Oral History with Focus on Sandia Cave
Doris and Jim Greenacre
conducted by Tony Baker -- March 6, 1983
transcribed by Tony Baker -- May 1, 2005

dg--Doris Greenacre, jg--Jim Greenacre, tb--Tony Baker
yellow highlighting pertains to Sandia Cave
near-red font are the author's 2004 explanations

Load entries  501-1000   1001-1500   1501-End

1tbI'll be honest with you, I have... the people that my father could remember, I kind of scratched here, I talk to him on the phone all the time. My mother died here last fall, see.
2jgOh.
3tbAs a result I've been kind of, staying kind of close to him.
4dgDoes he live in Denver?
5tbNo he lives in Albuquerque.
6dgOn, I see.
7tbAs a matter of fact he's fixing to get married. It didn't take him very long, you know. But anyway, people he... he remembered a Whitkind, a William Whitkind, and an Anne Dietz. (The list of people I am referencing here, actually comes from the Forward of Hibben's 1941 Evidences of Early Occupation in Sandia Cave, New Mexico and Other Sites in the Sandia-Manzano Region. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 99, No. 23. Hereafter referred to as the Monograph in the interview.)
8jgYeah, I remember her.
9tbA Robert Sieglitz.
10jgYeah.
11tbA Mary Darby, who he says not, I think is a McGregor, Mary McGregor.
12jgYeah.
13tbAnd an Ernest Blumenthal. He remembered, he remembered you and he remembered Easterday and he remember a Gordon Page.
14jgYeah.
15tbA James Spuhler, I guess that's the ones.
16dgOn that trip, they came up, there was a Vance Davis.
17jgA Vance Davis. A Don Hastings.
18tbThere's no Davis here and there's no Don Hastings... here, here's the list.
19jgJane Olson. Jane was in my class. Mary Lehmer. Well I knew her husband. What was his first name? He came up, in fact, he drove one of the cars.
20dgJim, I don't remember.
21jgDon, ...? (pause) Sieglitz sounds familiar, I can't recall, ...? (pause) Wesley Hurt, yeah. I remember Hurt. (Long pause and I changed the subject.)
22tbI see you got the crows out there in the backyard, big old black crows.
23jgYeah.
24tbWe don't have the crows, we got the magpies.
25dgWe got the magpies too. I put bones out there.
26jgI put bones out there. We had three pair of Flickers.
27tbOh yeah.
28jgThey like the bone marrow. Of course you can't keep the crows or starlings out either. You have to feed the whole mess. (Pause, and then returning to the list of people in the Forward of the Monograph.)
29jgLets see. I met Don Scott. Never did meet Hooton. Missed him somewhere in life.
30tbWho's that?
31jgHooton. Dr. Hooton from...
32tbYou've seen this report (Monograph), haven't you?
33jgYes, but not for ages.
34tbI had the hardest time finding that study (Monograph). Had to go up to Boulder and found it back in the archives.
35dgNow, which report is that?
36tbThat's the official Sandia Cave Excavation Report (Monograph).
37dgOh, I see.
38jgYeah.
39dgTwo years ago, I guess, it would have been in the Fall, the local historical society managed to get permission to take a group in to the Lindenmeier Site, and present at that group was Jim and Bob Easterday, and this... I cannot remember his name. Stafford, is it?
40jgYeah.
41dgBut, you no longer can drive in there, and individual cannot. The only way they permit it was to have a bus, to get a bus from CSU.
42tbWell, who owns the property? Is it still on the ranch, the Lindenmeier Ranch?
43dgNo. It's owned by a syndicate of people. There's no way in. They even checked us as we drove through the...
44tbWell, what is the purpose of the syndicate? Are they ranching?
45dgYes they're ranching and holding the land. And who knows what. But Jim and I had no been there for a... and I don't think that Bob had either... for 40 years, Jim?
46jgThat's about right. I got up there and couldn't even recognize it at first.
47dgNo, we went in from the north and we had always gone in from...
4jgWhat used to be mountain, I got up there and looked to me like the excavation was on the wrong side of the arroyo.
49tbYou know, I've seen my father do that recently. We'll go out and... well he was born and raised on a... no he wasn't born there, but he lived on a homestead for a number of years in the Panhandle of Oklahoma. And, he... We went back there and spent a week out there in the country. In fact it's more primitive now than it was when he lived there.
50dgHum
51tb"Now dang it, that ought to be over here!"
52jgI tell you, it's surprising what 40 years can do to your... just like they always say, you know... you've seen cartoons where a guy will go back to his home town, that great big house he lived in. Turns out to be a little tiny thing.
53tbI know, I know.
54jgHe just imagined it.
55dgWell, Jim went to his 50th high school reunion last summer and I go to mine next summer, so this has been an experience. (pause)
56jgBoy, I tell you, that's the worst cave (Sandia) I ever got into.
57tbYou have dug other caves besides that one?
58jgYeah. A few, but that was the dustiest that I've ever... oh my gosh that, that yellow ocher. We had just started there. This kind of, well we really didn't do much of anything that first incidence of fall. We went up there, cleared the entrance , which was pretty much plugged and this...
59tbSo this was when the university first started the...
60jgWell yeah. Well Bliss just unofficially got some of us in the department together. We were students.
61tbUm hum.
