Charlotte Shrader was born and raised in the mountains of Mitchell County, North Carolina. She followed her husband from logging job to logging job until she reached Rocky Gap, where she has lived for over fifty years. The following excerpts are from several interviews over the last several years. One is done by Grace Montgomery (RGHS '96) and the rest are by Charlotte's granddaughter Amanda Clark (RGHS '97).
Grace: When and where were you born?
Mrs. Shrader: I was born December the thirty first nineteen thirty one, at a small place called Poplar North Carolina in Mitchell County.
Grace: When you were young what did you do for fun?
Mrs. Shrader: Well we mostly worked. We had Sundays off. We had to help on the farm, raise the gardens, and do the wood cutting, and milk the cows and feed the chickens. We didn't have much fun time.
Grace: If you had toys, what kind of toys did you play with?
Mrs. Shrader: We made our own homemade sleds to ride, no sleighs, we didn't have them. Well, and we would swing from grapevine swings, that we'd cut off from in the mountains. We climbed trees, anything that we could get by with in that manner we done.
Grace? What were your chores around the house?
Mrs. Shrader: Well mine and my sister Dorothy's was carrying and making sure we had wood for our cook stove and our fire place. We had to bring kinlin' and we always had to milk two cows, feed hogs, and do all the outside chores. My oldest one sister and my other sister stayed in the house a lot and helped mom, but we had to help hull corn, and raise the garden,and help with the garden stuff. We worked just like boys, didn't have no boys around except my oldest brother and he went in the service, in World War Two, and left me to do the boys work around, the men's work. Dad bordered away from home a lot to make a living, to work. With their income as low as it was they didn't have much, and we worked like that, that was our main chores, our outside work.
Grace: What was your house like?
Mrs. Shrader: We lived in a big two story house. It was a huge house, and the upstairs, well we had beds, and a kitchen, it was a large kitchen, it was called "The Manor Place", and we lived there. Thats where we went to school from. We walked over a mountain, and down the other side, by my uncle's, by what they called Curtis Creek Road. Three miles on a gravel road, and we finally got a bus up there, to the garage building, up on what ya call Curtis's Creek. We walked across the mountain and carried our groceries in that way, what we bought. We raised mostly, we didn't have money to buy everything. We mostly depended on what we raised.
Grace: How was it heated?
Mrs. Shrader: By wood. We had a big fireplace in each end of the house. We cooked with wood, on a wood range, and we used big logs. We filled the fireplace with wood and stuff like that. There's not much difference in my generation in that part of the county than what there were in my mamma and daddy's; it's about the same. We had plenty of bedrooms and a upstairs but we didn't get by with hiding upstairs because our mom knew all our hiding places, and if we hid we had to hide way out, cause we always got caught at that. We just had a nice house, a nice place, big., It was a farm but we didn't own it, we just leased it.
Grace: What did you cook your food on?
Mrs. Shrader: The wood cook stove, and just lots of times dad would just sit around on the weekend and put a big pot on the fireplace, on the iron bar that went across the fireplace, inside it, and he'd cook a pot of beans there. A lot of times he'd cook a pot of pork meat or some kind of beef or something, that's the way he just liked to do that. He'd sometimes shovel out coal on the hearth rock, set him an iron skillet, big iron skillet down, and fix cornbread in it and there was heat from the coals on the bottom baked it from the bottom and the fire, heat from the fireplace, baked it from the top and they called them pullecakes, and they were a good bread, a real good bread. a lot of times daddy would build up fires, little campfires, and we'd cook outside a lot of times, but that was just because, to us that was just a big outing, and we enjoyed that.
Grace:What did you grow in your garden?
