This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.
This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWEES: John W. Dial
D. E. Lowrie
INTERVIEWER: Adolph Dial
DATE: September 3, 1969
AD: September 3, 1969. I'm here in the home of Mr. and Mrs.
John Wesley Dial here in Pembroke and also visiting in the
home is Mrs. D. E. Lowrie, the sister of Mrs. Dial. Mrs.
Lowrie, [since] you have to leave us, I want to talk with you
a little before you leave. Do you consider Henry Berry Lowrie
being justified in the action that he took?
L: From what knowledge I've been able to gain through my life
about it I feel like he was justified and was forced to the
measures that he taken.
AD: Are you some relation to Henry Berry Lowrie?
L: He is my uncle.
AD: Most of the people that you've talked with, do they feel
the same way?
L: The big percentage of them do and my children live in different
places. They have talked this thing over with other people and
explained why he did what he did. The people told them, their
friends, that they would have went into more measures and
worse measures than he did if they would have been forced. They
felt like he was forced to do as he did do.
AD: How old are you, Mrs. Lowrie?
L: Seventy-nine years old.
AD: Where were you born?
L: I was born in Robeson County.
AD: Did you live at one time here at the place where Henry Berry
Lowrie was killed?
L: I was raised right inside of it and have stood my feet in the
hole, but I didn't know it at the time. They said that was the
grave, what they had dug themselves.
AD: For Henry Berry Lowrie's father, where he was....
L: And brother.
AD: Yes, he father, Allen, and his brother, Will.
L: Yes. I have heard that they were forced to dig the hole
themselves and were shot and fell in backwards in it.
AD: Yes, that seems to be the true story. Just what was behind
this? What was the story that you heard as to why Mr. Allen
Lowrie and his son,,William, were killed?
L: I have not heard that true and completely, but at that time
they said they had, Allen Lowrie.
AD: Yes, his father, Henry Berry Lowrie.
L: And William's mother. Who else was it they had in jail in
AD: Mrs. Lowrie, did you attend school in your early days?
L: Just very little. I don't know exactly how much, but it
was at a little school house near our home in the Lowrie
AD: Was it state supported or supported by the people of the area?
L: I wouldn't know. I reckon it was state supported. It was
a little one-teacher school.
AD: When you were a child, who were some of the people that you
considered pioneer leaders back in your day?
L: Henry Lowrie and Mr. W. L. Moore.
Mrs. D: John Sampson?
JD: And William?
AD: John Sampson, William Sampson?
AD: How would you compare the leadership of those fellows in
that day with our people who are in leadership capacity
L: I think they were excellent, considering the opportunities
they had. Mr. W. L. Moore was an excellent man and a well-
qualified man for leadership.
AD: Do you ever recall hearing him preach a sermon?
AD: Do you recall any of his text?
L: Not at the present. I remember hearing him preach that text
about come down and go with us and we will do thee good. He
loved [it]. He could get on that thing. If you ever got
stirred up and you stopped a second or two and swallowed,
you might know you were going to hear a good sermon because
he could pour it out.
AD: How would you rate him? Would you rate him, up until the
present, as one of the better preachers that you've heard in....
L: As good as I ever heard and he was so stern as I ever sat
under, the sound of his voice.
AD: What about you, Mr. Dial, do you remember Moore?
JD: I don't.
AD: You were down in this Saddle Creek community, I guess.
JD: No, I was back over there. But I didn't know anything about
him. That's Luke Moore. I remember that anything you wanted
to find out, if you'd ask him he'd tell you.
AD: Now Mr. Dial, are you related to any of the Lowrie gang?
Mrs. D: Wash Lowrie was some....
AD: No, when I say the Lowrie gang, I mean are you related to
any of the outlaws?
JD: Oh, no.
AD: Not related to the Lowrie's, but you are related to whom?
JD: John Dial and Andrew Strong.
AD: What was your relation to Andrew Strong?
JD: He was my grandfather.
AD: What about John Dial who was a member of the gang?
JD: He was my great uncle.
AD: Over the years, did anyone tell you what they thought happened
to Henry Berry Lowrie?
JD: Yes, my grandfather's wife told me that.they took him up
to Tom Lowrie's and said the other boys was in the house.
They heard a gun fire and said when they went out there
he was a standing, he gone up that way looking around and
a turning around, and he fell. Never spoke to none of them.
