of age. We had a car that we were able to mobile around in. About all I can say is that in the usual things that come along I think that they made improvements, but I wouldn't remember them now. They didn't have the money they have today for some reason.
LaVOY: Now, returning to you, Jack. From Fallon high school you graduated; did you go on to college?
TEDFORD: Yes, I went to University of Nevada and studied mechanical engineering, and I graduated from the University in 1936.
LaVOY: Tell me something about your life on the campus. That was right during the Depression, and how did the Depression affect campus life?
TEDFORD: I couldn’t…I can’t… I remember all of those things. I remember that I don’t how my folks ever sent me to school, and uh I worked in the summer times. When we worked in the summer times for Dad, sometimes we just got gas for the car and so forth, but I think that some place in there they got enough money for us both to go to school. I think that probably campus life has changed a lot. It seemed like from the people in the twenties to the people in the thirties there was a lot more activity and a lot more interest in the campus organization. But I think for finances people had a hard struggle to go to school. When I went to school-I'm giving you a guessing figure--but probably there were between seven and eight hundred students, and they did have a little bit of night school but not a lot. And now I read of how many, ten thousand going to school. I think I enjoyed it. I lived in Lincoln Hall, and I really liked the living there. It was pretty independent. I remember being very lonesome when I first went, but I got used to it. I found my friends, and again Bob Best came into the picture, and we had rooms next to each other. We never roomed together. His brother was there for two years, and then my brother came along for two years, but we have a real enduring friendship that started in those days. But I…I uh…I liked the Lincoln Hall living. I did join a fraternity, but I didn't live there…I didn’t want to, I liked that real independent living. If you belonged to a fraternity they always had things for you to do. (laughing)
LaVOY: What fraternity?
TEDFORD: I belonged to Lambda Chi Alpha. I enjoyed that period of time in my life, though. We didn't have a lot of money. I had an old Model A Ford and just bought the gas, a gallon or two at a time and things like that. But it was fun. It was good, and I didn't participate a lot in any of the organizations. You had to take two years of military, and I took that.
LaVOY: Was Doc Martie your military instructor?
TEDFORD: No, it was a fellow by the name of Wilcox, and I missed Martie. I had to take P.E. from Chet Scranton. Oh, how he loved to make us all go out and run. (laughing) Chester Scranton he was a nice man. I remember Martie, though. I remember watching him at all the basketball games. He always sat on the back of the chair upon the top of it. The most expressionless coach I ever saw. He'd just sit there and never say anything, but he was all right. I enjoyed the college life. It was good.
LaVOY: Where was the Lambda Chi house at that time?
TEDFORD: Well, right where it is now only it was an old building, and they tore it down and built that one. It's bigger. I think the old [Stanley] Carpenters lived next door there, and he was in the mining department, kind of a chief over there, and I think that his son belonged, also. Maybe they got a little more ground from them. I never did know. You know after I got out of school, I just started working, so I've lost track. I went back for Homecoming a couple of years, and then I went back when my son was there one year. I been going to these fifty year reunions, though. We didn't go last year, but I went for about five years. They were fun.
LaVOY: You saw a lot of your old friends.
TEDFORD: I sure did. A lot of them are still alive, and a lot of them are crippled, and a lot of them are sick, and a lot of them were dead.
LaVOY: Well, that's what happens.
TEDFORD: That's the way. That's what happens.
LaVOY: After fifty years. You graduated. Was your graduation outdoors on the quad?
TEDFORD: I don't think so. It was in the old gym. You know, when I say, "the old gym," I'm talking about the old, old gym. Most young fellows today think you're talking about the one up on Virginia Street but I was in the old, old gym. I sort of remember it being in there. I'm sure it was.
LaVOY: That's close to where the Getchell Library now is.
TEDFORD: Yes. Isn't it right where it is almost?
TEDFORD: Is that old building gone now?
LaVOY: I'm certain that it is.
TEDFORD: I think it is and I think the Getchell Library's where it was.
LaVOY: That's where it was. Well, now tell me then, you graduated in 1932, and did you come back to Fallon?
LaVOY: Excuse me, in 1936, and did you come back to Fallon?
TEDFORD: Yes. I came back here. You know that's when I think the Depression hit hard. There weren't very many jobs. If you were a civil engineer, you tried for the state, and they'd probably take on a few of you. We had a fella that was…One electrical engineer that year got a job, and he was brilliant. He went back to New York and lived his whole life working for them.
