Interview number BR2AB
Interviewer: Sudye Cauthen
Interviewer: Mary Lou McFadden
C: This is Sudye Cauthen interviewing Mary Lou McFadden at Sam
Mean's house off the Bellamy Road, near Spring Hill Methodist
Church, on June 30, 1987. Ms. McFadden has granted this
interview so that generations to come may share what she has
learned about living in this place that she calls Gods country.
Mary Lou, when did your grandfather come here?
M: In March of 1884.
C: What was his full name?
M: John Hallingsworth[sp?] McFadden.
C: Do you know the year he was born?
M: No, I do not know it. It is on the tombstone though.
C: What year did he die?
M: 1900 in May, the fifth (fifteenth?). I am not sure about the
date but its about the middle of May.
C: And where is his grave?
M: He is buried over here in the Spring Hill Methodist Cemetery.
C: So he died in 1900....?
M: In May.
C: .... and he came here in 1884?
M: He came here in 1884. He walked out from Alachua, he and two sons.
C: Where did they come from?
M: Kentucky. Louisville, Kentucky is where they came directly here.
C: So he came, this is your grandfather with his two sons. Did he
bring a wife?
M: Yes a wife and two daughters.
C: Now what was the wives full name?
M: The wives name was Cathern[sp?] Mason.
C: Cathern Mason McFadden. Do you know her birth date?
M: Do I know what?
C: Do you know her birth date?
M: No, I do not. It is on the tombstone, that is all I know.
C: Where is the tombstone?
M: The tombstone is in Spring Hill Methodist Church.
C: Do you know what.......?
M: The tombstone that the Everston[sp?] boy played around and
C: What year did she die?
M: In 1915, on the twentieth of December.
C: Why do you remember it?
M: Well I was fifteen years old at that time and I looked it up
when somebody asked the question, how old was she? Now my
grandfather McFadden was one of the forty-niners.
C: You grandfather McFadden.
M: His brother went to California in a mule team and a
wagon from Kentucky.
C: This is the same grandfather that is buried at Spring Hill?
M: Yes mam, the same grandfather.
C: So they did that before they came here?
M: Oh, yes. In forty-five.
C: What do you know about that trip, about the forty-niners?
M: Well, it was gold rush to California and lots of people went.
C: Did he make money?
M: And grandfather McFadden and his brother went. I do not know how
long they were gone, for that matter, but they sold the wagon and
the mules and caught a boat to the Isthmus of Panama and walked
across the Isthmus of Panama and caught another boat back to
Kentucky, up the Ohio River.
C: And you do not know if they found much gold?
M: Well, they evidently brought back some, but grandpa was not
interested in that. He was a man who was interested in the bible
and the teaching of the bible. You know, he made my father
read ten chapters in the bible every Sunday morning before he
left the house until he was twenty-one. He was a man of that
type. Now the other brother brought home gold and put it in his
boots and through it out under a rose bush.
C: He hid it under the rose bush?
M: Under a rose bush.
C: Now let me get something straight, you told me your grandfathers
name and your grandmothers name. They had two boys and two girls.
One boy was your father. What was your fathers name?
M: John James Dayque McFadden.
C: What year was he born?
M: He was born in 1869, April the twenty-second.
C: And when did he die?
M: He died May the fifteenth of fifty-six. He was eighty-seven years old
and almost a month extra.
C: And who did your father marry? What was her full name?
M: He married Etheil[sp?] Vernen[sp?] Means. The oldest daughter of James
David Means of Maxville.
C: And when was she born?
M: When was she born? She was born November the fourteenth....
C: So your grandparent had two boys and two girls. One boy was James
M: The oldest one was Willie McFadden.
C: And what about the girls? Who did they marry, where did they go?
M: Her name was Francis, but they called her Fanny. I do not
remember the date of her birth but she was the oldest one and
Betty, she married Jaulis[sp?] Martin. She was practically an
old maid school teacher when she did that though.
C: Now where did they live?
M: They lived over in Columbia County about three miles from
C: Then how about the other girl?
M: The other girl was Betty and she married Elien[sp?] Pearce[sp?] and the
lived in Alachua for a long time and they had an older son, and
then they had a daughter, another son the same age as sister,
maybe a month older than she is and then the daughter was Ruths
Ogdean[sp?] of Lake City.
C: That is your first cousin?
M: That was a first cousin of mine.
C: Well now you mentioned your grandfather making your dad read
M: In the Bible. Every Sunday morning till he was twenty-one,
before he left the house.
C: Now how do you know that?
M: Because my father told me so.
C: What did he say about it?
M: Well, he did not say anything about it only he new the Bible. And he
could tell where to find is and that, and he knew it. I am sure
that he could because a lot of things.....I never read it more
than twice completely over. Lots of it I have read many many times,
but as to read the beginning to the end I have not read it more than
twice all the way over, but theirs parts that I read many many
C: Well do you think when your grandfather made him do it, did he
appreciate it then or was it later that he appreciated it?
M: Well, I was my grandmothers granddaughter. Papa's mother read the Bible
through four times ever year. I mean from the very being to the
C: So the Bible has been important in your family?
M: Yes. And she lived in the house up there and from 1909 to 1914
by herself, where we lived up there.
C: Now are you talking about the house burned?
M: Yes, I am talking about the house that burned.
C: And your saying that your grandmother lived by herself in that
M: Yes, Caster and Mason McFadden.
C: This was after your grandfather died?
M: Years after grandfather died. If they had left her there to begin
with the place would have never run down like it did.
C: Well how moved her?
M: The children and they moved her away form there she lived
one more year.
C: Where did they move her?
M: Aunt Betty took her to her place. She stayed a month satisfied
and Aunt Fanny took her to her place where she lived a lot of the
time, you know Delvakie[sp?].
C: And she lived a year after she left here?
M: One year afterwards.
C: Well where were you in 1914?
M: Where was I? I was in the big house up the road a quarter of a
mile from where her house was.
C: Now that is the other house that burned?
M: That was the first house that burned. But it was the one that
papa built for his home and his family.
C: Okay, let's go back a minute to your grandfather coming here. Do
you know why they left Kentucky? Tell me about them coming and
where they came to, why they came, and what it was like then?
M: Well he had a brother James in Hawthorne that had an orange
grove, and he wanted to get away from a hoosier that was courting
his oldest daughter. He did not want her to marry an Indiana
man. They called you hoosiers like a Florida.....people are
called Florida crackers.
C: And they are called hoosiers. He wanted to get away from the
M: He wanted to bring her away from that. That was one of the
reasons. Then he had a brother in Hawthorne in Florida. They
have a lot of orange groves there and they thought they were
swapping this place for an orange grove, but papa said their was
about eight big beautiful orange trees there.
C: Here you mean?
M: Right up there, yes.
C: Off of Bellamy Road?
M: When they came here.
C: Eight trees and he excepted more?
M: Oh yes, they excepted more.
C: How many acres did he purchase when moved here?
M: He got a hundred acres here and he swapped 200 acres on the Ohio River,
north of Louisville.
C: For the hundred acres here?
M: For a hundred acres here(400 acres?).
C: And that was in 1884?
M: Well they really swapped in 1883, but in those days it took a lot
of time to go places or do things.
C: Well how did they come to Florida
M: They came on a train.
C: Where did the train come to?
M: To Alachua.
C: And then what did they do?
M: They arrived in March. I do not know the exact date in March,
but they stayed in what we called ... Well, Ms. Morris Dew lived
in there, right down not far form the Methodist Church.
C: The Almstead[sp?] house?
M: Yes, in that house that is where they stayed.
C: Was that a boarding house then?
M: I do not know about it being a boarding house. But you know in
the older days people could go and stay and would do something to
help out. And papa said they left them there, he and Uncle
James, and Grandpa walked out here form Alachua to the place.
C: And what did they see when got here?
M: They found a big old house with the open hall, two story, but
it had an open hall. He said the windows was smoked so you
could not see out of them.
C: What where they smoked from?
M: They did not have lamps like we have today or lights.
When ever people had a light they had to have a torch or
something of that sort, and naturally, that smoked up the place.
C: Was the place what he was told it would be?
M: No it was not anything like what they had hoped it would
C: What did your grandmother think of it?
M: Well, I do not know just what grandma thought about it. But it
was fixed up a lot better. They rebuilt that house in 1886
after the stalled (storm?) ram shackled a lot of beautiful
buildings and tore down the Presbyterian Church completely over
at Maxville and it was rebuilt in 1886. Now papa said that it
was on wooden blocks and they wind shook it so that it was not
suitable to try to live in. They lived out there in the crib
till they rebuilt the house.
C: Now what do you mean the crib?
M: A crib. A building that they put corn, hay, and that sort of
C: So they lived in the house until the storm. Then they lived in the
crib while they rebuilt the house?
M: Yes, until they could get it rebuilt.
C: And, then you, somebody in the family, lived in that house off and
on until just about three years ago, when it burned. Do you
remember your grandparents from when you were little?
M: I remember the grandfather McFadden......grandmother, not the
grandfather, because he died when I was not about four months old.
