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Title: Oral History Interview with George Watts Hill, January 30, 1986. Interview C-0047. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Hill, George Watts, interviewee
Interview conducted by Leutze, James
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 512 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-02-20, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with George Watts Hill, January 30, 1986. Interview C-0047. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0047)
Author: James Leutze
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with George Watts Hill, January 30, 1986. Interview C-0047. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0047)
Author: George Watts Hill
Description: 790 Mb
Description: 172 p.
Note: Interview conducted on January 30, 1986, by James Leutze; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Ron Bedard.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with George Watts Hill, January 30, 1986.
Interview C-0047. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Hill, George Watts, interviewee


Interview Participants

    GEORGE WATTS HILL, interviewee
    JAMES LEUTZE, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
JAMES LEUTZE:
Maybe we'll start with your career at the University of North Carolina and what Chapel Hill was like in the years that you were there right after World War I.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It wasn't until '53 or '55 that I was elected to the board of trustees, I don't remember exactly.
JAMES LEUTZE:
No, I want to deal with your college days.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, college.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Let's start there.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Have to go back a little bit further. Billy Carmichael and myself were in the same class, 1917, at Durham High School. His wife was also, May. And I was the third man scholastically in class, a preacher and a teacher's son beat me out. I was sixteen and I gave Billy Carmichael my scholarship to Chapel Hill so he was a class ahead of me, class of '21, I was '22 at Chapel Hill. I went on to Hotchkiss Prep School. Tore my knee all to hell playing football up there because I weighed 175 pounds and I as tall as I am now. They didn't move me, I played tackle. I kept that side of the line; I made the team. My grandfather had been a great friend of old Dr. Beelor, the headmaster, and that's why I went to Hotchkiss. And it made sense. My boys went to Millbrook School, Connecticut where we again knew the headmaster very well, and my grandsons went to Millbrook. The thought of a southerner going north to prep school made sense to me because then they came back and graduated at Chapel Hill, as I did, in the class of '22.

Page 2
JAMES LEUTZE:
But scholastically, you were third in your class. Why did you go to Hotchkiss for more academic preparation?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My father and mother thought I was too young to come to Chapel Hill and meet all the problems that were involved—women and gambling and all the rest of the stuff. [laughter] I was a good young boy and an only son, I had two younger sisters—now Mrs. DuBose and Mrs. Foxl. I came over to Chapel Hill. I spent three months in a hospital in New York and in Durham and that's where my hospital interest started.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was this because of your knee?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Because of my knee. And they did not operate in those days but they put me in what they call counter irritation. They put me with towels from waist down and put me in a bake oven, and then they'd throw me in an ice cold shower, and I'd faint. Then the nurse said, "Aw, to hell with it," and she took off her clothes and came on in there with me.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You didn't faint!
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, I didn't faint that time. [laughter] But I had a lovely little nurse, Miss Stancel, I remember—it's funny how these things come back—that always kissed me good morning and kissed me good-night. I was a youngster, and she was the head nurse, Canadian. [laughter] Such was life! And I was in the old Poly Clinic Hospital in New York during the very cold winter, so cold that we were without coal in the hospital for a week and I could look out the window and see the coal trucks crossing the Hudson River to Jersey.
JAMES LEUTZE:
This would have been the winter of 1917?

Page 3
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
'17. And then I came to Chapel Hill the fall of '18 and graduated in the class of 1922. That was during the war, and I lived at Mrs. Battle's boarding house where the eastern portion of the Ackland Museum is, as a freshman. And then I had cottages in various and sundry places. John Shaw of Charlotte took me under his wing. And I had a little cottage, near the Coop; I ran the damn thing for two years, got my meals free.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now is Cooup, spelled c-o-o-u-p as in …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
C-double o-p.
JAMES LEUTZE:
C-double o-p.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And I had a very big cook, I forget his name, a little bitty Henry and the cook, and we fed the boys, there were two cabins there. Then I ran the SAE house, I built it. That was the second house, the SAE fraternity; my father had built the first one which was on the campus to the west of the present library, the Deke house, and then the SAE house. And that burned.
JAMES LEUTZE:
The first house burned?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Dad built it when he was here in college, he was the class of '89, I think. And I built the present fraternity house, it's still there. The first one in the original fraternity court. It's a disgrace now, I understand.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It's in pretty bad repair. I want to talk about the atmosphere at Chapel Hill at that time. But, what about the atmosphere in the country in 1917, 1918? How did young men like you feel about the war, what the country was doing?

Page 4
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I was disappointed that I couldn't participate in the war, too young, but at Chapel Hill I was a member of Captain Allen, as I remember, the Canadian, the non-SATC boys.
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK, you're going to have to explain that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Student Army Training Corps, or something like that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did they have an ROTC?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
All the campus, all the dormitories were barracks. And the students were not permitted to go off campus. Those were all members of the SATC, Victor Bryant was one of the head ones. George Denney was the captain in our non-SATC. You remember George?
JAMES LEUTZE:
Uh-huh (affirmative).
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And I was number two in the group and we as non-SATC had the run of the campus. I started, as I remember, the selling of apples and other things on the campus to the boys who were in barracks and couldn't go downtown.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So now, these were men who were in military training.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
They were in military training. Luther Hodges was here; Victor Bryant was here. And they went on to Plattsburg and got their officer position. I remember November 1918 when the war was over, Pass Farrington who became a doctor in Winston-Salem, a fraternity-mate, friend, came running across the campus from South Building without a damn stitch on. "Weeeeeeee, the war is over, the war is over!" [laughter]
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, the non-SATC, you did military training of some nature, is that right?

Page 5
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, we had far greater military training than the boys in the barracks in SATC because there were about 150 of us or something. That was real training.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you march?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, hell, yeah. We had some false guns, wooden ones, that looked like guns but some of the boys on campus had real rifles. And the Emerson Stadium was there, that was before 1926, I think it was, when they built the new one. Mother was a Grey Lady; she organized the Grey Ladies in Durham. Everything was gung ho for the war. As I remember, when I graduated in '22 there were only 2300 students here. There was a lesser number back in '18.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was there pacifism on campus?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, not the slightest. Everybody was gung ho, going to Europe.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Very patriotic.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, hell, yeah, no question about it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How did you feel about President Wilson, for instance, in a specific sense?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, I don't remember any thought one way or the other.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How about about the issue of the League of Nations? Was that a topic?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Nobody gave a damn.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Nobody cared about that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We were going to go to fight. Period.

Page 6
JAMES LEUTZE:
So were you disappointed in a sense when the war was over and you were cheated?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes and no. We didn't know what we were doing to ourselves.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, did you know people like Sam Ervin? Did you have friends who were participating in the conflict?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, yeah. I knew Sam and a lot of the old—well, there were a lot of older boys that were seniors and so on. Hell, I was a damn little freshman. But I had to behave myself.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Alright, what about the atmosphere on campus at this time? What was Chapel Hill like?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Franklin Street was unpaved; there was no asphalt. The Pickwick Theater was there and you had to be careful, you had to sit in the back of it because if you sat even three rows down somebody'd hit you with raw peanuts on the back of the head. Franklin Street—that's about all there was to Chapel Hill, as I remember. Collier-Cobb and all that crowd. We went downtown, walked the streets as they still do, but there wasn't much to it. Old Mr. Durham had an automobile, I forget his first name. And he used to drive us to Durham. We had a hell of a time getting back and forth. The train ran to the station out in Carrboro and you could take the train and go to University Station and come back. Well, that was a hell of a mess. Well, you stayed on campus, you just didn't run around.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, if I remember correctly, the first women came to campus in 1921 or '22. Is that correct?

Page 7
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
There was, yeah. Jonathan Daniels and I started out together in the same class, but Jonathan was smarter than I and graduated in three years: Howard Patterson the same way; he was smarter, though he graduated in 1921, Jonathan in 1921. I was football manager so I had a lot of other fish to fry, fraternity and so forth, and I didn't take my studies too seriously one way or the other. What did we start on?
JAMES LEUTZE:
On women.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The first woman was admitted to the campus in the early '20s.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Right, I think it was '21.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Jonathan and I had a vote on the campus. We ran the vote and it was against co-education and the next day the trustees, my father, Josephus Daniels and old Judge Parker, I remember, were members of the board executive committee. They approved women coming to the campus and the first woman admitted was a Chapel Hill girl. I don't remember her name but she was not particularly impressive from a looks standpoint or action, a great big woman, I remember. Terrible, terrible. And from then on, slowly, they were limited at first to Chapel Hill residents and then the door opened.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Why did you not want to see it co-educational? I would think boys would want to have girls on campus.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, we weren't interested in women to start with, and we liked what we had. I can't give you any other reason.

Page 8
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK. Well, what things were you interested in? Obviously, sports were a big part of life, and fraternities were a big part of life.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Fraternities were a big part. There were fraternities and non-fraternities. And the non-fraternities were strong. I can remember going down to Battle or Ehringhaus or whatever the damn three dormitories down on Franklin Street were called. Sam Caffey and Mary Worsham were blind and we'd go down there and read to them, read their lesson to them—they lived there. We just didn't go off campus except to Franklin Street and I used to take boys home to Durham and mother always was happy to have somebody come over for supper or something like that and she called us "some awful eaters." [laughter] And I called them "soused after light." But you carry me way back, God knows.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, did people put much emphasis on academics at that time? You said you had lots of other fish to fry.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't remember particularly one way or the other. They put emphasis on athletics. Basketball didn't amount to too much and then again it did. Billy Carmichael, Sis Parry, and so forth, that was before Cartwright, the younger brother, came into the picture, a beautiful player. Billy was beautiful and it was just lovely to watch him. He used to play in the old Bynum gym. And we got up in the gallery, the track was up there. That's where we had our dances. And the social life was very important and we used to bring girls in later. They stayed with Mrs. Klutz, which is now a fraternity house on Franklin Street, a

Page 9
sorority house. And I remember vividly as a senior, I had an old automobile. I brought down a girl from Asheville, a great lovely looking gal, and I was engaged at that time to Mrs. Hill. At law school. We went to the fall dance and, this girl I had invited before I met Anne to the dance, she came to the dance and she said, "Yes, I see what has happened." [laughter] But, such is life. No, we paid a lot of attention to the dances, the German Club, and the Fall German and the Spring German, got all dressed up. The girls had one spot and the boys went to the girls instead of the way it is now where one boy and girl dance all night. We just mixed the deal.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, who were your great athletic rivals at that point?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Virginia, because it was before the days of Duke.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Duke doesn't come until '23, I guess it is.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And when Duke finally came into the picture we kind of looked down our noses. We went over to play on the old field. Duke was young.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But Virginia was the …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Virginia was—no question there—the big game. As I remember, Virginia was turned down by the faculty here because Johnson was on the Carolina team, played half-back, Runt Lowe, and God knows who, Bill Blount, and so forth, you remember. You know of Bill, went on to be president and chairman of Liggett & Myers. The game was called off. So a bunch of us got together and we brought Reinhart and the Virginia team down to Chapel Hill.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You mean independently?

Page 10
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah, hell yeah. And we had the game, and I remember sitting on the grass as manager. I had the receipts and so forth, and I remember sitting on the ground with two tin boxes full of money and counting. What was it—$16,000 or something like that? And Carolina beat Virginia 7 to nothing.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Would people travel between the campuses? Would they go up to Virginia for the Virginia game and Virginia students come down here?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah, yeah.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That must have been quite a haul from Charlottesville at that time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, it was terrible, terrible. No question. By automobile.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Or train, I guess on a train to Danville, Virginia, and then on up to Charlottesville.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Sure, sure. Take the old Southern. We'd go to Greensboro and go up on the Southern.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, what about some of the old professors that were here? Do you remember some of your professors and the people who …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, very, very, well. Dr. Drew Patterson (I was just a member of the Patterson family) Mary Patterson, Howard of course, and they lived down on—hard to believe—corner on Franklin Street and Hillsborough. And I was in and out of there all the time. That group of four boys, took very handsome girls down to Bynum for a week-end. We had two canoes and four horses,

Page 11
three horses, or something. That was the time we were seniors; that was the old days. That was really a party.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now just one thing about parties. If you'll excuse me, in some ways life in those days sounds very unsophisticated in modern terms.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I'd say so. We had fraternity parties and there was nothing untoward about them at all.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Were they chaperoned?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, hell, yes, of course. You took that for granted. And there was no monkey-business or foolishness at all in those days.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How about drinking? Was there a lot of drinking?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I remember hiring a cook by the little old cottage that I had that the four of us lived in in my sophomore year: Bill Guthrie and Emerson Tucker, John Shaw from Charlotte. And I remember Emerson Tucker from Durham, and Guthrie from Durham, getting drunk, and I remember chasing Tucker all over the campus because he said something I didn't like and I couldn't catch him. But he was drunk. And John and I did not drink, period; we never thought about drinking.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Some people did.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah. And I can remember Rick running into the fraternity house and standing there on the bottom of the steps (the stairway coming down), and knocking the hell out of anybody coming down the stairs drunk. He beat the hell out of them. I'd just knock them down. That's the way we controlled drinking.

Page 12
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, what about the university acting as some gauge of morality as far as the students were concerned? Did the university make any attempt in religious or other things to … ?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't remember any. No, the university ran itself. South Building. President Chase, long, tall, very distinguished man, and Charlie Woolen, business manager, he was the one I worked with as football sub-assistant, assistant and as manager.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Is that Woolen of Woolen Gym? Is that where that comes from?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah. Charlie Woolen and for many years I remember, oh yeah. And we used to take the football team to Yale every September on the train.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That would be a big trip.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That was overnight. We'd get up there and they'd beat the hell out of us. That was in the days that Yale had a real football team. And I don't know why we went up there. And we went to New Orleans one year, played Tulane. But the rest of the time it was around here.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That brings up an interesting point. What was the image that you had of the university at that time? In other words, today, I mean, sometimes you hear "The University of North Carolina: The Harvard of the South." Did you look on yourself as an academic equal of places like Yale?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. Never thought about it. We just went to class. And we went to class, I don't know when the kids go to college anymore? I have a step-daughter in Greensboro, a junior, she's

Page 13
coming home tonight. She'll be here 'til Sunday night, through Sunday night. She goes back to Greensboro early Monday morning. To hell with it!
JAMES LEUTZE:
You had classes on Saturday.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, sure. We started at eight o'clock and we went through, lab in the afternoon, and you finished up three to five o'clock and classes until twelve o'clock on Saturday. Sure, never thought about it otherwise. You worked like hell.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But you didn't really concern yourself about the national ranking of the university.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, never thought about it or gave a damn. There were only the three institutions at the time—Chapel Hill, Greensboro (and Greensboro was full of women and nobody paid any attention to it), and State College, oh we looked down our noses at State.
JAMES LEUTZE:
As a technical school? Was that how it was viewed?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, that was a "cow college" and dairy and what have you. And, oh, Chapel Hill was way up above them, no question about it. We played State in football because we had to. I don't remember the university administration participating, getting in the way of the school or the students getting in the way of the university, faculty.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, what about compulsory chapel, though? Wasn't there compulsory chapel at that time?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, sure, sure. Several times a week as I remember and it slowly petered out, eventually, after I left college.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you take chapel seriously?

Page 14
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, it was just one of those things you had to do. You didn't worry about it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Alright, now your degree was in …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
A B.S. in commerce.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Commerce. What was a commerce degree like?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That was the second [Interruption] . Dr. Dudley Carroll was the head man in the School of Business, and we were the second class, as I remember, to graduate. We had courses under Collier-Cobb, in geology, that was a "fool" course, as we called it; I mean, a very easy course.
JAMES LEUTZE:
A "slide," we would call it.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
When I was football manager, I attended two classes in geology and passed the course. I was football manager, what did they know? [laughter] That was Collier-Cobb. "What we are mainly because of where we are." You're bringing me back. Dudley Carroll used to say, "Well, now, gentlemen," it slipped me. He'd ask the questions in the fall and we would answer them; he'd ask us in the winter and we'd say, "Well, that all depends, Dr. Carroll." And he'd answer us "That all depends," and we gave it back to him, made him awful mad. He lived down on Laurel Hill Drive, right around the corner.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, did you have a sense at that time that you wanted to go into business? Was that clear to you that that's what you wanted to do?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah. After my hospitalization, I became very much interested in medicine. I used to stand on crutches and watch operations.

Page 15
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, this was when you came from Hotchkiss, right?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah, when I came back from Hotchkiss. I used to go watch the doctor's operate.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you know that you wanted to go in business and you referred to the fact that you had been in the hospital and so on.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I developed an interest in medicine. My grandfather had built a hospital back in '95 and rebuilt it in 1907. My father was president.
JAMES LEUTZE:
This is a philosophical question in a sense having to do with philanthropic activity, why did he build a hospital?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
His wife had all kinds of troubles, kidney troubles, nephritis, cystitis, God knows what all else. And she went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He was born and raised in Baltimore. She was from Hagerstown. And his father was the first wholesaler of Bull Durham tobacco. He came down here in '75 and became the secretary-treasurer to W. Duke, Sons, and they added "and Company" for him. Old man Wash Duke, Ben, and Buck Duke. He owned a fourth of the old American Tobacco Trust and got out in 1913 so he wouldn't have to go to jail under the Sherman Antitrust Law.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It was broken up at that point.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That's right. When it was broken back into its component parts. He built it because there was no hospital in Durham, for one thing. He built it where McPherson Hospital is

Page 16
today, and the central building is now on Buchanan Boulevard, been moved back down there. And there was a central building and two wings and a little surgery. It was a pest house in the minds of people in Durham and it took a long time, some years, before people would use it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You said a pest house; how do you mean? You mean a place they didn't want to go in a sense?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
People didn't want to go to the hospital. And I say advisedly a pest house. It was a place where, if you had a bad disease or something, you went to die. Period. And old Dr. Carr, A. G. Carr, was their doctor and he was very instrumental in bringing the hospital into being. My grandfather built it, ran it, endowed it, and, you go back and look in the records as I did: thousand dollar debts, ten thousand dollar debts. Hell, that's all there was to it. Eventually it became the public hospital and he built another one in 1907. He built the Watts Hospital which is now the School of Science and Math. My father built it, my grandfather paid for it: the administration building, the surgery and one ward building. Men on one floor, women on the other; eventually another ward building was built. When he died, (was it '21 or something like that?) he left money for the Private Patient Pavilion which I built. I'd gotten into the hospital business by that time.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, was this done out of a sense of social responsibility? Why would he?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My father walked in the office one day. I went to work in 1925 in my father's office, $250 a month; I lived on the

Page 17
corner of Jackson and Morehead. Negroes lived behind me. Ablekopf lived in a little store in front.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Ablekopf?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Isidore Ablekopf. Great friend of mine. His father ran a little grocery store on the northeast corner of Morehead Avenue (you know where that is?) and Jackson Street, which is one street over to the east from Duke Street. And we lived where the highrise is today on Duke Street. And the Lyons lived on the corner of Morehead and Duke. We lived this side of it, in the old house that had belonged to my grandfather. It had been built in 1875 when he came down here. When he rebuilt the "pink elephant" as I called the tremendous house that he built on the hill. It had been moved down wall by wall because they didn't know how to move a whole house. It had been rebuilt on the property when we came down from New York in 1903 or '04, or something like that. We moved into this house, my mother, eventually my sisters, and me.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now I was asking you about the question of social responsibility.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I was the only son. I had this interest in medicine, as I say. But there wasn't anything for me to do but go to work, go into business. Period.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now did your father impress that on you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. That was my decision. He owned the then Durham Loan and Trust Company and the Home Savings Bank, where Guaranty Bank is now. He had started Durham Loan and Trust Company when he came from New York. I went into the bank in 1925 without a

Page 18
title. It had a million and a quarter total resources. It's hard to believe. He owned the, when I say he owned, he was by far the majority stockholder, he owned the Home Savings Bank, which I combined with the Trust Company, by then, in 1931. When he came down from New York he went to Mr. Pierce, who was the then cashier and said he had bought the Home Savings Bank. And Pierce said, "You see the sidewalk out there? Well, you ought to go out there and lose your lunch because it's busted." It was busted. It was a million and a half and all the big guns, Lindsay and Carr and so forth, had borrowed all the money and hadn't paid it back. So he went to work and made them pay. And eventually, it was a going bank. We combined it. We had the bank holiday in '31.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Alright, well, I've lost a couple of years in your life here. Now, you graduated from college in 1922.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I took two years law and I graduated Chapel Hill and I was the youngest man in my class. And I never thought about it one way or the other. I missed Phi Beta Kappa because I busted the hell out of accounting. [laughter] One course I failed and then I went ahead and passed it. Brother Peacock was the teacher.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, you obviously were intelligent enough to pass the course. You obviously don't have too much trouble dealing with the figures. Why did you fail the course?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Then I studied law because my father was a lawyer. And I wanted the law. And as I said, I passed the bar in August, I didn't have but a two-year course.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So that's August of '24.

Page 19
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I went through the summer school in law and passed the bar. I was the second man to leave the law exam in the old Supreme Court building and I thought I'd busted the hell out of it. But I went on to Asheville, I caught the sleeper to Ashville, I was engaged by that time, and I told my wife-to-be when I got there, I said, "I busted the hell out of it." She said, "Well, we're going to get married September the 24th, the invitations are out, already engraved," in those days. And I said, "Well." It was not in the actual paper the morning that I arrived in Asheville. My name was not there.
JAMES LEUTZE:
On the list of those who had passed, you mean?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Uh-huh (affirmative). So finally I had sense enough to call the News and Observer in Raleigh. Mr. Daniels was still the head of it, as I remember. Frank was running it. And they said they had not published the names west of Greensboro, but I had passed. So we got married.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So did you practice law?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
$52 and a half. I quit.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now what does that mean? You're going to have to explain that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I collected one note for $400, I won't tell you the name. The note was past due. The statute of limitations had run against it and I wrote one letter and collected the $400 note from a man and I charged him $52 and a half. Period. That was the extent of my law practice. [laughter]
JAMES LEUTZE:
That was enough for you.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Got married.

Page 20
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK. Now, you got married in …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
September 24, 1924.
JAMES LEUTZE:
'24. That was in Asheville? Did you get married in Asheville?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, it was in Baltimore because she was the daughter of the Reverend Duncan McCullouch who owned Oldfield School for Girls, one of the great old girls' schools, and it's still a non-coeducational, still a girls' school, thereby hangs a looonnngggg [laughter] history!
JAMES LEUTZE:
So you were married in Baltimore?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
In Baltimore. And I remember the church vividly. It was an Episcopal church and it had flags on both sides of the chancel all the way down, all the way through. It was beautiful. It looked like old European.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, were you an Episcopalian?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Presbyterian. Congenital Presbyterian. My grandfather had come down here as a Lutheran and there was no Lutheran church so he went into the Presbyterian church, the nearest thing to it. And he became ruling elder for 25 years, and Superintendent of the Sunday school for 25 years; a great churchman. And my father followed him as eventually an elder. And I declined to be elder because I wanted to take a drink. [laughter] So I served as a deacon.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You should have been an Episcopalian. Then you wouldn't have had to worry about it.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I married two Episcopalians.

Page 21
JAMES LEUTZE:
So this was the Baltimore of H. L. Mencken at this point, a very aristocratic community, with many German-Americans represented in Baltimore at that time, and a sophisticated community. Was it not?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, Baltimore was a very sophisticated place. That was before all the development that Rouse did down in the harbor and so forth. My grandfather's family lived out at Catonville, out on the southwest suburb of Baltimore; had a farm. I remember as a kid going up there. Watts Carr, Sr. used to go up there every summer. I went there as a kid twelve, thirteen. And they had Guernsey cows, had a very fine herd of Guernsey cows, where I fell in love with the Guernseys.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I was going to say. That's where the Quail Roost Guernsey herd has its origins.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I brought some of the three titters and one-eyed cows down from up there at the time of the dispersal sale.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, where did you meet your wife? Your wife is from Baltimore, you're from …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My sister and my wife and Margaret Carr, Claiborne Carr's daughter, granddaughter of old General Carr, thereby hangs a tale. He was corporal in the Army, the Confederate Army, and he came home and declared himself to be a general. And he was known as General Carr from then on.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I thought people just claimed they were colonels?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Don't you put that in the transcript!
JAMES LEUTZE:
No.

