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Title: Oral History Interview with Ethelene McCabe Allen, May 21, 2006. Interview C-0314. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Allen, Ethelene McCabe, interviewee
Interview conducted by Allen, Barbara C.
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: 124 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.
2007-11-19, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Ethelene McCabe Allen, May 21, 2006. Interview C-0314. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0314)
Author: Barbara C. Allen
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Ethelene McCabe Allen, May 21, 2006. Interview C-0314. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0314)
Author: Ethelene McCabe Allen
Description: 113 Mb
Description: 22 p.
Note: Interview conducted on May 21, 2006, by Barbara C. Allen; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
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.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
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.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
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Interview with Ethelene McCabe Allen, May 21, 2006.
Interview C-0314. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Allen, Ethelene McCabe, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN, interviewee
    BARBARA C. ALLEN, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
My name is Barbara Allen and I am here to interview my mother Ethelene Allen. It is Sunday, May 21, 2006 and we are in Ms. Allen's house in her dining room, sitting at the dining room table. I have explained to her the legal release and she agrees that she will sign the legal release and she understands the terms of it. Do I have your permission to record?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
OK. Please state your full name.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Ethelene McCabe Allen.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
When and where were you born?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
September 10th, 1934 in Elevation Township, near Four Oaks.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
OK. How many years did you live there?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I'm not sure.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Well, think back.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
At least two, maybe.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Where did you move to then?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I'm not sure, it's somewhere near Clayton, between Smithfield and Clayton.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And how long did you live there?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Um. Three or four years.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Where'd you move after that?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
To Wayne County, um, between Princeton and Goldsboro, a farm.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And how long did you live there?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
About six years.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And after that where did you move?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
To — near Smithfield.

Page 2
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And how long did you live there?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
About—I don't know, maybe just two, two or three years. I'd have to think awhile.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Well, that's okay, we'll get back to it during the course of the interview. After you moved from there, where'd you go?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
We moved to Four Oaks—and lived near Four Oaks the rest of the time.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
That was until you got married?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, I still live near Four Oaks, but I moved.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
You moved to one location near Four Oaks and stayed there until you got married. Is that right?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
You have made a move as an adult. When you got married, you lived near Four Oaks.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Right.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Roughly in about the same location you're in now. But you did move away at some point. When did you move?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I left my husband when I was fifty—about the time I turned fifty-seven and I moved to an Angier route. Still in Johnston County.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And how many years did you live there?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Seven years.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What happened then?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, my husband died in '98 and I worked on the house a little bit. About a year later I moved back to the farm.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And you've been living here ever since?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes.

Page 3
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Thank you.
Now let's talk about those moves. Why did your family make those moves?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He was a tenant farmer. He rented somebody's land and they—he got part of the crop and the landowner or, as they called it the landlord, got part of the crop when it was sold and of course he always had some acres that were his own to do what he got ready with. It was the cash crops that they shared, the tobacco and cotton. The corn, grains—that was his to do what he wanted to with, raise farm animals or whatever he wanted to with. He was looking to better himself, so he would maybe look for a better location, a better farm, maybe a little bigger farm, if he could manage it. Then the move to Wayne County was—he decided he wanted to be near his relatives. Mama's relatives were in Johnston County, but he got a good offer from a good landlord there and he really—he really liked that landlord. He was. And too it was—usually they shared crops half and half. This one just took one-third and left Daddy two-thirds, which meant he paid one-third of the expenses on the crop too, but still that, and Daddy paid two-thirds, but that was getting more of the benefit of what land he was tending.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Do you remember the name of that particular landlord in Wayne County? Who gave such favorable terms?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I do not. I cannot remember if he was a Woodard. I cannot remember his name.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Do you remember the location, what part of Wayne County?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
But—it was not too far from Princeton, between Princeton and Goldsboro, but I attended Rosewood School, so it was in that district for Rosewood School. I was not close enough to Princeton to go to Princeton School. So. And I was in first grade when we moved to Wayne County and I was in sixth grade when we moved back to Smithfield to Johnston County.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Were all of those moves associated with your dad changing to a different farm?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
The farming. That's it.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Let's get to your grandparents and parents. Let's talk about your grandparents. Let's take your mother's parents first. What were the names of your mother's parents?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Ransom Richardson Barbour.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Where was he born?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Near Four Oaks in Elevation Township.

