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William H. Berge Oral History Center Coal Company Towns Project Interview with Ova Marie Perry Hall Nov 11, 1981(1982 oh 037) Conducted by Anna Perry Transcribed by Laurie Wilcox

ANNA PERRY: The following is an unrehearsed taped interview with Ova Marie Hall, keypunch operator. The interview was conducted by Anna Perry student of oral history for the Oral history Center at Eastern Kentucky University. The interview was conducted at Corbin, Kentucky at the first of November at 11:50 am.


PERRY: Ova first thing I'd like to thank you for allowing me to tape our conversation and would you give me your full name?

OVA MARIE HALL: Ova Marie Perry Hall.

PERRY: And Perry is your maiden name?

HALL: Yes ma'am.

PERRY: Alright. Do you mind telling me when you were born?

HALL: ah, June 9, 1933.

PERRY: And where were you born?

HALL: Twila, Kentucky.

PERRY: And what were your parent's names?

HALL: Raymond and Bonnie Perry.


PERRY: What was your mother's maiden name?

HALL: Hatmaker.

PERRY: would you spell that for me?


PERRY: Do you know where your mother and dad were born?

HALL: Daddy was born in McCreary County. Momma was born in [unclear] I think?

PERRY: Is that in Kentucky?

HALL: Tennessee I think.

PERRY: I've always wondered where she born. Did you have any brothers or sisters?

HALL: Three brothers.

PERRY: what are their names?

HALL: Truman, Harold, and Avery.

PERRY: And you said you were born in Twila, is that ah, how do you spell that?

HALL: T-W-I-L-A, it's in Harlan County.

PERRY: Is that a coal mining camp?

HALL: Yes, uh huh.

PERRY: Do you know about what year your parents moved there?


HALL: Um, I think. I think Daddy was just a teenager when he went to work up in the mines up there. Uh.

PERRY: Where were you living, were you living in the camp when you were born?

HALL: Yes, uh huh.

PERRY: how long, how long did you Dad work in the mines at Creech's after?

HALL: I think her worked 20 years altogether.

PERRY: What year did he leave?

HALL: Um, should have been around 1944 I think.

PERRY: So you were--

HALL: Because I was about 10 or 11 about 10 or 11.

PERRY: Ah, they call that Creech's coal mine.

HALL: Uh huh, yeah. Creech's Coal.

PERRY: and that's C-R-E-E-C-H?

HALL: I think that's the way you spell it.


PERRY: What's the first thing that you can remember when you were little?

HALL: Oh God I don't know, the first thing I remember. I remember mostly when we were kids. Oh school and my uncle, going up to my uncles that lived up in, up on the hill. I don't know where that was. Where that was numbered. That wasn't number two. What was it? I don't know.

PERRY: What Uncle was this?

HALL: Ester Perry daddy's brother.

PERRY: Didn't your daddy have two brothers?

HALL: Three brothers all together worked in the mines.

PERRY: And he lived in a coal camp too?

HALL: Uh huh.

PERRY: Do you remember where you lived when you started school?

HALL: Uh, we lived over in number two when we started, when I started school.

PERRY: How far was that from your school?


HALL: Um, I don't know. We walked; there wasn't any other way going. So it couldn't have been over a mile or so. Couple of miles at the most.

PERRY: The school was in the, in the camp?

HALL: In the camp yeah.

PERRY: How many rooms did that school have?

HALL: I don't know how many rooms they had. It had up to the eighth grade. And when I was in the first grade it was a room outside of the school building.

PERRY: Like another building?

HALL: like an addition like thing. I can remember that.

PERRY: Um. Do you remember your teacher's name, in first grade?

HALL: Uh [long pause] What was her name?


PERRY: Do you remember any of your teacher's names?

HALL: I had a Miss Howard I remember her.

PERRY: What grade, about what grade were you in?

HALL: Ah, I must have been about in the third or fourth grade.

PERRY: Do you remember her because you liked her particularly or?

HALL: Yeah I liked her and ah, mostly because, I guess the things that happened. 6:00Like that was the year that I, a boy stuck his feet under the seat and raised my seat up and I sit down and hit my chin on the desk and they had to take me to the doctor, put stitches in my chin. Some of the kids went home and told my mother that I broke my neck. [laughing] And just, Momma was so scared and worried and I was--ye well it left a scar. Feel that little bitty scar That and that she got killed that year too.

