Transcript Index
Search This Transcript
Go X

1992OH01.13 Beauchamp

Frankfort’s Craw Oral History Project

Interview with Bo Beauchamp

July 17,1991.

Conducted by James Wallace

© 1991 Kentucky Oral History Commission

Kentucky Historical Society

Kentucky Oral History Commission

100 W. Broadway ( Frankfort, KY 40601

502-564-1792 ( (fax) 502-564-0475 (

Use and Quotation Policy

Authorization must be granted by the Kentucky Historical Society (which includes the Kentucky Oral History Commission) to use or publish by any means any archival material to which the Society holds copyright. To obtain authorization, users will submit a completed Use Agreement to the Kentucky Historical Society Special Collections & Reference Services. Fees for all uses, excepting non-profit or other use, with the intent to enhance understanding of or appreciation for Kentucky’s heritage will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and added to the cost of reproduction.

Users may not alter, distort, or change in any way the text or the image to be used, unless otherwise authorized by the Society. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission to publish by any means any material held at the Society but to which the KHS does not hold copyright. The Society is not responsible for any copyright infringement.

Users will not quote or otherwise reproduce in part or in whole any archival material, without citing the “Kentucky Historical Society,” and without giving explicit written acknowledgement of the collection from which it was obtained, as designated by the Society.

Users will present to the Kentucky Historical Society Special Collections & Reference Services one (1) copy of any publication using materials held by the Society or will provide any other proof of appropriate acknowledgment and citation as the Society will designate.

Only material that will not be physically damaged by the process of duplication will be copied. The Society reserves the right to withhold permission for the reproduction of any material involving unusual difficulty or great risk to the original.

This is an unedited transcript. Quotation of materials from this transcript should be corroborated with the original audio recording if possible.

The following interview is an unrehearsed interview with Mr.

Jo Beauchamp for "Frankfort's 'Craw:' An African-American

Community Remembered." The interview was conducted by James E.

Wallace in Frankfort, Kentucky, July 17, 1991.

[An interview with Mr. Jo Beauchamp]

WALLACE: Is . . . today is Wednesday, July the 17th, isn't it?

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, July the 17th, you're right. Wednesday,

July the 17th.

WALLACE: We're here with Mr. Jo Beauchamp to talk a

little bit about Bottom and his remembrances of . . . were you

born in Frankfort, Mr. Beauchamp?

BEAUCHAMP: No, sir. I was born in Louisville.

WALLACE: Ah. Where abouts in Louisville?

BEAUCHAMP: In on Buchanan Street.

WALLACE: Ah, okay. Is that the West End?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. I just really don't know because Mother

left . . . my daddy died when I was six weeks old and, uh, they

were all from here; so, she come back here when I was, oh, about

five or six months old, and all my life has been right here in

Franklin County.

WALLACE: Ah. Well, when she came back here, where did you all

move to?

BEAUCHAMP: Down in the Bottom there, down on Wilkinson Street.

WALLACE: Ah. Where abouts on Wilkinson?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, we first lived, oh, my first remembrance of it,

it was down there by the hemp factory, the old hemp factory,

where Jim's Seafood is now.


BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, then, we lived up, all up and down that

street. And I rented a house from an old colored feller and I

went to pay my rent one day and he said, "Jo, how much is this

you paid me?" I said, "That's a hundred dollars. I've been here

ten months." He said, "Well, if I was to tell you to move, well,

what would have?" I said, "Well, I don't think you'll tell me to

move long as I pay my rent." He said, "Jo, that ain't what I'm

getting at. I want you to own you a home." I said, "Well, man,

I . . . ain't no way I can get it. Said, "I'm going to fix it so

you can." Now, this is a black feller.

WALLACE: What was his name?

BEAUCHAMP: John Buckner.

WALLACE: John Buckner, I've heard a lot about John Buckner.

BEAUCHAMP: Buckner. Now, he worked for the, oh, uh, for years

and years, up where that park is right now. What was them

peoples' name?

WALLACE: Oh. Were you talking about where the park is where

Juniper Hills and Berry . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Juniper Hills. Berry Hill. He worked for the Berrys

for years and years. And he owned a bunch of houses and he went

up to the old Capitol Building and Loan with me and he said, "Jo,

you all got a house for sale on Wilkinson Street and I want this

boy to own it." Said, "He lives in my house and he's always paid

his rent, but I want him to own a home."


BEAUCHAMP: And they sold me that house for a thousand dollars.

And I was working at Schenley Distillery and they said they

wanted $200 down. So, I went down there and borrowed the $200

and they took it out so much a pay-day on me. And, uh, paid it

down on there and moved in.

WALLACE: When did you buy that place?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, I see, I lived there 20 years, 22 years. Oh,

[laughing] I've been out here 31.

WALLACE: Okay, so . . .

BEAUCHAMP: So, that was 50 years ago, or 51 years ago.

WALLACE: Okay. So, that would have been 1940. Fifty-one

years ago would be 1940, and, uh, you've been out here thirty . .


BEAUCHAMP: -One years.

WALLACE: Thirty-one years; so, that would be 1960. And you

lived at that house for 22 years.


WALLACE: So, back 22 out of 1960, you got it in '38, 1938 or

'39 [1939], about that time.


WALLACE: Well, let me back up a little bit about your folks.

What was your mama's maiden name?

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, she was a Crane.

WALLACE: A Crane, okay.


WALLACE: And your dad was the Beauchamp?

BEAUCHAMP: A Beauchamp, yeah.

WALLACE: When your mama came back, uh, what did . . . how did

you all make your living, with her being a widow woman?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, we just lived from hand to mouth. We had an

awful hard time. And she married again. She married a Linton.

And they worked at the hemp factory and they didn't make very


WALLACE: What were they doing at the hemp factory?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, at the old hemp factory, they made twine. They

brought that hemp in there and, uh, they carded it and spun it

and spun it into twine; and sold the twine to different . . . all

over the country, and shipped a lot of it out of the country.

WALLACE: Did your mama work on the machines that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. She worked on the spinning frames.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, and then I went to work there when I got

older enough.

WALLACE: Ah, how old were you when you first started?

BEAUCHAMP: I was about 17.

WALLACE: Ah. So, did you . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I worked there two years.

WALLACE: Uh-huh.

BEAUCHAMP: Then got fired.

WALLACE: Ah [laughing].

BEAUCHAMP: I'll tell you what happened. Them girls I was

working with asked me to bring them a drink. Wasn't nothing but



BEAUCHAMP: And I, like a . . . I was kind of sweet on one of

them and she said, "Oh, bring us a drink, Jo." And it make them

sick and they had to go home and, the next day, they got them out

there in the office and made them tell who brought it in there to

them and they told on me and they fired me.

WALLACE: Oh, no.

BEAUCHAMP: [Laughing] Yeah. Yeah, they . . . I got fired over

that deal.

WALLACE: Well, as you were growing up, was it just you and

your mama or did you have brothers and sisters?

BEAUCHAMP: I had a brother and two sisters, half . . . half-

brother and two half-sisters.

WALLACE: Ah, sisters. Di- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Junior, Harvey Linton, Jr.

WALLACE: Harvey Linton, Jr.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, well, she never would accept her name. It

was Crystabelle Linton, and she changed it to Kitty.


BEAUCHAMP: See, back in them days, they didn't keep account of

birth certificates. They just . . . were just . . . just come

in, born, and left. Never wrote down nothing.

WALLACE: Yeah, I forgot to ask you. When were you born?

BEAUCHAMP: 19 and 14 [1914], January the 3rd.

WALLACE: Ah, okay. So, you were . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I'm 77 years old.

WALLACE: Ah, okay. So, you were back in Frankfort, then, in,

probably, 19 . . . about the Summer of 1940. You were only . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I was back in 1914, yeah.

WALLACE: Well, as a young man coming up, where did you go to


BEAUCHAMP: Wilkerson Street School.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: To the third grade and we got in there and, went to

the fourth grade, we had to go to Second Street School. And Miss

Freda Dreyer taught Second Street School in the . . .

WALLACE: Was that Bob Dreyer's wife?


WALLACE: Sister. Okay.

BEAUCHAMP: That was Bob Dreyer's daughter.

WALLACE: Oh, okay.


WALLACE: Okay. I'd heard about him in connection with his

grocery that he used to run.

BEAUCHAMP: On St. Clair Street.

WALLACE: Right. I didn't . . . I'd never heard about the

daughter teaching school. That's a pretty good little walk to

walk from the hemp factory all the way across on the other side

of the river to Second Street.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, and we had to walk. We lived on Wilkerson

Street right on Clinton Street there then, but that was right on

the corner, just a real short distance off Clinton. We . . . no,

wait a minute now. We lived on Wilkerson Street. We walked

around Taylor Avenue, me and my sisters.


BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, well, we got over there, they give us ten

pennies for our lunch, go in the free-lunch line, and we had to

line up on one side and the others on the other side, and, uh, to

get that ten pennies. And this one guy, right today, I still

hold it against him. I was . . . I see him walking going

someplace, and I know where he's going, I won't pick him up. He

said, "Look at that old poor white trash over there". And I

never could forget it. I don't . . . I don't have nothing to do

with him right today.

WALLACE: 'Cause the kids looked down on you 'cause you had to

get that free lunch and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, 'cause we didn't have . . . me and my sister,

and we had to get in the free-lunch line.

WALLACE: Well, I imagine there was a lot of kids in that free-

lunch line. Those were tough times.

BEAUCHAMP: There's a string of them here to your car out there.


BEAUCHAMP: We didn't have anything and just lived from hand to

mou . . . there wasn't no welfare or food stamps or nothing then.

[laughing] I don't like groundhogs and possums and rabbits right

today [laughter].

WALLACE: You ate so much of them as a young . . .

BEAUCHAMP: [Inaudible] [laughing]. Fish, [laughing] Daddy and

I would fish every day.

WALLACE: He probably fished the river, didn't he?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, we lived right there on the . . . Wilkerson

Street, right on the river and he . . .

WALLACE: You were on the river side of Wilkinson.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Yeah.

WALLACE: Well, wasn't the dump right in there behi- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, uh-huh. We lived a short distance from that



BEAUCHAMP: Had damn rats and roaches and [laughing] . . .

WALLACE: Yeah, they . . .

BEAUCHAMP: [Laughing] It was a wonder we hadn't all died from

some kind of damn disease.

WALLACE: Isaac Fields and some of the others were telling me

when the water would come up, one of the things they'd do is go

down to the dump and go rat-bopping, you know.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah, uh-huh.

WALLACE: Shoot them, or hit them with a stick.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Well, if one had had a 22-rifle. We mostly

had sticks to hit them with. A rat's the easiest thing in the

world to kill. You get him one lick on the head and he's gone.

WALLACE: Well, that was one of their forms of recreation.

When you think about your earliest remembrances of the Bottom, or

of that area, what comes to mind; what images come to mind when

you think of Bottom?

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, well, I tell you, when I think of the Bottom, I

think of a lot of the hard times and the hardships we had down

there. And, uh, well, there's just so much that happened, it's

just hard to put your finger on one different thing.

WALLACE: Well, let me keep going then. As far as . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I guess the worst tragedy I can remember down in

there was the 1937 flood.

WALLACE: Tell me about it.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, that was terrible. The water come up and got all

of our houses.

WALLACE: Were you living on Wilkinson Street at that time?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, and, uh, my sister-in-law lived up on the hill

there and the water didn't get to her house, and there was 18 of

us up there in three little rooms, where people had been flooded


WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And electric was all off. They had one little ole

two-cap stove there. We call it a two-cap monkey, [laughter -

Wallace] and that's what we cooked on.

WALLACE: And you had to stay there until the . . . did you

move back in and clean up your home, the home?


WALLACE: Were you all still . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Went down . . . went down there and build up a fire

to . . . well, we really moved in before it dried out in there.

And they told us, said, "Watch it, it's going to kill you.

You'll take double pneumonia." Said, "Wh- . . . we ain't got no

other place to go." And nothing to . . . and I say that's about

the worst thing that I can remember to happen was the 1937 flood.

WALLACE: Well, so many people I'd talked to, some of them just

didn't come back. Some of them, like you, had no other place to

go. They had to go back and, uh, clean it up. Were you all

owning your home at that time or . . .


WALLACE: You were . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No, we didn't have nothing. Renting then.

WALLACE: Well, as far as your education, you went to Second

Street up through high school years?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, no. I . . . I dropped out of school in fourth


WALLACE: Ah. What led you to drop out; had to make the money?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, uh, I got sick and I just couldn't stay awake

in school. I'd just go to sleep. And they finally says, well,

we're just going to have to send you home. There's something

wrong. And the public school, that's where that I got was the

fourth grade. Miss Freda Dreyer. Well, Roosevelt was elected

President and he said, "I'm going to get these boys off the

street and put them to work."


BEAUCHAMP: So, he . . . he formed the CCC.

WALLACE: Civilian Conservation Corps.

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, sir; and they hired a fellow from the Berea

College. He was a professor down there, and he come up there and

started a school program and I enrolled in that and I went to

school 14 months up there. And he gave me a diploma for the

eighth grade. He said, "Jo, you got an education" And along

about the last two months that was in there, he started giving

tests and he told me, said, "Jo, you'd . . . I've done give you

this diploma. You . . ."

WALLACE: Up through the eighth.

BEAUCHAMP: Eighth grade. Said, "You've got a edu- . . .

educated yourself in here and what I've helped you do. You took

interest." I went to school every night for 14 months except on

the weekends. After supper, we'd all go down to the . . . a

dining hall, uh, and . . .

WALLACE: Where was that camp that you all were at?

BEAUCHAMP: In Jackson County.

WALLACE: Jackson.


WALLACE: You working on logging or roads or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, uh, worked on roads and, then, I got into the .

. . a gang building the houses. We built a house, we built a

bridge and we built a depot, and, uh . . .

WALLACE: When did you all come . . . when did you come back to

Frankfort, then?

BEAUCHAMP: In 19 and 35 [1935].

WALLACE: Thirty-five [1935]

BEAUCHAMP: I was there 14 months.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Then, they come back, they'd passed a law that you

had to get out when you'd been there 14 months. You let some

others in. And I got out and they wrote me a letter down to the

distillery and, uh, I went down there to see Mr. Fissin and I

said, "Mr. Fissin, I need a job awful bad." He said, "I know it,

son." I said, "Did you get a letter from the government for me?"

He said, "Yeah." And said, "I'm going to hire a few men." Said,

"You hang around here for awhile and maybe I can give you a job."

And he did, he give me a job, $3.15 a day, and took off from

there. I stayed there 41 years and 7 months.

WALLACE: Good grief. What . . . when you left, what was your

capacity and what were you doing, what was your job?

BEAUCHAMP: I was a water tender and I was making $300 a week.

WALLACE: Oh, my, that . . . good money.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. When I was making $14.40 a week when I went


WALLACE: [Laughing] Oh, to be at one company for that length

of time is a rarity these days.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, just like I said, I just only had a

eighth-grade education, or equal to an eighth-grade education,

and, uh, I just couldn't make that kind of money no place else.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you. When you were growing up and

helping around the house, what kind of chores and

responsibilities did you have as a young person?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I had Daddy and Mother and my sisters, and I

lost my little brother. That's the worst thing ever happened to

me in my life. My little brother was nine years old, and that's

the . . . I'll say that that's the worst thing that ever happened

to me in my whole entire life when I lost my little brother. Uh,

I had to help take care of Daddy and Mother; and my sister, she

growed up and married off. Well, before she married, she went to

live with her mothe- . . . her grandmother in Columbus, Indiana,

and she got married up there. And, then, she got . . . him and

her quit and she married another fellow and moved to Texas, and

lived out there for years and years, Fort Worth. But she's gone


WALLACE: Umhumm. Well, let me ask you. As you were growing

up down there, [how] did you meet your wife? Was she living down

in the Bottom or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. She come here on a visit and I met her.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: That was my first wife. We were married 37 years.

She died of cancer in lungs smoking them damn cigarettes.

WALLACE: Ah. I'm sorry to hear that, sir; sorry to hear it.

Well, let me switch gears here, and I hear that area referred to

as Craw sometimes and sometimes as Bottom. Where does the name

Craw come from? Do you know why they call it Craw?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, it was slums of the town, and then, just every

kind of a criminal and everything else lived down there [laughter

- Wallace]. Now, there was a lot of good people down in there;

but, like I said, we was talking about "Mountain" Mary.


BEAUCHAMP: Her brother got in the peni- . . . he got in the

penitentiary here in Frankfort. And he got in the penitentiary

and, here, all of her family come down here.

WALLACE: To live, to be close to . . .


WALLACE: . . . her brother.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And when they got out of the penitentiary,

they all stayed here; and that happened time and time again. And

a lot of them were good people and a lot of them were just down

right-out criminals.


BEAUCHAMP: Now, I had a uncle. I guess you've got that in there

someplace. John Fallis.

WALLACE: Yeah, tell me about John Fallis.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, he was a bad man. He was a evil man.

WALLACE: Wh . . . in what way, evil?



BEAUCHAMP: He would beat the piss out of you for nothing. Beat

up a many a man. He hit my grandmother with a pair of brass


WALLACE: He hit . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He was mean. He was evil. And, oh, he shot two or

three different ones.

WALLACE: Well, he . . . it's funny on him. Some . . . you'll

talk to some of the blacks and they'll say he's the nicest man.

He'd give them credit or he give them a load of coal, or he'd let

them run up a tab at the store; but, then, there's this other

side of him that you just brought up, that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, he hated his wife's people. His wife and my

mother were sisters.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: And he just hated us. Now . . .

WALLACE: Well, why? Why would he hate his own wife's people?

BEAUCHAMP: For some damned . . . I know when . . . I had an

Uncle Johnny was going to kill him, and grandmother saved him.

Now, he was . . . he was going to hide and kill him. He was

scared of him.


BEAUCHAMP: Over that hitting her with them knucks [brass

knuckles] [laughing]. . . had a great big knot on her head.

WALLACE: Well, why did he . . . he just got mad?

BEAUCHAMP: [Laughing] He jus- . . . he was evil. He was mean.

WALLACE: Yeah? Well, one of the stories I heard on him was

that, uh, he had married, uh, you know, uh, your mother's sister,



WALLACE: But he had a young woman that he kept company with,

Anna Mae Blackwell?


WALLACE: And kept her in the same building that his wife was


BEAUCHAMP: No, that's not true.

WALLACE: That's not true. Okay.

BEAUCHAMP: No, that's not true.


BEAUCHAMP: Now, my Aunt Annie, his wife, lived on Wilkerson



BEAUCHAMP: All right. He kept that woman [Anna Mae Blackwell]

in the house up on Washington Street.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: See, and he lived with her up there and had one child

by her, Doug.

