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Title: Oral History Interview with Floyd Alston Jr., November 29, 1995. Interview Q-0002. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Alston, Floyd, Jr., interviewee
Interview conducted by McCoy, Eddie
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 128 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-23, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Floyd Alston Jr., November 29, 1995. Interview Q-0002. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series Q. African American Life and Culture. Southern Oral History Program Collection (Q-0002)
Author: Eddie McCoy
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Floyd Alston Jr., November 29, 1995. Interview Q-0002. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series Q. African American Life and Culture. Southern Oral History Program Collection (Q-0002)
Author: Floyd Alston Jr.
Description: 107 Mb
Description: 25 p.
Note: Interview conducted on November 29, 1995, by Eddie McCoy; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series Q. African American Life and Culture, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Floyd Alston Jr., November 29, 1995.
Interview Q-0002. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Alston, Floyd, Jr., interviewee


Interview Participants

    FLOYD ALSTON JR., interviewee
    ETHEL THORPE ALSTON, interviewee
    EDDIE McCOY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
EDDIE McCOY:
The date is November the 29th, 1995. I'm visiting with Mr. Floyd Alston Jr. His mother Mrs. Ethel Thorpe Alston. The address is [text deleted] . Mr. Floyd Alston's birthday is 6-15-1933. Age sixty two. Mrs. Ethel Thorpe Alston's birthday is April 29th, 1916. Mrs. Alston, what area that you growed up in?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Well, uh, we were raised up most around in the county.
EDDIE McCOY:
But when you was a kid, you came up in Tar River Station?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No, that's when [unclear] Uh, two years, or three years, you know people you used to farm one year and move to another farm.
EDDIE McCOY:
Were your parents sharecroppers?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
What was your daddy's name?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Ather Thorpe
EDDIE McCOY:
What?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Ather.
EDDIE McCOY:
Ather.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Ather Thorpe.
EDDIE McCOY:
Ather Thorpe. Where did he come from?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
He must have come back [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
What about your mother's name, what was her name?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Pearl Thorpe
EDDIE McCOY:
What was her name before she was a Thorpe.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
She married a Thorpe, she was a [unclear] before she married.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, so she was Pearl [unclear] Okay. Uh, Mr. Alston, uh, what street, where was you born at in Oxford?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Born on East street.

Page 2
EDDIE McCOY:
How many years you think y'all stayed over there?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Stayed I don't know how long.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
[unclear] I know he's still there, part time stays with his grandmother [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Your grandmother stayed [unclear]
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Old well place, on Granville Street. Used to be 204 Granville Street.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, 204 Granville Street. This was grandmother?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was just you, no more of your brothers and sisters stayed with her?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, the next, [unclear] his name is, I call him, his name is [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Harry Lee Alston? Uh, how many brothers and sisters do you have?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Three besides me, two sisters....
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, name them all. Name all your sisters and brothers.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Harry Lee Alston, a brother named Harvey James Alston, and a brother passed away is Boise McKinley Alston, and a sister passed away, I can't quite know her name, Mary, Mary Spencer Alston. And I had a sister named Brenda Alston. Those were my brothers and sisters.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who went the farthest in school than your.....
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, I went to the, I think, I went to the ninth grade, I don't know exactly how far my brother Pete went next to me. I went to the ninth grade.
EDDIE McCOY:
You went to Mary Potter?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Mary Potter, Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
What did you do after you, what did you do?

Page 3
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, after that, I joined the air force, I mean, they was drafting for the army, but me and some more boys from Oxford, we went over to Raleigh, and I tried for the air force, although I didn't have a high school education, but, my IQ was high enough, I passed and so I joined the air force four years.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was during the Korean....
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
The Korea, the Korea conflict.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you went to, you passed the test?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Air force, four years, oh yeah, I passed it.
EDDIE McCOY:
And then what you do? Finish school in the air force or?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
No, I didn't to school, but I just took a, you know what the call a on the job training, on the job training, I took different things like that, and uh, but I didn't never go to school no more after that. I just, just got self learning, I mean.
EDDIE McCOY:
And when you came out, did you use your G.I. Bill, or you take a [unclear] or what happened?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, when I came out, I got into, started doing factory work, and so I start from there doing factory work, and that's been ever since, you know, doing factory work.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Alston, uh, can you name your father's brothers and sisters?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't think he had any brothers, he had one named Steven, uh, Steven....
EDDIE McCOY:
That's a boy?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Boy. And had one named Henry Thorpe. That's all the brothers I know that daddy....
EDDIE McCOY:
And what's his name? Your father's name?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Ather.
EDDIE McCOY:
So it's three boys?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, how many girls was they?

