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William H. Berge Oral History Center

Coal Company Towns Project

Interview with Henley Waters

August 3, 1983 (1983oh081)

Conducted by William Berge

Transcribed by Lela Moore

This is an unrehearsed, taped interview with Henley Waters. The interview was conducted by William Berge with the Oral History Center of Eastern Kentucky University. Interview was conducted at Mr. Waters' Home in Whitley City, Kentucky on August 3, 1983 at 11 o'clock a.m.

[Those participating in the interview will be hereto designated with the following initials: William Berge, WB; Henley Waters, HW; Mrs. Waters, MW]

WB: Turn that on.

HW: [unrecognizable text.] You see, I don't know whether you whittle that much or not.

WB: No, hadn't got enough time yet, but I will in two years. I'm retired in two years.

HW: Well you may want to whittle then. You see, it depends on whittle there, how slanting you hold your knife how that will twist.

WB: I see that.

HW: I didn't know whether you knowed that or not.

WB: I didn't. If you hold it slanted, huh?

HW: Yeah, that's why I put it down straight - it won't do that.

WB: Huh.

HW: [laughter]

WB: I didn't know that.

HW: Yeah, slanting. The slantingner you pull that the twistingner it get.

WB: You can learn something everyday, can't you?

HW: Yeah, you can learn.

WB: [a voice in the background is talking but can't understand what is said] Yeah.

HW: See, looky here how little that is, buddy. Looky at her.

WB: That's pretty. That's a little knife right there.

HW: Yeah...I never did know nothing about them. Well, that's the pleasure in work that twist.

WB: It really is, isn't it?

HW: Yeah, looky there [pause] Looky there. [Laughter]

WB: What's your full name, Mr. Waters?

HW: Just Henley Waters.

WB: One name?

HW: Yeah.

WB: H - E - N - L - E - Y

HW: Yeah, yeah.

WB: And where were you born?

HW: I was born right in, just cross the bulldog, cross the Eighteen on the hill above Eighteen.

WB: Oh.

HW: And I about near, hardly ever did get out the hearing this Stearns whistle we used to have here.

WB: Uh huh. You could hear it all the time, huh?

HW: [laughter] Yeah, you could hear that whistle all time.

WB: What year were you born?

HW: Uh, September the tenth, eighteen and ninety-seven, I believe.

WB: Well, you're not too young then, are you?

HW: No, no I been here-

WB: You eighty-six?

HW: long time.

WB: Are you eighty-six?

[person in background talking]

HW: Eighty-six, coming up.

WB: In September.

HW: Yeah. Tenth of September, not long off.

WB: Mrs. Waters, what was your maiden name?

MW: Uh, Ledbetter.

WB: Oh, you're a Ledbetter.

MW: Uh huh, yeah.

HW: [laughter]

WB: This county's full of them, isn't it?

MW: No, not too many.

WB: Well, there's some though, aren't they?

MW: Yeah, they uh.

WB: Who was your father?

MW: John Ledbetter.

WB: John?

MW: Uh huh.

WB: So.

MW: Yeah, I come to Barsdale in nineteen and two when he moved there.

WB: Uh huh. Did you ever live at Eighteen?

MW: No. I've been by there a lot of times.

WB: You were right, you were close there when you were a little girl, weren't you?

MW: Oh yeah, after I was married I'd stayed out of the Bald Knob twenty years.

WB: Yeah, that's where you were living when you worked at uh.

MW: Eighteen.

WB: At Mine 18.

HW: Yeah.

WB: All right, you were born in '97?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Uh huh.

WB: Right up in Bald Knob?

HW: Yeah.

MW: It'd be Barsdale.

WB: Um huh, um huh.

HW: We had Barsdale and Worley [Mrs. Waters talking in background] and sometime they give it one or two other places and then time to move the shipment and people given' in the post office get it there you know.

WB: Yeah, but it was really Bald Knob though, wasn't it?

MW: Yeah, yeah

WB: Uh, what year did you go to work for the?

HW: I don't know whether it's somewhere around nineteen and twelve or thirteen, I'd guess.

WB: Uh huh. And where'd you go when you first started to work?

HW: Worley. Worley Mines.

WB: Did you work in the mines?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: My brother was uh course I was just waiting to see if two of you get double turns when they give you cars. And if you was by your self you'd just get one car, and uh, two of us would get two cars, you know, double a turn that way and I pecked around there him, it must a been in nineteen twelve or thirteen, something, I don't know, somewhere round there.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: I, I bout.

WB: So, you went to work with him?

HW: I was about twelve, twelve or thirteen years old about it.

WB: And he was older than you then, wasn't he?

HW: Yeah, he's ten years older.

WB: Uh huh. And that was at Worley Mines.

HW: Yeah.

WB: OK. Now, where'd you work in all those years between when you were a boy and went to work there at Worley Mines in the opened Eighteen? What other mines did you work in?

HW: I worked at uh Cabargo. That's in the, that's when the war was on.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: World War I. And then I worked at uh Mine 11, and uh Grassy Fork, that's Mine 10 I guess, and then I worked at Co-op.

WB: Oh, you did work at Co-op?

HW: Yeah. Then I worked at Fidelity. Then I worked at Exodus, that's above Fidelity, on down that line-

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Stearns line.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And then I, to go with that mining things have changed after so long, changes, wasn't no age keep us from working anywhere you wanted to or would. [chuckle]

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Uh, but I have done a lot of logging, I've lumbered sawmill, and get tired of the mines.

WB: You do something else?

HW: Yeah, and I farmed all the time.

WB: Uh huh. Other words, if the mines were closed or they weren't working or they went on strike or-

HW: Yeah...

WB: you got tired of it you just went somewhere else to work?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Did you go to school?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Where?

HW: At uh Beech Grove. That's in Bald Knob section.

WB: Do you remember who some of your teachers were?

HW: Yeah, the old lady, Mayfield, and uh old man Handcock, and I can't recall the other man's name now. I did, I went to two, three, or four different teachers. Right now I can't recall their name.

WB: Uh huh. You.

HW: I got all way to the fourth grade too.

MW: [laughter]

WB: That's a long while then, wasn't it? [laughter]

HW: And by rights, I shouldn't a got that far. I never liked it. Didn't, couldn't take no.

WB: Didn't like to go?

HW: I liked to be at school but I didn't like to study.

WB: Would you rather work?

HW: Yeah, yeah. That schooling was something I never could get interested in. I liked going to school playing, and so on like that.

WB: [laughter] I have a good.

HW: [cough]

WB: I have a good friend over in Laurel County. He's a man, he's not quite as old as you are but, his wife, when they were when they were children, she loved to go to school. She said she could remember him and he never did go. He said he went, he guessed he had a whipping everyday of his life, said he never went to school-

HW: Yeah.

WB: they sent him, made him go.

HW: Yeah. [laughter]

WB: And you'd rather been working in those days?

HW: Yeah. I'd rather work.

WB: Did you come from a big family?

HW: Well, they was eight, seven or eight of us. Eight I guess.

WB: Where did you stand in there?

HW: Let's see.

WB: You were the younger ones, were you?

HW: Oh, I was down about halfway.

MW: They was two younger than you.

WB: What was your father's name?

HW: Mose.

WB: Mose Waters.

HW: Yeah.

WB: And what was your mother's name?

HW: Lindy.

WB: What was her maiden name?

HW: Winchester.

WB: Where was she from?

HW: She was from Rock Creek, the other side of Co-op.

WB: Okay, okay. Down towards Bell Farm out there?

HW: Yeah.

WB: And where was your father from?

HW: Why he's from Jabber Claw up that river there to Eighteen, around about there.

WB: Oh, in other words, they, both of them were from this county, well, it wasn't this county then.

HW: No.

WB: But uh.

HW: I can remember when they laid that off.