WALLACE: Oh, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: And she was a beautiful woman.

WALLACE: Well, has Doug gone on now?

BEAUCHAMP: I don't know what become of Doug. I lost count of

him. I don't know ever what become of him. He . . . he had a

son and two daughters, and I see his . . . well, I see one of his

daughters once in a while and, occasionally, I see his son; but I

don't know what ever come of Doug.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: He was a electrician. He went through apprentice's

school and lear- . . . worked there at the distillery and served

his apprenticeship and he . . . when he got his license, he told

them, said "All of you can kiss my hind" [laughter]. Said, "I'm

gone on my own. I won't be beholden to nobody." Said, "I've led

a damn dog's life here with you people."

WALLACE: His name is Doug Blackwell, is that right?

BEAUCHAMP: No, his name . . . well, I don't know. I think it

was Doug Fallis.

WALLACE: Doug Fallis.


WALLACE: Oh, okay. Well, as far as John himself, he was

supposed to be politically powerful, a man who could turn out the

vote. Is that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, yeah. He was . . . took part in politics and .

. .

WALLACE: Do you know anything about the part he took in

politics? Anything . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, like, somebody he was . . . wanted to go down

there and get him and give him a bunch of money; say, go down

here and buy me some votes and get me . . . help get me elected.

And they'd pay him. Well, they'd do that. See, John Fallis can

do something to vote. He'd tell you to go up there and vote for

so-and-so, see; give them five or ten dollars.

WALLACE: Umhumm. So, he'd buy . . . he'd make sure that

they'd get all the votes bought up.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And he was . . . he took part in politics and

. . . now, like that . . . he got in trouble bootlegging

moonshine whiskey.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And they were going to send him to the penitentiary,

and his lawyer told him, said, "You run a ad in the paper,

anybody needed the help, that you'll help them." And they were

going to use that when he come to trial.


BEAUCHAMP: Well, he did, he helped a few; but it was for a


WALLACE: For his own selfish . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He wasn't all that good, now.

WALLACE: Selfish ends.

BEAUCHAMP: The point was I concerned, my own opinion of John

Fallis, he was my uncle by marriage. He was a no-good bastard.

WALLACE: Well, now, his boys, Bixie [Benjamin] and Carlos and

Ishmael and had a daughter that . . .



BEAUCHAMP: And her . . . his daughter's name was Annie Lee.

WALLACE: Yeah. She was the one . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Got killed in a car wreck.

WALLACE: Car- . . . that's R.T.'s wife's girl [mother].



BEAUCHAMP: That's Betty's mother.

WALLACE: Umhumm. Well, all of those Fallises sort of had a

reputation of being quick with their fists.

BEAUCHAMP: Right. They was all . . . all cursed with a bad


WALLACE: There's a story, and maybe you can confirm it or deny

it, that Bixie's [Benjamin], who was . . . I don't know her name

at all, but the woman of somewhat questionable reputation, sort

of provoked almost a race riot down there one time; claimed that

she was insulted by some blacks.


WALLACE: And Bixie [Benjamin] Carlos . . .


WALLACE: And went down . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Went back down there and she claimed that some of

them said some obscene word to her . . . this being recorded?

WALLACE: Yeah, it is; but, don't worry. We can fix it so, you


BEAUCHAMP: Just like to fuck her, you know, and like this.

WALLACE: Uh-huh.

BEAUCHAMP: And, so, they all went up there and, they did, they

had a heck of a time [laughing]. Carlos got hold of a damn buggy

axle and, boy, he . . . he skinned some heads up in there


WALLACE: When . . . do you know when this took place? Nobody

can remember exactly when that incident took place.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I don't know the date of it. I don't remember

the date of it, but . . .

WALLACE: Do you remem- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I know that it did take place.

WALLACE: In the forties [1940s], you think, or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, in the forties [1940s] see. Now, I come back

here from the Army in, uh, '45 [1945]. I'd say it was '46


WALLACE: Sometime right soon after you ca- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, I could be a . . . vary a year or two.

WALLACE: Yeah. One of the things I heard is that the blacks

all went and got weapons and armed themselves, and the Fallises

were going to get some of their friends to come in from out of

town, and it could have got ugly.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, before . . . we got it swelled out before

it got to that because they just got in there and a fist and

billyclub fight and . . . and, uh, Carlos thought they'd killed

Bixie [Benjamin].

WALLACE: They hit him over the head with a shovel, didn't


BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Went up behind him and hit him back

[laughing] . . . in his head with a damn shovel.

WALLACE: Uh, black guy by the name of Thomas Jefferson

supposedly whomped him on the head.

BEAUCHAMP: Right [laughing].

WALLACE: Put him in the hospital. Oh, I've heard a story

where John Fall- . . . John Fallis shot Officer Wilhelm [William

H. Wilhelm, Jr.]; was coming up toward, I guess, his store or

something and he thought it was Guy Wainscott and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No, that's not. It was "Slug" Noonan that he shot

with his pump gun; shot him through the glass. He was sneaking

around looking in there.


BEAUCHAMP: And he told Carlos . . . Carlos had one of his little

brothers of a sister in his arms . . . said "You back down here

till I can get this pump gun". It was "Slug" Noonan. It wasn't

Wilhelm [William H. Wilhelm, Jr.].

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: It was "Slug" Noonan. And they got that pump gun out

from under that counter and, boy, he poured it on, got him right

in the damn face.


BEAUCHAMP: Glass and all.

WALLACE: Did he live?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah. All of them officers, he shot . . . I

think he shot three that night. He shot Colston, Guy Wainscott

and "Slug" Noonan.

WALLACE: Well, what led to the incident? Why . . . why were .

. .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, there was a carnival here in town and Carlos

was a young boy and he wanted to look in that girlie show, and he

clumb up on the damn tent looking down at them girls dancing down

there [laughter] and nude.


BEAUCHAMP: And one of these carnival men called the police and

Guy Wainscott didn't like him noway [Carlos Fallis]; so, he got

him down there and Carlos put up a battle with him, and somebody

went down there and told Uncle Johnny, and it was just a short

distance up there, from Wilkerson Street. It happened up there

on, uh, oh, uh . . .

WALLACE: Was it Mero and Wilkerson?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, it was on up the street there a little bit, uh,

from Mero and, uh, oh, damn it, there ain't no street there now.

That Watts building took it.

WALLACE: Oh, okay. Uh, it's not Madison now.

BEAUCHAMP: Madison Street, yeah.

WALLACE: Madison?

BEAUCHAMP: Right there on Madison Street.

WALLACE: Street.

BEAUCHAMP: When Uncle Johnny got up there, well, Wainscott was

beating on Carlos on this club and he backed off [John Fallis];

said, "Don't hit him no more". He hit him again and, then,

Johnny shot him.

WALLACE: Uh-huh.

BEAUCHAMP: And he had a 45 automatic. And, uh, he got Carlos

and went on home and Colston was on the police force and he was

supposed to have been a bad man and they tried to keep him away

from down there and not let him go because they wanted to take

Uncle Johnny alive.


BEAUCHAMP: But nothing happened. He broke loose from them and

went down there and [laughing], shit, here they come hauling his

ass back.

WALLACE: [Laughing] He'd shot . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He shot him.

WALLACE: Do you know when this incident took place? Was that

the twenties [1920s] or the thirties [1930s].

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, it was back in the [laughing] . . . back in the

thirties [1930s], I'd say. No. No, it would be . . . be back in

the twenties [1920s].

WALLACE: 'Cause Fallis was dead by '29 [1929], wasn't he,


BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They had a hired gun got him.

WALLACE: What happened there? I do . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, he was . . . them police was scared of him and

they wanted to get rid of him and, by God, they brought in a

professional killer. That's what we always believed. They . . .

a fellow by the name of Rigsby.

WALLACE: Yeah, Everett Rigsby.

BEAUCHAMP: Everett Rigsby, and, uh . . .

WALLACE: Do you know the story of the night that he was shot,

how that happened?

BEAUCHAMP: Well . . .

WALLACE: People have told me two or three different . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, they was having a crap game down there in

one of them joints, and they got in an argument over there and

this guy said he'd made his point and, then, Uncle Johnny said,

"You're a lying little hooker. You didn't do it", and, then, by

God, he [Everett Rigsby] just pulled out his gun and shot him.


BEAUCHAMP: He fell under the crap table and he walked around

that crap table and took dead aim and hit him right there.

WALLACE: Made sure he finished . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Made sure he killed him. He come down there to kill

him in the first place. He'd been down there looking for him

before because I heared Grant Fallis tell Uncle Johnny, says, uh,

"Johnny, watch yourself now. There's a man looking for you."

And Uncle Johnny says, "Well, I'll pin a rose in his ass with

that pump gun if he comes around fooling with me." And he

carried a 45 automatic in his hip pocket all the time. It was a

nickel-plated and pearl-handled. Heck, I've seen it time and

time again.

WALLACE: He didn't get a chance to draw it, I guess. He got

shot before . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. They tried to say he didn't have his gun on him,

but Chester, when he fell under that table, Chester took that gun

off of him.


BEAUCHAMP: Chester Fallis, who was running the joint.

WALLACE: Was it the Peachtree, you think, or what . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. It was . . . called it the Wide Awake.

WALLACE: The Wide Awake.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, it was right on the corner of Gaines Alley and

Clinton Street.

WALLACE: Okay, okay. Well, you're the first one who's ever

known all the details. I'd heard he got shot around Fincel's

Meat Market [Fincel Brothers Meat Market] and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, Fincel's [Fincel Brothers Meat Market] did have

a meat market right across the street from there.

WALLACE: Oh, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Johnny Fincel. I never will forget an incident. I

had a quarter. I was working over in South Frankfort in a

grocery and I told Mother, I said, "Go down there and get us some

sausage . . . fresh sausage for breakfast." Well, when they get

heck of a [inaudible] of it [laughing], they got up there and I

got looking at it and it had bacon rinds in it, ever durn thing

in the world. I was just so . . .

WALLACE: Scraped in it there.

BEAUCHAMP: I said, "Look, just take it out there and throw it in

the trash." I said, "That ain't fittin' for a dog to eat."

Johnny Fincel would do any damn thing.

WALLACE: To make money?


WALLACE: Well, now, that wasn't the only place Fincel [Fincel

Brothers Meat Market] had. Didn't he eventually move over to

Wilkinson and Broadway or something, or . . .


WALLACE: Yeah. He relocated.

BEAUCHAMP: He, uh, had a better market over there. He had a

grocery store and a meat market. Now, down there on Clinton

Street, he just had a meat market. They butchered their beef and

hogs out in the country and brought them in there. Them, uh,

Fincels [Fincel Brothers Meat Market] were all butchers.

WALLACE: Well, there was a lot of stock slaughtered in

Frankfort, wasn't there? I mean, people would drive in their

cattle and hogs into town and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: And take them out there on Owenton Road, back up in


WALLACE: They used to have that slaughtering operation back in

where the Montessori School is now, isn't that back in where . .


BEAUCHAMP: I don't know what's out there now, but . . .

WALLACE: Used to have a water reservoir out there and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. It's still up there.

WALLACE: And C. C. Moore used to have his equipment company

back in there.

BEAUCHAMP: Right. Chester Moore.

WALLACE: I'll tell you one of the people I talked to is a

black woman. She said on Court Day and on certain times, they'd

drive these hogs and cattle and get them slaughtered and the men

would get a little money and the place they'd go was corner of

Clinton and Washington, to the joints down there, and, uh, find

affection and find drink and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. There was prostitutes down there, in the


WALLACE: Well, was it a red-light district? I mean, is that .

. .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, there was back years ago, there was a

red-light district down there on, they call it, uh, they called

it the Gas House Alley, which, later on, they changed it to

Center Street. And all them houses up and down there were whore

houses. And, then, [laughing] they had a joint down there on the

corner of Mero and Center Street and there's . . . all the girls

hung out down there and, uh, Rogers run a saloon there. We had

legal whiskey and beer and everything. They'd go back there and

sit down and, uh, one of these girls went over there and sat down

by this girl and said, "I wanted to ask you something". Now, I

got this second-handed. I've heard it several times, so I

believe it's true. Said, "I know damn well I'm a better looking

woman than you, better built and everything; but", said, "I want

you to tell me, how is it you always get the money men and I have

to take the damn poor ones". She said, "The only thing I can

tell you, I keep my ass up off that sheet." [Laughter] I've

heard that a dozen times. I was too young to remember it.

WALLACE: Well, do you remember Ida Howard?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, my goodness, yeah.

WALLACE: Can you describe . . . nobody's ever told me what she

looked like. I . . .

BEAUCHAMP: She was a beautiful woman when she was young.


BEAUCHAMP: I remember when she come to Frankfort. Her husband's

name was Henry Howard; great big feller and a . . . and a bad


WALLACE: Come out of the mountains?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Come out of the mountains and brought her down

here, and she was a lot younger than Henry. And he was so

jealous of her, he kept her in the house all time; but my uncle,

Johnny Fallis, was . . . he worked over there at that rock quarry

and he'd sneak over there. And he . . . he went with her a lot

of times.

WALLACE: Knocking off a piece on the side.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And, then, when old Henry, he went back up . .

. he killed a man up there in the mountains, and he went back up

there for something and, by God, they killed him.

WALLACE: They caught up with him up there.

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, sir, and . . . and, then, Ida, she just, well,

she just got a big house there and got a couple of girls there

and just run a whore house for years and years, and she never was


WALLACE: Well, why? I guess she had connections with . . .

BEAUCHAMP: She paid off. That's the only thing I could ever

figure out why they never did bust her. But she was right there

on Hill Street, had that big house and, uh, later on, she moved

up on Madison Street. Then, later on, she moved and she was

getting old . . . she moved up on Main Street. But, if she was

the woman, now, she'd do anything in the world for you.

WALLACE: Yeah, that's what I've heard. I . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I've heared her take in old down and outers, rent

them a room and, well, they didn't have no money to pay, and she

said, "Well, you just don't owe me nothing. I'll give you the

night's lodging."


BEAUCHAMP: And give him his breakfast and, now, you . . . move

on to somebody else and get your . . .

WALLACE: You hear of a woman called Maggie, sort of the black

equivalent of . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Maggie's whorehouse [laughing].

WALLACE: Who was Ma- . . . I've never heard Maggie's last

name. Do you know who . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I never did hear of her last name, either; yeah.

WALLACE: Where was Maggie's place?

BEAUCHAMP: She was on, uh, off of Washington Street. Uh, a

little old street run through there, uh . . .

WALLACE: What, in the block between Broadway and Clinton on

Washington or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, between Mero and Clinton.

WALLACE: Mero and Clinton, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: There was a little old alleyway there. The name

escapes me now, what the name of that alley was.

WALLACE: Not Gaines Alley, was it?

BEAUCHAMP: No. It was Gaines Alley.

WALLACE: Gaines Alley.


WALLACE: On . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Bowman Gaines had a livery stable there and, uh, for

your laundry.


BEAUCHAMP: Bowman Gaines run that laundry.


BEAUCHAMP: Model Laundry.

WALLACE: Well, I'd heard about Maggie. It was this kind of

place you go in the front door, but you come out the back, or

vice versa.


WALLACE: You don't be seen coming in and going the same two



WALLACE: There's a man by the name of "Doughbelly", or "Uncle


BEAUCHAMP: [Laughing] "Doughbelly" Griffy.

WALLACE: What was his last name?


WALLACE: Griffy?


WALLACE: He ran a . . . a place where you could rent a room,

I guess, if you needed it.

BEAUCHAMP: Never knowed of it, and he never had a home of his

own in his life, I don't guess.

WALLACE: Oh, really? Tell me about . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I knowed him all his life . . . all of my life. He

was a lot older than me.


BEAUCHAMP: No. I ne- . . . now, he worked on the river a whole

lot, and he'd get him up a bunch of money and he'd come in there

and stay drunk till it was all gone and, then, he'd, uh, there

was . . . you see, the Old Home Guard 'round here, old Colonel

Gaines was the head of the Old Home Guard, something like the

National Guard.

WALLACE: Right, yeah. A militia kind of thing.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And old "Doughbelly" was in that, and Wilhelm

was a captain in it.

WALLACE: Now, "Doughbelly" was a white guy?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah, "Doughbelly" was a white guy, and, uh,

Doughbelly . . . now, let's see, "Doughbelly's" name was John.


BEAUCHAMP: John Griffy.

WALLACE: John Griffy.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And, uh, he had one son, and he lived with

this woman. Never was married to her, but they lived together

for years. They had one son. I played with him many a day. We

played together. Maude was her name. And old Campbell Harry was

a barber there on Broadway for years and he'd say, you see old

"Doughbelly" up there, tell him I want to see him. Now, why he

did it and done it, I don't know. He'd send old Dough- . . .

[End of Tape #1, Side #1]

[Begin Tape #1, Side #2]

BEAUCHAMP: . . . little "Doughbelly" went and got it. I guess

he wanted to give "Doughbelly" a beer.

WALLACE: Well, as far as, just since we're on this subject of

prostitution, houses of ill repute, somebody told me about a

place called the Eight Mile House, or Eight Mile High House.

Have you heard of . . .

BEAUCHAMP: The Eight Mile.

WALLACE: The Eight Mile House. Don't know exactly where that

is. Eva Cox.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, she was an old black woman. Now, what she

done, she rented rooms out to people.


BEAUCHAMP: You go down to Eva Cox's and she would get you a


WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And she had a bunch of bulldogs she raised.

WALLACE: I've seen pictures of the building where she, uh,

raised the bulldogs. They said she'd sell baseball tickets, too.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, uh-huh. She would.

WALLACE: Racing tickets and . . .


WALLACE: But she was supposedly not the cleanest of . . . of


BEAUCHAMP: No. I don't guess the old woman ever took a bath in

her life [laughter]. Yeah, Eva Cox.

WALLACE: Was Bottom a violent place?

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, it was. It was a violent place.

WALLACE: Do you remember any specific incidents of violence

that you witnessed?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, the year [1929] they killed my uncle [John

Fallis] up there . . .

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: . . .there was a man killed ever month. Was 12

people killed that year.

WALLACE: One a month almost.

BEAUCHAMP: The way . . . that's what they always say, it would

average one a month.

WALLACE: Why the violence? What . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, it was a situation they was in. We was in the

Depression and, uh, temper flared at the least durn thing, and a

lot of people committed suicide. And I remember Neville Quire.

He killed his wife and cut his throat down there. That was a bad

thing. And, then, old man Blackwell killed his wife and killed

Bill Casey. He lived in a duplex house and he was a sound

sleeper, but he suspicioned that Bill was fooling with his wife.

And there was a . . . this duplex, they had a door that connected

them together.

WALLACE: Uh-huh.

BEAUCHAMP: He set a bucket of water against that door and he got

up the next morning and that bucket was way out in the floor.


