Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Red Scare

Red Scare. Blacklisted. Communists. Senator Joseph McCarthy. House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC).  Fifth Amendment.  What?  What kind of trivia are we playing and what on earth does this have to do with the history of the greater Gig Harbor Community?  

The reign of the rabble-rousing Joseph McCarthy  in the first half of the 1950s took place mostly on the East Coast (authors, artists, actors, college professors and students), in Hollywood (movie stars, directors, producers) and the large metropolitan cities of America.  Or did it?  There is no way Washington State or even little Gig Harbor, be involved in the so-called Red Scare.   But this is where I am wrong.

What turned my attention to how the Red Scare affected Gig Harbor was this excerpt from an oral history I picked up while reading in the Harbor History Museum Research room.  

And then Schudacofts, of course, was next to Morford’s.  She’s the one they got in as Communists.  She worked for the school district in Tacoma.  She was a psychologist or something like that.  He was just a big crab - he’d go up to Alaska crabbing and what have you.  They started investigating them.  It turned out that they were involved as Communists.  Of course, this was all during all the Communist stuff.  She was let go from the school district.  I don’t know whatever happened to them.  She was Mrs. Morford’s sister.”  From an oral history/biography Marilyn Rehn Niethammer

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Immediately, I was intrigued. was intrigued.  

With the help of a fantastic researcher, and superb proof-reader, the following are just a few minor highlights that we discovered about the Red Scare in Washington State. And this is just one of the many people affected by the beliefs of a very misguided person.

Margaret Jean Schuddakopf, also known as Jean Danielson, born May 11, 1904, Died March, 1980.

During one of the investigations or interrogations if you will Barbara Hartle, a high-ranking member of the Communist Party in Washington along with her husband, John, had named Margaret Jean Schuddakopf as a member of the Party.  As a result, Margaret was called before the Committee on UnAmerican Activities of the House of Representatives of the 83rd Congress of the United States during their investigation of communist activities in the Pacific Northwest Area (Seattle) in June 1954.

During her appearance before the HUAC, Margaret refused to answer questions regarding membership or participation in the Communist Party. She subsequently refused to confirm or deny whether or not  she had taught at either the Seattle Labor School or the Pacific Northwest Labor School.  She also refused to describe her duties and association with young people and children other than “I work in the elementary school system.  My work is with different groups of people.”  Instead she plead the Fifth Amendment-Rights of Persons.  “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentation or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

I found it very interesting that Clyde Doyle, one of the California Representatives on the HUAC, made the following statement when another witness pleaded the Fifth Amendment.  

“…However, as long as a few minutes ago, my name was mentioned as having declared in the public press that the taking of the fifth amendment was a Commie line. I wish to restate now that to my knowledge, in the history of this committee, the taking of the fifth amendment is a Commie line. That doesn't necessarily mean, in my book, that every person that takes it is one, but the records clearly show that taking the fifth amendment is a direction of the Communist Party. …”

As a result, a County Superintendent of Public Schools, purportedly acting under the provisions of RCW 28.19.060, suspended Margaret from teaching in the public schools of Pierce County.  He did this even though the Tacoma School District No. 10 had interviewed her and decided that it would take no action against her as related to her 1954-55 school contract.  Prior to the Superintendent getting involved in this issue, but after the Board had voted to take no action, two members of Tacoma School Board No. 10 wrote to the Superintendent.  In their independent capacity, but as  concerned residents,  they stated their view that Margaret had injured not only herself but also the school district and its board be taking the Fifth Amendment in her appearance before the HUAC and therefore should be removed.  Three board members, Fred Haley, James Boze and Ray Kelly, had all agreed that taking the Fifth Amendment was not grounds for dismissal.  Or, as Pete Callaghan in the Tacoma News Tribune put in it in his tribute to Fred Haley after his death published on April 7, 2005 referring to the taking of the Fifth Amendment as a defense:  “…This wasn’t akin to Mark McGwire refusing to answer questions about steroid use.”  

You must remember, as brought out in the trial of Margaret Jean Schuddakopf v. Tacoma School District No. 10, Margaret had since her original hiring in 1951 denied being a communist and had signed a loyalty oath reiterating the same foolishness (or ‘statement’) each year she worked for the District.  Haley and Boze continued to back Margaret but eventually Kelly capitulated and requested she be removed.  Haley never backed down.

Neither did the WA Superintendent of Public Instruction, Pearl A. Wanamaker, who served from 1940 until 1957.  She believed that Margaret had the right to protection under the Fifth Amendment and therefore never revoked her teaching credentials.  She also had Margaret reinstated.  But Tacoma School District No. 10 did not hire Margaret back, and eventually she successfully appealed and the Court’s decision awarded her back wages.

Margaret, along with her sister Rose Morford, later protested at anti-nukes demonstration in Bremerton, and in Hanford.  Her  parents farm, orchard and alfalfa fields in White Bluffs were turned into what we now know as the Hanford Site.  This reminds me of William Jerome Bichsel, S.J. (May 26, 1928 – February 28, 2015), nicknamed "Bix", a Jesuit priest in Tacoma, WA.  He is notable for his actions as a non-violent protester, spending time in federal prison for demonstrating on issues such as nuclear weapons and the School of the Americas.    

But Father Bix’s protests came later, after Senator McCarthy and so he was not accused of being a communist.  Father Bix practiced his Jesuit beliefs and teaching as well as the theology of Catholic Pacifism.  But he was never persecuted or blacklisted, although he did spent time in jail, or prison for his part in demonstrations.

Eventually, according to Lesley Thomas, Margaret’s granddaughter, Margaret made a clear break by moving to Kodiak, Alaska where she found work as a librarian.  Later she moved farther north near the Arctic Circle (I believe the Nome area) where she taught school, married a Inupiat.  Lesley lived there with her grandmother, and in 2005 reported that she still goes north to visit her family there.  You might want to check out Lesley’s first novel :Flight of the Goose: A story of the Far North” to learn more about their lives in Alaska.

My question is this:  was Margaret pulled into the Washington State investigation of communist activities because she, Margaret, was a communist sympathizer? Or was it because two of her brothers, George Shaw Wheeler and Donald Niven Wheeler?  Their stories are also interesting but also lengthy.  Oh, did I mention that THEY were communists?  Or was she drug into it simply because she was raised by her father, a Christian Socialist and Trade Unionist and a mother who was a school teacher.  Many other people in the early and mid part of the 1900s were raised in the same fashion.  So what was peculiar about Margaret?

