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Title: Oral History Interview with Annie Bell Williams Cheatham, March 21, 1995. Interview Q-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Cheatham, Annie Bell Williams, interviewee
Interview conducted by McCoy, Eddie
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 244 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-09-04, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Annie Bell Williams Cheatham, March 21, 1995. Interview Q-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series Q. African American Life and Culture. Southern Oral History Program Collection (Q-0015)
Author: Eddie McCoy
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Annie Bell Williams Cheatham, March 21, 1995. Interview Q-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series Q. African American Life and Culture. Southern Oral History Program Collection (Q-0015)
Author: Annie Bell Williams Cheatham
Description: 132 Mb
Description: 49 p.
Note: Interview conducted on March 21, 1995, by Eddie McCoy; recorded in Oxford, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series Q. African American Life and Culture, 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.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
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Interview with Annie Bell Williams Cheatham, March 21, 1995.
Interview Q-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Cheatham, Annie Bell Williams, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM, interviewee
    EDDIE McCOY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
EDDIE McCOY:
The time is 3:15, the address is 401 McClenaham Street, I will be interviewing Mrs. Annie Bell Cheatham this afternoon. Today is March the 21st 1995, I would like for you to tell me your address and you name. Mrs. Cheatham, I would like for you to tell me your name and your address.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Annie Bell Williams.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's your maiden name?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, it is.
EDDIE McCOY:
All right, now what's your married name?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Annie Bell Cheatham.
EDDIE McCOY:
Annie Bell Cheatham. What's your address here, McClenahan Street?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
401 McClenahan Street, Oxford.
EDDIE McCOY:
And what year, month, year your birthday and month?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
My birthday was 1911.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, 1911, February?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
February the 22nd.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, so you are 85?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I'm 85 years old.
EDDIE McCOY:
When you was a kid growing up, what community did you grow up in?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh, I growed up in, we called it the flat woods. I growed up in the flat woods.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, and were you, your parents, were y'all born down there, your family came from down there?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, my family came from the flat woods.

Page 2
EDDIE McCOY:
Were your father a sharecropper or . . .?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, he was.
EDDIE McCOY:
On what, whose, whose farm was he a sharecropper on?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
William Crews.
EDDIE McCOY:
William Crews?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me something about Mr. Crews.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Mr. Crews was a white man, and he was a very nice man, and we lived there with him about twelve years.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you thought he was a fair man?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He was, and he was a farmer, of course he was.
EDDIE McCOY:
What you got tired of, or your children, your sister and brother got too old, for your parents to sharecrop or what happened?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, we decided to come out the flat woods and live in the flat woods, and my father decided he wanted to get out from there, and come out, you know, and so we moved up here on the Raleigh Road, and 'bout five miles from Oxford.
EDDIE McCOY:
How far, how long did you live there, before you went to Bell Town?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That was all Bell Town, that was Bell Town to us.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay, okay, but that's Bell Town Community?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, now uh, what year, do you have an idea what year y'all moved to Bell Town?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I don't know.
EDDIE McCOY:
What did your father do after y'all moved?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, we farmed, we still farmed.
EDDIE McCOY:
For who, what was that farm, you still sharecropping or what?

Page 3
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We still sharecropping.
EDDIE McCOY:
For who?. . . . That's ok, uh, how many children did you have, Mrs. Cheatham?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Twelve.
EDDIE McCOY:
You had twelve children?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Twelve children.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh, how many living now?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You mean how many did I have?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I may have told you wrong on that one. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
How many did you have?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I had uh, twelve children, yes I did, twelve children.
EDDIE McCOY:
How many boys did you have?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Let me see now. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Name them.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Alec Williams, Roy Williams, Willie Williams, Johnny Williams, James Williams, Eric Williams, Benny Williams.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now the girls.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Nancy Williams, Betsy Williams, Ester Williams. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
She was a Williams before she married a Cooper, 'cause she was your daughter.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, ..
EDDIE McCOY:
Ester, was she the baby?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, she was the baby.

Page 4
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, that's okay, now.. were, what, were your, were your kids, were your brothers any move with your father when y'all moved to Bell Town?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh, no, all us moved from over there. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, you was married?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
You wasn't married when you moved?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
At Mr. Crews farm?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, any of us moved from the backwoods, the family, the whole family moved.
EDDIE McCOY:
Y'all moved as a family?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, right up here on Raleigh road.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Up here next to Will Kern, that was our farm right there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Will Kern?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Will Kern, Will Kern farm.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about, tell me something about Mr. Will.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Mr. Will Kern, he was a nice man, nice to work with, and he tried to do all he could to help us, but he was poor too.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, he didn't have much, Uh-huh. Everybody was struggling.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right, that's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
But y'all were family?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, that's right we was a family folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Don't matter what color y'all was, all of y'all was family?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.

Page 5
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, that was nice, that mean a lot if somebody treat you right.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And you know, if you fair, and he treat you nice. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He was, he was.
EDDIE McCOY:
And so y'all sharecropped there?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We sharecropped, in his garden, what they had was ours.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was nice.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I been to that garden a many a day and got something.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you didn't have to eat out on the porch or nothing?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh no. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
If they was there, they didn't. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh, no siree
EDDIE McCOY:
So, y'all stayed at Mr. Will Kern's, just guess, about how many years y'all stayed with him?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I would say twelve years..
EDDIE McCOY:
You stayed with him about twelve years?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, when did you get married, was it after you moved to Mr. Will Kern?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Or was it when you was down at blackground in the flatwoods?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, I was just a child in the flatwoods. I don't know when I got married. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, did your brothers and sisters, how many brothers and sisters was it with y'all? How many sisters did you have and how many brothers did you have?

Page 6
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I had four sisters and five brothers.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did they, how far did they go in school?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Some way up in the ninth grade.
EDDIE McCOY:
To the ninth grade?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, and some stopped in the eighth grade.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And they, they uh, Johnny, at that time, when they got old enough, now we didn't have no rules like we got now, they had to get up there and help clean up the road, you know.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause you had like wagon paths?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, I mean, the real road, the real road.
EDDIE McCOY:
I understand.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Like they have convicts now, but at the same time, when you got a certain age, when you got eighteen years old, you had to go up there, and help keep up the road, we, we didn't have that then.
EDDIE McCOY:
The state wasn't taking care of. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, no.
EDDIE McCOY:
. . .of the roads.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right, they had to go up there, certain time, yeah, they had to go up there, when they got eighteen, they had to go up there and help keep up that road.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did they get paid, or they just. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's just, part of your job.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You got eighteen years old, you go up there and help keep that road, spots and what not.

Page 7
EDDIE McCOY:
So uh, which one of your brothers and sisters started leaving Oxford, going away, and left, did any of them leave Oxford, go away for a better job, or went to another state?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh yeah, my brother Lester, he went to Richmond, he left Richmond and went to the Army, that's where he died.
EDDIE McCOY:
He got killed in service?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, was he, who else left?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
My brother Alec William.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where did he go?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He went to the army too.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did it, did he come back to Oxford, or did he live somewhere else?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, he came back here, 'cause he married Ellen.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
After he came back here.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did any of your sisters leave town and go away, up north?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, no.
EDDIE McCOY:
All of them stayed here?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, stayed around, they got married some, but you know, stayed around.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, I know what the flat woods mean, but I would like for you explain for someone listening to the tape, as say what is a, what you call flatwood. Now, you explain to me what y'all call flatwood.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, it was a way back place, it wasn't near no houses or nothing, we live way back, we farmed with Mr. Crews, he was a nice person, he was very nice, nice to us, but we just got tired of living back, and my father decided he was going to come out, and buy a place out on the road, which he did. And we moved out on the road, on Raleigh road.

