Transcript Index
Search This Transcript
Go X

William H. Berge Oral History Center

Coal Company Towns Project

Interview with Mary Jasper

December 2, 1982 (1983 oh 045)

Conducted by William Berge

Transcribed by Ed Wilcox

WILLIAM BERGE: Thank you for letting me come up here today. I know its, its an awful lot to ask from somebody to take, to ruin their day for them, take some time out of the middle of the day. Let's start off with something easy. Tell me your name.

MARY JASPER: Mary Jasper.

BERGE: Mary Jasper

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: What was your maiden name?

JASPER: Conley. Mary Conley.

BERGE: Was that C-O-N-L-E-Y or L-Y?




BERGE: Ok. Now Ms. Jasper, there's something that people shouldn't ask women but I'm going to ask you anyway. Could you tell me your age?

JASPER: I'm 78.

BERGE: 78.


JASPER: Where were you born?

JASPER: I was born in East Point, Kentucky.

JASPER: Where is that?

JASPER: Just, I guess its about, how far is it? About five or six miles from, up on the Prestonsburg Road.

BERGE: Oh. Ok. Ok.

JASPER: Just below Auxier.

BERGE: Ok. Ok. I know where, I know where that is. Where you born at home?


BERGE: What was your mother, what was your mother's name?

JASPER: Molly Burke Conley.


JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: And where was your mother from?

JASPER: East Point.

BERGE: Oh. She, they, she was . . .

JASPER: I'm sorry, I told you wrong where I was born. I was born in Hagerhill.

BERGE: Hagerhill.


BERGE: How do you spell that?


BERGE: Ok. Where's that now?


SOPHIE: [unclear]

BERGE: It just, in this, in this part of the county?

JASPER: Just, uh huh.


JASPER: You pass it by [unclear].

BERGE: Oh. Ok. Now, what was your father's name?

JASPER: Greene Conley.

BERGE: Greene?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Where'd he come from?

JASPER: Daniel Greene Conley.

BERGE: Oh, Daniel Greene Conley.

JASPER: Um hmm.

BERGE: Where'd he come from?

JASPER: Uh, Lick Fork Jennys Creek.

BERGE: Mm hmm. What did your father do?

JASPER: Well, he did just about everything. He, he, he worked in the timber business and then he worked up here on the, helped build this railroad up through here.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: And then he started working on the tipple up here.

BERGE: When this, when you say up through here, you mean up through Van Lear.


BERGE: The one that goes up here through Van Lear.

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Was this railroad built to haul coal? Was that why they built it?


BERGE: Uh huh. When did they do that? When did he work on it?

JASPER: Must have been around 1908.

BERGE: Um huh. About 1908.

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: So really right, probably just a little bit after the time you were born, about that time really, wasn't it?


BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: Yes. And my daddy was working over here when I was four years old.

BERGE: What, what year were you born? 1904?

JASPER: 1904.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Then, so your father came here when they really started to build up big here . . .


BERGE: In Van Lear.

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: What company owned this?

JASPER: Consol.

BERGE: Consolidated?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Did your father work for them?

JASPER: Yes. He worked on the tipple and then he worked at, run the substation and then he worked for the, he worked at Number 1 first.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: Running a substation.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: That operated the fan into the mine.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: For the air, you know.

BERGE: Mm hmm. How far is Number 1 from where we are now? Do you have any idea?


BERGE: How far is that from here?

JASPER: Oh it's just around this curve here.


JASPER: About, about a half mile.

BERGE: Oh. Oh, we're right on it almost.


BERGE: And when, when he came to work here, where did he live? Where'd your father live?

JASPER: Uh, we lived in East Point when he first started working here.

BERGE: Mm hmm. And then did he move here?

JASPER: No. We moved down in the narrows just above the Paintsville depot.

BERGE: Oh, ok. Ok. So you, you never did live with your father in Van Lear then?

JASPER: Uh uh. They came here in 1917, January.

BERGE: Um hmm. You were 13 years old.


BERGE: Alright now, when you were a little girl, what, what are your first recollections of? When you really, now, you know, when sometimes people get, start to get older like you and I are, you begin to think.

JASPER: You mean my first recollection of the.

BERGE: Of anything. I mean when you-


BERGE: think about your earliest recollections, what do you think about?

JASPER: Oh, I can remember when I was in a, a play for orphans. I remember a little play.


JASPER: And I remember them putting me in a window and I was so small that they had to put me through the window.

BERGE: Uh huh. Who put that play on? Was it a school or a church?

JASPER: Uh church.

BERGE: What church?

JASPER: Church of Christ.

BERGE: And where was that church?

JASPER: Uh, East Point.

BERGE: When you were a little girl, did you have good recollections about going to church? Did you like to go to church?


BERGE: Mm hmm. Do you remember going to school?

JASPER: Yea. I remember going to school. They'd take me part of the way and I'd come, and I'd follow them back home.


BERGE: So you, you didn't want to go too much [unclear] is that right?


BERGE: Do you remember the first day you went to school?

JASPER: Yes. There was a great big girl sitting by me and she pinched me.

BERGE: Uh huh.


BERGE: Well, if it was later, a big boy would have sat by you and pinched you, maybe. Do you remember her name?

JASPER: Sandy Vottle.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Do you still know that, know her?

JASPER: Oh no. She's dead.

BERGE: Uh huh. Alright. Where'd you go to school when you first started school?

JASPER: East Point.

BERGE: Mm hmm. What, did they call it East Point School?

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: And how long did you go to that school?

JASPER: Oh I went, I guess, until I was about fourth grade.

BERGE: And then what'd you do?

JASPER: Then we moved to down in the narrows above Paintsville depot and I went to Hagerhill School.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: One-room school.

BERGE: Was the school a, was the first school you went to bigger?


BERGE: Was it a one-room school too?

JASPER: They taught up to the eighth grade.

BERGE: And then the one you went to when you lived in the narrows was how far did that school go?

JASPER: Oh, it was about three miles, I guess, from where we lived.

BERGE: No. I mean how, was that an eighth grade school too?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: From the first to the eighth.

BERGE: Do you remember your teachers there?

JASPER: Mm hmm uh.

BERGE: What, what was their names?

JASPER: Martin Robertson and the lady teacher was Chloe Rice.

BERGE: Oh, you had men teachers?

