Interview with Betty Lester, March 3, 1978


Posted by Carolyn | Posted in Geneology | Posted on 08-09-2009


Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
University of Kentucky

FRIED: It’s March 3rd, 1978 at the home of Miss Betty Lester in Hyden, Kentucky. The following is an interview with Miss Lester by a group of couriers, who are volunteers for the Frontier Nursing Service. Miss Lester came to FNS from Britain in July of 1928 as a practicing nurse midwife.

LESTER: Mrs. Breckinridge, of course, was the director of the Service for forty years. You sure you’re gonna hear me?

FRIED: Umhmm.

LESTER: And she was a member of a very well-known Kentucky family. She . . . her . . . her people came in . . . the Breckinridges came into the . . . into Kentucky through the [Cumberland] Gap in 17-. . . near the end of the eighteenth century and they settled near Lexington. And there are seven generations of the Breckinridges buried in the Lexington Cemetery, so you can tell they . . . they’ve been here a long time. Mrs. Breckinridge’s father was minister to 1:00Russia and the family lived in Russia for . . . all through her girlhood. But she went to school in Switzerland. Her youngest brother was born in Russia, delivered by a midwife under the supervision of a doctor, and when they . . . when his term of office was over they came back to the States. And Mary Breckinridge married, but her first husband died fairly soon afterward, within a year of their being married. And she decided that she’d like to be a nurse, so she went to St. Luke’s in New York and took her general training at St. Luke’s, graduated in about 1910, something like that, and then she remarried. And she had two children, Brecky and Polly. Brecky lived to be four and a half, and Polly died about six hours after delivery because she 2:00was premature. And Brecky had been the center of Mrs. Breckinridge’s life. I mean everything revolved around Brecky. When he died, of course, it was an awful shock to her. She was terribly upset about it. But she said that for every hour of Brecky’s life, she would give the same to a child.

FRIED: What did he die of?

LESTER: He was . . . there was something wrong. I think he had some operations. I don’t know. I never have asked. Anyway, Brecky died, and then she said for the rest of her life would be ded-. . . would be given, not dedicated, given to the service of children. Her marriage was dissolved and she took her own maiden name . . . her maiden name back again and became Mary Breckinridge. She went to France with a whole crowd of . . . of American women, wealthy women, who went to France to rehabilitate the children, the . . . 3:00the lost and the orphans and the starving children in France. And they rehabilitated them and they did all sorts of things, got them all sort of straightened out again. She always used to tell us a little story that they needed milk very badly. So they wrote . . . she wrote to all her friends and said that she either wanted the money to pay for a goat or she wanted a goat. Well, she was the one who went all around everywhere supervising everything, and when she got back to headquarters one day she found twenty-nine goats waiting for her. So they . . . the children [chuckle] . . . the children had enough . . . had enough milk from then on. Well, after that was all over, she came back to the States and her mother died fairly soon afterwards. And then she decided that she wanted to do something for the people of her own state. Well, she knew that in this southeast corner of 4:00Kentucky was a part of the country which was more or less isolated and cut off by the mountain barrier. She didn’t know very much about it, but she talked to people in Lexington and . . . because most . . . a lot of people in Lexington are related far or near to the Breckinridges, and they suggested that she might . . . she would . . . she herself thought that she might come up in here and do surveys seeing really if there was anything that could be done for the . . . these . . . you know, these people who were shut away. So in 1923 she spent the summer up in these mountains going around to the various county seats talking to the judges, talking to any doctors that there were, talking to all the people and the important people. Went up and down the creeks and . . . to see what there 5:00was. And she came . . . camed right through and she came through Leslie County and she went on. And then she was going between Hyden and Beech Fork, up through that way, she ri-. . . rode it horseback, mind you. They all had to . . . all . . . all had . . . all of it had to be on horseback. Couldn’t get anywhere anyway else. She came across this beautiful bend in the river and she thought that it was about four miles from Hyden and she said to herself then, “If ever I come to Leslie County to live, that’s where I’m going to build my house.” And that’s why Wendover is on that little knoll above the river. Well, she came around. She talked to the people, talked to the judges, talked to doctors, talked to anybody. Went up the creeks, met all the various people up the creeks. Met some of the local 6:00midwives, and she found that the most isolated spot in the mountains was Leslie County. We had no roads, no railroads, no nothing. And so she thought this would be the best place for her to locate. Well, during that summer she got a friend of hers from Teacher’s College, Columbia, a Ph.D., Dr. Elliot . . . Ellie Woodyard to come down here and do some . . . a survey of the children, which she did. And Dr. Woodyard found that the children in this area were as bright, and their IQ’s were just as high as the IQ’s of anybody . . . any of the children outside. And if they had the proper education, they could do just as well as people . . . as the children who were outside. So 7:00they . . . they . . . they had one or two-room schoolhouses and not very good teachers. And when the creeks were up and when there was rain or snow or anything, the children couldn’t go to school. There was a seven- month school, which didn’t give them much opportunity. But as she said, they could . . . if they were given the same opportunities, they could really compete very well with the outside children. Well, a lot of our children did go outside. They came to Hyden. There was a high school and there were two dormitories, one where [Brady] Walker’s is now, and that’s a rock stone house on the other side of the road. That was the girls’ dormitory, and [Brady?] Walker’s house was the boys’ dormitory. And they could come in and they would do the chores around the place, and they would bring, well, whatever they had, a ham of meat or fruit or vegetables or something, 8:00anyway, to help to pay for their tuition. And if they got through high school, if they wanted to go on, of course, there was always Berea that they could go to because Berea is a . . . is a college for poor . . . poorer people, people of the low income bracket. So . . . and we have lawyers, senators, representatives, doctors, nurses, you name it, they . . . we have it, who went out from here and really got an education and really did very well because they . . . they could do it, if they had . . . if they had the chance. One of our first . . . one of the first nurses who helped Mrs. Breckinridge who did come in here was a local . . . was a girl from here who had gone out to somewhere in Pennsylvania and got her training. She came back to take care of her father who had typhoid. He died, but she stayed and helped Mrs. Breckinridge. Well, after this survey in 9:001923, when she was here Mrs. Breckinridge saw that the people were self-supporting, they practically all had their own little farm. They had their cow and their hogs and their chickens and their garden, everything that they really wanted except just coffee and a few things like that. And they were very proud. They wouldn’t accept charity at all. But they were very proud, very self-sufficient, except they had no medical care. And she saw that’s that where she could help. The maternal mortality rate was very high. They had terrific typhoid and diphtheria epidemics. They had worms, they had everything, and there were no doctors to help them out. And she saw that if she was . . . if she could come up in here, she would come up in here, that was where she would help. The local midwives did what they could. 10:00They didn’t do any prenatal work, they just went to the mother when she had her baby and you know babies come an-. . . anywhere a baby will come, if it’s normal whether it’s [inaudible] healthy or not. But when . . . sometimes nature goes haywire and then they don’t . . . no help. You’d have to wait about . . . if you sent for a doctor, you’d have to wait about six hours for one to come from Har-. . . from Hazard. Consequently, the maternal mortality rate was high, and that’s where she thought she could help. To help the children, even as she says, “Even before they were born.” So she went back to Lexington. She taught down there. And she decided that if she was to . . . if she were to come up here to work, then she would have to be a midwife. Well, you couldn’t get your midwifery training in the States in those days. There weren’t any medical schools. So all the [inaudible] delivered by doctors or by local women. So she decided she’d better 11:00go to Europe and get her midwifery training, which she did. She went to England. She took her midwifery training at the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies. She went to the General Lying- In Hospital at . . . in York . . . at York Road in London, too, and she went to the Central Midwives Board and she told them what she wanted to do because she had to start absolutely from scratch. She had no . . . no rules and regulations, nothing to go by at all. So they were all very good to her. They sha-. . . they gave her the rules and regulations of the Central Midwives Board, and they told her . . . gave her all the information . . . as much of the information she wanted. And then she went up to Scotland and there she met Sir Leslie Mackenzie in Edinburgh, and he was the head of the Scots nurses, and he 12:00suggested that she should go up to the Highlands and the islands of the Hebrides and see what the nurses were doing up there. And if you . . . when you . . . I don’t know if you’ve been to Scotland, but if you go to Scotland you’ll find that the terrain . . . the mountains are a little bit like ours. They have heather on theirs and we don’t, but otherwise there . . . there is a similarity. And the nurses up there in . . . in the Hebrides, they had to go between the islands in boats. Well, the Atlantic is a bit rough and you bobbed up and down and it was pretty . . . pretty dangerous traveling between the . . . the islands but the nurses did it. And then in the Highlands, they either rode horseback or walked through the mountains to . . . to their patients. And she thought if they could do it up there in Scotland, they could do it here. So she went back to London, got all her information that she wanted, and came back to the States. And the 13:00doctors in Lexington were very interested. And all of the specialists gave her a sort of a routine that the nurses would follow. See, we nurses don’t prescribe and we don’t diagnose. We can make a tentative diagnosis and we can give that to the doctor, and if there’s anything wrong then he’ll tell us how to . . . how to treat it. So they gave us this routine of the things that we could use and the things that we could do, and the things that we couldn’t do. Well, in those days we didn’t have the wonder drugs that they have now, and we didn’t have all the paraphernalia that they have now to do everything for everybody. It was just a simple way of life. And so when she was in France she met two nurses where she was working, and these two nurses were going to England to take their midwifery. Well, she was very interested in 14:00these two nurses and she said, “When I’m in . . . when you’re in England, in London and I’m in London, I would like to meet you and talk to you about this, about if you would like to help me in Kentucky.” So when they were in London they got together and these two nurses, Miss [Freida] Caffin and Miss [Edna] Rockstroh, decided that they would come to Ken-. . . to the . . . to Leslie County with her, which they did. And they did the survey and did all the work while she was getting money and that sort of thing. She helped, but they did a good deal of it. And so in May of 1925, she came up to Leslie County to live. They had a little house down the creek, down the . . . down the road there just on the corner opposite the Presbyterian Church. And she and these two nurses and one of their mothers, Miss . 15:00. . Mrs. Caffin came, and Major Breckinridge came up to help them with the horses and things. So they all started down . . . that’s how it all started in that little house in . . . in Hyden. Well, she . . . they . . . she had to go out and get the money, of course, while these . . . while these nurses did . . . now, when they came in, of course, everybody wondered what these queer women were doing in here. What were they up here for? What did they want? Well, Mrs. Breckinridge came in and she said, “Now we’re here, we’re nurses and we’re midwives. If you want us . . . if you want to come and visit us, do, and bring your children and if we can help you in anyway, we will. If you bring your children, they’ve got sores or anything, we’ll help . . . we’ll you take care of them and we’ll do anything we can to help. And, of course, we’d like to visit . . . you can 16:00come and visit us and we’d like to visit you, but we are not coming into your homes unless you invite us.” You know, some people come in and they say this, that, and the next thing. They’re do-gooders, they’re gonna do this, that, and the next and change everybody’s life. But she didn’t do it that way at all. She said, “If you want us to come and visit you, you just–[loud noise in background]–ask us and we’ll come.” I thought it was a bomb going off. [Interruption in taping] And so that was the best way to do, and people came to the little house and they invited her to go and see them. So they . . . she went. The . . . the . . . she had some nurses and she visit-. . . visited around to the various houses. And they began . . . people began to think these women knew what they were talking about, and they would talk and nurses would talk and got to know everybody. And then in September of 1925 our first baby was 17:00born. They had got . . . you see, it takes awhile to get people’s confidence because they don’t know what you’re doing. I mean, they’re . . . you’re strange. You . . . they . . . these nurses were strange to them. They were from the outside. What were they doing? Did they know what they were talking about? They were young. They’d never had children. How did they know how to . . . how to take care of a woman when she was having a baby? But very soon they got to realize that these nurses did know what they were talking about. So that’s . . . and then Mrs. Breckinridge, of course, had to get the money to . . . to . . . . . . to . . . she ran it on her own money for the first few months but, of course, she couldn’t do that for very long. And she had to go outside and get money to get the Service going. Besides, she didn’t want to stay in Hyden all of her life. She wanted to just go out . . . expand. She wanted to cover at least a thousand square miles. So she went out to form committees in the various states in the . . . more or less, in the 18:00East. Like we went to Louisville and Lexington and Boston, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, all those places. She formed . . . they formed committees and people got very interested in the Service, and she never once asked for money. She always told them what the conditions were and what we were doing, and money just came in. So she was able to expand and she was able to build various centers. Before she started to build a center, she always . . . the people came and said, “We want you to come to us.” And she would say, “Well, we have to do something about it. You get the people together and talk about it, and then I’ll come and talk to them and tell them. And then if you decide that you want us to come where you are, to . . . to the creek or wherever that you want us, then we’ll see what we can do about 19:00it.” So that’s the . . . people went home and they got together and they decided, and so she was able to . . . fir-. . . of course, she did have a nurse at Wendover because she did build a . . . I forgot to tell you that. She did build her own house at Wendover in 1925. Soon as she came in, she go that started, and at Christmas in 1925 that house was dedicated to the memory of Polly and Brecky. So that was all right. So then she . . . she built the six . . . I . . . she built about six outposts; Beech Fork, Confluence, Red Bird, Flat Creek, Burlington and Burgess. She also got the money for a hospital. We had to have a hospital. And she got money. People gave her money for the hospital, and the hospital was built up on the hill. Twelve beds and twelve bassinets. No, not twelve bassinets, some bassinets. And in June of 1928 that was dedicated and 20:00Sir Leslie and Lady Mackenzie came over from Scotland to dedicate it. Wasn’t that nice? I h-. . . because he helped, too, see? And then they came over and that hospital was dedicated in June of 1928. Well, people began to come. We be-. . . we soon were able . . . after that we got a part-time doctor. He was part-time public health and part- time FNS. So we did have a doctor to tell us how . . . what we could, you know, do . . . that we could refer to. Before that we’d had to refer people to . . . either to Doctor Collins in Hazard or to the doctors in Lexington. And we were having some midwifery by that time. Of course, Doctor McCormick in Louisville gave . . . sa- . . . said that whatever vaccines she needed for the inoculations against typhoid and diphtheria, and the vaccine for smallpox, we could 21:00have it from the State Department of Health. So we got our . . . all our vaccines that we needed and everything, so . . . and, of course, at first people didn’t want their children to have this . . . these needles shoved into them. They thought it was cruel. They didn’t see any sense in having a needle shoved into a child. However, they got used to that. And after a time they began to tell us when their typhoid shots, and this, that, and the next thing, were due. So that was all right. Well, we had got the hospital. We’d got Wendover. We’d got the six outposts. Money was coming in. And then in 1931 the Depression hit us. When the Depression hit us, of course, we couldn’t . . . I mean people couldn’t send us any money after that because they had enough to do to keep their own house . . . own homes going. So 22:00we got to be very poor. We didn’t close down, we just managed. Some of the nurses had to leave and some of us stayed and we didn’t have any money but we were very happy. We had enough to eat and a bed to sleep on and our horses were taken care of. And so then when the Depression . . . when we got out of the Depression we went on until 1939 when the Graduate School of Midwifery was started, and that’s . . . we’d already been doing midwifery. Now, our midwifery program, we really did a very intensive training of our . . . teaching of our patients who were going to have babies because as Mrs. Breckinridge said, “You’ve got to take care of the baby before it’s born.” We tried to get our mothers to register with us soon as they knew they were pregnant. They didn’t always do that, but they . . . they did register. And then the nurses saw them. We saw them every month until they were six 23:00months pregnant, every two weeks through the seventh and eighth month, and the last month we saw them every week. If they didn’t come to the clinic we had to go and visit them in their own homes because we had to watch them very carefully in case any . . . there should be anything abnormal. And if we saw them as often as that, you see, we could [telephone rings] pick up the abnormality as soon as . . . as soon as we . . . we’d find it. Excuse me. Answer!

