Lee Tynes

Lee Tynes and his wife Toots were interviewed by John and Bonnie Dodson in the Fall of 1999.

John: I need to know what year you were born.

Lee: August 27th, 1925.

John: 1925?

Lee: Uhm-hm.

John: Alright. Uhm, Toots—what year were you born?

Toots: 1st, 16, ’35.

John: How long have you lived here?

Lee: The last cou-- lets see—the last time I’ve been livin’ here, I’d come back from Columbus to here in 1988. Aug—no, Sep—no October 5th 1988.

John: Okay, but you were born and raised here?

Lee: Yeah, born and raised here an’ up the road there. We moved from up there where Terry live, I was borned up that holler there at about 12 somethin’ one day. And my father and mother went to Bluefield—my Daddy had a job at th’ railroad over in Bluefield and _____ the _____ he come back and met the foreman here. Down here where the Havens’ lives. If he’d left the house up, he didn’t leave the house up—there was a log house down there.

John: And, how old were you when you left Dry Fork?

Lee: Mm, when I left? 25 years old.

John: 25 years old?

Lee: I got married in 1950.

John: 1950.

Lee: Yeah, October 6th, 1950.

John: Alright. How did you decide to move back from Columbus?

Lee: How’d I decide to move back? I just, uh, I lost my first wife and then the other wife I had, she didn’t wanna come here and she was aimin’-- she come here wit’ me to stay—an’ said we couldn’t stay like this, and we went back and she told me to go back home, she did <laughs>. And so, I ended up marryin’ her, and she turns around and looks up my brother all the time on _____ and cries all the time about it ‘cause she done me wrong.

John: Ohhh.

Lee: Oh yeah—Toots: is my 3rd wife. This is my third marriage. Yeah. <laughs>

Toots: <laughs> That’s right.

John: <laughs> Well, it took ya’ 3 times to get it right, yeah?

Lee: Yeah. <laughs>

John: Okay. <laughs again> How did ya’—how did you feel when you moved back here?

Lee: I felt good. Me and my brother was, uh, was—he didn’t help me, but I come back with a load of furniture, bought this trailer—sold that trailer over there and put this furniture in there and then loaded—put that load of furniture in there and I come back with two loads. It was in a 26 ft van. It was in ’87 I put this trailer over here and then in ’88 I retired and come back here and brought a load of furniture, and I moved back the last time and brought another load. I got the last load here.

John: How did you family acqui—how did they get this land?

Lee: My grandfather had two farms. He had one—y’know down here where Perkinses—below where Pete live? The next line—we hit 200 before the line lays in there and then you have 200 and a quarter acres in this land here.

John: Okay this was—


Lee: My grandfather.

John: And what was his name?

Lee: Ferge Anderson Jack Tynes.

John: Jack Tynes.

Lee: Uhm-hm. I’m named after him, and my gran—on my mother’s side, too. Uh, <laughs> my name is Lee: Anderson—Lee: Anderson Powell. Tynes.

John: It’s Lee: Anderson Powell—

Lee: I got my grandfather’s name on my moth—my daddy’s side and I got my—Powell and Lee: is on my daddy’s side—on ON my mother’s side. And Anderson is on my granddaddy’s side because Daddy’s name was Ferge Anderson Jackson Tynes.

John: Okay. So your momma was a Saunders?

Lee: Yeah. She was a Saunders, uhm-hmm.

John: Okay, alright. And your grandmother was a Ferguson.

Lee: Nooo. No, she was—her name—on my mother’s side of the line is Saunders. And she was a—I think she was a Price before she married my grandfather.

John: Okay. Alright.

Lee: Uh-huh.

John: And your grand-- but your father’s name was Ferge?
Lee: Uh-huh.

John: Okay. Alright. So, how many generations of your family have lived on this land, Lee?

Lee: Uhm, my grandfather was married twice and had 23 children. And his first wife died in like—in Grayson County—up there at Tazewell somewhere—and, yeah. It was up there in Grayson in Tazewell, so he moved here—and he was a slave—and he and his mother lived up there—I don't know where his mother was buried. He come here—bought this land and these two farms here and there was a little saw mill they kept up the holler there and that's where—that's where his—his brother in law stayed with us, Nate's grandfather. And that's where he settled down, over there—right across the creek over there, and he built a log house there, first and then he built that house put up—and that barn put up, too. [Lee has apparently combined the story of his grandfather Powell Saunders with that of his grandfather
A.J. Tynes.]

JD: Okay, now this—this—

Lee: Back in the 1800's, I think it was—

JD: Now, this was Tynes? This is Jack Tynes?

Lee: Yeah. Yeah, uhm-hmm.

JD: So he was—he was tied up with—with the, uhm, Charlton's?

Lee: Him—him and Nate's—

JD: Grandfather.

Lee: Grandfather's married sisters.

John: Ohhh.

Lee: And then—and then, he, uh, had a place up the holler down where Hazel lives—up above there—we had a log house. We was raised in a log house. I was only about 5 years old when we moved back from Bluefield to live, but Daddy kept comin' back and forwards over here. But, uh, then he left—give this church this, uh, where the dinin' room is—he gave them that land there and he was the Sunday—I – I never knowed anything about it—my grandfather was the Superintendant of the Sunday School. I didn't know this until after Daddy died. He never talked about it, but Nate's, uhm, Nate's—Nate's daddy and all of 'em were cousins, they were, but, see, they had the same, uh, <laughs> wait and let me see if I can get this straight-- they had the same father and not the same mother, they did. But, they married sisters, they did. My uncle and Noahy Charlton married sisters.

Lee: Yeah. I understand what you're talkin' about. Did you know—y'know, when Daddy was livin', I said "Daddy, how come they're always callin' you all Cousin Ferge and Cousin 'Lige?" You know, Nate and—and ViLee: and Eveline and all of 'em—and Daddy an' all of 'em. He said "Oh, it's some kinda kin to somebody". He never would talk about it. When he—when he—when Uncle Lige died, we hardly—Aunt Bessie, she come up to here last year and said "Your grandfather and Uncle Noah was brother in laws. They married sisters." <laughs> They did. That church up there, sittin' over—he let 'em have that land over there where the church is sittin'. Uhm-hmm. That's where he lived at until he died. In the—in the--, uhm-hmm.

John: Okay. Alright. How many members of your family live nearby?

Lee: Now?

John: Yeah.

Lee: Uhm, Bessie—and, and Hazel and George and Marvin—my brothers and sisters. And Hector—he's our nephew. Momma raised him from a baby. I got, uhm, I got one _____ near, and then I got a aunt and uncle livin' up the road, Arch and Cathryn—that was Mama's brother. He's dead, uh-huh. And, Uncle Fred is Mama's brother. We're—we are brother and sister's children.

John: So Fred—Fred was your mama's brother?

Lee: That's right, uhm-hmm.

John: So—so Freida--

Lee: Freida—me and Freida's only two years older than me because her—her, me, an' my sister was raised up together.

John: Okay, so you all are first cousins.

Lee: Nooo. No, she's my aunt. <laughs> She is on my mother's side. <laughs again> And she's Grandma Linah's daughter. Her last child. She's 76 years old. I'm 74. She was 76 in—

Bonnie: Freida and Fred are brother and sister.

Lee: Yeah., they's brothers and sisters. She's the baby.

John: Okay. right, I—I—

Lee: And Norris was the baby. Baby boy.

John: Okay, uhm—

<hear Toots: laughing in the background>

Toots: I knowed he was confused.

John: Where else do members of your family live?

Lee: Uhm, Martha [Cobb] that lives up there, she come—she spent—she spent 40 somethin' years in—in Jersey City and moved back here. Uhm-hmm. In that house—that big house she put up there. Two of her children's here. The other two children live in—in Jersey City, uhm-hmm.

