Thomas “Skin” Henderson

Interviewee: Thomas “Skin” Henderson
Interviewer: Melissa Twaroski
Interview Date: September 22, 2003
Transcribed by: Mim Eisenberg/WordCraft; May 2013
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY

ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

U.S. FOREST SERVICE, REGION 8

RETIRED PERSONNEL

Interview with: Thomas “Skin” Henderson
Interviewed by: Melissa Twaroski
Date: September 22, 2003
Transcribed by: Mim Eisenberg/WordCraft; May 2013

MELISSA TWAROSKI:  Today is Monday, September 22nd, 2003. We are at Warsaw Work Center. We are here to interview Skin Henderson about his days in the Forest Service on the Chickasawhay Ranger District, just to get the formalities over.

When did you start working for the Forest Service?

THOMAS “SKIN” HENDERSON:  In January of ’58.

TWAROSKI:  Nineteen fifty-eight.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 0:32].

TWAROSKI:  I thought you started earlier. I think I’m confusing you with [supervisor] Mr. [James] Landrum.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, he started right [unintelligible; 0:39].

TWAROSKI:  What did you start at? What was your first job or position?

HENDERSON:  Forest work.

TWAROSKI:  Forest work in general?

HENDERSON:  Yup.

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember what grade you were?

HENDERSON:  Just forest work.

TWAROSKI:  GS-3, GS-—?

HENDERSON:  No, uh-uh, didn’t have no—it was just forest.

TWAROSKI:  Just forest.

HENDERSON:  Forest work.

TWAROSKI:  Were you full time?

HENDERSON:  Yep. No, not to start with, I wasn’t. I worked two [shorter times? 1:03] before [unintelligible; 1:04].

TWAROSKI:  And then you got full time.

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. So who was the ranger in those days when you first started in 1958?

HENDERSON:  Oh, let me think. Joe Couch.

TWAROSKI:  Joe Couch?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Yep. Okay. What was he like?

HENDERSON:  He was a good [unintelligible; 1:30].

TWAROSKI:  Was he?

HENDERSON:  I liked him.

TWAROSKI:  You liked him? Was he from Mississippi?

HENDERSON:  I don’t know. I don’t know for sure.

TWAROSKI:  So how did you do things back in those days when you did forestry work?

HENDERSON:  Just the old way.

TWAROSKI:  What do you mean by “the old way”?

HENDERSON:  Just—you know, it’s safe, what you done it the old way. You know, like, it used to be. We [reworked? 1:56] bridges, worked on the roads.

TWAROSKI:  So you did engineering work, too.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, we worked on the roads.

TWAROSKI:  Did you grade?

HENDERSON:  Covered them and reworked bridges and done a lot of work in the woods.

TWAROSKI:  Did you do timber marking?

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  No?
HENDERSON:  I never did—I never [unintelligible; 2:18] timber. I was into burning and wildfires and—

TWAROSKI:  So you were on a fire crew?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, I was in the burning crew, and then the fire crew, [used? 2:32] the—

TWAROSKI:  There’s a difference between a burning crew and a fire crew?

HENDERSON:  No, they just used it.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  But they used timber markers when they needed them, you know. The director of the burning crew was—you know, was—most [unintelligible; 2:55]—they had leaders, and they had several little units. We had little old [unintelligible; 3:06] tracks [sic; tractors?] and then old [unintelligible; 3:05] tracks [sic; tractors?], [unintelligible; 3:08] trucks, [unintelligible; 3:11] trucks.

TWAROSKI:  I remember Mr. Powell, who used to be the Stony Tower dispatcher or the Stony Tower lookout. He told me that there’s different fire crews based on where people lived.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, [cross-talk; unintelligible; 3:25]. They had one for Stony and one for Tiger Creek, and they had—

TWAROSKI:  Piney Woods?

HENDERSON:  No, they used—the rest of them worked out [here? 3:36], but they were assigned to a unit, so if they had a fire, they’d come back [unintelligible; 3:43], or either they had a fire from Tiger Creek or Stony, they worked out in the woods mostly in the summer down there, [unintelligible; 3:59]. So usually we worked on the roads in the summer months. In the fall, we worked in [scrap burn? 4:05], and then we worked in the fire [unintelligible; 4:10]. Of course, everybody—when you had a fire, they lined everybody up. [Chuckles.] You know, if it wasn’t bad, maybe one or two crews. [unintelligible; 4:25] little old [unintelligible; 4:26] back in. [unintelligible; 4:28] tractor sometime. Yep.

TWAROSKI:  So when you were here in 1958, how many towers do you remember still standing?

HENDERSON:  Point Laurel.

TWAROSKI:  Point Laurel.

HENDERSON:  And Big Creek was there, but they didn’t use it—you know, just a few months of—if the visibility was bad, they used Stony, Tiger Creek and Warsaw.

TWAROSKI:  There was no Piney Woods?

HENDERSON:  Piney Woods? Yeah, Piney Woods.

TWAROSKI:  My understanding is that Big Creek was in a bad location because—

HENDERSON:  It was. You visibility—if you got to where you couldn’t see over there, they had to run a [guy wire? unintelligible; 5:12]. But [the fire was still there? 5:14].

TWAROSKI:  Mrs. Bradley told me that they sold Big Creek to Wayne County.

HENDERSON:  I don’t—I think they turned it over to them maybe a year or two, and then they took it back.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. All right.

HENDERSON:  But then later they took Tiger Creek.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  And then Piney Woods, and then Stony.

TWAROSKI:  Right. So you never worked as a lookout.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, at times I did. I [unintelligible; 5:46] when they had a short—you know.

TWAROSKI:  When they were short on someone, you’d help out?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, that’s nice.

HENDERSON:  I’d help them out that way, if they’re short anything. [unintelligible; 5:55] [come back? 5:56].

TWAROSKI:  Did you ever paint one of these towers?

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  Now, I’ve seen photographs of this, and I know OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] would have a problem.

HENDERSON:  I painted this one.

TWAROSKI:  The Warsaw?

HENDERSON:  Yep. I painted Stony and Piney Woods.

TWAROSKI:  Can you explain for me how did you go about painting these towers?

HENDERSON:  Well, what we done—James Landrum—

TWAROSKI:  James Landrum? Yes?

HENDERSON:  He was our—over—

TWAROSKI:  Supervisor?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, he was supervisor in the summer. But he was dispatcher in the winter for a while, but then he got to be out in the woods. But we took him. He went and picked the two by twelves—

TWAROSKI:  Two by twelves?

HENDERSON:  Yep. I don’t remember how long it was, but they was long enough, you put them through the windows and tied them up.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, you tied them—okay—to the top?

HENDERSON:  Tied them off to the top, and then you had a safety belt that you wore and a rope so if you was to—you know, was to fall in the [unintelligible; 7:05]. But we painted the whole tower.

TWAROSKI:  What color did you paint them?

HENDERSON:  Gray.

TWAROSKI:  Gray?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, like [aluminum? 7:12].

TWAROSKI:  What about the inside of the towers?

HENDERSON:  Well, we painted that, but usually the tower-man does the inside.

TWAROSKI:  The tower-—okay.

HENDERSON:  The tower-man—you know, when he is in the tower, he done this.

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember what color?

HENDERSON:  I don’t remember what color they painted the inside. There was some of them different colors.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, really?

HENDERSON:  The outside was—

TWAROSKI:  Always battleship gray?

HENDERSON:  Gray.

TWAROSKI:  Or light gray?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  I think the inside was, too.

TWAROSKI:  This one is painted light green.

HENDERSON:  Well,—

TWAROSKI:  And then there’s a darker layer of darker green.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, right. It might have been green, but back then [chuckles], I didn’t keep up with it.

TWAROSKI:  All right. Mm-hm. So you knew how to use the fire finder?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, mm-hm.

TWAROSKI:  Was that something that most people knew how to use?

HENDERSON:  The biggest part that people did.

