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Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project: Frontier Nursing Service Project: FNS 151 - FNS 194

This guide will help you locate primary source oral history interviews on the Frontier Nursing Service.

Annotated Guide to the Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project: FNS 151 - FNS 175

If not available online, audio copies and/or transcripts of the interviews in this project are available in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.

 

                 82OH08 FNS 151

                 KATE IRELAND

 Date:        November 1, 1979

 Location:    Wendover, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        55 min.

 Kate Ireland first came to the FNS in 1951 as a junior courier.  Her sister, her mother, and her great-aunt had been associated with the FNS before her, and her grandmother had been a donor.  Ireland's mother became chairman of the Cleveland Committee, and Ireland remembers Mary Breckinridge giving a talk at her home.  After serving as a courier several times in the early 1950s, Ireland was given charge of the couriers in 1961 and became national chairman in 1975.  She comments at length upon what it was like to work for Breckinridge at Wendover.  Ireland tells of Breckinridge's surgery and subsequent chemotherapy and the effects of her illness upon FNS operations.  According to Ireland, many things changed within the FNS upon the death of Breckinridge in 1965 and the advent of Medicare and Medicaid in 1966.  She explains that when donations did not cover expenses, the FNS had to accept funding from the government, a matter of concern to many of the FNS staff.  Ireland indicates that the increasing complexity of treatment for various illnesses led to the Family Nurse Practitioner Program.  She discusses changes in the local area and changes in the food people ate as a result of the Food Stamp Program.  She also comments upon the Board of Governors and the current administration of the FNS.

 

                 82OH09 FNS 152

                 SHERMAN WOOTON

 Date:         November 7, 1979

 Location:    Hurt's Creek, Leslie County, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        2 hrs.

 Sherman Wooton was born on Cutshin Creek in 1910 and grew up in Leslie County with the exception of two years in Ohio.  He remembers stories about Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and how people hid their stock and grain to be able to survive.  Wooton talks about the area schools when he was young and also recalls Hyden in the early days.  From about the age of ten Wooton lived on Mill Branch of Hell-for-Sartin' Creek.  His father was a farmer and landowner and logged part of his land.  Wooton tells of different log runs and explains how the time for each one was calculated.  He also explains the demand for particular trees and the market price at the time he was running logs down the river.  Wooton gives the cash value of various commodities when he was growing up and comments extensively on moonshining.  He also talks about coal camps and explains mining operations.  Some information is given about union strife in the area.  Wooton states that if Leslie County had not known about the Depression, things would have gone on much as they had before.  He recalls publicity about the area in the 1930s and general resentment that certain photographs were not representative.  Wooton remembers Mary Breckinridge's arrival in Leslie County when he was in high school.  He mentions a few early doctors and then comments at length upon the work of the nurse-midwives.

 

                 82OH10 FNS 153

                 MARGARET GAGE

 Date:        November 29, 1979

 Location:    Pacific Palisades, California

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        1 hr. 35 min.

 This interview relates how Mary Breckinridge set up the FNS and reviews the effectiveness of the operation but essentially duplicates the material in FNS 29.

 

                 82OH11 FNS 154

                WILMA DUVALL WHITTLESEY

 Date:        November 30, 1979

 Location:    Tugarg, Oregon

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        1 hr. 10 min.

 Wilma Whittlesey first read of the FNS in the rotogravure section of the Louisville Courier-Journal in 1929.  She answered a secretarial ad and became Mary Breckinridge's secretary from 1929 to 1936.  She calls Breckinridge a renaissance woman and tells of her many accomplishments.  Whittlesey traveled with Breckinridge for speaking engagements and answered much of her correspondence personally.  Mention is made of Breckinridge's correspondence with an English spiritualist and the disposition of the letters.  Whittlesey comments upon federal assistance during the Depression and upon road-building in the area but indicates that the local economy was not dependent upon factors very much influenced by outside events.  After initial local resistance to federal programs, Breckinridge persuaded key individuals of their value.  Whittlesey was at one time part of a team of nurses who conducted a survey in the Ozark Mountains concerning implementation of the FNS in that area.

 

                 82OH12 FNS 155

                 BETTY LESTER

 Date:         July 27, 1978

 Location:    Hyden, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        1 hr.