Page 22
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
But, you ought to know that. But they all were—Marcia Davenport, the writer—they were all members of the senior class at Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. You've heard of Shipley School?
JAMES LEUTZE:
Oh, yes.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And my sister must have had, or some of the girls claimed that she had, trouble getting a beau for the spring dances, so she invited her brother. I went up there. God knows when that was; that was '23, I reckon. And I went there and we had two dances, card dances in those days. Two dances with the gal—Anne McCullouch—who became my wife. I caught the milk train out of Philadelphia down here and went to class the next morning and she was invited home in Durham by my sister immediately after Christmas. So she came down. We were engaged ten days later and I said, I remember vividly, what I said, I asked her to marry me and she was "so and so," and I said, "I'll give 'til tomorrow. I'm going to put you on a train tomorrow night for Baltimore," where her home was, out in the country, "and I want to know by tomorrow." Period. So I found out later that she sat up all that night and talked with my sister's governess and told me the next morning that she would marry me.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Let me ask you a personal question about yourself. That implies a certain amount of … what term do I want to use? … of decisiveness on your part. In other words, it didn't take you very long to make up your mind and then when you made up your mind you wanted an answer. Would you describe

Page 23
yourself as a decisive person? Is that a secret to your success in a way? Or a secret to your personality?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah, yeah. I've been that way all my life, I reckon.
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK, so you make up your mind what you want and you go out and get it. And that's it.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah. Sure. No need fiddling about it. I have no stress. I learned a long time ago my present wife is stressful, things bother her, she's much younger, she's 57 or 58 or something, her second marriage and my second marriage, but she gets all tied up in knots. I just kind of go along minding my own damn business. Always have. And stress can tear you all to pieces.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So when you make a decision you put aside, you don't sort of go back and mull over it and say maybe, maybe, maybe.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, no, no, no.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Are you a risk taker? If you make up your mind quickly there's a certain amount of risk involved.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Life is full of risks. In the banking business you've got to know what you're doing for one thing, and you make up your mind if you want to do it. Period.
JAMES LEUTZE:
And do you make mistakes that way?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, sure.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What do you do about your mistakes?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, you try to correct them. Eventually, I was a vice-president, and eventually president, and then chairman of the board, you see that on my curriculum vitae. And I'm still

Page 24
chairman; they elect me chairman of the board every year for a term of one year only. So I've got to be a good boy. But it's gone on for, I reckon, thirty years.
JAMES LEUTZE:
One more question on this issue of personal style. What about dealing with subordinates? Do you give a subordinate a lot of room to make decisions and to make mistakes?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Sure, sure, sure. Got to. I have always followed the general principle that I listen first what his thought might be. Then we discuss the situation and we decide. He may decide, I may decide. That's that. Go on about his business.
JAMES LEUTZE:
And so you give your subordinates plenty of room.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I listen. I'm considered one of the best listeners in Durham. And I don't pat myself on the back about that, but I mean that's just one way of doing things.
JAMES LEUTZE:
One wonders, though, where does this sense of confidence come from? That you can make up your mind quickly and that you can put your mistakes behind you? Where does this sense of confidence come from?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, my grandfather was a confident man, for one thing, tall, slender, six-foot-two. And he used to walk me to school at the old Morehead Grammar School, down Jackson, middle of the street. He'd stroll right out and I'd keep up with him. And I'd lean over and he'd hit me in the back. "Straighten up," I can remember, "straighten up, you little devil, straighten up." He never cussed or anything like that. He smoked cigars. I learned something there. And I was very much disturbed when the family would send the carriage for me or send me to school on a

Page 25
rainy day with a carriage or send for me, I was set apart from other people. I didn't like that, at all. Town carriage, it was brought back from New York. I don't remember my father telling me what to do or what not to do. I just have no memory of that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So, maybe you absorbed in a sense a personal style.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I think so. He used to come home and talk to us at the table and tell us what had happened, and so forth. I'll never forget one thing he told us. My two sistes were gaga when he said he knew a preacher was coming to see him and wanted a thousand dollars, which was big money in those days. To make a long story short, he met him at the door with five dollars cash and handed it to him, patted him on the back, and the preacher went away happy. That was big doings as far as we were just kids. I don't know how old we were.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now as an example, although it violates chronology a little bit, I want to go back for a second to your college career. You said you built the SAE house. What do you mean by that?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I was in charge. I selected the architect, I followed the architect, I told him what to do. Atwood and Nash had—I forget now who built the damn thing. Got the contractor, followed the contractor, paid for it, did the financing. I remember it didn't cost more than $25,000, something like that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But you took a lot of responsibility.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I was responsible. Period. I didn't ask anybody. I just built it.

Page 26
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK. It's incredible to think of a nineteen or twenty year old taking the responsibility for building a $25,000 building which, as they say, was real money at that point.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
In those days. Well. When I came home after ten months overseas honeymoon, thereby hangs a story.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Yeah, I want to hear about that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
One of the first things my father did was say, "I wish you'd build a store building," which is now occupied by Rolls, or was; God knows what's there now on Main Street. So, I got an architect, contractor, and we built a three-story limestone front building. It was a hell of a nice building. He had organized Tilley's store, put them in there and they went bust. And it took me eighteen months to clean the damn mess up and lease it to somebody else. That was one of the first jobs I ever had.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did your father lean over your shoulder on a project like that and say, "Well, let me see the drawings and let me be sure that I like that," and so on, and so on, and so on. He let you do it.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He had his office in the northwest corner of the Trust Building, which he had built when he came down from New York. It was the first real office building built in North Carolina, 1903-04. Then the secretary's office, then I had an office. And my grandfather was across the hall.
JAMES LEUTZE:
And you were accepted as a decision-making participant in the process, then?

Page 27
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I was told, I was asked, not told, I was asked to do so and so and I did it. Period.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Alright, we'll conclude this in a moment but tell me about this honeymoon that you went on.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My father was a very generous man. And he asked me, he said, "I wish you would look at your grandfather's," my grandfather had died, "situation in South Korea. And I have business that I'd like you to attend to in Shanghai. Would you like to go to Korea and Shanghai on your honeymoon?" I said, "Well, that's pretty damn good." But we discussed it with my wife to be and we decided, fine. We got to Shanghai.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How did you go? How did you travel?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
By boat.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So you had to take the train across the country?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We went to New York, got married in Baltimore and went to New York; spent the night; caught one of the American Line boats that had a small number of passengers, a freight ship, that kept going around the world. Every few weeks another would go around. We went to Havana, spent two days in Havana. Went on through the Panama Canal. Came around to Los Angeles.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now was this a kind of luxury liner?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, no, no, no. It was a passenger-freighter in those days. Oh, there might be thirty passengers and upper and lower berth, simple. They stopped for two days in Havana for freight and so forth and went to Panama, to Los Angeles. I had flu in Los Angeles so we left the boat. Were there for two weeks.

Page 28
JAMES LEUTZE:
Los Angeles was a small town in those days, was it not?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, it was a good size.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Really?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I remember we stayed the night at the Ambassador Hotel, and we stayed there two weeks. It damn near broke me. The Ambassador was the hotel in those days. Then we went on to San Francisco. We went to Santa Barbara by automobile, and went to San Francisco and we caught another one of those boats to Hawaii. We were in Hawaii three or four days, and so forth. I was recuperating. Went to Japan. We got to Japan shortly after the earthquake had destroyed Yokahama. And we landed at Yokahama and I remember my wife getting in a rickshaw. "Gone in the darkness."
JAMES LEUTZE:
You thought you'd lost her, right?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I thought so. But eventually she showed up.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was destruction from the earthquake still obvious?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah. The steps to the American Embassy, or consulate, or whatever it was—there were three steps, I remember vividly. Period. Cement something. A whole side of the hill had come in. Oh, it was something. It wasn't far from Tokyo. We went on to Tokyo and the Imperial Hotel, which had been built by Frank Lloyd Wright—earthquake-proof.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It sort of floated.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And spread all over the hill. And there we met a gal who was the first white girl born (thirty-three years before) in Japan. The wife of Trustcon Steel people, I can't remember the name. I thought about it the other day. And she gave us use of

Page 29
of a car and chauffeur. We rode all over Tokyo and we went up to Kyoto and the shrines. We came back and we went over on the west coast of Japan and took a boat that went to Pusan; Pusan in those days, I think it was called, in Korea. Overnight and, oh, we were in Japan for ten days or more. And we caught the train to Seoul. And I remember it was like an American parlor car except it had a long seat on both sides. And a Japanese plenipotentiary came aboard at some stop with his man all dressed up in cut-away, and he took off every damn thing, stood there naked as a jaybird, and we were sitting across on the other bench. We looked at him and his man said nothing.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

Page 30
JAMES LEUTZE:
… Japan at that time, so you were something of an oddity, I assume.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I had on knickers, the kind that went over the knee. I remember walking along and seeing little Japanese boys kneeling down and looking up under my coat, and times we stopped so they could see what the hell I had on. Quite a feeling.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You describe the scene on the railroad car [Interruption]
JAMES LEUTZE:
The scene of seeing this gentleman nude. So you went to Seoul.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Went to Seoul. A missionary met us in a car, a Ford, and he had a missionary woman with him. The two girls sat on the back seat. I sat on the front seat with this missionary and we drove down to Taiden and on down to Sungchun and Kwanchu on the west coast, became mountainous. And he was driving through the mountain country and talking to the back seat and just driving ahead and finally I took the damn wheel, got him out of the way, the preacher. We got to Sungchun or Kwanchu, I don't remember which it was. My grandfather had established a medical missionary station there and had a one-armed doctor, he lost an arm shooting "gwoog" (pheasants), as they called them, and they had a little native hospital, a big Japanese hospital, a very big building, and no Korean would go to the Japanese hospital.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How did he happen to establish a hospital in Korea? That was a very distant land.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, the church was interested in Korea.

Page 31
JAMES LEUTZE:
The Presbyterian church?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
This was the Presbyterian church, the First Presbyterian Church of Durham. And, I don't know, somebody talked him into building a little hospital, a medical clinic, and they preached and took care of the patients, all together. And the preachers came from over here in Richmond, Union Theological Seminary, southerners. I remember Anne and I coming back to the church eventually in Durham and talking to the congregation at night service, Sunday night, in which we lambasted the preachers, both of us. And we said they weren't worth a damn. But they'd preach the gospel, yes, but it was not what you and I would like. But the medical side of it was marvelous and they were doing a great job of developing Christians.
JAMES LEUTZE:
And serving the medical needs of the area.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And this preacher had seven children. And I remember a great big bed and the baseboard was far away from the floor, and you could lay there and see the old Koreans going by in their white long gown aand black horsehair hat. And I heard a knock on the door and the amah, the maid, said we'd better get up and I looked out the other way and I saw the four-holer with seven kids lined up waiting to get into the four-holer. And I said, "Yeah, I thought we better get up."
JAMES LEUTZE:
The bathroom was in heavy demand at that point.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And we stayed there two or three days and then caught the boat and went to Shanghai and stayed in the Astor Hotel, the only hotel in Shanghai in those days, 1925.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Along the "bund" as it was called?

Page 32
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Along the bund. And I remember when we first started upstairs there was a China boy laying across the threshold. By that time I had picked up enough Pidgeon English, so I said, "What you do, boy?" He said, "Me key boy." I can remember it vividly. He reached up on the top of the lintel, got the key, opened the door, and laid down beside the door. And that was it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That was his job, was to open the door and watch the key.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And then a knock came on the door, that's while we were unpacking, and I said, "What you do?" "Me give miss bath." I said, "No, sorry." But he drew the tub and she took a bath. The water, when you pulled the plug in the tub, the water ran down the side of the room through a little channel and out on the sidewalk. The "john" worked.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Shanghai interests me as an international community; were you aware of that?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We were sent by this girl, the first white girl born in Japan, to her sister, who was Mrs. Atkinson, the wife of the "number one" man in Shanghai, Standard Oil. Call him the mayor, or whatnot, he was "it." She sent us to her sister [Interruption]
JAMES LEUTZE:
We were talking about the international community in …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The Bund was filled with sampans. And they lived on the sampans, some of them never got off the sampan.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was the British presence very obvious there?

Page 33
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yes, no question. And there was no problem. We went out to Crow's antique shop. The day after we were there the irregular troops came in and tore it all to hell. We could not go to Peking, as we wanted to, on the Blue train, because the irregulars stopped the train every so often and killed everybody, and what the hell.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was the revolution very apparent in China at that time? I mean the disruptions…
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, not particularly, but when we went aboard the ship to sail to Hong Kong, we went in a hail of bullets.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You're kidding?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I'm not kidding you.
JAMES LEUTZE:
The irregulars were shooting?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah. Oh, hell, nobody paid too much attention to it one way or the other. We didn't bother.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you have the sense of a society coming apart? Of the dynasty not able to maintain? Things went smoothly at that time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The rickshaws, no automobiles. You went by rickshaw.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But you felt relatively safe, secure, as a foreigner.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I never thought about it, as I remember thinking back on it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
We had an Asiatic fleet there, there was a ship that sometimes came to Shanghai. Did you ever see any American military presence in either Japan or China?

Page 34
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I eventually knew at Virginia Beach a retired naval officer who was the ensign, the only naval officer, American, in the Far East, when he was an ensign on the Yangtzee River.
JAMES LEUTZE:
There were patrol boats, they had, river patrol boats. An author from here in Chapel Hill wrote a book called The Sand Pebbles, in fact, about the Yangtzee patrol boats and what they did in the '20s and '30s and what life was like.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The name of Julian Timberlake.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Then from Shanghai, where did you go?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We went to Hong Kong and it was quite a city, very, very British, controlled by the British. I don't remember the hotel or anything but it was nothing to compare to what you see now from photographs. And we went to Canton on the riverboat and came back. And then we went from Hong Kong to Bangkok by boat and we spent a week in Bangkok. We spent a week any damn place we wanted.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You had a photograph in there of Pnom Phen.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That was—I have to stop and think a minute—French Indochina. We went from Bangkok to French Indochina, as I remember, or may be beforehand. Now Vietnam, we went to Pnom Phen first. And, oh, yeah. We went down south, we caught a little bitty boat, a little bitty thing. And I used to go swimming off the boat with a very big fat Chinese captain. We got into Bangkok eventually. And we went on from Bangkok to Calcutta, up to Darjeeling, and that's where we met the Irish golf champion, woman, a long story there. And we went on to Ceylon, that's where we met her, in Ceylon. And then we caught the boat from

Page 35
Colombo, Ceylon, to Port Said or Suez, I don't know which it was now. We had a mutiny on board.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Oh, really?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah. American officers, the same boat.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Line, the American Line.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I sat in the dining room with an American officer with a drawn pistol for three days.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What did your wife do? Did she stay in her cabin or what?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, no, we just … You meet certain things and you handle them and you just go on about your business. The Chinese crew had been attacked by the Filipino stewards, or vice versa. They had been playing Fantan on the stern of the ship and a Filipino blew them up or messed them up. The China steward, a great big fellow (the same one who we'd had across the Pacific, the same boat), he said, "Missy, lock door tonight." We'd just had a curtain to get the breeze, never air conditioning in those days. We were in Cairo, Luxor, Kharnak. Eventually we ended up in Rome, and that's where mother sent us a cable that she was sailing on the Aquitania, such and such a date, meet her in London, period. We met her in London. I had cabled my father from Cairo to send me three thousand dollars. Well, he did, but he took it out of my savings account. I had $3.61, I found, when I got home. [laughter] That was typical of Dad.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, how long did this whole trip take?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Ten months.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Ten months.

Page 36
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And we met mother. We were going to spend the summer in Europe. We were there. And we met her in London and we came back with my two sisters on the Aquitania.
JAMES LEUTZE:
From London.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
From London. Southampton. That was in June or July.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What a trip!
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It was a gorgeous trip, to tell you the truth. But we had enough money saved from the return trip, Shanghai back to New York, to go the other way. We stretched it out, except for that three thousand dollars.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, what would you say was the long term influence on your life of that trip? Did it influence and your view of the world?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, one, the memories. Two, we had a hell of a good time. We had twenty-eight pieces of baggage including two golf bags, and I never touched them from the time we got on the boat in New York til I got back. [laughter] In those days there were porters; you handle your own damn baggage now.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You can't find a porter now. Now, I'm trying to get a sense of what it was like. Did you dress for dinner at this time?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. We dressed in Darjeeling. I took a dinner coat, of course, and Darjeeling was the only place that had a British custom. This was a rest camp up in the mountains, Darjeeling. Some, no we didn't dress in Colombo. Well, it was a fascinating trip and the memories, I haven't thought about the trip for a long time, but a lot of things come back and there'll be more

Page 37
once I start thinking about it, I reckon. But it gave you a sense, an understanding of a whole lot of things that happened and I read a lot, magazines, articles, Newsweek, and Time, and Fortune, and so on. But you've been there and it's different. It's completely changed. And it hasn't changed.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm jumping ahead in a sense in thinking about your involvement in international affairs at the time of the Second World War and wondering whether this trip gave a sense of the world that was somewhat different from that of your colleagues that were …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, I think so, without any question. I was a member of the "Committee to Defend America through Aid to the Allies" prior to the war, the Second World War. And I worked like a dog for that and I had the southern aspect of it. And I remember Hodding Carter. My job was to persuade people, newspapers, writers, and stuff, to change from isolationist to interventionist. And I went on then, it eventually turned into something requiring that I go to New York every so often. Oh, that damn train was just back and forth, before the days of planes. And to New York, I can't think of that man's name who's the head of the thing; we used to meet at the old University Club, a group of us. Herbert Agar. We threw Bob Allen out because he talked. We had confidential intelligence, British and Fench intelligence, and I think we did a job.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, I want to go into that on a next visit.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

Page 38
JAMES LEUTZE:
We left off last time, I think we were up to the mid-1920s and talking about your marriage and your honeymoon and your coming back and more or less getting started in business.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
In 1926.
JAMES LEUTZE:
'26.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
'25, the fall of '25.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What was Durham like in 1925?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
A little town. That's about all.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was it a center of commerce?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, no, no. It was, I don't quite know how to describe it. American and Liggett & Myers tobacco companies, real manufacturing, then Imperial Tobacco, had a receiving station where… The tobacco market was a real thing in Durham in those days, four or five big warehouses and the farmers brought their tobacco in and the tobacco companies bought it. Imperial bought a lot of tobacco and shipped it to England, it being one of the companies that Mr. Buck Duke had organized back in the early days of the first few years of the century. And when he had gone to England and took over several British concerns and organized the Imperial Tobacco Company to handle England, and American Tobacco to handle North America, and the British—American Tobacco Company to handle the rest of the world. He thought big. [laughter] And there were quite a number of smaller handlers of tobacco at that time. The Erwin Mill was in full force, and one of the great sheeting mills, the largest

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sheeting mill in the world, is still in Durham and is operating. It has just been sold, I believe, by Burlington to Stevens recently. Durham Manufacturing Company was another one in east Durham; that was handled by Mr. Harper Erwin. Bill Erwin was the president of Erwin Mills. My grandfather was vice-president 'til his death and then my father became vice-president. I went on the board to serve for thirty years, or something, on the board of directors. But tobacco companies, tobacco manufacturing and textiles were the business of Durham.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was it a company town, in a sense?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes, the Erwin Mill owned a great many houses, small houses, three or four rooms, all in a row, all out in west Durham. And the same thing applied to the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company, that's the proper name, had similar houses in east Durham. And East Durham was filled with textile workers; West Durham was textile and the tobacco workers were scattered all over in Durham. Durham was 50,000 people or something like that at the time, whereas now it's 125,000.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now what about the black community in Durham?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The black community was strong. It's always been strong as far as I can remember in that now they're 45 percent or something like that of the population of Durham. But then it was far less. They have a much higher birth rate than the whites and all kinds of problems.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was there a black elite? A black business and intellectual elite?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
There was a black bank that was started by the doctors, Dr. Spalding came into the picture. Spalding started the insurance company, the North Carolina Mutual, which became the largest Negro life insurance company in the world and still here. Some of his descendants and relatives and so on are still running it, Kennedy and so on. But it was a shirt-tail of a business to start with. And I remember my grandfather and father assisted Dr. Merrick and one other man to start the company; they put up some money and showed them how to do it and so forth, and then they went on their own. Grandfather and Dad have never had any part in the operation at all and eventually the North Carolina Mutual became one of the outstanding businesses in Durham as represented by a building that's fifteen or twenty stories high on the old Ben Duke home place. They bought that block and built it. There's a long story about that building but that's that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Were there any of the Duke family members still in Durham at that time?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Buck Duke was, and Ben Duke was, in the old Fidelity Bank. And when my father first came here, and I may have said so before, that they did not pay interest on savings accounts and my father had a real fight with them because he started what's now the Central Carolina Bank, it was then Durham Loan and Trust Company and Durham Realty and Insurance Company in the old Trust Building. And he paid 4 percent interest on savings accounts regardless of whether people came in and demanded it or asked for it and so forth. And Mr. Buck Duke, Buck and Ben were in the

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Fidelity Bank, controlled it at least, and they were vice-president and president. And, as my father said, they almost ran him out on a rail out of town because he paid interest. He thought that was fair and that was proper and that was his way of doing business and eventually Fidelity Bank, which was the Duke bank and the bank in Durham at the time, eventually they started paying interest. You had to go in and demand it before they'd pay it. And it's interesting that in 1937, I think it was, when we built the office building, I built, which is now the CCB Building, that we had reached roughly ten million dollars of total assets. That was a lot of money in those days. And the Fidelity Bank was the same and we were passing, we were slowly creeping up on the Fidelity Bank and so they joined, or merged, into the Wachovia. Mr. John Wiley was the president and Mr. Kirkland later took his place when Wiley died. They all lived over on the Morehead Hill section, the Wileys, the Whites, the Moreheads, the Watts, the Hills, and so forth; that was the section of town. My father, when he came to town or shortly thereafter, organized the first real estate residential development in Durham, which is now known as Club Boulevard, from the water works east to Watts Hospital, and now the Science and Math complex.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I used to live on 2133 West Club Boulevard, the house that Walter Biggs built. So I know that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, yeah. Walter became a member of the city council and then he had an unfortunate situation.
JAMES LEUTZE:
His son got in… Well, anyhow …

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That's another story.
JAMES LEUTZE:
We'll have to take that off the tape. I'll tell you, I heard a funny story, I think it was Ben Duke that it was attributed to, that somebody, that Duke was going with a woman of loose morals and some member of the family got him aside and said, "You can't do this, it's hurting the reputation of the family. That woman has slept with every man in Durham." And he thought for a moment and he said, "Well, Durham's not such a big town." [laughter]
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I never heard that one.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm not sure. I think it may be apocryphal.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I think so because Ben Duke was—he looked like Disraeli, almost, was little and, not shriveled up or anything like that but he was very delicate looking, whereas Buck Duke was [with exaggeration] great, big, full, great, big stomach, tough.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Country boy; well, I mean, they were country people for a long time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, sure, they were country people.
Old Wash Duke lived out in what is now the Duke Homestead on the northern portion of Durham. They had the tobacco barns. And he started in about, as I said last time, building the hogsheads and so on, had a belly on them so that they could roll them to Wilmington to ship the tobacco to England. But the troops that were stationed here just west of Durham two or three miles out at the end of the Civil War, broke into the tobacco barns and stole the tobacco. That's how the tobacco business got started. They scattered all over the United States, then they wrote back for some of that

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"good Durham tobacco," basically chewing tobacco, in those days. And Washington Duke and his two sons were smart enough to take advantage of the opportunity that they started and so forth and out of that grew the tobacco industry—American Tobacco Trust, Liggett, Philip—Morris, and what have you, Lorillard, and so forth. But Durham was a small community except for the tobacco and textiles and eventually Mr. Wright came into the picture. He had something to do with the American Tobacco Company and he also was helpful in developing the Bon Sac cigarette machine to make cigarettes by machinery whereas they had been rolled by hand. They brought a bunch of Spaniards over here to roll them by hand. They didn't have any cigar manufacture because that was a different type of tobacco; that was Kentucky. And they called the tobacco "Virginia" tobacco for some reason, God only knows. But it was basically North Carolina tobacco all the way through, brightleaf.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Sounds like a Virginia plot.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, it was very typical of Virginia. They'd take the full credit for everything. North Carolina in those days was known as "a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit, "— Virginia and South Carolina. Of course, South Carolina had been settled a long time ago and Virginia had the Cavaliers. And North Carolina was settled by the third and fourth sons that didn't have a cent. They'd come over from England and the Moravians and various and sundry different groups of people, the Germans.
JAMES LEUTZE:
The Valdesians.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And so forth. So we had a working group fo people in North Carolina in the early days and they did a good job.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, was Durham considered to be a center of commerce for all of North Carolina at that time?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, I wouldn't say a center of manufacturing of those two, tobacco and textiles, but old Raleigh looked down on Durham. Raleigh was the center—the state capital and so forth—and Hillsborough had been the capital back in late Revolutionary days, and they looked down their nose. Everybody looked down their nose at Durham. They didn't do that in Winston-Salem, for some reason. Greensboro was a little town. Winston-Salem was in the tobacco business; Reynolds was just blooming like a rose. But old Durham was the fourth or fifth town; it was a town, it wasn't a city. Raleigh was leading, Charlotte, Asheville, now Durham was what number five or six in the state. No. I can remember walking to school, public school, that was back in 19—well, I graduated in 1917, and so that was, I skipped two classes, so that was 1907 or something—we used to walk to grammar school and then went on to high school which is now the Durham Art Council building. But you never thought about it one way or the other. The big houses were on Morehead and the little houses were east Durham and west Durham and the middle houses were on Dillard Street. Now Dillard was where General Carr had a big, almost a, well I'd call it a gingerbread house, a tremendous damn thing on the corner of Main and Dillard and eventually Mr. Toms's home, where the bus station is now in Durham. Main Street was—my uncle, Isham Hill had a reasonably small house on Main

Page 45
Street. Claiborne Carr, a son of the general, was on Main Street. Then Austin Carr, his younger brother, was in Durham opposite my father's home, which was built in 1913. Claiborne was head of the Durham Hosiery Mill, was quite a hosiery mill down in east Durham, basically, and they built the silk mill in Durham behind what was then the First National Bank, that busted later during the Depression. The silk mill was a tremendous five or six story reinforced concrete building. That was a famous building.
They manufactured the only silk stockings during the Second World War. I talked to them, from Washington in the OSS, and I got the complete production of silk stockings and would hand them out, or would have them given out, in Lisbon to various sources of intelligence. aAter I got the intelligence or my people did, we'd give them the second stocking, so that they had a pair of stockings.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You give them one at a time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
One at a time. Unless they produced they didn't get it because Lisbon, Portugal, was a hotbed of intrigue of all nations—German, French, what have you.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Because Portugal was neutral?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Neutral. Spain was neutral.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, going back to this 1925, mid—1925 period, as a young man entering business, going into business with your father and thinking of things on your own, did the world look bright to you? Did it look like this prosperity was going to go on forever?

