Leonard Holloway was born in 1914 to William and Francis Rankin Holloway on Church Street in Lincolnton. Leonard’s father William was originally from Mount Hope, West Virginia, and his mother was from Stanley, Gaston County, North Carolina. His father moved to Lincoln County to work for cotton magnate Robert S. Reinhardt. Reinhardt traveled to Mount Hope to ship carloads of coal to Lineberger’s Ice and Fuel in Lincolnton. As a young man, Holloway worked for R.S. Reinhardt’s son, Steve Reinhardt, at his home on West Main Street in Lincolnton. He attended first through seventh grades at the Saint Cyprian’s School in Lincolnton, and completed his education in the tenth grade at Lincolnton’s Oaklawn School. Holloway received his advanced education while reading books and periodicals from Steve Reinhardt’s library. Over the years he has had various jobs before starting and operating Holloway Enterprises for over forty-two years. Holloway cleaned houses and businesses and maintained yards in Lincolnton and surrounding areas. He was once the Worshipful Master of Lomax Lodge, and a member of the Lincoln County Chapter of the NAACP.
The audio recording and printable transcript of the interview are available below:
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What follows is the transcript of Leonard Holloway’s interview:
Interviewee: Leonard Holloway
Interviewers: Jason Harpe and Bill Beam
Format: Audio Cassette (? Minutes)
Transcriber: Tape Transcription Center
Coverage: Lincoln County, North Carolina, early 1900s -2005
Subjects: R.S. Reinhardt, education, race, segregation, Oaklawn School, Newbold High School, Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal Church (African-American congregation), Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, Tucker’s Grove, African-American communities in Lincolnton, houses and businesses in the Freedom (Freedman) community in Lincolnton, Holloway family, businesses and theatres in downtown Lincolnton, white families in downtown Lincolnton, and West Virginia and coal.
BB: We are here to talk about history in general, and we wanted to ask you a few questions. And of course you elaborated as much as you would like. But where and when were you born?
BB: Here in Lincolnton?
LH: Oh yes. Over here on Church Street.
BB: Church Street.
LH: I was so elated when my daughter brought this book here.
LH: And I saw that picture of Saint Cyprian’s Church in there. All these years that– I was born right across the street from it. That was old Reinhardt, part of that Reinhart property, that owned the cotton mill.
BB: Yes sir.
LH: Uh huh, the cotton mill there. And my father came here from West Virginia with him.
BB: Oh, OK.
LH: Bob Reinhardt had gone out there to purchase coal by the carload lots. And they had the tipple right here on East Water Street, and carloads at the school would come in. And Reinhardt had procured one of those — well, it was unusual around here — one of those iron grid Model– I guess you’d classify it as being a Model T. A Diamond T Truck was the name of it, brand name of it.
BB: And you used the truck how?
LH: Dad would use the truck– ?: (inaudible; something about the mike placement)
BB: OK. Excuse me, go ahead. You were trying to tell me about a truck.
LH: Yeah, this truck that Reinhardt had bought while he was out west, out there in West Virginia. Anyway, they came back here and shortly thereafter they started using that truck to haul the coal from the tipple down the road to the Elm Grove Cotton Mill.
BB: And the tipping machinery was on Water Street, or, well, no–
LH: The tipple was out here on East Water Street, whereas they then– you know where the railroad is at– what’s that about? Back of– where the tire place used to be. You know– West Water– I mean, East Water Street dead ends out here.
BB: Yes sir, OK.
LH: It was right on the [unintelligible] there, on the right hand side, where the– ?: (inaudible) Yeah, that’s what I was trying to say.
LH: On the other side of the– across the railroad tracks, that’s where that– Cars would come in on a siding there, and they’d back the truck up underneath that tipple there, and that’s– Diamond T was something unusual, because it had a iron post, like a “T”, back behind the cab part, and a little lever right between the pedals, the brake pedal and the clutch, where he would manipulate the lever down there, and it would throw that cables into gear, and the bed would rise up so he could dump the coal off.
BB: Dump the coal off.
LH: Mm hm. And he’d have to get up in the bed of the truck and knock the rocks loose on the bottom side of the coal cars. It was about– it must have been about 6 foot iron bar, like that large around. I used to tell my children, when I get to the place where I can’t pick that bar up and hold it, I was going to put it down. And I did so for a number of years. But that was one of the earlier periods of my life where I was exposed to, during the time when I was a youth born across the street there from this Episcopal Church.
BB: So that picture’s pretty well how you remember it at the time?
LH: Well, it was tainted. I had it– Well, the bishop had contacted me from up at the city up in Nashville, and [unintelligible] building down. Had the furnishings moved out of it up to the city up in Nashville area.
BB: So you moved to another church, the furniture to another church up there?
LH: Yes, mm hm. I don’t know how we got off on that tangent, I don’t know what you all came here to ask me.
BB: No, that’s fine.
JH: Oh, that’s what we’re here to learn.
BB: Do you know who made the furniture? The church furniture?
LH: Oh, the furnishings been there when I was born.
LH: I’m trying to think of what the minister’s name was that was involved in the erection of that church there. I know it’s like a normal name, but my mind is other places now.
JH: Now, was Saint Cyprian started as– [tape glitch]
LH: Oh yes, uh huh. Wetmore was his name, Reverend Wetmore. He used to run the– was instrumental in the erection of Saint Luke’s as well as Saint Cyprian’s. In fact, Saint Cyprian’s was similar to but not quite like, as elaborate, on the same basis of Saint Luke’s over there. Had a marvelous choir there, good lord. The building that was right behind the church building at that time was what was known as the school. Mrs. Elizabeth Lander taught there.
BB: We was going to talk about this a little later, but I’ll go ahead and show you, there’s maps, they’re insurance maps. And it shows Saint Cyprian’s, and then it has the school behind it, there on High Street and Church.
LH: That’s true.
BB: And then there’s two houses on each–
BB: One on each side.
LH: There’s two right there on the right hand, on the corner there, and there was this street– I mean, house there. And a vacant lot. And then on down the– and that vacant lot belonged to the Hokes. And the Hokes lived in a big two-story house down there on that corner, where the substation be. Wait, which way are we going here now? This is coming back–
BB: This is coming–
LH: No, I’m coming where–
BB: Where Grove– I’m sorry.
LH: Where’s the church?
BB: Here’s the church.
LH: Uh huh.
BB: Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal.
LH: And this is going back toward town?
BB: This is going towards the Grove street. And this is going to town. Up here is the old jail.
LH: Uh huh. I’m looking at that map wrong I think.
BB: Need your glasses?
LH: You rather put that on the table or something?
BB: No, that’s fine, I can–
LH: I can hold it.
BB: You can hold it. If you’ll just tell me about–
LH: I tell you, these, the buildings here designate the–
BB: A dwelling.
LH: A dwelling.
BB: A house, yes sir.
LH: But there wasn’t but one dwelling on that–.
BB: This is in 1921.
LH: Oh, when this map was drawn.
BB: Yes sir.
LH: Oh, that was the Lander propertyright there at the church, on this end. Right on the corner. Now this is High, this is High Street.
BB: And this is Church.
LH: Those two houses in between this, there’s just one house–
BB: Which they may have been torn down right after this, I’m not sure. It shows the old jail, you know, back of the church, back of it. And then Water Street. Tell us about your– not changing the subject, but your– you said your father came here, or your grandfather?
LH: No, that was my father, came here from– yeah.
BB: Your father. And where was he from?
LH: Mount Hope, West Virginia.
BB: Mount Hope.
LH: Mm hm.
BB: And how’d he get here, with Reinhardts?
