Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Frank Couch, June 14, 1991

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Couch's work

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Partial Transcript: Okay this is Zack Lewton, I'm interviewing Frank Couch, and we believe it's June 14th.

Segment Synopsis: Couch talks about the basic day-to-day tasks that he did to help out on the farm growing up. He talks about the different work that he has done throughout his adulthood. He talks about working in a sawmill and working his way up to owning a mill. He talks about working on the agriculture extension board and the farm bureau.

Keywords: Animals; Cattle; Corn; Farm bureaus; Farmers; Farming; Gardens; Hoeing; Retirement; Sawmills; Schools; Trees

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Country life; Family farms; Livestock--Appalachian region

00:08:22 - Couch's family and childhood home

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Partial Transcript: Well let's go back to when you were growing up, what did your mom and daddy, what'd they sell to make a living or, did they all off (??) farming?

Segment Synopsis: Couch talks about what his family sold. He talks about his brothers and sisters and the house they grew up in. He talks about the different chores that he and his sisters did and talks about preserving and canning food.

Keywords: Apples; Babies; Beans; Bedrooms; Boys; Brothers; Canning; Chores; Clothes; Corn; Debt; Girls; Houses; Influenza; Parents; Preserving; Rooms; Selling; Siblings; Sisters; Wages; Wood; Working

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Families.; Family farms; Housing--Appalachian Region

00:19:00 - Education / women's work and modern convenience / moving and land use

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Partial Transcript: Well tell me about going to school, when did you start going to school?

Segment Synopsis: Couch talks about the difficulties he had in getting to school. He talks about the different things around the house that his mother did. He talks about when his family moved in order to live closer to school and to have electricity. He talks about the land that his parents used to own and growing trees on it.

Keywords: Brothers; Chores; Electricity; Family; Gardens; Land; Marriage; Mothers; Moving; Quitting; Sheep; Sisters; Timber; Trees; Walking; Women; Working

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Country life; Education, Elementary; Families.; Land use, Rural--Kentucky; Rural schools

00:28:26 - Working in the sawmill

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Partial Transcript: Well what made you decide to leave home?

Segment Synopsis: Couch talks about his sawmill career. He talks about how his parents did not want him to leave home to work. He talks about the Great Depression and his opinions about the problems behind it.

Keywords: Farmers; Farming; Great Depression; Lumber companies; Money; Parents; Promotions; Sawmills; Trade; Wages; Working

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Families.; Lumber trade.

00:38:59 - Opinions on pay, work, and the logging industry

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Partial Transcript: Were taxes going up all the time?

Segment Synopsis: Couch talks about his opinions on the wages of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers, and minimum wage. He talks about his opinions on the coal and logging industries, and discusses the changes he's seen in logging. He talks about people being pressured by government agencies to work in the 1940s during World War II.

Keywords: Bulldozers; Coal companies; Coal mines; Defense; Firing; Horses; Jobs; Logging; Professionals; Quitting; Releases; Saws; Taxes; Trucks; Working; Working class

Subjects: Logging; Lumber trade.; Occupations.; Wages.

00:51:20 - Moving around and owning a sawmill / more on women working

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Partial Transcript: Well do you have any children?

Segment Synopsis: Couch talks about working in the sawmill and moving around to work in different timber operations. He talks about owning a sawmill and building his house. He talks about his daughter and his opinions on working women. He talks about the things that he and his wife raise in the garden and their livestock.

Keywords: Building; Chickens; Daughters; Driving; Eggs; Hogs; Housework; Jobs; Logging; Machinery; Moving; Renting; Repairs; Sawmills; Sheep; Timber; Trees; Women; Working

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Families.; Farms, small.; Housing--Appalachian Region; Lumber trade.

01:02:59 - Tree farm--Part I

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Partial Transcript: Well tell me about tree farming.

Segment Synopsis: Couch talks about growing trees and the potential for the timber industry in Harlan County. He talks about the different things that he does to cultivate timber. He talks about how he hopes that the younger people in his family will take it over.

Keywords: Costs; Family; Grapevines; Growing trees; Harlan County (Ky.); Improvement; Money; Poplar; Prices; Profits; Pruning; Quality; Trees; Young people

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Lumber trade.; Timber.

01:19:09 - Tree farm--Part II

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Partial Transcript: So what all do you have to do besides, do you do anything for the trees besides clearing out the small stuff and taking off the grapevines?

Segment Synopsis: Couch talks more about the things he does to take care of the trees. He talks about the different kinds of trees that are profitable. He talks about what he thinks should be done to improve the timber industry.

Keywords: Chemicals; Coal companies; Education; Land; Leasing land; Pines; Poplars; Pruning; Red Oaks; Stumps; Trees; Walnuts; White Oaks

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Land use, Rural--Kentucky; Timber.