Chronicler: Frenchie Gailard

Interviewer: Gretchen Holbert

Elko, NV

7/16/86

Subject:

 

Side 1

00:00- Worked Wool & Lamb, worked on commission. Worked for many different firms, all in Boston. Would buy the wool from sheepherders and load it and sell it to Boston. Was paid on how much he shipped to the East Coast. 1931-1961 did this. That was the only business he was in, knew all the sheepmen. Maybe there is 10,000 sheep in the county now, but used to be 400,000 in the height. Where the sheepmen took their sheep to winter and summer. Also, they sheared before they lambed, this is because the lambs could suckle their mothers easier that way. Other men in the area. The Amistad, a hotel in Elko.

 

08:00- Frenchie was partners with this guy, Selso. Both of them played quite a bit. Bought lambs, sold them to places who had already placed orders. Quite a few went to California, also East and Midwest. Star, Overland was built before his time. He went to dances and celebrations at the hotels. About the people around at that time; owners of the hotels. Besides Star, Telescope, Overland, etc. there weren't any hotels. Who handled embalming in Elko, Dr. Shaw.

 

17:25- Frenchie bought the hospital after Shaw died, owned it for 10 years or so. Remodelled it to be apartments. The history of the house, who built, etc. What buildings around it used to be for. Girls who were brought over to work in the hotels, one who couldn't speak anything but Basque. How men and women got together in those times.

 

22:20- He went to play poker, cribbage. A lot of business done down at the Palm? over drinks. Doctors and cattlemen would go there. About some other people, cut out. Gold Creek, his recollection. The Bucket o' Blood (don't know what). About more other people. Spanish Mary (a whore who lived around there). About a lady named Mary Larsen, owned a ranch outside town and bootlegged. No gambling at that time, not legal.

 

33:03- Frenchie came to US in 1921. Stores got their wares through trucks, rail. Chicken was a big deal then, almost a luxury. The main staple. Winnemucca hotel (the lady who owned it). Other people. The food at the Winnemucca hotel. More other people. About the wool-buying business, other guys that did it. About the other hotels in town, what people did at them (cards, etc.). Who in the hotels he worked with, bought a million pounds of wool a year. Other people in the hotels, what they did. More other people. Another hotel that was a good place to eat.

 

Side 2

00:02- About sheep that were poisoned by a weed. The Colonnade Hotel, talking about Mary Labarry. Mostly, Frenchie spent time in Elko, Ely, Winnemucca. More about hotels, in Gardnerville, Reno, Carson. A guy he worked with knew the area better. More about the owners of the hotels. He still thinks the Winnemucca Hotel was the best.

 

05:13- How Frenchie did his business. Every year there was competition, so he was always trying to find business. Women never really had anything to do with wool buying business. Things changed in the 40's, the Taylor Grazing Act changed things. Didn't effect him too much, however. One year they had 24,000 ewes, who he was working with. Also, one year they shipped 21,000 lambs. Always trailed the sheep in, no trucking. No women cooking in the sheep camps. Talking about a lady who was the operator for the whole county. A few women used to work in the fields, but not many.

 

12:00 or so- Ixaina had about 20,000 sheep, didn't pay his income taxes for 5 years and owed $252,000. He went to town and would go to the whorehouse and be drunk all the time. He used to owe everyone in town. One time he got blood poisoning. Something about his nephews. Once he was put in jail for trespassing into cattle country with his sheep.

 

21:23- The Commercial Hotel, almost no Basques would go there. About who would go where. '40s & '50s the Commercial was a nice hotel, had good entertainers. About the people again. Food in the hotels. A story about a lady trying to kill her husband. Hotels depended on the herders, refrigeration was an issue. About the owners of the hotels again. Not much French spoken in Elko, mostly just Spanish and Basque. About the history of Elko, the hotels that were big then. Doctors in the area.

 

31:39- Herders were backward; never were given a chance to see how people lived here. Many went crazy out there because they were out on their own. A priest killed one of them and there was a cover-up; it was over money. Townspeople went after the priest; tried to lynch him. Frenchie's desk, other possessions (cut out). About an old lady named Mathilde. More about other people.