MULLINAX: This is an oral history project with Kenneth Anderson for
the University of Kentucky Family Farm Oral History interview. This interview is
being conducted by Maureen Mullinax on January 9, 1992 for the minority
farmers sub-project. Okay. Let's try this again. Tell me again your full
name and when and where you were born?
ANDERSON: My name is Kenneth Turner Anderson. I was born January
29, 1940. Born in Garrard County down in the Buckeye section of
Garrard County. By the--
MULLINAX: Where is that at?
ANDERSON: It's about six or seven miles east of Lancaster.
ANDERSON: Down on Buckeye--Route--Kentucky 39.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. And you were born there back in 19--
MULLINAX: --'40. Okay.
MULLINAX: And your parents, what were their names?
ANDERSON: Wendell and Julia Anderson. My mother is six or seven--seventy-seven
years old and my father he--he's passed. He's been dead for twenty-eight
MULLINAX: Um-hm. And what about your brothers and sisters? Did you
have brothers and sisters?
ANDERSON: I have one sister.
ANDERSON: She's three years older than I am.
MULLINAX: So she's fifty-three now or rather fifty-five.
ANDERSON: No, she's fifty-five. Um-hm.
MULLINAX: Okay. And what's her name?
ANDERSON: Ophelia. Ophelia ----------(??).
MULLINAX: Um-hm. And where is she at now?
ANDERSON: She lives in Lexington.
MULLINAX: In Lexington? What does she do?
ANDERSON: Well, she doesn't do anything. She, she was a nurse
but, RN nurse, but she's not doing anything now.
MULLINAX: Okay. Is she married?
ANDERSON: No. Her husband passed--
ANDERSON: --two years ago about three years ago.
MULLINAX: What did your parents do? What kinds of things did
ANDERSON: Well, my father, my father he was--he farmed some, but
his occupation was carpenter. He was a carpenter. And my mother she,
she was an interior decorator.
ANDERSON: Yeah. Hung paper for many years.
MULLINAX: Who did she do that for? Did she have her
ANDERSON: Yeah. She and her sister worked together and they, they
hung paper all over the county.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. How did, that's interesting, did she have a separate
place of business or did she run it out of her home?
ANDERSON: Right out of her home, yes. They just--they mostly--what they
00:03:00did was just hung paper, you know, they didn't--well, not exactly a
business, but just mostly hung paper.
MULLINAX: Do you know how long she did that for or
when she started that?
ANDERSON: Well, as, as long as I can remember--as far back
as I can remember when I first started to school she was
hanging paper then and she hung paper right on up till I
guess she was sixty years old.
MULLINAX: How did she learn how to do that?
ANDERSON: Well, when they were kids at home her mother used
to paper the kitchen with newspapers and that's the way they started
MULLINAX: And your--your father was a, a farmer and a carpenter?
ANDERSON: And a carpenter, yes.
MULLINAX: Which would you say he was--
ANDERSON: Well, he liked carpentry the most.
MULLINAX: Did he?
ANDERSON: He never--he never cared no whole lot for farming. He
always liked carpentry and he, he--and he was a good carpenter. He
was kindly a door carpenter and window. He liked to hang doors
and windows. He was kind of inside carpenter, you know.
MULLINAX: And how often would he be doing carpentry?
ANDERSON: Well, he'd do it throughout the year. Just any time
he could get a job.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Um-hm. How did he get the jobs? How did
he contact the jobs?
ANDERSON: Well, people, you know, just--one--one person he's worked for would
recommend him to the other and--and he didn't have any trouble getting
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Um-hm. Could he make a pretty good living then
ANDERSON: Yes, he made a pretty good living with carpentry.
ANDERSON: And my mother she drove a school bus for, you
know, I--about, I don't know, eight or ten years.
MULLINAX: During what time? Do you remember when she drove a
ANDERSON: Well, I don't, I don't know exactly what year it
was but I guess she drove at least ten years. But I
don't know, you know, what years it was. I was in--I was
still in school when she started driving.
MULLINAX: You were young?
MULLINAX: Real young?
MULLINAX: Okay. So maybe in the fifties she was--
ANDERSON: Yes. It was in the fifties.
MULLINAX: Okay. And how did your father get into farming?
ANDERSON: Well, he--he would just--he was raised, you know, his father
00:06:00before him farmed. So well, that's kind of the way I started,
you know. It just bred into you. You just--that was just something
to do, you know, wasn't a lot of jobs. And that was
just part--partly a way to make a living.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. What kind of farming did he do?
ANDERSON: Well, he just did tobacco, raised tobacco.
ANDERSON: That was all. He wasn't no big farmer. He just,
you know, he ran--he--he had to rent until, let's see, I don't
remember what year it was. I remember I was nine years old
when they--when--when we bought the little place where mother lives now out
on 52. And it was just four acres, but, you know, we
raised tobacco on it and he rented tobacco.
MULLINAX: So he rented--he rented land to raise--to raise--
ANDERSON: To raise tobacco on.
MULLINAX: --a crop.
MULLINAX: How did--how did they buy that land? Do you know
who they bought it from and how they--how they bought it back
ANDERSON: Well, I don't know exactly how they bought but I
can remember when they bought it. He was raising this little crop
and she was running the school bus and hanging the paper.
ANDERSON: And that's the way they--
MULLINAX: Do you know if they, like, took out a loan
to buy that land or?
ANDERSON: Yeah. They took a loan out.
ANDERSON: I think, the best I can remember is they had
a thousand dollars and they paid a thousand dollars on it and
I think the place cost four thousand four hundred dollars.
MULLINAX: Gosh. That's amazing, isn't it?
ANDERSON: Forty-four hundred dollars.
MULLINAX: For four acres?
ANDERSON: For four acres and--and that was a big price at
that time because whoever--it was a thousand dollars an acre. And back
in 1949 a thousand dollars for an acre of land was an
awful lot of money.
