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Title: Interview with John Godwin, Mabe Sampson (May 30, 1969)
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Title: Interview with John Godwin, Mabe Sampson (May 30, 1969)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: May 30, 1969
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Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
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Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00007193
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 217

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Full Text
SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWEES: John Godwin
Mabe Sampson
INTERVIEWER: Adolph Dial
DATE: May 30, 1969





D: You are one of the gentlemen who has been around in Robeson County for
a good long time, and I would like to ask you some questions. First
of all, when were you born?
S: I was born in 1876.
D: That makes you how old now?
S: About ninety-seven. Me and Uncle Peter were born--there's four years
difference in it. He was four years older than I was. I recollect
What I was doing with my uncle that was killed, Tucker, by his company,
put up turpentine barrels. He worked turpentine. He put up on his own
barrel. I set that barrel into the truck hoop and then we put the
other hoop, drove on. Spin a hoop pole or oak and make a hoop, put
around it. I put up my barrel, my barrel get up, but the last stave
I'd put in, the thing would fall down and I'd have to go over it again.
D: Mr. Sampson, how large were you when the "Shakes" came in 1886? I
believe that was the last day of August 1886.
S: August, 30th.
D: Do you recall what you were doing that day?
S: Yes, I had been to my grandmothers and helped her poor father.
D: How old a man were you then?
S: I was twelve years old.
D: You were twelve years old in 1886.
S: Yes.
D: That means that you were born in 1874.
S: Yes.
D: So you remember the "Shake" very well.
S: Almost as if it were yesterday.
D: What did the people have to say about the "Shake?" What did they think
had happened?
S: It scared everybody to death.
D: I guess some of them thought the judgment had come, didn't they?
S: My daddy told my mother he had been to Uncle Arthur Bullard across the
swamp. He was working over there. He was doing some work for him, and
he had come to the door. It was twelve o'clock then, and she said,
"Nash, how long have you been at that door?" He says, "I just walked
up." "Oh," she says, "what's going on?" "The Lord says we're all in
judgment."





2
D: In judgment.
S: Yes, our thanks for the Giver. He laid down on his bed in front of
the fire and the house would quiver. My mother would ask him what
was going on and all he would say aloud is, "It's the judgment, I
reckon," and he'd say, "Go ahead on." He'd say, "We all got to go
somehow, sometime, and if it's our time to go, let us go."
D: About the time you born the Lowry gangs' reign was just coming to
an end. I know you remember hearing your mother, Mrs. Sally Sampson,
tell some interesting stories about the Lowry gang. Would you like
to relate some of this?
S: I think she was twelve years old ever seen the Lowry gang. When the
Yankees came through, she went under the house and hid.
D: She went in the house and hid when the Yankees came?
S: She went under the house. She didn't want to have--she went and got....
D: How old was your mother when you were born?
S: Twenty.
D: Your mother was twenty when you were born. Of course, she was old
enough to remember the Yankees coming through during the Civil War.
S: Yes, old enough.
D: I wonder how the Yankees treated the Indian people when they came
through this section?
S: They didn't bother the Indian people. Hated the white people. Them
was the ones they was after.
D: So they were pretty good to the Indian people?
S: Yes, Uncle Milton Lowry. was along with them.
D: Who was Uncle Milton Lowry?
S: That was Loney Lowry's son.
D: Was he with the Yankees?
S: Yes. He went down there to old William C. McNeal's, that old white
man down there at Molson Lake. He had a long forty-foot house. They
had a porch and it was right low to the ground. They come in there
and they went in there. They took and rode their horses up on the
front porch and let them feed and mess over the floor there. Then
they took all their silver and their gold and their nice clothing
and everything. So, then the Rebels got in behind them.





3
D: I understand you to say that some of the Indian people during the
Civil War fought on the side with the Yankees, did they not?
S: No.
D: I thought maybe some of them fought on the northern side.
S: No, they didn't.
D: Did you ever hear of Uncle Dick Chavis?
S: Yes, I knowed him mighty well.
D: Someone told me that Uncle Dick Chavis fought with the Yankees.
S: Well, he might of. I know that Milton ran with them. They didn't
bother Indian people.
D: Milton Lowry?.
S: Yes.
D: Was he with the South or the North?
S: He was with the North.
D: Yes, with the North.
S: With the Yankees.
D: Oh, yes. That's what I asked awhile ago. You misunderstood me.
Wasn't the man you called Uncle Milton Lowry an Indian?
S: Yes. There was nobody but the white poeple. That's the ones they
bothered.
D: So they were good to the Indian people.
S: Yes. Old red-headed Betty McNeil lived here at Moss Neck.
D: At Moss Neck?
S: Yes. He had a long house there. It was forty feet long and the
porch was right down on the floor on the ground. They'd drive their
horses up in there and take his fodder and his corn stuff, and let
the horses eat. Then went in on them and took all their gold and
silver, their blankets, bedquilts and everything they could get.
D: Is that right?
S: Yes. Aunt Lottie Liowry--my grandmother's sister Jewel was Lottie's
mother--they met her right there coming from Clara's down on the
swamp there, on Burnt Swamp. Right there at St. they
met her and she had a nice filly. She was riding horseback when
they stopped her, took her horse, and gave her a crippled horse. She
couldn't keep up, and they wouldn't let her get in the water. They





