transcribed by Teresa Martin Klaiber
Elsie Rucker Klaiber: John tell Terri about your first plane ride and what you threw out at everybody.
John Henry Klaiber: I didn’t throw nothing out. Pauline Riddle wanted me to throw out a piece of paper and I told her she couldn’t use it again. They had a plane down there at the river bank one Sunday. I don’t know, I was loafing around. There was Pauline and her boyfriend. They was taking them up as couples, see. Heck I was a single. There was some other girl there and they put us together. Pauline said you get up there and throw me out a piece of paper. I said you can’t use it. Come back and she said …I was ahead of them, said “who was that woman you were with.” I said “I don’t know.” “What was you doing taking a plane ride with her.” I said “That is what the man said to do” taking two at a time. I said “We were both by ourselves.” I don’t even remember what she said her name was now. It didn’t make no difference to me. I never went around with the same one all the time. … Why no … trade automobiles and I would pick up some lady and take them a ride. Well I knew all the ladies around and if they wanted a ride I would take them. [Ashland Airport was on the banks of the Ohio near Mansbach Scrap Yard is 2011].
Teresa Martin Klaiber: What kind of car did you have?
John Henry Klaiber: I had a Ford and I had a 35 Chevrolet.
Teresa Martin Klaiber: Did they have running boards?
John Henry Klaiber: The other did. The 35 didn’t. The Ford did. It was a 31.Teresa Martin Klaiber: You were telling awhile ago when you took the pigs to Ironton, would you spend the night?
John Henry Klaiber: Spend the night. … We usually stayed at some of the relatives. Put the horses in the livery stable. See right over from the courthouse used to be a livery stables. Ketch [?] Campbell run it. He was the Mayor and a pretty good veterinarian. Everybody put the horses in the livery stable … took them in and fed them. I think he charged ten cents for putting them in the stall … maybe a quarter if you gave them feed. Dad always put his horses in the livery stable and went down to Land’s and stayed all night. [Johnson Landon Klaiber ½ brother of John Henry Klaiber.] Landon never bothered to take them down there, he had a pair of mules then. He had his powder houses, where you put your powder in it to dry it over on 60. Then there was two out there …[interruption].
[1938 Feb 7 Klaiber Explosives Co...Gussie Klaiber, Drusie Weddington, J. L. Klaiber city of Ashland nature is buying and selling of wholesale and retail dynamites, powder, gelatin and other high explosives of all kinds and makes including blasting supplies used in connection with said explosives and with hauling and transporting of said explosives -likewise the preparation of explosives for purpose of shooting and exploding same in gas and oil wells, mines and other places --Boyd County Incorporation book 7 page 271]
John Henry Klaiber: See you usually took the feed with them to feed your horses. Feed them on the back of the tail gate in the wagon bed, you see. We would deliver most of the stuff out at Cannonsburg. That was the end of the pavement. 60 was paved out to Cannonsburg. But the first pavement I ever remember was from Cannonsburg to Catlettsburg. The old Cemetery Road. That was the first pavement I remember all the way out in there. I think it was paved before 60 was.
Teresa Martin Klaiber: Did Ironton have a stock yard?
John Henry Klaiber: No they had a stock yard over on Jack. A sale over there. Years ago at old Man Hazlett’s place. They would bring the livestock in there so many days of the week … people wanted to buy cattle would go over there and look them over. And anybody had any to sell they would bring them in. Used to be they bought the cattle and buy them in the summer or spring and fatten them and take them up in the fall. They would buy them at a certain price. Maybe the bottom would fall out of it or the price would go up. Then they would gather them up and take them some place and weigh them. Nearly everybody had calves. Then they would hit the road with them. They would drive them to Kenovy [Kenova, West Virginia] and put them on cars [train] or on a boat at 50 cents a head. But dad said that the fellers in Catlettsburg took timber to Cincinnati. And got down there and the old Dutch people [German] and back and forth they’d go talkin German, see. Them fellers didn’t know what they was talking about. They would burn the britches off em. They come back to Catlettsburg and gave [grand] dad twenty five dollars a piece to teach them German. They went back the next trip, them fellers got out there and went to talking and these two guys went to talking German too. They’d offer so much and they didn’t take it and they would offer them something else. But before they didn’t know what they was doing. Said that twenty five dollars made them a thousand. Learnin a language, see.
