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Interview with Moroni James Joseph George, September 1, 1976

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Title:
Interview with Moroni James Joseph George, September 1, 1976
Creator:
George, Moroni James Joseph ( 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: Moroni George
INTERVIEWER: Emma Echols


DATE: September 1, 1976




















E: This is Emma Reid Echols,Rock Hill, South Carolina. This is
September 1, 1976. I'm visiting in York among some Indian
friends, and I have a special place today, because I'm visiting
in the home of the oldest living Catawba Indian, Mr. George.
Mr. George, will you tell me your full name?

G: Moroni James Joseph George.

E: And when were you born?

G: 1884.

E: Where were you born?

G: Well, let's see. You know when you go up the college there, and
you go out towards the dam, out on that hill over there?

E: Yes, Sir. Well, you are born on the reservation?

G: No.

E: Different from the reservation?

G: Yes. It's on the Rock Hill.

E: That's right.

G: Going out towards the dam.

E: Who were your parents?

G: Emily George, and Taylor George was my daddy.

E: How many children were there in the family?

G: I think there's about ten, twelve of us. I don't reckon which.

E: Are you the only one living in your family now, brothers and
sisters?

G: Yeah.

E: Was your father or mother, either one a full-blooded Indian?






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G: No. There was neither one of them full-blooded.

E: Did you ever hear them speak the Indian language?

G: Well, they didn't speak it, but I hear the others speaking it.

E: Did you pick up some of the words yourself?

G: No, I didn't stay around there.

E: What did your father do for a living? Did he farm?

G: No, he didn't. All he did was work a farm. I don't know
how old I was, but I helped.

E: What did you help him to do?

G: I didn't help him do nothing; I wasn't old enough.

E: Well, did your mother make pottery?

G: Yes, she made pottery.

E: Do you have any of her pottery left? Did you ever see it? Or
did she sell it all?

G: I don't know what they done with them all. I think she built a
few pipes, but I don't know....

E: Well, now, tell me about where you got your education.

G: I go to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, most of it. They didn't keep us
away. They prohibited us from going to school down here in South
Carolina for a long time; then they all the school girls come from
Carlisle out, you know, they went up there. I asked my mother
to let me go up there. So she give up, and I stayed five years.

E: What did you do when you came back? Did you get a job?

G: Well, I don't know kind of work. I carpentered most time. That's
what I learnt when I was in school...carpentry. And I farmed,
hauled wood, and different things to make a living.

E: Idle Sanders was a good carpenter. Did you ever do any carpentry
with him?

G: No.

E: I think all of you were good carpenters. Now, I'm interested
in that education you got at Carlisle. Who went with you to







3








Carlisle?

G: We left with a nephew.

E: Was it Wade Harris?

G: Ayers.

E: And what happened to your nephew?

G: Well, they vaccinated for smallpox, and he took smallpox from a
vaccination, later.

E: And he died there. Did they bring the body home to bury?

G: No, they didn't send him home.

E: They buried him there. Now who were the other ones that went to
Carlisle besides you and your nephew?

G: Well, these girls of Armstrong goes there with the Harrises.

E: Edith Brown go?

G: Yeah, I think Edith went there, and I can't think....

E: Theodore Harris go? Well, there were quite a number that went.
And now did you like the education you got there? Did they
treat you nice?

G: Yeah, I liked it all right.

E: Before you went to Carlisle, you had some training down on the
reservation at school. Who was the teacher down on the reserva-
tion?

G: Elder Davis.

E: Tell me about Elder Davis.

G: What you want to know about him?

E: I want to know, did he ever punish you when you didn't know your
lesson or spell your words right?

G: No.

E: He was a good teacher. You must have been a good pupil.

M: I tried to be.
















E: I bet you were. You learned to read, and you reading today,
aren't you?

G: No, I can't see how to read the writing on a book.

E: But you learned to figure and do your arithmetic and your sums
and so forth?

G: Right.

E: Well, now, the next interesting thing was after school days.
Where did you meet this wife of yours?

G: In Charlotte.

