Documenting the American South Logo
Loading
Title: Oral History Interview with Martha Cooley, April 25, 1995. Interview Q-0019. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Cooley, Martha, 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 Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 148 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© 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:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-24, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Martha Cooley, April 25, 1995. Interview Q-0019. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series Q. African American Life and Culture. Southern Oral History Program Collection (Q-0019)
Author: Eddie McCoy
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Martha Cooley, April 25, 1995. Interview Q-0019. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series Q. African American Life and Culture. Southern Oral History Program Collection (Q-0019)
Author: Martha Cooley
Description: 86.6 Mb
Description: 29 p.
Note: Interview conducted on April 25, 1995, by Eddie McCoy; recorded in Unknown.
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.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as "
All em dashes are encoded as —

Interview with Martha Cooley, April 25, 1995.
Interview Q-0019. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Cooley, Martha, interviewee


Interview Participants

    MARTHA COOLEY, interviewee
    EDDIE McCOY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
EDDIE McCOY:
........1995, I’m James Eddie McCoy, I’m at [text deleted] , time is 7 pm, I’m visiting with Mrs. Martha Cooley.
MARTHA COOLEY:
My stepmother died and I had to uh, start to uh taking care of the house, I didn’t even know how to make a biscuit, but I had to start out that young.
EDDIE McCOY:
How old were you when you were doing that?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I think I was about eleven. Something like that.

Page 2
EDDIE McCOY:
What age when you died, you was what?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well my mother died when I was a tiny baby, but my daddy married again, see, my mother was a Burwell from Warren County, she was kin to the uh, that’s why I asked did you know Freddie Hargrove. They are related to me, Freddie Hargrove and I, we are related. And she uh, my father married her in Warren County. She wasn’t.........
EDDIE McCOY:
Was she your stepmother?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, she was my mother. Martha Burwell was my mother.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, and then, what happened to your, then your father got married again?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, yes, years and years and years come on by, probably, I think Papa didn’t marry I don’t reckon until, probably five or six maybe more years than that, quite a while. Then he married Heddie Meadows.
EDDIE McCOY:
She was your stepmother?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah. She was, she was real stepmother, she was just like my mother to me.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that’s when you started, you had to work for your father? Keep things clean and wash 'em.....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, yeah, well, yes, I had to do that. I had to keep house and cook too, and working in the tobacco [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
You grew up real fast then.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
By taking on those responsibilities.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, I did.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, it made you be responsible.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, I was responsible.
EDDIE McCOY:
It made you be, you know, you was an individual that wanted to do for yourself.
MARTHA COOLEY:
And uh see, they’d be working in the field, and I’d have to have dinner ready, and all that stuff. Always farming, my dad was a farmer.
EDDIE McCOY:
And then breakfast in the morning?

Page 3
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, I had to get them a good breakfast, oh, sure.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you was what? Twelve years old?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I was a little over twelve then, I was about maybe thirteen, I, no, I hadn’t got to thirteen, I think I was around but twelve years old I had to get up and cook them breakfast, but I ain’t never been a sleepy head.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, responsibility, that’s what you...
MARTHA COOLEY:
yeah, yeah. And I get up and cook breakfast, and help hang the leaves and then come back to the house and cook the dinner.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who milked the cow, and churned and all that?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, uh, Severn [unclear] Papa’s sister’s children, you know uncle Herman Washington, and they both died early, Annie died with that first flu. I had that first flu that came in and around. That flu that came.
EDDIE McCOY:
What they call 'em, yellow jam......
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, yellow is from the flu is different, this was the flu.
EDDIE McCOY:
And what it killed a lot of people?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes sir. And then, when uncle Johnny was married, Aunt Liza was dead then, and I had to, I was sick then, I couldn’t do nothing.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause you had the flu?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did anybody else, your others sisters and brothers catch it?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I didn’t have no sisters and brothers....I had a little sister, but she was older than me, but she died, she never did get to be a big girl, she died as a baby.
EDDIE McCOY:
I want you to tell me your name, but I want you to tell me your maiden name in it too.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Bridges.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now you say it, Martha.

Page 4
MARTHA COOLEY:
Martha Ethel Bridges.
EDDIE McCOY:
Cooley.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Cooley.
EDDIE McCOY:
What year was you born?
MARTHA COOLEY:
1909.
EDDIE McCOY:
How old are you now?
MARTHA COOLEY:
85.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, you stayed here with your daughter and still carried on responsibilities?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, I help out, she gets the, she’s the head of the house, but you know, I’m under there, but still, I’m the head too. I’m momma. I just am momma. [Laughter]
EDDIE McCOY:
You ain’t going to lose your ......no.
MARTHA COOLEY:
But uh, you know, in between that time, I had another stepmother, papa married twice.
EDDIE McCOY:
He did?
MARTHA COOLEY:
My daddy married three times.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
But my mother died, then he married momma Hedie, Hedie Meadows.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where was she from, granville....
MARTHA COOLEY:
She was over in, near uh, wait a minute, and I’ll tell you in a minute. She was over there, uh, I’ll say in the, she wasn’t in the Hill community, but she was almost in the Brian Hill community.
EDDIE McCOY:
Ok, I know where, Cinnamon grove.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, over in there, that’s right.
EDDIE McCOY:
She was Meadows?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah. Mrs. Hedie Meadows.