I do not remember him period, only his picture. But I remember
very distinctly grandmother McFadden and I used to go see
about her everyday, walked down there and walked back. Papa could
see if she had smoke coming out the chimney, since she always
cooked breakfast with a wood stove and he could always
see smoke, and if he did not see the smoke when he went out to
feed the horses in the morning, he either went himself or he
sent one of the girls or the both of us girls to see about her.
C: Well she must have been very independent?
M: Well she was and Mary Lou in a way has copied that
C: Was that important to you to have a grandmother like that?
M: Oh, yes. My grandmother Means was just as fine as grandmother
C: That was your mother's mother? What was she like?
M: Yes, that is right. She was a very small person except that
she had let herself gain too much, which took her away sooner than
most, a lot sooner than grandmother McFadden.
C: Now Mary Lou, you grew up as a girl around these women and you saw
what the women's work was like. You were born in 1900, is that
M: That is right.
C: Give me your full birth date.
M: January 2, 1900.
C: What was it like for the women to take care of the house and the
meals when you were a girl? What was farm life like for the
M: Well, my grandfather Means had an orange grove, I mean a real
orange grove, and they had turkeys and they had chickens, and
they had ducks. The women folk took care of all those kind
C: They fed them?
M: Yes, mama raised turkeys and chickens. And papa milked the
cow and mama skimmed the milk and made butter, and he sold
butter. He got all of that as his tip to pay for the
players. So he would buy a ball iron(?) and that's the way he paid
C: How much land did he wind up with? How many acres did he end up with?
M: Well for the home place he had 460 acres, but then he borrowed
money in 1905 and bought a thousand acres over what we call the
Robinson place, over by the Lewis place, only now it is the
Brians live there. Mary Brian and her husband bought the place
from the Lewis'. Papa sold some to Mr. Will Lewis, and some to
Mr. Ed Lewis and some to Mr. Charley Stevenson. I think the
biggest part he sold was to Charley Stevenson.
C: This is when you were a girl?
M: One of the biggest crooks and he had 228 acres left of that
thousand acres free, paid off.
C: Well, when your parents died who became responsible for the farm?
M: Well, sister and I inherited the land. But before papa died he
was not able to farm too much so I began taking over in 1954,
because he was operated on at that time and was away from the farm
for awhile and not able to really run it. Then when he died,
sister and I had to run her farm and papa's farm, and made a living.
We did not have to sell any land to pay bills. We worked hard, we
had good help and I am sure that the Lord was with us, because
sister part of the time was president of our church circle.
Whenever it was our meeting time, if I was plowing down here in
this field, I would pull the tractor up to the fence, climb over, and
get in the car and go with her to the meeting. Then when the
meeting was over we came back and I climbed back over and took my
white(?) and keep going.
C: Was this the women's meeting?
M: Yes, the women's church meeting.
C: Well Mary Lou it looks like you lived in both worlds. You have
done man's work and women's work.
M: Oh, I have done some of both, yes. I really have.
C: How is that, what does that feel like to live in both worlds?
M: Oh, yes it was the most wonderful thing to be able to do it and
still live. Right now, I am crocheting almost every minute I get
a waking hour. Of course, sister and I are slipping. We both know
we are slipping. But still, life is still worth living and it is
wonderful to be able to do some little something for somebody else.
I was brought up to be a teacher and I did teach for twelve
years. But then I was having throat trouble and not knowing just
what it might be. Papa had lost Uncle Willie with TB when he was
thirty years old. I thought to myself "You better let up on
it and quit using your throat so much." So I quit Alachua. The
last two years I taught I worked in Alachua, the last year I
taught at Fort White. But I had painted our house up here inside
C: Now by "our house" you mean the younger of the two houses?
M: The big house that has that porch all the way around it. I
painted it outside and inside, I even got up on the porch and on
the box and painted the windows up there...all that bracket
stuff that there was up there.
C: Well you have done a lot of things that some women never do.
M: Would never think about trying to do.
C: And why did you think about it?
M: Well, it was there to be done and nobody else wanted to do it so
C: Well you have been working in a farm atmosphere basically all
M: All my life I have been in and out. I have been places. Just
because I have farmed, I have been places. One of my first big
places was to go to Miela[sp?] to this uncle and his family.
When Sam Means was born, being as old as this house is, I
was there with his family for five months and he was born about
the middle of the time. His birthday was July the 20 and I brought
him home on a pillow.
C: And that Sam Means who's house where sitting in right now.
M: His father was my almost baby brother, Cliff Means.
C: And they lived in Miami.
M: Samuel Cliff Mean was mama's baby brother.
C: And you went down to help them when the baby was born?
C: How old where you?
M: I was thirty-three.
C: Well Mary Lou I want you to tell me now what is the difference in
the way that you took care of that baby and the way say that
Veron[sp?] was taken care of when she was born. She was your
little sister. What year was she born?
M: Veron was born in 1902, August 6th.
C: Do you remember her birth?
M: Yes, I remember. Just remember when she was born.
C: What do you remember about it?
M: Seeing the little old baby, naked little baby.
C: Oh, yes. Did you help take care of the baby?
M: No, I always have spoiled her death.
C: You did?
M: Papa, mama, Mary Lou, more less everybody that ever new sister
because she had a sense of humor that Mary Lou does not have. Now I
can laugh at other people's humor, and sometimes somebody laughs at
something I say but I am not that type of person.
C: So you have enjoyed her?
M: Oh, I have enjoyed my sister, yes.
C: It must have been very different taking care of.....
M: She is entirely different than me, entirely different, she was the
one to get married and she lost her baby and never had any more.
So we have enjoyed other peoples babies.
C: And you crochet things for them.
M: And have helped a lot, but it was most important to us,
that we keep the farm going and my father said to me about two
weeks before he died, "Mary Lou, do with the farm just like you
want to do."
C: Did he know he was dying?
M: And about to weeks later he died.
C: So you have done what you wanted to do?
M: And he died at home just like he wanted to. He had been to the
hospital for an operation in 1954, and we had had a job taking care
of him there because one of us had to be there with him. During
the day, he would get up and go where he was not supposed to go,
he was just that sort of person. And we had been to Maxville
dinner on the grounds on Sunday and I remember papa walking down a
step and he was wobbly........ Tape ends.
C: Old people forget......
M: Old people forget and will eat too much out like that. Sunday
night and Monday, he was up and down during the night. Then
Tuesday morning we were determined to take him back to the
hospital and he told my uncle, "De, do not let them take
me back to the hospital." Well, papa had fallen on the floor up
in the front room, Mary Lou and Veron picked him up and set him
in mama's rolling chair. Mama had been in a rolling chair for
about four or five years at that time. And we rolled him to the
table for breakfast but he would adjust himself.
C: Your mother was still living then when your father died?
M: Yes. And he took a sip of coffee and kind of strangled and he
mostly wanted to be put over in the chair by the fire place so he
could spit and he was gone.
C: You remember that real clearly.
M: Oh, just as plain as if it was yesterday. But my uncle and his
wife had come to stay with mama while sister and I carried him to
C: But he did not make it to the hospital.
M: But he never got there and personally I would like to drop right
on the farm just like papa. And I hope I am not a great burden
like my mother was.
C: When did your mother die?
M: After papa died, she lived to fifty-nine in February.
C: And he died when? Fifty-four?
M: He died at fifty-six and mama at fifty-nine on February 19th.
And the last month that she was alive she did not call our name
and was in bed, but every mouth full she eat after papa died
somebody put it in her mouth. She did not ever take and reach and
get food to go in her mouth.
C: So his death really changed things for her?
M: Well, she never got over the house burning in
C: It is a hard loss to get over. You have been through it twice.
M: Well honey, she had lived in it and she had worked and slaved to
keep it, and she loved it dearly. She was off by herself
out here where she was use to big families over there.
Running back and forth like that.
C: In Maxville where she grew up.
M: Yes, and here there was nobody, other than Trasgler[sp?].
C: So this was lonely for your mother?
C: Let me ask you about farming in the early days. Tell me what is
your first memory of being out in a field and seeing something
M: Well we had lots of pictures of papa, mama bought a Kodak I
think in 1905, and we had a lot of pictures of papa and different
ones. Plowing mules, just one mule and a plow and that sort of
thing. And papa planted cotton and the very first dollar I ever
made, I was ten years old and I picked a hundred pounds of cotton.
Papa gave me a dollar. And I kept that dollar for about a year,
as I wanted something. I do not remember what that was. So papa said,
"You gotta some money, spend your own money." So that I do not
know what the dollar went for, but that was my first recollection
of that sort of thing.
C: Mary Lou how long did it take you to pick one hundred pounds of
M: Oh, I do not know, I do not remember that part about it.
C: You cannot do it in one day can you?
M: Oh no. No, I am sure it took me several days to do it.