I can’t help but believe that their beliefs were formed from an early age, and ithey are more fully explained in Orchards of Eden:  White Bluffs on the Columbia 1907-1943” by Nancy Mendenhall, Far Eastern Press, Seattle 469 pp paperback .  Nancy’s grandparents were Frank M. and Jane Shaw Wheeler, Margaret’s parents..  As the review states : 
 The book describes vividly an era when being an outspoken socialist or communist was accepted by neighbors and co-workers as “normal,” a spirit of democracy that seems to be regaining ground in our crisis-wracked country. 

Mendenhall writes that Wheeler family members were drawn deeper into the struggles against mass unemployment and poverty and the rising menace of fascism during the Great Depression. Some joined the Communist Party and Young Communist League.  

This book dramatizes a great American tragedy. Millions of men and women toiled in rural America and succeeded in realizing their dreams of a productive, rewarding life for themselves and their children, only to be ruined by the iron law of capitalist profits. In my grandparents’ case, their dream went up, literally, in a mushroom cloud. 

In closing it is important to note that according to a University of Washington (UW), the state of Washington was not a latecomer in joining the crusade against communism.  UW’s report discovered that Washington helped lead the way in the Red Scare that swept the nation.  Washington had already gone through a statewide revolution before 1950 in the first Red Scare.  But Joe McCarthy’s ‘victorious crusade’ succeeded in destroying the Pacific Northwest’s left leaning and radical friendly politics.

Should you be interested in learning more about this part of our, and the US, history,; I recommend  you read all the links provided in this piece.  And then, because this is such an interesting part of Washington (and World) history, you explore further on your own.

I believe that it is very important that we know the difference between ‘socialist’ and ‘communist’, don’t you?  The major and most profound difference as I see  is:  Socialism is an economic system, and communism is a political system.  

  • The socialistic society produces and distributes the goods collectively, or but a centralized government.
  • The communistic society has no centralized government, it is a collective ownership for all members.

If a capitalist society wanted to change, they would first become socialistic where goods are distributed according to quantity and quality of work done.  The communistic distribution is according to needs. Basically, communism is an extreme version of socialism.

Ironically, neither quality nor quantity measured Margaret.  It was suspicion .  It was fear.  Hopefully, we have left such petty things in the past and can move forward forgiving that past, embracing our present and together, venturing into our collective future.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for September 17, 1884

Pleasant again & warm.  Got up late & put in all day on putting in my cabin windows.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer Sabbatical

Three years, nine months. 1,369 days. 192 weeks. 415 blogs.  The result on August 23 is a total of 57,453 pageviews.  Average monthly visitors 2,300.

Researching and writing a weekly blog and posting Emmett Hunt’s diary entries each week occasionally causes brain freeze or panic.  

Oh my gosh, what can I highlight this week?  That’s a great idea but there’s no source material, what am I going to do.  This one is perfect, but it’s far too long.  There are no pictures or illustrations to highlight the written word.  Have I concentrated too much on one area of the community and overlooked all the others? Tick, tock, the clock is running,  I’m  out of time.

What to do?  What to do?  What to do?  Think. Think. Think.

Ah hah!  I have it.  I’ll take a vacation for the month of September. 

In October, the blogs will continue however instead of weekly, it will appear every other week.  

Emmett Hunt’s blogs though will still be there every week.

And don't forget to read next Thursday's blog . . . it's fascinating!

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wollochet Bay History 1967

This document, found in the Harbor History Museum, contains no author’s name.  But it gives us an idea of Wollochet Bay until 1918.  Should things be added, or subtracted?  Perhaps, but someone spent considerable time in writing the history so that someone would read it.  Let’s do that, and then afterwards, add an addendum to it as needed and perhaps continue further into history of the area.

Wollochet means “Cut Throat” in Indian, so at one time the bay was known as Cut Throat Bay.

Forsythes came in 1910 or 1911.  They first lived at Wollochet near Dave Squally.  There were some 500 Indians.  There were three or four tribes:  Mowich, Squally and Mrs. Forsythe were unable to remember the others.  The Reservation ran from Pt. Fosdick to Berg’s Landing and back through the woods.  Dick Uhlman had a store at Berg’s Landing and the road consisted of a path running from the landing to the head of the bay.  She did not know where it went from there.  There were 6 or 7 families living at Berg’s Landing.

Around 1913 Forsythes brought the land where Walter Hogan now lives.  The Reservation was to be discontinued, so Mrs. Forsythe let Indian families live in the old house on the property rent free until they found a place.  Three different families lived there at different times.  Most of the Indians went to Tahoma down by the Ocean.

Mrs. Forsythe owns the ranch next to the Catholic Church property on the east side of Wollochet.  The 12 acres originally owned by Emmett Hunt who purchased it from the US Government in 1893.  Floyd Hunt planted the fruit trees still standing in the field.  Moon bought from Hunt, Elmore from Moon and Mrs. Forsythe from Elmore.

Residents at the head of the bay were the McLaughlins who owned cabins at the head of the bay, (Forsythes lived in one of these for a time also.)  Helen Maloney who resides above the road, was a McLaughlin and Ellen Sheldon Weeks and Her mother Mrs. Ganty also lived there.

Around 1906, Mrs. Bruce, a widow, started a little log cabin store out on Picnic Point, (next to the present Jack Rossi home.)  There was a dock where boats landed.  A little after 1914 Forsythes started their store, so there were two stores quite close to one another.  At one time some 2800 crates of strawberries were loaded on the Bay Island in one day.  Everyone raised strawberries.  Mrs. Bruce bought 1/2 acre from the Dunbars.  Their home is just across the road from Forsythe’s place.)  On this land she built a Grange Hall and when she took out the mortgage she said there could be dances, but no rowdiness.  Evidently a Scottish dance was held there with some 500 Scots and the Dunbars decided there was too much drinking.  (One must remember there has always been some disagreement between these families so further checking into these facts would be advisable.)  The case went to court but was thrown out, but for some reason the doors and windows were boarded up by Dunbar (So this point of view goes.)  Mrs. Bruce then gave Mrs. Forsythe the 1/2 acre.  Whether the Grange members went to the Church at Artondale for their meetings at this time is not clear, but the dances resumed because boats ran from Tacoma to Picnic Point for this purpose until 1917 and possibly later.

