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Title: Oral History Interview with Taylor Barnhill, November 29, 2000. Interview K-0245. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Barnhill, Taylor, interviewee
Interview conducted by Amberg, Rob
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2004
Size of electronic edition: 132 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2004.
© 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:
2008-00-00, Wanda Gunther and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-12-08, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Taylor Barnhill, November 29, 2000. Interview K-0245. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0245)
Author: Rob Amberg
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Taylor Barnhill, November 29, 2000. Interview K-0245. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0245)
Author: Taylor Barnhill
Description: 169 Mb
Description: 36 p.
Note: Interview conducted on November 29, 2000, by Rob Amberg; recorded in Asheville, North Carolina.
Note: Interview transcribed by L. Altizer.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, 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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Interview with Taylor Barnhill, November 29, 2000.
Interview K-0245. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Barnhill, Taylor, interviewee


Interview Participants

    TAYLOR BARNHILL, interviewee
    ROB AMBERG, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ROB AMBERG:
Asheville in the offices of the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition. It is Wednesday, November 29th at about approximately 9:15, and we're getting started. Taylor would you just speak to me? Tell me your name and where you're from and all that kind of stuff.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Sure, Rob. Taylor Barnhill. I live in Madison County, just east of Mars Hill on Little Ivy Creek.
ROB AMBERG:
Taylor, you were saying you live in Madison County east of Mars Hill. How long have you lived in Madison County?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
A little over twenty-two years. I moved there July 4th, 1978.
ROB AMBERG:
Is that right? That's great. And where from?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
From Raleigh.
ROB AMBERG:
Okay. Now, you're not from Raleigh, though?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I'm from Durham, and also spent part of my childhood outside Atlanta.
ROB AMBERG:
I had a sense that you spent some time over east of Raleigh, too, around Martin County.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I did. All my family is from Beaufort and Martin County. Both my father and mother's sides. I spent summers working tobacco on my uncle's farm outside Little Washington.
ROB AMBERG:
Is that right? So you, when you were growing spent a lot of time with your grandparents on their farm.

Page 2
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah. This was an aunt and uncle, actually. I never really had grandparents, but spent a lot of time on a farm getting to know eastern North Carolina rural communities.
ROB AMBERG:
Did, was this your father's brother or—
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
This was my mother's sister.
ROB AMBERG:
And it was, what else did they farm besides tobacco?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
A lot of peanuts, a lot of soybeans. The sickest I've ever been was having to hoe half mile long rows of peanuts on a summer day and getting sun stroke. Sweet potatoes. Of course, my aunt had these fabulous gardens. Everyday in the middle of the day we had a huge meal that would rival any Thanksgiving dinner, just as a matter of course. Long days, seven to seven, fifty cents an hour is what I got paid. That was good money for a kid.
ROB AMBERG:
How old would you have been when you were doing that?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
This was probably from about nine to thirteen.
ROB AMBERG:
Wow.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah. I was the only white kid. I was working alongside anywhere from five to thirty black tenants. Actually, they weren't tenant farmers; some were tenant farmers, but most were what we called migrant farmers, migrant workers. But they actually lived through the summer on my uncle's property. They were extremely poor black farmworkers—men and women, children, old folks—all out in the field together.
ROB AMBERG:
And those jobs now have basically been taken over by Hispanic, Latino farmworkers, I guess. It almost sounds like the same kind of situation.

Page 3
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Well, they were taken over first by machines. I worked times when in wetter weather we actually used mules. My uncle had these fabulous huge draft mules. They were all snow white, and they were much bigger than most mules you see. They were fabulous animals. Then machinery came in by the time I was a teenager, and the black workers were having to find jobs other places. A lot of them were moving back up North. There had been one movement to the North and then sort of a second movement up North when I was a teenager—which would've been in the '60s—partly because of mechanization with the burley tobacco industry. Now the Latino farmworkers are doing most of the labor.
ROB AMBERG:
How did that time spent on the farm with family and also with this group of other workers, how did that influence your life today? Did that kind of set a course for you, or give you ideas about who you were and maybe what you wanted, or at least kind of affect a kind of an opinion about what life was?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah, it clearly did. I've only begun to really understand it more recently. I'm fifty-two, and I probably have come to understand more of my life and who I am in the last few years. Much of it clearly goes back to my roots in rural North Carolina [and a] tremendous appreciation for those black farmworkers that nurtured me and took care of me on those hot days when we were out in the field. They were worried about what kind of shoes I was wearing and whether I got a honey bun and a Pepsi at break time. They took care of me. I was their baby. I just gained a huge appreciation for them and their sense of community and family, but also was deeply troubled by their poverty and what they didn't have, and what opportunities they didn't have. I became a different person; I grew up as a different person because of that. I identified with them, also, in an

Page 4
underdog mentality. My father died when I was nine, so I grew up without a father. That trauma put me into a place of being sort of left out or underdog or minority or whatever. So I identified with those farmworkers and have identified with minority and underdog issues ever since and now working in environmental work.
ROB AMBERG:
Was your family, I mean, your mother and father, would you describe that as a middle class situation in Durham? I mean, was that, what did your parents do?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
He was a lineman for Southern Bell Telephone for their cable system. He worked outdoors. When I was younger than nine I went to work with him a couple of times. He was literally digging ditches to check out damaged underground cable. This was telephone cable. He was about to reach a supervisory level when he died of a heart attack.
ROB AMBERG:
Oh man.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah, but it was very much blue collar, middle class. We moved from Greensboro to Atlanta, and we had the Ozzie and Harriet life. Everything was good—new house, barbecues in the yard, badminton in the yard, children, wonderful neighborhood, and our bubble burst. But yeah, it was classic middle class Atlanta suburban fifties.
ROB AMBERG:
That must have been a real event for you to get to the farm in eastern North Carolina and come in contact with a different group of people. You must have been a real, well, I certainly understand what you're saying about the identification. At the same time it must've been almost a shock to you to have come in contact with a different group of people that were living a life that seemed far different from yours at that point.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah, there was a shock every day. Of course, when I was not in the field and riding from one work site to another with my uncle in his big Cadillac, we would pull

