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CRK 27 A
Farris McGhee and Wife
This is August 26, 1972, and I'm interviewing Mr. Farris McGhee at
P: Mr. MCGhee, I understand that where you live right here that this was a
piece of grand land from Lynn McGhee. Would you talk about that land
and what happened to it through the years?
M: Well, I just don't know that much about it the grand land. My dad,
he been living here for years. :Neil McGhee and I don't know -
they said it was an old grant, I don't know, but i been here for
years, so I wouldn't know too much about this.
P: Who was your'granddaddy?
M: Well, my daddy was he didn't have no ... Owan McNeil is supposed to be
P; Who was his mother?
M: Betsyy McGhee.
P; Do you happen to know who her mother and father were?
M: No, sir, I don't. That'sttoo far back for me.
P: Just so I can get some s idea of the time we're talking about, what
year were you born?
M: I was born December 1, 1902.
P: And your father, how old was he when he died and what year was that?
M: I don't know it's been so long. Wife, what year was it my dad died
here, do you remember? Oh, it's been a long time. I guess I don't
remember, it's been a long time. Well, mother lived a
after he died, you know.
P: Was she an Indian descendant herself, your mother?
M; No, sir, she wasn. t. But, my dad, he was.
P: And he lived here on this piece of land?
M: Yes, sir.
P: And how many acres was this originally?
M: Eighty acres.
P: And you know have the whole eighty?
M: Yes, I now have the whole eighty, yes.
P: To your knowledge, there was never any more to the Indian grant land -
just eighty acres.
M: Just eighty acres is all I knowed of.
P: When you were growing up, were there other Indian families living on
this eighty acres?
M: Yes, there were several families, but they left here.
P: Who were some of those families? t xc -
M: One of them was Bud Adams and Rob McGhee AWell, that's far as I know
on this old grant here.
P: Do you know how Rob was related to you?
M: Well, if he was he was way off.
P: And Bud Adams, too.
Besides the land on the grand land, here, were there any other Indian
families living in the Hucksofrd area? What were the other Indian
families in the Hucksford area?
M: Well they lived right down here near Hucks4ord they're all dead and
gone. Jim Colbert, Dave Colbert, Owen Colbert, Muford Colbert, I believe
that's about all Shammon Colbert. They were all Indians.
P: Were they married to Indian women?
M: Well Dave and Jim were. I believe Shammon was.
P:Who were Dave and Jim's wives?
M: F1ene I don't remember their mothers back there. I don't remember them.
I believe Mag Hinton was Dave's wife. I believe Dave was married twice.
Susie Gipton was his last wife. She lived here et- Porh down here.
VY NQo I've heard several people down in Perch say that the original Rolands
came up here around Red Hill Do you remember Red Hill?
M: No, sir, I don't. Well, there's a bunch of the Rolands living around
F?r, I know tht but I don't remember them around Red Hill.
P: You don't remember the Rolands around here?
M: No sir. All the Rolands I remember is/around-erek.
P: So other than McGhee and Colbert, there wasn't any more Indian names
M: No sir, there weren't.
P; Tell me something about school back when you were a boy. S c4o/lin.,
M:Alright sir. When I was quite small, you know they didn't want the
Indians to go out here to Hucksford school. Alright I don't know
how they come to build the school, I think it's the Colberts was the
one Dave and them down here. They put a schoolhouse right behind
the field -it 's on this land ...
R: It's on the grant land?
M: Yes, sir. They built the schoolhouse back there and that's where we
all went to school when I was a boy.
P: All you boys went to school there?
M: Well, there's a bunch of us All the Colberts and Indians down here.
P: But they wouldn't let you go to school in Hucksford?
M: No sir, we didn't go to school in Hucksford, well I reckon we could
have went, but ... my family here on the last go around, my family
did go that's before the colored people started in here.
P; You mean your children you're talking about?
M: Yeah, my children.
P: Your w just mentioned that on the front porch a moment ago.
M: You see I didn't live here my daddy I brought them here.
I bought a home through the government. Well, I sold that home Dad and
mother wanted me to come home- there wasn't nobody to look after them
much, so I come home and stayed right here until they left here.