Page 4
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh, had one that named Lucy Thorpe, that's all I know, Lucy Thorpe. I don't know no more.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, so it was just your mother and her sister? Okay, where did they come from?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Who?
EDDIE McCOY:
Your mother, where was she raised up at?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
She was raised [unclear] , my mother. My dad, used to call it [unclear] grandpapa used to be a horse, uh used to shoe horses....
EDDIE McCOY:
Who?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
My grandpapa used to shoe horses up there, and they named that [unclear] shop, because he shoed horses.
EDDIE McCOY:
What was your grandfather's name?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh, Harry Saddlewhite?
EDDIE McCOY:
And that's what he used to do?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he know anything about slavery?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Well, I reckon he could tell you about it, It had been back, I think slavery time been back to my momma's momma.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you know your mother's mother?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No, she died.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did your mother ever tell you anything about slavery?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Well, I used to hear old folks talking about it, when people pray, they had to get out, couldn't let folks then pray...
EDDIE McCOY:
Did any of them tell you they went to church with the white people?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Huh-uh, I ain't heard that.

Page 5
EDDIE McCOY:
Huh?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No, I didn't heard that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh, where were you living at when you got married?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
On Lee St.
EDDIE McCOY:
You was living on Lee St. when you got married?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did y'all have a mid-wife in y'all, did you know who was the mid-wife [unclear]
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't know who was, [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Who?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't know. Ret Downey.
EDDIE McCOY:
Ret Downey?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
She our cousin.
EDDIE McCOY:
She was a mid-wife?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yes, she was one.
EDDIE McCOY:
What relation are you to Mrs. Ret Downey?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Cousin.
EDDIE McCOY:
How? On who's side, you mother or your father?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I think that was on my mother's side.
EDDIE McCOY:
The Downeys?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who are you related to in Oxford?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
The [unclear] , we are cousins.

Page 6
EDDIE McCOY:
[unclear] who?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
[unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh, she's your first cousin?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
My first cousin.
EDDIE McCOY:
Can you name somebody else that's your cousin?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Who else here? I know it's some others, I forgot, I just can't name them.
EDDIE McCOY:
How far did you go in school?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I didn't go far, 'cause I couldn't go.
EDDIE McCOY:
Why?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I had to stay at home and do the work, while momma worked.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where was you mother working at?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Cooking. For white folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
What school did you go to when you was a kid?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
[unclear] school.
EDDIE McCOY:
It burned down, or you went before it burned down?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No, it hadn't burned down yet.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, will you give me your whole name, and the year and the date you was born? What's your name, you whole......
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Ethel T. Alston.
EDDIE McCOY:
And what month was you born?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh, April 29th.
EDDIE McCOY:
What year?

Page 7
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
April, April 29th
EDDIE McCOY:
19 what?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
1916.
EDDIE McCOY:
And uh, you didn't go to school....
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
huh-uh, I went to the fourth grade.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you have other sisters and brothers that you had to help take care of?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yeah, I had a sister and brother.
EDDIE McCOY:
You was the oldest?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I was the oldest then, my oldest sister died. I was the next oldest.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, uh, who was, what kind of work did your father do?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Well, he used to work uh, on construction jobs and things, sometimes when they work, my daddy [unclear] and coat a whole lot. He didn't kept enough of work.
EDDIE McCOY:
You are being honest. Uh, so, you know, you go through a whole lot when you are a kid, and when y'all came along, uh, y'all was a very strong people, and taking that, and the family had to be a been very strong too. To stick together, to go through what, go through it, 'cause y'all, you know you didn't have no choice. You didn't have the opportunity that we have now, that you could work, there wouldn't no welfare or nothing like that. So y'all just had to stop school and do the best you could.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
That's right. That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
You had to do what you had to do.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
And uh, I can understand that. Somebody had to make the sacrifice.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, you made it. Uh, what's your father, who, who, name some of your father's people.

