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William H. Berge Oral History Center Coal Company Towns Project Interview with Ponce De Leon Walters February 23 1982(1982 OH 094) Conducted by William Berge Transcribed by Emma Roach-Barrette

William Berge: The following is an unrehearsed taped interview with Mr. Pnce De Leon Walters of Lynch, Kentucky. The interview was conducted in Mr. Walter's home in Lynch, Kentucky on February 23 1982 at 10:30 am. The interview was conducted by Berge for the Oral History Center at Eastern Kentucky University. Berge: Mr. Watson I want to thank you for letting me come up here today and talk with you I know you uh Mr. Walters I mean. And uh it's uh nice for you to let me talk with you. Let's start out with you telling me your name, the year you were born and things like that. Ponce De Leon Walters: My name is Ponce De Leon Walters. Berge: How do you pronounce it again? Walters: Ponce De Leon Walters. P-O-N-. Berge: Oh yeah. Walters: C-E then D-E L-E-O-N and then Walters. Berge: 1:00What do people call you Mr. Walters? Walters: Well the they use to call me let's see they called me Poncho back way. Berge: When you? Walters: When I was on on the job. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Fellas started on the about ten or twelve years ago called me Poncho. Some of them called me uh uh Leon that's what they mostly called me. I was born September 23, 1912. Berge: 1912. Where were you born? Walters: Charhome, Alabama in Lowence Corner. Berge: I know where that is. Walters: Yeah, Yeah that's where I was born. Berge: Did uh what was your mother's name? Walters: She was named Purely Walters. Berge: Purely? Walters: Yeah. Her maiden name was Purely Johnson. Berge: Purely Johnson. What was your father's name? Walters: Preston Walters. Berge: Preston? Walters: Mhm. Berge: Who named you, your mother? Walters: First cousin I was told. Berge: Uh hu. Walters: He's named cause uh I went Birmingham one time from here in my latters 2:00years was the first time I meet him and he told me he was the on. Berge: That named you? Walters: That named me. Berge: How did you get up here? Walters: Well through my father. My father was coal mining in Alabama and you know in 27 the mine where he worked is kind of getting bad a little but an decided to come up here, come up here in May 27, 1927. Berge: How did he here about this? Walters: Well through other miners. You know miners they usually go from one job from to another just like West Virginia a lot of the miners from Alabama went to West Virginia. Berge: Well when your father first came up here to mine did he bring you right then or did you come up here? Walters: No he I come up here I believe it was the last day of July 1927, 31st of July and got here the 1st of August 3:00and uh they had train running up through here. Berge: Oh that's how you came by a train? Walters: Yeah. See I come up here the second. Berge: You were fifteen? Walters: Going on fifteen. Berge: So you can remember that good then? Were you scared? Walters: No wasn't scared I had. Berge: You had a lot to travel, were you traveling with somebody else? Walters: Uh no I brought my and me and my brother was going. There was a lady going to Benham she had three or four children she was going to her husband they sent her and I was helping her see after her children, so. Berge: Well you had somebody to come with you weren't coming by yourself or anything like that. Walters: And so uh. Berge: What did you think of these mountains when you saw them? Walters: Well I mean they were pretty at that time but coming from the city I didn't like it I wanted to go back home. Berge: You did? Walters: Yeah but after a little while I got acquainted with and it's beautiful when it's snowing and out on the trees and all. Berge: When you were a boy you went to school in Alabama I guess? Walters: 4:00Yes I went to what you call Lankwin Elementary school out in Birmingham. Berge: In Birmingham? Walters: Yeah. Berge: Did you ever go to school up here? Walters: Yeah I finished high school. Berge: You did right up here? Walters: No. Berge: At that high school? Walters: Down here yeah. It was uh West Main. Berge: Yeah I know the school. So you actually finished high school after you came up here? Walters: Yeah finished high school in 1933. Berge: When you came up here in 27. Walters: Yes. Berge: Where did your dad live? Walters: He lived at the house across from here that house. Berge: That house right over here? Walters: Yeah that slate cut house. Berge: So that's where you lived then? Walters: Yeah. Berge: You've been living right here in the same corner of this town for your whole life practically haven't you? Walters: Well not exact cause after when the first year come New Year come Mr. Quagnmer superintendent in Lynch at that time he asked my daddy since there was no body but just two boys and my father to take a smaller house and back then 30, I believe come in to long finished 5:00building some more house to accommodate the worker cause back then I mean really latter on they had about five, five thousand men working on in there. I mean on the pay role at that time. So he took a three room house on what you called Folk Street back up in the hills. Berge: Yeah that's turned down now? Walters: Yeah all that torn down. Berge: Do you remember when they tore all those houses down? Walters: Yes. Berge: How long did you live up there? Walters: Uh I lived there until with my daddy until I married. I married in 1940. Berge: 1940. Walters: 40 October 12. Berge: 1940. Walters: October 12th. Berge: When did you go to work for the company? Walters: 1933 August the 4th I got a broken toe the first time I went it was in 1933 August the 4th and uh. Berge: And you uh so really as soon 6:00as you got out of high school almost. Walters: Yes. Berge: You went to work? Walters: Yeah. Berge: Did they give jobs to almost everybody? Walters: Well the um if the [unclear] saw me got job put in, but at that time who ever went with their father had to work with their father two years before they turned them loose. Berge: Oh right. Walters: They got to get you know get experience then they would turn them in a space by themselves if they wanted to go. Berge: Did your father, was he a miner? Walters: Yes, he had been a miner ever since I been known him, but he moved from Carolina I was small I was I won't I won't be exact about the age I figure I was around about oh about five or six years of age we moved off a farm from Bingham to [Jerusalem ?] Public Way. Berge: Like around Betsburg and those places or? Where what where's about around Birmingham what kind of work did he do there? Walters: He's mining he worked around the mine because those sooner in Alabama we lived in town and worked the big [unclear] mine for when we moved here, Bayview. Berge: Bellevue? Walters: Bayview. 7:00B-A-Y-V-I-E-W. Berge: Bayview. Walters: Yeah, and then 27 mines that getten. Berge: Bad down there? Walters: He come up here. He and another feller named George. I forget his name right now. Berge: Now you started work then for U.S. Steel in 33? [Berge and Walters Walters talking at the same time] Walters: Well yeah I started work, but at that time this. Berge: You wan-- Walters: United States Coal Berge: Yeah. Walters: I believe. Berge: Yeah, but still was still U.S. Walters: Yeah. Berge: They owned it uh and you went to work for them in 33, had you worked with your father for two years? Walters: No I kind of I [unclear] you know when you checked on pretty good at Bossa I worked with him about a month. Berge: And then you got on your own? Walters: I got on my own and then uh a little latter on of course when come my brother, I'm four years older than he 8:00is, but at the time he wanted to come into the mine so when he got a raise my daddy brought him in, but all three of us worked on the same section. Berge: You did? Walters: But I was in a place by myself and my daddy and my brother worked together in the same place but all [unclear] my daddy would check on me you know. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Keep, see me. Berge: You were young. Walters: See if [unclear] see if I was working safe. Berge: Uh huh. Did uh, do you remember how much you made when you first started? Can you remember that? Walters: I don't have it wasn't when I first started let's see I believe they paid me a dollar-- and twenty. I'm not sure, but I believe a dollar and twenty-eight cents for a car. Berge: How many tones is that? Walters: Well a car hold from two and half to-- Berge: Yeah. Walters: The average is about two and a half tons and best I remember now. Berge: How much could you do a day? Walters: Well they had 9:00us based on about uh about five or six ton a day but that's what they had up in mind in general. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: But some men load three to four cars up than some maybe load five cars. Berge: So you're talking about three, four, five or six dollars something like that. Walters: Some back in the those back then it wasn't too much a miner made but cause the day rate on the outside was four dollars, three dollars sixty cents. Berge: Now when you first started working did you still live with your daddy? Walters: I worked I mean I lived with him until I married then. Berge: Like back then you and your brother and your dad, all three of you were working? Walters: Yes. Berge: You lived together? Walters: Yes. Berge: Can you remember like what the rent was then? Do you know? Walters: It wasn't much mine, but I couldn't. Berge: six, eight, ten dollars something 10:00like that? Walters: It wasn't ten the three room house at that time I believe.... Berge: Six dollar? Walters: No between six and seven I was. Cause this cause a bigger house like this four rom house or five room house was a little bit more, but I can. Berge: So you all could keep some money together than? Walters: Well yeah we did, cause my dad asked me, I mean started me a savings accounts at that post office at that time. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: And he couldn't save no money right then, cause from the Depression he went in, all [unclear] that worked here worked cause during the Depression they worked around about two and three days a month. Berge: Yeah everybody got, got into the store and they got to keep paying them something. Walters: And the company give us well not-- Berge: They carried people pretty good? Walters: Yeah they carried us, carried. Cause when I went to work my daddy would tell me check [unclear] in 11:00the cars of coal and he checked enough to pay the expenses and then when uh payday come I get money because at that time they didn't during the Depression [unclear]. Berge: While you were working? Walters: Before I went to work they just [unclear] pennies well they drove one penny up to ninety-nice cents and back that time they what you call a cow club it was a loop of fuzz in each and each camp would get together and take them pennies and put them together and some body go and get, two of three of them go and buy a cow and bring the cow back and kill it and uh. Oh in that group there was cut so much meat [unclear] equally and that's what they did. Berge: They called it a cow club? Walters: Yeah, called it a cow club. Berge: I've never heard that before. Walters: They 12:00had a club. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: But that's just a simple name you know? Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Cause this group had a club up in number five and a club down this way with so many men see they camp one to camp whatever way. With number two in the camp back this way from that [Greek?] buildings. New two, then they camp as you go towards the tipple there at the bridge, I don't know if you noticed, over to the right was number three camp. Than they had camp right in front of the big store called, called number four camp. Then gap in [unclear] gap right they called that up in Gap Branch then that had another camp five and six as you go on towards uh top of the mountain they had a camp towards the [unclear] from, let's see if I can get [unclear] just when turn around look might just be pace from the whites school at that time. Berge: Yeah I know where 13:00it is. Walters: From down one up to [unclear] number six camp. Berge: Uh huh. Um do you remember uh was there some parts of the camp better to live in than others? Walters: Well all of them was kept pretty good. Coming from that time they kept the houses good, some body to work on them when they needed panting they'd come. Berge: They did keep painting pretty good? Walters: Yeah painted them. Berge: Were, did you ever, did you have a garden? Walters: Oh yes. Berge: Where did you have your garden? Walters: My father had a