Transcribed by Ron Evans from a home video made by John and Penny Evans
Setting: Oscar’s House before the trip.
When my mother died, I thought it would be a good time to go away for a while. I went to Detroit and worked for Ford Motor Company. I worked up to about Christmas, and came back and entered school.
One of the nicest teachers I had ever known, unless it had been Jeanette, was Miss Wanita Bradley. She told me that “If you’d like to, I’d be happy to work with you at night and let you catch up with your grade”. I think that’s mighty nice of you. We’ll just do that. She helped for about 3 or 4 weeks. I wasn’t to fast at getting it, I reckon.
I had an awful good friend in the 4th grade when I was up at Anderson County. We liked the 4th grade, and hung together there. Andy Cody Bell, I just wonder if he’s still living?
What I had to do there, I had to go from the 4th grade to the 8th grade when I got over to Powell. We just had 3 or 4 things at school, then; reading, writing and arithmetic … and a little English. We didn’t like it much anyway, they just talked the way they wanted to.
In 1976, they had something at the school, I don’t remember what it was, but they had speakers. Shirley told me that I should go make a few speeches. I went to the high school first, and I must have done pretty good. About noon, Joyce Ann came to me and told me that “there was a crowd more that wants you to make another talk after wer eat”. I must have done pretty well then.
What I noticed mostly was 3 or 4 boys sitting over there when I said that we had only 3 months to the [school] year. They said “boy, wasn’t that good”. That might have been good, but it sure didn’t get much education.
The only thing that I remember was on Friday we had a spelling. I got where I never missed a word in that “Red-Backed Speller”.
I might have been a little low on my English. I didn’t start good on it. Sometimes I thought I might have used words that I shouldn’t.
I got through [the 4th grade at Anderson County] and when I came to Powell, I went into the 8th grade. They didn’t have any high schools in Anderson County, maybe Clinton, but they had 2 years, I believe at Andersonville.
Daddy thought we ought to have a little more education that the 4th grade, so we moved over to Powell.
We went to Powell, and entered school there. It was wonderful, I don’t see how we made it. We walked about 3 mile every day, rain or shine. We did get a little more education by walking. That’s where I met my sweetheart. We walked together to school for 4 years.
Anton Walczyk, Ethel Evans Walczyk and Oscar Evans.
Setting: South Dark Hollow Road in Anderson/Union County TN.
This is part of our property. It’s grown up so much though, It doesn’t look like the same place, all the trees and everything. We used to pick berries way on top the hill and we could look over in Andersonville and see them working over there in the garden.
We had one horse that we couldn’t handle. She would just break her neck and we couldn’t . We made her a team, and she would drag the other horse. She was just wild and we never did get her straightened out. My daddy paid his taxes by working on the road. There was a colored fellow there with him and he said that he would ride her. He rode her about a mile or two and wouldn’t let her slow down enough to do anything. My daddy thought that he would break her. About the second field from here, the middle field. he started to ride her and she turned and started over the hill and threw him about 30 or 40 feet. We thought that it had killed him but he was a little bit tough. He was meaner than the horse, I think.My daddy drove a Hack, (that’s what we called it), he hauled some of the children over to Melbourne School. He’d take us to the top of the ridge, and we’d walk down the ridge on the other side to the school. He was driving the horse that day, she jerked and the turned the wagon over and broke the horse’s neck. That was, I guess the best thing that could happen to her, she was going to kill anybody that made her do anything.When we moved to Powell, we had 5 horses. We didn’t need them too bad there and got rid of them. We had one named “Belle”, that was a beautiful horse. She was just so quiet that anyone could ride and go anywhere they want to on her. We had one mule. We worked Belle and the mule together. They worked good in plowing. They’d rather back up than go forward anyway. They made a pretty good team for that. We tended about half of this valley. We had a big spring behind the house.
I had to carry the water in most of the time.
No, you just thought you did.