Page 5
EDDIE McCOY:
Ok, who’s the next one?
MARTHA COOLEY:
That was my stepmother. The next one was Mrs. Betsie McChan. You knew Betsie McChan, that [unclear] my mother was named Martha Burwell, that was my mother.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who was the third one in mind?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Betsie McChan. Willie Lee McChan’s momma.
EDDIE McCOY:
Really? How long did they stay there?
MARTHA COOLEY:
He was probably was married to Mrs. Betsie about, I don’t know, but I’m going to give you a guess about uh, I’ll say maybe ten, fifteen years, before she died. Been a little while, I can’t tell you exactly.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, uh, were you going to school and keeping house with your father?
MARTHA COOLEY:
When my daddy was living?
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah. When your first....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh, when I was smaller like that, yeah, I was going to school, I was going to school, come on, fix what I could fix, what I’m supposed to eat. I kept [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
So,uh......
MARTHA COOLEY:
I was going to blackground school.
EDDIE McCOY:
What age did you start going to school?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I started going to school, I reckon then we didn’t start until we was six years old. Back then folks didn’t start school early like they do now, we didn’t have no school.
EDDIE McCOY:
Your school was six months or nine months?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh, it wasn’t nine months...
EDDIE McCOY:
It was a sixth month school.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, way back then.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, and uh, you would clean and when you would come home from school, get things ready and wash....

Page 6
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was good....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, I took care of the house.
EDDIE McCOY:
And uh, little things you could do around there, and he help pitch in?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Papa didn’t have to help pitch in, 'cause Mari, she was right under me, you know, 'cause I’m older than Mari, but we were children then, older people, let me tell you this before you write it .....Older people back then taught children how to do something. They didn’t play out in the street all the, out in the yard, and out in the dirt and stuff all the time, they had a job, they get them a job, you get up out of your bed, you make up your bed in the morning. Uh, you get the broom and sweep up the kitchen. And you was big enough then to wash dishes. You see, they started us like that, and uh, from then on you see, I caught on, 'cause I was around in the kitchen when they were cooking, my aunt was cooking, [unclear] when momma Hadie died, now all of them was married then, see papa had two sisters, he had, three sisters 'cause Mari’s mother was my daddy’s sister. And uh .....
EDDIE McCOY:
Who else was your daddy’s sister?
MARTHA COOLEY:
He didn’t, oh my.
EDDIE McCOY:
How many did he have?
MARTHA COOLEY:
It was so many of them folks, but they all dead....
EDDIE McCOY:
You don’t have to name them.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Adi, and Annie was the ones I knew. And uh, aunt Lila, which was Mari’s mother. Now they the ones that I knew.
EDDIE McCOY:
You talking about Mrs. Mari Eden?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah. That was my, that was my daddy’s sister too.
EDDIE McCOY:
What year did she....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Aunt Lila was. You know when Aunt Lila, when Mari’s mother died.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, is she, was the Eden’s from that community?

Page 7
MARTHA COOLEY:
Eden’s come from over there around, you know Put Eden, don’t you know Veri Eden. You know Veri, don’t you know Veri Eden.
EDDIE McCOY:
I don’t think so.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, you know the one that married, who did she marry, he married somebody from around here. Who is Veri, not Veri, don’t mean Veri Eden. Albert! Did you know Albert Eden? You ought to know Albert.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, Albert and Veri were brothers.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay.
MARTHA COOLEY:
So Mari married there brother, married Elvis Eden.
EDDIE McCOY:
Elvis?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh. And Mari and I went just as sisters, but we wasn’t no sisters, we was first cousins, 'cause Mari was a Washington. Herman Washington daughter. And Lila Bridges, she married my daddy’s sister. See Papa had raised them out, the both of them died, aunt Lila died like this year, and about less than two years, uncle Herman died. He walked from down there where Mari live, across the creek, over there to [unclear] s store in the snow, and he could contracted pneumonia and he died.
EDDIE McCOY:
uh huh. Was it a older guy?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, uncle Herman wasn’t, I mean uncle Herman wasnt’ old, that old like that. Did you ever know Mr [unclear] Washington?
EDDIE McCOY:
huh uh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Did you ever know John D. Washington, her son?
EDDIE McCOY:
I didn’t know none of them.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Didn’t know none of them.
EDDIE McCOY:
Hu huh. Tell me about them. Mr. John D. Washington. Was he a friend of your family or what?
MARTHA COOLEY:
John D. Mr. Washington and uncle Herman were brothers. David Washington and Mari’s daddy’s were brothers. Ethaleen, come down some, you know Ethaleen that married? Who did she marry, she married a woman here, a missionary woman here I think

Page 8
that live around here somewhere. Let me see who Ethaleen married. I can’t think right now. John [unclear] Oh, no, you didn’t know none of them, but anyway, so, Uncle Herman married Aunt Lila, and aunt Lila died not long after uncle Herman died. And Papa took Maria and Steven and he raised them.
EDDIE McCOY:
What age were they? Just guessing?
MARTHA COOLEY:
They were children, they were just children. Just going to school.
EDDIE McCOY:
Five, eight, seven, five and eight?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Something, something like that. I can’t tell you exactly.......
EDDIE McCOY:
But you was older than........
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, I was older than they are. And uh, you see, Mari get that, you know Mari don’t you? You know Mari.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, Uncle Herman was her grandfather.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, about how far did you have to walk to school, to blackburn?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No where hardly. You know where Greenwood store on that road down there going to Wilton, you know when you leave Oxford and you go on down there, well, you turn this side, go right up side that field there, on the right hand side, on the path, go right on down there in them bushes, and there we were. It was a little one room school.
EDDIE McCOY:
And what was the name of the...?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Blackground school.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, why did they call it blackground?
MARTHA COOLEY:
'Cause the ground is black, I mean it, it’s black, it’s just like black mud, you’ve seen black mud, and I mean that blackground is something too, when it get wet in there.
EDDIE McCOY:
It, what, it was muddy when it was going in, it would rain, or what was....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
How did y’all heat it?

