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1978-07-31 Interview with Frank Bowling, July 31, 1978 FNS001:1978OH147 FNS 07 02:10:35 Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Frontier Nursing Service, Inc. Rural health services Frank Bowling ; interviewee Dale Deaton; interviewer 1978OH147_FNS007_Bowling 1:|15(10)|31(8)|41(3)|57(3)|73(1)|84(2)|95(9)|101(4)|114(3)|124(9)|134(13)|148(2)|161(3)|174(12)|188(9)|197(6)|203(4)|213(4)|219(3)|230(2)|245(2)|259(7)|270(2)|283(13)|297(2)|306(2)|317(1)|327(9)|337(9)|343(16)|354(7)|375(4)|389(5)|405(2)|419(8)|432(9)|443(8)|452(10)|463(5)|473(2)|491(3)|499(9)|507(5)|525(10)|542(4)|555(2)|569(12)|583(4)|611(3)|624(4)|640(5)|651(11)|664(12)|678(7)|690(5)|699(4)|710(10)|725(8)|737(10)|749(4)|764(5)|779(7)|789(13)|796(2)|811(2)|834(3)|840(3)|855(1)|872(11)|882(5)|892(5)|911(1)|928(9)|936(12)|953(7)|967(6)|981(8)|989(1)|1001(5)|1012(4)|1023(9)|1036(5)|1055(13)|1077(5)|1091(14)|1101(13)|1116(2)|1126(11)|1149(9)|1163(7)|1174(6)|1194(9)|1204(4)|1212(3)|1220(11)|1232(5)|1245(9)|1260(4)|1274(13)|1292(8)|1306(8)|1319(2)|1332(4)|1343(2)|1357(5)|1373(12)|1386(2)|1397(3)|1410(4)|1421(11)|1435(4)|1458(8)|1470(6)|1481(12)|1495(2)|1509(2)|1520(3)|1535(10)|1552(2)|1568(11)|1587(6)|1594(5)|1615(6)|1639(9)|1650(13)|1661(9)|1674(4)|1686(2)|1697(3)|1708(3) audiotrans FNSColl interview DEATON: This is an interview with Mr. Frank Bowling for the Oral History Project, Frontier Nursing Service, by Dale Deaton at approximately 9: 00 a.m., on 31 July, 1978. [Interruption in taping] DEATON: Well, let's begin with that, about planting to the sign of the moon and all. What's the best way to--what are the signs that you plant your garden by? BOWLING: Well, if you want tall stuff, plant it on the new of the moon. And if you want your stuff not to grow so tall, well, plant it on an old moon. If you want your potatoes to grow deep in the ground, you plant it in--plant 'em in the old moon. And if you don't, come toward the top of the ground and plant 'em on the new of the moon. I prefer planting 'em on the new moon myself. I think you have better potatoes. DEATON: Do you know how those beliefs got started, Frank? BOWLING: Well, I guess I inherited that from older people, my daddy and mother and so forth, and then experienced it out. DEATON: I think just about everybody that does that finds that it--that it works to some extent usually. BOWLING: I definitely know about planting on the old and new of the moon because I experienced it out. DEATON: Um-hm. Have you lived along the Redwood River all of your life? BOWLING: I was born and raised down here on Big Creek about a mile away, and since 1937 I've lived right here in this vicinity. I first moved here in nineteen and thirty-seven. My house was on the opposite side of the road, a short distance up the road here. And the nineteen and forty-seven flood washed it down the road, right across the road here, lodged against the telephone pole and I moved it across where it is now. DEATON: Oh! Well, when you were a young man, what did you first begin working at here? BOWLING: What did I first begin working at? DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: First work I ever remember doing was plowing two mules. Well, I guess that'd be the second work. First work I ever remember doing that I got any pay for was building a fire and sweeping a big schoolroom for one nickel a day. DEATON: Ah! BOWLING: And I had to do a good job or someone would take my job. And the next work I remember doing was plowing two mules down here in these Big Creek bottoms for twenty-five cents a day. And I mean you worked from sunup to sundown. DEATON: Hmm. About what year was that, do you remember? BOWLING: I guess I was around ten or twelve years old, and I was born July the sixteenth, nineteen and one. I'm seventy-seven years old the sixteenth day of this month. I was just big enough to hold a plow handle. DEATON: Did most people begin to work about the same age then? BOWLING: I'd say they did. The majority of 'em did. 'Course there- -there's always been a few that didn't work, that never did work, and don't work now. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, was there a school available when you were growing up? BOWLING: There was but I didn't get to go much because I had to work at--at home. I grew up in a family with fourteen children. Seven boys and seven girls. And we had to work as we grew up or--or starve. But our daddy's--our daddy and mother grew us up to work, and I--I don't regret it. We all had to work. DEATON: Um-hm. Do you know where your ancestors came from before they moved into Kentucky? BOWLING: I was led to believe the Bowlings came out of Virginia. My mother was a Hacker and--and the Hackers were part Roberts', and I just don't know where these old Big Creek Roberts' come from but they reach way back. I guess they was the first settlers on Big Creek. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, as far as you know, were the--were most of them English descent? BOWLING: As far as I know they was. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, let's go back to the work a little bit. What did you move up to after you completed the plowing? BOWLING: Well, I remember working in the log woods about the time I got pretty well grown. And in nineteen and twenty-one, I got a job in a surveying crew as a helper. We was working for Peabody Coal Company then. And in nineteen and--March, 1923, Ford bought Peabody's holding in this country out,-- DEATON: This was Henry Ford? BOWLING:--yes, sir, and I still stayed on and worked for Ford. And in nineteen and twenty-five, I took my first party out--surveying party out on my own, and since nineteen and twenty- five I've surveyed some, more or less, everyday since. DEATON: Well, doing the survey you traveled most of this area, didn't you? BOWLING: Most of my work has been in southeastern Kentucky in Clay, Leslie, Harlan, Perry, Letcher and Bell counties. The principal part of it in Clay and Leslie counties. DEATON: Well, most of this territory, this land here now that belongs to the U.S. Forestry Service, that was at one time a part of Ford or Peabody. Do you know the--the different companies that owned that land before it was turned over to the federal government? BOWLING: There was so many, I don't guess I could name all of 'em, but the first company that bought any of this land was in eighteen and ninety, a company name of E.H. Patterson, Trustee. It changed hands different times up to till it come to Ford. Kentucky Coal Lines Company, G.F. Stearns Land & Lumber Company, and it changed hands different times till it got up to Peabody, and Peabody to Ford. DEATON: So Henry Ford bought all of his land here from Peabody? BOWLING: He bought all that Peabody had, but after he bought from Peabody, why, they bought several tracts from the citizens. DEATON: Well, did Ford have any--anyone on his land that sort of watched it for him or that rented the property from him, so to speak? BOWLING: They had a lot of tenants. At one time, I think they put out three hundred and sixty-some odd farm leases, and the most of that number lived on their land. DEATON: How much did those people pay for--for that lease or for the rent? BOWLING: A lot of 'em didn't pay anything. They wasn't able to. And some would pay a dollar, and I don't remember of any paying over fifty dollars a year. Most of the leases was from year-to- year basis. DEATON: Um-hm. Did--did you ever hear any reasons as to why Henry Ford came down here and bought that land? BOWLING: It was always my understanding that he bought it for the hickory timber on it. Back then they was making hickory spokes in the Ford automobiles, and it was always my understanding he bought it for the hickory timber on it. But as far as I know, they never did use any of the hickory in this country. DEATON: Do you have any idea how much Ford had to pay for the land? BOWLING: I don't know what--what they paid for it. DEATON: What was--about the general--they bought the--Ford bought that in 1923? BOWLING: In March, 1923. DEATON: You remember what--about the average price that land sold for an acre in this area? BOWLING: Well, back then you could buy land for--from two dollars to five dollars a acre in--in the '20s. DEATON: Well, in--about what was the average wage during that same time? BOWLING: Ford done the biggest part in the surveying in this country after they bought the land up until about nineteen and twenty-eight or '29. And they paid their help around a dollar and a half or $1.75 or two dollars per day. I've surveyed all day for three dollars and a half per day. DEATON: So a person could buy an acre of land sometimes for about what he made in one day's work? BOWLING: That's right. DEATON: Was--was most of the land available for sale or did the people that owned it usually want to keep it? BOWLING: A lot of it was available for sale. 'Course a lot of it wasn't. Back in the early days, people wanted to keep their level land and their good hillside land for farming purposes. You had to make corn then--grow corn to feed your oxens and milk cows, your hogs and so forth. You had to have corn then in the early days--in my early days. DEATON: Well, part of the work that you did with them--Chris Queen was Ford's manager in here, wasn't he? BOWLING: He--he was for--for several years. He was--when I started working in 1921 as a helper under Peabody, he was the field manager at that time. And a fellow by name of E.H. [Mohl?] was the general manager, and E.H. [Mohl?] left in nineteen and twenty-five and a fella by name of Pucketts followed him for some two or three years as manager. And then Mr. Queen followed Mr. Pucketts in the late '20s, I'd say, and was manager up until he left here. He must have left here about nineteen and fifty-six. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, when the Depression hit the United States in the-- in the 1930s, what type of an--of an effect did that have on the logging industry and the general work around this area, the people? BOWLING: Nineteen and thirty and '31, there--there just wasn't any work around here to do. My work, I would just get a day every now and then when something was awful necessary to do. That was back when I was making about three dollars and a half a day surveying. I heard an old man say in nineteen and thirty or '31 by the name of Levi Bowling--I lived on [Lewis?] Creek at that time. I've often thought about what he said. He come down and wanted a bushel of corn from me. And he says, "I'll let you pasture your cows the rest of the year up on my pasture." He says, "I'm seventy-seven years old and this is the hardest year that ever struck me." DEATON: Ah! Now, was that mainly because of the Depression, or was that during the drought, the dry spell? BOWLING: Well, the Depression followed the dry spell that we had here in this country. As well as I remember, the--the winter of nineteen and twenty-nine and nineteen and thirty, we didn't have any tide in Red Bird to run our rafts on. And they all laid over on the river banks and that was the last rafting in Red Bird River. DEATON: Hmm. Did you ride rafts down any time? BOWLING: I have, yeah. DEATON: Where did you--where did they go from here? BOWLING: To--back when--when I rode 'em out of here, we--we took 'em to Beattyville. But I have heard my father and other old people talk about taking 'em to Frankfort. DEATON: Um-hm. Do you know which companies that they sold the logs to in Frankfort? BOWLING: I remember a company name of Mulberry & Robinson buying a lot of logs that they'd take to Beattyville, and the Belle Point Lumber Company also. Mulberry & Robinson and that Belle Point Lumber Company, I believe, was about all the people that bought logs back in the early days in this country. DEATON: Um-hm. Hmm. What was the diameter of some of that early ti--- was that the virgin timber growth they were cutting out then? BOWLING: Most of it was. DEATON: What was the diameter of some of the larger trees at that time? Let's start with the walnuts. About--what were some of the largest walnut trees that were in here? BOWLING: I'd say a lot of the walnuts run up to thirty inches in diameter. And poplar, I have saw a lot of virgin poplar in the head of Red Bird up here. It--it must have been, oh, six--six or seven foot in diameter, a lot of it. DEATON: Um-hm. Hmm. BOWLING: I remember in nineteen and twenty-one, we were surveying in Blue Hole Creek in--in a holler by name of Bear Water. It run into the lefthand fork of Blue Hole Creek. I remember us belting a poplar tree, it belted in circumference thirty-three feet around, which would have been eleven foot through it in diameter. That was the biggest tree I remember seeing. DEATON: Um-hm. Hmm. Now, how did they get those out of the woods, down to the river to--to tie them to rafts? Did they tie trees that big into the rafts? BOWLING: Well, I--I doubt it if a tree that big was--was ever put into a raft. I don't remember ever seeing one that big but I saw some big logs in--in rafts. But none that big. Back when they done this rafting, you--you had to get the prime timber, clear of knots and good straight timber. DEATON: Well, the trees--those large trees that were in the woods, how did they get them from the--from the--in the heads of the creeks down to ship them out? BOWLING: In my early days, logging was all done with cattle, oxens in this country. I remember when my dad would have a couple yoke of oxen all the time to log with, and that was the way he helped raise us children with them oxen logging every fall when he'd make his crop. DEATON: Do you remember about the price that the people got for--for that timber? BOWLING: I don't remember too much about that. I--I remember when you could buy big choice trees for a dollar a tree. DEATON: Hmm. Well, when most of those people were logging out that virgin timber, did they actually own it or was that company owned trees and they were working for the companies? BOWLING: Most of that timber was owned by the citizens. The companies-- some of the early companies would sell some timber, but--but Ford didn't sell his--their timber up until--after World War II. They sold some veneer and poplar through World War II was the first timber I remember them selling. They seemed to need it in the war awful bad to make something and--and after World War II ended, why, timber got up to a pretty good price and Ford began to sell their timber. DEATON: Um-hm. During the Depression here, was there very much influence by the federal government on the people? Did--do you remember when the federal government started giving out food to the people and public assistance and all of that? BOWLING: I do. That started--they started giving out a little food under [Herbert] Hoover, President Hoover. I believe believe he went out about 1931, and they started giving you a little meal and flour out under him. And President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt come in 1932 as well as I remember, and--and they had a big food giveaway program started under him. It's--that program's been increased ever since. Every president who'd come in would increase it a little and made a lot of sorry people in our country. DEATON: Well, the--the people that first started getting that in the 1930s, do you think--in this area, do you think most of them actually needed the food? BOWLING: They needed it then. And Roosevelt had a--brought a W.P.A. [Works Progress Administration] program in and--in and it was a lot of help to people, but you had to work for your money. People was glad to get it and work for it. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, during the W.P.A. program and--and the--the others that Roosevelt's administration implemented, is that when most of the roads were built in this area, when electricity came in? BOWLING: We didn't have many roads up until nineteen and--you take Kentucky 80 and U.S. 421 from Hyden to Manchester. It was started around the early '30s, and it must not have got completed all the way from Hyden to Manchester until about 1934-35. Thirty- four, I'd say. And these 3-C [Civilian Conservation Corps] roads we called 'em, why, they first built one up Red Bird here and a lot of places where we never had no roads. They was a lot of help. And then they give--give people work. You had to work for it what they put out then, if you was able. DEATON: Well, there--do you remember any cars being in here before then? Th---when was the first--the first time that you saw your first automobile? BOWLING: I guess the first automobile that I saw maybe went right up Big Creek, and I was very small. We used to have carnival shows that'd go through in wagons and--and the--the first car I remember seeing was along with one of them. First train I remember seeing was at London, Kentucky. That was back when I was making a quarter a day plowing, and--and I saved up enough money to go with my dad to London. Back then you hauled your goods from London in a wagon and that was my purpose of going with him, to see a train. DEATON: Is that right? BOWLING: And I got to see a train while they was loading the wagon. Back then you loaded on this side of where the present railroad is there at London. While they was loading them wagons, I walked down to the railroad track, and about the time I got down there, I saw a train come. DEATON: You did? BOWLING: I thought it was aiming to run over me. (laughter) I got to see one just in a few minutes after I got there. DEATON: Do you remember what you thought about it? BOWLING: Well, I thought it was the longest, biggest thing I ever saw, and it looked like it was running right at me. I got out of the way, way back up--back then, there was a little--right smart hill leading down to the railroad track there at London, and--but the railroad track is where it always was. But--but you loaded your wagons with your groceries, oh, back up about three hundred foot this side of the first railroad track. We stayed all night. Back then it'd take you about three days to make that trip. [Interruption in taping] BOWLING: We left here in the morning and we went out. Took us all day to get out eight or ten mile this side of London. We stayed all night with an old man by the name of Bowman Smith. And the reason I remember it so well, he wouldn't charge me nothing. He said, "I won't charge that boy nothing." (laughter) And, of course, that pleased me. I didn't have very much money, you know. DEATON: You would have been what, about eleven or twelve then? BOWLING: I'd say I was around--not over twelve years old. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: There was--they'd--four or five wagons would get together so they could help each other. The roads was awful bad when--with all the mud holes they'd have to double up and pull each other through them mud holes. And the--the two old fellers that paid me the quarter a day for that plowing was along. Old Uncle John Roberts and old Uncle Pharis Roberts. Old Uncle Pharis was a Civil War veteran and he always drawed a little pension and I used to work for him a lot. Lived close to him, get in on that little pension money. DEATON: Yeah. Well, I--well, I assume he was on the Union side if he was drawing a pension? BOWLING: Yeah. Yeah, he was a Union soldier. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, what types of supplies did you buy at London? What did most people have to buy from the stores then? BOWLING: Back then there's some three or four wagons along. I remember an old man name of Wiley Spur---Spurlock lived around on Big Creek. They'd go and maybe take 'em a load of chickens and swap 'em to groceries. You'd--you'd buy you a barrel of flour and maybe a sack of sugar and salt. They'd call it " to make a crop on." And about everybody that could would--would go to London and get 'em a wagonload of stuff "to make a crop on." Take chickens and--and swap 'em to buy flour and stuff that they'd need. DEATON: About how often did they make--did people make a trip to London? BOWLING: Well, you--you'd just make one every year along in the spring or early summer. The farmers would. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: But the merchants would--would go oftener than that. I remember back in my early days when I was young, seeing eight and ten wagons in a row going up Big Creek. That was before the railroad come up North Fork River. People all back in Leslie County, Cutshin and that country would haul their goods from London. And as a I say, they'd--they'd all go in bunches so they could help each other. DEATON: Well, you talked about the one man that you worked for being a veteran of the Union Army. Did you know anyone in this area that was a veteran of the Confederate Army? BOWLING: Old Man General Garrard was a general. He was an awful Democrat. He--he lived over at Gar---Garrard, Kentucky. DEATON: That meant--that's just this side of Manchester, isn't it? BOWLING: Yeah, about a couple miles this side of Manchester. I don't remember seeing him, but I was with one of his boys a lot, Ed Garrard? E.G. Garrard? Back in the '30s, him and Ford owned a big tract of land over in Clay County in partnership at--on Mill Creek, Goose Creek. And they decided to dissolve the partnership and I was--was with Old Man Garrard a lot through that land deal. E.G. Garrett, he was an awful fine man. My grandfather, Frank Hacker, told me that old General Garrard was one of the best men that he ever fooled with in his life. DEATON: Hmm. BOWLING: He said that General Garrard got on the federal grand jury. Said back then you had to go to--to Frankfort. That--that that was the closest federal court they had. And said he got him to come and take care of his [crops?] while he was gone. And said he called his horse and led it up to the block for him to get up on it, and said he got on his horse and rode off a little piece and turned around and come back. He said, "This is an awful hard time on people." Said back then they'd come from Tennessee and Virginia and West Virginia and around Garrard to get corn for their meal and salt. They had a lot of salt works around Garrard up and down Goose Creek back then. And said old General Garrard told him, says, "If anybody comes here now that's-- that's got money, take 'em in and keep them all night and let 'em go somewheres else and get their salt and corn." Said, "Anybody comes here that ain't got money, well, take 'em in and keep 'em all night and give 'em their corn and salt." DEATON: Hmm. BOWLING: He said he was one of the best men that he ever fooled with. And his son, Ed Garrard, always thought an awful lot of me because I was a half-Hacker. DEATON: Oh! BOWLING: My Granddad Hacker stayed with 'em a lot and worked a lot for 'em. DEATON: Yeah. Well, do you remember your grandfather or anyone telling you whether or not there were any slaves in this area before the Civil War? BOWLING: I don't remember. My grandfather I remember telling me anything about slaves, but a surveyor had to check a lot of records that--in his work and so forth. I remember checking a lot of records about slaves and so forth, and I remember one--one slave that--that stayed right around Big Creek here. Old Man Harm Marcum had her, and they used to live just up the road here about half a mile. Their house washed away in that 1947 flood. And we always called her "Nigger Matt". She was--she was a woman and old man Harm Marcum, I don't remember seeing him, but I do remember his wife, Sally Marcum. And I remember the slave--the old slave awful well. She was awful well- respected in this country. Everybody liked her. She'd go in and eat or stay with anybody she wanted to. She wore brogan shoes, what we called brogan shoes, and a belt around her dress. She'd always wear--back then you'd send wool off and have cloth made. We'd call it jeans. She mostly wore a jeans dress and a man's hat. And she'd always ride in the side saddle though. She'd--but--but she'd--she wanted to dress like a man and a woman both, seemed like. She'd--she'd wear a man's shoes and a belt around her dress, and a man--she always wore a big black hat, a man's hat. And she could plow. I always thought she could lay off a row of corn straighter than anybody I ever saw. And-- [End of Tape #1, Side #1] [Begin Tape #1, Side #2] BOWLING:--the Marcums always thought an awful lot of her. That--that old lady, Aunt Sally, she--Matt stayed and took care of her as long as she lived. And I've always understood if you went there after anything, Aunt Sally'd always say, "You have to see Matt." DEATON: Huh. BOWLING: And after Aunt Sally passed away, why, that left Matt with no home. She went down to--to Aunt Sally's son, Petey Marcum, and stayed there until she died. DEATON: Where did he live? BOWLING: He lived down at Big Creek. His old house is still standing. DEATON: Did you know of any other slaves in this area? BOWLING: That was the only one that I ever was acquainted with around here, but according to the Clay County records, there was a lot of slaves. About all them old early settlers that had much land, the Gilberts and Bates' and--and Garrards and so on, had--all had slaves. Whites and--but--but they'd always take care of them slaves in their will. DEATON: Hmm. How did--did most of them make about the same provisions for their ex-slaves in the wills? BOWLING: They--they'd always take care of 'em for their--in their will. Old Gilbert used to live up Red Bird here three or four mile, they seemed to have had a lot of slaves back then but I don't remember seeing them. Back in the early days, you didn't run around like you do now. You didn't go far away from home back then, a youngster didn't. DEATON: About what year did Matt die? Do you remember how old she w---or about what year she died? BOWLING: She must have been dead about thirty years. She didn't like a colored person. Old Man Phil took her down the Blue Grass to see some of his children, and I've always understood that back then, you know, they'd--they'd have colored coaches for the colored people to ride in. And she wouldn't ride in with the colored people, that she had to ride in with the white people. DEATON: Oh! BOWLING: She--she didn't have no use for a colored person at all. DEATON: Huh! BOWLING: I remember she come down Big Creek to the store, to Henry Marcum's. That's--that's back in the same family. And Henry would joke her about colored people. She'd shove him all over that store. (laughter) Old Man Johnny lived across the river here. That was Aunt Sally's son, and Brother Phil. He had a colored--an old colored fella that took up with him. He--his name was Reuben. He was going through on one of them show wagons that had turned over over here on the Buffalo Hill with him and broke his leg. He went on and got patched up and come back crippling through here, and he--he took up with Old Man Johnny just right across the river over here. And he stayed there several years and Henry would joke her about Reuben. (laughs) DEATON: Oh! BOWLING: She wouldn't like that at all. (laughter) She--she'd--she'd say, "[gunny-hand-me?]." Use the word "[gunny- hand-me?]." And she--she was a church person. She liked to go to church. She was an old hard shell. She'd go to all them old hard shell meetings. DEATON: [Gunny-hand-me?]? BOWLING: Yeah, she'd use the word "[gunny-hand-me?]. DEATON: Well, what did that mean? BOWLING: Well, that'd--that'd--it'd just take the place of a cuss word, I guess. DEATON: Yeah? BOWLING: She'd always say that when she'd shove Henry. "[Gunny-hand- you?]." (laugh--Deaton) I can't say that slaves was treated bad. She sure wasn't. DEATON: Um-hm. Hmm. Well, what type of work did she do mostly, do you remember? BOWLING: Farm. DEATON: Uh-huh. BOWLING: Ever since I knew her she--she'd always farm every summer. DEATON: Did most of the women in the area do about the same type of work that she did? BOWLING: Well, most of the women that was raised up in this country had to hoe corn. I saw very few white women maybe plow a little in the bottom. But--but she would plow every--every year. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, what did people do for social activities in those early days? Did they get together with dances or corn- hoeings or whatever? BOWLING: Well, I remember when they'd have corn-hoeings and maybe have a dance that night. We'd call 'em "frolics" back then. That--that was about the only social activities there was around, back in my early days, was a dance. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, exactly what was one of those dances like? Were they kind of wild as we'd described 'em now or-- BOWLING: No. People wouldn't like--back then they--they would--always wanted 'em a dram around them dances, but everything was quiet. You didn't have this foolish stuff back then that--that you have to put up with now. They'd--they'd always want a dram at them dances, but they- -they was quiet, and I've been to dances that would go on all night till daylight and not a loud word spoken. Everybody'd have enough to drink and it'd just make 'em feel good and have a big time. DEATON: Um-hm. Did the people here--did most of 'em make what they drank? BOWLING: I remember when they'd go to Middlesburg and get red whiskey, government whiskey, and Middlesburg finally dried up and then--they've always made whiskey up until the last few years. The--there's very little whiskey that I know of being made around this section. But it used--used to be an awful bad place for making whiskey in this country. I guess the reason of it is the ones that made it back yonder so much is dead, and these young ones are too sorry to make it. Making whiskey, I guess, is a pretty hard job. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, there's a lot of preparation for it, isn't there? BOWLING: Lot of preparation and then you've got to carry and--and--and lay out and everything else. I've understood making whiskey's a hard job, and--and I bet it is. DEATON: Well, from what you understand about it, what all is involved in--in making homemade whiskey? BOWLING: Well, you first have to sprout your corn. They call it "malt corn" to go in it. And you'd have to have your meal. Back in the early days, they didn't use sugar in it, but they got to putting sugar in it to--to get a better yield. And they'd put it in them barrels and they'd put that malt on in it and put it 'em barrels and let it sour and work for several days till it "quit working", they called it. It was worked off and ready to run, and then they'd go and run it maybe. Take 'em all night and maybe a day or something. If they'd have a-- more barrels than one, maybe it'd take 'em two or three nights. DEATON: Hmm. Well, do you remember--did most of 'em use what they made or did they sell it? BOWLING: Most of 'em would sell it and--and--and, of course, they'd use a lot of it. Very few of 'em would--would make it just for their own use, but most of 'em would use--use a lot of it and then sell most of it. They'd need the money out of it. DEATON: About what could--did they sell it for, for a quart or a gallon? BOWLING: Well, I can remember back when in places you'd get whiskey for two dollars--maybe two dollars a gallon. And it was higher in some sections than it was in others. I remember back around here, maybe you'd have to pay about eight dollars a gallon. But you'd get back in the Greasey section or the Coon Creek section of Leslie County and get it for about two dollars a gallon. DEATON: Hmm. Well, were there many churches throughout this area when you were growing up, Frank? BOWLING: Not too many. The first churches I remember up around here was old--these old "hard shell Baptist", what we call them now. Then I remember First [Holiness?] Church I ever saw was at Hazard. That must have been, oh, about fifty-five or sixty years ago. I--I was barely grown then. And it drifted from there into this country then, [Holiness?] Church people did. But the first churches I remember up around here was these old hard shell Baptist people. DEATON: Well, at that time, do you believe that most people went to church, or did very--you know, very few go? BOWLING: Well, most of--of the old people would go to church back then. Maybe you wouldn't have church at the churches maybe once a month or--about once a month. I remember when you'd--they'd have--just have churches around, them old hard shell Baptists, maybe about once a month. DEATON: Did they usually meet in someone's home? BOWLING: I've saw 'em meet under beech trees. Have associations, what they call association up here in the head of Red Bird. 'Course they'd come from a wide section, maybe three or four or five counties. That's back in horseback days and--and them old Baptist people would ride them horses and--to them associations. They'd have one every fall. I remember 'em having one up there in the head of Red Bird under beech trees. Sat on fence rails. You could hear them old preachers. They'd have voices just like a lion. You could hear their voice ringing against them mountains just like a freight train hollering. (laugh- -Deaton) DEATON: Well, usually would--how long would the service last when they would held--hold it like that under the trees? BOWLING: Well, they--they'd--they'd usually have 'em most of the day. But they--they been--wouldn't have no night service back then. They- -they didn't believe in night service, them old Baptist people didn't. They'd--it was an all-day service. All the services in daylight. DEATON: Hmm. Well, did they have several people that preached a sermon? BOWLING: They'd usually have two or three. They'd--they'd--they'd always have over one at them associations especially. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, do you feel--have you got any opinion about whether most of the people who went to those, went there for the religious aspects or as much for the social aspects? BOWLING: Well, to my opinion, that relig---religious aspect was their main cause and, 'course, the social aspect come in there. They--they was always glad to see each other, them old people was. Maybe one feller'd have to take care of twenty horses and mules through them associations. Turn 'em out in a horse lot in fields. DEATON: And what, did everyone that came bring food for the noon- day meal? BOWLING: Well, the ones that lived around the community would furnish the food. Some of 'em would come, maybe, thirty or forty mile to them associations. 'Course they wouldn't bring no food, but the people around in the community where they had the associations would always furnish food. Back then, there was plenty of sheep and they'd have plenty of mutton, sweet potatoes and stuff like that. They'd cook them sweet potatoes in that mutton. Well, if you didn't have mutton back then, why, you didn't have nothing to eat. DEATON: What--what was the reason for that? They didn't kill hogs or-- BOWLING: Well, they'd have them associations in the summertime and--and sheep--sheep are small. They'd just kill it and eat it up. Cook it all up at one time maybe. Back then we didn't have electricity in this country. Our electricity didn't come in here till in the '40s. During World War II it come around here. DEATON: Well, I notice that--well, there--there were very few people here that keep sheep now or--or could have mutton. Do you--have you thought about that any? Any reason for it? BOWLING: Yes. Yes, I have. There--there are very few people that keep sheep now around here. Used to, everybody--most the people that raised families would have 'em a gang of sheep. I remember back when I was young, my dad would have thirty and forty sheep in any time. If you want to eat a mutton, just go out and get one and kill it, cook it up and--so it would keep. There's so many of us, we'd eat one up pretty quick. DEATON: Yeah. (laughs) BOWLING: But we'd have sheep just anytime you'd want it when I was young. Mutton was the main--was a special meal back then. DEATON: Well, why did the--why, do you think quit keeping them? BOWLING: Well, I--I guess the old dogs got to killing 'em so bad was one reason that they quit. Got so many old dogs killed our sheep. Now they just keep what they can keep in the pasture. Back then, they'd- -they'd be on the mountain. Mountains are full of old dogs now. You couldn't keep sheep in the mountains now. DEATON: Hmm. Well, with you living on this river most of your life, what were years that the major floods hit Red Bird River people? BOWLING: The worst flood that we ever had in Red Bird, according to older people than I am, was in 1947. Twenty-eighth day of June, 1947. And--and we had one in nineteen and fifty-seven, but it lacked about two feet of getting up to the '47 flood. Nineteen forty-seven was the worst in--in--that I remember of. And 1957 was--was the next worst. Old Man Phil Marcum was living in '47, and he was raised right up the road here and--and I was talking to him after my house washed away across the road here about building there, and people letting me build there and--and--and never said nothing to me about a flood. He--he said to me, "I scarcely saw the water over that bottom one time ------ ----(??) before." And I guess it was five or six feet over it. I had a little [warm?] house up there at the back of my--where this house set. It's still there and there's a big thirty- inch stave block lodged on top of it. Was laying there after the flood went down. DEATON: Well, immediately after that flood, did the Red Cross or any government agency come in and help people with food and clothing? BOWLING: Red--Red Cross did. DEATON: Uh-huh. Did they get to most of the people that were affected by the flood? BOWLING: Well, I'd say they done a good job. They--they tried to help- -tried to help people all they could, looked like. But there was so many that they--they just had to get to 'em when they could as--as they could. But I'd say they done an awful good job, especially around here. [Interruption in taping] DEATON: We were talking about the people that you knew or had heard about that had been Civil War veterans. And before we talk about them, let's talk about these people that moved in this--first to start-- BOWLING: I've thought of some more-- DEATON:------------(??). BOWLING:--Civil War veterans,-- DEATON: Okay. BOWLING:--while we're on that. I'd--I'd like to mention 'em. Right around in the immediate country, now, I'm talking about. Wiley Collett, I remember him. Knew him. Alec [Dale?], I remember him. Knew him. And Pharis Roberts, I remember him well. Worked for him, knew him. John Couch, I remember him well. Well acquainted with him. And it's my understanding he served as magistrate in Leslie County for about forty years. And Old Man Willie Eversole, he lived up in--on [Woolie?] Fork of Caney Fork of Howell's [Fork?]