John: Do you have any other kin that live in other places?

Lee: Cora Dey—every body up here is kin! Cora Dey. And Bud—and Johnny Harris. He married my first cousin, uh—uh—Cathleen, he did. And then Delores, up there lives—that's—that's my first cou—that's Uncle Fred's daughter and Aunt Stella's daughter.

John: Right.

Lee: Uhm-hmm.

John: Okay. If you were goin' to show me your place, where would you take me and what would you show me?

Lee: I'd show you 'round right over here at this house over here. Right through the fields over here.

John: What house is that?

Lee: Over here where Marvin lived. You remember him.

John: Sure.

Lee: He died last year or a year ago, uhm-hmm.

A.J. Tynes House

John: Okay, and who built that house?

Lee: My grandfather. That house is over a hundred years old, uhm-hmm. That's where my Daddy and all of 'em were raised at, over there. And Daddy's brothers and sisters—his half brothers and sisters was all raised over there, too. He had a lot of half brothers and sisters, and they, uh, all of 'em went to Ohio, they did. Down in Ohio and Cleveland and, uh, Columbus.

John: When you were a little boy, did you spend much time over there?

Lee: Shhh! All the time! <laughs> I was up there all the time! Eatin', yeah! <laughs>

John: <laughs> Eatin'?! Were you?

Lee: Eatin', yeah. <laughs> That's right.

John: And your grandmother used to cook?

Lee: Cook for me all the time. I used to help 'em carry wood an' carry water and all kinds of stuff like that. And help my uncle. He had a lil' farm over there.

John: And you'd go and help her out?

Lee: Yeah, all the time—me and my older sister did. I guess all of us have worked over there. All my brothers—my nine brothers and sisters—worked over there. Uhm-hmm. I used to stay up there—I'd git—at night I'd go over there and listen to the radio or somethin' and I'd stay over there with my uncle—upstairs there, in bed. See, I had two uncles what lived there before they died, too. Jim and Lijiah.

John: Jim?

Lee: Jim Tynes, yeah.

John: Okay, I know who you're—and Jim—

The Hill House

Lee: You know the house you live in? You know the—who first had the house? <laughs> Do you know?

John: The first ones?

Lee: Yeah.

John: I know it was—some Hills lived there at one time—

Lee: Yeah. Yeah.

John: Was that the ones?

Lee: Yeah. Marvin used to go out and party with the boys and girls and leave me there—we'd have a load of feed in th' car and throw it out there and it'd rot and bring the rest of the children to bring it back! <laughs>

John: Well—

Lee: Yeah! That's right! I ain't kiddin' ya! <laughs> The Hills.

John: <laughs> Now, what was his name?

Bonnie: We met them!

Lee: Jim Hill. Jim Hill.

John: Jim. We met him—

Lee: Is he livin'?

Bonnie: Noo. No, he asked about you.

John: He asked about Lee:, didn't he?

Lee: You mean Jim Hill?

John: We met him this summer.

Lee: Where?

John: In Wytheville. He married, uhm—uhm—uhm, what's his name's sister.

Bonnie: Pearl? Wasn't her name Pearl?

John: Her name was Pearl.

Lee: You mean—not the man—the father and the mother did you?

Bonnie: No, one of the--

John: The kid—one of the kids that was raised there. Jim? Jim Hill and—

Bonnie: He was about your age.

John: Jim Hill. He married, uhm, now, what's the guy's name that owns all the land up here and on the—

Bonnie: Charlie Taylor?

Lee: Charlie Taylor?

John: Charlie Taylor. And he married Charlie Taylor's sister.

Lee: He did?!

John: He lives—yes. He married Charlie Taylor's sister, Pearl. And he lives—

Lee: Where he live at?

John: He lives in Richmond. And he's got some land up here on the mountain and he was up here checkin' on it and he heard about the power line and he came to one of our meetin's, and I got to talkin' to 'em—

Lee: He did?

John: Yeah, and he asked about you, yes he did.

Lee: He had—he had a bunch of children and one's name was Ray and one's name was Jack. Jack was a—he worked on the railroad. He married a Brewer's daughter. And then he had, uh, lets see—his other—one of 'em used to fly a airplane, he did. He used to light right on the bottom right across the creek there, from you all.

John: He used to land over there?

Lee: Yeah, in a little plane. Yeah. I tell ye' somebody—if he was livin', he could tell ya'—uhm, one—one of them—uhm, Homer Brewer. He used to go up in th' airplane with him and I wasn't about to do all that stuff—and he would get up there and flip that thing an' all that kinda stuff, yeah.

Bonnie: Now, is that Bunce Brewer's husband?

Lee: Yeah—yeah. Brewer lived down at the—I mean the old homeplace, Perkin's got it, but Homer's wife lived down here—he was an engineer on the railroad, too, and his daddy was an engineer on th' railroad—and Charlie lived up there in the place where the house burnt down. They burnt the house down, up there? The—the fire department down here did. Charlie Brewer and—and Virgil?

John: Yeah, yeah. Right—

Lee: Well, she got killed right there on the Wash—on College Avenue—right there at the church down there at College and Jefferson—got into a head on collision and got killed, uhm-hmm.

John: Okay, let me ask you –

Lee: She died from it—had a wreck there. But I knowed all them Hills—one daughter lived over there in the, uh, I mean stayed over there—I mean, she worked over there—was a ticket agent over there at the bus terminal. She married a driver—a bus driver, she did. Down in North Carolina, I think—or South Carolina.

Bonnie: Well, he said that he was gonna come and see us, and when he comes, we'll send him up here to visit you.

Lee: Uhm, his daddy—back in during the Depression—used to work with my uncle. They were friends with my uncle an' all of 'em drank—they moved houses somewhere down in the coal fields.

John: That's right. They used to move houses. Right.

A.J. Tynes House

Bonnie: Do you have a really nice view from the house? Is it the view—or is it--?

Lee: Yeah, the view over there, the house, pictures—a lot of historic things. You know, you can go upstairs and hear the water runnin' and you can sleep good and all that kind of stuff.

Bonnie: You can hear the creek?

Lee: Yeah, uhm-hmm.

John: Did you used to, uhm, spend the night there when you were a boy?

Lee: Yeah, uhm-hmm. Yeah, a whole lot. I used to go up there sometimes and stay two and three weeks. Yeah, uhm-hmm. Helped my uncle around the horses and things like that. <laughs> So, uh—had cows. I reckon me and my sister used to—helped to milk an' all that kinda stuff. My grandmother, she had rheumatism for years and me and my sister had to go up there and milk. Then, my uncle's wife, she stayed there, and they separated. She left him and went to Tazewell. Uh, first she went to, uhm, Charleston and got a job and then she come back and the divorced and she married a guy –a feller in town. And my uncle, he never did marry. He stayed at home with my grandmother and them and worked on the railroad—about—ever since he was about 13 years old, I think.

John: This was Lige?

Lee: Jim. Uncle Lige—he had a job—he worked around Mr. Hill, he did, but he never did have no job. He worked around the horses and things – and doin' things back up on the farm. And for people. He made a—he and my daddy farmed for a livin'.

John: Okay, he helped your daddy farm?

Lee: Him and my daddy both farmed, they did. Until they retired. Of course, he was—had about 20 head of cattle he raised over there and two horses and a tractor and all this stuff. They'd sell all this stuff. Uhm-hmm.

John: Well, let me ask you this—

Lee: He was a farmer. My uncle was, uhm-hmm.

The Bland Courthouse

Lee: Shhh—I can remember that place when I was a little boy.

John: What was it like then?

Lee: It—it's changed a lot, you know. I think that court house was built there—when was that courthouse built?

John: I think—the one before it burned—I think it was about 1880 or 1890 when they built that—

Lee: Over here, now?