Page 5
up in front of these shacks were the workers lived. They would be out in the yard trying to get some water out of a pump, or they'd be trying to do some laundry in a bucket in the yard. Their yards were clay—dirt, not clay. They don't have clay down there. They were just dirt. Dirt yards, sandy, with a chinaberry tree in the yard always, that stunk to high heaven. They kids running around with no clothes on. I was stunned each time we had that kind of encounter with their home. I spent most of my time out in the field with them or in a tobacco shed handing tobacco, or tying it, or whatever. Yeah, I developed a lot of bad feelings for my uncle, who was sort of the tyrant landowner. Looking back on it he was abusive—not physically, but never had a kind word to say to anybody. He was just yelling and raising hell all the time about not enough work getting done. It really formed a lot of my ideas about class and privilege.
ROB AMBERG:
So then when you got to a point where finishing high school and college and stuff like that, did—what did you study in school and where?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I actually wound up studying architecture at North Carolina State. But when I was a kid—in fact, early in high school—I decided to be a vet, because I loved animals from getting to know the farm animals but also other animals. I had an older, grown cousin who was kind of a mentor. He told me that being a poor kid I'd never be able to afford vet school or afford to set up an office, so I should give that idea up. I didn't know about loans and banks and stuff like that. So I thought that was out. All my childhood I wanted to be a farmer. That was what I was going to be. I approached my uncle at one time and said, ‘Uncle Harvey, this is what I love, and I want to be a farmer.’ My mother always thought I was going to be a farmer because I loved it so much. He said, ‘Well, nobody gets into farming these days unless they inherit a lot of land, because nobody can

Page 6
afford to buy that land. My land is going to my two sons, and they won't farm it. They'll sell it. But it still has to go to my two sons. You can't farm because you can't get into it. You'd have to be a millionaire to get into it.’
ROB AMBERG:
This was even in the early `60s or so.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah.
ROB AMBERG:
Mid `60s.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Mid `60s.
ROB AMBERG:
That he was anticipating that the land would be too expensive (). That's pretty perceptive on his part.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
This was about the time when First Colony Corporation Down East was buying up every swamp and every marshland, all around Lake—well phooey I just forgot the name, Phelps Lake and the big, the huge natural lake down there on the coast. They were buying up all that land. That's when agribusiness was really starting up big time in eastern North Carolina, and it was becoming global. I think they were Dutch; they were a Dutch company. So I couldn't go into farming, either. I always loved architecture and structures. I would sit in my high school gym during ballgames. Instead of watching a ball game I would gaze at the huge trusses supporting the roof of the gym, and was much more fascinated by those than the game. In fact, I remember making the decision to go into architecture at a basketball game sitting there staring at these giant steel trusses in the roof. So that's what I did.
ROB AMBERG:
So you finished architecture school at State, and then did you stay in that area? Yeah, you must've stayed.

Page 7
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah, but I was fortunate or unfortunate, however you want to look at it. Being the `60s the School of Design had a very strong social consciousness bent. This was a period when architects were reevaluating their role in society, and several of the professors of the school then had come from other parts of the country—California in particular—and they had these ideas of architecture and social change. So our mandate in some in these classes was to become architects that crafted communities and landscapes and buildings for a better social interaction. So actually I have in my transcript from those days. I brought it in for some other reason, but it was really interesting looking at it, because I could've minored in sociology or in psychology.
ROB AMBERG:
Wow.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Because that was a strong emphasis in some minds of professors at the School of Design. So as projects we worked with very poor rural communities around North Carolina helping them design day care centers and health centers. My rural roots became extended in my architectural training and planning to be a designer of rural communities, mostly poor rural communities. Left there and went into planning school, graduate school at Carolina, city and regional planning. I still was interested in those more rural and regional issues, and was kind of recruited by peers who had recently started up a new office in state government the Office of Rural Health Services under Governor Jim Holshouser. They were creating rural health care centers around North Carolina. It all just fit with who I was and my interest. So went to work for them and that kind of cast my rural perspective in stone.
ROB AMBERG:
That's interesting, I mean, at that time, too, it seems like there was—certainly society-wise—less attention being paid in some respects to rural communities. There was

Page 8
more growth in suburban areas, I think, at that time, and rural areas were—it was almost like that was the beginning of the decline of rural communities, I think. So it's really interesting to me that on the university setting it was almost like they were anticipating or seeing that, realizing that in times to come—for the next couple of decades, anyway—that more attention would have to be paid to rural communities.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
It's real interesting because you had the War on Poverty. You had the Appalachian Regional Commission.
ROB AMBERG:
Exactly.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
You had the whole Appalachia image and identity, but you also had this urban renewal effort beginning or going on, this huge urban renewal effort. I was lucky enough to be in a rural state that had sense enough to look at its own fabric and realize that rural communities were losing doctors and losing a lot of other resources. This office, that state office came together to figure out how to deal with that problem. Through that work I was sent to the mountain region to work with rural health centers.
ROB AMBERG:
So that's how you ended up in this part of the state.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I ended up in Hot Springs. Yeah.
ROB AMBERG:
So at that point you were working for the government, for the state office.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
The Office of Rural Health Services.
ROB AMBERG:
Okay. Wow. So you came up here then as a planner?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
As part of a community development team. We had a team that consisted of an architect, which was me, a community organizer and a health systems specialist. Three people. We had found out through different vehicles about a community that had no health care delivery system, such as Bakersville, for example. In that case the doctor

Page 9
had died. This was the end of a generation of doctors, of family physicians in these rural communities where they were literally dying. It was a huge void. So we would be invited by a community to come and help them out. We would assess what the leadership was in the community, try to get an understanding [of] what the power dynamics were there, how to get change going toward a health delivery system, help them put together a nonprofit board of directors, identify local folks in the community who wanted training in health care professions and give them money to go to school. In most cases, well, the model was a nurse practitioner or a PA model, where we would create a health center run by a nurse practitioner instead of a doctor. That person had to have backup from a doctor within a thirty-mile radius. In most cases they didn't have PAs or nurse practitioners in the community, so we would train them. We would send them to school for two years. That's about the length of time it took to create this whole nonprofit entity and get a building built if we built a new building. At first we renovated older buildings and that was the goal-make use of the existing architectural fabric in the community and not just build new. So in two years we would move from nothing to a health center building, well staffed and well equipped and a building committee that were very hands on, actually got involved with the design. Very, very exciting process.
ROB AMBERG:
So tell me, you were working initially up in Bakersville area. Did you then move over to Madison County? Did you have contact with the Hot Springs Health Program? Was that like a next phase of what you all did?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
It was. The first time we visited Hot Springs was in '74, and it was already going.
ROB AMBERG:
Wow. Right, it was up and going. It was pretty miniscule at that point.