BEAUCHAMP: And he loaded up his shotgun and he had, uh, steel

balls. He loaded special shells.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And Bill come out going to the privy. It was up in

the back yard. And he killed him.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And I understand his wife said, "You killed the

onliest man I ever loved", and, by God, he turned around and

killed her.

WALLACE: I had heard about violence in connection with some of

the joints; a person get liquored up and get in a fight or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, there was some terrible tragedies happened on

down there.

WALLACE: Yeah. I had a story about Alex Gordon. Do you know

Alex Gordon?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He was another evil man.

WALLACE: Evil in what sense?


WALLACE: Just . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He knocked a many a poor boy in the head down there

for just because he was mad about something. Just, oh, boy would

come in there . . . he sold whiskey. He had a liquor license.

He'd let them go back there and drink. Boy'd get a little in and

get a cross with him. Hell, he'd just knock him in the head.


BEAUCHAMP: Had a couple of blackjacks or a pistol, hit them over

the head with a pistol. Yeah, he was a evil son-of-a-bitch.

WALLACE: I'd heard where he got in a . . . got in a dispute

with some black guy over some money, I guess it was, and he . . .

BEAUCHAMP: It was over a half a pint of whiskey.

WALLACE: Was it?

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, sir. Alex bought a half a pint of whiskey from

him on credit and he asked Alex to pay him, and, by God, Alex

killed him.

WALLACE: Do you know when that was, by chance?

BEAUCHAMP: I don't remember the year, but that was what it was

all over. But, now, he was another one took part in politics,

somebody running for an office. Now, they didn't do a thing in

the world with him for killing that . . .

WALLACE: Black guy.

BEAUCHAMP: Black guy.

WALLACE: Because he had connections up town that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: It was that damn judge up there. He stopped the

court. Alex went up and talked to him.


BEAUCHAMP: What was that damn judge's name. He wanted a rece .

. . to have a few minutes' recession while he talked to Mr.

Gordon. They was trying him for murder then, and he just

turned him loose. Uh . . .

WALLACE: Do you re . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I'm just trying to think of that black dude's name

is, Will Henry . . . he was a mean nigger. He cut a little rough

with Alex [Will Henry]. Said, "You promised to come pay me and

you didn't do it. I let you have it in good faith" and, uh, Alex

went off and studied about it and, by God, he went down there and

called him to the door and killed him.

WALLACE: So, the black fellow sort of provoked him, in some


BEAUCHAMP: Well, in some, yeah, I guess he did. Alex was a evil

man. My sister-in-law worked out there at that nursing home and

she said that man laid there for two weeks praying to die. He

had one leg off. I tell you an incident. I never did have no

use for the old man, but I'm chicken-hearted. I come by there

and he was sitting in a little old joint he was running. He just

looked like he was in so much misery. I said, "Mr. Gordon, how

you feeling?" He said, "Son, I am awful". Said, "Two days and

nights I've suffered". I said, "Well, is there anything I can do

for you?" He said, "Yeah, if you'd do it, you could take me to

the hospital and I'll get this tube changed". Said, "It's all

stopped up with sugar".

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And I said, "Well, I'll do that." So, I, I helped

him get in my car and took him to the hospital and went and got a

wheelchair and helped him out and took him in there; helped him

up on a table. And there was a young intern come down there and

he pulled that tube out, put another tube in him and, then, God,

he drawed a gallon of durn fluid off of him. Stunk, God, I never

smelled nothing stunk so bad in my life.

WALLACE: So, he was . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I had to get out of there. I was going to vomit

right there in the floor. They got him fixed up and I brought

him back down there, and he says, "That's the most ease I've had

in . . ." and I really didn't like the old man; but he was

suffering and I . . . and I just had to help him.

WALLACE: Help him. Well, some of the people I've talked to

said, yes, there was violence in connection with some of the

joints and . . . but, in most cases, it was not a violent place

in the neighborhoods, as far as people living close to each

other. The blacks and whites got along pretty good.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I mean, old Calhoun, we [laughing] . . . we

growed up together. Hell, we would fight one day, be back the

next day playing together. Uh, his mother fixed us a biscuit and

put a little butter and sprinkled a little sugar on it and give

it to us. And, uh, we . . . we all got along. There was a whole

bunch of them Calhouns. I think there was about eight of them


WALLACE: Yes, there was, as a matter of fact.

BEAUCHAMP: Now, there was one in there, that was George. I

still miss old George. But old George had . . . George had a

evil streak in him. Oh, shit, he [laughing] . . . he'd fight you

in a minute.

WALLACE: Well, the whites . . . I mean, it wasn't an all-black

neighborhood. There were whites living down in there.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. We . . . we were mixed.

WALLACE: Was it mostly poor folk, or were there . . .

BEAUCHAMP: May have . . . we were all just poor, about as poor

as you could get, living from hand to mouth. I tell you, one

time, I was . . . Mother and Daddy had gone to cut some greens to

sell to get some meat to cook part of them. And I was trying to

cook some potatoes there, cook some potatoes for me and my si . .

. little sister. One little sister had died. And somebody said,

"What are you doing, boy?" I said, "I'm trying to fix these damn

'taters for me and my sis." [Laughter] Said, "Well, you got

anything else?" I said, "No, that's all we got." He said,

"Well, you want to come go up to the store with me?" And I said,

"Yeah." And we went up there and he bought us two basket loads

of groceries. I mean bushel basket loads.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And he bought a lot of candy and cakes [laughing]

and, shit on the cooking. Me and my sister and brother flew into

that candy [laughter]. And that milk, he got us a gallon of

milk, and, uh, all [inaudible] was a bunch of stuff. Hell, there

was enough groceries to last two weeks [laughing].

WALLACE: And he just did that out of the goodness of his . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. It was, uh . . . it was Elk's Lodge.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Now, they'd do that there once or twice a year,

they'd come down through there and help us with something. And,

uh, when I got old enough, I joined the Elk's Lodge and it wasn't

nothing like that. Why, shit, all they done was drink and play

cards when I got in there. And I stayed in there about six years

and I never did . . . I attended the meetings and I just never

did see nothing, just drinking and playing cards.

WALLACE: Yeah. They never . . . they had lost their purpose,

I guess, in the . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, well, another generation had it and . . .

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And there was . . . well, one thing, [laughing] one

of them damn Muccis up there was sitting there at the bar and I

was drinking a bottle of beer and he said, "I'll tell you what,

we're just getting too damn much of this riff-raff in here". And

I looked over at that bastard. I thought he was looking right at

me. [Laughter - Wallace] And I said, "Well, here's one

riff-raff will get the Hell out of here."

WALLACE: And so you . . .

BEAUCHAMP: And I quit paying my dues and Walter Rogers come up

to me and he said, Jo, you owe me for six months' dues. I said,

"For what?" He said, "Well, you dropped out of the Elks and

never did turn in your papers where you was demitting; so, we

[are] charging you for a half a year." I said . . . he said,

"I'll give you a paper and you write it down where you're

demitting. And, uh, if you ever want to come back in, why, you

won't have to go through all that investigation and everything".

So, I thought, well, all right. So, I paid him and . . .

WALLACE: Umhumm. Well, let me ask you about that first house

that you bought, the one John Buckner helped you get. Did you

all have indoor plumbing and electric and facilities and . . .

what kind . . .

BEAUCHAMP: We had water in the house. We had a commode. No

bathroom. I put the bathroom in myself. I worked in the pipe

gang at the distillery and I had a little knowledge of plumbing,

and I bought this entire bathtub, the tank, the heater . . .

WALLACE: Umhumm.



BEAUCHAMP: And I put it in myself.

WALLACE: Well, that's . . . a lot of people have told me that

the houses down there, a person would take pride in their home

and try to keep it up; but a lot of cases, they did not have

indoor facilities and didn't . . .


WALLACE: Didn't have . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, that's right. Had outside privies.

WALLACE: Would you really consider the area a slum or . . . or

not? I mean, was it fair to call it a slum?

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, it'd be fair to call it a slum of the town,


WALLACE: But some people would sa- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I hate to say that because . . .

WALLACE: Well, some people say the landlords wouldn't keep up

the places.

BEAUCHAMP: No. No, old Dulin Moss owned, Hell, he owned half of

it down through there and, uh, John Buckner, he owned two or

three houses down there; but John kept his property up.


BEAUCHAMP: But he wanted me to own me a home and he knowed they

was going to take the house I lived in. I didn't know anything

about it at the time, but he did. He had a farsight. He was a

smart man. And when that slum clearance come through there, they

took that side of the street and they took his house. . .

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: That I was living in.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh . . .

WALLACE: So, you were still . . .

BEAUCHAMP: See, I was done out two or three years there and they

had . . . I was fixing up my house. Well, and then they come

down there to taking that. By that time, I'd done built another

house in the back. I had two houses. And they said, "We're

going to give you 40, uh, $4,800 for this property," or maybe it

was $4,200. Anyway, I went ahead and took what the offered me

and the ones that held out got $2,200 more.

WALLACE: Did a lot of them hold out or just . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah, a lot of them held out; but I had a chance

to buy this place with $4,000 down.

WALLACE: Umhumm. So, you had the money from that to . . .


WALLACE: To do it.

BEAUCHAMP: So, I went ahead and paid down on this place and . .


WALLACE: Well, how did you . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Let me show you this check here. I'll show you the

last check that I paid it off.

[Interruption in tape.]

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about that. Since we're on

urban renewal, do you remember how you found out about the urban

renewal, who told you or if you read it or . . . or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, they first started, that distillery, there

was black guys at the distillery, they were pushing it. They

wanted to get rid of it because, uh, Albert Blanton was . . . he

was famous for his burgoo. And we were having a lot of

out-of-state people come there and they had to come right down

through the slums of town to get there.

WALLACE: To get to the distillery.

BEAUCHAMP: And they donated a lot of money to it, to clean it


WALLACE: You mean the distillery donated money to the town to

clean up . . .

BEAUCHAMP: There was a . . . nobody . . . they didn't get no pub

. . . publicity or nothing about it, but I'm sure they did.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And they were wanting to get rid of all them shacks.

I see some pictures there.

WALLACE: Yeah. I've got some pictures of houses. That's

taken in 1913 of houses down by the . . . that's Wilkerson

Street, right back up to the . . . but these are real old. These

are a few years be . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, they certainly are.

WALLACE: A few years before you were born.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I was born in '14 [1914].

WALLACE: Yeah, and this is 1913, most of this, in the pictu .

. .

BEAUCHAMP: Where in the world did you get ahold of these things


WALLACE: Well, the Kentucky Historical Society has old glass

plate photographs. You know, the real old glass ones. And they

made some copies, printed up some copies; and I thought I'd bring

them because I thought maybe they'd be . . . I don't know where

in Bottom these were, but I know they are Bottom.


WALLACE: Or in that section.

BEAUCHAMP: Now, you told about this John Fallis.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: His mother run a whore house and she had her two

daughters [laughing].

WALLACE: Good grief . . . in Frankfort? [Laughter -

Beauchamp] What was his mother's name?

BEAUCHAMP: I don't know. It was back before my time, but I've .

. . now, her house that she built, I've got it right down there

in the shed. I bought it when the slum clearance . . . for $25,

tore it down and moved out there and built that big shed down


WALLACE: Ah. Had her own daughters working for her in a . . .


WALLACE: House of prostitution. Good grief. [Laughter -

Beauchamp] He was an evil [laughing] . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, they were Indians.

WALLACE: Oh, really? They had a . . .


WALLACE: They had Indian . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Hell, they said take all the damn police in Frankfort

to get her in the workhouse when she got drunk and get that damn

shotgun and get out there and shoot some . . . [laughter] They

said she was a mean son-of-a-bitch.

WALLACE: So, her house was down in the Bottom?

BEAUCHAMP: No, sir. It was on Hill Street.

WALLACE: Hill Street.


WALLACE: Let me ask you . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, that was the Bottom, yeah.

WALLACE: Does the Bottom just include Broadway to Mero and

Wilkerson to Ann, or do you go all the way up to Hill Street when

you say Bottom?

BEAUCHAMP: Went to Hill Street.

WALLACE: All the way on up to Hill Street.


WALLACE: Let me ask you more about . . . are you getting

tired? I mean, I . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No, uh-uh. It's very interesting.

WALLACE: I want to talk some more about this urban renewal

thing. When you first heard about they was going to buy up and

tear down, how did you react to it? I mean, you remember how you


BEAUCHAMP: Well, I was pretty upset over it. I didn't want to

leave. I had my home there and I had it paid for.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And I'd worked on it and, uh, had it up like I wanted

it. I had five rooms and a bath. And, uh, it was paid for.

That was the thing now. When me and my wife got that paid for,

we was up there in the Capital Candy Kitchen getting us a choc .

. . chocolate soda, and we had it all. We'd been down to the

Capital Building and Loan and paid it off and we had our deed and

everything. [Laughing] She said, "Well, they might tell us to

get over, but they can't tell us to get out, can they?" I said,

"That's right, it's ours." But they did do it.

WALLACE: Did you . . .

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh . . .

WALLACE: Go ahead.

BEAUCHAMP: This damn Jack Hulette come down there and appraised

the damn thing. It was $4,200.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, they said, "Well, we take you to court, you

might not get this much." So, uh, this place was up for sale and

old Ms. What-you-call-it had it, the real estate, Ms. Rooks.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And she said, "Jo, I got a house that I can let you

have for ten thousand and five hundred dollars. It's out on

McCann Lane. And you'll have to have $4,500 down." Well, I only

had $4,200; so, I went and borrowed . . .

WALLACE: The three.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, and bought it. And there . . . I had to pay

$62 a month.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: On the loan to an outfit in Louisville. And here's

what happened that I paid it off. Louis Rosenstiel had a

insurance policy on ever employee it had. Now, I knowed it, but

I didn't let nobody else know it, that I had this policy. And he

called all them policies in and paid us all off; just give it to

us. Give me $4,000.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And I took that $4,000 and paid off this house.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Now, it was a little over . . . that was the last


WALLACE: It took care of it.

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, sir.

WALLACE: Did you go to any of the public hearings that they

had when the project was first announced, back in, I guess it was

'58? John Gerard was mayor.


WALLACE: And they had a bunch of hearings; one at the

courthouse and one at Mayo-Underwood and . . .


WALLACE: Did you go to any of them?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Didn't do a damn bit of good. They'd done

robbed us.

WALLACE: What did they say at the meetings? I mean, what were

they telling people?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, uh, well, I'll tell you what they told me.

"We're going to take it. We're going to give you so much. And

if you go to court, you might not even get that." And, uh, I

listened to them and I bought this place and took what they

offered me. That woman right next door, she said, "They're going

to play Hell doing me that away. I'll just walk out without

nothing before I'll let them tell me what to do." And she got

$2,200 . . . didn't . . . I had two houses. She just had one old

shack and she got $2,200 more than I did.

WALLACE: For holding out.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And ever[y] one of them that held out got


WALLACE: Well, what kinds of questions did the people raise at

these meetings? What kind of issues did they ask the leaders who

were pushing this project? Do you remember what kind of comments

were made?

BEAUCHAMP: "We're going to clean up the slums of the town and

make it a better . . ." It seemed like to me that, uh, it was

all started up in Washington, "Beautify America".

WALLACE: Mm-mmm.

BEAUCHAMP: They did Cincinnati the same way. They cleaned up.

I don't know where in the world all them people went to.

WALLACE: So, this was . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Down there where old Crosley Field was at.

WALLACE: Did that happen about the same time that, uh . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yes. All happened, all this shit, beauty. "Beautify


WALLACE: Um-humm. Let me, uh . . . there was a petition that

was circulated by a lot of the homeowners down there to try and

stop this thing. Do you remember that?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: Did you sign it, or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

WALLACE: But it didn't seem to do no good.

BEAUCHAMP: No good at all. They just crammed it down our

throats and did what they wanted to do.

WALLACE: Some people paid money and they got a couple of

lawyers to try and stop it.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They're the ones that held out and got more

money, but they had to pay a lot more to them lawyers.

WALLACE: Yeah. Do you remember who the lawyers were or

anything about it?

BEAUCHAMP: No, I don't. Uh-uh.

WALLACE: You didn't contribute toward that.

BEAUCHAMP: No, un-uh. I just went ahead and took the $4,200 and

. . . and I had a chance to get this place and we come out there

and looked it over and . . . and, uh, the man says, "Well, we're

just tired of living out here and we want to move to town and . .


WALLACE: Uh-huh.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, boy, when we got in here, the fella next door

come over and said, "Well, did you buy it?" I said, "Yes, sir.

Done paid for it and everything." He said, "Did he tell you

anything about your cistern?"

WALLACE: Oh, no.

BEAUCHAMP: I said, "No." He said, [laughing] "It won't hold

water. It's cracked." Well, you couldn't put over two loads in

it. If you did, it all run out.


BEAUCHAMP: Well, he said, "He told me that." He said, "You'll

have city water. You'll have city water here by August." This

was in, uh, September.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: The next August, they'll have city water. We had

city water 20 years later.

WALLACE: [Laughing] Do you think real estate agents in town

were making a lot of money relocating those people that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Why, certainly, they were.


BEAUCHAMP: They certainly were. Hell, they got fat on that


WALLACE: Well, that's what I . . . one of the thoughts I had,

that there were people making money from this relocation process.

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, they were.

WALLACE: Did you get any kind of assistan . . . they . . .

somebody told me they would give payments to people to relocate,

to help them move their stuff. Did you get any?

BEAUCHAMP: I got $40 for moving.


BEAUCHAMP: That's all I got. They allowed me $40, and my

brother-in-law went and got a truck and we all moved ourselves.

[Laughing] So, that . . .

WALLACE: Huh. Come out okay on that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. That $40 . . .

WALLACE: Well, you talked about the appraisal like you felt

like it wasn't a fair appraisal or, or . . . did they ever come

into your house to do these . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, he come down there and went all through it.

WALLACE: They were supposed to do three appraisals, three

different appraisers.

BEAUCHAMP: Nobody but Jack Hulette and I never did like the

bastard [laughter] . . . Yes, sir. Appraised me some more. I

thought I ought . . . should have got $6,000.

WALLACE: But you were out of there by 1960?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. I moved here in September of 1960.

WALLACE: Sixty. [1960]

BEAUCHAMP: September the first. We went down to . . . oh, what

. . . him and his wife both were lawyers. They were handling it

down there. What in the world was his name? She died and he's

still in law practice, I guess. There in McClure Building.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: They were handling it.

WALLACE: Well, how did the blacks down there feel about all


BEAUCHAMP: Well, they felt like they was getting robbed, too.

Them boys, that was the general opinion of all of us. And I . .

. I felt bad about it. I was years before I still . . . then, uh

. . .