Page 46
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I never thought about it one way or the other. I was busy. I lived on the corner of Morehead and Willard Street in a little house before Mrs. Morrison gave up her life interest in the big house. And after that happened I had to move up there. That was during the period of kidnapping and so forth that was going on all over the country.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now Watts must have been born …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Watts was born in 1927 or '8, something like that. And I had bars on the windows and so forth. We were set apart because we had a governess to take care of the kids. I was working, hell I didn't pay any attention to them one way or the other. My first wife did. We had three children; every three years we had another kid. I remember the first automobile that ever came to Durham. I tried to drive it on what's now Chapel Hill Street at Duke. It cranked on the side and you had little red roadster business and so on. I drove the first automobile we ever owned, a Buick; I met my father at the station because he went to New York by train. And the train came into the Union Station and we had five railroads serving Durham at the time. I think one or two are here now. I was fourteen as I remember and drove him home. There were very few automobiles in the community. We still had a horse and a buggy and a carriage and a victoria. The victoria burned up when the stable burned up one day. I used to go with my grandfather on Sunday morning, or Sunday afternoon, down to the Pearl Mill, as they called it, which was at Duke and Trinity avenue, as I remember. He taught Sunday school there and I used to drive him in the buggy and go

Page 47
in and listen. We'd tie the horse up. Well, that was the transportation. You never thought about it otherwise. Durham had a few paved streets, and Main Street was brick.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was there a trolley line?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, hell, yes, a trolley route. You could ride the trolley from east Durham out to Lakewood Park, which was a recreational park in the southern part of Durham. Now it's a shopping center.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you have any impressions at that time of national politicians and the policies of people like Coolidge and Hoover and whether they were doing a good job or not?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes. Well, I have to think back. Coolidge was a Yankee and, I guess, very quiet; Hoover was a big fellow in many respects and just full of, in my opinion, full of bull.
JAMES LEUTZE:
He had been a businessman, or a mining engineer.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He had been in Europe and so forth and on all kinds of rescue work and so forth. He was president when the bank holiday came to North Carolina and, as I said before, he asked my father if he couldn't slow it down.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Oh, I didn't know, you didn't tell me that. Now let's.
The crash comes in the fall of 1929 and then intensifies in '30 and '31.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
'31. We had our bank holiday in North Carolina because it was coming up from Florida and in South Carolina and Hoover called my father and asked him if he could slow it down or stop it, which we were able to do. As I remember, no bank in Virginia …

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JAMES LEUTZE:
That was to slow down the runs on the bank. There were people taking their money out.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, just busting because of that. And we had a little bank, it was a million and a half, as I remember, I was a vice-president at the time. My uncle Isham was running the savings and loan and his son was working in the bank, in the cage. Dad was president, and as I told you about the money going—it's in an article here—feeding it out the back window and people flatten their noses on the window of the corridor and then coming in and making their deposit. We saved the Negro bank, Mechanics and Farmers, we saved the Citizens' Bank.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, by saving them you made loans to them?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah, we put up some cash and made a loan. The Merchants' Bank, Mr. Clements, busted, had closed its doors. The First National Bank, as I remember, the First National Bank busted. That was the Carr bank. General Julian Carr was the president, and Claiborne Carr, a director, in what's now the North Carolina National Bank building on the southeast corner of Main and Corcoran street.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Why did your bank survive when these other banks …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, as I said before, I went to Charlotte and brought back some money, $500,000, and to Richmond and brought back some more money, $750,000—cash that my father put up in the Federal Reserve Bank, bonds and what have you, to get the cash, and Dad kept buying notes, taking notes out of the First National Bank, buying them. Just couldn't take them out fast enough. The bank had over loaned, and so forth, and the Merchants' Bank the

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same way. They were just unable, when business stopped, to meet the demands of the public when they withdrew their money. And cash just wasn't there. Well, we took out seven or eight hundred thousand dollars cash, notes, out of the First National Bank and I don't remember doing anything for the Merchants' Bank. But the Citizens' Bank was the same way. That was the time that Trust Company bank expanded.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, what was the bank called at this point?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The Durham Loan and Trust Company. Eventually it was changed to Durham Bank and Trust. And when we, as I said, when we merged the University National Bank in Chapel Hill into the Trust Company, as we called it, spoke of it, we changed the name to Central Carolina Bank because Durham, as one of these articles says, Chapel Hill just wouldn't use the word Durham, period. They wouldn't agree to it. So we used Central Carolina, which was by then the area in which we were in business.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, on this issue of banking and, obviously, your father must have had the confidence of a lot of people and have given the perception of stability, is that correct? How important would those …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was one of the strong characters of the community, one of the leading characters, people—not a character, exactly. He was the son-in-law of George W. Watts, who had been in the tobacco business and retired. Dad was wealthy compared to the majority of people in Durham, and he owned the farms known as Hillandale and Croisdale Farm, fifteen, eighteen hundred acres northwest of Durham. It belongs to my sister Frances Fox now,

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where the development Croisdale is taking place, golfcourse and so on. Dad operated that as a dairy farm, my farm, Quail Roost, that's where you'll see some of the "three titters and one eyed cows," pure-breds, that had come from my great-grandfather's farm in Baltimore, where he had a fine dairy herd. That's when I started my farm, my dairy herd. No, people respected my father and he was a strong leader in the church as my grandfather had been before him. I just never thought about it one way or the other.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did he put any of his own money into the bank? In other words, did he take money out of capital to help keep the bank afloat or was it simply by getting loans from the Federal Reserve?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He took his own personal money, Mother and Dad's. They called me in, my wife and I, one night at home. They lived in the concrete stucco red-roofed house he gave to the city in memory of his wife. I remember being called over there by my father and him saying that he had put up everything that mother had and he had, made it available in the crisis, and what did I think? And I said that anything I have is yours. And I turned to my wife and she said yes; she didn't have anything particularly but I did. I had received some trusts from my grandfather Watts back when I was 25 and they had multiplied. I had some, I didn't have a whole lot. But it was that approach to life that whatever you had to do, you did, period.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

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JAMES LEUTZE:
No, no.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Jumping back and forth.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, I think we sometimes have to follow a line of thought or a line of discussion without being too bound by the chronology. So, you were saying that your father just decided that the thing to do was to make personal investments in the bank to make sure …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He started the Durham Morris Plan Bank, and he went on, as I said before, to Home Security Life Insurance Company, now known as Peoples Security after merging it into Home Security.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Let's pick on that. What date would that be?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
1916 or '17. Two men had started it, two brothers had put fifty thousand dollars in and it was busted almost. Within six or twelve months Dad was asked to come in with them, which he did, and, as in everything else, he had controlling stock. Just enough. As he had in the bank, he was the controlling stockholder, had more than fifty percent of the stock in the bank, and the same thing with the insurance company. And he was very active in the insurance company and he put me on the board.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, what sort of things did you do? What was your role?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I didn't do anything except agree with the management, for awhile, and eventually I became vice-president, then president, and eventually chairman of the board. Then I got

Page 52
out shortly before they combined with Capital Holding. My son had become chairman and president. He worked in the bank four or five years, he didn't like the banking business and got out and went to the insurance company full-time. And my cousin, Arthur Clark, came into the insurance company and he's the current president and chairman, a very fine, reserve major general in the air force and so on; he had quite a tour in China during the war.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Didn't he go to Taiwan as an adviser?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, he was in Burma. "Over the hump" two or three times, and so on, tall, grey-haired fellow. Took him to a basketball game Saturday.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But now, back to the Depression, back to the 1930s.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And the insurance company was a little thing and it just slowly grew.
JAMES LEUTZE:
In the Depression, were you depressed about the Depression? Were you concerned about the stability of the economy and whether the country was going to recover?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Not particularly. Too busy. Scratching at local things, at that time. We had no national approach, as I remember, one way or the other. My father was in the legislature; I don't remember when. He served two terms in the senate. He had been on the city council when he first came back from New York. He'd been quite a politician in New York and he was a liberal, not as we consider liberal today, but very liberal for those days. Not like Proxmire or whatever you want to call them. I served on the city council for eight years as a youngster. That was '27.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Yeah, the late '20s, I know.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The late '20s. I remember the city owed, I found out, $900,000—invasion of the bond fund. And I got off the city council when we had paid it back and had $250,000 cash in the bank. I became chairman of the finance committee and we had the first city manager in North Carolina, as I remember. Rigsbee was the city manager when I was there, and then Bob Flack took his place. Rigsbee went on to something else. We became great friends. I was a real youngster, because the rest of the council were old men.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You were 26, 27, 30 years old.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Different people, Coy Smith, Carpenter, Lyon. But I worked at that. Didn't get any pay for it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, what about your attitude toward, say, Franklin Roosevelt when he comes in in '32.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, everybody was gung ho. The first thing he did was to declare a national bank holiday. He had been governor of New York state and had done a great many things and he came in at a time when he was a white haired man, "a white haired father," no question about that. Jonathan Daniels, a great friend of mine, Josephus Daniels's son, we'd been in college together, he was smarter than I, he graduated in three years, he was one of the president's assistants (he had five or six). And that was '33. And then he went on for two and a half terms, as I remember. I could get about any information I wanted through Jonathan.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
He was in the press office, I think, he was sort of the press officer. So you had a positive impression that he was doing good things for the country.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, no question about it. Roosevelt petered out when it came to the end of the war. He was a sick man, and Stalin and Churchill took advantage of him, no question about that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, in 1933 …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It's a bank holiday.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, it's a bank holiday, but that's the same year that North Carolina Blue Cross/Blue Shield began? Tell me a little bit about that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
'33 was a big year in my life.
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK, tell me about that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I organized, at my father's request, the Central Carolina Farmers, which eventually was combined with FCX and was recently sold to Southern States. We operated, my father had an old mill down in east Durham. It had been Pearl Mill, that was the name of it, and we made that available. I brought a man, Tilson, from Sparta in western North Carolina, the county agent, and we organized this farmer's exchange to serve farm people where they could bring their produce—corn, grain, what have you—into the old mill. We would buy and give them cash for it and we in turn would manufacture and sell it to other people. But it made a market for farm produce, a market that was not available anywhere else. We had an outlet in Roxboro, one in Chapel Hill. It's still there, back behind Carr Mill in Chapel Hill. That mill was another one of the Carr's that busted eventually; they

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closed it). We were not in Wake County, we were in Orange County, Chatham County, Person County, Durham, five counties. It slowly developed into a tremendous operation headquartered in Durham and eventually it was combined. But Tilson and I worked at that and, again, I didn't get any pay for it, but it was a lot of fun and the bank financed the exchange.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Why did you do it?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, Dad had asked me to and it was rendering a service. I don't know.
JAMES LEUTZE:
A farmer's cooperative is in the old populist tradition, I mean, political …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, it came through. My father had learned in 1913 when he came back eventually as chairman of the American commission to study rural credits—Germany, Italy, and England. That's when he got interested in farm credits. And after women and liquor shot down five chairman, he came back as chairman and organized the first one, Rural Credit Association, now Credit Union at Lowes Grove, North Carolina, which is right down the road. And out of that grew the federal farm finance, basically, for farmers and for little people that couldn't and get the needed funds from a bank. Eventually, 1933, we organized Central Farmers Exchange and it developed into a tremendous business with big silos and mills and chicken business. It was a tremendous thing—five counties.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now you say a service, did your father have, and did you inherit from him, a sense of obligation and service in a way to the public?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It was not obligation. I never thought of it that way, one way or the other. But you had a job to do and you just did it. There's no way I could be pressed.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I think you're being self-effacing, in a sense.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, it's just that I never thought about it and my father was tremendously interested. He was running the farm, he was interested in the farmer. He was always interested in, he called it, the little people, the little folks. And the bank was organized. We didn't have big people on the board. They were middle-sized people, because the big people owned the Fidelity or the Citizens and they were already there, the so-called "big people." And when he took over the Home Savings Bank he found that the big people, who were the directors, had busted the bank. It was busted through too many loans, no collateral. He went to work and straightened that one out. He made them pay. They couldn't understand that, the Carrs and others. [laughter]
JAMES LEUTZE:
Alright. Now, in '33 there also was the North Carolina Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
There was the Blue Cross. Dr. Davison, then of Duke University, he came down here as the chief resident from Hopkins—had been in England and he had had some relationships, some knowledge, of hospital insurance; not what we'd organized here but something on the way toward that. And it was a Depression time and I was running Watts Hospital at the time.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now you say running, you mean as an administrator?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, I was president of the board, unofficial president, you might say, and my auditor in the office was Bo

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Harris, whom I'd brought over from the city. We were on the same floor as my father; both offices were in the Trust Building later and in the CCB Building. I had a Director of the hospital. And the three of us ran the damn place. There wasn't any question about it. I had built an addition, the Private Patient Pavilion, in honor of my grandmother, through funds my grandfather had left. I got the hospital up to ninety-one patients capacity, and eventually to 301. But we were having a tremendous loss, we thought at that time; looking at it now, hell, it was just chicken feed. But it was vital to keep the hospital going. We didn't have much coming from the city or the county in those days—$1,000 apiece or something like that. And the charity patients, part-charity patients, were a tremendous percentage. Same thing at Duke; Duke had started in '24 and they built Duke South, we call it now. Davison was up against the same thing. And we started Blue Cross. And I gave them an office in the old Trust Building and we brought Lash Herndon in as manager and I don't know why—he was an insurance agent, or something, to start with. And we slowly grew and at one time we had Duke put up $50,000 as a loan and I put up $50,000 personally. We never used it; we had it. It was $100,000, big money in those days. And Blue Cross slowly grew and moved over to where Guaranty State is now, on the second floor, and then, eventually, when we built the Insurance Company Building on Chapel Hill and Duke street, Blue Cross had a floor up there. They paid a little rent but not much. In '30, Dr Manning, Isaac Manning here in Chapel Hill, we helped him get $25,000 somehow, somewhere. I've forgotten how.

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He went to Charlotte and organized (with Graham-Davis) the Hospital Savings Association about a year and a half after we had started Hospital Care. Duke and Watts Hospital controlled Hospital Care. We had the Duke vice-president for finance on the board, and my then-bank president was the president. All non-profit. And naturally I had the bank account—naturally. [laughter] But, that's all I got out of it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, this was all non-profit.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
All non-profit. And we eventually—it was then Blue Cross—I helped them buy forty or fifty acres where the Blue Cross is now. And I got Alec McMahon eventually (Alex was then the secretary of the County Commissioners Association, headquartered in Raleigh) I got him in as president of the Hospital Savings, our opposition. We were fighting each other. We had a smaller number of members than Hospital Savings, but we had more cash and greater investments and so forth, than Hospital Savings. Eventually we went to Greensboro and I preached a sermon and "got the Lord on my side," as the old expression goes. We combined the two and John Harris, became the president, and Joe Eagles of Wilson, then business manager in the university, was vice president of savings. We combined the two into "Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina." Savings had been able to obtain the Blue Cross, which was hospitalization, and Blue Shield was medical. They had obtained approval of the use of Blue Cross hospitals and they had kept Hospital Care from getting Blue Cross. And we, the three of us (a hospital man, a doctor, and I was the public representative) went to Colorado Springs. Again

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we "got the Lord on my side." We got there before Hospital Savings and we sold a bill of goods to the National Blue Cross Association and got approval. And I know Manning was so mad. So was Crawford, who was their vice-president of savings. They were terribly upset. But once we got that Blue Cross, we both had Blue Cross/Blue Shield and we could combine them and it became proper to combine them, at one time, though just exactly when I don't remember, I don't remember a date, but I can remember putting it together. Then we built the new building and brought Tom Rose to Chapel Hill when Alec McMahon went on to be President of American Hospital Association.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, I'll ask the same question I asked about CCF, why did you do this?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
For Watts Hospital and Duke Hospital. We organized it. They needed the money and by prepayment of insurance they could through its members receiving the funds, could also pay, part pay, and reduce the amount of charity.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you see also that this was a public service that you were doing?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I never thought about it, but it was an effort that would get proper payment—cash available—into the two hospitals at the time. And Lincoln Hospital was the black hospital at the time and, I can't say black, I call it colored, and they had their problems and it helped them to a more limited degree. But, we learned a lot from Duke Hospital as Watts Hospital is in a continual fight with Duke Hospital but a very

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quiet, undercover fight because they were stealing our patients. [laughter] Sure.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now let me ask you, I think I almost can anticipate your answer to this question, but mid-1930s your children were born, you were involved in business, you had built a couple of new enterprises, what were your ambitions at that time? What did you want? Did you ever think about what you wanted to accomplish when you got to be an older man?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. Quite honestly, no, I just kind of went along, you might say. As I said earlier, my father never gave me any particular direction one way or the other. And I got into the swing of things and one thing leads to another and there you go.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So you would not describe yourself as an introspective person?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, no, no, no. It was right on the surface, just always rolling.
JAMES LEUTZE:
And to follow through on the point, you were not measuring yourself against some goal. You didn't set yourself a goal as a young man. I know some young people that say, "Well, I want to make a million dollars," or "I want to earn more than my father earned," or "When I get to be fifty…"
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. I didn't give a damn. I had enough. I had property, stocks and bonds, from 25 on, I was busted to hell before that. Mother and dad didn't give me anything. I had to work for it. And I had to get a salary, and got married on the salary of $250 a month. I don't know who paid it, whether the bank paid it or dad paid it or whatnot. I never thought about

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it. But I don't know, it now just sounds crazy. But one thing led to another and you saw a need and you handled it and you went ahead.
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK. Did you worry about what people thought about you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. Didn't give a damn. [laughter]
JAMES LEUTZE:
I believe that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Because I could take care of myself, financially.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But you were pretty confident about what you could do, that you were not gauging yourself by other people's standards.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, no, no, no. I didn't have any guidelines or anything else. I just did—I did what seemed to be needed.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you have a lot of physical energy? Did you work long days? Did you work hard?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Worked hard, played golf. Used to go down to Pinehurst for the weekend, for a week after Christmas, take six horses. The first Mrs. Hill was quite a horsewoman; her father said she'd been born and raised on a horse from Baltimore. We had an old steeplechaser, and we had thoroughbreds, hunters. You would have thoroughbreds instead of run of the mill. Six horses, and of course, with Anne, we'd take them all over Virginia and South Carolina and show them in horse shows. I don't know, we had plenty of time to go.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But now you must have realized that you were being more successful than lots of people. Would you attribute that to intelligence, to energy, what would you attribute that to?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I … Again, I'm sorry to have to say, but I just never thought it one way or the other. I had enough

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income, I didn't have to worry about it. I didn't have to make a living and it continued to appreciate all the time. And it's amazing what's happened since we had inflation. I look at the stock market and see Central Carolina Bank has gone from 15 three years ago to 37 1/2 yesterday. I look at it, sure I look at it, because I know every dollar it increases I know what it is and I got to change my will to take care of it [laughter] . I'm giving it away to the kids, the grandchildren, and great grandchildren. And 4 or $500,000 a year gone so it won't be in my estate. Sso you've got to think about those things. And you change your will; you check your will every year with attorneys. But I was able to take care of myself financially. I didn't have a whole lot, but I had enough so I didn't have to work for a living.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But as you describe, though, the things that you do, I don't want to get into this in too much detail at the moment, but you describe yourself as being constantly on the move, constantly thinking of new ideas, constantly creating whatever.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Whatever I developed, it needed this, that and the other thing. The bank was grown, it had grown to ten million dollars in '37, and 1/2 billion in 1986.
JAMES LEUTZE:
When did the new Central Carolina Bank Building, when was that built?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It was '37.
JAMES LEUTZE:
This was in the midst of the Depression, Mr. Hill. Did you not realize that, by some people's sights, this wouldn't be a good time to be investing?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, no, the Depression was over.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Oh, well, there were ups and downs but the Depression, measured by unemployment and other things, was …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We had the hotel by that time, and my father had bought the bonds from the widows and orphans, $384,000 as I remember the figures, at the time the hotel went bankrupt, the Old Washington Duke. Dad just walked in and handed over the $384,000 worth of bonds and took over the hotel. Period.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
You might say Durham was financially the gardenspot of North Carolina.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Insulated, in a sense.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Insulated except for Raleigh because of the state government. And, no, the effect didn't apply like it did to Winston-Salem. Well, Winston was pretty good because of Reynolds and insurance companies, but Asheville and other places were going to hell.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, did your attitude toward Franklin Roosevelt remain positive through this period? Let me tell you what this question is based on: some business people liked Roosevelt at the beginning but then, after his second election in '36, began to turn against him.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I think that's true. But you couldn't do anything about it and had to put up with it. And you did the best you could. We had old Bob Doughton and others who were good congressmen. You just did in spite of it, you might say.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Carl Durham must have been in …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Because he was a strong character. Oh, he was a congressman from the area, tall, lanky. But, no, you just functioned. That was Washington, that was way off yonder.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you know that great New Yorker cartoon of the wealthy people dressed up in their tuxedos and one group is going by the other and they say, "Come on, we're going down to the theater to boo Franklin Roosevelt in the newsreels." Were there business people here who hated Franklin Roosevelt? Who thought the country was going to hell in a hand-basket? Socialism and communism were …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, oh, yeah. But they didn't make much noise one way or the other. We were busy.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It was a Democratic state, too.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We were busy and much more interested in city government and state government and didn't pay too much attention to federal government, as I remember.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now what was going on in the university? Did you have connection with the university formally during this late period?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My father had been a member of the board of trustees for forty-five or forty-eight years. I think he and I have been longer members of the university family, you might say, than any family in the state, in terms of service on the board, the controlling board. No, he used to come in with something scratched on an envelope and asked me to draw some plans for him, as chairman of the building committee. And I would. And we developed an organization of architect and contractor and