Page 4
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
When was he born?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I don't know that.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Approximately. I can get the precise information from Patricia.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, it would have been in the 1800s, late 1800s.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Do you know when and where he died?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I'm sure he died at home, in, or maybe in one of his brothers' homes, somewhere near Four Oaks.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Approximately when?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, he died around twenty-seven, somewhere along there, 1927.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What did he die of?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
TB. Tuberculosis. It destroyed his lungs.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What kind of job had he held? What had he worked as?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, he had been a farmer most of the time, but he did work in a cotton mill, the best I recall I heard mama speak he worked after his first wife died. Her mother died. I believe he worked in a cotton mill for a short time. He wanted to take real good care of his second wife cause he was afraid something would happen to her, so he—she didn't work in the fields, in the farm, so he did farm some after he married again, but he did work—I don't know how long but I did do recall her talking about him working at a cotton mill for awhile. At Smithfield.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So, your—his wife, your mother's mother, died at an early age.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes, she had two children and then, well she had the third child. She had three children. Mama's sister was two years older than she—Nellie —and she was five and Mama was three when her mother died, so that would have been about 1916. She had the new baby and I think she and the baby had measles and they both died. She died a little before a day or two or something before the baby died. So Mama lost her mother and her little sister at about the same time, when she was three.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What was her name? Your mother's mother's name?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Sallie Langdon. And that's, I don't remember, another name besides Sallie.

Page 5
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Do you know where she was born?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I'm sure she was born there in the Four Oaks community, near and in the Elevation Community, Elevation Township.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And she helped out on the farm all her life until she died?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah, they were farm people. Rural, country, farm people.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And then your grandfather got remarried?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes, he married Ada—I'm not sure, I think she was Ada Byrd.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And how many children did they have?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
They had four, no, no, they had three, but after he died, the stepmother remarried and she had another one or two, I think, after he died.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did your mother remember—she probably didn't remember her mother, did she remember her mother.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
No she didn't. She didn't remember her mother at all. Her sister Aunt Nellie did just vaguely. She was five when she died and she remembered. She talked about one time how she remembered them taking the casket out of the house with her mama in it and then just a day or two later or some very soon they took that other little casket out. She had that memory.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did she remember other things about her mother?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I don't know if she did. She didn't talk about it that much. She probably remembered little things, but I don't recall her talking about any of that.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did your mother remember her father, Ransom Barbour?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Oh yes.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What did she remember about him?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
That he was a kind man, and he was a good man and he was he would give them good advice about how to behave, philosophy, he really could—I remember things she would say that he told her. He had great hopes for her. He wanted her to go to school and be a stenographer. That was his hopes for her, but he died and she didn't have the opportunity to even attend high school. She had to—she would

Page 6
have had to gone away to high school and they couldn't do that. She couldn't walk that far, so she had no way of going to high school.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Why a stenographer?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, secretaries, stenographers, it was upward mobility [Laughter] in his opinion and he had ambitions for her. She learned very easily in school and her older sister didn't.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
I didn't know that about Grandma.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She could learn very easily. She made good grades in school, so he had hopes for her and too, she was the kind-natured kind, where her sister was a little bit on the, she could have some little— [Laughter]
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Go ahead.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
What do you call it? She could be mean to Mama once in awhile and enjoy it. [Laughter] Spiteful, sometimes, where Mama didn't have a bit of bad in her.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What did your mother remember about her stepmother?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, she remembered that she resented her in the early part of her—but she said she blamed that on relatives. They would talk about her, call her lazy and things like that, because she didn't get out and work on the farm like most people did, and she would take a nap after lunch and things like that, and she put those little children standing on stools to wash dishes and things like that. Aunt Nellie and Mama. Mama washed dishes from the time she can remember. Five years old, she was on a little stool washing dishes or drying them, at the—I don't know—probably at the table then with a dishpan because they didn't have running water or heated water, they had to heat it on an old wood stove. So they poured it in a dishpan and washed them at the kitchen table. They didn't have sinks and things like they do now, or like we did when we were growing up. But they would talk about her and of course that influenced Mama, so Mama resented her and didn't like her, but she realized after she got grown that that she was really good to the children. Course she didn't care about them like she did her own, but she was good to them, she said. She was fair and good to them and she could have—if it hadn't been for the influence of relatives or if they had had more positive influence she could have probably thought a lot of her stepmother and she did go visit her a lot after—or she didn't visit any of her relatives a lot except her sister, Aunt Nellie. She would go visit her. Her stepmother in her later life had TB and went to a sanatorium down at Wilson and was there for a year or so and we did go visit her there after I was married. I went with Mama and I think Leonard and I went with Mama and Aunt Nellie, took them down there to visit her stepmother, so she did appreciate her stepmother in her later life, what she'd done for her.

