Title: Interview with Herman Barton
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007115/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Herman Barton
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007115
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 128

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Full Text


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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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LUM 128A
Date: November 18, 1973
Subject: Herman Barton
Interviewer: Bruce Barton
Typist: Josephine Suslowicz


B: We're interviewing Herman Barton in the residence of Mr. and Mrs. John Brsa y /

in the Prospect Communittee. This is November 18, 1973. To get the interview

started, sir, will you just simply identify yourself?

H: My name is Herman Barton.

B: And how old are you, Herman?

H: Thirty-nine.

B: How long have you lived in Robeson County?

H: All my life.
B: That's 39 years.

H: Right.

B: Well, what do you do for a living, Herman?

H: S employed as, .ainter.

B: Uh, paint*A ft you ever hk Ah ?

H: No I haven't.

B: Very good. You live here in the Prospect Communitee?

H: Yes, I do.

B: And Prospect's approximately how far from Pembroke?

H: Apprmvmata y four miles.

B: Okay, now, ;a; a. maybe to, uh, acquaint our listening audience, if you'ld

just tell us a little something about yourself. Maybe who your parents are,

where you were born, whatever you think would be appropriate.

H: My parents is, uh, irnie Barton. He lives on Pembroke, Route One. My mother is

iL oTflfltaitonyi

LUM 128A 2

B: How would you spell that Lousina and Furnie?

H: F-U-R-N-I-E, Furnie; L-O-U-S-I-N-A, Lousina. I am proud of my mother and father.

ekr was twelve of we children--eleven and one dead. TheyVl been farmers all

their lives. They% been hard working people and I appreciate them tonight.

We worked hard for a living. We never did have nothing, but my mother and daddy

tried to provide for us. They was farmers--big farmers. We had a lot of

tobacco andba lot of the cotton; lot of corn. And they are Lumbee Indians. We

was raised in, th, Robeson County. Went to schools in Robeson County. Went to

church in Robeson County, and I am proud to be a Lumbee Indian. And myself--I

didn't get, uh, a lot of education that I would like to have, but I guess it was

my fault. My mother and father would have sent me to school, but it was my fault

because I didn't--I didn't want to go, and they was willing to--willing to send

me. And, uh, I am married, and my wife is, uh, Mary Cady Barton. We have four

children. The oldest one is, uh, Darlene. The boy is Herman, Jr. The third

oldest one is i A- and the baby is Dorine, and they all in school at New

Prospect. They really like to go to New Prospect, Robeson County. They got a

nice principal, Mr. Jones, and he is--he is a smart principal. He tries to do all

he can for us--our Indians from Robeson County--specially New Prospect.

B: Good. That's a pretty good summation. Now let me see, that covers everything

pretty well. You jabtid that you're proud to be a Lumbee Indian, didn't you?

H: Right.

B: Do you remember when you were going to school? How far did you go to school?

H: I finished the ninth and stapt in the tenth.

B: Do you remember how it was back then? P)oe any other Blacks or Whites go to school

with Indians back then?

H: No sir.

B: Where did you go to--you told me a minute ago but I forgot--where did you go to


LUM 128A 3

H: Cherokee Ghap, Pembroke High School.

B: Cherokee .mspr is about how far from Pembroke?

H: Approximately ten miles.

B: Is that school still in existence?

H: Yes it is.

B: Cherokee twpmr School?

H: Right.

B: I wasn't aware of that. I found out something, myself, tonight. Do you know

anything about the political situation in Robeson County? Do you feel that

Indians have been discriminated against in Robeson County?

H: Yes, I do.

B: Could you tell me why you feel that way? You feel like we've been denied the

right to vote?

H: Yes.

B: How about--do you think that our schools--we had poorer schools than the Whites,

for instance?

H: Yes, we have. ru7erj 4firm &3o4

B: And can you remember any instances when you were a boy, and in later life, before

desegregation, and Martin Luther King, and marches, and all that; can you remember

any particular instances in Lumberton, for instance, where you were discriminated

against for being an Indian?

H: Yes I do.

B: Do you remember any particular instance?

H: Not right off hand, I don't.

B: Just a general discrimination.

H: Yes.

B: Did you ever, uh, refused admittance to a theater or eating place that you can

remember, or a pool room, or treated unfairly in a department store because you

LUM 128A 4

were an Indian?

H: Yes.

B: Which one? Or a little bit of all?

H: This White restaurant, approximately fifteen years ago. There was--they wouldn't

let any Indians go in there and eat, and I think it was--I think it was a shame

because we Indians couldn't even go in the right--White restaurant to sat down

and eat, and although we was--we was paying taxes in Robeson County and couldn't

even go into a White restaurant back then and eat a good, decent meal.

B: Do you remember whether they had--someone told me, uh, it might have been right

before my time, but do you remember when they had three separate bathrooms, for

instance in Robeson County; one for Indian, one for Black, and one for White?

Do you remember, yourself, seeing this?

H: Yes, I do.

B: In other words, they had to have three of everything.

H: Three of everything. (Laughs)

B: Seems to me like a whole lot of waste of money, don't it to you.

H: That's right.

B: Unbelievable. There's been something going on in the last, uh, couple of years

in Robeson County, and, uh, it's where people are really proud to be an Indian,

and, uh, there's a movement going on now, uh, Tuscarora. What do you think about

people who want to name themselves? Do you see anything wrong with someone wanting

to be a Tuscarora Indian?

