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Interview with Lula Blue Beck September 6 1992

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Lula Blue Beck September 6 1992
Creator:
Beck, Lula Blue ( 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







Interviewee: Lula Beck

Interviewer: Emma Echols

September 11, 1992










E: [This is Emma Echols of] Charlotte, North Carolina. I live at Sharon Towers, 5150
Sharon Road, and I am visiting a very, very special lady down on the Catawba
Reservation. On the wall of this clean little house is the picture of the famous
chieftain Sam Blue. He has his feather headdress on that he came back with from
out West, and he is smiling and looking out into the future. With me here is his
oldest daughter. She is now eighty-seven years old and in a wheelchair because she
had a little fall. But she still has a twinkle in her eye, and still has lots of things to
talk about. Lula, where were you born?

B: I was born here on the reservation on May 3, 1905.

E: And your father was?

B: He was Chief Sam T. Blue.

E: And your mother was?

B: Lou Issac Blue.

E: They are both gone?

B: Yes.

E: I remember your father especially. I remember he would come to the orthopedic
school and do that famous Indian war dance. He set a wonderful example in the
church here and out West, also. Though he did not learn to read or write, he knew
the Bible, and he quoted long passages. When they had a funeral down here on the
reservation, did he preside?

B: Yes, he preached at a lot at the funerals.

E: And he quoted the Scriptures, did he not?

B: Yes.

E: You did not have a bell. How did they call people to come when there was a death?

B: Well, he had a big old automobile, and he would take his old sledgehammer and
beat on that. And there was a bell in the old schoolhouse. He would go up there
and ring that.

E: Then the people would know to come.



-1-










B: Yes, whenever they would hear that sound they would know that something had
happened.

E: And the old well is right here in the front, where the tribe used to get water from.

B: Yes.

E: And your father and mother lived in this house?

B: Yes, this is where we were all raised.

E: This is called the "old house."

B: Yes.

E: How many children did your father have?

B: Mama birthed twenty-one kids, but my daddy had three by his first wife. That would
be twenty-four.

E: Now there are three of you left. Tell me the three.

B: There is Elsie, Leroy, and myself.

E: And you are the oldest?

B: I am the oldest, and Leroy is the next. Then comes Elsie.

E: Now how many children do you have?

B: I have four. Two boys and two girls.

E: [Do] they live close around here with you?

B: Well, Louise is dead now; there were seven months between her and her daddy's
death. Buddy lives here next to Neely's store. He has a house over there. Lily, the
baby one, lives right up here in this little [house].

E: Well, you raised a fine family. Tell me about your school days. Who was your first
teacher?

B: I believe Ben Harris was my first teacher. He was an Indian.

E: It was a tiny little school right down here.

-2-










B: Right up on this old road there.

E: Yes.

B: I believe it caught on fire and burned down, and Sammy Bricks has a house built
there now. They did have a trailer there, but ..

E: Were there just a few children at school when you started to learn to read?

B: I do not know how it was. I cannot remember way back then, I guess I heard my
daddy and ma tell me. Mr. Ben Harris, I do not know what kind of education he
had, but..

E: Ben Harris was your first teacher. They tell me he was a full-blooded Indian.

B: Yes, I think he was.

E: He learned to read from Miss Culp, who lived up on top of the hill. I do not know
who she was. He used to pick letters out of a newspaper and learned to read.

B: I suspect you know a lot more than I do.

E: [laughter] Well, that was what someone told me.

B: Have you talked with Roger Trimnal over here?

E: A little bit, yes.

B: He knows a lot. He comes over here and asks me a lot. He brings pictures here
that I do not know. He brought a picture here yesterday of two women. He said,
"It looks like they are sitting there at the old well when we used to have the old
[break in tape]." He said one of them was a Carlisle and the other was a
Gordon. I did not know there were Gordons here.

E: Your mother made pottery. Did you make pottery, too?

B: I have tried, but I have not made any since I have been crippled.

E: Well, your husband was Major Beck.

B: Yes, Major Beck.