LH: Reinhardt, yeah.
BB: That’d be Robert S. Reinhardt?
LH: Yeah, R. S. Reinhart.
BB: Through Elm Grove.
LH: Mm hm.
BB: I wonder how Robert– what connection did Robert Reinhardt have with West Virginia?
LH: Well, he went up there to get coal. All the coal. I had a little book here — no wait, it doesn’t have it — that had the price of the coal when it shipped to Lincolnton, there’s a whole bunch right here, coming by rail. See, they shipped coal, they shipped in here to Linebergers or whoever it was that had the coal rights to sell it here at that time. But rather than buy the lots like there, he went up there and buy– have a whole– make arrangements to be shipped in here by the carload. And they would deliver it over there to the mill.
BB: What was your mother’s name?
LH: Francis Rankin.
LH: Mm hm. She was from down in Stanley.
LH: Stanley Creek, mm hm. There’s a little bit of history behind that. That’s one of my uncles, one of my grandmother’s sons, the youngest one. She had three sons. And after her husband died these brothers here was pretty young, but she said something about remarrying, and they told her that — I don’t know whether it was a threat or not, because– they told her that if she remarried they were going to leave home. Which they did. One went to Pennsylvania, and the other three went out to the coal mining area. Out to West Virginia.
BB: Tell us a little bit about the big family record up here. I see there’s a Hoke– [tape glitch]
LH: I’ll just put it down here.
BB: OK. I’ll set it right over here.
LH: I’ll forget I’m wired.
BB: You’re fine.
LH: I’m wired. That’s my wife’s grandmother. That was her husband there. That’s my wife, that’s me. That’s my sister-in-law, that’s her husband. They had property up here above where those steps go up. BB: And his name. He was a Hoke. What was his name?
LH: He was a Hoke. They called him Bud, but his name was Robert Hoke.
BB: Robert Hoke?
LH: Uh huh. Yes, he was a Russell, and I’m a Holloway. Grandma Dora was a Fulenwider.
BB: Oh, OK.
LH: Now that was her family name. That’s where this– my wife’s lineage came in through that Fulenwider crowd, that put its markers down here at High Shoals.
BB: Yes sir.
LH: There’s a whole other stuff like that that went on before I came– grew to the age to start getting consideration and trying to learn things. It’s a wonderful world if you don’t weaken. But I’m going to– going through the weakening process now so far as my remembrance — my mentality, I might say. If I’m rambling, don’t blame it on–
BB: You’re fine.
JH: You’re fine. That mike will pick you up well.
LH: It will?
JH: Yes. What was your father’s name?
LH: William Holloway. W.M., that’s what we called it here in the courthouse, so far as taxes and stuff like that was concerned.
BB: What year did he move here, do you know?
LH: No. I have an older sister, and an older brother– well, my oldest brother’s dead. But my older sister’s still living in– I started to say Pennsylvania. ?
LH: Yeah, Maryland, with her daughter. — Her granddaughter, rather.
BB: And was she born here then? They were all born here?
LH: Oh yes, mm hm.
BB: As far as stories from your father, your grandfather. Do you remember your grandfather?
LH: No, no, no, uh uh.
BB: You don’t remember him.
LH: We went out– one of my sons, and Teresa and I went out to West Virginia to the courthouse. They were trying to find some records that were due, and the worse shape I’ve ever seen anything supposed to have been filed for posterity’s sake.
LH: They were all yellowed, and they had sort of plasticized. You were with us, don’t you remember?
LH: Mm hm. We got no information.
LH: Well, in fact, he was born in that county — I mean in the country seat there. But his aunt took him with her over to West Virginia, and reared him. That’s where he– where he grew up there. I say West Virginia, but Mount Hope. All that was in the State of Virginia– West Virginia.
JH: Now, did your father talk– [tape glitch]
LH: I went out there a couple of times, out to Aunt Mary’s. I have a recollection of one act I committed out there.
BB: Your early memories of a little boy here in Lincolnton, who were some of the oldest people you remember?
LH: Well, you mean in white community, or– no?
BB: Either one. Or both.
LH: Well, there was the Keevers, that lived up here on Water Street. And the Husses. And there was an elderly lady had a sheep in her yard there. Mrs. Abraham was always what we called her. It was right up there on that corner, South High and Water Street. And then there’s a two-story house that, I don’t know whether Steve Reinhardt — that was old man Bob’s son — bought it, or what. But Steve lived there on West Main Street there, across the street of where the James house is. The Hoyle house is facing it, facing where the house is that Steve Reinhart built. I remember when the house — which is right down on the street, right down on the sidewalk where he lived. And that’s where he started going up there, to tend to his children. And then they tore that whole house down and built a– [tape glitch]
BB: Do you remember when Robert S. built the house you’re talking about?
LH: No, Steve’s the one that–
BB: Steve built–
LH: Steve’s the one that built, and that was one of his sons. BB: About what year was that, do you have any idea?
LH: No I don’t, I can’t– not so far as– ?
BB: Do you know what age you were then, do you remember that?
LH: When I was large enough to go up there at the house to take a little– those were two little boys, and the little girl. At night they’d go out partying, and things like that. And when I found that he had put a library in that house, and that he — in one of the adjoining rooms there, where it was– kept the children. I couldn’t get those children into bed early enough.
BB: You read–
LH: Also, man, I’m telling you, that was a revelation to me.
BB: Really? Well, great.
LH: Fetch the book. See, I attended that school, that little one-room school up through the seventh grade, and went out to Oaklawn, where it went to the tenth grade. Had to go out of State– out of town here. Went to Salisbury to get [tape glitch]
BB: Price. OK. LH: Mm hm. Price High School in Salisbury. My older sister– I can’t think of the name of that town. ?: Where she went to school?
LH: Yeah, where she went– ?: I think Nelda remembers that. I can call her real quick to find out. (inaudible)
BB: What was the earliest teacher you remember.
LH: Ms. Tume. Mrs. Elizabeth Lander.
JH: Tume Lander.
LH: Mm hm.
BB: We have an obituary for her.
LH: Oh, you do? Yeah, OK. She and her husband, Mr. Verlin. I’ll tell you, they were — they were very active in the church. The Bollin family, that lived down at the old Hoke house, which is on the– right on that next corner, beyond where the Saint Cyprian’s Church was located at. They had a little two-story brown house, with all those women and– It’s down there across from where the– can’t think of the name of the street. But it’s Academy Street I believe that goes that way. The school building used to be over down on that corner, but then they had the Sheriff’s office there.
BB: Yes sir. Yes.
LH: Uh huh. But she lived right down that street on the left there, in a white house. It had ducks and geese and turkeys running around. This was a very farm-like city here back when I was– I was talking about Ms. Abraham had a sheep up on that corner. We used to try to worry her sometimes going on that sheep.
JH: So Mr. Holloway was– Ms. Abraham, was she a
LH: She was a foreigner. A Jew or something like that.
JH: Did they operate a store downtown?
JH: They didn’t.
LH: Not to my knowledge. All I know is that one woman was at that house. I never did see a man or anything like that there.
JH: OK. [tape glitch]
LH: — by that name, that’s the only thing that I would associate the name, the name with it in that respect. Because–
JH: You say Mr. Reinhardt’s library was vast. LH: What was that again? JH: Mr. Reinhart’s library was a vast library?
LH: No, he had a lot of classic books. And the Saturday Evening Post. And there was another book there I liked to read too. Anyway, I won’t– (inaudible). But I’ve tried to accumulate some of those books of that nature, and I have quite a little– I like to read.
