Barbara Bradshaw talks to her great grandson ,Jason: Bradshaw, about her life. She was raised in Ohio but came to Bland County with her husband Frank and children in 1941 and lived in the Hollybrook and Wilderness Creek area of the county. The following is excerpted from two separate interviews conducted in 1994 and 1995.
This is Barbara Bradshaw's opening statements of my interview.
I was born Oct. 8, 1907 at Waterloo, Ohio. My father was Elmer Edward Cooper and my mother was Linnie Maude Boggess Cooper. They both had a good education and were eligible to teach school but never did. My father was a good sawyer and sawed for different big lumber companies. My mother was a homemaker and an excellent cook. I had two older sisters and a sister and brother younger than I. I started to school when I was five years old at a little one room school near Gallipolis, Ohio. I was a good speller and can remember standing before the teacher with the big pupils in spelling class.
Jason: Who where your Grandparents?
Barbara: Frank and Mary Virginia Cooper. I loved to stayed up with them. I stayed up there a whole lot before I was able to go to school. Grandmaw taught me to read, and write, and spell when I was about four years old, so they petted me. I stayed there until I was old enough to go to School. They had a great big house with a high mantel, and Grandpaw, in the fall he would bring a great big log, all he could carry and put as a back log. He kept a fire and it never did go out until the time he built it in the fall until spring. They raised a garden, had cattle, and chickens, it didn't take much to keep them because it was just the two of them.
Jason.What did you do for fun when you where small?
Barbara.We always went to a picnic the fourth of July, my dad would get a big hay wagon and horses, and put us and a whole bunch of the neighbors and go for a picnic. Then in the fall we would always go to the fair in Galapolis and we would take our lunch and stay all day. We went to Sunday school, we had more Sunday school parties than anything else. We either met at our house or our neighbors house. There wasn't any movies or anything to go to, we just had parties at home. Never did have electricity, until after we was married and moved here when Woody was born. That was the first time that we ever had any electricity, but we didn't miss it because nobody else had it.
Jason: What kind of toys did you play with and what kind of games?
Barbara: We mostly read, our whole family was big readers, and then we played Dominoes and Finch, but mostly we read. We just had oil lamps but we were used to it. In the summer time we always had a bunch of kids here and we would play ball. We always had a swing, and we didn't really go any place except picnics or Sunday School parties. We had to work.
Jason: What did you cherish the most?
Barbara: We just were always happy there at home, we had a good life. Dad and mom was always good to us. In the winter time we would always have to go to school, and in the summer time we would have to hoe corn and tobacco, and work in the garden and pick berries, and help can.
Jason: So that was your chores around the house.
Barbara: Yea, It was always my job to watch after the little chickens. I would have to put them up at night. We had turkeys, and it was my job to watch that hen early in the spring. She would go way around the hill in the woods to lay her eggs, she made a nest in the brush pile way up in the woods, and it was my job to watch her. We had little ducks, and turkeys and chickens, and it was my job to watch them.
Jason: What was your house like?
Barbara: It was a 3 bedrooms, a up stairs, and a great big front porch with a swing on it. Then we had a swing on the apple tree out in the yard. Mommy was a good house keeper, of course we didn't have electricity. It was my job to clean the lamp chimney. Then I started learning to cook when I was real young.
Jason: What did you cook on?
Barbara: We just had a cook stove, that's all we ever had. We didn't have any electricity. We heated the house with fire places, there was a coal mine next to us, but dad cut wood. Then he hauled coal, we would cook with wood in the cook stove. It got hot too.
Jason: Did you have a garden?
Barbara: We always raised a big garden, canned everything. We didn't freeze anything, we just always had to can it.
Jason: What did you grow?
Barbara: We grew everything, every vegetable you could think of. Mommy would can and we had a cellar where would nothing would freeze. It would stay cool, we kept the milk and the butter and everything in the cellar.
Jason: What was your favorite meal?
