In a small community like this you helped other people

Posted by | March 12, 2009

I’ve got a ’40 John Deere, and I’ve got the biggest part of equipment for it, and it’s . . . it’s up there in the barn. It’ll still run. And we . . . we worked around here and worked for other people and, you know, in a small community like this, you . . . you helped other people and they helped you. And there was no money exchanged. You was a helping somebody, and then when you got ready to house tobacco they would help you, and . . . and that’s the way you worked it. It’s not like it is now. You know, you got a transaction of money anytime that somebody helps you, where back then you didn’t have.

Back in the late . . . I guess it would be in the late ’40s, there was a . . . there was a log barn there, and my uncle built the other barn around it which you can see over there and it’s got his initials cut in the . . . in the logs, and my grandfather’s initials were cut in the logs.

They kept mules in there and they . . . they also had a “A” over the top of it that was kind a loft where they stored their . . . their corn that they took . . . they took corn . . . they didn’t take money. When they ground the corn they took a toll from the corn, and they . . . they stored that up there, and then if you would want to come by and buy, if you had money to buy it, they would sell the . . . the meal to you or sell the corn to you or whatever.

Pair of Jacks, Laurel County KYCaption reads: Laurel County, Kentucky. A pair of jacks – there are tens of thousands of such teams. This pair owned by Erwin Hensley of E. Bernstedt, hauling coal. Pre-1954, no other date.

[My mom] grew everything. She grew potatoes and corn and beans and broccoli. Just anything that we could grow in this location, she’d grow it. And stick her own beans. Last year she canned probably fifty quarts of beans and gave ‘em to the neighbors when she didn’t eat ‘em herself.

Back when the older generation, which is deceased now, they had a June meeting every year and they congregated at the graveyard and had big meals and everybody brought a dish and . . . and that’s where that . . . I can relate back to that is . . . is a lot of the history that I’m telling you about because, you know, I had heard people talk about there.

But the . . . like I said, there’s only one of my mother’s people that is living, which is her sister, and my father’s people never migrated into here. They . . . they were all over, out of state and everything, and they never came in. But the . . . the Wilsons, they . . . they had a reunion year every year.

But, like I say, after my mother has died and my aunts and uncles, they don’t . . . they didn’t have any last year.

1991 interview with Euell Sumner
(b. 1938 in Cane Creek, KY)
Family Farm Oral History Project
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
University of Kentucky
Interview edited; orginal transcript here

Laurel+County+KY farm+chores appalachian+farming appalachia +history+of+appalachia appalachian+history

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