AD: Where was this?
JD: At Tom Lowrie's.
AD: Tom Lowrie was his brother, wasn't he?
JD: I think so.
AD: Yes, at his brother's, Tom Lowrie, house.
JD: That was Olen Lowrie's daddy.
AD: That was out in the Burnt Swamp section, wasn't it?
AD: Mrs. Dial, what have you heard over the years about the death
of Henry Berry?
Mrs. D: Something just to match him with theirs. There wouldn't be
a bit of good for me to repeat it, I don't reckon. Me and
my sister that just left have witnessed right where that
grave was that they were killed and fell, because they made
them dig their grave and then made them stand where they were
shot and fell in it.
AD: Do you feel perhaps that Henry had a just cause?
Mrs. D: I think he did.
AD: How do you feel, Mr. Dial, about his cause?
JD: I think he had a good cause to do like he did.
AD: Mr. Dial, did you ever hear any of your father or your
grandparents say where their parents came from?
JD: Our family, Strongs, come with Brantley Harris and old man
Silas Deese over here when they come over here and they were
AD: They were part white?
JD: Uh huh.
AD: You say they came with Brantley Harris?
JD: Yes. Outlaws killed Brantley Harris.
AD: It's said they killed him down at Harpers Ferry.
JD: Somewhere over here about this, John Oxendine.
AD: That was where he lived over there. Then some said he was
buried there at Harpers Ferry. But anyway those two places
are connected. What do you think of the name "Lumbee"? Do
you think that's a pretty good name for us today?
JD: It will do. At least we're having a name.
AD: Yes, they've kept changing it since it was perhaps amalgamation
of many tribes and the descendents of White's lost colony.
Perhaps the name "Lumbee" would be a fitting name for us.
JD: Uh huh.
AD: Did you attend school as a boy?
JD: Yes, about two or three. I've gotten the third grade, I reckon.
AD: Where did you attend?
JD: Up there at Mary Dial's schoolhouse up there near my grandmother's.
AD: What was your grandmother's name?
JD: Sarah Dial.
AD: I believe I saw her tombstone somewhere at Harpers Ferry.
JD: Harpers Ferry.
AD: Yes, I saw her. I wrote it down. Sarah Dial was your
JD: Uh huh.
AD: What was her parents' names?
AD: Did any of your grandparents raft logs down to Georgetown
JD: No, old man Peter Dial and George Dial. My daddy didn't ever
go with them down there.
AD: Did Peter Dial make it down to Georgetown? Did you ever hear
of stories of how long it would take them or what it was like?
JD: They'd go from Monday and stay to the next Saturday. They'd come
AD: How would they get back?
AD: Did you hear any of them talk about walking to Fayetteville
[North Carolina] back in those days?
JD: Yes, they'd go a bunch. They got an ox cart, go to Fayetteville
and buy their Christmas stuff. The crowd would walk up there
and someone'd ride the oxen cart.
AD: Sometime I imagine, if you was just going to pick up a few
items they'd walk and bring it back.
AD: Did you ever hear any of the old people talk about driving
turkeys to the market in Fayetteville?
AD: Mr. Dial, I believe you have eight children living.
JD: I've got only seven living.
AD: I believe out of the seven perhaps five have taught, or six.
AD: You came up when the time was rough. How did you manage to
educate your children?
JD: I worked all the day, all the time, done all the plowing and
farming, until the children would get out of school and then
they'd help me, together.
AD: When you were educating your children you made your living
mostly on the farm?
Mrs. D: Farmed till the last three got out.
AD: Were you a tenant farmer?
AD: Tenant farmer all these years?
JD: All these years.
AD: So you say that a man could make it even as a tenant farmer
if he tried hard enough.
JD: If you tried it hard enough.
AD: Mr. Dial, how would you compare race relations when you were
a boy with race relations today? Just in your own words, how
would you explain it?
JD: There was not much relation amongst them.
AD: In other words, there was pretty much separation back in your
days. As you look at the progress that's been made with
race relations in the world, the Supreme Court decision with the
Negro and integration and so forth, do you figure this is a
decision that is against the Indian people, or do you think that
perhaps it would even be better for all concerned?
JD: I expect it's better for all concerned because the Indian
don't have to marry the colored people. The whites ain't
going to marry....
