This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.
This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
LUM-9A Transcribed: 05-30-75
August 14, 1972-10 Johnson
INTERVIEWER: Imu Barton
INTERVIEWEE: James E. Chavis
B: ...tape gix, side one, of the Lumbee Indian segment of the Doris Duke Founda-
tion Oral History Program. I am Le Barton and this date is August 14, 1972.
I am recording here in my home in Pembroke, North Carolina, and I am inter-
viewing Mr. Jim Chavis. I want to ask you, Mr. Chavis--is that your full name?
C: No, that's just a name that they use instead of using my full name. My full
name is James Ellsworth Chavis.
B: James Ellsworth Chavis. And how old are you, sir?
C: I was seventy-seven last...today, it was a week ago.
B: Oh, that's great. And you are the son of...
C: Reverend -.R. Chavis. That is, Dudley R. Chavis.
B: Right. Everybody knows him as a great religious leader in the country, and
your mother's name?
C: Agnes... c/e before she married. She was a / / CI,.r .r
B: And how old was your father when he passed away?
C: He was ninety-nine on the 3rd of July, and he died in October, the following.
B: This past...and how about your mother, how long has she been passed away?
C: She's been dead about nine years, I believe it is, and she was 89 when she
B: Now, was your father a native of besen County?
C: Yeah, he was born and raised...well, the truth about it, he was born and raised
right here in Pembroke, or I'd say about two miles of Pembroke. His father
owned a home out there and they bought land, you see, and they had their own
B: So, he was a well-known Christian leader in the community. I don't know any
man who was loved more than your father. And your mother, too, of course.
B: How long...how many years, would you say, your father served the ministry?
C: He ministered something over seventy years.
B: He was seventy years in the ministry of the...was that the Baptist Church?
C: Baptist. Burnt Swamn Baptist Association...
B: I see.
C: ...he was affiliated with.
B: Now how big is this Burnt Swamp Baptist Association, Brother Chavis?
C: I believe the last church came in this past year, and makes us forty-five
churches in that Association.
B: Forty-five missionary Baptist churches?
B: And all these churches are Lumbee Indian churches?
C: Yeah, all of them are Lumbee Indian churches.
B: Then that makes this, the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association the largest organi-
zation among the Indians, then, would you say?
C: That's right.
B: You don't happen to know the number of members, well, you say forty-five churches...
C: Yeah, well they...it's somewhere around...I've forgot now. I'd be afraid to
say, afraid I'd be wrong.
B: Well, that's alright.
C: It's in the thousands.
B: Well, let's get back to your mother, now. How old was she when she died?
B: Eighty-nine. And I understand she gave her life in service, too, to the com-
C: Yes, she was a mid-wife. She was a mid-wife for about thirty...thirty years.
B: Did she serve her own people only, or was she willing to go to other--to whites
B: and to blacks, as well?
C: Well, she serve all three races.
C: She didn't just confine it to the Indians only: she went to whites and the
B: Do you have any idea how many children she delivered into the world?
C: I believe it was 2200, last count we had of it, but our records got lost some-
how or another, and we lost that recordsef--i-.
B: Well, she certainly...I know she delivered a lot of babies and of course that
was back in the day when doctors were not available, and we've never had but
two doctors among our people, have we? I mean...no, I'm sorry. I mean two
among our people who served us here in Ro County.
C: Yeah, that's right.
B: What was...do you remember the name of the first doctor?
C: Doctor G....G.W. LockleP I believe it was, or G.D. Lockler- ...I
know it was Governor LockleP that was his name. His first part of his
name was Governor, and he was a Lockler .He got his training down
B: That was along about 1895 /or 1890-something, wasn't it?
C: Yeah, it was in the 1890's, that he got his training.
B: Now, who was he, Brother Chavis?
C: I forgot his father's name.
B: That wouldn't be Mr. Preston Lockler, would it?
C: Yeah, Preston Lockler--one of Preston's boys. You know he had 2/lr/iv
and /-Gpc _, and...
B: He had them...
C: ...he had a crowd of them.
B: Yes, sir, he had...
C: cirr__( and Gaston, and all those...and Harley...all those were, his
B: Do you remember him at all?
C: Yeah, I remember seeing him when I was a boy. You had a school closing at
B: Of-eeer-e, you're talking about Pembroke State...
C: Well, of course, you know what it was ust a building, that's all, and it
was the only place we could gore school, and that was the big day. That was
the only big day that we had... '. .
B: School closing day.
C: ...school closing day.
B: Was that when it was probably called the Indian Normal School, at that time,
C: It was called the Powhatan Normal School.
C: It's real...it was set aside by the state for training Indians.
C: Now, I've got...I've got some records of 1906, the enrollment of 1906, and the
qualifications you'd have to be when you'd go to school, and the Board of Trus-
tees, and all those things, you know, like that about the Normal School. It
was first called Pewh-tan Normal, and it just, well, it continued that until
they moved down here, and then they'd got changing the names backwards and
B: Do you remember'en old l'ai was built on Pembroke State University?
C: Yeah, I remember it very much.
B: This was the building about which we've had the national controversy going,
B: and in this case, the Indians won.
C: Yeah. You know, it's funny...it's funny that we have people who, they say to
me it's just another old building. Well, I know it's just another old building
to them, because he hadn't put anything in it. He didn't know what it took
to build it. He don't know the background of where it, ho/ome it was built.
The bottom of the whole thing, he don't know anything about it. And 4e4-me
t-le4-you--it is an old building, and if I was to be like him--he or she--if I
was to be like them, I'd, I might feel the same way.. But to me, it's e- /d
// /// e' to me. Because now I know when they didn't have a
library. Well, now, when the first library that went to the /ps from
the old building, wsnought but a few books that didn't even need a room.
We just had them in a bookcase.
B: There were so few.
C: So few books, and then we had suppers, and various things, and bought
books and bought books and bought books and first thing you know, in '22, we
had enough of books that we /A: a library. And the library, you had to pay
so much to read the books in the library. Well, the library got paid from that.
The state nor the county didn't furnish any money.
B: Now, would you say that the Indians furnished a lot of money toward the college
and toward the school system down through the years?
C: Down through the years we had to pay our own way, just about it. Very, very
little...well, for the truth about it, when I was a boy we had to...one would
take an acre of cotton, another an acre of cotton, another an acre of cotton,
another an acre of cotton, and all those acres together, we'd combine them
together, and have that cotton COg and we'd have a bale of cotton.
Then if you...if you'd planted an acre of cotton your children could go
to school, ever how many there were, and if you didn't w your children
C: couldn't go to school. Now that's where we started off, when I was a boy, and
of course, they had been doing that for years and years, before my time, you
know. But we didn't have but two months...
B: Brother, we're being interrupted by a passing train. While we're on that,
would you mind telling us which two tracks run through Pembroke.
C; Well, the Seaboard, it was the first oneo come through, and when I was a
little boy, this what they call the Wilson short-cut. The Coastline Rail-
road went down the seacoast, down that way, but they decided to cut across
hzerae You see, that, it was such a J'/ ': line to Wilmington, and then
back up to Florence, and they put this Wilson shortcut through here. When I
was a little boy)those trains would come here and load up with cord wood, these
old wood-burners, that was the kind of engines that they had, and they didn't
have any depot, just a little-place for a man to stand as a flagman there at
the crossing,and N.A. McKinnis was the first flagman that they had there. He
had been in a wreck, you know, railroad wreck, and got burnt. That's howcome
him to get the job, and he stayed there and watched, and that was long before
he was married. Of course, I've lived, 41/sW anditwd from that...
from the time that was just after that railroad went through.