WALLACE: A lot of them have told me they were led to believe

that you could buy back down there, that they were going to clean

everything out and, if you wanted to move back down in there,

they were going to build houses in there and you could buy back

into . . .

BEAUCHAMP: That was not true. That wasn't true.

WALLACE: Didn't work that way, that's . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No, it didn't.

WALLACE: That's for sure. Did you have any dealings with

Charles R. Perry or Frank Lewis or any of those guys that were

employed by the slum commission?

BEAUCHAMP: There was one big old feller. I don't remember what

his name was. He come in here working with them. Oh, he was a

fast talker and trying to tell you all what a big deal it was.

And I'm sure that he got fat out of the deal, too.


BEAUCHAMP: They was a lot of rip-off went on in there. Now, I'm

going to tell you that. Wilkerson Street School didn't have a

window light in it, no heating. They hadn't had nothing in there

in five years. There was some old wino was living in there.

There'd been no school there, Mayo-Underwood School.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: They gave them $100,000 for that damn school. Now,

you think somebody didn't get paid off out of that deal?

WALLACE: A hundred thousand for the Wilkinson Street or for


BEAUCHAMP: Well, that was Mayo-Underwood School, yeah.


BEAUCHAMP: Then, the damn thing, they'd done broke all the

window lights out and they'd done stole all the plumbing and sold

it for junk.

WALLACE: Yeah. Mayo-Underwood. I've seen pictures after the

window lights were broken out.


WALLACE: I hadn't seen any pictures . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, that's the story I heard. They gave them

$100,000 for that. Well, they went right on up the street. The

Baptist Church, Corinthian Baptist Church.


BEAUCHAMP: Okay, they offered them $25,000 for it. No, they

offered them $50,000 for it and Atlanta rejected it and offered

them 25 [$25,000].

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, they went to court with them. It was

Chancellors [Sarah and Chat Chancelor], that lawyer I'm trying to

think about.

WALLACE: Ah, Chancellors.

BEAUCHAMP: So, I was summonsed on the jury. And why he let me

sit on that jury, knowing that I was so bitterly against them.

Now, the deal was they were offered $25,000 and they went to

court with them. And I was on the jury and here come old Friday

up there and shook hands with me. I said, "Man, this is the

worst thing you ever done." And I said, "I'm going to get

throwed off that jury."

WALLACE: That's right. Yeah.

BEAUCHAMP: But they didn't. They let me go . . . well, heard

all of the evidence and this and that and what had been offered

and what the . . . well, they don't have church there no more and

it was all dilapidated and everything, and we give them a good

price at $25,000. Well, we went back there in that room and sat

down. One feller said, "Well, I think $25,000 is fair enough."

Come over to the next person and they said, "Well, what do you

think about it?" And, uh, he said, "Well, it sounds pretty

good." Well, I was the next person. I said, "It don't sound

worth a damn to me." I said, "They . . . the first offer was

$50,000 and I think that is a fair price for them people." I

said, "$50,000 won't even put in the front door in another

church; or 25,000, rather."


BEAUCHAMP: I say we give them people $50,000 like the first

offer. Charley Crockett was sitting next to me and he said, and,

then, "I'll go along with Jo." And we picked up another one

going around. And it went around three or four times and got to

be a unanimous decision of $50,000. And, uh, ever time I go by

there . . . now, that church is over on Second and Murray Street.

WALLACE: Murray, yeah. I know exactly where it is.


WALLACE: I parked out there the other day.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, I think, well, I had a part in that church.

WALLACE: In that, saving it. Well, which judge was hearing

those cases? Do you remember which one it was?


WALLACE: It wasn't Meigs, was it?

BEAUCHAMP: Meigs. Could have been. I was thinking about the

judge before him that died with the cancer of the throat. But I,

I'm pretty sure it was Meigs.

WALLACE: Meigs, yeah. Because I'd like to go look at some of

those old court records and see how some of those people came out

on their cases, you know. If they all did as good as your

neighbor did, you know, getting the extra couple of thousand or .

. .

BEAUCHAMP: They's one got $2,200 more. She was a widow woman

that lived . . . well, there was a house in between us. Her name

was Updike.

WALLACE: Well, what happened to those people after they got .

. .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, they . . .

WALLACE: Had to leave; did they just scatter everywhere or . .


BEAUCHAMP: Know where Blanton Acres is?


BEAUCHAMP: They went down there and bought her a house.


BEAUCHAMP: And give her that, uh, $62,000 [$6,200] in on it. Of

course, that didn't pay for the whole thing; but, man, I mean she

had a five rooms, three bedrooms, a bath, brick.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Wilana Updike.

WALLACE: Wilana?


WALLACE: Is John Updike her boy?

BEAUCHAMP: No. John Updike was, uh, her husband's uncle.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: You heard of John Updike?

WALLACE: City commissioner, right?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, that's a different one. I think maybe he was a



BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, he was, he's connected to that . . . I believe

that was Irvin, one of Irvin's boys.

WALLACE: Well, who's the John Updike you were thinking of; not

the City commissioner?

BEAUCHAMP: John Updike was, uh, her husband's uncle.

WALLACE: Oh, okay. Okay. Well, I . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, wait a minute. John Updike was her husband's

daddy. The uncle was Bill Updike and Roach Updike. That was a


WALLACE: Well, let me be sure I'm with you on one thing. You

think this whole slum clearance thing came about because of

Washington, D. C. and the drive to clean up America?


WALLACE: And, uh, I've heard people say they thought it was

because the city fathers wanted that land down there to develop

for other purposes rather than for housing, uh, for the residents

down there. I've heard that reason given. Henry Sanders, do you

know Henry?


WALLACE: He said he thought it was because the black gals

worked in the white homes and the white ladies in the League of

Women's Voters did a survey in that whole area down there in

1954, found out that there was crime and disease and everything,

and they wanted the area cleaned up because these black women

were coming and working in their homes and they didn't want any

diseases or nothing brought in there.

BEAUCHAMP: That's not true.

WALLACE: You don't think that's . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. I don't think there's a ounce of truth in it. I

know Henry. Henry's a good friend of mine. I . . . it was

Robert, his twin brother.


BEAUCHAMP: I think as much of them as my own blood kin. We went

to Cincinnati time and time again to ball games together. Uh, I

. . . now, that was just his own idea.

WALLACE: Yeah, that was his own . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I disagree with him.

WALLACE: Talking about ball games, do you remember a "Black

Cat" Graham?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: Pitching ball for the Frankfort . . . what was it,

Frankfort Merchants or Frankfort Mechanics, or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, my God. Them were really . . . had some good

ball players.

WALLACE: Sure did.

BEAUCHAMP: That . . . that "Black Cat", man, he had a fast ball.

Yeah, and I . . .

WALLACE: Do you remember any of the other good ball players

that were . . .


WALLACE: What were some of the others?

BEAUCHAMP: "Monkeyback" was shortstop.

WALLACE: "Monkeyback"?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, "Monkeyback". Now, I'll tell you,

"Monkeyback's" name in a minute, but we all . . . [laughing]

Hell, he done passed. Oh, Sanders. "Monkeyback" was . . . name

was Sanders. It could have been Jack or it could have been Roy.

He had two sons, and I believe his name was Jack Sanders, and we

all called him "Monkeyback". And they had a good . . . another

good pitcher. He was a left-hander. He left here when he was a

young man. But I'd say we was broke . . . if they broke that

colored line when "Black Cat" was in his prime, they would have

give him a contract.

WALLACE: Yeah. He was that good.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, he was a . . . he was outstanding.

WALLACE: They say one of the big social things was on a Sunday

afternoon or whenever the team was playing, is go out and watch

the ball games.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. That . . . that was the big, main

entertainment around here then. Uh . . .

WALLACE: They play the Lexington Hustlers.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, boy. The Lexington Police. Now, that

Lexington Police had a good team, too; and we had another good

pitcher here by the name of Jack Long.

WALLACE: Jack Long.

BEAUCHAMP: Great big fellow.

WALLACE: White boy or black?

BEAUCHAMP: He was white.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And he pitched against blacks. Now, he

pitched . . . that prison over there, they had a heck of a good

team in prison; and Jack Long got a job as a prison guard on the

strength to come and pitch for this team in prison.

WALLACE: You mean, they hired him just because he's such a

good pitcher?

BEAUCHAMP: Pitcher, yeah.

WALLACE: They wanted to bring him in on it. Ha.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Yes, sir. And he come here as a prison guard

and he got that job because he was a good pitcher, so he could

pitch for that prison team. And they almost had a killing over

there; so, they . . . these, uh, boys up here, was about three of

them . . . their names were, uh, we all called them "Frenchie"

[LaFontaine] but their names were. They, uh, back in before

prohibition, they run a saloon there. What in the world was

their names? Huh. Well, the name escapes me right now, but we

all called them Frenchies. They had a ball club and all three of

them boys . . . well, it's like Muddi- . . . Muddich got to the

minor leagues in professional ball.


BEAUCHAMP: Why Jack Long never did make the majors I'll never

know. He struck his . . . he'd strike out 20 men in a game.

WALLACE: Umhumm. Well, people have told me that the games

were an opportunity to . . . to meet friends, or you could go and

buy some bootleg hooch.

BEAUCHAMP: Umhumm. [laughing]

WALLACE: And gamble on the teams and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: That was a big thing. Now, my uncle, John Fallis,

right . . . you know where you turn in to Stagg Distillery down



BEAUCHAMP: Well, right across the road was our ball park.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And he managed the Kentucky River [Mills] team, and

they were going to play the Service Motor Company, which was them

"Frenchie" [LaFontaine] boys. And, uh, Uncle Johnny had a lot of

money bet on that game. When game time come, out come the team

and here was a pitcher and catcher nobody'd ever seen or heard of

before; and they come over there and said, "Why, that ain't your

pitcher and catcher." He [John Fallis] said, "Yes, they are. I

hired them last night." [Laughter - Wallace] He called

Louisville and told them to send him a pitcher and catcher; he'd

pay them $100 apiece. And Uncle Johnny cleared $500 on the deal.


BEAUCHAMP: Well, they got two or three little old scratch hits

off that pitcher. Never got a run.

WALLACE: [Laughing] He was a regular they brought in just for

that purpose.


WALLACE: When was that Kentucky River team playing, back in

the twenties?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They called it the KRM, Kentucky River Mills.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, and, uh, "Frenchie's" [LaFontaine] team was

Service Motor Company.

WALLACE: A lot of people speak of . . .

BEAUCHAMP: LaFontaine, that was their name, LaFontaine.

WALLACE: LaFontaine. Ah, okay. Okay.

BEAUCHAMP: There's three brothers of them; maybe, could have

been four, but I know there was three.

WALLACE: Umhumm. Did you play ball yourself?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. I never was very good, though. I . . . I

never could make it . . . the first team.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And, so, we got up a second team and, uh, [laughing]

we was wanting to get in a league and we got a team, and the

weakest team in the league, we got a game with and they beat us

18 to 1. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Oh, no. [Laughing]

BEAUCHAMP: So, that broke up the second team. No, I just never

could make the team. I . . . I could hit very well, but I

misjudged a lot of balls. They said it was because I needed


WALLACE: Glasses. Ah.

BEAUCHAMP: And I never could get them and . . .

WALLACE: As a young man, you probably couldn't afford them.

BEAUCHAMP: No, I just couldn't afford them.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about some of the . . . I've got

names of people that, uh, were business owners and politically

powerful men and . . .

[End of Tape #1, Side #2]

[Begin Tape #2, Side #1]

WALLACE: . . . chew on it. [Laughter]

BEAUCHAMP: Whoa, me and Calvin and all of us, we got the whammy

on it, come in there and run us out. [Laughter]

WALLACE: Well, it hadn't done too good; it really hasn't.

BEAUCHAMP: No, it hasn't.

WALLACE: The Tiger Inn, did . . . now, is that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, that was, uh, predominantly a black restaurant.

WALLACE: Umhumm. Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, you couldn't go . . . a white person couldn't go

in there and sit down and eat.

WALLACE: You weren't welcome, really.

BEAUCHAMP: No. He'd tell you, "I'll serve you, but you got to

take your food and leave." He was a little old hump-backed

fellow that run it.

WALLACE: Ewen Atkins, right?

BEAUCHAMP: Atkins, right. I was trying to think of his name.

His name was Atkins.

WALLACE: Do you remember, did you ever go in there at all?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I've went in there and got sandwiches and left.

WALLACE: Yeah. What did it look like on the inside, do you .

. .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, it was . . . it was very nice. He kept an

orderly place. Well, I guess you in his race, you could call it

a high-class restaurant.

WALLACE: A lot of blacks speak of it very fondly.


WALLACE: Say it was a place for school kids to go get food, or

listen to a juke box or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Right. Wasn't no whites. You just couldn't go in

there. You could go in there and get a sandwich and get it and

leave, which I never did . . . why, I have went in there a time

or two and got a sandwich, because I knowed how old Atkins was

and I didn't like the old bastard and I didn't go around him.


WALLACE: You remember Jack Robb?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, uh-huh. I remember his daddy, Robb's Funeral


WALLACE: Home, exactly.


WALLACE: I don't know very much about Robb. They're supposed

to be very fair-skinned. You couldn't hardly tell they was

black, if you didn't know they was black, you know. He wa- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, he had a sister. I think she went off from here

and passed herself off as white.

WALLACE: Oh, really?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Yeah, they were . . . their mother was that a

way. What . . . she was mixed up. Probably her daddy was a

white man.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: You take a real African nigger, he's going to be


WALLACE: Yeah. So . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, you . . . Calhoun. Now, he's a real African

nigger. He's got that pointed butt.


BEAUCHAMP: You could take the prettiest nigger woman in the

world and you look at her cheeks, and she's going to have that

pointed butt.

WALLACE: Well, the Robbs are people that, uh, get mentioned

very favorably by some of the blacks, particularly Jack, who was

an entertainer and sort of popular with the blacks and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, he was a . . . played the piano.

WALLACE: Yeah, played the piano. That was his . . . "Frog"

Woods [Huston K. Woods].

BEAUCHAMP: Right. [Laughing] "Frog" Woods run a grocery down

there on Mero Street.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And, then, they later moved around on Wilkinson

Street. He had a heart attack and they told him to get out of

the grocery business and he sold out to Nelson Barber with the

understanding that he wouldn't start another grocery, but he did.

He started one right on Wilkinson Street.

WALLACE: What . . . where Wilkinson and Mero run in together?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, they criss-cross, now.


BEAUCHAMP: Wilkinson Street run this a way and wh- . . . crossed

it that way.

WALLACE: Umhumm. And he had one on the corner of Wilkinson

and Mero? Is that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. It was just about on the corner. There was

one house between it. I was . . .

WALLACE: Do you know when that place . . . when he was there

in business, that one?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, let's see. In the forties [1940s].

WALLACE: In the forties [1940s].

BEAUCHAMP: So, that would be when he moved around there.

WALLACE: What was his real name? Was it "Frog"? I mean . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. By gosh, it wasn't "Frog"; [laughing] but I

never did know his real name.

WALLACE: Well, why did they call him "Frog"? Does he have a

deep voice, maybe, like a frog, or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, he . . . I've heard him called "Frog" Woods all

of his life. I never did know what . . .

WALLACE: What . . . seems like having a nickname was real

important. Almost everybody had some sort of nickname. Did you

have a nickname?

BEAUCHAMP: No. I've always been Jo. Uh, uh, no, I didn't have

no nickname.

WALLACE: Alonzo Lewis [Alonzo A. Lewis], you re- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah; run a grocery down there for years.

WALLACE: He got bought out by a guy by the name of Butch, uh .

. .

BEAUCHAMP: Christopher. No. No, it wasn't Butch Christopher.

Uh, now, what in the world was his name? There was two of them

went in there together, and he got to fooling with a woman and

got her pregnant and . . . and they just . . . finally, their

wives made them sell out and leave. And, uh . . .

WALLACE: Well, those little bitty groceries, did they just . .

. what did they carry? I mean . . .

BEAUCHAMP: They just sprang up. People was just trying to make

. . . do something to make some liv- . . . make a living, and

they couldn't provide. The first, uh, serve-yourself market I

remember in Frankfort was Piggly Wiggly.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: On St. Clair Street. No, Main Street.


BEAUCHAMP: On Main Street. And these supermarkets come in here

and they just . . . people got to going to them. Well . . .

WALLACE: About all the places we're talking about, just little

bitty mom-and-pop places where they served you, wasn't it? They

waited on you.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. I worked in them for five years.

WALLACE: Oh. Which one did you work in?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I worked in that one on Wilkinson Street, Ms.

Felix Poole [Felix P. Poole].

WALLACE: Felix . . .


WALLACE: Poole, okay. I never heard of it.

BEAUCHAMP: I worked there for a couple of years.

WALLACE: What were you doing for her?

BEAUCHAMP: I was delivering groceries. Now, nobody had any

phones. You had to go to the house . . . we had a little pad . .

. and write down what you wanted and go back and fill the order

and bring it back to them.

WALLACE: Did you get a little tip or something for . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. No, they wasn't no such thing as a tip. I got

$7 a week, for six days and a half work.

WALLACE: How old were you when you were working them?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, I would say I was, uh, uh, probably . . . I told

you I went to work . . . I wasn't but about 15 years old when I

went to work at, at the hemp factory. I was probably about 17

years old. And, then, uh, I worked over in South Frankfort in

another grocery over there delivering groceries and going around

and getting it. It's like you said. And he went broke and Ms.

Poole sold out; but, before that, Roosevelt started that CCC's

and I quit her and went to the CCC.

WALLACE: CC. Do you remember Triplett's Grocery [Eugene P.


BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: Now, they were over at St. Clair and Mero, wasn't it?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, the one I'm thinking about was out on Holmes

Street, out in Thornhill; Triplett.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: There were so many little groceries right in there.

WALLACE: It seemed like they sprang up . . .

BEAUCHAMP: The Marshall's Grocery, do you have any record on


WALLACE: No. Where was that?

BEAUCHAMP: It was on, uh, St. Clair Street right back down next

to hill.

WALLACE: Next to Hill Street?

BEAUCHAMP: No. Next to the hill. See, St. Clair Street run

clear through there right into the hill, and they were . . . he

was back down in there.

WALLACE: Was that "Tubba" Marshall or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No, uh, no, "Tubba" Marshall, he worked on the

railroad. He never did have no grocery. All he had was a bunch

of kids.


BEAUCHAMP: Uh, he married an Indian woman. Now, she wasn't

American Indian. She was from . . . her descendants were from



BEAUCHAMP: As I understand it, and she had . . . [laughing] I

was working out here in this pawn shop and this girl come in.

