Title: Interview with Tom McGhee (September 6, 1972)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007506/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Tom McGhee (September 6, 1972)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: September 6, 1972
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: Creek County (Fla.) -- History.
 Notes
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00007506
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 31

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CRK 31A
Tom McGhee
with
A. Paredes



September 6, 1972, and I'm interviewing Mr. Tom McGhee in the home of Buford

Rolin in Pensacola.


P: What I would like for you to do is start out by identifying yourself and

where and when you were bornand what your early life was like and so forth.

M: Well, I was born in 1910, just right in a little community they call Bell

Creek, that's between Poek and McCullough, Alabama. I was born in 1910.

Well, my mother died there on our little homeplace and after mother died,

my grandmother reared us all the children up and she taken us up there what

used to be known as Local, Alabama, which now the Frisco Railroad

bought it out and changed a lot of those little towns and stations, and it

is known now as Hucksford, Alabama. We lived there for three years and

then we moved over to another little place they called the Butler Street,

about two miles from there. We stayed there i for about I reckon some

three or four year. 1919, my father died, and we bought another, we traded

that place for another little place over there between Butler Street and

Local. We farmed- that's all we knew, and when daddy died, he was a log

man, that's all that d4ddyl-Iers, logging and farming, and he had two ox

teams when he dieda fu. J,.. eld oxens. When I was small, eight
up o0
or nine years old, when he died, I wasabout nine years old,. Olearly age, I

would go out in the woods with him and cut down hickory trees and he would

make his ox boards out of them. We would work those ox boards down and he

would show me how and we would cut in, what they call the to

hold them We'd make one side of them longer than the other one. After

he'd get them cut down, I'd take a glass, we had a drawing knife, by hand,

he'd work them down about the size he wanted, and me and my other brother

would take a bottle and break a bottle and we work those ox boards down






Page 2



just as smooth and slick almost a glass like they plane stuff now that's how

we did it, yes sir. So also he did axe handles the same way. He made all our

axe handles or hoe handle and did those the same way. He'd quarter them up

and then work them down with that drawing knife and after he got them worked

down about the size that he'd want, well, we'd have to sit up nights and nights
bro- fa a osh e o
around the old fire place and we'd akee a glass bottle- sharp edge of it

and we'd work it down until it was slick as glass, better than you could plane

any stuff today.

P; Would he make those for his own use or would he sell them sometimes?

M; He would sell them sometimes, he would sell them right in the community.

The first school I ever had the pleasure of going to I was eight years old

and they wouldn't let us go to the white school I was there from Hucksford,

(Local at that time)but Local, MucCullough, and Hogfork had a school there

in Bell Creek and Heieidia Well, they wouldn't let the Indians go to the

white school and they wouldn't let the Indians register in the white school,

and so I can show you the spot right now, that the old school was way back

in the old field and we had to go across the field and climb the fence

to get to the school. My cousin was living on the old place now up at

Local, .Alabama.

P; Was that Farris?

M: Farris McGhee. He's living at the old place right now, my cousin, and so

we didn't have no kind of heat or nothing. We had to build a fire. We

had to get out and build a fire and that's the kind of heat we had, we didn't

have no, sometimes we'd have a teacher and sometimes we wouldn't and some-

times we'd go and there wouldn't be no teachers, so that's the kind of

schooling I got. I didn't get much education but I didn't have the chance.

The didn't let us go to school. And it's just been recent years here that

they let us go to school and the late Calvin McGhee the, he'd seen all the






Page 3



people growing up there at Hag6ot, HeepeiLda and Local community and the

Colbert settlement was what it ws the Colbert community and .

P; Tell me what you remember about the Colbert community and how many people

were living there and what they did and .

M; Well, there was logging logging people just like my daddy was at the

time. There was Jim Colbert, and Dave Colbert, and Henry Colbert and

Mac Colbert, which was my uncle by marriage, Muford Colbert, my uncle by

marriage, and Shammon Colbert he was my uncle by marriage, and R

Colbert, he's up around Pereh right now Jim Colbert was his daddy.

P; Now did the Colbert settlement Was that on gev land or did they ..?

What was the basis for the land there?

M; Now you asked me a question I don't know. Whether it was grand or they

bought it that's a question I cannot answer, so I don't know. It was all

built up there The Colbert community.

P; Did they farm at all or .

M; Yeah, they farmed that's the only way they could make a living.

P: Logging?

M: Logging, yes sir. Almbe Sullivan Lumber Company.

P: Abert Sullivan.

M: And then .

P; Did.AlBe-rt Sullivan Lumber Company have a store anyplace? Tell me about

how that works.

M; Well, about that time, A3bert Sullivan Lumber Company had a store and they

have a store at the camp and the men there they would room and board them.

It was so far away and they didn't have no transportation and they couldn't

go back and forth every night and they had sleeping cars there for them and

they'd room and board them and the company furnished a cook. That's the way

they that most of them they'd leave home like a Monday night and come


home, go back home and maybe they wouldn't come back home for the next maybe





Page 4



Friday or Saturday and then they'd go back Sunday or Monday and they'd walk

back. They didn't have no transportation.

P: They didn't have mules or anything?

M: They had mules, but .

P: Nothing to ride?

M: They had a buggy but they had to leave them at thome for the family.

They would be gone all the week, see.

P: Did they move these logging camps around from time to time?

M: They'd move them around by railroad.

P: So the actually sleeping quarters were in railroad cars?

M: Railroad cars, absolutely.

P; Now you say the whites wouldn't let the Indians go to school with them.

What about working together in the logging?

M: Oh, they worked together.

P; Were there any colored people working in the logging?

M: Yes sir.

ZP;So, all three groups were working together at the same time .

M: Yeah, but they wouldn't let us go to schools

P: Do you remember if the Indian men had pretty good jobs with the logging or

were they just common laborers or what?

M: Most of them were just common laborers.

P; Were there any who were foreman?

M: No, sir.

P; Who were the A4w4) 0 O

M; There was one foremen there that was a kind of a little pusher. the ox

teams by my uncle by marriage, old Jess Reed, at Camp b. Jim Colbert

was which I just said was __A Colbert's daddy. He was a little pusher

there in the woods with the oxen for the men.

P; So he was the only forman amongst the Indians that you knew about?

M; That's the only one.







page 5


P: And you say he was a pusher? What does that mean?
II II
M: That's a foremen nowadays. They call them kind of little pushers in them days.

P: How did he get that job, do you know?

M: Well, I don't know he got the job. Jess Reed married my aunt. He married

into the Indian family.

P: Your aunt who?

M: Lena Reed she's dead now.

She was an Adams before she married. Lena Adams before she married.

P; Was she from Bell Creek?