B: You're talking about the S.C.L. or...
C: The A.C.L.
C: The A.C.L.
B: And those two cross each other, they...
C: Right here in...
B: ...cross right in town.
B: And one of themis a double-track. Whichone is that?
C: That's the A.C.L., the Atlantic Coast Line.
B: Well, we had the sound effects, whether we wanted them or not, so that turned
my mind to the railroads, because I understand it was the railroads that caused
the zeefzfidtemn or Scuffletown to come to Pembroke. Is that
C: Yeah, that's right. Scuffletown used to be scattered all over.
Anywhere where the wagons, the whiskey wagons stopped, they'd get there and
scuffle all night, just drink liquor and have a good time all night.
B: Well, that's certainly one explanation.
C: No, I'm not talking about just, through my hat. I happen to know that's a
fact. It's just one of the facts of life. But they quit putting those wagons
through here. I---was--usttoo many of them getting in trouble.
B: Well, the theory has been advanced that it was named for Scovilletown in Eng-
land, but obviously your explanation is just as valid as any...
C: Yeah, well that is the truth. That's the reason why they call it Scuffletown,
because people get around there just all night long and maybe a part of a week.
When you run out of money, then, why, you'd go home.
B: These whiskey wagons would come right through the community, right through the
country, just like the old peddlers?
C: That's right.
B: They'd peddle whiskey.
C: Peddle nothing but whiskey...
B: This was bonded whiskey, wasn't it?
C: Yeah, it was... they had...they had a certificate or a right to sell, you know,
to go to these places and all, got a county permit and a state permit and then
they cou2 go all over, wherever they wanted to.
B: Would they stay a little while and then move on?
B: Would there be a lot of celebrating when those wagons came?
C: When the wagon come everybody had saved their money upand we'd all get drunk
together. The Christians and all of them; they all got drunk, everybody got
B: Uh...go ahead...
C: ...that's what's funny to me now. This day and time, you know, it's a sin to
take a drink of liquor. When my grand-daddy had his jug, he'd sit in the cor-
ner there, next to the table.
B: And what was his name?
C: Preston Chavis.
B: Preston Chavis.
C: He'd get...and that werd always o I me-when I was a boy, when I'd
be there, you know, whea--wae-at breakfast, or something like that, and he'd
take that little glass,-and-keLd take that jug, and each one got his little
bit. Then he'd get down on his knees, pray, say his prayers and all, then
come, go to the breakfast table, then say grace and they'd all eat them. Well,
I couldn't understand that, you know; I figured he was getting drunk.
B: Did your religion forbid you to do that, Brother Chavis?
C: Oh yeah, I don't feel like that I ought to fool with it.kecause it's pne of
those things that cause you to, if you got it in you, if you've not got it in
you--I mean that devil--if he's not in there, he can't bring it out, but if
there's any devil down there and you put liquor in him, it'll sure bring him
B: Especially when-youi-e an Indian /i C'r6'' '-"/
C: Yeah, you'll sure bring him out.
B: Oh my. Well then, you've livethrough the dry period and through the wet per-
C: Yeah, I've been through...I've been through far enough back. I know when I was
a boy my mother let me go with Aunt Lula to pay my grand-daddy's taxes at
Lumberton. It took us all day to go there and back, and before we left that
morning, rand-daddy Preston said, "Lula, if you're going to carry that child
with you now, whenever you go down the street, when you go and fasten old
Maw," that was the horse, you know, the old mare that we was driving, "when
you fasten old Maw, you start to go to the courthouse to pay my taxes, now if
you see a white child or a white womanor a white man coming on the street,
you get off andAlet them pass, then you can get back on the sidewalk." Now
I know that happened because I was in it.
B: And your parents would teach you to do...
C: Teach you to do that, keep from /\. trouble with the white people.
B: Well, was there a lot of trouble with the white people in those days?
C: Yeah, we had a lot of trouble with the white men then, but at long last...
well, we had trouble with them all through the whole long. It's not been
too many years before...since the white man got to the place where he con-
sidered you as an individual.
B: As a human being?
C: As just as a human being. Now, I grew up...I grew up in an environment where...
say your daughter was a nice-looking girl, and a white man come by here, and
most times, that's the way you collect the taxes--go to people's houses, you
B: Collect from door to door.
C: From door to door. And he'd see that gal, and he liked her. And then, "Whose
gal is that?" "It's mine." "You got a fine-looking daughter. Come here, gal."
She couldn't say no. She better not say no.
B: Was he armed with a pistol or...
C: He always carried it.
B: Always carried a pistol.
B: And wasn't there a law back then that the Indians and the blacks couldn't carry
arms...couldn't own arms?
C: No, they couldn't, they couldn't carry arms, or tote a gun. Now that's the
way the law was, you couldn't tote a gun you know, but...the Indians got to
the place where they'd drag them--take a string and hook it to the gun and
drag it along with them.
B: And if they dragged it, they would be doing it legal.
C: Yeah, that would be legal, to drag it.
B: How about putting it on their wagon or buggy?
C: Yeah, well, if they carried it inside, yeah.
B: Well, I wanted to ask you about your brothers and sisters. We've got this
far along and that's how fascinated I've been, listening to you, that I've
forgot to ask youAthe names of your brothers and sisters and if you can
remember their ages, I'd appreciate you telling me about it, because all
of them...so many of them...well, all those children are outstanding, all
Cc. Well, I don't know if I could give you their exact ages, or not.
B: Are you the oldest one?
C: Yeah, I'm the oldest one, ad the next one is Grover Cleveland.
B: Is he still living?
C: No, he's dead. He had a heart attack about twelve years ago, and he...it's
been about twelve years ago since he had that heart attack and died.
B: How about...
C: The next one...That's the child that's dead. And his name was Lyn _l/_ rC
B: Died aI if?
C; Yeah, when he was small, about three years old when he died. I don't know
whether he was three years or not, because the next one, U.P,, you remember
U.P., don't you?
B: Yes sir.
C: U.P., now, when he come along, it wasn't too long before Ulysses,.- born, and
it couldn't have been three years, because it was never over two years, a- little
over two years inr..ny-ef our ages.
B: You think he was named after Ulysses S. Grant?
C: Yeah, that's hocome he be named Ulysses, because that's who they named him
after. You see, my daddy was a Republican and Grant, you see, was the one
that won the War. Our people, most of them, were prejudiced against that War,
because of the way it was handled. They named him...well, my grand father
and grandmother, that was their idea to name him Ulysses S., Ulysses. And the
next one was, the next child was...Floyd...Floyd was next.
B: Is he living?
C: He's living...he lives at Bass...Bass, North Carolina. And he's got his family
all up there, and his grandchildren, and all, all up there at Bass.
B: And how old is he?
C: Oh, he's just started his Social Security. Sixty-five, he had to be to get
; J ( ,/ Vu 1 7" w
his Social Security. Last year, I believe it was...last year or the year
before that, anyway, it's right in that time. Floyd, and then my sister Lenore--
Continued (page 12)
C: she married Carl Jacobs--you know Carl\/Jacobs. And the next one then was my
brother Harvard, and he was named Harvard Lr/Qt ...
B: He lives here in town, don't he?
