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The Foundation for The Gator N ation 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 correct ions to transcripts will be reviewed and processed on a case by case basis. Oral history interview 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 or i ginal oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim d ocument of it. The transcript is 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. Th e draft trans cript can also later undergo a final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and format I nterviewees can also provide their own spelli ng corrections SPOHP transcribers refer to the Merriam progr am specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information about SPOHP, visit http://oral.history.ufl.edu or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168.
TMP 111 Interviewee: Bessie Emo ry Interviewer: Jessica Taylor Date: July 10, 2016 T: This is Jessica Taylor, and it's July 10, 2016. Ma'am, can you please state your full name? E: B e s s i e, Bessie. And then just use an A in the middle for Abernathey really. And I've been married twice. D o you want both of those? T: If you want to. E: And then the next one is Clements, C l e m e n t s, and the next one is E m o r y, Emory. T: Wonderful. When were you born, if you don't mind me asking? E: 3/25/20. T: Okay. And what were your parents' names and occupations? E: Sarah, S a r a h, Columbia, C o l u m b i a, Lewis, L e w i s, Abernathey. A b e r n a t h e y. T: Okay. E: And my daddy's name was Charles Henry, C h a r l e s H e n r y, Abernathey. Do you know how to spell i t? T: Yeah, you already spelled it. What did they do for a living? E: Farmer, he was really a fa rmer but he was also a miller. T grains and so forth. And he was a sawmill g uy. That's enough. He was most anything he had to be.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 2 T: Okay. Where did they live? E: They lived [inaudible 1:51] it's next door to it. T: Where did they farm? E: Right there. T: Just here? [Nina West]: Yeah, in Gloucester. It was her house is on a piece of the property that her daddy owned. T: Okay. What was the name of the mill? E: One of them was Cow Creek Mill, which I have pictures right up there, and the other one was Burke's Mil, B u r k e s Burke's Mill. T: Okay. E: They're both in Gloucester. T: Okay. And he owned both of them? E: He didn't own eithe r one. H e was the miller. T: He was the miller. E: And they were run by a waterwheel, both of them. They had after a while they were all, of course, run by engine. But they were both waterwheel establishments.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 3 NW: He did have a mill, a little smaller mill at his house in later years. E: Yeah, that was run by an engine, the smaller little mill that he ran. And he still milled some mainly was corn that he fixed up, which was made so we could have cornbread and things like that with the meal. But he did som e wheat and things like that where like the whole wheat bread or whatever you wanted you could use it. T: Wow. What did his typical work day look like? E: Okay. First NW: Time to get up. E: H e got up approximately about five o'clock in the morning, and he cooked he heated the woodstoves, and the wood, of course, was cut out the woods and fi xed for the stove. And then while the stove was getting hot he took some cornbread, which we had cornbread, depending on the time of the year, there were different i ngredients. There was plain old cornbread and then there was regular batter bread or what they call good cornbread now. But he didn't use sugar in it. H e figured the corn was sweet enough. T: Okay. So then after E: He did that because they had t here wa s ten of us children. So M ama had all she could do to take care doctoring the children and nursing them and so forth. So both of them had full time occupations. And while the cornbread was cooking,
TMP 111; Emory; Page 4 he went down and fed the horses and a mule that he had so they could go in the field and do the crops with machinery that they walked behind. Not this elaborate stuff that you see in the fields now. T: When did he go to bed at night? E: Oh, nine o'clock. Approximately nine o'clock because all the lights had to go out at nine o'clock. If we didn't do our lessons, too bad. T: Why did the lights go out at nine? E: Because yo u were up he was up at five. W e all had to be at the table by six. T: Okay. E: He was a disciplinarian, if you want to know. T: Really? E: And a very nice one. T: [Laughter] Where did you go to school? E: I went to all of it to Botetourt High School in Gloucester County. T: Okay. E: I finished up there. T: What was that like?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 5 E: You wouldn't believe it, I'd call it heaven itself, because I enjoyed every minute of reading and all. NW: Did you tell her about when you got to school in the morning, what you did before school? E: She didn't ask that. But anyway, there were requirements that we had to do, they all assigned us chores and we were told, my sister and I she was a little younger than I was that you have to do those dishes and wash and so forth. Then you can get dress ed and then you can go to school, but you better not be late to school. T: What kind of person was your mother? E: Oh, she didn't tell D addy no, I will tell you that. She didn't always say yes either. No, they got along fine. T : Do you know how they met or anything about their lives before children? E: Oh, now, he went from place to place with the mills that he sawmi lls and gristmills and all that type of thing like that. Because he used to have to be the mechanic and everythi ng, you know, tend to it all. And hiring and firing and so forth. But then he also farmed and oh, whatever had to be done he did it. NW: Do you know how they met?