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Interviewer: Catherine Puckett Subject: Lawrence Carver Date: July 21, 1982 SR7A page 1 P: This is Cathy Puckett interviewing Mr... What is your name? C: Carver. P: And your first name? C: Lawrence. P: Mr. Lawrence Carver of White Springs, Florida and the date is July 21, 1982. If you could just right here. First of all, Mr. Chance told me to ask you about the fire in White Springs. C: Well, I told him that yarn long time ago. I've told a lot of people about it, I reckon here. The Baptist parson's, Baptist church preacher's house caught on fire about noon one day and I was a little kid. I imagine I was six years old. I was walking down the street by the big store, right there on and I looked up between the store building and saw a two story building back there, by washtub, and I run to the first store and told them and run to the next store and told them and all the men folks going over to the Baptist church parsonage to fight the fire with buckets, you know. P: Uh huh. C: So they had to send over there to get some able-bodied men to try to get up on top of that two-story house and they never made it up. It burned on down. It burned the whole block and there, I think there were three hotels. P: And that was including this hotel, the Spring Hotel. C: No. P: No. It was a, the Hyatt hotel and I don't remember the other name. P.: Mutual? C: No. That was. But anyway, they'd just built one of the hotels and just finished, :was going to open next week. It went up in smoke, too. P: Oh, no. So the whole block essentially just went up in fire. C: The whole, the whole block went up. P: And the only fire control you had were men with buckets.



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SR7A page 2 C: That's all. P: Where did you get your water from? The river? C: Pumps. P: Pumps? C: Had fifty pumps. P: Uh huh. C: Didn't have the water facility, then. P: Was everybody out there helping -the women-folk and the men-folk? C: Well, they were all trying to help. When they finally got the young, the ones that was young enough to work on the fire back from the everybody tried to save their own stuff then. They was carrying stuff out the motels, out the stores, there was doctors offices and bakery and several businesses burned up with it, large livery stable, and back in them days, you didn't have garages, they have livery stables for horses. P: That's where you kept the horses. C: Surreys, well, yeah, surrey. You'd rent them out and people go to ride them. And they also had some stockyards there that they had cows and hogs and have them for sale, burned them up, too. You could smell pork burning for hours after. P: So when was this? C: I imagine it was about 1910. I was about six years old. P: So you were born in 1904. C: That's right. P: And in White Springs. C: Uh huh. P: Your family, did they come from White Springs? C: No, they migrated from Columbia and Suwannee County. P: Uh huh. C: My folks came here in 1892. P: How did they get here? C: Oh, come on the horse and buggy I reckon. That was before the railroad track was built. They didn't have a railroad. They had one ,,,at Wellb-or 1 n ; iere ionswoldoor /cf peopi(ed owho e broce at We ll berlio',: a\< mi~S 'h I.Tc1 6uT-l.' c~FdX '. ns wkoJ/or o f people m ,fiauhifet rgs,



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SR7A page 3 P: Did you ever see any of the steam boats? C: Not really. They never come up this far. P: Never came up this far? C: No. It was too shallow. P: I heard that one came up here one time. C: When the river went up, I reckon, it might've came up. I didn't see that. P: Right. So were your family, were they farmers? C: No, my people were merchants, dry-goods business. He's, my daddy came over here to work with, help sawmill, dig sawmill out here. He was a sawyer. And after the sawmill went broke, well, he went into business for himself. P: Well,:what did White Springs look like back say when you were six to ten years old? C: Oh, there was about twice as many houses as there is here now. They, we had a moving picture show, we had pool rooms and we had a weekly newspaper, we had all kind of amusements, things on, we called the spring road, you could walk down those springs, like to throw a ball up the side and somebody'd drop in a tub of water, you know, to get the ball. It was quite nicer and such. It had, I think, seven hotels. P: Seven hotels. And they all did good business except.... C: Oh, yeah, in the summer time, they're full. P: In the summertime, they're full? Why did people come to White Springs so much then? C: Health was all. Sulphur water. They claimed it would purify the kidneys and make them young again. P: Did people believe that? C: It helped a lot of people. They needed .til: out, I reckon. Doctor could have given them the medicine, it's done the same thing. They'd go down and sit and drink that spring sulphur water faithfully, you know. P: So they'd drink the water. C: Oh, yeah. And bathe in it too. Hot,'they',d give hot, they'd give hot baths, too, you know. P: So what did the people wear when they went swimming? C: Well, when I was first, remember going to the spring, they just went swimming for two hours. They were their long pants down here and their stockings onI and sleeves.



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SR7A page 4 P: That's the women now. C: They wouldn't let the men in there. All the men had to get out in the spring house. P: So they had separate bathing times. C: Yeah, someone, the ladies would bathe two hours and then the men would have the spring two hours and the ladies would have to get up. P: Did the little kids ever try to spy? C: Oh, I don't know. I was so little, I went in swimming with my mama with all the women, but I remember it. Yeah, it was quite different from what it is now. P: Was there a skating rink? C: Oh, we had a skating rink, had it up in the second story of one of those brick buildings down in main street there. Oh, there was a crowd there weekend nights. P: I'as it ice skating? C: No, roller skating. P: Were people sad that all of that burned down? That all of the hotels and.... C: Were what? P: Were people upset that all of the hotels got burned? C: Oh, I, yes. It was bad. The biggest thing that upset them was, camp, camp mill shut down. They employed about 1200 people. P: Oh. C: And in the population population of White Spring there was about 1600. P: Oh. C: And so you can imagine how it set them back when the mill shut down and everything. And the houses began to burn so fast around there. Get people to leave. Houses burn up, the insurance companies suspended the insurance on all the houses out there for, I don't know, four or five years. You couldn't insure anything. Just everybody's getting rid of his property, see. Leave. It went down fast. P: So essentially, in your mind, it was the fire that caused White Springs to start losing people and start going, changing like it is now. C: No. I still say it was camp's mill shutting down. P: The camp mill.



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SR7A page 5 C: Yeah. There no, no employment people around here. The only thing they had was tourists then, when the visitors came in. That mill shut down, well, people began to leave. P: Did the mill shut down because of the Depression or.... C: No, it shut down, it cut out timber. P: They finished it. C: Yeah, finished the timber out. It was quite an organization. They had tram-roads that went all up the river, haul the logs in, then they'd build a road _railroad, trestles off the river and everything. Just haul that finished product to the railroad where they could ship it. P: Uh huh. Gee. C: Yeah. It was a big operation for them days, P: And that's where your daddy worked. C: Yeah, that's why he came over. He came from Lake City. There's a big mill over there, to work at this one over here. Then he settled here. P: What was it like to grow up in White Springs? C: Oh, it was, it was fun. Just big enough you knew everybody. It was fun. P: What did you do for fun? C: Oh, we had peanut boiling. P: What's that? C: You don't know what that is? P: Boiled peanuts? C: Bunch of boys and girls would get together and pick some of these fresh green peanuts, you know, -the farmers give them to us -carry them up to what you call Springs, a mile from here, a little spring up there. P: I've been there. C: Have a big party out there with peanuts, boiled peanuts. Didn't have no beer to go with it P: (laughter) What did you drink with it? Lemonade? C: Huh? P: Lemonade?



