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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Samuel James (S. J.) and Leonia Farrar, May 28, 2003. Interview K-0652. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A rural youth

Samuel and Leonia remember their youths. They took long walks or bus rides to get to school, returned home to work by latern light or attend prayer meetings, and somehow avoided snake bites.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Samuel James (S. J.) and Leonia Farrar, May 28, 2003. Interview K-0652. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So after you both got through elementary school, were you able to go on to high school, and where did you go?
SAMUEL JAMES FARRAR:
Apex High School then. That was Apex Consolidated School. No, the first name was Apex Colored School, and then the second name was Apex Consolidated School, which means they consolidated Friendship School, Clark School and New Hill School. That's when they put all of the children in Apex and called it Apex Consolidated School and closed all of those smaller schools. Put us walking along, just riding the bus. She would get on the bus, I guess, 6:00 in the morning, 6:30?
LEONIA FARRAR:
No, we got home at 4 o'clock.
SAMUEL JAMES FARRAR:
And you'd ride the bus two or three hours to get to school.
LEONIA FARRAR:
Oh, five, six, we had to be there about 7 o'clock and we had to be on the school campus by 9 o'clock back there then.
SAMUEL JAMES FARRAR:
Ride the bus all that time, then get home and then work from that until, from then until, by lantern light.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
You'd work by lantern light, out in the fields by lantern light?
SAMUEL JAMES FARRAR:
Yes Ma'am. That's how we attended tobacco barns, no such thing as electricity. She's got one of those lanterns here now. I don't see why the snakes didn't get us and kill us, but they didn't. I guess snakes thought we were part of them. None of us ever got snake-bitten and it's really a mystery. We used to walk, my family has been church-folk all their lives. My Great-Grandfather was a preacher, Farrar Green, he was a local preacher. Then my Grandfather become a local preacher, then my father become a local preacher, and now it's four or five of us in the ministry now out of that Farrar clan. Mama and Daddy would take us to prayer meetings, we'd walk two and three miles at night, on a Wednesday night and sometimes on a Saturday night, and we had to go through woods and valleys and whatever. Walk on logs that were across the creeks with no lights. I don't know why those moccasins didn't pay any attention to us, but they never did. Didn't any of us ever get snake-bitten. I don't know of any of us getting spiders on us. And none of us died from any, picking up ticks or whatever, and they was out there too and we were right in the midst of them and never heard of such.