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 6 E: I do not know really how they met. But they he did go across the line into Mathews Co unty, which is Mathews now. But before that it was part of Gloucester County. T: Okay. NW: Ask how old they were when they got married. T: How old were they when they got married? E: Mama was twenty two and D addy was thirty five. T: Wow. NW: And then they had ten kids. T: And then had ten kids? E: Uh huh. T: Wow. That's something. E: See, it's a different day from what today is. T: Uh huh. So what do you remember about how Gloucester Courthouse looked at the time? E: I can't give you an accurate one, but we did not have a wall around the Courtho use. Which we do have a wall there And that was where all the men met on court day. Women and children weren't allowed until they got a certain age.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 7 T: Women weren't allowed? NW: They didn't get to go until what, 192 0, something. E: I don't know exactly about using the word allowed. There was no stipulation that they couldn't come. But usually it was a men's party. [Laughter] E: All the court things, you know. What was going on and so forth. Somebody had to stay home, somebody had to watch the kids. T: Uh huh. So you never saw court day? E: I never went to court day. I knew it was going on and so forth, but I didn't go to court day. T: About what age could male children go? E: I can't really answer that because I I doubt that they had to be a pretty good age, I would say. Not before they were twelve hardly, because th ey had to stay in hey didn't have permission like they have today to do everything. T: Okay. Do you remember May Day? E: Oh, yes. Dance around the m aypole and all those kind of things. Yeah, we had big May Days. We used to try to have them on May first, if we could. T: Where did those happen?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 8 E: I didn't catch i t. T: Wh ere did they put up the m aypole? E: Oh, that was usually at the school. That was part of the school activities. T: Oh, okay. E: The school took care of really all the activities we had. There were no skating rinks. There were no bowling alleys there and th ose kind of things. They did some ic e skating when enough ice fall down on the ponds and so forth. T: That's wonderful. Do you remember the drugstores? Did you ever go to Gray's or Morgan's? E: I knew went to the drugstores and I knew the pharmacists and so forth. We all knew each other. Anyone in the county knew the other that lived around the Courthouse knew the people, and the people in the lower county knew those. We were very sociable and so forth. T: What was Christmas like in the Courthouse? E: T hey did not do too much as far as decorating or anything like that, because people did not have the money. It was during the Depression and so forth. T: Okay. E: You were lucky if you got one present. T: What do you remember about the Depression?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 9 E: Well, now, we didn't suffer badly, because we were living on a farm, we grew the vegetables. Daddy raised hogs, we sort of had that meat. He didn't raise the beef then He raised rabbits. You see, the milk, we got it all from the cows and so forth. We had a cow at home. H e did not have machinery to do the farming with. It was done behind a set of horses, two horses pulling the things, the plough and so forth. And they walked behind the plough, they didn't have even a seat on it. T: Did you have any dogs or pets o r anything like that? E: Not until we were a pretty good age, and then we got our orders about how to take care of the dog was going to disappear. T: What kind of dog was it? E: Dog. T: Okay, fair enough. NW: Bowser? E: Yeah, but that was their name. But I don't know the breed. T: What was the name? NW: Tell her what the name was. E: Bowser. B o w s e r I think is the way you pronounce it. T: Okay, okay. Did you do things special for Christmas as a family?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 10 E: Oh, the fam ily, that was a big family time. See, Mama had four brothers, and only three of them sta yed in Gloucester and Mathews. T he other one went to Oklahoma because he arthritis terrible. So out in Oklahoma he didn't have any trouble with it. The three families that lived here, we all visit ed each other' s homes, and did we have a ball! We had fun of all kinds. Played games and everything. Kids all mingled and so forth. Big families. NW: Christmas tree? T: Christmas tree? E : Definitely, yes. Daddy saw that we got a Christmas tree. Some of us would go with him to help pick it out, if you're old enough. T: Oh, that's wonderful. Do you want to just ask her? You're welcome to. NW: Tell them what kind of tree that you had. E: Oh, it was always a cedar tree then. And that made the house smell so good. And we decorated it and so forth. At first we made a lot of the ornaments, and then gradually, maybe each Christmas we could get a box. We kept adding to them, and they were preserved ve ry anyway, well preserved. T: Okay. What did you have for dinner for Christmas or Thanksgiving?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 11 E: We had pies that they'd stack up, they kept making them and stack ed them up on top of each in the coldest room in the house. There were no refrigerators. T: Oh, really? What was the coldest room in the house? E: At that time it was the dining room we didn't use too often. So that made it alright. NW: Y'all didn't have a dairy? E: No. NW: His grandmother had a dairy. CW: Yeah. A little house outdoors built up on stilts. In the cold weather they would put cakes and the pies in there. E: See, the animals couldn't get to it and the weather didn't affect it and so forth. They had the m around but we didn't have one T: Oh, okay. NW: The ice they got at times they got off the winters must've been colder, off the Mill Pond. And they put it in this dirt thing that they had. E: Oh, in the woodchips. Packed down woodchips down in a well it s own weight you know They called them icehouses, they had a house over top of them but they went down in the well, then they dug it out so it was down in the ground.