ANDERSON: But it was--it was right on the road and any
time you have a little place like that right on the road
it--they just come high.
MULLINAX: Yeah. Yeah. And do you remember your father talking about
debt at all whenever he bought that place?
ANDERSON: Oh, yes. Yes, they had a hard time trying to
pay for it.
ANDERSON: Of course, a thousand dollars was awful hard to get
a hold of--
MULLINAX: Yeah. It is.
ANDERSON: --back in those days.
MULLINAX: Yeah. And did your--so that was the first place that
your--your father owned?
ANDERSON: Yes. Yes.
MULLINAX: And before that did he rent?
ANDERSON: Just rented.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. What about your grandfather? What kind of farm did
ANDERSON: He was a farmer, yes. He farmed on--down on--well, on
Buckeye, down in the Buckeye section. He had, oh, about somewhere around
eighty acres, I guess, when he died, he, he owned about eighty
acres of land.
ANDERSON: And he, he did some hog farming and tobacco farming.
MULLINAX: And what happened to that land when he passed on?
ANDERSON: Well, my--my mother owns part of it right now. She
owns thirty-three acres of it.
ANDERSON: See after my grandfather passed, well, my aunt bought it
and then after she passed well my mother bought it. So it's
still in the family.
MULLINAX: So your--your aunt bought it from? Who--who did she buy
ANDERSON: Well, it was seven brothers and sisters. So she bought--bought
it from the rest of the family.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Do you know was there a will?
MULLINAX: Did your grandfather have a will?
ANDERSON: No it wasn't a will.
MULLINAX: So he just--they just got the land after he, he
died--it was--and they just--
ANDERSON: It just automatically went to the family.
MULLINAX: --they just divided it up.
ANDERSON: Yes, eighty-five acres.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Did your aunt get the majority of?
ANDERSON: No, she just got thirty-three acres. One of the other
brothers bought the--the lower place. It was fifty, about fifty acres I
ANDERSON: But now it's--it's not no longer in the family now.
It was up until last year.
MULLINAX: Were there ever any family tensions over the selling of
ANDERSON: No. They were--they were a very close family, very agreeable
with each other.
MULLINAX: So did--did your father farm that land once your grandfather
MULLINAX: --passed on?
MULLINAX: It was just in his hands?
ANDERSON: Um-hm. I farmed it.
MULLINAX: How did you come to farm it?
ANDERSON: Well, I just rented from my aunt.
MULLINAX: Okay. Okay.
ANDERSON: I raised tobacco on it for--
ANDERSON: --I don't know five or six years.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. What about your--your mother's place then? What will happen
to her land when, when she passes--
ANDERSON: She's still got it.
ANDERSON: Oh when--
MULLINAX: But when she passes on?
ANDERSON: --she passes on? Well, I guess my sister and me will
MULLINAX: Does she have anything written up or have you talked
about that at all?
ANDERSON: Well, no not really, but I'd say she has.
ANDERSON: She--she's pretty clear minded. I'd say--
ANDERSON: --she's got, you know, everything fixed like she'd want it to
MULLINAX: Yeah. And so then you--when you started farming, when did
you start farming on your own?
ANDERSON: I raised--oh, on my own? I, I've been right here
for eighteen years, nineteen years. It was nineteen years the first day
of January, but I rented a farm in '63.
ANDERSON: And I lived on that farm--that was where you was
ANDERSON: Arthur Dunn.
ANDERSON: I lived on his father's farm up on--up on 52
up there. And I lived there for eleven years. That was the
second year after we married.
MULLINAX: Okay. And your wife's name is?
MULLINAX: And you married back in 1951, is it?
ANDERSON: No, we married in '62.
MULLINAX: Oh, I'm sorry 1962. I'm getting my dates mixed up
00:13:00here. And then you moved to Arthur Dunn's father's--
ANDERSON: Yes, Arthur, senior, Arthur Dunn Senior.
ANDERSON: Yeah. We moved there in '63. We stayed there eleven
years and farmed every day. We raised some big tobacco crops and
milked cows. And we moved here in '73, wasn't it? '74, '73.
We moved here in '73.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Can you tell me about that first farm that
you had. What was--what was it like? What kind of crops--well, you
said you raised tobacco but how many acres did you rent and--
ANDERSON: Well, that--that farm was ninety acres, but he had--he had
some more farms, you know, he was--he--he owned about two hundred acres
00:14:00at that time. They was scattered around from Boones Creek up on
52, but we did custom hay baling. And we raised--we kind of
raised a crop in-between early in the morning and late at night.
We did hay baling, you know. We worked every day, six days
a week. There wasn't hardly a week passed that we didn't work
six days a week and we fed cattle. We had a lot
of cattle. We fed cattle. I fed cattle for my rent.
MULLINAX: Oh, okay.
ANDERSON: In the winter time.
MULLINAX: Okay. So they were his cattle?
ANDERSON: They were his cattle. I didn't have any. Not up
until, oh, the last five years that I bought five cows. I
bought those five cows off this farm right here.
ANDERSON: And I started milking. Of course, I in-between time I,
I went to work at Trane in Lexington and worked a year.
MULLINAX: And what--what's that?
ANDERSON: That's air conditioning plant.
ANDERSON: Don't you know where Trane is in Lexington?
MULLINAX: No. I've never heard of it.
ANDERSON: Yeah. They build air conditioners.
ANDERSON: I worked over there about a year and well, I,
I had to quit because I was already obligated to Mr. Dunn,
you know, to farm and work for him. So I had to
quit over there. And then after I quit over there I did
get another job. I worked at Boyle Packing Company in Danville. You
know, a killing cattle and hogs.
ANDERSON: I worked over there for about a year and after
that I came back to the farm and worked, well, just started
raising a bigger crop. I was raising five or six acres of
MULLINAX: Um-hm. By yourself or you and--
MULLINAX: --your wife?
ANDERSON: --mostly by myself. I had to hire a lot and she
00:16:00helped me--she helped me set tobacco and strip tobacco. But then I
had to hire, you know, quite a bit.