Mrs. Bruce built a new store next to her old one on the point and the “Wicky-up” (Old one) was floated to Warren.  Forsythias later floated it back to use as a warehouse.  It is still standing (leaning) on the property next to their home.  Mrs. Bruce’s new store was later sold to the Munroes (H. J. Munroe).  Four or five others tried to make a go of it, but were unsuccessful.

Picnic Point at Wollochet Bay

Captain Weeks owned a little house next to Forsythe present house and they rented from Mrs. Weeks.

Mrs. McLaughlin was the mid-wife around Wollochet around the year 1911.

Nellie Ferguson Christhompson now lives in Rosedale and her parents lived where the Yacht Club now is, on the west side.  

Wesserfords lived on the present Catholic property.  Mrs. Marvik was former Lisa Wasserford.

Bay Island Fair meeting was held at Warren Hall.  The trustees of the Bay Island Fair Association adopted by-laws and articles of incorporation and elected the executive board, subject to ratification at a regular meeting to be held in Arletta, Sun. Feb. 10.  At a previous meeting it was unanimously decided that owing to the splendid success of the 1917 Fair, that Fair Assoc. should incorporate and buy the site at Picnic Point, so liberly (sic) offered by Mrs. Bruce.  The trustees decided that $2500 should be the amount of the corporation, divided into 500 shares at $5.00 a share.  A motion was unanimously passed by the trustees.  A notice is to be introduced at the next general meeting to increase the number of trustees from 7 to 16.  It was mentioned that it would be very much desired that members of such a board should represent as many communities of the Bay Island District as possible.  Newly elected officers of the association are:  President Mr. M. J. Mudgett; Vice-President C. E. Ludden; Recording Secretary Mrs. Guy I. Colby; Treasurer R. W. Ullman and Corresponding Secretary, Otto Jahn.  
1917 Exhibits, first Bay Island Fair. September 30th through October first, 1917.

On Jan 12, 1918 the annual meeting of the Bay-Island and Wollochet Co. was held at Picnic Point.

And now we add so additional information from the “Along The Waterfront” Compiled and written by Students of 1974-75, Goodman Middle School, Gig Harbor, WA.

Early days found Wollochet Bay populated mainly by Indians.  They numbered about five hundred on the reservation which ran from Berg’s Landing, where there was a longhouse, to Pt. Fosdick.  Indians would catch fish, and then sell them to the white settlers for 15 cents a piece.  The women would weave baskets and trade them for clothing.  There ere several tribes in the area, and the prominent families were Mowich, Squally, Bruce, Simon, Bridges, and Young families.  In 1913 the reservation was discontinued, and the Indian population dwindled.” (Pg. 45)

In 1905 two Ullman brothers came to the area.  Harry brought a chicken ranch.  Dick became the “Floating butcher” and sold meat from his boat up and down the bay.  Dick bought a waterfront home from an Indian, Chief Slingshot, and he set up a grocery store.  Eventually a permanent dock was added for his customers.  Another store was started around 1906 near Picnic Point by Mrs. Bruce.  Shed also had a dock for the boats to land.”

“Mrs. Bruce purchased one-half acre of land from the Dunbars who lived on the hill; and on this land in 1910, she built the original Artondale Grange Hall.  It was located across the road from Picnic Point on the upper side of the present East Bay Drive.  She said dances could be held there, but there could be no rowdiness.  Once, a Scottish dance was held, and about five hundred persons attended.  Local residents decided there was too much drinking, so the doors and windows were boarded.  The hall was eventually reopened for the dances after 1917.”

“Mrs. Bruce’s store was later bought by Mr. Monroe.  A little after 1914, Mr. and Mrs. H. N. Forsythe began a store which thrived as a center of commerce and activity for many years (Wollochet Bay Store).  Today the building has been restored, and a craft shop exists there, using some of the original fixtures of the store.”  (Pg. 46)

Prior to 1900 very few roads existed on the Peninsula.  Wagon roads and logging roads were the land transportation.  By water, boats passed Cromwell to and from Tacoma.  The steamers, “Alice” and “Dove,” served the Hales Passage communities once or twice a week from TacomaFloats that were anchored along the Bay were eventually replaced by well-established docks as more boats took to the water to serve the areas.  Improved transportation provided the impetus to several businesses in the area including a logging camp, a machine shop, and stores owned by Mrs. Bruce and later, Mrs. Kellogg.  . . . “ (Pg. 52)

“In early times the only dock in the area (Warren) was at Arletta.  Something was needed at Warren for the steamboats to land, so a floating dock was put into the water.  Mrs. M. B. Bruce of East Cromwell ran a store from there (complete with horse and buggy delivery), and passengers to or from Tacoma would stop at the float.  Boats delivering cows or horses to the area could not get close to the shore, so the animals would be pushed off, and they would swim to shore.  On land there were trails through the woods and about 1910, a road was made to the shoreline.” (Pg. 66)

Now, from An Excellent Little Bay, a history of the Gig Harbor Peninsula by J. A. Eckrom we’ll add:

Money being made on the peninsula meant more opportunities for merchants, and stores seemed to sprout up like mushrooms.  In 1911 Harold and Gladys Forsythe opened one near Picnic Point.  They were Scots, who played Gaelic songs on their victrola and inspired wonder in their visitors with bookshelves that rose from the floor to ceiling on two sides of one room of their home.  Their genderal store stayed in business into the 1970s.  

Not far away, Mrs. Amanda Bruce started a store on her houseboat in 1910.  She was bought out in 1913 by w. L. Munro, who operated the business until he sold  it to a man named Harrison in 1922.  …” (Pg. 104-105)

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary September 10, 1884

Fearful rainy all day so did nothing but fool around and write a letter to old Allen.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Jennie Mae and Howard James Major

The following is in response to a visitors request for information regarding their Grandparents and, of course, their father and aunts and uncle. Also, their ‘uncle-in-law.  We do our very best to answer all requests as timely as possible, and so I forwarded what limited information I was able to find.  Yes, I will most likely try to find additional information for these California visitors.  But, how very heart-warming to receive their replies telling me that because of the information I sent, there have already been able to connect with a cousin.  It just reminds us all, how important records from the past can help the present as well as the future generations.

