Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Harold Duane Spencer, June 24, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Life

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Partial Transcript: This is David Rotenizer with the University of Kentucky Family Farm Oral History Project, uh, Cane Creek Study Area.

Segment Synopsis: Spencer begins by listing his parents, siblings, and the various occupations they have had. Next, Spencer's other relatives and their lives are discussed. Spencer then describes the places he has lived throughout his life. Notable locations include California and England due to enlistment in the U.S. Air Force. Lastly, Spencer explains why he returned to Kentucky after a decades-long stint in Sacramento.

Keywords: Adulthood; Aunts; California; Childhood; Fire suppression; Grandparents; Jobs; Parents; Sharecropping; Siblings; U.S. Air Force; Uncles; Wives

Subjects: Families.; Farming; Kentucky; Life; Occupations; Retirement

00:08:39 - The farm / neighbors

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Partial Transcript: Um, after returning from California, uh, after retiring, you, you came back here to Punkin Hollow.

Segment Synopsis: Spencer relays the family history implicit in the farm. The interviewee's uncle previously owned it, and various relatives lived there during the 1980s. The previous owner before Spencer is revealed to be a group of doctors who presumably used it as an investment property. Evidence of since-torn down structures on the farm are documented, as well as neighbors who have these remnants on their land. The neighbor's former home(s) are also described.

Keywords: Barns; Chimneys; Doctors; Homes; Land; Neighbors; Pennsylvania; Relatives; Structures; Uncles; Wells

Subjects: Agriculture; Architecture; Farming; Kentucky; Life

00:20:28 - Farm in the past

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Partial Transcript: Um, so in the fifties your family moved back to Powell County and they moved here in Punkin Hollow.

Segment Synopsis: Spencer describes the farm he formerly (and now currently) lived in during the 1950s. Details are given on the crops grown at the time, flowers that were planted, along with specifics upon the home's foundation. A layout of the home's interior is then provided as well. Next, Spencer talks of the cars his father had, and the sleeping arrangements at the farm house. Additionally, the people who lived at the farm during this period are established. Lastly, technology on the farm is mentioned.

Keywords: Barns; Cars; Cattle; Cellars; Children; Family; Fireplaces; Flowers; Foundations; Friends; Heating; Homes; Photographs; Pictures; Plants; Sketches; Stalls; Tobacco; Washrooms

Subjects: Architecture; Electricity; Farming; Horticulture; Livestock; Sharecropping

00:43:04 - Places lived / siblings

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Partial Transcript: Okay, prior to your, uh, moving to Powell County, you mentioned that the family--uh, your father was renting farms and sharecropping in Montgomery County and Bath County?

Segment Synopsis: Spencer lists the various farms he lived on before moving to his current residence. All of these previous farms are found to be located in Kentucky. Each place is described, including who his father rented it from, and if the family grew their own crops at that particular location. Spencer also briefly gives a few details on his siblings.

Keywords: Bath County (Ky.); Cane Creek (Ky.); Children; Crops; Family; Montgomery County (Ky.); Parents; Powell County (Ky.); Siblings

Subjects: Agriculture; Farming; Kentucky; Life; Sharecropping; Work

00:49:35 - Remedies / family and roads

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Partial Transcript: Did your mother do any kind of, um, uh, home remedies whenever you were ill?

Segment Synopsis: Spencer recounts the home remedies that his mother prepared for ill children. Additionally, Spencer's parents' handling of discipline is explored. Family traditions, including celebrations of Christmas, Halloween, and family reunions are discussed as well. Spencer's childhood and usual interests are also examined. Lastly, infrastructural conditions of this time are touched on.

Keywords: Cane Creek (Ky.); Castor oil; Childhood; Customs; Home remedies; Illnesses; Medicine; Parents; Reunions; Roads; Sisters; Soda; Stores

Subjects: Christmas; Farming; Halloween; Health; Infrastructure; Kentucky; Life

00:56:43 - Military service / farming

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, what prompted you to, to go into the Air Force?

Segment Synopsis: Spencer considers why he decided to join the Air Force. An explanation for Spencer's discharge from the Air Force is also given, as well as why the interviewee chose to move to California. Spencer's experience with farming is documented as well. The types of crops that Spencer plants are also mentioned. The possibility of obtaining livestock is then explored. Where the previous owners plowed fields is established.

Keywords: Acreage; Adventure; Air Force; Animals; Benches; California; Cane Creek (Ky.); Corn; Crops; Fields; Fire; Kentucky; Owners; Tobacco

Subjects: Death; Farming; Livestock; Military; Plants; Travel

01:09:40 - Doctors / trailers / hunting

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Partial Transcript: Uh, back when you were, uh, growing up here in the, in the fifties, where did, uh, uh, you all see a doctor?

Segment Synopsis: Spencer recalls the doctors he had as a child. A layout of Spencer's trailer is provided, as well as the year it was built. Additionally, Spencer's affinity for hunting is emphasized. The types of animals Spencer hunts, and the dog breeds he uses for this activity are discussed.

Keywords: Breeds; Campton (Ky.); Doctors; Dogs; Floor plans; Furs; Homes; Minnows; Mount Sterling (Ky.); Possum; Raccoons; Stanton (Ky.); Trailers

Subjects: Architecture; Farming; Fishing; Hunting; Kentucky

01:15:57 - Natural disasters / now and then

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Partial Transcript: Is this area ever, uh, badly hit by floods?

Segment Synopsis: Spencer illustrates the types of natural disasters present around Cane Creek. Fires and flooding tend to be the primary threats to the area. Local fire department options are also explored. Then, Spencer compares tobacco growing currently to that of the 1950s. The presence of telephones in the area is briefly mentioned. Aspects of tobacco harvesting discussed include labor, buyers, sellers, and the markets that sell this product.

Keywords: Buildings; Buyers; Cane Creek (Ky.); Comparisons; Fields; Fire departments; Fires; Forest fires; Hollers; Markets; Sellers; Stanton (Ky.); Tobacco

Subjects: Farming; Floods; History; Kentucky; Technology

01:21:59 - Farming

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Partial Transcript: Do you view yourself as a, as a part time farmer or as a, or as a, you know, part time farm owner, or? What would you classify yourself?

Segment Synopsis: Spencer identifies himself as a part time farmer. Next, the interviewee lists the modern-day problems associated with farming. The reasoning behind purchasing a goat for the farm is revealed as well. Then, Spencer chronicles the maintenance required for tending to the goat. Lastly, the abundance of snakes present in Cane Creek is emphasized.

Keywords: Advice; Care; Food; Goats; Labor; Regulations; Shelter; Snakes; Time; Weather; Weed-eating

Subjects: Agriculture; Farming; Livestock; Plants