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University of California Berkeley 


University of California Bancroft Library/Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

Dillon S. Myer 

1970 by The University of California at Berkeley 

Dillon S. Myer, Director of the War Relocation Authority 
at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. Center build 
ings and Heart Mountain in the background. 

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-bliud ^sinsD .isJnsO noiJBOoisH nic^nuoM 3TB9H 9ff:> 3B 

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All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal agreement 
between the Regents of the University of California and Dillon S. 
Myer and Jenness Wirt Myer, dated July 7, 1970. The manuscript 
is thereby made available for research purposes. All literary 
rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved 
to Dillon S. Myer and Jenness Wirt Myer until January 1, 1980. No 
part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the 
written permission of the Director of the Bancroft Library of the 
University of California. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be 
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library, and 
should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, 
anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. 
The legal agreement with Dillon S. Myer and Jenness Wirt Myer requires 
that they be notified of the request and allowed thirty days in 
which to respond. 


The following manuscript by Dillon Seymour Myer, government official in 
the areas of agriculture, the relocation of the Japanese during World War II, 
federal public housing, inter-American Relations, and Indian affairs, came to 
the attention of the Regional Oral History Office in the spring of 1968. At 
that time Mr. Myer was engaged in tape recording his recollections of his 
many years in government service, a task he took on after completing the 
writing of The Uprooted Americans on his work in the War Relocation Authority. 
Mrs. Helen S. Pryor , a friend and retired government employee, was serving as 
an interested listener and questioner (for Mr. Myer soon found that talking 
to a tape recorder alone was an awkward and unrewarding process), and Mrs. 
Pryor had heard of the Regional Oral History Office through Dr. Thelma Dreis, 
the Office s Washington, D.C., interviewer. The question was raised as to 
whether The Bancroft Library would be interested in having a copy of the 
completed manuscript so that it could be made available there for scholarly 

Mr. Myer had served as director of the War Relocation Authority, 1942- 
1946, largely a California problem. His work as Commissioner of the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs brought him into western U.S. history. As an agronomist, 
county agricultural agent, and Extension Service supervisor (although in 
Indiana and Ohio), his career directly complements interviews being carried on 
by the Regional Oral History Office on agricultural history. The Bancroft 
Library indicated that it would be delighted to have a copy, and would like to 
encourage the completion and distribution of the manuscript in every way 

Over the following two years letters and several meetings took place 
between Mr. Myer and Mrs. Pryor, and Mrs. Willa Baum and Mrs. Amelia Fry of 
the Regional Oral History Office. In the meantime, Mr. Myer completed his 
painstaking tape recording. He could have stopped there, but he didn t. With 
admirable persistence, he undertook to find a transcriber, who materialized 
in the form of his daughter, Margaret Myer McFaddin. Still a do-it-yourself 
project, he carefully edited the manuscript with full cooperation from Helen 
Pryor, had it retyped and indexed, provided photographs, and sent a final- 
typed version to The Bancroft Library in June of 1970 that was so clean and 
complete that none of it had to be re-done before photocopying it. His work 
is now available in The Bancroft Library as well as other research libraries 
which will be requesting copies. In addition, Mr. Myer has given valuable 
assistance in suggesting and locating other individuals who can give 
information on other aspects of the wartime Japanese relocation. 

The previous November Mr. Myer also recorded with Mrs. Fry an extensive 
interview on his War Relocation Authority experiences in California and this 
manuscript will appear as part of the series of interviews in the Earl Warren 
Oral History Project. The original draft of The Uprooted Americans (University 
of Arizona Press, 1970), which contains some materials that were deleted from 
the final publication, has also been donated to The Bancroft Library. 

Willa K. Baum, Director 
Regional Oral History Office 

20 June 1970 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



Chapter Page 



EARLY 1900 s 

The Country School 4 

Family Life 9 

Household and Farm Chores 13 

The Miracle of Free Gas " 17 


Threshing 27 

Corn Harvest and Storage 28 

Potato Raising" 31 

Butchering and Meat Preparation 33 

The Catfish Ceremony 37 

- Of f -Season Work ~ 45 

Community Road "Repairing 47 


Memories of Visits to Grandmother Seymour 56 

A Country Quartet 58 

Marooned by a Storm 60 

Plans To Become A farmer 63 
More About Fun During ffiie Days On The Farm 64 
The Coming Of The Interurban And Related " " 66 


An Expansion Of Business 72 


High School 75 

My Early Courting Days 76 



Innovations And Transition 77 

College Years 81 

My Years At The University Of Kentucky - 85 
The First Job"" 


More About Kentucky 91 

My Only Scientific Publication 92 

Soil Fertility Theories"" 93 

Back To Vanderburgh County; Getting 96 

Making An Impression By Demonstrating 

Know How 
Field Demonstrations And Dealer Goop- 


War Gardens And Aphids 03 

Interest In The ^ County Agent s^Politics 
Newspaper Experience And Relations 
Early Meetings 17 

Learning The Importance Of Remembering 

Faces And Names 
Get Acquainted Meetings 

The Soy Bean Story H2 

Hybrid Corn ^7 

Wintertime Meeting In Scott Township 120 
Summer Time Meetings 123 

A Return Visit After Twenty Years 
Women On The Farm 125 

Four H Club Work 129 

Interesting Adult Demonstrations 132 
Armstrong Township And Henry Kissel s 135 

~"5og Cholera 

Army Worm And Grasshopper Control 
The Process Of Change 


A Move To My Second Supervisory Job As 
District Supervisor Of ^ The Agri 
culture Extension Service 


A Second Job As A County Agricultural 149 


Chapter Fa S e 

Supervisory Techniques 

A Crucial Decision 155 

Facinp; The Problems Of The Depression 156 

A Bit Of Back Sta^e Lobbying 157 

Adding; xQ My Farm Experience, 159 

I Met The Most Wonderful Girl 159 


The Move To Washington 164 

Another Job Change 166 

Another Proposed Move 16? 

Initiation Of Aerial Land Surveys 168 


Origin Of The Soil Erosion Service In 1?1 

The Department Of The Interior 
The Battle To Secure Passage Of The 175 
~S~tate Soil Conservation Districts 


A Promotion To Assistant Chief 177 

An Attempted Take Over"" 177 

A Proposal To Move Some Regional Offices 178 
The Pearl Harbor Attack And A Change In 179 


The Evacuation Authorization And 185 


Agricultural Labor - The First Reloca 
tion Move 

Student Relocation Committee 
First Steps Toward A General Relocation 188 


The Army Assembly Centers 190 

The Hove To Relocation Centers 191 

The jr > olicy___Con.f erence And Its~Importance 
The Dies Committee Moved In 193 

The Post en And Manzanar Troubles 
A Second Policy Conference 195 


Chapter Page 

Relocation Field Offices Established 196 

A Senate Sub-Committee Holds Hearings 17 

Tlie 442nd Regimental Combat Team Was 197 


Baseless Rumors 198 

Our Letter To Secretary Stimson Recom- 199 

mendinp; A Change In The Exclusion 


Mrs. Roosevelt s Visit To Gila River 200 

And A Luncheon"" 

The Dies Sub-Committee At Work 202 

The Tule Lake Incident And Resulting 204 

A Date With The American Legion 208 

A Follow Up Of The Tule Lake Incident 210 

Reinstitution Of The Draft Of Nisei" 210 

A Change In Status - The Move To The 211 

Department Of The Interior 

The European Refugees " 212 

Back To The Problem Of Japanese- 216 


The First Closing Of A Relocation 217 


The Lifting Of The Exclusion Orders 218 

Final Relocation Problems 219 

Supreme Court Decisions 220 

More Final Relocation "Problems 221 

An Award For Work Well Done 224 

The Wind Up Of W.R.A. In 1^46 224 


More About My Good Boss Secretary Ickes 225 

The Offer Of A Governorship Of Puerto 22? 


An Interim Interlude 228 

A Battle Over Senate Confirmation 229 


A Visit From The Mayor Of Minneapolis 238 

My Last Days In Housing 239 


Chapter Page 


A Try For A New Charter 242 

Another Offer To Head The Bureau Of 244 

Indian Affairs 

A Successful Appeal For More Funds 245 

A Middle East Interlude 246 


Resistance To Change In An Old Govern- 256 

ment Bureau 

The Program 257 

Schooling For Indians 261 

Health And Sanitation 265 

Welfare 26? 

Roads 268 

Relocation Problems 268 

oumrninF: Up The Indian Program 270 

Lack Of !Pub]ic Understanding Of The 284 

Indian Pro hlem~ 

Many Indians Are Still Primitive 286 

The Future For American Indians 288 

Indian Claims 291 

Are The Indians A Dyinp,- Race? 22 

Five Hundred Years Hence " 24 

Looking Back At The Indian Affairs 295 



I Become A. Civil Service Retiree 300 

Congressional Friends And Political 300 

Contacts During My Career In 


Senator Carl Hayden 301 

Senator Clinton Anderson 302 

Senator Richard Russell 304 

Senator flIRe Mansfield 305 

dongressman George Mahon 306 

Congressman "Ghet" Holofield 307 



Chapter Page 

Congressman Charles Levy 309 

Congressman Nprris Poulson 311 

Relations With Congress 313 

Attitude Toward Congress 318 

Politics 321 


University Life 325 

Dr. Arthur McCall 325 

George Roberts and Edwin Kinney 326 

G. I. Christie 329 

Harry Ram sower 330 

Howard Tolley 331 

Milton Eisenhower 332 

Paul Apple by 334 

M. L. Wilson 336 

Henry Wallace 337 

Hugh Bennett 339 

Harold Smith 340 

Harold Ickes 340 

Matters Of Importance That I Have 342 

Learned Prom Experience 

Supervisory Techniques 344 


A Temporary Retirement 347 

Group Health Association 347 

The Hand Of Fate Intervenes 348 

A Move To The United Nations 356 

And To Vene zue la 356 

Difficulties.. In^Modernizing The 363 


Social kife In "Venezuela 366 

Travel Through The Country 368 
Reflections On The Venezuela Experience 371 

Back Home 372 

A Graduate School Seminar 373 
Other Assignments And "Near" Assignments 374 

A Temporary Assignment 376 

Temporary Assignment In Korea 380 

A Stop Off In India~ 383 


Chapter Page 

Chairman Of A Personnel Review Board 385 

A Change In Directors" 386 

A Position With The Organization Of 38? 

American States 
A Travel Interlude Then Further Assign- 392 


I Do Some Writing 393 


INDEX 397 


The following narrative was started in 196? as a 
result of the encouragement of many friends including 
Helen Pryor who spent many hours over several months 
serving as the interviewer during the taping period and 
editing the typed script. 

At an early stage of the taping process I weakened 
and debated whether to continue. My good wife Jenness 
Wirt Myer urged me to continue, because she wanted the 
record completed for our three daughters. 

We were also encouraged by Mrs. Amelia Pry and Mrs. 
Willa Baum, of the Regional Oral History Office of the 
University of California General Library, to complete the 
taping and the typing of the manuscript. 

So it is thanks to my wife Jenness, to Helen Pryor, 
our good friend, and all of those who urged that we com 
plete the task, that it has been done. 

Thanks also to our daughter Margaret Wirt Myer 
McFaddin for spending many long hours typing the taped 

Dillon S. Myer 

1 June 1970 
3025 Daniel Lane 
Washington, D.C. 



Like many Americans, my interest in and curiosity 
about my family s history lay dormant until my later years, 
when, unfortunately, no one of an earlier generation is left 
to question about the family tree. From the scanty infor 
mation available, I know that .my father s great-great-grand 
father was a German tutor, who left Germany with his wife 
and two sons for the United States. One can only conjecture 
that this was in the middle or late eighteenth century. 

According to family legend, their ship - a sailing 
vessel, of course - was wrecked somewhere off the coast of 
Maryland and the father and mother were lost, along with the 
gold that they had. The two boys reached shore, and being 
destitute, they bound themselves out, a customary procedure 
in those days. The duration of their servitude is unknown; 
in fact, the interim history is unknown to me until my Grand 
father Myer and his brother migrated from Allegheny County, 
Maryland, to Licking County, Ohio, during the early eighteen 
thirties. In 1834- they bought farm lands on the banks of 
what is now Buckeye Lake. 

The land was owned by the U.S. Government and the 
sheepskin deed bearing that date was signed by President 
Andrew Jackson. A portion of the land purchased at that 
time is still a part of the John Hyson Myer estate and the 
sheepskin deed is still a Myer keepsake. The land is now 
owned by the third generation heirs of my father, John 
Hyson Myer. 

My Grandmother Myer was Mary Oldaker. She was born 
in Virginia in the upper part of the Shenendoah Valley 
which is now a part of West Virginia, in 1818, and she and 
her family moved to Ohio by horseback when she was Just a 
girl. We still have some of the antique dining room chairs 
in the family that were brought to Ohio by horseback. My 
Grandmother s father and my great Grandfather Oldaker was a 
millwright and evidently traveled about to build mills and 
mill wheels in different locations. 


My Grandmother married Jacob Myer, my Grandfather, at 
age forty- two. She was his second wife and she must have 
been several years younger than he was. My father, an only 
child, was born in 1861 when Grandmother was forty-three years 
old. His father Jacob Myer died in 1866 when Dad was only 
five years old. My widowed Grandmother was left with a 
young son and a farm to look after. It seems that portions 
of the farmland wore still swampy and undeveloped. At the 
time my father, an a young man, took over the management, 
debts had accumulated due in part to poor management and in 
part to post-Civil War depression. 

Consequently when he was married in 1887 at the age 
of twenty-six he and my mother took on the debts and added 
to them the cost of remodeling the house. The remodeling 
job was largely a new structure built around and encompassing 
R portion of the old house which was originally a log structure, 

My Mother was Harriet Eatella Seymour before her marri 
age. She was born in 1864- . Her parents were Bruce and 
Elizabeth Seymour. 

When her father and mother were first married they 
moved to Tippecanoe County, Indiana, near Lafayette which 
was frontier country in the early eighteen fifties. Their 
first son was born there but they moved back to Ohio in 
about 1856 and built a log house on the raw land that had 
been secured from the government. They later built a frame 
house and as a child during the 1890 s I remember the old log 
house which was far back on the farm and was then used to 
shelter livestock. 

Mother had two sisters and four brothers, all of whom, 
with one exception, lived to be eighty-two years of age or 

My Mother lived to be ninety-four years and ten months 
of age and an older sister Aunt Mate who lived with us 
during her late years lived to be one hundred and two. 

The Seymours were of Scotch-English descent but I know 
very little about the family before my Grandfather except 
that they were early settlers in Licking County, Ohio and 
lived not far from Newark, Ohio. 


My Grandmother Seymour was a Lees and her parents were 
English. Evidently my great Grandfather Lees was Cockney 
English and still had the cockney accent when Mother was a 

My Father died in 

at age eighty. 

I have one brother who manages the home farm and estate 
who is now eighty-one and two younger sisters, Mrs. Don Tobin 
of Columbus, Ohio, and Mrs. George Eikenberry of Cambridge, 



a o 

H C 

l-l 0) 




S 1^ 



DSM: I was born and reared on a typical corn belt farm 
of 135 acres in central Ohio in a family of four; 
one older brother and two younger sisters. My 
pre-college days lay entirely within the horse and 
buggy era and before automobiles and tractors were 
generally used. Consequently communication was 
not easy between communities. 

One of my very earliest memories has to do 
with a visit that we made to some relatives of 
my father, by the name of Myer, in the northern 
part of Licking County. It was a large county, 
and I must have been only two years old, possibly 

During that visit I wandered away from the 
family and out into the yard where some bee hives 
were located. Being quite young and inexperienced 
I didn t know what bee hives were. It seems that 
I picked up a corn cob and was beating on the 
hives, and the bees, of course, swarmed around me 
and stung me rather badly. One of the older girls 
in the family, when she sensed what was going on, 
picked me up and carried me out of the range of 
the bees. Another sister ran into the garden, 
pulled up some green onions, brought them back, 
cut them up, and put the green onions on the 
stings which helped to alleviate the soreness. 
I suppose it had something to do with stopping 
the poison. I have found, throughout the years, 
that this is an antidote for bee stings. This 
experience was so vivid that it happens to be, I 
think, the first thing that I can recall. 

I can still remember what those bee hives looked 
like. They were painted white, and they were just 
about my height because I think they had put what 
we know as supers on top of some of the hives. As 

a consequence when I think of bee hives, I think 
of that kind of bee hive that I saw at that stage. 
It was a square bee hive. 

I learned from that experience that onions 
were a good antidote for bee stings. Years later, 
when my youngest daughter was about five, we had 
moved to Palls Church, Virginia, and I was working 
out in the yard one nice sunny day and had mowed 
the yard. I sat down to talk to somebody when she 
came rushing out and plopped down beside me, put 
ting both hands on the grass as she sat down, and 
she put one hand right down on a honey bee. I had 
my knife in my pocket and I immediately pulled up 
a wild onion, which was easy to do because we had 
lots of them, and cut one in two and put it on 
the palm of her hand, which had been stung, and 
said "Close your hand and hold it for a little 
bit," which she did. As a consequence she had no 
after effects from the bee sting. 

There are two other early memories that may 
be interesting. One of them had to do with the 
cutting of my curls. In those days little boys, 
as well as little girls, wore curls until they 
were at least four or five years old. I don t 
remember a great deal about mine except that I do 
remember that I was told to go and look at my curls 
in the looking glass for the last time. And crazily 
enough I remember getting a chair and moving it in 
front of the looking glass, which I had to do 
because I wasn t tall enough to see in the glass 
otherwise, and took a last look at my curls before 
they were whacked off. 

The other incident was not one that I like to 
recall. Nevertheless it was an incident of some 
importance in my younger days. My Father was pre 
paring to plant potatoes in the spring of the yeer 
and he found that he did not have enough seed 
potatoes to plant the ground that he had in mind; 
so he asked my brother and me to go to a neighbor s, 
who lived at least three quarters of a mile away, 
and ask him if we could borrow a few seed potatoes 
to finish out the job. My brother was eight years 
old and I was five. So we hied across the fields. 

When we arrived at Mr. Bert Neel s place Mrs. 
Neel said she was sorry but that Mr. Neel wasn t 
there just then, but he would be back after a 
little bit and why didn t we go with Minnie, her 
daughter, down to see the deer which Mr. Neel had 
brought back from a hunting trip and had put into 
a deer lot that he had built. Of course, this 
was very intriguing. So we spent some time 
watching the deer and playing about until Mr. Neel 

We finally got the potatoes and took them 
home. When we arrived home we found my Father in 
a rage because he had been waiting for quite some 
time. He had told us to hurry and we had not 
hurried. So he cut a peach switch and gave us 
both a switching. 

It 3ust so happens that I had on my first pair 
of little boy short pants which my Mother had made 
with her own hands. They were a beautiful blue 
and to get a switching the first time I wore these 
pants was bad business as far as Mother was con 
cerned. I remember very distinctly that she wept 
some tears which, I think, was the only time in 
her life that she wept when I was punished. 

When I was five, my brother, of course, had 
already been in school for some time, having 
started at age six. I was very much interested 
in learning to read. So my Father, who at times 
had great patience, taught me to read in the first 
reader, McGuffy s First Reader as a matter of fact. 

So by the time I started school, at age six, 
I was able to avoid the so-called chart class, 
which they had in those days. I remember taking 
very great pleasure during the first years in 
school in watching the chart class stand up in 
front of the chart with the teacher with a 
pointer, spelling out C-A-T ? R-A-T, D-O-G and all 
the simple words, and thinking I was awfully glad 
I hadn t had to go through that. 

The Country School 

DSM: We went to a one-room country school which 
was at least a mile, probably one and one half 
miles, from home. We walked to school and home 
again each school day except in times of very bad 
weather. Occasionally in the wintertime, if we 
had a blizzard or a heavy snow and the snow was 
deep, Dad would take us on horseback with the two 
of us riding behind him. He would drop us off 
and then maybe come for us in the afternoon if 
the storm continued. 

A little later on he decided it wasn t 
necessary for him to go so when we got old enough 
he allowed us to ride old "Queen" which was one 
of our driving horses. He put a blanket on her, 
strapped it on and we two would ride to school 
where we would tie the reins up, turn her loose, 
and she would go home, which of course was 
twasier than walking in heavy snow when the snow 
was hard to plod through. 

One of my earliest memories, in my first few 
weeks of school, was the fact that we had a lady 
teacher by the name of Lottie Horn who lived just 
across the road from the school; a very lovely per 
son. One morning I felt that I needed to go very 
badly to what we would call the bathroom nowadays, 
the toilet, and I held up my hand. She very 
sweetly said "We will have recess in a few minutes. 
I think you can wait." Well, I couldn t wait. As 
a consequence I flooded the area and she sent me 
home for change of clothes. She was very con 
trite and T never had any problem after that when 
I held up my hand. 

We had Miss Horn for a period of a couple of 
years. Then we had a man teacher, by the name of 
Mac Mossman, who only lasted a year. Unfortunately, 
I turned out to be teacher s pet under Mac Mossman 
which embarrassed me no end because I didn t care 
for him and none of the students did. He was 
always saying something that embarrassed me such 

as "Would a good little boy put some coal in the 
stove? 11 , or something of that kind. 

One of the things that I remember about Mac 
Mossman was that he chewed scrap tobacco. He kept 
his tobacco in the coal house and the door was 
just behind the teacher s desk. One noon, when 
he had gone away temporarily, a bunch of us boys 
got into the coal house, found his tobacco and 
scattered it all over the coal so that he would 
have had to pick it up bit by bit. We also found 
some switches which he had cut for use on the 
older boys if they got out of hand. We ringed 
those with a knife so that if he did use them 
they would break into pieces. 

HP: Did fellow students kid you about being "the good 
little boy?" 

DSM: Oh sure. That is what irked me. I didn t mind 

being the good little boy but I didn t like being 
kidded about it. 

Our next teacher was the one that was a real 
teacher, and who was there the rest of my time in 
elementary school or country school. I went to 
country school, by the way, from age 6 to age 14-. 
Mr. Harvey Orr was an excellent teacher. 

As I remember it, I think I learned as much 
from listening to the older scholars reciting their 
lessons as I did from reciting my own. We had long 
recitation benches in the front of the room and 
they were called up to do their reading or their 
language or their arithmetic or what not. Of course, 
in a one-room school everything is open to everybody. 
I remember quite distinctly listening to many many 
recitations and repetitions of reading lessons, 
reading of poems, reading of prose, and so on, out 
of the old McGuffy Readers. 

After I had been in school for quite some time, 
during my last two years, I was the only scholar 
in what would now be called seventh and eighth 
grade. Consequently, the teacher was able to 
devote a great deal of time to one student. 

Fortunately, he was a man of some learning and 
some imagination. He did such things as to pro 
vide extra work which was not in the curriculum. 
For example, he provided a course in orthography, 
which was a course on the origin of words. This 
has been very helpful to me throughout the years. 

During my last year or two in school we read 
Shakespeare part of the time. We read such Shake 
spearian plays as "A Winter s Tale", "The Merchant 
of Venice", "Midsummer Night s Dream", and one or 
two others. 

I also remember that there was no school 
library in those days, but Mr. Orr felt that there 
should be one so he, with his own hands, built a 
bookcase which could be locked and put it in one 
corner of the schoolroom. He brought his own 
library to the school; allowed us to take out 
books; take them home to read; and, of course, 
they were also properly returned. This was quite 
an unusual thing in those early days. 

In those days, the country school teacher got 
a very small salary. I m sure that Harvey Orr 
received only $30 a month when he started teaching 
and never more than $40 during a school year. He 
provided his own house. There were no fringe 
benefits, except occasionally if he didn t want 
to go home and it was bad weather, somebody in the 
neighborhood, usually it was the Myers, provided a 
place for him to stay all night and provided some 

There was a time, previous to this, when many 
of the country teachers "boarded around" but he 
didn t "board around." He lived at a place called 
Jacksontown which was about three and a half or 
four miles away. He drove every morning and put 
his horse in the barn, at the neighbor s across 
the way. He had a family of at least three children 
whom I can remember. They went to school in their 
own community. He raised truck crops during the 
summer to supplement his wages. 

HP: He sold them? 

DCM: Yes. He peddled his crops at Buckeye Lake among 
the summer cottagers. 

We had an eight months school in those days. 
He got $240 a year, and later he got $320 n year. 

HP: Had he been to college? 

DSM: No. I m sure he hadn t "been to college. He was 

pretty much self-educated beyond the common schools. 
I m not sure thot he had been to high school because 
they didn t have many country high schools in those 
days, but he was a great reader. He believed in 
good literature. He believed in a sound basic edu 
cation, and he was a wonderful teacher. I was most 
fortunate that I was able to have him for a period 
of five years of my country or elementary school 

One other incident that I remember about 
Harvey Orr: In the state of Ohio we had the 
Patterson i Jxamin^tions or Boxwell Examinations. 
If you passed an examination, which was given on 
a county-wide basis, you could go to high school 
of your choice and have your tuition paid. Well, 
I took the examination. It just so happened that 
Harvey Orr, along with two other teachers from 
around the county, was one of the three examiners 
who supervised the exams. 

Much to my amazement, about three or four 
weeks after the examinations were given, Harvey 
Orr drove his horse and buggy into our place one 
day and turned around. My Dad went out to talk to 
him and then he called me. When I went out he pre 
sented me with a book, which as I remember was "The 
Seven Wonders of the World", and the book was a 
reward for having won the top grade in the county 
in mathematics. I smile every time I think of this 
because it was the last time I ever won a top grade 
in mathematics. I didn t do too well in Algebra 
and Geometry in high school and I took no mathe 
matics when I went to college. I saw to it that 
I avoided mathematics. 


I ought to go back, I think, to the period of 
Mac Mossman for a moment to recall one rather 
important and exciting incident. At least it was 
exciting for most of the youngsters. 

He got all excited one day and rushed all of 
us outside with the statement that the greatest 
invention of the age was coming up the road. When 
we got outside and lined up in front of the school 
house, here came Mr. Dave Black of Newark, Ohio, 
in his "one-lunger" automobile with a dashboard 
and, of course, with the kind of handle that you 
had in those days instead of a steering wheel. He 
had on a linen duster, a cap with goggles, and all 
of the gear of the early day automobilist. It 
happens that I had seen Dave Black before in his 
automobile because he occasionally came out to the 
reservoir, which was near our place. But most of 
the kids had not. It must have been around 1899 
because I was just a youngster. I don t think I 
was over eight years old at that time. 

In those days, of course, when you drove the 
team hitched to the surrey to church on Sunday and 
you met an automobile, which wasn t often, you got 
out and held the horses by their heads while it 
passed, to keep them from jumping over the fence. 

Much of the social life in my early days, 
during the country school period, revolved around 
the school or around the church. The school social 
life had to do mainly with such things as box 
socials. This, of course, was a social where the 
ladies and the girls each brought a box, which they 
had packed themselves, and then these boxes were 
auctioned off. The men and the boys bid for the 
box. One of the ways to make money for the school 
was to find one or more who wanted a certain girl s 
box and were willing to bid for it and it went up 
sometimes to enormous sums such as $1.50 or $2.00, 
which was a lot of money in those days. 

HP: What was in the box? Food? 

DSM: Yes, food. There was food in the boxes. 

HP: What was considered a good box? 

DSM: Oh, sandwiches and cake or fried chicken the 

kind of thing that was easy to pack in a box and, 
of course, it was a picnic type of meal. 

Another school affair, which was quite general 
in those days, was the spelling bee. Nearly every 
body in the community attended and some of the 
older folks participated. 

Family Life 

DSM: Spelling was a very important matter in our 
family. We used to have spelling bees around the 
supper table, after we had finished our evening 
meal, and my Dad and my Mother enjoyed them, I m 
sure, more than we did, at that time, because they 
were good spellers and they wanted to be sure that 
we would be. 

HP: How did you do it? Did you have a spelling book 
that your Father would read from? 

DSM: Oh, no. Normally they would just remember words 
they had spelled throughout the years and they 
would give them to us to spell. They would pro 
nounce them and we would do the spelling. I 
remember one that Dad always enjoyed using was 
the volcano in Mexico which he called "Popocatapetal" 
which in Spanish is pronounced "Popocatepetl." He 
thought that was great fun to throw this one out 
at us because he had, I think, gotten stuck on it 
in a spelling bee at sometime or other. These home 
spelling bees, as I said, took place after supper 
in the dining room. 

My Mother, in particular, was very interested 
in seeing to it that her youngsters knew how to 
speak the English language. She was very careful 
to correct us if we didn t pronounce words properly. 
She was very insistent that we study our language 
and grammar lessons. If need be, she was helpful, 


for she knew a good deal about grammar and language 
because she was interested in it. Of course, as I 
have already indicated, she was very interested in 
seeing to it that we knew how to spell. This, I m 
sure, was helpful, not only at that time but in 
later life because it was drummed into us day after 

In the same way, as I began to grow up, she 
would slap me on the shoulder blades every time I 
passed and tell me to straighten up so that I 
wouldn t be stooped, as tall boys very often are. 

HP: Describe how it was around the dinner table. Was 
it in the kitchen or the dining room? 

DSM: We always ate in the dining room. Our kitchen was 
small and we had a fair-sized dining room. We ate 
all our meals in the dining room. 

HP: Did your Mother use a white table cloth? 

DSM: Oh yes. Occasionally, during the week, we would 

use a white-and-red-squared tablecloth but usually 
it was white. Mother believed in white table 

My Dad sat at the head of the table and always 
gave the blessing and, if somebody had been parti 
cularly bad or some incident had stirred him up, 
sometimes he ran on and on. Sometimes we would 
glance at each other and think "Boy, are we getting 
it on the chin." But usually it was very short and 
very sweet. 

HP: What sort of grace would he say? 

DSM: He would ask for a blessing on the food, and bless 
the members of the family. If he felt other people 
should be blessed he would bring them in too. 

Mother sat across the table from me, which was 

at my Dad s left; my brother sat next to me; my 

Grandmother Myer sat at the other end of the table; 

and then the two young girls sat next to Mother on 
the other side of the table. 


HP: I wonder why your Grandmother sat at the end. Was 
it near the kitchen for your Mother to get up or 
did she sit on the side or what? 

DSM: Grandmother always considered that this was her 

house. My father was the only boy in her family. 
She married a widower who had lost his first wife. 
He was older than she was and Dad was born when 
she was 4-3 years of age in 1861. He was the only 
child she ever had. She wasn t married until she 
was 4-2. So when Dad got married Mother came into 
their home and I might say she had a very tough 
life until my Grandmother s death many years 

HP: Did you realize this as a child? 

DSM: Oh yes, many times. Every so often Dad would take 
Grandmother into the living room; close the doors; 
and we were barred for two or three hours, while 
they argued out something that had to be argued 
because Mother had gotten to the end of her rope. 

Grandmother sat at the end of the table because 
she probably always had sat there before Mother 
came on to the scene. I don t know. In any case, 
it was accepted. 

HP: Was there ever argument in front of you children, 
or how did you know that your Mother was unhappy 
about her Mother-in-Law? 

DSM: We knew that Mother was unhappy at times by her 
attitude mainly, and occasional comments. 

HP: Was your Grandmother bossy or critical or what? 

DSM: Grandmother liked to take over and to run things. 

She was always wanting to do things which sometimes 
were in Mother s way. Her final act, that led up 
to her demise, happened while Dad and Mother and 
all of us had gone away. She decided to do some 
ironing, which she wasn t supposed to do, and she 
fell over a threshold of the door and broke her 
hip. She was in bed for a year and she got well 
enough that she got up to walk some but died from 


uremic poisoning from being bedfast so long. She 
was 94 years of age at the time of her death. 

Generally speaking Grandmother was good to 
us. She was for the most part kindly. There 
were certain times when she tried to manage us. 
We didn t care for that but she was usually good 
to us. 

One of the things that I remember very well 
was that she had begun to develop cataracts as 
she got older and she couldn t thread her own 
needles. I think I threaded hundreds of needles 
for Grandmother when I was a kid. Everytime she 
needed a new threading I was available. I was the 
one who did the threading for one reason or another. 

One other thing that we helped her do was to 
find her spectacles. About half the time they were 
pushed up on top of her head where she had forgotten 
she had put them. 

HP: There was nothing that could be done for cataracts 
in those days? 

DSM: Well, at least nothing was done. I don t remember. 
I suppose they were not operable in those days. I 
don t think they had developed the techniques but 
I m not sure about that. 

Another thing that I was always called on to 
help Grandmother do was to pick greens in the spring. 
She loved greens. We picked dandelion, narrow dock, 
lambs quarter, and what have you. I have forgotten 
some of the others but, oh yes, horseradish leaves. 

I might say she also loved horseradish and 
every so often I had to help her dig horseradish 
root and helped to grate it which, of course, brought 
tears to the eyes. 

HP: Grated raw? 

DSM: Yes. I still like horseradish in spite of the dis 
comforting experience. 

Household and Farm Chores 

DSM: Youngsters growing up on a farm in those days 
were expected to help with the farm chores just as 
soon as they were able. In my own case the first 
chores allotted to me were the gathering of eggs 
and the carrying in of kindling wood for the 
kitchen stove and the heating stove. At that 
stage, I didn t have to cut the kindling but I 
did have to carry it in. A little later I was 
expected to fill the wood box in the kitchen. 

HP: From the first grade age or even before that? 

DSM: Yes. I started doing both chores when I was 
around five. 

HP: Did you have a basket or a bucket to put the eggs 

DSM: Oh yes, and occasionally, of course, there were 
broken eggs. 

HP: Did you ever break any? 
DSM: Oh sure. 

Following the period when I began to cut the 
kindling, to gather it and to carry in the wood 
to fill the wood boxes, I unfortunately decided 
that I d like to learn to milk; so at age seven 
I started milking. I was never relieved of the 
task until I left home at age 22 after I had 
finished college. 

HP: Can a seven year old really milk? 

DSM: Sure, I did. 

HP: Were your hands big enough? 

DSM: Oh yes. I didn t milk some of the cows at first 

because their teats were a little large for seven- 
year-old hands but I could milk most of them. My 

brother didn t like to milk so he took care of the 
horse stables and the horse barns which he loved. 
I had to do the cow barns, which I resented 
throughout the years, but there wasn t anything 
I could do about it. The pattern was already 

Other chores during this period had to do with 
feeding the stock, both in the barns and in the 
lots. We put fodder out for them after we turned 
them out from the barns. 

HP: Everyday? 

DSM: We fed them twice a day. In the morning and evening, 
and the cleaning of stables was done once a day, 
including putting down new bedding. 

HP: Every day? 

DSM: This was routine every day during the winter. 

We didn t keep them in the barns during the 
summer. Normally you turned them out at night, and 
just let the cows in long enough to milk. 

The horses were brought in to curry and to 
harness. During the season when we used teams the 
currying and harnessing of horses to get them ready 
for the field was a chore before breakfast every 
morning. This was in addition to the other chores. 
The horses had to be ready to go when the signal 
was given after breakfast. 

The worst chore that I ever had, and one that 
I still don t like to think about but which I can 
still do, was the sawing and splitting of wood for 
both the cook stove and the heating stoves. This 
went on from fall until spring. All winter long. 
Any time we had left before school, we got out the 
crosscut saw and sawed off a few chunks of wood. 

HP: How far away was the wood? 

DSM: The wood yard was right between the house and the 

HP: Even in bad weather? 

DSM: Oh yes. Unless the weather was awfully bad, we 

sawed wood or split wood and carried in wood; both 
before and after school and, of course, on Satur 
days. Most of the day on Saturdays during the 
winter months we sawed, split and carried wood. 
V/e didn t use much wood during the summer. We 
had stored enough and stocked enough in cords to 
carry us through the summer for cooking and the 
wash house. 

HP: How big were the logs? 

DSM: Some of the logs were two or three feet in 

diameter. We took down trees and would haul the 
logs up to the wood yard. We usually sawed them 
up there. On Saturday we sometimes sawed the wood 
in the woods and loaded the chunks onto the wagon 
or sled and hauled them up and dumped them into 
the wood yard. 

We had enough logs right at hand so that 
before and after school we always had plenty to 
saw on. They ranged anywhere from a foot in 
diameter to two or three feet in diameter. Some 
of them were pretty knotty such as elm, beech, 
and oak. Certain parts of those trees didn t split 
very easily. I have always wished we could have 
had wood like they have on the West Coast such as 
fir and some of that beautiful straight grained 
wood. I still would like to take an ax and split 
some of it just for the pleasure of knowing how 
it felt to split wood without knots in it, 

HP: It must be easier to split then. 
DSM: Very much, yes. 

HP: And every bit of fuel in the house? What did you 
use for illumination? Kerosene? 

DSM: Kerosene lamps were used entirely for illumination. 

Outside of kerosene in the lamps, every bit 
of fuel used in the house was prepared by the three 


"men" of the family, and a occasional "hired man." 
We used wood until we got free gas. 

Speaking of kerosene lamps, that was another 
chore that I had to help my Grandmother with. My 
Grandmother always cleaned the lamps, refilled 
them and cleaned the wicks on Saturday when I was 
available. So I helped to clean the lamps, clean 
the chimneys, snuff the wicks, fill the lamps with 
"coal oil" as kerosene was called, wipe them off 
again, and to get them back into their proper 
place in the house. 

HP: Did you ever get a kerosene cook stove? 

DSM: No. Fortunately, we never had a kerosene cook 

stove. I hate the smell of kerosene to this day. 

HP: How many lamps were there? 

DSM: As I remember it, we had a couple of lamps in the 
kitchen; one on each side of the kitchen that hung 
in brackets. We had, usually, a couple in the 
living room and, of course, we had one or two in 
the dining room. We had a beautiful lamp in the 
parlor, tall lamp with a big globe with flowers on 

HP: Standing or hanging? 

DSM: Standing, the kind that you put in the middle of 
the table. It had a smaller chimney than the 
others that came up through the beautiful flowered 
china globe. 

HP: Is it still in there? 

DSM: No. I don t know what happened to it. It s been 
gone for quite some time. I don t know where it 

HP: Then when you went to bed did you carry a lamp 
upstairs with you? 

DSM: No. We kids usually went to bed without a light. 
If we needed a light, we had a lamp in each of the 


Grandmother most often carried a lamp upstairs 
with her because she didn t see too well. During 
the wintertime, she also carried her soapstone 
wrapped in a piece of blanket or a hot flat iron, 
if the soapstone wasn t handy. She would turn her 
bed clothes back and iron the bed or smooth the 
bed with the hot iron or soapstone before she 
crawled in and then she put the soapstone at her 
feet. If we were ill with a cold, we usually got 
a soapstone or an iron at our feet. Otherwise we 
crawled into a cold bed. 

We hadn t any heat upstairs excepting that in 
Dad and Mother s room, a large room upstairs; they had 
put a radiator, a sort of drum with vents in it, on 
the pipe from the stove downstairs. This threw a 
little more heat into that room but the other rooms 
were just plain cold. There was no reading in bed 
in those days. 

The Miracle of Free Gas 

DSM: Illumination by gas light and the doing away 
with wood sawing and wood cutting had to await the 
arrival of free gas, which happened when they began 
to drill gas wells throughout our community. They 
found some gas and before we had a well of our own, 
they wanted to come across our place with a gas 
line which would supply gas to Buckeye Lake Park 
which was then developing. As a result of wanting 
that right-of-way, we were able to get free gas for 
years for two houses; for the tenant house and for 
our main house. 

HP: For illumination and heat both? 

DSM: We used it for heat, and illumination. 

HP: Cooking? 

DSM: And cooking. It was one of the greatest things 
that ever happened to me as a kid. 


HP: I ll bet. At what age did this happen? 

DSM: I think I was around twelve when the gas field 
began to open up and, as a consequence, there 
was no more wood sawing by the time we were ready 
to start to high school. 

We put in a furnace and had central heat. 
All you had to do was turn on the gas, light a 
match, throw it in and boom! away it went. I ll 
tell you that was a thrill, a real thrill. 

We had a barnyard light, at that time, with 
free gas. We didn t burn it like some people did 
as a open flame; we put mantles on ours. That was 
the beginning of an easier life. 



DSM: Other than the farm chores, the seasonal 

farm work, the field work which we did throughout 
my young life, we did such off-season work as 
cutting weeds in grain fields and pastures, such 
as dock and mullein; in the wheat fields very often 
you would find wild mustard which had to be pulled; 
hoeing in the garden; the weedy spots in the corn 
field had to be hoed. We helped with that along 
with my Dad and the hired man. 

Land preparation, including plowing with 
walking plows, harrowing either with spiked tooth 
or disk harrows, dragging or rolling prior to 
planting; all this came with growing up. 

HP: I suppose it was unthinkable to say "Well, I don t 
like this kind of work. I want to be a school 
teacher" or something like that. 

DSM: It never occurred to anybody at that age to say 

"I don t like this kind of work" because Dad would 
have said "That s just too bad." 

Speaking of this, I was hauling hay shocks as 
a very small kid. We used to haul hay shocks up 
to the stackers; some people called them hay doodles, 
You would take one horse and a rope and you would 
run the rope around the bottom of the shock so you 
could drag it up to the stack for the men to pitch 
it up onto the stack. 

I got very tired one day and the horse that 
I was riding was bothered by nit flies. She kept 
throwing her head, and it bothered me. On one of 
ray trips to the stack I complained about the head 
tossing to the pitchers, and one of them said, "Oh, 
that s nothing to worry about," and as he unhitched 


the rope from the shock he gave Queen, the mare I 
was riding, a whack on the rump with his fork handle. 
She started in a gallop which increased in speed, 
and about half way down the field I bounced off, 
but held on to one hame for a bit, but I finally 
dropped to the ground and the horse galloped right 
over me. I just laid there until the hired man came 
running over and said "Jump up; you re not hurt," 
So I jumped up and sure enough my pride was the 
only thing hurt. 

They corralled Queen, and then my Dad went 
and got an old nag called "Old Doll", that belonged 
to a neighbor. She was sway backed and didn t have 
enough stamina to toss her head around. I had to 
ride her the rest of the day but he rewarded me by 
saying "I will give you a nickel if you will finish 
out the day." The nickel was important. It is 
the only reward of that kind that I can remember, 
but it was a very important nickel. 

HP: You were a contributing member to the farm economy 
almost from the time you could walk. 

DSM: Oh yes, almost from the time we could walk. 

Other farm tasks included cultivating corn and 
potatoes either with a single cultivator, with a 
one-horse cultivator, or a double cultivator which 
used a team and straddled the rows; harvesting of 
hay, wheat, corn, potatoes and occasionally barley 
or oats , if we were growing those, which we didn t 
do every year. 

Hay harvest in the early days included machine 
mowing; tedding, in order to help the hay to dry; 
raking with either a wooden dump rake, which you 
walked behind and raised the. handle up enough so 
that the rake would catch and flop over and leave 
a wind row; or a little later we used a sulky rake. 
It was a horse drawn rake which was self dumping, 
if you tripped it at the right time with your 
foot. This was an improvement. 

HP: I ve never known what a wind row is. 

DSM: A wind row is the row of hay that is left after you 
have raked it up. Usually you put it in rows. You 
try to line it up. You dumped it each time as you 
came around so that there were long rows so that 
we could drive your wagon right down beside them 
and load them; or you could shock the hay more 
easily with pitch forks. 

HP: It has nothing to do with being a wind break? 

DSM: No. Where it got its name wind row I don t know. 

It is one of those things I have wondered about but 
I never have looked up and no one has ever told me. 

Shocking, or as some people called it doodling, 
you did with pitch forks out of the wind row. You 
built shocks which were about as high as a normal 
individual and sloped the sides so that if it 
rained it shed the rain. Most of the hay in those 
days had a good deal of timothy in it. Even though 
it was a clover meadow they put timothy with it 
and it was very easy to shock. 

As I have already indicated after the shocks 
had been in the field for a while to mature a bit 
and dry out thoroughly, they were hauled to a 
stack by boys on horseback to be pitched onto a 
stack by pitchers. 

Stacking was usually done by somebody who 
knew how to stack hay; who had a lot of experi 
ence; and who knew how to make the right bulges 
and draw it in at the right time. Very often if 
they didn t do it right the stack would fall 
over. It would start leaning and over it would 

HP: How big is a stack? 

DSM: Well, it all depends. If we had lots of hay we 
ricked it. A rick is a long stack with a narrow 
ridge along the top equal to a double or triple 

An individual stack was built on a wooden 
bottom. We always used rails to set it on. We 


would lay down a square of rails and build our 
stack on that. It was rounded and then pointed 
out at the top. 

HP: To keep it off the ground? 

DSM: The rails would keep it off the ground. It would 
rot on the ground if rails were not used. 

HP: And then was it left out all winter? 

DSM: It was also a good arrangement so we could poke 
the rabbits out from under those haystacks. 

It was left out all winter or until you were 
ready to use it. If it was ricked, you usually 
used the hay fork and cut down through it and 
hauled in a portion as you had space for it in 
the mow. Usually you still had stacks available 
when spring came. If you had any left over you 
usually sold it of there was a good prospect for 
another year. 

HP: Was the mow the loft of the barn? 

DSM: That s right. The hay mow is the loft of the barn. 

In those days we had room for stabling cows 

and horses but we had very little mow room so we 

didn t put in a great deal of hay. Most of it 
was stacked out. 

I have already indicated that one of the early 
jobs was hauling hay shocks to the people who were 
the pitchers at the stacks, either for my Dad at 
home or for neighbors. The first money I ever 
remember earning was at the rate of twenty-five 
cents a day for hauling hay shocks for the 

HP: How long a day? 

DSM: We worked from ?:JO in the morning until dark or 
thereabouts. A ten hour day, at least, if they 
had that many shocks to haul and they usually 
did. Your bottom got pretty sore by the time the 

day was over because you were riding a horse all 
day long with some harness on it. 

HP: You rode a horse and dragged? 

DSM: Oh sure. They had a man in the field who did the 
hitching for you. You went back and forth all day 
long hauling in one shock at a time. 

HP: You didn t have to get down off the horse? You 
Just stayed on? 

DSM: We stayed right on the horse. However, if we did 

not have enough extra help as we got a little older, 
we older boys would sometimes jump off the horse 
and do our own hitching. 

After the twenty-five cents per day I did have 
two or three years when I got fifty cents a day for 
either carrying water or hauling hay shocks. 

HP: And this was your own money? 

DSM: This was my own money. It was important money 
because it was mine. 

Then about 1906, I can t remember exactly, but 
I think it was about the time I started high school, 
we talked my father into building a barn. Every 
body else was building barns having big hay mows. 
The new barn had not only a hay fork on a track 
which was able to pick up hay in large lots, dump 
it into the mow and with very little work on the 
part of the people in the mow, it could be stored 
away in rather large lots. 

This led to the purchase of a mechnical hay 
loader, which meant that we took the hay right 
out of the swaths; the loader picked it up by a 
system of revolving rakes; brought it up onto 
the wagon; and if you would allow it to do so, 
would push it far enough forward that you didn t 
have to do much loading. The first year we got 
it my brother and myself nearly killed ourselves 
trying to keep the hay out of the mouth of the 
loader but it wasn t necessary. We learned after 


a while to let the team push it forward. It got 
a little heavy for them but we just kept it on 
the wagon. That s about all. 

The hay had to dry enough that it would not 
spoil in the mow. But with a hay loader, my 
brother and I usually did the gathering of the 
hay in the field and took it in. We usually ran 
two wagons. We would take the team off one wagon 
and hitch it to an empty one, which they had Just 
emptied by the use of the hay fork, and we kept 
hay coming on. 

My Dad would stick the hay fork and drop the 
hay in the mow, and the hired man, and if we had 
an extra hand two of them, mowed it away. This 
meant that the labor force during hay harvest was 
reduced very drastically. There was a time when 
we had as many as eight or ten men working in 
harvest but with four men we could do a pretty 
good job. We could even do it with three if we 
had to. 

We finally got to the place that one of our 
old farm horses didn t need somebody to ride him 
to haul the hay up. He would go out and when he 
heard the car with the hay fork, with a load on 
it, click on the track, he d start swinging and 
come back up and turn around. 

HP: Was this almost the beginning of the mechanization 
on farms? 

DSM: It was as far as we were concerned. Well, with 
this exception. During the younger days of my 
Father and Mother mechanical binders and mech 
anical mowing machines came in. They could 
remember the time when much of the hay was cut 
with scythes. The grain was cut with what they 
called cradles, which were nothing more than 
scythes with some hoops or arms on them to help 
lay the grain over in swaths. They remembered 
that period. 

My Mother, as a girl, used to drive what was 
called the self rake reaper which, when they cut 

wheat, had sweeps on it that went around. It had 
a platform and the cutter bar, like a cutter bar 
on a mowing machine, and it would cut it and the 
sweeps would come around and sweep it off onto the 
ground where the people who did the binding of the 
sheaves would come along and bind them by hand 
afterwards. By the time I arrived on the scene, 
we had grain binders and the first Job my brother 
and I did in the harvesting of wheat was to gather 
sheaves, because our grain binder did not have a 
sheaf carrier on it. 

Just after it was bound it was kicked off and 
dropped. They were dropped one by one as they 
went along. In order to make it easier for the 
men, and to speed up the operation, we gathered 
sheaves and laid them in a circle. We carried 
them in by hand so that the shockers could come 
along and shock them more easily, 

HP: It must have been dusty work. 

DSM: It wasn t too dusty at that stage. Threshing was 
dusty but that kind of work wasn t too dusty. It 
was prickly but before long we got a new binder 
with a sheaf carrier on it and with a foot trip 
you could carry six or eight sheaves at a time and 
as you came around you d drop them in the same 
area so you didn t have to have boys carrying 
sheaves as we used to do. Boys on a farm in 
those days were a very important economic asset 
and many, many farmers in those days had a big 
family of boys. 

HP: If you had a hired man was he a single man; or a 
man with a family? 

DSM: In the early days he was always a single man. He 

lived in the house with us, in one of the bedrooms. 
Then later we built a tenant house about the time 
I was about thirteen or fourteen. The hired man, 
who had worked for us when I was younger, and his 
wife, came to live in the tenant house as our first 
tenants. He had worked meantime in a stove foundry 
and I reckon he decided he liked farming better. 


HP: Where would .you pet other extra help? 

DSM: We had extra help that lived up near Buckeye Lake, 
which was in those days the Licking Reservoir, 
people who did fishing: and odd jobs. We had quite 
a little community of what we called snake hunters. 
The origin of this name was not known by my gen 
eration. They were people that lived around the 
edge of the lake and made part of their living out 
of the lake. They were nearly always available 
for hay harvest, and for other harvest work such 
as working as pitchers in the field at threshing 
time and other odd jobs. 

HP: How would you pet the word to them? 

DSM: When we needed them, my Father would send one of 
us boys up to tell them that we wore ready to 
start work. 

HP: Do you recall what they were paid? 

DSM: Yes. Pay started at a SI. 00 a day, and later rose 
to SI. 50 and finally $2.00 and $2.50 a day. We 
occasionally hired boys from town. I remember 
Dad started paying them seventy-five cents a day 
but he finally after a year or two got up to $1.50 
for those boys. These were husky high school 

The cash outlay on the farm in those days was 
usually for buying a piece of machinery occasion 
ally; for seasonal labor, particularly harvest 
labor, both for hay harvest in particular and 
sometimes for corn harvest including somebody to 
husk corn during the winter, if you didn t have 
plenty of help at home. Most of the other cash 
outlay on the farm was for buying certain staple 
groceries such as coffee, sugar, tea and a few 


DSM: About two or three weeks after the wheat was 
harvested with the binder in the field and shocked 
the threshing started in the neighborhood. We had 
a threshing ring, following the same pattern pretty 
much year after year, with five or six neighbors 
helping each other out. 

When I was about fifteen I started loading 
and hauling wheat to the machine from the field 
and this was the change from boyhood to manhood 
as far as farm boys were concerned. There was 
another lad of exactly my age who was a neighbor 
boy who started hauling wheat from the field at 
the same time. 

We had a neighbor who could be very crusty 
when he was in the notion and he often was in 
the notion. He didn t think that boys of this 
age could be trusted so if the wheat was a bit 
damp he used to stand back of the wagons and 
watch us to be sure that we didn t pitch too many 
sheaves to clog up the machine. Usually he 
walked away after a while when he thought things 
were going all right and the minute he turned 
his back we loaded the machine to the point where 
it had to be cleaned out by hand and everybody 
could sit down and rest for a little while. This 
was the only person that we did this to. If he 
hadn t been so "persnickety" about it we wouldn t 
have done it to him but this was a challenge to 
kids of our age. 

My first job at threshing was carrying water 
for the threshing hands, both for ourselves and 
for the neighbors, and I don t think I ever got 
over fifty cents a day from the neighbors, when 
they paid me for doing such a job. A little later 
I used to hang sacks on the grain spouts, and some 
one else took them off because they were too heavy 
for a young lad. Threshed grain was hauled into 
the graneries in two-bushel sacks. 


HP: Made of what? 

DSM: They were cotton sacks. The grain was stored until 
it was decided the price was right to sell. A 
two-bushel sack of wheat weighed 120 pounds, and 
a youngster became a full fledged threshing hand 
when he could shoulder a two-bushel sack of wheat 
by himself and walk off with it. 

Corn Harvest and Storage 

DSM: Harvesting corn consisted of cutting by hand 
with a corn knife, or cutter and it was shocked in 
the field. As soon as we were old enough to 
"make a hand" we were allowed to stay out of school 
for a few days to help cut corn. 

HP: I don t know what shocking means. 

DSM: Shocking means standing the corn up around galluses. 
To make galluses you take four hills of corn and 
bring them together, (it is green of course) and 
you wrap the tops in such a way that they will 
hold and then you use that as a frame to set the 
corn up around. Usually in our day a shock was 
made up of twelve corn hills square. Twelve hills 
this way and twelve hills the other. 

HP: Then there was a lot of air in the middle. 

DSM: There was some air in the middle. We used to chase 
rabbits out of corn shocks when we hunted them in 
the wintertime. 

Corn wasn t husked usually until after it was 
well matured and dried out. Consequently I did 
very little corn husking when I grew up because this 
was done during the period when we were in school. 
We occasionally did some husking on Saturday but 

normally the huskers husked out the corn during 
the week and my brother and I spent most of 
Saturday hauling in what had been husked out 
during the school week. 

HP: Was it husked out on the field? 

DSM: They generally husked out in the field. 

HP: Did they wear gloves? 

DSM: No they didn t wear gloves; it was too bunglesome. 
Some of them used a husking peg that had a hook 
and a partial glove went over the hand and around 
the thumb. The hook was down at the base of the 
hand and they would hook into the husk, and pull 
it down. Most of them used a husking peg that 
you wore on the right hand that slipped over the 
fingers and hod a hook much like a type of beer 
can opener and you just ripped it down and then 
husked it down. 

HP: Was the corn left out in the field to dry or 
hauled to the barn? 

DSM: We didn t have room in the barn in those days 

because the barn wasn t big enough to hold even 
enough hay. We stacked the hay out and left the 
corn in the field. A little later on about the 
time I was maturing and I was leaving the farm, 
they very often hauled it in as soon as it dried 
out in the shock and husked it by machine and 
shredded the fodder. The fodder was blown into 
the mows then if you had mow room, to be fed 
later to livestock out of the mow. 

HP: Could the entire stock and leaves be used for 

DSM: Cattle seldom ate the stalk but they did eat the 
leaves and we fed the fodder normally after they 
husked the corn. We bundled the fodder in bundles 
that could be handled easily and we hauled them 
in and stacked them outside the barn lot where 
we kept the livestock during the day and before 
we turned the livestock out we scattered several 

bundles of fodder for them to feed on during the 
day. When we shredded the fodder of course they 
ate more of it because it was possible for them 
to eat the tougher part of the stock which had 
been shredded up into smaller bits. 

HP: Did you have a machine for doing this? 

DSM: We had a machine called a "corn shredder." It 
really was a corn husker because that was the 
important part of the job, but it husked and 
shredded both. 

HP: Were there silos? When did silos come in? 

DSM: I don t know exactly when silos came into use but 
we didn t have a silo until after I left the farm 
at age twenty-two but we got one I m sure quite 
soon after that. They came into general use I 
would guess sometime between 1910 and 1920, and 
they were being widely recommended in my early 
days of extension work when I was at Purdue 
or in County Agent work in Indiana between 1916 
and 1920. 

HP: Many people do not understand exactly what silos 
are for, and if there is any reason for the 
construction in cylindrical shape. 

DSM: Do you know how to make sauerkraut? 
HP: Yes. 

DSM: Well, it is the same idea as making sauerkraut. 
It is fermented corn and fodder. When they fill 
silos they cut the corn green after the ear has 
been pretty well matured and it is put through 
a silage cutter and cut up into small bits. It 
is run by power and blown up into the top of the 
silo and drops down and is packed into the silo 
just as you would pack cut cabbage into a kraut 

HP: And it is the entire corn plant? 

DSM: It is the entire corn plant except the roots. 
They usually had a corn cutter that was drawn 


by a team and bundled it like sheaves of wheat 
only it was taller of course and loaded it on 
wagons and hauled it into the silage cutter. 

HP: Is there any advantage to the fermentation? 

DSM: I don t think there was any advantage to the fer 
mentation. It was simply a good way to store the 
whole plant and a mixture of corn and fodder, of 
course, and the fodder was green enough that once 
the cattle got used to it they ate the whole plant. 
They didn t eat the whole plant normally when you 
fed the dry plant. 

Silos are still in use to some extent although 
they aren t as widely used as they were at one 
time. Just why I m not sure. I think probably 
the main reason is that practically all the corn 
nowadays is allowed to stand in the field until 
it is ready to husk because it is husked by a 
power outfit which goes down the rows, husks the 
corn and carries it into wagons or trucks. The 
fodder is simply loft in the field. But there 
are still a few cilos that are being utilized. 

The advent of more alfalfa and legume crops 
of that kind which helped provide green feed 
other than the type that we used to have which 
was largely timothy and clover, I think has made 
some difference. Of course, they use a large 
amount of mixed feeds now. So I assume that is 
partly the reason. I think probably there are 
more silos used by beef cattle producers now than 
dairy cattlemen although I have not followed the 
trend very closely in recent years. This is purely 
an inexpert opinion. 

Potato Raising 

DSM: My brother and I were allotted land for a 
potato patch of our own when we were old enough 

to look after it ourselves so that we selected the 
seed, cut the seed, prepared the ground, furrowed 
out the rows, and dropped the seed pieces by hand 
and covered them in part by a one-horse shovel 
plow or with a hand hoe. We harvested potatoes 
in the early days by digging with a hand hoe or 
a fonr-tined manure fork. Potato culture was not 
easy. However, it did give us the opportunity to 
earn some cash which we were interested in having 
and I suppose we had a potato patch of our own for 
four or five years before I started to college. 

We usually had anywhere from a fourth of an 
acre up to three fourths of an acre or a whole 
acre for potatoes. It depended on how old we were 

HP: What a lot of work! 

DSM: It was a lot of work all right. My back aches yet 
every time I think about picking up potatoes or 
doing the kinds of jobs we did in those days. 

Later on, of course, they perfected potato 
planters which brought the pieces around and 
dropped them about every so far apart. It was 
drawn by horses. They also perfected or rea- 
sonally perfected at least, a potato digger which 
was nothing more than a very wide moleboard plow 
with a shaker on the back which rode in under the 
potatoes, soil and all, and then the shaker would 
flip up and down and flip the soil out and leave 
the potatoes free so they could be picked up in 
baskets or crates. 

HP: It was sort of a screen? 

DSM: That s right. The bars were close enough together 
that the potatoes didn t fall through. But we 
weren t lucky enough to have that kind of an 
operation when we were having our own potato patch. 

The first real money that I earned in this 
manner I spent for a Remington shot gun, which I 
still have. I don t suppose I ever bought anything 
that I got more pleasure out of as a kid then I 
did that. 


HP: How old were you? 

DSM: I was fourteen; the same year I started to high 
school. One of the good merchants in the town 
allowed a friend of mine, Nick Embrey, and me to 
go to Columbus with a order from him to the whole 
sale house there to sell us a shotgun at wholesale, 
So Nick bought a Winchester and I bought a Reming 

Butchering and Meat Preparation 

DSM: One farm task that was always considered to 

be fun was the butchering of the year s meat supply 
during the winter. It was fun because we were 
allowed to stay out of school for the day, and 
there was always a gathering of certain neighbors 
and relatives which made it sort of a social 

From the shooting and bleeding of the hogs, 
including the scraping, through the rendering of 
the lard and the making of the sausage, it was an 
exciting day for us. One of my uncles always 
helped us butcher because he was very expert. He 
was also a good shot. I felt that I was beginning 
to grow up when one morning he asked me if I 
wouldn t like to shoot the hogs which I did, and 
I thought I was a big guy. It was our own family 
meat supply. We usually butchered four or five 

HP: That was a winter s supply? 

DSM: That was a winter s supply; some of it usually 

lasted into the summer. Most of the meat was cured 
and smoked so it would last into the following 
summer if needed. 

HP: Did you have your own smoke house? 


DSM: We had our own smoke house. We smoked with hickory 
wood. We cured the meat the hams, the shoulders, 
the sides which were rubbed with a mixture of 
brown sugar, salt, pepper and saltpeter before it 
was smoked and was allowed to "cure" for a time. 
Then it was hung in the smoke house and smoked for 
several days. I don t remember for just how long. 
Then we bagged it in heavy paper bags and tied it 
up and hung it in the smoke house until it was used. 

HP: Was the fire kept constantly during those days of 

DSM: Yes. 

HP: A very low fire? 

DSM: A very low fire was maintained so that there was 

smoke instead of blaze. I suppose occasionally it 
would go out during the night and was rekindled 
again the next morning. I remember how it smelled 
and seeing the smoke coming out from under the 
rafters of the old smoke house when we had a good 
smoke going. 

HP: Would you save hickory logs for this purpose? 

DSM: No, we saved hickory pieces for smoking our meat. 
You don t use much wood when you smoke meat. 
Little pieces of hickory that aren t very big 
much like kindling wood only a little larger than 
kindling normally were used and we had plenty of 
hickory in those days. When a hickory tree was 
cut we would take the chips and small pieces 
that were left and use it for smoking meats. 

HP: Was the smoke house a brick building? 

DSM: No it wasn t a brick building. The smoke house 

on our farm was the oldest building on the place. 
It was a frame building, built of logs with black 
walnut siding and it was never painted until after 
I graduated from college and had left home. 

Dad finally decided that it ought to be 
painted to make it match up with the other 

buildings. We regretted it because we kind of 
liked it the way it was. But that siding had 
been on there, I suppose, for a hundred and fifty 
years or more and it was getting thinner each 
year because it was very dry of course and would 
flake off a bit. The old smoke house is still 
there. It will probably stay there unless it 
burns down. 

HP: Then it is hundred and fifty years old at least; 
it must be a considerable fire hazard. 

DSM: That s right, it probably is one hundred fifty 

years old. There isn t much of a fire hazard if 
you are careful. 

HP: Was it a low fire? 

DSM: Low fire, and we used one of these big iron kettles 
and set it in a barrel. The kettle was filled with 
sawdust to near the top. We were very careful to 
keep the fire in the middle and not to lay the 
hickory sticks so that any pieces would drop off 
when they burned down to the point where they 
might be heavier on the outside. So it never 
occurred to us that we might have a fire in the 
smoke house. I suppose people did. 

HP: How many hams and shoulders of pork were there for 
a winter s supply? 

DSM: Well, when we killed five hogs, which we very often 
did, there were ten hams and ten shoulders, which 
would be twenty, plus ten pieces of side meat which 
would be a total of thirty. Those were the pieces 
that were smoked after curing. 

HP i What about bacon? 

DSM: The side meat was used as bacon. We occasionally 
used the fattest part for cooking with beans on 
wash day but we also sliced it for fried bacon. 

Spare ribs were eaten very soon after butcher 
ing because they were fresh and there was a general 
understanding among the neighbors that when we 


butchered they would pet some sausage and spare 
ribs and whatever it was that was available that 
we thought they might like of the fresh meats; 
and the same thing happened when they butchered. 

We didn t butcher the same day as our 
neighbors so we had a lot of fresh meat at various 
times during the winter: fresh sausage, fresh 
spare ribs, and occasional tenderloin. The 
neighbors didn t give us the tenderloins, we 
saved out the tenderloins for use by ourselves. 

HP: Was all sausage smoked? 

DSM: We never smoked sausage. Some people do smoke 

sausage but we never did. What we did was to use 
quite a bit of it soon after butchering and the 
rest of it was fried down. This simply meant 
that it was partially cooked and put into a 
large five or ten gallon jar, twined around if it 
was cased sausage, that was the only kind we fried 
down, and then you poured hot lard over it until 
it was completely covered. 

HP: That was a preservative? 

DSM: That s right. If you would have looked into the 
top of that Jar you would have thought, if you 
didn t know better, that it was only a jar of lard. 
The jar was a five or ten gallon crock usually 
white on the outside and dark on the inside. It 
could be done , of course , in a smaller crock or 
jar but usually when we fried down we did it in 
a big jar. 

HP: The lard was used for shortening? 

DSM: The lard was used for shortening. In the old days 
lard was about the only shortening that was used. 
We sold a lot of lard as we began to have cottagers 
nearby and others who were interested in buying 
butter, eggs, lard, etc. 

We sold it in little wooden boats and weighed 
it out by the pound. I used to work for my uncle 
and aunt in a general store part of the time. We 


used to sell it in the store. Nowadays lard is 
less often used, but it is still available. When 
hogs are slaughtered there is some lard, but most 
of the hogs nowadays are not the lard type that 
we had in the old days. Pat hogs were a good 
commodity and were in demand back in the early 
1900 s. 

HP: Lean hogs have more meat... 

DSM: That s right; bacon type hogs have a larger pro 
portion of lean meat. 

HP: How long would a Jar of sausage and lard keep? 
Would it keep until spring? 

DSM: Oh, yes. That was the whole idea. Usually we 
didn t start using the fried down sausage until 
toward spring and normally we didn t finish it off 
until early summer. 

HP: But it wouldn t keep over for another year? 

DSM: Well, I suppose it would. If we had kept it during 
hot weather the lard would have had a tendency to 
melt. You wouldn t have had as good protection 
for the sausage as you would during the winter 
season. We always kept it in a cool place. 

The Catfish Ceremony 

DSM: One other little item that we, my brother and 
I, have always looked back upon that happened on 
butchering day was the frying of what we called 
the "catfish." My Uncle Zane Seymour, who helped 
us butcher, would come around about the middle of 
the afternoon after they had started rendering the 
lard and the fires were up and the lard was hot. 
He would whisper in our ears in a very secretive 
manner, wanting to know if we didn t think it was 

about time for a "catfish". Of course we would 
jump up and down and say yes. We always slipped 
around slyly. He would take a knife and go cut a 
strip of tenderloin about the size of a small cat 
fish for each of us and we would Just drop it into 
the hot lard. It would sear immediately. We 
would leave it there a little while until it was 
cooked through and then we would fish it out with 
a long handled ladle. 

By that time we had a hand full of salt and 
as soon as it was cool enough we ate the "catfish" 
and I have never tasted anything that tasted any 
better than that "catfish". It was something 
that we always looked forward to because it was 
our secret. Of course everybody knew what we were 
doing, but we thought it was a secret. 

HP: I m afraid I still haven t gotten the complete 

picture on the butchering: where it took place, 
whether the women took part in it the flavor 
of the whole thing. 

DSM: Oh yes, the women, everybody worked at butchering 
time. The family who lived nearby who had only an 
acre or two of land themselves helped, the Roby 
family. Mr. and Mrs. Roby and one of the two 
grown sons always helped butcher. I have already 
mentioned my uncle Zane Seymour who always came 
down to help us butcher. 

We were always allowed to stay home from school 
to help butcher. And then, of course, we usually 
in those days had a "hired girl" who was usually 
one of the Roby girls. Mother, of course, helped; 
everybody worked. 

The first thing that happened in the morning 
was the starting of the fires and heating up water 
for dousing or scalding the hogs after they were 
killed so as to make the scraping of the hair 
easier. This was out-of-doors. The kettles were 
set between two logs on heavy iron rings with legs 
that were made by a blacksmith. The platform that 
was used to draw the hogs up on to after they were 
killed was the farm sled with boards put across it 


lengthwise. Next to this were one or two barrels 
which were set so that they slanted toward the 
sled. As soon as the hogs were shot and bled by 
our neighbor Mr. Roby who was good at it, taking 
a butcher knife and cutting the Jugular vein, they 
were dragged by a hook which was fitted into the 
back of the Jaw, to pull them up onto the sled. 

Then the boiling water was poured into the 
barrel or barrels and the hogs were then doused 
up and down in the barrel until tests around the 
legs showed whether the hair would come off 
easily, and when it did, they turned the hog 
around and doused the other end, then pulled them 
out. The hair was then scraped off either with 
knives or scrapers, that were made for the purpose. 

HP: Was anything in the hot water? 

DSM: Just hot water was used generally, but wood ashes 
were sometimes added. 

HP: Was any use made of the hog bristles? 

DSM: No. The bristles were lost as far as the farm was 
concerned. In the packing houses, of course, they 
were saved. They used to say they used everything 
but the squeal in the slaughter houses. 

HP: A hog weighs about half a ton, doesn t it? 

DSM: No, not that much. Normally the hogs we butchered 
would weigh anywhere from 200 to 250 or 300 pounds. 
The market size of hogs in those days was around 
250 pounds normally. If it was fat or if you 
butchered an old hog which they occasionally did, 
we sometimes had one that would weigh up to 600- 
700 pounds. You usually sold the old hogs to 
somebody else to eat. They were a little tough. 

HP: Were the women in on this phase of the butchering? 

DSM: In the meantime the women were busy in what we called 
the wood house, where tables were set up with planks, 
boiling water ready to do a number of things inclu 
ding having the instruments cleaned up. As soon as 


the hogs were scraped, they were hung on a 
scaffolding beside the hen house with one end 
next to the building and at the other end two 
posts were set up crisscross with a log chain 
around it to hold the scaffolding with a heavy 
post running across between the two. They were 
hung on what they called gambles, which were stuck 
through the leg right near the bend in the knee or 
the hock. They were held up by a couple of men 
and the gamble put over the top of the scaffold 
and slipped through the other leg so that they 
hung there to cool out. 

HP: All five hogs in a row? 
DSM: Yes. 

HP: The scaffolding was put up just for this purpose, 
a temporary affair? 

DSM: Yes, Just for this purpose. 

HP: It had to be very strong; my word, the preparation 
that went into butchering! 

DSM: Yes, but of course it was a normal thing to pre 
pare for butchering day; you didn t think much 
about it. It didn t take too much time. 

As soon as the hogs were cooled out a bit they 
were cut up into various cuts: the hams, the 
shoulders, the sides, and the sausage meat were 
trimmed out. The major part of the lard came off 
the tops of the hams and the shoulders and around 
the loin and the top of the side meat, plus the 
leaf lard from inside the ribs. 

HP: Let me be sure I understand. The hog has been 
killed and eviscerated and the bristle has been 
scraped off the skin and then the rest of him is 
still there; the whole hog. 

DSM: The rest of him is still there. Usually after the 
carcass had been hung, one of the first things they 
did was to cut off the head. It was trimmed out 

and the snout was taken out and the rest of it 
cooked to make mincemeat. Grandmother also liked 
souse so the ears were also cooked sometimes. 
That was one of the first things that were done 
after the hogs were hung. Then after they were 
cooled out they were moved back onto the sled, 
which had been washed down thoroughly, and that s 
where the cutting up, that is the major cutting 
up, was done. As soon as the cutting was well 
under way the women and the boys and anybody else 
who wasn t too busy began to cut lard. It was 
cut into little chunks about an inch or inch-and- 
a-half each way. 

HP: Had the hogs been skinned, or was the skin part of 
the lard? 

DSM: We usually didn t put the skin in with the lard, 
although it could be done that way. Sometimes 
the lard had the skin on it and that s one of the 
things that made cracklings. But there was also 
cracklings from lard that was skinned, too, 
because all you got out of it was the fat. The 
fibers that holds the fat together is still 
there. So the lard cutting was quite a job. 

Cleaning of the entrails for sausage casings 
was started as soon as the hogs were cut up, and 
this was usually done by one or two of the ladies 
in the wood house away from the cold. They had a 
stove in there and it was possible to have enough 
heat to keep reasonably warm. 

HP: I had forgotten that there weren t synthetic sausage 

DSM: No, there weren t synthetic casings. These sausage 
casings were prepared and ready. In addition to 
cutting up lard the parts that were to be used for 
sausage which was the scrappy parts of the meat 
that had mostly lean meat in it were cut up into 
pieces which went into the sausage grinder. 
Sausage grinding started as soon as there was 
anybody to turn the sausage grinder which xvas 
usually one of the jobs that we did as kids. 

HP: Was it like a food chopper? 

DSM: That s right. They were the same as food grinders 
nowadays, manually operated. The sausage was 
stuffed by the same machine that was used for 
pressing lard. When you pressed lard you ran it 
out hot into jars in liquid form from a spout 
and then when it was cooled it was Just good 
white lard. When you got ready to stuff sausage 
the same machine was used only you took out the 
sort of strainer we had inside the machine for 
lard. We pressed the ground-up sausage and it 
came out through a spout into the entrail casings 
which had been attached to the spout. 

HP: Is there anything inside the hog that is shaped 

like a sausage casing, or how did they get it into 
that cylindrical shape? 

DSM: They simply used some of the intestines or entrails 
which were the proper size for this type of opera 

HP: Then it wasn t a matter of sewing it, or anything? 

DSM: No, it was Just a matter of scraping them and 
cleaning them thoroughly and then put in salt 
water in a little pan or jar until ready for use. 
They were clean and edible by that time. 

HP: Was the sausage seasoned? 

DSM: The sausage was mixed and seasoned as soon as it 
was ground. 

HP: Did they put filler in with it? 

DSM: No. 

HP: No bread crumbs? 

DSM: No, we didn t put in anything but meat, salt, pepper 
and a little sage usually. It depended on what 
people liked. We didn t put onion in it. 

HP: Was your Mother in charge of this? 


DSM: Well, yes end no. Mrs. Roby, the neighbor, was in 
charge of the denning of the sausage casings and 
she also usually officiated at the stuffing because 
she knew exactly what to do when once in a while 
one would bo cut and she would see it coming up and 
it would start shooting out at the side and she 
would grab it and the sausage that didn t get into 
the casing would be put back through in the next 
run. She would cut the casing at that stage and 
start over. 

HP: Did you eat sausage for breakfast? 

DSM: Sausage was used for almost any meal, but breakfast 
was more normal. In those days on the farm you had 
meat of some kind almost every morning for break 
fast especially during the winter. Cereal hadn t 
come into general use in our household as yet. 
Although we did have oatmeal and we had a lot of 
buckwheat cakes and pancakes and fried mush and 
that sort of thing during the winter. But we 
usually had sausage or bacon or even steak occa 
sionally for breakfast. 

HP: And eggs, I suppose. 

DSM: Oh yes, eggs were in common use. 

HP: Did you keep chickens? 

DSM: Oh yes. Don t you remember I told you my first 
job was gathering eggs? 

HP: All the butchering was done outside the house; 
nothing was brought into the house until the 
finished product was ready. 

DSM: That s right. In our case this was true but I m 

not sure that was true in every case. Our kitchen 
was small. Some places had large kitchens and I 
wouldn t be surprised if some of this processing 
of the sausage and so on wasn t done in the kitchen 
but not in our case. V/e used what we called the 
wood house for that. 

HP: It s simply amazing how self-sustaining the farm 

was when you were young. Outside of coffee, sugar - 
what else did you buy? 

DSM: Well, there were certain seasonings. We could grow 
sage and occasionally did, but we usually bought a 
little sage and that sort of thing for seasoning. 
Coffee, tea and sugar were the major staples that 
we bought. 

We tried to raise enough vegetables for use 
during the summer and for canning for use during 
the winter. Most vegetables in my early days were 
not so easy to can, because they hadn t developed 
the cold pack method yet and some of them spoiled. 
We always put up tomatoes, and of course fruits 
like peaches, apples and jellies and such. But 
it is true that some farms were almost completely 

We did buy our own brooms although I knew 
farmers and some of our relatives whom I men 
tioned earlier who lived in the north part of the 
county, grew their own broom corn and made their 
own brooms in an off season. 

Getting back to butchering, I might add that 
we usually laid out planks on chunks of wood in 
our basement where the hams and the shoulders and 
the side meats were placed until they were rubbed 
with a combination of salt, sugar, saltpeter and 
pepper that I mentioned, before smoking. We used 
the basement because it was cooler down there than 
it was in some of the other areas. 

HP: Was this before or after the smoking? 

DSM: Before right after the butchering. They started 

rubbing the meat with that combination of salt etc. 
within a few days after butchering, then we smoked 
it all at one time. 

We had long stringers or beams that ran about 
two feet apart across the smoke house, the full 
length, with sharp hooks on them, so you could just 
hook the meat up there directly, or you could tie 
it with twine string and hook it up there. It got 
a little drippy sometimes if your fire got too hot. 

There were two seasonal jobs which I enjoyed 
very much. Butchering in winter and threshing in 

the summer. Part of the enjoyment came from the 
social contacts from these group activities and 
they were also feast days. 

Off -Season Work 

DSM: One of the most onerous tasks which we indulged 
in in those days was the cutting and storing ice 
during the winter. We had our own ice house which 
we filled by cutting ice on Buckeye Lake and hauling 
it a mile or more to pack it in sawdunt in the ice 

The main hotel at Buckeye Lake have a very 
large ice house to provide their supply of ice 
during the summer months, and at age fourteen I 
worked with a crew for most of two weeks during the 
holiday season harvesting ice. It was hard, wet, 
cold work, but I wanted a new suit of long trousers 
for school wear, so I stayed with it and I \tfas able 
to buy the suit for $14.00. 

Other off-season jobs on the farm were the 
various jobs that were carried on when the main 
crops were not being planted or harvested. In the 
summer after harvest was over there was always the 
job of mowing fence rows and open ditch banks with 
a scythe. When I got to be old enough I had this 
full job because I was the only one in the family 
that didn t poison from poison ivy. I had a week 
or ten days job of working all alone around the 
fence rows and up and down the open ditches. 

HP: What is a fence row? 

DSM: A fence row in those days was largely rows along 

the old rail fences where there was a lot of space 
taken up that could not be cultivated. They were 
sometimes called wormfences. Along the wire fences 
there were fence rows also, because you could only 

get up about so close to a fence with a team when 

you were cultivating or plowing, so that there was 

always a strip on either side at least three feet 

HP: Is this waste space that has to be mowed? 