Mrs . Shrader: Just about every vegetable you could think of. We had sweet corn patches, we had cane patches. In our garden we grew a patch of potatoes other than our potatoes in the field. We had onions, we grew our own onions, and we raised a lot of garden lettuce and spinach, and kale and collards, which not many people around here I'd say like collards, a lot of people don't know what you're talking about, and then we also raised our own parsnips. And we dug holes and buried lots of stuff like our potatoes. We buried our potatoes, we buried our apples, we buried our winter apples, and we'd bury just about everything. Our parsnips were buried and our cabbage was turned upside down right in the rows and covered and then during the winter, there'd come a thaw and we'd take the cabbage out, pull 'em up, maybe a few head at a time so we'd have them there, and then they'd just freeze right back in the ground and they stayed that way til spring. But you've gotta turn 'em upside down with the roots sticking up to bury them that way and it bleaches them out white, makes them so good and crisp. And we buried rutabagas. We raised large, big rutabagas; we buried those, everything in that manner. And apples that come out of the holes that way, they'd have a wonderful taste where they'd been buried about all winter. We didn't fool with many tomatoes. Some, but not many tomatoes, and now I wonder why that we didn't raise more tomatoes, but we didn't. Now cucumbers, course mom pickled all of those. We had about as much as you could ask for, but it wasn't bought out of the store. It was raised in the land. And we'd put up our own hay, and things like that. We just about all had to get up and hard work.
Grace: What was your favorite meal?
Mrs. Shrader: Supper! I could go all day without eating dinner or breakfast either one and work hard, if I wanted to. I didn't have to, but I did. But now supper come, I was always hungry for supper and I always ate a big supper. Even if I had to cook me something that I extra wanted, I went in and cooked what I wanted. And supper is still my favorite meal.
Grace: Where did you go to school?
Mrs. Shrader: I went to school in Eaton, North Carolina; H-e-a-t-o-n, Eaton, North Carolina, and there were eight teachers and the principal and assistant principal, with 459 students. We had a nice principal, a nice assistant principal, and they were strict - they gave strict rules and you did abide by them, or else. And sometimes I've seen the else, but I was always afraid of my teachers, or my principal, so I was afraid to get in trouble. Oh, I stayed out of trouble, I tell you.
Grace: How did you get to school?
Mrs. Shrader: We walked, over the mountain and down the other side. Up to the top and down the other side and then we walked three miles to Eaton school. Some years later they came out putting busses up there, a bus for the Curtis' Creek School, but we still had to walk across that mountain of the mornings and evenings to get to that bus. And there was a bus load of us, too, on that creek, and then there was two hundred other branches there that went different directions and they had busses on those, such as Cranberry School, and oh, have you ever heard of the Wizard of Oz? That it was filmed on Beech Mountain, around through there? Well, I went to school with the kids from there, where that film was, Wizard of Oz.
Grace! Did you ever got in trouble at school?
Mrs. Shrader: Only one time, with my third cousin. We were all lined up walking around the school and I was next to her, or behind her, and she turned around and kicked me in the leg and said I was following her, which we were all going the same way, and I sort of got her down on the ground and I kind of banged her up a little bit, and, well, they took us to the principal's office, and I felt like I had won the deal, and I didn't start it, and so they wanted to put some iodine on her. She started crying around, and they put some iodine on her little bruises and I told them they wasn't putting none on me, that she didn't whip me that time, she wouldn't whip me the next time, and I would give her another one if she ever crossed me. But she never did cross me anymore, but I never did like her anymore. I never did speak to her, never would talk to her - no more. I thought she was mean.
Grace: How were holidays celebrated?
Mrs. Shrader: We had a nice Christmas - that was one day that we had special. Dad would always go out and kill a couple hens and mom would dress them and we'd have chicken dumplings plus potatoes fixed whatever way we wanted them and, well, she'd have something like green beans out of the cans, or sometimes she'd cook some of the dried beans, which was then called shuck beans, and some called them "leather britches", and I love 'em. I fix some about every fall for us. Then she baked her own cakes - we had good cakes. And we girls all got a doll apiece, cost about a quarter. They were little dolls, dressed up. And my oldest brother, which was my only brother at the time, he always got a little ol' knife or some kind of a little tool, an implement he could work at something with. One time he got a hand saw and he got in trouble for sawing one of mamma's flower bushes down, shrubbery, but he sawed it down, but anyway he paid for that. And they would whip us for most any little thing, and now most people threaten them.
Grace: What about other holidays, like Easter ...
