“[The farm was] wedged in . . . there’s a branch . . . a big branch come down, and it’s clean up on both sides of the hollow. That was just a holler, see. And a hillside. It run up on each side of the hill. I believe it was about a hundred and sixty acres. It was woodland, and . . . and [Daddy] owned another farm. I guess it was, maybe, a hundred. He owned about three hundred acres in both. They joined. He didn’t do much to one of ‘em. The one farm that he didn’t work much was mostly in timber. And he pastured it. He’d get a little hay off of the back. Growing mostly on the place I was raised up.
“My daddy, he . . . people back then didn’t have nothing to cut hay with, only just an old mowing blade. He had a cow or two, milked, and had hogs. Killed his own hogs, and then raised enough corn on that farm to feed ‘em. But he’d . . . he was poor . . . pretty poor, but we’d get by on it. And then ha-. . . raise corn and hay. Maybe had an old mule he’d farm with.
“We raised [our food] mostly. Raised a big garden and we’d put it up. And he’d grow a cane patch and make molasses. And we had an orchard there. Put lots of apples and growed potatoes and dried beans and . . . put up was what people lived on back then. [We’d sell] maybe a calf or a cow every once in awhile. And maybe some pigs. We had our own chickens, and we didn’t have to buy much. Didn’t grow tobacco back then. Daddy, he made . . . made whiskey, too, back then. Moonshine. And he’d . . . he’d sell that to raise a family. Just enough to get by on.
“He used to ha-. . . everybody used to . . . down in here used to make whiskey. When I was a . . . I hunted when I was smaller. Had a little dog, and I’d go out hunt and . . . and I’d run into . . . used to, plenty of stills, just out a hunting.”
Interview with Elmer McKinney, June 11th, 1991
Family Farm Oral History Project
University of Kentucky
Steve Mooney; Interviewer