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Both of them were men teachers?


BERGE: Was the first one a woman?

SOPHIE: Uh, no. The first one's a man.

BERGE: Uh huh. Now, how long did you stay in that school?

JASPER: I stayed until I was in the, I guess it must have been at the sixth grade.

BERGE: Mm hmm. So how old would you have been then? Twelve, something like that? Thirteen?


BERGE: And then what'd you do?

JASPER: Then I went to West Van Lear.

BERGE: West Van Lear.

JASPER: Uh huh. And I was in the seventh grade.

BERGE: Why did you go to West Van Lear? Did you move again?

JASPER: No. We just lived down there and it was close to the school.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: We still lived down in the narrows.

BERGE: Mm hmm. And you went to there. How long did you go to that school?

JASPER: Mmm, something like a year.

BERGE: Mm hmm. And then you came up here?

BERGE: Uh huh.

BERGE: Did you go to school after you came up here?

JASPER: Yeah. And it was a little school on down here, you know where, that hollow where Eilene lives.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: It was a little school that was started in there.

BERGE: Alright, when you came up here in 1917 . . .

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: What house did you move into?

JASPER: Well, the house it's just over that way from, you can see this green house here?

BERGE: Yeah, I see that green house.

JASPER: It was over on the other side.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: Facing that house.

BERGE: So it was right close to here then?

JASPER: Uh huh. It was the only house my daddy could get.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: And it was a three roomed house.

BERGE: Uh huh. And it was in 1917?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: How did you light the house?

JASPER: Just fine.

BERGE: How did, no, how was it lit up . . .


BERGE: What did you use ?

JASPER: It had electricity.

BERGE: Alright, it did have electricity.

JASPER: Just these drop.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Now do you remember back then, how did they, how did your daddy pay for the rent of that house, do you remember?

JASPER: Um, I believe it was about eight dollars a month.

BERGE: Um hmm. You know, I've, some places where I've talked with people, they paid by the number of drops.

JASPER: No, they didn't here.

BERGE: Was that how your electric light, I don't mean in here in Van Lear but in other camps.


BERGE: That's the way they paid for them.

JASPER: Well . . .

BERGE: Was it by the size of the house?

JASPER: Uh huh. And then we moved and the green house I showed you . . .

BERGE: Uh huh, right across from there.

JASPER: We lived in the other one about a year and then we moved in that.

BERGE: Was that green house a better house?

JASPER: Yes. It was a bigger house too.

BERGE: Mm hmm. How many who lived there, owned then? How many of you were living at home?

JASPER: Uh, there were . . .

SOPHIE: [unclear]

JASPER: Let's see. Five. Five.

BERGE: Alright. Now, I'm going to start back. You, how many children did your mother and father have?

JASPER: Well, they had, let's see. Stuart was the baby.

SOPHIE: [unclear]

JASPER: And he came [unclear]

SOPHIE: You want total kids?

BERGE: Well, yeah, yeah. Who was the oldest?


BERGE: You were the oldest.

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: And then who was next?

JASPER: And I have a brother that, that's next to me. He's seventy-six.

BERGE: Mm hmm. How many, were any of you born after your folks came here?

JASPER: Uh huh. I have, let's see, a brother, Scott, who was born in 1919 in that house, that big house. And then Charles, another brother. And then Sarah and Pearl was born in this house.

BERGE: And Sophie?

JASPER: Sophie was born . . .

BERGE: Are you Ms. Jasper's sister?


BERGE: Ok. I can ask Ms. Jasper something again and if, if there's ever anything when I ask Ms. Jasper that you would want to add to or you think that might be, be, you two want to talk about it, you can because I think that we, I can tell the difference in your voices.

SOPHIE: Alright.

BERGE: Uh, when you were all living here, do you remember the houses you lived in down in the narrows and the houses you lived in before you came here?

JASPER: Yeah. Um hmm.

BERGE: Where did you like it better? After you came here or before?

JASPER: Well really I didn't, I liked it better after I got here. I didn't want to move.

BERGE: Oh no. No child ever wants to move. I can remember one time when we moved from Arkansas to Kentucky. The first night we were there, my oldest boy sat on the front porch and cried. He thought it was, we had ruined his life, you know, by bringing him to Kentucky. But, did you remember it, which houses were the most comfortable?

JASPER: Well . . .

BERGE: Which do you think was the, I'll ask you later. Which do you think was the best houses?

JASPER: You mean before we moved in this one?

BERGE: Generally speaking, did you think that the houses that you lived in after you came to Van Lear which was a company town, were better or worse than the houses you lived in before?

JASPER: Oh, it was better.

BERGE: The company houses were better?

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Did you have electricity before you came here?

JASPER: No. Huh uh.

BERGE: So the first electricity you had was after you came to Van Lear?

JASPER: Uh huh. Yeah.

BERGE: Mm hmm. When you came to Van Lear, not necessarily that house over there but did any of these houses when you first came here have water in the houses?

JASPER: No. It, well now, there was some in that row over there had water in them.

BERGE: But these rows . . .

JASPER: But, just . . .

BERGE: here didn't.

JASPER: These other houses didn't. Each two houses, like over there and over here, they had a house, they had a hydrant between them.

BERGE: Oh ok.

JASPER: Or a hand pump.

BERGE: Uh huh. When did you get water in this house? Do you remember?

JASPER: Oh, let me see. About 1959.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Uh, when, you lived in that green house across there with your mother and father and your sisters and brothers . . .

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Alright, when you came to this house were you still living with your mother and father?

JASPER: Yes. I've always lived with them.

BERGE: Mm hmm. In this house?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Uh huh. Ok. Now, when you, when you all lived here in Van Lear, where did you go off to school?

JASPER: I went to high school up here.

BERGE: Was that called Van Lear High School?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Do you know, do either of you know, uh, how the school teachers were paid? Whether they were paid by the county, the state, or by the company? Do you know?

JASPER: I believe, when we first came here, now I don't know how later they were paid but I, when we first came here they was paid by the company.

BERGE: The Company?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Alright, where, did you go to high school?

JASPER: I went one year.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Did many people go to high school?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Did many . . .

JASPER: We had students from other schools, I mean out of the county . . .

BERGE: Came to Van Lear?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: In other words, it was a considered to be a good school?

