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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Mrs. Nancy Rackard (R)
Interviewer: Paredes (I)
August 23, 1973
Typed by: P. F. Williams
I: The date of today is August 23, 1973, and I'm inter-
viewing Mrs. Nancy Rackard in her home near Atmore,
Alabama. I'll start out by just askingpa few questions
and maybe we can just get into a general conversation.
Perhaps you could just start out by telling me where
you were born and where you lived in your early life
as a young child.
M -o ro c/-
R: Well, I was borned in one-o4them Count'es which YWe,iiS)
C-__ up here I reckon about twenty miles, Uriah.
And I lived mostly around in there. I never have
been off weeres. you know, no distance. Well, I have
been to New Jersey. I got a son that lives up there
and I spent a while up there with them. But as I was
gonna tell you, all mostly I know about the Indians,
you see, was from my husband's side. And like it
was with me, I was. .I didn't have any people on my
daddy's side a'tall and I never knew none of his
people a'tall. But he claimed, you know, not to have
CRK 47A 2
no Indian about him. And I mostly been raised, I
tell you, from the Boone side. You maybe you've
heard of them. They're pretty well-known Indians.
I: But your name was Percy before you were married?
Is that right?
R: Um-hmm [affirmative].
I: And your mother was the Indian. And she was a Boone,
or her mother was a Boone, or how'd that go?
R: Yeah. And that's kind of where I got my little bit
of Indian there. Now, my other sisters--and I have- L
two ?1rr< -C sisters and two brothers besides myself-- Lt
they didn't even have the Indian look, you know, about
them. I was the only one that had the dark hair and
the dark eyes and such as that, and like I said, I
can remember way back when all the Indians used to...
you know, they was cut off from all the other people,
all there was around in this settlement up there
around where Edgar lives. And they just wouldn't
let them go to school together on account of the Indian
part that was in them, you know. And my children
all showed their Indian. They all taken after their
CRK 47A 3
daddy, which he was full-blood Indian. He was created
from the Colberts. His, uh...Rackard was the name
but his mother was a Colbert1A When they/got them
a little school off, well, my children all went -there.
I'm the mother of nine children. Besides, I've had
three given to me. And I have raised them all up to
be grown and all married off. But this picture of
this grandson here on the mantel, well, he's in ser-
vice, but he's twenty-one.
I: How were the three given to you that you're talking
R: Well, this was my grandson, and his father was...oh,
he was mean to my daughter. Married my daughter, and
he was a Pugh. And hestayed drunk and fought--
would-fight her, he wouldn't fight a man but he
jumped on her and choked her and doinr 4'Y!a .
And she'd come home and slip off and go back to him.
She was in my house when the baby there was born.
And I told her she wasn't going to take the baby out,
but I did. I let her take him out, go back to him
CRK 47A 4
about three times. And she'd come back all beat up,
you know. She loved the man. And so I told her
then the last time she come--the baby was about three
months old--I told her, I says, "Well, I says, "you
can go when you get ready." But I said, "The baby
ain't going." I says, "I'm going to keep him."
And so when her husband come back for her and the
baby, I told him if he come in my house I'd just
bust every chair I had over his head before he'd
get the baby. I says, "You can take your wife and
go on if she's a mind to live with you, but you
ain't gonna get the baby." And so they went on,
but finally they separated and she left me with the
baby. That's how come me with him, when he was about
three months old. And I raised him then. He's going
on twenty-one now. He's the youngest one I've raised.
And then my son, he married into the Colbert family,
my baby son. And he married a young girl...come
around here and see me! And so after then, well,
he had to go to service and the baby was just about
nine weeks old. And after then she went out for a
CRK 47A 5
big time and she give me the baby when he was nine
weeks old and told me to keep him a while and she'd
be back after him. Well, she never did come back
after him and I raised him.
I: That was a Colbert girl ycun scy7 ,
R: Yes, sir. And I raised him, and another one, a girl
that was give to me. These grandchildren, they was
ours, both of them, and this girl, she wasDolly
Rolin who they Jived up Ae.C rhin 4.L-
Rolins out there around where lives. Well,
she was all deformed up and in'awful bad shape. She
couldn't walk and she couldn't talk,
baby, she birthed this baby. Well, I had a baby about
nine months old and I couldn't restAafter I heard
about it and after I went to see her, too. I was
always pretty crazy about young'uns and my husband
was, too. And I just kept on until he told me one
day, says, "If you think she'll give you the baby,
go out there and get it." Well, me and another lady,
one of my friends went out there and she finally
decided to let me have the baby until it got big
CRK 47A 6
enough to where it could eat. She was feeding it
from birth on a little cornbread and water, you
know, and made sugar tea. Well, she never did come
for the baby and so I raised her and she married.
She lives up here at Canoe. And that's how come
me with the three just give to me. I just taken
them out of pity, I reckon.
I: Was Dolly Rolin born that way or was she in an
accident or something?
R: ti Jhe was born that way, I think.
I: Who were her mother and daddy?
R: Ni Old lady Peggy Rolin was her mother. Now I don't
know nothing about her daddy.
I: I forgot to ask you, how old are you?
R: I'm eighty years old.
I: Could you talk a little bit about how it was that
you came to be living down here in Escambia County
in the time you were growing up?
R: Well, I don't know how come me to be there, but I
was just raised up mostly there.