4
took her off of the horse, and put her on their horse. He was kind of
lame and couldn't keep up with the gang and they put her on that horse.
D: That sounds rather interesting. Would you tell us about some of the
Indian people here who went down and worked at Ft. Fisher and who were
not able to get into the army as fighting men? I'm sure you must have
heard some of your parents or your grandparents talk about this.
S: My granddaddy went to Ft. Fisher and then boiled salt.
D: What did he do at Ft. Fisher?
S: Boiled salt water and made salt.
D: What did they call that?
S: They called it salt.
D: Did they call this working at the battery?
S: Yes, probably did.
D: Back in your mother's day and back when you were a boy, who would you
consider some of the most outstanding leaders of that day?
S: There were several leaders: Uncle Walsh Lowry?.
D: Uncle Walsh Lowry..
S: Yes, and old lady Cat, his wife.
D: Cat Lowrie was Uncle Walsh's...
S: Wife.
D: ...wife.
S: Jim Dial was sister to her.
D: Jim Dial was her sister. What Jim Dial was that?
S: Big Jim Dial. He married Aunt Easter Oxendine's Sarah.
D: What about some of the pioneer ministers, and some of the early educators?
S: Your granddaddy was one.
D: What was his name?
S: Moore.
D: W. L. Moore?
S: Yes. He was a school teacher, too.
D: Even among ministers today, would you consider him equal to any we
have today?





5
S: Better. We don't have any ministers now, not to what he was.
D: What was it about these men that made them so outstanding?
S: It was the quality that they had, and the names that they had. They
were Christians and school teachers. Their settlement loved them
and they had great confidence then. I can see him today just as
plain as someone in here in his preaching. He talked through his
nose. He didn't talk like me or you do. He talked differently.
D: Who is this, W. L. Moore?
S: Yes.
D: Before the school up at Pace, the...
S: That school over
D: ...first.normal school, what did they do for:.an education?
S: They didn't have an education, only a little bit for school.
D: What was the district school?
S: Little country schoolhouses, about here and yonder. I never got any
further than the seventh and eighth grade.
D: Who supported the district schools?
S: The county.
D: The county supported the district schools? In other words, we did have
some schools that the county supported even before the normal school
there at New Hope?
S: Yes, William Daniel Oxendine was one. I went to school t6:him.
D: You went to school at William Daniel Oxendine?
S: Yes.
D: Where was the school?
S: Across the swamp there, what they called the Bullard School.
D: Where is this?
S: Right across the swamp from home there. That's where Charlie Bullard
lives.
D: How old were you when you went to that school?
S: They started me off at seven years old.





D: This was before the normal school was at Pace?
S: Yeah.
D: Before W. L. Moore's time?
S: Yes. They hadn't gotten that school at Pace, and you got a two-
story school there. There was an old fellow named Hydran, an old
white man. He taught it awhile. Your granddaddy taught it awhile.
We'd have different ones to teach it. But there were no colleges
at all. Not a soul out of college. Old T. C. Henderson taught it.
D: He was up at Hope?
S: Yes, I went to school to him.
D: Was that before W. L. Moore's time?
S: That was after him.
D: Was T. C. Henderson the first principal after Moore?
S: Yes.
D: Are you quite sure of this?
S: I think I'm right.
D: Do you remember some of the other pioneers there other than Moore
and T. C. Henderson?
S: There was an old fellow named Hydran there, and he was an old white
man. Another one--I can't recall hi.s name now.
D: Getting back to the Lowry gang, do you feel Henry Berry Lowry was
justified in doing what he did and if so, why? Speak freely.
S: Why, sure.
D: Why do you think that he was justified?
S: They tried to drive him to the batteries in the Civil War and he
refused to go. He was then an eighteen year old boy. He went for
the woods. Then they got in behind him and tried to catch him.
They couldn't catch him. He was too sharp for them. Old Brantley
Harris, an old white man, got in behind the crowd to catch him, but
they didn't catch him.
D: Brantley Harris was some of my people, but that doesn't mean he was
any good, does it?
S: No. He was killed.
D: Where was Brantley Harris killed?
S: He was killed right over there on the Archie Lowry place.





