Interview with Mrs. Elizabeth Williams, December 21, 1973

Material Information

Interview with Mrs. Elizabeth Williams, December 21, 1973
Williams, Elizabeth ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Florida History ( local )
Lumbee Oral History Collection ( local )
Spatial Coverage:
Lumbee County (Fla.)


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

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:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license:
Resource Identifier:


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text
LUM 166A
Barton interview w/ typist: Wells
Mrs. Elizabeth Williams
B: This is December 21, 1973. I am Lew Barton recording for the
Univeristy of Florida's American Indian Oral History Pro-
gram. This afternoon we are in my home at 114-C Dial Ter-
race, here in Pembroke, North Carolina and with me consenting
to an interview is Mrs. Elizabeth Williams, of Matthews,
North Carolina. That's M-aKt-h-e-w-s, Mrs. Williams?
W: That's right.
B: And did I get your name right?
W: That's right.
B: How long have you lived in Matthews?
W: Oh, about twenty-three years.
B: Could you tell us just where Matthews is?
W: Well, it's about ten miles out of Charlotte, North Carolina,
on old Monroe Road, Highway 74.
B: Uh, huh. Are you a native of Robeson County?
W: Yes, I am.
B: Are you a Lumbee Indian?
W: Yes, I am.
B: Well, you look pretty much Caucausian to me. How, how4. you
explain that?
W: Well, uh, -.. lot of Indians do not look like Indians; some
of us look like whites, some of us look like Indians. So I

guess we were more white than Indian.
B: Do you think there's truth then in the proposition that we
originated with the "Lost Colony" of England?
W: Yes, I believe that's true.
B: How long, you say you've been in Matthews twenty-three years?
W: Um, huh.
B: How many children do you have?
W: Six.
B Could you i tell me their names and ages?
W: Oh, well, the oldest one was born in 1934, and the second was
1935, and 1941, and 1945, and 1953, and 1960.
B: OK, those, that's good.
W: That's their birthdays.
B: Now could you give us their names in that order?
W: Well, my oldest child was a girl--Nick Baker, she lives in
Charlotte. The second one was Lloyd Junior, he's named for
his father, he lives in Tampa, Florida. And the second one
is Rita Hansen ...
B: Third one, you mean.
W: I mean the third one. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
And the fourth is Bessie Stone. She lives in Charlotte.
And L et o e eoV oLA e ?
B: e 6top'L \X ^Aou)
W: Rebecca was born in Charlotte. She's at home. SlB's
only thirteen years old.
B: And cute as a button. Had you rather live in Charlotte than
Pembroke, or am I putting you on the spot by asking you

LUM 166A Elizabeth Williams
W: Well, we enjoyed livin' here when we were here, but at the
time we left, it was hard to get work. My husband had to
go away from home to works and I didn't like that. I like
him at home at night. So we moved off so he could get work.
And we like living e there and of course we lived, lived, we
loved living here, too.
B: I've heard it said that when Indian people leave Robeson
County that eventually they come back. Do you think this
is generally true?
W: Well, we come back to visit often because auot of our rela-
tives are here, and we still love them all, and we wouldn't
ever go off and and not come back.
B: Well, we're always glad to see you when you come, too, because
we got, we've got Indian people spread out just about every-
where now, haven't we?
W: Yes, we have. There's lots of them in Charlotte and I under-
stand there's lots in al the other towns, too.
B: What do you do for, do you work yourself?
W: Yes, I do.
B: We haven't talked about what your husband does yet. And we
must not leave him out. Who was it you married?
W: I married Lloyd Williams, and he's retired at this time be-
cause of bad health.
B: Is he an Indian too?
W: Yes, he is.
B: I had asked you a question previously, I was going to ask you

