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Author: Kelley, Larry, interviewee
Author: Kelley, Betty, interviewee
Interview conducted by Thompson, Charles
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
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Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2004
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Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2004.
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Languages used in the text: English
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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 Larry and Betty Kelley, December 9, 1999. Interview K-0511. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0511)
Author: Charles Thompson
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Larry and Betty Kelley, December 9, 1999. Interview K-0511. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0511)
Author: Larry and Betty Kelley
Description: 234 Mb
Description: 55 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 9, 1999, by Charles Thompson; recorded in Swine, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
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 Larry and Betty Kelley, December 9, 1999.
Interview K-0511. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Kelley, Larry, interviewee
Kelley, Betty, interviewee


Interview Participants

    LARRY KELLEY, interviewee
    BETTY KELLEY, interviewee
    CHARLES THOMPSON, interviewer
    ROB AMBERG, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 2
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
LARRY KELLEY:
I know this mill was obsolete but it's been a, you know, a part of the community's history for three generations.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well, let me just say to start the tape that I'm Charlie Thompson and I'm here in the trailer that was bought for the flood by Larry Kelley and his wife, Betty Kelley. And it's December 9th 1999, almost three months following the Floyd flood. We're talking about the history of the community some, some about the mill, some maybe about the clean up and the businesses that Larry's involved in. So you were saying about the mill and so forth, that it was obsolete. But how was it fitting into community history?
LARRY KELLEY:
Granddaddy came—his name was J. R. Kelley—he came out of World War I. Now the year I don't know exactly. But the day he came home from World War I they were having a land sale right where the mill and my house and the stuff is now. And he had saved his money—he was in service in the Navy for four years—and he lacked $600 having enough to pay for [unclear] . It was auctioned off, I believe, for $1,800. He had to borrow—
ROB AMBERG:
I thought I'd take my camera with me.
BETTY KELLEY:
Oh my goodness.
LARRY KELLEY:
He had to borrow $600 to pay for the land.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Tell me his name again.
LARRY KELLEY:
J. R.

Page 3
CHARLES THOMPSON:
J. R.
LARRY KELLEY:
James Richard.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
And that was after World War I was over when he got out of service. So it had to be somewhere around 1918 or 1920, somewhere along there. But after—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Do you know why he decided to open a feed mill? Why he decided to not be a farmer?
LARRY KELLEY:
He started out with a sawmill [unclear] . He farmed for a few years. He grew lettuce, whatever they could eat. And the wintertime he hunted a lot.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This was on his own parents' land.
LARRY KELLEY:
That was his land that he bought when he come home from service.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
His daddy—his name was Morris Kelley—lived a few miles on the Island Creek, and his daddy—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Island?
LARRY KELLEY:
I-S-L-A-N-D, Island Creek.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
His daddy came from Ireland and settled in Moore's Creek out of 421. And then [in] a few years they moved up to Teachey, North Carolina.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
And from Teachey they moved up to Island Creek. You're familiar with Hanchey's Store up here?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Yes.

Page 4
LARRY KELLEY:
Down that road. That's where he was raised at. And when he went in the service and come back after four years in the Navy—the day of the sale is when he come home. He bought this land with his daddy's help, $600 from his daddy, and promised that everything that his daddy had—his daddy give him the $600—that he wouldn't inherit anything from his daddy's estate. That was the deal.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Six hundred dollars was probably a sizeable part of the estate at that point.
LARRY KELLEY:
Can you imagine saving what money that you made for four years. I believe he was making $18 a month, $20 a month, and he saved up all but just a few cents once in a while. But he never [unclear] it. They saved it for him. They fed him clothed him, give him everything he needed while he was in service. He went to France and different places, then when he came home he purchased this land.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
He hadn't been wounded or anything?
LARRY KELLEY:
No.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But he was in direct combat, do you think?
LARRY KELLEY:
He was on the carriers.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
And he was a steam—he worked with the steam engines. He was a fireman, I think, what they called it back then.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. Keeping the boilers going.
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. His hair turned white at a real early age, and he's always said it was because of the heat from the boilers. [Laughter] That was always what he said, but he was Irish and he was real light skinned. But anyhow, he farmed for a few years and finally he put up a gristmill. And he had him an out building there at the house

Page 5
that he ground cornmeal on Saturday for neighbors and the area people. They would come. And he used an old Model T engine to pull the gristmill. So his business got good enough that he built another place out on the place we're going to go look at. And every Saturday they ground cornmeal, and lots of times until midnight on Saturday night. They had oil lanterns. If you can imagine, I've still got the mill rocks that he used to grind cornmeal back in 1927. And I ground cornmeal with it a few years back, but I used a different power unit, different power to pull it with. You've got to know how to use it. But he and my grandma runned it, and he farmed during the week. And then he put in a sawmill. The sawmill was put in in 1927. He bought a junk—two junk sawmills and put them together. One of them was a Frick Carriage and he had Meadows parts on it. In those days he had no money. He couldn't get a hold of any money so he just worked; days and night and rainy days and stuff he'd work to put the sawmill together, and got a steam engine and pulled it with steam. And then when the Depression came they couldn't sell any lumber. So what he—what anything he did do he cut it for half. If anybody brought him logs to build a house with, they didn't have any money to pay him. And finally he sawed lumber until he had lumber stacked everywhere. He couldn't sell it and he couldn't keep working.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So he did it on share or [unclear] .
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah, uh-huh, for half. And when the Depression came—I've heard him tell this story many, many, many times. He had to shut his sawmill down. He was only charging something like $2 a thousand [unclear] feet to saw. And when the Depression came he had to close the mill down and went to ditching for the county or the state for fifty cents a day.

Page 6
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You mean with a hand shovel.
LARRY KELLEY:
With a hand shovel, yeah. And so he worked like that to get enough nickels and dimes to get something to eat. They grew everything they had except they had to buy sugar and stuff like that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Meanwhile all this wood is still setting there?
LARRY KELLEY:
Sat there and rotted. And at that time it was the prime timber of our country. The top grade materials that he couldn't sell.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Virgin timber.
LARRY KELLEY:
Virgin timber. A lot of it cypress, red cypress, which is—doesn't rot very easy. It'll last a long, long time on a building, and termites won't eat it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Still, it stayed long enough to rot.
LARRY KELLEY:
And my daddy just grew into the business. He was the only child. They started making corn boxes, strawberry boxes after the Depression, and all that was handmade. I've still got the machine that made those strawberry or strawberry slats and the corn boxes that were nailed together with corn box nails. I've still got the machine that does that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
We've heard about the strawberry crop being one of the biggest income producers in the county for a while.
LARRY KELLEY:
That's right.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And he was making the boxes.
LARRY KELLEY:
He was making the boxes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
For the quart size or did it hold—
LARRY KELLEY:
Quart. Then he made the carriers.

Page 7
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. And they took those carriers into the field—
LARRY KELLEY:
Right.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Filled with quart boxes and then they'd ship the whole thing off.
LARRY KELLEY:
Right.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you didn't get that back.
LARRY KELLEY:
No, unh-uh.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you had a constant job to do.
LARRY KELLEY:
Right until the new system came in where they used wire boxes. And the cost was something like—it was going to cost between fifty and a hundred thousand dollars to get set up in that, and he couldn't see that it would be worth it. So he had a steam room to steam the blocks, and he used sweet gum, which was a real easy to find material. And they used a steam room to steam it to make it soft so that they could veneer it. I've still got the veneer machine that they put those blocks in. It peeled it a sixteenth of an inch thick or something, real thin stuff. And it had to be where you could bend it to make those corn—those strawberry coats. People around in the neighborhood worked there during the season, and at night. At that time people just didn't have a lot of money and children, after school, would come and work [unclear] . But all that's changed now. You can't use child labor anymore. But they were paid by the piece. That all changed back in the early forties.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, how about your parents?
LARRY KELLEY:
My dad was—run the sawmill.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
When was he born?
BETTY KELLEY:
Twenty-seven.

