Title: Interview with Dr. James A. Winchester (April 9, 1979)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006629/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Dr. James A. Winchester (April 9, 1979)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: April 9, 1979
Spatial Coverage: 12099
Palm Beach (Fla.) -- History.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006629
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Palm Beach' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: PBC 4

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Sub: Dr. James A. Winchester

Int: Bernie Ward

Yamato Interview

West Palm BEach 4-9-79

Page -1-

J: J.A. Winchester.

B: And it's doctor?

J: Yes.

B: All right, and you were at the University of Florida, right?

J: Yes. I was on the University of Florida staff. .. twelve-thirteen years.

B: As an agriculture professor?

J: Yes. I'm a nematologist.

B: Excuse me?

J: I'm a nematologist. N-e-m-a-t-o-l-o-g-i-s-t.

J: I'm a specialist in a microscopic roe.i in the soil.

B: -O-r-K You just said that you grew up around Delray and born there.

J: Yes I was born in Delray 1927.
V =c-. U sri nm
B: Uhand you knew George .Mxuyr?

J: Yes.

B: How did that come about? How did yaw...

J: Well he and my fathez-"I've known him all my life. He and my father were..".,1uh1 ,

in business together when I was about five years old in a farming v ture.

AI1 QX-crqa used to buy farm supplies from us in Deerfield.

B: What was your father's name?

J: Uh... -I'm adopted. What -s his name was uh William Dorow. D-o-r-o-w.

B: And what kind of business was that?

PBC 4A -2-

J: hjt was'i, farm supplies.

B: Uh huh.

J: Crates, fertilizer, seeds, feeds.

B: Did 4e/IU \jdia he also deal with pe-9ther people from Yamato at the time? k)ou kj,

J: Oh yes we did. tXIt was only about six or eight miles to Yamato from frbirF ibi ,

our store in Deerfield.

B: Wie- rfe in Deerfield?

J: Yes just.-7 es on the road out to the r&4i- )/'g and just off the railroad


B: Could-could you give me kind of an afress of where it would be now? A location?

J: No.r-I'dhave to look at a map to find it for you and I will before you leave.

B: O-r But you were close to Yamato. Now you're talking about what, the early
i)Ys '.. 1(1^Os
-nineten-thir-t-ies late nineteen-twerrtes?

J: Yeees? Fron^uh^y from the early -thixtes on.

B: What at that time, was Yamato like physically?

J: Well, as I remember-to and it's I was very young then, a_ was just a small group

of houses there not right together but spread out where the Japanese farmers had

sort of congregated.

B: Uh... was that around fifty-firstf;,, street? Do you recall?

J: I don't-T.don't recall. It was in the-it was in the... between Boca Raton and

Delray is all I can remember.

B: Do you remember at that time about how many Japanese families were there, or

individuals? Roughly?

J: No. I really have no idea.

B: Uh, do you remember any names other than Ar,. flCie I I"

PBC 4A -3-

J: Yes,I still have some good friends fromiuh. from there. Uh..... Kobiash. K-o-b-i-a-s-h.

Uh........ he's in the pest control business in Ft. Lauderdale and he's qhapaej-

changed his name. Americanized it since then.

B: Oh-really. Uhyou know there's a family Kebashi down there.

J: Ko..... ( wispers Kobiashi- a few times to himself) That might be the one. And-'a4

there was another one 'omikomi. But I don't know if that's his first or his

last name.

B: I think he died.

J: Mm hmm.

B: He was about the same age as George Maronry.

J: Right.

B: Uh, this one in Ft. Lauderdale, would you be able to get that name for me... some-

time later on? I'm going down there....

J: I think,yes. I couldn't do it today....

B: That'd be all right.

J: But I could at sometimes it for you and he -would be a good one to get together

with because h h e should know the history of it much better than I do. He

grew up in that area.

B: Well Vh, there's another family, the Kam s that I'm going to talk with them.

J: I don't know them.

B: -r.k-. Uh.... do you have any idea what happened to Yamato? Why it|J \yJfaded

out and declined?

J: Yetknow I really hadn't thought much about it but I think-m -e the -econd

World bar must have played an important part because the Japanese were not

popular here. In fact, I think a number of the Japanese were removed from

the area. I know in California they were)and I think some of them were here.

