Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Charlie Rice, October 30, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Moving from Owsley County / work

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Partial Transcript: --rontier Nursing Service Oral History Project by Dale Deaton at approximately 1:00 p.m. on October 30th, 1978 at their home at Dry Hill, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Charlie Rice is introduced. He discusses why his family moved from Owsley County when he was a child. He talks about why he did not attend school, and discusses various jobs that he held before he was old enough to get steady work.

Keywords: Blacksmiths; Civilized; Farming; Fathers; Feuds; Gunsmiths; Jobs; Lumber companies; Rice-Gabbard feud; Rifles; Sawmills; School; Working

Subjects: Clay County (Ky.); Leslie County (Ky.); Owsley County (Ky.)

00:04:16 - Steady work in Lebanon, Ohio

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Partial Transcript: About when did you first, uh, get a regular job with, a--away from home, and , and, uh, other than just a job for a day or two here and there?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about traveling to Lebanon, Ohio on a passenger train to get a job at the powder plant with his brother.

Keywords: Brothers; Factories; Jobs; Passenger trains; Powder plants; Regular work; Siblings; Traction cars; Traveling

Subjects: Lebanon (Ohio : Township); Occupations.

00:08:37 - Logging

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Partial Transcript: When you--after you left Ohio, you came back to Leslie County?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about logging in Leatherwood, Kentucky. He talks about how they transported the logs with tram cars and mules. He briefly talks about farming, and working at the Hazard Coal Field.

Keywords: Farms; Hazard Coal Field; Leatherwood (Ky.); Logs; Mules; Rails; Sawmill; Timber; Tram cars; Working

Subjects: Leslie County (Ky.); Logging

00:13:09 - Size of logs / rafting logs down the river

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Partial Transcript: Well when you were working in the log woods down here, uh, what were the size of the trees they wanted you to cut?

Segment Synopsis: Rice discusses the size of the logs he cut while working in the timber industry. He talks about how they would transport the logs by rafting them down the river.

Keywords: Beech trees; Big Willow Shoal (Ky.); Log woods; Rivers; Sizes; Tram cars; Trees

Subjects: Logging; Timber--Rafting

00:18:05 - Working in the coal mines

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, now let's see, after that logging went on, uh, then I went back to the mines.

Segment Synopsis: Rice briefly discusses his time in the armed services. He talks about working in the coal mines for the Hatfield Coal Company, and living in a coal camp.

Keywords: Armed services; Coal camps; Coal mines; Construction; Hatfield Coal Company; Hazard Coal Field; Working

Subjects: Coal miners--Kentucky--Leslie County; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; United States. Army.

00:22:16 - Union organizing

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Partial Transcript: W--now, k--when you were at Cutshin over there is that when you first joined the, the United Mine Workers union?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about his involvement with the United Mine Workers Union. He talks about the people who were for and against the union. He tells several stories about incidents surrounding the union, including the time a few men were going to throw a deputy off of a bridge.

Keywords: Coal operators; Cutshin Coal Company; Deputies; Max Smith; Meetings; Presidents; State police; Tom Rainey; UMWA

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Clay County (Ky.); Coal miners--Kentucky--Leslie County; Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Labor disputes--Kentucky; Labor unions--Organizing; Leslie County (Ky.); Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining; United Mine Workers of America

00:27:32 - UMWA President John L. Lewis / union trouble

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Partial Transcript: W--uh, when you were president of the local union at Cutshin, did you ever go to any of the larger union meetings?

Segment Synopsis: Rice discusses John L. Lewis, the president of the UMWA. He talks about the trouble surrounding the union, including shootings, and says that the union men would often carry guns. He talks about going to court for a trial, and discusses the benefits he receives from being a member of the union.

