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Subject: Johnny Jackson er o. r1k,2 (Id=- *m,,, b 2i-
Interviewer: (?) 6a:.)l X
Date: August 1, 1973
Typist: Josephine Suslowicz
I: August 1, 1973 and I'm interviewing Mr. Johnny Jackson in his home in Porch,
Alabama. Mr. Jackson, you were just saying that, uh, you were born around here,
but you didn't grow up here. Uh, when were you born, and where, exactly, were
J: Uh, I was born in 1924, and I don't know exactly where.
I' Was it in this community ?
I: How old were you when you moved away from here?
J: I must have been, I'/d say, ten years old.
I: Could you talk a little bit about your earliest remembrances of what the communittee
was like around here before you moved away?
J: I don't remember too much about it, really.
I: What kind..
J: I stayed with my uncle and my aunt be--before I moved from here with mother.
I: Who were they? --your uncle and your aunt?
J: Uh, there's, uh, Rosa, Alberta's mother.
I: Ur-hum. (Affirmative)
J: Her daddy and his mother, Jackson. All my brothers and sisters moved down
I: Tell me a little bit about what-what did the children do, at that time, for fun?
What kind of recreation did you have?
'J: Well we--down there we fished, hunted, sad so c4---.-.
CRK 39A 2
I: In Florida did you mean?
J: Uh-huh, that's about all there was to do. UJklt -ime1 ou was going to school.
I: Yeah. Uh, did-were there any balJgames or anything like that going on at that
J: No, not--not there.
I: What about up here before you moved down to Florida? What-what kind of things
did the kids around here do? Anything in particular?
J: No. If they did, I don't remember.
I: Well, what was,.the, uh, occasion that your mother moved down to Florida? Do
you remember that?
J: No, I don't. Thar^-d^
I: What town did you all move to?
J: It was, uh, Bay Springs, Florida.
I: Bay Springs? What county is that in?
J: That's Escambia.
I: Escambia? Uh, is that--what big town is that near? Is there a big town there?
j: No, there's not. Well, it's about ten miles below Walida Hill. It's not a town,
it's just a little communitfee.
I: How many Indian people were living in Bay Springs when you..
J: They weren't Indian except the Walkers and the Jacksons-the only ones there that
I know a thing about.
I: Well, uh, I understand.that here, uh, people had problems about time in going to
school. Uh, did you have any problems in going to school down there as an Indian?
I: Indians went to school with other,Wite children?
J: Right. They-they didn't want us to, but we'd go and fight everyday, but we went
to school right along.
CRK 39A 3
I: You'/d fight with the other children?
I: How did the treat-how did the teachers treat you? Any different at all?
J: No, the teachers treated us just like they did the rest. We didn't have no
problem with them.
I: Did you ever go to school up here at all?
I: Where did you go to school here?
J: Right here at'this church, the Episcopal Church.
I: And that was--must have been your very first schooling that you had. Is that
right or was that after you. .
J: No. I was, uh, I believe I went into the 6th grade when I come here from down
I: Did you start at school down there?
J: Uh-huh. (affirmative)
I: You started school down there when you were about 10?
I: When you were living down there, how often did--did your folks--family come back
up here to visit relatives?
J: Well, they didn't come too often. Of course, then they--they didn't have no way
I: They didn't have any cars or anything?
I: What would be some occasion to..
J: There might have been two cars a whole-a whole bunch down there.
?: Didn't your grandmother live with you?
3: Yes, she did.
CRK 39A 4
?: I've long been told that he was in the bed with his grandmother when she died.
I: You were in the bed with your grandmother? Tell me about that.
J: Well, that was over here when she died. Well, she had been sickly off and on,
and we went to bed that night and the next morning she was dead, and we-we didn't
know it until after I--we all got up. Found out that she was dead then.
I: How old were you at that time?
J: Oh, then I was about 12-13 that night. We had moved down there.
I: How did you--how did you feel as a youngster when your...
J: I, I don't know. Um, I felt, well, funny, you know.
I: Well, back to your life down there in Bay Springs. Uh, did your family go to
church down there?
I: They didn't?
J: Uh-uh. (negative)
I: What about when if somebody, while you were living down there were to die, would
they bring them back heretto bury them, or did they bury them down there, or what?
J: They buried them down there. Alberta's daddy and her-her granddaddy. She's- et
&he sister and, L think, one brother buried down there.
I: Where are they buried?
J: Eden-Eden Church.
I: Eden Church. Uh, was there any particular reason why your people didn't go to
church down there?
J: No, I don't--not that I know of. Uh, of course I was too young then to realize
much anyway, you know.
I: I've heard some say that years ago around here the)Aite people wouldn't even let
the Indians go to church with them, right around here, and I was wondering if that
was ever a problem down there.
J: Not that I know of.
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I: What kind of work were your people doing down there in Florida, or how were they
making their living?
J: Well, there's--common labor. Anything they could get to do.
I: Uh, going back to-before you moved down there as a child, who all was living
down there already at that time?
J: Was, uh, Rosa Walker. Well, it was the Walkers, and there's always been living
there before we were living there.
I: Do you happen to know how they came to move down there themselves?
J: No, I don't. -<
I: Well, that--visits you would make up here, what would be some occasions that you
might come back up here to visit relatives? Any particular occasion?