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SR7A page 6 C: No, drank spring water. P: Drink the spring water. C: salty, you know. P: Uh huh. C: No, we had plenty to do. We had a little old picture show that showed these old reels and they'd break down every five minutes, cause they didn't run over five minutes' time. P: Was that an outside picture show or an inside picture? C: Well, it was semi. Part of the audience sit under a shed outside, and the rest of us sit in the building. but they just had it at night, see, the way, when it was dark. P: Uh huh. C: Didn't have it in the daytime because light would come in. No, it was a nice place to live. We had a spring there to swim in. That was always something, __ out to the river to swim in. I swam in the river more than I did the spring. P: Uh huh. Because it's warmer? C: Oh, yes. P: (laughter) I know. What about fishing? C: Well, that was.... Plenty of fish around in there. I used to fish quite a bit in the river. Bass. When they first stopped, these hotels were using fresh-water fish. P: Uh huh. C: In these rivers. There was a boy here named Silas. He'd go up and down the river every morning and fish everybody's fish traps. They all had traps there to get the fish with. He'd fish all the traps and then go down to the hotels and sell them to the hotels. And they had fresh-water fish. P: So he wasn't, was he taking other people's fish? C: Yeah, he.... P: Did they catch him? C: Huh? Yeah, they'd catch him. They wouldn't do nothing to him, just cuss at him. 'He was just a little teenage boy. P: Uh huh.



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SR7A page 7 P: Did people ever use dynamite fish? C: No, not they didn't, not around here much. No, they, further up the river, away from town they used to dynamite the fish, but they were pretty, pretty legal around here with the fishing. P: Do you notice a change in the number of fish that are in the river? C: Oh, yeah. P: How? C: There's not, oh, there's nothing like it was. Well, back in the old days, you could get in a boat White Springs and paddle up to what I call Springs, which is about a mile, on up to the and it'd be about four or five miles and go back down and you wouldn't see two boats. And now, you get in there, every minute you come through, here comes somebody along in the boats, you know. And you didn't find as many fish in it. P: Uh huh. So you think that one of the reasons there's not as many fish are the boats, the increased number of people on the river. C: Yeah, and the fishers No, I believe they fishing dowr at the mouth of the Suwannee River. P: That's what I, C: Built me a little house down there and I got me a cottage down there. P: You do? C: Yeah. I built it better than P: Really? I go up there a lot. You know, the town of Suwannee. Used to go fishing out there with my dad. To the beach. C: Yeah, I got to _around there. It's three miles up the road from the town of Suwannee. P: That's nice. C: But it's now running right up P: I like it out there. C: Yeah. P: Well, did you ever hear any stories here, like about the Civil War or ghost stories or legends or about soldiers?



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SR7A page 8 C: Nope, I didn't. But I understood that the Talbot Springs and the White Springs, that was the upper springs, they thought, that was the lower springs, White Springs. Back in the Indian days, that was there mutual meeting grounds, different sides of the Indians. P: Uh huh. This one. C: This one up here. Talbot Springs. P: Okay. Talbot Springs. Oh, really. I didn't know that. C: And back years ago, you could go, when the river got real low there was a shale-rock going across the river. P: A bridge. C: And you could find all kind of Indian trinkets. Arrowheads, where they were making them. P: Uh huh. C: Little hammers and things like that. P: Oh, how neat. C: If they'd spoil one, they'd just throw it on back in the river, see. But we used to go arrow hunting back up there a lot. P: So did Talbot Springs have any kind of community around it? C: No, ma'am. P: No houses. C: Well, it did at one time. My people on my mother's side moved from Carolina down here and the first year they moved down here the land. Then, Lord, that was was a Spanish owned. P: This one was? C: When Spain owned Florida. P: Uh huh. C: Anyway, they settled over there at Talbot Springs and stayed there one winter and summer and found out the land was so poor they couldn't raise nothing, and one other reason was my great-great-grandmother had rheumatism and they'd heard that the spring down here was good for it and they tried it out and they moved over about six miles in Columbia county over there and settled there. P: So did you ever hear other stories about Indians?



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SR7A page 9 C: No, that I've.... I've never seen a wild Indian. I went to school with an Indian one time. P: Here? C: In Fort Lauderdale, I.... We moved down there a little while. P: Seminloe Indians. C: Uh huh. He was a nice boy. P: They have tales that during the second Seminle War that a lot of the Seminole Indians hid out around the Suwannee River and there's an old map that shows the location of some of their hiding out places and then some of the runaway slaves would also go and join up with the Seminoles and fight with them againsthe white people So you never heard any stories about the slaves either? C: No. P: Around here? C: There was a fellow up the river about eight miles names Tomlinson. He told me he knew where three Indian burial grounds were, mounds. P: Uh huh. C: And he was always going to carry me, show me where they were and he never got around to it. P: Name's Mr. Tomlinson? C: Yeah. P: That'd be interesting. I'd like to see that. C: He's dead now. P: Oh. C: That's the reason I missed... P: Oh, okay. C: ... getting to find out where they was. P: Is the river important to these people living here in the early 1900s for their livelihood? So not many people made a living by fishing or.... C: Not up here. Now, further down the river, now, they fish. P: Uh huh. Did you have doctors here in town? C: Oh, yeah. Had two doctors. Had Dr. Stiff and Dr. Ulrich, but I was a little bitty fellow. Then when they moved on or something happened, there was Dr. Cole and Dr. Barnett and when they got modernized and make you go to the doctor, well, we lost our doctor here.



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SR7A page 10 C: They died and no more P: Did they used to come to your house with the C: Oh, they'd come, go to your house any time of the day or night. The office called and go down to the drug store to your office, it was a dollar. If he made a house call here in town, it was two dollars. P: That's something. That is something. What kinds of medicine did you use for illnesses? C: The main thing, a doctor'd come to see you, the first thing he'd do is make you stick out your tongue, and then he'd thump your stomach... P: Uh huh. C: ... and then he'd order some calomel and follow it with castor oil. P: Calomel I don't know what that is? C: Calomel? It's a very potent drug that will flush your bowels. P: Uh huh. Oh. C: And they always do what they call salivate you. In other words, if you didn't get all that out-of our system right quick, well, it'd rot your teeth out and everything. You'd be in bad shape. So, he'd make you take a lot of castor oil after you got through with calomel. But that was the main, well, most what people had was colds and fever, malaria fever, and things like that. P: For malaria, did you use quinine? C: Well, some did. But that came on later and quinine came a little after I grew up a little. P: How about any home remedies that your mother used? C: Home remedies? Oh, they gave but I don't know what it was. P: Uh huh. C: We had patent medicine on the shelves just like you've got now, only it wasn't a big variety. P: It's getting close to your time that you need to go. C: P: Do you know of any tales about heroes? You know, you've heard the tale of Paul Bunyon and people like that. Did they have any tales like that around here? C: No, I don't know of any,



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SR7A page 11 P: I've come across a couple, but I keep on asking that question. I figure I might come across a few more. C: Sure. P: Any ghost tales? Ghost stories? C: We didn't have any ghost stories. P: You'd never when you were a boy when you'd and tell ghost stories? C: No. P: How about animals? Did you ever see any panthers? C: Saw two panthers. I saw a couple of bear. Lot of wildcats. P: Uh huh. C: Panthers came up right back of my house here. P: Right here? C: About twenty years ago. It was night and you could hear them out there hollering right down the hill right there, where the river swamp. P: What did they sound like? C: Oh, it was terrible. Sounded like a woman screaming. P: Really. C: Yeah. But it was, I had calves shut up out here where I got the trailer parked now, and those panthers were after those calves, but I kept streetlights around on them so that they wouldn't come on up there. I had them fenced in. But they finally disappeared on. Somebody must have got up and shot them. P: Did they used to kill a lot of livestock? C: Oh, yeah. Panthers would get your hogs and your cows. Your goats. P: Did they ever attack people? C: Never heard of it. P: I never had either. Did ya'll have any dances or frolics? C: Oh, yeah. We, we here in town had what, what you call a round dance. In other words, just regular waltz and foxtrot, stuff like that. Over at the hotel, they kept a band at the Edgewood Hotel in and they'd have a regular, there, two nights