Page 7
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Do you remember the stepmother?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Just barely, cause I didn't see her that much, just just barely. I remember visiting there and I remember her second children by her second husband were close to my age. I enjoyed visiting them and talking with them and the youngest one was, I think she majored in languages in college. She had a thing for languages.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Do you remember which languages?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She studied a lot of languages. I can't remember if it was German and different kinds. French and Spanish of course was standard. I think she studied German too and maybe something else. I don't know. But she was very interested in languages.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Now, when your grandfather died, Ransom Barbour, the stepmother got remarried to somebody else. Did your mother and your aunt Nellie continue to live in that household?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Oh no. No. When their daddy died and possibly before their daddy died, they were moving around some, staying with relatives. His sisters, or some of the relatives, aunts and uncles that would keep them. They continued to do that until Aunt Nellie got married at a very young age.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
How old was Nellie when she got married?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
And she might have married before her daddy died. I'm not sure. I almost believe she married before her daddy died. He always said he couldn't tell her anything, she was hardheaded.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
How old was she when she got married?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I almost believe she was fifteen and her husband was eighteen when they got married.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And that was Alton Jones?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She married Alton Jones, and his parents—they all lived together in the same house. Eddie Jones, and his mother was Betty Roberts Jones. Very nice lady, as goodhearted good lady as you'd ever want to meet. Fine lady.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
But your—who did your mother live with after her father died?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She lived with different ones. She lived with Uncle Will Wallace for awhile, that was married to Mary Barbour and had three girls, Lucille, Lula, and Louise. Seem like there was, oh well, I can't remember. But she grew up with

Page 8
those girls and she worked on the farm there but she knew she didn't belong to the family. They would—if she didn't do like they said, they would tell her, if you don't do like we say now, we'll send you to an orphanage. They would threaten with sending her to an orphanage, so she lived in fear of not being wanted.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And how long do you think she lived there?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I don't know. Probably not that long. And I think she stayed with different ones. As they needed her she would go and stay with different ones, but she stayed longer with the uncle, Will, I think.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Would she go to stay and work on their farm?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Oh, she worked on the farm, she worked on the farm and maybe if another one got sick or something she would be there, helping them out, but she didn't do as much cooking. They kept her out in the fields working. She washed dishes, she said she always got the job of washing dishes, but she worked in the fields more than she did in the house. They would do the cooking and she'd work in the fields.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
I remember she took on the job of washing dishes when she lived with us.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah, it's like she was a—
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
She would stand at the table—
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She was obsessed with grabbing those dishes and washing them as soon as you'd finished eating and before, sometimes.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Sometimes she hovered over you while you were eating, waiting to grab your—
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
If we ate slowly, she might and if you got up to run do something and came back, your plate might be gone. Even if you hadn't finished.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
She would tell you that she had to get the dishes washed so she could go to bed.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
In her later years she did, because she liked to go to bed early.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Well then, let's stop now and go back to your father and his parents, your paternal grandparents. Let's take your paternal grandfather, your father's father. Do you know approximately when he was born and where? And what was his name?

Page 9
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He was George Washington McCabe, that was my daddy's. Daddy was George Emmitte and his dad was George Washington McCabe. His granddaddy was—they called him George W., but we didn't never see what the W stood for in any of the records, so it possibly might have been Washington, too, I'm not sure. Or he could have just had the initial, George W, but that was his—that would have been my great-grandfather. And. He married—oh the years he was born—I don't know when he was born. It would have been in the 1800s, though. And I believe he was 47 when he died, the best I remember. And he died in 1918, so he would have been born about 19—I mean 1881 or somewhere along there. I'm not thinking too quickly.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
That's okay. Where was he born, as far as you know?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I'm not sure. I'm not sure where he was born. Whether he was born—I know some of them lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for awhile, some of the relatives, but they did come back to Elevation Township and they're buried at St. Mary's Grove Church, so they lived in that area and there was—I know there was some McCabe land up there that they owned on the old Barbour road.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did you know when you were younger, when you were a child, that the McCabes had come from South Carolina earlier?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I think I heard rumors of that, that there were some in South Carolina, but I didn't know the back history. I don't think Daddy ever knew their back history and I don't think he cared. He didn't seem interested in history—just the here and now. Survival now. He didn't seem to dwell on and he didn't talk about a lot of those things. Most of the information I got came from Mama. She probably talked with him about it, but then she—she would tell us things he didn't talk about it. But his dad died. He was born. Daddy was born in '09, no '08, he was born in '08 and he was nine when his—so it would have been 1917 when his daddy died. So and he lived with his uncle then and his uncle he and one brother and one sister lived with the uncle. The baby girl and the mother went back toward Princeton and somewhere—Pine Level/Princeton area and stayed with her parents. She later remarried but didn't have any more children.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Your father's mother. Let's get to her. What was her name?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Hattie Crocker McCabe.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And where was she born?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
And then she married a Clayton, I believe it was a Nathan Clayton, her second husband. She was born near Pine Level somewhere, between maybe between Princeton and Pine Level and she had several brothers and sisters, but I can't remember their names.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
That's okay. Approximately when was she born? Do you know when?

