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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with J. D. Thomas and Lela Rigsby Thomas, November 14, 2000. Interview K-0507. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A self-reliant rural community

J.D. and Lela explain that their area's isolation bred self-reliance, so even during tough times, such as the Depression, they and their neighbors had enough to eat.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with J. D. Thomas and Lela Rigsby Thomas, November 14, 2000. Interview K-0507. 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

ROB AMBERG:
Well, that all really interests me. Like you were saying, it was a very isolated place, but yet people found ways to get out when they needed to get out. But also mainly just lived right here. Your whole life was—
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
Right here.
J. D. THOMAS:
Each family was, you might say, self-sufficient. They didn't really have to go and buy much anything that they needed, except maybe coffee, sugar, some other things that they wanted to indulge in that they could not make themselves. But you had molasses, which you used as sweet material. You had all kind of fruits; you had all kind of grapes. You had all kind of other berries. The can house and the apple house, meat house and all those things were stocked full—as you read in the history books—right on up until 19 and 40.
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
We would can beans; we would can corn; we would can berries. Potatoes. Sweet potatoes, all that.
ROB AMBERG:
So even during the Depression I'm sensing that you all had food.
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
Yes, we did.
J. D. THOMAS:
Yeah.
ROB AMBERG:
And you took care of yourselves, basically. You had plenty of water, plenty of wood.
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
Spring out back for the water.