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Title: Oral History Interview with Lillian Taylor Lyons, September 11, 1994. Interview Q-0094. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Lyons, Lillian Taylor, 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: 184 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.
2007-11-28, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Lillian Taylor Lyons, September 11, 1994. Interview Q-0094. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series Q. African American Life and Culture. Southern Oral History Program Collection (Q-0094)
Author: Eddie McCoy
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Lillian Taylor Lyons, September 11, 1994. Interview Q-0094. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series Q. African American Life and Culture. Southern Oral History Program Collection (Q-0094)
Author: Lillian Taylor Lyons
Description: 190 Mb
Description: 47 p.
Note: Interview conducted on September 11, 1994, by Eddie McCoy; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Sally Council.
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.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
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Interview with Lillian Taylor Lyons, September 11, 1994.
Interview Q-0094. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Lyons, Lillian Taylor, interviewee


Interview Participants

    LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS, interviewee
    EDDIE McCOY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
EDDIE McCOY:
Today is Sunday, September 11, 1994. I'm visiting with Mrs. Lillian Taylor Lyons. The address is 210 Alexander Avenue. Mrs. Lyons has been living here all her childhood until she went off to school, to college. Mrs. Lyons, tell me about your childhood and what was going on in your life as you went along in school.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, I started school at five and a half years old. I was carried by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Annie Lassiter, who lived two doors from me, down the street from me. The school building was located on Orange Street in the two hundred block. It is now the home of a retired teacher, Mr. Charles Gregory, who was born in Oxford and taught here through the years. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Lyons, how did you get back and forth to school when you was going to school?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I walked. It was a distance of approximately a mile. When I was late, I ran all the way.
EDDIE McCOY:
You say you ran all the way to school. Was there other brothers and sisters that was going with you to school, or were you going by yourself?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I was going by myself. My brother, Leonard Taylor, was seven years older than me, and he was in Mary Potter High School at that time. The buildings were in the vicinity of McClanahan Street and Lanier Avenue.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you enjoy going to school?

Page 2
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I loved school because I knew how to read and write when I entered school.
EDDIE McCOY:
What grade was your last grade at Orange Street School, at Mr. Gregory's house, or the school that was in the back of the house? Explain to me where the school was.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The school building was on the corner of Orange Street and—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Piedmont.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, that's not Piedmont, is it?
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Lyons, what grade did you leave the Orange Street School?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I left at the end of sixth grade and went to Mary Potter, which was the day and boarding school. Mary Potter was located, the buildings were located on the property from Lanier Street and McClanahan Street.
EDDIE McCOY:
What year were you born?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I was born November 18, 1902.
EDDIE McCOY:
So what age would you be today?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
As of today, I'm two weeks from my ninety-second, I'm two months from my ninety-second birthday.
EDDIE McCOY:
Could you tell me about your parents and their affiliation with Oxford. Was both of your parents born in Oxford?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My father was born in Sudan, Virginia, near Clarksville. He was born on April 9, 1850. My mother was born where I live now, at 210 Alexander Avenue, on December 22, 1960, the daughter of Charles Lewis and Lucinda Gregory Lewis.
EDDIE McCOY:
You say your mother was born in 1960. I think your mother was born 1860?

Page 3
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Eighteen and sixty.
EDDIE McCOY:
OK. And how long the land has been in your family, on your mother's side?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The land has been in the family since between 1859 and 1860.
EDDIE McCOY:
1859. Tell us a little about your mother and father, far as wanting you and your sisters and brothers to get a good education.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My mother worked part of the time in New Jersey. That was during the [light time] and the times of my brother, Leonard Taylor, who became Dr. Leonard A. Taylor, a dentist. There were eight children. The oldest was Edgar Taylor, Lucy Taylor, [Lattie] Taylor, Blanche, Winifred, [Schotia], Leonard, and me.
EDDIE McCOY:
So what did your father do? And what did he contribute to raising y'all and how he wanted y'all to have a decent education? What kind of work did he do?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My father was a carpenter? He worked at various jobs during my early years in Granville and Vance, the surrounding counties. In later years, by the time I was in fifth and sixth grade, he was working at the Oxford Orphanage, which was three blocks up the street from us. The orphanage is still in operation and is run by the Masons of North Carolina. Of course, I mean the white Masons of North Carolina. There was also a Negro orphanage in Oxford at the same time. That was located about two miles from my house down in the lower Raleigh Street area.
EDDIE McCOY:
Could your father read and write?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My father could read a little bit and write a little bit, but he became very proficient without it. In latter years, he and three other Negroes were working very proficiently. Mr. Ed Tyler, Mr. William Alston and my father made all of the work at the carpenters' shop at the white orphanage up the street two blocks from my house. They