 Betty Lester discusses her midwifery training in England in the 1920s and describes her journey from London to FNS headquarters at Wendover.  She explains in detail Mary Breckinridge's approach to the mountain people and also tells how the Bullskin Creek Clinic was built with labor and materials contributed by local residents.  Lester begins discussion of the early film The Forgotten Frontier, which detailed the operation of the FNS in Leslie County. 

 

                 82OH13 FNS 156

                 BETTY LESTER

 Date           August 3, 1978

 Location:    Hyden, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        1 hr.

 Betty Lester continues from the previous interview a discussion of the making of the film The Forgotten Frontier.  She comments upon the participation of local residents and the photography of Marvin Breckinridge Patterson.  Also discussed are details of Lester's experience with the FNS over the years, the daily life of an FNS nurse, and assistance to families in need.

 

                  82OH14FNS 157

                 TEMPIE YOUNG

 Date:        September 6, 1978

 Location:    Owl's Nest, Leslie County, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Linda Green

 P.T.:        50 min.

 Tempie Young continues from a previous interview her discussion of life in a coal camp.  Because of the infrequency of mine accidents in the early 1920s, she was not unduly concerned about her husband's safety.  Twelve of her thirteen children were delivered by a self-taught local midwife and one by an FNS nurse.  Young tells of her family making doll furniture to send to England at the request of the nurses. In addition, Young comments upon changes in the FNS in recent times.

 

                 82OH15 FNS 158

                 LYDIA THOMPSON

 Date:        No date

 Location:    Fernham, England

 Interviewer: Carol Crowe-Carraco

 P.T.:        40 min.

 Lydia Thompson was associated with the FNS as a nurse-midwife from 1947 to 1952.  She describes Mary Breckinridge and her attitude toward the mountain people as well as her attitude toward black people.  Thompson indicates that after her own work in the slums of Glasgow [Scotland] the poverty and primitive conditions in Leslie County did not seem extreme.  According to Thompson, most homes were clean and neat; many children, however, were severely afflicted with worms.  Thompson describes prenatal care and visits to patients' homes as a part of her work at the Confluence and Beech Fork centers.

 

                 82OH16 FNS 159

                 ELIZABETH M. BEAR

 Date:        December 13, 1979

 Location:    Lexington, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        50 min.

 Elizabeth Bear was recruited for the FNS in 1971 by Trudy Isaacs in conjunction with an effort to establish a link between the FNS and the University of Kentucky.  One purpose of this interaction was to establish a nurse-midwifery program in Lexington.  Bear discusses the programs available at the FNS and specific details of proposed cooperation between the two institutions.  She explains that the FNS must maintain an affiliation with an academic institution to maintain its accreditation by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.  One such affiliation was established with the U.S. Army in 1973.

 

                 82OH17 FNS 160

                 ROY SIZEMORE

 Date:        No date

 Location:    Hyden, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Susan Schacht

 P.T.:        1 hr. 10 min.

 Roy Sizemore was born at Dryhill in Leslie county.  He gives some information about his grandfather, who was a Union soldier in the Civil War, and also discusses political parties in Leslie County from his boyhood to the present.  Sizemore recalls Hyden when he was young and describes particular buildings, characteristics of the town, and segments of the population.  Traveling salesmen displayed their wares at the hotel, and freight boats were poled up the river to a railroad connection about 1914.  Sizemore's parents ran a hotel for a time, and his father became a deputy sheriff and then a U.S. marshall.  Sizemore worked in the coal mines and then in the local office of the government relief program that dispensed commodities.  He asserts that in the drought years of the early 1930s people were considerably helped by the distributed food.  He also recalls the WPA and the CCC in the area and comments upon the benefits to the county from local construction.  Sizemore was postmaster in Hyden until he retired at the age of seventy.  He subsequently became chairman of his local Red Cross chapter and was appointed to the Hyden Committee of the FNS.  Eventually a trustee, he was also appointed to the Board of Governors.  Sizemore comments upon various FNS employees he has known and upon Mary Breckinridge's efforts to raise money for the organization.

 

                 82OH18 FNS 161

                 LUCILLE KNECHTLEY

 Date:        July 9, 1979

 Location:    Decatur, Ohio

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        1 hr. 15 min.

 Lucille Knechtley joined the FNS during World War II as  a secretary.  She became secretary to Mary Breckinridge and remained with the FNS for fourteen years.  She tells of traveling with Breckinridge and relates a number of her experiences.  When Knechtley finished college, she became a teacher in the Leslie County area.  She remarks upon some local discontent in an FNS matter in the late 1960s and also upon FNS involvement with the Office of Economic Opportunity.  While a teacher, Knechtley encountered the situation of school administrators showing visitors a small school rather than the larger new high school.  She contributes many observations of the local people as she knew them.