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engineer. The university built and cut the cost of building tremendously from $2300, as I remember, to $650 or something like that. And three dorms here, and four dorms there and three dorms there, Phillips Hall, the first of the women's dorms and so on. And Emerson Field, and I remember Mr., oh, who was it that gave the new field, William Rand Kenan, Jr.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Boshamer? I know there's a Boshamer Field.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. Kenan. Bill Kenan, a classmate of my father's. I was football manager. The things that bothered me more than anything else, I think, was the fact that I wouldn't tell anybody that I injured my knee at prep school and therefore couldn't play football.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Why wouldn't you tell anybody?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't know, just one of those crazy things. I took it out vicariously as sub-assistant, then assistant, and then manager of football. Those were the good old days when we played in Emerson Stadium. No, I was big enough to play football and people used to ask, "Why aren't you playing football?" And I never, well, would say why.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now in the 1930s, Frank Porter Graham was president.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah, a great man.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Yes, what were your relations?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
A great, great man. A great thinker. And Chase, before him as I remember, I not sure which, at the moment.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I think before.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I think before. He was a very tall, very dignified person. I knew him well. And Frank Graham I knew extremely well

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and we worked together a great deal. My father was on the board and he didn't like Frank at all, he didn't like him, not the slightest.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was Frank too liberal?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, he just despised him because he was too liberal. And I, I liked him very much. And I thought I understood him and what he was trying to do. See, there were only 2300 students at Chapel Hill when I graduated and I left law school in '24. And no women, well, a few, at the time. And it was slowly developing. And back in the, what was it, the '50s here, I went on the trustee board and helped eventually elect, well, Gordon Grey who was very, not pompous, but very formal, formal is the best word for it. And we had a man in-between Gordon and Frank Graham, I don't remember just exactly who was in there. But I was in and out of South Building all the time. And I was very much interested in the university before I was on the board and my father being on the board, there was a lapse of two years before I went on the board. And he got off the board eventually, he and Josephus Daniels and Judge Parker, as I remember. I don't remember any of the other members of the board. They were the key people; they controlled the board. In those days, they operated the exec committee for a hundred members; a hundred members met twice a year, hell, it just didn't amount to a hill of beans. But the exec committee met monthly and, when I served on the board, it met monthly with twelve people, and eventually fifteen people. And Bill Friday made a mistake, but that's that,

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when he added some more to it. Then we had in '72, I think it was, the Board of Governors came in.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, I want to talk about that in some detail maybe next time. How about shifting gears for a few minutes and talk about the end of the 1930s and the on-coming of the Second World War, and what your reactions were in the late 1930s toward the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the needs that rose once Hitler attacked western Europe.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, Hitler was, I think what southern people realized, a devil incarnate and they just couldn't believe anything he said one way or the other. He was going to take over the world. We organized the "Committee to Defend America through Aid to the Allies" but we were not in the war. England and France were and we understood why—it was self-preservation, no question about that. And McMillan, Harold McMillan, was Prime Minister, as I remember, in England. He damn near gave the world away. But in spite of him, others saved it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But there were lots of people in the United States and I'm sure here in this area, who felt that it was no business of the United States.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, no question. There was a very strong isolationist approach in spite of Roosevelt. The South slowly came along and became interventionist, I think it led the rest of the country. And all the middle West was a mess. I was in New York every week, Wednesday, every Wednesday, at the old University Club, and I forget the man who was the chairman of it-

Page 68
-Herbert Agar. But we worked, we didn't go into the war until …
JAMES LEUTZE:
'41 when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, December '41. But this we're talking about, the committee was before the "destroyer for bases" vehicle, and so on.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, yeah. We sort of persuaded the president to give the fifty destroyers to England. They were old, yes, but they were effective. Seven hundred and fifty 75s: 75,000 machine guns, and 750,000 rifles, after Dunkirk. It was an interesting progression, I'll never forget. And we shipped a lot of stuff. And in due course, that was World War I, and World War II was a different picture. No, that was World War II, sure, sure. World War I, I was too young.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But now, why personally did you take an interest? I've wondered for instance, did your internationalism come from your parents? Did it come from your travel around the world? Where did it come from?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I think it was a combination. I'll never regret having spent as much time as I had back in '24 and '25 to go around the world. It gave you a different approach to life and an understanding of a lot of damn things. But, no, it was Francis Miller, you know him?
JAMES LEUTZE:
Yes, I've met him.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
From Virginia. Got me into the damn thing and also got me to know Whitney Shepardson.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Dean Acheson was involved; I know he was a spokesman at some point.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I didn't run into him.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Joseph Alsop?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah. Joe, we fired. No it was another one we fired off the group because he talked too much—Bob Allen. We had British and French and Italian intelligence and Herbert Agar.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Herbert Agar, that's right; I've met him also.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Was acting as chairman of this group. I was one of the southern, the only southern member of the group. Joe Alsop. Bob Allen—oh, boy, we fired him. Joe Alsop was a very strong member.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Very outspoken. I knew of his pro-British sentiments at the time. What was your impression of what Roosevelt really wanted to do at that time? Did you have the impression Roosevelt wanted to get into the war? Or what did you think he was thinking?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I had the feeling that he was trying to bring the country along to an approach. I think he realized, and Jonathan and myself used to talk about it, that he realized that if we didn't get in the war, we would be isolated, by ourselves. And I think he had a very definite plan that he was just working at the best he could under the circumstances. Pearl Harbor came along, that was a God-send to Roosevelt. There was no question, whang! that was it. No, it was a fascinating thing to me to see how this country just slowly changed from completely isolationist point of view to, they were ready. When Pearl Harbor came they were ready, they were ready to go. There was no question about it.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
This is an area that particularly intrigues me. Do you think—in studying it I see the same thing—do you think it was that they grew to see that the United States was too big and too powerful to stay out and that we did have an interest in this? Or do you think it was simply sympathy for Britain and a hatred of Hitler? Or was it …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, it was a combination. The South particularly understood the picture better than any other area.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Why do you think that was?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, they'd had the hell beat out of them, for one thing, in the Civil War, and they'd just grown up with it. They were basically British and there was a French influence in various places. But it was a subconscious feeling of friendship; it was the mother country. I don't think the far West and the middle West felt this way. They were just hell to bring into line. I'd say the South first, then the North, and then it went on across the nation.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Of course, there were some isolationist congressmen. "Bunk 'em" Bob Reynolds from western North Carolina …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, my God, yes. He was a bastard!
JAMES LEUTZE:
… was opposed to aiding the allies.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
What'd he expect?
JAMES LEUTZE:
[laughter] Well, anybody by name of "Bunk 'em" Bob you might. In fact, there were some suspicions that he was almost pro-fascist in his thinking. It wasn't just that he was against us, it was that he thought maybe Hitler was on the right track and that was the way to go and it was OK.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, you've been into this so far deeper than I. I was just on the fringe of the whole thing.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, no, but you were there and you saw what was happening and what the attitudes and reactions were. And you invested a lot of time in this didn't you? I mean, you say every Wednesday, but it must have taken a lot more time than that?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
For a year and a half, two years, there wasn't another damn thing that I did. The local stuff was so much, oh you played with that, yes, you messed with it, you kept it going.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, what did your father think about this? Do you recall?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, he was older by then, of course. In '33 he was—graduated in '89—so that'd put him 68, born in '68 or something like that, at the end of the Civil War. That was '31 and '33, he was 65 or something, he was getting along. He'd been in the legislature.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But did he ever say to you, "Don't get involved," and that sort of thing, "that's not your business." Or, "You really ought to be doing…"
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Never, never. He never tried to hold me down one way or the other. He never gave me any advice one way or the other, for or against.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That's interesting.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We were always friends. Mother the same way. She was off on her business.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, I think we ought to conclude at this point.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

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JAMES LEUTZE:
You have a VCR I see. Have your figured out how to program that so that you …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, at times. Sometimes I do.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I have to look at the directions.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My youngest son John is an electronic expert and he comes in to do that and the thing works. I have a hell of a time with the TV every now and then. I punch the wrong thing. Anne has to come in and play with it. She doesn't know how, but she just does it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm very sympathetic. Today, Mr. Hill, I'd like to talk about your family and your recollections of your grandparents, and of your father, and of your early childhood. We started, I think, really talking about your college years, and we haven't talked very much about your earlier childhood. So let's go back to Duplin County, in at least 1869, and your father and your grandparents. What can you tell me about them?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The Hill grandparents, the father was a great big man and was very active. They had 10,000 acres of land and I don't know what happened to it. They don't own it anymore anyhow. And my father was the youngest of eight children, I believe. One brother ran a savings and loan in Durham; One was consul in the consular service in Rio de Janeiro—Uncle Ed, great big fellow; another one was a doctor in Jersey City and came down eventually to North Carolina. He was married to a very important socialite in New York—very important, she thought—and he came down and

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ran Watts Hospital for three or four years or something and then went back. I don't know why.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Maybe she didn't find Durham too sociable?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And there were two unmarried sisters. And one of them always carried, Aunt Sally, always carried a comforter with her wherever she went; summer or winter she used that comforter, just like one of these characters.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Linus in Peanuts.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Peanuts, that's right. The same way. And they lived in Faison and died down there. And then the old house, the third house that was left—two were burned down by the Yankees. And Grandmother Hill was a little bitty woman. I always understood she came from Pepignon, France, which was close to the Spanish border; I don't know about it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, do you remember her?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, faintly. But she taught my father Latin and Greek before he went to college. She was very intellectual and her husband, he just retired and read Shakespeare and the Bible. Period. Sat on the porch with his hat on, I remember that. As a kid, I never thought about it until you asked the question. My father taught school in Faison before or after he came to Chapel Hill and I imagine it was after he came to Chapel Hill.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, I think, from reading the little sketch you gave me in that little brochure Billy Carmichael apparently graduated from high school at 12 years old and then worked in a store. I think maybe he also taught a bit at that time because he

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graduated from high school and he thought he was too young to go college because he graduated at twelve. So it could have been in that time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Probably worked in the store there and taught for four years, as I remember the story.
But my father was a great "raconteur" and he just loved to have somebody come in the house and, after we'd moved to the new house as we called it where the Junior League is now, he just loved to lay back in his chair. He had a chair in the corner with a light, and tell stories. Oh, he was something. And the kids were just pop-eyed listening to him.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, did he talk much about his life when he was a young boy?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, he talked about everything. There was no subject that he didn't know something about, whether he knew or not, but he told the story anyhow, and the kids just loved it. All kids up to twenty years of age and so on. And they'd just sit spellbound and at the table. He always sat at the head of the table and mother at the foot of the table. We gathered around and we always had dinner in the evening and had a little breakfast room where there was no problem; you could eat when you got damn good and ready. They had servants, three servants—a cook, a butler, and a maid—and a chauffeur. The stable was where the cows were in those days. We had raw milk, and I had to milk them, and always had three cows brought in from the farm.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now this was in Durham.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
In Durham. And they had the stable, where we had several horses, and eventually it was turned into a garage, and the horse, a victoria and a town carriage were eliminated.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What is a victoria?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
A victoria is a great big carriage, the back seat, oh, like an umbrella almost over the back seat but it didn't go over the little dickey seat.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Oh, OK. The driver sat up front.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The driver was up on a box up above, and so you couldn't see the horse. Then the town carriage was another straight box. The British taxicab is the nearest thing to it, with the driver up above. We had a bobtailed horse in Durham. The family must have been in fairly good financial circumstances to have those two pieces of equipment that they brought down when they came to Durham. Now how they got them here I don't know, I don't remember.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It must have been by train, I guess, or I guess, some things could have been moved my.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I imagine … Of course, I was, as I remember, three years old when we came down from New York City, and I don't remember anything about that one way or the other. And we lived in this old house that had been moved by my grandfather. My grandfather had built it in 1875 and they moved it down the hill, immediately in front of where the highrise old folks home is now on Duke Street, the southern side of Morehead.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, now, let me—your grandfather lived in Duplin County.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Grandfather Hill.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Grandfather Hill was born in Duplin County and then he stayed in Duplin County.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He stayed in Duplin. Born and raised and died down there.
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK. Who is this who had the house previous to this? Grandfather Watts?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Grandfather Watts came from Baltimore. He was the secretary treasurer of the W. Duke Sons and Company, and he built a house. You know what you would expect in '75. And, oh, I don't remember that house being there because he rebuilt and moved the house down the hill for us when we came from New York City. Well, he built a new house, I call it the "pink elephant" in '95. So that was 20 years later, and he built a tremendous thing.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Moving a house at that time must have been quite a project.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, they moved it wall by wall, room by room. They couldn't move a whole house; they didn't know how to do it, couldn't put it on rollers and take it down hill. Well, there was a big difference, forty or fifty foot, difference in height, and across the street and so on. The street then was Macadam, and eventually it was paved. But I remember vividly the brick paving in Main Street and the Macadam roads around. We used to go out to Lakewood Park as children on the trolley car, eventually in an automobile. But those were great days.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, now, let's see. So your father grew up in Duplin County around Faison, in that area. And then at sixteen, or so, he came to Chapel Hill.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And graduated.
JAMES LEUTZE:
And came here.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He and Mott Morehead were similar classes, or maybe one year's difference, I'm not sure. They lived next to each other in South Building. And there were not many university buildings in those days. The three—South Building, Old East, and Old West, and I think New East and New West—but I don't think there was anything else, as I remember.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Apparently, he gained a great love of the university in those years. He certainly always said this, that the university had given him a great deal and so on.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I think that's true. There were very few people here at the time. I don't remember how many, but less than a thousand students, or something like that. He was very active here at Chapel Hill. And I just don't know. He was a good student. Dr. Hume, as I remember, telling the story, but I wasn't here; I didn't pay any attention to it. I was in school, both at grammar school and later in high school. But we jumped classes. He was very active in business, very active on the city council, the bank, the insurance company. That was 1916. I was fifteen at that time. I never had any trouble, one year. So that was easy. No I don't particularly remember. He was very vocal and very knowledgeable.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Was he an intellectual? I think he gave a graduation address here.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I wouldn't be surprised. I don't remember. Archibald Henderson knew more than I remember.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did your father refer back very often to the days at Chapel Hill and what he remembered and the people that he remembered and so on?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Not particularly, as I remember.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was he athletic, do you know? Did he play sports?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, no, no, no. He played golf and he used to go with my grandfather Watts to Palm Beach when the Royal Poinciana was in full flavor before it burned. And they played on the golf course there. And mother would go, and grandmother, the big veil, the big hat, and all that sort of damn business. I vaguely remember some of that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Are there family photographs from that period and so on?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah, come on back here in the room for a minute. [Interruption]
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Guernsey's milk makes a big difference. And the Holstiens were less than three percent. Then I organized the milk plant so that I didn't have to bottle the milk as I did originally.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well I want to go back. We looked at the picture of your grandfather Watts. Can you tell me a little bit about him?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, he, again, was the youngest member of his family, as I remember. Very erect, six foot two. Very precise,

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a University of Virginia graduate. And he was the only college graduate in the tobacco business when he came down here in '75. In the factory that—two factories before the present Liggett & Myers factory, they were all built on the same place. His father had been a great friend of the old man, Wash Duke. And his father had sent my grandfather Watts to the Pacific coast selling tobacco for Mr. Wash Duke. Then he bought a one-fourth interest in W. Duke, Sons and it became Sons and Company. And for my grandfather Watts, he came down here. My grandmother Watts had been born and raised in Hagerstown, Maryland, back up in the edge of the mountains.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Western Maryland.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And she was very frail and they only had one child, mother.
JAMES LEUTZE:
And her name was Annie?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Annie Louise Watts. And I remember mother talking about skating on the pond that they had at the house in Durham. Skating on the pond. You just don't think about those things today. The world has changed. And she was married in 1898, shortly after my father came back from the Spanish-American War, I think, or something, somewhere in there and lived in New York. That's about all I remember.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Alright, now, to pick up on your father's career. He came here to Chapel Hill, graduated, must have been 20 or 21 years old at that time; we can check.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He went to Columbia University, New York, as I said. Passed the second year law exam, Columbia gave a complete

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scholarship, if he'd go back to the first year class; they never had anybody take the second year and pass it without having had the first year. And then he organized his own firm—Hill, Sturkey, and Andrews.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Sturkey? S-T-U-R-K-Y?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
S-T-U-R-K-E-Y, I think, Hill, Sturkey, and Andrews. He practiced law in New York for close to fifteen years and then came down here. It must have been a successful practice. He was a member of Troop A, New York cavalry, in the North Carolina society, and a big Democrat.
JAMES LEUTZE:
A Democrat?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, Democrat. He ran for Congress and lost. He was too liberal. A Republican won in those days. To hear him tell the story.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That was back in the days of McKinley and William Jennings Bryan and all those folks.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
You know better than I.
JAMES LEUTZE:
There were very strong political feelings in the election of 1896, for instance. Very strong feeling that it was radicalism versus business. And Hannah and various other people got involved in the campaign, Mark Hannah and so on. So that a Democrat in some ways was considered a bit of a radical or a maverick.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was not a member of the Union League Club.
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
And they lived on 72nd Street West, which was then right at the end of Riverside Drive and apparently was a nice

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part of town in which to live, on the edge of town, you might say. And he had the victoria and the carriage up there. I just don't remember.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did he ever tell you or talk about any of those major figures of the day; of people like Theodore Roosevelt, for instance, who was quite involved in New York politics?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I remember Roosevelt myself, when he came in front of what's now the Duke Woman's campus. He spoke on a platform on the end of the train. And I went to see him because my birthday and his birthday was the same date of the month, October 27th. He was born some time, God knows when. October the 27th, that was mine. And I wrote him, I still have it someplace, a letter congratulating him on having been born on my birthday. And I got the cutest little note, envelope like that, signed by him, theoretically, I don't know that it was, and how proud he was to have been born on my birthday, the same date, from the White House.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm sure that your father would have at least been well aware of him because he was commissioner of police in New York.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't remember him talking about it one way or the other.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Commissioner of police in New York and …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My interests were something else. I didn't give a damn about it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK. Did he serve in the Spanish-American War?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yes. He was in Puerto Rico. And the unit, Squadron A, went down there, as I say, the ship foundered just

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off the coast of Puerto Rico and he went ashore hanging onto the tail of a horse, the horse swimming. And they lived on chocolate for, to hear him tell the story, for three or four days; didn't have any fighting at all, never got in an engagement.
JAMES LEUTZE:
There was not much fighting in Puerto Rico, actually, so.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
So, that was just that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So he went down there in 1898, must have gotten back, the war was really over in August of 1898, so he must have come back soon thereafter. Returned to New York, returned to his practice in New York, and then …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Got married.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Got married. And then in 1903 or 1904 he comes back to North Carolina. Do you know why? Did he say why?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes. As I commented the other day, his father-in-law wanted him, wanted the family, to come south, come back home to Durham. And he offered him $1,000 a month and Dad was down here—the dates are confusing—but he came down here and the first month he was here there was $1,000 on his desk, on his blotter, as he called it. And he looked at it for two days, according to my father, and then he went across the hall, he having built the Trust Building by that time, it's still there, and told my grandfather that he had no business and handed him the torn check. Made my grandfather so damn mad that under his will he gave him 290 thousand dollars, or something, when he died—$1,000/month for every month.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That was his back pay?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That was a thousand dollars a month. And my father used to love to tell that story. My grandfather had no business because he had stopped business either in—1911, I think, when the Sherman Antitrust Law broke up American Tobacco Trust. And we lived, you see, right next door, next block, from my grandfather's house. And I've got those damn pictures here someplace. You'd be amazed. And I lived there about half the time. And I can remember reading the old World's Work laying on the …
JAMES LEUTZE:
The magazine?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
… the window seat in the library, and this desk was in the library, this rug was in the library, and a lot of these books came from my grandfather, sets. I never bought a set except for the genealogy of the horses on the middle shelf up there. I haven't kept it up. It's an unusual thing and it's the beginning, it's the first on through to '45 or something like that. I lived there and read all through World's Work during the war.
JAMES LEUTZE:
World War I.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
World War I, as a child, in the beginning of the world war. I can remember laying down on the couch on the elbows looking at the World's Work.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, your father was a Democrat, but did he get involved in Democratic politics when he came here?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He eventually became a state senator. He was never in any federal office. And he was on the city council back in the days when it amounted to something. Later on in later life.