Page 4
were expert carpenters. At that time, the orphanage had a carpentry shop and at that time, they made all of the window and door frames for all of the houses that was being built in Oxford about that time.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you ever know your father, your grandfather and grandmother on your father's side?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, I didn't know them, but I did know my Aunt Jane and Uncle John [Blanks]. They lived in what was Sudan, Virginia, a part of the Clarksville, Virginia area. And the train ran from—the railroad—. The train ran from Durham to [Keysville] and passed right by my house. And we used to travel over to Virginia to visit my Aunt Jane and Uncle Johnny [Blanks].
EDDIE McCOY:
OK, let's talk about your mother. Did you ever know, on your mother's side, your grandmother and your grandfather?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, I knew Grandma. Grandma was born in Granville County near where we live now. She was the daughter of Charles Lewis and Lucinda Gregory Lewis. My grandfather worked at the dispensary. I imagine that was the distribution of the corn liquor that was being made in the county. And my grandmother worked in the orphanage up the street from me.
EDDIE McCOY:
Which one of your grandparents on your mother's side could read and write, your grandfather or your grandmother?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Both of them could read and write.
EDDIE McCOY:
On your mother's side, how old was your mother when she passed? And what year?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My mother died in October, 18 and—my mother was born November 22,

Page 5
1860.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did she have any experience with slavery? Or did her mother or father have experience with it?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Both of my parents had—my mother didn't have any experience with slavery, but my father did. My father's master was John Lyle Taylor, who went to war during the Civil War and my father went with his master, as I mentioned before, and he was at Appomattox Courthouse when Lee surrendered to—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was he with—does his name come from the Taylor's plantation, or the slave owner, Mr. Taylor that owned him? Where did he get Taylor from, or that was his name from his father before?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
That was his name from his father. His father was John Taylor and his mother was Mary Puryear Taylor.
EDDIE McCOY:
Now, we are talking about your mother's father and grandfather. Which one of your mother's parents that experienced slavery that was not treated right, or how was they treated? Or was they free?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My mother was—they had an interesting life. There was no slavery. My mother was born here at the same spot where I was born. And they had no experience with slavery because my mother went to school here and her teachers were Canadians, white people who had come down from the north, from Canada, to teach the Negro children after the end of the war. The place where my mother attended school was near where the site of the graded school was, where I attended.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who was her principal? Was Rutherford Pattilla, or Dr. Patilla her principal?

Page 6
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, I can't remember. Mr. Pattilla was principal of the graded school that I attended, Mr. Walter Pattilla. He left the graded school in 1914, the same year that I graduated from elementary school and entered Mary Potter. My brother had attended the graded school and he graduated from Mary Potter in 1914 and went on to what was Biddle University in Charlotte at that time. The name of the university is now Johnson C. Smith University, the Presbyterian institution.
EDDIE McCOY:
How far did all of your sisters and brothers go? Did all of y'all get to the eighth grade?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My brother Leonard finished Mary Potter in 1914 and went to Biddle University, which is now Johnson C. Smith University. And my sister Winifred went to St. Augustine's College in Raleigh. She was in school with the Gibson sisters that have been in the national newspapers recently and are still living. They are both over a hundred years old.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did any more of your sisters and brothers finish high school? Everybody finish high school?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
All of them finished school at Mary Potter.
EDDIE McCOY:
What was your life like growing up as a kid in the community? Give me some ideas about the community and your neighbors and the people in the community, how close-knit you all were and you had close families and everybody worked together.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
It was a very close neighborhood. The property on the street where I lived was owned by two families, the Hicks family and the Lassiter family. Mrs. Lassiter and Mrs. Hicks were sisters and their children grew up and went away to school just as my sisters and brothers did.

