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Interview with Myrtle Hall

Hall, Myrtle
Cumming, Gabriel
Date of Interview: 
Hosiery industry - North Carolina; Family life; Land Use; Farm life; Democratic Party; Civil War; Quilting; Fishing; Hunting
Mrs. Myrtle Hall is a ninety-year-old resident of Ophir, a community close to Troy, NC. She has lived a hard life and is proud of that fact. She worked at the Fremont Hosiery Mill until knee problems forced her to retire at the age of eighty. She grew up on the family farm which produced all the food her family needed except a little coffee and sugar. Mrs. Hall was heavily involved in her community and in the local Democratic Party.
Montgomery County, NC; 1920s-1990s
Interview Setting: 
The interview took place in the house where Mrs. Hall was born and where she still lives in Ophir, North Carolina.
Catawba Lands Conservancy, Uwharrie 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: 
BH (Bobby Hall): Saw Mr. Claude Morris yesterday.
GC (Gabriel Cumming): Um, I heard he celebrated his--.
BH: Talked with him, yeah, he celebrated his hundredth birthday. He was doing pretty good, but he's been in the hospital for a couple of weeks and I didn't know it, but he straightened out, he, about three weeks ago he was in there for a couple of weeks up here in Asheboro, and got squared away and back home, looked like doing OK.
GC: What, what was, what was it for?
BH: You know, I asked him and now I can't tell you so I'm getting old. [laughter] I don't remember exactly what they said it was.
GC: Just listening here to see if we can hear ourselves. OK. But you said he's out now.
BH: Uh-huh.
GC: OK. Well, if you can just say your name on the, so that I can get that, I mean I know it, but the person who writes this out might not know it, so.
MH (Myrtle Hall): You want me to what?
GC: Just say your name please.
MH: Myrtle Hall.
GC: There you go. And I think it is picking up real well, so I will take these off. [laughter]. When I first got these things, they said, the people I work with said, you aren't going to go around talking to people with these on, are you? And I said, well, only for a minute at the beginning, but then I take them off again. So, and how old are you this year Myrtle?
MH: August the sixth I was ninety-two.
GC: Wow, congratulations.
MH: I was born in 1910.
GC: Uh-huh. And where were you born?
MH: Right here in this house.
GC: In this house.
MH: In this very old house. And I've lived here most of my life. I lived two years in Thomasville.
MH: But I had to come home. My daddy was blind and my momma wasn't well, so I come back home and waited on them.
GC: Uh-huh. When was that?
MH: That was in the 40s.
MH: And my daddy died in '50. And his first cousin come back here from California and lived up here in a little store and momma took to flu and I took pneumonia and he come down here, I had a cow of course, and he had to take care of my cow, and he lived with us, he fixed an old chicken house out here and moved in it and had a this share down here and another share and he was as happy as he could be. [laughter]. And he died in '69, but in, he come the next year after, in '51 after my daddy died. And momma was scared alone inside so he stayed with momma and I got me a job in Highway 8, up near Denton, and I worked up there thirty-eight years.
GC: Wow, doing what?
MH: Packing hose in an automatic machine, thrown in an automatic machine.
GC: Wow, so, it was one of those small hosiery factories?
MH: Uh-huh, yeah, out in the country.
GC: They have a number of those around here, don't they?
MH: Yeah, a right many of them. That one's still going fine from what I hear from one of the girls that
GC: Oh really.
MH: work up there, still come to see me. I worked 'til I was eighty years old.
GC: Wow. Why did you stop?
MH: Well, I had a knee problem.
MH: And the doctor told me I'd loose that leg if I didn't get off the cement floor. Of course, I don't think I would have, I think I would have worked on, but I didn't.
GC: Well, lucky you didn't have to find out, whether that would be true or not. So, so the time you lived in Thomasville was the only time you, you--?
MH: That I was away from here.
GC: And what were you doing over there.
MH: Working in the Fremont Hosiery Mill.
GC: Oh, OK.
MH: Fremont (Menanhall) Hosiery Mill. He married a first cousin of mine.
GC: Oh, OK, so it was, he was family sort of. And you went to school in the community, is that right?
MH: I went to school right up here at Ophir.
GC: Uh-huh, when they had the school, there.
MH: In nineteen hundreds I reckon, nineteen something. I was supposed to finish high school in 1925.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: I went to Eldorado for three years, and then I went to Troy for four, going four years, I went until after Christmas. And they had to operate, had to take my tonsils out.
GC: Oh dear.
MH: Down there in a little old building the doctors had out in Troy. And I got real bad off and had to come home and not go back to school. I promised my mom I'd go back next year, but I never did go back. [laugher] I come up the hard way, but I'm mighty proud of it.
GC: Yeah, right. So is this house, is this house on the family land, is, is the family--?
MH: Well, he, I guess my Grandpa Hall give it to him.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: It's, I've got the sixty some acres and my brother had the other part which was seventy-two acres and his two boys got it several years ago. I went down to Troy and signed mine over to them. My two nephews own this place and I've got a lifetime right to it.
GC: Did they, do they, do they live in the community?
MH: One lives in Greensboro and one lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
GC: OK. Do you, do you know what they plan to do with it in the future? Do you have any idea?
MH: Well, I have no idea what they'll do with it, but I imagine they'll keep it for a while.
GC: Do you think they'll--?
MH: I told them I wanted them to sell so many acres here and let somebody live in this house, but I don't know what they'll do.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: I'm not making them do anything. I got a doll that I got when I was ten years old. Santa Clause come down that chimney, I know he did because the reindeer tracks was out in the yard, and apples and oranges out there everywhere, and bags all scattered around everywhere. And I've still got that baby doll in the box it come in.
GC: Oh wow. Did you ever take it out and play with it?
MH: I never played with it much I don't guess. Some of 'em said. I could get a big prize out of it, and I said that wasn't going nowhere as long as I lived, and when I die, I don't care if they throw it in the garbage if they want to.
GC: Just as long as you got to have it while you were around.
MH: That's right. I don't care what they do with it afterward.
GC: Is that the way you feel about the land too?
MH: I don't care what they do with it, it don't make a bit of difference to me. I wish they would sell a little bit of this and let somebody move in it.
GC: Move into this house.
MH: I've heard several say they'd like to have it.
GC: Uh-huh. Yeah, it's a nice house. Do you think your sons might move back to the community?
MH: My nephews?
GC: I mean nephews, I'm sorry.
MH: I don't think they'll ever come back here.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: Now, Jimmy might come back to Greensboro sometime, but I don't think he'd ever come back to Ophir.
GC: Why is that?
MH: Well, I don't think Ophir is big enough for him, as long as they've been away.
GC: Uh-huh. But they did grow up here?
MH: No. Huh-uh.
GC: Oh, they didn't.
MH: They lived in Troy when they were young, but then they moved to Greensboro. I think he went to high school, I think they went to high school down here some, but I think they finished in Greensboro.
GC: OK. And what, what is, what's the land in mostly now, is it mostly grown up, is it woods, or is it fields?
MH: We got it set out in pines.
GC: Oh, OK. Is there any hard woods still, or is it all pine?
MH: Well, there's a lot of it, we just growing trees around here, you know but the bottoms and all the open land's set out in pines.
GC: Oh, OK. But the rest of its just grown up, however, naturally.
MH: Uh-huh.
GC: Was it ever farmed? Did you ever farm it?
MH: Oh yes, I've farmed. I've been behind an old mule many a time pulling a corn planter, my daddy would lay off and I'd plant the corn. I've worked mighty hard all my life.
GC: Yeah, so I've gathered. Well, so did you mostly plant corn, or what, what other stuff did you raise?
MH: We raised corn, and cotton, and beans and anything that they raised out in the country, my daddy raised.
GC: Uh-huh. Did, was it almost all fields, the whole hundred and thirty or whatever it is?
MH: It's down here, I don't know how much they had open land, I don't even remember.
GC: Uh-huh. But it was a lot of, a lot of field land?
MH: Well, not a great big lot, but right much. We lived off it.
GC: Uh-huh. It was enough to live off. So, you pretty much grew everything that you needed yourselves.
MH: We grew everything except a little coffee and a little sugar, something like that.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: Now when they built this house here, they built it behind a great mess of pines, the Masons owned it. Almost where you parked your car, the Masons owned.
GC: Oh, OK.
MH: And when they sold their timber, my daddy bought it. He bought it from over there at the edge of the field to almost to the next house, Pauline ( ) house, way up the road.
GC: Oh, OK. So, there were people growing pines on the land way back before this house was even here.
MH: Well, we didn't have it in our bottom lands and like that, but we had open lands--.
GC: Oh, OK.
MH: We've set that out now.
GC: Uh-huh. When did, when did you do that?
MH: Oh Bobby do you remember?
BH: Oh no, I don't know think so, it's been several years though.
