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Transcriber’s Notes: Words or phrases in found brackets represent unclear or unintelligible portions of the recording. Brackets are also used to provide the reader with helpful background information about the recording. Underlined text within the transcription represents more than one person speaking at the same time.

Interviewer: 4th generation lady native of Fleming County and her name is Mary M.Bailey. Mary where did your people come from besides being four generations here in Kentucky?

M.Bailey: Well, they originally settled in Virginia, but Virginia was divide—when Kentucky was divided into state, that left part of the land from Virginia as Kentucky. Mason County was part of that territory, and now I had three generations that lived in Mason County. And my father, no his father, had moved to Fleming County, and my father lived in Fleming County.

Interviewer: Okay and you’ve been married to this fiddler here for a few years [laughs], and I think, I think, having lived with someone whose learning tunes all the time and going to play for dances and traveling here, I want you to comment on what it’s like to be the person whose listening while someone is learning a tune. A few minutes ago you said something about when we were putting up the peaches. What was that like?

M.Bailey: Well, I was teaching school and I just had three months off, and I would always try to can. And we’d have a garden, and I would put that, save what I could. So I had heard about a special on peaches, and instead of buying one bushel I brought back two thinking my husband would help me get them ready. And uh he thought it was a dull occupation/ He had his radio on the table where we were working. And he was listening to this music and all of a sudden this beautiful waltz—and they called it the “Fifty Year Ago Waltz” came on, and he hadn’t heard it before. And he said, “Oh, listen at that.” And I was peeling away, and still pushing pans at him, but he says, “Well, I’ll see you later.” And later was the next day. He left and got his fiddle out, and I could hear him trying to pick out the piece that he had just heard. But he mastered it. It took him a few days to do it, but he came through. But it took me an extra day to get my peaches canned. But I saved them.

Interviewer: [laughs] So you, you’ve gone lots of times whenever he played to go along and make sure he is okay and gets home and all that like. What is that like to be the one whose sitting there and listening instead of the one who is playing and performing?

M.Bailey: Well, sometimes I think I was more nervous than he was because I just have that tension that builds up. But I have always gone with him, and I noticed, I know that he has talent that a lot of people don’t have. I always wanted to go when he would want to go to one of the—especially in the summer time. Now in the wintertime maybe I didn’t travel with him as much. But in the summertime I would go with him every time, and be with him in whatever he wanted to go to. Well, I would go, sometimes it would be an awfully hot days that I’d sit there. But I’d always have a good meal, and so I enjoyed the good meal and fellowship with different people that we met. We have met a lot of good people over the years.

Interviewer: It’s a way of expanding your social horizons, inst it? You said while ago you got to, trip to Washington?

M.Bailey: Yes, I got to go with him to Washington, and I was there three days. And they served Kentucky food. That was for Kentucky, you know? They were representing Kentucky. So Kentucky people had, oh, ham, Kentucky Ham and barbequed chickens and then they had barbeques, and different crafts of Kentucky was represented there. But I had to leave the third day. My mother fell, and I had to come home. And the first time I flew in an airplane, and I was scared to death.

Interviewer: Me too.

M.Bailey: But after I got in the plane and saw how nice and beautiful it was to look out over the country and see, even above the clouds. We were above the clouds some places. But then when we come to land you could see the territory. It was just marvelous.

Interviewer: Tell me about making transparent pie. Would you talk about that just a minute?

M.Bailey: Well, transparent pie is, well, I didn’t know it at the time because I had, my mother had made them since I can remember. But when I got out other places they didn’t know what transparent pies were. I think it’s a around this area too because when my daughter lived in northern Kentucky I took transparent pie one time to one of their dinners, and they all wanted to know what transparent pie was and how it was made and who it come from. They had heard of Chess pies. And Chess pies you can find them in a lot of the southern recipe books. But it has cornmeal in it. And transparent pie is simply eggs, butter, sugar, and I put lemon in mine to break the sweet taste and some vanilla.

Interviewer: No buttermilk or milk then?

M.Bailey: No, no.

Interviewer: So the difference is between transparent pie and a Buttermilk pie is the buttermilk has---I make a Buttermilk pie that I got a recipe from North Carolina, and it has butter, and eggs, and sugar, and three tablespoons of buttermilk in it. So the transparent pie doesn’t have any milk?

M.Bailey: No, well some recipes calls for cream. But, uh, I have that recipe too. But now I don’t use cream.

Interviewer: Are you making the recipe that your mother makes?

M.Bailey: I have the recipe that my mother makes, but, no, this one I have now, this one is that came from Mrs. Stanford that I mean I am going to serve you today.

Interviewer: Oh, okay. Good, good! Let me think just a minute. Oh! What kind of crust goes with a transparent pie?

M.Bailey: A plain crust.

Interviewer: Do you bake it before you put the pie in---?

