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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Churchgoing as recreation and seeing a car for the first time

There "wasn't anything then to do" for fun, Carter says, so churchgoing was the principal recreation for Carter and her family. She also remembers taking drives in a buggy on Sunday evenings, and her terror at seeing a car for the first time.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
What would you do for recreation and entertainment when you weren't working in the mill?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
There wasn't anything then to do. They didn't have places like they have now. You just stayed at home and you went to church. That's what we did every Sunday morning, we went to church, and every Sunday night.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What church did you go to?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Brandon church.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Baptist or Methodist?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Baptist. Preacher Wren was the preacher.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did he stay here a long time?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Oh, he stayed here for years.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What's his full name, do you remember?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
John Wren. But he left here and then he died in another mill village. He went to preach there and he died there. But he stayed at Brandon, I don't know just how many years, but he was there long as I was a child.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did both of your parents go to church?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Yeah. At Brandon. Everyone of us had to go to church.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you go about every week?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Every Sunday'd come. But then that church out there toward West Greenville. They didn't have a new church like they got now. New church now is right down there. Well, the Baptist and Methodist was all together. And one Sunday all the Methodists and Baptists would all come together. They didn't have it separate. Like this Sunday our preacher would preach—the Baptist preacher—then next Sunday the Methodist preacher would preach. His name was preacher Doggett. That's the way we had our church. Everybody went. That church was always full on Sunday. And everybody went back Sunday night. Then in the evenings, if we weren't going anywheres, we'd get out and walk. There wasn't no cars hardly. The first cars that started here was old T Models. I can remember the first one I ever see'd. Yes, I can. They had horses and buggies when I was small. We'd just get out and walk, you know, just to go somewheres. Two of our uncles had horses and buggies and they'd take us not plumb to Paris Mountain—they couldn't go that far with a horse and buggy—but we'd go right far, just to see, you know. For pleasure on a Sunday evening.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Tell me about the first car that you saw.
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Well, it liked to scared me to death, the first one I ever seen. Everybody was talking about the T Models. My uncle bought one.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Which uncle is that now?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
That's my Uncle…I mean, my brother-in-law. He died, though. He's dead now, I mean. He bought one, second-hand. Somebody'd used it. He bought it. I think he give twenty-five dollars for it. And he come driving up to the house and we said we wasn't getting in that thing. Then he told us that was an iron buggy—to tease us kids, you know—and I said, ‘Well, you ain't getting me in it.’ That's all we had for years. I don't know how many years it was before any of the other cars come out. It was a long time.