62jg... and go out and see if we could do anything. That entrance way was so plugged. You know the whole thing was covered with travertine. When you get that pulled up, underneath it was several inches of that yellow ocher. Been there, I don't know how long. You could only stay in there about five minutes.
63tbI remember as a...
64jgSo he got the idea, you know these little masks you wear when you paint?
65tbUm hum.
66jgWe went to the hardware store and got a carton of those and we dipped those in water and you're good for about 15 minutes until they plugged up and you had to get out. So we would take turns. We finally got that entrance way. So then you could get in, in a crawl.
67tbUm hum.
68jgYou see you couldn't walk in that thing, you had to... there were places where the roof had fallen. You just get on your belly and slide through and then it would open up a little ways and you get on your hands and knees and make a little progress. But, I sometimes wonder why, why he even let us go in there you know, it was kind of dangerous stuff. Get your arm tore up (I am interrupting) . We all survived, but I've often wondered how, because that's really dangerous.
69dgYou didn't how as much then as what you do now.
70jgWell we were young and brave, I guess you can put it that way. But over a period of time, some progress was made with some students and a little later on, when I recall Hibben got into the act. I think he got some funds from somewhere. Probably... the WPA, I'm not sure.
71tbIn this report (Monograph) here he (Hibben) mentions that the first four years, which would have been '36, '37, '38, and '39 were kind of hit and miss and unfunded you know.
72jgYeah.
73tbAnd then he says in 1940, they got some funds from the American Society or this or that, but it sounds like they got a bunch of money and they were able to... was he in on the act, really, initially on?
74jgHibben?
75tbYou mentioned that just the students were up there kind of kicking around...
76jgYeah. It first started... I don't know where Wes got a hold of the information about that cave. Now he didn't discover the cave. As far as I know it had been known ever since...
77tbYeah. They (Monograph) say in the 20's the Boy Scouts had been in there...
78jgYeah, well undoubtedly, yeah. The Indians had traveled back and forth in there. But I don't... you see it was so plugged up it wasn't usable for modern Indians say back 1200 or along there. It was obvious they hadn't used it either. It was just uninhabitable. But I assume from the geology of the thing, at one time, it was before the thing collapsed and the thing started coming in. But it could have been used for shelter. I don't know, does it (Monograph) say in there how far back we went? I think we only went back about 200 feet, and then we couldn't... there was more cave I'm pretty sure. I recall that.
79tbYeah it does. (I do not want to influence Jim Greenacre's memory about the extent of his work., so I avoid answering his question.) I tell you what, when did you... did you... how long... oh how do I ask the question? Were you there 'til the excavation was completed or...
80jgNo.
81tbHow many years...
82jgI went up there in... we started in the Fall of '36.
83tbOkay, and that was Bliss at that time?
84jgYes.
85tbOkay.
86jgAnd then we didn't do much in the winter, there was no place to stay up there. We took bedrolls and I think one of the last nights we stayed up all night trying to keep the fire going. It was cold. About two inches of snow fell you know. And then in the spring of '37 we went at it again. And that's the two... I was there fall of '36, and Spring of '37.
87tbFall of '36, spring of '37. Okay.
88jgHibben hadn't come into the act yet.
89tbOkay.
90jgHe and Bliss were at each other's throats though.
91tbWhat was Bliss, a graduate student, a professor or what?
92jgHe was, he had a Fellowship, working on his Masters. (Jim is incorrect here. Bliss received his Masters from UNM in 1935, so he is working on his PhD.)
93tbOh, okay.
94jgHe taught... lets see, he taught archaeological techniques. He taught some muesum techniques. (Moved the recorder to a better location.)
95jgHe, oh I don't know for sure what it was they (Hibbon and Bliss) got into, I guess it was...
96tbBut they were scrapping all the time, long before Hibben ever got into the cave?
97jgYeah.
98tbI'll be darn.
99jgBut, I think you know how some professionals get, they get a little jealous. "I was there before you were," that sort of thing.
100tbArchaeologists are, I think in particular are that way.
101jgNow a man named Howard (E. B. Howard) of the University of Pennsylvania. He got into the act on Wes' side.
102tbOk.
103jgWell, Hibben had people, some of his students, write up his side of it, that he'd discovered the cave and that sort of thing.Well, I guess Howard knew that wasn't true or correct, because like you just mentioned... you're right, I think in the 20's some Boy Scouts stumbled onto the thing. I'm sure they didn't go anywhere, they just found out about it.
104tbWell, in the literature that I can find, there is a fellow named Ken Davis. Okay?
105jgYes. That's all right.
106tbAnd some of the literature says Ken Davis pointed it out to Wesley Bliss. Okay?
107jgI think that's probably correct.
108tbOkay. But now Hibben, in his article here, claims that Ken Davis pointed it out to him.
109jgYou know, I don't think that was... Ken Davis and I were very close friends.
110tbYou knew Ken Davis?
111jgYeah. I would have to agree he pointed it out to Wes.
112tbWell what was Ken Davis? What kind of...
113jgHe was a student.
114tbWas he in archaeology?
115jgHe was training to be one, yeah.
116tbHe was an undergraduate also?
117jgUm hum.
118tbI see, I see.
119jgYeah, one night Ken was taking me to work downtown, and some guys from Roswell Military Institute...