MULLINAX: Who would you hire?
ANDERSON: Just anybody I could get.
ANDERSON: But it was one fellow that, another man lived on
the farm by the name of George Hodge. He helped, I mean,
mostly all the time. Of course, he was there--he was kind of
like me. He didn't have nothing. Just like myself. So we swap
work and cut wood and he didn't have no car or anything.
I'd have to take him to town to get his groceries. I
mean we did pretty good. We, you know, labor wasn't very high.
ANDERSON: But we made it pretty good.
MULLINAX: What--what did your wife do back in that time?
ANDERSON: Raised babies.
MULLINAX: Raised babies. (laughs) Okay. Well, we haven't talked about your
00:17:00kids at all. Let's talk a few minutes about--
ANDERSON: Well, we've got six.
MULLINAX: --your kids. You got six--
ANDERSON: We've got --
ANDERSON: --six children.
MULLINAX: Can you tell me--
ANDERSON: Three boys and three girls.
MULLINAX: Yeah. Can you tell me about when they were born?
And what their names are? And where they are at? And what
they are doing? (laughs)
ANDERSON: Well, we will start with Raymond. He's the oldest. He's
thirty-four. He just turned thirty-four in December, December the 30th. He lives
in Lexington. He spent fourteen years in the Army right out of
high school and he--he lives in Lexington now. He works--he's a truck
driver for 84 Lumber, you can talk up, 84 Lumber. And he
just recently married and has a son. My only grandson. And the
00:18:00next is Anthony, James Anthony. He lives in Danville. He has one
daughter. She's eight. He works in Nicholasville over at Donaldson in Nicholasville.
MULLINAX: What--what is that? Donaldson?
ANDERSON: Yeah. They make mufflers.
ANDERSON: It's a kind of steel plants. Most everything they do
is made out of steel, because he's been there, I don't know,
about five or six years now. That's the second son. And
the next is a daughter, Kerry. She's--Anthony is thirty-one, thirty-two. He's--the daughter
ANDERSON: She works in Danville at ATR. She has been--
MULLINAX: And what is--
ANDERSON: They--they--they are--make wire. Well, they don't make wire. They run
wire--steel tires--wire for steel tires. You know, those steel wires in tires.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Um-hm.
ANDERSON: That's what they do. Used to be, what was the
name of that? Firestone. Used to be Firestone. Japanese bought it and
they--it's called Tokyo Rope now. America's Tokyo Rope. That's what the ATR
stands for. She's been there about ten years maybe. Approximately ten years.
ANDERSON: She's got one little girl. She is 11. And the
next is LaDonna. She works in Richmond at--
MULLINAX: Merchant Alert Check Service.
ANDERSON: --Merchant Alert Check Service.
MULLINAX: So she's an office manager there?
ANDERSON: And, of course, she's only been there, what? About two
years? She doesn't have any children.
MULLINAX: And how old is she?
ANDERSON: She's twenty-eight. And the next is Malone, Kenneth Malone. He
lives in Danville and he has two children, two daughters. And he
works at Mathews Conveyor in Danville and he's been there about ten
00:21:00or eleven years, about eleven years. Yeah. About eleven years.
MULLINAX: And what do they do?
ANDERSON: He's a welder.
ANDERSON: Yeah. And a good one. A real good welder. Uh,
MULLINAX: The last one.
ANDERSON: The last--(laughs)--is a baby girl. She works in Nicholasville at
Gulf States [editor's note: Gulf States Paper]. They make these food boxes.
You know, like cracker boxes.
ANDERSON: They make those.
ANDERSON: We had an interview over at that plant, when was
it? Open house? And we got to--we got to see the whole,
00:22:00the complete plant. That was back in--about the first of December. She
doesn't have any children. She's got a couple of dogs--(laughs)--she thinks is
her children. Couple of poodles.
MULLINAX: Yeah. And she lives in Nicholasville?
ANDERSON: No. She lives in--
MULLINAX: She lives in--
ANDERSON: --Garrard County.
MULLINAX: Oh, she does. Okay. Okay. But she works in Nicholasville.
ANDERSON: Yeah. I have two in Garrard County. One in Madison
County. One in Fayette and two in--in Danville.
MULLINAX: Yeah. They're all real close then.
MULLINAX: That's nice.
ANDERSON: They come home pretty regular. Well, you can look up
and see one of them coming any time. (laughs)
MULLINAX: And did you raise most of those kids here then?
00:23:00Here and then Arthur Dunn's farm?
ANDERSON: Well, most--well, we raised the biggest majority of them we
raised them over at--on Arthur Dunn's place.
ANDERSON: They were--well, all of them was in school, but they--wasn't
that her first year? She just had started to school when we
moved here and so--
MULLINAX: Back in '70--'72 you said?
MULLINAX: Yeah. So what--what made you decide to buy your own
ANDERSON: Well, I just thought it was time to make a
start. We--I've always wanted a farm from, you know, a little boy
ANDERSON: I wanted a farm and I wanted twenty dairy cows.
That was always my dream from a boy--
MULLINAX: Twenty what?
ANDERSON: Twenty dairy cows.
ANDERSON: So when I bought this farm and I applied for
a loan. I applied for a 100 acre farm and twenty dairy
cows. So that's what I got.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Where did you apply for a loan at?
ANDERSON: From FHA [editor's note: Farmers Home Administration].
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Did you have any problems getting a loan or
was it an easy process?
ANDERSON: Well, it took about two years. I--we--Mr. Dunn priced me
that farm over there at one time and I applied for the
loan over there for that farm. And then he kind of backed
out on me. So after I had my application in for a
farm loan well then it wasn't too hard for me to buy
MULLINAX: Oh. So Mr. Dunn decided against selling the, the--
MULLINAX: --the farm to you?
ANDERSON: Yeah. He--
MULLINAX: Is that the place where Janet lives now?
ANDERSON: Yeah. Right there where Janet lives.
