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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWEE: Paladin Jones
INTERVIEWER: Lew Barton
DATE: October 28, 1973
B: This is October 28, 1973. I am Lew Barton recording for the
University of Florida's history department, and their American
Indian oral history program. Today I am in the home of Mrs.
Rosa Jones in the Barker ten mile area adjoining Magnolia School
near Lumberton, North Carolina, on Highway 301. With me is one
of her sons. What is your name?
J: Paladin Jones.
B: Paladin Jones? How old are you?
B: Where do you go to school at?
J: Magnolia High School, right in front of you.
B: What's your nickname?
J: Pat Jones.
B: Can I call you Pat?
B: Pat, what grade are you in?
J: The seventh.
B: You're just getting into that age bracket where boys and girls
start dating a little bit, aren't you?
J: Yes, sir.
B: Do you have a girl friend?
J: No. I ain't got none yet.
B: Are you looking forward to that?
J: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it, I think.
B: Well, that's good. I guess that's about the most natural thing
I can think of--guys liking girls, and girls liking guys. What
do you enjoy doing best?
J: Well, I like to play--like to hunt and fish, play football, base-
ball, basketball, all them things like that. I'm right at Magnolia
School, and I get to do all them things, so that's what I like
B: That's great. Did you mention swimming in that?
J: No, I didn't, but I like to swim sometimes. Most times when I
stay in a long time, I get cramps, so I just didn't put that in
B: That's too bad. Where do you go swimming, when you go swimming
J: Back of Bill Coon's, where I go swimming at. Right over the head
bridge, and back there, and when I go fishing, I go to Mr. Eps's
pond. He owns this land we're standing on now. We're paying rent.
He's got a pond back, and I goes fishing. He's got plenty of fish
back there in the pond.
B: That sounds good. You enjoy fishing? Most fellows do.
B: And, you go swimming in Mr.--that's Mr. Frank Eps's pond?
B: He's the one who was principal over here at Magnolia School for
so long, isn't he?
J: Yes, sir.
B: What else do you do with yourself?
J: Well, I like all kind of hobbies and everything.
B: About how much do you weigh now?
J: I weigh about 115 pounds.
B: You're a husky guy, aren't you?
B: Do you like bicycle riding?
J: Yeah, I like bicycle riding. I got a strong one that I can't
hardly tear it up. The only thing I tear up is the tires.
B: Well, that's good. That must be a heavy-duty bike.
B: Oh, boy. How do you feel about music?
J: Well, I don't know I could learn that much about it, but I found
I could learn the notes and things like that, and so I'm in the
band. I go every evening to study hall. And we going to have to
play about next Thursday.
B: Are you in the high school band?
B: You got a big band?
J: You don't pick no band up out there 'cause the other schools around
here, you know, you've got bands, and we ain't got none, so they
decided to have one.
B: And you attend Magnolia School right out there.
B: In you backyard, just about.
J: Yes, sir.
B: How many kids go to Magnolia now...about?
J: Well, let's see. There's thirty-seven in our room. I reckon there'd
be...I know to be about fifteen hundred or more in there, probably.
B: What grades do you teach out there?
J: The first all the way to the twelfth--high school.
B: And you've got about 1500 students?
B: About how many of those students are Indians, would you say?
J: Well, I'd say about 700 I know are Indians, 'cause there ain't
too many colored; I know there ain't too many whites, for one
B: Oh, there are more Indians than there are colored and white put
J: Yeah, yeah. See, there are more niggers than there is whites.
B: You mean Negroes?
J: Yes, sir.
B: Do you have any trouble at all among races out to Magnolia?
J: No, we don't have any trouble now, but last year, see, that other
principal, he didn't care, because if you got in a fight, he wouldn't
do nothing about it. But this year see, if you get in a fight, he'll
expell you from school, and nobody don't be fighting no more out
there. We should have had that a long time ago.
B: Who is the principal now.
J: Mr. Mark Brooks.
B: I understand right now Mr. Mark Brooks is running for mayor of
Pembroke. Do you think he'd make a good mayor?
J: Yeah, 'cause he took a lot of them out there, like they'd bust a
window or something--he said he was going to carry them to court;
he's carried some of them to court for breaking in out there, and
that's the only principal that done it so far.
B: So you think that the only way to keep the kids in line is to lower
the boom, so to speak--right?
J: Yes, that's right, 'cause he sure keeps control of them. Like he
put them drink machines out there, and knob machines. The knob
machines got broke. They went there, and they started getting them
knob machines. He'd take them away; he said, "I'll take them away.