H: No, I don't.

B: Do you feel like if--if they can name us Lumbee, then, if you want to be a

Tuscarora that's all right, too?

H: Well, I'ld rather be a Lumbee.

B: But do you--would you say it would be all right if they wanted to be a Tuscarora?

H: That's right.

LUM 128A 5

B: That's kind of the way I feel about it. I wanted to talk to you a little bit

about when you were a boy growing up. You talked a little bit about your

parents and you seem to have a great deal of love and respect for them, and could

you tell me a little bit about a day on the--you were raised on a farm, is this


H: That's right.

B: Could you tell me a little--let's take a day, for instance, uh, let's say during

the tobacco season after you have the lugs off, and, uh, could you kind of start

that morning when you go out d;A pSe0 a J 4t nd of

go through the day for us, and what kind of day it was when you were a boy cropping


H: Oh man, cropping tobacco is a--is a tough job. Oh, we run out every morning--it

practically took us all day to put in, maybe, five or six acres of tobacco. Back

then we used mules. Pulling, uh, the crates is what we called them back then.

Took us maybe all day to put in five acres of tobacco, maybe 'til dark. Then come

home and we--if we didn't get through by with it by twelve, had to come home and

feed the mules, ate lunch, maybe by one o'clock we was back in the fields.

B: Uh, could you tell them a little bit about, uh, you and I know what cropping

tobacco is, but they might not know. That's the tobacco that's in the field and

was ready to be pulled and sent to market cigarettes and all this kind of stuff.

H: Right.

B: Okay, go ahead.

H: Well, in the field and cropping tobacco, you have to know what you--what would

you have to pull. You know, whether it was ripe leaves, or the green leaves, and

in cropping tobacco we do, uh, pull this leaf as we think was ready to be cropped.

Put it in the barn to be cured out. Then when you're cured out, you grade it,

then send it to the market. And, uh, cropping tobacco, it is, it is a hard job.

B: I think we've hit on something here that might be of some interest, uh, talking

LUM 128A 6

about a typical day during tobacco season, and let me just give a little back-

ground and then we'll go back into it and find out what we do during the day, but

tobacco, for many years I think it was the main crop in Robeson County, wouldn't

you say?

H: That's right.

B: You go from the planting, and you'ld have to cure it and take it to market, and

it comes out in a Camel or a Winston, and all that was a lot of hard work. Now,

most of the males did what we call cropping, wouldn't you say?

H: That's right.

B: Okay, let's go back to the field and you be cropping, and let's put it in the

crate and bring it to the barn, and give it to the ladies, and, uh, put it in the

barn, and see what we can come up with.

H: All right, we're out cropping tobacco and we put this tobacco in something you

call a crate. We send it to the barn. There's these men taking the tobacco

out of the crate, putting it on the--this shelf--what we called it. Then there'ld

be women around that stringing tobacco, and they get--string their stick of

tobacco, they gives it to the menfolk. they send it up in the barn. They place

it--what we call the chip hole in the barn. Well when we got done, uh, cropping

tobacco that day, my father always lit the barn that night. Lit the barn--put

heat to it.

B: What kind of heat did he use?

H: Back then we used the kerosene heat. Then, uh, he cured this tobacco anywhere

from four to five days--when he thought, uh, it was done enough to cut off the

heat. Then we let the tobacco get in order. We'ld take it out of the barn.

Then we send it to the pack house. Then we, uh, took the tobacco off of these

sticks and 't- -put it in sheets, and we carried it to the market for


B: You C 1 tell some of our city folks how it is on the farm cropping tobacco,

curing it, taking it to market. Do you remember feeling that, uh, you were

LUM 128A 7

deprived of anything when you were a boy? I was kind of pleased to hear you

talk so kindly about your mother and father and how they provided for you. Even

being poor didn't have all that many drawbacks, 'cause there's a lot of fun things

to do on a farm, aren't there?

H: There was.

B: What do boys do for, uh, fun back then? What kind of games did you play?

H: We never did have--we never did have any games to play. We didn't have time.

B: You worked all the time.

H: Worked all the time. Got through the farm, father would send us out

in the woods with a--a saw. Sawing down trees to get wood to keep us warm that


B: But you talked about being very happy. You must have had some very, uh, you

must have had a very remarkable mother and father to, uh, there must have been

something more to it than just work, 'cause you seem to feel very loving towards


H: Well I had a--I had a wonderful mother and daddy, and I appreciate them r, i


B: Right. And did you go to church every Sunday?

H: Yes, we knowed to go to church every Sunday.

B: What? They made you go?

H: They made us go.

B: (Laughs) And do you still go?

H: I still go.

B: And do you--do you feel that that was helpful to you--that your mother and father--

maybe you didn't want to back then, but making you go to church. Do you think

it, uh, had a lot to do with, uh, making you a man later on?

H: Yes, I do. I really do.

B: So you would recommend for parents that they--that it wouldn't be nothing wrong

with forcing a child to go to church.

LUM 128A 8

H: No sir. That's right.

B: And do you still go to church?

H: I do.

B: And, uh, what denomination are you?

H: Baptist.