Page 9
MARTHA COOLEY:
We had a, one of these here, ol long stoves, you know like, like from, from me to this couch here, a stove like that, an ol long stove, you’ve seen them. And with wood, and stuff, I reckon’ they brought a little wood there, but they didn’t do like they do now, 'cause if our wood would give out, our boys would go out there in the woods, them big boys, would go out there in the woods and uh, and Alec Allen and all of them would go out there in the woods and cut down, knock knots on them old dead trees, them old dead trees that wouldn’t no good. And we’d have fire.
EDDIE McCOY:
Had to cut the wood?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, had an ax ,they sure did, break it up and.......
EDDIE McCOY:
Did any parents bring wood that [unclear] ?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t remember them ever bringing no wood, we’d get a little wood every now and then, when the school opened they’d be a little stack of wood that was sitting up, and all like that, but I don’t remember them bringing wood, I don’t know how we got.....
EDDIE McCOY:
Didn’t Robert Amis? used to bring y’all some wood?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t know, he might have, but I don’t remember that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Had to go out there and cut it, you said?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, the boys cut the wood.
EDDIE McCOY:
Y’all didn’t have bathrooms then did you?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Of course, why yeah, out there in them bushes. That was the bathroom.
EDDIE McCOY:
That’s right. The children don’t know do they? What y’all went through.
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, they have a good time. And then walk from that school, blackground school over to the Clay’s. Do you know where the Clay’s lived? Lived on this, on the right hand side of the road, over there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, we had to walk over there to that spring and get water, and one, ten, one water buddy, one water buddy......
EDDIE McCOY:
About a half a mile?
MARTHA COOLEY:
That’s the truth, it was about a half mile, that’s right.

Page 10
EDDIE McCOY:
Did all y’all drink out of the same dipper, or each......
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, we had to have cups, we had cups. We drank out of our own cups.
EDDIE McCOY:
Had to put names on them, you knew....?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, you had your cup, you keep your cup with you. In your bookbag. You know, they had book sacks then, put your books in, hang the bookbag right across your shoulder.
EDDIE McCOY:
And they had to walk all the way to get the water?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes sir. And when you get back there, sometime the water is so full of weeds, in the fall, when they are, and the weeds, the seed is coming out of the weeds you know. Had a little [unclear] about like that, and you carry that water, and [unclear] we be glad to get out of that little school house. Annabele Chavis, she was glad to get out of that school house, and we’d get back to that house, and we’d have a bucket full, 'cause we was both grown, and then weeds would be all in them seeds, out the, had to skim the seed off the water, to drink the water.
And those Dobbie children, those Dobbie children, you know Bettie Lou? I mean, you know, I’ll tell you who one of the Dobbie’s is you may know him, or you’ve seen him, maybe you have. Uh, maybe uh, wait just minute, he was Dora. Wait, let me get this name, I won’t tell no lies in this. [unclear] Wait a minute, I’m going to tell you who married, one of the Hunts, can’t get this thing together. One of them Dobbie men, and he’s real nice, and they, she, I thought I was proud when she married....Did you know Robbie Dobbie?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well she, Maybelle Allen’s niece married Robbie Dobbie’s sister, or brother I mean. And do you know he’s a nice man. He ain’t like them Dobbie’s. He ain’t like them Dobbie’s.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, some people always.....
MARTHA COOLEY:
And now he’s very intelligent, and uh, Betty Lou’s sister came down, she was at our church about uh, last preaching Sunday, and she looks over [unclear] and she looked nice, and they was out, left, she live in New Jersey, and they came down, I guess for her rest, for her to get her rest away from the city. And they came down, and stayed there too, 'cause they down here with Avery for a little while. Avery Hunt, you know right down there. And they came down here and stayed with Avery, I think, I don’t know if they stayed a night, one night, they might have stayed one night with Avery. That was this last preaching Sunday.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was nice.

Page 11
MARTHA COOLEY:
And uh, and those Dobbies, one of these Dobbies. Vate, he would say, we would bring water from the spring, he’d always say, and he wanted more water. Wouldn’t one bucket of water for all the children, you know they wouldn’t no more water.
EDDIE McCOY:
How many children, about twenty five?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t know how many they was, it was a crowd of them, that little old school house just full. And uh, he’d always say, I want some [unclear] That’s the way he’d talk, I want some [unclear] and but, they never did have enough water to bring, 'cause we couldn’t bring but just one bucket.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who was the teacher?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I had uh, Miss. Uh....
EDDIE McCOY:
Gibson?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Mrs. Gibson was one of my teachers, uh, Elsie Cruise. I believe Elsie Cruise was when I was teaching one time. I know Mrs. Gibson and uh, .....
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Supreacha Harris?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes. They’d be children sitting around, used to lift that old horse up. Them children would throw me, I used to get so tickled, we used to just laugh, it was fun to us, that was so poor, he would drive a buggy, and had an old poor horse, that horse was just as poor as he could be, and Sydney Raglen, and Osborn Bullock, all them big boys....
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, who else?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh, would take that horse would lift him up, you know put the [unclear] how you get change like that, and lift in up. Lord it was so fun, that’s the truth.
EDDIE McCOY:
And turn him around?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No [unclear] But Sydney Raglin was just as devilish as he could be at school.
EDDIE McCOY:
But them was good days.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes, they was.
EDDIE McCOY:
And so, y’all had to, did you go back and get some more water, or that one bucket was.....
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, you’d get some more water, you’d get some more water through the day, boys would go, boys would. Annie Belle and I would always go, 'cause we would get out