E: He was a fine-looking person, and he joined the church recently, before his death.


-3-










B: He was a carpenter, mostly, but he farmed. Yes, he joined the church when he was
eighty-one, I think.

E: After you had that first teacher, who was your next teacher at school?

B: I do not know how many years he taught; but I think there was a man from Lesslie
who taught us. His name was Sid Lesslie, I think. Then there was another woman.
She was a white woman, too. I cannot think of her name. After that, Rosie, you
know, Doris and Mildred's smallest?

E: Yes.

B: She taught school [for] a long time.

E: I miss Doris Blue, and some of those ones that have gone on.

B: We all do.

E: And in the government building, Frances Wade is still in charge of it?

B: Yes, this building looks good up there, and they are still going to build more up
there. It looks real good.

E: They are doing a good job on it.

B: Yes, they have. Mildred is working up there, too, and they are doing real well.

E: Well, it is beautiful down there. Will the new treaty, with the land settlement, affect
you?

B: I do not know a thing about it. That was one thing: I never did go to those
meetings and things. I do not like to be like that.

E: You just want to be medically and physically taken care of.

B: That is all I look for now.

E: And you have some wonderful memories of the past?

B: I hope I have some. [laughter]

E: What do you remember most about the past--the good days?



-4-










B: Well, I guess some of them were good days and some of them were bad. There were
more good old days when I used to farm. I was raised on a farm. I reckon that is
one reason why I am so tough. When I went to the doctor, he said, "I do not know
how you were raised, but you have really got a strong body." I said, "I am an old
Indian, anyway." He laughed. But, you know, our church teaches us not to drink
coffee, tea, [or to consume] tobacco. They gave me a physical examination and x-
rays, and he said I have a clean, pure body. I think that is what keeps me going.

E: Well, you still have that wonderful spirit.

B: Yes.

E: Do you remember the old Indian Thomas Stevens?

B: I remember them talking about him. They said he was either born in 1905 or died
in 1905.

E: He is buried on top of the hill.

B: Yes, and on his age is on his tombstone.

E: They said he froze to death.

B: That is what they said: that he froze to death.

E: When the message came of Thomas Stevens's death, the story goes, your father got
a wagon and went down and picked up the body and brought it back.

B: They said that Sally Beck and my sister Lily went along and sung songs when they
were coming back, but I do not know.

E: Do you remember any of the songs you used to sing in church?

B: We have all got the same old songs.

E: The same thing we always sing.

B: Yes.

E: Do you get to go to church now--do you have to go in your wheelchair?

B: Yes, I go, and I hate to do that because they have to roll [my wheelchair]. But my
son-in-law is just as good to me as he can be; well, all my children are. [They] roll
me in there and get me a place to sit down. I have not been but twice since I hurt

-5-










my leg. I get nauseated being here all by myself. I get to thinking about what I
could do [and] what I used to do, and it just bothers me and gets me aggravated.
Sunday morning, I got up kind of late, and they had church at nine o'clock, and I had
to get ready by that time. I went to church, and I was feeling pretty good up to that
time. But sometimes, my leg gets to hurting, and I get the "fidgets." Donna could
tell I was not resting well, so she brought me home. I am going to go on Sunday.
There is one elder--he is going home in about two weeks--who has been here two
and a half years. He always comes here to see me.

E: Lula, I am proud to have known you and your family. I know so many of them. I
remember your father; I do not remember your mother, but I remember so many
good things about your father. It is amazing and wonderful to me that we white
people have friends. You are my friend, and we know that.

B: See, because we have always been together.

E: And there are lots of friends around here, the same way.

B: Yes, ma'am.

E: Well, I will be thinking about you, and God bless you.

B: And to tell you the truth, I have thought about you a lot, too. And after I saw you
that day, I told Donna, "I believe that that was her," and Donna said, "I think it was
her, too," but I said, "She did not see us."

E: I did not see you; I would have run to speak to you.

B: Well, I am sure glad. Come back again. Are you doing anything, or are you just
home now?

E: I will come back again to see you.

B: Do you stay in town now?