B: And which church do you go to in the area here?

H: Uh, New Prospect.

B: New Prospect, that's, uh, is that a Methodist church?

H: Yes)sir.

B: I thought--didn't you say you were a Baptist? (Laughs) Let's see now, I think--

I think we got a little confusion here I see. Are you a Baptist or a Methodist?

H: I'm a Baptist. I'm sorry I made the mistake.

B: New Hope is a Baptist church--New Prospect.

H: New Prospect is a Methodist church.

B: Right. (Laughs) Now, are you a--are you a Methodist?

H: I'm a Methodist.

B: Okay. (Laughs) Okay, now we got it straight. You are--you are a Methodist, and

it's New Prospect Church.

H: Right. That's right.

B: They're all more or less the same, aren't they.

H: That's right. Not much difference.

B: Aren't we all supposed to be going to the same place?

H: That's right.

B: If I understand it correctly, when we get to heaven there's going to be some

Methodist, Baptist, all kinds of people there.

H: That's right, too.

B: Okay, that's okay then. So, uh, what did people do after the work day was over'?

When you came home, what did, uh, children do after dark? Did you go out to play,

LUM 128A 9

or did you go straight to bed, and get ready for the next morning? What kind

of night did you have?

H: Well, back then we didn't have any TV to--to watch when we got through working

that day. When we got through working that day, we fed up--fed the mules, cows

and hogs. Sat around and talked until we got ready to go to bed, and sometimes

we'ld go out and play in the yard. You know, like children used to do, but now

they don't--they hardly ever have time to play because of watching TV now.

B: I remember when I was a boy that people--one of the joys I remember from child-

hood is sitting out on the front porch. Did you all used t do that too?
H: Yes sir. Sat--sat around on the front porch an 4a mother and daddy

talk and sometimes they hum a song or two, and I loved to join in, and sat around

and hum a song or two.

B: I used to hear some ungodly ghost stories on the front porch--make chills run up

and down your back.

H: Yeah, my mother sat around and tell us stories. Stories in the Bible. She talked

about her mother--she talked about her mother and father back then long years ago,

how they got along.

B: You remember--you remember much she might have said about them?
H: Well, they--she said she had, uh, a good mother and daddy. ACouldn't see nothing

wrong about them.

B: What did a fellow do? Do you remember the first time you met your wife? Where

did you meet her at? I'm interested in how people courted back then, too.

H: Well, back then I met my wife right in front of her home plate.

B: How did this come about?

H: I met my wife by going to see another girl.

B: (Laughs) No wonder there was that long pause there.

H: One Sunday afternoon I was going to see, uh, this friend of mine. I--we dated for

four or five months, and I was going up by New Prospect Church then, uh, to see this

LUM 128A 10

girlfriend. And this Sunday afternoon as I was going, we met these two girls

on the highway. On 710, and we stopped. We talked, and I made a date with her.

B: How did you do that? You just said I want a date, and she said okay?

H: Well I asked her. I asked her for a date and she said it would be all right. Well,

a couple of weeks went by, so I made up my mind to--to go see her, which I and my

mother and father talked about hertShe went to church along with them during

that time, and my mother and father talked about her telling me about how nice a

girl she was, and she went to church every Sunday. So I decided I'ld go see her

one Sunday, and I did, and, uh, I fl ^ Two or three weeks later we felled

in love. We decided to get married, and we did, and we made a--a happy marriage.

The good Lord supplied us with four children all in good health, and we gets along--

we gets along good.

B: You've never had any regrets?

H: No sir.

B: Well, how--another thing I'm interested in is how was, uh, I've heard other people

talk about, uh, was this, then, back in the late forties or the fifties?

H: In the late sixties.

B: In the late sixties? Well, I've heard people talk about how, uh, especially people

living out in the rural area, you know, Prospect and Union Chapel and this, that

the parents used to be mighty strict on their daughters. When you went courting,

you had to go to their house and stay there, and how--what kind of courting, uh,

procedures did you all have? Did you get to go out when you wanted to, or did you

have to stay at home, and. .

H: We stayed at home.

B: Her mom and daddy wouldn't let her go out?

H: No sir.

B: So you just sit there and, uh, did they have a place where you could go courting?

H: Yes sir, in the living room.

LUM 128A 11

B: And where would momma and daddy be?

H: They'ld be in another room.

B: So, that's the reason people got married so fast back then, wasn't it?

H: I guess so.

B: (Laughs) Okay. Well, you know, this is a, like if I wanted to hear about somebody

in Arizona, I'ld want to know what they did during the day, what kind of games

they played, how they courted, and this is how you really find out about other

people, and that's why we're interested in this kind of material. Do you remember--

you said you went to Cherokee Chapel'School in the beginning, is that right?

H: That's right.

B: And do you remember who your teacher was back then?

H: I remember one. Her name was Ula Jane Clark.

B: She Indian?

H: Yes, she is.

B: Okay, and you went to the ninth grade, and, uh, what kind of hours did they keep

in school? Was it the same as today from eight to 3:30?

H: That's right.

B: And what kind of, uh, heat did they have back then?

H: Coal.

B: Who--who put the coal in the heater?

H: The janitors.

B: They had janitors at each school?

H: Yes sir.

B: What kind of games did you play at school?

H: Baseball, basketball.

