Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Early Days and Ways]
Text of Interview (Unedited)
Federal Writers' Project
Works Progress Administration
OREGON FOLKLORE STUDIES
Name of worker Sara B. Wrenn Date January 14, 1939.
Address 505 Elks Building, Portland, Oregon
Subject Early Days and Ways in and around Milwaukie.
Name and address of informant Mr. Harvey Gordon Starkweather Broadway Building, Portland, Oregon.
You asked about my religious activities back there, reminds me of an old-time exhorter. He used an ox-team as a simile, where one of the oxen was balky. A balky ox, as you probably don't know, is just about the balkiest animal the Creator made. The good ox will pull with all his might while the balky one is stubbornly standing in his tracks, or, to make matters worse, retreating in the other direction. It's a pretty bad situation for the driver, any way you take it. So this exhorter was shouting, “If my Baptist ox and my Presbyterian ox and my Methodist ox will only all pull together we can pull a mighty load.” That's the way I've always felt. I'll just pull along with each and any of them, without waiting to see which is Presbyterian, Methodist or Baptist.
Well, you want folklore. Folklore, they say, comes out of history, so perhaps I'd better give a little of that first. I've lived almost all my life in Milwaukie, as I told you back there. Same folks say Milwaukie is so spelled because the people who incorporated the town misspelled, making the last syllable “ie” instead of “ee”, as the town in Wisconsin is spelled. As a matter of fact, according to what I have been able to learn, “ie” is correct rather than “ee”.