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Interview with Missouri George Brindle, September 1, 1976

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Missouri George Brindle, September 1, 1976
Creator:
Brindle, Missouri George ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

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

Notes

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

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
Rights Management:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


In cooperation with the Catabaw Nation


INTERVIEWEE: Missouri Brindle
INTERVIEWER: Emma Echols


DATE: September 1, 1976




















E: This is Emma Reid Echols, Rock Hill, South Carolina. I'm
working on the oral history of the Catawba Indians. I'm visit-
ing in York, and will let my friend identify herself.
Will you tell me your name?

B: Missouri Brindle.

E: Missouri, you were George before you married, is that right?

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: Now, where were you born?

B: On the Catawba reservation.

E: And how long did you live there?

B: Till I was fifteen. They moved just outside of York, between
York and Rock Hill.

E: Now, tell me your father and mother's name.

B: My father's Moroni George; my mother's Hattie Millage George.

E: How old are your parents?

B: My father is ninety-two, and mama's eighty-three.

E: Now, I believe your father is the oldest living Catawba Indian.
Is that right?

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: Does he say he's a full-blooded Indian?

B: No, I don't think exactly. His mother wasn't quite full.

E: Now how many brothers and sisters do you have?

B: I have two brothers and six sisters.

E: Are they all living?

B: Yes, ma'am.







2







E: Your mother made beautiful pottery; I've seen some of hers. Tell
me what you remember about her pottery making.

B: Well, she used to make the pottery; she learned us to make some.
I used to could make them, and we would take them up to the college
and sell them or trade them, you know, for clothes or food--things
like that.

E: Did you sometimes get money for them,too?

B: Yes, ma'am, we sold some. When I moved away to York, I used to
go with my father to cut pulpwood; my brother and myself and my
daddy. And my brother and me took pottery and traded it for food,
and we stayed two or three nights out in an old house, and cut
cordwood.

E: Well, you were might smart to do that. Not all girls could do
that kind of work.

B: That's right, but we did things like that, you know. Pile up the
wood for him when Daddy'd cut it; fall down, pile it up again.

E: What special kinds of pottery did you make? Any certain pot, or
animals, or birds?

B: Sometimes we made little duck ashtrays and turtles. Mama could
make big pottery, like vases, with sometimes she'd put Indian
heads onthem, and sometimes handles, and make loving cups, different
kinds.

E: Did she have a mold, or did she make her own pottery?

B: She made most of her pottery. She's made this mold of an Indian
head, and she also used to have a mold of a boot that my grand-
mother on my daddy's side had gave her.

E: And I believe she made some of those boots, didn't she?

B: Yeah. I used to have one, but my house burnt seven year ago.
It's been quite awhile. Mine, I believe, burned; I'm not sure.
I did have the remains of it, but I don't know where it's at.

E: How did you fire the pottery after you made it?

B: Well, Mama would usually heat it sometime in the stove, and burn
it in the fireplace, and get pine bark and wood and burn it in







3







the fireplace.

E: And you never knew what colors you were going to get, did you?

B: No, sure didn't. No telling what kind.

E: Now, you went to school on the reservation until you were fifteen?

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: Tell me what you remember about those school days.

B: Well, Elder Davis was our teacher when I first started school, and
he taught me. He used to have a lot of good programs about
Catawbas, you know, and they'd do the Indian dances and all. He
put on some real good plays down there.

E: You'd have those at Christmas or Thanksgiving?

B: Different times like that, uh huh. Maybe, you know, plays in our
school, or something like that at different times.

E: Did he have anyone to help him while he was teaching?

B: Well, there for a while Elsie George helped some, and Samuel Blue
in there. They were students, but they were up high enough to
teach the lower grades some for him. I believe he's the one that
let you teach. See, I only had two teachers down there--Elder
Davis and Elder Hays. Elder Hays is in Gaffney.

E: Yes. And you remember him, too, don't you?

