Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Everett Byrd, Chaney Byrd, July 27, 1983

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:19 - Family history during the start of the Civil War

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Partial Transcript: And uh that was, at that time, more-or-less, a lot of confusion between the Northern sympathizers and the Southern sympathizers.

Segment Synopsis: Byrd discusses how his family played a role in the Civil War when his family members joined the Union infantry soon after moving. He also discusses what life was like for his family of slave owners during this time period.

Keywords: Company B; Confederate; Divided; James Byrd; Kentucky; Tennessee; Union Army; family home; farm work; fencing; house work; livestock; slaves; tending crops

Subjects: Family--history; Genealogy--Appalachian Region; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

00:04:16 - Early childhood and his father's logging company

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Partial Transcript: Now when you were growing up, say in the 19-teens and the early twenties, did--could you tell if it was very different then from the way that it had been, say in the 1850's, and 60's, and 70's and so on?

Segment Synopsis: Byrd explains that life changed very little for him between the mid-1800's and the 19-teens. Byrd then discusses what his life was like during this time period, such as the road conditions, his work place, and what his father's logging business was like.

Keywords: 1921; Clay County (Ky.); Frankfort (Ky.); Kentucky River; Little Creek (Ky.); Roadrun; bartering; boiler; crops; dirt; farming; father; highways; improvement; livestock; local; logging; lumber; roads; shovel; steam rig; transportation

Subjects: Family farms; Logging; Logging--Kentucky--Teges Creek

00:11:15 - Mr. Byrd's homeliving

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Partial Transcript: Is that, where you lived, where is it now, say, in relation to where the church house is now?

Segment Synopsis: Byrd explains how his house was located only a half a mile north of the church. He then gives details about his house and how his family grew their own crops on their land.

Keywords: church; corn; garden vegetables; hay; milk; north; pork; preserve meat; raised; salt

Subjects: Canning and preserving--Kentucky--Teges Creek; Dwellings.; Family farms; Food--Preservation--Kentucky--Teges Creek; Gardening--Appalachian Region; Livestock--Appalachian region

00:14:28 - How smokehouses functioned

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Partial Transcript: Well why was it called a smokehouse?

Segment Synopsis: Byrd explains how he owned a smokehouse. He goes into detail on the way meats were cooked in the smokehouse. Byrd also discusses how the set up of a smoke house prevented fires from occurring while preserving the meat.

Keywords: dirt floor; drained; early 50's; electricity; fire; flavor; fluid; hickory wood; late 40's; long; modern; preserve; refrigeration; smoked; smokehouse; week

Subjects: Food--Preservation--Kentucky--Teges Creek

00:17:06 - The way money was obtained and used for the Byrds' community members

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember that there--or was there anything that, say, your father or your grandfather would have done to get cash money? For, say, things that they would need to buy that they couldn't raise?

Segment Synopsis: Byrd says money was earned mainly through the logging business along the Kentucky River. He says that people used the money they earned to pay for basic necessities, such as clothing and taxes.

Keywords: $25-35; 1000 feet; Beattyville (Ky.); Frankfort (Ky.); Kentucky River; clothing; community; companies; groceries; hardware; local; logs; lumber; merchant; money; sale; shoes; supply; taxes

Subjects: Income.; Logging--Kentucky--Teges Creek; Wages.

00:21:41 - Recreational activities within the community

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Partial Transcript: It sounds like that there was quite a bit of work going on in those days, logging and farming and so on. But I wondered what you did also when you weren't working?

Segment Synopsis: Recreational activities are discussed. Both men and women played baseball. Some of the older people would produce and sell moonshine to consume during dances. Also they had box suppers where the women made boxes that men would buy and then the two would have dinner together.

Keywords: Christmas program; ball team; baseball; box suppers; boys and men; church; dances; designated point; disappeared; family; food; friends; highest bidder; local; merchant; moonshine; mountaineer; old-time; patron; rough diamonds; school teacher; secret; song books; stereotypes; trust; weekends; whiskey

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Distilling, Illicit; Manners and customs--Teges Creek (Ky.); Square dancing--Kentucky--Teges Creek

00:27:27 - Mrs. Byrd's work life & use of herbal medicines

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Partial Transcript: Now, did your family farm when you were growing up? Did you have to work in the fields, too?

