This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.
This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewer: Emily Ring
Interviewee: SaraW Mfthews /Iq-q--
Place: Kirkwood subdivision of Gainesville
Date: March 26, 1982
R: Now Sara)^can you tell us where you were born and whem your parents and grand-
S: I'm Sara4 Louis Mat/ ws and I was born in Georgia in 1918, January 26th.
My mother's parents were Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Marshall and my father's
parents were Mr. & Mrs. William Green Louis. They both had farms and tragically
both of my grandfathers, my great grandfathers,died wrt=~TERRs, when they very
young. My father had to quit school/?,m was the oldest man of his family/and
work. His education was about, oh, abeut f or ith grade. He had a small
business in L-pk''i and, oh let's see, when I was five years old, that would
be in 1923, he came to Floridato Orlando.
R: Now what county in Georgia is Lumkin in?
S: It's in Stewart County and it's famous now because of it's near Plains.
R: Near Plains.
S: Near Plains, not far from Plains. Now my mother's father had a farm and/was a
Sroe pe rou-
very perpefero farmer when he had a tragic accident when he was in his late
thirties or early forties. By that time, he and my grandmother already had nine
children. He was paie"f zd-for a period of several years and she had to learn how
to run the farm and bring up her family which she did,/by herself.
R: Well many ti womln did that, didn't they, especially after the Civil War.
+wer-y 4-v h ir~4y
B: Well, this was of course some time after the Civil War, about or a3years after
the Civil War and I will never forget the second Mrs. the senior
Mrs. not Brit's wife but his father's wife was a friend of our grandmother..
R: I see.
B: and wLiw Billy and I were first married, she said that she went to my grandmother
one day and said,"Oh Mrs. Marshall how tragic that your husband died leaving you'
with all these children, he was a invalid for so long'and my grandmother said,
"the Lord spared him so he could teach me how to farm and I could keep these
S: Yes, and the interesting thing about that was that the older members of my
mother's family worked. They, well my Uncle Charlie went to Atlanta and made his
fortune, such as it was,- e was the Marshall of the Alvin Allan Marshall Company.
He was in business with Alvin Allan, who was a prominent citizen as well as
of Atlanta. The younger members of the family, they he lpe4-te
edueet4en after they worked, so my mother's younger sisters went to college, she
would not have a chance, mother was in the middle.
R: So they all helped each other.
S: Yes and they stayed together which was rather remarkable for 9 children.
S: ~jnd they all turned out pretty well. There was one who shall we say sort of marched
to the tune~ he was not a prisoner or anything that sort. He
just wasn't a upZstanding citizen
R: I see. Not exactly a b~_ ep
S: That's right.
R: Well, and so your mother was the, what position did she have in the family?
S: /she was in the middle.
R: In the middle.
S: She was, there was three son5/nd six daughters and int4-eeer-t g enough my mother's
older sister and her youngest sisters still are living in Northern Georgia. One is
97 and the others &S. We're going to see them next week.
R: Yes and her sister who is S7 is named what?
never et rri;ec
S: Lucy Marshall, she ncw
R: I see.
S: and my sister who, my aunt who is 8 married late in life, so neither of them has
any children and their neices and nephews are devoted to them.
R: Well do you ever have big family reunions?
S: Sadly no, with the Marshall branch of the family lately there's been a death.
S: Which really was very sad but that's my and cousins.
R: But when families gather at a death it is.really a family reunion.
S: That's right.
R: Well, so did you live in IJm 4n, Georgia all of your life?
S: No, no. We moved to Orlando when I was five so I was brought up in Orlando. One of
my brothers, Oh my older brother was only six weeks old when we came to Florida, my
younger brother was born.
R: Can you tell me the names of your immediate family, your brothers?
S: Yes, my older brother was a junior, he was William Warren Louis, Jr., he went to
New York after World War II and stayed there, tu=i' ? -he and his wife have two
children and they lived on Long Island. He is not working now, he is retired, but
S. h one
his wife has done some writing for 1_ '0 Press and his two daughters/livesin
New York and the other is in California.
S: My younger brother lives in Tampa. He is married, his name is Sam Marshall Louis and
he and his wife have no children. We see them more frequently than we see my older
R: Are you in any way kin to the Ltais's in Tallahassee?
But when I was in Tallahassee the name Sarah Louis was a open session.
R: That's right, that's right.
S: I could get all sorts of checks cashed when everybody else had problems.
S: Because there was a Sarah Louis in that family but so far as I know we never
R: So you came to live in Orlando when you were five...
S: Yes, that's right.
R: and what was your father doing then.
S: He was working in a grocery store, sadly he never got his own business again but
he was in a fancy grocery store at a time when there were fancy grocery stores
where you delivery groceries and took orders/er the telephone.. ,
R: Oh, wonderful.
S:.,.and all those good things.
R: Yes. Were you able to go in and get candy bars and things like that.
S: Oh yes,and when the delivery boy came to bring his groceries in the motor cycle with
the side car, he would ride you around the block in the motorZcycle, and you know,
mother never knew what we were going to have to eat until the groceries came.
R: Well he would just send you what he decided to send you.
S: That's right.
R: Well that...
S: Whatever was good that day.
R: Wonderful. So...
S: But I had never really known anything about a grocery store until/I ga married.
R: Now you were not the youngest.
S: No I was the oldest.
R: You were the oldest. Now how is it/being the oldest girl in the family, are you
the little mother and the mother's helper.
S: I don't know. There was five years difference between my next brother and me, so
I was __myself. There were _
R: Yes, right. J
S: There was two or three years different in their ages and no I don't think I was a
little mother. I just grew up.
S: We didn't, we didn't know about older children and middle children and the younger
children then and the complexes and problems they might develop from their space in
R: Yes. Now your mother stayed at home, she did not work.
S: Mother worked, mother worked as / director of the cafeteria at the Delaney School
along about the time we got in high school, along about the time I got in high
school. My brothers were either through grammar school or just entering the junior
high school because this was the way we got to college, it took two incomes.
R: Right and it does today too. Well, now what was the first school you attended in
S: The Concord Elementary School for a few years, then when I was in the fifth grades
I guessor before I was in the fifth grade, we moved and I went to Delaney School.
Finished grammar school there and went to the Cherokee Junior High School and
graduated from the Orlando Senior High School.
R: About how large was Orlando in those days?
S: About 30,000.
R: Just a nice, deep-south town.
S: It was, it was antinteresting town in that it was a tourist town but it didn't have
the sort of tourists that went fart-herdown, it was not the sporty type.
S: It was the very sedate crowd that came to the Wilding Hotel which was a great big
wooden structure with porches and rocking chairs and an enormous diningroom where
they ate together. It was a resort/hotel.
R: Rather like the hotel Thomas was here in tf~ k*
S: Yes, yes and.like the, what was itthe Windsor in Jacksonv;lle.
S: and two or three other big, / was a similar hotel in Virginia I think in
R: and Atlantic Beach Hotel in Jacksonvile.,
S: That's right.
S: But Orlando's population doubled/in the winter time, it got to be about 60,000.
R: Well, that's sounds like a very good life for a little girl to have. So then you
went on to high school therein Orlando?
S: Yes, yes.and when I graduated from high school I went to the Florida State College
R: Which was a wonderful institution for females wasn't it?
R: And there's a certain sisterhood of all the a~ma, aimna of that college, don't
you think? They just stick together.
S: Well yes, except it's/so big compared to Orlando Senior High School.
R: Right. How did you feel when you got there?
S: I felt alright. I...
R: Did you met any of the Gainesville girls who went there.
S: was there and lets see who else, Sunny Dale was there.
R: Didn't Bishop go there but she was...
S: She was the hiead.of me.
R: She was the ziead of you MRximBnaf y, yes, much ahead.
S: Now, let me see if I can think of anybody else. I can't think....
R: But there were other girls from Orlando?
R: Who did you room with?
S: Lots of Orlando girls. I didn't room with a girl from Orlando. I roomed with
my freshman year and she married ...
R: Oh, I see.
S: and then my sophomore year I lived with a girl by the name of Sally Burt_
from St. Augustineknd my junior and senior years I moved to the sorority house. I
was in Tri Delta.
R: Tri Delta, and then what did you major in?
S: I majored in Sociology with a,.I suppose you would say, a major in social case
work. I took social case work and took as much speech and drama as I could work
in without being a speech and drama major and lots of English.
R: No music?
S: No, I'm sorry to say. No, no.
R: Well of course the school of social dork was very known even in those days.wasn't it?
S: Mrs. Bristol came while I was there...
S:.,,and it was my good fortune to work with her.
R: Now was ..:, her husband there.also, __ Bristol?
S: No, no he was still here.
R: He was still here?
R: Yes. Well, when we came here first, Dr. Bristol, Sr. was, he was not
was the senior, was his father named ?
S: I don't know.
R: Anyways, Dr. Bristol was chairman of the Sociology Department here when we came
in 1938, Well,/you graduated in what year.Sarah?
R: 1939 and then what did you do? Did you take a job or did you not....
S: Social case work.
R: Social case...
S: I lived in Orlando and I lived at home.
R: I see.
S: And, I think .it was &6 dollars a monthyou had to have a car.
R: Youbmean you had to furnish your own car?
S: Yes. Eihy-six d~trs
R: Oh boy. 46 a month?
S: We, it wasn't more than that, I think that's what it was, it was, it was a very
small amount. See it was 1939, the tail end of the Depression. It might have
gotten, I worked for about a year and a half but I worked in Saudmerd and in
as well as in Orlando.
R: Well did you getAmileage for this?
S: Yes, yes.
R: I see.
S: I can't, I think it was seven and a half cents a mile.
R: Was this family case work?
S: It was,/I worked with W.P.A., yes it was generally family case work.
S: Trying to, I don't remember /i: we did old age assistance or not. Whether we had
to certify people for old age assistance. You had to prove age and than you had to
prove eligibility for W.P.A.
R: Well, how did you prove age if'didn't, if you had lost your birth certificate?
S: Oh, you did all kinds of things. You had to talk to people who knew people, you used
family bibles, older members of the family, how long they had been in the community,
this kind of thing.
S: The same sort of thing you do if you don't have a birth certificate, I didn't have
a birth certificate either, I had to prove my age.
R: Oh, I see.
S: In Georgia the births at the time I was born were not recorded in Atlanta, they were
recorded at the county courthouse and the courthouse burned and the record of my
birth was burned along with the courthouse.
R: Oh, boy, there had been a record but.it just burned.
S: Yes, yes.
R: Because I guess the records of births go way, way back in the south don't they?
S: Oh yes and shortly thereafter, by the time my older brother was born they were
recorded in Atlanta but at the time I was born they weren't.
R: Well in those days it was a very difficult thing/to get women to admit how old they
were wasn't it? Well I guess if they were poor and they needed the help they would'
mind admitting it. But middle class ladies sometimes just refused to tell anyaee
how old they were.
S: Well it was, it was not middle class women who were applying for Old Age Assistance.
It was very poor women and mostly black.women.
S: Although we had many white women but the most interesting thing turned up about that
while I was doing volunteer case work when we lived in Alexandria, Virgina. I was
at a Community Health planning and they changed eligibility requirements for Medicare
or Medicadf or some sort of help. I've forgotten what it was, and we had as many
old men changing their age on their records as old women. So it's not just women
R: Yes, that's right. That was later on when Billy was serving in Congress...
R:,..that you were working
S: Well this was volunteer work.
R: Volunteer work. I see, yes. Well, now we come to the point where you stopped
working for the welfare system, is that when you met Billy or did you have another?
S: No Billy taught me when I was in school, he taught me...
R: You don't mean it.
S: Yes he did. He taught me when I went to the Orlando Senior High School and he was
an English teacher. We did not date, I did not date him until after I had graduated
from college and a friend of his married a friend of mine and both of us were at
in /wedding, Wilma who had worked for Billy when Billy was the director
of the Florida Union married a friend of whom I was in college, Carolyn CollinsAand
I was in the wedding and Billy was in the wedding and immediately thereafter we
started dating. The wedding was in July and we were married the following April.
R: Well he hadn't exactly waited for you all this time.