JASPER: I mean out of the . . .

BERGE: Out of the town?

JASPER: Out of the town.

BERGE: Was Van Lear considered to be a good school?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Say better than the other schools in the county?

JASPER: Uh huh.

SOPHIE: They had, they were sent to finish their school.

BERGE: Yeah but it was considered to be a good school?

SOPHIE: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Yeah. A lot of those company schools were, you know, always considered to be superior. At least some of them were. Um. When you all lived here, where'd you go to the store?

JASPER: Company store.

BERGE: How far was it from here?

JASPER: Mm, about a mile, I imagine.

BERGE: Did, did, who did the shopping? Your father, your mother, or you, or who?

JASPER: Well, we took turns about sometimes my father would do it and sometimes mother and sometimes us kids and . . .

BERGE: What, did any of the kids ever tend to get things at the store they weren't supposed to?

SOPHIE: [laughs]

BERGE: Why did you do that, Mrs. Sophie?

JASPER: Not, not really.

BERGE: But every now and then somebody did.

JASPER: [unclear]

BERGE: And now I've heard of a man telling me, err a woman, I forget which one it was now that told me that they had one daughter who was the worst for getting candy for everybody in the neighborhood, you know.


BERGE: I'm writing it down. Alright. Now you all lived here in Van Lear. Van Lear was a big when you lived here, wasn't it?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: It was a big town?

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: How big did it get to be? How big, what was the biggest family ever was, do you know?

JASPER: I really don't know the population?

BERGE: Do you know, Sophie?

JASPER: I, I never did but . . .

BERGE: Do you know how, the biggest it ever got?

SOPHIE: Um, I'd say it was around a thousand.

BERGE: Uh huh.

SOPHIE: or maybe around [unclear]

BERGE: I heard it was . . .

JASPER: Oh there was more people here than that.

SOPHIE: I'd say, oh yeah, I'd say it was around two or three thousand at that time.

BERGE: Was it, it was bigger than Paintsville, wasn't it?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

SOPHIE: It was bigger than Paintsville at that time, yes.

JASPER: Just, now, when we first came here, they was working, they was, men going to work all day, shifts a going at day and night, all the time.

BERGE: Did most of them live in Van Lear or did come in from other places and worked here?

JASPER: No, most of them lived in Van Lear.

BERGE: Uh huh. Was there a hotel here?

SOPHIE: Oh yes.


BERGE: Where was that?

JASPER: There used to be a, down there on this hill, they called it the club house for a lot of people to stay.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: It was way up on the hill.

SOPHIE: [unclear] of a hill . . .

BERGE: Yeah, well it doesn't make any difference. I'll find out, you know.

SOPHIE: Right.

BERGE: It doesn't, you know, if you tell me about something I don't know where it is, it doesn't make any difference, I just want to have some idea and then I can find out as I .


BERGE: Usually what I do, I talk to a couple of people and then I'll sort of travel around in this area and then look at it. Now when you came here as a little girl, and you were, I guess thirteen when you came here . . .

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: So you were right, good sized girl, what did you and the other children do like were there a lot of other children here?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Did you have a lot of friends and people to play with and stuff like that?

JASPER: Mm hmm. Well, we played jumping rope and hide and go seek.

BERGE: Uh huh. But when you got a little older then and let's say you were, I guess you'd call it courting age or whatever you want to call that,


BERGE: Where'd you meet boys to talk to them and stuff like that?

JASPER: Well, really I didn't, well mostly at church.

BERGE: Mm hmm. At church?

SOPHIE: Church.


BERGE: It seems that every woman I've ever interviewed when I talk to about them about that, they said they never did any of that but there sisters did and they tell me about what their sisters did.


BERGE: No woman ever did court but their friends all did, they tell me what they did. But you did talk to boys at church and stuff like that?

JASPER: Oh yeah. I had a boyfriend that always took me to church.

SOPHIE: A recreation.


JASPER: Right over here at, there was a church house set there, Methodist church.

BERGE: Right close here?


BERGE: And what did the, what kind of social things did they have? Did you, was, did they have plays here or . . .

JASPER: Oh yeah. They used to . . .

BERGE: Music?

JASPER: After they got the, now when we first came here, they had, just had a little soda fountain.

BERGE: The Company did?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: At the store?

JASPER: At, no. It was under the office building.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: Down stairs and then they had the recreation building. Well they had a theater but a small theater.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Well, who, where, did they have movies?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Do you remember the first time you ever went to the movies?

JASPER: You mean here?

BERGE: Anywhere.

JASPER: Oh yeah. I went to Paintsville movie. I can't remember what it was.

BERGE: Uh huh. But that was before they had talking movies?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Who took you?

JASPER: I went with my aunt and my girlfriend.

BERGE: Uh huh. Did you really like that?

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Was it, did it amaze you when you saw it?


BERGE: Do you remember the first time you ever rode in an automobile?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: When was that?

JASPER: That was when, that was about 1915.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Who's automobile was it?

JASPER: It was Stuart Bot. Used to be, he was a train master on the [unclear] .

BERGE: Uh huh. What did they call this railroad that came up through here? What was the name of this railroad? Do you know?

SOPHIE: Miller's Creek, I guess. But it [unclear]

JASPER: Bear's Creek.

BERGE: Miller's Creek?


BERGE: But the company owned it, is that right?

SOPHIE: Oh yeah.

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Uh huh. How many, they had steam engines, I guess, how many did they have, do you know?

JASPER: How many . . .

SOPHIE: Like how many that run up here at that time?

BERGE: Yeah, like how many steam engines did the company own? Do you know?

JASPER: No I don't.

BERGE: Did the company have their own steam engines or did some other companies come in to get the coal?

JASPER: Well now . . .

SOPHIE: Mm, no.


SOPHIE: I guess . . .

JASPER: They had their own engines because they just, they just went to West Van Lear, and they had to have.

BERGE: Oh, it stopped down there.

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Mm hmm. When you first came up in here when you were girls, did you get out of Van Lear much? Did you go into Paintsville much or did you go to Prestonsburg much or . . .

JASPER: Yeah. Never went to Prestonsburg too much.

BERGE: I always . . .

JASPER: Me and my daddy used to walk to Paintsville.

BERGE: Walk to Paintsville.

JASPER: When I had to have a new dress or pair of shoes, we'd walk.

BERGE: Well, that's, ok, that's what I was going to ask you. How you actually got out of here. Did you, did you have a horse or did you walk or how?

JASPER: Well, we had a horse but I wouldn't ride it.

BERGE: Where would you keep the horse?

JASPER: Kept it in a barn right up that hollow there.

BERGE: Ok. Who owned that barn? Was it your own barn or . . .

JASPER: Mr. Watson.

BERGE: Mm hmm. When uh, why did you got to Paintsville to get shoes? Why didn't you get shoes in the company store?

JASPER: I don't believe they carried shoes then.

BERGE: Ok. Ok. You don't think they did. Did you like, would you rather go to store in Paintsville than the company store?

JASPER: Oh, not really. I didn't have much of a choice.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: No, I liked, we always like to trade at the company store.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: But at that time the store wasn't as big as it was in later years.

BERGE: Mm hmm. [Unclear] Oh yeah.

JASPER: What, yeah, it says here that about the tailor shop, one other thing I was going to ask you about, what else did they have? Did they have a, did they have a barber shop for men here?

JASPER: Mm hmm. They had a barber shop.

BERGE: Did the company own that or did they rent it to somebody who ran the barber shop?

JASPER: No. No the company owned it.

BERGE: They had their own barber . . .

JASPER: They just hired . . .

BERGE: They hired barbers?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Did they have a beauty parlor?


JASPER: Yes. They did.

SOPHIE: Did they?

JASPER: You know that, what was her name, Anne somebody. Remember?

SOPHIE: Anne Hobson.

JASPER: Was a beautician there for a while but that was . . .

BERGE: Was that herself or was it or the company . . .

JASPER: Herself that run it.

BERGE: Alright. Where did the company doctor live?

JASPER: He lived up . . .

SOPHIE: Right between.

JASPER: Just right above the company store.

BERGE: What was his name?

JASPER: Well, when we came here, there was a Doctor Lyons and Doctor Sparks.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: Now, Doctor Lyons lived up on the hill there from the school.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: Doctor Sparks lived down here at [Palentish?].

BERGE: Uh huh.

SOPHIE: [unclear].

BERGE: Yeah, sure, sure. Ah, when you were a girl, do you remember going to the doctor?


BERGE: Was it, did you go a lot?


BERGE: The reason I ask you that, let me, I'll tell you why I ask it and then you can think about it a minute. Ah, you know, a lot of the people who have never been in these towns have a, an image of these towns which are not very realistic. They wouldn't know what they look like, if they'd seen one and one of the things I find when I talk to people is that the people who live in the company towns quite often had better medical care than anyone else because that was the only place where there was a doctor. You know, there were, at least you had medical care, you know, that's what I'm talking about.

JASPER: Oh we always had good doctors. We had the best of doctors and they had company nurses . . .

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: That visited the their.

BERGE: So really what I was wanting to ask you was, like, when you were a little girl and you lived here, and you were, before that you were a little girl and you lived, say, down in the narrows or where ever before your father-


BERGE: worked for the company. If you got sick then, were you less apt to be taken to a doctor than you were after you came here


BERGE: or lived in Van Lear? Uh, in other words, would your, because doctors, the doctor care was already paid for so much per month, were your parents more apt to take you to the doctor after you lived in Van Lear than they were before you came here? I guess that's what I'm really asking.

SOPHIE: [unclear]

JASPER: Well . . .

BERGE: I don't think it's very . . .


BERGE: I'm not asking it clearly.

JASPER: Now, you didn't have to take them to the doctor. The doctor came to see you.

BERGE: Yeah but like when, before you came to Van Lear, would it have been just as easy to get a doctor?

JASPER: Well, we had company, well we just had a plain old country doctor and he came to visit you if you got sick.

BERGE: Uh huh. If you had the money to pay him.

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Sometimes though when care is prepaid, you tend to have better care than . . .

SOPHIE: They tried the home remedies first though didn't they lots of times?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Yeah sassafras root didn't work then they'd call him.

JASPER: Uh huh.


BERGE: The uh, when you first moved in this house, the one we're in now, what year would that have been? About 1920 or . . .

JASPER: Let's see. No, it was . . . I guess it must have been about 1924.

BERGE: How would, did you heat this house?



BERGE: How did you heat the house?

SOPHIE: How did you heat the house? The coal. Coal.

BERGE: Where was the coal burner?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Where was the coal burner?

JASPER: Well there was a fireplace in the living room.


JASPER: And they had a heater going, they called it the Heat [unclear].

BERGE: Yeah, I remember those.

JASPER: Right there.

BERGE: Ok, let me turn this over.

[Recording interrupted]

BERGE: And you had that heater in that room, in the dining room there, and then you had the other?-

JASPER: Fireplace in the living room.

BERGE: and the heating in the fireplace. And was that all?

JASPER: That's all.

SOPHIE: And the coal smoker.

JASPER: And they had . . .

BERGE: Oh and your [unclear], the cookies coal.

JASPER: The cook with the cook stove it'd sit in that corner over there.

BERGE: Uh huh. Was that, did you ever get behind it and get warm in the winter?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: That was the favorite place, I think, for every dog and child that ever lived.


BERGE: Yeah. Do you, do you remember how old you were when you started to cook?

JASPER: Really I didn't, I'm not much of a cook.

BERGE: That's what happens when you live . . .

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: With your mother a good part of your life.

JASPER: I . . . mm hmm, now I, when I was younger, I cooked more than I do now.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: She does the cooking.

SOPHIE: [unclear]

JASPER: But it took, my mother used to, they used to go on berry picking. I never, I always got to many chiggers on me when I went so she left me to take care of the kids and I'd, I had the meals ready when they got back home.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: I guess I was about, mm, I was about 13 or 14.

BERGE: Janet said-

JASPER: 13 or 14.

BERGE: that you sewed more and Sophie cooked more.


BERGE: Why did, why do you think Sophie became the cook and you became the sewer?

SOPHIE: She had practiced it.

BERGE: I wonder why?

JASPER: I don't know. I guess she's just more gifted than me to . . .

BERGE: Why do you think, Sophie?

SOPHIE: I, I never did like to sew.

JASPER: She always liked. . .

SOPHIE: I couldn't sit still long enough to sew so I liked to cook and she liked to sew so she made most of her sister's clothes.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: I used to make all the children's clothes.