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SR7A page 12 C: a week dance and the orchestra stayed there and played for the guests at noon and at night or something. Things like that. And we had some nice dances there. Now, if you wanted to frolic a little, you'd go out in the woods, anywhere. Some of your neighbors with friends out in the woods would tell you where they were going to have a good square dance and then we'd go square dance. P: Can you describe what the dances were like at the hotel and then what it was like to go to a frolic? C: Yeah. P: Think back on a dance. C: Well, dances at the hotel were just as modern as they were anywhere. P: Did everyone get dressed up? C: Oh, yeah. There nobody with jeans and nothing like that in them days. If you wasn't presentable, they'd kick you right out. But these country frolics, well, they done regular square dance and they'd call the figures and then, well, I've never seen but one kind of square dance and that's when they, some man gets up there and tells you what to do all the time, you running around and grabbing somebody. But hotel wasn't the same thing. They used to have over there what they called Paul Jones, that's where you dance a little while with one couple and then everybody switched couples. P: Uh huh. C: You got to where you got to be with everybody, dance with everybody. P: Uh huh. That's a good way of meeting people. C: Yeah. P: So that's one way that boys would meet girls or girls would meet boys would be the kind of dances and frolics. C: Oh, yeah. Another thing, Sunday schools and church. I went, went to Lakeland, Florida when I was a lonesome little fellow about eighteen years old. Working in the store there, the boss said, You know any girl, I said, No, he said, Come go with me to Sunday school. So, I went with him to Sunday school and I knew all the girls I wanted to there. P: Uh huh. C: Met them all.



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SR7A page 13 P: Uh huh. That's a good place to meet them. C: Yeah. P: Do you remember any of the songs, or any of the names of the songs that you would sing at frolics? C: No. P: No? What.... C: We didn't sing much. P: I've got, Ray Morgan and his wife, they remembered some and they started playing some of the themes of, some of the.... C: Well, Ray could call figures from the sqare dancing and all that stuff. P: Well, he told me, if I can find somebody that can play the fiddle, that he'll beat the straws for me. C: Uh huh. And call figures, too, for the dance. He can do that. P: But now, I have to find somebody that can play the fiddle first. C: All these boys out in the country got a fiddle, too. P: Uh huh. C: Doug Swift used to be one of them fiddlers. P: Doug Swift? C: Yeah. P: He alive? C: He's in Jacksonville. P: Oh, okay. C: His boy is out here, but I don't think he does anything but smoke pot. P: Oh, that's not good. So when you went visiting somewhere, what was a big trip for you? C: Well, my biggest trip was going from here to Winfield. P: Where is Winfield? C: That's three, six miles from here. I'd catch the train in the morning. My uncle and grandmother lived out there. Catch the train down here in the morning at eight o'clock. My uncle would meet me at the Winfield station and he had the buggy there and extra horse and then we'd ride, carry me out to grandmothers, and I'd stay out there for about a week or so, and that was my big trip.



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SR7A page 14 P: That was your vacation. C: That was my vacation. P: How did you catch the train? Did it always stop when it came to that station? C: Yeah, they had, they had a depot here, a freight office, a telegraph office. It was quite a attraction down there then. People would meet the train just like they'd go to a circus or see this, just old P: To see what's happening. Do you miss the old White Springs? C: Well, I've stayed here so long that gradually I changed with it, I reckon. I don't know half the people here now. I've heard of them. Of course, I have cataracts on my eyes so bad I try to avoid people here because I don't speak to them and then they get insulted, see. I knew them for years and then don't say, Hey, so and so, they say, Well, he _I had a lot of them. I get word gets back so I go with my boys out, I walk around back of the store instead of in front of it, because I hate to avoided people when I don't mean to. But we going to correct that. I'm going to have the other eye operated on in January. P: My grandmother has that, too, and she had her eyes operated on both now, and they 're doing a lot better. C: My left one over here got infection right after they operated on it. I could see just wonderful with it. About three days later that infection got in there, tore it down, never will be as good. Of course now, I've got to depend on the other one. It better be good. P: Yeah, yeah. It better be good. It's about time for you to go. Is your son coming over here? C: My daughter. Daughter. P: Your daughter. C: She'll come over here directly. P: So, do you like the changes in White Springs or do you like it better the way it was? C: Well.... P: Or how do you see this part of Florida as changing? C: Well, it's modernized a little. With these big asphalt, I mean phosphate mines out here in the It's getting a little rougheratdb-licr, More pot smoking



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SR7A page 15 C: and stuff like that going on now. Back when I was a kid, the prohibition was on. All we had then was moonshine. They didn't have but five places in White Springs you could buy moonshine. P: Uh huh. C: Now, they've leaglized whisky and haven't got a whiskey store in town. P: Oh, really. C: There's one right across the river, But that shows you when you prohibit something, it's fear that gets in and legalize it. P: Did people ever get rough an tough back then? C: Oh, we had some rough ones back then. Most of them would live out in the country and they'd come into town on their weekly drunk. We had two policemen and they'd generally come across the river and hide when they'd come to town. P: The policemen would go aross the river and hide? Uh huh. C: So, they won't have to kill them. P: Uh huh. Were they just bad? C: They'd get drunk and just made out like they's bad. They never killed anybody. P: When they'd get into the moonshine. C: Oh, they'd get full of the moonshine and come to town and just have a big time. They knew they had the police scared of them and they'd run them out, you know. They never harmed anybody. P: Well, here's a question I've been wanting to ask for a while. I read in this book about Florida history a long time ago that black people and white people each had the same churches because there just weren't that many churches. Is this.... C: No, ma'am. Not in White Springs. P: I didn't think so. C: No, ma'am. P: I thought that they would be different but this book said that, and I thought, Gee, I've never heard of that. C: No, they, they always had the church, every since I've been here, Negroes has had three churches here -Baptist and Methodist and I don't know what, I call the 6ther one a ho\y rol\er,



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SR7A page 16 P: Holy roily? C: Yeah. That's where they get up and shout and roll around and holler. P: Oh, okay. C: When I was kid they had a Negro college here. P: They did? C: Yeah, it was a two-story building right down on the street and they had a kind of a junior college. That was right after reconstruction days. They'd built that for the Negroes. But the time I remember it was They couldn't get the students to come here. P: They couldn't get students to come here? C: No. They had to have a certain amount of education to get in that college. It was state, federal government operated and everything. P: Did the black children and the white children go to school together? C: No ma'am. P: Oh, they went to separate schools. C: They started that in -what -'65? P: C: Around '65. P: Were there ever any Klu Klux Klan people in White Springs? C: Never known of one. P: Never known. C: I come up fifty years to young, I mean, too late for that. P: Well, or either I'm fifty years too late, too. C: I think Klu Klux was all right when they first formed, but I think it got to be very, very P: Well, do you have any hunting tales or alligator tales? C: Never went hunting since I was eighteen years old. P: You haven't been hunting. C: No, I fish. I don't hunt. I went hunting, got me two boxes of shells. I went duck hunting and I shot two boxes of shells and didn't bring a home. So I too the shotgun and sold it to a boy for ten dollars,



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SR7A page 17 P: That's Okay. C: Alligators, we, in the river there we never was scared of alligators when we was swimming. I've seen them swimming in the river down, oh, a hundred yards from where we'd go in swimming. We'd dive in and they'd disappear. P: So you weren't scared of the alligators. C: No. Now, if they had young ones around I wouldn't dare... P: Yeah. C: ... get around them, but normally they didn't have the babies around them. They'd go off and leave them. P: Did ya'll ever try to catch them? C: Oh, we'd catch the little ones and play with them. Throw them back in. P: Would the mamas get mad? C: No, we'd be sure she wasn't around when we. They're worse than an old hog. They'll attack you quick. P: Ray Morgan says he has an alligator story, but he says nobody will believe him so he's not going to tell it. I'm trying to get him to tell it to me. Did you have grocery stores here in town? C: Yes, ma'am. P: Is that where your family got most of their food? C: All of it. You didn't have any automobiles in them days, when I first come up. There wasn't a car in town. Trains went to Lake City once a day and back. Everybody traded locally. P: How about getting seafood. Did you ever get like mullet, smoked mullet or.... C: Well, people around here were several of them every fall during the time that mullet have roe, they'd go to the coast in a covered wagon and catch up a lot of those mullet with roe and everything and take them and salt them down, split them and get the roe out and salt the roe, salt fish and we had salt fish all year then. We didn't have fresh fish except what you caught up the river, P: So what would they trade with the people down there? C: Oh, they'd Sometimes they'd carry a little bit of farm products but not often.



