Interview with Gilbert Hall, 2014 July 13

Material Information

Interview with Gilbert Hall, 2014 July 13
Hall, Gilbert ( Interviewee )
Taylor, Jessica ( Interviewer )
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
Oral history interview


Subjects / Keywords:
Tidewater Main Street Development Project
Rural life
Family history
World War II
Spatial Coverage:
United States of America -- Virginia -- Mathews


Gilbert Hall talks about his family history and what it was like growing up in Mathews County. He discusses his experiences working with his father fishing and farming, as well as his time in the Navy enduring battles and storms and meeting the Emperor of China. He also talks about fishing with his son and how the county and fishing industry has changed over time.
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Record Information

Source Institution:
UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Holding Location:
UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Rights Management:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license:
Resource Identifier:
TMP 038A Gilbert Hall 7-14-2014 ( SPOHP )


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The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz Office Manager : Tamarra Jenkins 241 Pugh Hall Digital Humanities Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 35 2 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness acc ounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in Florida and the South. In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists, and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, S POHP recommends that researchers refer to both the transcript and audio of an interview when conducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Suggested corrections to transcripts will be reviewed and processed on a case by case basis. Oral history int erview t ranscripts available on the UF Digital Collections may be in draft or final format. SPOHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the ori ginal oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim d ocument of it. The transcript i s written with careful attention to reflect original grammar and word choice of each interviewee; s ubjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and form at I nterviewees can also provide their own spelli ng corrections SPOHP transcribers refer to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information abo ut SPOHP, visit or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. May 2015


TMP 038 Interviewee: Gilbert Hall Interviewer: Jessica Taylor Date: July 13, 2014 H: I know you must be hard up to want to know something I know. m ninety years T: This is Jessica Taylor interviewing Gilbert Hall on July 13, 2014. And where are we right now? H: At my house. T: In Peary? H: Oh, Peary? Oh, Peary, yeah. T: Virginia. H: Yeah. T: Mr. Hall, can you state your full name? H: Gilbert Sewall Hall. T: Okay. And when were you born? H: [Laughter] 1924. T: 1924. H: June 11 1924. T: Okay, and where were you born? H: Right i n h ere. T: In this house?


TMP 038; Hall; Page 2 H: Uh huh. T: Tell me about this house. H: Talk to my grandfather. T: Why did he choose here to build it? H: I reckon he want had T: Tell me about living in Mathews when you were a ch ild. H: you. [Laughter] T: H: Played in the creek, if I could get in there. T: Yeah? H: Yeah. T: What creek was your favorite? H: Horn Harbor, right here. T: Right here? H: Uh huh. T: Okay. What kind of man was your dad?


TMP 038; Hall; Page 3 H: Pound fisherman. Little, small man. T: What about your mom? H: She was huge. [Laughter] Oh, she was gigantic. R: This is on record, now. [Laughter] H: Oh, T: Why was she so huge? H: R: She was a good cook. [Laughter] H: My grandmother her mother was a right good size, but nothing like my mother. My mother had great big legs under her uniform Legs you know seen people like that Roscoe. Great big legs. R: She was a nice lady, though, Miss Bessie was. T: H: Not that I know of. [Laughter] R: He was the only one. He too [Laughter] T: H: Yes. T: Tell me about ghost stories tha t you heard when you were a kid. H: The g host stories?


TMP 038; Hall; Page 4 T: Yeah. H: T: H: everybody down here believed in it, but I never did. T: What did they believe H: They scared of the dark. T: Yeah? H: You think so? Roscoe boats all of them down here. R: All of them. H: Virginia West and Aunt Claude and daddy about all I know down this way. R: Hobbes, Hobbes scared to death of everything. H: [Inaudible at 3:03] ] R: Yep. H: to death of dark. Sup erstitious. T: H: No, n [Laughter]


TMP 038; Hall; Page 5 T: Did you ever go to Old House Woods? H: No, I never did go there. T: No? H: What do you know about that? [Laughter] Yo u go there, Roscoe? Did you? I R: H: It has? It already has? R: Yeah. H: [Inaudible at 3:46 ] R: everybody Matt Forest lived y ou know where Matt used to live ? H: Yeah. R: Right across the road. H: Uh huh. It was, right across the road. R: Right across the road, yeah. T: Where did you learn to fish from? H: From m y daddy. T: How did he teach you? H: How did he treat me? T: How did he teach you? Educate you?