PERRY: how did she get killed?

HALL: She got shot. By some man, I don't know his last name. I know she was my teacher, that's why I remember. And she got shot at her home.

PERRY: Did you ever hear anyone say why she got shot? Did he just come in and shot her?

HALL: I don't know. She was--her and, what was the principal's name? Spurlock I think, best I remember I think both of them got shot and I don't know who by some man she was going with or I don't know why, what it was all about. I just remember she got shot.

PERRY: Did you take your lunch to school or did you go home or? Did they have a lunch room?

HALL: No they didn't have a lunch room. We either took our lunch or most time 7:00went home. We could take it if it was cold. We most time, most time we went home because [loud noise] [unclear] take in our lunch Momma wouldn't let us take. [laughing]

PERRY: What did you want to take?

HALL: Cole slaw sandwiches [laughing].

PERRY: Cole slaw sandwiches? Why didn't your Mom want you take them?

HALL: She was embarrassed, afraid people would thing that was all we had to eat. [laughing] That happened to be what me and Truman liked best and she'd make the Cole slaw and we'd go home and eat it.

PERRY: But she wouldn't let you take it to school?

HALL: She didn't want us to, sometimes she would let us but she wouldn't let, she wouldn't hardly let us take it.

PERRY: Do you remember what kind of books or supplies you had at school?

HALL: [long pause]

PERRY: Did they furnish, you know?

HALL: They furnished the books, you know what they called the primer and ah. . . 8:00. I don't rememb--evidently they furnished the books. Just reading, writing and

PERRY: Did they furnish.

HALL: History and stuff.

PERRY: Did they furnish paper and pencils and stuff?


PERRY: You bought those?

HALL: We bought those because I remember a little girl stole some one time at school and got punished [ loud noise -- recorder movement- continues to drown out conversation] everybody paid [loud noise continues to drown out conversation]

PERRY: How were you punished in school of you did something wrong?

HALL: You were sent to thte principal and spanked most of the time.

PERRY: Did you have to have parents' consent?

HALL: No they just spanked you and if you parents said anything, most of thte time back then the parents said if they got a spanking they deserved it and they just let it go most of the time. Um, I don't remember ever getting a spanking myself.

PERRY: Where did you buy your pencils and, did you have a store?

HALL: They had them at the commissary. I think Momma and Daddy used to buy 9:00theirs in Harlan.

PERRY: Did you go to commissary much?

HALL: All the time. [laughing] The only place to go.

PERRY: Well what kind of merchandise did they have at the commissary?

HALL: They had everything from clothes to pencils and paper and anything you wanted, glue and all. Any hardware stuff. It was just like a, more or less like a T G and Y store is now or someplace like that, you know like a big department store. It was just a general store.

PERRY: About how big, can you remember about how big was the building?

HALL: It was. Well as a kid I guess I thought it was, it was really big to me then. Of course--

PERRY: Well it had to be fairly-

HALL: It was still a pretty good size building even. But as a kid I thought it 10:00was huge.

PERRY: [very low] Well had to be fairly large but. Did you have a church there in the camp?

HALL: Yeah they had churches. We went to a Baptist church, I don't know just where it was, oh I can remember going, it was in walking distance it was-wait, they might have had church in the school. Either they had church at the school or it was close to the school.

PERRY: Did you have a preacher that was there all the time or he just came in like on Sundays or do you remember?

HALL: I think he was there all the time, best I remember.

PERRY: Do you remember his name?

HALL: No. I don't know, I don't remember the preacher's name. I might probably heard it, but we went to Sunday school all the time.

PERRY: Uh huh. You said you remembered third grade because you hurt you chin and they took you to the doctor, was there a doctor in the camp?

HALL: Yeah. Doctor Painter.


PERRY: Did you have a clinic or a hospital or anything or just a doctors office?

HALL: Just the Doctor's office.

PERRY: Was he a pretty good doctor?