FRIED: Sorry. [Interruption in taping]

LESTER: [Inaudible] we saw them, as I say, so often so that we could really watch out to see if anything abnormal happened. We didn’t do the marvelous work that they do now with their prenatals. All we did was to take their blood pressure, their . . . their temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, urinalysis and . . . and done a palpation to s- . . . and the . . . and the external measurements 24:00to see if her baby was lying all right. See that the urine was clear, see that the blood pressure was all right, and see that they weren’t running any fever or anything. And then while we were doing that, we were also giving them advice. I mean advice on their diets, about resting every day, and about drinking enough water, and just giving them . . . well, just giving them the . . . the i-. . . the ideas of what we w-. . . what would be the best thing for them. The women in this country, of course, do . . . did work very hard. I mean they worked in the gardens and they did a lot of walking. Consequently, of course, their muscles were in very good shape. We didn’t have the sagging muscles and we didn’t have many contracted pelvises or anything like that. We did have some, and we did have abnormalities. All the mothers had to be delivered at home. In the beginning, of course, there wasn’t . . . there was no hospital 25:00for them, but they . . . they preferred to be delivered at home with their own family, and it was all right with us. We had special bags for them, we had for the deliveries. We had this bag in which we carried all supplies that we should need for delivery, and those bags were sacrosanct. They weren’t allowed . . . we weren’t allowed to . . . allowed to use them for anything but just the delivery itself. In our general bags we could carry . . . we carried an emergency kit in case we got caught and the mother was in labor and we were way over there somewhere. And we had to do what there was to do with just an emergency kit, and then . . . while a man came to get the proper bags. So . . . and as soon as we came back from the delivery, we had to empty those bags. Everything had to be taken out. 26:00The white linings, the white bags, everything had to be taken out of those bags. The instruments washed, the gloves washed, everything like that because we didn’t have these disposable things then. And they had to be repacked fairly soon so that in case of another . . . the thing coming. That was our first consideration; get our bags emptied and fixed up before we did anything else. Of course we had to write up our record. We had to write up the record of the delivery, exactly what happened and all about it. Well, now, when the woman . . . we told the woman when she had her first pain, when she really thought she was in labor, to send for us, which they . . . which they did. Sometimes they sent when they’d had a pain and it . . . they weren’t really in labor, but that was all right. We had to stay awhile to see that they were all right. The man would come. We didn’t ride alone at night be-. . . not because anybody would molest us, because they wouldn’t. We were . . . we had our blue- gray 27:00uniform and everybody knew us. They wouldn’t do a thing to harm us. In fact, they’d help us all they could if we got lost or anything. But we didn’t ride out after dark alone because you might get sick, you might fall off your horse. Your horse might throw you and . . . and anything could happen to you on the trails. And if you were out there on the trail at night, you might lie for hours and not . . . and nobody come and . . . come and find you until daylight. Because if the horse was all right, he’d go home. And then we had to leave a note where we were going so the people could come and find us. The man came, took the bags. We got dressed. He saddled the horse and got everything ready and off we went. And we had to stay . . . if the patient was in labor, we stayed with them until the baby was born. And then we fixed the mother up, fixed the baby up, and you had to stay an hour and a half after delivery to make sure that everything 28:00was all right because you might be five miles away from home. And if anything happened, if you had just rushed off as soon as the baby was born, anything could happen. A woman could hemorrhage, she could do anything. A baby could get asphyxiated, anything can happen. So we always stayed an hour and a half afterwards, and then we came on home. We saw them every wee-. . . every day for the first ten days and did all the things that we should do. And then we saw them every week for the first month, and then every month for the first year. And then we carried them on. We carried our family t-. . . we had family folders. We had . . . everybody in the house had a different . . . the adults had a card, the school-aged, the . . . the tots and the babies, everybody had their own card and we had to write down every so often what we had done for them. So this family . . . so we really took care of the whole family as well as the mother and as well as the sick patient who was in the hos-. . . in the home and, as I 29:00say, we kept very careful records of it. And we followed the baby’s first year and then we followed them as toddlers and then through school. Twice a year we saw them when they were in school. And then the adults, we saw them whenever they . . . whenever they needed us. But our midwifery program, at first, of course, was really the special thing to . . . I mean, that we soon were what you’d call family nurses as well as midwives then. So we . . . as I say, we took care of the whole family. And we have delivered almost eighteen thousand babies, I think, and we’ve only had eleven maternal deaths. And that is almost a world record because . . . and it was all because of our m-. . . of our prenatal work. That we were so careful with it, we could watch them so carefully and know that if 30:00anything . . . first thing that went wrong, we could get a doctor. And as I say, we had a part- time doctor at first, and then after that we had our own medical director who, if we needed him, he’d go out to the various centers to take care of things. But if we could get them to the hospital to him, it was much better. If there was anything wrong with the mother, we got her into the hospital. We watched here there and saw that everything cleared up. And if she . . . if it didn’t clear up, probably then she would stay . . . I mean she would have her baby in the hospital. We had to watch out that the baby was lying right because if the . . . that was the thing that happened sometimes. A baby doesn’t lie right and then it’s a bit difficult. Well, do you want to change? [Interruption in taping] There weren’t any midwifery schools in the States and everybody was . . . as I 31:00told you, Mrs. Breckinridge went to London to get her widwifery, and then if any American public health nurses came down here and wanted to stay, they had to be midwives. Because each of the centers that I . . . we talked about, had to have two midwives. Because, you see, they would . . . the . . . the districts were divided into two. One nurse had one end and one nurse had the other. And so they had their own midwifery, their own everything. And if they wanted to stay as . . . down here as . . . to work, they had to have their midwifery training. So she sent . . . any American nurses who wanted to stay, she sent over to England or Scotland on scholarship for the six months’ training over there. And then they would come back and either . . . and then they would . . . they were supposed to stay for two years and . . . after having had the scholarship. Well, that’s how 32:00I came because Mrs. Breckinridge sent one of her nurses to York where . . . the General Lying-in Hospital where I was doing my midwifery training. And we all got most excited about this American nurse because this American nurse had pictures and she had this album with all these pictures of horses and dogs and creeks and everything. And I . . . I was one of the midwives sitting around one day looking at this book and she came in and we got to know each other. We got to be very good friends. And she was telling me about riding up and down the creeks on horseback and all the things that . . . that we had to do and it sounded like such a fascinating life to me. And I had no home ties. I mean, I could . . . my parents had both died before I started nursing so I could do what I wanted. So I said to her one day, “Do you want any more nurses?” And she said, “Yes.” I said . 33:00. . she said, “Yes,” so I said, “I’d love to come.” She said . . . well, she told me about writing to Mrs. Breckinridge. So Mrs. Breckinridge wrote back to me and said that when I had my diploma I could apply, which I did. And there was a furor in the hospital where I was because they didn’t want me to come. And they . . . they called me into the office and said, “You think you’re going to Kentucky?” And I said, “Yes, please, I want to go.” “Well, do you know what you’re doing?” They said, “Here you’ve got the day sister and day duty. You’ve got night sister on night duty. You’ve got your doctor within five minutes. Out there you’ll have nobody. You’ll just be by yourself. What are you going to do? You’ve only just got to twenty cases,” ’cause we had to take twenty cases. We had to deliver twenty cases under supervision. “You don’t know a thing about it. What are 34:00you going to do?” Well, I hadn’t thought about that. All I thought about was having a horse and a dog. [Laughter] So I . . . so they said, “Now you can’t do it. You simply cannot. We cannot send you out to Mrs. Breckinridge as an untrained . . . you may have got your diploma. Yes, you’ve got it, but you’re not trained. You can’t do an-. . . you’re . . . you wouldn’t be any good to her.” Well, I thought, “I . . . I want to go so badly.” So they said, “Well stay. We want you to stay for six months and do a six-month post- graduate course.” So I stayed for six months and believe you me I worked hard those six months because anything that happened, send for . . . send for the nurse. Yes, well, a nurse went. So I learned a lot. I learned the fundamentals of midwifery and that’s what we really needed. And when I came out I knew . . . I mean, if I’d come out as a raw midwife I wouldn’t have been able to do a thing. But having had this six months’ training, I could really do it. So 35:00riding horseback day and night, summer, winter, anytime. And we’d really . . . I mean midwifery we really have done. We’re very proud of our midwifery work because we have saved a lot of lives and we’re still saving them. [Interruption in taping] You sort of felt . . . I mean you knew that what she said she meant. And you really . . . she ex-. . . she was a perfectionist herself, and she expected us nurses to . . . to give her of our best, which we did. Because she was giving her best and therefore her . . . her influence and her . . . everything about her sort of gave us that incentive to give of our best. And it was really . . . but she was very small, but she was dynamic. And I mean she had . . . she was . . . she 36:00had a very good . . . a very good sense of humor. You’d hear her laugh from here to the other side of Wendover when she started laughing about things. But she . . . she did expect the best, and she did expect us to do our work properly and we did. And . . . I mean our uniforms, she expected us always to be in full uniform and look like FNSers who were proud of our uniform. And we wore it very proudly.

FRIED: One of the . . . [tape fades] . . .

LESTER: . . . met me at Confluence, they brought a horse down, and I was the fifth nurse they’d had to escort to Hyden and they were getting a bit fed up with this. [Laughter] But they . . . they let me get on ahead and then they came catching me up. And I thought, “Well, I’m not going to put up with this. I’m coming to catch up with you,” because I could ride. I’d ridden all my youth so I knew how to ride and I mean it didn’t bother me getting on a horse, so I kept up with them from then on to Hyden. We had a lovely trip. And when Marvin was 37:00here, you see, then that led to . . . WO

MAN: I think she must have been.

FRIED: What are some of the memories that, like, really stick out? I mean . . .

LESTER: Well, [Book?] and James stick out because they brought me up here. There are . . . well, I mean there was . . .

FRIED: I mean as far as, like, your field work or the . . .

LESTER: The field workers?

FRIED: No, your field work. I mean, you know, like . . .

LESTER: What . . . what . . . what sticks out in my memory?

FRIED: Yeah.

LESTER: Well, I can’t give you any very specific things because there were so many of them all the time. But there’s one that really does stand out rather a lot. We weren’t supposed to go out- . . . outside the five mile limit. That was our limit. We weren’t supposed to go a step beyond that. Well, I was at Bull Creek one Thurs-. . . one clinic day, and this woman came to register, and I asked her 38:00all the various questions. Then I asked here where she lived and she told me she lived over on Big Creek. “Oh, my goodness,” I said, “I can’t come to . . . I can’t take you there. You’ll have to come into the hospital to have your baby.” “I can’t go to the hospital.” [inaudible] think the hospital [inaudible]. I said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t come. It’s too far.” It was about seven miles. Well, tears came into her eyes and I looked at her and I said, “What’s the matter?” She said, “Well, I’ve had one baby and my baby was born dead. And I want a baby very badly. And if you’ll come and look after her, I’ll have that baby.” Well, what could I do? Simply couldn’t do anything. My . . . tears came into my eyes, too, because she wanted this baby so badly and . . . and she had enough faith in me, in the nurses, it 39:00wasn’t in me exac-. . . it was in the nurses, that if she had the nurses she’d have a live baby. So I said, “Well, if you’ll come to clinic every time I want you to, and do everything that I want you to do, I may be able to take you at home.” Well, her eyes . . . she brightened up at that. And I said, “Now, I’ll do my best, but you’ll have to promise me to come, and if you don’t, the first time you miss, I shall have to say I’m sorry, I can’t come.” So she said she’d come and I said, “I will come over and see where you live,” because I wanted to see that she would have everything ready, I mean she’d have the things that I needed. I’d have to tell her what to get ready for me. So she did and, of course, I was really not in trouble but I . . . the as-. . . the assistant . . . the assistant directors were on my tail. So I thought my best plan to do is to go over your heads to Mrs. Breckinridge, and I did. And she said to me, “Betty, 40:00you cannot leave your own patients. You cannot neglect your own patients for an outsider. If you’ll promise me that, that you won’t neglect your own work to go over there, you can go because you can ride. I know you can, and you’ve got a good horse and I know you can do it. But,” she said, “you mustn’t neglect your own work.” Well, of course, I said, “I wouldn’t dream of it, Mrs. Breckinridge. If you’ll let me go just for the delivery and just for the post-partum, if she comes to her . . . to me for her prenatals, will it be all right?” And she said, “Yes.” So I did go. The man came for me in the middle of one night and we had all of this seven miles to ride. Got there, she was in labor but she took a long time and she had . . . if she’d had a granny midwife–even though I say that myself as a midwife–if she’d had a granny midwife, a local midwife, I don’t think she’d have 41:00had a live baby because it was a very difficult delivery and I did have quite a hard time. I sweat blood getting the baby, but I got it and I got a live baby so it was worth it. And that baby grew up. It was a girl. She married. She was pregnant and I saw her. And I went . . . and she was going to have her baby in the hospital. So I went to the people in the hospital and I said, “May I come into the delivery room when she has her baby?” “Well, you can . . . you can take the baby if you want to.” The . . . the . . . the Graduate School had started by this time. “You can conduct the delivery till the . . . and . . . and . . . and supervising the student.” Well, I said, “Well, I thank you very much, I’ll do that then.” So I did that. So we had a live baby. Everything was all right. It was a boy. That boy grew up, and it shows how old I am. [Chuckle] That boy grew up and married, and his wife was going to have a baby, and they saw me again. 42:00″Well,” I said, “I’m not going to do anything about it this time, but I will be . . . I will be in the delivery room.” So I went to the supervisors again and said, “Please can I observe this delivery?” And they said, “Yes.” So I sat in the back of the room and watched it. So I’m a great- grandmother. [Laughter] So that’s that. That’s my outstanding story.

FRIED: It’s a good one.

LESTER: There’ve been other ones, but this . . . that was . . . that’s really the one I treasure. And that’s that. [Interruption in taping]

COURIER: Why was the midwifery school started?

LESTER: Oh, in 1939 war started in Europe and a lot of the . . . there were quite a few British nurses here, and the British nurses felt that they should go home. Some of them felt that they should go 43:00home and help in Britain when they probably were needing nurses. So we couldn’t leave the Service without midwives because we were about fifty-. . . a fifty-fifty proposition, and so we had to do something about it. So in P-. . . in September of 1939, some of the . . . oh, and also the American nurses, of course, couldn’t go to Britain because we were frozen. They were frozen on this side of the Atlantic and we were frozen . . . and the nurses in England were . . . couldn’t come out here. So there couldn’t be any more exchange. So the American nurses had to be trained in this country. The Frontier Graduate School was started to train . . . I think they star-. . . I think they started with two American nurses and started those off to train them first of all. And some of us Britishers stayed to 44:00get them to help with that training and get them started so that there would be a continuation so that the . . . there . . . there would be a few. And then gradually, you see, more and more American nurses came down and trained. And I think now we’ve trained, oh, roughly between four and five hundred, I think, the American nurses to be midwives and they’re all over the world. They’ve taken the work to other countries and to various parts of the States. So that’s . . . that’s really why it started, because of the war in Europe and the British nurses having to leave, and we had to train American nurses to take their place. [Interruption in taping] One thing I forgot to talk about . . . to tell you about in the . . . when I was 45:00talking about midwifery was, that all our . . . practically all our mothers, I might say all of our mothers, breastfed their babies in those early days which was what we advocated, that we wanted them to do it. And, of course, they . . . they wouldn’t do anything else. They would breastfeed them. They might be on demand feeding, but even so they were all, practically all, breastfed babies. I think I ought to emphasize that because it was one of the things we did, and all our babies stayed on the breast for nine months to a year, and then that was it. But we did advocate breastfeeding. WO

MAN: Miss Lester, did they have any family planning at that time?