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… I've got a picture down at the office when he was—it was a picture in one of these monographs or something, in a grey suit, and so forth, a mature man. Oh, I'd say he was sixty, or something like that. And very verbose in the senate, very verbose. And he tells the story, and they tell a story on him, that he was a man of a thousand years or something because he had 21 years of this, 41 years of that, 5 years of this, put them all together and they called him on it. A dairyman, a banker, a lawyer, what have you, and so forth. But he served two or three terms. But he was very interested in politics in Durham back in the early days, that is my understanding.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Do you recall—now you would have been fifteen, sixteen years old when the first world war was coming and Woodrow Wilson was president—do you recall your father ever talking about Wilson or about the war or what he thought we ought to do, whether we ought to get in, whether the Germans were our enemies, or any of that?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I came over here in '17, the fall of '17, no, the fall '18, and I'd been to prep school, tore my knee to pieces and came to the hospital. Yeah, that was the fall of '18, the end of the war.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I think that this relates, and I don't want to belabor the point, but I think it relates to some of your father's later activities. How would you characterize him politically? Was he a liberal-moderate? A populist?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was a liberal Democrat, I'd call him. Always interested in the little fellow. And I've heard him many, many

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times talk about taking care of the little fellow through "mighty oaks from little acorns grow."
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now where do you think this came from, in his life? Do you think this came from his grandparents or his parents, this idea of service to people, of an obligation, or whatever?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
From his mother if anybody, but I don't know. He's always, as I've told you, paying interest on savings accounts, that was the little fellow always. The big fellow could take care of himself, he wasn't worried about him at all. But the little fellow needed some help.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Alright, so he comes back to Durham and gets involved in business with the bank.
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]
JAMES LEUTZE:
So he came back and he got involved in what kind of business interests?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Real estate business, organized the first real estate development, Club Boulevard West. Bought 1800 acres slowly. He was always buying the land next to him, always spreading himself. And he had a dairy farm.
JAMES LEUTZE:
When does the dairy farm come? Was it at Crowsdale originally?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Hillandale originally. Then slowly, later on, he built a brick, thirty-cow stable where Crowsdale club house is now. He planted the trees out in front of there and so on. They lost one of them. But he had a grain and tobacco farm

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originally, and a few dairy cows. As I say, he brought them down from my great-grandfather's Baltimore herd. And he kept them not for commercial purposes but as they dried he sent them back, bred them, and as they were producing milk he brought them back in, for house purposes, home purposes. We didn't have pasteurized milk in those days. Didn't have bottled milk in those days.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now you said you had to milk the cows sometimes.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I had to milk the three cows in the cow stable. The horses were in the other stable with the carriages. And I remember vividly the victoria and the town carriage. Go to school in the town carriage later.
JAMES LEUTZE:
To be accurate, I mean, to be precise about this: his father-in-law wasn't involved in these businesses; your father initiated these things on his own?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
His father-in-law was vice-president, stockholder in the Fidelity Bank, as they called it; that was the Duke bank, the Dukes were president and vice president. Then my father became, when my grandfather died, he became vice-president. And when the Fidelity Bank was merged into Wachovia, he became the largest stockholder in Wachovia Bank through stock that he had inherited and had bought and still controlled two other banks, the old Home Savings Bank which we merged into the Trust Company in '37, what's now CCB. But Durham Realty and Insurance Company, fire insurance, now known as Southland, was in the back of that next building. I can remember vividly the back of the first floor of the old Trust Building. And the bank was on the right hand side

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and the Morris Plan Bank on the left. I don't know whether you remember the Morris Plan.
JAMES LEUTZE:
No.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That was the installment loan bank that eventually was combined with another bank in Durham and is now lost sight of. Guaranty Bank takes its place in taking care of the working man, you might say. He started that. I think Morris Plan Bank became the Guaranty Bank. And where old Home Savings Bank used to be he built the Temple Building which is immediately to the west across Market Street from the Trust Building. The Elk's were on the top floor, the third floor under the roof, and eventually the life insurance company was on the second floor, and the Home Savings Bank was on the first floor of the Trust Building. And I lowered the steps. In those days they had ten steps high to the main floor. The postal telegraph was on the west side, and the barber shop, all ten chairs, was, oh, the barber shop was a tremendous thing. Durham Realty was in the back. And I lowered that damn thing some time after '31 or '33 or something, I lowered it to sidewalk level, and then built an addition of sixteen foot, you can see it back there now. I built that because the city was talking about widening Market Street and I didn't want to see it widened, so we built sixteen foot before the city could move. [laughter] And my father's office was in that eventually. And the old hotel was there, that was a community building.
JAMES LEUTZE:
The Washington …

Page 88
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The Washington Duke Hotel, named after Wash Duke. That had been a community operation, financed it in bond issue, and so forth, all kinds of graft. Oh, yeah.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, so your father was involved with the bank that became the Wachovia Bank.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Eventually. He owned stock in it, but he owned the old Durham Loan and Trust Company, which is now CCB and the old Home Savings Bank which was merged into CCB later, it's name being changed sometime whenever we combined.
JAMES LEUTZE:
With a bank here in Chapel Hill. But now, wasn't there competition between these banks, between Wachovia and Central Carolina?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah. It was the old Fidelity Bank. And as I told you, the Trust Company, as we called it, had merged the Home Savings into it, was growing faster than Fidelity and we'd gotten on a parity with them, $10 million or something like that. And Fidelity became frightened and joined, merged into Wachovia. And, hell, we fought them like a bunch of damn tigers, always have. Wachovia is a very fine bank. It doesn't bother us any more. Central Carolina is so dominant in the area, Durham and Chapel Hill, I imagine we're ahead of the North Carolina National Bank in Chapel Hill. But I know we're way ahead of all the other banks put together in Durham and we're ahead of them. It was logical, the home office.
JAMES LEUTZE:
OK, now then. So your father got involved in the insurance company, in farming, in city politics—city council, in banking.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He stayed interested in politics and he became quite a devotee of fluoride in his older days.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How do you mean?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was against fluoride. He thought it was the work of the devil. [laughter] And oh, boy, he put money into it, too.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did he fight against Durham fluoridating it's water and so on?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The fluoridation of water. And Durham just went right on ahead in spite of him. Oh he was, well, he was seventy or eighty, or something like that. But I can remember vividly. He was a man of strong opinions. Very definite opinions. He was a father but he didn't interfere with running the house, he didn't interfere with the children.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now who disciplined you? Or did anybody discipline you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, I don't remember.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Were you afraid of your father?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. No, we got along beautifully. But, he beat the hell out of me two or three times, but I deserved it. [laughter] My two sisters were very—one sister Dubose is still very princess-like and the other sister was right down to earth, Frances Fox, and she still is down to earth, the younger sister. Oh I can remember teasing the hell out them and they'd go upstairs to the governess that they had, for years and I can remember it always pleased me to see how the curls bounced: the madder they were the more it bounced! [laughter] Had that great big stairway that went up and turned and came back in the new

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house, the 1913 house. They had their separate rooms, bedrooms. I was back in the corner by myself, nobody bothered me.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What was your reaction to going away to prep school?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My grandfather was a great friend of the headmaster, that's why I went to Hotchkiss. It was unusual. I was a special student because I had graduated from high school, and prep school is supposed to prepare you for college. I played on the football team, made the football team, which pleased me very much. We had no football team at high school; we had a basketball team, a great basketball team—Carmichael and so forth. But I just went there because I was too young to go to Chapel Hill.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you hate leaving home? Do you recall your feelings? Were you homesick?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. I can remember catching a train to New York and met my grandfather there and he introduced me to the lady who became his second wife—my grandmother had died in 1915. This was 1917, at the old Waldorf-Astoria. I can remember vividly having breakfast or lunch with him and he introduced me to Miss Sarah, as he spoke of her. And she became his second wife and then went on until his death.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now this was your grandfather Watts.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Grandfather Watts. She became Mrs. Cameron Morrison, moved to Charlotte, and he was governor, and then a senator, and then he lost out and they moved to Charlotte. They had a beautiful house.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So did he take you up to Hotchkiss?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. I caught the "rattler." No problem. As I remember, I never thought about it, just one of those things that you do. Hotchkiss was up Poughkeepsie way.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now, on John Sprunt Hill. So when you came back from your honeymoon, he was already well established in all of these various areas. Did he ever talk business philosophy with you at all?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Just sort of what was to be done, and what needs to be done.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
What needs to be done and I did it. I'm sorry, but…
JAMES LEUTZE:
No, no, that's fine. Now he also was very involved in the university at this time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yes, yes. He was a trustee of the university for 45 or 48 years or something like that. He and Josephus Daniels and old man Judge Parker from Asheville, I believe it was, they were the bellwethers of the then exec committee.
JAMES LEUTZE:
He built buildings. For instance, he built the Carolina Inn. Is there a story connected with that?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I was the owner's representative you might say. He had organized a contractor, Thompson, something Thompson, and had organized the engineer, Atwood, who built the Yale Bowl, and Arthur Nash, who was a very fine, very delicate colonial architect. I was the owner's representative and worked with them til the Inn was built, and then got Gatman by name as a manager, a little Jew boy who was smart as hell. We ran it, I say

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advisedly "we ran it," ten years til we got on a profitable basis. Then mother and dad gave it to the university.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Do I understand, is there some story that your father had tried to convince the board of trustees to build it and they weren't interested in building it and he said, "I'm going to build it anyhow."
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't know anything about that. No, he had been to Princeton and stayed at the Princeton Inn and that gave him the idea as a home for alumni and friends of the university on campus. And I've been working for the last five or six years to bring it back to where it had been instead of a location for vocational education and the room rates are low and this, that, and the other damn thing. I got into the new addition because Archie R. Davis, architect, he then had his office in the office building, and I just happened to be in his office and saw the plan and asked what the hell that was. And he said the Carolina Inn, and we talked about it, and moved the ballroom to where it is now and moved the cafeteria to where it is now; they had been reversed. And the present lobby of the Carolina Inn used to be the cafeteria and was pine paneled, not ornate but very fixed, you might say. And I got my finger into that as a frustrated architect.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, it certainly turned out very well. It certainly is a handsome building.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
They use the new entrance. The walk-in entrance from Cameron was locked, I found out a few years ago, and got the damn thing unlocked. The old driveway entrance, they don't use

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it anymore. I keep that door unlocked. People steal so damn much, it's a shame.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It really is. Now a bit about your father's life during the 1930s and this period when you were back here. Did he travel very much? Did he travel abroad? Did he go travel around the country?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, he'd been to Europe in 1913, he was a member of the American commission to Europe to study banking and so forth. That's where he got his idea about rural credits, in the Reifheisen in Germany and so on, Italy, England, Denmark. No, I don't remember him going to Europe at any other time. Mother had gone. My grandfather Watts had taken her to Europe to get away from my father and he wrote letters to the boat, a letter for every day. And the last, according to him, the last letter—the day she landed, she had one for every day, it took ten or eleven days or something in those days, and all he had done was "I love you"—and the last one put a red-hot poker through the pages and so forth. Came back and got married. [laughter] It didn't work. My grandfather had been to Europe innumerable times. They used to travel to Cairo and Luxor. I've got some pictures some place of the group travelling on a camel.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now your father, obviously …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He stayed here, and went to Ashville to play golf, went to Pinehurst to play golf. A great golfer. And pretty good. I'm three or four inches taller than he was, for some reason, I don't know why.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But he was a big man for the day, though, was he not?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, five foot eleven is not, well …
JAMES LEUTZE:
I think probably average height at that time was five foot five or five foot six or something, so he was a bigger man. Alright, did he go to Florida, to Palm Beach?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh yeah, Palm Beach, with my grandfather usually. Back when I was a kid, I remember, I went down there when I was ten, twelve, and drove the mule-drawn streetcar, and I remember the Royal Poinciana. And sit back in the palm groves. Streetcar went out to the Breakers on the ocean and we used to go swimming with the men, had the long bathing suits.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Long bathing suits …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh hell yeah, I remember them vividly.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now those were the days of the Flaglers and William Rand Kenan and so on. Did you know these people?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh yeah, sure. Lily Kenan married Mr. Flagler, and they didn't have any income tax in 1913, until 1913, as I remember. And I know my grandfather had to pay seventy-two percent during the war, as I remember as a kid. I was twelve and thought he was going to be destroyed financially. He had no business. He was clipping coupons and cutting dividends at the time. And when he died he told my father, he said, "I've given the women too much money." It was ten million dollars apiece, to Mrs. Morrison and the same thing to mother. And he died of cancer. He was operated by Baltimore surgeons in his bed at home, and they found all kinds of things, just closed him up.
JAMES LEUTZE:
He said he'd given them too much.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Given too much. He was very philanthropic, for those days especially. And he had given Watts Hall at Davidson. He was very much interested in Davidson; he was Presbyterian. And Watts Hall at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, and he was a great devotee there, and all the preachers used to come in, it was something terrible. I hated them. I just didn't like them. They bothered me. They were so sanctimonious.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I was just going to say, I'm sure that they were.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh yeah, it was just terrible.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Its just an interesting aside, but after the breakup of the American Tobacco Trust, James B. Duke went in to Duke Power. Was your grandfather ever interested in…
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Duke Price Power in Canada? No.
JAMES LEUTZE:
And an aluminum company, and so on. Do you know whether your grandfather ever took any interest in those enterprises?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. Oh, he may have had some stock; he had some stick in Duke Power, I know, because it came down through the family. But, no, old Buck Duke just went on. Ben Duke had built by that time a house that used to be where North Carolina Mutual is today, that block.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I remember that house. I can remember that being there.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Brodie Duke was near the railroad, in a tremendous gingerbread house. That was a half-brother, the renegade half-brother. And my father tells the story about Brodie: came into the bank when it was just a shirt tail of a bank, and talked with

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him. And my father told him what he would charge him, six percent, period, on a loan. And Brodie went out, his hand like this, to his head, said "Crazy, crazy," and came back later on and borrowed the money.
JAMES LEUTZE:
[laughter] Apparently he really was a character, I gather.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh he was something. He screwed every woman he could get his hands on.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Maybe that's the one that I've heard my story about ‘Durham's not such a big town.’ Maybe that's who it was, Brodie Duke.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Ben was very, as I said, reminded me of pictures I've seen of Disraeli. And I knew Mary Duke, his daughter, well. Buck and Ben went to New York eventually and had big homes in New York City. And Mary eventually came back to Durham after she married, was it Angier Biddle, I believe. When he died, she lived in Forest Hills. I remember selling a house to Jim Cobb, fifty-two thousand dollars for the whole damn ball of wax. But she became kind of nuts.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you ever know Doris Duke?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
All too well. Because she went to Chapel Hill, not as a student, but as one of the girls, and I tolled off to escort her because I was tall. And she was tall. She must be six foot or something. And she was very precise and very withdrawn. I saw her place in Hawaii. I haven't had anything to do with her since … our paths just didn't cross.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, she was pretty busy getting married, I think. And carrying on with Perfurol Rubiroso. Wasn't that one of her husbands? I think so.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was the one who had fainted when the New York lawyers had drawn up a marriage agreement that only gave him a hundred thousand dollars in Paris, and he just passed out.
JAMES LEUTZE:
[laughter] That was not what he had in mind. Now, your father, being a very powerful individual, very involved in …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was one of the outstanding citizens in the community, no question about that. My grandfather Watts was very quiet and very church-minded and so forth.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did he have enemies, were there people who didn't like him?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My father? Oh, hell yes. Naturally.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I would imagine, anyone who is that powerful, everyone wouldn't agree with.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
But, its just like when I ran for the City—I was appointed to the City Council—but when I ran, and I mean I really ran, the folks in east and west Durham, the mill people, voted for me. Forest Hills, oh hell, they voted against me. Now, why, I don't know. Jealousy.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It's interesting to speculate about it, let's put it that way.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I can say that now.
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
… another world. An association, and they've kept up with people. Why, it's just like my youngest sister's daughter's boy (I have to figure the relationship there) had gone to Williams, which is fine. He chose Williams. My kids all went to Chapel Hill. And then went elsewhere.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I want to complete today talking about your father. We had gotten in your life and your business life up to the time of the second World War. Your father was, by this time, as I think you said in the course of our conversation, getting older. He would have been in his sixties or so …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
But still very active.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now what were his interests in this latter stage of his life, and when you came back after World War II and so on?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was a great reader, and became a church man, an elder. And was a power in the church. I didn't like some of his selections for preachers but that's that. But you can't get rid of them in the Presbyterian Church. He kept his finger on business, and right up until a few weeks before he died, he was still the major stock holder in the bank. And the major stock holder in the insurance company. And while he was very friendly and so forth, when it came down to yes or no, why, he called the shots.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did he come into the office regularly?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yes, he was there five days a week, and had a big old black couch, leather covered, and he used to sleep there in the afternoon. He'd have a little breakfast, a very little

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breakfast, and he'd have soup for lunch or something. His secretary had been with him for years, Miss Cora, as we called her. And I inherited his office and the vault, old letter books that they had.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Do you still have those?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, I still have them in the office. I'm just waiting to get somebody to go through them. It'll be tremendously interesting. I read some of it. They didn't have xerox machines and didn't have carbons in those days.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It went in the letter book.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Dampen, and it made the impression, and there was the record, the permanent record. He was very careful about his business and so forth. He became interested in Union Theological. That was his outside interest outside the university. He spent a great deal of time on the university, a great deal of time. He was active, like me, I'm still active in the bank, and they're very good to me, and if they're not, I raise some hell about it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now did he continue an active interest also in things like the growth of Blue Cross Blue Shield, and so on?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He didn't have any interest in it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
He didn't?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. That was news to him. The hospital, he turned over to me, period. That was it. He didn't bother me. I ran it, with a director.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How about things like the farm?

Page 100
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He ran the farm. Oh hell yes. He had eventually the grain and tobacco farm, which is on Hillsborough Road, there where the City Water Works. And he built the golf course, and he was a great golfer there. That was the first park in Durham, and he gave six or eight, all the parks in Durham except the Ben Duke Park on Mangum Street. Every park in Durham has … white and colored. He was very careful to have some colored—I can't say black.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What was his view on race?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was against it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
He was against it. [laughter]
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That's the best way I can express it. Oh, he helped Lincoln Hospital and he helped the Negro Life Insurance Company, as my grandfather did. And he gave the land to Lincoln Hospital, and was very much interested. It was a Duke proposition, they spent a lot of money, for them, for those days. Fifty, sixty thousands dollars, hell, is nothing now. Oh, Dad was very civic minded. He worked with the Academy of Music where the old hotel used to be, which is now a parking lot that I built. And we built the Civic Center out of some of the brick from there.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What about North Carolina Central? Did any members of your family or any others have anything to do that college?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. He knew the old man Spalding. He knew the leaders and he didn't have much use for them. It was the niggers to him, always were. You don't say that any more.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But that was a different time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, sure it was.

Page 101
JAMES LEUTZE:
In fact, I don't imagine there were very many people who had any other preference.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
They had a thousand slaves when he was growing up, and couldn't get rid of them. His mother had freed them. She was running the farm. She'd freed them, but couldn't get rid of them. Oh, fifteen years before the war.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Oh really, oh before the war.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Before the war, and couldn't get rid of them.
JAMES LEUTZE:
They stayed, and stayed around?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh hell, sure. Had to feed them. They had no where to go. They didn't know anything different.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That's wonderful. I didn't ask you, but I assume, if he was born in 1869, four years after the war was over, did you ever hear him refer to the aftermath of the war and what it was like in the South after the war at all?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. He came on to Chapel Hill and went on to New York.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now you must be able to remember Civil War veterans and Lee Days, Lee memorial days, and that sort of thing.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh hell yeah. Didn't make much impression. That was that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I was interested in what you said the last time about American attitudes toward the Second World War, that Southerners had a different view of war than other people because we had lost a war…
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
You're darn right.
JAMES LEUTZE:
… and had a sense of what was involved.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
At the Bennett Place, the surrender, the Confederate troops were given mules, allowed to take their mules with them, which was a godsend because they had no motive power in those days. And that made it possible to start growing some crops.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm one of those who views Sherman, not as bad a man, as I think lots of Southerners view him. And our family farm in Georgia was burned by Sherman when he came through. I don't have any love for him, but on the other hand he was a better friend to the South than is sometimes thought. He realized, for instance, the mules. That was Sherman there at Bennett Place and he realized that was tremendously important. Also, if you look at the statistics, the South doesn't really get over the Civil War until the twentieth century. There wasn't any Marshall Plan or anything else for the South. It was still suffering into the twentieth century.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No question about that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, any other recollections about John Sprunt Hill that you think historians …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
You'll learn more from those monographs than I know.
JAMES LEUTZE:
No, I'm not sure of that at all.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Because Archibald Henderson was a great friend. There were some great old professors back in those days. We have them now, but I don't know them, don't have the contact with them. They were few and far between, old Dr. Hume, and oh, I remember Archibald Henderson.
JAMES LEUTZE:
[laughter] Always scratching his head, always thinking. Well, alright, why don't we conclude this today at

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this point in talking about Mr. Hill, and if you think of anything else we can pick up, or I'll listen to the tape and Bill Powell will listen to the tape and we'll see if there are some other specific questions to ask you about.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't know how far you've gotten into any of those monographs.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I've read what they had on it.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't know what, he was tremendously interested in North Caroliniana …
JAMES LEUTZE:
The North Carolina Collection and so on.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
There were two ladies that—they're both dead now—that he paid their salaries and their living expenses and what not, that ran the Collection. Mrs. Cotton was one of them I think … I just lost track of the names. He thought that the library was the center of the university. I remember when the library was built, the Wilson Library. That's why it was located there, because it was then the center of the university. There wasn't any School of Business.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Can I ask you what you think about the architecture of the new library?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh god a'mighty. That's a Walter Davis.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It's a wonderful facility inside, but I must say that it is …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I've never been in, I have no interest.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Speaking as a working scholar, it is a very useful facility, but I don't think it's very attractive. I like the style of the old Wilson Library, I must say, a good deal better.

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But, when you look at what he, Wilson, contributed to the university, one has to just wonder what would've happened to the university if it hadn't been for people like him.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That's quite true. Kenan Stadium, Emerson Stadium, before that.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, the buildings and the library, all of those things.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
… the Alumni Building, Phillips Hall, the Carr Building.
[END OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[TAPE 5, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE B]

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Mr. Hill, I'd like to talk about your World War II experiences, about what you did and what it was like. You were in the O.S.S.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I was in the O.S.S. back, as I had previously said, working with the "Committee to Defend America," thanks to Francis Miller, of Fairfax Virginia, and Whitney Shepherdson, of the Foreign Policy group. Herbert Agar acted as the chairman. I worked with them for a year before we went in the service in the war, and I was at home enjoying myself. I was too old, I thought, to fiddle with this mess, and David Bruce, who lived across the Virginia line, called me and said, could I come to Washington, they wanted to talk to me. So I went to Washington that night on the Rattler. Didn't have planes in those days, as I remember, particularly. And we talked, he talked to me for about an hour, and I said, "Well what do you want me to do?" He said, "Come on up here and help me." I came on home, got my stuff together, went back to Washington. My wife was ga-ga. She didn't know why I was moving so fast, but he said he wanted me so I went on up. And I said, "What do you want me to do, Dave." He said, "Just help me." That's the only instructions I had for about two years. It was interesting, and I had an office, and one of the things I did was to keep moving people around. I was number twenty-three. Arthur Roseborough, who had been Foster and Allen Dulles's manager in Paris for twenty odd years, a Rhodes Scholar, had come back, and he was number twelve or thirteen up there, and he was handling the French desk. We had fourteen—as

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I said I was twenty-three and it eventually became fourteen thousand, and every week I moved the offices. As the French desk grew, why they had to go someplace. We were down in the little M building, down below the Kremlin, as we called the permanent building up on the hill where General Donavon was. We were down opposite the Lincoln Memorial in one of those temporary buildings from World War I. One of my jobs was to move them, to find a place for them, and just kept on spreading and spreading and spreading, and we moved into another office building. Then in the Spring, in '42, Pearl Harbor had come in '41, in December '41, and everybody was gung-ho down here, particularly in the South. I was sent to Bournemouth, England, for Intelligence School. Why, I don't know to this day. But I went to Intelligence School, and I finally got hold of the Colonel after—it was supposed to be several months or something—but I got hold of the Colonel and I said, "You've got the big book, have you got a copy of it? Can I borrow the copy of it because it seems to me a lot of waste of time to listen. I can read the damn thing and be through with it and gone." So I got a copy of the book. Well the next thing I knew I was up near Arasag, Scotland, at Commando School. On the way to parachute school, at Manchester, for some reason, I was not allowed to jump. I went though Parachute School where they had a tower and parachutes attached to the tower that raised and lowered you. But I was not allowed to jump; I was too old to jump they said. But Oblinsky came along about three weeks later, and he was fifty, and I was forty-one, and he was allowed to jump, and he became a specialist

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eventually. I went on to Arasag, Scotland, as I remember, on the west coast, to Commando School. I was the only American there and all dressed up in the proverbial flannel suit. We had some pretty rough exercises. One of them was that you were given a knife and you were given a small packet of food and you were told to go from one place to another place, and how you got there was your damn business. You finally learned. That was a survival course, you've been taught something about it. I'll never forget the Colonel's dinner. He had me sitting on his right hand for some reason. I was the only American; they were all kinds of German, French, British and what not, Dutch and so forth. A group of about forty, I suppose. I pulled out a cigarette—we'd just almost finished supper—a package of cigarettes, had Chesterfields, by the way. The man next to me put his hand on me, said, "Wait for the Colonel." So I put them back, and we waited for the Colonel. The Colonel pulled out some cigarettes and took a smoke, and I pulled mine out. Another night we had a big dinner and I remember having on a pair of black shoes, like these, only black. I stood up in front of the fire in my gray flannel suit and I wiggled one foot and both feet came up. I looked again, and I wiggled the other foot and both feet came up again. I said, "Watson, you're drunk."
JAMES LEUTZE:
[laughter] The British do drink a fair amount at their ceremonial…
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
[laughter] There was plenty to drink. We drank every damn thing that was in the place, mixed it and so forth. But then I came on back over here and organized intelligence and

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sabotage schools with a Savon soap salesman, I forget his name. He was a Lieutenant-Colonel, British. We organized four or five in the Washington area. I wasn't teaching or anything like that, but I was told to do it. One of them was on my mother-in-law's farm, by Oldfield School—I always changed my clothes, I was in uniform by that time, not by request but I was just told by the General. Another story, the General took me over to "Beau Perst," shortly after I'd been in uniform, and said the Navy wanted me because my commission had come through. I had applied and I wondered what the hell had happened to it. The Admiral and General Donovan fought over me. I never felt so good and so big in my life. For half an hour, "I want him", "No, you can't have him", and so forth. That was a lot of fun. But then I went on and I did whatever was necessary. Never had any instructions. I out-fitted people to go to this, that, and the other place, and you'd call on different supply people, Army, Navy, Air Force, depending on the job. Dave went out someplace, I don't know where, and he had a little bitty office and it was pretty raw stuff. So I got hold of my stooge and we set up his office, a great big beautiful office, in Q Building. When Dave returned he had a British flag and an American flag on the side of the desk.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now this is David Bruce?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
David K. E. Bruce. When he came back he called me in and said, "What the hell's going on here?" I said, "Well looks like a mighty pretty office to me." I never did tell him who did it. And it was good, because he was head of intelligence and he needed a proper office. Another job we had, which was just an

