Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Gail Mills, May 14, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Growing up and family life on Kinningham Branch

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So--and see these lines, you can see when it's, uh--

Segment Synopsis: Gail Mills discusses growing up on Kinningham Branch where she has been all her life. She discusses members of her family and how her great-grandfather settled the area. She was an only child and recalls going to Walker Church. Her father worked at a sawmill and she and her mother helped keep up the farm and livestock. She tells of how the area has changed as different people who are not family have moved in. She thinks it is a good place to live and likes the quiet.

Keywords: Education; Family history; Stinking Creek (Ky.)

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Communities.; Country life; Families.; Rural children; Rural conditions; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming--Kentucky

00:11:51 - Gardening, livestock, and hog killing

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Partial Transcript: What are--what about--do you have any favorite memories growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Mills discusses enjoying visiting her relatives growing up. She has been gardening basically all of her life. Her family had livestock and grew a lot of field corn. She tells about killing hogs and making sausage. She talks about raising calves and pigs and how one time a dog got a hold of one of her pigs and Irma Gall stitched it up and it recovered.

Keywords: Gardening; Hog killing; Hogs; Irma Gall; Lend-A-Hand Center; Sausage

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming--Kentucky

00:20:02 - Canning and cooking

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Partial Transcript: So your mom--what did your mom do in the house?

Segment Synopsis: Mills describes how her mother worked in the house and quilted. She tells of how they had electricity but no running water growing up. She describes how her mother canned a large assortment of foods, including vegetables, fruits, and meats on a cook stove. Her mother often canned with her grandmother. Mills' mother also made pies and cakes. She describes the typical breakfast, dinner (lunch), and supper. She describes fixing chicken. She describes how fried corn was her favorite and she tells how to make it in a cast iron skillet. She describes how her father would get turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Keywords: Agriculture; Cakes; Chicken; Cooking; Dinners; Homemade; Pies; Turkeys

Subjects: Canning and preserving; Country life; Food; Food habits; Food--Preservation

00:34:09 - Farm implements, logging, and saving seeds

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Partial Transcript: What, um, what kind of farm implements did you use growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Mills discusses using a mule on the farm, and using mostly manure fertilizer. She discusses logging in the area and how they used to plant corn all the way up the hills. She remembers saving seeds and having holes for storing potatoes under the porch.

Keywords: Corn; Gardening; Mules; Potatoes; Seed saving; Steep slope farming; Stinking Creek (Ky.); Tractors

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming--Kentucky

00:41:09 - Selling produce and delivering milk

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Partial Transcript: Now Pap used to go from out here--they raised a garden out here--that was Coon Kinningham.

Segment Synopsis: Mills recalls how her grandfather Coon Kinningham (Pap) used to take produce to sell to his brother's store near the Big Jim Mines in Bell County. She tells of her family selling items at Flat Lick. Mills loved watching the garden grow and remembers only buying a few items from the store. She remembers how she would deliver milk to family members and neighbors as a girl, and making butter and buttermilk. She describes where her daddy went to school.

Keywords: Coal camps; Fathers; Gardening; Grandfathers; Milk; Stinking Creek (Ky.)

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Families.; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming--Kentucky

00:51:15 - Changes in agriculture

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Partial Transcript: Um, how do you think--the biggest ways agriculture has changed over the years?

Segment Synopsis: Mills talks about how agriculture has changed because people don't want to do the work. She says there are fewer gardens than there used to be. She comments on the future of agriculture and says her son likes farming. She never worked outside the home but learned a lot from her mother at home. When she married she had a garden and sold some of the produce and froze some of it.

Keywords: Food preservation; Gardening; Stinking Creek (Ky.)

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Families.; Food habits; Food--Preservation; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming--Kentucky

00:58:35 - Lend-A-Hand Center, family land, and health services

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Partial Transcript: What about, um--okay, maybe we'll switch gears.

Segment Synopsis: Mills discusses the land that is now the Lend-A-Hand Center, which was part of her family land. She remembers Peggy and Irma visiting with her relatives and when they first came into the area. Mills was not very involved with kids programs at the Center but remembers getting shots from Peggy and her providing medical services.

Keywords: Irma Gall; Lend-A-Hand Center; Medical services; Nurse midwifery; Peggy Kemner; Rural healthcare; Stinking Creek (Ky.)

Subjects: Communities.; Community organization.; Community-based family services.; Community-based social services.; Country life; Families.; Medical care--Kentucky; Rural children

01:10:04 - Lend-A-Hand Center, Grow Appalachia, and Knox County Farmers' Market

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Partial Transcript: What do you think, um, has been the impact that Lend-A-Hand has had on the community?

Segment Synopsis: Mills discusses how Lend-A-Hand has helped the community a lot in terms of providing medical services. She thinks the future of Lend-A-Hand could involve teaching young people how to work. She discusses the Grow Appalachia gardening program and the Knox County Farmers' Market.

Keywords: Community gardens; Farmers markets; Gardening; Grow Appalachia; Knox County Farmers' Market; Lend-A-Hand Center

Subjects: Agriculture--Kentucky; Communities.; Community organization.; Community-based family services.; Community-based social services.; Country life; Knox County (Ky.); Medical care--Kentucky; Subsistence farming; Traditional farming--Kentucky

01:18:56 - Stinking Creek community / War on Poverty programs / Baby cradle

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Partial Transcript: Do you think, um, do you think that Stinking Creek is a community?

Segment Synopsis: Mills discusses whether or not Stinking Creek is a community. She notes the changes in the area. She talks about the 1960s, she remembers how the Happy Pappy program painted her father's house, and how she knew about the Messer Community Center but did not go to it. She says her aunt was involved and made crafts there. She tells of how Irma Gall saved her Pap's little brother's cradle and gave it to the family.

Keywords: "Happy Pappy" Program; Irma Gall; Lend-A-Hand Center; Messer Center; Messer Community Center; Stinking Creek (Ky.); War on Poverty

Subjects: Communities.; Community organization.; Community-based family services.; Community-based social services.; Families.