Page 12
there and, we would, sometime we could run through the woods, a little ways in the woods, and find some hawls, sure and used to eat those hawls.
EDDIE McCOY:
Some what?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Hawls.
EDDIE McCOY:
What is that?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Don’t you know what a Hawl is? I don’t know where you been!
EDDIE McCOY:
Somewhere, I don’t know what no Hawl is.
MARTHA COOLEY:
It’s Hawl trees.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
And as a tree grow up, it don’t grow up like a big old tree now, but it’s a big high tree, and they have little flat black berries look like, not like berry but uh, something like a....
EDDIE McCOY:
Blackberry or....
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, no, it ain’t big like that, it’s a small but it’s round. And uh, in uh, after the frost bite them, they are good. And we used to just eat them, the real good. They really good.
EDDIE McCOY:
Must be something once the frost bite them?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, uh huh. And there was old 'simmon tree, before we got there, the well was up on the hill there, up on the, you come right by the well here, well, right down from the well there, out in the woods at the school, was a 'simmon tree, so all the children just go out and eat 'simmons and those Hawls, we had go good time running through the bushes and getting those things.
EDDIE McCOY:
Would a hawl fill you up, or it was just?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, it was just a little fruit thing that we liked. And so, we would get them eating muskidines and have uh, recess time, we were children then, there ain’t no children now.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you could take it, couldn’t you?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Huh?
EDDIE McCOY:
You could take the responsibility during that time?

Page 13
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, we could run out there in the woods and play, the teacher was glad for us to get out.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, how often would you have recess? Or you just, that was just that lunch period?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, we’d have, we’d have uh, in the morning we’d have 'bought ten minutes to get outside, and at twelve o’clock we’d have a hour recess, I think it was an hour, I hope I’m not making a mistake. And then in the evening, sometime we didn’t have no recess, 'cause you had so many children sometime, we didn’t have a recess, but she would let you be excused if you had to be excused.
EDDIE McCOY:
How did she teach the first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, she start with the first grade first or what?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, they worked on the board, maybe she put alphabets on the board for them, when them children didn’t know the alphabet. And that, they would have to be up, they just set down and make them write them alphabets and learn them like that, you know.
EDDIE McCOY:
And while she worked another class.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, that’s right.
EDDIE McCOY:
But, she kept them busy?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, she kept them busy, you wouldn’t in there talking and laughing either.
EDDIE McCOY:
She had a lesson plan?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes sir.
EDDIE McCOY:
Had a lesson plan.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes she did.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, y’all went by her lesson plan?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes sir, or else you would be punished, or she would keep you in, or you either take a switch and hold out your hand, I ain’t never got a lick in mine.
EDDIE McCOY:
By having a lesson plan, she know she had all day, 'cause she had so many kids.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, yeah.

Page 14
EDDIE McCOY:
That’s what lesson plans came from. See, whites didn’t have a lesson plan in their day. Because they thought they were so smart they didn’t need one. But when I talk to blacks, they always said black teachers had a lesson plan as far as back as I’ve interviewed. This picture look any like your schools?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, 'cause our school wasn’t but one room. And uh, and two windows. [Laughter]
EDDIE McCOY:
This is a Cadillac. Had what, how many?
MARTHA COOLEY:
We had two windows and one on one side, and one on the other side. But it wasn’t dark in there.
EDDIE McCOY:
You ever seen anything like that, a truck the white children ride on?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, we never, they were walking too. They were walking, yeah, back then, everybody walked, didn’t know what the school bus was. Wasn’t no school bus.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who checked your lesson at night when you came home or keep up with your...?
MARTHA COOLEY:
My aunts would help me with my lesson.
EDDIE McCOY:
They would? They could read and write?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, oh yeah, all of them. My daddy could do that. My daddy had a nice handwriting.
EDDIE McCOY:
Your father was never in slavery?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
He’s a free black?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
What, where did he come from?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Come right around in North Carolina here. But I tell you, yeah, he lived in Warren County a while, and then his home was right here in Vance, in Granville County.
EDDIE McCOY:
What part of Granville County?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, Oxford, down where he living now, down where the house is right now, where I got rented out to [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Down the street?

