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Interview with Lena Johnson, November 7, 2002 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Lena Johnson, November 7, 2002
November 7, 2002
Lena Johnson, a lifelong resident of East Arcadia, discusses the timber industry as experienced by her grandfather, including equipment and techniques of the time. She also shares childhood memories of her time with him and of daily life in East Arcadia.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Johnson, Lena Interviewer:  Warren, Harry / Keaton, Ernestine Date of Interview:  11/7/2002 Series:  Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Length  36 minutes


Warren: Excuse me. My name's Harry Warren. I'm the cameraman for this oral history. Today is November the 7th, 2002, and we're at the Bladen County, East Arcadia Seniors' Center, here on a nice, bright, cool morning. Now, ladies, just relax. Try to pretend that this camera is not here, and we don't want to be formal at all. But we're interviewing this lady, who is--?

Johnson: Lena Coretta Johnson.

Warren: Lena Coretta Johnson. And being interviewed by Miss--?

Keaton: Ernestine Keaton, and I'm a historian.

Warren: From Riegelwood.

Keaton: Riegelwood.

Warren: From the Riegelwood area.

Keaton: Right, the Riegelwood area, but uh.. the community of East Arcadia, as is Miss Johnson.

Warren: Miss Johnson's from East Arcadia also. Okay, Ernestine, why don't you begin the interview. And let's talk with Miss Johnson and talk about life up here at East Arcadia, and her experiences.

Keaton: Okay. Coretta Johnson. Now you have experience in the timber industry through your grandfather, is it?

Johnson: Yes, yes.

Keaton: And his name was Mr. Jim George- right?

Johnson: Right.

Keaton: Now take us back to your earliest memory of him working in the timber industry.

Johnson: Okay. My earliest memory of him working in the timber lane, is at a very young age. It was startin' off about age 6 or 7, where I'd be able to remember. And I grew up with him travellin' in the mule and wagon, on Saturday, back in the forest, at the place that he worked, in the woods cuttin' crossties. And what he would do, he was the lead man for this group. And there was about six men working in there. There was Mr. uh.. Charles Moulin [ph?], there was uh.. Levi Dixon, uh.. my dad sometimes, Jason George- he worked there with them also. And there was--.

Keaton: And they would go out. And would they--? How would they travel through the woods?

Johnson: Okay, they would travel by using mule and wagon. They'd put all their- their broad axe- their axe, their iron wedge. They first started off with a wooden wedge, and they was able to finally get the iron wedge, which lasted a long time, because when they was cuttin' a tree down with a saw, it would pinch. They would have to pries that wedge, between that tree where they were sawin', to release the pressure, out of that saw.

Keaton: Miss Johnson, take us to when they actually got in the woods. Once they got in the woods where they were going to cut, what would be the first thing they'd do?

Johnson: The first thing they would do was to take the axe and cut a block, just a small block- some people called it a chip- out of the side of the tree, opposite with where they would start sawin'. And that was an art. If they wanted that tree to go back to the east, or the west, you got on the opposite side of that. And that's where you cut the knot because that's where that tree was gonna fall, in the direction, over that knot.

Keaton: Now, you've got that wedge in there. Now what kind of saw were you going to use?

Johnson: It was a cross-cut saw. Two men had to handle that saw- one on one end of it and one on the other, because they would pull it back and forth.

Keaton: Okay, now once they got the tree down, then what?

Johnson: Okay. They would measure off about six foot of that tree, and they would cut it completely in two. That would be one crosstie. Then they'd take that, where- where the broad axe came in. They would hew down on- or make four sides of it. They would hew down on one side, up on the other side, and they'd roll it over and they would start and they'd come out with a big square piece of wood. And after they come out with that big square piece of wood, they would take it down and shave it down, and do the finishing. And then they would all- what they would measure that tie, across the end that they cut from. That would give them whether that was a number one, a number two, or a number three tie. And what they would do, if that was a number one, they'd put it over apart to itself. The next, they would do the same procedure. If it came out to a number two, they'd put it over by itself, or a number three. And if they got uh.. as many as three, number three hits, they would make uh.. two marks, straight down with a pencil, on a piece of paper. And uh.. they put two marks straight down on the paper, and then one across it. And that's the way they would keep those ties in order. If it was a--. And then they'd write it down, by.. the number one. If that was a number one tie, that's the way they would do it, with two marks and one cross.