Page 8
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Mary Allen, uh, Henry [unclear] was his brother.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where did he live?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
He stayed up on St. Mathis. [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh, he stayed up in the northern part?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
And who else? Who else was the relatives? Are y'all related to all the Thorpes up in that area?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Well, uh, Matt Thorpe and all of them. You know Matt Thorpe?
EDDIE McCOY:
I heard of him.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Well, we was kin to all of them people up there.
EDDIE McCOY:
What about the Mays?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
We could have been kin to them, I don't know.
EDDIE McCOY:
What other Alstons were you related to?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't, Alston, yes. I don't basically know but about my husband's people.
EDDIE McCOY:
What was their name?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Some folks live in Henderson, [unclear] I wouldn't know now, I think I met them twice. But I don't know, I didn't know them.
EDDIE McCOY:
What about in Oxford?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't think there's any down here, [unclear] Oh, well, he had, I'm a Thorpe, I meant Alston, uh, that's all.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, Mr. Alston, you uh, name the rest of them your mother couldn't name.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, uh, my daddy's brother was uh, you want his brothers?

Page 9
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
He had a brother named Ishman Alston, one named Robert Alston, one named Edmund Alston, and.....
EDDIE McCOY:
That's four boys.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
There's one more. Lenny [unclear] Leonard Alston? That's all that I know of.
EDDIE McCOY:
What about the sisters?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Uh, Louise Alston, and Lucille Alston. That's two that's all, two girls.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh, did you ever see any of your father's brothers and sisters?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I saw all of them.
EDDIE McCOY:
Which one that went to, did you know which one that they say went to Foreson School?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I would say Louise Alston. I would say.
EDDIE McCOY:
How far you think Louise went?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I don't know, aunt Louise was pretty well educated, I mean, I don't know exactly how far she went in school.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did they all live in town too?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Yeah, they all live in town, the used to farm off and on, yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did share cropping come from your mothers' side or from your father's side?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Both. Both sides.
EDDIE McCOY:
Both sides.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
But my daddy, my father was born in New York, Buffalo, New York. Brooklyn, New York, excuse me, Brooklyn, New York. He was born, my father was born in Brooklyn, New York.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, he moved down here with his family or what?

Page 10
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Must, must moved down with his father and them I reckon, but he was born in Brooklyn, New York.
EDDIE McCOY:
And uh, what church was your father......
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Same church as y'all are. Refuge Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
EDDIE McCOY:
The one that you a member .....
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Member of, yes. Same church.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, your father family grew up in that church?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you came up in the same, with your father's side?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who went with your mother side to church? FA; Well, uh, it was my grandmother, she went to the same church.
EDDIE McCOY:
What was your grandmother's name?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Uh, Mrs. Pearl Thorpe.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
And uh, my grandfather, Mr. Athel Thorpe, he belonged to the same church.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was the Episcopal?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
No, uh, Refuge Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but it wasn't called that then, but uh anyway, the same I belongs to now. And they was come up in that, 'cause grandmother, she used to teach me all about the Bible and Sunday school when I was small, just a little kid. So, uh, I came up in the church, we, all my brothers and all, we came up in that church. You know the brothers that we have now....
EDDIE McCOY:
And uh, did your mother's father came, your father came up in there, and your mother came up in there. She's a member of your, that church now?

