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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Margaret Carter, October 25, 1975. Interview A-0309-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A variety of influences on Carter's childhood

Raised by her great-aunt and great-uncle, Carter grew up in a family where she was influenced by Quaker abolitionists and former Confederate soldiers, educated middle-class ladies and coal mining labor activists.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Margaret Carter, October 25, 1975. Interview A-0309-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARGARET CARTER:
My great-aunt was one of the first graduates of the first normal school at Huntsville. Before she was eligible to go to Huntsville, she went to a private academy where she lived in the home of the principal and did housework and sewing for his large family to make her expenses. That was not because her father had never earned any money, but because her family had invested what they had in Confederate currency as all the loyal Texas families did at that time. She was born the year that the Civil War began and she was a change of life child. I remember my great-grandmother, Amanda Anderson Dial, who lived to be 95 years old. My great-grandfather Benjamin Franklin Dial, was a general in the Army of the Confederate States of America and they had lived in Marshall which was then an outpost of Anglo-American civilization. Many of their old friends had lived in Marshall and I have had a pretty long jump to make in my personal orientation. They told me that it was a shame that Mr. Lincoln was assassinated. The South would have been better off if he had lived, but they also told me that the Negroes would be much better off if they stayed in their place and that part of it I didn't believe, probably on account of my mother, whom I did know——I was ten years old when she died. Her older brother had become a Friends minister, so I had some Quaker influence on her side and then I married the youngest son of a miner who had had some experience with seeing his male relatives belong to and take leadership in local unions at a time when there was discord with management and activity required real sacrifice and courage.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
This was a coal miner?
MARGARET CARTER:
A coal miner. In Thurber.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Where is Thurber?
MARGARET CARTER:
It is not far from Stephenville. My husband [Jack Carter] was actually born in Stephenville because they had to go to Stephenville to get a doctor. Thurber was a company town. There was a Thurber Coal Mine and a Thurber Brick Company and that was all that was there. He grew up there for, I suppose, the first ten years of his life. He moved to Ft. Worth a little before I did and when my family moved to Ft. Worth, it was coming back to Ft. Worth. They lived in Ft. Worth, then in Sherman about twenty years and came back to Ft. Worth when I was eleven. So, I spent almost all of my life in which I did much thinking in Ft. Worth.