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Interview with Walter M. Cavin

Interviewee: 
Cavin, Walter
Contributor: 
Cavin, Jean
Interviewer: 
Burt, Joyce W.
Date of Interview: 
2003-07-02
Identifier: 
PLCA0039
Subjects: 
Stanley, NC; Stanley Creek; Land Use; Conservation; Development; Pollution; Floods; Hugo
Abstract: 
Mr. Walter Cavin, 74 years old, worked for Duke Power for nearly 38 years at the River Bend Steam Station. He talks about his father's, Walter Cavin Sr., work as a Post Master, with various banks and his time in the army during both world wars. He discusses land use in Stanley, NC with special attention given to Stanley Creek. He also discusses Hoover Pond. His wife Jean Cavin also says a few words. At the end of the interview, Joyce Burt discusses her son's stay in Iraq as a soldier and him recieving a purple heart.
Coverage: 
Stanley, NC, 1931-2003
Interview Setting: 
His home in Stanley, NC
Collection: 
Catawba Lands Conservancy, Stanley Creek Series
Collection Description: 
Gabriel Cumming conducted a series of interviews about values and land use with residents of rural communities in North Carolina's Southern Piedmont. The goals of the project were 1) to stimulate discussion of land use and values, 2) to increase region-wide awareness of rural attitudes toward land, 3) to enable the sponsoring conservancies to reach the region's diverse rural populations and 4) to challenge conservation and environmental groups to consider the cultural dimension of conservation issues.
Interview Audio: 
Transcript:
JB(Joyce Burt): This is Joyce W. Burt, it's July 02, 2003, around 7:15 or 7:20, I'm with or Walter Cavin and his wife, Jean Cavin. Lets see, Buddy and Jean, both of ya'll take turns and say your name and spell it and then you say your name and spell it, its all for the record, that's all.
WC(Cavin, Walter M.): My name is Walter M. Cavin, my nickname is Buddy. What else you want me to say?
JB: Spell it.
WC: My name is Walter, W-A-L-T-E-R, M., middle initial, Cavin, C-A-V-I-N.
JB: Mm, k, now you Jean.
JC(Jean Cavin): Jean, J-E-A-N, W. Cavin, C-A-V-I-N.
JB: That's OK. Now can you give me a little bit of background information? You know your age, your family, your occupation, just anything you want to tell me.
WC: Well,I was, I worked with Duke Power for nearly 38 years, I was a station chemist at Riverbend Steam station (1929 to 1938 three units created). I'm 74 years old. And I've lived right in this area for round 70, 71 years or something like that.
JB: Oh, you weren't born here?
WC: I was born in Mt Holly.
JB: Oh really?
WC: Yeah.
JB: And ya'll moved here in what year?
WC: We moved to Stanley in "31 the first time, we were living in Mt. Holly when I was born, and then the Depression hit a year later. And we, we went to Washington D.C., my Daddy had been in the Army. Then he got a job with the 1930 census. So we stayed up there about a year and half. Till that job ran out, then we moved back to Stanley. And, I don't know where he worked then, somewhere in Gastonia. I think.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: And then he got a job in he worked here in the no, he worked in Mt Holly in the bank. He didn't work in the bank here. They had the, Farmers and Merchants Bank here at that time which was robbed about the time we moved to Stanley.
JB: Oh goodness.
WC: And then he was sent to he'd been in the banking business, and he was sent to Columbia, South Carolina. We lived there a year, maybe a year and a half.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: And he closed down a bank down there and then we moved back to Stanley. And lived up next to the old Lutheran church.
JB: Oh, OK.
WC: And we lived there until November of 1936, and then we moved. Daddy bought a house--
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: On it's now 505 Omaha Road.
JB: Yeah, yeah.
WC: And then I grew up in that house. I lived there till 1962 when I got married.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: And then I lived in a small house next door which a lady named Bright Fox owned originally and had a store there.
JB: Yeah I remember that.
WC: And she had a little store, a regular store building in that triangle.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: And her husband died about the time we moved there. And then she, she was crippled. She had to walk with crutches. She had braces on her legs. And she couldn't get back and forth to that store. So she moved the store into the little house.
JB: [laughter] Yeah, I remember that.
WC: And then she rented that old store building and people lived in that.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: And then, when she died, Daddy, Marsh Cavin Senior bought the, the Fox property and somewhere around the mid fifties, I'm not sure exactly, '56 maybe, and then the house just sit there, her old house just sit there till I got married in '62, and I remodeled it and lived there for 14 years.
JB: Right.
WC: And, then I built a house down here at 321 Marsh Farm Rd and moved into it in November of '76 and been living here ever since.
JB: Yeah.
WC: And my first wife Betty passed away in 1996. And then I remarried in May the 24th of 2003 to Jean W., was Jean W. Curley.
JB: And we hope that'll last just as long as the other one did. [laughter]
WC: Yeah, yeah.
JB: Or maybe longer who knows. OK, Jean you can tell me a little bit about yourself too if you would. Don't worry about it. JC: Well, OK. There's really not much to tell. I'm from Mooresville. And, lived in Mt. Holly for 12 years. Then and I got married, and so this is new property to me.
JB: Yeah, yeah. JC: It's really interesting to me. I can remember when I was a kid we used to walk up, well we were too little to walk up by ourselves, but my mom she'd walk up and we'd see Ms. Cavin and buy bread and stuff at that little store next door too.