M.Bailey: No, no

Interviewer: Or is it---

M.Bailey: You make your crust, and you, uh, I melt my butter and my sugar and blend it together and add my lemon juice. Now a lot of people don’t like lemon juice. Now that makes it not so---doesn’t have that [spangy?] taste. That’s why the lemon juice is added, with your vanilla.

Interviewer: I can hardly wait. Someone, let me ask you if you’re familiar with burgoo stew?

M.Bailey: Yes.

Interviewer: What is it?

M.Bailey: It’s uh—I haven’t made it, but we have been to burgoo parties, and they put different kinds of meat---pork, and sometimes it was supposed to be wild meat. They would have rabbits and squirrels and that type. But they just use pork and beef around here. And it’s got different kind of vegetables too. And they stew, they cook, that over a period of time. And then they will add their corn at the very last because it sticks. And they’ll put it in huge iron kettles outside. And they’ll cook that for maybe four or five hours. And they do have burgoo parties around here.

Interviewer: Sounds---is the corn a dried corn when they put it in or---?

M.Bailey: No, just canned corn. But when you add that to it starchy. Corn is starchy, and it will stick to it. So they add that at the very last so it won’t stick. And they serve it with, uh, corn comb or maybe just cornbread.

Interviewer: I have never had any of that. I think that is a true Kentucky dish there. Let me ask you something else about Alfred’s playing. Which tune is your favorite tune?

M.Bailey: I love to hear him play the waltzes.

Interviewer: Do you like that “Fifty Year Ago Waltz” that you were talking about that he left to go play the [laughs]--? You don’t hold any grudges on that then?

M.Bailey: I don’t hold any grudges, no. I always like the waltzes more than the other tunes. Never did learn to square dance very much, but I would go with him to the square dances. But I never did dance too much. I didn’t know how and wouldn’t---well, I had learned to dance a little at school, but that wasn’t like they’d dance at the square dances. �Interviewer: Thank you Mary. I appreciate you putting this on.

M.Bailey: Well, I am really a schoolteacher. I am not much on this fiddling, but I am glad that you came today.

[Recording ends and begins again].

Interviewer: I am talking to Mrs. Alfred M.Bailey. Mary M.Bailey is her given name, in Flemingsburg. And how long did you teach in Fleming County?

M.Bailey: Well, I taught school thirty-three years, and thirty of the years was in Fleming County. And twenty-five of those years was in Flemingsburg Elementary school here.

Interviewer: And some of the other projects that you have worked on while you were here---you were researching your ancestry to earn your Daughters of the American Revolution. Would you like to comment, detail a little bit on that for me?

M.Bailey: Well, after I got out of school I wanted something to do, and I, my father told me that I would be eligible if I ever wanted to, that he had papers in the lock box that his, [unintelligible] had saved for him when his father passed away and mother. So I had those to go on, and then I had a relative here too that insisted I should work on that project. So, I, my dated back to the seventeen hundreds. Seventeen hundred I believe was the earliest date that I had. But I found that in the Mason County Museum. The other, other Glasscock, that settled in Mason County, and they had found, and they had traced the papers to Virginia. And I went in on Lt. Thomas Glasscock. Now that’s on my father’s side. I had to go back six generations. But I just had to go back four because two had been established, and I used their, their national number. But now I was admitted in nineteen eighty-one to the DAR. And I am now the national chairman, defense chairman of the, of our chapter. William [Dudley] Chapter of the DAR.

Interviewer: Is that in Fleming County---

M.Bailey: Yes.

Interviewer: Or does that combine with Mason?

M.Bailey: No, Fleming County has a chapter its own. Mason County has two or three chapters. They also have a Daughters of American [?], and I could belong to that but I haven’t ever filled out the papers for that.

Interviewer: Maybe we will get busy and do that one of these days.

M.Bailey: Well, that, that research was enough. But it was very interesting. I had to find the marriages, the, where they were born and where they died. And all that had to be certified. But I was lucky. I had, uh, I had to write a few letters. And then I used videotapes from the library and the Mason County Museum. And I found everything that wasn’t, that I didn’t have, my father hadn’t kept, or wasn’t on his records that they had given for him.

Interviewer: Thank you. I am glad we thought to add that.

[Recording ends again]

M.Bailey: [Recording begins mid sentence] on a tour this spring. I got to see where the Hilton, Capitol Hilton, where we meet for the Nations Defense Chairman’s Dinner. I was there that day, but I was in a tour guide and I didn’t get to go. I hated to leave my tour because we were going to the Capitol that day, that morning that I was supposed to go to the luncheon for the DAR. But when we were on our tour our tour guide showed us also the Continental Hall, which is the national building for the DAR papers and the DAR meetings that they have in the national government.

Interviewer: So they have all the records there?

M.Bailey: Yes, all the records are there.

[Recording turns off again]

Interviewer: [Recording comes in mid sentence] tell me about [Sanford] Kelly please.