B: Okay, now this is a--you went to the ninth grade, and, uh, you said your mother

and father would have sent you on if you had wanted to go. Why did you decide

you didn't want to go anymore?

LUM 128A 12

H: Well, I just didn't get interested in school. I dropped out in the ninth grade.

Just didn't get interested in it, but today I see my mistake.

B: So you've been working since you were in the ninth grade.

H: That's right.

B: If you had it to go back over with, would you go on through school as far as you


H: I certainly would.

B: And has it made you feel differently about your children? For instance, are you,

uh, very interested in them going on, for instance, through college so they won't

have to work as hard as you have.

H: That's exactly right.

B: And do you think education's the answer to the Indian's problems?

H: That's right.

B: So you'ld be interested in sending all your children as far in school as they

want to go?

H: That's right.

B: Very good. Now I want to talk a little bit about heroes. I want to know who is your

number one hero.

H: Henry B fr r Lowry.

B: (Laughs) Right on. Now, have you ever heard old people sit around and talk about

Henry B!-4r Lowry. Any about what kind of fellow he was, and all of that?

H: Yes I did.

B: Did you ever talk to anybody that knew him personally, or that knew somebody that

knew him?

H: No, I haven't.

B: Well, was this a topic of conversation a lot of times on the front porch when

people were talking?

H: Yes, it was.

B: Do you remember anything that you might have heard about Henry Bf-rf V Lowry?

LUM 128A 13

H: He was a great man.

B: He was a great man. Why do you say that?

H: He fought for his country and his people.

B: And, uh, you know, the White men will tell you that he was just a murderer. Why

would you feel differently from that?

H: I don't feel any different.

B: You feel, though, that he was not a murderer--he was a great man.

H: That's right.

B: Do you feel like a lot of the people--I've--I've never heard a Indian say anything

except Henry B _frT was a great man. I think probably the thing is that every-

body needs heroes, right?

H: That's right. We need them today. More of them.

B: Now, do you remember--how far back can you remember? You're 38. That would go

back, uh, can you remember in the forties, for instance, when you were a boy?

H: About '48.

B: About '48? Did you serve in the service, for instance?

H: No, I didn't.

B: You just kept right on working.

H: That's right. I'm still working.

B: (Laughs) Okay, okay. Hold just a minute.

H: Yeah, I just made a ,C CeC ; f4ro T 0 (ArA44

B: Do you feel toward Henry Bf-ht) Lowry, for instance, the way the Blacks feel

toward Martin Luther King?

H: Martin Luther King was a--he was another. .

B: Was he a good man?

H: Yes, he was. He died for his country and people.

B: I think, uh, all the--all the Indians I've talked to really respect and admire

Martin Luther King.

H: That's right. I did--I do.

LUM 128A 14

B: Yeah, I do too. And, but-would-you be disturbed, or would it change your feeling

any if I told you that one time Henry B e-Y Lowry got drunk and shot his

brother Steve in the eye?

H: No, I wouldn't.

B: It wouldn't make any difference at all?

H: No.

B: Well, I read one time, uh, a lady wrote a history about him. Her name was Mary C.

Norman and she's from Lumberton, and she wrote a book called, um, The Lowry, and

it was about Henry B&rryT Lowry, and she--the way she tells it Henry Befry

was a mean man, and he drank too much liquor, and one time he shot his brother

in his eye, and all that stuff. But I don't think Indian people, even if it was

so, wouldn't be--I don't think Indian people are interested in hearing it, or do


H: No, I don't.

B: So you're a fan of B eft Lowry, right or wrong?

H: One hundred percent.

B: (Laughs) Okay, okay we'll continue on side 2.


B: Herman Barton--Herman Barton's name is Teddy, and I keep thinking Teddy--that's

his nickname--and Bruce Barton, interviewer. So, we'll continue this interview.

Ted--Teddy, or Herman, when you were a young boy, or teenager, did you get out

and, uh, where did kids go to have a good time in Robeson County if you were an


H: We didn't go anyplace. There wasn't any place to go like there is today. Mostly

on Sunday evenings our friends would go from house to house to play with other


B: And what kind of games did they play?

H: Hiding, mostly.

LUM 128A 15

B: Hiding?

H: Playing marbles.

B: This used to be a great sport for Indian children, wasn't it?

H: That's right.

B: And hiding. What do you mean by hiding?

H: Well, hiding--children used to play hiding.

B: How does that game work?

H: Well, maybe take four or five children in the house playing and they decide to

play hiding. Four of them will go play--uh, four of them would hide and let the

one find them. If they find one, they could touch one. He would be out, so it

would change all over again.

B: So you'd play until there's just one left?

H: That's right.

B: Okay, now what other kind of crops did your mom and daddy raise on the farm besides


H: Corn, cotton--we raised peanuts sometimes.

B: Did you pick the cotton by hand?

H: Yes, we did.

B: Uh, you used the, uh, take the cotton to the cotton gin, right?

H: That's right.

B: How did people pick cotton back then? Uh, you said you picked it by hand. What

kind of container did they put the cotton in?

H: In a sack.

B: You just put a sack and put a strap around it and put it around your shoulder and

fill it up and go empty it on a sheet?

H: That's right.

B: Now how about the corn? What did you use the corn for?

