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The speaker is a 76-year-old White woman with a college education from Janesville, Wisconsin; she was recorded in 1968.
16:33-18:13


County: Rock
State: WI

Commentary:
The city of Janesville, Wisconsin was not named, as one might speculate, for a woman named Jane, but for a man named Henry Janes, who came to the area following the Black Hawk War of 1832. Located along the Rock River, Janesville has six historic districts that reflect various aspects of its past. River industries, railroading, rock quarries, and of course agriculture all contributed to the growth of the city which, in 2005, was Wisconsin's eleventh largest. The speaker tells a story about her grandmother.
Inf: Well, she went to one of our uh, neighbor's, on up the road, up beyond the farm there. And she went to um, one of the younger men who was farming there. He was a chap about father's age, I guess, or a little younger, and said, "I don't need any advice on buying a cow, but I don't know much about horses." And she said, "Do you have any you want to sell?" An' he said, "Well now I have one that I'll let you take for two or three days an' you can try it out an' see whether you'd like it or not, an' if so, it'll cost so much." Well, he came around, uh, two or three days later and asked her how she liked it, an' she said well, she liked the way it performed, that she could see that it was pulling all right, by using her binoculars an' watching in the field. And, uh, so they agreed on the price again.

Aux Inf: He was plowing too deep.

Inf: Oh, yes, she also noted that uh, the man was um, plowing too deep by the way the horses were pulling. Well, how would they uh, how would they pay for it? Well, she had her money from her milk routes: nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars and so forth, uh counted out for him when he should come. And what'd they put it in? Well she had to think. She had some ticking. And she cut out a piece big enough to put this hundred and fifty dollars, was it? We

FW: In nickels, dimes, and quarters?

Inf: Something uh,

Aux Inf: Silver dollars.

Inf: Silver dollars and nickels and dimes and so forth. And so he went home carrying a hundred and fifty dollars in coins.


The speaker is an 80-year-old White man with a grade school education, from Milton, Wisconsin; he was recorded in 1968.
9:00-14:45


County: Rock
State: WI

Commentary:
Located in Rock County in southern Wisconsin, Milton was significant both as a railroad town serving the surrounding agricultural area and as a stop on the "Underground Railroad." The speaker's grandfather and great uncle were among the first settlers in Rock County, coming in November of 1835 as homesteaders. Prior to that, his grandfather had spent his adolescence as a "bound boy," and then had gone on three river drives on the Susquehanna River. Those experiences are the subject of the following excerpt.
Inf: Well, at nine years of age when his father died, he was bound out to a man by the name of Mr. _____. And he stayed there for eleven years until he was twenty years old.

FW: In Binghamton.

Inf: At uh, well, it was near Binghamton. So, when uh, he beca-, he was supposed to stay there till he was 21. Well, uh he said that uh, that this man had some sons and they was away to college and they took all the money that their father had or could scrape up to keep 'em in school. And they used to kind of uh misuse my grandfather, some, and he said that he stood it as long as he could, and when he couldn't stand it any longer, he said to Mr. _____ one day, he said, "Now, if you've got anything that you wanna give me for my eleven years that I been here working for you, I'm ready to accept." And so he said, "Well, uh I have no money. It takes all of my money keep the, my boys in, in college. But," he said, "I've got a team of colts out here, that if you uh want them, you're welcome to 'em."

So, he said well, he didn't know what else to do, he was gonna leave anyway. So he said that he told Mr. _____ that he would uh accept his offer. So he took the colts and sold 'em and he got 62 dollars and a half for the team of young horses. Colts, in other words. And uh with the 62 dollars and a half, he gave that to his widowed mother.

So uh then, after uh, he had gotten a job of runnin' rafts of logs that were lashed together down the Susquehanna River from Binghamton, New York to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Which was a distance of about 300 miles. And there was rapids in the river at one place. And I, not quite sure whether it was two and a half miles through these rapids, and it was real rapid. And it took them, I think it was, three minutes to go through 'em with the raft of logs. And uh so it was a sort of a dangerous uh thing to do because they was swirls where the water was going that fast, and they had to keep the logs that were lashed together, they had to keep 'em from hittin' the shoreline where there was rocks and the like, and to keep the back end from goin' like uh the little kids would on the end of playin' crack the whip, see.

So what happened that uh he, the first time he went down, there was a another man with him, which I don't know as I ever knew who he was, or heard of him. So uh he, he, died; this, this um rudder that was fastened to the back end of the raft of the logs uh had a twelve, a two by twelve by twelve foot plank that was used as a rudder, fastened to the end of a pole. And this pole uh this rudder, when this water swirl hit it, why he said that uh the the fella that was handling the rudder, the first time he went down through, that he dodged it three times. And then he found out that they had been others that didn't dodge it that was knocked into the water. And that was the last of 'em. So he said that uh when they went, they had to walk back then, after they got the logs down where the sawmill was at Harrisburg.

FW: Yeah. Yeah. How far was that?

Inf: Three hundred. Three hundred miles one way. So they walked back and uh he got ten dollars a, a trip. Well, the next trip, when they started out, he said to the man that uh had gone down and used the rudder the day, the time before, he said, "Now, let me get ahold of that thing and I'll see what I can do." He, and uh, it'd gotten away from the other fella three times on his first trip. Well, he'd had enough of that. So he said, "Well, I'll try it." So, the fella said, "OK, go ahead." And he said that when he hit them swirls, the pressure was so great and he had to hold the uh, the pole with the rudder on the end of it, bolted on. And he said there was so much pressure and weight on it, he said that it felt as though that it was driving his feet in right through the, where his, where he stood when he had to handle this. As though that it was gonna shove him right through the raft of logs, feet and all. But he said he went down through and uh it didn't get away from him.


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