Alexander McGregor and Ian McGregor

Recorded July 8, 2020 Archived July 8, 2020 39:58 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019883


Alexander "Alex" McGregor (71) is prompted by his son, Ian McGregor (39), to talk about the importance of preserving small towns, as well as their family agriculture business, which spans over a century.

Subject Log / Time Code

I.McG. and A.McG. talk about why small towns are important, how history is all around. A.McG. says, "It's the people in particular that come to mind."
I.McG asks his father to talk about the powerful women of the ranch.
A.McG. reflects on the women of the small towns and the women in his family, in particular, his mother.
A. McG. describes saving small towns who were at the edge of being forgotten. Saving the houses and buildings that were over a century old. He describes it as saving the unspoiled lands, full of geological and native history.
A. McG. speaks on his family migration story and how they have been in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 150 years.
A.McG. reflect on his father saying that any job is as important as any other.
I.McG asks his father what makes farm families so important. A.McG. responds that many families have heritage to the land and that "there's a dedication to the stewardship of the land, to leave it a better state than how they found it."
A.McG. ends the recording by stating that small town farmlands are a "country where the roots are deep and the people are outstanding."


  • Alexander McGregor
  • Ian McGregor

Recording Location

Virtual Recording


Partnership Type



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00:01 My name is Ian McGregor. I am 39 years old today is the 8th of July 2020. I'm in Colfax Washington. My conversation partner is Alex McGregor and I am his son.

00:18 Play Franz. I'm Alex McGregor.

00:21 Ian is my son and I'm a proud dad of him.

00:25 This is Colfax Washington. I'm going to be visiting with you will both be visiting with you about agriculture Farm families and Rural communities.

00:39 All right. Now you and I both spend too many of our formative years growing up and living in the small town of Hooper, which is our Ranch headquarters in the house where we're at my grandfather your your father was born and generations of the family live there for well over a century share your thoughts. If you would about growing up in a small town why small towns are important than some of the worst things that you learned there about people unfamiliar with rural areas who consider them fly over to Jones or perhaps exit signs driving through my lap while I plant and there's so much more here. I think the remarkable people the wide open prairies and the rugged Canyons where history is all around us.

01:32 It's the people in particular who come to mind first.

01:37 I'll share some information about the remarkable people who took care of 8,000 use and 13000 Lambs on our Ranch for many many years.

01:49 A dozen or more young men from Basque country

01:53 Bring that brings on memories of parties where Guillermo saliva play. The accordion is gelo Hooters dance that he would jump for the ceiling the bite the balloons overhead much to the Delight of my brother and a sister Mary and I is we sneak a peek from upstairs.

02:13 Boys basketball has may have come from across the Atlantic.

02:17 But they shared some valuable lessons particularly got a job worth doing is worth doing well.

02:25 They also taught me how to drink Vino Fino out of a bota bag while I listen to their stories about the land back home. I think about the Yugoslavian murdered in a very remote area and the rugged Canyons when I was aroused about hauling supplies to him every couple of weeks, but I can be the only person needs cheat for months on end.

02:47 He taught me patience use the spare time to domesticate a badger. No mean feat. Is France and joined his brother at our place for a 50-year career.

03:05 And I'm reminded of when he sent me out on my first big job with McGregor's at the age of 11 moving 2000 use across miles and miles of Rocky casters.

03:17 I knew the Spanish commands the baskers at bring the Border Collie speed but I delivered him in a halting squeaky voice. They sat and watched as I ran from one side of the map to the other going nowhere.

03:34 Then I saw the green station wagon of Elmer or my boss bouncing through the rocks in my fear was that my career was with McGregor's was over before it got started.

03:48 What do you say I run myself ragged? However, he just advised be firm and don't hesitate when you want to get something done or words to that effect, and I did.

04:00 Devilman is a sheep verbally, whatever the challenge. I remember his story about moving a band of newly shorn sheep. They're always really bum herbal to cold weather after sharing. I remember his words with him sheep.

