I wish I had a recorder running when…

[Originally posted 9 August 2018]

Who hasn’t lamented “I wish I had a tape recorder running when…”?

I have an amazingly short memory for many things, people’s stories being one of them.  It’s not that I don’t care about what people share.  I do, a lot, but if I don’t write it down immediately, details start to fade and I conflate one story with another.

That is why I am so glad that I have one audio tape of my Mom and Dad, Mickie and Fred Stoe, speaking with Howard Richards about where different members of our extended families lived in the Culver and Opal City areas in the early part of the 1900s.  It is so wonderful to hear their voices again.

Howard, Mickie, and Fred talking about family in the Culver area.

It runs about half an hour and the quality is about what you would expect from an inexpensive cassette recorder with the mic on the counter.  They are obviously looking at a map of the Culver/Opal City area while speaking.  I don’t know which map Howard Richards was using to show where the different families lived.  Pickatrail.com has free topographic maps of the area that can be downloaded as PDF files.

Most of the topographic maps that I have date from the middle 1950s to the early 1960s.  It would be better to use earlier land maps to find homesteads as several dams and reservoirs have been built that changed the flow of local rivers and creeks: Haystack Dam, creating Haystack Reservoir was built about 1956; Arthur R. Bowman Dam which created Prineville Reservoir in 1961; the Round Butte Dam that created Lake Billy Chinook in 1964.

A trip to one of the local historical societies should be able to produce some land maps from 1900-1950. That would make following the conversation much easier.  If I find any, I will post them here.

There are several reference to aunts and uncles and cousins, but, of course, these relationships are to William or Mickie. Some of the names mentioned in this half hour tape include: Ethel and Blaine Burleigh, Sylvia Richards, Kenney, Jay Wilson, Art Richards, Aunt Hattie, Cyrus, Carl King Sr, Perry Reed and his son Jim Reed, Nellie, and Bill McCormack.  I’m still trying to sort out who each person is.

So, there you have it. Enjoy!

Does anyone else have audio (or video) recordings to share? I would love to hear more stories.

Dan Stoe

Junction City, Oregon

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