H: Well, we used the corn for--to feed our animals; mules, hogs, cows.

LUM 128A 16

B: Did you have a tractor when you were a boy growing up on the farm?

H: No sir.

B: You did all the plowing with a mule and a plow?

H: That's right.

B: And it was--whose job was it to feed the animals?

H: The boys.

B: And what did the girls do?

H: Well, they attend to the housework.

B: They attend to the housework, uh, and the boys--did you have to cut wood back


H: Yes, we did.

B: You had a wood stove.

H: That's right.

B: How about the cooking?

H: We cooked with a wood stove.

B: Uh, you used wood to cook and wood to heat by.

H: That's right.

B: How was the--how was momma's biscuits?

H: They was fine. They was better than they is today cooking on a gas stove.

B: Did you get your own butter from the cow, too?

H: Yes we did.

B: Plenty of milk.

H: Plenty of good milk.

B: How about chickens?

H: We had plenty of chickens.

B: And, uh, what did people do mostly for meat on the farm?

H: We raised our meat.

B: When you say meat, you mean hogs?

LUM 128A 17

H: Hogs, that's right.

B: What time of year do people kill hogs?

H: Around Nov--December.

B: And was that a full-time job, too?

H: Yes, it was.

B: How did--how did they start with the hog killing, and how did--what way did most

people kill their hogs to start with around here?

H: Back--back then we put the hogs on the floor of the pen. We fattened those hogs

up til they got good size. Then we killed those hogs. We killed them. We put

the meat in the smoke house.

B: What did you call the smoke house? What kind of building was that?

H: It was just a little building, uh, 'specially for--for hogs when we get onto killing

hogs--put the hog meat in.

B: Was it insulated?

H: No, it wasn't.

B: How would you, uh, how would you treat the meat? Just hang it up _? Would

you just hang the meat up and let it cure itself? The weather cure it?

H: Yes we did.

B: What kind of curing would you call that?

H: Just hang it up and let it cure out till all the--all the fat--all the grease, you

know, get dry in the--in the meat.

B: That meat wouldn't rot hanging in the smoke house?

H: No--no. It wouldn't rot, but it would rot, you know, if you keep it in there a long


B: About how long would it last?

H: Six months.

B: You mean you could kill a hog and dress it and hang it in the smoke house and it

would last six months without going bad?

LUM 128A 18

H: Yes, if you treat it good.

B: How would you treat it?,,.Used salt or something like that?

H: Yes, we used salt. Plenty of salt on, uh, on fresh meat.

B: How about the hams?

H: Well, hams you keep, uh, plenty of salt on hams to keep from, uh, rotting.

B: And back in those days on the farm, some other things I'm interested in, for

instance, how did, uh, how they washed clothes back then. Did they have washing

machines like we know it today, or did they have to do it another way?

H: No, we did it the other way.

B: And this was another one of the duties of the girls?

H: Yes.

B: Uh, how did they, uh, they have an outside pot, or something?

H: Yes, we had a outside pot.

B: And how would they--how would they go about washing clothes? Did you have to heat


H: Yes, we did.

B: And, uh, did you have any particular kind of washing powders, or soap, or anything

they used?

H: Yes, they had a particular soap--homemade soap we call it.

B: What did you make soap out of?

H: Grease.

B: From the hog?

H: From the hog.

B: So, when you kill hogs, you keep your grease.

H: That's right.

B: Do you remember how they made this--this, uh, special kind of soap people used to

use back then?

H: No, I don't know now. It's been--it's been so long.

LUM 128A 19

B: Well, would people wash with this soap, too--themselves, or their body, or was

it just for clothes?

H: Mostly for clothes.

B: Was it strong?

H: Yes, it was.

B: See, I just can remember vaguely something about this soap, and I remember

they had an old black pot, and they used to fire up that--that pot and get that

water real hot, and they'd go to town washing clothes. Had an old, uh, scrubbing

board they used?

H: That's right. We had an old scrubbing board.

B: You don't see those kind of things anymore, do we?

H: You sure don't.

B: I guess the young just don't know what it was growing up in those days.

H: They sure don't. Kids these days has a good time.

B: Uh, I just thought of something. Did the boys back then, especially in your

family, for instance, did the guys get together, and they have guns, and they'd

go in the woods hunting?

H: My mother and father wouldn't let us go in the woods hunting together. They were

scared of guns back then.

B: But, uh, was that something that was, uh, done quite a bit back then by the young


H: Hunting? No sir.

B: How about fishing?

H: Yes, we did a lot of fishing.

B: In Lumber River?

H: Lumber River.

B: What kind of fish you catch in the Lumber River?

H: Catch catfish, brim--we call them red-breast today. Back then we didn't know what

LUM 128A 20

kind of fish--fish they was back then, but we learnt back then--we learnt since

then they was red-breast fish.

B: Good eating?

H: Good eating.

B: And how about swimming in the summertime? Did the boys go down to the river


H: No, sir. We never did. My--my mother and father was scared to let us go to--to

the river. Scared we might get drowned.

B: Did you ever slip away and go?

H: Once or twice.

B: (Laughs) Now what kind of other things did they raise on the farm back then? Did--

did they raise watermelons back then?

H: Yes, they did.

B: Now, uh, I remember when I was a boy we used to, uh, they used to reward us when

we were cropping tobacco by giving us a big fat watermelon at the end of the day.