If you don't like, I'll take them drink machines away from you, and
take that fifteen minutes time out when you get out of second
period; I'll take it and put it in class if you do anything
wrong with them machines, and I'll have you carried to court."
And they've been tied up. Ain't got broke in yet, and nothing
ain't wrong with them.
B: Do you feel better with a principal who's kind of tight on you--
who makes you tow the mark? How do you feel about that?
J: Well, I feel like if it weren't for him, like out there we could
be getting into all sorts of trouble. Especially like you could
take your knife; now you can't take your knife. They usually go
around and check you for knives. Last year when they didn't check
you for that, you could go out there and cut somebody and get in
trouble, but now they check you for knives. They take them from
you; that's all they do.
B: Pat, what's your parents' names?
J: Rose Jones.
B: Just wanted to establish that. Now Pat, most of the Indian young
people, or a good many of them at least, I believe, work in the
summer. What do you do in the summertime?
J: Well,I was cropping tobacco, but I didn't like that too much,
because I had to get up too early in the morning, so I started
with Stant--helping, working with concrete.
B: Is that your brother-in-law?
J: Yeah, my brother-in-law Stant Godwin.
B: What do they pay right now? What do people pay per day for cropping
tobacco right now?
J: Well, they're paying $12 a day right now, but last year it wasn't
but $10. Some pay twelve, and some pay $11.50. I got up there at
B: How about earlier than that--before the tobacco comes off? Do you
do anything with cucumbers, or anything like that?
J: Oh yeah, I picks cucumbers.
B: Oh, you don't like that job I'll bet.
J: Yeah, I used to like it real good, 'cause I could make $20 on my
B: $20 a day picking cucumbers?
J: No, I'd make $40. I'd make $20 on my part.
B: That's on cucumbers you planted?
J: Yes, sir.
B: But you don't just pick for other people, do you?
J: Yeah, I picks for other people--on halves. [By this arrangement,
one man puts in the crop, another picks it, and they split the
B: I hadn't heard about that arrangement. That's interesting. That's
one way of getting them picked, isn't it?
J: Yes, sir. It sure is.
B: And you can make more that way than picking by the day?
J: Yes. Next year I want to have me some; plant me some, since they're
making so much out here on cucumbers. You can make an awful lot of
money in cucumbers.
B: I believe I remember hearing you say something about you'd like to
plant some cucumbers. I think that would be good. Can you rent
land around here?
B: You're not too far from town, but there's plenty of farm land around
here, isn't there?
J: Yes, sir. See, Mr. Epse right up here, I can rent land from him
for cucumbers or anything like that.
B: Does he have a lot of land?
J: Yeah, he has a right smart there.
B: How much is a right smart--about how much? Has he got something like
a hundred acres or more?
J: Yeah, he's got more than a hundred acres. He's got a farm of
his own. He's got a farm of his own you know; he goes there and
works it. This year, he bought him a tractor, you know, and every-
thing. Brand new tractor, and they're clearing off the fields now.
The cucumbers died for winter, and he's cleaning up the fields now.
B: Is he a nice guy to work for?
J: Yeah, he's a awful nice guy.
B: Everybody around here seems to like Mr. Frank Epse which is probably
why he stayed around here so long. Wonder why they like him so well,
J: Well, 'cause he's a nice man. He ain't wrong, and he goes to church
and everything, and he tries to be good to everybody, do them a
favor if he can.
B: In other words, he's a good neighbor, and not just somebody over
you or above you. He doesn't act snooty or stuck-up or anything
J: No, sir. He sure don't.
B: Well, that's good. Is this the way most of the people in the community
feel about him, do you think?
J: Yeah. It's the way they do.
B: Pat, have you ever heard any talk of something called the generation
J: No, sir. I sure haven't
B: Well, it's a term that older people use, and it means that they're
not able to get next to young people; that they're not able to get
real close to 'em, and understand 'em, and talk to them. Do you
think that's true?
J: Yes, sir. I sure do. I think so.
B: And you think there's a distance between older people and young
J: Yes, sir.
B: Well, what do you think both young people and old people could
do about getting rid of that distance, and getting closer together,
and finding better understanding among each other? Or have you
ever thought about that?
J: No, I haven't thought about it that way.
B: Well, maybe you'll think about it more as you grow older, because
people talk about the generation gap. Sometimes the older people
say, "Well, we just don't understand our young people." You haven't
found this a problem, have you?