I: You were raised in Escambia County?
CRK 47A 7
R: In Monroe County.
I: Monroe County.
R: ____________. IM 1 -cr c f
ti ce. I got a daughter that lives up there now. But
we just...how come us down here, we owned a place up
there and my husband, he died f cancer of the liver.
And we owned a big farm, and so he got to where he
was disabled to work and all of the children had married
off, you know. And he just come down here and bought
a little place to live the rest of his life. That's
how come us down here, I reckon.
I: Now, what I was talking about', how was it you moved
to Bell Creek? I understand that's where you lived
I: How was it that you came to move down there?
R: Well, me moved there on a big farm Mtr, DC<-- .
All the children then was at home, and the boys was
growing up, you know, and we just moved there on the
farm away from Uriah there when we was just...he was
just bltb1'C tuCUi LrQ And after the family
CRK 47A 8
got so big and everything he just decided he-wanted-
6e-wafted-to farm and that's how come us to move
down there. And he did, he farmed about a hundred
and something acres there for many years.
I: How did you meet your husband?
R: ,. Well, my older brother him to the house is all I
can tell you one time. And that's how I met him.
They both was pretty bad, you know, to drink. And
after he come l wd afu I '11 h there, my husband,
he wasn't drinking so much. My brother was pretty
full. And he got to coming around and so that's
how we met. My people didn't like the Indians either.
They was kind of like these people up here around
I: Oh, really? c,
R: Oh, yeah. They didn't like him a'tall. Steve, don't
make him cry and hurt him, now!
I: So your people didn't like the Indians either.
R: No,5'They didn't like the Indians a'tall. And then
after my mother and them found out that...they kind
of believed we was falling in love with each other.
Well, they tried to keep him run off, you know, my
CRK 47A 9
husband, all the time. And which he did. He didn't
come around the house too much, but we would meet, you
know, at parties and things like that. And when we
married, well, I run away. I think they finally learned
to like him pretty good, but/iil..
I: Where'd you run away to?
R: Well, I was married on the top of Uriah Hill over there.
There's an old w'rr, ce i-C 4-irtC 5c A SC S t f sK, fOr
C1Win I7 ,' old man The'ke married
I: When you first got married, did you go back over to the
Huxford area, or where did you...?
R: No, sir. I went on up to...well, it was up at McNeil's.
I don't know what town that is, but it wasn't but just
about twenty-five or thirty miles to where we went to
one of his brothers, you know.
R: We didn't stay there :too long before we WU8C c("o
:. ) i 3 ourselves.
We come back then, down around Uriah and down where
my people was at, because his mother was dead.- J
I: Was he from the Huxford area originally, your husband?
CRK 47A 10
R: Yes, sir.
I: Did y'all ever live in Huxford?
R: No, sir. We never did live right there in Huxford.
You know, Edgar's children goes to school out there
now, but we lived down in the settlement down there
where Edgar lives.
I: Before, you were talking about how around here in this
settlement they wouldn't let the Indian children go
to school with the others. Now, up in Monroe County
was that true or not?
R: Yes, that's true. They wouldn't let them go to school
with the other children.
I: In Monroe County?
R: Um-hmm [affirmative].
I: How about yourself? How;much education did you get?
R: I never got very much, I tell you. I went to about
fifth grade 'f fTiC n
I: In Uriah?
R: Um-hmm [affirmative]. And my children didn't get the
education they should have got, the kind I wanted them
to have. I had about two to make it to the tenth grade.
CRK 47A 11
But when those finished up there, you know, around
Bell Creek they call it, where Edgar lives...
I: Uh-huh. -t ,
R: Well, they had a little school over there and there
was just one teacher. When they finished that, well,
theywas supposed to go to another school, but to a
high school at McCullough. But they wasn't allowed pui
there, you see.
I: J-I think I remember Edgar saying that after he got out
of school, that you and your husband moved back up to
I: ...and the younger ones finished there?
R: We went back up there butjthey never particularly-
finished. They all made it to about the tenth grade,
I: But they were able to go to school?
R: Yeah, they was able to go to school up there. But
like I told them, since this colored people business
has come in, I told them I was glad to see them have
to go now with something a little worse than the Indian
was. CIt just done me good to know they had to mix up
CRK 47A 12
with the colored people, *igh-t there around McCullough
especially, and Huxford.
I: Uh-huh. l(-L.'
R: Because them people was bitterly against it. They
purely said they'd tear their school down before they'd
allow Indians to come.
I: Well, you say your parents were that way, too. What-O'O
was the reasoning behind not liking the Indians that
R: I just don't know, son. Never could get on to it. I
just...I know they told me that if I wanted to marry
a colored person to get one out of the nigger quarters
down there. That was before me and my husband run
away, you know, 1--
t4).d Yw saI'd yfos
I: Uh-huh.' hat's what they said to you whenhthey thought
you wanted to marry him.
R: Yeah, um-hmm.
I: They though of him just like a colored person.
R: Yeah, that's right. And that's the way most of the
people did, you know, where they couldn't go to school
together. They didn't think of them as Indians. They
thought of them as regular colored people.
CRK 47A 13
I: Besides not letting them go to school, were there
any other ways that years ago the Indians were badly
R: Well,,not that I can remember. Now, in churches and
K!/ c,,:s J'l"i'cdo-
thingsKthe Indians was allowed to have their own
church. They was treated, you know, kind of low
I: Could they go to a white church if they wanted to?