TWAROSKI:  Really?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. You know,—

TWAROSKI:  I think that none of [cross-talk; unintelligible; 8:04]—

HENDERSON:  —they go [shove you? 8:08], and then you had all the other towers, you know, to [unintelligible; 8:10], and [back to back? 8:11] was [an ice bucket? 8:12]. And you had a phone—

TWAROSKI:  A phone?

HENDERSON:  A phone line from here to [Fallen Rocks? 8:19]. Well, it went all the way to the office. It hooked into the phone service at Point Laurel [unintelligible; 8:26], just on the other side. Then they had a phone line going to all the towers.

TWAROSKI:  The towers.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, from—

TWAROSKI:  From Warsaw?

HENDERSON:  Yep. They had a phone line, phone going to all—and the [unintelligible; 8:45], too.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  Of course, at Piney Woods they didn’t have nobody to live there. There was a house there, but mostly [unintelligible; 8:57] in the winter.

TWAROSKI:  Yeah, Mrs. Bradley told me that there’s no house there. No bathroom. [Phone rings.]

HENDERSON:  But there used to be a house. When I started work, there was a house there. [Phone rings.] There was a house.

TWAROSKI:  But it was torn down, I assume.

HENDERSON:  Oh, yeah, it was [unintelligible; 9:12]. [Phone rings.] [unintelligible; 9:14] Tiger Creek [unintelligible; 9:17]. [Phone rings.] Then Stony, then Warsaw. And [unintelligible; 9:23] house the other side of the tower.

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember when they tore down the house on [unintelligible; 9:30]?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, but I don’t remember the year, the date or nothing.

TWAROSKI:  No? Okay. All right.

HENDERSON:  But it was—the front of the house—it was just an A-frame house.

TWAROSKI:  A-frame?

HENDERSON:  And a porch usually, a screened-in porch. Had a cellar down on the [unintelligible; 9:49].

TWAROSKI:  I heard about the cellar.

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  The cellar was down on [unintelligible; 9:52].

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember the grease rack?

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  I’ve been told that it originates from the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps].

HENDERSON:  Right, right.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  Now, then, someone told me that at one point portions of it were taken off and made larger.

HENDERSON:  Right, right, on account of your size of your truck, you see? The bigger truck.

TWAROSKI:  The trucks got bigger.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, your trucks got bigger. See, you had this dual-wheel trucks when I started, and you got to use bigger trucks.

TWAROSKI:  Oh.

HENDERSON:  Then you had to make it bigger and stronger.

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember when they changed [cross-talk; unintelligible; 10:34]?

HENDERSON:  I helped build it, but I don’t remember the dates.

TWAROSKI:  You helped build it?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, I helped rebuild it—yeah, reworked it.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Would have been in the sixties?

HENDERSON:  Probably in the sixties, probably.

TWAROSKI:  In the sixties.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, when they went to bigger trucks.

TWAROSKI:  Is there any part of it that remains from the CCCs?

HENDERSON:  I wouldn’t think so. I [cross-talk; unintelligible; 10:59].

TWAROSKI:  Did you remove the posts and everything, the bottom posts?

HENDERSON:  No, they were solid, but we had to redo the rail—you know, where you drive—

TWAROSKI:  So you redid the railing.

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  We didn’t reset no posts, but the posts [cross-talk; unintelligible; 11:13].

TWAROSKI:  So the posts are original.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 11:16] we built a wider—

TWAROSKI:  You built wider.

HENDERSON:  The road was wider [unintelligible; 11:20].

TWAROSKI:  Was there always a railing around it?

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. I wasn’t sure if that was added later by—

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  It was always there. They put railings on it, yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. All right.

HENDERSON:  And this building was [out? not? 11:33] here.

TWAROSKI:  What building?

HENDERSON:  This paint—they called it the paint house. I helped build [cross-talk; unintelligible; 11:40].

TWAROSKI:  The little one?

HENDERSON:  Between here and the tower.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  That one, I helped build that.

TWAROSKI:  Is that the cinderblock one?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Yes. You helped build that one.

HENDERSON:  I helped build that.

TWAROSKI:  And what was that for?

HENDERSON:  It was for paint and oil. The oil house, they called it, and paint house.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, so that little structure was for the oil?

HENDERSON:  On the left side.

TWAROSKI:  Oh.

HENDERSON:  And then that building was paint, over on that side. Little old paint house used to be down here on the right, going down this hill, past [unintelligible; 12:14].

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. Okay. Things have changed.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, it’s changed.

TWAROSKI:  When you first started here, I’m assuming there were four bay doors?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, they had one right here—

TWAROSKI:  And there was no office?

HENDERSON:  No. This was—they used it for tools, but later on they moved the fire tools in here, made it for fire tools.

TWAROSKI:  Fire cache?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, fire cache.

TWAROSKI:  But was there a wall here when they had the fire cache?

HENDERSON:  No, nothing but a [unintelligible; 12:51] screen. Had a [workplace? 12:53] over there, like it’s in there?

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  And then they had a screen and [unintelligible; 13:05] the top, you know, building. Well, it went on the way—you could see across.

TWAROSKI:  So you’re saying that the bay door was still there.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, right here.

TWAROSKI:  Right here.

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  And there was nothing here on this wall?

HENDERSON:  Nothing but this—

TWAROSKI:  [Accounting? 13:20]?

HENDERSON:  —rack for tools.

TWAROSKI:  A rack for tools?

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  And then right there was—

HENDERSON:  Was a workbench, and they had a mechanic that stayed here back then, [unintelligible; 13:35].

TWAROSKI:  Is that tool counter there original?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, so it is original.

HENDERSON:  Yeah. [cross-talk; unintelligible; 13:38].

TWAROSKI:  So you didn’t build it.

HENDERSON:  No, I didn’t build it. It was here when I come.

TWAROSKI:  In ’58.

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Oh. See, I assumed that was new.

HENDERSON:  Nope.

TWAROSKI:  Because I assumed that there was one like that on this wall—

HENDERSON:  No, [cross-talk; unintelligible; 13:52].

TWAROSKI:  —and the Forest Service built it later,—

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  —like, in the seventies or eighties.

HENDERSON:  And the one over here was just like it was [unintelligible; 13:59]. But it’s been [took down? 14:03]. When they worked on the tools,—it could have been over here, now. It could have been over here. I believe that’s what—

TWAROSKI:  But there’s some sort of tool—

HENDERSON:  Yeah, that’s the workbenches over here.

TWAROSKI:  The workbench.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 14:25].

TWAROSKI:  A workbench was here.

HENDERSON:  Right, it was over there.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  And the tool rack was over there.

TWAROSKI:  The tool rack was over there.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, so that was a fire cache and a tool cache at one point.

HENDERSON:  Well, they worked on tools for years, and then they moved the fire cache in here because they didn’t have any—

TWAROSKI:  So you didn’t park any vehicles in here?

HENDERSON:  Not—every now and then, they’d pull one in for something, but not till they made a fire cache out of it, and the did. They closed this door.

TWAROSKI:  They closed the door, and they still used it as a fire cache?

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 15:01], after they decided to use it for a fire cache.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, okay, after the decided to use it as a fire cache, they took the garage door down and they closed it.

HENDERSON:  Took that one down.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. All right. Because the other tool cache over there has also changed, because I have—you can’t see it in this picture; it’s really bad, but it’s all that chicken wire.

HENDERSON:  Right. Well, that was when the mechanic was here. He kept his parts for his vehicles in there.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  See, he replaced parts, new parts. He’s a mechanic, and he kept a [unintelligible; 15:47] of parts for the trucks.

TWAROSKI:  Trucks. Makes sense.

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. And there was a sliding door on that side.

HENDERSON:  Mmm. Yes, ma’am. Yes, ma’am.  Yep, that’s what it was, a sliding door, yeah.

