Roy Zaugg Oral History

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Roy Zaugg Oral History


Roy Zaugg Oral History


Churchill County Museum Association


Churchill County Museum Association


June 14, 1993


Analog Cassette Tape, .Docx File, MP3 Audio



Oral History Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Audio Cassette


01:01:35, 42:59




an interview with


June 14, 1993

This interview was conducted by Eleanor Ahern; transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norma Morgan; final Pat Boden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of Oral History Project/Assistant Curator Churchill County Museum.


In front of Roy Zaugg's home are mementos that he has collected over the years in his lifetime. Among the mementos are a collection of rocks and fossils that would make a geologist green with envy. There's also a parking meter that still works. The parking meter is anchored in cement just outside the front lawn in the parking area. This is from his days as a former City of Fallon employee.

Even though Roy Zaugg is retired from the job force, he is currently a full-time rancher tending his small cattle herd and alfalfa fields. It seems as though Roy Zaugg has been working all his life and does not intend to stop until he drops. He has been working on his house ever since he got married and to this day is still contemplating the completion of the house to his satisfaction.

[Ed. note] Roy Zaugg's wife, Hilda Cadet Zaugg, wrote her Autobiography prior to her marriage to Roy Zaugg. One doing research on agriculture in Churchill County, should refer to her article "Early Ranching in Churchill County" and her autobiography, both of which are on file in the Museum.

Interview with Roy Zaugg

This is Eleanor Ahern with the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project interviewing Roy Zaugg at his home at 2996 Old River Road, Fallon, Nevada. The date is Monday, June 14, 1993. We are sitting in the kitchen of Mr. Zaugg's home and the time is 9:20.

AHERN: Good morning, Mr. Zaugg. How are you?

ZAUGG: Fine.

AHERN: Would you please give me your full name?

ZAUGG: Roy Harry Zaugg.

AHERN: And your place of birth?

ZAUGG: New Pine Creek, Oregon.

AHERN: Do you remember the date you were born? Birth date?

ZAUGG: Ah..December 25, 1916.

ZAUGG: Tell me a little about yourself. You were born in New Pine Creek, Oregon. How long did you live there before coming to Nevada?

ZAUGG: Well, I guess… I guess I was able to walk then, and then we moved to Westwood, California, and from Westwood, California, we moved to Fallon. My folks bought a little piece of ground and been here ever since.

AHERN: Can you tell me a little about your parents? Your father and your mother… their names, please.

ZAUGG: My mother was Sophia Elsie Zaugg, and my father is Chris Zaugg. I knew less about my father than I knew about anyone, and he was… you wouldn't have found a nicer guy, and I really liked him. This might not interest you, but somewhere along the line he had worked for some munition company, and he was an expert shot with a rifle or shotgun.

AHERN: He was a marksman, huh?

ZAUGG: Oh, he was beyond that. I never seen anyone could shoot a rifle like that man, and I've seen some pretty fancy shots, and he wouldn't shoot, you know, maybe for weeks, months, and he had two…two rifles that were his, and he'd get kidding somebody that he could shoot the center of a washer and this and that and then he'd make a big bet. Okay, they'd throw the washer up and he'd say, "Boy, I centered it. Ha, ha," and then he'd put paper over the washer, have them throw it up, and he'd just center it. I never seen him miss. I don't know what happened but he quit that, and went to Kansas and married my mother. Must a somethin' happened that he quit that because I've seen expert shots, but I never seen anybody like him, and I don't know what happened, but, like I say, I knew less about my father than anybody.

AHERN: Where was your father born?

ZAUGG: In uh…Switzerland. Bern, Switzerland.

AHERN: And at what age did he come to the United States?

ZAUGG: I guess he was, oh, probably seven or eight years old, and his folks moved to, I think, South Dakota, and then when he got a little older he just left home. I guess his dad was a little rough on him.

AHERN: Do you recall what prompted his parents to move from Switzerland to South Dakota?

ZAUGG: No, I don't. They should of stayed there because most of our relations are bankers and they have more money. I have a cousin that went to visit some of my dad's relation there, and they phoned if they could come and they could come. They had limousines and butlers and chauffeurs (laughing) and they come out of a little money somewhere. I don't know why they came.

AHERN: You dad had left South Dakota to start on his own. Do you recall his age, and where did he go?

ZAUGG: No, I don't know. Like I say, I knew less about my dad than anyone. Two or three years ago my daughter and her husband took a trip back east. I don't recall just where they were going. Rhode Island, I think.

AHERN: And which daughter was this?

ZAUGG: This was Mary. They talked with some of the relations that had an idea where we could find out more about that.

AHERN: Tell me a little about your mother. Her full name and her birthplace.

ZAUGG: Well, Sophia Elsie Meyers was her maiden name, and her father had, oh, several ranches around Bern, Kansas, and he had a cheese factory there in that little town, and he was pretty well heeled. Then my mother went to work at a hotel there. I (laughing) remember this. And the hotel would pay them wages, whatever that might have been, and her father'd be there to get the money, so she didn't have any money when she left the hotel.

AHERN: Now, was the father saving the money for her?

ZAUGG: No, he just liked money, (laughing) and she was working at the hotel. I guess my dad…that must be where my dad met her. Like now, I'm shootin' way back. I haven't even thought of this for a long time. But uh… and where my da… Well the folks that knew him when Mary and her husband took this trip back east said that he went to the University in Lincoln, Nebraska. I guess he went through it. Just workin'. He went to the University there.

AHERN: Your father went to the University of Nebraska? He attended the University of Nebraska?

ZAUGG: Yeah, in Lincoln Nebraska. Yeah, he amazed me. When we came here it was short of money, so he went down looking for a job. And he ah…You know the Kents around here used to be a pretty big outfit, and my dad went to work there. Any kind of a job. He'd do anything. So, I guess he wrote pretty good and figured pretty fast, and so they put him in the office (laughing) and he was full time in the office there for several years.

AHERN: Did they ever say why they chose Nevada?

ZAUGG: Well, I guess you heard a lot about Nevada. You know, mining and growing, and when we were in Westwood. When we were living in Westwood, California, see, and they heard about what a fine place this was, so my dad come out and he looked for a little farm. They thought that would be a good thing to have, and that's what prompted them to come to Fallon.

AHERN: What sort of occupation did your father have in Westwood, California.

ZAUGG: Well, he went to work at the lumber mill there and then it was just a short while they put him on big sanders, for finishing furniture and all that. So he was pretty happy with machinery, I guess, and then he worked there for all the time we were there.

AHERN: Do you recall how many years you lived in Westwood?

ZAUGG: Well… we were in Westwood in 1920 and 1921 because we moved here in 1923.

AHERN: You moved to Fallon in 1923?