MH: Don't you imagine it's been about ten years ago?
BH: At least.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: I'm just guessing now.
GC: Yeah, sure. Yeah, I hear that a lot of people about ten years ago people were starting to go more into the pines, is that, is that what you think? I mean that most people in the community were doing something similar?
MH: Well, I can't remember dates and things anymore.
GC: Oh sure, it doesn't matter about the date, I'm just thinking everybody, people doing things at about the same time as each other.
MH: My people used to go to church. ( ) we didn't have a church up here.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: My great granddaddy was buried there.
GC: At Eleazer.
MH: Uh-huh. And I think it was about 1900, nineteen one maybe, there was an old school house set across the road from the community building and they organized a church in there and I think about, it's on the front of the church, isn't it Bobby?
BH: Uh-huh.
MH: I don't know whether it's nineteen one, or nineteen two, the church-.
BH: One or the other, I can't remember either.
MH: The church was built
BH: Nineteen one, or nineteen two.
MH: across where Mildred Davis' house is now. And then in 1931
BH: Thirty-two.
MH: I think it was thirty something, it was moved to where it is now and my daddy and several of the men took their mules and put it on logs and pulled it down to where it is now.
GC: Oh really, why did they move it? Do you know?
MH: Well, they just wanted it somewhere else. [laughter] I don't know why. I guess it looked better where it is now.
GC: Yeah, it does look pretty good, up on the hill there. That must have taken some work though. So, when you, when you went away did you miss the home place? Did you want to come back, or did you just come back because you had to.
MH: Well, I didn't stay away long. I'd come home about every weekend.
GC: Uh-huh, right. So did you feel-.
MH: I didn't mind coming home.
GC: Uh-huh. Do you feel an attachment to it? I mean do you feel--?
MH: Well, I've always been attached to this place, of course. And I worked in Troy a couple of years at a place down there at North Troy can't think of the name of it, Tables.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: Tables Road Mill.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: I worked there about a couple of years.
GC: But you always felt like this was home, or this was always your, your-.
MH: This has always been home.
GC: And do you feel like you know the area around here particularly well, just from growing up on it and living on it and working on it.
MH: I think I know ever, everybody everywhere they've ever lived, at one's--, all the older people.
GC: Yeah. How about the land itself, do you, do you feel like you know it pretty well?
MH: Do I what?
GC: Know the land pretty well?
MH: Well, I know what everybody's got.
GC: Well--.
MH: I don't know how many acres, but I just know where their homes are.
GC: Well, I mean, you know, like where the creeks run, and, and where you can go where there are springs.
MH: I know where Duncan goes.
GC: Uh-huh. That's the spring, that's the creek back here?
MH: Right in back of my house. And you cross it coming down from Bobby's.
GC: Oh, OK. I didn't know the name of that creek.
MH: Well, it's Duncan.
GC: OK, and that flows into the Uwharrie River.
MH: Goes into the Uwharrie River.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: And it's.
GC: Oh yeah, sure.
MH: Duncan starts out way up towards Thomasville.
GC: Does it go out by the Saunder's Place?
MH: No, it doesn't. It goes, goes into the Uwharrie River--.
GC: Right, well.
MH: Back by the Saunders somewhere.
GC: Yeah, cause Kevin and all, they have a little club house back down
MH: Down there out on the river.
GC: And that's where the creek comes in isn't it? At least some creek. OK. Cause some creek comes in right there, right there where they have that.
MH: I have been fishing down there where their clubhouse is, but it's been many a year ago.
GC: Oh yeah, it's nice. Kevin took me down there. They've got a whole bunch of stuff down there now. A whole bunch of different buildings and--.
MH: I think they spend the night, weekends down there sometimes.
GC: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
MH: Kevin and Wesley have been to see me this evening.
GC: Yeah, that's great, that's great. So, what all do you remember doing down by the creek? Did you, did you go down there much?
MH: Down here? I think I did, cause our farm's on each side of it.
GC: Uh-huh. Did you ever play in it or anything when you were a kid?
MH: I certainly have. Many a time and I've fished it and caught tons of stone toaders.
GC: OK. What else, what else was in there? Did you find anything else in there?
MH: I don't know about it, there probably was.
GC: Crawdads?
MH: Crawfish.
GC: Yeah, crawfish.
MH: Probably so, plenty of them.
GC: Uh-huh. Did, when you were a kid, did, did you, did you play a lot out here in the, in the, out back, out there?
MH: I was the only girl, I had a brother. The ones that lived below us had two boys and of course, I'd want to be out with them a lot, but they didn't want me.
GC: You were the younger, younger one?
MH: I remember going down back of the barn playing down on the hill, with an old homemade cart, getting on it and riding down it with them.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: But they fussed me at a lot, I had to come in the house most of the time.
GC: They didn't want you tagging along?
MH: They didn't want me tagging along.
GC: Oh well. So, you had to make your own fun.
MH: Well, I had a playhouse upstairs.
GC: Yeah. What, what's, what's your earliest memory of this place? Can you remember? What's the earliest thing you think of when you think back?
MH: Oh child, I don't know.
GC: Or something early, it doesn't have to be the earliest thing.
MH: I think I remember my daddy telling about, you know, there used to be salesmans that come along on foot selling foot, and he spent the night here, and the next morning, where my bathroom is now was a back porch and had a potty cup and a place to put your water and your dishpan, washpan, to wash your hands, and he slipped out after breakfast, under that and went off up the road, going somewhere else. And when my daddy found out he was gone, he got on a horse and went and got him and made him come back and tell, thank mama for spending the night with us.
GC: Was he supposed to do the dishes too?
MH: What?
GC: Did he have to do the dishes?
MH: Well, when I got up bigger I did.
GC: Well, I'm talking about the salesman who came through.
MH: No, he didn't have to do the dishes.
GC: He didn't have to--?
MH: He had to thank her for letting him stay the night.
GC: Yeah, right, I bet you had to do the dishes. [laughter]
MH: When I got up bigger. I've been cooking ever since I was fourteen years old.
GC: Uh-huh. How early did they have you working out in the fields? How young were you when you started?
MH: I don't know, but we were pretty young 'cause I remember me and Elmer being down in the field and my daddy had an old mule when mama hollered for dinner, he'd have to take that old mule out and bring it in the house. And it wouldn't plow no more. And then Elmer got the idea that we'd be up at the end of the field and he'd get down at the other end and we'd holler, and get to go to the house. [laughter]. My daddy said, young'uns, let me tell you something, now, if you want to go to the house, just lay your ho down and go, but don't you holler no more. [laughter].
GC: So that--.
MH: I don't guess we did.
GC: Was he, was he pretty firm with you all? Was he pretty strict?
MH: No, my daddy never whipped me in his life. I was his girl.
GC: But you knew to do what he said when he told you?
MH: Well I tried to. Mama wore a peach tree out for breaking limbs off for switching us.
GC: Oh no. Wow. So you had peaches huh?
MH: Oh yeah, we had little peach trees all around here.
GC: Did you have other fruit trees too?
MH: Apples.
GC: Uh-huh. Crabapples?
MH: We had a little apple orchard over there, but I don't whatever become of it. I got so I never could go over and see about it. I guess it all rotted down.
GC: Uh-huh. When did, when did you stop being able to go out and take care of it, take care of the orchards and stuff like that, or when did people stop doing that I guess?
MH: I moved this place. All the time I worked, I'd come home in the evening and mow until dark, but when I hurt my knee, I couldn't mow no more, so I, I've been having a man to mow for me ever since he was sixteen years old.
GC: Huh.
MH: But he didn't come this weekend, and I called him, and he said, and I called down to the store where his daddy works, and he said, he just left here on a motorcycle.
GC: Oh no, is he coming back?
MH: When I got him finally, and he said that he could come this week.
GC: Good. Well, it still looks fine, its not too bad.
MH: My front yard, though, the back yard's growed up.
GC: Yeah.
BH: I've mowed part of mine twice this week. [laughter].
MH: What?
BH: I've mowed part of mine twice this week.
MH: Have you?
BH: I got messed up with the rain, which I'm glad it rained. It was all about dead, but I mowed it one time Tuesday, but then by yesterday it was needing it again.
BH: So I got about half of it--.
MH: It was pretty bad, the front one wasn't too bad.
GC: Did you family own this, this land before the house was built, or was that about the time they--?
MH: My granddaddy owned it.
GC: When, when did he get it, do you know?
MH: He, I don't know when he got it, no.
GC: Did he think he lived here a while before the house, or did he build the house right away?
MH: No, I think my daddy had the house about done when he married and he married June the twenty-seventh, nineteen hundred, and I think the house was about ready for them to come in. He married a girl from Stanly County.
GC: Oh, OK.
MH: She was sixteen years old.
GC: How old was he?
MH: Twenty-seven.
GC: OK. He got a young one.