And I said, "Honey, I don't know what your name is now; but I

know you sure got Marshall in you." She said, "How would you

know that?" I said, "Where you think you got that pretty face

from?" Had a beautiful face. She was a . . . dark skinned. Not

real dark, but had the prettiest face.

WALLACE: And she was . . . had Marshall in her?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Marshall was her granddaddy.


BEAUCHAMP: "Tubba" Marshall.

WALLACE: Do you remember Nell Sullivan's grocery?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, umhumm.

WALLACE: Where was Nell's?

BEAUCHAMP: Wilkinson Street.

WALLACE: Street.

BEAUCHAMP: And, later on, she was on Washington Street.

WALLACE: Yeah. All of these places were pretty small

operations . . .


WALLACE: . . . weren't they?

BEAUCHAMP: Uh-huh. What held them up was credit.

WALLACE: How did that work?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, they would credit you from one week to another,

and, uh, a lot of them over there in that south side of town . .

. now, that one I worked over there would run a man, state

worker, from month to month till he could get his check.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, you could bet when the administration

changed and they lost their job, you was going to get cheated out

of that month's rent. He's go up there and the house would be

empty. They'd done moved out and gone. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Moved out, gone.

BEAUCHAMP: Went on back home.

WALLACE: Well, Bryant's, do you remember Bryant's?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Bryant's Grocery. Umhumm.

WALLACE: Bob Dreyer . . . Dreyer.

BEAUCHAMP: Bob Dreyer, he was on St. Clair Street, run a dru- .

. . now, that was Ms. Freda Dreyer's daddy.

WALLACE: Oh, okay. The one you told me about was teaching



WALLACE: Yeah. What about the Kozy Korner Restaurant, used to

be the Red Brick?

BEAUCHAMP: Kozy Korner. [Chuckled]

WALLACE: Corner of Washington and Clinton. Haydon's Beer


BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Uh-huh.

WALLACE: You remember Haydon's?

BEAUCHAMP: Old Bill Haydon. Now, there was an evil son-of-a-


WALLACE: He was a policeman, though, wasn't he?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, and he killed three men [while] on the police


WALLACE: Killed three men on the old . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, sir.

WALLACE: Well, wh- . . . why did he do that?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, one was old "Doughbelly", was a bad nigger.


BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, he went down there. They called him. He

was down there tearing up a damn joint, right there at the tunnel

where Snelling's at right now. You know?

WALLACE: Yeah. Okay.

BEAUCHAMP: And he went down there and just went down there and

killed him. He said, "Hell, he was going to have to kill him

anyway; wasn't no use beating around the bush."

WALLACE: So, Haydon went down there and killed . . . who was


BEAUCHAMP: Old "Doughbelly".

WALLACE: Not the Dough- . . . not the Frankfort one?

BEAUCHAMP: No. This is . . . this was a black man.

WALLACE: Oh, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: People used to scare their children by him. "You

don't come in here, I'm going to call 'Doughbelly'".


BEAUCHAMP: He was high evil, old "Doughbelly" was. And Haydon

just went down . . . and, then, they . . . he got a call one time

and . . . on the corner of Washington and Broadway. There was a

fellow up there shooting up the damn place, and he come down them

steps and Haydon shot him . . .

WALLACE: Without even . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He was . . . already had a pistol in his hand,

shooting him. All in self defense.

WALLACE: Yeah. Well, he ran that Beer Garden. They said that

"Black Cat" worked for him for a while.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, he did. They had, uh, "Black Cat" run it for

them and it was all blacks that went in there. Then, later on,

Alex Gordon run it from him . . . run it.

WALLACE: Did they still call it the Beer Garden then, or did

they change the name on it?

BEAUCHAMP: Umm, uh, Beer Garden, yeah. And, then, old "Twenty

Grand", you never have brought him up.

WALLACE: Yeah. I . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He got it and he changed it to Blue Moon.

WALLACE: The Blue Moon.


WALLACE: Describe the place to me, will you, if you've seen


BEAUCHAMP: Well, it's just a . . . just a joint, a beer joint.

Now, that old rascal would fill up a couple of cases of beer

bottles with water. And he had these girls in there, and they'd

cap it off. Go out, ask a guy, "Buy me a beer." Get a beer . .

. damn bottle of water. Charging them a quarter right on.


WALLACE: And, then, he gets to keep the money . . .


WALLACE: And the girls probably got a little bit of something.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, they got a little kickback. I don't know

whatever they had. Maybe they got a date. They could go out and

fill a date. Most time, they wanted to get that date and take

them down to Ida Howard and rent a room.

WALLACE: Umm. And, uh, probably, "Twenty Grand" maybe got

some of that action, too, for setting it up, huh? What was his

real . . . does anybody know his real name?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Harvey Sarven.

WALLACE: Harvey Sarven.


WALLACE: Now, was Grace his wife or . . .



BEAUCHAMP: She was his legal wife.

WALLACE: I didn't know if they ever married. I thought it was

common law.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They married.

WALLACE: And the stories on her are pretty wild, too. She . .


BEAUCHAMP: Well, [laughing] . . .

WALLACE: Cigar-smoking.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, she smoked a cigar and she, uh, kept them girls

in line around there.


BEAUCHAMP: Nothing went on unless she approved it. She'd sit

there with that cigar in her mouth, [laughing] Now, shit, old

"Twenty Grand" smoked them cigars and he got her to smoking



BEAUCHAMP: At one time, she was a fairly decent looking woman,

and a good-hearted one. Wasn't nothing evil about Grace, till

she got in with old "Twenty".

WALLACE: Well, when did "Twenty" get his place up and going,

about what time?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, he . . . they sent him down to . . . from

Ashland, Kentucky to the penitentiary.

WALLACE: Do you know when he was in the pen?

BEAUCHAMP: It was, uh, in the thirties [1930s].

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And old man Sullivan, he was a good chair-maker. He

worked in the chair factory over there in the penitentiary. And

old man Sullivan had to leave. They put the chair factory out of

the penitentiary.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And he got a lot of them fellows out of the

penitentiary, and old "Twenty" was one of them. He was a good

chair man. And he told me . . . I was kind of a jackleg

carpenter. I couldn't call myself a carpenter because I wasn't

that good, but I could get by. Uh, I built my two sheds down

there and I remodeled a lot of stuff, and I remodeled them houses

I had down on Wilkinson Street; but I was still kind of a

jackleg. He told me, said, "Jo, I can rent that building over

there. If you'll get in there and help me, I'll get some lumber

and I'm going to start a beer joint and you'll have a place to

hang around." I wasn't married them days. So, I got in there

and built a bar and I partitioned the place off, put up

latticework where you could be up here at the bar and back in

there was tables and a Victrola.

WALLACE: You were doing that for "Twenty Grand"?



BEAUCHAMP: And he was working over at the chair factory all the

time, and he named it the Blue Moon.

WALLACE: Why Blue Moon, what . . . do you know why he called

it . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, he just wanted to name it that.


BEAUCHAMP: And he run that and worked at the chair . . . at . .

. and, then, he sold it and went out on the Louisville Road.

And, by that time, he'd done quit the chair factory and he was

running that place out on the Louisville Road and he got me one

night and told me to come in there. And said, "I'll give you $3

if you'll come out and tend bar for me tonight." And I went out

to tend bar for nothing. [I had] All I wanted of that.

[Laughter] I give one woman the wrong beer and she wanted to

whup me. [Laughter] And two or three more, something happened.

I had a dozen damn fights and I said, "Well, when I leave here,

that's all of it." [Laughing]

WALLACE: All you needed. So, he was running the Blue Moon in

the twenties [1920s]?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, and he come down, back down in the Bottom where

the Beer Garden was and he took that over, and he run that for

years and years.

WALLACE: But you don't know when he was running that, do you,

by chance?

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, it was in the thirties [1930s].

WALLACE: Thirties [1930s].

BEAUCHAMP: It . . . well, it was '37 [1937] I took him out of


WALLACE: Oh, when the flood came.

BEAUCHAMP: When the flood come in, yeah. I went in there and

the water was bouncing up through the floor. I said . . . I had

a footboat up to the door and I got . . . I had on boots and I

waded in there. I said, "'Twenty', you better get out of here."

He said, "Jo, it's going to ruin me. I'm going to lose

everything." I said, "Well, move everything . . . of any value

upstairs. Surely to goodness, it won't get that high." And, uh

. . .

WALLACE: It probably did get that high, of course.

BEAUCHAMP: No, it didn't get up that far. It, uh, it got right

up pretty durn close, but they saved the beer and the cash

registers and the ice boxes, and . . .

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, the motors off the ice box is what they took

loose and took upstairs. And, uh, but he was no good. He, he

was . . . he got worse as the years went by.

WALLACE: They said he'd knock . . . get boys liquored up and

get them knocked in the head and roll them for . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Rob them, yeah. I seen him one time roll a fellow,

and he didn't know I seen him. He come up there and said, "I

wish I could get somebody to take that old man home." Said,

"He's going to get rolled in here and he'll . . . he's going to

get rolled and he'll say he got rolled in here." And he'd done

got him.

WALLACE: All ready.

BEAUCHAMP: And this girl told me that "Twenty" got $300 off of


WALLACE: Oh. Well, was it only local fellows that would go

into these places, or did they come from . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, they come from all over the country. We have

somebody come in here and want to know where they could have a

good time and have a little fun and they'd wound up down there in

the Bottom.

WALLACE: The Bottom.

BEAUCHAMP: Come from Lawrenceburg and Versailles and

Shelbyville. Of course, Lexington had their own crime place.

[Laughter] And, uh, Shelbyville. But, you know, most all them

durn girls down there come from Pineville, Kentucky.

WALLACE: You mean the girls that was making . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Prostitutes.

WALLACE: Pine- . . . well, why from Pineville?

BEAUCHAMP: I don't know.

WALLACE: I'd heard there was two sisters come down out of the

mountains that, uh, was working the trade. And I don't know if

that's "Mountain" Mary or who that was.

BEAUCHAMP: Did I tell you old "Mountain" Mary died about a year


WALLACE: You'd mentioned she'd passed away.

BEAUCHAMP: Eighty-four years old.

WALLACE: Uh, there was Maude Boston.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Tell me about her.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, shit, she was a booger. Yeah. She was old when

she come here. She had a lot of girls work . . . working for

her, kept a house . . .

WALLACE: Was that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: . . . of ill repute.

WALLACE: Was that in the Bottom?

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, yeah. Uh, I used to feel sorry for her some.

Everybody talked about Maude Boston. "Why, yeah, I knowed that

old whore."

WALLACE: Oh, and he'd have to . . .

BEAUCHAMP: And Johnny [Boston] standing there and I just felt so

sorry for him.

WALLACE: Johnny Boston.


WALLACE: They've all . . . all those people have gone on,

haven't they?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: Is there any of those people left that I could talk

to that wouldn't feel awkward talking to me, you think, about the

joints or the places or the houses? Estill Smith's still around

they tell me.

BEAUCHAMP: Now, he run a place up there, Peachtree Inn, for



BEAUCHAMP: But I don't know how . . . Estill lives in Florida a

lot. I understand he got a cancerous throat now.

WALLACE: Oh, I didn't know that.

BEAUCHAMP: Umm, I don't know how true that is. I just heard it


WALLACE: They say Alex Gordon's daughter, Patsy Harp, is still


BEAUCHAMP: Never did know her.

WALLACE: Yeah. Uh, but, as far as all the ladies of the

night, they're all gone.

BEAUCHAMP: Died with screaming meemies. [Laughter] Syphllis

and . . .

WALLACE: All kinds of . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Delirium tremors. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Tremors. Well, let me . . . I've got some other

places you might, uh, have knowledge of. You know where that

American Legion building, the big three-story, cut stone building

at the corner of Clinton and Washington?


WALLACE: Uh, they used to have a Washington Tea Room in there.

I've heard of that place.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Well, that what you call it . . . run the

Tiger Inn, he run it there.

WALLACE: Oh, okay. That was his . . .

BEAUCHAMP: That was all black, that America- . . . black

American Legion.

WALLACE: Legion, yeah.


WALLACE: That was supposedly one of the better buildings down

there. It was supposed to be fine.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, it was. It was a stone building.


BEAUCHAMP: And that Nell Sullivan you were talking about, she

run a grocery store in there.

WALLACE: Ah, I didn't know that.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. She run a grocery store in there.

WALLACE: I'd heard they had a pharmacy in there years ago

called The People's Pharmacy.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, it could have been back before my time.

WALLACE: Uh-huh. Yeah. And the blacks, uh . . .

BEAUCHAMP: The oldest pharmacy I remember, it was the Frankfort

Drug Company. And . . .

WALLACE: Yeah. Was that Main and St. Clair?


WALLACE: All those are gone. Now, they got a restaurant in

there now. I'm sure you've heard of that. They put a restaurant

in that old Frankfort Drug Company building.

BEAUCHAMP: They did?

WALLACE: Yeah. Yeah. It just opened up about a couple of

months ago; but, when I first came here . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Wonder who's running it.

WALLACE: I don't know. I don't know the man's name.

BEAUCHAMP: Another restaurant. That's been . . . that's been

how long? It was ever so long since I've been down through


WALLACE: Well, it's . . . it's the one right at the corner

across from where Mucci's used to be. Remember Mucci's?

BEAUCHAMP: I know well. We, uh . . . my sister took a medicine.

Murray Brawner. He was not a registered pharmacy [pharmacist],

but he was the pharmacist there.


BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, the bottle cost 50 cents, the medicine she

took. Well, he would fix us a half a bottle for a quarter.

WALLACE: Because you didn't have the . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He says, "I know that child needs her medicine and

I'll just fix you a . . . " Now, Murray Brawner was a wonderful

fellow. He was sheriff here one time.

WALLACE: What's the first name again?


WALLACE: Murray.


WALLACE: Murray Brawner, okay. I know Viola Brawner.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, yeah.

WALLACE: She's married to, uh . . . oh, I can't think of her

husband's name.

BEAUCHAMP: A fellow . . . Crowe Brawner.



WALLACE: They're all kin. Do you remember a laundry called

the Suds-n-teria?


WALLACE: A black place. I think John Buckner owned the

building it was in.


WALLACE: That was a black-only kind of operation.

BEAUCHAMP: I was just trying to think where it was at,

Sud-n-teria. You sure John Buckner owned the Suds-n-teria?

WALLACE: I think he owned the building that it was in, but I

don't think he owned the business. I don't know who owned that

Suds-n-teria business.

BEAUCHAMP: I was thinking Fincel owned it.

WALLACE: Fincel might have? Okay. Is that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: That was over on Second Street.

WALLACE: Second Street? Okay. I'll check on it. Is any of

them Fincel's left that I could talk to ab- . . .


WALLACE: Roy? Okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Now, that would be a good one for you to talk


WALLACE: Roy Fincel.

BEAUCHAMP: Roy Fincel. I'll tell you where he lives. He lives

on Capitol Avenue.

WALLACE: Yeah? Okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Now, let's see. I don't know whether it would be

Fourth and Capitol Avenue, but he lives right on the corner in a

big house there and it wouldn't be no problem to find it, if he .

. . I'll get the phone book here and we'll . . .

[Interruption in tape.]

WALLACE: . . . and there's another guy who used to run a

joint. His nickname was "Mug". I can't think of what his last

name was. "Mug".


WALLACE: "Mug". Oh, I can't think of it. He lives over in

Lawrenceburg now. He's one I'd like to get ahold of.

BEAUCHAMP: F-i-n-c-e-l, ain't it, Fincel?

WALLACE: Yeah, F-i-n-c-e-l-l or -c-e-l. I'll find it. I'll

fi- . . . it'll be easy. It'll be easy to find. Do you remember

a place called the 99 Club?

BEAUCHAMP: I tell you, so many of them black people had, uh, had

them, uh, little old joints . . .

WALLACE: Nights- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: . . . and clubs and played out, umm . . .

WALLACE: If I'm keeping you from so- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No, I'm enjoying every minute of this.

WALLACE: Okay. You remember "Shineboy"?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. [Laughing] Yeah. [Sound of knocking at door]

Hello, Skipper.

VOICE #1: How you doing?

VOICE #2: Howdy.

BEAUCHAMP: Okay. I'll be with you in a little while, hon.

VOICE: Come here, Whitney. Come on, hon. Let's go out


BEAUCHAMP: That's my grandbaby.


BEAUCHAMP: I'll be with you in a little while. He lives in

Bowling Green.

WALLACE: Visiting with you on . . .

BEAUCHAMP: "Shineboy", he was a mean nigger.

WALLACE: Was he?

BEAUCHAMP: Every time they arrested him, he'd have one or two

pistols on him.

WALLACE: He wa- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, he's another one that got out of the

penitentiary and stayed here.

WALLACE: You know his real name, by chance?

BEAUCHAMP: No, never did know it. "Shineboy" is all ever I

knowed him. Now, he run a little old restaurant down there, beer

joint. Uh, smoked cigar all time. Him and Will Castleman fell

out up there, got in the doorway, reaching out shooting one

another. [Laughter]

WALLACE: I've heard like cowboys out, fighting out in the



WALLACE: Castleman was another name you heard a lot of.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yep. He was a mean son of a . . .

WALLACE: Big, tall . . .


WALLACE: Top of the dea- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: That's the one killed Doctor what's-you-call-it.



WALLACE: Now, I've heard that Will shot Berry and, then, I've

heard that somebody else was in the room and may have shot Berry.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, uh, Mort Nelson. And he took the blame for it.

WALLACE: He did?

BEAUCHAMP: I know one thing. He never was the same after that.

You see, them blacks had a damn club they belonged to.

WALLACE: What was the club?

BEAUCHAMP: Okay, here's what it was. If you belonged to that

club, somebody done something to you, they'd get even with you.


BEAUCHAMP: And Will Castleman and Mort Nelson . . . oh, old

"Doughbelly", there was a black "Doughbelly" down there, got sick

and Will Castleman called a white doctor. And Dr. Berry was

black, and Will Castleman was working for Mike Deakins up there

in that whiskey store and Berry had gone back there and said,

"You son of a bitch," said, "You . . . you called a white

doctor." He said, "Well, Hell, you was off drunk, couldn't get

you." He said, "I'm going home and get my pistol and come back

and kill you." And he did. He went home and got his pistol and

he come in that door, well, uh, they claimed that, uh, Mort was

standing there and shot him. I know he never was the same for

that. He went right on down the hill and died.

WALLACE: Mort did?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Uh, Hell, I knowed him. He was always

friendly and turned and everything. Pass right by him and he

wouldn't speak unless you speak to him. It was a stare in his


WALLACE: Black guy, right.

BEAUCHAMP: They finally found him dead down there in the bed.

He was working for George Taylor.

WALLACE: After George bought out Mike Deakins?


WALLACE: Yeah. "Shineboy" is the one I'd heard a lot about.