And I think they were so unpopular as a group there that they sort of moved

PBC 4A -4-

J: away.

B: Why? What caused that unpopularity, do you know?

J: Well we were fighting the Japanese.

B: Well before that. Was there any problem before that?

J: Oh, no I don'tI dion' t/think so. They were-teeyj/w pretty active there in

growing. They were good farmers. TheAjma1e a lot of money here farming. And

they invested a lot of it in Japanese bonds3and they had them during the

Second World Var.And I think this is one of the reasons they were unpopular.

B: K- Well actually you as an-- our specialty is agriculture. Whatcan you

tell me about their agricultural activities?

J: Well they grow a lot of thetihe Japanese yiknow oriental vegetables and

and those that are around ,uh)some of them are. 'Uh.;. George Mareeny V1,was..

tihe came over here tol o. raise pineapples. To grow pineapples or work

in a pineapple industry for someone who brought him over. And jl he had a'-A"

sweetheart back in Japan and he signed a three year contract to come here. And

he was go.. -nd at the end of his three years he found out the man didn't have

any money to pay him. So he never was able to bring the girl over here.

B: I see.

J: And he moved out of the county and at twenty-one years old hejtfi' entered the

first grade in a school up around Melbourne and learned to read and write.

B: Mm hmm.

J: And then he moved back down here. But they 'he grew pineapples most of his

life but he also grew toma... \lh he was a big tomato buyer), .? in the late

thtes and early -fotTes.

B: Well at the same time uh that he was doing this work some of the other Japanese

families also involved in the same kind of activities?

PBC 4A -5-

J: Yes, they were all doing about the same type of....

B: They were all doing farming?

J: All farming.

B: .-d you nowf any historical studies of the agricultural conditions

or envir ment in that area. About the time they got here roughly ninte-ten.

Something like that.

J: No. I really hai't.

B: ou,-don-t.-- You couldn't describe to me what it was like i....

J: Oh. Well it was a lot different then. They would Yh...i they were growing...

they were farming in areas where we hadluApalmettos and pine rees. And they

could root out the palmettos all right for farming but the pin trees they would

cut off about oh... oh knee high to waist high and burn th artfthe trunk of

the tree. And there were oh there#e- We had no tractors in those days to speak

of. And all of the f-owing was done with a mule. And they would just simply

plow or make their bed around that tree. So the beds were not long, neat, and

nice like they are today. They were very very crooked.

B: Uh huh. They didn't have to do so much clearing and everything by hand then?

They had the mules or something somelkind of.....

J: Oh yes. We had ,mules and horses for it. There was very little hand grubbing.

B: What-' dt does a muck farmer mean?

J: Well that's farming out in the glades where we have the muck soils. It's a

high organic soil that actually oxidizes. It'-lts a slow burning. They loose

about a tenth of a foot of thisAmuck soil a year due to oxidation.

B: What'swat' s it good for?

J: Oh it's the best farming soil .in the world. It.. we grow uh... a third of a

PBC 4A -6-

J: billion dollars worth of sugar cane a year on it. There were... that's the

winter vegetable garden of the country is the glades area. They grow/ a lot

of celery,j\.,. some cabbage, ih!.'.'. lettuce, it's a big lettuce industry, quite

a lot of carrots. That type of farming. /Winter vegetables though.

B: Were the Japanese doing that kind of farming?

J: No. They were over here on the sandy soils farming tomatoes and peppers The

oriental and Chinea-.;VCapanese vegetables, some citrus, \1 h papayas )h

pineapples, that type of farming. But it was distinctly different. The sand

is quite different from the muck.

B: Was it more difficult to farm in?

J: The muck soil atdthat time wasn't being farmed very much at all because of a

minor element deficiency that they didn't know what it was. And it really

wasn't real good for farming. Now in the early thirties they found out what was

missing in nutrients and now it's one of the best farm soils in the world. But

at that time it really wasn't very good for farming and we didn't have a big

agricultural industry in the glades like wee have today. So the-the sandy soils

were the place for them to be.

B: th, 'ihat happened to the pineapple industry here?