R: Uh-uh. No, they...they had their own church.
I: What about going into restaurants and cafes, could
Indians do that?
R: Well, so far as I can remember they mixed up there.
But seems that they kind of had separate places for
the...you know, eating..4ftrc.
I: For the Indians?
R: Um-hmm [affirmative]..
I: How would they be marked as separate?
R: They'd just have tables for the ends) for the Indians,
kind of like people used to with tie regular colored
people, you know.
I: Was that true in Uriah as well as in Atmore?
CRK 47A 14
R: Well, they didn't never have noacafes or anything.
That's just a small little old place over there.
They have built up one there since we got out from
over-there but when I was growing upAthere wasn't
anything there but just kind of a...well, like it
was, there was niggertown down the railroad one
way and white people up the-other way.
I: Now, you're talking about the cafes having separate
tables for the Indians.
R: That's right.
I: You were talking about in Atmorevor 7
R: Here in Atmore and mostly everywhere rf ou know, a
town that was any size.
I: What about when an Indian had some...well, sayphe had
to go to court for something. How were the Indians
treated in court? Do you know?
R: No, sir. I don't know of cases such as that, now,
because I tell you, the Indian people to my notion
was always .-,jhI, va kind of person. I never
heard of many of them ever having to go to court.
They was mean, they'd fight.
CRK 47A 15
I: Yeah. I was thinking about, do you ever hear of any
Indians suing a white man or anything like that for...
for land or along thoseilines?
R: A No, sir. Now like this Indian money business out here,
well, I didn't sign up to start with because they said
I'd have to prove, you know, from my daddy's side. And
I told them itkwouldn't be no use to fool with it then,
because I T jIC (Crn trying to trace his
people down. I never knowed of him having any people.
I: Was that the rule, that you had to prove through your
R: Um-hmm [affirmative]. That's what Mrs. __i___
I: It couldn't.be through your mother's side?
R: Uh-uh [negative].
I: Oh, that's the first I'd realized that.
R: Now,my children...well, Lois, our youngest daughter
that lives out there in that trailer, well she didn't
either. She never got anything because she just didn't
h.f Vc t n 14 she didn't. Because
she could have proved, you know, from her daddy's side
all right because they got the record out there of that,
CRK 47A 16
Colberts and Rackard generation. But like it was with
me, I never knowedmy father having no people. And I
couldn't do anything about proving my Indian a'tall.
I: Well, when you were a girl growing up, I take it that
you didn't grow up in an Indian settlement, did you?
R: No, sir. There wasn't too many Indians lived around
close to where we lived at.
I: Was when you moved to Bell Creek the first time you
lived in an Indian settlement? .^-S ... -
R: Yes, sir. That's about the biggest one I ever lived
in there. My oldest brother, he married one of the
Colberts. He married into the Indian generation, too.
And I had married into the Indian generation, and
the rest of my brothers...well, I didn't have but one
more brother, but he didn't and so, my other sisters
didn't. Just me and my oldest brother.was the only
ones that had married into the Indian generation.
I: Tell me, what was Bell Creek like when you first
moved there? If you can remember back, what were
your first impressions when you moved to Bell Creek?
R: Well, all the people that lived around there was Indians,
CRK 47A 17
pretty near every one of them. And the fellow we
rented, that's where we moved when we rented our
big farm, and he lived out there at McCullough,
Mr. Joe Davis. But he was mighty good to us all.
He was just as kind as he could be, and to my hus-
band and all the children, too. That's the first
I remember, but it was the Gibson generation then
mostly lived in that settlement. Old man Dave
Gibson and...oh, there was several. About three
or four of the Gibsons lived there, and, they was
all Indians. Old man Sid Gibson, now, his bunch
of children they was, you know, showed their Indian
real good. Therewas a good many of them that was
I: Were there any of those real old ones when you first
moved there that could still speak the Indian
R: No, sir. I don't think there was. I have never been
in contact with but one generation that spoke that
'Ie- Indian language, and that was up there at Ware Ts aS-
we was talking about lived at Uriah. there was
CRK 47A 18
one man and his sister. They was pretty old, both
of them, but they was yet living together and they
had a little hut. I reckon it was about half a mile
from where we lived. But they was. .I'm telling
you, they was real...they was a real old...I don't
know what kind they was, but you couldn't under-
stand them whatever they said.
I: What were their names?
R: Simpsons. It was Norman Simpson and Alice Simpson,
4'Tat was their names.
I: And that's the only two you ever knew of?
R: That's the only two, you know, that...what we did a
them days called full-blooded Indians. I guess they
was just a different denomination. Must have been,
because they couldn't talk a'tall. But we used...
treated them good and everybody around there treated
them all right as far as visiting, you know. They'd
come to see us a lot of times "Al-
I: Your parents, you mean?
R: Me and my husband.
I: Oh, I see.
R: Yeah, it was after I married when I got in contact
CRK 47A 19
with them. Now, they're buried over there I think
at the Copper'Spring graveyard, both of them. They
both passed away. But they just had their little
hut, well, it was kind of back down behind the grave-
yard and next to the edge of the swamp.
I: Could they speak English, too?
R: No, sir. They couldn't speak English much.
I: Buty-ou-iould visit with them.
R: Yes, sir.