ZAUGG: Um hum. And where we lived in Westwood you could go out the back and that was when Mt. Lassen…you know about it? When it was smokin' and it wasn’t… well, I guess, even when it was erupting. All the neighbors would go outside and watch Mt. Lassen, but it was quite a few miles from Westwood where we were, but since then I've been around Lassen and all there. Kind of a hotspot there, due to the volcano, even yet.

AHERN: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

ZAUGG: I have a sister, and she's married, and she's three years older than I am. She lives in Fallon, and her name now is Lela Larkin. For years her husband ran a kind of a saloon and whatnot, and he done pretty good there.

AHERN: Where did he run his saloon?

ZAUGG: In Maine Street in Fallon…now tryin to think what’s there now. Oh!  Where Jeff's Office Supply is.               [178 South Maine]

AHERN: Do you recall the name of the saloon?

ZAUGG: Pastime. Everyone my age or even younger, that was the big hangout there. You had pool tables and all that goodies there.

AHERN: Where did you attend schools?

ZAUGG: Well, I think in in Westwood I started school and then about that time we moved to Fallon and then I started school here at West….yeah…West End School. Big old two-story brick building then, and that's where the West End School is now approximately.

AHERN: And from West End then you went to the junior high and high school?

ZAUGG: Ah…Well, I'd started high school and I didn't finish. Actually, we was poor as church mice, and so I thought we needed some extra money so I went to work at Smith Brothers sheet metal shop, and apprentice there, and… I don't remember how long I worked there, and then I was offered another job. There used to be a creamery. The Milk Producers' Association was here, and I worked there five years. Then Uncle Sam needed me to straighten up some problems (laughing) over in the Pacific so I went in the service then.

AHERN: What grade did you drop out of school?

ZAUGG: First year of high school I dropped out because I wasn't doing any good there. The only thing I'd done any good at was algebra (laughing). That's the only thing that kept me there, I guess.

AHERN: You loved math?

ZAUGG: Yeah, I did. The rest of it I was wasting my time, I thought, so I thought I'd go to work and make a little money.

AHERN: Did your parents object to you quitting school?

ZAUGG: I think they did, yeah. But, I told them I'd already quit. And I already had this job lined up. I remember the old professor there. He said, "Well, I hope you want to come back. We'd like to have you back."

AHERN: Professor at school?

ZAUGG: Uh huh. And uh…

AHERN: Do you recall his name?

ZAUGG: McCracken. He was a good guy, but I was just out of line, I guess.

AHERN: Was he the principal or your teacher?

ZAUGG: He was the principal. But I spent quite a bit of my time in his office. (laughing) I don't know why.

AHERN: During this time you were growing up, where did you live in Fallon?

ZAUGG: When we first came here, my folks rented a house on what's now Bafford Lane, and then they built some chicken houses. They were going to raise chickens, make a whole bunch of money and they had chickens and turkeys and stuff right away but we lived in the old chicken house and put a floor in it and we lived there, so I left home.

AHERN: Describe that house. Was it a one-room house?

ZAUGG: Just a long….

AHERN: Rectangle:

ZAUGG: Yeah. Just a long building and had some walls in between. That was second thought. So you'd have a kitchen and a living room. I remember there was just curtains across. My sister had the back room and you could see the frost on the roofing nails when it was cold, so it wasn't really hot in that house, and, course, they had stoves in it. We survived.

AHERN: Did you have any type of plumbing indoors?

ZAUGG: No. You packed your water in and had an outdoor outhouse. About the first thing they built that was pretty good was a big cellar underground. It's still standing and it's still a good cellar, and you butcher your own beef and all of that good stuff and they butchered pigs and beef and like that, and I remember Mother used to take like a sausage and pork loins all sliced and cooked, put it in big crocks and pour lard over it and it would keep real good. You'd take it out of there was just like fresh.

AHERN: Was it a successful poultry business that your parents had?

ZAUGG: No, no. Well, it never was any money on a scale no larger than that, but they sold eggs and sold chickens and they raised turkeys for three or four years. They'd raise, oh, seven, eight, nine hundred turkeys, and then come Thanksgiving time and New Year's, Christmas, you'd butcher a bunch. Used to hire turkey pickers to pick the turkeys. And then we used to be the Northwest Turkey Growers Association and you'd take your turkeys in there and usually that was the best price.

AHERN: You mention turkey pickers. Exactly what did they do?

ZAUGG: Well, you have all these turkeys like in the old chicken house and maybe you've got, oh, maybe three or four sets of turkey pickers. Usually, it was a husband or wife and they'd come and they'd pick them for so much a turkey, and you'd put those turkeys in there and you had places they could put their feet so you could hang them the right height, and they'd pick all the feathers off the turkeys. Pick them pretty clean, and then we used to hang them in the shed 'cause it had a little cover in case it would snow and we used to have them like that cellar. Still the nail used to hang that just full of turkeys. And take them in the…Well, you know, several hundred turkeys hangin' around your house is quite a few, and then when they were picked then we'd haul them into town on a trailer. My dad had a trailer pulled by the car, and you'd take them in there to the Northwest Turkey Growers' Association, and they'd count your turkeys, weigh them, and all that and then they'd pay you, and they paid better than anyone else by them. So they didn't do bad on the turkeys.

AHERN: Did you and your sister help out with the turkeys?

ZAUGG: Oh, yeah. Anything there was to do because you have to herd these turkeys and get them ready for the pickers feed them. That was quite a chore to feed that many turkeys. We used to do that. Yup.

AHERN: Did you have your own livestock, also, the cows and pigs?

ZAUGG: Yeah, we had a few cows. We had pigs. At our place…we had… all the neighbors used to come there because we had big chain blocks that you could lift up a big beef and we uh….my dad built a vat where you scalded your hogs and cleaned them. So all the neighbors one would be a little sled; you'd pull it with a couple of horses and they'd bring their pigs over to our place and do all the scalding there. Somebody'd be helping there. All up and down Bafford Lane, we used to . . . but all the butchering was done at my folks' place there. Beef, too. Usually we'd do the hogs and then somebody'd want a beef or two, and so we'd do the beef.

AHERN: What was done with the parts of the butchered animal that wasn't used for food?

ZAUGG: Well, I really don't recall that. But the internal organs, like your heart and your liver and all that was saved. Well, on your cattle, the hide, you'd save the hide and throw it over the fence and then the neighbors'd get their hide, you know. That was quite a butchering deal there in the winter and fall when we'd do it.

AHERN: Did your father charge for the neighbors to use the place?