Keywords: "Gun thugs"; Benefits; Controversy; Court; Guns; Injuries; Pistols; Presidents; Prices; Shootings; Tom Rainey; Trials; Trouble; Union meetings; Vouchers

Subjects: Coal miners--Kentucky--Leslie County; Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Labor disputes--Kentucky; Labor unions--Organizing; Leslie County (Ky.); Lewis, John L. (John Llewellyn), 1880-1969.; Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining; United Mine Workers of America

00:37:26 - Union dues and wages

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Partial Transcript: N--did you ever have any association or ever know anything about the American Labor Party?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about how much he paid in union dues during his career. He talks about how much the miners were paid, before and after the mines unionized.

Keywords: American Labor Party; Blue Diamond; Raises; Salaries; Shutdowns; UMWA; Union dues

Subjects: Coal miners--Kentucky--Harlan County; Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Labor disputes--Kentucky; Labor unions--Organizing; Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining; United Mine Workers of America; Wages--Coal miners

00:43:02 - Church / improvements in Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: Well back during the same time, in the, in the late twenties and the early thirties is when, uh, Mary Breckinridge came here and the Frontier Nursing Service was started.

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about going to church and discusses his own religious beliefs. He talks about some of the things that have made Leslie County a better place to live, including the Frontier Nursing Service and the highways.

Keywords: Changes; Church revivals; Civilization; FNS; Helping; Highways; Hyden Hospital

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Religion; Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Kentucky--Religion; Leslie County (Ky.); Lester, Betty; Nurses; Rural churches; Rural roads

00:50:26 - Frontier Nursing Service nurses

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Partial Transcript: D--did you know of any nurses or doctors that lived and, and worked around in Leslie County before Mrs. Breckinridge came?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about some of the FNS nurses, including Jean Tolk and Zilpha Roberts, and the work they did in the area.

Keywords: Horseback; Jean Tolk; Sunday school; Zilpha Roberts

Subjects: Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Nurses; Presbyterian Church--Kentucky

00:53:56 - Social life / Dr. Collins and Miss Bobbitt

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Partial Transcript: Back during the twenties and thirties, what did most people do for, for social life?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about hosting parties and dances for his children. He talks about a local doctor, Dr. Collins, and his nurse Miss Bobbitt, and how they have helped him over the years.

Keywords: Children; Dances; Dr. Collins; Dr. Ray; Miss Bobbitt; Parties

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Nurses; Social security--United States

00:59:21 - Hyden in the 1920s-1930s

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Partial Transcript: Well could you tell me--you talked a minute ago about Hyden and the way it looked.

Segment Synopsis: Rice describes the town of Hyden during the 1920s and '30s. He describes some of the buildings, and talks about how they would transport goods into town with flatboats and wagons.

Keywords: Banks; Beattyville (Ky.); Buildings; Flatboats; Freight; Hauling goods; Money; Rivers; Wagons

Subjects: Hyden (Ky.)

01:03:28 - "Granny midwives" and "mountain doctors"

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Partial Transcript: And--(coughs)--the lady's name was Fannie Begley, that delivered a lot of babies here?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about the local people, who generally did not have medical diplomas or certificates, who would provide medical care before the Frontier Nursing Service arrived in the area. He discusses what would happen if there were complications during a childbirth or if someone needed an operation. He talks about the history of the Begley family, who provided local medical care.

Keywords: "Granny midwives"; "Mountain doctors"; Begley family history; Complications; Delivering babies; Diplomas; Fannie Begley; Fees; Home visits; Maternal care; Medical training; Operations; Problems; Wife

Subjects: Medical care, Cost of; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Traditional medicine

01:12:57 - More on Frontier Nursing Service nurses

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Partial Transcript: Well d--do y'all recall if when, uh, FNS nurses first started coming in to Leslie County, did the people accept them right away or, or were they kind of hesitant about them at first?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks more about the FNS nurses. He talks about whether they were accepted by the community, the work they did, and the fees they charged for their services. He tells a story about fetching a nurse when his wife was having a baby.