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Byrd explains what her life was like growing up. She would work in the field alongside the boys, as well as search for herbs to sell and treat the sickly. Mrs. Byrd then explains how the old fashioned practice of herbal treatment was much more convenient than traveling and paying a large expense to see a doctor. The only times a doctor was used was for typhoid fever and pneumonia. A doctor wasn't even used for birth, because of the use of midwives.

Keywords: 1930's; babies; bitter; chores; coughing; creek; died; distance; doctor; farm; fever; girls; herbs; honey; illness; indians; knowledge; lamb's tongue; medication; merchant; midwife; modernized; money; pneumonia; remedies; sell; sore; tea; typhoid fever; weed; woods; work; worm weed

Subjects: Family farms; Herbs--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Traditional farming--Kentucky; Women in agriculture

00:36:47 - How cash money was obtained by Mrs. Byrd's family

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember things that, say when you were growing up, did your family have other ways of getting cash money?

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Byrd explains how all of the money her family earned came from the farm. This included the selling of livestock, logging, railroad ties, and corn. She also explains the process in which the farms products were sold.

Keywords: Beattyville (Ky.); Buffalo Creek (Ky.); Kentucky River; Madison County (Ky.); Richmond (Ky.); apples; beans; calf; cattle; corn; cornbread; daddy; employee; farm; hogs; lamb; livestock; logging; market; meat; railroad ties; sheep; shoes; stock buyers; winter

Subjects: Family farms; Subsistence farming; Teges Creek (Ky.)

00:44:46 - Neighbor cooperation

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Partial Transcript: So that system kind of depended on people's honesty?

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Byrd explains the importance of neighbors helping one and other out. If in times of desperation a neighbor helped you, when they needed help, it would be reciprocated.

Keywords: cooperation; help; honesty; medicines; neighbors; satisfaction; survival; swapping work; tended crops; tobacco; together; trading; typhoid

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Farm life--Appalachian Region; Manners and customs--Teges Creek (Ky.)

00:48:38 - Influences on Mrs. Byrd's upbringing

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Partial Transcript: Say, during that period, say, when, uh, you were growing up, what kinds of contact would you have with other places say in the cities or people who lived in other places. Were their influences from other parts of the country on you?

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Byrd talks about how several influences have affected her life decisions. When traveling and seeing other cities, such as Cincinnati, she knew she wanted a job and a life in that town. Also, she was influenced by her church and family to get a good education.

Keywords: Buffalo (Ky.); Cincinnati (Ohio); church; college; desire; education; family; foot; high school; horseback; job; minister; railroad; stay; summer school; taught; train; visit

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Rural-urban migration--Kentucky--Teges Creek

00:55:26 - Influences on Mr. Byrd's upbringing

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Partial Transcript: Was that the first time you had left Clay County, when you went in the Navy?

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Byrd explains the influences that affected his life growing up. He talks about all of the different places he's lived and worked. He, too, talks about how church played a very influential role in his life.

Keywords: 1925; Christian; Cincinnati (Ohio); Indiana; Michigan; WW1; World War 2; advice; cities; different; dressed; find jobs; mannerisms; missionaries; postwar; returned; spread; talked

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Rural-urban migration--Kentucky--Teges Creek

01:04:20 - The troubles of some farmers in the 1920's and 30's

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Partial Transcript: It sounds like, you know, you two, talking about when you were growing up, that your families worked hard. But it sounds like that you got along pretty well, you know, that you had enough of everything and lived pretty well.

Segment Synopsis: The poverty during the Depression is discussed. Mrs. Byrd states the only reason people suffered was because they weren't willing to put the work in. The Herd Laws put many people of their community on welfare because all of their livestock had to be fenced. The Herd Laws were also a factor to the improvement and accessibility of roads. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Herd Law; acres; corn; enforcement; fence; getting along; highways; hogs; late 20's; open range; populated; range; road development; sheep; split rail; uninhabited; welfare; willing; work

Subjects: Depressions, 1929; Family farms; Roads--Design and construction--Kentucky--Teges Creek