M: She was around from upAthere she was born and raised up there you know
Hd o Ptr-4.do
where the cemetery is up at He4dapedfd? Well, my grandfather used to own

that property up there and he had a blacksmith's jSb that was handed down

from generation to generation W. M. Adams and he willed it to his

son my great granddaddy and when his son came along, he willed it to

Williamd Adams Names were William, William, right down the line.

P: But this wasn't the McGhee land grant then, or was it?

M: It's what you call just abovesomebody might have told you, the Bt4-/Moor

property that used to be there. That's the place it was.

P; So the apcd' cemetery is not on what used to be grant land its' on

granddaddy Adams' place?
P eV -of tvArddo
M: Heapdda cemetery is not.

P; What's it on?

M; I'll tell you how I come about that4

P: Okay, tell me about that.

M; When they freed the niggers, the slaves, all they knew was to

go by the master's name, and there was an old lady, was named Emma Aunt

Emma and she was an old midwife, and the old man working up at HR1iy,

Alabama, he had still and I've been to those stockades : lots of times


And when they freed them, the old man come down and he settled down just







Page 6



if you've been to that Heoeedita cemetery, that sand pit and that gravel

pit right across from there, he settled down there him and old lady

Aunt Emma -And so ther-. old nigger ain't nobody but him and he thought a lot

of my father, my uncle Will McGhee, all the old people, Dick McGhee, my grand-

daddy, Dick McGhee, and he told them that was his little plot of land he

settled on,-ba"k in there. He told them he would give them that plot for a

cemetery, but one thing, that him and Aunt Emma passed away, they would bury

them in one corner of the cemetery. And they're buried thergoday my

brother can show you where they're buried.

P: So that was the old ex-slaves' place?

M: That was the old ex-slaves' place.

P: How did he get it now? Did he homestead'

M: Homesteaded.

P; Well, that's a new piece of information to me, 'cause I thought the cemetery

was on grand land. I've heard, you said, Aunt Emma, was there ever Aunt

Serene around there?

M; Yes, there might have been Serene It might have been it's been so long

ago.

P: Your brother mentioned Aunt Serene -

M: A ?i 1 y1

P: Yep.

M: Well, it could have been hern., it's been so long. People talk about it you

know and I was young you know, and they passed on and I heard my people

Maybe it was Aunt Serene and she was an old midwife.

P; I guess she delivered a lot of the Indian babies?

M: Yes sir.

P; I wanted to get back1to one point of information. You said that Farris

McGhee was your cousin. Could you tell me exactly how it is that he's

your cousin?







Page 7


What the connection is?

M: From his mother.

P: Okay, his mother is .

M: His mother was BethMcGhee.

P: Okay, and you're connected through your mother or through your father?

M: Through my father.

P: Tell me, whatever happened to Bell Creek?

M: Bell Creek?

P: The community of Bell Creek.

M: Well, it just got busted up. Now my father owned the placed there and if

there was ever any deeds to it, I don't know. My father owned the place

there which I told you I was born, and I can take you to the old log

house right now and show you where I was born, and my mother was in bad

health and their was an old doctor out in i 'McCullough by the name of

Dr. Sellers. My father, he was trying to farm and he was trying to do this,

and we owned the whole eighty acres back rTen, and they called it the

oYAI eC Creek the creek that goes across coming across MECullough as you're

coming into Prch, that's the name of it the Creek that's my daddy

And so he got so far in debt with Dr. Sellers, the way he claimed now,

that's my grandmother's talk, that he just come down an my daddy out

of that place and there never was no deed or claim he had just taken it,

for the pills and things he had given my mother for her sickness. And so

he just i:i....d my daddy out of that place and sold it to a fellow by

the name of John Showers, I believe that's his name. He sold it around, but

my cousin came to me, by marriage, Riley Mitchell, he came to me and he came

to my older brother Dan. and he says, listen, Doc's trying to sell that place

and he cantt get no clear deeds to it. Said if he comes to you all and wants

you to sign anything, don't sign it.








Page 8



P: And that was in later years after you all had grown up, or.

M: Yeah, we had done grown up.

P: And you didn't sign?

M: No, we didn't sign.

P= Well, who has the place now. Well, he got it through some kind of a

quick deed and got it all this up, I don't know and I think John Showers got

the place now, but Riley Mitchell, he married our cousin, he married a

Gibson, Roley Mitchell, and he came to my brother Dan and he told my

brother Dan, myself, Doc, he said, if Doc comes around he was living on

the place As a matter of fact, he was living in the house I was born in -

he was working around the flood docks. He said if Doc comes to

you and wants you to sign any deeds or papers on this place, don't you all
to
sign nothing. RightAtoday, we hadn't signed anything.

P:But he still fiddled around somehow and got .

M: He still fiddled around somewhere up in in that clique in.Bmso and got it.

A quick deed somehwere.

P: Was there a real clique in Bruton?

M: Oh, Lord. I recknon there was a real clique.

P: You mean in the courthouse$ 4C

M: It must have been. He got a quick deed and took over the thing.

P: Did you know of this happening to other Indian folks this quick deeds?

M: Well, I don't want to get involved too deeply. That whole section there that
GraA+
what they call the McGhee Grqnt my uncle and General Jackson gave that to

the McGhee Grant and also he gave that place up there, Farris :iMcGhee's living

on, and my brother, he built a home on that place and Neil McGhee, Farris'

daddy, tried to put mybrother off. I was at home and my brother wrote and

I wished to Lord he'd have kept the letter but you never what you destroy,






Page 9



and he had a fellow write to Washington D. C .

P: This was your brother Dan?

M: Brother Dan he can tell you '-- about it and said no, Neil couldn't put

him off for that. That place couldn't be taxable and couldn't be sold or
'I
couldn't be taxable as long as the green grass -- -. water run and green
P1
grass growed. That was the letter from Washington, and he can tell you the

same thing.

P: But he didn't keep the letter?

M: But he didn't keep the letter. HeA of AdO

P: Now what about the other type of grand land at Weepedida?

M:

SWell, there's my unole down there .

P: Which uncle?
| II (I
M: Will McGhee he was trying to b he big church hog up there. My daddy.

P: What's that? liurc kv I)

M: He tried to be the boss of everything. Well, he tried to be the big bully

up there, you know. What Imean he tried to beat everybody and some of
Raeshie
my aunts, Aunt R and I think Aunt Belma that's Sue Ann's mother -

that's my aunt my dad'sbrother and I think Aunt Rooshie he come around

and nibbled them out and claimed to buy their part out of it. I don't know

if they ever give him any part or not, but my daddy never would sell his.

P: Your daddy Will?

M: No, my daddy and Will were brothers.

P: What was your daddy's name?
TkV-Al /e C-A e ej ral^ A
M: Tom McGhex But he never would sell his and so he nibbled around and got a

quick claim deed same way that Neil got that up there.

