Preston Seals Interview


Preston: The house behind the store lightning struck it several years ago and burned it down, but there are two brick gate post w/ the initials AJB on them


Akili: Really he owned that?


Preston: Arthur J. Baxter was his name has his initials AJB on them


Akili: Was the house really large?


Preston: Oh yeah, it was a huge big white two story house that sat up and had it terraced around it with steps down a beautiful house

A black family owned the house


Akili: How long has it been since it burned down about ten years ago?


Preston: Gosh it's been longer than that I remember when it burned down.

20-25 years since the house burned down.

Back when I was a boy that was a beautiful place through there and his grandmother was JoeElla now she was white, she was a descendant from the white side of the Baxter’s.  There was family was pretty well off too.  They were higher society and she run the store all the time she ran the store JoeElla was.

Just a beautiful woman JoeElla was that was when I was a lad growing up that was way back when.  They had the old gas pumps that used to pump gas in there and then the gravity flowed out to fill your tank that was the last pumps that I can remember of them actually in use and they were at that store go up to get gas and she would go out and unlock that little down on the side and had a big handle that come out and however many gallons you wanted she would pump that many.


Akili: And it would come out that many gallons?


Preston: Yes

It would have a gauge at the top of the container at the top was clear glass and it would hold I guess 10 or 15 gallons I guess it had little yellow marks on it.  If you told her you wanted 10 gallons she would pump in 10 gallons and then she shut her off take the hose gravity feed out to the tank.  That’s how she run that store if you haven’t interviewed Paul-Paul has got he um does not have the clearest voice when you speak to him

After you zero in on him and get him to where you understand him he has a lot to tell ya.  Paul has because he knows the history of that family and they well two different people back in those days

Paul has inherited some of that property cause he only had his mother and maybe one other child. See Lake Baxter was a son maybe Paul two girls and one boy if my memory serves me.  Paul’s mother was on of the girls but there is quite a bit of history when I grew up here in this community we lived in the white station area back when I was just 2 years old back in ’39 I guess it was and then we moved up here in this section of the country in ’44 and then there was a lot of old people blacks and whites alike.  I used to work with two of the black men that I was closer to because I used to work for them you know.  I used to help them set tobacco and work in the hay al that stuff.  They have long since been gone.


Akili: What was their names?


Preston: One of them was Charley McVegan (sp) he lived right across the road here right where that trailer sits now that where his house was: He had a little farm and he owned all this land right here all this section where all the houses are now all the way up to the church he owned that plot of ground about 30/40 acres.  Charley owned that him and his wife.  His wife a big tall lady but thin as a rail.  She was tall I bet she was 6ft tall.

Big lanky women she used to come to our house a lot but lived right down here in this next house, she used to come down here and do things for my mother back years and years ago.


Akili: What was your mother’s name?

Preston: Ida Seals, her maiden name Chasteen, they came here outta Rockcastle Co. they migrated & married my dad in Rockcastle Co. they moved here: She was born in 1895 dad was born in 1900 whatever year it was that how old it was I could always remember his age

Father’s name Willie Seals Mother’s name maiden Chasteen 

She was born 1895 in Rockcastle Co.

Father b. 1900 in Owesly Co.  Died 1975

Both died in Berea


Akili: When you think back, what was the other black farmers’ name?  You said you worked w/ two black farmers?


Preston: Robert Ross, now his wife is still lives and she lives over in a sub-division off of Short line Pike called Rainbow Drive, if she is still knowledgeable.


Akili: What was her name?