MH: He got him a baby. But they got along just fine. Bobby's granddaddy when he got married, he married a girl from Thomasville, and I can remember hearing mama talk about cooking dinner for them and Irving and his wife, the new bride, and Anne Lions are walking down here and eating dinner one day. I guess he come down from Thomasville.
GC: He walked all that way?
MH: Well they live right good. They live down on the river from where Bobby lives now.
GC: Oh, OK. So they could walk that. Now, are you two related? I mean, what's the relationship?
MH: His granddaddy and my daddy were first cousins.
GC: OK. So, that makes you something to. [laughter] I don't know what, but kin.
MH: Well, we're still in the family.
GC: Definitely. Yeah. So, did, before, before there was a, before you had the cars around here mostly, did were you still using the same road? Was it, was it for--?
MH: It's almost the same, but it changes a little bit right back down here, I think, but about the same road.
GC: Did you have other, other trails and stuff like to cut through over toward where Bobby is and stuff like that?
MH: Where?
GC: Like any other trails or roads going back?
MH: Well, I want to tell you, Bobby uncle come down through the creek, down the creek one time, and come out at that window Saturday night after dark and hollered hey, I'm here to spend the night with her. They all liked my daddy, all the young boys did.
GC: Why?
MH: They just got along with him, and they come down here and spent the night, and then go to church on Sunday morning. And I've always fed the preachers.
GC: Oh really?
MH: Up until about three years ago I quit it.
GC: Huh.
MH: Some of them wanted to know why I done it, I said, my grandpa Hall done it, he'd take the horse and buggy and put the horse up and feed it and keep him for about a week, and then I said, when he quit, my daddy and momma done it and I reckon I thought I had it to do.
GC: Uh-huh. Yeah. Well, you took on the responsibility. Who's doing it now? Is someone else doing it?
MH: We don't do it no more.
GC: Oh, well then that's too bad.
MH: We used to have, I'd have one Sunday and my momma would and Bobby's grandma, and different ones in the community would feed him every other Sunday, twice a month is all he'd preach, but everybody's quit that now. They don't do it no more. But I've done it for this preacher we've got for a long time and I finally quit and say (boy) you don't ever come about me now.
GC: Did, did you have him over to the house after church, or did you feed him over there?
MH: Uh-huh. He would come over after church and have dinner with me.
GC: He would come over here. Uh-huh. Well, you all switch out your preachers pretty often, right? It's Methodist, right.
BH: Well, we used to. We've had this, we've had this one going about twelve years.
GC: Oh really. Oh OK. I thought they, I thought they switched you, switched them out every four years.
BH: They used to do that about every--, but they don't, they used to do that, but they don't.
GC: Do you like it better this way? I mean you can get to know the preacher better if he's around for longer.
MH: Well, I like our preacher. He's a mighty good one I think. How long have we had him, thirteen years?
BH: Twelve or thirteen.
MH: I think it's thirteen.
BH: I think he's started his thirteenth year maybe.
GC: I should go talk to him sometime. He's been around a little while.
MH: He's got four churches.
GC: Four churches. Oh Wow. Which ones?
MH: Homecoming, Wadeville ( ).
BH: Wadeville, the little church in Troy as you go in on the left on 109 called Wadeville. That little brick church on the left in Uwharrie over--.
GC: So does he come every other week.
BH: Uh-huh.
GC: And he preaches two, two churches a week.
BH: Two churches, Uh-huh. He'll come Uwharrie and Ophir the same Sunday and then First Church and Wadeville the next Sunday.
GC: Wow.
BH: We're all just small churches.
GC: Yeah.
BH: Thirty, probably anywhere from twenty to forty.
GC: Hum. When is the Harvest Sale? I was, I was wondering.
BH: The second Saturday night in November.
GC: The second Saturday night in November. I'm going to try to make it out.
MH: You're going to come to it?
GC: I'd like to. I was going to last year and then something came up, but I'd like to come this year.
MH: I don't know what they've got. I've got so I can't do nothing no more. I just don't try.
GC: Uh-huh. Sure. So, the boys who came over here to see your dad, out from the back, they must have had a cut through.
MH: They come down the creek.
GC: Oh, they came down the creek, OK.
MH: Uh-huh. They come down through the woods.
GC: Uh-huh. Now, did they do much hunting back there too, or?
MH: Well, you know my Grandpa Hall lived right up above me and the road went through his front yard, across the creek and went on to the steel mine, and across the river and went to El Raven. That's been years ago, now.
GC: It doesn't that way anymore.
MH: No, no Road through there. You go by Bobby's now.
GC: Right, right. Was there, there was another bridge? There was a different bridge?
MH: Oh, they didn't have a bridge. [laughter]
GC: They had a boat ferry?
BH: No, they just forded it.
GC: Oh, they just forded it. It was shallow enough.
BH: Yes, that's what they forded down at the old water bridge.
GC: Oh right, until they put the, until they put the bridge in. When did they put the bridge in? Do you remember?
BH: Oh it's been--.
MH: I don't know how many years ago.
BH: I remember the older bridge, it had wood girders and everything and this ones got steel. But that was still before my time, that's [pause] been several, several years.
GC: Uh-huh.
BH: I'm sixty and it was a bridge there as long as I can remember.
GC: Hum. About how old do you think you were when people, a good number of people started getting cars around here and started using, using cars?
MH: Well, I was still in my teens when my daddy had a t-model.
GC: Oh, OK. So, that was the 20s.
MH: Uh-huh. And when they took my tonsils out--I'm sort of embarrassed to tell ya' but I'm going to tell it--I stayed down at Troy for a night or two, and when they got ready to bring me home it was raining, and I drove that t-model home with an umbrella over me. [laughter]
GC: 'Cause it was an open top?
MH: Well, the old t-model leaked. My daddy'd had it a long time. [laughter].
GC: Yeah. Wow, you had to drive it home yourself.
MH: I drove it home.
GC: Wow.
MH: I don't guess I had to, 'cause my daddy drove.
GC: When did you start driving?
MH: When did I?
GC: Uh-huh. How old were you when started?
MH: Lord, I don't know. In my, I had my tonsils out when I, in 1925, so I was driving sometime before that.
GC: Yeah. Fourteen, fifteen. Huh. Now, what was, what was the road from Troy like back then? It wasn't the same as it is now, right?
MH: Well, we come up by 109 and come by Uwharrie, come that way. When we could come up the dirt road, it was a pretty good old road, but I went down it I think last Christmas with Franklin, he wanted to go that way and I told him it was pretty good.
GC: Yeah, isn't that the road that we came through with Mr. Morris, right?
BH: They're starting to pave now, you see.
GC: Oh, they're going to pave it. Oh, OK. They're going to pave it--?
BH: Part of the way anyway.
GC: When did they pave this road, do you remember? Or has it been a while, or?
MH: It's been a right good little while.
BH: I can barely remember when it was dirt but I can't tell you what year.
MH: Do you remember?
BH: Like I said, I'm sixty and I can barely remember when they paved it. So, I guess it was somewhere in the--.
GC: Fifty years ago.
BH: Yeah, probably. Fifty or better.
MH: I believe, I believe it was maybe before my daddy died. I'm not sure about it.
BH: I remember your daddy was the first funeral I ever remember going to in my life, was your daddy. I was eight years old then.
MH: It was in 1950. Well I believe, sort of believe we had a hard service. And about eight years ago I voted a Republican ticket. I voted for (Reggie) Dickson. He got our roads re-hard surfaced out here.
GC: Well, I heard you were a lifelong Democrat.
MH: I was, but I voted for him and I'm proud of it 'cause he's been mighty good to me. But he's as much of a Democrat as he is a Republican.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: I still don't like him because he done it, but he was a Democrat until he married this woman.
GC: Oh really, he switched over.
MH: I think she ort to go with him. But (Reggie) is a mighty fine fellow.
GC: Now, is he the state representative, or?
MH: He is County Commissioner, eight years ago.
GC: Now, Dolon Corbett is--.
MH: Going to be if he gets elected in the fall.
GC: Is he going to take that seat?
MH: He'll have the one that (Brady) had cause he's in number one district.
MH: Of course, Dolon's running at large.
GC: Oh, OK. And he won, he won the primary, right, so?
MH: Uh-huh. But he's running against the Preacher Polk's wife. And I didn't think he'd had a bit of trouble, but somebody said she's going to run good.
GC: Hum.
MH: I was trying to get those boys registered this morning. That was one of the reason they were staying here. I think Wesley's already registered and he wanted an absentee and Kevin's trying to get registered.
GC: Yeah, yeah, that's important. Got to get them registered.
MH: And it has to be before October the eleventh.
GC: Uh-huh. I'm still voting down by Charlotte, even though I'm going to school up in Chapel Hill, I'm voting absentee down there, down in actually Davidson is--.
MH: Do you know a Chris Krone, that's running for Governor, for Congressman?