BERGE: Uh huh. When you were young, or old for that matter, do you remember the first time you ever, did you, let me just ask you this, did you ever go to a dance?

JASPER: Dance. Oh yeah.

BERGE: Did you like to dance?

JASPER: I loved it.

BERGE: Alright. Where was the first dance you ever went to?

JASPER: Mmm, I guess it was a square dance up at the theater.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: It used to . . .

BERGE: Up in that recreation building?

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: What kind, who played the music? Do you remember?

SOPHIE: We used to have a band, a string band.

BERGE: Uh huh. Let me ask you some questions now. Let's see, when you were young, uh, do you remember, do you ever remember going to baseball games?


BERGE: Who played in those games?

JASPER: Well, I had a first cousin by the, what is that...Bob Jasper was playing.

SOPHIE: Doctor Paul V. Hall.

JASPER: Uh huh. There was a fellow by the name of, they called him Rick [unclear]. I don't know what his real name was.

BERGE: When, when you went to school at Van Lear, you and your brothers and sisters, not just you but in those days say like from, oh, 1917 on to 1930 or whatever, did Van Lear have a basketball team, a high school basketball team?

M: Uh huh. They had . . .

BERGE: Or did they have a high school baseball team?


JASPER: No, they never had but they had a girls' basketball team and they had a boys' basketball team.

BERGE: That's what I was going to ask you, if they had girls. Uh, some of the smaller mining towns, and I was going to, and you can react to this, but some of the smaller mining towns, company towns I went to they had a lot more for boys to do than they did for girls to do and a lot of the girls, well women that I talked with, when they remember their early days as a child there, they felt that there was a lot more for their brothers to do than there was for them.

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Do you feel that's true or not?


BERGE: It's probably not as true in larger towns. You know, I've been in some company towns; I talked to people from some company towns where there would be only 15 or 20 houses.

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: And there it seemed like there was more for the girls, boys to do than there was for the girls. When you were a young girl, did you ever think that when you got older you'd leave, that you'd get out of Van Lear or did you like it well enough that you thought you might stay here forever?

JASPER: Well I really never thought about it. I just . . .

BERGE: In other words, you weren't preoccupied with getting out or anything like that?

JASPER: I just, I guess cause I, I never liked to move really.

BERGE: Uh huh. Did, did any of your brothers and sisters think that they'd want to leave when they got older? Do you ever remember any of them talking about like,


BERGE: You know, when I get old enough to get out of here I'm going to get out of here or anything like that?

JASPER: Oh yeah. I guess they've said that a lot of times.

BERGE: Ok. I wonder why some people felt, feel like that and some people don't.

JASPER: I . . .

BERGE: What do you think about that, Sophie?


BERGE: Did you ever think about leaving?

SOPHIE: Not really. I always was pretty well satisfied at home.

BERGE: But you probably had some friends and relatives who-

SOPHIE: Oh yeah.

BERGE: complained a lot, didn't you?

SOPHIE: Mm hmm. Yeah.

BERGE: About nothing to do and kind of stuff. What ever happened to those people, did they stay or did they leave?

SOPHIE: Well, some stayed and some left. Most of them married, you know, moved away.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

SOPHIE: But, I just always was satisfied myself.

JASPER: I guess our furniture is too good to us.

BERGE: Yeah. Yeah. When your, when your parents, when you were all young, were your, were your parents uh, they seemed to be real satisfied with what they did and where they lived and everything?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Did your mother ever talk about that, did she ever make comments to you about what she thought of the, living here compared to other places she lived or not?

JASPER: No. She never said much about it.

BERGE: Mm hmm. She just lived here huh?

JASPER: Yeah. Where ever my daddy wanted her to go, that's where she was satisfied.

BERGE: Where did you all, what, when you were a girl and your mother did the cooking before Sophie was old enough to cook for you, what was your favorite meal?

SOPHIE: The breakfasts was nice.

JASPER: Well, I just, I could eat most anything. I'm not too big an eater but what I eat, I, it doesn't matter.

SOPHIE: But what she . . .

BERGE: I think Janet and I are better eaters than you were.

SOPHIE: But which would you rather have? Breakfast, dinner, and . . .

JASPER: Oh, you mean what meal.


JASPER: Oh, I don't know, I'm pretty fond of breakfast.

BERGE: I think a lot of people who live in rural areas are. What, what holiday was your favorite holiday?


BERGE: When you were little, try to remember back. Which . . .

JASPER: Oh, Christmas, of course.

BERGE: Christmas? Uh, you know, I think one of my, my youngest boy, I think he loves Halloween. He really liked Halloween.


BERGE: When you were going to have a big, your family was going to have a big dinner, a big fancy holiday dinner, Easter, Christmas, or whenever, what did your mother have?


BERGE: If you were going to have a real fancy dinner, what would you have?

JASPER: Well, most of the time we had it on [unclear]. We usually had ham, chicken, of course we had . . .

BERGE: But, of those meals, what would, what did you like best? Ham, turkey, chicken, or beef? What did you like best?

JASPER: Well, I liked ham pretty good.

BERGE: Did your, did your father cure the hams himself?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Did he raise the pigs himself?

JASPER: He raised the pig, he cured his own meat, he cut it and he grabbed the sausage and . . .

BERGE: Did, did you ever have cows?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

SOPHIE: Three or four times.

JASPER: We turned . . .

BERGE: You get that three or four times . . .

JASPER: We made our own butter.

BERGE: Where did you, where'd those cows eat? Where, where did you put them?

SOPHIE: Across the railroad there in the barn that I showed you my uncle owned.

BERGE: Oh. Did, were a lot of people that lived in Van Lear did they keep cows over there? Or just a few?

SOPHIE: No. Well.


SOPHIE: Well mostly ours.

JASPER: Well, two or three families.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: But now when we first come to Van Lear, you may not know this or not, but the company farmed all that over there.

BERGE: Oh, they did?

JASPER: Mm hmm. See, they raised uh corn and everything for their, see they used mules to haul the coal down the mountain.

BERGE: Uh huh. And so they farmed that land across the river there?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Or the creek or whatever.


BERGE: Tell me this, did they have a pretty good selection of meat in the company store?

JASPER: Oh, they had the best, see they had their own slaughterhouse down here.