J: Labor. We can grow the best pineapple....... almost the best pineapple in the

world in outh Florida. The climate is perfect for it, the soils are ideal, and

the labor is so expensive that you can't afford to grow it. I would ... we.. my

family was the largest pineapple grower in the country until .... Hawaii became

a state. And we at one time had about two-hundr edand-fifty acres of pineapples

in Bfijn C Beach. We'd grown pineapples since.. from nainteen-twent-y-nine

until oh around ninaten- i fty-.eve' to sixty when we finally stopped growing them.

"But' h the labor for weeding was iUh. .\ GA the big problem. We simply couldn't
But/uh the abo fo weed ng was '

PBC 4A -7-

J: afford it.

B: Well now-m esly the Japanese families as I understand it came here specifically

to-to start pineapple farming.

J: They came here under contract, to farmuht to work on the farms.

B: Right. Well did they own their own pineapple farms or their own land?

J: Oh no. They came here to work for some... I don't who the person was that

broughtaem here but he paid their wages/ their way over here and they were

suppos...| they got just a very meager living allowance... for the first three

years. That was their contract time. At the end of three years they were

supposed to get a nice bonus and then be able to do whatever they wanted. Most

of them didn't get the bonus.They simply had to go on without any money.

B: Do you think that contributeto some of them leaving and going back to Japan

and so on?

J: Oh I. I'm not sure. '. I don't know where they went to but I'm sure they must

have left and congregated where other Japanese were and in any case because

I'm sure most of them came over here broke. They'd left this area broke or

they stayed here and farmed in this area and got very wealthy. Some of them.

B: A few.

J: Yes. And George was a very wealthy person.

B: Well it. Then apparently there was/ame problem with failure to live up with

the contract or the problems o_ A-l -- ?

J: Yes. The man just simply went bankrupt I think and was unable to pay them.

B: Do you know if he was Japanese or f .ri.C1-

J: No. I have no idea of his nationality.

B: I C an you describe a little bit more to me about the difficulty of farming

pineapples and the labor problems involved in it?

PBC 4A -8-

J: Well pineapples are a hand labor crop or were until the early fifties. WP he

pineapples) ( .fc# a pineapple field will be good for harvesting for five or

six years. The ... yoJplant al slip or a sucker. This is tthe vegetative

part of the part of the pineapple plant. \h the top is all right. You plant

that and about eighteen months later you get the first root. And back in

those days when George was working in pineapples and until the early f-ties

we had a harvest season of about three weeks in the summer and two or three
weeks in the winter and that was it. /ou didn't harvest pineapples)then you

didn't get anymore until the next season. So all of this had to be planted

by hand. Yo ent through the field almost on your hands and !eneelisknees with

a little trowel) and you dug a :hole and put the planting material in it, stood

it up, and went on to the next one. And you planted about ten theuandr plants

per acre like ta which is really an awful job.
B: I 4 2 _ P_ _

J: And then you had to start weeding. Every... all the weeding was done by hand.
koe 77J
We had no chemicals for weeding. And*te we used scuffle 1heR for it./ Pineapples

were a very thorny plant so....

B: You used what?

J: Scuffle (laugh). You slide the hoe. Instead of chopping with it you slide it just

beneath the soilssurface and it cuts off all of the weeds. That's s-c-u-f-f-l-e

I guess. It cuts the weeds off just beneath ths;sIrface and they fall over and

they die. But all of this had to be done by hand and youlntqdi'gt were out weeding

and by the time you got across the field it was time to start back and go back

across it again. Weed. it.

B: At the same time then they were probably trying to raise other 4op-vegetable


PBC 4A -9-

J: Oh they were trying to raise vegetable crops too)to supplement their income

during that time. Pineapples were a V.\\d,-fa, valuable crop but you just

couldn't raise enough of them with the amount of hand labor need':toffo get

very wealthy on them.

B: Did the 'h..i. fu Cuban industry have anything to do with this? Do you think

the decline in the pop... ,i pineapple iv 2 -ts ?