And maybe that is why Go Tell Aunt Rhody was his favorite song [Part 4]. This ends the sound of voices from 1978. But they still echo on around the cliffs and in my heart.But now dad could speak German you see [James Matthew Klaiber]. Him and Henry Riekert used to talk. Every time they got together why Shade [William Shadrick McGlothlin 1868-1941. Daughter Esther was 1st wife of Henry Riekert] would make em talk for him. But dad had to have somebody lead. He’d forgot a lot of it, as a kid up. One of my cousins was in World War I. He was in Germany a long time and he talked it pretty well. Him and dad would sit around of an evening and talk for hours. I got so I could understand a few words of it. I would hear them talking it. I don’t know if I would now or not.
[Changing subject] But Rush over here had all kinds of stores a long time ago. … There must have been five hundred people over there.
Teresa Martin Klaiber: There was a train stop there right?
John Henry Klaiber: Freight depot. Company store. See if you went over the hill over there they had rail road tracks run up there and had a coal tipple. An old coal tipple and load coal on cars there and the tracks ran across the road, up that holler. There is where they loaded their lumber, timber. They’d be ten or fifteen wagons of lumber, cross ties, timber over there mud axle deep.
Up here from the barn up I’ve seen the oxen run into their belly in mud coming up through there….it was that way in winter time after it would freeze and thaw out. If you pull a ton on a wagon from over from Rush you had a real team. I know one time we was hauling from up here in the head of the holler, a saw mill up there. I don’t know there were five or six teams. I was just a big boy but I drove cross ties over there and had to take the horse to pull them off. I wasn’t big enough to roll them off the wagon. There was an old man…and he couldn’t hear. But he was a tease. The boys, somebody would get up on the hill behind a tree and holler whoa at his horses and stop them on that hill [chuckles]. Getting to have some fun out of him, see. The wagon would just sit there. Well he usually walked beside the wagon. He’d stand there a little bit and speak to them and away they’d go. The next day way down the road there I was up on the hill I seen the old man and I seen him reach down every once and awhile and get something and lay up on his load. When his team stopped that first time he just cut loose with a rock at the tree. We got over there unloading and the old man reared back and laughed and said “I had my fun today.”…crazy young bucks.
Charlie Mayhew lived up here where Mead lives. Him and his mother. He worked over there at the head of the holler at Four Mile in a coal mine. They pulled that coal out of Four Mile through the hill to Rush. He’d leave on an ole horse about four o’clock in the morning, maybe five in the morning. Every house he passed he’d holler. That was the alarm clock.
Beulah Ross lived down here where Fred Dowdy lives.[Vanover property 2011] Frank is her husband [Frank Riffe Ross 1887-1938]. He worked away a whole lot. She was crazy as she could be. She always had to have some stay with her. So one night there was a big snow on. I don’t know a couple of the girls was down there with her. She called up home and asked mom if there was anybody up there. Somebody around the house. Mom said “Oh Beulah what is the matter with ya?” “I heard them out there.” Well the young men then they would just walk around of the night from one house to another and sit around and talk. I don’t know who it was but a couple was down there and mom told them to go down. Beulah told the girls “If there ain’t no tracks out in the snow they will ride me to death.” She went in and put Frank’s gum boots on [laughter] got out and went around the house, back out in the road. Where the road was broke you couldn’t track them. Went back in. When the boys come down there they found the tracks around the house, and Beulah had made them. She was scared but if they found out they was probably going to laugh at her… she never told it for a long time. She had a boy there. He was about 15. She was just one of them goofy people, didn’t want to stay by herself.
They used to keep geese. Turned the old goose in your lap and put the head out here. Turn it backwards, see. Lay it flat on its back and pull the feathers off…they just pull right off…off the stomach and the side and off the back too. They saved them feathers. Beulah had brought her geese up and her and mom were pickin them there in the building. Me and Russell was having to catch them. Up there in that barn yard. They was just running our tails off. I picked up a corn cob and hit one in the head and caught it. Took it in and gave it to Beulah or mom one. Anyway when the one got, whoever got done pickin it, laid it down the old goose was dead. They said “Lordy Mercy, smothered that one to death.” Well Russell he caught him one that way and gave it to the otherin. I don’t know which one. They got done pickin they had smothered theirs to death. I told Russell “They ain’t no smother.” We had to quit that right quick. You didn’t fool the women then or your dad either.