Page 109
incidental job, was to vet Bruce's house at least once a week. We went over and checked it for bombs and so forth. I had my electrical people and the rest of them. I had to supervise it and tell them what to do and how to do it and so forth. I learned a lot of unnecessary things for the civilian life.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Tell me about David Bruce, he later became ambassador to the Court of St. James.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was forty-three, a great big fine looking fellow, married to Elsa Mellon, who was a drunk. He eventually got a divorce from her. Later he traded with Whitney Shepherdson, who had been in charge of the London office, and Whitney came back in charge of the Western Office and David took the London office. I think I mentioned, he called me up one day and said, "I'm sending a girl over to you to take care of, will you find her a job in O.S.S.?" And I said sure. It turned out to be Evangeline, and about three months later he married Evangeline. I didn't know anything about it at all. I put her in my office. The office became so crowded that for three days one time I had to step on a desk to get to my desk in the back. Oh, that was par for the course.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How about Bill Donovan? What kind of a person was he? Wild Bill.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Short, paunchy, always asked you the question. I went to New York one day, I had to take some messages to New York, top secret. So I was in uniform and I went up to the St. Regis—we had a suite—and I went into the suite and there was Bill naked as a damn jay bird with a girl on his head and a girl

Page 110
on his foot, they were giving him a massage. He said, "What are you doing here, Hill?" I said, "I had some top secret papers for you, sir." He said, "Let me have them." I said, "I'm sorry, sir, top secret." "Girls, scram." The girls went out, I gave him the papers, he read the papers, told me what to do, and said, "Girls, come back." He was in charge; he had been the most decorated man from a New York battalion in the first war, as I remember, in World War I. He was in charge of the office, there wasn't any question about it. They had at least a weekly meeting of the heads of different departments. One eventually became Moral Operations, another was Sabotage. The president of Williams College, I can't remember his name, and Beal was his associate, and we organized Research and Development, "R and D." It was amazing how that developed. They would send to the Congressional Library and they got ninety-eight percent of the information that they wanted. For instance, you remember Dakar, on the west coast of Africa? The boy that was in charge of the African desk was a great friend of mine, I can't recall his name at the moment, little fellow. He came to me one day and said, "We're going to move into Dakar." I said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, you can take Dakar, that's no damn trouble, but you can't get out of Dakar because there's swamps all around it." I don't know why I knew it, I don't remember. So we talked about it and we talked about it, so we went into North Africa. That's the reason. They were going into Dakar but they moved the thing. I don't know who was responsible, but that was my little part in the damn stuff. I had to send people to the desert and to the

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polar regions, the southern polar regions, and it took different kinds of materiel to handle them. But, hell, just order, no problem about it. Donovan would go to the President and come back with twenty million dollars of unvouchered funds, had no record, kept no record. No problem at all, just whatever you needed. It was just fed out, hell, no problem. He got it always.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now what kinds of people were these; I've heard of some O.S.S. officers referred to as intellectuals, and eccentrics…
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
They were. They were a bunch of crazy damn people. A few business people. I remember Bill Vanderbilt was the worst of the group. He was then governor, past governor of Rhode Island. He was just a stuffed shirt, just hot air. The boy who was in charge of the eastern Mediterranean, Greece and so forth, was nuts, complete nuts. He did a good job. There was every conceivable kind of person there. The Research and Development did a remarkable job. They had a tremendous number of scholars attached. They ha five hundred people or something in it eventually, and they laid it out: where to go and why to go and so forth. For instance, I was called in by General Donovan one day. He said, "I want complete information on Africa, electric lines, transformers, air ports, sea ports." I repeated, "You want full information." "Yes." I said, "Thank you, sir," and I left. I went to R and D and told them what I wanted, and they came up with it in about three weeks. They had the whole damn thing laid out. This was prior to any invasion attempt. What happened to it I don't know.

Page 112
JAMES LEUTZE:
It probably became very useful. I think people think of intelligence activities always being cloak and dagger sorts of things, and a lot of it is routine, as you're saying.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, and at these camps we trained all kinds of people. It was amazing to me the number of people that came from Europe to America during the war, and we'd take their clothes away from them before they could go to a dry cleaner or laundry where they would put the marks on it that show under ultra-violet because the Germans knew that and that was a dead give away. After I got to England in '44, I was the outfitting man in '44. We had organized a brewery that used to be across Key Bridge. The street car made a big circle and came back, and there was a brewery over on the right hand side.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What is now Crystal City or something.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't know. It's gone anyhow. Roslyn. And we had collected these clothes from everybody. You'd be amazed at the bales of stuff that came in. And we segregated it, and when I got to London in '44—I was there in '42 and '44—I had a British captain, a lovely woman, a wonderful girl, we had the old clothes racket and outfitted people to be infiltrated by plane or what have you. I took one flight with a man to be dropped, that was toward Lyon, and we went out at night, and the signal didn't come through clear enough and back we went. I got him some girls and four days later off he went. It's just that simple.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now was this before or after the Normandy invasion in June?

Page 113
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
This was before. Rosenborough had become a Colonel in Brereton's service by that time and was dropped in north France, the northern part of France, and rallied a lot of people prior to the invasion and then got out again. And then after the war he asked me for a job. I put him in the trust department for two years and he just didn't fit. He had bought about five or six hundred acres next to Quail Roost out here, and eventually died. His wife still lives—he married a British girl, his second wife; he divorced his first wife. I'd known him through the French desk and his wife was an Admiral's daughter, a French Admiral's daughter, and they lived with me for several months. She ran the house, squeezed every orange before she'd buy it, typical French.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now did you lose any people? Did you have any people who went in on hazardous missions and never came back?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, yeah. Oh, you'd kiss them good bye. Very few people, when you come down to it. We'd send them in in teams of three, a chief, a radio operator, and an extra one. Normally that was the racket that they had. And eventually, we helped organize—that's what old Oblinsky did, he was the head of the Jedburgs, a peculiar name. I don't know why, but small groups that went in before and after the invasion, beautifully trained sabotage and intelligence people and so forth.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Were men as well as women involved in these things?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh yeah. This woman I started to tell you about, the German (lived in England, but was German nationality), we took her fillings out and got a German dentist to put German fillings

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in her teeth. She was picked up in Hamburg and that was the reason she got through, she didn't have British fillings.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You had to think of everything, it sounds like.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah, normally. I remember a German was picked up in London because of the buttons on his coat. Somebody figured it out, picked him up.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That's incredible. Now how good were the British? What's your assessment of the British ability?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The British were damn good. In my view, they knew exactly what they were doing. There wasn't any question about it. The British and French intelligence that we had had, and the Catholic Church intelligence, prior to our going into the service, to the committee, was excellent.
JAMES LEUTZE:
The Catholic Church's?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Sure. Well, you didn't talk about it, and the British knew what they were doing. We had, of course, infiltration of a lot of French people. DeGaulle was a bastard of the first order, a great big tall, six foot nine or something like that, and he had the finest ego of anybody I ever knew.
JAMES LEUTZE:
His headquarters would have been in London.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah. And eventually, when the invasion took place, I was sent over to France. I remember on the flight— it was one of these very British days, overcast, and the plane was filled with Generals and Colonels, and what have you, Majors, and so on; Americans basically, some British—we got over the channel, and you couldn't see for hell. The pilot, who was by himself, didn't have a co-pilot. An army plane, we were sitting on a long seat.

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Everybody had parachutes, and some of them had them on, some of them didn't. Pilot called back and said, "I'm lost, can anybody help me? Anybody know where we're at?" Nobody moved. The third time, I, like a damned fool, a little Major (I was a Major all through it) got up and went up to the cockpit, and just as I sat down in the co-pilot's seat, there was Mont Saint Michel. I was just lucky. I said, "Yeah, just follow the damn railroad and we'll go into Paris." We followed the railroad about that high above the railroad tracks on into Paris. I knew my way. That was just one of those lucky—hell, I had good luck every where we went.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Do you think luck is important in life?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, tremendously so. Some people are lucky, some people make their luck. No question about it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
The United States had virtually no experience in the intelligence game, did they?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Absolutely none. The military attache…
[END OF TAPE 5, SIDE B]

[TAPE 6, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 6, SIDE A]
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was it William Stevenson?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah. He was a man, oh brother, and his group, very quiet, at Rockerfeller Center, had their office. Very few of us ever went to the office but they would come by, and we used the British intelligence all the way through. They knew what they were doing. One man, for instance, that I got to know later, had been in Bulgaria or Romania, one of those places, had been there

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twenty-eight years under cover, a M. I. 5 man. We were sending some people down and I went to him to find out what was the best way to handle this situation. He said, "Don't do do-and-so, do so-and-so-and-so-and-so." He knew exactly what to do and what not to do. Well, you use these people, and we got to know them. When Whitney Shepherdson came over I was still in uniform. I'd known him before, well. I went in and all that sort of damn foolishness, and I asked him what he wanted me to do. And he said, "Carry on carry on." Only two instructions I ever had were, "Come and help me," and "Carry on." I did whatever seemed to be right.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you remain stationed in London in '44 or did you go permanently to France?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, I was in London for awhile, then went to France, and I was "Fuller Brush" man by that time, meaning that I had all kinds of gadgets. For instance, one was a cow plop, which had a compartment in which you could put papers and put it out in the pasture or what not and the man would come by and pick up that particular cow plop.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You hoped he'd get the one he wanted, or he hoped.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That always tickled me. But all kinds of damn things, and so forth. We had made riding crops with a sword in them. We had private… let me get you something here…
JAMES LEUTZE:
A match box camera, like that, that tiny?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Everyone of my jobs, somebody had the idea for. People had been infiltrated. It was surprising how good a little photograph it would take. We used the lens off a Recordak, or

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something like one of these copy machines, just a little bitty thing. And you could take a time exposure or you could take an instantaneous. I made three or four trips to Rochester, and Eastman made it up for us. We played with it. I've got one of them down here; I shouldn't have it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Your job sounds like something like Que in James Bond, supplies all the gadgets to the agents. So that was your role, Fuller Brush salesman?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That was toward the end of the war, before the Germans surrendered. I made a trip, I was at Patton's army at Luxembourg, and they was bogged down in the rain and the mud. I had a little jeep and my Sgt. stole twenty gallons of gas—the army only had 100.
[text missing]
[END OF TAPE 6, SIDE A]

[TAPE 6, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 6, SIDE B]
JAMES LEUTZE:
So, 1945 comes, you come back from Europe, the war is over in the Fall of 1945. What activities did you get involved in? What did you want to do?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I had gotten involved before I went to Washington. My father asked me—well, I went to work for $250 a month. After I got married and came back, Fall of '25, and he asked me to build a store building, which I did. It was occupied by Rose on Main Street, next to what's now the First Union Bank Building. That was the first architectural project that I had full authority on. Then I organized Blue Cross with Dr. Davidson in '33, and we started that. I gave Blue Cross an office in the Trust Building; that was the old office building. Eventually they went on to the mezzanine floor in the Trust Building. We had rebuilt it. That was the Hospital Care which became Blue Cross when it merged with Hospital Savings. The same year, it was a big year, I organized the Central Carolina Farmers Exchange. That was all in '33. When I came back, in '45, there were some other things. I was vice-president of the bank, which had grown some. In '37 we built the office building, the present CCB building, and reorganized the name. That was before the war. I went to war because Dave Bruce asked me to, and I came back, and I don't remember anything particular. I worked with the bank. And Luther Hodges, whom I had barely known, asked me in '55, I think it was, to take over as the treasurer of the Research Triangle Study Committee, a proposed program, that Brandon Hodges, who had been State Treasurer, had been handling

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for Luther. Brandon Hodges died; there was no relationship. So George Simpson came into the picture. He was Odum's protege. Professor Odum had been a great friend of my father's. I had known him as Rural Sociologist, and I think I may have commented that George came and talked to me about the Research Triangle. He'd been working under Brandon Hodges. We leased an office down in Raleigh opposite the Revenue Building; it's gone now. First there was a hundred acres. He came back a month later and we talked about a thousand acres. Then we started scratching at the damn thing and for three years I raised the money that paid for George Simpson's study and Mrs. Aycock as his secretary. Mrs. Aycock now considers herself "Miss Research Triangle." There was at the same time a committee composed of representatives from three University units, Paul Gross, Marcus Hobbs, Bill Little, two boys from State, the names will come to me. They were making a study, and they found eight hundred and fifty people doing research in the three University units, very few knew each other, even on the individual campuses. But they started to bring them together. I got the legal work done in Washington and I told you the story about that. Bob Hanes had become president of the Research Triangle Foundation, non-profit. We had a big to-do at the Sir Walter Hotel up on the mezzanine floor, some big luncheon party. Bob Hanes was sick at the time and died about a month later. Looked like hell. This was the announcement for the Institute and the Foundation. Archie Davis was brought in by Governor Hodges in another year and a half or two years. But Hodges raised, I helped him a little bit, around a million and a

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half dollars from ninety-seven different individuals and corporations. As I said, I think, nobody knew what the hell he was doing. Just put it up for Hodges, the insurance companies and banks and all because it was Hodges.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I was going to ask you, what did you have in mind, what was your idea of what this might become?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, by that time, Simpson had gone to Stanford, and knew all about Stanford Research Institute, and he was particularly concerned with the Institute, much more so than the Foundation. Romeo Guest had come into the picture from Greensboro, and his friend Robins at Aberdeen had put up some money and they had bought acreage after we organized it. After Archie Davis raised around a million and a quarter or something in about thirty days (surprising) we bought out Robins, paid him back. There were a lot of holes—I've got a map at the office I'll bring over here—that shows them; it's all spotty. Slowly we kept building them up. I had a forester, Mangam, that kept working on the land with Romeo. Romeo and myself worked very closely together. And we were trying to get some acreage down in the old cut over pine land. It wasn't worth a damn for anything. Septic tanks couldn't be used because it was non-permeable. About the cheapest land that there was in this whole area. We didn't pay much for it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Were there any small communities near there?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, Lowes Grove was on the west side. And there was a filling station on the east side. I think that was all. And there was a little stuff on the north end, a school up there,

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near Old 70. We got a bank out there recently. But it slowly developed and they used the Southern railroad as a eastern border basically, and Alston Avenue is the western border. Didn't quite make either one of them. And they bought some land in Wake County, a thousand acres I reckon in Wake County. They ended up with around fifty-two hundred acres all told. And they bought it in Wake County so it would bring Wake County into the picture, psychologically. That's just like this, Dean McKinney and his boys are working out a plan for the use of the whole business; all construction and sales have been north of 54 until the National Institute of Environmental Sciences came in and we gave them five hundred acres.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I gather you were quite instrumental in that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes, well, we had worked it out. I was acting as secretary to the Foundation. I served for twenty-three something years, through Archie Davis, through Luther Hodges as chairman, and Archie as president. Archie had become president of the Bankers' Association for a year and he was the high knocker in Wachovia Bank and then retired. Archie has hearing trouble. He's deaf as a post in one ear. He wasn't too well then, and it's been up and down. Then Luther died and Archie took over. And Acres Moore from Raleigh, who considered himself a great friend of Luther's, but Luther just kind of looked at it. Well he became vice-president, and head of the Research Triangle Service Center which was a hundred acre area just north of 54. And it was leased to a little Teer company for it to build, as it did, the Governor's Inn, and started building an office building,

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a post office, and leased to the banks and so forth, and slowly developed. It's just been sold as of the thirtieth of December '85, to a big consortium up in the North. Seventy some odd million dollars eventually, twenty million cash. But the Foundation was able to get all kinds of problems settled in the negotiations that took place. I didn't have anything to do with that. I just listened, I was out of office by that time. I'm still on the Board but all the Board was until the last two or three years when they reorganized it, had representatives from the three Universities, a small group of people, basically businessmen, whereas the Institute was the reverse, more University people and a few business people, which is good. I was chairman of the Institute from the beginning and still am, twenty-seven years I realized yesterday. The Foundation has sold off—they don't use the word ‘sell’— they have 'liquidated" enough land in the Park to IBM. That was the story I think I mentioned; Luther was responsible for bringing Chemstrand and bringing IBM in. Foundation has now four or five million dollars in Money Market funds.
JAMES LEUTZE:
The Foundation has?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Th Foundation does at the moment. Profits, I would call them, but call it surplus or whatever you want to. The Foundation gave the Institute five hundred thousand dollars cash capital which we used up til about four or five thousand dollars, when we got on our feet. And they slowly gave a hundred and sixty acres; Archie and Luther never understood that they were separate organizations. The Foundation has given a million

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dollars to the Humanities Center, which was a baby of Archie Davis, which was good. And that has been built and we've had different and sundry people at the head of it and so forth. Huffman had been brought in as the third or fourth executive vice-president. He'd been a former publicity man for Southern Bell in Raleigh and they wanted to move him some other place and he wouldn't go, and Archie picked him up. And he's done very well. Mrs. Aycock is still Secretary. The Board has been vastly improved. Outside of Felix Joyner from the University here, Chuck Heustes from Duke, and two people that changed from State, the rest of the Board were just rubber stamps to Archie and Luther. Now they've got men like Louis Stephens, and Hugh McCall, and so forth, Watts Carr, Jr., some strong characters.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I was just laughing. I can see Hugh McCall rubber stamping something.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, he's not on the executive committee, but Louis and Watts are on the executive committee.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Louis Stephens is no easy mark either.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
[laughter] It's a very interesting group. I just sit back and laugh to myself. I find out what's going on through different ones. I talk to Louis every now and then. Talk to Watts Carr on the executive committee. The executive committee had been, with the exception of the men that I mentioned to you—and Acres pretty much told Archie what he wanted to tell him, but didn't tell him the whole story. I used to write the minutes, and I'd have five, six, ten pages of minutes. I wrote it like it was. They'd come back six moths

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later and say, "I said so-and-so," and I'd say, "The minutes don't show that. You said so-and-so." It would make them so god damned mad. [laughter] They didn't like me. They got me out finally because of age, they said. [laughter]
JAMES LEUTZE:
When you look over that twenty-seven years that you've been involved with them who do you think have been the most influential, the most creative guiding people as far as the Research Triangle?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Pearson Stuart, planner, who was a North Carolinian, went to Rhode Island and we brought him back. Pearson and I planned the lay out of the Foundation Park and set aside the acreage for the Institute. We laid out the road system, blocked out locations. The roads are so organized, the proper roads, that they can be four-laned width. And we drew up the regulations, fifteen percent building period plus parking on top of that. Minimum was six acres. They followed that straight through. We had the whole thing as "research," and they've changed that during the process, eight or ten years ago, to a thousand acres in the center for research, the "Research Application" area around it, so you could have some manufacturing. It was supposed to be prototype. Well, IBM, Northern Telecom, GE more recently. Luther Hodges was the quarter back. He called the shots, he was the front man. Damn good, damn good. Acres Moore had a very definite part in it. He was always killing something.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was everyone who was associated with this always bullish about the prospects of this operation. Were people

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always saying, "Oh yes. Now we see it as a great success," but were there people with misgivings?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
In the beginning we had a hell of a lot of holes, as I call them. The problem was to fill these holes and have a proper operation. We slowly have done it; haven't quite finished it. The American Legion refuses to sell right there on 54, a damn little old brick house. The prices have gone from five thousand an acre. We paid a hundred dollars and acre, fifty dollars, four hundred dollars an acre. There was nothing there. We hadn't had inflation. It was a big difference. Now they're up to forty thousand dollars an acre, and people are buying on the perimeter at sixty-five to seventy-five thousand dollars an acre. There's a Lebanese who's been writing to me. I asked him to write a memorandum about it so I had it straight. He had paid forty thousand dollars an acre for some land on Alston Avenue on the west side of the Park. He's holding it for two hundred thousand dollars an acre.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you ever envisage that it was going to be that successful?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. Nobody did. Had no idea. But it's just come along and almost all of the suitable land has been absorbed, "liquidated," north of 54. Five hundred and six acres, I think. The National Science lay dormant for five years, and we worked that out and had a big party and luncheon in Washington. Then two or three weeks later the damn thing broke and they got the sixty seven million dollars to build the present building and take care of Dr. Raul, a great fellow.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Dave Raul.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
That was south of 54 and that was the only thing south of 54. They'd been unable to buy land along the east side, south of 54. Folks won't sell it. They're speculating now.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you uniformly get help from political leadership in North Carolina?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes. Well Luther was Governor and he presented something to the Legislature and they out up five hundred thousand or a million dollars, part of the show. That's all they did. They gave the Institute some money back in the early days to buy equipment. Yesterday at the R.T.I. monthly meeting, they had developed a surplus of four million dollars for the first time in history. Normally two or two and a half. We had expended some of that so it left two million nine for the purchase of equipment. The request for equipment went to four or five million dollars, so you have to do the best that you can. Corporations have given R.T.I. computers and god knows what all else that have been tremendously helpful. The Park has done well. It's recognized as the largest acreage of any Park. Stanford is forty or fifty acres or something like that. They're just cramped, terrible.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you have any other prototypes in mind? Were there other places that were doing this?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
There were seven different units. Battell, Columbus, Ohio, is the biggest of the whole business. We haven't caught Stanford yet, but we're on our way, in the Institute. It's been a model for the United States, and the off-shoots, like

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in Charlotte—IBM has another million square feet in a building—basically the Research Triangle. And it has had tremendous effects throughout the state, Charlotte, Wilmington, anywhere you want.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Let me ask a question that may sound intemperate in a sense, and I think I know the answer. Did any of the principals involved make money off this operation?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So it's not a profit-making operation?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. Nobody made any money. It was one of those damn things that just workout. That was one of the keys to it, I think. People gave their time and it was amazing. They still give it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It certainly has been an amazing success.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The most amazing thing was back in the beginning when Luther raised a million and a half.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Without really having an idea…
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh hell, nobody knew what the hell he was talking about. It was Luther. He was something. Many a time I've been in his office, as governor and afterwards, and see those hands turn right white. He didn't agree. [laughter] Well, you tempered what you said, yes, but several of us were bull-headed, fortunately.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What about the negotiations with the individual companies? Say IBM comes in and wants to locate there. Who works out the individual arrangements with the company?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Various executive V.P.s that we had, basically Huffman, and various and sundry ones, went around and visited this, that, and the other thing. It took GE ten years work to get them together. They had to educate them, you might say. And they weren't ready and so forth. Once IBM started their office in Raleigh and then back over at the Park, they just kept going. They've got ten thousand people working in the Park, and maybe more than that by now since the last I've heard of it. Maybe a good deal more. God knows how many thousands of dollars have been spent on physical facilities.
[END OF TAPE 6, SIDE B]

[TAPE 7, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 7, SIDE A]
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
At the Institute, we have this pact. George Herbert. If he resigns, I resign. If I resign, he's resigning. We've got ten people now, vice presidents, we're looking at. We talked about it yesterday. I don't know who in particular. I have my own thoughts. You've got to prepare yourself; you don't just wait until the last minute.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Obviously this took an enormous amount of time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We have a tremendous number of people that come in from all over the country.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What about other things on your life in this post-war period, the fifties and sixties? When did Quail Roost come to the University? When did you move from Quail Roost to here?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I built the Quail Roost house in '37. We lived there twenty-five years. We moved over here and built this place in