WB: Yeah. What county was Bald Knob in before they changed?

HW: It's Monticello, I reckon'.

WB: It was in Wayne County?

HW: Yeah, they took so much off of Wayne County, and this other county.

WB: Whitley?

HW: Yeah and

WB: And Pulaski?

HW: Yeah.

WB: And made the county. And you can remember when they did that?

HW: Yeah.

WB: That's about the time you went to work, wasn't it?

HW: Well, I believe I was working before that.

WB: Well, then you were working before 1912 cause.

HW: Yeah, 1912 when the.

WB: When the county.

HW: I wouldn't be citizens back before that or not.

WB: I bet you went to work about 1910 if you thought you went to work about when you were thirteen.

HW: Why I was just a small, well, it just made two of us, I was company for him, I couldn't do nothing hardly, but still I, it made two of us.

WB: Like how much money would you made then, you remember?

HW: I, I don't know, maybe, dollar, dollar and a half or something another.

WB: A day?

HW: Yeah.

MW: I think so. When my daddy went to work, and I came in too there in the mines, why, he made a dollar and a quarter a day loading coal.

WB: Your father made a dollar and a quarter?

MW: Yeah, but he could get more with that now than you could with a hundred. [laughter]

WB: Yeah, I guess he could, couldn't he [laughter]. Alright, Mr. Waters, what year did you all marry?

HW: Nineteen and 1921, believe.

MW: Yeah, in November.

HW: November.

WB: What date?

MW: Twenty-first.

WB: November twenty-first, 1921.

MW: Uh huh.

WB: Gosh, you been married sixty-two years almost.

HW: Yeah.

MW: I know it. Yep.

WB: How'd you ever keep the same woman for sixty-two years?

HW: I don't know.

WB: [laughter] [cough] Now how many children do you and Mrs. Waters have?

HW: Sixteen.

WB: Sixteen?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Sixteen children?

HW: Yeah.

WB: How old's the oldest one?

MW: Uh, he's sixty be sixty-two in September. [chuckle]

HW: Yeah.

WB: And how old's the youngest one?

HW: He's about thirty and Jimmy, he's about.

MW: Thirty-five. He's right here at the ambulance service.

HW: He's I guess, thirty what is he? Thirty?

MW: Yeah.

WB: Does he have black hair?

MW: Uh huh.

WB: I, when I was eating lunch up there today, I was sitting next to him. I saw a man with kind of long hair.

MW: Yeah.

WB: Little bit long, not real long.

HW: Yeah, yeah.

WB: Well you know I thought he might've been one of your children because he looked a little bit like Bob.

HW: Yeah.

MW: Yeah, yeah they favor.

WB: They favor each other.

HW: Uh huh.

MW: Uh huh. Boy, that Bob is a case ain't he?

WB: Yeah. Yeah. And he favored him and I was gonna ask him if he was kin to you and he was with some people and I didn't say anything.

MW: Yeah.

WB: But they were in, they had an ambulance there.

MW: Oh yeah.

HW: Yeah, that's the youngest, course.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Yeah.

WB: And he's the youngest?

HW: Yeah, he's the baby.

WB: Alright, now let me just ask you. Did you go to mine, did you go to Mine 18 when they opened it? Did you go to start working there when they opened Mine 18?

HW: Not for a while. They'd really worked there quite a while, but I know my brother worked there when they opened it up.

WB: Well, you were there in 1939 though, cause I saw picture of you there.

HW: Yeah.

MW: Yeah, yeah, we got that picture.

WB: So, you were there pretty soon after-

HW: Yeah.

WB: They opened it up.

HW: Yeah, it wasn't long, but they was done a running coal and all that before I ever worked there.

WB: But not much.

HW: Not much.

WB: Uh huh.

MW: But you did work there seven years.

HW: Huh?

MW: On the tipple.

HW: They had that explosion before I went to work there.

WB: What was that?

HW: Northside no, Southside.

WB: What happened?

HW: I ha...I don't know what set it off, but this explosion killed a fireman and uh, man that fired the shots, two of them I believe. Blew them outside. That's before I went to work in the mines there. They was back then, some I don't know how far, and I know hard it was. But, anyway's they was operating there. We had the Southside and the Northside. Uh, I worked both, on both sides of the hill. [background noise of whittling]

WB: Uh huh. Now you worked in the tipple a lot, didn't you?

HW: Yeah, I not so much in the tipple now, I did Eighteen that's where I put up my last work.

WB: That's what I mean.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Mine 18, you worked in the tipple most the time, didn't you?

HW: Yeah. Well, yeah, when it come to Eighteen I did.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: I dug some coal there, but not much. I pretty soon went to work on tipple there, where they put in that tipple. And we run about uh six, seven grades a coal at a time there. We run the block, big egg and the little egg, and uh stoker nut and the dust, and remember we had our rock car that hauled our rock away we pick out, you know.

WB: Were you at Mine 18 when they built the tipple?

HW: Yeah. Yeah.

WB: So you were working there when they actually built the tipple?

HW: No, never went to work there until after they built the tipple, did I?

MW: Huh uh.

HW: But uh.

MW: We lived out Barthell.

HW: I was working at Eighteen, uh Fidelity then. And then we changed from there to Eighteen.

WB: Yeah. And some people came up from Bartell too, didn't they?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Oh, yeah.

WB: When they opened Eighteen?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Alright, but you were one of the first persons that worked there when they built, worked on the tipple, weren't you?

HW: I'd say.

WB: Who were some of the other men who worked around the tipple with you?

HW: Well, they was Mern-uh [pause] Oh, what's his name that worked with Gib at the, out there? It's Gib's brother, what's uh...[bird chirping in the background] what was his name? That's [unrecognizable text]. What was his name? Huh?

MW: Johnson.

HW: Johnson. [bird chirping]

MW: Ernest Johnson.

HW: Yeah.

WB: He worked on the tipple with you?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Yeah, Ernest Johnson.

HW: Of course he lived out on Mine Two towards Bars Creek now, that's his brother Archer I don't know about six or eight of us.

WB: Six or eight people on tipple crew?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Who was boss?

HW: Uhh.

MW: Billy Wright, wasn't it?

HW: What's his name? I'd just called his name uh.

WB: No, I mean on the tipple. The tipple bar.

MW: Johnson, Johnson?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Ernest Johnson?

HW: Hargen?

MW: Ernest Johnson. Was he the boss?

HW: Yeah, what'd I call his name? My mind won't act on that. Well, he was the, he was the boss at tipple. Johnson, that Johnson.

MW: Yeah.

WB: What kind of things did you do on the tipple? What was your work?

HW: Well, they run us a big boom. Comes over the tipple, and they got screens put in there, two inches, four inches, six inches, and over goes all over in the block. And they come over these screens a shaking through these holes and that goes in these conveyers, they go out to each car.

WB: And that's how they sized up the coal.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: It all come over the same screen but had different holes shaking you know, shaking through that hole, and they'd put it out from stoker coal to dust to stoker coal and little egg, big egg, and block.

WB: Uh huh. Well, what did you do? What was your job?

HW: I took slate and material out of there that wouldn't sell.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Boom, just little old Bobby here, just pick it out and throw it on the belt can.

WB: Who uh like who ran the cars? When the cars of coal would come up there, who ran those?

HW: Well, the whole crew probably go down and some do one thing and some another. When they was changing cars they was two of us. We'd drop a car in and change it and drop it out drop it out and change it.

WB: I was up there at Mine 18 not too long ago and up on the hill.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Right behind the tipple.

HW: Yeah.

WB: There was some concrete, there's a place up there that's got a lot of concrete on it and everything. What was that?

HW: They must a done that since, since.

WB: Since you were there?

HW: Yeah.

MW: I hear it was a sub-station.

HW: Unless that they concreted it off, huh?

MW: A sub-station was up there.

WB: No, this was right inside the hill looked like a mine opening but it was-

HW: Yeah.

WB: all concreted up.

HW: Yeah, there was an opening there.

WB: There was an opening right by the tipple?

HW: Yeah, right straight in behind it.

WB: Yeah.

HW: Then up there is a fan bray, I mean, airway-

WB: Okay.

HW: both openings.

WB: But they were both openings in the mine?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Okay, one side-by-side.

HW: Yeah.

WB: I've seen those. Now, let's say you walk up from the tipple toward the hill there. Which one was on the left?

HW: The main entrance.

WB: That was the main entry to the mine?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Okay.

HW: And the other one's a airway.

WB: Right in the side of it there.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Okay. Well, you're the first person I ever talked to that knew what those were.

HW: Yeah.

WB: You know of all the-

HW: Yeah.

WB: other people up there, like, some people course, people like Bill Pryor, he didn't remember what it was because he never was up there I guess, he was running the store all the time.

HW: Yeah. Yeah, or he come he yeah, and up at the tipple sometime, he bring in something somebody wanted. It wasn't no store out there, then. He finally put that store in there, had it there.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: That main they is something about that let me see this is the main entry.

WB: Yep.

HW: This is the airways.

WB: Yep.

HW: Well you gotta keep them both a going and then you break through to from the entry to the airway, and uh that'll give. Give you air up there. It'll come up there and it'll cross over to the airway and go out.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And, then when you get up far enough for another break through-

WB: Uh huh.

HW: why, so many feet, I don't know, sixteen or thirty, I forgot the feet. So far up there you make another break through from entry over the airway and stop this then up behind, that push you right on up there, give the boys air up there.

WB: That's how that works.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Now let me ask you about another place down there.

HW: Yeah.

WB: If you, as you go up there say, to the main opening-

HW: Yeah.

WB: In the airway-

HW: Yeah.

WB: And then if you turn to the right and go down around that ridge there toward Devils Jump.

HW: Laurel Branch?

WB: Well, just walk down toward the Jumps, you know?

HW: Yeah, yeah, that's right.

WB: Down there, oh maybe, three or four hundred yards.

HW: Yeah.

WB: There was a big rock cliff, and underneath that there was some blocks where there was a room built in there, do you know what that was? Or was that done after you left?

HW: They must have done that after I left. A camp there I guess, had a camp there for.

WB: Ohh, I bet that's what it was, huh.

HW: Yeah, they did have tents up there. They had the three C's.

WB: And they had Boy Scouts too, didn't they?

HW: Boy Scouts, I meant to say.

MW: Boy Scouts is what it was.

HW: Had the Boy Scouts there and then they let that all go down, I think.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And course at there, then the boys, people going in there they need the shelter of the night. They made them a camp there.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Out of that.

MW: Um huh.

WB: Mr. Waters, when you lived over there on Bald Knob, you and Mrs. Waters and you had your family, where did they go to school?

HW: Well, over there, they went to uh.

MW: Beech Grove.

HW: Beech Grove.

WB: Beech Grove?

HW: Um huh.

MW: Yeah.

WB: They went to the same school you did?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Boy, I hope that some of those teachers that had you there weren't there when your children went [laughter] there.

HW: Tell him some of them, Lilly.

MW: Aw, it's a big job, big job to tell it [laughter].

WB: About when all your children were there, you mean?

MW: Uh huh, yeah, yeah I had an awful time a raising my family.

WB: I'll bet you, sixteen!

MW: Kept everybody busy all the time, never did get no rest.

WB: Uh, when your children, when you all lived over there, and you were working at Mine 18, where did you buy your groceries?

HW: Well uh, might be sometimes we'd buy them, might have them, let them grocery man bring them to us. Uh, but when they had the store there we bought them there at the.

WB: From Bill Pryor and?

HW: Yeah, at the Eighteen Store.

MW: And Bill Pryor went up to Bartell.

HW: And we rode a horse, mule.

WB: You went back to Bartell when Bill Pryor went up there?

MW: Yeah, we'd go and carry groceries from up in there, bring them right home.

WB: When you went to work at Mine 18, when you lived in Bald Knob.

HW: Yeah.

WB: How long it take you to walk over there to work everyday?

HW: Uh, well usually I'd be late. I'd walked faster it would take uh, I don't remember, hardly kept up with time about that, but I'd say it took forty, fifty minutes.

MW: It's about an hour.

HW: Course it'd take an hour if you took your time, but.

WB: So you had a good long walk everyday then?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Yeah. Twice a day.

HW: Well, let's see, it went up that mountain, over next holler, and out on top, and up to Riggy Piece. I guess it was, well, it's better than two miles.

WB: Did you ever have a horse or a mule or anything like that to ride, or did you walk everyday?

HW: Yeah, I walked it. It kept you, where you went to store. Some of them went to store, took a mule or horse.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And uh.

WB: [someone came in] Hi, how are you? Fine. Well, I didn't recognize you at first. No, I'm just here talking to Mr. and Mrs. Waters. You know that man, Mr. Waters?

HW: I don't reckon I do.

UV: I've been around enough, he just hadn't seen. My uncle lives across the road.

HW: Uncle Godsey, I guess.

UV: You know George? You know Gene's dad, don't you? Or

you know Gene, anyway?

WB: Yeah, yeah.

UV: Gene Clark, his dad lives right here.

WB: Oh, I didn't know that.

UV: Uh huh.

MW: And you're Mike?

UV: I'm his nephew.

MW: Uh huh, yeah.

HW: Who'd he say?

UV: And that's my mom is with me and that's her brother.

WB: Oh.

MW: Why, yeah.

UV: Uh.

WB: You all working hard?

UV: Oh, not too bad.

WB: You're getting ready again, aren't you?

UV: Well, I took a year off work from the Superintendent's Office.

I'm getting ready to go back to teaching.

WB: Yeah. Yeah, I'm talking to Mr. and Mrs. Waters about Mine 18.

HW: Yeah.

WB: It's good to see you.

HW: Come up to the shade a while.

WB: I'll see you again. [cough]

UV: You don't have any money floating around the math

department now do you? I'd like to get a grant to work a

summer on post graduate work.

WB: I'll find out about it. And let you know, I'm down here all the time. You can call down there at the library and they can tell you when I'm gonna be in town. When school starts in two weeks, I'll check on it for you. Okay.

[unidentified person speaking too soft to hear the words]

WB: Yeah, looks to me like there's gonna be a lot of money for teachers, they're getting kind of concerned about it.

UV: Yeah, there's gonna be some changes made, I'm just not

sure if it's gonna be for the better or for the worse.

WB: Well, I'll be retired, I won't know.

HW: [cough] You talk about the horses. We'd uh, or the family would, or they would pack them from Eighteen to the house, back up to the mountain. They went to Barthell, they'd pack them from there.

WB: Do you work with mules in the mines, I guess, didn't you?

HW: Yeah. I was gonna tell you that, and at World War I, I was driving a mule from Camargo, just cross the river from Mine 18. Just on the first site-

WB: Uh huh.

HW: and uh then they had to be out to go to army and then they settled it. I didn't go. So I drove a mule in the mines and uh then I drove them in the woods, four horse teams, with logs, whatever, and uh I got a little of all that work.

WB: Did uh did they ever use any mules at all in Mine 18?

HW: Yeah, yeah, we had them at uh Mine, Mine Three and Mine Four, uh.

WB: But not at Eighteen?

HW: Yeah.

WB: You did?

HW: Yeah. Now let me see, no this is Margoal's where's the mules was.

WB: Yes. Do you remember when the big flood came?

HW: Yeah, I guess.

WB: When the water, when it flooded so bad down at Camargo and washed all those houses out.

HW: Yeah, it washed them houses all out.

WB: You remember that?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Can you remember that?

MW: Yeah, I can remember.

WB: That's a bad flood, wasn't it?

MW: Oh yeah, uh huh.

HW: When Camargo come there, uh Jim Penaktin, I believe that is his name, they put up a store there and they made a bridge on two wires you know, floored it and handrailed it with wire, and uh some the boys they built some houses up and down the river there. Some of the older boys told them, that you build them houses too close to that river, that river gets big at times. And he said, "Why you pour that on a billy goat anytime." So they built them up and down there and that big tide came and swept them out. Took them on down.

WB: Did the water ever get up around those houses there at Blue Heron, at Mine 18?

HW: Uh...I don't remember if it did.

MW: I believe it get up in them, a little.

WB: Those ones along the road there.

MW: Yeah, uh huh, I think it did.

HW: I forgot what it did. I believe it got up to them there above the tipple.

WB: Um huh.

HW: I don't think it took nary of them off though.

WB: How long did you work down at Mine 18?

HW: I believe it was seven year on the tipple, besides I put up some time wasn't on the tipple. Wasn't it seven year?

MW: Yeah, seven year on the tipple.

WB: So you, you quit, you finished down there in the forties sometime, didn't you?

HW: Yeah, we quit, I quit the tipple and worked to sawmilling, logging and uh then I went back to loading coal, shooting load coal. And I finally quit in '48.

WB: Uh huh.

MW: About '48.

WB: What, what kind of work, you've done all kinds of work.

HW: Yeah, bunch of it.

WB: What was your, what was the kind of work you did that you like best?

HW: Well, I like shooting and loading coal all together-

WB: Uh huh.

HW: better. Course, in the mule days, I like to drive a mule pretty good. But uh just for hard work, that's pretty hard to beat.

WB: Yeah, did you like the coal better than say, the log woods?

HW: Well yeah, I get tired of it then I get tired of the log woods go back.

WB: Uh huh [laughter].

HW: But all together it get, it gets in my bones them mines is. I like that. Then I done all kinds of that mining work there on the solid.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Shot it from the solid, then I've done the robbing work where I pulled the stumps.

WB: I was gonna ask you if you ever done any robbing work in the mines.

HW: Yeah, yeah. You could hear them timbers a busting and that earth top a laying down on the bottom back yonder, but we have it timbered up here where we're working unless it got a strain lots a big [unrecognizable text] or something. But there's both these big timbers oh, big old timbers put through.

WB: Big as that stump over there?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Tell me this, when you were robbing mines, how far would you get back from where it was falling in?

HW: Well, it fall up till it took the weight off it would break off maybe...

[end of tape, side 1]

[beginning of tape, side 2]

HW: I had, I lived at Fidelity then, but had to take them to the hospital, that's first hospital I ever heard tell of.

WB: Where was that?

HW: Danville.

MW: Danville.

HW: Today, I just well preach going to Europe.

WB: [laughter]

HW: You know that's just as strange as would be for me, you's.

WB: Go to Europe?

HW: Yeah.

WB: What was wrong with your child?

HW: He had appendicitis it had bursted.

WB: How'd you find out about it?

HW: Took him to the hospital. That doctor told me that uh he had me to give him use a syringe on him and when we did, why that busted of course. I could see afterwards and that turned everything loose in his fat, and the doctor said that they was about a quart of bad puss emptied out in his fat and his bowels.

WB: What did the doctor tell you to do to him?

HW: Huh? He says, my doctor there at the mines said uh, to use a syringe on him.

WB: What's that?

HW: That's uh, inject water in bowels.

WB: Oh, okay, okay.

HW: And when uh they done that why of course, he went to take [unrecognizable text] it busted that.

WB: What was his name?

MW: Simon.

HW: Doc Floyd.

WB: No, Si...

MW: Doctor Floyd was the doctor.

WB: Doctor Floyd was his doctor, but was it Simon?

MW: Uh huh, Simon.

HW: Yeah.

WB: He's the one that's the preacher?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Yeah.

HW: And doctor said he took cotton and cleaned him out good.

WB: Where'd you take him, what mine did you take him to, Eighteen?

HW: Took him from Fidelity at that time.

MW: Yeah, Fidelty.

HW: But I think I lived on the mountain.

MW: No, we lived there at Fidelity. Up there at Exodus.

HW: Yeah, maybe we did. I had a little store over at Co-op at that time, and we been over there and he took back a half a bushel Irish potatoes from a little old commissary we had over there, back across the mountain from the Co-op, cross the mountain to Eighteen er, Fidelity. And he just kept a getting worse and worse, and the doctor's were gonna let him die.

WB: Um huh.

HW: So I got him sent to the hospital.

WB: When you were at Mine 18, Lemmie Wright was the superintendent, wasn't he?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Who was the superintendent down at Co-op when you were down there?

HW: Well, Lemmie Wright was, North Side. And then uh what's his name on the South Side, he said uh his family lives there at the water tanks, what is their names?

MW: I can't think of the names.

[Tape interference]

HW: But, anyway, Lemmie was a superintendent when we left Fidelity. Then we moved Eighteen. We'd move over to Fidelity, stayed till we got tired, then we moved back out home on the mountain. When I went to Eighteen, I was already pretty close to the mines over there.

WB: When you all, when you were working at Mine 18, how did the men come into work there? I mean, you walked, but how did some of the others come in, since they lived out this way. Did they come in on the train?

HW: They come in on the train and cars.

WB: Uh huh. When was that road built?

HW: Well, they come to the top of the hill, uh, hilltop.

WB: And walk down, huh?

HW: [background sound: rocking chair] Yeah, come out the ridge there and down the end the ridge to the barn or...they finally got a road in there then they come plumb to the mines in a car.

WB: Do you remember....Did you and your family go into the Fourth of July picnic much? Did you ever come into Stearns for the carnival and things like that?

HW: Oh yeah, we come to the carnival every year. Come in the Fourth of July. [cough]

WB: How'd you come in, the train?

HW: Aw we walked. I just walked to river curve, I mean uh.

WB: The river curve?

HW: Yeah.

WB: And then ride the train?

MW: Yeah.

HW: Yeah.

WB: What would they charge you to come in from River Curve to Stearns on the train, do you remember?

HW: No, I don't hardly remember. Wasn't very much, maybe, hardly a dollar.

MW: No, it wasn't much. Huh uh.

HW: Maybe it's thirty-five, forty cents, something, I don't know.

WB: Uh huh. For all of you, you mean? [rooster crowing in background]

HW: Huh?

WB: That wouldn't be thirty-five cents for all of you would it?

HW: No it'd get a ticket.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: We wouldn't have to pay too much. Not very much, I don't remember what it was. I guess it wouldn't be over twenty-five or thirty cents a piece.

MW: I never did go too much myself.

HW: Well, we, big train we'd went would leave a lot a times like at Fidelity they run their train for us [rooster crowing in background] in and out. Take us out there and then in the evening bring us back if we wanted to come back. See, them that wanted to stay could stay, but the company run a special train coaches.

WB: For the?

HW: For taking them to the Fourth of July.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Yeah. And we kept that up all time children always wanted to go see what they had. You know, everywhere we lived.

WB: Uh yeah.

HW: Yeah. I know I, I was a church member there and they reported me had a neighbor there and he told them that we both went out to the Fourth of July and never went church, and whenever the preacher come, I had a racket with him. He'd bought four, thirteen, I believe it's thirteen little cups take a sacrament, and he said they didn't need that many. He wasn't that many people belonged to the church was fit to take it been a going out here to this Fourth of July at that carnival.

WB: [chuckle] They wouldn't let the people take the sacrament, huh?

HW: No, they wouldn't be subject to take this sacrament or church member chore.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Well, I said, he was preaching then, and my neighbor down there had told him about it. I knowed he had.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And he blowed him up, and he was mad. It wasn't what he said was made me mad it's the spirit he had in him.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: He had that evil spirit, and give it to me, and I had it.

WB: Uh huh.

MW: [chuckle]

HW: And I told him, I said, "They is just good a people done carnivals as you or anybody else." He said, "They might've been as good as you, but they wasn't as good as I am."

WB: [laughter]

HW: Ever bit a good. But see he called me to get into it. So we tended that all, we always went, and took the children, if that was possible so we could go.

WB: Now was that when you lived in Bald Knob?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Where was the church?

HW: Well, the church was there, at Mine 18 then.

WB: Oh right down there under the tipple?

HW: Not at the tipple but that way at Cross Grove, where it is.

WB: Okay, Cross Grove.

HW: Yeah, that's where we lived at that time.

WB: Did you all ever go to that little church down-

HW: I never .

WB: at Mine 18?

HW: No, well, I'd be there when they had special baptizing or something like that.

MW: Yeah, we did go down there.

HW: I might a went yeah, I believe I went a time or two down there, but hardly ever. We usually have ours on the mountain you know.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And never went down there very much.

WB: Do you remember any baptizing in the river down there by Mine 18?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Where did they do it?

HW: Right, be on the tipple up there that just below the shoal there, where you.

WB: Below the church there?

HW: Yeah, below the church house there.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: That's where done the baptizing, wasn't it?

MW: Yep.

HW: My boy preached there when he first started preaching.

WB: At Mine 18?

HW: Yeah, he was just a boy at that time. I never will forget it buddy, he'd stand up there and sing, and then he really could do a good job, just be a boy.

WB: But that's the first place he preached, huh?

HW: Yeah [chuckle] he.

MW: Yeah, uh huh.

HW: Yeah, well, one the first places he, he preached around on top a the mountain up there at-

MW: Yeah, up there.

HW: Beech Grove, and then all places round, but that in the beginning there.

WB: Uh huh.

MW: Yeah.

WB: Like how old would he have been when he preached down there the first time, do you have any idea?

HW: Yeah she knows.

MW: About eighteen, seventeen.

WB: About seventeen years old?

MW: About seventeen years old.

HW: I think he was seventeen.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: I think I've heard him favored, I didn't keep up with it. I know I, [chuckle] uh they wanted him. Hence Dobbs and his wife, that's our people, worked around there. Wanted Simon, he just got done preaching, but a sick man on Devil Creekover there, and he wanted him go over with him and his wife over there, set up with him and pray with him. And uh, [rooster crowing in background] I didn't much like when they were children to go off and be gone all night, and I never will forget that. But I just saying that and I told Hence's wife, I said, "He wanted Simon go," I said, "I'm afraid for him to go." I said, "Now, old man Henry got some big old sixty gallon bars barrels setting under the drip of the house, and he liable to fall in one them and get drownded." "Aw," she said, "You know he won't do that." [laughter] I was getting an excuse there.

WB: [laughter] Yep.

HW: And uh he was just a boy then, but uh.

WB: But he was always like that, huh?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Oh yeah he's still a preacher.

HW: I never let them go no where's hardly, buddy.

WB: When you moved up there with your family, with that big a family, what could you have for them for Christmas? What'd you do at Christmas? You wouldn't handle any money because you had such a big family.

MW: No.

HW: Just buy them some little something or another, you know.

MW: Just some little something.

WB: Like where would you buy the stuff?

HW: Why, at Worley, Barthell, somewhere's like that would have...

WB: Did you ever buy anything at that store at Mine 18?

HW: Yeah, our, yeah, we bought groceries. I don't know they had any little old toys hardly or not now there. [cough] But, I get them some little something there or another you know.

MW: Yeah, wouldn't last till Christmas Day, they'd tear it up.

WB: [chuckle]

HW: But now, I couldn't tell you, I wouldn't have no idea, how that we ever got by as good as we did. They was a lot of us and we had a heap of company.

WB: Had a lot of company?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Oh my.

HW: Yeah, they'd pass a little beyond us and they'd make a special trip to come and stay all night, and maybe already have we'd have as high as eighteen people there.

WB: What would you feed them?

HW: Just fix it we'd have, whatever it'd be taters, beans or whatever.

MW: Cornbread.

WB: A lot of cornbread, huh?

MW: Oh yeah [laughter] I tell you one thing, I was telling a woman there the other day she was talking about a raising her children on cornbread-

WB: Uh huh.

MW: for breakfast and I said, "I've raised sixteen," and I said, "My children for the first time ever set down to cornbread for breakfast."

WB: Uh huh.

MW: And I said, "I don't know how I made it, but I did."

WB: Uh huh.

MW: They never eat no cornbread for breakfast.

WB: Did you ever get any good molasses, any good sorghum?

MW: Oh yeah.

WB: Who made it out there?

MW: Uh, Ned Ross.

WB: And that's where you could get sorghum, huh?

MW: Um huh.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Did you like cornbread and sorghum?

HW: Well, back then I did. But uh I don't care nothing about it now. [chuckle]

WB: You don't?

HW: No. [chuckle]

WB: [chuckle]

HW: I've ground cane and raised it, made them.

WB: I was gonna ask you, did you have a garden?

HW: Yeah, naw.

MW: Oh, we've raised everything.

WB: Well, back then.

HW: Oh, yeah.

WB: You've got some tomatoes now, haven't you?

MW: Yeah.

HW: Uh, that's all I had out there, little patch of stuff right there.

MW: We didn't tend no garden.

HW: Man come plow my garden, I was tending it over yonder. Have all time, since I been here.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And uh some of that hill be on that highway there and he uh come plowed a little streak, and never did come back to finish it, and it kept a raining and got late and I didn't get to put out no garden. But uh I like to grow it.

WB: Uh huh.

MW: We didn't aim to plant nary no how, don't think. Cause I don't.

HW: But I can't myself. I can't myself and she can't either of course.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: How in the world I had one man tell me that he never could, he studied more about me than he did anybody nearly how did I ever fed that family and the [laughter]. Buddy and uh I don't know, but I made it.

WB: Well, you always had a garden, I guess, one thing.

MW: Yeah.

HW: And uh we kept two cows.

WB: Well, that's another thing I was gonna ask you.

HW: Yeah, we kept two cows, and then we kept hogs.

WB: You canned everything, I guess, didn't you?

MW: Oh, eight, nine hundred a year.

WB: Eight and nine hundred cans a year?

MW: Yeah half a gallon.

WB: Half gallon cans?

MW: Uh huh. We used to, kids would pick a hundred half a gallon cans a berries ever year.

WB: So you would have about nine hundred half gallons. You're talking about four hundred and fifty gallons of food you would can.

MW: Yeah.

WB: You were busy all the late summer then, canning.

MW: Oh, year round.

WB: Yep. Did you raise hogs?

MW: Yeah.

HW: Yeah, we'd have some hogs along, sometimes might run short and not have any but, most of the time, through the winter anyways some to kill. But uh we had our cows, sometimes I'd have three. Then we kept one of the two horses or mules to work, and them children growed up. The worst time I had, with all that multitude was when they was just two and three of them.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And I'd have to do the major of getting in and she'd have to stay with them youngings and she couldn't leave them get wood, and I'd have to work and then take a chance on getting wood on Sunday or whatever or when I could get loose to get any.

WB: So keeping the wood in was the hardest thing, wasn't it?

HW: Yeah, and them boys growed up big enough till they could use a crosscut saw and saw that wood it never bothered me no more.

WB: Uh huh. They did it, huh?

HW: Yeah, and when two more of them growed up, why they'd take over them get big enough to get something to do why.

WB: You always had two of them who sawed wood, huh?

MW: Yeah.

HW: Yeah had two more take over.

MW: I just had three girls.

WB: Thirteen boys.

MW: Thirteen boys and three girls.

WB: Well, you had a lot of wood cutters then, you didn't [chuckle]

HW: Yeah.

WB: [laughter]

HW: Yeah.

WB: Good for you, wasn't it?

HW: Yeah, but I was I thought about that I told my neighbor lived above me there...had three children, and I told her if we was to have any more children, how on earth I'd ever manage. What in the world I'd ever do. Well she said if the Lord see's fit to me to have any, why, He'd make a way for ye. Well, I kindly banked on that surely He will [chuckle]

WB: When you had those children when your wife had those children did uh you had them at home?

MW: Uh huh.

HW: All but one, I think.

MW: No, ever one of them.

HW: Ever one of them?

MW: Yeah, ever one of them.

WB: Did you have a doctor or did you have a midwife? Or a friend? Or what?

MW: A midwife and a doctor.

WB: Who was the midwife?

MW: Viennie King.

WB: Viennie King?

MW: Uh huh.

WB: Where'd she live?

MW: Over across the holler from us, Bald Knob.

WB: Uh huh. Did she midwife for about everybody out there?

MW: Oh yeah she's a dandy.

WB: She stayed busy then, didn't she?

MW: Oh yeah. Uh huh. Yeah, she was good and kind, and she'd help you when she walked in the door.

HW: Yep.

WB: That uh when you uh lived out there and had your children and raising them and stuff like that were you much of a person to hunt and fish, or did you not have time, I guess, did you?

HW: No. I never did take much stock in that. I have went a few times, but I never took. I just soon, I don't know which, if I was a woman, I don't know which I'd rather have a hunter or a fisher or a drunkard.

WB: A hunter and a fisherman is as bad as a drunkard for a woman, isn't it?

HW: Yeah, yeah would be for me.

WB: You mentioned drunkard, was there, did many people up there make whiskey and stuff like that?

HW: Yeah, there in about all time, somebody.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Was there a lot of trouble with that?

HW: Uh, not too much they uh, now and then they'd...they'd have trouble. But wasn't too bad-

MW: They didn't bother us too bad.

HW: with us.

WB: Uh huh. But there's usually, when people lives in the woods like that, there's always somebody around that made whiskey, wasn't there?

HW: Yep. I'll tell you this one about the moonshine.

WB: Okay.

HW: I was tough place course stayed that a way the best I could do would be the other way. My brother-in-law told me, said, "If you sell it, if you'll sell it, I'll buy two gallon." I believe four half gallon jugs I know, half gallon jars. "If you sell it I'll give you half of what it brings." Well, I thought, I knowed I wasn't supposed to.

WB: Sure.

HW: But uh I...

WB: It's a good way to make some money, wasn't it?

HW: Make it quick and I knowed I wasn't a, be a drinking it no way, and fool with it, except to just sell it.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And uh, went and got that shoulder load that was two gallons.

WB: Sure.

HW: Brought it over next to Bear Creek.

WB: And you had to carry it all the way back?

HW: Yeah, and I took it to Mine 18 there. To just hide it, sell it to them boys.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And uh had a old man there, he's neighbor, supposed to been my friend but always thought he found out I had that I was inquiring who would want any, you know.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: I hid it. Half a gallon jug on that part, another half a gallon on up there, another half a gallon, hid all four half a gallons.

WB: Yeah [chuckle].

HW: And uh so I went took a feller two hadn't, I just take them to them, where I had it hid. I aimed to I went and checked it ever how. I never sold a drop.

WB: You get caught before you sold it? [chuckle]

HW: I never sold a drop, and uh, went to I, somebody stoled it.

WB: [laughter]

HW: They stoled it ever bit, but one a half a gallon, and I took a man to it. I said, "That's all I have left." And he didn't want any. And I covered it back up there, right above the store out at Mine 18, cross from the tipple. And I went back to get it or do something with it, and it was gone. And I don't know whether he come back and got it or not, never sold nary drop all that time and trouble.

WB: [chuckle]

HW: That's and got indicted.

WB: [chuckle] So that was the end of your whiskey business, huh?

HW: Yes sir.

WB: [laughter]

HW: Yeah, and had to get a lawyer, got I come clear, but uh, shouldn't, I guess.

WB: You're lucky that you did. Well, you weren't a very good moonshiner then, were you?

HW: No, no wasn't no count for that.

WB: [laughter]

HW: [chuckle]

WB: It's hard, It's hard to make easy money, isn't it?

HW: Yeah. Well I wasn't supposed to done that no how. I supposed to not a done that, but we had a man I could well, tell after years, that if you done wrong why that's the best way to get shed of it, just admit it.

WB: Yeah.

HW: Had a feller there elected for squire, and the people did, I didn't uh, have nothing do with it, maybe then I might, but looky, he was a preacher, young preacher, elected for a squire there and he's hiring men to work on the roads at a dollar and a half an hour or everyday ever which it was dollar and a half a day I guess and, one a my neighbors there found out that he come out here to, he turned into the court, uh a thousand dollars worth a work that nobody done.

WB: Sometimes the people that will talk the best.

HW: Yeah, he turned that in and got the money himself and you know that feller never would acknowledge that.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: They tried to turn him out of the church and all that.

WB: When you got indicted, did you just go and tell them what you did?

HW: Huh?

WB: Did you tell them what you did when you got indicted that time?

HW: No. [chuckle]

WB: Huh. [chuckle]

HW: I don't remember where, I don't remember how I got out it hardly. I didn't tell him that.

WB: Can you remember how he got out of it?

MW: Uh uh, no.

WB: Were you scared when that happened?

MW: Why no.

HW: Now, old Gilreath out here was the.

WB: Superintendent?

HW: He was a lawyer. Lawyer Gilreath.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And uh me and my brother-in-law paid him to uh to for clear us you know, but I don't remember I hadn't sold none though, but I, but would of.

WB: You would've if you could of, wouldn't you?

HW: Yeah, I would've you see, I, but probably I'd a sold it if I'd a got someone to bought it. But, uh.

WB: What was the most money that, when you worked in the mines, that you ever made? What was the biggest pay?

HW: Oh I'd say ten dollars a day at that time, something like that.

WB: You worked that long, until they were making ten dollars a day then, huh?

HW: Yeah.

WB: Was that good coal down there at Blue Heron?

HW: Yeah, we had uh we had two or three seams there um we had uh...Mine Four, let's see.

WB: I'm talking about Mine 18 though.

HW: Yeah, well that's uh, Mine Four coal was, I don't think we ever worked that seam any. We had number three seam and number two seam, at Blue Heron up there.

WB: Was that good coal, came out of there?

HW: Yeah.

WB: They never did get as much out of there as they thought they would, did they?

HW: No, it was small it run down small, but on before after they quit, they drilled ahead there, and they had four foot, four foot a coal, five foot a coal, I forget.

MW: Five foot up there Spring Branch.

HW: Maybe it's five, five foot a coal, but you'd squeeze down back before they got there, that'd what we call Doe Creek Mine. We call that Mine Four, cause we was working Mine Two, Mine Three.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: eh.

WB: When you went to Mine 18, when they built that tipple at Mine Eighteen, that was really a nice tipple, wasn't it?

HW: Yeah it was and uh, [chuckle] Bill Grisham was the man built that, the carpenter that built all that bridge there and old, old what's-his-name was uh.

MW: George Elmo?

HW: Huh?

MW: George Elmo.

HW: George Elmo was the head man over at [chuckle] and George was uh George sitting out there on a lumber pile and reading and Bill went down in to let them down bucket in the water huh oh [microphone dropped] let them down in a bucket to, to see how its' looking down there, digging a pit right in the bottom of that creek you know, to put a big-

WB: For the bridge?

HW: bridge in there pillar in there. And Bill found a teacup, a saucer, flowery you know used to have flowery dishes?

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And he got hold of a little piece of a glass that had the flowery dish on it, you know then made them back with them flowery dishes. And he brung them back up, I never did forget that he brought them back up, said, "Bill, looky here what I found down in the bottom of that." I forget how deep it was, way down in the bottom of that creek.

WB: Huh.

HW: They'd fixed the water off you know, they'd going right on down to where hit the solid. Said, "Who in the world you reckon that ever had a dish down that deep in the ground?" Aw, he said, "Been some them damned Waterses," said they'd.

WB: Some of the Waterses?

HW: Yeah, he said been some them damn Waterses, said they been here ever since Noah's Ark. [laughter]

WB: [laughter]

HW: My granddaddy and them did own that all through there.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Yeah.

WB: That whole country they owned, huh?

HW: Yeah. They, my granddaddy tend to all them bottoms up and down there, and over Mine 18 is.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: They never knowed nothing about that coal, what it was then.

WB: Was that tipple a big pretty thing to see when you went to work there?

HW: Yeah, it was a big new outfit buddy. And they had a bit there, they hauled coal from other mines down the line, and uh had a big dump in the ground there, they run their cart out over there and dump that in that big spillway. Then they had a belt come in there and pick it up and take it up yonder that tipple where we ground it, got it ready for market.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: That is from other mines-

WB: Uh huh.

HW: and run it over our tipple and sort it.

WB: Was there a lot of noise down there around that tipple?

HW: Well, that's right, you couldn't hardly hear one another talk.

WB: Uh huh. Was there a lot of dust?

HW: Yeah, it'd rise from there grinding that coal stoker nut, grind it up into stoker nut and big old machine a grinding that big hunk you know-

WB: Yeah.

HW: and, they was it's egg they was a grinding course but they was busting stoker nut. And the smoke off of that, the dust of that coal would rise just like a dark cloud.... you know.

WB: It must have been bad for those women who lived down there then, by the tipple.

MW: Oh yes it was. Oh yeah...

WB: Did you ever hear many of them talk about it?

MW: Oh yeah, they had to keep the windows down.

WB: What women do you ever talk to from down there?

MW: Oh I don't know, nearly every one of them I guess.

WB: You knew them all, did you?

MW: [chuckle] yeah, uh huh yeah.

WB: Uh huh. Were you kin to Luke Ledbetter?

MW: Yeah.

HW: He's her brother.

WB: Oh, he's your brother?

MW: Uh huh.

WB: Well, so you remember then when he lived down there and everything too.

MW: Yeah, Luther lived there.

WB: So did they complain about the dust?

MW: Oh yeah. They couldn't have no curtains or nothing.

WB: Uh huh.

MW: It just ruin them, just in a little while.

WB: You had another brother lived down there too, didn't you?

MW: Uh.

HW: One she had, Cecil Ledbetter.

WB: Yeah, Cecil, Cecil. They both lived there in the hill, didn't they?

MW: Yeah, yeah, both of them is dead now.

WB: Uh huh. Mr. Waters, uh when you got off work, like when you were down Mine 18, what time did you get off work in the day?

HW: I, I think it uh-

MW: About four.

HW: maybe four o'clock.

WB: Well, would you go to the bath house and wash before you went home or just go home, hurry home?

HW: Well sometime I'd...

WB: How'd you do it?

HW: Well sometimes I could wash at the bath house, but most time I'd go home.

WB: What'd you have for water at home?

HW: Yeah, well my bathtub was uh [chuckle] it's uh summertime especially I'd get big pound lard buckets, punch the bottom of it full of holes.

MW: [chuckle]

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And take me some warm water you know, ever what kind a water I needed hang it bucket on a limb out there in the woods.

WB: Take like a shower?

HW: Shower bath.

WB: Where'd you get your water?

HW: Got it there at the house.

MW: A spring.

WB: You had a spring?

MW: Spring, yeah.

WB: Was it good water?

MW: Yeah.

HW: Yeah.

MW: Had to carry it right smart piece.

HW: [chuckle]

WB: How far did you have to carry water?

HW: Well, some the places further than others but, uh aw from back up yonder to that holiness church or further.

MW: [laughter]

WB: So that was a long way to go for water then?

MW: Uh huh, yeah.

HW: Down under the cliff, down yonder under a cliff.

MW: Uh-huh.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Look, I wonder, could I come back and talk to you two again next Tuesday?

HW: Yeah, I'll be here as far as I know.

WB: And I'll try to bring Bill Pryor with me.

HW: Well.

WB: Cause he wants to come over and see you.

HW: Yeah, well.

WB: Is that okay?

HW: Yeah, be glad to see Bill.

MW: Seen Bill not long ago, myself.

WB: You did?

MW: Oh, he's glad to see me.

WB: Yeah, he told me he saw you.

HW: Old Bill, there when we was having that trouble at Eighteen, getting store started he helped get that all done.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And, uh.

[END OF TAPE #1 of 2]


WB: You were getting ready to tell me something about getting a sack, Bill Pryor and getting a sack of something. What was it?

HW: What was I going to say?

MW: You was talking about Bill Pryor. I don't know what you was going to tell.

HW: Well anyway Bill, he come there at the store I mean the tipple. He'd bring the boys something or another from the store up there and then he'd primp at store there. Bill, he'd sing he'd come there and sing, and he had a little singing class.

WB: A quartet and a class?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Yeah.

HW: And, uh.

WB: Did you go to that class?

HW: No, I never, I wouldn't with him many years, but he come there and sang and, uh.

MW: We heard him sing.

HW: He was a lot of help there. Then he got, he was the store manager there. Well, he worked for the company all the time for years. He knowed a lot about it, but course he just mostly worked in the store round and about.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Uh, Bill was, uh.

WB: I guess you'd see him everyday cause you worked right around that same area, didn't you?

HW: Yeah, yeah he'd come up there well he finally run that store there after they got it started. I believe he's first one run it.

WB: Yeah, he was.

HW: Huh?

WB: He was, I think.

HW: Yeah him and Lemmie Wright was superintendent, they worked it out and got a store there. And Bill, Bill was the store manager there for I don't know how long.

MW: I don't know how long either.

HW: Yeah, I always thought a lot of Bill.

WB: Do you remember when they had a school there?

MW: Yeah.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Where was the school?

HW: Back up the above the tipple.

WB: By the church?

MW: Yeah.

HW: Yeah, just the other side of the church. We had a big old church up there, built a big old church house. That little schoolhouse is just past it there where you turn over yonder to the river.

WB: Uh huh. Yeah, I know where.

HW: Yeah.

WB: There were a lot of little buildings around tipple there, what did they keep in that tin house? Do you know what I'm talking about? There was a little house right under the bridge go over the tipple across the river.

HW: We kept supplies in there, at that time.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Yeah, I believe they had a big stove in there, so on, I don't know, and supplies about to use running the tipple there.

MW: Had to have one, I guess, to keep the things locked up.

HW: Huh?

MW: You had to have something to keep your tools locked up, cause people would steal them.

HW: Yeah.

WB: When you carried your lunch to work, when you worked at Mine 18, where'd you sit and eat your lunch?

HW: Right there in the tipple.

WB: In all that dust, huh?

HW: Yeah. Climb up on top there, and the good cool air up there, and uh eat right up there on top. Or that's where we eat up there the most often on top up there.

WB: Uh huh. What kind of stuff did you take in your lunch? Do you remember?

HW: Well I, I mostly maybe different things, but one big thing that was a go then was peanut butter and syrup and whatever else she may have.

WB: Whatever you had at the house, is that what he took?

HW: And, uh.

WB: What'd you take to drink?

HW: I don't know.

MW: Water.

HW: Water, I guess we had to carry water.

MW: Whenever there was any milk.

HW: Unless I did take a jar a milk in bucket.

MW: Sometimes he'd take a jar a milk.

WB: In cold weather I guess you could do it.

MW: Yeah, yeah, he could take it.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Were you a coffee drinker?

MW: Oh yeah.

HW: Yeah, I drunk coffee all my life.

WB: Did they have coffee there at the tipple?

MW: Uh huh.

WB: Did you drink any coffee at the tipple? Did they have coffee pots?

HW: I don't remember whether I carried any coffee then or not. I quit for a long time quit that coffee deal for a right smart while.

WB: Where did they keep the powder and the caps?

HW: Down the, where you get to going up to the tipple.

WB: Past Lemmie Wright's house?

HW: Yeah, down before you get to Lemmie's house, there just above the road there. There is a magazine, where kept the ammunition.

WB: Was it closer to the tipple than Lemmie Wright's house?

HW: No, it's.

WB: Further past Lemmie Wright's house?

HW: Yeah, yeah, little bri-

WB: Down toward that little bridge?

HW: Yeah.

WB: What was it made of, the magazine? Brick?

HW: I think it was, think it was.

WB: Did they keep the caps and the powder in the same place?

HW: Yeah, I think they-

WB: That was dangerous, wasn't it?

HW: kept the caps and all there. Fuse no, maybe they bought the fuse and caps at store and kept the powder there. I guess that's way it was.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: Yeah.

WB: When a man was a miner, and uh he needed some powder and caps, how'd he get it?

HW: He'd have to go to stop by as he went on that morning and buy and pack it or.

WB: Did the miners have to buy their own powder?

HW: Yeah, yeah it's in keg powder kegs. You know small kegs about the size of a water bucket, little taller.

MW: Just a little taller than a water bucket.

HW: And uh you'd just you could mash the can a little bit and lay it on your shoulder if your top high enough, and didn't you'd have to pack it.

WB: Under your arm or behind you?

HW: Yeah just lock your arms round that a way pack it uh then you buy your fuse and caps and whatever you had to have.

WB: I guess when you started to work in the morning, when you were walking over there from Bald Knob, it'd be dark when you'd leave the house, wouldn't it?

MW: Oh yeah.

HW: Yeah.

WB: Would you use your carbide lamp going to work?

HW: Yeah.

MW: Yeah.

HW: Yeah, a carbide lamp's what we had. But I was going to say this just before or about the time that I went to work in the mines, the older boys had a oil lamp, use lard oil. It made like a coffee pot with a spout, and a wick come up here, and you poured your oil right down in there like filled up a lamp, coil oil lamp.

WB: Uh huh.

HW: And hang it on your cap.

WB: Huh.

HW: But I never used that then, I don't, I think.

MW: My daddy did.

HW: Huh?

MW: My daddy did.

HW: Yeah, he did.

MW: All the time.

WB: You used carbide, huh?

HW: Yeah.

WB: But what I meant is, when you were walking to work in the morning, when it's dark, would you light your lamp on the way to work?

HW: Yeah, yeah when it's dark. Well, if you lived and I lived Bald Knob, I worked at uh, that's a great big record, we lived at Bald Knob section there and me and my brother, we'd work at Worley. We'd walk it, right down to Worley, and work, and then maybe if we changed to Grassy Fork - Mine Eleven, or Yamacraw - we'd cross the mountain and down the ridge, and over to the river that way. We done all that walking. Then of the winter time, it'd come a rain, rain and cold and you'd get wet, you'd go to the house, and you'd pull off your clothes and just stand them down, they'd stand there.

WB: [chuckle]

HW: Yeah, so.

WB: It's hard to imagine people walking that far to go to work, isn't it?

HW: Yeah, well, see we didn't pay that no attention.

WB: When you were working at Mine 18 and living at Bald Knob, did anyone walk to work with you?

HW: No, hardly ever. I don't think anybody's be with me when I go to work, would they?

MW: Huh uh, no.

HW: They lived other places. They'd go when they got ready and I did too.

WB: You were the only one from over in that country that worked there.

HW: Well, they was more lived in that area that would go to work there, but it wouldn't be right where I was at. I'd get time to go why I'd have to go. And a lot of times I'd get up a little late and I'd have to run from where I lived to the mines to keep from being late.

WB: [chuckle]

HW: And sometimes the whistle would blow before I got near there.

MW: Well.

HW: They'd be starting running and I'd just getting there.

MW: I always got up at three o'clock ever morning. You'd just fool around, be late yourself.

WB: Three o'clock?

MW: Yeah, I got up ever morning at three. I still could get up like that.

HW: But he was a late riser, huh?

MW: Yeah just get up and fool around the house before he'd leave.

HW: I'd waste too much time and-

MW: Yeah.

HW: have to run.

MW: Yeah.

WB: I'll see you. Well, that's something, isn't it?

MW: Um huh.

WB: Well, I'll come back uh next Tuesday, before lunch.

HW: Yeah.

WB: I'll come before lunch. And if something happens that I can't, I'll call you Monday. That lady that was supposed to call you from the library, and tell you that I wasn't going to be here last week, and she forgot.

MW: I know. She told me she forgot.

HW: She admitted that to her.

WB: I had to go to Alabama, I didn't know I was gonna have to go.

HW: She said, "He told me to call you and I forgot it."

WB: [chuckle] I didn't have your number and I was up in Richmond, so I called them and told them.

HW: [chuckle] Yeah, yeah. Well, sir, I see'd you down there the other night [unclear].

MW: You're awful nice; I thought you'd been here all your life.

WB: No, I was I was born and raised in Pennsylvania.

MW: Oh my.

WB: But I've lived in Kentucky now since 1954. But that's a funny thing about him. He came in there the other night at that meeting, and I looked up, I was sitting there, and I looked up and saw him standing in the doorway, and I told somebody sitting next to me, I says, "I bet that's Henley Waters."

MW: Yeah...

WB: And I had never seen you, but I had studied about that place down there so long and I had seen pictures of you back when you were young, you know, and I recognized you from that.

MW: Yeah, and Bobby, he picked you when he found you.

WB: Yeah.

HW: I couldn't see who in the world you could be and how you knowed me.

WB: [chuckle]

MW: Oh Bobby.

HW: And on that night, I couldn't, they made the bunch a lectures I couldn't hear nary thing in the world when I come to find it out afterwards I bound I bound to had it my hearing aid drownded out, and it wouldn't let me hear nothing.

WB: Uh huh. I think they're gonna have it nice down there.

HW: Huh?

WB: I think it's gonna be nice down there, the way they're gonna fix it up.

MW: Yeah.

HW: Yeah.

MW: They say it's gonna be nice.

WB: Yeah, yeah.

MW: You just come to ride the train, yeah?

WB: I saw Bobby on the train the next day.

MW: You did!?

WB: Yeah, I went.

HW: He went back to Indiana telling his brothers-

MW: Oh yeah.

HW: that he's really wanted them come down and talk with you.

WB: Yeah.

MW: Phillip, Phillip and Simon-

WB: I'd like to talk.

MW: they're both miners.

WB: I liked to talk. Simon worked down there at Eighteen, didn't he?

MW: And Phillip did too.

WB: I'd like to talk to both of them, yeah.

HW: Yeah.

MW: Um huh.

WB: But that, I was really surprised to see you walk in there that day.

HW: Yeah.

MW: Well, Phillip will be here next week.

WB: He will?

MW: Uh huh.

HW: I was.

MW: If you come back a Tuesday, why he'll be here.

HW: I couldn't figure out who you could have been.

WB: Well, let me just turn this off. I want to thank you though for letting me come down here today, and I'll see you next Tuesday.

HW: Yeah.