E: How did you happen to go to Charlotte to get a pretty lady
like that?

G: I was working on a railroad.

E: And how old were you when you married?

G: I was about twenty-four.

E: And she was a little bit younger than that. Now, where was your
first home?

G: Our's home?

E: Yeah, you and your wife.

G: Well, we stayed up at Charlotte, and I come home one day, and
they asked me to come back home. So sent one of the boys with
me, and we got there, and we'd gone right back.

E: Now, how many children do you all have?

G: Five or eight, I think.

E: Nine.

G: Nine.

E: Nine children? Well, you got a policeman in town that helps keep
you straight, don't you?

G: Which one was that?

E: Is he your youngest son or your oldest son?







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G: I guess it's my oldest. Oh yeah, three sons. Oldest.

E: What are your two sons names?

G: That one's name Moroni Taylor; the other one's name is Claude.

E: Do you know where you got that name Moroni? That's a very
famous name.

G: My ma, I guess.

E: I think it comes from the angel of the lord. Is that right?
In your religion? That you got a very famous name. I know
that much.
What else do you remember about the life in the country,
as you use to live it down in Rock Hill near the reservation?
You went to church down there didn't you?

G: Yes.

E: Who do you remember was your Mormon Elder, or your preacher?
I believe you called him a bishop, don't you.

G: His name Vocal Elder or Traveling Elder.

E: Either one.

G: Sam Blue was minister down there.

E: You know, he must have been a remarkable man. They tell me he
couldn't read or write very much, but he knew the Bible. And
he could quote long passages. Do you remember that?

G: Yeah.

E: Tell me what you remember about that.

G: Well, I help to teach him from the Bible.

E: You help to teach him?

G: Talked to him, you know. Well, he didn't know he'd asked me, and
I'd explain it to him how it went and everything.

E: That's wonderful. You had an education, and you could help him.
Did he help when they had a funeral or a burial? Would Sam Blue
help in the service?

G: Yeah.







6







E: You remember an old man on the reservation named Thomas Stephens.
Tell me what he looked like.

G: Oh, he was negro and stout.

E: As he grew older, his hair turned real white. He lived to be
110, I believe.

G: 105.

E: What kind of work did he do?

G: Oh, I don't know that. Well, he get up when I come along out
yonder when he got drowned.

E: Idle Sanders told me that he left his house, went on down to the
where the old well is, and told them goodbye down there. Then
he went down to the old ferry where he crossed over. I guess
you crossed on that ferry lots of times, haven't you?

G: I guess I have.

E: Now, would that be John Brown's ferry?

G: He's owned it.

E: Did he run it?

G: I don't think that ferry was that one. Old man Tom Stephens' one.

E: When Thomas Stephens, they found his body frozen to death, Chief
Blue got in a wagon, and they went down to bring the body home.
I always wondered why it was that Sally Wade, the little girl,
went along in the wagon with them. But she did; she went down
on the wagon to bring that body home. Now, you don't remember
that; that was before your day. He died in 1910, I believe.
You remember anything more about Thomas Stephens?

G: No, I don't.

E: Mr. George, a moment ago we were talking about the ones that went
to Carlisle. I believe you can think of somebody else. Who
else went to Carlisle that you remember?

G: My nephew went with me.

E: You and your nephew, and who else?

G: And Mary Fox. Isabelle...oh, I can't remember....







7








E: Artemis?

G: Artemis, yeah.

E: Artemis George is her name?

G: No, she was Harris.

E: Oh Artemis Harris. Good, I'm glad I got that name straight, and
Edith Brown went sometime, went with yours or not. Now, when
you came back on the reservation and were living there, I know
just about where you had your home. You had this big crowd of
children to help you to do the work. Tell me what kind of work
did you do, and what did they do to help you?

G: We lived on the farm, I think, until they all got grown.

E: Did they come into town to help you sell your cordwood or your
vegetables?

G: No. They would stay with their mother at home.

E: Stayed with their mother at home? And did you raise vegetables
and food stuffs for them there?

