Browsing Items (12 total)

Interview with J.F. Parker

J.F. Parker talks about his experience as a teacher with the mountain people living in Old Fort. Although he had never finished high school, he got a job as a teacher. He said: "He was going to send me on to teach school whether I knew anything or not." He talks about the hardships living up there, how school attendance was often very low and the kids brought snakes to the schoolhouse. He says the mountain people were a different breed of folk and they understood that "it takes a certain amount of failure in life to make a person what they should be." They were hardened, but strong and firm.

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Interview with Perry Hicks  [Feburary  9, 1976]

Perry Hicks talks about working in a cotton mill in western North Carolina in the early twentieth century. He was born in 1899 and began working at a young age because he dropped out of the six-month school he was attending. He explains the influence the unions had: "naturally, I have, all my life, been opposed to the unions." He says that the unions caused inflation, so the poor people didn't come out ahead anyway. He eventually left the cotton mill because he couldn't support his family.

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Interview with Dewey E. Helms  [January 10, 1976]

Dewey Helms, born in 1903, talks about working in McDowell County, North Carolina, in the early twentieth century. He came from a family of farmers and carpenters, and when he was old enough he began working in the furniture factory for eleven cents an hour between school terms. In 1923 he began working at the mill because the pay was better. He said the only other job you could get besides furniture and mill was the railroad, which didn't pay very well either. He eventually began weaving and repairing looms as a career.

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Interview with Mrs. & Mr. Allen Townsend   [September 25, 1975]

Mr. and Mrs. Townsend talk about the Depression and how it affected their families. He explains: "It was just everything, you know, seemed different and a shortage of everything." Farmers were the ones who fared the best, because they didn't have to buy in order to support themselves. His family worked on a farm during the Depression, but they didn't own the farm. Most people in Ashe County, because they "lived so far back from everybody else" didn't know much about the political situation, or why the Depression was happening. He remembers that when Roosevelt things changed, and schools started to be built in his area. His father was assigned to a work program and had to walk eight miles a day to get to work.

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Interview with Phil Templeton  [November 12, 1975]

Phil Templeton, a real estate developer, talks about the development happening in High Country over his lifetime. He attributes the development to the growth of the university, the skiing industry, and tourism in general. He is a proponent of the development, even if it means the loss of traditional mountain culture, because it provides a higher standard of living for people. He says: "Utopia would be that everything would remain in its natural state and everyone could enjoy it, but that's not how it works."

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Interview with Elizabeth Dotterer [July 17, 1975]

Elizabeth Dotterer talks about growing up in Hot Springs, North Carolina, where many tourists would come and stay over the summer. She explains: "It was the type of tourism we no longer have. You spent the entire summer." After the outbreak of WWII the nature of tourism changed. Dotterer reflects fondly on working at the hotels and spending time with the summer tourists. She explains that the opening of the I-40 highways had a big impact on tourism as well.

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Lee Greene was born in Watauga County, North Carolina in 1904 and farmed all his life. Mrs. Greene was born in Meat Camp, North Carolina.

Mr. and Mrs. Greene talk about their education in a one-room schoolhouse. Mr. Greene talks about farming and the changes he has seen in the community, specifically in politics. Mrs. Greene explains how to make soap and homemade remedies. Both recall their methods of transportation as children and the transition of using cars. Mr. and Mrs. Greene also recollect memories of the Great Depression.

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James Edwards was born in Bladwin, North Carolina in 1890 where he grew up on a farm. His occupations included painting and carpentry. Mr. Edwards built his own house in 1912 in West Jefferson.

Mr. Edwards spends a large portion of the interview talking about growing up on the farm. He also talks about cooking and producing food such as molasses and drying fruits. Mr. Edwards also talks briefly about his mother's cooking and recalls some memories from holidays as a child such as Easter and Christmas. He recollects childhood memories of courting, school, church, the Great Depression, and fun activities children did at his age. He also briefly mentions helping with work projects during the Great Depression.

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Sam Jones was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina around the early 1900s on a farm where he grew up. He worked at a sawmill.

Mr. Jones starts the interview talking about growing up on a farm. At this point his wife joins the interview, and they begin talking about berry-picking and produce. Mr. Jones also talks about working at the sawmill and the importance of the railroads in transportation. They both talk about their experiences with the Great Depression including topics of picking herbs, working, and church. Mr. and Mrs. Jones discuss the lack of doctors in the past and different home remedies they used. To end the conversation, the two recall the first time they saw a car and airplane.

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N.D. Shull was born in Shull's Mills, North Carolina and worked as an engineer throughout his life. Mr. Shull and his wife were appointed Kentucky Colonels through the Kentucky governor.

Mr. Shull describes his childhood including topics such as church, politics, and transportation, specifically cars and the railroad. Mr. Shull lived in Tennessee with his parents during the Great Depression, and describes what that was like. He also explains the background of Shull's Mill.

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Interview with Edward Blackburn, March 2, 1973

Edward Eugene Blackburn was born on August 29, 1893 to Alex (b. 1852 – d. June 1, 1926) and Rhoda Howell Blackburn (b. February 12, 1856 – d. December 6, 1934). He was married to Ollie Clawson Blackburn (b. July 29, 1893 – d. June 1985). He grew up in the Todd community of Ashe County and served in the U.S. Army during the First World War with the 318th Field Hospital of the 80th Division. He experienced combat in France, which is briefly mentioned in the interview.

Many affectionately knew him as “Brother Ed” or “Uncle .” The Reverend Ed Blackburn and his wife took over the leadership of The Tabernacle, a non-­‐denominational Holiness church across the hill from his childhood home. This church later became the Blackburn Community Church, was originally started by his father around 1910. His uncle was U.S. Congressman Edmond Spencer Blackburn (b. September 22, 1868 – d. July 21, 1912) who served in 1901-03 and 1905-­07.

During the interview Ed Blackburn talks about growing up in rural Ashe County. Topics include explaining the rules to a game called “dare base,” and his experience working at a grist meal and laying railroad track as a young man. He also discusses the railroad in Todd, timber stripping, religion, and family.

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James Oliver Shell was born on January 26, 1891 in Shell Creek, Tennessee where his grandfather owned a farm and worked as a carpenter. His father died when he was two months old, so his mother reared the children living with her father. Mr. Shell had one sister, a half-­‐sister, and four half-­‐brothers. As a young man James O. Shell moved to the Heaton community of Avery County North Carolina and was a farmer and served as the postmaster in Heaton from 1914 to about 1953. He died on July 4, 1980 at the age of 88.

During the interview James O. Shell reflects on working his farm, local politics, and playing baseball as a youth. He discusses log rollings, corn shuckings, and the how neighbors helped each out. Some other topics he discusses are Tweetsie Railroad, homemade coffins, local cemeteries and playing baseball.

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