John: Right. So it's over a hundred years old, yeah. Okay. So you used to go over there when you were a boy?

Lee: It is? When I was a little boy, my grandfather used to—he bought a car the year I was born, a 19—a T-model Ford-- he used—they all used to peddle, uh, horses and wagons. To peddle— that's about all I can remember in town, but he used to have an old car, a little ol' Ford car that he bought over there at Dunn's over there. He would come over there ever' week an' peddle, he would. I'd come back with him sometimes and I'd cry to come back. I was about 2 years old—he'd get up in the middle of th' nigh an' take me back home.

John: What'd he—what would he peddle over there?

Lee: Uh—uh—he sold ever'thing. Hogs and all that stuff. Right there on Bland Street. <laughs> You wouldn't believe that, would you? Do you believe that?

John: Oh, I believe it. I saw people, they got—

Lee: Apples an' ever'thing, they did. White and black.

Bonnie: Now, was this over in Bluefield?

Lee: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Right there on Bland Street—right there where—the colored section through there.

Pond Mountain

Lee: Uhm <pause> I'd describe it like this road here—ain't too much land comin' up through here because a lot of it done growed up now—I'd describe this valley and goin' up through here to the head of the creek. We had—when I used to work up in the sawmill when I was 15 years old—we had a plane fell over there during WW II, and I went up there and got to see it. Yeah, back there—back there on the head of the mountain. There's a big pond back on the head of the mountain. You ain't never been up there, have you?

John: No, I've heard of the big pond, though.

Lee: Well, you oughta see it. On top of a mountain back there, yeah.

Bonnie: How big is—how many acr—is it an acre?

Lee: Uhm, I don't know how big that pond is. That was when I was a boy. I ain't never been back there since. That plane fell and my daddy tooken and built trails and hauled--tooken and cut a road back in there and _____ all the horses. This was the lumber company—the _____ Lumber Company did, uhm-hmm.

John: Yeah. Alright.

Lee: I used to have a—I mean my aunt—my mama's cousin had a farm back there, too. In the woods back there—waaay back there.

John: Now, who was that?

Lee: _____--_____ ______. She married a Wilson. Her last husband, she married. She married 3 or 4 different times. Her last husband was a Wilson.

John: Okay, now, this was your mother's cousin?

Lee: Yeah.

John: What was her name before she married?

Lee: Uhm, I couldn't tell you because she give the church—uhm, her brother give the logs to this church over here—had 'em sawed and built the Baptist Church over here, her brother did. They got it like that _____ _____ _____, but her brother came in there and says "Naw, you cain't do this. I told the people up here—" –took Mr. Robinson—he's the one that helped build the church and Mr. Toler—"I told them to get the logs out and have 'em sawed for this church up here". This church over here, Mr. Cunningham, the lost that place and, uh, my grandmother's cousin—called my cousin Sandy—he tore it down durin' the Depression, uhm-hmm.

John: Okay. Are there things that you don't mind that other people do on your land and things that you do mind?

Lee: Uhm—

John: Are there certain people you don't mind doing these things and others you do mind?

Lee: Nooo. No, uh-uh. Not like that—this is—this is a different generation, now. Anybody used to come in on this land, right here. My uncle would let anybody come in here and rabbit hunt and 'coon hunt or anything, uhm-hmm. My uncle had nine dogs—huntin' dogs—when he died.

John: This was—Lige?

Lee: Lige, yeah. Yeah. He had fox dogs, 'coon dogs, rabbit—beagle dogs—and all that kinda—

John: Right. Umm—

John: Where would you used to ride your horse around here at or walk?

Lee: All the way to Rocky Gap. Down here to Sutphins. That was when my Da—my Mother—my Mother's daddy had a horse named _____ _____. My grandfather died and when her mother died, they give—all of 'em agreed to give her the horse, 'cause she had the biggest family of all of 'em, she did. 10 children, uhm-hmm.

John: So she got the horse?

Lee: She got the horse and I would ride him up and down the road. Ever'wheres up an' down th' road.

John: How long would it take you to ride a horse from here down to the—

Lee: About, uh, it wouldn't take that long. I could walk it in a hour. You know where the bus—the bus—down here at the end of the holler where Sutphin's store is? I used to walk up and down there. I'd leave right here and be down there at—I'd leave here at 10 o'clock and I'd pull—less than an hour—and I'd catch the bus down there. To Bluefield. And—and come back at 11 o'clock at night. We'd come back at 11 o'clock at night, I would. I'd be by myself sometimes at night and catch it and walk the road—in the dark, in the road.

Lee: -- this is ours. All this is ours down here. About _____ _____ is our'n. And my sister told me—from over there at Mullins, over there—she told me—she come in and stayed about an hour over here, her husband is real sick and he ain't able to do anything. He was a miner for about 40, well, 50 years almost. She told me—she seen on the deed one day—that it was not to be sold—said it was to be goin' down from generation to generation. We cain't do nothin' with this land. Yeah, on the deed it was—it's not to be sold.

John: Oh, really?

Lee: That's what she told me. <laughs>

John: So—

Lee: You can live on it, but you cain't sell it. <laughs> Me and my brother went over there and borrowed—tried to borry some money to buy some cattle with and I cain't even—if I didn't have $1700 dollars in the bank, we wouldn't have got the cattle. They wasn't gonna loan me some money on it.

John: Well, do you think that's a good thing?

Lee: Yeah.

John: You think that's a good thing.

Lee: 'Cause, uh, the—some of 'em would come in here and borry a lot of money and lose the place, uhm-hmm.

John: Okay. So, you think it's important?

Lee: It's important, yeah. I like to see it like that—I like to see it like that myself. Hector down here, told him—the man told him that—he bought a tractor one time somewhere up at Tazewell and told him we owned a farm down here and my brother took no interest in a farm. See, my brother owns interest in a farm down here, but he don't want it. Uhm-hmm.

John: Alright, so you can live on it, but you can't—

Lee: Cain't sell it.

Bonnie: When did they—

John: -- sell it.

Bonnie: When did they do that--to put that in there that you couldn't—?

Lee: My grandfather done that—that was before I was born, he did. Uhm-hmm. My sister has the old deed and Bible down there, too. My granddaddy died in—back in the 1800's. Uhm-hmm. My—that's—uhm, Daddy's—

John: This is Hazel?

Lee: Yeah, Hazel. But Mama's daddy was borned in—in Floyd County, Virginia. Uhm-hmm, yeah.

The Gordons

John: Okay, did you ever hear any—when you were growin' up—any stories about, uhm, about your grandfather or any people?

Lee: Yeah, uh-huh.

Lee: Yeah, my—I'm gonna tell you—now—now my aunt told this before she died—that was Daddy's sister, y'see, she told us ever—well, everything, she did. Uh, her—her—her, uh, her mother—my grandmother—they was all from over here in Bland. They was raised in Bland. He come here from the South and settled here in back—waaay back yonder. He just—

John: Was it the Gordons?

Lee: Yeah. Uhm-hmm. So, she had a brother that lived in the homeplace back up in there—when they—the highway put in a different—a two lane highway up there—that cut the farm, the little farm. They didn't have but 5 acres of it, so he—they moved to Wytheville over there and _____ a _____ ______. I understand now that they got a sign—was tellin' me that they got a sign up to sell it 'cause since—since Burlel—Bur—Burley L. and Buford and Ella's dead. Yeah, 'cause they have a sign on it for sale. Uh-huh.

AJ Tynes

John: Well, Do you—do you remember any stories about Jack Tynes? Uhmm—

Lee: You mean my—my Grandaddy?

John: Yeah.