GC: No, I guess that must not be my district.
MH: He's a young man. He's been to see me twice. The first time he come, he wanted to take me to the doctor. And I told him I'd be ashamed to come and to just let him go on and politic. [laughter].
GC: Yeah, so, did you have a Democratic Party? Were you a leader in the Democratic Party?
MH: At one time.
GC: In Ophir, or was it in Troy or?
MH: In the county.
GC: In the county. OK.
MH: I was the President of the Democratic Women.
MH: And I worked mighty hard for Bob Jordan when he run.
GC: I heard Bill Clinton came around too, is that right?
MH: Yeah, I kissed him.
GC: Yeah, I heard that. [laughter].
MH: You've heard my whole life history, haven't you?
GC: [laughter]. That's all I've heard. That's about it. [laughter].
MH: They told me I fainted afterwards. [laughter]. I did pass out, you know, about an hour or two after that.
GC: But that wasn't why.
MH: No it wasn't why, but they kid me about it. And I told them--.
GC: That is how I heard it. That is how I heard it.
MH: Well--.
BH: I didn't tell him Myrtle, so I don't know. No, I sure didn't. [laughter].
MH: I don't care who told him. I'm not ashamed of it. [laughter].
BH: I wouldn't be.
MH: They really kid me about that.
GC: He came to Troy?
MH: He came to Troy.
GC: Wow. How about that.
MH: We were in a meeting where he was speaking and he shook hands with me, and I just reached up and kissed him on the cheek and when I went outside, I sat out there waiting for him to leave and I guess I stood out there about an hour and I my sugar must have dropped and I just started going down and I think Sarah Albright and Preacher Stan Smith caught me before I hit the ground.
GC: Oh, no.
MH: But they called an ambulance and carried me to the hospital and of course they had to doctor me and give me a little something to eat. I come home, was alright. Of course I got kidded a lot.
GC: Well, what it did have to do with President, the President, that you had that fainting spell cause he made you wait so long. [laughter]. He shouldn't have made you wait for an hour.
MH: Well, I don't know what he was doing, I think he had another meeting in there somewhere that we were waiting until he got through with the meeting and we--, everybody was waiting outside, you know. But anyway I had to pass out.
GC: Well.
MH: I'm always doing something that nobody don't want me to.
GC: [laughter] But, what, what motivated you to take leadership in the, in the, in the--.
MH: Somebody put me in.
GC: Really? Did, have you done a lot of service for the community, like public service like that?
MH: I've done a lot for my church.
GC: Like what, what kinds of things?
MH: Well, I had that patio built onto it. Of course I had to get help, you know, I made money up. I was the one that got in charge of the community building, but I wish I hadn't, I must of kept the old school house. Will Davis came down here one day and give me a hundred dollar bill and said bring up money and get a community building built. And of course, the county paid for half of it. And we paid for the other half.
GC: Oh, OK. So yeah, you've done a lot around the community.
MH: And I built that ballpark up there ( ). How many years ago has that been since we built the ramp?
BH: Well, I believe that was right after Ms. Shank come.
MH: How long has he been dead, Paul?
BH: I'd say it was about--.
MH: How long?
BH: I don't know. I'm trying to think Myrtle to tell you how long to tell you it's been.
MH: It was just before he died.
BH: Uh-huh. I know it wasn't long.
MH: I don't know how long. I can't remember nothing.
BH: I don't remember the dates either.
MH: You know when you get ninety-two years old you're forget things.
GC: I know. Well, I forget things already, so.
MH: I had a ramp built for it, and I have to go up that ramp now, and I had that ballpark built.
GC: Where is the ballpark?
MH: Basketball court, right back out.
GC: Next to the church?
MH: Well, you know where the table is, that's one out to the side of the table. And I had a swing set put up for the children. I don't think any of them use it, I think maybe the boys play ball maybe.
GC: Yeah, they probably do.
MH: I taught a kindergarten class for about fifty some years.
GC: Oh, really.
MH: Oh, sure.
GC: On Sundays?
MH: Uh-huh.
GC: Like Sunday School. How many kids were there in those, in that group usually?
MH: Well, at one time I think there was about twelve or thirteen maybe, I don't know how many. I had a Sunday School room full.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: Along with Lee and Doris, and Alfred's young'uns, you know.
GC: Now, what would you say, are, I think you've talked about a couple of them, but I was wondering what you would say your favorite places are in the community, if you had, if you had to pick your favorite, your favorite places, places that bring back good memories, where would that be?
MH: I guess that would be my church.
GC: Uh-huh. That would be number one. Any others?
MH: I don't know of any.
GC: Well this house, this place?
MH: There was all favorite to me. Wade Grampert and Willy Grampert lived right out here next door to me where Dolon lives now and Willy Grampert was Dean at Trinity College in Thomasville and then went on to Duke Divinity School. They went to school at Ophir, the old schoolhouse across from the community building. It was called a prescription school.
GC: What does that mean?
MH: I don't know. It was a prescription school they come up here and boarded and went to school.
GC: Hum. I have no idea what it was. Have you ever heard Bobby?
BH: Huh-uh.
GC: So, so that was a place you used to like to go back when they were still there? When, when, when did they live there?
MH: Who, Wade Grampert?
GC: Yeah, the Gramperts.
MH: Lord, that was when I was tiny.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: Wade Grampert gave me a little rocking chair. I gave it to Franklin, to (Lopsie) I think when he was little. He was born in 1904, Elmer was born in 1908 and I was born in 1910. We went to Grandpa Bill's over in Stanly County and spent the night in 1912, (Lopsie) was eight years old and it come up with cloud and they had one of these old timey telephones, I know you what they are, great old big things hanging on the wall, and my Aunt Pat, her name was Patricia, but we called her Pat, was sitting under it, lighting come in it and burned her down her right side, all the way, and my brother (Lopsie), was out in front of the fireplace eating a chicken leg and it jumped over on him and broke his neck, killed him. And that was in 1912.
GC: Oh my God.
MH: And I was somewhere in there I think I was in the kitchen at that time, I was three years old.
GC: [Makes "suuuuuu" sound] Wow. Now that was in whose house again? I'm sorry.
MH: My Grandpa Bill's. My mother's Daddy.
GC: And he lived up, up here.
BH: Stanly County.
MH: What?
GC: Oh, he lived over in Stanly.
MH: He lived in Stanly County.
GC: Right, right.
MH: Grandpa Bill did. Grandpa Eli Hall lived right up here.
GC: Right. OK, I just had to get it straightened out in my mind. Wow.
MH: Grandpa Hall had four brothers besides him. And their mama and daddy lived on that dirt road up here where you've come by, over there, in the woods somewhere, I never knowed exactly where. When the Civil War, they went to the War, and Grandpa Bill, Grandpa Hall was a Point Lookout prisoner, and he walked home from there barefooted.
GC: Really, Point Lookout, out on the coast, out on the island out there. Is that right? Over, over, over on, over at the beach?
MH: No.
GC: Where is Point Lookout?
MH: Over here on a dirt road going towards Troy.
BH: He was talking about where you said he--, Point Lookout was where he was when he--.
MH: Oh, that's way up in Virginia.
GC: Oh, it's in Virginia, oh, OK. Wow, he walked from there back home, huh?
MH: Freida Dickson asked me why he walked home barefooted for, why didn't he buy him a pair of shoes. [laughter]. I told'em well I didn't guess they's any shoes and I didn't guess he had any money to buy'em with.
GC: Right. Wow.
MH: But he was sixteen years old when he went to the war and he had to be eighteen to get in. Bobby's great-grandpa was name, what was his name? Lovelace Nathaniel.
BH: Uh-huh.
MH: And he was in the war and he was a flag bearer and they shot the flag out of his hand and he caught it before it the ground.
GC: Wow, good for him. That's presence of mind.
MH: And then Uncle Watson got his leg shot off. Uncle Thomas got a finger shot off I think and Grandpa Hall didn't get nothing.
BH: But they all survived it.
GC: Wow.
MH: They all come home. [pause]
GC: And one of them was your granddad, your great granddad.
BH: That's what I think I told you, I remember them telling the story said when they come back home they could hold all the seed corn they had to start a crop with in one palm of one hand, they were all about--.
GC: They had to start from scratch basically. Uh-huh.
MH: When Grandpa William and Annie, when they died they were living somewhere across from Hyatt Grissom's, back in the day, do you ever know exactly where?
BH: No, I don't.
MH: I never did know either, but they was living over there somewhere when they died.
BH: I didn't know.
GC: So, in the past, people were living more back in the woods, right? Do many people live back in the woods anymore, or more people have their houses up closer toward the road?
MH: Most of the people's houses touch the road, but going out just before you, when you come out from Bobby's on that low water bridge road, and you turn left to go on up to Eleazer, there's a man up there on the right got a house back there in the woods, I think you can see it when the trees leaves are off, can't you?