MULLINAX: You lived in that house? Oh, okay. That's well that's
where I did the interview yesterday.
ANDERSON: Was it?
MULLINAX: Yeah. Yeah.
ANDERSON: That's where we--we lived. We was there when they built
that barn and in fact I, I tore the old barn down.
ANDERSON: And I worked back and forwards for him since I've
been here. We will never get completely loose from them as long
as little Arthur is living.
MULLINAX: What do you mean?
ANDERSON: He, you know, he just always. Well, we--was kind of
like a family you know. We just worked together and we still
help each other right now. It's not hardly a week passes, you
know, he don't call and want me to do something. Weld something
out there on the farm.
ANDERSON: So we, we stay in touch.
MULLINAX: Yeah. So then you--you bought this place in, in '72
and you bought a hundred acres. Is this--
ANDERSON: A hundred and eight acres.
MULLINAX: A hundred and eight acres.
ANDERSON: I've raised tobacco and, and I, I did run about
twenty--twenty to twenty-five cows on it, milk cows. And I milked cows
up to six years ago. I milked cows for twenty-five years of
my life. So I guess--right after I went to public work I,
I didn't have--Well, my--my youngest son he was--he was working third shift
and he was doing the milking in the evening and I did
the milking in the morning. And so after he had to go
to second shift, well that put both of us on second shift
so we didn't have nobody to milk at night.
ANDERSON: So I decided to quit. It's been--well, that's--we quit on
six years ago on the first of January.
ANDERSON: But we, you know, we was getting tired of it.
We had milked for so long and the milk prices--the government had
done got into milk and it wasn't--it wasn't paying like it used
to. And feed was high. We had a lot of bad luck
with our cows. We lost several cows. It really wasn't paying much.
ANDERSON: I haven't missed it any.
MULLINAX: Yeah. You said something about the government getting involved in--in--in
ANDERSON: Well, they put--they put a support price on milk. I
don't know. It just seemed like--it never--milk never did do--sell very good
after they put that support price on it.
MULLINAX: What do you think about the government's involvement in--in farming?
ANDERSON: Well, I don't think much of it.
ANDERSON: Because to me when the government gets in farming it's
00:28:00for the big farmers. I mean they, you know, they have anything
is free to give away the big farmer gets it before the
little farmer knows anything about it. See, they get it off the
top. That's where I feel, I might be wrong, but they, I
mean, the--they will come around and tell you what you can get
a--or you will get a notice in the mail what's available for
you but when you get there it's gone. I mean the big
farmers has already got it. See, they know when it first comes
MULLINAX: Yeah. What kind of things are you talking about?
ANDERSON: Well, you know, it always, it always--they always have like
a free feed program or--or like they go and give you so
much money on building a pond, you know, things like that.
ANDERSON: But it's, it's like leasing--bull leasing. You know, they will
00:29:00lease you bulls or either like a new seed program come out
they, they go give you so many free seeds for experiment or
tobacco seed. The big man gets that before the little man even
knows anything about it.
MULLINAX: Yeah. Have you been able to take advantage of any
of these kinds of programs?
ANDERSON: No, I haven't ever got anything.
MULLINAX: No. So do you--can you think of any kind of
thing that could help the little farmer that the--the government could do?
Do you have ideas about that?
ANDERSON: Well, the government, I mean, well, just like the University
of Kentucky. They--when they send me a notice out that they will
00:30:00come and give me a, you know, test my soil free or
something like that. Well, really I don't think that's helping me. Come
and test my soil, because all they do is tell me how
much fertilize I have to buy and, you know, that--that's just more
money out of your pocket which your land may need it but
in--in my case. I've never had the money, you know. I don't
make that kind of money, because you've always got to spend more
money when--when the government gets in it if you farm like they
want you to.
ANDERSON: They are, in my way of thinking, they farm on
ANDERSON: And it's just different when you get out there in
the soil it's different than farming on paper. Of course, I'm quite
00:31:00sure they do a lot of experimenting and all and they are
supposed to know what they are doing. But--I'm quite sure they know
what they are doing. You understand what I'm saying?
MULLINAX: Yeah. I know what you mean.
ANDERSON: But I just can't farm like they do.
MULLINAX: So how do you--how do you go about your own
ANDERSON: Well, I just do the very best I can, you
know, I farm to the best of my ability and, of course,
I try to do things that they recommend as far as I
can go. As far the money will let me go, you know.
If, if I make so much money well I, you know, I
try to--I give it my best shot. In raising a crop I
give it my best shot to try to raise the best crop
00:32:00I can because that's my money I'm spending see. And I'm trying
to make money out of tobacco. I'm not, you know, just doing
it for a hobby. I'm trying to make a living. Trying to
pay for my farm out of tobacco is what I'm doing and
it is not easy. Not anymore. I, It's not no way in
the world I could make it now if I didn't have a
second job. I've got to, I've got to work forty hours a
week to farm.
ANDERSON: But that's, you know, that's not very good when you've
got to do another job to keep the farm going. That's, that's
not very good.
MULLINAX: How long have you been doing that? You've been doing
that a long time haven't you?
ANDERSON: Ever since '78.
ANDERSON: Yeah. I went to work for Whirlpool in 1978. Of
course, after--after the children married and left it's been a little different.
00:33:00In one way it's helped and in another it hasn't because when
the children were at home, you know, I didn't have to hire
much help. We raised all of the crops.
MULLINAX: How many acres of tobacco do you plant?
ANDERSON: Well, I had five out this year and, I mean,
you know we didn't have a very good season. I come up
real short this year, but I guess I'll just have to try
to make it up another year.
MULLINAX: So you are just going to have to make ends
meet with the other--
MULLINAX: --the other job then?
MULLINAX: How many acres did you raise at the time that
you were raising the most how many did you plant?
ANDERSON: Well, I have raised as many as ten acres.