 

                 82OH19 FNS 162

                 OLLIE BAKER

 Date:        November 25, 1979

 Location:    Keavy, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.t.:        25 min.

 Ollie Baker was born in 1906 at Big Rock in Leslie County, where she attended a one-room school and completed the eighth grade.  As a child, Baker helped with farm chores and also carded and spun wool.  She first saw Hyden when she was twenty-two, having ridden there on horseback. Baker comments upon how parental discipline has changed over the years.  Her husband worked at logging and then in the coal mines until he was disabled.

 

                 82OH20 FNS 163

                 NORA COLWELL

 Date:        December 2, 1979

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        30 min.

 Nora Colwell was born in Leslie County in 1908 and began school at about the age of nine.  She indicates that when the flu epidemic hit Leslie County in 1918 everyone in her family was affected except one sister.  The family had no income after her father became disabled, so they preserved and sold produce to persons working in the mining camps.  Colwell also discusses a bout with trachoma, which was prevalent during the first part of the century.  Colwell paid the local midwife who delivered her first child four dollars' worth of molasses and chickens.  She credits the FNS with saving her life and the lives of her children in various circumstances.

 

                 82OH21 FNS 164

                 HERBERT COLWELL

 Date:        December 2, 1979

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        55 min.

 Herbert Colwell was born in Perry County in 1905 and lived  for a time on Grassy Branch in Leslie County.  At the age of sixteen of seventeen he went to work in the coal mines.  Colwell gives details of mining and logging in the early part of the century.  He indicates that people could sell cattle, chickens, eggs, goose feathers, beeswax, ginseng, other wild roots, and anything else they had, to get money for such items as shoes.  Colwell also asserts that during this period a man's word would be taken for truth and that people paid what they owed.  As part of a WPA program, Colwell worked as a stonemason, building culverts.  His family made use of food distributed as relief, although reluctantly.  Colwell believes that if the Depression were to happen again, many people would starve or turn to crime because they would not know how to manage.  People in his area had their own milk, butter, and molasses.  They ate well and dressed warmly, and they made their own chairs, baskets, sleds, plow handles, and "almost everything else they had to have."  When the FNS came to the area, his family came to depend upon the nurses, and he praises the services they provided.

 

                 82OH22 FNS 165

                 JUNE WELLS

 Date:        December 26, 1979

 Location:    Keavy Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        35 min.

 June Wells grew up in Leslie County and, after attending her father's one-room school, went on to complete high school.  She remembers the building of the FNS center on Flat Creek, known as the Butler-Atwood Clinic.  She describes the services provided by the FNS nurses, who delivered her first three children.  Wells also comments upon some social customs of the area. 

 

                 82OH23 FNS 166

                 HENRY LEWIS

 Date:        January 6, 1980

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        1 hr. 20 min.

 Henry Lewis was born at Cowhead in Leslie County in 1905 and attended school through the third grade before leaving to work on the family farm.  In 1918 he began his first coal mining job.  He discusses his mining career up to his retirement in 1960.  Lewis contributes many observations of life in eastern Kentucky during the first half of the twentieth century, including road building, violence and the criminal justice system, early physicians and dental practitioners, "granny women" and herb doctors and the gathering of roots and herbs for medicinal purposes.    

 

                 82OH24 FNS 167

                 FANNIE HUFF

 Date:        March 16, 1980

 Location:    Keavy, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        25 min.

 Fannie Huff was born at Dryhill in 1911.  She describes her childhood, when her father farmed and logged for a living.  Huff also tells of her later life in the coal camps.  Five of her fourteen children were delivered by FNS nurses, and Huff compares their services to those of local midwives or "granny women."

 

                  82OH25 FNS 168

                 JAMES YOUNG

 Date:        January 27, 1980

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        35 min.

 James Young was born on Wooton's Creek in Leslie County  in 1907.  After attending Wooton School through the ninth grade, he began his life work as a coal miner.  Young discusses his childhood and young adulthood in the community of Wooton and talks about its country stores, churches, and social activities.  He comments upon changes in his lifetime, including the first car he encountered, the first telephone, the first radio, and the development of roads.  While Young recalls the establishment of the FNS, he never had any direct contact with FNS personnel.