HALL: Evidently so, I guess. I guess he was just a plain general practitioner. Probably just like a family doctor only he was everybody's doctor. It was the only doctor, I guess there were doctors in Harlan, or if. Most time anybody had anything seriously wrong with them I know my mother had to have surgery she had went to Pineville. Now where that's the closest hospital, I guess it was at the time.

PERRY: Did ah, did Doc Painter, did the doctor, did he come to the house?

HALL: Yeah. Yeah he would come to the house or you would go to his office. Most 12:00of the time he'd come to the house or you could call him and, you know, you'd get a hold of him, most of the time her was there. He might have lived right next to his office I don't know.

PERRY: Were you sick very often?

HALL: No, not too much. I had pneumonia when I was a baby but just ear aches and stuff like that nothing.

PERRY: Are you brothers older or younger than you are?

HALL: Younger.

PERRY: Were they born?

HALL: Truman and Harold was. They was born after we moved to Corbin.

PERRY: Do you remember when either one of them were born?

HALL: I remember better when Harold was born cause Truman, I was just 2 and half when Truman was born. And I must have been about eight, seven or eight when Harold was born.

PERRY: Did your mom go to the hospital or did she?

HALL: No she had him at home.


PERRY: Did the doctor come or did she have?

HALL: Oh the Doctor came, I reckon Dr. Painter.

PERRY: Can you remember it, that day?

HALL: Yeah, I can remember the day.

PERRY: Can you tell me about it?

HALL: I remember ah, I, I guess it was Eunice, my cousin that came and stayed with is and helped us, as he was born in March and we played outside . My Aunt Grace was there cause I remember Truman wouldn't look at Harold. Daddy brought him in the room after Harold was born and he wouldn't even look at him. We couldn't even catch him, he ran around the house and they had a hard time catching him because he didn't want no part of that baby. I can remember being thrilled about it because it was just a baby to play with.

PERRY: Yeah. Well what did you all just play outside while your mom as in labor?

HALL: Yeah.


PERRY: They didn't send you off or anything?

HALL: No. Hm um, we played outside.

PERRY: What did you do, when you were little at Creech's, just for fun, were there swings and things at school?

HALL: Yeah I think they had swings and things. Most of the time I don't remember how we played all that much at school, except jump rope and stuff like kid's play.

PERRY: Do you remember what you did at home?

HALL: At home, well we always, I guess we was pretty lucky. We used to, Mom and 15:00Daddy always loved Christmas and we always got a lot of toys and, and a lot of things to play with. I know ah, I used to have oh just a stove and a refrigerator and all the toys that you could possibly want a a kid even when we were kids. So we were lucky that way, a lot of the kids didn't get very many toys. But uh Mom and Daddy was, I guess you'd say very thrifty, they always kept a cow and sold milk and butter. Up there you were paid in script and if you use it or you could turn it in for money. Most everybody lived on the script and spent it at the store but Daddy; I've heard Momma and Daddy say that they very seldom ever, you know, had to buy too much. They didn't spend very much script at all.

PERRY: Did you ever help them in the garden?

HALL: No it was too much working [laughing].

PERRY: Do you remember where it was?

HALL: I remember when we lived in what they called Callaway's house, it was sort 16:00of between the camps. It was set down sort of between two roads like. And it seemed like there was a garden beside of it. But when we lived in number two I think the garden plots were all down, well I guess number one down in the valley like thing. And they went down there. I don't remember too much about gardening. I know Momma and Daddy always raised a garden.

PERRY: Did they keep the cow there at the house or did they keep it somewhere else?

HALL: No we kept the cow at the house. In fact we had that old calf that we played with just like it was a dog, and it was a pet. We, I guess that's, most the best thing I remember playing with was the calf. It would chase us and we'd run up on the porch, it tried to come up the steps. We finally, we had it so mean that Daddy had to get rid of it.

PERRY: Did you cry?

HALL: Yeah I cried. Me and Truman both cried over that calf.

PERRY: Did you ever play in the mines or try?

HALL: No. I never played in the mines. We would go; I've been up to the mines.


PERRY: How'd you get up there?

HALL: On a, I don't know what they call it but it was part of a train. Oh, what'd they call it? My uncle was a night watchman and we'd go on the, oh it had a name. They'd let us ride up there to the steeple where he was at.

