Citation
Interview with Martine Glass Cox

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Martine Glass Cox
Creator:
Correll, Jane
Marston, Ruth C. ( Transcriber )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publisher:
Matheson Historical Center
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Oral history -- Florida ( LCTGM )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Alachua

Record Information

Source Institution:
Matheson History Museum
Holding Location:
Matheson History Museum
Rights Management:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text





Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 11
July 17, 1997


Q: Well, you had several women in your family that did some sort of special things for that time
and era. That's very nice.

A: Mother played golf, but after she and daddy were divorced, she started helping Uncle Gus in
the family business. She would keep the books on the timber and the turpentine and
different things like that for the different Phifer businesses.

Let's see, oh, I wanted to tell you about Mammy Whitehead. Now Mammy Whitehead was
a little, black lady. She must have been maybe 5'2" or 3" and she worked for my mother and
daddy when they lived at the little bungalow by the Duck Pond. I know they went through
the Depression because Mother told me that there were times when they just couldn't even
pay Mammy but she stayed right with them anyway.

Q: She probably got her pay from the food.

A: Probably. My daddy owned a drugstore. It was located down from Wilson Company where
Vidal's City Drug, in the middle of the block. The Vidals owned it but in our time it was
called City Drug.

Q: You know, I don't even know what store is there at this point in time. It would be right
across from the courthouse square.

A: Right. He owned that drugstore. I remember Mother telling me that when times were really
bad that she and Mammy would make sandwiches and Daddy would take them to work to
sell sandwiches to help make some money.

Q: Make a little extra, nickel or dime.

A: Anyway, we went and lived in the McKenzie House and Mother was working for Uncle Gus
and Mammy was there from the time I got up in the morning practically until I went to bed at
night, and we had a big old kitchen. At first, it was just a wood stove and then they got an
electric stove, but I remember in the wintertime they kept that wood stove going because it
would heat the kitchen during the cold mornings. We didn't have central heat.

Q: No, we didn't have the central heat that we have today.

A: But Mammy was quite a character, and she had a husband called Hudson. Behind the
McKenzie House -- let's back up a minute. The land went all the way through to the next
street so it was a big lot. There was a big barn back there, and there was a little two-room
house with a porch across the front with a fireplace in the middle that would heat both
rooms. That's where Mammy and Hudson lived.
Q: Oh, they lived right there?









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 8
July 17, 1997


A: Very much so. Then they had an overseer, whose name was Mr. Serency. He had his home
there and his wife and children lived there. There was a commissary, and back then they
would pay their help in scrip -- it was called scrip -- and then they would take this scrip and
spend it at the commissary. If they wanted to go into Gainesville, which was a lot more of
an effort back then, they could turn it in and get cash for it, but I always thought that was real
interesting the way they did that.

I know that my grandfather also had an orange grove down in Abbott, Florida, south of here.
I guess when that freeze -- this was around 1900...

Q: 1895, I believe.

A: And 1898 also, I think. W.B. Phifer, my grandfather, died in 1928, which was before I was
born, so the only thing I know about him is from what I have read and from what my mother
and other relatives have told me about him. Uncle Lang always seemed real old to me. He
loved us and was interested but the one that really filled the shoes of a grandfather was Uncle
Gus, the younger brother. He did not get married until he was around fifty years old.

Q: So he did stay young for a long time.

A: Yes. After my grandfather died, I think the other brother, Uncle Lang, became President, but
it wasn't long before Uncle Gus became President of the bank, and really he, like my
grandfather, was the one that was more business minded than Uncle Lang. He kind of took
over as the leader of what they were doing, developing and all. He was such a sweet man
and a wonderful man, so involved and so business-like, and with such a sense of humor, but
he also could be very forgetful. I have heard so many stories and have lived through quite a
few of the stories of Uncle Gus, like he lived on North Main Street at first, and he decided he
would walk to work. It was during the war and gas rationing, so he walked to work and that
was fine, except when he got ready to leave, he walked out front and his car wasn't parked
there and he decided it had been stolen and he called the police and reported it stolen. Of
course, it wasn't long before they found it parked in his driveway!

Then another time he was living over in the McCoy Apartments behind the elementary
school on University Avenue -- Kirby-Smith. Anyway, he was living there and he went
down and got in his car and revved the motor up and the car didn't move, and he revved it up
again and again and stepping on the accelerator, and this man leaned out of the window -- of
course, this was before air-conditioning -- and he said, "Mr. Phifer, you're not going
anyplace. All four of your tires have been stolen off and you're just sitting there." He
hadn't even noticed. He just couldn't understand why he wasn't going anywhere.


Q: All four tires gone!









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 10
July 17, 1997


A: You could do a lot of things. But that was our first stop. We'd get there first when we'd
walk downtown. So that was quite a loss to the family when he died. After he died -- Uncle
Lang had died before Uncle Gus. Uncle Gus was also Treasurer of the Methodist Church for
the State of Florida, but my mother did the work. He got the credit and she did the work. I
always thought that was funny. She would go to conventions with Uncle Gus to help with
that.

I can remember living in the house -- my mother and father were divorced when I was about
three -- and in the meantime my Aunt Mary, after Turner Pound had died, in a few years she
had met and married Reid McKenzie and they lived in what is now called the McKenzie
House.

Q: Is that the origin of the name, the McKenzie House?

A: That's the origin of it because Ms. Holbrook bought it from my sister, Florence, and me, and
it was just always called the McKenzie House. Anyway, after my Aunt Mary had married
Reid, he only lived about four years. He loved to hunt and do things, and it was January, and
he came home with a terrible cold and he caught pneumonia and died.

Q: The doctors just didn't know what they know today.

A: Not at all. So here she really, all her life -- she had two husbands but she was only married
about six years total and did not have any children. So it was decided my Mother and my
sister, Florence, and I would go live with Aunt Mary in the McKenzie House. That's really
the only house I remember living in as a child, and my mother and daddy had been married
in that house, and Bob and I were married in that house, and Florence's daughter, Dixie, and
Mike were married there, so it really has an awful lot of memories. That was nice.

Aunt Mary, as a widow, got active in a lot of different things and she became quite the
golfer. She went to a Florida State Golf Tournament and got so enthusiastic about that that
she came back to Gainesville and she and I cannot think of the lady's name, but the two of
them organized the Gainesville Golf and Country Club Women's Golf Association, the
women's group, and she was President of that. It was Elizabeth Atkins. So Aunt Mary and
Elizabeth Atkins organized the Women's Golf Association, and Aunt Mary was President of
that. She was President of Florida State, the Southern Golf Association, and she ended up
being on the Board of Directors of the United States Seniors.

Q: Oh, good for her.

A: She obviously played a lot of golf, traveled around, had many, many friends all over the
state, and then the South and throughout the United States through her golf.









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 13
July 17, 1997


"Now will you run down to Mr. Dell's and buy me a loaf of bread." So Mary Ann would
have this quarter and we would go down there and we'd buy the loaf of bread, but we would
charge it to my mother and spend the quarter. We really had that thing figured out.

Q: Oh, you bad little girls.

A: We got caught on that one, so we had to quit doing that.

Q: Now, there was a Dorsey Bakery.

A: That was her father's uncle, and his name was Tom, and we called him Uncle Tom, and he
had the Dorsey Bakery, which, as I remember it as a young teenager, was near Penney's,
where Penney's used to be around the corner.

Q: There was a bakery that was just right across the street and down like half a block from the
old Gainesville High School, which was on University Avenue. Was that Dorsey's?

A: No, not there. Do you remember where the Junior League Thrift Shop was at one time?
Across the street from there.

Q: Yes, I do remember that.

A: I always loved spending the night with Mary Ann. My favorite breakfast was the angel food
cake and peanut butter. I loved to have that for breakfast. There were always goodies
around the house. He was a sweet thing, he really was. I remember during the war going
with Aunt Mary to the top of the Seagle Building to spot airplanes and sometimes it was very
boring. We would sit there for hours and nothing would go by, and then every now and then,
something would go by, but we would go and serve our time, and Mother worked for the
Red Cross and folded bandages, and Aunt Mary decided she would learn to weld things so
she learned how to do welding.