Page 10
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
It was Linda Mashburn and Linda Tulle.
ROB AMBERG:
I don't remember her. Mashburn—
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I think Linda was a, Linda Tulle was a nurse at the time. She's still around, actually.
ROB AMBERG:
They had that little building in Walnut, I think. There was an old house or something I think they were working out [of] some time in the mid 70s.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
There was one in Laurel. Glendora's—the house that Glendora owned up on Shelton Laurel.
ROB AMBERG:
Glendora Cutshaw's—
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I can't remember one in Walnut. We did the renovation of the old Madison Grill into the Marshall-Walnut Medical Center building.
ROB AMBERG:
Okay, and that would've been about '76?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
That was '77, '78 because I spent a weekend with Justin Skemp, who was born during that construction, and I got to see him on the way home from the hospital with his mom. His dad was doing that renovation at the time. John Skemp—
ROB AMBERG:
Johnny was doing that.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Right, John and Tom McCaig, and Dan Shehan.
ROB AMBERG:
Wow. The boys.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
The boys. So Justin's now twenty-two.
ROB AMBERG:
Dan's brother dated one of my cousins in Sil—he's from Silver Spring also.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I didn't know that.

Page 11
ROB AMBERG:
His cousin or his brother dated one of my cousins, and I always found that to be just remarkable that Dan and I—and Paul Gurewitz is the same way. We're all raised right there and ended up right here.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Part of the connection to Madison County goes back to Paul, too, because Gary Gumz—who owned land with Paul—taught at State in the School of Design, and I took a course after graduating when I was working for the Office of Rural Health Services from Gary. Got to talking about, got to know him and got to talking about Madison County, and so had this dual connection between Gary and the Hot Springs Health Program. Later got, was actually consulting with the Hot Springs Health Program on their building needs and beginning the planning for Marshall-Walnut Medical Center, and just fell in love with the people. They actually had an interim director at the time who was Hawk Littlejohn, a Cherokee Indian and self-proclaimed medicine man. Got to know him and as he tells it, he conjured me to the mountains and I moved up. I bought land in '77 and moved up a year later.
ROB AMBERG:
And you bought that piece of land that you're on now.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
No, I bought land up on Shelton Laurel with Drew and Louise Langsner and Don and Nancy Durrell. We split up a two hundred-acre cove.
ROB AMBERG:
I see. Wow.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
So I had a fifty-two acre farm.
ROB AMBERG:
I guess I knew that, but certainly had forgotten.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I never lived on it. I lived near there, but it didn't have a house. My dream was to live up there and build my house and raise my family up there. Meanwhile I met

Page 12
Sheila, and Shelton Laurel was the rival valley and she didn't want to have any part of those people. So she never would live over there.
ROB AMBERG:
Do you still own that property?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
No, I sold it about ten years ago.
ROB AMBERG:
When you were, when you went in and bought that land with Drew and Louise and Don and Nancy, I mean, were you thinking, you mentioned that you wanted to live there, and you were thinking this was the place where you wanted to raise your family. Were you also thinking that, Well, maybe at some point in time I'll be able to get back to that farming ideal?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Oh yeah. I was going to farm. I was going to have an organic farm. So this was my, this is coming back around—my circle was to move back onto the land and run an organic farm. I was very much into organic gardening and eastern philosophy and macrobiotics, natural healing, and was a trained masseuse and—or masseur—and actually studied acupuncture and all kinds of healing arts. So I was going to go back to the land and be one with the earth.
ROB AMBERG:
Obviously if you bought that land back in the mid '70s, late `70s that kind of thing, organic farming certainly was not at the point it is today.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Right.
ROB AMBERG:
So that's really looking very far down the road at that point in my mind.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
We didn't realize that. We thought we were looking at the road, not down the road. We thought its time was come and that all we had to do was some basic education and people would get it. I remember talking to Jim Woodruff about his organic tobacco farming.

Page 13
ROB AMBERG:
Jim and I raised organic, I was living there at his place then. We raised a crop of organic tobacco. I think that was one of the wettest Julys in Madison County history. I remember we had twenty-five days of rain in July.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Oh, that's right. That's when I was in Bolivia.
ROB AMBERG:
Of course, blue mold just came in. It wasn't even blue mold as it was just rot. It just came in with a vengeance. I remember us going out into the field with a weedeater to—that's how we were hoeing was with a weedeater, because weeds were, we just couldn't get out and work the soil at all. It was, what a gome [a mess].
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
That was '79. I went to Bolivia and had an old college roommate keep my house for me, and he said it rained the entire month. Wow.
ROB AMBERG:
That's, organic tobacco. Wayne Uffelman has raised organic tobacco the last couple of years, and is actually doing that on contract now with RJR I think.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Really. So they're getting it.
ROB AMBERG:
There is, they understand, RJR understands the need to kind of move in that direction, that there is a market niche there.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Definitely.
ROB AMBERG:
Anyway, now we are diverging a little bit, which is fine, too. So you had bought this place, and you were still working for the state at that point and—
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
No, oh yeah. When I bought it I was still in Raleigh.
ROB AMBERG:
Oh, okay.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
When I bought it. I moved up a year later. I just quit, walked out of my office in Raleigh. Didn't have a job up here but made a decision to take on that lifestyle, and bought me an old '71 Ford pickup truck. Sold my red convertible Austin Healy with