LUM 166A Eliz. Williams
what do you do, or do you work or something like that? And
then I thought we'd better talk about Lloyd for a moment. Do
you work?
W: Yes, I do.
B: What do you do?
W: I have a greenhouse.
B: Yvu have a greenhouse? Is this pretty hard? Tell me some-
thing about that, Liz. This sounds like a fantastic thing.
Does it operate in the wintertime, too?
W: Yes, not as much as much as in the summer, but it's something
that I really to do and when he had to retire, I had
never worked outside the home. So we had to do something
to make a living, so this ./ one of the things that I love
to do although I didn't know what I was doing; I went
into it blind. But so far we have been very success-
ful with it.
B: Well, that's great. It's fascinating to me. Of course
you being a woman you love flowers, don't you?
W: Oh, yes. They're really one of my favorite things and I love
working in them and I guess that's why the business il au3j
a success because I do love to work with them.
B: Do you mind telling us your age?
W: I'm s y-seven.
B: Sit-seven years young. I,_ ja.tbat ght?
W: Right!
B: Well, back to the greenhouse. What kind of plants do you

LUM 166A Williams, Eliz.
grow? I mean do you sell plants or do you grown 'em to be
full, fully grown flowers or what?
W: Yes, we grow...we have plants, we have all kinds of a.__ __
plants, which i- in the garden--tomatoes and peppers and
things like that. And we have all the different kinds
that you put in the yard, petunias and marigolds and things.
And we also have grown pot plants, geraniums, begonias
and just about any kind you can think of.
B: How long, well how did you get did you get in the
notion of, of starting this IXr
W: Well, I really don't know how we happened to ... my sister
and I started it together. And ...
B: Who is your sisAter?
W: Gailia Godfrey. And we named the greenhouse Lizgay
Greenhouse. Her name's Gailia, mine's Elizabeth. So we
took part her name and part mine and made the name for the
B: What happened to her? Did she get discouraged or .. what
happened? Did you dissolve the partnership?
W: Well, she had a back problem and couldn't work; had to stop
working' so I bought her out and I own it now by myself.
B: Well, I thought you had ... looks to me like you've got ...
I came through there the other day, a friend of mine and I
and it seemed to me like you had two greenhouses. Or am
I counting the wrong way?
W: Yes, I do have two. We started out with one small one, and

LUM 166A Williams, Eliz.
now we have another one, bigger than the first one. and
we could use another one if, if we could do the work.
B: Do you have any idea as to how much space you have? How
much ground space?
W: Umm, I'm not sure. You know, women's not too keen on that
kind of thing. All I know is that one house is about
thirty by forty feet, and one's about eighteen by thirty.
B: Um, huh. That sounds like a fascinating job and it also
could be sort' of a hobby) too. You can work at your own,
doing your own hours at this, can't you? Or do you have,
does this call you sort of like the farm--you have to go
when it needs you?
W: That's right. It's like the farm. You can't call your life
your own for a certain amount of months An the year. You
have to go to it. If you're gonna make anything on it
you have to really stay with it.
B: Do you think it would, do you think a greenhouse would work
here in Pembroke, for instance?
W: I believe so.
B: uh, huh. Does it require aot of, a big outlay of cash,
or capital, and that sort of thing?
W: Well, it takes right much to get started. We did have to
borrow money to get started with.
B: The plants you stock with--are they very expensive?
W: Ah, pretty expensive. The whole thing is pretty expensive

LUM 166A Williams, Eliz.
.wa.. p retty apncixfac when you plant everything in. Ad-
you have to buy soil and pots and peat moss and fertilizers
and ... insecticides and just more things than you would
ever imagine you'd have to have. We had no idea it would
bee so expensive to get started until we got into it.
B: Well, that's why, thats why then that you have to charge
pretty well for your flowers and your plants, don't you?
W: Yes, we do, or you go in the hole.
B: You've got a lot of time invested and alot of other things, too,
haven't you?
W: That's right.
B: Do you ... are you bothered with certain diseases, plant
diseases you have to watch out for this, too ?
$o 'fav-
W: Well, fire' of all we've been lucky. We haven't had any
diseases, but we do have plenty of insects. We have to fight
them al the time.
B: You mean, you're bothered with insects in the winter time, too?
W: Yes, even in the winter.
B: In other words, when they get this warm spot they come, out
of hiding or out of hibernation, whatever it is, don't
W: Yeah, you have to fight 'em 4plL t l to keep 'em
B: I don't know. Somehow I got the idea that since it was
wintertime you must not have this bug problem. But I