S: Oh, no, no. He had just never married.
R: Well now he was teaching in the high school when you were a student.
S: That's right.
R: Teaching English.
S: That's right.
R: What did you think of him then, I'm sure you thought he was a good teacher because
S: He was a very popular teacher.
S: He, students wanted very much to be in his class. He also taught in the Presbyterian
he taught the high school class in the Presbyterian Church,and many students,accordin
to him, poor students instantly became Presbyterian Sunday school
S: I was a Baptist and I stayed a Baptist.
R: I see. Your
S: Sadly no one when I was at the Orlando Senior High School taught me punctuation
and when I got to the Florida State College for women and had I did not
know punctuation and had to learn it after I got in college.
R: Well there they were probably more interested in poetry than punctuation
S: Yes, and in the literature itself, although \~ must say that he knows punctuation...
S: But I didn't learn it.
R: I see. Well aren't you suppose to learn that down in the fifth and sixth grade?
S: I sure but some where along the way I didn't learn it. It was what Dean
called a taboo error and he would give me two grades, there would a A or B for
composition and E for punctuation.
R: Well did you ever finally learn punctuation?
S: Indeed I did, I learned it immediately.
R: I see.
S: Because it was the D & E that counted.
R: Right. Well, so what year were you married?
S: /1941. I worked for about a year and a half before we were married.
R: I see, and Billy at that time was....
S: He was the Director of the Florida Union.
R: Right, and that's when you came to Gainesville to live...
S: Yes, yes.
R: and what house did you first live in or apartment?
S: We built a home down the road down here which we sold during World War II. The
Live in it now.
R: /I.didn't realize that...
S: That's the house we built....
R: I had forgotten that you lived in the house the live in now.
S: Yes, we built that house.
R: I had forgotten that. Well that/a lovely house. Then after that, what year was
it he ran for Congress?
S: 1952,he was elected in 1953.
R: And all the time before that he was Director of the ....
S: Well, no, he during World War II, he was in the Army. He was stationed in Pensacola
and in Columbus, Georgia. Billy was limited service because of poor vision.
R: I see.
S: He was in a miserable automobile accident when he was in college and has very
limited vision in one eye, excuse me, in fact he can only tell daylight and dark and
he has problems with the other eye.
R: I see.
S: So he was limited service and he was stationed at the Pensacola Recreation Area when
he was, first went into the service, and it's been so long ago I'd almost forgotten
about this. Recreational areas was set up in somewhat resort towns in order to take
care of service men who were posted near there in large camps where there were no
recreational facilities. So this camp was set up in Bayfront Park in Pensacola with
a ( re of men and an officerror two in charge and then would come by the hundreds
over the week-end.
R: To see movies and ...?
S: Well,.to go to the beach and just to get to a larger'town from some of the places,
I can't remember any large place. Can you remember a large camp in Pensacola and
Alamaba There was one?, A large training area. I can't remember what it was.
S: Well, that of course is on the coast itself.
S: This was for Army people, I think. But anyhow, it had almost past it usefulness by
the time Billy was there.
R: I see.
S: and it was...
R: And you lived near this encampment.
S: We lived in Pensacola, yes. In a pretty miserable house because Pensacola was a
pretty miserable place to be in during World War II. It was so overpopulated...
R: So crowded, right.
S:..,cause it was so full of Army, I mean Navy people. Oh, just enormously full of Navy
R: Oh yes, yes.
S: In Gainesville my daughter, Carolyn, had been left, had been born before we left here
and in Gainesville you could send out diapers inithe morning and you could get them
that afternoon or you would get them the first thing the next morning, and in
Pensacola I very calmly sent out the diapers and they came 10 days later.
R: Oh my goodness.
S: So I immediately started washing diapers in the kitchen sink.
R: And there weren't any paper ones then?
S: No 44M
R: No. Now what year was Carolyn born?
R: I see and she was born here in Gainesville.
R: I see and then you went to Pensacola?
S: We went to Pensacola.
R: I see, and how long were you there.
S: I can't remember really, about two years, maybe a year and a halfland theyhinally
) rra n can
closed the recreation area and Billy went to Ft./ which was an Army Fort
that had long since lost it's usefulness because it was a post-;ie fort.
R: Located where?
S: Well I, I don't think it was on an island but it was in Pensacola. The Naval Air
Station is here and Ft was here. Ft has been there forever.
R: Oh yes. I didn't get the name,
R: Right, yes.
Scrrancl e Barrancc^
S: Ft. & So from Ft. he went to camp, to.fort, what's in Columbus,
Georgia, is it Ft., not Ft. Bragg.
R: No that's in North Carolina.
S: That's in North Carolina.
R: Well, anywayX, it was the fort in Columbus.
S: In Columbus and he helped to discharge people.
R: I see.
S: This was toward the end.
R: So you lived in Columbus for awhile.
S: Ft. Benning it was...
R: Yes of course, right.
S: We lived at Ft. Benning for a short time.
S: Not to long, maybe 8 months, a year. Then we returned to GainesvillB.
R: Back to the Florida Union?
S: I can't remember whether he came back to the Florida Union for a period...
R: Now maybe it was the Alumni Association.
S:,..for a period of time and then to the Alumni Association but it was shortly after
World War II that he went to the Alumni Association.
R: Right and the officers then were in the basement of the auditorium.
S: That's right.
R: Well, what's down there now?
S: I don't know.
R: I don't either.
S: I, you know they extended the front of the building and whether there's anything
there ornot, I don't know.
R: Well, there's a new room to one side under the gallery for the Historic
keepsakes, lIets say, of the entire faculty.
S: That's right.
R: Can you say that word?
R: That's not the word I'm thinking about, it's a....
R: Alright, so then you were living where in Gainesville.
S: Well, we sold our house, terrible mistake, toward the end of Billy's time in the
service and we brought the lot where we live now and we lived for a period of time
in in a two bedroom house. In the meantime, our daughter, Anne,
was born in Pensacola, and'we lived when we returned here in a two bedroom house in
on what is now University Avenue, I don't know whether it was called
anything then or not. It was a lime surfaced road. University Avenue I don't think
went much passed the President's house.
