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1978-07-06 Interview with John Caldwell, July 6, 1978 FNS001:1978OH142 FNS 02 37:48 Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Frontier Nursing Service, Inc. Rural Health Services John Caldwell; interviewee Dale Deaton; interviewer 1978OH142_FNS002_Caldwell 1:|18(11)|41(7)|70(4)|100(5)|118(2)|143(7)|168(7)|186(11)|210(4)|239(1)|267(8)|288(14)|308(4)|328(9)|353(5)|381(12)|408(9)|422(10)|450(4)|472(3)|489(8)|513(6)|537(7)|568(5)|594(2)|614(10)|640(6)|670(7)|696(2)|712(3)|742(3)|758(2)|784(14)|805(3)|821(8)|857(3)|879(5) audiotrans FNSColl interview DEATON:--Caldwell for the oral history project, Frontier Nursing Service, by Dale Deaton, at approximately 10: 15 a.m. on 6 July, 1978. You moved in this area about 1921, and you came from Harlan County? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: How come--do you recall why you moved or what made you want to move up into here? CALDWELL: Well, I had an uncle that bought this land here and--and I just come here to help him to farm and to work on the--fixing up the fencing and all of that nature. DEATON: And you were about what, about twenty years old at that time? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: And you said you bought the property, the house John Shell lived in and was living in when you came here. CALDWELL: No, I--I never bought it till--my uncle bought it when he come here and then I bought it from him about twenty years ago, maybe, or something like that. DEATON: Um-hm. When you first came in here, what did most people make their living at? CALDWELL: Raising corn and hogs and cattle, digging ginseng. DEATON: Um-hm. Do you--how much ginseng did they--how much did they get for a pound of ginseng? CALDWELL: At that time they got about fifteen dollars, but it--I think it sells for about seventy-five now. DEATON: Um-hm. How long--how long would it take a person to dig enough ginseng for it to dry out to a pound? CALDWELL: Well, it just would depend on how lucky you'd be to--and how much you'd find in one day. There were--there's--there's no time that you'd find the same amount every day. DEATON: So a lot of the time was spent just walking through the hills trying to find it? CALDWELL: Hunting for it and you couldn't see it. DEATON: Yeah. CALDWELL: I've heard fellers say that it would jump behind a tree when they'd get close to it. (Chuckle--Deaton) I don't know whether that's true or not. DEATON: Well, did they use the creek bed for the road up through here then? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: Did most people have wagons or did they travel on mules? CALDWELL: There wasn't but one person in the county that had a wagon and that was myself, and I drove it for about ten years and I sold goods at that time. I run a grocery store. DEATON: Did you--well, did you haul the stuff in for the--for the store from the outside then? CALDWELL: Hauled it from Harlan on a wagon. Take two days to make a trip and--and I'd haul eight hundred pound at a trip. The roads, the mountains was so steep that mules couldn't pull but--couldn't take the wagon but just a few feet at a time coming up a steep mountain. DEATON: And what--what was the name of that mountain over in this direction? CALDWELL: Pine Mountain. DEATON: Oh, it was Pine Mountain? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: Was there a road built through there then, or just a wagon road? CALDWELL: Just a wagon road at that time. DEATON: Well, did you pull with mules then? How many mules did it take to pull that? CALDWELL: Two mules. DEATON: Two? Where was the--the grocery--the grocery store that you ran? Where was that located around here? CALDWELL: Well, that's where I live now. DEATON: Oh. But most of the people, did they trade or just sell or just raise more or less what they ate themselves? CALDWELL: Well, they growed most of what they ate. They had their own cows and that way they'd have their milk and butter and kill their hogs and have their meat, and had chickens, have their eggs. And they had a whole lot more to eat then than they have now. DEATON: Hmm. They killed their own hogs and their own cattle? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. Yeah. They put their meat in a thing that we called a smokehouse. Dry it and have it for the summer's use. DEATON: Did they salt that down? CALDWELL: Yeah, salt it down when they kill it. Then after it'd dry in the summer--along in the early part of the summer, they would salt it down again where it would keep good. DEATON: About the time you came here, World War I was over. What do you remember hearing about that at the time? CALDWELL: Well, I don't recollect too much. At that time there wasn't too many people around here that went to the Army. Some of 'em got killed and then people never talked too much about it. DEATON: Um-hm. Do you remember when the radio first came in here,-- CALDWELL: Oh, yeah. DEATON:--when people first got that? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: About what year was that? CALDWELL: Well, I don't know that. Couldn't tell you. DEATON: What about the telephone? CALDWELL: It's been in here about three or four year. DEATON: Oh. What else did the people work at back in that period? CALDWELL: Well, there wasn't anything for 'em to work at for several years, and then after they built better roads across Pine Mountain till they could truck--haul trucks over 'em, why, then they went into the woods and cut the trees to haul them out. Hired the people that lived here all that wanted to work. DEATON: Um-hm. So what were the names of the companies that came in? CALDWELL: Intermountain Coal & Lumber Company. DEATON: Um-hm. Was there--were there any others? Was Ford in here at that time? CALDWELL: Well, the Ford people never did work none here. They owned land and--and other people would cut the timber on their land, but I don't recollect who they were. DEATON: Um-hm. How much money did a person make working in the log woods? CALDWELL: Well, when they first come in here was cutting stave blocks and working log wood, they made fifteen cents an hour. And then they got up to--about World War I they paid forty cents--I mean World War II they paid forty cents an hour. DEATON: And did that same wage last for quite a few years, or did they just change that recently? CALDWELL: Well, no, that--that lasted till they--well, the Intermountain Lumber Company cut all of the timber out and then they sold it to the Huber Lumber Company, but I don't know what they pay for work now. There's very--very few people logging now. DEATON: And in the '40s, the World War II part, that was the virgin timber that they cut? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: What were the tools that they used then? CALDWELL: They used a crosscut saw and horses. They'd cut the trees down then they'd haul 'em out of the steep mountain with horses, and they had a thing they called "j-grabs". They'd fasten several logs together and then the first log had--well, they had a--had a trail grab and hook and so on, then they had the "j-grab" that went in the front end and they could hook onto that thing and when they come to a steep part of the mountain, why, they could pull the horse over to one side and let the triple logs go on till they'd come to a bench in the mountain, and when they stopped then they'd go and hook onto 'em again and haul 'em on over till they'd get 'em out of the mountains. DEATON: Hmm. What were the size of some of those logs? CALDWELL: Well, they'd run up twenty-four and thirty inches and down to sixteen inches. DEATON: Um-hm. Were--were there many of them that were much bigger than that? CALDWELL: Yes, there were several run up to forty inches and so on, but the general average of 'em run about twenty-four, the larger ones. There's a few large poplars that run up as high as maybe four or five foot through, and then there's a lot of trees we called red oak that was large, too, that [were] probably the same size or near it, but not as tall. DEATON: Were there many walnut trees or-- CALDWELL: Yeah, there's several walnut here. DEATON:--they'd clear out. Did the--were all those cut at that time? CALDWELL: Yeah, they cut everything that was in the woods. All the prime stuff. The--there was low grade, they wouldn't cut it. But they've cut over the same land then maybe four or five times since that time. [Helicopter passes overhead] DEATON: Do you recall when this road was built up Greasy Creek? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. Yeah. The Three-C [CCC - Civilian Conservation Corps] built the first road that was in here. DEATON: And that was in the 1930s? CALDWELL: I guess it was. I'm not sure. DEATON: Well, has there ever been any doctor or nurses that lived up in this area? CALDWELL: No. DEATON: What do most people do? Do they--when they get sick, do they try to go to a doctor or--or see a nurse, or do they usually-- CALDWELL: Well,-- DEATON:--take care of it themselves? CALDWELL:--I have seen people real sick. They'd haul 'em out of here on a sled. But later days on up till now, they go out on cars and trucks and so on. DEATON: Do you remember when people doctored themselves mostly here? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: What were some of the--the things that they used for that? CALDWELL: Well, they'd use ----------(??) or something of that nature, aspirin and so on,-- DEATON: Did-- CALDWELL:--just anything to get well, and they'd have got well without any medicine if they just wanted to wait long enough. DEATON: Um-hm. Have you had medical care with a doctor? CALDWELL: Myself? DEATON: Yeah. CALDWELL: Yeah, I've had some. Not too much. DEATON: So you think people mainly can take care of themselves? CALDWELL: I think so. [Helicopter passes overhead] Lot of people go to the doctor when they ought to be going to work. DEATON: I notice you have beehives here. About how many do you have? CALDWELL: I have about sixty. DEATON: Were all those swarms gotten out of the woods? CALDWELL: No. No, I've had bees about sixty year. They--the swam come from the hives that I have here now. I got some of 'em out of the woods, out of trees since I been in the bee business. DEATON: How do you get a--a swarm of bees from a tree into a hive down here? What did you do-- CALDWELL: Well, you-- DEATON:--to go about that? CALDWELL:--well, you've got to cut the tree down and chop the bees out of the hollow part of it and put 'em in a [patent gum?] then carry 'em in it home. But my bee swarms, they'll come out and settle up on a limb hanging around the yard here and then I cut the limb off and shake the bees off in the hive. DEATON: About how much honey can one of those beehives produce in a year? CALDWELL: Well, some of 'em don't produce any and some of 'em maybe produce thirty, forty pound. DEATON: Um-hm. Do you use most of that yourself? CALDWELL: No, I don't use but very little. I--I sell it. I--I never did care much about it. DEATON: Do you remember the dry spell that--in the 1930s through here? Did that hit this area? CALDWELL: No I--I don't remember much about it. We've had plenty dry spells but I don't remember back how far. DEATON: What about pol---national political events, like with the national government in Washington, do you hear much about that? CALDWELL: Well, I hear quite a bit from each party bilifying [sic vilifying] each other, but I don't know what the fact about it -------- --(??). DEATON: Do--do you remember the first presidential election that--that you can think of, or the first one that you voted in? CALDWELL: No, I don't. DEATON: How far--what's the first president that you recall hearing of? CALDWELL: Well, (laughs) I--I've heared of Abe Lincoln right on up to Carter, but I--just people talking. I--I never do study about the history of none of 'em. DEATON: No, I mean during your lifetime-- CALDWELL: Yeah, well, I just couldn't--I couldn't go back far enough in recollection to tell you. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, I understand that sometimes you go rattlesnake hunting and collect them up. CALDWELL: Yes, I've--I rattlesnake hunt quite a bit. DEATON: And there was an article about that in National Geographic several years ago. CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: How do you go about catching a rattlesnake? CALDWELL: Well, we go to the top of the high, driest mountain about August and September and we find 'em where they gather up to have their young'uns and we catch 'em, put 'em in a tote sack and carry 'em on home, keep 'em awhile and kill 'em. DEATON: What--what makes that the best time of the year to hunt rattlesnakes? CALDWELL: Well, that's the time that they have their young ones, and I imagine that they go there for protection around those rocks where they can run under 'em quick and--as far as I would know. DEATON: Does anyone ever go with you when you go snake hunting? CALDWELL: I've had as high as twenty-five with me. DEATON: How many snakes did you catch on that trip? CALDWELL: The largest number that I recollect catching was forty-two. DEATON: In one trip? CALDWELL: In one day, yes. DEATON: Ah! Well, what did--did most of those people, they just hunt 'em for the fun of it, or what makes you want to hunt rattlesnakes? CALDWELL: Well, they'd just--it's just a hobby that some of us fellers here in the country have, and then we have people that--that come from far out, that