LESTER: Oh, yes! Oh, yes! Family . . . no, no, we didn’t. If a mother wanted . . . if a mother asked the nurses what she could do so that she wouldn’t have any more babies, we always had to refer them 46:00to our doctor. We . . . [End of Tape #1, Side #1]

LESTER: . . . never gave them that advice in those early days. We always said, “Well, you come to the hospital and talk to our doctor about it, then he’ll tell you, more or less, what to do.” But we nurses were not . . . we did not give them that advice. COURIER: Didn’t I hear something about Dr. Rock and the pill . . .


COURIER: . . . starting down here . . .

LESTER: Umhmm.

COURIER: . . . or something?

LESTER: Yes, he started that. Dr. Rock wanted it, and they ma-. . . he did it down here. Anna Mae January was the nurse who . . . who went around and she had a lovely time. And they really did a very good job with it. I don’t know much about that part of it but, yes, he did. He and M-. . . he knew Mrs. Breckinridge and . . . and they got together and he did it . . . they did it down here. But as I say, Anna Mae January was the one who did it and she loved it. And everybody . . . of course, she was so well-loved and so everybody took note of what Anna Mae said. The people in here said she was just as good . . . they’d just as soon have her as a doctor. So they would all listen to what she had to say. And anybody who wanted advice, she would give it. [End of Interview]

Interview with Georgia Ledford, August 17, 1978


Posted by Carolyn | Posted in Geneology | Posted on 08-09-2009


Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
University of Kentucky

Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project A/F006: 78OH151FNS11
University of Kentucky
Ledford, Georgia; Interviewee — Dale Deaton; Interviewer — Anne Campbell; Interviewee — Carol Crowe-Carraco; Interviewer
Members of Georgia Ledford’s family have served on the Clay County Committee of the FNS and have worked for the FNS in various capacities. Ledford recalls her association with Mary Breckinridge and details the activities of the nurse-midwives, commenting upon their effectiveness and the impact of the FNS in the local area. The interview also includes a discussion of handmade furniture.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . what I did may seem very silly to you, and if you don’t want to answer any of my questions, just say, . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . “I don’t want to answer.”

LEDFORD: All right.

CROWE-CARRACO: [Microphone interference] Today is August 17th, 1978. [Inaudible] sunny day. I’m talking to the secretary from one of the local FNS committees. Would you please tell me your name?

LEDFORD: Georgia Ledford.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. Mrs. Ledford, if you don’t mind, may I ask if you were born here in Marcum, Kentucky or Clay County or . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, I was born in Clay County, but the post office then was Spring Creek, Kentucky.

CROWE-CARRACO: That’s pretty.

LEDFORD: Spring Creek is a pretty creek, lovely. Fact is my mom still lives there.



CROWE-CARRACO: Have you lived in this area all your life?

LEDFORD: Yes, practically, off and on.

CROWE-CARRACO: Would you mind telling me who your mother and father are?

LEDFORD: My mother is [Ollie?] Ledford and my father was Walter . . . I’m sorry, Ollie Mullins, and my father is . . . was Walter Mullins. He passed away, oh, about four years ago.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. When did you first become aware of the FNS.?

LEDFORD: Oh, my goodness, the FNS has always been here. I was a little girl when they came, I think. I . . . I suppose my first memory of them was . . . well, two things maybe. One is when Miss [Mary] Willeford and, I guess, Miss [Gladys] Peacock lived in this little branch out here, just out the road from us now. It was . . . they called it “Buckingham Palace,” which my father-in-law, Dave Ledford, thought . . . he didn’t like that too well. But they really got along. I mean, you know, he thought, you know, let’s don’t put it down, after all! [Chuckle] And then the other occurrence was, we had 2:00spent the night with my grandmother [Dora Rowlett?] on Spring Creek, and when we went back home the next morning, which was . . . we lived in an old log house then. You know, it was just fantastic. To us it was kind of common place, but it was home and nice. And the nurses had stopped over and stayed overnight and my dad had gone early to feed the animals, and they were in the house. They had just made themselves at home, and they were trying to pound the coffee and they didn’t find the coffee mill. They probably didn’t know what the coffee mill was. So my dad helped out with breakfast. And I thought, “Well, my goodness.” You know, even hearing that mill . . . those days, why, they felt at home.

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, very nice.

LEDFORD: I thought that it just turned out really good, . . .


LEDFORD: . . . that we kind of through the years have kept that in our minds, you know, and gotten so well acquainted.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember Mrs. Breckinridge as you were . . . when you were a . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . child?

LEDFORD: . . . yes. Yes. Miss Breckinridge, she would come to Flat 3:00Creek. They had what they called “rallies” in those days. Everybody came. There was hot chocolate for everybody, you know. Unless you had an unusual mother in those days, that was a treat. They made it in what they call lard cans. I don’t know if the . . . you’re familiar with them or not, but . . .


LEDFORD: . . . I’m sure everybody’s seem them that’s been in Kentucky.


LEDFORD: And there was a speech, . . .


LEDFORD: . . . you know.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . Mrs. Breckinridge make it or some local committee . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . member, or like . . .

LEDFORD: . . . we all . . . we all did it. I mean, mostly . . . right at that time probably I didn’t have such a hand in it, but later on when I was older, yeah. We’d have ’em at schools and somebody at school would . . . they’d get it going, they’d set it on a pot-bellied stove and heat it all up, and I think sometimes some of the supplies came from the nursing center, but community people took part.

CROWE-CARRACO: What . . . what was said at the rally, “We need the nurses,” or, “We need money,” or . . .

LEDFORD: No, we never needed [enough?] money in those days.

CROWE-CARRACO: “We need support?”

LEDFORD: I don’t recall. I don’t recall that we talked about money. I 4:00suppose that some of the things were said . . . they might have told about delivery a baby, and about inoculations and how good it was for the people. I think that had to be talked up a lot because that was all new. And I don’t think it was necessarily ’cause it was this area that it was new, I suppose that that was just the frontier of inoculations.

CROWE-CARRACO: Probably so. Do you remember mid-wives in your own day, . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . granny mid-wives?

LEDFORD: . . . sure. My grandmother [Dora Rowlett?] was fantastic. She delivered me.

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, she did?

LEDFORD: Yeah! [Chuckle] So I came out okay, [chuckling] didn’t I?

CROWE-CARRACO: Did your grandmother, as a mid-wife, approve of the . . .

LEDFORD: Loved ’em.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . nurse mid-wives?

LEDFORD: Absolutely. She was . . . they . . . they took care of her. That was the best service I have ever seen, when my grandmother was in bed. She stayed at my mom’s, oh, about a year, because she got to the place where she wasn’t thinking really good and 5:00yet she knew, you know, what was going on, too. And she was eighty- four when she passed away. And Miss [Joy] Broomfield and another nurse would come every day. And I complimented them one day. We always tried to have coffee or cake or something. You know, that was a nice time for us, ’cause we were teenagers then, you know, and . . . well, the fact is I was married then. And I just thanked them one day so much for what they had done for my mom. And they said, . . . and for my grandmother, and they said, “It’s not us. It’s Ollie that’s doing all this.” And, of course, you know, I knew that they were doing a lot, too. Because she’d gotten to the place where she was just in bed, more like a child. But they always came.

CROWE-CARRACO: Very nice. And when . . .

LEDFORD: They were friends.

CROWE-CARRACO: They were friends. Peacock and Willeford were friends?

LEDFORD: Yeah, we knew them real well. Miss [Margaret] Tinline was one of the ones we really knew, though.

CROWE-CARRACO: Can you tell me about Christmas, say, at Flat Creek? Was there a party?

LEDFORD: Oh, there was a party, yeah. There was gifts. And children 6:00in the country probably never had those things before, you know, like clothing and toys. And it’s just a good memory. And, I mean, lots of those things helped out. I remember my youngest brother that was killed a few years ago, he got a toy train. [Chuckle–Crowe-Carraco] And, oh, boy, if you’ve never played with a toy train before, it was exciting.

CROWE-CARRACO: You were a child, I suppose, and when your father first became a committee member?

LEDFORD: Yes, I think so. Umhmm. My dad was a teacher, you know. He taught like forty-one and a half years. And that was just something he loved to do, go down there and do the paperwork.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. Did you ever, as a child, go to any of the committee meetings, or were they something that a child did not go to?

LEDFORD: No, I think children were brought. I can’t remember going to 7:00a committee meeting. I can remember going, you know, when they’d have the big days of examinations and the shots and all that some people were awfully afraid of, and all the nurses had dogs in those days, you know. Of course, I think most country people did. I remember [chuckle] . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: You . . . so you remember the dental clinics and the tonsil . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . clinics and that . . .

LEDFORD: My . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . sort . . .

LEDFORD: . . . husband has fillings that was done in those days there yet.

CROWE-CARRACO: Probably better than the ones you . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . can get [chuckle] today.

LEDFORD: . . . they were fantastic. He did . . . it . . . of course, he has such good teeth, and I suppose that was one of the beginning of keeping them, don’t you guess?

CROWE-CARRACO: I would imagine so.

LEDFORD: Yeah. Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember Mrs. Breckinridge at any of these clinics?

LEDFORD: Oh, sure. I remember one time she was there and we was having dinner. You must remember that the committee meetings . . . like I told the people at Red Bird the other night, I said, “You know, that was sort of an elite group in a way.” You didn’t go to make money. You 8:00went to have a good time and . . . and hear Miss Breckinridge and enjoy yourself and see the nursing center and, oh, it was just . . . and bring some food. And sometimes you didn’t even bring food, you know, it was there for you. Whereas now we probably carry in things more. Well, anyway, she was there one day and there was people that kind of used the centers, you know, for their own good sometimes. I guess that goes with most everything. But the nurse was very busy and I don’t believe she had time for–may I mention names?–. . .


LEDFORD: . . . time for Jim Smith, and we called him “Puny Jim.” He isn’t living right now. And . . . I mean, living now. So, anyway, she . . . she didn’t think she had time for Jim and she wondered if he couldn’t come back later. And Miss Breckinridge heard about it, and right down through the hall she went and she says, “Jim must have his medicine.” And Jim got his medicine. [Chucklee]

CROWE-CARRACO: What did Mrs. Breckinridge look like when you first remember her?

LEDFORD: What did she look like?

CROWE-CARRACO: Any striking . . .

LEDFORD: I suppose that . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . features you remember?

LEDFORD: . . . well, one of her striking features that you have to figure out in your own mind when I say this, that she wasn’t dressed up. I expected her to be dressed up. And I’m not saying by that she was dressed badly or poorly, not at all. But she was comfortable in what she wore. And I think maybe I have seen her dressed up one time. I admired her big laugh, and I thought she was always so intelligent. And when she talked to you, she . . . you were the person she was talking to at that time.

CROWE-CARRACO: You didn’t feel that she talked down to you as a child?

LEDFORD: Oh, no. Oh, never. Never. She was just one of those ladies that made you feel . . . she would always . . . if there was an older person come in the room and she . . . she herself was not 10:00young at that time, I remember, she would say, “Oh, come and have this chair now,” [chuckle] you know.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember her riding horseback at all or was she already crippled when . . . she broke her back in 1930 or ’31.

LEDFORD: I imagine that she rode a horse when she came to Flat Creek sometimes, but actually haven’t seen her on a horse. I don’t recall having seen her on her horse. But I’m sure that her horse was hitched out at the school when she’d come for some of the parties. I’m sure of that. Yeah, about what year was that, did you say, in ‘3-. . .

CROWE-CARRACO: About ’30 or ’31, I’m not . . . I don’t remember exactly.

LEDFORD: Well, in ’32 I would have been twelve, which . . . we’ll stop that little conversation right now.

CROWE-CARRACO: [Chuckle] See, I didn’t ask you when you were born when we talking!


CROWE-CARRACO: I . . . I guess I . . . see, since I never saw Mrs. Breckinridge–I was not over here in 1965–I have to kind of ask silly 11:00questions like what did she look like, if she had blue eyes or . . .

LEDFORD: Her eyes . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . gray eyes.

LEDFORD: . . . were gray. I think they were gray. And her cl-. . . complexion was smooth. And I think she had sort of a . . . oh, of a round face, and I think her cheeks sort of stood out. Not roly- poly, but just stood out. And she wore her hair short, which I’m sure was a convenience for her. Maybe a lot of women didn’t do it in those days, but to her it was becoming.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see. Do you remember if she ever told you stories about the giant killers?

LEDFORD: Oh, she told those. Yes.

CROWE-CARRACO: What kind of . . . I don’t understand exactly. What was a giant killer story?

LEDFORD: A giant killer story? This was this big giant that always came around, but he was friendly, if I remember correctly. By the way, there is a story in the Reader’s Digest that . . . it’s ab-. . . it’s, oh, I don’t know, four or five years ago, and it’s about this 12:00giant that comes into this garden. It’s a fantastic story and they were something on that order. Now, I don’t think I can tell you too much more about this. I believe that there was a lady . . . now, if this lady was here, Jeanetta Bowling, she could probably . . . she’s an old school teacher and she’s like, oh, eighty-seven now, and I believe she’s in Louisville, Kentucky, maybe, with one of her children right now. She could probably recall every one of the words that was spoken.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see. Well, in these stories, were there . . . were they scary and then had . . . then had a happy ending or . . .

LEDFORD: Yes. Uh-huh.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . something like that?

LEDFORD: And the children were just enthralled. They’d just sit there with mouths open and eyes big. She could really get your attention. There was no noise when those were being told.


LEDFORD: She’d say, “Gather around, we’re gonna tell a story.” And we . . . when we were older, we loved ’em, too, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: I was . . .

LEDFORD: . . . you know.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . going to ask, did any of the adults ever . . .

LEDFORD: You better believe it.


LEDFORD: They were there. Yes.

CROWE-CARRACO: Was this done after the meal or after the committee meeting or . . .

LEDFORD: Yeah. And after . . . when we had the parties, you know, like when the cocoa and things were served, then they would tell a story. Everybody was comfortable and warm, and she’d tell the stories.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see. Which of the nurses do you remember besides Peacock and Willeford from your youth?

LEDFORD: Well, Miss Stevens was more . . . Joy Stevens was later in my day, and she was such a fantastic person that I guess that’s why I remember her, because my step-grandfather had a stroke and she . . . I noticed what care she took of him. She knew exactly what to do. Keep him warm, you know, and all that. And then Clara Bowling, the postmistress at Flat Creek, had a stroke and she overcame it, and I’m sure that was from Miss Stevens’ care. Now, who else do I remember? Of course, Miss Tinline, Miss Broomfield. Miss [Ruth Peninger] Penny, who 14:00delivered my oldest child, Mary Lee, that lives in Naples, Florida now.

CROWE-CARRACO: I was going to ask you, did you have your babies at home or . . .

LEDFORD: Just the one. Yeah. And it turned out just fine.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember what the midwifery fee was when your oldest one was born?

LEDFORD: It seems to me like it might have been two dollars. Five dollars?

CROWE-CARRACO: And it . . . so that included all that prenatal care and then the . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, sure. And then she came back the next day, you know, for how many days? I don’t know what . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Ten probably.

LEDFORD: . . . ten or fourteen.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah, quite a long period of time.

LEDFORD: Can you imagine doing that? Just coming and being so patient, you know, and putting the clothes on the baby and, oh!

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you have your other babies at . . . at the hospital in Hyden or . . .

LEDFORD: No, I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . [inaudible]?

LEDFORD: . . . wasn’t living here when my next child was born. We were living in . . . in Hazard. And then the next one we were 15:00living in Cincinnati. And then the next one, we had moved back here, and I was older then so you, more or less, went into the hospital. . . the nurses sent you. You didn’t have too many home deliveries. So my husband was . . . had been hired to work at Red Bird Mission Hospital, so that’s where we . . . Mark was born.