Preston: Geneva, I am amazed that I am being able to remember these names.  He mainly did tobacco; he was a diversified farmer.  He did tobacco raised some cattle and hogs put a lot of hay up he did a lot of custom work, work for other people like bailing hay stuff like that and I used to work with him, I used to take hay with him that was back when they just pick up hay bales to this part of the country they weren’t very good bales you know.  Today you can drop a hay baler down and pick up hay.  Back in the day you had to work on it for a half a day then bale a few bales then work on it another half a day but it a one thing that I remember about it had a cloth canvas it had a pick upper that pick up the hay off the ground but it had a cloth canvas that pulled the up into the plunger that compressed into the conveyor and one he had me raking hay and there was going to be a horse show in Berea I wanted to go that horse and I was in a hurry and I thought the quicker I get this hay racked the quicker I get to the horse show.  And we was in a big field of hay there right there where the intersection of I-75 is now.  And we had heavy hay timothy hay he had me raking that hay and I was raking and I was fluffing that hay and could not get it to feed in that baler because it was so fluffy and it would slip the canvas because it as not packed down enough to where the weight would pull it, into the baler. And he fussed at me at would come over there and he would say’ Pete’ he called me ‘Pete’ u goin had to slow that tractor down I cannot bale this hay like this here.   I slowed it down after he got on me, I thought I could hurry up and get through, I wanted to go to that horse show.


 Akili: Did you make it?


Preston: I made it yes, I went, I finally got through we was in big field and I thought we would never get through, you know how a kid thinks.


Akili: How did you get to and from house since he stayed by I-75?


Preston: I rode a bike, now at one time Robert we called him Bob used to live on the end of this lane you know all the way at the end and he rented the Blythe farm and they lived there that’s when used to set a lot of tobacco by lever to a peg and poke a hole in the ground and set the plant in the ground when used to set with another friend named Mike, just across the road here another miller boy M.W. and him were about the same age we worked a lot for those guys and we set tobacco for them we used to race, young not knowing any better you know we used to race to see who could get to the end of the field first without having to raise up you had to bend over and I guess it would tickle bob to death because he was getting all that work out of us and here we was racing and him giving us .50 an hour.  And back when you would get blisters on your hand doing that he feed our lunch but he would not let us go home for lunch because he was afraid that we would not come back he would eat lunch with us so we would be there after lunch.  Genevea, I used to think back at a time they lived up here and farmed several different farms you see we were working up here setting tobacco getting .50 an hour.  And if we finished a patch and we had to go maybe to this farm over here they used to have this farm right across the road we that guy these house and we went from up here which was only about a mile maybe mile and half.  She had an eight-day alarm clock and if it took us 15 minutes she would not pay us travel time even though we were getting paid .50 an hour she would only pay us when we worked.


Akili: How did your father feel about you working with different farmers?


Preston: Oh yes, he was okay about. Dad was a tenant farmer himself and grew a lot of tobacco.  In the early ‘50’s he worked for Berea College driving a cream truck for them and he used to go all back up in the mountains and collect cream and it was not whole milk it was just cream part people would separate there cream from the milk and Berea College had a creamer and it processed it into cheese.  They used to have a state of the art business right there before the hill that you go up.  He used to go all back into the mountains Jackson, Owesly, Rockcastle Co., and gather up cream all day.  He had two no three routes he had one route that took him over through Bare Waller then Rockcastle Co. he’d get in probably around dark, his other route was through Jackson Co. then Owesly Co. back then there was no paved roads they were all gravel specially back in those (small) towns: Some of them weren’t even gravel just dirt roads and I used to go with him during the summer months in the ‘50’s.  I had four brothers they were older than me, I was the youngest of four boys and they had left home.  I took the initiative to take care of the tobacco; we always had cows to get extra money to get food.  So my day never told me what I had to do, we knew every morning we had to get up before we went to school we had to feed 8 or 10 cows and at night we had to milk cows at 5 o’clock and we knew that was part if the chores and we did it, while he was gone during the day I took care of the tobacco and corn and the stuff we grew, of course he did his part he worked four days a week on his route, each route two times a week and the other day he was here either Thursday or Friday, it was something we did no body had to write down what we had to do everyday you just did what needed to be done.


Akili: How long did he work for Berea College?


Preston: Cream route in the late’50’s probably 58 or 59 then he started working for the livestock market until 1962.

I got married in 1957 he’d come back and took care of the farm so he had nobody here to manage it for him while he gone working at the livestock for 1962 he retired.


Akili: How old were you when you got married?


Preston: Twenty years old graduated from high school got married, I worked at the college bakery when I was in high school last two years in high school during the summer and on weekends.  My senior year, I worked 3 or 4 hrs in the evening also I used to box those glaze donuts.  My job was to glaze them and box them that’s what I did, I worked in all the different departments in the bakery like the students who used to do that work during the school yr.  They called us emergency workers during the summer when students were away.