04:21 A bunch of ducks. I got him.

04:24 House in a barn damn she got in the house in the cellar in the barn while I had to hold him into the Bluffs all night, or they would have died. I wish I never saw another sheet that day.

04:36 Josh McCreary almost predecessor Scotchman. You left a lot of his job in Scotland.

04:44 Pan for gold in Tierra del Fuego in Australia, but said he found more joy in six decades with us and the rocks and Sagebrush then it all of his travel.

04:56 Former Supreme Court, Justice William O Douglas Goldsmith story about Job relay to him by Apollo Burger Billy McGuffey. Wanted to Spokane.

05:09 30 in the Thirsty from a weary job a loading sheet.

05:13 What into apartment had a drink chances are more than one?

05:18 We met with the Salvation Army Street Corner meeting with the tambourine walked up and asked Jack for a donation. What do you want the Lord? She said his eyes jaw contouring long before you and I'll just give him a penny myself.

05:45 It was a partisan Young Joc said it all goes to show that these gots one isn't stingy. It's just partials.

05:54 Orion Hannah another Burger you took me out of the gave me an appreciation for wildlife out in the range watching for The elusive long-billed Curlew and after whom we chose your name Ian.

06:09 You talked about Jack Tobin who I knew was a kid and growing up Dave Carter as well. Share some thoughts about them. If you would chuck was a tractor driver for us for half a century Bowl home at the age of 11 after his mom died wrote a freight train and ended up with the ranch. You told me stories many time many times about we will snow storm. He endured with a bulldozer going through the deep drifts to save space on the cheap.

06:46 What I do with my Harvest Rock in the Deep dustbowl you got in the truck will make you never give up slammed it in reverse the most powerful gear if the gas and climb the hill.

06:59 Dave Porter at Homestead in broken Wild Horses to make a living. I knew him after much the worse for wear for him. Now when he can come a town maintenance person on the ranch.

07:11 What is contemporaries didn't much like his brightness? He took me under his wing beginning when I was a little kid and I ride the big lawn mower on his lap later telling me of his hard work and dedication and what it took to Pioneer the land would High sprinkler system anchored with railroad ties with water spraying it all Direction as a Christmas present for Gavin. My goal was to become a plumber like Dave.

07:40 One day but the last I became a history professor in a business manager instead.

07:47 Having sex daughters myself, you know, I've heard you talk about some of the remarkable women who who lived in and around the ranch talk about that the first woman to graduate from the University of Washington with dual degrees in mathematics and Engineering with her husband Ralph getting back to the ranch to keep it alive during the grinding years of the Great Depression.

08:19 She told me something when I was a kid that really sang poem. We got up and worked hard all day.

08:28 General husband Ralph tell me about Mary. Ann. Milam was the wife of a Pioneer catalog Cattlemen.

08:36 And her husband often summer range with their stock.

08:42 Mariana Greenville at a railroad crew use the family spring if they give her the pump when they were done.

08:48 They sneaked back at dawn one morning after work was winding down.

08:53 You brought the pump only to find her sitting in a rocking chair at the spring. Nothing is corn cob pipe with a shotgun across your lap. Ralph told me she was a wonderful woman who rang that family. She was very dogmatic and knew who she was going to support.

09:11 What all can you find a woman who was the head of a family that way she be the strongest and had the most judgement women kept things going. I also think he and your grandma my mom normal, but Gregor

09:27 Mom grew up in hardship and poverty on a truck farm along the shores of Lake Como in St. Paul.

09:35 When she was asked after she agreed to be the first president of the Whitman County Historical Society. Why is she a relative newcomer only 25 years here should be a rule remembered what you'd word for my Grandpa. Would you live here long enough, you'll fall in love with the rock canyons in the Rolling Hills and I have

09:58 I love the land and I belong your college degree, which he tailed off will raising us kids at age 52 for masters in library science 56 same year. I got mine. She went on to become a librarian in Washington DC and Salem, Oregon.

