Citation
Interview with Foxx E. Ayers, August 28, 1993

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Foxx E. Ayers, August 28, 1993
Creator:
Ayers, Foxx E. ( 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 PROJECT

Interviewee: b FoxxE.Ae
Interviewer: Emma Echols
August 28, 1993
CAT 214



Foxx E.-ew up on the Catawba reservation, and in this
interview j recall 'i to school on-the reservation, serving
in the ArmyF TgWorld War ,' hop-s, for the financial
settlement with the federal governmeAt ---











f^^- /f^^^^I










Intervi we: Foxx A rs

Interviewer: a Echols

Date of I erview: Au t 28, 1993

CAT 2



E: This is Emma Echols, 5150 Sharon Road, Charlotte, North

Carolina. I am working on the oral history of the Catawba

Indians for the University of Florida, Dr. Samuel Proctor.

This August 28. I am down on the reservation with all the

new things that are happening and going on down here. This

/ is my lucky day because I found this gentel headed for

Columbia [South Carolina]. I have read about him and I have

met him before, and his wife is a very famous pottery maker.

I have seen her out at the nature museum exhibiting her

pottery, and I have read [about] and heard him. So I am

going to let him put his name on it. Give us your name and

your address.

A: My first name is Foxx E. Ayers. I live at 1182 Brookwood

Circle, West Columbia, South Carolina, 29169.

E: What is your relationship to the Indians? Are you a full

blooded Catawba?

A: No. Only after I have had lunch. Then I am a full Indian

then. I have sat down and figured my blood line from both

sides of my parents. I am 17/32. So that means I am 1/32

over half an Indian. I was born and raised here on the

Catawba reservation. I was born June 27, 1924. My father


1










used to work in textiles, so then we moved into the Rock

Hill area and down in Great Falls and back to Rock Hill, and

then both of my parents died in 1929. My mother died in

March of 1929, and my dad died in September of 1929.

E: Did you go to school on the reservation?

A: Oh yes.

E: Who were your teachers? Tell me about your early school.

A: When I went to school, J. Davis was a schoolteacher here.

He was originally from Columbia and then he taught until

1934 or somewhere along in there. Then a gentlemen by the

name of Willard W. Hayes from Gaffney came in to teach

school. I finished grammar school in 1937, I believe it

was. I finished seventh grade.

E: You finished the seventh grade on the reservation?

A: Yes.

E: Then where did you go?

A: I did not go to school after that. Being ten miles from

here to Rock Hill, well, I had no way to get to high school.

So I just did not go to school. I worked first one place

and then another. There used to be an old ferry down on the

Catawba River that was run by Early Brown.

E: Did you help him with the ferry?

A: Yes. For several years.

E: Tell me what you remember about Early Brown.

A: Early really was a second cousin of mine. His father was a

brother to my grandmother. When I was about ten years old


2










my oldest sister got married, so I moved in with her and her

husband. I started going to the ferry, I guess, when I was

about eleven years old, so I learned to run the ferry and

put cars over the river and so forth. A couple of years

later when I finished grammar school most of my time was

spent down there with Early Brown.

E: You learned to love that Catawba, did you not?

A: Oh yes, a beautiful place. I really loved the river. Then

in 1939, Early Brown went to Ohio. Some gentleman came here

and wanted Early and his wife to come over in Ohio (I

believe it was New Philadelphia) and [he] had a gift shop

and [he wanted them to] work and make pottery, and so forth.

They would buy their pottery and things like that. Then

they came back home in the fall. I came back to the

reservation and went and lived with my sister and her

husband again. That was in 1939. The same thing happened

in 1940, and Early went back to Ohio with his wife.

