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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 further talk]

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 tell you.

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

Jackson; China

Moore; Uh huh. They named them funny names.

Jackson; Oh no I have a relative, is that where we're kin?

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 people.

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 thing.

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.

McGrath; William?

Moore; Uh huh. And he was born in 1855 here in Madison county down here in the Glades section. And his father was Messiah Moore.

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 it?

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 Cumberland Gap?

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 days.

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 question.

McGrath; What kind of work did your family do in Berea?

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 pretty.

Jackson; You go up the hill and its before you get to Buckettown?

Moore; Oh yeah. Before you get to the intersection on 64.

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 down there.

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 it.

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 here.

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 to backfire.

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 it.

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 you wanted.

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 school.

Jackson; So everybody went even if they didn't have a child graduating? It was such a big occasion. Where did they have it?

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, 2000.


Dr. Jackie Burnside
CPO 1706
Berea, KY 40404
(859) 985-3811

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