Page 8
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, flat wood, is that, when you live so far back in the woods, like a mile, a mile and a half, you just can't walk out of there as you talk about driving out of there, and, a lot of times y'all probably got a slide hooked to mules up, and y'all came out that way.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Had to get out of there sometimes. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And that's what the kids need to know what flat wood is. That's what it was.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right
EDDIE McCOY:
The trees wasn't flat, the whole thing was flat, and that's why the call it flatwood.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause everything was flat.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Everything, everything.
EDDIE McCOY:
And they weren't no way in and weren't no way out but walk out. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Walk. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
A bus or something. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right, my daddy used to hook up the wagon, like we come to church, we get, all us get dressed and all get on that wagon, come down the street.
EDDIE McCOY:
And then sometimes the ladies come to your church would bring two pair of shoes.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We did that many times, or bring a rag when we get to church clean my shoes off.
EDDIE McCOY:
And carry two, one to keep, one to don't be going to church muddy, and the one to go into church be clean.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's the truth.
EDDIE McCOY:
Two pair.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And you come to church, and bring dinner, had to bring own wagon, go to dinner on the wagon, and going to stay over there the night, we won't go back in the flatwoods, going to stay over there in the night, like having revival, some nights we stay over there until my mom bring enough dinner for dinner, for our dinner and then have some snacks to eat and stuff.
EDDIE McCOY:
And y'all stay in the church all night?

Page 9
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, we have a lantern, had two or three lanterns hanging on that wagon.
EDDIE McCOY:
Come on Mrs. Hicks.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It's the truth [unclear] had lantern, see they need it in the day, but we had heat make them children feel up the lanterns with oil, and hang the lantern on the back of, this is the wagon here, that's the mule up there, hang them lanterns on back here, where you hang it, see that light would shine through here to the mule. That's we way it go.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, and all y'all slept in the back of that wagon?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, we coming homing, we coming home [unclear] ? didn't know nothing til we got home, my dad would drive it.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you talking about two or three hours.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, sure, sure. We did that from Sanford a lot.
EDDIE McCOY:
Had a good time didn't you?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause everybody had the same. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Everybody had the, it would be wagons just like this, one behind the other.
EDDIE McCOY:
Like a wagon train.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right, coming home, and sometime they would be hollering and singing and going on. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Had a good time, didn't you?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, had a good time, too. Had a good time.
EDDIE McCOY:
What about uh, your minister, uh, did he stay awhile, did you have the same minister would stay a long time with you?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he would [unclear] ? and came back home on the wagon, rode on the wagon from the church, and our minister, and he would go to our home and spend the night.
EDDIE McCOY:
He would? That was nice.

Page 10
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, come down that wagon and spend the night, nobody didn't think nothing about it at that time.
EDDIE McCOY:
I understand.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Come and spend the night, next day he. [unclear] and help my daddy, uh, with tobacco, and they just done until time to go to church. Mom be home fixing dinner and everything, and we would get on that wagon, we go on to, and tomorrow night he go to another person's home. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
I understand. Y'all had it tough didn't you?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, but it didn't seem like that. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
I understand.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Everybody was [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
So, your brothers and sisters got along with Mr. Kern?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh, yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
When y'all worked on his farm?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
No problem? He treated everybody the same?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was there other families that lived..
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, there was other families that live on the place too.
EDDIE McCOY:
Name some people that live on that other family, that you go . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh, Nick Parker lived there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Nick Parker?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Nick Parker.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh yeah.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Moved from down here to Bobbit, Clarence Bobbit.

Page 11
EDDIE McCOY:
Name somebody else.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh, trying to think. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
You talking about Nick and Willa Parker?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Nick, uh huh, 'cause old man Nick, he's the daddy [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, uh, how many people that lived down in the flatwood, you had to walk out of there to blackground school?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, sure we walked through, sure we. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
How many miles was that you think, it's almost back at the church.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It was, it was back at the church. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, 'cause the school wasn't far from the church.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It sure weren't. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
So, you had to walk about three or four miles a day?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, every bit of that, and it get so cold you 'bout freezing, but we would come through here, above where the cemetery, and we come up back of that, so we walked up that railroad, come up the railroad, and walk up that uh, and got up that, the school is back of the cemetery, and you come up this way, and you got to the school of course before you did the church. And we walk from there, we'd be crying and going on, it'd be so cold and everything, but we had to try to make it.
EDDIE McCOY:
And when you got to school, school was half cold. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, we had to gather in the wood, and [unclear] ?, gather in the wood and light it and stuff, and children would be just crying, going to get the fire started.
EDDIE McCOY:
And what about, y'all didn't have no bathroom.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, no, you use a tub, only way to use the bathroom was a tub.
EDDIE McCOY:
And when you was in school, everybody had to go out in the woods on their own away. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's where we had to go, out in the woods.

Page 12
EDDIE McCOY:
No toilet for nobody.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, no, no, no, you made your own toilet.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who else brought wood to the, other than y'all was cutting it, did anybody bring, did the parents bring wood to keep the school going?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
They would bring a little something sometimes, but see they on other folks farms too, you see, they couldn't just haul a little wood just anytime you know.
EDDIE McCOY:
I understand, right, like if you on, okay, everybody kid that went to your school was sharecroppers, uh, working on halves, so they couldn't bring wood like a person could.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
But, see like, you get through your class, I get through, now we had timber, we, they sent us this time, we go and break down limbs, and we get stuff now for tomorrow, we get our stuff and bring it in and put it down for in the morning. Children would come in there, just crying just so cold, now we had frosts then, we had frosts, weren't no [unclear] , we had frosts, everything just as white, and you get out there, and the children just be crying, 'cause it was frost, it was cold. But we would get that fire going. . .and Mrs. Harris, she drove over from [unclear] ?
EDDIE McCOY:
What was her name, Lucretia Harris?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Lucretia Harris. She drove old horse, just something to get on the road, to get killed by, she got there, and the bigger boys, took that horse and tied it, and they would tie him where he could bite off the limbs, you know, something to eat, or where he could get a little grass. And we toted water..
EDDIE McCOY:
How far did you have to go get the water?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I tell you, we toted water from the school, you know where Alec Hunt used to live? Way on that hill, we toted, well, we come, this school over here now, in these woods, Mr. Hunt's house sitting over yonder, school was sitting way back yonder, . [unclear] we had to take turns and go to that spring, and get water, and we toted to the school. I think, Mrs. Harris, can I go to the spring. Yeah. If you done got through your lesson, you could go.
EDDIE McCOY:
But it always had to be two or three people, wouldn't let nobody, you had to go far, one person couldn't. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right, couldn't bring nothing back.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, everyday you had to have a fresh bucket of water?