LH: I had access to it. I remember, there was black man, is name was the Cobb family, that worked at Childs and Wolfe drug store. And that was right there on Main Street there, right beyond where the bank on your left is. Chamber of Commerce. (inaudible)
BB: The Chamber of Commerce?
LH: The Chamber of Commerce is there now.
BB: Yes sir.
LH: And Childs and Wolfe was a– I know there was a shop there. And then the Childs and Wolfe Drug Store. And Coot Cobb worked there, and take care of the fixing the ice and stuff like that, take behind the soda fountain, and clean up and carry out– I don’t know what all he had to do, because he was a man, and I was nothing but a youngster. And I found that he would tear the backs off of those Wild West magazines, and those stories that were written about the war, airplanes and things like that. And he would tear the backs off of them and throw the books out there in the trash bin out the back, in that alleyway there. And they’d send those– the copies– not the copies, but the cover, back to the company, and they wouldn’t have to pay for the books.
LH: So I told him, I’d come back, on my way back home from school, and come by there and turn that thing to shave the ice, shave a box. A big old thing, metal thing they had put behind the counter. Shave that for him, and he’d put those books back there for me. And I ended up taking over my sister’s playhouse that my daddy had built for them, made a library out of it.
BB: Well good.
LH: Seek ye knowledge and understanding, and thereby you can acquire wisdom. Those were rudiments of– beginning of a social structure back during my early days. And I tried to– I acknowledge the fact that I was denied, but I tried to wipe it out of my mind as far as its having any pronounced effect upon what I had a desire to do so far as my life was concerned. I learned to read a dictionary, and I read my dictionary just as readily as I did the Bible. Because the usage of the words means to conveying my thoughts– And telling me what it is that I am. And that which I found that I wasn’t I strove to do that I had the desire to do. I was– you didn’t come here seeking that kind of talk, but.
BB: Well no, it’s (inaudible).
JH: We’d love to hear.
LH: Oh. Well, reading those books that early in life, I realized, came to the realization that there was another facet of a structured society other than what I was being exposed to as I continued to grow into young manhood. And I made it a desire, so far as my children was concerned, to see to it each one of them had an opportunity to go toschool, and secure an education. What they had a desire to do. And I strove through the years, tried to live a 19 life here that proved to be beneficial so far as I was concerned, my family was concerned, and establish a concept of in the minds of other people that I came in contact with. If you want to know who I am, then you talk to me. Don’t go out here and say that, from outside sources, and make these determinations, because there’s plenty of instances when– and I broke the tangents there that restrictions that I tried to force myself into accepting. So I rose through it. I just let people know what I thought. There are a few instances, down here, some of my early jobs as a youth.
BB: What was one of your first jobs?
LH: Oh, something like that, that was rudimentary. I didn’t get any money from that, that was just to put some books at there. But going up there to Reinhardt’ss house he would give you 15 or 25 cents to go up there and stay two or three hours with the children. But a quarter back then, men, it was about five dollars now. Oh, sure. But so far as the job with merit, I used to ride on the ice truck, the Johnson ice truck, it used to be right down below where that warehouse– you know what I’m trying to say, that warehouse.
LH: No, no, uh uh, not Lan–
BB: All right.
LH: Dixie Grocery. Wholesale.
BB: Yes sir, OK.
LH: And then Lineberger bought them out. And when they tore that down, they moved it out on East Water Street there, across from where the Linberger–
BB: Yes sir.
LH: Shortly thereafter they moved and– well, not shortly thereafter. But they stayed there for a long time, but they opened up another one out there at Midland. Opened up an ice House out there, between Boger City and town. You don’t know anything about that filing station that’s out there known as Midland.
BB: No sir, I don’t remember it.
LH: That’s was a goodie place, right there in there– Old man Jones that lives over here operated it. And the good thing, as a youth, we’d go out there in the evenings at night and get ice cream. Sit out in the cars and eat it. Talk to the girls and stuff like that.
LH: Yeah, it was black and white out there, doing the same thing. And then Lindy’s barbeque place was further up on the left. (inaudible) I don’t know where he came here from. That was the first barbeque place in town, in the Boger City area.
BB: Really. And the name of it was what, Lindy’s?
LH: Lindy. L-I-N-D-Y-S. Lindy’s they called it. Lindy’s barbeque. Yeah, in fact, when I opened up my café, Lindy had gone out business, and I bought the– not the stools, but the cubicles, where people go and sit down at the tables. I think I got five of those. Yeah, five tables, and opened up a café. I was in the Freedman area there on the– where that first fast food place is there now.
LH: Yeah, uh huh.
BB: It was on the same side of the road as Hardee’s?
LH: 820. It was right across from where Ford Motor Company is, mm hm. It was Abernathy that I worked with 32 years. Tore down the old hotel, Lithia Inn, and build his home out there, lived here. I was working with him at that time, and he used part of that lumber to build three houses there on that block there.
BB: And they’re all gone now, I guess.
LH: Oh lord, yes. I just get sick, when I think about it. How that community deteriorated in a brief span of time. There’s only one house left out there, I guess you know that.
BB: And that’s which one?
LH: That’s the Holland, Holland house.
JH: Is that right across from Moore’s Chapel?
LH: Yeah, mm hm.
BB: OK. Yeah, yeah, the white house.
LH: I have a listing– of all the families. Not all that’s lived out that way, but that I can recollect. Started with that Buton building, right down there where that road turns off going into Lineberger’s warehouse.
JH: Buton, was it a theater?
LH: It was a theater. It was a three-story building. A hotel, and a– that part of– they had dances in it. Hotel was on the top floor. They had the–it’s three stories. The basement area was tall enough to have door down there. But you’d go up steps to go into the area there where you had the restaurant and the piccolo, and all that stuff in that are. And then had the hotel rooms up on the top floor. Buton. That was a man had two sons. I never did know them personally, I was young, I never did go out that way. But I knew, in the course of my exposure out there, that building was still in use for a period of time. I know the guys used to be sitting around out there, underneath the big old oak tree, and talking and drinking. And say on the weekends they would– in fact Ms. Carrie Hopkins was on her way out to Freedman to collect her rent. Oh, she was a character around town here.
BB: And she lived in the big house there where the Hopkins–
LH: Yeah. She the one. Oh, yeah.
BB: She collected her own rent.
LH: Yeah, she had rent houses down there on what they call– back then they called it Redline. It’s McBee Street now.
BB: Where did that name come from, you know? Redline?
LH: The street was through there, it was muddy, and you couldn’t hardly walk. You had to walk up on the side of bank there. Yeah, I used to deliver papers out that way. The Afro-American and– what was that other paper? Anyway, I had two newspaper routes in the Black community. And I would deliver Charlotte Observer. Old Man Bob Bob Hoke. Robert Hoke was his name. He used to come up to my mother’s and father’s house up on Water– up a part of Water Street here, to bring them a paper. And he gave me ten, ten papers. He had those customers on this end of town, to deliver. I was early teens, a teenager. And I’d deliver those papers. I built a route up to where walk– well now, this road used to– Main Street used to go down behind me here. Walk across that wooden bridge, and go over there to the– Yeah, I’d walk all the way there to deliver them one paper on Sunday mornings.
BB: The Richardson’s or–
LH: Mm hm.
BB: The Ramseurs?
LH: No, uh uh. Uh uh, uh uh. The Rameur was on up–
BB: Or the Mackie’s? That was the Lackeys.
LH: Lackeys, that’s what we trying to–
BB: Lack– Mack– Lackeys.
LH: Uh huh. The Lackeys, uh huh. There was two of those, two of those younger boys that worked downtown here. And one of them worked in the drug store for a long time. And I can’t recall what that younger son’s name–
BB: There was a Hershel Lackey.
LH: Yeah, the Hershel. Well, he was one of the members of the older– in fact, there was a one you called Boston Lackey, that I had the privilege– in fact, one of my daughters lives up in Virginia. And there was a little church on the side of the road there, on your way out to– going over to Williamsburg. And we– she and I went over there to a service one morning, and I have the bulletin for that day, made mention of the fact that Lackey had gone over to Williamsburg to hear some kind of a service. And he wasn’t there that Sunday, because– see, I knew the family. Like your family here.
BB: Sure, yeah.
LH: Mm hmm. And I called her when I came back and told her that I had been to that church. It’s one of the oldest operating churches in the United States here of the Episcopal Church.
LH: When you go in the front door they had some of the baluster in the foyer that came over on the ship. And that wasn’t a bell, something on the ship, hanging at the far end, above the — back of the sanctuary there, that came off the ship too. I have the bulletin from the church for that Sunday. I’m a collector of things. My mind is getting so flaky now, sometimes I look in the mirror to see — say now who are you.
BB: Do you remember the old Lackey House over there that’s there now? Do you remember a house older than that house?
LH: I believe that you mean across the river.
BB: Yes sir.
LH: I believe the Ramseur house is older than that one. But there’s another woman. Her son used to work down here at the courthouse. And he’s deformed. Had a little gasoline motorized vehicle that he would come up behind this road back here on it. And he had to walk down on his hands and knees like.
LH: I know the name. Shoot (audio skip) that’s the house —
BB: The other house. The house that was there before the Lackey House was — you heard of Dr. Connie Guion?
LH: Gheens you mean? That’s the way we pronounced it. Gheens House.
M: Yeah, that’s where the old house was at. And I think Miss Lackey said that the houses that’s there now, they tore down the old house to build that house. I’m not sure when they did that.
LH: Well, see, because consideration to things like that. But shoot, you could walk all the way from over here in Georgetown, all the way up there. Cut wood up at this woman’s house. Beyond where the Lackeys lived. She had raised strawberries. I used to go up there and get strawberries for the Abernethys after I started working for them.
BB: You mentioned Georgetown. Who was that named for? Do you know? When they say Georgetown? Who do they mean?
LH: I don’t know.
BB: I don’t know either.
JH: Might have been named from another Georgetown.
LH: (audio skip) Herndon family is one of the oldest families over there that I knew anything about.
LH: Surprised that old Herndon House is still there. On the left when you go up into that village there.
JH: Who are some of the elder members of the –
LH: I can’t think of what the old man’s name was. The father. But –
BB: You mentioned that Freedman section here. We have one of these old maps that shows–here’s the Bouton.
LH: Bouton building.
BB: Theater. And then there’s a church and a lodge hall, the lodge.
LH: The lodge hall. Lomax Lodge. Although Lomax moved.
BB: Here’s the Lomax Lodge.
LH: It sat on that road, it sat on that road on the left-hand side of that road when you’re going there towards Lineberger’s. On that bank, right on close up off the street. I wasn’t a member of it at that time. That’s when they built the Lomax Lodge building over there where it’s located now there on the McBee Street at the cemetery. I went through the procedure of becoming a member and finally ended up as a master of the lodge.
BB: Very good. And it shows — of course here is the Methodist church.
BB: Yes sir. And then there’s Odd Fellows Hall behind it.
LH: You know where the water tank is? Up there on that corner? Back in there was an enclave of land in there that Mrs. Beam, Mrs. Mike Beam tried to buy. And I never would go through with it. That was a lodge property there, owned by the lodge. And I never — during my administration I never do anything about — as far as I know it’s still there, because it’s not up for sale at any time. Anybody lays claim to it, it’s an error.
BB: Yeah. And let’s see. It shows Booker Washington Street. Of course that street is just a driveway now. It’s beside the church.
LH: Oh, I never knew that street had a name there.
BB: This is 1921.
LH: It was.
BB: Booker Washington.
LH: Booker T. Washington.
BB: Well, actually they say Booker Washington. They don’t have “T” in it. And then this is East Pine. And of course they don’t have the street going to Hollybrook because it didn’t –
LH: It’s Hollybrook, isn’t it?
BB: Well, it’s not on the ’21 map.
LH: Oh, I see.
BB: I guess that street is older or is not as old as ’21. That is about the time they started the cemetery. But I guess you had to go Pine Street into it there because they don’t have a street in here now (audio skip) mentioned there that the land where the Ford place is at, Jason called you about the gentleman we found out —
BB: Richmond Scott. JH: Richmond Scott.
LH: I never did see him.
BB: He died in ’23. 1923.
LH: Is that when it was?
BB: I have an obituary. I’ll lay this out of the way.
JH: You said you’d always heard him called Ed Scott.
LH: Yes, Edward Scott, and I’d been told that he’d built that house down there. As you go that street that goes down — how does that come in there (audio skip) wasn’t a street. It was an alleyway like it went in there. Let’s see. Where’s Leroy Magness’s house? Used to be a little narrow street, bank on each side, they cut it out, to come down on the street there when they paved. From Boger City to Lincolnton wasn’t paved. And cut it down there so you could drive a Model T Ford up between there. That’s along there where Leroy Magness’s property was.
BB: Here’s the obituary right here for this. Richmond Scott. Chicago. He was 96 years old. It says one of the most prominent Negroes in the nation. Buried in Lincolnton.
LH: Oh really?
BB: And it’s Pine Street Presbyterian. And it says that he was born in Richmond, Virginia, 1826, came to Lincolnton 1876. And actually I found the deed where he bought property in 1876. He bought some land from a John Moore. They’re calling it Beatty’s Ford Road, which is the same thing as East Main Street.
LH: Oh really?
BB: And that was new to me. Adjoining the lands of Frank Bradshaw.
LH: Remember Old Man Bradshaw. BB: And Frank Bradshaw, Beatty’s Ford Road. Nearly six acres, about six acres. Now they’re saying that it is actually — he sold the land in 1920, gives a little better description of it. Says on a rock on the Beatty’s Ford Road, which is now an extension of East Main Street, Lincolnton. And it joins Miss Hopkins Corner, which she owned land out there. And they’re actually saying that it is — I think on the south side, which the Ford place would be on the north side.
LH: That’s right.
BB: Little confused on that. Says a certain plot of land which Richmond Scott now resides.
LH: But I never did know that much about Freedman area at that earlier time. It always said it was Ed Scott’s property. Lay vacant there for years. All grown up at one time. Then they started putting carnivals and shows and things like that.
BB: Yeah, John Hull was telling. You must have told John that. That was an area that had circuses and carnivals, whatever.
LH: I had the cafe, number 820 was the house number there.
BB: Across the street from that.
LH: Across the street. Abernethy bought that property and built those three houses and that building. And going back and forth at that time, down to Florida every winter. We came back that second winter. Finished the house. I moved from up here and my wife and I was here. Grandmaw, and we moved, set up housekeeping out there in one of those houses.
BB: Here is the Presbyterian church, so, we think it’s Pine Street Presbyterian. We can’t find the grave as of yet. Although there’s part of the back of the cemetery that we can’t get to. So we’re going to try to clean that up and see. Leroy said he was sure he was buried there and probably had a stone.
LH: Sounds logical, because —
BB: To be that prominent — oh, it also says that he started all-black lodges in the South.
LH: Oh really? Lomax is the one that bears the name here in Lincolnton. Lomaxes down here in the eastern part of the county.
BB: Says he was the most prominent Negro Mason in the nation and organized all the lodges in the south. And he was made a Mason in San Francisco in 1865. We can’t find out anything about him.