Mrs. D: They do.
JD: Not too often.
Mrs. D: Not too often--they do.
JD: Not too often.
AD: In other words you believe that state-supported institutions
with dollars out of a tax fund should be used for all people?
AD: I suppose you remember when not many people in this area left
and went to work in the other cities, do you not?
JD: Yes, they used to go from here down to Georgia and Florida.
AD: They did go down in Georgia to work in turpentine. Many of
your relatives go to Georgia to work in turpentine?
JD: My daddy.
AD: Your dad went to Georgia? Did you ever hear him tell any
interesting stories about Georgia down there while you were
working in turpentine?
JD: No, not any more than they'd go ahead and work. Then maybe
Saturday night they'd have a big kick-up like they do around
here. A long time ago get drinking and ...
AD: What did people do for fun and recreation when you were a boy?
JD: They didn't have much fun.
AD: Did you ever attend any corn shuckings or log rolling?
JD: Yes, they have corn shuckings and log rolling.
AD: Would they usually have a, jimmy john in the middle of-is that
what it is, jimmy john?
AD: What was a jimmy john?
JD: A big yellow jug full of wine and cider liquor.
AD: Did you have to shuck up the pile of corn before you could
get to it? Is that the way it was?
JD: No, they'd pass it around every once in a while.
AD: Would they put it in the middle of the corn?
JD: No, they'd have it in the house. They'd go and get so much,
bring it out, and pass it around.
AD: I have heard them say that they put the jimmy john in the
middle of the corn and you had to shuck your way to it.
Mrs. D: That could have been with some of them.
JD: Yes, might have been way back.
AD: Did you ever attend any dances?
AD: When you was a boy?
JD: No, I never did fool with that.
AD: Mrs. Dial, did you ever attend any quilting parties as a
Mrs. D: Yes, I've attended quilting....
AD: Tell us about the quilting parties. Come over here and tell
Mrs. D: We would gather together, maybe quilt two or three quilts,
and have dinner. Some would be a cooking dinner and the
rest of us quilting. It took a little bit of work done out
on through a day.
AD: Mr. Dial, the woodsawing, that came along later, didn't it?
AD: That, that, you didn't have woodsawings when you were a boy,
AD: Why was that? Because they had log rolling?
Mrs. D: After we were married.
AD: Log rollings....
JD: After we were married, we'd have a woodsawing.
Mrs. D: Serve peanuts and candy.
JD: Get some candy and peanuts.
AD: Was that a good way to get a lot of work done without much...
JD: Yes, expense.
AD: ...expense. It showed somewhat a cooperative spirit.
You spoke awhile ago, and said you were a farmer. What's
the most cotton that you've ever known one person to pick in
JD: I have known people to pick 500, but I never did pick that
much. About 150 was as much as I ever picked. She'd pick
200 and 300 pounds.
AD: Yes, I did 226 once. I have report with Mr. Watt Bullard.
AD: ...Rand Bullard said that he picked 595 one day. That was
JD: They said that he was a cotton picker.
AD: I suppose old man Sam Bullard was a model farmer back in his
JD: Uh huh.
AD: He was kind of a go-getter, wasn't he?
JD: Make them go and get it from before day till after night.
AD: Yes, long, long days.
JD: I expect Watt would pick before day and after night.
AD: When you were a boy,a young man, did people seem to put
more emphasis on making a dollar and saving it than they
do now? If so, why?
JD: No, they go now after the dollar. They just go after it.
There's a lot of folks that are saving.
AD: Do you feel that maybe [for] the Indians, being a minority
group, it was more necessary to have money, say fifty years
ago than it is today?
JD: Well, they....
Mrs. D: It was harder to get then.
JD: It was harder to get. You didn't get to hold much. Uncle
Peter Dial cut set of switch ties for fifty-seven dollars
or something like that.
AD: How many was in a set?
JD: How ever much it take, it would run to six weeks.
AD: All depends.
JD: Uh huh.
AD: Do you remember any rail cutting?
AD: Did you ever cut any rails?
JD: A few, not many.
AD: Wonder how many rails a good rail splitter could cut in a day?
JD: About two hundred and fifty and on.
AD: Two hundred and fifty rails? How many ties could a man do?
JD: Me and my brother, Dock, could cut fifty in a day.