P: And so you took over the place?
M: Yes, well the boys wanted things straightened out so they could sell
the place, so I bought it. FO & 4 /ce
P: How many children were in your family your brothers and sister who
were they? *,
M: Five of us One 7 two dead ones. Would you want them too?
Well, there's two girls and five boys. Let me see, the was Willie,
ORA, Gaul that's the boy: that's living now and Arch he's dead, and
Elja McGhee, he lives at Eula that's my brother next to me and Hersh.
P: Getting back to the school situation for a moment, could you talk about
later on what happened say in the last twenty years or so bout when
they closed the school, were you living here when they consolidated
the school and did they bus them down Do you remember much about that?
M: No sir, I don't. I don't remember just exactly how that come or how
that went, but I do know when I moved back here from '.i e Hill I
don't remember just when it was when I moved back here Do you remember
wife? We was living at W : a Hill. My wife went to school here,,o when
we moved back here, we put our children in school.
P: Mrs. MShee would you tell me again what you did on the porch what you
did about getting your children to school?
Mrs. M: Well when I first moved here, they told me that I couldn't get-tth
children in the school, that I'd have to send them to Porch to get them
in school, so I just went out and called for the third and fourth grade
rooms and admitted my children in there. The teacher said are you
Indians7 and I told I wasn't but that my children had some Indian blood
in them, but they did accept my children in.
the teachers did, and so I didn't go to the principal about it.
P: And that was about how many years ago?
M: Let's see, I believe my oldest daughter is 41, I believe, and I be-
lieve my baby girl was in the third grade and she's about she was
born in 1938 you can count that upc< can't remember.
P: Before you moved down to Walnut Hillyou were growing up around
Hucki -rd here, do you remember if there was much visiting with the
McGhees down in Porch did you all know each other?
M: Oh, yes sir. We knew each other.
P; What were some of the occasions that you would get together with them?
M: Well, when I was growing up, single fellow, I went with a girl down
there around Perch.
P: Was she an Indian girl?
M: Sure was, yes a sir.
P: 9. Were there a lot of Indian fellows from here that found girlfriends
down in -Pee4+?
M: Well, not from here. Sure wasn't.
P: How did you get to know people down in Porch?
M: Well, we just well it's not very far 0 they'd always have well some--
times they'd have services there church services. Back there when I
was a boy gtewrg up they'd have parties, first one thing and another,
I'd go in there then.
P: Tell me about the church that you went to as a boy What kind of
church did you have here?
M: Well, before I ever got what I'm into now, I went to Baptist Church.
P: Was that here in Hucksford?
M: We had a Baptish Church right here.- I left, let me tell you, I just
found out I wasn't saved, I was just a church member, I'm gonna make
it clean to you. When I found the Lord, it was right back yonder.
i4he Indian settlement the Colberts. I got saved right back there
30-some years ago. They used to have a little old house up there
on a hill, right behind old man Jim Colbert's house, there. I changed
my life right there, the way of living.
P: Who was preaching there?
M: Sister Belle was a lady r.iht-here.in Hucksford.
- Then there was some good hley me / rQ- prea hers there. Erin Hollings-
worth he preached in there and he dead and gone. Bill
Smith pastor all the time.
P: Were there any Indian preachers back then?
M: Well, sometimes they would come in there Brooks Roland e he's dead,
I think he used to come in there.
P; Where's he from?
P; You mentioned the indian settlement and you over here towards
the west. Now where is that in relation to Hucksford the Hucksford
gas station is now.
M: Do you mean ...
P: What were you referring to by the Indian settlement?
M; Over on the right where they owned the homes just Dave and Jim, and
I was the only who owned their own home right there on the
P: How many families were in there?
M: Well, Dave and Jim, Shammon Old Man Jim.
P: Are those the Eolberts youie talking about?
M: Yes, the Colberts.
P; And did you call it the Indian settlement back in those days?
M: Well, I didn't but I said the Indian people lives right down there.
Everybody just called it the Indian settlement.
P: Was your dad's place here considered part of the Indian settlement?
M: Well, I imagine so, he had it in him Indian -
P: Ohter than the school situation, was there any other way back years
ago that the Indians were discriminated against?
