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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Bonnie E. Cone, January 7, 1986. Interview C-0048. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Family connections and growing up in a small southern village

Cone describes her family history in Lodge, South Carolina, a small southern village. She says that earlier generations of her family had been large landowners with slaves, but her grandparents had not owned slaves and her family's land had been purchased after the Civil War. Cone's immediate family seems to have been close knit and she emphasizes that her parents and siblings always encouraged her to do her best work.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Bonnie E. Cone, January 7, 1986. Interview C-0048. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BONNIE E. CONE:
My father's family were farmers. My father's father came back after the war between the states and had to rebuild a home, which was just out on the edge of Lodge. When my father's father, my grandfather on my father's side, was building his home after the war, he needed somebody who was a great bricklayer. And I know there were bricklayers in my mother's family, and that's how my mother and father met. They were from an area in an adjoining county. It's in the area called Sycamore, but that doesn't tell us [what county it was]. It's one of the older counties, too.
LYNN HAESSLY:
Well, when you think of it you can tell me later.
BONNIE E. CONE:
Alright, I'll tell you later, but it was one of the older counties. You see, I'm saying Berkeley, and that's not it. Barnwell, that's what it is, Barnwell County.
LYNN HAESSLY:
Were they very large landowners?
BONNIE E. CONE:
I don't think in the scheme of things that they were large landowners. I know that their forbearers did have more land, and they had slaves who helped work the land. But my grandparents did not [have slaves] on either side. I still own a little parcel of land that was purchased by my grandfather after the war between the states. It was a little over twenty acres and it's good farmland. Somehow, it's a sentimental attachment that I have to that land, and I just couldn't let it go.
LYNN HAESSLY:
Do you rent it out?
BONNIE E. CONE:
Yes, and it's farmed every year. That makes me feel good, you know. It has some timber on the back of it, and I wouldn't let a piece be cut for anything. Again, it's not a valuable thing, except sentimental value.
LYNN HAESSLY:
Tell me about your childhood. Were you the first child?
BONNIE E. CONE:
I was the fourth child in my family.
LYNN HAESSLY:
Of how many?
BONNIE E. CONE:
There were six children in all, two younger, but they didn't live. I had two brothers and a sister, and I was the fourth child. Then there was a little boy and a little girl after me. One died in infancy and one died about age one. So I was raised as the baby in the family and got, you know, a lot of spoiling, I guess, but not too much. They made me walk a chalk line, you know.
LYNN HAESSLY:
What does that mean?
BONNIE E. CONE:
That meant that you had to do the very best you could at all times. Oh, you knew you had the love and the care, you know, and all of that. But it was great being a fourth child, too. You know, you had your two older brothers. My older brother and my sister were, you know, more partners, and then my second brother and I seemed to be. He went to the Citadel, and he would come home-he knew that I was trying to learn to play the piano-and he would bring his sheet music and things like that to encourage me along in my efforts with playing the piano. We're very close still. He's the only one of my family members still living from that generation. He lives in Saluda, South Carolina.