Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jean Cole Hatcher, June 13, 1980. Interview H-0165. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Coastal vs. Piedmont life during the early twentieth century

Hatcher draws comparisons between people living in the coastal regions of the Carolinas to life in the Piedmont during the early twentieth century. According to Hatcher, the difference in economy—farming along the coast versus industry in the Piedmont—shaped lifestyles quite drastically.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jean Cole Hatcher, June 13, 1980. Interview H-0165. 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

Another one, while we're speculating, would be, do you detect any difference between the sort of folks who made up the society along the coast, or out east, in North and South Carolina, and the people who were in the Piedmont?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
Very definitely.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you talk a little bit about-was that something in your family, that you could see a difference?
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
[Pause] Well, probably I would not confine it to family. I would confine it to people who live in the Piedmont, versus the families and people whom I know quite, quite well who lived in eastern part of both the two states.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That would be interesting to see.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
And, of course, the coastal area developed earlier than our area developed, because the sea was the transportation, in those days. Or communication, as far as that's concerned. And there was no industry in the eastern part of the state. It was all fisheries, or shipping, tar, pitch-that sort of thing. The different made a difference. And always does, any geographical division of areas. I might say the eastern Carolinas, now, not just definitely North or South Carolina. And the people in eastern Carolina, they are much more relaxed . . . much more easy social relationship. And that probably stemmed from the cultures of the earlier years, when all the money was in the eastern part of the state, of both states. And they had the big plantations, and the rice fields, and all that sort of thing. And built beautiful low country mansions. Had numerous slaves, and many, many acres of land. And farming leads to a certains amount of relaxation and free time, as versus a nine-to-five or industrial type activity. Does that answer your question?
ALLEN TULLOS:
That sounds good to me. I'm trying to get your interpretations based upon your experience. And you've thought about this.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
I know this, that I had many eastern Carolina friends, both in prep school and in college. And when I would visit Wilmongton, or Elizabeth City, or Charleston, places like that-and Edenton-I had the time of my life. And was just total difference, way they lived and the way I lived, here in Charlotte.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's real interesting.
JEAN COLE HATCHER:
There was not too much difference in basic education, basic culture, basic family background, but there was a difference in the momentum, or the speed, or the manner in which they lived. There wa was more graciousness in the eastern part of the two states. [Pause]