Sub: Jasper McGhee
Int: Albert Duran
A: ..... McGhee. Now, um Jasper, I think that you've spoken with Tony EPES
before, have you not?
J: Yes. Uh, Tony.... Tony come up here and interviewed uh, I believe uh, oh
about a year, year and a half ago.
A: I see. And uh.....
J: Nice young man.
A: Yes. But k I don't believe he got a tape on you. He just came and had a
few friendly words with you.
J: Right. Right, we talked I4 some about the uh, the Creek Indian uh Indian
culture and so forth. Uh, he said that uh, that you or someone else uh from
the University of Florida would come up to me for... for history..... history
A: Right. Right well, from the oral history project.
A: O.K. Uh, so we might as well start the interview now.
A: Uh, could you first tell us about your family background view, who your
parents were and uh, where they're from?
J: Well uh, to start with I really don't know that much about uh, the family....
the family history going back uh far uh aa -bing formal like that. Uh, I
J: can tell you that I was born here in Porch uh, in uh, 1910.
A: Mmmm, I see.
J: And uh, uh, my daddy was Rufus McGhee and he was a farmer here all his life.
My mamma was a Rolland. Uh, she was kin to.X to Girdie Rolland and some
of them uh, some of that Rolland group over to.X. over to Huxford. Now uh,
my daddy,like I said, was Rufus McGhee. Uh, my..... His daddy, my grandfather
was J.W. McGhee.
A: And what about Calvin?
J: Well, Calvin.... Calvin is my first cousin. Uh, J.W. had two boys. My daddy
was born, Rufus, and then he had a .... a younger brother who was Si&a McGhee.
J: Uh Si~ is.... is Calvin's daddy. Or was Calvin's daddy.
A: I see. And uh, what do you remember about Calvin McGhee when you were
J: Well I grew..... I grew up uh,..... me and Calvin grew up together here in
..... here in Porch uh but I mean I've never..... I can't remember a time
when I didn't know Calvin. Uh, we played together, rassled together, uh, and
uh, worked side by side for many years.
A: Did you uh, go to school with Calvin in the old Indian School?
J: Yes. Yes I did. Yes sir.
A: I see. Uh, could you tell us a little bit about that school?
J: Well uh, it was a one room schoolhouse something like the old.... the old
time one room school house. Uh, we had uh, a white teacher there. Uh, I don't....
I'm trying to think, I can't recollect the lady's name now. Uh, it was a Mrs.
uh, Mrs. Mays.
A: Mrs. Mays.
J: Mrs. Mays taught......
A: And she was from where? She was from Atmore?
J: She was.... Yeah. She came out from Atmore uh from the..... She was with
the Indian Agency in Atmore. And uh, we had I.... I r-eean if I can uh, remember
now uh, we had about uh....... oh probably fifteen, twenty children in the
school. I only went through about the uh..... the fourth or fifth grade
before I had to.... to leave school and help my folks on the farm.
A: Yes. I see. Did...... Was that typical of most uh.... most students of the
J: Yes. Uh, none of the children I grew up with ever went to college and uh,
very few of 'em ever finished...... finished school. Uh we had one or two
that uh, that did go to the high school in HuxforA and uh, and finished up.
But, uh, it was / that most of em did have to help on the farm and you've
got to remember that back then there was great opposition to the Indian
children going into the high school. And since we didn't have the Indian
high school they had to go to Huxford.
A: Over to Huxfor )right. I see.
A: I see. Do you remember when they closed the school? About what year was
J: Uh, when they closed..... they closed the Indian school?
J: I...... I don't rightly remember. I believe thoughthat it was many years
after of course..... after I went there.
J: Uh, uh, my oldest children went to that school.
A: Oh I see and your your children are who?
J: Uh, my children ..... Well, my oldest boy is Willis McGhee. He works in
J: automobile plant up in Detroit.
A: _ciHe I see.
J: Uh, and then uh, my ... my next one is Bessy and uh she's.... she's married
now to Tom Jackson. He's ... he's a.......He lives..... They live over.....
Well, they had lived down in Bay Mawet for quite awhile and they've come
back and they live here in Porch now.
A: Yeah I think I've heard uh, E~a~rn.. interview with Jackson.
J: Yes. Uh, well he's uh, Tom's uh, I'm trying to think of his daddy's name
but I think Tony done one with him and he's nephew to chief Arthur Turner.
A: Oh yes, yes I remember that now.
J: Chief Arthur's kin to me. I don't know exactly how but they.... we's cousins
of one sort or another.
A: I see. So now, tell me, what's life like here in uh, Porch?
