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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The Civil War and regional identity

Durham describes his father's family's home place, the old farm house they had owned and the stories his father told him about how the family survived the Civil War despite the evil machinations of the occupying Union army.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. 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

DOUGLAS DENATALE:
This would have been after his mother died?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes. His mother died and his grandmother died, and Grandpa was gone. It was just the children, and they've sold it to some fellow. He kept it a good while, and he made some pretty good money on it. He was in the Farmers' Exchange at Pittsboro about the first time it started up. He sold it to somebody that they said sold the timber on it later for $65,000. It's about a 300-acre farm, I think.lot of land, and it was right up the river about four miles on the other side. It had the old house on there, the old place. I went with Papa up there, me and Cary and him and Uncle Don. Covered the house. I mean we carried Don and them going down to the spring down there. I was just a boy. We just went with him because he wanted us along, I reckon, and we wanted to go. And we walked across the river. It was low, and they knew a fording place up there, and we all walked up there and walked across the river on rocks and drainage chute. Of course, if the river had been up any. . . . They knew how to ford; I didn't. I'd hate to try it now. [Laughter] But that was an old Civil War house, before the Civil War, and he showed us how his daddy's folks hid meat and stuff in the seaming of the house. They'd take the boards out and place the meat down there to keep the Yankees from getting them when they were coming through. There were a bunch of them up here the other side of Hillsborough-they camped around Hillsborough, you know-and they were told never to cross the Haw River, but they would do it. And, of course, their house was on the other side of the river. Somebody up there killed one of them one night. Stole his horse. He sensed one way or another that they were out there or something. He went out and hid, they said-this is what Grandpa told my daddy-he started off andhe shot him off his horse and buried him. He was a Yankee soldier stealing his horse, and he got his horse back. Said all he had to do was whistle, and he come back to him. That's what they said. But life was pretty cheap if you was a Yankee along then coming around in here. He said they took that fellow and buried him, though. Said they probably just wondered what went with him. They were told never to cross the river nohow. That was the orders, not to cross the Haw River. But they were going around getting stuff, take anything they could out of the homes. That was the custom all around them Yankees [unclear] . That's one thing that made them hate the Yankees so bad, I reckon, along especially then. Well, the War was on, and they were both bad to one another, I guess. But if you had a little something and that was about all you had, and somebody come along and take it, that's rough, too, weren't it? It sure was. They'd take your meat and take it back to camp.