Mrs. Shrader: Well, Easter was a nice day for us. Dad always seen to it we got four and five dozen eggs for Easter we'd boil and color some, and some we'd fry, and we had a big Easter, we really enjoyed it. We enjoyed the neighborhood coming in. We lived mostly over to ourselves, but everybody was always out walking, there was always somebody over at our house. A bunch of kids, preferably, on the weekend. Now daddy didn't let up on us during the week, we didn't have play time, that was just a work day.
Grace:What about Halloween?
Mrs. Shrader: There was no such thing. We knew Halloween was there. We knew there was a day set for Halloween, but as the old wives told it, it was always ghosts and goblins and we didn't venture out - our parents hadn't heard about it or any of the other parents. You never heard of getting out for Halloween like that. Trick-or-treat had not started then. If it had, I wasn't in on it, but to us Halloween was supposed to be just a spooky night, one of the nights that you didn't be out. Oh we could get out lots of other nights after supper was over, and chores. We'd chase lightening bugs, they say fireflies now, and we'd chase lightening bugs. They always said it'd settle our supper. We wouldn't go to bed all stuffy and full of food - we'd settle our supper that way, and we'd play out in the pasture and meadow fields that way. But we had to be home by 9:00. We had to go to bed. He had to get up, he walked long full miles to his work and we dared not wake him up. I've had him take the cover back many a time and take the razor strap around me. And I know exactly how it feels. But I don't blame him. We had a good daddy and a good mother.
Grace: How did teenagers court when you were young?
Mrs. Shrader: Just boys there, young men, they wasn't really allowed to date that young, and they would come to the house. They'd sit on the porch in the swing or either they could sit inside around with the family. They had all the privacy they needed. And they, but you didn't go off nowhere, like one certain boy and girl didn't just get up and walk out into the dark, off somewhere. No, they was supervised. And in most cases there wasn't an engagement. It was after they dated some several times it was usually married and that was it. They didn't have honeymoons. Maybe some of the city people may have had it but, I didn't see none of that. I didn't care much about all that kind of life, I'm kind of quiet, I stay home mostly. I guess that's the way we all done. My relatives are all about like that now, there's not many of us that go very much. I've seen a lot of the United States but it's been by travel to and from work, going on other jobs.
Grace: How did you meet your husband?
Mrs. Shrader: I went to Kentucky to stay with my oldest sister where her first baby was born, and I stayed with her through that, and then my husband went in there to work. They left here from Bland County and went to Kentucky to work for the Construction. Waltsetta and MewPlanth. They worked down there and that's where I met the kids' daddy. Jerry and Retha was the only two kids I had. I came here two or three different times mostly to Bluefield, West Virginia and Narrows. Then I settled in Bland County August the sixth, nineteen fifty five, and I have been here ever since, it's my home.
Grace: What was your husbands name?
Mrs. Shrader: Emerett Lloyd Clark, he was raised, well it was on the head of Dry Fork up here, the main dead end up on the mountain there. They would come off on the Dry Fork side or on the Wolf Creek side either one. He was raised up there.
Grace: When you moved to Rocky Gap what was it like, and what businesses were there?
Mrs.Shrader: There was the motel up here on the mountain, New River. At one time there it was called Indian Village; I've heard it called Mountain Motel. Then it dwindled on down - I don't know what ever became what ever happened. Then there was Lambert's Grocery up at North Gap service station and they were there for years and then Caroll's up here and the next thing at all from on down was the post office and C.L. Tailor's store down there in the old store building where Howard Stowers opened up down there and then he built that newer store out there later, where he's at now. But there wasn't that much here then, really nothing. But it was convenient to everybody, everybody seemed to fare just as well as would have if a big city went in, or a big town. We seem like to got along fine. Mostly everybody around here traded, they did most all their shopping, at these stores. They carried a good line of groceries and everything about that you could want.
Grace: Who was your favorite movie star when you were growing up?
Mrs. Shrader; Clark Gable. I liked him. And, uh, I liked, other than him, Dennis Weaver, and, ..., Clint Eastwood. That is the only movies that I will watch anymore. If it's Clint Eastwood, I like to watch him. But now, Clark Gable was my favorite.
Grace: Do you remember the first movie you ever went to see?