ZAUGG: Oh, no, because they'd help us, too. But it was just handy. He fixed up a real good scalding tank for the hogs, and it was easy to get them in and out, and then when they were all clean, then whoever owned him would take him home. I don't know what they'd do with them there. Probably just like we did. They'd cook it up and use it. There wasn't too many places. There was the place that my folks rented when we first came, they'd have something to butcher, and then the next place was right over here and then across the way was a Smith ranch and they had three or four boys and the guy that owned the plant, he was an old sea captain, and he was rougher (laughing) than a cob. He was a real nice guy. And then the next place would be Baffords and then the Larsons. There's four or five different people, but that's all the people that lived here then.

AHERN: You mentioned the Smith place. Which Smith would that have been?

ZAUGG: Edgar Smith. And his boys, there was Stanley and Ralph and Edgar Smith.

AHERN: During this time when your parents rented the place on Bafford, was that also when your father worked for Kents? 

ZAUGG: He started working there then. Well, I don't recall. Our legs were pretty short, but we used to help irrigate, you know, and things like that, and then they bought a place, twenty acres there.

AHERN: What is the address now that your parents had bought?

ZAUGG: That they bought? I guess…I really don't know. You know you didn't have addresses like you do now. It was just a different ranch. You see.. an eighty acres got split up in twenty-acre pieces and different people bought those twenties.

AHERN: Was this on Bafford Lane then?

ZAUGG: Bafford Lane, yeah. And Bafford Lane like you know it now comes up there, didn't go that far. It stopped at the Smith place and we used to go through their place to get to a road, and you notice where those propane tanks are up there on the right-hand side, well, the road come out about there, dirt road. But Bafford Lane never crossed the river and it ended at the Bafford place. Ya know…where you see those propane tanks, the road is up high, and the canal is there. See, that used to be a reservoir, a water reservoir, and it irrigated the Smith place and these places along here weren't completely seeded like they are now, but that reservoir irrigated there, and it irrigated what we called the Ponte place, and then west of there was the Corbel place.

AHERN: Do you recall which Ponte? It’s P.O.N.T.E?

ZAUGG: Yeah, his son, [Bernard] Ponte, they got building, yeah, well that was Ponte's son.

AHERN: Do you recall Mr. Ponte's first name?

ZAUGG: No, I don't, but as long as we lived here, well after we finally moved here and built a house and I got along real good with them. They were Italian, didn't speak too good, and they lived in a house up there that finally burned down. Had dirt floors. And, you know, those floors were just immaculate all the time.

AHERN: Even though it was a dirt floor?

ZAUGG: Yeah, and I don't how come old Ponte and I got along so good, but I guess because I worked and he appreciated that. You know, I was always doing something.

AHERN: You worked for Mr. Ponte?

ZAUGG: No, no. For me (laughing) by then. Mr. Ponte he would…he raised vegetables, and he'd sell them. He'd take them to town and sell them. Old Mr. Ponte, he always, he and his wife both, Mr. Roy, and I don't how come I got along good with him, but I guess just because I'd do something, you know.

AHERN: They always referred to you as Mr. Roy?

ZAUGG: Yeah. Mr. Roy. And I don't recall just when they passed away, but they finally sold the ranch and when he sold it, Mr. Ponte, would tell me all about his dealings. As you go along you recall things that you haven't even thought about for years.

AHERN: When did you leave home? After your parents had finally bought their own place?

ZAUGG: Oh, yeah. They were there and raising turkeys and I got in on all that.

AHERN: How old were you when you left home?

ZAUGG: Well, when I went to work for the sheet metal shop that was in my first year of high school, so I don't recall just what age I was then, and then I went to work for the creamery. I don't whether this kind of stuff should go on tape or not, but while I was working at the creamery I got up around Lake Tahoe a little bit because I had a good car, and I got to looking around and there were some illegal slot machines up there and those guys were really making money. So, I started buying a few slot machines and I had a pretty good string of slot machines. Saturday night when I'd get done working at the creamery then I'd go up there. I made the guys a pretty good deal. It used to be sixty-forty split,• see. They'd get forty per cent, so I split it right down the middle, fifty-fifty, and I was making a little bucks there for a while.

AHERN: Now, did you buy the slot machines?

ZAUGG: Bought them.

AHERN: And where did you put them?

ZAUGG: In different stores.

AHERN: This was all up in Tahoe?

ZAUGG: Yeah, up at Tahoe. At the north end, around King's Beach and Sandy Beach and some of those places. They had stores, so I'd go in there and dicker with the people and tell them, and every time I'd get a few extra bucks I'd buy another slot machine or two.

AHERN: How much did those slot machines cost then?

ZAUGG: Most generally I'd buy used ones, but good ones, at about $150, $200.

AHERN: And how many slot machines did you have in total?

ZAUGG: Oh, God, I don't know. About eight or ten, but they were making more money (laughing) than you could ever make in wages.

AHERN: Approximately what was your take after you split?

ZAUGG: Oh, about every Saturday night or Sunday morning $150 to $300.

AHERN: This is from each slot machine?

ZAUGG: No, no, no.

AHERN: From the total?

ZAUGG: Total. Yeah, they weren't paying that good. (laughing) That would have been better. I didn't even know the ropes. I just seen what it looked like you could do, and so I took a crack at it and I was really rolling in the bucks.

AHERN: Were these the quarter slot machines?

ZAUGG: Uh…Nickel, dime, and quarter.

AHERN: What were your wages at the creamery?

ZAUGG: I was getting at the creamery…I was gettin about, for just guys working around town, I was getting about the highest salary of anybody, and I was getting $150 a month then.

AHERN: What was your job at the creamery?

ZAUGG: Well I was uh… I'd weigh in the cream and stuff they'd bring in and then finally I got to be butter maker. It wasn't too long and I was making butter there. That's what I was doing when I left. And I think I had a little better wages then, but I started at around $150 there and like the stores were paying their clerks less than a hundred, so I was doing all right there.

AHERN: And the butter maker. Was this all done with a hand . . . ?

ZAUGG: Oh, no, we had big churns. When I was there we had two big long churns. Well, each one would hold about seven hundred gallons of cream and we'd have quite a few churnings. Sometimes both churns maybe worked twice in one day and when the butter was ready, it was salted then... Everything was ready to use and we'd put it in molds. We used to have a butter wrapper working there and there'd be somebody in with the butter wrapper to cut it in little cubes, and the butter wrapper would wrap them, and we'd chase it and we had a couple of pretty big coolers in there and we'd stack it in there and we'd get too much butter we'd put it in the molds. They called them firkins.

AHERN: Would you spell that?

ZAUGG: Ferkins (correct spelling is Firkins) And that's what they called those molds, and they would come apart and you could open them, but when you put the butter in the firkins you had bags that, uh I guess they were plastic lined, and you'd throw it in them and tamp it and then you'd put it in the cooler and when we'd have a big truckload they'd send the truck up from Modesto, California. They had a plant there, too. Then they'd process it. They had…it was a pretty big plant. I think at the plant they had around fifteen hundred workers there.