Page 14
the Lotus engine and moved to the mountains in July '78. But because—what we were doing in North Carolina with rural health care was new. It was new countrywide. We became the experts and were in great demand all over the country. So I was, I began doing consulting all around the country, and would fly out to Montana or up to Maine and consult with rural communities on their plans.
ROB AMBERG:
This allowed you to make enough money doing that, doing the consulting to then come back and—
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah, yeah. Then it was all also timed with Hot Springs Health Program's needs for new buildings. I was the logical architect for those. So I designed three buildings for them. That and other work sustained me for a while. I did other health center buildings around North Carolina and was—when I was still in Raleigh I also got very interested in energy-efficient design and solar. So when I was still at the Office of Rural Health Services we were able to build or help a community build the first commercial solar building.
ROB AMBERG:
Okay, go ahead.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
We helped a community down in Bladenboro build the first commercial solar building in the state. That was exciting.
ROB AMBERG:
Yeah.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
It was about '76. So I was taking every course in solar design I could find around the country. That's how I spent my vacations. I would go take courses in solar, massage, macrobiotics, acupuncture.
ROB AMBERG:
Wow.

Page 15
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
So when I got to the mountains, I also started a solar design practice. That was my specialty, along with rural primary health care centers, up into the mid `80s.
ROB AMBERG:
I'm curious. You talked about this a little bit in terms of the organic farming, that you basically didn't see that as so much down the road as saw it as being the road. My sense is that you're thinking the same kinds of ideas about macrobiotics or organic healing, all those kinds of things, solar energy even. But how did you see that meshing with this other ideal of the land and farming, and also that time spent on the farm as a child? How did you see all of this integrating itself in Madison County on Shelton Laurel?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
The word that I used at the time was holism. This was a holistic lifestyle that I was attempting to carve out, where everything is integrated and your use of the land, your sense of community and your place in community and family, use of resources was all one. It had a logic to it. What I recognized in these rural communities that I had been working with was that that was already there. This was not something I was bringing to Shelton Laurel. Getting to know my neighbors, that was already there.
ROB AMBERG:
How did you see that exhibited? How did that sense of holism in the community in Shelton, in a place like Shelton Laurel, or Sodom, or a place like that?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Well, to give you an example. The first day I moved into the community up on Shelton Laurel I moved into this little shack on Mill Creek, because I didn't have a house on my land but it was within walking distance of my land. One of my neighbors saw me unloading the truck. This was one I had not met yet. He put down what he was doing and got up his fishing rod, went fishing up Mill Creek, caught me four of the prettiest trout you've ever seen and brought them by and gave them to me for dinner.

Page 16
That was their way of saying you are the funniest fellow I ever have seen, but welcome. Because I was a hippie, and half of my moving van that I drove, my rental truck, was houseplants, jade plants and bromeliads and all these tropical houseplants. One of them was a dracaena, and my other neighbor said that I was growing corn inside the house. It was a strange sight, but it didn't intimidate the people or raise anything in their minds except here is another neighbor. Let's help this fellow out. I immediately learned of this sense of family and support and community cooperation because they were poor and they had to do that, but they found that was where their soul was also, and that was their source of love and community. It was necessity. So all of this holistic theory and philosophy that I had been studying suddenly became glaringly apparent to me right there on that beautiful little frost pocket where I was living on Mill Creek.
ROB AMBERG:
And most of those neighbors at that time I assume were probably farming and living—I mean really living right there in that community. It wasn't people leaving for periods of time to go work or whatever. People were actually doing everything right there.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Many of them were. There were still a lot of people that had left or had to commute outside the county that got real jobs, but there was some remarkable farming going on. I wish I could remember their name now, but there was this one old fellow and his wife that grew some beautiful crops of tobacco, and beautiful gardens, and they were just dirt poor. They didn't even have a car. He drove everywhere on his tractor. When she wanted to go with him, he would hook up a trailer to the tractor and they'd go flying down the road. She had long hair, and her hair would be streaming out behind her and she stood up on this chariot like trailer. She looked like Ben Hur.

Page 17
ROB AMBERG:
That's great.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Riding down the road, and they were just flying. He had this tractor wide open.
ROB AMBERG:
That's a great image.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
She'd just be smiling. She was like a dog riding down the road sticking its head out the window of a car. She was just joyful of that chance to ride down the road in the wind. But yeah, it was, I recognize the holism of that. Now, on the other hand, there were fights going on. There were shootings going on, women being beaten, neighbors driving up next to my shack with a big pistol on the seat asking me to sell them something that I had. They would use, they would use, handle the pistol as a way of intimidating me into selling something that I had that they wanted. In particular, oak barrels that I had brought up from Raleigh that they wanted to make moonshine with. There was a lot of violence and a lot of fearfulness. But there, the fabric was still community and caring and nurturing.
ROB AMBERG:
Even that violence, in a sense, was a—I mean, I recognized that, too, pretty quickly. It's hard to ignore up in the area, but it was also a sense of people handling their own problems as opposed to going to the sheriff or going to some kind of law enforcement thing. You had an issue; you just dealt with it. In that sense it was a very integrated solution to a community problem, or what they perceived as a community problem.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Right, and it was family, also. Most of these were family issues, and on that little valley of Mill Creek even though there may have been eight different families there, they were all interrelated.

Page 18
ROB AMBERG:
Right.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
There was an accountability within family. I never saw violence that wasn't the outcome of drinking. I've read for years that closed isolated mountain communities all over the world have a problem with drinking, many ancient cultures and native cultures in particular. Now they've even isolated a gene to back that up. So drinking alcohol is a really serious problem, and that's where the violence came from. Mountain men in particular are very loving and gentle people, but they, it's a Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde phenomenon when they drink. They flip to the other extreme, to their dark side.
ROB AMBERG:
You spoke a little bit about your first day up there and this person bringing you some fish that he caught as a kind of a welcome. How did you, how did you sense your acceptance in the community as a person from the state but from a different culture, a different part of the state, a different mindset, and then moving into this very enclosed, isolated, integrated community where you are obviously different? You're the hippie with the plants and the moving van and the oak barrels. So over a period of time, how did you sense your acceptance and things like that?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Well, my situation was different because I came to the community as a professional from state government that was there to help them. I know that's a cliché. I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.
ROB AMBERG:
That's right.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
But in a lot of people's minds I was a hero because I was part of a program that was meeting a desperate need for people, which was health care. They were so appreciative, most people, and so before I even moved there, I was well liked and welcomed. People were just so pleased that I was going to live on their valley. I mean,

