Transcript Index
Search This Transcript
Go X

Interview Transcript

Uncle Clarence farmed, joined up with my uncle. This is Uncle Pen, that had to be his last years. Cletus Baize, fiddle player and had a brother who was a fiddle player. This man would be 91. He was almost blind. You know, if someone were [was] staying out there, he could see them, but he couldn't tell who they were until he heard their voice. He would walk, Cletus lived way back behind Bethel church, it’s four miles. They lived beyond that in a big hollow. He would walk from back there to Rosine. Of course, we'd be tickled to death as kids to see him coming. Everybody'd gather around. He [did] done a lot of the talking blues.

He talked (??) the song, and it was a blues song. Rebus (??) Long was talking blues, boy on the Grand Old Opry and Cletus did a lot of that and he was always full of a lot of with (??). He'd sit down and make up a song. If he met you, he could make a song up about you in a few minutes. Someone was sick or had died and he was to deliver the message. He was just full of [mischief] mischievous. By the time he got there he would have a song made up about it. Those sorts of things, he was good at.

Bill and Cletus had short songs. Tex Atchinson, western singer and fiddle player. Mother (Stoy's) played guitar, he[r] brother [played] fiddle and the banjo, three sons played instruments. Dad's brother played, sisters (Stoys) sang all the time, example, washing dishes in the kitchen. Stoy sang at school, mostly gospel.

They would go from community to community, or they-- like he might stop by our house. We'd go get him a guitar or he would have one with him. He started entertainment anywhere he went. I remember in the afternoon we'd go by Uncle Clarence Wilson. Uncle Clarence would get the banjo out and play and sing. He'd worked all day in the field. That's the way Cletus was. Being almost blind, he had jobs and worked, but he couldn't get one anywhere. He loved his music. Cletus could play everything, I can't remember how good. I can remember they had the thumping banjo. Cletus could pick that banjo back then, but it wasn't noted that he picked it just like he did his guitar. He just taught himself, really. He was determined that he wanted to do [it] and I guess being normal, almost blind that was something he would latch on to. And back then, those people latched on to each other. And sometimes you might not see him for two months, three months, sometimes every week for a while.

Uncle pen was a trader. From all indication, he would even hand his stuff on the horse and take off on one of his journeys or put it in the wagon or the buggy. You know there [their] rounds to see all these people. When they'd get there they'd have a little music, a little entertainment and do his trading and then spend the night. Maybe two nights then, next morning go on to another place. Uncle Pen had more [or] less junk, but someone else might need it. He might have a couple of saddles on there and a bridle, maybe some household items. Back then a lot of time that was the only way people bought anything. They didn't go anywhere to see it or bury [buy] it. And sometimes they'd trade and I'm sure he got a little cash difference to make [ends] things meet together when he came back home. At one time he lived on the Hines property.

[Describing photos] Very rarely would you see Cletus, he's got on a light jacket there. But, how I recognized Cletus in that old picture was by his top collar buttoned. That was something that Cletus did year [round] around. His top collar was button[ed], but he usually had on some kind of dress coats, what we would call them, back then, and dress pants. Cletus wasn't the overall[s] type person. He always wore a cap, he was always a little bald. That was another way I could identify him. When I got the magnifying glass and saw that he was blind, then I [knew] know it was Cletus. He was a tall person, a very strong person. Had big hands, but of course back in those days he was a smoker. He always rolled his own. He'd [sit] sat down and stop playing long enough and roll himself a cigarette, course that's what--all the people smoked back in those days.

One of the largest [in the] tobacco industry, Phillip Morris, [its] founders was [were] born in Rosine, Wood Axton. When he died, family sold business to Philip Morris. Good to employees. Cletus wore a white shirt. He was neat and clean to the best of his ability for those days and times. His shirts would [be] starched. He may have on work shoes, but still have on those type of pants that he wore, which would be referred to in this day and time as dress pants. I don't know if I can even remember Cletus going somewhere with overalls on. Probably at home he may have done that, but I can remember being in his home when he was a kid.

I never will forget the crowder peas they had that day for dinner. They were cooked like a pinto or northern bean, and I can remember the last of them right now. I still love crowder peas and I raise me some every year.” Back then the way most of them fixed them potatoes was to boil them. You could see the grease on top of them and they'd dip the potato out of them.

Leaston (??) [uncle] could play any instrument there was to play too. He was a marvelous cook and he'd put his apron on and when they would have company in, the women would try and come in the kitchen to help, but he still [did] done his cooking.

Take note to the wrinkles in Uncle Pen's overall[s] there. You can see they are too long for him. Back years ago, instead of cutting a pair of pants off, they would roll them up from the bottom. Of course, when I was a young man, you always turned the cuff up. That was in style. Back then, you can see they were wrinkled up and rolled up. A lot of people would kind of walk on the heels of them--I mean, their heels would walk on the back of their pant leg. You can see a lot of that, and a lot of their clothes would be so old that the heel on the back part would be just wore [worn] out.