J: No, sir. I sure haven't.
B: Pat, you, like most of the Indian guys, they seem to like fishing
and hunting. How long have you been hunting and fishing?
J: Ever since I was four years old. I kept me a BB gun in those days;
then I got on up to a shotgun.
B: Oh, boy. You're fourteen years old, and already you have your own
J: Yes, sir. I have me a shotgun and a rifle.
B: Well, that must mean you're a pretty responsible young man, because
your mom wouldn't agree to it unless you were, would she?
J: No, she wouldn't.
B: Do you regard this as a special privilege?
J: Yes, sir.
B: And you honor that privilege?
B: That's good, Pat. Pat, I want to ask you a question, and don't
answer it unless you want to. Sometimes young people are said to
drink a lot, and even smoke pot, and stuff like this. Have you run
into anything like that?
J: No, sir. I sure haven't, and I don't want to be getting into
nothing like that, neither.
B: Oh, that's good. I hope you never will. Have you heard of other
young people getting into trouble about drinking, or smoking pot?
J: Yes, sir. I sure have. It's like cigarettes. When you start
smoking, you can't quit, and that's the same thing dope is, and
sometime when you don't have it, and you've been using it for a
long time, you don't have it, you die for it or go crazy and get
yourself killed for it.
B: Did anybody ever try to get you to smoke pot?
J: No, because I reckon they know better, because I don't mess with
B: You don't fool around with people who do smoke it, right?
J: Right. I don't smoke.
B: That was his mother speaking up. She said she sure hopes he
doesn't start that. I think she knows he won't--right, Pat?
J: Yes, sir.
B: You know she has confidence in you, don't you?
J: Yeah, I sure do.
B: That's good. It's good to have somebody with confidence in you,
J: Yes, sir. It sure is.
B: Pat, we talked about you liking to fish and hunt and other sports.
You're 115, you say? A hundred and something. You're just about
husky enough to play football. Do you play football?
J: Yes, sir. We got our own team right here at Magnolia School. We're
in the little league. You see, they got a big league and a little
league, and they're fixing to build us a place out there where we can
play football at--play other teams and everything. Our big league
ain't never lost a game so far, 'cause Pembroke, you know, they
didn't want that coach, because he's white; and so Magnolia High
School decided to take him. Now, since they ain't lost a game,
Pembroke wish they had him back. So we've got him now. He's an
awful good coach.
B: Pat, sometimes terrible tragedies occur, even in the best communities.
Last night a terrible thing happened. A man got shot. Did that
shock you terribly?
J: It sure did, 'cause that man, he didn't ever mess with nobody. He
was so nice to everybody, and I don't know why somebody shot him.
I just don't know why.
B: Do you think that's unusual? That's not the usual thing in your
community. In other words, do you think that your community's
just about as good as anybody else's, or better?
J: Yes, sir. I sure do.
B: And this is something that's very unusual. You think so?
J: Yes. Sure is unusual to me.
B: You've never heard of anything happening in this community before?
J: Yeah, I'm hearing a lot of things happening. Like over there--right
over at the store, I was over there playing pool, and one of our
football players was in there playing with the man who runs the
store. He got his gun out, and he was just playing with it. He
kept punching him, and he told him to get out, and he wouldn't. He
kept punching him with the gun, you know, and the gun went off and
shot him right in the face. They had to carry him to the hospital.
B: Did he die?
J: No, he just got out two days ago.
B: Pat, why do you think these things happen? Have you ever thought
J: Yeah, because sometimes you get in a tight spot, and you get so
mad. Just like him. He can't stand nobody to start bragging at
him, and he get so mad, and he pick up anything that is in reach.
Like, you get in a tight spot, you'll do anything. You do, and
you don't think about it right then.
B: And you think he was in a tight spot? Do you know what happened?
Tell me that again.
J: He was in there playing pool, and they kept running the mouth, and
then he went up there and asked for change for a dollar, and the
boy said, "Hurry up and give me my change."
The boss says, "You wait," and he kept right on slamming balls,
something like that. He started running his mouth to him, and the
boss got red hot, boy. Told him he didn't trust him. He said, "Get
out of this store."
He wouldn't, you know, and he thought the boss was playing with
him. He kept on playing. He kept punching him with the gun, and
that's when it went off. Shot him at the side of the face, and it
went down. It hit his bone. It went down his jaw bone; curved
down his throat.
B: Do you think Indian guys are more sensitive to things like that?