C: No, he lives out there at the crossroads, right there close to Josh's. Josh is
on one side and he's on the other side just over the...
B: He lives on Route 3, I mean, Route 1...?
C: Route 2.
B: Route 2.
C: The next one, then, is the girl that lives up there at Dyal's Drive-In, they call
it. fL)nr"^r: '
C: Yeah, Iola.
B: That is the sweetest girl...sweetest Christian girl...one of the sweetest Christian
girls I know.
C: Yeah, well she's fine. And the next one, now he's a big shot. He's Z.R., Jr.
C: And he married a girl from down there at -oVoIP and he's been...
he's been in the service ever since '40, and he was in...when they were =k-land
Air Force Base was where he was whenever Pearl Harbor, and then they decided,
the government decided to build that base at Eglin, Eglin Air Force Base for a
testing ground for various things. He was a photographer, and he went in as, you
know, that's...e--do his job...developing pictures, and he was so good at it the
just kept him. He never did go overseas. I ''** ...'v < the one
they call Pie, he went overseas, and he went over I don't know how many times.
I don't know how many times he's been over there backwards and forwards, ever
since...he's stayed in the Reserves.
B: Got in the Reserves?
B: In the Army?
C: Yeah, when he pulled his time he just stayed in, and he was over there in World
War II with them, down there in Burma. That Burman road that they built down
there, he was an engineer on that road, helped' tm build that road in there.
The baby was a girl. There were three girls and seven boys, I mean ten of us
that were living, with the eleventh one, you know, he died. Well, with that
family, Z.R wanted to teach school, that's what he wanted to do, but he got in
the service and got such a send-off he decided to stay.
B: Well you know I was with him when he was over at...he used to be Supervisor at
the N.M.R.A. Center at Red Banks,the National Youth Administration f 'the admin-
istration of President Roosevelt. He was my boss then. This is where I was when
I got married, that's where I was living. I was making $14 a month, and food,
and my food and my lodging.
C:' *Qar&^2 c /f^ -
C; Well, this other boy...this other girl, she left here when she was very young,
and she just had...she Hadn't finished college. You know, at that time you had
to do three years' work to get two years' credit, and she done that work, and
believe it or not she-never tried to get any line on her work or anything till
here about two years ago she decided she was going to see how much she made in
college. She wrote home and had me to get a transcript of her grades/and carried
them up there. She said, "Lord, if I'd known I lacked just like that much of
finishing college I'd have finished college," and she was going to go into
school at night in the college up there at New Jersey, and she's doing...she's
teaching in.-a-ehoo-l, working in a school somewhere up there.
B: Brother Chavis, you said a while ago that the Indians had some trouble with the
whites, you know, years ago, ea could you tell me anything about what the trouble
was about? Was it about land, or..
C: Well, it was about everything, if you want the truth about it. Land was one of
the problems,...they'd...they wanted...they'd figure every scheme they could to
take your land from you. And if they could ever take your land from you, j-e-t
get their hands on that land, you wouldn't want to leave home. Well I'll let
you stay here, but you'll have to tend it one-half for the other, or ever how
they'd want to make the agreement. Then you have to stay right there on that
land in order to stay at home. Now that's the kind of methods they used, and
they haven't quit. They're still doing it. They're doing that right on. The
Indians have learned to fight them over it. They'll take them to court. They're
going to have to prove that they've got these things in order to...Now the home
that I have right now, that's an illustration of how they handle it. The man
that I bought it from was an Indian man and his wife bought it from...the truth
about it, it's first Indian land, and then a white man got his hands on it, then
he sold it to another Indian. He made his Ip-foff there. Then that Indian
stayed on it and cleaned it up and got a farm started and everything. And then
this...he got in debt to this white man. Well, A.M. Brease, you know AsM. Brease,
everybody...he got in debt to A.M. Brease, and his wife got sick and she died.
Well, he just lost...you didn't tell what happened to him after he lost his
wife. He got to fooling with whiskey, got behind en the payments, in paying his
lien. He had a fifty dollar lien. He already had a mule,wagon, plow, harness,
C1 /a0 mqA)
and everything, and he couldn't pay up that years and--hen Brease closed him out.
He had just that spring--he had bought a hundred--bought him ... Aa l -
charge him with a hundred dollars worth of lime, and he was going to put it in
his...building, in his barn, was going to let it stay there until the fall and
C: then he was going to scatter it, and then Brease closed him out. That was $150
that he owed Brease, and then-when he took that mule, the wagon, closed out his
i /2Ic paper, and had him to sign for closing out the land, faif[g the
land, he was uneducated1 you know, and he signed the land away to him too. And
then when he got the land, closed him out and let him go off the place, then he
turns around and takes the mule and sold the mule for $150, turned over to a
colored fellow down here, and you know that would have been his money back right
there if he'd just done that. He hauled that hundred dollars worth of lime back
here to the store--he had that to the good and the place. And I bought it for
a thousand dollars...I paid him a thousand dollars for the farm, and then when
I got behind a little bit he tried to take it away from me. I said no, sir,
you'll never take it away from me, ;f you take it away from me it will be over
my dead body, you'll not take it away from me. I said you're going to keep your
promises with me, I sAid you've done William Strickland with that, but I said
He'll take my shotgun and blow your head off. I'll never give it to you.
B: And what did he do?
C: He turned around and come back to Pembroke. And of course I told him, I says,
/'.ll get you your money...I'll get it. That was the first time I'd ever had any
dealings with loans, you know, and things like that, and I got a loan from some
Seuthern-Land Bank, and all that year I had the money that I could have paid him.,-
to pz hat, but to think that he come there to close me and to do me like
he did William Strickland--that's what made me so mad. I had the money, I could
have paid him, but I just decided that I wouldn't do...wouldn'g fool with him
d more, .o I saved that money,/and had it in the bank to do that with.
B: Uh...go ahead, I'm sorry...
C: When I had the money in the bank, all my expenses I paid out for borrowing that
money, you know, you had to put up a certain amount of money,you know, to pay
C: lawyer fees, you know, all those records and everything when you're borrowing
C: I paid that off...
B: You sign your life away.
C: ,...yeah, just about it. I had this money in the bank, $120. Well, I lacked
$100 dollars of having enough of money, I mean I had that $100 in the bank,
I had $120 in the bank, but it was going to cost me another $100, and I was
going to pay that out of that in the bank. And then the secretary caught me
in the bank. She said, "James," she says,"I want to talk to you." I says,
"Alt because I liked her. Then she says, "What are you going to do?" I
had already told Mr. Brease when I'd have his money to pay him. She says, "What
are you going to do?" I says, "I'm going to pay Mr. Brease. He didn't keep
his word with me, How in the world can I trust anybody if his word ain't no
good, he ain't no good." Now, I says, he thinks he's got me on a string but
he ain't. I says, I got sense enough that he'll not throw me down and take it
away from me like he did William Strickland. No, I got too much money in it
already. Well, IL..
B: How much schooling did you gt? Excuse me for interrupting...
C: Well, I went to school until you couldn't go no more... - t7rA- ,f/e a 'e
B: About...how...about what level was that?
C: When I went back to school, you know, with all the work that I had and took the
test and everything, I was past...there weren't but one subject that I had to
take back in the ninth grade, and that was algebra, and they didn't give algebra
back in those days, you know, when I was going to school. /L// y /:f ,7
I just had a group of...ninth grade education, because I started from the tenth,
C: and went on from there...tenth and eleventh grade...and I finished high school
and went on to college after that, then a year, then went back and taught two
years and then come back to school again and finished my other year. I never
have been.,.well, I've been to summer school to renew my certificate, but that's
all...I've never been back to college to try to get a degree.