J: No I really don't I tdon', think so because we always grew a better vari<'. better

pineapple than Cuba did. And we had a better variety. The principle variety\"\'h

in Cuba is the Red Spanish. Ours was the .... we started out with Red Spanish

and then we had\* McGre/gor and hlwe -e finally shifted to the h ..... Smooth

Cayanne which is one of the biggestin sizev"n of pineapple fruit growing. It's
i : pp,'
the main variety grown invih the ;kEhilai and in Hawaii andIfuh afd, in some

cases in Puerto Rico.

B: How do you spell that Cayanne?

J: C-a-y-a-n-n-e. There about three dif... ther...ask four different pineapple

growers and you could get three different spellings.

B: -OK- Do you know if .what impact hurricanes for instance had on the Japanese

families and t4hetheir efforts?

J: Ywaknow they really didn't e t us very much. I've been through all of the

major hurricanes since iasnatetenaent-y-seven and we never really felt a whole

lot about em. y\". We didn't have a mobile home here thatmthen that we

have now and I think that's the big difference. We never/Vh'-we lost the

roof of our house and all of the furniture. ti. I say we, it was before I was

born. My parents lost theirs in tenty-e-ixr But they didn't consider leaving.

UI don't think it very important /,

B: It wouldn't bh....i 4Ols ti\ti

PBC 4A -10-

J: They had had typhoons in.... in Japan that were as bad or worse than the

hurricanes here.

B: In other words, it wouldn'tjUh destroy crops or young crops so much that they

would be just completely wiped out?

Occasionally the pineapples-well yeah an wouldwxipe out a tomato field and-but t I

you have so many other disasters that go along with agriculture that a hurricane

is just one more disastrous effect that you learn to live with. But the

pineapple plants, the hurricanewashed sand into the tops of 4he newly planted

plants and then you have to go through and pour... wash the sand out or they

won't grow. And we used to have high pressure 4 waterizirysprayers that

we came along and we"washed the hearts of every plant in the fieldan tha *

-means two-hundred-t-housand plants. We'd wash every single plant out after\& h..,\

a hurricane.

B: Mmm gosh. h .f.^w..\.xuh ha other kind of environmental difficulty would
tjfD /5L15
they have encountered like in nineteen-ten when they came here? In nineteen


J: Oneithing that people just don't appreciate is the mosquito control that we

have now compared to then. I can remember growing up in Deerfield Beach. We
lived oh a hnded-endfifty yards from the ocean. No other house between us

and the beach. And I-I've seen it by mid-afternoon where mosquitos were so

bad you wouldn't consider going outside unless you had to. And the sand flies

would come in and they'.d be equally as bad. But they could come through the

screen and the mosquitos were a little larger and couldn't. But we used to

burn smudge pots at night. 'V,'iith-I believe it was sulfur. And put em-put

a big pile of sulfur on the lid of a coffee can and let that slowly burn

all night. It'd smell pretty bad but you really slept a lot better. (laugh)

If you could stand the smell of it.

PBC 4A -11-

B: O.K. Well....

J: It's really-i4t4 eli/ so much nicerthat people can't begin to realize how- /tw

nice it is.

B: Well, somebody like now George 94eoy or any of the others for instance and they

were setting out on their own and they'd have to go out and clear an acre of

land.., to get it ready for pineapples or whatever.

J: Uh huh.

B: What would they have to do? How long would it take to clear an acre of land

by hand?

J: Well they would burn it first. They'd make wind breaks around it some so that

they could burn it. They they'd get the weather just right so the fire wouldn't

escape. But you'd burn it. That would ,uh'...'; uncover most of the palmettos

and it was a little safer to walk through then. Rattlesnakes weren't quite so

bad after you burned it. And we used to have a reai rattlesnake population

down here. In the time that I farmed and we probably killed tse

-hndred rattlesnakes over five feet long on our... in our pineapple field. You'd

reach down to pick a pineapple and there would be a five, five and a half foot

rattlesnake at the base of the plant. We always required the4gCe help to wear

boots. But it was always too hot and I wouldn't. But the rattlesnakes I guess

were the worst thing. But it ', would .... I-fi- would guess that five or

six days you could clear an acre of land. I1'4.ll except for those pine trees,

you/4,'u went around them. But you'dk-you'.d grub out or pull out, cut out the

palmettos. And that was all there was.4 primarily palmettos to get rid of.

B: There were just no way to root out pine trees then?

J: No. They have a big tap root and a great big root that goes in all directions.