7
D: Where is the Archie Lowry( place?
S: Back over here at the crossroad at Uncle Charlie Oxendine's place.
D: Someone said that Brantley is buried there at Harpers Ferry [West
Virginia]. Is that correct?
S: He wasn't buried there.
D: Where do you say he was buried?
S: He was buried into that well that was there.
D: A well where?
S: Is the well right there where J. P. stays in.
D: What J. P. ?
S: J. P. Oxendine.
D: J. P. Oxendine lives there now?
S: Yes. A brick house is there now.
D: I guess the grave couldn't be found now, could it?
S: It couldn't be found when he was buried in that well, and he was
covered up. That was where he was buried.
D: Who told you the story about him being buried in the well?
S: My grandmother.
D: By the way, what was your grandmother's name?
S: Becky.
D: Aunt Becky Dial?
S: Yes.
D: That was Miss Sally's mother?
S: Mother, and her...
D: What was her husband's name?
S: Willis.
D: Willis Dial. They lived longer than long ago, didn't they?
S: Oh, yes. He's Granddaddy Marcus's uncle.





S: Uncle.
D: So that's the same set of Dials.
S: Same set of Dials.
D: Did your grandfather, Beck Dial, own land there where the Sampsons
live now?
S: Yes. Owned 1,000 acres.
D: Yes, I've heard this before. This '1,000 acres! extended how far?:
S: Oh, Lord, took in that whole settlement. Her and my Uncle Wallace
owned a big bunch. Then Uncle John owned 1,000 acres.
D: What John was this?
S: My granddaddy's brother, John.
D: Beck's brother, John?
S: No, Granddaddy Willis's brother, John. But then she had a brother
named George Dial. Them was big people, too. You recollect brother
Benny, don't you?
D: Yes, I do.
S: They were big men, big as he was.
D: Yes, he was a big man.
S: He weighed .220.(lbs.)-. There were bi'g people back then. The race
of people% is running out.- You might even say runts.
D: They are runts. They're getting smaller and wiser?
S: Smaller and wiser.
D: Do you think they're becoming more intelligent or more stupid?
S: They are more intelligent now than they were back then.
D: Do you feel people today enjoy life as well as those who lived back
during your time and the time of your grandparents?
S: No, I don't.
D: Why?
S: Too much mischief going on into something. Along then you hardly ever
heard tell of anybody dying or anybody getting killed. Brantly Harris
was killed, and he was killed on account of his meanness.
D: Yes, I understand Brantley Harris was quite a character. He was a
member of the Home Guard, was he not?





9
S: Yes. You knew John Harris, didn't you? That was old Brantley
Harris's son, Jacqueline Harris's, come from old Brantley.
D: Brant was a white-man?
S: Yes.
D: He was supposed to be the father of lots of illegitimate children,
is that correct?
S: He got young'uns everywhere all over-the country.
D: What did the Indian people think of him?
S: Seemed like they thought well of him. Some did and some didn't.
Them outlaws got him out, though. They put an end to him.
D: Which one of the Lowry boys do you suppose killed him?
S: I don't know. There was two hid in the bushes when he come along.
Dial tried to go right along by there now and see the place where he
was killed there if it ain't cleared up. He was killed right over
there where Archie Lowry is, in front of his house.
D: The Lowry\ boys, can you name some of their names?
S: One was named Boss Strong, one was named Andrew, one was named Steve,
and one was named Henry.
D: But Boss was not a brother to Henry. He was a Strong wasn't he?
S: He was a Strong.
D: Henry Berry Lowry and Stever Lowry ..,
S: Yes.
D: ...and Boss Strong. I understand that the Lowry gang was made up of
all three races because there were the colored, the white and the
Indian, is that correct?
S: Yes. They had one nigger along.
D: What was the Negro's name?
S: George Applewhite.
D: George Applewhite was a Negro?
S: Yes.
D: Yes, that's what the book said.