Lee: My Daddy said that he would—he would farm a little bit and he bought this farm—he didn't make but 50 cent a day, and uh, over—over there at the cut—he would walk across the mountain over here to Hardy—went over there and come back ever day, he did. And bought this farm here, two farms—one down the road here and one over there. I don't know how he got it—I don't see how he made it. My Daddy and them all worked hard. They stayed at the farm and Daddy worked, too, so he had to get up at 4 o'clock in the mornin' in th' summer time. Feed and milk an' all that kinda stuff.

John: What kinda work did he do over there in Hardy?

Lee: Coke oven. My Daddy told me it was a coke oven.

John: A coke oven.

Lee: Yeah, that's where he worked. At the coke oven, yeah.

John: Okay. And then he'd work all day and then come home?

Lee: Yeah. Every day.

John: Did you ever walk that?

Lee: Yeah. We went over there from the schoolhouse. It was a one room school house. They give it back to my Daddy and then transferred all the children outta here. Uh, yeah, we walked—didn't have no walnuts or no apples over here—well, <laughs> we'd go git apples over there an' carry 'em back on our back. The children. You know, get us enough stuff to eat. Yeah, and cook. Yeah.

John: Right. And how far—how long of a walk—how long would it take to walk that?

Lee: It'd take all day to go over there and come back, almost. You'd go down—you know where—I—I guess it's changed now and that new highway goes through there. You know down here in Hardy, they have a ran—uh, Reynolds down in Bluefield had a bunch of cattle over there and we'd go down in there where them cattle was—down there in the orchard down there and pick up apples. He said we could git all the apples we wanted, he did. Uhm-hmm. Walnuts. Big walnuts was over there, too.

John: Right. And that's across what they call the Low Gap?

Lee: Yeah. Yeah. This is East River Mountain, here it is. My Daddy talked about his—uh, his sister come in on the train down here, and my Daddy, in his lifetime, he used to come down on Hardy on the train—come down here by bus—but, he'd come down here at Hardy and he'd come in waaay in the night. Workin' over in Bluefield and come on back and carryin' stuff on his back to over here.

John: Okay, and this was your daddy you're talkin' about, right?

Lee: My Daddy, yeah. And he said his father used to work over there and they used to meet his sister and they'd work and come in on the week and stay in Bluefield on the weekend—or come in on the weekend, and they'd go over there and take a horse and wagon and go over and get 'em—just the front end of a wagon, yeah. Uhm-hmm.

John: That's interesting.

Lee: Yeah. You know back there, during the Depression, they'd come through this way—uh, men would come from Hardy to work and come through this way ridin' horses. My uncle and them would put the horse in the barn at night and feed 'em and eat supper and sit around and talk at night and smoke, and the next mornin', they'd get up and get ready and go home—I mean to go back. And they'd stop and stay with my grandmother up at the house and eat and everything and get breakfast—get up and get breakfast for 'em and give 'em a lunch and they'd leave by in the mornin', they would. Uhm-hmm.

John: Okay, now this was when you were a boy?

Lee: Yeah. Yeah.

John: And they'd ride a horse over?

Lee: Ride a horse, yeah. They used to have—they was a wagon road over there, but I guess it's growed up now, though. Where Charlie Taylor owned a place up there, but see, his land runs about 200 yards from West Virginia. Uhm-hmm.

John: Okay, so your land is within 200 yards from the top of East River Mountain?

Lee: Yeah.

John: Okay.

Lee: And Charlie Taylor owns the rest of it.

John: Right. That's the—

Lee: His runs—

John: -- The Hector Line, I think?

Lee: Yeah. Yeah.

John: Alright. <pauses> Uhm, do you remember any more stories when you were growin' up that they used to tell about your grandparents or—

The Clark Place

Lee: Yeah, uhm—uhm, back over here—this man over here—I met a man over here the other day that own this place over here, uh, Clark—yeah, the Clark place. You've heard of the Clark place, haven't you?

John: I've heard of it.

Lee: Okay. He got a son that lives—one of 'em got a son that lives down here at the Gap, Clark—brick layin' and block—

John: You talkin' about Jerry Clark?

Lee: Yeah. That's, uh, Emmit—we called 'em Big Emmit and Lil' Emmit and Leida Clark—my grandmother—they used to come over to my grandmother's and eat dinner an' my uncle and them used to go over there and eat dinner, they did. I used to go over there and work for 'em, I did, uhm-hmm.

John: And they used to have a place up there on--?

Lee: On the mountain. Over top—across, on down the road—on the side of the mountain. They walked up there or either they took a horse and pulled stuff up there.

John: Now, what was that place? I've heard a lot—it's on the other side of Buckhorn Mountain?

Lee: Yeah. You know where—you know where the fence—you know where my aunt lives up there at the driveway—you know where you go in there? My grandfather used to have a mountain field back up there. Pal told me the other day he was cleanin' _____ ______ _____ all the land up there—the other 50 acres, but you go right straight up about that line of fence and go right straight up the mountain, that's where _____ _____ the fence—shoot right straight over the mountain and you'll be at the Clark's place. It didn't take but a few minutes to go over there—when they's young, uhm-hmm.

John: Alright. And you used to go up there when you were a boy?

Lee: Yeah. We used to go over there all the time and they used to come over here all the time, uhm-hmm.

John: Okay, so this would be Jerry's grandfather, I guess?

Lee: Uhm, naw, his father. But that would be his—see, Jerry, he was married—he was borned after Miss Clark—they—they—they left from over there, they did. And Emmit's mother would be his, uh, would be his grandmother. He never knew nothin' about 'em because—I did, but I don't understand about the grandfather. His name was—I forgot what it was, but he was a Clark and he died from a—a dog was—killed in the cliff somewhere—in a cave somewhere. A bobcat was killin' his dog. He went in there to beat him off of him and it liked to have killed him. He died right up there.

John: It wasn't Dotson Clark, was it? There was somebody that was tellin' me about a Dotson Clark.

Lee: Nooo. No, they were cousins. Then they had two more people, uh, another family lived down below the side—on down the mountain next to Wolf Creek—called him Clovis Clark and I forget the other one's name, but, uhm, we used to work in the saw mill, we would. Together.

John: Okay.

Lee: And we used to go out and party together, too. In Bluefield. And play the banjo and guitar. <laughs> That's when I—after WWII, we did that, uhm-hmm. Over here in Bluefield.

John: Alright. Did you ever remember any other stories about your grandfather and grandmother?

Lee: Nooo. My grandfather had a brother that worked in the mines in—somewhere in the coal fields—and he had got killed in the mines, and my grandfather brought his—brought him back in and buried him. I think—he's buried up on the upper place—Cunningham place up there in the grave yard up there. There's a grave yard up there. I think he stopped 'em from buryin' 'em up there.

John: Do you remember what his name was?

Lee: Uh, his name was Moses—I don't—yeah, his name was Moe Saunders, it was. Yeah.

John: Okay. This was Pal's brother.

Lee: Uhm-hmm. Pal Saunders. He—he was only 57 years old when he died. Uhm-hmm.

John: That's what—

Lee: He had a saw mill and a water mill an' all of us would ground corn and wheat and every thing. And they—my uncle and them just let it go to lapse. They sold it during the Depression for—the sawmill—for $80, they did. <laughs>

John: Oh, me. Well, what was—what was your Grandmother Tynes like?

Lee: Em—her name was Emma Tynes. She—all she done was cook around the house and made garden and all that kinda stuff. And canned a lot of stuff like my mother did, too. My grandmother done the same—the same thing up the road there.

John: Did you—did you ever know your grandfather? Was he--?

Lee: My grandfather on my mother's side, but my other grandfather was dead—

John: But you never knew Jack Tynes.

<coughing in the background>

Lee: No, he—he was dead. Daddy—he died when Daddy was a teenager, he did.

John: Okay.