Page 15
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, not this one, I got this one rented out to this other girl, you know her I reckon. But my, the farm house, up there on the farm. Down there by Huff, you know where Huff lives, well you turn that next road right there, and there’s Marie’s house on this side, and mine on the other side.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay, okay, okay. And so um....
MARTHA COOLEY:
And my farm go back that way.
EDDIE McCOY:
But you never had no slavery in your family, you can remember?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
Your mother’s side nor your father’s side?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I think my grandmother’s mother was a slave, or something.
EDDIE McCOY:
On your mother’s side?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, my grandmother, on my grandmother’s side. See, I don’t know that much about my mother you see, 'cause you see, she uh, died before I was, I was a baby when she died, so I never got no history from my momma’s folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Her family? 'Cause the aunts and uncles kind of faded out 'cause you was young?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, that’s right. And them that were living died, and them that are living now, don’t know, just like I wouldn’t know, I’m sure they don’t know.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was, which school that you think was the oldest? Was Peddleford Road School older than BlackBrown School?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t know, I can’t tell you that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you ever go up and see Peddleford Road school when you was going to school?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Why? Didn’t you, you didn’t have a wagon pass, or you couldn’t go that way?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Folks just didn’t visit like that. Everybody was kind of in groups.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, what did y’all do on Sundays when you were off?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Go to Sunday school. And go to church.

Page 16
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, who did you play, what did you do?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Go back home and sit down on the grass and play. Play, play, play at home.
EDDIE McCOY:
Play ball and other things?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, no no. We better no throw a ball on Sunday.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay.
MARTHA COOLEY:
I wouldn’t been sitting here down reading, I wouldn’t have had nothing to sit on.
EDDIE McCOY:
What about washing on Sunday?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No sir! Wasn’t none of that going on.
EDDIE McCOY:
Ironing?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Nothing, no sir. That wasn’t done.
EDDIE McCOY:
Cleaning?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No sir, you done that through the week. You took your bath on Saturday, and Saturday night, there wasn’t bathing on no Sunday, you do that on Saturday night. And then on Sunday morning you wash your face and hair and everything.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, you knew what Sunday was going to be by eveybody. 'Cause all the time....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, we knew that. Everybody was doing the same thing.
EDDIE McCOY:
And didn’t nobody tell you what to do on Sunday, you knew you was going to leave that house?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, I was going to leave there. Going to Sunday school, if you didn’t have, we didn’t have service but once a month then, the churches weren’t like they are now, and we didn’t have, we didn’t go to uh, we would could get up and go to [unclear] and ironing and washing or nothing on Sunday. Nobody, and I mean nobody. When you saw a person, anything you saw somebody that uh, well, I tell you, people separated themselves, everybody weren’t mixed up like they are now. Uh, if you was a drunkard, Papa, one might come to the house. [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Let me ask you this. What church did y’all go to when your church didn’t have service?

Page 17
MARTHA COOLEY:
We didn’t have service but once a Sunday. We just started to have our service twice a Sunday recent, here in recent, recent years.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where did your other, your minister live? They live in Oxford or come from out of town?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh, I reckon Mr. Lyon must have lived there in Oxford somewhere, I don’t know for sure, but he wasn’t no long ways apart. 'Cause I heard papa say when the preacher used to come through on buggies, horse and buggies you know. So, I’m sure it wasn’t far out.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he preach somewhere else another Sunday?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, nowhere, no churches didn’t have no two or three services like they do now.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay. I heard some people in some areas that have.....
MARTHA COOLEY:
They might somewhere but not....
EDDIE McCOY:
Their preachers would go one church one Sunday, and another one another one, and he would stay busy all the....
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t know, but Rev....well, I tell you what, now I just do remember Rev. Lyon and Rev. Davis was the next minister that we had stayed there so long and I know he didn’t ....
EDDIE McCOY:
Where Rev. Davis from?
MARTHA COOLEY:
From Warren County. [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
He had a nice, how did he get up here from Warren County?
MARTHA COOLEY:
He was up here not long ago. Yeah, he was then, 'cause there wasn’t no horses and no, wasn’t no cars and things. [unclear] But I don’t know, when Rev. Davis started preaching we had, I reckon we had, I reckon we had, he had, must have had an old car then, when [unclear] lot of times, preachers would go on horses, have a horse and a buggy. [unclear] they even do that, they come along the train if they live in by the train, and get off at Clay station and somebody meet them, and carry them to the house to spend the night. That’s the way that was done.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you ever ride the train somewhere?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, we never ride the train. [unclear] folks weren’t visiting like they do now, weren’t going places, they was staying at home. They was just staying home back in those years.

Page 18
EDDIE McCOY:
So, on Sunday, on Sundays y’all came home from church, you just, and Sundays that you didn’t go, you still could.....
MARTHA COOLEY:
It weren’t no Sunday I didn’t go. I went every Sunday that, if I weren’t sick I was there...
EDDIE McCOY:
They had Sunday school?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes sir. Every Sunday.
EDDIE McCOY:
Every Sunday they had....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Every Sunday. My daddy said they had Sunday school out on Branks Hill in a school, it was a school house. That’s why that church was named Bell Town. Our church was named Beltown, got that from Bell Town. The name, Bell, from Bell Town school.
EDDIE McCOY:
I heard that. And your father, he used to, he was living in that area?
MARTHA COOLEY:
He living where he living right now. That’s where he was living, he dead now.
EDDIE McCOY:
He walk over to Bell Town.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, what he going to do?
EDDIE McCOY:
No, Mrs. Cooley, you know how far that is?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Shoot, that’s the way he got there, and everybody else was walking. I know when they didn’t have no cars.
EDDIE McCOY:
You know how far Bell Town to where y’all live?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Down home?
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah. 'Bout five or six miles.
MARTHA COOLEY:
It ain’t that far, I reckon.
EDDIE McCOY:
They must have went through the woods.
MARTHA COOLEY:
When they could go through, right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, people walked all the time.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Everybody was walking.