BERGE: Where was that?

JASPER: Well, it was back on the left hand side of the road coming up this way. It was that first tower before you get to Ilene's you know where those first houses are.

SOPHIE: Nancy's [unclear].


SOPHIE: One of the [unclear] additions.

BERGE: Let me ask you, Janet, do you remember when there was a slaughterhouse there?

Janet: No.

BERGE: When did they close that slaughterhouse? Do you remember?

JASPER: I don't know, I really couldn't tell you.

BERGE: When you all came here, how many stores were there here?

JASPER: There was two.

BERGE: When you came here?

JASPER: One, uh huh.

BERGE: And how many, was that the most there ever were here? Were two stores?

SOPHIE: No there was three.

BERGE: Three?

SOPHIE: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Do you remember the names of the men who ran the whole operation? Do you remember the superintendent's name?

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Who was it?

JASPER: Before the [unclear] manager, my daddy first started working, Mr. Rogers was the superintendent.

BERGE: Do you remember his first name?

JASPER: No. I don't.

SOPHIE: Seemed like it was C.J. Rogers.


SOPHIE: Yeah, he had a niece.

JASPER: And then E.R. Price.

BERGE: You can always tell how important a man is because the more important he is the less you are to know his name.


BERGE: My name's Bill.


JASPER: Then . . .

SOPHIE: E.R. Price.

JASPER: E.R. Price was the superintendent.

BERGE: [unclear]. Ninety-nine percent of the time that's what you know.

JASPER: And then his brother, Frank, was the assistant.

BERGE: Yeah, he was just the assistant. That way you knew his name.



SOPHIE: Mr. [unclear].

Janet: Then there was Mr. Snyder.

BERGE: Who was the superintendent when the, when, when the company sold all the houses?


BERGE: What did you all think when you first heard that they were going to sell the houses? Do you remember that?

SOPHIE: Well . . .

JASPER: Well . . .

BERGE: Were you happy about that or . . .

SOPHIE: Yes, in a way we were.

BERGE: Do you remember what you paid for this house?

JASPER: Uh, was it $1600?

JANET: I thought it was $1100.


BERGE: If your done with that [unclear]

SOPHIE: It should tell on that.

BERGE: But uh when people, when the, when the company decided to sell the houses, did they sell all the houses at one time or did they sell part of them at a time or . . .

JASPER: No they sold part . . .

SOPHIE: They, they had bid on them then, didn't they?

JASPER: Uh huh. They bid them all.

BERGE: Did you have first choice if you lived in it?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

SOPHIE: Uh huh.

BERGE: Did they tell you how much it was going to cost you?

JANET Um hmm.

BERGE: But if you lived in it, you had the first choice to . . .

SOPHIE: Oh yeah.

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: Buy it. Did most everybody buy them?

SOPHIE: Yeah, the biggest part of them did that stayed here. Now a lot of them left after that but . . .

BERGE: Well, when, when the company sold the houses, were they still mining coal here?

SOPHIE: Oh yes.

BERGE: Was it a lot of coal?

SOPHIE: Yes. They mined coal several years after they sold the houses.

JASPER: Now after all of the company, Consol went out, why they was a Far West that mined there, here at Number 1.

BERGE: Who was that?

SOPHIE: Far West . . .

JASPER: Far West Coal Company.

BERGE: Far West?

JASPER: Uh huh. Their headquarters was down at Louisa.

BERGE: Ok. Huh. And, when people like you all bought these houses, did you have to have cash?

JASPER: No. Huh uh.

BERGE: Would the company let you pay them so much for them . . .

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: So pay.

JASPER: The rights development company took over and.

BERGE: Oh so there was another company in here that handled the sales?

SOPHIE: Uh, uh, rights . . .

JASPER: It was just a, a company, a people, four of the . . .

BERGE: Consolidated?

JASPER: Company.

SOPHIE: Consol.

BERGE: Yeah, it was so it was really like a subsidiary of them.

SOPHIE: Yeah. Uh huh.

BERGE: Oh. Ok. Now uh when the house, the houses that were owned by the people who lived in them rather than by the company, course I imagine some of the people bought these houses and then rented them to people too, didn't they? Or did most everybody own their own?

JANET: Most everybody owned their own.

BERGE: Alright. When, when that happened, did the houses get, get nicer or not?

JANET: Well for . . .

JASPER: Well the now the company kept the houses repaired.

BERGE: Even after they sold them?

JANET: Oh yeah.

JASPER: Mm hmm.

JANET: They had carpenters of their own.

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Even after they sold them they did that, huh?

JASPER: No not after.

JANET: No not after they sold them.

BERGE: That's what I mean. Did they, did the company, did the town go down a little bit after they sold the houses? That's what I guess I'm asking.

JANET: Oh yeah. Yes now it went down some after they sold.

BERGE: Uh huh. Uh huh. Because some people would buy them and they wouldn't keep them up like the company had, is that right?

SOPHIE: That's right.

BERGE: But then of course there a lot of the houses got nicer if people did little things inside-

JASPER: Oh yeah.

JANET: Oh yes.

BERGE: doing the things they did to them. Do you remember when you got plumbing inside?


JANET: It was '59.

SOPHIE: '59.

BERGE: You got the plumbing inside in '59?

SOPHIE: In '59.

BERGE: So it was after you bought the house then?

SOPHIE: Oh yes.

JASPER: Oh yeah it was several years after.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Though uh, did they ever have any labor problems up here? You can remember any strikes and stuff like that?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

SOPHIE: Oh yeah sure.

BERGE: Do you, when was the first one you remember?

JASPER: Well it was in, the first one was in 19-and I guess it was in 1924 or '25.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: Probably 1925.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JASPER: My dad was on the police force.

BERGE: Here?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: He worked for the company police?

JASPER: Mm hmm.

SOPHIE: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Uh huh. So that's how it was a nice job when there's a strike, isn't it?

JANET: Yeah.


JASPER: It was nice enough to scare us all to death.

BERGE: Yeah, yeah. When they, when they had the strike was it a United Mine Workers strike?


BERGE: Was it United Mine Workers on strike?


BERGE: Uh, was there any, ever any violence?

JASPER: Well . . .

BERGE: You said you were scared to death, that's why I was asking?

