Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Hobart Wyatt, July 15, 2001

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Family farm near London, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: It's July 15th, 2001.

Segment Synopsis: Hobart Wyatt describes his great-grandfather Lemuel Wyatt's farm, which had thousands of acres. He also recalls that nearby London, Kentucky had one car, which was a Model-T Ford.

Keywords: Crawford (Ky.); Edgar Wyatt; Janie Hodgin-Wyatt; Lemuel Wyatt; London (Ky.); Model-T Ford

Subjects: Childhood; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Family histories.; Farm life.; Genealogy; Land use, Rural.; Laurel County (Ky.); London (Ky.); Rural children; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:02:26 - Going into town in London, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well now, when you were, uh--when you and your family were gonna go into London, uh, what would you do to get there?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart describes the preparations his family would make to go into London, Kentucky and trade wheat and oats for flour.

Keywords: City life; Flapjacks; Flour; Horses; Oats; Pancakes; Preparation; Sand rock; Wheat

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Childhood; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Horses; Land use, Rural.; London (Ky.); Rural children; Rural conditions

00:04:39 - More on the family farm

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Partial Transcript: Um, if you would, think back to when you were, uh, eight, ten, twelve years old, thereabouts in the, in the early '20s. Would you describe for us the, the place that, that you grew up?

Segment Synopsis: Wyatt talks more about the history of his family's land and farm.

Keywords: Daniel Boone National Forest; Farmland; Great-grandfathers; Lemuel Wyatt; Log houses

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

00:07:04 - Sugar cane and molasses

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Partial Transcript: All right, so the eighty-five acres that you had that was, uh, uh, rolling hills, you had, you had wheat that you grew, you had oats that you grew. What else did you grow there?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains the process of making sugar cane into molasses, as well as how their neighbors helped to make it, and how they liked to eat it.

Keywords: "Joe foam"; Biscuits; Boilers; Butter; Cane mills; Community; Family; Flapjacks; Molasses; Neighbors; Pancakes; Sorghum molasses; Sugar cane

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

00:10:18 - Farm equipment

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Partial Transcript: Now, the, uh, the mill that you had that the horses went around, was that something that, that you had on your farm that you owned, or was that a piece of equipment that, uh, that you shared with other farm families?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains that his father owned the cane mill, while another farmer had a mill for wheat and oats. They shared the work with their neighbors and mules powered the machine, which was operated by a man with a whip.

Keywords: Copper boilers; Mills; Molasses; Mortar; Mules; Neighbors; Oats; Sugar cane; Threshing; Wheat

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

00:17:20 - Peas and honey

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Partial Transcript: What other kinds of things were growing on that farm?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains that they grew peas and also tended bee hives to keep them going throughout the year.

Keywords: Bee hives; Bees; Crops; Honey; Peas

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

00:17:54 - Livestock

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Partial Transcript: Um, what about livestock?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains that they had horses and cows, and produced items like butter, buttermilk and sweet milk. They also had a steer each year that they would fatten up and slaughter, as well as hogs. The man who slaughtered the animals would take the hides and sell them elsewhere.

Keywords: Animal hides; Butter; Buttermilk; Cows; Hogs; Horses; Money; Slaughtering; Steer; Sweet milk

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

00:20:39 - Fruits and vegetables

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Partial Transcript: Alright, so, uh, we had the, the grain and livestock, did you also have a kitchen garden?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart remembers picking berries, his mother canning them, and making apple juice which would turn into hard cider. He laments that the varieties of apples he had growing up are no longer available. He also describes the vegetables they grew and mentions their vineyard.

Keywords: Apple juice; Apple trees; Apples; Beans; Blackberries; Cabbage; Corn; Crops; Gardening; Gardens; Grapes; Hard cider; Lettuce; Onions; Potatoes; Smith apples; Strawberries; Vinegar; Vineyards

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

00:23:59 - Food storage strategies

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Partial Transcript: Now, all, all that, uh, produce and, and your meats, and all--and your milk, you mentioned a smokehouse.

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains how they kept food edible through canning. They also had a cellar underneath the house that kept goods cool throughout the year.

Keywords: Cans; Cellars; Meat; Milk; Produce; Smokehouses; Spring

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

00:25:22 - Washing

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Partial Transcript: Okay, now the, um--you mentioned about the, the water that you would take out to the people who were working in the fields.

