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
Interviewee: Dan McGhee
Interviewer: J. Anthony Paredes
September 12, 1972
P: Mr. McGhee, when and where were you born and who were your
M: Well, I was born at Uriah, in Monroe County. Later on we
left there and I was partly raised in Huxford and Uriah. My
parents worked over in Uriah and it seemed like I was raised
mostly back and forth from Uriah to Huxford until I was
grown and married.
P: Did you visit down there much?
M: Oh yeah, we visited. We came to church down here.
P: Were your parents working in the woods or on the farms?
M: In the woods. Logging [in the] woods.
P: What kind of provisions did they make for families? Did the
lumber companies have any houses for the families to live
M: Yes sir.
P: What were they like?
M: They were just wood houses, kind of similar to what you just
P: They had [houses) big enough for a family?
M: Oh yes. Big enough for a family.
P: Why, when you got married, did you come and settle in here?
M: Well, my wife was settled in here, and I just came and
settled down in here.
P: What year were you born?
M: I was born in 1901. I suppose that would be putting me
seventy-two years old. I will be seventy-two on my next
P: You said your wife and her folks live here?
M: Yes sir.
P: What year was that when you came here?
M: Mr. Tony, I do not remember what year it was.
P: Did you start farming here?
M: Yes sir.
P: Where was your place?
M: Well, I did not own any place, I just rented. [I] worked
on halves with other people.
P: Where were you living?
M: Well, when I first lived down here, after I was married, I
cannot remember just where [I lived] to begin with. I think
I must have lived out at Poarch Switch.
P: Did you live at one of Hall's houses over there?
M: Yes, I did.
P: How many other families were living out there when you first
lived out there?
M: Oh, there were several families. I just do not know how
P: Were they all Indian families?
M: Oh, yes. They were all Indians.
P: Did you know how the Indian people got started working for
him on halves over there?
M: No sir, I do not. They [were] still working there with him
when I came down.
P: And you worked for him too?
M: Yes, I worked for him.
P: Tell me what kind of man he was.
M: Well, [as] far as I know, Mr. Tony, he was a good man. He
was mostly a friend to the Indians, and he gave a lot of the
Indians work to do to provide food for their families, and
worked on halves in the farms with him.
P: What were you raising? Cotton?
M: Cotton, corn, syrup, potatoes.
P: Did they let each family have their own garden?
M: Yes sir.
P: What about animals? Could you keep your own animals there?
M: No sir. He furnished the livestock.
P: Now that was not where all those houses are right now in
M: No sir.
P: It was back [where] the cornfield is now, in that area?
M: That is right.
P: Just to get some idea of what the living was like back then,
about how much money a year were you making working on
halves that way?
M: Well, I just do not know, but it was not very much. Mostly
at the end of the year, when you gathered, and got through
gathering your crop, the man you worked with on halves came
out with the most of it usually. See, he has furnished you
all through the year. [There] was not very much for a
tenant after he .
P: Did anybody have a store out at Poarch Switch at that time?
M: No sir.
P: Where did you all go when you needed to go to a store?
P: There were not any other little stores out in this area at
M: There were some little stores out here, but we did not trade
with them. We had to trade where he had a place fixed for
us to trade.
P: Oh, I see, and where was that?
M: That was in Atmore.
P: What store was that?
M: Well, it is gone now, but at the time, the name of the store
was Farmer's Supply.
P: And you could go in there and get stuff on a bill?
M: Yes, that is right. He was responsible for the bill at the
end of the year, then he took all of that out, and if you
had any left, it went to you. If you did not, why, you just
did not have it.
P: Was that a store where you could buy shoes and clothes and
all that kind of stuff?
M: Yes, just anything that you would need.
P: How did you all get to town back in those days?
M: Wagons and mules.
P: Did everybody have a wagon and mule?
M: Well, not everybody, but most of them did.
P: Do you remember many people walking to town from out here?
M: Yes sir, I remember people walking to town.
P: Why, would somebody have to walk to town if they had
neighbors and relatives with wagons and mules?
M: Well, they [were] using the mules or something at that time.
It did not seem to be as far as it was, [it was] something
you could just get out and walk.
P: Was there quite a good road between here and there at that
M: [A] dirt road, yes.
P: Do you remember seeing many cars when you first started
working on halves over there?
M: Not many. not very many.
P: Was there anybody living over there that had a car?
M: There was one [person] that I can remember; of course there
may have been one or two more, but I cannot get them in my
mind right now. There was one, and that was Richard Walker,
P: He had a car?
M: A "T" Model.
P: He was working on halves over there too?
P: Where did most of the people that worked on halves over
there come from? Head of Perdido, or Bell Creek, or
Hogfork, or were they from all places?
M: All places.
P: There was no particular place that they came from?
M: No particular place.