120dgOh is that the one? It wasn't Vance, was it?
121jgKen or Vance.
122dgOh.
123jgCame tearing down a side street. They were all looped on beer with a couple of Mexican girls and smashed his big Buick. We rolled over on the side and this one fellow, he (Hibben) didn't mention, named Don Hastings, he was hurt pretty bad. I got a broken jaw. Ken, he was alright.And another fellow in the back seat, was alright. But that was the end of the big old Buick, which really hurt our trips going back to Sandia.
124tbThat was what you were using as a truck? (laughter)
125jgWell, his father... you know, those kids were in a rented car. Do you think... they just couldn't find any way to get anything out of the agency, the rental car agency. You just...
126tbLike fighting a tar baby.
127jgKen's father was a... I think the reason they were down there was on account of his health. I don't know, I believe he's a tradesman of some kind; plumber, carpenter. They had, they were like all the rest of us, didn't have a dime, so we just walked after that accident cause that thing was totaled.
128dgAnd then Jim went for years with a jaw problem, you know.It was not taken care of properly.
129tbDid they have to wire it up or...
130jgNo it's a crack and it finally grew together, of course.
131dgBut for 20 years, at least, I guess when he would chew you could hear him pop, pop.
132jgNo, but I think that after Howard (E. B. Howard) published some reports and tried to smooth this conflict over, it died out. (I was unable to find any published documents by Howard on the subject of Sandia Cave.)
133tbI'm trying to get this straight in my mind. Wesley Bliss and yourself was... a couple other people... you mentioned the Buick like there was three at least... anyway you used to go up to the cave in the fall of '36.
134jgUm hum.
135tbAnd did a little bit of excavating and you mentioned the mask and then the winter ran you out and then the next spring you went back and did it again? And you still were operating just basically on your own funds?
136jgThat's right.
137tbJust for the fun of it?
138jgYeah.
139tbOkay. And then what... you then left?
140jgThat's right.
141tbWhat? The University of New Mexico?
142jgYeah, I went to... I left in the... hum?
143dgYou left in '38.
144jgI left in "38.
145tbSomewhere in '38. Graduate?
146dgMarch, March.
147jgMarch of '38.
148tbDid you graduate at that time?
149jgNo. I never did graduate from there.
150tbI see. Okay. Did you ever graduate out of curiosity?
151jgNo.
152tbOkay.
153dgHe should have, and he could have and with his experience he could go right up here (CSU), but...
154tbWell, that's the same problem with my father, he didn't graduate.
155jgWell, I was...
156dgWe, it was a different world.
157jgI tell you. I went flat broke that's the reason I didn't graduate down there.
158tbHe (my father) did too.
159jgYou know Albuquerque's nothing like it is now. What about 40,000 some people there (in 1937). And I washed dishes in a saloon and since I was over 21, Saturday nights I tended bar to sell... I was supposed to be able to tell... or sell wine to a Mexican and an Indian.
160tbYou couldn't sell to Indians then?
161jgNo.
162tbI'll be darned.
163jgSo I had to make a careful judgement and there's never a Saturday night went by there wasn't a stabbing at the back door. The Mexicans buy the wine and...
164tbSell it to the Indians...
165jg... and go out the back door, because in those days they weren't allowed to go in the front door.
166tbOh, Mexicans couldn't use the front door.
167jgNo, they had to go out the side door.
168tbWhite man could use the front door, Mexicans could use the back door and the Indians couldn't get in?
169jgThat's right. My job was to figure out which was which.Wine was 20 cents a pint.
170tbI'll be darned.
171dgI think too you ought to mention, Jim, tell him about the rabbit and that gives you an idea of how dog-gone poor they were. The bunny rabbit that you caught on a field trip.
172jgWell we caught a young one and we were living in a basement of a place. Didn't even have a bathroom. We just used the coal bin, and run up to the filling station when we had serious business. We caught this rabbit and turned him loose down there and gave him what we could find to eat. He grew and grew. So one day we ate him.
173tbThis outside the basement apartment, huh? I'll bedarned.You had a big old Thanksgiving dinner on rabbit or something.
174jgYeah. One day I moved out... that was down on... was that Silver or Golden... that old apartment house. Anyway, I moved out south. The guy out there had a big house and he had a thing at one time, probably a place for servants... kind of a double shack.
175tbUm hum.
176jgOne room on each side, and a bathroom in the middle. And we got that, the three of us took it. We got it for $12 a month, and he furnished the electricity, had a little wood heater in it. Went down to that Albuquerque lumber mill, got a huge truckload of kindling wood. It was about $2 delivered.
177tbThis was scrap?
178jgYeah. It ran us all the rest of that semester. Didn't need it for the summer to speak of.
179tbUm hum.
180jgWe all left and the guy says that he really wouldn't rent it in the summer. We went back in the fall, there was this pile of wood all ready to go again. So we heated the place you might say for the two semesters that we were there. We heated it for about $2. You had to scrounge around in those days.
181tbI'll be darned. You know I'm basically... I do the same thing. Except my sawmill scraps now cost me a little more.
182jgYeah, that's what I was thinking.
183jgI had a place I go, down here just to get kindle wood for the fireplace.
184tbDoes this thing (recorder) click or anything? Oh, we're halfway through. I don't know how long it runs.