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains how they would bring water out of the well mechanically and use large amounts for washing. He also describes making lye soap from hogs' feet, legs and heads mixed with potash. They used this soap for laundry and for bathing.

Keywords: Cleaning; Clothes; Hogs; Laundry; Lye soap; Potash; Soap; Spring; Washing; Water; Wells

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

00:28:34 - Woods around the farm

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Partial Transcript: Let me ask you now about the, the woods that were around your, your home.

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains the process of selecting and cutting down trees. He says that the best timber would go to the sawmill to be sold for cash, or cut down for their own use.

Keywords: Forests; Mules; Sawmills; Timber; Trees; Woods

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

00:31:02 - Insects

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Partial Transcript: Um, you mentioned about--that you would, you would choose some of the logs or choose some of the trees if you thought they might have an insect infestation.

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains that while he was growing up they did not have problems with insects in the garden, but the year he left home the Mexican bean beetle began to devastate crops and continued to get worse.

Keywords: Beans; Bugs; Gardens; Insects; Logs; Mexican bean beetle; Trees

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

00:33:04 - Beans

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Partial Transcript: Okay, now those beans that you would pick, and you didn't have much trouble with the insects, but the beans you would pick, you would have--you would dry those beans?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart remembers the beans he used to pick, and how they would hang them out to dry on a string on the porch. They would also do this with apples.

Keywords: Beans; Cut short beans; Kentucky Wonders; Whippoorwills

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

00:35:55 - Forests

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Partial Transcript: What--how else did you use the forests, or what are your other remembrances of the forests around you when you were, when you were a youngster?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart recalls his father making furniture for them and for other people from wood they would chop down in the forest.

Keywords: Chairs; Chestnut trees; Dressers; Fences; Forests; Furniture; White oak trees; Wood

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

00:38:02 - Chestnuts

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Partial Transcript: Um, what e--what else did you, did you do with those chestnut--what, what do you remember about the chestnut, in addition to it being good wood that's not gonna rot?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart remembers the turkeys that grew fat on chestnuts, the hogs that weren't allowed to, and climbing chestnut trees to shake the chestnuts out of them.

Keywords: Chestnut trees; Chestnuts; Forests; Trees; Turkeys; White worms; Woods

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

00:42:01 - Wildflowers

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Partial Transcript: Anything else about the forest?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart recalls the butterflies that would cluster around his mother's garden, and how they looked forward to that sight every year. He also mentions finding yellow and pink Lady Slippers in the mountains and in their yard.

Keywords: Butterflies; Flowers; Gardens; Lady Slippers; Mothers; Wild roses

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

00:44:29 - Streams

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Partial Transcript: Now were there s, were there streams that ran through the forest there that you had access to?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart describes floating down streams in the forest and learning to swim there.

Keywords: Daniel Boone National Forest; Rain; Rivers; Rockcastle River; Streams; Swimming

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

00:45:46 - The Great Depression

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Partial Transcript: Would you think about during the, uh, during the Depression, so you were a young man by that time, the families that were out there in the--your farm, and adjacent farms, how did those people do during the Depression?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart remembers the Great Depression and how badly it affected the communities around him. He remarks that farmers likely did better than urban dwellers in London, Kentucky.

Keywords: Champion Paper Mill; Churches; Economy; Farming; Fathers; Great Depression; Mothers; Pie suppers; Pless Young

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Childhood; Country life; Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; London (Ky.); Rural children; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:51:28 - Chestnut blight

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Partial Transcript: Well now in the, the early '30s, now wasn't that the same time that the chestnut blight really hit in Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart remembers the chestnut blight, and a particular tree that once shaded the blacksmith's forge, but now lies dead.

Keywords: Blacksmiths; Chestnut blight; Chestnut trees; Chestnuts; Forest Service; Great Depression; Trees

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

00:53:27 - Daniel Boone National Forest

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Partial Transcript: Now today, the land that, um, that you grew up on is adjacent to the Daniel Boone National Forest, and so some of the land that used to be in private ownership that you remembered the farm families who had tended that land, is now part of the National Forest. What do you think about that?

Segment Synopsis: Hobart explains that while he thinks government protection of the Daniel Boone National Forest has been a good thing, in some cases they are too protective with regard to allowing people to take wood. He fondly remembers his time with the Forest Service and the health and exercise it allowed him, as well as the ability to be in nature.

Keywords: Conservation; Conservation of natural resources; Daniel Boone National Forest; Forest Service; Forests; Government protection; Protection; Timber; Trees; Woods

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