R: I think it was called Ihe Newberry Road.
S: It could well have been, but we lived there across the street from Mrs. Brian Walker,
and Miss Brian Walker told me two very, very wise things, three. 1) she was very
upset that I did not she was a lady of the old school who
felt that you should have, that all ladies should have help...
S:,..and she used a walking cane because she was +4it lame and she shook her cane at me
one day and she said, "Some day you're going to die doing all this work and Billy
a"1t4ews is going to put another woman over these children,"
R: Oh, how frt#ng.-r-C:en i
SIDen he fact that our
S: Another thing was we didn't have any money and I was/he fact that our
daughter, Anne, was the sort of child that walked across the floor and a lamp fell
off the table or the toaster fell on the floor and our breakage fee was enormous and
I was going to pick up something she had broken one day and I was telling Mrs.
Walker I just didn't know how I was going to tell Billy how much it cost and she
looked at me straight in the face and says, My dear I've been married for forty
years and there's somethings you don't tell your husband."
S: This had never occurred to me.
R: Which makes you wonder what it was her husband had never found out.
S: I have lots of things I expect and then the third thing was...
R: Now wait a minute we haven't found out what year Anne was born in Pensacola.
S: She was born in 1944.
R: Was that in Pensacola or in Columbus?
S: Yes, it was in 1944 in Pensacola.
R: I see, alright.
S: Then the third thing that Miss Walker told me, she was out in her yard one day with
her yard man and they were pruning and cutting unmercifully and she looked me
straight in the face again and she said, "Some people plant as if nothing will ever
grow." So this is something I have remember when I garden.
R: Be careful where you put it.
: Well, not only where you put it, but don't put much.
S: Well, not only where you put it, but don't put tB much.
S: Particularly down here.
R: I think we all have made that mistake/xomatime. I'm living with the results now.
I live in a perfect of plants and trees.
S: What you do you do and consequently I have tried always to prune and to be sparse.
with what I plant.
R: Well, good for you. That's better than most of us.. So now your back in Gainesville
and your living in Park in a rented house and your getting good
advice from your neighbor...
S: That's right.
R:.,,and tending to your two little girls and what comes next?
S: Our son was born while we lived there. He was born in 1947 and it was...
R: And his name is?
S: Donald Ray, Jr.
S: and then it was that we knew we had to move. That prices would never come down, we
were waiting for prices to come down to build a house.
S: So I went to, we had brought this lot as I had said where we were living at, I went
to John Piercson, who was our architect and told him all the things I couldn't live
without and told him that we probably could spend $7,000.00 for a house and he looked
at me and said, "I'll talk to Billy," because of course I had so underestimated what
I wanted and what things cost. I believe our first house cost $5000.00 and this
would cost a good deal more.
S: But we managed.
R: Things were going up very rapidly.
S: Yes they were and they were very hard to get.
S: This again was after World War II and supplies were not plentifull.
R: No, that's right. So what year did you start building on this house?
S: Probably, let: me see, in 1947. We moved in when Donald was a year old, in 1947,
we moved in is-1948.
R: And you were still doing your own work.
S: Oh yes and always have.
R: Inspite of the advice...
S: I forgot to say the only time I ever had full time help I taught school/when we
were in Pensacola because the schools opened there without enough:- teachers.
R: I see.
S: It was during the war and everything wa lj~ People would be moved all over the
United States and all this sort of thing and I did have a fulltime mai' then because
I had a baby, a child, Carolyn.
R: Yes, yes.
S: Carolyn was our only child at that time.
R: Well, you never attempted to go back into social work professionally?
S: I toyed with the idea one time but never could work it out.
R: We didn't have, we didn't have nursery schools to put the children in.
S: No. I taught school one year after we moved into this house. I guess I taught
school in 1951 or 52. I taught at Gainesville High School and I did have fulltime
help then and Virginia Flagen, she was then, now Virginia Foot, was teaching in the
Gainesville High School and was doing, I don't really know, whatwhat something
related to health and she wanted me to work part-timeto go into children's homes,
high school children's homes to find out why they weren't eating properly, why
they weren't coming to school properly, why they weren't doing their work. In
other words, doing a+ittle social case work through the school, but at that time
the requirements were such that I would have had to gone back to the College of
Education, not to the Department of Sociology or the College of Sociology to get
additional work and I couldn't much see how the College of Education would help me
do.social case work.
R: Well, I had the same problem, I had a Master in Sociology from the University of
North Carolina but they wouldn't let me teach in the Alachua Public School System...
R:,.,and I couldn't teach in the university because of the ~epo rn Law.
S: That's right.
R: So I was just out.
S: Well, the same thing happened to me because at that time part-time work would have
suited me beautifully...
S: and it was something I/would have liked to do.
R: Well, it something that women have always needed, part-time work.but there's talk
now about doing something about it, I hope they will. Well, Sarah three children
certainly did take up all of your time and a house and a yard this big was very
demanding/in short and you were just getting your yard started...
S: That's right.
R: .,and not planting to much.
S: No and in fact we were fighting weeds.
S: And it was mostly mowing weeds.
R: And Mr. Pierceson designed this house.
R: And who built it?
R: Yes. He did most of the houses in this...
and he bu + fo comp bk;n- whr-oeve r,
S: He did. He built our first house /this house and we have.
R: Well, his wife live in next door.
S: They moved shortly after we came here. They built their house after we built this
house in which we're living.
R: I see. Now at that time the the Bullins were living in your old house weren't they?
S: No. Yes, yes, yes they were. We sold it to the first...
R: I see.
S: and then the sold it to the Bullins and the brought this house/here.
R: Right. Now tell us some of your other neighbors or were. The Kirkpatrick$ brothers
both lived out here.
S: Yes. The Kirkpatricks lived out here, the Smiths, there was a fellow from the
telephone company by the name of Cooper who lived out here. Jim Lander lived out
here andrMary and Ed Kirkland came out shortly after we did. The built
the house they brought.
R: Were the Eqnt out here then. Art _u .
S: No they came later. Powers built the house that the Bucks were in and
_Powers were there and thenthe Bucks brought it from them...
R: Yes. Well, Kirkwood...
