“They brought their produce into town on wagons and they brought hallows to trade horses and all that kind of stuff and vegetables like string beans, tomatoes, corn, watermelons and all that stuff. Bring down and set it right down there on that shelf on the trading ground. And they would sell and people would come and buy stuff just like you were going to the Farmer’s Market. And all that produce was traded right there and once a month on the first Monday of the month they had what they called a Court Day.
“And that was the day that the farmers would come into town to trade horses, cattle, sheep or whatever they had that they wanted to trade or what they wanted to sell. And my father and his uncle they were horse traders. Out of all the peddlers he used to feed them baking soda in order to make them look like they were fat. Take them home and two days later he had a skinny little horse already.
“But there was all kinds of tricking in those times you know it. And then you would look at a horse to see how old it was and the first thing he would ask is how old is the horse. And they would say well he’s four years old. Ray would look up and say “Uh, huh. He’s more than four years old.” He’d go, “He’s about ten years old.” He could tell by looking at the teeth.
“They would call it the Coat Round – the Coat Round they called it. And even back before then there was a lady who is living in Charlottesville right now. Her mother was sold off the block right down there on Water Street. Sold to somebody somewhere down the way. Rebecca McGinnis. You could still see them in the pavement not too long ago.
“One of the oldest flagstones in Charlottesville I believe. But anyway, her mother was sold off the block, you know, they put them on the block and they walked by and she looked like a pretty good old – just like the same as with a horse. You know, people had pretty good horses. They had good shoulder variety – good shoulders.”
Walter A. Payne Sr.
Interviewed July 26 and August 22, 1994
Ridge Street Oral History Project
Virginia Center for Digital History, University of Virginia