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NOTE: An interview of Frances Moore, a retired federal
government employee and former Berea City Council member, by Katherine
McGrath (Berea College student), on January 11, 2000 at the home
of Ms. Moore. Belle Jackson, Berea Tourism Director and a relative
of Moore, is also present. [……transcript starts in the middle of
Jackson; Do you think he would've moved this town
into a mainstreet?
Moore; A division. Yes I do.
Jackson; Sam Welsh
Moore; Uhmm he had already started a tomato factory
and he would've had different factories come in and that would
lure people here more than the school. People came here to send
their children to school. That's why people came to Berea. But
they didn't come here to work. They sure couldn't make a living
working at the college for sixty-five cents an hour.
McGrath; And I complain about making two dollar and
fifty cents an hour.
Jackson; That's right.
Moore; But they were able to do it by having their
own gardens and planting, that sort of thing. Jackson; But Steve's
trying to get this published?
Moore; Uhmm ask him about it.
Jackson ; I will
Moore; He's been trying to get this history club
started but I think he was discouraged because so few people came.
Although quite a few people will listen to it over the TV.
Jackson; Oh well, I do.
Moore; and we haven't met in November or in December
but we're supposed to meet in January. But umm, and two being brought
up in the college element he doesn't know the town people. You
don't know it but there's a division in this town and its right
down here at the tunnel. Come this side of the tunnel its town
people completely. There's a few college people now, next door
to me are the Stinebrickners but they're darling people. But umm
most college people will not come to this side of the town. They
think we're strange. They think we're the kind of people they see
on the Beverly Hillbillies TV show. They really do.
Jackson; Well we are kinda strange.
Moore; Well we're different anyway. All Laugh
Jackson; Beverly Hillbillies, I don't think so.
Moore; I know. You know I had a woman tell me one
time, down there, I was working in a Women's club at the time,
and she, well we drove out toward Big Hill discussing what we were
planning. A fashion show I think, or something, and she said oh
she said "Oh I just love it here" and said "Oh I think my husband
would just love it too, if he'd get over being afraid." I said "what's
he afraid of?" She said he was afraid somebody would kill him.
I laughed and I said no body's going to bother him if he'll leave
their women and their liquor alone.
Jackson; two things you need to guard with your life.
Moore; Now imagine that. Well I'll hush now.
Jackson; No, now that's not your job. Katie, you
go ahead and ask her first question and get her started.
McGrath; Okay, well first off, When did your family
come to Berea?
Moore; They were here a long time before Fee was
on both sides. I'm like Belle here, I'm sure enough native. They
came to settle this country I mean. They came when all they had.
They didn't have slaves, all they had were axe and a saw and the
first house they built on my mother's side was a log cabin with
no floor or anything else which later became the place where you
put uhhmm, stored stuff and then they built a one room house. (Ms.
Moore walks into the other room to show the interviewers a painting
of the first cabin and tells of how it was destroyed by Berea College
when they built the lake that's presently there). Then they built
a mill and then they weather boarded it. So to look at it you'd
never known it was log except to look at the windows sills of course.
Jackson; And that was at Owsley Fork that first
little cabin. Do you know what year that was?
Moore; Oh Good Lord no.
Jackson; Well if it were before Fee it was before
1855 Moore; Uh huh. Oh wait a minute I've got the whole still that'll
Jackson; what whole still? Have you got it in your
Bible? Oh good. She'll wanna know the name of your momma and your
grandmomma Have you hit the jackpot or what Katie?
Moore; My momma was, now lets see that was, my mother
was China Hudson Moore. I can give you both sides all the way back.
Jackson; Yeah, she'd love to have that.
Moore; China Hudson Moore
Moore; Uh huh. They named them funny names.
Jackson; Oh no I have a relative, is that where we're
Moore; No, we're kin through the Kendrick's
Jackson; Because there's a China in my background.