Page 8
LARRY KELLEY:
Granddaddy was twenty-seven years old when he got married. And he was born a few years after that. And he was born in 1896, so 1896 and twenty-seven—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It would be just 1924.
LARRY KELLEY:
Okay.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Or '23.
LARRY KELLEY:
So daddy would have been about seventy-five now. He's dead.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
He'd been about seventy-five.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Seventy-five, okay, plus twenty-four is ninety-nine.
LARRY KELLEY:
So he was born somewhere along there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
But he worked—and granddaddy and he worked together [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did he go off—did he go to school over here at the Northeast School your dad?
BETTY KELLEY:
He went to Wallace, didn't he?
LARRY KELLEY:
He went to Wallace School, but I can't—. I know my granddaddy went to the [unclear] schools out here. He went to one of those schools. But now, I don't know if my daddy went to them or not.
BETTY KELLEY:
Harry and them, they went to Wallace. I think your daddy went to Davis.
LARRY KELLEY:
It was one of the Wallace schools. And then he graduated from Wallace School and never went to college. Back in the forties they mostly run the sawmill. And as far as the gristmill, at that time it was paying out. But even while he run the sawmill

Page 9
he ground cornmeal on the side right on for years and years and years and years. I've still got the building that the gristmill was set up in.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, where are all these things stored that you still have?
BETTY KELLEY:
Down at the mill.
LARRY KELLEY:
Some of them's inside—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Inside the mill.
LARRY KELLEY:
Inside the old mill. I've got two mills down there; sawmill, too, and the veneer mill, which they used to make the corn boxes and strawberry sacks and stuff. It's not under a shelter. But it ought to have been. The storms have come and blowed them down, and I just didn't have anywhere to put it. I had a fire a few years back, so I had to move the shingle. It liked to burn it up. But I got it out, and I never put it under the shelter. Just got busy and never did. But I'm fifty-four years old and I know how to operate all of that. The only thing I've never operated was the veneer machine. I've never veneered anything. I've always wanted to. And I've had people from way off coming in wants to buy this stuff for a few dollars, you know. But I wouldn't sell it.
BETTY KELLEY:
When did they start the sand business, Larry?
LARRY KELLEY:
Started the sand business in the early fifties—late forties, after the war.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You were born what year?
LARRY KELLEY:
I was born in '45.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Forty-five. About the time you were born they were starting this.
LARRY KELLEY:
My granddaddy or my grandmother on my daddy's side had some brothers that during the Depression had moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. They couldn't find anything to do around here, and so they had moved to St. Petersburg. And they went to

Page 10
visit them. In the meantime, there was a sand company out of Key Largo not too far from St. Petersburg. He went over to see the operation, and he come back home and put in masonry sand and concrete sand. Devised everything, made it homemade; bought the pump, sand pump, and had an old Ellis Chandler motor put on it. Built a barge out of barrels—steel drums—with a wood frame around it and wires that hold the barrels underneath it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And this is your brother?
LARRY KELLEY:
This was my dad.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Your dad.
LARRY KELLEY:
My dad and granddad.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. And what's your dad's name?
LARRY KELLEY:
His name was J. W. Kelley.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
J. W., James—
LARRY KELLEY:
James Wilton.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
And this was late forties, early fifties about. So they started in the sand business together. They always worked together, dad and granddad.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now we saw a sand business. You go on down 41 and take a right like you're going to Maple Hill.
LARRY KELLEY:
They started when I quit.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. That's not yours? Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
They started by building a binge that was high enough to back trucks underneath. Made it out of wood; they built it out of oak and cypress with hartford

Page 11
bottom bins with a slide gate in the bottom of it. The top of it was about thirty—thirty-five feet tall. And they used four-inch pipe to pump the sand. I'll take you down and show you the farm where they used to pump sand. Or where I pumped sand. And they pumped sand for years and furnished the contractors around. Back in the sixties there were a lot of FHA homes being built in this area—sixties and seventies, especially in the sixties. I believe they called them a Plan 90 or something. But they were two or three bedrooms, small homes, brick homes. And we stayed busy hauling sand. We had white sand, and we hauled it all around.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It comes right out of the river, or does it come out of the ground?
LARRY KELLEY:
No. We just—we started and dug a hole. Down on a hill back in the woods there's a swamp all the way around it. [There is] a river and the river swamp, and there's another swamp that comes in around it. And there's a big hill back there and he had cleaned—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And that's in the Northeast community?
LARRY KELLEY:
That's right behind the mill.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
They started digging sand out of there, and it was white sand. And it devised the screens. They had turning screens with gasoline engines to turn the screen to pump the sand into. That would separate the coarse [sand] from the fine, and the rocks or the trash or any roots that were pumped in would be strained out of it. When it come out it was just like beach sand but it wasn't dead sand. It was good builders' sand, the best in this part of the country.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What is dead sand? You mean you can't use beach sand?

Page 12
LARRY KELLEY:
You go down to the beach and you walking on it and you hear it making a noise—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Squeak.
LARRY KELLEY:
Squeak, squeak. That's dead sand. If you mix dead sand and cement there'll always—you can go over there and sweep it and you'll always have a dust. That's just because of the cement on the mortar mix. It's because of the sand. The sand's dead. See, people don't go down to the beach to use beach sand to mix concrete with.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Partly has to do with the salt in it, I guess?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, I can't answer that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
I don't know, but I know it's so fine that it won't hold. But this was some of the best sand in this part of the country. And finally regulations and things put us out of business back in 1980.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But you had taken it over. It was your business.
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah. I'd taken it over. And back in the early seventies it would have been after we got married.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Y'all got married in the early seventies. BK/
LARRY KELLEY:
Sixty-five.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Sixty-five, okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
And so we worked together. Granddaddy was [in] retirement and was not able to work. But he was around every day. He was—he was mighty special to me. And dad started—he moved down to Florida and kind of retired down there. He stayed here

Page 13
and went through the—they called it the recession—in '79. And there was another gas time in '73 or four, I believe, that you couldn't get any gas, and you couldn't haul sand because you didn't have any gas. We could get just maybe a hundred gallons every week or something to run the trucks with. It was tough times. In the meantime, I was working in the sand business and started raising a few hogs. Before the hogs we had chickens. We bought our chickens and put them in a—paid thirty-three cents a piece for day old biddies that were a special breed for layers.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This was before the chicken integrators moved in.
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah. This was in the later part of the sixties. We fed chickens, picked up eggs seven days a week and sold them for eight cents a dozen.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where'd you sell them?
LARRY KELLEY:
We had two markets: one in Beulahville and one in Burgaw.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You weren't a contract grower.
LARRY KELLEY:
No. We were private.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You were private, but you had a contract with them to buy—
LARRY KELLEY:
Nineteen fifty-eight daddy put up the first feed mill, and he moved the sawmill back, which was close to the road, Highway 41. It was even closer to the highway then. Sometime in the forties they changed the road that went by my house. And you know where Betsy lives?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Um-hmm.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, that house that sits back off the road, the main road went back to her house, and curved back out towards the fire department and went by my granddaddy's house. Then when the road changed in the forties and they paved the road—

Page 14
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This road, Highway 41, wasn't paved until the forties?
LARRY KELLEY:
I can't tell you just when it was paved. But it was after the Depression, I think; it could've been the late forties.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. But ever since you can remember it's been paved.
LARRY KELLEY:
Ever since I can remember it's been paved. So it was paved before I was born. But we sold eggs for eight cents a dozen—two dollars and forty cents for a thirty dozen crate delivered to Berg Owen. Had to buy our crates and flats back. I lost—after the first flock I lost a hundred and some dollars and all my labor. And we had our own mill, so I could buy everything as cheap as I could buy it. Along then all the corn that was coming in was coming in being pulled by hand. [unclear] that pulled the ear off the stalk. And all the corn was brought into the mill in the fall of the year until [unclear] or spring. They'd be pulling corn. Many, many, many days in the fall corn would be lined up in pick up trucks and tractors and anyway people had to move the corn in both directions, down the highway as far as you could see. And they had to go through the sheller and the corncobs. The shucks were brought out one area; the corncobs went in the truck that didn't have a dump on it. That was my job every day after school. I had to unload the trucks loaded with corncobs back in a field that was wire grass. But for years people hauled their corn to the mill. And at night after the mill would shut up, sometimes we'd work until midnight. I remember many, many nights when I was in school when I'd—me and my brother both were in the band—the high school—it was the high school band, but we weren't in the high school. We were in grammar grades, but we were in the band and we'd play for football games on Friday night. And sometimes we couldn't hardly get off to go because of unloading corn and baling shucks. If dew fell on the shucks you

Page 15
couldn't bale them. We had to bale shucks until midnight one night. In the meantime, he and I had thirty, forty day—old calves that we fed in the morning before we went to school, and sometimes as many as fifty. We got them from the dairy down [unclear] . But that mill went on for two years, and then the business kind of grew. Then the combines came along. We put in grain bins and built another mill.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You built another mill?
LARRY KELLEY:
My dad.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Your dad did.
LARRY KELLEY:
My dad built another mill. But I was there and [unclear] to work.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And what was the mill called?
LARRY KELLEY:
Kelley's Mill.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
J. W. Kelley Milling Company.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. And you continued on with the sand business. Did you keep running the grain business, too?
LARRY KELLEY:
My brother took the grain business after he had retired. He quit in, what year Betty?
BETTY KELLEY:
Who, Dick?
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah.
BETTY KELLEY:
[unclear]
LARRY KELLEY:
About eighteen, eighteen, twenty years ago. So it's '99.
BETTY KELLEY:
[unclear] .