Page 19
EDDIE McCOY:
People was very dedicated. You had a good father didn’t you?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Oh, yes I did.
EDDIE McCOY:
And his rules was rules, and it wasn’t...it was..
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, all them old folks rules was rules then. They weren’t playing. They tell me something, and I go, if I go, some near Louis’s house, near Louis’s all house, and a little older and I could play with them, 'cause they was out there, they would let me do that, they weren’t little but they was older than me, but, I could play with them, 'cause three minutes wouldn’t no time to me.
EDDIE McCOY:
It would go by so fast.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh. I tell you one thing, I be back home by thirty, before the thirty minutes was out. 'Cause if I weren’t there, I know what I would get.
EDDIE McCOY:
Darl couldn’t catch you, could it, where you from?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, sir, god. Uh huh. That dark wouldn’t catch any, nobody, no girls wanted dark. Unless it was somebody that we didn’t follow that didn’t mingle with at that time. People separated themselves then, from some people.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, let’s talk about your husband. Where did he come from?
MARTHA COOLEY:
He came around our neighborhood.
EDDIE McCOY:
The Cooley’s?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh, could his family read and write, mother and father?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh, were they free blacks? Did they own their own land?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh. JM :They did?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
You knew, same some of his sisters and brothers.

Page 20
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, two sisters, got three sisters living now. Patty Harris, she live in New Jersey. Been living there for a long time. [unclear] is dead, Lilian is in the hospital up here, and Eva May is in the hospital, which is Al Fonz’s mother, Al Fonz’s mother is Eva May. You know Al Fonz?
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
MARTHA COOLEY:
His mother is in the home over here. And uh, Lilia, she is in the other home over here, away at the hospital. You know, over there in that home. She’s over there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did your husband have a big family?
MARTHA COOLEY:
It was thirteen of them, fourteen or so. I think it was thirteen.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did y’all go to the same church and school, when y’all always knew each other?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Went to the same school, but we didn’t go all, yeah, we, no we didn’t all the time to the same church. I think uh, somebody [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Cooley. I just thought about it. It wasn’t far. Because I know where the road, right up there at the fire station, over to Bryant’s Hill. That road was about three miles. Yeah, you are right. But it wasn’t nothing but a wagon path. It wasn’t nothing that you could bring......
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, it wasn’t nothing, but uh, I may have been, hey that girl....it ain’t been too long. Yeah, we walked. Everybody, it wasn’t one person, everybody was walking.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. What about your father provide for y’all . He was a good provider?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Oh yes. My Lord he was. JM : Y’all didn’t have to go to the store for nothing but what? Coffee and sugar?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Coffee and sugar. We had wheat. Papa raised wheat, corn. We had a good garden. We had plenty of chickens he always had fat hogs, oh the hogs he raised was so fat they went blind. They were so fat, the fat went over their eyes. And uh, we had chickens, we had, always kept two cows. Man, we was [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Eating wasn’t no object.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. That was good. 'Cause a lot of people had a pretty good life, is what everybody else had, you know.

Page 21
MARTHA COOLEY:
And some didn’t though. There’s always some, some don’t try as much as others, you know. That’s always been, like it is today.
EDDIE McCOY:
How often did y’all get mail?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Everyday.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mail man came everyday when you was a kid?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Driving a horse and buggy, but he went.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
Did y'all ever do any quilt making, who taught you....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
How did you learn how.
MARTHA COOLEY:
I just saw my grandmaw make them. They had quiltings.
EDDIE McCOY:
Your grandmother on whose side?
MARTHA COOLEY:
On my daddy’s side.
EDDIE McCOY:
They had what? Quiltings?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Quiltings.
EDDIE McCOY:
A bunch of ladies come....
MARTHA COOLEY:
Come in and quilt, and have quilting, and they have freeze ice cream; freeze ice cream to pass around, and they had good times.
EDDIE McCOY:
And everybody work on their quilt?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah. Quilted out at night. My grandmother, like you make a quilt, you make a quilt, and then you invite the women to come and make a quilt. And they had quilting at night, uh, and had it, where you could hook the ropes or, hook the quilt up in them frames, and the women sit around there quilting and quilt it out.
EDDIE McCOY:
And just gossiping, talking, have a good time.

Page 22
MARTHA COOLEY:
Talking, uh huh. And have ice cream to eat. Maybe cake.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. What about corn shucking?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Lord have mercy. That was the men’s night. They had plenty of food cooked, and they would eat, and they had a good time, just a laughing and going on their at the corn pile and [unclear] But they lived, people lived then, they was friendly, they was close, they didn’t mind helping each other, do nothing. When one’s crop got behind, and he got kind of sick or something, people would [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
I had Mr. Curtis to tell me that, come from northern Granville, and he said that he had whites that live in the community, and they would do it for everybody.
MARTHA COOLEY:
I’m sure it, I’m sure we would.
EDDIE McCOY:
He said you didn’t have to worry anybody get sick or anything.
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, your crop was saved.
EDDIE McCOY:
That’s what he said.
MARTHA COOLEY:
They work together. People work together then, but now...
EDDIE McCOY:
They trust each other.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, but now they done got so educated they don’t want to do nothing.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, part of that messed them up to?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, that helped. That’s part, people used to help each other. Like if I want to have a quilting, I could tell my church members I want to have a quilting and I want y’all to come. [unclear] all them women around there quilt and quilt and quilt. [unclear] I didn’t do it, 'cause I wasn’t old enough to start to doing that, yeah, but my grandmother used to, on Wednesday nights at the church, walking too. Walking. [unclear] Boy I had to go, and I couldn’t show I didn’t want to go either.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, I understand. Did you ever seen a stove like that before?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Oh, yeah, I’ve seen them. Yeah, that’s a range.
EDDIE McCOY:
A range?
MARTHA COOLEY:
What you call a range.