You ever heard of a guy by the name of "Squeezer" Brown?

BEAUCHAMP: [Laughing] Yeah. Old "Squeezer". Yeah, he was a

guitar picker and a piano player. He . . . he never done no harm

to nobody, I don't guess. He . . . he'd get drunk and go play

his guitar and sing, serenade people at night.


BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He . . .

WALLACE: They say the story on him is he used to get all the

kids and he'd line them kids up and he'd take them down to the

Tiger Inn or someplace and buy them candies and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, if he got ahold of a little money. Now, when

he got his pension, uh, that was true there for . . . till the

money ran out. He'd have a party for them every day. [Laughter

- Wallace] Go down there and buy them ice cream. And I thought

he . . . that was about the most senseless thing I ever heard in

my day, he spent his money on children. And, course, he . . . he

drank, too. Didn't . . .

WALLACE: Do you remember, uh, a guy they used to call "Corn

Puddin", Charles William Chiles, a barber?


WALLACE: They said he was full of mischief and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And he married a Chiles.


BEAUCHAMP: Uh-huh. Yeah.

WALLACE: Fred Allen, was a black barber. John Davis. Uh, Bob

Martin. They were all black barbers. A place called the Silver

Slipper, ever heard of . . . that's another black joint.


WALLACE: Oh, you're being . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Go in there, hon. I'll be in there in a little bit.

WOMAN'S VOICE: Whitney, come in here.

WALLACE: You're being summonsed. A place called The Little

Restaurant, run by "Newt" Berry.

BEAUCHAMP: "Newt" Berry.

WALLACE: "Newt" Berry. Remember . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, I remember "Newt". That was, uh, "Papa Jazz's"


WALLACE: Was that "Papa Jazz's" brother?


WALLACE: I didn't know, see, that, uh . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Did you know "Papa Jazz", or heard of him?

WALLACE: I've heard of him.

BEAUCHAMP: His name was James Berry. "Newt" was his brother.

WALLACE: Right. Yeah, there was an article in 1975 in the

State Journal, big long article, "Interview with Papa Jazz." And

he was one of the most articulate fellows I think I've . . . boy,

he was really good, short . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He, uh, he took big part in American Legion

and VFW and he went to all these big conferences and . . .


BEAUCHAMP: . . . represented his Post.

WALLACE: Yeah. He was very, very active.

BEAUCHAMP: I was in the hospital in Lexington and he come up

there to see me.

WALLACE: Oh, really?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, I had good relationship with them black people.

I . . . Old "Newt", I used to aggravate him a lot. "Newt" was

easy aggravated, but I never did get into no cuss words or

nothing like.

WALLACE: Nothing like that.

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, and I'd just do little things. We'd all wind up

laughing about it.

WALLACE: You remember Ike?

BEAUCHAMP: Ikette [Isaac Yett]?


BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah; and his brother, Ben Yett. Yeah, I knowed

them all. I went to see old Ike there about, maybe three weeks

before he died. He was laying down on the couch and his daughter

was sitting there by him and I knowed he was on his way out.


BEAUCHAMP: Now, there was a bad nigger.

WALLACE: Bad in the sense of being violent.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, he was violent. Hell, he'd been shot three or

four times.


BEAUCHAMP: I tell you who shot him once, old "Monkeyback's" boy,

uh, Jack Sanders.


BEAUCHAMP: Uh, Jack Sanders shot Ike Yett. And Jack was in the


WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: He got out of the Marines and he was [chuckled]

meaner than a striped-ass snake and him and old Ike got into it

and he shot. Ike was coming on to him and he said, "Don't you do

it. Don't come on me." And he just kept coming nigh and he shot


WALLACE: Huh. You remember a place called the Grill run by

Will Wren?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Umhumm.

WALLACE: Tell me, do you have any remembrances of Will Wren?

He apparently is a name . . . I've heard it a lot.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, he was a great big fellow, and he married this

woman here in Frankfort. I don't know where Will Wren come from.

And she had two boys. One of them's still here. Doll went to

Brooklyn, New York for years and years and, when he retired, he

come back here to live. And, uh, another boy, I worked at the

distillery with him for years and years. He died. Yeah, Will

Wren. He run a restaurant there on Washington Street.

WALLACE: Yep. And there used to be a place called the White

Spot. I don't . . . nobody seems to remember that. Bowman . . .

Bowman Gaines' Model Laundry?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: Happy Gaines?

BEAUCHAMP: Happy and Carl. Carl tried every six months for 15

years to get in the Masons. He said, "One of these days, I'll

catch that son-of-a-bitch out of there . . ." They was

blackballing him.


BEAUCHAMP: ". . . and I'll get in." And he did. And he said

when he really got in, he done a world of good things for the

lodge. Uh, I . . . I . . . I couldn't get in. I got . . .

WALLACE: Blackballed.

BEAUCHAMP: . . . turned down. No, I didn't get blackballed. I

never did get before the lodge. The investigating committee, the

fellow on the . . . they took three, and, now, this is the honest

to God truth. That bastard that wouldn't recommend me for a

Mason owed me for working for him [inaudible] I never did get it.

WALLACE: Huh. I figured maybe because you grew up in the poor

section of town, they had something against you.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, there was a lot of them down there were Masons.

WALLACE: Oh, that got in.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, and they . . . we was all working down there at

that distillery and everybody down there was a Mason but me and

Pascal Powell and . . . and the foreman said, "I'm going to get

an application for you all to . . . "


BEAUCHAMP: " . . . join the Masons." Well, Pascal didn't want

to, but I kind a railroaded him into it. Said he didn't have the



BEAUCHAMP: And I let him have $25 [laughing] and he got turned

down. I always said he got turned down on account of me.


WALLACE: Ahh, because he was connected with you. The

junkyard, there was, oh, let me think of this guy's name. Uh,

the old man, aw, a Jew . . . a name.

BEAUCHAMP: Marcuses?

WALLACE: Marcuses. Elli- . . . now, there was Elliott.

BEAUCHAMP: Elliott's daddy . . .

WALLACE: Yeah. It was Moses?

BEAUCHAMP: Was H. C. Marcus. Moses and Hyman and Freda.

WALLACE: Yeah. Now, didn't they have a junkyard down there?

BEAUCHAMP: Right there on Washington Street.


BEAUCHAMP: Right beside of the old Peachtree Inn.

WALLACE: A story I heard on old man Marcus was that, uh, he

apparently lived not too far from around there and he was always

poking around looking inside of "Pap" Samuels' barber shop. You

remember "Pap" Samuels?


WALLACE: Black guy. And "Pap" just got tired of him poking

around because "Pap" was bootlegging, and this is around harvest

time, he cut . . . cut the centers out of pumpkins and have a

bunch of half-pints and things in there. And he just got tired

of Marcus peeking around, you know. And, so, he got him in there

and said he was going to shave him and got him in that chair, and

shaved him from one end [laughing] to [inaudible]. He said

Marcus never came around and bothered him again after that.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He lived up over that junkyard.

WALLACE: Oh, he did, huh?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And, then, he moved up on Broadway.


BEAUCHAMP: He began to pick up and he got up there and his first

store was used furniture.


BEAUCHAMP: And, then, he got into new furniture. And, then, his

sons was all . . . now, me and Elliott growed up together, went

to school together.


BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, that desk I bought from Elliott.

WALLACE: From Marcus. Ah, okay. Well, I didn't realize

Marcus had lived over his junkyard.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They didn't have nothing. Now, him and them

Rosenbergs come here from Israel at the same time.


BEAUCHAMP: And the Rosenbergs, right where the gas company is,

he started a pawn shop there.


BEAUCHAMP: And, then, they moved out and went to Lexington. Joe



BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, Hell, they owned . . . his descendents owned

a lot of property there.

WALLACE: You talking about where that Columbia Gas office is

on Main Street?

BEAUCHAMP: Right there is where Joe Rosenberg started.

WALLACE: Have you ever heard of a Jewish family, Weisenburgh?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: Well, see, now, I don't know nothing about them.

BEAUCHAMP: There were millers. They was in the flour and mill


WALLACE: Oh, okay.


WALLACE: Because there was . . . when I looked at some of the

urban renewal maps, the . . . the Weisenburgh or Wiseberg family

owned a lot of Bottom. And I'll show you the map sometime. Now,

this must be another family because I don't think . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Must be, because the ones I know are over in Anderson


WALLACE: Ah, okay. Well, that junkyard was a . . . George

Taylor, tell me about George Taylor.

BEAUCHAMP: [Laughing] Well, sir, he come here and working for

Charlie Duvall on a beer truck. And I don't know how in the

world he got his start, but he got a whiskey store of his own,

and one time he owned five. And he'd branch out. And he got in

good standing with the bank, and he just operated on the bank's


WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Because when George died, Ms. Taylor had to sell all

that off to try to hold on to one liquor store up there on

Versailles Road.

WALLACE: Well, now, George's son's still around, isn't he?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He had one son by her, yeah.

WALLACE: Well, see, George had the liquor store and he . . .

he also owned where the pool room was and there was a little

restaurant and the blacks ran . . . ran all this stuff.


WALLACE: Will Castleman, didn't Castleman run some of that

operation for Taylor?

BEAUCHAMP: No. Uh, he could have run that whiskey store for


WALLACE: Store for him.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. But Bob Knott was George Taylor's right-hand


WALLACE: See, I talked to Maggie.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, Ma- . . . that was Bob's wife.

WALLACE: She, uh, she helped run the Club 99.

BEAUCHAMP: That was upstairs over the whiskey store.

WALLACE: Exactly. I talked to her a little bit. She was sort

of guarded, though. She . . .

[End of Tape #2, Side #1]

[Begin Tape #2, Side #2]

WALLACE: . . . she was sort of wondering what my motives were

and why I was doing it all.


WALLACE: Because I had mentioned somebody like . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I've been trying to get ready for you, Hell,

for months.

WALLACE: Well, I'm . . .

BEAUCHAMP: That guy got that recorder. I was going to write

that . . . things that I remembered.

WALLACE: Well, I probably haven't asked you any questions you

thought I'd ask you.

BEAUCHAMP: Not a one of them. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Well, tell me some of the things you thought I was

going to talk about.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I, uh, uh, things pertaining to the Bottom.

You brought it all out.

WALLACE: Well, like Earl Tracy, you remember . . .


WALLACE: Earl Tracy's cab.

BEAUCHAMP: He was kind of a leader amongst the blacks, uh, in

education. Now, he . . . he helped get a ball park down there.

Earl did a lot for his race of people.

WALLACE: He ran . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Good fellow.

WALLACE: Yeah. He ran his own cab company and his nephews

drove for him.


WALLACE: I think Henry drove for him and, uh, Bob did. Uh,

were there any major companies down in that area? You mentioned

the chair-making factory, wasn't that down there?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. There was a chair . . . chair factory run by

the Sutherlands.

WALLACE: Fred Sutterlin?

BEAUCHAMP: No. Fred Sutterlin run the ice . . . Frankfort Ice

and Coal Company.

WALLACE: Okay. Was that on down the river?


WALLACE: On the same side . . .

BEAUCHAMP: That was on, uh . . . out on Main Street, down by the

river, yeah.


BEAUCHAMP: But it was up, come through Main Street clear to the

river and he was down there. He had a big refrigeration, made

ice and sold it, and he sold coal.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Frankfort Ice and Coal Company.

WALLACE: Company.

BEAUCHAMP: Then, later on, he added a slaughter house to it.

WALLACE: Would that have been in behind Liberty Hall and

Orlando Brown and all of that?

BEAUCHAMP: Right in there, yeah.

WALLACE: Yeah. Okay.

BEAUCHAMP: I'll tell you what's there now. There's a big

lawyer's office in there.

WALLACE: Yeah. Kentucky Bar Association.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, right. That's right there was the old

Frankfort Ice and Coal Company.

WALLACE: Uh-huh. There was a lot of logging, a lot of

lumbering done, wasn't there?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, at one time there was. Let's see, it was one,

two, three . . . it was four sawmills in Frankfort. That was the

main thing here at one time.

WALLACE: Whereabouts were they, down by the river?

BEAUCHAMP: Right where you was at over there at Calhoun's?


BEAUCHAMP: That was Banning Sawmill [Leland G. Banning]. There

was a lot of the . . . some of the trees are over there right

now. There right Calhoun's sitting at was the Banning Sawmill.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: All right, you come on down, Kenney's [T. E. Kenney

and Sons], uh, Sawmill. Down the river. Then, Congleton's


WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And let's see what was the name of the other one.

There was four here at one time. Well, there were logs backed up

the river clear up to Big Eddy.

WALLACE: Yeah. These Eastern Kentucky boys that ride these

rafts down out of the river . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yep. Why, I met a fellow up in the mountains when I

was up there in that CCC, remember?


BEAUCHAMP: He said that he come to Frankfort to get him a

Deerfoot knife, [inaudible] Deerfoot knife, and he went over to

Beattyville and offered his services on a . . . for his board, to

ride them logs to Frankfort. [He went] To Goober and Newcomb

right on Broadway. Paid 75 cents for that knife.


BEAUCHAMP: And he told me, said, "I've still got that knife."

And he was gone two months. He walked all the way back home.

WALLACE: Good grief. I've heard stories about those

mountaineers come in and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, you . . . in them days, you could stop and

tell a fellow you was traveling and where you was going and he'd

give you a night's lodging and a meal.

WALLACE: A meal. Ah, days are gone.

BEAUCHAMP: You know, I'm afraid if you'd do that now, they'd

call the police.

WALLACE: Or they'd cut . . . cut your throat. [Laughter]

Remember Forrest Moore's . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: . . . liquor store?

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, sir.

WALLACE: Where was that?

BEAUCHAMP: On Broadway.

WALLACE: Broadway?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Forrest . . .

WALLACE: Now, he'd serve black and white, wouldn't he; blacks

in the back?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, he had a place in the back . . .


BEAUCHAMP: That he let . . . no white person went in there. And

he had a bartender back there. He was a black bartender, and he

let the blacks go back there. He . . .

WALLACE: When was he in oper- . . . is all this taking place

during prohibition or after prohibition?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, during prohibition, he run a grocery store


WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: And, now, it was a saloon before prohibition come in.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Forrest Moore's daddy run a saloon there.

WALLACE: Then, when it came in, he converted to grocery.

BEAUCHAMP: Had a grocery. And, then, when prohibition was

repealed, Forrest put the saloon back in there.

WALLACE: Did you know any of the bootleggers that were working

down there during prohibition?

BEAUCHAMP: [Laughing] Shit, all of them. In fact, they caught

my stepdaddy making whiskey. [Laughter] Yeah. Uh, well, my

stepdaddy bootlegged. I knowed them all. I tell you what

happened. My uncle was bootlegging up there, and he'd paid $8

for a gallon of moonshine whiskey, and he wanted to get away and

go to Louisville. And, uh, he said, "You want to make some

money?" I was just a young fellow, 16, 17 years old. Uncle

Truman Cantor. I said, "Yeah." He said, "Now, I'm going to let

you have this gallon of whiskey and when you sell it, you can pay

me for it." Said, "Now, you go get you some bottles, wash them

out clean and use new stoppers, now, and come back and let me see

them so I'll that they're clean." Said, "You should have 16 half

a pints. And when you sell it, you should have $16." Well, I

had 16 half a pints and about a half of a half a pint over.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: When I got back up there, he said, "I just had some .

. . " I wasn't . . . he made me bring the bottles up there and

seen they was all clean and everything before he'd let me have

it. And I bottled it up. He let me have a funnel to bottle it

all up. And I put a couple of them in my pocket and walked back

up the street there and he said, "I just had a bunch of company

to come in," and, uh, he said, "I ain't going to be able to get

away." Said, "Let me have a couple of them," and he give me $2.


BEAUCHAMP: So, I went back and I got some more and stood around

awhile and, directly, he hollered for me, and he wanted a couple

more half pints. I so- . . . and I'll say in five hours' time, I

sold him them 16 half a pints back, [laughter] and when I sold

him the last, I handed him $8 and he cussed me. "You ought to

give me part of that money." Now, I'd worked all week at that

hemp factory down there for $7 and I made that $8 there in about

five hours.

WALLACE: It was no wonder people were bootlegging. You could

make good money.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, damn, you had to wear a badge just to keep

yourself [laughing] from [bumping into] one another, there was so

many of them. Home brewed beer, every other door up there, you

could buy. Everybody had home brew beer.

WALLACE: Well, wasn't the police cracking down on these


BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah. They'd catch one once in a while, when

they wanted some beer. They'd take your beer and keep it, the

damn rascals.

WALLACE: But you could get it fixed up-town, couldn't you? I

mean, that's . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Ah, well, now, I never did know of it. I'd heard a

lot about it.


BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, a fellow told me one time, said, "Now, if

you want to . . ." if you don't believe what I'm telling you and

you think of some rising citizen that police has . . ." Said

you'd be down there Monday morning in Alex Gordon's place about

eight o'clock and you would see them in there talking to Alex.


BEAUCHAMP: And I . . . I made it a point to be there because I

had so much faith in this fellow. I mean, I wouldn't call no

names. It would embarrass his people.


BEAUCHAMP: He was there and him and Alex went off on . . . the

back room, and this fellow told me, he said, "Now, didn't you see

him do that?" Said, "Didn't they go off on the back room?"

Said, "Alex's paying him off."

WALLACE: Off. Protection.

BEAUCHAMP: Said he was a pick-up man. That's what he is. I

just couldn't believe it till I went down there and seen it.

WALLACE: Shake your faith to see it happen.


WALLACE: Well, did you . . . how would you peddle your stuff?

Would you just be walking the street and somebody would walk . .


BEAUCHAMP: No. Most of the time, they'd come to the house and

buy it. You could be out on the street. In my case, that was

the only time I ever did it.


BEAUCHAMP: Because my uncle let me have that gallon on credit.

WALLACE: [Laughing] You mean John Fallis, now, or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No, it was Uncle Truman Cantor.

WALLACE: Truman Cantor, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, then, now another time, I was working over

there in the South Frankfort for Cy Currens [Cyrus Currens], and

he was wholesaling to them bootleggers, and on Saturday, it

closed at six o'clock and they said, "Would you like to make a

little money?" Said, "I want to get away for a while." Said,

"I'll give you 50 cents on the gallon. You sell . . ." Said,

"Now, you sit here by the phone and they'll call you and you

deliver it."

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Now, I'd worked all week for him for $7. Damn if I

didn't make 50 cents a gallon. I made $15 that night.

WALLACE: In one night?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. That's the onliest time he ever let me do it

because he didn't want me to get in trouble.

WALLACE: Well, know, the profits were pretty big, then, huh?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, shoot, yeah. It was tremendous. Now, Cy

Currens, did his name pop up in there in your . . .