PERRY: Was it very high?

HALL: To me at the time seemed real high. It was sort of scary to ride the car up there.

PERRY: That's what made it fun, right?

HALL: Yeah.

PERRY: Did it go, was it steep or did it?

HALL: It was sort of steep. I know I can remember what if the cable thing broke and you'd go flying back down.

PERRY: Did you go out outside of the camps very much at all?

HALL: We did. Every Saturday we always uh drove to Harlan. That was our big day 18:00to go to Harlan and, and uh shop. And then we'd always eat in a restaurant. I can remember that. Now a lot of the people up there didn't, very seldom ever left the camp. But we used to well I just about every weekend.

PERRY: Did you go to thte movies or anything like?

HALL: No we used to go downtown Harlan and watch the people come out of the movies [laughing]. On a Sunday that used to be a big--watch the people on the streets on Sunday. That was the big, big day. Always stopped at a little grocery store and got bologna and crackers and pork and beans and stuff that, and then just snack you know when you got home. And ah.

PERRY: Did your dad have a car?


HALL: Yeah. He was one of about the second person up there I guess that ever had a car.

PERRY: Oh really?

HALL: Or get a car at the time people, you know, they rode cabs mostly. Had a lot of taxis and uh but as long as I can remember we had a car.

PERRY: So you got out more I guess than some of the ones who didn't have a car.

HALL: Yeah I'm sure we got out a little bit more than some of them did. I don't even remember Ester having a car. But Daddy always, daddy always had a car. In fact he bought a brand new car while he worked in the mines with.

PERRY: About what year would that have been?

HALL: That would have been at least about 30, 1936 or 37. He bought a new Mercury.


PERRY: Did he keep it?

HALL: No he kept it till right before we left Harlan. Cars were scarce and some 21:00man came around to uh was buying cars, peoples cars. And Daddy didn't really want to sell it but the man kept on and asked Daddy what he would take. I think Daddy at the time gave $1200 for the car but we'd had it for a year or so. And Daddy told the man he wouldn't take more than, He didn't want to sell it and he thought if he priced it high enough the man wouldn't buy it and he told him $1300 and the man just took out the money and gave it to him and uh and uh so I remember me and Truman crying running to the house crying cause Daddy sold the car. And uh he even tried to let us hold the money and we just wouldn't have nothing to do with it but he did sell the car at that time. And right after that we moved to Corbin.

PERRY: Did he get another car then or did he wait?

HALL: He waited because we didn't have a car when we first came to Corbin.

PERRY: Okay.

HALL: He came to Corbin without a job or anything. Well, uh like I say I had 22:00three uncles that worked in the mines. Uncle Estry got his back broke in the mines. Well my Daddy got his nose broke in the mines. And uh my uncle Arthur got crippled. I don't know how the accident happened I don't know how, but anyway he was paralyzed. From the waist down he was in a wheelchair. And uh then Roy got hurt when a mine coal car or something ran over him and he was hurt real bad. So after all the accidents that happened Daddy got, he just quit, he was scared, didn't want you know. Cause they were crippled up real bad, both or them. Arthur and or Roy both liked to died, and so Daddy quit the mines and came to Corbin, He came to Corbin to work on a farm, some preacher. And I guess he, I guess we lived there about six or seven months, maybe not that long. I don't know how long we did live out there and then Daddy got a job on the railroad.

PERRY: Well do you remember very many accidents when you were growing up, at Creech's?

HALL: No, only one, I don't. I was just a baby, maybe I wasn't even born, I 23:00don't know. I wasn't even born when his Arthur got hurt because uh he was in a wheelchair when I was a baby because he used to drive me around on his lap in the wheel chair.

PERRY: Do you remember . . .

HALL: Now I remember when Roy got hurt, yeah scared and we thought he was going to die and all that. But I don't remember a whole lot of accidents. Maybe I was just a kid and didn't pay just

PERRY: Did you all have a telephone in your house? Like if somebody got hurt did they call and tell you or what?

HALL: No we didn't have a telephone. I don't even know if they had telephones up there anywhere. I think they might have had them at the doctors and places like that. But I know we didn't have a telephone, I don't remember it.

PERRY: How many places, do you remember how many houses you lived in up there, where you were?