So I was working at first one place then the other to pick

up a little money. I had a job with a Mr. Jim Barber that

lived up the road here a few miles from the reservation. He

owned a farm. So I went up and worked for him that spring

and part of the summer. I was over at my great-aunt's house

(that was Early Brown's mother's house) in 1940 and I heard

on the radio that the president was asking for volunteers

for service. He said we might go into the war. So I got

up. I went over to Tom Sanders, a cousin of mine, and I


3










said, "Tom, I just found you and I a job." I had quit my

job working up there with Mr. Barber, so I needed another

job. And he said, "Whereabouts, Foxx?" I said, "We are

going into the Army and we are going to be soldiers." I was

fifteen at that time. Tom was sixteen in January past, and

this was around the first of June.

So we went to Charlotte and checked in to see about being a

soldier. We had to get some papers signed, so [we] talked

with the doctor [and] talked with the mail carrier. It used

to be Mr. Jim Sturgess was the mail carrier; our doctor was

Dr. Blackman in Rock Hill. I had them to believe that I was

older than my brother. I said, "I am the guy that is

eighteen and my brother is only sixteen." But it was vice-

versa; my brother was the oldest. I said, "I am going in

the Army." They said, "But you are not old enough." I

said, "But I am." So I convinced them I was the oldest. So

I got them to sign the papers. Then I needed another signed

by the schoolteacher. Well, the schoolteacher would not

sign it. So I was desperate, I guess, to get away from

here, to go to work or do something. But I was planning on

! defending my country. So I signed it.

E: Were you in the Armyband how long?
J
A: Well, I signed the schoolteacher's name on the paper, you

know? The next morning I said to my sister, "I need for you

to sign this paper for me. I am going in the Army." She

said, "But you are not old enough." I said, "You know that


4










and I know that, but they do not know that." So I said, "By

the time I get to Charlotte, well, I am going to have your

name on the paper too." I was going to go. So she said,

"All right." So she signed the paper for me. I have always

considered thirteen to be a lucky day [because] that was the

day I joined the army in 1940, the thirteenth day of June.

On the Twenty-Seventh of June, two weeks later, I was

sixteen years old. So I spent my sixteenth, my seventeenth,

my eighteenth, my nineteenth, [and] my twentieth [birthdays

in the Army]. I was twenty-one in June of 1945. I was

discharged out of the Army in September of 1945. So I spent

five years, three months, and one week in the army. So you

might say I just grew up in the army.

E: Did you have some educational opportunities when you left

the Army?

A: Well, I had four years of school coming. But, when you get

[to be] twenty-one years old, you might feel like you are

too old to be going to school. That is what happened to me.

So when I came back, I got me a job at the bleachery and

worked a short time. I loved to work, you know, and things

like that, but I loved the river. So I did not work over at

the bleachery for too long. I had several guys to come

back, and I was on their job. I would work a couple of

weeks on this job and they would come and tell me, "We are

going to have to put you on another job. This guy has come

back and you have got his job." So after about two months


5










of that I said, "Look, just pay me up and just let me go."

He said, "But we have got another job for you." I said,

"But I do not like the idea of every two weeks you coming

and taking me off and saying I have somebody else's job and

I have got to work here two weeks and somebody else come

along and take that. Just give me my money and I will

leave."

So they paid me up and I came back to the reservation and I

bought me a trout line and some hooks. I had a cousin that

owned a flat-bottom boat, so I started fishing. I fished

about eight or ten months, I guess it was. Then I decided I

was going to get married. So I got a job in the textile

mill and I worked there for eleven years. I never did like

it because I was always an outside person. So I went to

Charlotte and got me a job in 1957. I worked for a

construction company over there. I learned to be a painter,

and paint houses. I was an assistant foreman on the crew

that I was with. I learned to be a pretty good painter. I

moved to Columbia in 1962. As a matter of fact, I went down

there to learn to be an electrician under the federal

government set-up that they had when the reservation was

terminated, or supposed to have been, in 1962 or 1961. So I

had the opportunity to go to Columbia and go to an area

trade school.