Page 16
LARRY KELLEY:
He quit about seventy, late seventies when things began to change when this corporate farming came in. The chickens were already [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Nash Johnson and—
LARRY KELLEY:
The earliest one was Ramsey [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Ramsey.
LARRY KELLEY:
And after—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They started milling their own feed, and so that took a lot of your business, I guess.
LARRY KELLEY:
Everybody for as long as I can remember up until this period of time, late seventies, everybody had hogs, cows, a few horses, but mainly hogs and cows and chickens and turkeys. And then the chicken people put in and so we lost the chicken feed business, but we still had the dairies in this area. We served several dairies: Penderlee and that area and then back out the other side of Wallace. Then finally the dairies went out. When they had a buy out the dairies closed down, and I don't know—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Was this in the eighties?
LARRY KELLEY:
Late seventies.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Late seventies.
LARRY KELLEY:
And so after the dairies closed up, the chicken business stopped. I sold hogs when I was—we were in the feed mill business and we were married and I sold hogs for nine cents a pound. And I decided at that time—that was early seventies, late sixties, early seventies—that if I was going to have to give away what I was working for I was going to give it to somebody I knew. So I killed hogs two or three times that winter. I killed most of the hogs that I had that were ready to go to market, and sold the meat at

Page 17
the house. I sold fresh sausage that was stuffed for sixty-five cents a pound. They would pay me nine cents a pound for it. My granddaddy said in [unclear] 's time during the Depression, he could get three cent a pound for a top hog in the Depression. And we were living in a good economy and everything and I was losing thirty, forty dollar a head to sell the hogs. I decided I'd kill them. I cured the hams. That year we never had a frost, and I killed hogs several times. And you had to keep the meat six weeks, so I had to separate the time in killing them. I had to buy ice from the ice plant and put those big, huge blocks of ice down on the ground and build a rack out of cypress strips to put on top of that ice. We packed the meat up and then we salted it. Packed it up and they covered up real good in the smoke house. We saved all the meat, and we done that several, a couple or three times that way. Those hams, I got a dollar and a quarter a pound for them the next fall. People as far off as Florida came and bought all the hams I had.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You only did that one time?
LARRY KELLEY:
No, we did that—well, I done it right on for years. I killed hogs every year. In fact, we killed hogs up until two years ago. So I've got everything it takes to kill hogs. And I've got a cousin that worked for the Department of Agriculture under Jim Graham. He was over the stations. His name was Pat Kelley. Do you know Pat?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
No, I don't.
BETTY KELLEY:
He's retired now isn't he, Larry?
LARRY KELLEY:
Pat? Yeah. He's retired now. I saw Pat at a funeral. An aunt died, and I preached her funeral. After the funeral I was talking to him and he said he did want to be in another hog killing like we used to do. And I said, "You would come down here and send somebody and shut us down." And he said, "No. I want to see it done and be in it

Page 18
one more time." And he said, "I want to bring some buddies from Raleigh down here that's never seen a hog killing."
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's the way y'all did it for all those head of hogs? You were doing it out back, and outside and all that?
LARRY KELLEY:
We started—I'd start every morning about four o'clock, put water in it a few days before. And it was built out of tin and cypress, had wood sides to it and the bottom was tin. Built and dug a pit and set it down over—the sides were tapered, and we had strips across the bottom to support the weight of the hog. We put a smokestack in the back of it and we fed it from the front. And it would draw like a chimney. Along then when we were killing hogs it was cold. It'd be down in the teens and everything froze up. And we'd start hog killings in the morning about four o'clock. And then everything thawed out. We killed just what we could working at the time.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How many?
LARRY KELLEY:
No more than two or three. We [unclear] them and got them hung up and gutted and dressed, and go back and kill some more. And then come back [unclear] —and the best that we could that day and then start cutting them up. It'd take us a week to have a hog killing. The last time we had one we did up seven hogs in one day. I carried them and had them dressed, and brought them back—no, picked them up that morning at eight o'clock, eight thirty [unclear] three hundred fifty pound [unclear] . And so our equipment changed, ideas changed and we're getting more shipments. So we made liver pudding, sausage, even canned pork in jars like we used to do years ago. But we used pressure cookers.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now as you say, the Department of Agriculture would say you have to

Page 19
have it inspected; you have to have a kitchen that's inspected and all that. You were able to do it without—
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, you can still do it. I don't think there's any law against killing hogs at home.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
For your own consumption.
LARRY KELLEY:
Because back in the sixties I'd kill hogs at home and save the meat, which probably then was illegal. But when you're perished to death, you've got no money. You have to do whatever you have to do. Well, a top hog weighs two hundred pounds and it'll cost you eighteen dollars. And a ham—if a ham weighs twenty-five pounds, at a dollar and a quarter one ham would be—.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Uh-huh. That's the way to go.
LARRY KELLEY:
We've seen some tough times. I remember my granddaddy talking about his times, but we've seen some tough times on the farm. And farmers can't keep on moving. They can't keep going after the dollar.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But now so many of them are producing hogs. They're contracted.
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How much a pound are they getting?
LARRY KELLEY:
Most of the time they're getting feed conversions plus so much a head. So the feed conversion is real good—they'll get more plus they'll make so much a head. It can vary. I don't know what they make. But just imagine this now. The hogs belong to the feed company. The medication belongs to the feed company. The—everything that goes with the hog belongs to the feed company except the labor and the house and the land, but when that hog dies that hog belongs to the farmer.

Page 20
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How so? Doesn't get paid for it, in other words.
LARRY KELLEY:
He doesn't get paid for it and he has to dispose of it. And now they have to incinerate them. I think that's the most unfair thing that ever happened. I mean, responsibility stops whenever the hog—or the animal dies, then it belongs to the man who had to work through the hot and cold and everything to dispose of it. And there's no protection for him.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. Well, it's important to talk about that. I don't know how much you feel comfortable talking about it, if it's a problem. But so many people think hog industry is one entity that is polluting the rivers. And that's all they know about it. But as you're describing it, there are these farmers who are struggling out there who have hard times and who really can't survive without a contract. But then that's unfair, too. They're caught in the middle. Is that what you're saying?
BETTY KELLEY:
Our son-in-law does this. Bobby does it for a living.
LARRY KELLEY:
Our son-in-law [unclear] . Well, they have the pollution. They have the smell. They have the work that is not very favorable. I mean, you're always in the manure and the smell of it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But you used to raise hogs. I mean, how is it different. I mean, it was a pleasurable thing? You wanted to do it?
LARRY KELLEY:
My hogs were raised—we grew them out on dirt.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did that pollute anything?
LARRY KELLEY:
Sure it did. You could smell it, but you didn't have the smell that you have now. And we used sand hills and places that were back off the road and away from people's houses.

Page 21
BETTY KELLEY:
In the woods.
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah. But you didn't have the smell that you've got now. You didn't have the concentration or the numbers. See, Duplin County is growing more pork than any other county around—Duplin and Sampson County, this area. Along with that production comes pollution. And the by-products—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And they have hogs at a more confined area, more per square foot, right? How many hogs approximately does one grow or have now?
LARRY KELLEY:
Oh they can have anywhere from a thousand to several thousand. And then at least two to three bunches a year. Then you've got your pig factories. The pigs are raised in one place and then they're shipped to another place that grows them up to bigger pig size, and then they're sent to the grow out houses. So it's three different stages of the operations now. Everything's under—in a house—under controlled climate. See that—we had that situation to decide whether—just like in the old days when granddaddy and daddy quit making corn boxes. I'll tell you just exactly what happened. They farmed, too. And they made the corn boxes and strawberry cups and sold them to the farmers. In turn when they carried their crops to market, the buyer told them, says, "If you use my baskets and my boxes and my cups, I'll buy your strawberries and your corn. But if you don't, I'm not going to buy your crop." So the man that bought the produce on the produce markets in Wallace and Fason started buying boxes from them, too. You know, you're factoring bringing into here making a profit on them selling them to the farmer. And then buying their produce back. And the hogs—either he had to change over to the new style box or quit. So—I've still got some corn boxes.
BETTY KELLEY:
They didn't get floated away, sugar?