 

                 82OH26 FNS 169

                 LAURA BEGLEY

 Date:        June 1, 1980

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:         25 min.

 Laura Begley was born at Wooton and attended her one-room school through the sixth grade, at which point she left school to take care of her mother, who was ill.  Begley's uncle was Garrett Begley, an herb doctor who practiced in the area.  After she was married, her family visited the FNS nurses at the Confluence Center.  Some of her children were delivered by "granny women' and the later ones by the FNS.  Begley also talks about moving from Dryhill to Hyden in a boat due to flood tides.  She first saw Hyden at the age of eighteen and first visited a neighboring county at the age of twenty.

 

                 82OH27 FNS 170

                 DON SPARKMAN

 Date:          June 1, 1980

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        1 hr. 20 min.

 Don Sparkman was born at Hyden in 1907.  His father taught school, became sheriff, and then worked in the coal mines.  Sparkman recalls Hyden before Prohibition and describes whiskey being taken home from the saloon in a bucket and medicine being dispensed from large jars in the drugstore.  He also recalls other early businesses in Hyden and various personalities.  The roads into Hyden were paths or trails, and the mail came in by wagon from Hazard six days a week. Sparkman witnessed the Morgan-Colwell shoot-out in downtown Hyden in which two people were killed. The informant also recalls several black families living in Hyden when he was young.  As a boy Sparkman saw people drink out of the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River. He recalls freight boats being poled downriver and poplar logs wider than a man standing up could reach.  Sparkman deplores the waste and loss of natural resources.  He also talks briefly about Mary Breckinridge coming to the area and some initial distrust that disappeared after she helped her first patient.  Social and recreational activities are also discussed.

 

                 82OH28 FNS 171

                 MYRTLE MORGAN

 Date:        May 14, 1980

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        50 min.

 Myrtle Morgan was born in 1890 in a two-story log house on her father's farm, near Hyden.  As a child, Morgan went to Hyden Academy, and she recalls seeing that building burn when her children were small.  Her father farmed, logged, and hauled goods in his wagon from London to Hyden for the Eversoles' store.  Morgan's husband had a store in Hyden, but it burned in a fire that destroyed the post office and other buildings.  She recalls the first courthouse, a two-story wooden building on the same site as the modern structure.  For a time Morgan taught school in Leslie County.  She contributes many reflections upon life in the local area in the early part of the century.  

 

                82OH29 FNS 172

MINNIE STIDHAM

Date:        May 5, 1980

                Location:    Keavy, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Unknown

 P.T.:        55 min.

 Minnie Stidham was born in Leslie County at Daley in 1910. Her family took produce from the farm twelve miles on horseback to sell in the mining camps in order to have money for necessities, and her mother spun wool from her own sheep. Her father sold baskets and ax handles that he made during the winter. Stidham gathered serviceberries and birchsap and states that the rivers and streams were heavily fished. She also talks about the grain mill, the sawmill, and the blacksmith's shop. When she was young, her father told Bible stories to the family in the evening, and neighbors visited for bean stringings or for dinner and reading aloud. Stidham discusses graveyard services, revival meetings, courting, a mountain marriage, and "chivarees"after weddings. Women would take gingerbread and cakes to town on election day, and if the candidates did not buy their goods, they would not vote. Stidham never saw Mary Breckinridge but recalls when she came to Leslie County. Nearly all of Stidham's ten children were delivered by "granny" midwives, her only experience with the FNS being one hospital examination. She and her husband eventually moved to Laurel County so that their sons could farm instead of having to work in the mines. Stidham concludes with mention of some happenings she attributes to ghosts or "haints."

 

                 82OH30 FNS 173

                 EDITH COLLETT

 Date:        April 20, 1980

 Location:    Keavy, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        20 min.

 Edith Collett grew up in Leslie County on Rockhouse Creek where her father worked in a sawmill. She indicates that FNS nurses delivered all of her children, some at home and some at the FNS hospital. She discusses particular doctors and nurses and helpful FNS services.

 

                 82OH31 FNS 174

                 MARY PENNINGTON

 Date:        April 15, 1980

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        25 min.