S:,mand Mary lived across the road.
R: Kirkwood was certainly considered the place to live.
S: Kirkwood was a nice place to live and interestingly enough most of us were somewhat
struggling and we were all doing the same thing. We were planting yards, bringing
up children, meeting in the backyard. This was before the days of air-conditioning.
R: Yes. Did you have a neighborhood association in those days?
R: No. They, they came much later.
S: Well,/really it was kind of an association but the neighborhood was so small that you
really didn't invite anybody for dinner unless you invited everyone in the neighborhood
R: I see.
S: They knew you were entertaining...
S: rand as I say, no air-conditioning and all the windows were open and the blinds were
pulled so they knew you had a party.
R: Right. Well now we're coming on up to the period when Billy decides to run for
S: Billy ran for Congress in 1952. At that time, he had to resigned-from the University
of Florida. He could not hold a position at a state school and seek political office
so he was without work for one calendar year while he campaigned.
R: Oh boy. But anyway$ many of the people that he had known when he was running the
alumni office, I'm sure, at-"y around him and helped him finance that campaign.
S: That's right. He had absolutely no large contributions, he had very little money
to put in himself, although, we put in everything we had and he went to
went to Congress 5 or 6 thousands dollars in det and the salary was $15,000 a year.
R: My goodness I had forgotten that it use to be that low. What is it now?
S: About $60,000.
R:/~ell and then he became a very popular member of the Congress and his special
interest were, I sure it all told on the tape that we already have of Billy's life,
but he had deep commitment to the needs of farmers, didn't he?
S: That's right.
R: Because this /.. such a farming area.
S: That's right. He had no choices the first several years he was in Congress. He was
on the Veterans Affairs Committee which of course he was very pleased to serve on but
the majority of these peoples or the district he represented were all interest in
his being in the Agriculture Committee which he was and then prior to his defeat he
was on the prestigiouss Ways and Means Committee.
R: I see, and how many years did Billy serve in the Congress?
S: 3 He served 3 terms.
R: Right and sometime during this period you-went as a volunteer worker into Alexandria,
S: Yes. Moving to a city area was very hard for me.
R: I'm sure it was.
S: I was use to having people pop in and say "lets have a coke, lets do this, lets have
coffee," because this was the sort of neighborhood I came from...
S:,,and we moved into a city neighborhood where I had delightful neighbors but their lives
weren't set up the way mine had been.
R: No, and it was not informal.
S: No, and it was not that they didn't enjoy having a cup of coffee or that they weren't
Extremely gracious when you went to see them or when they came to see you but it was
just that they were so busy all the time.
S: I had always, I never had fulltime help but I'd always had some help and all of a
sudden I was doing all kinds of things at home too I was doing all the washing,
ironiiig, scrubbing and everything else because we couldn't afford help.
R: Now how old were the children when you lived there?
S: Donald was in kindergarten and Carolyn was in the fifth grade and Anne was in the
R: Did you have any trouble finding schools that you liked?
S: We had marvelously helper select.the neighborhood. Harold___ who was a former
associate of Billy in the Florida Union and became/Ian authority on housing..
S: Along the course of the way happened to be in Washington serving with the Navy when
Billy was elected and he invited us to come up there. He introduced us to neighbor-
hoods in Virginia and the neighborhoods in Maryland and said that this would be a
good place to;:live, transportation is good, it's close to the Capitol, schools are
good. He took us to assorted houses and told me all kinds of things about houses
that I never even thought of because I'd never rented a house before, I knew nothing
about how to select a neighborhood or how to go about looking for schools, this
kind of thing.
S: We were beautifully located in Alexandria in what they called the Beverly Hills
section, within walking distance of the George Mason School which was a marvelous
grammar school, within walking distance of the Westminister Presbyterian Church which
we happened to attend and on the busline for the George Washington High School
R: Well that was very lucky.
S: Indeed it was, indeed it was.
R: So you really enjoyed being in Alexandria.
S: I enjoyed it thoroughly after I learned how to live in the city area.
R: Yes, yes.
Ji 5reS! it
S: But I deess ad- great deal. I found out that in order to get acquainted/would
be a good idea to start doing things so I tried to find out what sort of social
case worker I could be. I had done some volunteer'here, I had worked with the
Junior Welfare League and this kind of thing before I left...
R: I see.
S: gnd I found out that they had a Community Health Center Clinic and I did volunteer
once a week on Wednesday when the entire time almost that we were in Virginia
which was 16 years, my:week revolved around Wednesday, after Wednesday was over I
R: Well good for you, but that brought you into contact with some very wonderful people.
S: It certainly did. With people I shouldn't have had the opportunity to met before and
it turned out that one woman with whom I worked became a very good friend. She
lived near me and Alexandria and we went to the clinic and had a Mighty-Mo at the
Hot Shoppe after the clinic was over and our husbands were camoia We really
became really/good friends.
R: Well now you and Billy are, both came from Presbyterian families and have always...
S: No, I was brought up a Methodist.
R: Oh, that's right you were a Methodist.
S: A very ardent Methodist on my mother's side of the family.
R: I see. Were Methodist ministers in your family then.
S: No, no, but very, very positive Methodist lay people. My grandmother in
Georgia did the communion for years and years and years and years and years and not
toilong ago when I was in Albany my oldest aunt picked up the Christian Advocate and
she looked at it and she said, "This paper has, this magazine has come to our family
for over a hundred years."
R: Right. Well, I grew up with the Christian Advocate too. So when you married Billy
you had toyor you didn't have to change to the Presbyterian Church/but you did at
S: Yes I did change to the Presbyterian Church because he was an elder in the Presbyterial
Church and the, it was noi:problem to become a Presbyterian after having been a
R: And then you were lucky enough to be in the church with Preacher Garden when you were
here in Gainesville.
S: That's right.
S: This, this is one of the big pluses of our l4fes.
R: And then the joke has ways gone that the Presbyterian have always run the
university, up until a certain period. C )i l hC
S: I don't know whether that's:true or not. We weren't here during that time.
R: I see. We wouldn't dwell on that. Now, so you thoroughly enjoyed your 14 years in
Washington and you lived in Alexandria and have wonderful school. If you were today
living in Washington, thel schools would have deteriorated or would they.