P: When you were a boy, can you remember a time before there
were a lot of people living over there at Poarch Switch?
M: No sir, I cannot.
P: As long as you can remember, were there some people working
on halves over at Poarch Switch?
M: Yes sir.
P: Who was the first person to buy their own place over at
Poarch Switch, do you know?
M: I sure do not. I sure cannot remember the first person to
P: Can you remember some of the earliest ones that did buy
places over there?
M: No, when Mr. Hall quit farming, he sold all the land, but he
sold it to colored people. He did not sell it to any of his
P: Did the tenants want it, do you think?
M: Well, I did not hear any of them say whether they did or
not, but for myself now, I was in and out. I was mostly a
public worker. I was not much of a farmer. I mostly worked
at log camps. I did farm some, but I could not call myself
a farmer; I mostly worked the log camps.
P: Partly what I am interested in is how long ago people
started building houses along that road that is there now,
and back up to the other roads by Suzanna and Zollie Mae's.
And there is another road up by Ealy's.
M: I just cannot tell you what year.
P: Back when you were working on halves, there were not any of
those houses up there?
M: [There was] one house along there just before you crossed
the railroad and that was where Dave Presley lived, Lunnie
P: Going from here, was that before you got to the railroad
M: To the left, just before you got to the railroad tracks; the
road went right by the house then. Since [then] they [have]
put the highway right through there, they cut straight
P: But along there now, where Gertrude, Noah, Josie, and Edgar
Rackard and all those people lived, all those houses [were
M: No sir, [they were not]. The house burned down, but that is
where Jack Daughtry used to live.
P: Did he buy a place over there?
M: Yes, he bought that place. He built a little place there,
Jack Daughtry did. I do not know whether you have met
P: Oh, yes, I know Jack. When you were living over there did
you go over to Hogfork much?
M: No sir, I did not. I did not live there very long; [I lived
there for] about one year, I think. During that time I
farmed over there [for] one year. I moved from there and
moved to Florida.
P: [To] what town?
M: Well, it was not a town. It was a pretty good piece from
any town. It was about five miles north of McDavid,
Escambia County. [Do] you know where that is? I farmed
with Mr. Hall down there. I moved there the first day of
January of 1929 and I stayed there [for] two years. I
[then] moved up here, close to the line in Atmore. I know
[that] you have not heard the name of that place, what we
call the Marville farm. It was about three miles, I reckon,
below Atmore, just across the Alabama-Florida line, and I
lived there, oh, [for] several years. I moved from there,
back up here.
P: [Did you move] back to Poarch Switch?
M: No, I did not move back to Poarch Switch. I moved back to
what they call the Bully Steadham place, [which is] about
two and one-half miles from here.
P: [Is it] toward McCullough?
M: [It is] kind of west of McCullough.
P: Just keep on going about all those places you lived. How
long were you there?
M: I do not know just how long I was there; I think I must have
stayed there about two years, I reckon.
P: Then where did you go?
M: I went to Uriah. I farmed in Uriah.
P: [Were you] still working on halves?
M: [Yes I was still working] on halves. [I] farmed with a
fellow [by the] name of Simms, in Uriah, on Halves. My
brother and I were both on his plantation. My brother died
the other day. We stayed there a couple of years, and when
I left there, I moved back down here.
P: [You moved to] Head of Perdido?
M: [Yes.] To Head of Perdido.
P: Where was your place when you moved down there?
M: I moved back down here [to] a little house just across the
field from where my uncle lived--Will McGhee--just across
the field from where he lived.
P: What kind of a house was it?
M: It was a lumber house.
P: A lumber house?
M: Yes sir. Well, I did not live there very long before I
moved back to another house just across the field--back this
way--on a forty acre piece of land that belonged to Will
Bates. I farmed with him on third and fourth.
P: Third and fourth?
M: Yes sir, but I do not remember, when I left, just where I
did go. Anyway, I stayed there a couple of years. I
think, when I left there, I moved to a house down on what we
call the Ewing's road, this one that goes through here. I
moved [to] a place down there; the Ed Hixson place. I ran
it myself--standing rent.
P: What kind of rent?
M: Standing rent. It was not on halves.
P: You just paid so much a year and whatever you could make is
M: Yes. [I would] give him so much, and whatever I made was
P: Does that include a house?
M: Yes sir. I stayed there a year or so and [then] I left
there. I came out here to [do] you know where
Milton Sells lives there?
P: More or less.
M: [There] used to be a big house there then, a big old double
penthouse [in the] shape of an L. I lived there [for] a few
years. When I left there, I went back [into] public work, I
think, and, [as] best as I can remember, I was living here.
I came back up here, I believe, as caretaker of the church.
There was an old log house that we lived [in], a big old log
P: Do you remember the year that you started being caretaker
for the church?
M: No sir, I do not.