LEDFORD: Yeah. Fact is today is his birthday. He’s seventeen.

CROWE-CARRACO: Is this the one that’s coming home for dinner in a . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . few minutes? Oh!

LEDFORD: Yeah, he goes to school at . . . at Clay County High. He’s a ball player there.


LEDFORD: This one here, [Jada?], is just now . . . she has a job at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington. She’s . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, “Good . . .”

LEDFORD: . . . a nurse there.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . “Sam”, huh?



LEDFORD: She’s real happy there.

CROWE-CARRACO: My husband went to law school in Lexington and . . .

LEDFORD: Really?

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . in fact, coming to Bowling Green, he is missing Lexington so much.

LEDFORD: Lexington’s a nice town.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah, Lexington’s a fun town. [Microphone interference] also [inaudible] when did you did you first become active in the committee, the Flat Creek committee, or have you always been, or is this just part of your life?

LEDFORD: I guess it’s just part of my life. I guess we . . . my father-in-law and mother-in-law were committee members, and my dad and mom, and . . . and then when we had been gone a while and moved back, we just sort of went into it. Like I would go help serve, you know, when the committee was there, you know, and help with the dinners.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you feel like in the . . . in the older days, maybe when your father was . . . well, you said your father’s only been dead four years. Let’s say . . . let’s say in the ’30s, do you think the committee had a great deal to say about what was going on, or was the committee meeting a social affair?

LEDFORD: Partly social and partly what was going on because, you see, the committee . . . if there was a road to be fixed into the center, . . .


LEDFORD: . . . like [Carlo Wagers ?], Dennis [Bray ?], Walter Mullins, [Bascom ?] Bowling–I can name right on and on– Henry 17:00Ledford, John H. Sizemore [chuckle], they saw to seeing the right people, getting the lumber there, calling what you called “a working”, you know, and just had people there. And then the ladies cooked the meal and they’d come in and do that job, fix the fence, paint, any number of things. I think it was both.

CROWE-CARRACO: Think it was both.

LEDFORD: Yeah, I think it was both.

CROWE-CARRACO: What about now? Tell me about the committee now, 1978. Who was your chairman here at Flat Creek?

LEDFORD: Lester Langdon. Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: And you were the secretary.


CROWE-CARRACO: What about a treasurer?

LEDFORD: Bonnie Smallwood. She lives at Mud Lick. And if all works out, they’re gonna have one clinic day a week at Sand Hill. Well, Sand Hill or Mud Lick, they’re both the same. They have different names. And when I started teaching up there I had to sort that out. But it’s . . . it’s the same place. Bonnie was our treasurer. The committee 18:00is in a little different situation than they used to be. See, money’s got short because of what? Well, we’ll say inflation, that dear little word? So the committee took on a different . . . hmm, what would you say?

CROWE-CARRACO: Position, attitude or whatever.

LEDFORD: Yeah, and that went in with it, that’s for sure, when we discuss monies. We had to start making money, or thought we did, to keep Flat Creek here. And, of course, Shamrock Coal Company, are you aware that they give a good bit of money?

CROWE-CARRACO: No, I was not.

LEDFORD: Shamrock Coal Company is one of the bigger coal companies in the United States, and they operate just south of here, Flat Creek.

CROWE-CARRACO: Is it surface mining or underground?

LEDFORD: Underground. Fantastic. Yeah, people were disturbed about that. But still and all . . . I mean, when it first came in. You know, you’ve got your beautiful country, you don’t want it messed up. But they give a good bit of monies to Flat Creek and to the church up 19:00here, and they wanted it all used in the community. Which, when they gave the first check–I don’t know what it was, like five thousand dollars–they didn’t stipulate Flat Creek Center only, which had to be turned into the main fund. That’s natural. Some people were disturbed about that. I think especially those that didn’t understand that how, sometimes you make a check, you know, and then you . . . you don’t change it or it can’t be changed. But anyway, after that then they put their monies to where it . . . you know, they wanted it to go. But we had to do things like rummage sales, bake sales, country sings, and actually we didn’t do bad. And so that’s the difference in the committee.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. What do you mean you didn’t do bad? Did you . . . did you raise five thousand dollars to . . .

LEDFORD: No. No, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . match the Shamrock or . . .

LEDFORD: . . . we couldn’t do that. No, Shamrock’s not what you call a poor company. I’m sure they could give us twice . . . three times that much. They put their monies other places, too. They . . 20:00. they did . . . like Flat Creek Church maybe got three thousand at one time. Well, if Flat Creek Church hadn’t have been here which, thank goodness, it is, we would have probably got eight thousand, you know what I mean?

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. Why do you think . . . what happened at Flat Creek? Why was there the need to close it? No patients, no money to keep it going, a combination, or . . .

LEDFORD: Well, yeah, that’s . . . that’s why, but back of that, the reason for no patients and no money . . . well, if you don’t have patients, you don’t have money. But, see, the roads has changed everything. And then Manchester has a nice hospital, Red Bird has a nice hospital, Hyden has a new hospital, and whether you’re sent out from the centers or not, I’m sure lots of people go into Hyden to the hospital. So that’s three hospitals surrounding us here. And we don’t have as big a committee . . . a community as Red Bird. I think they have, oh, like maybe three times as many people as we do.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do people over here in the Flat Creek community do like they do in Bowling Green, they won’t go to the doctor and they go into the emergency room at the hospital? Or they won’t go to the nurse, they go to the emergency room of the . . .

LEDFORD: They’re . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . the hos-. . .

LEDFORD: . . . learning that. You know why, though, don’t you? It saves time.


LEDFORD: And if you’ve got money or lots of medical . . .


LEDFORD: . . . cards to cover this, that is one thing that has hurt the FNS here in our area right here, is the . . . not . . . well, it didn’t cover . . . the medical cards and Medicare, it wasn’t covered for a long time. Now, how that is worked, I don’t know, because we talk about that a lot, but I never went into that with detail because I don’t work with that sort of thing, and I just don’t know exactly how that works. Probably you do or maybe somebody in a hospital . . .


LEDFORD: . . . that takes care of those records could tell you 22:00exactly. But that hurt us a lot. Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did it hurt . . . was there a great deal of community feeling about closing Flat Creek?

LEDFORD: Absolutely. I myself, I just thought, “Oh, I can’t live.” It’s just like losing a good friend. And I . . . I just get really attached to people and things, and . . . and it was very emotional for me. Fact is, I asked Dr. Beasley the other night at Red Bird after the meeting was over, I said, “C-. . . did you notice anything Dr. Beasley, that I was different?” And he said, “No, Georgia, you did real well.” I said, “Well, thank goodness for that.” [Chuckle] Yeah, sure, people didn’t want to give it up. And, you know, if you’ve ever been to one of our centers, it’s just a fantastic place to live and go and visit.


LEDFORD: You know, it’s a landmark.

CROWE-CARRACO: What do you think will happen to the building per se? Do you . . . will it be preserved as a historical landmark? I . . . I can’t remember exactly how old it is, but I’d say forty- five years at least.

LEDFORD: I think. Yeah. I don’t know. There has been talk of selling 23:00it. I would hope that if it was sold, there would be a stipulation in the contract someway that, you know, it wouldn’t be changed drastically.

CROWE-CARRACO: Who owns the center, the FNS or the community?

LEDFORD: The FNS. It was given by . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Is this the Caroline . . .

LEDFORD: Atwood.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . Atwood Butler or . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . Caroline Atwood Butler, Butler Atwood, . . .

LEDFORD: Yeah. This lady gave this. Fact is, her niece . . . or who was it? I don’t know if it was her niece or her herself came to Flat Creek and we had a meeting. I believe it was her, if I remember correctly. Naturally she would want to see what she’d invested her money in, wouldn’t she?

CROWE-CARRACO: Yes, of course.

LEDFORD: And I think she was impressed. Because, you know, you’re just back there in that beautiful clearing and . . . and it’s peaceful and quiet. And the center is rustic and it . . . it . . . it’s 24:00just exactly what you need in the mountains. I think, you know, like you’re sitting in our house now and our house is . . . everybody says our house is odd, and I think it is, too. But I think if I were building it again I’d probably put rough . . . more rough boards and things in it. Once those are painted, you don’t have all the upkeep. And Flat Creek is just unique. It’s just beautiful. I think it’s the prettiest one.

CROWE-CARRACO: Well, I haven’t ever been to Flat Creek. I’ve been to Red Bird . . .

LEDFORD: You can’t go . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . and Beech Fork?

LEDFORD: . . . while you’re here?

CROWE-CARRACO: I’ll try to, yes.

LEDFORD: Oh, my goodness, you must go. You’ve got to see the old- fashioned chairs that this lady, Lula Hoskins, made by hand. My goodness, the strips of, you know, bark in the seat is about an inch. Oh, it’s . . . it’s just beautiful. It is one of the prettiest centers. And it’s just surrounded by trees.

CROWE-CARRACO: Why were you, as a community, willing to let it go? You couldn’t . . . couldn’t dig up any more patients, shall we say, or whatever?

LEDFORD: We worked on that. I prob-. . . we probably didn’t work hard enough. I think that Dr. Beasley and Ron [Hart] . . . admire 25:00them both. Dr. Beasley’s a friend of ours rather than just somebody you talk business with. And we’ve learned to know Ron and really appreciate what he’s doing. But, you know, if this . . . if we’re losing money and the whole FNS is gonna be broke then, I mean, bankrupt. We’re using . . . or so we’re told, that we using reserve funds and our . . . all our endowments, I mean why not say I’ll let this center go, as dear as it is to me, so we can preserve some of the good nursing care that we’re getting. And since Red Bird was larger, had more people, and most of Flat Creek and Mud Lick are willing to work with the Red Bird people, why not go down there? I don’t think you can be selfish enough, or your heart could be hurt bad enough that you don’t get it over sometime, that you want that person over there to 26:00have a better . . . you know, that’s the way you had to think. If you didn’t think like that, why, I don’t think you would have gone to the committee meeting the other night. And I was very anxious to go. I wanted ’em to know that I was supporting them.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you think when the . . . what is there, a meeting in two weeks of . . . of the combined groups . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . for . . . for new officers, is this it, and . . .

LEDFORD: Well, it’s the s-. . . first Tuesday in September, right? Yeah, I believe that’s what I have on my calendar. I think the officers there are great, myself. They talked about changing the other night, but I told them . . . Lester couldn’t be there [inaudible], and I think he’d be very happy with Joe. I think Joe does a fantastic job and Glenna does a fantastic job. And since I have other work that I have to do at other meetings, I probably will just say, “Well, no, I don’t want to get into any writing deals right now. I have enough.”


LEDFORD: So we’ll just support them.

CROWE-CARRACO: Here at the Flat Creek community, how often did your committee meet? Did it meet monthly?

LEDFORD: We were meeting sometimes more than monthly since we got into this dire states of need, you know. But before that you h-. . . you had a special meeting called maybe once a year, and then you had your regular committee meeting once a year where you just really had a . . . made a big evening or a day out of it, you know.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you feel like that women have taken an active part in the . . . the committee meetings or have men always led them? Have you ever had a . . . a chairman who was a woman, for example?

LEDFORD: We never have, but I’m sure that any of us probably could have. Like Jeanetta Bowling and her husband, they were both teachers, and my mom’s not a teacher, but I’m pretty sure she could have done a fine job. And I don’t know that I recall a lady being chairman, but I think they could.

CROWE-CARRACO: But you don’t . . . and you don’t feel there was ever . . . nobody paid any attention to you because you were a woman? You were still allowed . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . to give you . . . say your . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, no. I think the women actually mostly spoke up as much or more than the men in the meetings.


LEDFORD: I was really pleased to see a lot of men at Red Bird, though. Now, you know, things have changed, like people have moved out or maybe some people have gotten older, some have passed away. We have always had really a lot of good men that helped at Flat Creek.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you yourself see any changes from the time that Mrs. Breckinridge died and . . . and “Brownie” [Helen Browne] took over, and then “Brownie” retired and Dr. Beasley took over? Has the Service continued pretty much on an even keel or ha-. . . has each of the directors given a . . . their own personal stamp to the Service? Or is that too hard a question to ask?

LEDFORD: I don’t know that there has been a change. I think all the nurses . . . m-. . . I’ll say most of the nurses that have been sent to our centers have been fantastic ladies. I think Tina Guy was one of our . . . I mean, you know, she really built this clinic up 29:00up here and had paying customers and all that. But each director, I think, has done their part. I think Miss Browne–of course, I know her really well ’cause my sister was the maid there- -she’s a fantastically intelligent lady. And Dr. Beasley is . . . he is just so . . . I’d say he’s like one of those smooth, nice characters, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. [Chuckle]

LEDFORD: . . . you know? You just enjoy him. No, I think there . . . there’s not an awful lot of difference. I think the difference has been brought about more or less by the people and change of times, like inflation and . . . and moves. Not by . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: A change in . . .

LEDFORD: . . . no.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . administration.

LEDFORD: No, not the administration.

CROWE-CARRACO: Were you here when Mrs. Breckinridge died? Were you . . .

LEDFORD: I was at the funeral.

CROWE-CARRACO: In Lexington or . . .

LEDFORD: The . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . the Service here?

LEDFORD: . . . funeral here. The service here. No, not the . . . I guess that was more or less private there, wasn’t it?

CROWE-CARRACO: Got a cold . . . we’ve got a warm son, huh? Get that kid warm . . . cool. What was the . . . kind of . . . what was your feeling when heard that Mrs. Breckinridge died, a bit of sadness, an end of an era. or was . . .

LEDFORD: Well, I guess . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . it kind of a . . .

LEDFORD: . . . we just sort of wondered what was gonna happen. Yeah, it was sad. We just kind of felt like we’d lost a good friend. Yeah.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember the last time she . . . you saw her?

LEDFORD: I suppose the last time I saw her was at Flat Creek. She wasn’t well, you know, right there for a while and she wouldn’t stay very long because her back hurt. And Miss Lewis . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Miss Agnes, yes?

LEDFORD: . . . yeah, she . . . I think they came and went together some, and she would always go back a little early. Can you excuse me for a minute?

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. LEDFORD: He isn’t coming till tomorrow night, so 31:00that’s a change in our lives. You have that also.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. Well, I don’t right now, but I will. Let me ask you just a few more things about Mrs. Breckinridge since . . .

LEDFORD: Umhmm. Sure.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . she is the main focus . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . of my attention. Do you remember any other stories that we haven’t talked about about her? Maybe I’ll tell you one and . . . and maybe that’ll start you thinking. I read a letter last night where . . .

LEDFORD: Well, we were . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . she . . . go ahead.

LEDFORD: . . . we were talking about her memorial at Hyden.


LEDFORD: It was in the high school auditorium. Probably you know all about this but, anyway, she had just the wild flowers. The request, I guess, was no flowers. Maybe two bouquets. But she had the philodendron or the mountain laurel on her casket . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, I bet it was lovely.

LEDFORD: . . . which impressed me. And I thought, “My!” And she just 32:00wanted things that she loved there. Not a lot of things that you . . . people think you have to have. She was so down to earth. That was . . . what she probably did was just part of her.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever go to Wendover? Have you . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, sure, I went to Wendover. Had supper there.

CROWE-CARRACO: In the dog-trot?

LEDFORD: Oh, it was nice. It was one of the nicest places. We went when Kenny was . . . he’s our ne-. . . he’s our oldest son, he’ll be thirty-one in–and he’ll kill me for this– in October, and we went for supper and took . . . that was our two oldest ones then, and we have these two, of course. And, you know, children were special, weren’t they, . . .


LEDFORD: . . . when they went there? They took ’em to see the horses, and, oh, it was just great. And we even had a committee meeting there once. Loads of people, everything served beautifully, and she saw that 33:00everything was done right, you know? Not necessarily on a big, we say, scale, but just everything was nice.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever hear Leslie countians or Clay countians call Mrs. Breckinridge, “Mary”? Or was she always “Mrs. Breckinridge”?