Q: Oh, did she?

A: Yes, she learned how to do that. I thought that was unusual. Yes, she sure did. Anyway,
let's see, what else? I remember going horseback riding out at Blake Mead Farm, which is
pretty much where you live now, Jane.

Q: Yes.
A: Out around 34th Street, which is my understanding is kind of the center of the population
now.


Q: I think that's what they say, most everything has moved west.









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 2
July 17, 1997


Q: This is July 17, 1997. I am meeting with Martine Glass Cox. My name is Jane Correll, and
we have a beautiful day ahead of us. Martine, I'm glad to see you today.

A: Thank you, Jane.

Q: Martine, there's a couple things we need to get straight really before we get into our
conversation. I want you to realize that this is being taped, and we need your permission to
tape this. Do we have that permission?

A: Yes, you certainly do.

Q: Thank you. I also want you to be aware that the tape will be transcribed, will be typed up
and will go into notebooks that will be used by the Matheson Historical Center for people
who are interested in history, and scholars, writers of this area -- people who would like to
know more about our Alachua County history. Is the acceptable to you?

A: Yes, it is.

Q: Okay. Martine, I'm really glad to see you today. Would you like to tell us a little bit about
your roots here in Alachua County?

A: Well, yes. I was born here in Alachua County in 1931 and the side of the family that I
wanted to tell you about today is the Phifer family that came to Alachua County in 1855.
My great-grandfather, John Wesley Phifer, was born in Mecklinburg County, which became
Monroe County, in about 1832.

Q: Now, is that North Carolina?

A: Yes, North Carolina. His parents died when he was about nine and he went to live with an
uncle, McCollum Phifer, and his family. Somewhere around 1855 McCollum Phifer and his
family and my grandfather, who was around twenty-one, I guess, and had been married
about three or four months to Hannah Asenath, whose maiden name was Hudson, all came
down to Florida and settled in the area of Campville, which was in Alachua County. In
doing some genealogy research, I always kind of wondered of how this young lady -- I think
Hannah Asenath wasn't but about eighteen years old -- felt to be leaving her family and
moving to Florida. It had been a state for just about ten years.

Q: All of Florida was sort of a wilderness at that time.

A: It was, and it really amazed me that they were brave enough to start out like that. Anyway,
they settled in Campville and John Wesley bought a little bit of land, and I'm sure his uncle
McCollum helped him with that, and they started farming in that area. By the time the Civil









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 15
July 17, 1997



A: But that was so exciting when you were in ninth grade and you got to serve at Confetti Club.
And it lasted til one o'clock because it was New Year's Eve.

Q: Very risque.

A: Yes. Do you remember the "Polar Bear" across the street kind of down from G.H.S.? The
Polar Bear Ice Cream Shop. That was a fun place to go to things like that. Anyway, I think
that's about all that I can ...

Q: Martine, if you don't mind, I think you neglected to tell us something about your age and
where you were born and I don't want to get too personal unless you want to.

A: I was born here in Gainesville in 1931. I went to P.K. Yonge and graduated from there in
1949, went to Mary Washington College, which was the girls school at the University of
Virginia, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Kay Eutsler and Joan Morgan, the three of us were the
ones that went off to Mary Washington College. We had all been at P.K. Yonge together. I
think our graduating class at P.K. was around fifty-four. Can you imagine today? Isn't that
something? And our group, I remember, in high school, we were kind of devilish. None of
the girls drank, unlike some of the boys, but we were dating older boys because the
University was not coed, so Gainesville boys that went to the University dated high school
girls.

Q: It was a much more innocent age.

A: Oh, it was, but we would do devilish things like take our car and go off campus for lunch,
and some of the girls smoked and they would be caught -- you know, go in the bathroom and
smoke -- you know, things like that.

Q: But really kind of minor.

A: Oh yes, very minor. But one thing I remember was the fad back then was that we were
called the Bandana Bunch because on Fridays we wore our hair to school rolled up in socks
and therefore we wore a bandana. If you didn't have a date, you still wore your hair rolled
up in socks because you didn't want anybody to think you didn't have a date. So we were
kind of known as the Bandana Bunch.

Q: But had a lot of fun.
A: Oh we did. We had a lot of fun. We weren't allowed to go to Daytona Beach house parties
until after our junior year in high school, but we sure had a good time out of junior and
senior years, and that was a lot of fun. I would be scared to death to let mine go in this day
and time but I guess they survive.









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 16
July 17, 1997



Q: That was the day when you didn't lock your doors.

A: Well, those days were ... In fact, I can remember, Jane, one of the years I was at house
parties, I left my wallet on a bench on the boardwalk and some man found it and called my
mother in Gainesville to find out where I was staying and returned it to the house I was
staying in.

Q: Really? It sounds typical of the 1950's.

A: It is a different world today.

Q: Martine, since you and I both like genealogy so much, would you like to record your
children's names?

A: Yes, let's see, I was married to Bob Oakley in 1950. I graduated in 1949 and went off to
college for one year and was married after the one year of college. Bob was at the
University of Florida. He graduated. He had to go back into the service during the Korean
War, so he didn't graduate until January 1954. Anyway, we had a daughter, Helen Elizabeth
Oakley, in November 1951 and then Mary Jan was born in January 1954 and then our third
daughter, Bobbie Rae, was born in January 1957. After Bob graduated, we moved to
Jacksonville, where he worked for Boroughs Corporation and then Dictaphone, and we came
back to Gainesville in 1959 and he opened a branch office here for Dictaphone. He won all
sorts of awards for outstanding salesmanship. He was the top Dictaphone salesman for the
state of Florida and did real well with that. Anyway, we had three wonderful girls, and Jan
still lives in Gainesville, has twin daughters, Kelly and Casey, and they're fifteen now.
Bobbie and her husband live in Venice, Florida, and they have two boys and a little girl.
Betsy and her husband live in Birmingham, Alabama, and they have three boys.

Q: Would you like to tell us the husband's names?

A: Yes. Betsy married Ralph Harrison Smith, and he graduated from Washington and Lee
University. Betsy graduated from Sweetbriar College, which is right over the Blue Ridge
from Washington and Lee. Smitty was very fortunate and was awarded a Rhodes
Scholarship.

Q: How nice.
A: Yes, so after he graduated he went to Oxford and after being there one year, he came home
and he and Betsy were married. They lived in Oxford for two more years, so they just had
wonderful traveling experiences. They were footloose and fancy free.


Q: And living overseas.









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 14
July 17, 1997



A: It really has. When I was in high school, I was a member of Little Women, as you were. Do
you remember how much fun that was?

Q: I do.

A: Now, Little Women, so they'll understand, were the daughters of ladies that were members
of the Gainesville Women's Club. They would have a dance, usually once a month during
the school year and the young ladies that were members would have a date plus they would
issue about four stag invitations, and that's what made the dance so much fun.

Q: That was like four to one!

A: That's right, and you did not dance all night with your date. People would break in the
middle of dances and there was a lot more mixing and socializing, I think.

Q: Right, and do you remember, what was his name?

A: Angus Merritt was always the deej ay. That's what they would call him now. He was up on
the balcony and he played his records. All the dances ended at twelve o'clock with
"Stardust", Hoagie Carmichael's "Stardust". Do you remember that? So when you heard
that played, you knew it was the last dance and you always danced with your date for that
dance. And then there was a special dance on New Year's Eve called "Confetti Club" and
that was really formal. We all decorated the Women's Club and had a theme -- remember
that?

Q: Yes, I do.

A: And boys and girls, usually in junior and senior class, performed.

Q: Now, I think only juniors and senior girls belonged, and it was the sophomore girls that
served at there at the Confetti Club.