G: Yes, I farmed and raised different things.

E: What kind of things do you remember you like to eat at that time?

G: Oh, I could eat most anything then, but I don't know.

E: I'm sure your wife knew how to make good cornbread. Did you cook
over an open fire at first, and then later on have a stove?

G: I think I had a stove ever since I could remember. And still we
use the fireplace.

E: I know that your wife made some beautiful pottery. Your mother
made pottery, and your wife made pottery.

G: Yes.

E: Did you help them do any of that, or was that women's work?

G: Only thing I ever did was get the wood to burn them and maybe
beat the clay up for them.

E: How did you travel? How did you go around, get your groceries
to get things?







8








G: In a wagon.

E: Did you have mules, or horses?

G: Mules; I've had all kinds. I was a trader of horses.

E: You got one you didn't like, you swapped it off another one?
Were you a good horse trader?

G: Well, sometimes I was pretty good; sometimes I wasn't like
everybody else. I was at a sale one day, and there was a drunk
man there. I forget his name. But he just walloped all that
troubled mule, drug him and padded it. Well, I'm going to buy
that mule. I bought the mule, took it home, and I couldn't
keep him. It would work, but it was too much for me.

E: Well, did you ever get stopped because of you were speeding?

G: Many a time.

E: How were you traveling then?

G: I didn't stop my wagon and got stopped with a automobile.

E: Stopped with a wagon is a funny sounding thing to me. Where
were you stopping for wagon?

G: Oh, about five miles out of Rock Hill.

E: Did the policeman fine you?

G: Yeah, I had to pay a fine every time they catch me.

E: Everytime. Well, it wouldn't be a very big fine, though,
would it?

G: No.

E: Do you still go back on the reservation to see some of your
friends down there?

G: Well, sometime I went down in there, but it's been awhile. I
can't drive a car anymore, so I don't get around much.

E: Who are some of the old ones that you know on the reservation?
I went to see Mary George before her death. And that she would
be your...?

G: Mary George? I don't know her.

E: Oh, excuse me, Mary Harris. I said the wrong one.







9








G: Aunt Debby Harris.

E: Your Aunt Debby Harris. That would be your sister?

G: Yes.

E:, She remembered a lot of things on the old farm. How you use
to make pottery and things of that kind. She didn't have a
chance to get an education. What about Ben Harris? Do you
remember Ben?

G: Yeah.

E: What sort a person was he? Could he read and write?

G: Yes, he was a good reader and writer and taught himself. Didn't
go to no school at all.

E: That's interesting. How did he learn to read and write?

G: I don't know about it, except he had good education.

E: Robert was his brother?

G: Robert, that's his son.

E: Well, I believe Ben is attributed that he is the first one
down on the reservation that learned how to read or write, and
then he began to teach others.

G: Yes.

E: Did you ever see that little room that he had to teach other
people?

G: Well, I went to him.

E: You did? Tell me about that. Did you have enough books, pencils?

G: Oh, yes.

E: Slates?

G: Yeah.

E: Who else went to him besides you?

G: Well, I couldn't think of the names right off, it's been so long.







10








E: They were mostly boys, weren't they?

G: Well, there's a few girls. I don't know how long I went to
library. There was some girls come from Carlisle. They
graduated up. They'd go ask my mother to let me go up there,
so I went up and stayed five years.

E: Some of the students lived across the river, and they use to
have to come across the river in a boat. Do you remember any
of the ones that...the older Ayers is one, the girl. And
some of the boys lived across the river. Do you remember any
of them that had to come across the river to got to school?

G: No.

E: Did you like to go fishing on the river?

G: Yeah, all the time.

E: And you caught some nice big ones?

G: That's right.

E: What about swimming? Did you go swimming in the Catawba, too?

G: No, I couldn't. I don't know how to swim.

E: How long have you been living here in York?

G: I don't know.

E: They were all sorry when you left the reservation.

G: About five years there, four.