LaVOY: What was his name, do you recall?
TEDFORD: Oh, Allen was his last name. I don't remember the first name, but he was very smart. See, by that time my life had parted from them. I took mechanical engineering, but I specialized in civil engineering also, because I suspected I was going to have to go help my dad.
LaVOY: And is that what happened?
TEDFORD: Yes, when I got out, I came home. I started working, and things went pretty good for uh…probably uh... He had a real bad heart attack in 1940 and in the meantime Depression days caught up with him. I don't mind saying it. He just had to quit, and he had this heart attack and almost died with it and we just uh... So in 1941 it was like we cut it right off. He just stopped, and we sold off things that he had, and then he gave me a hauling permit. I didn't know if it'd be much good or not. I bought me a couple of trucks and started hauling. That's where my business started in 1942.
LaVOY: Now, you were hauling sand and gravel?
TEDFORD: Oh, yes. I hauled a lot of ore. In those days it was a real tight life, and the miners were working out in these old mines and trying to gouge out a living.' I was hauling it from them, and you bring it in here to the railroad, load it on a railroad car, and it went down to either Selby [California] or it went to Salt Lake, smelters there, and you waited until they got their money, and they paid you, but the old miners, you know, they always paid us…very seldom. A miner that came up in a car with a big horn on it was what you wanted to watch out for. (laughing) Do you know Ed Montgomery? No. They built a mill there at West Gate and didn't do very good. He went back to working for the San Francisco paper and did very well. But his mining venture was costly.
LaVOY: Well now, you started in other words you started your trucking business in
TEDFORD: 1942, in March
LaVOY: 1942 and, regressing just a bit, you were married a few years prior to that.
TEDFORD: That's right.
LaVOY: Would you tell me about your marriage?
TEDFORD: Yes. I hadn't ever gone with girls a lot. I didn't have that much interest in it, but I started going with this girl, and her name was Elizabeth Kolhoss. Her dad had the grocery store uptown. Harvey's still alive, and Munsey's alive, and they have a sister in Reno. She was two years behind me because she was in the right (laughing) cog for living, and so when she got out of University, we got married. 1939.
LaVOY: And where were you married?
TEDFORD: Here in Fallon in that same little church. It was a little block church then.
LaVOY: Where did you go on your honeymoon?
TEDFORD: Oh, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego and home. Didn't have a lot of money.
LaVOY: Did you drive?
TEDFORD: We drove. I'd bought a car. Every boy buys a car, and I'd bought a car. We had a good marriage. Had a nice time.
LaVOY: Where did you live? Where was the first house you that lived.
TEDFORD: Oh, if I showed you the house you'd laugh. (laughing) You lived in a little tiny one, had a wall bed. She couldn't quite put the wall bed up, and I'd have to put it up in the morning before I left.
LaVOY: What was the address? Do you recall?
TEDFORD: Well, I can’t…I don't remember the address now. I know it's still there but built onto. I lived quite a long time right across from the high school on the corner. That was a residence. Maybe it's a business now. I don't know. I lived there. I lived in a duplex over on Taylor Street that was brand new. It was real nice. It was an awful decision whether we could pay thirty dollars a month rent. (laughing)
LaVOY: Oh, my goodness! (laughing)
TEDFORD: And then, I could have bought it for nothing down, but I didn't know that I'd have enough money to pay for it. So then I lived there for quite awhile. Then I lived in a house Danny Evans had, who was the father of Mike Evans , and he told me I could live there. I went in, and I painted that house all up inside. We made it look nice, and then he decided--he'd divorced his wife-he decided he wanted to get married, and doggone it, he moved in that. We had to get out, and I found a little tiny house over there on Richards Street. Then we finally bought. I lived a long time on the corner of Fairview and Lincoln Streets, and there was an underground garage. It was a small house.
LaVOY: Well, tell me, an underground garage with the water level being the way it is, that's unusual.
TEDFORD: They had the house up higher. If you looked at it, it would be a little higher, but he got down seven feet, and it was pretty steep.
LaVOY: Who owned the home?
TEDFORD: Oh, a builder built it. I don't remember his name now. I lived there for quite a long time, and then I moved over where we built the house where we are now.