Page 23
EDDIE McCOY:
What do you mean by that.
MARTHA COOLEY:
That’s the name, was the name of it then, back then, they call them a range stove.
EDDIE McCOY:
What are all of these doors and stuff for, 'cause I don’t understand.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, that’s the bread, you warm your food up in here, and then you cook in this door, that’s your firepot right there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Fire, ok. I didn’t know that.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Fire, in the ashes, and I reckon that must be the soot stand, right here, you take your little sut thing and put it in there, and take the soot out of that. That’s the sut box right there.
EDDIE McCOY:
And y’all had to save the soot back then, 'cause y’all used the soot for everything.
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, we didn’t save no soot, we saved ashes throw around the garden and these places. But not the soot.
EDDIE McCOY:
What did you use for remedies when somebody got cut or hurt?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Put a cloth around it, or put some lamp oil on your finger and go on about your business.
EDDIE McCOY:
What about if you stick a nail in your feet?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Same thing, use a, well, if you rag or something on your hang or something like that, you put a piece of fat meat on it, that help bring it to a head.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. How many kids do you have?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Who me?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Nobody but Thomas and Eudela.
EDDIE McCOY:
Huh?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Thomas and Eudela.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. Which one, who’s the oldest?

Page 24
MARTHA COOLEY:
Tom. He’ll be home Saturday I think. Uh, the group that go with you when you finish school with Eudela, they all, Mrs....Do you know Mrs. Smith in Henderson school teacher? She want all them girls all them children that she taught, when Eudela was in school, she want all of them, I mean in grade school, want all of them at her house Saturday.
EDDIE McCOY:
That’s nice.
MARTHA COOLEY:
They going there and they going to have a party, I think there’s going to be about thirty of them I believe.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did she go to blackground school?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where did she went to?
MARTHA COOLEY:
She went to, well you know, you know the blackground school, I don’t reckon she went to blackground school, I’ll have to ask her, I don’t think she went to blackground school though, I don’t know I can’t remember, I don’t think she.....
EDDIE McCOY:
What are these people doing here?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t know that I know what they are doing or not.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. Killing Hogs.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Killing Hogs, that hog hanging [unclear] dragging him on up there to be picked to death.
EDDIE McCOY:
And y’all kept everything?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes sir. All of that was eat up, except the........chitlings and all.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who do, clean, you clean chitlings?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, I didn’t do it then. I helped clean them now.......
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you ever [unclear]
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, I know how to do it.
EDDIE McCOY:
It takes so long.

Page 25
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, it takes a good while, but you just got to stick to the pump as the old folks say.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. How far did you go in school?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I finished grammar school, and started to Mary Potter, but uh, I couldn’t go because see, my, at that time, I was, I had stopped and take the house over, 'cause uh, momma got sick and I had never made a biscuit, I learned how to make a biscuit on the silver pot. But I to stop school, I hated it, because see, I was going to school to go to Africa. That’s what I always wanted to do.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, what was school going to do?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, I was going to get a education, get a education before I go over there teach those hethens.
EDDIE McCOY:
That’s what you wanted to do?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, that was what I was doing. And Mrs. Ransin and all of them told my daddy they would help me, I didn’t have no mother, they’d do all they could to help me, 'cause they wanted me to go to. And uh, but my stepmother died, and I had to take care of the house for my daddy. But that knocked me out then, but that was my aim, was to go to Africa. But I was going to school....
EDDIE McCOY:
What, what is this? Explain this to me.
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t know whether I can explain it or not.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yes you can, you look at it, tell me what y’all used to do, what could you do with that?
MARTHA COOLEY:
You wash pots in it, you wash clothes in it, a wash pot over there, that’s what we done with them, that’s a wash pot. Then you could take the wash pot, another wash pot if you had one, and you could, could, get you one for the, especially for your lard and stuff, and when you kill your hog, you take all that fat off him and uh, off of them intestines and uh, that’s a second, that’s a second lard you don’t mix that with your best lard. But it’s nice lard, it’s clean and all, but you just don’t mix it together. And you take all the lard you cut off from your hams and your shoulders and all the other parts, that firm meat, you uh, you put that in a different pot, and cook it down, and then you got that chitlin, the chitlin lard that come from the. Know how you kill a hog, and the chitlins are covered with fat?
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.