HALL: I remember three. I don't know the first house but I remember it was on a 24:00hill, like. I remember running down the hill. And Arthur and them lived close to us. Then we lived in number two is the one I remember most, other than what they call Callaway's house. Now I don't know how Momma and Daddy got that house. I don't know the details on it but it was a little. I don't know whether it cost more or not but it sort of sit by itself.

PERRY: Was it a little nicer than some of the others?

HALL: Yeah. It was a little bigger, a little nicer.

PERRY: Do you remember how many rooms the Callaway house had in it?

HALL: Oh, about, it must, I think it only had two bedrooms best I remember. Just two bedrooms is all it was.

PERRY: Um two bedrooms and what?

HALL: Living room and a kitchen, we didn't have a bath.

PERRY: Did any of the houses up there have inside bathrooms?

HALL: I don't think so.

PERRY: Well this was

HALL: If they did, not in the camp I'm, I don't think they did.

PERRY: This would have been what between say 36 and 44


HALL: Yeah between 34 and 38 somewhere along there.

PERRY: Ah did the uh house at number two have the same number of rooms at the Callaway house or was it?

HALL: I think so. I think we had two bedrooms. I remember the one house; I believe that was up at number two. One house had a, built. I guess it had been like a sun room or something it was, cause it was a real long room. It had been boxed in I guess. So I can remember that room because we, we had a bed out there and we had a table and chairs. I don't know what all kind of room it was. I guess more or less like a family room would be considered now, except that wasn't what it called, it was called then.

PERRY: Did any of the houses have running water? Any of the ones you lived in.

HALL: Oh. I don't think so. I don't remember. The Callaway house might have had 26:00running water in it. It didn't have a bathroom though. I doubt if they had running water.

PERRY: Did you have a well or a pump or?

HALL: Had a pump. Everybody went to that pump and carried your water back in buckets when we lived out at number two. I remember that.

PERRY: Do you remember about where it was from number 2, about how long a walk it was?

HALL: It wasn't maybe six or seven hundred yard. It wasn't all that far from where we lived. And I don't know how far the farthest house away from it was.

PERRY: Do you remember did they have more than one pump in the?

HALL: I'm sure they did, I don't remember. I just remember the one we always went to.

PERRY: When you went to the Callaway house did you have your own? You said it set over to itself.

HALL: I believe we had a pump out right by it pretty sure it did.



PERRY: Where did you have your own furniture?

HALL: Yeah. Now I don't know if they had some furnished houses or not I don't know but we always had our own furniture and uh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to [unclear]

HALL: [unclear]


PERRY: What shift did your Dad usually work in the mines?

HALL: He went to work before it was daylight and it was dark when he come home. I don't know how many hours you'd call that or what kind of shift you'd call [laughing]

Unidentified male: If you want to get some good stuff on that just leave it turned on I'm. . .


PERRY: Was your Dad

UNIDENTIFED MALE: What time you got to work ?

PERRY: Very dirty when he came home? [multiple voices in the background]


HALL: [laughing] Well you could see the whites of his eyes and that's about it.

PERRY: Well did, did you all usually, did he heat water and wash as soon as he got in or did he was before he come in the house outside, or what?

HALL: No most of the time he washed after he got in I think. We always had a tub that took a bath in, you brought in and filled with water and took a bath.

PERRY: You was talking about Christmas and that you all usually got a lot of toys, tell me about Christmas.

HALL: I don't remember how Christmas was with most of the kids, really I don't. 29:00I remember uh I know me and Truman and always had big Christmas. Daddy always seen that we had a good Christmas cause Daddy loved Christmas and he loved kids. And uh.

PERRY: Did you have any like community type things like a church Christmas?

HALL: They always had Christmas program at church and they always gave out what we called treats. Maybe and apple and a banana, some candy in a little old paper bag they gave you every Christmas at church. I remember that.

PERRY: Did they have a church play?

HALL: Yeah and they always had school plays. Always had school plays and always had treats at school.

PERRY: Were you ever in any plays?

HALL: Yeah I was in one of them. I remember I was suppose to have been an Angel but I think my wings [laughing] kept falling off. But we had just regular school plays and uh.