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 12 Most of the ice that they could keep in it they kept for a good while, was cut off the pond, where they cut the ice off the pond and pulled it in and brought it down there on the outside [inaudible 16:32] on the ponds where they cut the trees and so forth. T: Wow. E: To keep it. And it would keep down in the ground. It had to be down in the ground. It was like j ust a a lot of well we used the side of it and the rest of it put so it could be used. T: How long could it keep for? E: Well, they'd keep it into the summer if you didn't bother it. T: Wow. E: It depended on the ice now. But that ice didn't melt fast down in the ground like that. T: Wow. NW: And then they had the cow, and G randmamma made her butter, you know, churned the butter and whatever. E: Made butter, and they she had a p inter that she p inted butter, and it'd pay half a pound s or pound pieces. And that was extra money if we didn't eat it all. [Laughter]
TMP 111; Emory; Page 13 T: Was your grandmother around when you were a child? E: I never saw either one of my grandmothers. T: Oh, okay. E: Never was fortunate enough. My daddy's mother died at childbi rth, and my other grandmother I did not see because she died five years before I was born. She was driving her horse and I'll say buggy, because I don't know what she was driving at that time. Because they drove their team into town because they knew how She got thrown when something startled the horse and the horse ran into the barn and she got killed. T: Wow. Oh my goodness. E: So I never saw my grandmothers. T: Wow. So who was the doctor when you were growing up? E: My daddy. T: Really? There was no c ounty E: Now, we had two doctors in the county that I know of, and there was another one in Mathews County. But one was Dr. Davison he was over on the York River, well over that way, and then here, maybe there was three o f them. Anyway, more than that a s I got older. Then Dr. Tabb was here at the village, Gloucester Village. And then down further we had the Dr. Clemen t s, and he was on what's now Route 17 going down. He lived about halfway down there from Gloucester to
TMP 111; Emory; Page 14 Gloucester Point. And then we had Dr Smith in the edge of Bena, Guinea, or that section of NW: Hayes. E: Hayes. T: It was Smith? E: They didn't call it Hayes back then. NW: It was the Hayes S tore, wasn't it? E: Yeah, Hayes S tore. Yeah. T: Okay. So you said your father was your doctor? E: Daddy could do most anything that needed to be done. And I'd rather have him th an a midwife when the children were born. T: Really? E: He was wit h me when my children were born. I didn't go to the hospital. T: It was your fathe r that delivered your childre n? Wow. E: He just learned it himself. He taught himself all kinds of stuff. T: Do you remember him doctoring the children? E: Now, he never practiced doctor ing
TMP 111; Emory; Page 15 T: Right. E: But if he couldn't do what you call, preliminary doctoring. What do you call it w hen you do it everyday doctoring, if he couldn't do that then he always called a doctor. He never was smart enough, never considered himself smart enough to do it. I had a doctor for all the times, but he was the first one I called. T: Who was the doctor that your dad would call if he wasn't sure of what to do? E: Well, the only one I had was the Dr. Tabb here at the Village. Dr. Harry Tabb. T: Okay. What do you remember about him? E: I won't tell you all I remember. [Laughter] T: Okay. E: He was good. He was a very good doctor. But he was a social rebel, in a way. He wouldn't like to hear me say that, but he wasn't anybody's angel. T: Okay. NW: Not telling stories out of scope ? T: No, that's fine. So do you remember anything about his office or his house? Did you ever visit him there?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 16 E: Oh, he rarely had a nurse. Because there weren't many nurses at that time, that was rare. He was extra good. He believed in taking your tonsils out, that that would heal most everything. [Laughter] NW: So all three of her children had their tonsils taken out. She had her tonsils taken out, what, after you got married? E: Yeah, I was in my twenties when I had my tonsils out because he said I would not be able to hear the children cry if I didn't. And so I was at least eighty five before I suffered from my hearing. T: Wow. E: I'm older than that now. T: So there was Dr. Tabb and there was an African American doctor, right, on the court c ircle? NW: The black doctor, do you remember who the black doctor was? T: Dr. Morris? E: Wa it a minute, wait a minute. Dr. Gray was the pharmacist. NW: No, the black doctor. E: I'm trying to think, wait a minute.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 17 [ C arlton West]: Dr. Morris? E: Huh? NW: Do you remember a Dr. Morris? E: Oh, he was here later years, yeah. He wasn't one of the old d octors. I knew him, he lived in the Village here. NW: When did Dr. Springall come? E: Oh, he was one of the late doctors, too. The old doctors were the ones I gave her. Dr. Tabb was the main one in the village. Towards Gloucester Point, that part of Glouce ster, was Dr. Smith and Dr. Clemen t s. The two doctors. And then they had a doctor I can't think o f the name now that lived on the York River side. T: Okay. E: I can't think of the name right now. But I never had him. Daddy did call him once that I know but I didn't know what it was for though. T: Do you remember the Botetourt Hotel, ever going in there? E: Yes, but well not very seldom. That was a gathering place for those who had come to relax And that wasn't many people. H ad to have some money to d o that. We had to work.