J: Well uh, it all depends of what you uh, what you're doing and what kind of a
person you are. For me, to be hones with ya, life aint really changed here
in all the time I lived here. Of course I'm..... I still have the farm here.
I don't work as much as I do, of course I'm... I'm an older man. But uh, the
things paint really changed. Uh, for some of the young people though, it has.
A: What do you think about the.... the young bringing up the ..... the old Indian
ways and um, and the Indian dancing? What do you think about that?
J: Well, uh, I'll tell ya Al. Is that.... just your name? Al?
A: Yes, right.
J: I uh,..... I can appreciate the young ..... youngsters wantin to ..... to
understand their heritage as Indians and uh, and to study the way..... the
way the people lived. Now, I don't know about the..... So I admire........
I admire that part of it. Uh, I don't know about this dancing and and stuff
putting on these shows.
A: Mmm hmm.
J: Uh, some of it uh, seems to me
A: (chuckle) Oh I see. Alright.
up, did you know that you were
words or ,,/, 1
J: Well, I knew I was an Indian.
mean, ya know we all..... Like
one another and.....
A: Did any..... Did you ever hear
J: I've .... I've never heard it
to be a little bit of foolishness. I don't.....
Was uh, uh .....Well, when you were growing
Indian and what.... would you know any Indian
We all knew we were.... we war Indians. I
say most of us around here were related to
the Indian language spoken when you were young
myself. Uh, I can remember when I was little
my mamma tellinlme that she could remember in her childhood that a few of
the old people spoke the Indian language. But uh, she never.... she never
knew itnor my daddy nor my grandparents nor none of the older people I knew
by that time ever.... ever did speak it.
A: Uh, Jasper, when I was uh, coming out here I talked to Tony and he was telling
me about the people out here and it seemed to me that everyone was either
a Rolland or a McGhee. Now can you tell me something about that?
J: Well, it's ... it's just about true. Uh, of course, I'm both.
J: I... I'm... Uh, my name is McGhee but like I said, my mamma. My mamma was
J: But uh her name was Sadie Rolland.
J: Uh, before she married my daddy. Uh, but uh, they..... those are mainly the
big families. Like I say, we all are pretty much uh, uh, connected. Uh, there
J: are uh, other families. Colberts was a big family out here.
A: Colbert? I don't know any of them.
J: Well, they was uh, oh f~a-L ny Colbert still living over to Huxfor and his
brother Mulford Colbert lived around here for uh...... I believe he's down
in Bay Maeat now.
A: Bay Manet, right.
J: But uh..... Well, they was..... When I was growing up they was uh, that
group lived up uh, up north of Huxford. There was quite an area that was just
called the Colbert settlement.
J: But uh, most of them.... Many of them have gone north to.... looking for
better jobs and stuff and their family seems to have uh, have decreased around
A: And the.... And.... the uh, the Colberts and the Rollands and the McGhees
were um, they were all organized by Calvin and about this uh, land money stuff?
J: Oh well, all ... all... all the uh.... all the Creek Indians here were in
on that. Uh......
A: Uh, how.... How was that?
J: Well, Calvin..... What happened was that uh, Calvin got the Indian money for
all the Creek Indian families and uh.....
A: Yeah, but he asked for contributions first..... and uh, you didn't know whether
you were gonna get any money from it or not. Uh, wouldn't anybody that thought
he was kinda crazy?
J: Oh many... many of em did. Lot of em. Lot of em said ........ Of course,
you gotta understand that the.... the dealings. Most of these people never
had much dealings with the government and stuff other than uh..... At least
J: that it never got no benefit out of the government.
A: Yeah, I see.
J: And uh....... yeah. A lot of people...... I.... I'll tell ya the truth,
like I say, I..... me and Calvin have always been good friends. Uh, but
a lot of people did. There was a lot of opposition. Uh, it was.
A: O.K. But uh, did you get into it?
A: You got some money from uh, lands at?.
J: I... I... I was able to get the..... get the Indian money. And there's the......
the other thing too is that when ...... when the first money started coming
in, when the first claims were made uh, a lot of the people who called Calvin
crazy, why as soon as there was money offered they was right on the band-
wagon. (turn tape off for a moment)
A: Now we're back. Could you tell us a little bit about your religion and
the Holliness Church and any other churches that were around?
J, Well, I .... I.... I've been a member of the Holliness Church for, now on
twenty-five years now.
A: Twenty-five years?
J: About twenty-five...... Ever since.... Really ever since that the church come
in...... come into this area, I've been involved with it. P
A: So the Holliness Church came in..,.. in sometime in the 50's?