B: How many years did you teach, in all?
C: Twenty-one. I started teaching in 1914, of course, now, there's some of that
time in there that I didn't teach, and from 19...I taught in 1914 and '15. In
'16, '17, and '18 I didn't teach, ai4-when I came back from the war in 1919 I
didn't teach, but in 1920 I started back again. And from then on I taught reg-
ular...I never missed any years, only just when I was going to school.
B: And you were in the Army during World War I?
B: And you went to. fance
C: No, I never went over...
B: You didn't have to go overseas?
C: You see, here's the thing about it--the funny thing about it is that I was a
white man and a non-white man. I went in...I had no trouble, you see, as long
as they didn't have them integrated.
B: They didn't have any Indians, any room for Indians in the services, did they?
T-ean, was it just two races that they put down?
C: Just two races, that's all, but you see, there's a lot ofo..you put it in there
Indian, if you sign up Indian and wouldn't change it, and wouldn't agree to change
it, they would...you were...they wouldn't send you overseas. The law said you
couldn't send an Indian overseas without he volunteered to go. Now, he could
volunteer...Well, when he signed, agreed to change it from Indian to white, now
then you could send him overseas.
B: And did they try to get you to change it from Lidian to white?
C: Oh yeah, they tried...I learned to follow a group off...the group I was trained
with...TI aned to follow that group off, and they called me into the office,
said, "You want to go with that crowd?" I said "Yeah." He says, "Well, you'll
have to change this here to white." I said no, uh uh, I'm -ging-to change
it to white, I'm an Indian and I'm going to stay an Indian. Well, he says, you
can't go. Well, I got hot and blowed my stack, and they let e go on out that
time. But he called me back in again to change it and I aei no, I said I made
my decision: it's already made. I said, they made it in Lumberton, whenever I
registered, it was made then in Robe*on County. I said it's followed me all
the way up to now'y you think I'd change it now? I'd be a fool to change it.
I didn't know you knowed the legal technicalities behind it; I didn't know
that. Well, he says, I'll tell you one thing, you can't go off of this...that
was the second group that I wanted to go off with. He said, well, you can't go
off with this group. Then I got mad and cussed him out, all of them, and told
them I don't care if I don't never get to go overseas. He said you mean that?
I said yes, I mean -t-hat. He said well, sign this. And I was permanently assigned
to Ft. Jackson. If I'd stayed on Lt-i now, I'd had to stay at Ft. Jackson, I
couldn't have been transferred anywhere else/because I made that decision, and-
I stayed there until I was discharged in February, I believe it was, in 1919.
B: Well, now, Brother Chavis, we were talking about the trouble that's been given
us by the white people. Are we talking about all white people, or are we talking
about, even in the county there are several groups, you know. The first white
people who came up from the South Carolina side were French Huegenots, and then
the Scotch people took up 14ie positions on the other side of us, and of
course, after all these years, you couldn't really tell the difference, could you?
C: Well now, I'll tell you what you can tell. You can tell where the Scotch settle-
C: ments were and the people that were in there. Now I tell you, there has been
a time when I just put all the white people in one bag, and they were all
dirty rotten skunks, all of them, you couldn't trust none of them. But I was
wrong about that. There is a class of white people you can trust; and they're
truthful; and they'll do what they say they'll do' and they ain't going to
try to gouge your eyes out. But there's so many of those others that will do
it, you can't trust them. The best thing to do, no matter how good he is, he'll
put on a cloak and he'll just, oh boy, he'll make you pant just trying to get you
where he can handle you. Well,now that type of person is not in that class of
good people, because they're not good to start off with, so how are you going
to tell who's who? You can't tell. It's an impossibility to tell. But now,
you can't afford to say all of them's so and so's, you know, because they're
B: You have to judge them by their actions...
C: That's right. Now, I'll give you an illustration. I have seen the time a white
man couldn't stop in here. In my lifetime I've seen that. If he stopped in here
there's somebody..."What'ae-se ye- doing hanging around here?" And if he stayed
any length of time he had trouble.
B: Did they fight him, or shoot him, or cut him?
C: Well, he could get away. There had to be a way for him to get away.
B: Well, then, that old day when he could say come here, girl, was over then?
C: Yeah, yeah, you see, that was the thing that messed the whole works up. As far
as taking the land, they'll take everything they can get from you now, but that
day they come into my house...and says, as I started to tell you about your
girl... you remember I spoke about that? Who's gal is that? It's mine. Come
here, gal. 4A you couldn't say anything. No, you had to keep your mouth shut.
She couldn't say anything.
Continued (page 20)
B: Now, that was before...that was before...we got schools in 1885. You're talking
C: The schools come later than that.
B: ...it was later than that...
C You can believe later than that. Now, I'll tell you, I helped...
B: How did they get by with that?
C: You see...
B: Did they have all the power?
C: ...I'll give you...why, yeah...
B: What about the money? Did they have all the money?
C: They had all the money.
B: Well, the Indians have always owned about a third of this county as far as land
is concerned, I understand. Do you think this is true today, or do you think
Iim wrong on that? I mean, is my estimate wrong, or...
C: No, it is not a third of it. They don't own a third of it.
B: You don't think so?
C: No, I don't think they own a third of it, because now, I'll tell you something
6bJS -*I ,ivond
I heaee-tD-E=anJyb(dy, because...
B: You're telling me and some other people, too.
C: Yeah, well, it don't matter, it will go down on the record...but in the mean-
time, I've never told this, for several reasons. If1l935, I believe it was, *
was a survey made here.
B: Land survey?
C: Land survey, and you see all the land between the et6 ,t/f River and 9 .
belongs to these people. It's never been settled forth. -The money's been appro-
priated up yonder to settle forth, but it's never been settled fortb.
B: You mean the land that belonged to the Indians?
C: That's right. Now that territory has never been settled fort.
B: :- i 'y t' right?
C: They just took it over, that's all.
B: Now, before you go on, this is interesting, and I want to continue it, but
r-. Angus Wilton McClain made a study of our history, and he said that some
of the land that we are on today that we owned by right of possession and that
B: Tape six, side two, of the Doris Duke Foundation, and we're continuing. This
is Leit Barton continuing an interview with Mr. James Chavis. Mr. Chavis, I
believe on the other tape you were walking something about a land survey. Do
you remember that sir, where we were?
G-e-va -ITra ceww -tknow. ..
C: Yeah, the government at the Indian office wanted to know the possibilities and
the probabilities of what all they could do for these people here, and they had
to make this survey to tell just where it was, and they -de t-i-s survey
around these people down to Lumberton and Fairmont. I've forgot how many thou-
sands of acres... was...how many hundred...how many thousands of acres it was,
that they intended to set aside for a reservation. It went...they made this
survey in the eCsoy f5 in Washington. The survey was made, but
later on after that we found out there was a possible chance of getting land
other than going on a ...making a reservation. And that's when they made the
application for this resettlement project. Mr. Clark, he was the...he we the
representative seventh CArV Q /e .o.,/ 2a=zkhe district, and he said that
C: we didn't need that land, that we didn't need anymore land because...
B: Is that J. Baird Clark?
