Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Della Gay, September 8, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Growing up on Jack's Creek, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Mrs. Della Gay for the oral history project, Frontier Nursing Service, by Linda Green at approximately 10:00 a.m. at Danger's Branch of Bullskin Creek, Kentucky, on 8 September, 1978.

Segment Synopsis: Della Gay is introduced. She discusses her childhood in Clay County, Kentucky on Jack's Creek. She talks about her family farming and growing corn, and discusses her grandfather's water mill which everyone in the area used to grind their corn. She talks about the stores that were in the area at the time. She discusses quilting with her mother.

Keywords: Cheap; Corn; Ducks; Geese; Grinding corn; Jack's Creek (Ky.); Money; Mothers; Pillows; Quilting; Roads; Stores; Water mills

Subjects: Childhood; Clay County (Ky.); Families.; Traditional farming--Kentucky

00:06:29 - School

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Partial Transcript: And how old were you when you first started to go to school?

Segment Synopsis: Gay talks about going to school in a one room schoolhouse. She talks about what they learned, and the games they played. She talks about some of the teachers. She talks about how far she had to walk to attend school and how they could not attend during the winter. She talks about the work they did when they were not in school.

Keywords: Cutting wood; Distance; Jacks Creek (Ky.); Learning; One-room schoolhouses; Playhouses; Playing; Quilting; School bells; Seats; Teachers; Walking; Winters; Working

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Rural schools--Kentucky

00:10:01 - Family / food / social activities

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Partial Transcript: How many--how many kids were there in your family?

Segment Synopsis: Gay talks about her family, including her siblings, her mother, and what her father did for work. She discusses the food that her family raised, made, and ate, including the process of making molasses. She talks about the social activities of the local people, including church and bean-stringings.

Keywords: Bean-stringings; Blankets; Breakfast; Church; Cooking; Dinners; Jobs; Lard; Making molasses; Money; Mothers; Neighbors; Parties; Railroads; Raising food; Sheep; Shuck beans; Siblings; Sugar cane; Sundays; Wool

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Families.; Food habits--Appalachian Region, Southern; Molasses

00:16:57 - Stories about childbirth

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Partial Transcript: And then the nurses come in to this country.

Segment Synopsis: Gay tells several stories about "granny women" and Frontier Nursing Service nurses delivering the babies of local women. She talks about the help the "granny women" and the nurses provided, and whether they were prepared when they arrived at the houses.

Keywords: "Granny women"; Ann Couch; Children; Distance; Helping; Horses; Lee Hoskins; Medicine; Miss Harris; Miss Mitchell; Prepared bags; Schools

Subjects: Childbirth; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses

00:23:26 - Complications with childbirth

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Partial Transcript: What did your husband do when you were having the baby?

Segment Synopsis: Gay discusses the complications that occurred during the births of her children. She talks about whether she went to the hospital, and the care she was given by her doctor.

Keywords: "Granny women"; Complications; Death; Doctors; Hospitals; Husbands; Oneida (Ky.); Operations; Schools; Sick; Training; Trouble

Subjects: Childbirth; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses

00:27:32 - Frontier Nursing Service nurses

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Partial Transcript: Well, well, when do you remember first seeing the nurses? How did you first have contact with them?

Segment Synopsis: Gay talks about the various FNS nurses she knew and her relationships with them. She talks about her father cooking for some of the nurses. She discusses the opening of the FNS clinic in the Leatherwood area around 1930.

Keywords: Chickens; Clinics; Cooking; Dinners; Fathers; Home visits; Leatherwood (Ky.); Miss Fedham (??); Miss Frederick; Miss Gallagher (??); Miss Mitchell; Sue Miller

Subjects: Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses

00:34:08 - Mary Breckinridge

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Partial Transcript: Now, I was wondering about, um, what you remember about Mary Breckinridge.

Segment Synopsis: Gay discusses her impressions of Mary Breckinridge, and tells a story about her delivering a baby. She talks about attending the Mary Breckinridge Days in Hyden, and about attending Mary Breckinridge's funeral.

Keywords: Delivering babies; Donations; Funeral services; Horses; Mary Breckinridge Day

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Childbirth; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hyden (Ky.); Medical care--Appalachian Region; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses

00:37:17 - More on the Frontier Nursing Service nurses

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Partial Transcript: But she'd get out and get money for to run this hospital on.

Segment Synopsis: Gay talks about the fees the FNS nurses charged for their services, and how Mary Breckinridge obtained funds for the FNS. She talks more about the FNS nurses she knew, and talks about attending dinners with them. She discusses one of the nurses that married a local man.

Keywords: Cash; Chrissy Bowman; Clothes; Dinners; Donations; Fees; Friends; Gardens; Injuries; Married; Miss Fedham (??); Miss Frederick; Sue Miller; Vegetables; Willard Bowling

Subjects: Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Medical care, Cost of; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses

00:43:16 - "Granny women" / moving

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Partial Transcript: We're talking again about the granny women. Can you describe them a little more, like what they looked like?

Segment Synopsis: Gay talks more about the "granny women" that delivered babies before the FNS nurses arrived. She talks about why her family moved from Jack's Creek to Leatherwood.

Keywords: "Granny women"; Delivering babies; Jacks Creek (Ky.); Land; Leatherwood (Ky.); Moving

Subjects: Childbirth; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region

00:45:58 - Changes to the Frontier Nursing Service

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Partial Transcript: How do you think that the clinic has changed lately, and what do you think about the changes that have gone on?

Segment Synopsis: Gay talks about how the FNS has changed over the years, including the fees and the number of home visits. She talks about whether the local people trusted the nurses and whether they got along with each other. She talks about where she receives medical treatment today. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Brutus Clinic; Changes; Children; Doctors; FNS clinics; Fees; Flu shots; Home visits; Influenza; Manchester (Ky.); Mean; Miss Burke; Sass; Shots; Trust; Vaccinations

Subjects: Childbirth; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses