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Interview with Garfield Harris, April 21, 1983

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Garfield Harris, April 21, 1983
Creator:
Harris, Garfield ( 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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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM


INTERVIEWEE: GARFIELD HARRIS
INTERVIEWER: EMMA ECHOLS

APRIL 21, 1983




















*









GARFIELD HARRIS
CAT 157A

CATAWABA INDIANS, ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEWER: EMMA ECHOLS
PLACE OF INTERVIEW: ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA
DATE OF INTERVIEW: APRIL 21, 1983

Garfield Harris was born on the reservation and he has been living in
a house he built in 1947. In the interview he discusses his childhood, his
early work experience, his experience as a soldier in World War II, and his
life in general.
He remembers his schooling as taking place in a one-room school house
with the teacher being a Mormon missionary. He feels he received a good
education, although he only went up through the eighth grade. As one of
eleven children in a family, he was forced to go to work. Harris worked
for white people on their farms until World War II came along. He joined
the National Guard while he was living in Pocatello, Idaho.
During World War II, Harris lived in Wyoming and Washington, and
overseas in Tunisia, Algeria, Italy,-France, and Germany. After the war he
returned to the reservation. He worked in a branch of government for
thirty-four years until he retired. He married when he was fifty-nine and
he has no children by that marriage.










E: I am visiting an Indian home. Will you tell me your name, sir?

0 H: Garfield C. Harris.

E: What is your address?

H: Route 3, Box 338.

E: How long have you been living here?

H: I built this place in 1947.

E: Were you born on the reservation?

H: I was born on the reservation.

E: Who were your father and mother?

H: Therdal Harris was my father, and Arteidis Harris was-my mother.

E: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

H: I believe there was ten.

E: Did you have any trouble with your father making enough money to feed
all that crowd?

H: That was rough.

E: Do you remember what you had to eat in those times?

H: Well, we did not have too much. We raised a good garden during the
summer, and my mother would can as much as she could. We did gather
berries and can fruit and things like that. Out among the people, we
would pick peas on havers and put them away for the winter. We would
have that, as well as sweet potatoes we would get from different places.
There were a lot of rabbits then.

E: Did you kill squirrels too?

H: Yes.

E: Rabbits and squirrels?

H: That is right.

E: Did you ever have any bear or.deer on the reservation?

H: No.

E: You never caught them.

H: I never.







2



E: What about hunting birds? Did you hunt partridges?

H: They did a lot. But I never hunted any.

E: Tell me about your school days. When you went to school on the
reservation.

H: It was a little small wooden building. One room. At first, we only
had one teacher to teach about seven or eight grades.

E: Who was your first teacher you remember?

H: Elder Blair from out west. He was a missionary that was here to
teach school.

E: He was a good teacher, I hear.

H: He was a good teacher.

E: He got all of you in that one room.

H: That is right.

E: What did you do for lunch?

H: I had to go home for it.

E: And then came back.

H: That is right.

E: And where did Mr. Blair live?

H: He lived somewhere out west. I do not know exactly where he lived.

E: Did he live on the reservation?

H: He lived with Chief Blue.

E: Chief Sam Blue?

H: That is right.

E: Then I guess you would get to school early and help make the fire and
get the building ready?

H: He would go early. I was eight years old when I started to school.

E: You learned to read and write. Did you use a slate to write on?

H: Seems like we did. I am not sure, but I know one thing, we did not
get any books until we learned our alphabet and learned to pronounce
vowels. They had little old primer cloth book; we learned ABC's







3




and different figures from that. That is the way we learned and then
they started us to read after we learned all of that. And then we
got what you call a little primer. I do not remember what the primer
was now, but it was one before the big red book.

E: Did you have a little blue-backed speller?

H: Yes.

E: While the teacher was teaching you, what were the other children in
the school doing?

H: They studied.

E: And he had good order? Good discipline?

H: He had good order, with good discipline.

E: And how many years did you go to school?

H: I went a part of the eighth grade.

E: And then you...

H: I never finished.

E: Then you got a job at Rock Hill?

H: No. I worked on the farm. And then when we were not farming ourselves,
I worked out among the people around in the community--Mr. Sullivan,
Nealys, Sparkses, and Miss Lawrence.

E: You worked for a lot of white people then?

H: That is right. I did.

E: But now Mr. Sullivan was a ...

H: Collins, too, I forgot about them.