LEDFORD: Well, I’m sure she was always “Miss Breckinridge”. She was . . . she was . . . and I don’t say that saying “Mary” wouldn’t be nice, but to h-. . . us she was so important it was “Mary” . . . “Miss Breckinridge.”

CROWE-CARRACO: What about the nurses? Were they always, “Miss So- and-so”?

LEDFORD: Absolutely. Umhmm. Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Was there much fraternization between the nurses? In other words, did the nurses date the local boys?

LEDFORD: No, there wasn’t. But there was a nurse from Big Creek . . . I mean Red Bird I believe married a boy from Big Creek, and I believe 34:00there was one from Flat Creek that was interested in a boy. Whether they married or not . . . and probably there’s more than that, you know. Fact is I believe somebody was saying something about another person had married a local boy down at Big Creek the other day. But personally I don’t know them. See, I only knew Miss Summers that was down there.

CROWE-CARRACO: That would be Vanda Summers?


CROWE-CARRACO: Could you describe her to me? I’ve never met her. I know she and “Brownie” lived together.

LEDFORD: Yeah. Well, Miss Summers was a nurse . . . was . . . she was Dr. [John H.] Kooser’s nurse, I believe, when my first child was born. And I know that we were having a little trouble with breastfeeding, and when I went over and Mary Lee had gained just so much of an ounce–I . . . I used to remember that, five- tenths or something–and she was as excited as I was. I think she got excited because I did, and she just had to bring me right out there to the jeep. [Chuckle–Crowe-Carraco] And she was those . . . that kind of lady, was enthusiastic. A very attractive lady.

CROWE-CARRACO: Blonde, brunette?

LEDFORD: No, brunette.


LEDFORD: Umhmm. Not tall tall, but rather tall. But speaking of “Brownie”, I think she’s . . . her eyes are what always impresses me so. And when my sister was home from St. Louis a few years ago, we went to Wendover to see “Brownie”. And we took a couple over, too, that was from . . . from Illinois. We was taking them to the places we thought would be interesting. And we took ’em over and they just couldn’t get over her just coming out and sitting down and talking to us. [Inaudible] [Chuckle]

CROWE-CARRACO: What about [Anne] MacKinnon? Did you know MacKinnon, or Anna Mae January?

LEDFORD: Miss January, yes, I surely did. I always thought she was such a lovely lady. What impressed me, she always remembered my first name. And I don’t think Georgia is all that easy to remember. And another 36:00lady I think is fantastic is Kate Ireland . . . two ladies, Miss [Betty] Lester.


LEDFORD: We were at Hyden the other night at a wake and, of course, the da-. . . the girl they had the wake for was one of Miss Lester’s babies, which was my second cousin. And we were talking, Miss Lester and I, because she’s coming back to my mom’s to eat dinner. And she had been there last year for chicken and dumplings and she . . . she wants that again, which makes me hungry. But anyway, I said, “You know, I think if we didn’t know you as well as we do, and took you for exact . . . your exact word,” I said, “I wouldn’t think you were your age.” She says, “I know that, Georgia.” I said, “Well, do you eat well?” “Sure do,” she said, and she started telling me what she ate. [Chuckle–Crowe-Carraco] She’s a lovely lady.

CROWE-CARRACO: I met Kate Ireland for the first time today.

LEDFORD: My niece works for her.

CROWE-CARRACO: Is she the lady in the house? Did I meet her today, too?

LEDFORD: No, I guess that she . . . she’s the secretary.

CROWE-CARRACO: No, I didn’t meet the . . . meet . . . I met the housekeeper, I think.

LEDFORD: Yeah, I did know her name, but I forget. It’s not Wooten, is it?

CROWE-CARRACO: No, I don’t think so.

LEDFORD: It’s not Mosley?

CROWE-CARRACO: That doesn’t sound right.


CROWE-CARRACO: Well, you . . . you’ve said all the nurses that you’ve mentioned were lovely ladies.


CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever get any sourpusses? My goodness, sounds like you’ve done . . .

LEDFORD: No, I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . very well.

LEDFORD: . . . haven’t run into that. But I have heard of some people saying, “I couldn’t get seen at certain hours,” and so forth, but I think what people forget sometimes that they are human, you know. And . . . and the nurses have . . . there is a change. See, used to, you never paid for anything much, and we were spoiled people, you understand? That was a free thing that Miss Breckinridge got going. You know, it was a charity thing. And . . . because she wanted the mountain women taken care of so bad. She saw such a need, and there was a need. But through the years there has been a change. People 38:00got to be more of . . . they just wanted a person that was on duty twenty- four hours a day. And now I hear talk of five days a week thing. So if we set this up at Red Bird in a better way . . . I’m not saying in a better way than we have had it, but it might be better for the nurses if they won’t be worked so hard, and will be better for the community if they can have like two nurses and possibly . . . Dr. Beasley says if it all goes well, could be that there would be three nurses down there some times, and naturally they could be able to give better service.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. I have wondered, if must have taken a very special sort of person to come here as a nurse.

LEDFORD: Absolutely.

CROWE-CARRACO: Because I have never heard anyone say that anyone was less than kind.


CROWE-CARRACO: Maybe you all are covering up and you don’t want to tell me somebody was a . . . just hateful or a sourpuss or hard to get along, or maybe they didn’t hire anybody who was like that.

LEDFORD: Well, I think when they hired them . . . I suppose Miss Breckinridge had that little talk with them that says, “Either you’re this kind of person or you don’t stay,” you know. I think she was almost that strong, and yet everybody admired her. And that was probably almost one of her rules. Now, that doesn’t mean that that nurse couldn’t get upset and probably would say, you know, “I have to take care of John before I can see you,” you know. But, yeah, I think that was probably . . . she probably had talked to ’em about this thing. See, something else I wanted to tell you that I can’t recall. Oh, yeah, I know what it was. See, the horses . . . in those days you were called out at night to deliver babies. Babies never picked the minute. And the father would go . . . the dad would go. And I think that was a rule, that you went to get them and you helped get them back home, you know. Because like Stevie [Joyce 40:00Stephens] and I were very good friends and she would come to eat with me, and she . . . her horse was named Rex, and she would mention him so often. When she went to England she would write me these letters and tell me what . . . it was just sort of she was over there but she was remembering here, and she wanted to stay here but her folks, I think, had become ill. Although she took time to work her way around the world [chuckle]. [Inaudible].

CROWE-CARRACO: What about Lydia Thompson? Did you know her, . . .

LEDFORD: No, I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . too?

LEDFORD: . . . didn’t know her.


LEDFORD: But, anyway, she would say, “I would just give Rex his head and he would take me home at night.”

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you think that attracted you to the nurses as a child, the fact that they had the horses and the dogs, or did everybody have a horse and a dog?

LEDFORD: Oh, everybody had a horse and a dog, unless you were just so . . . so poor. My dad had a fantastic horse, and I remember that. I think what’s . . . was striking with this horse, though, I don’t know where he had picked him up, but evidently he had gotten a good . . . he called him part . . . his racehorse. And, yeah, I think 41:00the nurses had better looking horses maybe than some people, but maybe not either. ‘Cause I know my grandmother said they always kept two big horses to ride. And I think that was just a way of li-. . . life here. Yeah, and they had the mules, too, for plowing. You had your mules for plowing and your horses for riding, unless you just couldn’t afford them.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever feel like . . . or did the people in the community feel like that the nurses had more than . . . the nurses were the “haves” while the community people were the “have nots”?

LEDFORD: No, I don’t . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever . . .

LEDFORD: . . . think so.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . find any jealousy of this type?

LEDFORD: No, I don’t think so. No.

CROWE-CARRACO: The nurses were willing to share then or . . .

LEDFORD: I think that most of the community people shared with the nurses because they respected ’em so after they learned ’em. And they knew they were here for the reason that they were. Naturally they had to get used to them. But still even then I don’t think that feeling was there at all, no.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you find it hard to understand, say, the English 42:00nurses?

LEDFORD: No. No, I didn’t. I remember some English nurses coming to my father-in-law’s when he was a stroke patient in bed, and they said to him, “Where did you learn to speak like you do?” So, you know, after all you . . . you wouldn’t any trouble understanding people. No, I don’t think so. Now, if we’d had Spanish or some of those . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Well, see, I think [microphone interference] I meant by . . .

LEDFORD: Well, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . words that, you know, . . .

LEDFORD: . . . no, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . maybe . . .

LEDFORD: . . . I don’t think . . . there was one incident that I recall, and I wasn’t around then. I hadn’t married into the Ledford family then. The nurses came by Mama Ledford’s. Her son, “Hamp” [John Hampton], used to wash the horses for them in the river. And the . . . the lady . . . the nurse, I don’t know which one it was now, asked Mama Ledford did she have rhubarb. And she says, “Well, I don’t have rhubarb. No, I don’t have any of it.” And she says, “Well, Ollie, I know you do. I see it out in the garden.” But Mama had always called 43:00it pie plant.


LEDFORD: See, that’s . . . that’s the country name for it. Well, you know, you . . . you don’t understand everything all the time, but I don’t think we ever had any trouble. I guess, you know, [End Tape #1, Side #1]

LEDFORD: …I was kind of fortunate because my dad, being a school teacher, you know, it made a little difference. Not a lot of difference, because we associated with everybody. But we have a girl that’s from Canada now staying with Mama Ledford here. She works at Red Bird hospital. She just uses different words. They mean a different thing and ours means a different thing, but we kind of talk that over. No, I wasn’t aware of that when I was growing up that we couldn’t understand ’em.

CROWE-CARRACO: Are there any Flat Creek stories that you’d like to see preserved in this oral history project, say?

LEDFORD: Flat Creek stories?

CROWE-CARRACO: Yes. Anything that is particularly Flat Creek. Is Flat Creek the one that was the prefabricated . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . clinic?

LEDFORD: Oh, prefabricated clinic.


LEDFORD: Let’s see.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . that Willeford and Peacock brought the lumber and . . . to build or . . .

LEDFORD: Flat Creek is where they were. I imagine so. Now, whether they moved to Red Bird or not, I don’t recall. I don’t remember that. Well, I don’t know. I know the nurses used to do things like having parties for young people. That’s not exactly a story, but we had a party there one night and we had . . . oh, let’s see, what is the game you play when you–and we’ve done it here already–you hide everything in different places . . .


LEDFORD: . . . and you have to go hunt. What are we thinking about?

CROWE-CARRACO: Treasure hunt or . . .

LEDFORD: It’s like a treasure hunt.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . scavenger hunt?

LEDFORD: Scavenger, right. Scavenger, that’s the word. And they just had this, it was fantastic. And we had . . . oh, I bet we had twenty-five young people. And it was just such a good time. We had games and we had lots of things to eat. And I suppose, you know, the nurses had different food than we had been used to. You know, they cooked different things, probably something strange. I can’t recall right now what it would be.

CROWE-CARRACO: What about tea? Did you ever have tea at Flat Creek?

LEDFORD: Oh, sure!

CROWE-CARRACO: Or you may have had tea as . . . in your family.

LEDFORD: Oh, yeah. We . . . we’re tea lovers. But I remember Miss Broomfield had gotten this . . . she had the regular loose tea from England and . . . and that was when I learned to take my tea kettle to the . . . pot to the tea kettle, not take the tea kettle to the pot. That way you kept it bubbly boiling. And, yeah, we had tea.


LEDFORD: It was . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . Nora Kelly . . . excuse me, go ahead.

LEDFORD: . . . no, the tea was stronger than I was used to, but it 46:00was good.

CROWE-CARRACO: And you drank it hot.

LEDFORD: We drank it hot. I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: With cream in it?

LEDFORD: . . . still drink . . . I still drink it h-. . . I’ve changed the cream. That was [chamomile?] tea, wasn’t it? I’ve changed that. I . . . I don’t put cream in mine anymore. We had a friend that used to always have to have milk in his tea when he came to visit me. I finally got away from that.

CROWE-CARRACO: I like lemon better personally. [Chuckle]

LEDFORD: We use lemon now, but the tea . . . and that was what my children were brought up on, milk with tea and lots of sugar, you know, when we’d have a little tea party.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did Nora Kelly teach you to knit by chance, or did your mother?

LEDFORD: Both. We had knitting class when Nora was there. Umhmm. I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Tell me a little bit about Nora as a . . . as a nurse here.

LEDFORD: Nora was a person that if you didn’t know her, you would think she was short-voiced. You know, like sort of . . . not cross but she had a short cut off to her voice. But she was a fantastic nurse. She visited my dad when she came back from England, oh, and that’s 47:00been like ten years ago. And actually he . . . she hadn’t changed all that much.

CROWE-CARRACO: I can recognize her in the pictures.

LEDFORD: Do you? Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: She’s going to Canada this fall.

LEDFORD: Oh, really? Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Maybe she’ll come down, but she says she won’t have time but . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely. I’d like to see her again, take her up to see my mom. And Miss Tinline came, she visited my folks and my in-laws, and I’m sure a lot of other people in the community. Yeah, Nora had a fantastic knitting class. Just fantastic.

CROWE-CARRACO: Nora told me that people here would remember her. She was feisty. Do you [chuckle] remember her as feisty [chuckle]?

LEDFORD: Yeah, kind of feisty. Cut up a little bit. Said some of those things that you wouldn’t think ladies would say, but it was all sweet. [Chuckle] Oh, she and my dad could have long talks. She was one of those intelligent ladies that you wish you could just store a little bit of that up that she’d say, you know, and then you could go back and take it off the shelf and listen to it. She was nice.

CROWE-CARRACO: I did en-. . . I did enjoy meeting her, I must admit.

LEDFORD: I’m sure you did.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. Had a lovely time at her house.

LEDFORD: Yeah. What kind of house does she have, a nice house?

CROWE-CARRACO: She called it a bungalow, and it really didn’t have any steps, so it could be easier, kind of, to get in and out, I guess, in her old age. She and her sister Violet live together and I think their house has three bedrooms.

LEDFORD: Well, . . .


LEDFORD: . . . you know, Miss Stephens has bought a place.

CROWE-CARRACO: In the [Cotswolds?] . . .


CROWE-CARRACO: . . . in . . . in Gloucester.

LEDFORD: Right. This is her first home she’s ever owned, I think. And they said they were . . . I was just reading in the Bulletin, because my mom gets the Bulletin, and they were . . . she was setting trees until dark, they said. And this area at Flat Creek, you know, here is . . . here is the center. Back here’s a little garden, and here is the . . . you know, the yard, the driveway. And this whole yard . . . and it’s . . . it’s as big as that area out there, she had that all in different flowers in the summer. I mean 49:00that was just beautiful. She loves that. It was just fantastic. And I’m sure her place in England, I’ll bet it’s something.

CROWE-CARRACO: Kelly told me that once–and I don’t know if she was at Flat Creek, or if she was at Confluence–Mrs. Breckinridge came out and says, “Kelly, what’s wrong? It’s not pretty like an English garden. Plant some flowers.” [Chuckle–Ledford] And she said . . . she said, “I don’t know how.” And Mrs. Breckinridge said, “Learn.” [Chuckle]

LEDFORD: Learn. Right. That was probably her attitude. You learned what you didn’t know and you learned to, you know, improvise a lot probably.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you–and this is a question you may not want to answer–do you think in the early days the Frontier Nursing Service did too much for the local people? It robbed them of their independence?

LEDFORD: Oh, no, not of their independence. Surely not. The only thing I would think maybe too much that was done that might have bothered us at all, or hurt us at all, would be now that we’ve come up against inflation and not enough money, we had been so pampered from getting all this good care that it was hard for us to change there. No, I don’t think anything was ever taken away from people.