Lee: 'Cause I heered my—my Daddy said that down here at—where they's the Stower's store--Mr. Honaker had a store there, see, he was in debt for a lot of feed—a lot of stuff down there and they hauled 'em and rode a wagon and hauled tannin' bark or somethin' and paid it off—and they was children. Nothin' but boys, you know. They was pretty good sized boys. They was teenagers when he died.

John: Okay, so they hauled tannin' bark down there to pay off his debt to the store?

Lee: Uhm-hmm, yeah. I used to—when the saw mill back here in _____ back in WWII, we used to get out ta—off the log, you know—uh, slabs. We'd load the slabs in there, sometimes until 12 or 1 o'clock in the mornin' and come on home—and he'd bring ya in a loggin' truck—bring ya on home, and we'd get up the next mornin' and go to Sunday school and go to church. Work all night. He worked up here at the sawmill 6 days a week, during WWII, he did. Uhm-hmm.

John: I bet that was hard work.

Lee: Hard, but we enjoyed it, though. <laughs>

Bonnie: What kind of job did you do in the sawmill?

Lee: I'd run the sawmill and the cut off saw and then the edger. And _____, I think it's______, uh, one guy—Roy Day, _____ down there—right down below where you all live at, uh, he's the one—I used to work with him when I was a teenager. And used to, he would have me run the cut off saw, him and Mr. Gunter did. I'd run the cut off saw and edger and stuff like that.

John: Roy Day and Mr. Gunter?

Lee: Yeah. Gunter and Roy Day, too.

John: Yeah. I knew both of them.

Lee: Yeah, I've been knowin' Roy Day for years. He's in a nursin' home, now. His son—his, uh, nephew put him in a nursin' home. Billy French, down here. You know Billy that live over here that got that pretty house on the hill up there?

John: Billy French is his nephew. Okay. I didn't know that.

Lee: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, Miss Bora French was married—I think 4 times. And he's been married—I think he's been married 3 or 4 times. <laughs> But he got 2 or 3 families, Billy has. But he's one of the last childr—uh, all of his brothers and sisters except Bobby—him and Bobby's the only ones livin'.

John: Okay.

Lee: And the niece—and the, uh, nephews and his cousin and them's livin', too. You see, Edith French and she's got two sons, I think, livin' in Princeton. One of 'ems got a car lot over there, I think. A big car lot over there sellin' new and used cars. He don't got much to say, but the rest of 'em can talk. They got one son that lives—that's right—they got one half brother in Ohio. Willie. He come here when—Miss French, Evelyn—that was his stepmother. He can talk! I'm tellin' you he could talk up a breeze! You know where Albert and them lives? His grandfather sold 'em all that place down there, he did. Mr. Neal. They owned the whole place down there and when they—when they died, it went to Willie. So, he sold—

John: Okay. Okay. It's amazing that you can remember all of this—
Bonnie: Is this the old house when you're comin' up the road and the brick house is up on the hill on that side and then the really old house—the wooden house?

Lee: Yes ma'am. That's—that's—it's been on t.v.

Bonnie: It's a beautiful house.

John: Yeah.

Lee: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. I've been in here--

Bonnie: I'd love to see the inside of it.

Lee: -- this summer. He took all the flea market stuff outta there—he sold all that stuff. I don't know whether he sold it all or not, but they was a—uh, Sam was helpin' him in there. He live down the road here, got the—got the—

John: Sam Mitchem?

Lee: Yeah, and-- and uh, and somebody else was up there, too. He was sellin' his uncle's stuff there, he was. Billy was.

Bonnie: If I'd have known, I could have gone in there and got some stuff—

Lee: Huh?

Bonnie: I bet they had a lot of old things.

Lee: Yeah, they did. They had a lot of old plows and all that kinda stuff down there.

Bonnie: I never knew they were doin' that!

Lee: Yeah.

Toots: It was amazing what kind of shape the house was in—how nice—

Lee: It's --it's a—it's much about the same thing that was in there 'cause they done sold a lot of stuff outta there. He had two rooms upstairs. But I've eat there, I did. ______, _____, and my Daddy used to eat there. They'd go down and help 'em on the farm and log, yeah.

<BD and TT are talking animatedly in the background>

Lee: 'Cause Nate and his daddy used to go down there and kill hogs every year for 'em.

<TT talking to BD>

Toots: I don't know. We just went out—happened to be goin' out—and stopped.

Bonnie: Right. And you just happened to go by there?

Toots: And stopped. Stopped to check it out.

John: Yeah.

Bonnie: Oh yeah.

<JD and BD laugh>

John: Yeah, I know about that. <pauses> Okay, so you used to—when you were growin' up, you used to go down there to help 'em kill hogs?

Lee: No, my Daddy did and—and Nate's daddy did. Uhm-hmm. I used to go down there and _____ for 'em, but I never did work down there. My Daddy had worked down there, too. Yeah—and farmed for them. <clears throat> See, his brother lived down here where Sam's daddy lived, he did. He had two places. And—and Miss Ellen—Miss Ellen French, she—she, uh, left—that place went to her nephew. He lives in Wytheville—got a shoe store in Wytheville. The, uhm, the—I think it's the ______ shoes is what he sells in Wytheville out there.

John: Do you remember, uhm, do you remember any other stories that your grandmother used to tell you when you were over there or maybe your Uncle Lige or any stories he used to tell about? Did they ever tell any ghost stories?

Lee: <laughs hard> Yeah, he did.

John: Do you remember any of 'em?

Lee: No, I don't. Naw.

John: I tell you, it's amazin' how much you do remember.

Lee: Yeah, but I was—when I come back here, we was only—we used to have a garden right above where Hazel live up there. A garden. And they's apple trees and things up there, but, uh, that hill—that whole hill at one time we raised corn, there. On that whole hill, but it's growed back up.

John: Up above where Hazel's house is?

Lee: No, right here. Right through here. Be on top of—not on that hill right there, but on top of it. That hill was clear when we came back here and my—my Daddy and them let it grow up. You know, they quit farmin'. Daddy wasn't doin' no farmin', nothin' but, uh, raised corn or oats or somethin' like that for a horse. He had a horse. He didn't have no cow. Sold all the cattle, uhm-hmm.

John: Right. He worked on the railroad, didn't he?

Lee: Shhh—he was—shhhhwwwhh. My Daddy quit the railroad back durin' the Depression. He did. And they turned all—all his, uh, he worked durin' the Depression, but they turned all of that into social security. My mother was only gettin' about $500 somethin' dollars a month when he died, uhm-hmm.

Lee: Most thing he ever done was farmed. That's my Daddy, now, uhm-hmm.

Dirt Roads

Lee: I can tell you when Bluefield was a—when Rocky Gap over through here was a—was a dirt road down through there.

John: Yeah?

Lee: East River Mountain was dirt.

John: And over the mountain was dirt, too? You remember that, when it was dirt?

Lee: Yeah. Yeah.

John: How long would it take you to get to Bluefield?

Lee: Shhhhh—me and my cousin walked one time to Bluefield and a man come along on a tractor. I don't know how long it takes—'cause I ain't never walked it, but my Daddy used to ride a horse—ride a horse and wagon over there and come down East River Mountain, he did.

John: Yeah.

Lee: Uh-huh. But he might've come some—I don't know. My Daddy might have come some other way—I don't—he—I had a horse one time. I went in service and I had a gray horse before I went into service and bought the other half but he done laid down and died just after I got out. Uh, he used to take a horse and wagon and plow gardens over there. I guess he come up East River Mountain—I guess. I just don't remember. That was back about 50 somethin' years ago, uhm-hmm.

John: Hmm, he put out a garden over there?

Lee: Naw, he plowed gardens over there for people over there that didn't—

John: Oh! He plowed gardens.

Lee: Yeah. For the people over there that didn't have no tractor or nothin' over there.

Bonnie: Did you ever go to Bluefield when they would go over to plow—

Lee: Yeah, I used to—my Daddy and them—I used to sell buttermilk over there at the railroad at night. My mother'd make buttermilk, and I'd get orders for her. I'd take it over in my car and sell it and bring her the money back, I would. Over there on the railroad. I had a little '41 Chevrolet car.

Bonnie: Would she—did she have a wooden churn that he would—

Lee: Yeah. You know, I'll tell you who got it. It used to be up to my aunt's up there in that house—she's got it. We—I bought her the churn from Sears and Roebuck a round churn from Sears and Roebuck—I was makin' money up there at the saw mill and I gave her the money to buy it with. She ordered it from Sears and Roebuck and my mother let her have it. She wanted it for display in the house, uhm-hmm.

Lee: You know, Frieda's got a thing up there in the house up there that – you know—you know Updike that—you know the Updike man that died an' they sold all this stuff? Now, he got a brother in Galax, Virginia. He was—used to be a school teacher down here, his brother did. And uh, uh—

John: Garland Updike.

Lee: Yeah. Uh—uh—Joy said that there—that there—what that piece in there? We'd call it the, uh, where they hang clothes on?

John: A coat rack?

Toots and Bonnie: <said together> A wardrobe?

Lee: He said that—naw, it ain't a wardrobe, it's a—tree in the house. A hall tree in there—see, that thing went for $5000 dollars.

Bonnie: It did! I went to that auction.

Lee: You did?

Bonnie: Oh yeah.

Lee: I wouldn't go over there 'cause I knowed there'd be a crowed of people over there. <laughs>

Bonnie: You wouldn't believe— I didn't get anything. <laughs>

Lee: <laughs>

Bonnie: I like watchin' the—

Lee: Uh, that was his brother—what lived at the homeplace, but Garland, I think lived in Galax, Virginia, didn't he? Did you see Garland Updike over there?

John: Alright. Yeah-- he used to be principal down at Rocky Gap?

Lee: Yeah—yeah. Yeah.

John: I appreciate your—I appreciate your time.

Lee: Did you all go down to Hector's house the other day, too?

John: Yeah.

Lee: You did?

John: Yeah. I interviewed Hector.

Lee: What all did he tell ya?

John: He told me a bunch of stuff about you.

End Tape 1, Side A.

Begin Tape 1, Side B.


Toots: Right.

John: -- and I love the mountains, and I love the people in the mountains. So, anyway, we're gonna talk about it 'cause we haven't—this was mentioned after the tape was cut off, so we're gonna talk a little bit about how some people up on the mountains—on occasion—used to make a little moonshine. And you remember when your daddy—your daddy used to make some moonshine.

<Interviewee is difficult to hear>

Lee: Yeah. My Daddy—my Daddy used to make it right here in this holler with _____ _____ _____. He was, uh, he was Italian. He used to come out of Princeton over there and he made moonshine up th' holler. He used to come in by car and go and get it--

Toots: Tell them about _____ _____ _____ and all of that—

Lee: -- <Transcriber can't hear.>

< Very difficult to distinguish conversation. I assume the Interviewer has disconnected the microphone from the interviewee's clothing.>

John: Yeah, we'll get to that. Now, who was it? It was some fella out of Princeton—he was Italian and used to come over here?

Lee: Yeah. Yeah. He killed hisself. They caught him—caught him with the moonshine and he knew he was gonna have to go to jail, so he killed hisself right there _____ _____ _____ he made—he had moon—he had stills in 3 different places. He had one up there on Fred's place where my uncle lived at. And then had a place up the holler, here. And then he had one place—you know where, uh, shhhhhhh. You know where Slaughters, uh, where Gene Slaughter's sister live 'round there?

Lee: No-- his daughter. Daughter. His daughter named Beth live down here.

Bonnie: Beth, yeah.

John: Beth. Okay.

Lee: He had a still on that place, they did.

John: Alright. So they would bring the over here and they-- they would—and then your father would help run it. Is that what you're talkin' about?

Lee: Yeah. _____ and my uncle used to go up there and _____ ______ ______ put wood under it an' ______ it. He had a—they had a place as big as this whole room made out of ______. He had a still brought in _____ ______ ______. 'Course, I was a little boy, I went up there and got drunk <laughs> My Daddy went to bring down some wood and had to throw me up on the truck to get me outta there! <laughs> Up on the truck to come outta there. I was drunk. He said you can go over there an' git you a lil' taste an' I just kept on a tastin' it. Just kept on a drinkin' it. <laughs>

John: Well, you know—alright, so how—how old—I guess—I guess this was during the—

Lee: Depression.

John: During the Great Depression.

Lee: We had, we had a twenty somethin' head of hogs up there that he sold for $20 dollars apiece. Twenty somethin' head of hogs-- that he sold in the coal fields down there and, uh, my uncle would haul 'em to the coal fields for him.

John: Would he feed 'em mash? From the, uh, from the still?

Lee: Yeah. At first they'd git drunk, but after that, they didn't git drunk.

John: The—the hogs would get drunk the first time, but after that they'd just get fat?

Lee: Yeah.

John: Okay. I didn't know that, either. I never realized—so that—so your—your father, when he quit the railroad, he would farm and he would do this?

Lee: Yeah.

John: And that's how he would make a livin'.

Lee: Well, he had—he had—I tell ya, uh, uh, this Italian over there—he had the whole community doin' it 'cause they wasn't no work.

John: Alright. So everybody up here was—or a lot of people up here were workin' in the—

Lee: Yeah. Yeah. The deacon in the church an' all of 'em.

John: The what, now?

Lee: <laughs> The deacons in the church an' all of 'em made moonshine.

John: The deacon in the church?!

Lee: He had a—he had a community still and he owned a still for hisself—a big one for hisself.

John: Alright. Now what do you mean? He had a community still—

Lee: Yeah. Yeah. In the same buil—in under the same roof. _____ it and—

John: Now this is the Italian fella?

Lee: Yeah.

John: Alright, now. What was his name again?

Lee: Huh? I couldn't call his name, uh—first—uh, his first name, but his name was _____. He was a nice fella, he was.

John: Alright. So he had two stills. One was for the community and then one was for him.

Lee: Yeah.

John: Alright. So every—so you all would share—everyone would share what they got out of the community still, but you would work his, too?

Lee: Yeah. He would sell it for them, he would. Out of the coal fields. People would come in there in their cars—they had a road up there to the hog lot—and they'd come in there and buy it. By the carloads—at night.

John: Okay, now—where were the roads? Tell me how the roads—

Lee: Right down there where Hazel lives. Right across this branch—right across that branch and up on the hill there.

Bonnie: Up behind her house?

John: Okay, so the still was back up there.

Lee: Yeah. In that flat place up there. I could take you to the place right where it was at.

John: Okay, now how many people were—how many people were makin' a livin' off that? The deacon in the church was.

Lee: Yeah.

John: And your daddy was.

Lee: Yeah. Several people around here was—was makin' it.

John: Well, I'm sure this wasn't the only place in the mountains that made moonshine. <laughs>

Lee: I tell ya _____ ______ such a big place down there—you know _____ ______ down there?

John: Yeah.

Lee: His daddy was High Sheriff here. He was in with it because he would keepin' the man off of 'em. He'd give them the royalty money off the stuff. And he'd come up here and get him some of that beer—whiskey, there. Whiskey wasn't but—he used to sell you a fifty cent pint of whiskey. 'Cause I went up there and got two pints for a man and he give me fifty cents and, uh, uh—he told me to charge _____ and I had to bring him two pints—and just after that, the man come in here—they come in here and cut the place up. Burned it—cut it up and burned it down.

John: Alright, the tax men and the revenuers?