garden up on the mountain a lot of people had a garden in the in the yard. Cause when I was staying in number three I had mine in my yard cause I had a big Rottweiler. Berge: Big yard? Walters: Yeah. Berge: Where did you do most of your mining here when you worked for the company? Walters: Well I hand load for a while. Berge: No but where? Which, which mine? Like up. Walters: 31.What they called number 31 14:00mine on the Northside. Berge: Mm hmm. Walters: And another mien I mean thirty on the Southside. And then after I worked at 31 B.C and that on this same side, then latter on I rock dusted. You rock dusted a section and I worked that a while. Rock duster on the third shift which, when the last shift of the evening. The night shift of the evening after all the men leave then the rock duster crew will get together and rock dust each place on that section. Berge: Uh. What was the biggest coal seam that you can remember working in here? What was the tallest coal? Walters: I worked number four mine, heard about eighteen inches of rock over coal but the coal I guess it was around about let's see four and a 15:00half. Berge: So you could have almost walked, walked into there? Walters: Yeah more the bottom [unclear] when the bottom [unclear] you had to bend over to walk, but when you get to the faces pretty height cause you taken that rock. You had to take the rock cause when the machine, the place I worked in, when the machine get we'd cut the rock some of that rock I mean the coal would turn over then we would have to shovel it out or wait for the machine to cut it. Berge: What's the smallest coal you've ever worked in? Walters: Oh the smallest coal I believe was about thirty, thirty-six inches. I was conveyer weight then I never did load no coal then, hand load no load coal. It was, it had eighteen inches of top rock to carry that made it a pretty good height, but on conveyer weight [unclear] you worked in low coal. Cause most of that was low coal, few such 16:00miners had high coal. Berge: Uh huh. Now you started to work in 33, the first time? Walters: Yes. Berge: How long did you work? Walters: From 33 up until November 11, 1937. Berge: Then what did you do? Walters: Well the, I stayed around here for a while. Berge: What was, did the work just drop out or did you quite or what? Walters: No uh when I went away I quite cause at the time the mine boss he wanted me to go back to something that I used to be and [unclear] working on rock dust, ducting. I thought it was time to go to another section. And so I just went to [unclear] and stayed there for a while. But, 38 uh I got rolled back up in 38 August 8 and uh I've been working ever since. Berge: You worked ever since until you retired? Walters: Until retirement. Retired second 17:00day of May 1978. Berge: In 78? Walters: Yeah. Berge: Oh you were working for a long time then didn't you? Walters: [unclear] well. Berge: Forty some forty some years you worked? Walters: But uh the way I got it figured both term I counted exactly forty-four years. Berge: Yeah, yeah that is a good time, long time to work. What when was you made the most money, what years? Best years? Walters: Best years was a little bit before I come off retirement. Berge: Right before you come off retirement? Walters: Cause miners were making good money then. Berge: What were they making like then? Walters: Well there's about seventy, seventy, seventy-five dollars I worked on track, you know like the rail road people they had track work on the mines. I worked track on the inside and the out so I believe it was the best to my memory it was seventy, seventy dollars-- Berge: A shift? Walters: Shift and then before we got that, I mean before we got 18:00to the last contract [unclear] it was sixty odd something a shift. Berge: When, when did, when did the when was the mine union mine? Were they union mines when you came here? Walters: No, they was nonunion. Berge: When did they become union mines? Walters: Now to the best of my knowledge it no, believe [unclear] 1939. Cause in 38 after I got back home union people was coming in trying to-- Berge: Organize? Walters: Organize yeah, but the best of my knowledge I think the guys organized in 1939. Berge: When did you become a member of the union? Walters: It was in 19-- Berge: In 39? Walters: 39. Berge: Was were, were those scary days or not when that was happening? Walters: Well I [unclear] cause back then just kind of a little rough you know at that time. Berge: Did you ever see any roughness? Walters: No the only thing I know I seen is hear talk uh. Berge: You knew it was 19:00going on but you weren't involved in it, is that right? Walters: Because a friend of mine, he's a breakman and uh he talked to me. He said "Leon, union going finally get all over the country" then he said, he brought me an application one evening; he said "eventually you sign up". Well I singed up a little latter on the superintendent. Berge: He knew about it didn't he? Walters: Johnson. Uh he knew, what he was trying to avoid was having killing and trouble problem and he told all the men best to go along and sign up and that you didn't have [unclear ]how. Berge: Didn't have the trouble. Walters: Trouble like some of them. Berge: Like over at Crummies and those places. Walters: Exactly some mines [unclear] it was a little bit rough in but not too much. Berge: In these coal mines around here were there more black miners in Lynch than there were in most of these others? Walters: Well the they had a plain of foreigners when uh-- 20:00Berge: In Lynch? Walters: Yeah in Lynch. Berge: Like Hungarians, people like that? Walters: Hungarians a few Mexicans. Berge: Oh really some Mexicans? Walters: Yeah because there use to be so many that lived right down the street and so many that lived on what we called Second Street, but that was way back. Berge: Huh I didn't know the Mexicans were worked here. Walters: That was before I went in cause they had quite a few, but there were a lot of blacks on the job to and a few whites they just coming in. They had a lot of Italians. Berge: When you uh, when you uh first came here and uh started the work. I guess you bought everything you bought you bought at the company store. Walters: Yeah at the commissary. Berge: Commissary. Walters: And everything heck you could get anything from groceries up to [unclear], clothes, hardhats, furniture. Berge: Do 21:00you