Akili: How much did you make an hour?


Preston: Sixty-five cents.


Akili: Berea College paid sixty-five cents?


Preston: I got out of high school in ’57 and went to IBM, started working at IBM making $1.35 an hour.  I thought it was nice working in Lexington.


Akili: What church did your family attend?


Preston: Middletown Baptist, which is the first one here.  You know they named their churches?  I guess the black church they used to call themselves the First Baptist Church of Berea, at Middletown.  Then when they organized the white Baptist church, they just called it The Baptist Church.  Up there, up the road at the old schoolhouse there is a Baptist church up there now.  Faith Baptist, I think it’s a free will Baptist or Southern Baptist.  More like an independent Baptist; that’s where the schoolhouse used to be.  The black school and the white school in Middletown.  When we first moved up here both those schools was functional, but I never did go to the Middletown school, I went to Kirksville, I rode the bus to Kirksville.  Now some of the kids, some of the kids that had been going to Middletown School, still went to Middletown and he (the bus driver) would stop up there and let them off at Middletown in the mornings and they would go to school at Middletown and the rest of us would go on to Kirksville.  But the schools was about to play out during that period of time, I guess and so when we came they just didn’t take in anymore new students…


Akili: So was it a conscious decision by your parents for you to go to Kirksville or was it a reason that you didn’t go to the one in…?


Preston: No, I guess it was just a…


Akili: Just the way it was?


Preston: Just the way it was.  I had older brothers and sisters going to school at the time and I think that the school up here only went to the 8th grade. So we all went to Kirksville.  I started there in 1st grade, I went half a year in (?)Kingston(?). We lived in White Station we were on the Kingston route.  And I finished up the 1st grade in Kirksville and went there until 1955.  And then I went the last two years at Central in Richmond.  That’s when they consolidated…so my last two years where at Central.


Akili: So how would you say, since you worked at the Berea Bakery, then the livestock.  So how would you say race relations were in Berea, persay if you look at the news, you look at Alabama and Birmingham…?


Preston: As I look back over the years as a boy, I never did know any difference.  You know?  I played with black kids.  Had a family that lived, the Dennings’, that lived up the road.  Dennings’ or Miller’s I guess, I don’t know what you call them, they went by both names.  Some people called them Miller’s; some people called them Dennings’!  But, we played together the (?)Rash(?) boy who used to live down in _______, when we were 12, 14, 15 years old we all played…I didn’t know the any…there wasn’t any difference.  The Farristown kids we grew up, I was seven years old when we left Farristown and of course, we farmed there on the farm with a black family and they had kids and Buddy Farris, well, his father and my father farmed together there in White Station and I knew Buddy and his sisters.  I thought the world of his mother.  For me, back in those days we didn’t think anything about being different.  ‘Course, I’m sure we were.  I mean, people they associate…I didn’t think at all anything about________.  He treated us like his own sons.  Same way with the McVeigh’s, I used to go up there all the time, see Charlie.  I used to, when I was a kid, I used to catch possums and rabbits and what not.  Ana Charlie would take all the possums I had.  I used to catch ‘em and skin ‘em for the hide.  And I would take Charlie the carcass and he would cook the possum.  I can eat possums all the way long.  But he would take them possums and cook ‘em.  But shared things back and forth.  In the summertime, he had a well that never went dry and in the summer during the dry months we had a cistern.  We had a cistern and every summer during the dry months our cistern would go dry.  I wasn’t working during July and August, and we always carried water out their well.  We’d go up there everyday two or three times a day and carry water you know, for our use.


Akili: So everybody was pretty much just working together?  Just making a living…


Preston: Whatever had to be done to make a living, we did it.  And we didn’t think anymore about them being black and they didn’t about us being white.  But then in the 60’s, when all this stuff started stirring around and what not, I sort of set back and thought, ‘Well, that ain’t been like that around here.’  You know we really haven’t had that problem.  We had people having fights, both of them was blacks fighting blacks and whites fighting whites.  I saw a fight up here one Christmas, in Middletown, and they were all blacks that were fighting.  There was one or two whites in it, but they was you know…there was one white guy that I can remember, I can’t remember his name, but he had gotten into it some way or the other.  But they’d all gotten slaphappy I guess, and the fight the Gentrees’ lived up there by the black church, the Gentrees’, the Hurd’s, and there was another family…

Akili: Ballard’s ?