A: That's right. They served. But now you're sure it wasn't ninth grade, or was it going into
tenth?

Q: You know, I don't really remember.

A: I can't either. I think it was sophomores, juniors and seniors were members, and ninth
graders served.


Q: It could be.









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 6
July 17, 1997


that sold everything. In one corer of this store -- now this was the early 1900's -- this store
was located on Main Street, East Main Street, where Baird Hardware was, you remember?

Q: Yes.

A: Right on that block. It was located there, and there was an undertaking business in one
corner, and there was a bank in another corner.

Q: Yes, I remember that bank.

A: And that was the beginning of the Phifer State Bank, which eventually, by the time I was a
little girl, was on the corner in the big two-story building catty-corner from Cox Furniture
Company. But that's where the Phifer State Bank started, in that New York Racket Store. I
do have a picture of the street with the sign, "New York Racket Store".

Q: Right on the square across from the old courthouse.

A: Right. It started there. They also had interest in a store in High Springs with one of
McCollum Phifer's sons. I think that son eventually bought out my grandfather and his
brothers. In 1904, my grandmother, Florence Houston Phifer, was pregnant with the fifth
child, Elizabeth, and she was having problems. She ended up dying after childbirth and this
was just so devastating to the family. Here they had the baby and then the other three girls
and I think Mother was about nine and Mary, her older sister, was ...

Q: Little Elizabeth lived?

A: She lived only three months though, and then she died. I think that same summer was when
John Wesley, W.B.'s father, died, so he lost a father and his wife and the baby within a
matter of two months.

Q: That is devastating.

A: Elizabeth Houston, who was Florence Houston's mother, was a widow and living in Monroe,
and she came down and moved in with them, and she helped raise the three girls. All three
of them ended up going to Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. Now, Aunt Mary, she left
school probably in her junior year, and she married Turner Pound, who was at that time
associated with Baird Hardware. He had bought what is now called the "McKenzie House"
and he took his bride there and they lived in the McKenzie House. They lived there only
about four or five years when -- I believe he had cancer -- he died, so she was a very young
widow at that time. I'll come back to Aunt Mary in a minute.









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 17
July 17, 1997



A: And living over there as a Rhodes scholar, the other Rhodes scholars that lived there would
open their homes and invite these young people to come and visit so it was quite an
experience for them. They came back to the states and Smitty went to Yale Law School and
then they moved to Washington, D.C., where he was connected with a law firm about two
years and then it was decided to go back to Birmingham, which was home for Smitty. His
family was in Birmingham, so they have lived there for about fifteen years now.

Jan is divorced. She is a teacher, teaches at Littlewood, kindergarten, where she went to
school herself. I always think that's real neat. Her twin girls, Kelley and Kasey, are students
at Gainesville High School.

Bobbie married Jim Clinch and they, as I said, live in Venice, Florida. Bobbie is also a
teacher. She is in Special Education in Junior High School, and Jim is Vice-President of
Sales for a corporation down there called Barbizon, so they are all busy.

Q: Sounds like your family is all doing very, very well.

A: Yes, all nice and busy. But, anyway, I am married now to Dick Cox and we live out off of
Millhopper Road, which is real quiet and nice. Yesterday I had in the back yard the most
precious pair of little fauns with their spots and the mother deer was there and I just watched
them for about thirty minutes. They were walking around by the swimming pool. They
were eating my daises that were blooming, and then this morning the fox squirrel came to
visit. We have two resident fox squirrels.

Q: Sounds like you have a beautiful place in nature there.

A: Oh, I love it. I really do.

Q: Martine, I sure do thank you very much, and I'll be getting back in touch with you with the
transcript.


A: Well, thank you, Jane.









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 9
July 17, 1997


A: Carlos Zetrouer was the head teller. I remember Carlos. He was so nice. He really looked
after Uncle Gus. Uncle Gus would go to work and a lot of times Carlos would walk out and
roll his windows up and turn the car off. He would just park in front and get out and go into
the bank. Carlos would go out and take care of things.

Then there is another funny story about Uncle Gus. A farmer had come in to borrow some
money, and Uncle Gus was deaf and he was supposed to wear a hearing aid and sometimes
he did and sometimes he didn't. Sometimes he'd turn it on and sometimes he wouldn't. So,
anyway, Uncle Gus was listening to this man, and Mr. Jones said, "Mr. Phifer, I'd like to
borrow $300 to fix my barn."

Q: And that was a lot of money in those days.

A: Uncle Gus leaned forward and cupped his ear and he said, "What'd you say? How much did
you say, Mr. Jones?" And he said -- he spoke louder this time, "I'd like to borrow $400."
He got his nerve up. Uncle Gus looked at him and said, "I heard you the first time." But I
bet he got his $400. Uncle Gus used to say -- I've heard him say this -- "he didn't have
much security but his word was better than any security that he could have given me."

Q: And I think that was the way a lot of the bankers worked in those days. They knew their
neighbors and they knew the situation and they tried to help out.

A: I remember when Uncle Gus died -- oh, say I was thirteen or fourteen, and it was really my
first experience with the death of someone that I loved so much -- I remember going to his
funeral. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, and all the gorgeous flowers and wreaths.
The next day Mother and I drove out there to see things and there were four little kind of
glass jars with just phlox and daisies and yard flowers there.

Q: Well, the poorer friends ...

A: Right, had come and had put those flowers and that really impressed me. You know, he was
loved by people of all stations in life.

Q: That is nice.

A: Yes, that was really, really nice. But Uncle Gus was a very smart business man, very well
respected, very jovial. I could walk downtown from my house with my friend, Mary Ann
Dorsey, and know we could go stop in there and if he wasn't busy, he'd see us and always
give us a dime that we could go buy some ice cream.


Q: And with a dime you could do a lot.









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 12
July 17, 1997



A: I think Hudson had a barbecue place on 5th Avenue somewhere.

Q: Now, his name was Hudson?

A: Hudson Whitehead, and he would go to his place of business during the daytime. I think that
kind of went by the wayside, too, after a while. But one thing that Mammy and Hudson -- I
can remember, when I was about twelve -- they played a game popular among the black
people called Bolita. Do you remember that, Jane?

Q: I think I do. I think it was a gambling game.

A: Oh yes, it was. Definitely. Oh, she would love the lottery today. She would have this
dream book, and I guess this black man would come to the back door. They would bet on
numbers, and this number was drawn on Saturday night down in Cuba and radioed up here.

Q: Kind of like a lottery.

A: Oh, it was definitely a lottery, and she would love the Florida Lottery. Anyway, she had this
little dream book and about Thursday or Friday she was always asking Florence and me,
"What did you dream last night?" Then she'd look it up in her dream book and they say if
you dream about horses and cows, then you bet on #7, or something like that, but she'd
never do it in front of Mother because Mother would have fussed about it.

Q: Did she ever win?

A: I doubt it. I imagine this thing was very, very crooked. But anyway, that was an experience
with her with her little dream book. We had Dell Grocery Store right down at the end of the
block.

Q: I remember that store.

A: It was George Dell, and we could pick up the phone and probably order -- Aunt Mary would
order the groceries, and they would deliver them up to the house, and they would walk into
the house and if Mammy wasn't there, they'd put the milk in the refrigerator. You didn't
lock your doors.

Q: You didn't need to.

A: You didn't need to. If something was delivered, they just brought it in and put it on the table
for you. My friend I mentioned before -- Mary Ann Dorsey -- lived about a block east of
where I lived, and her mother would sometimes give Mary Ann a little bit of money and say,









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 4
July 17, 1997


several times, back and forth from Atlanta because he ended up marrying Florence Houston,
who was from Monroe, and that's the only way I can figure that they met. So, they were
married and he brought her to Rochelle. Now, at this time, W.B. Phifer had a little
mercantile store which had a post office in it. He was Postmaster. He was still farming, had
a truck farm and some orange groves, and I think he was also associated with a little store
over in Waldo. You know, Waldo during that time was a lot more flourishing than it is
today.