remember when they started selling beer there? Walters: Yes it was in the drug store department. Berge: Yeah. Walters: I believe they called it Near Beer or something. Berge: Yeah. Walters: Cause a lot of people use to drink it. Berge: Yeah. Walters: Had, sold it in the drug store. Berge: Uh huh. When you and you married then in? Walters: 1940. Berge: 40. Who did you marry? Walters: My present wife. Berge: Your wife here? What was her name? Walters: She was Annabel, Annabel Freemen. But she her and her [unclear] separated and she was a Carter before she was a Freemen they got divorced and we. Berge: How long, and she was divorced when you married her then, right? Walters: Yeah. Berge: She had already been and you meet her and you married her. Did you know her a long time? Walters: Well now since after she moved here. Berge: Here. Where'd she come from? Walters: She come from Birmingham. Berge: Oh she came from Birmingham to, but you didn't know her in Birmingham? Walters: No, I only think the only thing 22:00I knew was some of the children, never did come in contact with her when we, I was going to elementary school, she knew some of the people children that I know and uh she knew some of them I that know, vis versa. Berge: But you didn't know each other? Walters: No we didn't know each other see cause uh a boy one young man was in this classroom and I didn't know it until latter years we got discussing it was her cousin [Berge Laughs] but still we had never meet one another. Berge: Now most of the black people that came to uh Lynch did they come from Alabama or did they come from other states to? Walters: I was always said. Berge: Huh? Walters: I always said but most of them come from Alabama. Berge: Alabama, and were they already miners before they came here? Walters: Yeah. Berge: Where else had some of them come from? Walters: Some had come from West Virginia, cause some miners they travel from. Berge: They, they mined in West Virginia to? Walters: Yeah from different jobs. They didn't stay to long they 23:00work a while maybe too they uh I say maybe they want to go somewhere else maybe go Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia. Berge: When you came from school in Birmingham to come to school here, what did you think of this school compared to your school in Birmingham? Walters: I didn't, didn't like it. The only thing-- Berge: Which did you think was a better school? Walters: Well from where I come from in Alabama cause uh what I like there was the elementary school part they had a they taught you [unclear] they had a newspaper you now just enough to get you interested in it and then you go home, Cause the proper high school was another school that the from the tenth grade through the twelfth well we had see; [unclear], big band instrument, they had oh they done like uh working in 24:00cement making vases you ever see these-- Berge: Yeah. Walters: Concrete vases. Berge: Yeah. Walters: They had that, and that's what. Berge: And they taught people how to do that in the school? Walters: When I got here that's what I didn't like about this place. Berge: Oh. Walters: Cause they didn't have none of that like trade what you called it. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Only thing they had is what you called [unclear] going on, but they didn't have no trade here. Berge: Did you, did you ever any play sports when you were here? Walters: I played football. Played one year in Alabama for. Berge: On year of football? Walters: Yeah, I mean practiced but uh the couch wound's let me play you know cause children were bigger at that time. I started when I was fourteen years old. Berge: Yeah you were a little small I guess? Walters: I weighed a 120 I'll never forget I weighed a 125 pounds, 120 pounds and the coach thought I was just 25:00my god [unclear]. Because one game we remember went to Montgomery, Alabama we supposed to be playing the high school but they ended up playing the color team. When they come back, I mean I wasn't the coach wouldn't let me go, but the boys come back the next week I mean that Sunday all crippled and messed up you know. Berge: But you played up here then, huh? Walters: Yeah I played here. Berge: What position did you play? Walters: I played guard. Berge: You weren't too big of a guard were you? Walters: Well I was at that time I played 162 pounds. Berge: Oh you were. You, you, you got bigger then. Walters: Yeah, and then when I went on defense I played [unclear] Berge: Did you have good team? Walters: Yeah we had good teams those years. Well we went to Danville; I don't know what 26:00the year, 31 I believe it was. But we lost to Danville, Danville beat us. Berge: Bates High School over there? Walters: Yeah, and uh they had [unclear] championship [unclear] and they claimed they called us the boys from the mountains. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: I never will forget they all coach introduced all his player heads in the auditorium well the players they introduced us to was the second field team we didn't know we were going to have a field day [unclear statement] . The bigger boys and buddy they could play raw. Berge: Yeah, yeah. Did you all have good teams down here to? Walters: Yeah we had good teams. Berge: Well, what was then name of the school you went to here? Walters: Lynch High School. Berge: Lunch High School? Walters: Uh huh. Berge: And uh who were some of your coaches, do you remember? Walters: Uh the coach that I played under was his named M.F. Perkins he came from Louisville; I believe went to 27:00school at [Summon?] University at that at that time. Berge: M.L. Perkins. Walters: Yeah M.L. Perkins. M.F. Perkins. Berge: F. M.F. Walters: Yeah. M.F. Perkins that was his name. Berge: Was a good coach? Walters: Yeah he was a good coach. Small feller he got he was uh track fella and he-- Berge: [sneezes] Excuse me. Walters: He could run till he [unclear] you now. Berge: When you were a young man like say the time you finished high school and went to work in the mines and then until the time you got married. What you do for social life and that sort of thing living up here? Walters: Well on weekends at that time working five days we left on the weekends-- Berge: Hold on just a minute I want I want to check something. [Tape Interruption] Berge: I asked when I walked out of here what you did when you were a young man. Say you know young man but working and you already finished school. What did you do for-- Walters: Well I, 28:00[unclear] in Cumberland we had two regular places that we would go to drink beer [unclear]. Berge: Btu there's no place here in Lynch? Walters: No we would go to Cumberland and. Berge: How did you get down to Cumberland? Did you have a car? Walters: There's a taxi and bus run in. Berge: What was the cost to ride down in? Walters: I believe it was twenty-five cents one way, I believe. Berge: On the bus? Walters: On the bus I believe it was not sure. [unclear] We, during ball season we go to Cincinnati to see the-- Berge: Reds? Walters: Red and. Berge: How did you go up there, by train? Walters: Uh no different fellows at that time had cars, go in car. Know who. Berge: that was a long ride then. Walters: Yeah and um. Berge: So you liked that huh? Walters: Yeah then uh during Derby Day we caught the train going to, bunch of us about fifteen or eighteen of 29:00us took the train up to Louisville and be up there for Derby Day. Berge: Now these places you went to down in down in Cumberland, did any women go there? Were there you know, or were was it just men all men? Walters: Both sex they socialized drinking. Berge: Did blacks live in Benham? Walters: Yes. Berge: So you you got so you knew people like that to you meet them all over wouldn't you? Of course you played ball against those guys. Walters: Well we uh as an independent team we played against one another, but when I was going to high school uh Benham part of Benham students come here in those years because they didn't have a high school down there at that time, a white high school. Berge: They had a white high school but not a black high school. Walters: Yeah and uh black bo-children coming to school. Berge: When you were a boy, let me turn this over for a minute. [SIDE 2] Berge: When you were a boy and playing ball did any 30:00white people ever come to watch your ball games? Walters: Yes quite a few. Berge: From around here? Walters: Mhmm. Berge: Did you ever go to watch any of the white games? Walters: Yes we uh, uh go Benham [unclear] we got a team Beham had a good team because [unclear] kind good club, Lynch had a good club I believe Lynch started in 1924 by a feller by a name of who came from said he came from Knoxville I heard he started football there in Lynch I forget his first name. John [unclear] this his name. Benahm had a good team we use to go. Berge: Watch them play football to? Walters: Yes we, we around the time sit around on the hillside [phone ringing]. Berge: [phone ringing] Did you know of the names of any of their players? Walters: It's been so long [phone ringing]. Berge: Do you remember Spider Therman when he played at Benahm? Walters: I 31:00really what I mean, not names. Berge: But you'd watch them though? Walters: Yes, but uh I know. Berge: Did you know like when you were a young man here going to high school, like a senior in high school. Did you know any of the white boys your age? Walters: Yes that was uh I can't get the names it was [unclear] white school he at that time he was Johnson he had two boys, but it been so long I don't remember their names. Berge: No I mean did you know them then? Walters: Yeah, yeah and uh Roy said. Berge: Did you all get along pretty good or not? Walters: We got along good because we'd use to mix up and play--. Berge: Ball? Walters: Football. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Play down here at this park aright at this time. They didn't have a stadium at that time. Berge: So you really knew each other better say if you would of if you had lived in a town like Louisville? Walters: Yeah, you know uh Frank the center use to be the pay role 32:00clerk up here? Berge: Yeah. Walters: He retired now. Berge: Uh huh. . [Talking at the same time un legible ] Walters: We used to play against one another; you know mix up not no that [unclear] game Berge: Yeah I thought just pick it up. Walters: [unclear]. [Talking at the same ends] Berge: So you would you think that maybe the relationship between blacks and whites was better here than it was in most places? Walters: Well I won't. Berge: You won't say? Walters: You know what I'm trying to mean what I'm trying to say is we had good relationship because uh Mr. Workman had a boy son and he just be with us all the time you know usually. I say we had good. Berge: Pretty good? Walters: I'm talking about-- Berge: Generally? Walters: Young men you now our age, but uh some of the older people they you know is the little uh. Berge: Did it get better or worse as years went on? Walters: [mumbling] Berge: What would you, what would you think? Walters: I believe it got better because boys during baseball season 33:00played against one another. Berge: And you got to know the people better and that kind of stuff? Walters: Well we grew up, what you said, grow up knowing small place you know how you know a lot of people, students and everything going to school. Berge: When you and your wife married then you were already back here to work, then where did you go to live? Walters: We just own a place, number three. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Because at that time when I married place was hard to get, where you could room, sometimes you go all over [unclear] and Benham and [unclear]. Berge: Couldn't find a place to live? Walters: You couldn't find a place to live. The first time uh when my dad in law took me, her father; we stayed in a three room house with. Berge: Where was that? Walters: That was 40, 41, I believe. Berge: And where was that though? Walters: Up on 34:00Fourth Street. Berge: Up on Fourth Street. Walters: Fourth Street. Berge: One of those houses they've torn down. Walters: And then across from there my daddy had a three room house, and we stayed with him for a short while. And then I got a room in this house right across over here and uh she had some borders in, and she gave us a room. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: And we stayed there a while and then we left there about two houses from there. On the third floor, some houses had a third floor. Berge: Yeah. Walters: And a fella by the name of Bailey, he let us have the third floor. Berge: When did you get into this house? Walters: 62. 