Mrs. Shrader: It was "An Apartment for Peggy". It was about this poor girl, she was in search of employment. She wanted to be able to fix her mother a nice home, and she got in this small town somewhere and she found an apartment and it was a real small apartment, and so she was so happy when she found she could rent that apartment, she put a big sign up on it, "Apartment for Peggy" and it went on through all of the sad part of her life, right on up to the point that she did, eventually, build her mother a nice, big home. She finally wound up in movies, of course. Her name was Peggy. I can't think of what actress she was, but she surely was a good one and that was one movie I went to see twice.
Grace:How much did it cost?
Mrs. Shrader: 35 cents. I remember walking about two miles to see it.
Grace: Who was the first president that you can remember?
Mrs.Shrader: Well, President Roosevelt stands out in my mind more. My dad actually was a Democrat, and he voted of course for President Roosevelt, and as a child I used to like for daddy to talk about President Roosevelt, and he was just my favorite president. And too, he did a lot for the people. President Roosevelt helped a lot of people. When the WPA came about, I hope you know that President Roosevelt was the cause behind that and that helped a lot of people, you see, that came through that Depression. The Depression was awful, but when I was born, the worst part of the Depression was over you might say, but the recovery, I was born right through that, where I hit part out of it, but I was just a child and didn't understand it, but I can remember my mother and my grandmothers talking about when they'd cut a nickel box of soda in half and divide it to put in their bread. I can remember just the little things that went on like that, cause it was not very cozy going through that depression.
Grace: Did people oppose or support Mr. Roosevelt?
Mrs. Shrader: I think most people supported Roosevelt. I think they still to some extent do, but as time goes on, everything changes, you'll find people who couldn't even be pleased if Jesus was here on earth. And there's no one president that can keep this nation straightened out because I'll tell you the trouble there, most of them, I think, they're all too conniving, too hoggish, they're all trying to get to the same dollar and make more out of it. Everybody wants it all for themselves. Now if they could live a few of the hardships that I've lived, they might not want that so bad. They might decide they were happier with what they had.
Grace: Do you remember World War I?
Mrs. Shrader: No, that was before my time. Now, my dad was in World War I, but my oldest brother, World War II got him. That left me and one sister, which I had an older sister, but me and her, we were about 2-1/2 years apart, me and her took the boys chores over. Where there should have been boys doing it, me and her was doing that work, and that was how come we learned how to step in and help do men's work. I did it on the farm when I was little, and I was accustomed to being ordered to do what I was told to do. That's the way it was with us.
Grace: Do you remember where you were when you heard the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor?
Mrs. Shrader: I was close around the house somewhere because I remember walking in and I got so happy about the fact that somebody had let it out that they would come up with something - see, they hadn't ever even thought about the atom bomb, but somehow, somebody in the government was smart enough to know there was something going on, but I remember my momma crying because my brother had registered for the, well, he'd had to register, he'd come of age, so mom knew it was gonna get him because he was healthy, a big guy, not fat, just a good sized man, and so she knew -he didn't smoke, he didn't drink or anything like that - so she knew his health would get him in there and she was kinda crying about it. And she was crying about the ones that were already gone in there, I remember it so well. Then after they bombed Pearl Harbor, when they dropped the A bomb, I was never more happy in my life, because it was just murder, murder, continuously slaughter people, and there was nothing coming of it, and I only wish they had'a gotten hold of that A bomb four or five years before they did, because I know it meant slaughtering a lot of innocent people, but on the other hand, then there's the Germans had turned on us, the Japanese had turned on us, we just about had to do something, somebody did, and I'm just thankful that somebody had the knowledge to come up, or how ever many ever it took to come up with that A bomb, because that really saved the United States. And if it was to do over, I would wish they would make a better one. Cause if somebody comes right to you to kill you, and they intend to brutally hurt you and destroy you, you might as well go ahead and just clean them out, cause they're gonna get you sooner or later.
Grace: Was there rationing?