WC: Yeah. JC: And did you know that your dad, know I don't know, [sigh] I don't, I think, he just lent Daddy money. The first TV we got Daddy borrowed money from Mr. Cavin. [laughter]
WC: Yeah, yeah. JC: He didn't go to the bank I don't think. He just went to and ask him for money and got it. I always thought that was really nice. [laughter]
WC: Yeah, yeah.
JB: OK, now let's see. [pause] They kind of want to know about this area the land and everything and you can also tell us, I know you used to own more land, I mean a lot more land, cause there was all kinds of houses around here.
WC: Yeah. Well, from best I can tell this property is part of a 400 and some acre tract. And belonged to the Pegrams. And, lets see, Miss Ellie Rhyne, she was a Pegram.
JB: Oh, OK.
WC: There was an old house over there across Stanley creek that burned down in '62, that, well, you can, it's in that old history book [Echoes and Shadows of Two Centuries 1750-1950: The History of Stanley, North Carolina by Joyce Handsel and Sara Grissop, 1999 by the Stanley Historical Association]. You know.
JB: Uh-huh, yeah.
WC: It think its on page 24 or something, it shows the old house.
JB: OK.
WC: It didn't tell what year. But it's bound to been a long time ago. The house was there way over a hundred years. And, so the house from what I understand, daddy has a map that was drawn in 1913--
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: And it shows the Morris property. There farm was 108 acres, I believe, it was cut out of that.
JB: Right.
WC: And then on the other side of Stanley Creek there was 148 acres, and there was 162 acres left, which a, one of the Pegram's wives, see, she was a Pegram I guess, name was Bartley I believe. But anyway, Daddy bought the 162 acres form a lady her last name was Bartley, I don't remember her first name.
JB: Right.
WC: And then the property on the other side of the creek. I don't know who he bought that from, but anyway he bought that. Which connected onto the property and the Morris farm was in the middle of it.
JB: Right, right.
WC: That's, of course it's been split up again.
JB: Oh, yeah. Just sold and sold.
WC: But I'm living on six and one half acres of it. And, oh my sister and I each own about 40 acres of that 162 acres and the rest of it we sold.
JB: Yeah. And it butts up to Richard Rhyne's property? Or Janet Myers?
WC: Well, the part we sold does.
JB: Oh, OK.
WC: Well my property borders Janet and Alfred.
JB: Oh, OK.
WC: And, the, they used to be, like I said, they used to be an old mill down there on Stanley Creek and there's an old gold mine down there--
JB: Yeah, Daddy told us about that.
WC: Which is still there. I mean I found it down there. I know where it is.
JB: Oh really?
WC: But its, I don't know what it looks like. You can see where they drilled holes in the rocks, you know, and I guess dynamite split 'em off. But theys, theys I think it's what they called the old Rhyne mine.
JB: Yeah.
WC: But they showed on a lot of Gaston County maps, you know they show where all the old gold mines was.
JB: Right.
WC: A lot of people tell me they had slaves, that they would, when the crops was laid by and all, they'd get them out there to work in the--
JB: Right. [laughter]
WC: Hoping to find gold. I don't know how much they ever found.
JB: Well, is it a big hole? Or a cave? Or what?
WC: Well, it, I think it was originally, maybe; some of those things was just a great big hole.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: But this one, its sort of a hole there, but its there's a cave back in there, like.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: But I don't know whether they blasted it shut, or whether it caved in but I don't know of any body that's ever been in there. I mean I started to go in there one time--
JB: I'd be scared.
WC: And I saw a rattlesnake skin [laughter] and I came back out and my son Steve I, I showed it to him. He and some of his buddies when they were in their teens
JB: Um.
WC: They, I told em not to go in there, but you know how to tell a boy that.
JB: Right, right.
WC: ( ) They went down there and dug it out some. Steve went in there and saw some bats hanging in there.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: He got scared and went back out. [laughter from interviewer] But I had a dog that went down in there back in the forties and you could hear him barking back in there. And, and it sounded like he was way back in there.
JB: Right.
WC: He stayed in there 30, 40 minutes, I guess, I didn't know whether he was going to come out or not.
JB: I know I would be scared.
WC: But, but you know there's something back in there. I don't know what it is.
JB: Yeah. It's, it's really too dangerous to go back in there. But wouldn't it be really neat to go back in there?
WC: Well, that was the old man they had a write up in the Observer, it's been maybe 15 or 20 years ago maybe longer than that. But he liked to explore caves.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: And, I got to thinking about that several years later, and I was going to try to get a hold of him and see if he wanted to go in there, but I didn't remember a name. I went over there where he was at, and they, they tried to look. They, they didn't remember, didn't know his name. So I, I never did get a hold of him. But, he would have probably gone in there. You know that's what he likes to do--
JB: Will if I ever run across one, Ill refer him to you.
WC: Course now, you know, this new dentist up here owns that property now.
JB: Uh-huh, Clinniger.
WC: Yeah. But he's not a Clinniger. He married, Fred Clinniger and Ruth Clinniger's daughter.
JB: OK.
WC: So, I, I don't remember what his name is. But anyway, his wife was a Clinniger, she was, you know, from locally here.
JB: Um-huh, yeah.
WC: And, I'm sure he would allow somebody to go in there. I would feel sure if they wanted to.
JB: Yeah.
WC: I don't know why he wouldn't.
JB: Yeah, 'cause they wouldn't do anything-
WC: Might find some gold in there, I don't know. [laughter]
JB: Yeah. Well, I, I read recently, I think it was in the Carolina Country magazine. That until 1848, North Carolina was the biggest producer of gold in the United States.
WC: Yeah, that's right.
JB: But then they hit- JC: 1848.
JB: 1949, I mean 1849 they hit gold in California, and that ruined that.