 Mary Pennington, one of eleven children, was born in Laurel County in 1904. Her family came to Leslie County in 1908 to join her brothers already living there. She describes Hyden in the early days as a violent place and indicates that sometimes two or three people would be murdered at one time. Pennington completed the eighth grade and married when she left school. Her husband worked in the mines at Manchester besides farming intensively and worked on the railroad while they were living for a time at Viper. Pennington's family owned the first battery radio in the area and also an Edison record player. Times were difficult during the Great Depression, since her husband was unemployed, but they had their own hogs to butcher and two milk cows, as well as horses and mules. She relates that people could not buy meat, so it was necessary for people to raise their own. Pennington recalls Mary Breckinridge coming to the area, but her family did not use FNS services; her babies were delivered by local doctors.

 

                 82OH32 FNS 175

                 ELISHA SHEPHERD 

 Date:        June 8, 1980

 Location:    Keavy, Kentucky

 Interviewer:   Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        1 hr. 20 min.

 Elisha Shepherd was born in Hazard, Kentucky in 1919 and moved to Leslie County in 1931. He talks about the difficulty of providing such things as shoes in a large family. At the age of twelve, Shepherd plowed the farm, tending corn, potatoes, garden vegetables, and cane. After the family moved to Thousandsticks, Shepherd helped to sell vegetables they raised in order to buy staples. He talks about "workings" of various kinds with square dancing after-ward. He also comments upon the 1927 flood, relief during the Great Depression, and rationing during World War II. As a young man, Shepherd helped his father and his grand-father work on the county roads. He describes his later work in the mines and gives details of mining operations. Shepherd recalls a period of violence when the United Mine Workers Union was being organized in the area, and he also remembers people being murdered during elections, including "school elections." Shepherd comments upon "granny women," herb doctors, and persons who sold herbs in the area. He tells of the FNS coming to Leslie County and indicates that the nurses delivered two of his children. He praises FNS services, reasonable fees, and various personnel.

Annotated Guide to the Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project: FNS 176 - FNS 194

If not available online, audio copies and/or transcripts of the interviews in this project are available in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.

 

                 82OH33 FNS 176

                 DIANE WILSON

 Date:          July 22, 1980

 Location:    Hyden, Kentucky

 Interviewers:  Anne Standley and Rachel Buff

 P.T.:        1 hr.

 Diane Wilson discusses the involvement of the FNS in home health work. Beginning in 1966 a nurse was stationed at each FNS outpost center specifically to take care of home health patients. In 1975 home health was centralized at the hospital to facilitate Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and Wilson cites the opposition of district nurses to this move. She explains the necessity for visits in the home to clarify medical instructions that might be confusing to the patient. She feels that FNS nurses have gotten away from teaching and preventive care. Wilson tells of a 1966 law that limited home health visits to a specific patient with a specific complaint; the traditional FNS practice was to examine the whole family. She also discusses the implications of a long illness for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

                  82OH34 FNS 177

                 MARY STEWART

 Date:          January 15, 1980

 Location:    Cincinnati, Ohio

 Interviewer: Marian Barrett

 P.T.:        1 hr.

Mary Stewart's grandmother was a friend of Mary Breckinridge, and Stewart had volunteered to be an FNS courier in the early 1940s. She tells of the eventful jeep ride from Hyden to Wendover and of being met personally by Mary Breckinridge. Stewart talks about Breckinridge's experience in England and Scotland as preparation for establishing the FNS in Kentucky. She also comments upon the close relationship between the FNS and Children's Hospital in Cincinnati. She had much to say about Breckinridge personally and recalls one conversation in which they discussed the death of one's child or children. Stewart sums up Breckinridge with the phrase "a meeting of a lot of coincidences in one human being." She also comments upon Appalachian people who have moved to Cincinnati and the lack of understanding of their needs.

                  82OH36 FNS 179

                 TREON CHRISTINE

 Date:        January 19, 1980

 Location:    Cincinnati, Ohio

 Interviewer: Nancy Albertson

 P.T.:        45 min.

Treon Christine served as a courier at Wendover for six weeks in the mid-1950s. She indicates that she was actively discouraged from dating men in the Hyden or Harlan area because it was felt that the couriers would be unwelcome competition for the local women. Christine talks about her duties as a courier and also discusses the social and psychological aspects of being on one's own as an FNS nurse. She describes going on rounds and indicates the condition of the cabins in the community. She comments upon the local people who worked at Wendover and also upon Mary Breckinridge as an administrator. Another topic discussed is the change in funding from essentially private donations to government financing. Following Christine's experience at the FNS, she worked at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati and thus frequently saw children from the FNS area, as well as Betty Lester. Christine distinguishes between rural poverty and Cincinnati's depressed areas.