E: Four years. They were all so sorry when you left the reservation,
because everybody counted you their oldest citizen down there,
and they wanted to keep you. But you had to come here near
your son and some of your family, didn't you? Anything else you
remember especially about your days on the reservation?

G: Nothing more than hard work.

E: Mr. George, they tell that Ben Harris, your brother-in-law,
started the first school, and I have understood that he learned
to read from a white lady named Miss Polly Culp, somewhere at
the top of the hill. That she helped him pick out words in the
newspaper, and words in a little book, and she taught him to
read. Do you ever remember Miss Polly Gulp? Ben went down and






11








started him a little school house, and you went to school
there. Tell me about that little school house. Was it a brush
arbor?

G: It was a brush hovel, all I know. I never went to school there.

E: It was just made of logs and birch for the top?

G: No, they just picked up wood and put poles cross one another.
He called them braces.

E: And what kinds of seats did you sit on?

G: Well, we had slabs made out of logs and had to climb over to
get to your seat.

E: Did you write on a slate?

G: I can't think much about things that people did down there,
because I didn't stay down there.

E: You didn't stay down there very long. Well, now, Ben had some
few books to share with you all, and he taught you to read from
those books that he had?

G: Yeah, he teach us some.

E: He must have been a smart person.

G: He was.

E: What did he look like?

G: Oh, he looked like anybody else.

E: Like any of the other Indians. But none of you had very much money
did you?

G: No. I had the right smallest, and a fellow down in there cheated
me out of it.

E: Oh, you don't say so. How did he cheat you out of it? Horse
trading?

G: No. See, when I come back from Carlisle, down there, he running
wood yard, and he wanted me to go in with him. So I went in
there and put it in his company, and he owed big debts and it
took everything I had. Him too.







12








E: Oh, that's bad. I'm glad you had that experience of going to
school, at least. Now, your first church that you went to, was
it a brush arbor, or was it a slab building?

G: First church I went to?

E: Yes. Down there on the reservation.

G: Down on the reservation, they had a little old building down
there at the cemetery. We had Sunday school in there made out
of brush arbor. One day there was a house burned; he moved in
there. Then they built the church.

E: Now, this was the Mormon elder that was doing this building?

G: Yes.

E: It was a little Presbyterian church down there one time. And
I don't know whether you ever remember seeing the little
Presbyterian church or not.

G: I don't know.

E: You remember a lot of things. How old are you today?

G: About ninety-five. Well, I don't know; I was born in 1884.

E: Well, we thank you for all those good things you remember. We're
glad.





Full Text

PAGE 1

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

PAGE 2

E: This is Emma Reid Echols,Rock Hill, South Carolina. This is September 1, 1976. I'm visiting in York among some Indian friends, and I have a special place today, because I'm visiting in the home of the oldest living Catawba Indian, Mr. George. Mr. George, will you tell me your full name? G: Moroni James Joseph George. E: And when were you born? G: 1884. E: Where were you born? G: Well, let's see. You know when you go up the college there, and you go out towards the dam, out on that hill over there? E: Yes, Sir. Well, you are born on the reservation? G: No. E: Different from the reservation? G: Yes. It's on the Rock Hill. E: That's right. G: Going out towards the dam. E: Who were your parents? G: Emily George, and Taylor George was my daddy. E: How many children were there in the family? G: I think there's about ten, twelve of us. I don't reckon which. E: Are you the only one living in your family now, brothers and sisters? G: Yeah. E: Was your father or mother, either one a full-blooded Indian?