WC: Yeah, some old feller came, a prospector came up here back in the fifties. He rented that service station up there where, Trinity Tire is now.
JB: Um-huh, uh-huh.
WC: And he was going to explore for gold around here. He said there was all kind of gold around here. He was going to find it. And he bought some big old coal crushers--
JB: Um-huh.
WC: Circulars from Duke, Duke Power. He was going to crush the floor I guess or something. And all that set there for a pretty good while, a year or two I guess. [laughter from
JB] And I don't know what happened to him. But evidently, he didn't ever find any gold.
JB: How'd you like that. Oh, I'm glad I came up here.
WC: Or he's found so much gold, he decided to retire. I don't know which.
JB: Well, did your father farm the land?
WC: No, huh-uh. No, daddy, well, Daddy's daddy farmed. Daddy never did farm.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: Daddy's, daddy was he was a rural mail carrier in Mt. Holly for years--
JB: Oh, OK. I'm finding out. We moved away when I was twelve and I missed out on a lot of the history of stuff. And I didn't come back till I was 30 or something.
WC: Well, Daddy, he, he went into the post office up here in '36 I believe. He was the post master from '36 until '48. And he, but he was gone for three or four years during the war.
JB: Right, yeah, yeah.
WC: He went back. He was in the First World War. And then he was in the Reserves and he went back in, in the Second World War. And so,
JB: Wow.
WC: He, he went overseas. Momma didn't know it till the war was over, but he, he didn't have to go overseas on account of his age [laughter from
JB] and he volunteered.
JB: [laughter] But he volunteered.
WC: And she didn't know it. She thought they made him go.
JB: It is a good thing. 'Cause she probably would've yelled at him quite nicely.
WC: Yeah, But, he, then when they opened the Citizens National Bank up here, he was a manager from '48 to '58 when he retired.
JB: Um-huh, uh-huh.
WC: And, but, some old feller was telling me here a while back, I was telling him up there at the used car lot, you know, Abernathy's--
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: I was sitting up there, and he was up there having his car inspected or worked on or something and he introduced himself and I introduced myself. And he asked me if I was kin to Marsh Cavin. I told him, yeah, he was my father
JB: Um-huh.
WC: He said well, when he got out of the army, back in, I think it was in the early fifties, he said he, you know, they mustarded him out in California. And he came back here. And they paid him, you know--
JB: Right.
WC: A certain amount, whatever they pay you when they let you out of the army. And said, I don't know, several months later, he got a letter from the government. Said that they had overpaid him by 500 dollars and he was going to have to send them 500 dollars. [laughter] And, that feller said that, said I didn't know what in the world to do, said I didn't have any money. Said I went up there and told Mr. Cannon and he said I need to borrow some money, but I don't have any collateral, so I don't know what I'm going to do. Daddy said let me see that letter. He said Daddy read that letter and said, ah, said, they just run short on money and they thought they'd [laughter] see if they couldn't get somebody to send it to them. Said, don't worry about it, that Ill take care of it. He said he never did hear anymore about it. [laughter]
JB: Well, gosh. Oh, and in, in the past, did,-- Everybody spent a lot more time outside than they do now.
WC: Yeah, um-huh.
JB: Just, what, what did ya'll do on Sundays, and all those days did you camp or anything, or?
WC: No, we, Dad and I used to roll back down in these woods here. JB or C: That's what we did.
WC: Yeah. Course, at the time, he didn't own them. But, we just, we just went out there--
JB: Yeah, nobody cared.
WC: Roamed around through the woods and all. He liked to get out and walk on Sundays. I didn't particularly like it sometimes. [laughter] But, I went with him anyway. [laughter]
JB: Well, didn't, isn't there a pond around here somewhere, or did there used to be?
WC: Well, Joe Morris has got one down there.
JB: Um-huh, um-huh.
WC: But,, it's just a small one, we did have another one, and the dam broke.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: But that's the only ponds I can think of.
JB: How bout the, the Hoover's pond? Did you ever go to it?
WC: Well, I, I didn't, no, I don't ever think I saw their pond. I just went to that swimming hole.
JB: Well, the swimming hole, that's what I mean.
WC: Yeah, yeah.
JB: How, how big was it roughly, do you remember?
WC: It was, [pause] it was no bigger than this room.
JB: OK. Well, I thought so. It wasn't very big.
WC: It wasn't all that big. It seemed big, you know, to us, because, there wasn't any big places. But down here on Stanley Creek, where the Black Snake bridge is-
JB: Um-huh, um-huh.
WC: Now, back in, the early forties, some time along in there, I guess they had a big rain storm or something and it washed out a big ole hole. And, people went down there and swam for a long time.
JB: Oh really?
WC: And it gradually filled back in.
JB: Yeah, yeah.
WC: And-
JB: Yeah, that's what it does.
WC: Um-huh. But, now, I don't know about Hoover's-- how that hole got there. Whether they--
JB: They dammed it up. I mean, I'd ask them.
WC: Yeah, yeah. Well, I didn't remember having a dam. I just, I just remember the place there. I never did go down there too many times. But, I went down there some when I got older, we'd go down there. [pause] Um, Well, I don't know what we'd do down there, we'd ( ) when we got cars we'd drive down there and just sit around and talk and stuff, you know. And, didn't swim then-
JB: Yeah.
WC: But, that was back in 1947 or '48. '48 I guess was the last time I remember going down there. But you could drive down there and go down by the Hoover's.
JB: Right. Right
WC: Drive down in there.