Keaton: Now, Mr.--. Your grandfather.

Johnson: Jim George.

Keaton: Jim George. Was he a contractor? Did he work for somebody in--?

Johnson: He worked- he worked under two men, Tion [ph?] Brown and Parker. And they would go out on a sunny day, around from different communities, and they would find a track of timber that was for sale. They would buy that track of timber. And if it was on a hill, they would work on that on a wet day. If it was in a low-lying place with a lotta water, they'd try to work that low-lyin' water while the ground was dry. And that was savin' timber for a rainy day when they couldn't get in the woods, without getting with water.

Keaton: Now where were some of the areas that you remember from your travels?

Johnson: Okay. Rossendale [ph?]. That's back up on uh..- on the other side of Converse [ph?] Creek. And uh.. that prospered. That's over behind Delco. And sometime- every now and then they would get land, you know, around uh.. here, in the neighborhood.

Keaton: ______________.

Johnson: ____________. Yes. That was over in Delco also.

Keaton: Now around- he would cut- they would have contracts from people in the neighborhood too?

Johnson: Yes.

Keaton: With their own timber and wanted it cut.

Johnson: Right.

Keaton: Now when you were traveling--. Now, after they had cut the ties finally and left them there, you would go sometimes with him?

Johnson: Yes. He would take me on Saturday morning, to tally up what they- what they had done in the woods. And he would always--. He couldn't read and write. But he would take me along and tell me to- this is Charles Munn's pile of ties. You write this name down, after you write- after I'd write his name down- and if he had two number two's, I would tell him, and he'd make the marks and put them- put his down, how many number three's he had, he'd put that on the paper. And that's the way that he would take it back to Tion Brown and Parker.

Keaton: To be paid.

Johnson: To be paid. Then they'd take the money, they'd wrap it with uh.. string and tie it around, with each man's name on it. And that's the way they kept it straight. And I think it was a good idea.

Keaton: Now how about getting them getting out- the ties out? Who would do that?

Johnson: Okay. What they would do, they would mostly use oxen, because a ox would stand up in the woods where men couldn't stand up. And what they would do, they'd put the- they called it the trace chains on 'em, with a long uh.. single tree. And that single tree was made from a piece of wood. And they would tie the ties onto this single tree. And sometime they would take a young boy, and stand him up on top of 'em, and drag 'em out, where they called the deck.

Keaton: They would put the boy on the--?

Johnson: On top of the tie to keep the child from trying to scramble and get through the brush, they'd put him on top of those tars, where he'd drag that tie out, and that boy would stay on behind the oxen, and they'd pull him out to the deck.

Keaton: Now the deck was- where was the deck?

Johnson: The deck would be out in some clean place where they would load them all on a truck or whatever and carry 'em off by the railroad tracks, and they would ship 'em.

Keaton: Now, do you know about his involvement in sawmills?

Johnson: Yes, a little bit.

Keaton: Okay, well tell us a little bit about what you know about--.

Johnson: I didn't go to the saw mill, but he would come back and he would talk to us a lot about it. Uh.. they would- uh.. they had this sawmill set up. And they would run a- a- uh.. take a tie and something they had the measure of - however wide they want it, and the width. And they would push it through and it would make this noise, a real noise, like a power saw. They would go through and trim that board down. But that was only- that's what you call rough lumber- that's what the power saw would do is make the rough lumber. And uh.. that's about what I remember, about that.

Keaton: Now who was the owners of the saw mill? Do you know who the owner was?

Johnson: Oh, Mr. Alex Down [ph?]. That was- that was the only man that I knew that had the saw mill.

Keaton: What about Mr. Moses Blanks [ph?]? Did he have--?