M: Well nothing except they just didn't want him to go to Hucksford school-
they didn't want the Indians to go here. I think Old Man Dave Colbert
was the fellow that started this school building back here the one that
built the schoolhouse back here.
P: Because they wouldn't let his children .
M; Yeah, that's right.
P; So he just built the school back here?
M: They all just went together and built it.
P; Do you have any idea do you ever think about it why it was that
the other folks didn't want their children to go to school with the
M: I just didn't, don't know. It's kind of a mystery to me I just
didn't understand why they didn't. They was two or three fellows
down here who just didn't want them to go down there I think Travis
Bryant was one of them the Kellers they just didn't want
them to go and I think the Kellers they had Indian in them. C -o
P: I've heard tAt from a couple of people that those who were hardest on
the Indians had Indian blood. C -(1r ')
M: Yes, sir. I'll tell you about it. When we was signing up for this-
we. was down here around Porch Calvin and all would go in and sign.
You'd be surprised who didn't claimTthis Indian blood you'd go t o them
books You just look on the books and the biggest ones is from here in
Hucksford signed up
P; But they weren't claiming Indians?
M: They weren't claiming Indians until this come up, see? And the biggest
majority of them signed up for this money.
P: Back when you were a boy changing the subject, do you remember whether
there were old Indians around talking the Indian language?
M; No, sir, I don't. They was an old Indian fellow I know when I was
lad of a
just a /\ : boy, I wasn't too big that was old man Dick McGhee He
was an old Indian fellow hunting was his regular hobby. So, I remember
when old man Dick McGhee he hunted lots and he was feeble too, getting
old and feeble and he aarried his guns and things with him and he went
back in these woods on the other side of Hucksford those woods over
there and while he was in them woods over there, he must have laid his
gun an a big log way back across the place> swamp over there and he laid
down and I, guess a heart attack must have struck him, 'cause he died
right there. And they hunted him they hunted him and hunted him and
this old big black dog that we owned that dog stayed right with :'i him -
He was dead laying aside that log, but this dog didn't leave him
till bWs /,'/ sfa rk^
till t. And that dog stayed with him until .I.and the
dog left him and came here. Dick lived out there somewhere in one of them
old... and some of them says now if you want to find that man, wait
until hhis dog gets through eating you will follow him and you'll find him.
Well when the dog get through eating and rested up a bit, and then got
up and headed back, and I don't think nobdy could stay up with him much,
but they kind of knowed which way he was going and so they went that
course with that dog and they found him.
P; And that was old man Dick ...
M: Dick McGhee.
P; He lived up here? 7Jt -COM
M: Yes, sir, he lived in this country. Yes, sir, I believe it was right
out here his old house, somewhere right out here its' been a long
time he stayed right here.
P; He was an oldest one..A can remember, right?
P; You don't know if he could talk in the Indian language or not?
M: No, sir, I don't..
P; Do you remember when you were a little boy, hearing the older people
talk:' about Lynn McGhee and how he got these land grants here?
M: No, sir, I didn't.
P; You didn't hear any stories about that?
M: No, sir, I didn't.
P; Did you know who Lynn McGhee was?
M: I knew him. He lived right near eft here, too. I knew Lynn
McGhee A McGhee's one of his boys, now.
P; I'm talking about the Lynn McGhee of years and years ago.
M: Oh, no, sir, no sir! I did not know him.
P; You didn't know any stories about him?
M: No, sir. I understand now.
P; Down inserek, I've heard several people talk; about q the old Lynn
McGhee years.ago, piloted Andrew Jackson down the river have you
heard that story?
M; Well, I've heard them tell about it I get them to say something.
I was a little bitty fellow, I imagine.
P: What was that they'd tell you?
M: Well, all I heard was about what you said there, that's about all. I
wafquite small. I didn't pay much attention.
R: Some of the older people would a about that?
M: Yes .
P: Do you remember anything other than the story you told about Dick McBhee
any foods or anything that the older people used to do consider to be
Indian in any way? I1
M; Well, a lot of them didn't use much they'd always use __ out of
the woods. My grandmother, poppa's mother she used a lot of out
of the woods she was Indian too. They didn't go to these doctors much.