10
S: Henry Berry went there, took Andrew and Boss out of jail, and killed
old Sheriff Cane. They robbed the bank and took the safe and put in
on a dray. Along in them times they had a two-wheeled dray to horse
up. But that bank on that dray, come across the river, blowed it
open, and got the money all out.
D: Where was that?
S: Right there. Robbed the safe over to Stanley McCloud. Took his safe
and got all the money there was in it. Walked across the river,
dynamited it, blowed it open, and got all the money that was in it.
D: I take it that you have a great deal of respect for the Lowry gang
in that they really did something for the Indian people.
S: Yes, you know why Henry killed? They tried to send him down there
and you know why he killed that gang? They went there, old Brantley
did, and killed his brother, Allen. I believe John was the other one.
He made them dig their own graves and killed them, being they wouldn't
tell where Henry was. He was in the bushes dodging, and he wouldn't
go to Wilmington.
D: Yes. That was one reason, as you mentioned awhile ago, they killed
Brantley Harris, because he was trying to get him, was he not?
S: Yes.
D: He was a member of the Home Guard.
S: There was thirty of them in that home militia. Old Brantley was the
leader of them and they killed everyone of them but one. He was Nate
McNeil. They'd have killed him that morning if they went to Moss Neck
across that. He caught the train and he was on the train leaving. He
left this country and never came here anymore.
D: Who, McNeil?
S:, Yes.
D: Where was he from?
S: He was raised here.
D: He took off and didn't return.
S: Betty McNeil's son.
D: Do you want to tell me some interesting things about what the Lowry
boys did in the way of murder or robbing and so forth? I've heard so
many people say that Henry Berry Lowry was a gentleman. What about it?
S: They didn't rob.
D: What did they do?





11
S: They'd just kill you and run. If you had anything they'd take it along.
They didn't rob you. They'd kill you, though.
D: In other words, you considered them gentlemen who had a good reason for
doing what they did?
S: Yes.
D: If they hadn't done what they did back in those days, what would they have
done? What would have happened to the Indian people?
S. I don't know. I couldn't tell you. But that learnt them a lesson that
springs today. The Lowry gang, when they got all together, all areas
there were Strongs in it.
S: Yes, there were Strongs, Andrew Strong and Boss Strong and, as you said a
minute ago, Applewhite was...
S: Goerge Applewhite.
D: He was a Negro.
S: He was a nigger, the only nigger they had in the gang.
D: Did you ever hear of Shoemaker John?
S: Shoemaker John?
D: Yes, Shoemaker John was one of them.
S: Uh huh.
D: Henderson Oxendine, one of the Lowry gang, wasn't he hanged?
S: No, that was Uncle Bert Oxendine's brother. They were hung over at...
D: Why?
S: For killing a peddler and robbing him.
D: Was this back during the Lowry time?
S: Along about then.
D: Who was Henderson?
S: Henderson Oxendin was Uncle Jim Oxendine's son and Aunt Lyle.
D: Was he any relation to Uncle Bud Oxendine?
S: Yes.





12
D: What relation?
S: He was his brother. Little Bud or Uncle Bud was....
D: Aunt Jane's Bud?
S: No, Aunt Dorothy's. She was my mother's sister, Dorothy's husband.
We called him Bud, but his name was Jonathan.
D: He must have lived during the time of the Lowry gang.
S: Yes.
D: But you don't know for sure whether he was a member of the gang or not.
S: No, I don't think he was. Old Brantley never was buried, only in that
well.
D: Only in the well.
S: Buried in that side of the road while the buggy was ... That was a
mistake. That was Uncle Jim's lie.
D: I believe the story goes that some woman was riding with Brantley at
the time he was shot out in the buggy.
S: Sarah Oxendine, Aunt Esther's Sarah.
D: Had she just gotten off the buggy or was she still in the buggy?
S: Sheha-d just gotten off of the buggy. They intended to kill him after
they killed her. Just as she got off of the buggy and went out of the
way, they opened fire and knocked him out.
D: All of us know that Henry Berry Lowry death is still a mystery today.
We're not sure what happened to him. What do you think happened to
Henry Berry Lowry
S: Henry Berry left here, and he was sent off by a white man, loaded right
here at Moss Neck. He never was killed.
D: Go ahead and tell that story.
S: Thirty years afterward he was in Oklahoma. He run a toll booth there
across that river.
D: Where did you get this story?
S: From the old folks.
D: From the old folks?
S: Yes, I got the real one.
D: You say you don't believe the story that Henry Berry Lowr y was killed
by an accident while cleaning his gun.