Johnson: Now, Mr. Moses Blanks, he had his truck, and he would work in the woods, you know, carrying down, after that mule and wagon. See, first- they started off with a mule and wagon- nobody had no trucks. So, Les Owen [ph?], he had a truck, and they would carry 'em around, you know, wherever they had to go. And that made it--. And they were bound to get farther away from home to work, that same day. Because before that, if they would go very far from work, they would set up what they called a shanty, a little tent-like, overnight. And what they would do, they would stay in that tent, all the week long, and return to their family after uh.. the week was up.

Keaton: On Fridays?

Johnson: Uh-hum.

Warren: Now, you wouldn't stay at the shanty, with them?

Johnson: No.

Warren: No.

Johnson: They leave their wife and the children home. The wife had to take those children, get 'em to school, and get gardens and things made, you know, to feed the families and stuff- take care of that tobacco, the corn, the cotton, the peanuts.

Warren: So you were farming- he was farming as well as logging?

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: He didn't solely log. He had farming also.

Johnson: Yes, that's right.

Warren: What time period are we talking about here Miss Johnson?

Johnson: That- I was about 10- 9, 10, 11, 12-years-old, something in there.

Keaton: But that was your grandfather. So you said you were born in the '30's, the Dirty Thirties.

Johnson: I was born in '37.

Keaton: Okay. So I would guess he was--. When he really stated working in the business, he was probably in his early 20's or--.

Johnson: Oh, yeah, that was before- sometime before, way before.

Keaton: And you were talking about the period between the '20's and the '40's.

Johnson: Right.

Keaton: The saw mills. That was when he had a saw mill down there, that you were talking about.

Johnson: Right.

Keaton: There was one other thing that I wanted to ask you about which was the danger. (inaudible) Do you recall anything that happened that- where someone lost their life or could have?

Johnson: Yeah, it always was a danger, because where you're cuttin' trees, there's always somebody gettin' too close. Uh.. but usually they- they was very careful. They spreaded out. And I don't ever remember uh.. actually where a tree actually hit a man, uhm..

(crew talk)

Keaton: Okay. We were talking about the danger. Just tell us about an incident that--.

Johnson: Okay. There was one incident- uh.. this was after they'd gotten a truck. They was in the woods. And during this period of time, was the Charlesman scene. He was the man that was drivin' that truck. And there come a thunderstorm, they were always on the back of the truck, sittin' there, talkin', waitin' on the storm to go over. And my grandfather, he got off and he said he walked to the back of this truck. And the truck is not low like these trucks now. The truck was real high, up off the ground. And he said- he stuck his hand out and he said, "Well, boys, I believe we can go back to work now." He said about that time, he said, this hard clap of lightening came on. And that truck was parked very close to this big pine tree. And he said the bolt from that tree being struck by lightening, it shook that truck and knocked him off the truck, on the ground. And what it did- the damage it did to him was it made his hands numb and he couldn't steady his self, walking very well that evening. But day by day, it passed away. And uh.. he said it was very scary. He said 'cuz when it- it shocked him good. He said he thinks because it- it shocked him good because it was so close to a tree, and he stuck his body like off the truck, reachin' out- you know, to look up in the sky. But uhm.. so every once in awhile somebody would get cut with the broad axe or a cuttin' axe. And the way they would treat that, they used to have kerosene, you know, on the truck or in the wagons also. And they'd pour kerosene on that cut- and it would usually be the foot that it would get cut- and they'd pour that kerosene on there and clean it off, and wrap a white rag or whatever they had around it. And that's all it would take now, you know, till they got home, then got it bandaged up and whatnot- yeah.

Keaton: Okay. Now Miss Johnson--. Harry, is there anything else you'd like to ask?

Warren: Well, I was going to ask you, this was happening when you were about 8 or 10-years-old.

Johnson: Between- between 10 and uh.. 12.

Warren: So this is like in the late 1940's.

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: When you were observing all this.

Johnson: Right.