Page 10
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She was in her sixties when I was a teenager and she died then when I was about—I might have been sixteen, fifteen or sixteen. She died at Goldsboro, in her oldest daughter Roxie Clayton's home.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Let's get back to your paternal grandfather. What kinds of occupations did he hold? What did he do?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, now, he might have farmed part of the time, but they called him a traveling man. I always heard him called a traveling man, so apparently he was in some kind of sales and I don't know if he sold to businesses, traveled around and sold to businesses or what kind of selling he did, but he was a salesman.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Well, did people say he sold things?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
They didn't say what he sold, they just called him a traveling man and it was never explained to me and I wasn't curious enough as a child to know—to care what that meant.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What did your father remember of him or did he ever talk about him?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He didn't talk about him. He didn't talk about his dad. I never heard him talk about his dad or his uncle. He lived in their home but he didn't talk about it. He lived there, he lived in his uncle's home until he was—I don't know, I don't know what. I know he was a bachelor and staying by himself for awhile before he married. He was I believe twenty-two when he married Mama. And maybe he had been, course it could have been only a year, he could have moved into his own place when he turned twenty-one, I don't know.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did he have anything to say about the relatives who raised him?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Oh, he liked his Aunt Mattie, his uncle's—and apparently he thought a lot of his uncle, but his uncle had had a relationship with a younger woman and left.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Tell that story. Now the uncle, what did he do?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, he farmed, but he had a sawmill business too and daddy worked at his sawmill part of the time. Daddy was really good with figures, math, and he could—he could tally lumber, is what they called it, I believe, I believe that's what he called it, tally the lumber in his head, he didn't have to use a paper and pencil. He could, when, how many board feet they had or whatever, he could do it in his head, he was good at math and he worked at his dad—his uncle's sawmill some, farming and tending crops and working at the sawmill. They were a lot of small sawmills at that

Page 11
time and if you had acreage, land to put it on, you maybe had a small sawmill on the place, for your own lumber and do any for custom sawing for other people.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
But the uncle left at some point.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He left just before daddy turned twenty-one. And he was guardian of their—he—they were it must have been life insurance money that his dad left him when he died.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Your dad's dad left.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
And yeah, and I think he was associated—maybe he could have sold insurance, I don't know, but there was something about the Woodmen of the World insurance and I don't know if that's what kind he had that he left daddy. I know daddy had that kind of insurance at one time, Woodmen of the World. I think it's called Foresters now, they changed their name, I'm not sure.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
It's not the same as Independent Order of Foresters, is it?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I'm not sure if they changed their Woodmen of the World—whether they changed their or what it is, but some insurance company and it was just a few thousand dollars each that was left to them, but.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Now how many children were there?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
There were four children.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And your dad was which number?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He was number two.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Number two.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
His brother was older, the oldest, and I think he was a couple of years older than daddy and then Roxie was—and then Maggie, and there was maybe two or three years difference between each child.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So your paternal grandfather seems to have left an insurance policy and his brother was placed as guardian of that?.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah, the money. They got their money.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And the children would have gotten their money when they turned twenty-one?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah.