J: Well, if they had a death, or something like that, wellithe--mother and them
would come; I never would.
I: And then you moved back up here when you were about how old?
J: I think around 12-15.
I: What was the occasion for your moving back up here at that time?
J: Well, we thought we could make a better living here then we could down there.
I: You and your mother you mean?
J: Uh-huh. My brother, Alfton, lives right up here.
J: He was already up here, and he wanted us to come up here, so we could be with him,
I: Ur-hum. And what-what kind of work is he in up here?
J: He was in the ,akwood business.
I: But you went to school when you got back here, right?
CRK 39A 6
J: Um-hum, yeah.
I: Did you go any more be--than the 6th grade, or is that as far as you got?
.J: I went to the 8th grade.
I: Right out here?
J: Right here.
I: Did you ever give any thought to trying to go to high school at that time?
J: Oh, that was out of the question.
I: It was out of the question?
J: Yeah, when-when I got big enough to work, I had to quit school then and go to
I: Did you go straight in to paper-wood work?
I: Tell me about what paper-wooding was like back a few years ago when you started'
J: Oh, it was--it was hard.
I: Tell me all about it. What all you had to do and all of that.
J: Well, it was all done by hand then. You didn't--you, you have a cross-cut saw
you cut it with and then you load it by hand, and then you unload it, too.
I: No cable or anything to hold it up?
J: No, you didn't have that.
I: Well, did everybody have their own truck at that time?
J: No, there wasn't-wasn't too many that had their own trucks.
I: Did your brother have a truck?
J: Not at that time, he didn't.
I: Who were some people around here at that time that did have trucks?
J: Well, uh, Will McGee is about the only one that I know of.
I: And he'd hire people to work for him?
I: Now, let's see, this would be back, uh, somewhere around 1939 or 1940--somewhere
CRK 39A 7
around there? Uh, were those big paper companies that are around now, here at
that time buying, or where did.people go to sell their stuff to?
J: Yeah, there was-I don't think there was, uh, that many. The only one then
would be in Mobile. There was two or three. I don't know.
I: Was there a woodyard close by here some place?
J: No. Oh, yeah, on the railroad. We put it on the railroad then.
I: Where would you go to put it on the railroad?
J; Jhere we ...- Well we loaded some here at Pr, i/ ville,
I: You mean right up here where the railroad tracks cross the road? Was there a
loading yard there?
J: Uh-huh, yes.
I: Uh, who operated that yard over there? Do you remember the names of the-people?
J: Um, I just remembered. I believe it was Scott Paper Company.
I: Scott Paper Company?
I: At that time were there many, uh, Indian families living right around the area
of the woodyards there at Porch?
J: No, there was one.
I: Who was that?
J: Let's see now, I'll have to remember. I believe Karlee McGeever did it. I
believe that's true. ..
I: Karlee McGeever?
I: Is that a man or a woman?
J: That's a woman.
I: Well, at that time, besides paper-wooding, what other kind of work was available
for Indian people?
CRK 39A 8
J: Uh, farming. There was a lot of farming went on too, at that time.
I: What percentage of the Indians were farming on their own, as opposed to working
for somebody else?
J: Well I don't know. There wasn't too many farming. There might have been four
or five families of the whole of those farming.
I: Did you ever farm yourself?
.J: No, I--I plowed some-a little, but I didn't go into the farming.
I: Did you .
J: I farmed _oJ(L o\ for other people.
I: What was the pay back at that time when you were plowing for other people?
J: Well I have plowed a week for two and a half per week, not days.
I: How long ago was that?
J: That was--well I!m--I was around 17, 18 years old, then.
I: Was that plowing for your own people around here, or did you go off some place
else and do that?
J: No, it was a family over here. They were Greens.
I: Did you ever go off, uh, like some have done, and, uh, worked as a hired hand
picking crops or working in/A/j oranges, or anything like that?
J: Yep. No, I've never been in oranges. I've been in potatoes, e) a potato farm.
I: Tell me about that. How you got started and that, what all that's involved in
J: Well, they wasn't much involved to it. They--you know like-well, they do it
now. They do it every year now. Of course, the folks that works in it now,.
they work ,C a shed. We got in the field and picked them up, you know, in the
I: What I mean by what's all involved in it--how would you get the job, and how would
CRK 39A 9
you get to the field, and all of those things.
J: Well you'd have a man that contracts your digging, and then he'd hire the help,
you know, to pick them up?
I: Urn-hum. But he'Yd come around to .
J: He'Yd come around-he'ld come around every morning to pick me up and bring me
back at night.
I: And where would you go to pick the potatoes?
J: Well, we went to, uh, Robertsdale, role.' 5,wU er-de all over the places
I: What were the working conditions like in that kind of work?
J: Well, they was just-it was just work. That's hard work.
J: Yeah, the pay was cheap, too. You'd make four or five dollars a day back then.
r: Would they ever take, uh, small children, or did they mainly take grown-ups?
J: Yeah, they'd take children.
I: Do you know much about-I understand that in years past there have been some,
um, folks in this communitiee itself who hauled c^ads and take them all
over the place-Wisconsin. .
J: I never did--I never did go with them.
I: Who were some of the people who were the main ones involved in that?
J: Uh, Alton, Eugene Sail. They were several of them. Jack Dole-ry, I think.
I: Who was about the first one to do this?