Barbara: Mom was a good cook, she could really fry chicken. In the winter time, my dad trapped. He didn't shoot a rabbit, he trapped, and that a way it wasn't shot up. Mommy could fix the best rabbit that I ever tasted. She would set down a great big heaping plate full. It was brown and tender as it could be. She fried chicken and made cakes, pies, and cookies. She was just a good cook, we always had plenty to eat.
Jason: Where did you go to school at?
Barbara: We went to a little one room school out toward Galapolis, when I was five years old. Then we moved back to Galute County Ohio, were we would have to walk across a big steep hill. Then we would come upon a little old side road, and we had a little one room school there. The teacher had to teach all eight grades. Then we went to Waterloo High School, and had to walk there. My two oldest sisters was in college by that time. Then they was a teaching school. Carl wasn't old enough to go to school. They didn't have any school buses, So when it was real muddy, Bess and I would ride the horse over to Waterloo were the sidewalks were. We would turn the horse around, and put the bridle rein back on her neck and tell her to go on home, and she would go back. It was a mile. Dad or Mom would watch for her and they would put her in the barn yard. We did that when it was real muddy.
Jason: What was school like?
Barbara: I loved school, I always did. In high school my favorite was Literature, English, and I really liked Algebra. We had a good Algebra teacher. We would have parties at school. When I graduated from there I was the Valedictorian. I was always good in school. I don't brag about it now, but I did then. I always liked school, everyone of us kids did.
Jason: How did the teachers make the students behave?
Barbara: It don't seem to me that we ever had much trouble. I know that I never got a whippen in my life at school. I don't ever remember any trouble in schools.
Jason: So you never got in trouble at school?
Barbara: I never did, I never ever remember of having trouble in school. That was one thing us kids all liked, we all liked school. My two oldest sisters was school teachers. I never did like to teach. I used to teach sometimes when one of my sisters was sick. One year one of them had the flu, and taught for her. I didn't like it a little bit.
Jason: How were your holidays celebrated?
Barbara: We always had a Christmas when we was at home. Us kids we always had a big Christmas tree. My dad and mom liked candy, as well as us kids. He would always bring in plenty of candy and oranges and everything at Christmas. Mommy always had plenty of cakes. Lots of times we would always have a party and stuff for our Sunday school class. We didn't have any ice cream freezer, or electricity. Mommy would make ice cream and she would put it in a bucket. It had a handle on it, then she would put ice and salt in a bigger bucket, and turn that just by hand. It was the best ice cream that you had ever tasted. She always had a big cake baked. We had lots of fun. we played games, and some of them had guitars and played music. Every few weeks we was having Sunday school parties. We would go to other churches to meetings at nights. One time when Frank and I were going together, he had a sleigh. It come a big deep snow, and he had a two horse sleigh. Had sleigh bells on the harness. My sister was going with some boy, and we went way up to another church one night in that sleigh. We about froze to death. So when we got home there was a big fire in the fire place in the front room so we got warm. When Frank got home that night he had to drive his team home that night, the harness was froze on the horses. He had to cut it off to get it off of the horses. It was so cold it was terrible cold. It snowed big, but we had a lot of fun.
Jason: Do you remember any funny stories or pranks that were pulled?
Barbara: We had a little house on our place, and had a renter down there. Us girls, before any of us was every married, would go down to that house and soap the windows on Halloween. We would go out trick or treating too. Mommy would always give candy for the trick or treaters that came to our house. One time I was playing there in the front yard. We had a great big apple tree in our front yard, and I was swinging from the limb of it, and I fell. I hurt my arm real bad. It about scared my girlfriend to death, and she went home and told that I broke my arm, but I didn't it was just hurt.
Jason: How did teenagers court when you were young?