Mrs. Shrader: Plenty of it. We had to sign up for our stamps, like, well I know the airplane stamp, it had a little airplane on it. I believe it was a B-2 bomber, it had a picture of that plane on it, one stamp that you bought shoes with. And you were allotted two stamps a year, and if you didn't have no stamp, you didn't buy no shoes. When you used up your stamp. Sugar was rationed, coffee was rationed, and we had, mom would raise our chicory, and she ground it. We kids didn't drink coffee. Dad did, and her, but we wasn't allowed to drink coffee. We had milk, and water, and, well, juice. Mom made a lot of juices from the fruit and stuff. We had all that, but I can remember when, why, everything just about was rationed. It was just very hard to make it through them times, I can tell you that, and I come along about just in time to get right in the clean up of it. I know I seen a lot of it, but they were already through with that, but yet we had to live on in that way for a long time.
Grace: Did you go to church on Sundays?
Mrs. Shrader: We used to, but I don't go to any church now. We did when I was a kid. We had what we called Curtis Creek Baptist Church. It was a small, white church about like this Honaker church, and I believe about everybody around there go in to that church, and dad would send us. But on Sunday, we thought that was a lot of pleasure, which it was. We got to walk to church on Sundays and he'd always give us a few pennies to put in and something like that, but like that was like part of our playtime, from after church broke, we got to play on the way home. Oh, there was a bunch of kids, from everywhere, every road and off road. Well, you'd go out to Cranberry, go out to Beech Mountain where that movie was filmed, but most of our biggest pleasures we had was when all the kids gathered together in big pasture fields and meadows to play on Sundays. Now, we looked forward to that. Now, they start out with a tricycle, a bicycle, and a car, and I mean, if we got there, we walked. No one carried us or hauled us in a car. There wasn't many automobiles around there when I was growing up. I remember my uncle had one, and he'd just about take every neighbor around there to the doctor. Of course, they all made sure he had gas and tires, and he just had an old Chevrolet car. It wasn't a new one even back then. I rode in T-Model cars, I rode in A-model cars, when I was a kid, but I guess I liked that just about as good as most of these people around like their town cars and their Cadillacs and their Buicks and all that. I'd just as soon to have been in one of them, Because we didn't have that much transportation. Transportation for us was our legs - feet and legs.
Grace:Do you remember when you got your first radio?
Mrs. Shrader: In 1942 we got our first one. It run off a battery - big old box type battery. I've still got one of them down in my basement down at home, on Wolf Creek. No good, but of course I've still got it. It'd last about nine months, and we'd listen to Grand 0ld Oprey. Mama liked to listen to Maw Perkins, that was one of our soap operas, similar, and there was another one or two on there, but outside of that we only on Saturday night liked to hear the Grand 01' Oprey or we liked Gene Autry, he was pretty big then, and Roy Rogers. I didn't like cowboys so I didn't listen to that, but my brother did.
Grace: What about telephone or television?
Mrs. Shrader: No, we didn't have no telephone and we didn't own a television. I was married and gone from home before dad ever bought the first TV, because they lived back up in those hollars down in Kentucky then, and there was no electricity went up there - we had oil lamps and cooked on wood stoves, and the ice man'd run about once or twice a week, you could keep them in your ice box for, as a refrigerator. People didn't buy as many refrigerated foods back then that you had to refrigerate. It's just different from what it was.
Grace: When did you first get electricity?
Nrs. Shrader: When my daddy moved out of that holler they called Racer Fork down there. He moved down on the road going down to Harlan, and electricity had done come all the way up in there, on that road, and daddy moved there and that's when they got their first electricity and that was in about, let's see, that would've been about '60 or '61. I was here then working in Bastian. I was already living here in Bland County.
Grace: Do you remember any notorious crimes or bank robberies?
Mrs. Shrader: Just the killing up on the mountain here, the two boys that were shot. And the girl and boy that was killed, either brought there or killed there one, below me on Wolf Creek. Down there at that dumpster. I don't think they ever found out who done that. And then I don't think we've had any real bank robberies. Something happened down here at this little bank one time, but it wasn't so bad. I don't think he got much money. Don't even know if they ever caught him or not. But there are breakins now and then, there will be as long as time, but I don't think no one's ever got rich off of breaking in, but they usually try it about once or twice a year around here somewhere. They'll hit these places every once in awhile. But I take it to be amateurs and they don't get very much. I don't ever worry about it. I seldom look my door because I'm not afraid, and I just go on like that, I was just never used to locking my doors.