ANDERSON: I know I had to--I don't know it was the
second or third year I moved here I had--I had tobacco rented
00:34:00over on the Dunn Farm and then I had tobacco rented up
here on the highway on the Paul Rich farm. So I, It
was ten or twelve acres plus what I had here. I usually
have about four acres here that I raise every year, but, you
know, I, I leased a little tobacco this year.
ANDERSON: It seems like it gets harder every year I guess
because I'm getting older, but to do the two jobs it just
gets a little harder.
MULLINAX: Yeah. So you still work forty hours a week?
ANDERSON: Sometimes more. We--we've been doing quite a bit of overtime.
MULLINAX: What do you--what do you do with the rest of
00:35:00your--your land that you have?
ANDERSON: Well, I raise hay.
MULLINAX: Hay. Um-hm.
ANDERSON: Run cattle.
ANDERSON: Used to raise, when I was milking, I raised a
lot of corn, silage, you know, and--
ANDERSON: --feed. But since I quit milking I don't--I don't raise any
corn any more. Hay, I raise, hay about sixty acres of hay
MULLINAX: What kind of machinery do you have?
ANDERSON: Well, I've got what it takes, you know. A tractor
and a mower and tobacco setter, car. I got, you know, I
got the machinery it takes to farm and work it.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. And you said, earlier you said, something about being
raised to be a farmer. That you've wanted to be a farmer
since you were a young boy. What was it like growing up
00:36:00on a farm when you were--when--
ANDERSON: Well, that's the only thing I knew.
ANDERSON: I raised my first tobacco crop when I was nine
years old. We was in--I was in 4-H in school and I
raised it--my first tobacco crop at nine years.
MULLINAX: What did that mean it was your, your crop? Did
you--it was your father's land?
ANDERSON: No, it was my uncle's land.
MULLINAX: It was your uncle's land.
ANDERSON: Yeah. And I, I had a real good crop that
first one. I won the blue ribbon on it in, in 4-H.
Well, I thought that was the only way to go. Didn't think
there was no other way. Nothing but farming.
MULLINAX: So then did you set it all out yourself when
ANDERSON: Well, my uncle he helped me.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Um-hm. But you bought the seed and the--
MULLINAX: --and the--
ANDERSON: Raised it with a mule.
MULLINAX: What about your sister? What did she do on the
ANDERSON: Nothing much.
ANDERSON: She never has done much. She--we used set tobacco with
a hand jobber and she did drop plants in this hand jobber.
But now other than that I can't remember her ever doing anything.
I don't even remember her stripping any tobacco. She never did like
nothing about farming.
MULLINAX: What about your mother?
ANDERSON: Oh, my mother has done it all.
ANDERSON: She's, she's helped in all of it. Helped. This year
we went to set our tobacco and she got on a tobacco--we
was waiting for some help. And she got on a tobacco setter
00:38:00and set, I think, it was four--three or four rows and that's
the first time she's ever been on a tobacco setter, you know.
MULLINAX: And she's seventy-seven you said?
ANDERSON: Um-hm. She'll be seventy-eight the 20th of this month. But
now she--she's always, you know, well, she lived on a farm all
of her life. And she's always been willing to try. And used
to--she used to strip a lot of tobacco. After we married, she
used to come and help us strip tobacco.
MULLINAX: So she was raised on a farm too? Her parents
ANDERSON: Um-hm. Yeah. She--she's been on a farm all of her
MULLINAX: Can you tell me what it was like growing up
in--in your house? What kind of things? What kinds of memories you
have of growing up on a farm? Kinds of things that you
ANDERSON: Well, it--we've had it pretty rough all of our life.
00:39:00Although we've never--never been hungry or cold. We've always--we've all--we've always raised
our own meat you know.
ANDERSON: Our garden, we've always had a big garden and we
just lived a normal life. I mean as far back as I
can remember it, we've always had a car. You know, we was
right there on the side of the road and we had a--we
rode the school bus to school. And after I got fifteen or
sixteen years old I started working through the summer.
MULLINAX: Where did you work?
ANDERSON: Just on a farm.
ANDERSON: Wherever I could get a job. So, I mean, it--we
haven't had it that bad but we've always been able to get
ANDERSON: I never have seen a time I couldn't get a
job. Might not have been what I wanted all the time, but,
MULLINAX: Yeah. Can you tell me about the house you grew
up in? What--what was it like? What kind of building was it?
ANDERSON: Well, it was just a frame house. They--it was six
rooms. Yeah. Six rooms framed house.
MULLINAX: This is where your mother lives now?
ANDERSON: Um-hm. Yeah. On 52. Now we lived--we lived--when I was
00:41:00about five or six years old we lived right up the road
here on Silver Creek Road. The house is still there now. That
is where I learned to drive. Right out that road. And we
lived there for, oh, I don't--I can't remember how many years. But
it was three or four years we lived there. And then we
moved from there down on Poor Ridge Pike. And we stayed there
approximately three, four years. And then after we moved from there we
moved out there where my mother lives now.
MULLINAX: So you--you had a pretty big house for just your
00:42:00sister and you and your parents--
MULLINAX: --to live in. Did anybody else live there or was it
just your family?
ANDERSON: Just our family.
MULLINAX: Just your family.
MULLINAX: Do you remember anything about your mom's kitchen? What it
ANDERSON: Well, it was just pretty much like--almost just like it
MULLINAX: Yeah. Yeah. What kind of stove did she have in--in
ANDERSON: Well, she had a--she's had a gas stove ever since
she's been there. Now the--the houses before that though she cooked on
a wood stove. Yeah. A wood stove, you know, a cast iron
ANDERSON: I can remember it well.
MULLINAX: Was that hard to keep going? Was it hard to
MULLINAX: Or did they--
ANDERSON: No. I mean, they were used to it and--
ANDERSON: --you just had to keep a little wood and coal in
it. It had the baking oven on top. I don't guess you
ever seen one of those?
MULLINAX: No, I haven't. I haven't seen one.
ANDERSON: Do you--anyway--Yeah.