Preston: Ballard’s?  I don’t know, I’m trying to think…Bogs (?) but Sis Gentrue, we always called her sis, I don't know what her name is we just called her sis.  But she threw a butcher knife at somebody that day.  Up there, right up there almost to the church.  That butcher knife, it came almost down to that other store, right down the road  (makes noises) and it hit the pavement.  I was just a kid; maybe, I don't know how old I was.  Maybe 9 or 10 yrs old.  And we were at the store that used to be the old photo store.  But like the second store there on the left, I guess they've got a sportware or something down there that was me and Foley's store.  You heard of him.


Akili: Yes sir.


Preston:  Country music Red Foley.  You see that’s where he grew up at.  And on Saturday evenings, that where you went for, your entertainment.  Ms. Foley always had the Grand Ole Opry on the radio. She had it set way up in the store on the top shelf.  She had to climb a ladder to get up there


Akili: Turn it up?


Preston:  But, when the Grand Ole Opry come on that radio come on.  You know.  And she set up there and listened to that and listen to Red and when he signed off everynight he'd tell his mother 'Bye' cause he knew she was listening, he'd always say 'goodnight Maggie'.  I can remember those days.  But, we had a big ole pot belly store sitting there and all the guys around the community, we'd sit around that store listening to the Grand Ole Opry, they'd tell tales about things that happened.  But they was blacks and whites.  We didn't know, I remember Shorty Gentree we used to call him short…. That was Bill and Roberts dad.  We used to call him shorty.  He'd be there, there's be several…Matt Blue used to be right there by the store.  The house is not there anymore…


Akili:  In the middle right there?  Where the empty space is?


Preston:  No, it's just on the other side of the second store.  There is not a house there.  The College put some trees there.  Well, Matt lived right there.  Matt was as black as that right there.  He was so black he would shine, and he stood out, I guess he was the blackest person that I believe I've ever seen.  Big ol'  guy he used  to drive…. Done something for the college I don't remember what he done.  But he Matt always drove a big ol' car.  Whatever he could get, the biggest car—that's what he drove.  And he'd keep a neat mussler?  Kept a white fence around his house, he was neat.  And every body respected Matt Blue.  He used to get his garbage from the hotel to feed his hogs in the back (yard).  And he used to haul that garbage down there in the back of that old car in two large cans or what bot to feed those hogs.  He always had a nice odor on him.  But nobody thought anything about it.  But now the Blythe's, Mr. Blythe was a wealthy black person, he was a hard worker.  I don't know where he got his start, but he was a contractor and he built this road.  He had a rock quarry at the end of this lane.  And it's still up there.  Have you ever been there?


Akili:  No, I have not been there.


Preston:  Well, its and old rock quarry out there at the end of that lane. Death trap, full of water nothing around it except shrubs, if you were walking out there some night, and didn't know where you where at, you might meet your death.  But anyway his old rock crusher is still sitting there….that's where he crushed the rock for this road.. He owned several of the roads in the county.  He built that store, that second store over….used to run a general Grocery store and then when they built a new one, Mr. Davis moved into that store and Mr. Foley moved into the big store.  Mr. Foley used to run the store where that little white house, that sits just in this side is.  That used to be a store and it was turned around and had one of those storefronts on it, flat storefronts.  And that was the Foley store.  And that's where they run their store all the time.  When Davis' heard they were…. Now Mr. Blythe was the man that built that big store.


Akili:  So he contracted, somebody contracted then and he built it?


Preston:  Well, it was his.  He owned all that property.  Just about from the Glades Rd all that down past Blythe St.  He owned all that.  See he built all those houses out Blythe CT He built each one of his kids one.  Robert owned a house out there, Bill, John, Nancy and Nancy's still living, she's up in the 90's, but still living.  Nancy Dethridge, she used to teach school at the Black school.  Her and her brother both was a principal and she was a teacher. 