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'62 or '64, somewhere in that time, and gave Quail Roost, ninety acres, to the University in Chapel Hill as a conference center. We were going to have it as a psychiatric center. George Ham used to be here. He tried to sell me a bill of goods and finally I said, "No, we're not going to do that. It's going to be a conference center based on quite a number of conferences all over the country." We've got to have another building. We've got to have twenty more spaces to sleep fifty people. We need a better arrangement. There ought to be something. I've started two or three times to draw plans for a building on the left side as you see the house, but I just haven't gotten around to it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'd like to talk to you about that actually.
Did the dairy go to North Carolina State?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. I started the dairy back in '25 or '26, when I came back. That's when I had three titted cows from my father. I went to State College and spent three months studying the damn things, in Washington in the Department of Agriculture. I came out with purebred Gurnsey cattle. We started and slowly built it up. I had a manager, one of the top men in the country. He had been the Golden Gurnsey salesman for the American Gurnsey Cattle Club. I went on the Board of Cattle Club and served a good many years. That was in Petersborough, New Hampshire. I built the damn office building that they've got, among other things, in passing.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What was the object of the dairy?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I was bottling milk and selling it in Durham. Chapel Hill didn't amount to a hill of beans in those days. I bought

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the Long Meadow Dairy from Y.E. Smith in East Durham, then bought the Pet Milk Company Plant in Durham on James Street. East Durham burned up so we moved every damn thing, fortunately, to Durham. One thing after another, it's grown into a tremendous operation.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was there really money in the dairy side, or was it more in the breeding side, or were you doing it more for fun?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Both. All three. It was the best use of Quail Roost. It was eighteen hundred acres. I have given to State College School of Forestry some two thousand acres on the east, all along Flat River, on the east of the farm. It's still there. They built a great big log building and took a lot of World War Two buildings and made shops and dining rooms and so forth. It's a very interesting thing. I got State to build a bridge over the Flat River. It fell down and they rebuilt it. We had at Quail Roost an honest to god farm, an operating farm. I had twenty-five people living on the place and working on the farm, and slowly it just disintegrated from a cost standpoint. I ended up with the outstanding Gurnsey herd in the United States for the last five years of its operation. Thurman Chatham, in Elkin, Chatham Manufacturing; A.L. Brown, Kannapolis of Cannon Mills; I got Bowman Gray into the picture; we had a real operation. We'd have a sale at various and sundry places—four or five times at Quail Roost itself—an auction sale. They'd bring the cattle in the day before and folks from all over the United States would come in. I sold a cow for seventeen thousand, five hundred dollars, and she became the grand champion Gurnsey cow in the

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United States. Somebody else bought her; I forget now who it was. I got the prize money. [laughter] I bought a bull for seventy-five hundred dollars in South Carolina and my father said, "It's a shame, money comes, money goes." I sold over six hundred thousand dollars worth of his progeny. [Interruption]
JAMES LEUTZE:
We're talking about Quail Roost Farm at this point.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The quantity of milk given, and the butter fat would be 4.5 to 4.9, whereas Jersey milk was a little richer, 5.2 or something like that. That was the famous rich-man's-milk. The Holstein was about 2.5 or 2.9 They used Gurnsey milk at the milk plant to bring the Holstein milk up to the 3 percent, which was the minimum fat permitted by the state. Using my milk. [laughter] My father eventually kept his Gurnsey cows and had a barn where Crosdale Club is now. He had a thirty stanchion barn, and he had another one known as Crowsdale further over. He was in the farming business. He bought fifteen hundred, eighteen hundred acres, all in the west part of Durham, and turned it over to my sister Frances and she lives on beyond that. It was a lot of fun. I used to ride horseback all over the farm back in the early days. I don't have time now.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So you moved in the 1960s to this house?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Early sixties.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did you give up your interest in farming, and did you miss it?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yeah, about eight or nine years ago. We couldn't get the labor. People didn't want to work, to get up at three

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o'clock in the morning to milk, and milk twice a day with milking machines. They didn't want to work.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Do you miss being actively involved in farming?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, it just was. Hell, my sister did the same thing. She sold out her herd about three or four years ago. I was two or three years ahead of her. She still has her Black Angus cows up on the farm, but the day of individual dairies is almost gone. I don't know where we're going to get the milk from. Big plants and… I don't know. People are not going to buy Golden Gurnsey milk any more. It's too rich.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Too rich and too expensive, too.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
We sold it as a special milk at a higher price, and we sold it.
It's a very interesting thing, and I was on the Cattle Club executive committee for years. You go to Michigan or California or what the hell, just some meetings, sales, what have you. As I say, I built the building in Petersborough, of all places, way back up there in New Hampshire. That's where I learned: I always went in the women's john on each floor, and if the women's john was clean and properly taken care of, I didn't worry about the rest of the building. The same thing applies to the bank. We've got sixty-odd branches, sixty-five branches. I make a point of going in the women's john. I get a girl to see if there's anybody using it. She opens the door and holds the door and I go and take a look. I've found that if the woman's john is taken care of, the janitors are doing a decent job.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Why do you suppose that's true?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
If stuff's all over the floor, I always insist that the architect build a proper place for women to have their tampons and what have you under the basin. You don't need anything in the men's room. I don't bother about the men's room.
JAMES LEUTZE:
[laughter] You mentioned a number of times in the course of our conversation your interest in architecture, and you are, I think, reknown, or maybe there's a stronger term for paying a lot of attention to the interiors of your banks or your buildings. Where does this come from? Why is this important to you as a businessman?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
In high school, I had a course or two in mechanical drawing, and, as I commented one time, my father used to be chairman of the building committee at the university. He used to bring me a sketch on an envelope, all out of kilter, out of size and everything. He'd say, "Handle this for me." And I would make a sketch. I had enough training to so do, and I suppose that's where it all started, by osmosis. You get into a lot of damn things. The store building in Durham, the renovation of the Trust Building, eventually the plans for Quail Roost. I built that in '37. Well, an architect has got to have some direction, and I just loved it. I would have been a surgeon if I had had a brother, but I never thought about being an architect or anything like that. I never thought of studying it; I was on the other end, on the paying end.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Do you have any principles that you operate on as far as architecture and interiors are concerned?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, just simple. I'll always work with the dean of architecture at State, Kampnefner, now … what's his name, McKinney. I worked over here, and I've always stuck my nose into Chapel Hill because of my love for Chapel Hill and my father's former interest. Seven dormitories, all down on Hillsborough and Cameron; the woman's dorm, Old Spencer—I had my finger in that one. It really just kind of grew up, no rhyme or reason particularly. I just loved it. For the Carolina Inn, I was the owner's representative on the Carolina Inn. That was while I was in college, in Law School. I reckon that started the damn thing. I designed my own buildings at Quail Roost, the farm buildings.
JAMES LEUTZE:
As well as the house buildings.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh hell yes.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It seems to me that in some of your buildings that I'm acquainted with, on balance the function and form seem to be quite closely connected. They seem to work.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I've always tried to build it from the inside out and put a cover on it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Okay. That's an interesting principle.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
If the damn thing doesn't work, it's of no value. That's the thing that bothered me about Kenan. I don't know anything about the interior. I worked with the old hospital here. I ran Watts Hospital for thirty-five years, and we built what's now the Private Patient Pavilion with money from my grandfather. We built the new wing, now Science and Math, of course, in '54, and another wing that had all the specialties—operating room, x-ray, lab, and so forth—in it. That was a

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tremendous effort to get the money and bond issue and so forth. It was the first time the public had ever really gotten into it. It was just kind of a matter of course. Get an architect, get the contract, collect the contract, follow through on the damn thing.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What about including art and other things in your bank buildings?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, take this house. It's roughly five rooms, roughly equal to Quail Roost. There may be a different location of the doorway or something like that. The office has been enlarged from the shirttail thing I had at Quail Roost. The bar has been enlarged because I realized you don't work with something like that. The exterior follows the same principle; I just love the old Williamsburg. That's why I got so upset about Frank Kenan and his Institute of Private Enterprise. Big dorm here, little dorm here, big this here, little this here; it's all out of proportion. It's got these damn white limestone lines through it, but they're all the same size. We had white lines on a building that Atkins had done for us. We're building a fifty thousand square foot building, an addition, between the Hill Building and the Herbert Building, the engineering building. He's drawing the plans. He had white lines, and we made him take them out. Earl Johnson, the crane man in Raleigh, is chairman of the building committee. I'm on the committee. I've been the bad one on the committee. We've got a different course of brick, slightly different color, just enough so it's there, architecturally speaking. These white lines back on the Alumni

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Buildin—I wish I had a picture of the building. You wouldn't like it. You've got a sensitivity. John says, "Is the Alumni Building close to the Kenan Building." I said, "Yes, but five years from now people will say, ‘What in the world did you do that damn mess for?"’ This is all the rage at the moment. I'm traditional, basically. I'm a liberal conservative.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Good definition. I'll return to that in a moment. [laughter] I gather that you pay a lot of attention to the interiors of your bank buildings not just as their function is concerned …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Because every building First Citizens has is different. It's crazy. I wanted an image, on the exterior and on the interior. You'd be amazed how much kids working in the bank subconsciously appreciate. You take the paintings out, you take the flowers and green stuff out and they just raise hell about it. They like it. They do better work, and after all that is what a bank's for. The public likes it. It makes all the difference in the world. We built in some night deposit units, and we've got a big movable screen around it. We've learned how now we don't do that because it looked like hell. You can go down here to some Durham branch and you can see it. And we've learned we don't put the night deposit next to the drive-up. People using the night deposit, basically, are in a automobile today. They come up to the drive-up and they've got to wait. You put it somewhere else where they can get out and walk up to the drive-up. You learn a few things. My boys don't understand it. They want to argue with me.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
It seems to me that now many banks, like NCNB and others, put up art work and buy art work. When did you start taking an interest in this sort of thing?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Fifteen years ago. We now try to use North Carolina artists as far as that part is concerned, but it doesn't always fit. We're revamping the main office building. We're putting a glass partition between the officers' desks and we're curving it slightly. We're carrying it up six feet. Psychologically, the customer is going to have privacy. For practical purposes it's not worth a damn, because you can hear right around it. But he feels better. We did it in Winston-Salem and it's working beautifully. We did it at Greensboro. You ought to see the little bank at Greensboro, out at the shopping center. We've got our name on the building and what not. It's a big office building. They have Central Carolina Bank up there. They were glad to have us. We're hoping to build east of the Triangle, where is another question. I took my marketing developing man down with me to look at the airport, the big development just off the airport turnoff. There's a mall and so forth. They're building seven office buildings and a hotel and god knows what. The Webb people from Lexington, the same people who have a joint agreement with Whittenburg on the two office buildings in downtown Durham.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I must ask you about the architecture of another building that you must have been connected with. What do you think about the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I was chairman of the building committee.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
How do you like that?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I served on the Blue Cross committee—the old Hospital Care was then actually Blue Cross—forty-one years, longer than anyone has ever been tied in to Blue Cross. The boys wanted a ten-story glass building up high. In the woods, in the country? Oh. no. So we got hold of Gooley O'Dell as the architect, who then, in my opinion, at that time, had more get-up-and-go to his office in Charlotte than any of the architects. Archie Royal Davis, who did Morehead Building—well, that's traditional, basically. It's like this house, traditional. And to hell with these architects in Raleigh. They're political. I won't call the names of them all, but Milton Small, who did the Home Security, was from Raleigh.
Gooley and myself got to laughing about it and I said, "Just lay the damn building down." We just laid it down. Then it was Gooley's idea to have it so the sun didn't hit it but just the absolute minimum, and it's eighty-two percent efficient. No partitions except for a little on the executive floor, and the sun hits it about three quarters of an hour, period. What do you call it? Romboid?
JAMES LEUTZE:
It's the only romboid-shaped building in the world, I think.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It's on six pedestals.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It's a unique building. I like it. I'm very fond of that building. It's one of the more striking buildings.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It works beautifully.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It looks great too.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It's built so that if they want to build any more—and they're thinking seriously about it—they go out the back.
[END OF TAPE 7, SIDE A]

[TAPE 7, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 7, SIDE B]

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Mr. Hill, we've talked chronologically about your background, your childhood, you're college career, your ten months trip, your getting started in business, and we talked about your father, your family, his impact on you life. Then we talked about your World War II experiences, we talked about your business career, your career in the university. Today, I'd like to talk about you, in a sense, and how you look at things. I'm thinking of someone writing your biography, the kind of things that they're going to want to know after they look at the facts of where you were at what time, what your position was, and where you went next. I'm interested in you and what makes you tick and how you think. Let's start by my asking you, in looking across your life, what are you most proud of when you look across the accomplishments that you have had? What makes you most proud and happy of your accomplishments?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Three things. The results of the presidency of the Board of Trustees of Watts Hospital, the thirty-five years carrying on the work that my grandfather started and my father continued for a short while. Second, the Research Triangle program and its essence, the organization and the idea, the technical, legal approach, and basically the Institute rather than the Foundation itself. The Institute is the key element, not so determined by the general public or certainly by the officers of the Foundation, but my knowledge indicates that it is the key to the Research Triangle program over all.

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Third, the Learning Development Center, now a component part of Durham Academy, in which … "learning disabled" is a general term for the kids, and I've been amazed at the reaction of parents that have come to me for this, that, and the other, almost inadvertently—their appreciation of the organization, now limited to seventy-five, max, pupils—how appreciative they have been for a maximum of two years service. It's gone on now for seven years, and I'm building an addition, a modern building to house the older students, and we're working toward putting in six computers to meet the modern approach. Instead of a quiet room where the teacher could talk with the learning dyslexia and so forth, it now will be three computers here and three computers there. The older students will write very poorly, normally, but they will put it on a computer with a word processor. This is an afterthought of a new head of Learning Development Center, and it's been a component part of Durham Academy and is doing a remarkable job. I say those three more than anything else.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Let's take these three and consider them for a moment. They fall broadly in the area of public service, it seems to me. What about making money? You're a businessman.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I'm not interested particularly. Except for the fact that I could have made more money if I had speculated and done this, that, and the other thing and so forth. The salary that I get from the bank is nominal. I should get fifty or a hundred thousand dollars, but I get ten. What the hell. I have a good stock ownership in the bank and, as Bill Burns said, the bank had made a rich man out of him. He was going to resign six or seven

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years ago, but he can't afford to resign with the salary, the bonus, the god knows what all emoluments that he gets as president. I don't blame him. I wouldn't either under the circumstances. No, the making of money—I inherited properties, some, and some I bought. Take the bank stock: two years ago it was selling for twenty-four; it's selling today for forty-five. It's crazy. My wife wanted to buy some stock in the bank at thirty. I said it's too high. I don't know.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But in the great scheme of things, I'm trying to think of the way you would talk to your grandchildren or to a young person you are trying to advise. What things would you tell them were important?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Doing a good job, both for yourself and for other people. It's a combination. It's neither one nor the other. I think public service is a good term. Leave the world a little bit better than when you came into it as you go out. Things are transitory. I've had a lot of people thank me for this, that, and the other, that I didn't know anything about. Apparently things I had indirectly touched, not directly. But working with a bank has been a lot of fun because, as I have said earlier at some time, my father and I had made eighty-three loans to churches. Well, that hadn't been done for fifteen years. I haven't had any part in it; I'm not a loan officer. But the influence that I've had in the bank has been a value to the bank in my judgment. Maybe I'm crazy. I'm known in Durham as Mr. Central Carolina Bank. Somebody said, "Well, they're trying to throw you out." I said, "Well, let them try." I'd love to get

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into that kind of a squabble. I'm eighty-four, going toward eighty-five, and I'm having fun.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You say that you would advise them to be involved in meaningful work and to work hard and do a good job. What if your grandchild said to you, "Well, I've tried to do a good job, but I've failed. It hasn't worked. What should I do? I'm disappointed. I worked very hard and it wasn't recognized." Kids say these things. How do you react to failure. How do you react to people not being rewarded. How would you advise someone, philosophically?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, a failure and not being rewarded and so forth, that's a personal thing. A kid came to me, thirty or forty years old, and said he'd been a failure. I said, "Why don't you look around and change your approach? Do something different." I can't believe in failure. [laughter] I don't know any. I see a hell of a lot of failures, yes, so it's hard to keep quiet about them. You want to make a suggestion to somebody, but I've learned better.
JAMES LEUTZE:
There's been a book written about Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. Do you think that good works and hard effort are always rewarded?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. I'm a great believer in the good lord and his actions, but he works in mysterious ways. I don't know. I've been as lucky as hell.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Let me ask you about luck.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My good wife complains, why don't I just relax? Why don't I put a couch in the office and take a half to an hours

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snooze every afternoon at my age. My father used to do it. I used to go in and find him sound asleep and I'd just walk out. He'd wake up. He always went to the office, even at ninety-two, and I've seen him asleep at the desk. She said I went to sleep last night sitting here on the couch listening to the news. I don't believe it, but that's that. But I think the good lord works, and good people are failures, there's no question about it. And bad people sometimes aren't. But they've got something inside them. Some of them don't.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Intestinal fortitude, I guess.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I mean something different. Some of them realize that they're a bunch of bastards, and are acting like one, and so forth, taking advantage of people. But some of them don't. Some of your crooks do; some of them don't. Some of the big boys out grabbing and so on—they're all different.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How important is intelligence do you think to success?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I think you've got to have intelligence. No question. A dumb bunny is not going to get anywhere. It's just wasting time. The great majority of people, unfortunately, are of medium intelligence, to say the least. I think some people are given a gift and it's a shame that they don't use it, and some people don't use it. I know two boys who have grown up here, of a good family, and I've watched them. They had the financial backing, the home life, all the rest of it, and were failures, complete failures. They're off on a tangent here, there, and yonder, that doesn't amount to a hill of beans, giving nothing of themselves whatsoever, nothing to the public.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
You obviously feel that giving of yourself to the public and public service is an important thing for you personally as well as an important thing for the community.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
In home life, I've been very lucky. The first girl I married, we couldn't have been happier for many years until she got sick, and she was sick for quite a while. This youngster, I couldn't ask for more in many respects. Oh, we have our problems. Hell, we're human. We see things a little differently. I'm at one age, she's at another age, and you've got to give and take, and it's give and take in life. Sure.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How important is family to you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Very important. But not all powering. You have to keep things in balance, some sense of balance.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Were you a strict disciplinarian with your children? How did you go about disciplining your children and imparting attitudes and other things to your children?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, this gal says I'm a Mary Poppins. My closet of clothes is just so. I clean up the room here; she drops stuff: the radio or t.v. program. I'll put it right over there every night. You just do it subconsciously.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You don't button your shirt sleeves.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. It's just habit.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You'll be interested to know that I spent a lot of time with your son, Watts, and he's the same way. He is one of the neatest people and organizers of things I've ever seen.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
More so than I am, as far as his office is concerned.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm sure I know where it came from. It's in the gene pool there.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
You asked the question, was I a hard task master. No. I didn't raise children. They were raised by my wife and a governess until they were ten or fifteen years of age. I think Watts, Jr., has a yen for public service, unquestionably, more so than I. The youngest son is just embedded and immersed in his business, electronics. I gave him at Christmas a little book that had about fifteen pages in it. We were in Washington at the time, during the war. It had been obtained through my electronic officer in O.S.S. He sat there and read this book and re-read this book and studied it as a kid, ten years old. He is beginning to change now, at fifty-odd, and is becoming more interested in people and other activities. Maybe the genes are coming up on him. I don't know. The daughter has always been interested in various and sundry activities, but she's very happy now. She had a very unfortunate life for twenty years. She came to me and wanted a divorce. I said, "You make up your mind what you want, and I'll help you." Three years later she did, but it took her three years. She's very happy with Orville Campbell, and he's very happy with her. It's one of those fortunate instances. No, I think my father was very much interested in public service in very many ways, different aspects. But he was interested in making money, too.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You mentioned three things, and one of them was that you said your father had been very interested in the hospital.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, my grandfather died in '21, I think. He had built the hospital originally in '95, and then he got my father to rebuild it in 1907, 1909, at the present location. On his death, my grandfather was president of the board for years and controlled the board. He was very powerful mentally and very upstanding—six foot two, very thin, very erect. I got some of that from him because I used to walk with him: I would lean over to keep stride with him and he would pop me in the back, "Straighten up, youngster, straighten up." Well now, I'd straightened up, and I think subconsciously I picked that up. But on his death, my father took over the presidency and ran it for ten years or more. As soon as I got back in '30, he just handed it to me and said, "Run it." I wasn't president at the time. He still kept the presidency to see what would happen down there, I imagine, looking back at it now. And I ran it with a superintendent and the three of us, and the board didn't amount to a hill of beans. It was window-dressing, unfortunately. Then I got out when I realized I had built from ninety-one to three hundred and one patients capacity and a lot of other things—the new section in '54 and so forth. The whole picture had changed and the local governments had come into the picture. We handed it to the local governments. The federal government had been in it. My service in Blue Cross for forty-one years, longer than anyone has ever served, was a very interesting development.
JAMES LEUTZE:
My next question was going to be, did you see yourself as carrying on a family tradition? I'm looking for influences on your life. Do you see that as a responsibility?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
As a responsibility, yes.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm going to ask you a personal question and all of these things you're going to see the transcript on, you can take off those things you don't wish to have public. Is it a disappointment to you that your family is not carrying on the traditions, that those traditions can't be carried on?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes, well the world's changed and their whole approach is different from what it used to be. Durham didn't have paved streets period, but now there's asphalt every damn place. The whole world is changing.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Is it better or worse or just different?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It's different, I'd say. I don't know whether it's worse. Often I think it's worse. We didn't have t.v. when I was growing up. We didn't have radio. We played games of various and sundry, and we were happy, I think happier than we are today.
JAMES LEUTZE:
So it is different. It seems to me in our conversations that your father and your grandfather had …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
They had an influence.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What other factors would you say? Who and what were other influences in your life?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Mother was certainly an influence.
JAMES LEUTZE:
In what ways did she influence you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
She represented the family to me. My father was there, but I had gone to school and would see him at suppertime. The family always gathered at supper and he would tell us about this, that, and the other thing. We learned a lot, my younger

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sisters and so forth. But Mother was the guiding influence. Nobody ever told me what to do, to my memory. I just did.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Who would punish you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, Dad punished. He beat the hell out of me one time. He whooped me three or four times and one time beat the hell out of me. I learned.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Were you a bad kid? Were you a high-spirited kid?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I think I was perfectly normal. I wasn't high-spirited and I wasn't bad, but I wasn't good. I was just like any other damn kid, I expect. We used to play baseball and football in the back yard, at what's now Hill House, on the slope with the Bryant children. I didn't have any thought about women one way or the other until I was grown, in Law School. I liked women, but I never bothered with them. I always had men friends, I didn't have women friends.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What other influences do you think …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My grandfather was a real influence because of what he represented. He was ruling elder for twenty-five years, head of the Sunday School, and so forth. I lived with him about half the time growing up, and we'd have morning prayers and evening prayers. He would lead, and sometimes he'd hand them to me to do. I just accepted them. I never thought about it one way or the other.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Was religion important to you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Very. To him. I used to sit there and push the preacher right on out of the pulpit and then bring him back; that was the way I listened to the sermon. I always went to Sunday

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School, of course, and always went to church and sat with my grandfather. As a kid, I always sat on the fifth row. Nobody was in front. But that was bad. His wife was my grandmother, and was sick for many, many years and died in '15, I think it was.
My father was subconsciously an influence. He didn't correct me or tell me what to do. Nobody told me what to do. I was off in a room by myself. The girls had a governess over here, and I didn't think a damn thing of the governess. They were feminine, and I didn't want any part of it one way or the other. But growing up, I learned better eventually. My father had quite a different influence. It was public service rather than the church, you might say. I don't know. You tend to drift from one thing into another, and organize this or that. It's always been fun organizing something.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Any of your teachers? You mentioned a couple of people that were your professors, but were there younger teachers? I'm thinking of your formidable years.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, I don't remember. I don't remember any of them til I got to college.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It sounds like you were like Topsy: you growed up on your own.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I'm afraid so. Oh, I had friends, acquaintances, and they had some influence. Abel Cohn, whose father ran a little store a block away, had some influence. We played together in my grandfather's backyard. No, I think you're more or less right. I never thought about it before.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
It sounds that way. Some people will say, "Oh, I remember my third grade teacher. She set me on the right track." Or some will say, "I remember my athletic coach in eight grade who did this." Or "I remember the preacher in my town," or various things.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Doctors had an influence on me.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You have mentioned that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Dr. Foy Roberson was chief surgeon at the time. Old Dr. Felts, I didn't like. He was the medical man. Generally speaking, the hospital had an interest to me. From the time I was a kid I used to go out and watch operations and so forth. I was in the hospital in New York in the era when I was sixteen or seventeen and it had a real influence on me. As I said at one time, if I had had a brother, I would have been a surgeon, but I didn't have a brother so there wasn't anything to do but go to work.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You mentioned the hospital and thinking of that as public service and both in terms of a career.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I never thought about it as a public service.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You didn't?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
If there's a job to be done, do it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, it was a public service, obviously.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, it was, as I look back at it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
In thinking about health care as a general question, I would like to jump in time. What do you think about the current situation as far as health care is concerned: when prices are going out the ceiling and people expect more and more