Page 22
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, we hung them in top of the pack house that were made back fifty, fifty, sixty years ago. I saved them. When the building blew down in Fran I took those boxes and moved them to another place. To just show grandchildren a little bit of the history of how we worked.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And how is that like—you said that was an example like the hog business.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, the hog business—we had to make a decision whether to go into the contract growers or continue on working with individuals that had their own few animals on the farm. And so I knew that we either had to get bigger or close down. And my brother was running the feed mill and he couldn't make a go of it. So at that time my daddy still had ownership of it, and he leased it to someone else that was close kin to the Murphys. He made cow feed for Murphys and stuff like that. But their production was in hog feed. And you use a much rougher roughage in the feed for cows than you do for hogs. And so he stayed on for about eighteen years and closed up last year.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And why did he decide to close up last year?
LARRY KELLEY:
There was no—there was no business.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
No cattle feed to speak of.
LARRY KELLEY:
No cattle feed.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Because there were no cattle.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, Murphy, see, has got cattle on all their hog farms to eat the grass where they spray this stuff out of the lagoon, the manure. They spray it on pastures and put cows on it to eat the grass.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So most all Murphy contract growers have cattle, or the cattle belongs to Murphy, too?

Page 23
LARRY KELLEY:
Most of the time the cattle belongs to Murphy, too.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, okay. And Murphy is from right here. He's from this county. Did he start growing hogs like you did?
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah. In fact we made feed for him.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A few at a time.
LARRY KELLEY:
We made feed for Wendell and his daddy, Holmes Murphy, when they first started—before they ever put up their mill. They put up their mill over here at Register's. And I heard Wendell tell this story many times. He started with $10,000. His daddy had to sign for him to borrow $10,000, and he put up a feed mill. And they started feeding cattle, and they went broke. And he went back, and rearranged and started back again. And I'm sure he'd tell you they've been broke at least two or three times and have managed to come back.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What changed? What made him so successful? He went broke three times.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well they went into corporate—this big, big contract growers. And one of the big feed companies, I'm sure were backing—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
He started using the poultry model. Is that where he got it, you think, from the turkey growing system?
LARRY KELLEY:
I don't know, but I think Wendell was the main one who came to poultry—I mean the hog houses and stuff. And the designs have changed over the last twenty years. He took hogs and they were growing hogs on ground. And they went to the confinement to keep the hogs from running away on the ground and fighting the

Page 24
elements—cold weather, hot weather. They lost more—probably more hogs in hot weather than they do cold weather. So—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So these houses they have now are air-conditioned, heated?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, they're vented either by fans and your pig—their houses are climate controlled [unclear] . But your—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You began talking about the feed mill. You said something about it being from a past era. But you kept running it anyway. That it was obsolete, I think you used that word. At some point you began to realize that agriculture was marching on to a different tune. And you were still in the old feed mill and old business, or at least your brother was.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, he—they decided that they didn't want to have to put up the money to go into this new style hog producing. We've done—I've done some of it before he quit. I had some—I had two people that were contract growing pigs for me. I furnished the sows and all the stuff.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
For your slaughter business, your meat selling business.
LARRY KELLEY:
I quit the meat.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. This is after that.
LARRY KELLEY:
I killed just for myself. Later on—I don't remember what year it was—hogs fell down in about '70. Anyhow, I lost sixty, seventy thousand dollars in just one year's time. In the fall I had gone to PCA in Kenansville, Production Credit, and borrowed enough money to buy grain to feed my hogs for another year. And hog prices were down so until I didn't have enough to sell on the futures' market.

Page 25
And I was—the cash that was coming in was not enough. The profit was gone and I was losing $40, $50, $60 a head on every hog I sold, so I decided—after I had already got the financing—to quit. And I started selling it, and in 1979, '80 I quit the sand business. I went in and rebuilt everything—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You quit the hog business what year?
LARRY KELLEY:
Along the same time.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. Sand and hogs—
LARRY KELLEY:
It was during—it was during what they called the recession. When Reagan come in—when Reagan come in I was ready to see Reagan. But I didn't know that Reagan was going to cost me everything that I had worked for. The farm prices and everything fell, and he was cutting the fat. He cut our livelihood completely out. And I'm not saying that Reagan was not a good president. I still agreed with him on a lot of things, but as I look back, he cost me everything that I had worked for as far as economical things that helped us in this part of the country. And when you lose that kind of money and keep right on pumping money into it—I have learned since that if you've got enough money and can survive, and the people that are backing you will back you long enough, you can come out and make money. My philosophy was, when I was in the boat and I was in the ocean, and I couldn't see land and the water was coming in the bottom of it and I couldn't bail it out fast enough, the ultimate thing that was going to happen to me was I was going to perish. I was going to die. And so I quit my business. And the sand business, we had three different government regulators that came in and told us what to do and how to do it, and didn't supply any money. They spent my profit for me. And at that time house building had stopped completely; there was no new

Page 26
houses being built. The only things that were being built was a little bit of large construction and it was very little, not enough to survive. We had supplied even contractors on Camp LeJeune, a few contractors on Fort Bragg, we had supplied golf courses. At that time they were building golf courses everywhere. But when money gets tight, you know, sand traps are the last ones to get—last things that gets fixed or replaced. And so it just got to the place where we didn't have any—there was no market for our product.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So the river had supplied plenty of sand. It wasn't a problem of finding the sand. It was still there in that swamp?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, on our land we had sand left but it was getting on down. But we couldn't pump out of the river; you couldn't go to the river.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That was one of the regulations.
LARRY KELLEY:
You had to stay away from the river.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So that old barge that was made at one point—
LARRY KELLEY:
That old barge was replaced in the seventies, I believe, with a steel barge that was three foot deep, quarter inch or three eighths metal. The steel came out of a jail they tore down in Greenville. It was solid sheets of steel, great big sheets that they cut out of a prison, a county jail. Anyhow, we got it, got it built. A man down at Snead's Ferry built it, and we hauled it back here and put it in the water. We put a [unclear] diesel on it and rebuilt the pump, and I used it. And the pump—just had the pump rebuilt, put new liners in it and had it ready to go. And inspectors were down here every week or two, and just so many regulations we just couldn't—we couldn't meet the regulations. So in '79 I said I'm quitting. The last time the last inspector came we had inspectors out of

Page 27
Memphis, Tennessee. We had some state inspectors, and then we had a regional, area inspector. He was from over around [unclear] . But the last thing I'd done I had just started up. I'd been down for a month rebuilding everything. We had put chains around the barge so the man couldn't fall off. We had life jackets. We had signs up. But I didn't have a toilet on the hill. I didn't have no speed limit signs on the road going in—five mile an hour speed limit sign. And he wrote me up $80,000 worth of citations that day. And my dad had got on the barge, and I mean, he wasn't working. He'd just come down and got on the barge, and he didn't have a life jacket on. And we were in water about three foot deep. The barge just was floating.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And that was one of the citations?
LARRY KELLEY:
I told them I said, "Do whatever you have to do." So I shut it down. Eighty thousand dollars in citations. We furnished a reconstruction program every year. [Sliding door opens and closes.] We had to be bonded. It just put us out of business.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Yeah, so, in my mind that's a clean industry to have. You're just harvesting sand that's washed down by the river.
LARRY KELLEY:
We had a lake. I was not [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It wasn't at the river even, but it was—
LARRY KELLEY:
It was just on a pond, and we were just making a plumb digger by pumping the sand out and hauling.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It was just down in the ground, and as you dug it out the water was filling back.
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well that's so—

Page 28
LARRY KELLEY:
Sad.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It is. It is sad, because here was a business that was running. And now we have, in comparison, these hog businesses that are polluting the river, doing lots of damage. We've been hearing story after story of hog manure going into houses and getting all over their clothing and every book they have, and so forth. And that isn't regulated out of business at all. I mean, it's something that continues.
LARRY KELLEY:
And liability is going back on the producer and not on the—on the grower, not the company. The farmer, the farm person who has inherited or worked a public job and bought him a piece of land big enough to start a hog operation that's struggled, that's paid taxes. And when he put in that hog operation his taxes just went to thousands of dollars a year in property tax.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It goes to buildings, or—
LARRY KELLEY:
The buildings, because of the amount of borrowed money that went into circulation. He's had to pay so much property tax.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So it's really nothing he owns. It's something that's setting there that the bank owns.
LARRY KELLEY:
That's right. That's exactly right. And then if he doesn't make his payments—. A lot of the folks they say now they would have never done it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And now how do they get out?
LARRY KELLEY:
They've got to work it out to pay for their houses. And when they get them paid for they'll be obsolete and they'll have to be disposed of, or let it rot down or whatever, or build new ones—tear them down and build new ones. And they're already cutting out a lot of the growers.