PBC 4A -12-

J: You just cut it off and leave it to rot and ten or fifteen .later it's rotted

down. farming was a very hard life here. But most--I guess most of the people

came here to farm.

B: 'hey probably didn't realize the kind of environmental difficulties they'd run

J: Oh I don't think they did. I don't anyRDSng place in the country had palmettos,

for example, like qurs. Get a..... farming in oh Indiana or all the way across

the cornbelt *weth you don't run into anything like that.-------

J: What's the problem... what's the problem of the palmetto?

B: It just has a very-it just grows so dense and it's .uHit s thorny all along the

stems, here's just an awful lot of rattlesnakes in them, 'h and you-and the h'A"-

they keep spreading so they cover all of your land. You have to,-rygj't,^e uit

get rid of most of them in order to farm a piece of land.

B: Then you have to keep fighting them to-from coming back.

J: No. No once you've got em out you're all right. They don't come back as a

weed. They're extremely slow. Oh it might be one in ten or fifteen years.

Be very... they don't come back in from seeds at all. If you get em out

they're not gonna be back.

B: Now, wheny6ou were growing around Yamato and everything, was the railroad station

still there?

J: I don't know about the one in Yamato. f don't I don't remember whether

it was or not.

B: Did you have much interaction with any Japanese more or less your own age?

J: This boy i=nt. Lauderdale was the only one. He and I were in oy Scouts together i-

in Boca Raton. When I-it must have-been about na etivt'-oh I was twelve.....

PBC 4A -13-

J: Xhirty-niTme thirty-eight or t-h4ty=-rie. But he was,uh-he wa 9 the only one that

I knew.

B: You didn't go to school with any other other than him?

J: No. They went to the Delray schools and I lived in Deerfield. I went to the

school in Deerfield and then went to ,.. uh Pompano... to junior uk-Wnioibl

high and high school.

B: So you were a little further south.

J: I was just five or six miles south of them and that was the dividing line. They

went\o>.., they'went into Palm Beach County schools and I went into the Broward

County schools.

B: So you. That wasn't at the time when that was all still Dade County then, right?

J: Oh no.

B: That was quite a bit after that.

J: See that was..... I don't remember when Dade County was..... reduced in size but

it was well after that.

B: Didlyou have the feeling that the Japanese people more or less stuck-stayed

together and didn't get out and socialize with the others very much?

J: hey ere... ell they were pretty clannish and they didn't learn English

very well. George was hard to understand. lhhh l ou had to.... yo had

\o pay close attention to him.... to understand him and a .lot of the others

were too. Now the children that grew up here,uhI the one I knew particularly,

and I'm sure the others too learned English well. But their parents.uh.... well

some of their parents still speak Japanese and very little English.
A + ,,r
B: Do-db you have a feeling that nei-they were trying to retain Japanese

culture and identification?

PBC 4A -14-

J: I think they were. The Cubans do the same thing. They speak h Spanish in

their homes and in schoolsthey speak English but ... the parents really aren't

making too much of an effort to learn English. And I think it was the same

with the Japanese. They wanted to keep their heritage.

B: h did youuh;id you ever go to 4-4a and just.... mess around?

J: No there weren't uh........... It wasn't as easy to getaround then as it is

now. .hey didn't really get around and drive around as much as we do now.

And where I'll drive a couple of hundred miles in a day, we didn't drive that
We f(
much in a month. And.... there was nothing to go l, f,.'l' far. Where where ver

we went usually was on business for some reason or another or shopping and

Yamato had nothing to offer. It was just a very small Japanese community with

uh.... that we just never considered going to.

B: But that... was it the houses that...\ closer. Were they closer together?

The proximity and ... 4 were they ?

J: As I remember 4Aem, most of Vm were rather spread out. \*ht\. ore toward the

uh... sometimes on the edge of the farms that the-where the farmers were

farming on.

B: They didn't actually live on the farms then, is S that right?

J: Some did and some and som'e lived more on land in ae... in-ini a, small community.

I never really considered it another town. Uh.'..'*'. ftI don't have.... my recollection

of Yamato because we went there so seldom. It is very slight.

g: Uh huh. Well I don't think there was very much to begin with.