LUM 166A Eliz. Williams
suppose bugs are around winter and summer, but they're not
active when it's cold.
W: Well, they're not active outside, but in the greenhouse
they are where it's nice and i` warm; and that's one of
our bigger* expenses is having to heat the greenhouse and
right now. it's a bigger problem than ever because of this
gas and oil shortage.
B: Um, huh. Do you have trouble getting enough gas and oil
to operate it?
W: Well, so far we haven't, but we're kind of afraid we
B: Uh, huh. Well, it, it all sounds very fantastic to me. I
think maybe I'd enjoy something like that--I love pretty
things, too. Since you moved away from Charlotte from,
from Pembroke, have you had any problems at all with people
because of the fact that you're an Indian?
W: No. No problems. Everybody ) been really nice--just as nice
as they could be.
B: But of course, Liz, you look now purely Caucausian and,
and Lloyd looks purely Caucausian and the kids all look
Caucausian, so do you think this helps?
W: Well, I don'tknow, I, all I know is that we haven't had any
B: Of course, you tell people you are Caucausian, don't you?
W: No. No. If anybody asks ...

LUM 166A Williams, Eliz.
B: You mean you tell people you're Indian?
W: Well, really, nobody asks. If somebody asked me, I would,
but nobody has asked me.
B: Well, of course, things have changed quite a bit since
you left home, don't you think? Have you noticed mapie
oow changes at all?
W: What do you mean?
B: Do things look different around Pembroke? Has Pembroke
changed since much since you were here last?
W: Well, it's growing it's getting larger, that's one thing
that's happening to it.
B: Does it look about, all the growth that's taking place and
they do say that Pembroke is the fastest growing town in
North Carolina right now, but all this change can'hardly, it's
hard to recognize it almost, isn't it?
W: That's right.
B: Alot of building going up, we got ... we've even got a chain
store over here now, a few chain stores, two chain stores
really. And everythitFi changingltoe. -jThe enrollment of
PSU is growing and so forth. Well, it's, we had to LO t C
some time. Do you remember what people used to say about
Pembroke, Liz, because this used to be, this used to be a
mill pond right here where we are. Bid yolver heat that
Mr. 49(^s_ used to talk about it, the town
clerk, do you remember him?

W: Yes, I remember him, but I don't remember hearing b <w
irs. S a t it was like a, what did you call it?
B: Well, before they had any, before there was a town here, it
was a mill pond. That's what he always told me and he
was, he was a pretty elderly gentleman. He was the town
clerk for a long time.
W: Well, I suppose he knew what he was talking about, but it
certainly don't look like a mill bewe now.
B: Right. It certainly has a different look about it. Uh, what,
what differences have you noticed in living around Pembroke
and living where you are? Where you are now, you're still in
a rural area, around Matthews, wouldn't you say*
W: Yes, that's right.
B: And I guess most rural areas have some things in common. But
have you noticed any differences?
W: I don't believe there's any differences. The places are all
.. the same, the people are the same; Z far as I can see
there's no difference.
B: Well, that's good to hear ; you say that. Where do you go to
church, Liz? S+
W: dehR I'S eat Baptist church.
4t5m"' kit treon
B: 3ehaa Forfest Baptist church. Is that near Matthews, too?
W: Yes, it is.
B: And you do have other relatives you said living in and around
W: Yes, I do.
B: Which gives it a homey atmosphere?

