Title: Interview with Mrs. Willie C. Chavis (August 27, 1971)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007195/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Mrs. Willie C. Chavis (August 27, 1971)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: August 27, 1971
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: UF00007195
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 219

Full Text
7s&'3/i/S ir: : S/ 7z' ;.-* .
LUM 219A
Page 1.
INTERVIEWEE: Mrs. Willie C. Chavis
August 27, 1971
D: This is August the 27th, 1971. I'm visiting here in the home of
M9 an e C3
Vn. Willie Chavis4 Mrs. Rita Chavis. Mr. Willie Chavis is de-
ceased. A few years ago he passed away. I have known the Chavises
in this area all of my life. I was born and reared in the Prospect
community and lived about, I would say, a mile and a half as the crow
flies from Mrs. Chavis. And Mrs. Chavis, suppose you give us your
age and just who you are, please.
C: My name is Rita Chavis. I was born the year of 1906, the twenty-fifth
day of December, the daughter of Polly Lowr*y. My father was Benny
Chavis, but my, my mother and father had been separated. I went as
the name of Lowry. I was known as Lowry up until I married Chavis.
And my mother was the daughter of Henry Barry Lowry, the youngest one
of three children. The oldest was Maggie which was married to Izaca
Locklear. The second was a boy, Henry Barry Jr. which was killed in
Mississippi, the same state that I was borned in and my mother was the
youngest and she lived to be a ripe age of ninety-two years and we
was very proud of her, and...
D: All right, Mrs. Chavis...v, the way, you come over, too. You can join
us, too.
|A rS C^Ai5 @'U: Yes, you know, you (W C/ go ahead. I'll pbabl help p
I. r "' :.... L w0 i
4uIT.___ i4 [' j Of'T
PeY" 'M rtjj1isslk"Q.y

LUM 219A
Page 2. dib
D: But t4 come on, we'd like, I'd like you to speak on the tape if
you'd like to.
U; Well, __ I ft __i_
D: O.K., fine. Mrs. Chavis, being in the family,in the Henry Barry Lowree
family, which I'm sure you're quite proud of, I would be and I'm proud
of Henry Barry Lowry, yet I am not in the Lowr am not kin to the
Lowris as I know of, but I am real proud of Henry Barry Lowry....there
has been many stories about what happened to Henry Barry Lowry. Of
course we do know that no one ever collected a dollar for his body dead
or alive. We do know that it's not possible that he could be living
now. He'd be a hundred and, oh, a hundred and thirty, thirty some years
old, because he was born somewhere right around 1840. It's not too far
off 1840. I have that date somewhere. You've heard-various tales and so
forth, about what happened to Henry Barry, what is, what is your most
conclusive evidence that you have? Would you tell us that, please?
C: Yes, I'd be proud to. I'm very proud of my grandfather. Not of the
deeds that he did, but I'm proud to know that I is related to him, proud
to be a Lowry, and as far as what happened to him I'm very proud there
was never any reward collected for his body and I'm quite sure that I
heard my mother tell lots of times that her mother told her that he
disappeared and that his brother and that the other part of the gang
that was with his brother, came to her home and told her that he had
killed himself through an accident loading his gun and that he, they
capried his gun, they had his gun and also his watch, and that she was

LUM 219A
Page 3. dib
quite quite sure that no one would have had his gun nor his watch
without him being deceased, that no one kept his gun, no one had
his gun as long as he was living, and that she was sure that he
had departed this life, that he was deceased, that he had passed
away, but they didn't confidence nobody and I'm proud today being
a granddaughter, I'm proud today that they didn't, that no one ever
collected any reward for his body.
D: Perhaps there was a good chance that Miss, Miss Rhoda, Henry Barry's
wife, didn't know herself maybe what happened to him, would you say?
Or maybe she, I mean maybe she didn't know where he was carried and
so forth, all the details, or if she did at least she never did tell
C: Well, I think she had a { I believe they told her. I
really do, but I think she had so much pride in herself and wanted to
also keep it a secret that she wouldn't even tell her own children
what happened with him. I really do.
D: Yes, well, I think, I think this, too. Now Mrs, Chavis, will you tell
us about Miss Rhoda after he was, you know, after Henry was no longer
her love anymore? Where did she live and did she just live a normal
life or do you remember anything at all about her? One of you said
something a while ago 6 e(i;4,.
C: Yes, my grandmother, Rhoda Lowree, remained right here in the, you might
say in the Pembroke area. She lived at what you called Old Sandcut and
she died there, and after her death she was bured at Harpers Ferry. Any-