DSM: That s right. It had to be mowed if you wanted to 
keep the weeds under control. They were usually 
mowed in August after harvest and threshing. 

During my teenage period, in particular, we 
hauled a great deal of gravel during the off-season, 
because at that time we were beginning to use a lot 
of concrete. We made concrete drinking troughs for 
the animals; we put in concrete walks; we built a 
big wide concrete veranda, half way round the house. 

HP: You did this yourself? 

DSM: That s right. When we built the new barn we built 
a bank barn and it had a concrete wall on one side 
and both ends. The basement was concreted through 
out. This was an off season job of concrete work 
normally. Not only of hauling the gravel but of 
mixing cement and aggregate by turning it with 
shovels and then taking it from the mixing board 
to the place where you wanted it in a wheelbarrow 
and dumping it and leveling it or pocking it 
inside of forms. 

Some of the other jobs, off-season jobs, hod 
to do with clipping wheat stubble, with c mowing 
machine, in order to keep down the ragweed and 
other weeds that would p;row up after the harvest, 
clipping pastures if there were too many weedr. in 

the pasture. 

On rainy days, of course, we very often oiled 
and mended harness, in the wintertime we put up 
ice, and in the fall we made cider, and in the late 
summer in addition to the other out-of-season 
chores, we usually hauled manure out of the barn 
lots that had accumulated from the feeding opera 
tions during the seasons when the cattle and the 


horses were not out on pasture. There was always 
the job of building or rebuilding and repairing 
of fences. 

G ommun ity Road Repairing 

DSM: We also usually had a period when we were 
hauling crushed stone for the road. 

We prided ourselves on having one of the best 
roads in the county, before hard surface roads 
came in. The grading was done by the neighbors 
who used their tearar. and a township grader which 
was supplied. The township usually agreed to pro 
vide the crushed limestone. We didn t have enough 
gravel right close by. We and the neighbors would 
haul it and put it on the road; so we had a period 
of hauling road stone nearly every year until we 
got the road really built up to the place where 
it was quite a good road for that day before the 
automobile came in. 

HP: Did you do road work only in front of your own 

DSM: Oh no, a group of neighbors worked the whole strip 
of the road all the way from the national pike out 
beyond our place up to what later became Buckeye 
Lake Park which was better than two miles. There 
wasn t any question raised. We worked the whole 
strip. We would do a strip each year and the next 
year we would pick up right there and go on to the 
next strip. We didn t get it all done the same 

HP: Who was in charge? Who told you what to do? 
DSM: Usually the township trustee was responcible. 
Ill : Did he come out and actually ovornee your work? 

DSM: I don t remember of ever seeing a township trustee. 
They supplied the stone and the preder and somebody 
went and got it, and we did the work. 

IIP: Who gave the orders? Who told you what to do? 

DSM: Well, we knew what to do. I don t know who was boss, 

HP: Was this considered a form of government taxation? 
It was a very democratic thing to do. 

DSM: I suppose some of the older men in the group like 
my Dad or John Neel, the old neighbor I mentioned 
awhile ago, maybe took over. I Just don t know. 

HP: What if one of the neighbors had said "I m not 
going to work on the road this year."? 

DSM: It never occurred to anybody to say that they 

couldn t help. Anybody who lived on the farm in 
that area, worked on the road. The people who 
usually served as day workers and whom I called 
the snake hunters didn t work on the road. They 
didn t have teams and they weren t a part of this 
neighborhood operation. 

HP: It was a prestige thing then, wasn t it? 

DSM: It was just accepted. It was a cooperative thing 
that was accepted, and I have never thought of the 
questions that you have just raised. Somebody I 
suppose raised the question whether it wasn t time 
to tell the Trustees to get some stone in and we 
started hauling stone. 

We had what we called gravel bedn for the 
wagons which simply meant that there were several 
flats about five or six inches wide that you fitted 
in with side boards and you unloaded the stone then 
by lifting the side boards and then slat by slat 
and dumping it right in the middle of the road or 
wherever you wanted to dump it. 

HP: It really was a form of self government. 
DSM: That s right. 

HP: And apparently very democratically run. 
DSM: Yes, it worked out very well. 

HP: With a certain status to it that the people who 
weren t property owners were not expected to 

DSM: Even if they owned property if they weren t farmers- 
there were a few people who had a acre or two but 
they didn t have teams, they didn t have equipment. 
The Robys were neighbors. 

HP: You mentioned your neighbors the Robys. They had 
only an acre or r,o, you say? 

DSM: Yes. 

HP: Tell me about them. 

DSM: Well, it happened that Mrs. Roby was a cousin of 
my Dad s. They had a family of about seven or 
eight youngsters. He was a Civil War veteran and 
a very good handyman and we looked to the Robys 
for all kinds of jobs throughout the year when we 
required extra help. They were harvest hands, they 
were butchering hands, they occasionally helped out 
in other jobs when we needed occasional extra help 
and in the meantime they worked their own acre or 
two; raised potatoes, raised vegetables and of 
course canned them and were pretty self sufficient. 

The girls as they grew up worked out as hired 
girls. We had three different Roby girls work for 
us while I was a youngster. As one of them got 
married another one came on and worked for us. 

HP: They obviously had a somewhat subordinate position 
in the community and I wonder why? Was it limited 
intelligence or was it physical strength? As a 
Civil War veteran he must have been pretty well 
advanced in age. 

DSM: No, it wasn t physical strength. They were as 
strong as most men. 

HP: Were they the kind of people who were successful? 

DSM: Well, the Robys were accepted like anybody else in 

the community in local affairs such as school socials 
and that sort of thing if they wanted to partici 
pate. But they were not thought of in terms of 

The Roby kids and we grew up together. 
HP: Did you date the Roby girls? 

DSM: No, I never dated them and most of them were older. 
There were only two who were our age. We used to 
go hunting every time we could get off during the 
winter with a Roby boy that was my brother s age, 
a little older than 1. Most of the family was 
older and some of them were already married and 
had left home by the time I came along. 

But they were sort of a self sufficient family. 
They had one horse, which was enough to do their 
plowing with a small plow and their cultivating on 
the small acreage that they had. If they needed a 
team they occasionally borrowed a team from us. 

HP: I m just trying to guess the sociological grouping 
in your community. They seemed to occupy a sub 
ordinate position and I wonder why? 

DSM: Well, I don t think they were considered subordi 
nate in most senses, Helen. It seemed that they 
participated only as hired hands in such things as 
threshing, harvesting, butchering and so on because 
they didn t trade wcrk. They couldn t reciprocate. 

The same thing is true about hauling stone on 
the road because they were not equipped. Come to 
think of it I think they used to help do some 
leveling with shovels once the stone was dumped. 

HP: A voluntary or paid contribution? 

DSM: A paid contribution. I don t think most of the 
people of that type did contribute to road work. 

People up around the lake I don t think did. It 
is a little hard to explain what the difference 
was because they were accepted as playmates, they 
were accepted if they wanted to be in the social 
activities, but for the most part they usually 
didn t go to church which was one of the social 

HP: Could it have been a lack of proper clothes that 
kept them from church? 

DSM: I don t think so. As a matter of fact I think as 
the girls and men grew older they did occasionally 
go to church but I don t think the older folks went 
to church much. Mrs. Roby went occasionally. It 
wasn t that they were complete heathens in the 
sense that we thought of heathens. 

HP: Did they ever come over to meals at your house? 
Special dinner or anything like that? 

DSM: No. We always went to Grandmother Seymour s for 

Christmas when I was young. Either to Grandmother s 
or one of the aunts. Later on, of course, we had 
it at our house with our own family, our immediate 

HP: There just wasn t much of a social relationship 
with the Robys. 

DSM: Well, not in that sense, no. We thought very 

highly of the Roby girls who had worked for us and 
one of them was still living until recently. She 
was in the early eighties. She took care of my 
Mother after her own husband died several years 
ago and Mother got to the place where she needed 
somebody to help her out. 

She took care of Mothers household until she 
broke a hip. I never went back home that I didn t 
go to see her and chitchat with her because we 
thought of her as practically a member of the 
family; she helped raise us. 

HP; You have no idea what they were paid as hired 

No, they weren t paid much I assure you. 
HP: Perhaps something like $3.00 a week. 

DSM: I think that s probably right, and at that time I 
don t think they got more than S3. 00 or $4.00 or 
$5.00 a week at the outside. They pot their board 
and their room of course. Later on when she came 
to take care of Mother in recent years she got 
$35.00 a week and her board and room, so the times 
have changed pretty drastically. 

HP: Your family was certainly one of the leading 
families in the community. 

DSM: Yes. This was always hard for me to believe, Helen, 
I remember some of the kids from what we called the 
snake hunter group used to tell me how rich we were 
and I knew that we were in debt and had been in 
debt for years. We were paying off some money that 
had been borrowed during Grandmother Myer s day 
after Grandfather died. She wasn t too good a 
manager. We always had patches on our- pants but 
that didn t seem to make any difference. 

As far as these kids were concerned we lived 
in the big house. They thought that we had lots 
of money, I presume, compared with them, but I 
didn t think we had any money because I wasn t 
getting any of it unless I raised a patch of 
potatoes. This I m sure, as I look back, was the 
general feeling of kids of that category: that 
we were some of the elite, the outstanding well- 
to-do citizens. We weren t too well-to-do but 
nevertheless we did own 135 acres of land and we 
had buildings to go with them. 

Finally we had a new barn, and other improve 
ments. Later on as we began to rent some of the 
land for cottage lots things began to get better 
but we never made a lot of money farming so we 
never had much cash. 

HP: There were so many other things besides cash. 

DSM: Oh sure. If there hadn t been more than cash it 
would have been terrible. There was plenty of 
food and many homely pleasures. 



DSM: Farm boys had to have some pleasure and 
recreation as well as hard work. Some of the 
things that we got pleasure from was the owning 
and rearing of pets. I remember that we had one 
or two pet lambs which grew into sizable sheep 
which were ultimately sold and there were tears 
when they went off to the market. 

At one stage when I was a youngster, we had 
a pet gosling. One day when the family was away 
my brother and I decided to have a parade he led 
the lamb and I led the gosling. I put a string 
around his neck and by the time they came home the 
gosling was beyond recall. I had choked him to 

We occasionally had a pet pig, a runt pig, 
that needed a little extra attention. I remember 
one that our hired mar. called "Toby" for some 
reason or other. I don t know where he got the 
idea. This pig was smart enough so that every 
time the cows were milked and the milk was 
brought in, he used to come in to the yard 
through a little hole in the bottom of the gate 
where one picket had been broken off where he 
could o^st get through. We would put out a pan 
of milk for him and he would drink so much that 
he couldn t get back out between the pickets so 
he would go off and lie down by a little cherry 
tree nearby until he had shrunk back to the size 
where he could get back through the hole. He 
knew enough to know that he couldn t do it and he 
learned enough to know all he had to do was wait 
and he would shrink back to normal size. 

At Easter time or previous to Easter time it 
was a great game to hide eggs, and to brag about 
how many dozen you had. hidden. I m sure that the 


eggs were never very good quality by the time they 
were retrieved. Very often it was cold enough that 
if v/e hadn t hidden them in a warm place they would 

HP: They were colored eggs? 

DSM: No, these were eggs that we had gathered. I should 
say that we stole from the family and hid them in 
boxes. Everybody expected it. We used boxes or 
anything that you could find. We would tuck them 
awoy in the hay mow or any good hiding place. 

HP: Were they boiled? 

DSM: No. They were fresh eggs at the time they were 
hidden and then they were brought in on Easter 
morning to count out to see who had hidden the most 
eggs. Kids around the whole neighborhood used to 
brag about how many they had hidden. Of course it 
was a game to get away with it because Mother and 
Dad weren t too happy to have their eggs hidden. 

Then we colored some eggs but not very many. 
It was great business to brag about how many eggs 
you ate on Easter morning. I don t remember what 
my record is but I did pretty well. 

HP: You mean cooked for breakfast? 
DSM: Cooked for breakfast, that s right. 
HP: Not hard boiled. 

DSM: If you liked them hard boiled they could be hard 

boiled, but usually they were soft boiled or fried. 
Any way that you liked them. 

HP: How many eggs would you eat? Half dozen or some 
thing like that? 

DSM: I probably ate six or eight. Farm kids could get 
away with six Or eight eggs without too much 
trouble . 


Memories of Visits to Grandmother Seymour 

DSM: Memories that stand out are the holiday visits 
to my Grandmother Seymour s. Usually we went there 
on Thanksgiving and Christmas and my brother and I 
usually went to stay with them for two weeks during 
the summer when we were younger, when we weren t 
yet making a full hand at home. 

HP: Tell me about the Seymour household. Where it was 
and exactly what it was like and so on. 

DSM: Well. The Seymour household was five miles away 
on one route and on another route it was seven 
miles from our place. It was up a long lane off 
the Lancaster road and near the National Pike 
(Route 4-0). The road ran from Luray, about two 
miles from Hebron. Hebron, of course, is quite a 
metropolis compared to Luray. Hebron has 800 and 
I think Luray had about 50. 

HP: Then or now? 

DSM: Still. They haven t changed much. 

They, the Seymours, had settled on this land 
back in the 1850 s about the time they were 
married. First they went to Indiana and settled 
in Tippe canoe County, Indiana, near Lafayette for 
a short time and then came back to Ohio and built 
a log house. 

The old log house was still standing when I 
used to go up there as a kid. The roof had partly 
fallen in. They kept some livestock back there 
and the logs were still good. 

The older kids were born in the log house but 
I think maybe they had built the other one before 
my Mother came along. 

The house wasn t too big. They had what they 
called a summer kitchen that was attached to the 
house by a porch. I can smell it yet, it smelled 
good. It always smelled good. 


HP: What was a summer kitchen? 

DSM: In the wintertime they set their cook stove up in 
the same room that they used for a dining room the 
year around. They cooked in there and they served 
in there. But during the summer they cooked in the 
summer kitchen where they had a big stove. They 
had all the kitchen equipment that they needed 
there and the food was carried through the porch 
into the dining room to be served. 

HP: It was to keep the heat out of the house. 

DSM: I suppose. I don t know why. 

HP: Were they both coal ranges or wood? 

DSM: They were wood ranges, in those days. 

HP; They had stoves in both places. 

DSM: Oh yes, or they could very easily move it, you know. 
In the summer time they moved the stove out of the 
dining room to make more room if nothing else. They 
may have moved it back and forth. I m not sure 
about that. They had a good sized range I remember 
in the summer kitchen which wasn t too easy to move 
and I think maybe they simply stored the other one 

We had great times there at Grandmother Seymour s, 
We always had presents at Christmas time. They were 
not very costly presents. The whole family gathered 
in for the picking of the Christmas tree. My Grand 
mother bad a family of seven at that stage. Inci- 
dently all of the seven with one exception lived 
to be 82 years old or older. The one that lived 
to be the oldest was an aunt of mine who lived with 
my Mother for a number of years before she died at 
age 102. 

HP: How old was your Mother when she died? 

DSM: My Mother died at 94. She would have been 95 in 

two more months. My Aunt Alice, who was one of my 
favorite people, died at the age of 52 with cancer 

of the lung. All the rest lived to more than eighty- 
two years of age. 

Thanksgiving was quite a day but it didn t 
have presents, of course, as you had at Christmas. 

The Seymours were farmers just the same as the 
Myer family was and I assume had about the same 
standing in the community. Some of the Seymours 
were quite active Methodists as my Dad and my 
Mother were. My Aunt Mate, for example, who lived 
to the ripe old age of 102, always sang in the 
choir when I was a kid. She had a good alto voice. 

HP: What is the name Mate a nickname for? 
DSM: Mary. 

A Country Quartet 

DSM: My Uncle George a. good tenor. There 
a quartet in the community of which he was a 
member as a young man. They sang all the popular 
songs of the day. The, quartet type of songs such 
as "Where Oh Where Eas My Little Dog Gone?", and 
also some songs that were much more serious than 
that. They always threw in one of this kind 
because people just loved it "With his tail cut 
short and his hair cut long" and so on. 

It used to be fun to watch that quartet. A 
chap by the name of Mac Brown was the base, Alf 
Parish was second tencr, Sam Rosebraugh was bari 
tone. Sam Rosebrauph was always losing the place, 
You could always see them pointing a finger when 
they realized that Can was lost. . One time I ve 
forgotten what they were singing but Sam sang 
"Where, Oh where is the place" and one of them 
sang "I ll be damned if I know." 


HP: This was in front of a crowd? 

DSM: That s right. Of course it was a group of people 
that knew what they were doing. They sang at 
funerals, they sang at all kinds of affairs. 
Three of them were farmers and Sam Rosbaugh was a 
harness maker in Hebron. They started singing when 
they were kids. Uncle George was a member, the 
tenor. He is one of the Seymours that lived to be 

As I said earlier, my brother and I used to 
go up there for two weeks every summer which we 
thoroughly enjoyed. 

We helped out with the chores and if there 
was anything to do, such as hauling gravel and 
that sort of thing, we went along and helped to 
load gravel in the off season. We helped with the 
harvest. I have a finger that is badly mangled 
because I tried to help a horse pull up some hay 
and got my finger into the pulley and the rope 
peeled it off. My uncle and aunt took me to the 
doctor at Hebron four miles away by horse and 

We also did some shooting, and hunting. 
Shooting the blackbirds to keep them out of the 
corn field if it was that time of the year was 
fun for us. 

I remember quite distinctly one of my great 
frustrations. After I had been at Grandmother s 
about a week one summer we went to church on Sun 
day night, which was not unusual. My Aunt Mate 
drove us and my brother and I went along. Of 
course, my parents were there. As we came out 
of the church my Mother put her arm around my 
shoulders as we walked out to the buggy and she 
said "We re going to tiaresh this week, don t you 
want to come home with us?" She didn t realize 
that this was a rather cruel thing to do. I 
didn t want to go but I didn t want to miss 
threshing and I wept tears that went clear to my 
toes. I suppose I wepc the most of the way back 
to Grandmother s but I decided to stay that extra 
week. It was the kind of decisions kids have to 


make once in a while that are kind of tough. I 
think this indicated how well I liked my Grand 
mother, She was a great person. 

Grandfather Seymour had died in 1890, the 
year before I was born, so Grandmother had been a 
widow for a number of years. 

Grandmother Seymour continued to run the farm 
with the help of her boys, and she had three at 
home at that time. They did the heavy farm work. 
She was a good farm hand herself. She did the 
milking usually and she did a lot of other chores. 
When the old cat had kittens and she had too many 
around she was the one who took the kittens in the 
coal bucket to the creek. 

HP: What did she look like, Dillon? 

DSM: She wasn t a very big woman. She was spare, wiry 
and gray hair almost ever since I could remember. 
White hair, of course, by the time she passed away 
at age 85. She had a wonderful smile. 

HP: Was she a good cook? 

DSM: Oh, wonderful. Just superb. I suppose it was one 
reason why we liked to go up there because I told 
Mother, she did things better than she did. I 
said I liked Grandmother s cookies better than 
Mother s and Mother used to get so mad because 
she said "I make them exactly like she does." 
She did I m sure, but there was something about 
the aura of Grandmother s kitchen and cookies 
that made me like them better. 

Marooned by a Storm 

DSM: One other incident that I m reminded of is a 
scary one. During the summer, as I have mentioned, 

my brother and I usually spent two weeks at our 
Grandmother s . My Aunt Mate who was still a 
bachelor lady usually looked after us and if she 
went any place she took us with her. One day we 
went to Newark to do some shopping which was a 
distance of eleven or twelve miles. 

We got near home after dark and a big storm 
had come up. The storm had blown a large tree down 
across the road which was just across the fields 
from my Grandmother n house but this was probably 
half a mile or more away. 

We were in a dilemma because my brother and 
I were afraid to go for help and Aunt Mate didn t 
dare leave us with a skittish horse to go for 
help so all she could do was to wait and yell for 

During this wait she called for her brothers. 
We saw them come out to the barn with a lantern, 
hitch up a horse to a cart, and drive out the lane 
which was not too far from where we were and they 
went in the other direction to Millersport, a 
town probably three and a half miles av/ay. I 
don t know whether they went to the barbershop 
or did some shopping. It was only when they came 
back from Millersport that they finally heard 
my aunt call and two of my uncles came down and 
helped to roll the tree off the road BO we could 

HP: How long were you marooned there? 

DSM: I think we must have been marooned there about 
three and a half hours. 

HP: Did you have anything to eat? 


DSM: Well, I don t remember about that. I suppose we 
had had something to eat. We probably had some 
candy and that sort of thing with us but I don t 
remember about it. We were too scared to remember 
very much. 

HP: Was it raining? 


DSM: No it wasn t raining at that time. It was windy 
and it had rained but at that time it wasn t 
raining but of course, we had a little phaeton 
with side curtains on it. 

Going back to Christmas time for a moment, 
some of the simple pleasures were having popcorn 
balls, strings of popcorn which were used to 
decorate the tree in those days and you could eat 
it off by having one kid at one end and another at 
the other end and see who got to the middle first. 
All such simple pleasures as that. If you got an 
orange in the bottom of your stocking on Christmas 
morning you really had something that you treasured. 
Nowadays, of course, kids don t realize that oranges 
were scarce back there. 

HP: I suppose they would have to go to town and buy 
oranges at Christmas time. 

DSM: Oh yes, they bought oranges. The storekeeper got 
them in at Christmas time. It was about the only 
time they ever had them. Once in a while they got 
a bunch of bananas out of season but not very often. 
But oranges were something special at Christmas. 

HP: What were other Christmas gifts? Something knitted? 

DSM: Occasionally you got something knitted but a pair 
of skates was really something and books that kids 
could read. Knitted mittens were very common but 
I don t remember that we had home knitted socks 
because Mother didn t do that kind of knitting 
and Grandmother didn t either. She didn t have 

Candies and an orange beside one major pre 
sent was about what we had at home. Then we 
always had some small gifts at Grandmother s and 
gifts from the aunts. Once in a while we would 
get something as big as a sled. 

HP: They lived close enough that you could go up just 
for the day on Christmas? 


DSM: That s right. We would go up to Grandmother 

Seymour s as soon as the chores were done in the 
morning and come back in time to do the chores in 
the evening. Which meant that we usually got there 
about 10:00 or 10:30 and left by 4:00 or 4:30. 

HP: The chores must have been the nagging thing about 
life on a farm. That you couldn t leave the 
animals whether you felt like it or not. 

DSM: You re telling me. The chores that I had to do 
were not only feeding but also the milking. As 
I got old enough to have dates and to be away on 
Sundays I always had to get home and help milk on 
Sunday evening and my brother didn t need to because 
he didn t milk. It used to irk me no end. But we 
did it. We milked every morning and milked every 

Plans To Become A Farmer 

HP: That well may have been a factor in your not wanting 
to be a farmer. 

DSM: No. In spite of monotonous chores I wanted to be 
a farmer. As a matter of fact I had planned to 
be a farmer. I had bought a farm Just before the 
war broke out in 191? and I had planned to farm 
but by the time I got ready to farm I wasn t married 
and I didn t think anybody who doesn t have a wife 
should live on a farm. When I got married I didn t 
marry a farmer s wife. 

HP: You pretty nearly have to be in a farm family to 
be able to cope with all the problems. 

DSM: Well, I kept the farm that I had bought in 191? 
until 1948 because I was interested in it. As 
long as we lived in Columbus, Ohio, before we 
moved to Washington, 1 was down there almost every 


weekend and occasionally on holidays. I would 
help out with the wheat harvest or occasionally 
with work of other kind. I liked to get my hand 
in again. 

HP: You had a tenant farmer? 

DSM: Yes, my uncle who used to help us butcher, had 

the farm for a number of years until he got older 
and then he took over the home farm of his in-laws 
and I had to get other tenants. 

More About Fun During The Days On The Farm 

DSM: Other fun that we had on the farm included 

horseback riding, horse racing as we got old enough 
to have a horse and rig of our own, youth parties 
which we usually enjoyed during the winter with 
an occasional one during the summer, including 
such things as taffy pulls, and parties with the 
kind of kid games that were played in those days 
including post office, etc., 

Games at school such as prisoner s base, 
black man, sock ball and others, of course, were 
always fun. Hide-and-go-seek was a very common 
game and I assume that it still is. School 
socials, spelling bees, were always a part of the 
family fun. 

I took great pleasure in taking on new tasks 
considered to be a man s work. I mentioned already 
at the time of butchering I felt that I was begin 
ning to grow up when my uncle suggested that I 
shoot the hogs. 

I remember the first time that my Dad allowed 
me to plow for any length of time. I took over 
about the middle of the morning because we were 
trimming raspberries which I didn t like to do. 

The hired man was doing the plowing so he let me 
go out and plow in his place. I finished out 
the day and I was so tired by evening that they 
were up with me half the night because my legs 
ached so badly that I couldn t sleep. I was Just 
a kid of course. 

I loved to plow with a walking plow. There 
was something about watching the soil turn and 
the smell of the soil and the movement of the 
team. We had a good team. I Just thoroughly 
enjoyed it. I have never gotten over it and I 
would still like to do it even though I nearly 
killed myself the first time around. 

Taking a team at threshing time, which I 
mentioned, for the first time was fun. 

There was hunting in the wintertime. We 
hunted without guns until we were old enough to 
have a gun. We usually had a dog. If we didn t 
have one of our own we had a neighbor s dog and 
we would chase a rabbit into a corn shock or into 
a culvert or ditch where we would poke him out. 
We got a rabbit about every other time we went 
out hunting. 

HP: The dog would catch it? 

DSM: The dog would sometimes catch him but very seldom. 
We usually got them holed up some place where we 
could catch them without the dog s help. He 
helped to tree them usually. 

In the summertime we did a great deal of 
fishing. We used to keep the family in fish for 
breakfast. Very often we went to the lake, now 
called Buckeye Lake. It used to be called the 
Licking Reservoir. We would go over there in 
those days in an hour s time you could catch 
forty or fifty nice blue gills or maybe a few 
perch mixed in or an occasional catfish. We 
would bring them home and clean them and we would 
have them for breakfast the next morning. There 
was nothing like a good fresh fish. 


These were in general the kinds of things we 
did. Of course in the wintertime we had skating 
and coasting in addition to the rabbit hunting. 
There were probably others that I have overlooked. 

The Coming Of The Interurban And Related Items 

DSM: There were certain new developments during the 
time when I was growing up that stand out in my 
memory. About the time I was twelve years of age, 
I presume 1902 or 1903, the Columbus, Newark and 
Zanesville interurban traction line was completed 
with a spur from Hebron to Buckeye Lake. It became 
known as Buckeye Lake after the traction company 
bought up land and established Buckeye Lake Park. 
This brought major changes and new experiences in 
my young life. 

HP: I would like to hear what part that development 
played in your whole family life and in yours 
particularly . 

DSM: Well, transportation, of course, into town, into 

the county seat and even into Columbus became very 
much easier. In order to get into Columbus before 
the traction line came in we had to take the T and 
OC Railroad and change at a place called Thurston 
and it took it seemed to me hours to get there. 

HP: Toledo and Ohio Central? 

DSM: Toledo and Ohio Central ran through our town of 

HP: How long did it take to get from home to Columbus? 

DSM: I don t remember exactly. I never did it over two 
or three times. I went to Columbus first when I 
was five years old. My Mother went to the hospital 
to have a nonmalignant tumor removed and my aunt 


took us up just before Christmas. It seemed to me 
the wait at Thurston was interminable. I suppose 
it took not over an hour and a half or two hours 
but it seemed an awfully long time. Then I 
remember we went on an excursion or two, a Sunday 
School excursion to Columbus by train. 

HP: How would you get to the train? 

DSM: Well, we took the train from Hebron which was three 
and a half miles from home. 

HP: You took a horse and buggy? 

DSM: We took a horse and buggy and put it in a livery 
stable until we got back if we went for a day, or 
somebody took you in and then went home. 

HP: I never realized that the livery stable was sort 
of a boarding place. 

DSM: Oh sure. 

HP: The horses didn t necessarily belong to the livery 

DSM: When we went to Newark we always put our horses up 
in the livery stable during the day while we were 
there, and they fed them at noon. We usually took 
our own corn but they fed them hay. We used to 
have what they called a ten cent barn. We could 
stand our horse and rig in there all day for a 
dime if we brought our own feed. They would charge 
you extra if they supplied the feed. 

HP: Was this under cover? 

DSM: Oh yes. 

HP: Did you unhitch the vehicle? 

DSM: Yes. We usually unhitched them although in this 
particular one you could stand them in and tie 
them up without unhitching the rig. But in most 
cases you did unhitch them. What the livery 
stable did, of course, was lease horses and 
carriages or buggies which they owned but they 


also took care of other peoples horses when they 
came into town. 

To go back to the interurban line. This gave 
us the opportunity and the freedom which we did 
not have previously to travel with ease. Newark, 
our county seat, was about, depending on which way 
you went, nine or twelve miles from our home. 
During my high school days we went to the theatre 
many many times with our dates which we couldn t 
possibly have done if we had been dependent upon 
a horse and buggy. 

HP: You mean that you would drive into Hebron. 

DSM: Yes or we could go in on the interurban on the 
spur to Buckeye Lake which was just across the 
field from us. In the wintertime though if we did 
that we walked home from Hebron at night. If you 
went early enough you could catch a car in because 
it ran until six o clock. But we did this very 
often. We would go in on the car or walk in and 
then we would walk home. Two and a half to three 
miles and we could do that in half an hour if we 
stepped right along on the railroad track. 

We went to high school by taking the inter- 
urban, which ran to Hebron. It had a one-man 
raotorman and conductor. He was awfully good to 
us. He would toot the whistle the minute he was 
ready to leave the park which was a little farther 
away than it was from our house down to the rail 
road. We would start on the run and he would run 
slowly until he got down to the Neal s crossing 
and we would just about make it there all out of 
breath. We would get on and he would grin and 
say "Well, I almost beat you this morning." 

HP: How long would it take you to get there? 

DSM: Oh just a whip-stitch, three or four minutes. It 
was only about a quarter of a mile. 

HP: What was the fare, do you remember? 


DSM: It was a nickel to begin with; maybe it went up to 
a dime later. We went home from high school the 
same way. 

I used to go to baseball games and the Grand 
Circuit Harness Races occasionally by interurban. 
As I got old enough I would sneak away from home 
and let on that I had gone some place else if I 
went to a Sunday baseball game because my Dad did 
not favor Sunday baseball games. 

HP: This interurban really made an enormous change, 
didn t it? 

DSM: It opened up a whole new era. The opening of the 
summer resort which the interurban company did at 
Buckeye Lake changed our whole economy. We started 
selling milk, vegetables and produce to the hotels 
and to the cottagers who began to build cottages, 
or to rent cottages during the summer. 

Prom the time I was about twelve or thirteen 
up till the time I went to college at age eighteen 
my Father and I delivered milk morning and evening 
by hand. We measured it out in a quart or a pint 
measure and poured it out into somebody s pan. Of 
course the hotels would take maybe two to five 
gallons depending on the crowd expected. On a 
big day five or ten gallons. 

HP: Did the interurban company build the hotels? 

DSM: The railway company built one hotel and then there 
were others that were built privately near by. 

HP: Summer hotels? 

DSM: Yes. They were summer. 

People started coming to the house to buy 
produce. There got to be so many of them that we 
decided to deliver. That s the way it all got 

When I got back from delivering milk in the 
morning I would help to harvest whatever vegetables 


that were ready and I would deliver such things as 
butter and eggs, sweet corn, preen beans, apples 
and anything else that we had for sale. 

HP: Who would set the price? Your Mother? 
DSM: My Dad, I think, usually set the price. 

i^ori ; riy JL/WU., x UIJ.O.IIA., UBUO.J.XJC t>tsu oii jj.L .Li;tJ 

HP: What did you use? Did you have a horse and carriage? 

DSM: We made over an old buggy into a spring wagon that 
would haul quite a load of sweet corn for example. 
This was an experience, I suppose, that had a good 
deal to do with my learning to deal with people. 
You dealt with all kinds of people under these 
circumstances. Some people would like to fight 
with you. 

I remember one old lady who was a good customer. 
She and I were good friends. But she came out one 
day and said "My milk soured. " She started to give 
me the devil about it, and I had rjust poured a pint 
of milk into her pan. She only took a pint of milk 
that morning. So I just picked it up and poured 
it back into my can and said "I m sorry you don t 
like our milk" and started on. You should have 
heard her. She wanted milk so she called me back. 
She never bawled me out again. Never. 

HP: You had milked it that morning, 

DSM: Oh sure. It was fresh milk but we didn t cool it 
well enough and it is a wonder that it didn t sour 
much more often than it did because we didn t handle 
it as it ought to have been handled, but usually 
it was fresh enough and our cans were clean of 
course and if they took care of it properly they 
could keep it from morning to night at least or 
from morning until the next morning and they did 
not order more than they thought they were going 
to need. 

HP: This added a cash income during the summer. 

DSM: Oh absolutely. I used to carry a pocket full of 

change and of course when I got bills I would turn 

them in. But in the meantime I was allowed to 
spend anything that I thought I needed out of that 
cash. If I needed a bottle of pop I bought a 
bottle of pop which was amazing because we had 
been pretty frugal throughout the years but it 
taught me a bit about how to handle money. 

HP: Did you extend any credit or was it cash basis? 

DSM: We sold for cash. We sold tickets for milk if some 
one wanted to buy tickets to make it easier. 

HP: They paid in advance. 

DSM: That s right. In this process of carrying a pocket 

full of change and selling produce for cash I learned 
much about human nature and I found some of it good 
and some of it bad. 

HP: Were you shy? Was this an ordeal for you or did you 
enjoy it? 

DSM: No. I think I enjoyed it. I was a shy farm kid and 
of course under certain conditions I was still shy 
but I had gotten pretty well accustomed to the 
routine and I knew most of the customers. Of course, 
there were strange people who came into the cottages 
for a week or two or three but I got so it didn t 
bother me. 

HP: Did they add to your sophistication? Some were pro 
bably rather sophisticated people compared to the 
ones you had known. 

DSM: I don t think there was too much difference. 
HP: There wasn t gambling or that sort of thing? 
DSM: There was some of it but I didn t see much of that. 

An Expansion Of Business 

DSM: The demand increased our dairy herd. We had to 
do more milking, increase our vegetable production, 
and when we ran out of produce we bought from four 
or five neighbors if we had to have more. I used to 
go and pick up eggs and butter, milk even under cer 
tain conditions, if we had a big demand on holidays 
and big days. 

HP: Would you call neighbors and ask if they had extra 
milk or how would you do that? 

DSM: I usually went to these neighbors without calling 
because it was easier to go and check. We knew we 
could get produce in most cases because they would 
save it for us and during mid-summer we were usually 
able to handle most of the surplus that they had: 
such things as eggs, butter and current produce then 
in season. 




DSM: During the summers between ages around fifteen 

or sixteen to twenty-two at the time I graduated from 
college my brother and I would work all day on the 
farm; after work we would get rid of the day s grime 
in the old cedar wash tub. Then garbed in clean 
clothes we would go to the park almost every night to 
dance or date or maybe just to watch other people. 
This usually meant late hours for farm boys and as a 
result it was not easy to crawl out of bed in the 
early morning or to start again after a thirty minute 
noonday siesta. Our Father many times pointed out 
that most of the people who frequented the park were 
on vacation, long or short, did not have to work the 
next day, so we should not try to do what they did 
because it was hard work all summer for us. 
But we persisted in spite of his admonitions and 
tired bodies. As I look back we put up with many 
aches and pains just so we could say we had been to 
the park every night. 

I learned to dance on a public dance floor with 
the very much appreciated help of the older girls in 
our crowd. Roller skating was free to us because the 
operators of the skating rink kept a horse at our 
place. We also had free rides on the roller coaster 
because two of the head operators boarded with us for 
a time during the summer. 

There was a strange interlude or two that may 
prove interesting. Our church decided one summer to 
sponsor a couple of so-called fresh air kids which 
meant that they were willing to arrange with their 
members to take a couple of kids from the city for 
two weeks where they could get out into the country 
and get the fresh air that they felt that they needed, 

About the time I was ten or eleven and my brother 
was thirteen or fourteen such a project was sponsored 
and my parents decided to take on two boys. It hap 
pened they were brothers and they were almost the 
same age as my brother and myself. Their names were 
Willie and Harry Graham from Columbus, Ohio. During 
the first few days of their stay my brother and I 
sat at their feet enthralled by stories of city life 
including the routines of their uncle s livery stable. 

When the city life stories began to be less 
interesting it occurred to us that maybe there were 
some exciting things that we could show them. It was 
fortunate that no one got hurt or killed for one of 
the first things that we did was to bridle up old 
"Queen" and "Gyp", a pair of bay carriage horses, and 
took them out into the pasture field and boosted the 
boys on to them without saddle, just bareback, and 
when we got them settled on their backs we stood back 
with a hitch strap each of us and gave the horses a 
crack across the back end that started them down 
through the field as hard as they could run. It 
happened that the boys did survive. I think at least 
one of them fell off before they slowed down but no 
body got stepped on. 

We then remembered that there were two or three 
bumblebee nests in the recently harvested meadow so 
we maneuvered them so that they walked through them 
while we were on the flanks and of course they got 
stung and they had to do the fighting. These experi 
ences and others taught a couple of city boys that 
all the excitement did not lie in the cities. 

On Sundays we went to Sunday School and Church 
regularly. I went through all the paces from the 
Primary Sunday School Class to the passing of the 
collection baskets during the time I was a teenager. 
My Father was a dedicated Methodist layman and a 
pillar in the church but he didn t have us baptised 
and entered into the membership of the church as 
babies because he felt it should be our own choice. 
This situation lead to a continuing challenge to our 
several successive ministers to get Johnny Myer s 
boys into membership and consequently we were preached 

to and at so often that we became bored and obstinate. 
As a result during my years on the farm I did not 
join the church. 

I neglected to mention one other instance in 
relation to the Boxwell or Patterson examination 
which I mentioned earlier. They had a commencement 
for the people who had passed that examination. I 
had a "piece" to speak. I think the title was 
"Should The Farmers Go On A Strike." When I got up 
to say my piece the first line eluded me completely 
and I stood there before the audience embarrassed. 
It seemed to me it was five minutes it probably was 
not over half a minute but long enough that I could 
see my uncles and others looking down their noses and 
feeling sorry for me. It was an experience that I 
shall never forget. The line finally came to me and 
I took off. Once I got started I went through it in 
a hurry. 

High School 

DSMr The high school which we attended was at Hebron. 
Ohio, and it was a small high school. My brother had 
not gone to high school previously because they had 
not had a good high school up to this time so we both 
started at the same time. He lasted only one year 
because he couldn t stand the pressure and the feeling 
of wounded pride that he had of having to go to school 
with his younger brother who was almost three years 
younger than he was. So he quit at the end of his 
freshman year and I continued. 

Six boys and six girls graduated in my graduation 
class which indicates something of the size of the 
institution. We went to high school on the inter- 
urban which fortunately ran all through the winter 
during the daytime. 


These were the days of horse and buggy courting, 
hay wagon parties, kid parties, birthday surprise 
parties, etc. These were the things that made up 
most of the social life other then skating and sled 
ding in the wintertime. The school was not big enough 
for a football team. It was hardly big enough for a 
baseball team but we had one, but we usually had to 
run in a ringer or two who was not in school any 
more in order to make out a team of nine players. 

We had a debating team which was pretty good. 
One instance that I remember quite distinctly was when 
we went to Kirkersville , which was six miles up the 
pike toward Columbus, to debate the Kirkersville High 
School one night and afterward when we came out to 
get on the interurban we were egged by a bunch of 
hoodlums and most of us went home with eggs all over 
our overcoats. 

HP: Do you remember what things you debated, what sub 

DSM: I don t remember what subjects we debated. I do 
remember that I was the cheerleader in those days 
and about the only place you did any cheerleading 
was at the debates. How I happened to be selected 
I don t know. Anyhow, I probably could still give 
some of the old high school cheers. 

My Early Courting Days 

DSM: I had two girls during this period. The first 

one was about half as tall as I now am. A little bit 
of a thing and fortunately she didn t think I was 
quite her style so I started going with another girl. 
Ruth Pence was her name. I went with her all the 
rest of high school and all the way through college. 

We decided to call it quits about the time I was 
in my senior year when I decided to go to Kentucky to 


teach I stopped by her house and got all of the 
fraternity pins and the sort of jewelry that she 
didn t need anymore. 

I suppose going steady was a good thing for me 
because it sort of kept me running straight if I had 
been loose I don t know what I would have done. 

During this time Ruth s father for some reason 
or other got mad and upset. I don t think he knew 
quite why but in order to be mean which he was at 
times, he decided that I shouldn t come to the house 
but that didn t stop us. I used to drive up in front 
of the house with my horse and buggy and Ruth would 
step out and v/e would go riding across the country 
side. Finally he wanted to give a party for her on 
one of her birthdays, but she said no, she didn t 
want a party, because I couldn t come. So he broke 
over and let me come after which I went to the house 
again regularily. 

He was one of those people. He just got twisted 
up one day and this was the ornriest thing he could 
think of, I guess. She was an only daughter and I 
think he thought I was getting too serious. I don t 
know for sure. But that didn t break things up. As 
a matter of fact I think it made things worse. 

Buckeye Lake Park during the summer, as I have 
already indicated, was a gathering place and it was a 
regular thing that our gang from Hebron came out on 
Saturday nights and we would meet them at the inter- 
urban. This was dance night at Buckeye Lake. 

Innovations And Transition 

DSM: During the period of my growing up during the 

country school days and high school days a number of 
important things happened which stand out in my 
memory. Probably the first one was the initiation 


of the rural free mail delivery in our area which 
happened about 1900. Incidentally one of our neigh 
bors who was a law into himself never put in a mail 
box and didn t accept mail from the rural free 
delivery because he said then he would have no excuse 
to go to town. He drove to town to get his mail all 
the rest of his life. 

Our first telephone, a party line with eight 
families on it, on which our ring was five, came 
when I was probably around eleven or twelve years 
of age. This was quite a thrill and of course it 
was used for many things besides business. One thing 
that I recall quite vividly was that the chap who was 
the beau of one girl who worked for us used to bring 
his Edison phonograph along occasionally. It had the 
horn, the round wax records that he kept in cotton 
and pulled out with two fingers and slipped onto the 
cylinder. He had the usual group of songs and music 
of that day and an occasional record of Josh Billings 
such as the one about the lightening rod salesman. 

My Dad used to call up cousins and others clear 
across the county and at other exchanges Potaskala 
and Jersey and got them on the line and would say 
"Now we re going to play Listen To The Mockingbird 1 . 1 
Then he would set the receiver dov/n on the little 
shelf and it would play away and then he would go 
back and check. Maybe they would play four or five 
tunes for them. They kept the phone busy often but 
fortunately nobody was calling a doctor at that time. 

My first automobile ride was an important event. 
It probably happened about 1902 or 190$. Two gentle 
men came walking up an alternate lane we had which 
wasn t used a great deal and left their car down on 
the road which was more than a quarter of a mile away 
to see whether or not they could leave their auto 
mobile in our barn or shed. When Dad told them that 
they might, they invited us to go down with them and 
ride up. 

It was one of the early Buicks which had a door 
in the back with a step, that you used to step up 
into from behind. My brother and I got in and of 


course we were bumping each other with elbows and 
giggling and having a great time. It was quite a 
thrill. The ride was less than a half mile. Some 
where between a quarter and a half mile but it seemed 
like a worthwhile ride to us. 

The coming of free natural gas and the advent 
of a furnace to supply central heat was one of the 
greatest things that happened to me during my young 

The purchase of our first automobile in 1913 was 
a big event. This did not happen until I was in col 
lege. I remember quite distinctly that we debated 
between buying an Oakland and a Studebaker. We finally 
bought the Studebaker because it had jump seats and 
would haul seven passengers instead of five in a pinch 
even though it was only a four cylinder car. We all 
learned to drive during this period except my Dad and 
Mother. Dad tried but when he hit the gate post once 
he decided he wouldn t ever drive again so the boys 
did all the driving. 

Fords had become quite common by this time. I 
think the first Ford garage and sales agency was 
established in our hometown in 1909 and it wasn t 
very long until model T Fords were beginning to 
ramble around the countryside and scare all the 
horses and cause trouble generally. 

The period from 1891, the year of my birth, to 
1914-, the year when I graduated from college, was in 
reality a period of transition from the horse and 
buggy days to the machine age throughout the country. 
Thin transition I am sure had an important bearing 
upon my life and future development. The invention 
of the auto in the early 1890 s, and the gradual 
emergence of the automobile as a means of transpor 
tation between 1900 and 1914- had a tremendous impact 
on communications between people and communities 
and upon the economy. 

During this same period the interurban electric 
line came into general use, particularly in the Mid- 
West. The coming of the Rural Free Delivery and the 
rural telephone lines were particularly important 


Self binders for grain, with sheaf carriers also 
arrived during this period. The development of the 
combine harvester which nowadays is common came later. 

Intermingled with all the hard farm work and 
onerous chores there were many pleasures which helped 
to make life livable. There were always horses to 
ride for both business and pleasure. Rabbit hunting 
with dog and no gun in the early years and later both 
rabbit and quail hunting were fun times. Pishing in 
the summer was a good sport and we had good fishing 
spots within walking distance. 

Evenings around the fire in the winter with 
apples and popcorn were also fun. Social affairs at 
the country school were well attended and added to the 
social life of the community. Later teenage parties 
were quite common during our high school days. 

College Years 

DSM: I had a bit of a problem in coming to a decision 
about where to attend college. My Father wanted me to 
attend Ohio Wesleyan and he was hoping that I would 
be his one son that miRht be willing to become a 
Methodist minister. I m sure he felt very badly that 
I didn t do this but instead I made a decision to go 
to the College of Agriculture at Ohio State University. 

This decision was probably influenced by the 
fact that a Perm State graduate by the name of Clarence 
Henry had arrived in the community about the time I 
was a high school freshman, as the superintendent of 
the Wherely Farm. The Wherely family were the owners 
of a large stove foundry in Newark and they had a 
large farm between Hebron and Newark. "Pat" Henry 
was receiving $1200 per year and living quarters for 
managing this large farm and this seemed like a 
tremendous income. In addition job opportunities for 


agricultural graduates appeared to be available with 
good paying salaries rather generally. So I enrolled 
in the fall of 1910 in the College of Agriculture. 

On my first day on the campus I met a cousin of 
one of our local girls with whom I had gone to high 
school. Her name was Gladys Reese. She introduced 
me to a young man by the name of Chester Engle who 
immediately asked me to go with him to his fraternity 
house for lunch. I had had no experience whatsoever 
with fraternities but it so happened that this 
introduction led to my accepting the pledge from the 
Alpha Zeta fraternity which was an agricultural frat 

This proved to be a very important factor in my 
college work I m sure mainly because of the fact that 
the fraternity had a record of good grades. On the 
whole they were excellent students and the older 
members of the fraternity, juniors and seniors, saw 
to it that the younger members were doing their work 
properly and if they needed help they didn t hesitate 
to do the kind of kindly tutoring which was very often 

My grades were only average during my college 
years. It seems that I had no aspirations to be an 
honor or merit student. I learned after my first 
several months in school that I could get passing 
grades by going to the library in between classes 
and laboratory periods during the day and then I 
spent too much time playing cards in the evening or 
on trips downtown to shows and in other recreational 
activities which took up time that might well have 
been devoted to my school work. 

I did pass all my courses however, with only one 
condition and that came about because of my poor art 
work in Zoology Laboratory. After I received the 
condition I went to see Doctor Osburn about it. He 
was my lecture and classroom work professor. He was 
a kindly, elderly gentleman and he said he didn t 
understand it because his grade book showed that I 
had a grade of between ninety and one hundred in his 
class work and finally he asked me who my lab instruc 
tor was and I told him Professor Barrows. With a 


kindly and knowing grin he said "I think you had 
better see Professor Barrows." I did and I found 
that he was the one that gave me the condition. 
It was agreed that if I passed off the second seme 
ster satisfactorily in his lab I wouldn t need to 
take an exam to pass off the condition. I m sure 
that he may have been sorry about this later because 
I never left the lab on any lab day without getting 
his approval of the work that I had done. Anyhow 
I did pass the course and it was the only condition 
that I received during the four years. 

Along about the time I was a sophomore I happened 
to be around the fraternity house one evening when 
almost everybody else was out and two of the alumni 
who were then attached to the university came by and 
sat down on our porch to visit. Jack Livingston who 
was teaching Agronomy, field crops to be exact, was 
one of those. After we had talked awhile he asked 
me what I was going to select as a major. I told him 
I didn t know; I supposed animal husbandry. This 
seemed to be the popular thing in those days. He 
said "Well, a lot of people seem to think that that 
is the thing to do but I ll tell you what to do. 
You decide to major in Agronomy and field crops and 
when you get through I ll see to it that you have a 
job if you want one." This impressed me and I sup 
pose it was a real factor in my determining to 
specialize in the Agronomic field. 

At the beginning of my sophomore year I moved 
into the fraternity house and my roommate was a chap 
by the name of Ralph Kenny who was already special 
izing in Agronomy and we got to be very close 
friends and he was most helpful to me. 


Later on when he graduated he took up work at 
the University of Kentucky as an instructor in 
Agronomy and assistant at the Agricultural Experi 
ment Station. This happened at the beginning of 
my junior year and later on he had a job offer from 
Kansas State College, at Manhattan, Kansas, and 
decided to take it. He recommended me for his re 
placement at the University of Kentucky. 

When this happened I was in the first semester 
of my senior year. I was taking a course in soils 
under Dr. McCall who was head of the Agronomy Depart 
ment and during this time he gave an exam shortly 
before the holidays which somehow or other I didn t 
seem to be able to do much about. Out of ten questions 
I had only answered four during the hour. In other 
words I flunked the exam out and out. 

It was rather interesting though, during the 
holidays Prof. McCall had gone to Lexington, Kentucky, 
to judge a corn show and to appear on their Farmer s 
Week program at the university. When he returned he 
called me aside and said "Myer, what was the matter 
with you on the examination we gave before the holi 
days?" I said "I have no excuse whatsoever. I 
simply didn t have time to finish the exam. I was 
too slow in making up my mind in regard to the 
answers and I just missed it." Well he said "I was 
down in Kentucky during the holidays and Prof. Roberts 
asked me about you and I recommended you for the job 
which Ralph Kenny is leaving." 

I could have thrown my arms around him but I 
didn t. I thought it was a great gesture on his part. 
He told me he thought I could do the job. As a con 
sequence, I went to Kentucky in mid-year. They asked 
me to come down to see them in January which I did 
and they decided they would like to have me join the 
staff. As a consequence I arranged to go down and 
start teaching during the second semester. 

In the meantime Dean Price of the College of 
Agriculture at Ohio State was teaching a course in 
farm management which was the only required course 
that I hadn t completed, but I still had eight hours 
total that I needed to complete in order to graduate. 
Dean Price agreed that I might go to Kentucky and 
substitute for his course as well as to take the extra 
credit hours on a part time basis and to transfer my 
credits back to Ohio in June of 1914- to get my degree. 
This I did. 

To go back for a moment to my college life. It 
seems to me to have been somewhat uneventful. The 
greatest thing that happened to me was that I was 

given an opportunity to become an Alpha Zeta. I had 
some wonderful friends among this group plus a great 
deal of contact with agricultural leaders who had 
graduated from the fraternity and in many ways I 
profited from having been a member of the organiza 

Social activities were largely fraternity affairs 
with occasional dances or parties, attendence at the 
theater was usually limited to "peanut gallery" seats 
for shows and of course these seats were cheap but we 
went very often as good shows came into town. They 
had a new theater .called the Hartman Theater in 
Columbus and we used to go down and stand in line 
late in the day to get a good seat in "peanut heaven." 
Occasionally we went to the old Munich, or later to 
the Kaiserhoff cafes for a bit of a drinking bout. 
I look back on some of these parties as not only 
interesting but fun. 

I think I may have already mentioned a young lady 
who I had gone with all through high school and through 
most of college during this period. While we had some 
dates during the last year or two of college for the 
most part I had dates with other girls during this 
time. It was when I went to Kentucky to take over my 
new job that I stopped by to pick up the jewelry that 
I had given her and to bid her goodbye. 

My Years At The University of Kentucky The First Job 

DSM: During my two years at the University of Kentucky 
I served as instructor in Agronomy in the Kentucky 
Agriculture College and assistant in Agronomy at the 
Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. Most of my 
work at the experiment station was during the summer 
season after school was out in the spring and before 
it started in the fall, although I did have some con 
tact with experimental work throughout the year. 


My pay for the first five months during the time 
when I was finishing up my school work for needed 
credits wan $50 per month which was later raised to 
$83.35 per month for the rest of the time that I was 
there. In other words I was getting on a full time 
basis $1,000 a year. 

During this period I taught courses in cereal 
crops and forage crops to both the two year students 
and the four year students, also taught a course in 
farm weeds which had not been taught before and which 
I had to prepare for in great detail. I assisted in 
the soil laboratory during one of these years and 
during the first summer I assisted Prof. S.C. Jones 
in Soil Survey work in Franklin County, Kentucky, and 
in Graves County, Kentucky. This work consisted 
mainly in taking soil samples with a soil auger and 
labeling them to conform to the soil map in which 
the soil types had been mapped. 

I was given the responsibility for the wheat 
variety tests and the soy bean variety tests during 
my second year. 

During these two years I really learned how to 
study efficiently for the first time. It was 
necessary in order to keep ahead of my various 
classes and it s only too bad that I hadn t learned 
how to do an efficient job of studying before I 
graduated from college. 

I had two wonderful years in the lush and 
beautiful blue grass country where they raised 
thoroughbred horses, tobacco, and other farm crops 
and also good dairy cattle and good beef cattle. It 
was a beautiful country and I never tired of travel 
ing around through the countryside. It was an 
interesting and profitable two years and in spite 
of the fact that I was getting only $1,000 a year 
I saved $200 a year out of my very limited salary. 

I had two wonderful bosses; Prof. George Roberts 
who was head of the department was one and Mr. Ed 
Kinny who really had charge of the crops work and was 
more closely related to my particular field than was 


Prof. Roberts and was second in command. He not only 
taught field crops but he also was a geneticist. 
These two gentlemen trusted me implicitly and dele 
gated experimental work and teaching spots as well 
as speaking engagements throughout the state. I had 
full support on everything I did. This trust and 
support was an important factor in the development 
of badly needed selfconf idence and provided experience 
in public speaking and in student relations as well 
as in research techniques and knowledge. 

In addition to good relations with my own depart 
ment and bosses, my living arrangements were such 
that during the last several months of my stay in 
Lexington I was closely associated with professors 
and instructors in the fields of Veterinary Medicine, 
Horticulture, and Poultry. This provided an oppor 
tunity to gain knowledge in fields that were helpful 
later as I entered county agent work and extension 
work in Indiana. 

About my only recreation during this stay in 
Kentucky, particularly during the first year, was 
usually a vaudeville show on Saturday night. I had 
very few dates during my time there. I went bowling 
with some of my friends who boarded at the same 
boarding house as I did. Some of us enjoyed long 
Sunday walks through the blue grass countryside and 
after I moved into the household where there were a 
number of friends whom 1 have mentioned from the 
Veterinary, Horticulture and Poultry Departments we 
occasionally had penny ante games which got a little 
bit out of hand shortly before I left. However I 
never lost much money in the penny ante games. I 
did develop some very excellent friendships with 
some wonderful people, some of whom I have kept in 
touch with throughout the rest of my life. 

My old friend and boss Edwin Kinny passed away 
only a few months ago. He came to Washington to live 
with a daughter for his last few years and I visited 
him on a number of occasions and we enjoyed talking 
about old times during 1914- and 1915. 


Prof. Georpe Roberts, who was head of the depart 
ment, recommended me for a raise each year but the 
dean didn t feel that a raise was important. He was 
a chemist. If I had been a chemist I would have been 
more important in his eyes. So after the second turn 
down I was somewhat disgusted so I sat down and wrote 
a letter to Prof. S.C. Jones who I had aided in soil 
survey work in 1914- and who had moved to Purdue Uni 
versity in the meantime. After bringing him up to 
date on the local gossip and telling him of my frus 
tration 1 rather lightly told him that if he saw any 
jobs lying around loose in my field to let me know. 

He took me seriously and upon receipt of my 
letter he immediately recommended me to T.A. Coleman, 
the County Agent leader for Indiana, as a prospective 
county agent. His recommendation worked and I was 
invited to Purdue for an interview and as a result 
I was ultimately hired as the first County Agricul 
tural Agent for Vanderburgh County, at Evansville, 


Frank Metsker, a demonstrator showing nitrogen- Dillon S. Myer as a young County Agricultural 
nodules on roots of soy bean plants. Vanderburgh Agent in Vanderburgh County, Indiana in 1916 
County, 1917. or 1917. Taken beside the Court House in his 

usual summertime garb of white shirt, bow tie 

and cap. 


f\ -- 1.^ 




A group of young men connected with 
the College of Agriculture, University 
of Kentucky. All roomed at the same 
address. Dillon Myer in front, Instruc 
tor in Agronomy and Assistant in the 
Agricultural Experiment Station. All 
of the others were veterinarians except 
John Carmody, Dillon Myer s roommate, 
who was a horticulturist. 1915. 

Dillon Myer, a young instructor at the University of 
Kentucky College of Agriculture and Assistant at the 
Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, visiting the 
Sudan grass experimental plots. This plot was a combin 
ation of Sudan grass and soy beans. September 1, 1915. 




DSM: I resigned my position at the University of 
Kentucky effective February 1, 1916 and after a 
month s training with three older county agents in 
Indiana, one week each, I reported to Evansville as 
a young inexperienced county agent on March 1 , 

I was fortunate in that I had been assigned to 
work for a week with Clarence Henry in Allen County 
who had been a county agent there for some time and 
with Cal Mclntosh in Green County, Indiana, and later 
with Roy Marshall in Gibson County which was just to 
the north of Vanderburgh County. I learned a great 
deal from all three of these men about the technique 
of county agent work which was not generally available 
excepting through experience and word of mouth from an 
agent who had had experience, because there weren t 
too many agents in those days and there was very 
little on the record about the work of county agents. 

Before reporting for duty at Evansville, I 
asked the county agent leader Mr. Tom Coleman what 
I should do. He said "Go down and go to work. You 
know as much about the job as I do." So I was on my 
own in a strange country, but I soon found friends. 

The township trustees who were also the county 
school board or the county board of education rather 
were responsible for the approval of the county 
agent. Most of them were quite helpful once I had 
been approved and was on the job. They helped to 
arrange meetings for the purpose of getting acquainted. 

The county superintendent of schools, Mr. Floyd 
Ragland, was a real friend and supporter. He was a 
valuable advisor to a young upstart of twenty-five 
years who was assuming to advise farmers regarding 
the problems of crops, livestock production and 
marketing, and the establishing of 4H Club program. 


In those days there was a requirement that $500 
be raised locally in the county to provide for office 
furnishing before Purdue University would recommend 
a county agent for the job and before putting in 
state and federal funds to help pay the county agent s 
salary. In the case of Vanderburgh County the Evans- 
ville Courier, which was the leading newspaper in that 
part of the state, took on the task of helping to 
raise the money through small subscriptions from 
farmers and others and I think actually put up about 
half of the $500 themselves in order to meet the 
requirement of the $500 fund. 

The office which was assigned to the county agent 
was in the courthouse just next door to the Sheriff s 
office on a main corridor and across from the County 
Clerk s office. It was well located and quite satis 
factory, from the standpoint of giving a new county 
agent a chance to get acquainted with people, because 
of the easy access. 

The office, of course, had to be equipped 
throughout. We bought desks, chairs, typewriter, 
files, tables, and all of the accoutrements of a 
normal office plus some < bookcases that I had made by 
a carpenter or cabinetmaker and a bulletin rack which 
would hold thirty-two bulletins which lay flat in a 
pocket which was tilted so that they were easy to 
see and easy to read. This provided the kind of 
bulletin distribution center which helped get people 
acquainted with what literature was available in the 
various agriculture fields. 

I also had purchased a number of text and refer 
ence books in the various fields that I thought would 
be helpful. I laid in a supply of Purdue and U.S. 
Agriculture Department bulletins for reference work. 
I found that all of these things came in very handy 
later because there were many times that I needed to 
look up information which I did not have at hand. 

I found one small publication from the University 
of California, that was written by B.H. Crocheron who 
was Agriculture Extension Director in California, on 
the subject of county a^ent work in Humbolt County, 
California. This publication was the only one of its 

type that I know of in existence at that time. 
Director Crocheron had described in simple language 
and quite completely the everyday work of the county 
agent in a California county, including a descrip 
tion of various types of method demonstration which 
taught people how to do things with their hands or 
with equipment; also result demonstrations which 
involved petting the cooperation of some good farmer 
to plant crops or to carry out certain practices 
that would end up in the kind of results that could 
be brought to the attention of people through a 
meeting at a later date, to view the results or to 
discuss the results. He also discussed the use of 
farm visits, and office calls, project meetings, 
general meetings and other techniques that had been 
used by the county agent in Humbolt County. 

I found this publication tremendously helpful 
because as I have pointed out earlier, excepting 
for the contact I had had with the three county 
agents that I had spent some time with before I 
came on the job in Indiana and some general know 
ledge that I had gathered during the two years while 
I was in Kentucky I had no very specific information 
regarding the job of a county agent. This particular 
bulletin gave me the idea that I should map out a 
program of my own and I began to lay plans for various 
types of projects which I thought were adaptable to 
Vanderburgh County and made plans for carrying out 
these projects. 

More About Kentucky 

DSM: I would like to revert to my experience at the 
University of Kentucky briefly. I found that during 
my experience in county agent work that the know 
ledge that I had gained as a specialist in the 
Agronomic field, especially my work with wheat varie 
ties and with fertilizer plots and with the soy bean 
varieties which I had charge of under the general 

supervision of Ed Kinny during the last year I was in 
Kentucky, was highly valuable because the soy bean 
crop was new and not generally familiar to farmers 
throughout the country. 

My Only Scientific Publication 

DSM: Also I have forgotten to mention the fact that 

the only scientific publication that I ever have been 
a party to was published while I was at the University. 
On my first visit to Lexington to be looked over by 
Prof. Roberts and Prof. Kinny, we had taken a trip 
over the farm and on the way back we walked through 
a small five-acre alfalfa field where we found many 
dead alfalfa plants. Upon examination we realized 
that there was a disease that was causing this 
trouble . 

After I arrived on the job I signed up for a 
course in Plant Pathology under Prof. Gilbert in the 
Botany Department and we discussed this particular 
disease. After some discussion Prof. Roberts suggested 
that we make this a project of my course with Prof. 
Gilbert and that we prepare a bulletin on it. So as 
a result we proceeded to do so. 

Prof. Gilbert had some knowledge of German and 
I had had a little, very little. We found that about 
the only literature in the field which had to do with 
the particular disease that we found in the alfalfa 
field was German literature. So night after night we 
went out to Prof. Gilbert s office and I would help 
to look up the meaning of words as he found that he 
didn t quite know the meaning and he did the trans 
lating thus we hammered out a translation of the 
publications that we found in this field and I 
think we did a very good job of it. 

Following that then Prof. Gilbert did some 
laboratory work and checking out the microscopic 


work and so on that needed to be done and since I 
was traveling occasionally around the state I did 
the field observation work and the contacts through 
out the state as to the spread of this disease in 
alfalfa and clover. As a result we came up with a 
publication entitled "Stem Rot of Clovers and Alfalfa 
as a Cause of Clover Sickness" by A.H. Gilbert and 
D.S. Myer. 

The particular disease that we had found was 
known scientifically as Sclerotinia Trifoliorum. 
This was a fungus and the name came from the fact 
that they were resting bodies at a certain stage in 
the life cycle of the disease known as Sclerotinia. 
They were a dark blueish or purplish type of nodule 
that we found in the alfalfa field when we first 
discovered the disease at the University of Kentucky. 

I got so interested at this particular stage in 
this particular disease as well as in plant pathology 
generally that I considered going to Cornell Uni 
versity and taking graduate work in this field with 
the expectation of becoming a specialist in the 
field. I m very fortunate that I decided not to do 
GO because I realized later that I never would have 
had the patience or the continued interest in doing 
the careful scientific laboratory work that was 
necessary in order to be a top plant pathologist. 

However, this was a worthwhile experience and 
it did stimulate my interest in the field of plant 
diseases and plant problems, and led me to do a good 
deal of reading and research in this field which was 
helpful to me in my county agent work. 

Soil Fertility Theories 

DSM: There is one other phase of my work at the 

University of Kentucky that I found helpful after I 
left the University and got into county agent work. 
There was o wide difference of opinion among 

scientists throughout the world on what was causing 
some of the problems in the field of soil fertility. 
There were about five different major theories extant 
at that time and each of the folks who had developed 
a theory were very adamant in their belief that they 
were right about what was causing problems in the 
reduction of crop yields. 

One of them concerned the lack of fertilizer 
elements and particularly the lack of phosphate. 
Prof. Hopkins at the University of Illinois was a 
great advocate of the use of rock phosphate in its 
natural state, simply ground rock phosphate, when 
applied with clover and legume crops turned under 
would do very well in the black soils of Illinois 
and consequently he had a tendency to ascribe most 
of the ills of crop production to lack of phosphates. 

On the other hand, Dr. Bolley of the University 
of North Dakota who had the problem of trying to 
find the answer to their so-called Flax Sickness, 
learned that through crop rotation they could con 
tinue to grow flax, provided that they did rotate 
crops over a period of four or five years and not 
put the same crop in the same soil year after year. 
As a consequence of his studies in this field he 
began to insist through his writings that the limita 
tion on crop production and the lowering of yields 
was due almost entirely to plant disease. 

Prof. Whitney of the Bureau of Soils and Chemistry 
in Washington had developed a so-called toxic theory 
in whish he insisted that the growth of crops in the 
soil had over a period of time gradually thrown off 
a toxic substance and that it was this toxic condition 
that was causing reduced yields. He felt very 
strongly about his theory. 

A scientist at the Rothamstead Experiment Station 
in England had developed an amoeba theory in which he 
said that there was a type of amoeba in the soil that 
was seemingly on the increase after crops were grown 
for a number of years that caused the trouble. 

My own Prof. George Roberts believed that there 
were various reasons for reduced crop yields depending 


upon the type of soils and their condition. He was an 
advocate in areas of clay soil in particular of the 
use of acid phosphate instead of rock phosphate and of 
other mineral fertilizers in areas where they were 
needed. For example in muck land he felt potash 
should be used but not necessarily in clay lands. 
He felt that on clay lands if you grew legumes and 
the land was properly limed, if it needed lime, to 
grow legumes normally about all you would need was 
phosphate because the legumes would provide the nitro 
gen and there was generally ample potash in the soil 
that could be made available if it had the right 
treatment otherwise. 

So the argument went along. The fertilizer 
companies, particularly the Federal Chemical Company 
at Louisville were very very adamant that mixed 
fertilizers should be used. In other words they were 
very strong for selling something like 2-8-2 which 
was two percent of nitrogen, eight percent phosphate 
and two percent potash or a 48-4- or a 410-6 or some 
thing of that kind and they were against the idea of 
the use of a single element of mineral fertilizer. 

I lived in the modst of this battle for a couple 
of years and read everything that came before me in 
regard to it. So when I got on to the job at Evans- 
ville I was pretty well prepared for the arguments 
which were current and I knew something about the 
type of fertilization that seemed to be required on 
the various types of soil that we had in Vanderburgh 
County because of my knowledge of the detailed 
experimental worked had been carried on with the 
various soil types in Kentucky. Some of these soil 
types were quite similar to those that we had in 
Vanderburgh County. 

Prof. Roberts had established soil experimental 
fields all over the state to supplement what they 
were doing at the college at Lexington because the 
blue grass soils in the Lexington area were very high 
in phosphate, were highly fertile if properly handled 
and were quite different than the so-called mountain 
country of the east and the pennyroyal country of the 
western part of the state. So he had established 


these various fields and I had been conversant with 
the results. This was all very helpful. 

In addition to that, in my association with my 
roommate John Carmody, who was a horticulturalist, 
I learned a great deal about horticulture. When I 
found that I was going to take on a job where I may 
need to have wider knowledge I didn t hesitate to 
use the opportunity to learn about a lot of practical 
things that I had forgotten about or which I had 
never learned. 

The same thing was true in the field of animal 
diseases with my veterinarian friends and regarding 
modern poultry production from my friends whom I 
lived with or associated with, men who were poultry- 
men. The experience as an instructor and as assis 
tant at the experiment station for two years was 
worthwhile, therefore, from the standpoint of my 
technical training for county agent work. 

Back To Vanderburgh County; Getting Acquainted 

DSM: In addition to the early meetings in the county 
which were arranged largely through the township 
trustees for the purpose of getting acquainted with 
the farmers in the various communities and having 
them get acquainted with the new county agent. I 
used the opportunity when I was not otherwise 
occupied to get into my car and drive out through 
the various areas of the county, keeping my eyes 
open. These drives were made for the purpose of 
getting acquainted with people. 

If I saw somebody over in the field and they 
weren t too busily occupied, if they were stopping 
for example to rest the horses or if they were having 
a little tractor trouble, I would pull up to the 
side of the road and go over to the fence and intro 
duce myself as the county agent and very often in 


those early days they would say "Agent for what?" and 
I would have to explain that I wasn t selling auto 
mobiles or farm machinery. Then I would explain 
briefly what the county agent s Job was, the fact 
that I was the new agent, and made many acquaintences 
in this way. 

I also kept my eyes open to learn more at first 
hand about the farming operations, the type of 
practices that were being utilized, the type of 
equipment that farmers were using, type of crops that 
were grown, and the methods they were using in the 
cultivation and harvesting, and various problems of 
crop handling, as well as the kind of livestock, and 
how they were equipped to handle livestock, etc., etc, 

I found these drives highly valuable and infor 
mative and after a while, of course, I got to the 
place where there were certain stops that I nearly 
always made because there were key people in nearly 
every township or community as I began to get 
acquainted who were interested in my work. A stop 
for a short visit with them very often led to another 
lead about something that maybe should be done, or 
I would pick up information about the reaction of 
various people in the community toward the meetings 
or toward the demonstrations that were being carried 
on, and various subjects that would come up that 
were helpful to me. 

I found that it was highly desirable that I 
store up all the detailed information that I could, 
not only about the farming and farming practices 
and what I could seo for muself or what I could 
learn from them, but about the people and their 
attitudes. I remember one day, for example, driving 
along the road and seeing a chap by the name of 
Jake Walker cultivating corn with a disk cultivator. 
He was doing what they called barring out in those 
days. I was sure he was cutting off many corn roots 
so I climbed over the fence and followed him, when he 
wasn t looking, for one row through and when I ended 
up at the end of the row I had two hands full of corn 
roots. He turned around and saw me and said "Where 
did you get those?" and I said "You cut them off on 
the way through." It was this kind of thing that 


helped me to bring to the attention of farmers cer 
tain lessons that I was trying to bring to them. 

As a matter of fact, we suggested shallow cul 
tivation not too close to the corn plant in those 
days. They had been in the habit of cutting in as 
close as they could and cutting off most of the 
young roots. I remember one old gentleman when we 
talked about this particular problem ? Mr. Mitchen, 
who said he thought it was a good thing for corn 
roots to be pulled and jerked around like that; that 
it was good for them and I said "What do you think 
would happen if somebody went into your entrails 
and pulled them around and jerked them around like 
you re talking about with the corn roots?" and 
everybody laughed. They got the point very quickly. 

Making An Impression By Demonstrating Know How 

HP: Would it be possible for a man to become a county 
agent who had not had the kind of farm experience 
you had? 

DSM: Well, a county agent had to be well trained. If 
he had not lived or was not reared on a farm, he 
had to have some kind of farm experience. I have 
known a few city boys who have become county agents 
but they are always handicapped a bit because there 
were certain things that didn t come as natural to 
them as they did to some of us. 

I was asked many times to do certain practical 
things. For example ? if I stopped by some place 
where they were cultivating corn and trying out a 
new cultivator somebody would look at me with a grin 
and say "Why don t you take it for a round or two." 
I was always delighted and I would climb onto a 
cultivator and take the team through the field and 
show them that I knew how to handle a team and 
cultivator and it always helped. 


I remember one day out in Armstrong township 
where Henry Kissel lived, there was a chap by the 
name of William Hepler who had bought a new Tower 
cultivator. The Tower cultivator was different 
than the normal cultivators in that it didn t have 
the shovels of the type that most of the cultivators 
had but it had knives. It just happened that when I 
was a kid I grew up v/ith a Tower cultivator. Ours 
was a walking type but I knew how to adjust them, 
then we got a riding one before I left home so I 
learned to use it. 

I stopped by the house and Mrs. Hepler said 
"Oh, Will s back in the back field and they are trying 
out a new cultivator." Well, I met him about half 
way back and he was in a bad sweat and a bad humor. 
I said "What s the trouble?" He said "Oh, that God 
damn cultivator. I m going to toss the damned thing 
into a fence corner and forget about it." I said 
"What is it?" He told me. "I said "Is it back there?" 
He said "David is using it." David was his oldest 
boy. I said "I ll go back there and see what David 
is doing and see what I can do about it." When I 
got there I found that the cultivator was as com 
pletely out of kilter as they could possibly get it. 

They had the blades every-which-way and it took 
me about a full round, stopping every little while 
to use my wrench making some adjustments until I 
got it so it would function. When I got back after 
making a full round and after making probably a 
dozen stops and making some adjustments here and 
there, it was doing very well. The soil was a little 
too wet to cultivate, but nevertheless it did work. 
So I said "Get on, David, and let s see you take it. 
Now don t you touch it, you just use it this way." 
So he did and they were just delighted with the 
fact that somebody knew how to handle it. 

I got in touch with the salesman and said 
"You don t have any business selling a new piece 
of equipment into any community like this and then 
going off without spending some time to see that 
these people know how to use it." 


It was this kind of thing that added zest to 
the job because you knew certain things that nobody 
else in the community knew and you were able to 
demonstrate them and I got a thrill out of it. 

Field Demonstrations And Dealer Cooperation 

DSM: In addition to the other activities in the 
county, we had a number of demonstrations in the 
use of ground limestone for the correction of soil 
acidity so as to secure better stands of clover. 
We also had fertilizer demonstrations using acid 
phosphate for increased crop yields. After we had 
received some results in this area I arranged for 
a meeting with the fertilizer dealers in the county 
as well as from surrounding counties. 

I explained to them that I didn t believe that 
most farmers needed a so-called complete fertilizer 
which means fertilizers which have nitrogen, phos 
phate, and potash but if they raised clover or 
other legumes to provide the nitrogen and if their 
soil condition was such that potash could become 
available, there was plenty of it in the type of 
clay soils which existed in most of the county. 
Consequently the limiting factor was phosphate. 

So I explained to these dealers that we were 
going to recommend the use of what was then gen 
erally considered the best phosphate fertilizer 
because it was readily available. That was twenty 
percent acid phosphate which meant raw phosphate 
rock treated with sulphuric acid to make the 
phosphate more available. 

In addition to some of our local friends who 
had already attended the meeting with the seedmen 
that we had earlier, a chap by the name of Garrison 
who was the regional or area representative for the 
Federal Chemical Company of Louisville, Kentucky, 


came to the meeting. After I had explained what we 
were proposing to do and why we were doing it and 
asked their cooperation in handling acid phosphate, 
Mr. Garrison spoke up and said "Well, Mr. Myer, 
these people won t handle acid phosphate. Farmers 
are accustomed to a complete fertilizer and the 
dealers will want to handle a complete fertilizer. 
There is no use talking about it." So I said "All 
right Mr. Garrison, suppose we leave it to the 
dealers." So I put it to a vote and of course they 
wouldn t vote me down and three or four of them 
said they would be glad to handle it. Mr. Garrison 
was very unhappy because of the prospect of 
diminished profits but we had won. 

Among those in attendance was an elderly gentle 
man by the name of John Schlensker, a good old German 
from out in the north part of the county, who had 
never handled much fertilizer but he had been 
handling one car load a year for a group of farmers 
in that area for a number of years. So after the 
meeting was over he ordered a car load of acid 
phosphate from the Welch Chemical Company of New 
Albany, Indiana. He got a letter back saying that 
they couldn t ship a full car load of acid phosphate. 
They would have to ship half a car load of 2-8-2 
which was two percent nitrogen, eight percent 
phosphate and two percent potash versus twenty per 
cent phosphate. 

So he brought the letter into my office and 
said "What will I do about it?" I said "Mr. 
Schlensker, if I write a letter on plain paper 
would you sign it?" He said "Yes." So I wrote a 
letter playing the part of Mr. Schlensker. I said 
that I was not interested in any 2-8-2 fertilizer. 
I wanted a car load of acid phosphate and if they 
couldn t ship it please let me know immediately 
because I wanted to order it from another company. 
This incidentally was the company that he had been 
dealing with for years. Well, he got his acid 
phosphate and he came in as tickled as a boy with 
a new pair of boots after it rolled in. 


Several months later after I had moved into 
Purdue as Assistant County Agent Leader, I had a 
meeting up in northern Indiana on the farm of 
Warren McCray, who was a cattle breeder and later 
was the Governor of Indiana and of his brother-in- 
law George Ade ? the writer. During one of the 
breaks Ray Ellis, who was the general manager of 
the fertilizer company in New Albany who had gotten 
this letter came around and shook hands with me and 
he said "Dillon, how is your friend John Schlensker?" 
I said "Well, the last time I saw him he was fine. 
He s a nice chap." He looked me straight in the eye 
and said "You wrote that letter that John Schlensker 
sent me, didn t you?" I said "Ray, John Schlensker 
got his acid phosphate, didn t he?" He said "Yes, 
damn it." 

Sometime after this incident I was visiting in 
one of the surrounding counties and came upon a chap 
who was serving as agent for the New Albany company 
and we got to talking about their business and I 
said "Do you sell much mixed fertilizers now-a-days 
down in the pocket, in the area surrounding Vander- 
burgh County?" He said "Yes. We sell it every place 
excepting Vanderburgh County and thanks to you we 
sell acid phosphate in Vanderburgh County." Which 
was, of course, what I had hoped to hear. 

Other than the activities of the 4-H club 
members in pig clubs, poultry clubs, and in a few 
cases calf club members we had very little work 
in the field of livestock production other than 
meetings on dairy rations; however we also organized 
a cow testing association which I have mentioned 

This was an association of twenty-six members 
that hired a tester who came around once a month to 
test their milk for butter fat, weigh up the volume 
and then figure what the production of each of the 
cows was for the month. 