                  82OH37 FNS 180

                 THRUSTON B. MORTON

 Date:        October 24, 1978

 Location:    Louisville, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Carol Crowe-Carraco

 P.T.:        40 min.

Thruston Morton's grandmother, Sunshine Harris Ballard, was very interested in the FNS and knew Mary Breckinridge. His grandparents contributed funds to help establish the organization. After the death of Morton's mother in 1927, his grandmother funded a wing in the Hyden hospital that was completed and dedicated in 1928. To attend the ceremony, a party of about twenty took the train to Hazard and went the rest of the way by buckboard or horses and mules. Morton lived with his grandparents in Louisville, and on occasion Mary Breckinridge would come to visit. He served as a trustee for the FNS for a time after the death of his grandmother but was never able to be very active. He gives a short history of his family and also describes his grand-mother's philanthropy. At one time the national chairperson of the FNS, Sunshine Ballard, died in 1938. Morton speaks of his grandmother's tragedy in losing three children and that of Mary Breckinridge in losing both of hers as the probable factor that drew the two women together. Morton advised Breckinridge even after he went to Congress. He characterizes her as one who wished to preserve the simplicity of the region.

                 82OH38 FNS 181

                 NELLIE ASHER

 Date:        August 27, 1980

 Location:    Hyden, Kentucky

 Interviewers: Dale Deaton and Betty Lester

 P.T.:        30 min.

The FNS delivered Nellie Asher's first child in 1925. She asserts that in the beginning the local people would not use the nurses because of a rumor that they killed babies. Asher indicates that all of the medicine that her family needed was provided by the FNS. She also remembers one nurse who nearly drowned trying to ford the river at flood stage. Asher's father logged for a living, and she recalls some local businesses in Hyden before World War II. Asher never met Mary Breckinridge but saw her on occasion. Breckinridge was fond of Asher's son and would see that he had a special gift at Christmas. Asher worked at Hyden hospital in the late 1930s in the kitchen and the laundry. She comments that the time she spent there now seems to have been in another century.

 

                 82OH39 FNS 182

                 BETH BURCHENAL JONES

 Date:        No date

 Location:    Unknown

 Interviewer: Marian Barrett

 P.T.:        1 hr.

Beth Jones became acquainted with the FNS through her aunt, Margaret Rogan, who was a friend of Mary Breckinridge, and her cousin, who was an early courier. Jones had planned to go to Wendover as a courier for six months and stayed two years. She describes home visits with the nurses to deliver babies and indicates that the local women did not want medication for pain. The stoic character of these women seemed to Jones at variance with the attitudes of women who had babies at the hospital. Jones discusses family structure in the mountains and differentiates it from the social structure of families that had moved away, had been influenced by urban environments, and had tried to move back. Jones comments upon the mountain philosophy of justice and of education. She cites various misconceptions of the local people resulting from stories developed by journalists. Moonshine was also discussed, as well as the fact that Hyden was "dry" while Hazard was "wet."

                 82OH40 FNS 183

                 NANCY DAMMAN

 Date:        No date

 Location:    Unknown

 Interviewer: Dale Deaton

 P.T.:        50 min.

Nancy Damman first came to the FNS in 1941 as a courier after college and eventually returned to settle in Leslie County. She compares the couriers in her group to more recent groups that have been able to interact more with the mountain people. Damman eventually went overseas with AIDand worked on family planning. The FNS rehired Damman in 1973 to help with development, but she also assisted with grant writing, public relations, and health education. Damman opened the first bookstore in Leslie County in 1976. She talks about the help and encouragement she received from other merchants in Hyden and also the positive response from local residents. Besides her trade in second-hand books, Damman attributes a fair amount of her success to the fact that her store was a warm, friendly place that served coffee, as opposed to the rather formal library next door. She comments upon a number of local issues within the FNS. Damman also indicates that she was threatened as a result of her opposition to Richard Nixon's dedication of the local youth center in 1979.

                 82OH142 FNS 184

                 ADA COMBS

 Date:        No date

 Location:    Unknown

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:         45 min.