P: How many years were you caretaker?
M: Seventeen years.
P: How many years ago was the last year that you were
M: I really do not remember; it might come to my mind.
P: Were you the first caretaker of the church?
M: No sir, I was not the first.
P: Who was the first one?
M: Mal McGhee.
P: Mal McGhee was? So when you became caretaker, [did] the
church provide you with a house?
M: Yes sir, they provided me with a house. I got use of the
house when I was caretaker of the property.
P: Were you doing any other work besides being caretaker of the
M: Oh yes, I was working [in] different places. Sometimes I
was [working] in pulp wood, sometimes I was in log camps,
sometimes I [worked] with my uncle in the crosstie business,
and just different things.
P: How did you get the job of caretaker of the church?
M: Well, Girlie lived there at the time. She was a widow then
and her first husband died. She married Tracy and they
lived there a while until they bought a place right over
yonder--here on the hill. Then I moved [into] the
P: Well, did you go to somebody to get the job?
M: No more than [going to] the minister, Mr. Merkle. I reckon
you [have] met Mr. Merkle?
P: Well, Mal McGhee did not want the job anymore or what?
M: He moved away to Mobile.
P: He moved away to Mobile? When did you start [working as] a
school bus driver?
M: Oh, I do not know what year it was, but I drove for twenty-
P: Were you driving a bus before they let the Indian children
go to school in Atmore?
M: Yes sir, I drove a bus from here [in the morning] to
Huxford, and brought them back here, teaching some in the
church, teaching some in the caretaker building behind the
P: Well, as the bus driver, did you ever think about that --
that you were having to drive these children past the school
at Huxford and bring them here?
M: No, I never did think anything about that. No more than
[that] they just would not let the Indians go to the white
school. They could not go to McCulluogh and they could not
go to Atmore. I would have to go to Huxford every morning,
get them, bring them, leave some over there--I think it was
first, second and third over there--and [then] I brought the
rest over here [to the] church. I used to teach them. That
is why the buildings on the side [were] built bigger.
P: I did not realize that before this some of the classes were
actually in the church.
P: And the others were in the parish house when it sat down
there. Were you driving at the time [when] Jack Daughtry
stood out in the road and stopped the bus?
M: No sir. I was not driving the bus then.
P: Who was the bus driver he stopped?
M: I cannot think of his last name, but his first name was Joe.
He lived way back over in Baldwin County, over there in what
they call Scrantage[?]. It is there before you turn that
curve, that wood house on this side of the railroad. Tracy
used to live with his aunt [and] his sisters.
P: When you were a school bus driver, were there other drivers
who were driving buses for the Indian children?
M: No sir.
P: You were the only one?
M: [I was the] only one.
P: Did you work directly for the county, or how did that work?
M: Yes sir, I worked through the county. I do not remember
what year it was, [but] I did drive one year for Jack
Daughtry. We had a private bus and Jack Daughtry owned the
bus; he did not drive, but he had the contract, and he hired
me as the driver.
P: When Jack Daughtry had the private bus, was that before or
after they started letting the children go to school in
M: That was before. Then Littles McGhee drove the bus for a
P: Littles McGhee? Which bus did he drive?
M: He drove a bus that I drove.
P: He did? So, he did not drive all [of] the time?
M: No, [he did] not [drive] all [of] the time. Littles McGhee
drove. Now the first bus driver that drove the Indian bus
was a fellow [named] Bill Moore.
P: Was he related to Bates Moore?
M: [He was his] brother. I drove as a substitute for him
P: That is how you got started driving the bus?
M: I reckon; must be.
P: Then after they started letting the children go to Atmore,
you still drove the bus. What was your routine when you
were driving at that time?
M: Well, I was living here where Tracy was living; [My route
would start by] picking up [children] in this community, and
I would go out through Poarch and Hogfork--I reckon you have
heard that since you have been here--I would go into town
with them, [I would] take them to the high school, junior
P: You took them all the way to town?
M: Yes sir. Then I came back through, picking up the
elementary children, [returning] to my same route, [then I]
brought them over here.
P: To this school? I heard some of the younger people say that
they remember that they used to ride the bus with you, out
to Highway 21 [or someplace] and then transfer to another
P: When did they start doing that?
M: I cannot remember those years back, you know, the dates.
P: But before that you would take them into town?
M: That was before I used to take them into town. Later they
got to where I would take them into town, [but] the buses
got so crowded, and so I had to .
P: When you first started, they changed buses, right?
M: Yes sir.
P: Then later on you took them all the way to town?
M: [I took them] all the way to town.
P: Did you drive for this school right up until the time it
closed as a regular school?
M: Yes sir.
P: And then you drove for Head Start?
M: [I] drove for Head Start, [I] drove until last year, I think
P: When you started driving buses, did you have any kind of
special license to drive a bus?