I went down there, but I found out when I finished school

and got my diploma that I was not really enthused about


6










being an electrician [as] I should have been. So I went

back to painting, you know. I worked for two or three

different dairies down there as a painter. I was a utility

man, so I did everything that came along. I drove a tractor

and trailer. I drove milk trucks. When some guy was sick

and was not able to come and deliver milk at houses, I took

his job. Then, in between that, one time, my job was cut

out so there I was left holding the bag, so to speak. So I

got a license and I contracted for about four years,

painting. I had a couple of other guys that worked with me,

not in a big way, but enough to make a living.

E: You have had an interesting life, and you have kept in touch

with the Catawba tribe and the Nation. You are proud to be

here. Tell me what you see in the future for your young

people coming on or your older ones. What do you see for

all of them?

A: Well, let me say this. I have been on the tribal committee

here since 1978, I believe it was. Sixteen years, in the

neighborhood of that. We have come a long ways up the road,

you know? We are in the process now of getting a

settlement. If I might get back to Columbia: When I

finished trade school in Columbia, I never came back to Rock

Hill and this area to live. I stayed down in West Columbia.

But I have been back up here sixteen years. I have been on

the committee. I used to come back at least once or twice a

month before that came about, so I have never really


7










disconnected myself from the Catawbas. If this settlement

goes through, well, I can see great potential here for the

tribe. I do not see why it should not go through. I

understand it has got to go through the Senate yet, and then

the President has to sign it. So what I am doing right now

[is] looking forward to meeting the President when I go up

there in October for him to sign that.

E: Good for you; I hope you do.

A: It is just a matter of not jumping at every opportunity that

somebody might come by and say, "Hey, I have got a great

thing going for you." The settlement that you get, a

certain amount of money is [only] going to last so long. So

I think whoever is going to be the leader is up front, if

they will look at things and say, "Hey, you know, that is

great, but right now we need to kind of not jump forward and

we should not, and evaluate everything and work things out."

E: What do you think about the restoration project that you see

going on down here?

A: Well, I think that is great.

E: They are working very hard and it is going to take a lot

more expertise to paint and prepare that to really be used,

is it not?

A: Oh, yes ma'am. It is going to take quite a bit of work.

E: Are you still on the council?






8










A: Oh yes, [and I] probably will be till about January when

they will probably put some new leaders in, maybe before

then.

E: You are proud of what has been done and you are looking

forward to the future, are you not?

A: I sure am. Very much.

E: It takes the cooperation and the working and the knowledge

and the expertise of all of you working together, and I see

a unity in your group that I have not seen before. Do you

see that unity?

A: Oh yes, it is coming together. You have got to be a part of

it, though, before you can see things like that, you know,

what is going on.

E: If you had one word to say to the younger generation after

all your experience, what would you tell the younger ones

coming on?

A: Be concerned about the rest of the Catawbas. Try and be

part of it. Try to see that each individual is treated like

you need to be treated. And I think everything will work

out fine, do you not?

E: Who are the other members of the council besides you?

A: Well, the gentleman that just left here, Buck George.

E: Yes, I know him.

A: Well, he is on the council. There is a gentleman that just

drove off, I believe, as you came up, in a pickup truck,

that was Wilfred Harris. We have Dewey Adam, Carson Blue at


9










the secretary-treasurer. Billy Gilbert Blue is the chief.

I think his first name is Billy. Well, actually I am nine

years older than the chief, so I was here when he came.