C: J. Baird Clark. We didn't need it, he says, now,we've got a project down at
St. Paul's...we've got Indians on that project; we've got Negroes on that pro-
ject; we've got white on that project. But, he said, we don't need a separate
place for the...separate ones for the Nagroes, and separate ones for the whites,
and separate ones for the Indians, because we can put them all together. Well
now, that didn't suit...that wouldn't work with us. We went to work eat us
one of our own.
B: Why was this? Was it because you felt that you wouldn't be treated fairly?
C: Well, we knew...we didn't figure like that, we knew it.
B: You knew you would.
C: We knew we would, and we knew what we were in for, and those people who would
sign to go on that project would just be another bunch of slaves, that's all.
The Negroes that was on it...ask,if you want to know something about it, ask
the chief of the Tuscarora...
B: What's his name?
C: Eennett. Get him to tell you the story of being down there on that project and
how it worked and what all they done, and everything. Now, he was down there,
you want-the ones that was down there. We went to work to get us one of our
own. Well this project here was not in the sense...
B: -Et was a government project.
B: Federal government.
C: Yeah, federal government, agricultural a/__ '_____ administration had
started this kind of a program, and we were one of the first...
B: Do you remember what year that was?
C: In '35...well, 1935, better say it that way, it's going to go into the record.
And we went to work after that on our survey. I've got copies of that survey
here. Now that's what these papers are-hy re copies of that survey.
B: What does this survey show, Brother?
C: It shows the land that we could get; that it was possible for us to get; it gives
the historical background of these people; it gives the land--it gives every-
thing, just about.
B: Did you want to read a little bit off those papers?
C: You really nf- A 5&, / -_ papers?
B: Well, that's up to you...this is an oral history program.
C: Yeah, well...wth this...if it come up that I'd have to furnish proof I want to
be dead sure that I got proof. You see what I mean?
B: Yeah, I...
C: If I say anything I want to ready to back it up. Now this survey...survey is one
5 of athese....
B: You've got a big book there, haven't you? Let me feel it...
C: That's...that's the record...that's letters and memorandums, and y c,' ,
and directives and all that sort of stuff.
B: Maybe you'll describe some of that to us...
C: And the directives...now this one is a survey from the Ihdian office. Now this
is by the Interior Department, the Commissioner on Indian Affairs, and this is
by Fred E. Baker, and it's called a Baker Report. This one here is by John
p riA/ ______ and this is the one that...by the Agricultural Adjustments
Administration is the reservation for the J 'uyq Indians of i_.y_,_.
i'Ufl Well, now that's where I could say, you know, that the survey was
made, and all the material and everything from ts survey, and all that's given
here in this...so, when we were...when the survey was made, it was recommended
C: by the Commission that we deal with resettlement administration. That's where
he jed and let us go into the resettlement administration. We went under
that program instead of having a reservation.
B: Are we better off on...off the reservation, owning;our own land, or would we be
better off on a reservation, do you think?
C: We're 90% better off just like-we are. Now there's no question about that. If
I hadn't been to a reservation and 'had dealings iith the way the reservation
works--now, I'll give you one illustration here. There's an Indian from Okla-
homa that Brooks and I come in contact with in Washington...
B: That's Joseph Brooks?
C: Yeah, Joseph Brooks, and we come in contact with this Indian, and the way it
.happened...we had an appointment with the Chairman of the Committee on Indian
Affairs of the Senate. We had already been before the Committee in the House,
and at the Senate, when we come into the Senate office building, we...we were
sent to this room, you know, where the Committee on Indian Affairs met, and
this Indian was a-sitting there in the waiting room...
B: Now this is back in 1935?
C: Yeah. And that Indian...he was a-sitting there, and we spoke, being nice...
B: This was in Washington, D.C.?
C: Yeah, and we went on in there. We had our business all lined out, we had it
/l' ____and everything, and we went around to give the Chairman his
copy, and said now, is there any questions? He said well it looks like we have
//, if A4
everything here. He saidiwe re glad that...you fellows does business...we like
to do business with people like that, and he said we'd like for you to come
B: You had all your data figures and everything right there?
C: Had it all... had everything Iabeled out, and then whenever we presented it, all
he had to do was just thumb through it and he saw what we had, then our business
C: was over, and there were no questions to be asked. We'd answered all the
questions that they would probably ask.
B: Many of those were official papers...
C: Yeah, documents, and when we come on out, we wasn't in there over ten or fifteen
minutes, and we come on out. This Indian says, you didn't stay long. What did
they do, run you out? I said, no, we didn't...we went and tended our business
and got out of there. There's no use in dragging around there fussing with this...
he said, I want to talk to you a little bit.
B: Do you know what kind of Indian which this was? AJ'c4 /r-'(2
C: No, I don't know... I don't remember now what tribe it was. You know, we've heard
talk of Indians who had oil wells on their:land?
B: Oh, yeah.
C: Well, he was one of them- He had oil wells; he had two oil wells on his, and he
was worth over six million dollars. Well he had made an application...
B: Probably Cherokee, wasn't he?
C: ...I don't remember whether he was Cherokee; seems like he was another kind...
B: Chief...doesn't the chief of the Cherokee today own the Phillips 66 Company?
C: Yeah, yeah, he owns it.
B: In Oklahoma.
C: Yeah, but this Indian, he was pitiful. He wasn't dressed fine, I just thought
he was some other ordinary Indian, that's all. I didn't think he was a million-
aire. He says I want to know how you fellows could tend to business like that
so quick. And he says I made application to the Indian office, he says, six
weeks ago, and I been sitting here. I want to hire a lawyer to finish working
out my income tax so that I will meet the deadline so I won't have to pay the
penalty. Now, he says, I been here six weeks trying to get that thing through.
I looked at __a I said ____ I think we going down by the
C: Commissioner's office 7/,, if,./ \/ i we thought...I thought we'd drop in and
see him, shake hands with him, let him know we were in town. I says, well why
don't you go along with us, and see what's the trouble? We got down there, Mr.
Barton, and that man went in with us, and we introduced him. He didn't know no
more about him than there's a man in the moon, but when we told him what was
what, then he could think. He says, where did you meet him? I told him where
we met him. He says,"lyou mean to tell me that you made application six weeks
ago, let it lay around here six weeks, and you haven't got it? He said, no,
I certainly haven't. He mashed a button there, and a little girl come trotting
in there, he says, what's your number? Now, looky here--if you were Lew Barton,
and you go on the reservation, you're no more Lou Barton-' did you know that?
C: You ain't Leb Barton, you're a number.
C: And I'll tell you one.thing--whenever he ask him what his number was, and he told
him what his number was and he wrote it down, he said go get me that file. Then
he went and got that file, and he went and got that file, and it hadn't left the
first man's office. Now that's what they were doing to him.
B: And you think we're freer...we have more freedom...
C: Freer! (ooc/ :6C/q /1i./that man, he made his application, he met all the
requirements, and they just sat down on it so that he would have to pay that pen-
alty, and that penalty went back into the treasury to be divided between each one
of them. Now, I'm telling you what I know, that ain't what somebody told me.
But now, here, if it's a-going to be like that, don't you know we're better off
like we are?
C: Oh yes. I think so.
B: Well, there ain't no think to it. I know so.
B: We've got...we've got a group of people who are, you know, who...small group by
comparison with the rest of us, but they would like to have...
C: That same thing...
B: ...that same thing...