B: Yes, ma'am. He was my last teacher down there.

E: Was there any problem teaching all of those grades, from one
through seven, in one little room?

B: Well, it didn't seem hard back then. Sometimes we sit together,
you know. Had benches big enough to sit together, and a couple
studied together. Seemed like we got along fine.

E: Did you girls help by cleaning up the schoolroom, or bringing
water?

B: Sometime different ones, you know.

E: Now, where did you get your water?







4







B: I can't even remember.

E: Sometimes they used the well, and sometimes they used a spring
nearby. I don't know which one you used.

B: Yes. I can't remember everything. It's been a long time.

E: Now, what did you do recess time?

B: We'd get out and play together, you know, and play drop the handker-
chief, or something like that. They don't play things like that
anymore.

E: Well, the boys, I'm sure, would love to play ball and things of
that kind.

B: Yeah, they'd play ball and things like wrestling; they'd play
things like that.

E: Did you have a garden at your home to help provide vegetables for
the family?

B: Yes, ma'am. We raised a garden, and we also farmed. We raised
our corn, and had our own cornbread. We'd shell our corn, take
it to the mill, grind up bread. I've seen my mother take a can,
make a lot of holes in it, and make cornbread with the ears of
corn. Like we'd do for slaw now, or something...cabbage or some-
thing. Mama grated; she grate that corn into meal, and make bread.

E: Now, would you cook over an open fire, or did you have a stove?

B: We did sometime, but then sometime we had a stove. But we cooked
a lot on an open fire. With the skillet and a lid you make good
biscuits.

E: What about the meat? Did the men have to provide some wild birds
for the meal?

B: Yes, Daddy went hunting; I went along with him a lot of times.
He'd go hunting, and then we raised hogs, and we had our own cow,
and we did all that. I've hayed and picked cotton many a time.

E: How do you travel? Did you have a horse and a buggy?

B: A horse and a wagon.

E: Horse and a wagon.








5







B: Uh huh. Daddy's stayed with it, too, uptown. You know, cut a
lot of wood, and took it to town, and sell it to buy flour and
meats--whatever we needed.

E: It was a great day when you got to go to Rock Hill with your
daddy wasn't it?

B: Oh, yeah. Always a good time.

E: I guess you remember Rock Hill when it was a small town, not
like it is today?

B: Yes, I do. I remember it.

E: What about the white people? Did you find that they were friendly
to you all at that time?

B: Well, I never did get out too much, but what few I met were pretty
friendly. There used to be a lady come down and visit our school,
and that was real sweet.

E: Do you remember her name?

B: Seem like she was the county nurse or something. Miss McKline
or something.

E: McKuen, she was the county nurse and she was very much liked. She was
real sweet; a real sweet lady.
I'm glad you remembered her, because no one else had told
me about her visiting you.

B: Is that right?

E: What would she do when she visited the school?

B: She'd come down, and sometimes she'd bring us different things--
maybe cloth, or something like that. She was real nice.

E: Now, you moved to York when you were about fifteen?

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: And tell me, did you go to school in York?

B: Yes, and I finished the sixth grade in York, and went two months
in seventh.







6







E: And then you fell in love and got married?

B: Yeah, and I got married.

E: How old were you, and how old was your husband?

B: I was seventeen and he were nineteen.

E: And you married a white man, I believe?

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: Now, your husband's full name?

B: Frank Henry Brindle.

E: Did you all have any children?

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: Where are they?

B: We had four children. My oldest son got killed three years ago in
a plane crash. And I have two in Rock Hill and one in Greenville.

E: What kind of work are they doing?

B: Well, one delivers pictures and picks up film for GAF out of Charlotte.
The other one does some kind of painting work down around Bowaters.
And my daughter in Greenville delivers film and picks up.

E: Now, you were able to just go through the seventh grade. Did your
children get more of an education than that?