Lee: Yeah—from Bland over there. You know, uh, <laughs> my daddy ______ _______ _______ ______ ______ <extended length of conversation undistinguishable> over there at—down Wolf Creek, there. He had a big Jersey Cow. He didn't have no cow and ______ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ <more conversation spoken away from the microphone>.

John: Alright. Now, he traded the whiskey for the cow.

Lee: Yeah. He liked to drink whiskey, so he just—my daddy ______ _____ so he traded with him, he did. <laughs>

Bonnie: So, that's the cow that your grandmother used to make butter.

Lee: Naw. My mother.

Bonnie: Oh, your mother.

John: Mother. Right.

Lee: My Grandmother didn't have none and my Daddy didn't have none.

John: Okay, because he was too busy workin' on the still.

Lee: Yeah. _____ ______ ______, he cut wood—he—he brought a horse in here one time—he road a coach here. Daddy rode up from—from all the way out Athens, over there. You know where Athens in Princeton?

John: Uh-huh.

Lee: My daddy rode the horse _____ _____ ______ and she had a colt born on here over here after—after—my uncle didn't have but one horse and that horse had died. And he'd let him keep the horse up there and he stayed up there in the woods. He had a bed up there—they had 3 bunks. And the old horse slept on one and he slept on one and that Italian, he slept on one.

John: Alright. That's a big—a pretty big operation, there.

Lee: <Transcriber can't hear> boxes of it up there.

John: <laughs>

Lee: I ain't kiddin' ya. My Daddy tooken and got enough beer outta there—and they buried all them—my Daddy got beer out of there and made more whiskey out of it. Out of the same place.

John: You mean after all of—so, they came in and busted the still up. Do you—do you remember when that happened—when you were a boy?

Lee: Yeah, I was about—I'd say I was about 10 years old.

John: About 10 years old?

Lee: Yeah.

John: Well, how did—do you remember when it happened—what it was like?

Lee: Yeah.

John: Did it happen at night, or-- ?

Lee: In the daytime.

John: Okay.

Lee: See, _____ _____ _____ _____. My Daddy—my Daddy _____ ______ _____ I thought they was gonna take us with 'em too _____ _____ _____ .

John: Yeah. Yeah, they were. Well, how—

Lee: You see, I think it was a big operation back then. They cut some man in on the operation—they thought he had money—well, he did have money. He did make money. But he put it there in his car—put some in under the dash board and some in a sugar sack—and they thought he had a lot of money over there, and that man, he'd—ever week, he'd go to Athens over there or Princeton or somewhere over there to the bank--and put that money in the bank.

John: Right.

Lee: _____ _____ _____ _____. They got the—but he—but I think when he git in the car he run, or somethin'. I don't know—I cain't tell you whether he got to the car or not.

John: Right. Well, how many men came back here? To-- to bust the still up? Do you remember—

Lee: It was, uhm, it was about—I think it was about a three feller _____.
John: Okay.

Lee: and _____. He was the High Sheriff here.

John: Right.

Lee: And they thought he had a lot of money _____ _____ _____ his share of it.

John: Were—were people up here upset when they busted the still?

Lee: Naw.

John: They weren't?

Lee: He just went down the road here and put up another one.

John: <laughs hard>

Lee: You know, uh—uh—that man's name was Hounshell? His children got the quart—and so was the Slaughters—uh, Gene's daddy—you know, the two people that live _____ _____ that's the brother and the sister—where the Hounshells are at.

Lee: Yeah. The Hounshells, I mean to say. But, uh, that's his-- _____ _____—and Stewart—that's his children—that live over there. One of his daughters is over there and one of his sons, too.

John: Okay.

Lee: He kept inventory for him, and the rest of it, he sold it.

Bonnie: Right. To the Whites—uh, Slaughters. Right.

Lee: Well, now, he sold—sold—you know Roy Day took and sold him part—in Bland up there where Sam lived—you see, he sold that quart to Roy Day, and I think Roy Day took and sold it to—a _____ and his buddy, I think. And I think his buddy lived down on the side of the creek—sold it to his daddy.

John: Okay. Alright. So you remember—you remember when they used to make the moonshine back up there.

Lee: Uhm-hmm.

John: And did—well, the—I guess they'd bring the—they'd bring the sugar in and—

Lee: Yeah. He had a car, he did. A thirty—that was back in the '30's. He had a '33 Ford or a '35 Ford. It was one of those little scoop back cars. He had a two door car. Two door sedan.

John: Well, did anybody else ever make any moonshine up here besides that little operation that this fella helped do?

Lee: Uhm— some of my in-laws up in there—up the road up there. They all would make it. My brother in law made it. And Nate.

John: Nate used to make it?

Lee: He got time in the pen for it. They caught him and cut 'em up and he got time in the penitentiary for it.

John: Oh, Nate had to go to the penitentiary?

Lee: Yeah. He's—

John: For makin' moonshine?

Lee: Yeah.

Lee: --I think he got a year—that's all he got out of it was a year. That's been a looong time ago. Back there in the '50's. He got a year out of it.

John: Yeah, just a year? Well, he'd told me some story about when he was a boy in school, that they went up behind the school and they acciden—to get some wood, and they accidentally found a still or somethin' up there.

Lee: You know who that was? That was Mr. Mack Daniel Ferguson. That was his still he had up there. He had a mule up there and he would farm up there. You know all the woods right there where _____ is growin' and right there at the cemetery—all of that used to be clear. They used to farm that hill. Put it in corn.

John: Okay, so Daniel Ferguson used to have a little still. Okay. Well, did anybody up here not make whiskey? <laughs>

Lee: <laughs> You could find it all over the place.

Toots: That's—that's what I couldn't understand, you know. Nobody bothered their stills, you know.

Lee: My—my mother's—my grandfather—my Daddy's father didn't make it.

<LT and TT are talking at the same time.>

John: Oh, I know. I wanna hear these tales.

Lee: <laughs>

Toots: -- that could be _____-- 'cause, you know--

John: Well, now I know enough to ask some questions.

Toots: Uhm-hmm. <laughs>

John: -- to make the— . But you—would you be makin' whiskey all year round? Or would it be just, uh, at different times in the year?

Lee: Yeah. We'd run the whole year 'round. Uhm-hmm.

John: You'd run it all year 'round.

Lee: We'd put the barrels down and make a crib and—and—and, uh, take and sink the barrels down in there and take leaves and stuff around it to keep 'em warm.

John: Okay—to kinda insulate it.

Lee: To keep it from freezin'. Yeah—to insulate the beer. Yeah.

John: Okay.

Bonnie: And you would use mash to make it?

Lee: We'd use—whiskey? We'd use sugar and—and meal—and—and, uh, _____ _____ to make it. _____ -- he was takin' all that stuff and makin'—makin—takin' water and puttin' that stuff through a barrel full of water and—I'd say a hundred pound of it would make about 15 gallon—the first time. And then we'd make about 20 gallon the next time.

John: Was it good—was it good whiskey?

Lee: Yeah. Uh—uh, he would—my Daddy used to run a big still up the holler—he used to _____ _____ and come home—to the house and eat breakfast, and I didn't eat breakfast. He go up there and then I'd go up there and _____ _____ would come up there. He showed me how to run it. _____ _____ _____ and he'd come back.

John: Well, what did you have to do to run it?

Lee: You had to keep the wood in under it.

John: Just keep the fire goin'.

Lee: It would get hot. Those things'll kill ya—scald ya to death, uhm-hmm.

John: Yeah. If you weren't careful.

Bonnie: What kind of pot would you—

Lee: It was made out of copper pot.

John: How-- how big a pot was it?

Lee: Shhhhh. About like this <must be making measurements with his hands or arms>

John: A big one.

Lee: Yeah! <laughs> It would hold two 55 gallon barrels of mash. Two—two 55 gallon barrels.