TWAROSKI:  A sliding door. See, I assumed also—

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  —it was a wooden—

HENDERSON:  See,—

TWAROSKI:  —garage do

HENDERSON:  —they come inside the building from [unintelligible; 16:11], because there was a little old pump house and everything back here in the back.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  A rod-type pump.

TWAROSKI:  A what?

HENDERSON:  A rod-type pump.

TWAROSKI:  Rod-type pump?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  What was that for?

HENDERSON:  It’s for drinking water out of.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, okay.

HENDERSON:  That’s the way we got water. It was a well, and they set the pump and everything in there, the rod-type. It work up and down like that to get water. That’s the way we got water.

TWAROSKI:  Oh. And on the other side was the bathroom?

HENDERSON:  No. I think it was a bathroom over there, but it was a little feller.

TWAROSKI:  A little feller.

HENDERSON:  Yeah. It’s been changed. See, all of that—I don’t know why it’s been reworked.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. Oh, yeah, in 1995 they put the new handicapped-accessible—

HENDERSON:  Right, right.

TWAROSKI:  Because back before ’95, that little extension looked just like this one.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  I gotcha.

HENDERSON:  It was just a little tiny [cross-talk; unintelligible; 17:09].

TWAROSKI:  A little toilet.

HENDERSON:  [Chuckles.] right.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  What was that other room, where Mrs. Henderson has the coffee and her lockers?

HENDERSON:  I think we had the lockers in there.

TWAROSKI:  Lockers?

HENDERSON:  Lockers. Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  Cabinets?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Fire clothes and stuff like that.

TWAROSKI:  Okay, so it’s always been used sort of as a storage area.

HENDERSON:  Right, right, a storage area.

TWAROSKI:  That’s what I figured.

HENDERSON:  Right, right.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Good.

Any ghost stories?

HENDERSON:  [Chuckles.] No, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  None? Okay, because people tell me that they hear people walking up and down—

HENDERSON:  Right, right.

TWAROSKI:  —at 5:30 in the morning, and they hear people walking across the attic. And I’m, like, I’ve never heard it.

HENDERSON:  I ain’t heared it, either.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  But the little rail down here? I don’t know whether they took it down or not, but that was to guide that door. It opened—it slid on the outside. That door had rollers at the top.

TWAROSKI:  This one?

HENDERSON:  No. Well, that did, too, but—

TWAROSKI:  All these.

HENDERSON:  —it [cross-talk; unintelligible; 18:08] on the inside. That rail down here?—

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  —on the side of the building?

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  That door opened—slid on the outside.

TWAROSKI:  All four of them.

HENDERSON:  All four, yeah. [unintelligible; 18:20] in one of them up here that went out there [unintelligible; 18:25].

TWAROSKI:  Which?

HENDERSON:  That little door, the door that goes out on the west end that there, the little door?

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  It wasn’t there. Had a little door in the big door.

TWAROSKI:  Yes, yes.

HENDERSON:  You know, for going in and out.

TWAROSKI:  I understand. Okay. Because—I’ll show you these pictures from the thirties. See, I try to get information on the work center because [I’m trying to nominate it? 18:53]. (I have this backwards.) And a lady, whose father was here in the 1930s, has a collection of these photographs that he took, himself. He was an amateur photographer.

HENDERSON:  Mm-hm. Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  And he was also, I guess, the lookout in 1934, 1935. It was his first job, right at—

HENDERSON:  [cross-talk; He had it? 19:14] before I [unintelligible; 19:17].

TWAROSKI:  And he took pictures from the tower, so to me, these look like swing doors.

HENDERSON:  Nope, they rose.

TWAROSKI:  They rose.

HENDERSON:  They were swinging, all right, but they were hanging by rollers at the top, and you just slid them back and open them, see?

TWAROSKI:  Okay. So they’re not swing doors; they’re slide doors.

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  You’re saying that there’s—

HENDERSON:  They had a roller up here at the top, and you just slide it, roll it back, see. That’s what that there [pipe? 19:44] was for.

TWAROSKI:  Ohh!

HENDERSON:  To guide the doorway.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. So these—

HENDERSON:  There was a little door—

TWAROSKI:  On the other side.

HENDERSON:  There was a little door in one of the front doors here that you went outside—you know, just walking outside. If anyone want to keep the big one shut [cross-talk; unintelligible; 20:03]—

TWAROSKI:  So you tell me that these doors, you can slide—you can open it like that, like the way it’s shown?

HENDERSON:  Well, I don’t remember about these here, but you had to slide them up, [made them raise up? 20:13].

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  They [unintelligible; 20:17] raise up [unintelligible; 20:20].

TWAROSKI:  [Turns pages.] More pictures.

HENDERSON:  Mm-hm.

TWAROSKI:  There’s a fire picture, [unintelligible; 20:32].

HENDERSON:  [There were a lot of people here. ? 20:33].

TWAROSKI:  That was in 1934,—

HENDERSON:  Yeah, that was—

TWAROSKI:  —the dedication.

HENDERSON:  The CCs, I imagine.

TWAROSKI:  Yup, the CCC boys were there. They were handing out the luncheon.

HENDERSON:  You see—see the door here? See your door slide into there? Now, the center one, I don’t remember whether you raised it up or not, but these end ones—they slid—see, you can see the door [where it quits? 20:56]. See, it’s closed now. It rolled back this way, and this one rolled back this way. See where it’s setting on the rail over there?

TWAROSKI:  Oh.

HENDERSON:  They had that rail [unintelligible; 21:10].

TWAROSKI:  I gotcha.

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  All right.

HENDERSON:  I believe that’s what I’m seeing [unintelligible; 21:14] turn up like this, [unintelligible; 21:17].

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm. Okay. That’s the old gas pump.

HENDERSON:  Yeah. You pumped it by hand.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Which would have been?

HENDERSON:  It was down there [where? 21:31] the other one [was there? 21:33]. Had a diesel and a gas.

TWAROSKI:  Hmm.

HENDERSON:  You pumped it up.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Put the gas in or the diesel.

TWAROSKI:  What else do I have? [Turns pages.] Pictures of him on the tower. Did it look like that when you first started here?

HENDERSON:  No, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  No?

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  With the screen door?

HENDERSON:  Oh, the building out there?

TWAROSKI:  Yeah, the dispatcher’s office.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, it was just like that.

TWAROSKI:  With the old windows?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. And the [unintelligible; 22:10] house was down [unintelligible; 22:12].

TWAROSKI:  This is actually DeSoto [Ranger Station].

HENDERSON:  Huh?

TWAROSKI:  This was is at the DeSoto, but the building is exactly like ours.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, it was just like that right there.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  And the double windows on each side, and [unintelligible; 22:26].

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Had [unintelligible; 22:27].

TWAROSKI:  And the chimney?

HENDERSON:  Chimney.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  Had a chimney [unintelligible; 22:30].

TWAROSKI:  Now, when you walked in the door, this side was the dis-—

HENDERSON:  The dispatcher’s office.

TWAROSKI:  On the right-hand side.

HENDERSON:  Go in, and go in the door.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. What was on the left side?

HENDERSON:  Just a desk and—

TWAROSKI:  Desks?

HENDERSON:  —office material.

TWAROSKI:  Office.

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  So did you have an office?

HENDERSON:  No, I just worked here. [Chuckles.] [cross-talk; unintelligible; 22:49].

TWAROSKI:  You just worked in the field and got dirty. Okay.

HENDERSON:  I wished I had took some pictures back then of the house back there. But the end of the house was north and south. You know, had a [unintelligible; 23:09] [roof? 21:10] to it?

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  And then comes down in the porches over on the side. And then the cellar—you went in the cellar on this end.

TWAROSKI:  The left-hand side.

HENDERSON:  You had screened-in porches on each side.

TWAROSKI:  Did you enter the cellar from the inside of the house or the outside?

HENDERSON:  I think you could. I think they had a door you could raise up and go, but I helped [unintelligible; 23:33] the cellar out. I [unintelligible; 23:37]. [unintelligible; beat? 23:38] the cement up.