LH: You mean local people here.
BB: Yes sir, and we’ve checked the — we assumed he was Prince Hall. Now do you know if — is there more than one black lodge in Lincoln County or are they all Prince Hall?
LH: No, no, that’s it, Prince Hall.
LH: They’re all Prince Hall.
JH: Rudolph said he was Prince Hall and then he found his name listed in some ledger (audio skip).
BB: Could we get permission to look at those records? Who would be in charge?
LH: Well, I don’t know who the present master is.
LH: Professor Biggers was the master of that lodge there after I had to relinquish my seat. And —
BB: Now do you say you remember that building being built? Or was that —
LH: No, no, that was built before I became a member.
BB: Well, we’ll try to get in and see the records and see if we can find out more about him. If we can get some documentation we’ll apply for a state highway marker for him.
JH: I called the Grand Lodge in San Francisco.
LH: Oh really?
JH: Yeah, just to see in their — they said they would work on it. And I called the Grand Lodge in North Carolina.
LH: Over here at Durham.
M: Yes, and talked to a few fellows there. They were very pleased to hear (audio skip) we just have to constantly make phone calls and dig up information.
LH: I’m surprised what I’ve learned in these activities, the service. I was so proud to know —
BB: We need to recognize him if we can document his grave is there. And of course that’s the Lincolnton paper. And of course they would know everything like that would be correct.
LH: That’s true.
JH: We’re also going to check the Charlotte Observer and see if it’s on the same date. ?: Never heard of (audio skip).
LH: I never did know him.
BB: Sure, you can have that.
LH: Oh, I appreciate that. Put it in my papers here. Scott and Carrie. Because she was a Hoke, came here once.
BB: You mentioned Carrie. There’s a name. I think that may be his daughter-in-law. Carrie Hoke. Carrie. Here, Richmond T. Scott is a Junior. And he sold land out there on the south side of Beatty’s Ford Road. I knew there was something there. To Levi Phillips. And this Frank Cansler’s line. And they are — at the time — excuse me. It’s Nora or Dora, I’m not sure which it is. They’re living in Philadelphia at that time. In 1907 they’re living in Philadelphia. Now there was a Carrie. I don’t remember.
LH: Carrie Scott. That was one of the — ?: Carrie.
LH: Carrie Scott Hoke. Carrie Hoke Scott.
BB: She’s a Hoke. So she would be from here then.
LH: Oh, yeah she was. She had two brothers. Uncle Bud up there was a member of that Hoke family. And Lee Hoke was a master cook down there for years at the hospital. Crowell Hospital.
BB: Now they’re listing a name here. I forgot to tell you this. They list Clifton Richmond T. Scott is the Junior. And I found in 1880 they were living here in the census, and he had the two-year-old son that was born here. Now why they –
JH: He married his wife later in life. He was probably in his 60s and his wife was in her 20s.
BB: The Senior, yes. Now that Carrie, I remember seeing that name, Carrie Scott.
JH: Was it very difficult.
LH: Well, lack of employment and lack of opportunities to get a proper education, so far as the county school were concerned. When I got my books right there up there at Miss Tume’s school, going to Costner’s drugstore there on the corner across from where Walgreen used to be, and they bring the books from the city schools and put them there in the window for sale. Go up there and buy them. Pages torn out, names all written in it, markings and things like that. And devoid of continuation, like two or three pages torn out, stuff like that. It was rather ludicrous, but that’s the way it was, yeah (audio skip) world if you don’t weaken. That’s right. Bear that in mind.
JH: What about during the Depression (audio skip).
LH: My father worked all the time. That’s one thing about him. He never did have to —
BB: While he’s fixing that. Mr. Scott must have been a very wealthy man. I have documents where he would loan, he would mortgage homes for people. And he owned the six acres out there that you’re familiar with, and then there was sixty acres that he owned at some time or another. Says one mile and a half from town adjoining the lands of Benjamin Hunt Sumner and William Motz, the Motz family.
LH: M-O-T-T or M-O-T-Z?
BB: Yes sir. M-O-T-Z. Mutz, some people call it Mutz.
LH: Was that out toward Boger City?
BB: Well, it says one and a half miles from town adjoining this on the side of a branch at the old Ramseur Meadows. Benjamin Sumner. Tuckaseegee Road. So I’m not exactly sure where that’s at.
LH: Here in the Lincolnton area, probably Tuckaseegee, because Tuckaseegee.
BB: Actually we have some deed references. Tuckaseegee Road was Laurel Street. Laurel Street going south was called Tuckaseegee. Or the old Tuckaseegee Road. I interrupted Jason. I know it’s a difficult subject. But would you care to share any experiences you had as a child that were difficult or was there —
LH: Yeah, like being denied access to —
BB: Schools and education?
LH: In fact I was ejected from the old Rivoli Theater down here.
LH: Yeah. One of my younger brothers and I. Come back from New York. I went north (audio skip) be who I’m going to be, that was it. Al Miller was running that theater then. That’s what he built. The little one across the street there – the Century, and I came. And what was the name of that movie that was on? Gone with the Wind in Florida. What’s the name of that? Anyway so we had a desire to see. I was a right snazzy dresser back then. I wasn’t married. One of my suits, what you called a Zoot suit, brought back for me from New York. And I put on my Zoot suit. When the fall of the year, overcoat and scarf. Went down. Girl sold me a ticket, when I went to the kiosk where you buy, purchase it. And when I went in, old fellow name of — oh, he lives up here, right up, take this light and turn left right here. Anyway I can’t think of his name now. He was taking up tickets. And when I got ready for guests to go upstairs. And I’d been smoking when I was in New York. You’d go to the theater, go upstairs, mezzanine, go in my smarts, mezzanine and he’s standing with the mouth open, he was surprised to see me come in there. A lot of times Miller came out from the back from the curtains there, come out between the entranceway, and he caught me in the collar of my overcoat. Marched me out to the front door. Don’t come in here.
BB: Really? Did he give you your money back?
LH: Oh yeah I got my money back. I told him I bought a ticket.
BB: But they didn’t have any section?
LH: Not then. Then when they built this for this new theater across the street there —
LH: Yeah. They had you go in the back where you went in on Water Street here and go over there and turn around and go in the back door. And go up the steps outside there in the theater. As a youngster, I didn’t know any better then. Childs-Wolfe, I was put out of there, they had glass-topped tables in there with the seats attached to the frames. Swing out. And I walked in there with somebody, I don’t know who it was. I sat down in one of those things there at the table, I must have been about ten or 12 years old, something like that. And boy, they came and caught me. The person I went in there with. You can’t sit down here. When my first daughter-in-law, when she came here, they had that no blacks in Walgreen’s. She didn’t know because she was born out in California. She went in there, sat down at the counter. And asked for a drink. And people standing around looking at her like from Mars or somewhere.
BB: So people our age, it’s hard to imagine. We need to preserve the memory of that. Because it’s hard for people to imagine that now that happened.