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 18 NW: In later years, she worked in that building because she was a commissioner of the revenue, and their office was in there. T: Oh, really? Oh, wow. E: Yeah, I moved all around. T: Wow. So which drugstore did you go to? E: Both of them. T: Both of them? E: And knew them personally. T: Okay. E: Most of us did. As I said, it was very nice, congenial people. And we all knew each other, black and white. There'd be no distinction. CW: Dr. Gr a could go in there and get a milkshake or something like that if you wanted to. He had the counter there. E: They were very good to the young people, both of them were. They had young people themselves. The young p eople could go in and talk CW: One of the Morgan's is still living. T: Harvey? NW: Yeah.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 19 T: I interviewed him this morning for the second time. E: What? NW: She interviewed Harvey Morgan. E: Harvey. Harvey's one of my little specials. Don't tell him I said so but he knows it. [Laughter] T: Who was your best friend growing up? Or did you have lots? E: The next door neighbor, because we didn't go anywhere. CW: The next door neighbor wasn't too close. NW: Yeah, I'm sure they had the Walkers there. E: The Walkers were there and the whole big Foster family. They were big families, so you h ad people around you. We didn't do too much going. We had chores to do and had things that had to be done and we did them. So that's it. T: Okay. NW: And they went to church. Y'all went to school and went to church? E: Yeah, which we had to walk to because they had no cars. No trucks or nothing. You got there you walked there. NW: But you had a bus for school.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 20 E: In the later years, yeah. NW: But you remember walking to school? E: Oh, I didn't walk to school. T: Okay. E: Now, the older ones did, some of them. No, there were no buses then. You bought your own books and so forth. Had commercial subjects, Botetourt, when I went in 1936 or 7, in that point of a time, you had to pay a dollar for each subject a month in ord er to get the commercial subjects. T: Wow. I've never heard that. E: The books weren't free. The parents had to pay for the books. And none of that stuff was free. And most of them, they had to see that the teachers got paid. And Dr. Tabb that I'm talking about helped to start the big high school there. T: How's that? E: He engineered the building of it, getting it started. T he community did it. T: Okay. E: The town they didn't have a government to do things for you. You gotta do it yourself. T: Do you re member the change in P rohibition, or was that before your time?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 21 E: Yeah, that was the joke of the season. T: That was the what? NW: The joke E: Of the season. T: Why is that? E: Oh, b oot liquor was everywhere. NW: Bootleggers. E: And it was interesting w here they hid it, and the authorities couldn't find it. Sometimes it was hidden under a rug that was over the top of a piano the piano was over the top of that and there was a cellar underneath. Pretty nice bootlegging joint. [Laughter] T: So how did the liquor get around? Was it by automobile? CW: Yeah. E: The automobiles. T: Did bootleggers use automobiles? E: I don't know no, they didn't have automobiles even then.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 22 T: Really? E: Most of us got by animals pulling the wagons or whatever. The wagons mos tly. W a g o n s. [Laughter] No, we got along but we didn't go very much. The biggest stores, W.C. Tucker's at Christmas, and most of them went to get the Christmas on Christmas Eve. CW: Five and ten. E: Huh? NW: Five and ten cents store. Tucker's Five and Ten. They it down now but they just put signs recently in that area. E: They just taken all those buildings out and made a pa rk where the store was now. T: Uh huh. E: Did you see that in the paper? CW: He sold everything you wanted right there. E: Huh? NW: He said they sold everything you wanted, or you had money to buy it E: Oh, if you had money to buy it And sometimes he had trouble with that. Because one man came in at Christmas, Christmas Eve Mr. Tucker and Daddy was good friends a nd came in on Christmas Eve and he wanted to buy a billfold.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 23 And Mr. Tucker looked at him, he said, what do you want with a billfold? Mr. Tucker knew he didn't have any money, because he been putting him on a charge account. Most everybody had a charge account, we didn't have NW: Credit cards. E: Credit cards. Anyway, he said to him what do you need a pocketbook for? The man said, I just want a billfold. He said, you must want that to show off, don't you? He said, what are you gonn a put in it? Because he knew that guy didn't have money to do it, you know. So I don't know what the final solution was. The storekeeper didn't want to sell it to him because he knew he didn't have any money to pay for it. T: Wow. E: Se e, that's the type of personal thing it was to g o shopping. They knew you and they knew your family and knew all of it. T: When did your family buy their first car? NW: Your daddy never owned a car, did he? E: He bought a Ford, a M odel T Ford but it didn't last very long He only had one car. T: What did he use it for when he had it? E: Oh, it was our biggest toy we had. Everybody tried to learn to drive it, and all of that kind of stuff. But he just did things that normally he would do with a horse