Moore; Well they were all. There weren't too many
Jackson; But we don't want to get into that. Moore;
Yeah. Oh let me see now, her father
Jackson; your mother was China Moore
Moore; She was a Hudson before she got married. And
her father was John Bradis Hudson and he married Nancy Jane Parks.
Now its through the parks that that house came in. That house was
built by, Nancy Jane's father was Levi, and Levi's father was Richard
and Richard was the first one to come in here and umm, he died
in 1851, he was born in 1788. Richard was and Richard married Nancy
Kendrick in 18(?).
Jackson; And that's where we're related. So he had
to have built that cabin before 1851. Moore; Uh huh and umm Nancy
Kendrick's father was William Kendrick and Mary Haggard and Mary
Haggard brings you back before the civil, I mean revolutionary
war. (To Jackson) so you've really got good blood in you.
Jackson; I do. Been here a long time.
Moore; Now let me see. This is what I want to show
you. Levi gave this to Nancy Jane. And she was born in 1854 and
he gave it to her on her 12th birthday. Which would have been 1866
and I don't know where in the world he would've gotten it. I think
it must have been from some southern woman. It had to be see that's
right at the end of the Civil War. It must have been from some "I
have a dream" you know, he must have bought it from a terrent peddler.
Jackson; From somebody on a wagon or
Moore; Yeah. Oh on horseback because he couldn't
there were no stores or anything to buy anything.
Jackson; Its beautiful
Moore; But look. I want to show you how its made.
The pin has a little bent in it here and if you put it on and get
that bend there it won't come off.
Jackson; Just a little indentation
Moore; Uh huh and there's
Jackson; (interrupting) how lovely. It is a precious
Moore; It's a cross Jackson; We're looking at a gold,
I don't know if it really is gold.
Moore; Uh huh
Jackson; I figure it has to be Moore; I think so
to Jackson; to last this long without tarnishing
Moore; without a scar.
Jackson; Its very light Moore; Well its hollow
Jackson; Yeah. Hollow with a tin back maybe. It's
a gold cross with sort of a leaf Moore; uh huh
Jackson; a lead motif running, embracing it sort
of. Its an antique
Moore; It makes you wonder where did it come from
and who made it and
Jackson; right. Now it is exquisite. Can you imagine
how gorgeous it was. That's exquisite.
Moore; I think so too. Absolutely. But anyway, now
them I'm digressing. So I don't see how you're making any records
of what I'm saying.
Jackson; that's why we've got that tape recorder.
She'll go back and transcribe all this and I will tell you that
when she transcribes you'll get a copy of it to look at and you
feel free to take out anything you don't want in there or make
corrections to dates or names if you like.
Moore; Well now. The Moore's came in here lets see.
My father was Carlos Edward Moore and his father was William Owlsley
Moore; Uh huh. And he was born in 1855 here in Madison
county down here in the Glades section. And his father was Messiah
Jackson; Messiah, what a wonderful name.
Moore; And Messiah's father was Jesse Moore. Now
Jesse was born in Colepepper County Virginia and he moved over
to. Oh where he go? Oh anyway he was born in Laurel County and
he used to come back and forth to go to Woodford County to see
his parents and he met Peggy West. No, Jesse didn't Jesse went
to Laurel county and Messiah used to go back and forth between
Laurel and Jessamine county. The tape fades here for a moment.
Met Peggy West and they lived down in the Glades area and they
had eight boys and one girl and one of those boys was my grandfather,
William Owsley Moore and they were here again long before Fee came
in. They were in the Glades area and they were all involved in
organizing the Glades Christian Church and Fee came in to preach
at the Glades church. One time I was doing some research and I
decided that I wanted to see the minutes at the old Glades Church.
I had done the minutes on the Silver Creek Church. Well I putted
and I talked and I fussed and I finally found out that some women
went down one day to clean the church and the minutes were under
the pulpit. They burned them. So a great deal of the history of
Berea was burned when they burned those minutes.
Jackson; A bad housekeeping error.