Q: Yes, it was a railroad center, I believe, at that time.

A: One thing that was interesting to me when W.B. Phifer and Florence Houston were married,
I have a letter that she wrote that said that they went on a "wedding tour to New York and
Baltimore and Washington for one month" and I have a beautiful photograph that was taken
in New York of both of them in their wedding finery.

Q: How lovely.

A: Until I found that letter, I thought how did they get this picture?

Q: What a wonderful time for them.

A: Yes. She had graduated -- I didn't find this out until I was involved with my genealogy
research because Mother had never mentioned it -- but Florence Houston had graduated from
Greensboro Female College in North Carolina in 1888, and I find that unusual for that time.

Q: Yes, for a woman at that time. Yes, it is. That's over a hundred years ago.

A: Yes, so that was interesting to me to find out. Anyway, they had, like I said, some orange
groves and a vegetable farm and they also had a sawmill, so W.B. and his brothers were very
active in different businesses. Florence Houston Phifer and W.B. Phifer had five girls
while they were in Rochelle. They had twin girls, Mary and Maude, and Maude died.
Maude is also buried in that Providence Methodist Church cemetery. Then my mother was
born -- Helen Phifer -- and then another daughter, Asenath Phifer. The fifth daughter was
Elizabeth, and she was born in 1904.

Q: All girls in the family?

A: All girls. Well, come to think about it, Elizabeth was born in Gainesville, because they
moved to Gainesville around 1901, and I find them located near the Duck Pond on Seminary
Street. That house has been restored, and there is a plaque. It's registered on the Historical
Register, and it says the "W.B. Phifer House". That's where they lived, and they were then


















MATHESON HISTORICAL CENTER

ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM







INTERVIEWEE: Martine Glass Cox

INTERVIEWER: Jane Correll

TRANSCRIBER: Ruth C. Marston


July 17, 1997









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 5
July 17, 1997


members of the Cavanaugh Methodist Church, which is the First United Methodist Church
downtown.

Q: Oh, I did not know that.

A: That was the name of that church. What is their fellowship hall called?

Q: Was that Epworth?

A: Yes, that's right. That's what it was called. That was their church, I think, at that time. I
don't know, it's kind of neat going in there.

Q: Of course.

A: Speaking of churches, on my birthday last June, my daughter asked me, she said, "Momma,
what would you like to do on your birthday?" Well, it fell on a Sunday, and I said, "Well,
you're not going to believe what I want to do, but I want to do it. I would like for you and
your two daughters and Mary Helen and her daughter, for all of us to go to church in
Windsor, at the little Methodist Church there where my great-grandparents and your great-
great-grandparents worshiped." I had been in the church and I really wanted them to see it,
and I wanted to take them to the cemetery, because McCollum Phifer is buried there, and
some others.

So, we went and I did call someone and find out the service started at eleven o'clock. We
got there about 10:30 because I wanted to kind of look at the little cemetery, look around a
bit. That didn't take but five minutes. We waited and we waited and we waited and we
waited, and one minute to eleven a car drove up, and it was a visiting minister from -- I don't
know where he was from -- Keystone Heights or somewhere. He and his wife. He said,
"Well, someone will be here to open up in a minute." Sure enough, someone came and
opened up, and they had a little window air conditioner, and the benches that were in there
were supposedly the original benches, but the church is old and had been rebuilt. I looked
around and there were six of us and there were only seven other people, including this
visiting minister.

Q: But what a nice experience.

A: But it really was a lovely experience. The people were so friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed
that, really enjoyed going and doing that. Anyway, let's go back to W.B. Phifer and
Florence Houston Phifer. I told you about their having the five girls, and they were living in
Gainesville. W.B. Phifer and his brothers had started a New York Racket Store. I always
thought that was a funny name. It was a mercantile store, just like a little department store,









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 7
July 17, 1997


Now, Mother graduated from Wesleyan and the year after she graduated, she married my
father, who was Arthur Martin Glass. They had known each other through high school and
what not -- you know, the Glass family lived just a block from the Phifer family.

Q: So they were all old Gainesville, also.

A: Yes, very much so. So anyway, W.B. Phifer gave them the lot right next door to the Phifer
house, closer to the Duck Pond, and they built a small little, precious little bungalow, there.
That's where they lived.

Then, Asenath, the youngest of the three living sisters, she left Wesleyan in probably her
sophomore year and married Stuart Hall from Miami, and I really don't know how she met
him, but they went down to live in Miami. I think he went to the University of Florida, come
to think about it.

Q: Probably.

A: They moved down to Miami. They lived down there for a while, and then moved later on to
Connecticut -- Greenwich, Connecticut. He was in the advertising business in New York
City.

Q: So they really went north.

A: Yes, they went north. My grandfather, W.B. Phifer, was president of the Phifer State Bank
and my Uncle Lang and Uncle Gus were also active in the Phifer brothers' different
businesses. Uncle Lang really was more into municipal affairs. He was on commissions,
and this type of thing more than he was into the banking business. They also owned Wilson
Company Department Store. I guess that department store business never got out of their
system.

Then they owned a good bit of land on the east of Gainesville out the Hawthorne Road
before you get to Magnesia Springs. Is that Grove?

Q: I think it's Grove Park?

A: Something like that. They had a sawmill out there and they would cut timber and they had a
turpentine still, and they would collect the turpentine and process that, so they had oh, ten or
twelve cabins out there for the black people that worked for them to live in.


Q: Well, they had their fingers in quite a few pies, didn't they?









Interview with: Martine Glass Cox 3
July 17, 1997


War came along, my grandfather, William Baxter Phifer, had been born. He was born in
1859. My great-grandfather, John Wesley, went off and fought in the Civil War, and he was
captured in Georgia and he was sent to the Rock Island Prison.

Q: Was he a Confederate soldier?

A: Yes, he was a Confederate soldier and Rock Island Prison was in Illinois. I'm not real sure
how long he was there, but I have read an interesting account in a story written about some
Phifers that told the story that while John Wesley was in this prison he was guarded by this
Negro man who had once worked for him. In quotes it said the Negro man told him, "It
looks like the bottom rail is getting on top." But the story goes on that after the war was
over and John Wesley came back to Florida, that the Negro man came back, too, and he just
bragged and bragged about how he guarded John Wesley Phifer.

Q: Now, John Wesley is such a Methodist name. Do you know if that was their faith at that
time?

A: Yes, it was. His father was a Methodist circuit rider up in North Carolina and his father and
mother died within twelve days of each other -- I can't remember -- when John Wesley was
about nine years old, and there was some kind of epidemic going on and they both died and
left the four children orphans, and that's why they went to live with different relatives.

But, anyway, the story that was quoted in this little book was that this Negro man just
bragged so much and people got sick and tired of hearing about it and someone went out and
came back into town and said, "I thought it was a wild turkey," and bless Pat, it was this
Negro man that had been guarding John Wesley, and this man had shot him. It didn't say
whether he killed him or not, but I have no idea if it's true or not but it was a funny story that
was written about that.

Anyway, when they were in Campville, they joined the Providence Methodist Church in
Windsor -- right outside of Windsor. It's a precious little church, and they were members
there and they had more sons. I'm talking about Hannah Asenath and John Wesley. I've
told you about my grandfather, William Baxter Phifer, and then there was another son born
after the war, Henry Langdon Phifer, and he was born in 1867. Then there was John Wesley
Phifer, Jr., and he was born in 1870, but he only lived about three or four years and he is
buried in that Providence Methodist Church cemetery, right there beside the church. In 1875
Joseph Augustus Phifer was born. Somewhere in the 1880's the family moved to Rochelle,
which still isn't very far from Windsor, so they kept going to the Windsor church, the little
Methodist church.