J: I believe Alton, because Shirley McGee went to North Carolina into tobacco;
I believe that's the .,,,,, that I know of.
I: About how long ago was that?
J: Oh that's been twenty years ago.
I: How long?
J: About 20 years.
CRK 39A 10
I: When they, uh, got a crew together did they, uh, just take people from here,
or would they. .
(ajaA. 4--5.v41 M-1-
J: No, they-anybody that--thht wasat they'd take.
I: They'/d take white and coloredd people?
J: No, they didn't take no /Eolored4,
I: They didn't?
J: Uh-uh. (negative)
I: Any particular reason?
J: No, I don't--ndt that I know of.
I: In general, how have, uh, the Indians and the coloredd people gotten along together
in this community ee?
J: Well I don't--I don't know. The Indians always kept to theirselves and the
colored did too. I don't-I don't know of no incident that they-they've been
involved in at all, that I know of.
I: Just from your own impression, uh, what was the general feeling among the Indian
people when they started integrating the schools a few years ago?
J: I wouldn't know. I don't think they liked it much.
I: I've-I've wondered about that, uh, in the sense that, for many years they wouldn't
let the, as I understand, they wouldn't let the Indian children go to school, and
I wondered how the Indian feeling was when it was sort of the other way around.
J: I don't know. I-I don't think they liked it too much. They still don't like
it either. /
I: You know, you say they stayed to themselves. Back when you were a boy was there
ever any occasion when, uh, uh, people say from here would be on the same job
with the folks from Freenmnville, or any other occasions when they would happen
to get together?
J: No, uh, not that I remember.
I: Sometimes now I see in the--in the fields'around here you can see people of all
CRK 39A 11
colors working in the fields. .
I: and I wonder if that was a--a recent thing, or is that.been going on for a
J: I don't know. Well, I'll tell you. I worked with colored folks all my life.
I _you know, with 'em, but they never reacted like
colored people then, you know, they wouldn't try to put theirselves on in a way
to--I always got along with them alright.
I: Did you ever have'any feeling that, uh, they-that colored people treated you
any differently because you were Indian than if you had been a itte person?
I: You felt like they respected you just the same?
I. Have you ever been a, a, a boss over a group of colored people in any kind of job
J: No, I haven't. Well, you wouldn't call one or two a group of people. (laughter)
I: But you have worked at--you have worked that closely with them.
J: Oh, yeah.
I: Have you ever done, uh, have you ever gone off any place for a period of time
and worked in any kind of job 9.
J: I worked on-on a towboat about three years one time.
I: And where was that?
J: That was in New Orleans.
I: New Orleans? How did you come by that job?
J: Oh well, I just -somebody told me about a job over there and I went over there
and, and-to make more money, you know, and so I went over there and went to work.
I: About how long ago was that?
J: That's A-6-about ten years ago.
CRK 39A 12
I: What kind of work did you do on tow boats?
J: Well, a little of all of it, S_ whatever would come to hand.-
I: Were you around here--changing the subject now-were you around here when they
all the, uh, activities that Calvin McGee and others started to, uh, get a
school, and get-the children to be able to ride the buses-all of that. Were
you living here at that time?
J: I was living here, but I don't know-I was in and out, you know. I-I didn't
stay here too much and all, at that time. I don't know too much about that.
I: What about the'land claims, when all that started up, were you around here on that?
J: Uh, yeah. I was here then.
I: Tell me about how those-those days were.
J: Well, they-they always said, they wouldn't never get it, but they went that way
for about twenty years, I think.. So it would come up, and then it would die down
a while, so they didn'.t-nobody talked too much about it then. They didn't
think much about it really.
I: Did you ever get involved in going to Washington with Calvin or anybody like
J: No. No I didn't.
I: Well, besides the tow-boat and paper wooding and those things, what other kinds
of-and picking up potatoes-what other kinds of work have you done in your life?
J: None. That's all.
I: What are you doing right now?
J: Paper wood.
I: Paper wood? (laughter) Uh, do you work as an independent operator, or do you
work for somebody?
J: Now I am.
I: In contrast to when you first started, what does it take to go into the paper-wood
CRK 39A 13
J: You mean money wise?
I: Money wise and the equipment you need and all of that.
J: It would take 30 thousand dollars.
I: Thirty thousand dollars to start out cold? What all does that 30 thousand
J: Well, it would go into your equipment--truck, tractor, saws.
I: Is it a pretty good business these days, or. ..
J: Uh, well, it's--it's just about a living right now. It's a lot better than it--
it had been/\ You can make--pay for your -equipment; have you a good living--
that's about all.
I: Are there, uh, many young boys that are still going into it around the community
J: No. You can't get they young boys to work now.
I: What do they do? (laughter)
J: Now that's a good question.
I: Really, what do good--let's say boys in high school and just out of high
school--what do most of them do now-a-days?
J: Well you can't--you can't account for them; many of them. They some of them
work and some of them don't.
I: Is there much in the way of, uh, what you might call juvenile deliqufncy, or
anything like that around here?
J: Uh, not that I know of.
I: What about say--say drinking for youngsters? How does that compare to the
drinking when you were a youngster?
J: Uh, it's about as bad as then. (laughter) When I was a kid you didn't--you
didn't have nothing to drink; you got something to eat, you were pretty
CRK 39A 14
I: But now-a-days it's easier to come by.