13
S: No, he wasn't killed. He left here.
D: You think he left here.
S: He was sent off. A white man sent him away from here, loaded him
right here at Moss Neck.
D: Who was this white man?
S: Old Preacher Price.
D: Who was Preacher Price?
S: He was a white man.
D: What did he do?
S: He put him in a box. He bored holes all around in that box, loaded
him at Moss Neck and shipped him to Mississippi?
D: To Mississippi?
S: Yes, That's where he died at. He ain't been dead more than about,
twenty-five years. I seen a man from there fifteen years ago. He
said he had just left Henry Berry.
D: Is that right?
S: Yes.
D: Was he a white man?
S: Yes.
D: Tell me something about your early childhood days, the work you did
and so forth.
S: I've done every kind of work that I could do after I grew up. As a
boy, I worked on a farm up until I was twenty years old.
D: How did farming then differ from today?
S: All together different. You never seen a tractor nor heard tell of
one.
D: Did you plow with mules and horses?
S: Horses and oxen.
D: No mules? When did the first mules cometo this..,?
S: We had a mule, but we kept that mule for other work. We didn't plow
him. We plowed them oxens.





14
D: What did people do in the winter months mostly?
S: They didn't do nothing, only playing and eating, working around where
they could get little jobs.
D: What was their diet mostly?
S: To eat? We had plenty to eat: plenty of hogs, plenty of cows.
We'd take corn, make hominy out of it and eat that and plenty of
vegetables. Nobody was never sick. We had no doctor.
D: You didn't have a single doctor in the area?
S: No, had no doctors here. We had to go to the woods. My grandmother
went to the woods and got herbs for her folks. Made tea.
D: Who was the first doctor in this area?
S: Dr. McNat.
D: About what time did he come to Pembroke?
S: He didn't come to Pembroke.
D: Where did he come?
S: He came to Lumber Bridge.
D: Lumber Bridge, that's a long ways off.
S: I know. That's the nearest doctor we had.
D: Is that right?
S: Yes.
D: When did the first doctor come to Pembroke?
S: We had several different ones.
D: Do you remember the first Indian doctor? Who was the first Indian
doctor?
S: There wasn't none no better that ever walked shoe leather than Dr.
Governor Locklear. He was the first one.
D: Dr. Governor Locklear was a good doctor. I believe he went to John
Hopkins [University, Baltimore, Maryland].
S: Yes. He and Dr. McClellan went to school together. Dr. McClellan was
a doctor at Maxton [North Carolina], and they went to school together.
He said he was one of the best that they made. They canvased this
territory over from here clean to Wilmington in 1918 during the "fluenza".
They knew they had what they called a "fluenza" along then that killed
the people so? Killed every white man there in Tatum, South Carolina,





15
and never left a man in business there. There were two or three
doctors there: Old doctor Stanton and Roy Stanton. Killed him.
They didn't know how to handle it after it hit.
D: I suppose he was one of the first Indians of this area to marry
a white lady.
S: Yes. His first wife was Lottie's oldest girl.
D: There's quite a bit of white blood among the Indian people here in
Robeson County. Take yourself. You show quite a bit of white blood.
How do you account for all the white blood among the Indians of
Robeson County?
S: The white men brought the white women mixing with the Indians. That's
it. My daddy's a white man.
D: What was your daddy's name?
S: Murray.
D: Murray what?
S: Mead Murray.
D: In other words, you have your mother's name, Sampson?
S: No, my step-daddy's name, Nash.
D: Your step-daddy's name.
S: Yes, Nash Sampson. He was my step-father.
D: Where do you believe these people came from before they settled in
Robeson County?
S: My grandmother come from Roanoke, Virginia.
D: Roanoke, is that right. Are you sure of this?
S: Yes. That's what she told...
D: You want to tell me something about that?
S: She come down in here and settled down in here, got up with my grand-
daddy, Willis, and married him. He weren't a native. He was from
Michigan.
D: You say that your great-grandmother came from Roanoke.
S: Yes.
D: There is something to support this story that some of the people came
from Roanoke down into this area.





16
S: Yes, from Roanoke and from Michigan. Granddaddy Willis come from
Michigan. Granddaddy Willis was a Scotchman.
D: The one who came from Roanoke, your grandmother, was she Indian
or white?
S: She was an Indian.
D: What was her name?
S: Becky, my grandmother.
D: Your grandmother, Becky, came from Roanoke?
S: Yes. Her parents.
D: Oh, Becky's parents came from Roanoke.
S: Yes.
D: What was Becky's parents'names?
S: Her mother's name was Dorothy.
D: So your grandmother, Becky's mother, was Dorothy. What was her last
name?
S: I forget now. She came from Charleston.
D: Which one came from Roanoke?
S: My grandmother.
D: What was her name?
S: Becky.
D: Maybe it was her people who came from Roanoke. I suppose you remember
hearing your grandparents talk about some of the people who settled in
this area probably came from Roanoke, do you not?
S: Yes.
D: Some claim we are descendents from John White's Lost Colony of Roanoke.
S: We are and if they can prove it there's millions of dollars down in
Washington for them.
D: Is that right?
S: Yes.
D: We could certainly use some money, couldn't we?