C: ...on the reservation...yeah, reservation...
B: And they would have to turn land...their land over to the Bureau of Indian Affairs...
C: ...now that's right...
B: ...and make the government trustee of that...
C: And the Indians...
B: Do you think this is a bad idea for us to do?
C: Right, it's the worst thing that could happen to us. That would throw us back
three hundred years. It would throw us back to where at the first Supreme Court
ruling--do you know what it was? It is on OCc/ and that wasn't in
the United States. That ruling was in...
C: England...not England, but France. The Treaty of f/ c -___-you
remember that? Where the United States and Great Britain, you know, got together
and signed a treaty, and all?
B: Oh yeah.
C: That's when it was. The frat ene was asked who will assume responsibility for
the Indians? And here is the statment--all Indians are wards of the federal
government. And it's never been chAnged--it's still that same thing. Now, if
you're an Indian, recognized and enrolled in everything, and you have the respon-
sibility, you know, of an Indian in that sense, you're no more a citizen--you're
a number. Then you become to be bound, just like in a prison, a state prison.
C: You're no more Leu-Barton, you're a number.
B: And you don't like that kind of stuff?
C: No, no, I don't like it. I just don't like that kind of an idea. Now it's alright
for as long as we can stay...Mrs. Barnum, Mrs. R.T. Barnum, she was a full-blooded
Sioux, and she was married to Captain Barnum. You know, this woman, Deloyer, Ella
Deloyer? Ella Deloyer's sister, that's who she was.
B: Ella Deloyer is the lady who wrote The Pageant in 1940 and '41, told the story
of the people, which was the story of the Lumbee Indians.
C: That's right, that's right. Well now, Ella Deloyer's sister, we call her Mrs.
Barnum I've forgot her name now--Gertrude, that was her name. She told us
this--don't ever get under the Bureau. She says, if you ever get under the table,
she says, you're gone. She says, always shake hands with them under the table.
Do you know what she was trying to tell us?
C: A61ight, then, well, that's the way we're going to have to do, or eOse we'll get
bound down. But, there are privileges and rights that are granted on top of the
table that will not be granted to you. Now, you want to know why I was in the
Indian business head over heels. I had my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength
B: Well, weiknow-we've got...you and I were talking earlier today and you mentioned
that we know of a family of Creek Indians: we know of Sioux Indian among us, and
we've got...we've had families, as you pointed out, from a number.of tribes to
move in with us down through the years.
C: That's right. And it won't be long before they'll be just scattered everywhere,
: just like these others that came in. We have some that come from the i /
'Now you don't believe that, I know you don't, but it's a known fact.
B: Yeah, I know a personal friend of mine who married a c /A t / girl.
C: Well now, and you know what? When they coming in, we let some of them come from
there, some of them come from, and I admit, some of them come from the Tuscarora.
Now, I can prove that, now, I ain't...
B: Yeah, that's true.
C: ...and some of them come from various other tribes that I could name off that I
know about. Now I know those people personally, not just from the record, but
where their home was. And not only that, I got where they were in the Veterans'
Administration--people who went through that. I went all through the Veterans'
Administration and --/-.:-: and culled all this stuff out. Well now,
I know where these people came from and they done just like these other Indians
that dropped in here, those other five that we got five different family names
now started among us.
B: So the trouble is that when you start with one of these family groups or one of
these plans, start out and want to establish their name, and then there's some-
body over here who wants to establish his name, and this is where the controversy
C: That's right, that's right. And then there's another little place right there
too, that's never been talked about. Say, now, there's a Tuscarora- and there's
a I/ A &/ They get married. Well, he's got /. /__ and
he's got Tuscaro'3 ain't he? And suppose his children, then, marries among, say,
the Lumbee. Well,now, then there...there's three. He's got three bloods in him,
ain't he? Okay. There's the /; y(. up yonder in Samson County. You
get some out of that and they marry into that, those children marry into that.
How many different bloods is that child got in it?
B: Only one, because they're all Indian.
C: Yeah, I know.
B: But, uh...
C: From different groups, they're from different groups, and different environments.
They've been raised with a different environment; therefore, they're mixed up
so bad you can't call them -'rC! 0-rc; .
B: No more than the other, but you can call them Indian.
C: That's right, and that's the only way.
B: And the Congress of the United States and the General Assembly of North Carolina
recognizes us as the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina.
C: That's right.
B: And do you think this is a good, broad enough name? Some people thought it was
when it was passed, and some, you know, the Tuscarora segment, is ...they would
like for us all to be designated Tuscarora...
B: ...but, what do you think about the Lumbee name?
C: Well, now, I'll tell you. As far as my concern, personally, it's just another
label, that's all. And we've got to be labeled something, don't you know we
C: Here...Fuller got so close to the real truth '-i44 I couldn't fight him. I dei4e
him because now, I had a bill...
B: You're talking about Reverend D.L. 'OA('F
C: Yeah, Fuller's bill, in Raleigh and in Washington.
B: And we're speaking,now, about the act of Congress passed on June 7, 1956...
C: That's right.
B: ...by Congress designating us as the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina.
C: That's right.
B: So it is a matter of law that we're Lumbee Indians.
C: Yeah, yeah. Well now...
B: And the General Assembly of 1963 had passed an almost identical act.
C: You mean '53.
B: '53, I'm sorry.
C: Yeah, '53. Well now, Fuller was so near the truth I couldn't afford to fight
him, because we had tried...I mean, have you ever thought about how many different
times we had tried to get a bill through Congress?
B: Oh, uh...I...this was the first time that it was done.
C: Yeah. But now, Fuller, he wants to claim the benefits for passing it, for it
getting through, but he had to go back to the previous records and accept them
before...he couldn't make a report. But now, he could go back to the report that
was recommended by the Secretary of the Interior on the )otUn bill, and
have it adopted to apply to that.
C: And that's the way he got his bill through. Well now here--I don't care who passed
the bill---it's immaterial to me.
C: Just so we would have a label, an official label.
C: And that's our official label, and we shouldn't dingle and dangle with it.
B: And we were hoping to get one that would suit everybody.
C: That's right. Well now here's the idea...
B: Brother Chavis, let me ask you this--do you remember--did our people vote for
this? Didn't we have to vote for this?
C: They're supposed to have voted for it. Now he said...
B: I know I voted. I don't know how many others...
C: Well I didn't vote. He said thatz350 voted for it and 35 against. Well now, here--
how many Indians ware in Rebei n County? If it come up to the courts, it'd get
C: thrown out just like that. And that's nothing to force about--let's let that
C: Because, you see, we're getting along good enough with it, right?
B: Right. And we're known all over the United States and Canada by the name Lumbee.
C: And then, you see, whenever the Ku Klux Klan tarring came...
B: Ku Klux Klan, right?
C: Yeah, when it came, they give us all...
B: 1958, right?
C: Yeah, yeah. Well, now, we got all /, r' /. Well, what was
wrong with it? That's all a name will do for you, right?
B: Uh huh.
C: If you're going to stick r -o n. say Jim Chavis, from some other
Chavis, you refer back to...I was ,v 2 .d$ boy. You could have something to
go on, something concrete to go on, and then if you ain't got nothing to go
back to, how in the world are you going to go back?
B: Uh huh. Well, for the sake of our listeners, I'd better ask you if this is...
you're referring to the Indian- //AY /:7 of 1958?
B: October 18, 1958?