TMP 038; Hall; Page 6 H: a rock bone, and they had to cut that bone out. My teenage years were the worst years I ever had, worse than the service. I had throbb ing, beating headaches for, R: Yes. H: Till they cut that bone out. R: He had a serious operation on it. T: Wow. H: They c ut seventeen pieces out, something like that And I was telling my daughter one night when I could tell just as good when the rain come or anything now. That was cut out in [19]41. It still hurts a little bit. You feel like your skin crawls you know? But, I broke a whole lot of ribs now, but I never They notice a lot of difference. T: When did you leave school? H: New Point, at New Point one year. Yes. T: What was that like? H: It was a lot of fun. T: Yeah? What did you do? H: [Laughter] In a way it was, but I had to quit, like I say, on account of I was sick. T: When did you quit?


TMP 038; Hall; Page 7 R: Ei ghth grade. T: Eighth grade. Okay. H: T: Aw. Well, you turned out fine. H: You think so? T: Yeah. H: Well, my ex fourteen T: So tell me about working with your dad. H: Hard work. T: Yeah? H: Uh huh. T: What was it like every day? What di d you do? H: Oh, fishing or whatever we had to do. Fishing or hanging nets or cutting stakes or doing something in that order Worked in a corn field too in the spring. Was no end to work around here. And my grandfather raised a good garden, and I done much about it, but I done a lot of work in the garden in my young teenage years. Always had he raised a big garden; Roscoe, you knew. He raised for Tom,


TMP 038; Hall; Page 8 Dick, and Harry, for everybody. Bu t I said I told him get them to come in and do some of the work? [Laughter] He always was giving something to his neighbors, you know? R: T: When you were a child, what did you think of the old watermen? H: Oh, I l oved them. Yeah. T: Do you remember any of them? H: Yeah. I remember all of them around here : Henry Armistead and his brothers, and my daddy and his brothers down here. All these around here, I remember all of them. T: How did they treat you? H: They tre ated me all right. Everybody got along good. Yeah. T: So tell me about your time in the service. H: I was part of the invasion, and we sunk two submarines. Had seven stars. And I was in a typhoon where six ships got lost. T: What happened? H: We had a ty phoon, and it sunk these ships. T: What was it like for you? H: It was hell on earth, I can tell you that. Expect a kid try to drive in it. A hundred and fifty mile an hour winds. But we sunk two subs.


TMP 038; Hall; Page 9 T: How did you survive? H: T: Why did you not get sunk, and everybody else got sunk? H: sure, but I think so. We was on the ship that was with the carrier when the storm cleared up. What the captain said, hundred and fifty mile an hour wind? R: H: I think so. T: Roscoe said you were steering. Was that the same time? H: Hell yeah. No. T: Tell me about that. H: All I had to do then is hold the wheel of the gunshi p for the side of the engine. There were two engines: one on one side and one and you stayed with the engine. You had a job to stay in there to start with. R: some degrees? H: Forty seven degrees. R: Yeah, forty seven degrees. Ye down.


TMP 038; Hall; Page 10 H: Forty seven degrees and laid right there. I mean, employees would think it five. But she levered out at forty seven. R: H: R: I know it. H: want to do it anymore, you know? That was a close chance. R: Yeah, it was. H: That was a chance. R: That is a miracle you survived that. H: Yes, sir. T: Were you nervous? H: I had to -[Laughter] I reckon I was. R: You were working too hard to be nervous. H: Yeah, indeed. We could get sunk any minute you know? T: I heard that you met the E mperor of China? H: Yeah. Well, we carried him two places. [INTERRUPTION IN INTERVIEW] H:


TMP 038; Hall; Page 11 T: Did you see him? H: Oh, yeah! He was on that ship. T: H: A nice looking man, him a nd his son. Chiang Kai shek. T: Wow. H: Chiang Kai carried him to Tintin. rom China, you T: Where were you when you found out the war w as over? H: T: Okay. H: Somewhere over there in the tropics. T: What was it like coming back home to Mathews? H: It was right good. [Laughter] Mathews looked like New York down here. [Laughter] Looked like Ho nolulu. You ever been in Honolulu? [Laughter] Better get on another subject except Honolulu. T: Okay.