Unfortunately I have been unable to find much information on your family.  What I have discovered is as follows:
Both Jennie Mae Major and Howard James Major are buried in Fraola Cemetery, Port Orchard.  In 1930 they lived in Gig Harbor, on Maplewood Beach; 1940 they lived on Crescent Valley Road.
Jennie died April 18, 1949; Howard on October 14, 1944.  His occupation is listed as a Chicken Rancher, not a ship captain.  I could not find any information on any of the other family members  you listed, other than Leone Major Edwards, 1940 Census, is listed as living on E. Beach Road on Dana Peters Road, Gig Harbor.
Her husband, David Edwards, 54; Leone Edwards, 48; Donald Edwards, 24; Roy Edwards, 20; Ramona Edwards, 16; Igal Edwards, 13; Joyce Edwards, 13.

I do recall seeing the name, Don Edwards, some time again in one of the many newspapers regarding garages, but unfortunately I don’t recall date or paper.  I did find this obituary notice which might help you on your search.
Donald J. Edwards 

Donald J. Edwards, 86, long time resident of Gig Harbor, passed away 
September 16, 2002. Donald was born March 19, 1916 in Olalla, WA 
to David and Leone Edwards. In April of 1941, Donald married 
Gladys Hunt and they were married 59 years when she passed away in 
2000. Donald worked as an auto mechanic in Gig Harbor for 45 years. 
He enjoyed cars, camping and traveling. He is survived by a sister, 
Joyce Wingett, two daughters, Elaine Edwards of Seattle and Joan 
(Bill) Edwardson of Wenatchee, 4 grandchildren and 5 great 
grandchildren. Funeral services 2:00 p.m. Friday, September 20 at 
Haven of Rest Chapel, with graveside following at Haven of Rest 
Memorial Park. Remembrances may be made to the Gig Harbor 
Historical Society, PO Box 744, Gig Harbor, WA 98335-0744. Pub 
Date: 9/18/2002 


Tomi....Thank you so very much for the info..We have so far already
found and talked to a cousin !!! 

We are so thankful for your effort..

Warren and JoAnn Buckley

Thank you so much. It was helpful.  We were able to connect with a cousin that lives near my sister Jo Ann.  I just can't thank you enough.  I'm sure this has open the door for us to seek our ancestry.  Judy Nelson.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Logging and Lumber Industry

This is a long overdue blog, the PowerPoint presentation given by Elizabeth Frisiano, at the Harbor History Museum in early 2014.  

Green Gold in The Beginning

My name is Elizabeth Frisian.  You may be wondering what connection a woman born and raised in New York may have to do with logging and lumbering in the Northwest.  I am told my grandfather came to this country in 1914 from a little town close to Bari, Italy.  His first job in this country was as a lumberman in Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York.
The logging and lumber industry was for many in the Northwest - Green Gold and were major players in the birth of our little Harbor just right for a Gig.

We will go on a journey back in time when forests of giant cedar and fir trees dominated our landscape which gave rise to the lumber mills and big and small logging companies to feed the mills and the world demand for lumber.

As Commander of the United States Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842, Charles Wilkes visited the Northwest, and as he traveled through a “gigantic fine cedar forest” near the Nisqually River, he encountered trees that “as saplings, were 6 feet in diameter and upwards of 200 feet in height.”  He stated, “I could not control my astonishment” at the size of the trees.