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sophisticated Health care that cost more and more money, and we have an aging population? Do you have any views or any thought about how we are going to deal with health care in the future?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't know how we're going to deal with it. I'm very much disturbed about the different influences H.M.O. and various ways Blue Cross has tried to meet some of these questions. The cost is beyond belief.
[END OF TAPE 7, SIDE B]

[TAPE 7, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 8, SIDE A]
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I think we're faced with a very difficult situation. The cost is running wild. I know Blue Cross has done everything they could within reason in the last two or three years to control pricing costs. I think the federal government has, unfortunately, as the government tends to do, has made some arbitrary decisions. I think they're on the wrong track, but I think the doctors are at fault. Apparently there is too much personal interest, a grabbing approach. And I don't blame them in many respects. But a lot of them are making too much money and there are too many medical students in the universities and colleges. They graduate too damn many people, and too few people are making money, and too many people are not able to earn what they should be earning. How to control it, I don't know. H.M.O. is a good approach. The English have carried that to a crazy degree, in my opinion. Everything's free, and it's badly abused. You go to a British hospital and they say, "Well, come back a month from now. You may have a kidney stone and need attention."
JAMES LEUTZE:
Dialysis?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, that, or you may have a tremendous pain. Well, that's no way to do. Then they have private on the side for those who can afford it, and that's wrong. With the population aging, I think there should be some way to handle it. I don't know how, but as you well know, Davison and myself were very much disturbed about this back in the twenties and thirties, and, therefore, Blue Cross. He'd been to England to learn some things. It's surprising that now Blue Cross is beginning to control costs, the last four or five years. You couldn't control it before. Well, they didn't have any competition, you might say. Insurance companies are trying to make money, unfortunately, and I don't blame them. Hell, that's what they're organized for.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But it seems to me that it's beyond the area in which private individuals can make the contribution like your family did.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It's the government, local, national, or state-wide, that's got to handle this thing. There's no question about that. Individuals can't do it. They can help, but they can't handle it. I've often thought that I'd like to get back into the racket, but then again, I say, ‘You're too damn old.’
JAMES LEUTZE:
We need some ideas from some place, certainly.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, I have kept my finger on Blue Cross. I get the reports every month, and I make some suggestions once in awhile. You have to be careful; I'm out. I don't attend the meetings on Friday.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
Alright, education is next. You mentioned health care, and then you mentioned two areas in the educational area. How important do you think education is? How good a job do you think we're doing educationally? We can be specific, in terms of the University of North Carolina or its constituents, other education in the state of North Carolina, or we can be general. What do you think about education? How important is it? How well is it being handled?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I think it's the most important—well, the second most important—situation to which we come into contact. The first is the family. Hopefully people have a relationship with their wives and husbands and children that can be helpful and glorious in so many ways. But education makes things possible for a broad body politic and for the individual. Without education, we'd be in one hell of a damn fix. I think it has changed. I'm all for public education, as in the public schools, grammar and high schools. And as you know, I started Durham Academy as a private school because public education had fallen down. Public education still has tremendous holes in it that need to be fixed. They're doing something about it, and it takes time. It takes so damn long.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Let's take a specific issue …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The university is coming along.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Are you pleased with the trends and the direction?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I'm very pleased. I was opposed to consolidation at first, but now I'm very, very pleased with the fact that we have sixteen—now eighteen—units in the university.

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That system is good. Each individual institution has its own place in education, and, while the controls need to be brought together, unified, each institution ought to be separate in its mission, you might call it. I'm all for higher education for everybody; it ought to be possible. I'm very much in favor of community colleges. That thought is good. It started in North Carolina, went to California, and came back here. That's a marvelous opportunity for people, for six months, two years, what have you. I'm very much disturbed and worried about the private institutions. I think there should be some control over them that is not at the present time. There are a hell of a lot of little colleges that are so much a waste of time.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Are you in favor of the policy of the state providing some funds to underwrite the cost of private education as we presently do.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
At present it's a very interesting—quote, unquote—situation in that the private institutions continue to receive an increased amount with no accounting. It shouldn't be. The state should require an accounting. They do of the universities. They do of the public schools. But it's politics, pure and simple. Duke University receives millions of dollars. They reduce their contribution from the endowment and use the funds for some crazy foolishness. It's so unfair.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I totally agree with you, but as a faculty member at a state run institution I have to have some special interest in that or some special sensitivities. Would you have comment on

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President Friday, who's just recently retired. You must have known him very well.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I helped elect him. I followed him very closely. I expect I was as close to him as any outsider could expect to be. I didn't hesitate to say what I thought to him, to advise with him. He'd ask me questions, just this past Friday a few weeks ago. I think he was a remarkable man and did a remarkable job, particularly being a lawyer and placed in a position of authority as a youngster in his early thirties. It's amazing that he was able to withstand the pressures. I think he'll go down in history as one of the outstanding presidents of universities in the country. It's fortunate that he was in the position he was in compared to people like the Chancellor of Eastern Carolina and some of the black colleges. The control that he exercised quietly and calmly. People didn't realize how much control he did exercise.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What would you think of as his greatest strengths?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
His quiet approach to university activity. There was a mailed fist underneath, but he didn't let that show. He learned as he went along, and he was willing to listen and did listen, and just quietly moved. Very quietly. And he surrounded himself with good people and gave them full authority. It was amazing the way he delegated authority instead of collecting it to himself. His choice of people was surprisingly good, as far as I could see, and as far as I ran into them.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You obviously would give him great credit with having.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He made the current university system possible. He made it function. See, I lived through the period when there were three institutions. Then I remember just raising hell with Arnold King and others when they wanted to bring Ashville and Wilmington into the picture, because it was politics, straight, cold-blooded politics. Charlotte was th same way. We acknowledged that they should be a member, but say so. Don't put it on a high plain. It wasn't a high plain; it was done in Charlotte because if we hadn't added Charlotte to the university system, Charlotte would have continued to grow and taken over that part of the country. To hell with it. Ashville was the same way. And Wilmington. But we didn't want the black colleges. We didn't want some of the them, but we got them, used them, worked them.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I have so many questions to ask, I will try to keep sort of …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I may chase rabbits, but I don't mean to.
JAMES LEUTZE:
No, but each time you talk I think of other things. For instance, would you comment on the H.E.W. suit brought against the university?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It was a very unfair, unfortunate approach by the federal government, or by the then head of H.E.W. I don't remember his name off hand. It was an insidious, unfortunate approach. Well, a lot of things were done in those days that weren't fair. I think the university spent an inordinate amount of time and people in fighting it, you might say, or trying to make some sense out of it. And they finally did work out a five

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year program by the court that they approved, which has worked out in a sense, and in a sense it hasn't. It's just impossible. They just can't meet fifteen percent. It just isn't in the cards. You're dealing with people.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Not without largely increasing the number of out of state students you take in.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, they shouldn't. They should have out of state students, yes. You need that influence, but a limited number. Fifteen percent is all right.
JAMES LEUTZE:
We were talking about President Friday. Could you note or list or remember a few other outstanding individuals or people that you think of, people that are really outstanding individuals that have come across your path in the course of your years in North Carolina.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Luther Hodges, for one. Lyle Sitterson.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'll ask you the question ‘Why’ on each one of them. What was it about Luther Hodges in your opinion?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
He was a great leader, very kenetic at the right time, when he was governor of the state. Terry Sanford was a leader in many respects. I think he was over-rated in many respects and under-rated in others. All of us are; what the hell. If I go back on my personal experience: Collier Cobb, Dud Carroll, Dr. Chase, whom I knew well, fortunately. I was a youngster and he made a real impression—tall, slender, very reserved, very brilliant man, I thought.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Are there business people or others you can think of that you would cite as outstanding?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Not particularly. At the moment, off the cuff, no; I'd have to think about it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What about Dr. Graham at the university.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Great man, great man. It was fortunate for the university that he came when he did. I didn't agree with him in everything by a hell of a sight, but you couldn't expect me to. He was a very thoughtful man, a liberal, too liberal. But you have to overplay your hand. He didn't overplay his hand—he did in my judgment, but not in his. It was just a part of it. He gave the university and the state something. It has heart rending when Willis Smith beat him for the senate, but he was not a senator. What the hell.
JAMES LEUTZE:
In the view of many he was a saint.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes, in many ways. And then again, no. But he brought something to the university. You have to put it all in the pot together. There's good and there's bad, and he was more on the good side than on the bad side. Let's cut it that way.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You mentioned my friend, Lyle Sitterson, also. What was it about Lyle?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I have great appreciation for his brains, for one thing, and his approach to life. He was a very fine Chancellor. Bill Aycock was another one. I think the world of Bill, still do. Lyle is the same way. I got to know both of them. I made it a point. They were two of the first Chancellors, two of the finest men first. Being Chancellors was incidental. I was a law student and I got to know Bill. I worked with Lyle. You meet a

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lot of people and you get to know some few. People have an influence on you. They were great people, still are.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I want to end in a moment because we've been going on a long time.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, hell, take your time.
JAMES LEUTZE:
In many ways you describe that you've had a very positive view of life; you've had a very good life; you've had a long life; you've been involved in a lot of different things. I think I pointed out to you at one point that it almost seems that you forgot your profession you were so involved. You were involved in lots of things. You had so many interests in which you took an interest and succeeded. But what things in your life have been disappointments to you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
[Pause] I have to think about that. I've been very fortunate. I haven't had the disappointments that come to so many people, I don't think. I've been lucky. The operations I got into with Blue Cross, the bank, what have you, have all progressed: the Farmer's Exchange, the hospital. I haven't had anything really go bad on me, go to pieces. I haven't been a particularly good father or family man. I've been too busy. The family was, you might say, secondary. In the daytime I was in the office, and the family was at home at night. Well, the kids got to sleep. No, I'm just lucky.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Well, let me play this out a little bit longer. As a young man, you injured your knee. Some people would say, "That was a real disappointment for me. I didn't get to participate in athletics."

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I was football manager instead of playing on the football team. That was just that. No need crying about it. There wasn't anything I could do about it. I did everything I could do.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I infer from some of what you say that you have a capacity to adjust to disappointment or to something that may make you unhappy, and to move on to something else, to not dwell on it.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I think that's right. I'm no paragon. I'm a human being, with all the faults that the human being has. I'm no god one way or the other.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But you adjust.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I've had a lot of fun, I'm sure.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But a lot of people don't adjust. A lot of people look back and feel very sad about it and dwell upon it, and so on.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Why spend your time doing that?
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm not making a case for it. I'm not suggesting it as a way of life. I'm simply saying that doesn't seem to me to be the way you …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, you meet all kinds of disappointments in various and sundry things. Mine have been on the minor side rather than the major side. They haven't been the controlling aspect of my life.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Do you ever wonder why you have been so lucky?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Do you think you make your own luck?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. I'm sorry.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
[laughter] You're wrong, excuse me. I'm a strong believer in luck, but I think in part people make a lot …
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, I think if you work at things—I'm fortunate that the work that I've done has continued and has developed.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How about health. I don't think I've asked you, have you generally enjoyed good health throughout your life?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes. I had an appendix operation in '28—in ten days those days. It's two days today. That's the difference in health care. Howard Patterson had the same thing. I followed it. I had my knee, and this recent operation last May, ib nt ([unknown]) period. I had my tonsils taken out, but what the hell.
JAMES LEUTZE:
But you have had good health.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I've been very fortunate, very lucky.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I am impressed, studying biography, how important physical vigor is as far as success is concerned, both political, business, whatever it might be, and also emotional success. If somebody really has a lot of illness, it's difficult for them, I think, to adjust; whereas people who are physically vigorous work hard, have long days, and that sort of thing, tend to stay happier. It seems to me to be a very important element in success.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I enjoy working. I've slowed down, of course, but the time four o'clock comes up, it's about time I get home. I don't strain myself anymore. But I just don't think of myself as being eighty-four years of age. I just didn't think about it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Did age ever bother you? Did you ever worry about age?

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, it was just one of those things. There's nothing you can do about it, so why worry about it?
JAMES LEUTZE:
It's very interesting for me because I wrote a biography on a man who lived to be ninety-four, but about the time he got to be in his mid-forties, he began referring to himself as an old man, he began being very concerned about age, or at least saying he was very concerned about age. I always sort of suspected that he was not totally being candid, that he was saying, "I'm an old man," but he didn't look old and he didn't feel old, but he liked to play that game. I'm not quite sure. Aging became a very important factor in his life when he got into his fifties, at least. Then he lived another forty years talking about being an old man. But age is not a preoccupation?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, I answer the telephone and have a little fun with it and say "Watts Hill, Sr., the old grandfather." I get a laugh out of the girls, the secretaries and so on. I got them right in my hand from then on. [laughter] I tried it subconsciously and it worked, so why not use it? [laughter]
[END OF TAPE 8, SIDE A]

[TAPE 8, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 8, SIDE B]

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JAMES LEUTZE:
We started talking about the Blue Cross Blue Shield building and the area out along 15-501 between Durham and Chapel Hill.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Have you been in the Blue Cross building?
JAMES LEUTZE:
No, I have not been. I actually have never been inside.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The colors will just hit you just like that. Each floor is colored. I mean, there's color. If you're going to have color, have color. Oh, they love it—green, red, what have you.
JAMES LEUTZE:
What about the dividing line between Durham and Chapel Hill?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I worked it out unofficially with two city managers, Taylor, a very good man in Chapel Hill, and Powell in Durham, also very good, formerly in Winston-Salem. I-40, as it goes across 15-501, is the dividing line. It's immaterial where the exact line is. It's out there some damn place. When you get down 54, you saw in the paper maybe that Falcon Bridge was …
JAMES LEUTZE:
There's a big problem with Falcon Bridge.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
…that's a big part of it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Durham is going to annex Falcon Bridge.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Oh, sure.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Now that's on this side of I-40.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Will it be on the other side of I-40?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I don't …

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JAMES LEUTZE:
I think it's on this side of the street.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Well, I-40 is immaterial down here. You've got the DuBose property and the shopping center going at the intersection of Garrett Road and 54. There's a hotel going down there. Do you know where the Landlubbers is? Garrett Road is the next one. No, it's not Garret Road. Whatever it is. Garret Road is policed.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I hope we're able to contain this attractive approach to Chapel Hill that presently exists.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Of course, you've got bottom land that engineers control, and it's part of the flood plan.
JAMES LEUTZE:
That's on the right hand side of 54.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
On both sides. And there's a road on the west side of it, but on all that bottom land we can't build. It floods.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Then there's Finley Golf Course and the DuBose property on the other side of the road.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
The DuBoses have about three hundred feet deep on the south side of 54 and the university picks up the golf course between 54 and 15-501. Bill Friday wants to build a continuation center. We've been working at it. I've a call in to Womble now. Privately.
[Interruption]
JAMES LEUTZE:
In this post World War II period, you're involved in the banking enterprise; you're involved in Blue Cross Blue Shield; you're involved in the Research Triangle Park. In the sixties, you moved from Quail Roost here. I can think of one other notable enterprise that you're involved in.

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GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My first wife was sick for fifteen years. She was a great horse woman—born and raised on a horse, you might say, outside of Baltimore. The doctors were here, the hospital was here, Glen Lennox was here; it was so much more convenient than me driving fifteen miles to Quail Roost, in and out. And she was cut off. That was the basic reason we moved. I bought this hill thirty years ago, ten years before we ever built on it.
JAMES LEUTZE:
It's beautiful property, it really is. Now, the other thing that I can think of that you were involved in, and there may have been other things, is Durham Academy. Could you tell me a little bit about Durham Academy and what it is you were doing?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
My first father-in-law was the owner and head master of Oldfield School, the first or second oldest girls' school in the country, fifteen miles north of Baltimore. My wife couldn't go there because she was the headmaster's daughter, so she went elsewhere. She eventually ended up at Shipley School at Bryn Mawr with my two sisters. My older sister and my first wife were in the same class. Margaret Carr in Durham, and Mary Toms from Durham, it was quite a class. I worked with the Oldfield School. It was a hundred and fifty thousand dollars down at one time.
JAMES LEUTZE:
This is with Durham Academy?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, Oldfield. The son took over up there, but I learned a lot about schools. The kids were coming along. Watts, Jr., went to public school, Morehead School. He learned how to fight and cuss, but that's all he learned. So we organized a school, a Calvert Method school, in the old Forest Hills clubhouse. We rented it.

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JAMES LEUTZE:
What does Calvert method mean?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Calvert method is the Calvert School in Baltimore. My father-in-law was a great friend of the headmaster, and the headmaster permitted us to take their system, books, and so forth—the only school outside of Baltimore. They combined history and geography in class, and so forth, which was most unusual.
JAMES LEUTZE:
This would have been in the 1930s, am I right?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It's fifty-two years old now. Whatever that was.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Okay, in the 1930s.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Somewhere in there. We got a head mistress and there were seven kids orginally. Hill, Stagg Nicholson, McCutcheon, and Muirhead lived right behind us. I was living in my grandfather's home in those days, his old home, where Blue Cross is now. We added a room on each end, a wing, as the school grew. Then my father made available our old home that had been my grandfather's, down the hill. We moved out in '13. It became a home for indigent relatives. [laughter] You'll laugh if I tell you who lived there. We took that building over, and I added some to it. It was before the war. I had put up a thousand or two thousand dollars deficit for the school and each year ran it with a head mistress. We had no board of trustees. I went to Washington during the war, and we organized a board of trustees and the school became successful immediately. And it grew and grew, and eventually we bought the Buchanon House on the southeast corner of Morehead and Duke Street. We built a building on the other and in due course we built the lower/middle

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school on what's now Academy Drive. Watts, Jr., did that. I had nothing to do with it at all. Later on we built the upper school out on Picket Road. We've just finished building a new library building—two libraries at the lower and middle school, ceramics, and art in the basement. That completes and balances the lower middle school. I'm building—I let the contract day before yesterday—an addition to L.D.C., Learning Development Center, at the upper school, a fifth unit of Durham Academy. I went back on the board of Durham Academy about five or six years ago for some fool reason.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Have you continued throughout this fifty-two year period to have an interest in and play a role in the development?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Yes, but not a close one. I helped Dr. Pelham Wilder, chairman of the board, and he organized a study committee who brought Rob Hershey, assistant headmaster and admissions officer at Woodberry School down here. He's a young fellow. They had a hundred and forty applicants for the job. You could just look at the outside of the folder and say, I don't want him! [laughter] You learned a hell of a lot what not to do. I've been very interested. I'm chairman of the building committee at Durham Academy and we've had a lot of fun. Trying to tie the whole thing together—it's a three and a half million dollar operation, nine hundred and thirty students, almost the maximum. The upper school, nine through twelve, could handle forty or fifty more students; the lower school is completely filled. It's been an amazing school. Unfortunately it's pricing itself to a point where it's still lower than three or four

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private—independent—schools in North Carolina. Tuition is still lower than Charlotte Day, Winston-Salem Day, Greensboro, but with senior classes, it's forty-two hundred dollars. It's becoming a rich man's school.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Is there scholarship money available?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
A limited amount. We've got a deficit of two hundred and forty thousand dollars. I'm interested in the financial side of it. Frank Kenan has been very good. The Flagler Estate built the new auditorium at the upper school. We have an endowment of a million, two, basically Flagler money. Frank Kenan was tremendously interested in the school when his kids were there. You lose interest as soon as your kids graduate.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You haven't, obviously.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
It's funny. I've done all the paving of the roads and this, that, and the other thing. Anne said that if I didn't stop doing paving at Durham Academy, there wouldn't be anything left for her. [laughter] It's one of the finest independent schools that I know of anywhere. I got into L.D.C. because I had a dyslexic, step-daughter, the oldest girl. The youngest girl is a junior at the University at Greensboro. The oldest girl had been to various and sundry schools in the north, and it was an improved situation after she was at Durham Academy. And through that interest, my second wife and I started L.D.C. in an old house that had belonged to Professor Wilson at Duke University. We bought the house and eventually we gave the whole business to Durham Academy. It's now part of Durham Academy. I ran it with a Jewish gal. She was tough, but that's what it took to start.

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She's in Greensboro now. Then we had a very sweet woman, the wife of a doctor at Chapel Hill, Margaret Sigmon. You may know him. She ran it for three years. Now we've got an old toughy. She finally got a PhD at Duke, and she was at L.D.C. as "number two," then at Durham Public Schools, and now she's back after Margaret and her husband moved to Charlotte. It's been probably the most salutary (I don't know whether that's exactly what I mean or not) fascinating situation. You'd be surprised at the comments from parents and the families that have been touched by L.D.C. If we can't do something in two years, we just can't do it. To our surprise, the kids, instead of being from six to twelve, some of them have been twenty-two, twenty-three years of age. This new building, which is five classrooms and the head mistress' and assistant's offices and teachers' space will balance the school. The contract has been let. I was aghast at the cost of it. It went from two hundred to three hundred thousand. I didn't mean to get into all that much. [laughter] We figured the whole damn ball of wax, roads, drive, the whole ball of wax, would be two hundred thousand dollars. But the road is costing thirty; the building, two hundred and thirty-one. Folks, don't build anything, just don't. People have got too much to do in this area. This is an amazing area that's going to slow down the Triangle. It's going to be overbuilt, with hotels, office buildings, other stuff. It will take them five or ten years to catch up. Somebody's going broke.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Somebody is going to lose money, I think. Everybody is not going to ride the wagon, I gather. Let's conclude today,

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because I have a luncheon appointment. I want to look these tapes over, listen to them, and review where we've been and see what holes I want to fill in. But soon I want to talk to you a little bit philosophically. Its seems to me in reviewing your career that you've had an extraordinary life in that if we look at the things you've done, the comprehensive—that is, you've been involved in primary and secondary education; you've been involved in higher education; you've been involved in the establishment of a research and industrial park; you've been involved in health affairs, both in terms of a hospital and insurance and things related to insurance; you've been involved in farming at the basic level as well as at the business level of doing that.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
I used to use the law on farming. The law permitted you to lose fifty thousand dollars a year, maximum. For one out of five years you has to make a profit. Well, that could be handled. It was handled. You could take a tax loss, and sometimes it was a hell of a sight more than fifty thousand dollars. But it's a tax loss, what the hell in those days.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Look at all these things you've been involved in. You've been involved in farming, in business, in the farmer's cooperative. That's aside from what you're supposed to be doing, in a sense. You're supposed to be a businessman entrepreneur who's involved in banking. That's your stock and trade, theoretically, as I understand it. But you've had four or five careers, or four or five pies you've had your hand in. Plus, I get the impression you've managed to have a pretty good life,

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that it hasn't been all work and no play. I want to know your secret. I want to know how you've put all of these things together and how you look back on this.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
You better talk to Anne.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Maybe I ought to talk to Anne, and maybe I ought to talk to some other people, too. I want to know what you think about this.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
First, I've got no delusions of grandeur. I don't give a damn. I've been quiet. I was in politics for eight years as a youngster. Some folks wanted me to run for governor, and I said, I'm not interested. To hell with it. It's much more fun playing with it if you're behind the scenes. Just because I helped Governor Martin be elected, the Republicans think I'm a source of funds. They ought not waste all their money on the mail that comes in here. No, I don't want anything. I just want to be left alone, you might say.
END OF INTERVIEW