J: That's.-tha:t's what I'm wondering. I-I -fust can't-just can't remember anything

uh about the community really to speak of.
mc, rri'tw Mt'ka,"j
B: Well later on, when your-father was working with 'Ur Moeemy, did-MXoecmy talk

about Yamato or about the other Japanese ort. 7

PBC 4A -15-

J: No, he really didn't. Lf6l.. 1e talked more about Japan... and the one thing

he wanted to do think until the day he died and I offered to take him back

several times, he wanted to go back to Japan. I think he really would of been

happy to die there. But his life long goal was to go back to Japan. And yet

he had-well he was worth several million dollars lIsure. And yet he just

wouldn't go.

B: bid^ y,. )id he feel like he was stuck here?

J: By the time I..... I lost touc with George for I guess twenty years. And

when I got tot..14see him again in the late-f4aes and from then on he was

getting old enough that he really didn't feel.., he was a very shy person and

he just didn't feel that he could make that trip back to Japan by himself.

I-t] think he felt that he was stuck for that reason. NotJ'ot because of

dollars but because of... just lack of enough knowledge to go back by himself.

He was a smart man but... he didn't know.

B: Uhtp until World War II, do you feel like there was cordial relationships with

the Japanese and other neighbors and people in e ;,ren ?

J: Oh yes they were some of our wealthier neighbors. \;%Because they were

rather frugal. They got their dollars worth and they saved their money... and

they made good money in their '; "iD farming. And4.ia they were well S1, respected.

I know my parents hadi''.-, tiuh friends there. Mother and Dad came here in 19.15

and I knowAthat they knew the)Japanese from that point on and-and I m-I've never

heard them say anything bad about them.

B: Now that was a period as I understand it when Yamato was pretty much at a

peak as far as population and prosperity and so on was concernedas far as

a group and then by the t-wemies it started to kind of disperse.

J: I think that's right and my mother and dad wedere at that time and by the

time I-4- came along and was old enough to notice things I think it had pretty

PBC 4A -16-

J: well run down.

B: Then again you think thatti.' ,' hat a lot of the decline was just labor problems

and agricultural problems?

J: NNo...-..... No IrI think that that original group of Japanese was getting
\J XI j< IK i I !
old enough... and this couple with the -econd world tear, I really think that

that was the reason for it. The-the decline of the pineapples, there was

no doubt about it, it was ninty-nine per cent labor.

B: Uh huh.

J; But the rest of the agriculture, they're still good farmers. h .\i.-Some of

them made money and went north and went into the \Ahvegetable import or

shipping broker-%Ycegetable brokerbusiness in the northern end. Buying

vegetables from down here from people that farm-grew them. [hd they left here

for different reasons. For that reason they got into other Japanese communities

around. I'm sure their lack of popularity because of the Second \r1d tr was

another reason. I don't believe it was too much the labor. I think

that they were just able to ... make money as well or better than their neighbors

did and were able to if they wanted to go north andiad get into f occu... u'

invest their money in businesses up there where 'he'i they could live a little

easier than down here.

B: Do you feel like that most of them had a...i.:';.- I don't want to say necessarily

better but a stronger agricultural background than some of the Americans who

were moving in here at the same time...to do the same sort of thing?

J: ILt wouldn't say better eithe5 but I'd say that they would work harder.

B: They'd better prepared?

J: They were better pre... they. wer..'., they were just able to make themselves get
A\ '

PBC 4A -17-

J: out there and work daylight til' dark and then a little bit extra for themselves

to-'6 get ahead.

B.. Despite the mosquitos and rattlesnakes and everything.

J: Right. It think that was it. I remember...\ ohwwhat two years before George

died....: that he was still growing pineapples. He wasn't doing a very good

job of it but he would get out and plant those pineapples just like I just told

y8aand he couldn't bend over anymore so he'd sit down at one end of the-a bed
of pineapples it might be two-hundked--and-iftry feet long, and he'd scoot along.

And he'd weed as he went. He'd scoot a little bit further and weedthose. And

he'd keep all of his weeding done but he wouldn't stand up til after that bed.

It'd be just scooting along 0' sitting down. Very quiet. I wouldn't do it

today and he was.., thirty years older than I am now anyway. It was... to me

it was amazing that he was able to make himself do what he did when there was

no reason in the world for doing it.