LH: Wonderful world if you don’t weaken, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. Got to stay to myself, who I am. Not who you think I am. And that’s the way I tried to rear my family, you be who you have the desire to be. So many of the first people that I went up there and stayed with was from here, part of that whole family that lived down here in that old two-story house. Miss Mary ? every Christmas, the people that she worked with gave her clothes and things like that. She’d send a box down here to the Saint Cyprian’s church here. Every year on Christmas. She’d come back to Lincolnton. Perry didn’t come back as often as Mary did. But that was a large family there too. So many of the blacks left here to get an education. Oldest sister, town up over here in Gaston County. She went to Lincoln Academy there for a while and then she went on over to another school. That had three little houses. And had a fence across between the road and the yard there, and had those red running roses all the way across. I thought that was the prettiest place. I can’t think of what the name of that school was. And my twin sisters, one went to Pittsburgh. My older sister to Pittsburgh. She went to school there. And the other one went down here, school in Gastonia, Highland High. My wife went to Highland High. Miss Carson, next-door neighbor here, went to Asheville. It was ludicrous. I get chills sometimes when I sit around and think about what was. And the interim time. We passed through before these things surface. And the cost of life and brutalities this nation was exposed to. Human beings being treated worse than some animals that worked on the farms. And I have books in here. These things have slipped. I’ve lost all my teeth now. But I have a daughter in Virginia. She traveled overseas for years as a model. And she came back to the States and married. Married a German. I went with them to Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf. I’ve seen other side of the world. I’m glad that I grew up during this era, what I was exposed to, and see the changes that have been wrought. Man has come to a more cognizant realization of what should have been. That interim time between when Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety-two. And when I was up there in Virginia that day, Stephanie and I had gone down there. They live out in Burtram. Corrigan’s Point on that river. And Willie had gone down to the beach place. They even had a boat there. But she and I had gone down into Virginia Beach there. She likes to deal with antiques a lot. She had gone back there to talk to this man that owned the place. I was walking around on the other side there. Book had a cover on it, it was so old that the cover had turned brown. So I walked between the counters there, going back to pick it up. And saw the name on it. Masters and Slaves, here this is now. Comes from history of the slavery, instigation of it in South America. My son-in-law sent me a book. Well, shortly after he met one of my granddaughters and married. About slavery here in the United States. And then to go through the aisle there and see this book. See where practically the same patterns were utilized in South America as it was here — although the Catholic Church was deeply involved in the slave period there in South America. I’d like to show you these books.
BB: Sure. I’ll lay this with your stuff right here.
JH: Walk with you with the recorder if you don’t mind.
LH: But my bedroom is in such a mess. I don’t want you to see.
JH: Would you rather me just wait?
LH: Yeah, be back.
JH: I’ll tell you what. Let me pause.
LH: Fourteen hundred and ninety-two. There is it. That was the cover of this book. And the odd thing about it, the price tag was $8.50 when that was first printed. And I had to pay him 20 something dollars to get that book.
BB: Masters and Slaves (audio skip) slavery. Do you remember any ex-slaves that were alive in your lifetime here in town? Or people talk about?
LH: Not to talk about it to any extent, because it was a moot subject.
BB: Well, we’ve wondered about that, if it was something that was just pushed to the side and not really discussed.
LH: Well, my father coming from out in West Virginia, he evidently was not exposed to that. He was 103 years old when he died.
LH: Yes. And he died from a fall, a concussion.
BB: Really? Here in Lincolnton?
BB: And where is he buried?
LH: Over at Hollybrook.
LH: That’s another one of the inequities during my period of time when I was involved with the NAACP. I tried to get a meeting with the minister at the AME Zion church in regards to that inequity about the cemetery. And I was cut down like the same as this one. Cut me down with a scythe.
M: Well, did you talk to the city about it?
LH: No, the city, I talked to the mayor of the town. I knew him pretty well. Mr. —
LH: No, the one that used to run this —
LH: Tait, yeah. Tait was mayor of the town, yeah. And about my daddy paying taxes here and tax money being utilized to keep the cemetery going. And taken care of and things like that. And yet there’s no black buried in that cemetery. And so he asked me to — told me to talk to the church. The cemetery was there, the Baptist and Methodist cemeteries worked in conjunction with each other out there in the Freedman area. And I asked for a meeting. And the members of the church, when I presented my facts to them, they — hands off. This is our cemetery. I said well it has nothing to do with that. But what about the just bring it up into church. The denial of blacks being buried in the cemetery out there. Sent me packing. I wasn’t a member of their church, didn’t have anything to do with their procedure. So that was it. They were satisfied with it. My father was still living, but one of my sisters had to be buried up there in the Methodist cemetery.
BB: Now that’s the one behind the steakhouse back there?
LH: Yes. She died from stored meningitis. I was working for the Merton Rudisill family lived here, there where Elmore lives now. On Main Street.
BB: Oh, yes, sir, Lee Elmore.
LH: Yes. That was Merton Rudisill owned that then. And my father was working with him then. Delivering bottled gas all east of North Carolina, parts of South Carolina. We even went down to Georgia. Get orders for that bottled gas, it was Brulan Gas, it was Brulans of Atlanta, Rudisill and Lander, those two men owned that corporation, had a plant up here in Cherryville. We’d get on, show up and drive, the day after I got out of school there at Salisbury. And take those tanks of gas around to different places and put them out. And something I was trying to think about that house there. But I got off track on it though (audio skip) I bought Mr. Verlin Landers’s barbershop out there after he died and moved it up here on west end of town here. But I never did do the barbering. I had a barber that did the work. Ran up there for about a year and a half, something like that. And he didn’t have that kind of business, so he gave it up, and he moved to South Carolina. Name was Moore. Had that cafe. Then later on I opened up my Holloway Enterprises. I had offices, church, worked at this Presbyterian church up here, since 42 years. That was one of the places. I did yards. House cleaning. Dave Clark started that development over there as you’re going out toward Lithia.
M: Town and Country?
LH: No, he wasn’t in Town and Country. He had a development there, before you get to that stoplight there. Opened up there by the by-pass. And I had a crew that was working with me at that time of five young men. Others would fill in when some of the others couldn’t go with me. We had a bank in Cherryville; three banks here in Lincolnton; Joe and Jim’s in Lincolnton; Joe and Jim’s in Stanley Creek. A lot of jobs like that around town here, offices. Thomas Wilson’s office. Thomas and Clark when they were in the process of doing work for Lake Norman. I was working for Burris when Burris first built this plant down here, moved here in town. I started in town with them, but he was in process at that time of doing that town there. I worked with them until after Mr. Burris died. And sold the plant to Comforto. Went across the street with that little German that bought them out. Worked with Comforto up until here about two years ago, three years ago I guess it was. Hayworth bought them out and I worked with them then, Hayworth for a while. And then I turned it over to one of the nephews. But he couldn’t keep it up. I had six daughters and two sons.
LH: And I had to try to see to it that they got an education. Both my sons went in the navy. I guess you saw their pictures there.
JH: You mentioned the NAACP–
JH: Would it just have been started in Lincolnton or was it like a county?
LH: No, I had a few customers down in the county here, like around Tucker’s — not Tucker’s. Iron Station area, what do you call that?
BB: Who was first president of the NAACP?
LH: I was the first one that —
BB: You were the first president? And when did you start that?
LH: Oh, I can’t give you the year, things like that, because I don’t recall. I came back from New York and I had the pleurisy effusion, and I had to end up down here in the sanitarium, hospital down here in the east part of North Carolina, about six or eight months down there. Dr. Costner had to treat me here when I first came back from New York. Stuck a hole of needles through my back there and drew fluid out of it, the fluid had formed in there. Didn’t collapse the lung entirely but it affected it. And I had trouble with that. So it’s a wonderful world, I tell you, if you don’t weaken. The weakening process is what gets you down. But I am so proud of what activities that you all are involved in. Sorry that I’m not in better shape to give you more lucid intercourse so far as — interview rather —
BB: We appreciate your time. We don’t want to wear you out either.
JH: While we’re here, what are your brothers’ and sisters’ names?
LH: My older sister, she’s older than I am, Mrs. Kelsey, Gertrude Kelsey. She’s with her granddaughter.