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SR7A page 18 C: They'd do a lot of fishing themselves. They'd go down and stay two months at a time, P: So they'd be bringing back a lot of barrels. C: Yeah. A lot of stuff. P: They pretty much got to stay a long time, because I imagine back then it took them a long time to get.... C: Yeah. Back then it took two weeks to go to them. They'd stop in the afternoon and kill them a squirrel or something or other for supper and then next morning, strike out early again. Camp out. P: What were the roads like? C: All of them just sand trails. No paved roads. P: Did you get a lot of people from other areas in Florida coming to White Springs for the Health Spa? For the health.... C: Well, as far as Carolina, up in there, there was quite a few people coming in. Most of there were from north Georgia, or Carolina, Alabama. Didn't have many northern people. Chance: grocery store P: You had a grocery store? C: Forty, forty-three years there. P: Forty-three years? C: In one place. I was in the grocery business. I worked for chain stores for about five years till I got just what I needed to buy and everything. P: Uh huh. C: Back then a person on a chain store people was cutting down on salary. I was making what I called good money then. I was making fifty dollars a week back in them days. They cut me down fifteen dollars a week. I couldn't live on it in Miami so I came back up here and went it business. Took a hundred dollars and went in business. P: Where was your store? C: It was right this side of where that one is, baby. Tore mine down and built that when I sold out. P: What did it look like? C: It was originally built for a little filling station like that place over there, but I kept adding to the back of it and enlarging everything. Got to sell



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SR7A page 19 C: enough groceries to live on. P: What, let's see, when did you open your store? C: Right in the heart of the Depression. 1933. P: 1933. Okay. C: Worst year in the Depression. P: So did you have a lot of people coming to you for credit? C: Oh, yeah. One day I stayed open for fourteen hours and took in 69t in money when I first opened. But I traded sugar for sweet potatoes and different things farmers had. We had traded bargain all day. The actual cash I took in 69¢. P: So you would do a lot of bartering in the Depression. C: Oh, yeah, back in those days, during the Depression. There wasn't any money. P: So your store was more like a barter center at that time. C: Yeah. I carried anything from nails to most anything. Files. Just general merchandise almost what it was. At one time I even had a few clothes in it. P: Did you carry cloth? C: No, I didn't get to the yard stuff. My mother used to carry that in her dry-goods store. Back in those days a very popular item was the corsettes for the women, and she was a specialist in corsettes. Boy, she had a lot of corsettes P: Was that at your store? C: At my mother's store. P: Oh, okay. She had a store, also. C: She had a dry-goods store before I went into business. That was quite an item. People now don't wear a corsette, either. Do you know what one is? That's one that straightened you up, made you fly right. P: Whale bones. Isn't that what they used? Whale bones? Chance: They are part whale bones and P: Sounds like they'd be very uncomfortable. C: Oh, man. Don't you know. P: So you had the store here for forty-three years? C: I had some little cottages sort of out back, the back there., That was back when the tourists just began to run a little, you know, in '33 and I used to rent those little



PAGE 1

SR7A page 20 C: cottages out to tourists at night and got $1.50 for a night for one of them. P: Was it easy for anybody who would work hard to make a living? To make enough to eat? C: Well, no. Some of them couldn't get no work to do. But they had what they called the WTA that would work them two, three days a week, give them trade vouchers at grocery stores and that's give them enough food to live on. However, I went through the Depression and I wasn't out of work but two weeks the whole time. But I went into business fo myself. Couldn't get a job, so I just opened up one. P: Did farmers do all right during the Depression? C: Farmers was the best shape of any of them. They didn't have any money, but they had plenty of hogs and cows. They'd butcher a cow and divide the cow up and maybe six different families would take some of it. All right, and they could use it before it spoils. All right, and then they'd butcher a hog and they'd take it and salt it down and salt pork and stuff. They had their own syrup and sugar, homemakde sugar and everything. They, they done well. They had corn. A man with a grist meal had it ground, make meal, grits. P: Was corn meal used a lot more than flour, white flour? C: Well, I imagine they did use more because they could raise that and they had to buy the flour. P: So the restaurants,was that just a place, and the hotels, was that just a place where the richer people went in town? C: Well, we had two little restaurants in White Springs. But back in them days, they fed the poor people just like they fed the rich ones. You could get a good meal for 35¢. P: At the hotel? C: At the restaurant. P: At the restaurant. C: At the hotel it'd cost you may 45¢ or 50¢. A little bit more at the hotel. Yeah, I remember getting some good meals for 35¢. I could do that in Jacksonville, even during the Depression. I'd go down and haul groceries in from down there. I'd go to one of these lunch counters P: Uh huh. C: And they had good meals for 35¢. It was common food but it was there to eat. We had a man here named Mr. Adams that was wealthy,



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SR7A page 21 P: Had that store downtown. C: And one day, he was one of the directors of the Barnett National Bank, went in a cheap place to get my dinner one day and there was Mr. Adams sitting up there just going down on one of them 35¢ meals. P: (laughter) That's great. C: He didn't look at it, he looked P: Was your wife born around here, too? C: Live Oak. P. She was born in Live Oak. How did you meet her? C: Well, one of my boyfriends, boys I run around with said he had a gal he wanted me to meet. He'd just gotten an automobile. It was about 1918. Had a Model-T Ford, so we went over to Live Oak. Had a date with her. Went down to Suwannee Springs and had a picnic that day. And I don't know, somehow or another I kind of liked her appearance. She was red-headed. So in another week or so I made a date and went back. I courted her seven years before I married her. P: Wow. How old was she when you met her? C: She was sixteen. Pt' Sixteen. C: Uh huh. No, I needed to wait a while. Had to grow up. P: Yeah. Well, was Suwannee Springs a courting place? C: It was a nice little resort place. They had a lot of cottages and things down that way, and they.... P: That's right, the C: They done a pretty good business down there. P: So it was still a resort. When did it, when did they knock it down or whatever happened to it? C: Well, it gradually went down before this spring here went down.