B: Well, they didn't try to. They could have. Well, now, my oldest
son, after...he quit in about tenth or eleventh grade, but he
finished high school and went to college, and he went into service.
He went to high school, finished his schooling, and then he went to
college over in Spartanburg. Then just about a year, I reckon, before
he died, he had took ministry and was a Baptist preacher.

E: Oh, yes. Your husband died a number of years ago--twenty years ago,
I believe. That right?

B: No. It's been...he got killed in 1945.







7







E: Then where have you been working since then?

B: Well, I didn't work for a long while, and I did a little bit of
everything. I've sold Avon; I've sold Tupperware, Sarah Coventry,
and worked in the mills, worked in the laundromat. Then I was
working at Wayco's for about a year. I've been laid off for about
a week Wednesday past...be two weeks.

E: So you have a nice little home here; it's just a comfortable home
for you and you're making payments to own this little home yourself,
are you not?

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: Well, I hope you'll be able to do that. Now, where do you go to
church? Do you go back to the reservation?

B: I go to Rock Hill branch.

E: Rock Hill branch of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, right?

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: Now, who is your bishop there?

B: President White.

E: I know you enjoy doing that, and you see lots of your Indian friends
when you go back, don't you?

B: Yes, ma'am. There are a few comes up there. Of course, I go to
visit some, you know. Take Mama and Daddy maybe sometimes to visit
his sister's children; they down there at Catawba.

E: Do you have any reunions or any picnics as a whole tribe of Catawbas
that you organize?

B: No, they don't but me and my brother's talked a lot about it, and
we would. Like, wouldn't it be nice if they would? Only time we
meet now is when they have their little Indian meeting. You know,
it'd be nice if we could get them all to have maybe...say, Fourth
of July, have a big picnic. Let everybody come. They used to when
I was a child. We used to have one all the time.

E: That's right.







8







B: Had our Christmas programs, too.

E: And your brother...he, I believe, is a policeman.

B: Yes, ma'am. He's city police; I guess sergeant or something.

E: Now, do you have any other brothers or sisters close by?

B: I have one sister lives out on Route 1 from York--Leola Brown.

E: I was interested in your name. Where did you get your name,
Missouri?

B: I was named after Martha Jean Harris's sister. She had left the
reservation and went out West, and she got Mama's name there after
her sister.

E: That's a very unusual name. When you moved to York, you and your
brother used to come into York to get groceries. Tell me how you
used to do that, and how far was it?

B: It was about four or five miles. We'd ride the horses across the
Sharon highway over to number five, to Mr. England's place. He'd
supply every farmer with groceries. On the weekend, we always led
a horse back, and picked up our groceries in our tote sack, and put
it on the horses.

E: What kind of groceries did you buy? The things that you did not
have at home?

B: Well, he had different things, like meat and lard and coffee, and
I believe he supplied just about everything, you know. At home
we needed flour; 'course, we raised a good bit of meat and stuff
like that.

E: Did you pay cash, or did you wait till the end of the year?

B: Well, they always waited till end of the year, and settled that
when we get a crop.

E: All the Catawba Indians that I have met are proud that they are
Catawba Indians, and proud of your history. How do you feel?

B: I feel proud of mine, and I really am.

E: And do you find that many people have written about them, or have








9







stories about them, or do you have difficulties in finding anything
about your people?

B: No. Seem like now there's quite a bit. You know, they're really
popular right now to what they used to be. I remember when my oldest
sister's children first started school, and they didn't want them to
ride the bus on the reservation to Rock Hill. Now you don't have
any trouble at all.

E: They're welcome, then?

B: Yes, and they welcome them now. Because I had school here in York,
and they treated me fine.

E: But York's a very friendly town, and you have quite a number of
Indians here, don't you?

B: Yes, ma'am. Well, I have a sister and brother, and my mother, and
I guess my daddy, and a cousin, at Filbert that runs a...has a
little beauty shop up there--Maryanne Gibson. She was a Harris before
she married.