Moore; Terrible. Because if you know the early settlers
that's where they went to church and back then you had to go to
church. I found that out by working in the Silver Creek Church.
Because, if they didn't have anyone to help them except the neighbors
and if you didn't go to church the natives wouldn't help you. And
if you had a barn to build you had to build it yourself if you
didn't go to church.
Jackson; That was the center of everything wasn't
Moore; The center of the whole business. Now, that's
enough of that. What else do you need to know?
Jackson; Do you know where they came from? You said
something about coming from Pennsylvania or Moore; Virginia. We
came from Virginia. The Parks and the Hudson's they seem to have
gone further from Virginia. Down to North Carolina and then up.
Jackson; Do you think any of them came through the
Moore; Yeah. I do. I think most of them did.
Jackson; There was no other way to get here than
floating down the river. Moore; No. Now that reminds me of a story
that I think is interesting. When I was a small child we lived
on a farm and my grandmother Moore had geese and she'd call my
mother and tell her to send John and Frances John, my brothers,
over to pick the geese. So they had an old ford car and these cars
had running boards and John's job was to catch the goose. He'd
have a wire with a hook on it and he'd catch a goose and bring
it in. And my job was to hold the goose's neck while granny pulled
its legs through her legs and she'd pick away and she'd get to
telling us stories about when she was a little girl. She said that
she remembered that in the fall the men would take the cattle to
the river. And I think it must've been the Boonesboro and put them
on a flat boat and take them to New Orleans to sell. They'd be
gone all winter long and the women and the old men ran the farm
when the hardy men weren't able. Coming back they'd rent horses
and they'd come up the Natchez Trace and came home in the spring.
Well one time I had been down south in that way and we came up
the Natchez Trace And there was a brochure telling that very story
about how they, the Came Tooks they called them, would bring their
animals down to New Orleans to sell.
Jackson; I had a very similar story. My uncle Green
from Estill County would talk. I mean he was ancient when I was
just a wee little girl and he would talk about how they would,
when the rivers got full enough with water . When they were flooding.
They would lash logs together and ride the log jam down the river
to New Orleans or continue on down and then he said he his fondest
memory was driving a gaggle of geese back up the Natchez Trace.
Moore ; Isn't that. Its unbelievable isn't it?
Jackson; I can just see him now. He's just a long
skinny old fellow Moore; Well we're not getting back
McGrath; Well its all
Jackson; Maybe this is a good point to say , Can
you give us some more hours? I mean we're not going to get nearly
where we need to go. I mean um Katie
Moore; Well yes we can stay all day if you want to.
Jackson; Yeah, but Katie. She has to work. She needs
to be at Food Service before eleven.
Moore; Okay then I'll hush then.
Jackson; No, that's not the point.
Moore; Another day?
Jackson; We want to know if we can have several other
Moore; Uh huh
Jackson; Alright. Then we'll work that out at the
end what a good time is to come back. Well lets go on to another
McGrath; What kind of work did your family do in
Moore; Well my mother. Well my father died when I
was seven or eight. And she stayed on the farm. They were farm
people and tobacco people. I mean that's how they made their money,
tobacco and cattle. She stayed on down the farm for a couple of
years. She taught before she got married. So then we moved. She
decided the thing to do would be to rent the farm and move back
to Berea and renew her certificate and teach. Which is what she
did for a while and other than that my immediate family were all
farmers. Now in my mother's family there was I believe eight of
those children and they all did well except one who stayed home
and did nothing but the others were fine. Uncle Chase was a business
man and Uncle Kirk was a doctor. He went to Richmond Virginia,
University of Virginia medical school and became a health doctor
down in Greensboro. And another one, oh lets see, the girls they
all married and had families. They didn't go to school and work.
But my mother did come to Berea College. And Oh I did want to tell
you a story. Maybe I shouldn't tell this but its true. My grandfather
Hudson, his mother was and he was really quite bright and back
then preachers, or missionaries as they called them, would come
in and work with the people. They would live in the homes and in
return for room and board would teach the children. Home schooling
I guess you'd call it now. So he got quite a good home schooling.