Rosedale-Sehmel Donkey Engine-1916 (Karl & Adolf Sehmel-From Mrs Don Sehmel
  • Such accounts attracted white entrepreneurs and settlers bent on using the forests for profit.  The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) was the first significant developer of the region’s timber resources
  • 1828 First lumber mill at Ft. Vancouver 
  • 1848 the California Gold Rush created a huge surge in lumber production on Puget Sound.  Puget Sound sawmills provided building material for San Francisco and other boomtowns
  • By the mid 1850s there were over two dozen mills in Puget Sound.  Many of these investors had roots in older lumbering regions, such as Maine.  Pope and Talbot built the Puget Mill Company at Port Gamble in 1853.
  • Although there were many logging operations, their impact was initially limited because of the cost of transporting logs.
  • Logging was limited to ares near water’s edge.
  • 1862 Homestead Act giving 160 acres if they live or work the land
  • 1878 Congress passes the Timber and Stone Act.  This legislature allows residents of West Coast states to purchase 160 acres of forestland for $2.50 per acre.  Mill companies abuse the law and use it to acquire millions of acres of timberland.
  • 1880 About 160 million board feet of timber are harvested in Washington Territory.
  • 1881 John Doubler patents the donkey engine, a small steam engine used to power a winch.  The donkey winch revolutionizes logging by replacing animal power and allowing companies to reach stands of trees that were previously inaccessible
  • As forest right next to the water become relatively scarce and logging moved inland, it became apparent that bull team logging had to be replaced by a more efficient method
  • The engine consisted of a steam engine set on skids and attached to a winch.  The donkey engine pulled logs from the woods with cables.
  • The development of narrow gauge logging railroads was another important milestone
  • Though the donkey engine enabled loggers to haul logs considerable distances, there was no efficient way to move logs from the deep woods
  • In the 1880s a few mills began to build logging railroads opening up new stands of timber that were previously inaccessible because of the rugged terrain and the distance from the water
  • 1876 Ephraim Shay of Harbor Springs, Michigan, is credited with the invention of the logging locomotives that changed logging and milling
  • Prior to the logging railroads it was estimated that as little as 17% of the actual cost, represented the lumber, while as much as 73% was for transportation of the lumber.
  • In 1910 the West Coast Lumberman included the Gig Harbor Lumber Company and Story Timber Company as operators of Shay Locomotives
  • 1883 The Northern Pacific completes a transcontinental line to its terminus in Tacoma.  The railroad owned 7.7 million acres in Washington Territory.
  • Timber supply in Midwest was dwindling and loggers moved west in search of Green Gold
  • 1890 1 billion board feet of lumber harvested annually
  • 1905 Washington becomes the leading lumber producing state in the nation
  • 1910 Washington companies harvest 4.1 billion board feet of timber
  • 1920 Washington companies harvest 5.5 billion board feet of timber
  • 1926 The state’s timber harvest reaches its all time peak, 7.6 billion board feet versus 4.1 billion in 2002
  • With the passage of the Homestead and Timbers and Stone Acts settlers from the Midwest and New England began moving to the Northwest and Gig Harbor with lumbering and logging background
  • Land had to be cleared for homes and farms
  • Virtually every parcel of 160 acres became a logging location and camp to feed the mills and meet the world wide demand for lumber
  • The early logging was limited to areas close to the mills and harbor
  • The classic scene of two men standing springboards with axes, another lying in cut with his saw leaning against tree demonstrates the size of trees and the new norma; for Gig Harbor
  • The primary tools of the pre chain saw loggers were the cross cut saw, ax and springboards
The primary tools of the preteen saws of loggers were the cross-cut saw, ax and spring boards
  • To digress a moment some familiar phrases such as Skid Row and Grease Monkey can be credited to logging
    • Skid Road or Skid Row
    • The term skid road dates back to the 17th century, when it referred to a log road used to skid or drag logs through woods and bog
    • The term came to refer not just to the Corduroy Roads themselves, but to logging camps and mills all along the Pacific Coast
    • The source of the term as an urban-landscape reference is heavily debated, and is generally identified as originating in either Vancouver or Seattle.
    • On job on the skid road was lubricating it to make the logs slide more easily.  The person with that job was called the “grease monkey”, predating and probably giving rise to the modern usage of grease monkey as a mechanic
    • Seattle’s historic Skid Road district (now better known as Pioneer Square) centers on Yeller Way.  This road is often said to have been the original “Skid Road” in the literal sense serving a saw mill owned by Henry Yeller.
    • The Skid Road became the demarcation line between the affluent members of Seattle and the mill workers and more rowdy portion of the population
    • The following picture is an example of a Skid Road or Drag Road in Gig Harbor.  The fact that some of our roads such as Peacock Hill, Rosedale, Stinson, are straight downhill can be attributed to the need for straight skid road to the harbor.
The classic scene of two men standing on springboards with axes, another lying in cut with his saw leaning against tree demonstrates the size of trees and the new normal for Gig Harbor
Logging on top of Stinson Hill.  John Wilkenson with crew, friends and horses.  He also logged Raft Island
  • Prior to the logging locomotive, logs were pulled out of the forest by ox teams and horse drawn to the harbor or other loading points
  • Logging was also a family enterprise that was carried on by many of the first settlers such as the Wilkinson, Kimball and Sehmel families
  • They took contracts to cut timber in harbor communities such as Rosedale, Arletta, Artondale, Raft Island, Purdy and in the case of the Kimball brothers, as far south as Shelton
  • Logging on top of Stinson Hill, John Wilkinson with white bread.  Roy Cruver sitting on log on left.  Three men around stump on right.
  • Logging crew and friends with horses on Stinson Hill.  John Wilkinson and crew.  He also logged Raft Island 
  • From present day North Gig Harbor, Turnham Drive and Crescent Valley no area was without the quest for Green Gold.  Kimball family logging operation above.  Burnham property in north Gig Harbor about 1908
  • In 1885 the Skid road which transported logs down the hill near present day Burnham Drive was very close to a school that was originally an Indian cedar plank longhouse and stood in what is today Donkey Creek Park.
  • Logs thundered past the school twice a day on their way to the bay.  At least one log jumped its skid road track and smashed into a corner of the school
  • In 1886 a new school out of harm’s way was built higher up the hill and the first teacher was Lucy Goodman
  • In the 42-page manuscript named The Pioneer Family of Gig Harbor, Pauline Castelan Stanch is quoted as saying “I remember the donkey engine that stayed in the middle of it (present day Donkey Creek) pulling logs out of the woods, under the bridge and into the bay.”
  • With the dawn of the 20th Century logging in Gig Harbor saw the introduction of the logging locomotive or LOCI as it was affectionally called and the logging railroad
  • Most of my best information and research material centered on the Story, Wilson, and Calavero Timber Companies
  • In addition to the Story and Wilson Timber companies, the Gig Harbor Timber, Cavalera, and Spadoni Timber companies also operated until around 1934
  • As late as 1928 Spadoni felled a fir tree with a circumference of 29ft in Crescent Valley and the last giant spar tree of 229ft was felled at Point Fosdick in 1934
  • Story Timber Company 1905-1912
    • In 1910 the West Coast Lumberman included the Gig Harbor Company and Story Timber Company as operators of Shay Locomotives
    • The company using the Shay locomotive much like the one one the next slide (picture) built a short steep line to carry its logs from the hilly forest between Arletta and South Rosedale to dump the logs at the slough along Ray Nash Drive (present site of the Kopachuck bridge) and Island View store
    • The company was founded by Chester Thorn of Lakewood and Frank Fuhman of Arletta
    • The railroad went from the flats near Rosedale Slough south through the Brown Homestead turning east after crossing Whitmore Creek up the steep hill ending at the Schindler’s 160 acre homestead where most of the timber was harvested
    • As late as 1985 the RR grade was still visible
    • The logging railroads were not without dangers.  In 1908 the train, or Loci as the engine was called, loaded with logs, was traveling too fast and left the tracks and logs flew everywhere; the engineer and fireman were sent to Tacoma hospital
    • After the Story Timber, the Kangly Timber Company leased logging rights in the Rosedale Slough area and went on for a few more years
  • Unlike conventional railroads the logging companies that had logging locomotives and rail lines would move their locomotives, rail cars, tracks and crews to the next pot of Green Gold when the land they were harvesting ran out of trees.  The Wilson Logging Company is a good example of this.
  • Wilson Logging Co.
    • The railroad ran from the mouth of Minter Creek up into the Minterbrook Farm area
    • From MInter-Elgin, the Wilson Logging Co. later moved to Burley Valley where they logged and dumped into Burley Lagoon.  Old piling for trestles may still be seen at Minter and Burley
    • From Burley, they moved beyond Port Orchard and later Crescent Valley.  The railroad ran from Crescent Lake and emptied into Gig Harbor Bay
    • Burley Lagoon and Minter Creek Railroad trestles were built to dump the logs in Henderson Bay for transporting as shown by the next slide (picture)
  • Calavera Logging Company
    • Began business between 1909-1910 at the head of the bay.  It is said that Lucy Goodman used to ride in the cab of the engine when she lived up the valley and taught school at the head of the bay.
  • Shay Locomotive built 1909, Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, OH
    • 1909 shipped around Cape Horn to Seattle
    • 1909-1912 Owned by Gig Harbor Timber/Cavalera
    • 1913 Owned by Stimson Lumber #1, Belfair, WA
    • Owned by Stimson #1 Peggy, Gaston, OR
    • Retired from logging 1950
    • 1950 Donated to City of Portland, OR
    • 1972 to present: World Forestry Center, Portland, OR
    • Weight 42 tons, 67,100 lbs empty
    • Warer Capacity 1500 gallons
    • Fuel 1.5 Cords
    • Hauled 1 Billion feet of Logs
  • Timber Mills
    • 1886 (Alfred) Mark Burnham immigrated to G.H. from Albert Lea, Minnesota
    • He encouraged fellow Minnesotans to follow and in 1888 the Gig Harbor Saw Mill Company, as joint venture with Tacoma’s and Minnesotans was founded
    • Frank Hall, O. B. Forbes and Ira A. Town, Edward S. Prentice and James H. Parker were owners of the mill.  George Atkinson was manager
    • In addition to saw milling the company had ambitious plans to get involved in all aspects of lumber manufacturing and wood work on buildings, vessels, furniture and wharves.
    • At it height it was turning out 100,000 board feet a day
    • The wharf of the mill was 450 ft long and 80 ft wide
    • 15 sailing ships and steamers were coming to Gig Harbor for lumber
    • They built two tall ships, the Republic and Nineva to deliver lumber around the world
    • The Republic alone transported 1 million board feet to Chile.
    • By 1890 there were 191 sawmills and 82 shingle mills in Washington.  The 1893 depression created havoc in the lumber and milling industries
    • In 1891 the mill was sold under a foreclosure sale with hopes of revitalizing it but it never happened and in 1899 it was moved to Clear Lake on the north end of Puget Sound near the Skagit River where it operated for a few years until it burned down
    • In 1892 E. S. Prentice one of the founders of the Gig Harbor Mill started a shingle mill which turned out 20.4 million shingles in 1892 but the depression hit them hard with only 1 million.  It was located at head of Harbor by Peacock and Harborview.
    • Sawmilling did not return to the Harbor until 1909 with the start of a newcomer named Charles Osgood Austin who came to Gig Harbor from New Hampshire
    • The Mill turned out everything from moldings, fruit boxes, dock timbers, shingles.  It continued in operation until his tragic death at the mill in December 1946.The mill lay idle a few months until John H. Galbraith purchased the mill
    • Galbraith had been mayor of Eatonville for 27 years, but moved to Rosedale and became our biggest employer owning the Peninsula Cafe, Galbraith Motors, Gig Harbor Hardware and Grocery
    • In the early 1950’s the mill closed.  The Peninsula Light Co. purchased the entire site.  It left in the mid-1980s
  • Charles Osgood Austin and his wife Mabel had three children, Howard, Bessie and Nellie.  Howard Austin and his wife Ruth had a daughter named Nancy who married Sandy Elken.
    • On June 11, 2007, Sandy Elken, in honor of his late wife and the Austin family requested the City of Gig Harbor name the park on the site of Austin Mill “Austin Estuary Park”
    • The proposal was accepted and to my right is Austin Estuary Park (remember this was a Tea & Tour Presentation held in the Harbor History Museum Research Room)
  • Austin Mill land is now the site of Harbor History Museum
  • Old  Le Bistro was purchased in 1909 as a home for the grandparent of Ruth Austin (now Gourmet Burgers)
  • The Thai Restaurant is the house that her grandparents also built for $2,000.00
  • The Christmas Shop was the home of Howard and Ruth Austin
  • The Beach Basket was Howard Austin’s log house sawmill
  • Austin Estuary Park is part of the site of C. O. Austin’s large sawmill
As a friend of Nancy Austin, daughter of Howard and Ruth Austin, once said as they passed Finholm Market and rounded the bend ‘WE ARE NOW ENTERING AUSTINVILLE’