Bonnie: What happened to the pot? I wonder what happed to the big copper pot?

Lee: I don't know. My Daddy never went _____ _____. He used to make whiskey for a judge in Bluefield, Virginia, out there.

John: He used to make whiskey for a judge in Bluefield, Virginia?

Lee: From somewhere—somebody he worked with down there had a _____ _____ ______.

John: Okay. You don't remember his name, do ya?

Lee: I'm not sure, but I think it was Judge Sexton up there.

John: Sexton? Okay. Alright, now that's interesting. So he—so he—after a while, he would just make it to order, kinda?

Lee: Yeah, uhm-hmm.

John: Just for special-- <laughs> special orders.

Lee: I tell you one more he used to make it for is _____ ______ that ______ there. He used to be the—he used to be the High Sheriff up here.

John: The High Sheriff of Bland County?

Lee: Yeah. Yeah.

The Park

John: Yeah, now didn't they used to—didn't they used to have a dance hall up here or somethin'?

Lee: Yeah, down here at the—the—I tell ya—down there where you all—down there where you teach school down there. Back this side of where you all teach school at. _____ _____ _____ _____ used to have brick sidin'—down there where Slaughter live? Right close to the creek over there. That's where he _____ the house. He had the whole mountainside over in there. He had this, uh, where this guy _____ _____ this guy—

Lee: They had a skatin' ring down there and—and it burnt down. And had a swimmin' pool down there. And, up the road here, they had a—a—down below where the Addairs live, they had a dance hall—they was supposed to have a dance hall. It was supposed _____ _____ --

John: Alright. Did you used to go down there when you were—

Lee: Yeah. Uhm-hmm.

John: And what was it like?

Lee: It was where they danced and stuff like that. They would dance and party—not party, but they had, uh—had uh pic-a-nics and stuff like that. _____ _____ people would come over here for church picnics.

John: Okay. People would come in to visit?

Lee: Uhm-hmm. But he got—

John: So, there'd be a lot of people down there, huh?

Lee: Yeah. Uh, Nate—Pal's brother in law, he come in and was makin'—was sellin' whiskey. He made whiskey and sold it down there.

John: And sold it down there to the dance hall.

Lee: Yeah. Uhm-hmm.

John: Well, now how many—what—did they ever get—

Lee: Then it burned down.

John: Did they ever have—have music and stuff?

Lee: Yeah, uhm-hmm. They had a machine down there—and you could pick 'em all. They—them—one of them machines where you put money and play records.

Toots: A juke box.

John: Okay. A—juke box.

Lee: And they had dinners down there. They sold dinners down there, too—Mr. ______ did. You know Bumgardner from over there in Bluefield was minister over there—pastor of the church over there—they—his father had that place over there, and _____ and them said they didn't want it, now he _____ ______ it—he said that his daddy sold it. See, his daddy's dead, but his mother's—his mother and his brother is still livin'—his sister's still livin'.

John: Yeah. So that used to be a pretty hoppin' place, huh?

Lee: Yeah.

John: And—and they had music and people'd be—

Lee: They had a swimmin' place down there at the creek. You could swim, too.

John: How many people would be down there at one time?

Lee: Shhhhh. Sometimes, there'd be 1100 there at one time. <Transcriber can't hear clearly>

<BD, TT, LT are all talking at the same time>

Bonnie: --ever come over—

Toots: I'd come over, but not durin' that time.

Lee: --companies and picnics an' all that kinda stuff.

John: Really?

Bonnie: -- that was pretty.

<LT and TT talking at once. LT is talking to JD and TT is talking to BD>

Lee: _____ _____ _____ _____ ______ <Transcriber can't hear.>

John: Right, but people used to come back here from all over.

Lee: Yeah, uhm-hmm.

Toots: -- people would ride over, yeah.

John: Well, now you—did you ever hear about this? You were raised in—

Bonnie: That's what we were talkin' about.

John: -- in Tazewell.

John: I'm sorry. <said to BD>

Toots: I was raised in—on down in part of Castlewood.

Bonnie: Castlewood.

John: Oh. Castlewood. Okay, that's in Buchanan County, isn't it?

Toots: No-no. Russell.

John: Russell County. Okay. Okay.

Toots: <Transcriber can't hear>

Lee: That's where her uncle lived _____ ______ _____baptised right in that creek here--that's where he got baptised—right here. In front of the place here. _____ _____ _____ ______ I've got a foot log across _____ _____ ____ _____.

John: Now, you have a what, now?:

Lee: They have a baptisin' over there. The church uses it.

Toots:They used it to baptise people-- in the creek.

John: Okay, right. They used to do it in the creek. Right.

Toots: They didn't have a pool built in the church.

Lee: _____ _____ _____ _____ durin' WWII.

Toots: I assume that's where you were baptised. <spoken to LT>

Lee: Naw. I was baptised up there at that Baptist church across from where _____ Morris lives.

Toots: In the creek.

John: They used to do it in the creek there right in front of where the Baptist church--

Bonnie: Was there a lot more water in the creek back then?

Lee: Yeah.

Toots: Yeah.

Lee: Uhm-hmm.

John: Now, I wonder why all of the water's gone? Everybody says there used to be more water.

Lee: Yeah, they did.

Toots: There's still a pretty good hole out here.

Lee: We got fish in it.

John: You don't know anybody that has any—I—I—any pictures? Of like—of the dance hall or the swimmin' pool or all that? Do you ever see any pictures of all this?

Lee: Mmmmmm. I tell ya—Pal's sister might have some of 'em. Christine, down there. She's—she lives in Maryland. Christine might have some of 'em, but Pal—he didn't—he might have some of 'em. And his _____ might have some of 'em.

John: I tell you—if anyone's got any pictures, I would—if you'd just give 'em—I would love to copy 'em. You know, I can scan them on the computer and get 'em back to 'em in the same day. I would love to because I've heard a lot about that down there. So, that used to—a lot of people used to come down there, uhm, they used to come from all over.

Lee: Yeah.

John: Uhm, and I guess all that—he had the stills and he had the—this—this was a pretty wild place for—

Bonnie: It seems to be pretty wild for back then—

John: -- back then, wasn't it? <laughs>

Lee: <laughs> Yeah. Used to be we walk it—uh, you know this road here? This road here—people used to be ridin' a horse and wagon up and down through this road. The State, I think _____ _____ _____ brought the prisoners over here and brought the shell out of this creek—that was _____ _____ _____ _____ over there.

John: Yeah.

Lee: See the road was level _____ about _____ one time.

John: They'd built it up that high.

Lee: Yeah, uhm-hmm.

John: About have to—to keep the creek from—

Bonnie: Yeah.

John: Yeah. <pauses> Well, I tell you, this is all been interestin' and I do appreciate it.

Lee: Okay. You're welcome. Yeah.

More on the Bust

Lee: _____ ______ _____ _____ <Transcriber can't hear> George used to drink like that, too. I used to drink it like that, too. I used to drink it, too, but, uh, Marvin had someone in the house one time in a barrel. He went upstairs and the man caught him. And _____ _____ _____ and took him over to the _____ _____ and Mama went over there and got him out that evenin'—to jail or somethin'. He didn't even go to jail, he used went out and cut the yard for the State and then he'd come back home in the evenin', he did. <laughs>

John: <laughs>

Lee: My grandmother was hollerin' "Oh, Lord, don't take my baby to jail!" So, he _____ _____ _____ _____ _____.

John: Oh. Now that's somethin'.

Toots: He done—have you cut that off? I'm gonna tell this—

Bonnie: It's still runnin.

John: It's still runnin.

Toots: I don't want to—

John: I don't know. Don't you think this would be interestin'?

Toots: No, I don't wan't to tell—

John: Well, I thank you all for your time. I'm gonna cut it off now—

End of Interview.

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