J: Oh yeah.
I: What do you--you said--said that you were youngsters you had something to eat
you were lucky. What do you think has been the--the major reason for the
J: Well, I don't--I don't know. It was hard times when I was a kid.
I: And there was just you and your mother, mostly?
J: And, uh, there was sisters. There was eight of us in all.
their own brother, Ca-r, who lives oa the'f A /- Lucille lives down
here. I've got three sisters , qz ,
I: Did all you boys in your family work together, or did they have different
J: Well, we--we moved and worked together when we all were home.
I: Were you.all working for Will McGee at one time?
J: Yeah, until my brother Alfton--he went into the business and then we went to
work with him then. I worked with him up until--when was it?
I: You worked, uh, with or for your brother?
I: And then you decided to go in business for yourself?
I: Well, to do that, did you have to take a pretty-sizable loan to go in business,
CRK 39A 15
I: How has it been through the years? This is one thing I've--I haven't been
able to find out too much about. Now, how's it been for, uh, the Indian people
in particular, in being able to get loans and things ;n Vi o re or so.
J: Well I--I had no--no problem. Most anybody now wants to get a loan and has
never had one, Ahey'll have to get somebody to--to help them, you know, I
I: When you were, uh, growing up here, uh, did your family have a piece of land
that they owned that you all lived on, or did you rent, or what?
J: No. We rented'.' --
I: Did you, uh, any- of your family ever live on the--what's called the Grant
Ground over here at all? .
J: Yes, we lived there.
I: Now, did you have to pay rent there, or was that free of rent--to live on
the. :- .7
J:. That was free of rent living on there.
I: Well, let's, uh, get to a happier subject: how did you meet your wife?
W: Don't tell him that. He had to give me a ride home the first day- I'fd seen
I: Where were you living at the time?
W: I lived in lrisco City.
I: 4risco City?
W: Um-hum (affirmative)
I: That is up--that's in Monroe County.
W: Uh-huh (affirmative) Yeah, we got off and got stranded, and I asked him for-
well, another girl was with me--she said "I know that boy there." I said
"Where's he from?" She said, "Atmore." 41,4 a I'll ask him for a ride." My
car was already up here, and I--we got in the car and I wouldn't--I wouldn't even
CRK 39A 16
sit beside-of him the first. time.
I: You were scared of him or what?
W: Well, I didn't know him and she did. Oh, we have been married about eight
years. We went together about four years before we got married, though.
I: You say you have been married about eight years?
W: Um-hum (affirmative)
I: Had you known people from around here for quite a while?
W: Well, no I hadn't. I'/d been living in Columbus, Georgia for about 20 years,
and, uh, my husband's death, I come back home and working for Sportswear up at
grisco City and I met up with this girl that lived here at Atmore, and started
coming up here, and, uh, we got together and I reckon, just couldn't get away
from it. (laughter)
I: Uh, asking you a few questions now, what has been the, uh, up in that part of
the county and around that area, through the years what's been the attitude
towards Indian people?
W: Well they didn't really know 'em.
I: They didn't. .
W: Uh, now there's a few Indian#,thear .a*hats living up there, but they just
moved there in recent years, and, uh, well what they did know, they didn't--
they didn't treat 'em any different than what they did anybody else, and I
don't--I never did think nothing about it, myself.
I: There wasn't this business like they had here with the schools?
J: No it wasn't, 'cause there wasn't too many living 4ke_-
I: Were you ever married before, yourself?
I: No, just working? (laughter)
J: Didn't have time.
CRK 39A 17
W: Yeah, he was 39 when he got married.
I: Like Jack Benny; 39.
W: And he's still trying to stay there.
I: Well, as you got older, uh, what was there in the way of recreational
activities around the communitt4e-here in say, oh, back in the '30's and
'40's, was there--were they still having those big dances and things I used
to hear about, or was that pretty much a thing of the past at that time?
J: Well, they was some. There wasn't as many as uponrth. They just have
have 'em--the'yhold 'em Saturday night--you go to one house,'the next Saturday
night you go to somebody else's house, you know.
I: Did you ever have any of those dances down there in Florida?
I: You didn't have any?
J: I don't guess there's enough people.
I: Now, the dances they had here, were they sort of open to everybody, or was it
only certain invited people that came?
J: They was open.
I: Do you remember ever going to any, uh, where old Fred folin was played?
J: Um-hum, yes.
I: Who else was in the music making business at that time besides him?
J: Uh, there were I don't know anybody's names. About
them two is all I know of then.
I: Now what kind of dancing was it they were doing there?
J: I--they square danced.
I: Uh, did the, like Ered jlin for example, did he call and play at the same
time, or who would do the calling?
J: No, he' d--he' d do-play and Jack Daul-er, he'd. ..
CRK 39A 18
I: Jack Daulea was the--was the caller.
w I: Well, how would--how would one of these be organized? Would a family just
decide they wanted to do it, or how was it set up?
J: I don't know how they would set that up there. I thirik they'd have one,
and then they'Xd fix up for the next one before they all left there for the
next Saturday night.
I: Were these occasions in which there might be a lot of drinking going on at
those, or was.that .
J: Yeah, there would-be drinking.
I: I heard that years and years ago, that somehow they used to get into some
pretty bad fights, some of those things.
J: I've heard of 'em, but I never. .