W: Yes, that helps aLot.
B: Do you ever get homesick for Pembroke really?
W: If I didn't come as often as I do I would, but I don't stay
away long enough to get homesick.
B: That's good because we're always glad to see you come.
If you had your choice, and could change something, any one
thing in the world you wanted to, about Robeson county, what
would it be? I know you haven't had time to think about
that and I'm just asking it rather quickly, but can you think
of anything you'd like to change if you had just the chance to
chang+ne thing?
W: Well, as you say, I haven't had time to think about it and
I, I really don't know--everything seems fine to me as it is.
B: Um, huh. Children give you a ot of pleasure do they not,
your children?
W: Oh, yes.
B: 'Course Nicky is the oldest one?
W: Yes,\she is.
B: What does she do?
W: She's a secretary.
B: She's secretary for who?
W: Weiy -- corporation in Charlotte.
B: Uh, huh. She's quite a i girl, too.
W: Oh, yes.
B: What do the other children do?
W: Well, 6a (is, t4k drives trucks for Coke-Cola Company
4nd Lloyd/Junior has been a truck driver, but right now he
had his back hurt, and he's not working CMf works in

LUM 166A Williams, eliz.
a place and Rita doesn't work. She has
two little boys so she has to stay home and take care of
them. And goes to school.
B: Well, enr__ was quite an athlete, was he not? I seem to
remember aot of exciting newspaper writeups about him. How
old is he 'now?
W: I'm really not sure, I would have to count it up. He was
born in 191.
B: Uh, huh. And of course he's married now?
W: Yes.
B: And has a family?
W: He's married and has a little girl.
B: I seem to remember seeing some newspaper 4ti.lQo about
him when he was in school and so forth. What was his best
W: Oh, he loved all kinds of sports, especially basketball,
baseball and he didn't play football too much, but the."balls"
he liked. But football, football was the one that he didn't
play too much, but basketball and baseball he really liked.
B: Has he got a family, I mean are there children in his family?
W: Well, he has one little girl.
B: great. And they all come to see you very often, don't they?
W: Yes, they do.
B: Do you think you'll ever come back to Pembroke to live?
W: Well, I doubt it. I doubt that I will. We've been gone so

LUM 166A Williams, E.
long now, I feel at home at Matthews although this still feels
like home, too. But since I have my business there and we
have our own home.I doubt if we'll ever come back,to live.
B: ane we talk for a moment about Lloyd, your husband? He's had
a lot of trouble with operations and this sort of things
how many operations has he had? Major operations, I mean.
W: Well, he's had at least ten major ovations.
B: Uh, huh. That's aLot of cutting, isn't it?
W: It certainly is.
B: What is his trouble, Liz?
W: Well, he first had to have three-fourths of his stomach re-
moved and after that he started having intestinal blocks
caused from the U4 ^ And he averaged about once
a year having to have operations for intestinal blocks for
about ten years.
B: And of course he, Lloyd, Lloyd is quite a guy. He has so
much courage. He's taken all this; he hasn't let it get him
down. He is just a great person. Don't you think he's fan-
tas ?c?
W: Oh, yes, I do.
B: I've never heard him complain myself, but do you ever hear
him complain?
W: Well, he doesn't complain much. And he don't let it get him
down. He keeps going although he's really not able to.
B: Well, he has a great spirit and I'm sure he'll make, denrr' O(ev't

LUM 166A Williams, E.
Sereo S
you fee this?
W: Oh, yes, he will.
B: Yeah, you bet he will. He's made out of good stuff.
W: I think so too.
B: Lloyd is Indian, too, though, isn't he, Liz?
W: Yes, he is.
B: Wht does he O to pass the time? Does he help you around the
greenhouse i)lh ket dA?'
W: Yes, he helps me around the greenhouse when he can. In fact
I couldn't get along without his help.
B: And he can always advise you,I'm sure. If he couldn't do a
thing he could tell you, you know, 'cause he knows so many
things about how to do so many things. He was always so handy
with tools. Lloyd was a good carpenter, wasn't he?
W: That's right. He was a carpenter before he had to retire.
But he, he's taken onto the flowers pretty good. He's be-
ginning to learn aot of the different ones, and he helps
-V4 jt5f-e E r X
me to sell and helps me to water and, and gets m- soils -
A4.tA ready,4 4cr
ca raxi-C ethe plants. I really couldn't get along without him.
B: I know it. Well, it's i great just having him around.
W: Oh, yes, even if he couldn't do anything but just sit
there,it would be nice to have him there.
B: There's nothing negative about Lloyd, he's always been a
very positive kind of person, hasn't he?
W: That's right.