AHERN: Were you pretty thrifty with your wages? You'd saved a lot then so that you were able to buy those slot machines?

ZAUGG: Well, (laughing) I'd save up enough for that, see, and then when I had money coming in from that I could buy new cars and things like that.      (laughing)

AHERN: After your job at the creamery, was this when you had joined the military?

ZAUGG: Yeah. I was working there then and I was on the first call in the draft, and I was the first call they knew I was working there at the creamery so they called up Mr. Scholz--he was the boss there--and they asked if he wanted a deferment for me, so they got me a ninety-day deferment so I could break in some people to do the different things. By then I could do anything in the plant. Well, the ninety-day deferment was up and the lady at the drafting office called up, wanted to know if I was ready to go. I said, "I was ready when I got the deferment."

AHERN: What was Mr. Scholzes first name?

ZAUGG: Frank.

AHERN:It’s Schultz?

ZAUGG:No, it’s Scholts I think. And uh… So that lady called. Wanted to know if I was ready. I said, "You bet," and she said, "Let me talk with Mr. Scholz," and they hobnobbed together, and old Frank said, "You got another ninety-day deferment." It's a little complicated to break in people in a plant like that. See, they handled a lot of fluids there, so in the meantime, I figured they could make butter. See, you got to test a bunch of stuff and it takes a little time to learn how to do that and your salt tests. You run it through beakers and all that. Well, the other ninety-days is about up, and Frank says, "Do you want another deferment?" and I said, "Hell, no, let's go." (laughing) I said, "You got people that can do the work here now."

AHERN: After you served your time in the military, did you come directly back to Fallon?

ZAUGG: Yeah. Almost not. I went to Modesto… Well, I got to Fallon. I guess the field man for the plant down there knew I was back, see, and he trailed me down. He wanted me to come. He said he's about ready to retire and he wanted me to come and take his job, and he says, "We got extra room," and everything that made it good, and they were going to boost the wages way up, and I'd already bought land here. He said, "We'd like to have you up there," and already they was thinkin…I don't know what the hell they were thinking about, I went into the office and Mr. Leeburns is the guy that wanted me to take his job…

AHERN: Could you spell that Leburns?

ZAUGG: (Laughing) You spell that.

AHERN: Leeburns?

ZAUGG:Ummm that’s close enough. But in the head office there was a Mr. Benkendorf and there was one of the head wheels in the office there was, we used to call her Moss Devins. Her last name was Devins. Then they had another guy that was assistant manager. Old Benkendorf told me he had an assistant manager, he said, "You show this guy around. Boy! I'm busy. You show this man around." (laughing) And they had a big chart up on the wall, in the office there, and already they had Benkendorf, Moss Devins, Leeburns, and they had my name eighth on the list out of fifteen hundred people, and I thought, "Jesus, what are they thinking about?" and they already had my name there and I was in the service. They was going to transfer me to there and old Leeburns--boy, these head wheels was pretty nice people. You could talk to them. I guess why they was there. You could talk to them. They just had me moved down already, and when I got done looking around it was hot in Modesto. You were just wringing wet all the time, and I thought, "Woo, this ain't for me," so I told them I wanted to go home and think about it, and I did.             (laughing)

AHERN: You said you had already bought land, and this is the current property now?

ZAUGG: Yeah.

AHERN: How many acres did you purchase?

ZAUGG: All together here 214, and it was all brush so I bought a Cat. I was working in town. I went to work for the city [Fallon] finally in town. I put in my shifts there and then I'd eat supper and I'd come out here and I had a Cat and big chains and big rails and I'd drag this brush down if it was moonlight. Because the Old River channels is all over out there and finally got it down. Then I hired a Cat with big scrapers to start leveling. Think I done it in a couple of stages 'cause that's pretty expensive and I didn't have that much money.

AHERN: You said you worked for the City. What were you doing for the City of Fallon?

ZAUGG: Well, when I went to work there I worked for the water department and if they'd have leaks, you know, how the guys there, you get to fix the leaks.

AHERN: Leaks where?

ZAUGG: All over town.

AHERN: And was it in the houses or . .     ?

ZAUGG: No, out on the streets. The houses, that was their problem, and we'd fix leaks and we done everything there. The City used to make their own oiled streets and they had a man or two that was pretty good on that. Done everything. Hauled gravel from way out there in here.

AHERN: Prior to your building your house on this property, where were you staying?

ZAUGG: We were renting a house in town.

AHERN: Were you married then?

ZAUGG: Yeah.

AHERN: How did you meet your wife?

ZAUGG: She went to work as a bookkeeper at the creamery. (laughing) And I knew her there then, see, and she looked kind of dumb and I thought, "Well, I can handle her all right."       (laughing)

AHERN: Did you marry before you left for the service or after?

ZAUGG: After...After I done that. Yeah. For a while after I got out of the service I had learned to weld pretty good, so I was building trailers to sell...stock trailers. They looked pretty decent and they were pretty strong and I built about eighteen of those trailers and I'd have them sold before I'd ever get them done and they were good. A lot of California, I bet some of those trailers are still running out there. I've got one I built out of scrap after I left and so I was making better than wages, with those trailers. And those big trucks, you know, the big cattle trucks, I built a couple of those, and they held together pretty good so I had plenty of jobs but I didn’t get tired of that. Then I went to work for the City. I worked for the creamery awhile. See, when I first came back old Scholz, he said, "Can you work at the creamery? We need somebody." And I said, "Well, what do you want me to do?" And he, "a, I a, well," he was a hemmin' and a hawin'.   I said, "I'll tell you, Mr. Scholz, if I'm the butter maker, I'll take the job." And he says, "But, my son's workin' there, and he's the foreman." I says, "That's up to you, but if I'm butter maker, I'm the foreman 'cause I'm going to tell them what to do with the cream." The thing was, your percentage on this butter is what you call overrun. And uh…you uh…About eighteen, twenty percent overrun you're doing good. When I went to work there they had it down to thirteen, fourteen per cent. See, they weren't putting the right chemicals in the cream. It was a messed up mess. Well, I could see it was. Had tanks leaking, water into the cream, and I told Scholz, "If I'm working here we're going to get this thing straightened out." Well, before I quit him, we had it up to about twenty-two per cent. See, at fourteen, fifteen per cent you're losing money. Eighteen per cent you're making money, and you got it up to twenty-two per cent where I had it, you're making good money and I got kind of p.o.ed at the boss there because he was' just letting the building go to hell because he got to chasing some girl that was working there, so I told him I'd give so many days that'd be my last days, and then one of the pushers at the City wanted to know what I was doing. I said, "Well, I just quit a job," and he said, "Will you come to work here?"