Page 13
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh yeah, two a day. We get us a bucket full for our lunch, everybody sitting on a bench, bring a bench out to school, all of us sitting on a bench. And some sitting on the ground, eating them peas and cornbread, and potatoes, some of them had sweet potatoes, you know, and maybe you have a little something different, I go out and buy a little piece. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
That was nice, all y'all were family?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Sure we were.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause you didn't have nothing.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We didn't have, one have about as much as the other one, nobody have nothing.
EDDIE McCOY:
The school, who built that school, you ever heard who built that school?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, I don't, I don't. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Was it on a white man's land, or a black's had, or the state?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
State, I think, had it. From the [unclear] , like this was the school, the lodge was sitting off like that that, from the school, great big old, that was the lodge.
EDDIE McCOY:
What lodge—Masonic?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, they just moved in from down there, they used to be back in them woods, and the school was sitting here, and the lodge would be sitting back like that from the school.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was that Mr. Kern's property?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, that was back down yonder in the flatwoods then, we was in no man's land then.
EDDIE McCOY:
So uh, what happened when Mrs., when the teacher got sick, who would teach school, or couldn't get. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You know Ethel Holm?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, she have been down there and taught, in Mrs. Harris' place.
EDDIE McCOY:
And who else?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh, Mrs. Ridley. . .

Page 14
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Chavis Ridley.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, that's who, she would come up there and teach, substitute, you know sometimes, yeah, sure would.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, so when y'all went to get the water, you would be gone about an hour, half an hour.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We made it that long..
EDDIE McCOY:
Huh?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We made it that long. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, but I'm just saying, it was actually a long way.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It was a long way, long ways.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, y'all went to the ninth grade?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
She teach the first grade, seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, but McCoy, the grades weren't like it is now.
EDDIE McCOY:
But when she teaching the first grade, what do you all children be doing? Getting your lesson out for when she get to y'all?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right, we had a long, it was a shelf, and great long shelf, long as that, and a whole lot of us, to get to it, we could get to that shelf, and we could work on that shelf. Have our pencil and paper you know, it would come a time of day when she almost time to leave, we had to get on that table, and kind of sketch our lesson out, for the, study tonight for tomorrow.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, what about lights in the schools?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Had lamp lights.
EDDIE McCOY:
You didn't have no lights at home?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We had lights at home, but we didn't have to electric, we had lanterns and lamps, lamp light.

Page 15
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, if you didn't have lights at school, you know you didn't have none at home.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, we had lamps.
EDDIE McCOY:
Huh?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Like them sitting here, I keep mine.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, that's the kind you had?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes sir.
EDDIE McCOY:
At home too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes sir, that's all we had was lamp lights.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, if Mr. Kern was nice to y'all, did y'all raise everything, didn't have to go to town for nothing like meat, hogs. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, they raised hogs, and my daddy always aged them. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
You had flour and stuff like that?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, and he had wheat, and have, and when the folks come around to cut wheat, my momma always cooked dinner. You know for, wheat cutters, wheat cutters come today, you gotta fix dinner. So, she stayed then, and fixed a big dinner, for the wheat cutters, they would get to our house about dinner time, and they would eat dinner [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
And you'd go from one community to the other?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, yeah, everybody had wheat, they would go around, and you would be know, you had let us know when he at your house. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And how many people prepare food. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, and you know that he would be at your house tomorrow, and you get ready for him tomorrow to cook dinner and all.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about your father, could he read and write?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he could, you could understand he didn't know. . .but he could, he could. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
He knew the alphabet..

Page 16
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, yeah yeah..
EDDIE McCOY:
What about your mother?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
She could. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
She could read and write?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, good missionary.
EDDIE McCOY:
How far you think she went in school?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
She didn't go too far, I know that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where did she come from, did she come from down in flatwood, or she came from somewhere else?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
She, no, she was a country woman, I know that. I would say she come from, yeah, she did, yeah, 'cause I used to go to her momma's house. She, she, now I say flatwood 'cause it was back, way back, I have been there, and walked with her to her momma's house. She, we had to go down the railroad, like say from Clay's, you had to walk down that railroad, go way on up there, I'd say about a mile, and then we'd turn and went down, to where they lived.
EDDIE McCOY:
Which parents you think that came up in slavery, did your mother's side have any?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, my momma did, 'cause she has made us cry many times telling.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me something what she said.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Tell how she come, and we'd get to complaining, and she'd say listen children, said y'all don't know nothing, said then she'd tell, this is what momma did [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh yeah? Was it by hisself or he would split the family.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He'd split the family, he said, he would sit and tell us about it.
EDDIE McCOY:
And they sent his children and wife one way, and he never seen his family no more?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, he didn't, and they are not Cheatham's, he told us, he said we are not Cheathams.
EDDIE McCOY:
What did he say his name was?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh, Alans.

Page 17
EDDIE McCOY:
Alans was his name?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
And they changed his name to Cheatham?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Cheatham. See, that's who they sold him to.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mr. Cheatham?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he was sold to the Cheathams.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, but he had sense enough to keep his old, he could remember his own old name.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he could write his name as good as anybody. He could write his name and things.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he was a Cheatham. That's why we Cheathams.
EDDIE McCOY:
But that's not his family real name?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No
EDDIE McCOY:
They changed his name?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
To Cheatham?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right. He said he stood there and saw him when they sold him, and a whole lot of other people.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where was this at, North Carolina?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, North Carolina.
EDDIE McCOY:
Do you, what farm did he come off, what plantation did he come off of, your husband?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He, he was a Alan, I mean, that's the farm he came off of, he was a, he came off, and they sold him to a Cheatham, sold him to the Alans.

Page 18
EDDIE McCOY:
Do you know how much they sold him for?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, I don't. He didn't say how much they sold him for, but the women, the white men, they would want the women, 'cause they could cook, and wash, and do all that, he said he would work with them, and the women would have to cook and do, and his foot, great big old thing busted in his foot, where he said he worked. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Frost bitten?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, he said he didn't know nothing about no shoes. He worked, he said he get up soon in the morning, go over there, grubbing them, getting them grubs out of the ground, roots and things, didn't have no breakfast or nothing.
EDDIE McCOY:
Breaking up new ground?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, land too. And he said the women, they would keep the women in the house, 'cause they do the cooking, and doing, and the white men would go with the black women.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, and they didn't have no choice?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, they didn't have no choice, of course they didn't.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, if they wanted to go with a black man's wife, they could go whenever they got ready?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, that's what they did.
EDDIE McCOY:
And nothing could be done about it.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Said you better not say nothing about it, say they will hang him, you wouldn't, you couldn't do nothing.
EDDIE McCOY:
And when they have a hanging, they bring and let all the blacks come and see it.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Right, and he said right up here, bless his heart, he could tell you everything, right up here, where you go up to, up here way you go up to, I say way you go to New Light. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
On Goshen street?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, when you get up there, when you go up there hill, right to your left there where you don't see no houses, he said they hung folks right there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, that's why they call it lynching hill?