read the magazines to hunt with us and--and we take 'em when they come. DEATON: Um-hm. Has anyone ever been bitten on one of those hunts? CALDWELL: No. DEATON: What do you use to catch 'em with? Just describe what you use. CALDWELL: Well, I have a stick with a string fastened on one end of it to make a loop, and I loop that around their neck. And then the feller who'd be with me will hold a coffee sack open and we just drop 'em in it and tie the sack with a string and go on until we find another one. DEATON: And what do you keep 'em in after you get 'em back to your house? CALDWELL: I put 'em in a barrel, fifty gallon barrel. DEATON: Do you remember what the longest rattlesnake was? CALDWELL: No, I never did measure none of 'em. I have a picture of one here that's as long as I am. DEATON: I understand some people that hunt with you eat the rattlesnakes--eat the rattlesnakes. CALDWELL: Yes, sir. Judge Stivers over at London, Kentucky takes 'em home and eats 'em. DEATON: Has he told you what it tastes like, or have you ever eaten any rattlesnake? CALDWELL: No, I've never eaten none myself and don't aim to. DEATON: Has he ever told you how they taste, or what-- CALDWELL: He said they taste better than a chicken, but he didn't say what they taste like. DEATON: Oh. To go back to the logging a little bit, did they use splice stands on Greasy Creek to get any of those out? CALDWELL: Yes, sir, but that was before I came here. I've s---I've seen those dams they had built where they kept the water to float the logs. They'd--they'd build a dam above where they would put the logs into the creek, and then when it rained it'd catch a lot of water in the creek, then they'd catch what they call "a head of water" and then they'd turn it loose and that would run the logs part of the way out. Then they'd--they called it "bedding logs", the ones that didn't go on out, they'd haul 'em back in the creek where they could get 'em next time that they turned the splash down loose of water. DEATON: Since you've moved here, they hauled most of 'em out on trucks? CALDWELL: Trucks, yes, sir. DEATON: Have you ever lived any other place since you moved here? Have you ever moved away from this and then come back? CALDWELL: No, sir, I've lived the same place. DEATON: How long did you run the grocery store? CALDWELL: About fifteen years. DEATON: What made you decide to close that? CALDWELL: Well, when the--when they come working here, logging, then I began l---working the log woods and growed tobacco and farming and I--I just didn't have time to fool with a grocery store. Quit fool---quit handling it. DEATON: There was more--you could make a better living at the-- CALDWELL: Make-- DEATON:--other one and ----------(??)-- CALDWELL:--make a better living working than I could setting around waiting for people to come to the store. DEATON: Uh-huh. And do you remember the first car that came up in here? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: Do you recall who owned it or-- CALDWELL: Well, I believe that the first one I saw here was a feller named Hobert Lewis drove it. I'm not sure, but I believe that he was. He lived in Harlan around the coal mines and he drove it over an old wagon road. I think he called it a Model T. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, about what time did most people in here begin to buy cars and bring them in? CALDWELL: After the Three-C road was built. DEATON: Do you remember hearing about the coal miners union in Harlan County, United Mine Workers in the '30s? CALDWELL: Yes. Huh. DEATON: What do you remember about that? CALDWELL: Well, the--I remember hearing 'em talk about lots of people getting killed that--that belonged to the union, and just--they'd fall out and kill each other on each side. DEATON: Um-hm. Have you ever thought about why the--there was never a coal miners union in Leslie County? CALDWELL: No, I don't know. DEATON: Do you have any particular opinion about unions, one way or the other? CALDWELL: Well, I think that--that union labor would be all right, but I think they went to the extreme with it. DEATON: After the logging sort of ended, what, about the end of World War II here, is that when it began to slow down quite a bit? CALDWELL: No, it was in--it was in its biggest way about World War II, and it extended on up till they cut all the timber--all the best timber out, and they're doing a little logging in a place or two now but not very much. DEATON: Did they reseed any of the