Lawrence Carver
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Title: Lawrence Carver
Physical Description: Book
Publication Date: 1982
Copyright Date: 1982
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Interviewer: Catherine Puckett
Subject: Lawrence Carver
Date: July 21, 1982
SR7A
page 1
P: This is Cathy Puckett interviewing Mr... What is your name?
C: Carver.
P: And your first name?
C: Lawrence.
P: Mr. Lawrence Carver of White Springs, Florida and the date is July 21, 1982. If you could
just right here. First of all, Mr. Chance told me to ask
you about the fire in White Springs.
C: Well, I told him that yarn long time ago. I've told a lot of people about it, I reckon
here. The Baptist parson's, Baptist church preacher's house caught on fire about noon one
day and I was a little kid. I imagine I was six years old. I was walking down the street
by the big store, right there on and I looked up between the store
building and saw a two story building back there, by washtub, and
I run to the first store and told them and run to the next store and told them and all the
men folks going over to the Baptist church parsonage to fight the fire with buckets, you
know.
P: Uh huh.
C: So they had to send over there to get some able-bodied men to try to get up on top of that
two-story house and they never made it up. It burned on down. It burned the whole block
and there, I think there were three hotels.
P: And that was including this hotel, the Spring Hotel.
C: No.
P: No. It was a, the Hyatt hotel and I don't remember the other name.
P.: Mutual?
C: No. That was. But anyway, they'd just built one of the
hotels and just finished, :was going to open next week. It went up in smoke, too.
P: Oh, no. So the whole block essentially just went up in fire.
C: The whole, the whole block went up.
P: And the only fire control you had were men with buckets.





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C: That's all.
P: Where did you get your water from? The river?
C: Pumps.
P: Pumps?
C: Had fifty pumps.
P: Uh huh.
C: Didn't have the water facility, then.
P: Was everybody out there helping -- the women-folk and the men-folk?
C: Well, they were all trying to help. When they finally got the young, the ones that was
young enough to work on the fire back from the everybody tried to save
their own stuff then. They was carrying stuff out the motels, out the stores, there was
doctors offices and bakery and several businesses burned up with it, large livery stable,
and back in them days, you didn't have garages, they have livery stables for horses.
P: That's where you kept the horses.
C: Surreys, well, yeah, surrey. You'd rent them out and people go to ride them. And they
also had some stockyards there that they had cows and hogs and have them for sale, burned
them up, too. You could smell pork burning for hours after.
P: So when was this?
C: I imagine it was about 1910. I was about six years old.
P: So you were born in 1904.
C: That's right.
P: And in White Springs.
C: Uh huh.
P: Your family, did they come from White Springs?
C: No, they migrated from Columbia and Suwannee County.
P: Uh huh.
C: My folks came here in 1892.
P: How did they get here?
C: Oh, come on the horse and buggy I reckon.
That was before the railroad track was built. They didn't have a railroad. They had one
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at We ll berlio',: a\< mi~S 'h I.Tc1 6uT-l.' c~FdX '. ns wkoJ/or o f people m ,fiauhifet rgs,





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P: Did you ever see any of the steam boats?
C: Not really. They never come up this far.
P: Never came up this far?
C: No. It was too shallow.
P: I heard that one came up here one time.
C: When the river went up, I reckon, it might've came up. I didn't see that.
P: Right. So were your family, were they farmers?
C: No, my people were merchants, dry-goods business. He's, my daddy came over here to work
with, help sawmill, dig sawmill out here. He was a sawyer. And after the sawmill went
broke, well, he went into business for himself.
P: Well,:what did White Springs look like back say when you were six to ten years old?
C: Oh, there was about twice as many houses as there is here now. They, we had a moving
picture show, we had pool rooms and we had a weekly newspaper, we had all kind of
amusements, things on, we called the spring road, you could walk down those springs,
like to throw a ball up the side and somebody'd drop in a tub of water, you know, to
get the ball. It was quite nicer and such. It had, I think, seven hotels.
P: Seven hotels. And they all did good business except....
C: Oh, yeah, in the summer time, they're full.
P: In the summertime, they're full? Why did people come to White Springs so much then?
C: Health was all. Sulphur water. They claimed it would purify the kidneys and make them
young again.
P: Did people believe that?
C: It helped a lot of people. They needed .-til: out, I reckon. Doctor could have
given them the medicine, it's done the same thing. They'd go down and sit and drink
that spring sulphur water faithfully, you know.
P: So they'd drink the water.
C: Oh, yeah. And bathe in it too. Hot,'they',d give hot, they'd give hot baths, too,
you know.
P: So what did the people wear when they went swimming?
C: Well, when I was first, remember going to the spring, they just went swimming for two
hours. They were their long pants down here and their stockings onI and sleeves.





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P: That's the women now.
C: They wouldn't let the men in there. All the men had to get out in the spring house.
P: So they had separate bathing times.
C: Yeah, someone, the ladies would bathe two hours and then the men would have the spring
two hours and the ladies would have to get up.
P: Did the little kids ever try to spy?
C: Oh, I don't know. I was so little, I went in swimming with my mama with all the women,
but I remember it. Yeah, it was quite different from what it is now.
P: Was there a skating rink?
C: Oh, we had a skating rink, had it up in the second story of one of those brick buildings
down in main street there. Oh, there was a crowd there weekend nights.
P: I'as it ice skating?
C: No, roller skating.
P: Were people sad that all of that burned down? That all of the hotels and....
C: Were what?
P: Were people upset that all of the hotels got burned?
C: Oh, I, yes. It was bad. The biggest thing that upset them was, camp, camp mill shut
down. They employed about 1200 people.
P: Oh.
C: And in the population population of White Spring there was about 1600.
P: Oh.
C: And so you can imagine how it set them back when the mill shut down and everything. And
the houses began to burn so fast around there. Get people to leave. Houses
burn up, the insurance companies suspended the insurance on all the houses out there for,
I don't know, four or five years. You couldn't insure anything. Just everybody's getting
rid of his property, see. Leave. It went down fast.
P: So essentially, in your mind, it was the fire that caused White Springs to start losing
people and start going, changing like it is now.
C: No. I still say it was camp's mill shutting down.
P: The camp mill.





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C: Yeah. There no, no employment people around here. The only thing they had was tourists
then, when the visitors came in. That mill shut down, well, people began to leave.
P: Did the mill shut down because of the Depression or....
C: No, it shut down, it cut out timber.
P: They finished it.
C: Yeah, finished the timber out. It was quite an organization. They had tram-roads that
went all up the river, haul the logs in, then they'd build a road _rail-
road, trestles off the river and everything. Just haul that finished product to the
railroad where they could ship it.
P: Uh huh. Gee.
C: Yeah. It was a big operation for them days,
P: And that's where your daddy worked.
C: Yeah, that's why he came over. He came from Lake City. There's a big mill over there,
to work at this one over here. Then he settled here.
P: What was it like to grow up in White Springs?
C: Oh, it was, it was fun. Just big enough you knew everybody. It was fun.
P: What did you do for fun?
C: Oh, we had peanut boiling.
P: What's that?
C: You don't know what that is?
P: Boiled peanuts?
C: Bunch of boys and girls would get together and pick some of these fresh green peanuts, you
know, -- the farmers give them to us -- carry them up to what you call
Springs, a mile from here, a little spring up there.
P: I've been there.
C: Have a big party out there with peanuts, boiled peanuts. Didn't have no beer to go with
it
P: (laughter) What did you drink with it? Lemonade?
C: Huh?
P: Lemonade?