. But I don't--never did see him. But these others, I knew 'em. DEATON: Well, did they--did you ever talk with any of 'em about--about the Civil War and their--what they remembered about it, or did they talk about it very much? BOWLING: They--they--I just don't remember talking to 'em about the war. They must not have talked about it like these boys that gets in these wars now. Now them was all right around in the immediate country here. DEATON: What--where--who were the others that you heard about or knew that didn't live in the Red Bird area but were Civil War veterans? BOWLING: I've understood there's some Morgans over in Leslie County, up on Stinnett Creek. Two or three of them old Morgans was in the Civil War. And it's always been my understanding Old General Garrard over here at Garrard Station was a general in the Civil War. He was a--he was an awful Democrat, Old General Garrard was. DEATON: Yeah? BOWLING: His--his family was. I knew--I was acquainted with two of his sons, Ed and [Tole?] Garrard. Old Man Morgan ----------(??). He always called 'em rebels, the Democrats. He was a terrible rebel. He called hisself a rebel. DEATON: Uh-huh. Are there some others that you heard about? BOWLING: Well, right off--I--I missed Bill Bowling. DEATON: Uh-huh. Is he an ancestor of yours? BOWLING: Well, we're probably some kin. As far as I know, all the Bowlings came from one man, John Bowling. Yeah, my--I missed Old Man Bill Bowling. I knew him well. He also had a nickname, "High Head". He was a big old straight man. Straight as a stick. DEATON: Did any of those people--we talked about the one slave before, did any of those people own slaves that you knew about? BOWLING: The only slave that I personally knew about was Old Man Harm Marcum that lived up about a quarter mile up the road here. I think we mentioned that the other day. She--her name was Matt. I knew her well. DEATON: As far as you know, how were the slaves in this area treated? Did they do about the same work that--that their owners did? BOWLING: I know she was treated as--as good as any white person around here. She could go in anybody's house and she was--anytime she wanted to, stay all night. She was well-respected and everybody liked her awful well. These Marcums used to have stores around Big Creek down here. I remember she'd come to the store with--maybe have a little basket of eggs or something and run out of money or--and she'd always just go around and get what she'd want. Nothing said about it, just a big joke out of it. DEATON: Yeah. Hmm. Well, when she came around and visited with other- -with white families, did--if she ate with 'em, did she eat at the same table with them? BOWLING: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, everybody at the same table. She stayed with white people so long, she didn't like black people. [Interruption in taping] DEATON: Now you said this slave didn't like black people at all? BOWLING: No, she didn't like black people. She never was used to being around 'em, I don't guess. She just didn't have no use for 'em. I've heard that some of the Marcums kidded her about black people and she'd shove 'em all over the store. (laughs) DEATON: Well, what eventually happened to her? Did she die here? BOWLING: She--yeah, she died here. Buried up there on the--I was led to believe she's buried on the [family?] Roberts cemetery, or Polly Marcum, one or the other down here. Might be Polly Marcum's. DEATON: Hmm. And she's the only slave that you knew--that you knew in here? BOWLING: Yeah. Only one that I ever remember seeing. DEATON: Yeah. Well, the early families that--that settled the Red Bird River, could you go over those again for me? They started-- BOWLING: I'll--I'll start at Big Creek. Big Creek was--was a Roberts section. An old family named of Pharis Roberts. It's always been my understanding he said he was--that right across from Big Creek post office, a little town they called [Bethany?]. And it's also been my understanding that he was the first settler on--on Big Creek. And he went up Big Creek about as far as the level land went. And then Old Man Harm Marcum, he--he seemed to took over from the mouth of Big Creek up to about--around Double Creek. Then there's a Ledford family, seems to took over from around Double Creek up to about Sugar Creek. And then the Gilbert family seemed to took over from about Sugar creek up to around Flat Creek, a little above Flat Creek. And then there seemed to have been finally of Bowlings that settled around Spring Creek and-- and they went up to about Katies Creek. DEATON: : Yeah. BOWLING: Old Man Dillon Asher seemed to took over and went to the head of Red Bird. DEATON: Now, this is the Dillon Asher that we have a copy of his will? BOWLING: Same one. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, in the will he--he leaves what he has to his children as well as his illegitimate children. Could you go over what you told me about the illegitimate children? BOWLING: It's always been my understanding that the illegitimate children was the most industrious children. They are the ones that--it's Asher Coal Mining Company now, located at--at Pineville. And it's always been my understanding that they was the most industrious of the others. DEATON: Now, the ill---the illegitimate children were the--the offspring of his wife's sister? BOWLING: That's--that's always been my understanding. DEATON: Uh-huh. And their names were Davis? BOWLING: That's always been my understanding. DEATON: And what--they claim to be related to the--the same Davis family that Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, was a member of? BOWLING: That's--that's my understanding. I've heard John Asher say that that's where they--that the Ashers, they didn't take that smartness after the Ashers, they took it after the Davis'. (laughs) That the Ashers didn't know too much. (laughs) DEATON: Well, did he tell you any other stories that you remember about his family or this area? BOWLING: Well, I've heard him talk so much I just can't (laughs) remember it all. John was a great talker. He had a good mind up until he died, and he was a smart man, John Asher was. DEATON: Did he remember very much about the early settlers either up on the Red Bird River area or in Leslie County? BOWLING: He--he knew the history of all of 'em, John did, and he was raised on the Middle Fork River at the mouth of Bad Creek at Laurel Branch? DEATON: Well, do you remember when you first got acquainted with the people with Frontier Nursing Service? You were working for Ford Lumber Company then, weren't you? BOWLING: Ford--Fordson Coal Company. I was--Lee Dixon and I was--in nineteen and twenty-eight, Lee Dixon and I, we had a--each had a surveying party over at Wendover. We was surveying out the Ford land there on Hurricane-Bowling Branch and--and we was boarding at Taylor Morgan's. He lived in the first bend just below Wendover, about a quarter of a mile below Wendover and he lived on the opposite side of the river from Wendover. And Miss Breckinridge knew that we was around there working, and she invited us over on the afternoon after we quit work. And we all went over and--and she was getting ideas of the proper place to build this, what we now call, Red Bird Center. And that was in nineteen and twenty-eight, and she--she got all of our ideas about the people and so forth, and she decided to build up here where it is now. DEATON: Had she been over here and looked around at the place before then, or do you know? BOWLING: I don't know. But that--that was my first time to ever get acquainted with Miss Breckinridge. I--I'd heard of her and knew of her before then, but that was my first personal acquaintance with her. DEATON: Well, go back--do you recall what you heard about her and how most people felt about her before--now, this--before you actually met her, what--what had you heard about her and what did you know about her? BOWLING: Well, everything that I'd heard about her was--was good but Miss Breckinridge was well respected in this section of country. Everybody looked up to her. She come in here and--and--and helped people when they couldn't help theirselves back yonder and--and everybody owed an awful lot to Miss Breckinridge. DEATON: Well, when you first met her, what kind of an impression did she make on you? What did she--what was her physical appearance and what type of impression did you have of her? BOWLING: Well, I--I thought she was the smartest woman that I ever talked to and--and I've always thought that of her. That she is the smartest woman that I've ever talked to. DEATON: Hmm. Did she give you the impression that she sort of ran the FNS like a ----------(??). Was she a really--a real strong leader with the FNS, or how--how do you see her with that? BOWLING: Well, she--well, I don't think anybody could have took her place. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, the--the land that this FNS Center is built on here was donated--was that given to the Frontier Nursing Service by Fordson Coal Company? BOWLING: It was. And it's always my understanding that Henry Ford's wife, Clara Ford, put up the money to build this center out here. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: Used to go by the name of Clara Ford Center, but late years it got changed off to Red Bird someway, I don't know why. DEATON: Well, were you involved with surveying the land for that center? BOWLING: No, I wasn't. I was out in the field working then. There was four or five of us surveyors out in the field working then, but a fella by the name of Clyde Wright and Paul Allen surveyed that lot off for 'em. They--they worked in the office. They was draftmen. And they seemed to come down and laid it off for 'em. DEATON: Well, now, did she form a--a Red Bird Committee? BOWLING: Yeah, there's always been a Red Bird Committee up here. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, what--they had the committee meetings about what, once a year or so that Mrs. Breckinridge came to? BOWLING: Yeah, once a year. DEATON: Uh-huh. BOWLING: Yeah. DEATON: Well, what type of meetings were they? Were they more or less social events or were they actually business meetings? BOWLING: Well, they--they was both, social and business. DEATON: Um-hm. What did they-- BOWLING: She was all business, Miss Breckinridge was. DEATON: Uh-huh. What would usually happen on--on the day of that meeting? Describe one of those early meetings for me. BOWLING: Well, she'd mostly do the talking and, 'course, she'd--she'd want other people to talk and get their ideas about things and so forth. She was an awful person to want to your idea about things, and she may not agree with you, but--but I always thought that was the way she'd decide things. Get everybody's idea and then take them back and get off to herself and think it over. You take this center out here. I don't think it could have been located any--in a better spot on account of the population. Double Creek up here was--'course a lot of people lived on it then. Elk Creek, a lot of people lived on it. And then Big Creek is close to--for a lot of 'em, Big Creek, then head of Hector over here used to come over here. I think it's an awful central located thing. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, what other dealings did you have with her? When you were surveying Wendover, was that property bought from Taylor Morgan or did he give that to FNS for Wendover? Do you know? BOWLING: I--I don't know about that. But I guess it's Mulberry & Robinson give them some of the Ford land around the back of the Wendover there? DEATON: Uh-huh. BOWLING: And--and later on, Ford give 'em the mineral on it. I--I believe that Mulberry & Robinson had bought the--the timber and surface from Ford, and--and after they logged it, I think--I was led to believe they give them the surface at back of them there at Wendover. DEATON: Um-hm. Hmm. Well, they opened this clinic in what year, 1929? BOWLING: 1929. DEATON: Well, before that was opened, what was the closest location of a doctor or a nurse to--to the Red Bird area? Would the closest doctor have been in Manchester? BOWLING: Manchester and--and Hyden. Doctors used to have to ride here from Manchester on horseback, and--and a few doctors has come all the way from Hyden over--around Big Creek section on horseback. DEATON: Hmm. Well, you--your children, were they all FNS babies, Frank? [End of Tape #1, Side #2] [Begin Tape #2, Side #1] BOWLING: All but one. My oldest one wasn't. DEATON: How many children-- BOWLING: Three. DEATON: Yeah? Well, have--how do you view the changes? Is there--is there much difference with Frontier Nursing Service now than the way it was when Mrs. Breckinridge was alive? BOWLING: Well, it's--it's different. 'Course, I guess all these changes in times might account for a lot of it, but it's not like it was when Miss Breckinridge was alive. DEATON: What do you see that's--that's different about it? BOWLING: The biggest (laughs) difference is when she was alive about everything was free, but it--it's not anymore. But the way times is, you know, you can't do things free now. DEATON: Yeah. Well, you told me a little story once before about the fella that you used to survey with, an old man, about when you gave somebody something to always charge 'em a little bit for it. Can you tell me that again? BOWLING: That was Old Man Ed Garrard. He--he was the son of Old General Garrard that I mentioned awhile ago. He and Ford owned a big tract of land in partners up on Goose Creek and the Mill Creek section, and they decided to dissolve the partnership. And Old Man Ed, he was representing himself and I was representing Ford, and we rode horses around over that land looking at it and--and seeing what we thought was good, what people didn't have fenced up and so forth. And he told me one day while we was out, says, "Bowling, you're a young man. Let me give you a little advice." Says, "When these old poor people comes around, you see, you have to help 'em. But," says, "make 'em do a little something. Cut up some wood or something. If you--if you don't need something," said, "make 'em--something done, make--make 'em cut up a little wood or something. Make 'em think they earned it." Says, "You can't keep it up." And says, "When you cut it off they be your worst enemies you got." And I thought about that a lot. I--I imagine the old man had the right idea about that. DEATON: Um-hm. So you think that maybe part of the problem with Frontier Nursing Service-- BOWLING: Well, I--I can see a lot of it. DEATON: Yeah. Uh-huh. Well, have you been on this committee since it's conception, since the beginning? BOWLING: No, not since the beginning. I've been on it, I guess, twenty year, twenty-five. DEATON: Do you remember all the nurses or the--some of the nurses who've been up here at this center? BOWLING: Well (laughing), there've been a lot. I believe about the first one I remember of was Miss [Edith] Matthams. Miss [Betty] Lester, I think, used to be up here some and, oh, there've been--I don't know the nurses that have been up here. I just couldn't name 'em all. Take me half a day, I guess, to jot 'em all down. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, is--is there any person or--that you know about that had an injury in this area that would probably have died or suffered really serious injury or consequences had it not been for the Frontier nurses up here? BOWLING: Well I--I can speak for myself. About two years ago I'd been out in the mountains with the government boys up here over in head of Elkhorn, and I got poisoned from something. I always thought it was- -maybe it was from a big black snake. We'd eat our lunch down there in the branch, side of the branch. I was leaning back on some leaves and- -and there was the biggest black snake I ever saw coming ----------(??) get right in my face. And by the time we quit that evening, I was--I was real sick. And we had our vehicle--four-wheel drive parked back up on top of the hill and--and I just couldn't make it up to it. They had to drive down an old mine road--an old abandoned mine road and finally got down there and picked me up. If they hadn't done that, I don't know how they'd ever got me out of there. And they brought me in here and--and my wife called a nurse and I'd done about went my limit and she come down here and give me a shot and straightened me up. Next morning I felt a little funny, but I was all right. And I had twelve stitches put in the top of my hand here up there by one of them nurses, three or four years ago--four or five years ago. I had a boy got burnt sixty percent of his body during World War II, and they kept him over there three months at Hyden before he got to come home. And I believe if he'd have been anywheres besides that, I don't believe he'd have made it. For they give him extra care. And I know the care he got over there, I don't believe he'd have got--he'd have gotten anywheres else. DEATON: How--how did he get burnt? What happened to him? BOWLING: He--he started burning some grease off his bicycle--chain on his bicycle and--and he dashed some gasoline on it and he set that grease afire and it jumped into the gasoline, set it afire, the can of gasoline. And all that hospital care, they didn't charge me one penny. DEATON: Hmm! Hmm. What--the people that live here and yourself, as far as you know, where did--who do most people believe was paying for all the medical care? Did they think that Mrs. Breckinridge was paying for all of it or where did they think the money was coming from? BOWLING: Well, they--it was kind of circulated around, you know, it'd been all donations and--and rich people give it to Miss Breckinridge to take care of us poor people. DEATON: Um-hm. Did--did any of the people in this area ever talk with you about how they felt about accepting free medical care or-- BOWLING: Well, yeah, the people appreciated it. Most of the people did at least. I remember during the World War II, you couldn't get a nurse or a doctor either around here. And my daddy fell off of a wagonload of hay and--and strained his hip, and we couldn't get a nurse or a doctor in, and this nurse up here named Miss Mac---[Minnie] Geyer. DEATON: What was her name? BOWLING: Geyer. Geyer. And she was an awful good nurse and--and Miss Breckinridge give her orders to-- [Interruption in taping] BOWLING: --that was the first penicillin that I ever knew of and he--he took the double pneumonia fever from that fall and I remember Miss Geyer would come down there all through the night to give him shots of that penicillin and so forth. DEATON: Um-hm. Now were they still using horses at that time? BOWLING: Yeah. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, has--the Public Health Department in Clay County, have they traveled up through here and given people shots or--or treatments? BOWLING: I think they do now. No, I won---I'll take that back. I--I never did know of them traveling around through here and giving shots, but you can go over there at the Health Clinic now in Manchester and they give you certain things. I think it's all free. DEATON: Um-hm, it is. Well, in the early years of the FNS, do you remember them treating people for worms and giving diphtheria shots and all of that? BOWLING: You mean the health people? DEATON: No, the--the FNS people. BOWLING: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, FNS people was all we had here for years. DEATON: But did the men in this local area build the clinic? I think the--the Ford family, Clara Ford, furnished the material. Did the local people build the clinic? BOWLING: It--the work was done by the local people but they got paid for it. DEATON: Um-hm. There wasn't--they didn't donate their time or-- BOWLING: No. DEATON: Do you know any of the people that--that worked on that? BOWLING: Roy Bowling and Oscar Bowling, they--they helped build it. Their daddy, Bill Bowling. Back then they was about the only carpenters around. And there was a bunch of Napiers, from head of Leatherwood Creek over at Perry County, done the stonework, but it wasn't free. As I say, it's my understanding Henry Ford's wife, Clara Ford, put up the money to build it. But--but I've known of a lot of free labor on the building. I've helped cover it a time or two myself and--. since that. DEATON: Well, is the Red Bird Committee now sort of getting rejuvenated a little bit and becoming a little more active in this Red Bird Center? What's going on with the committee now? BOWLING: Well, they--they're in a little bit--a little bit of everything. Right now we kindly decided to try to get another road up to it now. 'Course we put up a lot of signs and--oh, there's all the time something to do up there. Kind of like a home, you know. DEATON: Um-hm. Who are the people that live along in this area that go up there now and donate their time and work to the Center? BOWLING: Well, we don't do much labor donating right now, but we did put up them signs and--you know, people kindly got away from this free labor. Seems like they would rather give you a little money and let you hire somebody if you can than to go and work for you now. But used to, we'd have workers go up there. Have ten, fifteen of us. But I don't think you can do that now. DEATON: Hmm. What do you think is the difference? Why do you think it's changed? BOWLING: Well, too much prosperity and--and all these government programs has made people sorry. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, there's talk of building a new clinic building over here, a new FNS Center. How's that gonna--how do you think the people here feel about building a new center? BOWLING: Well, what I've heard talk about it, they--they really want it to stay right where it is, it's been there so long. And--and then, you know, it takes a lot of money to build now. And if they're in financial trouble now, how they gonna build a new center? And then you- -you can't get the land to build it on around here no way, in the first place. I just want to know where they're getting the land. DEATON: Is most of the property here--it's owned by the government now, isn't it? BOWLING: Yeah, a lot of it is. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, how do the people that live here, how do they view the future of this FNS Center here at Red Bird? BOWLING: Well, it looked like that we was about to lose it some few months ago, but looks a little better now. Just might stay for a while anyway. I think that people that--sick people begin to come around more now than they used to. We've got an awful good nurse up here now and-- DEATON: Susan Hull. BOWLING: Um-hm. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: But I never did fall out with none of the nurses myself. All we've had up here has been good and better, I'll put it that way. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, let's talk about the schools up through here. Were there--were there public schools available when you grew up as a young--young boy? BOWLING: When I grew up we had a public school down here at Big Creek. And there used to be a public school, oh, about a mile up the road here. The public schools was far and few between back when I grew up. DEATON: Um-hm. What was it like to go--when did you give--what was your--would be about the year that you first began school? BOWLING: I guess it was around 1907. DEATON: Um-hm. And about how far did you live from the school building? BOWLING: When I first started going to school we lived in what they call Spencer's Branch, about two mile up in it. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: But we later moved out of that branch close to the school. In my young days, you didn't have no trouble getting youngsters to go to school like you do now. They was glad to get to go to school to stay out of work. You'd rather went to school than to work about twelve or fourteen hours. DEATON: Well, what was it like in the one-room school? How did they set up the classes and so forth? BOWLING: Where I--what little I went to school down here at Big Creek, we had three--three big rooms. And, 'course, as well as I remember, all three of them big rooms was full. DEATON: Hmm. About how many people--do you--how many students do you think were there then? BOWLING: Oh, I guess fifty, sixty. DEATON: Um-hm. Do you remember the teacher? BOWLING: First teacher that I ever remember going to school to was Celia Marcum. And I remember going to school to Sally Marcum. Remember going to school to Pharis Roberts. That was the old war veteran's nephew. Tom Britton, Dan Hacker. But you had to obey the rules when I went to school. DEATON: What was the usual punishment? BOWLING: Most of 'em carried a strop of leather about two feet long. You didn't get too big for 'em to whip you either. DEATON: What usually constituted a whipping with that leather strap? BOWLING: Well, getting out and fighting around on the campus or--that was about all that I remember. The teachers would have to whip back when I went to school. Boys would get out and fight around there. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, how did--how were the classes set up? What did they teach and how were they set up? BOWLING: Well, one--one of them rooms would be maybe two or three grades, the other one two or three grades, and the other one two or three grades. They went up to eighth grade. DEATON: Um-hm. BOWLING: And I swept one of them big rooms and built a fire in it for a nickel a day. And I'd do a good job or somebody would took--take my job, too. DEATON: Uh-huh. How were they heated? Were they heated with a fireplace or a stove? BOWLING: A heating stove. Big heating stove. DEATON: Well, were you there most of the day? BOWLING: Yeah, as far as I remember, you--you--you'd go to school the biggest part of day--most of the day, not--not these short hours like they have now. DEATON: Uh-huh. Did most--did the people have to bring their own lunch? BOWLING: Yeah, you did. Yeah, you had--had to bring it in a bucket. Two cold potatoes or--and milk and bread or something like that. DEATON: Is that what most people brought to eat? BOWLING: Yeah, potatoes, milk, and bread. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, for a normal day's school, about what time did you have to leave home in the morning and about what time did you get home in the evenings? BOWLING: You'd have to leave pretty early, but I know in long days I'd have to rush back so I could go cow-hunting before dark. And they must have had longer school hours then than they do now. DEATON: So would you leave home around sunup or soon after, and get home close to dark? BOWLING: Well, in long days I know that I'd have to rush up in order to get back to hunt the cows. DEATON: Well, with the timber industry and all that up in here, the local people sort of, in the late 1800s, began to sell out their mineral and timber rights. Do you remember hearing them talk about that very much? BOWLING: Well, yeah, I remember a lot of these youngsters talk about their forefathers give the country away, but at the time they sold it, why, a lot of 'em would go out of here and buy 'em good farms. At--at the time they sold it, I guess they got a good price for it. DEATON: Yeah. Did you know--the people that you knew who sold their mineral and timber rights, do you remember any of them complaining about it, about the price they got for it or the way they were treated by the buyers? BOWLING: No. No, I don't. You know, the ones that really sold, I never did talk too much with none of them. Most of that--the biggest part of that selling and buying was around 1890. These old fellas was worried there was a land boom in this country and I've heard many one of 'em talk about the "land boom", they'd call it. That was around 1890 when the companies first come in here and began buying this land. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: 1889-90. DEATON: Well, most of the land that Ford ended up buying, was that out of the Asher family? BOWLING: Ashers used to own some of it, yeah. Yeah, Ashers used to own a lot of it. DEATON: Which were the--the land that Ford owned, which families were the ones that originally settled those areas or--or which families sold out to Ford, or the--or the people that Ford bought the land from? BOWLING: Back yonder in eighteen and ninety, you--you made your living in here then and--and these people--a lot of these people that would sell this land, these Gilberts and Ashers and things, they'd--they'd sell these--these hollers and keep this level land. Farm on it. They was smarter about selling than they are nowadays. Nowadays a lot of these people will sell off all they got and don't keep a place to live on to the government. But them old people, they'd--they'd look out for 'em a place to live on, most of 'em did. DEATON: Well, now, you--Chris Queen was your supervisor at Ford, right? BOWLING: Yeah, he was for several years. DEATON: After you did the--the survey--the initial survey work for Wendover, for the land that Ford owned over there, did you go back over there and do any more work for Wendover? BOWLING: Yeah, I been back there different times. DEATON: What did you do over there? BOWLING: I remember going back there and marking that land out that Mulberry & Robinson gave 'em. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: I remember going back there and surveying up on a tract of land that they'd bought from McKinley Asher to prepare 'em a description for deed. And I've been back there different times around Wendover to help 'em out. First one thing, another. Mr. Queen was always--would do anything that he could for Miss Breckinridge. And he always said that the company told him to help her. DEATON: Oh! Well, one of the people I work with that's worked with FNS for a number of years once told me that they didn't think that the Frontier Nursing Service could have survived there for awhile without the help of Chris Queen. BOWLING: Well, he--he--he was a lot of help to 'em. DEATON: Is he the one that helped build the retaining wall behind the garden house at Wendover where the ----------(??) was coming off the hill? BOWLING: Yeah. Yeah, I went there with him. Yeah, he was a lot of help to 'em. He was--was a well-educated feller, Mr. Queen was. Awful smart man. Had good knowledge of many things. Awful fine man. DEATON: Um-hm. Hmm. Did you see Mary Breckinridge most of the times that you went to Wendover? BOWLING: Yeah, you'd always have to go in and see her. DEATON: What did--what did she usually talk to you about when you stopped? BOWLING: Well, she'd--she'd want to know how you was aiming to do anything and so forth. She'd always want--want to have a word with you about what you was aiming to do around there. DEATON: Yeah. How--how did you view her when you were--or when you were there to do some work or whatever, did she--was she--how would you describe her on jobs like that? Was she inquisitive about what you were going to do, or was she bossy about what she wanted you to do or-- BOWLING: Well, she didn't seem to be bossy or anything, but she'd want- -she--she wanted anything done right. She was an awful person to want anything done the right way. DEATON: Yeah? BOWLING: There's--there are two ways you can do anything, the right way and the wrong way. But--but she always wanted the right way about anything that would be done. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, is there any--anything that you all talked about or anything that happened sometime when you were talking with her that- -that you really remember or that sort of stands out in your mind? BOWLING: Well, I remember going there once, and I think it's when I went there to mark out the--the boundary Mulberry & Robinson give her. And she was in the bed and--and I think that was when she got her back broke. And I know I had to talk to her in bed and--and Miss Lewis was kindly looking after things around there then, and--and--and, of course, Miss Lewis was present. And Miss Breckinridge and I didn't see things just exactly alike and seemed like it kindly got her confused or something. And--and Miss Lewis kindly maneuvered me out of the room as quick as she could and she told me quick as we got out, said, "Miss Breckinridge gets bothered, and her sick," says, "the longer the worser with her," says, "is the reason I wanted you get out." Says, "She's sick and easy worried now." DEATON: Oh! BOWLING: But she is an awful person to want to do anything right-- DEATON: Right. BOWLING:--little or big. DEATON: Uh-huh. Are there any other things that happened with that-- with FNS people that you recall clearly? BOWLING: Oh, there've been a lot of happenings. Frontier Nursing Service in this country, there used to be all of it here in--in their section. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: Everybody looked to 'em for--for help, to help come and deliver a baby, and I believe charged about five dollars. And then I guess they'd bring ten dollars worth of clothes to give you. Most of 'em would want to name the baby. DEATON: The nurses wanted to name the babies? BOWLING: Yeah. (laughing) DEATON: Did they ac---did they actually name them. BOWLING: And named a lot of 'em. DEATON: Is that right? BOWLING: They named one of my boys. DEATON: Hmm. What did they name him? BOWLING: Allen. DEATON: And--do you know any particular reason for that? BOWLING: Well, now, that was her first name or last name, one or the other. She--she named him. I lived on ----------(??) Creek then, up in Leslie County, and--and that was an awful bad winter. And she rode a horse there in the night and delivered Allen. And I'd went in the other room and laid down on the floor and went to sleep. They come in and woke me up and told me about him being born, she did. (laughs) Everything went--went that night. She got on that horse, you know, way in the night and went right back down that ice--icy roads. We didn't have no roads then. That was-- DEATON: Would she travel through the frozen creek? BOWLING: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Used to you'd have to keep them ice nails in your horse's feet, you know, mule's feet to go on this ice. I just don't see how we'd have made it back--back yonder without the Frontier Nursing Service in this section of the country. 'Course it's a little different now, all these programs and so on, hospitals built pretty close, all this insurance and so forth. Different now than what it was then. DEATON: Well, Miss Agnes Lewis and some of the others that used to work up there at Wendover, how do you think they felt about Mrs. Breckinridge? They obviously all respected her a great deal. Do you think any of them were maybe a little afraid of her? BOWLING: Well, I wouldn't say they was afraid of her, but they-- they--they respected her. They didn't cross her path. When she said anything, that was the law and gospel around where she was. I never heard nobody want to disagree with Miss Breckinridge. DEATON: Except for Mrs. Breckinridge, who--who do you think or--your personal view or with talking with other people, who do you think had been the most important people with Frontier Nursing Service as far as keeping it going and providing medical and health care for the people in this area? BOWLING: Well, I've heard Miss Lester mentioned and different people. I better not talk too much about something like that. Dr. Beasley I think's doing a good job myself. DEATON: Was there any group of people that--that as far as the local people knew of, that they understood to be the ones that sort of making sure everything operated smoothly and so forth? BOWLING: I just don't understand. DEATON: Well, as far as the local people that live around Red Bird, is there a group of--you know, who in particular are people that were with the Frontier Nursing Service that the local citizens seem to view as being the ones who kept everything moving with Frontier Nursing? BOWLING: Some of the local people you mean? DEATON: Yeah. Yeah. And who were the FNS people that the local people thought kept things running well? BOWLING: Well, Mr. Queen, now, used to be the--the main man around all these centers and up around Wendover. He sent me around a lot to different--different places. And, 'course, after Mr. Queen pa--- passed on, why, I just don't know of nobody that helped 'em like he did. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: It was always my understanding that people that would give 'em money to do certain projects and so on with, they'd want somebody like Mr. Queen kindly to supervise it. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, is there anything regarding the Frontier Nursing Service or Red Bird area, the lumber companies or whatever, that we haven't talked about or I haven't asked you about that you'd like to tell me about? BOWLING: I'd like to see this Center go back to its original name, Clara Ford Center. You know, Ford Motor Company gives away a lot of money. They might--might give 'em some money here. [End of Interview] Frank Bowling tells of going to a three-room school about 1907. He discusses slavery as it once existed in the mountains and recalls his acquaintance with Civil War veterans. Besides describing the establishment of the Red Bird Center and the surveying of the land around Wendover, Bowling comments upon his acquaintance with Mary Breckinridge and cites examples of FNS care at the time of World War Two. He also gives his views concerning the effects of government relief programs and of the land boom in the mountains. Additional topics are logging, making moonshine, and planting by the phase of the moon.