JB: Uh-huh. Yeah, that roads still there, for a good bit. Now that they've had it logged out several times. It goes along the back of Steve Skidmore and Doris's and, its real good there, but then it turns down in the pasture that used to be there and it is no more.
WC: Yeah, oh yeah. I know. Like I say, I tried to find it. You know, it was just like a meadow or something down there then. And, it looked like a jungle down there the last time I went down there.
JB: Yeah, I got a path and, Ida has a road kind of mowed out. But now, since they've logged it off so much, there's a lot of erosion and you can hardly get a vehicle down there now. Though those little boys did two years ago. And they got it stuck and had to have it pulled out. [laughter] And their Jeep, they took a Jeep down there and got it stuck.
WC: Um-huh.
WC: Doris, I was talking to Doris here a while back well a year or so ago I guess. And she said she knew where that swimming hole was. I told her I tried to find it and couldn't find it.
JB: Well, I'm pretty sure I know where it is and I'm really mad at my father because it, it's not more than 300 feet from the edge of our property.
WC: Oh is that right?
JB: That's probably why he didn't tell us.
WC: Um-huh.
JB: My mom and dad were scared we was going to get killed somehow.
WC: Yeah.
JB: And we roamed all over the woods, and he told us not to go on Ruben's land because, well, you-- they were afraid we'd do something I guess.
WC: Yeah.
JB: And just stay on grandpa and his land. And we knew roughly where the, you know, property line was on the creek and the, but that was enough. Grandpa had 64 acres and then we had 40 something. So, that was, we just roamed all over there.
WC: Yeah.
JB: And had a great time.
WC: Yeah, well, all our mothers would tell us not to go down there. [laughter] ( ) Course, almost all of us did get down there once in a while.
JB: Yeah.
WC: Something, well, something, I think it was Rabbit Homesley, you know, Alfred Homesley--
JB: Um-huh, um-huh.
WC: You know, they lived down here, you know where Alfred's house is--
JB: Um-huh, yeah.
WC: Course, he, he and his brothers used to go down there a lot.
JB: Yeah. Yeah, from what I've heard a whole lot of people in Stanley used to go down to that Hoover pond.
JC: Hoover pond.
WC: Yeah. Well, there's some places over here they call the Blue hole. I think, I don't, I don't know where that was.
JB: I don't know if I've ever heard of that.
WC: It was over there, [pause] oh, it was over on the other side of town somewhere.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: And I've never been there. And then they was, kind of a mill pond over there too. Back, well, down there past where Keith Callaway lives. I've seen it. And it was sort of dammed up. And I, I guess the mill would pump water from there up there to use in their dime house maybe or something. And then they built another dam, back in, was in the late forties. Back, right back over here off of, E. Chestnut St. But now, somebody told, I went down there to try to find it one time. And I never could find it. Somebody said that they had, I guess they blew the dam up or something. They had done away with it. But I, I couldn't even find.
JB: Well, believe me, I can tell you that after forty or fifty years, it's hard to find anything in the woods.
WC: Yeah, yeah.
JB: If it's left to itself and especially on a creek because the trees fall and the root ball rips out big sections of the bank and then the creek washes it out some more
WC: Um-huh.
JB: It just changes entirely.
WC: Yeah.
JB: We been here since '77 and the creek has changed significantly since we been here.
WC: Uh-huh.
JB: But now, do you know of any endangered or rare species of animals or plants on your land or, or around here?
JC: ( ) [laughter]
WC: Well, no, I'm not into that botany stuff too much. Daddy and Momma were. They--
JB: Oh really?
WC: Yeah. I have an old army truck out here, I don't know whether you ever seen it or not. And, it's kind of like a jeep, except a whole lot bigger.
JB: Oh, yeah.
WC: And, its made where its got some places where you can sit on the side. And I made a bench down the middle. And momma and daddy used to take some of their friends that were, a lot of them were from up North, that were real interested in plants and stuff-
JB: Oh really?
WC: Well, every spring, we got an old road, used to be an old logging road down through there--
JB: Um-huh.
WC: And daddy would take them down there, and stop and they would all get off and find all these plants blooming in the spring. You know, and I mean they, they, I guess they had a book or they knew the name of just about every one of them. [laughter] They, they really got a kick out of that. But I never was in to that too much.
JB: Well, how bout that? I never would've guessed that, that we had people-- Well, of course, we had several people in the 1700s go through, but you know, I wonder if they made any reports, or if it was just for their own enjoyment.
WC: Now, well, they were, they were local, I mean they were living locally, but they had, a lot of them, some of them had come from up north.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: And moved into this area. You know, Taller and so on. And I was trying to think of some of their names. [pause] Luker, I don't believe you ever heard of them. John Luker, he was, worked in Gaston County Dine, I think. He was, he and his wife were real interested in that. Course they're both dead now. They have a, one son, Chris Luker that lives around here.
JB: Uh-huh.
WC: But, I don't remember who all went down there, but there was a pretty good load of them.
JB: It'd be interesting to know if any of them kept a record of what, what they found and whether its still here-
WC: I don't know whether any of 'em still around or not, I can't remember. 'Cept the Lukers and I know both of them have passed on. But I can't think of anybody else, but I know there was a pretty good crowd of them. 'Cause I had to build an extra bench down the middle so they could all get on there you know.
JB: Right.
WC: And, they, they looked forward to that every spring.
JB: Lets see now, do you think your religious beliefs have affected the way you relate to the land or nature?
WC: [pause] Well, somewhat I guess.
JB: Its, difficult to know exactly. I think where you live is perfectly, you know just great because it really shows God's creations every day.