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C: No, drank spring water.
P: Drink the spring water.
C: salty, you know.
P: Uh huh.
C: No, we had plenty to do. We had a little old picture show that showed these old reels and
they'd break down every five minutes, cause they didn't run over five minutes' time.
P: Was that an outside picture show or an inside picture?
C: Well, it was semi. Part of the audience sit under a shed outside, and the rest of us sit
in the building. but they just had it at night, see, the
way, when it was dark.
P: Uh huh.
C: Didn't have it in the daytime because light would come in. No, it was a nice place to live.
We had a spring there to swim in. That was always something, __ out to the
river to swim in. I swam in the river more than I did the spring.
P: Uh huh. Because it's warmer?
C: Oh, yes.
P: (laughter) I know. What about fishing?
C: Well, that was.... Plenty of fish around in there. I used to fish quite a bit in the river.
Bass. When they first stopped, these hotels were using fresh-water fish.
P: Uh huh.
C: In these rivers. There was a boy here named Silas. He'd go up and down the river every
morning and fish everybody's fish traps. They all had traps there to get the fish with.
He'd fish all the traps and then go down to the hotels and sell them to the hotels. And
they had fresh-water fish.
P: So he wasn't, was he taking other people's fish?
C: Yeah, he....
P: Did they catch him?
C: Huh? Yeah, they'd catch him. They wouldn't do nothing to him, just cuss at him. 'He was
just a little teenage boy.
P: Uh huh.





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P: Did people ever use dynamite fish?
C: No, not they didn't, not around here much. No, they, further up the river, away from town
they used to dynamite the fish, but they were pretty, pretty legal around here with the
fishing.
P: Do you notice a change in the number of fish that are in the river?
C: Oh, yeah.
P: How?
C: There's not, oh, there's nothing like it was. Well, back in the old days, you could get in
a boat White Springs and paddle up to what I call Springs, which is about
a mile, on up to the and it'd be about four or five miles and go back
down and you wouldn't see two boats. And now, you get in there, every minute you come
through, here comes somebody along in the boats, you know. And you didn't find as many fish
in it.
P: Uh huh. So you think that one of the reasons there's not as many fish are the boats, the
increased number of people on the river.
C: Yeah, and the fishers No, I believe they fishing dowr
at the mouth of the Suwannee River.
P: That's what I,
C: Built me a little house down there and I got me a cottage down there.
P: You do?
C: Yeah. I built it better than
P: Really? I go up there a lot. You know, the town of Suwannee. Used to go fishing out there
with my dad. To the beach.
C: Yeah, I got to _around there. It's three miles up the
road from the town of Suwannee.
P: That's nice.
C: But it's now running right up
P: I like it out there.
C: Yeah.
P: Well, did you ever hear any stories here, like about the Civil War or ghost stories or
legends or about soldiers?





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C: Nope, I didn't. But I understood that the Talbot Springs and the White Springs, that was
the upper springs, they thought, that was the lower springs, White Springs. Back in the
Indian days, that was there mutual meeting grounds, different sides of the Indians.
P: Uh huh. This one.
C: This one up here. Talbot Springs.
P: Okay. Talbot Springs. Oh, really. I didn't know that.
C: And back years ago, you could go, when the river got real low there was a shale-rock
going across the river.
P: A bridge.
C: And you could find all kind of Indian trinkets. Arrowheads, where they were making them.
P: Uh huh.
C: Little hammers and things like that.
P: Oh, how neat.
C: If they'd spoil one, they'd just throw it on back in the river, see. But we used to go
arrow hunting back up there a lot.
P: So did Talbot Springs have any kind of community around it?
C: No, ma'am.
P: No houses.
C: Well, it did at one time. My people on my mother's side moved from Carolina down here and
the first year they moved down here the land. Then, Lord, that was was
a Spanish owned.
P: This one was?
C: When Spain owned Florida.
P: Uh huh.
C: Anyway, they settled over there at Talbot Springs and stayed there one winter and summer and
found out the land was so poor they couldn't raise nothing, and one other reason was my
great-great-grandmother had rheumatism and they'd heard that the spring down here was good
for it and they tried it out and they moved over about six miles in Columbia county over
there and settled there.
P: So did you ever hear other stories about Indians?





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C: No, that I've.... I've never seen a wild Indian. I went to school with an Indian one time.
P: Here?
C: In Fort Lauderdale, I.... We moved down there a little while.
P: Seminloe Indians.
C: Uh huh. He was a nice boy.
P: They have tales that during the second Seminle War that a lot of the Seminole Indians hid
out around the Suwannee River and there's an old map that shows the location of some of
their hiding out places and then some of the runaway slaves would also go and join up with
the Seminoles and fight with them againsthe white people So you never
heard any stories about the slaves either?
C: No.
P: Around here?
C: There was a fellow up the river about eight miles names Tomlinson. He told me he knew
where three Indian burial grounds were, mounds.
P: Uh huh.
C: And he was always going to carry me, show me where they were and he never got around to it.
P: Name's Mr. Tomlinson?
C: Yeah.
P: That'd be interesting. I'd like to see that.
C: He's dead now.
P: Oh.
C: That's the reason I missed...
P: Oh, okay.
C: ...getting to find out where they was.
P: Is the river important to these people living here in the early 1900s for their livelihood?
So not many people made a living by fishing or....
C: Not up here. Now, further down the river, now, they fish.
P: Uh huh. Did you have doctors here in town?
C: Oh, yeah. Had two doctors. Had Dr. Stiff and Dr. Ulrich, but I was a little bitty fellow.
Then when they moved on or something happened, there was Dr. Cole and Dr. Barnett and when
they got modernized and make you go to the doctor, well, we lost our doctor here.





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C: They died and no more
P: Did they used to come to your house with the
C: Oh, they'd come, go to your house any time of the day or night. The office called and go
down to the drug store to your office, it was a dollar. If he made a house call here in
town, it was two dollars.
P: That's something. That is something. What kinds of medicine did you use for illnesses?
C: The main thing, a doctor'd come to see you, the first thing he'd do is make you stick out
your tongue, and then he'd thump your stomach...
P: Uh huh.
C: ...and then he'd order some calomel and follow it with castor oil.
P: Calomel I don't know what that is?
C: Calomel? It's a very potent drug that will flush your bowels.
P: Uh huh. Oh.
C: And they always do what they call salivate you. In other words, if you didn't get all that
out-of our system right quick, well, it'd rot your teeth out and everything. You'd be in
bad shape. So, he'd make you take a lot of castor oil after you got through with calomel.
But that was the main, well, most what people had was colds and fever, malaria fever, and
things like that.
P: For malaria, did you use quinine?
C: Well, some did. But that came on later and quinine came a little after
I grew up a little.
P: How about any home remedies that your mother used?
C: Home remedies? Oh, they gave but I don't know what it was.
P: Uh huh.
C: We had patent medicine on the shelves just like you've got now, only it wasn't a big
variety.
P: It's getting close to your time that you need to go.
C:
P: Do you know of any tales about heroes? You know, you've heard the tale of Paul Bunyon
and people like that. Did they have any tales like that around here?
C: No, I don't know of any,





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P: I've come across a couple, but I keep on asking that question. I figure I might come
across a few more.
C: Sure.
P: Any ghost tales? Ghost stories?
C: We didn't have any ghost stories.
P: You'd never when you were a boy when you'd
and tell ghost stories?
C: No.
P: How about animals? Did you ever see any panthers?
C: Saw two panthers. I saw a couple of bear. Lot of wildcats.
P: Uh huh.
C: Panthers came up right back of my house here.
P: Right here?
C: About twenty years ago. It was night and you could hear them out there hollering right
down the hill right there, where the river swamp.
P: What did they sound like?
C: Oh, it was terrible. Sounded like a woman screaming.
P: Really.
C: Yeah. But it was, I had calves shut up out here where I got the trailer parked now, and
those panthers were after those calves, but I kept streetlights around on them so that they
wouldn't come on up there. I had them fenced in. But they finally disappeared on. Some-
body must have got up and shot them.
P: Did they used to kill a lot of livestock?
C: Oh, yeah. Panthers would get your hogs and your cows. Your goats.
P: Did they ever attack people?
C: Never heard of it.
P: I never had either.
Did ya'll have any dances or frolics?
C: Oh, yeah. We, we here in town had what, what you call a round dance. In other words, just
regular waltz and foxtrot, stuff like that. Over at the hotel, they kept a band at the
Edgewood Hotel in and they'd have a regular, there, two nights





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C: a week dance and the orchestra stayed there and played for the guests at noon and at night
or something. Things like that. And we had some nice dances there. Now, if you wanted
to frolic a little, you'd go out in the woods, anywhere. Some of your neighbors with
friends out in the woods would tell you where they were going to have a good square dance
and then we'd go square dance.
P: Can you describe what the dances were like at the hotel and then what it was like to go to
a frolic?
C: Yeah.
P: Think back on a dance.
C: Well, dances at the hotel were just as modern as they were anywhere.
P: Did everyone get dressed up?
C: Oh, yeah. There nobody with jeans and nothing like that in them days. If you wasn't
presentable, they'd kick you right out. But these country frolics, well, they done regular
square dance and they'd call the figures and then, well, I've never seen but one kind of
square dance and that's when they, some man gets up there and tells you what to do all the
time, you running around and grabbing somebody. But hotel wasn't the same thing. They
used to have over there what they called Paul Jones, that's where you dance a little while
with one couple and then everybody switched couples.
P: Uh huh.
C: You got to where you got to be with everybody, dance with everybody.
P: Uh huh. That's a good way of meeting people.
C: Yeah.
P: So that's one way that boys would meet girls or girls would meet boys would be the kind of
dances and frolics.
C: Oh, yeah. Another thing, Sunday schools and church. I went, went to Lakeland, Florida
when I was a lonesome little fellow about eighteen years old. Working in the store there,
the boss said, You know any girl, I said, No, he said, Come go with me to Sunday school.
So, I went with him to Sunday school and I knew all the girls I wanted to there.
P: Uh huh.
C: Met them all.





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P: Uh huh. That's a good place to meet them.
C: Yeah.
P: Do you remember any of the songs, or any of the names of the songs that you would sing
at frolics?
C: No.
P: No? What....
C: We didn't sing much.
P: I've got, Ray Morgan and his wife, they remembered some and they started playing some of the
themes of, some of the....
C: Well, Ray could call figures from the sqare dancing and all that stuff.
P: Well, he told me, if I can find somebody that can play the fiddle, that he'll beat the
straws for me.
C: Uh huh. And call figures, too, for the dance. He can do that.
P: But now, I have to find somebody that can play the fiddle first.
C: All these boys out in the country got a fiddle, too.
P: Uh huh.
C: Doug Swift used to be one of them fiddlers.
P: Doug Swift?
C: Yeah.
P: He alive?
C: He's in Jacksonville.
P: Oh, okay.
C: His boy is out here, but I don't think he does anything but smoke pot.
P: Oh, that's not good. So when you went visiting somewhere, what was a big trip for you?
C: Well, my biggest trip was going from here to Winfield.
P: Where is Winfield?
C: That's three, six miles from here. I'd catch the train in the morning. My uncle and grand-
mother lived out there. Catch the train down here in the morning at eight o'clock. My
uncle would meet me at the Winfield station and he had the buggy there and extra horse and
then we'd ride, carry me out to grandmothers, and I'd stay out there for about a week or
so, and that was my big trip.





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P: That was your vacation.
C: That was my vacation.
P: How did you catch the train? Did it always stop when it came to that station?
C: Yeah, they had, they had a depot here, a freight office, a telegraph office. It was quite
a attraction down there then. People would meet the train just like they'd go to a circus
or see this, just old
P: To see what's happening. Do you miss the old White Springs?
C: Well, I've stayed here so long that gradually I changed with it, I reckon. I don't know
half the people here now. I've heard of them. Of course, I have cataracts on my eyes
so bad I try to avoid people here because I don't speak to them and
then they get insulted, see. I knew them for years and then don't say, Hey, so and so,
they say, Well, he _I had a lot of them. I get word gets back
so I go with my boys out, I walk around back of the store instead of in front of it, be-
cause I hate to avoided people when I don't mean to. But we going to correct that. I'm
going to have the other eye operated on in January.
P: My grandmother has that, too, and she had her eyes operated on both now, and they 're
doing a lot better.
C: My left one over here got infection right after they operated on it. I could see just
wonderful with it. About three days later that infection got in there, tore it down,
never will be as good. Of course now, I've got to depend on the other one. It better
be good.
P: Yeah, yeah. It better be good.
It's about time for you to go. Is your son coming over here?
C: My daughter. Daughter.
P: Your daughter.
C: She'll come over here directly.
P: So, do you like the changes in White Springs or do you like it better the way it was?
C: Well....
P: Or how do you see this part of Florida as changing?
C: Well, it's modernized a little. With these big asphalt, I mean phosphate mines out here
in the It's getting a little rougheratdb-licr, More pot smoking





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page 15
C: and stuff like that going on now. Back when I was a kid, the prohibition was on. All we
had then was moonshine. They didn't have but five places in White Springs you could buy
moonshine.
P: Uh huh.
C: Now, they've leaglized whisky and haven't got a whiskey store in town.
P: Oh, really.
C: There's one right across the river,
But that shows you when you prohibit something, it's fear that gets in and legalize it.
P: Did people ever get rough an tough back then?
C: Oh, we had some rough ones back then. Most of them would live out in the country and
they'd come into town on their weekly drunk. We had two policemen and they'd generally
come across the river and hide when they'd come to town.
P: The policemen would go aross the river and hide? Uh huh.
C: So, they won't have to kill them.
P: Uh huh. Were they just bad?
C: They'd get drunk and just made out like they's bad. They never killed anybody.
P: When they'd get into the moonshine.
C: Oh, they'd get full of the moonshine and come to town and just have a big time. They
knew they had the police scared of them and they'd run them out, you know.
They never harmed anybody.
P: Well, here's a question I've been wanting to ask for a while. I read in this book about
Florida history a long time ago that black people and white people each had the same
churches because there just weren't that many churches. Is this....
C: No, ma'am. Not in White Springs.
P: I didn't think so.
C: No, ma'am.
P: I thought that they would be different but this book said that, and I thought, Gee, I've
never heard of that.
C: No, they, they always had the church, every since I've been here, Negroes has had three
churches here -- Baptist and Methodist and I don't know what, I call the 6ther one a
ho\y rol\er,





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P: Holy roily?
C: Yeah. That's where they get up and shout and roll around and holler.
P: Oh, okay.
C: When I was kid they had a Negro college here.
P: They did?
C: Yeah, it was a two-story building right down on the street and they had a kind of a
junior college. That was right after reconstruction days. They'd built that for the
Negroes. But the time I remember it was They couldn't get the
students to come here.
P: They couldn't get students to come here?
C: No. They had to have a certain amount of education to get in that college. It was state,
federal government operated and everything.
P: Did the black children and the white children go to school together?
C: No ma'am.
P: Oh, they went to separate schools.
C: They started that in -- what -- '65?
P:
C: Around '65.
P: Were there ever any Klu Klux Klan people in White Springs?
C: Never known of one.
P: Never known.
C: I come up fifty years to young, I mean, too late for that.
P: Well, or either I'm fifty years too late, too.
C: I think Klu Klux was all right when they first formed, but I think it got to be very, very
P: Well, do you have any hunting tales or alligator tales?
C: Never went hunting since I was eighteen years old.
P: You haven't been hunting.
C: No, I fish. I don't hunt. I went hunting, got me two boxes of shells. I went duck
hunting and I shot two boxes of shells and didn't bring a home. So I
too the shotgun and sold it to a boy for ten dollars,





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P: That's Okay.
C: Alligators, we, in the river there we never was scared of alligators when we was swimming.
I've seen them swimming in the river down, oh, a hundred yards from where we'd go in
swimming. We'd dive in and they'd disappear.
P: So you weren't scared of the alligators.
C: No. Now, if they had young ones around I wouldn't dare...
P: Yeah.
C: ...get around them, but normally they didn't have the babies around them. They'd go off
and leave them.
P: Did ya'll ever try to catch them?
C: Oh, we'd catch the little ones and play with them. Throw them back in.
P: Would the mamas get mad?
C: No, we'd be sure she wasn't around when we. They're worse than an old hog. They'll attack
you quick.
P: Ray Morgan says he has an alligator story, but he says nobody will believe him so he's not
going to tell it. I'm trying to get him to tell it to me. Did you have grocery stores
here in town?
C: Yes, ma'am.
P: Is that where your family got most of their food?
C: All of it. You didn't have any automobiles in them days, when I first come up. There
wasn't a car in town. Trains went to Lake City once a day and back. Everybody traded
locally.
P: How about getting seafood. Did you ever get like mullet, smoked mullet or....
C: Well, people around here were several of them every fall during the time that mullet have
roe, they'd go to the coast in a covered wagon and catch up a lot of those mullet with
roe and everything and take them and salt them down, split them and get the roe out and
salt the roe, salt fish and we had salt fish all year then. We didn't have fresh fish
except what you caught up the river,
P: So what would they trade with the people down there?
C: Oh, they'd Sometimes they'd carry a little bit of farm
products but not often.





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C: They'd do a lot of fishing themselves. They'd go down and stay two months at a time,
P: So they'd be bringing back a lot of barrels.
C: Yeah. A lot of stuff.
P: They pretty much got to stay a long time, because I imagine back then it took them a
long time to get....
C: Yeah. Back then it took two weeks to go to them. They'd stop in the afternoon and kill
them a squirrel or something or other for supper and then next morning, strike out early
again. Camp out.
P: What were the roads like?
C: All of them just sand trails. No paved roads.
P: Did you get a lot of people from other areas in Florida coming to White Springs for the
Health Spa? For the health....
C: Well, as far as Carolina, up in there, there was quite a few people coming in. Most of there
were from north Georgia, or Carolina, Alabama. Didn't have many northern people.
Chance: grocery store
P: You had a grocery store?
C: Forty, forty-three years there.
P: Forty-three years?
C: In one place. I was in the grocery business. I worked for chain stores for about five
years till I got just what I needed to buy and everything.
P: Uh huh.
C: Back then a person on a chain store people was cutting down on salary. I was making what
I called good money then. I was making fifty dollars a week back in them days. They cut
me down fifteen dollars a week. I couldn't live on it in Miami so I came back up here and
went it business. Took a hundred dollars and went in business.
P: Where was your store?
C: It was right this side of where that one is, baby. Tore mine down and built that when I
sold out.
P: What did it look like?
C: It was originally built for a little filling station like that place over there, but I
kept adding to the back of it and enlarging everything. Got to sell





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C: enough groceries to live on.
P: What, let's see, when did you open your store?
C: Right in the heart of the Depression. 1933.
P: 1933. Okay.
C: Worst year in the Depression.
P: So did you have a lot of people coming to you for credit?
C: Oh, yeah. One day I stayed open for fourteen hours and took in 69t in money when I first
opened. But I traded sugar for sweet potatoes and different things farmers had. We had
traded bargain all day. The actual cash I took in 69.
P: So you would do a lot of bartering in the Depression.
C: Oh, yeah, back in those days, during the Depression. There wasn't any money.
P: So your store was more like a barter center at that time.
C: Yeah. I carried anything from nails to most anything. Files. Just general merchandise
almost what it was. At one time I even had a few clothes in it.
P: Did you carry cloth?
C: No, I didn't get to the yard stuff. My mother used to carry that in her dry-goods store.
Back in those days a very popular item was the corsettes for the women, and she was a
specialist in corsettes. Boy, she had a lot of corsettes
P: Was that at your store?
C: At my mother's store.
P: Oh, okay. She had a store, also.
C: She had a dry-goods store before I went into business. That was quite an item. People
now don't wear a corsette, either. Do you know what one is? That's one that straightened
you up, made you fly right.
P: Whale bones. Isn't that what they used? Whale bones?
Chance: They are part whale bones and
P: Sounds like they'd be very uncomfortable.
C: Oh, man. Don't you know.
P: So you had the store here for forty-three years?
C: I had some little cottages sort of out back, the back there., That was back when the
tourists just began to run a little, you know, in '33 and I used to rent those little





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C: cottages out to tourists at night and got $1.50 for a night for one of them.
P: Was it easy for anybody who would work hard to make a living? To make enough to eat?
C: Well, no. Some of them couldn't get no work to do. But they had what they called the
WTA that would work them two, three days a week, give them trade vouchers at grocery stores
and that's give them enough food to live on. However, I went through the Depression and
I wasn't out of work but two weeks the whole time. But I went into business fo myself.
Couldn't get a job, so I just opened up one.
P: Did farmers do all right during the Depression?
C: Farmers was the best shape of any of them. They didn't have any money, but they had
plenty of hogs and cows. They'd butcher a cow and divide the cow up and maybe six different
families would take some of it. All right, and they could use it before it spoils. All
right, and then they'd butcher a hog and they'd take it and salt it down and salt pork and
stuff. They had their own syrup and sugar, homemakde sugar and everything. They, they
done well. They had corn. A man with a grist meal had it ground, make meal, grits.
P: Was corn meal used a lot more than flour, white flour?
C: Well, I imagine they did use more because they could raise that and they had to buy the
flour.
P: So the restaurants,was that just a place, and the hotels, was that just a place where the
richer people went in town?
C: Well, we had two little restaurants in White Springs. But back in them days, they fed
the poor people just like they fed the rich ones. You could get a good meal for 35.
P: At the hotel?
C: At the restaurant.
P: At the restaurant.
C: At the hotel it'd cost you may 45 or 50. A little bit more at the hotel. Yeah, I
remember getting some good meals for 35. I could do that in Jacksonville, even during
the Depression. I'd go down and haul groceries in from down there. I'd go to one of
these lunch counters
P: Uh huh.
C: And they had good meals for 35. It was common food but it was there to eat. We had a
man here named Mr. Adams that was wealthy,





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P: Had that store downtown.
C: And one day, he was one of the directors of the Barnett National Bank, went in a cheap
place to get my dinner one day and there was Mr. Adams sitting up there just going down on
one of them 35 meals.
P: (laughter) That's great.
C: He didn't look at it, he looked
P: Was your wife born around here, too?
C: Live Oak.
P. She was born in Live Oak. How did you meet her?
C: Well, one of my boyfriends, boys I run around with said he had a gal he wanted me to meet.
He'd just gotten an automobile. It was about 1918. Had a Model-T Ford, so we went
over to Live Oak. Had a date with her. Went down to Suwannee Springs and had a picnic
that day. And I don't know, somehow or another I kind of liked her appearance. She was
red-headed. So in another week or so I made a date and went back. I courted her seven
years before I married her.
P: Wow. How old was she when you met her?
C: She was sixteen.
Pt' Sixteen.
C: Uh huh. No, I needed to wait a while. Had to grow up.
P: Yeah. Well, was Suwannee Springs a courting place?
C: It was a nice little resort place. They had a lot of cottages and things down that way,
and they....
P: That's right, the
C: They done a pretty good business down there.
P: So it was still a resort. When did it, when did they knock it down or whatever happened
to it?
C: Well, it gradually went down before this spring here went down.





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