TWAROSKI:  You did?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. We [unintelligible; 23:40] [beat? 23:41] up with [flint? 23:43]. [We had? 23:44] slate there.

TWAROSKI:  Why?

HENDERSON:  They wanted to do away with it. Back then, you didn’t have no—

TWAROSKI:  So you didn’t just fill in the hole after you—

HENDERSON:  We filled in the hole, but we had to beat the cement up because it was [unintelligible; 34:56].

TWAROSKI:  Oh, okay. I gotcha.

HENDERSON:  It was [unintelligible; 23:57] cement.

TWAROSKI:  All right.

HENDERSON:  We filled it in and put dirt on it, kept [unintelligible; 24:02] dirt.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm. And then they put the weather station on top.

So tell me some stories about forest fires. Or is there anything that stands out in your mind about storms or working out in the woods?

HENDERSON:  Well, I don’t even remember.

TWAROSKI:  Catching people lighting fires?

HENDERSON:  Well, I never did catch anybody, but that was when I started [unintelligible; 24:27]. We had fires [run over? 24:33], you know, running over you and then—well, I had one to burn over me down in the Stony. Burned over me and the tractor. And got hung up. It had a outside yoke on it. Come around and we took the yoke off, and they had them little knobs, you know, where that outside yoke fits?

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  And run the hydraulics. But they cut them off, and [unintelligible; 25:02] because—and I couldn’t—the fire [unintelligible; 25:08]. It burned—I [unintelligible; 25:09] with the tractor, but I still got got burned. This—

TWAROSKI:  On that side.

HENDERSON:  My wrist and my hand.

TWAROSKI:  On your right-hand side. Wow!

HENDERSON:  And it was in a [dry pass? 25:17] and everything. A guy was waiting—he hollered, “Get out!” I left the tractor [unintelligible; 25:26], and the fire got to the [road? 25:30]. I went back to the tractor, and it’s still running.

TWAROSKI:  It’s still running?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. And it had a little old plastic thing up on the hood—you know, [unintelligible; 25:40]. And it just melted on one side of that. I got it out, and [unintelligible; 25:47] road, and the other tractor come in and plowed the south of the road. Well, I just got it out, off of the [unintelligible; 25:56] [in good old time? 25:57]. I got it back out, but they [unintelligible; 26:04].

TWAROSKI:  Amazing.

HENDERSON:  [Laughs.] Back then, you went [unintelligible; 26:12].

TWAROSKI:  You know what the cause of most of the fires was in those days?

HENDERSON:  Well, a lightning strike.

TWAROSKI:  Lightning?

HENDERSON:  Lightning struck them. No, it wasn’t. It was wind and blowed the lightning-struck tree across the fire line, and we didn’t find the fire line till we near about had the fire out.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  But lightning struck a tree, and then it fell over the fire line. We had another one over here. Jerry might know, or Marvin. [unintelligible; 26:50] [Fish Town? 26:50], when we’d go to Fish Town—Tiger Creek Church. You know, down that blacktop. We had one down there. It burned over them. [Chuckles.] It run over them, too, one time.

TWAROSKI:  Really!

HENDERSON:  And I helped put it out, me and Harvey. Harvey can tell you all about it.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

How long did you work for the Forest Service if you started in 19-—

HENDERSON:  Thirty-two years.

TWAROSKI:  Thirty-two years, starting in 1958.

HENDERSON:  And come out in ’90.

TWAROSKI:  You came out in ’90!

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Wow!

HENDERSON:  I come out in ’90. Started in January and come out on the 26th day of October.

TWAROSKI:  Twenty-sixth of October of 1990. Mm-hm. So by the time you served thirty years, what were you doing?

HENDERSON:  I was a operator then, tractor operator.

TWAROSKI:  You were the tractor operator. So you—

HENDERSON:  Well, I was what we called a forestry technician.

TWAROSKI:  Forestry technician. Okay.

HENDERSON:  But I run a tractor.

TWAROSKI:  You run a tractor.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 27:59]. Yep. Of course, I worked on the roads and the recreation and whatever, [unintelligible; 28:07].

TWAROSKI:  So when you were here, we had Thompson Creek Recreation Area.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  What were you doing there?

HENDERSON:  Just more or less cutting grass—

TWAROSKI:  Cutting grass.

HENDERSON:  —or cleaning or any maintenance we had to do. I helped do that.

TWAROSKI:  You helped do that, too.

HENDERSON:  Now, I was here when they closed it up.

TWAROSKI:  When was that?

HENDERSON:  I don’t even remember what year it was.

TWAROSKI:  You don’t remember?

HENDERSON:  But I know [unintelligible; 28:38] [shut it down? 28:39].

TWAROSKI:  What about the Point Laurel Recreation Area?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, they had a recreation area right across—

TWAROSKI:  The tower?

HENDERSON:  I don’t know if you know where the tower was at.

TWAROSKI:  Yeah?

HENDERSON:  Just across the road, they had a little old recreation area.

TWAROSKI:  What did that consist of?

HENDERSON:  Well, people used it. You know, come out [unintelligible; 28:57]. It was just across the road.

TWAROSKI:  And what would you find there?

HENDERSON:  It was just, yeah, for grilling and stuff like that.

TWAROSKI:  A couple of picnic tables?

HENDERSON:  They had four or five, and then they had restrooms and everything.

TWAROSKI:  They had restrooms there, too?

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am. And they had one at Piney Woods Creek.

TWAROSKI:  Same thing?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Grills, picnic tables and a bathroom?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, right. Yep. And some guy come on and blowed the bathrooms up with [unintelligible; 29:33] dynamite.

TWAROSKI:  Which one?

HENDERSON:  Both of them.

TWAROSKI:  He blew the bathrooms in both Piney Woods and Point Laurel?

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  Did he have a gripe against the Forest Service?

HENDERSON:  I don’t know that, but he did. He blowed them up. He didn’t bother anything else. He just blowed them up.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. Were the bathrooms replaced?

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  No?

HENDERSON:  No. They still don’t have them [cross-talk; unintelligible; 29:57].

TWAROSKI:  They shut the two areas?

HENDERSON:  They shut it down afterwards.

TWAROSKI:  Aw, what a shame!

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 30:00].

TWAROSKI:  Aw! So were you here when they were starting to work on Turkey Fork [Recreation Area]?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, I helped.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  I helped put it all—all the recreation parks—helped build the road in there. It was concrete and ditches.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  And the camping area. Of course, they’ve enlarged it some since then. But I helped put the camping area in. And the walkways. Helped put that [unintelligible; 30:38].

TWAROSKI:  Wow! You did a lot!

HENDERSON:  [Laughs.]

TWAROSKI:  Didn’t you?

HENDERSON:  Hey!

TWAROSKI:  You did a little of everything.

[Transcriber’s note: There are now voices and laughter in the background.]

HENDERSON:  Yep. You know, back then you [unintelligible; 30:49] recreation, and [unintelligible; 30:51] same thing on the [unintelligible; 30:52], [unintelligible; 30:53] [everything? anything? 30:54] out here [unintelligible; 30:55]. I helped build the road here. It was just a trail [unintelligible; 31:05], and then we built a road in, and brought the pipes in—you know, going down to where the spillway goes across. They put the spillway in; we didn’t. We put the slopes, you know, for the ditches.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  Yeah. And they used to have four bathrooms up there on the right, and they changed them and put—

TWAROSKI:  Permanent bathrooms.

HENDERSON:  But they had the regular bathrooms in the picnic area and [unintelligible; 31:41].

TWAROSKI:  Were you here when they started taking down the telephone lines?

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  The old telephone lines?

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  What did you do with all of the insulators, the glass insulators?

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 31:51] the side of that building.

TWAROSKI:  The bunkers?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. I was wondering why they were all there.

HENDERSON:  That’s where they come from.