Page 19
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's, that's exactly what he said. He said, he told us many times, he called and carried us up there, he said they used to lynch folks right up there. That's the reason they call it Lynching Hill. That's where they hang, they get you out of your house at night, you better not say anything, they'll kill you.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, some of the white girls, the black women didn't even come back at night, they stayed if they wanted them to stay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh, they didn't have no choice.
EDDIE McCOY:
But, the white women didn't have no choice either.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, no they didn't have no choice.
EDDIE McCOY:
She knew her husband was going with black women.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
She, was right there. Say, you better not say nothing. And he said when they sold, said, he said, he would tell us, sitting around the fire one night, he would tell, and he would just cry so hard. He said the children, girls and things, children didn't want to lose their parents, maybe you say, well, I want her.
EDDIE McCOY:
And they split the family?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
They bid you off, bid you off, he said they bid you off.
EDDIE McCOY:
And split them all up.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, and send you to that man, when a man was up there, said there was a boy, said well I want that one, and said he was sold, he said he was sold. Better not cry, when you cry, then they would beat you. Lord, he told us so many, we'd cry, used to cry sitting around the fireplace. Crying all, he'd be so pitiful.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Bout how old did he live to get?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, he was ninety, ninety, I believe it was ninety four years old.
EDDIE McCOY:
He went through all of that, and lived that long.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Had to go through it to live. I would look at him sometimes, and on Sunday, he go to church though, over there on Harris' grove, he went, he would get on the horse, take his shoes and tie, tie them together, and throw them shoes across that horse.
EDDIE McCOY:
[unclear] he didn't put his shoes on. . . .

Page 20
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Then when he get there, he put his shoes on. I have, I have cried so many times for him, and I won't beat it or nothing, but I know that was wrong.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, 'cause it split everybody up.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
And it worry you to death.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Lord have mercy.
EDDIE McCOY:
Don't know where your wife, don't know where your children, and won't ever see them no more.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's true, some people didn't never see, didn't never see them [unclear] ? and said they take some of the children and tie them, and lead them on, like it was a cow or something. This is mine. Oh lord.
EDDIE McCOY:
Just tie them, and drag them on.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, child crying, him looking back and wanting to go with momma. Momma crying too, but she couldn't do nothing. Had to have somebody to stay.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, if you want to live.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, we have been through something in this world. Not just me and you, but think about the black folks, Lord have mercy, just so pitiful.
EDDIE McCOY:
What, what did he do, was he a carpenter or what was he?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Who?
EDDIE McCOY:
Your bro, Mr. Cheatham, your, your. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, just a farmer, just a straight farmer. He didn't have time to do nothing but farm.
EDDIE McCOY:
He worked out in the field all his life?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He worked, yeah, he worked all the time, he didn't have time to go, do, I worked with Mr. So and so.
EDDIE McCOY:
He ain't never went to school?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No.

Page 21
EDDIE McCOY:
Didn't know about reading and writing or nothing?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
But just hard work.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he could, he could sketch his name, yeah, he could get his name, get his name down, so you could understand him.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he ever try after people got free, did he ever tell y'all he tried to find his family, or just couldn't.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Or it was just too late?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It was too late, and he done got old. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he know how many brothers and sisters he had?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he know it, he know it, he know his people.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, he was big enough.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, 'cause he told us, he told us, he said we are not Cheathams, we ain't no Cheathams. And then he would tell of how they sold him, and everything, just a crowd of folks standing around there, waiting for, I said get his nigger, that's what they said, get his nigger, he said they put you up on a great big block, and make you stand on that block, and man [unclear] you off just like you was dogs, you was standing there and looking at momma in front of everybody and you can't say nothing. He said, no, he said we ain't no Cheatham's, we weren't no Cheathams. Said we was Alans
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, he was smart enough to keep his name, wasn't he?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He kept his name.
EDDIE McCOY:
Could your father do carpentry work? Who made barns and did work?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, they see see, when he got out from under them, see they would have barn raisings.
EDDIE McCOY:
What that mean, explain that to me.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
They would raise barns, like. . .

Page 22
EDDIE McCOY:
A group of people would get together and build a barn?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right. They could do it then when they got out from under them, see then they could work together, black folks could work together.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
'Cause you couldn't do it while you, in that slave, see, they got their own slaves then, and they go down to different houses, I say Mr. Hayes, they go out one day and raise his barn, get his barn, well maybe next day, maybe Mr. Clyde's day. That's what they were, they could do it then, 'cause they was out from under those white folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
So they knew how to carpentry and do their own work?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
The white man didn't teach them nothing, they didn't need them?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, they just go out there and did what they did.
EDDIE McCOY:
And they built their own houses, everybody, everything. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
One would help the other one, well you see you couldn't do it when you was hooked under them white folks, you did, 'cause all your days belonged to him.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, what about on Sundays, what did he say they did no Sundays in slavery? Did they have [unclear]
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He said, yeah, he said on Sundays, he said the only way you got to church on Sunday, he said they would, he said the way he heard service on Sunday, what he said, he said they would turn a pot down [unclear] , and he said that's the way they got that service, and they have service so they wouldn't, the white folks wouldn't, they was in slavery then, so the white folks wouldn't hear them.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he ever tell you they carried some slaves to church with them?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, he ain't never said that.
EDDIE McCOY:
They didn't never go to church with him?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, never hear him say about them going to church. But he said they used to turn pots [unclear] and they would get down on their knees, around the pot, and catch the sound, you know.

Page 23
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause that keeps it down.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, with all the sound, everybody getting praying, sing on the pot.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that noise goes into the pot, and the sound don't go out.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's what he said, he said it was done, I done it a many, he said, Lord, he started crying, he said I did it a many times.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, was cornbread cake on Sundays? That's what I heard some people say. What kind of bread did they eat?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Momma would cook us batter bread.
EDDIE McCOY:
What is that?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's bread, well, you make it up just like you cooking a cake.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And we always had chickens, and stuff, you know, 'cause you could raise them yourself. And put that, make that up just like you are cooking a cake. And put in the stove.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And come out, just look just like a cake.
EDDIE McCOY:
Cake, Uh-huh. But uh, did they have a lot of slaves on that farm?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he said they did.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was it in Granville County. . . .?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's all you saw was slaves, you see then.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was it in Granville County, or was it another county?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It must have been another county, I don't think it was in Granville County, I don't reckon it was in Granville. 'Cause he was raised in Vance County.

Page 24
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
See, that's his home, Vance County.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay, and was Mr., your, your husband born at? Was he born over there, or after they moved the plantation?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Over here, he said, he was born over here. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
In Granville County.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, but he was just a little boy.
EDDIE McCOY:
What farm, was he on the Kern farm then?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, first place I know that, that they lived was over here back of Bell Town, Bell Town, but it was way back, back, he could tell you a lot about Bell Town back over there. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
How did you meet Mr. Cheatham?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, we went, we met, we uh, after they got out from under slavery, all the slaves, everybody was out of slavery then, we worked together in tobacco, we helped his family, and they helped this family, that's the way. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
But don't you think it was better back then, with all the families was together working together than the way we doing it now?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Of course, of course. I believe that. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
But you were closer then.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You were closer. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And [unclear] go to somebody's house. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, you telling the truth, 'cause Mrs. Hayes and them, they were our next door neighbors, if our cow come in first, I had to tell Mrs. Hayes.
EDDIE McCOY:
What was Mrs. Hayes full name?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh, uh, Mary.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mary Hayes?