1962 Berge: When did the company sell these houses to people? Walters: 62 I would say. Berge: Oh so you-- Walters: Sometimes 62 I believe, yeah. Berge: So just about the time you moved here then? Walters: Yeah wasn't long after I moved in 35:00here. Berge: So and you once you got that chance to buy you bought it then right? Walters: Yeah, yeah cause the company you know they had what I called the new feller send out every day get the houses. Berge: That's why they cost a little bit more here than they did in Benham? Walters: Yes. Berge: When you uh, when you when you first came here you were renting from the company weren't you? Walters: Well uh my daddy was renting from the company, I was you now come as a. Berge: How much was his rent do you remember, at the end? Walters: I couldn't, I just can't pinpoint exactly what how much. But it wasn't to much because he had a three room house. Four room house was a little more than a three room house. Berge: Did they have electricity then? Walters: Yes they had electricity but they had outside. Berge: Bathrooms? Walters: Bathrooms. Berge: When did you, when did people get bathrooms in there? After they bought them? Walters: Well you take the lady right across the street from us she was teaching, she had she put her's in before they gotten sold [unclear]. Berge: In other words she put it 36:00in herself? Walters: Yeah he and her husband put it in before the, before the company even sold the house. Berge: When they sold these houses how much did they sell them for? Walters: I paid [mumbling] was it, I believe 6 7, 675 dollars. Berge: That's pretty good deal wasn't it? [laughing] Walters: For [unclear] some people--. Berge: You couldn't buy a house in Richmond for that. Walters: No. Those house kept pretty good cause the company took care of them. Berge: Of course after you bought them you did a lot of work to them I guess than, didn't you? Walters: You had to, you had to. You know because after you bought them you want to fix them up like you want to. Berge: I guess you did paneling and all this kind of business didn't you? Walters: Well I had some I got some young men to help me. Berge: Yeah that's what I mean, you put paid for all the stuff. Walters: Yeah I paid. Berge: It sure, it sure was luck though they sold them when they did, wasn't it in a way? Which is it, which do you think has been best for you living here after the company sold the houses or 37:00before? Walters: Well before the company sold the houses you didn't have no. Berge: Utilities and taxes and that kind of stuff? Walters: You know you had lights and water in the house, but uh what I'm trying to say even, in how I will put it. Use it in a way, I want to say carefree but I'm trying to pick a word. Berge: You didn't have to plan like you did now. Did you? Walters: Beg your pardon? Berge: You didn't have to plan like you do now? Walters: No cause in we way we just. Berge: Let them take care of you. Walters: Yeah and all that and sometime after we got the housing of our own individual. Then we had to, you come over ownership. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Trying [unclear] go to put in a 38:00porch you go to have some done. Berge: Do you think a person tends that take better some--care of something if he own its himself or not? Walters: I do, that's the way it is with me and my wife we tend to take care of something. Berge: Do you remember when you first got an automobile? Walters: Well that have been too long ago that has been, it was from my wife's uncle he lived in Dayton Ohio at the time. He almost give us an Oldsmobile. We paid six hundred dollars for it but he gave us an old one from 69 up until cause I bought a new 73 model and got this 81 model that 31 of July 1981. Berge: Uh but of course about the time you a car you really needed to get start having a car up here because there 39:00was no stores. Walters: Wasn't no electric by the car they'd steal your [unclear statement] Berge: Where do you when your wife shows for grocers? Walters: Cumberland. Berge: Cumberland. Walters: Yeah. Berge: Does everybody. Walters: Well lots of some go across, few go cross the mountains. Berge: Kingsport? Walters: No, yeah some have gone, but I was talking about across the over there in Appalachia there. Berge: Oh yeah. Walters: Like Piggy [Wiggys?] so. Berge: Yeah you mean over Black Mountain here? Walters: Yeah across over in Virginia. Berge: How long does it take you to go over there? Walters: It's just seven miles up seven miles down. It didn't take too long the only thing is just the mountain part, going up and going down. Berge: Yeah, it's a lot easier to go to Cumberland I guess. Walters: yeah just Cumberland ain't any more than about five miles from here. Berge: When you uh when you think about going to the city, where do you think about going? Walters: Well uh if I were, we go we would go where my daughter she lives in out in a community called Aurora, Colorado not to 40:00far from Denver. Berge: Oh. Walters: And she lives out there. Berge: Do you ever go out there? Walters: Oh we've been out there about four or five times. Berge: How do you go? Walters: Well first time went on the train the next time with motor and that last two times we went on a plane. Berge: On a plane? Walters: Mhmm. Berge: But now you and your wife don't go to Lexington I guess for anything do you, Knoxville or? Walters: Well we go to Knoxville because we have a friend who lives there he had to go down to [unclear] he had kidney problems had to go on get on the kidney machine. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: To survive cause they. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: The doctor at that time told him he couldn't get a replacement for it. Berge: Do you think you get good doctor care up here? Walters: Yes I say. Berge: Who were the doctors here? Walters: Right now we have. Berge: Back when the company had it? Walters: Oh. Doctor Petty when I 41:00first come, Doctor Petty he was the head doctor. Then Doctor Payton which is Mrs. Johnson's-- Berge: Father? Walters: Brother. Berge: Brother. Walters: And he passed and then we had Doctor Korea I believe he [unclear] Greenville, Tennessee. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Uh [pauses] oh we got Doctor [Shocklif?] from down there and you got Doctor Rikapeck that's a black doctor just lately. Berge: Where's he at? Walters: He lives up in he lives in Lynch. Berge: In Lynch? Walters: Yes and you have. Berge: Where's he from? Walters: He, he brought up around here. Berge: Oh you knew him from the time he was a boy I guess. Walters: Yes. I use to give him a lot of encouragement he only cause he at one time he thought he was going go he in fact did take up engineer but somewhere along the rode he decided to be. Berge: A doctor. Walters: Doctor and so after you know took his intern and everything people talking about. Berge: How many children do 42:00you have? Walters: Just one daughter. Berge: Daughter. How did she get in Colorado? Walters: Well now when she finished Tennessee State University [unclear] Berge: She went down to Nashville? Walters: Yeah and uh she left there, during the summer month that had what you call went to New Jersey a play a supervisor [unclear] during the summer months and from there she went to New York State a while and from New York she went to Dayton, Ohio no Toledo, Ohio that's where her aunt and uncle live, and she's there a while temporally and then she got a job as a [unclear] trying to think of. Social. Berge: Social 43:00worker? Walters: Line of social work cause she go head go around different families no, and then she married in [mumbling] 1960 that's when it was then uh her and him they wasn't, I forget the year, but it wasn't to long before they migrated to Colorado and they want to go down see everything [unclear] like working. Berge: Do they like it there? Walters: Yeah they like it cause he and [unclear] she was teaching she taught retarded children but now she got she started off this year for a school for small children with they got the, trying 44:00to get name of it I don't want to [unclear] my wife. She defiantly got it going for her now, she got nine students little. Berge: Hey own school? Walters: Yeah cause she went to training last summer and summer before last and old enough to open one of these schools she took all the training and all everything got everything prepared for it than she. Berge: If you had to do it all over again, Mr. Walter. And you were a young man here and just got married would you stay here or would you leave here? If you had to start all over again say you were oh thirty years old and just getting married or something like that, what would you do? Walters: Well I at that time I had opportunity to go off to college, but I didn't follow it up. Berge: Ever wish you did or not? Walters: Yeah I wish, 45:00because when I got cut open cut open I worked a little bad and me and [unclear] had a little disagreement on the job quite what you might say. I would have gone, cause before I left before my daddy left home we had a doctor there. Name of Doctor Jim More he wanted me to stay there even after my daddy. Berge: Came up here. Walters: Moved here he wanted to send me off to college at that time whenever he told me if I asked my daddy, see that was our family doctor you know had a family doctor go around. Berge: Yeah. Walters: In those days and he said he told my daddy if he would left me stay there he would take care of me and send me off to school and I regret it. But, I have to look at it my daddy he thought. Berge: He was doing the right the thing? Walters: Doing the right thing cause he did tell me in later years was three of us boys one of my brothers 46:00died, the middle brother died early 20s and he said he wanted us to grow up together. My mother die--passed in 1924 he said he didn't want to be apart. Cause my grandparents wanted to take me but didn't want to take my older brother said I was a pretty good size. Berge: Take care of yourself kind of? Walters: Yeah. Berge: Help? Walters: On the farm. My daddy wouldn't let us be separated he said he would rather keep us together. Berge: Yeah, he did what he thought was right. Walters: I agree with him, cause usually when children be separated don't have much love for each other. Berge: Do they places, uh what ever happened to your brother? Walters: He passed in 19, I forget the year either 40 or 41, 40, 41 I believe. Berge: He was young when he died than wasn't he? Walters: Not to young but you know he was young. I tell you he got shot years 47:00ago in Alabama, and he got shot right on the left side. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Right around here. That bullet it gave him trouble because me and my daddy carried him across the mine. Doctor Botts back in the 30s and he treated and treated but he had those spells and things and that finally kind of killed him off. Berge: Which doctor took care of him? Walters: Well I don't know his what [unclear] all I know is Doctor Botts at that time back in the late, late no in the late 30s there. Berge: When you worked in the mines here did did you think that the mines were pretty safe or not? Walters: Yeah they was safe cause this company spent a lot of money on safety ever since I've been anyways. Of course people got hurt and things but some of them brought it on themselves and some of 48:00them it just. Berge: Every now and then an accident happened? Walters: Or I called it hazard of the mine. Berge: Hazard of the mine. Do you like mine, did you like mine work? Walters: I like it. Of course when [unclear] you tell my wife I wish I had gone to school. When I had the opportunity, I had the opportunity for it, Morris College. Berge: In Atlanta? Walters: Yeah they recruited players, football players, and when one fella he was and name was Oscar [unclear] he's a preacher now in last count I heard he's up in Los Anglos. But he could commentate his after year and after his first year he tried to and he tried to get me with them he said, "[unclear] I want you to try it out then": but I had started work and I told, told him at that time let me work until the 49:00second year and I got to like it working in the me until the second semester, second semester I got a year. I got to like it you know working in the mines. Berge: Did you ever get, were you ever a hunter or a fisherman or anything like that? Walters: No I never did. Berge: Never did much of that? Walters: No. Berge: Did you have any friends who did that? Walters: Yeah plenty of friends that you know around here that fish and hunt and. Berge: Do you and your wife ever travel around Kentucky or Tennessee, or you just stay right here most of the time? Walters: Well we get around sometimes. Berge: Where do you like to go best? Walters: I like of course I stayed in Louisville a little while before I meet her. I like to around