WC: Yeah, yeah. Well, a lot of this property was you know devastated during Hugo. All of them. Real big trees were uprooted and twisted off. A lot of them, you, you couldn't even get, get through the woods, you know. We, we had some, people came- a lot of white oaks down there. They came through and, got those white oaks and sold 'em. They said they got a good price and made veneer out of 'em. And course they, took down some of the other bigger trees. All of the bigger trees have been taken out- oaks, white oaks, red oaks, and so on.
JB: Um huh.
WC: But, it's beginning to look, I mean, there's, it opened, it was shady, you know, the ground just like a carpet with leaves--
JB: Um huh.
WC: No under growth at all. And since Hugo wiped all those trees out, the sun gets through. There's a lot of under growth and under brush that's springing up out in there now.
JB: Um huh.
WC: That didn't used to be there.
JB: Do you ever see any turkeys?
WC: No, I never seen a turkey.
JB: How 'bout deer?
WC: I see a deer. There's deer around here I know.
JB: Foxes?
WC: Yeah. There was some foxes here several years ago that was up under this porch. I got a bunch of wood piled down.
JB: Oh really?
WC: And they was an old fox that brought little foxes-
JB: Awww.
WC: They was four of them. But they, they weren't born t here I don't think. 'Cause they were big enough to get out and roam around-
JB: Right.
WC: But I went out to get my paper one morning and this fox was standing out in the driveway. And you know, I thought she might be rabid or something.
JB: [laughter] Yeah.
WC: She didn't look like, I mean she didn't act aggressive or anything, but she looked at me real funny you know. And I, and then later in the day I went out and she was out there again staring at me. And I came in and told my wife, I said I believe there's some little foxes around here somewhere. And I was standing right along here, and I looked out the window and I saw 'em playing out there just like a bunch of little kids.
JC: [laughter] I declare.
JB: Did you take any photographs?
WC: No.
JB: Awww, you should have.
JC: Yes, that would've been great.
WC: And they'd get out every little bit, and they'd play around, and they'd get bout-- I guess their momma told 'em to stay, to stay in the wood pile you know. But they, every once in a while they'd come out and play a little bit. And then, you'd see her come up, I guess she was bringing food in to 'em.
JB: Yeah. How long were they under there?
WC: They were there a couple of weeks and then they disappeared for a while. And I think, that their mother was taking 'em out and teaching 'em how to hunt.
JB: More than likely.
WC: and then they came back and they stayed here, I don't know, maybe a week and disappeared. Never did see 'em again.
JB: Yeah.
JC: I declare.
JB: Well, how 'bout that?
WC: I tried, I never, I bought some of this, you know, this real good expensive cat food. I thought maybe they'd-- [laughter] I put, I put a bowl out down there, and they never-- They wouldn't touch it.
JC: I declare. [laughter]
WC: It just dried up.
JC: Thinking fool we're not a cat.
WC: Well, I thought--
JC: Just trying to help 'em out.
WC: You know, well, it like fish kind of, I figured they'd like it. I guess there momma taught 'em not to eat anything what she give 'em. I don't know.
JB: [laughter] Or what they didn't kill themselves.
WC: Yeah, I don't know why they didn't eat it. But, you know, it looks to me like they would've tasted it anyway. Evidently they was getting plenty to eat.
JB: Gosh. Well, anyway this place certainly has changed since I was a kid.
WC: Oh, yeah.
JB: And how, how do you like all of the changes? Would you take any of them back?
WC: Well, I don't know. You know, people got to live somewhere.
JB: Yeah, yeah.
WC: And I guess, I, as long as they don't devastate the land too much or you know-- So far they haven't cleared off too big an area, just enough for a house. But, when I started building this house, Lamar's house and Aileen Friday and Keith Friday, you know, he lives on the other side. I believe that was bout the only houses on this road. And then they started building 'em. You know.
JB: Yeah.
WC: They was doublewides and modular houses and so on. And, you know, pretty well filled the road up. Well, a bunch of houses was built between the time I started this one and the time I moved into it.
JB: Yeah.
WC: But, this old road used to be a I think, it was a main road between Stanley and Lucia. It went down to the Morris's and turned right and went down and crossed Stanley creek down there-
JB: Um-huh.
WC: And the old road went in front of that old Pegram house.
JB: Right.
WC: And, Daddy said that that old Pegram house the stage went by, through there. Said that a lot of times they'd stop there at night, you know, and eat and spend the night. And then continue on the next day. But you can see a field beside the creek down there, built up that went to the bridge. And at one time you could see the, the ends of the bridge, you know, rocks that was built in there to support the bridge.
JB: Um huh.
WC: And, back in '81 I believe it was, we had a tremendous rain one night. Rained from bout 8'o clock one night till 5 or 5:30 the next morning. Just pouring down rain. And it washed those columns, you know, it washed 'em out. You can't even tell where they were now.
JB: Oh.
WC: But you can still see where that hump were the field place is where it raised the road up--
JB: Right.
WC: You know, where it raised the bridge where the creek could get under it. I guess.
JB: How 'bout that.
WC: And you can still see that.
JB: Yeah.
WC: You can see it on the other side of the creek. I don't, I don't know, I don't remember seeing any on this side of the creek.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: But now, that there's a power line right of way went through there. I guess they cleared it off, you know, where you can see that--
JB: Right.
WC: Beside the creek.
JB: Well, did you ever hear of an Indian living around here. Daddy said when he, well, course you're younger than daddy, but he said when he was a kid there was an Indian living around here.
WC: I don't remember hearing about it. But, I, Alfred probably would. Course Alfred he's 84, so he, you know, he remembers a lot more than I do.
JB: Yeah.