LUM 219A
Page 4. dib
one that wants to see her grave, it's in the, her grave is in the cemetery
at Harpers Ferry, known as Rhoda Lowry, the wife of Henry Barry Lowry,
and it has the date of her birth, the date of her death.on her tombstone.
D: Do you remember ever seeing Miss Rhoda?
C: Yes, but I was quite young. I can't remember very much about what my
grandmother looked like, but she was a fair-skihned lady. She was
a beautiful lady. She was known as the beautifulest lady there was
in this country at one time. I, I passed,-Reverend Graham used to
make mention of this very often and he didn't just say that to we
children. He'd, in the audienceswhen he'd be up in the church a making
a comment, he would make mention of it that she was known as the beauti-
fulest woman there was in this community.
D: Yes, that's been the story, all that I have ever heard since a young
boy when I began to read about' Miss Rhoda Lowree, that she was a woman
of beauty and apparently very shrewd, too, because she at least probably
aided in getting her husband out of jail on one occasion, so she must
have been a very, a very shrewd, very shrewd woman. Now I also have
here in the house Mrs. Chavis's sister. What is your name and where
were you born?
L: Leola Lowr) I was born in George, in the state of Georgia. I don't
know what town 4V wA 7 tt
D: I believe lots of them were in Georgia, were down around Pateon and
.C ,v-, and so forth and so...
L: C. oC' my mother ___^n afrg_______a
D: You don't remember being in Georgia, do you?

LUM 219A
Page 5. dib
L: No, I don't.
D: How old were you when you left Gesoge?
L: I don't know. I' was just a kid.
D: In other words...
L: I was about five years.
D: Five or six. You probably weren't ten.
L: No, no.
D: Then that would mean you are seventy-three now?
L: Going on seventy-three.
D: Yes,that would mean that the people right after the turn of the century,
they were pulling out of Georgia, uh huh. Now some of our people went
to MississippiA so I believe your sister, Miss Rita, was born in Mississ-
ippi. Is that right?
C: That's right. I was born a tf 'Mississippi
the year of 1906.
D: Do you know when you left there?
C: Well, it had to have been about 19-, must have been about 1909.
D: The, the people in Georgia, most of them were engaged in the turpentine
industry. I wonder if there was certain work that they were doing down
in Mississippi. Did you ever hear anyone say'what kind of work most
of them did in Mississippi?
C: Sure, that was the business that my mother's brother was in.
D: Turpentine business?
C: Turpentine business and he was killed down there. He was in a, he owned
his own turpentine farm and him and the man that he had a making

LUM 219A
Page 6. dib
staves, barrel staves that they shipped this turpentine in, fell out,
something, they had a disagreement over the payment, the settlement
of the, of the work this man was doing for him. So they fell out)
and he killed the man that killed him. They killed each other.
D: Who was that?
C: That was Henry Barry Lowry's son, the only...
B: Henry Barry,Jr.
C: Henry Barry,Jr,, the only son that Henry Barry Lowry had. His name
also was Henry Barry Lowry.
D: Thank you. The, I also recognize that some teachers down in Georgia,
went down in Georgia from here and taught school and I'm not sure about
Misisssippi, but I do know some from this:area went down and taught
school.Do you know if anyone is in Mississippi from here? ... f~-SE' ...
-0vr&or -APC
c ^~~1. ot/7

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs