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Monologue by Jason O. Phillips

Phillips, Jason O.
Ellison, Shelley
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Then and Now, Cultural Identification; Stories and Storytellers
Jason Phillips talks about his relative's experience as a black bootlegger in Yanceyville, North Carolina and how the sheriff, the deputies, and the Ku Klux Klan treated him.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Shelley Ellison interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
JP (Jason Phillips): My name is Jason Phillips. I'm 23. Been lived in Charlotte for 23 years. The story that I am going to tell is about my great, great, great granddaddy who was a bootlegger from Yanceyville, North Carolina. Um, I think this story, well the story been told through my family because of, uh, what he had and what they tried to take from him. And he was a bootlegger and the sheriff and all the deputies, I guess, evidently he had the best moonshine in all of Yanceyville [laughing] so, so the, uh, the sheriff, you know, was friends with them, you know, and use to get his liquor from him and the deputies and stuff. And he own a lot of land up there. Had a farm, chickens, cows, bulls, all that good stuff, lake on the property, and, um, a couple of the deputies was in the KKK, a couple of the deputies was in the KKK, and, um, and what, uh, else did they use to say? They said, I mean, he was the man, you know, they said back then you ain't see too many black guys with brand new trucks and stuff like that, but he had the new trucks and, ah, he also ran numbers too. They said that he ran numbers and, um, the deputies use to tell him, you know, to watch out, you know, some of the cooler ones that won't in the Klan. But the sheriff, you know, always said, you know, he told him when it was really time for him to get out he needed to get out. Evidently he got smart and got out but the story goes, you know. He was going on and on and on and he was mixed at that, you know, he was half white and black, but they ain't really didn't too much bother him about that because of the fact his daddy was black and his momma was white, you know. They had a problem with that but, um, um, he had a lot of money, from what I understand. He had a lot of money and then things got thick. A lot of them white people start getting jealous and start trying, you know, take the property and stuff doing little stuff, going out killing his chickens. They ain't mess with the his bulls or nothing. They use to come on, he use to charge people to come on his property and hunt deer, and they use to sneak on and stuff and he catch them out there but he couldn't shoot them because he know he'd get lynched if he did that. And then one day, um, somebody got jealous, came down, and burnt down the trailer, he had a trailer on the property, then came and burned down the trailer and burnt up the chicken coop, but eventually he got all that back. Kept on bootlegging and they still getting jealous and I remember going to, after getting all of that back, you know, back. It's still there now, but I remember, and I still do when we, when I go to the family reunions. We go out to the chicken coop and it stink. I don't go in there though, but I always go out to the, uh, where they got the cows and the bulls at, and check them out and go and get up on desk stand and see where they at. And, um, he even still got some of those old kettles back there they broke and all mess up and stuff, and his kettles were hidden inside the chicken coop. And, and, um, um, um, what am I trying to say? Oh. When it really got thick, when, um, it got to one point where him and sheriff fell out, and the sheriff, you know, he wasn't really, I guess, evidently, let them tell it, he was the cool guy. And the little Klan people, um, found out, you know, what the sheriff's men, or whatever, what was going on. And they were already jealous, a black man making money, or a half back man making money, or whatever you want to call it, and they came and burnt the house down, burnt the chicken coop down, and they killed a cow, or a couple of cows, I ain't too sure about that, but I think they killed a cow or a couple of cows. And, um, they tried to take his land from him and they took it from him for a minute, and he went to jail for a little bit, and he got out, and still, you know, couldn't get his land, but he bought, bought, and bought, and he got his land back. And, um, now, you know, every family reunion is held there and, and, um, the land is divided up, you know. Every little person in the family done bought a acre of land or how many acres they wanted to buy. Chicken coop back but ain't no chickens in it though [laugh]. I don't know what they did to the chickens. But the, um, it's a bull out there and I think two or three cows. They're all over the property, and they still sell the, um, you know, they rent the land out during I guess deer season to, you know, people. They got to pay though, you know, to come on the property because there're deer stand all throughout. And I think they should make them pay to fish because big ass lake, a big old lake out there, and they, you know, I want to go fishing there, but I'm driving from out of town and it ain't like I'm carrying some fishing rods or nothing. They got, they got, um, I think they should make people pay to fish too, and the people it's his, it's his niece, that's my Aunt Claudia. She the one live on the land. Well she live in, she got a trailer out there and a house out there. They rent the house out. My Uncle Hubert own the house now. That's his, that's his son, or somebody, but he own the house. He rent the house and now it's nice. They got four wheeler trails and stuff out there now, and all kinds of stuff, four wheelers and stuff. You can turn that off. And we got, what else? I mean it's a nice story because I would have like to live back in them days, you know, the bootleg and moonshine stuff, myself. Um, you know, up there in Yanceyville. And, um, what else? We, oh you ride pass there now, you know, like we going to the family reunion, you just be riding down because you got to ride. Lord, let me tell you about the ride. You ride down way out in the country first of all, then you make a left turn. That's all I remember. Yeah you make this left turn and you driving for about five miles, and then you past part of the lake, you go on down and then you see the mailbox. You think it, you think you are at, um, Aunt, well Aunt Claudia, well she live, you know, directly on the property, but, um, my granddaddy Owen property, my great, great, great granddaddy Owen property and the mailbox is at the end of the street, and you turn, make a right and get on this dirt road. And you driving for about two more miles [laughing], two more miles and, I kid you not, you driving for about two more miles, but that's, um, that's is the prettiest scenery you will ever see because you, you see the lake on the right. You see deer running in and out, you know, just crossing street and carrying on, but they need to pave that road because ain't nothing but a buck of dirt and you get on down there. But the house on the property is sweet. I know why Aunt Claudine don't live in the house. She want to live in the trailer. I'll quit renting that out but it ain't her house anyway, ain't her property, but anyway, back to the story. Yeah they finally done took all of his stuff, well tried to take all of his stuff but he got it all back and he was a popular guy, you know, and, um, he start bootlegging again and, you know, still the same sheriff or whatever but he, the sheriff, they squash their little beef, or what not, and the sheriff told him, you know, was telling him when he really need to get out and finally, he got smart and he just did it. And he stop for real and that was that. But everybody talk about how cool my, my, um, great, great, great granddaddy was. Granddaddy Owen. That's who I'm named after, and I think that's why I am so cool too, and uh that's that, I mean.