Page 12
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did the older boy ever get anything?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I think he did. I think he got his and I think Aunt Roxie got hers. I don't remember about Maggie. I don't remember if she was even on the policy. She might not have been cause she was very young. He might not even have changed, you know, put her on the policy, I don't know. But anyway the three older ones were named on it. Patricia's done some research, but he used the money and he bought land he bought a lot of land. He would borrow the money and pay interest on it. He would lend it out and collect interest on it. There are records of that.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Who was doing this?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
The guardian, his uncle, so he apparently was somewhat of a businessman, but then when he decided he would leave with the younger woman, he mortgaged everything and took everything he could and left.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Including that money that was owed to your dad.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Including their daddy's money.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
How did he get to know this younger woman?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Oh, I don't know.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
I thought you said she was, was she a tenant on the land, or are you not sure about that.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She could have been, she had a disabled husband and I don't remember how they were acquainted. He might have done some work for them or whatever. I just don't remember.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Anyway, he left and went to South Carolina.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He did wind up in South Carolina. I don't know if he went to New York first, I have heard that he went to New York first and then he returned down to South Carolina and lived the rest of his—and had other children by this other—three children who were half brothers to Dad's cousins, but he left them with the farm mortgaged and they lost all the land and had to move off the land. Course Daddy had already moved out and had his own little place, bachelor place.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Was he a tenant farmer then when he moved away?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Probably was. He probably was a tenant farmer.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
But you don't know for sure?

Page 13
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I don't know what he was doing. I'm sure he didn't have—Now he had bought a car. They said he bought a car out of some of his money. Now that's what I heard. That's what Daddy had told Mama, but when his uncle left his uncle drove away on that car [Laughter] so Daddy didn't have a car then. And he got just enough money from the bonding company after paying lawyers to get his inheritance. He got just enough money to set him up in farming with a mule and wagon and plows and things like that, so I don't think they had a car at that time. They traveled by mule and wagon, but he did eventually—he bought cars later, earlier than some people had cars. We—I know we had a car when we drove down to Goldsboro to see the movies a lot of times when I was young, when we lived in Wayne County.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
How did your father get along with his mother?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
They were not close, but he felt a duty toward her. There was—she was a cool, distant type woman; she didn't seem to be—you know, she had lived away from her children. She had turned them loose to live with their uncle and just kept the baby and now she and the younger one were close, but—
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did she have any other children by the second husband?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
No, she never had any other children. She always, well, she lived with Aunt Maggie after a lot after they were—she didn't never have her own place, I think after her second husband died. She was a widow again. She never remarried then and she lived from one place to another when they—when Aunt Roxie needed her, she was with Aunt Roxie and when Aunt Maggie needed her when she had her babies, she, and Aunt Maggie—I would say she was a hypochondriac, she was all time sick, or pretended to be sick, I think to get attention and somebody to look after her. She just seemed to be that kind. That's my judgment.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
How often did you visit your grandmother?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Maybe twice a year.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
For how long?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
We didn't never spend the night, so just for a day, we might start, head out in the morning and go and visit for a few hours and Aunt Roxie would fix lunch. That's mostly where we visited her, where Aunt Roxie and Uncle Harvey lived. Aunt Roxie didn't have children. They lived down near Goldsboro, so we might go down and visit them. She would always have some of the nicest lunches. On the farm where we were, we mostly ate dried stuff or packaged goods that were not perishable and we didn't eat a lot of canned things, we did the home canning and things like that, preserved things, home canned beans and peas, and things, and Aunt Roxie—they didn't farm and she would open cans and I always remembered and—we didn't have things like that. She had that angel food cake that she bought and she would put fruit

Page 14
cocktail with it. She'd open a can. And we thought this was heavenly, you know. That was just something we didn't have at home. And we thought it was just out of this world to go to Aunt Roxie's house and she would put things on the table we were not used to. [Laughter]
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Now what did she do? Was she stay at home or did she work?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes, she stayed home. He was much older than she was and he had been in the war and had been disabled in the war, but—
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Which war?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Was it World War II? I guess.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
How old were you when you visited?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I was—well I remember, seven, eight, nine, when I was visiting there, when we lived down in Wayne County.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Well, that would have been during World War II, so if he was very old.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
It might have been World War I. Yeah, it was probably World War I. It would have been World War I that he was in. And they said he had got nerve gas or something. They had used that nerve gas and had damaged his nerves. But he did drink. He was a good man, but he would get drunk, and she had to put up with that kind of thing. But he did get a check, you know, he got a check from the government, and he didn't work! They bought a house in Goldsboro. They had rented a house out in the edge of Goldsboro, but they eventually bought a house in Goldsboro. We would visit them in town and we thought that was fantastic to go to town and visit somebody. [Laughter] People that lived in town—they were a notch above those of us country bumpkins. [Laughter] That was our thoughts back then. [Clock on dining room wall sounds the hour. It is decorated with a different wild bird for each hour and it plays that bird's song on the hour.]
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
This is our clock; it's a bird sound clock. It makes bird sounds on every hour.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
So it's 10:00 a.m.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So would you say Aunt Roxie was important to you as a child?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Oh yes, she was somebody I admired. And she loved children. She didn't have any, but every child that came around was, she just

Page 15
coddled them and was good to them. Especially Aunt Maggie's, she was like a second mom to her three boys.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Where did Aunt Maggie live?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She always lived between Goldsboro and Princeton, somewhere in that area, but now, they did rent. She married a Robert Watson and he had been in the war, too. And he seemed to have some kind of social problems. He would get drunk sometimes, he would throw little fits, he showed some immaturity, so he didn't hold a job that long. He worked at like a store clerk or something like that and different jobs, but sometimes he didn't stay at one job too long because of his little temper.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And I guess he would have been older than Maggie, too, then, if he was a World War I veteran.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, yeah, but I don't know if he served in the war. He might have been in service after the war. I'm not sure because he was not that much older than she was. Now, Uncle Harvey was about fifteen years older than Aunt Roxie, but I don't think Uncle Robert was maybe more than two or three, four, five years older than Aunt Maggie.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So you can't attribute his drinking to having been in the war.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
No, I don't think so. I think that was just his—you know a lot of people drink and it's a problem to some and it's not to others. Some get drunk, play the fool sometimes.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What was your impression of your grandmother? Now did she ever come to visit you?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She would stay with us. She would visit around and stay maybe a month at the time. She liked me better than she did the other grandchildren, so you know, I was her favorite. Somebody said I looked a little like her and she liked that. They all said I was a pretty little girl and she liked them saying that I looked like her. So she would do little things for me that she wouldn't for Maverene and the other—and Cecil. James of course was born later. She would walk to the store with me and buy me ice cream and she would leave Maverene at home. I was her little special kid, but I still looked on it as her being not fair, cause I thought she should have taken Maverene, too. I felt like I enjoyed being taken to the store and getting the ice cream, but I felt guilty that Maverene didn't get any, and I felt it was not fair for her to treat us like that, just because Maverene favored Mama and there was a little animosity between Mama and my grandmother.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Why was that?

Page 16
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
My grandmother was a little slack on cleanliness, as Mama saw it. Mama was a fanatic on cleanliness and germs. She didn't like it when my grandmother would finish eating but she wanted one more bite of the turnip greens and she would take her own fork and stick in the bowl and serve herself another little bite of turnip greens. She didn't like people eating from the bowl with their own utensils and my grandmother would do that and Mama didn't like it, but she had enough respect for her not to fuss at her about it.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Why was your mother so concerned about germs and hygiene?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I think possibly because her mother and daddy died and they had picked up a germ from somewhere to kill them. Her mother had measles and then contracted pneumonia and died. Then the baby had died. Well then, her dad died because he had contracted TB, so she was deathly afraid of germs. She was very careful about hand washing and not touching things, washed her hands before she made biscuits and she wouldn't touch a chair or anything else before her hands had made the biscuits. She had everything ready and she was very careful. We washed our hands. We didn't eat after one another.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did somebody give her instructions on how to avoid germs?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Apparently she had studied it in school or heard it somehow. Anyway she was very conscious about germs to the point of being neurotic almost.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Let's go. Okay.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
And my—her sister was about the same way. They were really precise about how things were done.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Let's get back to your grandmother, though. She would visit and stay for a month. Would that be once every year or—
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Probably once a year. Probably just once a year that she would stay a month.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
She didn't get on very well with your mother?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Not too much. Mama was always glad when she left. She wouldn't take a bath but once a week and she smelled in her later years there. She just would not take a bath and Mama didn't like that. She was not as clean.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did your grandmother ever tell you stories, talk to you about her—
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
No, not really. Only if somebody asked and she didn't—now in her earlier years she would help barn tobacco, but in her later years she

Page 17
had quit doing anything. She would just sit. She would just sit around and do nothing. She didn't wash dishes. Course she probably wouldn't have wanted to wash them at our house anyways, cause she couldn't wash them to suit Mama. They wouldn't have been done right.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did she knit or quilt?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
No. No, she didn't do anything.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did she listen to the radio?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah, and she loved—I believe it was a kind of coconut candy. Daddy would always bring her some coconut candy. That's what he would give her for Christmas. Coconut candy. Those little different colored things, with squares, little blocks of coconut candy.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did she prefer being inside to being outside?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Well, she would get out, but Cecil loved to pick and aggravate her. She would go barefooted in the summer, but she still didn't like it when he slipped up on her and sprinkled dirt on the top of her feet.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Cecil is your older brother.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He loved to pick at her like that and do little aggravating things. He had a lot of mischief in him.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
We'll get to Cecil.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He doesn't recall that, but I do very well.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So you were special to her then.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah. I was her favorite at Daddy's house anyway. Now I don't know about, now, uh, she stayed at Uncle Leither's a lot too. Aunt Dixie liked having somebody around. She would put her to work, washing dishes, doing chores for her, helping with the children. She had three boys—Ray, Ralph, and Raymond.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
RRR.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah. She was Dixie Langdon, from the Four Oaks area, in Johnston County, that married Uncle Leither.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Were any other older family members or older adults important to you as a child, besides Roxie and your grandmother?

Page 18
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
And Aunt Nellie. Aunt Nellie was the major one that we visited more than anything else. She had a daughter Grace that was just a year older than I.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
How often did you visit Nellie?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
When we could, it was fairly often, but when we were in Wayne County that was a looooong drive up to Smithfield, [Laughter] which is nothing now, but back then it was a long drive, it was considered a long drive, so we just didn't board up and go that often. When we would go, we would go on a Saturday maybe, spend the night, and be there on Sunday for the big Sunday dinner, and it was a big Sunday dinner. The adults ate first and then the children were fed. The adults all got to the table and ate. When they had finished, then the children could come to the table.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
There was no such thing as having a separate little children's table?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
No, the children waited. That's why Jimmy Dickens sang, "Grab an old cold tater and wait." And it was hard to do when there was chicken on the plate. Fried chicken. [Laughter] That's where a lot of that old culture and songs came from. Now we feed the children first and get them settled down and happy before the adults eat, which makes it easier on us. I couldn't stand to see or hear a little child whining while I sat there and wait.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did the children whine back then?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
No, they knew better. They didn't complain. They knew better than to complain
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
If they complained—
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
They might get a whipping.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And we don't whip them now, at least not as much—
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
We're more sentimental now
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
There were more children back then.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes there were and some of them had eight or ten children and maybe more—twelve. You didn't have time for sentiment.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What was Aunt Nellie like to you?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She was a good cook. That's one thing. She always. You ate well if you went to her house. She had some good cake or something

Page 19
that was really good. And she was a good housekeeper. She loved clothes. Her husband farmed some but he quit farming and started doing jobs like taxi driver. I think he was even a bartender at one time at one of the places, Little Brown Jug or something there at Smithfield.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
He was mostly cab driving, wasn't he?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Cab driving more than anything else, I remember. But he did drive an oil truck for, I believe it was Ava Gardner's brother.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Really?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Jack Gardner. He had an oil company. He drove an oil truck and delivered oil to people who heated with oil and farmed and cured tobacco with oil. So he did those jobs and Aunt Nellie quit having to get out in the field to work. They moved to town. So she was just a housewife then. She enjoyed that. She enjoyed going shopping. She could spend his money very quickly. [Laughter]
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
She did like to buy clothes a lot.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes she did. When Jane was a teenager, she had a new outfit every Saturday. Every Saturday! She—Aunt Nellie went to town with her and she got a new outfit. Then it was cast off. Grace had to wear it after her. Grace was younger. She got the castoffs. After Grace wore them, I wore them.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So Nellie bought a new outfit for her oldest daughter.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes, for Jane. Her oldest daughter got a new outfit every Saturday. I thought—that seemed ridiculous to me. Wasteful, really. But she couldn't be seen twice in the same outfit. Aunt Nellie sort of had a —like she was aristocracy or something. She had a little touch of that about her. [Laughter] Proud. She was very proud. When she got her social security, she and Uncle Alton, she could spend all her social security check on clothes at Belk's. She loved those nice clothes.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
That was Belk's in Smithfield.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah. She could walk downtown from where she lived uptown.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Were there any other older people who were important to you as a child? Let's leave teachers aside; we'll get teachers later.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Miss Mantha Smith that we lived next to down in Wayne County. We visited her a lot and she had a daughter who I think had had a really high fever as a child and had damaged her brain. She could be a little silly at times, but she was funny and silly, but nice. Sweet, nice person.

Page 20
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
The daughter?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes, she never married and lived with her mother and daddy. She worked at barning tobacco some. I don't think they raised tobacco. I don't know what they did really. But they were neighbors. I know they owned their own land there. Smiths. They owned their own land.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
How was she important to you, Miss Mantha Smith?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She would take us to Sunday school and church every Sunday. She went to a Methodist church. Mama and Daddy, when they were away from their home church, they didn't join up with any church. It would be only a special occasion like a Christmas play that they would go to at that local church. Methodist. They were not Methodists and they didn't go there.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What were they?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
They were—they called it Second Advent back then but it's called now, I think, Advent Christian. They just would go back to their home church, maybe visit it once a year or something like that. I remember they went regularly when I was a small child. Very small. I can barely remember sitting in church for so long in the summertime when it was so hot and being so tired, having to sit still, dressed up and it hot. I would start crying and want water and we'd have to go to the spring. There was a spring out back of the church and it was way down a little path then, in the woods. There was a spring there and the way we got our water—we picked up a clean leaf and made a cup out of it and we drank water from that leaf from the spring. I remember that. I would cry and want water and mama would take us to get water. Then we'd go back in and I'd just sit there. Tears would be rolling down my face, but they didn't make any sound. I was just miserable! I remember that. I might have been four years old. It's one of my earliest memories of sitting in church and being miserable—at Hickory Grove Church.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Yet you have continued to go all your life to church.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah. It was a duty and we felt obligated to God to go. He expected us to do that. We had to do our duty. I did believe there was a God. I would pray to him, I remember at six and seven years old I would pray. I felt like he heard me.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Miss Mantha Smith took you to church.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
She'd take us to church and Sunday school, Maverene and me. I don't remember—I think Cecil went, at least part of the time.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
I bet Cecil was reluctant to go.

Page 21
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
I don't know I believe he went because I think he liked to dress up and go places and be somebody, so that was his way he could
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Maybe it was a way of getting—
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
It's the only way we could socialize, about, unless it was tobacco barning time and we worked at the barn, socializing, or a corn shucking or something like that. They would pull their corn in the fall and then we would go to each person's house and everybody gather around and shuck corn. Then they would put it in the barn.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So your parents didn't mind you going to a Methodist church.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Oh no. They didn't care. They thought it was a good thing that we went to Sunday school, so I did appreciate that woman taking that much interest in us.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did she do anything else for you or talk to you in any—
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Oh, they talked and they would tell tales and it was entertaining to us, too. We loved to just go and hear her and her husband talk.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
You don't know what they did, then.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
No, I don't know if they were retired from farming. She did—they did grow a garden and she took produce to the curb market in Goldsboro and I thought that was a fascinating thing to do, that she could market produce at the curb market and she got money that way. She got—I guess her spending money that way. Enough maybe to buy their—rest of their groceries, clothes, whatever. She made a profit at it. I mean she had all kinds of things. My brother Cecil learned that and he would grow flowers and break them and make bouquets of flowers and take them to her to sell for ten cents a bouquet at that time. Ten cents was a lot of money then. It would buy a double cone of ice cream. [Laughter] That would be like two dollars or three dollars now to go to the store and buy a cone of ice cream.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So Cecil made bouquets for her to sell.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yeah, he would make little bouquets, tie them up, and he also he would break soy bean stalks. In the fall when they dried, he would break those soy bean stalks and paint them silver, get a little can of paint, paint them silver and sell them for decorations to the people at Goldsboro. Miss Mantha would take them to the curb market and sell them for him, give him the money.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did he arrange them?

Page 22
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
He would tie a little bunch together, separate little bunches, maybe three or four stalks, and sold them for ten cents.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Was it spray paint he used?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
You know I don't recall whether it was spray paint, whether you could get spray paint then. He painted them anyway. I remember him painting them silver. It's just a very vague memory, but I know he did that. He did all kinds of little things. Picked up and sold and made money any way he could like that.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
We'll get back to some of that later. This is a good point to stop because we've covered the older generation before your parents and your life growing up. You've got to go to church don't you?
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
You have to prepare for church, so we could stop now.
ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN:
Yes, I got to get dressed now and go to church.
END OF INTERVIEW