I mean, if you make fun of a Indian, will he fight you for it?
J: Yes, sir. He sure will.
B: Do you think that's because of his pride?
J: Yeah, I believe it is.
B: If you walk on his pride, you're ready for a fight, aren't you?
J: Yes, sir. You better be ready for a fight.
B: Do you think a good many of the guys might react in the same way?
Now, you spoke about a tight spot. If you ridicule somebody, or
make fun of them before other people, would you describe that as
a tight spot?
J: Yes, sir.
B: I see what you mean now. Have you ever thought about living in
the city, Pat?
J: Yeah, I thought about it. I hear the people say you can't get
right air out there. I'd rather stay out here than get polluted
air. Around here it ain't never hardly.
B: Well, out here, this is a rural community, although it's rather
thickly settled, and it's near Lumberton. But you do have purer
air, don't you?
J: Yes, sir. You sure do.
B: Do you think that this is a healthy place to live?
J: Yeah, I figure it is. Yeah, for me, yeah.
B: Would you like to live here the rest of your life?
J: Well, I don't know about that. Because you know, you get sick
of staying right here in one place all the time.
B: Pat, have you ever thought about what you wanted to do when you
completely grow up? I'm not gonna say you're not grown up, 'cause
that might not set well. I know you're very mature in many ways,
but have you thought about what kind of job you want to hold when
you get through school?
J: Yeah, I figured I want to be in concrete, because concrete can make
an awful lot of money. You know your business with concrete.
B: Uh-huh. Do you know anybody who's in the concrete business?
J: Yes, sir. Stant Godwin--that's the man I worked for this summer,
and I learned an awful lot with him about concrete. And Earl, my
brother, he works too. He stays here with me and Momma.
B: And what do you do? Do they contract jobs?
J: Yes, sir. They contract.
B: And they hire you by the day?
J: Yes, sir. Hire me by the day.
B: Is it hard work?
J: No, it ain't all that hard. If you know what you're doing, it ain't
But if you don't know what you're doing in some things, it's harder
B: What sort of things do you build out of concrete?
J: You can build all sorts of things. You can build statues, anything
like that, or you can build a pump house or a house, or for
playing basketball you can build a floor to it, or fire depart-
ment...anything. That man I work for this summer, he build
right here at the fire house, right over here, and he's the
one that fixes that concrete there. I didn't get to help him
B: Does this area...don't they have their own volunteer fire depart-
ment and everything--this community?
J: Yes, sir.
B: Do they have their own J.C. [Junior Chamber of Commerce] chapter,
and all that?
J: Yes, sir. They do.
B: Do you think these are good things?
J: Yeah. Sure is. Right here in our neighborhood, yeah.
B: Sometimes there's a little competition between one community and
another...in the Indian territory, anyway. The people at Magnolia,
how do they feel about the people in Pembroke?
J: I don't know how to answer that.
B: What I'm thinking about is a friendly rivalry, the kind that comes
out in ballgames, you know. Like, Prembroke and Prospect have al-
ways been rivals, you know, in all kinds of ball, and they work so
hard to try to defeat each other. Do you have that kind of spirit
toward any of the other communities, do you think?
J: Yeah, because one night they was come out here, and they was gonna
play basketball, and so many came go around and cut everybody's
tires and everything.
B: Who did this?
J: I forgot what school it was. I don't know what school it was right
now...not too long ago, though.
B: They really got worked up over a ballgame?
J: Yeah. See, Magnolia High School beat 'em, and they get mad about
it and cut everybody's tires up right there, and everything--busted
bottles all over the place, and everything like that.
B: Do you remember which teams were playing that night?
J: No. I sure don't.
B: Wonder why they're jealous of Magnolia? Is it because it's a
bigger Indian community than other Indian communities, you think?
J: Yes, sir. I figure it is, 'cause the most Indians around here live
right in this community.
B: Do the Indians around here stick together pretty well?
J: Yeah, they stick together. Sure do.
B: How about when you go into town, and you come into contact with
white people and with black people. Or in school, do they seem
to look down on Indian people, do you think?
J: Yes, sir. I gigure that they want to look down on 'em.
B: And how do our people feel toward them? Do they look down on them?
J: Sometimes they do, I think.
B: Do you think it's sort of a two way street there, or a three way
street? Which would you think?
J: Three way street.
B: Of course, 1500 kids working together--that's a lot of kids together,
J: Yes, sir.
B: And you're gonna have some problems, but do you think you have more
problems than other places of that size?