TMP 111; Emory; Page 24 and buggy. Go get groceries or somethin g like that if he was going any distance. But most of the time he went on a wagon behind two horses. T: Wow, okay No, I'm just trying to think of how to ask the next question. So it died really quickly? NW: The automobile wagon last long ? E: No, because most of them couldn't go after the Depression no one had any money to buy anything with. T: Okay. So it only lasted like a decade maybe? E: No, they kept buying them a little at a time Some of the big shots from New Yor k or Philadelphia and so forth, they were traded down occasionally. Maybe the big doctors or somebody like that got one. But most people didn't have them School buses, the first school bus I remember anything about, the man built a body to go on it and so forth. And the seats in it, it had a big se a t on each side with a center seat that was divided, you could sit on both sides of it in the center seat. But it was very it wasn't a big bus, but that was the first bus I remember. Most of them, they somebody in the neighborhood furnish a buggy or not an oxcart, now, a buggy or small conveyances, wagons and so forth. And the children rode them. Otherwise, they walked. T: Okay. E: Period.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 25 T: Who taught you how to drive? E: Even the cock couldn't tell you that. I learned most of it myself. In fact NW: My daddy E: Yeah, your daddy did. NW: When she was E: My first boyfriend taught me to drive. T: What was that like? How did he teach you to drive, on what car? E: It was his, I guess. Yeah, it was supposedly his. T: What kind of car did he have? E : I don't even remember. It was something like a Model T Ford but I don't know, I wasn't interested in the car. T: Okay. [Laughter] NW: She was interested in driving because the sheriff at that time asked her was she ever going to get her license. He'd s een her driving. E: I was ready to get married, after I finished high school and all. This sheriff said, he said, I wondered when you were coming to get your license. He says, you been driving for a long time. Wasn't [inaudible 33:24] we were buddies. T: How did you meet your boyfriend?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 26 E: Oh, Lord. At church. T: Okay. Do you remember the Texaco station? CW: We all know about it. E: The what? T: The Texaco station? J.C. Brown? E: Oh, yeah. I know when that was put up there. NW: You know when it was built? E: Oh, yeah. I know when they had all dirt roads in Gloucester. T: Was the gas station before they paved the roads? E: I don't remember exactly that, as far as dates are concerned. T: Okay. Did you ever stop at the gas station, the Texaco? E: No, I think H oward what's his name was there, Brown. NW: Yeah, you E: O ne armed man. NW: You got gas there. E: Yeah, I got gas there. Yeah. T: Do you remember anything in particular about it? Anything about Howard?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 27 E: It was sort of a little meeting place because that was the only gas available for a long time. CW: They checked your oil and cleaned your windshield. E: Huh? CW: They checked your oil and cleaned your windshield. E: Yeah. Oh, yes. The nice part about it, they did check the oil and clean the windshield and do other things. Little things for you, you know, like look at the spark plugs if necessary or something like that. But you can't get that good service anymore. T: Do you remember the Calvin Hotel? Did you ever eat there, the Calvin Hotel? E: Oh, yes. But that didn't last very long. That came up and down. They may have been there three, four years but I don't think it was any longer than that. I don't think it was any longer than that. NW: I don't know. Carlton's sister's husband CW: Stayed there whe n he was in the service. NW: When he was in the service, going with his sister in the Guinea area. In fact, there's one time he walked from the Guinea area to the Courthouse to stay at the Calvin Hotel.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 28 E: I don't know how long they were there Let me see approximately. They weren't there too long, the Gloucester Hotel was the only one we had. CW: Botetourt. E: Until these two came down that we've got down there now. They had a hotel at Gloucester Point, things like that. Where the steamers came in from Bal timore to get produce and things and go back up. T: Wow. So what was where the Calvin Hotel was before that? CW: [inaudible 36:03] E: It was open ground I think. CW: Oh, before. E: I think it was open ground, because the Robinson s the auto place was the c losest place to that. I think, I think I'm right. But it seems that was selling automobiles. Robinson's Hotel. CW: The Calvin H otel is still there. E: Huh? CW: It's still there. T: Where is that?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 29 CW: You go to Gloucester on the left hand side [inaudible 36:30] see it. NW: Next to Tri County Furniture. CW: [inaudible 36:34] T: Okay, alright. Okay. NW: The Calvin Hotel was next to Tri County Furniture. E: Yeah. NW: Because the Booker, it's the Bookers that built it. Yeah. E: That was w hen I was in high school, in the 30s. T: So if the Calvin Hotel wasn't there, where did you go for dates and stuff like that? E: To church mostly. T: You dated at church? Like church functions? E: Yeah. T: Okay. Which church was yours? E: Mount Zion Me thodist. T: Okay. NW: The little church up on the hill on the way to Mathews.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 30 T: Okay. CW: Left hand side. T: On the left hand side. Okay. E: But now, down on the river from that, lane leaving the road that's there now, which is part of the old road that w as put through. There used to be dirt road. Down on the water now were some big estates that the Queen of England had something to do with and things like that. And where the boats came up, commercially, and so forth like that. But that was up in the hills where the poor people were. T: Do you remember the Edge Hill House? What went on in there? E: Now, that was a cl ub house as far as I've known it. I just found out that it was never what do yo u call it? [Inaudible 38:15] An ordinary, never was an ordinary that's what they called hotels in that time. T: Oh, okay. E: It never was an ordinary. NW: But we thought it was. It was called Longbridge Ordinary. E: And another thing, they thought that it was a stopping place for all the dignitaries that came through, but that did not pan out. [Laughter]