P: Now didn't Fred Walker at one time have part of the grant land?

M: Yes sir.





--lo

Page 10



P: How did he get his piece of it?

M: Well, he got his piece of it and then he gotover and moved over there and had

it one time and this fellow Moore over there he used to run up there some

way or another .

P: Bates Moore?

M: Bates Moore and bought it out for money for taxes or am irg

P: I've heard some of Fred Walker's children talk about a time when one of the

brothers one of the younger generation I think it was Lonnie tried to

redeem it for taxes and tried to auction. What's that story?
1 t CA
M: Well, he tried to redeem it and tried to get ack-o auction it and he

couldn't do it. He and his wife lived there Liza he married Tom Rolin's

sister and they was living there and she said herself that she done

everything after that to try to keep his taxes up after they, diO It;f4t(AI

and them kind of P Wasn't supposed to be any taxes on it but the

old place was where my old man my granddaddy let old man Bill McGhee.

P; He was on the grant land.

M: He was on the grant land. That as on the place.

P: Was your uncle Dick McGhee on the grant land?

M: Dick was on the grand land.

P: How old again did you say ou were when you left Bell Cree k?

M: Oh, I was about four years old.

P; So you don't remember ery much about your early days in Bell Creek?

M: No, but I do in the back days my people down here my Aunt A and

she was a Presley which you may have met My Aunt you know. Aunt Zena

was my aunt. She was an Adams before she married. Well they lived there

in that Bell Creek community and wevisited down there and I know a whole lot

about it. We had a church there.

P: What denomination was the church?

M; Free Will Baptist.






Page 11



P: Free Will Baptist. And you went to church there?

M: I went to church there and drank water and was baptized down in the creek.

P= Which creek did they baptize? In Bell Creek itself?

M: I don't know whether it was Bell Creek itself it was right down below the

old church.

P: Was that church built by people in the community?

M: Yes, it was just an old wooden church.

P, And that's where they had school, I understand, is that righp c

M : Yeah, that's where they used to have school.

P- Now when you used to go down to Bell Creek, say when you were back, even

before your teenage days, were there many Indian folks living out along

the highway which is called -
M: Oh, yes, about all there was was Indians in there.

P; Along the railroad tracks?

M: Along the railroad tracks. Richard Walker lived there for years, right there

on that side of the railroad tracks.

P.: DM1 he own a place there or ?

M: No, he didn't own the place there. Charlie Hall had it rented and Richard

Walker was farming for him on shares. Charlie Hall at Atmore.

P: Is that how the Indian folks got in that Prt Switch area by working on

shares for Charlie Hall?

M: Well, I don't know myself how they got in there, but there was Indians when

I come up All of Hogfork too.

P,: Was that road paved'through there or would they live back over in the fields

more?

M: They lived back over in the fields if you ever been to the crossing, you

know where you go across Poth now, and you turn back and you cross the Frisco

Railroad, well, just as you turn east acorss the railroad, you go back into








Page 12


to the building and go right back inrand that's where Richard Walker lived.

P: So it was really back do-n in that big field area, right behind Gertrude's

house and back in there?

M: Yeah, all that fields back in there, and he lived back in there. Charlie

Hall had a bunch of farmers back there and he grew strawberries and he

grew strawberries and he grew okra. Indian people he give so much thCL&d
/1
gather those strawberries and okra and stuff and he'd change# to -Ie potatoes

and all that.

P: Did you ever work in the fields yourself?

M: Yes sir.

P; Did you ever go out to other counties and states and work there?

M: No, I never did I worked at home.

I had to work at home after father died, mother died, my grandmother, she

reared us all up and I was plowing in the fields and when I had to +4lrt 0

I had to saw the plant handles off so I could reach them, and we raised
green
everything we eat, except what we bought was geztm coffee. We didn't know

nothing about ground coffee and .we bought coffee in the 100 pound sack.
6-receo f rad
G am coffee and it. And I got the old grounder home now, tacked

up against the side of he house we ground our own coffee.

P: That was the only thing you had to buy? You grew everything else?

M: We grew practically everything else but flour.

P: What about hunting and; fishing? DId you all do a lot of that?

M: Yes sir.

P; What were the main things hunted back in those days?

M: Well, the main thing we hunted back in those days we'd hunt deer to at -

we'd hunt coon, rabbit, and sometimes in the hot weather, we'd hunt wild hog

or bear.

P; Did people ever sell hides or fur at all?

M; We did ourselves.








Page 13

P: Where did you sell them?

M: I don't knows exactly, but my brother shipped them off somewhere.

We'd catch these old bobcats, that's what S _in for anything else but

the hides.

P: Did you have to go to Atmore to ship them off or how did he do it?
at Local
M: He'd ship them off A a little ol d depot : ; there at Local.

P; Back in the early days when people would go hunting say for deer i or some-

thing like that, did they go individually or did they have drives or how

did they?

M: They would mostly go in groups.

P; How would they organize a hunt?

M: We'd just all get together and organize our hunt and all go out together

and hunt and we'd get together some of us would get together and hunt at

night. There used not to be any law about hunting at night, you see.

We'd go out and hunt at night and we'd hunt possum and coon and things

like that and anything at night, you know.

P/ What did you use for light?

H: We had I had one of these old lights like they used to use in the

mine?

P; On your head?

M: On your head.

P; Do you remember how people preserved the meat that they got in those

yeass? What did they do with it?

M: They'd have a hog killing all the neighbors would have a hog killing

and they'd cut the meat up and then spread that meat out on the table and
.tiAJ a Cafarsr SVedI coenr-e se
they had a*- l5tls and they'd put that eole-l all over it

and then they 'd put straw or something over it at night and they'd let it

stick there until that salt got good and soaked in it and then they'd






Page 14



OtC- it down, what they call it down, they'd pack them in a big barrel.

Well, they let it stay in there for so many days and after that. they would

so many days, they would take that eat out and put it in the smokehouse.

They would smoke it and cure it in the smokehouse.

P; About what size was the smokehouse?

M: Oh they were built out of lumber, just regular rough lumber and they'd be

some the size of this room or bigger.

P; About ten x twelve, something like that?

M: We had one as big as this.

P; Do you remember how many days exactly they umed t. lea-. it in?

M: I believe the'd smoke it for about 60 or 90 days.

Kept a little smoke there Kept smoke going for many a night with hickory

wood.

PF Do you remember ever seeing people smoke or dry beef outdoors over a

rack of any kind?

M: Yes sir.

P: How is that different from smoki?

M: That's a bit of difference. After you dry it out, you hand it up and you

dry it and you just slowly dry it, you know and you don't have to have it

in a closed place. Now the smokehouse used to be a closed place where

you'd have to hold smoke ft, but that wouldn't be, and you'd dry it out

in the open but you wouldn'tt let it get too close that way where

it wouldry the beef out.