My grandfather, William Baxter Phifer, was educated in the schools in Alachua County, and
then he went to Moore's Business College in Atlanta. I am assuming that he visited Monroe




Full Text

PAGE 1

MATHESON HISTORICAL CENTER ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM INTERVIEWEE: Martine Glass Cox INTERVIEWER: Jane Correll TRANSCRIBER: Ruth C. Marston July 17, 1997

PAGE 2

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 2 Q: This is July 17, 1997. I am meeting with Mar tine Glass Cox. My name is Jane Correll, and we have a beautiful day ahead of us. Martine, I’m glad to see you today. A: Thank you, Jane. Q: Martine, there’s a couple things we need to get straight really before we get into our conversation. I want you to realize that this is being taped, and we need your permission to tape this. Do we have that permission? A: Yes, you certainly do. Q: Thank you. I also want you to be aware that the tape will be transcribed, will be typed up and will go into notebooks that will be used by the Matheson Historical Center for people who are interested in history, and scholars, writers of this area -people who would like to know more about our Alachua County history. Is the acceptable to you? A: Yes, it is. Q: Okay. Martine, I’m really glad to see you today. Would you like to tell us a little bit about your roots here in Alachua County? A: Well, yes. I was born here in Alachua C ounty in 1931 and the side of the family that I wanted to tell you about today is the Phifer family that came to Alachua County in 1855. My great-grandfather, John We sley Phifer, was born in Mecklinburg County, which became Monroe County, in about 1832. Q: Now, is that North Carolina? A: Yes, North Carolina. His parents died when he was about nine and he went to live with an uncle, McCollum Phifer, and his family. Somewhere around 1855 McCollum Phifer and his family and my grandfather, who was around twenty-one, I guess, and had been married about three or four months to Hannah Asen ath, whose maiden name was Hudson, all came down to Florida and settled in the area of Ca mpville, which was in Alachua County. In doing some genealogy research, I always kind of wondered of how this young lady -I think Hannah Asenath wasn’t but about eighteen year s old -felt to be leaving her family and moving to Florida. It had been a state for just about ten years. Q: All of Florida was sort of a wilderness at that time. A: It was, and it really amazed me that they were brave enough to start out like that. Anyway, they settled in Campville and John Wesley bought a little bit of land, and I’m sure his uncle McCollum helped him with that, and they started farming in that area. By the time the Civil

PAGE 3

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 3 War came along, my grandfather, William Baxter Phifer, had been born. He was born in 1859. My great-grandfather, John Wesley, went o ff and fought in the Ci vil War, and he was captured in Georgia and he was sent to the Rock Island Prison. Q: Was he a Confederate soldier? A: Yes, he was a Confederate soldier and Rock Island Prison was in Illinois. I’m not real sure how long he was there, but I have read an interesting account in a story written about some Phifers that told the story that while John Wesl ey was in this prison he was guarded by this Negro man who had once worked for him. In quotes it said the Negro man told him, “It looks like the bottom rail is getting on top.” But the story goes on that after the war was over and John Wesley came back to Florida, th at the Negro man came back, too, and he just bragged and bragged about how he guarded John Wesley Phifer. Q: Now, John Wesley is such a Methodist name. Do you know if that was their faith at that time? A: Yes, it was. His father wa s a Methodist circuit rider up in North Carolina and his father and mother died within twelve days of each othe r -I can’t remember -when John Wesley was about nine years old, and there was some kind of epidemic going on and they both died and left the four children orphans, and that’s why they went to live with different relatives. But, anyway, the story that was quoted in this little book was that this Negro man just bragged so much and people got sick and tired of hearing about it and someone went out and came back into town and said, “I thought it was a wild turkey,” and bless Pat, it was this Negro man that had been guarding John Wesley, and this man had shot him. It didn’t say whether he killed him or not, but I have no idea if it’s true or not but it was a funny story that was written about that. Anyway, when they were in Campville, they joined the Providence Methodist Church in Windsor -right outside of Windsor. It’s a precious little church, and they were members there and they had more sons. I’m talki ng about Hannah Asenath and John Wesley. I’ve told you about my grandfather, William Baxter Phifer, and then there was another son born after the war, Henry Langdon Phifer, and he wa s born in 1867. Then th ere was John Wesley Phifer, Jr., and he was born in 1870, but he only lived about three or four years and he is buried in that Providence Methodist Church cemetery, right there beside the church. In 1875 Joseph Augustus Phifer was born. Somewhere in the 1880's the family moved to Rochelle, which still isn’t very far from Windsor, so they kept going to the Windsor church, the little Methodist church. My grandfather, William Baxter Phifer, was e ducated in the schools in Alachua County, and then he went to Moore’s Business College in A tlanta. I am assuming that he visited Monroe

PAGE 4

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 4 several times, back and forth from Atlanta because he ended up marrying Florence Houston, who was from Monroe, and that’s the only way I can figure that they met. So, they were married and he brought her to Rochelle. No w, at this time, W.B. Phifer had a little mercantile store which had a post office in it. He was Postmaster. He was still farming, had a truck farm and some orange groves, and I th ink he was also associated with a little store over in Waldo. You know, Waldo during that time was a lot more flourishing than it is today. Q: Yes, it was a railroad center, I believe, at that time. A: One thing that was interesting to me when W.B. Phifer and Florence Houston were married, I have a letter that she wrote that said that they went on a “wedding tour to New York and Baltimore and Washington for one month” and I have a beautiful photograph that was taken in New York of both of them in their wedding finery. Q: How lovely. A: Until I found that letter, I thought how did they get this picture? Q: What a wonderful time for them. A: Yes. She had graduated -I didn’t find th is out until I was involved with my genealogy research because Mother had never mentioned it -but Florence Houston had graduated from Greensboro Female College in North Carolina in 1888, and I find that unusual for that time. Q: Yes, for a woman at that time. Yes, it is. That’s over a hundred years ago. A: Yes, so that was interesting to me to find out. Anyway, they had, like I said, some orange groves and a vegetable farm and they also had a sawmill, so W.B. and his brothers were very active in different businesses. Florence H ouston Phifer and W.B. Phifer had five girls while they were in Rochelle. They had tw in girls, Mary and Maude, and Maude died. Maude is also buried in that Providence Met hodist Church cemetery. Then my mother was born -Helen Phifer -and then another daught er, Asenath Phifer. The fifth daughter was Elizabeth, and she was born in 1904. Q: All girls in the family? A: All girls. Well, come to think about it, Elizabeth was born in Gainesville, because they moved to Gainesville around 1901, and I find them located near the Duck Pond on Seminary Street. That house has been restored, and there is a plaque. It’s registered on the Historical Register, and it says the “W.B. Phifer House”. That’s where they lived, and they were then

PAGE 5

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 5 members of the Cavanaugh Methodist Church, wh ich is the First United Methodist Church downtown. Q: Oh, I did not know that. A: That was the name of that church. What is their fellowship hall called? Q: Was that Epworth? A: Yes, that’s right. That’s what it was called. That was their church, I think, at that time. I don’t know, it’s kind of neat going in there. Q: Of course. A: Speaking of churches, on my birthday last June, my daughter asked me, she said, “Momma, what would you like to do on your birthday?” Well, it fell on a Sunday, and I said, “Well, you’re not going to believe what I want to do, but I want to do it. I would like for you and your two daughters and Mary Helen and her daught er, for all of us to go to church in Windsor, at the little Methodist Church ther e where my great-grandparents and your greatgreat-grandparents worshiped.” I had been in the church and I really wanted them to see it, and I wanted to take them to the cemetery, because McCollum Phifer is buried there, and some others. So, we went and I did call someone and find out the service started at eleven o’clock. We got there about 10:30 because I wanted to ki nd of look at the little cemetery, look around a bit. That didn’t take but five minutes. We waited and we waited and we waited and we waited, and one minute to eleven a car drove up, and it was a visiting mi nister from -I don’t know where he was from -Keyst one Heights or somewhere. He and his wife. He said, “Well, someone will be here to open up in a minute.” Sure enough, someone came and opened up, and they had a little window air conditi oner, and the benches that were in there were supposedly the original benches, but the church is old and had been rebuilt. I looked around and there were six of us and there we re only seven other people, including this visiting minister. Q: But what a nice experience. A: But it really was a lovely experience. The people were so friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed that, really enjoyed going and doing that. A nyway, let’s go back to W.B. Phifer and Florence Houston Phifer. I told you about their ha ving the five girls, a nd they were living in Gainesville. W.B. Phifer and his brothers had started a New York Rack et Store. I always thought that was a funny name. It was a mercantile store, just like a little department store,