One other thing, now papa raised cotton and he did real well with
the cotton. Now one year, I think it was about eleven or twelve, he sa
"Effia[sp?] I will take you to the big fair," (it was up
north somewhere), "if I make eighty bails of cotton." But now
he had a lot of colored forks working for him, and they picked
the cotton and he made the eighty bails, but one of their
neighbors had lost their daughter with rheumatic(?) fever. They
stayed home to take care of the children.
C: So they did not go to the fair?
M: They did not go, no.
C: Well, when you were a child he had cotton and what else?
M: Well, he always planted enough corn to feed his mules.
C: How many mules did he have?
M: Five to seven or eight.
C: What did he us the mules for?
M: The mules pulled the plows and the planters.
C: What is a planter?
M: Well, I think papa always bought cotton seed and tried to
get the best seed he could get when he planted. He always
fertilized his cotton with commercial fertilizer.
C: Did he do this by hand?
M: No, he had a special kind of a fertilizer distributor that they put the
fertilizer in, and it would stroll it along like that, and it
was pulled by a mule.
C: Okay, and where did he buy that fertilizer?
M: Some place in Alachua that carried it at that time, I could not
tell you who he bought from. Sometimes, maybe it was Uncle Roy
Perise[?] I am not sure about that.
C: Was this cotton Sea Island long staple?
M: Long staple cotton. It was long staple cotton.
C: What was it like to pick it? What was hard about that work?
M: Well, getting a good stand and then having it chopped out to one
or two stalks in a hill.
C: What do you mean chopped out to one or two stalks?
M: I mean they are planted like that and then it would not make...
C: Oh, they planted it in rows but only a few would come up?
M: They planted it in rows, and then if the cotton was too thick
it would not make a lot of cotton.
M: You had to chop the cotton out and leave a good stand.
C: You had to thin the seedlings?
M: Yes you would have to thin them.
C: When up picked the cotton who besides you picked it?
M: Oh, all of the colored folks on the place was to pick cotton, and
put it in a bag and papa would weigh it.
C: Now did they get paid for picking it?
M: They paid so much a pound.
C: But they also had a place to live is that right?
M: Yes, at that time and papa use to pay them so much money and then
he gave them so much corn, for instance half a bushel of corn to
go to the mule, grind it and a side of bacon and......
C: So that was part of there wages?
M: That was part of the wages.
C: Corn and the bacon.
M: But they were also paid a certain amount of money. I cannot
remember now just how much at that time. But a lot of times in
the early days fifty cents a day was a lot of money.
C: Mary Lou, do you remember the names of any of those black families
that lived on your place?
M: Yes, one special one was Dan McGummery and he lived in a little
house just west of our house about half a quarter and then we had
Bab Blub[sp?], he was another one, but now he did not stay with till he
died but Dan did. Then James Stewart and it was James Washington
too and there was Sonny's family worked mainly with me.
C: Sonny who?
M: James Stewart. His family worked mainly with me.
C: Where did these black families come here from.
M: Well Sonny I think was born up here at Traxler[?], right up hear
just across from that Baptist church there was a .......
C: Now is he dead now, Sonny?
M: There's our old house there or was it maybe tore down now, but
different white people live there, but then colored people live
there. Sonny Stewart was had a brother and about three
sisters and I think there was another brother. Sonny worked for
J. T. Von and them and came to us from J. T.'s and after he moved
to our place he never did leave.
C: Now you talked about the community of Traxsler[?]. The community of
Traxsler[?] that's where.....
M: That's where they have a store, a cotton gin, and a corn mill
and Mr. Traxsler[?] would go.... Mr. Bill Traxsler[?] not
Darrell[?]. Mr. Traxsler[?] would go to Baltimore and buy goods
and come back supply all the sections back out here.
C: All the Bland area?
M: Yes, a lot of people. Well, but the Bland area came in a little
later, I mean....
C: Traxsler[?] was developed before Bland?
M: Traxsler[?] was a post office and well it was on old Bellamy Road and
that was the main highway in through Florida for a long time.
C: Well Mary Lou on a busy day what did it look like down at
M: A busy day. Well it would be wagons, mules, and people getting
off and stopping and buggies and horses and that sort of thing.
C: Where would the people be going?
M: Well they would be going back home.
C: From where?
M: From the store.
C: Okay so they would be in buggies and horse to the store. But
what about at the cotton gin?
M: They brought in cotton on the wagons and it was weighed in on
some kind of little building way up there near the
road. And it was carried upstairs and kept there and then they
had a track, kind of like a railroad track, up on top of
fence posts or something of that sort. The posts were strong
enough to hold a man and a bail of cotton and roll it down there
to the gin.
C: Well did the wagons full of cotton come one at a time or would
there be a line backed up?
M: Well, when I was there most of the time it was just one or two at
a time. But then people did not have a lot of store room at
home. Now some did but some did not. And they bring it in and
sometimes maybe there was half a bail at a time.
C: After they unloaded the cotton and the cotton was ginned....
M: Yes, you see these big rolls of hay. Well the cotton
mill was quite as big as the biggest ones.
C: The bails still have the.... did it have the husk in it?
M: And they bailed it and had it wrapped around with I guess a
crocus(?)sack or something of that sort.
C: Now the farmer had it like that and brought it to the gin?
C: No, the gin fixed it.....
M: They brought it in to seed. You picked your cotton and you had
seed and leaves sometimes if person was careless there was some
leaves in there in the cotton. But there was always seed.
C: So it had to go through the gin?
M: It had to go through the gin and be ginned.....
C: What did the gin do to it? What did the gin do?;
M: It took the seed out of the cotton and made pretty white rows of
C: Did they save the seed?
M: And that was rolled up into a bail.
C: The cotton, and it would be a long strip like the kind you buy in
the drug store now?
M: Yes, and then they would roll it away. I guess that is right. I
never went in that part because I was a child. I was not allowed
to go down there.
C: But you did pick cotton?
M: Yes, I picked cotton.
C: Until there came a time when you could not pick cotton.
M: Well, I did not pick much cotton but I did pick one hundred
pounds. I got a dollar for it. That particular thing is sorted
out in my life a lot and Mary Lou has always saved her money. I
mean I will try to make ends meet and if there is some special
use I need to spend it for I do. But it is very important to
be able make ends meet and my mother taught or she was taught that
a woman can throw out with a tablespoon faster than a man can
shelve in with a shovel.
C: What does that mean?
M: In being wasteful of food or anything.
C: Did your mother say that? "A woman can throw out faster with a
M: My mother taught me that. Not to throw away anything that was
C: Did she have any other little sayings like that?
M: Well, I guess she did, but somethings stick out more than others
in your life.
C: Did people tell you stories when you were little?
M: Oh, my grandmother McFadden use to tell us stories. She would
come and visit before she moved down here, and she would tell us
ghost stories, and about the Three Little Pigs, the regular
C: Did they ever tell you about the early days in this area?
M: Well, no not too much about that. She was quite a person. She and
I would go picking black berries. And one day she wore her skirts
real low and we were picking black berries and a black snake
crawled between feet she did not do a thing but kick him out of
C: Just kicked him out of the way.
M: Just kicked him out of the way.
C: Did not bother her?
M: No, it did not bother grandma. She went right on picking black
C: This was your father's mother.
M: That is my father's mother. Now grandmother Means always sent
Aunt Laura, she was an old maid lady that helped at home who never
got married and she was quite a person too. But she ate too much.
She was one that had an ravenous appetite and the boys said when
they were going to the other place they knew who packed their
lunch, whether mama or Aunt Laura. Mama would give them the
enough for dinner, but they would not have none to come home on.
But if Aunt Laura packed their lunch they could have sandwich to
come home on.
C: There was extra.
M: But she was a big framed person and took more food than the average
woman would. You know a large body requires more than a little
M: You know to keep her going. Aunt Laura died at fifty-six.
C: Speaking of food, Mary Lou, did you help cook when you were little?
M: I have always helped cooked. My first memory of working was
beaten eggs and sugar for my mother, sitting on the floor, and do
not you put your fingers in there. She ment for me for not get in
the habit of licking sugar and egg.
C: Was that for a cake?
M: For a cake.
C: What kinds of things do you remember eating then that you do not
M: Well practically everything the same thing, practically the same
C: Do you make it the same way?
M: I do not notice much difference between eating then and now. We
do buy a lot of stuff already ready to eat. That is the main
difference because of the fact that we have a small stove and we
do not bake any more. Now up home I made cookies and we would
cook cakes and those sort of things and divide them around for
the folks sometime, but we do not do that now.
C: You made butter, did you not?
M: Mother always made butter.
C: How did she make butter?
M: Well she had a five gallon churn with one of these drags
churning up and down.
C: It was like a big stick in a barrel that you dashed it up and
M: Yes, kind of a barrel. I started to say they had some here that
I would show you. But then later on we used one of those that
you crank, just using a gallon at a time. But in those days when
we made our own butter up at the place there, we used the one you
cranked and just a gallon at a time. But we did not sell butter
C: The main thing that you sold on the farm, the main cash crop was
M: Well until 1917.
C: And then what happen?