AHERN: One of the pushers at the City?

ZAUGG: Yeah, one of the head guys, you know, and he said, "Would you come to work? You've got to get in the mud and you got to work." I said, "I ain't afraid of work. Sure I'll come." And I was getting more wages there than I was at the creamery. So I worked there. I worked for the City twenty-two years. In fact, I retired from the City.

AHERN: Going back to your wife. Did you have any long courtship?

ZAUGG: Yeah, awhile. See, already knew her. Yeah, we ran around, and I was a-drinking pretty bad, and I thought maybe I ought to settle down and quit this drinking which I did. And she didn't beg me to marry her, but she should have, 'cause we got along real good for a long time.         (laughing)

AHERN: How many children do you have?

ZAUGG: Three.

AHERN: Would you give me their names?

ZAUGG: Mary Frances Elliott is the oldest, and Margo is the second, and then Michael--Margo isn't married. She's too ornery, nobody'd marry her, but Michael's my only son, and he's running this place now.

AHERN: Michael is your youngest?

ZAUGG: Yeah.

AHERN: Do all of your children live here in Fallon?

ZAUGG: Mary lives somewhere in California, and Margo works for the Lilly Pharmaceutical. See, Margo worked in a hospital in Sacramento [California] for about seven years and she was a registered nurse, pretty high up, and the hospital sent her to San Francisco [California] about every week for a weekend, and what she was learning down there she'd bring it back and then the doctors, Margo would tell them what she seen and what the new wrinkles and this, that, angioplasty. You know what that is. Where they put the little balloon, and she got pretty cagey at that and that's when the Lilly Pharmaceutical, one of their men got to talking with her somewhere in California and wanted to know if she'd be interested in a pretty steady job. She said, "Yup." She's getting tired of the hospital. So she kept on working with this angioplasty and they had her teaching doctors how to do that. They sent to uh…. Her first big trip was to Japan. They was some doctors, I guess she was making a talk and explaining this and she was showing the doctors and they asked her boss be any chance of getting her to come, they had four or five pretty bad cases in Japan and they'd like to have her there when they're doing it. So her boss asked her if she'd be interested in going to Japan, and what she had to do. I guess she said, "Yeah," and they said, "Well, good, because we got your tickets. You're going." (laughing) So they shipped her off there. When she was in Japan, they just treated her like royalty. She'd go in a store and buy knick-knacks and go to pay for them. "Oh, no, it's all paid for," so they had somebody trailing her, and she didn't know it. Wherever she went, and she couldn't go to a restaurant buy a cup of coffee, and you know she went all around, and she didn't realize there was somebody tailing her like that. Must have been two or three of them, and when she finally left, the doctor that was here when she went there, I guess she done them a lot of good over there, they give her a string of pearls. No fakes. Beautiful. She said, she can't take them. "Oh, yes, you can. You've got them. They're yours." So she wound up with that. Several little knick-knacks that they gave her. They just treated her like royalty.

AHERN: Now, you retired from the City of Fallon. During that time what are the other jobs that you did a lot? You weren't always working for the water department?

ZAUGG:No, I uh…Well, I worked there quite awhile with the water department, and finally the City Manager, asked me if I would take the job of all utilities, everything, take the whole thing, that was sewer, everything.

AHERN: Who was the head City Manager then?

ZAUGG: Ben Bartlett. You probably might have met him, and during the time they had a city engineer, and old Ben told me, "Anything you want to do," he says, "You do it because you're now in charge of everything but we've still got our engineer." And I said, "Well, hell!" And old Ben, "Well, hell, you can do anything he can do." And I told Ben, "Gees, I haven't got an education, Ben." And he says, "Neither's our engineer. He's s'posed to, but he didn't learn anything." (laughing) And I used to have new wells, everything, for two or three years, and I'd always been going to quit. See, retire at twenty years, and Ben says, "Well, we'll give you a little boost in wages if you'll stay another year." Well, at the end of that year, "Well, Ben, I'm going to go." Then, "Well, how about one more year?" Well, even when I finally quit, I told him, "No more, Ben, this is it." And he'd raised my wages to the same this city engineer was getting.

AHERN: How old were you when you finally retired from the City?

ZAUGG: Oh, hell. That's been . . . well, I had a heart attack, see. I was in pretty rough shape for awhile. I'm still medicating for it all the time, and old Ben just told me, "You don't have to do a damn thing. Just whatever you want somebody to do, do it, and you don't have to ask me. Just do it. If you stay another year, we'll give you another raise." So I was still getting the same as the city engineer, and I don't whether the engineer knew it or not. I finally told old Ben that this is it.

AHERN: During the time you worked for the City you were also developing your property here.

ZAUGG: Oh yeah.[END OF TAPE 1 or 2]  

AHERN: You developed your property here. What did you do after it was developed? Did you raise stock or put it into alfalfa?

ZAUGG: Yeah. Well, it was all in alfalfa until this dry year. On this place we used to get a lot of hay, and we had a pretty good bunch of cattle. Well, we owed a lot. We owed on the house, we owed on the land we bought. And I got, one time, counting cattle, and I figured well, if I'd sell these everything'd be clear. Wouldn't owe anybody anything, and I had a bunch of beautiful heifers. Had pretty good blood. I'd buy good stuff, and during the time, I told Hilda about selling them, and, oh, she had a fit. Well, 'cause her mother told her that I shouldn't do that. And her mother was a bitch on wheels (laughing) and uh. I should’ve drowneded her lives just up the river. But I didn’t, I guess it is illegal. So I started selling cattle and I'd have a big truck come and I'd load the truck. Well, I figured I had about enough cattle sold. I kept holding back the real good ones. The last load I took in I had thirty head of just top grade, almost purebred, all of them. But during this time, my wife or the kids wouldn't even speak to me.

AHERN: They didn't agree with your decision.

ZAUGG: Hilda's mother didn't agree with my decision, and like I said she was a bitch on wheels and Hilda…her mother, she  tried to do everything she could for her. I had the cattle sold, and I had these as a backup if I needed anymore money, I had it. That many cattle's a pretty good start and finally I got a check from farm loan. You see, I had all that money tied in one package. I got my check for all the cattle. Well farm loan sent me…I had sent too many cattle. Well, farm loan sent me a check for three, four thousand and I come home with it, and I laid it on the table, and I says, "The rest of the cattle we own and there ain't a thing on this ranch we don't own." And she didn't say much, so I went out to feed the cattle and here come Hilda and the two girls and Mick--Mick don't remember much about this stuff, and they come out there to the corrals just a-crying'. "I wonder what the hell's I do wrong now?" And she said that you were right all the time, but we didn't realize it. I said, "Well, hell, simple arithmetic'll tell you that I done the right thing. We wouldn't even have to have one head," 'cause the place by then was all leveled, four or five hundred ton of hay to sell, and she said, "Boy, we're sure sorry how we treated you. We didn't treat you very good." I said, "I know. I was here." Because they didn't speak, and I told them out there, "Hilda, now look. 1 done the right thing I thought all the time." And they was just a-crying.     And I said, "I'm figurin' on livin' here." They was apologizing. I says, "If you guys don't like it here, I don't give a damn where you go, but I'm going to be here." They got done a-blubberin' out there and they come to the house. But she always had my meals, even when I was doing them bad things. She always had good meals, and she really took care of the kids.

AHERN: Did Mrs. Zaugg continue to work after you were married as a bookkeeper at the creamery?

ZAUGG: Oh, no, she'd quit already, then. She went to work at some library for awhile when the kids were going to school.

AHERN: Is this a library here in Fallon?

ZAUGG:I don't know whether it was a high school library or a . . .I think the high school library. I think she worked there. And they were having a little problem at the school getting teachers so one year or most of a year she worked as a teacher, and I don't know what the hell she was teaching, so she contributed quite a bit here. But uh.. you’d have to know her mother to know what I’m talking about. Her mother just…oh!... she was ugly. She was really ugly.

AHERN: Did Hilda ever do anything outside of school? Did she ever do a history of the farms in the area?

ZAUGG: Uh, she done a history of all the farming areas.

AHERN: Was she doing it for any specific purpose?

ZAUGG: For her own satisfaction, and at that time, I knew all the old ranchers good. She didn't, so I took her around to all these guys and ranches down here and all over. I knew them all.

AHERN: You introduced her to the ranchers?

ZAUGG: Oh, yeah, and most all the bigger ranches were here quite awhile, and so she wrote quite… she had quite a pad of that, and the original one I can't find it, and I've seen articles that other people have written, but Hilda wrote it.

AHERN: Do you recall when she written…wrote her articles?

ZAUGG: Aw . . . God, I don't . . . well, I guess Mary was born. We even went around…It was quite a few years before Hilda had any little children. She had a problem and they fixed whatever it was, but I think during that time was when she wrote about these ranches. All the big ranches in the Valley, and she had that pamphlet, couple of them she'd been working on, and she loaned it to somebody and they, later, wrote a big article. I think she got it in the museum and all that, but most of that Hilda wrote. I'm not guessing because I was with her.

AHERN: She had written it before the children came along.

ZAUGG: Yeah. Well, I guess she was still working on it then.

AHERN: Do you have a general year as to when she had written that?

ZAUGG: Uh …I see…I don’t know... I seen a pamphlet somewhere.

AHERN: So, you would somewhat presume that it was between 1950 and 1951 that she had written her article?

ZAUGG: Um hum. It was a pretty good article, but, like I told you, since then I've seen articles that were written by somebody else, and I know that she wrote, not the whole thing of theirs, but many articles that were under somebody else's name. But she worked. She pushed and did a lot of work.

AHERN: Tell me about this house. Did you plan the architecture and everything, and did you build it yourself?

ZAUGG: Yes. Well, I hired a carpenter to help on the roof.

AHERN: Did you have any prior experience as a carpenter?

ZAUGG: No, (laughing) Well, I'd seen it.

AHERN: Did you see a style of this house elsewhere?

ZAUGG: Well, yeah. I sketched out the floor plan. She was happy with it. She kind of sketched it out, and then I put it to scale 'cause I had ruler, see. (laughing) I put it to scale and then I drew the whole house how it would look and front view so she could see it. Somewhere in there I've got that. Then I drew all the floor plans. Like I say, I was sure as hell no carpenter but I could read a ruler. The house was to scale, too, and I don't know just where it is. It looks like it even yet before the house was ever started. Yeah, I put the footing and foundation, and we'd borrowed money to build this house and they'd come and inspect it, and I exceeded what they asked for on steel throughout the house, and they come out once or twice and looked at, and they said, "We don't need to come no more. You're way above what we called for." And I told them, "I didn't want the damn thing to fall down." (laughing) Building it yourself you build it quite a bit cheaper. But this house…there was a contractor…I got the outside blocks. I hired a contractor to put the outside blocks up, and they were building a house just about--Don Cooper lives in it now.

AHERN: Where would this be?

ZAUGG: Oh, I don't know. The town is growing, but anyway this was about the same floor plan as that contractor built. He was in kind of a lull, so he give me a good deal putting up the blocks. I put in all the sub floor. You know, you see two by sixes. This is all two by twelves and two by tens. Everything under here, but we built the whole house and the paint, and we got a furnace good as you can get. It's a diesel or oil furnace and, oh, incidentally, I have every part, brand new, laying down there by the furnace that we'd need if something went wrong. There isn't a part there that isn't brand new laying there 'cause the furnace it was a pretty good one, but, anyway, the total of that on this house was, everything, cupboards built and all this, was right at eleven thousand dollars.

AHERN: How long did it take for you to build the house?

ZAUGG: Oh, Christ! This isn't really complete, yet! (laughing) I'd do a little as I had time and money.

AHERN: And when you finally moved in .

ZAUGG: When we moved in we had the kitchen done about like it is, and the bathroom and one bedroom was all painted and the floor all done. See, under that rug, I've got a hardwood floor, but it's not just little thin stuff. It's a big heavy stuff and underneath that that's what the whole house is. Hardwood floor. Bedrooms, everything. But everything, just about like it is now, not counting any furniture, was just a little over eleven thousand dollars, and I had lumber hauled in. Herb Ward used to buy lumber somewhere, and he'd to bring it in, so he had two or three loads of lumber, see, because we used all good stuff. But, for the price, not too shabby.

AHERN: Did you build your cupboards also?

ZAUGG: My dad built that. That's why I hang on to that. He built that when we were living in the chicken house. Well, there wasn't many shelves and things and Mother had some dishes she wanted. My sister's got some of them. I told her to take everything she wanted. Like that kind of a tan one like that carnival glass. That was my grandfather's wedding present to mom and dad. All the things, the spoon holder, the whole works is there. My sis didn't particularly want it and I said, "Boy, I'd take it." Because that carnival glass is pretty valuable stuff now.

AHERN: So are you saying you are still working on this house? You're still finishing it? (laughing)

ZAUGG: Oh, yeah.

AHERN: What do you think that needs to be finished now?