LaVOY: That's on…
TEDFORD: That's on Bailey and Fourth Street. it was like moving into a great big building. It has twenty four hundred square feet, and we got out of a house with nine hundred. That's after we built a little room off it, and I had three kids
LaVOY: Now, tell me your children's names and when they were born.
TEDFORD: Well, the oldest one is Jack. He was born, on New Year's morning and, there again, we went to Reno, and I thought of Washoe, you know, an old . . . that's where the kids were all three born. And uh…See even when my first two were born this hospital hadn't even been built yet. I think it was built in 1949. So, anyway, we went up there. My oldest boy was born January 1, 1943, and then I have a daughter that lives here, and she was born in 1945.
LaVOY: Now, her name was?
TEDFORD: Is Pam.
TEDFORD: She's Wickizer. Pamela K. She uh…you know lives here, and she's just started teaching school again. She taught a little while. Recently, they're trying to send their daughter to college and they gonna…I don’t know…you turn that off I’ll tell ya.
LaVOY: Now, Pamela was born July 6, 1945.
LaVOY: Right. Now, your third child?
TEDFORD: She is, uh, Cindy…or Cynthia they…supposedly but anyway. She was born in 1947 November 9th, and she lives in Reno and she's taught high school. She taught a year in Oregon. She went up there. Then she taught in Sparks for either seventeen or eighteen years, and now this year she's out to the new Galena school and seems real happy out there. Have everything new. And she has…She's married to a young fellow that sells insurance for Allstate.
LaVOY: And what's his name?
TEDFORD: His name is Lynn Wall.
LaVOY: So she is Cynthia Wall?
TEDFORD: Yeah, Cynthia Wall, that’s her name. Yeah. I've got a bunch of grandchildren.
LaVOY: Well, we'll get to your grandchildren in a minute, (laughing) but I just wanted to get your children's names.
TEDFORD: Well that’s them.
LaVOY: Now…Your responsibilities increased with these children and whatnot. You haven't mentioned. Were you able to do military service or because of the war and your position in trucking you were more needed for that?
TEDFORD: Partially that. Partially I was the full support of my mother and dad. My brother hadn't got around to helping. So between that… and oh you know I hauled a lot of…The gold mining stopped overnight, and the tungsten and those kinds of things started. I hauled a lot of lumber to the mines, and you couldn't get any help, so I didn't increase my business any. I just worked.
LaVOY: Well now, I didn't ask you what the name of your trucking company was.
TEDFORD: We just call it Jack N. Tedford Incorporated. At that time it was just Jack N. Tedford and then I incorporated in 1966.
LaVOY: I see. Now I…
TEDFORD: I'd like to tell you about you know my first wife.
LaVOY: Yes, I’d like to know.
TEDFORD: Okay. She was sick, and I can remember they operated on her in Reno and found she had cancer real bad. So I spent… I had a fellow working for me. By that time I was doing contracting. I was paving some streets and working maybe over in Yerington, and I did those things. I had a man that I could leave it with, so I went down to Santa Barbara with her, and she had, in those days, cobalt treatment. Man, they were good. They probably extended her life for three years. And in the meantime our daughters…kids were going to college and uh... We'd go see them and do things like that. By that time we were making enough money, so we could have a little money, but I did have three kids in school one year, and that was a lot. (laughing) That was a lot! We dug out all those old war bonds (laughing) and cashed them, but that's kind of the history of my family and my wife and when she died why…
LaVOY: When did she pass away?
TEDFORD: Oh, I think the nineteenth of February in…oh boy…1969.
LaVOY: Well I know that was very, very difficult for you.
TEDFORD: Yeah, oh, it was hard.
LaVOY: Going back a little bit with your trucking business, you developed it into a contracting business in 1950, and you mentioned that you and your brother owned the first ready-mix business in Fallon. Tell me something about that.
TEDFORD: Small towns were having a hard time to get it, and we were hauling gravel and sand to people, and we had especially ranchers, encouraged us. We went to a couple of meetings with ranchers and they encouraged us to start a ready-mix business. And there was some school buildings going to be built, and we could see that maybe it was good, so we got some stuff together, and our first ready-mix business was right on our… you know where, I think U Haul's there and there's a station there, used to be an Arco station in there.
LaVOY: Now, approximately what street?