M: The boll weevil hit our section of Florida and papa did real well
that particular year, 1917. I think he sold eight thousand
dollars worth of cotton that year. But then the next year we
planted cotton, I think he got 500 dollars worth out of it, and
then maybe the next year maybe he did not make any.
C: Well Mary Lou what do you remember about the boll weevil, when
did the farmers realize what they were up against?
M: In 1917.
C: What did your father say?
M: He did not hardly know the bolls would fall off on the ground and
that is about the first recollection of actually working in the
field. My papa had never let us work in the field, till I was
about grown, but I had a bag and I picked up the squares that had
dropped off on the ground.
C: What is the square?
M: That was the starting of the cotton.
C: Okay, so it was falling off before it matured?
M: Yes, before it ever made any cotton.
C: So what did you do with it?
M: It was the boll weevil went in there and destroyed the boll.
C: So what did you do with the square?
M: Well we burned them.
C: To get rid of the boll weevil?
C: Could you see the boll weevil?
M: Oh, yes. A little black bug.
C: Oh, you must have hated that.
M: There was plenty of it.
C: There are songs about the boll weevil.
M: Yes, I know.
C: Do you know any?
M: No I do not.
C: That must have been a desperate time.
M: I did not make any song about them. I was too ready to destroy them.
C: So when the boll weevil ruined cotton for you then what did
M: Well papa milked cows and.....
C: Did he sell the milk?
M: Well some of the time we sold milk. But then we got to
where they did not want to buy the milk only from special
dairies. So then he went to cream, kind of separated it,
separated cream and I carried a five gallon can of
cream to the university to make ice cream.
C: What were you going to the university to make ice cream for?
M: They were going to use cream with milk, sugar, and that sort of
thing and make ice cream.
C: Well were you going to school there?
M: No I was not, I was staying at home working at that time.
C: Well who was making the ice cream?
M: Some of the boys that worked at the university. I do not
remember any of their names.
C: Was that successful in making as much money as
the cotton did?
M: Oh no, we were actually just barely making a living at that
C: Well what about tobacco?
M: Well tobacco came in 1925, but we did not plant it till 1928.
C: So that was about ten years.
M: Yes, well it is about ten years, yes that is right. From the time
the cotton went out, I mean at our farm where we worked it.
C: Well how did you manage with that lost of income?
M: Well just like I said, mama had turkeys, chicken, and that sort
of thing and papa took care of what he made.
C: Now I wanted to ask you about those turkeys and chicken. How did
your mother preserve the meat from the turkeys and chickens?
M: Well she would send us to hunt the nest, bring in eggs, and we
would set the eggs under the turkey hen when she ...
C: They were wild eggs?
M: Well no they were not wild turkeys, and then they hatched out
little turkeys, and we watched and took care of them the best we
could, till they got grown. And papa sold 8,000 dollars worth of
cotton in 1917 see. He did not spend it, he spent some of
it and that is part of what we lived on.
C: Until tobacco and did you plant.......
M: Well, we had some cows and there was always something just like I
said. We went to mill, we did not buy grits and we did not buy
meat, because we raised all our hogs and you know...
C: But you took your corn some where to have it ground.
M: I did, some of the time. Sometimes it was sent by the colored
C: Well did they charge you to grind?
M: Well they would take a toll.
C: Part of the corn?
M: Yes, part of the corn.
C: Well at least you did not have to pay any cash, right?
M: That is right.
C: This is the end of this tape, this interview. But we have to
talk again do you agree? Will you talk with me another day?
M: Oh yes.
C: Okay then this is the end of part one of this interview.
This is Sudye Cauthen talking with Mary Lou McFadden, at the home
of her nephew Sam Means, off the Bellamy Road near Spring Hill
Methodist Church, in Alachua, Florida. Today is July 1, 1987.
This is part two of my interview with Mary Lou McFadden. Good
morning Mary Lou. You said you could talk about the farm all
M: Yes, I could.
C: Why is that?
M: Well it would take all day to tell you all the things that have
happened and the different type work we have
had to do.
C: Well answer me this, what was your hardest time farming?
M: I would say some of our hardest times were right after our father
died. We were in the habit of running the farm before he
went, but still he was gone. And it was necessary for us to try
make ends meet as well as to keep the farm going, and I was
offered about the third day after he died fifty dollars an acre
for the farm. I said you are not talking to me, I am running the
farm. Somebody said you cannot do it, I do not remember who.
But I did and I still own and will have to sign a deed to most of
the farm that we had.
C: I see, I want to get it straight the location of the farm. How
would you tell somebody where this farm is located?
M: The farm is northwest of Alachua about five miles on the Old
Bellamy Road, the part papa bought is on the north side. Sister
and I bought 226 acres on the south side of the road, from where
S-235A west to the branch down there, was called a Townsend
C: That is a good description.
M: But now most people call it the McFadden branch because of the
fact that the McFaddens have owned land down to it, and some of
the branch comes out of our field and some out of the Bronze
C: Let me ask you something about the Bellamy Road. What are the
stories you have heard about the Bellamy Road and how it came to
M: Well a man, Bellamy, from... I am not sure just where he came from.
But I went to school in Tallahassse and there was a man by the
name of Bellamy there, I would not say he was his son or grandson
but he could have been his grandson. This man Bellamy did not
wear shoes, only across his shoulder.
C: What do you mean his shoes were across his shoulder?
M: Walking shoes. He had them tied and put one on each side and that
is the story I have been told by the Dells[?]. All in this
section he would come and spend the night with Mr. Frank
Dell[?] up here on the Bellamy Road while he was all
in this section. He worked men,they cut the road out.
C: Who were the men that cut the road out?
M: I do not have any idea the names of the men that worked with him.
All I know is Mr. Bellamy, that was all I was told.
C: All right. This farm off the Bellamy Road what are some of the
crops that have been planted on your farm over the years?
M: Well, as I have said in early days, cotton was his main thing. That,
and raising hay, butter, and corn to feed his few horses and
mules. He worked from early....well not too early, he never
did get up too early, but he would read late at night, and he had
to sleep some and of course he was not a very early riser. I am
like my father in that respect. My job, after our house burnt
and we had to move to sister's house, was to get the breakfast and
at that time I got up at five o'clock and got the breakfast.
After I did that why.... well just ordinary living. Some days we had tc
get the ground turned, ready to plant in the spring of the year.
That meant somebody with a turning plow and at that time they
had mules too.
C: This is when you were a girl?
M: When I was a girl, our father did all those kinds of things. He
milked the cow, and mama took care of the milk in the house, made
butter, and helped with expenses of living.
C: Well when you first woke up in the morning as a girl what was the
first thing that happened when you got up in the morning?
M: Get up and get your breakfast and go to school.
C: Okay, what if it was summer time and you were not in school?
M: In those days, we did not have to do anything outside. Papa ran
C: And he had help on the farm?
M: He always had two to three colored families to work.
C: That helped with the cotton and......?
M: Yes, he always had plenty of help, because he believed
in giving every man his just dues. If he worked hard he got paid
good. If he did not work hard in the end he did not get top
C: You mentioned when we talked before about the boll weevil. Is the
boll weevil the worst problem you ever had on the farm?
M: As a growing young woman of seventeen, the greatest calamity that
happened to our farm was the boll weevil destroying the cotton
C: And not just your farm, but other people.
M: Everybody's. Not just the McFadden farm, but everybody in the
country that had cotton, the boll weevil struck.
C: What is your impression of that time when the boll weevil came,
what was it like for people around here?
M: Well, a lot of people would have ten acres of cotton. You would
see cotton patches here and cotton patches there. Just like now
if you drive through the country, those who are really making a
good living have tobacco crops. And why? Because those crops make
good tobacco or good cotton which ever one they where working
with. They learned that portions of the soil was good for a
special crop and that is where they planted it.
C: Where there some farmers who lost their shirts or lost their farms
because of the boll weevil?
M: Well, some maybe lost their farm but I cannot name anybody right
off who did. But they quit farming and went to other type work.
C: What other special problems did your father have besides the boll
weevil? Did you and Veron have as you took over the farm?
M: Well, my father helped start the First National Bank in Alachua. He
did not have much stock but he was the director for years and
finally they made him president.
C: When was that?
M: Oh, I have to think. I am sure he was president about twenty
years, so that would be about 1946 I think when he was
president or...... well maybe 1945.
C: So this was pretty much after the second World
War, and after the first World War, and after the Depression?
M: That is true, and everything that God changed at that
particular time-the beginning of the cooking of tobacco. We
had to have all that wood and a furnace that you built fire under
and the circulation of the heat around the barn to cure the
tobacco. Well in 1942 we got electricity, it came down to part
of Florida. Now before that though my father had a Delco[sp?] system,
that gave us light in the house.
C: What is a Delco system?
M: Well that is an electric run by gas or kerosene, that sort of
thing. It would build up your battery and you turn on a light
just like you do now, only the lights where not as bright as we
C: Well the coming of electricity to the farm then was a big thing.
M: What a wonderful thing for the country people, because now we
can live just like city people.
C: What did it change, what did you have with electricity that you
did not have before?