CROWE-CARRACO: I don’t know if you’re familiar with Harry Caudill.

LEDFORD: Oh, I know his book.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. You know, this is one of the points that he makes in his book, that outsiders often times . . . the missionary influence, the coal companies, the timber companies, they, in a sense, exploited the people. They took away some of their ability to be independent, gave them too much, perhaps. And I wondered if you felt 51:00that the FNS had in any way been guilty of that, too?

LEDFORD: Not in this case. I think that was more of a helping hand. Now, I don’t think if come into somebody’s house and want them to change their furniture, or change the way they cook, or to change the way they wear their clothes just because you want ’em to, unless you have a good reason behind it, I think you’re doing absolutely wrong. Now, if he sees that side of some of those things, I think he has his right to that belief. But FNS, I can’t see that.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you think the FNS still has an important mission? Well, I guess you do or you wouldn’t have gone in when . . . this idea of . . .

LEDFORD: Right. I . . . I think there has been a change, and I think if people . . . if we can get the people still to come into the clinics and keep what we have and maybe let it grow a little bit in this area, yeah, I think that they do have. I mean, just like up at Mud Lick. Now, when the nurse goes up there that day, there may 52:00be any number of people that couldn’t get out to Manchester, Red Bird, or whatever. And if she has the time, she’s gonna go into that home. And . . . and, you know, even if it’s just a bad wound that needs clearing out or whatever, clean it up. Sure, I think it is.

CROWE-CARRACO: I am pleased, personally, to see that the FNS seems to be em-. . . employing in, you know, the nurse practitioner or the mi-. . . nurse midwife capacity more Kentucky people as opposed to all outsiders.

LEDFORD: Well, you see, Carol, the thing . . . yeah. You see, what it is, those nurses are fantastic. I mean they have been trained to do so much. But the . . . the thing of it is, so many times here we have been taught, you know . . . the nurse took care of a lot. But then when the hospitals came in, people got to going to the doctor’s and somewhere along the way we think maybe the doctor is the one to 53:00say, “Well, do so-and-so,” and when in reality if you would get to that nurse right when you should, why, she can do so much for you, . . .


LEDFORD: . . . you know. And the people have to have . . . you know, get to believing in her and know that she can do this. So that is one of the things that’s so good about not moving the nurses from center to center. That has really hurt sometimes.

CROWE-CARRACO: The turnover, then.

LEDFORD: The turnover, yeah. See, each person has a different personality. You get used to a personality, why, you’re gonna either like or dislike. And maybe if you dislike sometime, you’re gonna learn to like. And that person is changed to another person, you’re gonna have to start all over again in your thinking along those lines.

CROWE-CARRACO: I know in the early days the contracts that the girls signed . . . the nurses signed were for two years, and I suppose really what you’re saying then is in two years, you really haven’t gained enough confidence or anything to . . .

LEDFORD: Well, you might have gained enough confidence, but if that’s broken when you have to leave there, you have a let-down.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah, and you have to start all over again.


CROWE-CARRACO: I see what you mean.


CROWE-CARRACO: All right. I think I’ve probably taken much more of your time than I . . .

LEDFORD: All right.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . should have. I do appreciate this. And if you think of anything else you want to tell me, and I’m sure that Dale [Deaton] will probably be back again to pick your brain . . .

LEDFORD: Okay. He’s welcome to come back. I . . . I can’t think of anything else, but I’m sure there’s things, you know, you just . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: The minute I drive away you’ll probably say, “Well, I should have said . . .

LEDFORD: I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . thus and such.”

LEDFORD: . . . know. Well, I might jot down a few things on paper if I think of something.


LEDFORD: Well, I think you’ve been very pleasant, you know. Sometimes you’ll just be wondering who’s coming . . . [End of Interview]

Interview with Jailey Sizemore, July 26th, 1978


Posted by Carolyn | Posted in Geneology | Posted on 08-09-2009


Sizemore, Jailey; Interviewee — Dale Deaton; Interviewer — Anne Campbell; Interviewee — Carol Crowe-Carraco; Interviewer
Jailey Sizemore describes Hyden before World War I and talks about Court Day. Other activities she recalls include corn hoeings and dances, and she answers queries about quilting and making moonshine. Sizemore gives details of plowing and planting with a mule team, describes various processes of canning and preserving, and talks about travel in the mountains before modern roads. She also evaluates FNS services.

DEATON: About what’s your approximate age now, Jailey?


DEATON: Umhmm.

SIZEMORE: I was seventy-eight yesterday.

DEATON: Is that right?


DEATON: Well, I didn’t realize you were that old.

SIZEMORE: Yeah. I was seventy-eight yesterday.

DEATON: Well, you’ve lived in Bull Creek-Thousandsticks area most of your life, haven’t you?

SIZEMORE: Yeah, all my life.

DEATON: Did you go to school . . . was there a school in this area when you were a young girl?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah, I went to school right down here at Thousandsticks. That’s where the church is setting.

DEATON: Where the church is now.


DEATON: Do you remember who the school teacher was?

SIZEMORE: Oh, yes. I went to school to [Hy Cornett?], Charlie Woods, Will Hoskins, Grover Sizemore.

DEATON: About what year did you start school, do you remember?

SIZEMORE: I can’t tell you that, now.

DEATON: Can you tell me roughly?

SIZEMORE: Well, I imagine I was around six or . . .

DEATON: Umhmm. Do you remember how long that school had been there before you started?

SIZEMORE: No. Um-um. Far back as I can remember there was one little small building. Well, there was just a one room building that we went in, and I went in it. And then after I got out of school they built a new one, a new . . . new building, and I guess it stayed there until it got burned down not too awful long ago.

DEATON: About what year did you get out of school, do you recall that?

SIZEMORE: No, I can’t. Anyway, I graduated from the eighth grade. Can’t tell you what year.

DEATON: Was there a road?

SIZEMORE: Oh, yeah, right. It was around . . . it was around nineteen and . . . and seventeen, or 1916, one, that I graduated.

DEATON: Well, do you remember the beginning of World War I?

SIZEMORE: Oh, yes. Umhmm.

DEATON: Was there many people from this area that went to the Army or the Air Force, whatever, in that?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. Umhmm.

DEATON: What . . . what do you remember hearing about World War I when it first began?

SIZEMORE: Well, now, Sam, he went.

DEATON: That’s your husband. Uh-huh.

SIZEMORE: And I can’t remember, but just about everybody around here. Anyway, Henry Woods’ boy, he went that I remember of. And the old 3:00man Joe Woods’ . . . Felix Woods, a brother to Jim Woods, he went. Jasper Roberts, he’s passed away and gone, he was in it. But I remember of them.

DEATON: Do you recall . . . were there any real changes to the people’s lives that lived here that happened during the period of the war?

SIZEMORE: Well, you couldn’t tell much difference in it.

DEATON: So, it didn’t really have an effect here, just . . . just that the people left . . . the men left, and some of ’em . . .


DEATON: . . . came back when . . .

SIZEMORE: Well, they all hated to see ’em go but it seemed like it didn’t take no effect on ’em much.

DEATON: Was there a road into here at that time?

SIZEMORE: Uh-uh. No. Just a horseback road and a wagon road.

DEATON: Okay. The wagon roads went through the creeks, is that right?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Went through the creek.

DEATON: What about the horseback roads, say, to Hyden? How did you go to get to Hyden?

SIZEMORE: Well, we rode horseback.

DEATON: Over Thousandsticks . . .

SIZEMORE: Over . . .

DEATON: . . . Mountain?

SIZEMORE: . . . the Thousandstick Mountain.

DEATON: Umhmm. Now, we’re about a five minute drive from Hyden right now. How long did that trip take in 1920?

SIZEMORE: Oh, it’d take at least two hours, if not longer, to ride it. And I’ve walked it. Took me half a day.

DEATON: To walk from here to Hyden?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Me and sister Becky, we took off once and walked it and went.

DEATON: Well, do you remember what Hyden was like in 1920, what businesses were there, what the town looked like?

SIZEMORE: Well, the . . . the old courthouse, there’s been a new 5:00built since then. There was an old courthouse set right where this one did. Well, Mr. Elam’s store, it was still there.

DEATON: Was it in about the same location that it’s in now?

SIZEMORE: Yes, it’s about the same location only a different building. And then the bank, it was up . . . it was the next building to Elam’s on the corner there then, and they’ve moved it down since then to where the bank was. And the post office, it was on down to the corner of the bridge where you cross Rockhouse on the right. It was down there. And [Fronie?] Eversole, she run a store.

DEATON: What was her first name?

SIZEMORE: [Fronie?].

DEATON: [Fronie?]?

SIZEMORE: [Fronie?] Eversole.


SIZEMORE: She run a store right next to the post office. Roy Sizemore 6:00was postmaster.

DEATON: Umhmm. Now, is that the same Roy Sizemore that had a store at Confluence later on?

SIZEMORE: Well, I don’t know. I believe he retired from Hyden.

DEATON: Oh, okay.

SIZEMORE: And then there was stores along there, but I can’t remember who was running ’em then.

DEATON: Well, were there many houses in Hyden then?

SIZEMORE: Not too many. No, there wasn’t too many houses.

DEATON: Would you say, what, ten or fifteen, or more or less than that?

SIZEMORE: Yes. Something . . . ten or fifteen more or less.

DEATON: Did most of the . . . did they have livestock running loose in the streets or was it penned up and it was . . .

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Mr. Elam had two cows. He would turn ’em out and drive ’em into his barn right there in town. He had his barn right there next to the house.

DEATON: Oh. Now that was before the stock law. Most people let . . .


DEATON: . . . animals run loose . . .


DEATON: . . . then.

SIZEMORE: They just turned ’em loose. They went where they wanted to.

DEATON: How did they identify ’em?

SIZEMORE: Well, everyone knowed what belonged to him.

DEATON: As you remember, did people have very much trouble with someone else stealing their livestock at the . . .

SIZEMORE: Uh-uh. You never heard of nothin’ like that then.

DEATON: No problem at all?

SIZEMORE: Uh-uh. You never heard of nothing like that then.

DEATON: Well, to go back to the school for a minute, did most of the people in this area attend school?

SIZEMORE: Yes, most of ’em did.

DEATON: What types of . . . then how did most people make their living, so to speak?

SIZEMORE: Farming.

DEATON: Could you describe a . . . a typical farm day in the 8:00summertime for me?

SIZEMORE: Oh, . . .

DEATON: When you got up. From what . . . what you did from the time you got up until you went to bed.

SIZEMORE: Well, from the time you got up till you went to bed you worked. [Chuckle]

DEATON: What at?

SIZEMORE: At this time of year we’d be hoeing corn or . . . and then later on when the fodder got ripe, we’d be pulling fodder, picking beans, or doing something.

DEATON: Umhmm. And what about in the wintertime? What was a wintertime day like?

SIZEMORE: Well, sometime people would find little jobs that would . . . they would do . . . work at. Now, my grandpa and . . . and my dad, they always worked but I can’t remember what they worked at. I remember when they would ride up through this field here. The house sat right where Mack’s is. And I’ve seen Ma take the hammer and go out 9:00and knock their feet loose in the stirrups in the wintertime.

DEATON: They would freeze?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. They would freeze in the stirrups.

DEATON: Do you remember . . . or did any of your family ever tell you where they moved to bef-. . . moved from before they came into this area?

SIZEMORE: Well, my grandpa . . . now, when Pa . . . I don’t know whether Pa was . . . he wasn’t grown, I don’t think. They went to Arkansas and stayed a year or two year, one, I don’t remember which he said. And they came back here and that’s the only place they ever told of leaving . . . moving to.

DEATON: Umhmm. Well, do you remember if your grandfather said anything about where his . . . his ancestors came from? Did they move here from, say, North Carolina, or did they ever say?

SIZEMORE: He never did say.

DEATON: Umhmm. As far as you know, were any of your relatives . . . that went to Arkansas with them, did any of them stay there?

SIZEMORE: No, uh-uh. They all came back, the ones went with ’em.

DEATON: Hmm. Well, what about the churches that were . . . oh, go ahead.

SIZEMORE: The churches? Now, far back as I can remember, Sam Bowling, he belonged to the Presbyterian church. He was a preacher down here. He would preach in that old schoolhouse. And then my grandpa had a brother that would sing a lot, and he’d come in here and have church sometimes. He would just come in maybe once a year, or maybe every two year.

DEATON: Where did he live?

SIZEMORE: He would come . . . most of the time he’d come from Oklahoma.

DEATON: Umhmm. Was that the only church in this area?

SIZEMORE: It . . . that was the only one I knew of. Well, now there 11:00was a Holiness church. Some people come from . . . they came from Hazard that belonged to the Holiness church and had church around at neighbors houses for a while. But it didn’t . . . it didn’t last very long.

DEATON: Umhmm. Did people have any books or magazines to read besides the ones that you used in school?

SIZEMORE: Uh-uh. No.

DEATON: Do you remember which books you used in school? Were they McGuffey Readers or . . .

SIZEMORE: Oh, we had . . . well, I had a reader book, a history and grammar, geography, language, and a speller, arithmetic. I had all of those.

DEATON: Umhmm. With medical practices, do you remember when the F.N.S. 12:00clinic was built here, the one at Bull Creek?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. Umhmm.

DEATON: Before that were there any doctors or nurses in the area?

SIZEMORE: Well, there was a few doctors but very few. You . . . if you got sick you went to the doctor and he come to your home.

DEATON: Umhmm. Did most people doctor themselves for ailments?

SIZEMORE: Well, they did a lot of it.

DEATON: Umhmm. Are you familiar with any of the . . . the remedies that they had for different ailments?

SIZEMORE: No, I’m not.

DEATON: Well, the F.N.S. clinic that came down here, do you remember Miss [Betty] Lester that came in here?


DEATON: How did they go about getting that clinic set up? Do you remember any of that?

SIZEMORE: No, I don’t. I don’t remember how they went about getting it set up.

DEATON: Well, as far as you know, did any of the people in this area provide any of the lumber for the building or do any of the work down there?

SIZEMORE: Well, they probably helped build it and done a lot of the 13:00work. I know Sam, my husband, . . . well, they had had the clinic up for quite a while then. They got him to make a lot of chairs for the clinic.

DEATON: Well, was there a sawmill over here? Was there an Osborne . . . did an Osborne . . .


DEATON: . . . man own a sawmill down there?

SIZEMORE: [Motorcycles in background] [Inaudible].

DEATON: It’s worse than a chain saw. You say Pearl’s father owned . . .


DEATON: . . . a sawmill? Now, where was that located at?

SIZEMORE: Sat . . . sat right in the lower end of this field down here.

DEATON: About where the store does now, the building?

SIZEMORE: It . . . it was below the store.


SIZEMORE: In the main lower end down there it sat. And he had a . . 14:00. he ground corn, cornmeal. Every Saturday he’d run the mill and people would go to the mill and take their corn and have their cornmeal ground.

DEATON: Umhmm. What . . . if you took, say, a bushel of corn down there and have it ground, what would it . . . how much would you have to pay to have that done?

SIZEMORE: Seem to me like it was a gallon of corn that they took out to a bushel. I’m not for sure on that. Well, I know they would take gallon, but whether it was to a bushel or I imagine it was.

DEATON: Umhmm. Well, going to the mill on Saturdays, was that sort of a social activity?

SIZEMORE: Oh, yes.

DEATON: What did they do at the mill when they . . . after they got there?

SIZEMORE: Gather up and talk and sometimes have horse pullings at logs to see whose horse would out-pull.

DEATON: Umhmm. What else did the people do for social activities here? 15:00Did they have dances or anything like that?

SIZEMORE: Sometimes they would.

DEATON: Could you describe one of them for me?

SIZEMORE: Oh, they would . . . we’ve had ’em at our place when we were first married.

DEATON: Umhmm. What was it . . . what went on at a dance? Who . . . who all came and . . . and what type . . .