That was some good eating.

H: Yes, I remember then, too. Uh, when we got through putting in the tobacco, we had

something like a good fish fry. Mother and father used to go down on the beach

and back then you could get fish from the beach for ten cents a pound, and today

they cost forty or fifty cents a pound for them, now. Back then you could go to

the beach and get fish for ten cents a pound and that's what my mother and father


B: Uh, where is the beach at? How far is it from here?

H: Approximately eighty miles.

B: So, let's see now, we're talking about cropping tobacco. About how many croppings

were there? Seven? Eight?

H: Seven--seven to eight croppers.

B: All right, but how many times, uh, about how many weeks did the cropping season

last? I know we'ld crop--crop one time a week. About how many times would you

LUM 128A 21

have to crop before you were through'and pulled it all?

H: About six weeks.

B: Six weeks. And what's the hardest part to you about cropping tobacco? Getting

those luggs?

H: Getting those luggs. That was the roughest part about it.

B: Would you tell them what the luggs are?

H: Yes, they is the first leaves is on the--the bottom of the hill.

B: So you start at the bottom and work your way up.

H: Work your way up to the top.

B: And the first cropping from the bottom was called the lugg.

H: Sand lugg.

B: Sand lugg. Why did they--wonder why they called it sand lugg. Well, the first

leaf down on the hill of tobacco, they had a lot of sand on it. When it--when it

rained it washed a lot of sand up on the--the head of--the leaf of tobacco. Had

a lot of sand on it.

B: Man, you'd have to bend that back a lot to get those luggs, wouldn't you?

H: You better believe it.

B: (Laughs) And, uh, did you have--how did you take the tobacco after you cropped it,

and you'ld throw it under your arm, what kind of, uh, carrier did they have? For

instance, to take it from the field to the tobacco barn where the ladies could,

uh, string it?

H: By mules--by mules and by crate.

B: And this is what we call a tobacco crate.

H: That's right.

B: Could you--do you remember, uh, how those tobacco crates looked back then? They

didn't have--have wheels on them, did they?

H: No, sir. They were pure flat, and the mules pulled them.

B: They had just some kind of little runner on the bottom?

LUM 128A 22

H: Yes, sir.

B: So you'd crop it, you got an armload, and go over and dump it in the crate.

H: That's right.

B: We better--I thought we better throw that in, 'cause there ain't none of these

young people know what that is.

H: Most of the young people ain't never seen a--a tobacco crate.

B: Yeah, and that hadn't been too long ago, 'cause I cropped in one many a day, and

I know you have.

H: That's for sure.

B: Now, what do you remember most about your childhood? What's the one thing that

stands out in your mind?

H: Glad of being a boy.

B: Just being a boy and having the freedom to run around and do things that a boy


H: That's right, like hunt, fishing--I really love to fish.

B: How long can you sit on the riverbank waiting for one to bite?

H: Oh, I have sat on there a whole day and never have caught a fish.

B: That's just the good part sitting there.

H: That's just the good part, uh, good part of sitting there waiting on the bite.

B: (Laughs) So you did a lot of fishing back then.

H: Yes, sir.

B: Now, can you remember a day when you didn't go to church? You said, uh, earlier

that your mom and daddy made you go to church, and that you were glad they did,

now, but can you remember a day when you didn't have to go to church?

H: No, I don't.

B: Did you have to go often during the week?

H: No, sir. Not during the week. But we knowed to go every Sunday morning.

B: Did your mom and daddy go with you?

LUM 128A 23

H: Yes, sir.

B: How long do services last in most of the churches around here on Sunday?

H: Two hours and a half.

B: Did you go to church where they did a lot of shouting and having a good time

praising the Lord?

H: Yes, sir.

B: Do you think, uh, how do you feel? I know a lot of times there are some churches

around here where they do a lot of shouting and singing and--and really making

noise, and get up and jump down--up and down, and praise the Lord, how do you feel

about them in general? Do you think when a person goes to church they ought to be

allowed to worship the Lord anyway they feel?

H: That's right. Anyway they feel. They should be--they should worship the Lord any-

way they feel.

B: What pastor strikes you, uh, as being a man that you would like--that you would

recommend, uh, for anyone to go hear preach? Can you remember a preacher in parti-

cular that really impressed you?

H: Yes, Preacher Willy Scott.

B: Preacher Willy Scott. Where--was he an Indian?

H: Yes, he was. Yes, he is.

B: Is he still living?

H: Yes, he is.

B: And, uh, what was it about, uh, Rev. Scott that impressed you?

H: Well, he was--he was always been a good boy. Never have you ever--never has you're--

never has you're nothing on Brother Scott, and I just think the world of him. He

just a good--he just a good minister.

B: Does he still preach?

H: Yes, he does.

LUM 128A 24

B: And does he follow the Bible pretty closely?

H: Pretty close.

B: What denomination is he?

H: Methodist.

B: And, uh, does he pastor a church today?

H: Yes, he is.

B: Where is it at?

H: New Prospect.

B: He's the pastor of New Prospect, now?

H: Yes, sir, he is.