TEDFORD: That's right next to where my folks lived, but that's on the corner of Nevada Street and Williams Avenue. So we put the plant there. My folks owned that, and we still owned it. So mother… I think dad was still alive--we must have done that in 1948--and we started the business there. We dug a big hole and put up a bin. It wasn't a real prosperous thing because people didn't tell us how long it would take them to unload and things, and then we'd have somebody out all day with three yards. Ken and I decided not to try partnership after that. That probably was one of the outcomes that was probably good for both of us. We uh…He had a chance to buy the Richfield business it was then, and we had a chance to sell. We sold it to Mackedon.
LaVOY: Now which Mackedon?
TEDFORD: It's the father of these boys, Leonard, and he's really a first-class man. It was good to sell it to him, and I sold him his gravel.
LaVOY: Oh, I see.
TEDFORD: I've been selling them gravel, sand ever since then.
LaVOY: Where is your gravel and sand operation at this point in time?
TEDFORD: Well, the gravel pit is over by where the Fernley Farm District road takes off when you're going to Reno. We go across the canal there, and we stockpile the gravel at their plants, and we use a lot in our own business.
LaVOY: Now don't you have a plant that's on the Reno Highway across from the Eagles' Hall?
TEDFORD: Yes. It's an asphalt. [2050 Trento Lane]
LaVOY: When did you go into that business?
TEDFORD: Well, it just sort of came along in the sixties. I had a little plant, and I put it there and it went for a couple of years, and then we bought a bigger plant. I put it there, and then we bought this plant because we were getting a lot of work at the Navy base and they required a larger plant, so we bought that one over in California and brought it home and put it up. That’s going to be it. That’s it!
LaVOY: You're not going to build any larger plant!
TEDFORD: No, no, no. It's a big plant.
LaVOY: Are you working it by yourself?
TEDFORD: No, my son and son-in-law are both there, and my son does all the office work, and he's very keen you know mentally for those things, and my son-in-law looks after the outside.
LaVOY: Is that Mr. Wickizer?
TEDFORD: Yes, He does the sending people wherever they're going to go for the day, and we have about twenty-five, thirty people working. Probably thirty now this time of the year. I don't know. I don't count them.
LaVOY: So you've stayed busy all this time. My goodness gracious!
TEDFORD: I let the business grow slowly. I'm not a plunger. I'm not even what I call a good contractor. I'm not a plunger. If you lived through the Depression, you aren't plungers. I can take a man that lived through the Depression, and everything we talk about fits together 'cause it was just hard. It wasn't money. It wasn't easy money.
LaVOY: But it was just pure hard work and determination that kept you plodding along.
TEDFORD: Well I… I like to think that. I think it was. I just kept at it. I just gradually let it grow a little bigger and a little bigger. See, Fallon wasn't a great place to make a business grow. It's hard here, but I like living here. I really liked Fallon all my life. My wife sometimes laughs at me, but I always love to come back to Fallon. If we go somewhere, it's so good to get back. But I like Fallon. I always did. We've done work different places all right, but I like it. I still do, and I want to live here till I die. That's about it.
LaVOY: What prompted you to go into politics?
TEDFORD: Well…you know Dr….This Dan Evans that would have been Mike's father, he was mayor, and when he got a chance to do the very thing that he wanted to do in his life, work for the Fish and Wildlife or one of those branches, he resigned. Well, the person in our ward was Dr. [Hobart] Wray, and Dr. Wray then became mayor, and so he asked me if I wanted to be councilman. I thought about it for a few days and told him yes. So I became a councilman. That was in 1956.
LaVOY: What district was that?
TEDFORD: I think it was what we call Ward Two then. In the city elections they seem to be different.
LaVOY: So you were a councilman from 1956 to 1959, and then you became mayor for the first time in May 6, 1959, and you served as mayor until May, 1971. Is that correct?
TEDFORD: That's right.
LaVOY: Goodness. What are some of the changes that you saw happen in Fallon as you were mayor?
TEDFORD: I saw lots of new homes going up and subdivisions. Again lighting came into the picture, and Fallon spent quite a lot of money improving the lighting in the darker areas. In doing that it seemed to be something that Fallon had been lacking, and we didn't even know there was a contest going on, but I guess at the end of that year, we had the second best lighted place in Nevada. I think it was Boulder [City] that was first.
LaVOY: In the state of Nevada?
TEDFORD: Yeah, but we didn't know it at the time. We just kept trying to improve it. A lot of new sidewalks were put in. I think just regular improvements that go along. I think the electrical department certainly made some improvements.