I: Uh-huh.. tLW)s 4: .
R: Because they would help us a lot on the farm, you
know. Theyidid work, both of them.
I: Did they dress any differently than other folks
R: Oh, yeah. They wore the long dresses, you know, the
lady did. And the old man, he just wore old common things
like 6ld O/Ci-Pr.(, or something like that.
But the woman, she dressed altogether different.
I: there was just the two of them? There weren't any
children or anything?
R: No, sir. Just the brother and sister. All of the
other people...I don't know how they come there or
CRK 47A 20
nothing else, how come them to get in that part of
the country. But I think their people had all died
or had got killed in some war or something or other,
and they just drifted in there.
I: About what year was it when you moved to Bell Creek?
R: I don't know.
I: About how old were you?
R: I imagine I was about forty-something when I went over
to Bell Creek, because I don't think we had but just
two children when we moved there. And we lived
there, the rest of my children all except one, I
think, was born there.
I: How old were you when you were married?
R: About sixteen.
I: Where'd you live for all those...you lived around
Uriah for all those years between the time you were
first married and you moved to Bell Creek.
R: Around Uriah and around...well, we lived up there
at Huxford a while. Not right there in the little
town but off from it on Neal McGhee's place.
CRK 47A 21
R: We lived up there I reckon some three or four years
before btler-- riL -aQi- our family began
to grow, you know, that's when we began to get-on
I: Pardon me. Well, what church did you go to as a -6S c&
child and after you got married and onf through?
R: Baptist mostly all the time, yes, sir.
I: And there was a Baptist church at Bell Creek, is
R: Yes, sir. We had our own church just like we had our
I: -''"tWho was your pastor?
R: I don't remember thathfellow's name. He was a pretty
old fellow. But Ifjust sure don't remember his name.
I: Did he live in Bell Creek?
R: No, sir. He didn't live there. He lived...oh, it
was about thirty miles. I don't know what the name
of the place was he lived at. I know me and my hus-
band had carried him home. He didn't have no way
of traveling, you know, and we'd go get him and
carry him-back home.
CRK 47A 22
I: Was he Indian?
R: Well, he showed Indian pretty well, now. I don't
know whether he claimed it or not but anyway, he
was dark and I'm pretty well sure he had Indian
blood there, too.
I: Tell me about what your church was like at Bell:
Creek back in those days. How was it run and what
did it meet in and all those things?
R: Well, it was run in the proper way. My husband,
he was deacon of the church and we had a many, you
know, as we've got now and every Indian always
attended regular. They was all mighty interested
in church and things them days. And my husband, he
had one sister that lived there and she had two or
three children. There was a pretty good bunch of
us all in there together, you know. But as far as
remembering back,ioh, such as this here where the
Indian lives in these little...I don't know what
you call them. Little huts or something or other.
R: I never was knowing nothing like that because I didn't
CRK 47A 23
never do no traveling, you know.
I: Well, I'm interested in the way it really was. If 4-'
iSthat's the way it was, that's the way it was.
I: di do you remember when the Holiness religion first
started coming in to Bell Creek?
R: Yes, sir. I can remember that.
I: Tell me about it. -t'i i4(l
R: It was kind of a, well, a surprising thing, I tell
you, when they first started in there. The people- "
didn't know nothing about which I don't think very
many of them knowed anything about it. They wouldn't
hardly go because they said they'd hoodoo you, you
know., Put spells on you and things like that. I
can remember when they was running a regular revival
up there, and we'd drive up out there in an old
wagon, mule wagon, you know, and we'd set way off
away from the arbor like they had up here Sunday.
The church people I reckon would wash their hand-
kerchiefs, you know, and they'd be hanging on the
CRK 47A 24
R Well, they'd tell us, you know, that that there. .if
you went under that handkerchief you'd have a spell
of some kind. That's what made them shout and do
R: Well, we was ignorant to it. We didn't know no better.
We wouldn't go under there. And I got a...well, that's
my baby son. Now, I reckon he's up--would be, he got
killed in'service--but he would be up about in his
fifties. Well, he was a pretty small boy at that time,
and Lord, you just couldn't get him nowhere around that
arbor. But before he was killed he was rm6 '
I: Uh-huh. Well, who would go to the services at first?
Was it Indians going to those Holiness services?
R: Yes, sir.
OVJ-r -i CC$-- C
I: Now, where were they coming from?
R: They'd be coming from several different places. They'd
drive old oxens and wagons, you know, and things like
that up there.
CRK 47A 25
I: But those weren't afraid of it.
R: No, they wa n't afraid of it. But we, I reckon,
was them uncivilized kind to that kind of church
because we'd always been to the Baptist church.
And so we didn't understand this shouting and such
as that. And now I've got one's a preacher in it.
I: Well, there isn't any Baptist church out there any
more. I realize there's no people living at Bell
Creek. What happened to the Baptist church at
R: I don't know, sir. It just all went down there.
The Gibson generation, they was mostly the build-
up of that little place there, and old man Dave
Gibson, he died. And then his folks, they moved down
here about )CtI j,J Hill I think it was. And
from that they had two or three children married and
lived around there and they all left out. And then
we left out and we had about the biggest bunch, you
know, that there was around there. And just the old
people just moved off and everything just went down.
The houses all just rotted down and everything.
CRK 47A 26
I: Now, the school was held in the same building as the
R: That's right. Yes, sir. Yes, sir, the church and...