Page 29
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They're—why are they doing that?
LARRY KELLEY:
Obsolete.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh.
LARRY KELLEY:
We cut a piece of timber over in the Beulahville area, and the houses were some of the first ones that were built for hogs back there. They're paid for. Stood a chance then to make a good living. And a hog house is something you can't grow anything else in but hogs. You can't convert it into anything else. A chicken house or a turkey house you can use to store a tractor, equipment, farm equipment.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But a hog house not. So you got into the timber business, and you mentioned removing debris. You also mentioned that—you said something about being a preacher. These are things that I haven't heard you talk about at all.
LARRY KELLEY:
In 1980 things got mighty tough. And I always felt like that I had the strength to endure anything. I was not afraid of anybody or anything. And oftentimes in years past my wife would ask me, "How are you going to do what you're starting out to do?" And I said, "Well, I'm going to start." My granddaddy used to tell me in my younger days—he was eighty-four when he died—he told me, says, "I can't tell you what to do, but—he says, I'll help you." And he helped me. I had a place at the beach in 1979, '80, and things got bad. I sold it, paid off what I had that I could pay off.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did you have to pay those citations or did you just sell the business to pay for them?
LARRY KELLEY:
I didn't sell the business. I just stopped operations and told them I just wasn't going to pay it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.

Page 30
LARRY KELLEY:
And daddy still had title to the land. The bond was in his name, so they just backed off. They broke me and then the times broke me, Reagan's time broke me. And so I quit. I sold out the hogs. In the meantime, we had trucks that were hauling produce to Florida and freight back south. [Noise as before—air conditioner—subject extremely difficult to hear.] And every truck that went from Florida to Boston I was losing a hundred dollars—the fuel went to a dollar and forty, fifty, sixty cents a gallon; tires were out of sight; freight went down. It's hard to believe. It's hard to believe. Probably you didn't see [unclear] weren't aware of these things. How old are you?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I'm forty-three now. I remember the gas lines.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, I shut the truck—I shut the trucks down. I owed some of them [unclear] trucks. I managed to sell the trucks to pay the bank on. What some small debts that I couldn't pay I was sued at district court before the magistrate, and made payments and paid them off. And I was uneasy to try anything else. In 1981 I give my heart to the Lord, and he called me into the ministry. I went to bible school several semesters with a teenage family. While I was in bible school I started pastoring the church.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What bible school?
LARRY KELLEY:
Heritage Bible College in Dillon, North Carolina.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And they're what denomination?
LARRY KELLEY:
PFWB, Penecostal Freewill Baptist.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
The same as our home church.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Are you the pastor of the church here?

Page 31
LARRY KELLEY:
No. I've been out for two or three years. I haven't gone to the church. This is our daughter-in-law, Carol.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Hi Carol. I'm Charlie Thompson.
LARRY KELLEY:
This is Charlie, and this is our youngest grandson. He was born right after the flood.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The night you made it out.
LARRY KELLEY:
That's one of the reasons we had to get somewhere to live.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right.
LARRY KELLEY:
And FEMA was promising us but they never would do anything.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, tell me a little bit about the timber business and the debris removal, and then I want to hear about the flood.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, after all these years I had the sawmill. Daddy was building some houses down in Florida in his retirement. He was gone a lot. In fact, I cut the lumber and hauled the lumber, sheet rock and materials down to Florida when he built his first houses in a way out about place; he bought land cheap. But he furnished the timber, dressed it. Got a planer, got all, everything it takes to fix the wood. And all the years in the meantime I was still running the sawmill. So I learned from my granddaddy how to run the sawmill and all these other things, and we just kept running the mill. And after I went to college I pastored a real small church. The [unclear] property started a church.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where was that?
LARRY KELLEY:
Down in Willard. [unclear] went back and stayed [unclear] . After three or four years I went back [unclear] eleven months I went back again for four years. And I started to work for the county sheltered workshop employing handicapped people. I worked

Page 32
there for probably two or three years part—time. [unclear] first year I was working for college. And [unclear] truck [unclear] worked with handicapped people [unclear] . We had a hundred twenty-five clients plus they had [unclear] at that time. And I had eight or ten that helped me in the sawmill. In the process of putting in a [unclear] . It cuts prepared lumber. You don't cut logs with it, but you can cut timber into smaller stuff with special things. Their product was pallets and boxes—these cucumber boxes, twenty bushel boxes. You've seen the cucumber boxes. They have a [unclear] and [unclear] . It's all built out of oak. Well, this gang mill was designed and set up for them to buy [unclear] from what they call box grade material, which was a [unclear] the hardwood timber box. And most of the time the size would be a four by six. [unclear] sixteen [unclear] . And when we were building those boxes the [unclear] material oak [unclear] . So I worked there for a year [unclear] . They backed out of the program because of liability. [unclear] clients that were so handicapped after I finished getting the mill in it had been started and stopped. And I finished putting the mill in and setting up, and I was the first one to ever cut any timber with it. And I used the clients—some couldn't even carry on a conversation—and I got all the new ones that come in. And I had to [Baby crying] [unclear] with them. And they were paid according to—on that job they were paid according to the hour. But they were paid according to their capabilities, which I had to do all that kind of work. And [unclear] tractor trailer load of four by sixes in the [unclear] material that varied anywhere from thirty-three and a quarter inches down to four foot long. And we'd cut two by fours. We'd cut slats that was a half-inch. They were—years past they were buying stuff already cut [unclear] materials. We started [unclear] cutting all the stuff there, if you can imagine cutting that much material and using handicapped labor. We didn't work but four hours a day. I went to work at eight o'clock, but we didn't start until everybody got there. We

Page 33
took a break. We took a lunch break, an afternoon break, and stopped at [unclear] . We had [unclear] working there. I had eight to ten people at there working [unclear] cut off saw, cut it in blocks. Our people were very work involved—the early twenties to up in their sixties—and it was just a matter of getting a person for the job. And I took them through that program and always get new ones. But if you can imagine unloading a tractor trailer. I'm talking about eleven, twelve thousand feet, board feet of timbers, and carrying it back over to Portmouth [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's an accomplishment. So you're now—are you still in the sawmill business?
LARRY KELLEY:
I've still got the sawmill. It hasn't been run since [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Since [unclear] .
LARRY KELLEY:
[unclear] [Baby crying.] Since the flood, the engine went underwater. It drained everything but the [unclear] . [Baby crying. Subject cannot be heard. Noise of air conditioning continues to obscure subject as well.]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And you've been working on the debris removal? Is that what you're doing with most of [unclear] [Baby crying.]
LARRY KELLEY:
I left mental health in the eighties. I went to Clinton and worked for Turlington Lumber Company. I never saw a band saw in my life.[Telephone rings.] I went up there and got a job [unclear] a band saw. After that—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Turlington?
LARRY KELLEY:
Turlington [unclear] right in Clinton [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh Clinton, okay.

Page 34
LARRY KELLEY:
And I stayed there a year, and come back to Wallace [unclear] and worked there until they closed. In the meantime the boys were working for somebody else [unclear] . And they were working twelve, fourteen hours a day [unclear] . And I was—I was working at Gobbitts, and I said, "I'll help you start the logging business, if you'll work for yourself like you work for other people [unclear] ." So five years ago [unclear] two of them. Cutting trees down with chain saws. We have one truck and two chain saws. Everything was done by hand with a little motor on the back of a Chevrolet truck that I bought for $20,000. I bought a big truck, a pick-up, a [unclear] and a [unclear] and [unclear] and [unclear] truck for $20,000 on credit, no money down. And I paid for it in two years. And they were down-after this storm they just started cleaning up debris. They have been going here in Duplin County and one in Sampson County. They're picking up the stumps that nobody else can get. Big trees that are blowed over, they're having to cut them up in small pieces to get them off of the root system. And both of them are hauling [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There's a landfill between Clinton and Roseboro.
LARRY KELLEY:
It's a private or [unclear] landfill.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where much of the debris is going. Well, you want to talk some about your experience with FEMA? You live down there on Highway 41. That's about where we are now. That's where your house is, right?
LARRY KELLEY:
FEMA promised they were going to help us. After several weeks they sent us a check for $337 and [unclear] . I had some property, houses that I was renting out, and I felt like I couldn't tell the people to move out so I could have somewhere to stay. I didn't feel like that was right. And so we had no where to stay. They kept promising us—"We'll going to get you a camper." And they never did.