Barbara: Most of the time if it was bad weather Frank would ride the horse back and ride to see me. I never did go with any other boys very long, only Frank. Went to school with him. In pretty weather, when it wasn't so muddy, because the road wasn't paved or graveled or anything, it was just a mud road. We had a Chevrolet car and we would just ride around. A bunch of kids would ride over to Waterloo, to where a big covered bridge and a great big pile of lumber of some kind was. A whole crowd of us would just meet over there on a Sunday afternoon, and just talk and have a good old time. We never did go to a movie or any place. We would go to church and Sunday school convention and parties at home and that was about it. There was a boy who went with Bessy, my youngest sister, and he rode horses too. Frank and him would ride horseback and see us, then when they would get ready to go they would get on there horses and go.
Jason: How did you meet your husband?
Barbara: I went to school with him, that is were I met him. He lived about three miles down from me at a little village called Araby, he lived on a big farm. We went to school and Waterloo. Sometimes he would ride horseback to school. He quit before he graduated. He didn't like school much, so he quit and just worked there on the farm. His daddy died when he was 16. So his mother didn't' t make him go on to school.
Jason: Where were you married?
Barbara: Fort Wayne Indiana, I went away to school. My sister Gladys was married then, and she was a school teacher, and going to college too. Her husband and Frank came out to see us. Me and Frank was married one time when he came out to see us, at a Methodist Church in Fort Wayne Indiana. He came on back home, and I stayed until the semester was out, but he came back and got me.
Jason: What was the ceremony like?
Barbara: Well just a preacher married us. I had been going to church there, me and Gladys. My sister and I stayed in a boarding house, with two of the women that I worked with was with us. Its been so long ago I about forgot what his name was. The preacher's name was Depwell. After we was married we didn't have any honeymoon then.
Jason: How many children did you have?
Jason: What were their names, and where were they born?
Barbara: Well let's see, Fred, Frank Jr., Carl Jean, Donna Mae, they was all born on the farm were we lived at Araby. Then we moved from there to Colly Creek. Yvonne, Juanita, George, was all born there. Then we moved to Virginia, Jaky, Virginia, Amos, and Woody was all born here in Va. The last four was born here in Va.
Jason: Do you think it was easier to raise children back then than it is today,and why?
Barbara: Oh my goodness yea. I didn't have half the trouble with my 11 than some of them do with one right now. They just played by themselves, there was enough of them, they could always find something to play with. We had some neighbors, but I never did let our kids go any where else. Our neighbors kids was always at the house. Frank was working away from home at the time. The boys would have to help get the wood. We raised a garden. They just played by their selves. we all read a lot, our kids always liked to read. Even Fred yet today reads a lot.
Jason: When did you move here in Bland, County?
Barbara: In March of 1941. We moved here in March and Virginia was born in June. We come in a great big truck, and everything that we owned was in that truck. We moved over there on Mire Branch. Frank was a cutting timber, and that is were we moved. Later on, we bought this, and Frank Jr. bought the 125 acres next to us, and your Grandmaw still owns it. I have lived in 13 different houses. In Ohio we lived in 4 different places . Then when we come here and we lived over there on Mire Branch where Frank was getting out timber, then we moved to Hollybrook, but this is the 13th house, then we moved down Wolf Creek, we lived in two different houses down Wolf Creek, just rented. Then Frank bought this. We moved here in 1950 and I've been here every since. I have lived here, we lived here between Christmas and New Years, 1950 and 51, so I have been here every since.
Jason: Can you describe the different houses that you lived in?
Barbara: We never did have a nice house, Never. Well one time we lived over on Rt.75 close to Ironton, and we had a pretty good house, but we never did have electricity until when we moved down on Wolf Creek when Woody was a year old. We lived on Glen Hare's place, and he had that old house wired. That's the first time that I ever had a washing machine. I always washed on my washboard. We would heat the irons on the cook stove. I never did have an electric stove until we moved here, or a refrigerator. It was hard times, we started raising a family when the Depression was going on. Nobody had anything then, banks went closed and everything. I don't know how we lived, but we never was on welfare. Frank always made enough to keep us from starving and that is about all.