Some of the folks who signed up in the cow 
testing association were amazed and surprised at 
how good the records of some of their cows were. 


War Gardens And Aphids 

DSM: During April of 19"17 which was the beginning of 
my second year as county agent, World War I broke out 
and with it came war gardens which were recommended 

It so happened that during the spring and summer 
which followed we had the worst infestation of aphids 
that I have ever known. Most of the war gardeners 
were growing potatoes and their young potato vines 
became covered with aphids which are plant lice that 
suck the juices out of the plant. 1 had literally, 
it seemed to me, hundreds of office calls, people 
coming in or calling up asking how to get rid of 
aphids . 

I learned something out of this experience. At 
that time there were three different remedies for 
aphids. One of them was whale oil soap which was 
made into an emulsion, another one was coal oil 
emulsion which was mixed with whale oil soap and if 
you didn t get it just right you would burn the 
plants. A third one which had come onto the market 
fairly recently was a product called Black Leaf 
Forty. It was made from tobacco. It had a very high 
nicotine content and came in a small bottle. When 
properly diluted in water it was quite effective. 

I began to tell people about the three different 
remedies. I came to realize after watching their 
faces and watching them linger a bit that they were 
frustrated. They left in most cases not knowing 
what to do. I realized that many of them wouldn t 
do anything because they couldn t make up their 
minds. So as a result of this experience I began 
recommending only Black Leaf Forty and there was 
no problem from that time on because they could go 
to the drugstore and buy a small bottle with the 
directions on it. 

This taught me a lesson regarding all kinds 
of remedies of this kind. If there was more than 
one, from that time on, I picked what I thought was 


the right one, and didn t even mention the others 
because I found that people don t like to make a 
choice. They like to have somebody make up their 
mind for them. 

Another wartime idea that was widely advertised, 
that I had many questions about, was growing straw 
berries in barrels. The process v/as simply one of 
filling up the barrel with soil, boring holes about 
six or eight inches apart all around the barrel and 
sticking strawberry plants into the holes. This of 
course appealed to many city gardeners who didn t 
have garden patches big enough to grow a garden so 
I had many many calls asking about how to grov; 
strawberries in a barrel. 

Interest In The County Agent s Politics 

DSM: Shortly after I arrived in Evansville I learned 
that the Democratic party had made a clean sweep the 
previous fall in the elections and they had cleaned 
out the courthouse of all Republicans with the 
exception possibly of the County Superintendent of 

Of course they didn t know the politics of the 
new county agent. This was something that was very 
important to some of the folks who were hangers-on 
around the courthouse so I was questioned time and 
again and various approaches were used to learn my 
politics. They tried to slip up on me by such 
questions as whether I had Joined the torch light 
parade the night before when one of the parties was 
having a parade and that sort of thing. 

Finally a chap by the name of George Wegel who 
was a Socialist and a loud mouth Socialist who lived 
out in Knight township, came into the office one day, 
He and I had learned to know each other pretty well 
and we bantered back and forth and kidded each other, 


On this particular day he came into the office and 
went over my office with a fine tooth comb and asked 
me what everything in the office cost including the 
typewriter, the desk, everything that we had that 
we had purchased. He stayed quite a long time. 

Not too long after he left I went across to the 
clerk s office to buy some stamps which I usually 
did when 1 needed stamps. A beautiful young girl, 
Miss Schindler, who usually waited on me, got ray 
stamps for me and then she looked up at me with her 
beautiful smile and said "Mr. Myer, the people around 
here are wondering if you are a Socialist?" I said 
"What do you think?" She said "I don t know." I 
said "Well let s leave it that way. You Just tell 
them you don t know." 

So far as I know they never did find out what 
my politics was at that time because I didn t tell 
them and I didn t even register for the primary. 
I voted in the general elections but not in the 

Newspaper Experience And Relations 

DSM: As I have mentioned previous to the establish 
ment of the office of the county agent the county 
was required to raise a minimum of $500 for the 
purchase of office supplies, equipment, etc. by 
voluntary subscription. The Evansville Courier, 
which was the major newspaper in the county and 
in "the Pocket" which included about six counties, 
had helped to raise this money and had probably put 
up at least half the money in order to assure that 
the $500 was available. Sometime after I had 
arrived on the scene I had been introduced to the 
editor but 1 had done very little else about keeping 
any contact with the paper. 


One day Fred Trueblood who was the managing 
editor called me up and asked me to go to lunch with 
him, which I did. After we were settled at the table 
he said "Young man, I would like to remind you that 
my paper the Evansville Courier helped to raise the 
money to get you to come here and we expect some 
cooperation out of you in providing some rural news 
for the paper." Ny response was thot I wasn t looking 
for publicity and I didn t believe that I needed any. 
Then he really jumped with both feet. He said "Let 
me tell you something of the facts of life. You do 
need it and you need it very badly. Not only that; 
you are going to get it and you are going to help 
get it." 

He explained to me that they had recently started 
a farm page once a week which came out on Friday and 
he wanted the assistance of my office in providing 
local copy for the farm page, seasonal items, and 
anything that was of interest because up to that time 
they had been using practically entirely the "boiler 
plate" from some source or other. "Furthermore" he 
said "we would like to have you either call up or 
drop into the office after your meetings throughout 
the county and report on the meetings, how many were 
there, what was discussed, things of interest to the 
paper, and to the rural community." So I promised that 
I would be glad to cooperate. 

As a result the farm page at times became 
practically the county agent s page. I can remember 
a few times when I had five columns right across 
the top of the farm page. It happened to be at times 
when seasonal items were important and the paper 
didn t hesitate to use them. 

Furthermore, I found it most interesting to 
stop by the Courier office after night meetings in 
particular when the paper had been pretty well put 
to bed and was about ready to go to press. The city 
editor would assign somebody to take my story which 
usually didn t take very long, and then I would light 
my pipe and sit down among the reporters who were 
hashing over the day s news . 

ft WO*; 


I became a member of the staff in a sense. This 
was a great experience. It was an experience that 1 
never had had. I knew nothing about the inside 
workings of a newspaper up until this time and need 
less to say I got a great deal of Rood support out 
of the paper. When somebody would propose that v/e 
have a meeting out in their community and I would 
say "Do you want to send out notices?" They would 
say "Oh bust put it in the Courier. Everybody reads 
the Courier. " And they did. That s the way we 
advertised our meetings. So Fred Trueblood s visit 
with me proved to be well worthwhile. 

Early Meetings 

DSM: Before leaving the subject of Vanderburgh County 
I want to pay tribute to a gentleman who was a real 
help and a real sponsor of my program. I think I 
mentioned earlier that the County Board of Education 
was the board that had to approve the recommendations 
of Purdue University as to who came in as county 
agent. The County Superintendent of Schools, of 
course, was the executive officer of that board and 
supervised the schools throughout the county. At 
that time there was a very wonderful gentleman by 
the name of Floyd Ragland who was county superin 
tendent. He went with me to the various stores to 
introduce me and to help me select my office equip 
ment in the beginning. 

Furthermore he went with me on several occasions 
to meetings in the country during the first two or 
three months and then on the way home in the kindest 
and nicest manner possible he gave me the kind of 
criticism that I needed very badly as to how I should 
talk to farmers. He found that I hadn t realized 
that having taught two years in the College of Agri 
culture at the University of Kentucky that instead 
of talking about ground limestone or just plain 
burned lime, I was talking about calcium carbonate, 


calcium oxide, and using other chemical terms which 
were quite well known by students who had taken 
chemistry but were not well known by farmers. This 
is typical of the type of thing that he pointed out 
to me and I m sure that any success that I may have 
had in the county in my speechs was largely due to 
Floyd Ragland and his very kindly approach in 
helping me to orient myself to a new situation. 

Since I was the first County Agricultural Agent 
in Vanderburgh County and since I was a young man of 
only twenty-four years of age at the time I started 
my work there, it became very important to use all of 
the techniques available to me to become acquainted 
and to find ways and means to gain support and respect 
for the services which we had to render. Much of our 
time, of course, was devoted to meetings of various 
types including community meetings, farm tours, 
demonstration meetings to show the results of crop 
treatment or to show how to mix insecticides or for 
some other reason. 

Of course, the use of the press which has already 
been mentioned became a highly valuable medium, and 
farm visits to individuals in the community who 
became standbys as advisors, and as demonstrators 
and services provided through office calls. 

Learning The Importance Of Remembering Paces And Names 

DSM: The first office caller that I had was a chap by 
the name of Homer Pierce who lived right out in the 
edge of the county almost into the adjoining county 
on a rather poorly drained heavy clay farm. He came 
in to ask me how to get rid of cattle lice, which as 
far as I knew did not exist up to this time. I had 
to admit to him that I didn t know but that I would 
find out and asked him the next time he was in town 
to drop in and I would have the answer for him. So 


I wrote to Dr. Craig who was the head of the veteri 
nary department at Purdue University and got the 
information back promptly. 

Two or three weeks later Mr. Pierce came swinging 
into the office again. The minute he stepped through 
the door I said "Good morning, Mr. Pierce." I thought 
the man was going to faint, he was so taken aback that 
I remembered him. He wasn t used to being remembered 
it seems. He couldn t quite get over the idea that 
this was a wonderful thing. This response on his part 
alerted me to the fact that it was highly important 
that I remember names, remember people, and that I 
learn to call them by name. 

As a result, the young crippled lad who came to 
work for me as a stenographer and I teamed up to work 
out a system that would be helpful in remembering 
people. I recorded every farm visit that I made, why 
I stopped there and what we talked about, put it on a 
file card and filed it away alphabetically. I did 
the same thing if any thing of importance happened in 
the way of requests for information at meetings, and 
we did the same thing for office callers. 

This young man who served as secretary had worked 
over most of the county before he was crippled, as a 
member of a threshing crew, so he knew a lot of people 
that I didn t know. So if he sensed that I didn t 
know somebody s name he found ways and means to slip 
me a bit of paper having the name of the person on it 
so that I could begin calling him by name. The 
response was usually very very pood. My secretary 
used to come by a long table where I usually sat 
down across from the caller and he would act as 
though he was using the table to help him along to 
the files. He would put his hand down and leave the 
slip of paper where the person across the table would 
not notice, because he was busily occupied in asking 


Get Acquainted Meetings 

DSM: The first few weeks we were there we determined 

to have a meeting in every community if possible. The 
township trustees who were the members of the Board of 
Education which had approved my appointment, generally 
arranged these meetings and the meetings were for the 
purpose of letting them see me, the new county agent, 
to tell them something about what we hoped to do in 
the way of providing service to the farmers of the 
county, and for me to have the opportunity to get 
acquainted with my constituency. After a short talk 
outlining the duties and the responsibilities of the 
county agent and what we had hoped to do for them, we 
always had a question and answer period. 

One of the questions that invariably came up 
during that first spring was the question as to whether 
or not it was better to plant potatoes in the light 
of the moon or the dark of the moon. I usually would 
tell them that my Mother would know the answer to 
that for sure but I was not quite sure and I was sure 
their own experience maybe it was as good as mine. 

Finally after four or five of such meetings at 
one in a very German community the chairman of the 
meeting was a chap by the name of Mr. Kirchof . Mr. 
Kirchof when that question was asked leaned over to 
me and said "Ask for a show of hands of how many plant 
in the dark of the moon and how many plant in the 
light of the moon." I did just that and they were 
split almost fifty-fifty. He looked at me and winked 
and I used that technique time and time again after 
wards because they all thought they were right and it 
answered the question and there was no comeback 
because everybody was willing to argue among them 
selves which was right. 

When we used to kid my Mother about her belief 
that the moon affected crops she said "Well, the moon 
affects the tides, why shouldn t it affect the growing 
of plants." And we just closed up because we just 
didn t know. I don t know or didn t at that time; 
whether they have learned anything about it in the 
meantime I am not sure. 


We had one very interesting community which was 
just over the edge into Posey County, the adjourning c - ^ * 
county. The community lapped over into Vanderburgh 
County. The name of the community was St. Phillips, 
a Catholic parish, a very rural one. Shortly before 
I arrived on the scene they started having meetings. 
The county agent from Posey County attended all of 
their meetings and he informed me that we v/ere to 
take turn about. They met once a month in the parish 
house and they had a priest by the name of Father 
Verse. About two hundred people turned out at every 
meeting and they practically hung on to every word 
that was so id. I don t think I have ever seen a 
hungrier group of people for information then these 
people were. 

They had been isolated for years and after one 
of the meetings that I attended Father Verse invited 
me over to his manse to chat a bit. And I said 
"Father how do you explain getting all of these people 
out and the interest that you have developed here?" 
He said "Well, when I came here I found that the 
priest who had proceeded me had been here for forty 
years. He never encouraged meetings of any kind, 
excepting meetings of the church and as a matter of 
fact he discouraged it and I realized that it was a 
very backward community and that they needed all the 
help they could get in modern agricultural practices. 
I came from up near Notre Dame. I was associated 
with a community where I learned a good deal about 
agricultural practices so when I first came here I 
invited the county agent from Mount Vernon to come 
over and talk with us. The first meeting was on 
poultry. We decided to have meetings once a month 
and you can see the results." 

In all my experience I don t think I have ever 
had a more appreciative or a more satisfactory 
audience. They would literally keep you on the floor 
for hours if you would allow them to, asking questions. 
They were just that hungry for information. 

Father Verse was quite an unusual man and this 
was a very very interesting experience for me. 


The county agent s office was on the main floor 
of the courthouse and as a consequence it came to be 
the hang out for all the newspapermen who covered the 
courthouse beat. Occasionally we had rather a rough 
group because they would come over to get over their 
hangovers in my office. 

A chap who covered my particular office was 
named Bullock. They decided to put out a special 
edition of the Evansville Courier and he asked me to 
write a story about the agriculture of Vanderburgh 
County. I said "All right, "Bull", I will do so if 
you won t change it or write a lead on it." He so id, 
"All right." But when the paper came out the lead 
that he had written said "Myer says that all of Van 
derburgh County will be within the city of Evansville 
within fifty years," and of course I got laughed at 
around the county but nevertheless Bullock was about 
right because as I drive back through that part of 
the country nowadays, fifty years later it appears 
that he was not far wrong. 

The Soy Bean Story 

DSM: The introduction of soy beans into Vanderburgh 
County is a very interesting story. As assistant at 
the Kentucky Agriculture Experiment Station in 
Lexington and during the time I was there, 1 taught 
during the winter and spent all my time on experi 
mental and research work during the summer. The 
supervision of the variety test for soy beans, as 
well as the wheat research program, was turned over 
to me to supervise. So I became quite well acquainted 
with the soy bean, which was not very widely used nor 
widely known throughout the United States. The seed 
that we had included about twenty varieties. They 
were all imported. 

HP: From where? 

DSM: Mostly from China and Japan. 

HP: Is that so? I wonder how it all started I wonder 
how the United States finally did realize the soy 
bean s worth? 

DSM: The Bureau of Plant Industry was sending people out 
all over the world looking for new plants and 
interesting plants. This was one of the most 
interesting jobs that they had in the Department of 

They started, as a matter of fact, importing 
new plants before the Department of Agriculture was 
ever formed. The Patent Office was the agency used 
if they found something interesting in those early 
days. So the Bureau of Plant Industry had supplied 
the seeds for these variety tests. 

There was an Agronomist by the name of Morris, 
who was supervising this program. He visited us two 
or three times in Kentucky and I went over the pro 
gram with him. So I got quite well acquainted with 
the early, the medium, and the late varieties and 
those that had more seed available. 

When I got to Evansville, in Vanderburgh County, 
Indiana, I found that many of the soils had become 
so acid that they weren t producing good crops of 
clover. They needed a legume in the interim that 
would help produce nitrogen as well as provide a 
change in rotation. So I started recommending soy 

At that time about the only soy beans that was 
on the market was a variety called Mammoth Yellow. 
It was a very late bean and normally in that area it 
didn t mature at all. It would get frosted before 
the seed would mature. It was a good bean if you 
wanted to plow it under because it grew up very high. 
That is about all they had, so I started recommending 
a bean called Hollybrook and two or three others, 
medium varieties, that would mature in that area. 

It didn t occur to me that the dealers would not 
have them. I should have known it but I didn t think 


it through. One day I came by a farm owned by Billy 
Erskine. Billy was a slov; talking, awfully nice guy 
and one of my better friends. He said "I ran into a 
chap the other day that is awfully mad at you." I 
said "What s his name?" He said "Owen Monroe," and 
I said "Where is he?" He said "At the Heldt Seed 
Company." I oaid "What s he mad about?" He said 
"I went in and asked him if they had some liollybrook 
soy beans and ho looked at me and said Who in God s 
name is recommending this variety of bean 1 and 1 said 
the County Agent. He said Let me show you something, 
so he took me to the bock of the store, up a few steps 
and showed me a great big bin of Mammoth Yellow beans 
and he said We haven t sold one peck of these beans 
since this County Ap:ent started recommending other 
varieties and we re stuck. 1 ." I said "I guess I d 
better go in and see him." So the next day I did go 
in to see him. 

I went in and introduced myself to Owen Monroe 
and he said "Come with me." He just turned on his 
heel and went back and took me up some steps to show 
me this bin. He said "See what you ve done?", and I 
said "Yes, I do and I m very regretful and it s a 
mistake on my part and we ll see if we can t do some 
thing about it." He said "What can you do?" I said 
"Well, I would like to have a meeting of the seed 
dealers of the county. Would you come?" He said 
"Yes I d come but I don t think anybody else would 
come." I said "Would you help me by giving me the 
names of the various seed dealers that you know 
about?" "Sure", he said. So I got a piece of paper, 
sat down and listed a group of names. 

We sent out a notice calling them to a meeting 
and told them in the notice that we wanted to talk 
about the soy bean crop, securing the soy bean seed 
of the type adapted to that area. About five dealers 
came; one was a wholesaler and about four others. I 
apologized for what I had done and said "What I d 
like to do is to settle on two or three key varieties 
that we can use in this area; one early, one medium, 
and Mammoth Yellow if someone wants to turn the crop 
under. But there won t be many people who will want 
to do that, so I think the medium one will be the 
major one because it will mature here." 


Usually by the time the beonr, are harvested for 
seed the leaves have already dropped off but if a 
farmer is going to turn it under he usually does it 
while the plant is still green enough that the whole 
crop becomes humus. However, the bean was increasingly 
valuable for seed, because it was beginning to be in 

I said "I ll tell you what I ll do, if you will 
make a deal with me. I ll locate seed supplies for 
you, tell you where you can get them, if you will 
stock them, and do one other thing. Some of these 
supplies may be a bit short and you may not be able 
always to have them in stock and if you don t, I 
would like to have you suggest other dealers who 
might have them. I ll keep informed about who has 
the beans and who hasn t." About three of them 
agreed. Owen Monroe was one of them. By golly, we 
put soy beans on the map! It wasn t more than a 
year until the Pratt Brothers, who had a seed supply 
store, were shipping them in by the car load. 

HP: Because the soil really needed them, and the farmers 
realized it? 

DSM: The farmers needed a new crop and soy beans were 

almost entirely free of insect damage and disease. 
Because it was a new crop in the area. 

HP: Was it used exclusively for feed for cattle? 

DSM: Well in those days it was generally used for seed. 

The beans could be ground and mixed with other 
feeds for it was high in protein and high in oil. 
Actually it was a little too high in oil, and it 
wasn t very digestable unless it was ground. The 
farmers in Vanderburgh County because of the fact 
that we were sort of out in the forefront, cou.]d 
sell them as need, you see, to other people who 
wanted them. 

HP: In other counties? 

DSM: Yes. It was a good market for seed of these key 
varieties. The upshot of it was that v/e put soy 

beans in to Vanderburgh County and even down in Union 
Township where they had never grown anything but corn 
and timothy; timothy on the hills for the horses, and 
corn in the bottom lands. They started growing soy 
beans, because it was a good seed crop and they began 
to have a good market for it. 

IIP: What made the soil acid that it required the rotation? 

DSM: The gradual wearing out of humus and the lack of 

replacement of humus seems to develop a kind of toxic 
acid condition under those conditions and the soil 
gets tough and hard-packed and the beneficial bacteria 
don t function well. 

HP: And the soy beans did correct that? 

DSM: Well, soy beans would grow in that kind of soil 
where clover wouldn t. 

HP: Would it also do anything to rehabilitate the soil? 

DSM: Well sure, if they turned them under for humus 

replacement it helped a great deal to rehabilitate 
the soil. 

The upshot of it was that two or three years 
after I left there, I went back to Purdue and was 
talking to Keller Beeson, who was at that time the 
extension Agronomist. Keller had Just been down into 
the "Pocket" of which Vanderburgh County is a part, 
and he said "I think you ought to be very proud of 
the fact that southern Indiana and the "Pocket" today 
is one of the outstanding soy bean production regions 
in the United States." Of course, at that time they 
were beginning to spread out into the Illinois 
blacklands and other areas, I said "Yes, I am proud 
of that fact." So this was the major new crop that 
we introduced. 

Of course, at the same time we were doing this, 
we were recommending the use of ground limestone to 
get the soil back into shape where they could grow 
clover; particularly for the dairymen and others who 
needed hay and fodder of that type for their cattle. 


HP: The limestone, what does it do / L>wcctens? 

D^M: Limestone sweetens the soil. It developed an alkaline 
reaction which helps to sweeten the soil so that the 
bacteria can develop so that clover and other legumes 
can store nitrogen and do the Job that they are 
supposed to do. 

HP: Is that part of the country still growing essentially 
what it was growing fifty years ago? 

DSM: I haven t been back to Vanderburgh County to check on 
their crop production during the last twenty-five 
years or more. I m pretty sure that they are still 
growing corn down in the bottom lands and probably 
soy beans. Not quite the way they used to do but 
I m certain they are still producing corn and beans 
for the market. 

Part of Vanderburgh County that used to be good 
farming land is now under houses. The city of Evans- 
ville has spread out and is taking up a lot of terri 
tory. The suburban area has developed out into the 
county, yet there still is quite a lot of farmland. 
They are undoubtedly growing hybrid corn nowadays on 
the farms still in operation in Vanderburgh County. 

Hybrid Corn 

HP: When was hybrid corn introduced? 

DSM: Hybrid corn actually got under way along in the 19^0 s 
but there weren t enough seed producers producing 
hybrid corn. It wasn t widely used until after 19:50. 

HP: What are the advantages of hybrid corn? 

DSM: Hybrid corn is uniform. You can look at a field of 
hybrid corn and know that it is hybrid because it 
looks like you could put a level on the top of it 


when it is growing. When it tassels out, it is just 
as level as it can be. 

HP: Every seed grows at the same rate of speed? Is that 

DSM: That s right. Each seed has the same genes, exactly. 
Also, it is possible to select, from their pure line, 
types that have a stiff stalk and do not fall over in 
wind storms. The big factor, in addition to that, is 
that it is higher producing. Hybrids for some reason 
or other true in livestock generally speaking as well 
as in crops of corn are more productive then the 
mixed genes of a normal crop that is selected out of 
a field. Do you know how hybrid corn is produced 1 : 
Let me tell you briefly about it for it will give 
you a better understanding. 

In order to produce hybrid corn specialists take 
a certain type seed corn; they will grow it for 
several years, maybe for four or five years; self- 
pollinate it and prevent any cross pollination at all, 
until they get what they call a pure line. Very often 
a pure line in a corn crop, when they actually get a 
pure line, may not be taller than two or three feet. 
It s a little bit of a stunted plant with stunted ears. 
Then they pick that particular pure line and cross it 
with another pure line. They don t allow cross 
pollination excepting with the two pure lines which 
produces a hybrid. The resulting hybrid seed pro 
duces a vigorous and beautiful crop. 

HP: Maybe one is selected for rigid stem. 

DSM: That s right. They try various combinations and then 
they pick the ones that are best adapted to the area. 

The way they cross pollinate these pure lines, 
after they get to the place where they want to cross 
them and develop a hybrid seed, is that they have 
boys go through and detassel one of them. The tassel 
carries the pollen, the seed, the male part of it. 
They detassel one type maybe every two or three rows 
where they planted that type of seed, and leave the 
other type to supply the pollen so that the whole 
field will be pollinated by exactly the same pollen, 
and you ve got your hybrid. 


They detassel one pure line so it won t pollinate 
its own and the other type will provide the pollen. 
Then that seed is the hybrid seed and may be planted 
Just one year. It is necessary to buy new seed again 
the next year. 

HP: Why? 

Di:3M: Because it bep;ins to split up and divide up into 
various types. 

HP: It goes back to its origins. 

Dt3M: That s right. It s a throw back. You can grow corn 
from it but you aren t sure you re going to get the 
kind of uniformity that you are looking for from a 

HP: You can t use it as seed corn. 

DSM: That s right. You don t use it. You can but you 
don t. 

HP: That s interesting. I m trying to apply it to human 
beings. Whether the birth rate of a very inbred 
community finally goes down, as corn; doesn t produce 
as much. 1 don t know. 

DSM: We haven t carried this question of pure lines and 
hybrids in humans very far. We do know that there 
has been an understanding on the part of people 
throughout the years, that people who are closely 
related should not marry because very often they 
produce cripples or various kinds of deformity. 
The reason for this is, for anybody v/ho knows 
anything about genetics, quite obvious. If there 
are any weaknesses at all, in the genes of the 
strain, you intensify them and it begins to pop 
out with all kinds of problems. Now if you have 
all strengths and no weaknesses then you get a 
strong line. 

One of the ways they have improved certain 
breeds of livestock, throughout the years, is by 
what they call inbreeding. Breeding a cow to her 
son, for example, if he is a good bull; and the same 


way with hops, and other animals . And yet you can 
carry that to the place where you begin to get a 
reduction in vigor. In human beings, I m sure, that 
if you have had an incestuous situation inbreeding, 
you would be likely to pet reduction in virility and 
in stamina as in livestock. 

Wintertime Meeting In Scott Township 

DSM: We had a very interesting v/intertime program that 
was worked out in Scott township. This was one of my 
best communities. We started having meetings there 
about once a month, and when it came the fall of the 
year somebody suggested that we schedule meetings on 
one particular day a month. 

We would meet about nine o clock in the morning 
and have lunch at the church. The ladies would bring 
enough to lay out a wonderful lunch. And then we 
carried on till about four o clock until it was time 
to go home to do the milking and other chores. 

HP: Did the wives take part in these meetings? 

DSM: Yes. The wives also took part in these meetings 

because they wanted to come and they wanted somebody 
to meet with them who knew something about Home 
Economics. So among the various people that I 
learned about in Evansville, who were willing to 
spend some time on it, I found four or five people 
who were willing to help and who were well trained 
enough to do it and I would take them out there with 

HP: You mean in Home EC? 

DSM: In Home Economics, or somebody who had developed 

certain interests in such things as sewing or table 
setting and in all kinds of things that the ladies 


were interested in. Some were people who were teaching 
Home Economics in the Evansville schools. 

HP: But there was no program for the women s phase of 
farming at that time. 

DSM: There was no Home Demonstration Agent at that time 
but shortly after 1 left the county they got a Home 
Demonstration Agent. 

There was some Girl s Club work, 4-H Club work 
including canning and sewing clubs. These for the most 
part were supervised by school teachers who were busy 
during the winter teaching school but had some time 
during the summer. We found enough money to pay them 
a small stipend for their expenses, and their time in 
handling the supervision of clubs. 

Going back to Scott township. What we did out 
there with the men and with the women was quite inter 
esting to me. They were looking to me, of course, to 
provide the program and I said "No. I m not going to 
do that. You people are going to participate in this 
program" and I said "What kind of subjects do you want 
to talk about?" Somebody said "Well, we would like to 
know something about seed corn and seed corn selection. " 

1 said "All right. Tho first meeting, then, I 
want each of you to bring five or ten ears, I don t 
care whether it is five ears or ten ears, of the kind 
of seed corn you would select to plant. Then 1 will 
expect you to defend your position to the other people." 
Well they came and they started to talk about seed corn 
and of course after a while if they asked my opinion 
about this, I v/ould take out a set of ears that I 
thought was the type that was adapted to that area and 
explained the reasons for my choice. But they went on 
from there and they talked about all kinds of corn 
problems; planting, time of planting; cultivation; 
insect and disease control; and all that sort of thing. 
And we would spend the whole day. It was amazing. 

Toward spring, I remember, one of the young 
Dutchmen of the group, Chris Volkman a good farmer 
said "Let s talk about potatoes the next time." This 
was along about February. I said "All right. Each of 


you bring a half dozen or a dozen potatoes to the 
next meeting." They didn t know what I was going to 
do when they brought them. But when they got settled 
I said "Chris, how do you cut potatoes for planting?" 
They cut potatoes by dividing them into pieces having 
an eye in each piece, at least one eye. Chris dug 
for his knife and he started in to cut potatoes and 
he didn t get through with the first potato before 
they all began to dig for their knives. And they had 
the darndest argument about how to cut potatoes. I 
j uct sat back, of course, and listened and watched. 

HP: The fact that you don t just use the eye is the other 
part that you cut for the potato is that for nutriment? 

DSM: That s right. 

The part of the potato other than the eye pro 
vides nutriment until the plant gets rooted and esta 
blished. This is what supplies nutriment to the young 
plant and if you dig up the old potatoes you will find 
nothing much left but the peeling or the husk. It has 
all been utilized and dried up, rotted out because the 
young plant has taken the moisture along with the 
nutriments out of it. 

Well, this was the start. Of course T kept 
leading them on. "What time do you plant potatoes, 
Chris?" Then they would arpue about the time to plant 
and again control of potato bugs, control of diseases. 

HP: Would they come to a consensus? 

DSM: Yes. They were usually able to agree. Once in a 

while you wou.ld find something, such as their method 
of cutting potatoes, which may be somewhat different, 
but of course they wouldn t change. But at least they 
had a good time arguing about it. 

So we went on. We had a whole meeting on potatoes, 
I learned as much about potatoes as they did, because 
I didn t know too much. I had planted potatoes and I 
had grown potatoes as a kid. That s the way we made 
our first real money, my brother and I as I have told 
you. But the meeting was fun. 

At one of these meetings they wanted to talk 
about dairy rations and how to balance rations. I 
wasn t very good on this. It had been a long time 
since I figured balanced rations. 

IIP: What did you do when you needed some help? Did you 
go to Lafayette? 

D8M: Of course I had reference books for this kind of 

thing. And I boned up and I thought I could do it 
but I got stuck. Well, there was one young chap in 
the bunch, John White-head, who had been to Purdue for 
a short course and he knew all there was to know about 
balancing a ration by the method that I was trying to 
use. So he started making suggestions and I said 
"John, come take this piece of chalk and you go ahead 
with this." He went ahead with it and I sat back and 
Just grinned like a Cheshire cat and they looked at me 
and said "Is he doing it all right?", and I said "He s 
doing fine. He s doing ^ust as well as I could do it." 
I didn t have to disclose my ignorance. But they had 
a wonderful day talking about dairy production, dairy 
feeding, and the kinds of feeds that were available. 

HP: These meetings would go on just in wintertime? 
DSM: Just in wintertime. 

Summer Time Meetings 

DSM: They had meetings usually in the summertime too 
but they usually were evening meetings. 

I remember one meeting we had right in the midst 
of threshing time. Somebody from Purdue, I think Fred 
Shanklin who was one of the club supervisors at Pur 
due, recommended that I get a chap by the name of Doc 
Frier to come down and show a set of slides. He said 
"He has a wonderful set of slides that will interest 
these people." 


So I scheduled him for right in the middle of 
threshing and they said "We ll be threshing and we re 
going to be busy and I don t know whether we can get 
there or not." I said, "All right, I ll make you a 
deal. I ll come out and help you thresh that day if 
you will come to the meeting." They said "All right." 
Of course they had a gleam in their eye. 

So I put on my coveralls, went out, took a team 
and a wagon and threshed for four or five hours. They 
tried to cover me up and used every trick possible on 
me and got the biggest bang out of it. I had done 
this sort of thing at home and I knew how to do it and 
I could load a load of wheat as well as any of them. 
So I worked like Hell all afternoon. 

HP: Then went back and held the meeting? 

DSM: That s right. Then we got cleaned up and went to the 
meeting and most of them went to sleep! This was the 
most god-awful, boring session that I had ever sat in 
on. I was ashamed of it afterwards. But the techni 
que that we used in getting that meeting was one of 
the things that interested me. It interested them. 
They enjoyed it even though they all got sleepy before 
the meeting was over. 

HP: I ll bet. They had probably gotten up at dawn. 
DSM : Sure . 

A Return Visit After Twenty Years 

DSM: It was in that community that they held a banquet 
celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of extension 
work and the first anniversary of the organization of 
the first Soil Conservation District in Indiana. They 
invited me back as the main speaker, and we held the 
banquet in the same community house at the church. 


Bluegrass Church, they called it, and people at 
that time came from all over the county. I had boned 
up a week or two ahead of time and listed all these 
people down the various roads and I only missed two 
of them as they came up to say hello. I d look over 
somebody s shoulder and recall the names as they 
approached. This was a lot of fun. 

HP: How can you do this? People really change so much 

in twenty-five years. I can t imagine how you could 

DSM: Well, it had been about twenty years since I had seen 
any of them, but it was no problem with me once I got 
the names listed. Of course, I knew most of -chese 
people so v/ell because they were old buddies or they 
wouldn t be coming to this banquet. Some of the 
younger ones did look older and some of the oldsters 
also looked older, of course. But they would come up 
with a boyish grin on and they all looked a little 
younger then they actually were. 

Women On The Farm 

DSM: There were some women farmers in those days. 

The chap who was one of the main lawyers in Evansville, 
who had been born and brought up on a farm out in the 
northern part of the county, had some sisters who lived 
on the farm. He lived in town and went out there 
occasionally but his sisters ran the farm. They pro 
bably were my best customers when it came to questions. 

Ther/ were interested in asking questions about 
anything that came to their mind that they were not 
sure about. 1 think they were a pair of "old maids," 
as I remember it. One of them was r< teacher and she 
was quite interested in lots of tbingc. Thir; is the 
only farm that I can think of that was operated 
entirely by women. 


But I learned one thing, among many other things, 
while I was there. I came to this conclusion: that 
the boss in farm families, and I m sure it is true in 
other families, just about fifty percent of the time 
was the woman. 

HP: In making decisions on how money war, to be spent? 

DSM: In making oil kinds of decisions that dealt particu 
larly with the budget the women often made the deci 
sion. I learned this when I was trying to organize a 
Dairy Herd Improvement Association. In those days it 
was called Cow Testing Association. I thought they 
needed one, so I went out to sign up people. It 
required twenty-six members because there were twenty- 
six working days in the month. They hired a cow 
tester to test their milk for butter fat and to keep 
records of the production one day a month. It cost 
a bit of money. 

HP: To test their milk for butter fat, or what? 

DSM: Butter fat and production generally. It was a method 
of weeding out the herd to determine which were the 
cows that would produce the most and that were the 
better breeding stock. 

I learned that one of the men in the area had a 
wonderful herd. It wasn t a pure bred herd but was 
an excellent grade herd. His brother and others were 
quite anxious to get him in, but I couldn t convince 
his wife. But he finally did come in and he was in 
the top list in the state of Indiana, with two or 
three high-producing cows, time and time again. Of 
course they were delighted later. She was the one 
who was holding the purse strings, and holding out. 

HP: What was her resistance? Do you know? 

DSM: She was careful about the budget and I just couldn t 
sell her on the idea that this was an important thing 
to their business. We finally did, but it took a 
long long time. Well, 1 got to thinking about it. 
Thinking about the people I was dealing with and I 
came to the realization that on many, many things 
the lady of the house, if she was a strong character, 
very often was the boss of the house. 


It was true in my family. My Dad was a strong- 
minded chrp and he did things that he wanted to do, 
but when it came to the business end of things on the 
farm Mother was in some respects a better business 
manager than Dad was. He always consulted her. Dad 
was away so much that she very often was running things, 

HP: Did this include the decision as to what crops would 
be put in r 

DSM: Not necessarily that. If new crops were planned or 
if they are going to change the pattern Mother would 
be consulted. Just like signing up for a Herd Improve 
ment Association: it was something new and different 
and they were going to gamble a bit, and the women 
helped to make the decision. 

HP: What sort of questions or information, do you recall, 
that these two women who ran the farm wanted from you? 

DSM: The women farmers mentioned earlier asked questions 

about time of planting; the kinds of crops they should 
be growing; and if they were dealing with a new crop 
with which they hadn t had experience, they were 
interested in checking at every stage about how to 
seed, the time of planting, the time of harvesting, 
and marketing; almost every phase of the crop program. 

HP: Did they come in to see you or consult you by the 

DSM: They would usually telephone and ask me if I was out 
that way to stop by, and 1 made more farm visits with 
them, I think, than I had office visits. Their 
brother came in occasionally to bring a question 
because he had been out there and said the girls 
wanted to know so and so. So the next time I was out 
that way I d stop by. 

HP: Sometimes I think women have reluctance to go to the 
courthouse. All those hangers-on around there and 
that sort of thing. They might not have wanted to 
come to the office in the courthouse. 

DSM: I m sure that these women did chores such as milking 
and taking care of chickens and gardening and that 


type of chores close around the house, but I don t 
think they drove tractors, or handled the teams in 
the field. I think that was done by somebody else. 

There were women on farms young and old who went 
out into the fields and helped and in those days they 
wore the same kind of dresses they would wear around 
the house when they helped in the fields excepting 
one young lady I knew who wore jeans and was as good 
as any man I ever saw about a dairy. Agnes Hoeing 
was a dairy club girl and she practically handled 
the milking, the handling of cattle and all of the 
farm work while her father went to meetings and did 
a lot of things that he wanted to do. 

I had a very interesting experience with her. 
We ran a special car to Purdue to their short course 
and had people from three counties. 

HP: You mean a railroad car? 

DSM: Yes. We chartered a sleeper and took a bunch of club 
kids. The county agent from Warwick County brought 
some older farmers and their sons, the same in Posey 
County so we made up a full car load. The only girl 
in the Pullman was this young lady that I mentioned 
above. These boys were not worrying too much about 
what they said and they horsed around after they got 
into the berths. We had a terrible time keeping them 
calmed down and remembering that there was a girl on 
the car. It worried some of the other agents more 
than it did me. I m sure that Agnes had heard enough 
of this sort of thing so that I don t think it bothered 
her. She came out bright and pert the next morning. 

HP: Do you happen to know whether she married a farmer? 

DSM: No. I don t know what became of her. She was a husky 
young German girl and she probably married a farmer 
but I don t know. 

I don t actually remember any women In Vander- 
burgh County who were farmers in the sense of doing 
their own farm work. I have seen this happen in 
some other places but I never saw it down there. 


Four H Club Work 

HP: I would like to know about the 4H work; how new it was 
when you were doing it; whether you had responsibility 
for that along with other things, and all about it. 

DSM: Four H Club work was one of my most rewarding projects. 
It was completely new to Vanderburgh County. They had 
none before I came there. They had very little Four 
H Club work in any of the counties until after they 
got a county agent. Four H Club work was one of the 
earlier types of extension work. 

There were men in two or three different states 
who claimed that they started Four H Club work. One 
was a extension director by the name of Graham in Ohio. 
He was teaching in Springfield, Ohio, and had started 
home projects of the type that were later included in 
Four H work. A chap by the name of Benson out in Ames, 
Iowa, started corn clubs, and then George Farrel in 
Massachusetts claimed to be the pioneer. All of these 
happened to come along about the same time, about 1905 
to 1908. 

The Smith-Lever Act was passed in 1914. They had 
county agents before that but they were financed partly 
by Sears Roebuck or some other big institution and the 
local county. After the Smith-Lever Act was passed 
federal appropriations were available to the states 
based upon the rural population. These federal funds 
had to be matched by state appropriations and county 
funds. The counties usually provided office expenses 
but seldom put up money for salaries; although some of 
them did. It was only after the Smith^Lever Act was 
passed that Four H Club work began to spread out 
across the United States. 

HP: How did you tackle it? It s certainly a different 
phase because of working with youngsters. 

DSM: There was a club department in the extension service 
with three or four specialists. 

HP: You mean at Purdue. 


DSM: At Purdue. They were specialists in this field. I 
talked with them before I went onto the job. Then, 
as I remember it, Pred Shanklin who was one of the 
members of the staff, came down and spent several 
days with me going over -the possibilities and meeting 
with some people who v/ere prospective leaders. 

HP: Did you work through the schools? 

DSM: Yes, in part. We began to write up the possibilities 
in the papers. I had some individual club members 
that 1 supervised personally scattered here and there 
over the county who weren t really in clubs at all. 
They were doing home projects which I supervised. 
We had some clubs which were supervised by one of 
the teachers in the school in that area. 

In Perry Township, for example, we had a chap 
by the name of Ed Grossman who had a number of club 
youngsters in three or four different types of 
projects youngsters who had poultry projects and 
members who had pigs as their home project, and we 
even had some girls in a canning club. V/e usually 
got some help from one of the county girls in helping 
in the meetings. 

HP: How did you get kids interested in this? 

DSM: We aroused interest through the schools, through the 
parents and through the teachers. I would go out and 
talk with them in the schools. 

HP: Was it put to them as a source of possible spending 
money or what would notivate them to raise chickens 
or a pig? 

DSM: Well, I don t remember that we used the profit motive 
much. We presented it as an interesting program in 
which they had an opportunity to learn something and 
to have a project of their own, with some prospect of 
getting some income out of it although that wasn t 
true with the sewing and canning clubs for the girls. 
Mothers encouraged them to do this sort of thing 
because they were interested in having the youngsters 


With the boys the prospect of having pigs and the 
opportunity of at least winning prizes and to have 
poultry to sell or to have a dairy calf that grew up 
into a cow that they would own was important. This 
work was interesting. I had. some boys in pig club 
projects and three or four who had a corn project. 
They had an acre or more of corn of their own that 
they handled, supervised, planted and carried all the 
way through including harvesting. 

HP: Which phase of your county agent work did you find most 

DtiM: 1 think as time -went on I had the most pleasure out of 
the club work. It was fun watching these youngsters 
come along and develop. I remember one case, the chap 
by the name of Homer Pierce who was my first office 
caller lived way out in the north end of the county 
and he had a boy by the name of Elmer. Elmer joined 
a pig club and I visited him regularly. He had three 
pigs as his project. 

HP: What would you visit him for? 

DSM: Oh, I visited him to see how he was getting along, 
whether he was having any problems in the way of 
parasites or other things that ought to be taken 
care of such as lice; whether or not he was main 
taining a good ration; whether the pigs were growing 
well and to give him encouragement, and a pat on the 
back. This kid came along very nicely, and I remem 
ber quite clearly after he had gone through a year and 
had sold his pigs I dropped by there to see his father, 
and he disappeared when we were out in the barnyard 
for just a very short time and the first thing I knev; 
I heard a bicycle bell ring and I looked around and 
here came Elmer on a bicycle. He had bought it with 
his pig club money. You never saw a kid prouder of 
anything in his life than he was of that bicycle. It 
was his own, he had spent his own money for it and he 
was just as proud as punch. 

HP: How old was that boy? 

DSM: I think he was about eleven or twelve years old. 


HP: They were very young kids. 

DSM: Yes. Most of the club members were young. Two or 
three were in their teens, fourteen or fifteen. 
Most of them were anywhere from eight yeers to 
twelve years of ap;e. 

Interesting Adult Demonstrations 

DSM: I got a great deal of satisfaction out of seeing 
the results of the demonstration programs we had with 
such things as soy beans, limestone, fertilizers and 
others. We had demonstrations here and there with 
people who would leave strips not limed, and we would 
call meetings and show the neighbors what was happening, 

I got a great deal of satisfaction also out of 
the hog cholera control program that we put into effect 
that I will discuss later. 

We had one demonstration that turned out to be 
the sort of thing that you look back on with great 
pleasure. One day a chap by the name of Haas, a 
German, who was a school teacher out in German town 
ship I think there was only one or two families with 
English names in the whole township came in wearing 
a derby hat that had turned green, and the rest of his 
get up was of the same vintage. He said "I ve got a 
brother-in-law who wants to grow alfalfa. I wish you 
would come by and see him. He lives just above me." 
I said "What kind of land does he have?" He said 
"Well, I don t think it s too good but I wish you 
would go out and talk to him." So we talked awhile 
and I said "All right, I ll stop by and see him." 

This brother-in-law s name was Cornelius Roeder. 
He was a widower and he had eight youngsters; some of 
the girls were teenage but most of them were younger. 
I stopped by to see him and he took me over and showed 
me a little five acre patch that was on a hillside, 


not too steep, but there it was. Clay soil that 
needed about everything. I looked it all over nnd 
I said "Well, I think I can get alfalfa for you if 
you will do everything I tell you to do." He said 
"I will." So I said "Do you have any stable manure?" 
"Yes", he said "I have some." I said "I want a good 
coating of stable manure, most of it to go on before 
you plow and then a top dressing after you plow before 
you seed. I want you to inoculate the seed before you 
plant because there hasn t been any alfalfa in here 
before but I ll see that you get the inoculations. 
That s no problem." 

HP: I don t understand inoculation. 

DSM: Inoculation was necessary to provide the growth of 

bacteria that would develop the nodules on the roots 
of the alfalfa plant which is the nitrogen-fixing 
mechanism of all legumes. 

HP: An injection? 

DSM: Well what you did was to take this little batch of 
inoculants that you had made up in the laboratories 
from alfalfa roots. This is put with water and 
sprinkled over the seed so that it is covered with 
enough of it so that when it is planted it had been 
inoculated with bacteria enough to assure the develop 
ment of the nitrogen fixing nodules on the roots. 

HP: And the plant seed absorbed this? Did you have to 
puncture each seed? 

DSM: No, no. It didn t have to absorb it. It carries the 
bacteria into the soil with the seed. It was there 
when the roots were ready to pick it up. Once alfalfa 
had been grown and gotten inoculation started in the 
soil there was no problem. 

So I said "I will get that for you but you will 
need the lime." He said "All right. Where do I get 
the limestone?" I told him and how much to put on. 
I said "I want you to put on at least a ton per acre 
and two tons would be better. Then you should apply 
two hundred pounds of acid phosphate fertilizer per 
acre which would mean half a ton for the five acres. 
It would be better if you put on three hundred or 

four hundred pounds, since you haven t been fertilizing." 
He said "All right. You tell me how much." I said 
"Well lets make it three hundred pounds." So he did. 
He used his manure, he did exactly what I told him to 
do. He planted it in August as I recommended. 

HP: In August? 

DSM: It was well started before fall then it came on well 
the next spring. I said "One other thing I wish you 
would put in a little strip or two of sweet clover 
which will be a good preparatory crop for alfalfa 
later because the roots are thick and though they are 
not as deep as alfalfa they are big and they help to 
open up the soil and prepare the ground for alfalfa . " 

HP: Put it right along side of the alfalfa? 

DSM: Right along side. I got him to leave a strip up at 

the top without any lime or fertilizer. It was ,just a 
drill row through. 

PIP: Just the soil as it was? 

DSM: That s right. Then the rest of it was planted to 
alfalfa and then on the lower part of the patch he 
put in three or four drill widths of sweet clover. 
Well, he did everything I told him to do and he did 
it just right. He got a beautiful crop of alfalfa 
and the sweet clover was all right too. He wasn t 
so much interested in that. So the upshot was that 
I was a great man in his eyes and in the eyes of the 
kids and from that time on everytime I stopped there 
I was referred to as the "alfalfa man." Nothing else. 

Cornelius Roeder had a cave and in it he had five 
barrels of v/ine. Everytime I stopped after he got the 
alfalfa established to visit with him he would say 
before I left "Now we will go and have a drink on the 
alfalfa." We went through the same process on each 
virit. I nearly didn t get home the first time this 
happened because he would take a common tumbler, the 
kind used in tho:;e days, and say "And now we ll taste 
each one and then we ll drink the one you like best." 
And he would fill that tumbler up about two-thirds 
full for a taste and I would have to drink five of 


those "tastes" and then have a full tumbler for a 
drink. Well, I began to get smart after the first 
time. The first time 1 didn t leave immediately 
and by the time I got home I was really floating. 
So from that time on I never stopped there unless I 
was on my way home and I didn t linger after 1 had 
had my drinks. I went right on home and parked the 
car. This went on every time. He would have been 
mad if I hadn t joined him in the cave so we did it. 
Anyhow he was a great demonstrator and of course, 
people from all over the township knew about Cornelius 
Roeder and his alfalfa. 

He had another brother-in-law by the name of 
Hahn who wanted to grow soy beans. This was the way 
things spread. So I helped him get his soy beans, 
told him about inoculations for soy bean seed because 
they had never grown them in that area and made other 
suggestions. He got a wonderful crop of soy beans. 
We had a meeting on his place to show off his soy 
beans. He was a proud man. 

This was the sort of thing that cracked the 
community wide open in the kind of areas where these 
old German folks lived who were so conservative. They 
loosened up and the new county agent was accepted. 

HP: Did you keep notes and did you make reports to anyone 
on this? 

DSM: We had to make monthly reports on our activities 
including these demonstrations and then we had an 
annual report every year. 1 have been tempted to go 
down to the National Archives here in Washington to 
see if they have the county agent reports of Vander- 
burgh County on microfilm after fifty years. It would 
be interesting to find out. 

Armstrong Township And Henry Kissel s Hog Cholera 

DSM: The various communities in Vanderburgh County had 

their own particular characteristics. Some of them were 


a little bit hard to get opened up, so as to gain the 
confidence of people in the community. One of those 
was Armstrong township. For the most part the first 
meetings we held in each one of the communities was 
arranged by the township trustee who was a member of 
the county board of education, which had had the 
responsibility of approving my appointment to the 
,job as county agent. The township trustee in Arm 
strong township was a chap by the name of Joe Martin. 
He was rather slow and he told me on a number of 
occasions that he wasn t sure that people would come 
out to a meeting oven if he called them. Ife said 
"ifl/e don t have any very good meeting place." Finally 
after some urging he arranged a meeting in an old 
warehouse which was right close to the railroad that 
ran through that area and next door to the general 
store and the saloon which was the most important 
social center in the community. 

We arranged to have this meeting in the early 
fall. It was chilly. I think it was probably as 
near a flop as any meeting could be. After the 
meeting was over one of the men came up to me and 
he said "You know Mr. Myer if we met over in the 
saloon we would be a lot warmer. There would be a 
lot more people who would be interested in coming." 
I said "All right. The next time we have a meeting 
we will have it in the saloon." 

But before the next meeting came around one of 
the deputy sheriffs by the name of Jake Slager came 
by ray door one morning, stepped Just inside, and he 
said "Myer, 1 was out in Armstrong township yesterday 
and 1 ran into Henry Kissel and he said he wanted to 
see you. He s having trouble with his hogs. He s got 
some sick hogs." I said "Jake you know darn well that 
Henry Kissel didn t ask for me. He doesn t know me 
from Adam. I m sure he s never heard of me." Jake 
said "Oh yes he has. You go out there; he needs you." 
So I said "All right, I ll "go out but I don t think 
he sent for me." Well, the next day a young chap 
who occasionally hung around the office and liked to 
ride out into the country with me and I went out to 
see Henry Kissel. 

When we got there, here was this elderly German, 
aged around sixty or sixty-five, with the kind of 


paunch you would expect a pood old German to have. 
He was so hard of hearing you had to yell at the 
top of your- voice to pet him to understand what you 
were saying and I was sure that when I introduced 
myself and told him I had come to look at his hogs 
that he was skeptical. He kept eyeing me and looking 
me over when he thought 1 wasn t looking. So we went 
out and looked the hogs over and sure enough they had 
hog cholera. There wasn t much question in my mind 
about it. He had five hogs that were down and about 
to die. He had throe or four more that were a little 
dopey but hadn t gone down yet but most of them out 
of the forty that he had were still on their feet 
and looking good. They were ready for market. 

So after I looked them all over I said "Now what 
you need is a veterinarian, you don t need me, and 
you ought to get either Dr. McConnell, or one of the 
veterinarians out of Evansville to come out and 
vaccinate your hogs." I went over this I suppose six 
or eight times during the hour or hour and a half I 
was there to be sure that he understood and to drive 
home the necessity for vaccination. I told him that 
even though he got a veterinarian he would undoubtedly 
lose the five hogs that were down and ouite ill and 
that he might lose the three or four others that were 
not down but ill. Possibly Dr. McConnell might decide 
to vaccinate the three or four ill ones and he might 
save them. 

After we had gone over and over this we got into 
the car and started back to town. When we got down 
the road a little piece this young lad who was riding 
with me said "Do you think he will do it?" I said 
"I have no idea but I just hope he will." Well, I 
didn t see Henry Kissel again or didn t hear from 
him until our second meeting in Armstrong township. 

We had our meeting in the saloon and we were 
standing there talking. Four or five people had 
gathered around me and were asking questions and all 
at once I saw somebody coming through this group 
knocking people to the right and to the left with 
his elbows and right up to me. 

It was Henry Kissel. He slapped me on the back 
and almost knocked me on my face and said "Young man, 

after you left I didn t think a damn thing about 
what you told me. I didn t think I was going to do 
anything about it. That evening I was sitting there 
reading the paper and I thought by Gott I ll do it. 
I told the boy to hitch up the horse that we were 
going over to Cynthiana and get Doc McConnell. And 
we did. We drove to Cynthiana and we saw Dr. McCon 
nell, and he came over the next day. He looked them 
hogs over and he said the same damn thing you said. 
He said I would lose some of them and I might lose 
three or four more but he could save the rest of them 
if we vaccinated them. So I said Go ahead ; so he 
vaccinated them hogs. Those that you said would live 
are still alive and well and by Gott, young man, if 
these other hogs live I never will forget you." 

Well, this was the biggest thing that happened 
in Armstrong township to gain the confidence of the 
farmers who were at that meeting and of the community 
because Henry Kissel was a good old standby. He had 
a good farm and he was a good farmer in the eyes of 
those who were his neighbors and he was my man from 
then on. 

I might add that Henry Kissel never had a sick 
cow, or a sick horse, or a sick animal of any kind 
after that that he didn t call me up and ask me to 
come out. I would say "Henry, there isn t any use 
my coming out. You call Doc McConnell. He s the man 
who knows about sick animals." "No," he d say "I 
want you to come out and look at them. Then if you 
want me to get Doc McConnell I ll get him." So I 
would drive out that way and I would look over his 
cow or his horse or his animals and say "I think 
you better call Doc McConnell." He would say "All 
right." So he would call Doc McConnell without 
further argument. 

I would like to go back just a little bit to 
give a little background on hog cholera. Hog cholera 
was quite prevalent in those days. It was the early 
days in the use of hog cholera serum for prevention 
of cholera and many of the veterinarians had had no 
experience in handling it. 

The extension staff at Purdue had among its 
members a Doctor Kigan who was a veterinarian and 


who had developed a technique for dealing with the 
hog cholera problem. He told me about it before I 
went onto the job in Evansville. So one of the first 
things we did was to arrange for him to come down and 
I called a meeting of the veterinarians in the county 
and in the surrounding area. Only five or six of them 
came. Some of them were not interested but one of 
them was Dr. McConnell, whom I have mentioned, who 
lived in Cynthiana, Posey County, but did some of his 
practice over in Vanderburgh County. Another one was 
one of the good veterinarians in Evansville and these 
two gentlemen agreed that they would do what we re 

What we had requested was this: that if they were 
called out because of hog cholera they would report it 
to me so I could report it in the papers to warn people 
to vaccinate their hogs in that community and to take 
care that they didn t have it carried over to them from 
a neighbor. In the meantime I would keep a list of the 
veterinarians who agreed to do this and when somebody 
asked me whom to get I would give them the names I had 
of the veterinarians who were cooperating. Two gentle 
men said they would cooperate, and we cleaned up hog 
cholera all over Vanderburgh County as a result of thin 
technique. Henry Kissel was one of our key demonstra 
tors, of course. 

Army Worm And Grasshopper Control 

DSM: One of my most interesting experiences had to do 
with a call for some help on controlling army worms. 
Union township was the one bottom land township in the 
county, where the farmers generally depended entirely 
on corn as a cash crop because they depended on the 
flood waters in most of the township to bring the top 
soil down from up river and deposit it as the flood 
waters went down. Throughout the years they had been 
getting pretty good fertilization from the sediment. 
However, the top soil which was being brought down at 


this stage of the game was getting poorer and poorer 
because the hills had been washed off above and a 
good deal of it was clay soil and they needed some 
changes down there. 

Right at the upper end of the township was a 
wonderful family by the name of Edmonds. John 
Edmonds was one of these very wonderful farmers who 
had good literature in his home, had a nice family 
and it was always a joy to go there and have a meal 
with them which I did a number of times. One day 
John came into my office and said "What do you know 
about Army worms?" I said "Why?" He said "We ve got 
them." I said "What are they doing?" He said "Well 
at the moment they are marching right up through my 
timothy field and they are taking everything as they 
go except the stems." I said "I don t know too much 
about them but I know where I can get the information 
for you. " I had bulletins on insect control which 
included Army worms. So I informed him that the best 
thing to do was to make up a bran and arsenate of 
lead or paris green mixture which was sprinkled over 
the area to poison them. I gave him the ingredients 
which included just normal wheat bran, paris green 
and lemons which were used only for the odor in 
order to attract the worms. So he bought all these 
things and took them home. I said "I ll be down 
tomorrow morning and we will spread it together." 

The next morning when we got down to the patch 
where they had been eating up the timothy crop the 
day before there wasn t an Army worn in sight. He 
looked at mo and said "Where did they go? They were 
here yesterday because you could hear them eat." I 
said "I m sure you could. I ll show you where they 
went." I got a sharp stick and began to dig them 
out of the ground. The time had arrived, just the 
wrong time for me, for them to go into the pupa 
stage or the resting stage, and they do this by 
going into the ground and burying themselves wherever 
they happen to be at that moment. They go through 
the cycle there and they come out as moths which fly 
away someplace else and lay their eggs during the 
following season. 

When John Edmonds realized what had happened 
and I explained the life cycle to him and just how 

this all happened he just nearly rolled on the ground. 
He laughed and he yelled and hew hooped and he said 
"Young man, you have missed the opportunity of a life 
time. If you had come down yesterday and we had 
gotten this poison spread, I would have thought that 
a minor miracle had happened and 1 would have spread 
it all over this township. You would have had no more 
troubles because they would have thought you were a 
miracle man." So I soid "All right. You know the 
answer now and you can spread the story around if you 
want to but there will probably be other opportuni 
ties. " 

The v/orms march in a row and they go right down 
the line. The line through the timothy field was as 
clear cut as it could be. They went right across the 
whole field, the whole big swath of them feeding as 
they went. 

Several months later a new opportunity came to 
show our skill in insect control in Union township. 
I had a telephone call from a chap by the name of 
Sam Bell who felt that they had no use for a county 
agent up to this time but he called me up and said 
"We re in trouble." I said "What s the matter?" He 
said "The grasshoppers are about to eat us up." I 
said "Did you have any trouble last year?" He said 
"Yes, they got about half of my crop last year." I 
said "Why didn t you let me know?" He said "Well, 
I didn t think you knew a damn thing about it." He 
was that frank about it. I said "All right. I think 
1 can help you." So I went down and we used the same 
kind of poison bait for grasshoppers as we had planned 
to use for the Army worms. I told him what to get 
and 1 would come down and we would mix it and spread 
it. Which we did. The grasshoppers were just little 
fellows. They were just hatching out and they were 
thousands or probably millions of them. It was 
rather dry, hot weather. The corn was probably two 
feet high when we scattered the bait and they ate it. 
I went down a day or two later and found them piled 
up in the shady places dead and black as they could 
be or they were dying and blowing into the cracks 
in the field where the soil had dried out and had 
cracked open. 

So I said "Aro you happy?" and he said "Yes. 1 
think we have found the answer." I said "Can we get 
these other fellows around here to come to a meet 
ing?" He said "No I don t think so. They are culti 
vating corn. I don t think they v/ould stop." I said 
"Well, what about Sunday? What do they do on Sunday?" 
He said "Yes. They might come on Sunday." I said 
"All right. Let s call a meeting for about two o clock 
next Sunday afternoon and we will put out some more 
bait in the meantime. We ll see if we can t demon 
strate to them how to control grasshoppers." This 
was late in the week anyhow. So we got the word out. 

On Sunday afternoon I went down with my sailor 
straw hat and my bow tie. It was too hot to wear a 
coat. I sat down and backed up against one of his 
porch posts with my pipe and just waited. There was 
quite a crew that had gathered around the yard in 
little groups. We waited and waited and finally some 
body yelled out, "Well, what about these grasshoppers?" 
Sam said "Do you want to see them?" They said "Yes." 
He said "All right. Get into your cars." So we got 
into the cars and we went back to the fields where we 
had spread the bait. We couldn t find any grass 
hoppers at first because they had all gone into some 
spots that were full of bind weeds where there was 
plenty of shade and had died. Some of them piled up 
there a foot deep. When I led them into that area 
they were sold. They knew something had happened to 
those grasshoppers. So we talked about them and what 
we had done about it. 

We went back to Sam s house and yard. I got out 
of the car and went over and sat down and lighted my 
pipe again and waited. Only half of the people had 
gone down to see what had happened. The rest of them 
were skeptical and didn t even go. Finally one of 
the old boys who didn t go said "Tell us about those 
grasshoppers. What did you find down there?" One of 
the men who did go said "Well, we found them all right. 
You never saw so many dead grasshoppers in your life." 

This other chap said "Tell us what you did about 
it." So Sam said "Well, this is Mr. Myer the county 
agent and I think most of you know him. He is the 
man that gave us the information so Mr. Myer you tell 
them about it." So I got up and told about what we 


had done and why we had done it and what had happened. 
As a result a lot of them did what we had recommended. 
They saved their crops. Some of them who didn t 
spread poison bait lost about half of their crop. In 
any case we had gained the confidence of a large 
number of people in that township and from there on 
we had no trouble. We could go in there without 
being kidded every time we went down as we had been 

They used to tell me when I first went down into 
that community "You better go up into the hills where 
they need you. We don t need you down here." But 
that was all past and that township, by the way, be 
came one of the major soy bean growing townships and 
communities in all of Indiana after they got started 
with soy beans because they realized that they needed 
some change, and that their soil wasn t as good as it 
had been once. They realized their deposit from the 
floods wasn t as good as it used to be. So they began 
to grow soy beans and to market them as well as corn. 

The Process Of Change 

DSM: I don t think there is a great deal of difference 
in human nature generally in their ability to resist 
change. I think there is something to the fact that 
the more isolated communities who haven t had much 
contact with the outside world are more wary and more 
careful about taking in strangers. You really have to 
show them something that they can visualize in order 
to get them to adopt new practices. But I think this 
would be true in any area where they hadn t learned 
to communicate nor learned to go to the source of 
information for themselves. 

One of the great values, of course, of the 
Agricultural Extension work was that it was based on 
the demonstration idea rather than just going out and 



talking to people. There were two types of demon 
strations. One of them was the so-called method 
demonstration, flow to do things. How to make bran 
bait, for example, or how to can fruit, etc., etc. 

The other one was a demonstration as to how to 
grow things, how to produce, how to fertilize and so 
on which was a long time process. You had to wait 
for results but in time results did show up and then 
you called a meeting to show them what the farmer had 
done and why he had done it and what results he had 
gotten. I don t think there is a greal deal of 
difference in human nature. It would depend more 
on their environment and their traditions than any 
thing else. 




DSM: I stated earlier that I moved to Evansville 
March 1, 1916 at the behest of Thomas Coleman, 
County Agent Leader in Indiana whose office was at 
Purdue. At the time I took on the job I asked him 
what I should do and he said "Go down there and go 
to work, you know as much about the job as we do." 
So I did just that. After one year I received a 
raise of two hundred dollars a year from $1600 to 
$1800 which was a very important item in my young 

During my first month on the job a promoter by 
the name of John Wallenmyer who served as the sealer 
of weights and measures in Vanderburgh County pro 
moted or was putting on a farmer s institute at 
Evansville and I was asked to help with the program. 
As a consequence I contributed two speeches during 
the institute on agronomic subjects. I was well 
versed in agronomy at the time because I had just 
come from Lexington, Kentucky, where I had taught 
agronomy for two years at the University of Kentucky. 
It so happened that Professor G. I. Christy who was 
Director of the Agricultural Extension Service at 
Purdue was present when I made my speeches and 
evidently he was impressed because sometime within 
the year after I had been on the job he called me 
into Purdue in the spring of 191? and urged me to 
accept the position of Field Crop Specialist on the 
Purdue staff. He put the pressure on rather heavily 
for a couple of days during my visit to Purdue. 

I finally told him before I returned to Evans 
ville, that I would have to talk to some of my local 
leaders and others who had supported my work there 
and to think over the matter and I would let him 
know within a few days. I did talk with some of my 
supporters in the county and after talking with them 


I came to the realization that I didn t want to leave 
county agent work at that time and furthermore they 
didn t want me to leave which of course was gratify 

In the meantime war was imminent. I wrote 
Professor Christy and turned the job down with the 
full realization that I might never get another offer 
from him. But much to my surprise in the fall of 
1917, about six months later, I received another 
offer. This was a job as Assistant County Agent 
Leader at Purdue working with Thomas Coleman who had 
hired me in the first instance. I was reluctant to 
take this new position for two reasons. I was 
thoroughly enjoying my county agent work and 
furthermore World War I had been in progress for 
some time when this offer came and I felt that I 
should join the Army if I made a change of any kind. 
I told Professor Christy and Thomas Coleman just 

Much to my surprise I learned that they without 
saying anything to me had proceeded to get me re- 
classified in a 5A classification, which meant that 
I was in a deferred classification. I was told that 
emergency agents were to be recruited and placed in 
all of the counties which did not have agents at 
that time and that the campaign to produce more food 
and save food for the war effort was to go into high 
gear and that my experience and ability was more 
important to the government in the job proposed than 
service in the Army. So I reluctantly accepted with 
the understanding that I could leave for Army service 
as soon as the emergency extension program for new 
agents was well established. 

In addition to the job of hiring and training and 
supervising of new emergency county agents, I was 
put in charge of the increased wheat production 
campaign to secure a twenty percent increase in 
planting and production in Indiana. We gained our 
goal in the wheat production program during the few 
months of 1917 and 1918 that I was in charge. 

During the first ten months of 1918 I found 
myself in quite an embarrassing situation, because 


I was not in uniform. I was in travel status most of 
the time. I traveled from one weekend to the next 
and on three or four different occasions I returned 
to Purdue, even though my schedule didn t call for 
my returning, to tell Director Christy that I wanted 
to resign and to go into the Army. Each time he 
explained how much more important my work was than 
serving in the ranks. Each time he urged that I stay 
on until the first set of objectives \vere accomplished. 
This went on until signing of the armistice of Nov 
ember 11, 1918. Nevertheless, every time I saw a 
troop train full of men in uniform heading east and 
I was still in civies I felt that I was a bit of a 
slacker. Much to my surprise however, I was never 
accosted with such a charge during World War I or 

I worked at the Assistant County Agent Leader 
Job from September 191? to May 1, 1920. During thin 
period, I traveled into and did work in all but six 
of the ninety-two counties of Indiana which meant 
that I had worked in eighty-six different counties 
during this fairly short period of time. I was 
training and supervising new county agents, meeting 
with boards of education, and with state war boards, 
making speeches, securing county appropriations, 
running the wartime wheat production campaign, and 
taking care of all the miscellaneous side issues that 
came up in connection with these responsibilities. 

This wide variety of duties and experiences pro 
vided the opportunity to learn much about the job of 
hiring and supervising men, and the art of speech 
making and of course added to my knowledge of human 
nature, good, bad and indifferent. 

I have already indicated that during most of the 
war period I traveled from the first of the week to 
the weekend. I waa in the office on Saturday, on 
occasion, and then started out again Sunday evening 
or early Monday morning. In those days we were 
traveling on local trains. We had sleeper service 
only from Indianapolis to Evansville. The rest of 
the time you got in late in the evening, got up early 
to catch maybe a five o clock train to another county 
seat. I get tired even yet when I think about how 


tired I was at times. Those long hours, lack of sleer> 
with the grinding work during this period was some 
thing that was required and something that we didn t 
think too much about at that time. 

We had of course a variety of type of people 
doing emergency work. Some of them were older agents 
who had not done too well earlier were rehired. 1 
remember one case where one of the other supervisors 
visited a chap of this type and when he got back to the 
office our supervisor, Tom Coleman, asked him hov; "Mac" 
was getting along and he said "Well, he s so busy tell 
ing you how busy he is he doesn t have time to do any 
thing." We had one or two cases of this type. Mostly 
we had younger men shortly out of college who were 
eager, willing, and who on the whole were intelligent. 
They were doing a very good job. 

There were a couple of older agents who were 
recalcitrant and who did not fit well into the situ 
ation. One of these was a chap who was known as 
Stephen Jim Craig who was county agent in Lake County, 
Indiana. He had graduated from the University of 
Illinois and he had an offer to return to Illinois and 
they had written to the County Agent Leader to ask his 
opinion about Craig s services and abilities. We all 
knew that he was the type of person who did not work 
well in double harness. He didn t fit well into the 
organization and we would all have been glad to get 
rid of him but we didn t feel that the people who were 
asking for information should be misled. 

When they inquired about him the County Agent 
Leader wrote a letter glossing over some of his 
irascible traits. When the assistant in the office 
called our attention to it one Saturday morning we 
all agreed that the letter should be revised and we 
proceeded to revise it. The mistake we made was that 
we didn t take it up with Tom Coleman, the original 
writer, and the letter went off to Illinois. It did 
not occur to us that a copy was being sent to Stephen 
"Jim" Craig. When the copy and the revised letter 
came together Coleman was charged with being a double 
Grosser. Well we had to face up to it. So we 
traipsed into the boss s office when this came to 
light and frankly faced up to the fact that we had 


made a drastic error and that we had done something 
that we had no business doing without his approval. 
We made it clear that we were all very sorry about 
it and that we had all learned a lesson. I must say 
that he was a real gentleman about the whole thing. 
When he heard our story he just said "Let s just 
forget about it and go back to work." I m sure that 
his reaction was due in part to the fact that he had 
a bit of a guilty conscience about his letter. In 
any case his response was wonderful and those of us 
who were involved learned a lesson. I certainly 
did and I never made that kind of mistake again. 
1 never after revised something that the boss pro 
posed without getting the boss s approval. 

A Second Job As A County Agricultural Agent 

DSM: The war was over in November 1918 and I con 
tinued on at Purdue throughout 1919- and the first 
four months of 1920. At one of the extension con 
ferences in early 1920 Extension Director Ramsower 
and A. E. Anderson who was one of the county agents 
supervisors in Ohio approached me and asked me to 
consider the job as county agent in Franklin County, 
Ohio, of which Columbus is the county seat. This 
happened to be the adjoining county to my home 
county in which I had purchased a farm in early 
1917 and I was anxious to be near by. I received 
an offer of $3500 a year which was quite a boost 
over what I was getting. Director Christy agreed 
to meet their offer but I decided that I had not 
had enough experience as a county agent and would 
like more, plus the fact that I was anxious to get 
back near my farm which I had purchased earlier. 
So on May 1, 1920 I took over the job as County 
Agricultural Agent in Franklin County at Columbus, 

I bought a new Dodge roadster for use in the 
county and settled in for more than two years as 


county agent. I found the job there much different 
in some respects than the first county agent job in 
Evansville, Indiana. First of all they had had a 
county agent previously in Franklin County and they 
hadn t had in Vanderburgh County, Indiana. In other 
words I was breaking new ground in my first county 
agent job. 

The fact that Columbus was the seat of Ohio State 
University and the College of Agriculture made exper 
tise much more easily available to the up and coming 
farmers of the county. If they wanted to go to the 
University to talk to a specialist they could do so, 
and many of them made use of the service of a 
specialist directly. 

The county farm bureau had recently completed a 
membership drive in which they had signed up about 
two thousand members at ten dollars per year and as 
a result they agreed to pay a portion of my salary. 
The key leaders were all hepped up over hiring a 
farm bureau purchasing agent which they did. This 
distracted from interest in my job. By the end of a 
year the collection of dues from farm bureau members 
was a very .real problem and membership had dropped so 
drastically that they couldn t afford to pay the 
portion of the salary to which they had committed 
themselves and at the same time support the coop 
erative purchasing program which they wanted to 
maintain if possible. During this dilemma I was 
asked whether I wouldn t be willing to reduce my 
salary by the amount of the farm bureau contribution 
which would allow them to carry the purchasing agent 
for a longer period. I replied that "I would not do 
so but that I would go one better namely I would pre 
sent my resignation so that they would be free of any 
obligation to me." This was not acceptable to the 
board so the purchasing agent program was dropped. 

During the more than two years the home demon 
stration agent and I supervised a large and active 
Four H club program for boys and girls which was 
probably our most important contribution. 

Other activities for which I was responsible 
including an intensive poultry culling demonstration 


program particularly during the first year of ray 
incumbency. We established wheat variety improve 
ment demonstrations throughout various sections of 
the county and provided for the distribution of new 
and pure line varieties which had been developed by 
the Agricultural Experiment Station. We organized 
a cow testing association, which was later renamed 
the lierd Improvement Association, so that the 
dairymen of the county were able to determine the 
production of their individual cows as well as 
their herds. 

The normal activities included consultations in 
the office, as well as farm visits, followup on the 
demonstration program, supervision of the work of 
the Four H club leaders and the Pour H club members. 

A Move To My Second Supervisory Job As District 

"Supervisor Of The Agriculture Extension Se rvice 

DSM: In the mid-summer of 1922 I was again approached 
by Director Ramsower of the Agricultural Extension 
Service and offered the position of District Super 
visor of Agricultural extension work for the twenty-two 
northwestern Ohio counties. I accepted the Job at a 
salary of $3800 per year with what I thought was a 
promise of $4000 for the following fiscal year. 

In my new job I had the responsibility of all the 
extension work in the district of twenty-two counties. 
In addition, in lieu of a County Agent Leader which 
they had had previously, I was designated by the group 
of supervisors as the chairman of our supervisory 
group. This was my second supervisory gob and I 
served in this particular spot from 1922 to 1933. 

This provided my most extensive experience in 
supervision, including the training of new staff, 
recruitment procedures, liaison with the various 
groups of public officials, farm bureau members and 


extension committees. I was fully responsible for the 
selection and training of all new county agents in my 
district and for securing of county appropriations 
from the boards of commissioners for the local con 
tributions and for the liaison with the extension 
committees and the farm bureau boards. 

I also worked closely with the home demonstra 
tions supervisors and the Four H club supervisors as 
well as the extension subject matter specialist who 
served my territory. We had a very close working 
relationship with all the people involved in the 
area. Throughout most of the each year I traveled 
into the counties four days a week and was usually 
in the central office on Mondays and Saturdays. 

During my early tenure in this particular job I 
found that I faced some real problems. There was a 
necessity for changing- the personnel in some of the 
counties because several of the agents had been hired 
during World War I as emergency agents and had carried 
over for three or four years, but were not particu 
larly well adapted to the job in those counties. 
Complaints about the work of the agents had become 
increasingly common so 1 had to face the problem of 
making changes. It was during this period that 1 
developed what I called a philosophy for firing 
people. It was a very simple one. I came to the 
realization that if we had somebody who was not well 
adapted to the job and not doing well, the best 
solution was to try to find what their interests 
and their abilities were and to try to find a job 
into which they would fit. This was usually possible. 
1 made a number of adjustments by helping people 
relocate into orher jobs and then hired new agents 
in their place. In one or two instances I was not 
able to do thir, and I hove always folt badly about 
the fact that I had to get rid of somebody when I 
couldn t help him relocate satisfactorily into 
another spot. 

My most satisfactory case in this respect had 
to do with the agent in VanWert County, Glen Rule, 
who was well liked and a wonderful chap but miscast 
in this particular spot. It took me several months 
to find out junt what his real interests and his real 


abilities were. By happenstance I learned about what 
he would like to do. I was in his office one day on 
one of my regular visits. A farmer came in and during 
the interview that he had with the farmer I picked up 
a local newspaper and I found an article on the front 
page that was very well done. I waited until the 
farmer left and 1 tossed the paper over to him and. 
said "Who wrote this article . " He said "I wrote it," 
with a bit of a blush and I said "Why don t you write 
like that oil the fcimeY" He said "Don t IV" and I 
soid "No, your reports are not written like that end 
I have had a number of complaints from our extension 
editor about the quality of your reports. Get out n 
half a dozen of your monthly reports and let s take o 
look at them." So he did and we went over them care 
fully one by one. As a consequence he began to write 
the most interesting and well prepared reports of any 
of the agents in my -whole territory. It was an out 
standing switch. 

In the meantime I asked him what his interests 
were. He said "Well, I- m interested in writing: but 
I would also like to do some cartoon work. " I found 
that he was very good at pen and ink work. I encour 
aged him to send in some cartoons to the farm papers 
and he had two or three of them accepted. He also 
wrote some articles for the farm paoers and had some 
of those accepted. About a year or so later 1 hnd an 
opportunity to make H recommendation for one of the 
agents to po on pnbaticnl leave and 1 recommended 
Glen Rule. The recommendation wns accepted find lie 
went to Cornell University and took a year s work in 
journalism. Following this year of study he wan 
hired as the Agricultural Extension Editor in Maine. 

This was 1927. Several years later on, in 1935, 
I had the pleasure of hiring him again as a writer 
on the staff of the Soil Conservation Service in 
Washington after I joined that service. We needed 
two or three writers to prepare some additional 
publications which were badly needed at the time. 
He took on that Job and stayed on in the Department 
of Agriculture as a member of the staff until he 
retired. He has been one of my most devoted friends 
throughout forty-six years. 

Supervisory Techniques 

DSM: In my supervisory work I tried insofar as possible 
to teach by precept or example and suggestion where I 
felt adjustments were needed. The change in the type 
of reports which Glen Rule was submitting is a pood 
example of this. One other example that comes to mind 
was the case of Francis Bell who was the county agent 
in Williams County, a snappy young man who was always 
on the go and had been sending in reports that had a 
snap to them and some of the specialists particularly 
the head of the poultry department resented. I was 
sure that the most of the things that he had said were 
not meant in the sense that they were taken, oo I 
waited for the opportunity on one of my visits and 
said to him "Why do you write your monthly reports in 
such a way that you make people mad down at the 
college when you don t need to do so?" He said 
"What do you mean?" I said "You get out four or five 
of your monthly reports, and sit down on the other 
side of the table and I will read these to you as 
they sound to E. L. Dakin, head of the poultry depart 
ment and to other people who felt that you were being 
snipish." So we did just that. After we had 
finished reading the four or five reports to which 
he had listened carefully, he said "I understand what 
you mean and I ll do better." He did. He began to 
write his reports in such a way that it didn t rile 
people and at the same time provided the kind of 
information that was required. 

