Guide to the Farm Family Oral History Project Collection 1982-1984
CT 16

Summary Information

Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections
Farm Family Oral History Project Collection
CT 16
Date [inclusive]
.2 Linear feet of shelf space, 1 box
Collection materials are in English.
Oral history interviews (audiocassettes) of three people from early Inland Northwest pioneer families: Tom Wahl, Ruth Wysong, and Lola Clyde. The interviews were conducted by Rayner Thomas in 1982 and 1984.

Preferred Citation

[Item Description] Farm Family Oral History Project Collection, 1982-1984

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Return to Top »

Scope and Content

This collection consists of three oral history interviews of people from early Inland Northwest pioneer families: Tom Wahl, Ruth Wysong, and Lola Clyde. The interviews were conducted by Rayner Thomas in 1982 and 1984. The inventory below includes details of the creation of each oral history, and abstracts of the principal subjects covered in each recording.

Return to Top »


(MASC STAFF USE): range 3-4.

Return to Top »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections  © 2016

Terrell Library

P.O. Box 645610

Pullman, WA, 99164-5610 USA


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open and available for research use.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions apply.

Acquisition Information

The farm family oral history interviews conducted by Rayner Thomas in 1982 and 1984 were transferred to the Archives in late 1984 (MS.1984.62).

Return to Top »

Names and Subjects

Personal Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Whal, Tom.
  • Wysong, Ruth.
  • Clyde, Lola.


  • Oral history -- United States
  • Agriculture -- Northwest, Pacific -- History
  • Rural families -- Northwest, Pacific -- History
  • Pioneers
  • Oral Histories

Return to Top »

Detailed Description of Collection

Series 16/1: Tom Wahl, 1984-1985 

Geographical Areas Covered: Scotland, New England, New York, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho.

Interviewer: Rayner Thomas

Location of Interview: Pullman, WA

Date of Interview: 11 May 1984

Length of Interview: 35 minutes

Abstractor: Carmen E. Petersen

Date of Abstraction: 22 January 1985

Release: Yes

Restrictions: No

tape time

Mother's early family, genealogy, migration history. McFarlands were outlaws in Scotland and forced to migrate to United States. Re lates the many deaths of wives and infants. Continuation of family migration to the Palouse country. Great grandfather built first mill in Spokane in 1852. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 0-4

Grandfather a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, was a tinsmith and also shipped supplies to various areas in the Northwest, includ ing the John Day country and Pierce, Idaho. Homesteaded near Goldendale. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 4-6

Father's genealogy and family migration. Refers to family in California. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 6-7

Discusses his grandfather, Christian Wahl, who was born in Baden-Baden, Germany. Tells how he and his family settled near Buffalo, NY. Basically were farmers although Christian Wahl held a Civil Engineering degree received in Germany. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 7-8

Christian Wahl's migration to San Francisco, CA, where he met his future wife and her family and the subsequent move to Oregon. Discusses his father's birth in 1870 in California. Family moves to a pioneer camp north of Johnson. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 8-10

Story of an infant girl from the pioneer camp who later was arrested for murder. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 10-11

Timber claim in Genesse, Idaho. Acquisition of land. Merchants financed farming families from year to year and were paid after the harvest. Family gathered prairie chicken eggs, shot grouse for food. Lack of "big game." 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 11-13

Childhood pleasures. Riding wild horses. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 13-15

Humorous story about a cow and calf. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 15-17

3 minute pause 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 17-20

Account of family relationships, occupations, and land ownership in Oakland, CA. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 20-24

Story about his wedding trip. Visited cousins in Oakland and Hayward. Relatives names, associations and stories. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 24-28

Uncle's epilepsy and eventual death. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 28-29

Affirms that family lost contact with relatives in Buffalo, NY but that Alice Cooper maintains many of the family records. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 29-30

Norman Shupe's grandmother drew pictures and kept letters of family members. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 30-32

Stories of welcome to Endicott by townspeople. Discusses the frequent deaths of pioneer wives and children. History of McFarland families in cluding an Uncle Peter who walked across the U.S. twice; once to the gold rush and once to bring a child home. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 32-35

Return to Top »

Series 16/2: Ruth Wysong, 1984-1985 

Interviewer: Rayner Thomas

Date of Interview: 11 May 1984

Length of Interview: 35 minutes

Abstractor: Carmen E. Petersen

Date of Abstraction: 22 January 1985

Release: Yes

Restrictions: No

tape time

Family traveled on immigrant train from Kansas to Spokane. Homesteaded at Deep Creek. Father's occupations: making butter and raising poultry for eggs, meat and feathers. Planted a large garden every year. Lists the many berries and fruits that were available then. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 0-5

Preserving food by drying, pitting, canning. Owned cattle and pigs. Mother made cottage cheese. Methods of cooking; woodstove and heavy cast iron pots and skillets were used. Mother baked all of their bread with their own wheat. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 5-10

Disease, pests, insects. Lack of worm problems that now exist. Used their own seeds from year to year for planting the garden. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 11-14