LUM 166A Williams, E.
B: I hope things will work out well for him. I knew they will--
with his spirit he just can't possibly lose.
W: That's right.
B: How long are you going to be in Pembroke?
W: j guess we'll have to go back tomorrow.
B: Well, I wish !J you could stay longer.
W: 1 We can't stay away Iu= the greenhouse too long. This time
of the year we can lock it up and leave it for a short time,
but we can't stay away from it more than twelve hours at a
B: It certainly requires alot of attention then, doesn't it?
W: It really does. It requires aiot of work and attention. You
can't just walk off and leave '. it any time you want to, that's
the only thin I dislike about it is that I can't lock it up
and leave any time I want'to.
B: Do you want to let's talk about your parents and mine for a
W: If you like.
B: Hey, I'll tell youwhat I want us to talk about. I'll spring
this now--you and I are sister and brother and you are the
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Parker Barton, right?
W: That's right.
B: OK. I want you to let's talk about, I want you to let's talk
about Poppa andJ Se .
W: You know, Poppa, our dad, Parker, was a fantastic guy. And

LUM 166A Williams, E.
there's a superstition among the Lumbee Indians/B-I fb,
thatAyou're born with a caul over your eyel. A "c-a-u-l."
That you are gifted to see e Is this right? Is
this the way you heard it?
W: I heard that.
B: And Poppa supposedly was born with a caul over his eyes. I'm
not superstitious, but I'm fascinated by superstitions and
I like to follow them. I want to talk about what happened.
Did you, you know, ... what would happen when, when we talked
about ghosts when Poppa was around?
W: Well, we'd just get scared out of our skins!
B: Do you think he was trying to frighten us, or do you think
he really believed in ghosts?
W: No, I don't i' think he would ever try to frighten us. I
think he thinks he saw what he said he 1 did. I think he
really saw something. I don't believe in ghosts but I be-
lieve he did. And I believe he saw something.
B: Do you remember the story he used to tell about going to
XeAt_ early one morning to carry his grandfather on a
buggy before day one morning?
W: Yes, I remember that.
B: Can you tell it the way he told it, Liz?
W: I don't know if I can or not. He said he, he was taking
his grandfather to the train station one morning before
daylight. And his grandfather told him to stay at the train
station until daylight, but he decided that he wouldn't. So

LUM 166A Williams, E.
he started home. And he said on his way home he saw a light
ahead. And he thought, well, I'm glad somebody's travelling
besides myself. But he said when the light got close to him
it went out and it started smoking And he said it brushed
against his buggy wheel and it looked like a little boy with a
sheepskin in his ; mouth. And he said he was so scared that
he didn't speak to his horse from there home.
B: And do you remember what he said was causing this'light? SBE uA
didn't, do you remember him saying that the boy was on
W: He said the fire was i anA out from the boy's body.
B: And he said he passed so close to the buggy's wheels that
he couldit have reached out and touched him with the buggy
W: That's what he said.
B: I wrote this up for the North Carelina Folklore Journal because
it's, this is folklore--in the field of folklore. But I
was wondering if, I, I was accurate enough and I wanted to
check with you to make sure I was and I bedXe that story
appears in the November 1971 issue of the North Carolina
Folklore Journal. And it's in a story which I cal well,
this is one of several stories that I did, this is one of
a story, of several stories which I entitled "Me-told'
Tales Along the Lumbee ." Me-told. "Me-told Tales Along
the Lumbee." and this is one of the stories he told.
Liz, tell, would you please tell what happened to you and me

