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Community Change in the Kentucky Foothills of Appalachia

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Community Change in the Foothills of Appalachia interviews were conducted by Becky Denton in 2004-05 for the Kentucky Oral History Commission. Denton interviewed citizens who resided in Clark, Estill, Lincoln, Madison and Powell Counties, but grew up and lived and worked in either the foothills or mountains of Appalachia. The interviewees, which include a diverse sample of men, women and people of color, share stories of growing up in communities such as Bobtown, Cedar Grove, Irvine, Ravenna, and Winchester. Interview topics include, but are not limited to, discussions about family, education and work histories, health care, local industries, such as timber and railroads, farming experiences, and other related themes. In particular, the interviews capture the perceived social, political, and economic changes that took place in Central and Eastern Kentucky during the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Items in the Community Change in the Kentucky Foothills of Appalachia Project

Delbert T. Harrison discusses his life experiences and the changes in Estill County that he witnessed during his lifetime. Interview topics include comments on growing up in a family with 14 children, his work history, and the major changes in…

W.C. Thompson discusses the role that railroads played in Ravenna KY through time. He shares his memories of growing up in a town with 17,600, a number that declined as the railroads were replaced by automobiles. Thompson also comments on political…

Etha Muncie and Aileen Smith discuss growing up in Powell County. Interview topics include comparisons between their youth and the present conditions for families and children. They comment that increases in drug problems, decreases in discipline,…

Mossies Osborne discusses her life experiences while living in Clark County for most of her life. Interview topics include discussions over her family's farm and family economy, and her experiences as a wife, mother and widow. She concludes that…

Helen Davis Walker discusses growing up as the daughter of an African American sharecropper and domestic worker. Walker comments extensively on the differences between living in the country as a young girl and later in Winchester KY as a teenager and…

Emma Woosley discusses growing up in Estill County, where they moved frequently and made do with little money. Woosley also comments extensively on the role that neighbors, religion, education, and, more generally, the community has played in the…

Isaac Bruton Sr. discusses his life experiences as an African American carpenter, farmer, and railroad worker. He comments extensively on race relations, growing up and working as an African American, and the role that community, hard work and…

Elmer Combs discusses growing up on a farm in Perry County near Hazard, Kentucky. Interview topics include discussions about coal mining, farming and farm life, self-sufficiency practices, molasses production, and other related changes from the times…

Rachel Hall discusses growing up with her grandparents while living on a farm in Powell County. Hall comments on their daily activities, her chores, and her careers in a factory and the local school system. She also concludes that changes in female…

Carl Brock discusses his complicated childhood and adult life, which resulted in regular moves between Flemingsburg, Morgan County, Wolf County, and Powell County. Brock comments on working in construction, factories, and the coal mines while raising…

Shirley Richardson discusses growing up on a farm in Clark County and her eventual 30 year career with the Road Department. Richardson comments extensively on the farm life of her youth and the changing economic and social conditions across Clark…

Harvey Robinson discusses growing up as an African American in Clark County. Robinson worked in the tobacco fields before moving to Ohio for a short time, only to return to the Winchester area to work for the American Tobacco Company in the winter…

Irene Woosley discusses growing up in the Kiddville "village"/Trap area of Clark County. She comments extensively on her family life and marriage, changes in community values, and the eventual collapse of the Kiddville area, which she attributes to…

Ruth Mae Noland Taylor discusses growing up in Trapp, Clark County, Kentucky, and her life after she left the area at age 20. Taylor also comments extensively on the changes she witnessed in Clark County through time, which includes desegregation,…

Elsie Marie Skinner discusses growing up in Clark County as the youngest in a large African American family. She comments extensively on how her childhood and adolescence influenced the ways that she brought up her five children. Skinner also details…

Edward Drake discusses growing up in Irvine, Kentucky as the son of a railroad worker. Drake details his early childhood and his eventual employment in the same line of work as his father. Drake comments extensively on his education and work history,…

Guy Bowling discusses growing up and working in both Berea, Kentucky and the orange groves of Florida. Bowling provides a detailed comparison of his life in Kentucky versus his experiences in Florida; in particular he comments on railroads and union…

J. C. Burnell discusses growing up and living on a farm outside of Richmond, Kentucky. He comments on his chores and eventual responsibilities, as well as the differences between his childhood and adolescence and the experiences of today's youth.

