Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Shelby Gene Watts, May 30, 1991

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Growing up on the farm and going to school

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Partial Transcript: This is Shelby Watts being interviewed by Zack Lewton on 5-30-91.

Segment Synopsis: Watts talks about growing up on the farm and the chores that he had to do. He talks about going to school and how schools were different back then.

Keywords: Brothers; Chores; Education; Farms; Fathers; Mothers; Parents; Schools; Siblings; Sisters; Welfare; Work

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Country life; Families.; Family farms

00:08:43 - Economics of agriculture in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well did y'all try to sell anything?

Segment Synopsis: Watts talks about how expensive it is to farm. He discusses the potential that Letcher County has for agriculture that is ignored. He talks about how developing an agriculture industry would decrease the unemployment rate. He suggests that the government institute programs to help fund farms. He talks about the progress that has been made in the mountain area of Kentucky.

Keywords: Blue Diamond Coal Company; Coal companies; Education; Equipment; Farming; Finances; Food stamps; Fruit trees; Government programs; Land; Profits; Progress; Tobacco

Subjects: Agriculture--Economic aspects; Agriculture--Kentucky--Letcher County; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Farms, small

00:18:20 - Raising and feeding cattle / need for agricultural education

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Partial Transcript: So how does that work out for you as far as--I mean is it, is it profitable to run the cattle and?

Segment Synopsis: Watts talks about raising and selling cattle. He talks about renting land to raise corn for feed and explains that it's cheaper to buy corn than to raise it, so he doesn't grow it anymore. He talks about how he thinks that there needs to be more agricultural education in school. He talks about working with the agricultural extension agent.

Keywords: Cattle; Corn; Equipment; Farmers; Feed; Fertilizer; Finances; Hay; Market; Profits; Renting

Subjects: Agricultural education; Agricultural extension workers; Agriculture--Kentucky--Letcher County; Farms, small; Livestock--Appalachian region

00:26:05 - Raising gardens, medicine, and technology

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Partial Transcript: So, so what all kinds of things did you used to raise back then when you were growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Watts talks about the garden that his family raised when he was growing up. He talks about the home remedies that his mother used, and says that they didn't go to the doctor very often. He talks about getting electricity and television.

Keywords: Canning; Changes; Chickens; Chores; Cleaning; Doctors; Electricity; Food; Gardens; Home remedies; Lights; Measles; Milk; Parents; Radio; Refrigerators; Roads; Sickness; Sisters; Television; Vegetables

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky--Letcher County; Country life; Gardening--Appalachian Region; Rural electrification

00:36:48 - Childhood home and Watts's family / raising children in the 1940's and in the 1990's

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Partial Transcript: Well what can you tell me, did, did you all grow up in that one same house, your mother's house, and stay up there until you went away or?

Segment Synopsis: Watts describes the house where he grew up. He talks about his family's relationship. He talks about how children were disciplined when he was growing up in school and discusses how it was different back then from how it was at the time of the interview. He shares his views on keeping children in line.

Keywords: Bedrooms; Children; Church; Discipline; Family; Houses; Mothers; Quilts; Remodeling; Rooms; Schools

Subjects: Country life; Discipline of children; Families.; Housing--Appalachian Region