Saturday, October 12, 2002
Steamboat Springs Hi Denver Friends,
Well, it didn't take Fred more than a matter of a few seconds to approve both proposals. Of course there were some details to be worked out, such as extra help Elmer would need on the bridge project and borrowing money to buy the old Sarvis Mill. It just happened the timing was just right. There were four good hands just "riding the grub line" (so to speak). These four were as follows Lee Egan from Missouri, Bob Martin from Oklahoma, Walt Samuelsen from Nebraska and Glen Poore from Oklahoma.
Lee was a good hand when not drinking, and since there were no drinkers at our place it was the kind of place Lee was looking for as he was trying his best to "kick the habit." Lee had agreed to just help with chores for his keep until the next riding season when he was to have the season's range rider job. Elmer didn't want the association's riding job as he and Frances had leased the old Antone Jacobs place, which they hoped to eventually buy.
Until haying season, the only work at the Jacobs place was to irrigate and milk a few dairy cows, chores which left most of Elmer's time free to take care of supervising the bridge construction project.
Elmer was quite anxious to have the new bridge in usable condition by the time we returned from Arizona. Fred wrote to his nephew, Frank May of Winner, S.D., urging him to come out and help Elmer finish the bridge.
Although Frank had never built any river bridges, he was certainly no green horn when it came to sound construction, for he had much experience at helping his father build big barns for neighbors all over that part of South Dakota and Nebraska. Frank said, "Sure. Why not?" and so he joined the troop of young men, Walt, Glen and Russell, who were biding their time at the S Bar S, waiting to be drafted into the Army.
In January 1937, Elmer and our neighbor, Slim McCormack, began cutting Douglas fir locally known as red spruce on Heintze's Hill (the mountain directly east of our place and across the river).
Elmer knew that work in the river could not be started until "high water" from the spring snow melt of 1937 had passed, but the red spruce logs for the five pier cribs could be "stockpiled" and peeled by hand with draw knives.
I guess I told you that Frances and Elmer had leased the Jacobs place, four miles up river from the S Bar S. They stayed there off and on as chores dictated except that while we were in Arizona, they stayed in our house. Otherwise Elmer commuted the four miles by team and sled. Must close for now.