P: Do you remember other than meat, drying any other kinds of food?

Any fruits or nuts or vegetables of any kind that they would dry out?

M: No, only thing I would know that I can remember of drying they would

dry these walnuts and things like that and a lot of them would dry them

out and get grease out of them.

P;
How did they get the grease out of them?






Page 15



M: Well, they would break them up and/squeeze the grease out of them.

P: Where would they set them out to dry to get the grease?

M: They'd set them out in the open place, you know, in the sun.

P: In the sun in a dish of some kind?

M: No, they'd spread them out just like a big opening on a plank somewhere.

P: Then after they dried, they break them open and get the grease out?

What was the grease for to cook with?

M: To cook with they'd do most anything with it. L tV 4 1 OCt C __

We made our own lard.

P; From pigs.

M: From pigs. We'd cut up the fat meat we didn't use, it'd be fat we'd

cut it up and I've stirred up a many you've seen these big wash pots

and let this all dry, and when it would all dry, we'd take a strainer

and take those cracklings out of it and we'd pour off that

grease in a 25 gallon bucket you know, barrel, made our own

syrup cut our own rice.

P: Back to the lard for a minute. Do you remember people making soap?

M: Yes sir. My grandmother's made a many of what you call lye soap.

They made that out of a lot of cracklings and lard and stuff and all mixed up.

P; What all else do you put in it?

M: I don't remember what all they did put in it. They put lye .

P; Would they make their own lye?

M; No, I don't remember if they made their own lye or not, but they made

their own lye soap. We'd wash our s with lye soap I've washed an-a

timefwith lye soap.

P: How did you all store corn back in those days years ago?

M: Well we built our barn, what we called a barn back in those days we

built it out of logs and we'd pull our corn by hand and throw it in the wagon


and take our mules and wagons and drive aonw ld pull it and stoe it in piles






Page 16



and then take our mules and wagons and haul it and store it in that barn.

P: Was it right on the ground or would you have a floor?

M: We'd have a floor in it.

P: About how high off the floor is it?

M: About like that.

P; About 18 inches? b I 0

M: Just about 18 inches and have it out of blocks. We would have for

the seals and we'd have the seals hewed out with I_ llock and they'd be

S e gI f block \4MAAAm A lot of block and then we'd just

put our cron crib .

P: The floor was poles too?

M: No, it would be some kind of a hewed out lumber.
/ i9t blocks dntrot
P: The fat N. IA --blocks they don't as fast as they used to

M: No, no They stay there.

P: Do you ever remember seeing anybody take, maybe just for decorative pur-

poses, an ear of corn and take the husks back and braid the husks back

together and have it all in a string? Do you ever remember seeing anybody

doing that?

M: No, r- : I don't believe I have.

P; Do you remember a food called sofki?

M: Sofki? Well, I remember it, but I don't remember how my grandmother

used to make it.

P:was it something everybody ate, ot .

M: Yeah.

P: Did you ever eat any of it?

M: Yeah.



did it taste good to you?



M: Sure it did.






Page 17




SNow you talk about an old they had an old __ what we call a reef hook

at that time It was bent, crooked around that way with a handle on it and

we ax raised our own rice. I've cut a many of them when I was a small boy.

I cut it down and tie it up in i : bundles and then when that rice would

Secure, we'd take our wagons out there and what we call whipping it off.

Hit it up against that bpdy and whipped the seed off of it, off the bush,

and we'd take it to the grist mill and what we call the water mill, what

they call a water mill now People don't know what you mean when you say

water mill- The reason why it was called a water mill< it was just like

these boats, you know you see some kind of a boat with propellers behind,

well, they put them in swift water and make a dam, get them in swift water

where they'll have a lot of power, and that's where you got the power to

grind to turn your rice and grind it.

P: Now when you say hit it against the wagon bar, would you hit it so heads

would fall into the end of the .

M: That's right hit it along side the wagon. I've whipped off a many of it.

P: Now when you were growing rice, did you grow it for part of the time in a

flooded field or in a dry field?

M: No, you it would be better to grow rice in a moisty place you get

better results.

P; But you didn't flood the fields like you see sometimes on TV like over in

Asia or someplace.

M: No, no. I can take you right to the spot right now where we used to cut

rice.

P; In Bell Creek or Local?

M: Local.

P; Have the Indian people always been fond of hot peppers in their food?

M: Yes sir.


P; As long as you remember?







Page 18



M: I used to laugh to the doctor ,Oy 'L fF Lf ar

P: I mentioned before we started recording that I had found some people in the

area who remembered a few words of the Indian language. Do you remember when

you were a boy any of the real old people ever saying any words in the

Indian language?

M: No, I certainly don't.

P; Do you remember the older women kind of dress up dresses they would make?

I've heard that they used to put a lot of ribbon and stuff on their

clothes.

M: Yes they would. All the women used to dress up with ribbon on their

clothes and most of it would be red ribbon and they'd dress up and they'd

make these what they call bouquets out of the ribbon and you know like a

flower and they'd dress up and make clothing out of that and ruffles around

the dresses with ribbon .

P: You mean they'd have rows or ribbon?

M: No, ruffles around the dress.

P; Just one around the dress, or would there be several?

MF There'd be 3 t several.

P: Usually red ribbon though?

M: Yeah.

P: Did you ever see the older women fix their hair a special way? Different

then the older women do now?

M; Well, back those days, the most of the old women would let their hair grow

long and they'd just take it and ball it up.

P; On top of their heads?

M: On top of their heads.

P; Did they ever put ribbons in there?

M: Yep they'd maybe put a ribbon back there some of them would.






Page 19



P: A bow or would they just wrap it in there?

M: Well, some would wrap it and tie it and some would make a bow out of it.

Then all up in the later days when I got up Co my teens, some of the young

girls they wouldn't cut their hair real short they'd let it grow long

and they would make them some kind of stuffed thing out of a stocking

or something about that big around and they'd call it a rat. They'd go

around their hair and then roll it up and kind of fix it up.

P: Back when you were a boy, did the menfolk go to the barber shop much or was

the hair cut at home?

M: Hair was cut at home I didn't know what a barber shop was.

P; Do you remember the first time you went to a barber shop?

M: Yes, sir!

P: Go ahead tell about the first time you went to a barber shop

M: The first I went to a barber shop, I .

P; How old were you first of all?

M: Well, I really didn't go to the barber shop I was about 16, 17 year old.

This Atp I was talking about I went to work there when I was 12 year

old. And as a man they were called Joe Bagwell He cut hair with hand
6v r Si4 4imr
clippers and he would cut fe=a hair -t C on an appl-.- box and he'd cut

hair with those hand clippers. That's the first time I'd ever had my hair

cut with clippers.

P; Before it was just scissors?