B: So they... Most of them had that kind of a reputation at the time when they

were all here then they'd go out work _-rt_ ?

J: Oh yes, yes. They had a--.they 'hadS. very good reputation for work...\, and when

I knew them they weren6 t working for other people. They were... they had ...

made enough progress to move on from that h) contract work that they came over

here to do to owning their own place. George had I guess)eight or ten farms

around here at one time. He/had lost a lot of his money after the second \#rld

ar in a couple of p But/he was wealthier inIln land holdings 'uhj

twenty-five years ago than he was when he died.

B: Well, this time in the late ty.nties and early Ftifes, ata't 'hh what was the

average size of their farms?

PBC 4A -18-

J: Oh twenty or thirty or forty acres was a pretty good size farm in those days

because all yathad was mules and horses to do the cultivating.

B: You could make a pretty good living on a farm that size?

J: Yeah. Forty acres and a mule, not bad at all.

B: And again, there were..... vegetables?

J: Yeah, all\vegetables: \Uh eggplants, tomatoes, peppers. We grew an awful lot

of peppers here in those days.

B: Did they do any fishing? Commercial fishing?

J: Oh yes. Mullet out in the ocean, some deep sea fishing'\h... well we had

a pretty big fishing industry.

B: I mean the Japanese. Did they get involved 1'\ 4 in any way?

J: I sort of doubt that they did. Ifthey did it wasn't the type of fishing that

they'd done back in Japan.

/L kn .... You don't have anyknowledge about howi '.;.., h6w the MdA,) A4

Company and the railroad treated them .4C ... ?

J: No I really don't.

B: And iumgration?

J: No.

B: Ya-know thereE .. Apparently-there was a kind of a trend at the time to bring

in different i.. i.. s not just the Japanese to settle-


J: I really... 7eah. I really don't know how they were treated by.'&L.. I could

make some guesses. (laugh) That's all they'd be. I ....

B: Yeah. Well.....

J: I.... lou couldn't do it today. (laugh)

B: I'm sure... (laugh)... Uh.. ...... were+-' e you aware of any of their religious

customs? Do they have a religious life at all?

PBC 4A -19-

J: Not at all, no. I don't know if they did or not. I was not aware of any

and I don't remember ever seeing any,\.. any religious \ihbuildingsJ Churches,

or shrines or anything else here.

B: -Q-4 well uh basically it was a pretty tough place to make a living when they

first came here then, right?

J: It was. They made it... hey helped to make it a better place but it was real

rough when they got here.

B: Do you feel like they helped to break ground for a lot of people who came late?

J: Yeah, I think they did. I think they.i.\they taught us a lot of things about
Ph" 0, I"ctes
agriculture. I was ..... I had aPfD in agriculture and I still learning a lot

of things from George when when he died.

B: For instance, what would they have taught?

J: Well George was.t4-at niry years old or whatever he was, eighty-nine, he was

still subscribing to the 'jourhal.,. agriculturaljournald from Japan. They were

all in Japanese but I'd go-b em and\re-he'd read me articles out of em and

trh'translate them for me. His translating was very slow but he-kcpfup with

the latest things going on in Japan even H.'.'.. shortly before he died. And

he had been trained well in agriculture, you could tell that. His ideas on

how to'ow Lto plant andli-nd why and depths and certain techniques were e

real good.

B: Do you think this was something that was transplanted from Japan or.... ?

J: Oh Ithink so. I think that he had been trained real well over there, not in

a college, but I think it was almost an inherited thing. It was just something

that they had to learn while they were growing up.

B: Mm hmm. *fK; now I'll tell yea... Is there anything that stands out in your

mind now about Yamato? What's your favorite memory or your strongest memory in


PBC 4A -20-

J: I-t don't really have any. Justijust a couple of the friends that I had then,

I'm trying real hard to think of that one particular boys name..... for you. (pause)

B: The one in Ft. Lauderdale?

J: Yes. I' t a Ft. Lauderdale directory for ye4in a minute.

B: O.K.

J: I'll see if I can find it.

B: O.K.

(flip tape ) (side 2 is blank)

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