But then he decided that he would come to Berea College. I don't
know if it was a college then or not. It didn't start as a college,
just an elementary school. But anyway he came over. His mother
had died when he was just an itty bitty boy, and his grandparents
had raised him. They had slaves and he came in and his roommate
was a black man and he put his hat on and he walked right back
home in what is now called Rockcastle County. He wouldn't go to
school to Berea. That's why the Day Law was passed I am convinced
it was because all the other schools were segregated except Berea.
And nobody else cared. So the story my family always told and a
colored women I was at a meeting and he said her family told the
same thing. That president Frost had it passed because it was going
colored. And that he had made a trip through the mountains and
seen that the white people needed an help too and that they were
from a higher civilization than the blacks and that they could
be trained quicker. You don't like to hear that story but I believe
that's what happened. I truly believe it. And these children who
were brought up with slaves, they knew then and they weren't going
to have it. But anyway, that's my background. And yours too. There
the point. And the day may come when people will be ashamed of
us for riding automobiles.
Jackson; You're right. That's quite a stretch. For
people coming from a slave environment to jump into Berea College.
Moore ; And I think the worst thing that's ever happened
with the blacks has been this umm, Oh the word's left me. In other
words if they score a 75 on a point they can get in but somebody
else has to score a 90 or 100. Lowering the standards for them
I think has hurt them very much. Personally I wouldn't go to a
black lawyer, or a black doctor, unless I absolutely know that
he did not go under those circumstances. And I think its hurt them
rather than helped them. Affirmative Action, that what its called.
I think affirmative action is the worst thing that could've been
done. You think I'm strange don't you.
McGrath; No. Actually I can kinda see what your saying.
I can understand how lowering the standard would hurt.
Moore; yeah, its bad
McGrath; it could make them seem less qualified
Moore; And while I'm on the subject I think they
look back too much. Instead they don't look far enough back. They
were slaves but they don't look at what they were before they were
slaves. All they've go to do is look at the TV now and see what
is going in Africa and they could very well be there. But they
don't go back that far. And they weren't all mistreated either.
Jackson; Lets go to the next question, where did
your family live or which streets. We know the first cabin was
built on Owlsley Fork and when they built the lake the college
burned it. When they moved into Berea where did they go?
Moore; They moved, after my grandma and grandpa were
old enough to retire, the moved down to Dixie Park with my Uncle
Chase where he could look after them . And they lived together
until, when did they die? He was 94 John Brodis Hudson was he died
and she was 89. He lived about six months after she did. They lived
together until she died. Of course Uncle Chase looked after him
and my mother did too but they didn't live with him. They stayed
right there and I have a picture here of them that I just love.
(Ms. Moore leaves to retrieve a picture which hangs on the hallway
wall. It's a picture of a man and a woman, her grandparents, sitting
in from of a fireplace. There is a clock on the mantle above the
fireplace. The exact same clock hangs on the wall of Ms.Moore's
home. This is so typical of the way they lived. That was their
heat and their light.
Jackson; Oh that's great.
Moore; And that the way they sat all during the winter.
They would sit there and that was their fire.
Jackson; Do you remember my Uncle Frank that lived
with me for years? He said the two things which ruined the American
family, central heat and television.
Moore; He's got a point.
Jackson; He said the fireplace was the only source
of heat in the house. Everybody had to get in one room and they
better get along or they got cold.
Moore; Well I had a friend who said that the thing
that ruined the government was air conditioning. That's the Washington
government. In the summer it was so hot there they had to go home
but now they live up there and they don't know what the rest of
us really think.
Jackson: It could be. ( Ms. Moore departs to hang
picture back up) Tell us about school. Your schooling Moore: When
I went to school? The first school I went to was down in Highpoint.
Do you know where that's at?