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Glendora would fall over herself trying to help me out, and wanted to hear about my plans and try to find me a good woman. She'd personally make me a ham sandwich when I'd come in rather than let her daughter do it. At the store, she ran the store on Shelton Laurel, and so I felt like a hero. That was different for most outsiders who moved in. Now, Drew and Louise, they were highly respected and welcomed and loved, but it was probably more because of the work ethic that they demonstrated. They moved up there and for a couple of years they wouldn't touch any kind of equipment; were cutting all of their firewood with a cross cut saw. People thought that they were desperately poor and were bringing them old clothes, these polyester jump suits and everything. Bringing them clothes and food and everything thinking they were desperately in need because they didn't have a chain saw. It was years before anybody understood what Drew and Louise were really about, which was going back to as simple a lifestyle as possible; deliberately having come from California and Chicago and having a lot of wealth in their family, but wanting to be simple. I had the advantage of an introduction to the community that was through service to the community, and it was different.
ROB AMBERG:
At that time do you recall sensing that this community is changing? It is really starting to experience more people like yourself moving in, more demographic change, maybe less kind of emphasis in the native born community, on what I would call some of those older values or older traditions, I guess, or even older economies. Did you see that as changing then, or could you anticipate that that was going to come? I didn't, because what I saw were us outsiders, hippie transplants, back to the landers with Peter and Polly Gott as the first lady and the first guy on Shelton Laurel who came back in the `60s. We outsiders were there to support native lifestyle, and I think we thought were

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supporting the traditional lifestyle, and to keep it in intact because that's what we wanted to do. So we retrogressed in terms of technology and all that stuff to match native lifestyle, and thought that—I really felt that I was there to preserve a tradition.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
That traditional life style we valued as outsiders and we thought we could support indefinitely, and sort of create a static county of that lifestyle and avoid change, sort of ward off change. I didn't realize, the change didn't really occur to me until they paved the road over Devil's Fork Gap, at the head of Shelton Laurel. Widening and paving that road and straightening it out was sort of the first slap in the face. It opened up that end of the county with that end of the road.
ROB AMBERG:
Now is that the gap that goes over to Flag Pond?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah.
ROB AMBERG:
Okay. So it now connects with I-26.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Right. Yeah.
ROB AMBERG:
Do you remember when that was paved? About what year?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Oh, let's see. Early `80s, very early, maybe '80. Chipper Jones had bought the Hazel Cutshaw farm up on top of the mountain before they paved it. That was the other thing. It was paving the roads. I've got this old video of Sodom, activities down in Sodom from the Adams family down at the store, and a dance and all this kind of stuff in the `60s. None of the roads were paved.
ROB AMBERG:
Right.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
None of them in that whole side of the county—
ROB AMBERG:
Yeah, I have that same video.

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TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Okay. Peter Gott—when they moved up on Shelton Laurel none of the roads were paved. So it was dirt roads everywhere. That was as much a part of the fabric of the community as anything. You couldn't drive fast partly because the roads were bumpy and curvy, but also you didn't want to stir up dust.
ROB AMBERG:
Right.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
You didn't want to put clouds of dirt on your neighbor's garden or on their porch. And then paving the road or straightening the roads—that was where I was kind of startled into reality that things were changing.
ROB AMBERG:
Did you sense that this impetus to pave the roads, was that coming from Raleigh or was it coming from the local community? Was it coming from Shelton Laurel or was it coming from outside?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
It was, my sense was—and this could be very inaccurate—but my sense was local commissioners, one of whom was my father-in-law, were always petitioning Raleigh for money. The county was poor; they needed money. There were different pots in Raleigh that they could draw from, and DOT was one of those pots. The leadership of the county was tuned into those road funds, and it was of course all very political. You had your Transportation Board member from the area, and so the politics was always—they were always vying for power for their own county. If you had a Republican governor, you weren't going to get any money if you had a Democrat county commission.
ROB AMBERG:
Right.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
So they were, it was politics. The governorship changed, and I guess Madison County started—I guess that was Jim Hunt's first term. The county started

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getting some money because they were very supportive of Jim Hunt and had a lot of influence in Raleigh with Liston Ramsey and then later Wayne McDevitt. I guess it was the Hunt administration when the DOT money finally started making it to Madison County. I had noticed this in other rural counties that I had worked in, and it didn't occur to me until later that the ones that were getting paved roads were Republican counties under Jim Holshouser, who was a Republican governor. I never made the connection until later when I began to understand politics a little bit better. So the roads began to get paved, and local people were very happy because then they could get to jobs outside the county easier. Everything began to speed up. There were great benefits to people having an income and diversifying their income. But also there were a lot of costs, a lot of latent costs and intangible costs to changing that traditional lifestyle.
ROB AMBERG:
What do you, how would you, what would you say would be some of those costs? What would be some of the examples? Things certainly come to my mind. You mentioned the whole just speeding up of, not just travel on the roads, but speeds up kind of everything.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Everything sped up. As new consumerism, a new kind of having money and the subsequent consumerism related to that came more into play, it replaced traditional values and things—making your own stuff, putting up your own food, working on your own truck to repair it and keep it in order. Now you could drive down to Freddy Henderson's and he'd do it, because the road was paved. Or you could drive over to Flag Pond or wherever. Now I can get to that new store in Erwin, Tennessee, so let's go there and buy groceries. Glendora's business began to fall off, because she was the grocery store. So all of those shifts in consumerism and value placed on being able to be self-