PERRY: [unclear]

HALL: Well there was four brothers Roy, Ester and Raymond and Arthur. Well Ester 30:00and Arthur and Daddy married my mother and her two sisters. So we were a doubly close family because all of my Aunts were my mother sisters and my uncles were my Daddy's brothers. Roy was the only one that, you know, that didn't marry into thte Hatmaker family. And I guess we were always closer because we were always at their house or they were at our house, all the time. And some of them was always at our house. I know Eunice, really she wasn't that much younger than my mother but she stayed with us. Cause I've heard Daddy said she was just like a daughter to him. Daddy was a big jokester and all the younger, the cousins always liked Daddy and they were all ways around.

PERRY: Did your daddy work in the, at Creech's when he met your mom?

HALL: Yeah I think he was working at Creech's when he met Momma. I think ours I 31:00think he'd just went to work up there; maybe I think he was staying with Arthur or Ester one. It seems like it was Arthur.

PERRY: Do you remember--you heard him say which one, which of the brothers married which of the sisters first?

HALL: I would think Ester and Sadie got married first. I don't know for sure but I would think so. Cause, and it could have been Marie and Arthur cause she was only 15 when they got married, so she was young. My mother, momma was in her twenties, early twenties when her and Daddy got married so. They were the last ones to get married Cause I remember you know Momma used to get mad and I'd say something about the Perry's and I'd say "Well Momma you should have known something about the family before you got into it."[laughter] And, but uh

PERRY: Well did they, did they. The two younger brothers did they. Or do--did you dad meet your mother through her sisters?

HALL: Probably. I'm pretty sure he did.


PERRY: Well--you said your mother was in her twenties, was she working? Do you know if she worked?

HALL: She kept house for a doctor, I don't know where he lived. It seems like he lived in Straight Creek, I'm not for sure. She kept house for the doctor Percpal I heard her talk about it, tell about it.

PERRY: Um hm.

HALL: And.

PERRY: What's the best, best memory you have, strongest memory of Creech's?

HALL: I guess the strongest memories are the memories of Christmas time and all stuff like that.

PERRY: Do you ever remember--

HALL: All kinds of things

PERRY: Did you ever compare living like in Creech's with like living in say 33:00Harlan? Did you ever pay attention?

HALL: I never paid attention. I think mostly you felt more like it was more like a family; I think I used to remember as a kid I wouldn't want to live down in Harlan. Roy lived almost in Harlan, I don't think Roy lived in the camp, and I always liked up there where we lived better. It was more kids and, and um it was closer to the school and the churches and everything. And the store, we walked to the store all the time, the commissary.

PERRY: Did they have candy at the commissary?

HALL: Yeah they had candy. Most of it was loose candy, you know, penny candy. 34:00They had ice cream. We used to get what they called Brown Cows, that was the best thing I think I liked best about getting to go to the store get a brown cow. Or Popsicle, they had Popsicles there too.

PERRY: Did you go to thte store for your mother much, did she send you?

HALL: Yeah. Mostly it was just like for one item, something she had run out of. Cause most of the time I think they did most of their grocery shopping outside of the commissary where things were cheaper. Whether they didn't do a lot of grocery shopping either, just flour and meal and staple stuff cause they raised a garden and canned, killed hogs. We had a cow, we had out own milk and butter so really they didn't buy a lot at any store, I think. They'd buy flour and meal and stuff like in twenty pound bags or fifty pound bags. I can remember Momma pouring meal out in a big lard can. You could buy a lard can cause they used to render out their own lard, you know.

PERRY: Um hm.

HALL: And cure their own meat. I remember we had a smokehouse that they'd cure 35:00the meat in and all. I guess it really I guess it was kind of rough life and in a way I guess it wasn't, I don't know.

PERRY: Did you usually get a doll for Christmas?

HALL: Every year but it didn't last long [laughing]

PERRY: Why not?

HALL: [laughing] Truman always torn them up. He always uh tore the little thing in them that made them cry, he always tore that thing out. He tore up every doll I ever had, I reckon. But I always got a doll.

PERRY: What was your favorite toy?