Mentions her mother using whole cinnamon and nutmeg . and grinding it for use. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 14-15

Abundance of wild huckleberries and the keeping of bees by neighbors. Discusses the difficulty of finding good wells while living in the Pasco area. Parents used buckets at first to bring up the water from the well. Later a pump was installed. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 15-20

Coal from town was their primary heating fuel. In the fall her parents cut and hauled pine, tamarak and cedar with team and wagon. Preferred tamarak and pine for cooking. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 20-21

Different types of equipment for washing clothes. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 21-22

Parents stored large amounts of sugar, coffee and flour for winter. They always had eggs, vegetables and milk. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 22-23

Butchering of cows and chickens. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 23-24

Mentions living in Pullman for 22 years and Kamiak Butte for 30 years or more. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 24-25

Harvesting and work crews. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 25-26

Gypsies, peddlers, "tramps and hobos." 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 26-30


1, side A Minutes (approx.): 30-33

Discusses illness and home remedies. Her children suffered from diptheria. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 33-35

Return to Top »

Series 16/3: Lola Clyde, 1982-1985 

Geographical Areas Covered: Kansas, Oregon Trail, Lewiston, ID, Moscow, ID.

Interviewer: Rayner Thomas

Location of Interview: Moscow, ID

Date of Interview: 25 March 1982

Length of Interview: 60 minutes

Abstractor: Carmen E. Petersen

Date of Abstraction: 22 January 1985

Release: Yes

Restrictions: No

tape time

Husband's grandparents, William Zigler family. Migration from Kansas to Oregon in 1876-1877 following 2-year grasshopper plague in Kansas. William Zigler was a civil war veteran. Detailed description of grasshoppers eating Kansas' crops, clothespins and fences. Letters from relatives describing better conditions in Idaho. Left Kansas in May 1987. Traveled up the Lewiston Grade. Abundant supply of apples. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 0-3

Bringing of supplies and equipment by her Pennsylvania Dutch grandparents named Zitler. Making of plaster houses, pottery, lard, lye soap, and apple cider. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 3-5

. Carrying vegetable and flower seeds wrapped in calico swatches out west. Lilac shoots brought from the east and preserved by putting the shoots inside potatoes which held moisture. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 5-6

Saved garden seeds. Wrapped them in calico and hung them from nails in the rafters to protect from mice. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 6-7

Raised and preserved meat, vegetables, and fruits. Discovered a large abundance of wild berries, wild watercress and grasses which were used for "greens." 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 7-10

Women's responsibility to raise a garden and preserve it. Preservation methods including hanging in flour sacks, canning, and stringing beans. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 10-15

Raised and sold chicken eggs. Produce traded for baking items. Lack of pests, worms and maggots. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 15-18

Traveling to Walla Walla and Fort Vancouver to have wheat ground into flour. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 18-20

Lists all the varieties of apples they grew. Lots of them rotted on the ground. Released hogs into the orchard to clean them up. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 20-25

Grew herbs, garlic, keebler onions, sage and thyme. Mention of lilacs, rose bushes, many other flowers that were propagated. Poems recited entitled "Mary Loved Lilacs" and a story about flowers. 

1, side A Minutes (approx.): 25-30


1, side B Minutes (approx.): 0-2

Raised cattle, pigs, ducks, turkeys, geese. Self sufficiency of pioneers. Used goose feathers for pillows. Bride's social obligation to make a feather tick and pillows before marriage. Carded and spun wool. Raised bees and robbed wild bee hives from May through June but discontinued because of bee stings. Then honey was bought at the store. Rhymes about bees. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 2-5

Brought cattle and horses behind wagon trains as well as pigs and chickens purchased in valley. Valley settled in 1871. Care of animals by women while men worked in the fields. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 5-6

Abundance of water and springs, digging of wells, --soft water from the mountains. Ran water into the house by the force of gravity. Reservoirs stored water. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 6-8

Traveled to Walla Walla in 1877 for clothing. People frugal in caring for clothing to insure longevity. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 8-9

Railroad came to Moscow in 1884. Increased volume of latest fashions and supplies. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 9-10

Peddlers, Watkin's salesmen, and the "meat man" who delivered fresh meat daily. Hung beef from a tree until a crust formed and would keep for several days. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 10-11

Would love to see the Gypsies. Told fortunes. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 11-12

Lived by Nez Perce trail. Father was a missionary to the Indians. Indians were invited and ate meals with their family. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 12-15

Children's chores. Brought in cattle, milked cows, gathered eggs, fed chickens, and worked in the garden. Rode horses for recreation. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 15-18

Disease and illnesses. Moscow scourge of "Black Diptheria" in 1884 claimed the lives of many small children. Mr. Johnson's "secret remedy" which was a worthless hoax. No remedies for whooping cough. Children died. White children with immunity survived measles. Indian children with less resistence who were exposed, died. 

1, side B Minutes (approx.): 18-23

Return to Top »