Jason: What did you do for a living?
Barbara: There wasn't much of anything to do. First, when we was in Ohio, he worked at different odd jobs. We always raised a garden, we never had a electric bill to pay, or no telephone bill to pay. We just rented houses, except one little place up on Colly Creek in Ohio. I guess that was in Galou County Ohio. Frank always had a truck, and he hauled timber. He hauled brick to build 2 or 3 new school houses around there. He would get the brick up at Oak Hill, Ohio. He had a job there until right at the last. So, that's when he moved here and started getting out timber at Mire Branch. Then after we moved here, Frank started working in the mines. He was coal operator, he worked in Kentucky and Virginia, and West Virginia. Then he took emphysema and had to quit. It was about 8 or 9 years until he started drawing Black Lung, we got along all right then, but then he wasn't able to do anything.
Jason: Didn't ya'll used to own a store?
Barbara: Yes, When we lived over there on Mire Branch, we moved in one house, and then we moved down to another. Then he rented a store in Hollybrook. We was down there about 3 years. That is where that Buckhorn's store is now. We lived there for about 3 years. We had a pretty good trade there.
Jason: What all did you sell?
Barbara: Just everything in a little old country store. We didn't have any electricity there. We had to light it with lamps and we had to cool the pop cooler with some kind of chemicals. We sold a lot of pop and cakes, we just sold about everything. We was there for 3 years, and then Jr. Jackson, who married Elma Myers, he took over. It belonged to his grandpaw. That's when we went down to J.W. Burton's Place. Then we moved from there down Wolf Creek,and daddy just farmed. Then we bought this place and moved here.
Jason: When you owned that store how much was pop, cookies, and stuff like that?
Barbara: Well pop was a nickel. Frank was hauling timber then, and the boys Frank Jr. and Wimpy was big enough to cut then. Elbert Rife was a working with them. They would get out props and then Frank would haul them. And he would bring back case after case of pop, and cakes. We sold more big cakes, pop and cookies than anything else. We had a good trade. We did fairly good there. I kept store while Frank was a working. Jaky was born when we was there at the store.
Jason.What did you call the store?
Barbara: Bradshaw's store, I reckon. Frank called it The Jot Them Down, you know how he is. We lost a whole lot of money there because he would trust anybody. People just wouldn't pay. Some people would pay and some wouldn't. There was living quarters back in the store. Our kids went to school in Hollybrook. Carl Jean went to school in Bland when we lived there. So now I just live here by myself. Sometimes we had good times, and sometimes we didn't. We had it pretty rough. When you are raising a family and no income it is pretty rough. We had a lot of good times. I worked at the Factory for about 18 months - I never did work in my life until Woody had graduated from high school and was working. I never did work outside of my home in my life. I never made a penny in my life until I went to work up there on the hill at the Factory.
Jason: The sewing factory in Bastian, Tultex
Barbara: Yes, I worked there until I retired. Then I started drawing Social Security. The first social security check that I had ever got was $68. That was what it was. By that time Frank was drawing S.S. and Black Lung, but the kids was already raised then. I never did work until after Woody was through school and was a working.
This second interview elaborates further on incidents related in the first interview and more.
Jason: Can you describe what the trip from Ohio to Bland County was like?
Barbara: It was just awful. We left at Waterloo early one morning. And everything we owned was in one great big truck. There was five of us in the cab, and Fred and Frank, Jr. was a riding on the back on top of all the furniture. Only about 1 hour out of Waterloo and something went wrong with the truck. We had to stop and get it fixed. We just stayed there in the garage and in the truck until they got it fixed.
Jason: Why did you choose to come here?
Barbara: Some friends of ours had been working here in the timber, and Frank never did have a steady job in Ohio. So they got him to come here and cut timber for Mr. Cumby.
Jason: How long did the journey take?