Page 25
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I had to carry her, momma sent her eggs, she would have eggs to cook her a pudding, pudding, that's what they called them then. Sugar pudding, Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
What, how many children did Mrs. Hayes have?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Think she had five, I know she had five.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was they near your children's age?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Alright, who else lived near y'all where y'all borrowed stuff from, and loaned stuffs.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Mrs. Caldwell, and all that bunch down in there.
EDDIE McCOY:
What's her name, what Mrs. Caldwell first name?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Lessy Caldwell.
EDDIE McCOY:
Lessy Collin or. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Caldwell. . .All of us lived down there, and the Crewss, uh sent it down in there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, it's hard to think about it, isn't it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, I don't think it about it no more, I get on it sometimes, just get it on my mind. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Alright now, after you and Mr. Cheatham got married, where was y'all living at?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Living at Clay.
EDDIE McCOY:
You was down at Clay Station?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Where you turn, you know, to go into the church?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You know the little house was sitting there. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh. . .

Page 26
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's where we went to. They were living there when we got married until we moved in with them.
EDDIE McCOY:
But Belton Creek Church wasn't there, it wasn't a church there. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, see the church was up here at Bell Town.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's what I'm saying.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, that's where our church was, but see, and, and, they said there was an old church down there, but . [unclear] , and so Calvin Crews and bunch of them got in together and built a church up here at Bell Town where the school was.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's where Belton's Creek was.
EDDIE McCOY:
Belton's Creek moved into the school, blackground school?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It moved, they built, see, they built another little church down there at Belton Creek, and then they towed that little thing they had. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
School house, like a pack house. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, and so they kept building and kept building. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And moved the children into the school, church. But Bell Town, Belton Creek came from Bell Town.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Bell Town.
EDDIE McCOY:
It was named Bell Town Church.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right, Calvin Crews and them built, called it Bell Town.
EDDIE McCOY:
And when they moved to, down to Clay, they kept the Bell, but they put the creek on to it. Now, who was your family, who at Bell Town, your uncle who? Calvin who?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uncle Calvin Crews.
EDDIE McCOY:
Alright who else?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And uh, Mr. Will Cheatham.

Page 27
EDDIE McCOY:
Who was Mr. Cheatham, was he related to your husband?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That as uh, Calvin and them's daddy.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me who else.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Mr. McCoy. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Mr. Charlie Bell?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, the Bell family, that's right, the Bell family. All that. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
What about Mr. Robertson?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Right..
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh, Colonel Robertson?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right. All them Bell Town Negroes, all us. I went to school Bell Town.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, so, so, Mr. Bell, Crews, and Williams, and all these guys got together, and uh, in Bell Town, what the church got too small or wasn't big enough for the members, or they. . . .split..
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, see they done got out from under this [unclear] and that's all they had to worship in.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay, now I understand what you are saying, what you are telling me, that Bell Town was a school, because the white man didn't mind you going to school, but he wasn't let you have a church, 'cause you didn't have the land.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, didn't have no church, just had a little. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Pack house, for the school.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, yes, yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, and the church had to come out of the pack house school, and do everything there, until you come out from under slavery.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Come out from under slavery, and when they come out. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
When you came out from under that then, somebody went down to Clay and built Belton Creek.

Page 28
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And that was a little bitty old church, just, I would just say something get out from this. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Was it big as this room?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I don't believe it was . . . .I went to school there too, I'd say about like this, might be a little larger.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Bout fifteen by fifteen?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
yeah, something about like that. I would say.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you didn't have no insulation or nothing?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh, no, no, no, you just there, I'd here Mr. Calvin Crews get up in church and tell it, he just cry. I said. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Mr. Calvin Crews?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, Calvin Crews.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He lived, he lived just across the street up there at Bell Town. And Will, Will Cheatham.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about him.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That was [unclear] and them's father, he lived up there too.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, now as a family, I've been looking for, that uh, that was the Kazalt, you ever knew the Kazalt's that lived in Bell Town? One of the children went off, and was the head of Livingstone College, uh, uh, Barbara Scosher. Did you know that?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
huh uh, I believe, I don't believe I ever knowed that, I known about them.
EDDIE McCOY:
You knew the [unclear] , Mrs. Alan?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
yeah, yeah, I know all them, I know the [unclear] , Alex and all them, I know them.
EDDIE McCOY:
And the Powell's
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
yeah, yeah. Mr. Powell, he was one of the main leaders of that school, he, he considered himself head more money, which he did, which he did. And uh, so he was one

Page 29
of the leaders getting that school, you know getting things going up at Bell Town. Always wanted to get all together to him. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
He was a driving man, he always wanted better?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, yeah. Yes sir. Yes sir. He sure was.
EDDIE McCOY:
He was like a teacher?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
He always wanted you to do better and be better.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He always thought that, he always thought that.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's just like car, or anything you had, he always wanted to say you could be better.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's true, and you know, his children went, his children went, 'cause he was behind them you know, he knew how to do it. He knew how to do it. . [unclear] ? Sure was, I know him real good.
EDDIE McCOY:
So when y'all went to Sunday school, did you have church every Sunday, or you had it every other Sunday, how was it then?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We had it every other Sunday, we didn't have church every Sunday, 'cause it was so bad, you know, for us to get there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well who. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Now, when we moved up here, we used to walk from down here, where we moved to down here. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Bell Town?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Bell Town, we used to walk up to that one, Sunday School. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, you weren't far from it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, no, we would get out there and walk, and uh, the Hazens was on that line, and uh, different ones, you know, and would get out there then, and walk. A crowd of us in the street on Sunday, ain't nothing about not car or nothing like that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where you get your paper from, your pencils and paper? Where y'all get your books from, or what kind did you have?

Page 30
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We had some uh, Mrs. Harris used to bring us some, I don't know where she got it from, she'd bring us some, it weren't like the stuff you use now.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about the white children when y'all lived on these farms, did they go to school every day, or did they have to stay and work too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, them white children didn't have to see no work, no we did the work, that went, we get up soon in the morning, and pick on that tobacco, and til we get back from that school. Them white children didn't stop.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, did they help y'all. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Not until the later years, you know.
EDDIE McCOY:
Alright, did they help y'all with your lesson and stuff like that?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No. They didn't want us to learn nothing.
EDDIE McCOY:
I agree that.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You come into contact with some of them now, you know. Sometimes, you'll find some of them, they don't care whether you learn nothing.
EDDIE McCOY:
No.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, they don't want you to learn nothing
EDDIE McCOY:
I want you to tell me a lot about Mr. Charlie Bell, because, he was your friend. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
My cousin. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, he was your cousin too. Uh, he taught himself how to be a carpenter?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. He learned himself.
EDDIE McCOY:
But nobody, didn't know white man have to teach him?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He learned himself, and then he worked for them white folks, he tell [unclear] when he got out from under his daddy, he done got out from under him, he tended his own business. Sure he did.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was anymore of his brothers, anybody else around here was carpenters with him?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh. . .