 Note:  Not all Elizabeth's pictures are inserted due to space limitations.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry September 3, 1884

Misty & rainy & breezy & cool.  Stayed inside most of the time & painted & read however watered the "Gip" & built a fire or two on the ranch.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kenneth Leo Marvin (June 21, 1921-September 15, 2006)

Becky Iverson, Cindy Bajucich & Konnie Serka, 3 of his daughters, standing behind some of their father's war memorabilia

What is it that sparks an interest in something?  Is it something you hear about on a news forecast, or  overheard in a conversation, or did you read a comment on social media?  Who knows?  But whatever it is you suddenly have the need to delve deeper into the subject.  And, that is how this blog came about.

For those living in Gig Harbor, Washington, you probably recognize the name Kenneth Leo Marvin Veterans Memorial Park.  This park was dedicated on May 20, 2009, and given the name in honor of Kenny Marvin, and all the others members of our greater community who have sacrificed their lives or serviced our country in times of conflict.

After Kenny came home from his service in World War II, he married Fern Janice Underwood on January 3, 1946.  He and Fern had five daughters, and according to Scott Turner in an article he wrote in The Kitsap Sun, May 21, 2009, “Early in their lives he numbered them No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5, as a way to call all his girls in a hurry.  …he got the idea from the Japanese culture while serving 1,354 days as a prisoner of war …

Kenny served in some of the most cruel Japanese interment camps - Woosung, Osaka (Tsumori 13) and Naoetsu.  He was captured on December 23, 1941 when the Japanese landed on Wake Island and took it from the US Marines.  There were 400 marines and it took 16 days before Japan took possession of Wake.  He recorded a very descriptive, lengthy and informative record of his time and I recommend that you read it here.  

Two other Gig Harbor men recorded an oral history: Drew Foss, a civilian working on Wake Island for Pacific Naval Airbase Contractors, taken as a prisoner of war at the same time; and Don Sehmel who had joined the Marines after Pearl Harbor.  (Foss Tugs had gone to the South Pacific to work on naval construction projects in advance of military action in 1939.)

But this is Kenny’s story.   

Kenny was born in Havre, Montana.  Havre was founded by Simon Pepin in 1863, and as any successful entrepreneur, he convinced James J. Hill to build his locomotive shops on his property in Havre, making the town a major railroad service center for the Great Northern Railroad.  Kenny’s father worked for the railroad, but in 1924 there were labor strikes connected to various railroad unions and effecting the entire country.  So the Marvin family decided to move on, and when they arrived on the Gig Harbor peninsula, the family settled in Glenwood. After attending junior high school in the South Kitsap School District in Port Orchard, he finished 10th, 11th & 12th grades at Union High School  (1921-1959; Goodman Middle School 1959-2004; Harbor Ridge Middle School 2004-present) on Prentice Street at the head of the harbor.  

His great-grandfather, his grandfather, and two great uncles all fought in the Civil War.  His brother joined the Marines in 1935 in preparation should the US be drawn into the war going on it Europe and Asia.  Kenny, like most young men, found the stories about the Civil War and the military fascinating.  A lot of his interest came from the letters his family members wrote home about the war.  