TMP 038; Hall; Page 12 R: Okay. H: [Laughter] You gonna leave her over here? R: H: I think so. T: Have a good dinner! H: I think so, too, Roscoe. T: I got my heels on. H: [Laughter] I think so, too, Roscoe. R: [Laughter] Call my father in him or whatever. T: Okay, thank you. H: T: I just talked to hi m today. Just met him today. H: Today? Where you meet him at? T: At his house. H: Oh. You interviewed him? T: Yeah, I did. H: You did? [Laughter] T: Yeah.


TMP 038; Hall; Page 13 H: T: H: usins called people that have plenty of money you know? Big potato. T: So when you came back, how did your family receive you? H: All right. T: Yeah? H: Yeah. T: Did they miss you while you were gone? H: I know they did. I think my mother wrote to me every day. T: What did she say when she wrote to you? H: She missed me and all that stuff, you know. You know, I never was homesick. I ? But I never did get homesick. And I never stayed away from home now neither, but I had a cousin that worked from home and, oh, he got in bad shape. Rough shape. T: H: t home, come home, g ood as anybody, you know? But I really seen him really get real sic k, you know? T: So when you came back, how was your life different after the war?


TMP 038; Hall; Page 14 H: Oh, it takes a while. Take me a while. I was thin, nervous. It take me a while to bu er to a certain extent. It comes and goes. T: Yeah. H: My ex wife comes and goes, too. [Laughter] T: H: ears in business. I had to go ice shadowing 13:54 ] T: So can you tell me how you taught him how to fish? H: My son? T: Mm hm. H: He was a lot liked it. He picked it right up. T: He did? H: fishing, you know? T: What were your favorite places to crab and fish? H: Sand Bank, here in Horn Harbor. T: What are the names of the different inlets and creeks and things around here?


TMP 038; Hall; Page 15 H: Just, w e always called it old Horn Harbor, you know? Where the boats sailed out, I worked here in Horn Harbor I used to go to Cape Charles to catch some T: Mm hm. How did Horn Harbor get its name? H: T: Do you know any old stories about Mathews? H: No. T: Like Civil War? H: [Laughter] No. No. T: How long have the Halls been here? H: T: Interesting. H: Yeah. T: What do you want f or Mathews in the future? What do you want it to look like? H: looks like you. You liv T: Florida.


TMP 038; Hall; Page 16 H: Florida. How you get way down here? T: I went to William and Mary. H: Uh huh. T: Yeah. H: Are you finished there? Are you still going through the course? T: A little bit. H: Uh huh. T: Yeah. So how h as Mathews changed over time? H: of Mathews at one time. Now, with the people in shipyards and stuff and pound think, but after that, a couple years, it was played right out. T: When you look out the window, how does the bay look different, or the harbor look different? H: T: H: No, I think this is about the oldest one down here, as far as I know. T: When y ou were a kid, were there older ones than this one?


TMP 038; Hall; Page 17 H: Between here and the old port T: Do you remember the stores? H: The stores? Oh, yes, my Lord. T: What did that look like? H: ere now. Little country place. They s old net and stuff out there. Copper paint and net, for watermens, you know? Crab pots, wire, and lines and stuff. But they sold it. They were all around here in the Tidewater to Norfolk across the bay to Cape Charles They were good people to be with. Very good. T: Tell me about hanging nets. H: I worked out of Ocean Product for ten years hanging net s after I got hurt on a boat and I money in it, but I was glad I could do it you know? For eight year s the hardest work. T spend time cutting grass than sit in the ho use. [Laughter] I tr y cutting with a push mower to get some exercis e, you know? I might work fifteen minutes, come in the house. I worked this morning about two hours off and on, then after it got hot I like to come in the house. T: Tell me about what hanging net s means. How do you do it? H: You take it, you hang it where half hitched after so much, run a line through somewhere until you catch a half hitch, and keeping going. You got to have the xplain.


TMP 038; Hall; Page 18 T: H: Yeah! I slipped off a pile driver and fell about six or eight feet across the six by six and about that far off the bottom of the boat. I broke three ribs on that side, the luckiest the person in the world, have no pains. T: Mm hm. Do you have any stories that you want to tell me? H: T: H: All right, yeah. [ End of interview ] Transcribed by: Jessica Taylor Audit edited by: Patrick Daglaris, October 13, 2014 Final edited by: Patrick Daglaris

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