LUM 166A Williams, E.
when we were kids. This is still in the folklore field and
thisdin this, a description of this incident,too, in this
parti ar article. And people were very fascinated by it.
Could you tell in your own words what happened to 4i you
and me concerning that old house, old deserted house near
Harmony school and, and the old machine .? Because if
you don't tell it in your own words, people are going to
say Lew Barton's a liar. B Al__~a V ... N,,, fn( 6 t t o iLe\,
h Jti%9 'I'^ i~ 'trft but it's so fantastic that nobody could be-
lieve this. tell, would you tell in your own words what
happened to us, you and me? I told/in the North Carolina
Folklore Journal. Now wilfyou tell it in your I;" words?
And let's see how far I am from telling it, you know, accurately.
W: Well, really its been so long ago I probably don't remember a
whole lot aboutit, but I do remember the incident happening.
You and I had gone to this old house, as children will do.
And we found this old sewing machine in one of the rooms.
It was empty except for that. And we decided to take it home.
And we finally got it home and I remember Dad saying
that all of that night he could hear the sewing machine sewing.
B: But what had happened to the sewing machine previously?
W: I don't remember?
B: What had I done to it?
W: I don't remember.
B: Well, you know, I used to take anything apart ... that was

LUM 166A Williams
mechanical a,-_ .
W: UMs=t toatV
B: Because I wanted to see what made it tick. Even a clock. And
of course when I started to put it back together I always had
same. too many pieces.
W: That's right. You had taken it apart. But still he said
he heard it sewin'; all night he heard somebody sewin' on it.
B: All night long.
W: He made us take it away the next morning. He said when he
left to go to work he said he didn't want to see that machine
when he came home. 'Cause he heard it sewing all night.
B: Actually I ...
Side 2.
B: Side 2, of the interview with Mrs. Elizabeth Williams. We
were talking about that fantastic sewing machine that I'd
taken apart and I was going to explain to you that I had
faith !z"iii the sewing mechanism out of the frame of the
sewing machine. And I was going to use the pedal mechanism
tok some kind of toy or something. But I know I had
torn the devil out of that sewing machine and fet couldn't
possibly have sewed any in the first place and so there's
no explaining what happened that night and the noise. I
wonder why Poppa didn't ust get up and investigate the
matter. Do you, have you ever wondered that?
W: Notreally. I don'tknow why he didn't get up and investigate

LUM 166A Williams, e.
but I guess if he had he wouldn't have seen anything ex-
cept the torn up machine sitting there.
B: Well, those were the days, weren't they, when there was very
little electricity at all. There certainly was no electricity
at our house, was there, Liz?
W: No, we didn't have any electricity at that time.
B: The business of electrification has taken place within recent
years, and it has developed at so fantastic a rate that it's
almost inconceivable that just a few years ago people used
to sit around the fire-And Poppa did mo-st of his studying
around the firelight, didn't he?
W: Yes, he did.
B: What did he have, Liz, about a sixth-grade education?
W: Well, he ... that's about the grade he went to in school, but
really he had a college education.
B: I guess because Poppa was always studying. He loved to study
practical books like medical journals and law volumes and
this sort of thing, that he called practical books. I-
helped him to help himself and help his people 'round about.
Have you any idea how many people Poppa helped in his lifetime
to collect/' insurance claims, VA claims and that sort of
thing? Have you got any idea at all how many people he helped,
W: I don't have any idea but I know that there / lots and lots
of 'em because very seldom a night passed that somebody

LUM 166A Williams, E.
didn't come and ask him to write a letter for them, to help
them get a claim or something and he always helped. But alot
of times he even furnished the stamp to mail the letter
for them.
B: And didn't charge one penny 'S did he?
W: He never charged a penny. He was what you might call a country
B: Wjell, that, that's certainly true. And but what happened to
him one time? Do you remember him being hailed into court
and fined $100 for practicing law without a license?
W: Yes, I remember that.
B: I think that was rather stupid or silly or something of some-
body to, to charge him with that because he ... what he was
doing was acting as a correspondent for these people and
they were illiterate and they had no help and ... do you ever
remember him charging anything?
W: Never.
B: Sometimes, I do know that once in a while somebody would
come along and they'd 4 -_Rk X __lt_ a dozen eggs or
maybe even a bag of flour or something like this, but he never
charged anything for anything, and after that he was afraid
to accept even gifts that people brought.
W: That's rights Because he loved people and he loved to do things
for people. And he was always willing to do anything he could
to help. There were so many people that didn't have any edu-
cation and who didn't know how to go about getting' things