Page 7
EDDIE McCOY:
Who were some of the outsanding people in the community that went around helping people? If you needed them, you always could depend on them.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
We had an orphanage in Oxford at that time, which was supported by the Masons. Dr. Pattilla, who was principal of the graded school when I finished, his father was a Baptist minister and also taught school. The house where Professor Patilla was born is still in erection and in good condition on Raleigh Street in Oxford.
EDDIE McCOY:
Whereabout on Raleigh Street? Give me an idea what vicinity the house is—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
It's in a thickly-settled, all-Negro vicinity. All of the Negroes around owned their own homes, then, and other businesses now.
EDDIE McCOY:
Can you tell me something about your church you went to and what role your mother and father and how close-knit y'all were to the church?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
We were—my parents—I grew up in St. Peters Methodist Church.
EDDIE McCOY:
Where was that church located at when you grew up?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
It was on Orange Street—.
EDDIE McCOY:
And Hillsborough?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
On Hillsborough Street in the 200 block. And it was a part of the North Carolina Methodist conference, which meant that we had several different ministers during my lifetime: Reverend [Newsome], Reverend Baxter, Reverend Cook, who was uncle of Miss Annie Lassiter who had taught me. He went to Harvard University in Massachusetts. He has one daughter living in North Carolina now in the Raleigh area, but I haven't kept in touch with her.
EDDIE McCOY:
Were your mother or your father a Sunday School teacher or were your

Page 8
father a deacon? What role did your father and mother play in the church?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My mother and father were both very close. Practically every Sunday at the end of the sermon, my daddy had to get up and make his speeches. Course, some people in the church probably got tired of listening to him. But Papa didn't sit down until he felt like it. He was typical Richmond Taylor—at church, in the community and in the town, and very well-known. Both him and my mother.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did y'all walk to church and walk back?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
We walked to church. All of my life we didn't—it was just about a mile away from us, so it wasn't—we had no inconvenience from attending church. I am now a member of the same congregation, St. Peters United Methodist Church. I am the oldest member of the church as of this date.
EDDIE McCOY:
And how old are you?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I am ninety—I will be ninety-two years old on the eighteenth of November, which is a month away.
EDDIE McCOY:
What year did you finish Mary Potter?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I finished Mary Potter in 19 and 19.
EDDIE McCOY:
And what college did you go to after finishing Mary Potter?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
During the summer of 19 and 19, they had had summer school classes for teachers and prospective teachers. I attended the summer school classes at Mary Potter. They were taught by Professor—I can't think of his first name now—Professor Cozart. And they gave an examination at the end of the six-week summer school. I was only eighteen years old, but I took the examination and passed it and got a teacher's certificate.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you use it before you went off to college?

Page 9
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, I—the summer of 1919 when I finished Mary Potter, I went to A&T University to summer school. One of the next-door neighbors who grew up with me, Mrs. Ruth Hicks—she was Miss Ruth Hicks—she was a winter student at Bennett College, but they had summer school at A&T College. And I went to summer school the same summer. And, as I said before, I had passed the examination that they gave at the end of the session in Oxford.
And I—my mother consented and I was the only eight—I wasn't even eighteen at that time, because that was in September and my birthday was in November. So I went to [Badin], North Carolina. Mrs. Payne, who was Miss Ruth Hicks, she had applied at [Badin] and also she was a student at Bennett College in Greensboro, our Methodist church college. And she was a—she had filed an application at [Badin] and also in Oxford. And she got the—was accepted at both places.
So, my mother was in New Jersey visiting my older sisters at the time, and I called my mother and asked permission. So, I went to [Badin] at seventeen years old and started teaching. And today, I have friends living in the Philadelphia area whose parents were living in the [Badin] area at that time. [Badin] was near [Leachville], which was the processing area for cotton goods and materials.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Lyons, if your mother could read and write, therefore—and your grandparents was in slavery—somewhere your mother and father, or your mother or your father had some white in them, or they was—either worked in the house—they was house slaves and they wasn't field slaves to learn how to read and write at their age. Which one of your mother or father do you think?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, as I said before, my father grew up in Virginia, but my mother went to