If I might just say one thing: When Gilbert, the chief, got

out of the service in 1960, my wife and I were running the

only gift shop that has ever been on the reservation here,

right up the road here about a mile and a half. Gilbert

came by and talked with me and said he needed a job. He

said, "Do you know where I came get a job?" And I said,

"No, not really." And after a little while of talking with

him I said, "Hey, you ever do any painting? I know you have

if you have been in the Navy." He had been in the Navy for

nine years, so the Navy was always painting the ships. He

said, "Well, I am a pretty fair painter." I said, "Well, I

have a contract with for painting little houses

around that they are building in the country. If you want

to come work with me, I will pay you so much and you can

ride with me. You will not have any transportation problems

with paying somebody. I will pay you a certain amount of

money and you can come on and work with me for a while." So

he said, "Okay." So he went to work with me and we worked

until it got cold weather and we went to Charlotte and got a

job over there with a paint contractor. [You know] this big

airport that they have near Asheville, North Carolina and

Fletcher, North Carolina? Well, Gilbert and I had the

chance to go there. That gentlemen had the contract on it


10










that we were working for. So they sent Gilbert and I over

there the first day that things got going as far as painting

went, and we went over there and started that project. I

was assistant foreman on that job, and it had taken us about

seven weeks. There was about ten of us, different guys.

The other people were white gentlemen from the Charlotte

area. To get back to the members of the committee, you have

J.C. Ayers. J.C. Ayers is a railman.

E: Well, you have got a strong united group. That is the

interesting thing.

A: There is seven of us on there. I am hoping I can think of

all the names now. I said Chief Blue, Carson Blue, Buck

George, J.C. Ayers, Wilfred Harris, myself, and Dewey Adam.

That is seven of us. There was eight, but our assistant

chief resigned, I believe, as of .

E: Fred Sanders.

A: Yes, Fred Sanders resigned, I believe, as of July 1, if I am

not mistaken. So we are in the process [and] in a couple of

weeks we are going to replace the assistant chief. We will

have a vote on that. But everything seems like it is going

forward, you know?

E: I am glad to here you say that. I think it is going forward

because of your wise leadership and others like you. I

appreciate you giving me the time today to talk to you.

A: Well, one of the gentlemen was telling me earlier that you

was talking to different people, and I had you in mind. He


11










said, "That lady told me she talked to my wife." I said,

"Oh, I think that is the lady that came by the museum a few

years back," and you talked to my wife. But I said, "I did

not get a chance to talk with you." You know how things is.

E: Rita Kenyon is coming to see me tomorrow.

A: Is that right? Yes, I know Rita.

E: I was out at the museum this week and saw some of your

wife's potteries there in the exhibit. But remember me to

her, and I thank you for letting me talk to you today.

A: Yes ma'am.

E: More power to all of you.

A: Thank you, I appreciate that.





























12





Full Text

PAGE 1

Date of E: This is Emma Echols, 5150 Sharon Road, Charlotte, North Carolina. I am working on the oral history of the Catawba Indians for the University of Florida, Dr. Samuel Proctor. This August 28. I am down on the reservation with all the This new things that are happening and going on down here. /' is my lucky day because I found this gent~eaded for Columbia [South Carolina]. I have read about him and I have met him before, and his wife is a very famous pottery maker. I have seen her out at the nature museum exhibiting her pottery, and I have read [about] and heard him. So I am going to let him put his name on it. Give us your name and your address. A: My first name is Foxx E. Ayers. I live at 1182 Brookwood Circle, West Columbia, South Carolina, 29169. E: What is your relationship to the Indians? Are you a full blooded Catawba? A: No. Only after I have had lunch. Then I am a full Indian then. I have sat down and figured my blood line from both sides of my parents. I am 17/32. So that means I am 1/32 over half an Indian. I was born and raised here on the Catawba reservation. I was born June 27, 1924. My father 1

PAGE 2

used to work in textiles, so then we moved into the Rock Hill area and down in Great Falls and back to Rock Hill, and then both of my parents died in 1929. My mother died in March of 1929, and my dad died in September of 1929. E: Did you go to school on the reservation? A: Oh yes. E: Who were your teachers? Tell me about your early school. L~ . A: When I went to school, J. 1 . Davis was a schoolteacher here. He was originally from Columbia and then he taught until 1934 or somewhere along in there. Then a gentlemen by the name of Willard w. Hayes from Gaffney came in to teach school. I finished grammar school in 1937, I believe it was. I finished seventh grade. E: You finished the seventh grade on the reservation? A: Yes. E: Then where did you go? A: I did not go to school after that. Being ten miles from here to Rock Hill, well, I had no way to get to high school. So I just did not go to school. I worked first one place and then another. There used to be an old ferry down on the Catawba River that was run by Early Brown. E: Did you help him with the ferry? A: Yes. For several years. E: Tell me what you remember about Early Brown. A: Early really was a second cousin of mine. His father was a brother to my grandmother. When I was about ten years old 2