E: Did you work for Mr. Simpson then?

H: I never did work for Mr. Simpson.

E: Mr. Simpson was the father of this principal at the school now.
I do not know whether you remember him or not. Did your mother
make pottery?'

H: Yes. We made our living like that. It filled in with a lot of
other things we would have. Like gardening and day work and things
like that. Mostly in the summer, she would make pots and we were
able to go off and sell them in the mountains.







4



E: Would you sell them here on the reservation or take them to the
mountains?

H: Take them to the mountains. But a lot of times, people came through
and you could sell a few pieces.

E: Did your sisters and brothers, all of you, help in making the pottery?

H: They helped get them prepared for burning.

E: When you finished school, you worked on the farm and then when did
you start working for Brewster?

H: After the war was over. See, I left here and went out west and went
to work at the railroad shop in Pocatello, Idaho. And in 1941, I
joined the National Guard, and was inducted in the service and went
to Fort Warren, Wyoming. Then I stayed there until the war broke out
and then we went to Fort Lewis, Washington.

E: You were not sent overseas?

H: I was sent from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Patrick Henry and overseas.
We went to Tunisia.

E: Northern Africa?

H: That is right. The town was deserted that we landed in. Then I
stayed there until the fall of the year sometime. We went back to
Orlan, Algeria. From Orlan, Algeria, to Naples, Italy.

E: You have many good memories for all of that?

H: That is right. Then from Naples, Italy to Southern France and from
Southern France, back to Italy and home. We got here in November.
I spent some time at home and then went back to Patrick Henry. It was
after Christmas and on the fifth of January, I boarded a boat to go
back overseas. We landed in Naples and then went to a prison camp,
to look after some prisoners. Then we went north, up into Italy. In
April, we left near Florence, Italy. I do not know what they call it
in Italian but we boarded a boat and went to Martigny, France. And
from there, we took a convoy of equipment and trucks into Germany.
We were in France when Roosevelt died. We had taken a load of
supplies up to the airfield in Luxembourg. We came back that evening
loaded up with equipment to go to Germany. We saw a flag hanging
half mast and asked who it was. They said it was the President. Well,
the next morning, we lit out for Germany and we got into Germany
sometime during the day, or late in the evening, and unloaded our
supplies.

E: Then after that you came home?







5



H: After the war was over.

E: Now what type of reception did they have here for you when you came home?

H: I did not see anything at all.

E: They should have given you a royal welcome. What other boys from the
reservation were with you?

H: I was the only one in that group.

E: Oh, is that right?

H: That is right. There was no one with me.

E: I believe October's husband was in service also. October Harris.

H: That was my uncle.

E: That was your uncle.

H: That was World War I.

E: That was World War I and you were in World War II?

H: That is right.

E: You remember a lot of things about that. When you came home, then,
you got a job here?

H: I went to work at the AA3. I went up to the Selective Service Depart-
ment, and they asked me if I wanted the job, they said they could put
me to work right away if I wanted to go, so I went to work at the AA3
and I worked there for thirty-four years and eight months, to be
exact. I am not positive but I think it is pretty close to that.

E: Then in the meantime, you were married and had a family?

H: No.

E: No?

H: I did not marry until 1959.

E: Yes. Do you have any children?

H: I do not have any children.

E: You have a lot of good memories of the past.

H: That is right.

* E: Memories of your father and your mother.

H: That is right. I took care of them until they died.







6



E; Do you go to church on the reservation church?

H: That is right.

E: And your father and mother did too?

H: That is right.

E: Now are they buried in the old cemetery or the one...

H: She is buried in the old cemetery down on the old reservation. And
he is buried at the church cemetery, the new cemetery.

E: You have had a lot of friends among the whites as well as among the
Indians.

H: That is right.

E: Tell me some of the white friends you have got in this community.
They all seem to know you.

H: H. L. Nealy, I have come pretty closely acquainted with him. He
is in York and Ben Field and I cannot think of a lot of the rest of
them.

E: Roy Nealy, of course?

H: Roy Nealy, yes.

E: Where did you do your shopping? Up here at the corner store?

H: I did then, but now I go in town because they are limited and we can
get things a lot cheaper than what you can buy at a local store.

E: Well, what do you see, you see the children growing up in the community
and the relationship with the Indians and the whites. Do you think
it has improved over the years?

H: It has improved tremendously. It does not seem that there is any
distinction anymore, like there once was when I was growing up. When
I was coming up, an Indian could not go to school in town. What
education they got was here on the reservation.

E: I am so glad to talk to you and I am so glad to hear what you have
said about the relationships of the Indians and the whites because
we were all friends, aren't we?

H: That is right.




*





Full Text

PAGE 1

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM INTERVIEWEE: GARFIEL0 HARRIS INTERVIEWER: EMMA ECHOLS APRIL 21, 1983

PAGE 2

GARFIELD HARRIS CAT 157A CATAWABA INDIANS, ORAL HISTORY PROJECT INTER VIEWER: EMMA ECHOLS PLACE OF INTERVIEW: ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA DATE OF INTERVIEW: APRIL 21, 1983 Garfield Harris was born on the reservation and he has been living in . a house he built in 1947. In the interview he discusses his childhood, his early work experience, his experience as a soldier in World War II, and his life in general. He remembers his schooling as taking place in a one-room school house with the teacher being a Mormon missionary. He feels he received a good education, although he only went up through the eighth grade. As one of eleven children in a family, he was forced to go to work. Harris worked for white people on their farms until World War II came along. He joined the National Guard while he was living in Pocatello, Idaho. During World War II, Harris lived in Wyoming and Washington, and overseas in Tunisia, Algeria, Italy, France, and Germany. After the war he returned to the reservation. He worked in a branch of government for thirty-four years until he retired. He married when he was fifty-nine and he has no children by that marriage.

PAGE 3

E: I am visiting an Indian home. Will you tell me your name, sir? H: Garfield C. Harris. E: What is your address? H: Route 3, Box 338. E: How long have you been living here? H: I built this place in 1947. E: Were you born on the reservation? H: I was born on the reservation. E: Who were your father and mother? H: Therdal Harris was' my father, and Art.em.is ,Harris was 0 my mother. E: How many brothers and sisters did you have? H: I believe there was ten. E: Did you have any trouble with your father making enough money to feed all that crowd? H: That was rough. E: Do you remember what you had to eat in those times? H: Well, we did not have too much. We raised a good garden during the summer, and my mother would can as much as she could. We did gather berries and can fruit and things like that. Out amoung the people, we would pick peas on havers and put them away for the winter. We would have that, as well as sweet potatoes we would get from different places. There were a lot of rabbits then. E: Did you kill squirrels too? H: Yes. E: Rabbits and squirrels? H: That is right. E: Did you ever have any bear or,deer on the reservation? H: No. E: You never caught them. H: I never.

PAGE 4

E: H: What about hunting birds? Did you hunt partridges? They did a lot. But I never hunted any. 2 E: Tell me about your school days. When you went to school on the reservation. H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: It was a little small wooden building. One room. At first, we only had one teacher to teach about seven or eight grades. Who was your first teacher you remember? Elder Blair from out west. He was a missionary that was here to teach school. He was a good teacher, I hear. He was a good teacher. He got all of you in that one room. That is right. What did you do for lunch? I had to go home for it. And then came back. That is right. And where did Mr. Blair live? He lived somewhere out west. I do not know exactly where he lived. Did he live on the reservation? He lived with Chief Blue. Chief Sam Blue? That is right. Then I guess you would get to school early and help make the fire and get the building ready? He would go early. I was eight years old when I started to school. You learned to read and write. Did you use a slate to write on? Seems like we did. I am not sure, but I know one thing, we did not get any books until we learned our alphabet and learned to pronounce vowels. They had little old primer cloth book; we learned ABC's

PAGE 5

3 and different figures from that. That is the way we learned and then they started us to read after we learned all of that. And then we got what you call a little primer. I do not remember what the primer was now, but it was one before the big red book. E: H: E: H: Did you have a little blue-backed speller? Yes. While the teacher was teaching you, what were the other children in the school doing? They studied. E: And he had good order? Good discipline? H: He had good order, with good discipline. E: And how many years did you go to school? H: I went a part of the eighth grade. E: And then you H: I never finished. E: Then you got a job at Rock Hill? H: No. I worked on the farm. And then when we were not farming ourselves, I worked out among the people around in the community--Mr. Sullivan, Nealys, Sparkses, and Miss Lawrence. E: You worked for a lot of white people then? H: That is right. I did. E: But now Mr. Sullivan was a H: Collins, too, I forgot about them. E: Did you work for Mr. Simpson then? H: I never did work for Mr. Simpson. E: Mr. Simpson was the father of this principal at the school now. H: I do not know whether you remember him or not. Did your mother make pottery? ' Yes. We made our living like that. It filled in with a lot of other things we would have. Like gardening and day work and things like that. Mostly in the summer, she would make pots and we were able to go off and sell them in the mountains.