We had regular monthly county agent conferences 
in the district. Many of these conferences had to do 
with the discussion of teaching methods, demonstration 
methods, agricultural problems generally, and occa 
sionally we had specialists scheduled to come in and 
talk about the programs that they were handling. In 
addition to that we did things that were not directly 
related to the agricultural programs. In one or two 
of the districts we started reading books and having 
a discussion or group book reviews. Books by men like 
Walter Lippmann and others. This I felt was related 
to their jobs and that it was important that they 


have some studies of a broader nature rather then to 
spend all of their time on techniques in which they 
were fairly well grounded anyhow. 

Watchful interest in the individual, looking and 
listening in the office and in meetings and in the 
field followed by tactful suggestion were the most 
important supervisory techniques that were helpful 
to the agents in my .-judgment. Timing was important 
in order to assure the right attention and at the 
same time securing acceptance. As I have indicated 
earlier, waiting for the opportunity to get examples 
and being able to teach by example and precept was 
much more effective than ,just talking in generalities. 

Most of the new agents who were hired during this 
period were young, intelligent men but had only 
limited experience after college. Some of them were 
placed with older agents for a few months for training 
as assistant agents or as Four H club agents. Some 
had had two to five years of Smith Hughes Vocational 
training as agriculture teachers and most of these 
were flexible and open to suggestion. There were one 
or two older agents who were less flexible. 

In one case at least I was resented as somebody 
who was interfering with his operations. It required 
much tact and a thoughtful approach in order to meet 
some of the problems that existed. 

At the end of my first year I reminded Director 
Ramsower that it was my understanding that he had 
promised a two hundred dollar raise at the time I was 
hired. The Director hadn t remembered it in the same 
way and I had to press pretty hard in order to get it. 
But I did get it. 

A Crucial Decision 

DSM: Some time later perhaps after I had been on the 
job five years or so, 1 received an offer of &5000 


a year, which was quite a bit higher than I was getting 
at the University, to become an area salesman for e 
large feed company. 1 decided after thinking it over 
that I would accept thin offer in case the University 
didn t meet it. .Director Ramsower at this particular 
time was on leave, taking his sabbatical at Harvard 
University and Mr. Georp;e Crane who was secretary was 
actinp; Director. George was sympathetic to my problem 
and took the matter up with Dean Vivian who was not 
directly responsible for extension but who was usually 
consulted. The dean didn t approve of the increase 
in salary so there appeared to be nothing to do except 
to take the feed company s offer. However George Crane 
said he would like to write Director Ram sower before 
any final action. This was done. Much to my surprise 
and pleasure he approved the raise in spite of Dean 
Vivian s opinion. 

I have always felt strongly that salaries should 
be flexible and they should not be controlled by what 
someone else was getting. This however was not the 
general view and it did make it rather difficult for 
the director to put somebody out of line with a raise 
above the income of the other supervisors. It did 
lead to some .jealousy and tension which of course is 
always a thorn in the flesh of an administrator. 

Facing The Problems Of The Depression 

DSM: When the depression of the early 1930 r, came on 
we had a period when county taxpayers leagues were 
organized in many of the counties for which 1 was 
responsible. The county agent appropriations which 
were made by the county commissioners no matter how 
small were nearly always a target of that particular 
group of people. So we spent much time during this 
period fighting the loses of appropriations, which 
meant usually the elimination of the county agent in 
case the appropriation was not made. 


This came at a time when I had two very young 
daughters and worry and concern over the dropping of 
county agents with their young families such as my 
own led to concern and worry about my own security. 
After several months of concern about this problem 
and about the agents who were losing their jobs and 
their livelihood I attended a meeting in Crawford 
County, Ohio, at Bucyrus where we had been trying for 
many weeks to find ways and means of saving the county 
agent s job by getting enough money together to pro 
vide for the local expenses. This particular evening 
it was decided that the battle was lost and it was not 
feasible to continue the program. 

It so happened that the agent in this particular 
county had a young family. His youngsters were just 
about the age of my own youngsters and he was going 
to be without a job. This touched me very deeply so 
when I started home I decided that I must face up to 
the possibility that we might have to face a similar 
situation. So I decided that by the time I had 
covered the forty miles between Bucyrus and Columbus 
I would have completed an inventory of assets and 
decide what to do if worst came to worst. 

I proceeded to determine which expenses should 
be eliminated first and in what order and the upshot 
of this inventory took us in my minds eye back to my 
father s tenant house as a hired man on the farm with 
limited wages but with a garden, no rent and lots of 
fresh air and sunshine until things got better. Mrs. 
Myer thoroughly agreed with me on this approach so 
we quit worrying. This rationalization of our pro 
blem was most comforting and we slept better for some 

A Bit Of Back Stage Lobbying 

DSM: Along about this same period a new state director 
of the budget decided that the agricultural agencies 


of the state were petting twice the money they should 
have and he recommended a cut of fifty percent across 
the board on all agricultural appropriations including 
the extension service. Director Ramsower designated 
me as the strategist to fight this cut. We did this 
entirely by organizing groups in the counties to make 
tours to Columbus, county by county. This included 
extension leaders, Four H club leaders, members and 
parents, members of the farm bureau who made trips to 
the State Capitol to visit the Governor, George White, 
and their own legislators. We managed to schedule 
these tours so that at least one arrived each week 
day for a period of weeks. 

The Governor finally got tired of this so when a 
group arrived and asked to see him he would send for 
the state budget director and introduce him to the 
group and announce that "This is the gentleman respon 
sible, so talk to him." The result of our campaign 
was that we took a cut of about twenty-five percent 
instead of fifty percent. Our salaries were reduced 
by about twenty-three and a half percent. We would 
have done even better if the representative of the 
Agricultural Experiment Station had not agreed to 
accept this cut without consulting with us. During 
this whole campaign I never appeared before the 
legislature or the budget director or the Governor. 
All of it was done by people who were interested in 
the program and who had no personal responsibility 
directly for the program and they were not receiving 
any money out of the funds that the appropriations 

This period from 1922 to 1933 was an important 
period in my supervisory experience. I learned a 
great many things for sure while working with young 
agents over a period of years. It helped to fix in 
mind several techniques which were useful to me 
throughout the rest of my administrative life. 
During 1933 with the advent of the New Deal agri 
cultural programs I was assigned the task of super 
vising the federal agricultural programs for the 
Agricultural Adjustment Administration in the state 
of Ohio. I relinquished my position as district 
supervisor in northwestern Ohio. 


Adding To My Farm Experience 

DSM: Throughout all this period and from early 1917 on 
in addition to my job I had another experience and 
another responsibility which was well worthwhile. I 
had purchased a farm in 191? When I moved back to 
Ohio in 1920 I spent most of my weekends with my 
partner walking over the farm, talking over plans, 
keeping in touch with what was going on, and having a 
part in the management. This experience was also well 
worthwhile for the reason that it gave me a real in 
terest in the problems of the individual farmer who 
we were serving and I learned a great deal about the 
practicalities and vicissitudes of the everyday 
farmer s life. I seldom mentioned this when I talked 
to people who I came in contact with who were farmers 
but occasionally I got into an argument with someone 
who thought I was not a dirt farmer and it came in 
handy to let them know that I had also had some direct 
experience and a direct responsibility in practical 

I Met The Most Wonderful Girl 

DSM: The most important thing that happened to me 

during this period and perhaps during my whole life 
was the fact that I met a young lady who came to 
Ohio State to serve as a specialist in the field of 
Interior Decorating, and as a Clothing Specialist in 
the Extension Service. I might not have met her had 
I been in some other occupation. Her name was Jenness 
Wirt and I met her in November 1923. We were engaged 
at Easter time and were married the following Septem 
ber on my thirty-third birthday. There is absolutely 
no question about the fact that Jenness has been a 
tremendous factor in my further development from 1923 
up to the present time. 


In addition to her help and moral support which 
she has always amply provided, we developed a family 
which added responsibilities and which was an impor 
tant consideration in the decisions that were made. 

At the time I proposed to Jenness she said she 
was going back to school for a year which she needed 
to do to complete her degree. I told her that I had 
hoped to get a sabbatical leave during the following 
year and if she would wait we would both go to college 
because I wanted to get my Masters degree and she 
could finish her degree. Fortunately she agreed. As 
a consequence in the fall of 1925 we matriculated into 
Columbia University in New York City. She was special 
izing in the field of Fine Arts and received her degree 
in 1926. I was enrolled in Teachers College and I got 
my Masters degree in Education. I took several 
courses in Columbia College including courses in 
sociology, economics, and finance, subjects that I 
had felt the need of for quite some time. 

During this year in Columbia we lived in one 
room. We had to skimp, of course, because we were not 
on full pay at the time, we found that we could get 
along together. It was a real trial run I presume. 
In any case we came through it and it was a well worth 
while interlude that added not only to our experience 
but to our abilities to do our jobs. 

As a result of our marriage we have three very 
wonderful daughters and three very excellent sons-in- 
law and eleven grandchildren. As I look back and 
realize that 1 might have been a bachelor all the 
rest of my life I shudder to think what a drab exis 
tence this would have been as compared with the exis 
tence that we have had with our family and with the 
opportunity we have had to watch our children and our 
grandchildren develop. 




DSM: We go from here to the period when my work 

changed in 1933 with the advent of the New Deal at 
which time I was assigned by the Director of Exten 
sion in Ohio to supervise the new agricultural pro 
grams which emerged from the Department of Agricul 
ture and from the Agriculture Adjustment Administra 
tion which was more or less a separate entity for 
quite some time. This was new, very new. 

One of the first Jobs was to tell unbelieving 
farmers that they should market their pigs before 
they got to the place where they produced a lot of 
meat because of the over-production of pork. There 
was a great deal of criticism throughout many years 
of the program of "killing little pigs" but that was 
the first step in the corn hog program , in which I 
was o participant. We had a lot of skeptics at that 

The major programs that we had in Ohio which were 
initiated by the Agricultural Adjustment Administra 
tion were wheat, corn and hogs, tobacco, and to some 
extent sugar beets in northwestern Ohio. There was 
some interest in dairy and in some areas vegetable 
marketing and programs of that type. We had, in 
other words, most of the major national programs 
that were developed in some section of Ohio because 
of the varied type of agriculture. About the only 
major one we didn t have was the cotton program 
because we grew no cotton in Ohio. 

During this first year of the program in 1933 
and early 193^ the corn hog, wheat and tobacco pro 
grams took up much of my time and interest. Yet it 
was necessary to keep up on all phases of the Agri 
cultural Adjustment Program because we never knew 
when something new was going to be projected. Con 
sequently I worked long hours. Most of the time 1 


went back to the office and worked until ten or eleven 
o clock at night throughout the whole year and of 
course, on weekends. 

The policies and rulings were made in Washington 
but within the limits of those policies and rulings 
we had full opportunity to carry out our work in 
Ohio using the methods we thought were best. We had 
a corn hog committee which was appointed by the Wash 
ington office but they didn t interfere with the work 
that I was doing. They served as advisors and had 
occasional meetings. We had one chap on the committee 
who felt that farmers whould handle it entirely but 
he didn t press so hard that it interf erred with what 
we were doing at the University. 

1 remember one incident that stands out during 
this first year. Doctor Albert Black who was in 
charge of the corn hop program called me from Purdue 
and said he was in Indiana and if we had anything to 
talk about that was important he could come by Ohio 
on his way back to Washington but it would mean a 
meeting on Sunday. I said "Come ahead, I have a lot 
of questions." We got the corn hog committee together 
for a meeting on Sunday morning for two or three hours. 
I had twenty some questions already written out. We 
took about two hours to go through this list of ques 
tions and discuss them. Most of them had not arisen 
before so in most cases Doctor Black would make a note 
and say he would have to take it back to Washington 
to talk to the policy committee about it. So we 
didn t get the answers on many of them. When I got 
to the end of my questions I pushed my notes back and 
said "Well, believe it or not that s all the questions 
I have today." Al Black said immediately "I ll bet 
by God by next week you will have just as many more." 

After the early stages of the program I had begun 
to realize that in a State like Ohio where we had 
farmers who were growing wheat, were growing corn and 
hogs and maybe even in some cases tobacco, that we 
might come to the time where if they had inspectors or 
people from these individual programs doing the check 
ing that we might have a good deal of duplication, 
because of the fact that one week someone might check 
the wheat acreage and the next the corn hog program, 


the next week tobacco and so on. This concerned me. 
In February of 1934 I went to Washington for three 
days to get a lot of questions answered that had 
developed in the meantime and which I didn t seem to 
be able to get the answers on from correspondence or 
long distance telephone. Because of my concern about 
this compliance problem and the lack of planning on 
the part of the divisions for meeting the problem. I 
decided to see Chester David before 1 returned to Ohio. 
He was heading the Agricultural Adjustment Program at 
that time. 

So on Saturday afternoon I waited in his office 
until three or three thirty without lunch. He hadn t 
had lunch because he had been in a meeting. I finally 
got to see him and he listened to me for about ten 
minutes and I laid out the problems as I saw them and 
then he began to smile and without listening further 
he said "We don t have many people down here from Ohio; 
why don t you come down here and handle this for us." 
I said "I don t want to be embarrassed by being offered 
the job because that isn t why I came to Washington or 
why I came to see you. I simply wanted to pose the 
problem so that you could do something about it." He 
said "Well, I realize what you have said is true but 
nevertheless I think maybe something ought to be done 
about this," and he insisted. He called in Grover 
Trent who was acting in charge of the production 
division at that time because Victor Christgau was in 
the field. He asked Trent to take me back to his 
office and to see that I got a Form 57 and filled it 
out and that I made an application. Because he wanted 
me to come to Washington. 

Well, I wouldn t take the Form 57. He tried to 
put it in my pocket. 1 told him I v/asn t interested. 
The upshot of it was that I went back to Ohio. I 
reported to the Director what had happened. The pro 
posal was that I come in for three months to get the 
program started. Nothing developed immediately 
excepting that there was a letter or two urging that 
I come on but I turned it down. 

Along about the first of April, several weeks 
after I had been to Washington, we were in a meeting 
in Indianapolis on Dairy problems, the director and 


some of the supervisors and myself. It was a meeting 
of the leaders in the Agriculture Adjustment Admini 
stration program, a regional meeting and it included 
several states in the midwest territory. During the 
meeting a call came in for the director from Wash 
ington and he came back he called me out of the 
meeting to tell me that Chester David had called, 
and insisted that he send me to Washington to do this 
compliance job. 

We discussed the matter and Director Ramsower 
finally said "Well, I think it might be a good exper 
ience for you and I think maybe you ought to go for 
the three months." It just so happened that my good 
wife agreed with Dr. Ramsower and she felt very 
strongly that I should go. 

The Move To Washington 

DSM: On April 12, 1934- I went alone to Washington. 
The family continued to live in Ohio until June and 
much to my surprise when I got to Washington I found 
that nothing had been done about setting up a Job, 
They set up a Job as chief of a new compliance section 
in the production division and I was introduced to 
Victor Christgau who was the chief of the production 
division whom I had never met and who I found had not 
been consulted about this particular Job. Furthermore 
I found that none of the division chiefs with whom I 
was going to have to work had been consulted and they 
were all against the idea. 

So I spent about three months of the most frus 
trating time that I have ever had in my life trying 
to do something about something that nobody wanted 
done excepting the chief of the Agricultural Adjust 
ment Program. I would bring in suggestions to meet 
ings. They would be knocked down one after the other 
and it was really a very very tough period. Finally 
in a few of the states where the programs weren t too 


complex; for example, in Iowa where the program was 
practically all corn-hogs and in Idaho where it was 
mainly a wheat program we did get some compliance men 
appointed who helped supervise compliance for all of 
the programs including the lesser ones as well as the 
major ones. The last six months of 1934 were some 
what easier than the first three months but it still 
was not easy. 

In June of 1934- they asked that my leave be ex 
tended for another three months and the director 
agreed. I was on leave from Ohio State University 
from my Job that I had there as a Supervisor of Ex 
tension. We rented a house for three months from 
people who were going to Rehobeth Beach for the 
summer and brought the family down in June with the 
expectation that we would be going back in September. 

In the meantime Jenness had moved from the house 
we had been living in in Columbus, Ohio, with the 
help of friends of ours the Clarence Fergusons (he later 
became Director of Extension at Ohio State University) 
while I was busy in Washington. She moved to another 
house. The family never lived in that house. She 
rented it for the summer to a couple who were taking 
graduate work. So in the fall then when a further 
extension of leave was granted we decided to give up 
the house. Jenneas went back, packed up and had all 
the goods put in storage. We rented another furnished 
house in Washington. The upshot of it was that we 
stayed on in Washington for almost a year and a half 
on leave from Ohio State University which was a little 
longer than normal but they were very decent about it. 

In January of 1935 the "purge" in the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration took place. There was quite 
a division within the administration between some of 
the very liberal lawyers including Jerome Frank, and 
some of the others including my boss Victor Christgau 
who was on Jerry Frank s side regarding methods. 
Finally Chester Davis decided that he had to do some 
thing about it so he fired a lot of people, including 
my boss. 

Since I was on leave and this didn t seem to affect 
my economic status too much. I found myself having 


meetings with people who were looking- strained and. 
upset who were still on the ,1ob and who had lost 
their bosses. Foolishly I kidded them and asked 
them once or twice who they were working for this 
morning and they didn t find it a bit funny! After 
four or five days I realized that I was sitting all. 
alone in a area with no production division which had 
been eliminated and !_ had no boss. A day or two .later 
I pot a call from Chester Davis 1 office. I went up to 
see him. lie chuckled and said "Dillon, I hope your 
ego isn t too badly hurt. Very frankly, v/e forgot all 
about you for a little while in the shakedown of 
things and we came to the realization that here you 
were and something ought to be done about it. How 
would you like to go to work for Howard Tolley in the. 
planning division?" I said "I would be delighted." 

Another Job Change 

DSM: So I moved over to the planning division and 

worked for Howard Tolley who was another of my good 
bosses by the way. In that position I could continue 
to be in close touch and informed about policy within 
the administration. I had the opportunity often to 
meet with the top people in the AAA as well as with 
the Secretary in connection with program policy and 
of course with all the various divisions. I was there 
until September. 

In the meantime one or two things of importance 
should be mentioned. One of them was the fact that 
the first draft of the proposed Soil Conservation 
Districts Act had been prepared by M. L. Wilson and 
Philip Glick and was circulated to various key people 
in the department for review and comment. Howard 
Tolley tossed it into my lap. I mention this because 
it became part of my life within a few weeks. 

The other event that happened during this period 
was the Supreme Court decision that the Agricultural 


Adjustment Act was unconstitutional. So it required a 
complete revamping. 

Another Proposed Hove 

DSM: In the meantime 1 had been asked to take on a job 
with the Resettlement Administration under Hex Turwell 
as assistant to Dr. Gray who headed up the division oi 
lands. At the same time I was offered the job as chief 
of a new division in the Soil Conservation Service to 
be called the Division of States Relations and Planning. 
This put me in a bit of a spot because Re:c Tugwell was 
not only head of the Resettlement Administration but 
he was Under Secretary of Agriculture. I had to tell 
him that I would prefer to go to the Soil Conservation 
Service and he put the pressure on pretty heavily to 
pet me to change my mind to come over to the Resettle 
ment Administration but I stayed with my interest in 
the SCS. 

So 1 told the SCS that I was willing to come pro 
viding that I could get the kind of pay and the kind 
of grade to justify my staying on. 1 was getting 
$6800 a year in the Agricultural Adjustment Program 
und the pay for chiefs of divisions in the Department 
of /.pricu] ture at thob time v/as ft ybOO. 1 I 
didn t feel that 1 was justified in accepting the 
grade at ft pbOO but if they could get the grade moved 
the next ster up to #6500 1 would be interested. Other 
wise I could live as well or better by going back to 
Columbus at a somewhat lower salary because it cost 
me less to live there than it did in Washington. 

To make a long story short Milton Eisenhower, who 
had been assigned by the Secretary to help integrate 
the Soil Conservation Service into the department, 
worked most of the summer to get the Civil Service 
Commission to set up a grade that would pay $6500. 
He finally made it in early September and I m sure 
that every division head in the Department of Agri- 


culture were very happy and were ready to thank me for 
sticking; it out because everybody else also got a 
raise. As a result of having won this little battle, 
on September 1^th I moved over to the Soil Conservation 
Service as the chief of the division of State Relations 
and Planning. 

This salary sounds incredible now of course but 
we have hod tremendous inflation in the meantime, ./e 
lived pretty well on {p6,500 a year in Washington at 
that time. 

Initiation Of Aerial Land Surveys 

DSM: Before I leave the AAA program I should mention 
one or two important things that happened during the 
last several months that I was with the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration. One was the fact that I 
was sold on the idea of experimenting aeroplane sur 
veys for use in compliance work. A chap by the name 
of Brown, who was a private engineer stayed with me 
until he convinced me that aeroplanfc mapping was 
practical. I got permission to experiment with this 
type of mapping in three different counties. One of 
them was a county in which Raliegh, North Carolina, 
is located. It had a lot of small farms, tobacco 
farms mainly; also a county in Minnesota; and one in 
Texas . 

They took aerial photographs of the land, then 
by the use of equipment on the ground they could use 
measuring apparatus to delineate the different types 
of plots and come out with measurements that were 
more accurate than measurements with tape measures. 


We were after the amount of acreage that people 
had planted to crops that were covered by the AAA 

I found out in the meantime that in Soil Con 
servation Service, particularly Charles Collier who 


worked for the Soil Conservation Service, wan working 
on the same problem in connection with soil surveys 
and he had gone much further than we had pone. I 
didn t get my report on thin aerial survey results 
completed until after 1 had. moved over to the 3CS 
but I sent it back to Chester Davi and indicated 
that 1 thought each of the division chiefs should 
see it. I m sure that nobody saw it immediately 
because in the following spring 1 happened to be over 
in the department for lunch one day and Claude Wickard, 
who at that time was head of the corn-hog program came 
rushing up to me and said "We want to see you." 1 
said "What do you want to see me about?" He said "We 
want to know about that aerial survey work you were 
doing." I said "You mean you haven t seen it?" He 
grinned, shook his head and said "No we haven t seem 
it." So I told him where it was. 

I went around and saw his assistant and talked 
to him about it. They immediately went to work on 
it and adopted the practice of using aerial surveys 
in their compliance work. Within a year or two all 
of the compliance work involving land measurement 
was done by aerial survey. 




D3M: Another important development that came about 

very soon after I moved over to the Soil Conservation 
Service, the AAA was groping for an alternative to the 
Agricultural Adjustment law which had been declared 
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It happened 
that during my first v/eek with SCS word came to me 
that a suggestion had been made by one of the newsmen 
that they take the very neat little act which the 
Soil Conservation Service had gotten passed authori 
zing the soil erosion and soil conservation work and 
rework it so it could serve as a vehicle for a rev/rite 
of the AAA law. 

When I learned about this I hied myself over to 
the department and immediately went into a meeting 
in Chester Davis 1 office which I was allowed to do 
because I knew the Secretary. Sure enough they were 
rewriting the act regardless of its effect on SCG and 
were about ready to go to Congress to ask passage of 
the revised draft. 

They not only incorporated the AAA program but 
they had done a great deal of mayhem to the Soil Con 
servation Act that we already had on the books. 1 
made a plea that whatever they did that they simply 
add amendments to our act rather than change a word 
in the original language to accomplish a revision of 
the Agricultural Adjustment Authorization. 

I was able to convince them that it was not fair 
that the act should be torn up and rewritten as they 
proposed to do. Chester Davis listened and then 
turned to Mastin White, who was the solicitor at that 
time, and said "Mastin, what do you think of thisY" 
He snid "1 think that Dillon is right. I think bhct 
it not can bo done by adding additional sections 
to the net rather than int erf erring with the act as it 
now stands but it probably would make Just as good if 
not a better one." 


So the meeting broke up at that instant because 
Chester Davis said "OK Mastin, get to the Kill as 
fast as you can and stop the action and let s rewrite 
it." It was Just that close. So my experience in 
the Agricultural Adjustment Administration stood me in 
good stead when I moved over to the Soil Conservation 

I .neglected to mention that one of the other things 
that I was called upon to do during the last few months 
with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration was to 
serve on a committee of which Milton Eisenhower was 
chairman. We had a representative from the Forest 
Service, a representative from the Bureau of Agri 
cultural Economics, and myself representing Dr. Tolley. 
The committee s job was to write a program for the 
integration of the Soil Conservation Service into the 
Department of Agriculture. The service had been set 
up originally in the Interior Department and it was a 
matter of trying to write a program that would not hurt 
the SCS and at the same time would more or less satisfy 
the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Bureau of Agricul 
tural Engineering, the Bureau of Soils and others who 
thought they ought to be doing that job. 

Origin Of The Soil Erosion Service In The Department 
Of The Interior 

DSM: The reason why the Soil Erosion Service was 

established in the Department of the Interior was an 
interesting story in itself. Rex Tugwell who was one 
of the instigators of the Soil Conservation Service 
was quite interested in it and so was the President. 
When they decided to set up an agency to promote ero 
sion control work Tugwell was given the job as Under 
Secretary of Agriculture. He called in Hugh Bennett 
who was the best informed man in this field in the 
Department of Agriculture, and who had been working for 
Erosion Control throughout the years since 1903 at the 
time he joined the Department as a young man doing 

soil survey work. He told Hugh Bennett about the pro 
spects for such a program and said that because of the 
fact that there were bureaus within the Department that 
were vying for the job they thought they were goinp; to 
have to set it up in the Interior Department, would 
he be interested? Hugh was hell bent, of course, 
because he was always hell bent to do anything about 
soil erosion and this gave him an opportunity. He v/as 
willing to leave the Department and move over to 
Interior, which he did. During the first several 
months the agency was known as the Soil Erosion Service 
in the Department of Interior. 

It was moved back to the department in April or 
May of 1935 and renamed and it was shortly after this 
that I came into the picture because Jack Cutler who 
was Regional Director at Dayton, Ohio, had come into 
Washington and had recommended that the kind of divi 
sion that I ultimately headed, the division of States 
Relations and Planning be established and recommended 
that I head it. This was in May 1935 as I remember it, 
when I was first consulted. As a result of this recom 
mendation I received an offer but it took all summer 
to get the job worked out so I moved over in September. 

The Soil Conservation Service at the time I joined 
the organization was responsible for two major acti 
vities. One of them was the establishment and super 
vision of a large number of erosion control projects 
throughout the country which Hugh Bennett had initiated 
and the other was the supervision of a very large 
number of Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camps. 
These were utilized in connection with the local soil 
conservation projects. They were doing tree planting, 
terracing, most of which was done by machine, but there 
were certain phases where hand work was needed; alsp 
nursery work. Soil Conservation Service maintained a 
number of nurseries throughout the country to provide 
planting stock for the establishment of trees and 
shrubs in areas that needed cover. 

There were, I believe, ten regions at the time 
with a regional director in charge of each, plus a 
state soil conservation coordinator in each of the 
states. He was responsible to the regional office. 


The extension service generally throughout the 
country or the state extension directors generally 
throughout the country were quite unhappy that the 
Soil Conservation Service was working directly with 
farmers on the various projects and in the use of CCC 
camps. They felt that they should come under the 
control of the Extension Service, iiugh Bennett 
thought just the opposite. As a matter of fact he v/as 
somewhat embittered ap:oirist the Extension Service 
because of the fact that only in one or two states 
had they done anything, in his judgment, of any 
importance toward developing an erosion control pro 
gram other than the all-out terracing programs that 
were extant in many of the old southern states, and 
he felt much of that was overdone. So it v/as 
necessary if we were going to work within the states 
to get the cooperation of the Extension Service to 
work out a program which would reasonably satisfy 
them and get their assistance and at the same time 
get ahead with our work. 

My major job at the beginning of my work in the 
SCS was trying to establish this kind of relationship 
with my old cohorts. I had worked many years in 
agricultural extension as a county agent and later as 
a supervisor. I knew all of the directors well at 
that time and we had many arguments every time we had 
a meeting. 

I had the opportunity to set up my own new divi 
sion. I was able to hire the personnel which I 
selected. We had three sections within the division. 
I had to fight the battle to get the kind of grades 
that I felt I needed in order to secure the personnel 
of my choice. These grades, were controlled at that 
time by the Civil Service Commission because the Soil 
Conservation Service which had not been under Civil 
Service was blanketed into the Civil Service in early 
December of 1935. 

One of the new sections was a section on exten 
sion relations and was headed by J. Philip Campbell 
who was a former extension director in Georgia and who 
had good relations with the extension directors through 
out the country. The information section was moved 
into my division. The second new section had to do 


with planning. T. L. Gaston whom I had worked with 
in the Agricultural Adjustment Administration headed 
this particular section. The work of this section 
developed very shortly into plans for the development 
of cooperation with the states through the medium of 
soil conservation districts acts which were proposed 
by the Department of Agriculture. 

In view of Hugh Bennett s attitude toward the 
Extension Service I had a bit of a problem when I 
first moved over. Some of the first memoranda or 
letters that I had prepared to go out to the field and 
to the extension directors didn t suit him and nearly 
every time he saw the Extension Service mentioned he 
would take his pencil and draw a line right through it. 
I finally decided that I couldn t carry on like that so 
when this happened the third time to a memorandum of 
this type I said "I think, Hugh, that I had better pre 
sent my resignation." I thought he was going to cry. 
He said "Oh no, don t do that, don t even talk like 
that." So we chatted about it a little while and I 
told him very frankly that if we were going to carry on 
ivork with the States we were going to have to work out 
some kind of sound relationship. I made it clear 
that I was not going to sell him down the river. 
From that time on he never even read my letters or 
memorandum that were going out, he Just signed them. 
So I had no more trouble with that situation although 
he still did not like the Extension Service. 

Before I moved over to the SCS I had the oppor 
tunity to review the proposed States Soil Conservation 
Districts Act which had been prepared by M. L. Wilson 
and Philip Glick within the Department of Agriculture. 
As a consequence one of the first responsibilities 
that I had after I established myself within the SCS 
in September in addition to our job of Extension 
Relations was to get acceptance of a Soil Conserva 
tion Districts Act by Hugh Bennett and his staff. In 
order to get approval by the states it seemed necessary 
to include the Agricultural Extension Directors, 
Directors of Agricultural Experiment Stations, and the 
Dean of the Agricultural College on the state committee 
that was to be established by the Act to give general 
supervision to the establishment and operation of the 
local districts which were proposed under such an Act. 


This problem of getting the Extension Directors 
in particular and the other college people as members 
of the state committee created a bit of a problem 
within the SOS but the proposal was finally accepted. 

The proposed Soil Conservation Districts Act was 
essential in the minds of M. L. Wilson and of many of 
the rest of us within the Department in order to 
establish new local agencies which would plan and 
supervise a program of erosion control without having 
to do it through the county commissioners and the 
established county setup. They were not authorized 
to carry on programs of this type. Furthermore they 
were busy with roads, and ditches and a lot of other 
things that they were traditionally responsible for 
and it was felt that it would not work well under 
these old established regimes. Furthermore there 
were many people in the Department and in the SOS 
that felt that such an organization should be estab 
lished on a water-shed basis rather than on county lines, 

Among other things in the act was provision for 
the establishment of land use regulations, which could 
be formulated by the districts in order to require 
certain erosion control methods on the part of farmers 
which would help to protect their neighbors and help 
to protect the soil in the area. This, of course, was 
an entirely new authorization which was not available 
to anyone at that time. 

The Battle To Secure Passage Of The State Soil 
Conservation District Act 

DSM: I don t remember exactly when we got final 

approval of the draft of the Act by the Department, 
by the departmental agencies, by the Soil Conservation 
Service and by the Secretary of Agriculture but the 
Act v/as printed up within a few months. It was in the 
early spring of 1936 before we were able to distribute 
a copy of the proposed Act to the States. Then the 


battle started in many of the states because there 
was opposition to having such a law. Certain of the 
Extension Directors in particular opposed it and in 
some cases the deans and other college people. 
Some of the states adopted the Act almost immediately. 
One of the first states to adopt it was North Carolina 
which was Hugh Bennett s home state. Many of the 
states in the south adopted the Act without much argu 
ment because of the very serious problem of erosion 
which had developed throughout many years, caused 
principally by their type of clean cultivation cotton 
and corn and other clean cultivated crops. 

The hardest fights in order to get the Act 
adopted developed in Texas, Kentucky and Missouri with 
lesser resistance in the states of Oregon and Cali 
fornia. We had arguments in other states and we had 
to spend a good deal of time in convincing would-be 
members of the state committees that it was important 
and sooner or later we were able to do it. There were 
adjustments made in the provisions of the Act in some 
of the states. Many of the states objected to passing 
an Act with the land use regulations included but 
fortunately some of them did and some of them have 
been useful particularly in the wind erosion areas. 

Fortunately for me I had complete support within 
the Secretary of Agriculture s office when the battle 
developed in states like Texas and Kentucky in parti 
cular. Telegrams would come in asking the Secretary s 
point of view, hoping to get this support. I always 
wrote the answers and sent them over and Paul Appleby 
and Milton Eisenhower (Paul Appleby, the Secretary s 
top assistant, in particular) saw to it that the 
Secretary was convinced that my answers were proper 
so they were signed and sent back in due order. The 
battle went on but we finally won the battle in all of 
these states. By the time I left the SCS in early 
194-2, thirty-seven states had adopted the States Soil 
Conservation Act. 


A Promotion To Assistant Chief 

DSM: In the midst of all of this I became Assistant 
Chief of the Soil Conservation Service in 1938 and 
turned over the work of the division of States Rela 
tions and Planning to J. Philip Campbell who had 
headed up the section on State Relations earlier. 

An Attempted Take Over 

DSM: In the meantime the battle on the part of the 

state extension directors to take over the work of the 
Soil Conservation Service continued. Along in the 
late 1930 s Harry Brown who had been extension director 
in the State of Georgia came into the Department as 
Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. At that time Cecil 
Creel who was Director of the Agricultural Extension 
work in the state of Nevada was chairman of the exten 
sion relations committee, of the Land Grant College 
Association which functioned as sort of a watch dog 
for the extension directors generally in regard to 
legislation and cooperation with departmental agencies. 
Creel and his group evidently convinced Harry Brown 
that he ought to convince the Secretary that the pro 
posal to have the extension service take over the SCS 
was a good one. 

I found out that they had already been to the 
Senate and had talked to Senator Bankhead of Alabama 
who was Chairman of the Senate Agricultural Committee 
and he had agreed to some language to make the change 
provided the Secretary would recommend it. Before we 
knew it they practically had the Secretary committed 
to approve the language but somehow it came to our 
attention. So we went into battle. We convinced the 
Secretary that he should arrange a meeting with the 
extension committee and with the SCS representatives. 
1 was Assistant Chief and Hugh Bennett told me I was 


to be spokesman. Well, we argued the case before the 
Secretary and I must have been really steamed up 
because after the meeting broke up we arranged to see 
the Secretary the next morning along with M. L. Wilson, 
the Under Secretary and William Jump the budget dir 
ector for the Department. 

When we went into the Secretary s office, before 
I had a chance to say anything, Secretary Wallace 
turned to me and said "Dillon, yesterday as you were 
making your presentation I was reminded of the fact 
that you were sitting in the same position in relation 
to the Secretary of Agriculture fighting the battle 
against the takeover as I was with the President of 
the United States, because of the fact that the Interior 
Department was trying to take over the Forest Service." 
This evidently appealed to him as something that was 
important and relevant. 

As a result of further discussions that morning 
he definitely decided to tell Harry Brown that he would 
not approve the proposed language. As a consequence 
there was no change in the law. This was a major 
victory for the SGS and for me personally. 

A Proposal To Move Some Regional Offices 

DSM: One other incident that I remember quite clearly 
resulted from an idea that was developed by Paul 
Appleby and Milton Eisenhower, who was working very 
closely with him at the time. They decided that the 
various regional offices within the Department of 
Agriculture should have the same location in the field 
so that they would have easy access to each other and 
be able to carry on better working relations. Such 
agencies as the Forest Service and the Soil Conserva 
tion Service had a great deal in common, for example, 
the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and other agen 
cies which had field offices of this type. Well, 
there seemed to be no getting away from it so we had 


to start work on this matter. One of the proposals 
was to move the office from Spartanburg, South 
Carolina, to Atlanta, Georgia, where the Forest 
Service was already located. This, of course, was 
stepping on Jimmy Byrnes toes who was probably the 
most powerful Senator in the U.S. Senate at the time. 
He was highly respected. He carried the battle 
against the change and. we lost which didn t hurt my 
feelings too much. Nevertheless at some cocktail 
party or other he was heard to make the remark "That 
those two Jews Eisenhower and Myer were planning to 
wreck his program in South Carolina." 

During the midst of this battle for the changes 
of the offices I was called upon to go with the Secre 
tary to some kind of meeting. In route I told him that 
we were planning to move the regional office of the SCS 
in Des Koines, Iowa, to Milwaukee where the Forest Ser 
vice Office was already located. This, of course, 
meant that we were moving a major office out of the 
Secretary s home state and into another state. He 
asked me a few questions about it and what was going 
on and I explained to him what we were called upon to 
do and he didn t rebel. We moved the office. 

The Pearl Harbor Attack And A Change In Status 

DSM: In the fall of 1941 Hugh Bennett was asked to go 

to Venezuela to do some soil survey work for the govern 
ment of Venezuela. He was down there for several weeks 
and during that period I was acting Chief of the Soil 
Conservation Service. It was at this time that the 
Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour and we were in the war. 

Following the Declaration of War in December 1-94-1 
I awakened one morning and found a story in the news 
papers which stated that Secretary of Agriculture, 
Claude Wickard, had established a new agency within 
the department known s.s the Agricultural Conservation 
and Adjustment Administration. "Spike" Evans who had 


been for quite some time chief of the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration was made administrator and 
I was announced as Assistant Administrator of this new 
overall agency. Neither Evans nor I were informed of 
this action ahead of time. This came as a complete 
shock to both of us. 

It developed that this was an idea that had been 
dreamed up by a couple of the Secretary s assistants, 
Sam Bledsoe and Bob Shields. Evidently they thought 
there should be some consolidation of the agencies 
and if I were moved over I would want to bring the 
SOS into control under my wing in the new organization. 
As a consequence it put me in a pretty hot spot. I 
immediately wired Hugh Bennett in Venezuela what had 
happened and he was out in the field so it took time 
to find him. When he returned to Washington it was 
early January. He was so upset that I was completely 
ignored. He brought Lewis Merrill, who was the Regional 
Director at the time in Port Worth, Texas, into Wash 
ington as his right hand man. 

Fortunately Merrill and I had worked together 
very closely on the fight to get a Soil Conservation 
Districts law established in Texas and he had complete 
confidence in me. He understood the problem so he came 
in every day to tell me what was going on. This was the 
only communication I bad with anyone in the SOS for 
days on end. 

I am sure that Hugh Bennett thought that maybe 
I had something to do with the Secretary s action. 
In any case he was very upset about the whole matter. 
I had always made it very clear to him that nothing 
happened that I didn t tell him about in respect to 
the service as soon as I knew it. I explained to him 
that it had all happened without my having anything 
to do with it and that he could be reassured that I 
was not going to move in to wreck the service but that 
didn t satisfy him. 

So from early January until mid-June I at first 
was Assistant Administrator of the new organization 
and then from late January to mid-June I was acting 
administrator. "Spike" Evans was appointed to the 
Federal Reserve Board and left the department during 


January. I had made up my mind that I was not going 
to be a party to shuffling the agencies and the take 
over of the AM and the SOS completely as I was urged 
to do. So my job in the meantime had to do with 
handling the tough problems that nobody else wanted 
to handle in regard to the various agencies. Occa 
sionally I had a meeting of the agency chiefs to talk 
about inter-agency problems. 

As an example of the type of tough problems that 
I had to handle: the AAA had a real problem between 
the southern region and the western region because of 
the battle as to how the cover crop seeds which were 
grown in Oregon should be handled in arranging for 
sales to cotton farmers in the South. Since nobody 
wanted to handle it I had to referee this battle. I 
did it and I m sure that I did it without very much 
support on either side but I finally had to make a 
decision and I made it. 

In the case of SCS the major problem that came 
up during this period was the fact that our appropri 
ations by the Congress were reduced for administrative 
purposes and it seemed necessary to eliminate some of 
the regional offices. One of the regional offices 
which had been established because the former chair 
man of the House Agricultural Committee, Marvin Jones, 
insisted was a wind erosion region be established at 
Amarillo, Texas. If it wasn t established he said he 
would write it into law. So it had been established. 

In the meantime Marvin Jones had moved out of the 
Congress and over to the Court of Claims. We decided 
that we didn t need the Amarillo office any more and 
it was to be dropped. It fell to me to go to see 
Marvin Jones. He didn t like it but he said he would 
not stand in the way. I came back to report to the 
Secretary that I had informed Marvin Jones and he had 
accepted the fact that we were going to do it. He 
looked at me and smiled and said "What did Grover Hill 

Grover Hill was at that time Assistant Secretary 
of Agriculture. He was an appointee upon the recom 
mendation of Marvin Jones and he was a great supporter 
of Marvin Jones. I said "I haven t talked with Grover." 


He said "I think you had better do so." So I went and 
talked with Grover Hill and Grover really put up a 
scrap. He told me that we were being traitors to Jones 
and that we were cutting the ground out from under him. 
We spent an hour or two together. He tried to con 
vince the Secretary to overrule us but we stood pat 
and we got the job done. 

These items were examples of the kind of dirty 
work that I had to handle during this period and I 
didn t get too much thanks for it. Nobody in the dif 
ferent groups that came under the administration that 
I was heading liked the new organization. Incidently 
the Agricultural Conservation and Adjustment Admini 
stration included four agencies: the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration; the Soil Conservation Ser 
vice; Crop Insurance Service; and the Sugar Division. 

Dillon Myer, Director of WRA> and Mrs. Myer in 
center of photograph, on a visit to the Grenada 
or Amache Relocation Center. James Lindley, 
Center Director, stands next to Mrs. Myer. The 
young lady at the Director s right was the art 
ist in charge of the silk screen art shop. 1944. 

Dillon Myer, FPHA Commissioner, signing a con 
ditional sales agreement with the Veterans 
Co-operative Housing Association for the pur 
chase of Naylor Gardens, Washington, D.C. From 
left to right: Louis B. Arnold, Harry DeWitt, 
President of the Co-op, Mr. Myer, Nicholas 
Zapple, and Col. William Roberts. 1947. 

Dillon Myer (seated) at the time of taking over 
the Presidency of the Institute of Inter-Ameri 
can Affairs in late 1947. Colonel Harris, the 
retiring President, standing. 

Three former Directors of the Cuban Refugee 
program at Miami, Florida. Dillon Myer 
(center) was Director for several weeks during 
early 1961 until R.A. Wise took over. Arthur 
Lazell, former Assistant Director, became 
Director after Mr. Wise returned to his position 
as Director of the Miami office of the Social 
Security Administration. 




DSM: After serving as Acting Administrator of the 

Agriculture Conservation and Adjustment Administration, 
which Secretary Wickard had established in December of 
1941, I was asked to take on the job as Director of 
the War Relocation Authority in June of 1942. The WRA 
was an independent agency established by Executive 
Order on March 19, 1942. 

We were having a party at our house on a Saturday 
evening June 13th, and among others present was Milton 
Eisenhower and Helen, his very wonderful wife (later 
deceased). Milton had taken on the job as Director of 
the WRA in March of 1942 much against his will. It so 
happened that during the afternoon before they came to 
our party he received a request from Elmer Davis to 
become his deputy in the new agency known as the Office 
of War Information. Ib was quite obvious to me that 
he was all hepped up about it. He talked about it on 
our porch and I could hear bits of the conversation. 

About nine o clock Milton went into our dining 
room where we kept our piano, sat down and started to 
play. When the party was over Milton and Helen were 
the last ones to leave and as we walked out together 
I said "Milton you are going to take the job at OWI, 
aren t you?" He said "Yes I am." I said "You de 
cided that at nine o clock tonight just before you 
went in to play the piano," and he said "That s 
right." Then he turned to me and he said "Will you 
take on the job as Director of WRA?" I said "Well, 
this is a bit of a shock but let s talk about it." 
So we set up a date for Monday evening. 

Jenness and I went down to the Eisenhowers and 
we spent a couple of hours going over the whole 
situation and finally I said to Milton "Do you think 
I should take this job?" He said "Dillon, if you can 


sleep and still carry on the Job my answer would be 
yes. I can t sleep and do this Job. I had to get 
out of it." So I told him that I would take on the 
Job. This was on Monday evening and Wednesday after 
noon on June 17th I took over the chair which he had 

Fortunately I had had some part in the selection 
of the key personnel in Washington or at least most of 
them. Milton Eisenhower and I rode in the same car 
pool. We had been working together for years and I 
don t think he made any appointments, at least from 
among those people that we had worked with in Agricul 
ture, that he didn t discuss with me. So except for 
two or three people among the top staff, they were all 
people that had worked for me or with me within the 
Department of Agriculture. I found out later that 
before Milton finally made a recommendation that I 
take on the Job he checked it with the staff and they 
had approved the idea which of course pleased me very 

When Milton said that he couldn t sleep he meant 
literally that because he was very disturbed about the 
whole WRA concept. He found the situation that he was 
facing most difficult, with the antagonisms on the part 
of much of the American public against the Japanese 
because we were at war with Japan and many people did 
not differentiate between the Japanese Americans and 
the Japanese with whom we were at war. At the same 
time the problems of moving people from assembly cen 
ters on the West Coast into temporary relocation cen 
ters I m sure got on his nerves very badly, and he 
was practically ill. 

HP: You are Just as sensitive to this and to the injustices 
involved as he was. How do you explain that you were 
able to take it more tranquilly then he was? 

DSM: Well, I think first oJ all Milton had been in public 
relations work most of his life. He was a public 
relations man first, last and all the time and he did 
not like to get in between the rock and the hard place. 
He certainly was in between on this Job because the 
pressures on both sides were very, very heavy and this 
upset him very much. 


In my own case even though I think I am quite 
sensitive and I had some emotional spots during the 
four years that I was Director of the WRA I never have 
been bothered when it comes to carrying on a job that 
I feel that I am responsible for. As a consequence I 
didn t worry myself too much about the pressures from 
the racists and from the people who were trying to 
beat us into the ground all of the time. 

I was able to take it in stride and fortunately 
I have always been a good sleeper and I still am. Con 
sequently I did the job as I felt that it should be 
done and with a very few exceptions I went to bed at 
night and slept soundly until time to get up the next 

HP: I take it you were no more in sympathy with the philos 
ophy in back of the evacuation than Milton was, but 
that you felt that there was a job to be done and it 
might as well be done as well as possible. 

DSM: That s right. The war was on and I was requested to 
take on a special war-time job with a Presidential 
appointment and unless you have a very good reason you 
don t turn down a Presidential request during wartime. 

The Evacuation Authorization and Initiation 

DSM: I, of course, was not sympathic to the evacuation 
and the move that was made by General DeWitt. The 
truth of the matter however is that when I first took 
over I had very little information about the Japanese 
people on the West Coast and I had very little clear 
information about the basic reasons that were given for 
the evacuation and whether the reasons were sound or 
whether they weren t. I found out very quickly after 
I became Director that most of the reasons were phony 
and many of the rumors which were used to justify the 
evacuation which came out of the attack on Hawaii were 
proven to be completely untrue as were many other things 


that were put forth by the people who were pressuring 
for the evacuation previous to the time when General 
DeWitt had made the final decision in February 194-2. 
The evacuation didn t actually take place until March 
but he made his recommendations to the War Department 
on February 1J in which he did an all out job of try 
ing to Justify the move that he had proposed to make 
if given the authority to do so. He got that authority 
on February 19 and announcements were made that there 
would be an evacuation. 

In the beginning he allowed people to move out 
from the California and the West Coast on a voluntary 
basis but after a short time it was quite obvious that 
these people were running into trouble because the 
people in the hinterland where they were trying to 
settle didn t quite understand who they were. They 
were fearful and they thought that they were having a 
Japanese invasion in some cases. Milton Eisenhower, 
who was still Director, recommended that the voluntary 
evacuation be stopped and that plans be made for carry 
ing out the evacuation on a step-by-step basis. 

The history which led up to the evacuation is a 
bit complex and I ll not try to cover it here except 
to say at that time Earl Warren was Attorney General 
of California but looking forward to being candidate 
for governor in the fall of 1942 which he was and he 
favored the evacuation. General DeWitt had brought 
onto his staff on the West Coast Colonel Carl Bendet- 
sen who was in charge of his civilian affairs and while 
some people feel that Bendetsen had little responsibility 
for recommending the evacuation I -do not agree. I 
think that he was a prime mover in recommending to 
General DeWitt that he carry out the evacuation. As a 
matter of fact after the evacuation order was issued 
here on the mainland he tried for weeks to get a 
large group of people evacuated from Hawaii with the 
idea I am sure of justifying their West Coast evacu 
ation. One of the people who touched off the cam 
paign for the evacuation was a radio commentator by 
the name of John B. Hughes who recommended in late 
January that an evacuation be carried out. 

Much to the surprise of many of us when we checked 
the history we learned that Walter Lippmann went out 

to the coast and spent several days in early February 
and he was evidently taken in by General DeWitt. He 
recommended evacuation. He repeated some of the same 
phony philosophy as to the reasons for the evacuation 
in one of his columns. The major thing that he ended 
up with was the fact that General DeWitt had said and 
he repeated this "the fact that there had been no 
problem up till then was the best indication in the 
world that there would be because they were just wait 
ing for the right time . " 

So on February 19 * 194-2 the President issued an 
Executive Order which authorized Secretary of War 
Stimson or any commander designated by him to esta 
blish military areas and to exclude therefrom any and 
all persons who they felt might be inimical to the war 
effort. Following this Executive Order the first pro 
clamation that was issued by General DeWitt under this 
authority was on March 2, 194-2. On March 11, 194-2 he 
established the WCCA which was the civilian affairs 
unit of his organization that I have already mentioned 
under Colonel Carl Bendetsen and on June 2 proclama 
tion number six announced no further voluntary move 
ment from California e.nd plans for eventual total 
evacuation was announced. This was just two weeks before 
I took over the job on June 17th. 

Agricultural Labor - The First Relocation Move 

DSM: During the month of May the pressures for agri 
cultural labor were so heavy that authorization was 
provided both by the Western Defense Command and by 
the WRA for the recruiting of labor in the centers 
under certain very strict conditions. These rules pro 
vided that they had to have the statements by the 
Governors of the various states and by the lav; enforc- 
ment officials that they would enforce the lav/ and see 
that there were no problems in the way of retribution 
against people of Japanese ancestry and a number of 
other very closely written restrictions which had to 


do with their staying within certain limited area. 

Student Relocation Committee 

DSM: Along about the same time there were a number of 
students in the universities on the West Coast who 
wanted to continue their studies so Milton Eisenhower 
asked Clarence Pickett of the American Friends Service 
Committee to form a committee to propose and initiate 
plans for a student relocation program. 

The committee was appointed and when I arrived on 
the scene on June 17th there already were plans under 
way for checking with colleges outside of the evacuated 
zone to see which among the various colleges and uni 
versities were in position to accept students and at 
the same time for making a survey, on the West Coast, 
of the students who were in college there to see who 
among those wished to relocate into other institutions. 
This work was carried out largely through the summer 
of 1942 and a very excellent job was done. 

The main handicap that the committee had was the 
fact that many of the universities had defense con 
tracts and they were fearful that the Defense Depart 
ment would object to their taking evacuee students 
at that time so that there were some of the institu 
tions who didn t go along with the plan who otherwise 
might have done so. 

First Steps Toward A General Relocation Policy 

DSM: During the first week of my incumbency we held 

our first staff conference and I met the people among 


our key staff whom I had not met previously. Among 
others was Tom Holland who had just returned from a 
trip to the V/est Coast and who had visited some of 
the Army s assembly centers and one or two of the 
new relocation centers that had been established. 
When I called on him for a report on his trip he made 
one of the most articulate and most moving statements 
that I think I have ever heard made in a staff meeting, 
He strongly favored s policy of relocation and the 
doing away with centers altogether as quickly as 
possible. I was very much struck by his presentation 
and by his arguments. 

Almost immediately after this meeting was over I 
started on a trip to the West Coast with three or four 
of the key staff members at which time I visited the 
Tule Lake and Posten Relocation Centers and the area 
office in San Francisco. When I came back I announced 
to the staff that I was in full agreement with Tom 
Holland s recommendations. I wanted immediately to 
proceed with plans for a relocation program. So plans 
were written up, very cautious ones I might say, to 
allow relocation outside of the centers under certain 

Among other things the plan was limited to Nisei. 
Kibei (who were Nisei who had spent a good deal of 
their time in Japan and had most of their education 
there) were not included in the group who could re 
locate. Issei were not included in this first state 

HP: This was relocation from the centers? 

DSM: That s right. This involved relocation from the relo 
cation centers into the hinterland to accept jobs 
wherever they could be found. This policy became 
effective July 20, 1942. 

Following this we immediately went to work on a 
more comprehensive program and regulations for which 
we were able to issxie in late September and it became 
effective October 1, 194-2. It made provision for 
relocation from the relocation centers into the normal 
communities outside of the evacuated area. I have 
mentioned the terms Issei, Nisei and Kibei. Nisei are 


first-generation Japanese Americans who are American 
citizens because they were born on American soil. 
Kibei were also born on American soil but these were 
Nisei who had gone back to Japan for much of their 
education and as a consequence some of them were 
really more Japanese in their culture than they were 
American. The Issei were the first generation folks 
who immigrated from Japan to the United States and 
who were the parents of the Nisei and the Kibei. 
They were aliens and continued to be aliens until 
the 1950 s because the laws up until that time did 
not allow naturalization of Orientals. The only 
exception to that was a few cases where Issei had 
participated in World War I and were later given 
their citizenship by a special act of Congress. 

In 195^ the immigration laws were revamped so 
that it set up a quota, not only for Japanese but for 
the so called Asiatic triangle and authorized the 
naturalization of people from that area and which 
opened the way for the Issei who had been in this 
country throughout many years to apply for American 
citizenship. Many of them had lived here since 1900 
or 1910 both here and in Hawaii. The majority of them 
did apply except for those who were so old that they 
didn t feel that it was worth going to the trouble. 

The Army Ass em b ly Centers 

DSM: After General DeWitt issued his proclamation which 
provided for no further voluntary evacuations and set 
up a general schedule for the evacuation of the rest 
of the territory, the evacuees were moved into army 
assembly centers which were hastily provided. These 
were mostly in racetracks up and down the West Coast. 
Many of these people lived in these temporary assembly 
centers run by the Army throughout the summer and fell 
of 19^2 while relocation centers were being constructed 
by the army engineers. 


HP: Did they use tents? 

DSM: No, they used the barns, put in partitions and they 
used the grandstand. Kitchens and other service 
facilities were underneath the grandstand. The Nisei 
still talk about the smell of horse manure that they 
lived with during those months. 

The Move To Relocation Centers 

DSM: The first relocation center was Manzanar which was 
originally an assembly center which was constructed by 
the Army. It was turned over to WRA on June 1, 1942. 
The other center which was in the early stages of con 
struction and use was the one at Posten near Parker, 
Arizona, which was constructed on an Indian reservation. 
Posten turned out to be the largest center we had with 
three different units Posten I, II and III. The 
other centers were brought into use as they were 
partially or wholly completed. The last of the evacuees 
were moved into the Rhower center in Arkansas in 
November 1942. 

We had real problems during this period of move 
ment from the assembly centers because once the army 
set up dates for movement which was carried out 
through the use of trains and buses they moved on the 
scheduled dates in spite of hell or high water, regard 
less of whether or not the centers were ready for the 
evacuees. As a consequence we had very many situations 
where centers were not complete and where there was a 
great deal of misery and inconvenience as a result of 
having not been able to complete the centers in time 
to receive the people as they should have been 


HP: How many people were involved in this? 

DSM: 110,000 people were moved to begin with. During the 
four year period we dealt with a total of 120,000 


people. Some of them came in from other parts of the 
country where they had voluntarily relocated and added 
to our group who were evacuated in the first instance 
and then a lot of babies were born during the four 
years of the relocation centers; it happened that the 
births outstripped the deaths during that period. Our 
good health facilities in the centers helped many 
people to extend their life span. I am sure they 
might not have lived so long if they had not had the 
kind of medical service that we were able to provide. 

The Policy Conference And Its Importance 

DSM: Up until August of 194-2 no general policy had 
been issued regarding; the operation of centers. On 
August 13th we convened the directors of centers who had 
already been selected and our key staff members from 
some of these centers plus our key staff members from 
Washington at a meeting in San Francisco which was 
known as a policy session. During the several days 
following August 13th we hammered out policy after 
policy affecting the operations of relocation centers. 
This was essential because we had absolutely no pre 
cedent on which to operate. 

These policies concerned the various phases of 
life in the centers. The matter of food and mess halls 
and how they would be operated, and type of food and 
the costs and so on had to be spelled out. The areas 
of education, policing, religious worship, the matter 
of whether or not we were going to have farming oper 
ations to provide food wherever it was feasible and 
so on. It went into all phases of life in the center 
at that time. 

As fast as these policies were shaped up they 
were issued one by one over a period from about the 
20th of August through the middle of September. This 
was a very important matter. The reason being that 
by the time we had arrived at this stage much to our 


surprise the people on the West Coast who had helped 
to pressure General DeWitt and others into carrying 
out an evacuation were again on the prowl and they 
were out sniping at everything that was going on in 
the centers. They were claiming that the evacuees 
were getting better meats than the men in the Army 
were getting and all kinds of crazy stories were 
being put out in the Hearst press and in other ways 
to harrass the evacuees and WRA. 

The Dies Committee Moved In 

DSM: It wasn t long after the policies were formulated 
that the Dies Committee of the U.S. Congress set up a 
sub-committee headed by John Costello. They sent in 
vestigators, so called, into five or six of the centers 
to check on our policies and I requested the Directors 
to be sure to take a transcript of all of the testi 
mony that was given to them so that I could see what 
was happening. 

You can imagine my relief when I found that the 
Directors had learned their lesson and that they all 
told the same story; they had read the policy state 
ments and they just clicked right down the line. I 
heaved a great big sigh of relief and said "Thank God 
we have the policies and have the people who had the 
good sense to know that it was important to follow the 
policies" because had they found that we were not 
consistent and playing it by ear we would have been 
in more trouble than we were. We were in trouble 
enough as it was. 


The Posten And Manzanar Troubles 

DSM: Our first real trouble spot developed in Camp I 
of the Posten Relocation Center on November 14, 1942 
when we had a community-wide strike and demonstra 
tion, which was called by the Hearst press and others 
a riot which it wasn t. This came about because the 
F.B.I, had come into the center and had arrested two or 
three people and they were put into jail and the com 
munity got up in arms and demanded that they be . re 
leased and when they weren t released immediately they 
went on strike and consequently nothing was done for 
about a week or ten days except to provide the basic 
food and essential services required by the evacuees, 

This had hardly settled down when we had a in 
cident at Manzanar on December 6, 1942 and this was 
known pretty much as the Kibei rebellion. A group of 
Kibei and a group of people who were running the 
kitchens were involved. The chefs who had organized 
themselves into a kitchen workers union began to 
demand things. Here again this incident came about 
because there some arrests were made in the center 
and these people who were arrested were taken out to 
Independence or one of the nearby towns. 

This group demanded that they be brought back to 
the center and that they be released to the people in 
the center. As a result of discussions that Ralph 
Merritt, the director of the project, had had wivh 
the leaders of the group he thought they had arrived 
at a meeting of the minds and a compromise but he 
found out an hour or two later that the leader had 
simply announced another meeting later in the day. 
When he found that they had broken their word and 
were meeting again he called in the Army which he 
had authority to do. Unfortunately, after the Army 
came in some youngster climbed into a car and released 
the brakes and ran it right down toward the soldiers 
and some trigger-happy boy started shooting. Some 
people were wounded and three people ultimately died 
as a result of the shooting. 


This was a period of my greatest anxiety. The 
month of December was a horrendous month. I didn t 
know what was going to happen in the other centers 
and whether this was a pattern that was going to 
develop in center after center which some people were 
predicting. Furthermore we had not followed the 
recommendations of the Army when they turned the 
evacuees over to us to hire forty to fifty police at 
each of the centers from the outside because we did 
not feel that it was necessary. 

We had adopted the policy of having one police 
chief who we appointed and then the rest of the 
policing was done by the evacuees themselves who were 
hired to do a job, just as they were hired to do other 
jobs in the center. So we didn t know at this stage 
whether we had been wrong. This is the one period 
when I remember quite clearly that I didn t sleep 
every night as I had promised Milton Eisenhower to do. 

Finally I came down to the office one morning 
and decided that we were going to do something although 
I didn t know what! I asked Elmer Rowalt to fill his 
pocket up with cigars which he liked to smoke and to 
come into my office and close the door that we 
would probably spend the morning together and we were 
going to talk the whole thing over and through and 
come out with some decisions. 

A Second Policy Conference 

DSM: We decided that the first thing that we would do 

would be to call a meeting in early January 194-3 of all 
the project directors and the key personnel again and 
review our policies which had already been issued and 
see whether any changes should be made. We made 
practically no changes as a result of this but it was 
something to be done and we did it. 


We did authorize the hiring of not more than two 
additional assistants to the police chief in each of 
the centers. Some of them hired them and some of them 
didn t. We decided to approve the election of Issei 
to the centers councils. Even though this action 
doesn t seem to be very much, we did review our other 
policies and decided that they were sound and that we 
would sit tight. 

In November of 1942 we decided to eliminate the 
three regional offices that had been established and 
to move the responsibilities that they had carried into 
the Washington office except for some liaison people in 
one or two operations including an evacuee property 
office on the tfest Ccsst. This was done between 
November 15, 194-2 and the first of January 194-3. 

Relocation Field Offices Established 

DSM: About the same time we decided to go all out on 
a relocation program outside of the relocation cen 
ters. On January 4, 1943 the first two relocation 
field offices, called area field offices, were 
established to assist in helping people to relocate 
outside of the centers through finding jobs, housing 
and assuring them the opportunity to live peaceably 
and to carry on as other civilians would carry on. 

From this start we established field offices in 
key cities all over the United States. Before 1943 
was out we had seven other offices making a total of 
nine by the time we had completed that earlier setup. 


A Senate Sub-Committee Holds Hearings 

DSM: On January 20, 194-3 Senator A. B. Chandler, who 
had been named Chairman of a sub-committee of the 
Senate Military Affairs Committee, started hearings 
on a bill which was introduced by Senator Mon Wall- 
gren of Washington to transfer the W.R.A. functions to 
the War Department. This bill had been proposed some 
weeks earlier by the American Legion, who were poorly 
informed. They claimed that we were relocating people 
out of the centers in which they were supposed to be 
kept throughout the war period, and that it was likely 
that we were introducing sabateurs all over the 

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team Was Launched 

DSM: Fortunately on January 28, 1943 before the 

hearings were ended, Secretary Stimson announced that 
a regimental combat team composed of volunteers of 
Japanese Americans from the mainland and Hawaii was to 
be organized. I had been pressing for this during all 
the months that I had been in office as director, and 
it happened to come at a very opportune time from the 
standpoint of the hearings that we were having on 
Capitol Hill. 

Following this, beginning on February .8, 1943, 
we started in cooperation with the Army a registration 
of all people who were eligible for army enlistment and 
we also added provisions for leave clearance from the 
centers for all people over fifteen years of age in 
cluding the Issei. 

This led to some difficulties because some of the 
questions were poorly worded. The worst one for 
example was "Do you swear to be a loyal citizen of 
the United States, etc.?" Of course the Issei could 


not be citizens of the United States, never had been, 
and were not allowed to be. They couldn t answer this 
question. So after this was pointed out the question 
was changed so that all except a very small percentage 
were able to answer it because it simply said "Will 
you do nothing to interfere with the war effort of the 
United States?" I don t remember the exact details 
but that was the essence of the question. 

Baseless Rumors 

HP: Getting back to the allegation by the American Legion 
that some of the people released from the centers to 
take jobs elsewhere v/ere guilty of sabotage. Was 
there ever an established case that a person from a 
relocation center had become a saboteur? 

DSM: No, there never was an established case of sabotage. 
Not only as regards the people who had been in relo 
cation centers who had lived on the West Coast but it 
also included Hawaii, which had more people of Japanese 
ancestry then we had in the United States mainland. 
There were lots of rumors about sabotage but none of 
them proved to be true. It took a long time to elimi 
nate those rumors. H&ny people were still quoting 
them weeks and weeks after they had been knocked down 
by J. Edgar Hoover and others who had made the 

I had one rather embarrassing situation in my 
own home. One Sunday afternoon we had some friends 
who had dropped by arid among them was an Admiral of 
the Navy who had been a neighbor of ours for years 
and during the course of the conversation they got 
onto the question of the evacuees and the Admiral 
said, "Well, you know that one of the Japanese who 
was shot down during the attack on Pearl Harbour 
a member of the Japanese Air Force was wearing a 
high school ring from Hawaii." I said "Yes, I know 
about that" and then I hesitated because here I was 


host to a whole room full of people but I finally 
said "George, I do know about that and we have 
checked that out thoroughly and it isn t true. Our 
source of information on this is the Office of Naval 
Intelligence." He said "Well of course they should 
know." I said "Yes. I think they probably are better 
informed than most anybody," and we passed over it. 
Fortunately we continued to be good friends but it 
was a very tough spot to be in. This was typical of 
what was going on in those days. 

Our Letter To Secretary Stimson Recommending A Change 
In The Exclusion Order 

DSM: On March 11, 194-3 we sent a long detailed letter 
to Secretary Stimson of the War Department recom 
mending immediate relaxation of the West Coast exclu 
sion orders. This was just about one year from the 
time the.t the evacuation orders were issued. In view 
of the fact that it was quite obvious that there was 
very little danger, if any, of invasion of the West 
Coast, we thought there was no justification for con 
tinuing the exclusion order. We proposed two alternate 
plans. One of them was all-out lifting of the exclu 
sion order to allow people to return to their West 
Coast homes; the other was a step-by-step proposal 
whereby people who had been in the Army and their 
immediate relatives might be allowed to go back. We 
presented a long list of reasons. 

On May 10th, two months later, we received a reply 
to this letter rejecting our proposals and urging a 
segregation program to separate the so-called pro- 
Japanese from the people who were in support of the 
American effort in the relocation centers and to set 
up a special center for those v/ho wanted to be Japan 
ese and wanted to return to Japan. As a matter of 
fact this had been urged by General DeWitt from the 
beginning. We had hardly taken over the first cen 
ters before he began to argue for this. We pointed 


out to Secretary Stimson that had this been a feasi 
ble move and was as easy as suggested by General 
DeWitt it should have been done during the assembly 
center period and we should never have had the pro 
blem to face later, but this didn t stop them. They 
kept right on pressuring for the segregation program. 

As a matter of fact Assistant Secretary McCloy 
went before the Chandler sub-committee and made recom 
mendations urging the separating of the so-called 
disloyal from the others residents of the center. The 
pressure finally got so heavy that we decided that we 
had to go ahead with the segregation program. 

So on the last of May 194-3 we made a decision 
to use the Tule Lake center as the place to which to 
move people who wanted to be pro-Japanese and others 
who we felt should be separated. As a consequence we 
offered the opportunity for people who wanted to move 
out of Tule Lake to go to other centers previous to 
moving people in. This process took all summer and 
most of the fall. It was terrific Job and led to 
real difficulties which I shall mention later. 

Mrs. Roosevelt s Visit To Gila River And A Luncheon 

DSM: In the meantime on May 6, 194-3 Mrs. Eleanor Roose 
velt visited the Gila River Relocation Center in Ari 
zona at the request of the President. I met Mrs. 
Roosevelt in Pheonix and escorted her to the center. 
We spent the day at the Center and she with her wonder 
ful energy, covered everything in the center of any 
importance including all the wards in the hospitals, 
the schools, and all phases of the service activities 
so that she could report back to the President. On the 
way back to Pheonix we were discussing some of our pro 
blems and I decided that I would try a bold stroke so 
I told her that I would like to talk to the President 
about some of our problems that we were facing at the 
time. She said "I think you should and I shall arrange 
it," and she did arrange it. 


On May 23, 194-3 Mrs. Myer and I were invited to 
the White House for luncheon. It was one of those 
beautiful bright spring days and they decided to have 
the luncheon on the lawn where small tables were set 
up. We spent a hour and a half at lunch. At our 
table in addition to Mrs. Myer and myself was the 
President and the President s daughter Anna Roose 
velt Boettenger from the state of Washington, who 
with her husband, was running one of the Hearst 
papers at that time. At another table was Harry 
Hopkins and his wife, Mrs. Roosevelt and John Boet 
tenger. They were far enough away that they didn t 
interfere with our discussions. 

The President and I had an excellent discussion 
about the problems and when I told the President about 
the "Happy" Chandler committee and the fact that I felt 
that they were doing things that were not very helpful 
he said "I think I can help you with this." I didn t 
know for some time just how he had done it but I found 
out later that he had gotten in touch with Senator 
Joseph 0"Mahoney who was a good supporter of the 
administration. I later learned that Joe 0"Mahoney 
called "Happy" Chandler into his office and dressed 
him down and told him that he should lay off and quit 
harrassing the W.R.A. He did. As a result we got quite 
a satisfactory report out of his committee. It was 
very much in line with what we had proposed to do any 
how in the way of segregation and other problems. 

In the meantime, also during the month of May, 
the Dies Committee, which I have mentioned earlier, 
started their investigators to work in the various 
centers. On May 12 they arrived at Manzanar unannounced 
and they visited four or five other centers in sequence. 
This is the group that I mentioned in dealing with 
whom we had asked the directors of the centers to take 
transcripts of the answers to their questions. Our 
directors knew their stuff and knew what the policies 
were and they all gave the same basic answers in their 
replies. This showed how important these policy state 
ments were and how important it was that they were 
being followed. 


The Dies Sub-Committee At Work 

DSM: The Costello sub-committee of the Dies Committee 
was appointed on June 3, 19^3 and they became a real 
harrassing element over the period from May until 
July 6th. They held so-called hearings in Los Angeles, 
to which we were not invited. One or two of the people 
from Posten were invited but the people who were tes 
tifying out there were mostly people whom we had fired 
because of the fact that they had either not been loyal 
to the service or who had left the center during the 
Posten incident. 

In one case a chap by the name of Townsend who 
testified had left the center in a government car 
because he was scared, to death, and was gone for a 
week. When he came back fortunately the director of 
the center had had enough experience that he sat him 
down and interviewed him with a stenographic trans 
cript of the interview and of course fired him. 

This ex-employee told all kinds of wild stories 
at the time of the Los Angeles hearings which were 
fed out to the newspapers across the land and we had 
no chance for rebuttal at that time. I never shall 
forget that during those weeks from May through until 
July morning after morning after morning my informa 
tion staff John Baker and Morrill Tozier and I met to 
review what had been in the papers the day before. 
Day after day one of us would get so madp" by the time 
we were through reviewing that we were recommending 
that we go out to kill the Dies Committee! Usually 
the other two kept Cf-.lm enough so that they had good 
enough sense that we finally settled down and decided 
that we would document every bit of misinformation and 
information that was put out by the committee in such 
a way that we would have it on paper. 

We did just that so that by the time we got our 
hearing in Washington on July 6, 194-3 which was an 
open hearing; with the press present we had stacks of 
mimeographed documents which we carried up by the arm 
load and piled up oi> the table. 


Every time a question came up we gave a handout 
to the press, and during this particular hearing we 
made the statement that Mr. Townsend, whom I mentioned 
earlier had left the center in a government car and 
was gone for a week and who had told so many wild 
stories, had told forty-two lies or had made forty-two 
misstatements during his hearing in Los Angeles. This 
was during the morning session. 

When the afternoon session opened John Costello 
the committee chairman leaned forward and said "Mr. 
Myer, we have reviewed the Townsend statement during 
the noon hour and we can only find thirty-nine mis- 
statements." I got up and bowed and said "Mr. Chair 
man we accept thirty-nine , " and of course we got a 
real laugh out of the newsmen and a real break out of 

As a result of those hearings which lasted three 
days we got some real support from the good people 
around the United States who began really to roll up 
their sleeves and go to work to help us in our relo 
cation program and in our program generally. The 
church people and many others who had representatives 
sitting in on the hearing sent out the word and in 
formed people about .it so that it turned out, this 
committee did us a favor rather than doing us harm in 
the long run. 

Their harrassment of W.R.A. made the good people 
around the country mad enough that they decided to 
really go to work and do something about it. 

While all of this was happening during the early 
part of 194-3 we were intensifying our program to do a 
relocation job outside of the centers. We were getting 
our area offices established, as well as local district 
offices, and by the end of 194-3 our program of relo 
cation was very well under way. 

On October 11, 194-3 the last group of evacuees, 
from other centers who were being moved to the Tule 
Lake Center as so-called "segregatees" except those at 
Manzanar, had been transferred to Tule Lake. The trans 
fer of people out of Tule Lake who had been willing to 
move to other centers had also been completed. 


The Tule Lake Incident And Resulting Turmoil 

DSM: In late October Tule Lake workers were going out 
to the farm on a truck; and the truck had upset. As 
a result one of the workers was killed in the acci 
dent. This led to a farm strike and turmoil really 
began to develop in the Tule Lake Center on November 1. 

I visited the center at which time a demonstration 
was staged for the benefit of the National Director. 
I arrived on the morning of November 1 and Ray Best, 
who was the project director, had arranged to meet 
with some of the evacuee committee on the following 
day but they had decided that they would meet the day 
of my arrival. During the noon hour I had eaten in one 
of the mess halls and Ray had eaten dinner at his own 
home. He came down to where I was after lunch and said 
that he had just received word that an announcement had 
been made in all of the mess halls that there was to 
be a meeting at the administration building and that 
everybody was to gather there. 

So he and I immediately got into his car and 
drove all over the center to see what was happening 
and we realized that those in charge at that time, 
among the evacuees, had not only urged everybody to 
come but that they were putting pressure on them to 
come, and we saw people going all across the center in 
their best bib and tucker, elderly ladies and elderly 
men, people with youngsters by the hand and so on. We 
discussed the situation and we agreed that there was 
not anything very serious going to happen except talk, 
in view of the fact that they would not have had all 
of these women and youngsters in the crowd if there 
was anything that they planned to do other than talk.. 
So when we got back to the office here was the committee 
and they asked for a meeting and we agreed to have one. 

The meeting went on for two hours and a half and 
they made the same requests of me as they had made to 
Ray Best earlier, including the firing of the project 
director, four or five of the other key people on the 
staff and a number of other things which I shall not 


try to relate at this stage. I told them that I would 
not make any promises under pressure of this type and 
it wasn t the way we planned to do business and as 
soon as the people from Manzanar arrived at the center 
later we had planned to arrange for a meeting of ; the 
evacuees where they could select their own repre 
sentatives. I told them that I had some question 
whether the people in the room at that time were really 
representatives of the people as a whole. 

After we had met for a couple of hours the chair 
man of the group asked if I would speak to the crowd 
and I said I would be very happy too. So I very briefly 
told the crowd what I had told the committee. The 
chairman then made a speech in Japanese and the crowd 
broke up. 

In the meantime during the meeting there was a 
report that came to us that the doctor in charge of the 
hospital had been assaulted and that there had been a 
fight between the doctor and some of the evacuees. We 
sent the police chief over to check on it. He came 
back and said that it was true, that they had assaulted 
the head of the hospital. 

HP: The doctor was non-Nisei? 

DSM: Not a Nisei. He was a doctor that we had hired from 
the outside and who was a bit crusty. They didn t 
particularly like him and some of the boys who had a 
grudge used this opportunity, when every one was 
occupied, to do their job. The doctor had gotten 
skinned up a bit but nothing very serious so we went 
ahead with our meeting. 

HP: How many people were assembled? 

DSM: I would guess that there were must have been maybe 
10,000 or 15*000 people gathered around the admini 
stration building because everybody was asked to come 
or they were pressured into coming. They were herded 
in there by some stooges of the committee who were 
acting as strong arm men to get everybody in. 


HP: Where there amplifiers in those days? 


DSM: Yes. They had set up an amplifier on the roof of the 
building. Somebody had a loud speaker outfit and they 
set it up which we didn t object to. 

HP: Did you feel that your life was in danger? 

DSM: Not at all. At no stage in the game did I feel that I 
was in danger. 

HP: You might have been, you know. 

DSM: Oh, I suppose, but there was no indication of that. 
My experience with the Japanese people generally was 
that even though they had some hard boiled people in 
this group they were under pretty good control. 

As we came out of the office after the meeting 
had been adjourned I looked up at the flag pole and 
said "Old Glory still flies." I mention this because 
one of the Hearst reporters among other things had 
said that they had torn down the American flag and 
tramped on it, which of course was not true. As a 
result of this affair many of the people on the staff 
left the center and people who were in the center as 
service people who had come in to bring in supplies 
and so on had left the center and told some very wild 
stories about what was going on. 

Telephone communication with the outside was very 
poor. It was through the Tule Lake exchange which was 
a small town and we tried to get our San Francisco 
office and couldn t reach them and we tried to get 
some of the newsmen who had arranged for me to 
meet with the press olub group in San Francisco the 
night before and I wasn t able to reach the chairman 
of that group who had been my host. 

We did our best to get the word out and to deny 
the wild stories put out by the Hearst press and some 
of the others. One paper reported that plans were 
made for setting fires all over the center along with 
other bits of misinformation. 

Unfortunately, the reports officer at Tule Lake 
had resip-ned before I arrived which I did not know. 
While he was still on the project he did absolutely 


nothing to gather the information which he had normally 
been responsible for. He was the chap who should have 
had all the facts about what had gone on and should 
have been calling the newspapers to report it. Instead 
of that we had to do our own reporting. Robert Cozzens 
was with me and we did our best to get in contact with 
news people but it was impossible to reach many of 
them. As a consequence most of these fables which 
were passed out by people who left the center went 
unanswered until the 14th of November which was nearly 
two weeks later. I left the project after my second 
day there and went on about my business including a 
trip to Portland and to Seattle. 