TMP 111; Emory; Page 31 E: They just found that out that that was all false propaganda. T: False propaganda. E: Propaganda is bad enough, but false propaganda is terrible. [Laughter] T: Did you ever meet T.C. Walker? E: I did. T: Okay What was that like? E: He was a wonderful person. Copy that in all capital letters. He did more for the blacks and for the community, because he was a regular lawyer. He took his cases and he won most of them. He was a I don't even have [inaudible 39:2 9], all su perlatives, because he started the school for the blacks where they had a nice school and everything. Saw that it was fully equipped and I mean, he worked to help get it done, not that he did it, but he worked to get it done. And he got people to work for him. He was the tops. T: Wonderful. Do you have any specific memories of him? E: Huh? T: Do you have any specific memories of him? E: That one I better not tell to go on tape.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 32 T: Okay. Fair enough. E: I think it's good enough to go on tape. It 's a forbidden word now so I better not use it. NW: No, don't use that. T: Alright. I don't want to get anybody in trouble or anything. E: You understand what I'm talking about. I know that's a forbidden word. T: Yeah, I think I understand what you're talk ing about. Do you remember the jail, was anyone in the jail at your time? E: A whole lot got in jail for bootlegging. T: Really? Do you remember seeing them? E: They're selling that old corn liquor and so forth. What'd they call it? T: Whiskey? E: Yeah, corn whiskey. Yeah, you're right. NW: Moonshine. E: You're probably educated, too. NW: Was some of it moonshine?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 33 E: Moonshine was those that they made behind the barn. That wasn't out in the open. But they were bootleggers. T: Did you see them in the jail walking to school no, not walking to school. When you were at the Courthouse? E: Oh, the jail was open. There wasn't any wall around it, I don't know when the wall was built. The wall was put around there by the what where they called? Part of the thin gs that Roosevelt put in. T: The W P A ? E: Yeah, the W P A. They were W P A workers. They put that in, they put in the water system that we have. They have a sewer system now but we didn't have it then. The water system was put in with the water tower at the beginning of World War II. T: Do you remember anything about the W P A workers? E: Yes, my brother was one of them. T: What was his experience like? E: They thought it was grand. It was a nice job and you got paid. Sometimes you had to wait to get pa id, but they got paid. NW: How about what happened with his pay? E: I don't know much about that.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 34 NW: Well, didn't you say that Pop, he only got to keep a certain portion, the rest was sent home to the family? E: No, that was not W P A. Oh, that was C C C camp pay. That was the one George was in. T: What camp was that? E: The CCC was the Civilian T: Conservation Corps. E: Conservation Corps. T: Where was he stationed at? E: Oh, he just joined in the organization because he was old enough and there were no jobs, so they joined these organizations really. He worked up in the mountains, he worked all over Virginia. It was conditioned on the fact that if they got the twenty five dollars a month, something like that, that was about the pay, twenty five dollar s a month. They got five dollars of it and their room and board. They got five dollars for working. Now, the rest of it went to their room and board except that they had to send a certain amount of it home to the family to help the families out. It was dur ing the Depression, the Great Depression. That was mainly in the 30s. T: Okay. So where were you when you learned that the war was happening? E: The war was happening? Oh me
TMP 111; Emory; Page 35 NW: Do you remember E: I was married and had the first child was being born. NW: I was born in 38, that's not when the E: No, no. Unh uh, that was in the early 40s. Oh, the last one was born in 42 which was as the war was going down T: How did that affect the Courthouse? E: I don't know that it affected the Cou rthouse NW: All the men joined and went to war, right? All y our brothers? E: Most all of them were drafted. NW: Yeah. E: Unless you were unable or you were in something that the people depended on. T: So who ran the businesses and things like that? E: So mebody that wasn't young enough to be a soldier and so forth. T: Okay. E: And usually if they couldn't find anything like that they put you in 4 F, I know that. able to go. T: Wow. Do you remember the militia?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 36 E: No. We didn't have anything to do really much with the militia. T: Okay. During the war or before, do you remember anything about Halloween or pranks or anything like that? E: Oh, there wasn't anything different in Halloween except they really meant it. T he men loved to Halloween. They would take the gates off and carry them somewhere and hide them, and then they hid animals. They had a ball with Halloween. T: What'd you say about animals? E: They'd hide the animals, so like the cow or something. Maybe tak e it out in the woods and hide it, the people had to find the animals and so forth. T: I hadn't heard that one! I hadn't heard that one. But women didn't do that? E: No, the women weren't in on it, unh uh. The men didn't let them do it. No. T: Hm. E: We di d not have women suffrage about that time T: Were you excited when it happened? E: I don't thin k I didn't see any difference in my house. Because my dad was good he thought as much of his wife as he did of himself. So he didn't think he was a ruler. T: Okay.