M: No sir, not when I started, but before I quit I did. We
had to take a bus driver's test and we had to go to twelve
hours [of] schooling once a year.
P: Was that at Atmore or where?
M: No, in Flomaton. After we went to the schooling, [about] a
month or so later, we had to go back and take the driver's
test with the bus, and in order to drive the bus, we had to
have a bus driver's license.
P: When you first started, what experience had you had at
M: Not any.
P: Had you driven paper wood trucks?
M: Oh yeah. I drove paper wood trucks quite a bit, but had
never had any experience [with] a bus before, except for
driving for Mr. Moore as a substitute. That is where I got
started, I substituted for him.
P: When you were driving the bus, did you ever have hard times
with the children, or did they mind you pretty well?
M: Well, not too bad. They [were] pretty good. They were not
too bad. Just noisy, that was all; and I reckon that is
natural for children.
P: Was there ever a time when there was more than one bus
running out there?
M: For the Indian people?
M: No sir.
P: Always the one bus. Let me ask you, when you first started
regular bus driving, what was the pay like, for driving the
M: When I first started, I was a substitute.
P: What did they pay you a day?
M: Thirty dollars a month.
P: When you [started] full time, what did they pay you?
M: I think they paid forty dollars, I believe that is what they
paid, [as] best as I can remember.
P: Were you able to support your family on just that?
M: Well, I was not so able, but I did. [I] had to get by [on]
P: Did you still have a garden, and things like that?
M: Oh yeah, we had a little garden.
P: Did you have any livestock--pigs, hogs, or anything?
M: Yes sir, I had hogs.
P: Through the years, how long has it been that the Indian
people have worked out in Mobile, and places like that? Back
when you were farming, were there many that had started
going out to Mobile and Pensacola?
M: No sir; about the first time, I believe, was long about
[when] World War II broke out. We went to getting out and
working in the shipyards and different places.
P: I guess it was about that time that maybe farming started
M: Yes sir.
P: Did you ever farm with a tractor?
M: Yes sir. [I] also farmed with a[n] ox.
P: You did? From an ox to a tractor. One thing while I am
thinking of it, you were just talking, as we were coming up
the road, about where the school is now; [you had said]
there used to be a farm there. Could you tell me a little
bit about the history of that property where the school
sits? [Can you remember] the different people and
organizations that have had it through the years?
M: I think at the time when it was cultivated, I think Mr.
Moore was I do not remember just who owned the
piece of land then. I would hate to say, not knowing
exactly, but it did belong to the McCawleys, and I think it
belonged to the Moores sometime. During that time, I do not
know just which one. I will tell you for one reason, along
then we did not mingle and mix with the whites much.
P: You did not?
P: What occasions did you mingle with them at all? Did you
ever visit with them at all?
M: No sir. [I] hardly ever visited with them.
P: Would they ever come and ask you to do work for them or
M: Yes, some did.
P: But you just did not know what they were doing, even though
they were living close by?
M: No, we just did not associate with them.
P: Was that out of your choice, or their choice?
M: That was my choice as they choice. [sic]
P: Now later on, did you tell me [that] the Episcopal Church
bought that piece of land that the school was on?
M: Yes sir. [It] seemed to me that there were two or three
different ones mixed up into it--some way or another--[so I
could not] tell you exactly who they bought it from. I know
[that] they did buy some from Mr. King, where his house sits
over there--Charles King.
P: Did [the Episcopal church] ever have a building on it? Did
they ever build on that piece of property over there?
M: No sir, they bought that piece of property, and also bought
a little piece across the road. Where I [now] live, once
belonged to the county, to the school.
P: We are talking about the Episcopal church now.
M: Well, it once belonged to the Episcopal church.
P: And the county bought it from the Episcopal church?
M: That is right.
P: Who planted the timber on that piece of property over there?
Was that after the county bought it, or .
M: On that piece of property?
P: Yeah, that [which] they just cut.
M: [No one planted] it--[it] just volunteered.
P: Just volunteered timber.
M: Yes sir. You know, [the] wind would blow about other trees
P: But can you remember when there were not any trees?
M: Oh yes. I can remember when cotton and corn grew out there.
P: So all the timber is just volunteered timber?
M: [It is] volunteered timber. Not a tree [was] set out there.
P: Now, I understand there was quite a bit of timber on there a
few years ago that Alton Jackson--or somebody--cut off?
M: [It was] cut off for paper wood.
P: Did the county buy that piece of property when they built
that school, or had they had it for quite a while?
M: No sir, they bought it just before they built.
P: Just before they built the school. One time you were
telling me about how you got your piece of property over
there. Before I ask you that, let me go back and ask you,
where was the first place you bought? You were telling me
[that] you were renting over here by Ewing's farm.