M: Oh radio's, TV's, plenty of light, and cooking stoves.
C: Did you change from a wood stove or a gas stove to...?
M: We changed from a wooden stove. Now for heat we had a gas stove
but we did not cook with it and that is the reason that we had to
have our trailer specially built for us, because we did not want
C: Did you start cooking with electricity in 1942, or did you start
cooking with gas?
M: Oh, we never did use gas. We just had a stove in the kitchen to
heat the kitchen and the dinning room.
C: What did you cook with?
M: We cooked with electricity at that time.
C: So you went form a wood stove to an electric stove?
M: Oh yes, that ...
C: You did not have a kerosene stove?
M: Never did, no.
C: I see. What were the kind of chores your dad had to do when he
first went out in the morning?
M: Well some of them where feeding the stock, mostly though that
came in the afternoon. In the winter time I tried to have plenty
of hay and plenty of corn in the shuck to carry to the cows and
hogs. Now the hogs had to be fed in all the time, but the cows
only got fed when the grass was low and there was none coming up
ready for them to eat. For when the biggest lot had grown and my
time almost finished up, running it we fed about six little
bails of hay and about two barrels of shuck corn in a trailer.
I would drive the tractor and Sonny or the boy would throw it out
and I would go over some of the pasture where I thought it was
fairly clean and dump out little piles for the cows to eat.
That was in the winter time, I hardly ever started before the
first of December, to do that, because I did not want to have
to gather corn in the field and hall it back out to the stock,
but that's the way to make him spit it out and make it last all
the season that they needed it.
C: Was there a natural sores of water on your property for the
cattle to drink from? Was there a spring or a pond for the cows
to drink form on your property?
M: Oh, yes lots of branches of springs on the farm. I could name
three different big ponds that are on the farm and we did not have to
worry about water. They almost always had water, unless it
was an awful dry season and the pond right near the house here
never went dry. We always had water there.
C: This pond by Sam Means house is the one where you said your
father used to go swimming.
M: It never had that green stuff on it until right recently.
C: Does this pond have a name?
M: If we had an awful lot of rain, sometimes it would over
flow and in later years I hauled in rock and built up the south
side of it with rock and dirt from somewhere else so as to hold
the water up on the side of the hill. I did this mostly to take
care of the fish because by the last days I wanted a fish
pond and in 1956 I really developed a fish pond.
C: Did you put the fish in it?
M: I got fish given to me and I put fish in it.
C: What kind of fish?
M: We first put in bream and then at a later time we put in trout.
I know that someone has caught several big trout out of
there, weighing at least eight pounds. But lately nobody fishes
there because of the scrub and that sort of thing. I used to
fish there, but Sam said, after the fire when we moved down
here, "I do not want you girl near that pond." He minded me as a
little boy so Mary Lou got to mind him now, an old lady.
C: Is that right? Tit for tat.
M: Yes sir.
C: You had talked about having fish to eat. Tell me did you
butcher your own cattle to eat?
M: We did not do the actual butchering we always hired somebody to
do it for us.
C: Do you remember who did it?
M: Oh, several of them, Bud Alligood[sp?] was about a moment less but Henz
Vickrey[sp?] butchered for us.
C: Is that right?
M: Yes, and Bud Alligood and then there had been two or three more but
they are the outstanding ones. They did it more than one time, and
I remember them and their names.
C: What about killing hogs who did that?
M: Well back when I was about twelve years old, maybe not quite that
old, papa had a lot of croppers, and at one time they killed
twelve head of butcher hogs. And we had a smoke house we
would always carry the meat and have it put in the ice box in
Alachua or High Springs and get it partly ......
M: Well, it was frozen or whatever it takes to make it. Then we
would bring it back home, smoke it, and then after we got it
smoked like he wanted he would bag it up to keep the bugs out
and then hang it back in the smoke house.
C: And that was where you stored your meat?
M: Yes, and we still had it up to ... about forty-two or forty-
three and they went out.
C: Well in forty-two or forty-three how did your meat situation
change? Why did you stop doing it in forty-two or forty-three?
M: Well partly because we did not have a lot of extra help on the
place. There was just one or two families left. More people
were paying in money than in giving food.
M: You see papa paid so much and then he would give them bacon and
sometimes a shoulder and half a bushel of corn to go to mill.
Every other week something like that.
C: But then they did not want that anymore, they wanted cash?
M: Well you did not ask them what they wanted, it was just what ever
you felt like you could do.
C: I see. Okay.
M: Sometimes we did not have the corn to give because some years
were lean but papa only had to buy corn to feed his
stock one year that I can remember. While I was farming I only
bought corn to feed the stock one time.
C: That was good.
M: We raised our feed and then we had it. For instance, in early times
instead of having hay, you stripped the leaves off the corn at a
certain age hung it on air and later come back and tied it into
balls, balls of potter.
C: Was there any special food that was saved for Christmas or a
M: Well we all way had turkey. Mama always saved a turkey for
Christmas and then we always made extra cakes so that was the
time when most people went visiting and when had a guest
you were always supposed to offer some kind of food or drink, that
sort of thing. We had very little company except the folks
from Maxville, and the Traxlers, and the Dells[?] those where
C: Tell me about the first Christmas you remember as a little girl.
M: Oh, I was about five years old and my mama's oldest brother was
getting married then on Christmas Eve, and it rained, and it rained,
it rained, and it rained that afternoon. Papa went to town to
get a colored man his license to get married too, and he come in
and mama was just a scrubbing sister, getting ready to go to
Uncle Sumps'[?] wedding over at Maxville. Papa said, "I am not
going to take you all out in this weather," because we just had
a buggy with a top and that sort of thing, "but I am not going to
take you all out in this weather," so the next day was Christmas
and we all went to grandma's for Christmas dinner. Uncle
Sump[?] and Aunt Mennie was there. They were-newly weds and,
oh, I do not remember now just what we all got as gifts right at
the moment. But mama put her foot down when I first
came along. She gets one thing from home for Christmas and she
gets one thing from grandpapa's because they all would want to
give the baby something, but she said one thing.
C: What one thing do your remember getting?
M: One thing that stands out in my mind was a little cuckoo
whistle, and I kept that and it was sitting on the
house when it burned in 1946, when I was forty-six years old.
C: A little cuckoo whistle. Was that from your grandparent's or
was that a home present?
M: I think mama and papa got it for me. I believe they did. One
Christmas, another time, it rained so papa could not even go to
town to get...well he always waited till Christmas Eve to do
things because you could always buy a little cheaper then, saving
money. And I remember, they hung our silver dollar and a paper
on the cuckoo and said, "That is what Santa Claus brought
C: Did you believe in Santa Claus?
M: Oh yes, till I was twelve years old. Some other girl had to
tell me who Santa Claus was.
C: Well who told you?
M: Mattie Whitestone[?].
C: How did that happen, that she told you?
M: Well, you know girls, how they talk and run together, and she was a
special group over at Maxville that we all visited in.
C: How did you feel when you found out about Santa Claus?
M: It did not bother me.
C: You were old enough to hear the truth.
M: Yes, I was old enough to know.
C: Did you have a Christmas tree when you were little?
M: No, we did not have any Christmas trees at that time.
C: Has that become more popular in the recent years?
M: Well they would have it in the churches some. I remember
cousin Perla[?] Means being my Sunday School teacher when I was a
little girl, and I do not remember now what she gave me but it was
something. I do not think I ever got to the christmas tree that
particular time because we lived here and it took us a solid hour
to drive from the Bellamy Road to the wide road and cross at
Lenow and to Maxville to go to church, so I know I did not go
that part of the program. That particular time but I do remember
different places where they had a christmas tree way back there.
But as to what I got I do not remember off the tree.
C: Can you see a christmas tree in your memory?
M: Yes, I remember seeing it.
C: How was it decorated?
M: Well not like it is now. It seemed like they strung up
pop corn and I forget now some kind small fruit that made
color on a tree. Any way we did not have to manufacture stuff
brought in at that early date.
C: Where you excited when you went to bed on Christmas Eve?
M: Oh yes, all children are you know, when they see a christmas tree.
Some more than others. It was not to important to us, I do not
know why. But it is wonderful to be able to teach children about
the christmas season and to give to others, which keeps them from
being too self centered and able to help somebody else, sometime,
C: Mary Lou what about birthdays? Did you have birthday parties when
you were a little girls?
M: Not when I was a little girl, but when I was eighteen I had a
C: Tell me about that.
M: I say eighteen, let me see. Emerald Benson, a first cousin of
ours on the McFadden side, she, Mary Lou, and Veron are all that
is left of that age group, the rest are all gone. She sent me a
napkin that everybody wrote their name that was at the party.
C: She sent it to you then or lately?
M: Sent it to me the other day.
C: Oh, yes.
M: She said, she found it in a memory book of hers, and Emma
Venson had moved all around the world you might say. Not all the
way around the world but a lot of places in America and here I
saved her life.
C: Where did you have this eighteen year old birthday party?
M: At my house up there.
C: And what did you do?
