Grandpa Was A Moocher

Grandpa Bradford, Archibald the First, was seen almost daily at the old AS&R Plant (American Smelter & Refinery) and though not employed by the Murray Smelter, he had a one-room-office, desk, and phone there, 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’s exactly what Gramp’s did. He was Moocher.

Actually, he was employed by the New York offices of AS&R and roughly, this is how it worked.

Every day AS&R took samples of the ore Smelted that day, had them assayed, to reveal how much Lead, Silver, Copper, Gold, etc. was processed that day, and the results sent to the N.Y. offices. Obviously some metals were more valuable than others, and so the percentage of each metal, in the ore processed each day, would help 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 main out-of-State AS&R office, in New York, arranged to have another person, not connected with the local Smelter in any way, to independently get samples of each day’s work, have them assayed by an entirely different, but independent assayer, and then, again entirely separately, send those reports to them.

In that manner, the double reports helped keep both sides honest, for the New York office would be able to double-check every day’s reports, and so able to quickly spot any large differences.

Here in Murray, Utah, that man was Archibald Bradford. At that time, Gramps was a busy, well-known Murray man, and those at AS&R’s main office were cagey. They needed someone willing to spend a few hours each week getting their job done, but also, intelligent, good reputation, and  not apt to be open to bribery. I understand they looked around, and Grandpa, when asked, said, “Why not? ”

So, each day the Smelter was open, Gramps took samples of the ore smelted at the Murray Plant,  had his  samples assayed by a different, reputable Assayer, and then,  sent  his  report on to the main New York  AS&R Office.  In that way,  the N.Y.office had two entirely  separate reports of the ore smelted each day at their Murray Plant for comparison.

Murray was not a large town at that time and so our Gramps and the Smelter men all knew each other and so, good naturedly, the men began calling him a Moocher, and he grinned and liked it. What his actual title was I have no idea, and probably he didn’t even have one, but the name, Moocher, held and was used throughout all parts of the Smelter. He had a small private, locked room there and was free to come and go as he chose.

The work on that report could and would not be accepted by the NYC office if it had been prepared in the Smelter buildings, and so Gramps finalized his reports at the Bradford home, and of all people, it was Gram, Rachel Crozier Bradford, who filled in the blanks on those report forms, and used the Bradford’s 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 definite 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? Obviously, in time it was replaced and tossed into the garbage. But I still can see that table, the dining-cloth pushed aside, and Gram seriously typing away.

Gramps then, ‘proof read’ the finished product before he signed, sealed and sent  it in the mail. For me, it became an expected routine 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.

And then, Sunday evening, her son, who became my husband, and I took the AS&R report to the S, L. Post Office to get it in an early mailing. There was no Air Mail then and Mr. Bradford, (and AS&R) wanted that report delivered quickly, and so it went out Sunday night, and was processed in the Post Office Box Car  of the Union Pacific RR,   Such Post Offices were then to be found on all main line Rail Systems.

So, our Gramps was a Moocher. He grinned and oft times used the title when describing himself. I think he took a lot of ribbing about his ‘job’, but he liked it, the men, their teasing, and kept on Mooching for a long, long time. Fun, isn’t it???   Gramps, of all people, a Moocher.

2 thoughts on “Grandpa Was A Moocher

    • Hi to you two Fairbank people. Seemed to me that you took some kind of a vacation last week. If so, hope Thanksgiving was a good time to trave/ ethel

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