1g: Scissors and some people would cut them off and my uncle would H cut them off.

First one around the neighborhood and cut them off with scissors.

P: When was the first time you went into a real barbershop then?

M; Well, I went into a real barbershop, it was down in Atmore. I must have

been around 18 year old 20, something like that.

P; Were you getting ready for a big occasion?


Mj -e I just went there me and my brother went there and we stopped there





Page 20




and I'll tell you somebody else you can meet and he knows me well and you can

talk to him, he would be glad to talk to you, Clyde Peacock, umjd the barber-

shop TA r e cut my hair right over at the camp. He was working

there.

P; Is he still working there as a barber,a.. thau-aip

M; Yeah, he's working there right now in Atmore Clyde Peacock. He has a

barbershop right there in Atmore now.

P; Hestarted out cutting hair in a logging camp?

M: Yeah he's cut my hair many times sitting on an apple box.

Yec sir, he's cut myhair many a time right on the apple box. My grandmother

moved to Pensacola, was my relation,either in 1920 or '21, with my sister and

some of my nephewsAnd so I didn't come I stayed at the old place, me and

my brother and so we farmed and messed around with the cattle we bachelored

around there for a while and our uncle moved in with s, Adams, and so

I didn't come to Pensacola right at that time. She moved to Pensacola and

she said she was gonna get out so the children could get some education.

My sister, my nephew and all Well I had some cattle and my brother, we had

some stock and we stayed there a -e-alater day. he moved down here tuAu -J

about 10 or 11 year old, she moved down here # A '20 or '21 She moved

down to Buter Street Right below Garden Street. I came down here I was

down here off and on visiting all the time and when she first came down here,

this Mabel Crow you're talking about, she was dark, and so when she came down

here and tried to register for school, that school on "E" Street, they wouldn't

register her, because they was dark and thought they was negroes.

They sent her back home and boy that old grandma injun of mine, she grabbed
dr nAN
those chillin by the tair and she went back up there. Once she got through

with that lady, she was glad to put them in that school -' "

P; Was this your grandma McGhee, or .


M; Adams.







page 21



114 She was a Gibson before she got married to Adams.

P; And Mabel Crow was one of those childreN?

M; One of those children.

P: So she never had to go to the law or anything just on the strength of her

own case that she made...

M; She done went to the law with it, but they sent her back home.

P; Well, were they about the first Indian children who arer went to school

in Pensacola do you think?

M: Naw, there was Indian children here then Mrs. Linton's children I think

were brought in here I'm not sure I don't know if they was, but I think

they was and they was Indian, but they didn't show up much Indian You

know that. But Mabel Crow did show up a lot of Indian I don't know if

you've ever seen her/or not. ty-l Jz- e.,v V c c L- -

P; Did your grandmother talk about any other problems that she had in Pensacola

in finding a house to live in or anything like that?

M; No sir, she never did talk about that she never did talk about that. She

got down here with those children,drhere weren't no welfare no such

things like that then,- here wasn't no furnishing the books for the children,

d she knew some men with this Frisco Railroad and sh so she got to o..'
0E or (4) 2 I TA P C
washing and in them days, you know, they would t allow no railroad man to

wear anything but overalls, jumpers, and a red tie and a cap a cloth cap.

My grandmother then got in with a man that she knew, a Mr. Long, and he

got all the men to bring their clothes in and let her do them, her and the

children. And she would wash those clothes out and boil them out in he wash

pot and rub them out with her hands and she would iron them with just a regular

old hand iron by hand and she heated the coal with charcoal and she had a

furnace, a charcoal furnace. And she put that charcoal in there and get it

hot and heat them iron and she would make her own starch out of flour.

Make her own starch out of flour and the starch them railroad men's clothes.







Page 22



P; I'll be.

M; Nhen I was down there then, and so there was a man who knew grandmother / ---

(4/aS Jmall, I just can't recall what date it was or what year it was, but

anway when just when Frisco bought out the Railroad Company running

the Frisco running from Atmore up to the Mississippi, they built the Frisco

Depot. Right over here in Pensacola. Used to be a passenger train running

out of here twice a day. Right down here at the Frisco Depot it just

continues there still. It's not but a few blocks you can drive by and

it's right close here. And so, the ) foreman come out and called my

grandmother her name was Alice Adams, but she was the head of the whole

house and he called her "captain". He was the captain too.

P; How many were in that house?

M: Oh, there was about well with my nephews and all and Mavis, she was

there she's a first cousin of mine and her sister, she cab tell you

about it, and there was about about 7 or 8 in the house of H nephews,

cousins, and everything else.

P: And your grandmother was the captain?

M; She was the captain. So she said Captain, send that boy, talking about me,

and so I helped and pulled and he said I was too small to handle the
&oVs5 Y-; es
railroad ---SSS and he said, well you can carry water. Old man

Iniken that was the railroad foreman's name. So I worked the railroad

there with him and we, at that time, they had the turnaround right there

where the train would come in and turn around. They'd get those trains up

there at night and come in there and they didn't have no coal shute and they
could
would switch those trains up there night- and I just mcxnadin handle

ht the pitchfork and we loaded those trains with coal 8 on those trains.

P; Was was this man's Iniken what was his first name, do you remember?
Vj\ +er kr; 4
M: No, it's been so long. He's dead now, but his name was Mr. ei4en. He told

my grandmother to send me around there so I carried water for the men,





Page 23



P: That was your first job then working for wages, or .

M: No, I had been working for the camp then.

P; What made you decide to finally leave up there and come on down and be with

your grandmother?

M: Well, I decided to come on down and be with my grandmother she was getting

old and we sold our old place up there We sold our nn old place up there

and so I decided, well, the camp was coming on down and was getting pretty
-no MC(40n
well cut out with the camping up there just above what they call

Little Rock and Bonnie Road Crossing, and so I decided to come down here.

I came down here and I went to work on the Nine Mile Road with a man

on a truck farm. I come out here on a Sunday afternoon and stay 'til Saturday

with him on a truck farm and we'd bring produce to the town in an old T-model

truck and peddle it out all over town.

P; This was before you started carrying water for the railroad?

M: Yes. And so kat that's before I carried water for the railroad. We'd

peddle it out and he'd give me 3 or 4 dollars a week and my board out there

and I'd bring it home to my grandmother aSfkR to help her out with the children.

P: I guess back in those days, I guess that was a brave thing for your grand-

mother to do, leave up there and come down to Pensacola, or did she already

have relatives here, or what?

M; No, she didn't have no relatives.

P; Had she ever visited Pensacola before?

M: Yes, she just had a friend here.

P; Who was that?

M: Mary Overstreet.

P; How did she happen to have her as a friend?