10:20 Lesson she from home to Mary and Ian me.

10:24 One before it was used in ads by the Army be all that you can be.

10:31 You attended all a grades of the two room Schoolhouse there in Hooper getting your eighth grade diploma from your dad as he received. His is Father AC. What was it like going to a real school? I was in a big class there were four of us.

10:51 14 to 20 kids in all a grades together

10:55 Is my sister Mary remember? We're going to play a game Everybody Plays regardless of skill.

11:03 I remember mr. Ali his first name was Enos, but none of us are to call him that crushing my thoughts. I have about my singing skills telling me to Fox battle at in 7th grade.

11:18 I was crushed but everyone had their voices to share everyone needed to be heard Mr. Sour his name was Ill rally successor in the big room to scratch her skills, and he was quick to move us High School workbooks and we showed Talent.

11:39 Rest your foot. We pulled in the little room and mrs. Dolly World mango. Nobody would have dared Colin.

11:48 Would catch us in swappa guilty parties with a ruler

11:52 Why are boys in trouble with a poker face in a fairly small?

11:57 I remember for eighth grade graduation. I wrote a play about Lewis and Clark in the Palouse Indians my interest in history already starting to show it back down.

12:07 Where are graduation on April the Willapa played Pomp and Circumstance on the piano Professor from Cheney use mom sprays be all that you can be a big deal in the real world of opportunity was a have something special about whirlpool.

12:28 Why do small towns have been near and dear to your heart? And I know you work for many years to save Smoke Ranch headquarters do the family had saved 15 homes nearly a century old some older than that the hotel The Brick Store other reminders earlier days where we had big Harvest Moon and where there were many many people required me to move the mules and horses. Naturally, I grew up around them.

13:15 And reporter from the Spokesman-Review in Spokane right at it as an example of sailing rule town.

13:23 Neighboring Rancher and I U D harder enough for back taxes and help organize a Civic group across community-wide Main Street bar model became the little town look good and did it so cold in that town. Just over three hundred and since then it's been all hands on deck. If you rebuilt the store added space for a Library community Gathering Place business offices in a grocery. We're just been renovated the bank and Cafe rod and new operators the rebuilt one of the Town signature old rock houses.

14:06 With another one in the words to become a museum and Visitor Center.

14:12 Unless people think there isn't much we've taken actually to visit Mall bounce about the examples in that town in that area nearby is the first national geologic rail from the National Park Service following the trail of the Ice Age floods, but once ravaged the land the largest Bloods known anywhere nearby was the warmest Rock show, but we're Indian habitation dates back more than 11300 years old.

14:46 Where a wosu geologist developer tools used by Apollo Astronauts on the moon.

14:54 Everywhere, you still see trails of Indians infantry and mule Packers still evident in that won't spoil land of remarkable. People were remarkable play lacrosse was in the ward winning example of what can be done. We got our heritage less people think we're a homogeneous Rod. I think of people in the Inland Northwest. He's retard why distinctive Chinese Swiss man, and I got some more

15:35 What communities are cornerstones for the largest employer in the state? He's names on chair Statewide Association of Washington Business Bureau Vitality initiative.

16:00 Talking about the families that came from around the globe and put down Roots here in the Pacific Northwest Remnant on the Isle of Mull from where my great-grandparents had a miserable living who's in a fight with potato blight on the Gathering kelp on the rocky Shore, which was used to make nitrate for gunpowder until A Better Way came along in the market collapse.

16:46 We were pushed aside by a big English sheep out there at least the land and Forest you make it somehow across the sea in the Deep forests of Ontario.

16:59 Where are the family of 11 they had to survive on 50 acres trying to plant trees when to plant crops in the deep forest.

17:09 When their cousin in Dayton Washington sent word about good opportunities out here for the brothers got the opportunity Splendid, aren't you and Peter the two oldest headed west 1882 and 1886 and my grandpa AC at the Ramon name.

17:28 1898

17:32 My cousin Bill long-time manager bar Ranch.

17:35 Watch blow me with Pioneer cat tree trains will help them succeed boundless optimism of Rye self-deprecating sense of humor. Dre said he said were useful band more useful now and will be useful in the future.

17:56 And indeed optimism round them up.

17:59 Write off Margie in the spring of 1883 few months after they arrived at home and I recall the words with my blankets on my back. Bond it a hard matter to get anything to eat the longest walk. I had without anything to eat with 60 miles. Don't Happy on the way though where I can see the country or hunt. So I did and I took

18:37 They went on in field as Farmers the last query fire destroyed their cabin built half on one Brothers Homestead claim and half on the other.

18:47 They took on the task, but many regarded with this pain burning sheep exchanging their labor for a share in future line props to be born.

18:57 We smoked out on your lawn in 1885 convincing a bank or some how to loan them $5,000 at 18% interest by 2000 used.

19:09 They qualified for it, right Uncle Archie later claimed by displaying five traits that he's held without always be crucial in agriculture industry word character honesty.

19:22 Trap shooting in they were called when I first wrote about them my Dad. Hope they follow my generous, but they were frowned on fence Land Rover. They could find it in Pacific Railroad owner of a wide swath of railroad land branch crossword northern states, you're responsible and unwilling and unable to pay for damages.

19:51 All of which charges were true

19:55 Workers didn't take the prosperity. Finally. They fought it all the way to the courthouse steps before signing Northern Pacific grazing lease number 123 thousand acres for $200 a year.

20:08 Archie McGregor told about how hard they had to work to earn that money. He worked for the railroad as as good as brothers.

20:16 And he remembered living in a boarding house town of Chico before being evicted by the Land O the hotel owner because he used too much sugar while sweetness poppy sugar the McGregor start with a great luxury in one they could deal with Ford at home.

20:36 Federal surveyor came out and captured some of the optimism people had in the land on Earth Battle of the sweetest, sweetest and most Noble in the universe.

20:53 And a bunch grass man is the king of the universe.

20:58 We're brothers would incorporate their Holdings McGregor Land & livestock company in 1905 today one of the oldest company in the state of Washington.

21:09 You your dad and I helped to manage our family business for over a century. Now, we brought many different experiences there and Endeavors share. This is how you made the route. We've made from your perspective that happen.

21:26 My dad sale for his worldly with a degree in journalism. The 1929.

21:35 Just after the Black Monday and the start of the Great Depression newspaper jobs. You couldn't find so he went to work as a clerk at the ranch.

21:46 You started out at $150 a month the second year. He said in appreciation of his dedication you made $125 a month the third year as a thank you for his enthusiasm you made $100 a month and then 75 they were tough times and we couldn't afford to pay him.

22:09 You done went to San Francisco where he tried to sell life insurance on permission and barely eat out a living.

22:16 At the start of World War I decided to become Red Cross Field director for an all black Army units in the Solomon Islands.

22:25 Water style of fighting discrimination the troops base with the cigarettes for jukeboxes setting up Recreation halls and leading a group of Bakers would make 2500 coconut cream pies a day for special occasions.

22:42 Begin dark home after the war there was a shortage of McGregor's on the place ran the General Store that he could see you but man that will find consolidating the internal combustion engine replacing newellton horses. That sales would decline over time.

23:03 We have a good while and experiment Station Washington State ball and Charlie to go and work on our place showing that if you replenish depleted nutrients is better conserve the soil you could double on you in trouble real.

23:18 Opportunity back in when Harley's Washington Pullman cut his funding assuming the limiting factor and Harley became Ranch.