I learned three days later while I was in route 
back to Washington by train that I was supposed to call 
the project, which I did en route. I found that on the 
night of November 4th there was an outbreak of violence 
at Tule Lake because of an attempt to stop the move 
ment of trucks which were taking food out to the farm 
laborers who had come in from the other centers to 
help harvest the crops. The civilian police that we 
had at the center tried to break up the group but it 
ended up in quite a melee. So Ray Best finally called 
in the military and they took over which was in line 
with our agreement that if they were brought in they 
were to be in control. They were there until January 

In view of the fact that all of these fantastic 
stories and charges had been fed out and published in 
the newspapers we felt it highly important that they 
be cleared up as fast as possible, but after the 
military took over on the night of November 4th they 
allowed no newspaper men into the center and gave no 
interviews. As a consequence some of my very good 
friends among the reporters felt that we were holding 
out on them. They did not understand the arrangement. 
It led to a very, very bad situation. 

When I got back to Washington on about November 
6th or ?th, I learned that our head information man 
Morrill Tozier and Leland Barrows, who was acting in 
charge, were seriously worried because of the fact 
that they couldn t get any report either out of Tule 
Lake or from me. Of course the problem was that there 


had been so many charges, so many things misstated 
that it took days to get the facts together. Finally 
on November 14, ten days after the incident on Nov 
ember 4 we were able to put out a release. We had a 
meeting at the Office of the War Information and the 
release issued was based upon very careful checking 
on all the things that were said and done. This 
however did not allay the criticism. It continued 
because the Tule Lake incident was just the kind of 
thing that the American Legion and the Hearst Press 
and all of the people who had been harassing the 
evacuees and the WRA were looking for in order to 
keep things stirred up. 

As a result of this incident and all of the mis 
information that flowed out from Tule Lake, the period 
from November 1, 194? to January 20, 1944 marked the 
lowest point in our public relations, especially on 
the West Coast. 

A Date With The American Legion 

DSM: Fortunately during November I had a date set up 
to meet with the state commanders and the state 
adjutants of the American Legion at Indianapolis. 
This came at a very good time because the American 
Legion was one of our real problems. Homer Chaillaux 
who was head of the Americanism Committee had been 
practically forced into arranging this meeting. As 
a result I had an opportunity to meet with a group of 
people who needed to hear the facts straight. This 
was a very rewarding meeting for me because I was able 
to get some of the facts on the record and get them 
straight and we had a very tough question and answer 
period with the representative of the California Legion 
leading the way and being very snide. We got through 
the session in good order. 

It happened that we were meeting in a hall with 
a hallway along the side so that there were several 


doors out to this hallway. When the meeting broke up 
I started for the men s room; it had been a long 
session; Dick Russell, the Senator from Georgia, had 
been the speaker after I was on. It took me about 
twenty minutes to reach my destination for the reason 
that people were popping out of each one of those 
doors and grabbing me by the hand and shaking my hand 
and saying "By God mister you did a good job." I got 
back to the men s room and as I opened the door and 
some chap just stepped out of a booth, saw me come in 
and said "By God mister I was glad to see you give it 
to those sons of bitches." Everybody in the men s room 
said "It was wonderful." 

I might add that after this meeting Mr. Chailloux 
was much more calm about the W.R.A. and the evacuees then 
he had been beforehand. I think that I may have 
already mentioned that one of our men in the infor 
mation division of W.R.A. had been chairman of the Amer 
icanism Committee some years before and he knew some 
of the people who were on the committee. He was the 
one that had gone up to New England to meet with a 
chap by the name of Jimmy O Neal to get this meeting 
set up. This was a very fortunate circumstance. 

In the meantime, hearings were held again by the 
Senate Military Affairs Committee of which "Happy" 
Chandler was sub-committee chairman, and the Costello 
sub-committee of the Dies committee in the House. 
These hearings on the Tule Lake affair were calm as 
compared with the earlier hearings that these people 
had carried out but they felt that they had to get on 
the record. I do remember that after we completed 
the hearings for two or three days on Tule Lake, Mr. 
Stripling, the Executive Secretary of the Dies Com 
mittee, came up to me and shook hands and said "We ll 
see you after the ne:rt blowup in the centers." This 
is the kind of snide p;uy that he was. I just said 
"There ain t going to be no more" and walked out. 

I have already mentioned that we had the poorest 
public relations at that time that we had ever had. 
I had a real job to clean up the situation particularly 
in San Francisco. 


A Follow Up Of The Tule Lake Incident 

DSM: We made a trip in December or early January 

particularly with Tule Lake in mind and visited the 
representative of the New York Times who was the chap 
who had arranged for me to meet with the press club 
in San Francisco the night before I went to Tule Lake 
and who felt very let down because I didn t reach him 
personally at the time of the Tule Lake crisis to 
report on what happened. Of course I had tried, but 
wasn t able to get through. So I had lunch with him 
and after an hour and a half I at least got him to 
believe me. He was still feeling low, but we got to 
be very good friends again after that. 

The San Francisco Chronicle had been the most fair 
of any of the larger West Coast papers, but after this 
happened they really turned against us. One of the 
editorial writers wrote an editorial in which he called 
us stupid, ignorant bureaucrats and all of the names 
that he could think of that he thought were derogatory. 

In the meantime v/e had arranged for Allen Markley, 
one of our staff of Washington information men, to go 
to Tule Lake and to take over the information job. We 
introduced him to the news people including the 
Chronicle and some of the other papers and said that 
he had been instructed to provide any information which 
the papers requested, to allow them into the center 
anytime the;/ wished, and to report to them any inci 
dent that he thought might be news worthy. This 
started us back on the right track but it took some 
weeks to get the job done. 

Reinstitution Of The Draft Of Nisei 

DSM: Fortunately on the 20th of January, 1944 Sec 
retary Stirason of the War Department announced the 


reinstitution of the draft for Japanese Americans. 
This had been set aside shortly after the evacuation 
order had been issued. We had been pressing for some 
time to get it reestablished because we felt that it 
was in the interest of the Japanese American group to 
have their boys drafted like everybody else. The 
excellent record which was achieved by the 100th 
battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team between 
early 194-3 and early 1944 helped us to get the War 
Department to change the orders on the matter of 

A Change In Status - The Move To The Department Of 
The Interior 

DSM: As a result of the Tule Lake affair and all the 
hubbub that grew up following it and the criticism 
that continued out on the coast, the Attorney General 
Biddle wrote a memorandum to President Roosevelt and 
recommended that we be transferred as an agency to 
the Department of Interior. The first two years of 
the life of W.R.A. had been one in which we had been 
responsible to nobody except the President of the 
United States and I had seen him only once. 

Fortunately we had the opportunity to develop 
our own policies and to defend our own policies with 
out any interference from any source whatsoever, but 
Attorney General Biddle felt that it was time we had 
some cover. He felt that Harold Ickes was the man to 
provide it. When I learned that they expected to 
transfer us to Interior, I visited Harold Smith of the 
Budget Bureau, who had sent my name to the President 
in the first instance, and told him I didn t like it. 
I thought I would rather go to the Justice Depart 
ment and gave all the arguments as to why. I might 
say my real reason was that I thought I could handle 
Biddle better than I could Harold Ickes. Harold Smith 
told me to go see Biddle which I did and Biddle told 
me what he had done and as a matter of fact I think he 


showed me a copy of the memorandum. When I went back 
to Harold Smith and he said "If you want to see some 
one in the White House you better see Jimmy Byrnes." 
Well, I saw Jimmy Byrnes and Jimmy Byrnes listened to 
my story and when I p;ot through he said "I think you 
had better go to Interior," which we did. 

On February 16, 1944- the President issued an 
executive order transferring the WRA to the Department 
of Interior. In spite of our reservations it turned 
out to be a very good move. 

The European Refugees 

DSM: In early June 194-4- the President announced plans 
to bring in one thousand European refugees to the 
United States outside of the immigration quotas and 
to quarter them in an emergency refugee shelter at 
Oswego, New York, to be administered by WRA. This was 
something else that came as a surprise to us because 
we didn t know until they were ready to announce it 
to the press that we were to be asked to take care 
of these refugees. 

HP: Who were these refugees? 

DSM: These were European refugees that had been gathered up 
from all over Europe and were in Italy at the time 
that this v/as announced. 

Evidently the announcement that we were bringing 
over one thousand was made with the idea of doing 
something that would be considered at least a token 
toward doing our share of taking care of refugees 
because there was pressure on other countries to take 
care of them. 

Out of nine hundred sixty-three of the refugees 
that came, nine hundred sixteen of them were of Jewish 


decent and they came from all across Europe Belgium, 
France, Germany of course, and several other countries. 
Several of them came from Yugoslavia. Some of them 
didn t speak anything except Serb or Croat and we had 
to have a translator or a interpreter that could not 
only speak German but Serb and Croat and practically 
all of the other languages of Europe. 

The European refugees were sent to Oswego, New 
York, where we took ever an old army post which had 
been in existence throughout the years. It was one of 
the posts that helped to provide defenses along the 
Great Lakes and it hadn t been in use for quite some 
time but it served our purpose quite satisfactorily, 
because there was room to provide a hospital and ample 
room for nine hundred sixty-three refugees, plus 
provision for staff r.nd for mess halls and other 
facilities. These people were quite unhappy about 
being placed in a canip and I couldn t blame them for 
that. We recommended, very strongly when we heard that 
they were coming that they be absorbed into the popu 
lation immediately rather than being placed in a camp. 
But evidently the President and his staff felt that 
there would be a great deal of criticism if this was 
done in view of the :?;ct that they were being brought 
in outside of the immigration laws. 

Most of the refugees were people who had never 
done any kind of physical labor. They were literary 
people, writers, doctors, professional people of 
various types, a highly intelligent group of people. 
They had had to be in order to escape the places they 
came from and to get by with being refugees as long 
as they had, because this was 1944- when we got them. 

They were an interesting group of people , but 
they weren t always easy to deal with; they knew how 
to argue and they would argue at length. They decided, 
for example, that they were not going to do any menial 
work such as unloading coal to keep themselves warm* 
During the summer no problem came up but as fall came 
on and it began to p;et chilly we needed heat and it had 
been our general policy throughout, and we had made 
this stick with the other centers, that the evacuees 
who ever they were would have to unload the coal and 
see to it that it war; delivered to the proper places 


and to organize groups to do it. Well they weren t 
going to do it. So they went on strike and the 
director of the camp called me up and wanted to 
know what to do about it and I said "Well, if they 
want to be cold, why we will have .to let them be 
cold. This ic awfully hard hearted. and I can under 
stand something of the reaction of these people, but 
I am sure that after a day or two they will unload 
the coal," which they did. They decided to divide 
it up and to take turns and to organize different 
crews to take different weeks to get the job done. 
We had no more trouble after that as far as the coal 
and other scut work was concerned. 

We had a number of problems off and on all 
through the months between 1944- until December 194-5. 
This is the period in which the refugees were in camp 
with no opportunity to get out except that they were 
free to go into the town of Oswego. The farmers there 
abouts wanted some help and some of trie refugees were 
willing to go out to pick fruit and that sort of thing. 
Generally speaking, however, they stayed within the 
general environment of the camp. 

In Washington throughout all the weeks and months 
that they were in coiap, we were busy trying to get an 
order which would allow us to help these people inte 
grate into the pattern of the United States generally 
and to leave the camp. 

HP: Was there much illness from their years of deprivation? 

DSM: Very little. The health problem was quite easily 

handled because we sent one of our doctors that had 
been in the centers up there as head physician. He 
had enough skilled help among this group to handle 
the problem very well so we had very little health 
problem except the normal sort of thing that you will 
get in any population this size. It wae very well 
taken cars of. 

HP: V/ha t was dono about schooling? 

D3M: Fortunately the schools of Oswego allowed the children 
to come into their schools. Many of them, of course, 


didn t speak English- well but fortunately the schools 
had a good superintendent and a good principal who 
got into the spirit of the thing. These youngsters 
really proved to be an interesting group of people 
among the other youngsters because of their experi 
ences. They had had good schooling, and during the 
several months that they were there the refugee kids 
had a wonderful opportunity in their association with 
these other kids to learn English which they did. 

HP: Was it dormitory life for the families? 

DSM: For the most part, yes. Although it v/as a little 
different than it wan in the other centers because 
there v/as much more room. We could allot much more 
space and they could work out their apartment space 
much better because v/e did have more room. 

HP: Did it ever increase from the nine hundred sixty-three? 
DSM: No. Thin was it, and v/e didn t receive any more. 
HP: What became of them? Did they return to Europe? 

DSM: Well, finally President Truman decided that it was 

time to do something about it and on December 22, 194-5 
he issued an order allowing them admission into the 
United States. What we had to do was to arrange for 
them to go to Canada and come back in in order* to 
have status. I believe that only about seventy-five 
or eighty went back to Europe, most of them to Yugo 
slavia. The rest of them were relocated by the Jewish 
agencies which were so helpful to us during this time. 
All we had to do was to take them to the gate and they 
saw to it that they got to Canada and back to the 
United States. The Jewish agencies then found places 
for them to live in the United States. 

After the people from Oswego were allowed to go 
to Canada and come in and apply for American citizen 
ship, we had very little contact with most of them. 
We did get reports from time to time as to hov. r they 
were adjusting. Many of them v/ent to New York City 
because they had friends there or because of the fact 
that there was a large Jewish population and they felt 


more at home. Some of them went to Minneapolis and 
to a number of other cities throughout the country 
where arrangements had been made by the organizations 
for them to be accepted. They integrated very well, 
having little difficulty as far as being accepted in 
the United States and I think most of them were 
happier here than they would have been if they had 
gone back to Europe. 

A young man, Freddie Baum, who served as our inter 
preter and whom I have kept in touch with off and on 
throughout the years, has been most successful. He 
offered his services and they were accepted by the Army 
for a time as interpreter and he spent some time in 
Europe, but he is now in New York and quite well 

Back To The Problem Of Japanese Americans 

DSM: Back now to the main stream of the V/.R.A. program, 
the handling of the Japanese Americans who were located 
in relocation centers and those who had relocated 
throughout the country. 

One of the worse pieces of legislation ever passed 
by the United States Congress was passed on June 30th of 
1944-. This provided that American citizens could re 
nounce their America]! citizenship while on American 
soil if the renunciation was approved by the Attorney 
General. This bill was slipped over as far as W.R.A. 
was concerned. We weren t even called for, a hearing when 
the bill was up. I learned later that the Attorney 
General was misled. Edward Ennis who was our very 
good friend and was in charge of the Alien Division 
in the Department of Justice unfortunate]. y was pre 
occupied with some question that somebody had whispered 
to him when the chairman of the committee asked the 
Attorney General if he favored the bill and a chap by 
the name of M Grannery who had been a Congressman and 


who had been moved down to the Justice Department 
because he had lost his election and was serving as 
Congressional contact man leaned over and urged the 
Attorney General Biddle to say yes and he did. The 
bill was passed. The President signed it on July 1 , 
1944- and this is the bill that led some five thousand 
four hundred evacuees to renounce their American 
citizenship, freauently under pressure. Most of them 
were at Tule Lake but fortunately only a few hundred 
of them returned to Japan. The rest in a series of 
court tests over a period of years regained their 
American citizenship. I think only about four hundred 
did not and some of that group went to Japan. The 
great majority of them did regain their American 
citizenship. Some of them by court action and later 
I think by the action of the Attorney General in 1959 
which cleaned up the whole mess. It was a mess and 
it was most unfortunate. 

The i First Closing Of A Relocation Center 

DSM: On June 30, 1944 we announced the closing of the 
first of the relocation centers at Jerome, Arkansas. 
This was one of our smaller centers and one of the 
last ones to be opened. Our program had gone well 
enough that we felt that we could distribute the 
people in Jerome quite satisfactorily into other 
centers and get along without this particular center. 

We had recommended in March 194-3 that the War 
Department either lift the evacuation order and allow 
people to go back to the West Coast or at least to do 
it in part, but we were unsuccessful in getting the 
order lifted during 194-3 and early 1944. We did get 
some relaxation during the summer of 194-4- when families 
of veterans of the 442nd and some other were allowed 
quietly to go back to the West Coast without any 


The Lifting Of The Exclusion Orders 

DSM: Finally on December 17, 1944- the War Department 

after a long battle cf more than twenty months announced 
the revocation of the West Coast mass exclusion order 
to be effective January 2, 194-5- 

HP: Yet the war was still on. Hov; did it happen that these 
people were acceptable to the West Coast? 

DSM: Well, we knew that these people would be generally 

acceptable on the part of the population on the West 
Coast. Our big problem was with certain people in the 
military who I suppose had a problem of saving face. 
Even after the announcement was made on December 17, 
General Wilbur who was in charge of civilian activities 
on the West Coast held up about ten thousand evacuees 
whom they said they had to check out very carefully 
before they would allow them to return. This inter 
fered with our general relocation program. 

It is true that the Japanese war was not over 
and wasn t ended until August and as a matter of fact 
the teace wasn t signed until early September of 194-5. 
We had pressed very hard over the twenty months that 
I have mentioned from March 194-.-3 until the time when 
the evacuation order was finally lifted to get the 
opportunity for these people to return before the war 
was over because we felt that the competition for 
housing and jobs as well as the competition in many 
other things would be very difficult when the war was 
over and soldiers began to come back in very large 
numbers. As it worked out it happened that we were 
already a bit late because the biggest battle we had 
in getting people relocated on the coast who wanted 
to go back was to find housing for them. 


Final Relocation Problems 

DSH: Rex Lee, my relocation officer out of the Wash 
ington office spent weeks and months on the West 
Coast and the biggest part of his job was digging up 
temporary housing and finding arrangements where 
people could live until they could find housing of 
their own, simply because many of the soldiers fami 
lies and others had begun to flock into California 
toward the end of the war. California had a boom 
period at the end of World War II. It started before 
the war was over and has continued ever since. 

Some of the evacuees had money and could take 
care of themselves. We helped some to get jobs. We 
transferred money to the Social Security Board and 
they arranged with the California State Welfare people 
to take care of people who actually had no funds or 
jobs. So that we had no problem in that respect. The 
problem was to find places for them to stay. I 
remember that we had one case that the Los Angeles 
Times reporters dug up where there was a family of 
tv/elve youngsters and because of the State Welfare 
Department they v/ere paying them at a rate of six 
thousand dollars a year and they tried to make a big 
incident out of it because it was coming out of W.R.A. 
funds. Even at that late stage there was still 

Fortunately we were able to get the evacuees 
reestablished at home while the war was still on. 
Another problem was that many of the older people, 
that is the Issei, among the evacuees, were somewhat 
fearful about going home, with some good reason 
because there was still some sniping and some shooting 
into houses up and down the Central Valley. In any 
case they claimed that they had been promised that 
they would be allowed to remain in relocation centers 
as long as the war was on and there was still a war 
on with Japan. So it was difficult to get them to 
move out from the centers. 

When the Japanese peace treaty was signed in 
early September we began to have a big movement and 


we were able to keep our schedule for closing cen 

As soon as the announcement came that the order 
had been lifted w : e he.d announced immediately that the 
relocation centers would all be closed within a year 
from the time the evacuation order went into effect. 
We were able to keep that schedule because we set up 
a schedule in June of 194-5 for final closing of all 
of the centers excepting Tule Lake which was delayed 
a bit because of the renunciants. 

We closed the first ones in September and the 
last ones were supposed to close by December 1st but we 
beat the dead line a bit because we finished up two 
weeks ahead of time. There were some difficulties 
other than housing and I ll touch on them again a 
little bit later. 

Supreme Court Decisions 

DSM: Very interestingly on the same date thot the Army 
announced that the evacuation order would be lifted on 
January 2, 194-5 the Supreme Court issued a ruling that 
the evacuation order had been constitutional in the 
Koromatsu case. In the "Endo" case, which was a case 
of a young Nisei girl who had asked that she go freely 
from the centers without signing up of forms or any 
thing of the sort, which we wanted heard long before 
it v/as heard, much to our pleasure they, the Supreme 
Court, held, that a loyal American citizen should not 
be held under any circumstances. This was a ruling 
that we had been hoping for for months. 

The reason why we didn t get it before the Court 
sooner was because the Solicitor General Charles 
Fahey had a record that he didn t want to break. He 
had won every case that he had argued before the Supreme 
Court and he was sure that he was goinp; to lose this 
one. We argued with him time and time again and he 


finally agreed to take it to the court but the ruling 
came out the very day the Army lifted their restric 
tions. Solicitor General Fahey asked us several times 
to mute the case, but v/e wanted the backing of the 
Supreme Court to permit the evacuees to go where they 
wanted to go at anytime. 

More Final Relocation Problems 

DSM: 1 have mentioned the fact that there were some 
dastardly things perpetrated to keep people from 
coming back. On January 8 an attempt was made to 
dynamite -and burn a fruit packing shed ov/ned by a 
returning evacuee in Placer County, California. This 
was the first of about thirty incidents involving 
violence. Most of these consisted of shooting into 
the homes of returned evacuees between January 8 and 
about mid-June. They weren t shooting at people. 
They were using long range rifles, shooting into cor 
ners of houses hoping to scare people out and to din- 
courage their return. 

HP: Who do you suppose was doing thisY 

DSM: The people who were doing it were for the most part 
young farmer lads and others up and down the Central 
Valley who had either taken over some of the rented 
land that they didn t want to give up or who didn t 
want the competition. We pretty well knew who was 
doing it in some cases. 

As a matter of fact, we had one case come up 
before a Justice of the Peace and he released the boys 
on probation and Secretary Ickes let out a blast at 
him that practically blew him out of his job. This 
was one of the good things that Secretary Ickes did 
and could do better than anybody else in the world. 
It helped to calm things a bit. 


Between January 10 and January 20, 194-5 we estab 
lished key relocation offices in Los Angeles, San 
Francisco and Seattle, and many district offices were 
established throughout the three states of Washington, 
Oregon and California to assist returning evacuees in 
becoming reestablished wherever they wished to go. 
Host of them went back to their old homes or to their 
old areas, but not all of them. 

All out opposition developed on the part of many 
evacuees in centers, and many former friends of good 
will who had supported us throughout the years who 
objected to closing centers because they were fearful 
that people were not going to be accepted. They 
feared that the violence was going to continue and they 
insisted that we keep at least two or three centers 
for welfare cases and others. 

As a consequence many of these good people joined 
the race baiters to urge the evacuees to stay put 
rather than to face the gunfire and the violence plus 
possible unemployment. However, we had made well 
established plans for the welfare cases to be taken 
care of. We had arranged also with the employment 
services so we had little difficulty in finding 
employment for people who were not immediately able 
to get back into their regular line of work. There 
wasn t much argument about lack of employment because 
there was still plenty of employment. This was one of 
the reasons why we wanted to get people back before 
the war ended. I think I mentioned that in June or 
July a definite schedule of closing of centers was 
announced that would take place between September 15 
and December 15. The last center was closed out 
except Tule Lake on December 1 . 

One of the very wonderful things that happened 
during the battle to get people accepted back on the 
Coast was the fact that Captain George Grandstaff who 
was a Californian and who had fought with the 442nd 
Regimental Combat Team went home on leave during this 
period and he became GO incensed about what was hap 
pening thnt he wrote the War Department and asked them 
to allow him to go on speaking tour on behalf of the 
Japanese Americans throughout California and he did 
Just that. 


He not only went on speaking tour and talked to 
Rotarians and Kiwanis Clubs, but he would also visit 
the sheriff, and the local officers of places like 
Placerville and other places where violence had 
occurred. The tour worked out so well that before 
it was all over we bad about five other young officers 
who volunteered and we covered the whole state of 
California with meetings telling of the fine record 
of Nisei soldiers. 

Finally we had the help of a Colonel from the 
Asiatic front who had been involved with the boys 
who had gone to language school and who had served as 
the eyes and ears of the various divisions throughout 
the battles with the Japanese. When this colonel 
came and listed some of the wonderfiil services he 
cleaned up the opposition pretty fast. He cleared 
most of the kind of misinformation and the kind of 
rumors that had been spread around. 

After V.J. Day, August 15, 194-5, when the Japanese 
decided to surrender, the Western Defense Command 
finally issued a proclamation (September 4-, 194-5) 
revoking all individual exclusion orders from the 
evacuated area. This gave us the opportunity to help 
anyone who wanted to go back to that area to go. 

On December 22, 1944 President Truman issued the 
order which provided the admission of the European 
refugees to the United States with the prospect of 
their becoming citizens. As a result of the Presi 
dent s order relating to the refugees at Oswego we 
were able to close the Oswego center. On February 4-, 
194-6 and on February 23, 194-6 the last group of re- 
patriots who were going back to Japan, four hundred 
thirty-two in number, sailed to Japan from Long Beach, 

Tule Lake was finally closed on March 20, 194-6 
after we had arranged for the Justice Department to 
take some of the evacuees who were aliens and their 
families into their detention centers. These were 
people who had not yet been allowed to return to the 
Coast or who had not yet decided whether they wanted 
to return to Japan. This gave us the opportunity to 

Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug congratulating Dillon Myer upon receipt of the Medal 
for Merit, 1946. The medal was received as a result of his work during World War II as 
Director of the War Relocation Authority. 


finish the official life of WRA by June 30, 

An Award. For ; .7ork Well Done 

DoM: On Hay 8 the Director of WRA. received the Medal 
for Merit because of the work that the WRA staff had 
done throughout the war. It hangs on my wall today 
as something to remind me of the pride we had in doing 
the best possible job under difficult circumstances. 

The Wind Up Of WRA In 1946 

DSM: On May 15 the last of our field offices were 

closed. We were able to arrange with local committees 
throughout the west Coast and other parts of the 
country where they were needed to help carry on any 
assistance to the evacuees that they might need and on 
June 30 we closed our doors as an official agency and 
called it quits. 

One thing that we did was to arrange for a small 
group mainly of administrative people to continue on 
for another year to clean up all of the bills and all 
of the paper work that had to be completed. We also 
arranged for Robert Gullum, who had been one of our 
good relocation officers to continue for a year to 
spend his time getting about and learning how evacuees 
were getting on and how they were making out in their 
resettlement areas. He was able to issue a report 
at the end of the year as a printed report of this 
phase of the operation. 




More About My Good Boss Secretary Ickes 

DSM: In view of the fact that I have already stated 

that I was reluctant to go to the Interior Department 
1 think that 1 should now state that it was a very 
fortunate thing- that the President did decide that we 
should move to the Interior Department because Secre 
tary Ickes was probably one of the best boscen that I 
have ever had and I have had severe 1 throughout my 

He wrote a newspaper column after he left the 
job as Secretary of Interior in which he stated that 
he had examined the policies of the Vi/RA and found them 
good, and that he didn t interfere except to let his 
fists fly occasionally when we needed some help of 
that type. That was literally true. He supported me 
on every issue that came up. 

Abe Fortas , who was the Under Secretary and who 
I reported to for the most part, was very helpful 
although there were certain things that we did not 
agree upon. Some of the men in the Justice Depart 
ment felt that Tule Lake should be transferred to 
them at a stage when we felt that we could handle it 
better and I had to argue against this and the Secre 
tary fortunately supported my position in the matter. 
We stuck it out and were able to finish the job better 
I think than they could have done because they didn t 
have the background. 

Under Secretary Fortas also worried because of 
the pressures on the part of the goodwill people about 


closing out centers, and many of them, as I have 
already said, would have liked us to have kept on 
two or three centers to take care of many of the 
older people who they thought couldn t readjust 
easily. This finally went to the Secretary. V/hen 
we were ready to announce our schedule of closing 
centers the Secretary said "Well, we will hold this 
question in abeyance until September and if you are 
still on schedule where you plan to be at that time 
I think you can go ahead and if not we will review 
it at that time." Well, when we reviewed the matter 
around September 1st I think we were only just less 
than fifty people off the schedule that we had said 
that we would have relocated by that time and the 
Secretary said "Go ahead." V/e had no further trouble 
about that. 

Nevertheless I have appreciated very much the 
aid and the help that I received from Abe Fortas and 
from Harold Ickes in particular of all people who I 
wasn t sure would give us this kind of support. 

I had come out of the Department of Agriculture 
and of course Henry Wallace as Secretary of Agricul 
ture and Harold Ickes had been fighting over the 
Forest Service and many other things and he wasn t 
too happy with Agriculture. About the time we were 
to finish up our job he called me in one day and 
offered me another job as head of the division of 
Insular Possessions and in doing so he said "I don t 
know if you know it or not but when you were trans 
ferred over here I was skeptical about you." I 
grinned at him and said "Mr. Secretary, it was mutual 
I assure you," and he laughed and we v/ent on about 
our business. 

I turned that job down because I told him that 
it was too early for me to leave W.R.A. V/e had gone 
through the worst of it. We were now ready to 
finish off and I wanted to see the job through and 
he understood that. 

HP: I wonder how many jobs offers you have had in your 

DSM: I counted up one time and I had, as I remember it, 

thirteen or fourteen job offers as I was leaving W.R.A, 


HP: It would be interesting to know how many you had 
during your entire career. 

DSM: I don t think I could remember all of them. 

After WRA I was offered the job as Chief of 
the Missouri Valley Reclamation Program, the regional 
program. Mike Strauss was intent on my taking it but 
I told them that I didn t believe I wanted to move 
out of Washington at that stage of the game. So in 
stead the Secretary offered me a job as Assistant 
Secretary of Interior and my name went to the White 
House but before it got to Capitol Hill Secretary 
Ickes went to the Hill and opposed the appointment 
of Ed Pauley as Secretary of the Navy and did it so 
violently that the President asked for his resigna 
tion and got it. As a consequence my name was not 
sent to the Hill as Assistant Secretary and I missed 
the opportunity to be in the junior cabinet. 

The Offer Of A Governorship Of Puerto Rico 

DSM: Finally before I had completly made my decision 
about what I was going to do I was offered the job 
of Governor of Puerto Rico and I turned it down. 
Secretary of Interior Krug had talked to President 
Truman about it and the President said "Let me talk 
to him." 

So I made a date and went over to see the Presi 
dent and he told me that what they needed down there 
was an administrator and he hoped that I would take 
the job. In the meantime I knew that he had lying 
on his desk a recommendation from Wilson Wyatt that 
I become the Commissioner of the Public Housing 
Administration. This was a job which I decided that 
I would like to take because I found out something 
about the kind of housing that people had to live in 
when I was visiting evacuees in Chicago and other 
places in the slummy parts of these cities. Phil 


Klutznick who had been the former commissioner had 
made the recommendation that I take on the job. 

I wasn t at all sure that I wanted to handle 
the kind of social functions and extra curricular 
activities that the Governor of Puerto Rico would 
have to carry out in the way of entertaining and 
related activities so I turned it down. My wife and 
family have never been quite happy about this because 
they thought I should have taken it but I took the 
housing job instead. 

Before going on to other Jobs, I want to revert 
for just a moment to W.R.A. Shortly after the Tule Lake 
incident I had an invitation to appear before one of 
the luncheon clubs called the Downtown Club or some 
such name in Los Angeles and when I arrived on the 
scene I found a minister who was leading a group of 
racists and who were sitting right up in the front 
rows waiting to heckle me, I was sure. I made my 
speech and of course I told them among other things 
about the Tule Lake incident and what had happened 
and some of the reasons why it had happened. During 
the question and answer period a gentleman got up 
back in the middle of the room and said "Mr. Director, 
if the sort of thing that happened at Tule Lake had 
happened in Japan what do you think the Japanese would 
have done with the instigators?" I said "They would 
have shot them, but fortunately we live in a country 
where we don t believe in shooting people for what v/e 
think they are thinking." Well, there were no more 
questions of that type. From there on we went on an 
even keel and I as usual enjoyed the meeting. I had 
had enough heckling in my lifetime that I didn t 
mind heckling. 

An Interim Interlude 

DSM: After we completed the W.R.A. program on July 1, 
194-6 there was an interim that needed to be filled in 


before I took over tbe Housing ,job including Retting 
my name to the Hill and getting it acted on by the 
Senate. Oscar Chapman had asked me to come over to 
Interior in the meantime and to hold intra-departmental 
budget hearings and to make recommendations for the 
departmental planning program. So on July 1 Philip 
Glick, Edwin Ferguson, and I along with a representa 
tive of the Government Organization Division of the 
Bureau of the Budget went to work on the budgetary 
problems of the department and upon recommendations 
for a departmental planning unit. 

This group spent six weeks on these two nobs. I 
am not sure just how much contribution we made on the 
budgetary problems but the department did adopt our 
recommendations for a departmental planning unit which 
was staffed and 1 believe is still functioning at the 
departmental level. 

A Battle Over Senate Confirmation 

DSM: In the meantime Senator Taft of Ohio, which is 
my home state, became irked presumably because my 
name was presented to the committee for the ,job of 
Commissioner of the Federal Public Housing Authority 
while he was away in Ohio making a speech. He hap 
pened to be a member of the committee before which 
I was to appear. Consequently Senator w agner who was 
chairman proceeded with the hearing one afternoon, 
reported my name out and by the time Senator Taft got 
back it was an accepted thing as far as the committee 
was concerned. Taft was quite obviously sore. 

I did get a date to go up and see him but I 
didn t make much impression on him. He had made up 
his mind that Truman had tried to slip over something 
and he was very unhappy. So he objected to my con 
firmation during that particular session and the Con 
gress adjoined without my being confirmed. So I 
started an interim appointment on August 16, 


until the following session when my name was presented 
again to the committee in 194-7. 

In the meantime Harry P. Cain, who was a new 
Senator from the state of Washington, was elected to 
the Senate and Joseph R. McCarthy from Wisconsin was 
also a new Senator. Both of them were members of the 
committee before which I was to appear. These two 
were the only two on the committee who voted against 
my confirmation. 

Before the committee finally acted I received a 
call from Senator Tobey who became chairman of the 
committee in the Eightieth Congress. He asked that 
I come up immediately if possible and when I arrived 
Senator Harry Cain was talking and Senator Tobey 
interrupted him to tell me that I had been charged 
with bad faith because of a previous statement re 
garding the policy relating to the sale of war 
housing. As a result Senator Cain and I had a real 
tough go-round for about a half hour or an hour and 
following this episode the committee voted to recom 
mend my confirmation without the vote of Cain and 
McCarthy who voted no. 




DSM: It was only after starting on the gob as Com 
missioner of Public House ing that I learned that the 
House Appropriations Committee had assigned Robert E. 
Lee, now a member of the Federal Communication Commis 
sion, as an assistant to investigate the F.P.H.A. This 
was an important development because this was the 
first year of the imfamous Eightieth Congress which 
made the kind of record on which President Truman 
based his campaign in 1948. As it developed I found 
it necessary to devote much of my time during my year 
and a half incumbency in the job as Commissioner in 
defense of the agency and its record during the war 

By the end of 194-6 the appropriations sub-committee 
on government corporations was beginning to leak bits 
of the so-called investigative material to the press 
and finally one of the New York newspapers carried 
nearly a column and a half of scurrilous trumped up 
information which had been presumably gleaned by 
Robert E. Lee and his partner who had been assigned 
to investigate the housing program. 

At that time Congressman Ben Jensen of Iowa was 
the chairman of the appropriations sub-committee that 
handled our appropriations hearing and he promised me 
from time to time that we could see the investigative 
report when available but he couldn t deliver so we 
never saw it. The sub-committee was dominated by 
Walter Ploeser from Missouri, Fredrick Coudert of 
New York and Jamie Whitten of Mississippi and there 
never was any question but what this trio and others 
were out to kill Public Housing. 

The Public Housing Agency had the responsibility 
during the war for the building of all of the temporary, 
semi-permanent and permanent war housing that was 
built; for the management of that housing during the 


war period; and the continued management and sale of 
the housing that was supposed to be sold after the 
war. This gave a great deal of opportunity for 
sniping and the opportunity was not overlooked. 

I had much to learn about the F.P.H.A. organiza 
tion, the authority of the agency, procedures and poli 
cies, before hearings on confirmation and before having 
hearings before the appropriations committee. There 
was also many hearings before the Banking and Currency 
Committee of the House in particular and some before 
the Finance Committee of the Senate. The House com 
mittee on Banking and Currency was headed by Congress 
man Jesse Wolcott of Michigan. On one or two occasions 
there were joint hearings before the Banking and 
Currency Committee and the Appropriations Corporation 
Sub-committee on housing policies, especially policies 
in regard to the disposal of war housing. We adopted 
the procedure of getting a full report from our field 
staff on every item appearing in the press so that we 
would be prepared to answer properly when appearing 
before the committees. 

In spite of the many many sniping charges we were 
able to identify the source and the charges and to 
fill in the story before testifying and we were 
correct in our assumptions in all cases with one 
exception. I missed it in regard to something that 
had happened in Texas and the committee had a smile 
about this but the rest of the time we hit the pro 
blem directly on the head and I think they were some 
what surprised in view of the fact that we had not 
seen the investigative report and didn t always know 
where the investigative report came from. 

The leaders of the opposition to Public Housing 
in the House acted upon the theory that iteration and 
reiteration of a story made the story true in the 
minds of most people. So the Corporation Sub-committee 
replayed the material that had been leaked to the New 
York paper earlier by putting out their own press 
release. Then after a very short period of a few 
weeks they passed it on to Congressman John Taber who 
was chairman of the whole appropriation committee who 
played the same material in a press release put out 
by himself and then they passed on the material to 


the Banking and Currency Committee and Congressman 
Jesse Wolcott and his cohorts after a short time 
replayed the same material in a press release. 

It developed that the Corporation Sub-Committee 
made the investigative report available to members of 
the press by simply laying it out on the table and 
allowing them to come in and look at it and to glean 
from it any tidbits that they thought .might be ur.cful 
in their own local areas. When we realized what had 
happened I called Ben Jensen and reminded him of his 
promise to see that we got a chance to see the inves 
tigative report in case anybody saw it. He hemmed and 
hawed about it and 1 realized that he was under orders 
from the stronger members of the sub-committee not to 
allow it to happen. 

Finally at a Corporation Sub-committee hearing in 
the middle of 194-7, Congressman Ploeser and Jamie 
Whitten in my presence discussed with the sub-committee 
members the question of whether the investigative re 
port by Robert E. Lee and his aide should be published 
by the committee for general distribution. Since v/e 
had never seen the report I interrupted to tell the 
sub-committee that v/e felt that since v/e had not had 
an opportunity to reply to the report it would be un 
fair to the agency and to the American people unless 
v/e had the opportunity to reply to such a publication. 

Congressman Ploeser who had taken over the 
chairmanship of the subcommittee in the meantime from 
Congressman Jensen informed me in no uncertain terms 
that the subcommittee would decide what to do with 
the report without the need of advice from m-e. I 
granted that I knew that this would be possible and 
a probablity but it would still be unfair to the 
American public and to the agency. I might add that 
the report as such was never published. 

HP: This must have been a trying time for you. 
DSM: Yes, it was. 

The Corporation Sub-committee retaliated by cut 
ting our budget for staff and administrative purposes 
drastically r,o we found it necessary to reduce staff 


both in Washington and in the field. We combined the 
Seattle and San Francisco Regional Offices, made 
drastic adjustments in other field offices and in 
Washington and by the time this adjustment was required 
Raymond Foley, former Commissioner of the Federal 
Housing Authority, had replaced Wilson Wyatt as head 
of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. I presented 
our plans for making our adjustments in personnel and 
in cuts required on two or three occasions to Raymond 
Foley and his staff and I thought that I had his 
approval to go ahead with our plan. So I called a 
meeting of our regional people and key representatives 
of our Washington office to outline our plan. 

On the very morning about fifteen minutes before 
I was expected to go into the meeting to make the 
announcement Frank Waters, who was then serving as 
the Administrative Officer for Raymond Foley and the 
Housing Agency, appeared on the scene and said that 
Ray Foley had asked him to come over and tell us that 
he didn t want to go ahead with any personnel changes 
at that time and that we should hold up action. I, 
of course, was baffled and incensed. I called Ray 
Foley on the phone and explained that we had reviewed 
the proposals thoroughly and I felt that I had his 
approval and that I could not understand the switch. 
I explained that it would be most embarrassing to 
everyone concerned including him and myself and the 
agency. He finally said grudgingly "Go ahead" but 
that we might have to take another look at it later. 
So we went ahead. 

I am sure that Ray Foley at that stage wanted 
my resignation and he thought that this move might 
bring it. Later in the Congressional session of 194-7 
the Congress passed a Housing Reorganization Act which 
established the Housing and Home Finance Agenc?/ which 
included under its charter the Inblic Housing Admini 
stration, the Federal Housing Administration, and the 
Home Loan <3ank Board. The passage of this legislation 
required the re confirmation by the Senate of all the 
incumbent heads of all of these sub-agencies who were 
Presidential Appointees. 

i his meant that my name as Commissioner of the 
Public Housing Administration would need to be ixre- 


sented again to the Senate. Not long after this 
legislation had passed and had been signed, John 
Steelman who at that time was serving as President 
Truman s right-hand man and trouble-shooter, called 
me and said the President wanted me to join the White 
House staff as one of the anonyomous Presidential 
assistants. He made no explanation as to why. After 
trying for two or three weeks to get Steelman to tell 
my why the proposed change of jobs I finally asked to 
see the President. 1 had no trouble getting an appoint 
ment with President Truman and when I entered his office 
I found him busy looking over a stack of telegrams 
regarding a speech which he had made a few days before 
relating to his argument with Senator Taft regarding 
the cent inuat ion of OPA. 

He explained what he was doing and when I asked 
him how they were running he said "Mostly favorable." 
Then he handed me one from an undertaker somewhere in 
Arizona and after I read it he said "That son of a. 
bitch wants an answer from me for advertising purposes 
but he ain t going to get it." 

Then I told the President about my dilemma, and 
told him I wished to know if he was unhappy with my 
administration of P. IT. A. He said "There isn t anyone I 
would rather have on the job as Commissioner of P.H.A. 
than yourself, but Bob Taft has told us that he wiir 
oppose your reconfirmation, and since he comes from 
your home state we don t think we can get the job done 
in view of his opposition." I thanked the President 
and told him that I appreciated both his confidence 
and his frankness. I then said that I appreciated 
his offer to be a member of his immediate staff as an 
assistant to the President but if he had no objections 
I would like to explore the field before making a 
decision. He said that would be perfectly all right 
with him. 

I was offered two different jobs at this time. 
One was the job as Commissioner of the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs which I was interested in but after 
errploration with people on the Hill who handled appro 
priations and Indian legislation, I found that the 
adminintrntive budget was so tight and with very little 
chance of getting it changed in the Eightieth Congress, 


which was anti-administration, I didn t feel that it 
would be possible to make the adjustments that I felt 
were going to be necessary to get the Job done that I 
wanted to do. I felt that I wouldn t have the elbow 
room administratively to do an adequate job. So I 
turned it down. 

The other job was that of President of the 
Institute of Inter-American Affairs. More about that 
a little later. 

In the meantime I notified Ray Poley that I would 
be moving to the new job as of January 1 and that 
during the tv/o or three weeks interim I planned to 
take some vacation. So 1 went gaily off to Florida 
for a rest that I felt that I very badly needed after 
battling over the housing program. 

During the time that I v/as gone I designated 
Philip Glick, the PHA counsel, as acting Commissioner 
in my stead. But upon my return I found that Ray Foley 
had asked that I be transferred immediately, and as a 
consequence they had had to ask the State Department to 
put me on their payroll by the use of a special fund 
of some type until the decks could be cleared on 
January 1 by the resignation of the former President 
of the Institute. 

In the meantime Ray Foley designated John Epan 
head of the Management Division as the Acting Commis 
sioner. This was the second sleezy trick that Ray 
Foley had pulled and it wasn t very much appreciated. 

The year and one half as Commissioner of the 
Federal Public Housing Authority was spent in large 
part learning what I needed to know about the program, 
the laws and the established policies and in fighting 
off the wolves in the National Real Estate Board and 
in the Congress who were attempting to kill the public 
housing program. 

The biggest job otherwise had to do with the pro 
blems of management, sale and reconstruction of wartime 
housing which had been the major job of the agency 
during the war years and following. Because of the 
tremendous demand for veterans housing much of the 


so-called temporary housing was either used in place 
or moved and reconstructed for veterans use especially 
in urban centers like New York and many other centers 
throughout the country. Pressures for the sale of 
semi-permanent and permanent housing were heavy and 
many projects were sold. 

Some of it was sold and moved by the purchasers 
where it was possible to move it. The largest sale 
that we made during this period including Fairlington, 
a large apartment building which had been constructed 
in Fairfax County, Virginia, and the McLean Gardens 
Apartments in Washington, D.C. These two were sold as 
one package and I as Commissioner received the biggest 
check that I have ever had in my hands as a down pay 
ment on this package deal. It was in the neighborhood 
of four million dollars. 

One of the major battles developed over the sale 
of housing to veterans cooperatives. Jesse Wolcott and 
Ben Jensen as chairman of the Banking and Currency Com 
mittee and the Corporation Sub-committee respectively, 
held a hearing on the policy relating to credit and 
then put out a press release in which they demanded 
that we sell for cash on the barrel head. We followed 
this action by addressing a carefully worded letter to 
the two chairmen pointing out that such a policy would 
mean that only the large and rich real estate operators 
could buy under the policy which they had laid down 
and which I was sure was their intent and the veterans 
groups generally would be unable to purchase. 

Drew Pearson s office heard of the hassel. They 
called me to ask about our response and I told them 
that we had sent a letter. They asked if they might 
have a copy and I said of course. It was public busi 
ness and I supplied a copy to them and they published 
the gist of our reply and it really stirred up the dogs. 
Veterans wrote in to Jensen and Wolcott. Jensen par 
ticularly was very upset and as a result however they 
did provide authority for the use of federally guaran 
teed loans which served the purpose which we had in 
mind in eny case. 

Ben Jensen was very angry at me, for he thought 
that I had initiated the action by contacting Drew 

Pearson, which if course I had not done. It took 
yeaz^s to calm him down and to get back to a reason- 
ally friendly basis with him. This was of some 
importance because he was still a member of the appro 
priation sub-committee that handled our appropriations 
for Indian Affairs later. 

There was very little activity in starting new . 
public housing projects during 194-6 and 194-7 but 
additional housing units were added in some areas by 
the transfer of war housing to the Public Housing 
local agencies handling public housing. 

A^ Visit From The hay or Of^ Minneapolis 

DSK: One visitor that I had while I was Commissioner 
was the Mayor of Minneapolis, Hubert H. Humphrey. He 
came in to get more information about public housing 
and housing legislation. There were two things of 
some importance to me that grew out of that visit. 
Hubert Humphrey went back to Minnesota and pushed a 
bill through the Minnesota legislature authorizing a 
public housing program for the State of Minnesota at 
a time when this seemed like an impossible task in 
view of the fact that everything seemed to be running 
against public housing. 

The other matter of importance was that I became 
a great admirer of Hubert Humphrey beginning with that 
visit and my admiration has grown throughout the 
twenty years of acquaintance. 


My Last Days In Housing 

DSM: Had I realized what was to happen in the public 
housing area during the period when I was to take 
over the job I probably would have accepted the offer 
to become the last appointed Governor of Puerto Rico 
in spite of my antipathy to the social and protocol 
requirements of that office which led to my non- 
acceptance. The Public Housing milieu was a strange 
environment for a farm boy who had spent the first 
fifty years of his life on the farm or in agricul 
tural work. The atmosphere in housing was almost 
one hundred percent urban and I am sure that many of 
the city reared staff and supporters never quite 
understood the actions of a farm reared lad. 

Perhaps it was just not a matter of being farm 
reared. I could not accustom myself to the ease with 
which many of the people in the housing field were 
able to adjust their sights in order to meet the 
political needs of the moment, and also their will 
ingness in some cases to overlook regulations and to 
do things which I had been brought up to avoid because 
it was either dishonest or it was disloyal or for some 
other ethical reason. Most of the people that I worked 
v/ith were efficient arid highly ethical. But there 
were people on the staff or in local housing author 
ities who I felt did not hold the type of ethical 
standards that I felt should be maintained. 

When the word got around that I was leaving 
housing I had two jobs offered to me. One of them 
was the job of Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs. After spending a week or two investigating 
the possibility of additional funds for the admini 
strative area where I felt that I needed some elbow 
room, I gave that up because I didn t think we had a 
chance during the Eightieth Congress to secure the 
appropriations necessary to make the adjustments that 
I thought needed to be made. 




DSM: The other job was the Presidency of the Institute 
of Inter-American Affairs. John Drier, who was an old 
friend of mine and a former employee in the Soil Con 
servation Service was a member of the Department of 
State. He had recommended that I take on the Institute 
job. After being interviewed by Norman Armour and 
other members of the board of trustees I agreed to take 
on the job as of January 1, 1948. 

This agency included segments of the program which 
was organized and supervised by Nelson Rockefeller as 
Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs which had had its 
beginnings in 1939 and was greatly expanded during 
World War II. After World War II it was drastically 
reduced again. Nelson Rockefeller had established a 
series of corporations chartered under Delaware laws 
and those that still existed after the war were brought 
together under the Government Corporation Act as a 
federal government corporation. 

This corporation was named the Institute of Inter- 
American Affairs and there were three major divisions 
responsible for the supervision of projects in Latin 
America. The largest division or activity was the 
health and sanitation program, which had projects in 
eighteen of the twenty-two Latin American countries. 
There was an educational division which ranked second 
in number of projects. They limited their activities 
to vocational educational projects in twelve countries. 
The third division supervised the agricultural programs 
in four countries at the time that I took over. The 
program had been under study in 1945 to determine 
whether it should be continued. Two representatives 
of the State Department visited Latin America at 
different times to appraise the work of the Institute. 
Louis Halle who now lives in Switzerland and has 
written many articles and books and a former member of 


the State Department, was one of those and Andy Corey, 
who is now the Ambassador to Ceylon, both made trips 
to Latin America, separately. They both came back 
most enthusiastic about the programs and their testi 
mony before the Congressional Committees had a most 
important bearing on the issuance of a new charter. 

In 194-8 only about three and a half million 
dollars were appropriated for the work carried for 
ward by the U.S. Government under the three divisions 
and the administrative fund was so drastically reduced 
that we found it necessary to eliminate the field 
auditors, and this led us into a battle with the 
General Accounting Office at a later date. 

A head of the division of GAO resented the fact 
that as a government corporation we were not subject 
to the same field audit procedure by the GAO as were 
non-corporate agencies. So he dug up many incidents 
of what he claimed were improper expenditures that 
went all the way back to 194-0. All of these alleged 
discrepancies happened before my time but they pre 
sented their case before the House Committeie on Govern 
ment Expenditures of which Porter Hardy of Virginia 
was chairman. This meant that we were called upon to 
dig back through the records to check every case pre 
sented in order to be prepared to defend the agency. 
This we did and after several days of hearings we 
came out on top. This is the first and only time that 
I won an argument with the General Accounting Office, 
lioxvever the GAO representative retaliated by charging 
that I was opposed to auditors and to audits because 
we had found it necessary to drop our field audit 
staff in order to maintain adequate finance staff. 

The Institute projects were carried on in coop 
eration with the various Latin American governments 
by means of a unique device called a "Servicio." A 
"Servicio" was established as a separate entity of the 
Latin American governments and was usually headed by 
the Institute Party Chief but jointly financed, and 
the joint contributions constituted a "Servicio" fund 
which served to provide finances for personnel, and 
for other costs such as materials and local labor. 
The field party members were hired and financed by 
the Institute. 


This constituted a very happy working arrangement 
in most countries and the "Servicio" carried on even 
after changes in regimes in all cases with one excep 
tion. The "Servicio" provided stability and avoided 
political manipulation to a large extent and we were 
also assured that the funds were being properly looked 
after which was not always true in the Latin American 

The one project which was dropped during my regime 
was in Guatemala where the Communists were moving in 
and wanted full control of all the educational activi 
ties. The pressure became so heavy that the educa 
tional program was dropped during that period. The 
expenditures of the various "Servicio" programs were 
at least three times ?..s much as we contributed from 
the Institute budget because appropriations were made 
by the local government to these various projects which 
were generally ouite popular. 


DSi v i: Before approaching Congress for a bill for a new 
charter it was necessary first of all to get the sup 
port of our board of directors, all of whom were key 
members of tne State Department staff; the Secretary 
of State; and then the bureau of the Budget. 

I haa decided in the meantime that we should 
start at least a year ahead of time in order to be 
sure to have the chapter extended which was to run 
only until 1950. Norman Armour was Assistant Secre 
tary of State for Latin American Affairs and the 
Chairman for the Institute Board of Trustees at the 
time of my arrival on the scene but unfortunately he 
had retired soon after, and Paul C. Daniels, an old 
otate Department hanc . was made Acting Assistant Secre 
tary and he unfortunately like several of the old time 
foreign service officers were opposed to the work of 
the Inrtitutc. They felt that it simply messed up 

their so-called diplomatic functions. As a result of 
this change my proposal for a new charter was held up 
for many v/eeks because the Acting Assistant Secretary 
and Chairman of the Board did not approve. 

I finally asked for a meeting with the Acting 
Secretary of State at a time when Secretary George 
Marshall was away. Robert A. Lovett was Acting Secre 
tary. I presented my case to him in quick summary in 
about ten minutes and he approved our approach so we 
were on our way again. We had no trouble in getting 
the approval from the Bureau of the Budget. 

The next problem was to get the right sponsorship 
in the Congress. Congressman John Key from West 
Virginia was chairman of the House committee on 
foreign affairs and at the time was ill and in the 
hospital. When I went to see the Acting Chairman, 
James P. Richards of South Carolina, he told me that 
he was favorable but he felt that he should clear 
with Representative Key before acting. This he did 
and in our next meeting he was so friendly that he 
said that he would name a sub-committee to hold hear 
ings and asked who I would like as chairman of the 
sub-committee. I immediately told him that Hike 
Mansfield of Montana would be my choice, lie then 
told me who he would appoint as the other members of 
the sub-committee and he particularly advised me to 
see Robert B. Chiperfield of Illinois who was the 
ranking Republican on the committee and also on the 
sub-committee. I visited Representative Chiperfield 
and found that he favored action in the Latin American 
countries but was opposed to foreign aid in other parts 
of the world. The result was that we had a very 
friendly sub-committee and our bill went to the House 
and was passed in good time. 

I found that our "friendly enemy" in the General 
Accounting Office had not given up however because he 
had convinced Mike Mansfield and Porter Hardy that we 
should have some field auditors. So before the bill 
went before the full committee and to the House I 
agreed to hire at least three auditors if the bill 
was passed. This is the kind of compromise you some 
times have to make under pressures of this type. 


Senator Tom Connelly of Texas who was chairman of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senator Arthur 
vandenburgh was the ranking Republican member. We 
were asked to make some compromises upon the sugges 
tions of Senator Vandenburgh. 1 felt strongly that 
we should stand by our bill but the State Department 
counsel took it upon himself to agree with the change 
from the ten years to five as to the length of the 
charter and also to & limitation on funds v:hich was 
somewhat lower than I had hoped for. 

Another Offer To Head The Bureau Of Indian Affairs 

DSM: The bill was finally passed in good order but not 
before President Truman called me at home after his 
reelection in 1948 and asked me to take over the job 
as Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This 
was the second time 1 had been asked to take this job. 
I told the President that we hrd some problems that 
needed my attention r,nd he said to make a date with 
Matt Connelly, his appointments officer, and come in 
to see him. So I called Matt and the appointment was 
set up. 

During our visit I told the President that we had 
just gotten under way with what I felt \tfas an impor 
tant proposed piece of legislation to extend the 
charter of the Institute and I felt that I should see- 
it through to final, passage for I was fearful that 
anyone new would, have problems unless he could have 
several months to prepare himself as I had had. The 
President said "well, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has 
gone along for ciuite some time without any Commissioner 
and maybe two or three months more would not make too 
much difference." 


A ^Successful Appeal For More Funds 

DSH: 1 then took the bull by the horns and said "Mr. 
President, I have another problem." He said "What c 
that." I replied "We are asking for an increase in 
funds for the next fiscal year for the Institute and 
I was fearful that we might not pet it and it was 
badly needed." He pulled a pad over to him and he 
then said "How much do you need?" I said "Five million 
dollars," which was about one and one half million 
dollars more than the budget at that time. It was the 
only time in my lengthy career in government that I 
ever had the chance to appeal to a President for funds. 
We got our funds approved by the Bureau of the Budget. 

Some months later a friend, Hel Spector, told me 
that he had been seated next to Fred Lawton, Director 
of the Bureau of the Budget, at an administrative 
organization meetinp.:. After a time he asked Fred Lav/ton 
if he knew Dillon Hyer and Lav/ton beean to laugh and 
said "Yes, 1 know Dili] on i iyer. I have a funny story 
to tell you." lie then told Mel that when he was 
Director of the Bureau of the jjudget he had taken 
the proposed annual budget over to President Truman 
for his review and approval and in the midst of their 
discussion the President said "By the way 1 want you 
to give Dillon hyer what he requesting - Five million 
dollars." 1 then said "Why Mr. President?", and 
President Truman said "I have a shitty ass job that 1 
want him to do." He of course was referring to the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs job. 

1 have always considered that my major contribu 
tion to the Institute of Inter-American Affairs was 
securing the passage of the bill that extended to 
charter to 1955 and the increased budget which the 
President helped with. As a matter of fact if he had 
not said to give it to us we probably would not have 
had it. 

The Institute was rather a ouiet spot after w RA 
and Public. Housing Administration because there war; 
very little Congressional interest except by the 
Committees on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Relations. 


There were few if any Congressmen who had constitu- 
tents in Latin America. Consequently the calls from 
Congressmen and Senators were few and far between but 
it was an interesting and worthwhile job. I visited 
a number of Latin American countries during two major 
field trips. We had a good staff in Washington and 
good field staff members for the most part and much 
good work was accomplished. 

I think that I should mention that I got in 
touch with Nelson Rockefeller to tell him about out 
legislation for a new charter and asked his aid 
especially with Senator Vandenburgh and the Republican 
members of the Senate. He was delighted that the 
program was going forv/ard and he cheerfully agreed to 
contact the key people in the Senate. 

I think that I should mention also that during 
the time that we were at the Institute Philip Glick, 
my solicitor, my secretary and I took a course in 
Spanish at the Foreign Service Institute over a period 
of a year s time. We met three times a week. We never 
became very proficient in the Spanish language but we 
did get so that we coxild read the Spanish newspapers. 

A Middle East Interlude 

DSM: During my last year in the Institute during the 
summer of 1949 Roswell Barnes of the Federal Council 
of Churches called me from New York and said that he 
had talked to Clarence Pickett who was then Executive 
Director of the Friends Service Committee and that 
they had agreed that I should be recommended for the 
Directorship of the Arab Refugee Program in the Middle 
East. A little later Clarence Pickett urged me to 
consider it also. Soon after that they must have sold 
George Me Gee on the idea. George, at that time, was 
Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle Eastern 
Affairs because he be^an a campaign to get me to agree 
to take the job. George McGee was one of the board 
of trustees for the Institute of Inter-American Affairs 


so I saw him regularly and he pressed me several times 
about the job. He even sent Paul Porter over to see 
me to try to talk me into the job. Paul was a long 
time friend going back to the early days of my Wash 
ington tour in the Department of Agriculture. Paul 
had been in Geneva for several weeks in an attempt to 
mediate between the Arabs and the Jews following the 
battles of 1948. 

Along about August of 194-9 it was announced that 
a United Nations mission was to go to the Middle East 
to make a study of the refugee and related problems. 
The mission head who had been selected to go to the 
Middle East was Gordon Clapp of the T.V.A. and this 
was to be a two months study of the Arab and the Jewish 
situation and what might be done about it. I learned 
about this and when I was pressed again by George McGee 
to take over the Directorship of the Arab Refugee pro 
gram I said to him "Why don t you attach me to the 
mission for the next two months to give me a chance to 
study the refugee problem and if after a look see as a 
member of the mission I then feel that something con 
structive can be done about it I will be interested in 
taking on the job." George McGee agreed and I also 
asked that Rex Lee was assigned to work with me. After 
a conference with Andrew Cordier, Deputy to the United 
Nations Director, 1 was assigned and sworn in. 

Up until early September I had never met Gordon 
Clapp. He and most of the mission members who were 
assigned reported directly to Beirut while Mrs. Myer, 
Rex Lee and I went to Beirut by way of Geneva, Swit 
zerland for three and a half days in order to be 
briefed by the refugee director s office which main 
tained headquarters in Geneva at that time. Ambassador 
Griffith was serving in a dual capacity. He was Ambas 
sador to Epypt and Arab Refugee Director. 

After Geneva we went to Beirut by United Nations 
plane and upon arrival I was full of questions and 
ideas about what was to be done. T went in for a 
chat with Gordon Clapp, and I received one of the 
neatest brushoffs that I have ever received in my life. 
T Ie quite obviously did not want nny suggestions and be 
practically told me in a very tactful and firm manner 
that every tliinp; was under control and that I need not 


worry about it. He didn t say it in those words but 
that was the feeling that I got. 

The heads of the mission represented four 
countries. Gordon Clapp of course represented the 
U.S.A. as chairman, Great Britain, France, and Tur 
key were also represented, and these were the people 
who were presumably overseeing the job. Since my 
services were apparently not needed or generally 
accepted, Rex Lee and the crew who was assigned to us 
went on a number of field trips to visit refugee centers 
in Trans-Jordan and such places as Jericho, the ruins 
across from the hotel in Aman, the old Roman ruins 
which was full of people and other points throughout 
the Jordanian area. 

Molly Flynn, Nora Powell, both good folks were 
assigned to me. Norn was a statistician and was very 
helpful on statistics. Herbert Kounde from U.S.A. was 
also assigned along with a Britisher whose name doesn t 
come back to me at the moment. During the various trips 
we covered most of western Syria from Aleppo to the 
Trans-Jordan line. Also Nablus in Palistine and the 
Arab portion of Jerusalem. We covered Israel from the 
Lebanon boundary to the Negev including the Dead Sea 
area. We visited Acre, Nazareth, Galilee, Tel Aviv, 
Joffa, and the Jewish portion of Jerusalem. We also 
visited the Gaza strip which was in Egyptian hands 
and which had more than seventy thousand refugees in 
this small strip of about twenty-five miles long and 
only about five miles wide. Those people were packed 
in there on top of the residents who were already 
there making up a total around one hundred thousand 
people in this little spot. 

We went on to Cairo for a couple of days trip to 
take care of some business with some of the agencies 
who had headquarters there. We also covered Lebanon 
from Tripoli to the Israel border as well as the 
territory between Beirut and Damascus, Syria. We 
visited many refugee camps as well as areas left 
behind by the refugees. 

We prepared carefully documented reports on the 
visits and made checks and samplings of the size of 
the refugee population in the various areas and 


finally worked out a figure to our satisfaction as to 
the number of refugees; which incidentally did not 
agree with the British representative who insisted 
that many of these people who were in camps now had 
gathered in after they had evacuated Israel. Perhaps 
a few had but not many. After the most extensive 
field work done by any of the mission staff v/e were 
completely ignored when it came to preparing the 
final report. 

V/e were on a field trip during the time that the 
report was prepared and did not know that it was to be 
prepared at that time. When we got back I found that 
the report had been completed and typed. V/e got back 
on late Saturday and on Sunday morning I went to the 
office and went to Gordon Clapp s secretary and insis 
ted on seeing a copy. She quite obviously had been 
told not to give me a copy but I got one Just the 
same. I had to pour the pressure on pretty hard. 

I read the report and disagreed with it in many 
aspects. I made my comments, sent them forward to 
Gordon Clapp and he sent them back with notations on 
the side in response to my comments which he didn t 
want in his files. I took them back to his secretary 
and said "I think you will want to file this. This 
is my comments on the final report." I don t think 
it was ever filed but nevertheless I had the satis 
faction of taking it back. I had turned the report 
over to Rex Lee to read, as soon as I had read it, 
and he wasn t half way through when Clapp s good man 
Friday who he brought with him from T.V.A. came in 
and gathered it up and wouldn t let him finish it. 
So what I did was to prepare a minority report which 
was not distributed generally but I did prepare a 
report for Andy Gordier who was the Deputy Director 
of the United Nations whom I had talked with before 
I came over, for Clarence Pickett who was largely 
responsible for my being over there and for George 
KcGee of the State Department who had recommended that 
I be taken along. These were the only copies that I 
distributed to anybody. 

When we finished our work Mrs. Myer, Rex Lee and 
T took the plane fron Damascus back to Hrussels 


where we spent a day and then Mrs. Myer and I spent 
two weeks in Paris with a three day interim visit in 
London where we went with the Ambassador s plane. At 
that time Averill Harriman was in charge of the Mutual 
Security program. 

While I was in Paris Andy Cordier from the United 
Nations called me by phone and asked me if I could come 
on back to New York sooner than I had planned for the 
reason that Mr. Clapp and other key people were not 
planning to be in New York at a time v/hen the General 
Assembly was to meet and he was anxious that they have 
somebody there at the time that the report was pre 
sented to discuss it and to answer questions. I told 
Andy Cordier that I didn t believe that he would want 
me to come back and he said "Why not?" I said "Well, 
I had no part in writing this report. I do not agree 
with much of the report. I would not be able to 
cover up my feelings about it if I came back to meet 
with the General Assembly; and as a matter of fact I 
have written a minority report which is for your hands 
and for the hands of George McGee and Clarence Pickett 
only, which will give you some idea as to what my 
feelings are about the situation. " 

He listened and asked a few questions and finally 
heaved a sigh of relief or disgust, I have never been 
quite sure which, and said he agreed that I should not 
come back. So I didn t come back to report to the 
United Nations. 

This was one of the worst fiascos that I think I 
have ever been involved in. I felt sure by the time 
we left there that for some reason or other Gordon 
Clapp had agreed to write the program pretty much as 
the British representative dictated and I wasn t 
absolutely certain but several years later when 
Arthur Gardner who had been McGee s assistant was in 
Viet Nam working with Leland Barrows, the subject came 
up and he admitted to Leland Barrows that the whole 
pattern was agreed to before they ever started work 
and this was in line with what I was pretty sure had 
happened but this was confirmation. 

On my way back to Washington I stopped in New 
York. Ambassador Griffith who had been in Egypt, as 


I have already indicated, who was planning to go on 
to Argentina as Ambassador at that time, came out to 
the airport to snend some time with me to try to 
convince me further that I should take the job as 
Refugee Director because he was trying to find a 
replacement. 1 had found things in such a shape 
that I didn t feel that there was a chance to do a 
job so when I returned to Washington I told George 
McGee that 1 didn t believe that I was interested in 
taking the job. So I went to work again at the 
Institute in early December of 194-9 and continued 
there until May 8, 1950 when I finally accepted the 
bid from Oscar Chapman, who had become Secretary of 
the Interior while I was abroad in 194-9 and who was 
determined that I become Commissioner of the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs. 

Dillon S. Myer, Commissioner of the Federal Public 
Housing Authority. 1947. 

Chief of a Chippewa Indian Group in Wis 
consin initiating Dillon Myer, Commissioner 
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as a 
member of the tribe. The feather head 
dress was symbol of the occasion. 1952. 

Secretary of the Interior Oscar Chapman with 
Staff members from the Department and the Bur 
eau of Indian Affairs, in consultation with 
Indians representing twelve different tribal 
groups. Commissioner Dillon S. Myer standing 
in back row to Secretary Chapman s left. 1952. 
Seated left to right: Albert Yava- Hopi, 
Thomas Segundo- Papago, Maxwell Yazzie- Navajo, 
George Adams- Skokomish, Charles Reevis- Black- 
feet, Secretary Chapman, Floyd Maytubby- Chick- 
asaw, Frank George- Colville, Henry Vicente- 
Jicarilla-Apache, Norton Edwards, Office of the 
Secretary. Standing left to right: Warren 
Spaulding- BIA, Ervin Utz-BIA, Asst. Sec. 
McKinney, Asst. Sec. Wolfsohn, Peter Grant- 
Blackfeet, Ed Wilson- Chippewa, Indian Commis 
sioner Myer, Jasper Long- Crow, Alfred Chalepah- 
Kiowa-Apache , Richard La Roche- Lower Brule 





DSM: I was surprised at the offer of the job as Com 
missioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 
spring of 1950 even from Oscar Chapman who was such 
a good backer and a good friend, because John Nichols 
of Nev; Mexico had been appointed Commissioner less 
than two years before. I didn t think that they 
would make a change because of his having come from 
New Mexico. I had assumed that he had been recommended 
by Senator Clinton Anderson, a very important member 
of the Senate Interior Committee. I found that he 
had evidently agreed to it because as soon as my name 
was announced Clint called me up and I went up and 
talked with him and he told me things that he thought 
that I ought to know about what the bureau staff did 
to John Nichols and not to let them do it to me. But 
in any case before accepting the job I posed a series 
of questions and requests to Secretary Chapman and he 
gave satisfactory answers to most of them. 

One of them was a request that I report directly 
to him as the Secretary rather than through an Assis 
tant Secretary. Bill Warne was the Assistant Secre 
tary at the time and I am sure that he never told 
Bill that this was what was happening but as long as 
Bill was Assistant Secretary I did report to Oscar 
Chapman and Bill would call me up occasionally and 
make suggestions and I would listen very tactfully 
and very carefully and thank him very much. 

In any case along about two or three months after 
I. became Commissioner he appointed Dale Doty, who long 
had been one of his assistants, as Assistant Secretary 
and I did report through him most of the time, although 
I always had access to the Secretary whenever I felt 
that I needed it or whenever I had an argument with 
the Assistant Secretary. 


Probably the most important agreement that was 
made at the time I was asked to take over the gob 
was that Rex Lee who was then Assistant Director of 
the division of Territories Islands and Possessions 
was to become Associate Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs. He moved over the day that I reported for 
the job. 

William Zimmerman had been Assistant Commissioner 
throughout many many years and had been acting 
Commissioner frequently during that time because the 
Commissioner during the 1940 s was ill with tubercu 
losis much of the tine. Bill Zimmerman was moved 
over to Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Land Manage 
ment and Hex Lee took over the spot as my key assis 
tant . 

In addition to Rex Lee, Erwin Utz who had worked 
with me throughout many years in different jobs, be 
came Assistant Commissioner in charge of lands and 
resources and John Province from my W.R.A. staff was 
already Assistant Commissioner in charge of the area 
which involved health, education and the social ser 

It was necessary that my name be presented to the 
Senate for confirmation, which had been required 
throughout the years because the job of Commissioner 
of Indian Affairs was one of only two bureau chief 
jobs in the government that was still a Presidential 
appointive job. That and the Chief of the Forest 
Service were the only two. Usually bureau chiefs 
are appointed by a particular Secretary in charge of 
the department but that was not true of Indian Affairs. 

Rex Lee, who had been very close to the Congress 
ional committees during the four years or so when he 
was in the division of Territory and Insular Affairs, 
sensed that there mi.^ht be some real opposition to my 
appointment so he went up to see Senator Butler on 
the morning after it was announced. 

Senator Butler was from Nebraska and was the 
ranking minority member on the Interior Committee. 
Rex was well acquainted with the secretary in the 
front office, and when he walked in and asked if the 


Senator was available she nodded her head toward the 
Senator s inner office and said "Indians". Rex stuck 
around until he got into the Senator s office and he 
found that the Senator had his desk piled full of 
documents from the Dies Committee and from all the 
committees that had ever had me on the pan throughout 
the years and was trying to find something that was 
derogatory because Fulton Lewis Jr. , a muck-raking 
radio commentator, had called him and asked him to 
dig up some information which he could use in opposi 
tion to my appointment on that evening s broadcast. 
So Senator Butler war, working on this task. 

He said "1 hear that this man Myer. is a Communist", 
and Rex said "Well, Senator I am afraid you are mis 
taken. He is Just a farm boy like you and me." He 
said "Farm boy?" Rex said "Yes, he grew up on a farm 
in Ohio and he is no more Communist than either you 
or I or anyone else who has grown up under such cir 
cumstances." So they chatted awhile and he sent the 
files back and decided that he was not going to be 

However Fulton Lewis Jr. did find somebody that 
he could quote because Ben Jensen in the House, who 
was from Iowa and who had been very mad at me during 
the housing period because he thought I had leaked 
some material to Drew Pearson and never had gotten 
over it, was perfectly willing to allow his name to 
be used. So on Fulton Lewis Jr. s broadcast that 
night he took out after me and among other things he 
said and I quote "This man Myer has been in Government 
a long long time and he has had Job after ,job after 
job and everytime he fails in one the President finds 
another one for him. : 

In spite of Fultcn Lev/is Jr. and his broadcast 
and certain other opposition that flared up the 
Interior Committee endorsed my appointment and recom 
mended me unanimously for the Job and I was approved 
by the Senate. There were a few old timers from among 
the Indian politicos vvho were there to make a speech 
including Bob Yellowtail who had at one time been 
Indian agent for his tribe the Crows. Bob was still 
bitter because he had gotten fired back in the days 
when he didn t think he should have been so he was 


out to attack anybody. This didn t have much effect 
because the committee knew him quite well. 

I reported for duty on May 8, 1950* I had no 
more than seated myself in the Commissioner s chair 
than I had a clipping from the New York Times laid on 
my desk. It was a letter which John Collier, former 
Commissioner for many years, had written to the r;ew 
York Times telling them about this man Myer and what 
a terrible guy he was and explained in some detail 
Just what Myer was going to do about the Indians. 

John Collier had gotten very upset at me back in 
the days of WRA because the Posten Relocation Center 
which was on the Coloi^ado Indian Reservation was 
operated for awhile by the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
under a contract which was arranged before I became 
Director of V/RA. In the fall Df-1942 in less than 
six months after I took over the job, I visited Posten 
and made a speech in which I made it clear that our 
major policy was going to be to help people relocate 
into the rest of the United States rather than to 
continue to live in tne Posten center. It was only 
after I made this speech thr.t I learned that John 
Collier had been there just two or three weeks before 
and had painted pretty pictures about how they would 
probably be there for forty years or more and they 
would develop land and they would be able to have a 
fine brand new community, etc., etc. This, of course, 
was entirely opposite from what John had said and he 
never quite forgave me, and I might say his blast at 
the beginning of my regime was not his last attack 
because he kept it up throughout my nearly three years 
of tenure and if he v;asn t able to do it directly he 
did it through a stooge or two who was in the Depart 
ment of Interior and who tried to bring pressure to 
bear on the Secretary not to approve some of the things 
that I tried to do. 

Joel .v olfson was our worst problem in that re 
spect. He had been in Interior for a long time and 
had worked closely with Collier previously. Oocl was 
always very affable when I saw him, but I was sure he 
was cutting my throat regularly. 


Resistance To Change In An Old Government Bureau 

DSM: The Bureau of Indian Affairs had been reorganized 
about two years before I became Commissioner. Area 
offices were established throughout the western part 
of the United States and presumably most of the line 
administrative activities were to be delegated to the 
area director and his staff. This meant an important 
change to the Washington staff who had been carrying 
out the line operations throughout the years with the 
agents in the various reservations as the people who 
put them into effect. The Washington staff now became 
staff officers rather than line officers and some of 
them didn t care much for the switch. Old habits are 
hard to break and many authorities which were supposed 
to be delegated to the field were still retained by 
the Washington staff heads. So we proceeded very soon 
after I arrived on the scene to start work on a new 

We brought over Ted Taylor from the Territories 
and Island Possessions to handle our processing of 
administrative procedures and during the first few 
months we were involved in preparing a thorough-going 
manual which delegated the proper line jobs to the 
field and outlined the jobs and the responsibilities 
of the staff officers in Washington. 

The installation of the revised procedures, as 
might be expected, brought about some repercussions; 
one of which was the resignation of V/illard Beatty who 
for years had been head of the educational division of 
the bureau and who had run that division with no questions 
asked. V/illard came to see me after we proposed to put 
the change into effect and said that he didn t want to 
operate as a staff man. He wanted to operate the 
schools as he had been doing. I said that I was awfully 
sorry but I thought thp plans had been laid some time 
before and I thought it was time to nut them into 
effect. iVell the upshot was that he resigned and went 
to UNESCO. Some of"x;he other folks didn t like it 
much better than Willard did but there were no further 


I found that there were certain other problems 
which were hard to overcome. One of them was that 
some of our division chiefs had been there through 
a number of changes in Commissioners and they had been 
in the habit of trying to figure out what the Com 
missioner wanted and tried to provide him with the 
answers that he wanted. I never did like Yes men. 
I didn t want them to guess what I wanted done. Our 
worst case of this kind was the chief of the Land 
Management Division and throughout the nearly three 
years that I was Commissioner I tried my best to break 
him of the habit but the disease was so firmly set that 
I never did change hin% I had to listen and decide 
that he was telling me in most cases just what he 
thought that I should know but rather what he thought 
I wanted to hear. 

The Program 

DSM: The Bureau of Indian Affairs throughout the years 
had carried out services to the Indians which had been 
expanded many times. Some of the early treaties 
had provided for fairly simple services to be provided 
at the reservation level: services such as providing 
a blacksmith, a doctor, and maybe a schoolteacher or 
two, and services of this type. In some cases they 
even had agreed to provide so many yards of calico 
each year. 

One group in New York state who were no longer in 
a federal reservation had a treaty which provided that 
they should get a certain number of yards of calico 
each year under the treaty and in spite of the fact 
that their population had increased and that each one 
would only get a quarter of a yard of calico apiece 
they insisted upon having the calico doled out each 
year to each member of the tribe! I presume this was 
important to them as a indication that the treaty was 
still in effect and that any other phase of the treaty 
should not be abandoned. So they weren t willing to 


abandon even this one. There were many other items 
that were holdovers, I am sure, from the early days 
and from early treaties. 

For the Navajo reservation, for example, there 
was a provision at the time that they came back from 
Texas where they had been placed during the Civil War 
that they would have one schoolteacher for each thirty- 
five pupils and the schools would be provided for all 
of the Navajo youngsters. There were about eight thou 
sand of them at that time. The Government attempted 
time and time again throughout the years to fulfill 
this agreement but it was not accomplished until after 
World War II. I will comment on this a little more 
later but there were things of various types that the 
Government had promised that they weren t able to 
carry out, in some cases because of lack of cooperation 
on the part of the Indians themselves. 

There v/ere certain functions which had grown up 
throughout the years either by law or by tradition. 
They may be summarized as follows there were about 
fifteen of them. 

Education was a very important one as far as the 
Federal Government vms concerned and as far as many 
Indians were concerned and up until a few years before 
the educational work had been carried largely by 
Indian schools, many of them boarding schools. 

The health program which had been expanded 
throughout the years v/as another of the very important 

Welfare, which neant providing for people who did 
not have enough food or weren t able to take care of 
themselves was another function which was handled 
directly by the Federal Government. 

Agriculture Extension Service was established in 
the 1920 s or the early 1930 s. 