SOPHIE: Every now and then there was some violence.

JASPER: I guess they.

BERGE: Did, did, when you, when that was going on, were children, did children stay in school or were, were they sent home?

JASPER: Oh yeah. Yeah, they used to.

BERGE: It never got that bad?


JASPER: They stayed, it didn't ever get that bad.

JANET: The kids always stayed in school.


BERGE: It didn't happen like down in Bantam and places like that in Harlan, is that right?

JASPER: No, huh uh.

BERGE: But there were, there, there probably were a lot of bad feelings though between people who, between union people and the nonunion people weren't there?


JANET: Yeah there sure was.

BERGE: Did they, did they stay out a long time, those bad feelings?


BERGE: Or did, or would the strike get over and the people start getting along again?


SOPHIE: Oh they would get along alright.

JASPER: Yeah, they got along alright after.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Was, was your father a union man?


JASPER: No, he worked . . .

SOPHIE: [unclear] company.

BERGE: Yeah because [unclear].

JASPER: Cause he had, he was hired by the company.

BERGE: Uh huh. Uh huh. Did, did you all know any big union people very well?

JASPER: No. Huh uh.

SOPHIE: No. Not too many.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. That, you were a young girl when World War I came along.

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: You were a teenager. Do you remember any boys that had to go into the Army from Van Lear then?

JASPER: Well, we hadn't been here that long, really. No, I didn't, I don't remember any.

BERGE: You don't remember anybody?

JASPER: Huh uh. Not around us there wasn't anyone, any boys that had to go.

BERGE: Where, where did you meet your husband?

JASPER: Well, he was visiting his cousin living right over there.

BERGE: Where did he come from?

JASPER: Pennsylvania.

SOPHIE: Johnstown.

BERGE: Johnstown, Pennsylvania

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: or Virginia yeah, you said Johnstown.

SOPHIE: Then he started working in the mines.

BERGE: That was his cousin who, that lived over there with, with Eve's mom from Pennsylvania too and-

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: came down here to work for the company?

JASPER: Uh huh.

BERGE: And then did your husband, when he came down here to visit him, did he go back to Pennsylvania or did he stay?

JASPER: Well, he stayed here awhile. He was in Pennsylvania when he died.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: He got killed by the train.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JANET: But he worked in the mines. He had.

JASPER: Yeah, he worked in the mine.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: Here. And then he went to, over in West Virginia after the mines went out up here -

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: and worked.

BERGE: When did the mines go, close up here?

SOPHIE: Um, nineteen and forty . . .

JASPER: Uh, really I can't tell you.

SOPHIE: Its in about 1943 or '44.

JASPER: Now, Stuart could tell you the day.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

SOPHIE: Somewhere.

BERGE: About the end of the war.

SOPHIE: Oh yeah. Mm hmm.

BERGE: Mm hmm. Do they still mine coal up here at all?

SOPHIE: Strip mine.

BERGE: Strip mine is all?


BERGE: The only deep mines around here are over in Martin County, is that right?

JANET: Martin County, yeah.

BERGE: Why did they stop mining? Was there just not enough coal or, or why?

SOPHIE: Well they said that it was worked out and now there's coal in here, if some other company come in and take this why they'd get as much coal as ever.

JASPER: They've been, I've heard plenty of rumors about them going to open up the mines again but not, I don't know. They say they're going to put the railroad track back.

BERGE: How did people react when they closed the mines? I mean, were they.

SOPHIE: Well there was a lot of them, the kind they worried about it.

BERGE: Uh huh. Did the young people leave then?

JANET: A lot of them did.

BERGE: In other words, you could say that probably more young people left when?


BERGE: Uh huh. If you had it to do over again, would you just stay in Van Lear and raise your, your family here or would you have gone somewhere else?

JASPER: No, I . . .

BERGE: Do you ever wish you'd gone somewhere else?

JASPER: I think they've done pretty well so I don't where they . . .

BERGE: So you've never felt like, I, well I did the wrong thing, I should have gone to Hamilton or Cincinnati or something like that? You've never felt that way?


BERGE: When people, young people left here though, the ones who did leave, where did they go?

JASPER: Oh some went to Ohio and some of them West Virginia and down in the lower part of the state and, I guess just different parts.

BERGE: When did most of them leave? And who left? When was the biggest exodus of people? When people went to work in the war plants or was it after that?

JASPER: Yes, just a lot of them that worked in war plants.

JANET: [unclear]

BERGE: When do you think it was, Sophie? When did, when was the biggest exodus of people? When, when the biggest bunch left. Was it after the mines closed or was it When-

SOPHIE: It was.

BERGE: the war started?

SOPHIE: It's when the war started there was a lot of them went to work in the plants at Ohio . . .

BERGE: Uh huh.

SOPHIE: at Dayton and then at Wright Patterson, you know, different places.

BERGE: When you all were young women, I don't mean teenagers but say young women in 20s and 30s or whenever, well, after you got out of school, were there many people your age and a little bit younger? Did many of them leave here to go to college?

SOPHIE: Not too many of them.

JANET: Some did but not . . .

BERGE: The few that left to go to college, wonder why they went and some of the rest of you didn't?

JANET: I just don't know.

BERGE: Did any of your teachers ever talk to you about going to college?

SOPHIE: Well, course I never finished high school.

BERGE: Mm hmm.


BERGE: Why didn't you finish high school?

SOPHIE: Well, my mother got sick and . . .

BERGE: Ah, no wonder why you didn't . . .

SOPHIE: She didn't know really . . .

BERGE: I wonder why, yeah, I know, I was kidding. I wonder why you didn't though? Did you not like school?

SOPHIE: Yeah, I liked school but I just . . .

BERGE: People just didn't finish then either.

SOPHIE: No, sure not like they do now.

BERGE: I wonder what percentage, this would be a guess now, but I wonder what percentage of the people that started the school with you finished?


BERGE: I wonder what percentage that started with you in first grade graduated from high school. Do you have any idea?

SOPHIE: No, I wouldn't.

BERGE: Can you guess?

JANET: I'd guess 40 or 50 percent.

SOPHIE: Uh yeah, I would say that.

BERGE: Oh you think so? That would be pretty high for that, for those days, wouldn't it? Did your parents like school?

SOPHIE: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Did they think you should go to school or not?