M: The first place that I bought [on] my own, was that piece of
property where I am living now.
P: Where you are now? What year was it that you bought that
[property]? How many years have you owned it?
M: That gets me there.
P: You do not know how long you have had that piece of
M: No sir, I have my old deed at the house. I could look it up
and find out, but .
P: You bought it from the church, or from the county?
M: I bought it from the county; from the state and the county.
P: How much did they charge you for it?
M: On my deed [it] was two acres and six tenths, and I bought
it for [one] hundred dollars. Gordon Pearson, you remember
when you [were] in ?
P: No I do not, but I can look it up. Gordon Farris?
M: Gordon Pearson. It is on the land deed.
P: You say that you and Mal bought [it] together?
M: No sir, we did not buy it together, but at that time I was
working with Mal. Mal lived in the house, just behind the
P: Where Toole lives?
M: Yes, where Toole lives, and I was working with him. He
owned that piece of property. I was farming with him, and
he was giving me fifteen dollars a week straight time, and
[he] was holding back five dollars of it until the end of
the fall. [We] got to talking about this little piece of
church property over here, I mean [the property] that the
county had across the road, and I told him, "I am going to
try to buy that if I can." So I went and [I] talked to one
of the board members--Mr. Bates--and he said [that] he
thought he could work it out [somehow so that] I could buy
it. So he talked with the board, and he told me [that] it
was for sale, and that I could buy it.
So one morning, Mal came to me and [he] said, "Dan, if you
are going to buy that piece of land we were talking about,
you had better go ahead and buy it. I know somebody else
that is going to jump in ahead of you." He said, "You have
it worked up now, and if I were you, and you wanted to let
it go by. [sic] If you do not [want to buy] these other
folks are going to buy ahead of you." I said, "Well, Mal,
right at the present, I do not have the money." He said,
"Well, I will furnish you with the money." They told me
what they would take for it; [they] already had the price on
it. He said, "I will furnish you with the money for half
[of] the land." I did, and that was the trade we made. So
he let me have the money and I went up to the office and
bought the piece of land.
P: You had to go to Brewton and buy it?
M: Yes sir, but later on, my deed had to come from Montgomery.
P: Did you build your house right away over there?
M: Yes, right away, pretty quickly after I bought it. I did
not build now; I sold it to my daughter, Ernestine.
Ernestine built on it.
P: Were you still caretaker of the church then?
M: Yes, at that time I was still living up there. Then I let
him have half of it [the land], the south half went to him,
and the north half went to me. That is the way I came by
that piece of land.
P: Was that the first piece of land you ever bought?
M: [Yes, it was the] first piece of land I have ever owned.
P: How long ago was it that the log house you lived in as
caretaker of the church was torn down? You were telling me
that you and Reverend Merkle were talking about fixing it
M: It was Mr. Merkle, but I do not know what year it was. Now
Mr. Merkle knows, but I do not remember what year it was.
Mr. Merkle, and myself, and Mr. Bayard Swift were out
looking at it one day, and they decided it would be cheaper
to build one than it would [be] to repair the old log house.
So we selected that new place where the house is now and the
old log house is just a little piece above where [the new
P: Who had originally built that log house?
M: Well, the community, Mal McGhee, and some of the rest of the
Indians did the work, and Mr. Edward, you know him .
P: [I] know of him.
M: He was the minister here, and he was the overseer. Mr.
Swift furnished the lumber to build the house, but my uncle,
Will McGhee, was kind of [the] overseer of the building.
Mr. Swift, from what I understand, told me he would furnish
the lumber, Will McGhee would see out and be responsible
for, and caretaker of the building; seeing to it [that it
was] built right.
P: This building you are talking about is there now?
M: This is the church building.
P: I see. What about the little log house you lived in? Who
originally built that?
M: Mal McGhee and the community.
P: And the community. Was it built out of logs?
M: [It was] built out of logs.
P: You said [that] you thought you were one of the last people
that [had] lived in a log house around here.
M: Let me see now about that. No, I do not think that I was.
Elsie down here, Elsie Holland was the last [person] that
lived in a log house as I remember. She lived in a log
house just across the field over here, straight down that
road going to Eugene Sells'. There was a log house over
there, and she lived in that house.
P: [Did she live there] right before she moved into her new
house over here, or did she live in a different house [in
M: She lived in a different house. She lived [up here] at her
sister's husband's place--Rube Steadham's. Then when she
moved from Rube Steadham's place, she moved [into] that old
log house. It was almost dilapidated then, but she did live
in it for a while until she could do better.
P: When she moved out of that old log house, [to] where did she
M: [She] moved from that log house, she moved [into] a little
old house down here just beyond where this fellow lives, and
I can not think of his name.