Warren: And you're telling us that even as recently as the '40's, they were still using a lot of mules and carts.

Johnson: Sure.

Warren: So they hadn't become mechanized.

Johnson: Right.

Warren: With trucks and all.

Johnson: Right.

Warren: Even then. What was a day like, for you, as a young girl, going out with her grand-daddy? What time did you all start out in the morning? What kind of lunch did you pack? Just kind of go through a day out in the woods with your grand-daddy.

Johnson: Okay. A day in the woods with my grandfather, it was always a happy day. And by me being a little girl and the only child there, I would get- he- he'd tell me- he'd say, "Bundle up." So, I knew what that meant. That meant get your coat, your gloves, your little boots if you had some, and a hood on your head. So he had this uh.. little can. I don't know whether it was some kind of can that they had for him- the kind that they would have cookies in or candy or what. But it was just a tin can, and they would pack biscuit, sausage, uh.. potato- whatever they had, they would pack it in that box. And they had tea-cakes a lot. And they put 'em in this little box, and they would go on off about their- do what he had to do in the woods. And usually when I would go with him was to tally up what they had done during the week, like pickin' up, you know, the crossties, on paper, the- what- what- you know, what a man could get paid. That's what they would do.

Warren: You said that they had tea-cakes.

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: What's a tea-cake?

Johnson: Okay, a tea-cake, you start off with the flour, your egg, your butter, and uh.. nutmeg.

(crew talk)

Warren: Okay, back to the tea-cakes.

Johnson: Okay. So they would uh.. make it up sorta like a biscuit and pat it out. Oh, it would be about- about--. You know what it is- about half the size of this card. They'd put it on a biscuit pan, put it in the oven and let it bake. And you would put it in a jar or a pan or whatever you had to save it in. Uh.. most people they had what they called a safe, to put it in. They'd put it on a plate and put it in that safe and closed the door on them. And whenever a child wanted a piece, they would ask for it and the parents would go and give them a tea-cake. You'd go- you didn't have uh.. sodas to go and get, like we do now. Uh.. your parents gave you that glass of water.

(crew talk)

Johnson: But uhm.. what they would do, they would give you that tea-cake and you'd get your glass of water, and it was the best. And they still are good.

Warren: You say they drank- water was mostly what they drank?

Johnson: Uh-hum.

Warren: Would they take sweet tea with 'em if they could get or anything?

Johnson: No.

Warren: They couldn't get it probably.

Johnson: Okay- what- if you had- if you had something sweet to drink, it would usually be penny drink. The same Kool-Aid that we are gettin' now, and payin' more for it, it came in that pack, and mostly it was grape and orange. And you put your sugar in it, and pump the water on, very cold to the pump, put it in there, stir it up, and you had.. penny drink and a tea-cake.

Warren: So people made their own soft drink.

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: Yes. So a day would start at daybreak- would you all head out?

Johnson: Yes, at daybreak you'd get up and uh.. they'd make a fire in the fireplace. And, again, that pine tree was used for so many things- the shavings that they cut off of that crosstie, it was used to warm and cool. And the- uh.. if you had to stay up there- it if it was cut- during this time of the year, by Christmas, that was a good thing- a piece of wood to put in your fireplace for heating. And most people had a fireplace.

Warren: Now would you all cut your own Christmas tree?

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: Out in the woods- you probably had some wonderful Christmas trees.

Johnson: Yeah, we did.

Keaton: The pine and then probably--.

Johnson: Yeah, the pine, and sometimes the holly. Yeah.

Warren: And the day would go until the sun set, I suppose.

Johnson: Sun up to sun down. And then after- just before sundown, you had the chickens, the hogs, the coyotes, the mules, the oxen. Whatever you had, that's when you'd feed up. You'd get up at daybreak and you'd feed 'em so they could eat and get on out to work. And every once in awhile, my grandfather, he would take the- uh- uhm.. we called it strippin' fodder- the leaves on the corn. You'd put it on, you'd wrap a piece around it, and stick it under and tie it- sort of a tie at the back but you left the big part stickin' out, on it. So what we would do, we'd dry that corn out and put it in the crib, for the team to eat. And uh.. they would take a- maybe a bundle of ______ and corn along with 'em in the woods to feed the team and they would eat- 'cuz they didn't believe in working _____________.