ANDERSON: That--well, now we had--I was going to say we had
lamps, but we had electric lights down there.
MULLINAX: Okay. I'm going to turn the tape over here.
[Pause in recording.]
MULLINAX: Okay. You--you were telling me about your--your mother's kitchen. Can
you tell me about some of the things she used to make
to eat? Do you remember? I mean what kind of cook was
ANDERSON: Oh, she was a good cook.
ANDERSON: She's always been a good cook.
MULLINAX: What kind of things did she fix?
ANDERSON: Well, just mostly what was grown right off the farm.
ANDERSON: She was--she--she made a lot of pies and cakes and--and
well, vegetables that we had, you know, grew on the farm. And
she--she's always put up anything she could. Canned, you know.
ANDERSON: We picked blackberries and, well, just anything she could put
in a jar. That's what we'd have.
MULLINAX: Did you preserve meat?
ANDERSON: Yes. She--we killed our own meat and--and potatoes. We'd bury
MULLINAX: What do you mean? You'd bury your potatoes.
ANDERSON: Well, you know, after--after the--after you'd grow your potatoes and
dig them in the fall, well you'd dig a--have a big hole
and you'd dig those potatoes and put those potatoes in this hole.
So they wouldn't freeze during the winter. And then you'd--you'd bury them
in straw. And any time you wanted potatoes you could go there
and dig the dirt off there and get them and they'd be
nice fresh potatoes.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Um-hm. What--
ANDERSON: We didn't have a cellar, you know, what a cellar
MULLINAX: Yeah. Yeah. I know what a cellar is.
ANDERSON: Okay. We didn't have one of ours. We had our--had
our own smoke house. That's where we kept our meat and we
burned wood and coal.
MULLINAX: In the house for--for heat?
ANDERSON: Yeah. For heat we did. And back to this cooking,
she'd make fruitcake, you know, at Christmas.
ANDERSON: Well, she--she could cook about anything. Nothing fancy now. She
wasn't no fancy cook. All these different things they have now well
she didn't--she didn't do any of that cooking.
MULLINAX: Yeah. What was your favorite dish she'd fix?
ANDERSON: Well, I always was a fried chicken eater.
ANDERSON: And we--we raised our own chickens and, you know, she'd
go out--I've seen her go out in the morning and kill a
chicken and fry it for breakfast.
MULLINAX: For breakfast?
ANDERSON: Yes. Many times. We raised--have our own bacon. That was--that
00:47:00was something had to be done every morning was to eat breakfast.
If you didn't eat another meal a day, you had to eat
ANDERSON: That was the main meal.
MULLINAX: So you ate--breakfast was your main meal.
ANDERSON: We ate--we ate breakfast every morning. Of course, we had
three meals a day but, I don't know why, but she really
stressed on breakfast.
ANDERSON: You know, you didn't get your day started after you
had breakfast. And she still does that today, you know, she thinks
you've got to have breakfast.
MULLINAX: What kind of--what time would you normally get up when
you were young to eat?
ANDERSON: Oh, we'd get up--we'd be up and ready to go
at seven o'clock in the morning. You know, we didn't get to
stay in bed. Seven o'clock was late.
ANDERSON: Most of the time we had breakfast about seven o'clock.
MULLINAX: Did you do chores before breakfast?
ANDERSON: No. No. We didn't have any chores to do in
the mornings, but--but in the afternoon you had to get the wood
and coal in.
MULLINAX: But you would sit down to a big breakfast every
ANDERSON: Every morning.
MULLINAX: What kind of food would she fix?
ANDERSON: Well, she would have bacon and eggs and--and gravy and
hot biscuits. Always have some kind of preserves if she--if we wanted
preserves or strawberry preserves or apple jelly or anything, you know, she
could put in a jar.
ANDERSON: And then we'd have--some mornings we'd have fried chicken and
fried potatoes and biscuits. She'd always have the biscuits.
MULLINAX: Sounds like she was a pretty good cook?
ANDERSON: Oh, yeah. She, she cooked hard food all of her
MULLINAX: What about when you went to school? Can you tell
me about that? When did you start schooling?
ANDERSON: I was seven years old when I started school on
account of the way my birthday fell.
MULLINAX: Okay. So that was back in 1947.
MULLINAX: And what was school like when you first started? Where
did you go?
ANDERSON: I went to Mason.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. And what kind of a school was that?
ANDERSON: It was an all black school.
ANDERSON: I went to--I never graduated until I was 18, but
00:50:00I went to--I went to school regularly.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. So you went all the way through high school.
MULLINAX: Until 1948, then?
MULLINAX: Did you go to the same school the whole time
or did you?
ANDERSON: Yes. I went to the same school.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. What was the building like?
ANDERSON: Well, it was just a one story building, block building.
It's--it's still in Lancaster now. Down on Buford Street.
MULLINAX: Did all of the grades--were they in separate rooms or
how did that work?
ANDERSON: Well, it was, let's see, first--first and second grade was
in one room. And the second--the third, fourth and fifth grade, I
00:51:00believe, was in one room. And then, let's see, the sixth and
seventh was in one and then when you, you know, graduated from
eighth grade. Eighth, ninth--eighth and ninth was in one. I'm losing a
year there somewhere. And--well, we changed classes. In--after we got in high
school we changed classes and we'd go like to English and history
class to one room--
ANDERSON: --and then it was vice versed. But it was--it was two
00:52:00or three grades in one room. Some--the teachers would change, you know,
you have an English teacher and a history teacher. But and different
times of day, well, the classes would change. But it was all
right there in that one building.
MULLINAX: Yeah. Did, did your sister go to that same school?
ANDERSON: Um-hm. Um-hm.
ANDERSON: And her oldest son went--went there to his first year
ANDERSON: And then after that is when mixed it up.
MULLINAX: When they integrated the schools.
ANDERSON: Integrated schools, yes.
MULLINAX: What year was that when your son first went to
ANDERSON: What was it Joanne? '56.