Page 26
MARTHA COOLEY:
Take that fat off, that’s another, that’s lard too, but we didn’t mix that lard with the other lard.
EDDIE McCOY:
You, you have two different......
MARTHA COOLEY:
You could use that lard for frying, whatever you wanted to, but we always, we just didn’t do it that way. Then you take that where you cut off of them shoulders, and the hams, and the backbone and all of that fat, and you cook that up, and that’s the white [unclear] put that in the can, and you cook with it, make biscuits, and that’s just a lard, you don’t have to buy none.
EDDIE McCOY:
What about fish. What do you cook fish in. Which one of the lards could you cook.
MARTHA COOLEY:
In that, in that there where I was telling you about that, that lard where you make the bread in. That other lard was alright to use, it was clean.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. And the stick is for the stirring? Bubbles when you.....
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, they stirred it....the stick, they stirred it the crackles, the cracklings is in there. When you cook up, you leave the crackles, you got the cracklings out, and when the lard get dry, it cold, it’s cold it’s real white and pretty.
EDDIE McCOY:
But that was the good days, wasn’t it?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Uh huh. Sure was. Sure was.
EDDIE McCOY:
You wouldn’t trade them for these would you?
MARTHA COOLEY:
No, I wouldn’t need them, but I’ll tell you what, I could have the times and people was acting just like they was acting in, and was acting, so you could walk out and wasn’t afraid nobody was going to kill you. I like all of that. 'Cause there wasn’t no such a thing as a, folks killing folks like they doing now, and doing, talking about everything but the right thing, it wasn’t, people just weren’t doing that back then. Now you’d hear of it sometime, way away, but it wasn’t in your door.
EDDIE McCOY:
When you got married, where did y’all stay, in that area, did you stay at your mother, or your father. Or you all had as house of your own?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Had a, we went out by ourself.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh... [unclear] your husband....
MARTHA COOLEY:
I stayed at Papa’s some, 'cause Papa still didn’t have nobody, we stayed there a while, til he got married to momma Hedie.

Page 27
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh. When he got married, you were ready to get out of there....
MARTHA COOLEY:
[unclear] to McCaden.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who?
MARTHA COOLEY:
To McCaden.
EDDIE McCOY:
You were glad when you could get out there and somebody else wait on him. MC. No, huh uh, I was always willing to wait on my daddy, he weren’t no [unclear] My daddy was clean as a whistle. He was always very careful, and when he....but I wasn’t glad, but I just wanted to get out after she got there, I wanted to not be in there with her.
EDDIE McCOY:
I understand. Uh huh. And so, uh, you uh, did y’all uh, how did the teaches grade you, how did they grade kids during that time, what?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t hardly know, I’ll tell you one thing, we had to learn that, we had to learn what we went over, we didn’t go over stuff and have to go back over it again. We had to learn, 'cause she had good switch in there to wear you out with.
EDDIE McCOY:
A switch?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yes sir. Switches. Them boys would go out, she’d send them, Ozzie, and Bullock and all of them big boys, go out and get me, go out and get me a switch. And that switch would be right up there, straight long switch about as long as that pole down there, to right up there. And she could handle it good. And she didn’t have no, no boys weren’t talking all kind of stuff, and acting up, and acting ugly. They was studying. They sure was, if the children would study now, like we study, what little short while we had in school, they’d be some smart children in this world, and learn. And we weren’t whipped, I never got a lick in school in my life.
EDDIE McCOY:
It was cold in that school in the wintertime.
MARTHA COOLEY:
No it wasn’t either, it was just as hot in there as it could be.
EDDIE McCOY:
It was?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Yeah, we had plenty of wood. If the boys go out, go out into the woods knock up an old wood, and some, and we still had a fire, them big boys.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was that a white man’s land the school was on, or you don’t know?

Page 28
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t know. Goes up there next to that lodge, they’s a lodge hall up there, and the school as right up there at the lodge hall, near the lodge hall. In the blackgrounds.
EDDIE McCOY:
How long did Mrs. Eades stay with y’all ? 'Til she got married and grown too?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Oh yeah, after her momma and daddy died. I mean, after her momma died, and Elvis died, you know they were children when Elvis died. And my daddy took them, and we were all just like sister and brother.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did she go to blackground school?
MARTHA COOLEY:
Who, Lila?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
She went to, yeah, she went there some, but you know they soon got rid of that school, I don’t know, no I don’t think Lila ever went there, 'cause that school was out.
EDDIE McCOY:
What did, what did they replace it with?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I think she went to, she went to Wilton, I guess. Yes, Lila must have went to Wilton to school.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh.
MARTHA COOLEY:
'Cause that school was out. I’m sure it was out then. If it weren’t, it was almost out.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh huh, so uh, what about Christmas, tell me about Christmas time, with the toys and Santa Clause.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, when we were children, and that wasn’t, that’s the children, children weren’t looking for things like children look for now, 'cause they didn’t get them. They got a little old doll, about as long as your hand, uh, the boys maybe got a little thing look like a little toy sometimes or boys, a little wagon or a little something like that. And, yeah, and some candy, and, the nuts, and the raisins, and then, well they were happy. Children was happy then, they were children then. Uh, they enjoyed that.
EDDIE McCOY:
But children now won’t have anything.
MARTHA COOLEY:
Well, they don’t want that junk, they want, you know the children ain’t like they was then. They want uh, radios and televisions, and all that kind of stuff.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, who made the, who made the wagons and the community, who built the barns.

Page 29
MARTHA COOLEY:
The family, the folks, your neighbors.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who was a good carpenter down there in your area?
MARTHA COOLEY:
I don’t remember that, but I’ll tell you what, the men would go down and make that barn, and [unclear] Papa would, he had a barn raising, you call it a barn raising, and uh, got the logs off of the place, and uh, notch them, where he, how he want them to fit in.
END OF INTERVIEW