Citation
Interview with Ida Harris, 1983-05-23

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Ida Harris, 1983-05-23
Creator:
Harris, Ida ( 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/.
Resource Identifier:
CAT 158 Ida Harris 5-23-1983 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM


INTERVIEWEE: Ida Harris

INTERVIEWER: Emma Echols


May 23, 1983












Ida Harris
CAT 158A

CATAWBA INDIANS, ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEWER: EMMA ECHOLS
PLACE OF INTERVIEW: ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA
DATE OF INTERVIEW: May 23, 1983


Ida Harris was born in 1914 to Ben and Mary Harris. Her father was a
preacher who also did some farming. While she was growing up, Miss Harris
helped her mother make pottery. When she was not helping her mother, she
was in school, and she states that Mrs. Macy Stevenson taught her how to
read and write.

After finishing her schooling, she went to work at the local cotton
mill with her sister. Miss Harris concludes the interview by stating that
her two sons, Melvin and William, both work in the local cotton mill.













E: Ida, tell me your full name.

I: Ida Harris.

E: Were you married?

I: No. Not way back, I wasn't married.

E: Did you live on the reservation and go to school on the reservation?

I: Yes.

E: Now, tell me what you remember about your father, Ben Harris.

I: Well, I remember a lot about my daddy. He was a preacher.

E: What did he look like? What did he do?

I: Well, he looked like a big old man. That's all I can say.

E: He learned to read and write himself and then he began to teach others,
didn't he?

I: That's right.

E: Did your mother ever learn to read or write?

I: No, ma'am.

E: Now your mother was named Mary.

I: Yes.

E: How many children did Ben and Mary have?

I: I think there were ten of us.

E: And just you and Sally are the only two left. Is that right?

I: No, I think there are a few of us left besides me and Sally.

E: How old are you now?

I: I'm sixty-nine.

E: Well, you look like your mother. Your mother had brown hands like you
have, and she made beautiful pottery.

I: Yes.

E: Do you make pottery, too?









2


I: No, ma'am. I haven't made pottery in ages.

E: Did you ever help your mother scrape and fix the pottery when you were
sitting around the fire at night?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: And then where did you sell your pottery?

I: We sold them at Lesslie.

E: How much did you get for your pottery? Do you remember the prices?

I: Back then, we'd get two and three dollars a piece.

E: And sometimes would you take them in town to sell, too?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: Now your father had a farm and raised fruits and vegetables, didn't he?

I: He used to raise grapes in our yard and some things like that.

E: Vegetables. Your sister, Martha, went to work at the industrial mill.
Did you go to work at the mill?

I: I went to work later on at the cotton mill on the third shift.

E: It was hard work, wasn't it?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: You didn't make very much money doing it, did you?

I: Didn't make too much money.

E: I bet you brought your money home to your father because you had to help
out with all those children and grandchildren, didn't you?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: Whereabouts on the reservation did your father and mother live?

I: Well, we lived kind of out in the That is where our home was.
So we lived out there.

E: It was burned. It is no longer standing, is it?

I: No, ma'am. It's no longer standing.

E: Now, did you have any near neighbors?









3


I: Yes, a few.

E: You can remember going to school on the reservation. Who was your first
teacher?

I: The first teacher I remember is He was the first.

E: He's a Mormon elder.

I: Yes. He was a Mormon elder.

E: And then after that you had Miss Macy Stevenson?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: What do you remember about her?

I: I can remember a lot about her if I try.

E: What did she teach you?

I: Well, she taught us how to read and write.

E: Did you sing with her?

I: Yes.

E: She liked to sing.

I: Yes.

E: And you had a piano in there. Did she play the piano for you?

I: No, she had an organ.

E: Oh, an organ.

I: Yes.

E: And she taught some of the girls how to play the organ.

I: Yes.

E: But you just sang. You didn't play.

I: Yes.

E: Now what others do you remember besides her?

I: I don't remember none.

E: Rosa Wheelock. Did you go to school with Rosa?













I: Yes, I went to school with Rosa. I went to school with Lula Owl.

E: Lula Owl.

I: You remember Lula Owl, don't you?

E: Now, that's a new one. How long did she teach on the reservation?

I: She taught a good while on the reservation.

E: That Owl family was a smart family, weren't they?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: I believe there are not any Owls on the reservation left now. Are there?

I: I don't think there are, either. There might be some in Fairview [?], but
not in Catawba.

E: Well, tell me about your church. You went to the Mormon Church when you
were growing up with the little girls?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: Who was the Mormon elder or the priest?

I: My daddy.

E: Your daddy. And when you'd have funerals or so forth, he would read and
conduct the service?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: Do you remember the service for the old man who froze to death, Thomas
Stevens?

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

E: Your mother remembered that.

I: Yes. I heard my mother and my father both tell that.

