Gerald Edwin “Jerry” Underwood Interview, September 29, 2009


Suzanne M. Vernon



Download Audio Interview (129.8 MB)

Download Transcript of Gerald Underwood Interview (368 KB)


Gerald “Jerry” Underwood discusses moving to the Swan Valley with his parents and brother as a young child so his father could work as a logger. He talks about fishing on Cooney Creek, attending school at Smith Flat, and watching the wildlife that lived around their property. Underwood recalls working one summer at Shorty Koessler’s Gordon Ranch putting up hay. He describes spending time with Babe and Eva Wilhelm who lived on Swan Lake for part of the year and he remembers the Wilhelm family’s mill in Bigfork, Montana. Underwood talks about his father’s furniture making business and Earl Woods who worked as a carpenter for him. He also discusses his time wrangling for Dick Hickey and his mother’s job as the cook at the Covington Lodge at Swan Lake. Underwood recalls working on the Tango Creek Fire in 1953, and later, working for the U.S. Forest Service at the Swan River Youth Forest Camp from 1968-1989. He describes buildings and layout of the Underwood Ranch.

The few minutes of this interview contain personal identification information. This portion of the interview has been restricted from the audio and the transcript.


Media is loading

Document Type

Oral History


Swan Lake, Montana; Swan Valley, Montana; Shorty Koessler, Gordon Ranch; Eva Wilhelm; Babe Wilhelm; Wilhelm family, sawmill; Logging; Underwood Ranch; Ranching; Forestry; Farming; Bigfork, Montana; Furniture making; Business owners, Montana; Dick Hickey; Covington Lodge, Swan Lake, Montana; Tango Creek Fire, 1953; U.S. Forest Service; Firefighting; Swan River Youth Forest Camp

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Upper Swan Valley Oral History Project, OH 422, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 422-208, 209

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassettes (02:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (23 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:38:31 minutes

Local Filename

OH_422_208_209.mp3; OH_422_208_209.pdf

Gerald Edwin “Jerry” Underwood Interview, September 29, 2009