PAGE 3

2 G: No. There was neither one of them full-blooded. E: Did you ever hear them speak the Indian language? G: Well, they didn't speak it, but I hear the others speaking it. E: Did you pick up some of the words yourself? G: No, I didn't stay around there. E: What did your father do for a living? Did he farm? G: No, he didn't. All he did was work a farm. I don't know how old I was, but I helped. E: What did you help him to do? G: I didn't help him do nothing; I wasn't old enough. E: Well, did your mother make pottery? G: Yes, she made pottery. E: Do you have any of her pottery left? Did you ever see it? Or did she sell it all? G: I don't know what they done with them all. I think she built a few pipes, but I don't know E: Well, now, tell me about where you got your education. G: I go to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, most of it. They didn't keep us away. They prohibited us from going to school down here in South Carolina for a long time; then they all the school girls come from Carlisle out, you know, they went up there. I asked my mother to let me go up there. So she give up, and I stayed five years. E: What did you do when you came back? Did you get a job? G: Well, I don't know kind of work. I carpentered most time. That's what I learnt when I was in school carpentry. And I farmed, hauled wood, and different things to make a living. E: Idle Sanders was a good carpenter. Did you ever do any carpentry with him? G: No. E: I think all of you were good carpenters. Now, I'm interested in that education you got at Carlisle. Who went with you to

PAGE 4

3 Carlisle? G: We left with a nephew. E: Was it Wade Harris? G: Ayers. E: And what happened to your nephew? G: Well, they vaccinated for smallpox, and he took smallpox from a vaccination, later. E: And he died there. Did they bring the body home to bury? G: No, they didn't send him home. E: They buried him there. Now who were the other ones that went to Carlisle besides you and your nephew? G: Well, these girls of Armstrong goes there with the Harrises. E: Edith Brown go? G: Yeah, I think Edith went there, and I can't think E: Theodore Harris go? Well, there were quite a number that went. And now did you like the education you got there? Did they treat you nice? G: Yeah, I liked it all right. E: Before you went to Carlisle, you had some training down on the reservation at school. Who was the teacher down on the reserva tion? G: Elder Davis. E: Tell me about Elder Davis. G: What you want to know about him? E: I want to know, did he ever punish you when you didn't know your lesson or spell your words right? G: No. E: He was a good teacher. You must have been a good pupil. M: I tried to be.

PAGE 5

4 E: I bet you were. You learned to read, and you reading today, aren't you? G: No, I can't see how to read the writing on a book. E: But you learned to figure and do your arithmetic and your sums and so forth? G: Right. E: Well, now, the next interesting thing was after school days. Where did you meet this wife of yours? G: In Charlotte. E: How did you happen to go to Charlotte to get a pretty lady like that? G: I was working on a railroad. E: And how old were you when you married? G: I was about twenty-four. E: And she was a little bit younger than that. Now, where was your first home? G: Our's home? E: Yeah, you and your wife. G: Well, we stayed up at Charlotte, and I come home one day, and they asked me to come back home. So sent one of the boys with me, and we got there, and we'd gone right back. E: Now, how many children do you all have? G: Five or eight, I think. E: Nine. G: Nine. E: Nine children? Well, you got a policeman in town that helps keep you straight, don't you? G: Which one was that? E: Is he your youngest son or your oldest son?

PAGE 6

5 G: I guess it's my oldest. Oh yeah, three sons. Oldest. E: What are your two sons names? G: That one's name Moroni Taylor; the other one's name is Claude. E: Do you know where you got that name Moroni? That's a very famous name. G: My ma, I guess. E: I think it comes from the angel of the lord. Is that right? In your religion? That you got a very famous name. I know that much. What else do you remember about the life in the country, as you use to live it down in Rock Hill near the reservation? You went to church down there didn't you? G: Yes. E: Who do you remember was your Mormon Elder, or your preacher? I believe you called him a bishop, don't you. G: His name Vocal Elder or Traveling Elder. E: Either one. G: Sam Blue was minister down there. E: You know, he must have been a remarkable man. They tell me he couldn't read or write very much, but he knew the Bible. And he could quote long passages. Do you remember that? G: Yeah. E: Tell me what you remember about that. G: Well, I help to teach him from the Bible. E: You help to teach him? G: Talked to him, you know. Well, he didn't know he'd asked me, and I'd explain it to him how it went and everything. E: That's wonderful. You had an education, and you could help him. Did he help when they had a funeral or a burial? Would Sam Blue help in the service? G: Yeah.