WALLACE: I don't know anything about . . . what's the story on


BEAUCHAMP: Well, he was a bootlegger and he wholesaled. He'd

buy it by the 1,500 gallon and, then, he would wholesale it to

the small bootleggers.

WALLACE: Well, what kept the police from shutting him down?

Was he paying them?

BEAUCHAMP: I know that he paid them because I had took the money

to them. I knowed it was money. Now, this fellow that's a

prohibition officer, uh, he told me, said, "You pull up at Second

Street School. There'll be a man pull up there and you hand him

this envelope." I felt that envelope and I knowed there was

money in it. And this durn fellow pulled up there, and I handed

him that envelope and he pulled off.

WALLACE: Where was Cy [Cyrus Currens] operating out of?

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, well, he had a place in the Bottom.

WALLACE: What was . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He had a grocery store where I worked for him on

Steele Street.

WALLACE: Ah, okay. Where was his place in the Bottom, do you

. . .

BEAUCHAMP: That old brick that you was talking about in there.

WALLACE: Kozy Korner, or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Kozy Korner. That was Cy Currens' joint.

WALLACE: Joint. Now, I had heard the name, but I didn't know

nothing about him. I'm glad you told me about him.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, yeah. He never did have . . . he . . . he

could've . . . there's going to be another name. I don't know

whether you've got it in there or not, Les Humphrey, do you have


WALLACE: No, I don't.

BEAUCHAMP: Now, he was another one never could make a dollar



BEAUCHAMP: He always had to have something underhand going,

bootlegging or something like that.

WALLACE: Les Humphrey.

BEAUCHAMP: Les Humphrey.

WALLACE: Did he run a place or just . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. But he always had to get somebody else. He

never could get no license in his name.

WALLACE: Huh. What . . .

BEAUCHAMP: They turned him down.

WALLACE: What were some of the places that people were running

for him? Do you know the names of any of them?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, that Kozy Korner was his.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, he had that in his wife's name. And they'd

fall out and fight and she'd jerk the license off the wall, and

would run everybody off. "We're closing up," and . . .

[laughter] And, uh . . .

WALLACE: Well, we've talked about some of these.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And he could get somebody else to run it . . .

now, them police just wouldn't let Les have nothing. He tried

everything legally and he just couldn't make a dollar no way he


WALLACE: So, a lot of these people weren't necessarily bad

people. It was just a way to make money quickly.


WALLACE: When you think of some of the tough men, uh, the

bouncers or the gamblers or men with reputations for being, well,

bad men or tough men, who comes to mind?

BEAUCHAMP: Calvin Stewart was a bouncer.

WALLACE: Well, somebody told me he bounc- . . . was at the

Blue Moon.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He was bouncer, just throw them out.

WALLACE: Yeah. Now, he . . . he, uh, later became the jailer,

didn't he?


WALLACE: County Jailer? I remember . . . see, I used to work

for Jim Bell at Cable 10, that cable TV station they've got over

there on, uh, Clinton Street?


WALLACE: And I remember going over to Fiscal Court meetings

and setting up my camera and tape recording, and Calvin would

come in and make presentations in front of the Fiscal Court

people; but I had no idea he was a bouncer down there.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He was a bouncer down there for years. He's

throwed a many a poor boy out. They'd beat him up.

WALLACE: Was there a lot of gambling going on down there in

those places?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, yeah, crap games.

WALLACE: Dice and cards.

BEAUCHAMP: And poker games, yeah.

WALLACE: Well, was there any time of big-time crime

connection, or is all these people independents? I mean, there's

nobody out of Chicago or anybody coming down out of . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Never knowed of it.


BEAUCHAMP: Now, I'm sure there wasn't. It was just all local.


BEAUCHAMP: Now, Cy Currens and Alex Gordon, uh, old "Twenty

Grand", they were about the biggest operators ever come down

through there.

WALLACE: Who was the guy they called "Pickle"?

BEAUCHAMP: "Pickle" Wilson.

WALLACE: What's the story on him? I don't know anything . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, he was one of Cy Currens' boys. He was

always working for Cy.

WALLACE: Ah, okay. See, there was a black taxicab driver that

was killed, uh, Ray.

BEAUCHAMP: Ray. I know who killed him.

WALLACE: Well, I've heard a couple of different things. I

heard that white girls were attracted to Ray and, apparently, one

white girl that, uh, was attracted to him, some white boys were

interested in her and they set it up for him to be killed. Now,

it's not the way I . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I don't . . . I don't know for sure this is the way,

but Paul Moore called in for a taxicab to pick him up out here in

this old rock quarry. The road goes right through it now.


BEAUCHAMP: Okay, when he got up there, he robbed him and shot



BEAUCHAMP: Now, that's the story I always heard in that.


BEAUCHAMP: That Paul Moore killed Ray.

WALLACE: Yeah. I'd heard it was either "Twenty Grand", or

"Pickle" had a hand in . . . nah.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, it's . . . Cy Currens used to say he believed

"Pickle" killed him.


BEAUCHAMP: But, uh, and, then, again, I heard that Paul Moore

killed him and robbed him; called him up there to pick him up and

he robbed him up there and killed him.

WALLACE: It was a set-up operation, regardless of who did it,


BEAUCHAMP: Well, uh, Cy always said he believed that "Pickle"

killed him, over that one woman that you brought up that lived

with my uncle.

WALLACE: Oh, really? Now, I didn't know what the woman . . .

who the woman was.


WALLACE: What was . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Old "Pickle" was going with her. See, Uncle Johnny

had done been killed then and, uh, she was living down there and

old "Pickle" was going down there all the time.

WALLACE: Was that Johnny's . . . that wasn't Anna Mae


BEAUCHAMP: Right, Annie Mae Blackwell.

WALLACE: It was?

BEAUCHAMP: She was a beautiful woman.

WALLACE: R. T. called her the Sophia Loren of her day.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, she was a beautiful woman, yeah.

WALLACE: I have yet to see any . . . see a picture of her. I

got to find a picture of this woman because they . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Hell, she married again when she was up in her


WALLACE: Uh. She must have been . . . must have been


BEAUCHAMP: Oh, there was a whole bunch of them girls. I was

trying to think, the other day. There was four boys and six

girls, I think; or five girls.

WALLACE: All in this same family?

BEAUCHAMP: In that same family.

WALLACE: Would she . . .

BEAUCHAMP: There was nine or ten of them children.

WALLACE: Ah. Is any of those people left, or are they all

gone on?

BEAUCHAMP: There's three of them girls left. There's Charlotte

Burke and there's, uh, Beatrice . . . I think Beatrice married an

O'Connell her last marriage.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Joe O'Connell. But they're separated. I don't know

whether she kept his name or not. And, then, there's, uh, Betty.

Was it Betty? Don't sound like . . . there's three of the girls


WALLACE: And they're still here in town?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. I seen them up in town here awhile back.

WALLACE: Right. And their sister was Anna Mae, right?


WALLACE: I just wonder about talking to them sometime, if that

would be the diplomatic thing, or not to, because I don't know if

they have hard memories about all that or not.

BEAUCHAMP: I don't think it would be advisable to talk to them.

I think they would want to forget it.


BEAUCHAMP: Well, now, their daddy worked on the railroad. They

had a little bit better of life than the biggest part of us.

WALLACE: Umhumm.


WALLACE: Well, that's what I've heard, a railroad job was a

good job.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He was a track walker.


BEAUCHAMP: Old man Isaac Shearer. And he, he, uh . . . well, he

just never was very neighborly.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And they moved up on, uh, Maryland Avenue. Got away

from down in there in their early years. And he owned about

three houses down there and he sold them all and bought that

place up on Maryland Avenue. See, we all went to school to the

Wilkinson Street School together.

WALLACE: Ah. So, you went to school with Anna Mae or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. Anna Mae was way ahead of me.


BEAUCHAMP: She was a lot older than I was.

WALLACE: But the other girls, you . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Me and Beatrice and . . . and, uh, Matthew, we went

to school together.

WALLACE: Do you remember Antonio Papa?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah, old Tony Papa, "Ice Cream" Tony.

WALLACE: Yeah. I heard . . .


WALLACE: . . . a lot of good things about he had a push cart.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And, then, he had a horse and cart and, then,

he got a car and never did get it out of second gear. [Laughter

- Wallace] He billed them all the same way, though, all his ice

cream. I've eat a many a cone of ice cream. Get a big cone for

a nickel.

WALLACE: Yeah. Yeah, I want to . . . he's got some daughters

left around. I want to see if . . . a couple of them live on Ann



WALLACE: I want to go see if they'd talk to me a little bit.

Let's see, we've talked about a lot of these people already. Dr.

B. T. Holmes?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, and black doctor.

WALLACE: Yeah. I don't know if you ever had any dealings with



WALLACE: Dr. Underwood?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. I knowed him. That's who the Mayo-Underwood

School's named after.

WALLACE: Yeah. There's a dentist by the name of Dr. Gay.

BEAUCHAMP: I never did . . . was very well acquainted with him.

Dr. Underwood and Dr. Holmes, I knowed them. And, then, there

was another do- . . . black doctor here. One time, there was

three black doctors in Frankfort. And, then, there was a Dr.

Washington. He . . . he was a surgeon. He come here when they

had that . . . that hospital on, uh, Murray . . . on, uh,

WALLACE: Second.

BEAUCHAMP: . . . Second Street.


BEAUCHAMP: I remember there was Scott [Winnie A. Scott

Hospital]. Remember . . . had . . . of course, after they built

that big hospital over there, they combined them then.

WALLACE: Let's see here. There was a Dr. Biggerstaff, was a

dentist. And Dr. Withers, who is a dentist, black . . . black.

Dr. Coleman, a white doctor. I don't . . . I don't . . . you're

grinning. Why are you grinning?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, sir. Dr. C. T. Coleman. He was a poor man's

friend. You know, when that man died, he didn't have no money.

His daughter told me that he didn't have nothing but a stack of

bills where people owed him money, where he's signed notes and

paid them off for people.

WALLACE: I've heard he was mayor one time, wasn't he?

BEAUCHAMP: Hell fire, he was mayor five or six times.


BEAUCHAMP: Hell, he was a . . . aw, he was a poor man's friend,

that doctor was. There'll just never be another doctor qui- . .

. I tell you, Dr. Ramsey comes as being a doc- . . . another Dr.

Coleman as anybody I ever knowed of.

WALLACE: Just in being good-hearted . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, sir.

WALLACE: . . . and letting people run up tab and . . . what

about Ward Oates and Glenn Purdy? Do you remember . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They were real estate men.

WALLACE: Yeah. They did pretty well on the . . .


WALLACE: The reason I wrote their names down, several blacks

said that when they moved out Broadway, out to Missouri and

Langford and all that, it was Oates and Purdy that sort of

developed that area and moved them in there.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They got into developing and, then, they built

Blanton Acres down there and Orville Shuck got in with them. And

Orville Shuck was the plant manager down there at Schenley.


BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, Ward Oates had a coal yard and they got in

there and he bought all that damn Western Kentucky coal and come

in, and it wasn't worth a damn.


BEAUCHAMP: Course, they, uh, they was getting a kickback on it.

WALLACE: Do you remember Henry Mack, black guy?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. [Laughing] Mack Miller.


BEAUCHAMP: Mack Miller. Yeah, he drove a, uh . . . well, we'd

call it a station wagon now, and hauled, uh, the office force

backwards and forwards to the distillery for years and years.

Picked up the mail.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: He's just a handyman around there. Mack Miller.

WALLACE: Elizabeth Oglesby had a beautician shop, black gal.


WALLACE: I've done run you pretty hard on these things. Uh,

as far as the churches, we talked about Corinthian. There was a

Bethel Temple. Do you remember Bethel Temple up at the corner of

Washington and Clinton? Uh, there was a Baptist Mission.

BEAUCHAMP: That's where I belonged.

WALLACE: Oh, really?

BEAUCHAMP: I was practically raised in the Baptist Mission.

WALLACE: Just . . . where exactly on Wi- . . . that was on

Wilkinson, wasn't it?

BEAUCHAMP: Wilkinson Street.

WALLACE: It was on the river side of Wilkinson, wasn't it?


WALLACE: As you're going out past Hill Street?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Be on the left . . .

WALLACE: Left. Wilkinson Street.

BEAUCHAMP: . . . going down Wilkinson Street.

WALLACE: Wilkinson Street.


WALLACE: Who sponsored that mission? Was it Fi- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: The First Baptist Church.

WALLACE: First Baptist did?


WALLACE: Do you remember Vivian Fallis, Bixie's [Benjamin's]

second wife?


WALLACE: She's a holy roller preacher.

BEAUCHAMP: Preached, yeah. Bixie [Benjamin] was my first


WALLACE: Ah, okay.


WALLACE: That's right. That's right. Well, she told me about

going in the Bottom and going from door to door preaching and

evangelizing. [Laughter - Beauchamp]

BEAUCHAMP: Full of shit. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Oh, really? [Laughter]


WALLACE: What do you mean? She really didn't do that kind of

thing or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, she did some of it, but she . . . I just never

did have no faith in her. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Ah. Well, they said that John Fallis' wife was a

very religious woman.

BEAUCHAMP: That was Josephine. That was . . . that was my aunt,

Aunt Annie Fallis. Her name was Annie Thomas. My name is Joseph

Thomas. Mother give me part of her name.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. She was a holy roller. She . . . she would

preach for you in a minute. [Laughing]

WALLACE: They said people would write her and ask her to lay

hands on her.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And send a handkerchief to pray.


BEAUCHAMP: And mail it back to them.

WALLACE: They said she was preaching one time at some church

or building and John came out and drug her out by her hair.

BEAUCHAMP: I never did know of that. She took her religion very


WALLACE: Seriously.



BEAUCHAMP: And . . .

WALLACE: Well, as far as the politics go, did you ever work

the polls or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. I've been officer down there and . . . time or

two and . . .

WALLACE: In the precinct down there?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, on Wilkinson Street, yeah.

WALLACE: Where on Wilkinson Street was the precinct?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, most of the time, it was there on Wilkinson

Street back of the Mayo-Underwood School there.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: And, uh, now, there used to be two precincts. The

Kenney's Mill precinct and the Wilkinson Street precinct and,

then, they combined them.

WALLACE: Okay. Where was Kenney's Mill precinct?

BEAUCHAMP: Well, it was on up the street there. Umm, uh, it was

there, the Kenney's Mill precinct, that was the old Kenney's Coal


WALLACE: Oh, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: T. E. Kenney. He was sheriff here at one time.

WALLACE: They said, uh, when the politicians would come down

in the Bottom, they'd have big speechifying [laughter -

Beauchamp] and buy booze and . . .


WALLACE: Pass out money and all kinds of things. Is that true

in your experience?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Uh-huh.

WALLACE: Do you remember . . . did you ever attend any

political rallies down there or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, yeah, couple of them. Have a big burgoo and,

hell, we'd have one fellow fix that burgoo.


BEAUCHAMP: And they'd have a political rally and hash out

something. And always have a sad story and, then, "Here's a

piece of money. You may have some sickness in the family.

Remember me when you go to the polls." [Laughter] They had

their reasons.

WALLACE: They . . .

BEAUCHAMP: If they got elected, you wouldn't see them no more

till the next election. If they didn't get elected, you wouldn't

never see them no more. [Laughing]

WALLACE: They said when "Happy" [A.B. "Happy" Chandler] was

running back in '55 [1955] that he went down there and went in

one of the joints and threw down $50 and set the whole place

there up, and patting people on the back and shaking hands.

BEAUCHAMP: He done it. I had a cousin voted for him nine times

first time he run. [Laughter] And he voted for him two or three

times in Versailles. [Laughter - Wallace] He voted nine times

for him that day.

WALLACE: Good grief.

BEAUCHAMP: They'd take him one precinct. They'd give him two or

three dollars [laughter] and he'd just walk in them papers.

WALLACE: So, uh . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, Hell, they took me and voted me over there in

that old Rock Quarry precinct when I wasn't but 12 years old.

WALLACE: Good grief.

BEAUCHAMP: I voted for a damn sheriff. I can't remember his

name now. [Laughter] [Inaudible] Moore.

WALLACE: Ah, okay. Okay.

BEAUCHAMP: No, sir, it wasn't Benny Moore. It was John Lucas.

WALLACE: Ah. Well, that's . . . if you were 12 years old,

that would have been like 1926, then, and '27 [1927]. [Laughter

- Beauchamp]

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. After they'd con- . . . they'd do ever damn

thing, boy. I mean, he come down there, took a whole carload of

those kids over there and voted it.


BEAUCHAMP: It, uh . . . they called it the Rock Quarry precinct.

WALLACE: And nobody was checking to see . . .


WALLACE: . . . if you was registered.

BEAUCHAMP: They was all in together.

WALLACE: I guess in those days, they could bring you out the

ballot and you could fill it out, couldn't you, and send it . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, that's what they done. Hell, I never did see

the ballot. All I done was sign the book. [Laughing] I never

did see the ballot. They voted who they wanted to. Give me a



BEAUCHAMP: Shit, I didn't care who it was long as I got that

dollar. [Laughter]

WALLACE: Dollar. Well, I talked to one guy and he said,

"Hell, we voted people that didn't live there, didn't have no

connection there, nothing."

BEAUCHAMP: William Crain voted the first time "Happy" Chandler

run for Governor and voted for him nine times. I think when it

was all . . . the smoke cleared, we had about $15. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Well, when you talk about political strongmen or

political factions, they talk about, uh, the Sullivans, Pat and

Paul Sullivan, running Frankfort, basically; being powerful

fellows. And Earl Harrod and Fred Sutterlin and all that crowd

sort of sticking together. And, then, there's Bob Yount and his

. . . his crowd.


WALLACE: Is that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, there was a fellow, when I needed some kind of

financial advice, I always went to Bob Yount. Now, I done well

by his advice.

WALLACE: Oh, really?

BEAUCHAMP: I had a little money and, uh, I wanted to invest it,

and I went to Bob Yount and he told me, said, "Now, Jo, don't put

all your eggs in one basket. Put a little here and a little

there." Says, "This place might go broke and you'd lose it. If

you had it all in there, you'd lose it all."

WALLACE: Everything, yeah.

BEAUCHAMP: And, now, I done real well. Don't you know, there it

sits out there in the driveway. I finally got $20,000.

WALLACE: That big Caddy out there?

BEAUCHAMP: That Cadillac out there. [Laughing]

WALLACE: That's a beautiful car. I saw it.

BEAUCHAMP: Paid $26,000 for it. [Laughing] I had a Buick.

They allowed me $6,000 on it and they said, "Give me $20,000." I

went up there to get me an Oldsmobile and they . . . that Buick

had caused me so much trouble.


BEAUCHAMP: Everybody I knowed that had that Buick Regal . . .