LUM 166A Williams, E.
that they should have had, like some of the First World War
veterans that should have been drawing a check for a long time
and they didn'tinow it, and he would help 'em to get it.
B: I know he collected thousands and thousands of dollars for
people. I know one claim of $10,000 that ... that he
collected for a man, and the claim was ten or fiftenn years
old. And I believe this man gave him a sack of flour--
&Qpp [ flour, if I remember correctly.
W: I had forgotten all about the flour, but now I
remember it. Yes, atot of people did that, though, but that
didn't matter to him. He went right on helping, whether they
gave him anything or not--it didn't matter to him,
B: Right. He just wanted to help them. And he was always
working at something, wasn't he?
W: Always.
B: Or studying.
W: He always had aot of books and I think IA I got most of my
knowledge as a young girl from reading' his books.
B: I'm glad you read his more than mine 'cause the books I were
more, were inclined to be on the romantic side and that sort
of thing, I guess. How did Poppa feel about me reading novels
though and things like this--stotes?
W: Well, he always encouraged us to read. I don't know what he
thought about what you were reading but I know he always en-
couraged us to read auot.

LUM 166A Williams, E.
B: Right. He liked for us to read practicalA what he called
practical books. Of course I liked to read poetry and stories
and stuff like that and he was glad I read but he, he wanted
me to read things that were beneficial to me, that were very
practical. The truth about the matter is there weren't many
books in the Prospect Library that weren't practical, were
W: That's right.
B: You know the old classics, ... we did have the classics in
there. We had books, a few books like Wuthering Heights by
Emily Bronte, ... Bro I thin ... Pilgrims Progress,,
books like this. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; all the
books by Mark Twain. A;ifortunately all the Mark Twain
books were there. And I was so fascinated by this man and
every book he wrote he seemed to use a different style of
writing, and I,-I loved Mark Twain very much. And other people,
of course, the classics. So this gave me a good background
for going on and I suppose that's why I now have completed
some eighty hours, semester hours,in the field of English
alone. It was a breeze for me. People used to say ,hy in
the hell 4"4,you get in a field like English, the hardest
subject in the world? But really is wasn't hard for me be-
cause I'd, I'd had all those earlier books and things like
this : uSS,
W: Well, I remember you never had any trouble with your homework.

LUM 166A Williams, E.
You always went through it very easy, and it wasn't that
easy for me. I had to study to get what I got, but it
seemed like you could go through it without even studying.
B: But you know when you and I came JA (Liz, those were hard
days, you know, during the great Depression and so nn, and we
had it tough. Everybody had it tough. It seemed like we
had it tougher than most, right?
W: Yes, I think so.
B: And I was embarrassed because of ... you know, of our condition.
But we went ahead and did the best we can, ... could I guess.
And I was embarrassed one year because John Hicks, who
you know, who drew the cartoon, nationally circulated cartoon, known as
As Strange As It Seems. He -e8 something about me when I
finished high school. He said, here is a man whoAowned a
textbook in his life, and never rented a textbook and yet he
completed high school. Well, maybe that explains why ... I say
such stupid things in B 0 sometimes.
W: Well, I always thought you went through things awfully easy.
It was not that easy for me, but it seemed that it was always
easy for you.
B: I remember one day when I was in school, Liz, you know, I
wrote a story. We were given an assignment to write a short
story, a short, short story and hand it in. I wrote mine
and handed it in and my English teacher immediately accused
me of copying a story out of some book or other. And the