Page 10
school in Oxford. She was taught by the Canadians who came down here to teach Negroes. I remember the name of one of my mother's teachers, as she told me, a Miss Gardner. The place where the senior citizens' center is located now was the location of the school that my mother attended, which was down in the Orange Street and Spring Street area, an all—well-populated Negro neighborhood that is owned by Negroes who have barber shops, beauty parlors, and varied businesses in that area of town.
EDDIE McCOY:
Could you explain to me why Canadians came to Oxford, how they got here. Were they seminary people of the church? Were they affiliated with the church?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I'm not quite clear, but they—there were several of them in the area, because Miss—there was a Miss Hawkins who was a white woman that was working at the black orphanage that was in Oxford at the same time. And they were a part of the group of whites who came south to teach the Negroes after slavery. There are several institutions in different parts of the south. I am now connected with Penn Center in Paris Island, South Carolina, that was operated by Canadians who came south to work for Negroes, work in the Negro schools and other various industries.
EDDIE McCOY:
What did the whites in this town thought about outsiders coming in teaching? Were they staying in the white people's homes, or were they staying in the black people's homes?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They stayed in white homes, I'm sure. Relations have always been good in Oxford, all my life, between blacks and whites. They are at the worst point now. I was just saying to—last week, at the podiatrist's office, I ran into Mrs. Katherine Royster—and I was saying to her that Oxford isn't, from several standpoints, isn't the same as far as relationships between Negroes and whites. They're not as good as they were back fifteen

Page 11
or twenty years ago. There's lots of prejudice in my town now, as far as—not particularly living conditions. Of course, Negroes and whites live in the same areas now. And there are Negroes that live in $250,000 homes two blocks away from where I live now in Oxford.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Lyons, I have done research in Oxford on schools, and there are approximately sixty or seventy schools for blacks from the first to the fifth, or from the first to the fourth or third grade. Therefore, I think that each black back in the early 1900s did have the opportunity to learn how to read and write. Can you explain to me why this county was so dedicated in trying to educate their people?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, it was probably a attitude that developed way before my time or your time, before each of us were born, and before our parents were born, that there have always been good relations. All of my life, Negroes and whites have always worked together. Negroes worked in white people's homes. But they—they went to separate schools, of course, but there's other ways been good relationships.
It was just in the late years that such things as the, as the Penn—I can't remember the name of the relationships. But the tobacco factories and other industries developed in Oxford, and Negroes and whites have always worked in the industries in Oxford, the tobacco industry and carpentry work, electricians and what-have-you. Oxford has always been a forward-looking town.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Lyons, I have looked into some history and how did this town attract doctors like Dr. Bowie and doctors back in the early 1900s where other communities in the south didn't have a black doctor before the early '20s or '30s? We had black dentists and four or five black doctors in this town in the early 1900s.

Page 12
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, I'm sure a lot of that was due to the fact that Dr. and Mrs. Shaw, who were president, and the teachers who came to—Dr. Shaw's wife came from Pennsylvania down here to work. And there has always been [intermingling] and relationships in education and industries in Oxford all of my life. The industries have always existed in Oxford, even the tobacco industry, because tobacco grew in the county. But other industries—now, as of now, Revlon, the big cosmetic industry is one of the biggest industries in Oxford, and there have always been good relationships between Negroes and blacks. Of course, there was prejudice and it still is. It's more prevalent now than it was a few years ago.
Can you tell me about the teachers that went to school and they finished the eighth grade and they started teaching and some of them did a very good job in these schools throughout the county? How was they picked? Or why did they work so hard trying to educate in the community until they could go to summer school and learn?
Well, getting a teacher's certificate—some of—a lot of them who were in eighth grade and going away to Shaw University and to Bennett College. There were always plenty of teachers in Granville County because they were smart, intelligent, and they had gotten good backgrounds in Oxford at Mary Potter and they went to summer school at Shaw University, in Charlotte, and Bennett College, summer school at A&T University.
EDDIE McCOY:
And North Carolina Central, too?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
And North Carolina Central University that was started by Dr. James Shepherd. And members of those families are still in education. And at present time, we have black doctors and dentists here. We have blocks of property that has entirely black