I would say those were work shoes. I can't remember him [Uncle Clarence] wearing boots other than gum boots. He doesn't have on gum boots, there in that picture. But, he was the type [of] man, there was a creek, that [ran] run down through there called the Horton Creek that [ran] run out in front of his house and there wasn't ever [even] a briar or bush on that creek bank. It was as clean as people's yard is [yards are] today, all the way from his house, out to the highway, where he owned there. –

You could go by there and there [it] was nothing to see him with a hoe (Uncle Clarence). he was the type [of] fella, you had to love him from the start. He was good to you. He was always willing to help somebody. He had a son, Tommy, his wife's name [was] Minnie and she was a jolly, jolly person. He had a daughter, Flossie. Tommie passed away just a few months ago. Flossie is living over in Bowling Green.

When I was just a kid and Horton School was still going on, I was down visiting with my uncle. Uncle Clarence's grandson's name was Wyndall. We were about the same age. His mother was making a pie to take to the pie supper that night. Of course, she wanted to come up with a good pie and it took several pies to get what she wanted, and I can remember Wyndall and myself, we ate lemon pie till we were sick. I mean she just turned pies over to us. She was wanting to get what she wanted to sell that night. The pie suppers back in the good old days, they did those to raise funds for the schools. For funds they could do anything extra, with window shades for the windows or a new water bucket. What little odds and ends they could buy. That was about the only way they had to raise money.

Box supper[s] [we] would have other food, other than pies, but the pies they would auction them off. Sometimes it would cost you a pretty penny to eat your sweetheart’s pies. We used to be bad about picking out one or two and getting them together and making them pay pretty good for the pies.

[Talking about lemon pies] I can still feel my jaws and cheeks and that's been years and years ago with so much lemon. Of course, she had an icing on them that was thick. She was a marvelous cook too.

[Describing pictures] There are women in the back. I talked to Dwight and Dwight's mother couldn't identify them and we really don't know who they are. There's a possibility that one of them might be her and one Flossie and some of the other people that lived in the area. It was nothing in those days for somebody, company to come by and nobody [was] there.


Interview Summary

Arthur Wilson school teacher, taught music

Stoy was exposed to music by the Opry, at both in school and at home

Cletus died at forty-eight, developed a stomach condition and died due to excessive internal bleeding in the stomach

His dad had mobility issues, may have been arthritis, was unable to walk

He (Cletus's father) used a straight chair to get to get himself around

He sat in the chair and walked in it

If they needed to take him from one room to another, they would drag that chair

Lived with his sister and brother-in-law

Mother died when Cletus and his siblings were young

After his sister married, Cletus still continued living at home and cared for his dad

Unsure of when Cletus died, occurred not long after his father died

Bill James owned where last cabin was, property was 4-11 acres, Henry Clay Stewart also owned it

Community fed each other, including “hoboes”

Comments about Romani working and passing through the area

Uncle Pen's son died from either the flue or pneumonia

Uncle Pen's daughter may have died young, but is unsure

Burial site of Uncle Pen’s famil

Discussion of Pen's marriage and separation

It was common for men to be gone for periods of time to work in the logging industry and in other various professions

Ralph, discussion of Smithsonian (??) Geary does not know man's title .

General comments about health and upcoming surgery

Dr. Dwight Wilson, great grandson of Clarence Wilson, dentist—father was born here, Dwight was born in Beaver Dam.

Discusses boundaries of Mt. Pleasant and Horse Branch

Picture 1: Dwight and pictures, relates the story of finding them. Cletus to the left, Pen with the fiddle.

Times were hard economically when Stoy was a child, but there was always plenty of food

The family would get together and the kids would sleep on the floors at night

Still craves crowder peas in the special way that Cletus made them

At Cletus’ house, his sister probably cooked

Stoy describes his uncle as a four feet tall bachelor until 50, he did all the cooking, lived with blind grandfather

Description of pictures: Picket fence, describes how this type of fence is made

Discussion of the style block and use.

Trees in the back, timber may have been cut

Rail fence in this area.

Picket fence in the garden keeps the chickens out.

[Looking a a picture of Pen], mustache is his defining facial feature

Pen was wearing a felt hat and a denim jacket, picture appears to be taken in the fall

Picture 2: Clarence Wilson made where Uncle Clarence yewing ties or made in his wood yard.

Lots of wood chips visible, probably made the wood ties in the backyard

It was common to have the horses set up and saw the wood on the premises

Then, they would spit it and there would be chips. Then, that could be where they were yewing cross ties in those days.

Uncle Clarence looks young compared to Uncle Pen in the picture here and that was evidently before he hurt his leg, unsure of photo date

Uncle Clarence was a short man, and Uncle Pen was a tall man

Says you can see a lot of the Monroe boys’ features in Uncle Pen, high cheek bones, big hands

Can see bib overalls and a watch pocket, the prints of his watch. Uncle Clarence holding his hat in his hand.