LaVOY: Did you pave a lot of streets at that point in time or were they still pretty graveled?
TEDFORD: The streets were pretty well done and the subdividers were doing their own. They had to pave them themselves.
LaVOY: I see.
TEDFORD: The old streets were just left. They're getting in worse shape right now.
LaVOY: They’re going to have to get redone.
TEDFORD: I don’t know.
LaVOY: Very shortly probably.
LaVOY: What were some of your positions? I noticed you served on three grand juries.
TEDFORD: Oh I don’t know why I put that. Yeah, you know… The first one--I was real young--is the murder one. We had a heck of a time with it, but we finally found him guilty. (laughing) I was on another one when they were investigating the hospital. They used to take your name out of the phone book every so many, but I don't know how I got on them. I just got on them, and then after you're on them you served. I had three. The other one was…let’s see…the hospital one was you know it was a red-hot thing here. It always has been. You know I was over there yesterday. Went over there and looked at those pictures. My wife wanted me to look at the pictures on the wall. Those are good pictures, you know. Went over there yesterday and I didn't realize this new addition they have. It looks nice. It looks nice. I think the hospital's a little better than people are giving it credit for.
LaVOY: I think it's a very good hospital…
TEDFORD: So do I.
LaVOY: And we're very fortunate we have it.
TEDFORD: I think we are. I do, too. And I think…and I like this doctor over there. And that’s who when I left the clinic when they closed it. We went to him… You know what’s his name…but I don’t admire him for criticizing the hospital and finding fault. You know trying to start another hospital and other things. I don’t admire that in him. I think that’s pure selfishness.
LaVOY: Well now tell me with the third grand jury that you were on.
TEDFORD: I can't remember it now. Maybe it was a regular jury. Maybe I was on two grand juries and a regular jury. You know the duty of the grand jury, one of them, was just to investigate all the county. You'd get on a committee to go to the schools; somebody else got on another committee, and I haven't seen them have any of those, but I think I was on one of those.
LaVOY: You were the state president of the Nevada League of Cities. What did that involve?
TEDFORD: All of the cities are organized to get into this . . first, it was called Nevada Municipal Association, then It became the League of Cities of Nevada, and I was president of it just one year.
LaVOY: Did you enjoy that?
TEDFORD: Yes, yeah I did.
LaVOY: And where did you go for your meetings?
TEDFORD: Well, we had them in Reno and Las Vegas usually, but they went to small towns…veteran small towns sometimes. Small towns no place for people to go so much. In Reno and Las Vegas there were things to do. We had them in Fallon, we had them in Elko, Winnemucca. Had the annual meeting every year, and I think the year I was mayor it was in Ely. But they were good, and they were good to let the cities find out what the other cities wanted to do.
LaVOY: To give you an over-all picture of what was going on in the State. Then you served as state president of the Nevada Motor Transport.
TEDFORD: Just the trade one.
LaVOY: What is the Nevada Motor Transport?
TEDFORD: It's an organization of all people that want to join it for trucking and so on, you know, operate trucks.
LaVOY: Do you lobby for the trucking industry?
TEDFORD: Yes. Yes, that's probably the greatest and the only thing it has. They have about 160 members.
LaVOY: I see.
TEDFORD: In fact…They do other things for people, and I should say that. They have a tariff that you can be in that saves you having to do your own tariff, also the cost of it. It costs you something when you raise your rates, but it's a very useful. People that are in the business should all belong to it, but there'll always be some people that get a free ride in life, and that makes them happy, why (laughing) let them do it. We've enjoyed belonging to it for a lot of years.
LaVOY: Well, now you also said that you served as a deacon of the First Baptist Church for forty years.
TEDFORD: Yeah, I did.
LaVOY: Where was the location of the church, or has it moved?
TEDFORD: I went through each move. See it was where that…First it was a little block building that they had built, I think from materials off of the hill out here. Then after… when the earthquake came, they brought in an outsider, and he condemned the church building, so we tore it all down. We found a mill up in California and we hauled the trusses down and a lot of lumber, and we just put it up. It was done all with volunteer labor. I'm not a carpenter at all. I wasn't much help. I did a lot of things. I did more tearing it down. Cause I knew how to do…
LaVOY: Now, you mentioned that someone came in and condemned the building, and you were able to get it torn down and started to build it back again. Tell me about this earthquake that you just mentioned.