Page 31
EDDIE McCOY:
Because I know he used to carpenter in Oxford everywhere.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He sure did. Sam Day.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You know Sam Day. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Is he related to the Days..
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, that's right. He was related to the Days.
EDDIE McCOY:
But did this Sam Day go to, what church did he go to? Oak grove, Olive Grove?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oak Grove, Olive Grove was his church.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he go to Bryan's Hill School?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
They, all the Days, live and went to Bryan's Hill School.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right, that's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
you ever seen Bryan's Hill School, before it was torn down?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, I been there, before it tore down.
EDDIE McCOY:
You went to Bryan's Hill School?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, I didn't go there for school.
EDDIE McCOY:
But you been down there?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, my children went there, when we live with Henry, we moved to Henry Day's, when we left over here at uh, on Raleigh Road, we moved to Henry Day?
EDDIE McCOY:
Was he a white man too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, you know Henry Day.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I know you know Henry Day. No, he's a black man.

Page 32
EDDIE McCOY:
How long did y'all stay with him?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Stayed with him about three, you couldn't live with Henry Day,. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Why what did. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He was all right anyway, but he knows everything.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, you couldn't tell him nothing.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
And when a person know everything, he think he better than you.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Tried, didn't know how to farm, he didn't know how to, that's all he ever did, he knew how to farm.
EDDIE McCOY:
And where did y'all get your grease from? Play with your hair, tell me about that.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We used to go to the woods, it was a kind of weed, that you bought.
EDDIE McCOY:
Try to tell me.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It was a heart, you call it a heart.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, where did y'all get your grease from and stuff to put on your hands and hair, what did you do, how did you fix it, what happened?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
My mom used to go to the woods, and she'd carry us with her, and get this, I reckon you seen it, you know what it was, it's a leaf look like a heart, shaped just like a heart, just green, green, and she'd take that and carry it to the house and stir it, and stew it up. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Like they do. [unclear] ?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Roots and stuff?

Page 33
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, I would say just like you going to cook some salad.
EDDIE McCOY:
Salad, Uh-huh.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
She would stir it up, and then she would put uh lard in it, you know, always had lard, 'cause my daddy always raised hogs. Put a little lard in it, and that was our hair grease.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did it work real good?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, it did good, I wish I could find some now.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh yeah.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
'Can't find any, but you can get it in an old plant vase, she used to. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Like pope salad, it always come up around toilets and stuff like that. You ate a lot of pope salad ain't you?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, it was good too, I didn't know but it was good.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, my grandma pack all the onions in it.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, she go and get [unclear] ? and we go to the woods and get the bud out of the pine, you know. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Pine tree?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, that bud down in that, in that pine tree, and she rake that out of the bud, didn't want that heavy part, get them buds out there and carry them to the house, and that what, that was our medicine.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did she boil it or just give it to you?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, she just boiled it, that was our medicine.
EDDIE McCOY:
She boiled it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. Nothing about going to no store, or store [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
And what for cuts, what did you do when you cut yourself?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Get some lamp oil, and put it on there.

Page 34
EDDIE McCOY:
And what did you use soot for?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
To keep you from bleeding.
EDDIE McCOY:
Soot to keep you from bleeding?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. Yeah, you bleeding you can take that stuff and put it, and take that grease and put it there and pack it full of soot, I mean. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, you could soot, fatback meat and cure anything.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you grease anything you got you used it.
EDDIE McCOY:
And fatback meat will work, you stick a nail. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, I used that. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Fatback meat would stomp your toe or anything, wouldn't it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, and put a little lamp oil in that thing, and we went about our business too, didn't know nothing about no doctor, and I been sitting here 85 years. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
You got 85 more to go, come on, let's go some more. Alright, who made the shoes, who knew how to make the shoes in the community?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, my daddy kept ours up.
EDDIE McCOY:
How did he, what did he, what did he, cut from. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He had an old uh, Lord have mercy. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Try to tell me what it is, 'cause everybody tells me about how they made shoes. Was it like a leather or canvass, which I know you didn't have leather during that time.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, he had a, a thing he made here. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, he made the piece of equipment that it took to make the shoes? Like it was a blacksmith?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, that's right, that's what he did.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And he set there of a nights, and I was the one that had to help him. He sat there one night, and he, he, I don't know how he fixed it, but he had it fixed where he could

Page 35
pull the shoe down on that thing, and he hammer there, and he had some water, and he get old shoes, wasn't no good, he didn't throw them away, he cut that, he take that shoe and cut that, cut a sole out of them. Cut a sole out of that shoe, and put it in water. To soften it. And at night, at home at night, he get up and get it one the fire, had a fireplace about like this, and he, got all his tools and everything ready, and I had to take that piece of leather out of there, that thing and wipe it off and pass it to him. And he fixed that shoe, put a sole on that shoe. Alright too, we wore them, wore them to church and everywhere.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he have to do it for other people too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, no, he didn't do it for, he did it for his family.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, and other people, other blacks, but the white man didn't buy you no shoes?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, those folks were trying to do the same thing, they asked papa questions and all.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, 'cause he was the best, was your father a good carpenter too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he was real good. He learned hisself 'cause see, he had no choice. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Had he ever traveled anywhere, went to Durham, Raleigh, anywhere?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
He just stayed, all that world was just right there?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
How often did you get mail, weren't nobody writing you anyway, was there?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, ain't nobody writing, I ain't got no mail. And he would get out under the barn shed, that's where most of his work would be.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who taught him how to make a barn, the flues and stuff like that?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, see he, being under slave, he learnt some of this stuff, but he, he said he wouldn't let the white folks know, said he was dumb all the time under those white folks, as they thought, but he was taking this stuff in.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause if he played smart, they would keep him there?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And make him a slave forever?

Page 36
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, yeah. . .yeah, see they turn him over to Mr. So and so
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, 'cause he can't learn.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He dumb, and papa said he know how to do it all the time.
EDDIE McCOY:
And he could make shoes and all, for the girls, for y'all too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
That as good.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And he make leather things, you know that go on the horses, he make them things..
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me, now you got to tell me, tell the girls, what did y'all do with the ground bags, your sacks, with your fertilizing, and how you dyed to get the numbers off it, and take you hand, they thing we had sewing machines, and tell me what happened with you hands.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We ain't had no sewing machines.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, what do y'all do, how did y'all do? Come on, I know you don't want to think about it, but come on, let's, tell me. Tell me what happened.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Sad times [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
It was?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, Lord Jesus. Used to go to town, and didn't buy much flour and stuff because always raised wheat, and then our bread, and go away to town and got a sack of flour that was a letter, it was a letter on it. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
I never seen it, but they say it was.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It was, I've made a many, me myself, I have my children a many dresses, pretty too, with the letters on it.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, what did you do with the letter, tell me about it.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
See, way I would do, soak it, see you soak the letter out, but it was a pretty letter. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Was it like a alphabet a A, B, W, something like that?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Sometimes it be a wheat. . .

Page 37
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, I know what you talking about, it be the design of what's in the bag.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, and if he bring, if he go to town if he get, bring one this time I save one, bring next time, I save them, see I take both of them and put them together.
EDDIE McCOY:
Like making a suit.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I got a dress.
EDDIE McCOY:
And a dress. And then when they get old, you turn the outside in, the outside, and the children didn't notice, when it got old, you didn't throw it way. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
You reversed it. You wore the outside then. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, I would take it, lot of time I take them, if they got that pretty letters on them, I take them and make underclothes of them.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's right, that what they say.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I did, I did that myself.
EDDIE McCOY:
And did you have a sewing machine?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, I had a sewing machine.
EDDIE McCOY:
You had?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, I was sewing my things [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
You was born with a sewing machine weren't you?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
What are you talking about, I was the one, mama sit like this, and she would pass it to the sewing machine to me, I would sew it, I'd get so tired of sewing, couldn't say nothing, better not say nothing about sewing.
EDDIE McCOY:
But they sewed by their hand, it was tough wasn't it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, it was. And you get all them boys pants and things, they done worked in them, going to need patching, and she wash them good, boil them in the pot.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, these children listening to this tape don't know, now that white man didn't go buy y'all that material.