I: You heard of them, but you never--yeu never saw any in your time?
J: No, I haven't seen any of them.
I: Well, besides that, what other kind of recreational activity--was there a
ball team like they have now, or anything like that?
J: No, there wasn't a ball team.
W: You'Kd all go on swimming, wouldn't you?
J: Yeah, go swimming. That's about-6in Sundays there was church up there. We'/d
never miss sunday school or church.
I: Which church was that?
I: Episcopal Church?
J: Uh-huh. Or boys--we'fd get out of church and we'd go right across the field
and there was a creek over there. We'd stay there for the rest of the day.
I: Was that swimming place at the creek down there, was that, uh, any different
at that time than it is now?
CRK 39A 19
J: Yeah, it was a lot different.
I: How was it different then?
J: It was bigger-bigger and deeper water. Now it's mostly stay muddy. That's
because of this gravel pit up here.
J: Digging gravel. .
I: It looks like somebody might have had a diving board or something up there at
J: There was. Right over the creek there was.
I: Urn-hum, uh-huh. Well, at that time was there still people living on the other
side of the creek?
J: Urn-hum (affirmative) there was one family.
I: What family was that?
J: Wil--Willis McGee.
I: Willis McGee lived across the creek?
I: From the time you were a boy of about 12 when you came back up here, do you re-
member when there was, uh, ever a time when there weren't any people with cars
in here at all?
J: I don't know.
I: When you came back from Florida were there already some people with cars here?
Did almost everybody have cars, or. .
J: No, there weren't-everybody didn't have .
I: Were there any people who still were using wagons to go to town?
I: Was Jack Sprane's road paved at that time or not?
W: Do you remember when they used to call that William's Station down at
CRK 39A 20
Atmore? I remember _
I: Atmore used to be William's Station?
W: Uh-huh (affirmative)
I: Now the way you said it made it sound like maybe there was only a part of Atmore
called William's Station, or was that the name through the whole thing?
W: That was the name for the whole thing; right where the depot was at. They tore
it down, and called it William's Station, and I remember my daddy come
back driving oxens we' d call it, um, what was the name of
that road over yonder?
J: They called it Stage Coach.
W: Butler Street?
J: Stage Coach Road.
W: Yeah, some kind of road.
I: Which road was that that was Stage Coach Road?
J: It's, uh, this one. They call it Butler Street, now. -u- They
say it come from Monroe and went all the way to Pensacola, here on the Stage
I: Now is that what it was known as when you were growing up was Stage Coach Road?
J: I--I've heard people call it that till they changed it and put Butler Street
V: The reason I thought maybe he might have knowed that it was called William's
Station, risco City used to be joined to it and I remember that, and
they changed the name of it, and, uh, I remember coming to Atmore when I was a
little, bitty.youngun in a wagon, and it's about--I imagine, about 40 something
miles and it's just dirt road all the way through.
I: How big was that ? at that time?
W: I don't remember too much, but it--it wasn't--just a few stores then.
I: Now, is Monroeville older than Atmore?
CRK 39A 21
W: Yeah, I think it is. Monroeville is--they say is older than the state of
Alabama--Monroe County and that's where they're. .
I: And/risco City? How old is it?
W: Well, it's...
I: And Jonesville? How old is Jonesville?
W: I don't know. It--it's older than I am, though, but a man Jones started that
place and built a cotton mill and a, a ryr mill, and all ground corn and
all, and then at--they got that railroad through; Arisco railroad line. They
changed it to Crisco City.
I: And that's where you grew up is up in that area?
I: And then you went on to Columbus, Georgia?
W: Yeah, after I got married.
I: Were you working at the, uh, Sportswear place in isco City when you came back?
W: Yeah, when I come back, and then I went to work _
I: And that's how you've met him.
W: Um-hum. Well, I worked about 19 years in a A in Georgia.
1: Uh, going back before your time, Mr. Jackson, can you remember your, uh, parents
or, uh, uncles or aunts or anybody, talking about the times before your time?
The old, old days and the kind of things they talked about?
I: We mentioned the.dances that you said you've heard about they had any other kind
of things like that?
J: No. Not that I can remember.
I: Do you remember any of them ever, uh, talking in Indian language, or saying a
few words in Indian language?
J: No, I don't.
CRK 39A 22
I: Well what do you think about, uh, the feathers and powCyows and all that kind
of thing that started here lately among the young?
J: Well, I don't--I don't really know. I think it's all right.
I: Do you go to the Thanksgiving deal and all that kind of thing?
J: Yes. I enjoy that Thanksgiving, uh, party they have.
I: What do you think, uh, might be in the future for the Indian people in Alabama?
Anything in particular?
J: No, I don't know of anything.
I: Do you think-this community ee will continue for a long time to come?
J: I believe it will. Of course, you can't tell too much. When the older folk
die out, you can't tell what these young ones are gonna do, you know.
I: Have you, uh, have the people in this communithee ever had any--in the past
few years--any drug problems with the youngsters like they've had in Atmore
and other cities around?
I: Just beer and that kind of thing. (laughter)
J: Yeah, they have that problem, I think.
I: Years ago, how hard was it to get moonshine?
J: It--it wasn't no problem at all.
I: It wasn't? (laughter) I'm not going to ask you any names, but were there any
Indian people in the community ee that, uh, dealt in it?
