Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mabel Bates Back, June 26, 1991

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Family / growing up on a farm

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Mrs. Mabel Back on June 26th, 1991, and the interviewer is Elizabeth Albert.

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about her parents and living with her grandparents. She talks about her grandfather's farm and how he used to trade supplies at the mining camp. She talks about moving to Letcher County after her father remarried, and about her step-mother and half-brothers.

Keywords: Apples; Bees; Cane; Childhood; Farmers; Fruits; Grandparents; Half-brothers; Hillside; Hogs; Honey; Knott County (Ky.); Land; Letcher County (Ky.); Mining camps; Molasses; Mothers; Mountains; Moving; Orchards; Peaches; Remarriage; Schools; Selling; Sorghum; Step-mothers; Teachers; Trade; Trading

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

00:11:34 - Chores at school and at home / parents' work

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Partial Transcript: This was that--this was the Caney--

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about the chores she had to do both at boarding school and at home on the farm. She talks about the work her parents did.

Keywords: Chickens; Chores; Coal; Cooking; Cows; Dinner; Eggs; Fathers; Hiring; Mothers; Summer school; Teaching; Tuberculosis; Weekends; Wood; Working

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Boarding schools; Family farms; Farms, small

00:20:50 - Doctors / family relationships

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Partial Transcript: What were doctors like back then? Did you have any near you, or?

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about her childhood experiences with doctors. She talks about adjusting to living with her father and step-mother after living with her grandparents. She talks about her relationship with her step-mother.

Keywords: Canning; Changes; Doctors; Emotional abuse; Family situations; Fathers; Grandparents; Half-brothers; Health; Helping; Housework; Oatmeal; Parents; Poultices; Relationships; Step-mothers; Working

Subjects: Families.; Medicine, Rural; Stepparents

00:37:53 - Running the farm

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit about, about the land and the house that, that you--this was on.

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about the farm that her father operated. She talks about the general work that had to be done.

Keywords: Animals; Bedrooms; Canning; Chickens; Chores; Coal; Corn; Country stores; Cows; Eggs; Fathers; Feather beds; Fireplaces; Food; Help; Hired help; Hogs; Horses; Houses; Kindling; Land; Milking; Mining camps; Neighbors; Parlors; Porches; Rooms; Smokehouses; Snakes; Wood

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Family farms; Farms, small; Livestock--Appalachian region

00:45:51 - Boarding school

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Partial Transcript: So you went to the lower grades of school starting when you were pretty young, you said.

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about the boarding school she went to. She talks about the school's funding and traveling to New England to find sponsors for the school. She talks about helping with chores at school and her relationship with the founder of the school. She talks about how it was a much better environment than her home life.

Keywords: Bad weather; Clothes; Coal stoves; College; Donations; Dormitory; Electricity; Elementary schools; Endowments; Feelings; Fireplaces; Founders; Going away; Money; Moving; New England; Respect; Snow; Speaking; Trading; Traveling; Vegetables; Walking; Work

Subjects: Boarding schools; Education

00:54:13 - Relationships with extended family / getting married and moving

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Partial Transcript: So this was the first time--I mean you had been living off by yourself for such a long time, you know on that farm...

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about the friends she had, and her relationships with her step-mother's family. She talks about getting married and starting a family.

Keywords: Aunts; Coal mines; College; Friends; Great Depression; Husband; Marriage; Moving; Playing; Summers; Teaching; Uncles

Subjects: Education, Higher; Families.

01:00:38 - Raising children

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about your kids. How many kids did, did you have?

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about her children's education and their work. She talks about raising her children and how she raised them differently from how she was raised.

Keywords: Babysitters; Children; College; Daughters; Differences; Entertainment; Farm life; Gardens; Growing up; Picnics; Playing; Raising children; Reading; Responsibilities; Sons; Television; Working

Subjects: Families.; Gardening; Parenting

01:10:28 - Raising a family in the country

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Partial Transcript: Now where in Letcher County was this? Was this on your husband's--

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about the garden and animals that her family raised when they lived in the country. She talks about the chores that she had her children do.

Keywords: Barns; Canning; Chickens; Children; Chores; Christian schools; Cows; Fruit trees; Gardens; Ironing; Land; Letcher County (Ky.); Nature; Planting; Rural; Schools

Subjects: Country life; Gardening

01:19:05 - Different houses / opinions on farming / church

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Partial Transcript: And what was that house like? Can you describe that house to me?

Segment Synopsis: Back talks about the houses where her family lived. She talks about how she feels about growing her own food and farming as a way of life. She talks about her church. [Interview concludes abruptly.]

Keywords: Bedrooms; Boys; Children; Church; Farming; Girls; Grandchildren; Growing up; Houses; Life; Mining camp; Moving; Sunday school; Working

Subjects: Families.; Housing; Religion