E: Yes, and the Harris family is well known down there, too. Well, you've
come a long way from the time of making pottery, or cutting pulpwood,
or farming to the kinds of jobs you have today, haven't you?

B: Yes, ma'am, sure have.





Full Text

PAGE 1

SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA In cooperation with the Catabaw Nation INTERVIEWEE: Missouri Brindle INTERVIEWER: Emma Echols DATE: September 1, 1976

PAGE 2

E: This is Emma Reid Echols, Rock Hill, South Carolina. I'm working on the oral history of the Catawba Indians. I'm visit ing in York, and will let my friend identify herself. Will you tell me your name? B: Missouri Brindle. E: Missouri, you were George before you married, is that right? B: Yes, ma'am. E: Now, where were you born? B: On the Catawba reservation. E: And how long did you live there? B: Till I was fifteen. They moved just outside of York, between York and Rock Hill. E: Now, tell me your father and mother's name. B: My father's Moroni George; my mother's Hattie Millage George. E: How old are your parents? B: My father is ninety-two, and mama's eighty-three. E: Now, I believe your father is the oldest living Catawba Indian. Is that right? B: Yes, ma'am. E: Does he say he's a full-blooded Indian? B: No, I don't think exactly. His mother wasn't quite full. E: Now how many brothers and sisters do you have? B: I have two brothers and six sisters. E: Are they all living? B: Yes, ma'am.

PAGE 3

2 E: Your mother made beautiful pottery; I've seen some of hers. Tell me what you remember about her pottery making. B: Well, she used to make the pottery; she learned us to make some. I used to could make them, and we would take them up to the college and sell them or trade them, you know, for clothes or food---things like that. E: Did you sometimes get money for them, too? B: Yes, ma'am, we sold some. When I moved away to York, I used to go with my father to cut pulpwood; my brother and myself and my daddy. And my brother and me took pottery and traded it for food, and we stayed two or three nights out in an old house, and cut cordwood. E: Well, you were might smart to do that. Not all girls could do that kind of work. B: That's right, but we did things like that, you know. Pile up the wood for him when Daddy'd cut it; fall down, pile it up again. E: What special kinds of pottery did you make? Any certain pot, or animals, or birds? B: Sometimes we made little duck ashtrays and turtles. Mama could make big pottery, like vases, with sometimes she'd put Indian heads on them, and sometimes handles, and make loving cups, different kinds. E: Did she have a mold, or did she make her own pottery? B: She made most of her pottery. She's made this mold of an Indian head, and she also used to have a mold of a boot that my grand mother on my daddy's side had gave her. E: And I believe she made some of those boots, didn't she? B: Yeah. I used to have one, but my house burnt seven year ago. It's been quite awhile. Mine, I believe, burned; I'm not sure. I did have the remains of it, but I don't know where it's at. E: How did you fire the pottery after you made it? B: Well, Mama would usually heat it sometime in the stove, and burn it in the fireplace, and get pine bark and wood and burn it in

PAGE 4

3 the fireplace. E: And you never knew what colors you were going to get, did you? B: No, sure didn't. No telling what kind. E: Now, you went to school on the reservation until you were fifteen? B: Yes, ma'am. E: Tell me what you remember about those school days. B: Well, Elder Davis was our teacher when I first started school, and he taught me. He used to have a lot of good programs about Catawbas, you know, and they'd do the Indian dances and all. He put on some real good plays down there. E: You'd have those at Christmas or Thanksgiving? B: Different times like that, uh huh. Maybe, you know, plays in our school, or something like that at different times. E: Did he have . anyone to help him while he was teaching? B: Well, there for in there. They teach the lower let you teach. Davis and Elder a while Elsie George helped some; and Samuel Blue were students, but they were up high enough to grades some for him. I . believe he's the one that See, I only had two teachers down there--Elder Hays. Elder Hays is in Gaffney. E: Yes. And you remember him, too; don't you? B: Yes, ma'am. He was my last teacher down there. E: Was there any problem teaching all of those grades, from one through seven, in one little room? B: Well, it didn't seem hard back then. Sometimes we sit together, you know. Had benches big enough to sit together, and a couple studied together. Seemed like we got along fine. E: Did you girls help by cleaning up the schoolroom, or bringing water? B: Sometime different ones, you know. E: Now, where did you get your water?

PAGE 5

4 B: I can't even remember. E: Sometimes they used the well, and sometimes they used a spring nearby. I don't know which one you used. B: Yes. I can't remember everything. It's been a long time. E: Now, what did you do recess time? B: We'd get out and play together, you know, and play drop the handker chief, or something like that. They don't play things like that anymore. E: Well, the boys, I'm sure, would love to play ball and things of that kind. B: Yeah, they'd play ball and things like wrestling; they'd play things like that. E: Did you have a garden at your home to help provide vegetables for the family? B: Yes, ma'am. We raised a garden, and we also farmed. We raised our corn, and had our own cornbread. We'd shell our corn, take it to the mill, grind up bread. I've seen my mother take a can, make a lot of holes in it, and make cornbread with the ears of corn. Like we'd do for slaw now, or something cabbage or some thing. Mama grated; she grate that corn into meal, and make bread. E: Now, would you cook over an open fire, or did you have a stove? B: We did sometime, but then sometime we had a stove. But we cooked a lot on an open fire. With the skillet and a lid you make good biscuits. E: What about the meat? Did the men have to provide some wild birds for the meal? B: Yes, Daddy went hunting; I went along with him a lot of times. He'd go hunting, and then we raised hogs, and we had our own cow, and we did all that. I've hayed and picked cotton many a time. E: How do you travel? Did you have a horse and a buggy? B: A horse and a wagon. E: Horse and a wagon.

PAGE 6

5 B: Uh huh. Daddy's stayed with it, too, uptown. You know, cut a lot of wood, and took it to town, and sell it to buy flour and meats--whatever we needed. E: It was a great day when you got to go to Rock Hill with your daddy wasn't it? B: Oh, yeah. Always a good time. E: I guess you remember Rock Hill when it was a small town, not like it is today? B: Yes, I do. I remember it. E: What about the white people? Did you find that they were friendly to you all at that time? B: Well, I never did get out too much, but what few I met were pretty friendly. There used to be a lady come down and visit our school, and that was real sweet. E: Do you remember her name? B: Seem like she was the county nurse or something. Miss McKline or something. E: McKuen, she was the county nurse and she was very much liked. She was real sweet; a real sweet lady. I'm glad you remembered her, because no one else had told me about her visiting you. B: Is that right? E: What would she do when she visited the school? B: She'd come down, and sometimes she'd bring us different thingsmaybe cloth, or something like that. She was real nice. E: Now, you moved to York when you were about fifteen? B: Yes, ma'am. E: And tell me, did you go to school in York? B: Yes, and I finished the sixth grade in York, and went two months in seventh.

PAGE 7

6 E: And then you fell in love and got married? B: Yeah, and I got married. E: How old were you, and how old was your husband? B: I was seventeen and he were nineteen. E: And you married a white man, I believe? B: Yes, ma'am. E: Now, your husband's full name? B: Frank Henry Brindle. E: Did you all have any children? B: Yes, ma'am. E: Where are they? B: We had four children. My oldest son got killed three years ago in a plane crash. And I have two in Rock Hill and one in Greenville. E: What kind of work are they doing? B: Well, one delivers pictures and picks up film for GAF out of Charlotte. The other one does some kind of painting work down around Bowaters. And my daughter in Greenville delivers film and picks up. E: Now, you were able to just go through the seventh grade. Did your children get more of an education than that? B: Well, they didn't try to. They could have. Well, now, my oldest son, after he quit in about tenth or eleventh grade, but he finished high school and went to college, and he went into service. He went to high school, finished his schooling, and then he went to college over in Spartanburg. Then just about a year, I reckon, before he died, he had took ministry and was a Baptist preacher. E: Oh, yes. Your husband died a number of years ago--twenty years ago, I believe. That right? B: No. It's been he got killed in 1945.