M: Mama had a birthday cake I think, or maybe just an ordinary cake,
and invited a number of different friends that we had at that
C: And they all signed the napkin?
M: Yes, that is her part of it, and I remember part of it. George
Grady was one visiting the Martin's and he came and went swimming
and Cathern and Emma.
C: Is this George Grady from High Springs?
M: Yes George Grady from High Springs.
C: He came to your party?
M: He was visiting out at the Martin's and they brought him to the
party. I had given parties for the seniors the year before I
graduated, instead of having a special doing like they do now.
For the senior group, different ones gave parties instead of
having that sort of thing, but that is the different night.
C: Well now how old where you when you graduated from high school?
C: Okay so you gave the party for the seniors before you were a
M: Oh yes.
C: I see. Tell me who was in your senior class.
M: Well my senior year there were five girls in the class, Eunice Cox
was one, married Salem[sp?] McLeod, and she never missed a day of
school all her life, she was always there. Well Oprah Futch(?) was
another one. She got the top grade.
M: Curtis[?] Flowers was one and Louise Love and me.
C: Who were the boys?
M: No boys.
C: There were only five girls in your senior class and no boys?
M: No, well they all had gone away, a lot of them had gone to the
C: To the war.
M: And some had gone had gone, for instance, Glenn Foot had quit high
school and he went and studied dentistry at that time and he came
back to Alachua and was a dentist there.
C: Mary Lou, who else in your class went away to the first World War?
M: I cannot remember anyone person that actually went away. They just
found work to do and was old enough to start working for
themselves or maybe help out with the family. I do not know, but
when I entered high school, I think there were twenty of us in
the freshman class in high school.
C: But five graduated.
M: And only five girls graduated.
C: And that was in 1919? Okay, that was before you had radio on the
C: So how did you get news of the war?
M: Well through the newspapers.
C: You did not have a daily newspaper delivered to the farm?
M: No, we did not.
C: Where did you get the newspaper?
M: I guess, it came out of Gainesville, I am not sure about that.
Maybe Jacksonville, because I think we used to take the
C: How did you first learn about World War 1?
M: Well my uncle, this boys father.
C: Sam Means father?
M: Samuel Cliff Means Senior, he had been working at the farm. They
were needing other ways of making a living. He went west and
worked in the wheat fields, and then he came back home and I do
not know that we saw him. I am sure we did not see him when he
left and it was two years before he came back.
C: And he went to the war?
M: Yes, went to war, he was sent to Texas, I think to train. He
worked in the aviation department. And he had some
mechanical turn but he was more of a farmer than he was of that
sort of thing. Then he finished up working on a plane and
cranked it up and the propeller hit his elbow here.
C: Was he flying the plane or he was...?
M: And he could never use that arm like he wanted to.
C: So the first you remember of World War 1 was hearing about him
going to war?
M: Well that was some of the first things that I remember about the
World War, and his going in. Of course mama was his oldest
sister who had helped take care of him when he was a baby. And
he would climb up on the gate and told papa "You cannot come in, I
am not going to let you come in," cause somebody had told him that
papa was going to take his sister away from him. And papa did
not do a thing but pick him up off the gate and carried him in.
Well he was papa's boy after that.
C: He was a good bit younger than your mother?
M: Oh, yes. Mama was I eighteen or nineteen before he was born.
C: Did you see any parades or patriotic demonstration for that war?
M: No, I do not think so.
C: Okay, Mary Lou how about World War II, how did you first hear
about World War II?
M: Well I will tell you that was in 1941. Martha Lou Means, De Means
daughter, and I... Mrs. Robertson over here in Columbia County had spin
meningitis and I had gone with my uncle to do help...... we got
the message one night at about eight o'clock and Dee's car had
been wrecked and he called papa wanted to borrow his
car. He wanted somebody to get down there to see about her
because at that time that was one of the first cases they ever
had of spinal meningitis that they had any treatment for and said
had it had happened one year earlier they could have never saved
C: So they did save her?
M: She was in the Hospital in Miami and we drove down there. I
drove and Dee drove a good portion of the way but then he got sleepy
and I took over. Papa's .......
C: This was 1941.
M: ....car, we were driving that time a dark Dodge car, and I had
been down there drive back and forth several times because see
that was forty-two, Sammy was born in thirty-three, and thirty-
three was the year I was there five months. And I
knew the way and took them right in and we went down there on
a .... I believe a Friday. She was taken on Thursday and they
called us in order to go on a Friday. I do not think we had our
telephone in at that time. They came to our place, somebody else
brought them, I know some of the cousins from a Lake City,
brought me and Aunt Leila to our place, and I packed a suitcase
and was ready to go in about an hour after they got to our place.
I packed lightly planning to stay a week, maybe. I stayed three
C: For her spinal meningitis?
M: While I was there Alise[?] took flu, and I stayed down to help
take care of her. Well Martha Lou came out of it, but I think
she was in the hospital two weeks. Aunt Leila stayed on Dee
brought the car back at the end of one week.
C: Now this was forty-one or forty-two?
M: It was on a Sunday morning we went to Cliff's and they had a
radio that was where we heard about the First World War.
C: Was that when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor?
M: That was about the forth or fifth of November.
C: This was the Second World War, but before the Pearl Harbor
M: I believe it was November. Yes, I know it was.
C: Well what was that war like? Did you know more about it?
M: It was a terrible thing. It was just a terrible thing for the
Hawaiian people. That was where it started in Hawaii.
C: How did it effect you on the farm.
M: Well it just made me come home later on and over-work, that is all.
C: Why did the war make you over work?
M: Well the boys were all gone, you might say, that were
able to work. Our farms had to try and furnish the food, and I
had bought baby chickens and I helped raise baby chicken, and
that was food. And then, oh it seemed like everything just piled
up on you.
C: Where you making all your own food then? Or were you for
instance buying sugar in town?
M: Oh, we always bought some. We always bought some.
C: Was it rationed?
M: Well, yes I think it was. Yes that is right, a lot of things where
C: Did you know anyone who died in that war?
M: Not at that time, I remember going to Bland and helping out with
rationing up peoples.......Tape ends
C: Now during the war you went to Bland to help some of the people
who lived there fill out forms to apply for foods that were being
M: Yes, that right.
C: That was because you could write and some of them could not.
M: Well that is true, as well as, I was trying to help others get the
C: Let's talk about......
M: We were not in as much need for some things than some people.
C: Let's talk about teaching school. When did you start teaching
M: I started teaching at twenty-one, in those days after the boll
weevil came, it got people to where they did not have enough money
to pay the school teacher the top price all the way through. And
though right over here at the old school house, the lady did not
want to take the cut so she quit and the superintendent wanted
somebody to keep it going. Well I went and taught I think it was
five weeks there. I started Nory[?] Holebrook[sp?] off to
school and his mother told me more than once she wished I would
have started all her children off, because Nory[?] loved to go
school, because he loved to study, and that sort of thing. And
that was really first start of getting a little one off. Now I
C: Was this a one room school house?
M: Yes one room school house. I do not think there was
as much as twenty children there, but he was one of the
outstanding ones, I mean I had to start him, and that was
different from the rest.
C: Do you remember the names of any other children?
M: Oh, quite a few of them. I think I could name some of them. There
was some of the Vaughn[?] girls, Ograners[?], and right now it's almost
a blank. Well, that same term I went and finished out the fifth grade
in Newberry, I only had that for about three weeks.
C: Why did you change to Newberry?
M: The fifth grade is what I had at Newberry. I stayed with my Aunt
Betty Pierce. She was running a hardware store there and her home
was there. The next place I went was over here at
Bland and I taught all of the first four grades and I could name
a lot of those children, I think because they were home children.
C: They were who?
M: And from Mr. Claude P [?] was the head of the school at that
time, as a supervisor of you know the specialty people who
have certain jobs about the school. Well that was his and I
started his daughter off Ruth. And Carl was in my forth grade
but then the school people took the children out to work,
the father's did, so we did not have enough children there but for
one teacher. So the principle was the one that stayed and that
made one month short of my teaching at Bland. Well the next one
I went to High Springs and I was working with the thought of getting
a higher certificate out there. I had a third grade certificate to
begin with and finally I thought of teaching the sixth and
seventh grade and that would prepare me for the teachers examination.
You know you would have to have more knowledge and there was a
big class of them and I had to work one or two boys and I was
there one month, I quit.
C: Now where did you say this was?
M: The sixth or seventh grade.
M: In High Springs.
C: In High Springs. What was school like when you first began
teaching? Did you, what kind of heat did you have in the school
room for example?
M: Well at that time I think there were ten or eleven teachers in
the school, but I do not think I missed a week. They needed a
teacher at Forest Grove for they had too many for two teachers
so I went in as a third teacher. I taught the rest of that
term out there.
C: What year was that?
M: I had then the fourth, and fifth grades.
C: What year? When was it?
M: It was in thirty-three.
C: You taught about eleven years all together?
M: That was in twenty-three, not thirty-three.
C: Well Mary Lou you started teaching when you were twenty-one. You
graduated from high school when you were nineteen what did you
between nineteen and twenty-one years old?