Page 35
CHARLES THOMPSON:
When was that they told you they'd get you one?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well this was—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You contacted their 800 number?
LARRY KELLEY:
Oh, oh yeah. They called me two or three times a week on my mobile. That's before we got a telephone, anyway.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Before you had electricity, wasn't it?
LARRY KELLEY:
No, we had current here. See, down in that area we—some places don't have current now. Where my daughter lives—you know where you turn up here at the crossroads and went that way?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Yes.
LARRY KELLEY:
Before you get out to the highway, she lives up there. And that's where we were staying after the storm. We stayed there with all our family together.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You and your wife—Betty and your daughter and her children and husband. Anybody else?
LARRY KELLEY:
Our son, his wife and their two children. My daughter, her husband was sleeping in a chair, sitting up. And he was—had hogs and stuff. And current come back on Friday afternoon. We got up Friday morning the water was up at the edge of the yard where it got to in 1962, so I knew we were going to have to move out. And I had a generator running. I had got up early that morning and took a shower and shaved and everything. And I saw motion in front of the house and saw trying to get people out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Saw the truck going back toward—?
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah. And that was on up in the day after we had—my son-in-law went and got his big truck and came back. I had—a freezer was setting—we had two freezers

Page 36
there on my garage, and I said, "We're going to get the freezers." And they said, "No. We're going to leave the freezers. Just get what you've got to have." [Baby crying.] I said, "I'm not leaving without the freezers." I had a generator and [unclear] trailer. We hooked it to one of the cars and I loaded up one of my lawn mowers, riding lawn mower—we had two—and got my push mower. Loaded all I could in the—didn't get any clothes or anything at that time. I just thought the water was so low, you know, [unclear] and [unclear] too fast. And that morning about five o'clock or eight that morning it was in the yard and fixing to go in [unclear] . And so I had a tractor, front-end loader, got in and loaded the freezer in the back of this two ton truck. My children and boys and [unclear] were with me. But we had a lot of stuff in the freezer. We had butter beans and stuff that we had saved, you know.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Raised in your garden?
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah, and a lot of things that we could live on if we could just keep. So we carried it to her house in the truck and plugged in the generator enough to keep it going. And the current come on at the house that afternoon. So all we had to do then was plug in everything to his and cut the generator off. We had fuel tanks that we used in the woods, and I had just bought two more five hundred gallon tanks on trailers. I had fueled up one of them with gas and another with diesel, so we had fuel to run the generators. And—but we didn't need the generator after the current come on. And we got the telephone back in a few days. We hung around there and they were going to help us. And the people talked real, real nice, real compassionate. I have no problem with any individual in any of the flood management. We loaded my pick-up on a [unclear] board truck after, right after lunchtime in the early part of the afternoon. And we went back through the water, which the water was just down the hill, just down this road here. And

Page 37
we went—and water up to almost the— [unclear] was on the water. The fuel tanks and the trucks, the big truck was underwater. Drove my pick up, unloaded it in front on the mill, was a little higher spot. And the water was lacking just a few inches of coming into the house. Drove my pick up to the back door, and I got my shoes and some underwear and put my suits up in the top of the closet. And I got my guns, and got what I had in the safe. I forgot to get a lock box that I had under the bed, and it got full of water with my deeds. And I got all the titles and stuff together, equipment and trucks and stuff. But anyhow, the water came in shortly after that. It was rising over a foot an hour. We probably were in one of the highest places on the road there anywhere in Northeast, and yet we got water. There were a couple of houses that didn't. They were on down the road. So we got water about a foot deep in our house, a little more, a little less. [unclear] enough to ruin everything.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And then the feed mill, too?
LARRY KELLEY:
It was something [unclear] one of them. And the two sons' houses are down behind the feed mill. [unclear] . But nobody was really devastated. We just saw it coming and accepted it. But when we were back loading the pick up on the [unclear] , we saw some of the older folks that were coming out of the back of this trucks, dump trucks and different things. And there was a little high spot right where my house is in the road; the road's banked up. And they let them out of the trucks there and there was nobody there to get them. [Competing conversation with others in room. Difficult to extrapolate conversation between interviewer and subject.] And one boy was just turning around. You know how people are, just nosey, checking things out. And they came out with some boats that had people in them. They asked them—some of the neighbors said,

Page 38
"Where do you want to go?" And I was sitting there in the pick up truck with the window down and I heard them say, "We have nowhere to go." "I have nowhere to go. I don't have any family. I don't have anywhere to go." They were loaded, some were loaded up, most of them were loaded up and carried out to tent city, to Posten Baptist Church. And some went to—as they evacuated the rest home down, they carried them out to other rest homes. That was about as heartbreaking a situation as I've ever seen in my life, because I've always felt like I was always in a position to help somebody—always seemed like I had a tractor if somebody got stuck, always had a dollar if somebody needed it. But I—nothing I could offer. [Baby screaming.] And that was the most helpless [unclear] . And it was old people.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. There are a lot of old people in the community. All of your people in the generation before you have passed on.
LARRY KELLEY:
All my people are gone. I've got a brother and a sister, and they're gone. And they were on the hill. But all my kin people are gone.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And now you're going to tear down the mill.
LARRY KELLEY:
Now we've got to. It took me awhile to decide, but I think there's nothing to do but tear it down.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Because of the water damage?
LARRY KELLEY:
Wind and water and the past two hurricanes have took its toll on it. If there was a business—the business was going on during Fran and Bertha. There was a barbershop in it. We put a logging and trucking office in the milling part of it after the mill shut down. I was running it out of our house. And just me and Betty, we had plenty

Page 39
of room so we operated out of the house. In other words, what we probably would have waited a while to do we are forced to do it now.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This is your history. This is your grandfather's place. Do you have to pay to tear it down?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, we're probably going to have to pay to get it put on the ground, but there's another situation. I've been trying to find somebody that maybe could use some of the stuff, that would just pay me to get it out or come get it out. There's two hundred and twenty-five horse electric motors, two Hammermills. One of the starters that starts those engines—those electric motors—used cost $2,500. And there's starters. There's breaker boxes. There are main boxes as big as that wall. I mean, just panel after panel of electrical boxes that somebody could use. Looks like it would be worth it to them to just come get it. And rain bins. But I'm not going to be able to find anybody that's interested in doing it. So I don't know anything to do but to salvage and just tear it down [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
As far as you know you're going to foot the bill for that.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, I think I'm going to have to. I don't know of anything that'll help me.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How about with your house? Are they paying any of that tearing out or removal of the debris?
LARRY KELLEY:
FEMA give me $4,089 to be spent for structure.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
On your house?
LARRY KELLEY:
On the house.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But nothing for the mill.

Page 40
LARRY KELLEY:
No, and they said I should apply for a SBA loan. I did. I stayed at the accountant's office for several days and prepared all the stuff. And the inspector come, looked at it and measured everything. And they called me from Atlanta, Georgia last week. They wanted all the financial information on the logging company and the trucking company. I said, "What has this got to do with me getting a loan to tear this down and build a building back?" And they said, "Well, we've got to have it." And I said, "Well forget me." They had to have every financial statement, and that would have cost me several hundred dollars at the accountant's office. I figured the best thing to do is forget it. And I told them anything that they had of mine, any paperwork, to send it to me. They said the only way I could get it was if I sent them a letter requesting it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So they've now got all this information.
LARRY KELLEY:
In the computer that it won't get out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right.
LARRY KELLEY:
And I mean, a low interest loan. I can go to the bank and get all—I can get what I need. And see the man, he knows me. When I see him at a gathering or on the street he speaks to me. If he's got a problem he can call me. I'm not afraid he's going to threaten me. He's not afraid to loan me some money. So I decided the best thing to do is leave the SBA alone. And the buyout, I've heard there's been people three years back that sold their stuff and have not got paid for it yet. I hate to spend a lot of money back on my house and that place, but I think I will. My insurance company give me just a little bit for roof damage. I put it in the bank.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Roof damage because that was wind damage.
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah.

Page 41
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But with the water damage you didn't have insurance. So many people didn't. So—well, I've got a lot of questions. The—can you talk any about the River Landing [development owned by Wendell Murphy]. You said you logged down there.
LARRY KELLEY:
We logged back when they first started building. And I told them, I said, "This place floods." And they said, "No. We checked the records. It doesn't flood, never been flooded." And I said, "I know it has." In fact, while we were in there logging—and I think that was one of the reasons they didn't let us finish was the fact that we told them it had flooded and didn't want to hear it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They didn't want to hear it. But while you were logging it flooded.
LARRY KELLEY:
It flooded. And the roads that we were using to go to our decks when we were logging at—a couple of times, and this was just a few weeks [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well as a preacher, as a community member, as a former farmer and logger and all this, you have a perspective that maybe no one else we've interviewed has, all these things put together. Do you think this was an act of God that this flood—you know, how people call it that. Do you believe that's the way it works, or how do you interpret this whole question?
LARRY KELLEY:
I believe it was God's will that he allowed this to happen. I don't think it was by chance. God is nature, but God is more than nature. I believe that God controls the elements. And according to the Bible he brings floods and the storms. Now, I don't believe it's because of judgment. But yet, I can't say.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well, how about all the hog manure and all that. Now that's—is that related to God's will?

