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The speaker is a 73-year-old White man with a high school education from Deadwood, South Dakota; he was recorded in 1966.
6:19-8:20


County: Lawrence
State: SD

Commentary:
Located in the Black Hills of western South Dakota, the town of Deadwood has the highest name recognition of any South Dakota city. This reflects its colorful past as a gold mining community of the Old West and its reputation for being a wide-open town with brothels, gambling, and saloons. The whole town is now a National Historic Landmark, including a cemetery containing the graves of Wild Bill Hickok (who was killed there) and Calamity Jane. Its peak population was 25,000 in 1876, the year that news of the discovery of gold became known (now it has approximately 1,400 people). To serve the mining industry, a narrow gauge railroad came to Deadwood in 1888. The speaker started work in 1910 as a call-boy for the railroad; he was responsible for making sure the crew members got to work, mostly early in the morning.
Inf: One time I went down to eh, get this fellow an' he wasn't there, fellow by the name of Bennett. And I called up the foreman, I said, "He ain't in his room," and he says, "Well, John, you'll have to get him." So, I went down to Green Front. That was a dance hall, sportin' house, too. Just as I got at the door, they had a swinging door that'd swing both ways, up above the floor a little bit an' from the ceiling down a little bit, about a foot, foot an' a half. Just about the time I got in line with the door, the door opened up an' here come this guy out an' bumped me an' knocked me off on the sidewalk an' into the ditch. It was old Ben, the fellow that I was looking for. He hit this guy an' knocked him plumb out in the street. Then I got a- hold o' Ben, had him sign the book, then I took off.

An' this same guy, he pulled another one on me, he did. When I was out looking for him, he wasn't in his room, an' I went down to the sportin' house an' had a wicket in the door. Rapped at the door an', a girl she looked uh out the wicket, an' asked who it was an' I told her an' she let me in, an' I went in there an s-s-sit down on a fancy couch an' she come in an' give me a bottle of pop an' was just entertaining me an' said she was gonna look for this uh, engineer. Well, I sat there an' I sat there; finally she come uh back an' said that uh, "Well Ben isn't here," the girl say. Well come to find out, Ben was eating his breakfast in the back uh, in the little kitchen, an' he went down the back steps, went back up the alley an' beat me to the round house.


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