Warren: Did you have brothers and sisters Miss Johnson?

Johnson: Yes, I had uh..

Warren: What was your family composed of?

Johnson: Uh.. I had uh.. one sister and two brothers.

Warren: Now, did they go out on the wagon too?

Johnson: Well--. I was the little girl.

Warren: Or were you just- were you the tom-boy of the family?

Johnson: No. No, what it was, I was the girl that was raised up with my grand-daddy and my grandmother, and the other children, they was with my parents, my mother and father. But we just lived right across the road from each other. We saw each other every day. And they had their own chores to do, just like I did mine.

Warren: And you grew up right here, in East Arcadia?

Johnson: Right.

Warren: Right here in the neighborhood.

Johnson: Right, East Arcadia- always been my home.

Warren: Now speaking of your grandmother, it sounds like she was a pretty big support part of this operation.

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: I mean, she was doing the cooking and putting the lunches together.

Johnson: Right.

Warren: Could you talk about her just a little bit. What was her name?

Johnson: Apparently I was named after my grandmother. Her name was Lena George. Uh.. she would get out in the day and take me- cook and uh.. work in the garden. She would uh.. work me in what we called the sweet potato patch, the butter bean patch. And when they said patches, they meant somethin' like maybe 8 or 10 rows of butter beans, 8 or 10 rows of uh.. corn and different stuff- vegetables and things. Now what they would do, they would gather all this stuff up, and when the time come to put 'em at the back- you've got it at the back, but in the barn, the coal pack- those jars with that- with those butter beans, peas, corn, okra, tomatoes, and put it in the barn, with a teaspoon full of salt to the quart, and fill it up where the water would just come over the base for the neck- uh.. jar. Okay. They'd set it in the barn, and it would stay in there cool, all night. And the next mornin', you'd lift it out and put it up on the bench. It would cool. And you'd tighten the tops up. And that was your--.

Keaton: In the barn?

Johnson: Yes, in the tobacco barn.

Keaton: Now, would you ever use the wood then?

Johnson: Yes, wood barns.

Warren: Did they cut- did he cut all the wood that he used- like the buildings that were on the farm, did he build his own buildings?

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: Did he cut his own wood for those buildings?

Johnson: Yes. Yes, we had a barn uh.. made from poles. It was cypress poles. And they would take- they would dig a hole in the dirt, uh.. to make ______________clay. And they'd take this clay off and put it out there on the pile, and wet it with water, and mix in it until they made a mortar. And you'd take the mortar and you would throw that between the two poles, on that barn. Then you'd go on up with the next pole. And you did that until you got up to the top. When you got to the top, they had to make a way of putting the top on it. And that top, they mostly put shingles up there, that was made from wood. And uh.. they had that furnace there. They had a furnace- they had a brick furnace. And some- some- some- some of 'em had the long grate in there. And you'd put the wood on this grid. You could put a long pole of wood up in there. And you'd fuel that furnace up, and you'd let it go and start a little fire, to start with. Now, uh.. when it got on high heat, that meant getting that stem out. That's when they put the vegetables [ph?] in there.

Keaton: When it got on high.

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: You must have kept a big old pile of wood around.

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: If you didn't have anything else to do, you always could chop wood couldn't you?

Johnson: Yes, you could chop wood. And there was the Moses Blanks now. He had- he would- he would have slabs up there. And I don't doubt he must've been workin'--. Look, where our saw mill was there. I had one but I don't remember that. But I believe he did have one. And what people would do, they would go down with their wagons and they would- wherever they could find the slab set, that was the piece that was cut from the sawmill, off. There would be all different size pieces, and you would cut it in two, and after you got it home, and put it up in that furnace. And that's where you'd get your fire cookin', at the back.

