Interview with Annie Witt, April 1, 1979

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
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00:00:04 - Peddling, teaching at a singing school, and making a living

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Annie Witt for the Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project by Sadie W. Stidham at 1:30 on April 3, 1979.

Segment Synopsis: Annie Witt talks about where she lived as a child and what her parents did to make money.

Keywords: Coal miners; Coal mines; Colonel Shepherd; Dailey Shepherd; Eggs; Farmers; Farms; Horseback; Horses; Leslie County (Ky.); Milk; Music education; Peddlers; Perry County (Ky.); Railroads; Singing schools; Subsistence farming; Virginia; Butter

00:01:53 - Leslie County community

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Partial Transcript: Who were some of the families that lived close to you there in Leslie County?

Segment Synopsis: Witt lists off families and people that lived in Leslie County during her childhood.

Keywords: Appalachia; Community; Leslie County (Ky.); Communities

00:02:26 - Going to school and childhood games

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Partial Transcript: Where'd you go to school?

Segment Synopsis: Witt talks about her school experience.

Keywords: Appalachia; Drop the handkerchief; Drop the hanky; Education; Leslie County (Ky.); Ring Around the Rosie; Schoolhouses; Students; Teachers; Woods; Chestnut hunting

00:04:03 - Local social life

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Partial Transcript: Ah, what about the social activities in your community, like parties and things like that? What did you do to have fun?

Segment Synopsis: Witt tells what they did when people got together on the weekends to have fun.

Keywords: Appalachia; Churches; Games; Guitars; Parties; Record players; Recreation; Saturday nights; Singing; Springtime in the Rockies; Sunday; Talking machines; Blindfolds

00:05:27 - Working around the farm

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Partial Transcript: How far did you go to school, school before you quit, how far in school?

Segment Synopsis: Witt notes that she only attended school until eighth grade and lists the chores they did around the family farm.

Keywords: Appalachia; Chickens; Chores; Cleared ground; Coal; Cows; Farmers; Farms; Hogs; Milk; Schooling; Schooling; Schools; Subsistence farming; Working hours; Canning

00:06:46 - Hyden and Hazard, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Now we're going back, do you remember how old you were when you first went to Hyden?

Segment Synopsis: Witt mentions that her family did not go to Hyden as much as they went to Hazard, because Hazard and Perry County were where her mother was from.

Keywords: Appalachia; Dentists; Doctors; Hazard (Ky.); Hyden (Ky.); Perry County (Ky.); Stores; Businesses

Subjects: Appalachian Region.; Hyden (Ky.)

00:07:46 - Community churches in the schoolhouse and private homes

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Partial Transcript: Well what about the churches there in your community?

Segment Synopsis: There wasn't a formal structure for the churches within the community, but they held services in the schoolhouse and in people's homes.

Keywords: Appalachia; Communities; Community; Leslie County (Ky.); Preachers; Schoolhouses; Churches

00:08:52 - Graveyard meetings

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Partial Transcript: What was the graveyard meetings like?

Segment Synopsis: Witt talks about the church graveyard meetings.

Keywords: Appalachia; Christianity; Churches; Community; Graveyard meetings; Picnics; Preachers; Cemeteries

00:09:47 - Funeral rites

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Partial Transcript: On these graveyard meetings, did they preach certain people's funerals?

Segment Synopsis: Witt describes the funeral practices of the area, sometimes called graveyard meetings.

Keywords: Appalachia; Burial clothes; Burial clothing; Caskets; Cemeteries; Crepe paper flowers; Embalming; Funerals.; Graves; Graveyard meetings.; Home service; Memorial meetings; Winter; Burials

00:11:16 - Poor roads

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Partial Transcript: How were the roads back in, in--

Segment Synopsis: Witt describes the poor roads.

Keywords: Frankfort (Ky.); Letters; Road conditions; Roads; United States. Works Progress Administration.; WPA; Wading; Winter; Works Progress Administration (WPA); Creeks

00:12:28 - New technologies for Appalachia

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Partial Transcript: Uh, when did the electricity come in there?