Barbara: Well we traveled one day and one night, and just as soon as we got to the top of East River Mountain the sun was coming up. And I thought that was the prettiest thing that I have ever saw. It just took a day, and a night.
Jason: Where did you sleep along the way?
Barbara: We just stayed in the truck. We didn't have to stay the night any place, we just waited on the garage while they was doing some work on the truck. We got here the next morning, we didn't have to stay in a motel or anything.
Jason: What were the roads like?
Barbara: Well, this Wilderness Road it was just mud then, it wasn't even gravel. Then when we went across Mire Branch it was just a old logging road.
Jason: Can you describe where you lived on Mire Branch.
Barbara: Yea, It was a little old 3 room shack, that was all it was. Mr. Cumby had put up for his men that cut timberland that was just 3 rooms is all that we had.
Jason: Where did you get water from?
Barbara: From a spring across the road.
Jason: What was it like at night without electricity?
Barbara: We was used to it because we had never had electricity, we just had the coal and oil lamps.
Jason: Did you make a garden?
Barbara: Yes ,we had a good garden we always raised a garden.
Jason: What did you grow?
Barbara: We growed just about anything. Corn,beans,tomatoes, cucumbers, just about anything someone would grow in the garden.
Jason: Did you ever have any animals?
Barbara: We always had chickens, we brought a whole flock of chickens here with us. So we always had plenty of eggs to use, but that was only animals that we had only Frank got a horse after we came here.
Jason: Where you ever snowed in?
Barbara: Yes(laugh)we lived over there. The first day we moved here was March 7, of 1941. They told us that was the biggest snow that they had ever had back there, as long as the neighbors had lived there. It came that night after we moved here.
Jason: How deep did you think it was?
Barbara: It was. Well, I don't know how deep it was, only we didn't get all of our furniture in the house. Some of it was out on the porch and it was covered with snow the next morning when we got up. I don't know how deep it was.
Jason: Where did you live when you first got a radio?
Barbara: Let see Jason:, I don't remember. I guess it was the when we moved down the Glen Hare's place on Wolf Creek. That was in 1948.
Jason: What was it like?
Barbara: We had a radio at home before we moved here. We had a radio in Ohio, I forgot. It just run by battery, Frank always listened to the news, and we always listened to Fibber McGee and Molly, that was a funny program we listened to about anything.
Jason: What did you listen to?
Barbara: Well Frank listened to the News, Frank liked to hear the news. And we had a program Fibber McGee and Molly, it was a old timey program. Amos and Andy, well they are all dead now.
Jason: Was there any other families that lived on Mire Branch?
Barbara: There was only one that lived close by us, when we first come here, it was the Shelton Family. That was the only neighbors that we had.
Jason: What was that road like?
Barbara: It was just an old logging road. Nothing ever traveled it but the trucks hauling timber, that was all that was ever over in there.
Jason: How did you get in and out?
Barbara: Well in the logging truck, that is when we ever had to go any place.
Jason: Did you know Rony and Sally Nunn?
Barbara: Yes, we lived just above them. Then we moved to another house, a little bigger house, a five room house. And it was real close to Rony Nunn's.
Jason: What were they like?
Barbara: They was good neighbors, of coarse we didn't have much time to visit. We knew they were there and we saw them once in a while.
Jason: When you lived on Mire Branch, how did you celebrate Christmas?
Barbara: Well it was the same as when we lived in Ohio. We always had a Christmas tree, and we always had a good dinner. We had candy and oranges.
Jason: How did you celebrate your kid's birthdays?
Barbara: We always had a birthday cake for them, and we managed to get them a present or two. We always celebrated it there at home because we never went any place. Of course the children went to school at Hollybrook. They had to walk, but I don't think that they ever had a party down there though. We just had a cake here at home.
Jason: Who was the family doctor?
Barbara: Dr. Davidson.
Jason: Where there midwives back then?
Barbara: I never did have any, when my children were born we always managed to have a doctor. Dr. Davidson come after we moved here after we moved here. He was the doctor we had here, and he delivered all of ours except for Woody. Woody was born in the hospital at Bluefield.
Jason: What hours did you keep at your store in Hollybrook?
Barbara: We just stayed there all of the time. Frank even stayed down there at night. We lived about 3 miles from the store. In the day time I would walk and go down there and keep the store while Frank was a working. He was cutting timber.
Jason: Do you remember any funny incidents at the store'?
Barbara: Lot's of times there would be boys around there that would play music at the store at night. I don't remember anything really funny that happened. There was always a crowd of the young ones that loafed around there in the evening. We always sold a lot of pop, peanuts, and candy, and cookies. They would come in there, and the first thing they would do when they come in was get a bottle of pop and a pack of peanuts. Every one of them were young ones that came in to the store.
Jason: Where there other stores in Hollybrook.
Barbara: Henry Sarver owned one over across the creek real close to us. Them was the only two stores there at the time. J.K Sarver run it.
Jason: Can you tell me some of the pranks your kids done when they was little?
Barbara: Oh, I can tell a lot of them, especially Fred and Wimpy(Frank Jr.) they was always into something.One time Frank was working away from home and he had a Ford roadster. He had it parked out beyond the house, and I didn't know that Fred could drive, so him and Frank Jr. went out there and they had a regular track made.They was driving it out in the field, and I didn't even know it, I don't know what all they did. They was little though, they was all the time tearing up cars or just getting into meanness.
Jason: You told me one time about them tamping pig manure in Frank's gas tank.
Barbara: That was awful, no I ain't going to tell that on that tape. One time Frank had a truck and he went out t start it up one day and started down toward Araby, and he had to go around a little bend, and every time he did he heard a rattling. He got down there, and they had put all of his tools that would fit in the gas tank, they had took the top off of it, and all of the wrenches and little tools that would go into that gas tank, they put them down in there. They had to take the tank off to get them tools. That was a lot of trouble. Another time Frank went to move the tractor and it wouldn't start. He got the team of horses out, and pulled it way up in the road and down through the field where it was kinds easy going, and all that was a matter with it Fred had done something to the carburetor. Frank had looked all over and he hadn't even noticed it, and he just happened to find it. All of that trouble he had gone through to get it started and that was all that was a matter with it. Fred was always a fooling with a old car or a tractor or truck or something. One time we lived down on a farm below Araby, that is were we first lived when we was married, and Frank had come into work, and they had there horses and they boarded with us. They would stay all night with us and then go to work the next morning. Frank had brought them horses in there and they was hitched to a wagon, and Fred and Frank Jr. was real little and they was out in the barn. Them horses got scared and ran off, they ran way up in the field. I was standing in the yard at the house. It about scared me to death, I thought for sure that they was going to get run over, but just so happened they didn't. One time when Yvonne was just a little girl, Fred and Frank Jr. took the post hole diggers and dug a great big hole out in the field under some big locust trees, and the kids all use to play out there all of the time, and they got Yvonne out there and put her down in that hole and they made it deep enough till it just came down to her neck and they tamped the dirt around her and left her. I heard her a crying and I didn't know what in the world had happened. They had tamped that dirt around her and left her in that big hole.
Jason: I thank you Grandmaw
Barbara: I don't know what else to tell you. Only I got 85 grandchildren. Ain't that a mess of them?
Jason: How many Great Grand Children?
Barbara:: There are 32 grandchildren, 48 Great Grand Children, and 5 Great Great. All of the Great Great is on Frank Jr.'s side of the family. D.J. with Hank, and Davey with Chase and Hunter, and Hope with Faith and Sam. All five are on your grandmaw and grandpaw's side of the family. I counted 126 in the family all together living. The most that we had ever had here at one reunion was 118. There was 106 last year. They are scattered out so much you can not keep them all together. I just set here and wait here for someone to come to see now.
Jason: Thank you!
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