PERSON: I ----------(??). That was ----------(??).
MULLINAX: How old is he now?
ANDERSON: Thirty-four. He just turned thirty-four.
MULLINAX: He's thirty-four. So when he--he was six--
ANDERSON: Yeah. He started when he was six.
MULLINAX: Yeah. So about twenty years ago, I guess.
MULLINAX: Well, well, what--what did you think about school back then?
Did you--did you like school? Did you enjoy it?
ANDERSON: Well, I enjoyed school at first, when I first started.
Well, I guess I enjoyed school mostly all I could because I
00:54:00was in 4-H and, you know, I, I liked agriculture. So that
kind of kept me interested in school.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. But you knew you were going to be a
farmer when you were--you were--
ANDERSON: Oh, yeah.
MULLINAX: --were going through school?
ANDERSON: That's--that's all I had in my mind. I just--that was
all I wanted to do.
MULLINAX: Yeah. Yeah.
ANDERSON: And I, I guess, like today. It was just, you
know, wasn't so hard to make a living that would be all
I would be doing is farming.
ANDERSON: Of course, there's not many black farmers left in this--
ANDERSON: --in this county.
MULLINAX: No. There's not.
ANDERSON: There used to be a lot of black farmers, but
not anymore. You can just about count them on--on your hands.
ANDERSON: How many black farmers left in Garrard County.
MULLINAX: Yeah. Do you remember, I mean, did those farmers--those black
farmers get together when you were younger. Do you remember there being
a community of black--black farming families or did they connect a lot?
ANDERSON: Well, not no lot, but like one thing they did
00:55:00together. Like if you had a hog killing it would be a
lot of them would get together and, you know, have this hog
ANDERSON: And they would--where ever they'd kill--now this mostly was back
in my grandfather's day. I can remember that when they would--
MULLINAX: When you were--
ANDERSON: --would go to his house and he would have a hog
box. That's what you scald the hogs in.
MULLINAX: You scald the hogs in the--
MULLINAX: --hog box?
ANDERSON: All right. They would--it would be different farmers would come,
you know, everybody would help everybody until everybody got done. If you
had four hogs and the next man had four, we just killed
your hogs and you'd bring them in.
ANDERSON: And it wasn't no such thing as going to a
00:56:00slaughter house. You'd--they'd--they'd set a certain day and it looks like to
me it would be the coldest day of the year when they
would do this. (laughs) And they would have--they would--as they would kill
the meat, well, they would you know cut off a big piece
and they--my grandmother she'd be frying it, frying fresh meat and one
of the main things was liver. When they'd kill these hogs, somebody
would slice the liver and they'd have fried liver and gravy. That's--boy
that's been so many years ago.
MULLINAX: So they would make a day of--
MULLINAX: --getting together?
ANDERSON: They'd make a big day and used to be--now this
was even after I started farming. One farmer would help--come and help
the other one you know. Would nobody--like--just like cutting tobacco. Wouldn't nobody
be through cutting tobacco until everybody around in the community was through
00:57:00you know. Because they would go from farm to farm and help
them, but not anymore.
MULLINAX: Was it like that when you were young on your
MULLINAX: Yeah. Why do you think that changed?
ANDERSON: Well, I don't know. People seemed like they just get
busy, got busy and didn't have time. Well, you take me for
instance now, well, see I don't have time to help you because
I am too busy here, see, trying to get mine done so
I can go to work. And I mean it's, it's two things
shouldn't be. You shouldn't try to farm. Farming is a full-time job.
ANDERSON: And you shouldn't try to farm and work public work.
That's the way it should be, but I mean it--it's not. But
that's the way it should be because if something has to be
left undone. Now all summer I was baling hay and I would
00:58:00have to bale--well, I work day shift this summer and I would
come in and go over there and work eight or ten hours
a day and then come in and have to bale hay until
dark, see. And it--it takes--looks like twice as long. And something has
to be--has to go undone when you work in public work and
farming--when something needs to be done on the farm, it needs to
be done when it needs to be done. Like chopping tobacco or
setting tobacco. When the time comes that's when you should do it,
but working public work you can't do it because you don't have
time. There is just not enough hours in the day to do
MULLINAX: Do most of the--the farmers that you do most of
them work off the farm too?
ANDERSON: Well, most of the farmers now I know do. Yeah.
00:59:00Now Arthur Dunn he's--he's retired, but, you know, he worked public work
ANDERSON: --oh, about--it was over twenty years.
ANDERSON: I'd say close to thirty years.
MULLINAX: Is there any way in which you--well, you, you did
say that you help Arthur when he calls you every once in
a while and has you help. Do you connect with other black
farmers in the--in the area much?
ANDERSON: Well, Thomas Peters and I are real good friends and
we help each other backwards and forwards. Of course, he doesn't raise
any tobacco, but he--he's got cattle. And I help him bale hay
01:00:00and--and, of course, he helps me a lot in--in my tobacco.
MULLINAX: Do you hire him or do you just kind of
ANDERSON: We just kind of--
MULLINAX: --back and forth?
ANDERSON: --trade back and forth. I hire him when we are cutting
tobacco, but other than that. Now he helped me strip a lot
of tobacco this year. Just drop in, you know, for an hour
MULLINAX: What about church? Do you see these people in--in the
church that you go to? Do you go to church?
ANDERSON: Well, it's not--well, like the Dunns and the Peters, well
they don't go to our church. See, I go to church at
01:01:00Buckeye. They go to church over here at Boones Creek.
ANDERSON: So we don't--unless our churches, you know, come together and
have services at one of the other churches we don't hardly see
each other in church.
MULLINAX: Are they the same type of church?
ANDERSON: Yeah. Same denomination. Baptist. Yeah.
MULLINAX: Why do you go to the one that you go
ANDERSON: I've went there all of my life.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. Um-hm.
MULLINAX: So you grew up in that church?
ANDERSON: I grew up in that church. Yeah.