17
S: Yes. What they call White's Lost Colony--John White came over from
England and settled with his one girl.
D: Roanoke.
S: Yes, in Roanoke and he found an Indian squaw here by the name of
Pocahontas. He married her and went back. He was to come back,
but he never come. When he came there was a friendly tribe of
Indians that he had met when he came from overseas.
D: When he returned, he never did see his colony anymore. They had...
S: No.
D: ...disappeared.
S: Disappeared.
D: Some believe that some of those people finally came to Robeson County.
S: You know what was carved on the beech tree?
D: What was that?
S: Croatan. They were gone. That was the friendly tribe that he met.
He tried to get up with them, but he never could overtake them.
D: Changing our subject here a little bit, way back during your childhood
days would you tell us something about quilting parties and dancing
and woodsawings?
S: They had all that a going on. Preachers. My step-daddy or my last
daddy went to a party down here somewhere, and there was a bunch of
preachers in there, old man John Sampson and William Sampson and a
bunch of them in there. They had them a-partying there, drinking
liquor and a dancing. Preachers now. Old man Dick Carter and his
wife Betty stood watching them, and he said, "Boy, I have friends."
He said, "If you don't mind..." They didn't know he was watching.
They hadn't seen him. He said, "If you don't mind you're going to
miss both places." That was He was a funny old fellow.
I've laughed at him many a times talking-and carrying about old times. He
was a McLaughlin. He called himself a Carter, but...
D: I believe in some of the old dancing parties some of the boys did what
they called a buck dance, didn't they?
S: Yes.
D: Did you ever buck dance?
S: No, I never did buck dance. I could dance but I couldn't do no buck
dancing.
D: Do you remember the boys going down in Georgia to work in turpentine or
was that before that day?





18
S: No, I went to Georgia.
D: I know one man, the children's named after some of the cities in
Georgia: Valdosta and Rochelle and so on. What'd you do in Georgia?
S: I done mostly anything that come along. I had to work turpentine,
to learn the nature of getting this turpentine before I could ever
be a stiller, still turpentine or load the wood. I done had to go
through the whole thing before I could ever get to be a woodsman or
a stiller.
D: What was a woodsman?
S: Why he loads them turpentine wood, worked the boxes, and see that you
didn't leave none. It should all be pulled or chipped. They started
it right down at the ground. The box was cut that close to the ground.
Then they'd chip this side and chip that side. They'd get what they
call virgin turpentine in that box. Later on they changed it. That
had cups that fitted, hugged up to it that would hold about a half a
gallon. They'd get it up just as far up as they could chip or pull
because it didn't have far to fall. It was white and the other dip
was yellow, and rosin. It had to be cut in inch square blocks and
then graded, passed through water white. I stilled it and graded it.
D: How long were you in Georgia?
S: About three years.
D: When the people went down in Georgia, did some of them stay down there
or did most of them return?
S: Plenty of them stayed down there and never did come back home.
D: When they married down in Georgia, did they marry whites?
S: I don't know. I know I didn't marry a white. I went with white people
out there, but I didn't even marry out there. She had to be...
D: Most of the people who went to Georgia returned to Robeson County,
didn't they?
S: Yes. Pat went up and then Uncle Tucker and worked a whole season.
D: Did we have any turpentine industry here in Robeson County?
S: Yes, but there weren't enough to do no good. It was just the crops
here and there. We had turpentine at home.
D: Back in your young days, other than farming, what did the people do in
this area to make a living?
S: Any kind of work you could get. If you were a carpenter, you could do
carpenter work.
D: You were quite a carpenter in your days. I remember you built the Wade
Tiner house here in town which later was the Dr. Robeson house, is that
correct?





19
S: Yeah, I built the biggest part of it. Then all the trim inside.
D: Where did you learn your trade?
S: I learned at home when I was a boy before I went off to Georgia.
I built houses in Pembroke. I built the first houses built in Pembroke.
I built them for old man Archie McCormick. I built him three in
Pembroke here. Then I built Fuller's house and the Lowrie's house.
He's got it mentioned.
D: Yes, it seems that you built two of the finest homes in Pembroke.
S: I did. They're the two finest homes there were in Pembroke. The
cost was slim.
D: What were you paid per day back when you were building those homes?
S: All depends on what you knew, what you could do, and who handles it.
I worked for Fuller for two dollars and a half a day and my dinner.
D: What year was that?
S: I believe it was in 1916, somewhere in there.
D: Mr. Godwin just arrived. Mr. Godwin, what do you think happened to
Henry Berry Lowry?
G: He got accidentally killed. He had been trying to shoot the load off
of his gun for a long time. Back then all of them had a hammer and a
tube. If they didn't get powder in that tube and put a cap on it
it wouldn't fire. He forgot about it and didn't take the cap off.
His gun loaded out with a rod with a hook on the end of it and he
slipped. His knee struck that hammer, it fell back, and fired off.
The load went right up through here, my mother said, and blowed the
top of his head off.
D: Your mother was some relation to...
G: Yes.
D: ...Henry Berry?
G: Yes, she was....
D: What relation?
G: She was no relation to Henry Berry Lowry, but she was related to one
of the outlaw's wives.
D: Which one?
S: That was his mother.
G: Yes. She was Aunt Foley's sister, and she married Andrew Strong.





20
D: What is your age, Mr. Godwin?
G: Eighty-eight.
D: Where do you think Henry Berry was buried?
G: He was buried, she said, over there by Thunder Port. You don't
know where that is, though. Back swamp across the other side of
Deep Branch Church. There used to be a bridge there. They called
it the Sampson Bridge. You crossed there and went on out that road
and crossed the Back Swamp. He was buried above to the right of that
road in a slew. That's where she said that the outlaws told where
they buried it.
D: In a slew in Back Swamp.
G: Where the water had run over it nobody ever did find it.
S: Uncle Sampson used to say, "Come on if you want to see him the last
time." He told him he didn't want to see him. Go ahead.
D: Mr. Sampson feels and many people feel that Henry Berry Lowry was
quite an outstanding man for the Indian people. What is your feeling?
G: Yes sir, he was according to the reports that my mother said about him.
D: You feel he was justified in doing what he did?
G: That's right, yes. He didn't do anything unless you bothered him.
He'd always send you word if you got in his business. He'd send you
word not to do that anymore and if you did, why he'd go hunt you.
S: McNeal was sitting down here on the pond, as you cross on that as
we're going there to Moss Neck...
G: Yes.
S: ...the morning that they went there to kill Nate McNeal. They had
killed everyone of them but him. They intended to kill him when Oakly
said he didn't think that they seen him. Henry said, "Come on out
from behind that tree there. I seen you." "Oh, God," he says, "I was
scared so bad. I don't know what I did do in my pants." He said,
"Come on. Don't be afeared. I ain't going to hurt you." He says,
"We aren't afraid."
G: Henry Berry Lowry killed old Musselwhite on the mill dam.
S: Yes.
G: My daddy, we were down there one day a-fishing....
D: What mill dam was that?
G: It was the Moss Neck dam down here. I was a small, little boy about
ten years old, and we were down there fishing one day. He said, "Come
on over here. I'm going to show you where Henry Berry was standing





21
when he killed Musselwhite. It was an oak tree that by some means--
I don't know what happened to it--it started up, then it made a
bough of about a yard, and then grew up. He was standing up on
the trunk of that tree when he shot him so he'd be up level with
the mill there.
D: Mr. Godwin back during your childhood days, will you mention a
few of the outstanding community leaders. Who are some of the
leaders that you consider outstanding leaders back in your child-
hood days?
G: Most of them back then were quite different from what they are
this day and time. The most of them were ladies, near about all
of them that you found. There were not very many but what was.
But now it's quite different.
D: Do you remember W. L. Moore?
G: Oh, mighty well.
D: What kind of man was W. L. Moore?
G: He was a fine man as far as I ever knew. Never heard nothing else.
D: Good speaker? Was he a fine preacher?
G: Yes, good preacher. I loved to hear him preach.
S: Preacher and a teacher.
D: Excellent educator, also.
G: Yes, he was a fine man as far as I ever knew.
S: But boy, he had a pile of cotton.
D: Mr. Godwin, did you attend many of the quilting parties when you
were a young man?
G: Did I do what?
D: Did you attend any of the quilting parties and woodsawing?
G: Yes, and corn shucking.
D: Corn shucking?
G: Yes.,
D: Tell me about the corn shucking.
G: Everybody that had two or three loads of corn would have a corn
shucking. They didn't never put no corn in the crib and then
shucked. They always shucked it.
S: I would shuck. Usedto....