PAGE 6

4 E: Would you sell them here on the reservation or take them to the moutains? H: Take them to the moutains. But a lot of times, people c~me through and you could sell a few pieces. E: Did your sisters and brothers, all of you, help in making the pottery? H: They helped get them prepared for burning. E: When you finished school, you worked on the farm and then when did you start working for Brewster? H: After the war was over. See, I left here and went out west and went to work at the railroad shop in Pocatello, Idaho. And in 1941, I joined the National Guard, and was inducted in the service and went to Fort Warren, Wyoming. Then I stayed there until the war broke out and then we went to Fort Lewis, Washington. E: H: E: H: You were not sent overseas? I was sent from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Patrick Henry and overseas. We went to Tunisia. Northern Africa? That is right. The town was deserted that we landed in. Then I stayed there until the fall of the year sometime. We went back to Orlan, Algeria. From Orlan, Algeria, to Naples, Italy. E: You have many good memories for all of that? H: That is right. Then from Naples, Italy to Southern France and from Southern France, back to Italy and home. We got here in November. I spent some time at home and then went back to Patrick Henry. It was after Christmas and on the fifth of January, I boarded a boat to go back overseas. We landed in Naples and then went to a prison camp, to look after some prisoners. Then we went north, up into Italy. In April, we left near Florence, Italy. I do not know what they call it in Italian but we boarded a boat and went to Martigny, France. And from there, we took a convoy of equipment and trucks into Germany. We were in France when Roosevelt died. We had taken a load of supplies up to the airfield in Luxembourg. We came back that evening loaded up with equipment to go to Germany. We saw a flag hanging half mast and asked who it was. They said it was the President. Well, the next morning, we lit out for Germany and we got lnto Germany sometime during the day, or late in the evening, and unloaded our supplies. E: Then after that you came home?

PAGE 7

5 H: After the war was over. E: Now what type of reception did they have here :for you yhen you <::a.me homd H: I did not see anything at all. E: They should have given you a royal welcome. What other boys from the reservation were with you? H: I was the only one in that group. E: Oh, is that right? H: That is right. There was no one with me. E: I believe October's husband was in service also. October Harris. H: That was my uncle. E: That was your uncle. H: That was World War I. E: That was World War I and you were in World War II? H: E: That is right. You remember a lot of things about that. When you came home, then, you got a job here? H: I went to work at the AA3. I went up to the Selective Service Depart ment, and they asked me if I wanted the job, they said they could put me to work right away if I wanted to go, so I went to work at the AA3 and I worked there for thirty-four years and eight months, to be exact. I am not positive but I think it is pretty close to that. E: Then in the meantime, you were married and had a family? H: No. E: No? H: I did not marry until 1959. E: Yes. Do you have any children? H: I do not have any children. E: You have a lot of good memories of the past. H: That is right. E: Memories of your father and your mother. H: That is right. I took care of them until they died.

PAGE 8

E ' H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: H: E: Do you go to church on the reservation church? That is right. And your father and mother did too? That is right. Now are they buried in the old cemetery or the one 6 She is buried in the old cemetery down on the old reservation. And he is buried at the church cemetery, the new cemetery. You have had a lot of friends among the whites as well as among the Indians. That is right. Tell me some of the white friends you have got in this community. They all seem to know you. H. L. Nealy, I have come pretty closely acquainted with him. He is in York and Ben Field and I cannot think of a lot of the rest of them. Roy Nealy, of course? Roy Nealy, yes. Where did you do your shopping? Up here at the corner store? I did then, but now I go in town because they are limited and we can get things a lot cheaper than what you can buy at a local store. Well, what do you see, you see the children growing up in the community and the relationship with the Indians and the whites. Do you think it has improved over the years? H: It has improved tremendously. It does not seem that there is any distinction anymore, like there once was when I was growing up. When I was coming up, an Indian could not go to school in town. What education they got was here ont.he reservation. E: I am so glad to talk to you and I am so glad to hear what you have said about the relationships of the Indians and the whites because we were all friends, aren't we? H: That is right.