SOPHIE: Oh yes. Uh huh. Yes they really thought we ought to go to school.

BERGE: Ms. Jasper, did you, did you talk to her about going to school or did you care whether she quit or not?


BERGE: Did you care if she quit like you did? What would you have done if she came home and told you she wasn't going to finish?

JASPER: Oh well, 'course we wanted them all to go to school. All my brothers graduated. All but one.

BERGE: Why do you think brothers, why do you think the boys in your family finished high school and you girls didn't?

JANET: I think they had.

JASPER: [unclear]

JANET: They had us push them . . .

BERGE: Is that alright? Yeah but were they encouraged more to go to school than you and your, your sisters were?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

SOPHIE: Oh yeah. Uh huh, yeah.

BERGE: I wonder why. Why didn't you, why didn't you all think it was important for you to go?

JANET: I have [unclear].

JASPER: My mother wanted us to all go, finish school.

BERGE: [unclear].

JASPER: She never wanted us to quit school.

BERGE: Even the girls?

JANET: She felt she needed you at home, didn't she?


JASPER: 'Course now I only felt like my mother needed me at home.

BERGE: Uh huh. Do you think that girls really felt that way or they just used it as an excuse to quit school?

JASPER: No I really, I really thought.

BERGE: Oh, I didn't say you were trying to lie-

JASPER: Maybe when I was older.

BERGE: or anything. I just wondered though. When you think, when you think about it now, do you think young girls though like you were, do you think that you really felt that way or you were just sort of looking for an excuse to quit? Do you think maybe because you were girls you wouldn't really need to go to school because you'd probably end up just marrying somebody?

SOPHIE: Probably at that time, I guess we did.

JASPER: No, I really didn't that think that myself.

BERGE: But most, most girls knew they weren't going to go to college or they weren't going to do anything but maybe just keep house or something, didn't they? Did many women work in Van Lear when you girls?

JASPER: Not too many.

BERGE: Did any, where, where did the women work who did work?

JASPER: Well, the company store-

BERGE: What'd they do there?

JASPER: all at work.

BERGE: Were women-

JASPER: They're just clerks.

BERGE: Mm hmm.

JANET: Recreational [unclear].

BERGE: Were most of the clerks women?

JASPER: Yeah. Well, just about half.

BERGE: Mm hmm.


BERGE: Did they have a fire department here?


BERGE: It was company workers that worked . . .

JASPER: They had, they had what they called, they called them Hose House. It had these hoses rammed up in this little house-

BERGE: Uh huh.

JASPER: and along up the road there. Can you remember anything? No they tore it down.

BERGE: Do you, do you all remember real well when you were back in, you know, when you were girls like that, people coming through selling things? Did the company let people do that?

JANET: Oh yes. Uh huh.

BERGE: Like pack peddlers and stuff?

JANET: Mm hmm.

JASPER: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Where'd they come from? What kind of people were they, the peddlers, do you know?

JASPER: Well, most of them were Jews.

BERGE: Uh huh. And were there, were there some Lebanese and people like that too and . . .

JASPER: Mm hmm.

BERGE: like they were down around Hazard or . . .

JANET: No, never.

BERGE: Do you remember the names of any of them?

JANET: [unclear].


JASPER: [unclear]

JANET: No that was Pat Taylor

BERGE: Do you remember many of the pack peddlers? Do you remember?

SOPHIE: Yeah. Charlie Abraham.

BERGE: Uh huh.

SOPHIE: And Emmett Ollie.

BERGE: Ollie. Uh huh.

SOPHIE: Uh, Emmett Ollie.

BERGE: Do you remember where they were from? Where'd they live?

SOPHIE: Really I don't know. They just, you know, come in here.

BERGE: About how often would they come through?

SOPHIE: Oh every two or three . . .

JASPER: About twice a year.

SOPHIE: About twice a year or [unclear]

BERGE: And if they didn't have something your mother wanted, could she tell them that they'd bring it next time or anything like that? Or did they just buy what they had?


JASPER: [unclear]

JANET: Usually they had a big load with them.

BERGE: Yeah.

SOPHIE: Mostly anything you wanted.

BERGE: When those men would come here, where would they stay?

SOPHIE: At, they would stay at-

JASPER: Cutter House.

SOPHIE: Cutter House.

BERGE: Uh huh. That hotel?

SOPHIE: Uh huh.

JASPER: Mm hmm. They call it the Cutter House.

BERGE: Uh huh. What did the men do, what did men do for, well let me just, well, ah, are you two getting tired?


BERGE: Is it alright if I talk to you about another half hour?

SOPHIE: Oh yeah, sure. [Unclear].

JANET: Mm hmm.

BERGE: Ok. What did, when you were young girls, what did your father and his friends do at night when they'd get home from work or in the day whenever they got off shift.

JASPER: [laughing] Ha, I guess started their way back. He had to walk to his work and back and.

BERGE: Uh huh. But did they have a place where they sat around and talked with each other or?

JASPER: Oh yeah.

SOPHIE: Oh yes. Mm hmm.

JASPER: Yeah, they used to, us kids we was usually playing some kind of games and they was mostly in the living room.

BERGE: Did many men drink alcohol here?

SOPHIE: Not too many. Of course a lot of them drink beer.

JASPER: Well I didn't-

BERGE: Yeah.

JASPER: know too many around but-

BERGE: Well, was it, was it legal?

JASPER: a bottleful. A lot of foreigners got

JANET: Oh yes, it was illegal.

BERGE: Ok, where did they buy it?


JANET: Oh not the, not the alcohol.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JANET: But now we had beer.

BERGE: Uh huh.

JANET: They used to sell it.

BERGE: Well where did they buy the beer?

JANET: At the recreation building.

BERGE: Ok. From the company.

JANET: Uh huh.

BERGE: That's what I was, that's what I was wondering. Ok. Did they have a nice place to go up there and drink it or did they drink it at home.

JANET: They had, well they could drink it there as long as they was, you know . . .

JASPER: Didn't get ruined.

JANET: Keep order.

JASPER: Down here.

BERGE: Alright. And then if they did, they were sent home, is that right?

JANET: Sent home or . . .

BERGE: Just like any other business like . . .

JANET: If they didn't, they had the jail right across the front of the county [unclear].

BERGE: Ok. I got to change this tape now.

[Recording ends]