trees? Did they put out--plant new trees? CALDWELL: No sir, they never done nothing. Cut 'em down and if a tree wasn't too good, leave it laying there and you could cut another one. DEATON: About when did most of that come to an end? CALDWELL: I expect it started about the '30s just after the Three- C built the roads in here. DEATON: Um-hm. And they cut it up until about the end of World War II or a little bit later on? CALDWELL: No, they cut it up till--up till today. There's a few people cutting around here and there today. DEATON: Um-hm. But the--the large lumber company, when did they-- CALDWELL: Yeah, the large lumber company been away about--they've been out probably twenty years. I'm not sure. DEATON: Well, what do most people in here work at now? CALDWELL: Well, they're working in the--around the strip mines and a few deep mines in here. They work at that. DEATON: Have--did you sort of retire from working for other people after the--the logging industry? CALDWELL: Well, I worked as long as there was some good logging going, but after they'd--after it got to be so scrappy, why, then I quit fooling with it. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, what do you do now mostly? CALDWELL: I just work around here on the farm. DEATON: Um-hm. Do you own a car or a ----------(??) truck? CALDWELL: I own a truck and a tractor. DEATON: Do you make many trips out? Which is the most convenient town for you to go to, Harlan or to Hyden? CALDWELL: Harlan would be the most convenient, I guess, to get-- DEATON: Is that the one that you go to most of the time when you go into town? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: About how far is it from here to Harlan? CALDWELL: It's about eighteen mile. DEATON: And is most of it over a gravel road or do you get to the blacktop? CALDWELL: Well, there're about seven mile of it on gravel road. DEATON: What about law enforcement in here? Do the county deputies ever come up in here or-- CALDWELL: Yes, sometimes you see one. DEATON: But most of the people get along pretty good? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. You'll see a few drunks every now and then, but they don't never bother me none. DEATON: Um-hm. The old John Shell home over there, and you own that now. You just-- CALDWELL: It's-- DEATON:--sort of preserving it or-- CALDWELL: Yes, sir, I own it, yeah. DEATON: You just mainly plan to keep it or do you have any other plans? CALDWELL: No, I'm gonna keep it. DEATON: Um-hm. I've heard you've gotten quite a bit of--quite a few visitors have come in to talk to you since the article in National Geographic. CALDWELL: Yeah, I've had as high as twenty-five visitors at a time. DEATON: What--what-- CALDWELL: Sometime we take 'em snake hunting with us, and me and this feller, Earl Chapel, have it made up when we catch one to always for him to be backing up and--till I can get close to some feller with a rattlesnake and have 'em riding the bushes down through the woods. (Chuckle--Deaton) DEATON: Who are some of the other people around here that go snake hunting with you? CALDWELL: Well, very few. Judge Stivers and Judge Dixon over at London, Kentucky comes in here and goes with us sometimes but there's not very many people that likes to snake hunt. DEATON: Most of the people that come in from the outside to visit you, is that what they mainly want to see you about is the snake hunting? CALDWELL: Yes, sir, because they read about it. Lot of 'em go about halfway and turn and come back. DEATON: What about the wildlife here? Are there fewer squirrels and all of that now than there used to be or-- CALDWELL: Well, I imagine there are about the same number of squirrels. We have several deer here and we have some dogs run 'em. I killed four dogs this winter that was running deer. They was somebody's, I don't know who they were. DEATON: Hmm. Are there--and there are quite a few deer in this area? CALDWELL: Yes, sir, we have several. I saw five last spring right here looking out off my porch. DEATON: Do you kill any of 'em? CALDWELL: No. No, they--I kill the dogs that's trying to kill them. DEATON: Um-hm. When you first moved over here, before you had electricity or telephones or roads or any of that, did you use mostly coal oil lamps for light? CALDWELL: Yes, sir, and a lantern. DEATON: What did the people do for entertainment? Did they have dances or-- CALDWELL: No, they never done nothing. DEATON: They didn't do that? CALDWELL: Work--work all day and go