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Aubrey Rice

Aubrey Rice was born on September 15, 1913 in Lincolnton to Alda Fulenwider, and she was reared by her two grandmothers. Alda Fulendwider died when Aubrey was five years old. She received her early education at Oaklawn School in Lincolnton, but discontinued her education when she was fifteen years old. She attended church at Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in Lincolnton, and worked at Lilly’s Laundry in Lincolnton before marrying Henry Ronie when she was sixteen years old. In 1944, Aubrey and Henry adopted a infant daughter from Washington, D.C., where Henry worked at Union Station. Aubrey later married Jessie Lee Rice.


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What follows is the transcript of Aubrey Rice’s interview:

Interviewee: Aubrey Rice

Interviewers: Robert Hamilton, Jason Harpe, Stephanie Easler

Format: Audio Cassette (? Minutes)

Transcriber: Tape Transcription Center

Coverage: Lincoln County, North Carolina, early 1900s -2005

Subjects: Education, race, segregation, Oaklawn School, Newbold High School, Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal Church (African-American congregation), Tucker’s Grove Campground, Fulenwider Family, Grice Family, Hill family of basket makers, African American communities in Lincolnton, Washington, DC, World War II, the Great Depression, Lincolnton’s downtown theatres .

Transcript Begins:

AR (Aubrey Rice): One of Nelda’s daughters , oldest daughters teases me, she said, “Well, you know you’re just 90.” I said, “Well, that’s the reason I forgot everything.” (laughter)

SE (Stephanie Easler): I bet when you get to talking it’ll all come back to you.

JH (Jason Harpe): So Mr. Holloway talked to you about that we came to talk to him? Did he say he enjoyed talking to us?

AR: Yes, he did.

JH: Did he?

AR: Yes. Oh, Leonard loves to talk. (laughter)

AR: It was such a joyful time, I’m sure, with him. I think he gets lonesome.

RH: Yeah. Well it’s good that his daughters come back to stay with him, he doesn’t have to stay there by himself.

AR: Oh, yeah, he couldn’t stay by himself.

RH: Well, that’s what I was thinking. I know he stayed with his other daughter when she came back – Nelda. Nothing like being at home, but…

AR: They won’t leave him alone.

M: Yeah, that’s good.

JH: What we’re going to do is — we’re just here to talk to you about yourself and some — and ask you some questions about yourself and growing up in Lincoln County. While we’re talking, if you want to just tell us something — what we’re here to do is record some history of the county, that’s really what we’re here to do. Yeah.

AR: The same house she was in with Leonard.

JH: Oh? Is that right? Now, did you — what year were you born? What year — what day and year were you born?

AR: September 15, 1913.

JH: So your family lived in the house where Leonard lives?

AR: Say, my family?

JH: Yeah.

AR: Yes, yes. My family.

JH: Brothers and sisters?

AR: One sister —

JH: One sister.

AR: — Leonard’s wife, Catherine.

JH: Oh, OK. That was your sister? OK. Now, what was her name?

AR: Catherine Russell before she married Leonard.

JH: OK. So your family, they were Russells?… The last name.

AR: Yes, my mother married a Russell. The older part was Fulenwider.

JH: Fulenwider? OK. Now, did you — did you know much about the Fulenwider family?

AR: No, I just had two grandmothers. And only what I heard them say, which wasn’t very much.

JH: Really?

AR: And my grandmother talked about her… her mother. I think her name was Eliza Grice; she was a Grice before she married Fulenwider.

JH: Now that was your — that would’ve been your greatgrandmother then, right?

AR: No. That would’ve been my great-great-grandmother.

JH: OK. Now, where did they live?

AR: I was told they lived right on the Lincoln and Gaston County line. And if you can recall, there’s some Fulenwiders that lived — that live… that was — right there is where my grandmother said that there home was; right on that Gaston… right on that line right there.

JH: OK. Now, did you — did you ever hear your grandmother or your grandparents —

AR: Yes.

JH: — talk about…

AR: Yes, the Grice ladies… her mother was a slave.

JH: Do you remember her name?

AR: Can’t remember her name.

JH: She — so it was a Grice?

AR: Yes, she must’ve been a Grice because Eliza was a Grice until she married Fulenwider.

JH: So it would’ve been Eliza Grice that talked about being a slave. Would it have been Eliza Grice that was talking —

AR: Eliza.

JH: Eliza, OK. Now, do you know where she’s buried, maybe?… No? OK. Anything else — you said that they didn’t talk much, but do you remember anything else that they talked about? Not (inaudible)

AR: I don’t know that.

JH: You don’t know, OK. Well…

AR: When I was born; write that there.

JH: Now, who were your parents? What were your parents’ names?

AR: My mother was Alda Fulenwider.


AR: Gary Robert Russell… truthfully, that was not my father.


AR: Step-father’s buried in Philadelphia.


AR: My mother’s buried out here at the Methodist cemetery.

JH: OK. RH: Did she attend — did your mother attend Moore’s Chapel?

AR: No. Saint Cyprian’s.

RH: Oh, Saint Cyprian’s.

AR: Episcopal.

RH: OK. Episcopal (inaudible).

JH: So you grew up in Saint Cyprian’s? Do you remember about the old church?

AR: (laughter) I remember it was a beautiful structure. (laughter) I can still remember that. Well, I can remember that we didn’t have… we had a white preacher-minister… and for — as – until I was a great big girl. I thought — I’m sure, I think that then I would have told you, Reverend Kennedy was our first black minister that I can remember about. And… didn’t have but a few members, but it was always associated with Saint Luke’s, which made it a larger congregation. I remember when I hear — I hear the name… but now, let’s see… I remember, this was down late years though. Reverend Lee and a Reverend Bentley — I was baptized by Bentley but I don’t know his first name. Did Leonard say anything about that?

JH: No.

AR: Didn’t he?

JH: He didn’t mention that minister’s name. Do you remember a lady that was named Tume Lander? Do you remember Tume Lander? She was a lady that was involved with the school — there was a school there, right in Saint Cyprian’s.

AR: Yes.

JH: Now, did you go to school there? Did you? Who were some of your teachers there? Do you remember?

AR: Lizzy Lander.


AR: Elizabeth Lander. She had — everybody called her Tume.

JH: Yeah. What was she like?

AR: (laughter) A very good teacher.

JH: Was she a very good teacher?

AR: (laughter) Yes, she was a very good teacher and she was comical along with her good teaching. And she was really a — she was — did a lot of work with Saint Luke’s church. Didn’t have very many Episcopal members then.

JH: Now, when you say she was comical, did you (inaudible)?

AR: Carried a bag all the time. On her arm, big old bag on her arm. Her husband was Verlin Lander, he was a bar- he was a barber.

JH: Oh, really?

Rh: Were they from here in Lincolnton?. I mean, they —

AR: They lived in Lincolnton. Now, where the old… what is that now? That home is still down there.

RH: Oh, it is?

AR: But I can’t tell you what street it is on…

RH: Somewhere out near Providence, there?

AR: No, it’s uptown, it’s… here. It’s… , I think you turn at the Methodist church. Where — what used to be — what is it now?

JH: That’s Academy Street right there.

AR: Is — that’s right.

JH: Academy Street.

AR: That’s where her home is. And it’s way down on Academy.

JH: Oh, OK. Past the old school? With the old… schools there. Down that way?

RH: Black folks live down in that area down there at that time?

AR: No. She was the only one that I knew of that lived down there. I was a little girl, as I remember, we used to go to auxiliary meetings down at her — my grandmother would take me with her. And I can’t remember of anybody else, and blacks.