BH: Uh-huh.
MH: Dolon said they had a pretty house.
BH: There was a, up and down the river, this side of the river, there was kind of an old road, that went more so than now, it's over here more this way, but it was like a, Grandpa always told me it was like this was a community in a sense, like a Southern community here, and a Northern community on up in the Eleazer section on up into Randolph and up in that area, you know. Not that they referred to themselves as Northern and Southern, but I'm just saying. And so that's why they's a graveyard on an old road bed over there. And I ask him, I said, "What brought up the subject," and I said, "well why is this graveyard here with no houses around?" And he said, "Well said this was kind of a burying ground, equal ground in between the upper community and the lower community." You know, there's a graveyard other side of the house, back in the woods, in there, I don't know where.
MH: I've never been to it, but I know about where it was.
BH: I know where it is, I've been, but anyway, that was, I was telling him it was kind of an old road went back in up and down this side of the river, that way from Nelson's and all back up in there, down across, you know.
MH: I used to walk with Annie and Vivian and them when they'd come to Grandpa Hall. You know their Daddy was Nels--. What was his name? Granddaddy lived up by, up towards (Nelks Luther's). I can't think of the name now, cause my mind's just plum blank. I tell you ort to come see me several years ago, when I've had some mind.
GC: You've got plenty of mind. You've remembered plenty of stories from longer ago than anyone else I know, except maybe Mr. Morris. Did you, did you know Claude Morris when you were young?
GC: Did you, did you know Claude Morris when you were young?
MH: What?
GC: Did you, did you know Claude Morris when you were little together?
MH: Oh yes. Yeah, when I was coming up, he owned, they lived way back on that road and they'd come to Ophir and we'd have singing schools, and boy were they the singest folks in the country. Claude and had a Walter lived up here and they had one named Herman and one named Luther. And a girl named Pearl, and Leona, and I can't think of what the other one's name is. They're several of them. I knew them all. And they all used to come here and mama cooked for them a lot. They'd go to church up here and then they'd come down here for dinner.
GC: Oh. And then they'd go back in the evening?
MH: Well, we had preaching, you know, at eleven o'clock, and at two o'clock, and again at night.
GC: Oh right.
MH: We used to have preacher, but now you don't hardly ever have any.
GC: Right.
MH: But that's all they had to do back then. Years ago, they didn't have nowhere else to go but to church.
GC: Sure. Do you feel like people are acting busier now and going here and there and--.
MH: I think they had better times back then than they do now. All they want to do now is sit and watch television. They don't want to go out and visit nowhere anymore.
GC: Do you think people--?
MH: I never see nobody on Sunday until next Sunday.
GC: But in the past you saw each other during the week.
MH: That's right, I went places.
GC: What, what you do with people, other people in the community? Did other people get together a lot?
MH: Well, we had a United Methodist Women's meeting and we met about every month and we had church sings at night. We had things. We done plenty.
GC: Yeah.
BH: Quilting.
MH: Yeah, all day quiltin's.
GC: There, there was some quiltin'. I saw a picture in the newspaper from a while back that had some people, were you in that?
MH: Well, we had one here. I guess my last one was about eight years ago. I got so I couldn't see to quilt.
GC: So people got together a lot more back then than they do now.
MH: I've heard mama say that she put a quilt in and Jean Harris lived right down below her and she'd come up here about twelve thirty and stay until four and quilt about half of a quilt before she went home. She was a fast quilter.
GC: I tell you. Wow. So you think, do you think, do you think mostly what did away with it, with all that community fun was the television?
MH: I think so. I think it had a lot to do with it.
GC: Uh-huh. Now what about, what about air conditioning. Did you ever get air conditioning here?
MH: No, I've got it in the window of my kitchen that comes through here.
GC: Do you think, do you think people spent less time outdoors after, after they got spent, spent more, more time by themselves in their house once they got air conditioning?
MH: Well, I like, I like to sit on my porch a lot, but I want to tell you something, I'm not going to sit there after dark now. I don't want a mosquito to bite me.
GC: Right. [laughter]. Especially not these days.
MH: No, I've been hearing too much about that disease.
GC: West Nile, yeah. Well. But did people sit out on the porches a lot?
MH: We set out there a lot. Let me tell you something else that happened. My daddy and momma set down on the porch a lot at night before we'd go to bed and the house wasn't underpinned at that time and the dog run a rattle snake under the house
GC: Huh-oh
MH: (Uncle Tom) Sanders said I ought to move that night. [laughter] But we never did find the snake. Never did kill it. It went on somewhere.
GC: That's good.
MH: But we've had the house underpinned since. My daddy had it underpinned. Momma used to cook dinner for everybody that done anything for you. The boys were underpinning it and they was right next to the pantry and momma said to me, said, "I'm making a big biscuit and a little one," and one of them hollered out and said, "I want the big 'un!" [laughter] The McIntyre boys are the ones that underpinned that house.
GC: Do you see a lot of rattle snakes around here?
MH: I saw one or two that come in my yard when they cut the timber back in my house, back in the woods they run them out I think. Killed one out here in my front yard, but that's the last one I've seen. I saw a black snake out there one day. Cut its head off with a hoe. And I haven't seen one lately.
GC: Well, black snakes don't do any harm.
MH: No, but they ain't going to live around me. My daddy went to the corn crib one morning to shuck corn with a mule and he come running into the house a pilot had bit him on the hand. And I put some, a band-aid around it, and squeezed it real tight. The doctor told me I'd done the right thing but I'd made it too tight and we started walking down the road and somebody come along and picked him up and carried down to Herman's Sandwiches and they carried him to Troy and Elmer carried him to Albemarle. They had to go to hospital in Albemarle, didn't have one in Troy. But he got along fine with it.
GC: What was it that bit him, a pilot?
MH: A pilot.
GC: A pilot snake.
MH: They are very poisonous, you know.
BH: I guess that's the same thing that maybe some people call a copperhead, I don't know.
GC: Oh, OK.
BH: We always called them a pilot.
GC: Oh, OK. Maybe it is the same thing as a copperhead.
BH: I guess it's the same thing as a copperhead.
MH: They are a force right next to a rattle snake.
GC: Sure, yeah. Copperheads I know, but I grew up with copperheads, but we didn't have rattlesnakes over further west.
MH: Where did you grow up?
GC: I grew up, while I grew up in South Carolina, in Greenwood, South Carolina. But my family is from North Mecklenburg County north of Charlotte. They've been there for generations, that, that's where the family is from. So, that's where my parents are living now. They moved there.
MH: Have you got a brother, or a sister?
GC: Just me.
MH: The only child.
GC: I'm the only one.
BH: Well, I've got to ask you a question.
GC: Yeah.
BH: Do you, Gabriel, is it, that's an angelic name?
GC: That's right.
BH: In fact, I don't know where I know anybody named Gabriel or not.
GC: I know, its kind of unusual.
MH: Is that the last name, Gabriel?
GC: No, there are a lot of people over, over that way whose last name is Gabriel, but it wasn't a family name in our name. That--.
MH: What is your last name?
GC: My last name is Cumming. Cumming, like the Scottish name, Cumming.
MH: Cumming.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: I don't guess I remember ten minutes. And your first name is Gabriel?
GC: Yeah, but my family over in North Carolina was Pattersons. Then the Cummings came down out of Virginia, so that's my granddad's line came from Virginia. But the Pattersons, the Pattersons were farming over, over, over next to the Catawba River.
MH: Is this your first year in college?
GC: Well, I went to, I went to undergraduate college. I'm done with that. This is, this is grad school. This is, so, yeah, this is my first, first year, this is my first month. [laughter] Just starting out, doing some more work. So, that will probably take me another four or five years.
MH: And what is this your doing?
GC: Well--.
MH: I know what you're doing here, but what is--?
GC: I'm asking you questions, that's what I'm doing here. It's, it's going to be a project that talks about people and the communities and the land around the communities and I'm just getting the opin--, the thoughts and stories and ideas of people who live here and in other different communities around the region. And, you know, we'll put it together in some kind of, some kind of little book or something like that.
MH: Oh, you're going to make a book out of it.
GC: Well, probably not a full, full scale book, but we'll put it together somehow. So, but yeah, I'll, I'll, I'll come back around and show you what, whatever I come up with.
MH: I may not be here, child.
GC: Well, hopefully, it won't be that long. I need to I need to hurry up and.
MH: I may end up in a nursing home pretty soon. I don't know.
GC: Oh really?
MH: I don't know what I'm going to do. If I don't soon go on to heaven, I'm going to have to go somewhere or do something. I'm not going to be able to stay here by myself always.
GC: Do you have anyone who comes around to help?