WC: And Miss Ally was, you know, she grew up around here. So she probably told him a lot of things.
JB: Yeah, he's, they talk like he's a real historian, so I'm going to get him next week.
WC: Yeah, well, he is sort of, you know, he is, he's historian for our church and so on. He's probably got a lot of stuff that Miss Ally had written down and stuff like that he could refer to. But, he, I don't know, he should be able to tell you something bout that Indian. I'm sure Miss Ally would've, his mother would've heard about it. And probably, he could probably tell you a little something about who he was or whatever.
JB: Yeah. Daddy, I think daddy even told us his name but I don't remember it now.
WC: Yeah. No, I don't remember, I don't remember Daddy ever saying anything about that. [pause] But Daddy, he was a member of the historical society of Gaston County, and he was pretty active in that. And he knew a lot of stuff. That he, well he told me some stuff, but he told me the same thing over and over and over.
JB: Right.
WC: And, other people would tell me stuff that he told them that, you know he never told me. That-
JB: It's too bad you couldn't have got that recorded. I'm telling you.
WC: Yeah. Well, it's like I told you, one time, I, he was wanting to tell somebody this stuff. Somebody should've listened to him, but I couldn't have remembered it if he'd told it to me.
JB: Yeah, yeah.
WC: But, and I, you know I'd heard him tell those tells so many times, I'd get kind of bored with it. [laughter] And I was going to get him a recorder and let him record it. You know, just when he was sitting there, you know sort of stuff come into his head, just pick up his recorder turn it on and record it, you know. And, and he agreed to it, and when I got ready to get the recorder just to make sure that he ain't changed his mind--
JB: Right.
WC: And, as I told you one other time, what I should've done was gone ahead and got the recorder and then sit there and listened and recorded it.
JB: Um huh.
WC: 'Cause he didn't want to talk to the recorder. But he'd talk to somebody and he could've told me a lot of stuff, I imagine, that maybe nobody else knew.
JB: Well, I think you ought to tell everything you know too into a tape recorder. I'll type it up for you.
WC: [laughter] Well, I'm kind of like him, I--
JB: I mean, I-- Oh well, you know it's so interesting. Well, 'course we got this.
WC: I just know little bits and pieces, you know-
JB: Yeah.
WC: I, I don't know.
JB: Well, everybody, if everybody knows little bits and pieces, maybe they know different little bits and pieces.
WC: Yeah. Well, I think Alfred, he, he should be able to really give you a lot of information that few, very few other people around here could. Course, [pause] [slaps knee] feller, Clemmer. What's his name? Do you know?
JB: Jean.
WC: Jean Clemmer. He, he's older than Alfred he could probably tell you a good bit about what goes on around here.
JB: Yeah, I ought to whiz over there and have him record some stuff too. 'Cause--
WC: 'Cause he's up in his, well up in his 90s.
JB: Yeah and he's, does he still walk around town? I think, I, I see him every once and a while.
WC: I saw him not too long ago. I, I, He may still I don't know.
JB: And Margie died, didn't she?
WC: I think she did.
JB: Yeah, yeah.
WC: We lived in that old house where he lives before we moved up to over--
JB: Oh really?
WC: On Mt Holly rd. Yeah, we lived there for a year and a half maybe two years.
JB: Yeah, yeah. They fixed it up a lot. I mean, course I haven't been in there in 15 years, I guess--
WC: Well, I hadn't been in there since we moved out here in 36.
JB: Well, they fixed it up. I went, he was sick once and I went to visit him for some reason, I guess to just see him. Oh lets see, now how do you think people from the city who move in down here, do you really think they appreciate the country the way we do?
WC: Well, no I don't think, I mean, some of them do. But most of 'em wouldn't appreciate it as much as somebody that grew up around here, I don't think.
JB: Um huh. Surely not. But they want the country, but they don't want the accompanying inconveniences. They like animals but they're scared of 'em.
WC: [laughter] Yeah, yeah that's right.
JB: How, what, what would you like to, in the future, say how, how would you like for Gaston County to be?
WC: [pause] Well, [laughter] I, I've never thought too much about it. I would want it, I wouldn't want it to get to like Stanley to get like Pineville or somewhere like that you know.
JB: Or Charlotte.
WC: Yeah.
JC: Or Gastonia.
JB: Or Gastonia either one.
WC: Well, well, Pineville is Charlotte now I guess
JB: Yeah, yeah.
WC: A few years ago you know Pineville was a little old place about like Stanley.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: Fort Mill and all them you know, and course they've just been swallowed up by Charlotte.
JB: Well, I, I kind of feel like, if we don't get some more, I, I mean I hate to have to any more rules and regulations, but were going to have to have 'em.
WC: Yeah.
JB: People are building where they shouldn't build. I noticed in a lot of these developments there building right on the flood plain of the creeks--
WC: Oh yeah.
JB: With those trailers. Trailers!
WC: Yeah.
JB: And, boy, they're going to float off down the creek like when 1881--
WC: Yeah, yeah.
JC: Yeah.
JB: And then like I say I think it--
WC: Or 1981.
JB: Oh, oh, yeah OK. OK yeah I remember that one, yeah, 1981.
WC: Yeah, I had been, see I was working on that river bed at the time. And I worked for people from Mt. Holly, Lincolnton and, and people from Mt. Holly and Lincolnton said they didn't, it didn't rain all that hard-
JB: Um-huh.
WC: But it, it set down over us and just--
JB: Poured.
WC: Poured down rain from about 8 or 8:30 one night till-
JB: I remember--
WC: 5 or 5:30 the next morning. I mean it--
JB: Um-huh.