E: I am in Charlotte in a retirement home.

B: OK.

E: But I am going to come back down to see you again real soon.

B: Well, you do, you come back and see all of us. I know we would be glad to see you.



-6-





Full Text

PAGE 1

SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA Interviewee: Lula Beck Interviewer: Emma Echols September 11, 1992

PAGE 2

E: [This is Emma Echols of] Charlotte, North Carolina. I live at Sharon Towers, 5150 Sharon Road, and I am visiting a very, very special lady down on the Catawba Reservation. On the wall of this clean little house is the picture of the famous chieftain Sam Blue. He has his feather headdress on that he came back with from out West, and he is smiling and looking out into the future. With me here is his oldest daughter. She is now eighty-seven years old and in a wheelchair because she had a little fall. But she still has a twinkle in her eye, and still has lots of things to talk about. Lula, where were you born? B: I was born here on the reservation on May 3, 1905. E: And your father was? B: He was Chief Sam T. Blue. E: And your mother was? B: Lou Issac Blue. E: They are both gone? B: Yes. E: I remember your father especially. I remember he would come to the orthopedic school and do that famous Indian war dance. He set a wonderful example in the church here and out West, also. Though he did not learn to read or write, he knew the Bible, and he quoted long passages. When they had a funeral down here on the reservation, did he preside? B: Yes, he preached at a lot at the funerals. E: And he quoted the Scriptures, did he not? B: Yes. E: You did not have a bell. How did they call people to come when there was a death? B: Well, he had a big old automobile, and he would take his old sledgehammer and beat on that. And there was a bell in the old schoolhouse. He would go up there and ring that. E: Then the people would know to come. 1

PAGE 3

B: Yes, whenever they would hear that sound they would know that something had happened. E: And the old well is right here in the front, where the tribe used to get water from. B: Yes. E: And your father and mother lived in this house? B: Yes, this is where we were all raised. E: This is called the "old house." B: Yes. E: How many children did your father have? B: Mama birthed twenty-one kids, but my daddy had three by his first wife. That would be twenty-four. E: Now there are three of you left. Tell me the three. B: There is Elsie, Leroy, and myself. E: And you are the oldest? B: I am the oldest, and Leroy is the next. Then comes Elsie. E: Now how many children do you have? B: I have four. Two boys and two girls. E: [Do] they live close around here with you? B: Well, Louise is dead now; there were seven months between her and her daddy's death. Buddy lives here next to Neely's store. He has a house over there. Lily, the baby one, lives right up here in this little [house]. E: Well, you raised a fine family. Tell me about your school days. Who was your first teacher? B: I believe Ben Harris was my first teacher. He was an Indian. E: It was a tiny little school right down here. 2

PAGE 4

B: Right up on this old road there. E: Yes. B: I believe it caught on fire and burned down, and Sammy Bricks has a house built there now. They did have a trailer there, but .. E: Were there just a few children at school when you started to learn to read? B: I do not know how it was. I cannot remember way back then, I guess I heard my daddy and ma tell me. Mr. Ben Harris, I do not know what kind of education he had, but .. E: Ben Harris was your first teacher. They tell me he was a full-blooded Indian. B: Yes, I think he was. E: He learned to read from Miss Culp, who lived up on top of the hill. I do not know who she was. He used to pick letters out of a newspaper and learned to read. B: I suspect you know a lot more than I do. E: [laughter] Well, that was what someone told me. B: Have you talked with Roger Trimnal over here? E: A little bit, yes. B: He knows a lot. He comes over here and asks me a lot. He brings pictures here that I do not know. He brought a picture here yesterday of two women. He said, "It looks like they are sitting there at the old well when we used to have the old ___ [break in tape]." He said one of them was a Carlisle and the other was a Gordon. I did not know there were Gordons here. E: Your mother made pottery. Did you make pottery, too? B: I have tried, but I have not made any since I have been crippled. E: Well, your husband was Major Beck. B: Yes, Major Beck. E: . He was a fine-looking person, and he joined the church recently, before his death. 3