TWAROSKI:  How many did you collect?

HENDERSON:  Well, see, you had a bunch of them. But when the guys [bid? 32:09] it off, most [unintelligible; 32:12], you know.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 32:14], he just give the insulators back to the Forest Service. He didn’t need them.

TWAROSKI:  He didn’t need the glass insulators.

HENDERSON:  No. He used them for [post? 32:21] or something, you know?

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  Or [unintelligible; 32:26].

TWAROSKI:  Can you remember when you took down the telephone lines?

HENDERSON:  No. [Chuckles.] I wish I wrote all them things down.

TWAROSKI:  But you helped take down—or the contractor would take that down.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, he’d take it down.

TWAROSKI:  And he would had the glass insulators to the Forest Service.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, you know, if they come by and want them, he’d give them back to the Forest Service. Of course, we had a bunch already—extras in there, so if we busted one or somebody shot one we could—

TWAROSKI:  Replace them.

HENDERSON:  Yep. And I worked on the telephone lines.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, you did?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Doing what?

HENDERSON:  Kept them up.

TWAROSKI:  You kept them up.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 33:03]. Yeah, we go in the winter months on Saturdays, and if we had a [unintelligible; 33:12], why, we’d be out—if we had a fire, we’d quit that and go to the fire, on a standby, we called it.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  And we’d go out and work on the telephone lines on the days that we didn’t have something else to do. Had to do maintenance on it, and they’d shoot the insulators off.

TWAROSKI:  They’d shoot the insulators.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, with rifles and things. And we’d put new brackets [cross-talk; unintelligible; 33:39] things.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  And we had to replace a pole, we’d replace it.

TWAROSKI:  We did all that, the Forest Service.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, the Forest Service done that. We didn’t have no—

TWAROSKI:  No outside contractor.

HENDERSON:  No, no, we done it ourself. We had everything to put the lines and them things back together [if we broke lines? 33:59]. See, you had—a lot of times, winds or stuff or weather was breaking lines. We done the maintenance on that.

TWAROSKI:  So that explains why all the glass insulators are behind the dynamite bunker.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  Yeah. Okay. Because I’ve got, like, almost a hundred upstairs that we washed.

HENDERSON:  How come them bunkers [unintelligible; 34:25]? Back in CC days, when they built [phone rings; the first roads? 34:26], they blowed the stumps out of the ground with [phone rings; unintelligible; 23:34].

TWAROSKI:  With dynamite.

HENDERSON:  With dynamite. They had to have a place to put it and not put it in one of  [phone rings; unintelligible; 34:42]. That’s the reason [unintelligible; 34:43] cement.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. One’s for the caps, and one’s for the dynamites.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm. What was it used to—I assume by 1958 we were working using dynamite.

HENDERSON:  No, ma’am. No, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  So what were we using them for?

HENDERSON:  Just for—the stuff—

TWAROSKI:  Storage?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, storage stuff.

TWAROSKI:  I know Harvey uses it for—

HENDERSON:  The old pump was back here. That’s where we put that stuff.

TWAROSKI:  Harvey puts all his fuels in there, burning fuels.

HENDERSON:  Right. But back then, they had a—I know the old pump would [unintelligible; 35:18] when he put—you know, just taped it up, took it down there and set it in [unintelligible; 35:22].

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  [Laughs.]

TWAROSKI:  All rightie. Now they’re empty except for the burning fuels.

HENDERSON:  Yeah. Well, they done away with [unintelligible; 35:39]. We didn’t need them [unintelligible; 35:35]. That’s where we kept a lot of this stuff, old pumps and whatever we didn’t need. And this building down here? This down beside the water slide.

TWAROSKI:  Yeah.

HENDERSON:  We reworked that [baby? 35:45], and it didn’t used to be walled up.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, no?

HENDERSON:  They put in the winter months—in the summer months, they’d take the [groove-tail frame? 35:58] off and put a flat-[unintelligible; 36:01] frame and haul [unintelligible; 36:04], with a [unintelligible; 36:07] atop it—you know, it ties up atop [unintelligible; 36:11]. That’s when I first come.

TWAROSKI:  If you go down that trails towards the bunkers, there’s a circle. There’s a turn-about. Do you know what those little structures are?

HENDERSON:  [No audible response.]

TWAROSKI:  One looks like a concrete mixer?

HENDERSON:  I don’t even remember.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  I’d have to see [cross-talk; unintelligible; 36:32].

TWAROSKI:  Okay. And the other one looks like it’s—where you backed up the trucks? Like, a ramp?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember that?

HENDERSON:  I’d have to look.

TWAROSKI:  You’d have to look at it? Okay. Well, it’s overgrown now.

HENDERSON:  Well, now, down there where you had the [land lines? 36:48]?

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh?

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 36:51]. They were about a four by four. We mixed in the box, made us a cement box and [mixed in corners? cornice? 37:01] in there. That’s probably what you’re talking about. It was cement, and we mixed cement and poured the [corners? cornice? 37:11] for land line [unintelligible; 37:12].

TWAROSKI:  Really!

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  So we did that, too.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, we done all that. [Chuckles.] We done all the maintenance to the buildings, [unintelligible; 27:28].

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember what color the building was when you first started here?

HENDERSON:  Brown, I believe.

TWAROSKI:  Brown?

HENDERSON:  Brown, and [unintelligible; 37:35]. I believe it was brown.

TWAROSKI:  Brown?

HENDERSON:  I’m not sure.

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember [it] ever being gray?

HENDERSON:  It could, because it’s been so many years, I [cross-talk; unintelligible; 37:46]. [Chuckles.]

TWAROSKI:  It’s been so many years. Okay. All right. I was just trying to [unintelligible; 37:49] if you remembered it being white.

HENDERSON:  Well, now, some of it was.

TWAROSKI:  White.

HENDERSON:  I believe the bottom was white and the top trim was brown. I believe that’s what it was.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Because they had this—some kind of siding on it, asbestos.

TWAROSKI:  Yeah.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 38:09].

TWAROSKI:  [unintelligible; 38:10].

HENDERSON:  It had that for years. And we painted the cornice part. I believe it was brown. And the top had the shingles on it. Or cedar shakes, they called it. We pulled all that off and put a new roof on it. [unintelligible; 38:32]. Put another roof on it.

TWAROSKI:  And we did the painting, too?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Hmm.

HENDERSON:  And all the maintenance work around the buildings. Because I remember when we pulled it off, it started raining. [Chuckles.] We had everybody and the ranger up there, and they didn’t say anything. [Laughs.]

TWAROSKI:  Ooh! What ranger was it?

HENDERSON:  Plastic on it, too.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Do you remember a Stammer?

HENDERSON:  [Ranger Dale] Stamer?

TWAROSKI:  Stamer?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  What was he like?

HENDERSON:  Dale Stammer. I got a picture at the truck that we made [unintelligible; 39;14]. [unintelligible; 39:15]. Dale Stamer.

TWAROSKI:  How about [Ranger Ralph] Jacobson?

HENDERSON:  Ralph Jacobson? Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  And [Ranger] Richard [Bonyatta? 39:23]?

HENDERSON:  Yep. He didn’t stay here long.

TWAROSKI:  He didn’t?

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  Why not?

HENDERSON:  I [don’t know? 39:31]. He transferred out. When I got burned, he was the ranger.

TWAROSKI:  He was the ranger, so it’s 1967 to ’68.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  [Ranger] Gene Serwin?

HENDERSON:  Yup, Gene Serwin was [unintelligible; 49:46].

TWAROSKI:  [Ranger] Nettington?

HENDERSON:  [Dean? 39:48] Nettington. He [unintelligible; 39:51].

TWAROSKI:  [Ranger] Brady?

HENDERSON:  Yep. That’s one I was working under when I come out there.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. Anything interesting about any of these men?

HENDERSON:  They just done their jobs. [unintelligible; 40:03].