I: What happened to that building?
R: -- That's what I don't know. I hadn't been in there in
several years. It might be a'standing as well as I
can remember, but I don't think it is. I think
it was made of lumber and I know mostly it's rotting
down by now.
I: Was there anything in particular that you think
changed people's minds about Holiness, that got them
finally to come....... ..N. OF.. O .F.0. J..........
R: My husband, he never did, to say believe in it. He
wasn'tAscared to go, had got to where he wasn't scared
to go around when it was -here, but he died not believing
in it much. But we had a arbor just across the branch
from where we lived and the younger generation of the
children, they got to going over there, you know, and
they go on under. iWe'd tell them not to, but they'd
go on under. And finally my baby son, he went to the
altar one night. And seemed like it changed him a little
CRK 47A 27
bit, you know. And heAbegged us to come on and go,
come on and go, and we wouldn't hardly ever go. Some-
times we'd go--pretty close, you know. But we had...
well, he wasnext to the baby son at that time, but
he was somewhere about fifteen I reckon, and we had
the younger boy who was about seven years old, and
he passed away. And first one then another told us
that the Lord was trying to warn us, you know, this
way and that way about the church and things. We
finally got to going, then we didn't 'j 'We had one
daughter was in pretty bad shape and we just go to
where we'd go a little closer until we got under the
arbor. Of course, we wouldn't go to the front, you
know. We'd sit on the back. And I reckon that's
kind of what broke us from it, and I don't think there
was anybody else quite as bad as we was. I don't
know, I jut had so many children till I didn't want
nothing to happen, you know, such as spells and
things like that. EL 5 _
I: Well, how come the Holiness came in there in the
first place? Do you know?
R: I just don't know how come them.to get inA I'll tell
CRK 47A 28
you the truth, I don't know. They got in there some-
how or another and got started preaching, and there
was a pretty good supply of Indians around at that time
at V CS out around Poarch and all around, you
know. I don't know, some of them said they was sent in
there because the Indian people was weak-minded and they
thought they could get them in to the church easier.
But I don't think that was true. I think the Indians
had more sense that a lot of them thought they did.
But as far as knowing just how come them to get started
in there, I don't know.
I: Do you remember about how long ago that was when the
R: Oh, I imagine it's been fifty years or longer when it
first begin in there.
I: Now, this arbor you been talking about was right at Bell
R: It was just across the little old run over Bell Creek
there, just on a hill kind of. Yes,.sir. It was
right there at Bell Creek.
I: Was it near the Baptist church?
CRK 47A 29
R: No, sir. Well, it wasn't but about two miles, I
imagine, from the Baptists.
I: Do you remember an arbor that was down near the
railroad tracks in Poarch?
R: Yes, sir. It seems to me like I can remember that
arbor a little bit. But now, I never did go down
there:, none much.
I: Was it before or after the one at Bell Creek?
R: It was after, I think. Right after the one at Bell
Creek. They began to'build them up pretty much
around there, you know.
I: Would the Indians help build the arbors or what?
R: Yes, sir. They helped build the arbors.
I: That very first one they helped build, too?
R: Um-hmm [affirmative].
I: Who was the Holiness preacher at Bell Creekthat
first one. Do you remember his name?
R: (Raymond Coon, I believe we called him. He was a big
old fellow. I think it was Raymond Coon) was the pastor
of that one they had right there at Bell Creek.
I: Did they ever build actually have a church building/
CRK 47A 30
^JI Holiness church at Bell Creek?
R: No, sir.
I: Was their first building the one over at Hog For2
Was that their first church building?
R: Yes, sir. I think it was. The first one was over
there. And then Edgar and them put up one down
there where...well, they put up two. One in there
next to the graveyard andAthey moved it out there
on the -rS _-
I: Uh-huh. Now, you spoke of people afraid it was hoodoo
and putting spells on...would put spells on you. Was
there a lot of that kind of belief around back in those
R: Yes, sir. There was, of that hoodoo business.
I: Tell me exactly what the belief was.
R: Well, they just believed that it was true because my
sister-in-law, my husband's sister, well/she died
pretty young, you know. She had two children. But
there was on old colored man, the one that started
it and an old colored lady. The lady, Emma Johnson
I believe her name was. They said it was true, and, 'i
my sister in-law, she taken sick and she didn't live
CRK 47A 31
no time. She died, and this, you know, these people
believed that that was hoodoo and they said it was
was a spell put on her. That's the reason why I
said that I didn't i A them days--I go to the Holiness
church a good bit now myself--but -1 them days is the
reason why I was scared. I didn't know nothing about
what was going on there. I know they cut up, you
know. I reckon we realize now anybody'll cut up when
the power of the Lord gets on them.
R: But them days we didn't realize that.
I: The Baptists didn't believe in shouting or...?
R: No, sir.
I: No shouting at all?
R: No shouting, no testifying in the Baptist church.
I: Well, that old colored couple that said your sister-in-
law had a spell put on her, did they say who did it to
her? Did they go that far?
R: -Wel, sir, they didn't say but I think since I've learned
a little bit more about it after it happened and every-
thing, I think they was just mostly scaring people up.
CRK 47A 32
BecauseAthey'd always go maybe when one died that way,
you know, and they'd dig up something near about the
house. It had maybe a lock or two of hair in it, and
maybe a little old bag of dust of some kind. And they'd
say that's what they hoodoo'd them with.