M: Well the fall of nineteen I went to Tallahassee and I went back
after Christmas and stayed one month. It was so expensive
papa said, "Mary Lou, you just as well come home and go to work."
C: On the farm?
M: Well I helped some but not to much on the farm. I just ran errands
and help do whatever was to do.
C: Had you planned to teach?
M: No not really, but you might say I was home
helping to do what ever had to be done at home.
C: But tell me this. What did you like best about teaching?
M: The beginners. The little ones.
C: And what did you like least about teaching?
M: Oh, it is wonderful to teach a child to think they could learn and
teach them to love to do it. Whatever comes a hand I love to do
C: So you liked actually teaching a child to do something?
M: Well you have all kinds of ways to appeal to different children
or different ways. You have too.
C: Like what?
M: You have to. Children are never alike. There is always a difference
in all children that I have ever meet up with.
C: So that is the challenge to the teacher?
M: That is one of the things that a teacher can appeal to if they know
the difference in a child, that you could appeal to their
interest or get them interested in doing something.
C: Do you remember a child who was particularly hard to teach?
M: Oh, yes. Many of them.
C: What did you do?
M: Well I do not know whether I ever really taught the Day boy in
Alachua. There was a little afflicted boy there. I had
him two years in what we called the opportunity rule, in first
grade in Alachua. I had taught at Bland four years straight
running and I have some of those boys and girls who are at the top
of their profession. So I feel that I had a part in their life.
C: You mean they have done well in there adult life?
M: They have done well, yes. For instance W. M. Thomas was
superintendent of schools in Bradford County.
C: And you taught him?
M: Yes, I taught him.
C: How else did you teach?
M: Oh, he was one outstanding one that I know of, and Nory[?]
Halbrook was another one. I did not have Nory long but
just right out here. I taught W.M.'s sister and
C: She was a Thomas?
M: Yes. She married and was teaching in Alachua and come up to me
and kissed me one day, when Mary Vaughn(?) had us go to talk to
the school children.
C: You do not remember her married name? What did she teach?
M: Oh, I ....
C: What grade did she teach?
M: I had her as a beginner. I had W. M. and I had Bishop, that was
the middle child, and then I had W.M.'s sister. No, her name
wants to slip my mind right now.
C: It was not Marian was it?
M: No, it was not Marian. That is where I have fallen down most
is being able to remember names right when I want to speak
C: Well I think you remember an awful lot. Do your remember your
teachers names, who taught you?
M: Oh yes, almost everyone I ever went to.
C: Who where they?
M: Well the first one was Miss Ruby Allison[?]. I went to her at
Midway School in Columbia County for I think six weeks, but I was
eight years old. And the next teacher I went to was Miss Racheal
Lee out here at Spring Hill, and the next one I went to was
Lellia Houston who married De Means. I went to her when I was
twelve years old, stayed at my grandmothers and walked to school
C: Now where was that school?
M: At Midway School in Columbia County.
M: And then from there Miss Ruby Bars had married Clyde Lewis[?].
Clyde Lewis of Alachua. She taught up here. Miss Claude McElroy
[sp?] was the last one that I went to school with at Spring Hill.
And then from there I had a Miss Stokes[?], a Mr. Bryant[sp?], Miss
C: Is this at Alachua? These three?
M: Yes, at Alachua. I believe they where the outstanding ones, that
I had a class with.
C: What was Miss Versons Doe[sp?] like?
M: Miss Versons Doe[sp?] was a wonderful teacher. She had the ability
to walk in a room and if the class was just a bubbly, hush-hush.
And then she would say,"Let's get to work," and she would call on
somebody for something, somebody else for something.
C: What did she teach?
M: Right now, I think she taught English, and oh, I do not know what
all else. But she was one of the high school teachers. She was an
outstanding teacher to me.
C: What do you remember about your high school graduation?
M: Oh, I remember we were in that second building. The first big
building was all of us were together, and I taught in that
same school after I graduated with that still all the same. I
remember one time I fell down the steps. You know, the new
building that had stuff going back and forth like, had a landing
to come down to and then had an auditorium on that side. I do
not remember, the bell rang or something and I looked up and fell
to the landing. But I got up and walked right on, I do not know
that it actually hurt me period.
C: Did you have a graduation program?
M: Oh, we had a graduation program yes.
C: What was it like?
M: Well, right now I do not remember too much about it, only the fact
that I played with the music teacher the march to march in and had
an extra chair to walk over and sit down.
C: What did you play?
M: That was in 1919, in May.
C: Do you remember what the music was that you played?
M: Well it was a duet.
C: Who else played?
M: My music teacher Miss Hollister[sp?].
C: So you two played a duet for the senior to march in to?
M: We where playing a march, a duet to march in. But Opal
Fudge said, "You cannot do that." I said, "How come I
C: Who said, you could not?
M: Opal Fudge.
C: Opal Fudge said you could not do it?
M: I did do it.
C: Was it fun?
M: Well, my music teacher wanted that done and it was alright with
everybody else. And something else I remember about our order,
I got two bouquets and Eunice[sp?] did not have one. So somebody
asked me, could they give one of my bouquets to Eunice Carr(?). I saic
C: Well now Mary Lou who sent the bouquets? Who gave you the
M: Well the folks from Maxville had a bouquet for me and mama had a
bouquet for me, that's what it was.
C: But Eunice[sp?] did not have one, so you gave her one of yours.
Well that seems right.
M: I loved doing it.
C: That was nice, it worked out good that you had two.
M: It was wonderful. It is just wonderful. I was just as proud as a
peacock to be able to do it. I still am and I aught to go see
Eunice[sp?] sometime. Last time I saw her was when her son was
buried, in High Springs. I think she is still alive.
C: She is. I talked to her on the phone one day.
M: She used to work in a store you know. We bought
a lot of clothes that they had and things of that sort from the
McClouds in High Springs.
C: Didn't they have a store in Alachua at one time?
M: Yes they did.
C: Mary Lou, can you tell me what Alachua looked like down town
during the years that you went to high school in Alachua or
your earliest memories of the streets of Alachua. What was it
M: Well if they were not paved, and there were big oak trees on each
C: What stores where there?
M: Well Jones & Linens, that big two-story empty thing, was there.
That was one of our main places to buy clothing, shoes, and that
sort of thing.
C: What was the name of it?
M: Jones & Maynard[sp?].
M: And then we bought groceries in the Peirces[sp?], the one on the
southeast side of a light down there. And then Peirce[sp?] I
think built that store, and a lot of people rented it. I do not
know really who owned or who owns it now. But a lot of people
rented it and had a grocery store, and we did most of our grocery
store buying there. Then on down the way down there, just before you
turned to come out our way, there was a boardwalk and fruit stand,
and the Thomas's ran that.
C: Was that near the railroad line up by were 441?
M: No, the railroad was there at the time. I do not know. It was
there long time. We used to come in and get on the train right there,
where the main highway is right now, you might say, and go to
C: Highway 441, you used to get on at that train stop that used to
be up there at highway 441. In front of where Hitchcox's food
store is now.
C: And they tore that little station down many years ago.
M: There was a station right there. Yes there was.
C: And you used to go to Gainesville then on that train.
M: That is the way we used to go to Gainesville to go shopping.
We did not go very often but every once in awhile papa and mama
would want something from Gainesville and that is the way we did
C: Did that train have a name? Did that train have a name?
M: That train would go about eleven o'clock I think it would come
back about four.
C: Did you ever ride on a train called Peggy?
M: Did I ever.....
C: Ever ride on a train called Peggy?
M: I was thinking I did but I do not remember where. I do not know
that I ever rode on it, but I knew Peggy.
C: Why was the train called Peggy?
M: I really do not know that.
C: Did you ever go out to Burnette's Lake when you were a girl?
M: Yes I remember being there at a picnic when I was a girl about
seven or eight years old I guess.
C: Who had the picnic?
M: Well I do not remember what the picnic was all about right now.
I think it was a political speaking picnic. I am sure that was
C: Was it summer time?
M: Yes it was summer time. I do not remember what the lake looked
like or if I saw the lake.
C: Was there.......?
M: I remember the trains, that sort of thing, and this big kid. But I do
not know who spoke, I do not remember that part.
C: And you remember there was food?
M: We had carried a basket dinner.
C: Do you think you went on a train out there?
M: I road on a train many times.
C: But to Burnette's Lake did you go on a train?
M: I got on at Burnette's Lake to go summer school in twenty-one
and twenty-three, twenty-four, and twenty-five. I think I missed
twenty-six. Twenty-seven I went to summer school in Nashville, North
Carolina by myself.
C: Is that when you where trying to get a higher level teaching
C: Well in those days you did not go to college for four years and
get a teaching certificate.
M: Well a lot of people did but papa said at that time he thought it
cost too much for the good you got out of it.
C: So you got yours in bit and pieces?
M: By what experience I have had, I have taken correspondence courses
after I quit teaching you might say. I took things I
wanted to learn about on the farm and to get my certificate
extended a year, by taking a prescribed course of some kind from a
university or some school. And I took course about hogs, about
cows, about grass.