M: Well she used to live up there in the country and had a hard times up
a I.ri
there with my grandmother tpwhere we lived and at that time, Mary Overstreet

was married to a Brown, Mary Brown, and she was living right down here on

E Street right now an old woman.







Page 24



P: Was she Indian or not?

M: No, she wasn't Indian.

But my brother married her niece.

P; So the friendship has kept on?

M: The friendship that has lived up there what we call right now, a little

place called Butler Street they live right close together.

P:THat's how your grandmother got to know .

M; That's how my grandmother got to know her up at the home and so she moved

o on down to Pensacola and after she got down to Pensacola she rented

a big old house I can show you right yonder __ Street and over at

the boarding house and she got to boarding these railroad men. She told

them grandmother'd come down and clean up and cook around and get towashing

for the men to make a living and she could send them children to school.

That was one of my big breaks my grandmother making a break to come down

here.

P: Did you ever go to school in Pensacola?

M; No, I never did.

P; Younger .

M: My younger sister did.

P: Besides your grandmother and her household, did you ever run into any

Indians living in Pensacola at that time?

M: No,

P; Speaking of that, when you were a small child growing up, di ou know that

you were Indian?

M; Yeah.

P; How did you know you were Indian?

M: Well, way back yonder, my grandmother told me I was and so way back an old

man came to her and said he was from Washington)and he told my grandmother

I believe it was $5 if she would give him $5, that the Indians had some money







Page 25



-omb+g to them and they had a claim in Washington and if she would give him

the $5 so he would go ahead and dig up the claim and get her -'. claim.
Sharks 1
Well, you know, and she didn't know, and she went ahead and gave out

all the children's names and he took the money back in them days, $5
wSa
was $5, itq like a hundred now. He take that money and he's gone We

never hear from him no more. And so that's a why grandmother but now

I'll tell you for a ict about it at the time, she said I don't remember

but she said, your father and your great grandfather were Creek Indians.

There's so many of them went to one went to Oklahoma and most of them

went to Oklahoma and called themself Cherokee Indians.

P; And this is what this man said he was doing collecting money for the

Cherokee Indians?

M; He said he was collecting money for the Creek Indians.

P; But your grandmother said those that went to Oklahoma Oallaedhtfi-



M: Qa-et e,. r( rokee.

P: But she said she thought your father and grandfather were Creek Indians?

And your grandmother knew that?

M: Yes sir.

P; When you were a youngster, were the Indian people proud of being Indian?

M; Yes sir.

P; How did they show their pride in being Indian?

M: Well, they would show their proud they would just all get together and have

a big all together and the whites, they wouldn't go around the

white people and the whites wouldn't go around them and they was proud
I/
of being Indians My grandmother used to say, I'm Indian, and I'm proud

"of -hna infia.T So there was one man who came around while were was living

at Butler Street that lived up there and there was a school at White Neck






Page 26



Pond. Right back to where that old school was at at White Neck Pond.

This old man was a Hadley Fred Hadley and he thoughtell of my
H \'| III
grandmother and he says captain, send them children up there to school.
If
She says alright, I don't want to have no trouble with them people up there.

They don't want to registerAw Indians, and they're not gonna
'I
register them and this old man, he drinks a little, he drinks a good bit, and

he was a white man, but he was well he thought well of my grandmother. He

said, I'll stand back off over here with my shotgun and he says, and my
Il It
grandmother says, no, I don't want to have no trouble with those people.

Said they don't want to register us up there I done tried it. They used to

come around, you know, long years ago, to register in school, around

the community. You didn't have to go to school to register. They'd come

around the community and register.

P; Did they come to the Indians?

M: No, no. They sure didn't.

P; But there were separate schools for the Indians?

M; Yes sir. There's one down in the Colbert settlement.

P: I had heard some of the older people say that years ago, probably before

you time, that there were before the whites started coming in, that there

were whites and Indians going to school together. Do you ever hear of them

talking like that? Can you ever remember a time like that they did?

M: I don't remember it. Now, just across thefine, I don't know if, you've ever

been there Monroe County? You could go over there and go to school.

P; But not in Escambia?

M: Not in Escambia. But you could go My grandmother moved over there on

this fellow HaW- drugstore he run the drugstore here now. His daddy

had a strawberry farm and had a little old house back of the strawberry farm

and she went over there and that school that was out here if you've







Page 27



ever been to that brick school, well she moves over there and picks straw-

berries in the afternoon and everything before she moved to Pensacola and

she left her home over there and 4he didn't sell it, but she went and

stayed in the camp and run the little old house nd send us to schoolivl CD

P; So you went to ert school?

M: I went to ari schools and I messed up.

P; How much education did you finally get?
(Ar->&k
M: I got fourth grade. I got that at Fmr.

P; Now I remember the first time I ever met a you and maybe you changed your

mind but you said at that time b that being Indian was something people used

to try and hide.

M: A lot of people did.

P; Why did they do that/

M: I don't know.

P; Were these people ones that didn't look very Indian?

M; That's right.

P: You also said at that time and it stuck in my mind, that when you were

growing up, you didn't know there were other Indians other places, really.

M: Well, all I knew about the Indians were the ones I've been around the Colbert

community, Local, Bell Creek, ftfurL and e4e d .

P: Did you know there were other Indians out West?

M: Well, I knew that I heard about the Indians out E West I heard about the

Cherokee Indians out West, but I never did hear of no Creek Indians and those

other Indians, but I always heard about the Cherokee Indians out West.

So, that's all I know at that time, I didn't I didn't even know there was

any Indians, and I didn't even know there were any Indians in Pensacola.

To tell you the facts about it, a lot of us them tried to hide it, but I'm

gonna be ashamed of it and I've never been ashamed of it and I don't care who

knows it. Actually, until 1946, I believe it was, 1945, Congres s opened up







Page 28



tO
for the Indians to sue and in this suit, the government for the claim. Well
1\
right up there just above what they call that schoolhouse up there and on

that pond that little house there and the church, they had the school there.

And after everybody got that out and the late Calvin McGhee dug it up, I-E

everybody people from Atmore and everywhere, said I never did claim no

Indian and didn't know they had no Indian in them.

P: Trying to .S r R 4 ** -

M: Trying to get the Indian's money. That's the honest truth.

P: Were you one of the original &uncil members?

M: No, not one of the original I hadn't start with I've been on the

Council for some good while.

P: Can you talk about how you happened to get on the council? Coming up in history

a little bit now.
a member of the
M: Well, I got on the council there was Well as I remember, there was

council resigned I believe it was and so the council members they talked

to me about it and I was living in Pensacola and they talked about me about

getting on the Council.

P: Let me interrupt you for a second. After you came down as a youngster and

stayed with your grandmother, did you stay in Pensacola most of your life right

on up to the present time?

M: I stayed here during most of my life back and forth but I worked on

_--__ Company for 37 years.

P; Here in Pensacola?