Bailey: Well, the first I ever heard of Mr. Kelly I called him, they’s having a fiddling contest here in Flemingsburg. And he, he comes in here, and he had this old raged shirt or jacket, and had the sleeve tore off the shirt. And he had his daughter with him, and she had her dress looked awful. They looked like they were ready for poverty. I mean, which they did. And he gets up and plays to entertain the crowd before the fiddling contest starts [laughs]. And he had his fiddle wrapped up with tobacco cotton and at the top of it told how many contests he’d won. But he played all of his pieces in old time miner keys. And the ole, I mean he played them back the way they’s played two hundred years ago. And he played this piece “The Fox Chase.” He got up there and played it, and he barked like a dog, and he put all the parts I did and more too. And he had the pup and the fence and it just, it just tore the crowd all to pieces when he played [laughs]. And he had an old cap, on and every time if he’d get through playing he put the cap down and set down on it. [laughs]. And we’s a playing in the contest and he said, we were setting there by each other, and he said, “No wonder I am not a doing any good.” He said, “You boys,” Said, “get out there your fiddles are squalling like wildcats.” [laughs]

But he didn’t win, but everybody felt so sorry for Mr. Kelly because he looked so needy and all that they made up money and they gave him gas to get back on [laughs] and groceries. But later on we went to Natural Bridge one night to play in a fiddling contest and who showed up but Mr. Kelly dressed up in this nice suit of clothes [laughs] and was a very distinguished gentleman, played in the congest.

Interviewer: Did he have his poor little daughter with him that time?

Bailey: There was nothing said about it. [laughs]. But he was a nice old man, and he played, he played in a tradition that most of us can’t touch now. Let’s put it thataway. He played in G minor, most of his pieces.

Interviewer: G Minor, whoo.

Bailey: “Blackberry Blossom” in G minor and all those pieces. And he played, he had a piece he called “Wild Hog in the Red Brush.” And I would have give anything for to learn it, but it sounded just like an old hog a squealing. [Laughs]. But he played all these old, but he could really play the "Fox Chase," Mr. Kelly could. And he played a little different type fiddle when he played at Natural Bridge. But he was a real quaint old-time fiddle player that went back a long ways.

Interviewer: Well, I appreciate you telling about Stanford Kelly. I have been trying to dig up some information on him and here you had it right here. [laughs].

Bailey: [Unintelligible]

[Recording ends]

Interviewer: We are talking about fiddlers here, and you are talking about Tommy Riley?

Bailey: Riley. Tommy Riley.

Interviewer: Where was he from?

Bailey: He was from Bash County. [Laughs]. All the fiddle players come from Bath County, most of them when you trace them back around here. [laughs]. He played these old time tunes, old time hornpipes and all. He’s a mighty good one. He was champion in Indiana and Kentucky both at the same time one time. He moved to Indiana finally. He went to [Murray] Indiana.

Interviewer: Uh-huh. About what year? About what time was this? Was it before the Depression?

Bailey: Yeah, it was my grandfather’s day. It was about a hundred years ago.

Interviewer: Oh.

Bailey: Eighty to ninety to a hundred years. I heard him when I was just a very small boy play over the way was the only time I ever heard Tommy Riley, and he was an old man then.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Bailey: He was really good.

Interviewer: And then you knew another fiddler named Rollins. [Both people talk at the same time].

Bailey: Rollins, he was a little different type fiddle player. A little more modern than Tommy Riley, but he was a good one too.

Interviewer: Was Robbins from Bath County also?

Bailey: Yes.

Interviewer: Was he the same, was he fiddling at the same time that Tommy Riley was?

Bailey: Oh no. He was about my age, a little older than me, ten years older than me, Robbins was. He’s been dead fifteen years, something like that. He was a really good friend of mine. But I never knew Tommy Riley. I’d come with my grandfather to hear him play in a fiddling contest or he had a fiddling contest. He got so good nobody would play against him. And he was having one here in Flemingsburg at the old courthouse. So I come along, and that’s the first time I ever heard Georgie Lee Hawkins play.

Interviewer: Down here at the Flemingsburg Courthouse?

Bailey: Courthouse, yeah.

Interviewer: About when was this?

Bailey: Well, I was about seven or eight years old and that’s been about sixty or fifty-eight or nine years.

Interviewer: Do you happen to remember what Georgie Lee Hawkins played by any chance?

Bailey: Well, he played “Martha Campbell” that night, and I think “Leather Britches” I am pretty sure.

Interviewer: Why don’t you play a little “Martha Campbell” right here after we talked about Georgie Lee Hawkins.

Bailey: Okay, I’ll play a little of it now.

[ 1:00 --- 2:00Plays Martha Campbell.”]

Interviewer: Thank you.

[ 3:00End of recording].


�PAGE �15� ©Kentucky Oral History Commission Kentucky Historical Society