185jgI imagine it's a 30 minute one. I don't know.
186dgWhat does your tape say?
187tbThey say 90. Does that mean it's 45 on each side?
188dgYeah.
189tbOkay.
190jgYeah, it does say 90.
191dgWe've got a timer. If I'd only known, why we could have...
192tbWell, we'll just keep an eye on it this time.
193jgThat timer's so loud you'd had to background, tick, tick, tick. It's easier to look at the clock.
194tbMaybe that tape recorder may not be any good, I don't know. So, I'm going to go on back to my story here. So you left Albuquerque in March of '38.
195jg'38.
196tbOkay, and Hibbon was not involved at that time. You guys were just doing it for the fun of it (excavating the cave), just to see what you could find.
197jgNo, not really.
198tbWas there a class project or anything associated with it?
199dgDoing it probably because of Wes.
200jgYeah. I think he had full intentions of working us into his thesis.
201tbDo you recall what he was planning for his thesis?
202jgOh he started out, I think his actual thesis was on the scheme that he developed to remove murals from old Kiva walls. Are you familiar with that?
203tbThe colored Kiva, the painted Kiva that existed up at Coronado?
204jgUm hum. And another one at Kuaua. In fact those murals that he pulled off the walls at Kuaua are right there in the museum in Kuaua. We saw them, what two years ago.
205tbWell, now. As I understand it there's only one painted Kiva... as I understood it, and that was that at Coronado just a little north of Bernalillo there.
206jgUm hum.
207dgYes.
208tbI don't know where Kuaua is.
209jgWell, that's right across the river from Bernalillo.
210tbOkay, well that's the one... that's what I'm calling Coronado.
211dgYes. See that's what we found out about three years ago we were down there. We went to this Coronado, see.
212tbUm hum.
213dgAnd suddenly found out that it was the same place. Jim took a picture of me at the edge of one of those adobe foundations.
214tbUm hum.
215dgAnd 45 years before that he had taken a picture of me sitting on the same bank.
216tbWell, somehow my dad is involved with this also, see?
217jgYeah.
218tbMy dad... wait, he left school but he stayed on the University's payroll and he was involved... with the first excavation of Alibates over... you know Alibates on the Canadian River just across the border in West Texas, around Amarillo?
219jgNo. I'm not familiar with that.
220tbOkay. It's... basically it was a little Pueblo, but it's real claim to fame is the flint. It's the... I think they used to call it Amarillo.
221jgUm hum.
222jgOkay, well that's Alibates. And it gets its name after a man named Al E. Bates, who was an oil company geologist, who found it, okay. (Al E. Bates was the land owner or the son of the land owner. He was not an oil company employee.) As a matter of fact, that was some of the first material that was found in the original Folsom site. And nobody could figure out where it came from.
223jgOh.
224tbHe worked out there a couple of years, and then he worked... have you ever heard of the Quarai Mission?
225jgOh, yes.
226tbWell, he excavated that, was involved in that. My mother and him both, they lived out there and then I think he was at Chaco for a year or two.
227jgYeah.
228tbAnd I think he finally decided he'd had enough of that and came to town and got himself a normal job.
229jgYeah, I worked...
230dgJoined the establishment?
231jgYeah. We worked a little while up in Chaco as a... forgotten whose class it was, wheather it was Hill's or Wes'. Anyway the University had certain rights up there you know. And so the way some of that got excavated... like okay you guys go and excavate this room during this semester.
232tbUm hum.
233jgAnd using your techniques that they were teaching you.
234tb(unintelligible)
235jgAnd so we worked up there some, and there is another one right out east of... no it would be west of... you know the sand dunes over across the river from Albuquerque. Where those old volcanoes...
236tbYeah. Yeah.
237jgJust a little farther west of that, Wes discovered from an airplane one day, what appeared to be a small ruin. So he got permission... we excavated a room there. Another place that he discovered by air, in fact he's the first archaeologist I knew that... who used aerial photography with a box camera... that's all he had. But right south of Bernalillo on that Mesa that runs along he got some pictures of that, and that turned out to be... I don't think its ever been really excavated, but there must have been 150 rooms in that place. And from the air you could see it. The pictures weren't anywhere near what we have now with aerial photography. It was just as plain as A,B,C.
238tbI'll be darned.
239jgHe gave it a name at the time. My gosh, I can't remember what he called it. I don't even know if he ever even did any work out there.
240tbUm hum.
241jgBut, I know that some has been done.
242tbOkay well, now...
243jgMore or less substantiated with photography, without him really doing anything more.
244tbWhen you left Albuquerque was he still there? Bliss, Wesley?
245jgUm hum.
246tbOkay. Hibben and him had not got to the scrapping point that...
247dgWell, let me think. When I took Lonesome that was the summer that he left for Canada and so forth.
248jgAnd what summer was that?
249dgWell, it would have had... I'm just trying to remember. It would have had to have been '37.
250jg'37, wouldn't it, yeah.
251dgHave you run across any...
252jgWell...
253tbYes, yes.
254dgLonesome, the dog?
255tbNo, no. But I've run across him going to Canada. Okay.
256dgOkay, he was getting an expedition ready to go there, and you couldn't go because you didn't have any money, wasn't that it? Or you had that job with the Smithsonian?