PAGE 3

my oldest sister got married, so I moved in with her and her husband. I started going to the ferry, I guess, when I was about eleven years old, so I learned to run the ferry and put cars over the river and so forth. A couple of years later when I finished grammar school most of my time was spent down there with Early Brown. E: You learned to love that Catawba, did you not? A: Oh yes, a beautiful place. I really loved the river. Then in 1939, Early Brown went to Ohio. Some gentleman came here and wanted Early and his wife to come over in Ohio (I believe it was New Philadelphia) and [he] had a gift shop and [he wanted them to] work and make pottery, and so forth. They would buy their pottery and things like that. Then they came back home in the fall. I came back to the reservation and went and lived with my sister and her husband again. That was in 1939. The same thing happened in 1940, and Early went back to Ohio with his wife. So I was working at first one place then the other to pick up a little money. I had a job with a Mr. Jim Barber that lived up the road here a few miles from the reservation. He owned a farm. So I went up and worked for him that spring and part of the summer. I was over at my great-aunt's house (that was Early Brown's mother's house) in 1940 and I heard on the radio that the president was asking for volunteers for service. He said we might go into the war. So I got up. I went over to Tom Sanders, a cousin of mine, and I 3

PAGE 4

I E: A: said, "Tom, I just found you and I a job." I had quit my job working up there with Mr. Barber, so I needed another job. And he said, "Whereabouts, Foxx?" I said, "We are going into the Army and we are going to be soldiers." I was fifteen at that time. Tom was sixteen in January past, and this was around the first of June. So we went to Charlotte and checked in to see about being a soldier. We had to get some papers signed, so [we] talked with the doctor [and] talked with the mail carrier. It used to be Mr. Jim Sturgess was the mail carrier; our doctor was Dr. Blackman in Rock Hill. I had them to believe that I was older than my brother. I said, "I am the guy that is eighteen and my brother is only sixteen." But it was vice versa: my brother was the oldest. I said, "I am going in the Army." They said, "But you are not old enough." I said, "But I am." So I convinced them I was the oldest. So I got them to sign the papers. Then I needed another signed by the schoolteacher. Well, the schoolteacher would not sign it. So I was desperate, I guess, to get away from here, to go to work or do something. But I was planning on defending my country. So I signed it. Were you in the Army/\and how long? ) Well, I signed the schoolteacher's name on the paper, you know? The next morning I said to my sister, "I need for you to sign this paper for me. I am going in the Army." She said, "But you are not old enough." I said, "You know that 4

PAGE 5

ti and I know that, but they do not know that." So I said, "By the time I get to Charlotte, well, I am going to have your name on the paper too." I was going to go. So she said, "All right." So she signed the paper for me. I have always considered thirteen to be a lucky day (because] that was the day I joined the army in 1940, the thirteenth day of June. On the Twenty-seventh of June, two weeks later, I was sixteen years old. So I spent my sixteenth, my seventeenth, my eighteenth, my nineteenth, (and] my twentieth [birthdays in the Army]. I was twenty-one in June of 1945. I was discharged out of the Army in September of 1945. so I spent five years, three months, and one week in the army. So you -:::,:;. might say I just grew up in the army. L! E: Did you have some educational opportunities when you left the Army? A: Well, I had four years of school coming. But, when you get [to be] twenty-one years old, you might feel like you are too old to be going to school. That is what happened to me. So when I came back, I got me a job at the bleachery and worked a short time. I loved to work, you know, and things like that, but I loved the river. So I did not work over at the bleachery for too long. I had several guys to come back, and I was on their job. I would work a couple of weeks on this job and they would come and tell me, "We are going to have to put you on another job. This guy has come back and you have got his job." so after about two months 5