Ada Combs was born in 1905 and grew up on Bear Branch of Poll's Creek in Leslie County. She tells about her windowless one-room school and of wading through the creek to reach it. She recalls farm chores and neighborhood activities such as stir-offs, bean-stringings, and gatherings to play music. She picked duck and goose feathers, made soap, and helped her aunt make maple sugar. Her family pickled beans, made sauerkraut, and sulfured apples as well. Combs especially remembers her grandmother's first cookstove because prior to that time cakes and pies were not made in her home. Combs recalls the flu epidemic of 1918 and comments upon herb doctors and "granny women." She indicates that she was twenty-one when she first visited Hyden. Combs married and left Leslie County before the advent of the FNS.

                 82OH143 FNS 185

                 PAUL FINLEY and ELIZABETH FINLEY

 Date:        July 15, 1979

 Location:    London, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:          1 hr. 15 min.

Paul Finley was born in Clay County in 1925. He had very few toys as a child and cherished the little sailor toy out of a box of Crackerjack bought for him by his father. Finley attended a one-room school through the sixth or seventh grade and then began helping his father quarry rock and build houses. He drove a school bus and carried the mail from Hazard until going into the Army. After World War II he went to work hauling coal in Perry County; at that time coal was hauled out of the mines with ponies. Finley tells of many aspects of life in Leslie County over the years and also of practices such as foot washing in the local churches. Finley also gives information on the Brock-Colwell feud. FNS nurses delivered Finley's youngest sister and his own children. Elizabeth Finley was born in 1930 and describes the care her family received from the FNS. She later worked for the organization at the hospital as a cook and in other capacities, according to what was needed.

                 82OH144 FNS 186

                 BERTHA HOWARD

 Date:        July 26, 1979

 Location:    Keavy, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:         45 min.

Bertha Howard was born in 1901 and came to Kentucky in 1916. She then attended Pine Mountain Settlement School where students worked for their board and tuition. When she left the school after two years, she took a factory job in Knoxville. Howard remembers various activities in her community as she was growing to adulthood in Leslie County. She talks about bad roads and the lack of electricity and telephones. Howard also tells of people seeing an airplane for the first time before ever hearing of one. Preserving food at home and making soap are discussed, as well as various home remedies. "Granny women" delivered Howard's babies before the FNS came into the area, and she notes the differences between their services and those of the nurse-midwives. Howard also mentions the difficulty of convincing the local people to accept modern medical practices.

                 82OH145 FNS 187

                 GODFREY SHELL and STELLA SHELL

 Date:        August 26, 1979

 Location:    Rockhole, Leslie County, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        30 min.

Godfrey Shell was born at Chappell in Leslie County in 1927. He and Stella Shell talk about their school and life in the county when they were young, including home remedies for a number of complaints. Both informants tell of music played at home and of socializing after "workings." Mountain funerals and local preachers are also discussed. After leaving school, Godfrey Shell worked at farming and in the coal mines. His family got along well during the Great Depression because they raised and canned their own food. Stella Shell adds that plenty of wild meat was also available. Godfrey Shell's experience as a soldier during World War II is mentioned, and he concludes by contrasting values when he was young with those of the present time.

                 82OH146 FNS 188

                 OPHA SHELL

 Date:        August 26, 1979

 Location:    Rockhole, Leslie County, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        5 min.

Opha Shell recalls the FNS nurses having delivered two of her brothers and sisters at home. The last child was delivered at the hospital for a fee of seven dollars. Shell remembers her mother's extended stay at the FNS hospital for a heart ailment and that the cost of that care was one dollar per day.

                  82OH147 FNS 189

                  STELLA SHELL

 Date:        August 26, 1979

 Location:    Rockhole, Leslie County, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        45 min.

Stella Shell was born at Whiteoak in Leslie County in 1903. She walked three and a half miles to her one-room log school where the students sat on hewed planks. She recalls her husband's grandfather, John Shell, who was reputed to have lived to a very great age. Shell tells of socializing after "workings" and mentions Friday evening debates and spelling matches. Occasionally all-day funerals were held for a number of persons who had died years before and had not had a funeral at the time. Shell's father was a stonemason who also wove baskets to sell. He made herb teas and home remedies as well, and Shell's mother was a "granny" midwife. Her family also received medical attention from the Pine Mountain Settlement School, since they lived on the edge of Harlan. Shell and her husband left Leslie County in 1944.

 

                 82OH148 FNS 190

                 RUFUS SHEPHERD

 Date:         No date

 Location:    Unknown

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        30 min.