Page 38
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Didn't buy it.
EDDIE McCOY:
He didn't go and buy pants for his workers. He didn't go buy shoes for his workers, now you tell 'em. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, he didn't buy it, he didn't. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
If you take that little sharecropping money, and them bags and rags . . . . you was in trouble, weren't you?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, my dad used to say when he [unclear] , lord that was so pitiful.
EDDIE McCOY:
What would he do?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He would slip him some tobacco up on that barn, 'cause then you had to, you had to tie it then, it wasn't like. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
I know. . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He carried to the house, I seen him come to the house, with maybe two bundles under his arm, under his coat, and he sit there at night, and he fix that tobacco, so he could, see so he could twist it, you see him twist it, and he twist him up some tobacco. That's what he did, and he break him off a little piece, he break a piece about like that and put it in his pocket so the man won't see that.
EDDIE McCOY:
No dentist no doctor?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No nothing.
EDDIE McCOY:
You fall and hurt your knee, or break it or whatever, y'all had to patch it.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
My daddy used to pull a lot of teeth. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
by the pliers?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
With the pliers, now that was something. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
You didn't thought about that!
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And you better not wiggle. . . .!
EDDIE McCOY:
. . .You and I friends, go on and tell it. You enjoy it. And pulling your teeth, with nothing to kill. . . .

Page 39
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Wouldn't kill nothing. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And whoop you. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Whoop you for crying, I said Lord, Jesus.
EDDIE McCOY:
There had to be another way.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
I said to myself, nobody didn't hear this but me and the Lord. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh..
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Nobody hear this!
EDDIE McCOY:
It didn't get no better did it? You eighty six, and you still ain't free.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's the truth.
EDDIE McCOY:
You ain't free today.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Sure ain't free.
EDDIE McCOY:
This is ninety-five.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Still ain't free. Lord I tell people [unclear] ? but God in heaven knows that is the truth, what I told you is the truth, Lord knows Jesus, I've been through something.
EDDIE McCOY:
And he used to make y'all, tell the children, used to make y'all little toys.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Had to make it by hand. Tell me how smart, they think black people dumb, your little scooters, your little bicy, your little things you ride on. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's the truth, and you better not break them either
EDDIE McCOY:
And children didn't know that your parents made those things?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, they didn't know.
EDDIE McCOY:
Made you wagons?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, [unclear] Sure did do it, sure did do it. Sure did do it. Lord have mercy, sometimes I get [unclear] and sometimes I hear people say, make me complain sometime I say, see, you complain, be thankful.

Page 40
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And I say that about myself once in a while. I'm just, Mr. McCoy, I ain't got nothing, but some junk, Mr. McCoy, I'm going to tell you this is I don't ever speak no more, I'm just as thankful of this, as if it was gold.
EDDIE McCOY:
This is gold ain't it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
This is paid for, and it's mine.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you have it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's the truth.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you can tack anything you want on this wall?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Anything, take anything down, or do it just like, but it has always been. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
'cause it's been so many years that you couldn't. . .uh, couldn't do it.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Couldn't do it, couldn't do it, Lord, couldn't do it.
EDDIE McCOY:
I know, it was tough, weren't it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Lord, have mercy.
EDDIE McCOY:
A whole lot of praying, weren't it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Lord yes, Lord, a whole lot of praying, too.
EDDIE McCOY:
I just want to let people know, that's listening to this tape that Mrs. Annie Bell Cheatham, she was awarded the gold star award, at Belltown Creek Church, because for her outstanding and her, for her missionary, and the mission she done to her church. She's the most outstanding missionary and lady in her church for 1995, and she was, she got the gold award, and she deserved the whole thing, Mrs. Cheatham and I, I guess you wonder why we having so much fun, I met Mrs. Cheatham in 1974, when I went into the NAACP when I moved back to Oxford, Mrs. Cheatham was the secretary, and we, and Mrs. Cheatham would tell us about when so and so, when so and so, and we, I asked Mrs. Cheatham, Mrs. Cheatham, I said, how long you been in NAACP, she would say ever since Mrs. Lester was secretary, I was assistant secretary. So I said, Mrs. Cheatham, how long that is, she said I don't know, you ask somebody else, Mrs. Cheatham knew, but she didn't want me to know she had been in NAACP that long. So, Mrs. Cheatham started NAACP, we guessing, around 1954, she started out, she was down at Bell Town, the went to Creedmoor, and they came back to Oxford, and we, we got awarded together,

Page 41
Mrs. Cheatham and I, for twelve years serving under the previous administration that we served, and we been dealing with it, we been carrying on our shoulder ever since we got in it, and we took it serious, Mrs. Cheatham is a serious person. She be at meetings on time, she always dress like my mother, she don't go out of the house, if she don't have a hat, and a scarf and be dressed, that mean if she go to the grocery store. Now, I'm might get back to talk to Mrs. Cheatham again, I hope, but we having so much fun, but I just want to let you know that Mrs. Cheatham and I, we are friends, more than friends, we can talk about things, and we won't hurt, and she treats me like a son or whatever, I, I'm just as much a son as there is anybody else, 'cause when she, she just feels that way, and she can talk about anything, and she's truthful, and a loving lady, and I won't find a better person to work with, than Mrs. Cheatham, she's church-going lady, and she's serious. What she do, she's serious about. She don't play. If she got to be in an organization, you got to put her to work, or she's not going to join. I, I don't join an organization just to say I'm in one. I'm like Mrs. Cheatham, if I'm going to be in an organization, I'm going to work, if I can't work, there is no need in even being in it. And I'm. . . . So, Mrs. Cheatham, we'll move on now, and let's talk about your kids, when they start going home, going away. . . .oh, no we just getting started, tell me about your children when they started going away up north, and come on, let's go.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh, my oldest daughter was the first one that went up there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, where did she go?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
She finished school up here. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
At Mary Potter? Uh huh.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
She finished school at Mary Potter, and my oldest brother lived in Buffalo, NY, and she went up there, he wanted, I wasn't able to send her to college, [unclear] when she finished high school, my brother, my oldest brother, Augustus Williams, he came here, after he came out of the army, he come, he was living in Richmond, after he come out of the army, he come home, and he got, he took her and carried her with him to Buffalo. And he sent her to college in Buffalo.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was nice. She finished through four years of college?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes sir.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was very, and that was the oldest girl?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, that's the oldest one.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, what was the next one that left going to Buffalo?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That was Dorothy May.