JH: Her last name is Kelsey?
LH: K-E-L-S-E-Y. And I’m the second in line. That’s me up there. My oldest sister, me and the twin sisters, and the sister that died. That picture was made by a man name of Boggs. There was a Boggs — it was either Boggs or Blanton. I saw that name Blanton in the telephone directory here and I called the man. He didn’t seem to know anything about it, doing pictures or anything.
BB: Great picture.
LH: To me was William E. William. He was a Junior.
JH: That was your father’s name, William.
LH: Yes. Everybody called him Polly. Local I mean. The twin sisters is next. Oh, Jenise and Marie. Jenise Metz, M-ET- Z. And Marie Faggett, F-A-G-G-E-T-T.
JH: Now was not Mr. Faggett —
LH: He was a teacher. Professor. Over here at Oaklawn. That’s where he met my sister. So he got into the family.
JH: And after Marie who’s next?
LH: Beatrice Jones. Raydell, R-A-Y-D-E-L-L Massey. Did I not mention Nelly?
JH: You said Gertrude Kelsey, yourself, William E. Holloway, Junior, Marie Faggett, Beatrice Jones and Raydell Massey.
LH: Nelly. Nelly Holloway, she’s the one that died. She was the one that died.
JH: Which one was she in between?
F: She was after –
LH: Yes, yes.
BB: In the picture you got five.
LH: He married my sister.
JH: That’s true, yeah.
LH: I knew Mr. Massey and Mr. — they live there off of between Pine Street and –
F: Mr. Wright was principal when I was going.
LH: Yes when I was in school there. Do you have Victor Sumner? Victor Sumner, S-U-M-N-E-R. And this other one. His mama owned that property on the right-hand side when you go up that street from off of Main Street going toward Pine. I didn’t like him either.
JH: Leroy spoke very highly of Professor Faggett.
LH: Oh did he?
JH: Yes, very highly. Inspired him to write poetry. One of the reasons why he started writing poetry.
LH: Oh really? Gosh, I can’t think of that man’s name. I knew his mother.
F: Lived in Lincolnton?
LH: Right down the street.
F: He was a principal at Oakland as well?
LH: He wasn’t a principal. He was a teacher there when I was over there. He was home-born. Just like Victor Sumner. Victor was principal –
F: Aunt Aubrey perhaps may now.
LH: Well, I tried to call her earlier.
F: I’ll try to talk to him. He went out with the dog.
JH: Mr. Holloway —
LH: What source did you acquire this picture of Saint Cyprian’s Church if I’m not too —
BB: Believe that was — Helen Peeler gave us that.
LH: Oh really? I am so thankful for that.
BB: Here’s a picture of a lady that we received. Her name is Aunt Mary — or Mag — Aunt Mag Ross of Freedom. That came from one of Alfred Nixon’s old collection.
LH: Oh really?
BB: It was given to the museum.
LH: I bet that’s the — what’s her name, the Ross — I don’t remember ever seeing her. But there was some Rosses out there. Younger, yeah, she’s younger than I am.
BB: Do you of anybody that might know of her descendants or —
LH: Listen, what was he — do you recall? That sang so well, has that burned face. I said let me hear her sing. The Rosses that lived up in Freedman. Remember? Won’t surface in my mind, but —
JH: How old is Miss Rice?
JH: Is she?
F: She’s gone all the time.
JH: Now this photograph, as Bill mentioned, we just receive, she died in ’24.
LH: I knew about Nixon family. I knew the Nixon family, but not to personal relations or anything like that with them.
BB: He was like county historian.
JH: They lived at the intersection of Main and Laurel Street, the white house.
F: Dad, this is Aunt Aubrey now. You want to ask her something?
F: About the Rosses, she’s on the phone now?
LH: Aunt Aubrey? How you doing, honey?
F: Pretty good, how you doing?
LH: I’m being questioned right now and I’m going to pass it on to you. Do you know who — a Ross family that lived out there in Freedman?
LH: The Rosses.
F: I know Marylou.
F: A daughter Thelma.
LH: Yeah now that’s the one I was thinking about, Thelma Ross. That picture there may be part of that family group, Thelma Ross.
JH: Mag Ross.
LH: Oh, there’s a man down here that has a picture. Has this Ross woman’s name.
LH: Mag Ross. Imagine it was Maggie would be the — Maggie Ross. F: I heard of Maggie Ross. That was before my time. But —
LH: She says she has heard of that name Maggie Ross used.
F: It was years ago.
LH: Well, this is an old picture here too. She’s standing here with a hoe. She has a hoe in her hand.
F: I don’t know. But Marylou —
LH: All right. She imagined that came from a family of Rosses from up in Shelby. They originated I mean. Up in Shelby area. But she knew this Maggie Ross — not Maggie Ross. Thelma Ross, which was younger, she was younger than I am.
F: Is she still on the phone?
BB: Tell her we’ll get back to her.
JH: Tell her thank you.
BB: Tell her we’ll call her and line up a time.
LH: She can give you a whole lot more history than I can.
F: She’s assuming that was a real old lady because they used to call her Aunt Mag Ross.
BB: The picture is probably 75 years old. It’s an old picture.
F: He says it’s probably 75 years old, the picture is. You as well. I know. They’ll make an appointment with you at your convenience because we know you’re always gone. Did you have a nice time?
LH: I told her a long time ago. I said oh people — because you’ll say Aunt Aubrey, would you like to say, Go where?
BB: She’s ready, yeah. You have some beautiful old furniture. Any of this family furniture?
LH: Yeah. Some of the old home places up here, for daughters taking it up, because it started leaking in the room there where I stored it. And got a man up here in the county to refurbish it. Dining room table and chairs and a sideboard that’s made out of chestnut wood that my daddy had made up in Blowing Rock.
LH: I used to go up to Blowing Rock every year with the family when I was a little boy. Back then they had chestnut trees, oh, about six or eight of those chestnut trees in a big yard he had. And I used to go up there and crawl around there on my knees, getting those crisp burrs in my knees, getting those chestnuts. Man, those are the best tasting things. They had an icehouse out there in the back. Built out of railroad logs. And lined inside with boards. But the men up there would cut ice in the river, the streams up there, in the wintertime and put it in that big icehouse out there in the back. Sawdust between the boards and the logs. Like a buffer between so the ice would be there all summer.
LH: Yes, we’d go out to Blowing Rock and take a handkerchief and tie string to each one of the corner, bring them down, tie those strings to one string, and then tie a rock around, take, stand go up on that rock and throw it as far out as you could, and that thing would unravel. Make like a parachute and that thing go sailing around. Sometimes the wind would bring it back in where you could get it back in to land. Yeah, I had some marvelous times up there at Blowing Rock.
JH: Is there anything we failed to ask you that you’d like (audio skip).
LH: Something of major historical significance?
JH: From the area. Something we may have failed to ask that you think is important to mention about?
LH: I’m sorry that I wasn’t as —
BB: Your history or local history, whatever.
LH: Do you have any history about the Rudisill family? C. Guy Rudisill was the mayor of the town.
BB: Very little.
LH: I don’t know anything either, but I just know that he was — I knew the Stamey family and the Rudisills and Lena Brown. I have a picture of Miss Lena Brown. But she was a member of that Reinhart family.
BB: Yeah. She saved a lot of history, but unfortunately it was all lost.
LH: Oh really?
BB: We don’t have anything from her collection. I understand she collected a lot of old history that disappeared.
LH: Yeah, tore that house down there. I have a picture here of a lawyer. Jonas. He was a congressman. Was a group of students from Lincoln County sitting on the steps there at the White House.