So while Kenny was in Kent visiting his brother, a recruiter for the National Guard talked him into joining.  Of course he was underage (15-16), but they went to Fort Lewis, fibbed a little about his age, and  Kenny joined an artillery unit.  Just like today, they met once a week but Kenny finally had to give it up because of school and the difficulty getting to Tacoma on weekdays.

After graduation Kenny worked on a Gig Harbor fishing boat in Alaska. When he returned at the end of summer, he stayed with his brother in Kent while working on the railroad.  The war had started in England and Kenny knew he didn’t want to be in the National Guard, he wanted to be a marine like his brother.  So when the railroad laid him off he went to Seattle to find the recruiting office and to sign up for the Marines.  The year - 1939.  October 3, 1939!  The same year that he turned 18 in June.
Kenneth Leo Marvin

He had already received his training in the Guard, so he became a member of the 39th platoon and sent to San Diego’s Marine Depot for boot camp.  In 1941, the fleet was transferred to Pearl Harbor.  By August, 1941, they were on their way to Wake Island on a cargo ship.  Kenny describes getting on the cargo ship “…we was passing our sea bags up the gang plank and then I was in charge, I was a corporal you know.  And in those days a corporal was kind of a big shot, self-proclaimed, you know.  I’m the judge of that, so carried the last one up and I…not supposed to be anyone on this gang plank and I run into somebody and I says what the hell are you doing here.  I look down, Christ, white shoes, white pants, and the further up I looked was an officer.  Navy officer.  It was my buddy from school here.  He was an ensign on this cargo ship.  I says Secor what the hell are you doing on this rust bucket.  A couple days later I say hey Secor where the devil we going.  He says Wake Island.  I says don’t mean a thing, but it was really comical.”  {NOTE:  I did not find Secor on the list of POW or an oral history}

Wake Island had previously been used by Pan American Airways as a rest stop, fuel stop, on flights between San Francisco and the Philippines.  But otherwise not much.  The marines were setting up the guns “you know…putting our guns in placement and placing (inaudible) these three inch guns are real…they weight six and a half ton and they got outriggers you know like this and like that.  So had to clear all that we worked…we was just out there to put those in because we were supposed to be relieved before Christmas by the third defense which come out from the states. ….”  “….we were supposed to be back in Pearl Harbor for Christmas but it was four years later we got there.”

They got news of the attack on Pearl Harbor around 11 o’clock on December 8th.  Remember Wake Island is on the other side of the International Date Line.  And although Pearl Harbor was 2200-2300 miles away, the Japanese already had planes in the air over the South Pacific.  As Kenny relates “They had brought a truck load of food and a bunch of us were gathered with out mess kits and here comes these airplanes and the next thing was they were dropping bombs and that’s when they got the Pan American Hotel which wasn’t too far from us.  And actually I could see the pilot in the airplane bomber.  At first we though they at the other end of the island where they saw them they thought they was ours because supposed to have been PBYs come in that morning see and there was a patrol of flight patrol but they was up to 13,000 feet.  Japanese came in at 5-600 feet or 1000 feet under low clouds….I just saw these planes and what the hell are they doing and after we heard the explosions and everything we ran to our guns but they were so low, I think we fired a few rounds, but they were going so fast and so low that it was just wasting ammunition for us. …I never really got scared until the last few days.  We were on these guns, I was on the azimuth.  You know I got a crank in each hand and you’re just matching bugs, you hardly ever look up.  Once in a while I’d look up and I could see those bombs coming down you know, but as long as you can see them you are alright..”

On about the 4th day of the bombing the Japanese came in with their ships and tried to take the island.  It took them 3 or 4 days before they could land.  The marines never left their guns,  and they had to move the guns every 2-3 days to avoid being hit.  The civilians on the island would bring food to the marines “They were real good.  There was 1100 of them there…and you hear a lot about they all ran and hid, but hey there were so damned many that helped us we forgot about the ones that didn’t.”  

At first the marines had 12 fighter planes, F4Fs but 7 were destroyed the first morning.  But the 5 remaining planes did the best job they could.  Population of Wake was 1150 civilians and 400 marines against an unknown number of Japanese pilots and marines.

Well on the second day is when I got hit.  I was ordered to take a tractor and trailer and go to the bridge, there was a bridge across from Wake to Peale and so before I got to that bridge there must have been 50 or 60 civilians filling sand bags for us and.  So I was waiting for this truck to get out of there so I could back this trailer down and get a load of sand bags and so they asked me, let’s see if you can pull it, they couldn’t get the truck out you know so I hooked onto it with this tractor, but before that this Joe Cocachia, he was the civilian in charge of these people, had a string of sand bags you know made a little alley way and so he says run and jump on these things we had then staggered so he hooked me up so I am taking up slack in the line and I look ed back and Jesus everybody is running and so I just turned it off and jumped right over the top of it and I crawled underneath.  And got a pieces of shrapnel in my head.  It glanced off the side of the tractor.  But there were 8 or 9 civilians there that got killed because you know they ran you know.  The ones that stayed in the little sand bags and stuff. …..”  “that’s when they hit the garage and they hit the hospital.  Which was on top of this hospital is a big red cross and everything, but it didn’t mean anything to the Japanese.”

“I just walked back to the…cause I started up this tractor, this caterpillar and Jeez oil was coming-out the sides there was a hole in one of the cylinders bout like that and I says hell I’ll never make it back with this so.  And then me and this Cocachia we went across the bridge to help some of these guys out of the hospital that had been wounded a couple days before, you know.    …. so we get them out of there and there was a big warehouse burning.  I remember this was funny.  This navy officer he comes and he grabbed both and he says I want you to put that fire out.  Shit.  There was no fire trucks or zilch here you know and I started to say something and the civilian he flat told him you know cause he wasn’t he was a civilian, he told damn near to get lost.  He says what the hell you think we can do.”

“They came in at night on the 23rd.  They came in and ran…”

Word came from the higher ups to surrender.  And so they did.  

Again, I want to ask, no beg, you to read Kenny’s complete narrative as I have only reproduced a very small portionleading up to the battle and surrender.  He describes the three camps where he was imprisoned.  