Shortly before 1 became Commissioner a relocation 
and placement program had been started in connection 
with the !!ava,1os who were interested in noinf; to 
boarding . .-schools outside the reservation and in 


receiving placement in jobs but very little work was 
being done of this type except in Los Angeles. We 
expanded this function greatly during our regime. We 
provided a training program and a relocation placement 
program and we established offices in a number of 
places in the United States including Denver, Chicago, 
Seattle, San Francisco, and other major areas where 
the opportunities for employment were good. 

HP: Do you know whether they still exist? 

DSM: Oh yes. They not only still exist but they finally 
adopted a program which we had recommended before I 
left the Bureau of providing vocational training for 
up to two years for Indians who wanted to take voca 
tional training as a basis for relocation. We stunned 
the sub-committee on one of our trips to the Hill with 
an appropriation bill in which we asked for eight 
million dollars for i;his type of work. We didn t get 
it at that particular time but about two years later 
they did get it, and this work has been carried for 
ward. Many young Indians have received the kind of 
training that they wanted to take and were able to 
locate themselves in ,jobs off the reservation. 

Law and Order was another function that was 
carried out by the Federal Government and this of 
course was important in many areas because there was 
no local p.;overnment in many of the areas where reser 
vations were located. 

Roads in the reservations were the responsibility 
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, especially in those 
areas where there was no established local government. 

Credit, which had been provided many years before 
as a basis for helping Indians get under way in ranch 
ing or farming in particular. 

Supervision of trust lands, both tribal and indi 
vidual lands, was the responsibility of the agency. 

Handling individual Indian moneys who still 
required trustees to look after their affairs. 


Division of Soil and Moisture Conservation had 
been established back in the late 1930 s when it was 
transferred from the Soil Conservation Service. 

Forest and Range Management was an important part 
of the work of the resources division. 

Irrigation program, utilization of utilities in 
cluding communications and power and the sxipervision 
and development of tribal enterprises such as saw mills 
and other types of enterprises that x^ere important to 
encourage the development of the resources of the 

The problems of handling forestry for example in 
view of the responsibilities of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs for their trusteeship was an entirely different 
problem than handling forestry in the Forest Service 
in the Department of Agriculture. As a matter of fact 
one of the agencies that made a study of the Bureau 
raised the question why forestry and range work could 
not be transferred to the Forest Service. At that 
time I happened to know the Forester very well who was 
in charge of the work in Agriculture and I talked to 
him about it and he said "Oh, Dillon, we don t v/ant it. 
It is entirely out of our line. This isn t the type 
of thing that we do or that we know anything about be 
cause it had to do with dealing with the tribes, deal 
ing with individuals, and so on, instead of looking 
after Federal lands as we do in the Forest Service." 
There were certain other things that could be handled 
by local and state governments and even by certain 
other Federal government agencies which will develop 
as we proceed. 

As noted, the Bureau was responsible for most of 
the services provided in almost any city or community 
plus some that were unique because of the trust re 
sponsibility. Much progress had been made in con 
tracting with local school districts following the 
passage of the Johnson-O Malley act in the 1930 s 
which provided authority to contract for services with 
local and state government agencies. 


Schooling For Indians 

DSH: There were areas however, large ones as a matter 
of fact, where there were no local school facilities 
or local governments to deal with. For example, the 
Nava t jo reservation which is about the size of the 
state of West Virginia, had no local government with 
in the reservation area so all of the services inclu 
ding schools had to be provided by the Federal Govern 
ment because there was nobody to contract with. I ll 
point out a little later that we did arrange to have 
many of these youngsters go to school in other areas 
in order to get them out of the reservation complex 
and milieu. But this was an entirely different thing 
than contracting with local governments. 

We proceeded throughout my nearly three years as 
Commissioner to get as many of the public schools 
which had not already taken over to take over the 
educational function of the Bureau. Most of this had 
already been done where it was feasible up to this 
time. It was a good thing and one of the best inte- 
grative processes thet we could work out. 

Some of the older boarding schools which had been 
utilized throughout the years particularly in Oklahoma, 
California and certain other areas were available for 
use since we had already contracted for school ser 
vices with local governments in those areas. So as a 
result of having these available we did arrange to 
have Nava<jo youngsters and the Papagos in southern 
Arizona, sent to California, to Oklahoma and other 
places to boarding schools where they could be r>ro- 
vided with services without providing new boarding 
school buildings and at the same time get them into 
areas where they had some contact with the outside 

This provided also an opportunity particularly 
for the older youngsters of high school age, many of 
whom had never been tc school, to get intensive 
training for five or six years and then to be pro 
vided with opportunities for employment in the areas 
where they had gone to school. This was one of the 


first types of relocation that was initiated. Birring 
my regime they completed the rehabilitation of an army 
installation in Utah where about five hundred Navajo 
youngsters were provided for. This school was planned 
particularly for youngsters between twelve and eighteen 
who had not had schooling and where they could have 
intensive courses in English, and basic elementary 
training plus some vocational training and could be 
established then in jobs if they were interested in so 
doing in that or other areas by the time they had 
finished school. 

HP: What kinds of jobs? 

DSM: Many kinds of vocational types of training jobs v/ere 
urovided. Use of machines of various types, 1 can t 
recall at the moment just what types of training we 
did provide. 

HP: Was it for girls also? 

DSM: Yes, they had some girls. More boys than girls but 
they had some girls. 

While we are on the Navajo and while we are talk 
ing about education I think I should go a little further 
in my discussion about the problem that we had there. 
The Navajos after they came back to the reservation in 
northern Arizona, New Mexico and Utah became sheep 
herders and as a consequence many of them were nomads. 
In other words they moved with their flocks depending 
upon the season into the mountain country and into 
other areas, and as a consequence they weren t always 
available at any one place for school. Furthermore 
most of the older Navajos didn t want their youngsters 
to go to school because they didn t want them to stray 
away, from the particular culture and the family con- 
tols. So the government was unable even though they 
tried very hard throughout the years following the 
Civil war to carry out their responsibilities which 
they had agreed to under the treaty to set up schools 
with one teacher for each thirty-five youngsters or 
less because the youngsters didn t go to school. This 
pattern was not broken until after World War IT. 


During World War II many of the Navajo boys 
were inducted into the service and rendered good ser 
vice, in fact a unique service because of their 
ability to speak Nava^jo and nobody else in the world 
could. They were able to serve in intelligence units 
and to communicate among themselves across the lines 
and to confound the enemy and provide information 
for their own units. A great many of them that did 
go into the Army received the kind of training that 
the Army gave including courses in the English langu 
age, learning to read and write and many other things 
which they hadn t learned up to that time. When these 
boys came back to the reservation after the war they 
began to put the pressure on to have schools estab 
lished and for people to go to school. 

So by the time I became Commissioner in early 
1950 the most important political campaign issue on 
the part of tribal council members and people who 
were running for tribal council was to back the idea 
of providing schools for every Navajo youngster. 

This grew out of the fact that these young lads 
had come back after seeing some of the rest of the 
world and had recognized what their problems were. 
So the pressure was on. It was impossible over the 
short period of four or five years to provide enough 
schools and enough teachers to fill in the gaps that 
had been missing because of the fact that people 
wouldn t go to school earlier. It was only with the 
help of the boarding schools outside, plus building 
new schools which took time that we could fulfill 
this desire which had finally developed on the part 
of the Navajos for education for their children. At 
that time about eighty percent of the Nava;jos popu 
lation could not speak English so the first job of 
the schools for the first year or two was to teach 
the youngsters English so that they could proceed to 
teach other things which they only knew how to teach 
in English because the teachers unfortunately didn t 
know the :Tavajo language. 

It was during this period when I was Commissioner 
that I suggested the idea of developing some trailer 
schools for youngsters who were following their herds 
with their families as a way of providing an opport- 

unity for them to learn the English language and to 
learn the other things that they needed to learn in 
elementary scnool. This was not adopted during my 
time because I wasn t able to get it across fast 
enough but it was adopted in the regime which fol- 
lov/ed and I was very happy to see it adopted because 
if you were going to reach all of the Navajo young 
sters you had to provide facilities where they were. 
You couldn t remove them entirely from their jobs as 
shepherds so you had to move in where they were. 
Trailers were used to some extent. 

Finally I think along about four or five years 
after I left the ,job as Commissioner they caught up 
with the backlog and were able to provide schools for 
every ftavajo youngster who wanted to go to school or 
whose parents would allow him to go to school. This 
was highly important because it is very difficult to 
help to decrease a much over-populated area through 
placement and relocation unless the people could 
speak the language of the country, handle simple 
figures, and had some kind of ability in the way of 
skills such as carpentry, or other similar training 
which could be useful in relocation. I mentioned, 
that when the Navajos came back from Texas following 
the Civil War there were only eight thousand people. 
At the time I was Commissioner there were about 
eighty thousand Nava.jos and they were still increasing, 

The Navajo reservation was not the only one that 
required that all the services be Federal services 
because of lack of local government. I have mentioned 
Papago, and the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota is 
another area where there was no local government. 
There were not even any counties organized, at least 
up until very recent years and they were not yet 
organized when I was Commissioner in the area where 
the large Oglala Sioux reservation was in South 
Dakota, so that provision did have to be mede either 
in the way of local one or two room schools or board 
ing schools which were much more common for these 


Health And Sanitation 

DSM: Health and sanitation problems were very real 

problems. The problem of maintaining sixty hospitals 
which were under the auspices of the Bureau and of 
providing a reasonable approach to training in sani 
tary and related measures was very real. The problem 
of recruitment of doctors and nurses for out-of-the- 
way places in reservations areas was most difficult. 
Fortunately we did have some help from the Public 
Health Service but even they were not in a position to 
assign people who were needed someplace else so we 
very often got people who weren t too well adapted to 
reservation life. 

In spite of that we were doing a pretty fair Job 
particularly in the hospitals which were developed 
throughout the years, some of them large and some of 
them small. They had a large reservation hospital 
in the Navajo country because they had a very large 
population, but even there under the Johns on-0 Mai ley 
Act the Bureau had been able to contract with local 
hospitals in some areas and we continued to push for 
that kind of a program throughout the years when I 
was Commissioner. A big hospital was constructed 
down in the Albuquerque area to help provide ser 
vices for the Pueblo people. This was constructed 
partly out of Bureau of Indian Affairs funds, partly 
out of local funds and some out of the Federal funds 
that were provided for hospitals generally under the 
bill which authorized contributions for hospital con 
struction and this was one of the largest of its type. 

The big problem other than hospitals had to do 
with sanitation which was very often a missing item. 
Indians like many poor and indigent people lived under 
crowded circumstances. The Navajos lived in hogans. 
Other tribes lived in small houses, and the Apaches 
still lived in skin type teppes, up in the northern 
Apache country. As a consequence tuberculosis was a 
very difficult disease to control, with lack of sani 
tation, crowding and inability to se^re^ate people who 
had become infected. This was also true of many other 
types of diseases. 


Hospitals could be used for people who had become 
quite ill but the matter of providing sanitary measures 
by moving people into hospitals was something else 
spain. I talked to the doctor in charge, who had been 
assigned by the Public Health Service, about this and 
he said "There ought to be the kind of sanitary train 
ing, inspection and supervision that exists in other . 
local governments, but there are no funds for it." 
I said "Well, if I can get the funds do you think you 
can do the job?" I got the funds and I got more money 
than he could spend because he couldn t find the people 
to do the job. It was ironic that when I managed to 
do what he had been pressuring me to do, and which I- 
was delighted to do, when I got him a couple of hundred 
thousand dollars he couldn t use all of it because he 
couldn t find enough people to move into areas of this 
type to help get the .lob done. 

This was one of the important problems and one of 
the things that v/e were nearly always able to get 
additional money for if we needed it. But it wasn t 
just a matter of getting additional money. It was a 
matter of petting additional personnel of the proper 
type that was important. I might as well add here 
that before leaving the job as Commissioner I made 
the recommendation that the health and sanitation 
services be transferred to the Public Health Service. 
I was somewhat reluctant to do this because of certain 
problems that I thought would be involved but I did 
it, and shortly after 1 left the service it was trans 
ferred. Since then the health and sanitation service 
has been greatly expanded. 

Public Health Service has taken the job very 
seriously in fact maybe they are overdoing it a bit 
nowadays but nevertheless who am I to criticize when 
it v/as so badly undermanned back in the early days. 



DSK: The welfare program was also a very real problem 

because lack of employment opportunities in many of the 
reservation areas v/as one of the very difficult pro 
blems. Excepting for about twenty or twenty-five reser 
vations throughout the United States the Indians who 
were put into reservations were pushed off into some of 
the worst scab land and bad lands and some of the poor 
est agriculture lands that you could find any place in 
the country. 

As a consequence of that plus the fact that they 
weren t fanners in the first place there was a real 
problem of finding employment in a rural community 
where there v/as no industry to amount to any thing 
near by so about the only employment that could be 
found was transitory work such as harvesting of sugar 
beets, and other crops during the harvest season. As 
a consequence many of these people worked for three or 
four or five months, lived on the money that they earned 
in doing this kind of migrant work during the crop 
season until it was used up and then they went on wel 
fare until the time came again to earn some more money 
as migrants. 

We estimated for example in one of the North 
Dakota reservations tbere weren t opportunities for 
employment for more than about two or three percent 
of the peot>le on the reservation as far as full time 
employment was concerned. This is one of the reasons, 
by the way, that I felt very strongly about the need 
for training, relocation and placement in ,jobs outside 
of the reservations. i3o welfare v/as an important item 
and it had to be handled in such a way if possible to 
avoid making full time wards out of the people. 

I remember telling one of my old bosses at the 
University of Kentucky while 1 was Commissioner about 
this particular problem. He said "In other words what 
you have is a lot of very much enlarged poor houses." 
1 said "That is ,just about right. They are similar to 
the old time poor houses as far as many people are 
concerned. " 


Much progress was made in transferring the job of 
agriculture extension work to the state extension ser 
vices during the time that I was on the job. Both Rex 
Lee my associate and I had been extension agents at 
one time and we knew something about this particular 
approach and we felt very deeply that it ought to be 
handled in the normal manner. We were able in areas 
where the extension service functioned with other local 
and county governments to get them to take over the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs work under contract from us 
and the Indians became part of the program such as Four 
H Club work and other things that the extension service 
was generally responsible for. 


DSH: Roads in the reservation was another part of the 
responsibility of the Bureau. We did our best in 
areas where there were local governments and where 
it was possible to do so, to work out an agreement 
to bring the roads up to the standard that the local 
governments required. Then we were able to turn them 
over to them for maintenance. We did much of this in 
California, Montana and a number of other places where 
this was feasible. 

It was not feasible in the Navajo and many of the 
other large reservations where there was no local 
government to take over. 

Relocation Problems 

It is important that I comment further on the 
problems of relocation and placement outside the re- 


servation. Because populations have increased dras 
tically throughout the years on the reservations, 
most of the reservations were over-populated by the 
time 1 came on the .job. 1 have already mentioned the 
Navago but it was also true of many others and especi 
ally in areas where there was no local industry close 
by where people could work. So in establishing our 
area and district offices to assist people in relo 
cating we provided a number of services. 

?irst it was necessary to provide funds for 
travel to where they v/ere being relocated and funds 
for them to live on during the first month or six 
weeks after they arri.ved until they began to get pay 
checks. Our relocation officers made contact with the 
social agencies, welfare agencies and others, to be 
sure that they understood the particular problems 
these relocatees faced. It was necessary that they 
work with personnel officers in industrial plants and 
others to get them tc understand the problem. 

Without extra help we anticipated that most of 
these young people and they were mostly young people 
who v/ere willing to relocate would go back to their 
home communities or to the reservations very ouickly. 
We knew they would be lonesome, it would be the first 
time away from the area, they had no associates or 
friends, so the tendency to go out on a binge was very 

I was gratified over the fact that our Chicago 
office in working with one of the industrial plants 
there had found that certain young chaps after three 
or four weeks did go out on a binge and wouldn t show 
up for work. Well, our office had prepared the way 
so that one of the people from our office along with 
a personnel representative of the plant would go out 
and find these boys, get them sobered up and encourage 
them to come back onto the job. They came back to 
work and stayed on the job but had that not been done 
they were either off to skid row or back to the reser 

I understood the importance of having somebody 
help these kids over this first hump because I was a 
country boy and when 1 went to college even though only 


thirty miles from home the boy who was going with me 
as my roommate wasn t able to go at the last minute 
and conseauently I we.s among strangers and I have 
never been so lonesome in my life as I was that first 
three or four weeks. The Hocking Valley railroad 
which ran through the edge of Columbus used to whistle 
in every night about five o clock and 1 can remember 
the mournful sound and as a matter of fact after about 
three or four weeks 1 went home with the idea of not 
going back to college because I didn t think I could 
take it. 

I was never -sure until after Christmas that I was 
going to stick it out. When I thought about my experi 
ence I thought about these Indian boys and what they 
were up against in the way of strange situations. I 
knew that we had to do a real all-out job to get every 
body we could to help get the job done. Fortunately 
it did work because the relocation has gone ahead and 
I m delighted about it. 

Summing Up The_ Indi aii _ Program 

DSM: Under date^of March 20, 1953, which was my last 
day in office, 1 addressed a memorandum to the Secre 
tary of rhe Interior which summarizes what seemed to 
me to be tr:e major problems then facing the bureau and 
the Indians. I believe the best way for me to tell 
this story is to quote from this particular memorandum. 

"The number one rroblem is the problem of poverty, 
increasing population? and the relationship of popula 
tion to resources and. services in the Indian country. 
After visiting every Indian agency in the United 
States mainland and the territory of Alaska, with the 
exception of the iSenn.nole agency in Florida, I find 
that I am more deeply concerned about these problems 
of poverty and increrring population in the Indian 
country and on Indian reservations than I am about any 
other problems. The problem has grown out of c. number 

of basic facts which need to be understood by the 
Indians themselves and by those who administer the 
program and by the public generally. Many reasons 
which lie behind the problem of poverty and over 
population at the many reservations today are too 
numerous to discuss here. Needless to say, some of 
the more obvious ones are the destruction or limita 
tion of the Indians primitive economy by the white 
man; the limitation of Indians over a period of many 
years to reservation life; the development throughout 
the years of the health program which has decreased 
the mortality rate especially of infants; the lack of 
migration from rural Indian country to industrial areas 
as compared with migration that has taken place in re 
gard to all other rural people. Over fifty percent of 
the people in the United States in 1900 lived on farms 
while today less than fifteen percent live on farms. 
It is quite evident that the migration from Indian 
areas has not kept pace with the migration from other 
areas. For example, eight thousand Navajos were trans 
ferred from Fort Sumter to the Navajo reservation in 
1868, and today there are approximately seventy to 
eighty thousand Navajo people living on the reservation 
or adjacent thereto. 

"We have encouraged Indians to continue to live in 
areas where they can not possibly make a living by the 
provision of good schools, free health services, wel 
fare payments and other means, rather than encouraging 
these populations to move into industrial or other 
areas where they could make an adequate living. The 
situation varies, of course, in the various reserva 
tions and tribes throughout the country. Some of the 
worst examples of poverty resulting from over popula 
tion and limited subrnarginal land resources are to be 
noted in such areas as the cutover country in northern 
V/isconsin, Minnesota, Turtle Mountain, Fort Totten and 
Sissiton Reservations in North and South Dakota, and 
the drastically over populated arid lands of Navajo 
and Papago country in the Southwest. 


have two specific recommendations regarding 
these problems: (1) I recommend that you ask Con 
gress to increase appropriations for the placement and 
relocation program which this Bureau has demonstrated 
over the past two years is feasible and which will 


decrease the cost to the government in two ways if 
carried forward. It will decrease the necessity for 
services in the way of schools, hospitals and other 
services now being provided mainly on the reserva 
tions. It will provide an opportunity for many 
Indians who cannot at; present pay income taxes to 
make enough money so that they may pay income taxes 
and more than reimburse the government through the 
payment of such taxes for any cost involved in their 
relocation. Three years ago the Congress passed a 
bill which would authorize an eighty-eight million dol 
lar rehabilitation program for the Navajo-Hopi tribe. 
Some twenty million dollars has already been appro 
priated to carry out the intent of this legislation 
and after studying the problem quite thoroughly I am 
deeply concerned about whether more schools and hos 
pitals in the out of the way places on the Navajo 
reservation and in other areas are justified as 
against an all-out attempt to assist poverty stricken 
people to relocate in areas where they will have a 
chance to make a living. It would be my recommen 
dation that you find someone, or herhaps two or three 
people of real ability and standing in the United 
States and make a reatudy of the Navajo problem in 
terms of the possible effect of the long range pro 
gram which is now getting under way. This group, in 
my opinion, should reconsider the question as to how 
many people can actually make a living on economic 
units, and ucc the range on the Navajo reservation 
and the question as to whether or not we will be 
building up a larger problem for the Mavajo people 
and for the government twenty-five or thirty years 
from now if we continue to provide facilities, and 
free services to limited groups of people in out-of- 
the-way places instead of offering them opportunities 
in other areas. I a^i recommending someone from the 
outside to make this study because there is a great 
deal of emotion involved in this question and under 
standably so and therefore the problem should be con 
sidered by someone who can do it as objectively as 

The second area where we have problems has to do 
with the supervision of individual trust-alloted lands. 
This problem is a most serious one. The problem of 
supervision 0.1 individually ownod trust-olloted L-mds 

has become progressively worse since the Allotment Act 
of 1887 and there are now around sixteen or seventeen 
million acres of trust-alloted lands for which the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs has the responsibility. Some 
5,067,000 or 3,068,000 million acres of this land is 
fractionated through deaths of original allotees and 
their heirs so that now six or more heirs have an 
interest in each of the 23,462 tracts that are involved 
in this acreage. 

"Proposed legislation was sent to the Department 
(of Interior) last year but was not sent to the Congress, 
Similar legislation is nov; under reviev; in the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs and should be followed up carefully 
and presented to the Congress at the earliest possible 
date in order to clean ur> this problem before it becomes 
completely impossible. 

"Another acute problem in connection with the 
administration of individually alloted trust land is 
the fact that many of these lands are owned by highly 
competent Indians who insist on maintaining their 
lands in trusts. This insistance stems from the advan 
tage they have in being free from property taxes and 
because under the policies and procedures that have 
been in existence throughout many years they have 
certain advantages such as: priorities in the purchase 
of other Indian lands; borrowing of tribal and Indian 
loan funds; and usinp; other tribal resources without 
adequate payment. These privileges have been a valu 
able asset to these individuals. We have taken steps 
to correct part of this problem through the issuance 
of a new procedure under the date of February 29, 1952, 
a copy of which is attached which required a reviev/ in 
Washington of all proposed negotiated sales betv/een tri 
bal officers or people who had fee patents previously 
who were proposing to purchase lands from other Indians 
on a negotiated basis. The same procedure also required 
an appraisal within three months if negotiated sales 
were to be executed in any case. This procedure had 
been drastically criticized by some of the people who 
were affected by it. 

"A comparative ly few Indians of this type who were 
more competent in handling of real estate matters than 
mont othe>" people have taken up a great deal of the 

time of our staff who deal with trust property. Some 
of these people are capable of making the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs appear as a group of paternalistic 
bureaucrats who will not allow them to handle their 
own affairs. At the same time however these same 
people refuse to accept trust free patents to all of 
their property when such an offer is made to them. 
The problem as to how to eliminate the trust in such 
cases is one xrtiich we have been exploring for some 
months and on which we still have not found the answer. 
Part of the answer probably lies in the review of 
treaties and in the length of the trust period in 
regard to these properties at present. It may require 
new legislation to help solve the problem. One thing 
that I am sure of is that the present competence bill 
before the Congress will not solve this particular 
problem, as it only deals with those Indians who vol 
untarily apply for patents. This will not bring under 
control those people v/ho want to maintain their trust 

"The third major areas in which problems occur has 
to do with the type of charter organization and busi 
ness management required to safeguard the interest of 
the Indians and their tribal resources when the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs relinquishes its trusteeship respon 
sibility. There is a wide variation among the two 
hundred or more groups, bands or tribes of Indians as 
to the kind or amount of tribal resources which they 
possess. There are perhaps twenty or twenty-five 
tribes that have enough resources to justify the 
establishment of a business management akin to a cor 
porate structure and the hiring of a business manager 
or a managerial staff to supervise the continued 
operation of those assets. This problem is one of the 
most difficult problems that the department faces as 
it looks to the time of withdrawal of services by the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

"Many very important problems must be considered 
in working out a transfer of responsibility to the 
Indians themselves: The relationship of taxes, state 
and national and other taxes to the problem is an 
important, one; the type of services now being rendered 
and how they can be continued if they are essential 
services without encouraging additional poverty and 


increased population at the various reservations; 
the problem of land leasing as against assignments 
and many other complex problems which differ depend 
ing upon the treaties made in the past; legislation 
nov; in existence and the kind of resources, whether 
they are tribal lands or alloted lands or both. On 
several reservations a comparatively small number of 
tribal members are using the total resources of the 
reservation for the grazing of livestock or for other 
purposes and are not paying anything into the tribal 
treasury for the use of these resources. Consequently, 
the rest of the tribal members are not getting any 
direct return whatsoever from resources which belong 
to the tribe as a whole. This small number of tribal 
members would like to maintain the status quo because 
of the bip advantage that they have. As a result they 
oppose any plan or program which would provide for the 
proper leasing of tribal lands and establishment of a 
corporation which would require a distribution of 
returns of resources for everyone and the withdrawal 
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

"I am attaching a copy of a proposed report on 
Senate 101 4-, a bill which would authorize a $1500 per 
capita payment to each member of the Monominee tribe. 
This report attempts to set forward some of the items 
that should be considered soon before additional 
capital surpluses have been dissipated. 

"We have hoped over the past several months to 
work out arrangements whereby we could get a special 
study of this problem with some outstanding people 
outside of the Department who might take six or eight 
sample areas and make an analysis of the problems 
involved. If such a study could be made with alter 
native recommendations as to how these problems can 
be met it would be helpful so that we might have a 
variety of patterns which might be applied under 
various conditions. We need these patterns as a 
basis for the type of organization, method of making 
distribution of dividends and many other questions that 
need to be answered. 

"The fourth area that involves major problems has 
to do with the administration of the health program as 
it relates to Indians. The Bureau is nov; operating 


some sixty hospitals and a number of clinics in 
addition. It is operating in the field of Public 
Health, preventive medicine in various communities 
where services are not otherwise available. It is 
quite clear to me the.t the Bureau should get out of 
the business of operating hospitals ,just as quickly 
as possible. It should transfer, if possible, all 
the public health functions to the states or communi 
ties involved. .This is not easy because many of the 
states and counties are not equipped at the present; 
time to do this type of work. Some progress has-been 
made in closing out of hospitals and in transferring 
our responsibilities in this field to other agencies 
or community organize tions. Additional progress can 
be made if a firm position is taken in the matter and 
if action is insisted ur>on. 

"1 am attaching a copy of a letter which was sent 
to certain field offices on February 18, 1953. Ke- 
nT>onscs have been received and the information is avail 
able within the Eureau. 1 am also attaching a copy of 
a proposed report which has gone forward to your office 
on House Resolution ; which provides for the trans 
fer of all health services from the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs to the Public Health Service. I do not believe 
that this is an ideal solution because I do not believe 
that any Federal agency should have the continued re- 
sDonsibility over a long period of time for providing 
direct hospital services to Indians. However, I think 
the responsibility should be worked out so that Indians 
can get services of the same kind in community hospitals 
which serve the general population. Alternatively in 
areas where this 1 is not feasible I would recommend that 
hospitals and facilities be transferred to states, 
counties or the territory of Alaska along with what 
ever Federal funds are necessary to assist in provid 
ing services to those Indians that need help. 

"We have tried during this fiscal year to trans 
fer our responsibility in the field of preventive 
medicine and public health work to states with the 
exception of one or two and have been unsuccessful 
because of the unwillingness on the r>art of the state 
or county officials to take over such responsibility 
or because of their feelings that they are not able 
to handle the responsibility properly. 


"The fifth major area which has real problems 
involved has to do with education. A great deal of 
progress has been made over the past fifteen years in 
the transfer of responsibility for education to public 
schools in various states and to the territory of 
Alaska by entering into contracts under the Johnson- 
O Malley Act. There are now fifty-two thousand Indian 
youngsters enrolled in public schools and about thirty- 
six thousand Indian youngsters enrolled in schools 
operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of which twenty 
thousand are in boarding schools. I am attaching copies 
of two memoranda which were sent to all area directors. 
One dated March 21, 1952 and one dated February 19, 
1955 which pretty well states the policy which we have 
been following over the past three years and to make 
some suggestions for further action. They provide 
the means for bringing together additional information 
needed in order to measure progress already made and to 
determine needed action. It is my recommendation that 
the Department continue to press toward the transfer 
of its responsibilities for direct educational oper 
ations to the local school districts or the state 
departments of education and also to encourage further 
use of boarding schools wherever this is feasible. I 
would also recommend transfer of these responsibilities 
to the local school districts or states in cases where 
boarding schools can not be eliminated. Progress in 
this field has been limited recently because of the 
unwillingness on the part of many of the school dis 
tricts to take on the responsibility and because of 
the inability either legally or otherwise of the state 
departments of education to assume the responsibility. 
And finally because of the objection of Indian groups 
themselves to the transfer of this responsibility. 

"The sixth problem area of importance has to do 
with maintenance of lav; and order. The Federal govern 
ment throughout the years has had general responsi 
bility for maintaining law and order in areas of . 
Indian trust lands and has discharged this responsi 
bility in cooperation with the Indian tribes them 
selves. Steps have been taken during the past three 
years looking to the transfer of this responsibility 
to the states in areas where agreement could be 
reached between the Indians, local or state officials, 
and the Bureau. Legislation ir, now pending which 


would transfer both criminal and civil jurisdiction 
to the states in California, Oregon, Washington, 
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. Some exceptions 
have been provided for in these bills because a few 
groups of Indians were not ready. Nevertheless, the 
Bureau came to the conclusion that the bill should go 
forward even with the exceptions and submitted them 
with the hope that amendments could be provided for 
at a later date. 

"It is my recommendation that these bills be 
pressed and that further exploration be made in a 
number of other states immediately. In this latter 
category I would include Nevada where studies are 
already being made and in any other states where such 
a move would appear to be feasible. The matter of 
jurisdiction, of course, is closely related to land 
pattern, schools, credit programs and any other pro 
blems. It has been our Judgment that more progress 
could be made by taking steps in those states where 
the Indians were ready and thus gaining some experi 
ence in problems involved in the transfer of such 
jurisdiction than could be made if we proposed an 
overall transfer in all of the states at one time. 

"The seventh area where major problems exist 
has to do with the handling of the general super 
vision of lawyers who mislead Indians, v/ell meaning 
organizations and the general public for their own 
personal gain. Over the past nearly three years we 
have learned first of all that there is nothing simple 
about the problem of Indians and Indian affairs. 
There are certain lawyers who learned this long before 
we did and have very effectively capitalized on the 
fact by getting themselves placed in positions where 
they could use certain organizations as their front. 
By use of propaganda, either directly or indirectly, 
the organizations have misled and confused both the 
public and the Indians involved. To be specific, / 
James E. Gurry has served as council for the 
National Congress for American Indians and through 
this relationship and other contacts has secured 
many Indian contract,-3 as indicated in Senate Report 
No. 8. He has indulged in many practices including 
the dissemination of misinformation which has been 
harmful both to the Indians and to the public of the 


United States, Mr. 1 elix Cohen four years before tie 
left the Department served as a member of the board 
of directors of the Association of American Indians 
Affairs, which had headquarters in New York, and since 
194-S he has served as its legal counsel. In my .judg 
ment he has used this organization as his front. He 
has either directly or indirectly put out falsehoods, 
distorted information and misrepresentation of the 
worst type while posing as an idealistic lawyer whose 
main interest lies in helping the Indian people. 
Actually Mr. Cohen has a very substantial personal 
financial stake in the Indian law business both in 
terms of direct representation of the Indian tribes 
for a fee and through his consultant fees from the 
.joint efforts groups. 

"Without discussing this problem at length I 
would refer you again to Senate Report No. 8 of the 
Eighty-second Congress and to a document which is 
attached containing extracts from an article which Mr. 
Cohen succeeded in having published in the Yale Law 
Review together with our comments. The document is 
voluminous necessarily so because of the fact that 
Mr. Cohen knows how to take complex questions and 
misstate them in such a way that it is difficult to 
explain to you or to the general public what the real 
facts are without rather extended and detailed analysis 
of the seauence of event that were involved in the 
various incidents to which he refers. It is quite 
apparent that Mr. Cohen because of his knowledge of 
the laws, regulations and procedures of the depart 
ment, most of which he helped to formulate, is able 
to capitalize on any weak points in the laws, regu 
lations, procedures to embarrass and discredit the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs. He has done so on numerous 
occasions. One of his techniques is to encourage so- 
called tribal leaders to ask for authority to expend 
their tribal funds and utilize their resources as they 
see fit without having the trusteeship responsibility- 
removed from the shoulders of the Secretary of Interior 
and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. It has been 
evident that Mr. Cohen is very successful in aiding 
and abetting a group of alleged tribal leaders with a 
modicum of Indian blocd, some of whom have exploited 
other tribal members who are less competent then they 
are, through shady real estate deals or utilization 


of tribal funds to maintain themselves in power. He 
has also assisted them in bringing pressure on the 
Secretary of Interior and Congress to do things which 
are to their particular interest but not actually of 
interest to the tribal members as a whole. It is 
quite clear, from the information that we have deve 
loped, that Mr. Cohen is one of the prime movers, if 
not the prime mover, in the organization which Mr. 
Curry calls the Cohen Syndicate and which we call the 
"Joint Efforts Group" of lawyers who have twenty or 
more Indian claims contracts. This group is discussed 
in Senate Report No. 8 and further investigation of 
the group s activities is therein recommended. You 
will note that this Joint efforts agreement approach 
by the department produced some of the least favorable 
contracts from the Indian standpoint and all the 
claim contracts and agreements have been negotiated 
with the help of Mr. Cohen prior to my appointment as 
Commissioner. I might add that Mr. Cohen, at the time 
of my status as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, was 
receiving around $20,000 a year as consultant for this 
particular group of lawyers even though presumably he 
didn t have contracts of this type himself. I am sure 
that he had an interest in these contracts in addition 
to getting his consultant fees. 

"The eighth area that I would like to talk brief 
ly about has to do with the reorganization proposals 
in relation to the Bureau. A few months before I 
became Commissioner of Indian Affairs the Bureau under 
went a major reorganization. Area offices had just 
been established and the Bureau was starting to try to 
straighten out its lines of authority. Some Indian 
groups and many people who make a living out of de 
ploring the plight of the poor Indian immediately 
asked me after my appointment to reorganize the Bureau 
again. I personally made a quick survey of the situ 
ation and although I was not completely sold on every 
aspect of the previous reorganization I decided not to 
make any further drastic changes. I reached this 
decision partly because the Bureau had had many pre 
vious reorganizations and the morale of the personnel 
was very poor but even more importantly because the 
Indians and our personnel were confused on lines of 
authority and responsibility. Shortly after I decided 
that it would not be desirable to undertake any major 


reorganization a private management firm, the Booz- 
Allen Hamilton Management group, which had been hired 
by the Secretary to make management studies within the 
Department of Interior reported on our organization. 
Their report indicated the desirability of maintaining 
the present type of area set up with some minor changes 
most of which have been made subsequently. There con 
tinues to be a great deal of criticism against the area 
offices and much of this is inherent in the problem 
itself. We have attempted to delegate the maximum 
amount of the Commissioner s authority to the area 
offices for final decision in most problems affecting 
the daily life of the Indians. The area offices are 
the ones that have to say no to the many pressure 
groups that are attempting to defraud or mislead the 
Indians. Previously the NO had to come from the 
Washington office with many many months of delay and 
duplication of effort. I strongly recommend that 
before making any ma jor reorganization which v/ould 
eliminate the area office set-up, that you make a 
thorough study of the situation. It has taken almost 
three years to complete the realignment of delegations 
and to secure a clear-cut line of command and to pre 
pare a manual of procedures that is a clear-cut pro 
cedural operative manual. Any major disturbance in 
this line of command would cause great confusion both 
to the Indians and to the Bureau and to the Department 
personnel for a period of at least two years. 

"Area nine that has some problems involved that 
should be considered has to do with proposed legislation. 
Several weeks ago I discussed with you the question as 
to how we should handle the so-called California- 
Western Oregon Withdrawal Bills which were introduced 
in the last session of Congress by Senators Watkins 
and Anderson. The Oregon Bill was Senate 3004- and the 
California Bill was Senate 3005. These bills were 
prepared within the department and one or two revi 
sions need to be made in the California bill. They 
have not been introduced in this session of Congress. 
In accordance with our recent conversation, the Oregon 
bill was discussed with Senator Cordon and it was indi 
cated that he wished to study the matter to see whether 
he would introduce it. This matter is still in his 
hands. The California bill was discussed with Senator 
Knoxvland s office and we have had no report as to 


whether he desires to introduce this bill. This matter 
should be followed up closely and presented in this 
Congress if possible in order that the withdrawal pro 
gram can proceed on schedule in these states. Certain 
other withdrawal proposals with regard to four or five 
other tribes, bands or groups of Indians will probably 
be ready within the next thirty to sixty days that 
should be considered and sent forward to Congress for 

"Area ten has to do with some general comments that 
I would like to make before leaving the office of Com 
missioner. I was asked to take the job as Commissioner 
of Indian Affairs three different years beginning in 
the fall of 194-7, again in 194-8 and finally in the 
spring of 1950. I did not accept the job on the first 
two occasions because I knew something about the com 
plexities of the problems involved and had some doubt 
as to whether I could do an adequate job with the tools 
at hand and when it was offered to me in the spring of 
1950 I made it quite clear to the Secretary that I felt 
very strongly that the Bureau of Indian Affairs should 
get out of business as quickly as possible but that the 
job must be done with honor. I secured agreement before 
accepting the job on many points which I thought were 
essential if we were to get the job done. I believe 
for example that we should proceed with intensive pro 
gramming operations with the Indian tribes. I have 
found during my term as Commissioner that a great 
majority of the Indians are opposed to having the 
Bureau get out of business. This is particularly true 
of those Indians who are profiting through the exploi 
tation of their less competent neighbors. There are 
also many older Indians who feel insecure about the 
matter. I was a bit surprised to find that the feeling 
was so nearly unanimous and that there were only a few 
groups so far who have been willing to agree with the 
government on immediate withdrawal, or for that matter 
on discussing a definite plan for withdrawal at some 
time in the future. One of them is the Grand Ronde 
Siletz, a group in Oregon which you know about. In 
addition there are a number of groups and individuals 
ordinarily identified as friends of the Indians who are 
definitely opposed to any withdrawal action. Foremost 
are the lawyers such as James E. Curry, and Pelix Cohen 


and the Association on American Indian Affairs and the 
National Congress on American Indians. 

"In addition to the lawyers whom I have mentioned 
serving as legal counsel for the Association of Ameri 
can Indian Affairs and the National Congress for Ameri 
can Indians, there are some other people in groups many 
of whom are very good people who do not understand the 
complexities of this problem and have thus opposed 
action in relation to withdrawal. This has been evi 
denced by the fact that a strong attack was made on 
this office following the issuance of a memorandum of 
August 5, 1952, a copy of which is attached. 

"Also attached is a copy of a letter sent out to 
all tribes by Mr. Prank George, the executive director 
of the National Congress for American Indians, and 
copies of our letter and memorandum sent out as follow 
up to Mr. George s letter and a copy of the statement 
released by Mr. John Collier. I believe these docu 
ments will give you some understanding of what you 
face if you consider them along with the documentation 
that we have prepared with reference to the recent 
article presented by Felix Cohen and which is also 
attached to this memorandum. I think my record will 
bear out the fact that I believe very strongly that 
time is past due when many Indians should be released 
from all types of Federal supervision. While I have 
pointed out that many Indians do not wish this, I 
strongly feel that the trusteeship and other special 
forms of government services to the Indians are holding 
the Indians back politically, socially, and economi 
cally. The Bureau is ready to prepare proposals or 
has proposals in process in regard to many tribes 
similar to those that have been prepared on California 
and the Grande Ronde Siletz in Oregon. In order to 
implement these proposals and for the benefit of the 
Indians a strong hand will have to be taken both by i 
the Department and Congress. There are many other bits 
of evidence which I could supply but this memorandum 
is already too long. I am sorry I had to present this 
problem in this manner but I am sure that you will 
understand that I am trying to be helpful in giving 
you some of the experience that we have gained over 
the past nearly three years which I hope will be of 
some help to you and my successor." 


Lack Of Public Understanding Of The Indian Problem 

DSM: During the past few years there has been appro 
ximately half of the states of the United States with 
an Indian population for which the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs had some responsibility. This, of course, 
includes the state of Alaska which has come in as a 
state in recent years and which was not only respon 
sible for the Indians there but for native people such 
as Eskimos, Aleuts, etc. Most of these states, of 
course, lie west of the Mississippi River mainly 
because the eastern Indians were moved west by the 
Federal Government many, many years ago and established 
in Oklahoma in the then Indian territory. 

If they didn t move, they stayed on and hid out in 
certain other areas such as Mississippi, Alabama, 
Louisiana, Florida, North and South Carolina. The 
Eastern Seaboard states and the Northeastern states 
of the United States probably have seventy-five thou 
sand or one hundred thousand people of Indian blood 
most of whom are not under the supervision of the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs. Agreements were reached 
between the State of New .York and the Federal Govern 
ment many years ago, and the same is true of the State 
of Maine, whereby the states took over the supervision 
of the Indian lands and the Indian reservations so that 
the responsibility no longer lies with the Federal Gov 
ernment in those areas. Most of the Indians in the - 
other Eastern States are part of the general popula 
tion and do not live on lands that formerly belonged 
to the Indians, but are integrated into the popula 
tion generally. 

We had a great deal of pressure during my regime 
to accept a group in South Carolina back into the 
Federal fold because some of the goodwill people felt 
that they weren t being properly treated and that they 
needed protection. We did not feel that this was the 
way to give them the kind of protection they should 
have, so vie opposed the bringing them in again. 

The American Indian is often thought of by many 
people in the United States as a rural person and as a 


consequence they consider American Indians to be 
farmers. This was not generally true. The only 
Indians who did extensive farming were, the Pueblo 
and Hopi Indians in the New Mexico-Arizona area, who 
had received their grants of land from the Spanish 
conquistadors many many years ago and who were able 
to carry on undisturbed for a great many years in 
their fanning operations. These people really knew 
how to do dry land farming as well as irrigated 
farming. Outside of these however the forest Indians 
of the East and North and the Plains Indians of the 
Midwest and the fishing Indians of the Northwest did 
practically no farming; and any farming that was done 
by these Indian groups was done by squaws, who simply 
raised patches of squash to dry, corn which could be 
used as meal, and used as a part of their pemican 
which was made from buffalo meat, berries and many 
other things which they packed together into a kind 
of a combination of neat, grain and fruit that they 
could slice down all winter long. So it was a mis 
conception that Indians could be set up on a reser 
vation; provided with horses, wagons and a black 
smith; plows and a few other tools and that they 
could make their own way. They had no idea how to 
go about it. 

Finally an agriculture extension service was 
established to assisT; the Indians in carrying out 
their operations, and there are today some pretty 
good Indian farmers. Most of them are ranchers 
instead of farmers. They do pretty well at taking 
care of cattle and looking after the ranching phases 
of the program. As a matter of fact one of the pro 
blems on many of the reservations is that a few smart 
Indians have bought cattle and turned them loose. 
They have herded then and looked after them without 
paying any range fees and as a consequence the poorer 
tribe members are not getting out of it what they 


Many Indians Are Still Primitive 

DSM: Most Indians, of course, were primitive people 
who lived by hunting, fishing and by use of small 
tracts of land for production of corn and squash and 
that type of food. They lived the life of the nomad, 
because they moved from place to place and many of the 
tribes lived in part by poaching on the richer tribes 
and stealing their produce. The Navajos, for example, 
before the Civil War, got most of their food by wait 
ing until the Pueblos had harvested their crops and 
then they moved in and stole them. The Apaches did 
much of the same thing in the Southwest. So there 
were many, many tribal wars that went on throughout 
the years before they were put on reservations. They 
fought for various causes: trying to take over each 
others land, trying to take over each others women, 
trying to take over anything else of value. They were 
quite primitive. 

It was only in the late 1880 s that the Indian 
Wars between the troops of the United States and the 
Indians came to an end. Some of the latter wars were 
the Sioux wars in which Ouster and his army were 
killed off; and the Apache wars in the Southwest. The 
Apaches were finally taken to Oklahoma and put into 
compounds and practically ruined because they were 
supplied beef and other things and had absolutely 
nothing to do. They had been a very active people, 
of course, who poached on other Indians and who 
poached on white people but they were put behind 
bars, not exactly barn, but fences and guarded. They 
spent years there and became about as low in their 
living habits as anybody can possibly imagine. So up 
until sometime after the turn of the century there 
wasn t very much interest on the part of the American 
people generally in trying to bring the Indian into the 
civilized life of the so-called whites, or I should say 
maybe the so-called civilized whites, because most of 
the whites who had an interest in Indians were inter 
ested in exploiting them, taking over their lands, 
pushing them off of their lands, or some other type 
of exploitation. Even in some areas they were used 
as slaves, back in the old days. 


It was only after about 1920 that a much more 
humane attitude began to develop, so it has been 
only over the last forty or fifty years at the out 
side that much has been done about: 1, stopping the 
exploitation; 2, providing sound educational facili 
ties; and 3, encouraging Indians with ability not 
only to learn the ways of the white man but to enter 
into professional types of activities which have been 
the normal development of people in rural communities 

One of the problems had been that Indians were 
put on reservations and weren t even allowed to vote 
until the late 1940 s. I must add that Felix Cohen 
helped to carry the battle on that on the right side 
of the fence and did help to get the vote for Ameri 
can Indians for which he should be given credit, in 
contrast to his negative contribution to the Indian 

There has not been much outstanding contribution 
made by Indian individuals in terms of what we think 
of today as statesmanship, professional activities, or 
business activities. This doesn t mean that there 
aren t any highly intelligent Indians because there 
are, but unfortunately because of the fact that they, 
most of them, do live on reservations that are under 
the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the smart Indians have 
learned to vie with each other in handling tribal 
business and being the Indian politicos and many of 
them who are interested in this kind of activity ex 
ploit their poorer neighbors. It hasn t been a very 
pretty story. 

There have been people, of course, among the 
Indian tribes even before they were moved out of the 
south, among the so-called civilized tribes, who were 
very erudite and well educated people. One of the 
Cherokee Indians who was moved to Oklahoma, for 
example, developed a written language for the Cherokees 
which they had never had. This was an important con 
tribution, and there were many similar contributions 
of this type. American history is full of information 
about some of the great old chiefs who knew how to 
lead their warriors and to deal with the whites but 
not in the modern way. 


The Future For American Indians 

DSM: At present time I m most hopeful that over the 
next hundred years, seventy-five years, fifty years 
and even twenty-five years in many respects there 
will be Indians who will be emerging as active people 
in politics, as lawyers and doctors and professional 
people of various types, because nowadays many of them 
are going to the same schools as white people are, and 
they are getting the opportunity to go to college. We 
do have one Indian who is a Congressman from the Dakotas 
and perhaps we will have others moving up within the 
foreseeable future. 

As I look back over the problems involved in work 
ing with the Indians, in my job as Chief of the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs there are a number of different areas 
that need to be discussed. 

First of all, many of the problems, if not most 
of the problems, stem from things that had happened in 
past history. There has been a tendency, for example, 
for people who lived in the eastern part of the United 
States to think that all Indians were farmers when it 
just wasn t true. The only Indians who were farmers 
were the Hopis and the Publeos in the Southwest who 
were pretty good farmers and to try to adapt the pro 
gram on the various reservations, once the Indians 
were placed on reservations, to the kind of a program 
that the white man had been carrying out in the way of 
an economic program was not only a difficult task but 
an impossible task from the standpoint of getting ac 
ceptance on the part of most of the Indians. 

I have already mentioned my visit to the Sissiton 
area in North and South Dakota where the land had been 
allotted to both Indians and whites following the 
passage of the Allotment Act in 1887. The white people 
had the good sense to come in and pick the kind of land 
they were accustomed to farming, while the Indians, 
having had the kind of economy that was based upon 
hunting, fishing and the forest type of existence, 
picked the hill lands and the scrub lands. As a re 
sult they have nothing left today because the game is 


all gone, the fish is all gone, the population has 
increased, and consequently there is nothing but a 
big poor-house type of area in that particular terri 
tory. That is true in a number of reservations. Un 
fortunately, when Indians were placed on reservations 
they were generally placed in areas where the white 
man didn t want to farm, didn t want to live. They 
were put on scab lands and rough lands or in some 
cases forested lands. In some cases this turned out 
to be fortunate for the Indians, because there are 
two or three reservations that I can think of that 
have excellent forests which nowadays are providing 
a good income to the Indians. The Monominies of 
Wisconsin, the Klamath Indians of Oregon and some of 
the Indians in other parts of the country still have 
some pretty fair forest lands because at the time that 
they were placed on these lands forests were available 
rather generally and the white man wasn t so interested 
in virgin timber in the areas where Indians lived. 

Eastern Indians had a basic economy based upon 
water, forest, and game; the Midwestern Indians 
economy was based largely upon the buffalo and the 
picking of berries arid other fruits that were found 
to supplement the food and clothing that they got from 
the buffalo; the Northwest Indians were fishermen and 
the Pueblos, as already mentioned, were farmers. We 
the people of the United States throughout the years 
pulled the rug out from under all the Indians, except 
the Pueblos, by destroying their economy through cut 
ting down forests, eliminating game, killing off the 
buffalo or building dams so that the Northwest fish 
ermen had great difficulty in finding the kind of 
fishing spots that they once enjoyed. 

The Indian owned the whole land in the sense 
that they had occupied the land, with no white man 
on the continent, until Columbus arrived. The reser 
vations were set aside for their use and in some cases 
a much larger area was set aside than they now have. 
For example in western South Dakota where a very large 
area was set aside for the use of the Sioux gold was 
discovered in the area where the Indians had been re 
located and the white man found a way to beat the 
Indians out of the land on which there was gold, or 


it was suspected there was gold. The Indians were 
moved into more and more limited areas. 

This sort of thing went on, and the thing that 
is most difficult today is the fact that the Indians 
generally who are under the trusteeship arrangement 
with the Bureau of Indian Affairs have lived chiefly 
on reservations and as a consequence they are insecure 
when they move into any other area. 

In the case of the Indian, because he is used to 
associating with his own kind, he has had very little 
association with the outside world, and when he moves 
out of the reservation very often he wants to go back 
fairly soon because he feels quite insecure otherwise. 
So one of the biggest problems facing the Government 
is to assist the Indian in moving into the main stream 
of American life and breaking that pattern of isola 
tion. Reservation life leads to a continuation of 
certain old ways of life and nowadays leads to a wel 
fare type of state for the simple reason that there is 
not enough work available in many of the reservation 
areas. So poverty, problems of relocation, problems 
of education, problems of health and sanitation all 
go more or less hand in hand. 

Poverty basically is a very great problem to 
which we in the United States have contributed through 
out the years and like many people who are living in 
the slums of the cities the educational facilities may 
be there but they are not utilized as well as in 
certain other areas. 

Sanitation also becomes a very real problem^ in 
fact there is a whole complex of problems which have 
grown out of the fact that people who have not yet 
moved into what we think of as the civilized world 
are at the same time expected to do the things which 
they have not learned to do in their early environ 

As a result of all this, they have been exploited 
not only by the white man in taking over the more 
valuable lands, lands that had developed oil and gold, 
but they have also been exploited in more recent years 
by their own Indian politicos. Every tribe that I had 


any experience with hs.d some smart, sharp Indians who 
lived pretty largely off of the exploitation of poorer 
Indian neighbors. Unfortunately the Indian politicos 
have learned all of the bad tricks of their compatriot 
politicians and not tco many of the good tricks, so 
nowadays the control of Indians by other Indians is a 
very real problem. 

Indian Claims 

DSM: The Indian lawyer problem is very closely asso 
ciated with the problem of the Indian politicos, 
because the lawyers very often worked with the 
politicos and give them every break possible in order 
to have their support in order to maintain their legal 
business, whether it was claims work or some other 
more general type of legal activity. This has been 
one of the very real problems throughout the years 
and certainly throughout the recent years, when 
Indian claims are being presented to the Indian 
Claims Commission. 

During the 1940 a an Indian Claims Bill was 
passed. It was presented by the then Senator O Mahoney 
from Wyoming who said he wanted to get away from the 
individual claims that were coming up from time to time 
and having to face them individually so he prepared a 
bill and the bill was passed which set up a Indian 
Claims Commission of three people who were expected 
to receive applications for claims and to have the 
hearings held and claims settled by the early 1950 s. 
As a matter of fact the Indian Claims Commission is 
still in existence; three new members were recently 
appointed, as of December 19S7. At the time of these 
appointments it was stated that they homed to com 
plete all the claims by 1972; ot goes on and on. 

Many of the Indians hnve already rotten settle 
ments of millions of dollars in claims which is 
generally divided among the tribesmen, sometimes the 


money doesn t last long when that happens. 

The problem of planning for the withdrawal of the 
services of the Bureau was one of the very real pro 
blems that we tackled during my regime. There was 
strong opposition from the so-called Indian Associa 
tions and also from the Indian politicos, because 
frankly they have a good thing going. As a conse 
quence we got very little cooperation on the part of 
the tribal leaders and others to try to work out plans 
which would look toward the final independence of the 
Indians if they did want to live on the reservations, 
handle their own business or have it put under some 
other kind of a trust; or to move out and move into 
other areas into professional and skilled jobs. 

Are The Indians A Dying Race? 

DSM: The question is "Are the Indians on the way out as 
a people?" or "Will they continue to be Indians in the 
sense of recognized type of people?" This is the 
American Indian that we are talking about. I think 
the Indians are on the way out as a separate or iso 
lated people, but it may take hundreds of years. I 
feel quite strongly that integration is already in 
process. It will increase as communications between 
Indians and the outside public increases and it will 
speed up, I think, from here on out. 

The old rites that were practiced by the Indians 
in initiating young men into the tribe are going out 
of existence pretty fast. I remember of talking to 
some of the old people among the Pueblos who were 
bemoaning the fact that many of their youngsters were 
not going through the process of earning their right 
to be accepted members of the tribe way back in 1950 
or 1951 when I was Commissioner. I am sure that this 
problem of loss of interest on the part of the young 
people and maintaining the old rites is going to be 
a factor in the integration process. Some of them 


have gone out as various types of workers in Pueblo 
country. It is one of the few places where the 
economy was not wrecked by the white man for the 
reason that the Spanish conquistadors when they came 
in made peace with the Indians and assigned large 
tracts of land which were the lands that they had 
been using for their continued use and they still 
have them. 

The problem today, however, is that during the 
last twenty-five years or fifty years with better 
health facilities, with the decrease in the death 
rate among babies and youngsters, the population in 
these areas as the population in most other parts of 
the country has increased so much that there is not 
enough land for these people to maintain their tribal 
units without having some of the people go outside to 
work. This going outside to work is a factor. Many 
of the Pueblo Indians; go out now as younger people, 
work outside for some years and when they retire they 
come back to live in the Pueblo or near the Pueblo 
where they can be near their family and friends. 

The economy of the Pueblos was the only that had 
not been wrecked and even it is changing drastically 
now mainly because of the fact that there are just too 
many people to live on the limited areas assigned to 
them years ago. 

Incidentally, I think that there is no Pueblo 
with the possible exception of the Hopi, whose young 
sters are not going into the public schools under con 
tract nowadays, rather than having separate schools, 
which of course is a. factor in the integration pro 

When I was asked during the time that I was 
Commissioner how long I thought it would be before 
the Indian Bureau could withdraw and get out of busi 
ness I alwa.ys refused to give an answer, because 
there were too many factors to consider to make an 
estimate. For example, getting out of the Kavaj o 
reservation where there are now probably about eighty 
thousand people who have been living a life of nomads 
and sheep herders- and who until recently at least 
eighty percent of then did not speak the English 


language is an entirely different problem than the 
problem of the Pueblos. Each tribal situation is 


In Oklahoma for example where reservations were 
eliminated many years ago there are still two area 
offices rendering services to Indians in Oklahoma, 
yet they are not on reservations but on their own 
private lands, some of them communal, but most of 
them individually owned. It is well known that some 
of the Oklahoma Indians are rich because of the oil 
strikes in the oil country of Oklahoma. 

Five Hundred Years Iler.ce 

DSM: I have said many times that five hundred years 
from now we probably will not have an Indian problem 
in the sense of having a separate group of people. 
Many of the Indians who have not lived in reservations 
throughout many many years now in the eastern part of 
the United States are pretty well integrated. In 
addition to other types of integration there is a 
great deal of intermarriage between whites and Indians 
and in the Carolina countries there has been consid 
erable intermarriage between Negroes and Indians so 
that many of the Cherokees from that area have both 
Indian and Negro blood. It is obvious that this pro 
cess of gradual absorption into the general pattern of 
the country will inevitably continue, although it. is 
slow due to isolation at the reservation level, pro 
blems of fear and insecurity when they move off the 
reservation. This is being changed by the fact that 
the Bureau of Indian Affairs is now trying to provide 
assistance to young people in particular who do move 
off, to see that they get the kind of help they need 
and the kind of association that will keep them rea 
sonably happy and secure. 


Looking Back At The Indian Affairs Assignment 

DSM: In spite of all cf the battles that we waged with 
the associations who are presumably working in behalf 
of the Indians, with Indian lawyers, and with a former 
Commissioner, my service as Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs was a most interesting one. I visited all of 
the agencies with one exception. The agency in Florida 
I didn t visit because I didn t want to go down during 
the wintertime and be charged with traveling on govern 
ment funds to get a Florida vacation! However ? I have 
visited the Seminoles in Florida as a private indi 
vidual. The Seminoles are scattered around the state 
now, having hidden out for a great many years in order 
to keep from being moved from that area into the Indian 
territory in Oklahoma where most of the Seminoles and 
the five other so-called civilized tribes were moved. 

There are still Cherokees in North Carolina, and 
some other tribes in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana 
and a fairly large group of Seminoles in Florida. I 
didn t realize until after I became Commissioner that 
most of the Seminoles had been moved and there are a 
large group of Seminoles in Oklahoma along with the 
other tribes that wex-e moved out there. 

One of the big battles that we had continuously 
during the time that I was Commissioner was the battle 
to keep the record straight as far as the officers of 
the Indian Associations were concerned. The Associa 
tion of American Indian Affairs sent out their execu 
tive officer every summer to visit many of the reser 
vations in the West and to cook up stories of neglect, 
of ineptness on the part of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, and any kind of stories that would touch the 
hearts of people, in order to raise money. We recog 
nized very quickly after the first round of these 
that these stories appeared in the newspapers under 
the name of Oliver LaFarge who was President of the 

Ife didn t go out to pick up the stories but he 
could write well and after the information was pro 
vided to him the papers published his material because 


he was a well known writer. We began to rebutt these 
statements and when people wrote in to ask us about 
the truth of the matter we took the time and went to 
the effort to get all of the information available on 
the question and mailed it out to them. I remember one 
case of an individual out in Denver who had been sub 
scribing twenty-five dollars or fifty dollars a year 
to the American Association of Indian Affairs for some 
time who wrote in and we wrote him fully, a three or 
four page letter, in response to one of these articles 
that had appeared. We got a letter back from him in 
which he said that he had sent his last money. He had 
believed what they had said and he had never heard the 
other side of the story and he was delighted to have 
it. Naturally this kind of thing didn t make us 
friends of the people who were trying to raise money 
and of the people who were doing it by using the 
Bureau as a whipping boy for their money raising 

One other incident that I remember, the Congress 
of American Indians was one of those that was always 
picking at the Bureau and was finding ways and means 
to dig up so called dirt and spread it around. They 
also tried to have a hand in running the operations 
of the Bureau to suit themselves, and I remember quite 
distinctly attending a meeting in Philadelphia of a 
group of people from the Association of American Indian 
Affairs, the Congress of American Indians and two or 
three other smaller organizations. The question was 
raised as whether or not we had decided to continue to 
have an advisory council to advise with the Commissioner, 
I knew something of the history of the past advisory 
council and I hadn t made up my mind whether I was 
going to continue it and I had made this statement when 
Ruth Musrat Bronson, who was one of the most active of 
the Congress of American Indians group, spoke up and she 
was supported by the Association of American Indian 
Affairs executive officer in which she said "We think 
you should have a council and furthermore we don t 
think you should make any policy decisions without 
consultation with the council." 

I immediately said, "Well I can give you an answer 
to that one. Policy decisions often need to be made 
four or five times a week. The council would not be 


available I am sure when these decisions had to be 
made and I don t intend to handicap my job as Commis 
sioner and to tie down my responsibilities in such a 
way that I turn it over to somebody else to make my 
decisions." Well, this didn t make me very popular, 
but nevertheless it was the kind of thing that we had 
to deal with. By the way, one of the old time 
Commissioners, one of the Quakers who was Commissioner 
back in the late 1920s, was at that meeting and he 
nearly ^Sodded his head off when I gave this answer 
and he stood up immediately and told the group that 
he thought I was right ; that nobody could run the show 
if he was expected to call somebody in every time he 
made a decision. This was typical of the kind of 
thing that we had to buck. 

These interest groups have been carried on 
throughout the years because a lot of well-to-do 
people have salved their consciences by contributing 
money to Indian work. There is a rather large group 
of Quakers who are interested because the Quakers at 
one time operated many of the reservations and did it 
practically free of charge because they were interested 
in seeing that these people got the right kind of 
treatment. Unfortunately the Quaker organization that 
now exists, or did when I was Commissioner, have fallen 
for the same sort of pattern that developed several 
years ago of insisting that no Indian lands be sold or 
disposed of. 

One of the men who came in from Oklahoma to work 
with the Interior Department in the area of oil was a 
Vice President of the Phillips Oil Company. He hap 
pened to be chairman of one of the Oklahoma tribes. 
He was perhaps one-sixteenth Indian, but any Indian 
blood will qualify you as an Indian in Oklahoma, and 
there is nobody in Oklahoma that I know of who isn t 
proud to have some Indian blood. He had told me that 
he didn t think any Indian lands should be sold, so I 
invited him to come down and spend an hour with me 
sometime when he had time, which he did. 

I pointed out to him that the Indian lands that 
I had seen in Oklahoma were the poorest farm lands in 
Oklahoma and that to insist that they hold on to those 
lands and try to make a living off them was not in the 


interest of the Indians and if they thought Indians 
should be farming and if Indians wanted to farm they 
should be given the type of credit and the type of 
support which they needed to go out and buy good farm 
lands, as most other farmers would do, and not be 
required to hold on to the old post oak, or scrub oak 
lands which they were trying to operate as farms in 
eastern Oklahoma and in other parts of the United 
States. Well, I went through the whole process. I 
told him about the Sissiton experience which I have 
mentioned where the Indians when they had a chance 
to take allotments had selected land that was poor 
farming land because it had game and fish and now had 
none. I convinced him. I found out later however, 
that the pressures were so great on him that he reversed 
himself again but at the time I convinced him. 

This idea of not selling Indian lands goes back 
to the days when the Indians did lose lands that white 
men wanted because it had oil or it had gold or it had 
something else that was really valuable or it was good 
farming land. There was exploitation, there is no 
question about it, but that exploitation has been pretty 
well over for quite some time because the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs has set up provisions for helping to 
protect the Indian trust lands. The matter of holding 
onto lands just because they are Indian lands is one 
that has developed into a real problem. 




DSM: In 1952 General Eisenhower was elected to the 
Presidency. It is the tradition that on the first 
of January after an election when there is a change 
in political parties, every one who has been a 
Presidential Appointee, submits his resignation to 
his department or to his superior officer. Among 
others, of course, I submitted my resignation. 

I heard nothing from it until the thirteenth of 
March, some weeks after the President had been inau 
gurated. On that date I got a letter signed by the 
President saying that my services would be discon 
tinued upon March 20, one week hence. I got a call 
from Orme Lewis who was Assistant Secretary, who had 
been appointed in the meantime, telling me that it 
was coming and he apologized and said "I m sorry that 
I had to give you this message." Incidentally I found 
out later that former Governor McKay who had become 
Secretary had recommended that I be continued, but the 
Republican National Committee who were riding high in 
the saddle didn t want anybody of the old regime. So 
out I went. 

I might add that I doubt very much whether 
President Eisenhower even read the letter that he 
signed because he is the only man that I had known 
before he became President and I knew him and his 
brother Milton quite well and I am sure that he signed 
dozens of letters that came across his desk without 
looking at them at that time in order to go along 
with the Republican National Committee. 

I regretted having to leave in the midst of a 
program that I thought was worthwhile; on the other 
hand I knew it was coming, and I had no ill feelings 
then and I have no ill feelings today, because of the 
fact that I was fired. I might say that part of the 
pressure for the change came from the Association of 


American Indian Affairs and the Congress of American 
Indians. In view of what I have said here about my 
relationship with these associations it wasn t sur 
prising that they didn t want me to continue as 
Commissioner; but it was an interesting experience. 
I wouldn t have missed it for a great deal. I 
learned a great deal not only about Indians but 
about human nature in general and one of the things 
that I learned was that there are more experts in the 
field of Indian affairs then in any other field that 
I know of in the United States of America. 

I Become A Civil Service Retiree 

DSM: The job as Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian 

Affairs was my last full time job with the government. 
During the fall of 1953 I became a civil service 
retiree at age sixty-two. Before reviewing my 
activities from that time to the present, (1969) I 
would like to reminisce about some people and experi 
ences that contributed to my development and education 
and to philosophize a bit about things I have learned 
throughout my years of public service. 

Congressional Friends And Political Contacts During 
Fly Career In Government 

DSM: During the seventeen years or more that I was 

appearing before Congressional Committees and making 
almost daily contact with members of the Senate and 
the House, I learned to know some wonderful people 
who were occasionally demanding but usually were most 


Senator Carl Hayden 

DSM: Among those wae Carl Hayden who in 1%8 was the 
Dean of the U.S. Senate. He wan nearly ninety years 
old but he still had his faculties and was still the 
chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Carl 
li ayden was one of the best politicians that I have 
ever worked with. 1 remember quite distinctly after 
having a visit with him in company with Leland Barrows 
back during the days when I was Director of the W.R.A. 
jbeland said "He is the kind of a person that a poli 
tician ought to be. He takes people from over on the 
right, people from over here on the left and brings 
them together here in the middle." In other words he 
is always looking for a compromise. 

I shall always remember one of those problems 
that he faced. He didn t quite know what to do to 
resolve it but he finally figured out the answer. 
During the days of the War Relocation Authority the 
people in the Salt River Valley of Arizona were quite 
concerned for fear that a lot of the Japanese Ameri 
cans were going to settle there and they didn t like 
the prospective competition. There were a few Japanese 
Americans already there and they knew that the com 
petition was something that they didn t want to face. 
So they hired a so-called public relations man who was 
not very ethical. They put on quite a campaign against 
the Japanese Americans and stirred things up to the 
point where it began to worry Senator Hayden and of 
course it worried me. We already hod two relocation 
centers in Arizona, one near Parker, on the western 
side of the state, and one that we called Gils in the 
Gila Indian Reservation a few miles out of Pheonix. 
Carl Ilayden talked to me about it a number of times 
and finally when General McNarney who represented the 
Army before the Appropriations Committee at that time, 
appeared before them he took up the question with him. 
General McKarney .just brushed it off. It wasn t some 
thing that he had anything to do with so he didn t do 

So Carl ila.yden waited until the Congress adjourned 
for that session. Then he went down to the White 


House and saw President Roosevelt and he asked the 
President to send the Inspector General of the Army 
down to Phoenix. He told him what he wanted him to 
do was to establish himself in the Westward Ho Hotel 
and to call in the leaders of this group down there 
one by one and to get real tough with them and to let 
them know that the U.G. Government felt that they were 
interfering with the v;ar effort. 

The Inspector General came over to see me to get 
the lay of the land. I gave it to him and I said "Of 
course, you have talked to Senator Hayden," He smiled 
and said "Yes, I have talked with Senator Hayden." So 
they went to Phoenix s.nd established themselves in the 
hotel and they called these men in from out of the Salt 
River Valley, and they really scared them. We had no 
more trouble in the Salt River Valley. They Just 
piped down and everything went beautifully. Of course, 
they never knew that Carl Hayden had any part in this 
business and we never told anybody while he was still 
in the Senate. 

He was always the. kind of person who was repre 
senting his people and he pressed for things that he 
thought they wanted. He seldom made a request in 
which he said "It must be done." He simply proposed 
it , and if we had very good reason against it he d 
say "Well give me a letter that I can send out to my 
constituents about it, giving your explanation." I have 
a tremendous regard for Carl Hayden the man in the 
Senate who seldom made a speech on the floor but did 
his work in committees and behind the scenes. He is 
greatly respected and loved by the people who have 
worked with him. 

Senator Clinton Andernon 

DSM: Another chap from that part of the world that I 
have learned to know uuite well is 01 inton Anderson 
who came first to the House of Representatives from 


New Mexico. At that time I was connected with the 
Soil Conservation Service and it was suggested by our 
Regional Director, Hugh Calkins, that we get in touch 
with the new Congressman from New Mexico and fill him 
in on the conservation program. I was elected to do 
this. I called him up, made a date and went up to 
see him. He wasn t too busy so he put his feet up on 
a bench and leaned back and said "Tell me about it." 
We must have spent two hours together. He was inter 
ested both in New Mexico and South Dakota, which was 
his home state. He had moved to New Mexico because as 
a younger man he had developed tuberculosis and he 
thought that was a better place for him to live. 

After 1 had filled him in on a lot of information 
he wanted about soil e.rosion, water control, and re 
lated matters, he asked me to send him all the litera 
ture that we had that had a bearing on his part of the 
v/orld and on South Dakota. This was my first intro 
duction but I saw a nreat deal of Clinton Anderson in 
later years. I pot quite well acquainted with him 
durinp the period in the House and later I got m-uch 
better acquainted with him as a Senator. Dux-ing the 
days when I was Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs we had trouble with some of the so-called 
Indian lawyers who were always a thorn in the flesh, 
We talked to Clint Anderson about it so he set up a 
series of hearings, he practically chased one of them 
out of business with our help which we were very happy 
about. This lawyer s name was Jim Curry. He had 
gathered up a great many contracts on Indian claims 
for presentation before the Claims Commission, by 
having the help of an Indian organization for which he 
was the lawyer go out and get him these jobs. He had 
them all the way from Alaska to the Southwest and 
across the country and I m sure that ultimately he 
probably made a million dollars out of it because he 
sold his interest in these to somebody else for twenty- 
five percent interest and as these claims began to be 
come due he got a large return out of it without doing 
much about it. 

I remember one other incident to show how the 
mind of a good politician works. One of the Pueblo 
groups in New Mexico had an excellent deposit of gravel 
and there were several people who were interested in 


getting in on this gravel for construction work. There 
was one chap who was already using gravel from this 
place, by the name of Loudermilk. There was another 
group who moved in and who got Senator Chavez s 
brother to serve as their attorney. They put the 
pressure on us to let them take over an exclusive 
contract. We weren t willing to do this; but the 
pressure got very heavy. So I went up one day and 
talked to Senator Anderson. I said "Senator, we have 
no interest in pushinp; Mr. Loudermilk out, but we have 
an interest in dividing up this gravel down there so 
that we can not only take the pressure off but to give 
these Pueblo people an opportunity to make the most 
they can out of it. r He looked at me and said "I don t 
care what you do as long as you let Louderrailk continue 
to have gravel." So we let about five people in with 
a contract that provided for a somewhat higher price. 
v/e put the money in the tribal fund for the Indians. 
But this again is typical of a man who is willing to 
compromise. We had great support from him and I shall 
alv/ays remember the nood relationships I have had with 
Clinton />.nderson. 

Senator Richard Russell 

DSM: Another Senator whom I worked v/ith for a number of 
years and for whom I have a very high regard is 
Richard Russell of Georgia. While Richard Russell and 
1 do not hold the same philosophy in many respects 
including the race problem we did get along very well 
in the days when I was a member of the staff of the 
Woil Conservation Service. He supported our program 
at that time and he was a very strong supporter of the 
Farm Security program and most of the other New Deal 
programs. During those days I could go to his office 
at any time that I wished for a conference with him, 
to get his advice which I very often did. At that 
time he was Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Sub- 
Committee. He always handled our appropriation hear 
ing. After the first year with S.C.S., I presented the 


detailed information about our budget and consequently 
we saw a good deal of each other. Dick Russell is one 
of the top politicos in my opinion. With his friends, 
he is a man of honor. He never pressed us to do some 
thing that was impossible. 

At one stage we had a chap on the rolls from 
Georgia in the fairly early days of the Soil Conserva 
tion Service who wasn t producing and we told our 
regional director, that he could get rid of him. This 
word came back to Richard Russell and he called me up 
and said "Dillon, I have got to have that man on the 
payroll." I said "All right, Dick. We have got to 
have him off within a reasonable time. How long do 
you have to have him?" He said "Three months." I 
said "We ll keep him three months." At the end of 
three months we dropped him. This was the kind of 
relationship that we had and it was wonderful. We 
could talk to each other on first name basis and we 
understood each other. 

Senator Mike Mansfield 

DSM: Mike Mansfield, the present Majority Leader of the 
Senate, is another great man in my opinion. I had more 
contact with Mike when he was a member of the House 
than I have had since he became a member of the Senate. 
I have only seen him occasionally in recent years 
because I have not been in Government. 

During the time he was a member of the House he 
was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. When I 
was President of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs 
it was important that we get a new charter. The one we 
had only lasted another year. I went up and talked 
with the acting chairman of the committee, Congressman 
Richards, and he said "I m favorable and I would like 
to do something about it, and I ll be glad to appoint 
a sub-committee to have hearings on the matter. Whom 
would you like as chairman?" I said "Mike Mansfield." 
So he made Mike Mansfield chairman, and we had a good 


sub-committee. We got our charter through the House 
and we got it through the Senate. We had a very 
close working relationship. Here again I could always 
stop in to see him at any time. In the days when I 
was Director of the War Relocation Authority when I 
occasionally needed counsel about what to do about the 
Dies Committee and others who were on our necks, Mike 
Mansfield was one of those whom I would talk to on 
occasion, and he was always willing to take ten or 
fifteen minutes to advise about the next move. 

Congressman George Mahon 

DSM: George Mahon who is now Chairman of the House 
Appropriations Committee, comes from the Panhandle 
country of Texas. I shall always remember that when 
George was a young Congressman back in the 1930 s he 
came down to my office, and said he needed a dam in 
his district. It so happened that there had been a 
dam built, in the adjoining district which Marvin Jones 
represented, by the land usage agency of the old 
Resettlement Administration which was finally trans 
ferred to us. I told him that I was sorry but that I 
did not believe we were in a position to build any 
dams. The dam building period was pretty well past. 
I said "Tell me, Congressman, do you really think it 
would be a good expenditure of money to build a dam 
down there even if we had the money?" He said "That 
isn t the question. My answer is no, I don t think it 
is a good expenditure of money; but my constituents do 
and for that reason I m asking for a dam." I said 
"I can understand that perfectly. All I can do is to 
write you a letter and tell you about the situation 
in regard to a limitation of funds and give you some 
thing that you can send back to your constituents.* 1 

This was the beginning of our acquaintance. I 
saw a great deal of him during the following few years. 
He was always decent, he was always ready to sit down 
and talk sense. Here again was a man whom I learned 


to regard so highly that during the days when we were 
under stress I occasionally went up to see him for 
advice. I remember one time I went up and called him 
off the House floor to talk with him, about what to 
do about Congressmen Costello and Dies, who were 
harrassing us in the W.R.A. days. He told me to go 
ahead and take care of our business and not worry too 
much about it, but if it got too bad to come back and 
he and a few other people would go on the floor and 
see what they could do about it. George Man on is a 
conservative, a very solid, down-to-earth realist and 
a great person. 

Congressman "Ghet" Holofield 

DSM: "Chet" Holofield was a member of the House of 

Representatives at the time I was Director of the War 
Relocation Authority. He was a young Congressman from 
Los Angelos. I shall always remember how I met "Chet" 

V/e had a young chap on our staff in the first year 
or two of W.R.A. by the name of Gibson who was working in 
our Community Affairs Division who came from Califor 
nia. He knew we were having a great deal of difficulty 
particularly with the West Coast Congressmen, most of 
them from California. So he came into my office one 
day and said "I don t know whether you will want me to 
do anything about this or not but I know Chet Holo 
field and if you have no objection I would like to go 
up and see him and tell him something about W.R.A. s 
problems and about what your problems are, to see if 
I can t arrange for him to pick up some of the chips 
and do something about it." I said "Go right ahead." 
1 briefed him and he went to the Hill. 

In three or four days I got a letter from Chet 
Holofield raising a lot of questions which I m sure 
had been discussed at the time Gibson was on the Hill. 


I replied to them in writing. A few days later he got 
in touch with me by phone and said he thought it would 
be a good thing if we had a meeting of the California 
delegation. He said "If you like I ll ask Clarence 
Lee who is chairman of the delegation to call a meet 
ing. " I said "I would be very happy to have that 
happen." So he arranged with Clarence Lee to call a 
meeting of the California delegation. I went up still 
not having met Chet Holofield and didn t know what he 
looked like. He was a little late getting to the 
meeting and Clarence Lee, the chairman, was getting 
itchy and had about decided to go ahead without Holo 
field but Just at that moment he walked in. I was 
sitting near the aisle where I could intercept him 
and I simply raised up out of my seat and shook hands 
and said "I m Dillon Myer" and he said "Fine" and then 
went right on up front. 

Holofield explained to the California delegation 
that he had a number of questions which had been 
bothering him. He had gotten in touch with me and I 
had been so helpful about answering them that he 
thought the rest of the delegation ought to have the 
opportunity to hear some of the same answers, so he 
had arranged for this meeting. He introduced me and 
we had a real session as we did four or five times 
subsequently through the next few months. It was an 
opening wedge into the delegation and the opportunity 
to get acquainted with these Congressmen many of whom 
felt that they had to batter us day after day after 
day because they thought it was the politic thing to 

As soon as that meeting was over Chet Holofield 
and a young man by the name of George Outland who was 
in Congress only a term or two closed in as we came 
out and guided me to Eolofield s office. They sat 
down with me and told me about the "facts of life" as 
far as California politics were concerned. They said 
that they wanted to be helpful and that I could call 
on them at any time. 