LUM 166A Williams, E.
whole class started looking at me and sort of smirking and,
you know. And I was on the spot. And so I saidowell, I
can't prove to you that I didn't write thisctory but I'll
write you another one right here on the spot if that'll
prove anything. She said, well, go ahead. And she challenged
me to write it. So I sat right ;/ in class and wrote
this story and I said, I was talking to the Lord in my mind;
you know, I said, Lord, help me to write a better story than
that one was. Let me show her that I wasn't cheating or
stealing or anything like that. And so actually I did write
a better story than the original stor*. And from that mo-
ment on this teacher was very apologetic, and from that
moment on she would do everything in her power to help me
in any way she could. And I loved her very much. And she
became very much attached to me, but I, I was mortified when
she accused me right before the class of copying this story
down. And I hadn't done that. I just had a ... I had an
imagination, I guess this is the only way you can explain it.
W: Well, I'm glad --a'id out the truth about it.
B: How 'bout Momma, Sugar babe? Tell us something, ... let's
talk about Momma just a little bit. She was the dearest
heart in this whole world. And here is Lew Barton, one boy,
born in a family of seven surviving children, and I was the
only boy and you girls spoiled me rotten.
W: I'm afraid we did.

LUM 166A Williams, E.
B: I'm still t and I love it, I love you girls, and
I guess this is why I still like girls, on't you think?
W: Welltcould be! d)Momma was an angel, she really was.
B: I tell people that I'm hopelessly prejudiced in favor of
W: Well, you should be. You were surrounded with them all your
B: No guys except Poppa and myself and he was always away working
at the saw mill or, or if he wasn't working at the saw mill,
he was home doing something, or on the farm. He did all
sorts of things just to feed ... we hungry kids and so on.
But here we-were,just the two of us, and here were all those
fantastic girls around me, and my mother, and naturally I'm
inclined to appreciate girls. I appreciate fellows too, but
there's something about women that's special to me. I mean
very, very special. And I don't mean that it any derogatory
sense. I mean it in the highest sense. Sometimes -I think
maybe I'll write a book about women and call it All About
Women how about that, Liz?
W: I think you should.
B: Maybe I should call it ...The Seven Women in My Life, seven
or eight.
W: Well, that, that sounds like a good title.
B: Well, I certainly have enjoyed talking with you tonight.
W: Well, I enjoyed it, too.
B: I guess we could talk forever about our childhood experiences

LUM 166A Williams, E.
couldn't we?
W: Yes, I guess we could, but I don't suppose other people
are interested much in in what happened to us in our
B: Well, ...
W: It means atot to us, but maybe not to other people.
B: Yeah. I guess you're right. But I think we're very lucky to
have had a mother like my mother, and your mother, and my
father and your father.
W: That's right. They were two wonderful people.
B: He was the kindest man I ever knew. And she was the most an-
gelic woman I ever knew. Sometimes she had to know,
I had to have a little punishment once in a while.
W: Well, we all did:.
B: Oh, me, Liz, we better not get too far afield. I do want to
thank you for giving me this interview.
W: I've enjoyed it.
B: There might be a little repetition, you know, here and there,
but that can't be helped at this point. And you have con-
tributed tome, some very important things. ... Let's talk for
just a moment about child-rearing among the Lumbee Indians.
You know the name of this program is le Lifestyle of the Lumbee
Indians, and how they lived, wht they think, what they do.
So these little things, ...that's why we can talk about
these details, you see, because this is what is TLeV Dtpf

LUM 166A
of the Lumbee Indians. And we are a special people, we're
different people. I don't ... we're not better than other
people. But at least, dadgum it, we're aren't we?
W: Oh, yes. I don't think we're any different from other
people. I think all people are the same.
B: Um, huh.
W: I think Indians are the same as the whites. As far as I can
see there's no difference.
B: Uh, huh. Well, that's good to know. Maybe we've been
Americanized so completely that we've lost our Indian
ways; we've lost many things that we shouldn't have lost
perhaps. What do Zyou think about that?
W: Well, I think we're all t alike. I don't know what we've
lost, but I think we're all the same.
B: Um, huh. Well, I certainly have enjoyed this interview, Liz,
and I want to wish you the best of everything and near this
glorious holiday season I want, I want to wish you and yours
the merriest Christmas and the happiest New Year ever.
W: The same to you.
B: Good night now, thanks aot.
W: Good night.

Full Text
sgm normalized