Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Doug Adams, July 16, 2001

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Introduction and family history

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Partial Transcript: It's July 16th, 2001.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks Mr. Adams about his birthplace and family origins.

Keywords: 1790; Bootlegging; Burning Springs (Ky.); Cincinnati (Ohio); Clay County (Ky.); Coal mining; Convenience stores; East Point (Ky.); Factories; Feuds; Gas stations; Highway 421; Johnson County (Ky.); Land grants; Manchester (Ky.); Murders; Raleigh (N.C.); World War II

Subjects: Families.; Family histories.; Genealogy; World War, 1939-1945

00:05:22 - Burning Springs Elementary

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Partial Transcript: Well, he, uh--uh, we--you know, we, we were there until about 1959 or '60 when the, uh, school board bought his property fand built, uh, the new school, Burning Springs Elementary School.

Segment Synopsis: Adams discusses how land was purchased for Burning Springs Elementary School.

Keywords: Burning Springs Elementary School; Cars; Drainage; Farms; Schools; Scrap iron; Soil

Subjects: Education--Kentucky; Land use, Rural--Kentucky; Rural schools

00:07:07 - Fox hunting

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Partial Transcript: And he was a big fox hunter.

Segment Synopsis: Adams discusses fox hunting, socializing during the hunt, and the local custom of allowing "free range" access to everyone engaged in hunting.

Keywords: American Revolutionary War; Clay County (Ky.); Dogs; Grouse; Horses; Land grants; Open range; Sacker (Ky.); Storytelling; Trespassing

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Fox hunting; Hunting; Land use, Rural--Kentucky; Recreation

00:10:42 - Life on Highway 421

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Partial Transcript: And, uh--(clears throat)--all my mother's family lived on Sacker until she moved out to the main road, everybody called it.

Segment Synopsis: Adams discusses the movement of families from the hollows to the vicinity of Hwy 421 for better access to modern services. He shares that his father opposed Lady Bird Johnson's Beautify America program. He also explains that the area had an informal unimproved road network based on historic game trails.

Keywords: 1930s; 1950s; Beautify America program; City life; Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC); Highway 421; Hollers; Hollows; Hwy 421; Informal roads; Junk yards; Lady Bird Johnson; Main roads; Milk; Postal service; Relocation; Route 21; Towns; Urban life; Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions

00:13:20 - Land use near gas station

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Partial Transcript: Okay, um, going back, going back down the road where the school is now...

Segment Synopsis: Adams discusses land use around his family's gas station and convenience store. He describes a landscape of small farms, the lack of car traffic on Hwy 421, and his father's gun trading business.

Keywords: Cars; City life; Corn; Crows; Farms; Gas stations; Gun trading; Guns; Highway 421; Hwy 421; Sextons Creek; Traffic

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions

00:15:23 - Area population

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Partial Transcript: What would you say was the population at that time, in the late fifties?

Segment Synopsis: Adams estimates the population in the area in the late 1950s to be 4,000 to 5,000 people.

Keywords: Chestnutsburg (Ky.); Fogertown (Ky.); Highway 421; Hwy 421; Jackson County (Ky.); Oneida (Ky.); Population; Post offices; Route 11; Sextons Creek

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions

00:16:47 - Local agriculture

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Partial Transcript: Right, so, um, agricul--agriculture played a role.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks about the range of crops grown in the local area.

Keywords: Clover; Corn; Fescue; Gardens; Grass; Highway 421; Horses; Hwy 421; Mules; Sorghum; Tobacco; Tractors; Wheat

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:18:04 - Hog-killing and canning food

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Partial Transcript: Now, um, did you--was it already a past practice that you didn't ever see the fall hog killing?

Segment Synopsis: Adams responds to questions about the practice of slaughtering pigs during late autumn. He also answers questions about the family's kitchen garden and canning practices.