J: No, I--the only way I think they drink is by the
I: But they always got it from somebody else.
J: Somebody else, uh-huh. If there's any of them that made any of it, I don't
I: That was a service that the 'ite people provided. (laughter) What were you going
IRK 39A 23
: They could have, but I don't know.
I ea+ vxc-
: Uh, yeeeen turn it.
I: What have uh.... Through the years, uh starting from...... when you first lived
here and you came back to Florida, uh what kind of law enforcement have you had
here in the community? Uh has there uh.... been a... ever a constable or .....
Who was in charge of the law in this community?
J: I think Officer 1a2.> up here was constable once.
I: Mm hmm.
J: 'Bout the only one I know. For a fact, I think he was the only one.
I: Did the sheriff ever come in here? Make an arrest of any kind?
J,:, Yeah if somebody called him he would.
I: Do you know of many cases of uh... sheriff coming in here and making an arrest
I: Can you think of even one case where that ever happened?
J: (pause) No,not as I remember. (Pause) I'd tell ya really.. I always try to mind
my business and let the otha fella does do his thing. That way I don't find out
too much. (both laugh together)
I: Well I've just wondered, I've heard people say, and this,this may be just the talk
of some--- Mtter. of fact, it came from some young kids I think, that said the
law used to be afraid to come in here. Any truth to that at all?
J: No I don't know. (pause) I know they have been in here, I don't know if they's
brave to come in.
CRK 39A -24-
I: Well apart from.... uh.... law and order services, what other kind of services
uh d+& does the county provide in this community through the years?
J: The county?
I: Mn hmm.
J: None that I know of.
I: What about fire protection, is there any....?
I: What happens if there's a fire out here?
J: Well they'll.... The the trucks'll come from p more.
I: They will come out... out here to you? What about before they had good roads;
and trucks and so forth, years ago if they had a fire out here, it just...
it burned down or ....?
J: It burned down.... if you couldn't put it out yourself. (chuckle)
I: Well if there..... Let's say when you were growing up here, if there was aa
fire.... and there were several people around, would there be anybody who would
organize uh a group to try and put the fire out or anything like that?
J: No, they would all come.
I: Uh huh.
J: If they knew it. To do what they could ya know.
I: Uh tell me one other thing, uh.... about county services, can'you recall just
roughly the dates uh at which the various roads around here were paved
for the first time?
I: About how old were you for example when this Jack Springs highway was paved?
J: Oh dear. Well I was...... about twenty years oldT-+hkL .
I: What about the road between here and Poarch Switch over there; when was that
CRK 39A -25-
J: That one hadn't been paved over....... When did we get married? (chuckle)
j: It has been about eight ... eight years.
J: Eight years. Do you remember when we got married that road was dirt road wasn't
4: Uh huh.
I: So it's been within the past eight years that it was done?
J: Yeah, uh huh.
I: Well what about the road on then from Poarch Switch to Highway 21, when was that
J: Well it was all paved at....
I: All paved at the same time?
J: At the same time, uh huh.
I: Uh huh. And then that.... There's a road that uh that runs past uh there's a
corner there at the uh Free Holiness Church, Friendly Holiness Church, and
that road was paved part of the way back down towards Freemanville. When was
that one paved?
J: I imagine that would've been... within the last year. Could not have been too
I: Now speaking of roads, I've heard some of the people considerably older than
yourself talking aboutthere was. a time when the county would require you to
get out and work on the roads, uh were patched in front of your house and maintain
them. Do you remember anything about that?
I: Have you ever heard people up around Monroe County talking' about that at all, that
country area that every so often everybody that lived along the road would have
to get out and work on the road?
CRK 39A -26-
: I remember that when I was little. They'd get out and fix their own road. It
just be a road and there would wouldn't be nothing' but just two ruts on each
side and if they got a mud hole or something they'd have ta haul dirt and slabs
and things ta fill that up. Fix it to sell.
I: I... I even heard some people here saying' that uh... that there ... The county
would say you had to get out-and work on the road or else they'd fine you or take
you into jail or something' like that. Do you remember anything about that?
7): Seem like I do remember that. I don't remember for sure but seem like they had
to go a day out of the work or something' like that and work on the road.
I: But you don't remember anything like that around here?
I: Uh...... Well apart from .... getting the fire from that service -ot A1-mpnore.
now and paving the roads, uh there's nothing else you,.can think of that the
county has had that would service you?
I: What about electricity? Who put in the first electricity out here?
J; I don't remember.
I: Do you remember when that.... electricity first came in?
I: Ever since you can remember there's been electricity'out here?
J: No theythey hadn't been here not as long as I can remember but I don't know when.
I: Well did your family,for example, have...... ?
J: They were.... I I tell ya..... They and the folks that could afford it was the
ones that it really.
I: Mnm hmm.
J: And if you had money enough to pay 'em to run ya a line back in here and pay the
bill, why you could have electricity.' That's the way I've always seen it.
CRK 39A -27-
I: But you had to pay yourself to have it brought from the main highway back in
J: That's right. They'd charge you....I don't know it's according' to the distance
they had to go. I don't remember what it was now. The people could afford it
did it, those that couldn't done without it.
: And we used to have these old lamps and ...... .
J: Kerosene lamps.
(': And I have seen people who take em a bucket of dirt and get'em a one of these
bat+ bofoI4- sticks and light that thAng and stick down in there. Smoke would
just boil everywhere in the house.