MH: Well, I've got this lady now that stays sixteen hours a week with me. And then I have a colored lady that comes every two weeks on Wednesday and stays four hours with me and cleans my house and I haven't even told this girl about it because I don't think I'm going to keep this girl long. And I'm going to have this other girl that comes every two weeks to clean for me. She's a pretty nice colored girl. She lives at Wadesville.
GC: Well that's good. I'm glad you've got some help. Did you, did you know many black people growing up?
MH: No, I didn't know a one, until I went to work somewhere else, you know. We didn't have no blacks in Ophir.
GC: Still don't, I guess.
MH: And I don't want them.
GC: Hum. Though now there--.
MH: I don't even know any that lives around anywhere, do you, in the community?
GC: I guess there just never were many 'cause there were never big farms around here, right? I mean it was always even back before the Civil War it was all small, small farming. Do you know where you alls people came from before they came to this area? Do you know where they came from originally?
MH: I think I heard that mine come from Pennsylvania. But I don't know whether that's so or not. I never did know for sure. Have you ever heard?
GC: That's probably, that makes sense they might have come down, a lot of people did.
MH: I don't know whether that's true or not, because I don't know whether anybody knew when they told me or not.
GC: But they had settled down here before the Civil War, though?
MH: Uh-huh.
GC: I wonder why they came to, came here. Do you know?
MH: I don't know
GC: Is it good land for farming?
MH: Well, I don't know ( ).
GC: I mean, you farmed it. Well, well back when you were farming it, I mean.
MH: Well, we just, I don't know.
GC: But, everything seemed--.
MH: What we made was all right, I reckon.
GC: Uh-huh. Yeah, everything came up pretty well, I guess. It was enough for you to live on, so.
MH: And we had a mighty big garden all the time and I had a garden up until a few years ago.
GC: Hm, uh-huh. Most people aren't farming around the area anymore, are they?
MH: I guess about everybody's quit, haven't they Bobby?
BH: I think so.
GC: I guess it's just not profitable anymore. People can't make any money off of it.
MH: We had an old man, Reid Stafford, that come here and I don't think, I think he built a chimney over on this end, but I think it had to be torn down, cause I think Grace Cranford built this chimney over here and I think it didn't draw right and my daddy got Reid Stafford to come down here to redo it on the inside. And he went to bed that night with his shoes on.
GC: Why, in case he had to run out of there?
MH: My daddy got him out, and he had to pull them shoes off, but he went to bed with his shoes on. He was an old fellow and I don't think he had a home anywhere. I think he just stayed everywhere where he worked.
GC: Oh, OK.
BH: He built a chimney that drawed well. He built, he built a lot of chimneys out, he built them at the house.
GC: Uh-huh.
BH: ( ). He built everywhere around. People come and get him to build chimneys and he'd board with them while he built it.
GC: Hm. So, it sounds like you had a good many people coming around and staying at the house from time to time.
MH: We used to have a lot of company.
GC: I guess because people, if people came to visit they'd probably spend the night, wouldn't they?
MH: No, the community just come we had people that after momma and daddy got old. Paul ( ) and other people that lived right out that, Dolon's momma and daddy doing, where Dolon lives now in another house, and they come out here at night and stay until bed time. I've known Dolon come with them when he was in high school and sit right back there and lean back in a straight chair. He loves to lean back in a straight chair. [laughter] Dolon used to come out here with them while he was in high school. Now, he hardly ever comes to see me.
GC: Does he still lean back?
MH: I don't know. Not in my house. I don't know.
GC: Good.
MH: But he did when he was young.
GC: Yeah. [pause] Did you ever get out with around with your parents and travel around ever, very far, or not?
MH: Not with my parents. But I've been to Houston, Texas and down into Mexico.
GC: Wow. What were you doing down there?
MH: And I've been to Atlanta. Well, I went to Houston, Texas to visit, to visit Uncle Reid's son and he carried me on down into Mexico.
GC: Oh wow.
MH: And I've been to Mississippi a couple of times. That's been since I've been grown. I didn't go nowhere most when I was a kid.
GC: Right.
MH: Now, my daddy and momma would visit down around Uwharrie around. And I don't remember us ever going and spending the night, but I remember Oscar Moley coming over here one night and bringing two girls and one of them cried with a leg ache all night. I was just a little thing then. I remember when Dr. Seab-, Preacher Seabolt baptized me. I was standing right there on the front porch and he poured water on my head.
GC: Wow. He came and baptized you at the house?
MH: At the house. They called it christening.
GC: OK. How old were you then?
MH: Oh, I don't know, I could remember it. ( )
GC: You can remember it. That must be about one of the earliest things that you can remember.
MH: Preacher Seabolt.
GC: Is that the way they usually did it? They'd come to people's houses?
MH: Well, that's the way Methodists do it now, they do it in a church but they christen you.
GC: Right.
MH: Usually when the babies are small.
GC: Yeah, sure. But for you, they came to your house.
MH: Well, they used to come to the house more when everybody was little when we didn't have no way to travel but to walk.
GC: Did people help each other take in the crops, or harvest?
MH: Oh yes. People used to help one another all the time.
GC: Did they do it like, first, first you would come here and help this person and then go to the next person and help them, was that the way it worked, or how--?
MH: That's the way they done it, but you don't get that done now.
GC: Why is that?
MH: They don't help one another now. They got machineries that they do it with mostly.
GC: So, I guess they don't need as much help. Do you think that in general people in this community still help each other, the way they used to?
MH: Well, I feel like I call ( ). Don't you Bobby?
BH: Yep, I think so.
MH: I think you have to call.
GC: They don't, they don't just come by on their own so much?
MH: Not much anymore I don't think. Don Coggins told me that when he was a young boy he learned right then that when you got ninety years old people that people didn't care nothing about you anymore. Don't want to fool with you anymore. So I've about decided he knows. Sometimes I sit here all day long and don't talk to nobody, go to bed and still don't talk. Well, Martha Stafford calls me every evening at 6:30 p.m. and she talks to me about thirty minutes. And she's been doing that ever since her husband died.
GC: Where does she live? Does she live in the community?
MH: Right across from Bobby. [pause]
GC: Oh, OK. Do you think that there are more people living here now than when you were little or has the population gone down? Do you think more people are coming in or moving, moving away?
MH: I guess there've been more people, haven't there Bobby? Like when Rex Cranford used to live over yonder and--.
BH: People back then had more, had larger families, more children than they do today so it may have been fewer families, but it was probably as many people as we've got now or more than we've got now with the added households, but some of them don't have many children and of course our children leave, that's, that's--.
MH: They go somewhere else.
BH: They got to go somewhere to work, so.
GC: Do you think, do you think basically everyone is going to leave in the, in the, that is younger people, are they all going to have to leave the area, or--?
MH: No, I don't believe that at all, I don't know.
GC: Do you see people coming back any? I mean, people who maybe were from here and went away, but coming back?
MH: They come back to see their parents, now.
GC: Well, yeah, I mean come back to stay.
MH: I sort of doubt it, don't you Bobby?
BH: Probably not too many.
GC: Yeah.
BH: In fact, I guess Dolon's about the only one that's come back and built a house.
MH: Well, Betty Ann and Jimmy, you know did. They were in Greensboro.
BH: That's the one down below (Kevin) on the left, that brick--, that nice brick house down there.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: I don't believe I know nobody else, do you?
BH: I believe that's about it Myrtle.
GC: What do you think will happen in the years to come, in the future, do you think, there are going to be more people taking an interest in this area or do you see it staying about the same?
MH: I really don't know.
GC: Hard to say.
MH: Haven't even thought about it. I'm trying to think, I don't know whether it's so or not. It seems like Philip Sanders come up here one time and wanted to try to buy this place, but he wanted me to maybe for his children to hang around something. 'Cause I don't think Franklin and Jimmy will ever sell anything. But I wish they would sell, let somebody build a new house out here if they wanted to, you know?
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: 'Cause I know they're not coming back, I know their children.
GC: Do they ever come out here to visit?
MH: Oh yes, they come and see me. Frank Jr. come back at Easter time and brought his sister-in-law from Washington D.C. And I hadn't cleaned up none and I had two squirrels to get up stairs and I don't know how long ago its been, two or three years ago, and they went up there and tore out everything trying to get them, and finally one of them went on the outside, and one come down that chimney out there into my stove.
GC: Oh no.
MH: And they got him out at the window and got him out and boy them squirrels ain't been around no more, but everything's a mess upstairs, and Frank Jr. carried that woman up there and they went all over upstairs. Well I said, anybody, somebody wants to go up there, I said, go right on, you're going to find a mess. My daddy's old bed is up there, and an old dresser that they had, and my momma's old sewing machine and several old things up there, trunks and things, and they's just interested in looking.
GC: Huh.
MH: My daddy's lap rope that he used in his buggy is up there, on a banister.
GC: Huh.
MH: I got a corner cupboard and a dresser drawer in the dining room that's over two hundred years old.
GC: Wow.