Our daddy’s name was Joseph Franklin Evans and our mother’s name was Minnie Catherine Humphrey. She had eight children; Flossie, my sister was oldest, Olen was second, Oscar third, me fourth, Creed fifth, Moss sixth, Mable seventh and Woodrow eighth.
There was eight of us children. My oldest sister was born on Christmas and I was born on Easter. Those were the only times that my daddy was off from work. We had a wonderful life here.
My mother was as sweet a Christian as you can find. I would go into the kitchen and hear her whispering. I’d ask her who she was talking to. She would say “I was just praying, son”. I think she was the biggest reason that I thought about the Lord so early. I’ve been a Christian 78 years and the Lord’s been awful good to me. I’ve never been sick very much in my life. We went to church at Byram’s Fork Baptist Church. That’s where we would walk to [church], it was about a mile I guess. When we had revival, daddy would drive the hack and we would get to ride. I went upon the mourner’s bench. Some of you might not know what that is. We haven’t heard much about it lately. Every time we had a revival, I would just go up there when we came in. One night, I said “Lord, I don’t what to do”. That very moment he touched my heart and I’ve had joy for the last 78 years. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me in this world.
Our house had an “L” shape on the back of it and another straight porch. Along the front was a big porch all the way across the front with steps on each end. My mother and daddy, after supper, would sit out on the porch and talk, pray or just rest. My sister and I would be in the house and wash dishes. It was a wonderful place to live. We loved it here.
In the winter time, did you all have lots of quilts and things like that to keep warm?
Yes, we had to. There were crack in the floor. You didn’t have it sealed like you have houses now. We had fireplaces, and in the kitchen we had a stove where we cooked and canned.
My mother canned a lot and my daddy raised wheat and corn and we had our own meal and flower. He’d take them up here to Loyston and have them ground. We just lived in the country. It was real good.
The house was two story, well, about a story and a half, I guess. We had rooms upstairs, and the boys lived up there. When we moved in, there was an old knitting mill up there. We would play on that.
There was some grape vines toward the spring up there. The hollow down in there is deep. Some of the boys cut the grape vine off. We would take hold and swing way over there. My mother had it cut off cause she was afraid that we were going to fall off there and get killed.
Setting : In front of Dick Irick’s house
Oscar and Ethel say that this is Dick Irick’s house and he was kin to their mother. This is just before we get to Ivory Bluff School and about 2 miles from where their house was.
Back in here is where George Loy’s store was when we used to come to Ivory Bluff School over the hill here. We could see people come into the store here.
Is this where your mother sold eggs?
No she sold them out toward Byram’s Fork Church [at] Albert Weaver’s store. We’d walk and go to that store all the time. Wasn’t any other way to go unless we went in a buggy or hack.
We walked every day, 2 miles from our old home place every day for 3 months. I remember a lot of things about [school]. There was one boy there, we were neither one too smart, but we liked each other. Andy Cody Bell, do you remember him, Ethel? He lived up here in the [dark] holler. We had spelling every Friday. I remembered well enough, that I could spell every word in that spelling book. We didn’t have any English. You can tell after you talk to me for a little while. Readin’ writin’ and ‘rithmetic. There was a time, not now, when I could write as good as anybody. I got a prize for writing the best sales order at McClung’s. Now, if my arm didn’t shake so much, I could still sign my name where you could read it.
Our daddy was how old [when he died], Oscar ?
He was too old. He was 93. I could live that long if I lived like him. Jeanette asked him how he’s living so long. I said he never did a days work in his life. He said “Son, I’ve been a hard working man all my life” tears were almost coming in his eyes. I said “Well, excuse me for saying that, then. I didn’t remember you doing anything.”
When I went to Ivory Bluff, my teacher was Sam Wright. He was kin to my mother. He would take me up in his lap and let me read to him and he’d help me. At other times we’d stand upon the stage and he’d have it written on the board. He’d point it out and we would read it to him. That’s the way I learned to read.