J: No, I don't think we have that much problems. Of course, some of our
teachers are strict.
B: How about police protection out here? Do the police come on the job
when you have trouble?
J: Yes, sir. Just like last night, they didn't take 'em but twenty
minutes to get over here.
B: Yes, I noticed that last night, Pat, and I was a little bit...
twenty minutes is a long time after somebody gets shot, you know.
It did take about twenty minutes for them to get out here. Do
you think there were telephones near by...somebody could call the
police right away after the shooting?
J: Yes, sir, 'cause there's telephones near to about everywhere around
B: His ma just said that they didn't care about what the Indians did
to each other. She's talking about white people, I guess. Do you
think this is true, that white people and black people don't care
what the Indians do to each other as long as it's not to them?
J: Yes, sir. I guess, yes.
B: Pat, if you had the opportunity to change anything at all about
your community, or about anything in Robeson County, and you had
the power to do it, what would you change first of all? You want
to think about that for a minute?
J: Yes, sir. Well, if I had the power to do it, I would...like these
girls around here, some of them wear short dresses. I'd have that
changed out there at the school house, and stuff like that. Like
littering around here, I'd have that stopped; I'd have that stopped.
J: And people around here, you know, volunteer. Get whoever litters,
and make 'em go ahead and pick the paper up, that's what I'd do.
B: Well, in North Carolina there is a law which forbids littering, of
course, and the fine is $200. Do you think this law is not enforced
J: What do you mean by that, now?
B: You know, if you litter the highways--now I'm talking about the
highways--if you litter the highways, they can take you to court
and fine you for $200. Do you think they ought to watch a little
more closely about littering, and just make people obey the law,
and take a few of them to court, maybe it would change it?
J: Yes, sir. You should have people around here for that, but they
don't. It's just when they catch 'em like they do riding down the
road and catch 'em they do it. They should have somebody to get
around here and watch 'em for that';they'd catch an awful lot of
B: Pat, how far is it from here to Lumberton?
J: Seven miles. It says right here on the sign right out there, about
a hundred yards from here, it says seven miles to St. Paul, and seven
miles to Lumberton--either way.
B: Are there any local police? Are there any policemen in this community?
J: No, not as I know of.
B: When something happens like last night, you have to get police all
the way from Lumberton?
J: Yes, sir.
B: So, maybe that accounts for the amount of time it took for them to
get out here. You know--twenty minutes. Of course, I could just
about walk seven miles in twenty minutes, or I could cut off a lot
of it. Well, I don't want to be critical. I'm the interviewer,
not the interviewee. But it seems to me that there should have
been somebody out there faster than that.
J: Yes, sir.
B: Do you think the police...? I shouldn't ask.
B: Ma said they wouldn't come unless somebody was killed or hurt, and
they had to wait to find out if somebody was killed or hurt. Do you
think that's true?
J: Yes, sir, that's the way it is. 'Cause, like that boy over there,
he got shot. They ask 'em all of that. Stayed there a long time
asking all them questions we told them.
B: Do you think the officers might be afraid to come out here in this
Indian community, though? Do you think this is why they hold back?
J: It's that way everywhere, now, here about.
B: As far as the Indian community is concerned?
J: Yes, sir.
B: They wait for things to happen, Ma says, and they don't try. You
don't think they do anything to try to prevent trouble when a rumpus
J: No. Sure will not.
B: Ma's talking in the background. She said, "No sirree, they did
not!" Well, that's too bad. That's one thing. Maybe something
could be done through political channels, don't you think?
J: Yes, sir.
B: Do you think if a policeman was stationed out here in the Magnolia
area, in the Barker ten-mile community here, that this would help
J: Yes, sir. They would get there quick, and maybe save a lot of lives
too for that.
B: Do you think if the policemen were stationed here that there would
be less of this going on?
J: Yeah, there'd be a whole lot less of this going on. Surely would
B: Has this been your first interview with anybody?
J: Yes, sir. It sure is.
B: You're not nervous, are you Pat?
J: No, not after I watched my momma sit for an interview--see how it
would be going.
B: Well, I think it's nice to get something like this down on tape, and
then you know, we get some important things down there, and these
things sort of help in ironing out some of the problems that we've
got, like the problem we were talking about right here in the Barker
ten mile area.
J: I believe there comes my grandfather, so let's just cut this inter-
B: Okay, Pat. All right, you've been a very wonderful interviewee,
and I thank you for this time, and I appreciate it very much, old