M: No, it is where the Stacey house is. You know that white
house to the right, down here? Well, there used to be a
railroad that went down through there. She lived in a
little old house down beside that road, even below that,
P: Changing the subject, you were telling me one time that you
did not know, but that you had heard your parents talk about
how this cemetery came to be, over here. Could you tell me
what you remember your parents talking about, and how the
Indians got this cemetery?
M: Yes, I can remember how I was told.
P: Tell me how you were told.
M: Well, the way the Indians came to that cemetery was [from] a
colored man that was a slave for the Moores. Old man Moore,
Dr. Moore, bought him as a slave. He and his wife and he
built them a little house over on the hill, just beyond
where the cemetery is. Then, in and around, he must have
deeded them that piece of ground there, taking in the
cemetery. So when they were talking about a place for the
cemetery, well, the white people already had their cemetery
over on this side. Joe Coley was a colored fellow, that was
his name, and I do not know how they came into contact with
each other about it, but to my understanding, he gave them
that piece of ground for a cemetery. They wanted to pay him
for it, but he would accept no pay. He said all he asked
them to do was to just bury him and his wife in the
northwest corner. He lived just across the little hollow,
[across] from the cemetery.
P: He is buried there today?
M: He and his wife are in the northwest corner of that
P: From looking at the headstones and all, there have been
people buried there for quite a long time.
M: Oh yes sir, for years and years.
P: So the Indians were burying people there before that
actually was deeded over to them.
P: Did you ever hear your parents talk about how they started
that as a cemetery?
M: No sir, I do not.
P: You also told me that you remember your parents telling you
how they got to where they were separating the Indians and
the whites in school. Can you tell me, as best as you can
remember, what they would tell you about that?
M: Well, I think [that] they used to go together. There were
not very many Indians back in those days, from what I can
understand. But they had a school at Huxford, and there
were a few there. One of the old Indians, he was a Colbert
(I believe his name was John Colbert) had a daughter. His
daughter, somehow or another, had been going to school with
everybody. You know there were not separate schools, and
she had gotten a pretty good education. She got a teacher's
degree. He then got the superintendent to split the
schools, and let his daughter teach the Indians up there on
Indian land--the little piece of land that was granted to
them at Huxford. You have heard of that, since you have
been here, haven't you? Well, they built a little school
there, and his daughter taught the Indians there, and if I
understand it right, that is how the school got separated.
P: When you were a boy, where did you go to school?
M: I went to that school some.
P: That one at Huxford?
M: Yes sir. Then I went out here at a place called Bell Creek.
You have heard of that, I reckon. It is between Poarch and
McCullough. [They] used to have a school there.
P: [Did you] ever hear of how that school started at Bell
M: No sir, I never did know how that school got started.
P: Did you ever go to the school at Monroe County at all?
M: No sir, not that I know of. I was born in Monroe County,
but I never did go to school there.
P: We have been saying that, over the years, for quite a while,
they would not let the Indian children go to school in
Atmore, and you said that you did not mingle with the whites
much, years ago. Through the years, do you feel like you
have ever experienced any mistreatment because you were
Indian, in any way?
M: Well, no more than that. I felt we were mistreated in that
way. We could not go to school with them, and they had
their own churches, and we had ours. That is about the only
way that I felt that we were mistreated by them.
P: Do you ever remember hearing about any Indians being turned
away from being served in a cafe or anything, years ago?
M: No sir, I do not.
P: What is your opinion of all the things over the past twenty
years, on the land claims, and all of that?
M: Well, I do not have much [of an] opinion to tell about that.
Once I was in pretty good spiritss, but it seems like it
has been going on and on so long, [that] I do not really
know where it is getting me. But my brother still says
[that] we are going to get something because he is on the
council. My brother in Pensacola is one of the councilmen,
and those councilmen never let outsiders know their
business. He tells me, "Do not get out of heart," but I
told him, "Well, if there is any way of rushing this thing,
it [seems] you councilmen would do it." But I said, "There
has been many a man that has died and left here, looking to
get some of that money." The case so far has been settled
and won, as far as I have heard, but they have got another
case now [regarding] the land that is in Florida, I
understand. And [with] this old case, the money is just
sitting there, and they are not doing anything about it,
from what I can understand. That is what I told him: "Why
not get busy and get the first claim paid off before they do
too much [more] to this other [claim]?" He told me [on]
Sunday--he was up here on Sunday--he said he was pushing
them up to get a deadline on that. They are still sending
forms back, you know. That is not right; that has not
proved up, and they are sending them up for correction.
[It is] one reason, he said, [that] they had not paid off.
I told him then, "Why don't you councilmen get together?
See if you can't set a deadline on that, and let's get paid
off and then work on the other case." He said he thought it
would be paid off before long. But that was all I could get
out of him--those councilmen will not tell you much.
P: Were you ever asked to be on the council yourself?
M: No sir.
P: Did you ever want to be?