I: Are you familiar with -1 -v^Mv ? Do either one of you know who w1 6.oea-uk
J: Mm hmm.
I: Do you know where (t-t(Lbe is?
J: Take you a bottle, put your rag in it......
I: Uh huh. Do you remember people using those in your times?
J: Yes. I've used em. Put your kerosene in there and take you a rag and.......
: Scared of that kerosene.
J: Put it down real tight and it'll burn.
I: But you yourself remember those?
I: Now you were talking about those that were well off. In the past, were there
real differences amongst the people in this community and how well off they were?
I mean was there a big difference between families?
J: Yeah I think there were a lot closer together then than they are now when
CRK 39A -28-
J: everybody was the same ya know.
I: Do you think now people have,more or less, all about the same amount as.... than
J: Yeah. Yeah, uh huh. I don't think ya get along as 'good either today as they
I: What are some ways in which you see that?
J: Well, they they think they..... little bit higher up w;th you are.
I: Now, you're talking' about?'
J: Yeah, uh huh.
I: Well how... What are some ways in which,,not asking for people's names but how,
in your view of things, how do people act that you seem to think that they're
thinking' they're higher up than people?
J: Well they .... they don't want....... There are some of'em that won't speak to
I: You mean of your own people in here?
J: That's right. I don't know why but..... they) they seem like they're little bit
higher up.,- They'll turn their head up when they see ya comirt. (chuckle)
I: Well you say it wI't that ... much that way in the past?
J: No, uh uh.
I: Well when did you first notice that this seemed to start happening1 that way?
J: Well it's happening' in the last ten years. Uh where it was noticed before ya
know ya could notice it.
I: But before, everybody was more or less equal?
J: More or less uh they would stick together more then.
I: One thing I ......... haven't asked anybody else before, and I'll ask you, get
CRK 39A -29-
I: your opinion on it. Among the Indian people themselves, do you think it ever
made much difference whether somebody was fart completed and light skinned or
whether somebody was pretty dark, and the way people though about each other?
J: No, not..... not that I know of. I I couldn't say ...... it..... I can say for
myself, I never did think no difference. Of course I couldn't say for every-
body ya know. It wouldn't make me no difference.
I: Well going' back to..... you were talking about how you had to fight everyday to
go to school, down there in uh Florida. .Tell me more about that, what was the
basis for.. ?
J: Well they just didn't like Indians. They always...... I reckon they were scared
of eem. My history says they .... always said a good one was a dead one. (chuckle)
I reckon that's the way they felt about it.
I: Do you remember hearin'that expression, "A good Indian is a dead Indian" from
the time you were a youngster or is that.....?
J: No, I've heard that oh.....later on.
I: Uh huh.
J: But then I didn't know that.
I: Did you.... When you went to school down there, did you know that you were any
different from anybody else.
J: No I didn't. I didn't feel like a horse ass. (chuckle)
I: But they treated you like you were. They.... What ways did they uh.... did the
kids treat you differently?
J: Well uh.... they'd kinda ignore ya know and they won't play with you.
I: Mm hmm.
J: But some of em ya know and then there's some of lem you could get along with.
CRK 39A -30-
J: Some people that way I guess.
I: Did they ever call you names?
J: Oh yeah, they call ya "Old Indian" all that stuff.
I: Call ya what?
J: Old Indian.
I: Old Indian. Did they ever call ya any worse?
J: No, they didn't.
I: And being called an Old Indian, was that enough to make one of you kids;fight....
J: Well we did. We didn't figure we was old though, we were little kids. (both laugh)
I: Well is that the first time that you were aware of the fact that you were
J: No, I I knew that. But....
I: How did you know?
J: I was small ya know..... uneducated too then.
I: Mn hmm.
J: I didn't think too much about it that time. After we started school kept going1
on and on. We went to school then...... four or five years I reckon. And eventually
we got where we could get along with them all right. Of course at first we had
I: You and your brothers and sisters and so forth?
J: Mn hmm. Alberta,...... two of her brothers, one of which just... we was all....
we'd have to fight.
1: Girls fighin'too, huh?
CRK 39A -31-
I: When you came back up here to school, did you find the school up here to be
noticably different from the one you'd gone to down there?
J: Uh, yeah. A lot.
I: How was it different?
J: Well they had better schooling down there than they had up here, better teachers
I: Did you feel like you were ahead of the other youngsters?
J: Yeah, I was. (chuckle) I learned ....... more down there in...... in. the five
years than I learned in about six up here. I didn't learn nothin'when I was
in school up here.
I: Well particularly, why was that that you didn't learn anything?
J: I)I don't know. One reason we didn't have no teacher. They let the kids do
anything they wanted to just about.
I: They never whipped the kids or anything like that?
J: Sometimes they would.
I: Who were the teachers at that time?
J: They were........ Lucile Moore, a.d b+cfat .
I: Yeah I know her.
J: Mays....... Maisy Ray. ; I just about forgot it. And uh ..... Ethel
Moore. There was three of em.
I: Now the school you went to down there, was that uh... a country grammar school or
what kind of a school was it?
J: Uh huh.
I: It was uh.... Was it the Walnut Hill School?
J: No it was 6tn o V; ? School, that's -er the Je& I v: 4 .
I: Was it just uh grades one through eight or?