Page 42
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, I think the—the protection of animals in this area is nothing but individuals and greed. They've used the things that have been provided for us to make a dollar. And nothing's wrong with making money. It takes money to live, but when things get so concentrated and gets—and you get over producing for the environment, then you have problems. And now the flood itself has been—1908 the flood was not as high as it is now, but yet it was higher than it was in any other time in history that I know of. In 1962 a lot of people's homes were destroyed, some of the same people, same families, haven't forgot it—were hurt, damaged. And they've come back through it and gone back through it again. But I think that their whole system has been altered to the point that that's the reason this flood came. The water came from the heavens. The storms were created because of God's plan and device of making this world. But I believe when I-40 was put in—and this is just my thinking—but I-40 was put in that comes from the mountains all the way to the coast. The rain came so much and in such a big area that I-40 acted as a funnel to channel the water down in this low part of the state in a hurry. Had that water been held off by timber, forest, by ditches that went their circulation through the woods and different areas, you know, before it ever got to the river—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And swamps.
LARRY KELLEY:
Yeah, and swamps. It created tide. But when you do away with the hedging or the elements that changes the flow of the water, when you alter that and you create a direct channel you speed up the process of the water moving off. So therefore, you've got a heavy flood. And I understand there were some lakes that the dams were opened, and I think that was wrong.

Page 43
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, what lakes are there on this river?
LARRY KELLEY:
I don't—I can't tell you. Now this river only starts up here at Halsey.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
LARRY KELLEY:
The northeast Cape Fear River starts at Halsey.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. So there's not any big lakes. But this is—your theory about the interstate is one that fits with history really well, because after the 1962—is that right?—'62 flood—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
LARRY KELLEY:
And our children, if you've got a half an ounce of them, they were going. Now he's drinking [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
He's going to grow. So we're talking about God's plan and also man's greed. You were saying something about that. It's hard to know where to stop these things. But some of these things that the River Landing, that we're hearing so much about—and hog farms that made River Landing possible and so forth—are just wreaking havoc on the community it seems.
LARRY KELLEY:
Does other people feel—?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh yeah. I mean, it's pretty much the consensus that things have gone too far.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, if you pass the front of River Landing—now I haven't been in there since they built the houses—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
We haven't been able to get in at this point.
LARRY KELLEY:
I understand there's half million dollar homes in there; hundred, two hundred thousand dollar lots. And I was told that they sold lots for $70,000 when water

Page 44
was four foot deep on them to people in [unclear] . [Air conditioning comes on again obscuring voice of subject.]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Uh-huh. There are people who are from Duplin County in there and also a lot of people from other places.
LARRY KELLEY:
I understand that the folks in the FEMA paid them the limit.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, you've heard that. That's interesting. I haven't. What is the limit?
LARRY KELLEY:
Twelve or thirteen thousand dollars, I believe, is what they told us, and it could go on up to more than that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. So do you get any sense about where the people were around—like the law enforcement and some of those people, officials of the county? Were they in—were they in River Landing at all? They weren't in Northeast according to most people.
LARRY KELLEY:
I don't know. I know that River Landing were the people that FEMA were [going] to more than they were here. And I don't really have no problem with that. They were just as hurt as we were.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They were just as hurt as you were. But the media that—those who were filming any damage by the flood couldn't get in there according to what we've heard. Was there any other area that we haven't touched on that you had hoped to talk about, that you'd planned on when you heard of us coming?
LARRY KELLEY:
No. I really didn't know what you were wanting. I kind of—what I felt is kind of like I saw [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Yeah. Okay. Well, let me ask you one other question about the future of the community and the future of economics. You've been involved in so many different businesses and business ventures trying to make a living as a local person in the small

Page 45
businesses and so forth. You've done a lot of different things. What's happened to the economy in general? Are they just trying to make it more concentrated in going in the direction of these hog businesses so that the little man is put out? How do you see that happening in the future?
LARRY KELLEY:
I think—I think the [unclear] production of chickens and turkeys and all has already reached their peak. And I think we'll see more troubles and things concerning the farm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Do you think it'll ever go back to people wanting to buy hams from somebody on a small farm? No?
LARRY KELLEY:
No. It's just like our churches. Most of our rural country churches—and there the ones I've pastored—family country churches. Now I'm not [unclear] . I was up in Rocky Mount a couple of Sundays. They're devastated [unclear] . The people in this area are hurt, but they'll rebuild. They'll build back. I think you'll see Wallace move on out in this area more than you'll see it go south for the simple reason of the interstate and River Landing and Tent City, Food Lion. I understand there's going to be some more stores built there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
All this is right around the interstate.
LARRY KELLEY:
It's coming out this way. Eventually it will come on out in this community. I don't think you'll ever see Northeast community dry up and go away unless we have floods after floods after floods. The people have invested here. They have raised their families. They buried their parents and grandparents, forefathers. And I think they'll, you know, continue on. My children—I've got two boys and one daughter. My oldest son married a girl a half a mile of where we lived. My daughter, which is next,

Page 46
married her husband and he lived two miles from where we lived. And my youngest son—and that was his wife—she lives right here at the crossroads and goes back out towards 41. She lives right there on the right. So all three of our children have married within two miles from home. I married my wife—I could see her house. But a lot has to do with the young, what they call [unclear] . And I think that has more to do with who they married and where they settled. I know of a church that completely closed down—Presbyterian church that I mentioned earlier. They closed down because their sons and daughters moved off. And the reason they moved off, most of them married somebody when they went to college either in the Piedmont, mountains or out of state and settled somewhere [unclear] .
BETTY KELLEY:
Come on it.
LARRY KELLEY:
The church people died out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well, how has the church here in this community helped keep people together?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, it doesn't have a pastor. [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. That's why we haven't heard about him or her.
LARRY KELLEY:
They're good people. But everybody doesn't go to church. The church in this area, which has got a beautiful sanctuary—it's got every comfort the church could offer a church family, but people are taking less concern in the community with the church. Why? There's more things to occupy their free time to give them what they need to live in this world, and the church is left out. And it doesn't matter what denomination or what doctrine. Most people will reach a age in their time when they'll reach out to a church and reach out to God in some way. Some do it when they're young

Page 47
and live their life that way until they die. Some do it when they're in mid-years as I did. And some wait until they're old. I just preached a brother-in-law's funeral that was seventy-four years old. He never wanted anything to do with the church, but after he got sick he accepted the Lord and believed on it [unclear] that he was saved. And I baptized him and had communion with him and he died less than thirty minutes. He was one of those who moved to Philadelphia back in the early fifties. Couldn't find work here and moved to Philadelphia, raised his family. My wife's sister, another sister, went up there to find work, settled up there and living up there. He died up there and was brought back home to be buried.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where was he buried?
LARRY KELLEY:
Riverview.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Riverview is in the community?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well it's in Pender County, edge of Pender County down 117 [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So what is the secret to a close knit community? If you had to give a recipe for building a good community, what would it include?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, an opportunity to work, a place to minister and—and most people want the opportunity to help somebody. If they don't have an opportunity to help somebody they begin to become selfish. The Ladies Auxiliary started out with the ladies from three churches came together and form an auxiliary. It was Wesley Methodist Church, a Baptist church and a Holiness church. And the ladies worked together. As a result of that they began to have a supper on Saturday night. They started out [unclear] , although that building has been torn down. Right where the fire department is, across from the fire department, right in that triangle there, across from Bernice's house. Her

Page 48
husband's daddy used to have a country store there. They put in a little grill, and as time passed—this is back many, many years when I was just a boy. And those ladies got together on Saturday and they had a barbecue supper and sold plates. Started out just a few cents. And people began to come every Saturday night. They didn't have room to sit down and eat, but people come from everywhere. And those ladies, as they died out, there was a—younger ones took over. And then the [unclear] built a building. The Pink Supper House, they called it. They eventually moved down there, and every Saturday night except one or two Saturdays a year they'd have supper there. Now, if the fire department was having something they didn't have supper. And people came from everywhere to eat and take home, and still do. The flood has stopped that. And I think as a result of that people working together, and the people who came there to visit, has kept Northeast what it is. I think it's had one of the biggest—as much as the church or anything else it's had.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now just one way to tie all that in. You raised hogs. Where were the hogs raised for that first barbecue? Where do they get the barbecue now?
LARRY KELLEY:
The hogs were—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
For the supper house.
LARRY KELLEY:
Years ago, I don't know. I imagine they were dressed at somebody's house.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Somebody raised them in Northeast.
LARRY KELLEY:
And then back across that little road there where the fire department is, where the V is and the fire department's right here? Off back there they had a place