I: These colored people said that.
R: Uh-huh [affirmative].
I: Where did they live?
R: 6 i, they did live out there at McCullough butithey're both
dead now. They weke old then, pretty old.
I: Well, how did they get to know the Indians that they
were telling you this?
R: U" they just got to coming down in there when things like
that would happen around Bell Creek. And finally, a
good many of them would get the old lady to come do
work for them, you know, such as patching clothes and
ironing, things like that. And they just got acquainted
that-a-way. And it was old man Scott Johnson, I believe,
and the old lady was named Emma Johnson. And finally she
hal ome to be a midwife and there was a lot of the women
used her down there for that. But I don't know, I...
CRK 47A 33
I: Howpdid your sister-in-law die AWas there something
unusual about her death?
R: Well, no, sir. There wasn't nothing. She was sick
maybe for about a week and she just died.
I: Was she old...What about her death was it that made this
old Johnson couple say it was hoodoo?
R:3J-fhey just said that's what it was, because/when she taken,
she taken to where she couldn't hardly talk, you know.
Which I believe nowadays...in them days there wasn't Ma
strokes and such as that and things, and I believe she
just had a stroke myself.
,I , did you know of any Indians that claimed or the
other people claimed timk w how to do hoodoo at that
R: No, sir. Not around tk -- hAl -AL/ii
I: It was strictly something the colored people talked about.
R: Yes. A lot of times, you know, people'd hang out clothes
and let them stay all night, and they'd clain that you
better look them over. /Old people thenjand I do yet,
wear aprons a lot. If you ever went to take your clothes
in and your apron string had a knot in it or something,
CRK 47A 34
not to take it in. They claimed that, you know, that
somebody had fixed it for you.
R: But)I never did...well I believed in it a little bit
then.A They old it so real, you know. Now I wouldn't
believe in no such as that.
I: Did any of the old, old Indians have any tales and
stories they used to like to tell?
R: No, sir. Not that I can remember. Like I said, 'that
there's about the most, you know, the biggest bunch of
Indians that I lived around was around Bell Creek.
Down in about...
I: One subject I've been interested in because it's something
that's changed so much, and that's back years agobhow
people took care of a person that had died. Would you
tell me about how they used to do that?
R: They used to, you know, just take and wash them themselves
and have a cooling board, they'd lay them out on that
cooling, ..you know, dress them themselves and lay them
out on the cooling board or the t\61 ( l 5'
IlA0 ( Id There wasn't none of this embalming
CRK 47A 35
orAfuneral homes or things like that, and mostly they
made their own caskets. My husband has helped to make
a good many for grown people that way.
I: Was there any particular person that was usually...people
would get to do the washing-in Bell Creek?
R: No, sir. There wasn't no certain ones. Just the neighbors
would come together.
I: Did they...at Bell Creek back in those days, did they
sit up with the dead?
R: Oh, yes,sir. They'd sit up.
I: Would that be in the house or at church?
R: In the house. They never did put none in the church.
)o 31- (- 11hn^ iW LAI
I: How many nights-d4d they stay up with the dead?
R: Well, about two or three nights would be as long as they
ever kept one out, you know. And they. when they were
buried, they wasn't buried in these vaults and things
like that, they'd just go did the grave to the graveyard,
I: Which graveyard did they use at Bell Creek?
R: Well, they mostly used the...they got one at Perdido,
they called it. And I reckon it's about three or four
miles. It's out on the other highway going out to Perdido.
CRK 47A 36
They had a graveyard out there that's where they mostly
buried them all.
I: Was that an all-Indian graveyard?
R: Yes, sir.
I: Was it at Perdido or 4e4dpeddo?
R: It was Perdido.
R: That's what they called it. It was...
I: Is that the one that's over there behind the Judson
R: That's right.
R: Old-timey old graveyard, \44 fC C .
I: When somebody died, what was the funeral like back in
R: Well, it was pretty well comparing to now. The.Baptist
preacher, he generally always preached the funeral.
There'd always /M somebody *) go get him, you know--like
I told you, he had-no way of traveling. But when they
died there around Bell Creek, well, he was the fellow
that they'd go get to preach the funeral.
CRK 47A 37
I: Someone told me that they thought years ago that some-
times they might, or usually they would...they might
bury somebody and it might be several weeks before they
actually preached the funeral. Is that true?
R: Well, sometimes they'd do that. But it wasn't very
often. They'd be...they would mostly preach the funeral
when they were put away.
I: the times that that did happen, why did they do that?
Why did they wait until later to preach the funeral?
R: I don't know, sir, why it be their ideas to wait that
way. Now, a lot of people would say that the people
had been opened at the graveyard, you know, and they
would be turned over in their casket.
R: But...well, I knowed of one woman out there. She wasn't
an Indian woman but she lived right this side of...well,
she lived down there where ( hins vc C-r C -- ,
lives. That's where they lived, they was Parkers, I
R: (Emmonsjust lived on this side of thm1, and his wife died.
CRK 47A 38
And they wouldn't preach her funeral until maybe for
a week or two. And they opened her grave and she had
turned over and put her arm under her head.
I: Why'd they open her grave?
R: Opened her at the grave before they buried her...
I: Oh, oh, I see.
