Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Charles Shouse, December 11, 1991

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Introducing the Shouse family

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Partial Transcript: This is University of Kentucky Farm Families Project, Cane Creek Study Area.

Segment Synopsis: David Rotenizer begins the interview with Charles Shouse by introducing him and asking him about his family history in Kentucky.

Keywords: Blacksmithing--1910-1920; Distilling, Illicit; Log transportation; Prohibition; Railroad tracks; Traditional farming; Tree felling

Subjects: Estill County (Ky.); Family farms; Family trees; Farm life; Genealogy & local history

GPS: Estill County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.69, -83.96
00:10:57 - Shouse family's start in Furnace (Ky.)

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Partial Transcript: Well let's, uh--maybe at this time give me a little summary of your life starting like when you were born and where. where you lived and so forth.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse recounts the place of his birth in Furnace, Estill County, Kentucky where his family had a small farm and his father had a blacksmith shop.

Keywords: Blacksmithing; Corncribs; Log cabins; Oil wells; Roads--Design and construction; Wooden-frame houses

Subjects: Estill County (Ky.); Family farms.; Farm life; Mountain life--Appalachian Region.; Rural conditions.

GPS: Furnace (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.761944, -83.831667
00:19:07 - Railroad work in Indianapolis (Ind.) / move to Powell County (Ky.)

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Partial Transcript: Okay, then your dad moved to Annapolis?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse remembers his family's brief move to Indianapolis in the 1920s while his father found work in railroad construction. He talks about their return to Furnace, Kentucky and then back to farm life in Rosslyn, Kentucky to construct a house.

Keywords: Blacksmithing--1920-1940; Carpentry; Gardening; House construction; Railroad construction workers; Roads--Design and construction; Stoves, Wood; Subsistence farming; Wooden-frame houses

Subjects: Family farms.; Family trees; Farm life.; Indianapolis (Ind.); Irvine (Ky.); Migrant workers; Railroad construction workers; Vernacular architecture--Appalachian Region, Southern.

GPS: Rosslyn (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.840556, -83.812222
00:33:17 - Move to Covington (Ky.) / back to Powell County (Ky.)

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Partial Transcript: And I guess when you were about, looks like nine years old, the family moved to Covington?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse recalls his family's move to Covington, Kentucky for his father to find road construction work and then moving back to Powell County to tenant farm in the 1930s.

Keywords: Clay City (Ky.); Construction industry; Covington (Ky.); Oil wells; Quarries and quarrying; Residential water consumption; Roads--Design and construction; Shelbyville (Ky.); Shotgun houses; Water utilities; Well water

Subjects: Farm life. Family farms.; Great Depression.; Migrant workers.; Rural conditions; Rural schools.

GPS: Covington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 39.065, -84.509722
00:46:09 - Farm life on Hardwick Creek

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Partial Transcript: Uh, then you moved to Clay City in around 1932, and how long were you in Clay City?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse describes his family's life on the farm on Hardwick Creek. They kept a small farm to subsist on while his father did construction work to supplement their income and Charles learned more about agriculture in high school.

Keywords: Apples--Harvesting; Blacksmithing; Canning and preserving; Construction industry; Corncribs; Dairy cattle; Dairying; Fur trade; Future Farmers of America; Gardening; Limekilns; Sorghum; Sugar crops; Terracing; United States. Works Progress Administration; Wooden-frame houses

Subjects: Family farms.; Farm life.; Farm tenancy.; Great Depression.; Powell County (Ky.); Rural conditions.; Rural schools.; Subsistence farming.

GPS: Hardwick Creek in Powell County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.831046, -83.928808
01:18:08 - Family traditions on the farm

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Partial Transcript: Mom was sorta little ahead of her time on things.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse recalls some of his family traditions such as holiday celebrations, attending church, reunions, and home remedies for ailment as well as some of his mother's unusual parenting ideas for the time.

Keywords: Christmas; Distilling, Illicit; Easter service; Family reunions; Fourth of July celebrations; Halloween; Methodist Church; Neighborhoods; Prohibition; Temperance; Thanksgiving Day

Subjects: Country life.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Great Depression.; Holidays.; Parenting.; Rural conditions.; Traditional medicine.

01:27:53 - Grandfather's Cane Creek farm

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so around nineteen, uh, forty--let's see, when did you, when did you move to Cane Creek?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks about his grandfather and his influence in the county. He talks about his grandfather's farm on Cane Creek and the types of crops and livestock he kept there.

