An immediate need for cash was met in a number of ways and perhaps freighting was number one. It probably began with marketing the produce already on hand and bringing back the supplies needed. Preston history says the men spent the first summer baling hay and freighting it to Delamar at $25 a ton and that they received their pay in store credit. Other places they freighted to were also quite a distance, Modena, Pioche, Reveille, Belmont, Cedar City andDuckwater. Ely was closer and as the mines at Kimberly and Ruth showed increasing activity,the Ely area became the principal market. This was especially true after the railroad came into Ely in 1906 and the mill and smelter at McGill began operations some few years later.
Some took jobs freighting for the mines at Ruth and Kimberly. David Gardner's history speaks of living at Kimberly for a year and freighting from Ely to Copper Flat. Lafe and Jim Carter and Jack Oxborrow were among those who helped to build the railroad, freightingmaterial from Cobre and Shafter. When, on September 29 and 30, the celebration was held to mark the completion of the railroad, Lafe Carter sent for his wife, Alice, and family who by thenwere Vera, Arthur, Lafayette, and Lena to join him in Ely for the festivities. Henry Mathis drove them in.
The early years of the 1900's brought a wave of prosperity to the country in general and, with the development of new methods of processing copper, a boom of sorts to White Pine County. Some took other jobs at the mines often to get money for their payments to the Nevada Land and Livestock Company. Others from both Preston and Lund worked at the Duck Creek sawmill and took part of their pay in lumber and sawed timbers. When Ed Funk moved to Preston he built a sawmill using water for power.
But freighting continued in importance through the first two decades. When the need for cash arose, often the owner would bale a load of hay to freight into Ely and after the threshing or potato harvest the load was likely to be grain or potatoes. Sometimes the loads were peddled from house to house especially when the load included fresh vegetables which were in great demand in the days when the stores carried little in the way of fresh produce. Often the women would send a few dozen eggs and a few pounds of butter and the little ''butter and egg" money she received was a real boon to the housewife. My father carved the initials R. R. on the woodenbutter mold my mother used and he reported that certain of his customers demanded the butter with the brand.
Periodically over the years there would be a shutdown at the mines affecting the economy ofthe whole area. Ina Gubler Gilfillan tells of one that occurred in 1907. Her father, Jacob Gubler,had a contract to supply vegetables to the Ruth boarding house but when the shutdown came the contract was cancelled. Not knowing what to do with the bountiful crop of extra fine vegetableshe had worked so hard to produce he finally hauled them to Ruth and put them in pits with layersof straw. In the spring, when conditions were no better, he opened up the pits and gave thevegetables to the miners out of work who were very thankful to get them.
Most freighters drove a four horse, two wagon outfit and took great pride in their fine teamsand expertise in handling a two or three span outfit. There was some friendly rivalry aboutwhose team could pull the biggest load. Gene Peacock claimed that he had a team that could outpull anything in the Valley and was willing to demonstrate at the drop of a hat.
A freighting trip to Ely took three or four days. Usually the first day they would drive to the"wire corral" some ten or twelve miles out of Ely and make camp there for the night. The second day they would drive into Ely, deliver their load, sometimes take on a return load, transact any business or do any necessary shopping and drive back to their camp at the wire corral that night. The third day they would drive home often arriving after dark at night. Sometimes if they didn't have too big a load they would stop and load up with wood on their return trip, often taking anextra day. Lloyd (Mick) Oxborrow tells of a time when he and Kenneth Gardner camped and hauled wood from across the Jeru wash to the road to be picked up by George Oxborrow and other men on their return trips freighting potatoes to Ely. They were there for a week or ten daysand hauled four loads a day with two wagons.