WALLACE: Just a mess, isn't it?

BEAUCHAMP: Everybody had trouble with it. And I said, "I want

a Oldsmobile, an eight-cylinder." Said, "Don't make it in

eight-cylinder no more." I said, Well, I don't want no damn

six-cylinder. That one there done sickened me out. He said,

"Jo, get there in that new Cadillac." Said, "I'll sell you that

one. We want to close them out." Said, "I'll sell you that one

to keep you [inaudible] automobile. Come over there and get it

and drive it as long as you want to. Keep it a day or two."

Shit, I never did get out of it. [Laughter]

WALLACE: It's a fine looking machine, it really is. Well, the

reason I brought up the political factions is that the told me,

like, the residents of Bottom would vote as a block; like

Castleman and other people would work the vote.

BEAUCHAMP: He controlled the black vote.



WALLACE: Did they have a white counterpart down there who

controlled the white vote? Would Fallis be . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He was a big shot in the white vote, yeah. Yeah.

"See John Fallis. He's the one that's got the money."

WALLACE: Anthony Thomas, do you know . . .


WALLACE: He was a politician down there.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He took part in it. Anthony is a fine fellow.

WALLACE: Yeah. I want to tal- . . . I'm trying to nail him

down. He . . .

BEAUCHAMP: He was a deacon in my church.

WALLACE: Oh, really?


WALLACE: I'm trying to get to talk to him because he knows a

lot. He's very . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yes, sir. He lives over on Fowler Street, and I'm

sure he would open up and tell you anything, and he'd be glad to

talk to you.

WALLACE: I'd like to. I've tried to reach him a couple of

times. I've . . . I've had . . . you know, not had much luck

with it. Umm, we've talked and talked. I'm trying to think what

we haven't touched on. Uh, I got a few more women's names I

might run by you and see if you know these gals. Uh, Dorothy


BEAUCHAMP: Dorothy Wright.

WALLACE: Black gal.


WALLACE: Uh, Louise Evans? Julia Miles?

BEAUCHAMP: They must all be black, ain't they?

WALLACE: They're all black, pretty much.


WALLACE: Uh, Mamma Bryant.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, Ma Bryant. Made the best chicken pies of

anybody in the country. You go by their house and see a coal oil

lantern hanging onto the porch, you could go there and get . . .

for a quarter, you could get all the chicken pie you could eat.

And it was good. That was on the corner of . . . of Clinton and,

uh, Gashouse Alley.

WALLACE: Well, see that's what Calhoun was telling me, that

they called them festivals for some reason. They . . . and they

might be three or four going one night and you could go from

house to house if you had your money and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I was looking for Annie Stanley to come up there.

She was another black woman that had a lantern hanging, you could

go to her house. She . . . but nobody could make that chicken

pie like Ma Bryant.

WALLACE: Bryant.

BEAUCHAMP: She had her own recipe. Now, Calhoun's good.


BEAUCHAMP: He's good on that chicken pie. Calhoun is a good


WALLACE: Yeah. Yeah, he was telling me about his daddy being

in that business; you know, cooking for . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, he . . . old . . . old man Jim Calhoun, that's

all he ever done. He had eight sons and they've all cooked.


BEAUCHAMP: Why, Hell, Calhoun was cooking in a boarding house

when he was only eight years old. Had to stand up in a chair.

WALLACE: To cook. [Laughing]


WALLACE: Oh. Well, I had not heard of this other woman that

you mentioned as being a good cook. Uh, Anne Graham, do you

remember Anne Graham? Worked at the Kathryn Shoppe was "Black

Cat's" wife?

BEAUCHAMP: I never did know her name, but I knowed her. That . .

. yeah, it was "Black Cat's" wife. Now, she was a light-skinned


WALLACE: Yeah. She was a seamstress. Said she could sew


BEAUCHAMP: And she got two sons, Paul and Jimmy.

WALLACE: Jimmy. And I've talked to Jimmy. We ha- . . . I had

a good conversation with Jimmy.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. He should have give you some pretty good


WALLACE: Yeah. He knew all the black joints . . .


WALLACE: . . . and the people down there. Ms. Ruby Jackson?

Another black gal.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, I knowed her. Ruby Jackson.

WALLACE: I don't know anything about her. I just know her na-

. . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, I don't know anything about her. I just know her

Ruby Jackson.

WALLACE: Let's see, we've talked about . . . Nellie Harris?

BEAUCHAMP: Nellie Harris. I knowed a lot of the Harrises, but I

can't single out no one woman.

WALLACE: Nannie Oliver. She was a bootlegger, black woman.

Had a boy, Little Willie, Little Willie Oliver.

BEAUCHAMP: Uh-huh. Yeah, I was trying to think of her husband's

name. Oliver. Do you have his name in there?

WALLACE: No. I don't have his name.

BEAUCHAMP: I knowed of her.

WALLACE: A story on her was they picked her up for bootlegging

and she said, "Aw, Judge, what am I going to do with Little

Willie?" Said, "We'll fix it to you can take Little Willie to

the workhouse with you." [Laughter] They locked him up in the

workhouse, too.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I ought to re- . . . damn it, I don't know why.

Aw, Willie Oliver . . . [laughing]

WALLACE: Do you know anything about the workhouse? I don't

know nothing about . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Old Emil Haldi.

WALLACE: Who now?

BEAUCHAMP: Emil Haldi.

WALLACE: Holiday.

BEAUCHAMP: Holiday [Haldi]. He come from Switzerland.


BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They said he . . . [laughing]

WALLACE: What did the place look like or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: It was a jail.

WALLACE: Just a jail?

BEAUCHAMP: It was a jail, and, then, they worked them. When

they fined them, they worked them out there in that rock quarry,

crushed rock to put on the streets and the roads.

WALLACE: The one that's right in there on, uh, behind the Post

Office, the face of that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: On up in there, yeah.

WALLACE: Yeah, because Calhoun was telling me they would blast

rock and the rock would come down. Small rocks would pelt his


BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Umhumm.

WALLACE: You know. Back in the twenties [1920s], I guess, is

when they was working it; maybe before then.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And, then, they stopped quarrying and they put

them, all them prisoners, out to picking up trash and cleaning

the streets and sweeping the streets.

WALLACE: Yeah. Well, that workhouse, would you get sent there

for what, bootlegging or prostitution or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: And public drunkness.

WALLACE: Did you have to pay a fine to get out or they just .

. .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, if you couldn't pay your fine, you had to go up

there and serve so much time. Dollar a day.

WALLACE: Yeah. They said that there was a big old wash tub

and they'd throw you in that tub and scrub you.

BEAUCHAMP: Give eight or ten baths in the same damn water. Old

man Holiday'd [Haldi'd] take a damn scrub brush and scrub you.

Why, he ruint . . . that old bastard cause of one woman's death

up there.

WALLACE: How did he do that?

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, he . . . he blinded her. He squirted some damn

sheep dip on her and it got in her eyes and blinded her. And,

let's see, what was it? Somebody else's death he caused up

there. It don't . . . it escapes me right now, but, oh, he was

an old bastard.

WALLACE: When was he running that place?

BEAUCHAMP: Why, Hell, he was up there for years and years.

WALLACE: Yeah; but, you know, John Hamilton took it for, oh,

ten years, at least.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Well, they put old man Holiday [Emil Haldi]

out and John Hamilton had it. But Jo- . . . Highsong had it

after Holiday [Haldi].

WALLACE: Highsong?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. And he mistreated people. Well, it was a job

you got aggravated with. John Hamilton had it and, then, Forrest

Hoover had it. You know, I think Forrest Hoover had it when they

transferred it to jail and put them all in jail.

WALLACE: Yeah. Mistreated people in the sense that they

didn't feed them well or didn't, uh . . . they beat them if they

gave them any lip or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, they'd lock them up back in there and put, oh,

12 or 15 in the same damn cell and you had to sit on the floor

and had an old bucket in there, no plumbing and . . .


BEAUCHAMP: Had to use that bucket. Some of them get mad and

grab the damn bucket and sling that old stuff all over the damn


WALLACE: Would they keep men and women in the same ce- . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No, just men. The women, they kept them in different


WALLACE: Cells, oh. Yeah, I'd heard of the workhouse, but

I've never talked to anybody who really knew too much about it.

Calhoun said he milked cows, uh, brought the milk for the

workhouse, if I remember right.

[End of Tape #2, Side #2]

[Begin Tape #3, Side #1]

WALLACE: . . . Yeah.

BEAUCHAMP: If you see him on television, you look on his right

shoulder and you'll see that emblem.

WALLACE: Yeah, the four stars on the shield.

BEAUCHAMP: Uh-huh. That's the Ameri-cal Division. I was in it

in World War II. I guess he was in the Korean War and the

Vietnam War in it.

WALLACE: Well, did you join up or were you drafted or how did

. . . how did . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. I always told the story there was three of us

went, me and the two MP's that drug me. [Laughter]

WALLACE: Oh. That's funny. The reason I asked, a lot of the

people I've talked to said the war was a big turning point in

their lives, that, uh, sort of moved up in the world, I guess, is

the way some of them talk about it, that, uh . . . it was a stim-

. . . stimulus to do better, I guess.

BEAUCHAMP: Shit. I'll be damned if I thought so. All the damn

. . . I got to be a Sergeant.

WALLACE: Where did you serve, in Europe or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: No. In the South Pacific. All that disease and

hardship down in there; shit.

WALLACE: When did you go in, '40 [1940] or . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Forty-two [1942].

WALLACE: Forty-two [1942]. You were in there for three or

four years.

BEAUCHAMP: I was in there 26 months.

WALLACE: Whew. Did you see, uh, combat in . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Bo- . . . Bougainville.


BEAUCHAMP: I got the combat badge.

WALLACE: What was your specialty? I mean, did you have . . .

BEAUCHAMP: I was a rifleman in the Infantry. Yeah, it was a . .

. in the 132nd Infantry, Chicago National Guards.

WALLACE: The Chicago National Guards.

BEAUCHAMP: Sure. I was sent overseas as a replacement and got

put in that. They had a re- . . . they going to have a reunion

this year. I went about four or five years ago up there. And I

just couldn't . . . I spent . . . why, I spent close to $500

going up there to . . . and I can't afford that.

WALLACE: You know, it's funny, but I . . . you never thought

of a day when there would be fewer and fewer World Ward II vets;

but I . . . it's been now . . . it's almost 50 years, going on 50

years since the war was over now.


WALLACE: It's a long time.

BEAUCHAMP: I think about how them bastards coming over here,

living off the cream of the crop, getting all kinds of loans, and

how they mistreated every American. That Death March.

WALLACE: Bataan Death March.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah, and how they raped them American nurses in

there and all this.

WALLACE: It's a different world now than what it was.

BEAUCHAMP: [Inaudible]. Oh my goodness.

WALLACE: Well, when you came back from the war, did you go

back to the distillery?


WALLACE: Went right back in there.

BEAUCHAMP: Went right back. They give me my same job that I had

when I left there.

WALLACE: And you went back to that house on Wilkinson Street,

then, right?

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Yeah.

WALLACE: Had Bottom sort of tamed down by that time, after the

war? Was the wild days pretty much gone? Or was it still . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I . . . yes, I'd say it tamed down some. Most

of the bad men had been . . . died off or killed off. Uh, there

wasn't really what you'd call real bad men back down there like .

. .

WALLACE: After '45 [1945]. . .

BEAUCHAMP: Now, that Henry Howard, Ida Howard's husband, he was

. . . he was a bad man. Evil son-of-a-gun. He had got killed.

And it . . . yeah, it had tamed down a whole lot.


BEAUCHAMP: The police had a better hold on it. I remember one

incident down there, this girl. The police had an old Model T

touring car. She'd drank poison. They got her up there to the

hospital on Main Street, there by the cemetery.


BEAUCHAMP: Pumped her stomach. And that had to happen, not . .

. I know of a couple of times, and maybe three times. The last

time they got a call come down there, Dee Dee had drank poison,

they drove around a couple of hours. Said they couldn't find the

house. [Laughter] When they got down there, it was too late.

She was . . . Hell, she was gone.


BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. They were just tired of her.

WALLACE: Tired of running her out there.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. Yeah.

WALLACE: Yeah. Yeah, the . . . that's what I figured. You

know, when urban renewal came in there, one of the reasons they

justified urban renewal was that this was such a crime-ridden,

violent area; but, by that time, by the fifties [1950's], a lot

of that, it had settled down.

BEAUCHAMP: It had quietened down. You very seldom ever heard of

a murder then down in there.

WALLACE: I think they used this, this image of Bottom being a

violent place, to try and destroy it, to justify destroying it.

BEAUCHAMP: Yeah. It . . . it had quietened down quite a bit.

WALLACE: Let me ask you. If a place like Bottom existed

again, would you live down there?


WALLACE: You would never go back to something like that.

BEAUCHAMP: No. I'd never . . . I wouldn't. But I'll tell you

this. I was raised down in there. I never was robbed. My house

was never robbed. Now, a bunch of thieves, robbers, prostitutes,

all around me; but my house was never robbed.

WALLACE: Yeah. Well, a lot of people tell me stories where we

. . . umm, Isaac Fields and a couple of others. They didn't even

have locks on the doors.

BEAUCHAMP: No. Now, I moved out here. This is supposed to be a

middle-class neighborhood, anyway.


BEAUCHAMP: I've been robbed five times here.

WALLACE: Five times?

BEAUCHAMP: I had a knife collection that I had to . . . I expect

took me 25 years to get it together.

WALLACE: And somebody . . .

BEAUCHAMP: It was worth $6,000. I got robbed.

WALLACE: Broke. Broke in here and stole it.

BEAUCHAMP: Broke . . . broke in my house. Broke in that window.

Come in that bedroom window.

WALLACE: So, as far as crime, there wasn't a lot of crime, at

least in your case, down there; uh, crimes against personal

property like stealing things like that.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, you didn't trust nobody. You wouldn't try . .

. you didn't have nothing for them to get, anyway.


BEAUCHAMP: It wasn't worth breaking in.

WALLACE: Well, I've asked about a lot of things. Is there any

story that you wanted to tell me that, uh, you thought of but I .

. . we haven't touched on? We touched on . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, it looks like we've about touched up on


WALLACE: Well, I'm plumb out. [Laughing] I don't know about

you, but . . .


WALLACE: I was looking at all my cards to make sure.

BEAUCHAMP: I hope you found something that was worth your while

to come out and talk to me.

WALLACE: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I've got a lot of good things,

a lot of good things. I . . . I just can't help but believe when

we . . . when Bottom was gone, that we lost something that was

special, something different that's never existed since that

time. Blacks and whites living together in relative harmony.

You know, people bound together by adversity, by poverty. A lot

of these people said, "Once I got out of there, there was people

I'd see every day of the week that I don't never see again." And

they feel like they lost a lot of friendships and neighbors and

the neighborliness. Some . . . Henrietta Gill, I don't know if

you knew Henri- . . . a black woman.

BEAUCHAMP: I would probably know her if I seen her.


BEAUCHAMP: But the names, that's something that . . . I forget a

lot of the names.

WALLACE: She said, "I'm just a black woman out here in this

white neighborhood all by myself, and I don't drive or nothing,

and I don't see none of my friends I used to see." Apparently,

you know, there's . . . you could walk within three or four

blocks and everything was right down there, you know. You didn't

need a car. You didn't . . . very few people had cars. I don't

know if you all had a car early on or not.

BEAUCHAMP: No. I worked . . . walked to that distillery for

years. Finally, things got to going. We got a raise down there

and, uh, the credit union would loan you money.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: And they said, "Jo, if you want to buy a car, why, go

around to one of these places and pick you out a car and bring it

down here and we'll, uh, have our appraiser to evaluate it and

we'll see, uh, if we can loan you the money." And I picked out a

Chevrolet coupe and we went down there. Troy Singleton, over on

Second Street.

WALLACE: Umhumm.

BEAUCHAMP: Uh, and they had this fellow to get in it and drive

it and everything and said, "Yeah, we'll loan you the money to

buy it." Told me how much a month I'd have to pay on it. So, I

bought it. Well, I got it paid for and I wanted a better car;

so, I went over . . . I wanted a Plymouth. And Troy give me a

price on a Plymouth and I went up to another Plymouth dealer and

I told him, I said, I got that coupe there I want to trade. And

he said, "You ain't going to trade that damn thing in." Uh, he

said, "Hell, I owned that car. I bought it over at auction in

Louisville." [Laughter - Wallace] I said, No, not that car,

because Henry Singleton told me some old fellow out in the

country owned that car. Said, "Bull shit. [laughter - Wallace]

I bought it over at auction." Says, "It was so damn bad, I

wouldn't even sell it." Said, "I sold . . . Troy offered me a

bid on it and I sold it to him and lost money on it."


BEAUCHAMP: But I drove it three or four years and it was . . .

it was never no problem to me. Now, I drove that damn thing all

over the country. [Laughter]

WALLACE: Let me . . . one thing I meant to ask you and I

forgot. As a young man growing up, what things did you do for

recreation? Surely, you must have had some time to just play and

be with your friends, when you weren't working and . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Our . . . our biggest recreation was fishing.

WALLACE: Ah, okay.

BEAUCHAMP: Well, I enjoyed fishing and going to ball games and,

uh . . .

WALLACE: Did you make your own pole and string it yourself and

just go down and sit on the riverbank?

BEAUCHAMP: Biggest part of the time, we did. And the biggest

part of the time, I just had a line and a hook. He cut me a

willow switch and we got down there and fished with that.


BEAUCHAMP: And I did that for years and, uh, then, we'd go to

ball games. I went to see my first major league ball game in



BEAUCHAMP: The Cardinals in Cincinnati. It was the day . . .

the heydays of bean boys.

WALLACE: So, you went up to Cincinnati to see that?

BEAUCHAMP: Took all day long to go up there and back and see the

ball game. It was after dark when we got back.

WALLACE: Oh, that was a big deal.

BEAUCHAMP: Oh, it was a big deal. Spent $3. Bought my dinner

and the ball game tickets. [Laughing]

WALLACE: Whew. That was a pretty good amount of money, too,

for that . . .

BEAUCHAMP: Well, yeah. Well, heck, yeah. I wasn't making but

$14.40 a week.

WALLACE: Well, I've . . . talking to some of the people, there

was a place called the sandbar that a lot of the blacks would

play at. They had a ball- . . .

FEMALE VOICE: Do you all want anything to drink or anything?

BEAUCHAMP: No, we're just about . . .

WALLACE: No. But I'm about to get out of your hair.

BEAUCHAMP: We're about to wind this thing down.

FEMALE VOICE: Well, Skipper ain't got but about 20 more minutes



WALLACE: Okay. Well, let me . . . I'm sorry, I didn't

realize. Let's go ahead and . . .

[End of Interview]