23:30 Dad remembered he had his fellow store clerk with Rollins working from daylight till midnight. It's time running all over the region as serving the needs of farmers and will demand Brady said they hated the drive-thru small town. They be stopped by Growers begging them for scare supplies with nutrients.

23:52 Doug we believe that to be successful in business.

23:58 You got to roll. You got to save what you earn and invest it for the future to provide technology and research were those you serve and you have to go the extra mile. You treat your employees. Well.

24:15 Not easy to stay hard to do but for more than four decades building the framework for a company today that is you will know employs 350 people across the Inland Northwest change program at University black college in Washington DC Masters and PhD at the University of Washington for my thesis and dissertation family business.

24:52 Heritage of future of agriculture

24:56 I want the dad in software scan working summers at the ranch within the company that created with some basic lessons treat people. Well why them the opportunity to excel remember what's earned is really in trust with you by customers to serve them well in the future

25:30 Was were deeply held beliefs in lawn food.

25:34 That is worth with knowledge of the opportunity and the need to show progress and stewardship at the bipartisan support from legislators on issues of matter the world down.

25:48 My colleagues are calling burning more than 20 State Regional and national awards requirement electrical.

25:58 Remember my first time smoking before Congress is the invitation of house Speaker Tom Foley for the House and Senate Ways and Means Foreign Affairs committee behind the year 3 year old.

26:15 Piling up at every elevator across the region and exports and not knowing the challenges that steelmakers face with export board your graduating class in high school.

26:42 That gave me something to smile about and I hit the ground running and have been doing forever since

26:50 One thing help me most was remembering what I learned from dad every job in its own way. It's important that every other again.

27:02 Easy to say but vital for his generation in mine.

27:06 And you learned this to beginning as an unpaid welder and painter now our president of the school paper on the board in the office where you were very surprised to see a 10 year old at work. But what time I started to accept me by the end of the day, I felt like electricity in a wire we were all working towards the same bull.

27:33 You brought mechanical skills and computer Talent dad and I surely lacked.

27:41 Never through these doors shall a computer pass. My dad used to bless your life. Seriously.

27:50 Why attitude was more? Absolutely absurd?

27:56 You develop programs with the skills. We lack this right for the time.

28:03 Also demonstrate that heartfelt appreciation for what you learn from Grandpa appreciation for our people and willingness to go the extra mile to help them succeed rap in Sherman if he was here with offer you the highest praise he talked with anyone. Thanks for a good job. Well done.

28:25 Bebe proud of you now our president is he and I were before

28:30 Holding true to those values we've embraced put the paper several years ago.

28:37 It's all about that a dedicated people who care about Farm families we serve.

28:44 About the People by feet around the globe about the environment and about the communities where we were

28:51 You can find many of workers. Should we both have about the theories of business management, but a recipe nearly a hundred and four years in the making more than ever. It's all about dedicated people. Who care.

29:08 Does the family what did we learn along the way as we had our share of failures to the three traits that Pioneers had was a wry self-deprecating sense of humor that could help him get you the tough time and indeed they had some of that sense of humour was in good stead when they failed about an irrigation project a century ago after Dutch Bankers in Farmersville maintenance was a killer. I remember dad noticing that one day The Flume would fail on the south side of the river and wash out the county road the next day it would fail and wash out the railroad tracks on the other side.

29:58 Who are the brothers decided they do something more respectable in the early days the wording. She invested in a hardware store and just before the Panic of 1893 9:00 Billiards aboot that business didn't last long anymore.

30:23 What there were six Essence mean?

30:26 I think about cousin John running a huge feedlot in Pasco feeding the cattle with what he called Smoke From the leftover food from food processor Walmart on to bring a store clerk. He building a large farm service business.

30:45 The mostly we learned about the land.

30:48 Farmers and scientists as well early days didn't know much about how to

30:54 Tape measure in this country at warm it wisely my great-uncle PD at Washington State College.

31:06 Professors to spend time out of the classroom and help them address ever-worsening soil erosion.