B: In Hayes field, near / 7., ____, North Carolina, when the Klan was ro6ted by
the Lumbee Indians. And then later on in 1966 I'll add this footnote, in 1966
the Klan came back and said they'd made a terrible mistake and they met over at
Fayetteville on neutral territory and asked us to join the Klan. Did any of our
people show up that night, Brother?
C: Oh, yeah, they was a bunch of them showed up, but I never went.
B: Did any of them join?
C: I doubt whether they did or not. Now...
B: I heard that nobody showed up and that nobody joined, I'm not...
C: They went up there and talked with them. They didn't join; they just talked with
them. Well you know how our people are, they got...
B: We haven't had any more trouble since then, have we?
C: No sir. But you know why?
B: Was there an agreement that they were to let us alone, or what?
C: They just a ed that they were wrong in their, you know...
B: The Klan admitted they were wrong?
C: Yeah, admitted that they were wrong.
B: I see.
C: And-that they weren't going to giverno trouble.
B: Right. And that we weren't going to give them any.
C: That's right. It wasn't a written agreement you know, something like that, but
it was just an understanding.
B: An oral agreement.
C: Yeah, an oral agreement. And you take, for instance, these people here. Take
the Jaycees, for instance. The Jaycees have been in Roberson County for years
and years and years, and years and years. Whenever they let them have one of
their own, then they had a Jaycee, didn't they?
C: Wouldn't our...
B: We've got the livest Jaycee chapters in Robeason County, wouldn't you say so?
C: Well, now, I say in the state.
B: In the state?
C: Yeah. And they recognize that fact. Well now here, howcome we didn't have it
C: They wanted us to join theirs...well, just a few could join, you see, they wanted
to pick out who could join, you know,and all, but no, they wouldn't do that. They
wouldn't join. Well, other clubs, a/,/6j /ie-f and others, the same way.
Now if we had our own club, well, okay, tfen we can work.
B: What did they do, pick out the Indians that were monied and landed?
C: Yeah, that's the way they'd do, and you know...
B: Leave out the poor Indians?
C: And then not only that but they got yes men. They'd get the yes men, that's the
main thing, you know, somebody that they can tell what to do and ,eAt do it.
B: What does this term a white Indian mean?
C: Well that's just a yes manj..it's the same thing.
B: A man who says yes no matter whether it's against his people or not.
C: Right, and that's the kind of people they want--somebody like that. Well if a
man was to go in thereand he was not a yes man, then that man would get the
same label that the yes man got/because people just could not believe that he
could go in there and stay in there fighting tooth-and toenail. I'll tell you
...give you an illustration of that. Da&re-1, Herman Datre-, now we been trying
to get us a man on the Beard of Commissioners to speak his mind, and I believe
we've got a man there now who will speak his mind, because he's not a yes man.
Now I know, I know they've got more vote than we've got. We've just got one
man on the Board, right?
B: Right, but we can...well, we will have two.
C: Right, next time.
B: Yeah, if the Democrats win...
B: ...the nomination another one has been nominated.
C: Well now, if we have...suppose we have two, and there's five of them. The three
will go together. Most times, that Negro that's on there, he'll go with that
B: I want to ask you one more question, go back to those whiskey wagons. What went
on around those whiskey wagons? Was there dancing, and banjo picking, and stuff
C: Yeah, they'd do that. And that's where so many of them, you know, used to pick
the banjo. The last banjo picker I knew of, that learned, you know, 4l about
then, was Uncle Lovett, over here.
B: Uncle Lovett.
C: Do you remember Uncle Lovett?
B: Was that his last name?
C: Yeah, old Uncle Lovett Lockle. That was his name. Do you remember Lady? Aunt
Lady? You know where Ea1ns is? You know that little old house sitting back
way off the road? From that road in there? It's way in the middle of the field.
C: Well, that's where they stayed. Now, he's the last one of the banjo pickers that
I can remember. Uncle Lovett...
B: Just about everybody plays the guitar now, don't they?
C: Yeah, they play the guitar, yeah, it's changed around. But they could pick a banjo.
I bought whiskey and went there and sat down and let him drink all he wanted to
just to hear him pick the Gals Have Gone to the Huckleberry Farm.
B: Was that the name of the song? The Gals Have Gone to the Huckleberry Farm.
Tell me some more of those songs you remember...do you remember those?
C: Now, I hadn't though bout i4o4 in a long time.
B: What do the people mean in the churches when they say it's a sin to sing a reel,
B: for a Christian to sing a reel? What is a reel?
C: Ha! You've got me slung there.
B: Is it not a hymn?
C: Yes, it's not a hymn, it's a reel. To them, it is a reel.
B: And to them it's a sin.
C: Yes, it's a sin. It's a sin to sing anything but something like Hearts /j //g3 r
t cL Sound, or Amazing Grace, or Jesus Eaid It All...
C: ...now those are hymns, and psalms, but now if you start to sing...there's a
song in the evening come home, come home--you've heard that song haven't you?
C: ...for the children to come home, you know? Now, that's a reel, but you know
B: It's a good song.
C: It's a good song, but you see, that's the idea.
B: That's how strict some religions...
C: That's right.
B: ...ssme religious groups are, isn't it.
C: That's right.
B: There was a time when some groups didn't believe in going to the movies...
C: Well, it's still a sin to go'to the movies.
B: Rea,-44-? /?,f'/i ?
C: Well,now you don't know=this....
B: Tell me how your church does.
C: Well now, I'll tell you one thing, we've got some of them there that contend yet
it's a sin to go.to the movies.
B: It's sort of the exception rather than the rule, though, isn't it?
C: Yeah, that's right, but I have seen the time when you went to the movies, they
turned you out of the church.
B: And there was a time when no musical instrument was allowed in the church, isn't
C: That's right.
B: Tell me about the Bush Harbor. Did you ever attend a -ush Harbor meeting?
C: How many times? And different...I mean different Bush Harbor meetings, not
B: And why did they use the Bush Harbor? Would you describe the Bsh Harbor for
us? What is a idsh Harbor?
C: You take a...well, way back then before they could use...had sawmills aplenty,
you cut a forked tree, and p-lan it in the ground, and you put your pole across
there, then you put your bushes on that. It didn't last but...sometimes they'd
last four or five weeks.
B: dust a season.
C: Just a season, that's all, then...
B: You cut the tops off and fill the top with branches from other trees and make a
C: Make a shade, and board it, and put sawdust under it...
B: For the peoples'...
C: You know, just -/ cuk' Y caiid sawdust...
B: Of course, that was during the days when we had plenty of timber, and plenty of
C: That's right, yeah.
B: Tell me--I'm jumping around here, but I want to ask you while I'm talking with
you--how do you preneuncethe name of the bay close to Mrs. Tom Russel's
You know that big bay that my grandfather was lost on, found dead?
C: Let's see, what is it they called it? I've forgotten now what they called it.
B: Is it Bakers?
B: But they don't...they don't pronounce it that way.
C: Bakerson Bay...
B: Have you ever heard it called Beckerson Bay?
B: This was the way...
C: Well, there's some, you know, difference, colloquialism. Now, you take that
group around r/_______ ...they got a colloquialism of their own. And
then you take around Chapel it's another...you take around Fairmont it's another...
you take around...
B: There is a little difference, isn't there?