PAGE 6

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 6 that sold everything. In one corner of this store -now this was the early 1900's -this store was located on Main Street, East Main Street , where Baird Hardware was, you remember? Q: Yes. A: Right on that block. It was located there, and there was an undertaking business in one corner, and there was a bank in another corner. Q: Yes, I remember that bank. A: And that was the beginning of the Phifer State Bank, which eventually, by the time I was a little girl, was on the corner in the big two-st ory building catty-corner from Cox Furniture Company. But that’s where the Phifer State Bank started, in that New York Racket Store. I do have a picture of the street with the sign, “New York Racket Store”. Q: Right on the square across from the old courthouse. A: Right. It started there. They also had interest in a store in High Springs with one of McCollum Phifer’s sons. I think that son eventually bought out my grandfather and his brothers. In 1904, my grandmother, Florence H ouston Phifer, was pregnant with the fifth child, Elizabeth, and she was having problems. She ended up dying after childbirth and this was just so devastating to the family. Here they had the baby and then the other three girls and I think Mother was about nine and Mary, her older sister, was . . . Q: Little Elizabeth lived? A: She lived only three months though, and then sh e died. I think that same summer was when John Wesley, W.B.’s father, died, so he lost a father and his wife and the baby within a matter of two months. Q: That is devastating. A: Elizabeth Houston, who was Florence Houston’ s mother, was a widow and living in Monroe, and she came down and moved in with them, and sh e helped raise the thr ee girls. All three of them ended up going to Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. Now, Aunt Mary, she left school probably in her junior year, and she married Turner Pound, who was at that time associated with Baird Hardware. He had bought what is now called the “McKenzie House” and he took his bride there and they lived in the McKenzie House. They lived there only about four or five years when -I believe he had cancer -he died, so she was a very young widow at that time. I’ll come back to Aunt Mary in a minute.

PAGE 7

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 7 Now, Mother graduated from Wesleyan and th e year after she graduated, she married my father, who was Arthur Martin Glass. Th ey had known each other through high school and what not -you know, the Glass family lived just a block from the Phifer family. Q: So they were all old Gainesville, also. A: Yes, very much so. So anyway, W.B. Phifer gave them the lot right next door to the Phifer house, closer to the Duck Pond, and they bu ilt a small little, precious little bungalow, there. That’s where they lived. Then, Asenath, the youngest of the three living si sters, she left Wesleyan in probably her sophomore year and married Stuart Hall from Miami, and I really don’t know how she met him, but they went down to live in Miami. I thi nk he went to the University of Florida, come to think about it. Q: Probably. A: They moved down to Miami. They lived dow n there for a while, and then moved later on to Connecticut -Greenwich, Connecticut. He wa s in the advertising business in New York City. Q: So they really went north. A: Yes, they went north. My grandfather, W.B. Phifer, was president of the Phifer State Bank and my Uncle Lang and Uncle Gus were also active in the Phifer brothers’ different businesses. Uncle Lang really was more into municipal affairs. He was on commissions, and this type of thing more than he was in to the banking business. They also owned Wilson Company Department Store. I guess that depa rtment store business never got out of their system. Then they owned a good bit of land on the eas t of Gainesville out the Hawthorne Road before you get to Magnesia Springs. Is that Grove? Q: I think it’s Grove Park? A: Something like that. They had a sawmill out there and they would cut timber and they had a turpentine still, and they would collect the turp entine and process that, so they had oh, ten or twelve cabins out there for the black people that worked for them to live in. Q: Well, they had their fingers in quite a few pies, didn’t they?

PAGE 8

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 8 A: Very much so. Then they had an overseer , whose name was Mr. Serency. He had his home there and his wife and children lived there. There was a commissary, and back then they would pay their help in scrip -it was called scri p -and then they would take this scrip and spend it at the commissary. If they wanted to go into Gainesville, which was a lot more of an effort back then, they could turn it in and get cash for it, but I always thought that was real interesting the way they did that. I know that my grandfather also had an orange grove down in Abbott, Fl orida, south of here. I guess when that freeze -this was around 1900. . . Q: 1895, I believe. A: And 1898 also, I think. W.B. Phifer, my gra ndfather, died in 1928, which was before I was born, so the only thing I know about him is from what I have read and from what my mother and other relatives have told me about him. Uncle Lang always seemed real old to me. He loved us and was interested but the one that really filled the shoes of a grandfather was Uncle Gus, the younger brother. He did not get married until he was around fifty years old. Q: So he did stay young for a long time. A: Yes. After my grandfather died, I think the other brother, Uncle Lang, became President, but it wasn’t long before Uncle Gus became President of the bank, and really he, like my grandfather, was the one that was more busin ess minded than Uncle Lang. He kind of took over as the leader of what they were doing, developing and all. He was such a sweet man and a wonderful man, so involved and so busine ss-like, and with such a sense of humor, but he also could be very forgetful. I have h eard so many stories and have lived through quite a few of the stories of Uncle Gus, like he lived on North Main Street at first, and he decided he would walk to work. It was during the war and gas rationing, so he walked to work and that was fine, except when he got ready to leave, he walked out front and his car wasn’t parked there and he decided it had been stolen and he called the police and reported it stolen. Of course, it wasn’t long before they found it parked in his driveway! Then another time he was living over in the McCoy Apartments behind the elementary school on University Avenue -Kirby-Smith. Anyway, he was living there and he went down and got in his car and revved the motor up and the car didn’t move, and he revved it up again and again and stepping on the accelerator, and this man leaned out of the window -of course, this was before air-conditioning -a nd he said, “Mr. Phifer, you’re not going anyplace. All four of your tires have been stolen off and you’re just sitting there.” He hadn’t even noticed. He just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t going anywhere. Q: All four tires gone!

PAGE 9

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 9 A: Carlos Zetrouer was the head teller. I rememb er Carlos. He was so nice. He really looked after Uncle Gus. Uncle Gus would go to work and a lot of times Carlos would walk out and roll his windows up and turn the car off. He would just park in front and get out and go into the bank. Carlos would go out and take care of things. Then there is another funny story about Uncle Gus. A farmer had come in to borrow some money, and Uncle Gus was deaf and he was s upposed to wear a hearing aid and sometimes he did and sometimes he didn’t. Sometimes he ’d turn it on and sometimes he wouldn’t. So, anyway, Uncle Gus was listening to this man, a nd Mr. Jones said, “Mr. Phifer, I’d like to borrow $300 to fix my barn.” Q: And that was a lot of money in those days. A: Uncle Gus leaned forward and cupped his ear and he said, “What’d you say? How much did you say, Mr. Jones?” And he said -he spoke louder this time, “I’d like to borrow $400.” He got his nerve up. Uncle Gus looked at him and said, “I heard you the first time.” But I bet he got his $400. Uncle Gus used to say -I’ve heard him say this -- “he didn’t have much security but his word was better than any security that he could have given me.” Q: And I think that was the way a lot of the bankers worked in those days. They knew their neighbors and they knew the situation and they tried to help out. A: I remember when Uncle Gus died -oh, say I wa s thirteen or fourteen, and it was really my first experience with the death of someone that I loved so much -I remember going to his funeral. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, and all the gorgeous flowers and wreaths . The next day Mother and I drove out there to see things and there were four little kind of glass jars with just phlox and daisies and yard flowers there. Q: Well, the poorer friends . . . A: Right, had come and had put those flowers a nd that really impressed me. You know, he was loved by people of all stations in life. Q: That is nice. A: Yes, that was really, really nice. But Uncle Gus was a very smart business man, very well respected, very jovial. I could walk downt own from my house with my friend, Mary Ann Dorsey, and know we could go stop in there and if he wasn’t busy, he’d see us and always give us a dime that we could go buy some ice cream. Q: And with a dime you could do a lot.

