A special kind of moocher . . .
Grandpa Bradford, Archibald the First, was seen almost daily at the old AS&R (American Smelter & Refinery) and though not employed there, he had a one-room office (desk?) and the only key to it, was his..
He was good-naturedly called a Moocher, and in today’s lingo, a moocher is one who makes his wages off the work done by others. And that, in a way, was exactly what Gramp’s job entailed. So, on the surface, Gramps was a Moocher.
Actually, however, he was employed by the New York office of AS&R and here’s how it worked.
Every day AS&R took samples of the ore Smelted that day, and had those samples assayed, to reveal how much Lead, Silver, Copper, Gold, etc. was in the ore that day. Some metals were more valuable than others, and so the percentage of each throughout the whole, would determine the monetary worth of that day’s smelting.
I make myself unclear, but dealing with such large sums of money, AS&R trusted no one, and so the out-of-State AS&R office, arranged to have another person, not connected with the Smelter in any way, to also get samples of each day’s work, have them assayed, and then send his, the second report, to them. In that manner, the N.Y office could double-check every day’s report and quickly spot and check any large difference.
Here in Murray, Utah, that man was Archibald Bradford. At that time, Gramps was a busy man in Murray, and AS&R was cagey. They needed some well known person, one not apt to be open to bribery, not having to rely upon the AS&R check for his ‘daily bread’, intelligent and with a good reputation. I understand they looked around; and, when asked, Grandpa said, “Why not? ”
In other words they needed a man who was trustworthy and actually did not need their small payment to survive. and yet was willing to spend a few hours each week getting their necessary job done.
Gramps took ore samples each day from the Smelter, had them assayed by an independent, but reputable Assayer, and then, sent that report. on to the main Smelter office, and just like that, AS&R had two separate assay reports of each day’s work at AS&R.
Murray was not a large town at that time, and our Grandpa and the Smelter men all knew each other and so, good naturedly they started calling him a Moocher, and it soon became used throughout all parts of the Smelter. What his actual title was I have no idea, probably had none, but the Moocher one held. He had a small locked space at the Smelter and was free to come and go as he chose.
The work on that report could not legally be done in the Smelter buildings, and so Gramps had it done at the Bradford home, and of all people, it was Gram, Rachel Crozier Bradford, who typed up those reports on their ancient Remington typewriter.
One of my first memories of being in that old home, was on a Sunday evening and seeing Gram, on the east side of the dining room table, poking determinedly away with her two ‘pointer’ fingers on that tiny typewriter. She had the air of “Don’t even talk to me, I’m doing important work. Come back later when I’m finished.”
Today that typewriter would be a collector’s dream, but who knew? I suppose that in time it was tossed into the garbage, but I still can see that table, cleared of all usual stuff, and Gram there very seriously typing away.
Gramps then ‘proof read’ the finished product before it was signed, sealed and mailed to the N.Y.C, office. It became an expected routine, for me, to see Gram busy at her job of typing the Assay Report each Sunday evening after the dinner hour was over. She was serious as ‘all get out’, too. This was Smelter business.
So, our Gramps was a Moocher. He grinned and oft times used the title himself. Must have taken a bit of ribbing about his ‘job’, but he liked it, as well as the teasing, and kept on Mooching for a long, long time. Fun, isn’t it??? Gramps, of all people, a Moocher.