Setting Mount Olive Church
This is Mount Olive Church. Oscar and Flossie and Olen could come here, but I was to little to come. They wouldn’t let me come.
I remember church more by the fact when we would get out of school and get to come down when it was revival. We would always stop and get a bucket of water for the children. One day I came down to church and Willie Loy had been working somewhere and came back home. I found his wallet and it had a lot of money in it. I don’t know how much, I could only count to 15 then. I asked him if he lost his pocketbook. He said yes he did. I guess you could say that I was pretty honest man just hand it over to him being 12 or 13 and didn’t know any better.
You did what you were supposed to do.
I enjoyed the preaching, they had pretty good services. I always would get in on that shouting.
I used to go to church with Jeanette all of the time. Back then people got awfully happy when they shouted when the preacher would say something or when they would go to find somebody lost. They would get a few out there . Somebody would say “come on out there, trust the lord”, someone else would say “hold on there”, I would put out that love shout that I liked.
I went to school with Jeanette for 4 years. After we got out, it was 3 years before we got married. I never will forget, I was a Baptist, a hand-shaking Baptist was what they called it. So, one night we went up to Mount Herman, to church., there was a revival. We came back [home], why, I always shook hands with her when I started to leave. I started to reached out to shake her hand , and she grabbed me and hugged me and kissed me and said, “I’m getting tired of shaking hands”. I said, “Well, that’s it, I have to marry her now.”
Setting Byron Fork Baptist Church:
This is the church that we came to when we were kids, My mother and father saw to it that we came to Sunday school and church every Sunday. We always had a penny to put in the plate. We thought it was a lot of money.
They would come preaching about once a month. They would come on Saturday evening and stay at our place, maybe other places too. I liked the preacher and I liked the way they preached. Some of them couldn’t read or write, so somebody would read the bible for them, but they preached the bible fine. It had a lot of meaning. They told you what you had to do, and they would tell it several times over before they got through with the service.
I remember the night that I was saved. Estelle Weaver was singing, I can hear her voice just as clear now as ever ” Let the Heavenly Light Shine on Me”, and it was too. Every since then, the Heavenly Light has been shining on me.
You can see in the distance Bennet Hale’s house. My Mother lived with his brother Amos Hale and his family before she and my Daddy got married. Her Mother died and her Father had married again and she didn’t like to stay at home.
Setting: Glenwood Cemetery in Knox County
This is the Glenwood cemetery here in Powell. Here is the head stone for Joe and Minnie who is mother to Oscar, Ethel and Moss. There’s Effie his second wife. And here is the tombstone for Mabel one of their sisters.
My mother was a sweet loving christian as I ever knew in my life. She prayed almost continually. She had 8 children and that was enough to cause somebody to pray a lot. She probably did some things wrong. The only time I should have had a whippin’, she came between me and my daddy and said “No you ain’t touching him”. I always thought it was wrong, that I didn’t get punished. My dad was the principle of our school. Me and 2 boys took off from school and went a fishing. They said that some big fish washed up on the ground and we’ll get a lot of fish. So I went down there and stayed 3 or 4 hours. I came back home and told my mother where I’d been and she said “well, go on to school”. Before I got to school, it had let out and I met him coming home. I knew that daddy would want to know where I was. I told him that I already told my Mother. The only thing that she said was “you don’t have to whip him, he never did anything wrong”. I’m sorry for that, I realize now I was wrong.
My daddy was quite a different character. He was probably the one of biggest idea that we need to get an education. We couldn’t get an education up in Anderson Co., so we moved down to Powell about 1920 … 1921. Anyway, he thought the only way to get one was just to move out from the country up there. So we all went through high school.
Me and my wife had a wonderful life together. I don’t think there’s anything I’d change back then. We had a hard life in that part of the country, we never really had any money or knew what really nice clothes was, just a pair of overalls most time barefooted in the summer. So that’s all I have to say about it. I guess I could talk a long time about my Mother … and begin to get to tell about the good things I know about her. God Bless her, she made me want to know the lord.