M: No sir, [I] never did. One reason was [that] I did not have
enough education to be something like that. Now, I was
asked to be on the council for this Head Start. But I would
not take that on account of I did not have the education I
felt that I ought to have.
P: Well, I understand that Calvin McGhee did not have much
M: No sir, he did not have too much.
P: What kind of man was he in your opinion?
M: He was all right. He was a good man. I can remember when
he was young, I was quite small when he was growing up,
[and] he was pretty rowdy then, but after he got up to be a
settled man, he was all right.
P: Was he one that liked to fight, and stuff like that?
M: Oh, yes sir. He would sure fight. I know of him biting one
fellow's ear off. He bit that whole corner of his ear off,
like that, and spit it out on the floor.
P: Was that Fred Rolin?
M: I believe it was Fred. He would sure bite you.
P: Growing up as you did, sort of around, and working out [of]
different places, did you ever go to many of those old time
frolics very much?
M: Yes sir, that is the only kind of dancing that I know
anything about--these old time [dances], what we call square
dances. These kind of late style dances now, I do not know
anything about them at all.
P: Did you ever go to any dances where there were just Indians
there, or were they usually mixed, Indians and whites?
M: Yes sir. I have been to [ones] where there were just
Indians. But sometimes some whites came in.
P: Was there any particular occasion [for which] they would
have those dances?
M: No sir, not that I know of; just for a little recreation, I
reckon. Over here at Uriah, there were not many cars, and
they carried the mail with horse and buggy. I can remember
that very well. I can remember the man's name that drove
the mail--fellow by the name of Greer.
P: He used to come out of Uriah with the mail?
M: Yes sir. From Uriah into Atmore, once a day. He would
leave Uriah in the morning and go to Atmore and pick up the
mail, and [go] back to Uriah that night. He would carry
passengers on there. He had what they call--if you have
ever heard of them--a surrey; a double seated outfit, with a
pair of horses pulling it. That is what he drove.
P: Did you ever take a trip with him to Atmore?
M: No sir, [I] never did. There were all dirt roads then,
there were no paved roads here at all.
P: How long has that road been paved out in front of your
M: This road? I think we paved that road in 1947.
P: Was that when they still had the system that everybody
worked on the roads?
M: No sir. No, they were all hired help.
P: Did you ever have to work on the roads, years ago?
M: No sir, I never did. But I can remember when they would
summon certain ones to work on the roads. I can remember
when they did do that, but when I got up to be a man, that
was all done away with. But this road was put through here
in 1947, because my boy got hurt in 1947, and I lived in the
old log house out here at the time. Howard, down here, got
cut with a power saw; I do not know if any of them ever told
you about it or not. But I almost lost him in 1947.
P: With a power saw?
M: Yes sir. One of those old saws they would cut paper with.
P: Was it a chain saw, or was it one of those big .
M: It was one of the kind that was on wheels--you push them
around. Almost got [him].
P: When you first started paper wooding, were they still using
mules to snake the logs out, and so forth, or were they
M: Using mules.
P: Back when you were a real youngster, do you remember any of
the older people at the time in Bell Creek, or any place
around, who spoke the Indian language, or knew any words of
M: No sir--but one: my uncle over here, Dick McGhee. He could
P: He could?
M: Yes sir, but I was really young then. That was when I was
really young. He could speak it, and I believe I heard
several [people say] here that he was the only one they knew
of that could call the old Indian roll in times of war.
P: He would call the what?
M: The roll.
P: I do not know about that. What was that?
M: I do not know what they meant by that, but he could call it.
P: Call the Indian roll.
M: In times of war. I do not know what words they were, I do
not know what they meant by it, but he could speak some of
the Indian language.
P: Would he talk to the little children in it, or .
M: No, he just I do not remember him trying to teach them
any of it.
P: But you remember him saying something in it?
M: Yes sir. He could [speak] it. Old man Dick McGhee.
P: Has he ever married, by the way, do you know?
M: No sir, I do not.
P: Where did he live?
M: He lived right over the hill, just across the field, over
yonder. Right about where they are building that house.
P: Was that on the grant land?
M: Yes sir.
P: Do you remember back when you were a boy, besides language,
any other ways the old people had--ways that people do not
have any more?
M: No sir, I do not believe [that] I do. But I can remember
him. He could speak some of the things in the Indian
language. He was in the war; he got crippled in the war.
We used to call him Uncle Dick--Dick McGhee.
P: What kind of man was he? Was he a talkative man?
M: Yes sir, he was pretty talkative, best I can remember. I
was just small then, real small. I just cannot remember
P: He died when you were small?
M: Yes sir.
P: One thing I was going to ask you about, I have heard many
people speak of Chief Walker, Chief Fred Walker. How did
they get started calling him Chief?
M: Preacher Edwards.
P: He started calling him that?
M: Yes sir.
P: Did many of the Indian people call him chief?
M: Yes sir, after .
P: After he started?
M: After he started.
P: Why did Preacher Edwards start calling him that?
M: I do not know why he did. He just did. Chief Walker. He
is the daddy of this fellow I was showing you [in] this
P: Lonnie Walker?
M: Lonnie Walker, yes.
P: Do you ever remember anyone else [who] was ever called
M: No sir.
P: Oh, I just heard a fellow mention a while ago that you are a
policeman out here--a constable or something. How long have
you been a constable, or, what is your title?
M: Deputy sheriff. I have been [this for] five years.
P: How did you become deputy sheriff?
M: Well, I was a good friend to the high sheriff, I guess, and
he was a good friend to me and the deputy sheriff down here.
He and I were good friends.
P: Who was the high sheriff first of all? What is the name of
the high sheriff?
M: Scotty Burns.
P: And the deputy sheriff that you are good friends with?
M: [That] was Mr. Keller. [He] lives down here in
Freemanville. He and I went to Brewton one day, and he
said, "Dan, I'm going to get Scotty to swear you in as a
deputy, to kind of help me out around here a little." I
said, "That'd suit me all right." So that is the way I
became [deputy]; mostly just helping him, but my badge calls
for anywhere in Escambia county.
P: Have you ever had to do much sheriff work right here?
M: Not too much, not right by myself. He would always come by
and get me to go with him; to serve some papers, make some
arrests, or something like that.
P: Before you were appointed deputy sheriff, were there ever
any other Indians who were sheriffs or deputy sheriffs?
P: Have there ever been any other law enforcement officers
around here besides the sheriff?
M: You mean .
P: In the Indian community?
M: No sir. I am the first Indian that has ever had any .
P: Through the years, has there been much call for the sheriff
to come into the Indian community?
M: Oh yes, they have had quite a [few] calls.
P: Basically, what were they over, usually?
M: Well, just mostly fussing and fighting, and things like
P: Do you feel like there was more or less of that in the years
gone by than there is now?
M: Well, I just do not know, Mr. Tony. To tell you the truth,
I just really do not know. I thought I had some card in
here [that] I was going to show you, but I must have left it
at the house, or done away with it, or lost it.
P Have you ever been on a jury?
M: No sir.
P: Do you know of any Indians that have been on a jury?
M: Yes sir.
P: Who are some of the Indians that have been on a jury?
M: My brother had been on a jury.
P: In Pensacola?
P: What about in a court in Escambia county or Atmore?
M: I have had one summoned, but I do not think that he served.
That was Alton Jackson, down here.
P: Was that just recently?
M: Several years back.
P: Years and years ago, do you remember many Indians, or any
Indians being on a jury?
P: How about voting? Have the Indians been regular voters
through the years as a group or .
M: Well, for the last several years they have, but I do not
know just how long it has been. It has been a pretty good
while [since] any Indians voted--just maybe two or three.
But now for the last few years, they have gotten to where
pretty much all, in general, vote.
P: Did you vote all along, as soon as you were old enough, or
was it several years .
M: [It was] several years before I voted.
P: Why did you not vote?
M: I just did not, I reckon. I did not go up and register, and
vote. Just like the rest of them, I just did not take that
much interest in it.
P: Were there any problems [for] the Indians registering to
M: Not that I know of.
P: Just [that] the people themselves did not want to go do it?
M: Just did not want to do it I guess.
P: So, other than Alton, you do not know of any other Indians
summoned to be on a jury?
M: On a jury, no sir.
P: I guess maybe voting is the reason. Do you have to be a
registered voter to be on jury duty?
M: Yes sir.
P: Well, with [the] little bit of tape left here, tell me about
your experiences driving Miss Bradshaw.
M: Well, I do not know hardly what to tell you, no more than I
just would drive her. I would go and get her every morning
in town. She stayed at a motel. I would go to get her
every morning, and bring her out to the church, and she
would stay around here, and work around the church. That
afternoon, I would take her back to the motel.
P: Did she talk to you much?
M: Oh yes, she was always talking. She was always talking.
P: How did people in the community react to her and her work
when she came?
M: All right.
P: Do you think [that] she was as well liked as Mrs. Macy? I
should not ask you that, but did she have as many people
coming around her as Mrs. Macy did?
M: No sir.
P: She did not? Through the years, which one of the people
connected with the Episcopal church has done the most in the
M: I would say Mrs. Macy in general; on a whole, Mrs. Macy.
She was quite a help to the Indians.
P: Did she help in things other than religion--like medicine?
M: Why, yes sir. She would help with clothing and food and
P: Before you became an Episcopalian, what religion were you?
M: I was a Baptist.
P: Did you go to church here in Head of Perdido, years and