R: ...which they generally do. And they'd keep them out
that way and wait...when they'd wait a little over two
or three days to see, you know, if they were in a trance,
maybe, or something or another +e4 i'. -- .
I: But all the time they were waiting would the casket be
in the ground or at home or what?
R: No, sir. They'd mostly be making one A ,_____ ,
because they made them Me6 9f,( Al/ 1i4 ,
and a grown person would generally take a little longer
than...they'd have to line them up and things.
I: How did the Indian folks out there get along with the
Parkers and the Emmonses?
R: They all got along seem like mighty well. Now, the
Emmonses, they didn't have too much, you know, to do
with them, but the Parkers, they seemed to like the
CRK 47A 39
Indians pretty good.
I: Did any of the Indians work for the Parkers?
R: Yes, sir.
I: On what basis?
R: ^ _Just ona farm basis, you know, such as...
I: Working on shares?
R: Um-hmm [affirmative].
^ D6 you remember over at Bell Creek--I know it was true
at the other places--did people over there have the custom
of a newborn baby walking..somebody walking the baby
around the house?
R: Oh, yeah. tI k I.
I: Tell me about in Bell Creek, when would they do that?
All about that.
R:T' WCell, they hardly ever carried one out until it was
nine days old. But that was the first thing they would
do there; Had the custom of the one,they wanted their
baby to take after. They wouldAget them to carry it around
the house, you know. Now I reckon I've yet got that
I: Do you?
." Of the grandchildren, you know.
CRK 47A 40
R: The little fat one that come in here and sit down a few
minutes, you know, and another one come after him. I
'ijejt -uy^ -
taken him and..that's my grandson's child, and they only
have three little boys. But they come from the hospital,
well, I taken them out of the car and went around the
house with them. His mother asked what was that about?
Well, she's not got no Indian in her* I told her, I
says, "Well, I want you to have your boy a take after
"me." I says, 6 0 c- of the rest of them
to take after." CLa^5i 4
I: How many times do you go around the house?
R: Just one time.
I: Now, I've only heard it from a couple of people, but
some families I've heard the mother would go around,
too, along with whoever was carrying the baby. You
ever hear of that?
R: No, sir. I haven't. I've carried a good many of them
around the house, but...
I: Would you usually go by yourself?
R: Yes, sir.
I: When you carry a baby like that, do you talk to the baby
or say anything to it while you're walking around?
CRK 47A 41
R: O ,yes, sir. You talk to it.
I: Well, what kinds of things would you say to he baby
when you take him around the house?
R: Wellli don't know of a stranger now. I've never taken
just a regular strange baby. I'm- always some kind of
I: Yeah, yeah.
R: But I'd always tell them)You must grow up and be like
Grandma, or something like that, aunt or something, you
know. "Be a good little fellow. Don't never be mean
and get into things," and things like that. And that
there one that was in here a while ago, well, he's
growed up different from the other two boys, sure enough.
He's pretty mean, but seems like he's got such a head on
him, you know. He'll mind you good and everything.
I: Was that a custom that was done in your family when you
were a girl with your mother and daddy?
R: No, sir. I never knowed of them doing that. Just after
we was married and I got to knowing the Indians pretty
good. Of course, I didn't know qijr rt If
@44'1C things like that. Like I said, I didn't
CRK 47A 42
know too much about the Indians, you know, till after I
married one. And my husband, he was raised up as a
walker. His mother died when he was pretty small. He
had one brother smaller than he was. He had to do the
work and everything and take care of his baby brother.
I: When you came to the...well, when you went over to the
Neal McGhee place,A came to Bell Creek, did you at the
time think the Indians lived any differently or did
things and differently that the people you were used
to as a girl?
R: No, sir. What of them I had seen and my growing up
to be when I was married...I never.was around none of
them much. I had one uncle that was an Indian, had
married into the family. His wife and my mother was
sisters, and I don't know, I just never could get used
to him. He was pretty full of Indian, you know, and
talked coarse and things. Kind of talked a little
different from us. Of course, he didn't talk like them
did that I was talking about a while ago, but...
I: Yeah, iight.
R: ...he talked different and IAnever was brave around
CRK 47A 43
him, seemed like. I was scared of him or something.
I: What was different about his talk? Remember any par-
R: He just hadCP7no, sir, just coarse voice, and seemed
like he was alway3crabbag or something or another.
I: Well, besides carrying the baby around the house, were
there any other of those Indian rules that you learned
after you married into the Indians?
R: No, sir. There wasn't anything else that I can remembers
I: Did you ever know much about weeds and things you get
out of the woods for medicine?
R: Yes, sir. A good bit, you know, for babies and such as
tht which doctors says now diabetes don't have kl VS,
but we used a lot out of the woods,
such as...people called it yellowroot and fever grass
and yellow tops. Yellow tops was awful good for fever.
And this yellowroot was good for a good many things.
I: And fever grass was for fever?
R: Yes,sir. Fever grass was good for the fever, too. And
fever grass was pretty good v,-rc efi medicine.
~ I ,i
CRK 47A 44
I: Any others you can think of?
R: No, sir.
I: Do you remember,did people in Bell Creek put anything
around baby's necks to keep them from having trouble/
R: Yes, sir.
I: What did they use?
R: They used...you call it Jerusalem root.
I: Jerusalem root?