TWAROSKI:  Where was the Laurel [Mississippi] office when you started in 1958?

HENDERSON:  It was—when you go in off of 15—you know, go past the—

TWAROSKI:  Overpass?

HENDERSON:  [cross-talk; unintelligible; 40:15]?

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  Go on up and take your left.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  And go straight over to the railroad and go straight across. Don’t turn back down the [old way? 40:24] [unintelligible; 40:28].

TWAROSKI:  Just cross the road and keep on straight?

HENDERSON:  Just go right across the railroad and go up straight, and it’s on the left. And one lady.

TWAROSKI:  One lady.

HENDERSON:  She [unintelligible; 40:27] and the ranger.

TWAROSKI:  And the ranger. That was it? Two people in the office?

HENDERSON:  That’s all.

TWAROSKI:  And everybody else was at Warsaw?

HENDERSON:  Everybody else—yep. Now, some of them worked out off the office, [unintelligible; 40:46]. But them two run the office.

TWAROSKI:  And the assistant ranger was also out there.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, he was up there, but he worked out in the woods.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, he worked in the woods, too.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, he stayed out [mostly? 40:59].

TWAROSKI:  Did the ranger come out to the woods often?

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  He did?

HENDERSON:  About every day. [Chuckles.]

TWAROSKI:  Just about every day.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, every day. When Joe Couch was there, he used to come out there about every day. If he wasn’t [tied to that unintelligible]? 41:14], he’d be—

TWAROSKI:  Out in the field.

HENDERSON:  I don’t remember the lady’s name, was the secretary. I don’t remember her name. Before [Jean? Jeanne? 41:25] come there. When Jean come, I think they moved down to the—it might have been up in the other office, but they were down there [unintelligible; 41:35].

TWAROSKI:  Okay. So I take it you didn’t go there often.

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  No?

HENDERSON:  I went there if you had to haul something in there or move something out. And then in the office down there beside the interstate—you know, under the interstate—I worked [unintelligible; 41:55]. Hauled stuff and [unintelligible; 41:56].

TWAROSKI:  So where were safety meetings held?

HENDERSON:  Right here.

TWAROSKI:  In here?

HENDERSON:  Right here. Never did have them in town. I don’t reckon—we could have had one or two, but [unintelligible; 42:08], I reckon, [unintelligible; 42:15].

TWAROSKI:  Did you ever have pot lucks or parties or something like that?

HENDERSON:  [No audible response.]

TWAROSKI:  No?

HENDERSON:  Not—let’s see. Had somebody that was going to leave, and they had a fish fry or something like that—you know, transfer or something.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Yep. And we always had them out here.

TWAROSKI:  Always out here.

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  I’ve heard Mr. Landrum complain about why don’t we have more parties around here and invite everybody out?

HENDERSON:  Right, right.

TWAROSKI:  Well,—

HENDERSON:  Well, we had them back then, you know, if somebody leaves, and invite all the old employees that’s retired [to that? 42:50]. We had a few in from—

TWAROSKI:  Do we have many retirees living around here?

HENDERSON:  Not living.

TWAROSKI:  No?

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 43:00] everybody’s gone. Tommy Robinson.

TWAROSKI:  Tommy Robinson?

HENDERSON:  And Homer Nicholson—he lived down off of [cross-talk; unintelligible; 43:05].

TWAROSKI:  Homer Nicholson?

HENDERSON:  And—

TWAROSKI:  Mrs. Bradley.

HENDERSON:  Dean McLain—I mean James S. McLain. [unintelligible; 43:15] McClain. Some of them—[J.B. Groom? 43:24]—he’s [unintelligible; 32:26]. But [unintelligible; 43:27].

TWAROSKI:  [unintelligible; 43:28]. Okay.

HENDERSON:  Was here when I [unintelligible; 43:32].

TWAROSKI:  Did you have Christmas parties?

HENDERSON:  Very seldom.

TWAROSKI:  Very seldom.

HENDERSON:  Very seldom.

TWAROSKI:  Folks were not into celebrating, it looks like, huh?

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 43:40].

TWAROSKI:  Hard working.

HENDERSON:  Yup. And maybe part time we worked all but Christmas day, and then, if you had fire danger you worked Christmas day.

TWAROSKI:  Boy, oh boy!

HENDERSON:  Back then, your [unintelligible; 43:56] because [unintelligible; 44:00].

TWAROSKI:  Yes, I remember reading that lookouts had to work seven days a week during fire season.

HENDERSON:  Right, right.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  And then if it rained or something [unintelligible; 44:14], you know, they could [unintelligible; 44:14].

TWAROSKI:  Find something else to do.

HENDERSON:  On high danger, you worked [unintelligible; 44:20].

TWAROSKI:  How many fires did we have a year back in those days?

HENDERSON:  Well, back—

TWAROSKI:  Because you don’t hear of them.

HENDERSON:  —when I first started, we had quite a few.

TWAROSKI:  Quite a few?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Fifty? Sixty?

HENDERSON:  I imagine [unintelligible; 44:36].

TWAROSKI:  Really.

HENDERSON:  We had one or two big ones, but not [unintelligible; 44:38]. [unintelligible; 44:45] setting down in I guess in Wayne County. We used to have [unintelligible; 44:50] every winter.

TWAROSKI:  Every winter we had them.

HENDERSON:  And the spring.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  Last part of winter.

TWAROSKI:  Did we have fire trucks in those days?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, we had—

TWAROSKI:  Fire engines?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, we had [unintelligible; 45:00], had tractors and everything.

TWAROSKI:  And where were they parked?

HENDERSON:  All but them there two that was out—you know, Stony and Tiger Creek.

TWAROSKI:  And one at Tiger.

HENDERSON:  One at Tiger, [unintelligible; 45:12]—

TWAROSKI:  Was there anything parked here?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  One here? Okay.

HENDERSON:  We had small, small units, and then we had—I think it was seven small units with the little old tractors, and then we had one that was on a trailer. It was a bigger tractor with [unintelligible; 45:35]. When we had a fire, all of them [unintelligible; 45:37]. [Chuckles.]

TWAROSKI:  Yeah, because—did you work on private land if there was a fire?

HENDERSON:  Well, every now and then, if it was threatening government, we did.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Or that state couldn’t help us. We didn’t have no choice. We had a line of fires over on the east part of the district, in around [Deep? 46:02] Creek, and we had [unintelligible; 46:07] because state couldn’t get [unintelligible; 46:10], and we [unintelligible; 46:10] some out at night. We started on Forest Service but wound up on private, [before it was over? 46:16]. [unintelligible; 46:18].

TWAROSKI:  Oh, okay.

HENDERSON:  But there was a lot [of them? 46:21].

 

[End File 1. Begin File 2.]

TWAROSKI:  My understanding is that you have an aunt whose husband worked as a guard at the POW camp, when Camp 8 was a POW camp?

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 0:12].

TWAROSKI:  You don’t remember? Your brother mentioned something about your aunt had—you have an aunt, who’s still alive,—

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  —and whose husband worked as a guard when Camp 8 was turned over to the Department of Defense and turned into a POW camp.

HENDERSON:  I don’t remember.

TWAROSKI:  You don’t remember. Okay. Did she live near here?

HENDERSON:  No, she lived down close to—south of Sandy.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Do you think I could go interview her?

HENDERSON:  I could ask her about it.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 2-0:52]

TWAROSKI:  I have very, very little information about the camp being switched over to a POW camp.

HENDERSON:  But I was a little boy when they was [unintelligible; 2-1:02].

TWAROSKI:  Right. And I was just wondering if she had any photographs or any recollections—

HENDERSON:  She might.

TWAROSKI:  —that she can remember.

HENDERSON:  But I’d have to see [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-1:10].

TWAROSKI:  But if you wouldn’t mind asking her, because that’s the last portion of my nomination,—

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  —the history of the district.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  And I’d like to finish off with a little bit more information about the camp.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  All I know is that it was, like, a small side camp associated with Camp Shelby.