M: Right here in Pensacola. Right down here 37 years and I'm 62 now.

P: Back to being in Pensacola when they got ready to putyou on the council.

You said you were living in Pensacola at the time and they just asked you

to come be on it or what? Sa

M: Well, they asked me, A Jf I would like to serve on thecouncil and I said

yes.







Page 29



P: Do you know why they picked you to serve on the council?

M: No I don't know why they picked me. They figured I was Indian and I had

my people to heart and I would do all I could for them.

P: Did you ever go to Washington with Calvin?

M: Oh, yes.

P; What were the occasions that you would go to Washington with Calvin?

M: Well, we went up there one time as I was fixing to tell you i first told

Caltin there wasn't no Indians in Atmore pThere wasn't no Indians in

AlabamaS Well, he tried to go up there and a- he taken all the people

that had registered they wouldn't pay no attention to that id so
OVac r1I3 M If Ac-4-C
well, Eleanor Thompson ASd 4, he's his lawyer, our attorney, and he

asked Calvin then, he said, well, he said there's no Indians in Alabama

and so we carried and I carried, there was about 4 carloads of us

that went up there. I had a staionwagon and I carried about 5. I carried

my first children, Emma Lee, I mean, Willie Lee, up there at daplZapdi4e

T.carried what you call the medicine man, he's dead now A. And I carried
C( U, r+ 0 a- S-Hi '-e
him and Earland we went right on that 1 that morning and when all them
-- threeI *
Indians walked in them three P judges' eyes got that big, (Oet,5 V

P:Do you remember some of the others that went up in groups up to the judges.

M: Wel, Calvin's mother went IdaA she went and there was I believe well as

I remember, Leon Kelley, I'm not too sure I believe he went.

P: Was he just a youngster at the time?

M: Yeah, he wasn't too he was married and Calvin's brother went and

there was a good group Mrs. Linton went some of the e64ersef down

here went and there was about 3 or 4 carloads of us.

P; What year was this? Do you remember about how long ago?

M: Lordy, I can't remember.

P: Were you on the council at the time?

M: No, I wasn't not at that time.







Page 30



P: You don't remember how many years you were on the council?

M: I sure can't remember, that s don't know I've been on iteneven years.

P: I've noticed you were just showing me you have lots of Indian

gatherings and wear Indian costume and all when did you start doing

that?
visiting
M: Well, I started doing that after I got on the au council and 4 and

going around with the late Calvin and he would holler me everytime

he got ready to go somewhere, he'd holler at me and say let's go.

And I'd always be willing to go to Washington or anywhere else a

he'd go. I made several trips with him to Washington and went right

on up and talked to the Indian Bureau Affairs and everywhere with him

and would go see attorneys up there with him and anytime he got ready

to go, he'd holler and I'd be willing to go wit h him.

M: Did you ever have any problems about getting off of work to go do that?

M: No, sir. They let me off of work.

P: So your employers were pretty understanding?

M: My employers were pretty understanding and they was I'd bring some of

the pictures back and they was real thrilled over them!
n act I -#
In fact, I was down here in this Vqu re and I was leading the parade
I- wa the s jrtvft*f S x cc K; oo&
I was the sry-e A I coulndqt hardly walk but they wanted me to

lead the parade Billy Smith and all of them and all the dancing boys

from up home .

P: Just this summer do you mean?

M: Yeah- this past August and I passed right on by and I was leading the

parade in my costume and Bob gyhaBhe was standing out there, you know, and

I walked right by him. And I was speaking to him the other night, and he

says, yeah, I seen you leading the parade in that Indian costume. And I

says, yeah, I say_ politicsbusiness __---_.

P: You mentioned Calvin would you just say a few words I never got to meet







Rage 31



about what kind of man Calvin McGhee was?

M: Calvin McGhee was a fine Calvin McGhee was a good man Calvin McGhee had

done a lot and he had his people to heart. He tried to do everything in the

world for his people and that's why we have got that : Indian

school at Atmore right today he and my late first cousin and I don't

&now how many went- they went up there when I believe it wa Y-4L.S

yith the Governor of Alabama and he told him that something hadto be done

that those Indian children were growing up there in their community and
t1
they wasn't getting -t.e+ education they was getting deprived of their

education. ;1 ( Graves is the man who appropriated the money to build

that Indian school at-Prveh today. He was the Governor of Alabama.

P: If you can think back to talking about education were the Indian people

any better off as faras schools and teachers as far as the colored people

were or were they worse off or what?

M: Well, I'll tell you a fact about it I can't think too much bout it, but

I know the Indian people was bad off W teachers. I know they had one

of my cousins and he didn't even have a high school education and he

had me come in an old A_ place .a bunch of us and he was trying to teach us

and he didn't know much more than we did.

P: Was this up at Local?

M: That was Farris McGhee's brother Archie McGhee.

P; And he just sort of got a school together?
\Ato0 UrAk
M: No, he had run hebaea over at Oarl and got up into the 10th or 11 grade,

the 10th grade and then after he got that, he thought he would come back

and teach the children of that school v I mean, the community that didn't

have a school.

P; Did he get paid for that?

M: I don't know about that I couldn't tell you about that.







Page 32



P: Let me ask you quick questionS would you tell me around Bell Creek and the

Indian community, wha t the old time funerals were like? Do you remember

them being any different from the funerals of today?

M: Oh, yeah.

P; Tell me about that.

M: Old-time funerals would have a funeral and they would lay what they,would
it II .vJe fno^cy^
call lay them out on the cooling board; It wasn't embalmed, They'd lay

them out on the cooling board which my daddy and my mother and on the

outside cool air and they'd build a fire around them and all of them would

sit around that fire and they'd make their boxes Just satin cloth -

I've seen them make them my daddy made a wooden box a homemade wooden

box my mother's buried in a homemade box and they made their own

coffins. Well some of the people in the community then would go ahead

and they would all get together and go dig the graves themselves.

They'd dig the grave about the width of six inches on each side for the

width of the box. And they'd dig that grave down as much as the box and

they'd leave a shoulder on there. Well, they'd leave a shoulder on there

and dig down until they got down to the width of the box and they'd leave

a shoulder of the width of the box six inches they left over. Then to

get rough lumber 1 x 8 lumber and they'd put a cover over that box and

let it come over about six inches that I told you about, for the foundation.

And they'd cover that over and then they'd eheek it- nd4 tuu i .Ak(ll erg

thatjj t it together and then they put a small piece over the crack

and cover it up.

j The crack over the plank the box would be solid, but you see they put 4A

S on them two 6 inch side left over for the foundation and even with

the box to put the boards over the top and they'd put those boards close

together and then they'd put a little strip on that to keep the dirt

from going through the crack into the box.







Page 33



P: And then they'd cover it up. Then would they preach the funeral at the

graveside or .

