Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Roots-And So It Began

Yes, Wallace was tough in those days and was probably exceeded in toughness only by fellow Coeur D' Alene Mining District town, Burke, Idaho, and Butte, Montana. It was the aforementioned once great mining mecca of Burke, Idaho that my roots began.

1929-ah yes, a dark, notorious year in the history of our great nation.Let's face it, with the great stock market crash of 1928 just two months removed, the entire country had been plunged into what historians call the "Great Depression" and the mood of the nation was mired in deep twin holes of doom and gloom.

Perhaps in the mind of the youth, though, there beat the drum of a glorious future. Yes, they saw the tears of hurt, confusion, and even anger on the faces of their parents and while they may have understood on the surface the dark mood of a country formerly bathed in the light of sunshine and hope, they also refused to light the flickering light of their dreams of a better tomorrow die out.

Against this backdrop of a collapsed economy and a nation reeling like a drunken bar patron, one family from Missouri found their way on the move in the hope of landing jobs in the mineral-rich mountains of Idaho. A fourteen-year-old kid from Joplin, Missouri arrived with his six brothers, father, and mother in the rough and tumble world of the notorious mining town of Burke, Idaho. The fourteen years old boy would may years later become the man I call "Dad".

Their route would carry them many miles from their home in Missouri to LosAngeles, Portland, Seattle, and finally the fabulously wealthy mining district called Burke.They came for the same reason many families were making cross-country treks.survival! My grandfather, although a very young man by today's standards, was disabled from years of working in the mines of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. His lungs were shot, and money was non-existent.


It was up to the boys in the family to carry the load and provide food for everyone.My Dad was a big, very strong country boy who had no problem looking older than his actual age, So, he lied about his age and was hired at the Austin Leasing Company, a large mine in those early years located about a mile this side of Burke, high up in the hills.The camp had its own boarding house, and the young miners made the trek up the mountain every week, and then went home on the weekends.

The barbers, dentists, pharmacies, grocery stores, hotels, boarding houses, churches, and schools, and of course a host of bars are now just faded memories of a once booming mining mecca, but for those of us who sprang from those roots, the toughness is in our genes.our minds, and in our hearts. We are fighters, and we don't run from adversity.

Yes, my Idaho roots came via Missouri to Burke, and on to Wallace, where from the age of four, I grew up.And so it began.








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