Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Betty Feltner, Paul Feltner, July 17, 2001

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

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Partial Transcript: --July 17th, 2001. I'm talking with Betty and Paul Feltner as part of u--the University of Kentucky's oral history project.

Segment Synopsis: Betty Feltner introduces herself and talks about how long her family has been in Kentucky. She also talks about growing up on a farm in rural Kentucky and describes her family's work with livestock.

Keywords: London (Ky.); Rural children; Rural women

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

00:03:35 - Subsistence farming / Preserving food without electricity

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Partial Transcript: Now, what would you do with the sheep?

Segment Synopsis: Betty Feltner discusses surviving on a farm without electricity. She discusses her mother selling beans to afford materials to make clothes. Betty Feltner also discusses canning and preserving foods for winter before electricity was brought to the area. She then tells how the Great Depression affected their food preservation habits.

Keywords: Bartering; Curing meat; Food; Food storage; Great Depression; Kitchen gardens; Livestock; Meat processing; Women farmers

Subjects: Canning and preserving; Childhood; Country life; Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life--Appalachian Region; Farm life.; Food--Preservation; Land use, Rural.; Livestock.; Rural children; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:09:39 - Interconnectedness of community / Community preservation of the national forest

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Partial Transcript: Um, tell me also, the, the place where you grew up, it was surrounded by forest?

Segment Synopsis: Betty Feltner describes the forest and its meaning to the community. She also discusses conservation of the national forest and her father's role in helping the U.S. Forest Service. She also touches on inter-community connections and visiting neighbors as a child.

Keywords: Chestnut trees; Forest preservation; Inter-community connections; Land clearing; Timber removal

Subjects: Childhood; Country life; Daniel Boone National Forest (Ky.); Environmental protection--Kentucky; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural--Kentucky; Land use, Rural.; Nature Conservancy (U.S.); Rural children; Rural conditions

00:14:38 - First electricity in the community

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Partial Transcript: Um, is there anything else that you want to say that sticks in your mind as being kind of a special memory from--

Segment Synopsis: Betty Feltner discusses the arrival of electricity in her community in 1949 and how it impacted rural life. She talks in particular about using electric lamps and how refrigeration and the electric stove altered their food preservation and cooking habits.

Keywords: Cooking; Electricity; Food; Food preparation; Refrigeration; Rural development

Subjects: Childhood; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Food habits--Appalachian Region, Southern; Food--Preservation; Land use, Rural.; Rural children; Rural conditions; Rural electrification--Kentucky; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming

00:18:53 - The Daniel Boone National Forest and the local economy

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Partial Transcript: Now, Paul moved into Laurel County about the same time that Betty is talking about.

Segment Synopsis: Paul Feltner discusses roads within the community and the difficulties of travel in the area. He also talks about Daniel Boone National Forest and the local economy. He discusses the clearing of forested areas for farmland, the destruction of timber, and taking odd jobs around the community.

Keywords: Automobiles; Economy; Forests; Highway 192; Lumber; Rural economy; Rural jobs; Timber clearing; Tobacco; Two room schools; United States Forest Service; Woodlands; Woods; Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Land use.; Logging; Rural conditions; Rural roads; Transportation--Kentucky

00:27:11 - Growing up around Daniel Boone National Forest and urbanization of the area

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Partial Transcript: Now, when you were--back to when you were a kid.

Segment Synopsis: Paul Feltner discusses growing up around the national forest and the high regard for the forest service. Betty Feltner also talks about growing up in the area and seeing an abundance flora and fauna in the forest. Paul recounts the relocation of white-tailed deer and wild turkey into the area in the 1950s. He also discusses how the area has changed over time and the arrival of subdivisions.

Keywords: Agriculture; Fishing; Forests; Housing subdivision; Hunting; Urbanization; White-tailed deer; Wild turkey; Wildlife

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

00:37:40 - Discovery of Native Americans remains / Native American ancestry in the area

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Partial Transcript: Um, let me switch to an--another topic that I think that you're really interested in and concerned about...

Segment Synopsis: The Feltners discuss the discovery of Native American remains in London area. Paul Feltner speaks of his involvement in unearthing artifacts, such as "spear points," "corn grinder bases," and "arrowheads." They also talk about the perceptions of Native Americans among the local people.

Keywords: American Indians; Archaeology; Native American ancestry; Native American artifacts; Native American remains; Native Americans--Kentucky; U.S. National Forest Service; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family histories.; Farm life.; Genealogy; Land use, Rural.; Native Americans; Rural conditions

00:44:59 - Use of Native American medicine in community

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Partial Transcript: Do you have any, um--I hear that you maybe have some stories about, about the, uh, Native Americans or, or other interesting stories about things that you might like to tell us.

Segment Synopsis: The Feltners discuss a Native American medicine man and his success in treating the community. They also talk about the lack of access to scientific medicine in rural Kentucky during their childhood.

Keywords: Access to healthcare; Folk medicine; Herbal medicine; Medical care; Native American medicine; Rural healthcare

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Medicine, Rural; Native Americans; Rural conditions; Rural health--Kentucky; Traditional medicine

00:49:30 - Education and isolation in rural Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Do you have another, uh, favorite story you want to tell before we end?

Segment Synopsis: Paul Feltner discusses education in rural London area in the 1950s. He notes that there have been significant improvements since his childhood. He also discusses how the television helped remove a sense of isolation among the rural population.

Keywords: Isolation; Media; Rural education; Rural high schools; Schools; Televisions

Subjects: Childhood; Country life; Education--Kentucky; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Rural children; Rural conditions; Rural development.; Rural schools--Kentucky

00:52:17 - Why the Feltners decided to stay in Cold Hill

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned that, um, heading out Route 25 was one of the things that folks got from school...

Segment Synopsis: The Feltners talk about why they choose to live in rural Kentucky. They discuss their connections to the area and the community. Paul Feltner talks of being drawn back to the area after his military service and some time living in Ohio. Betty Feltner discusses how their marriage kept her in the Cold Hill community.

Keywords: Community; Employment; Hometowns; Marriage

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

00:54:29 - Urbanization

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything that--to close, anything you'd like to kinda caution the, the people in the future about how we can keep places like this?

Segment Synopsis: Betty and Paul Feltner discuss urbanization and the growth of subdivisions in the area. They talk about how increased traffic has affected farm life and their preference for space and isolation. Paul Feltner talks about his view that the government should take action to preserve these rural areas.

Keywords: City life; Housing; Subdivisions; Traffic; Urban growth; Urban sprawl

Subjects: Country life; Families.; Family farms.; Farm life.; Land use, Rural.; Roads--Kentucky; Rural conditions; Rural development.