257jgI got a job with Smithsonian. This was excavating at Lindenmeier.
258dgYes, But Wes came to town to bid Jim goodbye and he had a group, I don't...
259tbThis is Albuquerque?
260jgNo.
261dgOh, no. Fort Collins.
262tbOh you were back up here.
263jgYeah.
264dgThis was summer.
265tbSummertime, okay.
266jgSee, this is my hometown.
267tbI see.
268jgSo, he (Bliss) came back and brought his dog, Lonesome.
269dgWell he had... there were people in that car. I mean others that were... and they were on their way, and they had this German Shepherd, Lonesome.
270tbAnd they were headed for Canada? (tb)
271dgYeah. And Lonesome had been to college (laughter). He went and he was a smart dog. And he... Wes approached him (jg) about taking Lonesome, and he said he couldn't. His parents couldn't take him and he wouldn't be there and it just didn't work out. Well, of course, then they next narrowed down on me, and my mother said, "no, not a dog like that". Anyway, I wound up taking Lonesome.
272tbAnd you... okay, Fort Collins is your home also?
273dgOh, yes. We were born and raised here and so I inherited Lonesome, and he was a real character dog and we had him until he was 14 and we had to dispose of him. He had various illnesses and was losing his eyesight, his hearing and had skin problem; this was back East.
274tbUn hum.
275dgBut anyway, when he was 14... we by this time were living in Maryland. But anyway, what was that? He let Lonesome out downtown on the street, and then he got out of town and called you or called me. I don't know which, and said...
276tbLonesome's downtown, huh?
277dgHe'd let... gotten out of the car, he didn't know what he was going to do, they were committed to make this trip, and would we please find him.
278jgWhat I was...
279dgAnd we found him.
280tbDumb like a fox, huh?
281jgBut it turned out that it was alright because he was a wonderful dog. He was great.
282tbI'll be darned.
283jgWell, anyway I...
284tbWell, for as long as you worked in the cave, Wesley Bliss was associated with the cave?
285jgThat's right.
286tbOkay, so you probably didn't work in the cave after he went to Canada, which would have been '37?
287jgYeah. Of course he came back to the university but I don't... I assume he finished his thesis... yeah, he's working for his Masters... because I know that's what he planned to do is go East for a Doctorate, which he never accomplished, as far as I know. Now, he might have gotten one from California, later on. That's what I always wondered.
288dgBut, you see this trip to Canada and Alaska, then this brought up a whole new series of... how would you explain it, Jim? Ill feelings or the same thing... you know because here again he was one of the first as I understand it... wasn't he... to go up and...
289jgWell. He was simply trying to trace the... from the Bering... the culture as it, you know...
290tbWalked across the Bering Strait?
291dgRight, right. Which now is...
292jgThere's evidence on the shore that "yeah this took place". He was inland and he went down the Yukon... and... came right down the... east side of the Rockies right on down back into the states. Found evidence in numerous places. These early, might say encampments of early man. And what his idea was, well he was just going to try to tie in this string of sites right on into Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico. Just a chronological type of thing where... based on the artifacts found you could correlate one, step-by-step progress of his people as they came down. I think he made some pretty good points on it because he did find... well since then they've found plenty evidence, I guess. It was a worthwhile project. Now that, I think the money for that came partly on this... he grant for his fellowship work. In those days it didn't take a whole lot of money.
293tbUm hum.
294jgLike nowadays you have to have at least a quarter million dollars worth of equipment or you wouldn't dare take off. He went with a bedroll and a knapsack.
295tbYeah.
296dgI remember they told... he visited us when we lived in Kentucky... after we were married. And he and his wife, and one of the stories he told was that, how cold it was, up there, and they had to push a canoe... was it, I think it was the Rat River, but I'm not sure. And I remember he told that the way they were able to do it, they had bacon and they would take the bacon grease and rub on their legs to protect them.And then he told about... eating the mushrooms that caused such peculiar...
297tbHallucinations?
298dgThey could see... it was like you were looking through a magnifying glass, or something. Everything became very clear.
299jgIt.s a wonder it didn't kill him.
300tbWhat do they call that today, those mushrooms that the kids use all the time? I can't... something.
301jgYeah.
302tbAngel dust or... I don't know what it is.
303jgI just read this little article in the news a few days ago, arrested some guy in Denver for selling mushrooms.
304dgOh, a child... wasn't it, in Denver that a child is in the hospital. I read in the paper.
305jgYeah. But anyway, they caught the guy that was selling them.
306dgBut, I think...
297jgBut, I think that early antagonism between Hibben and Bliss kind of started this way.
308tbBefore you... could I use the restroom?
309jgOh sure.
310tbAnd then I'm all ears. (I leave the room and Jim and Doris continue to talk.)
311dgThe man in the picture in this book has to be hisfather.Don't you think?
312jgYeah, you want to get that book out...
313dgI'm sure it must be, it looks very... Was he a Senior?
314jgNo he was a Freshman. He wasn't in my class, because when I went there I was a Sophomore.
315dgWell, you find it.
316tb(I return to the room.) Looks like you got a house full of kids you raised.
317jgYeah.
318dgWe just got back from a trip back East taking care of some of the grandchildren for a month while their parents went on a trip.
319jgWas that your father?
320tbNo Sir.