Akili:  So know you have went from the 40's, 50's, 60's.  So what were the 70's like.  So now you've been married for 10-15 yrs.


Preston:  Yeah, in the 70's…Well the 70's rolled right on by.  I was working in Lexington in '70.  I commuted back and forth everyday.  And bout the only time I was around here was on the weekends.  Cause it was dark when I left and dark when I came back.  But, I sort of lost track of things that were going on.  Some of the old people I used to work with and used to… they died off.


Akili: Did you go to their funerals?


Preston:  Yes, I did like the Baxters'.  The Baxters' died off, they died off in the 60's and Mr. Ross died in the early 70's, he totally blind before he died.  But he was such a….he had worked welding(?) a neighbor of mine up here he used to corn pick with Mr. Ross and there was something's wrong with it and Mr. Ross stood there and told him how to fix it and he was blind.  He knew his equipment machinery.  He was very thorough, he after he went blind he could tell by the sound if something what was wrong.  Yeah, he went blind before he died.  Then there was another family, in the area by the name Jenkins.  They rode little ponies, they had ponies always admired them.  But they were small ponies, they weren't big horses.  But he and his wife both I used to see then every morning going down the road riding them ponies.  And they ride them to Payton town to work.  They had a whole bunch of them.  He came here from Paris and he stayed several yrs.  And the last account I had him, he went back to Paris.  We knew them.  The Baxters and Blythe and Ross.


Akili:  So would you say a lot of part of the 60's and 70's, the older generation started dying off?  And their children, not their children, but their children's children started leaving.  Then less and less people was in this part of…especially people you grew up with and their children.


Preston: They just…The Dennings' well Delmont-soon as he got out of school he left.  I haven't seen him since he left.  We used to play together when we were kids.  The old house is still sitting vacant up there; it sits right across from the Christian church. That's where the Dennings' lived and then the…used to be another gentleman that used to have a lot of stories, his name was R_____ B_____, lived over by the railroad and all his family's gone now.  Mr. Reynolds, old black gentlemen lived over there almost across from the church, the Christian church and he used to work with us (tells story about Mr. Reynolds).  Mr. Reynolds is related to Robert Ross' wife, Geneva Ross.  Now if you talk to Geneva, she can tell you a lot of history and I am pretty sure she still witty and the last time I saw her she knew who I was.  So she's pretty witty.  But now as younger ones come on, they move, they're just scattered.  Now Dunsan, his parents were in that generation to have roots here.  Because their children left.  Whites and backs alike, there wasn't too much going on during the 60's and 70's around here to entice people to stay.  'Cause I had to drive to Lexington, there wasn't anywhere to work at Berea College.  They'd give you sixty-five cents an hour.  But, of course back in those days that sixty-five cents went a long ways.


Akili: Do you have any recollection, I know it was before your time, but do you remember the Day Law?  Do you know what the Day Law is?  The Day Law is when…I think it happened back in the 1900's when they didn't allow blacks and whites to go to the college, to Berea College.  But they still had a lot of blacks working for the college.  Do you remember?


Preston: No, I always thought that the blacks were enrolled into the college since its early beginnings.


Akili: Yeah, they were in the beginning, then the Day Law said, 'we don't want blacks and whites to be educated together'.  But then in the 50's that law was repealed.  So then in the 50's and 60's blacks started going to the college.  So you never thought about going to Berea College?

Preston: No, 'course when I went to school, schools were segregated.  They wasn't any blacks in our school, until I started going to Central.  Then when I went to Central in 1957, there was probably three blacks in my class in that first year.  But, when I used to ride the bus they'd be black children ride our bus to Middletown, I can remember that.  They'd ride that white bus, even though they had a black bus running.  But I remember Mr. Campbell; we had two bus drivers, both was Campbell.  One was black, one was white.  So I rode Mr. Ben Campbell's bus, and Joe Campbell, black guy drove the black bus.  But now we used to let black children off in Middletown.  I can't remember when, but that school closed about the time around mid-50's, and they closed and they had to move all those children to Richmond.  And they went to Richmond High and Ms. Dentree taught over there.  Seem to me, she was over there two or three years before they consolidated and those kids had to go to Madison Central with the whites.  The first year I went to Madison Central was in '56.  But I didn't pay any attention more to the blacks than to the whites there.  Because I grew up with the blacks, so I didn't think anything different about it.  I won't deny that those blacks might have had some problems going 'cause you can't keep them separate.  It's like putting you in a strange crowd with a bunch of strange people.  It 's like going to Russia or Germany and somebody coming in being different.  I'm pretty sure they had some feelings about that.  But to me I didn’t think anything about it.