MH: Frank Jr.'s going to get that when I'm through with it. I told him he could have it now if he had something worth putting my dishes.
GC: Yeah. So, so those boys come down and visit from time to time and they--?
MH: Oh yeah, they come by.
GC: Do they go out on the land, and walk around, or?
MH: I don't think they've ever been over it.
GC: They've never been?
MH: Franklin has, Franklin's been all over it.
GC: Hm. Does anybody go out over it these days?
MH: What?
GC: Does anybody go out over the land these days?
MH: Franklin and his daughter went over it not too long ago I think, best I remember. I told you that I don't remember like I used to.
GC: Sure. Is anyone using it for hunting or anything?
MH: I think there are some boys that hunts on it all the time now, but Franklin don't like for nobody to hunt on it. Well, I could care less myself, if they won't let me know about it, they kind of would want to.
GC: Yeah. Do you see much wildlife out here like deer, and turkey, and anything like that?
MH: Well, I was sitting here looking out the window one day, not too long ago and I saw ten turkeys run out there into the road.
GC: We saw some turkeys going across the road, over, over by Bobby's house we saw some going across the road.
MH: And we're used to deer a coming out there and I told, I told somebody he'd come out there to watch my car, 'cause I'd hit a couple, tore up my car. I got up and went to the door one day last week at seven o'clock to unlock the door cause I was going to go back to bed and afraid I'd go to sleep to let that girl come in and I saw, I think it was two deers, they were small, but they run on across in front of my car and went on out there in the woods along the field. I don't go out much after nine no more.
GC: Right. I heard they, they found a new kind of mussel in the creek over here at Poison Fort. Did you hear about that?
BH: Huh-uh.
GC: They found some new kind of, like a little fresh water mussel in the water, that they thought, they thought it wasn't, they thought it was extinct in North Carolina, but they found it over in Poison Fort, just the other day, or the other week, or something. Ruth Ann was telling me that. And that they found a really old stand of white pine too. I didn't, I guess white pine is the kind that comes up by itself, I guess it's different from what people have been planting.
BH: ( ).
MH: I don't know much about pines or oaks or nothing.
GC: Do you think that people from outside are interested in coming to this area because, I mean like people from other parts of the state and stuff, just to come and 'cause its pretty and its different from, I guess it's different from other places in the state? Do you think that people are taking an interest?
MH: Well, I don't know, I just know I have a couple that comes here from Houston, Texas once in a while.
GC: Really?
MH: They've called me since my birthday and told me they were coming before long, but I don't, I'll just see them when they get here I guess.
GC: They just come to visit, to vacation or something?
MH: Well, they just come on and visit. It was my daddy's first cousin, Boyd, he calls me sis, all the time. I think he thinks more of me than he does his own sisters. And they come out. They used to come every summer, but they haven't been for several now. And I tell you, I'm not able to have much company. [pause]
GC: Do you remember when they made this land into government land? When the government came and bought, bought that--?
MH: I remember when government got all that was around?
GC: Uh-huh. Did they buy any of that from your family, or?
MH: No, Huh-uh. I don't guess there's no government land nowhere but between here and Uwharrie, back over there in the woods, are they? Do you know of any?
BH: It's mostly back this way and then there's patches of it over on the other side of the house, but right in between, there's not a whole lot. But there are on back this way.
MH: All across that mountain over there.
GC: Yeah, yeah. And they've got a trail going along up there.
MH: Go up here towards that ( ) and then come out down on the--.
BH: I just liked the two ends. I liked the last leg that and the last leg on the up ramp to the airport toward Asheboro. I've walked all the rest of it.
GC: Huh. Yeah, I'd like to, I'd like to walk it. I walked a little stretch of it up from where we were with Mr. Morris where it crosses that, the dirt road.
BH: Right.
GC: But that's about it. Did you ever go up on the mountain over there? Did you ever walk up over there?
MH: What mountain?
GC: I mean up, up on the ridge, what's, what's the mountain over there?
MH: I went down here, go down by Dolon's and go across down on and went up on that mountain, across the Barnes Creek over there when I was a teenager. A gang almost went one Sunday.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: What's the name of that place down there where they fish?
BH: Enian Hole?
MH: No, I've been by that and seen that. My granddaddy used to fish down there a lot.
GC: Huh. That's behind Dolon's back there across from Barnes Creek.
MH: There used to be a school over there, Cow Scapel. They went to school there years ago, now I don't remember the school being there.
GC: Cow Scapel?
MH: Cow Scapel.
GC: Was that the name of it?
MH: What?
GC: That was the name of it?
MH: Back down across Barnes Creek, back down in there.
GC: Now did anyone live up on the ridge up there, or was that all just forest? I mean now, it's government, but--.
MH: Where did Wilton Barner live? You know you go over by the Hamilton Place, and go across the woods over there. Would that have been anywhere back in there about the mountain?
BH: Well, Claude and them, you know, they lived, Claude Morris and them was raised back on between it and the Lovejoy Road back in
GC: Well, that's true.
BH: on that mountain over there.
MH: These other people lived, you'd go by the Hamilton Place and go across all that.
BH: Hamilton's, back in there.
MH: You know, Claude and them have a nice house over there, I've been to their house.
GC: Is it still there? No? And your granddaddy's house, its not still there, is it?
MH: It's been torn down.
GC: So, a lot, I guess a lot of the older houses have been torn down.
MH: Franklin had that torn down and I got a corner cupboard in there that was made from it. Well, that was made from it, that thing that the television's sitting on. 'Cause it belongs to this corner cupboard and if we can go in my house so Herbert Forester made me another piece underneath of it before he died. He got the lumber out of the barn and made it.
GC: Do you think they cut this lumber, this timber off of this--?
MH: Off the old farm?
GC: Do you think when they built the old home they cut that, cut it from trees around here?
MH: I imagine they did, this old house come from it.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: My daddy done that beaded ceiling. This whole house was beaded ceiling like that, all over. Jimmy Hall thinks that's the prettiest stuff he'd ever seen and I told him I would never have a hall room or the front bedroom changed. And all the rest of it was a beaded ceiling and dressed it with hand painted. They worked.
GC: They must have worked a lot on that.
MH: They worked.
GC: Did people help each other with that too, with house building or barn, barn raising?
MH: I'm sure that the neighbors helped my Daddy build this one, cause they didn't have no partner, they just done it themselves.
GC: Hm. They did a good job. Looks like better than most people do these days.
MH: And it was covered with shingles.
GC: Wood shingles?
MH: Wood shingles when it was built.
GC: Uh-huh. [pause] But you've replaced them? That's been replaced, right?
MH: And I've had a new porch put on it and a cement floor. It had a banister around it when it was built. [Long pause]
GC: Do you think people who didn't grow up around here or didn't live here, do they understand why this place is special, or, or what's different about this place from other places in North Carolina, I mean, do you think--?
MH: Do I think my place, or what?
GC: Yeah. I mean do you think this place is--?
MH: Well, of course I think my place is special. Bobby don't you think yours is?
GC: But do you think it's, do you think its different from, do you think this part, this area is, this little section is different from, from--?
MH: I think Ophir community is more special to me than Eldorado or Uwharrie or Troy.
GC: Because it's yours.
MH: Because I live here. Lived here all my life.
GC: But, do you think, do you think that there's something that makes it different, like if someone, if someone came from outside, can, is there a way that they can tell that this area is different from say, over more toward Charlotte, or over toward Raleigh, you know?
MH: Well, I don't know whether a perfect stranger would come in could tell any difference or not.
GC: You don't think so?
MH: I doubt it.
GC: Uh-huh.
MH: But now, there's a young girl that lives down in Alabama somewhere, Innis Hunt's daughter, Innis had polio when he was little, only he's grown and he went to Greensboro in the hospital up there and the girl that waited on him married him and carried him back to Kentucky and they had this girl and she's married and lives down in Alabama. And she comes back here every once in a while and visits me and she's got folks up here in the community that's her own first cousins, but she'll come spend the night with me.
GC: Oh.
MH: And I reckon she thinks this is special because her daddy come from here.
GC: So, basically, it's the people who have a personal connection?
MH: Yeah, I think so. I don't think anybody that never seen this place would be interested at all, in Ophir.
GC: But, you know, some people are coming now like tourists, coming to this area and they're, I don't know, canoeing on the river, right, you've got people canoeing on the river now, and going up and hiking in the mountain, I mean on the ridge, and so I guess, I guess some people are, want to come out here, I guess if they live in the city, maybe they want to come out here on the weekend or something like that.
MH: Yeah well they might. Now Ms. Shank come back from Pennsylvania. She had a grandson that lived in Troy, I think he lives in Asheboro now, but she lives right up the road here. Her husband's died, since he's been back.
GC: Uh-huh. So, people do come back. People come back.
MH: But her three daughters are in California.