S: No I don't think so.
R: Not in Alexandria.
S: No not in Alexandria. Alexandria is interesting in that it's Alexandria City, it has
no county affiliations.
R: It just stands alone.
S: It stands alone. It's surrounded by Fairfax County and Arlington County but itIs
branA neW city
Ale.andria Ci-y, and Baltimore is Baltimore City, it has no county affiliations.
R: I never realized that.
R: They're just like Washington, D.C.
S: Yes. The...
R: /Ehey do have, they do belong to a state at leastH
S: Oh yes, yes they belong to a state. But the interesting thing about Alexandria was
a : tremendous influx of people,of course,into that area after the Rea-gen, World
War II, after government became so big, the area grew enormously and it was not until
along about World War II that the schools in Northern Virginia became so good.
Northern Virginia or all of Virginia has a pattern of private schools and the people
who should have cared about schools...
S:,,,sent their children to private schools. But with the influx of many people into the
Pagon and as I say, into government during World War II, they came from states
that did not have this pattern of private so they demanded good public schools and
Alexandria has excellent public schools and if I'm told correctly, continues to have
good public school. /schools were integrated while we were there and they did so
with not a much trouble.
R: Well, the northeastern suburbs of Washington and Maryland also had- wonderful
public schools, did they not?
S: That's right.
R: Chevy Chase....
S: And I think for the same reason, it was not until relatively recently for instance$
4-%cI/e I ele h
that Virginia had 2 grades in schools. It had It (end of tape) We were talking
about the schools in Alexandria. All three of our children graduated from school, from
Alexandria High School and with the exception, .f course, whose name I wouldn't
who was a great non-student. They had no difficulty getting into
R: I.see. Well, what about the social life of a congressmann in those days, was you
required to go to a great many teas and receptions and benefits and so forth?
S: No, again after World War II, so I understand, the social life of Washington changed
a great deal. I belonged to the congressional flub which was made up of wifes or
widows or daughters of members of Congress or former members of Congress. It had
a program tea every Friday afternoon at that time. There were luncheonsoccasionally,
the program teas were simply superb so far as I was concern because all kinds of
marvelous people came, the Secretary of State and heads of departments and this
kind of thing as well as a good many people who were visiting in Washington or
appearing in the fheater,/something of that sort, it was, I enjoyed it thoroughly,
it was a good way to meet both Republican and Democratic women...
R: Yes. a y -
S:.,,which you might not meet otherwise and then there was what was called a 3 Congress
Club which was made up of the ves of the members of the 3ri Congress and that was
the congresss to which Billy was elected.
R: I see.
S: It was the M5E Congress, and this I rirm gm MeinTaTD. Billy went in with the
Eisenhower Sweep so there were more Republicans in this group than there were
ER h Oaden e
Democrats but John Bnts, who later became the Republican hip or the Republican
leaderr in:the house, was a member of this group as well as Mel who was
Secretary of Defense and we came to know them quite well. We, it was just a very
nice group of people with whom we enjoyed being social with.
R: So your friendships were not just Democrats?
S: No, and interestingly enough the men's weren't either.
S: 'T=h;, ee, I would say that Billy had as many friends who: were Republicansas Democrats
S: You naturally associated with people from your state, and came to know them quite well
R: Well, who were some of your favorite people from the State of Florida in the Congress?
S: Mtis Holland was marvelous.
R: She was.
S: She was absolutely marvelous.
R: Mrs. A Holland.
S: She was Senator Holland's wife. Senator Holland also was very good to both Billy and
me. Rosemary m George's wife, Senator e"ah" wife, was much younger
than Mrs. Holland and consequently I didn't ask her the questions that I asked Mrs.
Holland. Mrs. Holland was helpful in anything I needed to know about, should I do
this, should I do that, could I skip this, could I do that, that kind of thing...
S: And Charlie IPt was married shortly after Billy was elected and I came to know
Jean 6enne quite well.
R: From Jacksonville.
S: Yes, and the others I came to know well to but because we lived in different parts
of the city or because they had been there for periods of time longer than we had
been I just didn't see them as often as I saw Jean.
R: Are they still in the Congress?
R: Yes I thought so. So the children enjoyed the schools there and you enjoyed the
social life and Billy was working hard in the Congress. I suppose the cost of
living was going up all the time. Well, did they get some raises to help out?
S: Yes but nothing to the extent that they have now. I've forgotten what Billy was
making at the time that we left. We lived in en ele ver to quote my husband,
we lived in a very modest house, it had three bedrooms and one bathroom and it had
a basement, not the kind of basement that was finished with a recreation room and all
those good things but it was a real working basement with a furnace and with a
laundry room. The, we had the kitchen r 9one the minute we could .afford&. We finally
brought the house. We were afraid that, we:rented for several years, and then we
brought the house from a woman who, then a relative lived in the house before and he
was going to leave and we found that the house was available. We liked the location.
We lived in one house and then moved, for a year, and then moved next door to another
house. The house that was vacated. As I say, it was extremely modest
and I was talking one day to someone about, not.that we were poverty stricken
but that we were very much constricted with just one bathroom, and she looked at me
straight in the face and said, "My dear, I know many mansions in Virginia that have
I was very careful after that...
S:...to who I did my complaining....
R: complaining, right.
S: but housing / what we gave up.
R: Yes, I see.
S: Absolutely, because there was no way we could afford the standard of living in
Virginia or in the Washington area that we could afford here.
R: Now what became of this housewhile you were...
S: We rented it.
R: You: rented it.
and rented it
S: We kept it/the entire time we were gone. We had several tenants.
R: I see. Well, it was nice to remember that you had this lovely home to come back to.
S: Well, Gainesville was always home.
R: Yes, right, and Billy would come back here to campaign every two years, weserrt he.
S: Well, Billy came back here all the time.
R: All the time, right, and you were not the kind of wife who: stayed home and rather
than going to Washington. Some of them-4e that didn't they?
S: Yes. We, we thought about that for a long time and he was in Washington more during
the school year than he was in Florida, so we decided it was more important that his
children, our children, be with him than our stay down here.