B: I'm not familiar with him. I'ld like to meet him sometime. All right, we've covered

a lot of ground, and, uh, if we could catch the flavor of what it was to be a boy

in Robeson County and be an Indian, did you do, uh, when you were a boy, did you do

much, uh, traveling? Going from, uh, like for instance, did you go to Lumberton

quite a bit, or did boys just stay home?

H: No, we didn't go to town very much. My mother and father didn't have no way back

then--by mule and a wagon.

B: Was that the way you'd go to town when you got ready to go?

H: Yes, when I--I remember when I was, uh, nothing but a boy, it took us all day to go

to town shopping. Used to leave home about nine o'clock early morning. Maybe we

got back four o'clock that afternoon, by mule in a wagon.

B: And how far would it be from, uh, where you were born to town? What--which town did

you go to, Pembroke?

H: Red Springs.

B: Red Springs. About how many miles is that?

H: It was about six miles from, uh, from home to Red Springs.

B: So that was quite a treat to get to go to town then, wasn't it?

LUM 128A 25

H: Yes, sir. It really was.

B: What kind of things did your dad and momma buy you when you go to town? Do you


H: Cone of ice cream.

B: You thought that was really something, didn't you?

H: It was. I mean to tell you that ice cream was good.

B: (Laughs) Yes siree. Well, you know, this is the thing that intrigues me, because

I'm interested in how people lived back then, and looking back on it, and being

as objective as you can--it's hard to be objective about your own people--do--

did your mom and daddy strike you as really being happy with the kind of life

they led?

H: Yes.

B: So you don't think hard work,inecessarily, is bad in itself.

H: No, sir.

B: Why do you think they were soehappy? Do you think they would have rather have

lived somewhere else?

H: No, I don't.

B: Was, uh, was your daddy ever away at war or anything?

H: Yes, he was in the World War I.

B: And, uh, so he did have a choice. He--he lived--he was living in Robeson County

by choice.

H: A happy ending from Robeson County.

B: Right. A lot of people might be listening to this and think that the things that

the boys did back then was kind of dull and hard and didn't have any fun, but, uh,

that's the kind of life that's not too well known today--about living on a farm

and being self-supporting, and doing things for yourself, and being near the river.

Seems to me that would have been a pretty good way to live.

H: That's right.

B: And, uh, have you ever wanted to live any place other than Robeson County?

LUM 128A 26

H: No, sir. Robeson County's my home- p+e.

B: And, uh, you've never wondered about, for instance, how people live in Russia,

or China, or Germany, or France, or anything?

H: No, sir.

B: Never had any desire to travel to any of those places?

H: No, sir.

B: So you just take the man's word for it if he says that's the way they live--you'll

just take his word for it.

H: That's right.

B: (Laughs) Why--why do you feel so strongly about Robeson County?

H: It was where I was born, because of being an Indian from Robeson County, I just

love the place.

B: Do you feel, uh, close to the earth? Do you feel like being close to the land,

and being around farming, and near the river that that suits- you?

H: Yes, sir.

B: You don't think you'd like to live in the big city?

H: No, sir.

B: You don't think you'd like to live in an apartment, be about fifteen stories up,

and look out and see smoke coming out of chimneys?

H: No, sir.

B: And do you still live out--you still live out in the country, right?

H: That's right.

B: By choice?

H: By choice.

B: What do you see in the future for your--for your children? Do you see, uh, any

changes that are taking place that you think will be good for your children today?

Like, how about, uh, for instance, how do you feel about the Tuscarora Indian

movement, and, uh, Indians being militant and demanding their rights, and march-

ing, and speaking up, and trying to change things? Are you for changing the

LUM 128A 27


H: We Indian people has come a long ways in the last--in the last five or ten years.

We are climbing. We just keep--keep climbing like we have in the last four or

five years, we will be on top pretty soon, and that's what I want to see.

B: What kind of changes would you like to see?

H: In our schools. I'ld like to see a great change in our schools.

B: In what way?

H: Better schools, better teaching.

B: For instance, do you think our Indian children get, uh, as good a education as the

Whites that lives in Robeson County?

H: No, sir.

B: Well, why do you think that is?

H: Most of it's pride.

B: Uh, on the Whites' part that he .

H: That's right.

B: Do you foresee a day when, uh, you know, there're three races in Robeson County.

Would you like to see Indians join with Blacks and take over Robeson County, for


H: No, no I wouldn't.

B: Well, why is that?

H: I'ld like to see our Indians back in Indian schools. I'ld like to see Blacks back

in Black schools, and also White in White schools, like you did five years ago.

B: So you'ld just rather see us all in, uh, all Indian schools and let everybody

go to their own--each race go to its own school?

H: That's right.

B: Do you feel like it would be harmful to the children if we did that? Do you feel

like they could get just as good an education if they--if they weren't in school

with Whites and Blacks?

LUM 128A 28

H: Yes, I do.

B: But how are we going to do that if our--if the superintendent of our school system

is White? That's part of the problem, isn't it?

H: That's--that--that's part of the problem.

B: And another thing, how are we going to do it if the people on the Board of

Education are White?

H: We can't do it. We got to pull together.

B: Do you think Indians will ever pull together? Do you think there will be a time

when all Indians will come together and go in the same direction?

H: I hope so.

B: Is there any--is there any Indian in particular, in Robeson County today, that you

really, really admire, and think he's doing a good job?

H: Yes, I do.