Rufus Shepherd was born in 1932 and gives details of life in the mountains when he was young. He refers to the practices of a number of local churches and characterizes weddings and funerals. Shepherd recalls the first cars in the area having to be driven up creek beds after rocks had been thrown in the holes. He describes the work of the local blacksmith and tells how the miller captured water from the creek to turn his wheel. Shepherd also relates that during the Depression some families had nothing but what they could borrow from neighbors who did have some supplies. He tells of being bitten by copperheads twice and explains the remedy his family used.

                  82OH149 FNS 191

                 JUDER STIDHAM

 Date:        June 3, 1979

 Location:    Corbin, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        1 hr.

Juder Stidham was born in Leslie County in 1909. He attended Hyden Grade School, Leslie County High School, Lees Junior College and Union College. When he was not in school, Stidham worked on the family farm. He tells of preserving food for the winter, particularly of making sauerkraut and sulfuring apples. His family dug a hole to store cabbage all winter, and they also made maple syrup. During sorghum-making, candy parties would be held, and the young people would pull the thickened molasses until it turned brittle. His family also hunted ginseng for the income. Stidham describes graveyard services that lasted all day and baptizings in the river. He recalls the first battery-powered radio in the area and indicates that two older men were convinced that someone was trying to trick them. After two years of college, Stidham began to teach school locally. Because of the Great Depression, some students had no books or supplies at all. Stidham describes the different kinds of government relief and job programs to help families in need.

                  82OH150 FNS 192

                  JARVIS TAYLOR

 Date:        July 22, 1979

 Location:    Keavy, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Sadie Stidham

 P.T.:        40 min.

Jarvis Taylor was born in Bell County in 1909, and his family moved to Phillips' Fork in Leslie County in 1927. According to Taylor, times were hard when he was young, and nearly all his family had to eat was cornbread. He recalls making featherbeds and homemade soap, and he talks about canning and preserving before glass jars were available. Taylor relates that people were prepared for burial within a day and buried in poplar coffins. He indicates that his little sister accidentally shot and killed a playmate when she was small and after being prosecuted in Hyden was sent to a house of correction for ten years. Taylor recalls "granny women" in his area and also a man who delivered babies. Taylor first saw Hyden when he was seventeen and had ridden a mule thirty-two miles to reach the town. He never used the services of the FNS but recalls seeing Mary Breckinridge at the center on Greasy Creek.

 

                 83OH40 FNS 193

                 EDNA ROCKSTROH

 

 Date:        September 22, 1977

 Location:    Santa Cruz, California

 Interviewer: Betty Lester

 P.T.:        30 min.

 

Edna Rockstroh first met Mary Breckinridge during the relief effort in France after World War I. During her midwifery training in London she was informed of Breckinridge's plans for what later became the FNS. Rockstroh tells of her trip from Lexington to the railroad station at Krypton and then the twenty-mile ride on horse-back to a mission at Wooton. The nurses took a survey of the local people and indicated what they hoped to do if they were accepted. Rockstroh traces their progress from one location to another, including the building of a small clinic. She describes the services provided and recalls her experiences with the mountain people. Also recounted are such activities as the weekly "trade day," when the local people would bring in eggs, chickens, and corn to trade for clothes, shoes, and toys sent down from New York. Rockstroh remained with the FNS until 1927, when chronic bronchitis caused her to leave the organization and relocate in California. She recalls hookworms and tuberculosis as the most serious health problems in the Leslie County area.

 

                 86OH106 FNS 194

 PRIMOSE BOWLING

 

 Date:        December 10, 1985

 Location:    Somerset, Kentucky

 Interviewer: Charles Bowling

 P.T.:        45 min.

 Primrose Bowling was born in England in 1928. In 1952 she came to the FNS as a registered nurse-midwife to instruct nurses in midwifery. Bowling describes Hyden as she found it upon her arrival. She also discusses misconceptions about England and the prevalence of fatalism among the local people she was trying to help. Bowling specifies the FNS policy of non-interference in a family's decision about medical treatment. She comments upon local feuding over moonshine stills and mentions the many gunshot wounds. Bowling married a local man, Bobby Bowling, in a wedding given by Mary Breckinridge at Wendover. After her marriage, Bowling worked in public health capacities in Clay, Pulaski, Wayne, Penton, and Perry Counties and also became a U.S. citizen. Much of her public health work has involved supervision of "granny" midwives.

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