Martha Ann Puckett discusses growing up around Berea, Madison County, Kentucky in the 1940s. Puckett comments on being raised in a family with little money and strict discipline (the "old time way"). Puckett also talks about her experiences in school…

Mary Elizabeth Clay discusses growing up and living in Berea as an African American in the early 20th Century. Clay comments extensively on her home life, education and career as a maid, and Berea College's overall influence on the area. She also…

Douglas Browning discusses his eventful life after being raised in Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky. Browning concludes that after leaving Montgomery County, where his family had resided for over 14 generations, he traveled the country and…

Martha Neely discusses growing up as the daughter of a sawmill owner in Madison County. Neely comments on her education, common discipline practices, community activities that have changed through time, her marriage and the years she has spent as a…

Ellen Bleecher discusses growing up in a household and family that held education in high regard. Bleecher comments extensively on her family life and education, Berea churches, her father's career in education, and Berea College's influence on the…

Virginia Yeager discusses growing up in Estill County during the early 20th Century. Being the oldest child in her family Yeager took on a great deal of responsibility at a young age; she eventually became a school teacher at 17 years old. Other…

Mattie Mastin, born in Crystal, Kentucky discusses growing up in the Estill/Madison County area. Mastin comments extensively on her family history and the major changes in transportation, education, and healthcare that she has witnessed in her…

Dr. William Wise discusses Estill County, the Kentucky River, the railroad systems that were at one time the lifeblood of the area, and other related historical topics. Other interview topics include lengthy discussions over various industries and…

Celia Estes shares her experiences of growing up on a farm in Powell County. Estes eventually relocated to Ohio for some time before returning to Kentucky. She shares a great deal of information about farming and farm life, home remedies, the local…

John Parks shares his experiences of growing up on a farm in Madison County. Interviews topics include discussions about farm life, churches, home remedies, raising livestock, education, discipline, crime rates, and the excitements he felt when…

Maudie Tyra discusses her upbringing in Breathitt County. Tyra comments extensively on her childhood and how losing her mother at a young age presented many challenges. Other interview topics include discussions about demographic change in the…

Marie McCoy discusses her experiences while growing up in Powell County. Interview topics include her education, recreation on her family farm, her family's work history, which included sawmill work and farming, and the role that churches played in…

This interview with Maudie Tyra is the second of a two part series. Interview topics include discussions over transportation (railroads), her home life while growing up, and the importance of mission work in the area. An extended conversation over…

Bob Menefee discusses growing up in a middle class Baptist family and his resultant careers in both the Air Force and higher education. The interview spends a great deal of time discussing Menefee's education, liberalism, Berea College's history, and…

Roberta Cornelison discusses growing up in Bobtown, Madison County, Kentucky. Interview topics include discussions about Berea, segregation, race relations, and, her home life and education. She also comments extensively on the Bobtown community, and…

Frances Moore discusses her upbringing in Madison County, and her experiences while living in Berea. Interview topics include discussions over her home life, family history, and education, Berea churches and church life, and the distinct East versus…

Melvin Higgins discusses growing up on a farm in Magoffin County. He also comments extensively on Berea, which is where his parents moved their family so his siblings could have better access to schools. Interview topics include discussions about…

Billy Cooper discusses his experiences while growing up in Estill County on a mountain farm. Interview topics include extended conversations about mountain life, including home remedies, farming, raising hogs, gardening, canning, logging, preserving…

Joe Estes discusses his experiences while growing up and living in both Estill and Madison County. Interview topics include farming and farm life, local oil, timber, and coal booms, and an extended conversation over living and working near the…

Sonja Estes discusses her experiences while growing up, first, in Estill County and, later, in Fayette County. Estes spends a great deal of time commenting on her family life and upbringing. The remainder of the interview details relevant changes in…

Edgar Puckett discusses growing up in Tipton Ridge (formally Union Hall), Estill County, Kentucky. Interview topics include his family history and home life, recreation and entertainment, and vivid stories about growing up in Estill County. Puckett…

Darnell Fletcher discusses his experiences as an African American who grew up in Powell County, Kentucky. Fletcher shares his family history and Air Force service record, and other related life experiences. Other topics include tobacco farming and…

Eugene and Jamie Bush discuss growing up in Ravenna, Estill County, Kentucky. The interview includes discussions about Ravenna businesses and entertainment, Estill County industry, including railroads and oil boom years, the county education system,…

Charles Vanhuss discusses growing up in Ravenna, Estill County, Kentucky. Interview topics include discussions about his family history and his father's involvement with the L&N Railroad, the education system and churches, his interest in politics,…

Betty Isaacs discusses growing up and living in Clark County for most her life. Interview topics include discussions about changes in healthcare, education, and entertainment, housing, and access to good jobs.

Carolyn Floyd discusses her farming experiences, as well as her years of living and raising her children on the Kentucky River, Madison County, Kentucky. She also recalls many stories about Cassius Clay, her step-great grandfather, and Brutus Clay.…

Betty Smith discusses growing up and living in Clark County for most of her life. Interview topics include discussions about entertainment opportunities and games when she was growing up, Main Street businesses, restaurants, and socializing in…

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