AD: Fifty ties.
JD: Uh huh.
AD: Cut down the tree, too?
JD: Yes, me and him was going to race one day and see how much
we could cut. I cut my foot late in the evening and had to
quit. I had twenty and he had about twenty-five.
AD: So you would have made fifty.
AD: That's about as many as two men could do.
JD: Uh huh.
AD: How many ties could a man carry on his back, one?
AD: Most time two people carried them out of the swamp. Did
you ever know one man to carry two ties?
JD: No, I don't believe I have. (laughs).
AD: What about the hunting back in the days when you were small?
JD: We done lots of hunting catching 'possoms and 'coons and go
fox hunting. Ran my legs off.
AD: Do you remember the time when the covered wagons used to come
AD: ...the Sand Hills?
JD: They'd stay over there near home.
AD: What would they have on the covered wagons?
JD: They'd have liquor and apples and....
AD: Various wares to sell.
JD: Uh huh.
AD: Sometimes they would have some suppers, would they?
JD: They'd have a lot of drinking, and at night they'd all gather
together and drink and have them a big time.
AD: The people from around, they'd come and visit this place.
AD: Would there be more than one wagon usually?
JD: Sometimes they'd have one and two and three.
AD: When they brought whiskey down didn't they have whiskey stores
around when you were a boy?
JD: No, they didn't have no whiskey stores, but people would order
it and sell it.
AD: Of course, they'd all gather around when the covered wagons
came down. Where were these covered wagons from?
JD: Up in the mountains and around.
AD: They'd gather around, and they'd try to sell them something,
and they'd drink and have a good time.
AD: I suppose once in a while they'd have a fight.
JD: Every once in a while they'd have onion sets and collard plants
and stuff like that to sell.
AD: We spoke awhile ago about people going to Georgia to work in
turpentine. The next time you remember people going away,
where were they going to work?
JD: They'd go, some of them, up to Charlotte and some of them up
the road to Detroit.
AD: That was much later, of course.
AD: The people who went down in Georgia worked in turpentine. Then
there was a great number of years here that not many of them
went away to work until about World War II when they began to
go to Detroit and work in the automobile industry.
JD: They'd come back home from Georgia, and cut boxes and get
AD: Right here.
JD: Uh huh.
AD: Went in the turpentine business here.
AD: Some of them stayed down in Georgia; never did return.
JD: Yes, this old Chavis man that you're talking about, I reckon,
AD: William Chavis, one of the outlaws?
JD: No, he wasn't an outlaw. He was left here and he went down
in Georgia and stayed down there.
AD: But wasn't that the reason he left? They was wanting to
accuse him of something?
JD: Might have been.
AD: So he never did. Did you ever hear from his offspring?
JD: He had some children that come back here and he brought
them back, whenever. He was married to Edmond's sister.
AD: Edmond Lowrie?
JD: Uh huh. she was Edmond's sister.
AD: What was school closings like when you were a boy?
JD: Just like going to war. Everytime they'd have a school
closing they'd have a big fight.
AD: People would look forward to go to the school closing and
JD: Have a fight.
AD: ...big fight, and have a good time, so to speak. Yes, I
remember that was the way it was when I was a boy.
AD: They seemed to have a good time at what they call a school
JD: The school breaking.
AD: They would have some hotdog stands around.
AD: Nail them up a few boards around a tree and make a little
JD: Then when they're eating...
AD: Then when they're.eating...
AD: ...hamburgers, a few people would come around drinking and
you'd have a little fight. Of course, there was a few people
inside listening to the speech, and a few of the kids maybe
getting a diploma, right?
JD: That's right.
AD: I remember this as a boy myself. The old people certainly
seemed to enjoy the school break. I suppose one of the troubles
was they didn't have much ofaa social outlet. There wasn't a
whole lot to do and wasn't a lot of meeting places to get
together to have a lot of fun.
JD: No, I never did come to the school breaking when they'd have
their big time. My Aunt Cat Lowrie used to have to just take
us there and pick us up, stop them up from fighting.
AD: You mean the woman'd stop it?
JD: Yes, Aunt Cat said she'd whip anybody but Old Uncle Wash.
AD: She was Uncle Wash's wife.
AD: Uncle Wash Lowrie went into the Indian territory once. She
was a mid-wife I believe, wasn't she?