Jackson: No, I'm afraid not. Moore; Oh you must find
out about that and you must go see it too. You go down (??) Pike.
Its about six or seven miles out and you'll pass. Well um, my cousin
Sarah lives where all the pretty white paneling is. Up on the hill
on the right is a building where Tom Burman lives. It was the Highpoint
school and it is a beautiful home. Just beautiful. Small but real
Jackson; You go up the hill and its before you get
Moore; Oh yeah. Before you get to the intersection
Jackson: Oh its beautiful up there
Moore: Now that school was. The Burman's had given
up land for a school and as soon as it ceased to be a school it
went back to the Burman family. So they go the building and made
it into a home. Which could be done to that brick school building
Jackson; The Middletown school.
Moore; Uh huh. But anyway I went to the first five
grades down there. And we had double seats and a little girl sat
with a big girl. A 7th or 8th grader you know. It wasn't a very
big school. And the teacher, we were all spoiled us girls. Especially
me, I was the only girl in the Moore family. We didn't know how
to whisper, we didn't have a preschool or anything like that. It
was our first day of school. Well we talked and the teacher told
us if she caught us talking anymore she'd tell us to hush, but
we didn't hush. If we kept talking she was going to make us stand
at the black board up on our tip toes and reach up as far as we
could to a mark. And stand there till she let us sit down. Now
she'd be fired for doing that. Of course I was one of the first
ones to get caught. And we would shift from one foot to the other
or put our arms down and she'd turn around and whap us across the
behind. Well I had taken that course. Well I came home a bawlin'
and a squakin'. I wasn't going to school another day. That teacher
was trying to kill me. My mother asked me what went on. See she
taught and she knew how to handle it. Well I told her and she said, "did
she tell you not to whisper?" and I said "yes". She said "well
alright you done what she told you not to and you whispered so
you'll just have to take it. Well I knew my daddy could take care
of me so I propped myself in the window and watched for him to
come in from the barn. Well she saw me and knew what I was going
to do. She told me a long time afterwards but she beat me to him.
Told him no matter how it would break his heart not to sympathize
with me. He wouldn't even look at me. Well that of course broke
my heart and (?) stayed out of it. He was a colored man who stayed
with me. A Johnny or Jack-or-all-trades. Well he just stayed out
of it.. Didn't want any part of it at all. The next morning, well
this just about proves it, the next morning. We got up as if nothing
happened. He laced up my shoes, we wore shoes to school then, and
got me all started and ready. Nothing was said about it, everything
was just normal. Hurried up since all the children would be along.
We all met together and as a group and walked to school. I never
had another problem in school because I knew from then on I was
on my own. There wasn't any point to going home and telling about
Jackson; You better mind your P's and Q's
Moore: Sure did mind my P's and Q's. Well anyway
I got through then and we moved to Berea and daddy died and we
moved into Berea. For the first year, the sixth grade, I went to
the Training school, and that was alright. Then my mother got a
job teaching at the grading school so she thought, so I went to
7th and 8th grades there and went the first year to the fruit jar.
Jackson: For those who don't know what the fruit
jar is that's the local community school.
Moore: Anyway I went to the Academy for the next
three years and onto Berea College. And then I started teaching
back at the Highpoint school. Back then you only needed 12 hours
of education and you could teach anywhere you wanted to. And we
moved back down to the farm then and I taught down there and that
was quite a bit of fun. And then they transferred me down to (?)
the last year before they started consolidation and I taught high
school down there. I was a math and science teacher. Wasn't much
of a science teacher but a pretty good math teacher. I looked awful
young and I really think the reason they transferred me was I was
qualified to teach Math and they knew they were going to open Central
to see if I could handle the kids. Of course I was good with kids.
Then I started teaching in Central when it opened. I taught there
about 2 and half years. When the war started. And I saw an add
in the paper about jobs in Washington and I applied and I got a
job in Washington.
Jackson; Did you? I didn't know that. What did you
do in Washington?