C: There's a difference in every one. You can tell just exactly where one came from
by their talking. Just to show you that I do know what I'm talking about--
7'c Lo()rl married a woman, and after Ge4e l died, he married a
woman)and he dogged her, and dogged her, and dogged her, and dogged her, until
she run away and left him. She left from hereand a fellow picked her up on...
he was driving a truck, and my brother Hilton, my brother Z.R., you know, he
lived at Crestview, and this woman didn't know Z.R. was there in Crestview. Z.R.
said he was a-sitting there one day, and this woman that was a-looking after
that man's children was right next door o him, there, and she throwed out, you
know, Gl /crN /1, 5 5 & enadi a he said, oh oh, that's from
7 f e.,f '' and I'm going to find out. Whenever she, you
know, to talk, you know, just the way she spoke and the way she talked. He
messed around and he kept on easing up and easing up until one day he got to her 0/t
/ and he said, gal, what are you a-doing here? She said, you don't know me. He
C: said, yes I do, too. He said, you know good and well you ain't got no business
here. Why don't you get home? Where's my home? He says at Prospect. ,,, -
B: He did know where she was!
C: That's right, he did know where she was, but why?
B: Her speech betrayed her.
C: That's right.
B: Brother Chavis, our speech, if you take all our speech collectively, it is diff-
erent from the Caucasian speech in this county.
C: That's right, that's right.
B: And also different from our black brothers in this county.
C: That's right. You can't...they can tell you...you needn't try to hide. You can
be as white as you please, or as black as you please. When you go away from here
you can join...if he's a black man he can join that black group, and if he's a
white man he can join that white group. He's a white man. But if I happen to
run up on him, I know whether he is or he ain't.
B: And do you thihk the white...t4ie white brothers in this e'Bty, do you think
they also recognize an Indian boy's speech?
C: Yeah, it happened to me while I was in the service. We had a ...we had a big
dance down there, you know, at Craven Hall, and that's a white...that's a white...
dance hall...and you know who hemmed me in there? / J t/., sister,
and she knew where I was from. She had married a lieutenant, or a captain, or
something, he was a big shot in the Army, and I was a-dancing, you know, with
the gals down there. If it's an Indian, you know, they all want him, and I was
having the time of my life and a ball. This girl she kept on ILl she got around...
I knew she was...I kept watching her. What in the world was she watching me for?
Made me nervous, and I was a-sweating to beat the band. Well she walked...I was
dancing with one of these girls, she come ee-over, and she tapped this girl on
C: the shoulder; she just turned loose and took her husband, took this girl's hus-
band, and went on. Lordy, I liked to have fainted. She said she could feel
me a-trembling, and she said, you don't need to be scared, I ain't going to
give you away. Well, you know about how nervous...
B: And you were passing then, weren't you?
B: What people call passing.
C: When we...when the song was played out and we sat down, then she got to talking
e I P/ // I ,iq // 1
to me and she said, I know where you're from, and said, you're an Indian a/ight,
/Y i I/
too. She said, now I want you to tell me how Uncle Gus is. Gus who? Gus Taggart.
I Ir f
She says, I'm his sister. Well, she just went on and she says, how is Uncle
Hector? Well, Hector Brown married one of Gus Taggart's sisters. Oh, I could
just talk right on, you know, and tell her all about them down here, and how they
was getting along and everything. Well, now, that will give you an idea. You
can't hide. Now I want to show you the other side. I showed you the white side,
didn't I? Now I want to show you the nigger side. There's a boy who went to
school over there at the college...
B: What do you...
B: Maybe we ought to say black man because somebody's going to be listening to this
tape)and we hope some of our black brothers will give it a listen too. Okay?
C: Well, you know what I...this Negro, this boy, he left here, went to Georgia, and
teached school for a group of Indians down there in Georgia.
C: He got a chance to go to the Negro school there, and he built himself on up, and
he got to be somebody. The next time I saw him I saw him in Columbia, &E was
on Washington Street. Of course, he was an outstanding Negro, you know, and
C: you know, he'd turned over to / __. He went to...it was getting too
hot for him there,and there was too many Indians, you know, from here *t was,
going there. You could see him ~ he went to Charlotte. Now, he
had a barber shop there in Columbia, and he sold that barber shop and bought two (S't"
057F in Charlotte. He stayed there about six years and then left and went to New
York, and he went to a school at Ithaca, New York, finished his college, and
everything, and become superintendent of the city schools in Brooklyn, you know,
the Brooklyn City Schools. The city schools, become Superintendant of the City
Schools in Brooklyn. So you see, he could have made himself...but how did he
get away? I knew him, and all the boys that went to Columbia, they knew him.
You can't get away from that...he tried, well, which he was, an outstanding
Negro, but in the meantime his own people knew it. Well, look what they did
down there in this other place. The white ones knowed it,and the Negroes knowed
it. Why try to be something you're not?
B: I have not wanted to be anything except what I am, Brother Chavis...
C: Well, that's right, that's right.
B: ...I never try to pass...if I go somewhere and people don't know I'm an Indian
I pretty soon acquaint them with...,then if they choose to walk off that's their
C: That's right.
B: If they choose to remain, then I can enjoy myself with this brother, whether he's
black or white, because I know that he's accepting me for what I am.
C: What you really are.
C: There's no question about it, though. It's interesting to study the colloquialisms
B: Tell us about some of them, Brother Chavis, that you can think of, among the Indians.
B: A lot of them are connected with old Elizabethan English.
C: Well, we, there's one...I never will forget this old man that I used to talk
with. He used the word larn. Well, what he's trying to say is that you learn,
you know, that's what...and that larn, we know where that came from. You see,
that's not Indian.
B: No. 'Well tell me, how about a word like __/_-_/_.__ ____* You know what a
&/al-c- 1 'ris but I'll bet you anything our friends listening to the
tape, none of them know what a ///g- is. You want to tell them what
a '. i 'is?
C: Well, it'sta...originally it's a slingshot, but it's a different kind of sling-
shot from the one David used to kill Goliath.
B: You think it's an Indian sling...an Indian kind of sling?
C: It is, because you never see it, you never knew of it, you go to studying his-
tory and all, and you never find it in the history or historical background.
It's not given. It's a kind of a weapon that they use to kill squirrels. The
Indians was a-scared to shoot a gun because a white man would hear it...he was
B: ...would come and arrest him.
C: Yeah. And he used these...he had to use other means of hunting other than just,
you know, shooting, like the white man t/Src/
B: Right. Do the Indian still fish and hunt a lot?
C: Well, they're not near as much as they used to. They do a lot of fishing now,
but they don't hunt like they used to.
B: Well, the laws restrict them...
C: No, no, it's not the laws. They'd do it anyhow.../ O/ /0/ / Au
B: They'd do it anyhow?
C: I know they would: they'd do it anyhow. But, you see, the reason I know they
C: would because I used to teach in what they call Black Ankle.
B: And where is this, Brother Chatis?
C: That's in the southern part of the county, down below Fairmont. Down there what
they call the Five Forks...you've heard tell of the Five Forks, haven't you?
B: Yes, sir.
C: Well, that's right there all the Five Forks and all through there.
B: There's a group of people... 8rKN 6CrV Dr. i/t7Aj / yof Ohio
State University refers to as the Black Ankles..
S.. hose are the people.2.
B: That's the people...that's the people down there.
C: And uh...they'd hunt and get these skins. North Carolina had a law against it,
but they had dogs that would really get coons and get foxes. And they'd catch
those foxes and catch those coons, and possums too, if they could find them...