1132 - 1133 - Harlow Yaeger, 13 Jun, 1996, Transcript: Yes and Digitized: Yes


Harlow A. Yaeger (b. 1921 – d. 2003) was born May 29, 1921 in Flagstaff, Arizona to Harlow A. and  Rose Anna (Gibson) Yaeger. He joined the Army during World War II (WWII) and survived three and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war.  He worked for the U.S. Forest Service for most of his life, and is well known for rescuing the iconic “Smokey Bear” from a forest fire in New Mexico.  He was an outdoorsman, and enjoyed volunteering at the local Veterans’ Affairs Hospital.  He died December 20, 2003, in Prescott, survived by his wife, Marian, a daughter, son and grandson.


Oral History
Interviewee:  Harlow A. Yaeger (b. 05/29/1921 – d. 12/20/2003)
Interviewer:  Mona McCroskey
Audio Number:  1132-1133
Duration:  01:34:00
Date:  June 13, 1996
Topics Discussed:  Yaeger family, 1880-1940; Dead Man Flat; Prescott National Forest Service, 1940-1980 & Anderson Mesa.


Topics /Subjects Discussed
    1880 - Grandfather Henry C. Yaeger  arrived in Arizona
    Had $280,000 in the bank
    Was Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri
    Owned a flour mill
    1909 Forest grazing permit – 5 year permit
    Had 7 sons and 2 daughters
    Three (3) sons settled in Arizona: Ben, Lewis & Harlow ( Harlow’s dad)   
    Ran sheep on Anderson Mesa
    Uncle Lewis was shot and killed at Humboldt. Age 36
    Ken Kimsey
    Map of sheep driveways
    Dead Man Flat
    Reese (Rees – phon.) Tank
    Basque sheepherders, range staff :
     Louis Espil, Pete Espil, Dora Espil, the Ohacos and the Otondos
     Woodland Ranger Station
     Dad sold to Tom (TE) Pollock
     Dorothy (Peach) Pollack
     Pollack died and property was sold to Herb Metzger
     Uncle Ben had a place on 7 Up Ranch – Camp Wood, Yolo
     Iron Springs
     Ben managed Adams Hotel in Phoenix
     Mary (Greenlow) Drayne
     Mother – Rose Anna Gibson
     From Erie, Pennsylvania
     1912 - Parents married
     1923 – mother died
     Harlow and his sister sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi -  husband was cotton broker
     Sister – Marjorie
     1930s – father died
     Black Friday
     Litchfield, Illinois
     Married wife Marian on 02/20/1953
     Lived at 523 Fine Avenue
     Ed Oldham
     Job on the “Coc” Coconino National Forest
     Fire guard at Dead Man Flats
     Louis Espil
     Dr. Raymond – woolgrower and doctor – Raymond Buffalo Ranch
     Enlisted in the Army in 1941
     Captured, 3 ½ years in a prison camp
     Married 1st wife Marge Knoles – Tommy Knoles (Marge’s brother)
     Monte Vista Hotel
     Elden Ranger Station
     $1260 salary a year
     Northern Arizona University
     Hatch Act
     Relief dispatcher at Nob Hill
     Walnut Creek
     Midgely’s Grocery Store
     Platform planks
     Grub, olla
     Fig Newtons
     Franke family – Dead Man Lookout – Louise, Nina son & daughter Pat
     Weatherford Road
     Cinder cone, fissures
     Rattlesnakes “denning”
     Hercules Powder Company
     Black Hills
     Stump mills
     Stump crews
     Timber sales
     169 different wood chemicals out of a stump
     Cruiser, mapper, gypsies
     “Stump Cruiser”
     Pitch, resin
     Hog Chipper
     Crackin’ plant
    Garrett Air Research
    Bill McCann
    Bud Starkey
    Country Club Drive
    Ralph Crawford – Prescott National Forest supervisor
    March 1961
    General district assistant – Walnut Creek District
    750,000 acres
    Prescott National Forest total acreage 1,250,000
    Walnut Creek District runs from Double O to Camp Wood, Yolo Ranch
    Burro Creek
    USFS Divisions: timber, range, fire & recreation
    Larry Allen
    Thumb Butte
    Johnson Wash
    Dispatcher for slurry
    Cultural Resource Manager
    Jockey box
    Retired January 15,1980
    Regional Fire Centers at Prescott, Arizona and Boise, Idaho
    “Fire cache” at Marana, Arizona
    Air tankers
    Man Hauls
    Hot Shot crews
    Copper Canyon
    Anthropology, para-archaeologist
    1000 sites
    K-4 cattle
    Chuck Shephard
    Fires – Eradication – control flags out
    Dave Fordyce
    Ranger at Drake – Oscar McClure
    1947, 1948 – Juniper control - “Chainin” juniper, calibrating, calibration
    Anchor chain
    Ray Cowden
    Cross U “bingo”
    Delbert Piece – Long Meadow
    Decadent stand – soil erosion
    Lab – Montana Forestry school  
    Swing, graveyard
    Camp Walapai
    Cemetery – 1860
    Gramma Grass
    Teddy Roosevelt
    “For a sum”
    Benzoic acid
    Fenuron Pellets – American Chemical Company – “prilled”
    Root crown, drip line
    One-seed, alligator, Utah
    Saginaw Mill
    Happy Jack
    Sacred Mountain – Sheep Springs
    Saw crew
    “Misery Whip” – old crosscut saws
    Colored fallers
    “Bullbuck” – head sawyer
    Big Sandy
    Scale books
    Les Eckert
    Wallace Harper
    Apache Creek
    5 buckle overshoes
    Hyde Mountain
    Battle Fire -  1972
    Poland Junction
    Lynx Lake
    Barney Pasture Fire
    A-1 Fire
    Capitan Fire – “Smokey” Bear
    Orange County – a “show-me” trip
    Highland Pines
    Yavapai Central – co-op agreements
    Indian Hill
    Kendall  Camp
    Oak Creek
    Tom Sanford
    Bloody Basin
    Norris Feed Lots
    Dewey – Yaeger Siding
    Canyon Diablo
    Bill Gary