Lexington. We have been planning some trips [unclear] when our children come in, but they never did materialize and so I got a [grand girl?] that' going to Ohio University. Berge: Oh she is. Walters: And this is 50:00her first year so she finished high school last year and she wanted her grandparents to be there with them when she walked. We got a middle child, she's a good female and um I tried to give her a trip to the fair and she said no she wanted her grandparents to be with her when she came out of high school. And I got a grandson he's thirteen years old and I don't know where he's [unclear] when he comes out of high school I believe he's going to want us to be at his graduation. Berge: So that's where you're spending most you're traveling going to graduation? Walters: We usually when we leave here we leave the last part of May stay about the first week of July before we come back. Berge: So you make long trips [unclear]? Walters: We usually go to Alabama some summers, some summers we got to Dayton and then when the grandchildren were young we would 51:00play Santie Clause to them when they was living in Toledo. Berge: You'd go up there? Walters: Yeah, we had some bad, bad weather doing. Berge: I bet you did. Walters: Uh I remember one Christmas, four Christmases, going to Toledo and we got as far as Harlan [unclear] said we ain't about to leave now. So we stayed the next day till 1:15, 1:30 before we got to Toledo we got into Toledo about 4:30 Christmas morning. Berge: [laughing] Walters: Just in time to play Santie Clause. Berge: Yeah, yeah. Walters: Cause Phil, I mean our daughter and son-in-law worried about us. Berge: When you, are, are you a basketball football fan still? Walters: I like both of them. Berge: What teams do you like? Walters: Well I like the Big Blues, in football I've been going along with uh I'm mixed feeling there cause I like Alabama football, I like UCL, and, and these late 52:00years some other school, cause I didn't think too much of Kentucky football team but I love3 their basketball team. They always have a great basketball team for years. Berge: Did you ever get to see Eastern Kentucky playing football on television? Walters: I've saw them on television but I've never been to the game. Berge: Several of players from Lynch played up at Eastern. Walters: Yeah. Berge: Joe Washington played up there. Walters: Yeah I remember cause he out from Louisville now. Berge: Yeah he picked the outstanding teacher in Kentucky award. Walters: Yes, we read in the paper. They had an award they honor him. Berge: Yeah. Walters: He uh I don't know about two years ago I believe it was. He and his wife come in. Berge: Then there. Walters: His parents live right down 53:00the street right below the telephone. Berge: Oh they do? Walters: Office there that first house below that. Berge: Yeah and there was another boy from Lynch played down at Eastern. [unclear] Flannry he played down at Eastern. Walters: Yeah I know. Berge: Did you know him? Walters: I know his people. Berge: They live up on Main Street I think. Walters: Yeah. Berge: He played at Eastern to. There's been a number of them from up there. Walters: We have a number of outstanding students from here. Berge: Yeah. There was the uh when you retired from up here you retired with social security I guess. Walters: Yes Berge: And do you have a miner's pension to? Walters: Yeah miners pension then uh see I come home disabled and uh one super. Berge: Black Lung? Walters: Black Lung, but uh after I won that suit I put in a suit against country for selling [unclear]. 54:00Berge: Uh huh. Walters: And that's what I'm drawing from now. Berge: Oh did you win that to? Walters: Yes I'm drawing from that, but I won both cases which took me around about sixteen months before they come through. But wasn't too long on the on the amount of pension social security card after three months after you put in your social security be coming in, but it took about four or five months for the miner pension come in Berge: The uh did you ever thing, did you and your wife ever think about leaving here after you retired or did you just decided you were going to stay right here all the time? Walters: Well at one time, wasn't cause of my [unclear] Berge: Uh huh. Walters: So our daughter just really live to far from our people, you might say, from Alabama. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: And at times I have the mind to still go down with her. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: 55:00Cause I believe I can be some help with her to and the children. Berge: Sure, sure. Do you think you ever will? Walters: Well I put it like this. I told my wife I said "I may ask the Lord to direct me" I said "I don't want to be in a [unclear]" you know what I mean cause I know I have to. Berge: Well, do you think you'll miss it here if you left? Walters: I believe I would. Cause usually when your whole life time is in one community imagine you'll miss your friends along time. Berge: Like, like what do you, when you talk to your friends now where do you talk to them? Walters: [mumbles] Berge: You go to their house or they go to your house? Walters: We visit one another. Berge: Do you have any place to meet? Walters: Not particularly we usually go around the post office we meet some that live on the other end. Berge: And so you just talk that way? Walters: We talk maybe hour, hour and a half depending on the condition of 56:00weather. Berge: You don't even have ball games to go to anymore do you? Walters: No just. Berge: When they, when they still have the football team did you go to a lot of the games? Walters: Well in the late years I started off going, but late years I wasn't much of a fan that followed to closely. Berge: Did you go to any of the basketball games? Walters: Yeah went few but not to, to many of them. Berge: Did you ever watch your wife's nephew play, Bruce? Walters: Well I watch him when I one, one season but it wasn't too often. About one or two games. Berge: Uh huh. Walters: Wasn't too often cause a lot of the time I just. You know when I come to work I just. Just get ready to prepare mostly for going to work most of the time. Berge: Uh huh uh huh. Well Mr. Walters I want to thank you for letting me come out here and talk with you it's been very pleasant for me and I've learned a lot from you. Walters: Well thank you. Berge: Thanks a lot.