Oral History:
Isabelle Woolcott

Isabelle Woolcott was interviewed by Kathy Tucker in Cottage Grove, Oregon, on 22 October 1999.

W: I did office work for Dougherty Lumber Company. It was a wholesale lumber company and we bought lumber from all the little mills around the area. There were a lot of small mills and then the war came along and we got lots of orders and Dougherty Piling Company would send large poles to Oakland or down there when they were building their docks and things. And we shipped lots of lumber to California and I would write up mill orders and acknowledgements and then I did, I did the weights on the cars. But we don't have small sawmills like that anymore. It was all the little mills around here are gone. The Overhauser's and the Harris's and the Porter's and different ones had mills in the area but they are no longer in existence because our timber is pretty well gone.

T: Is that what caused the smaller mills to…

W: A lot of it and then Weyerhauser came in and did a lot of the bigger mills.

T: How did that affect Dougherty?

W: Well, that's one reason in kind of went out of business because we didn't have the small mills to buy from anymore.

T: When did it go out of business?

W: Well, I went to the school district in 1957. See, I went to work there in 1939 and in 1957 I went to the school district and they were pretty well out of business by that time. And then I worked until 1977 for the school district.

T: Did you like working for Dougherty?

W: Oh, yes. He was a very generous man. We always got Christmas bonuses and he was real kind and considerate. When I first went to work for him I went to work at 1:00 in the afternoon and worked till 10:00 at night because a lot of the salesmen on the roads would got out and buy from the little mills during the day and then they'd come and we'd have to send the orders out and the confirmation of the orders. He was a fantastic fellow to work for. He was very generous and kind to us.

T: Were those hours difficult for your family life?

W: No, I worked – well, later I went to work earlier in the day but when I first started. But he had girls that came at 9:00 in the morning and worked till 5:00 or 6:00 and then it would be some of us that would come at 1:00 and work 'til 10:00. We had teletype which, of course, is all obsolete now. Everything is computers. But, we'd type up the orders and acknowledgements to the customers and then they had cars of lumber rolling across the United States that they'd put out on the teletype to sell. We'd make versions of the cards and send them to the customers. It was a big business. There were about thirteen or fourteen girls that worked up there when I was there and they had about six men that were salesmen and office people. One fellow was the bookkeeper. So it was big business.

T: It's changed a lot.

W: Oh, it's changed. They don't have anything like that now. Because everything is – well, we have a big Weyerhaeuser mill out here but it's just a small log mill and then we have Starfire who still cuts big logs and just not hardly any sawmills in this area anymore.