PAGE 5

B: He was a carpenter, mostly, but he farmed. Yes, he joined the church when he was eighty-one, I think. E: After you had that first teacher, who was your next teacher at school? B: I do not know how many years he taught; but I think there was a man from Lesslie who taught us. His name was Sid Lesslie, I think. Then there was another woman. She was a white woman, too. I cannot think of her name. After that, Rosie, you know, Doris and Mildred's smallest? E: Yes. B: She taught school [for] a long time. E: I miss Doris Blue, and some of those ones that have gone on. B: We all do. E: And in the government building, Frances Wade is still in charge of it? B: Yes, this building looks good up there, and they are still going to build more up there. It looks real good. E: They are doing a good job on it. B: Yes, they have. Mildred is working up there, too, and they are doing real well. E: Well, it is beautiful down there. Will the new treaty, with the land settlement, affect you? B: I do not know a thing about it. That was one thing: I never did go to those meetings and things. I do not like to be like that. E: You just want to be medically and physically taken care of. B: That is all I look for now. E: And you have some wonderful memories of the past? B: I hope I have some. [laughter] E: What do you remember most about the past--the good days? 4

PAGE 6

B: Well, I guess some of them were good days and some of them were bad. There were more good old days when I used to farm. I was raised on a farm. I reckon that is one reason why I am so tough. When I went to the doctor, he said, "I do not know how you were raised, but you have really got a strong body." I said, "I am an old Indian, anyway." He laughed. But, you know, our church teaches us not to drink coffee, tea, [or to consume] tobacco. They gave me a physical examination and rays, and he said I have a clean, pure body. I think that is what keeps me going. E: Well, you still have that wonderful spirit. B: Yes. E: Do you remember the old Indian Thomas Stevens? B: I remember them talking about him. They said he was either born in 1905 or died in 1905. E: He is buried on top of the hill. B: Yes, and on his age is on his tombstone. E: They said he froze to death. B: That is what they said: that he froze to death. E: When the message came of Thomas Stevens's death, the story goes, your father got a wagon and went down and picked up the body and brought it back. B: They said that Sally Beck and my sister Lily went along and sung songs when they were coming back, but I do not know. E: Do you remember any of the songs you used to sing in church? B: We have all got the same old songs. E: The same thing we always sing. B: Yes. E: Do you get to go to church now--do you have to go in your wheelchair? B: Yes, I go, and I hate to do that because they have to roll [my wheelchair]. But my son-in-law is just as good to me as he can be; well, all my children are. [They] roll me in there and get me a place to sit down. I have not been but twice since I hurt 5 .

PAGE 7

my leg. I get nauseated being here all by myself. I get to thinking about what I could do [and] what I used to do, and it just bothers me and gets me aggravated. Sunday morning, I got up kind of late, and they had church at nine o'clock, and I had to get ready by that time. I went to church, and I was feeling pretty good up to that time. But sometimes, my leg gets to hurting, and I get the "fidgets." Donna could tell I was not resting well, so she brought me home. I am going to go on Sunday. There is one elder--he is going home in about two weeks--who has been here two and a half years. He always comes here to see me. E: Lula, I am proud to have known you and your family. I know so many of them. I remember your father; I do not remember your mother, but I remember so many good things about your father. It is amazing and wonderful to me that we white people have friends. You are my friend, and we know that. B: See, because we have always been together. E: And there are lots of friends around here, the same way. B: Yes, ma'am. E: Well, I will be thinking about you, and God bless you. B: And to tell you the truth, I have thought about you a lot, too. And after I saw you that day, I told Donna, "I believe that that was her," and Donna said, "I think it was her, too," but I said, "She did not see us." E: I did not see you; I would have run to speak to you. B: Well, I am sure glad. Come back again. Are you doing anything, or are you just home now? E: I will come back again to see you. B: Do you stay in town now? E: I am in Charlotte in a retirement home. B: OK. E: But I am going to come back down to see you again real soon. B: Well, you do, you come back and see all of us. I know we would be glad to see you. 6