TEDFORD: Well, the earthquake was very severe. It was 7.4.
LaVOY: In what year?
TEDFORD: Well it…you know I can’t…I can’t tell you…, 54, 54…yeah I can, and it damaged a lot of the buildings. Especially older buildings downtown like Western Hotel had to have a lot of work done. But it was a real trying time for a lot of people to go through. I think the thing of the 7.4 was okay, but the first quake lasted quite a while, and as I see it in earthquakes if it goes quite a while, it's going to hurt.
LaVOY: Did you feel it in your home?
TEDFORD: You bet.
LaVOY: Did it do any damage in your home?
TEDFORD: No, I had a frame building. (laughing) The only thing to have, I think. The house was frame. It cracked the stucco a little, plaster inside, but it was okay. It didn't hurt us much.
LaVOY: Were you terribly frightened when it happened?
TEDFORD: Oh, I'm sure I must have been. I don't suppose I let on it was 'cause my kids and my wife were scared, so then you have to say you aren't scared. (laughing) It was kind of traumatic thing I thought for everybody.
LaVOY: How did the downtown look?
TEDFORD: It didn't look much different the next day. Some of the buildings' blocks had fallen off. I think most of the damage was inside where they had stock. I don't remember that now. I remember there was some blocks out on the street, and the main thing that the people that they brought in made them do that was to build new beams, a bond beam type of thing around the tops of the buildings so that it'll hold them together, and it was a good thing. Everything was fair.
LaVOY: And so your church was torn down as a result of the earthquake. Then the church was re-built there in that particular corner, did it move again?
LaVOY: And where did it move the second time?
TEDFORD: It moved down on what's called Tedford Lane and Fifth Street.
LaVOY: And is that where the church is now?
LaVOY: And that's the one that you had been the deacon in?
TEDFORD: Well not, no…I haven’t been since then. I was for awhile there, and then it changed, and it united with another group, and then from then on. Well, I'd already stopped. I had forty years. I stopped.
LaVOY: Well, I think that's a pretty round number.
TEDFORD: I was tired. It was steady. Always taught a Sunday school class, and you worked at it. No, I was glad to.. I had already stopped. Has a beautiful building now. Yeah, I don't know about the property deal. I didn't know anything about it. I know the church sold it to Laufs or the Laufs, gave it to the county. I don't know.
LaVOY: This is the original building.
TEDFORD: The one that we built. I don't know enough about all that.
LaVOY: Well now you've had such an interesting life. You remarried in 1971, in December of 1971 and to whom were you married?
TEDFORD: I married Betty Beach. Her name had been Betty Woodward. She'd come to Fallon in 1937 and gone to school here and graduated and married Mr. Beach. Then he died, so she raised her kids.
LaVOY: And what are her children's names?
TEDFORD: Ok. The oldest one is Cheryl Rhystrom [born November 2, 1946], and she lives in Los Angeles. We go see her about twice a year with her family. The next one was her boy, Rick [Richard Beach born May 5, 1949], who works at Kennametal and he's the . . . it's kind of crazy if I say it real fast it's confusing but he is married to my niece. (laughing) He married Ken's daughter. And then the youngest one is Kathy [Kathryn Bigby born February 7, 1954], and she lives in Reno. They're all very nice, and I'm glad to have them.
LaVOY: Well, that's wonderful. What do you consider that are your most important achievements?
LaVOY: Yes, you. And I know there are a lot of them.
TEDFORD: Well, I don't know. I think one of your important achievements in life is raising your family. I think that I was fairly successful at that. Nothing's perfect. I think that. I don't know. I never thought you'd ask anything like that. I think that I was able to…well, always try to keep a balance in my life. I don't want to condemn people. We've got to be awful sure they're bad, but I think that when I served as mayor probably it was reasonably good. I don't think it was maybe the best. I don't know that. I don't want to be in competition.
LaVOY: I think you're very humble.
TEDFORD: But, I don't want to live that way. I think my business has been good. I let my son run it more, and it's like all businesses that sons run. They're a little more extravagant, and they don't sometimes know what the word is extravagant, but he does a very good job, and, frankly, I don't have to go to do anything, but I just have to go down there, have something to do.
LaVOY: To see what's going on.
TEDFORD: Yup. I want to know, and I have to have an interest, and I find that most people that don't have an interest are in trouble.
LaVOY: That's very true.