J: Yes, it was in the middle of the 5-Ls, 1950..... 50.... 54 or 55 I believe is
the church come in here.
A: Yeah I see.
J: Uh, when I was growing up uh, when I was really small all we had was the uh,
the Methodist Church and the Baptist Church.
A: Did they have local preachers?
J: Uh, yeah, well they .... they.... they wasn't Indian preachers. They was
white preachers but it was.... it was.....
A: Where.... where.... where did the white preachers come in from?
J: They was.... They was from locally uh, I believe the .... the uh, the Baptist
preacher I believe come.... uh, come out here from Atmore and uh, the
Metho..... the Methodist preacher, he lived up aHead of Perdia.
A: Oh yes, yes. O.K. and so um..... um.....
J: Of course I....
A: Tell.... tell..... Excuse me.
J: I was young so I don't... uh, I don't really recollect them churches too much.
My folks were ..... was Methodist.
A: Methodist. Right. Um,..... also Tony told me something about an Episcopal
J: Yes, yes, the... the...the It was Episcopal. The Episcopal Church has been
uh, ever since uh, nineteen ......QS Uh, I was.... When I was a young
man the church, Episcopal Church come in here.
A: It's still here?
J: It's still here, yes.
A: Oh, I see.
J: They.... uh, there's a few people here that .... that belongs to it. I never
did..... I never did take to that church uh, they don't have the holy spirit.
A: They don't have the holy spirit? What does that mean?
J: Well, they..... they claimAhave God, they preach of God, but they.... they
don't have the .... the spirit in em. Uh, uh, you can talk..... Ya know
you can talk about the Lord all you want but unless the Holy Spirit's there
why uh, and that's what the.... the Episcopals why they meet in a little
church building. Uh, they meet indoors and uh, they sing hymns and .....and
J: have their preachings and all that but they don't know the Lord. They don't
have the Holy Spirit.
A: I see. And uh, could you tell us a little hit about the Holliness Church,
J: Yes. Well, we... we are.... We are called the Holliness Church we're the
church of the Holy Spirit.
A: I see, yeah.
J: I mean we... we....we believe the Bible and the Bible tells you that man should
have the Holy Spirit. Uh, and uh, we believe in ....in expressionist spirit
and speaking of the tongues and the.... and... and a man's body and soul.....
mind body and soul possessed in the Spirit.
A: I see. Um and..... you um, you have your services outdoors?
J: Well, we .... we meet in the brush herbor.
A: In the brush har-br?
J: Yeah we meet in the brush hakrbr.
A: Yeah, where's the brush hartba ?
P OR(Z 's A-r
J: The brush has-&e!- over te Huxford.
A: In Huxfor, I see.
A: And uh, well did Calvin ever do any preaching at theA.h, at the brush harbor?
J: Oh yes. Oh yes. Calvin.... Calvin was a very active in the Holliness Church.
A: He was?
J: Yes. Uh, see the Holy.... well the Holy..... uh the Episcopal Church is
all..... is all white ministers who come in from uh, I believe they may have
J: trained a few of .... of the Indian people nowadays, ministers. But at least
uh, as far as I.... as I remember, it was... it was all white.
J: The Holiness Church is the Indian uh, preachers preaching the Word to
their own people.
A: I see. I see.
J: And uh, Calvin..... Calvin preached there. We've had several..... several
of the Indian people here preach. Uh, I never have preached but I....I ...I
lead the people in the Spirit.
A: Do you?
J: I ....I.... I'm the first one that..... when the Spirit takes command I'm
A: I see. Well, that's great. That's great. Um is there anything you'd like
to add to um this interview?
J: Well I.... I don't have uh, uh too much more to say about uh, the things
we've been talking about. I think we've pretty much uh, we talked about
the families and the uh, the Indian money and the school and uh, talked
a little bit about uh, Calvin McGhee but uh, I have a couple questions I'd
like to ask you if that's O.K.?
A: Well, uh, O.K. go ahead.
J: Uh, I talk... When I talked to Tony uh, he explained but I..... I'm a bit
forgetful and I'd kinda like to know uh, uh, what you folks do with this
A: O.K. We'll ..... We'll take the tape back to um..... to Gainesville, Florida.
J: Yeah, yes.
A: Then uh, one of our typist, well such as Amy, will um transcribe the interview
A: And that gets audit-editted by either myself or Rodney WLa n.. From there
we'll send you a copy of what we've done so far and we'll let you edit it
J: So then... then I'll get the final word?
A: Right. Right.
J: O.K. Well uh, good luck in your project and I'll tell you uh, uh, you've
got my full permission to use what I've.... what I've said on one condition.
A: Yes, and what's that?
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