J: It was ..... it was through uh eight I believe.
CRK 39A -32-
I: Did they have a teacher for each grade down there?
J: I don't remember now., (pause) I don't believe they'd be it though. They had.....
I: But here they had.... what three teachers or?
J: They had three teachers.
I: Three teachers.for all grades.
J: For all of em.
I: When you went to school down there, did they uh...-. serve lunch at school or did
you have to bring your own?
J: No. We had to carry our own.
I: And up here, did you carry your own lunch or did you go home for.....?
J: Well uh ... they had the- lunchroom here.
I: They did?
J: Uh huh.
I: Did the teachers prepare the lunch or who was in charge of that?
J: No the county. was in charge of that.
I: Was there a women that just cooked for the school?
J: Yeah they had two women that cooked.
I: And how much did they charge for lunch at that time?
J: They didn't charge anything.
I: They didn't charge anything. What kinda meals did they serve?. Do you remember
some of the......?
J: l-LJ L, juS prJ.icFar They never did have no fancy stuff.
I: What about your uh school books that you used up here, were they......?
J: They were furnished.
I: They were what? Furnished, uh huh. Were they any..... You said you didn't learn
CRK 39A -33-
I: much. I wonder if the books had anything to do with.it. Were the books any
worse than they were down there?
J: No, the books was all right.
I: It was just the teachers that were?
J: I think that was the problem.
I: Do you think their main problem was they just let the kids do anything they wanted?
I: Well is that part of the reason that the people here got sort of impatient about
education eventually or.....?
J: I guess so, I don't know after I quit school there I ..... I never did go no more
and I didn't know too much about it.
I: Did the Episcopal church itself ever operate a school separate from that one here?
I: Well let me ask you one more question about school. At that time there was ;
the school in the church, what they called a "parish,", was there another school
nearby that the white children went to?
J: No. Maeafti up here.
I: MaQula was the closest uh?
J: Yeah, Mae itawas the closest.
I: There was never another school over oa- J- s-1k Baptist Church or anything?
J: Not that I know of. It could of been one there before my time, I don't......
I: Well other than one more question, other than .... than education, what would
you say has been the.... the biggest improvement that you've seen in this community
in your years here?
J: (pause) Well I don't.... / really don't know.
fj: I'll tell ya since I've been here the housing's been better. cCause they wasn't
nothin'but shacks around here when I first come through here. WaSn't but bout
CRK 39A -34-
?: three or four houses between here and Prtor-re .
I: And that was how long? Eight years?
j-: About twelve years ago.
I: Twelve years ago.
SZ: And .... what there was round here was just shacks and they pulled most of them
down and built better houses, people had.
I: What's been the main reason for that do you think?
Xd : I think people just got out and just ,just got out ya know of public working
and...... and got more enthused over doing' something' than what they used to.
I: What about TVs? Have people had TVs out here for quite awhile?
J: Well there was some c.c h s Not that many though.
I: Can you just sort of.... guess.... when was the first television set out here
in this particular community? Do you remember who had the first TV set?
J: The first one I remember was 4'A brother Alfred had it. First one I remember
seeing in .
I: Do you remember .:..... about how long ago it was that he got that one?
J: Oh I'd say.... fifteen, sixteen years ago.
I: Speaking of television, I got one other question I gotta ask you, what's your
opinion of the Wounded Knee thing they had awhile back up in South Dakota on
television? What do you think of all that?
J: I don't know.
V2J: I don't see really ,
J: I never did see much sense in it myself. They looked to me like they was hurting'
themselves more than they were anybody.
I: How do you think like that would go over in Poarch, Alabama?
J: (chuckle) It be bout the same as it was up there. They wouldn't p stick
CRK 39A -35-
I: Yeah. (chuckle) Wouldn't stick together. When that was going? on, was... were the
people just ya know visiting and so forth around, did they talk about it much?
J: No, I never did hear them say too much about it. They might mention it ya know.
I: We just turned the recorder off and been chatting here for awhile and Mr.
Jackson's gonna say more about what used to be over at Poarch Switch.
J: There was a cotton gin there at one time. Cause I can remember, I don't know
how many years ago. It's been quite a few years back. That's about all
I know about it.
I: Do you remember cotton gin actually in operation over there? Or was it abandoned?
J: No, uh it was abandoned at that time.
I: You mentioned also potato she.d was there.
I: Was that in pse?
J: Not then it wasn't. It was there.
I: And you say it was just a few years ago they took up the side track there?
I: About how long ago was that?
J: It hadn't been.... four or five years I guess.
I: Well other than that was there..... And you said there was one family living .1
there, was there any other kinda activity around-there?
J: No, not that I know of.
I: That was right at the..... sort of the corner of where Charlie Hall had a big
place, is that right or?
CRK 39A -36
I: How many families did he have working for him there?
J: I don't know that was ....... I can't remember back that far.
I: As a youngster, did you go over there at all and meet with those people, play
with the children?
J: No, I didn't.
I: Do you ever recall as a youngster, going over to Bell Creek, for instance?
I: How about Hog Fort, did you ever go over there for any ......?
J: I, I've been there but..... uh I didn't really go for anything or..... just go
I: Was there ever a..... was there ever a..'...a road that went straight to Hog
Fort from here or a foot path or anything like that?
J: I don't know.
: (end tape)