PAGE 6

of that I said, "Look, just pay me up and just let me go." He said, "But we have got another job for you." I said, "But I do not like the idea of every two weeks you coming and taking me off and saying I have somebody else's job and I have got to work here two weeks and somebody else come along and take that. Just give me my money and I will leave." So they paid me up and I came back to the reservation and I bought me a trout line and some hooks. I had a cousin that owned a flat-bottom boat, so I started fishing. I fished about eight or ten months, I guess it was. Then I decided I was going to get married. So I got a job in the textile mill and I worked there for eleven years. I never did like it because I was always an outside person. So I went to Charlotte and got me a job in 1957. I worked for a construction company over there. I learned to be a painter, and paint houses. I was an assistant foreman on the crew that I was with. I learned to be a pretty good painter. I moved to Columbia in 1962. As a matter of fact, I went down there to learn to be an electrician under the federal government set-up that they had when the reservation was terminated, or supposed to have been, in 1962 or 1961. So I had the opportunity to go to Columbia and go to an area trade school. I went down there, but I found out when I finished school and got my diploma that I was not really enthused about 6

PAGE 7

being an electrician (as] I should have been. So I went back to painting, you know. I worked for two or three different dairies down there as a painter. I was a utility man, so I did everything that came along. I drove a tractor and trailer. I drove milk trucks. When some guy was sick and was not able to come and deliver milk at houses, I took his job. Then, in between that, one time, my job was cut out so there I was left holding the bag, so to speak. So I got a license and I contracted for about four years, painting. I had a couple of other guys that worked with me, not in a big way, but enough to make a living. E: You have had an interesting life, and you have kept in touch with the Catawba tribe and the Nation. You are proud to be here. Tell me what you see in the future for your young people coming on or your older ones. What do you see for all of them? A: Well, let me say this. I have been on the tribal committee here since 1978, I believe it was. sixteen years, in the neighborhood of that. We have come a long ways up the road, you know? We are in the process now of getting a settlement. If I might get back to Columbia: When I finished trade school in Columbia, I never came back to Rock Hill and this area to live. I stayed down in West Columbia. But I have been back up here sixteen years. I have been on the committee. I used to come back at least once or twice a month before that came about, so I have never really 7

PAGE 8

disconnected myself from the Catawbas. If this settlement goes through, well, I can see great potential here for the tribe. I do not see why it should not go through. I understand it has got to go through the Senate yet, and then the President has to sign it. So what I am doing right now (is] looking forward to meeting the President when I go up there in October for him to sign that. E: Good for you; I hope you do. A: It is just a matter of not jumping at every opportunity that somebody might come by and say, "Hey, I have got a great thing going for you." The settlement that you get, a certain amount of money is (only] going to last so long. So I think whoever is going to be the leader is up front, if they will look at things and say, "Hey, you know, that is great, but right now we need to kind of not jump forward and we should not, and evaluate everything and work things out." E: What do you think about the restoration project that you see going on down here? A: Well, I think that is great. E: They are working very hard and it is going to take a lot more expertise to paint and prepare that to really be used, is it not? A: Oh, yes ma'am. It is going to take quite a bit of work. E: Are you still on the council? 8