TEDFORD: And I don't want to stop doing that. Betty and I take a nice trip every year. I don't want to go out of the continental United States, but we've been to Nova Scotia and found a cousin there that knew my mother, and we were able to find a school where she went and then a school where she taught and a little church. And beside the church--we aren't used to these things here--was a graveyard, and there's Uncle So-and-So and Aunt So-and-So, and it was kind of fun. We had a good time. We never found any of my dad's relatives.
LaVOY: Well, it's wonderful that you took the time to travel and to do this and knew that your business was in safe hands with your son.
TEDFORD: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It is. They could go on doing what they're doing for a long time, and he's pretty conservative. We had a banker the other day and they said something, you know and that lady said something to me that came, I don't remember what she, First Interstate's on a goodwill deal right now. They've got a lot of competition right now--these two banks now. So anyway I told her, "He's very economical only 'til it comes to these things," and I patted that computer 'cause he's just computer-happy. (laughing)
LaVOY: Well, most young people are.
TEDFORD: They sure are. Do you understand them?
LaVOY: No, I do not.
TEDFORD: I don't either.
LaVOY: I’m sorry to say, and I've been going to take a course to at least know what they're talking about, but I haven't done it yet.
TEDFORD: Well, you oughta go do it, really. You'd enjoy it I'll bet. I'm too old to do that.
LaVOY: Oh, no, you're not, Jack.
TEDFORD: Yes, I am. (laughing)
LaVOY: Now, tell me about the naval air station coming to Fallon, what did you feel about that? Has it brought a lot of business to the town or do you think it's brought problems?
TEDFORD: No, you know honestly, I think it's helped Fallon a lot. When it came in the forties I was--that's one of the places I worked out there. I hauled that…The very first job that was done out there Peter Kiewit did it, and I got a job hauling sand for them, but also I watched it. And you know when they built the original buildings, I hauled a lot of sheet rock out from town, and I used to think about it. I'd think, "Boy, I never thought anything like this would ever happen to Fallon." Remember the Air Force had it at first, so you know it was good, and then when World War II stopped, boy, that old thing just cut off like that, and that was okay. Wasn't anything wrong with that. Buildings were half built, and I think they gave those buildings to the Indian Service, and that was a good place for them. And so… Then I never dreamt it would ever start up again, and in the fifties it did start again, and I think it's been good for Fallon. You have to remember every job we get it's highly competitive. We probably have three or four people we're bidding against always, and it's no great gravy train like people think. But it's still good for Fallon. Fallon was always completely dependent on ranchers and on what the hay did and what the price of hay was. A man explained this to me when I was real young. He said, "If the price of hay jacks up, gonna be a good year. If the price of hay's down, then . . ." He was the railroad agent up here, and they used to ship grain and stuff out by rail. Well, you know he was right. It's helped Fallon. It’s made Fallon. Heck, I'll bet that the local kids cause just as much trouble as the Navy personnel, 'so I think it's been a good thing for Fallon, and I don't see it getting closed very soon. Because where else they gonna go and have this kind of area like they bought up Dixie Valley. It was a good move for everybody. Stopped a lot of fussing. If you live out there now, I guess you're on your own risk. But it's been good. It's good for Fallon. It's good for the merchants. It's good for everybody. Put new life in Fallon.
LaVOY: Well, I think that's a real fine attitude on your part. A question that I want to ask you being in business as long as you have been. It seems to me that so many business taxes are being levied on the small businesses now. Am I correct in feeling that way or…?
TEDFORD: You're right.
LaVOY: Or can you explain to me what your feelings are about the small business tax?
TEDFORD: I think if they keep on doing it I don't know how many small businesses will survive. I’m so…Do you know I think within another year we'll just have one man working to take care of all these different subdivisions of government. First it'll be the EPA and the OSHA and go right down through, and then they come in and all of those things cost you money. Then all of a sudden they come with the tax. I thought the business tax was unfair, and I still think it is. I thought the school people--in all fairness to them-I’m not…not 'cause I have two daughters that are teaching school you know they are going to do something else—I thought they went and put those petitions all over, and they made it. They got enough signatures, so that said we should do something for them. So I think the business tax…I think that money all gets shifted around. I think that a lot of it was to appease that because the people agreed to not challenge the Governor if they got some money. Whether they got enough or not I don't know. I listen to my daughters. Well, they don't say much. I listen more to other people-- you know they're talking about it. But I don't know if the schools have enough money or not. I know they're living better than they did when I went to school, but times are different.