Warren: Any men that your granddad worked with that you remember that were interesting characters, in their own right?

Johnson: Uhm.. Mr. Levi Dixon.

Warren: (laughs)

Johnson: His father worked with my grand-daddy quite.. some time.

Warren: Uh-hum. My father's ___________.

Johnson: I say, your father, Mr. Stuart Dixon?

Warren: Yes, he- she was Dixon.

Johnson: Yeah. Him and his father and my grandfather, they were buddies. They were good buddies, and a good neighbor- yes he was.

Warren: Well it sounds like they were working all the time.

Johnson: They did, they did.

Warren: But did they ever have any recreation, like going to the big city of Wilmington or going out hunting or fishing or anything?

Johnson: They- what hunting I think that people did, back in the day, would mostly be at night. As far as I knew, they would go at night. Every once in awhile they would get a chance to go squirrel huntin', and they would kill some squirrels, and uh.. once in awhile, like if a day- a rainy day came and it was huntin' season and stuff, they would go out and uh.. kill a rabbit- yeah.

Warren: And eat it and--.

Johnson: Yes. Rabbit was a very good source of meat- a different kind of meat from what you would ordinarily have, because what we would ordinarily have was pork, because my grandfather, he would put- he'd grew- he'd grow hogs. He would grow about two hogs, every year. And he'd kill those hogs. And Mr. Isaac Graham, uh.. he worked with him in there uh.. cuttin' uh.. crossties too. He was very good at helpin' kill hogs. And I can remember- don't get too close to the fire- because they had that pot of hot water and a bottle there to skull the hogs, where they could pick the hair off of 'em and get 'em hung up on a long pole and get 'em dressed and whatnot.

Warren: That was around this time of year- a very cool part of the year.

Johnson: They had to do it- you had- you could not do it during warm weather because what they did, they kept their meat hung. They made sausage, they hung it up on a pole in the uh.. snow caps. And the hams and the- they called it the side meat- people call it side meat now- bacon. We called it middlin' because it came from the middle of the hog, from the ribs. And they would hang that. And what they would hang it with was uh.. bear grass. Now that will cut you bad. You don't wanna get cut with bear grass. And they would tie it and hang it on that pole. And they'd try to get a bucket of- uh.. oat chips, and they'd put 'em in a bucket, and then it's startin' to burn, and they'd put something that's little chips on top of it, to smoke that meat, to help that meat after it was taken up from the silo and washed and hang it up. It would help that meat to cure and dry it out. And it- it was very good. You could keep it on and on.

Warren: You all did not travel too much, did you? You pretty much stayed close to home.

Johnson: Right.

Warren: Could you catch a train and go into Wilmington if you wanted to?

Johnson: Yes, once in awhile, my mother and my grandmother, we would go down where they called Atwood- that's below Riegelwood Shopping Center now. They had a place- a little store down there where you could go in and buy shoes and dresses and underclothes and things that- whatever, you know, you wanted- clothing needs would be. You could buy cloth, because my mother, she sewed all the time. She made everything. And uh.. they would go there for shoes mostly. And I would go to Wilmington, once in awhile- yeah.

Warren: That must've been a big treat.

Johnson: It was. It was a very good treat.

Warren: Do you know about turpentining?

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: When you were a little girl, was there any of that going on, left over? Was there anybody still doing any turpentining around here?

Johnson: You know, I cannot really remember. I can only remember what my grand-daddy would tell me about it. And he said that they would cut, into the trees, and that- uh.. they called it raw pine resin, would come out. And that's what they made the turpentine from.

Warren: Right. But you don't- you never saw that in your day.

Johnson: I never saw it, no.

Warren: It was pretty much played out, I think, by the end of the 1940's.

Johnson: The tar pits, where they would get tar from. That was playing out. I don't remember that. But he talked to me so much about it. They would dig this big hole in the ground and he'd tell me all the time. And Mr. Levy, I think he knows probably more about that than I do.

Warren: We'll get into the tar pits and turpentine with Mr. Levy. What was the birth and death dates of your grandfather? Do you--? Or just the years.