Keywords: Acceptance; FNS; Fees; Horseback; Miss Kelly; Mules

Subjects: Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hyden (Ky.); Leslie County (Ky.); Medical care, Cost of; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses; Wendover (Ky.)

01:16:44 - Working and wages

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Partial Transcript: Well was there any place around here that, that, that people could have, could, uh--any stores that sold books or magazines or anything like that that people could buy to read?

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks more about some of the jobs he has held, including rafting logs down the river. He tells a story about a time he was rafting during the winter and was covered in ice. He talks about the wages he earned for his work. He describes the food his family ate.

Keywords: Books; Doctors; Farming; Frozen; Ice; Money; Rafts; Raising animals; Steering; Stores; Tides; Working

Subjects: Food habits; Occupations.; Timber--Rafting; Wages.

01:25:47 - Political beliefs

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Partial Transcript: Our government is great, uh, to tell you the truth.

Segment Synopsis: Rice discusses his personal opinions on politics and individual politicians, including Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Bert Combs, Happy Chandler, and Louie Nunn. He talks about Leslie County as a largely Republican county, and tells a story about his brother and his wife during World War II.

Keywords: Brothers; Democrats; Divorce; Governors; Mountain parkway; Operations; Paratroopers; Sales taxes; Treatment of veterans; WWII

Subjects: Carter, Jimmy, 1924-; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Combs, Bert T., 1911-1991; Kentucky--Politics and government; Leslie County (Ky.)--Politics and government; Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994; Nunn, Louie B., 1924-2004; Republican Party (Ky.); Social security--United States; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; World War, 1939-1945

01:34:00 - Leslie County politics / Shamrock Mine strike

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Partial Transcript: What about local, uh, the local people in, in the county.

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about the local politics of Leslie County, including who has been elected for offices like county judge. He talks about the actions of various politicians, especially in regard to a strike that occurred at the Shamrock Mine.

Keywords: Allen Muncie; Circuit judges; Clay Bishop; Dauber Sizemore; Elmer Magnum; George Wooten; Guns; Judge Elmer Begley; Leaders; Lindberg Rice; Picketing; Recreation buildings; Shamrock Mine; Sons; Threats; Unions; Violence; WWII

Subjects: Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Labor disputes--Kentucky; Leslie County (Ky.)--Politics and government; Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining; United Mine Workers of America; Wages--Coal miners; World War, 1939-1945

01:47:38 - Damage from strip mining

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Partial Transcript: Well now--(coughs)--do you think any of the coal miners down in here or any of the people that strip mine, do they think very much about, uh, you know, what the mining does to the mountains or the rivers or anything?

Segment Synopsis: Rice discusses the damage that has been done in Leslie County due to strip mining, and talks about the laws that require the mines to reforest the area. He gives possible solutions for repairing the land.

Keywords: Contracts; Damage; Destruction; Dirt; Lakes; Land; Poplar trees; Reforestation; Trees

Subjects: Strip mining--Law and legislation--Appalachian Region

01:54:28 - African Americans in Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: W--n--do you remember years ago any black people living in Leslie County?

Segment Synopsis: Rice recalls some of the black people that used to live in Leslie County. He tries to remember whether there was a black school.

Keywords: Black schools; Bootlegging; Johnny Salyers; Smokey

Subjects: African Americans--Kentucky; Hazard (Ky.); Hyden (Ky.); Leslie County (Ky.); Race relations--Kentucky; Segregation in education--Kentucky

01:59:07 - Making moonshine / African Americans leaving Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: And I, I have to tell you the truth about when you get me where I ought to--I used to make moonshine whiskey when I couldn't get a job, couldn't pass examination until I got a operation.

Segment Synopsis: Rice talks about making and selling moonshine while he was ineligible to work in the mines. He talks about why many black people left Leslie County and where they went. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Bootlegging; Examinations; Hernias; Leaving; Money; Moonshine; Operations; Taxis; Working

Subjects: African Americans--Kentucky; Distilling, Illicit; Leslie County (Ky.); Race relations--Kentucky