RH: There were some Wilsons that was mentioned that lived somewhere where the Brother Magness was talking about.

AR: Who?

RH: Wilsons lived somewhere in that area.

AR: One big room.

JH: Did you have any partitions at all for different levels?

AR: No.

JH: What kind of desks did you have? Did you have…

AR: You put your books right up here in front of you, you sit on… seat, and your — the desk was right here in front of you; you put your books in it and here’s where you write on.

JH: Got you. Did you have a big class?

AR: A little bit. But I do remember — yeah, I’m the only one living.

JH: Is that right?

AR: And even after, I went to Oaklawn School, I’m the only one living in my class from Oak Lawn.

JH: Is that right? Who were some of those folks that you were good friends with?

AR: Earl Foster, Myrtle Foster, Roger Diamond; in my class… Earl Foster was in my class, Myrtle Foster was in my class. We had different classes even if we did have just one room.

JH: OK. Like different subjects?

AR: Yeah. We was promoted to different…

JH: Grades.

AR: Yeah.

JH: And Miss Lander taught all of that, did she?

AR: Until I was in the seventh grade; that’s when I went to Oaklawn.

JH: What was your favorite subject?

AR: Reading.

JH: Reading. So you read a lot? Did you?

AR: I like reading.

JH: Still like to read? Now how often — how many months of the year did you go to school?

AR: Until I was in 11th grade.

JH: No, I mean during the school year, how many months did you go to school?

AR: Oh… I can’t remember that.

RH: Do you know when it started? What, what —

AR: Yeah, I know what you saying.

RH: Well, I was trying to think what month did you start? Was it September that you — that the school began?

AR: Yes, it’s just about like it is now.

JH: Is it? OK. I wasn’t sure if it was… because — some people we talk to in the county, they went to school… say a certain number of months during the year, and then the other months they’d be (inaudible)

RH: That’s what I’m saying, did you have a split year where you got out? I know that in rural.

AR: No, we went every year.

RH: I mean, you all went continuously? You didn’t have a break for picking or gathering up or picking cotton, basically, is what they did. Certain time they’d start school, and then they’d stop and —

AR: And it would start again

RH: It’d start again

AR: Oh, I can’t remember doing that.

JH: I was going to say, in town, you may know, it’s different. What did you do for fun as a kid? What did you do for fun as a kid?

AR: Oh, we played ball… and… that was just the — hopscotch. Mumblepeg

JH: Mumblepeg.

AR: You remember anything about that?

JH: Don’t remember mumblepeg, but I know what it is — I’ve heard people talking about mumblepeg.

AR: So many people don’t even know what that is. Do you remember Hamilton?

RH: I don’t think I do. (laughter) I may have known that but under another name.

AR: You play with a knife — a stick — but we used a knife. And you use your hand and you put it — first thing was… let’s see… hand… palm… you put it in the palm of your hand and you throw it up on the ground and it’s supposed to stick in the ground. Then you put down the back of your hand, that’s back-ems. Palm-ems, back-ems, fist-ems: put it on your fist, throw it… wrist-ems (laughter). I forgot some of it too, but it was real fun.

JH: I’m going to change your mic just a little bit, it’s okay. There we go, super.

SE: Is the other one OK?

JH: Yeah, that one’s fine. You can do it the same way.

RH: Once you left here, you went to the seventh grade here at Saint Cyprian’s, then you went to Oaklawn in the eighth grade.

AR: And Victor Sumner was my teacher.

RH: Victor Sumner, OK.

AR: Nelda Cobb, Harvey Ramseur, Helen McDaniels, Mary Ramseur, Morinne Baker. Morinne was in Carey’s class.

RH: Is this Carey McGraven.

AR: Carrie Carson.

RH: Carrie — oh, Carrie Carson.

AR: Carrie — I was in the seventh grade and Carrie was in the eighth.

RH: So she was a year ahead of you? Is that right? Now according to — was that — is that her home place right there by your house? Is that right? So you all grew up together?

AR: That’s my cousin.

RH: Is that right? Now, Sister Lomax, was she in your class too?

AR: She must’ve been higher because — I wish that I could find — if I had thought of — I had got that — I got a picture of our class… and the class above me; seventh and eighth.

RH: That would be very interesting to see it. What do you remember about Oaklawn and going to school there? What do you recall about Oaklawn, going to school there? Just, I know your classmates and your teachers.

AR: Well, I remember…

RH: I know, from here —

AR: Yeah, we did.

RH: — from your house, over there to it.

AR: Yeah, we did, walked all the way.

RH: That’s probably what? Two miles?

AR: Yeah, we’d mostly go the railroad.

RH: Went the railroad…

AR: Walk the railroad.

Rh: So does the railroad run the same way it does now? I guess?

AR: And I would — we would have fun on the railroad track because we would try walking on each one until we crossed paths. And County Commencement, we had every year, that was one of the exciting things… called it County Commencement. And I would — the leader — lady over all the — all the country schools was Maude Mitchell. Have you heard of her?

RH: I hadn’t heard of her.

AR: Haven’t you?

RH: But she was over all the county schools? I knew, I’ve heard of Miss Biggers was over the schools.

AR: Yeah, later.

RH: Later on? OK.

AR: Maude Mitchell, she was — when I first started school she was over the schools.

RH: Now, you are — Miss Biggers weren’t — wasn’t one of your teachers, was she? You didn’t have her?

AR: I was out of school. I mean, I had quit school.

RH: OK. So now, did you go through the 11th grade and you just quit before the eleventh?

AR: I quit, I quit in the eleventh. I was in the eleventh when I stopped going to school.

RH: OK. What was — if you mind — just what were the circumstances when you quit?

AR: Oh, I just couldn’t wear what I wanted to. I wanted to wear silk hose and things like that. My grandmother really couldn’t afford what I wanted so I just stopped going to school.

RH: So you could go to work and get some of those things, or what?

AR: Yes, I did. My mother died when I was five years old.

RH: I see. AR:

And just my two grandmothers reared my sister and me.

RH: Your sister, Catherine, and yourself reared by your grandmother? Again, your grandmother’s name was…? Your grandmother’s name was what?

AR: Dora — Dora Alexander.

RH: Dora Alexander. OK. Now, you said two grandmothers…

AR: And my great grandmother’s name was Mary Dellinger.

RH: OK. Those — they — the two of them raised you all? In the same house where —

AR: Same house.

JH: Now was Dora —

AR: My grandmother, my great grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, and then me and Catherine; we all was in that same house.

RH: But your mother passed when you were five years old? I’m just curious about her. Was it sickness that happened?

AR: Yes, she had… then… I don’t know. My grandmother told me that after she died — you know, they have that show what happened to you?

RH: I know; autopsy.

AR: And they said she had cancer, but they didn’t know a thing about it when she was living.

RH: Right.

AR: Yeah, she had something they call Bright’s Disease, back then.

RH: I’ve heard of that Bright’s Disease. I don’t know how it affects you, but I’ve heard of that. It may be a liver kind of condition.

AR: Yeah, that’s what my grandmother would tell us.

RH: Right.

AR: And so…

RH: OK. SO you know a little about your mom?

AR: Very little. I used to think I remembered her, but I think I only remember my grandmother wore her coats and things, and I think I remember her clothes more so than I do her.

RH: Than actually remembering that being her, yes. AR: But I had two dear grandmothers, they loved us to death. My grandmother, my great grandmother. And I had an aunt, my grandmother’s sister, lived right in the second house from me; my grandmother’s sister.

RH: Now that was — was that Carrie, was she Sister Carson’s mother?

AR: No. That was Ellen and Bud hoke?

RH: They must’ve been on the other side; down on the lower side.

AR: No, you know where I’m leaving now… I mean —

RH: All right.

AR: You know where Maz Lattimore lived?

RH: Oh, they lived right up here.

AR: Yeah, that was their home.

RH: Oh, OK.

AR: My — that was my sister’s — my grandmother’s sister. And when my mother died, she wanted to take Catherine and my grandmother wouldn’t let her take her. But she said she wanted us to stay together.

RH: OK. Well that was good then.

AR: And my grandmothers worked real hard for us. I can remember when we had — when it was snow and sleet and there was a man in the country that brought us wood, and his name was Hauss, H-A-U-S-S. We was little, we thought it was "horse", Mr. Horse, we called.

RH: Now, was he white?

AR: And Mr. Hauss, yeah.

RH: I remember there were some Hausses up in Howard’s Creek something like that, yeah.

AR: And he would bring us long wood; it would’ve had to be cut. And my grandmother had to cut that wood — snow, sleet, or whatever.

RH: Oh, my. Would she use a cross cut saw? Did she have to use a cross cut saw?

AR: No, she used an axe.

RH: Is that right?

AR: And she had a — a knot came on her knee from the axe hammer. She cut wood so much –

RH: Is that right?

AR: — but she never would let us have anything after we grew up and Catherine wanted her to see bout that knot on her leg. And she said, "no", and I can remember so well, she said "no, it’s not bothering me and I’m not going to bother it." (laughter) So…

RH: We had — a lot of the times, older people didn’t like to go to the doctors very much anyways, that might’ve been the case.

AR: We really grew up with little; just my two grandmothers… what they could do for us. But we had love — they loved us. And, you know, I count that today… the greatest thing of all.

RH: Right. Sister Rice, I’m just curious, what did your grandmothers do? I know they were getting up in age — how did they make their living?

AR: Washed and ironed; my great grandmother. And if you can remember a family here named Kale, Ed Kale.

JH: Ed Kale, the name is familiar, yeah. And they lived on Main Street?

RH: Yeah.

AR: Well, my great grandmother washed for the Kale’s.


AR: Now that was later — later years. And they had one servant then, and I don’t think they had a lady. Henry Ramseur, I think his name was, he worked for them. So he would bring me clothes and come back and get them; great big basket of clothes. And I can remember my great grandmother had — now she died with cancer.

RH: Your grandmother did.

AR: My great grandmother.

RH: Your great grandmother.

AR: And she would try to stand up and iron those clothes, and he had about like — about seven and eight white shirts, and I would just sit there and would start to help her.

RH: Right.

AR: You know, iron those clothes. And then after I started working, I worked in the laundry, brought all those memories back. How? Because I think it was the shirt presser.

RH: Right, and you remember –

AR: Thought about how I wanted to iron those shirts when I was small/little.

RH: Right.

AR: But it was when I first started working — it was Millie. Millie’s owned the laundry.

RH: OK. Same place? Or just a different name?

AR: No, right beside — on the corner from the jail, from the old jail up here.

RH: Right, OK.

AR: I think there’s a pool room there and something else now. Something… Well, that’s where the laundry was then. And the Lillys owned the laundry. Yeah, I worked and I was — I was too young for — I couldn’t — they couldn’t pay me by check or anything, they just had to pay me because I was too young to be working. But I had a girlfriend that got me — that was working, that was really old enough to work, and Bertha Surratt. When I started working, they let me work, but they couldn’t pay me by check or anything; they just had to pay me by money.

RH: How old were you then, just roughly?

AR: I must’ve been around 14 or 15. I must’ve been around 15.

RH: Is that right?

AR: Yeah, my first marriage, I was 16.

RH: Is that right? Now, your first husband, I know you told me his name was —

AR: Ronie. Henry Ronie.

RH: Henry Ronie. Now did you say — was he from Lincoln County?

AR: And I was 16 in September and I married him in December. I just had turned 16. He lived in the neighborhood. He lived right below me.

JH: So you kind of grew up with him?

KJ: And his family was from Lincoln County, too? OK.

AR: Ronie, you’ve heard of Ronie, haven’t you? Ronie’s Chapel?

RH: Yeah.

AR: They was all from up in that way.

RH: Yeah, off of number ten, I think.

JH: Just the people from Saint Cyprian’s?

AR: Oh, no. From other schools.

JH: From other schools.

AR: Yeah, yeah that was the… what you call, city school?

RH: And it went on to the high school, it had a high school, kind of, at Oaklawn.

AR: That was the highest grade.

RH: Yeah. Which was the 11th grade.

AR: Think it was 12th it went to, I think.

RH: It went up to 12th grade, then? OK.

AR: But now — that was… was… Oaklawn… Yeah, that was the only school for blacks, you know, that I know anything about. Like Mount Vernon, I think they had a little school like Saint Cyprian had. That’s Mount Vernon in the county down there.

RH: That’s the one right there near the church there.

AR: Yeah, looks like a little church-school.

RH: Right.

AR: But the city school was Oak Lawn, and later it was Newbold– that was before integration.

RH: Right, Newbold, I guess, came about in the late ’40s, early ’50s. There was a school up in the county, named Mitchell, was it?

AR: That’s right.

RH: Did you know anything about it?

AR: Yes. Northbrook School, Northbrook number one, Northbrook number two.

RH: No, but this was the black school up there beforehand.

AR: Yeah.

M: What was it? Was it Mitchell School?

AR: Mitchell School.

M: Did you know anything about it?

AR: Only thing I know is when we had County Commencement. Now, there was a lady like I was telling you the supervisor of all the schools, she would come and she would call — like we’d be playing different things at the County Commencement — and I remember her calling, "Mitchell School". And Northbrook was a black school.

RH: Is that right?

AR: Northbrook number one, Northbrook number two.

RH: Is that right?

AR: They were black schools then, because I can remember her calling them. And then I remember Craig Armstrong was professor there at Northbrook School. Do you remember him?

RH: I don’t… that was before I came to Lincolnton, I guess. What about down in the eastern part of the country? I know there was a school down there around Tucker, somewhere, that Miss Loretz.

AR: The only one I can remember is Mount Vernon.

RH: Mount Vernon? There wasn’t any one down in that…?

AR: No, I’ve… (inaudible) not that I know of.

RH: I thought Miss Loretz taught somewhere else.

AR: Tucker’s, yes, there was. There was a school at Tucker’s.


AR: But that was something like a little church school too.

RH: OK. I remember, I’d hear Miss Loretz told us something… Miss Biggers, maybe, was someone.

AR: Yeah. I don’t remember too much about the schools after Miss Biggers was supervisor. Because I’d been out of school then.

RH: OK. JH: What all did you do at County Commencement? What kind of activities?

AR: Wrapped the maypole. That was exciting, that was the most exciting thing. And we had little dances that we learned to do. I remember Miss Mitchell — calling the different schools. You know, we’d have to — each school would go up when she called; Tucker’s Grove School, Mitchell School, and there were a lot of little church — little schools then.

RH: Sister Rice, just to talk about Lincolnton a little bit and what you recall. I know you worked at the laundry and so forth, and I was just wondering —

JH: Keep talking.

RH: Wondering if the —

AR: Oh, I keep on bothering this, don’t I?

JH: You’re OK, you’re fine.

RH: — What you recall, I saw in the paper.

JH: Switch this one like this one because I think it’s going to rub on your blouse. Let me see how the mic’s going to…

RH: In the paper, I think it might’ve been Dot Johnson was talking about the going up in Lincolnton. What do you remember about Lincolnton, just growing up? I know you worked at the laundry there, you saw a lot of people. Just what do you recall about how Lincolnton was during the time, you know, when you could remember it and when you was in school and then go on to the, just, things that stand out in your mind.

AR: Well, I can remember going to the theater.

RH: Now, where was this theater?

AR: And I’m trying to think — what was its name?

JH: The Rivoli or the Century?

AR: Rivoli… And I can remember the first time I ever went. And I had a little — I took a little white child with — that’s where I went. And I got — I could go downstairs if I take… we had to go upstairs, but when we’d take a little — just like I’m the nurse of a… we’d go downstairs, and then "Ten Commandments" was on. I had never been in a theater before, and when I went in there and that great big screen, you know, and I saw Moses and… throwing down the commandments and… it’s — I was scared to death. (laughter) I wanted to leave, and the little boy wanted to stay. (laughter) And I had — there was another girl with me, though, Margaret Cobb, and she has, she had a little boy she was attending too. And Margaret had been there before, and Margaret tried to calm me and I said, "Margaret, I want to go home!" (laughter) Oh, I never will forget that… that great big screen. I can remember that, and I can remember how we, oh, my husband’s sister — I wasn’t married then, but it was in later years I married his sister, her brother — well we would go, it was on Wednesdays, they had — they called it a serial Wednesdays. The same show, but you know, it continued. And we would go every Wednesday. And then… I can remember some of "The Ghost of the Gosheshs" [sic], that was one of the serials. And…

RH: You’re thinking on that. I’m just curious about this; the section out there where the theater is, and it might’ve been the Rivoli — I think it’s big enough — the theater and the hotel and the

JH: The Bouton.

RH: The Bouton.

JH: And you remember that? Out in Freedom?

AR: Slightly. I was… I didn’t get to go out there then, like, you know. But I do remember Jim Motz’s store out there. It was a little store, it was called Jim Motz’s Store.


AR: And I used to go, slip away from home, and go out there. They had a jukebox (laughter). And dancing was my, was one of my — I loved to dance. And we would slip out there, and I had a friend, Mazelene, we’d slip out there and go to — go Saturdays and dance.

RH: That was Saturday evening, Saturday night? Did a lot of folk come into the area?

AR: Yes. And finally, it was a young man, a young man started staying there at the store, he stayed at the back of the store and it was Lee Murray, now, you remember him, don’t you? Don’t you? K. Lee Murray. And we went one Saturday night, and Lee and somebody on the outside got into a fight and Lee started throwing bottles on the inside. Now that broke us, we never, we never did go back any more. That stopped us going to the store on Saturday night. (laughter)

RH: I guess there’s too much excitement. What about the Finger’s that had a restaurant there… café. The Fingers? Coy Finger? Does that ring a bell?

AR: Yeah, I — I don’t know, I heard about that. But then, I didn’t know too much about that.

RH: Do you remember that there was a hotel, there, in that area, too? Somewhere.

AR: The hotel was right up this way… let me see, what is there now?

RH: It was North State, but this was in the black community.

AR: Oh, you’re talking out of town?

RH: No, but I was thinking about up in, in the black community out there, there was a hotel, I understood. You don’t recall that?

AR: That’s what I thought you was talking about.

RH: Yeah, that’s what I was talking about.

AR: Now, when Bouton come here, didn’t he? Oh, he’s the one open that hotel when –

RH: Oh, OK.

JH: Did you ever hear people talk about, you said it was — Bouton? Do you know where he came from? Did you ever hear anybody talking about where Mr. Bouton came from?

AR: I think it was somewhere down south, though.

JH: Was it?

AR: I think… and he had a Cadillac, I can remember that. Because I remember one of the ladies up on the streets, "Here comes Bouton’s Cad." (laughter) I can remember that, it was Lucille’s aunt.

RH: Lucille Kirkland, ah, OK. Just what year was that, kind of, when you remember all that was taking place? JH: How old were you when that was taking place?

AR: How old? I just really don’t know… that was before I married… some of it. So I must’ve been around 16-15… 14…

JH: Isn’t that about 1947?

RH: That’s right, somewhere (inaudible)

JH: Now, did Mr. Bouton lived out in that area near his ho-did he live in his hotel?

AR: He lived in the hotel.

JH: Gotcha.

RH: Well there must have been a lot of traveling through Lincolnton to have to have a hotel that was there, there must’ve been a lot of activity in and out of Lincolnton.

AR: I don’t think so, I don’t know. The only thing I can remember about that hotel — I can remember they had a pool room. Because my husband liked to shoot pool, I can remember that.

SE: No. (laughter)

AR: But it is, I can remember.

SE: Did a lot of people go to the movies during the-that time?

AR: Wasn’t too many places to go then. Know by you all doing this work, you can really know how Lincolnton’s grown.

RH: I was just curious, Sister Rice, I know you grew up in this area, but did you visit, oh, let’s say, in Georgetown… in that area. You know anything about the people over in there during that time?

AR: Well, I remember quite a few people in what they call Freedman.

RH: OK, now, Freedman was…

JH: That was out…

AR: On the East end, now.

RH: OK, so Moore’s Chapel and that area.

AR: That’s right, that was Freedman. And this end was called… Ringdom.

RH: Ringdom.

AR: Ringdom.


AR: That was Freedman. And my mother after — when my mother was buried out there — my grandmother would take — we had, she had a great big old green carriage. And we, both of us, I could walk, but Catherine was — she usually put her in that carriage… and we would go to the cemetery. Every Saturday we went to the cemetery, and that’s why I knew so many people on that-out there. Because we went to the cemetery for years after. My great grandmother would go, and my grandmother would go, and we would stop at different peoples to rest. And my grandmother had a place that she stopped, then my great grandmother had places, so I learned a lot of people out there on that end.

Rh: And this was a horse-drawn carriage, then, I guess?

AR: No, if she had a carriage, she pushed.

RH: Roll.

AR: Roll.

RH: Roll.

SE: A baby carriage. A baby carriage?

AR: Baby carriage.

RH: Oh, OK. So you got it (inaudible)?

AR: Yeah, it was — and it was a large one. It was green, I can remember it well. And Catherine, she’d put Catherine… sometimes Catherine would walk too. So we would were — we were pretty good, getting a good size. I was five when my mama died.

RH: Right. Now, the cemetery you were going to, you may have mentioned that, but I’m just going back. Where… it was — where? Located where, though?

AR: The same cemetery as… my mother’s out there now. It was… they kept it cleaned off better then, you know, because that’s the only cemetery we had then.

RH: Was that out there where Moore’s Chapel’s cemetery is? Behind the steakhouse? Oh, that one. OK. You know, off of Newbold Street.

AR: Yeah.


AR: That’s where my mother’s buried, my grandmother, and my great grandmother.


JH: Miss Rice, what was out that way at that time? What was out that way near the cemetery at that time? Just some houses? Or were there business out there right near the cemetery.

AR: Yeah, right near the cemetery, houses. And you know, at that time, I can remember so many black people lived on Main Street.

JH: Really? That far out? Or closer into town?

AR: That’s far out… that’s just a — let me see the first house I can remember… Kind of by the Methodist church, where the Methodist church is now; Moore’s Chapel.

JH: Was it fr–

AR: And I can remember two houses on this side of Moore’s Chapel –

JH: Really?

AR: Where blacks lived.

JH: OK. And they — were they mostly houses where black folks lived on out? OK.

AR: On out.

JH: To about Goodsonville?

AR: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, because I do know a couple of houses like Boger city.

RH: Now, you don’t recall —

AR: That was the Ramseur’s. Did you ever know Rita Ramseur?

RH: I think I — I remember when I came to Lincolnton, they lived out there… oh, just about in Boger city, didn’t they? They were right out there. I knew of them, I did not know them I the first place.

AR: Yeah. Well, their home was out there, and McDaniel’s home… and… there was the farthest out that I know.

JH: Do you remember the Hill family… that made baskets?

AR: Hill…

JH: The Hill family… their last name was Hill. They made baskets.

AR: Yes, I do. Yeah, that’s one of the places my great grandmother would stop.

JH: Is that right? Did you ever see them making baskets or anything? Did you?

AR: Henry Hill made baskets, yeah, he would sit and sing.

JH: Would he? He would sit and sing?

AR: Sit and sing, and make his baskets.

JH: Now did he have other family members that made them too? Did he have a son that made them? Or was it just him that was making them?

AR: Relatives… he had a brother made baskets. I can’t-I don’t think he had any children.

JH: Really?

AR: And, his sister’s made baskets.

JH: Really?

AR: Yeah. That was interesting, too.

JH: Now, did they sell baskets around town?

AR: Yeah, they sold the baskets. They loved to sing.

JH: Did they? What would they sing? Do you remember?

AR: I can remember some of the… oh, like, "Coming for to Carry Me Home," and… "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," that’s it. And…

JH: You went with your grandmother and your great grandmother to visit with these people.

AR: I always would be outside mostly.

JH: Oh, OK. I wondered if you stayed outside or if you came inside.

AR: Yeah. I can remember where Mr. Henry Hill lived; it was a little house, it was a real small house, him and his sister, Hettie, lived there. And I think we did — I can remember going in that house, seems like. But we usually was outside because we’d be going, just resting, you know, my grandmother would be resting.

RH: I guess most people had a front porch to sit on.

AR: And a yard. And mostly… I can hardly remember a porch.

RH: Sit out in the yard.

JH: Miss Rice, do you remember a man named Richmond Scott? Or did you ever hear of a man named Richmond Scott? Did you? Did he live out that way?

AR: No.

JH: No? Well, he died in 1923, and we read some interesting things about him.

AR: Thought was Richmond’s son.


AR: Now, I’m-now did you say 19 and what?

JH: Richmond Scott, he was originally born in Richmond, Virginia. Then he moved to San Francisco, then he came back to Lincolnton back in the 1870s. May have been who when we were talking about Ed. So I just didn’t know if you had ever heard of him.

AR: I did… Ed. And, in fact, Ed has some property right across from Leonard.

JH: OK. Out that way, in Freedman?

RH: Oh, Leonard would be down here.

JH: Oh, down here. OK. Now, is-where does Ed live now? Is Ed passed away, I suppose, right? Is Ed still alive?

AR: No, he’s dead.

JH: OK, I thought so.

AR: He’s dead now. He owned some property on this street, right on the corner up here too.


AR: He lived in New Jersey for years and years and he married a girl from Lincolnton — Ed did — but they moved to Hackensack, New Jersey, and that’s where they lived until late years, they come back home and Ed bought property around here then.

JH: OK. Now, did Ed have any children that still live in Lincolnton?

AR: No, I can’t remember. Now, the lady he married had a son.

JH: What was her name?

AR: Carrie Hoke. She had one son; Jack, Jack Hoke. Now Jack died several years ago.


RH: I was just curious, Sister Rice, as I was asking people that I remember out along the — in the Freedman area out there, I know you knew, oh, Sister (inaudible) and Goldie Holland, right there across from the church. What do you recall about them as a-I know Sister Holland came from Arkansas, but I’m just going out through there and during that time. AR: You remember them, you know, by going to school out there. And… I do remember, they lived in that same house, the Holland house is there now.

RH: Right.

AR: That was the old house. They just, you know, worked over it… elevated it.

M: Was that Goldie Holland’s parents’ home? Was that his parents’ home there? Was that his…?

AR: Yeah.

RH: That’s where he grew up?

AR: Yeah.

RH: Right across from Moore’s Chapel. There was a school at Moore’s Chapel? Or was that just a place where they had programs there for the school? Or do you remember? Was it Moore’s-was there ever a school at Moore’s Chapel?

AR: I never remember a school

RH: You don’t remember a school there. I understand, they had… you know, maybe schools had functions there. Because it’s such a big church there.

AR: I can’t remember anything about…

RH: (inaudible) Vivian and Pinky Lee, do you?

AR: No. Really, nothing. I just can remember them as… they was Presbyterian, Vivian was and…

RH: Did he attend a Presbyterian –

AR: … changed to the Methodist. Used to be…

Rh: Did he attend a Presbyterian church here in, in town. Did he —

AR: That little Presbyterian church is still out there. You know where the Presbyterian church is.

RH: Pine Street. (inaudible) and Pine Street, OK. All right. And I guess Sister ? was at Moore’s Chapel, maybe, that’s right. And he went there.

AR: Yeah, he finally… I think he changed his membership too.

RH: He did, he was there when I was out at Moore’s Chapel. What do you remember?

AR: I don’t remember anything much about them, only, you know, just… by seeing them, you know and…

RH: Right. What about Sister Stacks and her and her husband. I know you knew…

AR: Yeah, but before that, the only thing I knew was just, you know, by going to school, you know, and… I know he worked a ice plant.

RH: Talking about the, I hear about the ice plant, and… in Lincolnton, I know Mr…

AR: I can’t recall where the ice plant was, but it seemed like it was where the Habitat home moved from.

JH: Johnson’s Ice – Lineberger. Or Johnson’s Ice with Fuel?

AR: Beg your pardon?

JH: Was it Johnson’s Ice and Fuel or Lineberger?

AR: Yes. When the Stacks worked there, I think it was Johnson’s. That was first, wasn’t it?

RH: I noticed that somebody was out there and Brother Magness said they made iceboxes in that area, I’ll tell you. Do you remember that? No? You don’t remember that?

AR: But I know they did, though. I know that somebody did. I don’t know who — I can’t remember that.

JH: Now did you have ice cards at your house that you put on your door when they brought the ice. Did you have ice delivered? Probably not.

AR: Carrie — you heard us talk about my cousin, Carrie, lived right above me?

JH: Yeah.

AR: Yeah? OK. Well Carrie’s husband-Carrie’s father, worked at the mill. And he first worked at, I think, Wampum Mill. Then he worked at — he got burned to death at a mill… Wampum. There’s another one right down there — close.

JH: Eureka?

AR: Anyway, the boiler exploded, he caught on fire, and he went out and jumped in the stream in the-behind it. And he really got so much of his body burned, and then he, by jumping in that water, too… he died from it.

JH: What was his name?

AR: Ben Carson.

JH: Do you have any — roughly what year?

AR: It was…

JH: Roughly, what year that might’ve been?

AR: Oh… he has a daughter, Carrie Carson, that has taught in the county for years, do you remember anything about Carrie?

RH: Yeah, I remember Sister Carrie, she’s in Philadelphia now.

AR: Well, that was his oldest daughter.

JH: What I’m saying is, if you could remember what-

RH: What year it was that that fire occurred…

AR: I’m trying to think about… Carey was teaching then.

RH: Also, she had gotten out of school at that time. So what age might’ve you been at that time, you think? Had you gotten married?

AR: Yeah. I was married and separated from my first husband then, when he got killed. I must’ve been around… 20 or 21 or something like that.

RH: Oh, OK.

AR: Getting mixed up real easy with age.

RH: That’s fine.

JH: That’s no problem. So he worked on a mill here at that time?

AR: Yeah, he worked every — all his life that I know of. And when he talked about the iceboxes, that’s what made me think about — they had an icebox… and it had a big old pulley on it. You know, you’d let the lid go back, and that’s what held the lid open; that pulley.

RH: OK. So it had to have a heavy lid.

AR: Lid, yeah. And his wife was named Lula, she made teacakes all the time so he could have something to carry to work with him for his lunch. And, she had — they had lemonade, he’d put big water buckets of lemonade in the icebox. And so Catherine — we, me and Catherine… my grandmother didn’t have an icebox, so we had a tub — a tin tub — and we would wrap the… when the ice came, when the ice van came to Miss Carson’s, well, I can remember when it was driven first by a horse and Gaston Herndon was driver.

RH: That must’ve been Mr. Hughes’s dad. Was that Mr. Hugh Herndon’s dad?

AR: No, that was Connie’s dad.

RH: Oh, Connie’s dad. OK. Connie Bowden’s dad. OK.

AR: And, and… they would get the ice, they would get — he would get a great big 100 pounds of ice. He’d fill it — he had a great big icebox. And me and Catherine would go up there and get grandma a little piece, put it in the tub; we wrapped it up in newspapers. So that’s the difference and, you know, we just kind of thought they was kind of — it was kind of…rich. (laughter)

RH: Yeah, actually that was a status sort of thing; to have an icebox.

SE: An icebox.

RH: Yeah.

AR: And when they – Mrs. Lula would call us up there to get cookies and lemonade, we thought it was a party. (laughter) But you know, as I think back over those years, I can think of more and more, you know, how much our grandmother loved us. Because that was all we knew, and we was happy… we was happy. And…

RH: Now, Sister Carson, did she have brothers and sisters? I just remember her.

AR: Yes, she has.

RH: That’s right, she did. I know she had…

AR: There was seven of those children, I think. Carrie, George, Mary, Eilene, Klita… Charlie, B.C., and Frankie. There was a lot —

RH: All of them left Lincolnton and went to Philadelphia or somewhere, she was the only one that stayed here.

AR: Yeah.

RH: And taught in the school system for years.

AR: After her mother died, then she… she left.

RH: Right, then Sister Carrie never, never married, did she? You don’t know where she went to school-did her schooling?

AR: I remember going to a school up in Ashville, it was called Allenhome.

RH: Allenhome was a girl’s school there and a nice one. Also she did her — I guess her undergraduate work there. I’m saying undergraduate, she went to high school at Allenhome.

AR: Yeah, and then she went to Johnson C. Smith years later.

RH: OK… OK. Yeah, I remember when I was going there was a girls’ school and actually…

AR: Did you?

RH: I don’t know… girls’ school. Yeah… (inaudible) That was something, really to be able to leave and go to a boarding school at that time.

AR: And Carrie’s father, when it snowed, he would come out and… I can remember my grandmother, it hurt her feelings, he would come out and say it was snowing, you know, and they had — she, Mrs. Lula washed and ironed too, and they had a laund — they called it a laundry heater — it’s a heater that’s got a place around — where you place your irons.

RH: Yeah…cooling irons.

AR: Have you? And that little heater would get red, and them arms would get so hot, and… He would come out when it was snowing… We just had that long wood, you know, like I told you… my grandmother cut. He was so just so happy, old master’s picking his geese… the snow would be falling… (laughter)

RH: That’s interesting, that’s a good one.

AR: My grandmother would say he’s just doing that because he’s you know… he’s glad, he’s doing that because we don’t have nothing but wood. (laughter) old master’s picking his geese. Oh, lord…

RH: I just wonder who else lived in the area down there. I know the Carsons. I was trying to think of the lady that lived right up on the hill, used to go to Moore’s Chapel. Patterson, Sister Patterson, did she live there then?.

AR: Yes. Now she — you know, that’s her home right across from me.

RH: That’s her home, right, was she living there, during that time? Sister Patterson.

AR: Was she what?

RH: Was she living there when you were growing up?

AR: Yeah… Now that was her mother’s home.

RH: That was her mother’s home…

AR: Roseanne Rudisill.

RH: Oh, her mother was a Rudisill. Is that right? What do you know about Sister Patterson?

AR: And she lived with her mother.


AR: And she married a Patterson.

RH: Married a Patterson, and remained there in the homeplace. So… what about, do you know anything other? I just remember her at Moore’s Chapel. What about her? Anything in particular?

AR: No, I don’t.

RH: I know you all grew up, kind of in the same…

AR: No, she was much-a little bit older than me… quite a bit older than me.

RH: She was quite a bit older, OK.

AR: She was quite a bit older than me.


AR: In the house below her, I don’t think you know anything about that, but that was her… her brother, Matt Rudisill. And then, on down below Matt was Sally Posten.

RH: Oh, so the Postens lived down there.

AR: That’s the lot above Carrie’s.


AR: Used to be houses all down there, you know, on the other side of the street. Daddy White, an old man, we’d called him Daddy White but his name was… what was his name? His wife was Liza White… and after my great grandmother died, he would — he used to sweep the streets, he was a street sweeper — can’t think of his first name, but his last name was White. They had those brooms, you know, they’d just go along the curb like, you know, and they’d sweep the streets. They had those street sweepers then.

RH: Right, and they would do it by hand. So those people that lived all the way down near the river down there, I guess. Near to the river.

AR: Yeah, to the river.

RH: You remember it flooding and getting –

AR: Yes, I do. And I remember the… family lived down there when the — we called it a flood then — why can’t I remember? That family lived there… Lynchs! Lynch.

RH: Is that right? The Lynchs lived there.

AR: Lived in that last house, and the water came up all into the floor, inside the floor, those boys got out there and swam in that water. Well, I can remember that, that’s how it was all around the house. And the houses above — the house below Leonard; the water come all up around them back there, and Sam Posten lived there. Had chickens and things… they swept his chickens down in the water and just flooded with them. I can’t remember what year that was, though. But I do remember that.

JH: Did it flood a lot? Did it flood a lot?

AR: Oh, yes. It was terrible.

RH: Often, did you have often…?

AR: Oh, that’s the — often?

RH: Did it often flood? I mean, did you have — about every year did you have a flood?

AR: That’s the only one I remember like that.

RH: Did you all fish in the river, there?

AR: My grandmother did… great grandmother.

RH: Did you catch a lot of fish?

AR: I never did see a whole lot, but, she’d catch some.

RH: I guess other people did too. It was a big river there. That was what that area was.

AR: Down where Leonard lives. Now… they call that Black Bottom. There were no lights, you know, and really, there was no highway through there then. It was just from here, like Water Street…

RH: Right.

AR: It was just all the way, just, when no road cut through there then.

RH: So that bridge, and I mean, all of that wasn’t no bridge.

AR: Wasn’t no bridge, wasn’t nothing —

RH: How did they get on up in the western part of the county? How did they cross the river? Wouldn’t you remember? How was the river crossed?

AR: I’m trying to think… must’ve been some kind of bridge, wasn’t it?

RH: Or either a ferry one.

AR: No, I can’t remember that.

RH: Or maybe it got low enough that they could ride across it, I’m just wondering. When the river was down…

AR: It’s a bridge. But now, this street, see it — when nothing cut through here, it just went just like… and this was just like a path where we live now.

RH: Right. That went on down through that area…

AR: Yeah.

RH: Yeah, because the road wouldn’t have been there; that was just continuous. As a matter of fact, there’s houses probably on down through there.

JH: And it didn’t get like this until they put in the highway?

AR: That’s right… that’s right.

JH: How did that — how was… what was that like when they did that? Was that kind of like they were tearing up the neighborhood? Or (inaudible)? Were a lot of people unhappy about that?

AR: I can’t remember. But I can remember what a terrible mess it was (laughter).

RH: You remember when they did — when that road was put in?

AR: I can’t remember the year.

RH: Oh.

AR: That’s why I was trying to think.

RH: Wasn’t done after World War II was it?

AR: I imagine it was.

RH: What do you recall about growing up in Lincolnton? I mean, anything in particular, you know, walked out to Freedom and, because he did some electrical work — electrician — do you remember anything about that?

AR: No, we had lamp light.

RH: When did you all first get electricity? Do you remember?

AR: It was after I married.

RH: So that would have been…

AR: It was after six — after I was 16, I’m sure of that.

RH: But that was still early on in the, in the late ’20s. But you all had lights? — got lights then? But up until then you had lamps, coal or kerosene lamps?

AR: Kerosene. And we had a big old open fireplace in that house, and… the chimney would catch on fire. That’s where Leonard lives now.

RH: Oh.

AR: And, and, you know how soot gathers up in this big old chimney, and it would just roar and then scare me and Catherine to death. And it was (laughter), in March the wind don’t blow like it did then, (inaudible), that March wind seemed like it just blew all the time. And that chimney would catch on fire and we was afraid of having a fire. We’d just sit up in the chim — fireplace and burn off — (laughter) burn our legs in the front. We was grown, it was forever until, you know, those places would go away.

RH: Burn… spot would get too hot and not realize it.

AR: Yeah, trying to keep — otherwise, warm otherwise and burning up our legs.

RH: Yeah.

AR: Yeah. And…

JH: Miss Rice, do you ever remember anybody talking about who built that house that you lived in?

AR: I think my great grandmother and her husband… which was, she was a… she married Andy Dellinger.

JH: Her name was Mary?

AR: I think — now, the first — I believe they must’ve had that little house built and just kept adding, you know how you… you know.

JH: Yeah. Now, the way it is now, was it — did they build… where Leonard lives, that house, was — did they build the front two rooms first? When you were growing up, is that the way you remember it? And then they added on too?

AR: Yeah, in the front — the front porch had — is still — the steps; where they are now, they was at the end… this end of the front porch.


AR: And… let’s see, we had three — it was three rooms that I first remember… three rooms.

JH: So you went in the front door, you had a room on the left and on the right and then another one?

AR: Yeah, a little kitchen behind.

JH: Yeah. This is a pretty early house.

RH: Just going back a bit, you talked about the theater and the segregation there — that you couldn’t go up — downstairs. So what else do you remember about segregation and such that you — where you couldn’t go and so forth.

AR: Couldn’t go to, you know, eating places. I remember… we could go but we had to sit in the back. There are like little places built in the back where you — oh, I can even remember when Carter’s Café, at first we couldn’t just sit in the front, you know… we’d have to go in and sit in the back. I was working in the laundry then, and we’d get out, go at twelve o’ clock. And we — we didn’t take it out back to the laundry, we had to sit in the back, you know, to eat it. Yeah…

RH: I’m just curious, and this may be a sensitive area… Now, you were very fair and you could’ve gone either way, did they ever cover ever being — did they ever mistake you for being black or white somewhere and they didn’t know what to decide during that time?

AR: No, I never had that problem because I always stayed where I thought I belonged. (laughter)

RH: I didn’t know of any kind of circumstances you were in, but they —

AR: Yeah, but I’ll tell you what, I had a cousin and she came to stay with us for a while…. she really wanted to be white, she was, you know, just she

RH: She was very pale skinned.

AR: And she… she would go up there to Carter’s Café just like you said; she would go in the front and sit up there on the stools. And we had heard about her doing that, and so once, it was Dave, me, and Catherine decided to go, she la — she would — she would — she would go by herself, and when we had decided to go, she was on the stool, and we could’ve gone in there and given her away (laughter), but we didn’t do it.

RH: Oh, because they knew you, but they didn’t know her.

RH: Exactly. But had they not known you, they wouldn’t have known the difference, though, would they?

AR: No. And she married a — she married a white boy. It wasn’t integration then, but she married a white –

RH: Right, because she’s more white than she was black.

AR: She stayed around for a while after she married him but she left for I don’t know where or what become of her.

JH: What was her name?

AR: Oh, Lord have mercy. As much as we talk about that child. Her brother living now, Tommy, lives in Statesville. He co — I see him quite often.

RH: OK. Now, how was she in the family? I’m just trying, might ring a bell too, she was your cousin?…

AR: She was in the Fulenwider family.

RH: And she was your cousin. How did that connect? She was a —

AR: Let’s see… now, my great grandmother and… my great grandmother… her… mother’s name was Fanny… Fanny was Uncle Wade’s daughter. And… my great grandmother’s brother was her… My great grandmother’s… how do I say it?

JH: Was her last name Fair, F-A-I-R?

AR: She was a cousin.

RH: Might’ve been your grandmother’s brother’s child.

AR: Her mother was my grandmother’s…

JH: Sister.

AR: And I… child.

RH: OK. Her grandmother’s sister.

AR: Her mother was named Fanny… Fanny, she married a Fair. Fanny, that’s Uncle Wade’s daughter…. Her mother and my grandmother was… I can’t get it together. But either way we were cousins.

JH: Now where was she from? You said that she didn’t live here, she lived another place?

AR: Down in the county.

JH: Oh, so she did live in the county. So people in town didn’t know her too well? So she was able to do that.

RH: Course they lived down, what? In the East? In the Tucker’s area.

AR: Yeah, down in that area. Somewhere they call Lucia.

RH: OK, yeah, down in Lucia, yeah.

JH: But yeah mentioned going to the movie theater and you were able to sit down on the first level because you had the white kids with you. The kids that you were —

AR: I do think —

JH: You mentioned going to the theater with the white kids that you had — you and a friend. Now, did you babysit those kids? Or did you — OK. So you were able to go down on the first floor when you had them with you? OK.

AR: Yeah.

JH: Did you — were there people around, other people from Lincolnton? From the black community who did? You mentioned not testing the waters and just kind of going where you supposed to go. Were there other people being told that they couldn’t go and sit in a restaurant and eat?

RH: Just like your cousin would go… with anybody else —

AR: I don’t know if anybody else did that (laughter). She’s the only one I know. Oh, I wish that, Rev. Hamilton, I’m going to call you and tell you her name.

RH: Oh OK, that’ll be fine, yeah. I’m going to tell you, but the sharing of the whole incident was very interesting because we do know that did happen, you know. It helps, that was good, and you shared that. Anything else that stands out in your mind about segregation and so forth and growing up in Lincolnton? That just… kind of…

AR: I know of an incident, I don’t really like to talk about. Erase things like that…

JH: Sure.

AR: From my mind. As far as I always got along, you know, with everybody. You know, it’s…

JH: Right, I know you did… I have been, I know —

AR: I can remember going to school, though, I do remember this on old Main Street some of the girls would push us. You know, like the white girls. You know do you show like that, you know, against us. And of course, so we would push back, though, you know, too.

JH: So they would do those things to aggravate you.

AR: Just a bit.

JH: Sometimes you all —

AR: We all got out of school at about the same time, and they’d be coming and going and we’d… push shoulders, you know. I can remember some of them, some of them that did it… You know how that is, it’s like it is today? I mean — it’s some people that just… you know?

Rh: Sort of disagreeable.

AR: Yeah, that’s right

M: Do you — did you ever go to Camp meeting down at Tucker’s any when you were growing up?

AR: Yes, once. I’ve been to Tucker’s. Only one time.

