Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Charles Shouse, July 2, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Return to Cane Creek

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

Segment Synopsis: Shouse describes his life after returning to the Cane Creek area. Jobs that he held while farming part-time are examined. The types of farming that Shouse pursued during this time are also mentioned. The process of raising pigs and their market value are considered. Additionally, Shouse's choice to lease his farmland to tenants in order to grow both corn and tobacco is explained. Lastly, the process for growing soybeans is highlighted.

Keywords: Barns; Cane Creek (Ky.); Corn; Economics; Feed; Hay; Hogs; Homes; Kentucky; Kentucky River Foothills Development Council; Leasing; Life; Natural Bridge State Park; Ohio; Soybeans; Tobacco; Tractors; Work

Subjects: Country life; Crops; Family farms.; Farm life.; Farm tenancy; Part-time farming; Sharecropping; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:03:30 - Kentucky River Foothills Council

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Partial Transcript: Now what exactly--what, what is the foothills?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse describes the work he did with the Kentucky River Foothills Council. He worked as a foreman, insulating and winterizing houses. He describes the work of the organization, which still exists. He also worked with the State Park department for some time.

Keywords: Kentucky River Foothills Council; Nonprofits; Relief agencies

Subjects: Employment--Kentucky; Nonprofit organizations; Parks

00:09:18 - House / farming

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Partial Transcript: So you came back from Ohio, uh, you lived in a trailer while your house was being built, the one we're in right now.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks about the construction of his house after he moved back from Ohio. He started farming after his move. He had previously leased the land to someone else. He kept hogs for a few years. He describes why he stopped pig farming.

Keywords: Difficulties in pig farming; Pig farming

Subjects: Family farms.; Farm buildings; Farm life.; Livestock; Subsistence farming; Swine; Traditional farming

00:15:06 - Tobacco farming

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Partial Transcript: And you had corn, hogs, now how about tobacco?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks about doing tobacco farming and the barn where he kept tobacco. He had built the barn himself, with some help to put the roof on it. He talks about leasing out his tobacco base.

Keywords: Leasing farmland; Tobacco farming

Subjects: Agriculture.; Family farms.; Farm buildings; Farm life.; Farm tenancy; Farms, Small; Sharecropping; Traditional farming

00:19:18 - Extension agent / farm tractor

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Partial Transcript: How about the extension agent? Do you work much with him, or?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks about the extension agent in his area. He can get information from him whenever he needs. He also talks about his farm tractor and other farming vehicles he had in the past.

Keywords: Extension agents; Farm tractors

Subjects: Agricultural extension work; Agricultural extension workers; Agriculture.; Country life; Family farms.; Farm equipment; Farm life.; Farm mechanization; Farms, Small; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:21:42 - Cultivating corn / retirement

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Partial Transcript: So what, what were--what would you use the, the tractors for on, on weekends if, if the land was being leased out?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks about keeping a few acres for his own cultivation while he had leased out most of his fields. He grew corn on that land. He talks about his early retirement and how it didn't turn out the way he thought it would.

Keywords: Corn farming; Farming after retirement

Subjects: Family farms.; Farm life.; Farm tenancy; Farms, Small; Retirement; Sharecropping; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:24:29 - Photographs / changes to Cane Creek

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Partial Transcript: And, let's see we have a photograph--uh, let's see, last time we had, we had two photographs that, that, uh, were getting copied.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse gives a description of a photograph of him and his sister outside of their Furnace, Kentucky home. Secondly, Shouse considers changes to Cane Creek throughout the years. The addition of a road that changed the area's terrain is mentioned, as well as the elimination of the railroad line that once serviced the community.

Keywords: Cane Creek (Ky.); Furnace (Ky.); Landscape; Roads; Sisters; Swamp land; Trains

Subjects: Country life; Life; Photography; Railroads; Rural conditions; Rural roads; Trees

00:31:56 - Snakes / home remedies

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Partial Transcript: Have you had much trouble with, with snakes here on your farm?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse recalls his experiences with snakes over the years, and the uses of snakes by his neighbors. Next, the home remedies that Shouse's grandmother prepared are examined. Common ingredients are listed, as well as the aliments that they cured. Logistical elements of the herbs are also mentioned, including where they were kept, and when they were prepared.

Keywords: Colds; Cooking; Copperheads; Cough syrup; Cousins; Estill County (Ky.); Grandmothers; Herbs; Jars; Midwife; Mothers; Neighbors; Rattlesnakes; Rock candy; Snakeroot; Storage

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Farm life.; Health; Medical care--Kentucky; Midwifery; Midwives; Rural conditions; Rural health--Kentucky; Snakes; Traditional medicine

00:45:58 - Food preservation

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Partial Transcript: How about, um, uh--let's see, did, did you all have Ale-8-One when you were growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse chronicles elements of his childhood in detail. Topics of conversation include: the butchering process for hogs, the process of salting meat, the meat products that came from hogs, meals that the family typically ate, and the use of the icebox (in place of a refrigerator).

Keywords: Beef; Breakfast; Butchering; Chicken; Clay City (Ky.); Dinner; Ham; Hogs; Icebox; Lard; Meals; Meat; Plates; Salting; Sausage; Soda; Supper; Vegetables; Vitamins

Subjects: Childhood; Country life; Farm life.; Food habits; Food--Preservation; Rural children; Rural conditions

01:06:50 - Stores and railroads

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Partial Transcript: Uh, how about, um, country stores?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse considers the presence of grocery stores on Cane Creek. Several are found to be operational, but many have gone out of business. Where they were typically located is examined. The impact of railroads upon the area and the stores themselves is emphasized. The interior of a store is described, as well as the history of general stores in the vicinity.

Keywords: Bowen (Ky.); Cane Creek (Ky.); Counters; Depots; Flour; Furnace (Ky.); Owners; Pop; Post offices; Rosslyn (Ky.); Towns

Subjects: Communities.; Country life; General stores; Railroads; Rural conditions

01:21:59 - Property

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Partial Transcript: Um, during our last interview, you had mentioned that when you, you tore down the house in front there were some--

Segment Synopsis: Shouse describes the home that previously occupied his current land, and the building process for the house he lives in now. The land is found to have been originally owned by Shouse's grandfather, and later his uncle. The history of the demolished home is investigated, including neighbors and tenant farmers nearby. Lastly, who Shouse's uncle sold the land to is examined.

Keywords: Architecture; Beams; Builders; Cattle; Cousins; Grandfathers; Lumber; Neighbors; Pine; Silos; Tenants; Uncles

Subjects: Families.; Family farms.; Farm buildings; Farm life.; Farm tenancy; Genealogy; Land use, Rural.; Sharecropping

01:39:03 - Found artifacts

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Partial Transcript: Well, you mention where your, your garden is now, there was a, a slave house?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse reveals that he found the remains of a slave house in his garden. He also contacted the niece of the previous owner about the structure, who confirmed that it was from the era of slavery in this country. Additionally, Shouse describes other artifacts he has found on the farm, including a lantern.

Keywords: Artifacts; Gardening; Lanterns; Owners; Remnants; Slave houses; Stone; Uncles

Subjects: Country life; Family farms.; Farm life.; Slavery