Johnson: He was 51 when he died.

Warren: Oh, he was a young man.

Johnson: Uh-hum.

Warren: I mean, I'm sorry to hear that, because I'm only 50. (laughs)

Johnson: And he died in May of '51.

Warren: May of '51.

Keaton: And he was born--?

Warren: Right around the turn of the Century, around 1901, or so. Well that was an early death. He didn't get killed in an accident or anything?

Johnson: No, he got- he was sick.

Warren: Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that.

Keaton: But tell us- and I think this would be good as a ending, to tell us about the last tree cut.

Johnson: Okay.

Warren: Yes, very good.

Johnson: The last pine tree that he cut, I have the saw that cut that tree. And I helped- where I helped him cut that tree from was where we used to grow the hogs, in the pasture. And he never was able to finish the tree. And he just got sick and he- he got- he'd go and sit on tree stumps over there- and just looked- he wasn't able to do it.

Warren: It must have been awfully sad when he passed.

Johnson: It really was. It really was.

Warren: So, let's see, '51, you were 14-years-old.

Johnson: Yeah. I was turning 14 that--.

Warren: So you were very aware of what was going on.

Johnson: Yes, I was turning 14 that coming October. So he was--. And- and I'll tell you what. He was a good man, with- working with children in behavior. He never beat me. He taught me all the time--.

Keaton: You turned out fine.

Johnson: And the first thing- the first time that I really thought that he was gonna whip me--. We would tell time by the train going down. It would go down about five in the evenin'. And he sent me to the house to get the clock. He said, "Baby", he says, "By God, do not turn the hands on my clock", he said, "But you bring it to me." I got the clock and I thought that was the grandest thing in the world, to slip and turn the hands on that clock. When I got the clock to him, he says, "By God, didn't I tell you not to turn the hands on this clock?" And I couldn't say nothing, 'cuz I thought I had fixed the clock back. And he reached in the bush, on the ditch, he was plowin'. He reached in this bush, on the ditch bank, and pulled out a big handful of sweet gum leaves and threw 'em at me.

Keaton: And that was all.

Johnson: That was like beatin' me half to death. That was as close to the scoop as I got from him.

Warren: Is there anything that you'd like to add Miss Johnson? You've been an exceptionally good interviewee. Anything you'd like to say? You were sort of saying that that those were one of the best days of your life.

Johnson: It was some of the very best days of my life. And I would love to tell you uh- uh.. the names of some of the men that he carried with him. Uh.. Joe Johnson was the lead man. He had Floyd Graham, Mr. Stewart Dixon, Mr. Isaac Graham, Mr. Charles Muncey [ph?], and Mr. Zeigler Less, which is my uncle. And I know there was quite a few more, because they would work right here and sometimes they would veer out and go other places. But uhm..

Warren: But those were- all those men were local men too.

Johnson: Yes.

Warren: And they basically were leading the same kind of lifestyle that your grandfather was.

Johnson: Yes. In the work- yes.

Warren: And they farmed and they logged and they did whatever they needed to do to make ends meet.

Johnson: Right. Right, to make ends meet.

Keaton: And of course, one was Mr. Levy's father, she mentioned. So this is a good transition.

Warren: Excellent, excellent.

Keaton: I wanted to talk about one of those men, Mr. Stuart Dixon.

Warren: Okay. Well, thank you so much.

Johnson: You're very welcome.

Warren: We do appreciate it, and please come see us at the motel and the museum farm.

Johnson: And I just loved doing it. And I would love to bring, if uh..- that saw out some time. I couldn't bring it on the bus.

Warren: I would love to get that saw on this video. That would be a nice addition.

Johnson: Oh good, that would--.

Warren: It really would. And I'll come to your house.

Johnson: Oh, okay. She knows where I live.

Warren: You know, the Forestry Museum's mobile. We'll go anywhere where there's a story. (laughs)

Johnson: Okay.

Warren: Thank you Ma'am.

#### End of Tape 1, Lena Johnson ####

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