PAGE 7

-----------------------------------------. 6 E: You remember an old man on the reservation named Thomas Stephens. Tell me what he looked like. G: Oh, he was negro and stout. E: As he grew older, his hair turned real white. He lived to be 110, I believe. G: 105. E: What kind of work did he do? G: Oh, I don't know that. Well, he get up when I come along out yonder when he got drowned. E: Idle Sanders told me that he left his house, went on down to the where the old well is, and told them goodbye down there. Then he went down to the old ferry where he crossed over. I guess you crossed on that ferry lots of times, haven't you? G: I guess I have. E: Now, would that be John Brown's ferry? G: He's owned it. E: Did he run it? G: I don't think that ferry was that one. Old man Tom Stephens' one. E: When Thomas Stephens, they found his body frozen to death, Chief Blue got in a wagon, and they went down to bring the body home. I always wondered why it was that Sally Wade, the little girl, went along in the wagon with them. But she did; she went down on the wagon to bring that body home. Now, you don't remember that; that was before your day. He died in 1910, I believe. You remember anything more about Thomas Stephens? G: No, I don't. E: Mr. George, a moment ago we were talking about the ones that went to Carlisle. I believe you can think of somebody else. Who else went to Carlisle that you remember? G: My nephew went with me. E: You and your nephew, and who else? G: And Mary Fox. Isabelle oh, I can't remember

PAGE 8

7 E: Artemis? G: Artemis, yeah. E: Artemis George is her name? G: No, she was Harris. E: Oh Artemis Harris. Good, I'm glad I got that name straight, and Edith Brown went sometime, went with yours or not. Now, when you came back on the reservation and were living there, I know just about where you had your home. You had this big crowd of children to help you to do the work. Tell me what kind of work did you do, and what did they do to help you? G: We lived on the farm, I think, until they all got grown. E: Did they come into town to help you sell your cordwood or your vegetables? G: No. They would stay with their mother at home. E: Stayed with their mother at home? And did you raise vegetables and food stuffs for them there? G: Yes, I farmed and raised different things. E: What kind of things do you remember you like to eat at that time? G: Oh, I could eat most anything then, but I don't know. E: I'm sure your wife knew how to make good cornbread. Did you cook over an open fire at first, and then later on have a stove? G: I think I had a stove ever since I could remember. And still we use the fireplace. E: I know that your wife made some beautiful pottery. Your mother made pottery, and your wife made pottery. G: Yes. E: Did you help them do any of that, or was that women's work? G: Only thing I ever did was get the wood to burn them and maybe beat the clay up for them. E: How did you travel? How did you go around, get your groceries to get things?

PAGE 9

8 G: In a wagon. E: Did you have mules, or horses? G: Mules; I've had all kinds. I was a trader of horses. E: You got one you didn't like, you swapped it off another one? Were you a good horse trader? G: Well, sometimes I was pretty good; sometimes I wasn't like everybody else. I was at a sale one day, and there was a drunk man there. I forget his name. But he just walloped all that troubled mule, drug him and padded it. Well, I'm going to buy that mule. I bought the mule, took it home, and I couldn't keep him. It would work, but it was too much for me. E: Well, did you ever get stopped because of you were speeding? G: Many a time. E: How were you traveling then? G: I didn't stop my wagon and got stopped with a automobile. E: Stopped with a wagon is a funny sounding thing to me. Where were you stopping for wagon? G: Oh, about five miles out of Rock Hill. E: Did the policeman fine you? G: Yeah, I had to pay a fine every time they catch me. E: Everytime. Well, it wouldn't be a very big fine, though, would it? G: No. E: Do you still go back on the reservation to see some of your friends down there? G: Well, sometime I went down in there, but it's been awhile. I can't drive a car anymore, so I don't get around much. E: Who are some of the old ones that you know on the reservation? I went to see Mary George before her death. And that she would be your ? G: Mary Qeorge? I don't know her. E: Oh, excuse me, Mary Harris. I said the wrong one.