ZAUGG: The front porch. Like you got that big glass window there, see, and I wanted to get liveable so I put the glass in here, but them big white posts, see there they help support that beam across there. Well, I want to cut that cement out there and I want to put blocks out in front there and come around just the other side of that door and those curtains wouldn't be there and then you could walk in and out. Then I could raise that floor in here, maybe, I'll step down or something like that. I been thinking pretty serious about that. Doing it. Take a cement saw. Now that I've got the house built I've got all the tools to do things like that, but then it'd be pretty neat. See all those books and stuff on that fireplace in there could go in a bookshelf on the end there and there'd be something else up there. Like this. (laughing) See that's a closet that goes kind of back in, hang coats and stuff, and, well, I can understand now that women they don't see things. Well, you can talk about it and I can visualize what you got, and she told me what she wanted there so I put it up there. It was out a little further than that. About four inches, and so we re-built . . . yeah, all these fancy corners and stuff like that? I done them in that other room, and so she come out to inspect the house, and, "Oh, that isn't right at all." "What's the matter with it?" "Well, it should be back a little further," and I says, "Now, that's no problem at all." I had a big crow bar in my hand, and I just knocked it out of there, and I said, "Now where you want it?" (laughing) and she got mad and left. (laughing) I guess married couples do fuss about the house, don't they?


ZAUGG: (laughing) I mean, one'll want something, but I'd been working like hell at it. Night and day, probably. There's many a weekend when I'd come home from work. I'd never go to bed until Monday morning. Never changed clothes or a thing. Monday morning I had to go to work. I'd get clean clothes and wash the scale off of me and go to work. But there's many, many weekends I never went to bed. Couldn't get the work done. See, out in the field you could work with lights and stuff.

AHERN: When you were developing this property, did you have any serious problems of any sort, maybe getting water to your fields or anything like that?

ZAUGG: Oh, no. We surveyed it all then. The Soil Conservation, they send surveyors out, and we'd take shots. I had in my mind what it ought to be later, and I'd have them go that far. Like now, since then, I've got surveying tools just as good as they've got in there, and if we want to change a field or spot it we can do it. Mick does good with the level, too.

AHERN: Was it hard being a part-time rancher as you already had full-time job.

ZAUGG: Yes. That's what I told you how many nights I never went to bed when I'd come home from work.

AHERN: Was it worth it being a part-time rancher?

ZAUGG: I think so. If you're not afraid to work a little bit. You know, if a drop of sweat comes off your brow you wipe it off, but you get pretty tired because the ranch up the river is about the same size as this, I plowed every field up there from leveled up there, and you know what I got out of it while they was there? Not a damn thing. Not even a thank you. One time I had tractors up there working. I got quite awhile. You do custom work by the hour, and how much do they owe to get it done? And I quoted them. Just average. "Oh, that's pretty high," so I just knocked off so many hundred. "Ooh, still pretty high." Finally got knocked down. That's when I quit. I told her to get somebody else, and when they had it chopped down to where they thought it was pretty good, but still too high, I was gettin'--you do this custom work by the hour--well, they had it chopped down. I kept chopping and I thought they would quit some day. Had it chopped down and we got all figured out I was getting three dollars and something a day. I furnished the fuel and everything, and I didn't do it for them. I done it for Hilda.

AHERN: Why did you do it for Hilda?

ZAUGG: Why? Because we got along good. We got along good.

AHERN: Now, why did you not just work at your job at the City and just leave it at that rather than go into ranching?

ZAUGG: Well, I was already into ranching. I had a lot of this already leveled up.

AHERN: But, you could have sold it and just went to work on a regular eight-to-five job.

ZAUGG: Well, I could have sold this place for this pretty good money several times.

AHERN: Why didn't you do that?

ZAUGG: Well, you'd make more money here. This place made money because everything's paid for. Ain't a piece of machinery, and we got some of this expensive equipment around here, too, and everything's paid for, and we've accumulated enough money that if any of these places sold I could pay them cash for it.

AHERN: If the prospect came up of being able to buy more property, would you go ahead and acquire more?

ZAUGG: When Hilda was real bad shape in the hospital up there, that place over there was going to be sold, and the guy called me up. See, I'd just got a phone call that Hilda was bad, and so, pert near every day I'd go up to Reno. Washoe or wherever, and I told the guy, "Yeah, I'd take it." I think he was asking eighty or ninety thousand, and he said, "But, it'd have to be cash," and I said, "Any way you want it. We got the money to pay you."

AHERN: How many acres was this?

ZAUGG: Twenty acres. But really good. I could tie it in with what we have, but when I went up there, I don't know. I was up there, I stayed an extra day or something. By then the guy'd sold it. I told him I'd take it. Well you heard of Caseys?

AHERN: Which Casey would this be?

ZAUGG:Well the ranchers. They got big ranches all over.

AHERN:Uh there is Mike Casey and uh….

ZAUGG: Yeah Mike and his son is the one that I was going to buy it from. But their word isn’t worth 10 cents. And It was like John you know it was all about property in Reno…

AHERN:Must a been John Casey.

ZAUGG: Yeah. You’ve heard of him. You know of him? He’s got more money than you can count. I’ll bet ya Old John, I’ll bet ya he’s worth a hundred million.

AHERN: Your wife was in the hospital for quite some time. What put her in the hospital?

ZAUGG: She had her throat. She got coughin' and this and that and finally she got pretty sick, so I loaded her up and she was drinking real bad. You shoulda seen when she was gone and the girls come out to clean out the house and wanted to know what to throw out and I said any of her clothes or anything get rid of it. Anything I don’t care what it is get it out and they took bags and bags of stuff and they give it away some of it new stuff. And uh.. they cleaned the house out real good, Mary and Margaret did. And I said anything you want we’ll take it. So they must’ve…they really worked. But in the mean time there was hardly a corner that wasn’t a fifth of…uh…gin or what’s this other white stuff?


ZAUGG:Yeah, vodka. I like that. But uh…you shoulda seen the bottles of vodka that we took outta there. And you know a year or two ago in the basement there was some boxes in the back, you see, and this has been quite a few years and every cupboard, behind the drawers in bedrooms. I’ll bet you damn near covered half of that table setting up bottles that she hid so that she didn’t run short. I forget what came up, the doctors knew that she was just done and they said “If she wants to drink let her have it.” And I said “well okay.” Cause a couple of doctors got to know her pretty good after a couple of years and one doctor said, "She isn't going to make it." Told me, he says, "I know you'll take it all right," and I said, "Well, yeah, I'm surprised she's still going." But she had this cancer in her throat, larynx, and he had to laser that out of there. He said, "I can't guarantee it, but she got to have laser work done on her throat." So he lasered it and she come home a week or so, and then back we went, and so he had to do some more laser. Then she couldn't talk. So she'd write whatever she wanted. She could write pretty good--better than I can but I think three times Brophy tried to laser that out of her throat, and I guess he thought had it a time or two and then old Dr. Dingacci--did you know him? Well, I knew him pretty good, and I'd go in there for checkup and stuff and quarrel with him and he went and got some x-rays and she was pretty bad, and he showed them to me and her left lung was half gone, cancer. Oh uh… Ding, I know him well, he says, "Hell, she hasn't got a chance, but I'm going to take her up,"--she was sick again, and he said, "You ought to take her up in the ambulance," so he give me that x-ray and he left a note which doctor he wanted to look at her, but she really had that. I guess she was just loaded with cancer all over. She had to be pretty tough to go through all that.