Keywords: Cattle trade; Farm tenancy; Inheritance and succession; Oil fields; Red River (Ky.); State governments--Officials and employees; Swamps; Swine industry; Swine--Feeding and feeds

Subjects: Family farms.; Farm life.; Powell County (Ky.); Subsistence farming.

GPS: Cane Creek (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.057874, -83.922704
01:42:51 - Settling in in Cane Creek

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Partial Transcript: So the, the family moved here in, in nineteen, uh, thirty-seven after Grandfather, uh, Wireman passed away.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse describes his family's move to his grandfather's farm in Cane Creek and their life there.

Keywords: Carpentry; Clearcutting; House construction; Log transportation; Logging; Railroad construction workers; Wooden-frame houses

Subjects: Family farms.; Farm life.; Inheritance and succession.; Powell County (Ky.); Subsistence farming.

01:49:20 - Cash crops on the Cane Creek farm

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Partial Transcript: You raised hemp, too.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse discusses the types of crops they cultivated on their larger Cane Creek farm such as corn, tobacco, and even hemp.

Keywords: Corn harvesting; Hemp industry; Sawmill workers; Swine industry; Tobacco--Harvesting; Vernacular architecture

Subjects: Agriculture.; Crops.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Rural schools.; Subsistence farming.

02:02:33 - Finding work in Cincinnati (Ohio) / marriage

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Partial Transcript: And, um, you mentioned that you went to Cincinnati, okay, after you were here for awhile.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks about how after making money collecting milk and raising hogs, he found work in Cincinnati in an oxygen plant and later met his wife.

Keywords: Agricultural extension work; Cottage cheese industry; Dairying; Oxygen Productions; Swine industry

Subjects: Agriculture.; Chemical plants.; Cincinnati (Ohio); Family farms.; Farm life.; Powell County (Ky.)

GPS: Cincinnati (Ohio)
Map Coordinates: 39.1, -84.516667
02:12:56 - Return to Cane Creek farm / death of his parents

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Partial Transcript: And then you, um--and then how long after you were married did you live in Cincinnati?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse remembers when he left Cincinnati to return to the Cane Creek farm and married a short time later. Also, Shouse talks about the deaths of his parents and their lives briefly.

Keywords: Corn--Harvesting; Marriage; Soil bank program; Swine industry; Tobacco--Harvesting

Subjects: Agriculture.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Powell County (Ky.)

02:24:57 - Former structures on the on the Cane Creek farm

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Partial Transcript: Outside you had mentioned that there was yet an, uh, an, uh, an earlier house, um, that you had told was here at one time?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse describes an older house that once stood on the farm as well as sites of older buildings that were uncovered during cultivation.

Keywords: Basements; Excavations (Archaeology); Icehouses; Log cabins; Waste products

Subjects: Family farms.; Farm life.; Farms.; Powell County (Ky.); Ruins.

02:31:40 - New house on the farm

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Partial Transcript: So when you came back here from Cincinnati, you, you moved into a trailer?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks about the construction of a new house on the property.

Keywords: Lexington (Ky.); Ranch houses; Roads--Design and construction; Swine industry; Winchester (Ky.); Work Projects Administration (WPA)

Subjects: Family farms.; Farm life.; House construction; Powell County (Ky.); United States. Work Projects Administration.

02:36:07 - Fraternal organizations / radio and newspapers / tractors and cars

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Partial Transcript: Did your dad belong to any, um--or did you belong to any, uh, clubs or organizations?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks about the different fraternal organizations he and his father belonged to, the news and newspapers they would receive, and his first tractor and the truck he would use on the farm.

Keywords: Farm tractors; Freemasonry; Great Depression; Junior Order United American Mechanics; Lexington (Ky.)--Newspapers; Pickup trucks; Portable radios

Subjects: Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Family farms.; Farm life.; Fraternal Organizations.; Powell County (Ky.)

02:46:08 - Property inheritance / Indian artifacts

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Partial Transcript: How has, how has your family, um, as, as a general rule, I guess your grandparents, your, your parents, in terms of inheritance and wills and so forth...

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks briefly about his family's traditions with inheritance and land ownership, and his experience encountering Indian artifacts found while farming.

Keywords: American Indians; Decedents' estates; Excavations (Archaeology); Historic sites; Indians--Antiquities; Legacies; Native Americans; Protohistory; Wills

Subjects: Family life.; Farm life.; Indian art--America.; Inheritance and succession.; Powell County (Ky.)