E: That was an interesting story. A sad thing that happened to him.

I: Yes.

E: What about food in the days when you were a young girl? Were you hungry
sometimes?

I: Sometime I was and sometime I wasn't.

E: Well, your father had a good garden and raised vegetables, I know.










5


I: Yes.

E: Did your father ever work at the mill?

I: Yes, ma'am. He worked at the cotton mill.

E: Now, is your father buried in the old cemetery?

I: Yes.

E: And your mother, too?

I: No, my mother is buried at the church. It's the new one.

E: Oh, it's new. At the church. You've been baptized, I believe?

I: I've been baptized twice.

E: You were baptized twice. Well, then you know you are on the road to
glory, don't you?

I: Yes, ma'am. [Laughter]

E: Do you enjoy the music in your church? Do they sing?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: They were saying the other day that Martha enjoyed singing, "Will There Be
Any Stars In My Crown?"

I: Yes.

E: Do you like to sing that one, too?

I: We used to sing it a lot.

E: Now your mother remembered some of the old Indian language. Do you
remember any of it?

I: No, ma'am.

E: Not any words at all?

I: No. I don't remember any words.

E: Tell me what family you have left.

I: I have Sally.

E: Yes, Sally Wade. What about children?

I: I've had two children. Two boys.













E: What are their names?

I: Melvin and William.

E: Now they live in Rock Hill?

I: Yes.

E: And where do they work?

I: They work in the cotton mills.

E: Oh, yes. Well, there were good days that you remember. But today is even
better, isn't it?

I: Yes, ma'am.

E: You're well-taken care of here.

I: Yes, ma'am. I'm taken care of here.

E: I bet. Of your friends from a long time ago, what ones do you remember
especially?

I: Well, the ones that I can remember especially are my momma and my dad. I
can remember that.

E: Your mother told me that she'd have to work in the fields, and at night all
of you would sit around the fire and scrape pottery. Did you help your
mother do that?

I: Yes, ma'am. All of us had to do that.

E: All of you had to do that. Then where would you go to fire that pottery?

I: We'd go to the fireplace.

E: Right there in your own house?

I: Yes.

E: And sometimes they'd be broken and other times it would come out
beautiful.

I: Yes.

E: Do you have any of your mother's pottery left?

I: No, ma'am.

E: And none of your own.










7


I: No, ma'am.

E: Well, I hope that you can make some pottery, yet. Your fingers look like
you can use them so well.

I: Yes. I might make some one of these days. [Laughter]

E: I hope you do.





Full Text

PAGE 1

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM INTERVIEWEE: Ida Harris INTERVIEWER: Emma Echols May 23, 1983

PAGE 2

Ida Harris CAT 158A CATAWBA INDIANS, ORAL HISTORY PROJECT INTERVIEWER: EMMA ECHOLS PLACE OF INTERVIEW: ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA DATE OF INTERVIEW: May 23, 1983 ' Ida Harris was born in 1914 to Ben and Mary Harris. Her father was a preacher who also did some farming. While she was growing up, Miss Harris helped her mother make pottery. When she was not helping her mother, she was in school, and she states that Mrs. Macy Stevenson taught her how to read and write. After finishing her schooling, she went to work at the local cotton mill with her sister. Miss Harris concludes the interview by stating that her two sons, Melvin and William, both work in the local cotton mill.

PAGE 3

E: Ida, tell me your full name. I: Ida Harris. E: Were you married? I: No. Not way back, I wasn't married. E: Did you live on the reservation and go to school on the reservation? I: Yes. E: Now, tell me what you remember about your father, Ben Harris. I: Well, I remember a lot about my daddy. He was a preacher. E: What did he look like? What did he do? I: Well, he looked like a big old man. That's all I can say. E: He learned to read and write himself and then he began to teach others, didn't he? I: That's right. E: Did your mother ever learn to read or write? I: No, ma'am. E: Now your mother was named Mary. I: Yes. E: How many children did Ben and Mary have? I: I think there were ten of us. E: And just you and Sally are the only two left. Is that right? I: No, I think there are a few of us left besides me and Sally. E: How old are you now? I: I'm sixty-nine. E: Well, you look like your mother. Your mother had brown hands like you have, and she made beautiful pottery. I: Yes. E: Do you make pottery, too?