22
G: There was one time when I was a little boy, we had a fellow by
the name of Kalb Carter that helped my daddy farm. He had a
little farm. He was going to have a corn shucking and he wanted
all of us to go to his corn shucking. So we went on the old plan-
tation carts. Daddy loaded us all up and went. He lived over
here about Swamp. He wanted us to go to a corn shucking. When
we got over there, he didn't have just a small pile of corn. He'd
killed a beef and a hog for the corn shucking. He was a big eater.
So when the corn was all shucked, we went in to the table. He
said he was hungry. He was going to the first table. He sat
down at the end of this table and there was four tables that eat.
He was sitting eating when all of us got done. They were cleaning
up the table. He ate about five or six pounds of that beef that
night for supper.
S: Who was that?
G: Old Kalb Cater.
S: It was?
G: But he was a man. He worked for my daddy a lot. Back then he had
to keep the fences up or stock was in the woods.
S: You had to bring in split wood.
G: He'd get out there in the summertime, cut him down a tree and
bust it open that'd split eight rails to the cut. He'd take that
on his shoulder, tote it to the shed, and split it up.
D: Mr. Godwin and Mr. Sampson, I suppose you remember when people used
to walk over to Fayetteville to shop. Will you tell us about that.
G: Yes. I remember when there weren't.... Wes Cork was close to that.
Built that old house that's still down there on the left as you're
going on.
S: Yes, I seen him.
G: He was the first one there. I helped cut crossties to build that road.
Me and my two brothers cut .3,000 crossties and'put to that road when
they'were building it.
D: Which, the Seaboard?
G: No, the Coastline.
D: The Coastline, but the Seaboard was here before your day?
G: It was here before I can remember it, yes.
S: Uncle Walsh would walk to Fayetteville and back every day.
G: Yes.
D: What is this?





23
S: He'd walk to Fayetteville and back in the day.
D: Who?
S: Uncle Walsh Lowry.
G: Sure.
D: What would he go to Fayetteville for?
S: Goed there, get stuff and clay, and what he'd want. There was
no stores. No, sir.
D: Fayetteville was the nearest town?
S: Yes. He bought him a mule up there and he had oxen. Sometimes
he'd drive his old big oxen. His name was Raleigh, and he went
to Fayetteville. He decided he'd get him a mule. Had his ox
cart and he just bought him a little mule, put it up on that ox
cart, and brought it home. The mule was named Katie Black. Bought
it for Lady Kat. There wasn't a doctor around. She was the only
doctor around in the community.
D: What kind of doctor was Miss Kat?
S: She was really a midwife. Doctor with women and for men. Old
big Lindsey Locklear was the next doctor.
D: You mean Lindsey Locklear was a doctor also?
S: Yes.
D: What did he do?
S: He'd go around, tend to women, doctor them and go to men, and doctor 'em.
G: That's the truth.
D: He didn't deliver babies, did he?
S: Yes, he did.
D: Mr. Lindsey Locklear delivered babies?
S: Yes.
G: Yes.
S: Sure.
D: Mr. Sampson, I understand that they used to raft logs--is that what
you call it--down Lumbee River to Georgetown. Would you tell us
about that?
S: Logs down to Georgetown.





24
D: How long would it take to make a trip from Pembroke to Georgetown?
S: It would be a week before he'd come back.
D: It would take about three weeks to float the logs down, wouldn't it?
S: Yes.
D: Then they would walk back?
S: They'd be gone a month.
D: Pardon?
S: In rafting them logs, he'd be gone a month.
D: Then it would take him about a week to get back.
S: Yes. Uncle Preston Chavis rafted logs down there. My wife's daddy,
old Lumbee Carter, rafted logs down to Georgetown.
D: How would they put them together?
S: Put them together like your fingers, cross the end up there, take
a pole, and put across, bore a hole down through that pole down in
that log, and drive oak pegs down in it and hold it.
D: What would they do at night?
S: They'd hang up many a time. They couldn't travel at night in
Lumbee River. It was so crooked they had to hang up, tie up and
run in the daytime. I rafted them, bring the cargo down the
Suwannee River.
D: Where is this?
S: Out in Georgia.
D: Used to raft logs in Georgia?
S: Logs, yes.
D: Where were you in Georgia?
S: I was at Fargo, Georgia.





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