C: You studied all that?
M: I studied it yes, and went to the Dues to take the examination.
C: You went to the Dues?
M: Mrs. Bertice Dues' mother and Ms. Bertice signed the paper.
C: Oh, they gave the examination?
M: Yes, and I tell you somebody died and I stopped and went to
the funeral with Mrs. Due. Now who was that? But I did and I
came back and finished the paper.
C: Well that reminds me. What were funerals like in those days?
M: They were similar to what they are today, only not quite so
elaborate or quite so many flowers.
C: When you were a little girl, who prepared the body?
M: Well they did not embalm them quite as much, it was not done the
C: Did the family do it?
M: No, I do not know. Yes, most times it was mama bought a coffin
and set the body in it.
C: And then the family took the coffin to the church?
M: Well, lot a times yes.
C: What is the first funeral you ever remember?
M: One of the outstanding ones was grandma McFadden.
C: Why was it outstanding?
M: There was not much of a funeral to it, there was a minister there
and there was this church. This church was torn down in 1915.
C: This is the where she was buried over in Spring Hill.
M: She died and was buried the twentieth of December.
C: What year?
M: Of 1915.
C: And she is buried at Spring Hill?
M: Right out with the others.
C: And what about weddings Mary Lou? Have weddings changed?
M: To a great extent to my notion it has. But I do not remember Aunt
Fanny's wedding, and mama's wedding. But they had a lot of
attendance, same as they do now. I have a picture of Aunt Fanny's
wedding that was in March, I believe the fourteenth of March, of
C: What was her wedding dress like?
M: She did not wear her train, but she had a white dress.
C: How about your sister's wedding, what year did Veron get married?
M: My sister's.
M: She was married in 1925, May the sixth, at home.
C: What did she wear?
M: She wore her pretty little white dress that my cousin Ethel Means
helped make. After she told us she was going to get married on
Wednesday night on a Sunday night. And we had to scrabble to
C: Was it exciting?
M: Well there was not many invited, a few, and Aunt Laura Means
helped fixed the cake and get that part ready. And mama and
Ethel[sp?] made the dress and I invited the people and ran
C: Well that was a lot to get done in three days.
M: Yes, it was a lot to do.
C: What did Verona[sp?] look like, do remember her?
M: Oh, she was a pretty girl. Always pretty.\
C: Was she happy, at her wedding?
M: Oh, just as happy as could be. Always was happy. Most of the
time, she's happy now but she is so forgetful.
C: Well we talked about weddings, and funerals. I wanted to ask you
when you were growing up did you ever see any wild animals that you
do not see now? Were there wild animal around here that we do
not have now?
M: Not that I know about.
C: Did you ever hear of people hunting for bear?
M: I cannot think of any.
C: What about the Florida panther?
M: Well I have heard of them but I never seen one. And I have been
told that that they followed somebody part of the way across the
natural bridge late at night.
C: A panther followed somebody across the natural bridge?
M: Yes, I was told that.
C: Who did he follow?
M: I cannot remember that part either.
C: The natural bridge. What is the natural bridge and where is it?
M: What is the natural bridge? Well it's just a plane road across
C: It is where a spring under ground isn't it?
M: Well, there is Idylwild[?] River. We know that there is a sink and we
know that it rises and sinks all over there. And then we know
that this pockets swat[?] on that ground in there that it does
come up not too far from the old Bellamy Road. I have been to it.
C: Now this is toward.....?
M: Not much further from here to the other room over there.
C: Now this is........
M: The water comes up and goes back down.
C: Now this is up toward Camp O'Leno?
M: And you can drive right on or you use to be able to. Now I have not
traveled in a long time because they tried to close it up and not
let anybody go in there. But I think that it is something that
should be from the History of Florida, the Bellamy Road, so it
could be driven over and you might say it is the natural way of
C: So the natural bridge is right off the Bellamy Road?
M: That particular thing is just off the road.
C: Okay you mentioned the Wire Road?
M: Now the Wire Road is still making the curve to go around, down
the hill and it goes straight down.
C: On through the Camp O'Leno State Park.
M: Close by. Right through the camp now.
C: Tell me what the Wire Road was, why is it called the Wire Road?
M: Because they had a wire row, they had a wire was.
C: Telegraph lines. The Wire Road is where the first telegraph
lines where put in, in this area.
M: Yes. And it was done, I do not know just when the Wire Road was
there, I mean the date of it, but it was always called the Wire
Road because of the fact that they had had poles and wires up
C: Well in talking about roads.......?
M: And I think it comes from Lake City, the wire.
C: You told me something about the Bellamy Road one day. Tell me
again that story about the Queen and King of England coming down
the Bellamy Road. Is this a story that was told to you?
M: I do not know the date.
C: That is okay. What do you remember about it?
M: Only the fact that they did and they would have to use a team of
horses or mules.
C: Who saw them?
M: I do not remember that I was told who saw them.
C: Who told you the story?
M: I cannot remember now who told me about it?
C: Did they stop?
M: Well, in those days everything moved so slow. A team of horses
carried people. Some went with oxen. I could remember an ox team
drawing a cart and they used that sort of way of going places and
doing things. But now our people always had horses or mules in my
C: Well you have seen a lot of different kinds of transportation on
the Bellamy Road.
M: Oh yes.
C: So you have seen ox drawn carts, and you have seen horse drawn
buggies. How about mules and wagons?
M: Mules and wagons.
C: And you have seen........
M: Rode in mules and wagons myself over both of them.
C: And you said it used to take how long to ride from here to
M: From our place one hour from our place to the Maxville Church,
which cross the country if you where flying is much over ten
miles but then when you went by Bellamy Forge it was further or
if he went by natural bridge it was a little shorter.
C: Well when you started to school in Alachua you went by horse and
buggy did not you?
M: All that graduated drove a horse and buggy.
C: And how long did it take from your house to Alachua by horse and
M: Well to make the trip we always tried have an hour before school
opened, so as to take care of the horse, unhitch him so
that you take care of them, because if you did not take care of
them you would not have a way to come home.
C: And where did you leave him hitched while you where at school?
M: Well at first we left him with your mama's house, the first year.
C: M M Strickland.
M: Yes. And then next year we went to Miss Trexy Reeves and Miss
C: And hitched them there. Well what is the first automobile you
M: The first automobile that I ever remember seeing. Well I think was
in Ashville. I was eight years old. But the first one here
was Dr. Bishop, big wheel, and we had a picture of sister and I in
C: What did you think when you first saw an automobile?
M: Well I have not even thought about what I thought about it. It was
great because it was our doctor's automobile.
C: You know we are near the end of this interview and I want to ask
you something about the land. I know you feel strongly about the
country, land, and the fields.
M: Oh, yes there is nothing finer than a good country home, nothing
C: Why is that?
M: Because of the fresh air that you get that you do not have fight
other people germs.
C: Do you think you have had a special bringing up in being able to live J
M: Oh yes, I know that everybody could not have the advantages that
Mary Lou and Veron had as we grew up in the country.
C: Do you think you are different growing up in the country than you
would have been growing up in town?
M: Oh yes, I know that.
M: Well you are allowed to feast on the greenery, the trees, the
grass, the sky, and not be interrupted by other people or that
you do not have to have to breath their germs in.
C: Mary Lou why do you call this God country?
M: Well my father knew that God had helped him build his plantation,
his house. Everything that he had he felt like that. And when
you sowed things in the ground you do not have the power to make
them grow. The Lord has to send the rain and the sun shine and
heat to make them develop.
C: So where did you first her that term Gods country? Did your
father say that?
M: Yes, I remember a lot of times papa spoke it. One of them when
we went... papa had never been to the ocean until his brother-in-
law and Cliff went to St. Augustine on an excursion. And
papa said that was the biggest pond he had ever been in and he
shook out across the pond and he said, when he got back he decided
maybe if nobody else was coming he had better turn around and
come back. And he said there was a certain place he got he had
to fight to come home. And then of course he took sister and I
over and mama and then later on the Martins, his brother-in-law
and sister and there children and us. There were three cars went.
We drove over there and papa coming in got too close to something and
hit a culvert(?) and busted a tire right as we got into Alachua.
And we had to shift a tire at that time and I think papa was
driving a Ford at that time.
C: Mary Lou what have you enjoyed most in your life?
M: It would be hard to tell because I have enjoyed most of it. I
mean even though we had a lot of hard places. You know when a
twister hits a place and tears up a house like it hit ours in
fifteen just before I went to Alachua to school. And forty men
came and worked all day on a Saturday and you would have hardly
known they did anything, and yet if you drove up that side of the
house why you did not know what it was a lot balogna that it
C: Because people had pulled together and fixed it.
M: Yes, and a lot of people have helped papa and in turn papa has
helped a lot of people out.
C: Well I think helping people has been a very important thing to
you. You have told me that helping people is important to you.
M: Oh yes.
C: Well we have to end this part of our interviews this is the end
of part two. Thank you very much.