AD: Have you been a little superstitious over the years? Do
you believe in any kind of signs for growing crops or
catching fish or ...
AD: ...making soap?
JD: I wasn't.
AD: You've never been an individual to be superstitious or follow
JD: She used to when she'd want to make soap. She'd throw a fire
on the pot put some meat and grease in there and some lye,
and go ahead and make her soap.
AD: Give us the recipe for making good soap, Mrs. Dial. How did
you make this soap? I remember my mother making soap, but
I've forgotten how she did it.
Mrs. D: Over the years you save.all the extra pieces of meat and grease
that you wouldn't need. You just set it in a can or something
and save it. You get you some box or two of lime. Get out
and put your pot on and water in it and your meat and grease and
your lye and you just cook on it. Cook on it and stir it with a
stick. You could tell by the stirring it was thickening, and
when it-would such a thickness you'd cut it off. The next
morning you could take a knife and go out there and cut your
soap in the kind of blocks you choose to. If it sat around two
or three weeks or a month or something it would get so hard you
could wash off of a piece of it a time. It was much stronger,
seemed like, than the kind of soap stuff you can get now.
AD: I remember some of that old lye soap, they called it.
Mrs. D: Lye soap.
AD: They'd save up the grease. About how much lye would you put
to so much grease?
Mrs. D: Take four or five pounds of grease and a whole can of lye with
AD: Four or five pound of grease and a can of lye.
Mrs. D: And take scraps and just refuse stuff you wouldn't use in the
kitchen no longer, put it in a box, put your box on.
AD: Put you water in it and let it boil away. How long would you...?
Mrs. D: You stir it.
AD: How long would you have to take to make it, two or three hours?
Mrs. D: Something like that.
AD: When you first married and,of course,when you had two or three
small children and you was on the farm, about what would you
consider you'd have to go to town and spend in groceries a
week? Not clothes, just groceries.
JD: About two or three dollars.
AD: Two or three dollars would take care of it.
JD: Uh huh.
Mrs. D: Now, it wouldn't.
AD: Of course you had cows and gardens.
Mrs. D: We had hogs, sugar and syrup.
AD: You had your flour, and sugar, and syrup, and so forth. So
this was a live-at-home deal, wasn't it?
JD: Yes, when you lived at home.
AD: Mr. and Mrs. Dial, you've looked around today and you've
seen that times have changed quite a bit. Is this something
that you really understand and that you're willing to put up
with or what do you think of the youth today? What do you
think of mini skirts and what do you think of the way the youths
JD: Some of them goes to the extreme and some of them you just have
to put up with it like it goes. You can't...
AD: Mrs. Dial, have you been able to adjust yourself to the changes
over the years?
Mrs. D: I haven't even tried to. I don't approve of some of the dress
styles and things and the way to do. I just don't approve of it.
It don't change my mind of going in a decent shape. Some of
them don't care and go to extreme with it. I don't approve of
AD: I guess not. What about worship service today as when you were
a child? How has it changed, Mr. Dial?
JD: It's changed to where you can't hardly go to church and get any-
thing out of going to church.
AD: You think the church should be a little freer for people to talk
and sing and so forth as it was when you were a boy?
JD: Yes, whenever I was a boy.
AD: You feel that there can be too much organization in the church?
JD: People go ahead and sing if you wanted to. If somebody'd call
on you to pray, you'd pray. Now, if anybody calls on you to
pray, it'd near about choke you.
AD: That's right. We have a few to do the job for you today.
JD: Yes, they're preaching what to do, all the preaching and
praying and singing.
AD: Where did you attend church as a boy?
JD: Harpers Ferry.
AD: Did you have:Sunday.school classes?
AD: Even when you was a boy, you'd have little Sunday school groups?
JD: Uh huh.
AD: Who was your minister as far back as you can remember?
JD: Old man A. D. Locklear.
AD: Old man A. D. Locklear.
AD: Angus Locklear.
JD: Mr. Murphy's daddy.
AD: Oh, yes, Mr. Murphy's daddy. You've always been in the Baptist
church I guess until recently.
JD: No, when I joined the church, I joined over at Hope Mills.
Mrs. D: The Methodist church.
AD: In other words, your wife made a good Methodist out of you,
JD: Uh huh.
AD: Good for her.