Page 42
EDDIE McCOY:
Was she next to her? Or it was a boy in between?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
It was a boy in between her and uh, uh, Clyde Cheatham, Jr.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, he stayed home with y'all. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He had to go to the army, he went to the army.
EDDIE McCOY:
He went to service?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
And so that daughter went on to Massachusetts, Boston, while, Buffalo, while this son was your, oldest son, in service?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, how, what did she do? Did she stay, or she still there?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Oh, she's still there, she finished college in Buffalo.
EDDIE McCOY:
This one did too, the second one too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, not the second one, you mean who is the second one, you talking about the second one now?
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, she went to Buffalo, but she carried two children with her.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And, husband wasn't worth five cents.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, so she did right?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, she did right, she went on to Buffalo and got her a job, and so she's working, and one of her boys, that one right there, he went to Army in Buffalo, and so he's out now.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, she did real good with those two in Buffalo?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, did real good.

Page 43
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, what did your son do that came out the service, after he got out of the service, what did he do?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He, he worked in some kind of plant there in Buffalo, I can't. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, he went to Buffalo too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
But, he didn't even come back to Oxford?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
When he got out of service, he knew where he was going. Okay, he went on to Buffalo?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he went to Buffalo.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, that means you got three in Buffalo, two girls and a boy?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, which ones' next, another boy or another girl?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Now, it was another girl.
EDDIE McCOY:
That went to Buffalo too?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
And how did she do, was she married?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, let me see now, let me get that right now, got to figure, I had two boys and one girl in Buffalo, . [unclear] and then she got a baby girl up there, no, she, she got a job, she's working, but the baby girl is working, but them other two, they working too. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
I understand.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
But, all of them is working..
EDDIE McCOY:
And what you are saying is, being honest, and that's the way, when I came along, everybody knew when school was out, you had to work in the tobacco field for nothing, or you'd leave home. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
. . .and go to work. . .

Page 44
EDDIE McCOY:
Go to school, get what you can, and leave, go north, and get an education, send money back to help your parents, and help your other sisters and brothers, and that really helped you, didn't it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
They was off of you, they didn't have to run to you for things, 'cause they was too far. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's the truth. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And it made them a better parent.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's true, that's true.
EDDIE McCOY:
And your brother saw to it?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
And he was a daddy?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, he was a daddy. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
And the momma for them?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, he was.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was good.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
He sure was. His wife was just as. . .you would have thought they were her children.
EDDIE McCOY:
Are they still living?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes, the children are living, but he's dead.
EDDIE McCOY:
He is?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
But the mother is still?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's nice, she was a good sister in law, weren't she?

Page 45
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yes sir, yes sir-e.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was nice.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
When she, come in and got her, my daughter, I was just as perfectly satisfied as anything in the world.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's good, that made you feel good.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
[unclear] told me when she left here, said Mrs. Cheatham, said uh, she finished school over here, you know, and she said, your daughter is going always do good 'cause she's a nice person. I said I think I know [unclear] I said, well, I appreciate that, I said [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, that's right.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Now she was raised right, I said now I can't tell you what she going to do, I said but she was raised right.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's right. Now, all your children went to school at Bell Town?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Right.
EDDIE McCOY:
You didn't have nobody go to blackground school?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, didn't have no children go to blackground school.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause y'all had moved?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Right. I went to blackground school, but they didn't.
EDDIE McCOY:
When did you, how did you stop the wind from blowing in, y'all use paper, or what did you use.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
We use anything we could get. 'Cause you know then state didn't. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, all the state did was pay for the teacher, and that weren't much.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
And some [unclear] done throwed it away.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Has old books we got from the white school, and they was. . .

Page 46
EDDIE McCOY:
Why did, really, why did they call it blackground? Was the ground black, or that was just a name?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Well, it was black ground, right in there, it was blackground, that was the name, down in there, . [unclear] blackground. Well, that's the name, it's blackground.
EDDIE McCOY:
No doubt about that.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's right. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
I heard it was too.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
But, you know, Mrs. Cheatham; uh, Bell Town, from my research, had a lot of slaveries out there.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Law, yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
In Bell, there was a lot of slaves in Bell Town. And from Bell Town down to, to the Butner exit, and then, went from Butner back to, you know Berea covet, and went back then, 'cause I been tracing research, it was some going fifteen, like going to Creedmoor, and Hester, but it wasn't as much, but once it got to Stem, it went, it started going the other way.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's the truth.
EDDIE McCOY:
But, did you ever, Mr. Gruffy Mayhoe, did you ever hear about him and his family?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Gruffy Mayhoe?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh uh, they was slaves out there, it was way back in 1800. Uh, did you ever hear of Carolina Bell?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, that my folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who? Carolina Bell was a slave, that's how Bell Town got it's name.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
You remember her?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
No, I don't remember her.

Page 47
EDDIE McCOY:
You remember Mrs. Bell?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, I remember her name and all, she was a little bitty woman.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, now, you can help me with this, I did a research on it, and this Mrs. Bell, is too young, for to be his wife, so, evidently she had to be the second or third wife. Because, there were, in the research, there were grading rows, like in a tractor, and so you knew that wouldn't, couldn't have been the fist wife, 'cause he was born way back in 1800, so she could have been the second or third wife, because I read about her, she's about your age, am I right, she was, I mean she was older than you, but you knew her real good, because this was in fifty something.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That was my momma's people, she was some of my momma's people.
EDDIE McCOY:
You mother was a what?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
My momma was a Bell.
EDDIE McCOY:
Your mother was a Bell?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
My mother was a Bell, Charlie Bell's sister.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, your mother was Charlie Bell's sister?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
So, all the Bells is relation to me. Jeanie Bell, Charlie Bell. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Was any Bells, was all of them there, because I don't know about no Bells in the county but there? Was there other Bells, did your mother have other relatives named Bells in this county, in this area?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
So far, just, so far. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, because we don't have nobodies Bells but white. And we don't have no black Bells, but y'all family in this county.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh, uh, Gus Bell. . . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Who was he?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That was my momma's brother. Gus Bell.

Page 48
EDDIE McCOY:
But all of them came from Bell Town?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, that's when, so your, on your mother's side came out of slavery, right there in Bell Town?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah, Bell Town.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, they did, that's where their slavery was.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah. . .
EDDIE McCOY:
Right there in Bell Town, but Mr. Cheatham, Mr. Clyde, his family was, was down at the Flatwood and Clay Station?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was where he came from?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Now, he was, he was raised in uh, he was born in, in Henderson.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, 'cause what the church name he's is affiliated with?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Red Bud.
EDDIE McCOY:
Red Bud, so that, uh huh, so that mean he was, he came from out there in Henderson, he was born in Henderson, but he came, his family moved to Granville County?
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
Right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, Mrs. Cheatham, I've enjoyed you today, and we've had a good time, we laughed and talked about the old, hard times we had, and the good time, and the bad time, but we still made it, and we going to make it some more, and you'se a good citizen of Granville country, and always enjoy you, and I always come by and holler at you. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You sure do.
EDDIE McCOY:
Because we can always find something to talk about.

Page 49
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
That's the truth.
EDDIE McCOY:
And so, I appreciate you spending your time with me today, and another day we going to get back and start, we didn't finish, we didn't get started today, we got another two hours to go. . . .
ANNIE BELL WILLIAMS CHEATHAM:
You go somewhere else!
EDDIE McCOY:
But, I appreciate it, and I thank you for setting down and having the time to give to me and everything, okay.
END OF INTERVIEW