RH: Only one time.

AR: Oh, yes I have… I’ve been twice. Because I remember Reverend Morris preached there and I went with him.


AR: But when I was young, I only remember going one time.

RH: OK. What — were you married then? Oh, OK. So you didn’t go down there very much? What do you remember about it then? Was it something that was — did you enjoy it? Or what?

AR: Yeah, we just ran around, we didn’t go for the — I didn’t go to hear the preaching; I just ran around over the campground. (laughter)

SE: Did they have the same buildings like they do now? Did people go and — did you go and stay in a cabin?

AR: No, I just… when — we had, it went on a truck. It’s all Sunday, and I think he was a man and his name, Martin Auten, he run a — he had a truck he used for everything – anything anybody wanted. And we didn’t have straw in there. And I remember that Sunday I went, and it was fun because I had never been and we just ran around over the campground. You could buy drinks, you know and…

RH: How much were drinks selling for? You know, do you recall back then?

AR: I know that it was cheap. (laughter)

RH: I imagine there was a big crowd of people there?

AR: Yes, I can remember that crowd of people.

RH: What did it have a little stand set up like

AR: Yeah.

RH: They set up like different things, with fish, and all those types of things?

AR: And most everything was chicken. I can remember, nearly every where we went to buy something, it was chicken. (laughter) I can’t remember hamburgers and things like that. Chicken sandwich.

RH: Chicken sandwich, yeah.

SE: Do you remember anything about the war years? In the black community where the man had went off to war?

AR: Yes, I do remember that my daughter, Henrietta, she’s a — she’s adopted — and it was in the war time when I adopted her and this is my second husband. I was married a second time. Do you remember, Jesse Lee Rice?

JH: Yeah, I remember Jesse, I do, yeah.

AR: You do? You know that —

JH: I’ve heard of… yeah.

AR: Mmmm, that was my husband.

JH: Is that right?

AR: And when I got Henrietta, her… well, it was — I was married up — by my first husband when I got Henrietta. And he lived in Washington, we was like – I lived here — we weren’t separated then, I just didn’t like Washington. So we were — I always wanted a child, I never could have one, and we read about a little boy that was in — after it had a… paper. A black editor, it was edition "Afro- American."

RH: Afro-American, yes…

AR: And I read in there about this child that… she had this baby and she… oh, she hadn’t had it yet, she was pregnant, and I don’t know her circumstances, but anyway, must’ve been really bad. She was just jumping — going to jump off the bridge. And of course they begged her not to jump, but she jumped anyway. And they got some kind of club up after that, they called it "lend the hand" club where un-wed mothers could come, come and stay and have children and put them up for adoption if they didn’t… you know. So there was a little boy that was in this place, and I wanted him so bad and my grandmother kept telling me — I was still at my grandmother’s — she kept telling me, you know, not to adopt a child. But I just kept saying thank you, kept it in my mind, and when my husband come home from Washington, he come home sick. And so, that… we didn’t get that little boy. So then I just kept watching and watching until I saw where there’s this little girl was up for adoption and so I decided I’d go to Washington and see. That’s where I got Henrietta; from this club… place… through this "lend a hand" club. And…

RH: Is that right? I did not know, so Henrietta came from Washington?

SE: What year was that?

AR: And she was, she was a week old when I first got, saw her. But I couldn’t bring her out of the city until she was a month old, I couldn’t bring her home.

RH: So you stayed in Washington.

AR: I brought her home when she was a month old. Now, what did you ask me made me tell you this?

SE: What? Oh. About the war years,

AR: Yes.

SE: What year was — was that in…?

AR: Let me see… I know

RH: That would’ve been in, what? In the ’40s? How old is Henrietta?

AR: Henrietta’s 60… 60.

JH: She’s 60, 1944.

AR: Anyway, why I brought that up, I know now. Because I traveled back and forth from Washington, Henry was in Washington and I was going here at home. And they would tell you not to travel, you know, no more than you could/ had to on account of the soldiers. But I went about every other week until the porters and everything knew me. (laughter)

SE: Did you just do this by train? By train…?

AR: Yeah, by train.

RH: Would it — Sister Rice, I want you to pause a minute and think — now, you were on the train, you rode in… what? The colored car, right?

AR: Yes, that’s right.

RH: If you’d have rode in… you didn’t even try, you didn’t test it, so…

AR: Yeah, we all — we had to sit, go behind, that’s the way it was.

RH: Did anybody else think you were in the wrong car? They never did? How was the situation in Washington, then? Did you remember when you went up there from here; you were going from Lincolnton to Washington. Did you go places there that you couldn’t go here? Or do you remember just being there?

AR: Yeah, I don’t remember, I don’t remember anything about…

RH: Did you stay in a hotel when you went up? Or did you stay with someone else?

AR: No, stay Henry — Henry was already there.

RH: Oh, that’s right, he’s up there.

JH: Was he there for work? Was he there working?

AR: Yeah, he worked at Union Station, he worked at the station. And when I got Henrietta, then, I can remember we stayed at the station… We missed our train and we had to stay at the station all night until the next day. Yeah, and I traveled quite a bit, but we was asked not to do it, though, you know, on account of soldiers. But I was always up ’til I decided then just to stay home, you know, with Henrietta there. Henry would come home. With — about the war, now that’s about — Oh, I know what I was going to tell you. We had, you know… like your… things was rationed, you know, you couldn’t get so much of like sugar and things like that. And so Henry had payday, he did when he come home. We got milk for the baby, and we just had boxes of milk, and he had pushed milk boxes up under the bed and he dared me to get them — any milk out of there, you know, just keep on buying because we were afraid that it was getting’ so — we couldn’t get no milk for Henrietta. That was during the war time.

SE: So did the — the milk, did it not have to be kept cold?

AR: Oh, it was just, it was canned.

SE: It was canned milk.

RH: That brings on another thought, during the Depression, when things really was tough, do you remember how it was then? I know you said, you know, because you were married then and, what do you remember about the ’30s during the Depression?

AR: About the what?

RH: Growing up during the Depression, when, you know, during the ’30s when everything; the stock market failed and everything, a lot of people went through a difficult time. The banks went bust and all that. What do you remember about the Depression? There wasn’t much work too, a lot of people were just… had to —

AR: I just can remember it was rough, you know, times. And we couldn’t get but so much of this and that. I had a friendgirl that had a lot of children, and she could get a lot of stamps; shoe stamps.

RH: That was during the war, was it? Now, during the Depression they were giving out —

AR: Oh, oh, oh, I see what you’re saying. Like when they had yellow cornmeals and things like —

RH: Might’ve been they gave away stuff, I know they’d get things, they would give them away during the Depression, because people didn’t have anything to eat, they didn’t remember that period of time much or how it was in Lincolnton during that time. Or where you got the food was being given away out in Lincolnton, do you remember?

AR: I can’t remember, you know, I was getting anything, it was giveaway — giveaway. I can remember, during wartime, how, you know, it was just so little that you — you couldn’t get but so much you know, I can remember that. And it was according to the family, you had a big family, you could get more stamps and whatever. Mostly it was food stamps, and shoe stamps, and things like that.

RH: That brings on another question of political side of it. You remember when you first voted? When you first went to the polls and voted, do you remember?

AR: After the war? JH: Yeah, you remember a lot of them leaving to go to war? (laughter)

JH: Is there anything you’d like to tell us that we haven’t asked, maybe, that you could think about that would be interesting to hear from a historical perspective? Mary says your life experiences in the county and maybe how things have changed and…

AR: Not really, but I just — I am happy, you know, that I can… I lived to see the change, you know.

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