31:14 Waterway weeds in declining yields. Their message was the same as farmer Shore with other land-grant schools across the Midwest down all the guys that hit you are plows.

31:30 Relationship was built back. Then the farmer scientist local businesses working together relationship stronger than ever.

31:47 You go off and talk about Farm families. And obviously you're passionate about what what what makes me special needs.

31:57 Agriculture is a major employer throughout our land.

32:02 What is your field perhaps the last one dominated by individual Farm family with a Heritage of the land was ours dating back several Generations.

32:17 Ask any farmer what matters most in Newport News about how we roll areas or a great place to raise a family and Jubal goals that Mom very deeply.

32:34 Rural such as being a good Steward of the land and making sure it's in better shape with the time you finish your tour guide in healthy nutritious food for people around the country and around the globe.

32:53 What was the tangible keep us motivated to pump Pines X an absentee corporations would bind to wallop.

33:03 What the health farm family

33:08 That's why 97% of the arable land in this state as far as the day by Farm family.

33:15 Farmers have a passionate game

33:27 Herbalife wine is individual Farmers waterborne toilet rolls in a big challenge 85% reduced games and sports with the productivity of any generation since crops were first on eleven thousand years ago.

33:59 Me and your dad before us or proud to be part of those achievements and do have done our best to help him along the way.

34:10 Today with many Americans three or more Generations removed from their agricultural route more interested in agriculture than in times past. It's a pleasure for us to reach out and tell their story relationships and alliances to work together with all Americans who have a stake and agriculture that include everyone who leaves

34:34 People with the fortitude to endure pandemic * 1 / Italy

34:45 Who are stubborn and determined enough to endure challenges volatile trade relationships years of drought and many another challenge learning and every interested in research to help my walking away.

35:07 I'll share with you a few spots a land where weed is King.

35:16 Why do whining historical geography who grew up in this country described it well in the far Northwest of the United States and surrounding but it could be recognized immediately it a mere glance approach from any direction to visible changes his borders and swiping the forest Thins and abruptly ends the mountains lower than merge into a much smoother surface and a different kind of country open and humble lighting rosalba for the viewer like a great interior seat.

35:51 Novelist, Dane Brady stayed at a Ranch Hotel century ago.

35:56 The bride before they called the desert between I remember his words. Well when they going to ask your beauty to the endless rolling smooth world of treeless hit them with the shallow Valley strange isolator a Lonely Heart.

36:27 Bartram the neighbor Della Evans work with her mom

36:32 At the cook Wagon in early days about what it was like in Harvest back then breakfast search 15 Minutes Alone dinner would be at noon another lunch at 3. Then the man with trash until 8 or supper and bed down to the night and they've got it down in straw stats.

37:01 Challenges of those thousands of people who wrote boxcars in this country to help in the summer.

37:15 1.4 and I grew up around in and

37:20 Who is words really right true with me facts about his neck. And harvest one time and the help. He got the Joe Frost and international workers of the world number for the character driving water wagon with a favorable do when you're at the drive-in. I'm in the Box head with broccoli before it was quite a job when they do not want to bug my holes in the hard ground. I miss those holes and had to drive around again.

38:20 Oh hell I hurried up because there was hungry but this goddamn big kid. He was going to take my place. So I followed him right on in and when he got there, I just pushed him the one side inside out. He went on afterwards and I would have my back when he's

38:47 I thought of my belly and he sat on my back pounding me on the hip. He told me about all the places. He been all the women. So I was thinking quite a beating down and said to me what does the college where we stood up and fought I reached over and I've been in damn it. He got out of there in the how do you spell handle me a single tree hardwood insane on it. I made a pass at him and chased him down the road if we went back to work starting to getting in my header box when I was unloading scoop. I've been cleaning out the box with that. I went over there and found him that ended that flight.

39:42 Donkey with a Rooster Teeth store on standard