BB: The White House, yeah.
LH: I was thinking about turning that in down there one day. I ran across it here not too long ago, going through my papers and things.
BB: Lena Graham’s house, shame we tore that down.
LH: Well, tore down the old Jonas house right down on the corner where the library is now. I had some — I took fourteen hand-hewn logs from the upper floor of that house when they tore it down. And the old man living in the house down here at the bottom of the hill facing where you come up the road here. I got permission from him to store the lumber that I tore — boards and things I tore off of that house — to put them down there. And the trashy kind of wood, splinters and things, I piled them down there separate, and told him he could have them to burn for wood if he would let me store those beams down there. They’re 14 feet long. The old man got sick that winter and one of his grandsons come down there and tend to him, making fires and things. And he ran out of those boards and things, he went there and chopped up all those old — the only piece left of it was a piece about six feet long, Jack Dellinger asked me — he realized what I was doing. Asked me for a piece of it, and I gave it to him. He said he wanted to put it in his basement. They had a fireplace in the basement, make it for his mantelpiece, go at the top of his mantel. So that’s the only piece left out of that.
JH: That came out of the old Jonas house.
LH: Old Jonas house, yeah. Bathtub, I got a bathtub right here, back here with a statue in it that my wife and I bought up in — we go up towards Morganton. That’s when you go back, there’s a man, old statues and things. We bought a number of articles from him. Bought one, a little short man and girl it is. Standing up in that bathtub, turned up on end. Big bathtub. Large bathtub out of Miss Brown’s house where she lived. Graham House is what I called it, because she married one of the politicians in Lincoln County here, that name Lena Graham. Got a bathtub out of that house. Here in the back, used to have goldfish in it.
BB: That book is all pictures of Baby Ray Cornwell, all his — the entire pictures of Baby Ray —
LH: Baby Ray? Oh Lord.
BB: You remember him?
LH: Yeah, he made my oldest daughter’s wedding picture up in the old Episcopal Church up here. One of the coldest nights, God knows. I could give you some history. That I don’t want you to record though. That was — I’m telling you. Put out. My daughter and her fiancee had come here to make arrangements about having — that was my third daughter’s wedding. Nelda married here and second daughter was married in Michigan. And we had Nelda’s wedding here in Saint Luke’s. I mean Saint Cyprian’s. It was like a barn in the wintertime, so cold. And I had put — I had a really big old potbellied stove, thing is about that tall, round thing, burns coal. And I had put it in the church up there to heat it, because we had an oil heater and it wasn’t sufficient to heat that amount of space. And the building was — well, it’s not really the construction. Had that high roof, the ceiling up there, and no padding — what you call it — between the outside boards and the ceiling inside. So you just couldn’t get it warm to any extent. But I couldn’t — my son-in-law and daughter went over there to Saint Luke’s and met with the priest. And then later on word came, trickled down, that couldn’t have the service over there.
BB: They wouldn’t let her have it up there?
LH: They wouldn’t let her have it. But they didn’t know who they were dealing with. One of my daughters, she’s very verbose, she got on the telephone and called the bishop. That did it.
LH: But it was cold in that church that there night, God knows it was cold.
JH: So Baby Ray took the photograph?
LH: Yeah. And I had planned on using the parish hall down there for the reception, no sale. So I had to tear a window out of that front bedroom up there and have a man come down here and put a door there, use some timber to make me like a porch out there. So people could come in the house, they’d go out that door. Those are some of the inequities that I don’t like to divulge. But you want to know history, there’s some things behind the scenes.
BB: So you did have the wedding at Saint Luke’s.
LH: Oh yes. No, no.
BB: You did have it at Saint Luke’s?
LH: That was –
BB: Saint Luke’s was cold. Cold church you said
. F: Saint Cyprian’s.
BB: Oh, OK, OK.
LH: Saint Cyprian’s is the one. That’s the one I was talking about so cold, such a big building. Concave roof hall.
BB: No way to insulate it.
JH: Sir, we have two members when Estelle Ross passed that purchased all of Baby Ray’s that was there, collection of negatives, and we have we estimate about 20,000 negatives (audio skip).
JH: Be in the book. One of them is yourself and other members of the lodge and of the Emancipation Day celebration in 1963.
LH: Oh really?
JH: Yeah. You’re on the steps of the court square. And then the lodge and the Negro Voters League from 1963 on the steps of the court square. And then there’s another one of the (audio skip) courthouse. And then (audio skip) for me at least, the Baby Ray Cornwell’s collection, he took a lot of the black community from ’40s and ’50s. Even in the ’60s. And we don’t have other collections. We’ve heard people describe Finny Link’s collection.
LH: Oh, yeah.
JH: He was a photographer and photographed the black community. We don’t have any clue where those photographs would be. I think in Iron Station.
LH: Yeah, Iron Station, he — JH: We talked to Brownie. Brownie Oates is about it. He said that he’s just not sure —
BB: I’m sure they didn’t throw them all away. Somebody —
LH: Well, he had a daughter.
F: Didn’t realize what they had.
BB: Negatives or anything. We tried, we tried and tried. Great pictures.
LH: I tried to question Miss Lomax about that. She had any or she knew anything about it. But she has a daughter, Penny Link did, that fell heir to the pictures and things. And I guess they got distributed out.
BB: I think we tried to find the descendants of the daughter or something and we couldn’t.
LH: She left here and I don’t know where she moved to.
F: Who is this person?
LH: Rosebud Link.
JH: Finny Link’s daughter.
BB: Penny Lake’s daughter and she moved away and we tried.
LH: She married — another family down there. She married –
F: No one knows where she’s living?
LH: Not that I know of. I haven’t —
BB: Would she still be alive do you think?
LH: I’m alive. We were about the same age.
BB: I thought she was older than that.
JH: Keep pressing, see what we can find. That’s what we constantly do. Just you’d be amazed at the number of things that we find just from making calls.
F: How long have you two been doing this?
JH: Bill has been doing this since before he could drive.
F: Been involved in history.
JH: Currently president of our historical association. I’ve been director of the museum for eight years.
F: You’re not from here, are you?
JH: No, I’m originally from Charlotte.
F: Are you?
JH: For the museum. Six months out of college.
LH: (audio skip) yeah I saw that.
JH: I’m here for a while. Long as they want me to stay. I don’t want to go back to Charlotte. I can tell you that.
LH: I wouldn’t live in Charlotte. As compared to what I knew Charlotte to be when I was a youngster. Good Lord. Charlotte was a Mecca. I thought it was bad back then. My father used to take us down there to Ringling Brothers Circus and trains would come into Charlotte. They’d block the street. The station was on the west side of town here. There’s a hotel on one side there where when I was working with Dad — I’d take him down to Charlotte, that’s where he would stay. Lord, I had an aunt that lived there. Her husband worked at the post office. Thomas Shipp. Yeah, I have a picture of two of my aunts of that era. One of them has an old wide black hat on.
BB: Who built this house, sir?
LH: These two front rooms here is 100 years old.
BB: I thought it looked to be —
LH: They had three little rooms on this like this. And the back porch. This door right here opened up on the back porch. And when I married my wife, we lived here about two years I guess. Oldest daughter, I asked my wife to come down to Florida. She was born in Florida. And we were in the process of working on this house here. And lived up there in Freedman across from where the Scott property is — was rather. In one of those houses there Abernethy built. That’s where I rented that cafe building from here. Opened the cafe. Had that as a sideline, trying to make enough money to keep my children in school.
BB: Do you know who built this house originally?
LH: Oh Lord, no, that was before my time.
BB: It’s a nice home.
JH: We don’t want to wear you out.
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