I shall always remember one suggestion that Holo 
field made. He said "I think you ought to send a mine- 
ograph statement to the whole West Coast delegation 
every time something happens that the Hearst papers 


and others blow up into something that isn t quite 
right. Keep them informed week after week, and month 
after month so that people like Dick Welch (Congress 
man from San Francisco) will have his feet tied to the 
floor if he has the facts so that he can t say he 
didn t know about them." We adopted this practice 
and it was most helpful. It enabled Congressmen to 
be in a position where they had to know that I had 
sent them information giving our side of the events 
which was very often s-.t variance with what went into 
the newspapers, and very often at variance from what 
was being fed out of the Dies Committee s Mr. Stripling 
and others. I shall always give my heartfelt thanks 
to "Chet" Holofield and to George Outland for the fact 
that they were willing to be the buffers. 

It so happened after the Tule Lake incident in 
the early days of 19^- the whole California delegation 
with few exceptions and some of the Washington and Ore 
gon delegations, twenty-one out of thirty-three V/est 
Coast Congressmen, signed a petition to President 
Roosevelt to have me fired. I was very pleased to 
know that "Chet" Holofield and George Outland and John 
Coffee from the State of Washington and several others 
were not on the petition. Some of the others were 
away at the time but several of these people were 
courageous enough to give us the support that we 
needed. I occasionally still stop by and say hello 
to "Chet" Holofield, because I feel very strongly 
that a man of his type should know how much he is 

Congressman Charles Levy 

DSM: There are two other people who are now out of the 
Congress that I want to talk about briefly. The first 
one is the late Charles Levy who at the time I first 
knew him was Congresonan from the Spokane area of the 
State of Vasiiinrton. This was back in the days when I 
wan with the Soil Conservation Service. 

One of the reasons that I got so well acquainted 
with Congressman Levy was the fact that he was on the 
sub-committee of the House Agriculture Appropriations 
Committee. We saw ham regularly as we went before the 
committee with our budget. At one stage I presented 
a budget for small water development projects which 
had been transferred to us with the Land Use Division. 
Charles Levy spoke up and said he thought this was 
something that should be the responsibility of the 
Bureau of Reclamation. When the bill came on the 
floor he bucked our appropriation for this particular 
item on the grounds that it did belong in the Bureau 
of Reclamation. So I called up the Chief of the 
Bureau of Reclamation whom I knew at that time and 
told him about the problem. He said "We are not inter 
ested in doing this kind of work." I said, "Would you 
be willing to meet with Congressman Levy and me if I 
got in touch with the Congressman and arranged a meet 
ing?" He said "I would be delighted." So we had the 
meeting. Charles Levy came down and met with us. 

The Chief of the Bureau of Reclamation told him 
that there was a mistake about this. It wasn t some 
thing that they could do or were really interested in 
or were equipped to do but it was something which the 
S.C.S. was equipped to do. So Levy accepted the state 
ment and went back to the Hill. At the first oppor 
tunity he got he got up on the floor of the House and 
said he wanted to correct a mistake. This was the 
first time I had ever known a Congressman to announce 
publicly that he had made a mistake ! He corrected 
his mistake by saying that he was wrong about this 
and he now wanted to support the program for small 
water development of the type that we were presenting 
and gave his reasons for it. I called him up and said 
"Congressman, this is the first time that 1 have ever 
known a politician who was willing to admit to the 
world that he had made a mistake, and I just want to 
give you a great big pat on the back and say thanks." 

As a result we got to be very close friends. 
After he became a judge in Western Washington, when 
ever I went that way : . always stopped in to see him 
and had a good visit with him. He was a wonderful man. 

Congressman N orris Po u Ison 

DSI l: The other Congressman whom I want to mention 

briefly is Norris Poulson. Rorris was a young Con 
gressman during the "tattle" of the War Relocation 
Authority in the early 194-0 s, who was a member of the 
group who met with the California delegation that I 
mentioned previously. We thought Norris was willing 
to listen and Bob Cozzens who was in Washington at the 
time and 1 spent quite a little time with Poulson 
trying to convince birr that he shouldn t go off the 
deep end. But he evidently thought his political 
interests were strong; enough on the other side that 
he finally went on the floor of the House and mnde a 
scathing attack on rce personally and on .v .R.A. Natural 
ly we didn t quit speaking to him but we didn t see as 
much of him as we had previously. 

He then was out of Congress for two terms and was 
reelected. While I was in the Capitol building one day 
shortly after I became the Commissioner of the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs which was six or seven years after 
his attack, I ran into Norris Poulson. We stopped and 
shook hands and he said "Dillon, I have been intending 
to tell you something and here s a good opportunity. 
I just wanted to tell you that you were right and I was 
wrong back in the days of W.R.A." I said "Norris, I 
appreciate that and I always kind of thought that when 
you really understood what it was all about you pro 
bably would change your mind. I appreciate it very 
much. " 

vvell, this wasn t the end of it. The first time 
our Bureau of Indian Affairs Appropriation Bill came 
on the floor a big husky "blow-hard" Congressman-at- 
large from Ohio, named Bender, got up and took out- 
after me personally and made a scathing statement in 
some respects very similar to the one that Korris 
Poulson had made seven or eight years before. Lo and 
behold, Norris Poulson got to his feet the minute he 
had an opportunity and said "You are completely mis 
taken. I know Dillon Myer. I once made a statement 
about him myself that I now regret because I have come 
to the conclusion that Dillon I iyer was right and I was 


wrong in those days, and I still think very highly of 
him. I am sure that you will find that you are wrong 
about Dillon Myer." 

I called Norris Poulson after I read the record 
and thanked him for what he had done and said again 
that this was the second incident that I had ever 
known where a politician had been willing to get up 
on the floor and say that he had been wrong. He said 
"Well, Dillon, it almost got me licked. I came off 
the floor and Bender had barged out of the door and 
he grabbed me by the lapels and I thought he was going 
to kill me. I stood my ground and he let loose pretty 
soon but he was so mad because we were both Republicans 
and he couldn t understand why I had let him down." 

One other little incident. Some time after we 
had finished the W.R.A. program and after I had resigned 
from the job as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Jenness, 
my youngest daughter Margaret and myself made a trip 
to the West Coast. We pot into Los Angelos and the 
newspapers had big headlines about the big fight the 
mayor was having about trash collection. Here was 
Norris Poulson s name right across the top of the 
paper oecause at that time he was Mayor of Los Ange 
los. I said to my family "I must call Norris up." 
The next morning I called him, and I was greeted as 
an old friend. He wanted to know what we were doing 
and I said "Well, Margaret wants to see Hollywood so 
we were planning to go over to Hollywood and spend a 
day or two in Los Angelos seeing the sights." He said 
"Do you have a car?" I said "No." He said "There will 
be one down there in thirty minutes." Presently we 
were paged and when we went out the front door here was 
c. wonderful driver who had spent a lot of time on one 
of the Hollywood lots. His father was employed over 
there in one of the big studios and he was then serving 
as chauffeur for the Mayor. We had the use of a big 
black Cadillac with a telephone and all the equipment 
in it, and we were shown around Hollywood in style 
that day, as a result of my knowing the Mayor and my 
past experience with him. This was a heart warming 
experience. When we pot into the car and were well 
established Jenness reached over and touched me on the 
arm and said "Just let me touch you." 


Relations With Congress 

DSM: There are other people whom I learned to know in 
my Congressional contacts that I might mention but 
these stand out in my memory at the moment. For fear 
that I might go on and on I think I had better close 
it out simply with this statement. The one thing that 
I missed more than anything else after I got out of the 
Government and did not have any official contacts with 
the committees and members of the Congress, was the 
fact that I didn t have the opportunity to sit down 
across the table and have the kind of give and take 
that we had in the days when I was a "bureaucrat." 
I learned to enjoy the committee sessions thoroughly. 
I also enjoyed seeing my friends on an official basis. 

I learned after a short time that once you are 
out of the Government and you have no business up 
there you are not really welcome in most of the offices 
other than just to shake hands and say hello because 
these people are busy people. I still miss it but I 
had a good experience during the seventeen or eighteen 
years of Congressional contacts. 

HP: One of the things that has impressed me of the des 
criptions of the people on the Hill whom you knew is 
that you were never afraid of them. So often in 
Government there is disproportionate fear of the men 
on the Hill. But you seemed to have accepted them as 
your equals and were relaxed and impressed with them 
and I think this must have contributed a great deal to 
your ability to get along with them. 

DSM: I must admit that during the first few rounds I had on 
the Hill I was nervous and a bit afraid, and occasion 
ally defensive, much to my disadvantage. You never 
want to "bark" back at the old-time Senator across the 
table. You had better take it in stride and get at it 
some other way and I learned this after the first one 
or two hearings. I learned very soon that as long as 
I knew more about the subject then the people across 
the table did, I could have fun out of it because I 
was confident that I had the answers. I occasionally 


took it on the chin for a while but I learned to wait 
for the opportunity to make the record clear. So it 
did get to be fun. 

It is true, generally speaking, that if you play 
fair with the people across the table the Congressmen 
and the Senators, they will usually play fair with 
you. This is something that you have to learn the 
hard way. Even in the days of the Eightieth Congress 
when we were taking a terrible beating when I was 
Commissioner of the Public Housing Administration 
because they were trying to kill public housing, we 
had on the whole very courteous treatment before the 
committees and a chance to build out part of the re 

Speaking of this type of thing I have another 
incident that maybe I should throw in here. 

Senator Pat McCarran was a politico of the first 
order from Nevada as everybody who ever knew him knew. 
He was hard boiled, he was tough but during the early 
days of the War Relocation Authority they wanted some 
people out of the relocation centers to help with the 
raising and marketing of tomato plants which they 
grew in the Moapa Valley in Nevada. They didn t have 
the needed labor in those days. The war was on and 
we had pressure from every side up to and including 
finally the Governor who had not as yet given us a 
letter which we required saying that they would be 
responsible for law and order and see to it that the 
evacuees were properly treated and protected. Among 
others, we had a call from Senator McCarran "s office. 

It happened that Rex Lee who at that time was in 
charge of our Salt Lake Office, had gone over to 
Nevada to meet with the Governor. I could not reach 
him that afternoon but I left a call for him to call 
back that night. When he called I asked him whether 
the Governor had promised to send a letter and he said 
"Yes." I said "Do you think he will?" and he said 
"Yes." I said "Let the folks go to Nevada to help 
them get their work done." They were over there by 
noon of the following day. As a result of that we had 
a call from the Senator s assistant saying that the 
Senator had had the most expeditious service that he 


had ever gotten out of anybody in the Government and 

they appreciated it very much. A few days later 

McCarran called personally to be sure that I had got 
ten the message. 

It wasn t very long after this incident, a few 
weeks or months, we had our appropriations bill up be 
fore the Senate committee. Normally if the House 
passes the bill without any change you don t go to the 
Senate unless you are called because there is nothing 
to be changed and this is what happened in this case. 
The House had passed the bill without a change in any 
respect. So I was surprised when I got a call from 
the Hill saying that they wanted me to come up and 
testify before the Senate. I went up and as we waited 
in the anteroom Senator Hayden came through and I 
stopped him and said "Senator, tell me why we are up 
here, do you know?" He said "No, but I will find out." 
So he went into the room and came back out and said 
"I don t know why but Senator McCarran wants to talk 
with you. He is up on the floor now fighting another 
battle, so I understand that the hearing you are going 
to have will be postponed until tomorrow." 

The next day Senator McCarran came in and there 
was about ten or eleven other Senators who were members 
of that committee present. The Senator came in loaded 
with editorials and pieces that came out of the Nevada 
papers all of which were violently against the Japanese 
people. It was the same kind of campaign that had 
been going on in the Salt River Valley in Arizona. I 
realized that this had overlapped into that part of 
Nevada which wasn t very far away. The Senator would 
read one of these tough editorials or one of these 
tough pieces written with a byline by somebody out 
there and he would end up by saying "Mr. Myer, I agree 
with that. Now what do you think?" and he gave me all 
the time I wanted to rebutt. I had right in my file a 
telegram from Senator McCarran asking that we send these 
Japanese Americans in, about whom the newspapers were 
protesting. Well, this went on for about an hour and 
a half. McCarran was building the record and I was 
also, because he was giving me plenty of opportunity 
to build my record. 


When he finished he stood up and said "Off the 
record." He turned to the rest of the committee with 
a smile and said "Gentlemen, this has gotten to be a 
very tough problem out in my part of the world, in my 
State, and I even had a letter the other day from a 
man who told me if I didn t do something about it he 
would vote Republican the next time." Of course every 
body laughed. I said "Senator, before you leave and 
while we are off the record could I ask you a couple 
of questions?" He said "Why of course, Mr. Myer." I 
said "We sent some folks into Nevada to help some of 
your farmers down in the Moapa Valley with their work 
and they are still there. Would you like us to take 
them out?" He said "Not by any means, Mr. Myer. We 
very much appreciate what you did for us. You did a 
wonderful job. They are still there and the people are 
very happy with them and please don t do anything 
about it. Just leave them there." 

All of this was off the record. I fished his 
telegram out of my case during the time that all of 
this was going on. Leland Barrows punched me and 
rolled his head sidewise back and forth. He was 
afraid that I was going to present it and of course 
I wasn t. I just wanted him to know I had it. Well 
this was all there was to it. He was just building up 
the record and here was the proof of it. A few days 
later when the Congressional Record of this hearing 
came to my office which it always did from the appro 
priations hearings, for us to make any corrections in 
the record, I called Senator McCarran s office and 
talked to Miss Adams, his trusted assistant, and said 
"What is the relationship between the present Governor 
and the Senator politically?" She said "Mr. Myer, we 
wish we knew." I said "I ll tell you why I asked. I 
mentioned the Governor s name on two or three occasions 
in my testimony. I didn t have to and it isn t perti 
nent or necessary to the testimony and I just wondered 
whether I should strike it out which I can very easily 
do." She said "Mr. Myer, do you have a letter or a 
wire from the Governor asking that you send evacuees 
in to help do this work?" I said "Yes." She said 
"Will you send us a copy of it?" I said "Yes." She 
said "If you will do that you can do anything you want 
with that record." So this was the reason. He was 
afraid that the Governor was going to run against him 


for the Senate one of these days. The Governor had 
built a pretty bad record on this situation and he 
wanted to be sure that he couldn t outdo him when it 
came to being against the "Japs", so called. 

One other incident that I think may be worth 
recording has to do with the Senator, who until re 
cently was Minority Leader of the Senate, Everett 
Dirksen. I learned to know Everett Dirksen during the 
days when I was appearing before the House Appropria 
tions Sub-Committee on Agriculture of which he was a 
member. We got quite well acquainted because he was 
of course a minority member and was supposed to be 
picking at everything we did. In spite of this we got 
to be very good friends. During the latter part of my 
period with the Soil Conservation Service after the 
so-called land use program was transferred over to us, 
we had some problems with some of the things that had 
been completed before they came to us. One of them was 
a dam that was built down in southern Illinois which 
cost a lot of money and of which Congressman Kent 
Keller was very proud. It was probably a good thing 
in their community but it probably wasn t justified 
on the basis of the authorization. They happened to 
have an engineer in those days who liked to build dams 
and he didn t worry too much about the justification. 

In any case, we got a letter one day from Senator 
Dirksen, who at that time was Congressman Dirksen, 
asking for a detailed statement about this particular 
dam in Kent Keller s district. He wanted to know about 
the costs and the justification for it. We wrote him 
about a three or four page letter. As I usually did 
under these circumstances instead of mailing the letter 
I took it up. I handed it to him and said "I think 
maybe you ought to read that while I m here because 
if there are any further questions I can then answer 
them." After he read it, I said "I have a message 
for you. We told Kent Keller that we had this letter 
from you and Kent Keller s reply was You tell Everett 
Dirksen to get out of my district and if he doesn t 
I ll kick his ass out. ." So I told Everett Dirksen 
this and he leaned back and just roared. He said 
"Well, I think Kent Keller is justified. I don t 
usually meddle in other peoples affairs who are Con 
gressmen from other districts. The only reason I sent 



you this letter is because it was sent down to me by 
Joe Martin, the Majority Leader of the House, and he 
asked me to handle it and that s the reason I m han 
dling it." We had a good laugh about it and I m sure 
he sent the information on to whoever requested it and 
that was that. 

I saw Everett Dirksen many times during the years 
when I was in Agriculture and occasionally when I be 
came Director of the V/ar Relocation Authority. 

Attitude Toward Congress 

HP: As I have mentioned before, I can t help wondering about 
the one common demoninator that is your lack of fear. 
You seemed to have the attitude when you went up on the 
Hill that you were certainly as good as anybody whom 
you were talking to. This lack of fear seems to be an 
important ingredient to your successful relationships 

DSM: I m not sure that I can explain to you just how all of 
this came about but I will do my best. I think I 
should start by saying bascially I was quite a shy boy 
who grew up in the country. I didn t have too many 
public contacts in my very early days but I did have a 
good many as a teenager when we began to deliver com 
modities to cottage people and others. This experience 
may have had something to do with my having learned 
how to deal with people. I worked in a grocery store 
owned by my aunt and uncle off and on throughout the 
years when I, was in grade school and I think that 

Basically though, I think that my family relation 
ship was a factor. My Mother was also a very shy per 
son but she was a very proud one. Without having any 
thing much said about it, there was never any question 
in our family but that we held our heads up. We were 
not any better than anybody else but we were not any 


worse than anybody else. My Father was highly re 
spected in the community for his honesty, his frank 
ness, his ability to communicate with people and his 
helpfulness to them. My Mother was highly respected 
too, although she didn t have the same kind of active 
part in community life as my Father did. The home 
relationship and example were good ones. 

When I was in college I was a member of an Agri 
cultural fraternity which was most helpful to me. I 
had help on every turn if I needed it with studies 
that I wasn t too good at. I was encouraged and I 
was expected to do my best. So this was also a good 

When I got out on the job myself I began to look 
around me and I began to wonder why some of the people 
who were much older than I hadn t gone further then 
they had. I wondered if they hadn t worked hard 
enough, whether they didn t know enough about their 
subject, whether they didn t know how to present it 
well, or what the problem was. I found myself trying 
to do something about that, and it wasn t very long 
until I realized that I was willing to present any 
thing that I knew which was in my field to anybody 
and to present it fairly well. 

There was one incident that probably was a good 
one. I went out on an extension trip with a group of 
older extension men to attend two or three meetings. 
At one place we had a local experimental field which 
was run by our department. Somebody asked me a 
question about it and before I got through I admitted 
I didn t know too much about it. We hadn t more than 
left that building until I was jumped on from all 
sides by my associates and was told that you never 
admitted that you didn t know about something. You 
gave the best you knew and say that there was probably 
additional information but you didn t deny your know 
ledge because as they pointed out, immediately after 
my admission of ignorance there weren t many more 

I found before I had been out of college very 
long that I was willing to tackle any Job that was 
assigned to me within my field of knowledge or within 


my area of responsibility with confidence. I suppose 
this was pretty basic to my later approach to Congress. 
I don t know exactly when I came to the conclusion that 
there wasn t any percentage in kowtowing. I never did 
kowtow. I don t think my Mother or Father ever kowtowed 
to anybody. We told the truth as v/e knew it and we did 
our work the best we knew how, and we never felt any 
particular shame about the way we handled a matter. 

I remember quite distinctly after I moved from my 
first job at the University of Kentucky, and after I 
had been county agent at Evansville, Indiana, for a 
time, when I was offered a job at Purdue by G. I. 
Christy who was the Extension Director, I learned that 
there were certain people on this staff whom he loved 
to "ride." They never came into his office or they 
never came around him that he didn t do something that 
I thought was bad to them. I used to say that evidently 
he could see a man s knees shaking under his pants the 
minute he came into the office. He always climbed right 
on and went to work on him. In my case he never did 
because I think he knew that I wasn t going to take it. 

HP: Apparently there is something of a bully in many people. 

DSM: That s right. He was a bit of a bully. But he never 
bullied me. I realized that this was important to me. 
I suppose that was simply another event in my realiza 
tion that the thing for me to do was to remain firm 
and not allow myself to be bullied. 

After I became a. member of the staff of the Soil 
Conservation Service and I began to handle part or all 
of the hearings before the Appropriation committees of 
the House and the Senate, and before any other committees 
of the Congress, for the first few times I must admit 
that I was nervous and a bit defensive. At one hearing 
Senator Bankhead had dug into me pretty deep and I had 
barked back at him. After the hearing was over Hugh 
Bennett who was my chief at that time very decently 
and very kindly reminded me that I should not loose my 
temper. I should handle it in a somewhat more tactful 
manner. This was good experience. 

I never went to the Hill that I wasn t thoroughly 
prepared so that I felt fully confident that I knew 


more about it then anybody else, even the people in my 
own shop, because the budget hearings were my parti 
cular bailiwick. As a consequence I had no fear. As 
I saw these Congressmen, many of whom had been former 
prosecuting attorneys, sitting across the table from 
me trying to dig into the testimony to find some holes, 
it got to be a big challenge to be able to meet their 
questions head on and to build a good record. It 
wasn t very long until we began to establish a mutual 


HP: Did you ever consider going into politics? 

DSM: I have been asked many times whether I had considered 
going into politics. My answer has always been no I 
never have. First of all by the time I learned some 
thing about politics I was living in the Washington 
area, I was a well established "bureaucrat." As a 
matter of fact I was living in Virginia a good deal 
of the time where politics didn t appeal to me. I 
encouraged Jenness to go into politics once as a mem 
ber of the Falls Church council, and I had a lot of 
fun serving as her advisor, but I never was in it my 

I enjoyed myself in my bureaucratic relationship 
with people in politics. I respected those people I 
knew who were the good ones. I knew when to show dis 
respect at the proper stage to those who weren t the 
good ones. 

Jenness was asked at one time after she had been 
on the town council to run for Congress in our district 
in Virginia. We discussed it at some length. Finally 
we sat down one evening and I said "Do you know how 
much it would take to do this job without accepting 
somebody else s money?" She said "No." I said "Well 
I have been making some inquiry about it. It would 


take about fifty thousand dollars." She said "Let s 
forget it." So v/e forgot it. 

It is true that many people who are in politics 
have started where it didn t cost that much money. 
They built up their knowledge of the game and they 
built up a clientele. Former President Truman, for 
example, was a county Judge, what we would have called 
in Ohio a county commissioner, as one of his first 
jobs in the political field. Of course he had support 
from some very strong people in Missouri. How much he 
had to kowtow to those people I don t know. I must 
say though that I think he made a darn good President 
and he knew when to draw the line. He knew when to 
say yes, and he knew when to say no which others have 
not always been able to do. 




DSM: My parents were two of the finest people I have 
ever known. They were both people who practiced the 
Christian faith and were quite active in church work 
but the important thing is that they were people who 
really lived their beliefs and taught them. I think 
I am beholden to my Dad, as well as to my Mother, for 
the training I received in learning the necessity of 
always being honest and of remembering that there was 
a Golden Rule and when you were tempted to overstep to 
remember to repeat the Golden Rule to yourself and try 
to do something about it. I have said many times that 
if I could leave this world with a feeling that I had 
the respect of the community in which I had lived and 
operated equal to the respect that my Father enjoyed 
in the community in which he lived and worked, I v/ould 
feel very happy. 

I shall always be grateful for the kind of parents 
I had. They were farm people. Their life was much 
more restricted from the standpoint of communication 
with the rest of the world than mine has been, but 
nevertheless they lived a wonderful life and they 
passed on to me and to their other children something 
that is impossible to get otherwise than by having 
the right kind of parents. 

HP: I wish you would backtrack, and give some description 
of the personal appearance of all of these people : 
Your Mother, your Father, Mr. Orr, all of them that 
you have mentioned. 

DSM: My Father was not as tall as I am. As I remember him 
he was five feet nine inches, I m six feet one inch so 
I m four inches taller than he was. My Mother was five 
feet seven inches which was a fair height for a lady in 
those days but still she was not considered a large 
woman. My Dad when I first remembered him had almost 


black hair and a very dark mustache and one of the 
things that I shall always remember he had a very bad 
case of diptheria and was ill for some time during 
which he allowed his beard to grow, and he had a very 
dark beard. When he shaved it off his face was so 
white that we marveled at it. My Dad was not a man 
of great physical strength. On the other hand when 
he decided to do a day s work he really could do a 
day s work. He was wiry, he was active at all times 
except when he was ill, and he kept going at a great 
pace right up to the time he left this world at age 
eighty years. I remember quite distinctly that we 
used to talk about Dad cracking his coattails as he 
went down across the field to catch the inter-urban. 
He alv/ays went in a hurry and he went almost as fast 
as I did when I was running to catch the car to go to 
high school. 

My Mother had long beautiful auburn hair. She 
had to cut out part of it occasionally because it was 
so heavy it made her head ache if she kept it all. 
She could sit on her hair and I loved to see her comb 
it. She had the kind of complexion that goes with 
that color hair and she freckled easily. She was 
very careful to wear a sunbonnet when she v/ent out 
into the sun to do garden work and she did a great 
deal of work in the garden. She liked to be outside. 

HP: Flowers and vegetables both? 

DSM : There were both flowers and vegetables, and also fruits 
in the garden. She had raspberries and blackberries 
which she helped to pick. 

We always v/ent blackberrying out into the wilds 
where we nearly always got chiggers but she loved to 
come in with two or three buckets of blackberries and 
she would "put them up." 

She was a great person, a person of tremendous 
energy and vitality although she wasn t the kind of 
person who moved around fast. She looked after the 
chickens, and the garden for the most part. I helped 
her as I got older. She did n lot of other things, 
nnd of course in those days, there won much canning 
of fruits in particular and a little later vegetables 

and the frying down of sausage in lard. She looked 
after all of these things and more while she raised 
a family of four kids. 

HP: How much difference was there between you and your 

DSM: My brother is three years older than I am. My sister 
next younger than I is about four and a half years 
younger and my youngest sister was born ten years 
later so that I was in my teens v;hen she was born. 

University Life 

DSM: As I moved along into college I v/as most fortu 
nate in being invited to become a member of the Alpha 
Zeta fraternity which had very high scholarship stan 
dards and a group of serious students, who saw to it 
that I and other freshmen were told about it in case 
they found we were lagging in our studies. Further 
more if we needed tutoring in any subjects we received 
it from the Juniors and Seniors. I particularly remem 
ber having been tutored in Chemistry by Tom Phillips 
which I needed very badly. This got me through Chem 
istry. The relationship with not only the undergrad 
uates but the opportunity I had to become acquainted 
with many leaders in the agriculture field not only 
at my own university but people who came in from other 
institutions for meetings at various times was highly 
important in providing information and inspiration. 

Dr. Arthur McCall 

DSM: Dr. Arthur McCall who recommended me for my first 
job v/as rather a rotund person. He was a large man 


and thickly built. He had dark hair and wore a must 
ache. He walked calmly and slowly but he had a spring 
in his walk. He had a beautiful smile and was a most 
pleasant person to be with and to deal with. I had 
the privilege of not only knowing him during my college 
years when I was a student of his but I met him socially 
on a number of occasions because we were members of 
the same fraternity and when we had various activities 
in the fraternity he usually came. Throughout the 
years I kept in touch with him, especially after I 
came to Washington. He had already joined the staff 
of the Bureau of Soils and Chemistry and it was always 
a pleasure to see him and sit down and talk with him 
from time to time. I would remind him of the fact 
that he had started me off in spite of low grades and 
he always said that he was glad that he had done so. 

Many years later, in 19^7, Dr. McCall and Dr. 
Warburton on the National Director of Agricultural 
Extension jointly sponsored me for membership in the 
Cosmos Club in Washington. 

George Roberts and Edwin Kinney 

DSM: After I left college and went to Kentucky I had 

two bosses, both of whom were wonderful people. George 
Roberts was head of the department. He was a chemist 
nnd took care of the soils work in the department 
generally and his assistant was Edwin Kinney who 
handled the supervision of the teaching of field crops 
as well as supervision of all of the variety tertc and 
other crops experimental work in the Kentucky Agri 
cultural Experiment Station. Edwin Kinney has passed 
away only recently at age eighty-seven. He had been 
living with a daughter in Washington and I visited him 
on a number of occasions during the last three or four 
years. He graduated at Ohio State University some 
years before I did, in 1908, as I remember it. I 
graduated in 1914. 


Kinney was a little more than medium height, 
probably five feet ten inches or five feet eleven 
inches, a bit rotund, not fat but with a bit of 
flesh, a man of quiet demeanor who was always busy. 
In addition to his teaching activities he wrote re 
plies to questions that came in to him from two or 
three farm papers in the south. I can remember seeing 
him walk the floor and dictate his replies to those 
questions which had been presented for reply. He was 
a wonderful boss. George Roberts was also my boss but 
Ed Kinney worked more closely with me then George 
Roberts did. 

Roberts believed that everybody should have some 
responsibility and as a consequence I was given a full 
teaching load as soon as I was able to carry it, after 
I had finished my college work in the first semester 
at the University of Kentucky. I taught courses in 
field crops, both to the four-year students and to the 
two-year students and assisted in the supervision of 
the soil laboratory. They suggested that I also give 
a course in farm weeds, which I did. It had never 
been given as far as I know, at that institution, and 
I had a lot of fun doing it because I learned a great 
deal about weeds and plants. I had to start from 
scratch. We did quite a bit of it during the fall 
and spring when growth was such that they could -be 

HP: Did you use a textbook for that? 

DSM: We did not have a textbook for farm weeds. I wrote to 
the various experiment stations throughout the country 
and got bulletins which described weeds and weed con-" 
trol. I developed a very good library. I wish I 
still had these materials by the way but they have 
gotten lost along the way. The Ohio Experiment Station 
had an excellent bulletin. I used these for my lectures 
and also made them available in the building where the 
students could come and use them. In some cases I got 
extra copies so that they were available and could be 
taken out. 

HP: What is n weodV What is the definition of a weed? 


DSM: The best definition of a weed that I have ever heard 
was by L. H. Bailey the great plant man from Cornell 
University. He said "The weed is a plant out of 

HP: Then if a stalk of corn were in a field of wheat, it 
would be a weed. 

DSM: Would be a weed, that s right. Normally you think of 
certain plants which are regular pests in the farm, 
jimsom weed, the different kinds of pig weed, and 
lambsquarter. In the small grain crops there is 
cockle and corn flower and wild mustard. There are 
certain plants, vetch for example, which is a very 
good crop if properly controlled but if vetch seed 
gets into and comes up in a wheat field it wraps up 
the wheat so you can practically take one corner of 
the area where the vetch grows and shake the whole 
area because it winds up the crop. Vetch was known 
as the tares of the Bible. But it is a good crop. It 
is a good legumenous crop if kept separated from the 
small grain crops. 

HP: You must not have been much older than some of your 
students when you were teaching these courses. 

DSM: I wasn t. I started doing some teaching while I was 
a Senior because I didn t graduate until June after 
I went down to Kentucky the first of February. I was 
taking courses right along with some of the Seniors and 
I was supervising laboratory work of some of these very 
same people. 

HP: This is most unusual isn t it? 

DSM: No, it is not too unusual or wasn t in those days 

because they had student assistants in various labora 
tories, who were majoring in the work. We had student 
assistants who helped supervise the chemistry labs and 
both in general chemistry and agriculture chemistry. 
Sometimes v/e had assistants who were not yet graduated 
who were Seniors so it wasn t entirely unusual although 
it wasn t common. Usually it was graduate students 
who were the assistants. 


HP: What did you teach the students? How to identify and 
how to eradicate? 

DSM: That s right. In the course on weeds we taught them 
how to identify weeds, and control weeds. We usually 
did this on field trips during the part of the season 
when we could identify them in their native habitat 
although we did have bulletins and certain text materials 
that we could use for identification purposes. We also 
gathered specimens which could be brought into the 
laboratory and dried. 

On our field trips we would go out on the farm 
and around the fence rows and through the edge of the 
campus. You could find weeds almost any place; expec- 
ially in the good Blue Grass soil of central Kentucky 
they spring up easily. 

G. I. Christie 

DSM: The top man in the Purdue Agricultural Extension 
Service was G. I. Christie. He was an Canadian who 
had graduated at Guelph Ontario Agricultural College 
and had done his first work in the States in Iowa 
before he came to Purdue. He also was a specialist 
in the field of Agronomy and he loved to make speeches. 
He was tall, I would suppose six feet, somewhat heavily 
built with an excellent voice and he didn t hestitate 
to put it out. You never had to worry about hearing 
G. I. Christie because he was articulate and careful 
and he never was at a loss for words. He made many, 
many speeches and he appreciated people who could make 
speeches. I think I have already stated in a previously 
that he heard me make a couple of speeches in the first 
few weeks that I was on the job in Evansville which 
evidently led to two different offers later, the first 
one which I turned down and the second one which I 
accepted to become more closely associated with him at 
Purdue University. 


G. I. at that time was widely known among the ex 
tension group and was probably one of the outstanding 
extension people of his day. He came to Purdue in 
1905. By the time I got there he had already been on 
the Job eleven years and was well established. 

Christie was the kind of person who if you would 
knuckle to him he d make your knees shake everytime he 
saw you. It happened that I never knuckled and for 
some reason or other he respected me. As a consequence 
we got along beautifully. He gave me the opportunity 
to do a number of things which I am sure he would not 
have done had I been willing to be his vassal. 

Harry Ram sower 

DSM: After leaving Purdue I moved to Ohio as County 
Agricultural Agent in Franklin County, Ohio, because 
I was approached by Director Harry Ramsower of the 
extension service and asked to take the job. Harry 
Ramsower was also one of my fraternity brothers and 
much older than I was. I think he had graduated in 
1906 and was well established as a Professor of Agri 
cultural Engineering when I was in college. He was 
an excellent teacher, a man of better than medium 
height. He was quite nearsighted and wore glasses, 
had a good voice. He was another person who believed 
that you should have your lectures and speeches well 
prepared and to say them in such a way that there was 
no question about what was said. He was able to make 
himself heard at the far corners of the room and was 
highly respected as a teacher. He was later appointed 
as Director of Extension and this is where he was when 
I was invited to come back to Ohio. 

HP: What brought you back to Ohio? Was it that you felt 

that you wanted to go back to your home state? Was it 
more of a possibility of an advancement in your job? 
What factors went into that decision? 


DSM: I came back to Ohio mainly because I had bought a farm 

about twenty-five miles east of Columbus, Ohio, in 191?, 
just before World War I had broken out and at that stage 
I still thought I was going to farm it myself sometime. 
This opportunity to come back to Columbus, Ohio, which 
was only twenty-five miles away, was an opportunity to 
keep in close touch with my farm and its operations. 
I decided to take the offer I think mainly because it 
was near the farm and of course it was also near my 
home. My Mother and Father were still living and it 
provided an opportunity to see them more regularly. 

I also wanted additional county agent experience. 
I didn t dream at that time that I would accept 
Director Ramsower s offer two and a half years later 
to become the District Supervisor in Northwestern Ohio, 
but I did. This came at a time when 1 was still 
thinking that I was going to farm. 

Howard Tolley 

DSM: Howard Tolley was head of the AAA Planning Divi 
sion. I worked with him as an immediate member of his 
staff and he gave me many, many challenging jobs to do 
including among other things the review of the proposed 
States Soil Conservation Districts Act which I had the 
opportunity to help get adopted in the states after I 
moved over to the Soil Conservation Service. 

He was a man of real intelligence and ability and 
a great person to work for and to work with. He spoke 
with a low voice. One of those people who never seemed 
to be ruffled and went about his business with no pre 
tense what so ever. As I look back I think of him as 
one of the great sponsors that I had during that parti 
cular period. I continued to see him often after I 
left the Department of Agriculture up to the time of 
his death. 


Milton Eisenhower 

DSM: I owe a great deal to Milton Eisenhower who at 
the time I came to Washington was the head of the 
Information Service for the Department of Agriculture. 
Milton, along with Paul Appleby, decided evidently 
after a time that I had certain abilities that should 
be utilized. 

About the time I moved over to the Soil Conserva 
tion Service he was assigned by the Secretary to help 
integrate the Soil Conservation Service into the De 
partment, and spent part of his time for the first two 
or three months working at this job. He had an office 
in the Information Service and another office in the 
building where the Soil Conservation Service was 

HP: It was an unusual assignment for an information officer. 

DSM: Yes it was. In the meantime the Secretary had made him 
the land use coordinator in the Department and he con 
tinued to handle the information office for some time 
after that. He finally gave it up and Morse Salisbury 
took over the job as Director of Information. 

HP: Had Milton had newspaper experience? 

DSM: Yes. He had had some newspaper experience. He also 
had had some experience as an attache in the State 
Department Counselor Service in Scotland. He was 
brought to Washington back during the Republican 
regime v/hen William Jardine was Secretary of Agricul 
ture. He was an Assistant to the Secretary of Agri 
culture in 1924 and he continued in Washington until 
he took the gob as President of his Alma. Mater, Kansas 
State College in 1944. 

In any case Milton and Paul Appleby recommended 
that I become the head of a Division of States Rela 
tions and Planning in the Soil Conservation Service. 
He fought the battle with the Civil Service Commission 
to get a job classification set up which I could afford 
to take. I am sure every division head in the Depart- 


ment of Agriculture thanked him and me because they 
were all raised nine hundred dollars a year when the 
new grade level was finally approved in September of 
1935* I moved over to the Soil Conservation Service 
in Agriculture. In the meantime, Milton Eisenhower 
was Land Use Coordinator and we worked very closely 

I served on his committee while I was still with 
the Agriculture Adjustment Administration to write up 
a program for the integration of the Soil Conservation 
Service into the department. I also served with him 
on many other committees to which. I was assigned 
throughout the years. 

Then, he had been appointed against his will as 
Director of the War Relocation Authority in March 1942 
where he served only three months when he received an 
appointment as Deputy to Elmer Davis in the Office of 
War Information. It was then that he recommended me 
to Harold Smith, who was the Budget Director, for his 
replacement as Director of W.R.A. x;hich resulted in an 
appointment by the President to succeed him in June 
of 1942. 

During those years Milton Eisenhower was quite 
a supporter of mine. He promoted my interests at 
almost every turn. At the end of my work in W.R.A. he 
wrote me a wonderful letter saying this was a job that 
he couldn t have done, and was very complimentary about 
the work that I had done. So I feel very kindly toward 
Milton Eisenhower. 

In brief Milton v/as a man whose middle name was 
public relations. He frankly did not like to be between 
what I have often called the rock and the hard place. 
He didn t like to make tough decisions which might 
effect his relations with other people. There was 
always a struggle within him when he had to face such 
a problem. That is one of the reasons that he was un 
happy in the W.R.A. program. 

He was an excellent public relations man, an 
excellent writer, and a highly intelligent and articu 
late person with a great deal of charm who has been 
most succesr.ful not only in the work that he did in 


Agriculture but in his three different positions as 
college president since he left the Department. His 
first one was already mentioned as President of Kansas 
State College, then he moved to Penn State College and 
during that period there he got the name of Penn State 
College changed to Penn State University and later he 
moved to Johns Hopkins University where he retired in 
June of 1968. 

Paul Appleby 

DSM: The late Paul Appleby who when I first knew him 
was Assistant to Henry Wallace, one of five or six 
assistants, was the key man and Wallace s right hand 
man. He graduated at Grinnell College and spent a 
number of years in Iowa and was quite well acquainted 
with the Secretary before they came to Washington. 

Paul was highly intelligent, a person with definite 
ideas. At times he was irascible but if he was for you 
he would support you to the limit. He was little better 
than medium height, on the slender side, with graying 
hair, with very sharp eyes and was a highly articulate 

My first personal experience with Paul Appleby 
was not a very happy one. I was still working in the 
Agricultural Adjustment Administration as head of the 
section on compliance plans and I had proposed that 
the compliance office in Iowa be moved from Des Moines 
to Ames where they would be more closely associated 
with the college of agriculture extension service. I 
came in one morning and Victor Christgau, v/ho was my 
immediate boss, said that Paul Appleby wanted to see 
me. I asked him if he had any idea as to why and he 
smiled and said "No." I went over to Paul Appleby s 
office and in those days I wore a hat every place I 
went outside the building. I laid my hat on his desk 
and sat down and he said "I would like to have you 
state your reasons for proposing to move the compliance 


office from Des Moines to Ames." So I proceeded to 
state all of the reasons. When I finished my state 
ment he looked at me with a cold stare and said 
"When you came in here I had an open mind about this 
matter but now I haven t because I don t think you 
stated one good reason why the office should be 
moved." I looked at him for a moment, got up, picked 
up my hat and said "Well I guess that s that" and 
walked out. 

The very next day he called me by phone , called 
me by first name, was most affible and from that time 
on we were good friends, in spite of the fact that I m 
sure he was irked and I was more irked than he was 
after our first conference. 

Paul continued as assistant to Henry Wallace 
throughout the period when I was carrying the battle 
to get the States Soil Conservation Districts Act 
passed by the various states, and he was quite favor 
able to our program. He believed strongly in the 
water shed idea because he thought the counties were 
outdated as governmental units of any importance. He 
also thought that certain of the states should be 
combined such as the Dakotas and other states with 
very limited populations. Every time we got into a 
battle Paul was always there and ready to support us. 

I forgot to mention the fact that in 1937 he and 
Milton Eisenhower 1 think it was Paul s idea 
recommended to Hugh Bennett that I become the Assis 
tant Chief of the service rather than Chief of a 
division. This happened almost immediately. It took 
me a long time to find out that this recommendation 
came out of the Secretary s office. Paul and I got 
to be very close friends and by the time he became 
Under Secretary after Henry Wallace left and Claude 
Wickard became Secretary of Agriculture we saw a 
great deal of each other. 


Later he went to Syracuse University as Dean of 
the College of Administration and was there for a 
pood many years. He became quite well known in the 
field of public administration. He wrote a couple 
of books, and finally retired in Washington. 


M. L. Wilson 

DSM: Another gentleman who was one of the great men of 
the early New Deal days was M.L. Wilson. M.L. when I 
first knew him was head of the Wheat Division of the 
Agriculture Adjustment Administration and I started 
dealing with him during the year when I was in charge 
of the Agricultural Adjustment Program in Ohio. The 
wheat program was one that we dealt with regularly. 
He later became Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and 
then finally Under Secretary before he took over the 
job of National Extension Director which was his last 
job in the department and in the Government. 

"M.L." was an earthy kind of person who had 
strong beliefs about how he should live and stuck to 
them. There was a story going around that somebody was 
in his office one day and he received a call from Mrs. 
Roosevelt inviting him to the White House for some kind 
of a function and every once in awhile he would say 
"Well, Mrs. Roosevelt I think you will have to give us 
a rain check this time." He didn t accept the invita 
tion. M.L. had definite opinions about social func 
tions most of which he didn t feel were very important. 

He was a delightful person to go on trips with or 
to hobnob with in his office if he wasn t too busy, 
because he always had some tales to tell about experi 
ences that he had had. 

On two or three different occasions I heard M.L. 
give a full description of Ouster s battle of the Little 
Big Horn to people who were not as well informed as he 
was. He had lived in Montana for a number of years. 
He loved history as well as geology, and philosophy 
and a lot of other sciences. 

M.L. made many contributions to the program which 
a lot of people knew nothing about. For example, he 
was greatly interested in the Mormon practice of main 
taining a store house throughout the years, which they 
used to help supply food to unfortunate people, in this 
manner taking care of their own poverty problems. Out 
of his interest in the Mormon store house came the idea 


of the Ever-Normal granary which Henry Wallace got 
credit for and which, of course, he promoted. But it 
was M.L. s idea. 

M.L. Wilson also had a great deal to do with the 
program of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. 
As a member of the staff of the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics at one stage he had been a party to the devel 
opment of a program which involved domestic sales at 
one price and foreign sales at a lesser price in order 
to get rid of surpluses. This was known as the 
Domestic Allotment Act. 

M.L. also conceived the States Soil Conservation 
Districts Act. He learned that down in Texas in certain 
areas they had what was known as wind erosion control 
districts. He had lived in Montana where they had some 
range problems and they had some grazing districts so 
he put two and two together and decided that there 
should be a general pattern of districts for erosion 
control and land use. So M.L. and Philip Glick pre 
pared the first draft of the States Soil Conservation 
Districts Act. 

There was a group of people who were known as 
"M.L. s boys." I prided myself on the fact that I 
became one of M.L. s boys before I left the Depart 
ment, because he didn t take everybody under his wing. 
I shall always be glad that I had the opportunity to 
work closely with M.L. Wilson throughout the years 
that I was in the Department. 

Henry Wallace 

DSM: Henry Wallace was Secretary of Agriculture during 
most of the several years that I spent in the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. I worked with Henry Wallace very 
closely from 1934- until he became Vice President in 
194-1. Even after he became Vice President I occasion 
ally went to the Hill to have talks with him because he 


was always willing to see me and he always told me not 
to worry about using his time "because the Vice Presi 
dent didn t have anything much to do anyhow." He 
would always put his feet up and listen, and served as 
my advisor during the bad days of the War Relocation 
Authority when I needed somebody to talk to, about 
whom to see, how to go about it, and other problems. 
I also had some contact with him when he was Secretary 
of Commerce later. 

Those of us who had worked for Henry Wallace, 
had two or three luncheon dates with him after he 
left the Government when he came to Washington. 
These were interesting and highly worth while. Henry 
was a rather shy, retiring type of person in his social 
contacts. He had rather bushy auburn hair as his 
Father had. He had been editor of the agricultural 
journal "Wallace s Farmer" for a number of years before 
he came to Washington. He had definite opinions re 
garding the fact that farmers should have the same 
opportunity for what he called parity of income along 
with industry and he went all out to try to work out 
a program that would provide for parity. My relations 
with him while he was Secretary of Agriculture were 
largely in conferences with other people, either small 
groups or large groups on policy matters, reporting 
in on problems of various types. Occasionally I was 
called in to provide information that he wanted to be 
brought up to date on. 

Henry Wallace was a great man in spite of the fact 
that he occasionally got carried away with philosophies 
which were a bit off beat. At the time he became a 
Presidential candidate of the Progressive party he lost 
a lot of friends and a lot of support. I have never 
understood quite why he did that but in spite of it I 
still think that he was a great man and I think he made 
a great contribution. 


Hugh Bennett 

DSM: I spent more time with Hugh Bennett than anybody 

I had worked with in the Department of Agriculture. Hugh 
Bennett was chief of the Soil Conservation Service when 
I joined his staff in 1935- He had come to the Depart 
ment of Agriculture in 1903 as a young college graduate. 
He joined the Bureau of Soils and Chemistry at that time 
as a chemist. Throughout the years he was involved in 
soil survey work, and had become a persistent erosion 
control advocate long before the New Deal came along. 

Hugh was responsible for initiating a program of 
Erosion Control Experiment Stations which were estab 
lished in different parts of the country long before 
the New Deal. The purpose was to secure scientific 
data on the amount of water and soil loss under various 
conditions. Most of these stations were carried on in 
cooperation with the states. However he was not a very 
great admirer of state agricultural institutions gener 
ally, because he felt that they were paying too little 
attention to soil erosion. There were only tv/o or 
three state people whom I know of who were in his good 
graces. One of them was Dean Funchess of Alabama who 
supported the soil erosion control program. Another 
one was a Doctor Miller of Missouri. The Extension 
Service as far as he was concerned had been quite re 
miss in many respects and he never quite forgave them. 

I was brought into the service in order to head 
up a division of States Relations and Planning, and I 
had my problems in the early days because of his anti 
pathy to the Extension Service. I was in rather a 
tough position at times because Milton Eisenhower who 
at the same time had become Land Use Coordinator of the 
department and Paul Appleby who was the Secretary s 
right hand man usually called me in and talked to me 
about problems that I felt they should have taken up 
with Hugh Bennett. Usually they were related to 
administrative problems which Hugh wasn t much inter 
ested in. I followed the policy of going directly 
back to the office arid reporting to him just what went 
on in every case. Gradually we developed a very 
excellent relationship. 

Harold Smith 

DSM: Harold Smith, who was Director of the Bureau of 
the Budget , at the time that I was recommended to 
follow Milton Eisenhower as Director of the War Relo 
cation Authority, was another gentleman for whom I 
learned to have a high regard. 

Smith happened to be the man President Roosevelt 
looked to for recommendations regarding the admini 
stration of W.R.A. because it was set up as an indepen 
dent agency and was reporting "only to God." So Harold 
Smith was the man that I went to see rather regularly. 
I never walked into his office what he didn t grin at 
me and say "Dillon, you know I am not your boss." I 
would say "Yes, I know you are not my boss but you are 
the one man that knows something about the W.R.A. pro 
blems and I need somebody to talk to," so he would lis 
ten. We talked many many times. He v/as most kind to me 
and served not only as someone to talk to to get things 
off ray chest but as an advisor from time to time. 

Harold Ickes 

DSM: Much to my surprise, Harold Ickes was one of the 
best bosses that I ever had. I was reluctant to go 
to the Department of Interior partly because Ickes 
during the time I was in Agriculture v/as always in a 
scrap with Agriculture. I didn t find out until quite 
a long time later that he also had some reservations 
about me. He was the kind of person who was known as 
the "Old Curmudgeon" but he had a rule which I appre 
ciated very much namely that he would see any bureau 
chief in his department within a twenty-four hour 
period and sooner if the emergency required it. I 
could always call up and get an engagement. Usually 
if I called in the afternoon or evening I could pet 
one the next day. While I was supposed to report 


through Under Secretary Abe Portas it was quite well 
understood that I could always see the Secretary. 

On several occasions I did have some difference 
of opinion with Under Secretary Fortas and we went to 
Harold Ickes with our problem. I always got the kind 
of sTipport that I felt a bosc should give. 

Secretary Ickes required that everybody submit 
their agendas for travel to him at least three days 
ahead of travel time, so that he could countermand the 
order if he thought we shouldn t go. When I was about 
to leave on a trip to the Went Coast which included a 
speech in Los Angelos. About six o clock in the evening 
I got a little note from Ickes which said "I don t 
think this is anytime to be making speeches. Further 
more I m concerned about the amount of gasoline and oil 
you are planning to use on this trip and I don t think 
the trip should be made." The reference to gasoline 
and oil was due to the fact that he was responsible 
for wartime conservation of these commodities. 

As a result of this little orange colored note I 
called up his secretary and said "Eleanor I want to 
see your boss and I want to see him now. " She said 
"Just like that." I said "Yes, oust~TTke that." She 
said "How about eleven o clock tomorrow morning?" I 
said "Fine." At eleven o clock the next morning I 
arrived on the scene and when I was told that he was 
available, I walked into his long office with this 
little orange colored note between my finger and thumb. 
I walked the full length of the office holding the 
little note in my fingers and laid it on the corner of 
his desk and I said "Mr. Secretary, I want to talk to 
you about the note you sent me and about my plans for 
the trip." He said "All right, go ahead." So I 
explained to him exactly why I was going. 

I started out by saying that I had been in Govern 
ment for quite some time and that I had never yet made 
a trip on Government funds which I felt was not justi 
fied from the standpoint of expenditures, and I didn t 
intend to start now. I felt very strongly that this 
was one of the more important trips that I had scheduled 
during the W.R.A. days. He listened to me with great 
care, never said a word until I finished. Then he pimply 


said "All right, go ahead." This was Harold Ickes at 
his best. He always would listen and if he respected 
you he would pay attention to what you said. This was 
the type of battle that I won a number of times. 

Harold Ickes became a retiree after he blev; him 
self out of the Department of Interior by fighting the 
appointment of the gentleman who was recommended as 
Secretary of the Navy. Consequently, the recommendation 
which he had made to the President that I become an 
Assistant Secretary of Interior was never sent to the 

Matters Of Importance That I Have Learned From Experienco 

DSM: Some of the things that I learned rather early in 
my work after I got out of college included such things 
as the importance of securing participation on the part 
of the people you were working with if you expected 
them to enjoy the wonderful feeling that results from 
participation and accomplishment. 

I learned this very definitely in my early county 
agent work when I met with a group of people in the 
Blue Grass neighborhood where we met all day long in 
the wintertime. What we did there was to ask the par 
ticipants to bring in samples of corn, potatoes and 
various things that we were going to talk about, and 
then ask them to discuss their own methods of doing 
things which lead to a discussion in which I simply 
served as a moderator. I saw to it that the discussion 
moved ahead and usually they would ask me to summarize 
and add my comments at the end. This procedure led to 
real interest, real enthusiasm and in my judgment it 
was highly important. 

Very early in my county agent experience I learned 
the importance of remembering peoples names and faces. 
My first office caller came in to ask a question and I 
didn t have the answer and I told him to return the 


next time he was in town, which he did. When he came 
in I said "Good morning, Mr. Pierce," and I thought 
he would faint, he was so pleased and surprised that 
I had remembered him. This little incident made me 
realize that this was highly important to people. So 
we established a system in our office that would help 
us to remember names and faces by developing a file 
of all visits in the field or to the office, and what 
we talked about, so that when we put it into the file 
it was pretty well fixed in mind. This stood me in 
good stead throughout many years. 

I remember one instance after I had been in ex 
tension work for ten years or more, including service 
as county agent in Columbus, Ohio, during Farmer s Week 
I used to go to my office through the hallway of the 
Agricultural Building where groups of farmers were 
registering or visiting. Naturally I stopped to speak 
to a lot of people and called them by name as I went 
through. One day as I was going down the hall a Mr. 
Reasnor who had a stand where he was promoting the 
sale of farm paper subscriptions followed me, tapped 
me on the shoulder and said "Mr. Myer, I want to ask 
you a question." I said "All right." He said "Do you 
know everybody in Ohio?" I said "No. I don t know 
everybody in Ohio but I know a lot of people who live 
in Franklin County and. I know some other people from 
around the state." He said "I have watched you for 
the last three days as you have come through here, you 
have shaken hands with everybody, you have called every 
body by name." I grinned and said "I think I may have 
overlooked a few." But it was true that I had learned 
the importance of remembering names and faces. 

Because of certain experiences that I had in 
county agent work I learned that it was very important 
before I started on a project to bring all elements 
into the picture and this means that I learned the 
necessity for planning even small details. This grew 
out of the experience which I have already mentioned 
regarding the oversight in not alerting dealers to the 
fact that I was recommending new varieties of soy beans 
and consequently when the farmers called for them they 
weren t available. The dealers as well as the farmers 
were quite upset because they had varieties that weren t 
adapted and as a result I had to do something about 

correcting my mistakes. I tried to avoid such mis 
takes in my future planning. It is important to face 
up to mistakes and oversights and to see to it that they 
are corrected if at all possible. This early experi 
ence helped to fix that into my mind so firmly that I 
didn t forget it throughout the years. 

I learned also the importance of keeping an open 
mind, keeping flexible and open to constructive criti 
cism. I have already mentioned the fact that the county 
superintendent of schools who went with me to meetings 
pointed out things that my use of language was not 
adapted to the audience to whom I was speaking. 

Also the incident when Fred Trueblood, the managing 
editor of the Evansville Courier Journal, arranged to 
have lunch with me and pointed out that I needed 
publicity whether I thought I did or not in order to 
get my job done, and as a consequence I practically 
wrote their farm page every Friday and reported meet 
ings. An interesting by-product of this was that I 
learned a great deal about the newspaper game by drop 
ping in after meetings. These experiences pointed up 
the need for an open mind and the importance of keeping 
flexible. It is something that everyone should learn 
particularly if they are going to work with the public. 

Supervisory Techniques 

DSM: In regard to techniques used in supervision, I 

think the major one that I discovered rather early in 
ray supervisory experience was the importance of study 
ing each individual with whom I was working, whether in 
the field, in meetings, in the office or at home, to 
learn all I could about him both as to his strengths 
and iveaknesnen. Then I was ready when the time came, 
and there always is a r-ight time to make suggestions. 
It is not always the right time when you first think 
of it. It is time when a proper opening occurs and 
you have an opportunity particularly to use an example 


to drive home a point. This I believe is probably the 
most important technique in the supervision of people. 
I asked one of my former county agents recently what 
occurred to him as being important in my supervisory 
work. He said "Well, the first thing I think of is 
you very soon learned more about me than I had learned 
about myself." 

In my supervisory experience after World War I 
as indicated earlier there were several agents in my 
area who had been appointed during the emergency and 
who were not well adapted to county agent work. It was 
important that they move out of that job and into some 
thing to which they were better adapted. I became con 
vinced rather early in the game that it was important 
to help a person who was not adapted to the job to make 
the adjustment as quickly as possible into something 
where he was better adapted. It was good for the per 
son as well as for the work at hand. I followed this 
policy throughout the years. It wasn t always easy to 
tell somebody that he should move into another job but 
it was easier in the long run because when you dilly 
dally about making adjustments that it is quite obvious 
must be made, it gets worse rather than better. 

Another major factor in supervision is teaching 
by specific example rather than using generalizations. 
This goes back again to timing. I found that if I 
recognized a weakness and then if I took time to try 
to find an example that would illustrate not only what 
that weakness was but how it could be corrected, it 
was better than to barge in and talk about the weakness 
before you had fully analyzed the situation and before 
you had a specific example or suggestion as to what to 
do about it. 

I learned another very important fact about re 
ports from one of the Washington supervisors in my 
early days of county agent work. I was harping about 
the fact that many monthly and long annual reports 
were irksome and I wondered if anybody ever did any 
thing about them or ever utilized them after they were 
written. It was pointed out to me that this was the 
wrong approach in thinking about reports; that basically 
reports properly prepared and properly thought through 
were most important to the individual in his work than 


they were to the people who read them, whoever those 
people were. The reason is that good reporting requires 
sitting down, taking inventory regarding accomplish 
ments, where you have been, the kind of things that 
have happened. This laid the basis for future planning 
in a way that isn t possible otherwise. 

After getting this point of view I found reporting 
a much different and pleasanter task then it was 
earlier. I tried to pass this on to people who found 
reporting irksome and I think I cured many people of 
being upset about making reports when they began to 
realize it was important to themselves as well as to 

Preparation and planning for the work ahead is of 
first importance whether it means planning a speech, 
thinking through on what may happen at a meeting, what 
participation you are going to be called upon to enter 
into, what kind of contribution it is possible to make, 
or any other phase of any project that involves com 
plex situations. 

I remember quite distinctly that during World War II 
when I often went to Capitol Hill to meet with committees 
of Congressmen from California and other West Coast 
States. A certain cabinet member who went along was 
sometimes quite eloquent when he was stirred but most 
of the time he fumbled because it was clear that he had 
not prepared himself for what he was going to say or 
what he was going to do. 




A Temporary Retirement 

DSM: On March twentieth 1953 I retired temporarily. I 
spent four months resting. The first month was fun. 
I would get up in the morning, get The Washington Post 
and climb back into bed and read the paper in bed. I 
did a lot of loafing and resting. At the end of the 
first month I found that I had had about all of that 
that I wanted and I was sure that Jenness had had 
about enough of me, because I was beginning to get 
itchy. So I began to look around to see what there 
was for me to do. I soon came to the realization that 
there was no job in the Government in Washington where 
I could go to work because they weren t going to allow 
anybody who had had three Presidential appointments in 
the past twenty years to be on the payroll during the 
Republican regime. So what to do? 

Group Health Association 

DSM: It so happened, along about a week or two after 
I began to be concerned about keeping busy, I had a 
call from one of the committee who had been appointed 
by the Group Health Association to find a new Executive 
Officer, who asked if I would consider the <job. I told 
him "Yes, I would consider the job, but I would like to 
talk about it further." 

He said that the board would insist that whoever 
took the job would be agreeable to signing a contract 


to stay on at least two years. 

I said "Well, I m sorry but I don t think that is 
a good idea. I don t think they would want to keep me 
two years if they weren t happy with me. Furthermore 
I don t think they would want to keep me for two years 
if I weren t happy with my job at Group Health. As a 
consequence you tell the board that I might be inter 
ested but I would not be interested on the terms that 
you have just suggested." So the job had gone out the 
window as far as I knew. 

The Hand Of Fate Intervenes 

DSM: About a week later I had lunch with James Mitchell 
who was formerly Commissioner of the Civil Service 
Commission and now of Brookings Institution. Jim and 
I were good friends and he said "Dillon, what are your 
prospects?" I said "Well, I have only had one and I 
guess that has gone out the window." I explained to 
him what had happened. He said "Do you know that I 
am a member of the Group Health Board of Directors?" 
and I said "No, I didn t know that." He said "Do 
you mind if I reopen this question?" and I said "No, 
I don t mind. I am not asking anybody to do this 
sort of thing for me but if you would like to do it 
I don t mind. " 

I got another call. They said they would like to 
talk with me and I went down to talk with them and the 
upshot of it was that I signed up as Executive Director 
of Group Health, and went to work the first of July 
1953 and spent more than five years in that particular 

Group Health Association is a medical cooperative 
that was organized in late 1937 or 1938 by the Home 
Owners Loan Corporation personnel office. The agency 
put up fort.y thousand dollars to start the program off. 
They needed a little money to hire doctors nnd to get 


other things going before the membership got under way. 
This was fortunate, because if that forty thousand 
dollars hadn t been provided Group Health Association 
never would have been able to make it. The chief of 
the agency had to answer to Congress later on for this 
financial help but he did a good job of defending his 
position and got away with it. 

I became a member along with my family in 1938, 
when they first opened up the membership rolls to 
other government agencies outside of H.O.L.C. and I 
have been a member ever since excepting for a couple 
of years around 194-0 to 194-1 when I became a little 
discouraged with their seemingly insoluble problems 
and we dropped out for a time, but we went back in in 
just a few months so that I have been a member for 
most of the last thirty years. 

At the time that I took over the job as Executive 
Director of Group Health in July 1953 there were about 
eighteen thousand five hundred participants. By the 
time I left a little over five years later we numbered 
around twenty-three thousand five hundred with a new 
group coming in which would bring it up to around 
twenty-five thousand. The District of Columbia transit 
workers group were just then being accepted as members 
into the agency. 

My major activity during 1953 and most of 1954- 
was that of trying to strengthen several of the admini 
strative and supervisory areas. A professional admini 
strative analyst group had been called in about a year 
before I became Director, which had reviewed the 
pattern of the organization and made recommendations 
regarding the organizational pattern as well as other 
suggestions. Most of these had already been accepted 
and activated and I didn t feel that I wanted to do 
anything about changing the pattern generally at that 

In addition to the medical division, there were 
three other divisions: the clinical division; the 
finance and records office; and a membership division 
concerned with getting and maintaining members as well 
as keeping membership records. 


One of my first jobs was to establish a sound 
liaison and understanding with the medical director 
and the medical staff. Fortunately this didn t take 
long. Henry Litchenberg was Medical Director in 
addition to being the chief of Pediatrics. Henry and 
I established a pattern of having weekly luncheons 
together to review anything that we had not had time 
to take up during the previous week. We established 
certain ground rules early in the game which kept us 
from getting into each other s hair. He v/as respon 
sible for the medical program and I v/as responsible 
for the general administration including the personnel 
problems that we faced in regard to other personnel in 
the shop including these who were in the finance office, 
the records office, the nurses and the assistants in 
the medical program and the personnel people. 

There were two major areas in which Henry Litchen 
berg and I didn t agree. One of them v/as that I felt 
quite strongly after I had been there for a short time 
that the records which had been developed throughout 
the years and which were no longer active should be 
utilized for research purposes. There were various 
problems that the doctors were interested in having 
some answers to, which would also benefit the member 
ship. Henry felt very strongly however that patients 
had been told the records were personal, were private 
and shouldn t be used. So we never got the chance to 
use them for this purpose , even though I was convinced 
that to do so would not have broken the confidentiality 
of individual patients records. 

The other problem which I felt needed improving 
was our procedures for the recruitment of doctors. I 
made suggestions from time to time that key doctors, 
key heads of divisions and the Medical Director might 
go out to medical colleges near graduation time to try 
to interest some young doctors in coming to Group Health, 
We would thus have had a better selection than we would 
by simply waiting for applicants to come along. But I 
was never successful in convincing them that they should 
take time off from Pediatrics, Adult Medicine, and 
other things to do this kind of a job. 

One of the first jobs in the administrative and 
supervisory area that I insisted be done was the 


installation of a classification and job writing pro 
gram because they had no job descriptions on any of 
the personnel. They were hired orally and off hand 
and I pointed out that I thought our turnover was due 
in part to misunderstandings that had developed because 
they didn t remember all of the things that they were 
supposed to do. So during the first six months in 
particular and during most of a year in the clinic 
area the division chiefs were busy writing job sheets 
but we got them done and in good shape and they were 
utilized. We saw to it that each applicant for a job 
got to read the job description, and to have a copy if 
he wished for his own use, of the job that he was 
expected to fill. It was how we were able to 
cut down the turnover, mainly because of the classifi 
cation system, the job descriptions and more thorough 
recruitment procedures. This is one of the main things 
that I think I contributed during the first few months. 

One other thing we did in the personnel area was 
to eliminate a few people who were not efficient from 
a few key spots. We established a plan for having 
meetings with the supervisors from the different areas 
from time to time. Early in the game we did it every 
week or two and when we had these meetings the first 
thing on the agenda was to give the supervisors a 
chance to tell me and the division heads what problems 
they needed help with if they could get it. Following 
this listing of problems we established some methods 
of finding out for ourselves some of the problems in 
the shop. 

One problem was the tendency on the part of 
employees when they were asked a question to which 
they didn t have the answer, to refer the caller to 
somebody else, without knowing whether the other per 
son had the answer or not. On two or three occasions 
patients told me they were referred to as many as five 
or six different people to get the answer and they 
still hadn t gotten it. 

At one of our supervisors meetings I made it 
quite clear how we expected this matter to be handled. 
One, we were not to speculate on what the answer was, 
nor were we to speculate on who had the answer. If 
they weren t sure of answers to questions, the caller 


was to be referred, to the division head, whether it 
was finance, clinic, or membership; or to the Executive 
Director. When this rule was laid down and accepted 
we had no more complaints of this type. This seemed 
a little thing but it had been going on evidently for 
quite a long time. 

Another problem was a tendency on the part of 
some of the staff to engage in quarrels with patients 
or members who came in in a militant mood. Very often 
patients were in a militant mood and wanted to scrap 
with somebody. I had long ago recognized that there 
were certain people that liked to beat people around if 
they thought they could get away with it but they did 
not try it with top people, because they were sure they 
couldn t get av/ay with it. So we laid down another 
rule which was accepted by the supervisors and passed 
along to the staff and which functioned almost per 
fectly. This was that if somebody started being 
difficult that they do what telephone operators did 
in those days when a caller got rough with them. They 
said "I will give you the Chief Operator". In our 
case it was not the Chief Operator but the division 
head, the clinic head, or the Executive Director again. 
This practically cured that particular problem in a 
very short time. 

We also established training meetings for such 
simple things as how to answer a telephone, how to 
greet members, and how to utilize the telephone. We 
got some people over from the telephone company to 
put on a demonstration and it was amazing what a 
difference this made throughout the whole shop. The 
staff now answered the telephone by saying who they 
were and giving some information about themselves. 
Also telephone courtesy was emphasized as well as 
passing along the caller to the right people if they 
needed to be referred elsewhere. 

At the suggestion of the clinic supervisor, I 
started making regular trips throughout the shop. 
Just wandering around up and down the aisles, into 
the laboratories, into the dental offices, back of 
the scenes into the medical offices accomplished two 


One was that the staff were aware that I was 
interested in what was going on. They probably assumed 
that I was checking on whether or not the procedures 
that had been established were being carried out, but 
the main thing that was accomplished and it was impor 
tant, was the developing acquaintanceship with the 
personnel behind the scenes being able to greet 
them and have them feel that somebody was interested 
in what they were doing. I did this usually two or 
three times a week, although it depended on how much 
time I had to do this kind of thing. 

We had a real problem in the dental area because 
we were losing money nearly every year. So we estab 
lished a system of records which came to my office each 
month which helped us to put our fingers on where the 
weaknesses were and where the losses were in time and 
income. As a consequence in a very few months time 
we had the dental clinic up in the black and were able 
to make certain recommendations that eliminated lost 
time and kept everybody busy at the chair. There were 
two or three dentists that weren t too happy about this 
because they enjoyed the opportunity to do a little 
loafing on the side but nevertheless it did work out. 

One of my very important problems, and it was a 
problem, was my dealings with the Board of Directors 
and the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee 
was outdated but was maintained mainly because the 
two or three doctors who were members wanted to be 
able to say to other doctors who raised the question 
that they did have a part in policy formation. The 
Executive Committee met between Board meetings and 
usually we repeated everything that we had gone over 
in the Board. So it was duplication but we weren t 
able to get rid of it. 

We had on the Board of Trustees, in those days, 
two or three people who had objected to my appoint 
ment and didn t hesitate to use the needle at every 
meeting about budgets, about this, that or the other 
but in particular who took long hours of time to 
talk at length about things they felt they knew more 
about then the administration did. It became quite 
boresome and I became impatient. 


For example, early in my regime Mark Coleborn, 
a board member, insisted that the board send out a 
questionnaire to all the personnel under my general 
supervision to find out what their gripes were. I 
put my foot down rather strongly and said I thought 
I could find out what their gripes were. Fortunately 
the majority of the board supported me. 

I asked Coleborn for a list of things that he 
wanted to talk about and he took time off from his 
job one day and came over to the office and we spent 
two or three hours together. From that time on he 
and I personally got along pretty well although he 
was always difficult in board meetings because he 
usually had some point of view that was different 
than that of the majority of the board. 

Another fetish of his and of Bill Reines was that 
the audit should be an administrative audit. This 
meant that they felt that Group Health should hire 
auditors who would not only audit the finances but 
would go into the problems of administration generally, 
and studying what the administration was doing and 
make comments and recommendations regarding it. This 
I opposed with the argument that if they didn t have 
confidence in my administration all that they needed 
to do was tell me, and I would submit my resignation 
and they could find somebody in whom they did have 
confidence in; but they never let up. I got a bit 
tired of this kind of quibbling but I got more tired 
and more impatient sitting through long, drawn-out 
meetings where little or nothing was accomplished. 

We started negotiations well before my last year 
with Group Health with the Transit Workers Union, a 
group that are now members and have been since the 
fall of 1958 After carrying on the negotiations for 
quite some time and reporting back to the board, some 
of the board members felt that I wasn t doing well 
enough so they appointed a committee of three to take 
over and they did the negotiating. They made some 
concessions which I didn t feel were fair to the rest 
of the membership, so in September 1958 I submitted 
my resignation. My agreement called for a sixty day 
notice and I continued my work until November fifteenth, 


There were three major reasons why I decided not 
to carry on. Probably the most important one was that 
I was a bit bored by this time because I wasn t really 
busy over half of the time. I didn t want to take 
over any of the jobs of the division heads or to get 
my fingers into things that they were doing well. We 
had cut down the gripes on the part of members to the 
point where I didn t get very many of those and as a 
consequence I was only busy at the time when we were 
preparing budgets, or getting ready for board meetings, 
making reports or in my routine trips around the clinic 
which I made a couple of times a week in order to keep 
in contact with what was going on. 

I had meetings with my division heads and super 
visors from time to time but I still wasn t busy and 
I wasn t very happy in not being busy. I was bored 
with the board meetings and I came to the conclusion 
that it was not the type to work for a group of people. 
I would rather have one boss. 

The other item which probably brought things to a 
head at that particular moment was our disagreement 
with the committee and with the board on the certain 
phases of the contract that was made with the Transit 
Workers. This was simply a straw on top of the other 
things. So I left the Association November 15 1958. 

I think I should add that my relationships with 
the personnel, that was ray responsibility to deal with, 
was excellent. It was a very happy relationship. We 
got along beautifully and all through each month up 
until the time of the board meeting. There wasn t an 
unhappy moment from that standpoint, except that I 
didn t have enough to do. Our division heads were 
quite cooperative and very loyal and I still enjoy 
going down to Group Health and spending an hour or 
two wandering around seeing some of the old timers 
who are still key people on the job and it s a great 
satisfaction to me to know that they are still there 
and that they are glad to see me. 

This finishes the comments about my work with the 
Group Health Association and we are now going to talk 
about the job I took on for the United Nations as a 
so-called "expert" in the field of public administra 
tion at Caracas, Venezuela. 


A Move To The United Nations 

DSM: During the fall of 1958 after I left my Job on 

November fifteenth with Group Health, I talked with my 
friend the late Bill Howell who was executive officer 
of the International Bank about the possibility of some 
international service that I might find interesting and 
where I could be helpful. He suggested that I get in 
touch with Herbert Emerich of the United Nations and 
let him know of my availability. This I did. I had 
known Herb Emerich for a good many years. As a matter 
of fact he had preceded me by some time as Commissioner 
of the Public Housing Administration. I had known him 
also in other capacities. 

My contact with him resulted in an offer to go to 
Venezuela as, as I have indicated above, an expert in 
the public administration field. I might say that I 
don t like the term "expert" but this is the term that 
the United Nations used and this was a part of my title. 
I never used it when I was on the Job. I was a repre 
sentative of the United Nations in public administration. 

And To Venezuela 

DSM: The reason why the United Nations was involved 

there was the fact that the U.N. was invited to send a 
representative down to Caracas following the coup which 
eliminated the former dictator Perez Jimenez better 
known as P.J. The Minister of Finance requested that 
someone make a survey of the needs of the government 
in the field of public administration. So Herbert 
Emerich did this survey during the late spring and 
summer of 1958 and made a series of recommendations 
most of which were carried out. 

Herbert Emerich s report indicated that he found 
great determination in Venezuela at that time to accel 
erate the economic and social development of the 
country. Because of this announced policy he felt 


that it was important that they do something about the 
modernization of their administrative procedures. 
He felt that in order to carry out their programs 
successfully it would involve an unusual partnership 
between private and public sectors and that there 
should be better communication between the government 
and the private sector. In order to make the program 
effective a sustained effort was necessary to up-grade 
the capacity in the public administration area of 
Venezuela in order to enable it to discharge the 
responsibilities of its share of the partnership 
efficiently, and to satisfy the general expectations that 
had been raised in connection with the proposed reforms. 

The principal administrative needs, as he outlined 
them, included an improvement in government organiza 
tion, with more clearly defined functions; a simpli 
fication and expedition of government procedures; a 
central and modernized system of fiscal controls, 
development of economic data as a basis for better 
control and for decision-making on policy matters. 
Above all, a vastly improved system of public personnel 
administration and training was needed. 

Another phase of the problem that he felt must be 
considered was the problem of what is generally called 
delegation and participation to relieve the undue 
congestion of routine business at the top in the 
various agencies. He indicated that while the United 
Nations personnel could help and advise, it couldn t 
perform the task itself in doing the kind of moderni 
zation job that was essential. As a result he recom 
mended that a temporary national commission on public 
administration be established, which was carried out 
promptly. This was based more or less upon his know 
ledge of what the Hoover Commission had done in the 
United States upon two different occasions. This 
commission was to make contributions themselves and to 
recommend laws and regulations for administrative re 
form. They would also provide for hiring additional 
contract personnel to assist them in their program and 
setting up task forces, etc. 

Among other things he recommended that it would be 
necessary ultimately to create a permanent central 
office of organization and methods, and to enact a law 


for a modern civil service system and modernization of 
their personnel system generally. 

He recommended the adoption of a modern system of 
obligation and accrual accounting of the revenues and 
expenditures of the government; strengthening the 
office of the budget and the Minister of Finance; the 
appointment of budget officers in the major ministries 
and autonomous agencies; the perfection of a system of 
departmental accounts subsidary to and in harmony with 
the central accounts and the Ministry of Finance 
office; and the classification of government trans 
actions on the model of the United Nations system to 
reveal not only the governmental budget but also the 
relationship to the total economy of the nation, and 
with the cooperation and the approval of the Office 
of the Comptroller General, to study a system which 
would permit better post audit of public expenditures. 

He felt that in the study of organization and 
methods that the problem of decentralization and the 
delegation of administrative procedures, were highly 
important in the interest of relieving the congestion 
of day-to-day business in the ministries and to create 
time in the ministries, from excessive routine, for more 
attention to matters of policy and improvement of 

He also felt that simplification of routine pro 
cedures with quicker and more efficient service to 
individual citizens and to the business community was 
important, and that equal treatment should be provided 
for by public procedures established under rule of law 
and that decentralization in a prudent manner of 
government functions was necessary to achieve a sense 
of civic responsibility and citizen participation in 
the states and municipal government. He recommended 
that the technical assistance program of the United 
Nations could be utilized in part and recommended the 
assignment of several different experts who might be 
helpful, one to be in the field of general public 
administration and organization and methods; one in 
finance; one in personnel; and one in training. In 
addition to this, he suggested that firms of manage 
ment consultants be engaged by the Minister of Finance 
to produce quickly an adequate staff, free from 


day-to-day responsibilities for the large amount of 
detailed survey work analysis and systemization that 
would have to be done. I believe I am correct in 
saying that he recommended that two such firms might 
be adequate. He felt that the staff of such firms 
were needed particularly in organization and classifi 
cation studies, installation of new methods, in per 
sonnel. He recommended that only management firms 
that had successful experience in the field of public 
administration in several countries be considered. 
They should be attached to the staff personnel of 
Venezuela for the interpretation of national needs 
and conditions to enable the staff to benefit from 
stimulation and training. 

When I reported for duty on March 1, 1959 I 
found three instead of two, contract agencies on the 
job with a total personnel of twenty-six people who 
had been hired by the previous temporary executive 
director of the commission. In addition to that, the 
recommendations that had been made regarding U.N. 
personnel were being carried out. I followed John 
Blandford, who had been in charge of over all general 
administrative work. He had started work on September 
first and had agreed to stay only six months so I was 
to take over following him on March first. 

J.D.M. Smith of England was already on the job 
and functioning as their finance expert and Michael 
H.H. Loew of the Union of South Africa had been 
designated as the expert in the training field but 
had not arrived on the scene as yet but was practi 
cally on his way. David Walsh, also of England who 
was an excellent civil servant in England was hired 
for a year s service in the field of personnel. He 
did not come on until April. 

The public administration commission had been 
established soon after Herbert Emerich completed his 
general survey in accordance with his recommendations. 
The first executive officer for a few months was a 
Dr. Lander who was connected with one of the very 
important and large oil companies in Venezuela but he 
felt that he needed to get back to his job so Dr. Beneto 
Raul Losada was the new Executive Director who had been 
on the job only a short time at the time I arrived on 
the scene. 


My major responsibility appeared to be largely 
one of coordinator and liaison representative between 
the various groups. It was a large problem to 
coordinate the activities of the various contracting 
agencies, three of them, and the U.N. experts who were 
functioning in some cases in the same field as the 
contracting agencies, the commission itself and with 
the government representatives who were in general 
charge of the area in which the commission was func 
tioning. This was probably the major task which 
took up a great deal of time. John Blandford who had 
preceded me had done a good Job in systematizing and 
organizing the projects that were being carried out 
by the various contracting agencies as new projects 
were established. I was responsible for writing up 
some additional projects and seeing to it that they 
were accepted by the commission and by the contracting 
agencies, so that we had a job sheet that we could 
work to. 