WC: It wasn't, you know, just raining on and off. You could hear it just pounding on the roof.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: And, I have, there's a creek down here I built a bridge across where I could get down through there with my truck.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: And, that water was three feet above that bridge.
JB: We, at, at our creek we have six foot banks, five to six foot banks and we went down to see the creek, well, soon as it stopped raining so hard-
WC: Um-huh.
JB: We couldn't get closer than a hundred feet to the creek
WC: Is that right?
JC: Um-uh.
JB: I mean, we could've gone, but when, you know, you come up to this area that was woods, that is woods and it's just a solid lake. You can't see very far anyway through the woods, but we were scared to go any farther.
JC: Yeah.
JB: It just scares you.
WC: Um-huh.
JB: And I really wished we had walked all the way up and down the creek checking to see how far the water came.
WC: Um-huh.
JB: So that, we could tell people, you better not build your house there, because in 1981 the water was right there.
WC: Yeah, um-huh. Well, that's what they call a hundred year flood, you might say, you know.
JB: Um-huh, um-huh.
WC: It, it might be a hundred years till you have another one like that.
JB: Um-huh, or it might be just 20 years who knows.
WC: Yeah, but, yeah they call it a hundred year--
JB: Yeah, yeah.
WC: You know, it averages a hundred years maybe.
JB: Right.
WC: But, I, I never seen it rain like that. Down through the woods you could see big, wide places where it just washed--
JB: Every thing washed--
WC: Out the bare dirt.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: It you know, usually the, it didn't do that, it, you know, it just, it, it just washed all the leaves away it just left a bare, a bare trench down through there where the water would rush down through there so hard.
JB: I know, it's really--
WC: Course when it hit those creeks, you know, they bound to have gone up a lot.
JB: [pause] Let's see. What threats are there to the land and environment in this area, can you think of any?
WC: [pause] I don't know of any other than, you know, too many people coming in. Right now I mean there's no industry or anything that I know of. Not, you know, right in this immediate vicinity.
JB: Um-huh.
WC: Now some of these plants around here are fairly new and most of them I'm sure have been, you know, going by the rules that limit the environmental impact they can have and all that sort of thing.
JC: I'm not-
JB: But anyway--
WC: Well, they're a lot better than they used to be.
JB: They're a lot better than they used to be.
WC: And they are monitored because where I worked you see at River Bend, they, we had to make reports and take little tests and everything on the, the water and air and the pollution we put into the air and all that.
JB: Right.
WC: And, you know, limit it as best we could. Course, it was a coal fired plant, or a fossil plant as they call it. And if they build one of those now, they've got put these sulfur scrubbers to take the sulfur dioxide out of the flew gas which gets up in the atmosphere and turns into sulfuric acid --
JB: Yeah, acid rain-
WC: And then comes down in the acid rain. But an old plant, they'd let them get by.
JB: [laughter] Yes, I know.
WC: But, you see that's the reason they don't, they're refurbishing a lot of these older plants instead of building newer ones. And most of the newer plants are, use combustion turbines, which use natural gas. And they can use fuel oil if they have to.
JB: Yeah.
WC: But they, they don't put out as much pollution as-- And they, they use these fossil plants for what they call base load where they, you know, they run all the time, but during peak loads then they can bring those combustion turbines up and shut 'em down. Whereas a steam plant, you know, it's hard to fire it up. And, I mean, you can't do it. It takes time.
JB: Uh-huh, yeah.
WC: And, course the hydro plants, the water plants, you know, they can put them on and, and, and run 'em when they did the peak load and then they shut them down. And course some of the water is replaced, 'specially when you have a lot of rain.
JB: Right.
WC: And, you know that's sort of reserved, 'cause you cant, you cant store electricity.
JB: Unfortunately not.
WC: You know, it's not like your car where you can put in a storage battery, but you cant, that's got to be produced as it's used.
JB: Just need some kind of new energy. You've got to get to work on that Buddy. [laughter]
WC: What about ( ) [laughter] Well, I mean, you know, they can, they, you know, they're trying to get this nuclear. You know, fission is what they use to generate power in these power plants.
JB: Right.
WC: But the fission is, no fusion, that, that, you know there's unlimited amount of energy they can get from that if they ever--
JB: If they can ever figure it out.
WC: Get it started. Yeah.
JB: My son gives me long lectures on stuff like that.
WC: Um-huh.
JB: And I say look don't give me lectures, invent something, make a million dollars and lets get it started.
WC: Well, he'd make more than a million dollars if he could--
JB: Well, that's all, t all he needs.
WC: Come up with-yeah.
JB: [laughter] Oh lets see, oh what would you like for your children and grandchildren to experience here in this area?
WC: Well, I don't think they're going to experience anything ( ).
JB: [laughter] Oh, they're all going to move away. ( )
WC: Well, my son lives down close to Atlanta--
JB: Yeah.
WC: Which I think he'll live there I know the rest of my life. I, I, he told me he didn't ever think he'd come back to Stanley. And my daughter lives over in Mecklenburg, there's a possibility she could move back to Stanley but she wouldn't, I don't think she would ever live here. It's possible.
JB: Well, you know, you own that land over there, maybe she would want to build back there.
WC: Well, she has talked about moving, you know, if she moved, possibility of moving to Stanley or Gaston County, but I don't know. You know, who knows what they're going to do, one day going to do one thing and the next day something else. And, so I, I just don't know what, you know, what to expect from them whether they'll ever come back or not.