LaVOY: I am wondering about this business tax because so many businesses like your own have to lay people off because of the rules of this tax, and the same people then went on unemployment compensation, and I feel that this business tax defeated its purpose in that, and I just wondered with you having a business if it had affected you with losing of employees too.
TEDFORD: We have to have a certain number of people to go out and pave. Takes eight or seven people around the paver and takes five truck drivers for us to do like Navy base paving. So we're trying to keep ours between the twenty and the thirty dollar bracket. But I sat with a guy at the last meeting that had fifty-seven employees. Yes I think it’s…I don’t think that uh… I think that a lot of people purposely had to lay people off, and I'm not sure that we shouldn't have, but like I say to make our place go and we have a gravel plant, and it takes three men over there, and we sell gravel into Reno, so it's been fairly good for us. Everything in life is competitive though today. I don't care what you do. If you sold shoes on the street corner, it's going to be competitive. Somebody across the street is going to start, but I think that the business tax hurt, and I look to see it repealed. Whether it will be or not. But, I always kind of admired the school people that I don't know if I'm sympathetic with their cause or not, but what I was sympathetic to was they went out and succeeded in getting enough signatures. I don't know if the Governor's a good governor or not. I don't pass judgement on it anymore. I used to think that. And I used to think that… You know I'm a Republican, but that doesn't bother us much anymore. My boy was gung-ho on the Republican politics for a while and then finally he discovered he didn't have time to do that. You know he was doing a lot of things for them. And he just discovered it so you know. But I don’t know… I think the State has to do something different, but I wouldn't know what it was. But I know that trucking is taxed heavily and I know that the last set of rules that went out--if you just owned a little put-put, you're okay--but I know that today it costs you so much money to keep everything up. I don't know that people [may] be able to do that very long or not. So what do you do? What do you do? You have to raise prices, don't you?
LaVOY: That's right.
TEDFORD: And then when you raise prices, you've started the circle again. Sometimes I think small businesses will get crowded out, but I think it'll come from the government level and not the state level. I think there's enough people in the state level that would have some understanding, but I think it'll come to the government level--the federal government. I listen to these fellows. I tell you, when you get to the place where it doesn't make much difference to you who gets elected, then you can settle back and look at it all and here you have this one and that one and telling all these things. I listened to [Ross] Perot for about five minutes this morning, and I think he’s…I don’t know…I think he's just playing with the people.
LaVOY: Well, it will be interesting to see how this election comes out. Your interview has been just very, very interesting. Is there anything else that you can think of that we could put in this, and I believe we've gone through most of the organizations. Are there other organizations that you belong to?
TEDFORD: No, I don't think so. I think I…You know I was never a great organization person. I enjoyed my years as mayor, and it kind of hurt me at times you know. I could be sitting, we'd be having a meeting and I'd see the trucks going the other way (laughing) and I'd wonder, "Wonder where they're going?" (laughing) But, the fellow I had helping me was good. He was good. Well, I don't think so. You know I've told you a lot of things that I don't think that are of any great interest to anybody but me, but I think that…you know…I think that Fallon…you asked me that and I think Fallon will always stay about like it is now. I think the Navy base will go on like it is. I don't visualize any great industry coming here.
LaVOY: Well, with our water situation it would be very difficult for one to come here right now. Do you have any feelings at all with the way our water situation is going?
TEDFORD: I don't have enough knowledge.
LaVOY: Being in business is a little different from being a rancher.
TEDFORD: We're lucky in Fallon to be living where there's underground water and as long as the City is watching those wells, and they are, and being sure that the draw down doesn't get lower and lower, which they say it isn't, and I think that we're very fortunate to have the water situation for our living. I feel very sorry for ranchers. Very sorry you know. You know…If I owned a ranch knowing tomorrow I'm only going to get twenty-eight per cent of the business I had last year, that hurts them. I feel very sorry for them.
LaVOY: Well, I think you're a very compassionate man, Jack.
TEDFORD: Oh, I don't know.
LaVOY: I do
TEDFORD: I don't want you to think I'm trying to snow you under 'cause I don't want to do that.
LaVOY: No, you certainly haven't. On behalf of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Program, I want to thank you for this very interesting and informative interview.
LaVOY: This is the end.
TEDFORD: Thank you.