HENDERSON:  Yeah. Well, they had Camp 4.

TWAROSKI:  Camp 4.

HENDERSON:  And Camp 24.

TWAROSKI:  Right. But Camp 8 was the only one that remained standing in the forties.

HENDERSON:  Right, right. Right, right.

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember the camp at all, when it was a POW camp?

HENDERSON:   Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  What did it look like from the outside?

HENDERSON:  Well, it was just like a Army camp, more or less.

TWAROSKI:  Were there guards?

HENDERSON:  Huh?

TWAROSKI:  Could you see the guards?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. My grandmother lived just below the camp.

TWAROSKI:  Just below the camp.

HENDERSON:  Yeah. Of course, she’s dead now, but she lived just below there.

TWAROSKI:  So you think somebody may have a few photographs of the camp?

HENDERSON:  Well, my aunt could have, but I don’t know.

TWAROSKI:  Well, I appreciate—

HENDERSON:  And I don’t know whether you’ve interviewed him or not [to ask him? 2-2:25].

TWAROSKI:  Who is this?

HENDERSON:  James Ivey.

TWAROSKI:  I have not interviewed Mr. Ivey.

HENDERSON:  Well, he lived there, and his daddy hauled garbage from the camp.

TWAROSKI:  When it was a POW camp?

HENDERSON:  Right, right. He lived first house from the Camp 8 store, on the left, [unintelligible; 2-2:49]. He worked back way before I did.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, he worked before you did?

HENDERSON:  Oh, yeah. He retired ahead of me.

TWAROSKI:  How old is he nowadays?

HENDERSON:  Oh, man! He’s in his seventies.

TWAROSKI:  In his seventies?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Hmm.

HENDERSON:  But his daddy hauled the garbage from these other camps, disposed it. James Ivey.

TWAROSKI:  Is he in good health? I mean, have you—

HENDERSON:  Well, he’s crippled in his legs, but other than that, he [goes around the place? 2-3:20].

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Then I guess I’ll have to go talk to him about the POW camp.

HENDERSON:  He’ll be glad to tell you about it.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  Or anything else you want.

TWAROSKI:  All right. Speaking of trash, did we throw trash like we do now in the bone yard? Did we haul all our trash away?

HENDERSON:  Well, we buried it.

TWAROSKI:  Where did we bury it?

HENDERSON:  Buried it back down in around the [unintelligible; 2-3:45]. We couldn’t burn it. If it was paper and stuff, we burned it.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. Right.

HENDERSON:  But other than that, it was buried.

TWAROSKI:  So you’re saying—the bone yard technically is where all those tractors and things are stored,—

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  —in that flat area.

HENDERSON:  Right.

TWAROSKI:  Is that where we dug?

HENDERSON:  No, it was [unintelligible; 4:07].

TWAROSKI:  Where the bunkers are?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, below the bunkers.

TWAROSKI:  So going towards the creek.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, going down by the bunkers, in around–we [never did have to stack up? 2-4:21].

TWAROSKI:  No, we—

HENDERSON:  We’d always—when it gets [unintelligible; 2-4:28]. We didn’t [wait to stack up? 2-4:28].

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  So if it wasn’t burnt, we buried it.

TWAROSKI:  Someone told me that we threw away silverware or dinnerware?

HENDERSON:  They—

TWAROSKI:  Forest Service or CCC dinnerware?

HENDERSON:  Well, they could have, now. I don’t know. We never [needed it? 2-4:49] because we never had use for it. They might have [unintelligible; 2-4:53], but I don’t know nothing about it. But if it had been from the CCCs, because, see, they had all them prisoners back in CC days. But they buried [unintelligible; 2-5:11].

TWAROSKI:  So on the other side, going past the bone yard, past the dynamite bunkers—

HENDERSON:  It was somewhere—

TWAROSKI:  Somewhere around the dynamite bunkers.

HENDERSON:  [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-5:15], yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Between that and the creek, I should be able to find buried trash.

HENDERSON:  Well, anywhere—see, that [unintelligible; 2-5:24] place wasn’t there up above, you know, where—

TWAROSKI:  It wasn’t there—

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  —when you were here.

HENDERSON:  Well, it was there, but we didn’t use it. We didn’t use it much, sort of, till we started parking the [unintelligible; 2-5:40] [equipment? 2-5:38].

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  [Planters? 2-5:41] and the plows that we wasn’t using and stuff like that. When [unintelligible; 2-5:44] the plow, we [put that there, back up/?2-5:47] [unintelligible; 2-5:48]. We fixed that place off first. Mostly it was back down to the right of the bunker or—there was a very little place that used for burning. We burned all the paper [unintelligible; 2-6:02]. Anything [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-6:03] we burned.

TWAROSKI:  Posts and wood.

HENDERSON:  We burned wood or [anything? 2-6:05].

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. Okay.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, it was [unintelligible; 2-6:11] all the way to [unintelligible; 2-6:13], all the [road pipes? 2-6:16].

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. Culverts and all that?

HENDERSON:  Lumber was stacked down there, too. We [reworked bridges? 2-6:20].

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm. We’ve removed quite a bit lately. Have you gone back down there?

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  Ohh!

HENDERSON:  I haven’t been down there in a while.

TWAROSKI:  They have removed a lot. They cleaned it out.

HENDERSON:  When you—you know where Piney Woods Tower is, don’t you?

TWAROSKI:  Piney Woods. Yes, I do.

HENDERSON:  If you go in there, and on the left, in the little old branch [unintelligible; 2-6:49].

TWAROSKI:  A little branch?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, a little old stream backs up right close to the road, just—the drive’ll go out this way?

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  And there’s that old [unintelligible; 2-6:58]. There’ll be some [unintelligible; 2-6:59]. Walk right down there, and you can [unintelligible; 2-7:03].

TWAROSKI:  Trash?

HENDERSON:  Nope, some old—where they had what we knowed as springs.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  And that’s where they took a bath and washed their clothes there. It’s still there. They got cement bathtubs, and where the water comes into it, they got water.

TWAROSKI:  Who washed their clothes?

HENDERSON:  They did back years ago.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, you mean the family that lived—

HENDERSON:  That lived—

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Now, there’s another spring behind Point Laurel.

HENDERSON:  Now, I never did go down to [unintelligible; 2-7:42].

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  I know about where it’s at, [unintelligible; 2-7:43]\.

TWAROSKI:  Was Mr. Pitts still alive when you—

HENDERSON:  Yes’m.

TWAROSKI:  Was he still working, or was he retired by then?

HENDERSON:  No, he’s retired now.

TWAROSKI:  I’ve interviewed his daughters.

HENDERSON:  Yeah. Yeah, I knowed he [unintelligible; 2-7:57]. He might have worked just a [time? 2-7:59] or two after I [unintelligible; 2-8:00].

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  I think he retired, because I [unintelligible; 2-8:07] in January. I think he retired that same year, and then they moved another guy [unintelligible; 2-8:18].

TWAROSKI:  Do you remember who the lookouts were when you were here in the fifties or sixties?

HENDERSON:  Abner [Brannon? 2-8:31] was Boots [Brannon’s? 2-8:31] brother.

TWAROSKI:  Abner?

HENDERSON:  He worked here.

TWAROSKI:  He worked here?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  At Warsaw.

HENDERSON:  At Warsaw. And [“Dory”? 8:39] Dunham, Theodore Dunham.

TWAROSKI:  Theodore Dunham.

HENDERSON:  He worked at Piney Woods.

HENDERSON:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  And Boots worked at Stony, down [unintelligible; 2-8:59].

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  When he got married, he worked here at Stony, and then he moved to Stony and lived right there a long time.

TWAROSKI:  So what happened at Tiger Creek?

HENDERSON:  And Tiger Creek—Boots’s brother-in-law worked Tiger Creek.

TWAROSKI:  What’s his now.