JB: Well, that's all my questions. Have you got any questions for me or any other statements you'd like to make about the State of the Union so to speak? Or whatever? [laughter] Or have you got any, let's see, now, Jean--
WC: Would you like to have this article here? I'll give it to you if you want--
JB: Yes I would--
WC: I read it--
JB: I keep all that stuff--
WC: I mean, I'm sure its of more interest to you than it is to me.
JB: Yeah, I, I really
WC: If you haven't already seen it.
JB: I look forward to and I am so thrilled that we have this large section just below us that will never be built on.
WC: Uh-huh. JC: Yeah.
JB: You know, maybe one or two; I think maybe one or two houses.
WC: Yeah.
JB: It, it really um, I've you know we put our land under the conservancy.
WC: Yeah, yeah, I read that in the paper.
JB: And see we can farm, we can log it--
WC: Um-huh.
JB: We can, let's see what else can we do? Oh, you know, just do all kinds of things with it, we just can't sell it to somebody, or sell housing you know, a housing development to anybody.
WC: Yeah.
JB: No more houses. I asked my son, see my brother has a house and we, we have a house on it. And, I asked him if he wanted a lot.
WC: Um-huh.
JB: And he said no there are too many houses on it already. [laughter]
JB: Now that's what I call togetherness-- JC: It is.
JB: Let me tell you. Course, eventually, you know, my brother never married and we don't have any other children--
WC: Yeah.
JB: So he'll get all the property anyway. And he comes home and goes and takes photographs down at the creek-
WC: Um-huh.
JB: And, takes photographs, all around, you know, the animals and every thing--
JC: Your brother?
JB: No, my son.
JC: Oh, your son.
JB: Yeah. And, I guess eventually he'll move back here when we're gone, or--
WC: Yeah. You got one son, and one stepson is that right?
JB: No I have three, let's see three stepchildren.
WC: Oh, oh, I didn't know
JB: Chris is still over there, in Iraq--
WC: Well, I knew you had, I didn't, I didn't realize you had stepchildren till you started talking 'bout him-
JB: Well, you know, the first 200 people here in Stanley I told that, and after that, I, you know, you just kind of get tired of telling everybody
WC: Yeah.
JB: And, it didn't go, go to everybody.
WC: Yeah.
JB: But we went to see Roger Jr. two weeks ago and he is full of holes--
JC: Oh my goodness.
JB: I mean, he got a mortar round went off two feet behind him-
WC: Is that right?
JB: If he hadn't been wearing the flack jacket--
WC: Um-huh.
JB: He would've been dead.
JC: Oh, oh.
JB: And, and the first night, you know, I haven't seen him in years, because I can't, couldn't travel because of my hip you know.
WC: Oh, yeah.
JB: And, he was kind of shy. The first night his Dad said let's see your scars. And he said, nah, nah. Then the next morning, you know we'd talked all night and everything, next morning he looked at us and said, you want to see my scars? [laughter] And he-
JC: I'm telling you.
JB: Just here on his, 'bout, you know it was on that side mainly and the back and I guess he had it, you know, he had it all down his legs and hips and he had twenty holes in him.
WC: Mhm.
JB: And the biggest pieces they, you know, they had about five or six slits cut in him with the little stitch marks--
WC: Um-huh.
JC: Uh-huh.
JB: Where they took out the big pieces but then most of them had cut this great big, you know, gash to get it out of his intestines
WC: Um huh.
JC: Oh my goodness--
JB: And they took out his spleen and his, what's that other thing? His spleen and something else. And his lung,uh, collapsed. He got to meet the President.
WC: Did he?
JB: Yes.
JC: He did? Well, good--
JB: Yes, he was at Walter Reid, you know, when he was in, in the first one or two shipments to come over
JC: Uh-huh.
JB: You know the wounded, the President came and it was kind of funny he said Mr. President, I'd like you to meet my wife. And the president said, well, I'd like you to meet my wife. [laughter]
JC: Oh!
JB: So, he got to meet the President--
JC: Oh, that would be-
JB: I was hoping that the President would present his purple heart to him-
WC: Um-huh.
JB: But they just somebody just handed it to him. I don't remember who he said handed it to him. START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B
JC: Well, you'd think they would've presented it-
JB: Well, he's going to his, his group is still over there, he's a first sergeant.
WC: Uh-huh.
JB: And his group is still over there. And they're coming back pretty soon I think in July, now, this month some time--
WC: Um-huh.
JB: And they're going to have a special program-
JC: Yeah.
JB: And they're going to present it to him.
WC: Um-huh.
JB: He's so anxious wanting them to come back. I think he feels like they're his family you know.
WC: Yeah.
JB: But--.
WC: Where, where is he now?
JB: He's at home in Pinesville, Georgia.
WC: Oh.
JB: Oh, yeah. He was only at the hospital; Roger called on Thursday to see how he was. And then, he called Friday and he said the hospital, they don't know where he is. I said, ah! I know about hospitals, you know, I said, oh, that's just the receptionist. I said, have her ask around, you know, to find out what, where he went to. He was, I don't what he thought happened to him, but I said he's probably gone home or something-
WC: Yeah.
JB: And sure enough they told him that if his wife would change the dressings--
JC: Um-huh.
JB: He could go home.
WC: Um-huh.
JB: And, of course, who's going to stay at a hospital? I mean--
JC: When you can go home.
JB: When you can go home.
WC: Um-huh.
JB: And his sister he's, Roger has two boys and a girl, his sister, that weekend he came home, she went to help, and of course, I'm sure to see him. And she said he was laying on the sofa, eating and watching TV. And that's what he was doing. [laughter] Let me, let me cut off this thing, we're off the all the questions.
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