SIZEMORE: Well, . . .

DEATON: . . . of music was played, . . .

SIZEMORE: . . . we’d probably . . .

DEATON: . . . and so forth?

SIZEMORE: . . . have corn hoeings, and the ones that came to the corn hoeing would be there.

DEATON: Did the people that had the corn hoeing or owned the corn, were they the ones that provided the food and everything . . .


DEATON: . . . for the dance?


DEATON: What type of instruments did they play?

SIZEMORE: They had to use a . . . a mule to . . . and plow and plow it by hand. And then the [inaudible] ones, there’d be two and three horses a plowing the corn, and then maybe twenty-five or thirty hands hoeing.

DEATON: Umhmm. What . . .

SIZEMORE: They’d hoe out a whole field in a day.

DEATON: Well, at the party afterwards, who played? Did they have music?

SIZEMORE: Yeah, they’d have a banjo.

DEATON: And that was it?


DEATON: Who was the best banjo player around?

SIZEMORE: Oh Lord, I don’t remember now. [Chuckle]

DEATON: But it was just a local person that did it?

SIZEMORE: Sam’s brother, [Bide?], was pretty good at it.

DEATON: Umhmm. With the F.N.S. people that came in here, do you remember the types of treatment that they gave when they first came into the area?


DEATON: Did they treat people for hookworm, or give ’em dipt-. . . diphtheria shots or . . .

SIZEMORE: They . . . they would give . . . I remember they would give worm treatments, but I don’t remember about the hookworm.

DEATON: Umhmm. Did any of your family get shots from the F.N.S. people?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. Uh-huh.

DEATON: Were there any other health care services that you could have gone to then besides F.N.S.?

SIZEMORE: Um-um. No. No, that’s the only one there was.

DEATON: How do you think most people viewed the F.N.S., and what was their opinion of it?

SIZEMORE: Well, they thought it was a great thing, . . .

DEATON: With that . . .

SIZEMORE: . . . a great help to the people.

DEATON: Do you think most people still feel the same way?

SIZEMORE: Well, probably some does and some don’t.

DEATON: Yes. Do you see a difference in F.N.S. now as compared to what it was, say, twenty years ago or thirty years ago?

SIZEMORE: Yeah, it’s improved a lot.

DEATON: You think it’s better now than then?

SIZEMORE: Yeah, I think so.

DEATON: Uh-huh. Is there anything about the F.N.S. that you would 18:00disagree with?

SIZEMORE: Well, I don’t re-. . . remember if they do if there are.

DEATON: Well, could you describe for me some of the quilting patterns that you quilt? You’re a good . . . well, you make a lot of quilts, don’t you?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah.

DEATON: Could you tell me the different names of the patterns of . . . of quilts that you make?

SIZEMORE: Well, I’m piecing one right now that you . . . I call it “Rob Peter to Pay Paul”.

DEATON: Okay. Tell me a little bit about it. What [chuckle– Sizemore] does it look like when you look at it?

SIZEMORE: It’s pieced out of two colors, red . . . blue and white.

DEATON: Umhmm. Name some other patterns.

SIZEMORE: And then I . . . I pieced one, sold it to Miss [Molly] Lee along here a while back, and they called it “The Field of Flowers.” 19:00It’s pieced out of little bitty small pieces about that big.

DEATON: Umhmm. What about some others?

SIZEMORE: And then I’ve . . . I . . . I pieced one and embro-. . . well, I never pieced it, I embroidered it. It was already stamped. And they called it . . . it was a bicentennial one.

DEATON: Umhmm. For the . . . for the government bicentennial or for the county?

SIZEMORE: No, my great-grandson bought it.

DEATON: Oh! Uh-huh. Well, what . . . what are the names of some of the other patterns then?

SIZEMORE: And then I’ve got a “Lone Star.” And then I’ve pieced a little Dutch girl, and I can’t remember the others.

DEATON: Do you remember the Depression?

SIZEMORE: And then I pieced one they called “A Friendship Quilt” and then a “Log Cabin.”

DEATON: Well, where did . . . how did the names come about, do you know?

SIZEMORE: Well, you us-. . . you usually get a book that has ’em in it, the way I get ’em.

DEATON: Well, do you remember anything about the Depression in the 1930s here?

SIZEMORE: Not too much.

DEATON: Do you remember when your family got their first radio?


DEATON: A-. . . about what year was that, roughly?

SIZEMORE: Oh, that was about . . . somewhere around nineteen and forty-four or forty-five we got the first radio.

DEATON: Was your family . . . did m-. . . most other families, did they have radios by then or did everyone . . .


DEATON: . . . begin to get ’em . . .


DEATON: . . . about the same time?

SIZEMORE: Most of ’em didn’t.

DEATON: Do you remember which station that you could pick up on it?

SIZEMORE: No, I don’t.

DEATON: Was there . . . was there usually only one station that . . . that you could receive?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. Umhmm. And I don’t remember which one that was. I remember the first radio that . . . that came around. We was over at Sam’s brother’s and Walter Begley’s daddy got one. He lived just across the river from his brother. And it had earphones. You had to put them over your ears to hear it.

DEATON: Hmm. So only one person could listen to . . .


DEATON: . . . it?

SIZEMORE: Only one person could listen to it at a time.

DEATON: Huh. Well, what about . . . what were the programs that you 22:00listened to mostly?

SIZEMORE: I don’t remember, Dale.

DEATON: Did they have the Grand Ole Opry on then?

SIZEMORE: I don’t remember whether they did or not.

DEATON: Well, what about television? When did most people in here begin to get television?

SIZEMORE: Oh, I can’t remember. I don’t remember how long, but they’ve been having them for a right smart while. I don’t remember who was the first one who got a television in here.

DEATON: Well, do you remember when these roads were built? When was the road built from Maggard’s Branch across into Thousandsticks that you could drive a car over?

SIZEMORE: When they built the Mountain Parkway.

DEATON: Hmm. Now when . . . the road before that, do you remember . 23:00. .


DEATON: . . . when that was built?

SIZEMORE: The road before that? Well, you couldn’t . . . you could drive a wagon over, but you couldn’t a vehicle.

DEATON: Okay. The . . . well, the one from Hyden–maybe I’m talking about the wrong Maggard Branch, I don’t know–but the road that came from Hyden into Bull Creek and Thousandsticks.

SIZEMORE: Now, wait. There was a road that people could drive . . . yeah, they had a road that you could drive a vehicle over before the Mountain Parkway was built, for I know Pearl had a Jeep and we’d go in in that and pickup.

DEATON: Do you remember the first time you saw a car or a jeep?


DEATON: The first one you . . .

SIZEMORE: There wasn’t . . .

DEATON: . . . saw?

SIZEMORE: . . . very many in town then.

DEATON: You saw it in town?


DEATON: About when was that?


DEATON: Do you have a rough idea?

SIZEMORE: No, I don’t.

DEATON: What did you think about it when you saw it?

SIZEMORE: I didn’t know what to think. [Chuckle] No, there wasn’t more 24:00than one . . . well, that was the first one I’d seen in town. And then there was two or three more people that had ’em.

DEATON: Umhmm. Well, what about your first airplane that you ever saw, do you remember that?

SIZEMORE: No, I sure can’t. [Interruption in taping]

DEATON: Let the motorcycles get back to this. When people worked the fields here, did most of ’em use mules?

SIZEMORE: Yeah, that’s all they had.

DEATON: Did they use oxen in the woods or anything?

SIZEMORE: No, not back as I remember. Well, now, way back when I was just a little child and Pa had some that he’d use. And n-. . . he 25:00never did use ’em in the field, though, like plowing ’em or nothing.


SIZEMORE: I don’t know what he used ’em for. But I know he work in the mountain through the winter and just cut down a . . . a big beech tree and hook them . . . that . . . yoke cattle to it and pull the whole . . . bring the whole thing out into the level for wood.

DEATON: Hmm. Did you ever help make any home-made soap, Jailey?


DEATON: Tell me exactly how you . . . the best th-. . . the best way to go about making home-made soap.

SIZEMORE: Now, Dale, I about forgot how, I ain’t made none in so long.

DEATON: Well, think about it for a minute. Tell me the best way to make it.

SIZEMORE: We used lye. We got cans of lye and then we’d take grease. I don’t remember how many gallons of water we’d put to a can of lye. And we’d put so much grease in that and boil it till it would become soap. 26:00And then we’d let it sit and get cold, and cut it out in big cakes and lay it out and let it dry.

DEATON: Well, the lye, did . . . how . . . when you mixed it up, did you mix it up . . . mix it until it got thick or . . .

SIZEMORE: No, you’d have to let it boil till it got thick.

DEATON: Umhmm. The cans of lye, you remember what size they were? Were they five pound or . . .

SIZEMORE: I don’t remember how much . . . how . . . whether there was a pound to a can. I imagine there was, though. It was something the size of a cream can, the cans of lye was.

DEATON: And you mixed that with . . .

SIZEMORE: You mix that with water and grease and make soap.

DEATON: Was the grease lard that had been rendered from hogs?

SIZEMORE: Well, you could use that, or you could use some old meat and put it in there and that lye would eat it all up. And you could use it.

DEATON: You mean something like pork rinds?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah.

DEATON: Was that good for washing clothes or just about . . .


DEATON: . . . anything?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah, it was good for washing clothes. It’d sure bring ’em clean.

DEATON: How did you wash the clothes?

SIZEMORE: On a rub board.

DEATON: No washing machine or anything?

SIZEMORE: Um-um. No.

DEATON: Well, in the wintertime when the weather was really bad and cold, tell me about something that happened when the weather was cold or . . . or whatever, that the people had to travel through or live through? What was it like to travel up and down this creek, say, in the middle of February?

SIZEMORE: Oh, you’d travel on top of ice. The creeks would be froze from bank to bank.

DEATON: Now what type of heat did they have in the homes?

SIZEMORE: Coal and wood.

DEATON: Umhmm. Mostly fireplaces?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah. Weren’t very many heating stoves.

DEATON: Umhmm. Well, do you remember about what year that most people began to buy coal stoves that they could put in and quit using fireplaces?

SIZEMORE: Well, I can’t remember what year it was but it wasn’t too very long after we got electricity in here that people went to getting coal heaters.

DEATON: Umhmm. Electricity must have been, what, sometime in the ’30s?

SIZEMORE: Probably was. No, it was sometime in the ’40s. No, we didn’t get electricity till after Sam died. It was in the ’40s . . . sometime in the ’40s that we got electricity.

DEATON: Umhmm. Did the people that lived . . . lived here, 29:00say, before World War II, did they travel very much?

SIZEMORE: Well, nothing like they do now, but they traveled quite a bit.

DEATON: Was it mostly from neighbor to neighbor or did they go out of the . . .

SIZEMORE: Well, people would go to town and then they’d go on and visit each other.

DEATON: And that was about it?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. They visited each other more than they do now.

DEATON: Umhmm. Do you see . . . what do you think is the . . . are some of the things that brought about the biggest changes to people’s lives in this area?

SIZEMORE: Well, I believe electricity put a big change on people.

DEATON: Umhmm. For the better or for the worst?

SIZEMORE: It’s hard to say. [Chuckle]

DEATON: Well, you must think there’s a little bit of it for the worst. What [chuckle–Sizemore] do you think?

SIZEMORE: Well, some people enjoys it and . . . well, I guess everybody enjoyed having it just for that, but what they all use it for is a mixed thing. [Interruption in taping]

DEATON: Okay, well, give me a comment on television.

SIZEMORE: They’ll sit and watch television all night and then won’t get up of a morning till way up about ten or eleven o’clock.

DEATON: Umhmm. Well, for most people . . . do you think that most 31:00people had, sayd better intentions and worked harder and so forth years ago and tried to do more than they do now?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Well, back then people knowed if they didn’t work and make it and put it away, they wouldn’t have it. And now people on welfare think, “Well, I don’t have to work. I can get what I want anyway.”

DEATON: Well, tell me the things that . . . say, by the end of the summer years ago, the types of things that would be canned, and how much would be canned or dried, and the meat and so forth. How many people were . . . were at home in your family then?

SIZEMORE: How many were home?

DEATON: Umhmm.

SIZEMORE: Oh, . . .

DEATON: Go back . . . let’s start off with before you were married. 32:00How many people were in the household?

SIZEMORE: Let’s see. Well, now, I lived with my grandpa and grandmother. There were three of us. But Pa’s family, there was him and Ma, Lawrence, sister [Ory?], Becky, Fred, and Quinton and Mack. And then after brother Lawrence got killed they had . . . they raised two or three of Lawrence’s children. They raised [Acie?] and Frank and Jesse of his.

DEATON: Well, . . .

SIZEMORE: So . . .

DEATON: . . . yeah. What . . . describe for me the . . . like, say, the amount of beans or . . . and so forth that they would have 33:00put away by the end of the summer to f-. . . to eat on during the winter.

SIZEMORE: Oh, they’d have enough beans to do ’em.

DEATON: Do you have any idea of, say, how many quarts or whatever?

SIZEMORE: No, I wouldn’t.

DEATON: Umhmm. How much st-. . . what did people have to buy from the store then? What did most people buy from the store?

SIZEMORE: Well, the most . . . biggest thing they bought was coffee, sugar, flour, maybe lard. But they raised just about everything else.

DEATON: So they didn’t really have a need for . . . to go to town that often?


DEATON: So going to t-. . .

SIZEMORE: We had our . . . had our own cows and our own chickens.

DEATON: Umhmm. So going to town was more for pleasure than anything else?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah.

DEATON: Do you remember going to Court Day in . . .

SIZEMORE: Oh, . . .

DEATON: . . . town?

SIZEMORE: . . . the first day of court everybody went. They went 34:00horse [jockeying?]. The town would be lined with horses. People trading horses.

DEATON: What else did they trade?

SIZEMORE: They’d trade knives, anything they had.

DEATON: Do you remember much about the trials that went on?

SIZEMORE: No. Uh-uh.

DEATON: So that too was mostly . . .

SIZEMORE: No, that . . .

DEATON: . . . for pleasure?

SIZEMORE: . . . I never was in . . . that’s one thing I never was in. [Chuckle]

DEATON: Hmm. Do you remember the county judges of Leslie County, Jailey? How far . . . how many of ’em do you remember?

SIZEMORE: I can remember some, if I can think of their name. There was Rufus Roberts. He was the judge for I don’t know how many years. And there . . . another fellow, I was on the jury under him. I can’t think of his name. Shucks.

DEATON: What about the others?

SIZEMORE: And then . . . Dale, I just don’t remember the others.

DEATON: Umhmm. Do you remember who was judge before George Wooten?

SIZEMORE: George Wooten was county judge.

DEATON: Umhmm. Who was county judge before him, do you remember?

SIZEMORE: No, I don’t remember.

DEATON: Well, let’s go back to the time that [Franklin D.] Roosevelt was president. Do you remember people that lived around here, do you remember if they got seeds to plant or if they got government food to . . . to help them? Was there a dry spell for three or four years during that period?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. People got food and they got seeds to plant.

DEATON: Did they . . . did they . . .

SIZEMORE: [Inaudible] . . .

DEATON: . . . really need the food or . . .

SIZEMORE: Yeah, they did. And they got a voucher of so much to buy food with.

DEATON: Uh-huh. And where did they have to go to get that?

SIZEMORE: They’d have to go to town. Now, I don’t remember whether they’d mail their voucher to ’em or whether they’d have to go over there and pick it up. Now, Sam worked in a commodity house. That was when they give all that food away. He helped hand it out.

DEATON: Umhmm. Well, the dry spell, how long did that last, Jailey?

SIZEMORE: It lasted for a year or two. But, now, we never did have no . 37:00. . it wasn’t so dry. It . . . well, I don’t know what happened to people, whether they just didn’t work or didn’t try or what. But there was just almost a famine.