Akili: What do you think are some of the most important aspects of this area that you feel should be remember?  And should something be done to preserve this area in Berea?


Preston: Well, the cemeteries around here I think.  I noticed they had just done something to this one on Glades Road by the post office, which is good.  But there was a cemetery right up here, a black cemetery, and right in behind this big red building.  And the guy that used to own it years ago, took and cleared it all off…


Akili: I heard he took a bulldozer or something like that.


Preston: Yeah, he leveled it down. It was a wilderness-growed out honeysuckle and cedars.  He cleared it all out.  It was said he was going to put all the stones back.  But he never did, the stones still stacked up up there.  Then there's another cemetery across the way over here.  On the other side of  ______ Plain Road.   There's a lot of well-known people buried there.  One of Mr. Fee's wives buried there.  But there's some pretty prominent people that was buried in that cemetery.  But then the things, landmarks, like the Baxters' store, the Blythe street, they named it Blythe-but the only landmark sets up there is the Blythe store and I would say that road is going to be tore down probably.  That was as far as landmarks that I…


Akili: You think a lot of people, especially when you start going in town and you have all these factories moving in the highways, you think that causes a lot of…like it never existed?


Preston: Yeah like people forgot about it or never thought it existed.


Akili: And this used to be a pretty vibrant community?


Preston: Oh yes, if I'm not badly mistaken, but I think there used to be a depot.  And I was thinking, I think the depot was over there by the church somewhere.  But now that railroad was built through there, back around the turn of the century I guess.  And its bridges they used to bring games to those people who worked on those bridges and what have you.  And some of the people in the community worked there too.  And they could probably tell you some stories about that.  But they used to have camps, so workers could work on the railroads.  That was sort of a pretty good source.  Now White Station __________________

____________ but, the blacks in that area…the whites picked up their name from somebody, a lot of blacks named them that 'cause they're all black people.  Whether they picked up their name from the man that White Station was named after, I don't know.  But this section in Farristown from what I've been told is that as the end of the slavery.  The lady that owned that whole section gave that too the black people that had established their own homes.  All about 10-15 acre plots, I don't know if you're familiar with that.


Akili: Yeah, I've heard about that.


Preston: There's a grid back there, about where the Farristown Church is on down where the Farristown Store is.  All that section there was gridded off in 10-15 acre tracks and it had lanes down there and the houses was built on that side.  They Deserted a lot of those houses around the first part of the century.  In the 30’s or 40’s.  Most of them got preserved during the 30’s.  But a lot of the names I use to hear called in Farristown are not there anymore.  Those people in some of those places down there hardly know who the people they belong to but who all those others belong to hard to say.  I think Ms. Ross owns 1 or 2 down there.  Mostly kids went to middle town, Dayton, Indianapolis somewhere to find a job and they just stayed and left that property.


Akili:  As far as your family, your mother & father, are they buried in Berea also?


Preston:  No, they’re buried in Memorial Gardens in Richmond.  The Baxter’s, all those….. we have a family cemetery….


Akili:  So how often do you go back to Rockcastle Co.?


Preston:  I take a trip back their, maybe every few months, but I go back to the cemetery every 2 yrs. Or so


Akili:  Do you still have family?


Preston:  I have some cousins, first cousins but all my aunts and uncles are gone.  My last aunt died last year she was married to a Chesteen.


Akili:  Did they bury her inside the Chesteen family cemetery?


Preston: Yes


Akili:  Can you talk a little bit about how this used to be a dirt road.