to bed when it gets late. DEATON: Uh-huh. What about when people got married? Did they just go to the church and get married, or did they--did they go to town and get a license for it first or what all-- CALDWELL: Well, they'd go to town and get a license, then they'd get a preacher and get married and that'd be the last of it. DEATON: Do you know if most people, when their children were born, were they born at home? CALDWELL: Yes, at that time around the '20s and on up through the '30s and all, they had what they called the "midwife", and they'd go and get her and she'd stay around the home until the--with the mother till the kid was born. DEATON: Was the midwife from the Frontier Nursing Service? CALDWELL: No, she was just a woman from the country around here at that time. DEATON: Uh-huh. Did they call those women "granny women"? CALDWELL: Yes. DEATON: A "granny woman"? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: Uh-huh. Do you know anything about--were any of those women trained or how did they-- CALDWELL: No, they were just trained by experience. Had several kids theirselves and then they'd help someone else to have it, as far as I know. DEATON: Um-hm. Now, had--did most of the people feel confident with them? They feel-- CALDWELL: Yes. DEATON:--like those women knew what they were doing? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: What were--do you know what some of their practices were? Are you familiar with that at all? CALDWELL: No, I don't. DEATON: Were--did most families have children that--did most families lose a child or so when they were young or-- CALDWELL: Well, not too many. I don't think any more then than they do now, but might have been more. A lot of time a woman would have a kid by herself right at home. Her man would be away and nobody close and had--I know of a few cases like that. DEATON: What was the attitude of the women? Did they--did any of 'em seem concerned that there wasn't a nurse or a doctor around or-- CALDWELL: Well, they didn't know anything about a nurse at that time, I don't imagine. I never heared much talk about it. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, are there churches--what types of churches are up in here? Are they mostly Baptist or-- CALDWELL: Yeah, and then they have what they call the Wholeness Church here and the Church of Christ. There's several different denominations. DEATON: Um-hm. Do you know the--what are--what do you see as the differences between those? CALDWELL: Well, I wouldn't know the difference myself. DEATON: Any of 'em have any specific thing that they do in church that stands out more than others or-- CALDWELL: Yeah, some of 'em handle rattlesnakes and copperheads in church. DEATON: Do you know why? CALDWELL: No, I don't know why they do it. But they handle 'em with their naked hands and some of 'em get bit. DEATON: Hmm. Do you ever sell snakes to those people-- CALDWELL: No. DEATON:--or give them to them? CALDWELL: No, sir. They've tried to buy 'em but I won't let 'em have 'em. DEATON: Well, there's a lot of coal mining going on in this part. Now, is any of it on your property or-- CALDWELL: No, they're not mining on my property. Mining all around here. They--they tried to lease my coal but I won't lease it to 'em. DEATON: You just want to keep the land the way it is now? CALDWELL: Well, I'd rather keep it like it is. Lot of people coming in here and they're going up and opening up a coal mine and dig around a little and run off and leave it in bad shape, and I--I would lease mine if a man put up enough money to make me think he was gonna keep it. DEATON: To put the land back the way it was or--or-- CALDWELL: No, I just want him to get the coal out of--all of it. I don't want him to start and--and dig out the front and then leave and leave it in bad shape. DEATON: Oh, I see. Do you remember anyone working oxen in here in the log woods or using oxen to pull wagons in through here? CALDWELL: No. [Interruption in taping] DEATON: The John Shell that lived in the house that you now own and are preserving, when you first came here he owned all this property, right? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: Um-hm. And he's reported to have been the oldest living person, at least in the United States. How old, as far as you know, was he supposed to have lived to be? CALDWELL: Well, they--at that--when I first came here they said he was 131, I don't know. DEATON: Did he live--that's when--how old he was when he died, as far as you know? CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: Do you remember him moving around very much or being very active? CALDWELL: No, we--we carried him out of the house out into the yard early in the spring of the year sometime when the sun would be warm. He'd sit around out there in a chair. There's a big apple tree at the corner of the house and he'd see a ghost in there and some of us would get out and shoot a little old .22 and he'd say that that killed it. DEATON: And how--for about how many years was he--did he have to be carried before he died? CALDWELL: Well, I don't know. He--he was very old when I--now, he didn't--he didn't live very long after I came here. DEATON: Um-hm. Did he ever say how old he was, or did he tell you how old he thought he was? CALDWELL: No, he never-- DEATON: Did he--did he tell you any stories about his life or things that he remembered early in his life? CALDWELL: No, he didn't. DEATON: Well, did any of his family live with him then? CALDWELL: No, he lived by hisself. Him and his grandson lived in the old house when we come here, and there was some hogs slept in one corner of the house part of the time when--and they were in this--in the other house, but the neighbors would carry food to him when we came here--before we came here and then, 'course, after we come in, we cleaned up all around the place and all as much as we could. DEATON: Um-hm. Well,-- CALDWELL: Back at that time there wasn't anything to kill fleas and chinches and so on with like there are now. The only thing that they had was hot water. We'd kill--we'd scald everything out as much as we could, and then we--there's a lot of [cribs?] around the house the hogs slept in, and the fleas stayed in that and we'd--destroyed 'em all there with fire as much as we could. DEATON: Did he ever say--did he work at anything, really, that he talked about during his life? Did he ever tell you any of that? CALDWELL: No, he never-- DEATON: Well, he took a trip to the state fair, I think, in Louisville one year. CALDWELL: Yeah, there was some people that came here and got him and took him to the state fair. DEATON: Do you know who made the arrangements to do that? CALDWELL: No, I don't. DEATON: Is there anything here now about his trip there? CALDWELL: There's an old coat hanging over there in the old house that he wore there and back. DEATON: Did he say anything about that trip or-- CALDWELL: Well, he said that they gave an awful lot of money but he didn't know what went with it. DEATON: Um-hm. Hmm. For going down and being there? CALDWELL: Yeah. DEATON: Oh, so he didn't actually have the money himself when he got home? CALDWELL: I never seen it. DEATON: Yeah. Did he talk about what he did while he was there or anything that he did at the state fair? CALDWELL: Well, he said something about going up in an airplane. DEATON: Did he enjoy that? CALDWELL: Said he did. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, is there anything else that--that you would like to talk about that we haven't--that I haven't asked you about or anything that--that you think will be important for the history of the area that we haven't talked about? CALDWELL: You mean about old man Shell? DEATON: Yeah, about him or anything else around the area. CALDWELL: Well, he was a--he was a very industrious man. He owned several thousand acres of land here at one time. And after his kids got grown, then he--he give it to them and they--they sold this land all out to big coal companies and--and when he died he didn't have a dime of anything. He was a pauper. And he--he was the most industrious man that's ever been here as far as I know. DEATON: Well, where is he buried at? CALDWELL: About two mile up on Laurel Creek here. DEATON: Is it a family cemetery or-- CALDWELL: Yes, sir. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, is there anything else about the history of the area that I haven't asked you about that you would like to talk about? CALDWELL: Well, I wouldn't know of anything else. DEATON: Okay. Well, thank you. CALDWELL: How's that? DEATON: Thank you. CALDWELL: Yeah. Yeah. [End of Interview] John Caldwell, a long-time resident of Leslie County, comments upon farming, logging, digging ginseng, raising bees and hunting rattlesnakes. He has had little experience of professional medical treatment and remarks upon local midwives. Caldwell owns the farm formerly belonging to John Shell, who reputedly died at the age of 131.