Moore: Well I started out as a clerk in the Reconstruction
Finance Corporation and of course I was liquidated into the department
of the treasury and I wound up as a budget and fiscal officer for
the treasury department.
Jackson; How did you hide that?
Moore; Oh I've got tales. I'm full of tales.
Jackson: We know that, oh we know that.
Moore; anyway that was during the war and after
the war even. After that assignment I was transferred down to Atlanta
for 3 years and back up to Washington.
Jackson: Well now I always thought you've been right
Moore: No. Nobody living in Berea has the kind of
background I got. Well they closed down the Restoration Finance
Corporation which financed the war. It was a wonderful experience.
And after I was able to retire with a relieve annuity early I was
just about 52 and I came home and my mother was sick and John was
sick so I took care of them and they lived a couple of years. Then
I got involved in clubs and city council. I was on city council
for 8 years.
Jackson; (to McGrath) The building you met me in,
the old train depot this was the person alone responsible for saving
that building. Moore: I began to think I wouldn't be able to do
it though. There was so much opposition. "What are you going to
do with it?" I didn't know what I was going to do with it.
Jackson; I found that when you get into history and
preservation you only get one opportunity to a correct decision.
If you make an incorrect decision it is going to Moore; its going
Jackson; okay, lets get back to school. What did
you study in school?
Moore; Math. I was a math major.
Jackson; In grade school, why did they put a little
girl with a big girl?
Moore; So she could help her
Jackson; help her learn the ropes?
Moore; Yeah. They helped us read. Helped us write
and do arithmetic. Then there just wasn't room. All you had was
double seats. Well I think we've talked enough about that.
Jackson; Oh no.
Moore; ( talks about what she took to school lunch
and the game she played at recess.) Then I came to Berea Training
school the first year, the 7th grade. We had Mr. Hern. The boys
called him pumpkin head, his head was kind of pointed. We were
afraid of Mr. Hern. He was a good teacher. He taught us parts of
speech. He taught us arithmetic. He taught us to multiply and divide,
you know the real things. And we had to learn it. If we didn't
get it we had to stay after school. We had to walk home anyway,
we didn't have any buses. We all didn't like it but looking back
he was one of the best teachers I've ever had. Then in the 8th
grade Professor Baumen was the teacher. Professor Baumen was a
magistrate and he would have cases out in the cloak room and leave
us in there drawing maps or something. We'd get restless and aggravate
everyone to death. The boys would put a tack in his chair. He'd
come flying in an plop down and on the tack and jump right back
up. I'll never forget that. (laughs). Then we'd have trials over
who put the tack in the chair. He never could find out. Well he
had what he called the paddle of wisdom and he used it once in
a while. In the meantime the Baptist Church had a fire and so they
had church and Sunday school up at the school. And while they were
having Sunday school the paddle of wisdom disappeared and he tried
his best, had all kinds of trials. We didn't know who didn't. I
don't think he ever found out. What happened is one of them dropped
it down the window and (?) was there to catch it and stick it in
the furnace. I found that out a long time after it happened. So
kids had their own ways of entertaining themselves.
Jackson; Well we touched there again about the churches.
They also had what they called Dinner on the Ground. Tell her about
Moore; Everyone took good food and the commencement
was like that too. They'd spread a cloth down and the food would
be served from the ground. And you would go around and get whatever
Jackson; This was at commencement of the college?
Moore; see there wasn't much entertainment and that
was somewhere to go. And usually there was somebody who was in
Jackson; So everybody went even if they didn't have
a child graduating? It was such a big occasion. Where did they
Moore; First one I ever remember was in the tabernacle.
Jackson; that's the old drama building. The Jekyle Drama Building.
Moore; When I was growing up the social life revolved
around the churches really.
Jackson; Your family went to the Baptist Church but
you have some connection with the glades. (The tape ends here,
when turned to other side, half the conversation was cut off so
the subject is unclear or the topic irrelevant to the subject of
the interview.) There was also a follow up interview January 23,
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