GC: Oh Wow. [pause] Well, Amy Grissom's out there in California too.
MH: One of the Grissom girls was out there. I didn't know what her name was.
BH: Heard it, his wife, Shirley was on there and she didn't even know it. Later on, found out they were on the same plane.
GC: They were on the same plane.
BH: Didn't know they were going until the day. Well did you notice coming in from Eldorado, coming up the ( ) mine turning, you notice that field of dirt? They's been one trailer in the woods on the left, now there's been one on the right, and I just wonder what's fixin' to take place over there. It looks to me, I know they're checking the land for (perking), and I'm sure that's what the holes were for.
GC: Uh-huh.
BH: But it looks to me like, that when I look at it, I see (stopped) out through there like it might be lots.
GC: Sub-divided, oh wow.
BH: Or something now, I don't know if it's a trailer park or what's going in over there, but something's. Something's, something is up.
GC: Something's happening.
BH: So, somebody's coming from somewhere, I don't know what.
GC: Yeah. Do you expect to have this land cut over at some point?
MH: Do I what?
GC: Do you expect to have this land cut over at some point, the pine?
MH: Well, Bobby don't they say after so many years you have it cut?
BH: Yeah, it can vary, most time it takes about twenty, twenty-five years.
MH: Twenty-five years I think. Now, it will not be in my lifetime, but I have an idea the boys will have it cut when the, when the time comes. I don't think they'll let nobody have this place, I don't, now, I don't know what will happen, I could care less what goes in it when I'm through. Just hope somebody, if they sell it, I just hope somebody gets it that likes it.
GC: Absolutely. So then they can care, at least they'll care for it, if they, if they like it, they'll care for it.
MH: That's right. And I hope Ophir Community Building, community will be here a long time.
GC: Well, I expect it will be, don't you?
MH: I'm hoping.
GC: It doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Well, [pause] anything else you'd like me to know?
MH: Child, I don't think I've told you anything that was worth it.
GC: You've told me all kinds of things, hasn't she? Yeah, you've told me a lot. Anything else, you, you hope or wish for this community? What, what would--?
MH: I wish when our Harvest Sale comes that we'll have a great one.
GC: Yeah, absolutely.
MH: I'm not able to do anything now. I don't guess I can cook anything. I used to make several chicken pies and things, but I can't do it now, so I just try to go up and eat a little something. I used to make a cake and sell it all the time.
GC: How long has that Harvest Sale been going on, for years?
MH: [sigh]
GC: Or was that fairly new?
MH: Back, I can't remember when it first started. We first had it in our community building, I mean in our old school house, in the old school house. We had meals up there, oh I say it'd been twenty years or more, don't you think?
BH: I'd say its been about fifty Myrtle.
MH: Has it been that many?
BH: I'd expect it has. Yeah, I think we were about the, really about the, we was about the first
MH: Well, it's been a long time.
BH: to start having those. Really, we were.
GC: It's nice, it's a nice, nice thing to have.
BH: It's been a good fundraiser for our church and community.
GC: So, most people, most people make things to sell, or?
BH: And donate, and bake. Whatever.
GC: Do you have people that--?
BH: The biggest things are the women, used to. They generally come up with one or something homemade quilts. They look pretty.
GC: Oh wow, yeah.
BH: They get together and quilt one and auction it off, it brings them four or five hundred dollars, something like that.
GC: Wow, Wow, Wow. So, it's an auction, you've got, there's an auction?
BH: Supper and auction. Oh yes. And it just gets ridiculous because people are just donating to the church a lot of times people come, that don't come any other time, its connected with the community, but they come back for that--,
GC: Right.
BH: and support it, and that's their way of giving a donation you know and so that's why it will make your eyes bug out to see what some things bring.
GC: Yeah right.
BH: You don't buy many bargains, let's put it that way.
GC: It's for the sake of making a donation.
BH: Oh yeah, sure.
MH: And next Saturday is a barbeque at Uwharrie Fire Department.
GC: Oh yeah. OK. It's a volunteer fire department right?
BH: I tell you, they have some of that barbeque down there, I, I tell you, up to Lexington on barbeque. Now they've got them boys, they do.
GC: Wow.
BH: I don't say that about everybody, but I've had some good barbeque down there.
GC: Huh. Do people make crafts for the Harvest Sale, besides the quilts, I mean, I know the quilts, but are there other things that local people, like crafts?
BH: Yeah, that makes some things, I've made a bird house or two, and there are people that will do in the sewing line that will make dolls and stuffed animals and then have baked goods.
MH: Lee Saffin makes a cabinet or something about every time, don't he?
BH: Yeah, some you know workshop, carpentry stuff.
GC: Uh-huh.
BH: Canned goods, make canned goods.
GC: Yeah. And local grown, stuff that's, that's from things that people grew themselves?
BH: Yeah, and canned. Pickles and beans and whatever.
GC: Man.
MH: We used to have a quilt and sell tickets on it you know and whoever wins they get it.
GC: Right.
MH: I don't know whether anybody's got one this year or not. I've got so I can't make them.
GC: Yeah. Are there people still, still making them though? I mean for the sale?
BH: Martha generally makes one about every year, the one that lives across from there, by herself.
GC: Wow.
BH: And quilts it, but sometimes the women generally get together and make one, but somebody, you know, you got to have, somebody's got to make a top to piece the quilt, you've got to have the top that you quilt you see.
GC: Oh yeah.
BH: So that's not a, in fact they are now few and far between, it's finding tops and things, you've got to, somebody's got to sew that together, make that top.
GC: That's right.
BH: For years people had extra tops that just hadn't been quilted, you know what I'm saying.
GC: Oh, OK.
BH: And you know that's generally made out of scrap material or something.
GC: Oh sure.
BH: You know that was the way it used to be.
GC: Yeah, they reused stuff.
BH: Right. Of course now people buy you know material to make the tops of. Talking about authentic quilts.
GC: Yeah right.
BH: Then you've got to get back and do it like that.
GC: Right. It basically has to be a community project, I mean, the more people who help, the more likely it is to work I guess.
MH: Now dinner will be from five until, is it seven? So if you're going to come you'd better come in time to eat, but I think its seven thirty when the--.
BH: The sale starts.
GC: I will definitely come in time to eat. That yeah, I wouldn't miss that. Yeah I'll be there.
MH: It's the next Saturday night in November. The second Saturday night in November.
GC: Yeah. I will definitely try to be here. END TAPE ONE, SIDE B START TAPE TWO, SIDE A
GC: Maybe I'll have something to bring back by then, we'll see. Some results from all these interviews I've been doing, pictures I've been taking. Will you let me take your picture Ms. Hall?
MH: Child, don't you know I'm not fit to have a picture made.
GC: [laughter] You look fine to me. You're all dressed up.
MH: Whatever you want to do, I'll try to cooperate, but--.
GC: Well, if you really don't want to, I mean you know, I, we don't have to, but, but I like to take pictures of the people I talk to.
MH: Well, if you want to, go ahead.
GC: Well, anyway, I think that's all--, about all I have to ask, unless you can think of anything else.
MH: I'll brush my hair a little bit. I didn't even go to get my hair fixed this weekend, I didn't feel like it. I'm getting awful lazy.
BH: Ole Myrtle's been a backbone in the community here.
GC: Um. Sure has, sounds like.
MH: I'm getting mighty lazy now.
GC: Well, that's, you're not to be blamed for that, you've got your ankle to worry about. Here, I made, this little, I put a little card together. This is, here's my name so you can remember it.
MH: Well thank you. Have to have my magnifying glass before I read it.
GC: Well, you can just keep it in case you ever need it. And did I ever give you some of these?
BH: Um.
BH: I think I have.
GC: OK. I was going to say if you need anymore, I'm still passing those around to people. Still pretty hot, isn't it?
BH: Yeah, it is pretty warm.
GC: It cooled off a little bit a couple of weeks ago.
BH: They talk like it's going to cool down after tonight, said they might be a little shower. I think the weather might be a little shower tonight, but even if its not, they got in the high in the seventies, I don't think it even got to eighty after tomorrow, after tomorrow. Tomorrow is eighty, and then its seventy-six, seventy-eight, something like that the rest of the week.
MH: Now be sure and plug me back, because I can't get down there to do it.
GC: Yeah, it looked like it might rain when I was coming over here.
BH: I know, I was sitting there at the house and noticing it was getting dark, but. [pause] You living in Chapel Hill now, I guess since you're going to school you're staying over there full-time.
GC: Yeah, I have, I have a place to stay over there. I mean I get back to my parent's house fairly often in Davidson, but I'm back and forth.
BH: Now, when you left me your number and I called, where is that Chapel Hill? That's Chapel Hill, wasn't it?
GC: Yeah, actually, that's, that's a mobile number.
BH: Oh, it's just your mobile, right? That's the only way to go now anyway. But that's the one I use in Chapel Hill.