PAGE 10

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 10 A: You could do a lot of things. But that was our first stop. We’d get there first when we’d walk downtown. So that was quite a loss to the family when he died. After he died -Uncle Lang had died before Uncle Gus. Uncle Gus was also Treasurer of the Methodist Church for the State of Florida, but my mother did the work. He got the credit and she did the work. I always thought that was funny. She would go to conventions with Uncle Gus to help with that. I can remember living in the house -my mother and father were divorced when I was about three -and in the meantime my Aunt Mary, af ter Turner Pound had died, in a few years she had met and married Reid McKenzie and they lived in what is now called the McKenzie House. Q: Is that the origin of the name, the McKenzie House? A: That’s the origin of it because Ms. Holbr ook bought it from my sister , Florence, and me, and it was just always called the McKenzie House. Anyway, after my Aunt Mary had married Reid, he only lived about four years. He l oved to hunt and do things, and it was January, and he came home with a terrible cold and he caught pneumonia and died. Q: The doctors just didn’t know what they know today. A: Not at all. So here she really, all her life -she had two husbands but she was only married about six years total and did not have any ch ildren. So it was decided my Mother and my sister, Florence, and I would go live with Aunt Ma ry in the McKenzie House. That’s really the only house I remember living in as a child, and my mother and daddy had been married in that house, and Bob and I were married in that house, and Florence’ s daughter, Dixie, and Mike were married there, so it really has an awful lot of memories. That was nice. Aunt Mary, as a widow, got active in a lot of different things and she became quite the golfer. She went to a Florida State Golf Tourna ment and got so enthusiastic about that that she came back to Gainesville and she and I ca nnot think of the lady’s name, but the two of them organized the Gainesville Golf and Country Club Women’s Golf Association, the women’s group, and she was President of that. It was Elizabeth Atkins. So Aunt Mary and Elizabeth Atkins organized the Women’s Golf Association, and Aunt Mary was President of that. She was President of Florida State, th e Southern Golf Association, and she ended up being on the Board of Directors of the United States Seniors. Q: Oh, good for her. A: She obviously played a lot of golf, trav eled around, had many, many friends all over the state, and then the South and throughout the United States through her golf.

PAGE 11

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 11 Q: Well, you had several women in your family that did some sort of special things for that time and era. That’s very nice. A: Mother played golf, but after she and daddy were divorced, she starte d helping Uncle Gus in the family business. She would keep the books on the timber and the turpentine and different things like that for the different Phifer businesses. Let’s see, oh, I wanted to tell you about Mammy Whitehead. Now Mammy Whitehead was a little, black lady. She must have been maybe 5'2" or 3" and she worked for my mother and daddy when they lived at the little bungalow by the Duck Pond. I know they went through the Depression because Mother told me that th ere were times when they just couldn’t even pay Mammy but she stayed right with them anyway. Q: She probably got her pay from the food. A: Probably. My daddy owned a drugstore. It was located down from Wilson Company where Vidal’s City Drug, in the middle of the bloc k. The Vidals owned it but in our time it was called City Drug. Q: You know, I don’t even know what store is there at this point in time. It would be right across from the courthouse square. A: Right. He owned that drugstore. I remember Mother telling me that when times were really bad that she and Mammy would make sandwiche s and Daddy would take them to work to sell sandwiches to help make some money. Q: Make a little extra, nickel or dime. A: Anyway, we went and lived in the McKenzie House and Mother was working for Uncle Gus and Mammy wa s there from the time I got up in the morning practically until I went to bed at night, and we had a big old kitchen. At first, it was just a wood stove and then they got an electric stove, but I remember in the wintertim e they kept that wood stove going because it would heat the kitchen during the cold mornings. We didn’t have central heat. Q: No, we didn’t have the central heat that we have today. A: But Mammy was quite a character, and she had a husband called Hudson. Behind the McKenzie House -let’s back up a minute. Th e land went all the way through to the next street so it was a big lot. There was a big ba rn back there, and there was a little two-room house with a porch across the front with a fireplace in the middle that would heat both rooms. That’s where Mammy and Hudson lived. Q: Oh, they lived right there?

PAGE 12

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 12 A: I think Hudson had a barbecue place on 5th Avenue somewhere. Q: Now, his name was Hudson? A: Hudson Whitehead, and he woul d go to his place of business during the daytime. I think that kind of went by the wayside, too, after a wh ile. But one thing that Mammy and Hudson -I can remember, when I was about twelve -they played a game popular among the black people called Bolita. Do you remember that, Jane? Q: I think I do. I think it was a gambling game. A: Oh yes, it was. Definitely. Oh, she woul d love the lottery today. She would have this dream book, and I guess this black man would come to the back door. They would bet on numbers, and this number was drawn on Saturday night down in Cuba and radioed up here. Q: Kind of like a lottery. A: Oh, it was definitely a lottery, and she would love the Florida Lottery. Anyway, she had this little dream book and about Thursday or Friday she was always asking Florence and me, “What did you dream last night?” Then she’ d look it up in her dream book and they say if you dream about horses and cows, then you be t on #7, or something like that, but she’d never do it in front of Mother because Mother would have fussed about it. Q: Did she ever win? A: I doubt it. I imagine this thing was very, ve ry crooked. But anyway, that was an experience with her with her little dream book. We had Dell Grocery Store right dow n at the end of the block. Q: I remember that store. A: It was George Dell, and we could pick up the phone and probably order -Aunt Mary would order the groceries, and they would deliver them up to the house, and they would walk into the house and if Mammy wasn’t there, they’d put the milk in the refrigerator. You didn’t lock your doors. Q: You didn’t need to. A: You didn’t need to. If something was deliver ed, they just brought it in and put it on the table for you. My friend I mentioned before -Mary Ann Dorsey -lived about a block east of where I lived, and her mother would sometimes give Mary Ann a little bit of money and say,

PAGE 13

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 13 “Now will you run down to Mr. Dell’s and buy me a loaf of bread.” So Mary Ann would have this quarter and we would go down there and we’d buy the loaf of bread, but we would charge it to my mother and spend the quarter. We really had that thing figured out. Q: Oh, you bad little girls. A: We got caught on that one, so we had to quit doing that. Q: Now, there was a Dorsey Bakery. A: That was her father’s uncle, and his name was Tom, and we called him Uncle Tom, and he had the Dorsey Bakery, which, as I remember it as a young teenager, was near Penney’s, where Penney’s used to be around the corner. Q: There was a bakery that was just right acro ss the street and down like half a block from the old Gainesville High School, which was on University Avenue. Was that Dorsey’s? A: No, not there. Do you remember where the J unior League Thrift Shop was at one time? Across the street from there. Q: Yes, I do remember that. A: I always loved spending the night with Mary Ann. My favorite break fast was the angel food cake and peanut butter. I loved to have th at for breakfast. There were always goodies around the house. He was a sweet thing, he r eally was. I remember during the war going with Aunt Mary to the top of the Seagle Building to spot airplanes and sometimes it was very boring. We would sit there fo r hours and nothing would go by, and then every now and then, something would go by, but we would go and se rve our time, and Mother worked for the Red Cross and folded bandages, and Aunt Mary decided she would learn to weld things so she learned how to do welding. Q: Oh, did she? A: Yes, she learned how to do that. I thought th at was unusual. Yes, she sure did. Anyway, let’s see, what else? I remember going horseb ack riding out at Blake Mead Farm, which is pretty much where you live now, Jane. Q: Yes. A: Out around 34th Street, which is my understanding is kind of the center of the population now. Q: I think that’s what they say, most everything has moved west.