Preston:   I don’t remember it being a dirt road, I remember road being dirt road and chapel rd being a dirt rd it was a hassle, you couldn’t get around Chapel Rd maybe until a few yrs. ago.  But I can remember just a path through, then I can remember the White Station rd. it was just a cobblestone rd.  Cause we used to live off Twigs farm which is just before you get  off I-75.  We used to walk from there to Whites Memorial Church to go to services & Sunday school & bible school.  I can remember we walked up that cobblestone rd. back then.  Back in the mid 40’s when that rd. got black topped I don’t remember.  But it used to be an old iron bridge down there on down this rd. across to silver tree.  Right to the right to where I-75 crosses it now.  And then I-75 went through they cut that section in two and re-routed it & the old bridge torn down & knocked it off its foundation somebody hit it.  So that bridge fell so they’re re-routed but that was an iron bridge on this rd.  But now P____ rd. and M_____ rd.   I can remember  very well when that was a dirt rd.

M____ rd. wasn’t passable up until probably the 50’s.  Before they even started making them passable used to could race horses wasn’t nobody to interfere while you was racing horses.  That was in the early 50’s.  I guess in the 60’s probably that rd. got bought up enough to get a school bus through.


Akili: Can you tell me what yr. you were born?


Preston:  1937


Akili:  Were you born in Rockcastle Co.?


Preston:  Yes


Akili:  What yr. was your wife born?


Preston:  1939 or  8, no 39.


Akili:  And her name is?


Preston:  Mary


Akili:  Maiden name?


Preston:  Coffy


Akili:  Where was she born?


Preston:  She was born in Harlen Co.


Akili:  Do you remember her parents names?


Preston:  Yes, her mother’s name was Hollie Adams and father Luther Coffy is still living.


Akili:  In Harlan Co.?


Preston:  Yes


Akili:  Was he born in Harlen Co.?


Preston:  No, he in Oklahoma.  Now he could tell you some stories when he was 16 yrs. Old they came here from OK


Akili:  So what yr. was he born?


Preston:  He is 90 yrs. Old, so that would be 1910


Akili:  So your father was older than him.  & her mother was born, do you know where?


Preston:  No


Akili:  So what about your fathers mother?  Do you remember their names?


Preston:  Maggie


Akili:  What was her maiden name?


Preston:  Seals


Akili:  & your fathers father?


Preston:  I don’t know who he is


Akili:  & your mother’s father?


Preston:  James Chasteen.


Akili:  Your mothers mother?


Preston:  Mary Coffy


Akili: where was she born?


Preston:  TN


Akili:  what yr.?


Preston:  No

Akili:  Mothers’ father, where was she born?


Preston:  I pretty sure he was born in Rockcastle Co.

                His father from TN but…….

Akili:  his fathers name?


Preston:  I believe it was John Chasteen


Akili:  & James Chasteen where did he die?


Preston:  Here in Berea


Akili:  can you remember what yr.?


Preston:  1954, he was 97 when he died


Akili:  So he died in ’54 & he was 97 so he was  probably born around 1858 & then Mary Coffey do you know where she died?


Preston:   Rockcastle Co.


Akili:  What yr.?


Preston:  NO


Akili:  you never met her?


Preston:  She died back in the ‘30’s.


Akili: & Willie Seals, his mother was Maggie Seals do you know where she was born?


Preston:  Probably in Rockcastle Co. she died in Rockcastle Co. in 1904 that is why he got the name Seals his grandmother raised him.  He took his mother’s name, we don’t know who his father was.


Akili: Do you know how old she was?


Preston: NO


Akili:  So, I’m just going to go over……  I have J.P Seals b. 1937 in Rockcastle Co. and your father is Willie Seals b. 1900 in Owesly Co. d. 1975 here in Berea.  Then Alda Chesteen Seals b. 1895 in Rockcastle Co….. d.1973 in Berea.       Maggie Seals which is his mother, Owesly Co. d 1904 in Rockcastle

James Chasteen……1855 Rockcastle Co.  d. 1954 in Berea.  Mary Coffey b. in TN & d. in Rockcastle Co..

Mrs. Mary Coffey Seals, b. 1939 Harlen Co. and Luther (her father) Coffy, 1910 he came to Rockcastle Co.. in a covered wagon from OK he died……..


Preston:  No, he’s still living.