HALL: It was dolls. A doll was the favorite thing I always wanted. I know I got 36:00a real pretty little roll top desk one time, but I didn't think I got a doll. I didn't, there wasn't a doll out that morning. AlI I was--the desk didn't even look good to me. Nothing I had there looked good because I didn't get a doll. But when I raised the desk, roll desk top of the doll was laying in there.

PERRY: Did most of the girl get dolls for Christmas?

HALL: Yeah most of them did.

PERRY: So everybody got, got some toys?

HALL: Yeah most all of them got, you know, toys. Maybe they didn't get as much as we or I think looking back I'm sure we got more than most of them, but.

PERRY: Did you all have a radio?

HALL: Yeah. We always had a radio. Daddy played music he loved music. We always, as long as I remember had a radio.

PERRY: Did you have a record player?

HALL: Um, I don't think we did. Ester and them did. His boys Rowdy and them had 37:00a big record, what we considered a big Victrola. It was in a box, you know, like a stereo looks now, to us then. And they had every record, country music record, I guises, that was out, my cousins. We used to go up there and listen to it all the time.

PERRY: This is a silly question at this point but uh, so there was electricity all in the houses?

HALL: Oh yeah, we had electricity.

PERRY: Do you know was there any other houses that didn't have electricity or did they all have it?

HALL: I don't remember ever living where we didn't have electricity.

PERRY: So they had electricity pretty much all over the county.

HALL: Yeah, at least I remember they did.

PERRY: What would you say was the biggest disadvantage or living in a mining camp?

HALL: Well I guess you're more or less sort of like isolated now. Of course at 38:00the time we didn't see it that way. We were just, we lived there. Of course we got out more but I would guess that would be about the biggest disadvantage. I don't know how to put it.

PERRY: But at the time.

HALL: At the time it wasn't, see I was only eleven, maybe if I had been a teenager I would have seen the disadvantages but I doubt it.

PERRY: l so contrary to what most people seem to think uh living in a mining camp is just not all that bad?

HALL: Well at the time with us it didn't seem bad. Of course, we had a little 39:00bit better than a lot of people, I guess, did that lived in mining camps, they can't remember harder times but best I remember we didn't have it that hard, you know. I guess Mom and Daddy thought they were having it hard, they were saving and all but uh, we really had it pretty good. Other than you know, I used to, even as a kid I always worried about Daddy being in the mines. I was afraid they'd cave in, you know or something like that.

PERRY: Was that something

HALL: And then especially after so many of them got hurt.

PERRY: Is that something--did your friends; you and your friends ever talk about mining accidents, somebody getting hurt?

HALL: Only when they had one and somebody was hurt. When my, I remember when Roy got hurt we all, everybody talked about it. But I was crying and scared because he was my uncle. But like Arthur was hurt before I was born so I don't remember that other than [cough].

PERRY: Well while you were living at Creech's where all there was all no big mine cave in, like you hear about, nothing like that, it was single accidents.

HALL: I don't remember anything like that, just mostly single accidents would happened.


PERRY: Do you remember when your Daddy got his nose broke?

HALL: No. I don't remember when Daddy got his nose broke up there.

PERRY: Um hm. Oh I know a question I wanted to ask. Were there any black miners in Creech's?

HALL: No not that I know of. I don't remember ever seeing any black people up there.

Unidentified person: [whispering] Bad luck.

[laughter -- source unknown]

HALL: No they weren't. I think at that time they were considered bad luck or if a black person or a woman went in a mines.

PERRY: And, and so there were no.

HALL: So there were no black people or women working in the mines. They 41:00considered it, they had a lot of superstitions, and coal miners did and it's a lot of anything.

PERRY: Did you ever remember any a woman going into a mine and then miners wouldn't go in or anything like that?

HALL: I don't. [whispering]

[tape turned off]

PERRY: So your father was never hurt in the mines while you were growing up?

HALL: Not that I know. One time we thought he was hurt. He had a catch in his 42:00back, he couldn't straighten up. He was all doubled over even sit on the floor to put his shoes on and we thought he was hurt then. And, but the doctors kept assaying that it was his teeth that was causing his back to be like that. He went and had all his teeth pulled. It liked to killed him when he went and had them all pulled at one time. And he likely to bleed to death. I remember pans of blood. But it wasn't his teeth and Daddy had perfect teeth. But it wasn't his teeth because he still had trouble; it wasn't a thing from being bent over in the mines so much.