PAGE 14

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 14 A: It really has. When I was in high school, I was a member of Little Women, as you were. Do you remember how much fun that was? Q: I do. A: Now, Little Women, so they’ll understand, were the daughters of ladies that were members of the Gainesville Women’s Club. They woul d have a dance, usually once a month during the school year and the young ladies that were members would have a date plus they would issue about four stag invitations, and that’s what made the dance so much fun. Q: That was like four to one! A: That’s right, and you did not dance all night with your date. People would break in the middle of dances and there was a lot more mixing and socializing, I think. Q: Right, and do you remember, what was his name? A: Angus Merritt was always the deejay. That’s what they would call him now. He was up on the balcony and he played his records. All the dances ended at twelve o’clock with “Stardust”, Hoagie Carmichael’s “Stardust”. Do you remember that? So when you heard that played, you knew it was the last dance and you always danced with your date for that dance. And then there was a special dan ce on New Year’s Eve called “Confetti Club” and that was really formal. We all decorated the Women’s Club and had a theme -remember that? Q: Yes, I do. A: And boys and girls, usually in junior and senior class, performed. Q: Now, I think only juniors and senior girls belonged, and it was the sophomore girls that served at there at the Confetti Club. A: That’s right. They served. But now you’re sure it wasn’t ninth grade, or was it going into tenth? Q: You know, I don’t really remember. A: I can’t either. I think it was sophomores, juniors and seniors were members, and ninth graders served. Q: It could be.

PAGE 15

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 15 A: But that was so exciting when you were in ninth grade and you got to serve at Confetti Club. And it lasted til one o’clock because it was New Year’s Eve. Q: Very risque. A: Yes. Do you remember the “Polar Bear” acr oss the street kind of down from G.H.S.? The Polar Bear Ice Cream Shop. That was a fun place to go to things like that. Anyway, I think that’s about all that I can . . . Q: Martine, if you don’t mind, I think you neglect ed to tell us something about your age and where you were born and I don’t want to get too personal unless you want to. A: I was born here in Gainesville in 1931. I went to P.K. Yonge and graduated from there in 1949, went to Mary Washington College, which wa s the girls school at the University of Virginia, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Kay Eutsler and Joan Morgan, the three of us were the ones that went off to Mary Washington College. We had all been at P.K. Yonge together. I think our graduating class at P. K. was around fifty-four. Can you imagine today? Isn’t that something? And our group, I remember, in high school, we were kind of devilish. None of the girls drank, unlike some of the boys, but we were dating older boys because the University was not coed, so Gainesville boys th at went to the University dated high school girls. Q: It was a much more innocent age. A: Oh, it was, but we would do devilish things like take our car and go off campus for lunch, and some of the girls smoked and they woul d be caught -you know, go in the bathroom and smoke -you know, things like that. Q: But really kind of minor. A: Oh yes, very minor. But one thing I rememb er was the fad back then was that we were called the Bandana Bunch because on Fridays we wore our hair to school rolled up in socks and therefore we wore a bandana. If you didn’ t have a date, you still wore your hair rolled up in socks because you didn’t want anybody to th ink you didn’t have a date. So we were kind of known as the Bandana Bunch. Q: But had a lot of fun. A: Oh we did. We had a lot of fun. We were n’t allowed to go to Daytona Beach house parties until after our junior year in high school, but we sure had a good time out of junior and senior years, and that was a lot of fun. I would be scared to death to let mine go in this day and time but I guess they survive.

PAGE 16

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 16 Q: That was the day when you didn’t lock your doors. A: Well, those days were . . . In fact, I can remember, Jane, one of the years I was at house parties, I left my wallet on a bench on the boardwalk and some man found it and called my mother in Gainesville to find out where I was staying and returned it to the house I was staying in. Q: Really? It sounds typical of the 1950's. A: It is a different world today. Q: Martine, since you and I both like geneal ogy so much, would you like to record your children’s names? A: Yes, let’s see, I was married to Bob Oakl ey in 1950. I graduated in 1949 and went off to college for one year and was married after the one year of college. Bob was at the University of Florida. He graduated. He had to go back into the service during the Korean War, so he didn’t graduate until January 1954. Anyway, we had a daughter, Helen Elizabeth Oakley, in November 1951 and then Mary Jan was born in January 1954 and then our third daughter, Bobbie Rae, was born in January 1957. After Bob graduated, we moved to Jacksonville, where he worked for Boroughs Co rporation and then Di ctaphone, and we came back to Gainesville in 1959 and he opened a br anch office here for Dictaphone. He won all sorts of awards for outstanding salesmanship. He was the top Dictaphone salesman for the state of Florida and did real we ll with that. Anyway, we had three wonderful girls, and Jan still lives in Gainesville, has twin daughters, Kelly and Casey, and they’re fifteen now. Bobbie and her husband live in Venice, Florida, and they have two boys and a little girl. Betsy and her husband live in Birmingham, Alabama, and they have three boys. Q: Would you like to tell us the husband’s names? A: Yes. Betsy married Ralph Harrison Smit h, and he graduated from Washington and Lee University. Betsy graduated from Sweetbriar College, which is right over the Blue Ridge from Washington and Lee. Smitty was ve ry fortunate and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. Q: How nice. A: Yes, so after he graduated he went to Oxford and after being there one year, he came home and he and Betsy were married. They lived in Oxford for two more years, so they just had wonderful traveling experiences. They were footloose and fancy free. Q: And living overseas.

PAGE 17

Interview with: Martine Glass Cox July 17, 1997 17 A: And living over there as a Rhodes scholar, th e other Rhodes scholars that lived there would open their homes and invite these young people to come and visit so it was quite an experience for them. They came back to the st ates and Smitty went to Yale Law School and then they moved to Washington, D.C., where he was connected with a law firm about two years and then it was decided to go back to Birmingham, which was home for Smitty. His family was in Birmingham, so they have lived there for about fifteen years now. Jan is divorced. She is a teacher, teaches at Littlewood, kindergarten, where she went to school herself. I always think that’s real neat. Her twin girls, Kelley and Kasey, are students at Gainesville High School. Bobbie married Jim Clinch and they, as I said, live in Venice, Florida. Bobbie is also a teacher. She is in Special Education in Juni or High School, and Jim is Vice-President of Sales for a corporation down there called Barbizon, so they are all busy. Q: Sounds like your family is all doing very, very well. A: Yes, all nice and busy. But, anyway, I am ma rried now to Dick Cox and we live out off of Millhopper Road, which is real quiet and nice. Yesterday I had in the back yard the most precious pair of little fauns with their spots and the mother deer was there and I just watched them for about thirty minutes. They were walking around by the swimming pool. They were eating my daises that were blooming, a nd then this morning the fox squirrel came to visit. We have two resident fox squirrels. Q: Sounds like you have a beautiful place in nature there. A: Oh, I love it. I really do. Q: Martine, I sure do thank you very much, and I’ll be getting back in touch with you with the transcript. A: Well, thank you, Jane.


xml record header identifier oai:www.uflib.ufl.edu.ufdc:MH0000171400001datestamp 2009-02-11setSpec [UFDC_OAI_SET]metadata oai_dc:dc xmlns:oai_dc http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc xmlns:dc http:purl.orgdcelements1.1 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc.xsd dc:title Interview with Martine Glass Coxdc:creator Correll, Jane ( Interviewer )Marston, Ruth C. ( Transcriber )dc:subject Oral history -- Florida ( LCTGM )dc:publisher Matheson Historical Centerdc:date 1997dc:type Bookdc:identifier http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?b=MH00001714&v=00001dc:source Alachua County Historic Trust: Matheson Museum, Inc.dc:language Englishdc:coverage North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Alachua