Keywords: Beans; Cars; Chow chow; Churches; Corn; Corn bread; Gardens; Green beans; Hogs; Peppers; Refrigerators; Relishes; Sausage; Slaughter

Subjects: Canning and preserving; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Food--Preservation; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:20:25 - Chickens and garden pests

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Partial Transcript: Did--so did you have some chickens at your place?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks about raising chickens, the cooking responsibilities of Adams' mother, and the existence of destructive garden pests.

Keywords: Chickens; Fishing; Gardens; Pests; Potato bugs; Rotenone

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:21:45 - More about hog-killing

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Partial Transcript: Um, the--let me ask you one more question about the hogs.

Segment Synopsis: Adams explains that certain men specialized in killing hogs. He also explains the local custom of giving "free range" rights to roaming pigs.

Keywords: Acorns; Bacon; Butchering; Chestnut trees; Ear markings; Free range; Hickory nuts; Hog-killing; Hogs; Lard; Salt; Sausage; Smokehouses; Soap

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Canning and preserving; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Food--Preservation; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:26:03 - Sorghum

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Partial Transcript: Okay, what about the, um, the sorghum?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks how sorghum was grown and processed into molasses.

Keywords: Cane; Cane juice; Cane sugar; Crushers; Fresh vegetables; Molasses; Sorghum; Sugar cane; Sweets

Subjects: Canning and preserving; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Food--Preservation; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:28:18 - Timber industry

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Partial Transcript: Okay, um, one of the other activities in the county, was, was it timber?

Segment Synopsis: Adams discusses the primary role that white oak stave production played in the local timber industry before the 1970s. He describes the local lumber mill and its operation. He describes the practice of rafting cut timber down streams to lumber mills before the existence of suitable vehicle transportation. He notes that log rafting was dangerous, especially near Oneida, where he recalls that one man died as the result of an accident.

Keywords: Barrels; Drowning; Firewood; Forests; Log rafting; Logging trucks; Lumber mills; Manchester (Ky.); Mules; Oneida (Ky.); Robinson Creek; Sextons Creek; Spring flooding; Stave bolts; Stave timber; Staves; Steam engines; Timber; Trees; White oak trees; Whitewater; Woods

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Logging; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Timber--Rafting; Traditional farming

00:36:00 - Tobacco income

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Partial Transcript: But the tobacco crop--you know, he, he grew tobacco, and I have heard him tell about taking tobacco to market...

Segment Synopsis: Adams reports that his family often lost money on the tobacco they grew for the market before the "quota system."

Keywords: Debts; Economy; Markets; Tobacco; Tobacco quota systems; Warehouses

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions; Tobacco farmers; Tobacco farms; Tobacco industry; Traditional farming

00:36:23 - Timber cutting in the 1950s

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Partial Transcript: Um, so with that activity, with the timber, what do you remember seeing around you...

Segment Synopsis: Adams explains that the traditional practice of logging was based on selective cutting. He contrasts this method with modern forms of clear cutting.

Keywords: Barns; Black oak trees; Bluebirds; Building construction; Clapboard; Clear cutting; Dogwood trees; Fence posts; Houses; Locust trees; Loggers; Nesting; Pine trees; Poplar trees; Red oak trees; Selective cutting; Stave timber; White oak trees

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Logging; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:39:29 - Use of sleds

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Partial Transcript: What would he use the sled for?

Segment Synopsis: Adams explains that corn and tobacco were often grown on mountain terraces or "benches," and that wooden sleds were the primary means for transporting these crops down the steeply sloped terrain.

Keywords: Corn; Horses; Mountains; Sleds; Tobacco; Transportation; Wagons

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:41:01 - Boyhood hunting experiences

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Partial Transcript: Did, did you used to go into the forest...

Segment Synopsis: Adams describes his boyhood hunting and trapping experiences in the surrounding forest land. He remembers how his mother cooked all forms of wildlife and birds brought back to her kitchen. The eating of opossum was sometimes a community event.