HENDERSON:  Travis Pitts. He’s dead.

TWAROSKI:  What’s his name?

HENDERSON:  Travis Pitts.

TWAROSKI:  Travis Pitts?

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Uh-huh.

HENDERSON:  Yeah, he lived—he lived [unintelligible; 2-9:04]. He was Boots’s—Trav married Boots’s sister. Abner was Boots’s brother, and [unintelligible; 2-9:35], and he lived right down there.

TWAROSKI:  What do you mean he lived down there?

HENDERSON:  He lived right down on [Shallow? Shadow? 2-9:42] Road. You go down Shallow Road, and [unintelligible; 2-9:46]. [unintelligible; 2-9:49] [turn it off? 2-9:50] this way.

TWAROSKI:  Oh, okay.

HENDERSON:  Well, that’s where Boots [was raised? 2-9:51].

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Boy, awfully close!

HENDERSON:  Yeah! When he got married—he got off and got married on a Friday, I believe, and he come up here and worked a fire that night.

TWAROSKI:  What??

HENDERSON:  Yeah!

TWAROSKI:  Crazy man!

HENDERSON:  He worked a fire, [unintelligible; 2-10:12]. [unintelligible; 2-10:15].

TWAROSKI:  What, did he need the money that bad?

HENDERSON:  No, he just—that was his job to work fires. He worked a fire that night.

TWAROSKI:  You can make exceptions for your wedding. [Chuckles.]

HENDERSON:  Eleven or twelve, [unintelligible; 2-10:32], but I [unintelligible; 2-10:33]. And [unintelligible; 2-10:34]?

MAN:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Yeah.

HENDERSON:  He got married. That evening about—sometime around [the middle of? 2-10:39] the evening, [unintelligible; 2-10:41]. James told him what time to be up here. [unintelligible; 2-10:46]. [unintelligible; 2-10:48]. He got [off the mountain? 2-10:52]. He lived down here [with his daddy? 2-10:53], but he moved stumps.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm.

HENDERSON:  He moved the stumps. [unintelligible; 2-11:05] [Clody? 2-11:03] Smith worked Stony for a while. He lived [unintelligible; 2-11:13].

TWAROSKI:  Were they still doing [counterpoint? 2-11:14] photography when you were here?

HENDERSON:  [No audible response.]

TWAROSKI:  Where they took pictures of trees every five years?

HENDERSON:  Well, they did it over in the [Gavin? 2-11:24].

TWAROSKI:  They did in the [Gavin? 2-11:25]?

HENDERSON:  In the [Gavin? 2-11:26]. You know, they had sizes—you know, they had a special place [unintelligible; 2-11:33] size a tree in a year.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm. So they were still doing that in the fifties and sixties?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. Mm-hm.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  There’s a tree [unintelligible; 2-11:43]. And I know you’ve seen that spot where it ain’t never been burned.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm, the unmanaged forty.

HENDERSON:  The unmanaged—yeah.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm. So you remember the [Gavin tour? 2-11:57].

HENDERSON:  Yes, ma’am.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Which is now all gone.

HENDERSON:  It’s all gone, all but that—I reckon they use that [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-12:05].

TWAROSKI:  [unintelligible; 2-12:06]. I mean, the [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-12:07].

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 2-12:12]. They usually [unintelligible; 2-12:09].

TWAROSKI:  No, we took them down because they were in bad shape.

HENDERSON:  Right, right.

TWAROSKI:  But we’re replacing now.

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Did anybody come after you to look at the tour? I mean, other than the general public?

HENDERSON:  They put a [drive-through? 2-12:21].

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm. Any big, like, schools or—

HENDERSON:  Every now and then you have a school to come and tour that, tour the district. There’s a place to back out in the Gavin.

TWAROSKI:  Did you ever have problems with the gophers?

HENDERSON:  The tortoises?

HENDERSON:  [No audible response.]

TWAROSKI:  Nope?

HENDERSON:  No, we—a guy come [unintelligible; 2-12:45], and [unintelligible; 2-12:49]. You know, it was costing me [unintelligible; 2-12:53] or, you know,—and he said, “We was never into [unintelligible; 2-12:59].” I said, “No, they [planted gophers? 2-13:02].” I got a place. I don’t know whether you seen it or not, up close to where I live, up under the water tower, [unintelligible; 2-13:14] 204—I mean, Camp 8. It’s three holes in one place.

TWAROSKI:  Three holes in one place.

HENDERSON:  Three holes in the same [house? 2-13:25].

TWAROSKI:  Hmm.

HENDERSON:  And two gophers. I know because I seen two of them.

TWAROSKI:  Really!

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Oh. What about that little area called Gopher Farm?

HENDERSON:  No, [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-13:34].

TWAROSKI:  You know what I’m talking about?

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 2-13:36].

TWAROSKI:  It’s down on—oh, where is it? Compartment 237? It’s on the side of—the east corner of the district, in Wayne County?

HENDERSON:  I don’t [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-13:50].

TWAROSKI:  Almost near the Wayne-Green County line?

HENDERSON:  Yeah, I know.

TWAROSKI:  There’s an area that’s very, very sandy?

HENDERSON:  Yeah.

TWAROSKI:  You don’t remember that area?

HENDERSON:  No.

TWAROSKI:  Okay. Where there’s lots of gophers all over?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. Well, [unintelligible; 2-14:05].

TWAROSKI:  Hmm.

HENDERSON:  [unintelligible; 2-14:13], where they had three—

TWAROSKI:  Three holes.

HENDERSON:  —three holes in one.

TWAROSKI:  So it’s a colony.

HENDERSON:  Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  And then I think out front [unintelligible; 2-14:22] and just across from Camp 8 they had a hole—I think two holes. And one in the middle of the [unintelligible; 2-14:32], and then one across [unintelligible; 2-14:34]. But I’ve seen two gophers in there, in these—where there’s three holes. Yep.

TWAROSKI:  Wow. I was just wondering if people were collecting them and eating them or—back in those days?

HENDERSON:  Not that I know. Back years and years ago, probably did.

TWAROSKI:  Mm-hm. Probably did, yeah.

HENDERSON:  Uh-huh. Back in the [President Herbert C.] Hoover days, you know, when everything was rationed. They ate most anything to survive.

TWAROSKI:  Well, is there anything else you’d like to tell me?

HENDERSON:  No. I don’t know what you’d be interested in.

TWAROSKI:  [unintelligible; 2-15:12].

HENDERSON:  But over here between the two [unintelligible; 2-15:16], past 205 South.

TWAROSKI:  Two oh five South. Yeah?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. Had an old [unintelligible; 2-15:23]. They used to [unintelligible; 2-15:24].

TWAROSKI:  On Road 205 South.

HENDERSON:  Nope. It’s past it, past [unintelligible; 2-15:29] on Road 205—you know, 202.

TWAROSKI:  Past 202.

HENDERSON:  Nope, past 205 South.

TWAROSKI:  Okay.

HENDERSON:  And you go around there, and there’s a big gum tree on the left. I think it’s [unintelligible; 2-15:47]. Right in behind that gum tree is a bath they used to dip cows in.

TWAROSKI:  Is that us or on private?

HENDERSON:  It’s on government.

TWAROSKI:  Government?

HENDERSON:  Yeah. That’s the only—I don’t know where the [unintelligible; 2-16:02] was at. And that’s the only one that’s on [unintelligible; 2-16:08].

TWAROSKI:  Can you show me on that map? Would you recognize it?

HENDERSON:  [He moves away from the microphone to go to the map.] Yeah. But after you pass 205 South, it would be over on the left there.

TWAROSKI:  [She has joined him at the map.] That’s 201, and that’s 205?

HENDERSON:  No, [unintelligible; 16:27] south of [unintelligible; 2-16:28].

[The rest of the recording was conducted away from the microphone and was not transcribed from 2-16:28 to 2-18:20].

 

[End of interview.]