DEATON: Was that . . . was that right here in this area or is that s-. . .

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah.

DEATON: Hmm. What . . . were there . . .

SIZEMORE: There was people that I knowed of, if they’d hadn’t got food like that and got help, I don’t know how they’d have got by.

DEATON: Hmm. Well, did the crops just not grow, is that what it was?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah. They just didn’t yield like they should. People didn’t have money to buy feed for their cattle, milk cows, nor nothing else.

DEATON: Well, what about law enforcement in Leslie County? Do you 38:00remember the sheriff or the deputies coming into this area? Was there very much trouble in this area when you were growing up?

SIZEMORE: Yeah, there was . . . people drank, making whiskey all the time.

DEATON: Do you know how to make moonshine, Jailey? Have you ever heard any . . . who . . . let’s put it this way. Has anybody ever told you how to make moonshine?

SIZEMORE: I’ve seen it made.

DEATON: You have?


DEATON: How do make . . .

SIZEMORE: Sam used to make it.

DEATON: How do you make moonshine?

SIZEMORE: Now, Dale.

DEATON: Have you got any idea?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. You take your meal and you s-. . . you take hot water, boiling water, and you scald that in a big barrel. And then you let it sit there, and it seem to me like and sour. Or, anyway, you let it sit so long, and you sprout corn and grind it up in something like 39:00a sausage mill. And then you go back and fill that barrel on up with water, and I don’t remember how much “malt corn” they called it, that they put in it.

DEATON: Now, the . . .

SIZEMORE: But . . .

DEATON: . . . the . . . the malt corn is the corn that you let sprout . . .


DEATON: . . . and then grind up.



SIZEMORE: And they let that sprout and they take that and grind it up and go back and fill that barrel full of water, and then put that malt corn in it. And then they let it sit till it goes to working. It’ll just go to working and bubbling up to the top of the barrel. [Chuckle] People . . . SIZEMORE: And I don’t remember how much malt corn they called it, that they put in it.

DEATON: Now, the . . .

SIZEMORE: But . . .

DEATON: . . . the . . . the malt corn is the corn that you let sprout . . .


DEATON: . . . and then grind up.



SIZEMORE: And they let that sprout, and they take that and grind it up, and go back and fill that barrel full of water, and then put that malt corn in it. And then they let it sit till it goes to working. It’ll just go to working and bubbling up to the top of the barrel. [Chuckle] People used to go to town and Pa would drink enough to kill him if he could get to drink the beer.

DEATON: Oh, the malt beer off . . .


DEATON: . . . of the barrel?



SIZEMORE: Yeah. And then they’d let that work so long and then they’d 40:00go back and put it in a still and run it off.

DEATON: Now, . . .

SIZEMORE: And they’d have to have a copper wire to run it through.

DEATON: Why is that?

SIZEMORE: I don’t know.

DEATON: Hmm. Now to run it off . . . they’d put that in a still and then put a f-. . . and then heated it?

SIZEMORE: They put . . . they put . . . buil-. . . make ’em a furnace and make ’em a still, something. Seem to me like . . . anyway, they’d take a big barrel or a tank or a washtub, one, and put ’em together down on the top of each other, and put that beer in that and boil it. And then when that steam would run through that copper, it’d come out whiskey.

DEATON: Hmm. How much did they sell it for?

SIZEMORE: Well, I don’t remember what they sold it for, but Sam sold a many of a pint of it. He would take it to Hazard. He sold it high as 41:00a hundred dollars a gallon.

DEATON: A hundred dollars a gallon?

SIZEMORE: Yeah, and take it to Hazard.

DEATON: Okay. Now, how much . . . during . . . during that same time, say about the time that he could sell the moonshine for that, how much could a person make a day working in the coal mines, do you have any idea?

SIZEMORE: Well, I don’t know whether there was any such thing as a coal mines going then or not. If there was I don’t remember.

DEATON: Did they mostly work in the log woods?

SIZEMORE: They worked some . . . some of ’em every now and then worked in the log woods, but mighty few of ’em.

DEATON: Well, what was a . . . what was the going wage for a day’s work then, if you hired someone to help you hoe corn or whatever?

SIZEMORE: If you got a dollar a day you was flying.

DEATON: Oh. So, you could make more . . . you could make a lot more money selling moonshine than you could hoeing corn.

SIZEMORE: Oh, yeah. Umhmm.

DEATON: Uh-huh. Did you know of anybody making any type of alcoholic 42:00beverage out of anything else but corn?

SIZEMORE: Um-um. No.

DEATON: Okay. For the food that you put up for the winter, did you ever . . . did you ever sulfur apples, Jailey?


DEATON: Tell me how you sulfur apples.

SIZEMORE: Sulfur a barrel full every year.

DEATON: How do you . . . how did you do that?

SIZEMORE: With . . . I take and peel and I’d quarter ’em and take the core out, and peel ’em. And I’d peel a half a bushel basket full. And I’d have me a barrel. I’d put . . . run a . . . the stick through the handle of that basket and hang it down in there, in that barrel. And then I forget how much sulfur, whether it was two tablespoons or what, of sulfur that you’d put on a plate or a board or something down on the ground under there and put coals of fire on it 43:00to make it burn. And you take you a big quilt, double by . . . four or six double, and put it over the top of that barrel and tie it–you string that to hold all that smoke in there–and let it hang in there for a half a day at a time. Take it out then, take it and pour it in your barrel and keep it covered tight till no gnats couldn’t get in it. And you could do that till you get you a barrel full of sulfured. We had ’em the whole winter.

DEATON: Did they have any . . . did they taste like they had sulfur in them or did they have . . .

SIZEMORE: Sometimes you could taste it and again you couldn’t. They’d have a little bit different taste from the regular apple.

DEATON: Umhmm. Not really enough to bother.

SIZEMORE: Uh-uh. Not enough to bother you. Everybody liked ’em. There’s people that sulfurs ’em today and puts ’em in glass jars. 44:00But, now, I ain’t sulfured none in a long . . . been many of a day. And people would have big barrels of pickled beans, sauerkraut, pickled corn.

DEATON: Umhmm. How’d they make it, just pour vinegar in it?

SIZEMORE: With their corn?

DEATON: Umhmm. How do you make it?

SIZEMORE: Take you a big sixty gallon barrel, put it about half full or more of . . . of water, and put you enough salt in it to make it brine. Just shuck your corn and throw it over in there. And put you a cloth over it and tighten it till nothing . . . the gnats or nothing can’t get in it.

DEATON: Would the corn keep all winter like that?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. Umhmm. It’d keep all winter.

DEATON: And then to eat it, you boiled it?

SIZEMORE: No, you’d cut it off and fry it. Put you a little sugar on it. And kraut, you’d do it the same way. People’d take . . . they’d 45:00raise late cabbage then, and make their kraut just before a frost. They’d take something like what we call a maul and take and chop up a big pile of cabbage and put that in a barrel, and then take that maul and beat it down. And put ’em a layer of salt on it and beat that down till the brine would raise over the top of the cabbage, till they would get what made that they wanted. And then they’d get ’em a . . . a big, flat rock and clean it right real good, and put it on top of that, that kraut, to hold it down it under the brine. And that’d stay perfectly white all winter. Stay just as white as it could be.

DEATON: And they did the beans the same way?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Do beans the same way, or only you’d just have to cook 46:00your beans till they would get done, and take and pour them in and salt ’em. You wouldn’t have to beat them down. And then when you got what you wanted, get you a . . . a big rock and lay on top of ’em, and that weight would weight ’em down and the brine would raise over top of ’em.

DEATON: Well, say, if you had a sixty gallon barrel and you filled it half full of water, how many pounds of salt would you have to put in that water to get it into brine?

SIZEMORE: Now, Dale, I wouldn’t hardly know how to . . . what to say.

DEATON: Is there any . . .

SIZEMORE: But . . . but it’d take at least a quart.

DEATON: A qu-. . . about a quart, . . .

SIZEMORE: Yeah, I would say . . .

DEATON: . . . or maybe a little more?

SIZEMORE: . . . I would say a quart of salt to make it right.

DEATON: Hmm. What else did you fix for food during the winter?

SIZEMORE: Well, we’d fix all that besides our canned food, and then we’d 47:00have our chickens . . . our own chickens and would have our h-. . . own hogs and cow.


DEATON: Umhmm. Did you help smoke any meat, Jailey?

SIZEMORE: No, I never did smoke none.

DEATON: Did they mainly salt it down?

SIZEMORE: Uh-huh. We’d just salt it down. And sometimes we’d can some of it.

DEATON: Hmm? Can meat?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah.

DEATON: Hmm. Well, tell me how you can, say, sausage. How do you make canned . . .

SIZEMORE: Sausage?

DEATON: . . . sausage?

SIZEMORE: Well, the way you do it, you just put it on and . . . and fry it till it gets done, and put it in your jar, and pour that grease in on it till . . . and it’ll . . . the grease will stand over the top of your sausage and seal it.

DEATON: And that’s it.

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. And it’ll keep.

DEATON: What . . . is that the same way you canned all meat?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. You’ve got to have it real . . . you’ve got to have it real dry, no water in it, your meat, to can. If it gets water in it, it won’t keep.

DEATON: Hmm. What, you just fry it or . . . or cook it in a pot or how?

SIZEMORE: I’d put it in a . . . cook in a can. Put it in a jar and cook it in it, but I don’t remember how many hours we’d cook it.

DEATON: You mean the canning jar?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah. Put ’em in the jars and seal it, and cook it in that.

DEATON: You mean, you . . . now, you seal the jars before you cooked it?

SIZEMORE: Umhmm. Yeah.

DEATON: And you didn’t put any grease on top of it or anything?

SIZEMORE: Uh-uh. I’d usually cap ’em bottoms upwards and the grease then would stand on top when it’d get cold.


SIZEMORE: And then I’d turn ’em back up.

DEATON: So as long as the top’s sealed, you . . .


DEATON: . . . don’t really have to have the whole jar filled with grease.

SIZEMORE: No. Uh-uh.

DEATON: Oh, I see. Okay. Hmm. Well, did ju-. . . did just about 49:00everyone keep food that way? I mean, . . .

SIZEMORE: Yeah. Well, . . .

DEATON: . . . was it . . . was it . . .

SIZEMORE: . . . some people wouldn’t can nothing, Dale, wouldn’t put up nothing, hardly. And they . . . I . . . I don’t know how they got by, but . . . but they survived. [Chuckle]

DEATON: Umhmm. Well, do you remember the first . . . well, say, the first grocery store in Leslie County that would be a grocery store in the way we think of ’em now, that sold stuff, you know, besides the general type . . .

SIZEMORE: Oh, well, . . .

DEATON: . . . merchandise?

SIZEMORE: . . . well, I can remember, but they had a store far back as I can remember.

DEATON: Yeah, but that . . .

SIZEMORE: That was Pearl’s dad.

DEATON: Uh-huh.

SIZEMORE: They had a grocery store. They had it far back as I can remember, and always . . . always had it.

DEATON: Was that located here at the mouth of Osborne Fork?

SIZEMORE: Right up by where Ed Begley lives.


SIZEMORE: And then later on, after I got grown and was married, they 50:00moved it down here. And then they moved and built down here, and up there. But their main grocery store was right up there.

DEATON: Well, did . . .

SIZEMORE: And no . . .

DEATON: . . . they have . . . did they have canned goods there?

SIZEMORE: Yeah. Umhmm. Dry goods, shoes, about anything you wanted.

DEATON: Hmm! I didn’t realize they had that in here that early.

SIZEMORE: Yeah. Back then you could buy corn ten cents a can.

DEATON: Hmm. Well, do you think it was during the Depression and . . . and the period of time that people started to get government commodities that they quit raising a lot of food?

SIZEMORE: I think so. Umhmm.

DEATON: What about the countryside? When you were a real young girl, were there as many weeds and all that in here as there are now?

SIZEMORE: Now, what?

DEATON: Weeds?

SIZEMORE: Oh, yes.

DEATON: Do you remember the virgin timber growth on this land, Jailey?

SIZEMORE: No, I don’t.

DEATON: Had all . . . had about all of that been cut out by the time you got old enough to remember?

SIZEMORE: Oh, back when I was growing up all of this in here clean around to Fred’s was all cleared out. We tended in corn.

DEATON: All the way to the top of the hill?

SIZEMORE: All the way. Almost to the top of the hill behind . . . I’ve hoed corn from Fred’s clean all back around, and every stitch of the head of that branch up yonder. We would tend that whole branch. We’d take it year about. We’d tend the branch one year, but the next year we’d tend from straight up from William’s on back around to 52:00Fred’s, and we’d pasture the other side for the cattle. Take it a year about with it. Well, the year we’d tend that branch we’d have every hill of it in and it was cleaned out almost to the top of the hill. We’d have it in on each side of that hollow and clean up.

DEATON: And that was all plowed with a mule?

SIZEMORE: It was all plowed with a mule.

DEATON: Hmm. Have you got any idea how much corn you raised to the acre?

SIZEMORE: No, I don’t. But I can tell you how much corn I dropped one day with a corn dropper.

DEATON: How much?

SIZEMORE: A bushel and a peck.

DEATON: In one day.

SIZEMORE: In one day. My dad laid it off, and I planted it. They tried . . . my grandpa, that was in his lifetime, he was sick and wasn’t able to work. But they tried to . . . there’s an old fellow lived around up here where Fred lives, Archie Gibsons they called him, he was good with a corn dropper. They tried to hire him to come and plant 53:00corn one day, Pa did. Dollar a day was all he got. No, he . . . he couldn’t come. Well, Pa says, “I don’t know how we’re gonna manage.” He says, “I can’t get Archie.” He said, “I don’t know who else to get.” I says, “We don’t need nobody.” I says, “If you lay it off, I’ll plant it.” He says, “You know you can’t hold out to do that.” I says, “You lay the ground off.” Brother, we went in there early that morning and we always called it “the peach tree piece”. They might have told you where it is. It’s way back up in there. He had all that plowed up ready to plant. He laid that all off. Just as he’d lay a row off, I’d plant it. And it was almost dark when we come out, but we planted us a bushel and a peck and got it all planted.

DEATON: Hmm! Well, what did you do? Did you eat most of the corn or did most of it go to feed livestock?

SIZEMORE: What we eat of the corn was what we made our bread out of, and the rest of it went to the cattle and the mules. They always kept two mules. And my grandpa did.

DEATON: Was that . . . what . . . do you remember how many people lived, say, from the mouth of Osborne Fork up to the head of the creek, when . . .


DEATON: . . . you were a little kid?

SIZEMORE: There was about half . . . I don’t know what . . . and there ain’t a half . . . there wasn’t a half as many as there are up in there now.


SIZEMORE: Mighty few.

DEATON: Umhmm. Did most people get along pretty good?

SIZEMORE: Yeah, they seemed to.

DEATON: Umhmm. Is there anything, Jailey, that I haven’t asked you 55:00about that you’d like to tell me about?

SIZEMORE: Not that I remember of.

DEATON: All right. If you think of anything else I’ll come back later [chuckle–Sizemore], okay?

SIZEMORE: That’s all I can think of.

DEATON: Okay. Thank you.

SIZEMORE: You welcome. [End of Interview]

Looking for Photos, Newspaper Clippings, Documents


Posted by Carolyn | Posted in Geneology | Posted on 08-09-2009


I am looking for any photos, newspaper clippings and documents pertaining to the Collins and Davidson families of Eastern Kentucky. Some names of interest are Henry Davidson, John Collins, John Davidson, John Gilbert Collins, Benjamin Davidson, Eli Collins, or anyone related to these people. Please contact me if you have information to contribute to my book, “Living Memories”. Deadline for publication in September 30, 2009. To send me an email: Click Here!