S: And for a period of time we came down, the children and I, every summer but then
when the Congress started staying in session longer and longer we stayed up there in
the summer time t~ particular after Carolyn got into college because that would mean
she would never see her father if we stayed here all summer.
R: Right, and where did Carolyn go to college?
CMnL 4o +4he
S: She went -t ______ University of Florida.
R: And metr- in?
R: I see and where is Carolyn now? Tell us little bit about her life.
S: Carolyn is teaching in Hawthorne. She teaches Spanish and English, and she has been
teaching. She has never married,and she has little house over there. She enjoys
the beach tremendously and spends as much time there and she can.
R: And she teaches in Hawthorne?
R: And where is Ann?
S: Ann is in South Carolina in a town called Right now she's not doing
anything. She is going to move back to Gainesville shortly. She has a son who is,
sadly her and her husband were divorced about three years ago.
R: I see, and your son is?
S: Our son is, has had a somewhat chatcr& career, he graduated, Ann by the way graduated
from College, our son graduated from Presbyterian College in South
Carolina and from there went into the Peace Corp., was in, .... for several
years and returned to the University of Florida, got a master, degree...
R: In what subject?
S: I was trying to think. I think he went into, I think he took his master'in South
Avl) P c: ,orp's b; I ;Ng 'd
AmeIea- History. He came out of the Peace CrzIp tLta and then he went to the
Community College in Charleston, South Carolina, taught for three years, Spanish and
Social Studies and maybe some South Ameriean History.I can't remember,or Latin
American History and then decided that if he were going to get in here in the field
of education so he came back to the University of Florida and
started his graduated work. His Ph.D /. in the College of Education. He has completed
his academic work. He his working on his dissertation. He did his research in
and what might be called there or parallel to our community college
or the beginning of a parallel to our community college.
S: He feels that in South America that the community college is the way to go.
R: I see.
S: And hopes eventually to work both there and here and at the present time-.he is in
Pensacola. He has been there during this school term doing an evaluation review
R: Well, we all remember when the community colleges came on the scene here in the
State of Florida and made such a tremendous difference-in educational opportunities.
S: That's right. Well as in the South America area his thesis it that you don't need
people with tremendously high levels of training at this time. You need, for lack of
a better word, -a management of people you can get from the schools.
R: Right, and it was the leadership of all College of Education here that launched the
community colleges on their tremendous help to the state. I was at the funeral of
Dr. Joe yesterday, at Holy Trinity Church and, of course, he was the
in the community college* movement.
S: That's right Did a great deal for the community, colleges not only here but
every where else.
S: And Dr. Jim 0C ___ is Donald major professor of course he's tremendous
R: Oh yes, yes. Now is.he still teaching in the College of Education?
S: He does a greet deal of consulting but he teaches.
R: Yes, good. I remember Dr. Lyon Henderson was the many years ago
and then he died. Right. Well, so is your son married?
R: No, he's not. But you have a grandson, twelve years old.
S: Yes, yes.
R: And what is his name?
S: His name is Donald Daily.
R: Is it wonderful to be a grandmother?
S: Yes. He is a fine boy.
R: Good. Well, maybe you:!ll have some more some day. Now, Sarah you were 9. years in
Washington and then all...
S: Actually it was l years...
R: Xi years.
S: and then there were two years with the Department of Agriculture.
R: And then suddenly he was upset in an election by whom' -.- .--
S: Do F .a
R: Don .__
S: To quote Billy, "He retired with the consent of his people."
R: Right. That's a very gracious way of putting it, yes. That's sounds just like Billy.
Bless his heart. Well, then he went out to he community college to teach.
r "/a 1 4/
S: He taught at the junior:- college, Sante Fe Community College.
R: Very popular professor.
S: Yes, I think he was.
S: He, the students, I can't remember the title...
R: Well, now did they let Billy teach at the community college without having to go back
to the College of Education?
S: Yes, Billy has a masters.
R: Well, good.
S: In addition to, he got a masters after World War II, but it was his experiences I'm
sure that, he taught Sociology for
R: And he knew so much about politics by then_
R: And then, is he still teaching?
S: It's been several years.
R: Several years since he retired, yes, and now you have never actually taught. One
year you taught.
S: Two years,
R: Two years.
S: One year in Pensacola and one year here.
R: Right. Well, now, you are active here in the First Presbyterian Church and Billy
is on great demand as a Banquet speakerr and what, what is your life like here now
that Billy is retired. Don't: you think retirement is wonderful?
S: Well yes and no. Yes, it certainly is, it certainly is. I am a __at
Lthe- muascumwhich I enjoy thoroughly. I came to know and appreciate and to
-.04 thQm =m...
R: The Florida...
S: When we were in the Washington area.
R: You mean the Florida State Museum.
S: The Florida State Museum, yes. It's not my favorite kind of museum but it's the only
knd'rf museum we have so this is the one where I do volunteer work.
R: Well, now, this record of your life history remember is going to be on file in the
Florida State Museum.
S: It's still not my favorite kind of museum, although, it is a fine museum.
R: Well, what is your favorite kind of museum?
S: I prefer a Fine Arts Ytuseum or a sort of house museum with furniture and this kind of
thing. This is the sort of museum that I really like better.
R: Well I understand that we are going to have a bonafide art gallery on the University
of Florida campus that we are working toward that now.
S: That's what I understand.
R: Yes, right.
S: But let me get back to the museum. Some of the most warming experiences I have had
since I have returned to Gainesville has been at the Florida State Museum, not only
with the students, the classroom children who come, but with the parents, and one
of the most exciting days I have ever had at the museum was when we were in the
hammock area and some of these country women all of a sudden became very important
because this is what they had known all of their Jie and it was in the museum and
you could just see it...
R: Yes, right.
S: it was just marvelous.
R: What group would have had country women in?-.'
S: Oh, they came from Lake Butler, they might come from rural places in Georgia. We
had country children from Georgia. You know all the country schools.
R: Oh, you mean the teachers, the teachers of the children.
S: Yes and parents.
R: I see.
S: Parents come toV,
R: I see. Well, now, do these tours of the museum go on every day?