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sufficient and do things yourself. Suddenly you didn't have to do them because you could go buy them. Not only did you have more money because you were working outside the county, but you now had, you could get there in half the time.
ROB AMBERG:
Seems that one of the real definite effects is that it—and it's something we've spoken to—but it really takes people away from their individual community. Whereas prior to these changes people did, they farmed their land. They worked on their property. They maybe probably went to church in the community. They entertained in the community. They did their shopping in the community. And suddenly if you are leaving to work, to entertain, to consume whatever it might be, that is all time spent away from place, which I think changes the dynamic quite a bit.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Right, exactly, yeah. You lose that sense of place, and you lose being in touch with that place. I mean, the things that I learned from Delly were her appreciation for taking a walk up on the mountain and seeing what was blooming, what wildflowers were blooming. And of course, she was always looking for ginseng and other herbs, but being there and the kind of energy and spirit that you get from place—especially a natural place—was so important, even though they may not have been intellectually aware of it or maybe even not conscious of it. But it was part of them and who they were and thus very, very important. Then all of a sudden that was in competition with all these other attractions outside. So there's an erosion of place and connectedness to place that happens.
ROB AMBERG:
I was always struck by the—not just Delly, but other people in the community—but I was always struck by the intimacy of their understanding of place, also. Delly understood where the springs were and where those herbs were and where that

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patch of ginseng might be, or a patch of ramps or something like that. Again, have this incredibly detailed, and again, intimate keeps coming to mind—understanding of where she lived.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah, right. You knew where your needs were met and how, and you had great value in those. Yeah.
ROB AMBERG:
So at the point we're at now in the year 2000 obviously not all of the roads in the county are paved. But certainly a lot more of them are paved than not anymore, and there is a big push to get everything paved. And we have this new superhighway coming through the eastern, northern and eastern edge of the county that they finished in a couple of years. How do you, what is your sense of all of that, and where is that kind of putting the county and putting county residents? What affect is all of that going to have? Where do you see things kind of moving with the—
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Well, because of the scale of this road and the amount of traffic that it will bring, more than ever it becomes the big cultural blender. It blends the people and the activities into this homogenous soup that looks just like every other place in North America, and the world for that matter. The icons of transportation nodes are the chain businesses and gas stations, and they're all the same all over the world now. So you have this homogenous stuff that is created, and the uniqueness of place and culture disappears unless people fight very hard for it. There's an irony in that fight because on the one hand, an anthropologist might say, ‘Well, if you have to fight for it, it's not real anyway, it's an artificial culture or tradition,’ like the ballad tradition. As soon as you collect, as soon as the first person collected those ballads whether it was Dan Campbell or Cecil Sharpe, everything changed. It became a performance tradition and not a community

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tradition. So there's a question of whether you fight to maintain traditions or whether you work to do kind of damage control in accepting change. I don't know the answer. I'm frustrated every day that I get out of bed about it. Every time I walk back on the ridge behind my house, which is a mile from the four lane that goes by Mars Hill, all I can hear is the drone of traffic in the distance. This is a place where eight years ago you couldn't hear any traffic because there wasn't enough traffic to make any noise. I could go up there and feel like I was a hundred miles away from everything, and I no longer can do that because there's interstate noise. Even though the interstate is not completed, it's already there. So I don't know what the answer is.
ROB AMBERG:
What do you feel the effect of this will be in terms of—
[phone ringing]
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Somebody will answer it in a second.
ROB AMBERG:
What do you feel like the, other than what you've mentioned, like there's obviously going to be other changes, also, and one of the things that seems kind of evident right off the bat is the idea of land values and land prices and land taxes. All of that seems to be going through the roof at this point in time. With that I don't know—I have an interesting quote from Harold Wallen talking about, ‘Well, we build roads and then the people are going to come and they're going to put houses up’ and things like this. He's, of course, a real promoter of this and what he wants for him, for his family and for the community, that kind of thing. I mean, it seems that that's really coming true at this point. At the same time with prices being what they are now-a-days, it just doesn't, it seems like if Harold Wallen had to go out and buy property right now he would really be in a fix.

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TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah. I would like to think that there are models somewhere around the country where this has happened before that demonstrate tax structures to provide some equity to local people. In other words, is there a tax system within a county that gives tax breaks to local people to balance it out to where the extremes of growth and the impacts are tempered by tax breaks and tax incentives? There's something to be said for people who have stayed at a, stayed on a place, stayed in a place for generations. They need to get some kind of credit for enduring the poverty and all they have endured to stay at that place. So there needs to be adjustments in the economy of a community that account for that, and bring some equity to that. But I don't see it happening. It was one of the things that I was preaching in the `80s when we first were hearing about I-26 being planned. I was preaching this as part of the opposition to building I-26. It was me and Bobby Towsie against everybody else, basically. We were trying to point out that here are some of the negative impacts. At the same time, if it's going to be built because of the I-26 Corridor Association power, the political power in that organization, it was going to be built come hell or high water. Then you look at damage control. How do you allow this change to occur with a minimum negative impact? What programs do you put into effect? What tax structures do you put into effect to mitigate problems and enhance opportunities for local people? Luckily, we've got some folks, Ray Rapp in Mars Hill and others, who understand those kinds of things and I think are working hard to do some of that. But we started ten years too late. It's the story of civilization, I guess.
ROB AMBERG:
Well, yeah, I've been astounded in terms of my work on this project not only how late I came into the project, but also how long kind of the planning has been going on for this road. This is, this road has been a done deal in a way long before you and I

Page 27
got to this place. Even Harold Wallen took me up to a survey marker way on the back of his property that he claimed was put there in '75 or '76, when they did the first initial survey through there. He went down to the house and told his wife that there was going to be a road coming through there at some point. Twenty-five years later he's right on the money with it. That's right in the path—
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
We know that. We know that. We have that information about roads twenty-five years hence now.
ROB AMBERG:
Right.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
A couple of months ago when the I-26 connector debate was going on here in Asheville, that's all you heard about. Some guy—well informed, very bright Asheville resident—wrote a letter to the Mountain Express saying, ‘How can we let this happen? Why in the world do we have I-26 in the first place? We shouldn't even allow it coming into this city’ and on and on. I wrote him back through the editor, which didn't get published. I said look, ‘This was done fifteen years ago, if not sooner. If you really want to affect some change, get off your ass, go down and find out what's being planned right now.’ That's where your letters need to go. That's where your advocacy needs to take place, is what is being planned for twenty years down the road, because that's the only way you can affect any change as far as major state highway projects go. Of course we're all, we don't see things until they're right in front of us. There's no, Bobby Towsie and I could not get the Western North Carolina Alliance interested in I-26 in the `80s—and I was working for the Alliance—because there was nothing you could put your finger on. It was a verbal picture that someone had painted, but there was no ground being