Keywords: Cooking; Copperhead snakes; Copperheads; Deer; Elk; Fish; Forests; Groundhogs; Grouse; Meat; Mink; Muskrats; Opossums; Polecats; Possums; Quail; Rabbits; Raccoons; Rattlesnakes; Snakes; Squirrels; Trapping; Turkeys; Turtles; Woods

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Childhood; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Hunting; Land use, Rural.; Recreation; Rural children; Rural conditions

00:45:13 - Disappearance of chestnut trees

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Partial Transcript: Uh, in addition to the, the animals that you would hunt in the forest...

Segment Synopsis: Adams discusses the disappearance of the chestnut tree from the local area.

Keywords: Chestnut trees; Wormy chestnuts

Subjects: Country life; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Logging; Rural conditions

00:47:19 - Insects, snakes, and fish

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Partial Transcript: Well, now you mentioned the snakes that, uh, you just about got bitten by but didn't.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks about fluctuations in the butterfly, insect, and snake populations in the area. Adams recalls gigging sucker fish as a boy.

Keywords: Animal populations; Animals; Black snakes; Blue racers; Butterflies; Clay County (Ky.); Coleman lanterns; Copperhead snakes; Copperheads; Creeks; Fauna; Fishing; Frog gigging; Garter snakes; Gigging; Insect populations; King snakes; Rattlesnakes; Snake populations; Suckerfish; Water moccasins; Water snakes; Wildlife

Subjects: Country life; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions

00:51:55 - Wildflowers and plants

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Partial Transcript: Uh, one other question about the forest.

Segment Synopsis: Adams recalls some of the edible plants he used to consume while hunting in the forest. He also describes drinking from local streams.

Keywords: Apple orchards; Peppermint; Persimmon trees; Rabbit tobacco; Sassafras; Sheep's ear; Teaberry

Subjects: Country life; Land use, Rural.; Plants; Rural conditions

00:54:33 - Coal mining and slate dumps

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Partial Transcript: Alright, well we've talked about agriculture, we've talked about timber...

Segment Synopsis: Adams discusses coal mining, the pollution due to the use of slate tailings for road construction, and slate dump remediation efforts during the 1970s.

Keywords: Air pollution; Bulldozers; Children; Clay County (Ky.); Coal mining; Deep mines; Elderly; Fall Rock Mine; Gravel; Hall's Curve Mine; Health problems; Huckleberry Mine; Limestone; Red Dog; Road construction; Roads; Slate; Slate dumps; Smoke; Steam shovels; Strip mining

Subjects: Country life; Environmental cleanup; Environmentalism; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions

00:58:31 - Moonshine whiskey

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Partial Transcript: Um, is there anything else you want to mention about economic activity or just--

Segment Synopsis: Adams discusses the local production of moonshine whiskey.

Keywords: Clay County (Ky.); Marijuana; Moonshine; Townspeople; Whiskey

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Country life; Distilling, illicit.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions; Whiskey industry--Kentucky.; Whiskey.

00:59:49 - 1950s economy

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Partial Transcript: Do the--in the fifties, were the townpeople overall doing a little bit better economically than the rural people?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks about the relative wealth of town versus rural areas since the 1950s.

Keywords: City life; Great Depression; Rural people; Subsistence farming; Townspeople; Traditional farming; Urban life

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Country life; Depressions--1929; Economic conditions; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural conditions

01:00:36 - Concerns about future land use

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Partial Transcript: Um, I guess before we end, is there anything that you'd like to say about, um, land use...

Segment Synopsis: Adams shares his concerns about the ecological future of modern land use practices, including clear cutting and strip mining.

Keywords: Changes; Clay County (Ky.); Clear cutting; Dead trees; England; Forest management; Forests; Germany; Hardwood; Hickory trees; Insects; Minerals; Nuts; Oak trees; Pine trees; Poplar trees; Selective cutting; Sustainability; Technology; Timber; Trees

Subjects: Coal mines and mining; Country life; Environmental cleanup; Environmentalism; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Logging; Rural conditions; Strip mining