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 37 E: You follow what I said, a ruler? T: Like E: People in charge, completely in charge of everything. It was a partnership not a prison with a keeper. T: How did that affect you? E: Didn't bother me at all. But we had to pay for subjects in scho ol and stuff like that. They was no f ree stuff. There was no money I know all about it. There was no money. T: Do you remember when the war ended? E: Was it in 45? T: Yeah. E: Oh, yeah. I had three children and so forth. T: What age were you married a t? E: Seventeen. T: Seventeen, okay. E: Which was pretty good. T: That's good?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 38 E: I finished high school, that was pretty good too, if you finish high school. Of course, most of us couldn't go to college because we had no money. NW: Mom went eleven years. T: Oh, okay. E: I had eleven years of schooling. I got all my schooling right here. NW: And then some years a schoolyear was cut short because there wasn't enough money E: Oh, a lot of times we had to just go eight months, but we had to do nine months of work. They doubled up on the work, yo u had to get your work done. NW: Because they didn't have enough money to T: Keep it open? Wow. E: That was still part of the day, leftover from the Depression. The Depression started 1929 whe n everything was flouris hing, everything was beautiful, everything was rosy. [Makes sound effect] NW: And the bottom fell out. T: Wow. Did you want to talk about your life past your childhood? Raising children and motherhood and your career? NW: Did you tell them though, that you still have the organ that your mother had?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 39 T: Oh, I think that's wait a minute. NW: Your grandma raised a pig to get the organ. T: Oh, yeah. Mama [inaudible 49:01] farm, too. A small farm. They were all small farms that they had. But one day he r daddy came in and said, Sis, and he called her Sis because she was the only sister with six brothers I think it was. So they called her Sis. So he said, Sis, wou ld you like to have a pig? Oh, M ama loved pigs. She could have them rolling over for her and s he likes to scratch their stomachs, and that kind of thing. But anyway, she said, yes. But why? Real quiet people. He s aid, because I'm sorry but M ama pig has only twelve tits and she's got thirteen little piglets. So it's a runt. And if you raise it yo u can have it. The money. So she loved that little pig and raised it. And it weighed about they said it weighed about a th for that. But it was a big one, and she got money and bought an organ that we' ve had. Organ music. Because she had had lessons. NW: You know, had the pedals. E: Pedal organ. NW: So M ama still owns that organ. T: Can you play it? E: I used to play it some. T: Where did you learn?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 40 E: I taught myself though. T: Oh, okay. So you taught yourself? E: Yeah. T: Did she teach E: Of course, she 'd answer questions for me but M ama wasn't what you call a teacher. She raised teachers but she didn't [inaudible 50:45] she was. NW: But three of the girls did play some. E: Oh, yeah. NW: And G randma had to help with them. E: Oh, yeah. Well, she gave us the basics. Every Boy Does Fine is one line of it. What's the other one? I can't think of it now. That was one of the steps. NW: Your notes. E: And the notes and so forth. But I can't think of the other one right now. But anyway oh, she could answer that question. She could play some but she that wasn't her thrill, to do it. Occasi onally, she'd come in and play. Daddy want ed her to play. We'd all sit in the ro om and sing hymns and so forth, if she decided to play. But Mama was too tired to play most of the time with ten children.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 41 T: Were there any ghost stories or superstitions when you were a kid that you had heard? E: Very little. My daddy didn' t believe in a ny of that stuff. He was a realist. T: [Laughter] Okay. Fair enough. Did you ever go down to Guinea or any of the southern par t of the county? Yorktown even? E: Oh, we went all over the place when we had an opportunity. Like, we went to Gloucester Point when the boat used to come in from Baltimore because they had a float ing theater, and things like th at. T: What's a floating theater? E: It was a regular theater with seats and all in it. NW: On the boat. E: And you went to the latest show from Baltimore, Maryland, came down the waterways into Gloucester Point. T: Wow! E: I was able to go once, but some of the family went even more than that. T: Huh. Do you remember what it was like? E: It was just wonderful, because we had never seen anything I had never seen anything like it. With actors and actresses and so forth.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 42 T: Huh. Okay. E: My daddy believed in education. He only got to go to the fourth grade. But he believed in education. T: Why did he only go to the fourth grade? E: Because his daddy was an inv alid and he had to go to work. NW: He was an only child. E: Only child, and he lost his mother when he was born. So he had a stepmother and they had to be taking care of my stepfather wasn't able to do anything because he was an invalid. NW: Not your ste pfather, your grandfather. E: Step grandfather, yeah. NW: He wasn't your step either, he was your real grandfather. But you had a stepmother. T: Okay. E: So it was a matter of root little pig or die. T hat was one of the sayings. T: That was a saying?