PAGE 8

7 E: Then where have you been working since then? B: Well-, I didn't work for a long while, and I did a little bit of everything. I've sold Avon; I've sold Tupperware, Sarah Coventry, and worked in the mills, worked in the laundromat. Then I was working at Wayco's for about a year. I've been , laid off for about a week Wednesday past be two weeks. E: So you have a nice little home here; it's just a comfortable home for you and you're making payments to own this little home yourself, are you not? B: Yes, ma'am. E: Well, I hope you'll be able to do that. Now, where do you go to church? Do you go back to the reservation? B: I go to Rock Hill branch. E: Rock Hill branch of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, right? B: Yes, ma'am. E: Now, who is your bishop there? B: President White. E: I know you enjoy doing that, and you see lots of your Indian friends when you go back, don't you? B: Yes, ma'am. There are a few comes up there. Of course, I go to visit some, you know. Take Mama and Daddy maybe sometimes to visit his sister's children; they ddwn there at Catawba. E: Do you have any reunions or any picnics as a whole tribe of Catawbas that you organize? B: No, they don't but me and my brother's talked a lot about it, and we would. Like, wouldn't it be nice if they would? Only time we meet now is when they have their little Indian meeting. You know, it'd be nice if we could get them all to have maybe say, Fourth of July, have a big picnic. Let everybody come. They used to when I was a child. We used to have one all the time. E: That's right.

PAGE 9

8 B: Had our Christmas programs, too. E: And your brother he, I believe, is a policeman. B: Yes, ma'am. He's city police; I guess sergeant or something. E: Now, do you have any other brothers or sisters close by? B: I have one sister lives out on Route 1 from York--Leola Brown. E: I was interested in your name. Where did you get your name, Missouri? B: I was named after Martha Jean Harris's sister. She had left the reservation and went out West, and she got Mama's name there after her sister. E: That's a very unusual name. When you moved to York, you and your brother used to come into York to get groceries. Tell me how you used to do that, and how far was it? B: It was about four or five miles. We'd ride the horses across the Sharon highway over to number five, to Mr. England's place. He'd supply every farmer with groceries. On the weekend, we always led a horse back, and picked up our groceries in our tote sack, and put it on the horses. E: What kind of groceries did you buy? The things that you did not have at home? B: Well, he had different things, like meat and lard and coffee, and I believe he supplied just about everything, you know. At home we needed flour; 'course, we raised a good bit of meat and stuff like that. E: Did you pay cash, or did you wait till the end of the year? B: Well, they always waited till end of the year, and settled that when we get a crop. E: All the Catawba Indians that I have met are proud that they are Catawba Indians, and proud of your history. How do you feel? B: I feel proud of mine, and I really am. E: And do you find that many people have written about them, or have

PAGE 10

9 stories about them, or do you have difficulties in finding anything about your people? B: No. Seem like now there's quite a bit. You know, they're really popular right now to what they used to be. I remember when my oldest sister's children first started school, and they didn't want them to ride the bus on the reservation to Rock Hill. Now you don't have any trouble at all. E: They're welcome, then? B: Yes, and they welcome them now. Because I had school here in York, and they treated me fine. E: But York's a very friendly town, and you have quite a number of Indians here, don't you? B: Yes, ma'am. Well, I have a sister and brother, and my mother, and I guess my daddy, and a cousin, at Filbert that runs a has a little beauty shop up there--Maryanne Gibson. She was a Harris before she married. E: Yes, and the Harris family is well known down there, too. Well, you've come a long way from the time of making pottery, or cutting pulpwood, or farming to the kinds of jobs you have today, haven't you? B: Yes, ma'am, sure have.