Page 11
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Same church now.
EDDIE McCOY:
She was what, a Episcopalian first?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
She said, uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
You was Episcopalian? 'Cause all the Roysters was in that area.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was Episcopalian.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh, you never farmed, though?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Oh, Yeah, I used to get out of school and drive two horse mules, [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Where were you living at then?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Over here other side of Tar River like you going, other side of Bell Town. Up by Tar River.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was it near Summer Grove Church?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Like you going to Stems. Short ways from Stems. 'Bout four or five miles from Bell Town.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, okay, were you on, went home on the Bell Town Rd. Or on......
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
On the Bell Town Road, Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, okay so you came from out there in that area?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, we farmed out there, my father farmed in different places here, Granville County.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, he was a sharecropper? He moved around?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where was, do you know the name of the farm that when you was working that white man....

Page 12
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
We was working for Mr. Davis, Luther Davis. He passed away, Mr. Luther Davis, and Mr. Jimmy Balou, they own the farm together. Mr. Luther Davis, and Mr. Jimmy Balou.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, let's get it straight now, the Balou plantation farm is when you cross the Tar River bridge?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
On the right hand side?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's it, right there where the farm was.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay. Now, I'm going to take you back, did you ever see the mill on one side, did you know it was a corn mill on the left hand side, and one of the right hand side?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, it's one there now, but...
EDDIE McCOY:
It rot down.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
But it wasn't there when I was out there, that come later. That came later.
EDDIE McCOY:
Which one of them?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, both of them, 'cause there wasn't nothing there then. But fields that we plowed in.
EDDIE McCOY:
And wasn't no mill...
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Wasn't no mill there...
EDDIE McCOY:
On each one of them?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
No, 'cause it was right up form Tar River you talking about?
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
There was nothing there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay there was a bridge, it was a bridge...
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Bridge right down there.

Page 13
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, but it was two mills, two corn mills, one was on each side of that plantation.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
No, that's later, they built that later. Way later.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Wasn't nothing there.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Wasn't nothing there but corn fields. We used to have a field there we plowed.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
There, right up on the hill there after you cross the bridge.
EDDIE McCOY:
Right up on the hill, on the right hand side?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Right hand side, uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, now, it was a graveyard on that farm?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I kind of remember, but it was so far back, it was a graveyard, I can't remember exactly where it was.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, now she's right. Mrs. Belou is buried at the pack house.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, I know it's one out there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Belou is buried on the right hand side. I been there, tall steep tomb stones, somebody knocked it off. And it going to take a wreck truck to put it back up. Now, the slave graveyard is on the left hand side, facing that, that barn. Now, did you know that, that it was a graveyard on that...
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No, I didn't know it was a graveyard, I just thought they buried that person at the pack house there. 'Cause you see a tombstone.
EDDIE McCOY:
Right. Did you know Mrs. Belou was buried out there?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I didn't know.
EDDIE McCOY:
I know y'all had left from out there, but you didn't know she was buried out there?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, she was buried out there, and it tells you about her husband and everything. But he wasn't buried, he was a preacher I think. And so, the slave graveyard

Page 14
is on the left hand side of that, that's what the part you seen. Now, did you know Mrs. Belou? That you was farming with, did you know her?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No.....
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I knew him, but I didn't know her.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
The one that live around here.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
The farm is right here...
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, I know what you talking about.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I used to cook for her.
EDDIE McCOY:
You did?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
How many years did you think y'all stayed out there?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
One year..
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I'd say one year, Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, did you go to school at Providence?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Right there where the Rev. Clint's church is. I walked to school.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you walk through the, cross the pond?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Sometimes I go around, cross the bridge, and sometimes I walk through.
EDDIE McCOY:
The shortcut?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
The shortcut.
EDDIE McCOY:
With peace?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
I know a lot about that area don't I?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Oh, yeah.

Page 15
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, 'cause I know he told, I was told if you didn't watch you would fall in that, you would fall on those rocks...
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
'Cause we used to walk across them rocks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, now where did you move to after that?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Right up, yeah, Avery farm...
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Right across the bridge...up the road..
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, Mr. Tom Harris, was it on that side?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
As you leave uh, from the uh, Davis farm, it was on the right side.
EDDIE McCOY:
Coming to Oxford?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Coming to Oxford, yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, that's the same, that's the one that I think Mr. Thorpe, uh, what you call it's on now.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I can't remember his name, he owned the farm.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, why did y'all leave Mr. Belou to come over to there?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
We moved 'cause we didn't never stay at one farm but a year, sometimes we stay two years. But we never stayed no longer than that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Your father?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
We moved somewhere else.
EDDIE McCOY:
Because he just wasn't interested in doing a whole lot of work?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh, I reckon so.
EDDIE McCOY:
I mean your husband.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Oh, my husband worked.

Page 16
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I'll tell you the reason I think, mom, 'cause I know my father moved from, after he moved from the Avery farm, he stayed there a year, then he moved across over here to the Lewises'. You know where the Lewises?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Uh, what's the name of that man there? I know a [unclear] used to live on that farm there, let me see, John [unclear] used to live on that farm.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was it Gregory's farm?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was it the uh, I tell you who it was. Beasley?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
No, I can't think of his name.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay....
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
It was on that side, it was before you get down to the river, it was a branch, a branch right down that hill. It's, his farm was on that side like you.....
EDDIE McCOY:
Railroad track..
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, how many years did y'all stay out there?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I think we stayed out there one year or two, I mean that's when I started uh, the first year they opened uh, Snowball high school, 'cause I went that first year to Snowball high school, out there at uh, Snowball.
EDDIE McCOY:
On the bus?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
On the bus, the first year they opened that.
EDDIE McCOY:
The bus, when you stayed at uh, Providence, when you stayed out at Bell Town Road, did you walk to school, or was it buses then?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, out there at Bell Town, out there, when we went to uh, the church, you know where Rev. Clint's church is. I mean, went to school there, well, we walked, but after we moved to Avery farm, we rode the bus.
EDDIE McCOY:
Avery or?

Page 17
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Avery, yeah. Avery farm, yeah, we rode the bus.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's Avery?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Avery, yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, you started the Belou's that was one? You went to Belou to Avery?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, now, from there to Lewis?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Lewises, right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who did you farm with at Lewises', you don't remember?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Don't remember the name, no.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, that's the, that's the third time, about how many years did you stay there?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I think that's one year, see, 'because see the reason, my father, I know he saved up enough money, this land here, where we live now, well, I think it was one or two houses over there then, May Sanford, and Freddie Lewis's, 'cause that house right there, Yeah, Mr. Cruise house, 'bout three houses out there, anyway, my daddy bought all this land right in here, all the way up to that, to the next street up there.
EDDIE McCOY:
You kidding.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
He had all that land, 'cause he sold all of that back after, you know, lot by lot. But he bought all this here, wasn't nothing on it but that one house there. And he was, I think it was uh, Mr. Davis, you know the one he farmed with, helped him get this land.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was nice.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Yeah, helped him get this land. And so, uh, after that, he went and bought a barracks, they had a army camp over here in [unclear] he bought a barrack from [unclear] and you hall that, me and my father, my grandfather, and my grandfather from my mother's side, we all, and my daddy's brothers all chipped in together and tore the place down.
EDDIE McCOY:
Disassembled that barn?

Page 18
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right, disassembled that barracks, on a horse, mule and wagon, and halled it all here, right here is where he built his first house, and he had this house built. Mr. Joe Wiggerson, and all them helped got that house together, they built that house, and my father and them built that together. It was our cousin.
EDDIE McCOY:
And y'all took the same barracks....
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Same barracks...
EDDIE McCOY:
And reassembled again...
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
reassembled again...
EDDIE McCOY:
Like it was.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
And what relation Mr. Joe Wiggerson....
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
He on my daddy...
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
He was our cousin.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mr. Joe Wiggerson was?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yeah, he was.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, who was Matt Jones married to?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
He married my older sister.
EDDIE McCOY:
What's your older sister name?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Cora Bell.
EDDIE McCOY:
Cora Bell.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
And she, she married...
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Matt Jones.
EDDIE McCOY:
And she was Cora Bell Jones?

Page 19
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Right.
EDDIE McCOY:
How many children did she have by Matt Jones?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
One, she had one.
EDDIE McCOY:
What was the name? What was the first one name?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh, [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
[unclear] Jones, that's .... And what was the other girls name that died that passed [unclear]
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
They never named her 'cause she, she died when she was, something wrong with her kidney. And she died in the......
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you know Matt Jones before he married your sister?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No, we didn't know him before he married her, but when he was grown.....
EDDIE McCOY:
You knew him then, that's what I mean, where was he living at?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't know where Matt Jones was living, when he married my sister.
EDDIE McCOY:
What kind of work did he do when he married...
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I know who he stayed with...
EDDIE McCOY:
Who did he stay...
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
He stayed with somebody over here, I don't know.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he ever tell you who his mother and father was?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Let me see, I don't know, I really never known Matt Jones folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he ever tell you his daddy was white or his mother was white?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh, he didn't tell us that, we didn't know that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Huh?

Page 20
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
We didn't know that, but we just say he might have been come from a white man.
EDDIE McCOY:
Couldn't you look at him and tell?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
Didn't he have all the features of a white person?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
He didn't tell your sister that his parents was white?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't reckon, I don't what he told my sister, I declare, I don't know.
EDDIE McCOY:
How old is, 'bout how old is his daughter that lives up north?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
He gone, got children.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, uh, Matt Jones got married again after your sister died?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh, he uh, married Lucy Well..
EDDIE McCOY:
Did she have any children?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I think Lucy got all [unclear] I think she got them all. By Matt I think.
EDDIE McCOY:
She had one child?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
When Matt married her?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yeah, had one look like a white girl, but .......I don't know whether she was white or what.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mr. Alston, you tell me about uh, your father, he never farmed no more after that?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
No, he uh...
EDDIE McCOY:
What kind of work did he start to do?

Page 21
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
He went into tobacco you know, [unclear] tobacco company. He did construction work too.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's what I'm saying, he still built houses and stuff like that. With Joe Wilkinson?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
With Joe Wilkinson, yes, he's a carpenter you know, but he put the house together, he could build a house with Joe Wilkinson.
EDDIE McCOY:
And who, your father, who else worked with them?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, uh, I don't know exactly, [unclear] different people.
EDDIE McCOY:
And they run around town building houses and working in the factory.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, my daddy, he was working in the factory, he used to, when he do it then, construction work, he used to, it's kind of hard to do, just like when you laying pipes, the way you put them together and jam them together and this and that, he always did that kind of, you know, didn't do too much digging, but he always did the work you know placing them together and whatever it took to do that. Building bridges.
EDDIE McCOY:
'Cause he could read rules and, and stuff.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Yeah, he could do anything.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, yeah. Did he ever tell you how far he went in school?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
He didn't go too far in school, my father didn't.
EDDIE McCOY:
He didn't ?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
No, he didn't go too far in school, either.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Alston, how far did your husband go in school?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't know how far he went...
EDDIE McCOY:
Where was he born at?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
In New York.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
He was born in New York.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he tell you, who did he live with down here?

Page 22
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh, he roomed with somebody, I can't tell you who it was. I forgot, I done forgot who he was rooming with. He was rooming with somebody when I met him. He joined the same church that I belonged to. So [unclear] But, I don't know where he was staying at, . [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
How did you get, how did your father, how, were you up in Sally White, did your grandaddy, did you go back and forth to visit him?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No, we didn't go back up there [unclear] children come along then when we learned that he was our grandfather. He had a home on down on east street. He had bought a house out on East Street.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he, did he have other grandchildren, other than you, you r mother's?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Well, yes he did, but....
EDDIE McCOY:
Do you know any Roysters up in Sally White that you are related to now?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
[unclear] Well, Yeah, we was kin to them.
EDDIE McCOY:
And what about Mrs. Ida Alston, how was you related to her?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I was, that was on my daddy's side, that was uh,
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Ida was a Mays.
EDDIE McCOY:
How did the Mays come into your families?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Well, Ida Alston, I think Tina Mays and all them's kin to them.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah. Okay, Herman Mays...
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay. They came, the Mays and the Alstons
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
By marriage she was married by my uncle, my daddy's brother married you know...
EDDIE McCOY:
Into the Mays family?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Into the Mays family, that's right.

Page 23
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, so that's how the Mays come into....
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Came into it, Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, you are related to the Mays?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Mays...
EDDIE McCOY:
And the, help me out, the Thorpes
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
The Thorpes, the Brandons.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about the Brandons
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's my grandfather's wife was a Brandon, on my daddy's side.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where the Brandons....
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
They come from Fairport.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, now, now I can tell you where the carpentry come from, the skills come from your father. Okay, all Brandon's was carpenters, they were master carpenters, they did all kind of construction work, so, so your father's mother was a Brandon?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right. My father, that's right, my father's mother was a Brandon, Yeah, uh-huh, 'cause his daddy, I mean, my grandaddy Lee Alston married a Brandon, that's right, married into the Brandons. I know uh [unclear] Brandon, you ever know [unclear] Brandon?
EDDIE McCOY:
No.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
They's some Brandon's here.
EDDIE McCOY:
Just name them.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
James Brandon that's in the family, I can't call of them by name.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now Sammy Robertson's mother was a Brandon.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
The Braswells.....
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah...

Page 24
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
They in that...
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, all the Braswells...
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
They say the Parkers is in the family.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's right. Nick Parker and all that, yeah, yeah, they are. Uh, they married a Brandon, uh, married into the Brandons. So, the Brandons they never worked, they weren't in slavery, they always worked for theirselves. So, your mother, your father's mother was a Brandon?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
She married a Brandon or she was born a Brandon?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
She was born a Brandon.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, she was a Brandon...okay. So, you come from a big family?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
It's a big family, Yeah, we spread...
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, all over the county. The Brandons, the Braswells, the Hicks is in there. The Robinsons, 'cause Mr. Robinson married a Brandon, his wife was a Brandon. The Wortham's come in there. And then the Roysters, y'all touch a whole lot of people in this county.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
And Mr. [unclear] Parker, they was [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, uh-huh. And Dewey Parker and them. Did you know Dewey Parker? Live out one shinn Road going to George Write?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, they were too.
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I [unclear]
EDDIE McCOY:
Are you related to Mrs. Maggie [unclear]
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Not that I know of.
EDDIE McCOY:
And your father bought all of this land over here, and sold lots off?

Page 25
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
All of the, right there where Maggie Lewis got up, built, all of that was my daddy's land, right there where she got her house, he sold it to her, right here where this man got his house here, and where Catherine house, he sold that to him.
EDDIE McCOY:
He smart weren't he?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
He, he used his head when he done all that. I mean, he was looking out for his family. He was looking at, see, when you go through so much like share-cropping, just like when I was in school, high school, I was smart, the teacher told me I was smart and everything, but point is, when I got to high school, but my daddy could do the best he could and everything, but when I went to school with [unclear] pants on, uh, [unclear] old shoes, I was ashamed. I start laying out, ducking school. And that's the reason I didn't , 'cause I wanted to go to college and everything. But you see, after all that you know, back then times was hard. Times was really hard, but he brought us through it all, you know. Brought it through it all.
EDDIE McCOY:
Them people was strong weren't they?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Yeah, they had to be strong. Had to be strong, the people now couldn't make it.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh no.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
Couldn't make it, they had to be strong.
EDDIE McCOY:
A guy told me, said white people had to come through what black people had to do back then, they'd be committing suicide.
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
That's right, they'd been killing themselves, that's right.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where did they get strength from, you a church man?
FLOYD ALSTON JR.:
I'll tell you what, we come from a church family. 'Cause we got preachers on our side, preachers, see my grandmother, Pearl Thorpe, my momma's momma, she was really what you call a religious woman. When I was like that, she would bring me out of the street, playing in the street, [unclear] don't care what we had on, call us in church. She taught me all about the Bible. And the same verses when I was a kid, 'bout John 3:16 and the 23rd psalm and all like that, came all the way up in me, all the way up 'til my grown adult age. And, right now, after I got saved, I can think back on where them people's strength came from.
[text missing]
END OF INTERVIEW