TMP 111; Emory; Page 43 E: Y ep. Root little pig or die. Now, pigs, to feed themselves, are out in the open when they come out and feed them, to the slops. They had to root in the soil and get roots and so forth. It's root little pig or die. NW: So that's like if you wanted to eat, w ork for it. T: Yeah. NW: If you wanted something, you had to work for it. T: Did you mother or father have any other sayings like that? E: book. No, but they were really honest, good sayings, like root little pig or die. You don't get the money if you don't root or if you don't do what you're told to do. NW: She asked you about you r life after you were young. Did you want to tell her about getting married and who you marri ed? E: Well, I got married when I was seventeen. Then I had three children, and that was during World War II. NW: And you married a trucker? E: Anyway, all my brothers went away in the service. NW: And you married a trucker? E: No, one, Charlie that's fo ur of them were in the service. George
TMP 111; Emory; Page 44 NW: Yeah, Ashley died when he was E: Ashley died. No, I had three, three in the service. T: What was that like when your brothers were in the service? E: Well, somebody had to do their work. If he was out in the c ornfield you gotta go out and do it. T: How old were you then? E: Oh, it was World War II. NW: Well, you were married. E: Yeah, I was married but the family had to do for anyway. T: Okay. E: I worked in the fields as well as other places. NW: They picked jonquils. E: We raised jonquils and fixed them. They call them daffodils now mostly. This is daffodil country as far as that goes. But we raised them and had to plant the bulbs and all that kin d of stuff. And as I told you, D addy's workforce was the horses he had. So they had to be taken care of and so forth. NW: They'd pick the daff odils with bunches and packed them in boxes and shipped them to Baltimore to sell.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 45 T: I had heard that. I had heard that. So E: That's after a while. First, we shipped them ba skets with cheesecloth over them, over the head of the basket. We had to carry them down to Gloucester Point to meet the boat to go to Baltimore. T: Wow. Did you know anything about Rosewell or Fairfield or anything like those big old plantations? E: Not really until I got older. T: Okay. Can I ask you what your weddin g day was like? E: A poor gal's wedding. I got married in the living room at home. I had witnesses and so forth but it was in the living room at the house. My daddy built that in 1912. But I was married as much as if I had a big cathedral wedding. [Laughter] E: I couldn't think of the word I wanted. NW: Did you tell them anything about who you married and how long or anything like that? E: I wasn't using names if I could help it because this can NW: Well, your first husband was a trucker and helped to build Gloucester Point Road with a dump truck and stuff.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 46 E: Oh, yeah. When they really changed the roads. I remember when all the roads were dirt roads. All the hills were there, too. In bad we ather most of them ended up in the middle of but anyway. NW: But I think her first husband was my father and at fourteen he was riding a dump truck and helped to build the Gloucester Point Highway. T: Wow. That's incredible. NW: Now, you won't let a four teen year old ride a lawnmower. T: No. [Laughter] T: That's right. Do you have anything else you want to talk about that we haven't talked a bout? I don't want to tax you. I t's been an hour. [Laughter] E: I don't know of anything. That's the gist of how mo st everyone lived. We had big families, and as you say the children got together and played and so forth, when they weren't working. Because you had to work. But not had to in a sense that you were made to do it, that was not in order to get the work done Y ou went out and you helped D addy. He told us on July the Fourth, if we worked in the morning, he would see to it that we got ice cream for that afternoon. He had to go to Gloucester Point to get the ice. NW: They had the hand cranked, made homemade ice c ream. E: Made all that kind of stuff.
TMP 111; Emory; Page 47 T: Wow. Real quick, you said you were a commissioner of revenue? E: Yes. T: How did that happen? E: Now, how much of that deal do I want to tell? NW: Well, start in 1956 when you E: They came to get me to work, to help get the work done because the work was piling up that needed to be done, and they wanted somebody to do it and they said they thought I could do it, if I would do it. If I think I could do it for them. NW: That was when you first went to work in the c ommissioner's office. E: Yeah, uh huh. I said, I don't know, I've never worked o ut I've only worked for just one short while. S o I took that job, and I was soon made deputy commissioner, because the deputy died that was sick. Then I stayed and finally I ended up being the commissioner. T: That's wonderful. I can go ahead and unless you wanted to talk about anything else? Okay. [End of interview]
TMP 111; Emory; Page 48 Transcribed by: Patrick Daglaris, September 9, 2016 Audit e dited by: Jessica Taylor, September 16, 2016 Fi nal edited by: Patrick Daglaris, October 25, 2016