Segment Synopsis: Witt remembers the introduction of electricity, cars, and airplanes to Appalachia.

Keywords: Appalachia; Cars; Creeks; Electricity; Floods; Infrastructure; Radios; Rural electrification--Kentucky; Airplanes

00:14:03 - The Great Depression and World War I

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Partial Transcript: What do you remember about the Depression years, back in '29 and '30?

Segment Synopsis: Witt discusses her memories of the Great Depression and World War I.

Keywords: Appalachia; Farms; Government relief programs; Grandparents; Great Depression; Injuries; Squirrels; Virginia; WW1; WWI; World War I; World War One; World War, 1914-1918.; Appalachian Mountains

00:15:49 - Influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919

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Partial Transcript: Well what about that flu, uh, that bad flu they had during World War I?

Segment Synopsis: Witt remembers who of her family was affected by the flu epidemic.

Keywords: Davis Fields; Doc Hamilton; Dr. Hamilton; Flu; Influenza; Influenza Epidemic, 1918-1919; Leslie County (Ky.); Rural health services; WW1; WWI; World War 1; World War I; Country doctors

00:16:55 - Country doctors and midwives

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Partial Transcript: Uh, who were some of the country doctors besides the one you mentioned there who was close enough to get to y'all?

Segment Synopsis: Witt talks about the country doctors and local midwives who cared for the people.

Keywords: Appalachia; Herb doctors; Leslie County (Ky.); Midwifery; Midwives; Rural health services; Rural medicine; Country doctors

00:18:30 - Leslie County politics

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Partial Transcript: What about the politics in, in your area? Was the elections and speakings ahead; do you remember anything that went on at the speakings, elections?

Segment Synopsis: Witt describes the tension that surrounded elections.

Keywords: Appalachia; Leslie County (Ky.); Leslie County politics; Murder; Officers; Political violence; Speakings; Speakings; Voting; Elections

00:19:30 - Home birth of her first child

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Partial Transcript: Who delivered your babies?

Segment Synopsis: Witt talks about the home birth of her first child with a granny midwife.

Keywords: Appalachia; Deliver babies; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Home births; Home delivery; Hyden (Ky.); Mary Breckinridge Hospital; Medicine; Midwifery; Midwives; Pregnancy; Rural health services; Granny women

Subjects: Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Rural children; Rural health services; Rural health--Kentucky; Medical care--Appalachian Region

00:20:56 - Birth of her second child at the hospital

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Partial Transcript: You had, uh, uh, another one in the Frontier Nursing Hospital at Hyden?

Segment Synopsis: Witt talks about her second child's birth at the FNS hospital.

Keywords: Appalachia; Childbirth; Doctors; Dr. Louie; FNS; Frontier Nursing Service Hospital; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hospitals; Hyden (Ky.); Medical treatments; Nurse midwives; Nurses; Deliveries

00:21:31 - Opinion of Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service

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Partial Transcript: Did you know Mrs. Breckinridge?

Segment Synopsis: Witt gives some of her opinions on Mary Breckinridge and the FNS.

Keywords: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Childbirth; Clinics; Deliveries; FNS; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; History; Hyden (Ky.); Midwifery; Midwives; Rural health services; Bills

00:22:51 - Moving away from Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: Uh, why did you all, uh, move from, from Leslie County? Why did you all leave?

Segment Synopsis: Witt talks about why her family moved out of Leslie County, Kentucky.

Keywords: Appalachia; Disabilities; Disabled; Farmers; Farms; Leslie County (Ky.); Appalachian Mountains

00:23:29 - Story about grand uncle

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Partial Transcript: Uh, what about, uh, stories? Do you know any stories or tales that you've heard through the family over the years?

Segment Synopsis: Witt relates her grandmother's story of how her grand uncle walked through the fields on his knees to avoid being targeted by confederate soldiers.

Keywords: Confederacy; Confederates; Corn; Hoeing; Kentucky; Leslie County (Ky.); Railroads; Union; American Civil War