Oral Histories

William D. McDougald

b.1927

Bill McDougald

A: Oh, about the same time, off and on. Ken was always a community leader.

Q: That drinking affair when you said you’d get elected?

A: Oh, that was with Mayor Bunce. It wasn’t Ken. John Mullins, Bob Curfman and I came from mining and were elected to Council that year (1956).

Q: So you were elected before Ken was?

A: I think if I recollect right that I served ’56 through ’58 or ’60 and I served two years with Ken. So there were two years of my council time when Ken was the Mayor. We had a little old City Hall up by the old swimming pool which is by where the library is today? The old Moab Swim City used to be right there and we had a little building east of the pool. Some of the buildings are still used today.

(Reading from back of photo) In 1956 –60 were the first four years of Council and ’73-’77 I was Mayor and ’58-’59 I served with Mayor K.E. McDougald and 32 years Council, four years Mayor, principal interests were streets, water and sewer, recreation. The only real distasteful term was the last term when we changed the garbage contractor. That was the worst situation I ever worked into and I never did work out of it either. That was a conspiracy that succeeded by the way.

Q: People were so loyal to Bob, weren’t they?

A: Yes, Bob’s a good service company. Now here’s the deal where he gave me this little clock and it had a plaque on it. That’s Mayor McDougald and Councilman McDougald. That’s when I went off the Council (1960). (see photo)

You know I got a kick out of Adrien Taylor. I worked with her over the years. She’s a great lady, very capable, and she had the honorary degrees ahead of me, an honorary doctorate degree. Mine was the first one conferred locally.

I fell on the rocks out there on a geology field trip in Sego Canyon. I got the shoulder. And then I fell off a stepladder out here in this place. We’d just moved here, whenever that was, ’95 or ’96, I fell off this ladder and broke my leg in the garage out here. So I had this right side rebuilt. I have a rotor cuff in the shoulder. The break in the leg didn’t involve the hip socket, thank God. It broke acorss the femur below the hip junction.

What was this gimic here that the teachers gave me? It was one of the cute things in my life. I was substitute teaching one year. I had sixty days and I went through it in middle high school and middle school and these guys gave me this as my award when I was free. They donated free time. These were the problem guys at high school. These teachers gave me these things and I got a kick out of ‘em. Weeding, rototilling, water….BC Enterprises, their first anniversary sale and all that stuff. J.C. Eddie who was one of these kids. I never will forget that.

I love this picture of the two of us (indicating photo of Bill and his wife). We went to Dr. Tice for this tumor on her spine and it was very delicate and left her with chronic pain for the rest of her life. He spent about four hours taking this little tumor off her spine and he got it but there was so much damage to the nerves and everything. Well, we were in there talking to Dr. Tice somewhere along the line we were saying that we were both married three times and she related to Dr. Tice that she’d lost both husbands to accidents. And he had no sense of humor but he looked over to me and he said, “You better watch out.”

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Now we’re talking about northern Grand County and the coal. Okay, the coal that was mined at Sego was for the Rio Grande Railroad and it was a quality of coal that was excellent for cleaning the clinkers out of the fire boxes on the locomotives. And they mined two and half million tons plus from two and a half square miles. I guess it is there on the ground there in the Sego area. The bulk of it went down to the main railroad. They had a little narrow guage spur that went up there and connected with Sego and that was our coal industry. In fact, we used to even have a doctor living in Sego at one time. And we had probably 80 workers or miners. Remember when we went on a field trip and we had little dugouts up the canyons there and some of them slept in there? They ‘d come over there in the week and they’d work and they were out of Price and Green River and all over.

Q: We have a sample saying anthracite and one saying bituminous. Which was it?

A: It’s a bituminous coal and the seams in lower Mesa Verde formation. It’s cretaceous above the Mancos. The time the coals built up in Emery County we had a high grade bituminous coal, real choice. Now your anthracite coals are your metamorphosed coals out of the eastern U.S. including Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Q: So we don’t have that?

A: We don’t produce anthracite. The Pittsburgh seam runs all the way underneath that whole country over to the Michigan basin. That’s your hard anthracite coal. It goes from coal to coke to Bessemer furnaces.

Q: But this was high grade bituminous in northern Grand County?

A: Yes, now they would add that under certain conditions with the anthracite but they’d also add diesel fuel to it for better burning. Carbon and Emery County coals go to power plants.

Q: I was wondering what it had to do with the clinkers?

A: Clinkers are coal residue. It has to do with the right amount of bone or the rock that you find in coal but this was ideal for them. It was their selected coal and that was their mine there at Sego. The Rio Grande Railroad. This coal business out there, that was their coal. Now our coal there in Sego was a lot lower than the Emery County. The coal seams as we move to the east to Colorado state line, the grade and quantity went down.

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