321dgThere was another Baker in there. Jim was looking through there at the other one.
322jgThere's another one. Let's see, let's look under June.
323tbHow old are you, sir?
324jgUh, 69.
325tbWell, he was 68. He's 68 now.
326jgWell, then he would have been...
327tbAnd he didn't miss any school, so if you didn't either he ought to be one year younger than you.
328jgNow let's see, when this... I don't even know how come I got a hold of this thing. Nobody from my class is in this thing. I know one reason, none of us had any money to get our pictures taken. But it's real funny, I went through this the other day after you called (I first contacted the Greenacres by phone to set up this interview), and just happened to notice that there's nobody that was in my class that's in here.
329tbAre they in alphabetical order? Yeah, they are. Okay.
330jgWell, let's see, these are sophomores.
331tbDo they show Freshmen, maybe? I'll tell you one...
332jgYeah, this is Freshmen back here.
333tbOkay.
334jgNow, let's go to the Juniors.
335tbI don't know that he ever made his Junior year.
336jgWell another picture... another Baker here, it's a different person.
337tbThis is the start of the Juniors here?
338jgYeah.
339tbNo, (unintelligible) can take a peek.
340dgStart with the Seniors and...
341tbThere, right there.
342jgWhere is he?
343tbThat's him right there.
344jgOkay.
345dgThat's, I think that's the picture... I told Jim...
346tbThat's right. He went to Panhandle A&M Junior College before he went here. That's the reason.
347dgSee I told Jim when you left the room, I said you looked just like the picture. Well then I didn't know where the picture was, I got that out to find it.
348jgWell, let's see. What year was this, '37. See my class, I would have been a Senior, if I'd stayed, in '38.
349tbUm hum. Let's look here just a second further, okay. Do they have any... Okay, that's my mother.
350jgThat's your mother?
351tbThat's my mother and that's my father.
352dgWell, I'll be.
353tbAnd I guess they were married.
354jgHer name wasn't Baker?
355tbNo, her name was Antoine.
356jgOkay. Well, I'll be darned. That's very interesting. Your dad doesn't have one of these?
357tbYou know, I don't know. When you were a kid at your parents' house, you're not interest in things like this, you know.
358dgThis is what we found out, that when kids get to be teenagers they're not interested.
359jgThat's his mother right beside his father.
360dgOh, how neat.
361jgWe just didn't know that.
362dgYes, well that's great.
363jgWell I want to go back to the Sandia matter.
364tbYeah, Hibben and Bliss scrapping again.
365jgI think that the controversy got started...
366dgI can see the similarity between your looks...
367jgYou see, that there Hibben was actually a full-fledged professor at the University, instructor. Dr. Brand was head of the department. But I think how it really got started is Bliss never told Hibben that he knew about this cave and we were going up there on weekends, see.
368tbOh.
369jgAnd I think what happened someway or another a little information leaked out and Hibben found out about it and hit the roof, see? And then it was just strict mudslinging on both sides from then on, until I left anyway.
370dgWell and that continued...
371jgI think that's where it kind of got started.
372dg... after Wes got to California, yousee.And after this trip up there because of, we used to have, and I have no idea where it is... we used to have some letters and literature about that. And Wes wrote to Jim and I mean he was... I think it upset him greatly.
373jgOh yeah.
374tbLet me show you something here. I have some stuff. And I can understand why Wesley would have been very, very upset, okay.
375dgI think he felt like...
376tbSee Wes published this, okay, in 1940. ("A Chronological Problem Presented by Sandia Cave, New Mexico." American Antiquity 5 (3):200-1.) My dad found this somewhere, okay. And it's basically discusses Sandia Cave somewhat. Some of the stratigraphy and stuff in it, okay. I made some notes. Let me see if I can find my notes I made on it. Here, here's some notes I've made. This kind of summarizes that article, okay. And you'll pardon my spelling, I'm an engineer so...
377jgThat's alright. I had a brother-in-law who's deceasednow.He was an engineer. Beautiful printing, just like it come off a machine. The only thing was wrong with it, about every third word was misspelled.
378tbI know, I know.
379dgTony, will you have some more rolls?
380tbNot right now. Here let me help you take it in...
381dgOh, that's no problem. I can handle it.
382tb... while he takes a look at this. (I help Doris carry some dishes to the kitchen while Jim reads the above mentioned 1940 paper by Bliss.)
363tb(When I return, I ask?) Are you down into this yet?
384jgUm hum.
385tbOkay. Well see Bliss did this (1940 "A Chronological Problem Presented by Sandia Cave, New Mexico." American Antiquity 5 (3):200-1.), okay. And for what reason, I don't know, but after this came out, then this Brand said, "hey that ain't right at all", okay. And he put this out. (1940 "Regarding Sandia Cave" Correspondence in American Antiquity 5 (4):339). But that ain't the butt-buster. Here, I'll show you the butt-buster. (Pause while I look for Hibben's 1941 "Sandia Cave." Correspondence in American Antiquity 6 (3):266. I don't find it.) And then Wesley put out this next one here (1940 "Sandia Cave." Correspondence in American Antiquity 6 (1):77-78.), okay; which was a rebuttal to Brand's. Here I got this one summarized, I think. Let me see here, okay. Here, and once again, I summarized what was interesting to me.
386jgUm hum.