Grace: Is there anything else you'd like to talk about or add? About growing up, or living in Rocky Gap?
Mrs. Shrader: Well, I just have worked for a lot of people around here such as painting, and helping on their roofs and sewing for them, cooking for them, and just about been constantly busy all my life. I never take time out to sit and watch TV or nothing, and I've got my son over there, and her over there, and that brat there, is all the family I've got, and Pam, she's a daughter-in-law, I guess that's what you call a family. So anyway, all my other relatives are in the Carolinas or in Kentucky, so I don't have anybody here except those. I've got a lot of good friends, or I think they are. I don't go visit much. I'm kinda a homey person, I like to stay home. And I don't like gossip, if that tells you anything. I don't care what the neighbor does, I don't care- And nothing that don't cause me pain, I don't bother about. I just like the mountains and I'll get out and I'll wander for hours and hours on the mountains. And too, I like the game. When I kill it legal, I'll eat it. I don't hunt out of season, but I've got my license for about everything. I like to fish, but I don't get to go fishing much cause we don't have many fish around here. I tell you, they about keep them caught out. I don't know who does it, but somebody gets 'em before the season opens.
Charlotte Shrader Talks to her Granddaughter
The following comes from an interview by Charlotte's granddaughter, Amanda Clark. She tells stories from her childhood and her marriage to Amanda's grandfather, Emerett Clark.
Charlotte: When I was thirteen years old my daddy moved up from Agrid County, North Carolina where I went to school at a place called Eaton and I didn't like it there so me and two of my sisters and two neighbor kids, a boy and a girl, brother and sister. We decided one night we didn't have anything to do, anything to play so we go out. We slip out a window and we go down this old gravel road to where there was an old, there had been an old saw mill set and the saw dust was on fire and it just smoked smoke in certain places and dad had always told us he didn't dare catch us there. So there was a diving board like thing built on the edge of it, for something had been about the mill. So we go out on this board and we were jumping off of it and it could have caved in and a blowed up because there was fire under that saw dust. Well along about 1 o'clock in the morning it was about half a mile on back up to where our house was up on the hill. So we were all, we thought we were doing something great. Well my mother wore dresses she never wore overalls or slacks like they do now, she wore kind of long dresses. All of a sudden I hollered here comes mom and down that road I saw her come off the Ralph-Master Hill and down toward that saw dust walking, and when she got to this little train track a little where the incline went up the mountain; they pulled the men up to the top of the mountain in that little train cart, and when she got to that railroad some how or another she was in real white clothes. Her clothes were white and Jr. Lanford and Martha, his sister, our friends, we was all making fun of the old lady. I said uh I hollered here she comes Junior, that was my oldest brother, and Dorothy,she hollered out loud, that was the sister, I'm next to her. About that time she started straight toward us and just out of the blue she just faded away just as plain a blue. We took off running up that Ralp-Master Hill and we passed dad and mom's house, our house, and it goes on out in a flat the road went on out to some more houses way on out, and there was an old log a tree had blowed across the road there, and everybody walked and nobody could drive up through there and we decided one would sit one way and the other turned the other way and we did that across that log sitting that way and all of a sudden it looked like headlights popped up right out of the blue and we didn't take to thought that a car or nothing could not get up there for the trees and things that had crossed that road. Now we all come off that log and that car was in forty, fifty yards of us we thought it would be a car or truck and we all ran home and we busted doors down a gettin in and that whatever those lights were it just looked like headlights and they just totally disappeared. We don't believe in ghosts but so called haints and stuff but that was something that was sent on us for the exact trick that we done when we was told not to do it.