PAGE 4

I: No, ma'am. I haven't made pottery in ages. E: Did you ever help your mother scrape and fix the pottery when you were sitting around the fire at night? I: Yes, ma'am. E: And then where did you sell your pottery? I: We sold them at Lesslie. E: How much did you get for your pottery? Do you remember the prices? I: Back then, we'd get two and three dollars a piece. E: And sometimes would you take them in town to sell, too? I: Yes, ma'am. E: Now your father had a farm and raised fruits and vegetables, didn't he? I: He used to raise grapes in our yard and some things like that. E: Vegetables. Your sister, Martha, went to work at the industrial mill. Did you go to work at the mill? I: I went to work later on at the cotton mill on the third shift. E: It was hard work, wasn't it? I: Yes, ma'am. E: You didn't make very much money doing it, did you? I: Didn't make too much money. E: I bet you brought your money home to your father because you had to help out with all those children and grandchildren, didn't you? I: Yes, ma'am. E: Whereabouts on the reservation did your father and mother live? I: Well, we lived kind of out in the That is where our home was. So we lived out there. ---E: It was burned. It is no longer standing, is it? I: No, ma'am. It's no longer standing. E: Now, did you have any near neighbors? 2

PAGE 5

I: Yes, a few. E: You can remember going to school on the reservation. Who was your first teacher? I: The first teacher I remember is He was the first. E: He's a Mormon elder. I: Yes. He was a Mormon elder. E: And then after that you had Miss Macy Stevenson? I: Yes, ma'am. E: What do you remember about her? I: I can remember a lot about her if I try. E: What did she teach you? I: Well, she taught us how to read and write. E: Did you sing with her? I: Yes. E: She liked to sing. I: Yes. E: And you had a piano in there. Did she play the piano for you? I: No, she had an organ. E: Oh, an organ. I: Yes. E: And she taught some of the girls how to play the organ. I: Yes. E: But you just sang. You didn't play. I: Yes. E: Now what others do you remember besides her? I: I don't remember none. E: Rosa Wheelock. Did you go to school with Rosa? 3

PAGE 6

I: Yes, I went to school with Rosa. I went to school with Lula Owl. E: Lula Owl. I: You remember Lula Owl, don't you? E: Now, that's a new one. How long did she teach on the reservation? I: She taught a good while on the reservation. E: That Owl family was a smart family, weren't they? I: Yes, ma'am. 4 E: I believe there are not any Owls on the reservation left now. Are there? I: I don't think there are, either. There might be some in Fairview[?], but not in Catawba. E: Well, tell me about your church. You went to the Mormon Church when you were growing up with the little girls? I: Yes, ma'am. E: Who was the Mormon elder or the priest? I: My daddy. E: Your daddy. And when you'd have funerals or so forth, he would read and conduct the service? I: Yes, ma'am. E: Do you remember the service for the old man who froze to death, Thomas Stevens? I: No, ma'am. I don't. E: Your mother remembered that. I: Yes. I heard my mother and my father both tell that. E: That was an interesting story. A sad thing that happened to him. I: Yes. E: What about food in the days when you were a young girl? Were you hungry sometimes? I: Sometime I was and sometime I wasn't. E: Well, your father had a good garden and raised vegetables, I know.

PAGE 7

I: Yes. E: Did your father ever work at the mill? I: Yes, ma'am. He worked at the cotton mill. E: Now, is your father buried in the old cemetery? I: Yes. E: And your mother, too? I: No, my mother is buried at the church. It's the new one. E: Oh, it's new. At the church. You've been baptized, I believe? I: I've been baptized twice. E: You were baptized twice. Well, then you know you are on the road to glory, don't you? I: Yes, ma'am. [Laughter] E: Do you enjoy the music in your church? Do they sing? I: Yes, ma'am. 5 E: They were saying the other day that Martha enjoyed singing, "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown?" I: Yes. E: Do you like to sing that one, too? I: We used to sing it a lot. E: Now your mother remembered some of the old Indian language. Do you remember any of it? I: No, ma'am. E: Not any words at all? I: No. I don't remember any words. E: Tell me what family you have left. I: I have Sally. E: Yes, Sally Wade. What about children? I: I've had two children. Two boys.

PAGE 8

E: What are their names? I: Melvin and William. E: Now they live in Rock Hill? I: Yes. E: And where do they work? I: They work in the cotton mills. 6 E: Oh, yes. Well, there were good days that you remember. But today is even better, isn't it? I: Yes, ma'am. E: You're well-taken care of here. I: Yes, ma'am. I'm taken care of here. E: I bet. Of your friends from a long time ago, what ones do you remember especially? I: Well, the ones that I can remember especially are my momma and my dad. I can remember that. E: Your mother told me that she'd have to work in the fields, and at night all of you would sit around the fire and scrape pottery. Did you help your mother do that? I: Yes, ma'am. All of us had to do that. E: All of you had to do that. Then where would you go to fire that pottery? I: We'd go to the fireplace. E: Right there in your own house? I: Yes. E: And sometimes they'd be broken and other times it would come out beautiful. I: Yes. E: Do you have any of your mother's pottery left? I: No, ma'am. E: And none of your own.

PAGE 9

7 I: No, ma'am. E: Well, I hope that you can make some pottery, yet. Your fingers look like you can use them so well. I: Yes. I might make some one of these days. [Laughter] E: I hope you do.