B: Who is that?

H: Pernell Switt. (?)

B: Pernell Switt, why would you say that?

H: Bobby Dane Locklear.

B: Okay, who else? What does Pernell Switt do?

H: He's on the Board of Education.

B: How about Bobby Dane Locklear? He--he's a Robeson County commissioner, isn't he?

H: Right, and I--and I think a--I think a lot of Bobby Dane. He and I went to school


B: Was he smart in school?

H: He was--he was smart in school. I think he's helping the people of Robeson County.

B: Well, that's good. He's, uh, he's one of the two members we have on the Robeson

County Board of Education.

H: That's right.

B: I mean on the Board of Commissioners.

LUM 128A 29

H: Right.

B: And what kind of system would you like to see for your kids when they get to be me

and your age? What kind of life would you like for them to have?

H: I would like to see my--children have a better life than I have. I'ld like to

see all of my children with a good education, good job.

B: And that's--that's quite a bit if they could get.that then things would be pretty

well for them.

H: That's right.

B: Would you like for your children to marry Indian, or would you--do you have any

feelings about what race they might marry into?

H: I'ld love for my children to marry all Indian.

B: You have any reason why you feel that way?

H: Well, no I don't, but I just wish all would marry Indian--marry their race.

B: All right, I could--I have to go along with that, too. When you were a boy

growing up, did you ever have any contact with the Black--the Negro?

H: No, I didn't.

B: Where did they send them to school, I wonder? I never did see any when I was a boy


H: They went to--they went to Colored school.

B: So, let's see, I guess this is one of the few places in the United States, when

we were growing up, where you didn't have, uh, Negroes, you know, in contact

with, uh, all the people, and you didn't--all the races. Like here, we all kind

of stuck to ourselves, didn't we?

H: That's right. I remember when I was in Maryland, I used to see, uh, all race

people going to school together--colored and White, and I just wondered whether

it would happen one day in Robeson County, and it did, and I'ld really like to

see our Indians--our, uh, our Indian school would be an Indian school again today.

B: And do you think we're better or worse off for, uh, seeing Blacks, Whites, and

LUM 128A 30

Indians go to school together?

H: I wouldn't say we're better off, 'cause I would like to see all Indians back in

their own schools.

B: What if they won't give us any federal money? What if the only way we can get

federal money is to go to school with Whites and Blacks?

H: Well, we would just have to go to school with the Blacks and Whites. That's the

only way.

B: Do you think more kindly toward a Black or toward a White?

H: Well, it doesn't make any difference. I think, uh, just as much as though, uh,

the Blacks as I do the Whites.

B: How do you feel about some of the young people today who, uh, we don't have a

traditional background, but some of the young people have begun wearing feathers

and learning how to do war dances, and, uh, some of the Indian dances, and making

crafts, and things that the old Indians used to do. Do you, uh, you think that's

a good thing for us?

H: It is. I think of LatLocklear. onBe is, uh, doing a wonderful job. I am proud

of Dane. He's--he's a great basket--football. .

B: Baseball.

H: Baseball player.

B: Yes. Let me add he's a outfielder for the San Diego Padres.

H: That's right. I think he's doing a good job. I am proud of him because he's, *uh,

the first Lumbee Indian ever played. .

B: Baseball.

H: Baseball.

B: Yeah, that's quite an accomplishment to go to the major leagues. There're only

about six hundred of them, and he's one of them. Do you think he's been true to

his people?

H: Well, I hope so.

LUM 128A 31

B: I notice he comes home every winter, so he--he must still be sticking close
to the home pase.

H: That's right. I met Dane, here, three weeks ago. He invited me over to his--to

his home, and I think a lot of Dane, and he can really do some good. .

B: Painting?

H: Painting.

B: Yeah, he's quite an artist. What do you think about--it is about Robeson County

that draws people to it? I--I notice that people will-go off and stay, sometimes

fifteen or twenty years, but they'll wind up, somehow or another, back in Robeson

County, especially Indian people. Do you think it's the soil, or the river, or

the climate, or just the ties that people have to the land? What do you think

it is that draws people back home?

H: Well, especially around Pembroke. Pembroke is a nice place to live--live. Got

a nice college, although we hateft -we hate to see Z= Main College be burnt

up. I was thinking a lot of the Old Main. I really hated to see Old Main get

destroyed, but we couldn't help it, and that's one reason--take for instance,

I was off, uh, about six years once.

B: Which you weren't happy1 k h ?

H: I just wasn't happy. I couldn't have been happy because I wasn't at home. I like

it around Pembroke. I've been living around Pembroke for the last 30 years, and

I just really just like being around Pembroke.

B: And you're proud to be a Lumbee Indian of Robeson County.

H: I am proud to be a Lumbee Indian from Robeson County.

B: You can't think of anything else you'd rather be?

H: No, sir.

B: That's it? A Lumbee Indian of Robeson County?

H: That's right.

B: Well, we certainly thank you for this interview, and it's added quite a bit because

LUM 128A 32

I've been wanting to talk to someone about the normal things we used to do as

a child that we don't do anymore, and, uh, sometimes I think it's for the worst

that we don't. Sometimes you just can't have the fun today that we had back


H: No, sir.

B: Thank you very much.

H: Yes, sir. You're welcome.


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