They made a song called Brown Mountain Light and it's in North Carolina on a mountain we didn't live there but there is a road that goes a highway goes through there and on that highway you could see us kids was allowed to ride horseback with our own horses, dad's horses and our uncle, and we were riding horses, and I was on a white mare called Pearl. She was a very young horse and I was the least in the bunch, the smallest kid in the bunch, and Pearl was the gentlest horse, so they had me on Pearl. I was behind as usual and we were going around that mountain and there was always been a light seen way down in the mountain and everybody told us it was the Brown Mountain Light, so I was only a kid I didn't know what it was, but when the light showed up we do not know if it was somebody way down yonder in the mountain who meant to scare us or if it was truly something actually happened. We heard this loud shrill scream just like a woman real cold scream and they got their horses quite down, but I was too little to reach my stirrups even and my horse it spooked her so bad she threw me and I went in under the bank. Well they was up there hunting for me, a whole bunch of people, it knocked me, kind of addled me before they found me and whatever that was it was so real it scared that horse and now that was another little one of our slipping off tricks.
Who Greased the Grapevine?
Now we were good for that. We would get out in the mountain we would steal daddy's ax and where grapevines would go round and round up the tree old wild grapevines, they would get great huge the vine would. We would take dad's ax and chop them off swing them plum out across these hollers ok. When I was very small out of six kids, two cousins and us, my one brother and three sisters all of us went over this mountain around an old ridge road and cut us a grapevine swing. So it goes out and across the big holler and they were pushing me across that holler and I fell I let go my hands got so tired I couldn't grip and I went down in the holler and it totally knocked me out, and they carried me, these kids my brother and sisters and those other two neighbor kids, and they laid me behind the log and so I was out and momma was hunting for me and they was screaming for me and the kids all went home for dinner and she wanted to know where I was at and they told them I was in the hospital and they was out hunting for me and they had put me in the hospital behind the log. I about died and boy did daddy whip em all and he didn't whip me, but he made me cry awful hard cause after I got over it he scolded me and gave me a good talking. Now I had a daddy honey that when he whipped you I bet you, you wouldn't do it again, that would break you one whipping. Now we wasn't no angel but we didn't get out and get into things like stealing or anything like that now we really didn't. My goodness I have had marks on my legs with switches I've had straps on my legs and back from switches, and I don't say but I deserved every bit of it. Now just as sure as they told us not to do it we'd venture on and try that one time. I can still see us on that mountain side a hoeing corn, us little kids.
Married Life Ain't Always Bliss
It was just that I worked and had to pull long shifts at work and try to raise gardens and he laid out drunk and he would not help me. He was mean as a Scratch to us, to the kids especially. So one Saturday evening he came in, he brought him home some souped up buddies with him and he thought he would be right smart and he grabbed me by the hair of the head and jerked a handful of my hair out and slammed me against the wall and I picked up a three pound chop hammer and I cracked him in the center of the back and that hammer print was there when he died, it was still on him. It didn't satisfy me so he goes on out to the spring house by Raymond's house. And he went out to that big spring house and he sat down on the rock wall between two guys and I come around the house with my automatic rifle and as I raised it up Retha made a dive for it and she was just a small girl and she pushed the rifle up fast like and the bullet went right between him and the other guy's head and they heard it sing as it went by. I would not be one bit sorry if I had of killed him. His nephew came to our house and he thought he would be smart and he called me some very very bad names and he kept cussing me and there was a fence there and I took about two or three leaps and over the fence I go and I took him to the ground. So I beat and I beat, I beat him across the bridge of the nose and I still wasn't satisfied. So I go in and get a 16 gauge shot gun and it was very loaded. I stuck it out and they hollered, "Fall Emmit!" and when he didn't fall he turned and he was facing me, he was backing up when he turned they told him to fall and he didn't fall and he turned his back and I put the shot in his back and he carried them to his grave, and I'm not sorry I shot him. No I called the law and they took him over to the doctor and the doctor told him it would be better off to leave the shot where it was at because they were close to his spine and he carried them on for several years to his grave. Well they could have took me I didn't care. I have real good friends and I get to go to church very often when I want to and I don't have any problems with anybody I don't know. I don't want nobody else to be mean or hateful. I just stayed so bitter I didn't want no more abuse and I handled it myself. Calling the law family abuse there was no law and I'd tell any law in Bland County there wasn't no law to protect us. They would take them over there and sober them up on moonshine and turn them loose and they would come home drunker than they went over
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