I think that I should mention who the three con 
tracting agencies were: The Public Administration 
Service of Chicago was functioning in the field of 
government organization; the J.L. Jacobs Associates 
of Chicago were doing the work in the field of per 
sonnel administration; and the Griff enhagen-Kroeger 
Inc. of the John Diebold Group of New York were 
working on governmental systems and procedures, par 
ticularly in the field of finance. 

I neglected to mention in addition to the other 
U.N. personnel previous to my arrival on the scene 
Dr. 0. Glenn Stahl of the United States Civil Service 
Commission had served from November 1958 to February 
1959 in assisting the Commission in preparing a draft 
of a new civil service law and presenting it to the 
Commission and getting it generally approved. It was 
finally approved after I arrived on the scene but it 
had been pretty well established before Glenn Stahl 
returned to Washington. 

In April of 1959 Dr. Manuel Perez Guerrero was 
designated by President Romulo Betencourt as the chief 
of the central office of coordination and planning and 
he was also designated as the principal liaison officer 
between the Commission and the Presidency. Following 


the establishment of the Commission in October 1958 
some twenty-five Venezuelan coordinators, so-called, 
and about forty Venezuelan technicians, or really 
trainees called technicians, were recruited to work as 
counterparts with the management consultants and the 
United Nations staff, so that all told we had ulti 
mately five U.N. people, twenty-six people on the 
staff of the consultant agencies and forty additional 
people who were assigned to work with the contracting 
agencies who were Venezuelan, making a total of 
around seventy-five people; this in addition, to the 
few additional people working in the general office 
staff of the Executive Director. There was an execu 
tive secretary and a public relations officer in the 
Commission as well as a secretary, and clerical per 
sonnel who were also recruited locally in Venezuela. 

The annual budget which was provided by Venezuela 
was more than one and a half million dollars which was 
quite a lot of money but nevertheless it was put up 
freely. Venezuela, being supported largely on oil, 
didn t seem to worry about it. By March of 1959, the 
month that I took over from John Blandford, the first 
twenty projects had been programmed and prepared in 
written form for approval by the Commission and were 
approved. In the initiation and implementation of 
these projects the management consultant firms and the 
United Nations experts worked closely in collaboration 
with the Venezuelan coordinators and technicians that 
were assigned to these projects. 

This cooperative effort provided valuable training 
for the young Venezuelan technicians and they in turn 
did much of the required work on the studies and the 
reports and were most helpful, particularly with the 
problems of language and communication in many areas. 
The senior U.N. advisors, mainly Mr. Blandford and 
myself, served as advisors to the Presidential office, 
to the Public Administration Commission including its 
staff and the management consultants on matters of 
program planning, projection and execution, and coor 
dination. In addition I participated in studies and 
formulation of recommendations in certain areas, 
attended many conferences with the director of the 
Commission and with Dr. Perez Guerrero and with the 
U.N. experts as well as with the management consultants 


and with officers of the ministries. It was important 
to keep fully informed in order to do a more effective 
job of coordinating the activities. 

Much of my time was spent in reading reports of 
management consultants, also reviewing proposed laws and 
decrees, reviewing proposed governmental contracts, 
progress reports, recommendations regarding the organ 
ization of offices and agencies and the formulation 
of project plans. All this required preparation in 
memorandum form for the Executive Director and many 
individual conferences with key members of the consul 
tant firms for the purpose of the exchange of infor 
mation. Projects which were assigned to the management 
consultants included review of the work of the Presi 
dential office, ministry reorganization, review of the 
work of the autonomous agencies of which there were 
several, intergovernmental relations, administrative 
assistance in the field of agrarian reform, the career 
civil service bill which has already been mentioned, 
personnel regulations, personnel classification and 
compensation, personnel selection standards and 
techniques, and social security for public employees 
and also the organization of the Comptroller General s 
Office, a budget system, a general accounting system, 
payroll procedures, procurment programs, revenue 
administration, congressional services, and systems 
and procedures in the Ministry of Health and the 
administration of the Federal district which compares 
with our District of Columbia government, Venezuelan 
Development Corporation, the Banko Abrero which served 
the housing area and the National Railway Institute. 

HP: This apparently was an herculean attempt to bring 

Venezuela up to the twentieth century in its govern 
ment administration. 

DSM: That s right. Venezuela, like all Latin American 

countries that I have ever known, was still running 
its government much as they were run under the 
Spanish four hundred years before. There hadn t been 
too much progress in the revamping of the governmental 
structure and procedures, and this was an attempt to 
try to modernize their procedures and develop a program 
whereby many of the old traditional patterns could be 


There were projects also in the area of personnel 
training which were supervised by Michael Loew of the 
U.N. staff. These projects totalled twenty-eight, which 
had been approved by the Commission and with which we 
kept in touch at all stages. Unfortunately, up until 
June of 1960, when I completed my tour of duty, little 
had been accomplished in the execution of the recom 
mendations which had resulted from the studies and 
which had been largely completed by the spring of 

Difficulties In Modernizing The Government 

DSM: Well, there seemed to be a great deal of lethargy, 
plus the fact that people were busy with other things. 
During the first year of my assignment we were quite 
optomistic that real progress was being made and that 
really outstanding accomplishments were possible and 
likely, in breaking old habits and modernizing govern 
ment procedures, which so badly needed revision. How 
ever, cooperation in most areas came to a dead stop or 
reached a stalling stage when the execution stage was 
reached. Old habits established throughout the four 
hundred years or more, going back to Spanish rule, 
were so well entrenched that it was most difficult to 
break them. Passing the buck from bottom to top and 
the lack of delegation of authority was the general 

Nobody below the top man was willing to take the 
responsibility for making the decision, because he was 
not given the responsibility which, of course, meant 
that the whole process of government was slowed up. 

Staff members selected because of political or 
family connections was widespread, antiquated record 
keeping including hand written copies duplicated many 
times in some instances, lack of trust on the part of 
top officials in employees except for a very limited 
few, was the sort of situation that was handed down 
from the centuries of dictatorship. 


This kind of procedure helped stymie the work 
after the first of the year along with the fact that 
President Betencourt was running into a lot of trouble 
with people who were trying to bring back the former 
dictator. There were attempts across the border from 
Columbia to bring about a coup and in addition to that 
there was all kinds of trouble piling up here and there 
with shooting and attempts at taking over. As a result 
Betencourt had many emergencies to face, and as these 
things began to happen he began to depend almost 
entirely upon his three key advisors who were the 
Minister of Mines, the Minister of Finance, and the 
Chief of Planning and Coordination whom I have men 
tioned Manuel Perez Guerrero, whom we depended upon to 
get things done in the government. 

As a result, the President was so busy with this, 
that and the other that in spite of the fact that he 
had given strong support to the Commission, we did not 
get any support from him, to my knowledge, in pressing 
the different ministries to go ahead with the program 
that had been outlined in connection with the studies 
jointly with the ministries. Also, Perez Guerrero was 
so busy working with the President that he did not have 
much time to do much about it, so the whole situation 
bogged down in nearly all areas of the government. 

The only ministry that really did much about what 
was recommended was the Ministry of Health and they did 
a pretty good job. The minister himself was interested; 
he not only worked closely with the consultant agencies 
in getting studies made and procedures worked out which 
would be adopted, but suggested other areas where he 
wanted work done. And he saw to it that many of the 
recommendations were put into effect. It was the real 
bright spot in the whole government at the time. 

In addition to the other problems was the one that 
it had been traditional for top people to make all of 
the decisions. This meant that there was a great lack 
of trained supervisors, especially at the third and 
fourth level. In nearly all cases the Ministers and 
their deputies handled the business, made the decisions 
and things filtered up to them. They were so busy 
handling every day emergencies that it was difficult 
to get their ear about any changes. 


Incompetent people in key areas, and reluctance 
to make replacements where people were incompetent, 
was another factor in the situation. As a result of 
the complete bog-down of the recommendations, nobody 
did any thing about pushing the civil service bill 
through the Congress which had been recommended in 
1959 and it was not passed during my regime. Most 
recommendations resulting from other projects were 
ignored except as I have already mentioned by the 
Ministry of Health. It was a great disappointment. 

About the time that I planned to leave in June 
1960, Dr. Losada who had been the Executive Director 
of the Commission, was moved over to be Deputy to the 
Minister of Finance and the chap who was brought in to 
replace him was Dr. Lopes Gallagos who had served as a 
member of the Commission. Unfortunately Dr. Gallagos 
was not happy in the presence of "gringos" and he was 
so politically minded that he put personal ambitions 
above the work of the Commission. He didn t actually 
take over until after I left but I knew him personally 
quite well and I got reports, of course, from the con 
sultants and others as to what had happened later. So 
the work of the Commission suffered very greatly when 
Dr. Losada moved over. 

Dr. Losada did his best to keep it on a high 
level and to avoid some of the pitfalls which had been 
usual in Venezuelan procedures throughout the years 
such as depending upon people who were friends and 
were looking for jobs rather than trying to get people 
who were really qualified. 

My assignment called for one year. I was asked 
to contract for a second year, but since it was an 
election year in the United States in 1960 I did not 
want to be away for the whole year because I v/as still 
a young man who wanted to consider the possibility of 
taking on a job with the new administration. As a 
matter of fact, I hoped that I might be able to help 
with the campaign. So, although I was asked to extend 
my stay for another year, I agreed to stay only another 
three months which ended up in late June I960. 

As it turned out, I was glad I had not agreed to 
stay on, in view of the fact that Dr. Losada had 


decided to leave and that Dr. Lopez Callages was going 
to take over, because I was sure that we would not 
have been very happy together. 

The very day that Jenness and I left for Panama, 
where we were going to stop off to visit friends and 
to do some sightseeing, an attempt upon President 
Betencourt s life was made, about fifteen minutes 
after out plane left the ground. The car was dyna 
mited, the chaff eur was killed and the President badly 
burned, but fortunately he survived. When we got to 
Panama we had dinner with friends that evening and the 
host brought home a paper telling the story of the 
bombing and the fact that the borders of Venezuela 
had been closed for a few hours almost immediately 
after we took off. They kidded us by telling us "We 
know now why you left Venezuela; you got out just in 
time." We really did get out just in time because if 
we hadn t gotten off just when we did it would have 
been several hours before we would have been able to 
leave the country. 

Social Life In Venezuela 

DSM: When we had first arrived in Venezuela we stayed 
at a hotel for a short time, until we could find an 
apartment. During that stay at the hotel they were 
short on water and water was carried in with a bucket 
for us for two or three days while repairs were being 
made. So we didn t have a very pleasant stay for the 
first two weeks, until the Blandfords left and we 
took over their apartment which was close to the hotel 
and in the part of town where it was less dangerous 
than it was down in the old section of the city. 

It was expensive to live in Venezuela, much more 
expensive than it is in the States. Fortunately for 
us we got along very well indeed for the reason that 
the U.N. had a policy which favored a family of two as 
compared with a family of four or five. We received 


the same fringe benefit allowance for family care and 
maintenance as a family of four or five received. It 
was difficult for a family with several children to 
live on this extra allowance because of extremely high 
costs, but we could almost live on our expense account 
and the cost-of -living differential and spent very 
little of our salary during the fifteen months that we 
were there for actual living costs. If we spent any 
of our salary it was because we travelled which we did 

After about a month or six weeks in the Blandford 
apartment we found another apartment in the same 
building which was better situated with an excellent 
view and more space. So we really had very good 
living conditions. We were most most fortunate. A 
United Nations car was assigned to our group, which 
took us to the office and brought us home for our 
siestas and took us back to work in the afternoon, and 
brought us home in the evening. Furthermore, if we 
were invited to official parties the chaffeur picked 
us up, took us to the party and brought us home. So 
we had good transportation and an excellent driver 
which was fortunate, because driving is not easy in 
Latin America and in Caracas in particular it is a 
dangerous business if you don t know your way around. 

There was quite a lot of social activity during 
several months. We were invited to a number of social 
affairs both small and large by government represen 
tatives including Perez Guerrero who was working 
closely with us. The consultant groups also enter 
tained on occasion, and we were always invited to 
those along with representatives of the Venezuelan 

Parties start late in Venezuela. I remember 
particularly we were invited to Dr. Lopez Callages 
house to a party one night and the invitation said 
nine o clock. We arrived promptly at nine o clock 
a la American and when we arrived I am sure they 
were embarrassed, because they weren t ready for us. 
Our host, who didn t speak English very well, tried 
to entertain us because there was nobody else there 
to do it. His wife was better at it than he was and 
she was most gracious to Jenness, but it was about 


an hour before everybody else came. We had thought it 
was a cocktail party and drinks were served and then 
the other people began to roll in and about the time 
we thought we ought to be going home around eleven 
thirty or twelve o clock, they came in and asked 
Jenness to accompany the hostess out into a patio in 
which there was a long table loaded with all kinds of 
food and a big dinner was served. I don t remember 
what time we got away from there but after dinner they 
served drinks again. The party went on for many hours. 

This is typical; any number of times we were in 
vited to cocktail parties and then when we prepared 
to leave after an hour or two, the hostess would come 
around with great surprise and say "Why we are going to 
serve dinner after while. Won t you stay on?" Dinner 
was usually served anywhere from twelve to one-thirty 
in the morning. 

One thing that interested us: We were told that 
we need not expect any invitations to the homes of 
Venezuelans, that they might give official parties at 
a hotel but not into their homes. On the contrary we 
were invited to Dr. Losada s home on at least three 
occasions which we thoroughly enjoyed. Other 
Americans were also invited. I have already mentioned 
that we were invited to Dr. Lopez Gallagos house along 
with some of the other U.N. representatives at least 
and we were invited to a couple of other homes. So we 
weren t blocked out entirely from entertainment in homes 
of our friends whom we had made down there. 

Travel Through The Country 

DSM: In addition to our experience in Caracas I was 

fortunate in having the opportunity to travel through 
out Venezuela. The head of the P.A.S. consultant firm 
asked the Executive Director to send me along with 
their staff members who were going to visit the area in 
western Venezuela near the Columbian line. I spent 


nearly a week in the Andes country and in the valleys 
in that area including a visit to the University at 
Merida where we had interviews with the President and 
with his staff. Merida was all dressed up for an 
anniversary. The city had been established four hun 
dred years before and they had really dressed the town 
up. It was beautiful, one of the loveliest towns I 
visited in Venezuela. 

One of the things that interested me on this trip, 
different from what we have in the United States, is 
that almost every community, certainly every sizable 
community, has a community-owned slaughter house. 
Each town slaughters its own animals. We visited a 
couple of these establishments en route. Around the 
slaughter house there were hundreds of buzzards just 
waiting for the offal to be thrown out where they 
could clean it up. This is an old practice that goes 
way back. 

Also I took a trip south to the Oronoco country 
with the head of the P.A.S. contract agency. We spent 
four or five days in that area. Among other things 
that we did there we interviewed various administrative 
people and other local and state people. One evening 
when we were wandering about simply stretching our 
legs we stopped into the library. We were amazed to 
find that the library which represented the State of 
San Fernando de Apura didn t have any more books, if 
as many, as I have in my own private library at home. 
Most of the books were official reports of the legis 
lature or something of that kind. It was really sad, 
because it was so limited, yet the librarian was proud 
of her library. She showed us through. This was in 
San Fernando de Apura which was the capital of the 
state by the same name. 

Later on I went to Cumana for a visit to the 
state of Sucre with the head of the P.A.S. group. 
Jenness joined me there after a day or two. Again we 
made a trip out into the countryside to visit some of 
the institutions and found it most interesting. 

While in Cumana, the Governor who until recently 
had been the Ambassador from Venezuela to Washington, 
Enrico Tehara Paris, met with us on two or three 


occasions. He told us about the work that he was 
trying to accomplish in the state, and offered us the 
opportunity to go over to the peninsula of Araya off 
the coast. It was an arid spot where there were salt 
works which had been traditional throughout centuries. 
Salt was still being harvested out of shallow areas of 
water which were drained off after a time and when 
dried up workers came in with -wheelbarrows and piled 
the salt in very large mounds. There was tons and 
tons and tons and tons, because it didn t rain enough 
there to melt it and until it could be processed and 
bagged and sent out to the various parts of Venezuela 
it was safe to leave it in great mounds. We were told 
that the former dictator, who had been eliminated, had 
made a contract with an Italian firm to establish a 
modern system for their salt works and they were almost 
ready to start operating. 

We visited also the salt processing plant, which 
was an intriguing business. It was all run by elec 
tricity, the control room was very complex. It would 
take some time to really learn what the various gadgets 
were and what they controlled. This was for refining 
the salt which was brought in in shallow boats through 
little canals into this factory and dumped. It went 
through a process there including grinding, some type 
of purification, mixing with other elements that were 
needed and finally ended up in a bag. It went through 
the whole process right there on this little neck of 

We wondered what would happen to the thousands 
of people who had been doing the salt work there when 
it became mechanized, because it was the only industry 
on the island. 

We also went over to the island of Margarita over 
the weekend where they dive for pearls. It is a lovely 
spot and we enjoyed our visit there very much. 


Reflections On The Venezuela Experience 

DSM: I m still wondering how much good the Commission 
and the contracting agencies and the U.N. represen 
tatives did, and whether or not there has been any 
real development since 1960 in modernization of 
government in general and government procedures in 

I think the most hopeful thing out of our whole 
experience there was the fact that there were around 
forty or fifty young men who were fairly well trained 
in various phases of modern governmental procedures 
and I am hoping that some of them were able to carry 
on and help to establish new procedures. However, 
it is difficult to change the old idea in Latin 
America that a small group, perhaps twenty to one 
hundred people, control the country. It is considered 
perfectly justifiable that they maintain their poli 
tical power in part by patronage and selection of people 
regardless of their ability to fill jobs. Often there 
are two or three times as many people on jobs as are 
needed. In some cases we found people on jobs and on 
the government payroll who were doing no work at all 
for the government but working some place else. Or if 
they were doing any work, they may do it in an hour or 
two in the morning and then go off to another job and 
earn more money some place else. This is a part of 
the old tradition, I presume. 

As I have indicated we left Venezuela in late 
June. Jenness and I came back by way of Panama, Costa 
Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. In the first three 
countries we visited old friends, most of whom had 
worked as a part of the staff of the Institute of 
Inter American Affairs in the days when I had been its 
President. It was a great joy to visit these good 
people again and find them continuing to do some of 
the very excellent work that had been carried on 
throughout the years. In Mexico we simply were 
tourists, on our way back home. 


Back Home 

DSM: When we arrived home we found our grounds so over 
grown with two years of spring and summer growth, 
particularly spring growth, that it took me about three 
weeks to get the hedges, shrubs and trees pruned back 
to the place where they should have been kept in the 

The house had been unoccupied except for about 
two months when some friends who had decided to move 
back to Washington occupied it until they found some 
place else to live. Because we were so selective we 
hadn t been able to find somebody to rent the house. 
Jenness did not want to take a chance on having 
families who wouldn t take care of it. 

When we finally got things in order along about 
the first of August 1960 I made a date with my good 
friend Al Waterston of the International Bank for 
lunch . 

A few days after my call, on the very day we were 
supposed to have lunch, I got a call from Al. He said 
"I have a young man in my office that wants to see you 
and wants to talk with you," and I said "Bring him to 
lunch." He said "He has a luncheon date but could he 
make another date?" 

The young man was Milton Esman from the staff of 
the University of Pittsburgh. Milton was interested 
in finding somebody to take over a seminar that he 
was scheduled to teach himself that year but found he 
was unable to handle because the University had 
received a sizable grant from the Ford Foundation and 
he was going to have to spend some time administering 
the grant. So he had come by to see Al Waterston to 
ask his recommendation on who might be available to 
handle the course and Al said "Well you came at the 
right time. I am having lunch with the man who ought 
to be able to handle it very satisfactorily." So we 
made a date to meet after luncheon. Milton Esman and 
I, who I had met in Saigon some two or three years 
before, had a chat and as a consequence I agreed to 
take on the job. 


A Graduate School Seminar 

DSM: This was a course in the graduate school of Public 
and International Affairs of which Don Stone was Dean. 

The course concerned the theory and practice of 
technical and economic assistance throughout the world. 
It was scheduled to meet each Monday in the afternoon 
for two hours. So from mid-September until December 
20, 1960, I commuted from Washington by plane leaving 
on Sunday evening and coming back on Monday evening 
after the class work was completed. 

It was a part time job, but since it was a new 
course and nothing had been done in the preparation of 
course plans, I spent nearly full time for the first 
two months from mid-August until mid-October outlining 
the course, selecting and reading reference books in 
preparation for the meetings on Monday afternoon. I 
set my sights high enough that it took more time per 
haps than some people would have taken because I 
decided I would not assign reference books either that 
were required reading or were voluntary reading that I 
had not read myself. So this in itself involved a lot 
of reading plus the fact that I scanned many other 
books in the process of making my selections for the 
assigned readings. 

The seminar included eighteen people in attendance 
regularly, two of whom were not registered for the 
course but were simply sitting in because of their 
interest in the subject but they did participate even 
though they weren t taking the course for credit. 

I found the course highly stimulating. It was not 
a lecture course in any sense of the word; it was truly 
a seminar and most of the discussion was carried on by 
the members of the class. As a result I learned a good 
deal, both from my own research and from the discus 
sions. Some of these people were quite well experi 
enced. For example, three U.S. Air Force officers 
were assigned to the University of Pittsburgh for addi 
tional work and they were able to contribute substan 
tially when they began to discuss military assistance 


One incident that amused me was that one of the 
students wrote a paper on what he thought the policy 
should be on military assistance in Latin America. 
He was opposed to it, and everybody kidded him, 
telling him that he had better not let the Air Force 
see that paper, because they probably would do some 
thing about it. 

In the meantime I still hoped to help out in the 
election that year, in the election headquarters in 
Washington. I tried to convince the people in charge 
that they had need of one of my experience because I 
had worked in the 1956 election in particular helping 
to schedule candidates. But it soon became obvious 
that anyone over forty years of age with white hair 
was considered too old by the Kennedy staff. This was 
probably fortunate since much of my time was taken up 
with the seminar during September and October which 
I had not originally anticipated. 

In addition to suggestions from Milton Esman 
regarding the preparation for the course I received 
a letter from Dean Don Stone setting forth suggestions 
for the need of a defined plan enough in detail to pro 
vide description of particular topics to be taken up at 
each meeting plus well organized reading assignments, 
project assignments, and reports or papers to be pre 
pared, etc. 

I look back on this particular seminar with a 
great deal of pleasure not only because of what I 
learned but because of the contacts that I made during 
this period. 

Other Assignments And "Near" Assignments 

DSM: In the meantime during the last six months of 
1960 I had lunched a couple of times with Henry 
Labouisse who had headed a study for the International 
Bank in Venezuela for several weeks during my stay 


there and we had become quite good friends. I had 
heard that Henry had been considered for the Director 
ship of the International Cooperation Administration 
during the Eisenhower administration, but that it had 
been vetoed by the Republican National Committee. So 
one day while I drove him back to the office after 
lunch I raised this question and he said that that 
was true, that he had been all set to take over, but 
the Republican National Committee decided that he 
shouldn t. So I said "Well, now, Henry, things are 
going to change this fall and the Democrats are going 
to win and you re probably going to get the offer to 
do the job again. If you do take it on and I ll come 
down and help you." All of this was said half -jokingly, 
He said "That s a deal." 

Sure enough following my discussions with Henry 
in early 1961 he was offered the job of Director of 
I.C. A. which later became the Agency for International 

In late January William Mitchell, who was Com 
missioner of Social Security, called me and said 
"Dillon, we have just been handed the job by the 
White House of taking over the Cuban refugee program. 
Would you like to talk about it? We would like to 
talk to you," and I said "Yes, I would like to talk 
about it but I am afraid that I may be committed to 
Henry Labouisse whose name has not come up for com- 
firmation yet, but I understand that it will, as 
Director of I.C.A./A.I.D." He said "Well, would you 
be willing to go down as an consultant during a three 
or four day meeting which has been called by the former 
Director of Refugees in Miami of the representatives 
of the various groups who have been working with them 
and who they want to help support relocation? The 
meeting is being called for people all over the 
country." I said "Yes, I would be willing to do that. 
I will call Henry Labouisse to see what the status is 
there." Henry said "Well, Dillon, it is true that I am 
going to be the new Director but I. don t know when I 
will take over and even if I do it may be some time 
before we get squared away, so go ahead and work with 
them if they want you to in the meantime." I told Bill 
Mitchell this and I said "In view of that situation 


maybe you won t want me to go down as consultant." He 
said "Well let me check with the Secretary." 

HP: Which Secretary was this? 

DSM: Of H.E.W. The new Secretary was Abe Ribicoff. Bill 
checked with him and called me back immediately and 
he said "The Secretary wants you to go by all means." 

So I packed my bag for a four-day trip to Miami. 
This was on Saturday morning. We left by plane and on 
Monday morning my telephone rang about seven o clock 
and it was Bill Mitchell and he said "Dillon, I m in 
trouble. The Secretary is arriving on a plane at 
around noon today and I am to meet him. The first 
question that he is going to ask me is Who do you have 
to take over on February 1 . " (This was three or four 
days ahead of February 1.) He said "I haven t anybody 
and I don t know what to do about it and I am calling 
you to see whether you would continue on and take over 
for awhile down here until we can work out something. " 
I said "I would be glad to providing it doesn t inter 
fere with any developments with I.C.A. So I will call 
Henry Labouisse and let you know before noon if pos 
sible." Henry Labouisse said he thought it was a fine 
idea as it would be some time before things developed, 
and for me to go ahead. 

A Temporary Assignment 

DSM: As a consequence I stayed on from that time until 
around March seventh as the Director of the Cuban 
Refugee Program with my office in Miami. This proved 
to be a most interesting experience. 

There were already several thousand Cuban refugees 
who had come into Miami, most of them by plane, some by 
boat. The procedure in Cuba was such that if anybody 
left Cuba at that stage they left everything they owned 
there. They would have five dollars in their pocket 


and that s all. So they actually came destitute. 

There were Cubans in Miami who had gotten out 
earlier and had been able to salvage most of their 
assets. The very well-to-do Cubans when they saw 
things developing came earlier. A system had already 
been established of registering the refugees as they 
arrived with a background of history, their professional 
interests, training, etc. This registration program 
continued and we were registering a thousand to fifteen 
hundred people a week. The problem that we immediately 
faced when we took over was the fact that no provision 
had been made for a welfare program for these people 
who came in for the most part destitute. 

The city of Miami was getting badly worried about 
the fact that the labor market was, in certain areas, 
being crowded. There was some objections from Labor 
already on the jobs and they felt that something should 
be done about it. So before the H.E.W. staff, including 
William Mitchell and his immediate staff, left for 
Washington during the last of January, we sat down and 
worked out a program which included providing some wel 
fare payments to people who were destitute in Miami 
and welfare payments for people who were willing to 
relocate and who were found themselves out of a job 
later in other areas of the country. Welfare was not 
provided for people who simply wandered off by them 
selves. So that during the seven weeks I was there 
we set up provisions for processing welfare cases, with 
the people from the State office and worked very 
closely with them in getting that particular program 
under way. We paid a great deal of attention, of 
course, to the question of relocation and how it was 
being handled and in view of the fact that I had had 
some experience earlier in relocation affairs with the 
Japanese American program in W.R.A. during the war, I 
was able to make some suggestions that were helpful to 
the various agencies that were carrying on the work. 
I did have some help from staff members from H.E.W. 

I was able to help, I think, to some extent. 
There were four agencies already at work trying to 
assist in the relocation program. One of them was the 
Catholic Welfare Agency which was handling a great 
majority of the cases because most of the people who 


came in from Cuba were Catholics. The Jewish Agency, 
Hias, had a representative there. The Protestant 
Church Groups had combined to provide assistance in 
their area and there is one other agency whose official 
name I don t remember but which had been in the relo 
cation business for some time. All of these people 
were working with contracts which had been made with 
the former refugee director so one of the jobs that I 
was asked to carry out was to renegotiate contracts 
with all four of these agencies before I left the 
which I was able to do. 

In the meantime I found that many many refugee 
groups wanted to interview the Director of Refugees. 
I am talking now about Cubans, professional groups and 
others. I also learned that the former director had 
refused to see these groups. I spent quite a bit of 
time listening to the stories and the complaints of 
people who felt that maybe they had been overlooked, 
groups of dentists, groups of other professions that 
felt that something ought to be done about their work 
and getting them established in the United States. We 
spent time giving them a chance at least to feel they 
had been listened too. 

I did very little about revamping the organization 
of the staff and strengthening the weak spots of the 
staff because I knew that I was going to be there only 
temporarily. I didn t think I should be making changes 
if I could avoid it until the new director came on. 
Every time I talked to Washington, usually two or three 
times a week, I raised the question with William Mit 
chell as to whom he had in mind for taking over because 
I wanted to be back in Washington to be close in touch 
with what was happening back here. 

Finally after five or six weeks he told me that 
they were going to ask their representative in Miami 
who was handling the old age assistance program there 
to take over this job which he did and he was an 
excellent choice. He was reluctant to leave his other 
work, but he did leave it but kept some contact with 
it and finally went back to his original job, but in 
the meantime I was very happy to have a man of his 
caliber to take over because he was good and they 
carried on an excellent program. I keep in touch with 


the reports that come out monthly from the refugee 
office in Miami and it has been very interesting to 
me to find that there are about one hundred thousand 
permanent residents in Miami, a quite stable group. 

More than one hundred thousand others have been 
relocated throughout the United States. The number of 
people who are relocated out of each new group that 
comes in now is much larger than it was back in the 
days when I was there. This is normal, because once 
you get a relocation program rolling to the point where 
you have areas pretty well established where there are 
a number of people who as in the Cuban case for example, 
who speak Spanish and where there is a chance for people 
to have some association with people they know well it 
is much easier to get others to go out. We found that 
during the W.R.A. days and we found it true in the 
refugee program so that the refugee program has picked 
up throughout the last four or five years and it is 
pretty well stablized. 

I mentioned one hundred thousand people in Miami. 
As a matter of fact there was a pretty sizable Latin- 
American community in Miami before the refugee program 
got under way, and this increased, of course, with the 
very large number of Cubans coming over in the mean 

I went to Miami for four days and I stayed for 
about seven weeks, pretty close to that. I went down, 
as I remember it, on the twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth 
of January and I didn t finish up down there until 
early in March. When I found that I was going to have 
to stay on I called Jenness and told her I thought she 
ought to bring me some clean clothes and to come on 
down. Whish she did and she spent at least a month 
with me in Miami. We had very pleasant living condi 
tions because we lived in a good hotel in Miami on a 
quite adequate expense account and developed some 
pleasant associations with a number of very nice people. 

After my return from Miami in early March of 1961 
I contacted Henry Labouisse a couple of times but 
learned that action in regard to the foreign aid program 
was being maintained pretty much in status quo pending 
a reorganization. They had established a task force to 


review the whole program and organization structure of 
which Henry Labouisse was made chairman, to consider 
how the agency should be revamped. This required 
almost one hundred percent of his time and left little 
time for the actual administrative job for which he v/as 
presumably responsible. 

Earlier during December or early January I had 
been approached by Bill Shepard who was in charge of 
the I.G. A. Far Eastern region. He wanted me to accept 
a temporary assignment to Korea to follow up on a 
public works program which was to be financed in large 
part by the provision of U.S. surplus products, namely 
wheat, cotton, and other minor products for use in 
partial payment to workers who were doing public works 
Jobs in lieu of cash. I had some reluctance to take 
this assignment out of the U.S., but about mid-April 
Henry Labouisse called me to say that it was going to 
be some time before the agency would be reorganized and 
asked that I consider going to Korea in the meantime to 
assist on the public works program which was being 
financed largely by U.S. products. 

Temporary Assignment In Korea 

DSM: I agreed and Jenness and I took off for Korea by 
way of Rome on about April twentieth. 

We went to Korea by way of the eastern route 
because some of the staff in I.C.A. suggested that I 
spend a few days in Tunisia to acquaint myself with 
the public works program there that was being financed 
with surplus commodities and which had been operating 
successfully for some time. They thought this was de 
sirable before going on to Korea where they were get 
ting under way with a similar new and larger program. 
So Jenness sojourned on her own in Rome for three or 
four days while I went to Tunisia where B.C. Lavergne, 
an old friend with whom we had spent some time in the 
Phillipines when he was acting Mission Director in 1957 


was Mission Director of the Tunisian I.C.A. program at 
the time. The Lavergnes asked me to stay with them in 
their home during my stay, which was most pleasant. I 
visited many of the distribution points all over northern 
Tunisia to learn what I could from their experience. 
This was a most interesting part of our trip because I 
had not realized how many old Roman ruins there were all 
over this part of the world. You think normally of the 
ruins being located in southern Europe and the Middle 
East but I hadn t realized how many were in Africa. 
My whole trip in Tunisia was well worth while. I was 
fully briefed on the program, on the problems, on the 
successes and I had a most interesting and delightful 
time with the Lavergnes. 

After three days in Tunisia I returned to Rome and 
we took off for Korea by plane. After a short stop 
over in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok we reached Korea 
on April 27, 1961. 

I went to work immediately to acquaint myself with 
the program and to become acquainted with the Korean 
Minister in charge of his staff. 

During the first three weeks I felt that I had 
become well enough acquainted with the job to be done 
and the people responsible and was ready to render some 
services I realized were needed. The program had 
gotten well under way and there were some areas 
particularly where the details of the agreement were 
not being carried out, especially the fact that in 
most cases the workers were being paid entirely in 
surplus commodities, instead of the Korean Government 
putting up their share of the cash that was originally 

After three weeks we wakened at about .two or three 
o clock one morning and heard the rat-tat-tat of machine 
guns! I tried to assure Jenness that it was something 
else but she knew better. As a matter of fact it was 
General Park Chung Hi and his insurrectionists who were 
on their way in to take over the government. 

This coup made a tremendous difference in our work 
over the rest of the period from mid-May until the time 
we left in early July. Following the coup we never 


knew from one day to the next with whom we would be 
dealing. The first army officer assigned to the area 
in which I was involved including the public works 
program appeared to be "just what the doctor ordered." 
He was intelligent, understanding and agreeable to the 
correction of some of the procedures which we felt 
badly needed correction, but at the end of about ten 
days he was transferred to another job before he had 
a chance to do anything about the things that we had 
suggested. During the first six weeks in Korea we had 
to deal with three different ministers. 

The program which had been well thought through 
and well planned involved the hiring of many people on 
planned projects throughout the whole of South Korea 
on such jobs as road construction or realignment of 
roads, reclamation projects of various types, drainage 
projects where this was desirable in order to provide 
more land for cultivation, and similar types of con 
structive work. The plan was that wheat in particular, 
cotton in some cases, and other surplus projects that 
we shipped in, were to be used in part payment to the 
workers in the various communities. Consequently it 
involved setting up storage places in every area where 
work was being carried on, in order that payment could 
be made regularly week after week. 

In addition to the surplus products there was a 
certain amount of cash to be provided by the Korean 
government. We found in our early visits to some of 
the projects that the cash part of it was missing, 
that the payment was being made entirely with the sur 
plus products. This was one of the things that we 
called to the attention of the Minister and his staff 
very early. I was not there, of course, as a watch 
dog or an inspector, but nevertheless it did bother me 
that the terms of the contract was not always being 
handled as they should have been. 

I have already mentioned that the first man 
assigned after the coup didn t last more than ten days 
before he was transferred to another area. After about 
two or three more weeks I suggested that we take a long 
field trip across Korea to check more in detail on the 
distribution centers. This was agreed to and Jack 
Anderson, who was working with me, and I along with a 


Korean Colonel who had been assigned and two of his 
Korean aides took a land rover car and started out. 

We had a most rugged but interesting trip. I 
thought that we had learned a great deal that was worth 
while toward the implementation of the program in the 
future and toward the correction of some of the things 
that I felt should be corrected. However the very next 
day after we returned to Seoul the Colonel who had 
spent a couple of weeks touring with us to find out 
what was going on, was transferred to another job. 
This was typical of the type of problem that I ran into 
day after day and week after week during the rest of 
the time that we were there. 

It was an interesting two or two and a half months 
but little was accomplished on the program as far as 
any contribution that I was able to make, because of 
this personnel turn-over every three or four days. 
This was a period, of course, of chaos when the new 
military government had taken over after the coup and 
they were trying to adjust people to various jobs. In 
some cases they fired a lot of people because they felt 
that they should have been in the army long before and 
weren t. Some of them were arrested and put in jail 
because of the fact that they weren t in the army. It 
was not a very happy situation from the standpoint of 
getting work done. 

I had full support from Ray Moyer, who was the 
Director of the Mission, and John Heilman who was the 
Deputy during the time that I was there. They did 
everything they could to assist me in getting the job 
done. Also I had full support from the Acting Ambas 
sador Green, who was quite interested in the program 
and who kept in touch. 

A Stop Off In India 

DSM: During the time that I was in Korea, Douglas 
Ensminger who was in charge of the Ford Foundation 


program in India visited Seoul because he was on the 
program of an international meeting that they were 
having there. He came to see me and talked about the 
program in Tunisia and in Korea and said that he 
thought that it was something that they should be 
interested in in India. He asked if I would be will 
ing to stop in India on my way home. I told him that 
of course I would providing the I.C.A. people felt that 
it was a desirable thing to do. After he returned to 
New Belhi I got word from Tyler Wood who was the I.C.A. 
director in India, that the idea had been approved and 
he had arranged for the approval by the I.C.A. in Wash 
ington. Consequently Jenness and I went to India en 
route back to the United States and spent a most inter 
esting week during July of 1961. 

Ty Wood and his staff were most gracious and help 
ful as was Doug Ensminger and his staff of the Ford 
Foundation. I had several interesting meetings with 
the top members of India s planning staff who were 
responsible for their series of five year programs that 
had been launched. We were provided the opportunity to 
visit a demonstration village north from New Delhi and 
on the weekend Doug Ensminger supplied us with a car 
and chauffeur to take us to Agra to see the Taj Mahal 
which, of course, was a thrill. 

In the meantime we had the opportunity to see 
the Indian countryside between New Delhi and Agra. 
We found in India, as we found in some of the other 
countries, that one of the very real problems in 
carrying out a program of this kind was the lack of 
trained people or the lack of competent people at the 
local level who had had any basic education at all to 
take over and be responsible for a program of this 
type. This was one of the problems in South Korea. 

Returning from Korea on our way home, we stopped 
again briefly in Hong Kong, and before reaching India, 
Bangkok, and in London for a day to see friends who 
were with us in Caracas, Venezuela in 1959 and 1960. 


Chairman Of A Personnel Review Board 

DSM: Upon our return to Washington in late July Henry 
Labouisse asked that I serve as chairman of an execu 
tive personnel review board. During the whole month 
of August I was busy with files and board meetings 
during which time we reviewed the records and secured 
information from people who knew about the work of 
one hundred fifty-two staff members who were in the 
top echelons of the foreign aid program throughout the 
world. We completed a report on each one for the 
Director. It was a pleasant assignment because we had 
an excellent board to work with. 

In the meantime the reorganization pattern was 
shaping up and Henry Labouisse told me that during 
this interim he wanted me to take over a new division 
which was planned a division of research and tech 
nical cooperation in the revised setup once it was 
finally approved. Before assuming that responsibility, 
however, he had another assignment for me. It had been 
decided to review all the cases that were brought before 
the personnel division in Washington as a result of 
Public Law 621 which authorized the review and selec 
tion out of people who did not meet the standards that 
they felt were required for the new A.I.D. agency 
which was finally formed and named. I was asked to 
head one of the review panels which started work in 
September. We were busy at this job through the middle 
of December. 

This was not as pleasant as the executive review 
procedures which we had just completed because it was 
dealing with cases that had been recommended by some 
body for selection out and we had to decide whether 
we felt that the recommendation was a sound one or 
whether it wasn t. Naturally it is not a very happy 
procedure when you are having to recommend that people 
be dropped from their jobs. 

During August and September we began to hear 
rumors that some of the White House young men who 
President Kennedy had brought in were feeding out 
material to some of the columnists to the effect that 


Harry Labouisse was not tough enough and that a 
Republican banker should head the program. It was 
evident there was an attempt on the part of some of 
the smart young men to run the program from the White 
House rather than leaving it in the hands of the 

Harry Labouisse was appointed as Director in 
February and was almost immediately made chairman of 
a task force. This required practically all of his 
time and he never did get a chance really to serve as 
the head administrative officer. Dr. Dennis Fitzgerald 
carried most of the job during that period. 

A Change In Directors 

DSM: The upshot of all of this was that Harry Labouisse 
resigned effective October first and they soon announced 
that George Wood, a Republican banker from the First 
Boston Corporation, would replace him. It so happened 
however that the Washington Post published a story 
relating to Wood s opposition to the T.V.A. and to 
cooperatives generally and played the story in the 
middle of the front page. As a result so much con 
troversy developed regarding Mr. Wood s place in the 
picture that his name was withdrawn and another name 
presented. The name of Mr. Fowler Hamilton was 
hurriedly submitted to the Senate and he took over in 
December. Of course all of this meant that my appoint 
ment into a key spot in the new program went out the 
window. Possibly the bright young men in the new 
regime felt that anyone seventy years of age or older 
was no longer useful. I did continue to serve in the 
personnel review program until late in December. 

During this period I had lunch with Harry Labouisse 
and learned that he had taken a bundle of the clippings 
of the various columns that had appeared, many of which 
appeared in overseas editions, to President Kennedy, 
who said that he had not known about them and that he 


was very sorry. Harry Labouisse told the President, 
according to his statement, that the pressures were 
such that he felt that it would be better if he 
resigned. Which he did. He then told me that Sec 
retary Rusk had called him in and obviously had tried 
to convey his regret about the whole thing. After a 
nervous and agitated discussion on Rusk s part he 
produced a map to show where there were openings or 
probable openings in embassies throughout the world and 
practically said "Take your choice." Harry selected 
Greece and in the early part of 1962 he became the 
Ambassador to Greece. After serving in that spot for 
a term or more, he took on the job as Executive Director 
of the United Nations Childrens Fund, UNICEF in New 
York, and that is where he is today. 

A Position With The Organization Of American States 

DSM: Early in 1962 my good friends Albert Waterston 
told me that the Organization of American States or 
rather the subsidiary the Pan American Union were 
planning to hire someone in the administrative field 
to develop some studies and procedures and to serve 
those countries interested in the modernization of 
their administrative organization and procedures. 
This was an entirely new approach on the part of the 
Pan American Union. Al told me that he had recom 
mended me for the job. Following an interview in 
January with Dr. Walter Sedwitz and Senor Alvaro 
Magana and others, I accepted an appointment as a 
consultant under a one-year contract beginning 
February 19, 1962. The contract had a proviso that 
the contract could be terminated by either party on 
sixty days notice. 

The first few weeks were devoted to orientation 
and contacts throughout the agency, plus other agen 
cies, and various groups, the reading of documents 
along with review, selection and procurement of 
published materials in both English and in Spanish, 


in order to provide a working library in this particu 
lar area. A partial bibliography of available 
materials was prepared and made available to those 
interested. Liaison was maintained with related 
agencies including a division of public administra 
tion of the United Nations and the Agency for Inter 
national Development. 

I represented Dr. Sedwitz as a panel member re 
lating to international assistance on the program of 
the American Society of Public Administration at their 
meeting in Chicago during the early days of my assign 
ment. Arrangements had already been made before I came 
with the agency with the Graduate School of Public 
and International Affairs of the University of Pitts 
burgh for the preparation of two basic papers. The 
first paper, entitled "Administrative Criteria for 
National Development Plans" was completed in draft 
form in March of 1962. The second paper "Proposed 
Programs of Study and Research on Development of 
Administration in Latin America" was completed in late 
April. Both papers were carefully reviewed and some 
time was devoted in reediting of the first paper in 
cooperation with the University of Pittsburgh staff. 

Much time during April and early May was devoted 
to preparation of detailed plans for a meeting of a 
task force which had been proposed and which was 
scheduled to meet for three days May twenty-third, 
twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth. The planning included 
securing a list of prospective members, selection of 
members and making contacts with these people to try 
to get them to take on the job, the preparation of an 
agenda, and other essential activities that were 
necessary to prepare for such a meeting. 

Dr. Sedwitz had told me that I was to be chairman 
of this task force , then just a few days before the 
scheduled meeting he told me that Dr. Gorge Sol 
Castianos, Executive Director of the particular area 
in the Pan American Union, whose initials were I. A. 
Ecosoc which had to do with economic and social 
development, had suggested that the chairman be 
elected by the members of the task force. I objected 
to this approach for the reason that I felt that any 
one selected who had not been closely in touch with 


the purposes and detailed planning would be at a loss 
in expediting the work of such a group. Dr. Sedwitz 
said that he would discuss the matter further with 
Dr. Sol Castinanos. In the meantime he, Dr. Sedwitz, 
was called away to a meeting in Europe. 

Consequently, on the morning that the conference 
was to begin, May twenty-third, Dr. Sol appeared on 
the scene and turned to me and said "What arrangements 
have been made for a chairman?" I realized that Dr. 
Sedwitz had not discussed the matter further with him 
before leaving for Europe so I simply said that Dr. 
Sedwitz had told me earlier that I was to serve as 
chairman. This he immediately accepted and the con 
ference got under way with a statement by Dr. Sol 
about the conference at Punt Del Este where he had 
been one of the people that had attended. 

As the conference went along I arrived rather 
slowly at the realization that my immediate boss 
Senor Magana had been responsible for the proposal 
that the chairman be elected. Obviously he was very 
upset at the turn of events and seemed quite sulky 
and uncooperative throughout the whole three days. 
He did participate when called upon, but he did it 
rather unhappily, I thought. 

We proceeded with the three day conference as 
planned, and had a most constructive and agreeable 
conference in spite of the fact that I sensed that 
Senor Magana was unhappy. The task force recommended 
a number of things. There were seven major projects 
for consideration which I will summarize as follows: 

1 . They proposed a survey to be conducted of 
three teams of two or three members each who would 
visit each of the twenty-one Latin American countries, 
consult with ten to twenty key leaders, at which time 
they would introduce and review the paper on "Admini 
strative Criteria for Notional Development Plans" 
mentioned earlier which had been prepared by the 
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School. The ob 
jective would be to secure constructive comments about 
the paper which would be useful in connection with a 
possible revision. The teams would also review the 
most important problems or barriers affecting adequate 


administration in these countries, to determine with 
responsible officials any needs for service which 
might be rendered by the Organization of American 
States in the development administration area. 

2. A proposal for a conference or perhaps three 
group conferences of delegates from each country to 
discuss the basic questions and problems outlined in 
the paper "Administrative Criteria for National 
Development Plans" which would be held later in 1962. 

3. Consideration of the establishment of a 
research documentation, translation and training center 
somewhere in South America. 

4-. Plans for an inventory and an index of past 
and current research and publications in the field of 
public administration and related matters. 

5. The initiation of an overall study of auto 
nomous institutes and agencies in regard to their 
relations, coordination and integration with the rest 
of the governmental structure and a similar study of 
financial control problems with particular reference 

to a review of accounting and auditing responsibilities, 

6. The development of a publication of a simple 
and adequate conceptual framework for a sound per 
sonnel system and the same for a good budgetary 

7. A determination should be made of whether an 
updating of the overall study of administrative pro 
blems similar to the Blandford study of the early 
1950s should be carried out. 

Following the conference I proceeded to prepare 
a summary report of the actions of the conference with 
the list of agencies and individuals who should 
receive tfopies of such a report. This report was 
typed, and I prepared a request for duplication of the 
number of copies required. I very soon found out that 
Senor Magana had quietly vetoed my requests in this 
regard along with some other items which was, I m sure 
he knew, most embarrassing and frustrating to me. 


I came to the realization that he was going to do 
everything possible to get me to resign my job, because 
he was quite unhappy with me in this particular spot 
so I asked for a meeting and had a meeting with Senor 
Magana. After discussion for quite some time even 
though he wasn t completely frank with me, I came 
definitely to the conclusion he would block every 
thing that I proposed if he could do so. I then went 
to Dr. Sedwitz and told him of the impasse and asked 
that my resignation be accepted as of July first. This 
was already late in June because I had been working to 
get everything in order before we sent the material 
out and it took me several days to come to the con 
clusion that I wasn t going to get the summary report 
duplicated. Dr. Sedwitz refused to accept my resigna 
tion, saying he wanted time to work out some other 
basis for continuing my services as an consultant. 

As time went on nothing happened, so I fell back 
on the sixty days notice clause in my contract. I pre 
sented my resignation effective at the end of sixty 
days and I had little to do after July first. I 
couldn t get agreement to have my services terminated 
and since I was held by the contract there was nothing 
for me to do but stick around and twiddle my thumbs. 
As a matter of fact I did a great deal of reading 
during this period to fill in the time. The months 
of July and August were unproductive, and my resigna 
tion was not accepted until September first. 

This experience of having been stymied and boxed 
in by a jealous and revengeful boss was a new experi 
ence for me and it was not a pleasant one. I realized, 
of course, shortly after I came on the job, that per 
haps I had made a mistake by accepting the job since 
I was fourth man down on the totem pole. There was 
Dr. Sol Castianos at the top, Dr. Sedwitz, Dr. Magana 
and then myself. This was something that I had not 
been accustomed to for some time and perhaps part of 
the fault was mine . 


A Travel Interlude Then Further Assignment; 

DSM: During late January and February and part of 

March 19&3 Jenness and I took a trip to Hawaii, Fiji, 
American Samoa, New Zealand and Australia. 

After our return from this trip and a few weeks 
of unemployment, I made a luncheon date with Frank 
Coffin who was nerving as Deputy to the Director of 
the A.I.D. program. Frank had been an excellent mem 
ber of the executive personnel review panel during 
August of 1961 which I hod chaired and we had become 
good friends. 

During the luncheon I asked whether it was apainst 
the lav/ or policy of A.I.D. to hire anyone over seventy 
years of age. He laughed and said that he knew of no 
such lav; or policy. I said "I do not wish to embarrass 
you in any way but I believe that I have the ability 
to contribute something to the agency and I would be 
happy to serve as a consultant in any area where my 
experience and talents might serve best." Pie immed 
iately said that I should be able to render real ser 
vice in the area of research and technical services 
and he would speak to Dr. Baumgartner who had taken 
over the job that Harry Labouisse had planned for me 
and also explore other areas. As might be expected 
nothing developed in Dr. Baumgartner^a area but only 
a few days later I received a call from the personnel 
office to ask that I serve on a personnel review panel. 
I accepted for part of May and most of June of 1965. 

Soon after this, in late July, I had a call from 
David Stanley of Brookings Institution who told me 
that he had asked A.I.D. for some help from them on a 
study of the higher civil service in Government and 
it seems that he talked with Frank Coffin, who was 
acting at the time. Frank had told Stanley that they 
would make me available and agreed to pay my salary. 
So on August 5, 1963 I started to work with David 
Stanley at Brookings. My major job was that of inter 
viewing a long list of civil servants in grades above 
grade fifteen both in Washington and in the field, and 
in preparing detailed reports on these interviews. I 


was carried on the A.I.D. roles from August fifth until 
September thirteen and then transferred to the Brookings 
payroll under contract until October 25, 1965. The 
results of this study were published in November 1964 
and authored by David Stanley with acknowledgements to 
those of us who had assisted in the study. 

Following this assignment I was again appointed 
by A.I.D. as a consultant on November 4, 1963 to serve 
on a pcnel to review a long list of employees as a 
first move toward a selection out process. This work 
continued throughout the rest of 1963 and into early 
1964. We completed the job and reported to David Bell 
in February 1964. 

Jenness and I then started planning a European 
trip. In early July, Jenness and I, along with our 
eldest grandchild, Pamela Hall, toured Norway, Sweden, 
Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, France 
and then spent six weeks in England and Ireland, return 
ing about mid September, 1964. 

Shortly after my return I was asked by the personnel 
director of U.S. I. A. to serve on a promotion review 
panel which was to review for possible promotion, the 
records of the foreign service officers who were at 
work in U.S. I. A. I learned that James Mitchell who was 
then working with the Brookings Institution, end who 
was a good friend, had recommended me for this spot. 
This assignment was interesting and enjoyable because 
we had a good panel, two of whom were members of the 
staff of U.S. I. A. and two of the State Department. I 
was the lay member not attached to any agency. 

I Do Some Writing 

DSM: We finished thin job in December 1964 and fchio, 
as it developed, was my Inct assignment oo consultant 
in any of the governmental areas. So in 1965 after 
coming to fche realization that I wasn t going to be 

selected for further part time work I started writing 
a book which came to be entitled "Uprooted Americans" 
with a subtitle "The Japanese-Americans and the W.R.A. 
during World War II." The manuscript was completed in 
late 1966 and will soon be published by the University 
of Arizona Press. I would like to add that I had 
excellent help on this manuscript from four of my very 
pood friendr who served as readers and reviewed the 
document from time to time. 

They were Helen Pryor, Philip Click, Morrill 
Tozier (both of the latter had served with me in W.R.A.) 
and Mike Masaoka who at the time of W.R.A. was Executive 
Officer of the Japanese-American Citizens League arid 
who has continued to be closely associated with the 
J.A.C.L. throughout the years. 

The manuscript has also been reviewed by William 
Hosokawo , Associate Editor of the Denver Post, who 
made a number of constructive suggestions. 

Upon its completion I wrote to Doctor Edward H. 
Spicer, head of the Department of Anthropology at the 
University of Arizona, an old friend and a former mem 
ber of the War Relocation Authority staff. He asked 
that I send a copy of the manuscript to him for review 
and possible referral to the University of Arizona 

After reviewing the manuscript he recommended thct 
it be published. The University of Arizona Prenr. 
agreed. Oon. c 3equently the book will come off the 
press early in 1970. 


DSM: It was my good fortune to have been born of 

wonderful parents, and to have been reared on a farm 
at a time when thrift and hard work were virtues. The 
farm tasks and responsibilities, which were hard at 
times, were accepted as a major part of a farm boy s 
life. The work habits that were formed in early life 
were important assets in later years. 

I have had the benefit of good educational train 
ing all the way from the one-room country school through 
college and post-graduate work. 

I have been fortunate also in having good bosses 
throughout the more than forty years of public service. 

All of my many jobs have been interesting and 
worthwhile. I have had the opportunity to visit most 
of the fifty states officially in the company of per 
sonnel who had an excellent knowledge of the people in 
the areas but they were also well versed in the nature 
of the flora and fauna. This kind of guide service 
could not be hired for love or money for it was avail 
able only among the well trained public servants who 
were agriculturists, conservationists and others well 
versed in the lore of the areas served. 

In addition I had the opportunity to visit many 
foreign countries officially with the same kind of well 
trained escorts. 

The two jobs which stand out in their contribution 
to my development are: my first job as a County Agri 
cultural Agent in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, where 
as a young mnn of twenty-four years, I v/as on my own 
for the first time. I learned there that I liked work 
ing with people and my confidence in my own ability in 
creased greatly. New vintas opened up fox- me as a 
result of that experience. 


The second one came many years later when I took 
over the Directorship of the War Relocation Authority 
for four .years in 1942. This was a tough job without 
precedents or guide lines. I learned many things for 
sure during that four years including the confirmation 
that many of the tenets which I had grown up with were 
still valid. Also the importance of planning and never 
giving up so long as there were stones unturned and 
that people of good will often came to the front more 
slowly than those of ill will but they stayed with it 
longer once they took hold. 

During this period I lost all feelings of fear or 
insecurity that had occasionally been bothersome up to 
that time. 

All in all, I have had a wonderful life with many 
opportunities for learning and development in my many 
jobs. On top of it all at age thirty-three I married 
a most wonderful girl. As a result we have a family 
that makes me very proud. 



Agricultural Conservation 
and Adjustment Admini 
stration, 179, 182, 183 

Agr. Adjustment Administra 
tion, A. A. A., 161, 164, 
165, 168, 170, 181 

Alpha Zeta Fraternity, 82, 
85, 325 

American Lep.;ion, 197 

Americanism Commission, 
members Homer Ghaillaux 
and Jimmy O Neil. 208, 

Anderson, A.E., Apr. Ext. 
Supervisor, 149 

Anderson, Clinton, Senator 
252, 281 

Appleby, Paul, Adm. Ass t 
to Sec. U.S.D.A., 176 
178, 332, 334, 339 

Armour, Norman, Ass t. Sec. 
of State, 242 


Barrows, Leland. Exc. Officer 
W.R.A., 207, 250, 301, 316 

Barrows, Professor, O.S.U., 
82, 83 

Baum, Mrs. Willa, x acknow 

Bankhead, John, Senator, 177 

Beatty, Willard, Chief of 
Education Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, 256 

Beeson, Keeler, Ext. Agrono 
mist, 116 

Bell, Francis, Co. Agr. Agent, 

Bell, Sam, Farmer, 141, 142 

Bendetzen, Carl, Col. Civilian 
Affairs Western Defense Com 
mand, 186, 187 

Bender, George, Congressman, 
311, 312 

Bennett, Hugh, Chief of Soil 
Conservation Service, 171, 
172, 174, 176, 177, 179, 
180, 320, 335, 339 

Baker, John, Inf. Officer 
W.R.A., 202 

Benson, Mr., Four H Club 
Founder, 129 


Best, Ray, Director Tule 
Lake, W.R.A. Center, 
204, 207 

Biddle, Francis, U.S. Att. 
General , 211, 216, 21? 

Black, Dr. Albert, U.S.D.A., 

Black, Dave, Early Auto 
Owner, 8 

Blandford, John, U.N. 
Experts, 359, 360, 361 

Bledsoe, Sam, Ass t. To 
Sec. of Agr. , 180 

Boettenger, John and Anna 
Roosevelt Boettenger, 201 

Bolley, Dr., Plant Patholo 
gist, 94 

Bronson, Ruth Muskrat, Con 
gress of American Indians, 

Brown, Harry, Ass t Sec. of 
ACT., 177, 178 

Brown, Mac, quartet member, 

Brown, Mr., Engineer, 168 

Byrnes, James, Senator and 
Sec. of State, 179, 212 

Buckeye Lake Park, Ohio, 7 
26, 45, 65, 66, 68, 48, 
69, 73, 77, 80 

Bullock, Mr., Newspaperman, 

Bureau of Agr. Economics, 
U.S.D.A., 178 

Bureau of Plant Industry, 
U.S.D.A., 113 

Butler, Hugh, Senator, 253, 

Caine, Harry P., Senator, 

Calkins, Hugh, Reg. Conser 
vator, S.C.S., 303 

California, Humbolt Co., 90, 
91, 186 

Campbell, J. Phil, Section. 
Chief Soil Conservation 
Service, 173, 177 

Carmody, John, Horticulturist, 

Castianos, Dr. George Sol, Pan 
American Union, 388, 389 

Chandler, A.B. (Happy), Senator, 
197, 201, 209 

Chapman, Oscar, Ass t Sec. and 
Sec. of the Interior, 229, 
251, 252 

Chavez, Dennis, Senator, 304 

Chipperfield, Robert, Congress 
man, 243 

Christgau, Victor, Division 
Chief A. A. A., 163, 165, 334 


Christie, Prof. G.I., 

145, 146, 147, 149, 320, 
329, 330 

Civilian Conservation Corp. , 
C.C.C., 17? 

Clapp, Gordon, Chief of Near 
East U.N. Mission, 
48, 249, 250 


Coffey, John, Congressman, 

Coffin, Frank, Deputy Adin. 
A.I.D., 392 

Cohen, Felix, Indian Att., 
279, 280, 283 

Coleman, T.A., County 

Agent Leader, 88, 89, 145 
146, 148 

Collier, Charles, Soil Con 
servation Service, 168 

Collier, John, Commissioner 
of Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, 255, 283 

Columbia University, 160 

Columbus, Ohio, 63, 66, 67, 
74, 76, 147, 149, 150, 
158, 165 

Connelly, Mat, President 
ial Ass t., 244 

Connelly, Tom, Senator, 294 

Cordier, Andrew, Ass t Head 
of U.N., 247, 249, 250 

Cordon, Senator, 281 

Corey, Andy, Department of 
State, 241 

Cornell University, 93 

Costello, John, Congressman, 
Chairman of Sub. Com. of 
Dies Com., 193, 202, 203, 209 
and Robert Stripling Staff 
member, 209, 307 

Coudert, Fredrick, Congressman, 

Cozzens, Robert, V/.R.A. Ass t., 
207, 311 

Craig, Doctor, Veternarian, 

Craig, Stephen Jim, Co. Agr. 
Agent, 148 

Crane, George, Ass t Director 
of Agr. Ext., 156 

Creel, Cecil, Agr. Ext, Director 
Nevada, 177 

Crocheron, B.H. , Agr. Ext. Dir. 
California, 90, 91 

Cuban Refugee Program, 375 

Cullum, Rovert, W.R.A. Relo 
cation Officer, 224 

Curry, James, Indian Attorney, 


Dakin, E.S., V/.R.A. Relocation 
Officer, 154 


Daniels, Paul C., Acting Ennis, Edward, Department of 
Ass t Sec. of State, 242 Justice, 216 

Davis, Chester, Chief of Ensminger, Douglas, Ford Foun- 
A.A.A., 163, 164, 165, dation, India, 383 
166, 169, 170, 1?1 

Erspine, Billy, Farmer, 114 
Davis, Elmer, Chief of 

O.M.I., 183 Esman, Dr. Milton, Un. of 

Pittsburgh, 372, 374 
DeWitt, John L. , General, 

185, 186, 187, 190, 193 Evans, "Spike", Chief of A. A. A., 

179, 180 

Dirksen, Everett, Congress 
man and Senator, 317, 318 Evansville, Indiana. 89, 95$ 

113, 117, 120, 139, 145, W 
Doty, Dale, Ass t Sec. of 150, 320 
Interior, 252 

Evansville Courier, 90, 105, 
Drier, John, Dept. of State, 106, 107, 112 


Fahey, Charles, Solicitor 
Edmonds, John, Farmer, 140 General, 220, 221 

Eisenhower, Milton, 167, 171 Parrel, George, U.S. Agr. Ext. 
176, 178, 183, 184, 186, Service, 129 
188, 322, 333, 339 

Federal Chemical Co., Louis- 
Eisenhower. President of ville, Ky., 95, 100 
U.S.A., 299 

Ferguson, Clarence, Poultry 

Egan, John, Acting Commis- Specialist and Director of 
sioner P.H.A., 236 Agr. Ext. Service, Ohio and 

National, 165 
Ellis, Ray, Fertilizer Plant 

Officer, 102 Foley, Raymond, Dir. of U.S. 

Housing Agency, 234, 236 
Embray, Nick, a boyhood pal, 

33 Forest Service, U.S.D.A., 178 

179, 226 
Emerich, Dr. Herbert, United 

Nations, 359 Fortas, Abe, Under Sec. of 

Interior, 225, 226, 341 
Engle, Chester, Fraternity 

brother, 82 Frank, Jerome, Lawyer and 

Judge , 1 65 


Frier, "Doc", Agr. Ext. 
Specialist, 123 

Fry, Amelia, x acknow 

Funchess, Dean, Auburn 
State University, 339 

Gas, Free Natural, 79 

Gallagos, Dr. Lopaz, Exc. 
Dir. of Ven. U.K. Com., 
365, 366, 367 

Garrison, Mr., Fertilizer 
Salesman, 100, 101 

Gaston, T.L., Section Head 
Soil Conservation Ser 
vice, 174 

George, Frank, Exc. Dir. 
of Congress of American 
Indians, 283 

Georgia, Atlanta, 179 

Gibson, W.A., W.R.A. Em 
ployee, 307 

Gilbert, Prof. A.H., Bo- 
tony Dept., Un. of Ky. , 
92, 93 " 

Glick, Philip, Lawyer, 166, 

Graham, A.E., Former Agr. 
Ext. Director, Ohio, 129 

Graham, Willie and Harry, 
Fresh Air Kids, 74 

Grandstaf, George, Capt. 222 
Gray, Dr. L.C., U.S.D.A., 167 

Griff enhagen, Kroeger MC, 360 

Grossman, Edward, Four H Club 
Leader, 130 

Group Health Association Inc., 
347, 348, 349, 354, 355 

Guerrero, Dr. Manuel Perez, 
Chief of Venezuelan Office 
of Coordination and Planning 
360, 364, 367 


Haas, Mr., School teacher, 132 

Hahn, E.R., Farmer Demonstra 
tor, 135 

Halle, Louis, Dept. of State, 

Hamilton, Fowler, Director of 
A.I.D., 386 

Hearst Press, 193, 206, 308 

Hebron, Ohio, Hometown, 66, 67, 
68, 75 

Heilman, John, Deputy Dir. of 
I.C. A., Mission in Korea, 

Heldt Seed Co., Evansville, 
Ind., 114 

Henry, Clarence, Co. Agr. Agent 
81, 89 

Hepler, William and David, 
Farmers, 99 

Hill, Grover, Ass t. Sec. of 
Agr., 181, 182 


Hoeing, Agnes, Pour H Club 
Girl, 128 

Holland, Tom, Employment 
Division W.T7.A., 189 

Home Owners Loan Corpor 
ation, 348, 349 

Horn, Miss Lottie, School 
Teacher, 4 

Uosakawa, William, Assoc. 
Editor Denver Post, 394 

Hoover Commission, The U.S., 

Hopkins , Harry and wife , 
Pres. Ass t., 201 

Hopkins, Prof., Soils Dept. 
Un. of 111., 94 

Howell, William, Exc. Off. 
of International Bank, 

Hughes, John B., Radio Com 
mentator, 186 

Humphrey, Hubert, Mayor of 
Minneapolis and Senator, 

Ickes, Harold, Sec. of 
Interior, 211, 221, 225 
227, 340, 342 

Institute Of Inter-Ameri 
can Affairs, 371 

Interurban Line , Columbus , 
Newark, and Zanesville, 
Ohio, 66, 68, 79, 80 

Jackson, Andrew, U.S. President, 

Jacobs, J.S. Associates, 360 

Jardine, William, Sec. of 
Agr., 332 

Jenson, Ben, Congressman, 231, 
233, 237, 254 

Johnson- C Malley Act, 260, 265, 


Jones, Marvin, Judge, Court of 
Claims, 181, 182 

Jones, Prof. S.C., Soils Dept. 
Un. of Ky., 86, 88 

Jump, William, Budget Director, 
U.S. Dept. Agr., "178 


Kansas State College, 83 

Keller, Kent, Congressman, 317 

Kennedy, John, U.S. President, 

Kenny Ralph, Fraternity Brother 
Agronomist, 83, 84 

Kentucky, 77, 85, 91, 177 
Key, John, Congressman, 243 
Kigan, Dr. L., Veternarian, 138 

Kinney, Edwin, Prof, of Agron 
omy, 86, 87, 92, 326, 327 


Kirchof, Fir., Farmer, 110 

Kissel, Henry, Farmer, 99 
135, 136, 137, 138, 139 

Korea, 380, 382 

Krug, Julius, Sec. of 
Interior, 22? 

LaForge, Oliver, President 
of the Association of 
Am. Indian Affairs, 295 

Labouisse, Henry, Int. Bank 
and Dir. of I.G.A., 5?4, 
375, 376, 379, 380, 385, 
?86, 387, 392 

LaVergne, D.G., Dir. of 
Mission Tunisia I.G.A., 
380, 381 

Lawton, Fred, Dir. U.S. 
Bureau of the Budget, 245 

Lee, Clarence, Congressman, 

Lee, H. Rex, Relocation 
Officer W.R.A., Deputy 
Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs, 219, 248, 249 
253, 268, 314 

Lee, Robert E., K.C.C. 
Commissioner, 231, 233 

Lewis, Fulton Jr., Column 
ist and Commentator, 254 

Lewis, Orme, Ass t Sec. of 
the Interior, 299 

Lichtenberg, Dr. Henry, Med 
ical Director G.H.A., 350 

Lippman, Walter, Columnist, 
154, 186 

Livingston, Jack, Prof, of 
Agronomy, 83 

Loew, Michael, H.H., U.N. 
Training Expert, 359, 363 

Losada, Dr. Benito Raul, 
Exc. Officer of Venezuelan 
Pub. Adm. Com., 359, 365, 

Loudermilk, Mr., Contractor, 

Lovett, Robert A., Acting Sec, 
of State, 243 


McCall, Dr. Arthur, Prof, of 
Soils, 84, 325 

McCorran, Pat, Senator, 314, 
315, 316 

McCarthy, Jos. R., Senator, 

McCay, Douglas, Sec. of the 
Interior, 299 

McCloy, John, Ass t Sec. of 
War, 200 

McConnell, Dr., Veternarian, 
137, 138, 139 

McCray, Warren, Hereford 
Breeder and Governor of 
Indiana, 102 


McFaddin, Margaret, x 
acknowl edgement 

McGee, George. Ass t Sec. 
of State, 246, 247, 250 

McGrannery, Jas., Dept. of 
Justice, 216 

McGuffy s Reader, 3, 5 

Mclntosh, Gal. Go. Agr. 
Agent, 89 

HcKarney, General, 301 

Magana, Senor Alvaro, Pan 
Am. Union, 387, 389, 390, 

Mansfield, Mike, Congress 
man, 243 

Markley, Allen, V/.R.A. Inf. 
Officer, 210 

Marshall, George, Sec. of 
State, 243 

Marshall, Roy, Go. Ap;r. 
Agent, 89 

Martin, Joseph, Congress 
man, 318 

Martin, Joe, Twp. Trustee, 

Masaoka, Mike, J.A.C.L., 

Merrill, Lev/is, Reg. Con 
servator S.C.S., 180 

Miller, Doctor, Soils Dept. 
Un. Of Missouri, 339 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 179 
Missouri, 176 

Mitchell, James, Brookings 
Institution, 348, 393 

Mitchell, William, Commis 
sioner Social Sec. Board, 
375, 376, 377, 378 

Mitchem,,Mr. , Farmer, 98 


Monroe, Owen, Seedsman, 114 

Morris, Doctor, Agronimist, 
U.S.D.A., 113 

Mossman, Mac, School Teacher 
4, 5, 8 

Moyer, Dr. Roy, Dir. of Mission 
Korea I.C.A., 383 

Myer, Jenness Wirt, x acknow 

Myer, Jacob, Grandfather, xii 
Myer Relatives, 1,6 

Myer, Mary Oldaker, Grandmother 
10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 41, 52 


Neel, Bert, Neighbor, 3 

Newark, Ohio, 66, 67, 68 

New York Times, 210 

Ohio State University, 81, 82, 84, 


Ohio Wesleyan University, 

Mahoney , Joe , Senator , 
201, 291 

Organization of American 
States, 38? 

Orr, Harvey, School Teacher 
5, 6, 7, 323 

Osborn, Doctor, Professor 
of Entomology, 82 

Oswego, New York Refugee 
Center for Europeans, 
212, 213, 214, 223 

Outland, George, Congress 
man, 308, 509 

Paris, Enrico Tehera, Gov 
ernor of Sucre, 36y 

Parish, Alf , Quartet Mem 
ber, 58 

Park, Chung Hi, General 
and President Korea, 381 

Pence, Ruth, Boyhood girl 
friend, 76, 77 

Pauley, Edward, Recommended 
for Sec. of Navy, 227 

Pearson. Drew, Columnist, 
237, 254 

Perez, Juineny, Venezuelan 
Dictator, 356 

Phillips, T.G., Professor 
and Fraternity Brother, 

Pickett, Clarence, Exc. Officer 
of the Friends Service Com 
mittee, 188, 246, 249 

Pierce, Homer and Elmer, 
Farmers, 131, 343 

Ploeser. Walter, Congressman, 
231, 233 

Posey County, Indiana, 111 
Pratt Bros., Seedsmen, 115 

Price, Homer, Dean of Agr. 
O.S.U. 84 

Province, John, Ass t Commis 
sioner of Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, 253 

Pryor, Helen, x acknowledgement, 

Public Administration Service, 
360, 368, 369 

Public Health Service, 265, 
266, 276 

Purdue University, 88, 90, 102, 
107, 116, 123, 130, 145, 147, 


Raglund, Floyd, Co. Supt. of 
Schools, 89, 107 

Ramsower, Doctor H.C., Dir. of 
Agr. Ext. Service, Ohio, 151, 
155, 156, 330, 331 

Reese, Gladys, Friend, 82 

Reines, William, G.H.A. Board 
member, 354- 


Ribicoff, Abe, Senator and 
Sec. of H.E.W., 376 

Richards, James P., Con 
gressman, 243 

Roberts, George, Prof, of 
Agronomy, 84, 86, 8?, 88 
92, 94, 95, 326, 32? 

Roby, Mr. and Mrs. and 

family, neighbors, 38, 39, 
43, 49, 50, 51 

Rockefeller, Nelson, Gov. of 
New York, 240 

Roeder, Cornelius, Farmer 
Demonstrator, 32, 134 

Roosevelt, F.D., President 
of U.S., 200, 201, 211, 
212, 217, 302 

Roosevelt, Mrs. Eleanor, 
200, 201 

Rosebraugh, Sam, quartet 
member, 58, 59 

Rothamstead Experiment Sta 
tion England, 94 

Rule, Glenn, Friend and 
Employee, 152, 153 

Rural Free Delivery, 78 
Rusk, Dean, Sec. of State, 



San Francisco Chronicle, 

Salisbury, Morse, Inf. Officer 
U.S.D.A., 332 

Schindler, Miss Lena, Co. Clerk s 
Office, 105 

Schlendsher, John, Farmer and 
Fertilizer Dealer, 101, 102 

Sedwitz, Dr. Walter, Pan Amer 
ican Union, 387, 389, 391 

Seymour, Grandmother and family, 
xi, 37, 38, 51, 56, 57, 58, 
59, 60, 61, 63 

Shakespeare, Works of, 6 

Shanklin, Fred, State Four FI 
Club Leader, 123, 130 

Shepard, William, I.C.A. Reg. 
Director, 380 

Shields, Bob, Ass t to the Sec. 
of Agr. 180 

Smith, Harold, Director of the 
Budget, 211, 212, 340 

Smith, J.D.M., British Finance 
Expert U.N., 359 

Smith-Lever Act, 129 

Soil Conservation Service, 

U.S.D.A., 169, 170, 171, 172, 
173, 178, 179, 182 

South Carolina Spartenburg, 179 
Spelling Bee, 9 

Spicer, Dr. E.H., Un. of Ari 
zona, 394 


Stahl, 0. Glenn, U.S. 
Civil Service Com., 360 

Stanley, David, Brookings 
Institution, 392 

Steelman, John, Presiden 
tial Ass t., 235 

Stimson, Henry, Sec. of 
War, 187, 197, 199, 200 

Stone, Don, Dean of School 
of Public and Interna 
tional Affairs, Un. of 
Pittsburgh, 373, 374 

Stand, Mike, Chief of 
Bureau of Reclamation, 

Stripling, Mr., Staff Mem 
ber of the Dies Committee, 


Taber, John, Congressman, 

Taft, Robert, Senator, 229 

Taylor, Ted, Adm. Ass t, 

Texas, 176 

Toledo and Ohio Gen. Ry., 66 

Tobey, Charles, Senator, 230 

Tolley, Howard, Chief of 
Planning Division A. A. A., 
166, 177, 331 

Tozier, Morrill, W.R.A. Inf. 
Officer, 202, 207, 394 

Trentj Grover, Production 
Division A. A. A. , 163 

Trueblood , Fred , Newspaper 
man, 106, 107, 344 

Truman, H.S., President of the 
U.S., 215, 223, 227, 229, 
231, 235, 244, 245, 323 

Tugwell, Rex, Under Sec. of 
Agr., 167, 171 


United Nations, 355, 356, 357, 
358, 359, 360, 365, 368, 371 

United States Information 
Agency, 393 

University of Kentucky and Agr. 
Experiment Station, 83, 85, 89 
91, 93, 107, 113, 14-5, 320 

Utz, Edwin, Ass t Commissioner 
of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, 253 


Vanderburgh Co . , Indiana , 89 
90, 91, 95, 96, 102, 107, 
108, 111, 112, 113, 116, 
117, 120, 124, 125, 128, 
130, 132, 135, 136, 139, 
14-1, 150, 395 

Venezuela, Caracas, 179, 355, 
356, 357, 361, 362, 366, 368, 

Verse, Father, Priest, 111 

Vivian, Dean Alfred, Ohio State 
Un., 156 


Volkman, Chris, Farmer, 121 


Wagner, Robert, Senator, 229 

Wallace, Henry. Gee. of Agr. 
177, 178, 179, 226, 334, 
335, 337, 338 

Wallgren, Won., Senator, 197 
Wallenmeyer, John, 145 
Walker, Jake, Farmer, 97 

Walsh, Sir David, U.N. 
British Personnel Ex 
pert, 359 

War Relocation Authority, 
183, 184, 185, 187, 216, 
223, 228, 377, 379, 395 

War bur ton, Dr. Clyde, U.S. 
Director of the Agr. Ex 
tension Service, 326 

Warne, William, Ass t Sec. 
of Interior, 252 

Warren, Earl, Att. Gen. 
and Gov. of Gal., 186 

Waters, Frank, Adm. Off. 
Housing Agency, 234 

Waters ton, Albert, Ind. 
Bank, 372, 387 

Watkins, Senator, 281 

We pel, George, Farmer, 104 

Welsh Chemical Co., 101, 102 

Welsh, Dick, Congressman, 309 
Whitehead, John, Farmer, 123 

White, George, Gov. of Ohio, 

Whitney, Prof. U.S. Dept. of 
Agr., 94 

Whitten. Jamie, Congressman, 

231, 232 

Wichard, Claude, A. A. A. Div. 
Head and Sec. of Agr., 169, 
179, 335 

Wilbur j General, Civilian 
Affairs Western Defense 
Command, 218 

Wilson, M.L., Under Sec. of 
Agr. 166, 175, 178, 336, 337 

Wirt, Jenness, my fiancee, 
159, 160 

White, Mastin, Solicitor 
U.S.D.A., 170, 171 

Wolcott. Jesse, Congressman, 

232, 233, 237 

Wolfron, Joel, Ass t to Sec. 
of Interior, 255 

Wood, George, Proposed Director 
of A.I.D., 386 

Wood, Tyler, Mission Director 
A.I.D. India, 384 

Wyatt, Wilson, Director of 
Housing, 227, 234 


Yellov; Tail, Bob, Crow 
Indian, 254 

Zimmerman, William, Ass t 
Commissioner of Bureau 
of Indian Affairs, 253