387dgSee, the war changed a great deal and not only taking lives, but it mixed people up into so many different places other than where they had been. So, quite a few people that we lost complete track of, and Wes was just one of them. His children would be grown. Probably ...
388tbLet's see, we read this. This is a summary of that one there, okay. And then Brand put out this little rebuttal, which is this one here that I summarized, okay. Just a couple briefly. (Same articles discussed in entry 385.) Excuse me I'm sorry.
389dgNo, that's alright. I just...
390tbYou just lost Wesley...
391dgYes, yes. And he came from the Greeley area and there are still Blisses over there, but we just never gone over there to date. I'm sure that somebody over there... and we would love to know what happened to him because...
392tbLet me... how I'm doing here? (I am checking the recorder.)
393dgUsed to correspond and so forth and then...
394tbDid you turn that over for me? (Did you reverse the tape?)
395dgNo. (The recorder stops at this point and I reverse the tape and begin side 2.)
396dgI can't even remember what Wes' wife's name was. Jim?
397jgOh gosh. I was the one that set the romance up, you know.
398dgI know, that's why I thought you surely could...
399jgShirley.
400dgShirley?
401jgYeah, that was her name. Yeah Shirley. Shirley Bliss.
402dgHe was so shy around girls that...
403jgWell, he was shy. But anyway she was in his class, one of his classes. I think it was probably Archaeological Techniques because he had a big class. Everybody in the university wanted to take that one. So one day I was talking to him and I said, "You know that girl that sits up there in front, Shirley?" (Yep) I said, "Well what's going on between the two of you, boy she's just, she's struck dumb over you." (What?) I said, "Well, if you can't see it while you're standing up there talking I don't know what's wrong with you." Well, next class he got to looking at her and he almost forgot what he was suppose to talk about, you know. This went on for a few weeks, and one day he went to ask her to go to the Student Union and have some coffee, so she did. And this kept going on day after day; coffee , coffee. Pretty soon a few days... first thing I knew, they were getting married.
404tbI'll be darned. Just teasing, huh?
405jgYeah. But you know I never did tell him that. I think he got to looking at her and she said, well what'' he looking at me for.
406tbShe got to looking at him, huh? ... I'll be darned.
407jgYou know when you're trying to become an archaeologist, you know, it's the orneriest bunch of people in the world. I used to think they were the biggest pile of drunks I ever saw in my life until I worked with this bunch of astronomers for a year. Astronomers got us beat.
408tbWell, that's interesting. My father agrees with you on the first. He says they're the biggest bunch of drunkards, but I never heard that about astronomers.
409jgOh boy. I tell you I...
410dgThey're not all stargazers.
411jg... worked with them 8 years down in Arizona and they're something.
412tbWell, anyway. So Brand put that (1940 "Regarding Sandia Cave" Correspondence in American Antiquity 5 (4):339.) out and so Wesley Bliss sent back this here (1940 "Sandia Cave." Correspondence in American Antiquity 6 (1):77-78), okay? And he said, no. He says dammit, I got it right. Is what he's saying in this article.
413dgI'll wait until Jim's through and may I read this?
414tbWell I'll get you started right here on this (Bliss 1940 "A Chronological Problem Presented by Sandia Cave, New Mexico." American Antiquity 5 (3):200-1.)
415dgOkay, I'm interested...
416tbThis is the one he put out first, okay?
417dgOkay.
418tbAnd I have summarized it here... in what was important to me.
419dgNow, I have to get... now this is the date... is 1940?
420tbUm hum.
421dgOkay, that would coincide with... now let me just think back a minute. We were married the spring of '38. He (Bliss) visited us the spring of '39, right? I think. So this would have been... we had other correspondence with him, but this would have been after.
422tbUm hum.
423dgOkay.
424tbLike I said, you can probably read this and kind-of get the jest of that article easier.
425dgProbably, yeah.
426tbIf you'll pardon my grammer and spelling.
427dgSure. (There is a long pause in the conversation while Jim and Doris read the material.)
428dgI remember this discussion about the rodents and the breaking through and so forth.
429tbWell, at the end of looking at all of this I'm going to ask you which one's right.
430jgWell I can tell you this, that there certainly was evidence of rodents having burrowed their way through this...
431tbLimestone calcite layer.
432jgYou know, the way I get it from the way Brand was writing, and Hibben... you would visualize this as being a solid mass with no cracks, fissures or anything. That wasn't true. As Wes points out there were rodent dung and piles of cracked up pinon nuts where the squirrels had hauled them in; mixed up with what really appeared like... some of these bones turned out to be Pleistocene animals, that's true, but they were not what you might call in-situ, because they were just scattered around with pinon nuts, dung and everything else. Some of them, I think, showed pretty good evidence that they had been gnawed on a little bit before they were so calcified.
433tbOkay. Well now, this... I'm left with the impression that there was this hard calcite limestone layer and then on top of that was the recent deposition, deposits, okay?
434jgUm hum.
435tbBut you fellows broke through this hard layer...
436jgIn some cases it had been broken through...
437tbOkay, and you did find these Pleistocene bones in the recent layer, or below this, that the rodents were kicking around, or do you recall?
438jgIt would be in the recent...
439tbOkay, And what Bliss is saying that they had drug the bones out and put it on top.
