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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Edith Warren, August 28, 2002. Interview K-0601. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Growth in Pitt County

Warren describes some of the changes that took place in Pitt County between the time of her youth and Hurricane Floyd, in 1996. The area grew significantly, with highways replacing dirt roads.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Edith Warren, August 28, 2002. Interview K-0601. 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

Tell me how your part of eastern North Carolina, that you represent and that you spent the bulk of your life in, has changed from the point when you were a girl growing up to the time the flood hit. Can you give me that perspective?
Well, as a child growing up, I played, I worked on the farm, I did the part-time work on Main Street in Tarboro, I went to school at East Carolina, I traveled the roads, I traveled the paths – whether we were going to pick huckleberries or cut the broomstraw or take the tobacco to market, or if we were going down to the creek to fish a little bit. Throughout those years you would see the crops grow. It was incredible to see what happened with the ravaging flood waters that came over this beautiful landscape of farms, and creeks and little streams that became monster tidal waves.
But before the flood actually hit, the area must have changed quite a bit since when you were a girl growing up, in terms of development opportunity, I don't know—
Yes, yes it had. The towns had grown larger. Highways were paved. In some cases we even have four lanes of highways. As a child, we all lived on dirt roads. There were two paved highways within my close community, and those were main highways, pretty much paved roads. Many of the homes where farmers lived in the community are no more, because farming has changed so much into more mechanized processes, and not requiring quite as many people to have hands on throughout the year. Just during certain seasons of the year.
No more fifteen-year-old girls like you looping tobacco.
That's right. That's right. That was a family activity. Growth from the communities, with your additional houses, Greenville having just mushroomed considerably from the growth of the university and the med school, and the university health systems, just has brought a lot of growth there. More diversity in work opportunities. Now with our manufacturing we have pockets of very high unemployment in our region. But the landscape had looked quite different.