AHERN: She was in the hospital for quite sometime and you visited her daily.

ZAUGG: Every day.

AHERN: Didn't it bother you going daily?


AHERN: Did you somewhat resent going?

ZAUGG: Oh, no. No, no, no, no.

AHERN: Now, she was in Reno.

ZAUGG: Yeah, because she was always happy to see you. No, I didn't resent it at all. I'd already retired with nothing I had to do, and at that point I had all the field works contract work, haying and everything. Contracting…We was doing all right. This place was still making money.

AHERN: After you retired, you started ranching full time.


AHERN:What do you enjoy most about your ranching life now?

ZAUGG: When you sell something and taking in the money. (laughing) You know, just so long as you's just making a buck. 'Cause a lot of places weren't. Yeah this place… About that time--see my wife has got a sister [Josephine], Well, I'll tell you about her sister. We had her kids here about a year and a half while she was in the nut house in Sacramento, and her sister never did like me. That was mutual. I got the two sisters together and they uh…well I got them a leaser to lease the place up there [Cadet ranch], and he done good, but on the re-leveling, see, I was just in the process. I was going to re-level the whole place 'cause their mother asked me if I would do it. Whenever she wanted something with the cattle or like that she'd always get me. And she says, "You do it like you think it ought to be done." Put all cement ditches, re-level the whole place, and I said, "Okay." Well, that time she passed away, so it all changed, and Josephine, that’s Hilda's sister, she'd come and talk with us. Josephine's never been here since Hilda's funeral.                In fact, she wasn't at the funeral and she didn't come out here. But anyway the place is on a paying basis up there now. Well, we got Venturaccis leasing it, but the difference is in leveling and stuff. But you know one thing I done. They had a few thousand dollars, a pretty good bunch that her and Josephine split that.

AHERN: This few thousand dollars was from the mother's estate?

ZAUGG: Um hum. That was in cash. They split it and Josephine took hers. Hilda put it here in the banks. And so when Hilda passed away So I went around to wherever Hilda put this money, and I made it out to our three kids, and I've never touched a cent of it. We got it in two or three different banks and so when I turn up my toes the kids won't have any trouble. They can just go get it. And I put it that way because at that point I didn't need it then. I might need it now to get a jug of whiskey. But, that place is about the same size as this. 'Cause I used to do all the haying and everything up there, and most of the time I didn't get a dime for doing it. It's a good thing this place was paying pretty good.

AHERN: Now, that you're retired, how do you spend your days?

ZAUGG: Well, I used to, even when Hilda was gone, I used to go fishing. That's what we used to do. We'd go a week somewhere. Then we'd go another week somewhere else and we both so enjoyed it so I just kept on, and that's when I had the work custom done. And I'd still be doing it but to tell you the truth I feel a little rough most of the time.

AHERN: Do you still have a few head of cattle that you're raising and your hay?

ZAUGG: Yeah. My son's been doing it for several years, and he was drinking terrible bad. Well, it was then I wasn't anymore, and (laughing) boy! he'd sure make a mess sometimes. Tear fences down with the big tractor, you know, and then I'd have something to do like fix the fence, but now he's on the water wagon. He was pretty bad, but now he's just a different person. When I leased it to him it was a share lease. Just normal share lease. It was on paper, and, oh, I don't know, about the time we're seeding--all you see green back there, that's all new seeding--he was doing that, and I said, "Mick, do you know unless we get water this year, you ain't gonna make ten cents, Mick. You can't do that." And there was still hay around, truckloads, and I said, "Startin' right now, Mick, all the hay you see and those lands you see it won't cost you a cent and I'll pay the taxes." "Oh, you can't do that." I said, "What the hell you mean I can't do that? So, everything you make on here is yours. You don't have to give me no half." And boy! he couldn't believe it, I guess. I told him, "That's the way it is, Mick."

AHERN: Looking back on your life, is there anything that you think you would like to have changed or taken a different route, would you have done that somewhere in your life?

ZAUGG: Well, probably.

AHERN: Where would that be? What part of your life and what would you have done then?

ZAUGG: Well, I don't really, really know. I thought of buying property out east.

AHERN: East of Fallon?

ZAUGG: Um hum.

AHERN: Would that be further up towards Austin?

ZAUGG: Yeah. Around that area and beyond, and I always liked that country. I used to go out there quite a bit. I used to keep a saddle horse out there. Didn't have any cattle, but some people that used to take out hunters, I told them, "If you want, I'll leave this horse and you can use him." He was a good horse. Because just anybody didn't ride him 'cause he'd buck them off. (laughing) But he'd go out with me, and I hadn't seen him for a month, he'd come up and nuzzle. We really got along good. I'd get on that horse and just go all over the mountains. I used to love that country. Better than down here. But I like it here now.

AHERN: Well, Mr. Zaugg, on behalf of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Program I would like to thank you for allowing me to interview you.

ZAUGG: You're quite welcome.

Roy Zaugg


Roy H. Zaugg

Memorial services for long-time Fallon resident Roy H. Zaugg, 81, will be conducted Thursday, I1 a.m., at Smith Family Funeral Home. Inurnment at the Fallon Cemetery will be held at a later date.

Zaugg died July 26, 1998 at Arden Courts Care Facility in Reno.

Born Dec. 25, 1916 in New Pine Creek, Ore., to Chris and Sophie Meyers Zaugg, he lived in Fallon 75 years, coming from Westwood, Calif.

A retired farmer, he had also worked for the city of Fallon as 'waterworks foreman. Zaugg was a past member of the Fallon Lions Club and was a World War II Army veteran.

He was preceded in death by wife, Hilda, in January, 1986.

Survivors include daughters, Mary Elliott of Lemoore, Calif., and Margo Zaugg of Sunnyvale, Calif.; son, Michael and sister, Lela Larkin, both of Fallon; and three grandchildren.


Eleanor Ahern


Roy Zaugg


2996 Old River Road, Fallon, Nevada



Zaugg, Roy (FINAL).docx
Zaugg, Roy recording 1 of 2.mp3
Zaugg, Roy recording 2 of 2.mp3


Churchill County Museum Association, “Roy Zaugg Oral History,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed May 23, 2024,