440jgI think that makes sense, because as I recall, that's where they were. But when you finally got rid of all that material and went into... well it was sort of a, this ocher deposit; nothing in that except this plain old, old yellow ocher dust.
441tbNow where was this in relation to this hard calcite?
442jgThat was below. That's what we called travertine at that time, the calcite deposit.
443tbOkay.
444jgSome of it was beautiful by the way. Cut, saw it, polish it, you know, beautiful travertine. Under that was this layer of ocher which would be, well depending on the slope of the floor, I assume it might be an inch thick; it might be seven or eight inches thick.
445tbWas this immediately under the calcite?
446jgYeah, as I recall.
447tbThere was nothing between it... the calcite and the ocher?
448jgYeah. Then below that was, what you might call a productive layer, showing occupation prior to the time that the ocher was deposited, and on top of that the calcite was deposited, prior to that time. That's what we were really after.
449tbSo you were after this... ("Productive layer" located below the ocher layer.)
450jgBecause there wasn't really anything above that, scattered flint fragments of this or that, maybe a...
451tbNothing Diagnostic?
452jgNo, because I think Wes was right, it was a disturbed area.
453tbUm hum.
454jgYou could separate all of this material.You could put all the bison bones in this pile, the deer teeth in this pile, the bird bones in this pile, the dung in this pile, but you see, you don't have anything. Just got all this stuff.
455tbOkay.
456jgBut after you clean that off and get rid of the ocher, you come into what you can call an undisturbed area. Of which there was, of course, as everybody found later on, plenty of proof that cave men occupied that... prehistoric man.
457tbOkay.
458jgThey found the stuff in-situ. One of those hearth... we uncovered a hearth, oh, not too far from the entrance.
459tbBelow the yellow ocher?
460jgUm hum. It hadn't been disturbed. I mean, it was undoubtedly a hearth that had been used.
461tbWas it just charcoal, or did it have rocks around it? Or do you recall?
462jgNo it was just a...
463tbJust a burnt spot?
464jgYea. Well it's a... they, whoever built the fires, had in the a... what you might call the original floor of the cave. You know the floor of that cave wasn't smooth like this table, it undulated. This was in... the hearth...
465tbA pothole or something?
466jgThey had found a place to hold the fire, you know. A basin-like type thing. I don't recall if you can say a true circle or...
467tbJust a recessed...
468jgAn oval... but, anyway, it was a recess in the floor.
469tbOkay.
470jgWhich just makes perfect sense, forsure.Why wouldn't you put it down if you saw...
471tbBeats packing rocks in.
472jgYeah. I don't remember, now they might have found later on some hearths way back in there, banked up with rocks. I personally never found anything like that.
473tbGet her up to speed now. (Changing my attention to Doris).
474dgNow this...
475tbOkay, now...
476dgIn Brand's letter (1940 article) he mentions that Bliss had not been connected with the University since he returned from the '37, '38 expedition.
477tbWhich was in Canada?
478dgRight. So now, I'm sitting here thinking that when we last saw Wes... I'm a year behind. He... it must have been after this article came out because I'm positive we saw that (article) when he was here. Jim, don't you remember? Either he sent... I'll tell you what it was. It must have been... we were... we moved into Hager's house.
479jgYes.
480dgAnd it was Halloween and I remember that very clearly, so it must have been Halloween of '39. And then he must have sent this to you or you had this. You have read this before, haven't you?
481jgUm hum. I think... you see, he (Wes) wrote to me and asked me to write to Dr. Howard my impressions of some of this junk going on.
482tbOne of these (articles) he says that the students, his fellow students, will testify to his side of the argument.
483jgYeah, and I don't have a copy. I used to... I think mine was published in American Antiquity.
484tbYour rebuttal?
485jgUm hum.
486tbOkay.
487jgIt's not very long, you know...
488dgWhy I...
489jgTwo or three paragraphs. Just a...
490dgWhy I remember the time element, Tony, now this again just a little silly story.
491tbUm hum.
492dgThis gives you an idea of Wes. We lived in this mountain town, Paintsville Kentucky, and Jim was excavating Indian mounds up there at the university. And we had neighbors who we had gotten into trouble with them over our dogs, this Lonesome and then our dog whipped their dog and...
493tbThey didn't like it.
494dgSo we used to do all kinds of things to irritate them because they did things to irritate us.
495tbUm hum.
496dgSo we had been telling Wes about all of this when he visited, he and his wife, and so all was still this one night, it was after 9:00, and the people next door had their shades pulled and everything was still and Jim and Wes went out on our side porch beside their house, turned a washtub upside down and beat on it and sang a rain song. And so, I know it was Halloween. (Lots of laughter.)
497tbI'll be darned.
498dgAnd so this, now see this came out in 1940. He must have sent it to Jim after that because we lost... see the war came in '41.
499jgHe wrote this (1940 "Sandia Cave." Correspondence in American Antiquity 6 (1):77-78.), when he was in Pennsylvania. That's the reason this Howard, as I recall was head of the department of Anthropology. You know, I had met him previously. We weren't friends or anything. I just met him, you know, through Wes and he certainly didn't seem like the type of guy that was going to cut your throat or anything. He was a very fine person I thought. That's about all I know about him. Except I did write that for American Antiquity.
500tbYou did?

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