PERRY: What did he catch, the catch, did he get the catch in the mines, did he come home that way?

HALL: Yeah he come home that way. We thought he was dying.

PERRY: So you just looked out and here he comes. Where did he go to have his teeth pulled? Did he have them pulled in the camp dentistry?

HALL: No he had them pulled in.


HALL: Harlan I guess.

PERRY: When did you call the doctor, when he stopped bleeding?

HALL: Yeah he had to call the doctor. He had to go back to the doctor and they pack his gums someway but he liked to bleed to death.

PERRY: It wasn't it anyway?

HALL: And it wasn't ever that. No it wasn't his teeth.

[tape turned off]

PERRY: Do you remember any, do you remember like when your Dad joined the union or was he in the union?

HALL: He was in the union. I know, I remember one time when they were on strike 43:00up there and they had a lot of problems, shootings and it was bad. Everybody was scared, you know, people going to get, a lot of people were going to get killed. But I think, during that time my Daddy came down to Corbin, or, they went somewhere begging. Playing music and begging for money to make it during the strike, but we did. [laughing]

PERRY: About what year would that have been?

HALL: That must have been when I was about two or three, just little. Four or five years old.

PERRY: Did they ever come out on strike, say after 1940?

HALL: I'm sure they did but I don't remember it.

PERRY: There wasn't any trouble?

HALL: If there was I didn't pay any attention it wasn't.

PERRY: Do you, can you remember when the Second World War started?

HALL: Lord, no I'm not that old. [laughter] No I don't remember too much about 44:00it. I always tried to block wars out of my mind they were always scared me.

PERRY: I was just wondering about the reaction in the mining camp you know, what did you all do about it?

HALL: I don't remember that much about it really. About the war other than I know two of my cousins were in the war.

PERRY: Uh. Did [teapot whistle -- tape turned off]

PERRY: Earlier on the tape you said Callaway house, well most of the houses, had two bedrooms. Did you and your brother your brother sleep in one bedroom and your mom and dad sleep in the other one or?

HALL: Yeah.

PERRY: What kind of, did you have to put like double beds in there or do you remember?

HALL: Um, I'm sure, I think we had two beds in there. Best I remember we did 45:00because always on Sunday morning we always used to fight over jumping in bed with Daddy while momma cooked breakfast. Because Daddy played with us, you know. Uh, And then one time I woke up before Truman did, I was going to be in there first. And I started running and he come behind me, and I don't know how I did a summersault and I got a crick in my neck. Oh it liked to have killed me, I threw up, it hurt. Daddy had to call. It was on a Sunday morning and Daddy had get the doctor and had to take me up to the doctors office. Cause I had that crick.

PERRY: Did you, did you really get to play with him much?

HALL: On Sundays. Well any, on, most of the time it was kind of late when Daddy 46:00got home from work. They used. . . .

PERRY: Did you set out and wait for him or would you all go on to bed?

HALL: Uh, sometimes we could wait for him on Friday nights or Saturday nights you know if it wasn't too late through the week most of the time. I think most of the time we did stay up till Daddy come home.

PERRY: So you got to see your Daddy a good bit?

HALL: Yeah we saw him everyday. It was just him coming home and getting ready to go to bed, you know. But we saw him. And Daddy used to play baseball. They used to have a big ball field. I can remember the ball field out there. The men all went down on Sundays and they played ball.

PERRY: Was that right in camp, the ball field?

HALL: Yeah.

PERRY: Was it the mining camp team?

HALL: I think they had two or three teams that were different men just got up 47:00teams and they played ball. It seemed like they did have a team. Seamed like there was teams from other places come up, from Harlan and somewhere else. They'd come up there and they play.

PERRY: Do you know did the company buy the equipment or did the men buy their own?

HALL: I don't remember. I don't remember that, who bought the equipment.


PERRY: Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about the mining camp?

HALL: I don't know of anything else. Mostly when you start remembering things that's when you get to talking with your family or somebody that brings up something, then you remember what went on.

PERRY: Well I want to thank you for allowing me to tape this interview.

HALL: You're welcome.