MULLINAX: How has the church changed over time?
ANDERSON: It's changed a lot because it's just, you know, it's
so many members that's died out and it's just not--not very many
members there now.
MULLINAX: What kind of a church is it?
ANDERSON: It's a Baptist church.
MULLINAX: What was it like when you grew up there? How
ANDERSON: Oh, it was--
MULLINAX: --would you say --
ANDERSON: --it was a--it was a lot of families there. Big--it was
a big congregation then. Now it's--it's--you can almost count them on one
MULLINAX: So you think there are--how many families would you say
ANDERSON: Hmm. How many would you say five?
PERSON: Say about six or seven.
ANDERSON: Six or seven--
ANDERSON: --families. Yeah.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. So are they--have these families gone there all of
their lives too?
ANDERSON: Yes. One--
ANDERSON: Well, most of them. We have two families from Danville
that, you know, haven't been long. The last couple of years they
joined. But the, the older people die and, and the younger people
just don't come. We've got a lot of young members if they
01:03:00would come to church.
MULLINAX: Um-hm. What was it like--what was church like going there
when you were--when you were growing up? Was it a--did you go
Sunday morning and stay all day? Or--how--what was it like--
MULLINAX: --going to church there early in your life?
ANDERSON: We have stayed all day a lot of days, a
lot of times. We've had, you know, morning service and afternoon service
since we have--over the years we've stayed a lot of all day
services. All day long services. We have revivals, you know, two weeks.
It was a lot different experience then than it is now.
MULLINAX: Yeah. In what way?
ANDERSON: Well, by so many, you know, so many people coming
to church and the older people, you know, had a lot of
older members there. People--I can kindly remember--there was one man that used
to ride his horse to church all the time. He lived right
on down the road there from the church. And every time he'd
come to church he'd ride his horse and his name was Big
John Ray. It--it' been, you know, a real good experience.
MULLINAX: Yeah. So was that a central part of your growing
up? Going to church?
ANDERSON: Yeah. I've went to church all of my life.
MULLINAX: Well, one other thing I, I wanted to ask you
was about your farm here. You've got this, a pretty good sized
farm here back in this beautiful country. What's going to happen to
the farm when you pass on? Do you know? Have you made--
ANDERSON: I'm going to live forever.
MULLINAX: You're going to live forever. (laughs)
ANDERSON: Well, I don't know. That's a good question. My wife
she don't care nothing about farming and I, I don't think--I don't
think any of my children would be. I don't think that would,
01:06:00you know, want to farm. I think they've had enough farming through
their young life. They are not--they are not interested in farming at
all. And I'm--I just don't think that any of them will be
interested in it to farm.
PERSON: ----------(??) sell it.
MULLINAX: You will sell it.
PERSON: If, if I live through it, you know.
ANDERSON: I--that might be it in a nut shell.
MULLINAX: Yeah. Because nobody really--why don't you think they are interested
ANDERSON: Because there's not no money in it.
MULLINAX: What do you think could make farming more profitable?
ANDERSON: Well, I don't know. I just don't know now. Tobacco
01:07:00is getting worse every year because--because of the non-smokers. Every year it's
getting less chance of tobacco staying in. Tobacco is just liable to
go any time now. And I don't guess--
MULLINAX: That's, that's--
ANDERSON: --we would have as good as a tobacco market now if
it wasn't for foreign countries. But cigarettes are getting high. Chewing tobacco
is getting high and then, like this year, they--they say we was
going to have a good year. And look what they've done. Tobacco--some
tobacco brought less money than it did last year, but now--
MULLINAX: Why is that?
ANDERSON: I don't know because it's a terrible shortage on tobacco.
This year it's a big shortage on tobacco and last year tobacco
brought--most anything you put on the floor last year bought a dollar
seventy-six cents. Well, the highest tobacco sold this time was a dollar
eight-four and I've heard of some ninety cent tobacco this year.
ANDERSON: Well, labor is higher this year, last year, I'm talking
in '91. Fertilizer is higher. Everything you bought was higher, but look
what they get. And see that's another thing. When the government sets
01:09:00a price on tobacco, then they give you what they want you
to have and there's nothing you can do about it. And that's
why the young people don't want no part of farming.
MULLINAX: So they realize that you're not going to make a--
PERSON: That's right.
MULLINAX: --dollar at it. Do you--do you belong to any kind of
MULLINAX: Any farm clubs?
MULLINAX: Any groups of any sort? No.
ANDERSON: No, I don't.
MULLINAX: Do you talk about this kind of thing with your
fellow farmers? These--
MULLINAX: Does anybody have any solutions?
ANDERSON: I haven't heard of any yet.
MULLINAX: Yeah. Yeah. It's frustrating.
MULLINAX: Have you experienced any kind of different treatment as a
01:10:00farmer from--in your experience with farming. Have you experienced any kind of
ANDERSON: No. I, I've lived where ever I wanted to live
and all my life. I never had no--no discrimination. No--that I can
ever remember since I've been in this world.
ANDERSON: And I've, you know, any where I wanted to go.
Anything I wanted to say. I've never had no trouble. Of course,
I've lived, you know, in Garrard County all my life. But I've
never had no kind of discrimination at all--well, James Burdett, how did
01:11:00he get into this.
MULLINAX: Well, he--the director of our project knows Jenny.
MULLINAX: And we went down towards Berea before Christmas and talked
to him to see if he could tell us the names of
some black farmers that he--that he knew. And he gave us your
name and said you'd be a good person to talk to.
ANDERSON: Ah, shoot.
ANDERSON: I just wondered. I just wondered, you know, how--
ANDERSON: --'cause he's not farming any--
MULLINAX: No, he's not farming any more--
ANDERSON: --no longer. So--
MULLINAX: --but he told us about all of the people down here
in Garrard County that he knew. But--well, I want to thank you
01:12:00for sitting down and talking to me today about your, your farming
experiences. I've had a real good time.
[End of interview.]