Title: Interview with Dan McGhee (September 13, 1972)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007503/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Dan McGhee (September 13, 1972)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: September 13, 1972
Spatial Coverage: Creek County (Fla.) -- History.
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.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007503
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Creek 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: CRK 28

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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

looked at.

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?

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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


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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

Poarch Switch?

M: No sir.

P: It was back [where] the cornfield is now, in that area?

M: That is right.

3 -

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?

M: Atmore.

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?

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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?

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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,

Girlie's father.

P: He had a car?

M: A "T" Model.

P: He was working on halves over there too?

M: Yes.

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

buy .

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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

Mae's father.

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]

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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

not] there?

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

8 -

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?

9 -

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?

10 -

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?

11 -

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

caretaker's house.

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-

two years.

P: Were you driving a bus before they let the Indian children

go to school in Atmore?

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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.

M: Yes.

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

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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

little while.

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.

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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


M: Yes.

P: When did they start doing that?

M: I cannot remember those years back, you know, the dates.

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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

it was.

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.

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P: When you first started, what experience had you had at

driving buses?

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?

P: Yeah.

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?

17 -

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

going down?

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

18 -

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?

M: No.

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?

19 -

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?

20 -

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?

21 -

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

22 -

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.

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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

house] is.

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.

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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


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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.

P: Stacey?

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

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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.

M: Yes.

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

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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.

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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

29 -

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

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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?

31 -

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.

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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

using tractors?

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

speak it.

P: He could?

33 -

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.

34 -

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?

35 -

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

36 -

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?

M: No.

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

37 -

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?

M: Yes.

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?

M: No.

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.

38 -

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

39 -

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

other things.

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

years ago?


40 -

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