PAGE 10

9 G: Aunt Debby Harris. E: Your Aunt Debby Harris. That would be your sister? G: Yes. E:, She remembered a lot of things on the old farm. How you use to make pottery and things of that kind. She didn't have a chance to get an education. What about Ben Harris? Do you remember Ben? G: Yeah. E: What sort a person was he? Could he read and write? G: Yes, he was a good reader and writer and taught himself. Didn't go to no school at all. E: That's interesting. How did he learn to read and write? G: I don't know about it, except he had good education. E: Robert was his brother? G: Robert, that's his son. E: Well, I believe Ben is attributed that he is the first one down on the reservation that learned how to read or write, and then he began to teach others. G: Yes. E: Did you ever see that little room that he had to teach other people? G: Well, I went to him. E: You did? Tell me about that. Did you have enough books, pencils? G: Oh, yes. E: Slates? G: Yeah. E: Who else went to him besides you? G: Well, I couldn't think of the names right off, it's been so long.

PAGE 11

10 E: They were mostly boys, weren't they? G: Well, there's a few girls. I don't know how long I went to library. There was some girls come from Carlisle. They graduated up. They'd go ask my mother to let me go up there, so I went up and stayed five years. E: Some of the students lived across the river, and they use to have to come across the river in a boat. Do you remember any of the ones that the older Ayers is one, the girl. And some of the boys lived across the river. Do you remember any of them that had to come across the river to got to school? G: No. E: Did you like to go fishing on the river? G: Yeah, all the time. E: And you caught some nice big ones? G: That's right. E: What about swimming? Did you go swimming in the Catawba, too? G: No, I couldn't. I don't know how to swim. E: How long have you been living here in York? G: I don't know. E: They were all sorry when you left the reservation. G: About five years there, four. E: Four years. They were all so sorry when you left the reservation, because everybody counted you their oldest citizen down there, and they wanted to keep you. But you had to come here near your son and some of your family, didn't you? Anything else you remember especially about your days on the reservation? G: Nothing more than hard work. E: Mr. George, they tell that Ben Harris, your brother-in-law, started the first school, and I have understood that he.learned to read from a white lady named Miss Polly Culp, somewhere at the top of the hill. That she helped him pick out words in the newspaper, and words in a little book, and she taught him to read. Do you ever remember Miss Polly Culp? Ben went down and

PAGE 12

------------------------------11 started him a little school house, and you went to school there. Tell me about that little school house. Was it a brush arbor? G: It was a brush hovel, all I know. I never went to school there. E: It was just made of logs and birch for the top? G: No, they just picked up wood and put poles cross one another. He called them braces. E: And what kinds of seats did you sit on? G: Well, we had slabs made out of logs and had to climb over to get to your seat. E: Did you write on a slate? G: I can't think much about things that people did down there, because I didn't stay down there. E: You didn't stay down there very long. Well, now, Ben had some few books to share with you all, and he taught you to read from those books that he had? G: Yeah, he teach us some. E: He must have been a smart person. G: He was. E: What did he look like? G: Oh, he looked like anybody else. E: Like any of the other Indians. But none of you had very much money did you? G: No. I had the right smallest, and a fellow down in there cheated me out of it. E: Oh, you don't say so. How did he cheat you out of it? Horse trading? G: No. See, when I come back from Carlisle, down there, he running wood yard, and he wanted me to go in with him. So I went in there and put it in his company, and he . owed big debts and it took everything I had. Him too.

PAGE 13

12 E: Oh, that's bad. I'm glad you had that experience of going to school, at least. Now, your first church that you went to, was it a brush arbor, or was it a slab building? G: First church I went to? E: Yes. Down there on the reservation. G: Down on the reservation, they had a little old building down there at the cemetery. We had Sunday school in there made out of brush arbor. One day there was a house burned; he moved in there. Then they built the church. E: Now, this was the Mormon elder that was doing this building? G: Yes. E: It was a little Presbyterian church down there one time. And I don't know whether you ever remember seeing the little Presbyterian church or not. G: I don't know. E: You remember a lot of things. How old are you today? G: About ninety-five. Well, I don't know; I was born in 1884. E: Well, we thank you for all those good things you remember. We're glad.


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