The following are a few debriefing comments about the conditions a Naoetsu:

Japanese Camp officials: 1st Lt Ishigawa camp commander, Sgt Watanabe (the Bird) senior NCO, Sgt Aoki, Sgt Kobiaslu (sp?), interpreter Pvt Kono, Homma civilian mess supervisor. The interpreter was called very cruel and brutal. Watanabe, Aoki, and Kono called "plain, downright inhuman fiends. The worst specimens of mad-men I have ever seen in my life." by the senior American NCO William B Ganci, CPO USN from Canaan, Connecticut. Major David M. Kirk said this, "Sgt Watanabe was the evil genius of this camp...He would have spells when the slightest infraction, imaginary and real, would draw drastic punishment." The interpreter Kono would use "clubs, shovels and the like rather than his fists."..."All this with the smiling consent of Lt. Ishikawa." Watanabe had been at Omori and came to Naoetsu in March 1945 with the POWs transferred there. One of Watanabe's rules was that any POW with dirty shoes had to lick them clean.

Medical care: Japanese sergeant Aoki was in charge of medical care. POW comments about medical care: "(1)Aoki knew nothing about medicine. Nicknamed Gila Monster. (2)Arrogant and very free with blows and punishment. A man had to be almost dead to be excused from work. (3)No medical attention unless you couldn't walk. Our doctors asked for medicine, they would get beaten. Also men with beri beri and other diseases that could hardly walk were beaten (by Sgt Aoki) for asking for a rest pass.(4)The POW population included an American and Australian doctor, American dentist, and about four corpsmen. They were allowed to do almost nothing."

Food: prepared in a galley by POWs under Japanese supervision, carried to barracks in buckets and served there in the individual sections, no tables. POW comments about food: "(1) about 600 grams per day of barley and beans (sometimes). Quantity and quality inadequate. (2)Varied from 500 to 700 grams dry rice daily. A little less than a pint of watery stew with each meal, sometimes dry fish or seaweed substitute. The rice was a mixture of barley and kori usually. Stew could be anything from a few greens to a fair portion of dog or beans or bean curd. (3) One loaf of barley flour bread, no yeast, about 8 oz boiled barley and millet, no seasoning, about two ordinary size soup bowls per day. Boiled kelp and soybean soup. Boiled without seasoning. Lousy, rotten, and tasteless as far as the bread and barley go, but the soup was like sucking your own nose. (4) 300 grams rice, millet, barley mixed/man/day. Small amts. meat (dog, horse, etc) occasionally. Some vegetables mostly daigon or large woody radishes. Bread one meal but flour and water only. Generally all things boiled of necessity but occasionally (1 or 2 a month) fried. Quality was usually poor. Wormy and rotten much of the time." (5) "...we were served an awful red grain-Korean millet, I think-along with dried ferns and seaweed...The seaweed was pulled straight from the ocean and boiled, turning the water into a goop the consistency of snot."

Barracks: One two story wooden building (apparently more barracks were being built at the end of the war) about 40 feet high with apex roof. Approximately 120 feet long by 60 feet wide. Few windows, windows heavily barred. Roof tin or tile, sides covered in tin. POW comments about the barracks: " (1) Just like Granddad's barn. Heavily timbered. (2) concrete 1st floor, tin sides and roof, wooden 2nd floor, few windows and small, beam supports. No double walls, board partitions, each section aisle in middle and double-decked on sides. (3) rough hewn boards for partitions. (4) stalls with small platforms for sleeping. (5) 2 stories of cubicles on each side of aisles upper and lower platforms." Apparently each of the two stories had upper and lower platforms for sleeping.
Latrines: best description from Charles P. Samson, Major USA, from Corvallis, Oregon. (rank may be rank after the war). "Latrines adjacent living quarters, concrete pits at back of barracks. Concrete floor, urinal trough one side, concrete pits other side wooden covered" (typical Japanese straddle type). "Emptied by syphon to river and solid matter hauled out in carts." Heavy rains caused the pits to overflow onto the latrine floor.

Work: officers did administrative work, worked in gardens, odd jobs, on occasion unloaded coal from ship as punishment. Enlisted worked in factories in Naoetsu - steel mill, carbide factory, unloaded ships, barges, trains (usually coal being shipped to factories) POW comments about work: " (1) the worst imaginable conditions, much beating-exceptionally harsh treatment-very hard strenuous work-day and night shifts. (2) conditions were very poor, hard work in rain or snow. Two 12 hour shifts night and day. Very old equipment. (3) dangerous and difficult. Heavy and hot work when undernourished and sick." Some describe 9-10 hour work shift, some 12 hours. POWs worked 7 days a week. Every 5th day they had to change shifts, so one shift worked through two shifts to make that change occur. There was one mention of 2 days off work each month. POWs worked for the Shinetsu Chemical Plant, Nisso Steel Industry, Joetsu Transport Company, and the Naoetsu Bay Transport Company. A POW described unloading coal from ships..."The job was not only dirty but dangerous...when swells came in, the ships rose and fell on the break. We'd approach on heavy barges and have to jump onto rope netting to climb aboard the ship." Next the coal was carried on their backs in wicker baskets up a hill to waiting train cars. The baskets would weigh as much as 100 pounds and they would have to walk on a short wooden plank. People would fall and the drop was about five feet.

Mail: POW comments: "(1) a few, by lot, allowed to write about once a month, mail received once or twice per month. (2) No mail was sent but could be received if the interpreter felt like distributing it. (3) Usually none sent. Small amounts of mail came in but much was not distributed to the men. Some few cards and radiograms sent. (4) I didn't receive any mail while there. I was allowed to write 1 postal card. (5) Very capricious. I sent one, maybe two messages from Naoetsu. One was broadcast and delivered via a recording from a monitor station in USA. Sgt. Watanabe distributed incoming mail to individuals according to his whim. Balance delivered after VJ day. (6) Varied. Later stages could write letter a month. However, it was a farce, since little of it actually was sent."
Treatment: POW comments: "(1) Sadistic, varying with prisoners and guard. (2) We were all beaten on slightest provocation, got little food. (3) Beatings occured every day of individuals and groups. (4) Underfed, continually hazed, physically beaten, occasionally fair but very seldom. (5) Very bad, even worse than in Osaka, which was bad enough. (6) Deplorable, beatings frequent and in general maltreatment. (7) Treated very brutally. Were beat and humiliated on inspection night and morning by Japs. (8) The worst of any camp I had been in. (8) Of all the camps I was in, this was the worst in every respect. Bilibid, Pasay School, Clark Field, and Omori.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.