R: Um-hmm, yes, sir. And they used a little 6t tcS;.ef d- O
gum in a rag to put it around their necks, you know, to
keep them from catching colds from other people and things
^IhCW Jlcro -
I: How would they put theAJerusalem root around their...?
R: They'd string it with a needle. Cut it in little rocks
like that, you know, and string it on a thread.
I: How many of them would they use?
R: They would use about twelve or thirteen of them. Pretty
good string of beads, you know.
I: MW twas that and the different weeds you were telling me about,
was that something that white people used, too?
CRK 47A 45
R: No, sir. I never did know of no white people using it.
I: What about yellowroot? Did you ever know of any white
people using yellowroot?
R: No, sir.
I: None of those things?
R: Uh-uh [negative]. No, there was a white family from, I '
out there close to McCullough from where we lived. Well,
it was her daddy's farm we was on. She was married, and
her baby had the tirsj And she came down wanting to know
if I knew anything that she could do for it, you know.
And I told her, yes, ma'am, 4o get us some yellowroot
and just boil it down pretty low and then take us a
little drop or two of honey and put in there and sweeten
it, you know, and take a clean rag and wipe the baby's
tongue off with it. And she did that, she tried it
and it cured the baby's mouth. I told her I had seen
it used a lot of times and I had used it, too, for my
children when they was growing up.
I: What about the colored people? Do you know whether
they had the custom of carrying 'a baby around the
house or not?
CRK 47A 46
R: No, sir. I don't know.
I: How about putting Jerusalem root around babies' necks,
did they have that? Do you know?
R: I sure don't, but I think they used the 2sci'-bf c u t 1'"t
I have seen it around colored babies, but I never have sCen
the Jerusalem root there.
I: Did you know Calvin McGhee very well?
R: No, sir. I didn't know him too well. I've seen him
several times, but just personally knowing him, I didn't.
I reckon that's one reason we didn't fool much with 1's 4
signing up for this Indian money, you know, to start
with. I figured it was just taking so long, which, A,
my husband, he signed us all up way back when they
began with the thing. Just fifty cents a head, you
know, to sign them up. But from that it got higher
and higherand -taken more money, you know. More money
every time you go, more money. We just decided, well,
there just wasn't anything to it. They're just after
what money they could get out of the Indians. My husband,
he just quit fooling with it. Of course, Calvin got
the treaty of my family, I reckon. He said he had it
CRK 47A 47
on the Colbert side, you know.
I: Uh-huh. But you never got any of theIndian money.
R: No, sir. Me, nor my daughter that lives here didn't
get any either. I got a daughter that lives in
Pensacola. Her and her children got it because she
married a McGhee. A lJ-
I: Who is that?
R: tr ntcel_ married John Lee McGhee. That
was old lady Ida McGhee's. Her and her children, they
got it. And my son that lives in New Jersey, they didn't
ep cr-rs-ep He-
get any either, became he married a white woman.l It
wouldn't have been much trouble, I reckon, for him to
have traced his back, you know, but he didn't have but
about six children and there was about three of them
I think taken after their daddy and the others after
mother. Blond-headed, you know, and blue-eyed.
k)r 4Cr -
I: ; o change the subject, were there ever any Rolins that
lived at Bell Creek?
R: Oh, es.
I: Who were some of the Rolins that lived at Bell Creek?
R: There was Jim Rolin and Jesse Rolin and there was several
CRK 47A 48
of the Rolins. Old man Bill Rolin, and...I don't
remember. There was several families of Rolins down
there. There was till they died out mostly.
I: How about up in the Huxford area? Were there any Rolins
that lived up in there?
R: No, sir. Nowheres aroundjl don't think, Huxford.
I: Say over around what they called the Colbert Settlement
or Neal McGhee place, were there any Rolins living
R: Not at the time we was up there, now. Old man Neal
McGhee, he was an Indian, too. He married in the
Woods family, I believe -hje r.tIf.-7 TiCi buT
"do, c I i the L clain to 4a g any Indian.
I:6 ht .... .ut raising your children! How did you feel
since you had grown up in a county and you moved back
to a county where the Indian children could go to school?
How did you feel about your children being turned away
R: Well, I didn't feel too bad about it. My husband, he
raised a good bit of sand, but I didn't think too much
CRK 47A 49
about it. They seemed to have a pretty good school
over there, and the teachers was all good.
I: \ What kind of sand did your husband raise? What'd he
R: He just went out there around McCullough's, I think,
and told them what he thought about it. He didn't
think it was right for them to do it. But-I don't
think it done no good, but now the Indians is going
to McCullough,or going to Huxford school. I don't
know whether there's any at McCullough or not.
I reckon there is.
I: And there's some in Atmore, too.
R: Yeah. Yeah, there's a lot of Indians goes here in
Atmore. INiggers, too.
I: When you were raising your children, did you ever say
much to them about the fact that they were Indians?
R: No, sir. I never did bring it up because I felt like
they knew they was Indians. And they had the Indians
ways, being easy to get mad, you know, fighting.
I: That's an Indian way, huh? ftc(CeSj
R: Yeah.d thtC IenS
I: I heard they used to have frolics and things years ago
CRK 47A 50
where they'd really have some big fights. Were you
ever in on any of that?
R: Oh, yes.
I: Would they have frolics in Bell Creek?
R: No, sir. I don't think I went to any there. Over there
at Uriah, Monroe County...
--END OF TAPE--