Page 49
where they cooked them at. And they were cooked with coals, [unclear] coals. One fellow used corncobs.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Does the corncob give it a good flavor?
LARRY KELLEY:
Good flavor and quick fire.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Uh-huh.
LARRY KELLEY:
I mean, it's quick and really hot. And at that time we had the corn mill, there was plenty of corncobs for free. All he had to do was—. He bagged them up and kept them dry. And he could—if his fire died he'd put a few corncobs on there and he had a hot fire [unclear] . Smoke is what you wanted for the flavor in the barbecue. Now the hogs are bought, delivered.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Bought from where?
LARRY KELLEY:
[unclear] probably [unclear] , a slaughter house or something. And they're cooked in electric cookers. Timers are put on Friday night about midnight. They were cooked until the next day. The [unclear] would cut it up.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you still can—you can still find a few people who raised hogs—you can buy it from a smaller producer/grower? Or are those Murphy Farms hogs?
LARRY KELLEY:
Probably. Barbecue-size hogs are usually cull hogs.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You can buy cull hogs from the farmer himself, or you go to the company directly? How do you buy it?
LARRY KELLEY:
These cuts was like Caroll's [hog/turkey integrator] and all these big outfits will cull their hogs out of their farm, hogs that are not ruined. Not necessarily sick but just slow growers, not fat, not prolific but just culls. And instead of throwing them in the salvage bin they sell them to these small slaughterhouses that in turn sells them to the

Page 50
people. They're fine for what they're used for. Nothing wrong with the pork. Nothing wrong with the hog.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But there's no small farmer making a living supplying these little houses, these little slaughterhouses. There's one down there Interstate 40, right as you go into Wallace on the right there.
LARRY KELLEY:
Well that's—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They sell hams.
LARRY KELLEY:
They sell hams. They sell whole pigs. But they get theirs from a slaughter pen. Now, they're fixing to put in a new slaughterhouse in Warsaw, and they'll deal with barbecue sized hogs. They'll deal with hogs from Carols and markets and stuff like that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well why don't we stop here, and then we'll go maybe if you have a few minutes to go to the feed mill. What we have really been wanting to do—I'll turn the tape off.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
LARRY KELLEY:
Has missed out on that process. See my boys—Ricky's thirty-five, Morris is twenty-seven. They knew how to kill hogs. Ricky—Morris not necessarily—but Ricky knows how to dress a deer, dress a turkey, do anything it takes. And they're not—they're just ordinary people. But they always—they wanted to know and I spent the time and we've been through the process so that they'd know. If times come where people have to go back to the farm and raise their own food there'll be a lot of hungry people, because they won't know what to do. I mean, farm people won't even know what to do.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Farm people won't?

Page 51
LARRY KELLEY:
Farm people won't know how to dress a turkey. They've growed turkeys all their life.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Because—
LARRY KELLEY:
They've never done it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
They just grow them and somebody else comes to get them in a truck.
LARRY KELLEY:
Right. And when you start in another generation of children that are raised on those farms that knows anything about anything except taking care of that animal, feeding him and they load him on a truck and you never see him again. And they've missed out on the whole operation of livelihood, what it takes to live.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You started two, three or four different businesses, and you watched you grandfather build them from scratch and invent the machines. Are all the people who can do that gone now? Are we now a generation who can't do for ourselves?
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, I think with the logging, I knew that logging had been a part of our life—or my life and my daddy's life, my granddaddy's life. Back whenever. I left out one of the biggest part of our history was tobacco sticks. You know what I'm talking about?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I do.
LARRY KELLEY:
We for years cut tobacco sticks. Well, I can cut tobacco sticks on the sawmill on the carriage, or I've got a stick mill that I can cut it in boards and run the boards through the stick mill and cut tobacco sticks. And I've cut them up to just a few years ago for the poultry industry. They were using tobacco sticks to put down for the—for the laying hens to walk on. Those laying hens were so heavy you couldn't put them on concrete. They put then on wood. Now they've gone to plastic because wood has got

Page 52
too costly. And their droppings would drop through the sticks and they would be on wood and the cushion. And that's the laying [unclear] hens. But tobacco sticks—we used to go in the woods every morning about daylight. I'm talking about summertime. We'd be in the woods at five o'clock, and by the time it got day we would cut down the tree, bring them out and cut them up in four foot and six inches long or four foot and four inches long, whatever the farmer needed. And we'd cut tobacco sticks out of them. What we would do, we would take that block and put it on—we'd have to move the [unclear] blocks up. And we would [unclear] that block, short block, on the carriage and cut boards out of it. Cut the whole thing up in boards and lay them back on the carriage—board on top of a board—and then cut it three quarters of a inch thick. And you had a stick that was three quarters by three quarters, or seven eighths by seven eighths. [Telephone rings.]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Then that stopped. People don't use tobacco sticks anymore. Is Northeast going to stop being able to do for themselves?
LARRY KELLEY:
Betsy [Easter] asked me a question last night that I didn't know how to answer. She asked me, said, "Is it right for us to have to—is it right for us to ask for help?" And I think that is determined by the individual. Most people will not ask for help. And I don't think it's because of too much pride. I think it's because they've always tried to work out their own problems and deal with their own handicaps and troubles as they've come. But yet in this community in times past people have always helped one another. For instance, when my brother-in-law died back, he died and was sent down here to be buried—the storm before Floyd. What was it?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Dennis.

Page 53
LARRY KELLEY:
Dennis. Dennis come through and turned around and come back, raining every day. He was buried between the two times. Well the community brought food to the house. And this is—this is people from this area, and he was from Hampstead area. But Betty and her family were from this area, not necessarily affiliated with the church, but just community. Born in it and they moved off years ago. But come back to die, I mean, to be buried. The family was at our house. The day of the funeral there was so much food that you could not believe the amount of food and it all just great.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It wasn't store bought food?
LARRY KELLEY:
No. No. I'm talking about country ham, butter beans, field peas, fried chicken, cakes, pies, desserts of every kind. And they brought food for three days. And the last day at the funeral everybody was—there was a lot of people there. Family that lived in Fayetteville, Wilmington and everywhere out of town people. And I just told them, "Come back to the house." And a lot of them did. The house was full. And when everybody had all they could eat there was more food than a farmer could eat. Now people couldn't believe it. They couldn't believe it; they said, "I've never seen anything like it." And I've never seen anything like it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How'd they learn to do that?
LARRY KELLEY:
Individuals who cared enough to see to it and put legs to their ministry. And that generation has gone from one generation to another. I've seen at least two generations of people that [unclear] in this town. And this is not necessarily in the church. It's not church. It's community. And a lot of it is through the Ladies' Auxiliary. It goes back to the working group of ladies who have worked together and incorporated their children and grandchildren. For years they never got anything for their work. Now they

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get paid a little bit, and now they have to report their taxes on their tips and what they make. But it's unbelievable. It's unbelievable and not just for us. They do it for anybody that's connected in any way to the community [unclear] .
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Do they do anything like that when somebody dies down at River Landing?
BETTY KELLEY:
He probably couldn't get in there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It must be a lonely place to live down there.
LARRY KELLEY:
I've never thought about that. But I know a lot of people that lives there. You know, a lot of people, professional people, that make good livings, and that's the way they choose to live. But people don't visit like they used to except funerals and weddings and junk like that. The church used to be the center of all the social gatherings, even when I was younger. Now it's not. But I think the Ladies Auxiliary has helped a lot. I can name you a lot of them, but I'm afraid I'd leave somebody out.
BETTY KELLEY:
He's probably talked to some of them: Mrs. Matt, Kathleen and Jenny [unclear] .
LARRY KELLEY:
Well, let me tell you this. When I started at Heritage Bible College I had just gone through a financial crisis and had no money to pay tuition. I didn't even know if I was going to get to go to work. I had teenage children. Betty was working part—time at the A & P. It closed up. She was making probably fifty, sixty dollars a week. I had people that owed me money to come pay me. I had a bunch of cypress lumber that I had cut out at the mill that people that were going to James Sprunt Community College at night taking a shop course. Their instructor didn't know me from Adam and didn't know me until years later, but somebody had come by and bought a few cypress boards rough. They wanted rough lumber to process it and finish it and make it into tables or what—nots

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or benches. But they wanted to take the rough lumber and use all the tools to learn how to treat it and finish it. And I had—during that time I had people come every week until I sold every bit of the cypress I had. They would buy it. And at that time I was charging something like five or six hundred dollars a thousand for it. And, yeah, well at that time, man, that was great. That was wonderful. And they would come—somebody every week that I got maybe a hundred, two hundred dollars a time. There was not a week that come that somebody didn't pay me money. And now I went to school a few times when I didn't have enough to buy a biscuit at Hardee's. And I've had people that could have went somewhere else and bought lumber, would come back that evening after I got home to buy some lumber from me, rough lumber.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. We all ready to go down to the mill?
BETTY KELLEY:
Before you go you need to call Morris. He's been—
END OF INTERVIEW