M: They'd preach the funeral mostly at the graveside.

P: Do you remember whether back in those days, people would put anything in the

box with the deceased person?

M: Well, they used to, back in them days, put near about .everything in there.

P: Name some things.

M: They'd put watches, they'd put the jewelry, they'd put everything jewelry

mostly belongings personal belongings rings and everything and so

late days and everything, people would rob the graves dig the jewelry

up They got these money J you know and things like that and they'd go

around the graveyard~where the money was in these late days and they dug

up a lot of valuable jewelry out of there.

P; Would they ever put anything in that wasn't necessarily valuable but that the

person had liked?

M: Yes.

P; Like what, for example?

M: Well, they used to put bow and arrows in ad things like that.

P: Did they?

M: yes.

P; Do you remember seeing that?

M; I seen one, but now I've heard now I don't know I heard my grandmother

talk about it way back yonder if he had a riding horse a hunting and

riding horse When he died, they'd kill that horse and bury it with him.

P: You heard your grandmother talking about that?

M: Yes sir. Put all his personal things with him.

P; What about the women do you remember any personal things other than

valuable things put in with women?

M; No,





Page 34



P: Was a child's burial the same as a grownups, or was that any different?

M: That was no different they'd make the boxes and everything there was no

difference.

P: Let me ask you again something I found out lately and maybe you remember

some more about it .that other people haven't told me and that's the custom

of carrying a child around the house a baby do you remember that?

S Whoever carries it, they're supposed to grow up and be like that person?

Remember that custom at all?

M: No, I don't.

Pt you don't remember well the reason I asked you I find out there are slight

difference on that custom from one area to the next, gut you don't remember

that custom when a baby would be real small the first time it would go

outside a person in the house would carry it around?

M: Oh, yeah that used to be an old custom. L(

P: Tell me how that worked.

M: That used to be an old custom my grandmother say and maybe she'd be joking

like you, you know and say, don't let him take him out, he'll be just like

you. I remember that old custom. I -I S

P; Did you ever see it done?

M; Yeah, I sure have.

P; When you saw it done, was it with a whole group of people or would just one

person go around?

M: Just that one person would go around.

P: Would the parents pick out who that person would be?

M: No, they would just be a bunch of them around They'd say, no, don't let

carry him, no, don't let him carry him he will be just like him.

P: I wanted to ask you, too,do you remember any of the old remedies that people

use to have to cure themselves and so forth? Herbs and things?

M: Right off, I don't. My grandmother used to go out in the woods and dig up







Page 35



the bat scatter root or something like they'd call it, some kind of old root
0A\C 19 gsfure-)
and she would cut that toot and wash it and cut it up just aboutlike that

in length and she'd put she'd get some whiskey and put in it and left that

to sit in the whiskey for a while and after she did that, if you had

a stomach ache or J or what have you, you take a swallow of that and you

was gone -You was cramping you take a swallow of that and you was gone.

And there used to be old custom thatthey'd wear a baby hey'd have some

kind of a thing you put around its neck and 1 or something like that

and let it wear it so long, you know, and let that baby wear it around

the neck.

P; Now these you've been calling customs Do you remember people calling them

anything other than customs?

M: No, that's all medicine they call it the medicine. She had how she

made it, I don't know. But she made some kind of a salve and it would

cure most any kind of a sore there was. She mixed all kind of She

mixed but I can't remember what she put in it or anything, and mix it up
AS
just like in a salve she'd put turpentine in it and that was the biggest

thing turpentine And get e you know she'd got out to a, the tree

and she'd cut the tree and drain that fresh turpentine out of there and put'

it on a cut and then turn you loose and let you go) and .... that was it.

P: Well, I guess there weren't too many doctors around then?

M: No, no. Wasn't nothing but pill doctors.

P: Like Dr. Sellers?

M ; Yeah, like Dr. Sellers -

P; Was he around from the time you can first remember?

M: Yes sir. He brought me into this world.
A-
P; Midwife didn't deliver you then?

M: No, c. Sellers.

P; Where was his office by the way?







Page 36



M: Out in McCullough. McCullough, Alabama. r-.&l-e'S-

P: Let me ask you one more question we've been talking about the past -

in your opinion what lies in the future for the Indian people of Alabama

and northwest Florida?

M: Well, I feel like if we keep pushing it and everything like we're going,

we're trying to work up a good program and I think we're try4 to work

up a program and ifwe're pushing like we're going, and things are looking

better all the time is the way I see it for the Indian people. We've

Givered a long ways, but we're still hae t- -ge a long way yet for

people up there.

P ; Do you think there will always be an Indian People?

M: I sure do. Ca **

P: I've noticed there seem to be a fair amount of younger Indians marrying

people who aren't Indian. Do you think that trend is going to continue?

M: Well, I don't know. I can tell you a little secret, but it's no secret.

There used to be a custom way back yonder when I was coming upI know

I was going with a girl over in Monroe County and the girl thought LKo]| I' 4
A cklier ,
g33SS^ Ve was in love And we was thinking about getting engaged

and getting married in Monroe County a Dyals girl and so she set down one

night and cried we come back from church and said, Tom, I L just don't

know what to do unless we run away, and I said, what you- nean? And she

said I asked daddy talking to dadddy about it and he says, no, you can't
"It II It
marry him 'cause he's Indian and she says) why daddy? And he says)
II II If
that generation go back to the 4th generation and he said if you all have
II
a child be black as a nigger.

P; And that ended?

M: She started to run away with me and I went to get her and got in my old

car with her she was gonna run away to Pensacola.

P; I guess that's something you never forget?






Page 37



M: No, you never forget. And she told me that and the only way she could

correspond was through her daddy I was working in the gist mill gridning
cr &nff:yb r-fn t,, Ceand) -h-- M"r ; an
corn and she write a note and have the letter abtet =44 and
-^- ~~[- -- ^f c
haverher name on it e 4 A

P: And that's how you all wold correspond?

M: Yeah.

P: Before would her daddy let her go out with you and go to church and things?

M: Well, he would go we would walk to church and he'd walk along with us.

P: But when it came to marriage, that was something else?

M: That was something else. But now I'll tell you Indian business got up,

there's a lot of Indian men and girls marrying white boys and there's

a lot of white boys married to Indian girls. I'm an.old coon I know about

it, but you hardly ever did see but around the late years.

P: And you think the Indian money influenced this?

M: Uh huh. I'm pretty sure it had a big influence on it.

P: Well, is there anything I haven't asked you about that you would like

to say, because I can't think of all the right questions necessarily.

M: Well, no I don't think there's anything else that I would like to say on

this thing. I told you about just about all that I know-

that you can think of and I think I've told you pretty good outline.

P: Well, we've been going for pretty near an hour here thank you, I'll turn

it off.





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