PAGE 9

A: Oh yes, [and I] probably will be till about January when they will probably put some new leaders in, maybe before then. E: You are proud of what has been done and you are looking forward to the future, are you not? A: I sure am. Very much. E: It takes the cooperation and the working and the knowledge and the expertise of all of you working together, and I see a unity in your group that I have not seen before. Do you see that unity? A: Oh yes, it is coming together. You have got to be a part of it, though, before you can see things like that, you know, what is going on. E: If you had one word to say to the younger generation after all your experience, what would you tell the younger ones coming on? A: Be concerned about the rest of the Catawbas. Try and be part of it. Try to see that each individual is treated like you need to be treated. And I think everything will work out fine, do you not? E: Who are the other members of the council besides you? A: Well, the gentleman that just left here, Buck George. E: Yes, I know him. A: Well, he is on the council. There is a gentleman that just drove off, I believe, as you came up, in a pickup truck, that was Wilfred Harris. We have Dewey Adam, Carson Blue at 9

PAGE 10

the secretary-treasurer. Billy Gilbert Blue is the chief. I think his first name is Billy. Well, actually I am nine years older than the chief, so I was here when he came. If I might just say one thing: When Gilbert, the chief, got out of the service in 1960, my wife and I were running the only gift shop that has ever been on the reservation here, right up the road here about a mile and a half. Gilbert came by and talked with me and said he needed a job. He said, "Do you know where I came get a job?" And I said, "No, not really." And after a little while of talking with him I said, "Hey, you ever do any painting? I know you have if you have been in the Navy." He had been in the Navy for nine years, so the Navy was always painting the ships. He said, "Well, I am a pretty fair painter." I said, "Well, I have a contract with ___ for painting little houses around that they are building in the country. If you want to come work with me, I will pay you so much and you can ride with me. You will not have any transportation problems with paying somebody. I will pay you a certain amount of money and you can come on and work with me for a while." So he said, "Okay." So he went to work with me and we worked until it got cold weather and we went to Charlotte and got a job over there with a paint contractor. [You know] this big airport that they have near Asheville, North Carolina and Fletcher, North Carolina? Well, Gilbert and I had the chance to go there. That gentlemen had the contract on it 10

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that we were working for. So they sent Gilbert and I over there the first day that things got going as far as painting went, and we went over there and started that project. I was assistant foreman on that job, and it had taken us about seven weeks. There was about ten of us, different guys. The other people were white gentlemen from the Charlotte area. To get back to the members of the committee, you have J.C. Ayers. J.C. Ayers is a railman. E: Well, you have got a strong united group. That is the interesting thing. A: There is seven of us on there. I am hoping I can think of all the names now. I said Chief Blue, Carson Blue, Buck George, J.C. Ayers, Wilfred Harris, myself, and Dewey Adam. That is seven of us. There was eight, but our assistant chief resigned, I believe, as of E: Fred Sanders. A: Yes, Fred Sanders resigned, I believe, as of July 1, if I am not mistaken. So we are in the process [and] in a couple of weeks we are going to replace the assistant chief. We will have a vote on that. But everything seems like it is going forward, you know? E: I am glad to here you say that. I think it is going forward because of your wise leadership and others like you. I appreciate you giving me the time today to talk to you. A: Well, one of the gentlemen was telling me earlier that you was talking to different people, and I had you in mind. He 11

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said, "That lady told me she talked to my wife." I said, "Oh, I think that is the lady that came by the museum a few years back," and you talked to my wife. But I said, "I did not get a chance to talk with you." You know how things is. E: Rita Kenyon is coming to see me tomorrow. A: Is that right? Yes, I know Rita. E: I was out at the museum this week and saw some of your wife's potteries there in the exhibit. But remember me to her, and I thank you for letting me talk to you today. A: Yes ma' am. E: More power to all of you. A: Thank you, I appreciate that. 12

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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ORAL HISTORY PROJECT --------~ Interviewee: d;xx E. Ayer Interviewer:'-=tmma Echols August 28, 1993 CAT 214 / / Foxx E~~_,...~ew up on the Catawba reservation, and in this / ~terview .!i@ recall to school ~n-:'t-J:!e, reservation, serving in the Army duf~rld War ' lCais"h~~ for the financial settlement with the federal governmen~ /