S: Yes, during the school year. Teachers can make appointments for a particular program
and the program material is marvelous.
S: It is absolutely marvelous For,.oh, for instances lifestyles, food chains,
for environmental changes, for living things, for all these kinds of
thing, and the most exciting thing about the Florida State Museum is that:it's about
where we are now.
S: It is here that these things happened and were.
R: Well, it isn't unusual or unusually managed museum...
S: Yes it is.
R:,,.and it has an unique housing also. Now tell us little bit about the location and
how it was built and about that glass roof that they aste had some trouble with.
S: It wasn't a glass roof they had the trouble with. The museum is built in the shape
of aIndian mound and the...
R: I thought it was temple.
R: A cross between a Ldian mound and...
S: Well, you know a mound could be a temple but the sod side of course is a kind of
insulation and it was, it was the way these people built. The roof, the first roof
were concrete slabs that weighed tons a piece. They were four or five inches thick,
and the slabs would expand and contract and the roof would leak and then after so
long a time the, I believe I'm right about this, the steel beams started buckling.
S: So it could not bare the weight of that tremendous roof.
S: So now there is a, looks like some sort of metal roof is being put on.
S: Much lighter.
R: But the appearance of the museum and the turf side will be the same.
S: It does not change.
R: Which is very attractive and I love the flags that blow up front and I like the
idea of going underground to all these rooms and that court yard in.the middle.
It's the most attractive place.
S: It is, it really is and it is an absolutely unique museum, only a few like it in all
United States, in that it put you into the entire started with the cave
and the very primitive life the it supports, going to the forest and the all kinds of
plant and animal life that gets support, in addition to the village life that is next
to the forest, the area near water and than to the / temple where you have
the very sophisticated form of civilization that the /a___ had.
S: It's marvelous.
R: Right. Well, does your neighbor over here, Bullens, still work there as a,
as a fellow in the museum?
S: I think she does.
R: I think she does.
S: I think she can more or less pick you time but she has been an
as well as her husband.
R: I want to do an Oral History tape of and her husband before I'm through
with this project.
S: You should.
R: Yes. Who are some of your other friends whom you would suggest as possibilities of
these Oral History, you have done sef=t Fant work here that we should know about.
By the way, I wish you and Billy would join our retired faculty group, have you
S: Billy has.
R: Billy has.
S: He, I'm sure, I guess he joined me to but it is just something I haven't gotten to.
R: Well the Wednesday morning seminar>dg at the credit union...
R:.,,t very, very fine...
S: Yes, yes, Billy goes.
Pwold en5oy f-hem-
R: Yes and you wouldn't juin.
S: I'm sure that I would but Wednesday is the day that I work at the museum.
R: Oh, I see, so you have had conflict.
S: Yes. Wednesday is my museum day.
R: You couldn't possible change that.
S: Well, there is a possibility.
R: Yes, because we have been missing you there.
S: I appreciate that.
R: Now, before we end this tape is there anything else that you would like to tell
us. I'm always finding kxtt when I finish one of these interviews that there's
all sorts of areas that we should talk about and we didn't do it.
S: I think there one sort of interesting area that has come through so far as my mother's
family is concerned. My grandmother, as I said, was left with all of these children
and when she went to Albany, Georgia, after World War I with my fcle Sam, who was
not married at the time, but he told my mother and his two remaining sister, my
oldest and my youngest aunts, who still were at home, that he would stay on the
farm. "He didn't want toI but he would that he was not going to leave them there
by themselves, so they moved to Albany, Georgia, my grandmother at that time, gave
up all of her responsibilities insofar as making decisions, running the house,
this kind of thing was concerned, she turned them over to her oldest daughter,-.
my aunt, who we call Aunt Tee and grandmother gardened, she had about a fourth of
an acre in her garden and it was a lovely garden, my oldest aunt also gardened, all
by herself in that lot, fourth of an acre, up until she was well into her
I f po r""? 4
eighties. The most P thing I remember about my mother was that when I went to
Orlando, when she was hospitalized for the last time, by the back steps was her
____ck into the dirt and her garden .
S: Now, I like to have flowers but I don't like to garden to the extent that they do.
I would do enough to have flowers but not because I love _.
R: Well, so many southern women do love it
S: Yes. These, these aunts of mine did and I remember my Auntie Dee to and they
were all good gardeners.
R: Yes. Well, I think you have a lovely place here and it looks very beautifully kept.
S: We enjoy it thoroughly. Billy does the awkward, tedious work, like keeping things
clipped and doing the edging and I must say that I have to keep him out of my
flowers beds/because he pulls things up that he's not suppose to. C ,v9hyoPrj
R: Why is it that men can't learn the difference / a flower and a weed?
S: I don't know but one day he came in, I am not a neat gardener, things get bad, they
get all oveigrown with weeds and he can't stand.it and he will come in with this
pleading voice saying, "Please may I go clean out that bed," I told him yes and
he pulled ev"WP_ I had.
R: Oh, Sarah, my goodness. ollei
S: He said he thought they were weeds and when I screamed and yeltFed about it, he
looked me straight in the face and he said'it as easy, I had a hard time."
R: Oh, boy. (4 gh r-)
S: It was from there on I told him to stay out of my flower beds.
R: Well, that's one of the prettiest roses I've ever seen. What is the name of that?
S: It's a-, -a e -" It's a very, very nice rose because it has a scent.
S: Many b Yi don't.
R: That's right.,
S: But this one does.
R: Is it on the right root stock for Florida?
S: Yes, it's on the root stock and it was *Baroty- that told me
about it because her husband is a and knew about all these things. I
-4ke- Tropica C-
knew_ was, but I didn't know _____were.
R: Well, I've seen so many but I don't think I've seen this one.
S: You can get this one and you can also get a Peach( -.
R: Yes. Well, thank you so much Sarah. I've enjoyed talking with you and as soon as
this is typed up you will receive it and you can change it, correct it, amend it as
Sam Proctor says you can clean it up in anyway you want, Ok.
S: I appreciate that.
R: I don't think you've used any words that you going have to strike out
but you might want to add some things between the lines and thank you so much.
S: It's been a pleasure.