Interview with Leona Sanders Watts September 21 1972

Material Information

Interview with Leona Sanders Watts September 21 1972
Watts, Leona Sanders ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Catawba Indians -- Florida
Kataba Indians -- Florida
Catawba Oral History Collection ( local )


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 'Catawba' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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INTERVIEWEE: Mrs. Leona Sanders Watts
INTERVIEWER: Emma Reid Echols

DATE: September 21, 1972

E: This is Emma Reid Echols, Rock Hill, South Carolina, Route 6,
Box 260. It is September 21, 1972. I'm visiting in the home
of Mrs. Watts. She is the granddaughter of Chief Blue. They
live in Red River, the first house just beyond the railroad
track. This is the home they're buying themselves.
Mrs. Watts, who were you before you married?

W: Sanders.

E: You were a Sanders, and what was your given name?

W: Leona.

E: You lived with your father and mother down on the reservation,
and yet you had quite a number of brothers and sisters in that
home, didn't you? How many were there?

W: Eleven.

E: Eleven children all together. So you had a big family. It was
a real job for your mother to prepare food for all that crowd of
children, wasn't it? And your father, too. Your father went to
work when he was a very young boy, and he was working, trying to
support this family at that time. What was your father doing to
earn a living?

W: Well, all I can ever remember is working in the cotton mills.

E: there, and then you worked for the bleachery, and you
worked other places. I believe your father is retired now?

W: Yes.

E: Then you went to school on the reservation. What teacher did
you remember?

W: I remember Mrs. Brock; Mrs. Cornwall....

E: Do you remember Mrs. Hoke, or was she after you?

W: Yes, ma'am, but she didn't teach me. I was in the lower grade
then. She was teaching older ones.


E: She taught the upper grades back there, didn't she? What did
you do about your lunches when you went to school down there?

W: Well, we carried them most of the time, but they had hot
lunches down there at school,too.

E: I believe Arzeda Sanders cooked part of the time down there,
didn't she?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: You went through the seventh grade at the reservation...sixth
grade. And then when were you married?

W: In January, 1952.

E: At that time, how old were you?

W: Fifteen.

E: And your husband was how old?

W: Seventeen.

E: Then he had a job where?

W: In Cone's cotton mill in Pineville.

E: And you went there to live for awhile. Then, where did you
live after that?

W: Well, we moved to Lancaster; then from Lancaster back to Rock
Hill on the reservation.

E: In the 1960s when the land was divided up, you got a share of
the land because you were an Indian. How much land did you get
and where was it located?

W: We got about thirteen acres. It's down on Springdale Road.

E: Now, do you still own that land, or have you sold it?

W: No, ma'am, we sold it.


E: You sold it in order to buy your house here? Now, I believe
you've been married three times. Who was your first husband?

W: Olin Mathews.

E: Did you have any children by that marriage?

W: I had two.

E: And who were they?

W: Wendell and Cheryl.

E: Are they both married?

W: No, ma'am. The boy, Wendell, got married.

E: Wendell is married. They you married a second time. Then,
your second marriage...who did you marry this time?

W: Howard Bauman.

E: Did you have children by this marriage?

W: I had two.

E: And what are their names?

W: Carol and Francann.

E: Are they married?

W: No, ma'am.

E: They're not. And your third marriage, you married...?

W: Sam Watts.

E: And you do not have any children by this marriage?

W: No, ma'am.

E: Now, your boy is working, I believe, and married, and this is
your little grandbaby that is here in your home. Where is your
son working?

W: He works at bleachery. [Rock Hill Printing and Finishing Co.]

E: And do you consider this a good job for him there?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: Does he hope to be able to buy a home sometime soon?

W: Yes, ma'am, but he trying to get one bought now.

E: Every person wants to go out by themselves. I know how that is.
Then, your children are in school. You have one at junior high.
Which one is junior high?

W: Cheryl.

E: And you have two at Rosewood. Now, who are those?

W: Carol and Francann.

E: Those two are Rosewood. Do you think your children are getting
a better chance at a education than you had?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: Well, do you think there's a better chance for them to earn
money and have jobs?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: So you think the future is brighter for them now?

W: I think so.

E: Are you proud to be an Indian?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: You think you have a history and a heritage you're proud of?

W: Yes, ma'am, I do.

E: Now, I know you're proud of Chief Blue, and all the family connections,
and that. Chief Blue had many gatherings at his home. Do you
remember the times that you would go to his home for birthday


W: Well, I don't remember too much about it, but I remember when
we would all go down there, and all his kids and grandkids...
have a big gathering on Sunday. And have picnic, birthday
dinners down there.

E: Everyone would take birthday dinner?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: Did he know you were coming, or was it surprise?

W: Yes, ma'am, he knew.

E: He knew; he was looking forward....

W: Gave him a birthday dinner every year.

E: Every year. That's very unusual. Did you ever see his wife,
your grandmother, make pottery?

W: Yes, ma'am, I have.

E: Have you ever tried to make any pottery yourself?

W: No, ma'am.

E: Now, your mother used to make pottery; does she make any now?

W: No, ma'am.

E: What old people have you seen that did make pottery?

W: Rachel Brown, and Arzeda; Doris Blue....

E: And Jessie, did he make any? Well, do you think they all would
go back to making pottery?

W: I don't think so.

E: Are the young people interested in it?

W: They don't seem like they are.


E: Could your children make pottery if you'd give them a piece
of clay now?

W: No. I know they couldn't.

E: You know they couldn't. But if you had some clay here, you
could make pottery, couldn't you?

W: No, ma'am, I couldn't.

E: You couldn't! Well, it's doubtful if you'd be able to sell it.
Do you remember the prices you used to get for that pottery
years ago?

W: No, ma'am, I sure don't.

E: Now, your husband is working, I believe. What kind of a job
does he have?

W: He does plumbing work; he works in Charlotte.

E: And comes home every evening?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: Now, where do you go to church? Do you go on the reservation,
or is it too far?

W: On the reservation whenever I go.

E: And do your children go to church down there too?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: Do any of the Indians go to the church in town like, the Mormon
church in town in Rock Hill?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: So you really have two churches here, now? You remember, I'm
sure, your grandfather's funeral at the old church. Where is
he buried? Is it in the new cemetery?


W: He's buried down there in the new cemetery.

E: And his wife is,too?

W: Yes, ma'am.

E: Do you ever have any parties or celebrations down on the
reservation for the young people? There's a schoolhouse
there that's empty, and you can use for parties and things
for the young people.

W: I think they do. I've never been down there.

E: You haven't been, but have your children been down there some?

W: I think Cheryl's went down there a couple of times.

E: Well, you have the land and you have the opportunity. I
think maybe you'll enjoy that sometime.