Page 28
moved. There were no survey markers. There were no airplanes flying over. So it didn't exist.
ROB AMBERG:
Even in the early `90s, when I started doing this project. I mean, I would go out in the woods and you could find the little survey markers that were every fifty feet on the right of way or on the center line or proposed center line, but even that was a real struggle to find. It was just, I'd make these walks through the woods. I walked the whole route, and you'd kind of go, what's going on here. This is, these are the woods in back of my house. This is the exact same place, and there's going to be a road here? I'm not sure. Your work now with the Southern Forest Coalition obviously would involve you in projects like this.I'd like you to talk a little bit about what you feel are the the environmental impacts of not just I-26, but kind of what we're beginning to see is the paving of the area, that kind of thing. How that is going to really affect us, our community and the region environmentally?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Well, for us as a community the impacts of that sprawl and growth that are most easy to relate to are air quality and water quality. Air and water are where we lose first, and that's where the costs are going to be highest—to try to buy clean air and clean water is going to be the most expensive endeavor that we've ever encountered. So those are the two big things. My work with the Forest Coalition also looks at the importance of wildness and wilderness as defining who we are as a species. We are defined by those parts of the earth that we haven't changed. We're defined by wildness, whether it's through our religion or our economies or just our basic spiritual identity. That's always been the defining element, and we feel that if we lose wild areas, we lose ourselves. It also is related to the importance of our being able to leave something alone. Are we

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simply a cancer? Are we a species, are we an organism that behaves as a cancer on another organism without regard to balance and economy, or are we one that can step back and say, Okay I have evolved high enough where I can simply leave this alone? I can step back from this and say, It's okay to leave this alone and let it be what nature has created. That's something we haven't been able to do yet. Some people would argue that that's our tragic flaw as a species. Looking at the Southern Appalachian Region, the pieces of that wildness across the landscape manifest themselves across our public lands, which is primarily the national forest lands and the natural park lands like the Great Smokies. The plant and animal species that exist in the southern Appalachian region represent the greatest biodiversity in all of North America. We have a jewel, a natural jewel in the Southern Appalachian Region without rival. That should have the highest value to us as a species and a civilization, just inherently, just because it's there. Beyond that, however, when you look at all those plants and animals and begin to understand them and how they've evolved from glaciation and all the ancient processes that were going on, you begin to understand that they evolved because they had certain opportunities. A lot of those opportunities were related to scale of place. As we chop up this place, this Southern Appalachian Mountain Region, those opportunities disappear for those species, whether they're plants or animals. Just to give you the clearest example: I-26 is dividing bear habitat. Black bears are extremely dependent on migratory opportunities for breeding, expanding their gene pool and eating. They need lots of space to find food. You lay down a gigantic cut in a mountain, and it's a barrier for bear migration. So their populations and their lifestyle are drastically altered, and that was one of the big issues in the environmental impact statement for I-26. The solutions—I don't

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know if you've seen them on the plans—are these tunnels, hundreds of feet long. It's like trying to get a beetle to crawl through a four foot long soda straw. That's what you're asking bears to do. They're not even in the right place. There was no consideration for location. They just happened to be where they also needed them for water, as water culverts. So you have this, these tunnels, two of them as I understand it, hundreds of feet long, eight feet square, and you're asking a bear to use that for migratory purposes. What the bears are going to do, they're going to cross the highway at the top.
ROB AMBERG:
Of course.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
And they're going to get hit by cars and trucks or shot by hunters who are sitting there on the side of the road waiting for them, with their dogs in close pursuit. So the solution to that issue is nuts. It's just pathetic, and we should be ashamed. The black bear is one of those charismatic megafauna that is an indicator species for many of these elements, and it's an indicator species for us. It indicates our inadequacies in understanding biodiversity. So that's a fragmentation issue. That's what they call a fragmentation issue, where you fragment the natural landscape to where the needs of species are unable to be met, because they cannot move or they cannot behave in natural patterns and behaviors.
ROB AMBERG:
Taking that to another degree, how does this fragmentation affect what we probably would've identified when we moved here as an almost wild human culture? There was a certain, I'm not thinking wild in kind of the violent kind of way, but more wild in terms of people again living self-sufficiently and people living within communities and in a more natural kind of way. That was one of the things that attracted

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me to this place. There was a naturalness about the human culture here that didn't exist in other places. How then does this highway affect that?
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah, people were closer to nature. The highway—again, it's a conduit away from place to activities that are farther from nature. Consumption, for example. I mean, that's kind of my pet peeve, if you haven't noticed. It makes it easy to justify going to spend some of that money. It enables you to do it at a speed so that you can do a lot of it. You can do it frequently. You can do it quickly. You can do it efficiently in terms of energy consumption. So there are all the reasons to go do it. I think back on studying the ballad tradition. I once thought, ‘Well, these ballads have survived here in Sodom because they were so isolated. They never had people from the outside coming in and screwing around with things, and they didn't leave to go outside.’ Well, they did. They had, I mean, Cas Wallen, Lee Wallen and many others traveled. Byard Ray never stayed home. The dispersal of these oral traditions was there. It was part of what was going on. But it was all part of that pace. That was life in these mountain communities. Now the pace is such that there's no dispersal of traditional activities and communities. It's all taking on the new more glamorous, more stimulating activities from outside.
ROB AMBERG:
So that the dispersal takes on the nature—again, maybe a country-western star or the Grand Ole Opry or something like that, or getting CDs out there as opposed to communicating. You would go over to Delly's and listen to her sing. I mean, you would not only get a healthy dose of her music, but you would also get a healthy dose of who this person was.