They didn't have doctors back ten it was too much but they used
herbs out of the woods. They sure did.
P; Do you remember something called sofki?
M: JONwA that?
P; Sofki. A kind of food I've heard them talking about out f- Patch.
M; No, sir. I don't believe Ihave.
P: When you were growing up, what did people do for a living? Just tell
me a little bit what life was like up here.
M; Well, when I was growing up, farming was about our biggest thing here.
That was about the biggest we'd done for giving in here. Them older
heads, too they'd farm and garden and plow mules tractors there
were no tractors we'd plow mules and make gardens and corn, potatoes,,..
8: Much working in the woods at that time?
M; No, sir not back then. Well, I worked in the woods)back then when I
was coming up. I loaded logs and urighk. them skitters. Skitter y f
a long time. herO. ut we didn't get nothing mucheput of it,
P: What about turpentine. Was there much turpentine right up around the
M: Yes, we used turpentine a lot. _j lived right across here about three
miles. Turpentine there five or six years our family me and my
brothers my dad and my mother we lived over there. We got kind of
tired of that after fixe or six years and we moved back home.
P; And this has always been home?
M: Yeah, right here We were born and raised right here.
P; Born and raised right here/
M; Yes, sir, right here.
P: Was there 6 Qkay)in those days you said there weren't many doctors around
Were there a particular midwife or anything?
M: Yes,was your grandmother ever a midwife?
M: No,`ir, she was not.
P; Well, altogether about, just guessi 1.ni numbers, how many Indian people
werqliving right around the grant land here in the settlement when you
were growing up about how many? Just in rough figures..
M: Actually, it's been so long I reckon there's 15 or 20Vsomething
like that.Down in that Colbert settlement you know and all the children.
Old and young, too, youknow._r
P: And then what happened to them through the years?
M: Well, they died out a lot of them Sure did and then some of them
left here, you know. The older heads died.
P; And the children stayed on?
M; Well, some of them left and some died, too.
P; Did any of them move down to .Peeh? Do you know of any Indian folks
here noved into Porch?
M;\ R LColbert He moved from here to Porch.
P; Who was his daddY?
M: Jim Colbert.
P: And they lived right over here?
M: Yes, they lived right down here, that's right.
P: He's the only one you can think of that moved down to PRoeh?
M: I believe R was the only one around here that moved to Porch.
And he didn't live in Porch for a long time, but he did move on in
there and built him a home there. So he living in Porch now, R ___
P; One other thing I wanted to ask you- How did you find out about the
Indian land money and all that? And taking part in that?
Through PO cCrcl
M; Well, what did you say wife? \Calvin McGhee and all down here in-aex (
P: He come to tell you h bout it, or what?
M: Well, we had to go in there and sign in, you know. So I went in and
signed u? and that's about .where everybody went and signed
up in this country here, you know. All these people around Hucksford,
too. If you could see that book you'd be surprised.
P; I heard there was just hundreds and hundreds of them.
M: I wish you could ... Oh', there's people come from miles and sign up here.
P: Do you think much is ever gonna come of it?
M: No, I sure don't think too much about it. It's been brewing so long, irn j 4C
don't know if there'll ever be anything to it or not.
P; One kind of final question I want to ask you you and your wife have
you ever thought of yourself as being Indian?
M: Well, I knew I had Indian in me nnOmy daddy's side, you know, but my
mother didn't have it. But on my daddy's side, and my grandmother's
? side, they all had Indian in them.
P; What I'm trying to say is what you call a conscious thing growing
up in this community that : there were some that were Indians
and some that weren't.
M: Well, there's some of them say they were and -ywas that's the way
it runs .Bew-
P; Well, if I've not asked you something that you think would be important
on the history of the people around the Hucksford area.
Anything I should ask you about, in other words.
M; Well, I think we've pretty well covered it so far, so good.
P; Okay, one last question What do you think is going to be in the
future for the Indian people of Alabama around here?
M: I never thoughtof it. Well, I just wouldn't know I certainly wouldn't
know. I just sure wouldn't.
P' 0 ^ Q~, 1-c 'yy