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TAYLOR BARNHILL:
It's in a context; it's in a real life context. It's in a lifestyle, culture and all that. Now the context is media. It's not place and community. It's media like MTV. So Marshall McLuen was right.
ROB AMBERG:
Yeah, that's really true. Seems to me that in the pitch for this road we hear two things. We hear safety, and we hear economic development. Those are the mainstay reasons for the building of this road. How do you respond to those? To me the safety issue is real. I mean, this is a, it's a dangerous road in terms of the traffic that is on it now. Twenty years ago, maybe not. But—
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Well, I think we have to be first clear to understand symptoms as opposed to root causes. We unfortunately were forced into dealing with symptoms, mostly because that's what's in our face. Safety is one of those. Understanding the economics of transportation and transportation through rural areas is so complex, and it is driven by issues way outside of our community. Right now it's driven by globalization, which is driven by consumption. None of this is being driven by meeting basic needs. So the ultimate question has to do with our soulless society and its need to feed its soul with material stuff. Why is that? Where did we lose our spirit and our soul, and why? Maybe—is this a natural point on a curve of development for a relatively new country? We're only two hundred years old. Is this, do we have an organizational curve sort of like an organization, where the curve is steep where you have all this growth and development and everything, and it levels off and reaches a plateau? Then there are a couple of bumps in there, and then it begins to slowly climb back toward a path of stability and longevity and all that. Well, I don't know, because the world is changing so fast that none of those curves apply anymore. But this road, this highway and what it

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does to Madison County is a symptom of that. So unfortunately we have to be in a defensive position to defend our values against what it brings. The best way to do that is to support community, those things that are community. We have to do things that pull people together, that support our churches and our schools and place, that sense of place and definition of place. One of the best vehicles for doing that is watershed protection, because water and air are the two biggies that are going to drive more than anything else. What is better than looking at our water? In the mountains it's nice because our water is determined by the ring of mountains that form a valley, a watershed. So can we go back to defining our place by defining our watershed? So that's what I'm doing with Little Ivy Creek. I'm forming a watershed planning council that not only assures that our water quality in that watershed goes up, but that it helps to organize the human community to value certain things, water first but also the other pieces of that community fabric. So I think somebody said that the first test of anybody should, of anyone should be for them to know where their water comes from. That's sort of the ultimate question that a species should be asked and should know. That's kind of—my way of dealing with this highway is that this gives us an opportunity to know where we're from and where our water comes from.
ROB AMBERG:
Yeah, I was, I remember the first time I went to Delly's and walking into the kitchen of the upper house, and she basically had this spring running right into the sink. She left it running all the time. It was just that constant flow. I remember going over and thinking, ‘God why are the leaving the water running.’ So I went over and turned the water off, and Junior immediately followed me over there and turned it back on again. This was this little thing of me turning it off and him turning it on and then explaining to

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me why that was. It was again this sense of, we have a spring now and I'm really adamant about the fact that I don't want to change where we get our water from. I don't want to dig a well. I don't want any other opportunity because this gives us control and knowledge of where we get our water. I think it really is important. That is something that Delly and all of those old people really understood quite clearly, and it goes back again to that intimate knowledge of their place, of their land, that kind of thing.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
That's one thing that I remember about Delly more than anything else, was her bragging about how her water tasted and how she had to carry it with her. Anytime she traveled she had to carry her own water from home. She would not drink water from cities. She just wouldn't, wouldn't put it to her lips.
ROB AMBERG:
It was so cold it'd bust your teeth.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah.
ROB AMBERG:
I have a very clear memory of that. Well, I talked with Ray Rapp, I guess it was last week or the week before. He was talking about this very issue in terms of Mars Hill and where the watershed was and how that was definitely was going to limit development right along the corridor, right along the highway because of where the watershed was. He was just tickled to death that that was the case. It was going to have to limit things down there. That's interesting. What is your sense of the demographic growth that's going to be happening? Again, we spoke a little bit about the fact that we view each other, ourselves as kind of the initial change agents coming into a place like this, that kind of thing. Obviously there are going to be more of us coming in. What is your sense of that? I find myself kind of complaining about the new breed of newcomers that are coming in.

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TAYLOR BARNHILL:
Yeah, well the thing that—I was shocked the first time that someone was telling me about this couple [that] had moved in up on East Fork or somewhere, and I didn't know them. I thought, I don't even know these people and they're living up here. Of course, that's fifteen miles away from me, but it's still here. I thought I knew everybody in the county. One of the advantages of working for the state and being single when I first moved here was I traveled all over the county. I got to know everybody. I knew all the hippies because Jerry Plements had tagged them. I got to know them, and I dated half of them. Now there are all these people that I don't know. I'm threatened by that. Not only do I not know them, but they are people they're carrying out activities that I had claimed as part of my liberal value system, like organic farming. Yet I find out that they're conservative Republicans doing it and it shatters my world view, my county view. That's a shock. It's like, No you can't do organic farming if you're a conservative Republican. We don't allow that. You have to go into business, and you have to steal from people.
ROB AMBERG:
Right. That's right.
TAYLOR BARNHILL:
I'm the one that takes the high road here. It's a shock, and it's really rattling my reality, but it's happening. My church is a classic example of that. The Episcopal Church was created by outsiders, priested by an outsider, and is this fabulous community of wonderful, wonderful people. I guess I just assumed they were all liberal Democrats because they were doing these wonderful things that I believed in, and they ain't. That sort of political perspective demographic is turning everything upside down for me. But the other part of that is, who are these people? Being in Asheville I meet somebody every week that has just moved here or is about to move here because they heard so much

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about Asheville. My tendency is to say, ‘Oh, please don't move here.’ I mean, just visit. We'd love to have you visit, but we're full. We don't need anymore people. It's the same with Madison County. I go down there to Country Hub or the local hangout for the local geezers eating their biscuits and gravy and their coffee in the morning, and there are new faces and it's like, I am losing home. I want to stop it somehow. It's not going to stop. My children teach me more than anything else that it can continue and still be good community, because they grew up through a school system and through a high school system where there was fairly good integration. There were definitely problems and some definite segregation, mostly class, but I'm proud of my children's ability to be inclusive and lived in this county. I don't know if I answered, I don't think I even got close to answering that.
ROB AMBERG:
I think, actually, that's a perfect place to end.
END OF INTERVIEW