Page 13
industries and all-Negro jobs, living and interested in them. The taxi industry, the morticians, the carpenters, electricians—because they have taken advantages of the colleges nearby, St. Augustine's and Shaw University in Raleigh and Central University in Durham. Just last year, a cousin of mine, Miss Minnie Lyon, who died at a hundred and four years old—they had a missionary training department at Shaw University and she went there for training. And some white rich people in some part of New Jersey got interested in her and she went to Africa and set up the school over there and she worked in Africa for more than sixty years.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was Miss Minnie Lyons born in Oxford and reared in Oxford?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, she was born—and she was my husband's cousin. She was born up in the Berea community of Oxford, that's north of Oxford about ten miles. It's the north of Oxford. She was born there.
So, we have always had—Negroes—Oxford has always been a very progressive town and Negroes worked hard, but they worked in the factories and every place else they could get a job and they learned all the trades. And it has grown to—even now, there are streets in Oxford where only white people lived. Now you can buy a house anywhere in Oxford. There are no restricted neighborhoods. You can buy a house in any section or district in Oxford. All you need is the money to pay for it.
EDDIE McCOY:
Do you remember when your mother and father—were they ever in an organization—Oddfellows, or was there a Masonic, or—? What kind of organization did you hear your mother and father talk about they was in?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
My mother was in the Missionary Society that was made up of members of the Baptist and Methodist churches. And my father was an Oddfellow. That was a black

Page 14
secret organization. There have always been very good relationships in Negro organizations in Oxford all of my life.
EDDIE McCOY:
Could you remember when the streets in Oxford were not paved and all of them was dirt?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes. There were no paved streets in Oxford during the time I was going to the graded school. That was from nineteen and eight—six—nineteen and seven or eight. And one of the big city-owned buildings on—what is it, Main or Hillsborough Street? It's the big building that was City Hall for awhile, the big building that was the City Hall before they built the new City Hall building now?
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh. Did you remember when Oxford had a black fire department?
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you remember when Oxford had a black fire department?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, an excellent black fire department.
EDDIE McCOY:
Can you give me some of the names of the firemens that you can think of?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Some of the names of the—?
EDDIE McCOY:
The firemens.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The firemen were Percy Gregory, Elijah [Holeman], Mr. Sam Owen, ah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Were there many black restaurants and movie theaters? Was there any—do you remember when they had black movie theaters and black restaurants on Hillsborough Street?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I remember when all of the property on Hillsborough Street from the corner of Broad and Hillsborough down the street and around the corner, all of the businesses,

Page 15
all of the property was owned by Negroes. One Negro woman, her mother was a dressmaker here, Mrs. Mattie Pettiford. Her mother was Mrs.—oh lord, I can't think of her name now. Yes, on the corner of Broad and Hillsborough Street, that was where the Negro theater was. That was run by Mr. [Herndon], whose father—he was an illegitimate child. His mother was colored and his father was white. And when his father died, he left him the money and he owned the theater in Oxford.
EDDIE McCOY:
The white man left him the money?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh. That was—his mother?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, his mother. The white family she worked for, the man was her father.
EDDIE McCOY:
Could you tell me the name of the family that she worked for? Do you remember?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They're the Hunts. They're the wealthy family. The Hunts and the [Belews].
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about Mr. Gregory's family and how prominent they were in businesses, the brother James and then their mother had restaurants, and worked hard to make sure blacks had some decent facilities to go to.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, Mrs.—oh, what was her name? James's grandmother was Mrs. Sallie—I think her name was Mrs. Sallie Gregory. She had the restaurant on, as I said before, Negroes owned all the property from Hillsborough and—.
EDDIE McCOY:
And Main.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
And Main Street down around the corner of Lewis Street and down there, where the Betts Funeral Parlor is. All of that was Negro property.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that's where your mother went to school on Lewis Street when she was

Page 16
a kid?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Down there in the [that] home. It's just—went to school right where the Day Care Center is now. I mean, where the lunches are served—the Education Center.
EDDIE McCOY:
Why was blacks always working hard to have something in Oxford in those days? They worked together so closely, than they do now. Because times were so hard, or the close-knit families?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, it was the close-knit families, from the Negro women working in the homes and the men working at everything, everywhere they could get a job and they learned the trades of electrical wiring and carpentry and masonry. And they worked at all of those jobs.
EDDIE McCOY:
When I go around and interview people, they always talk about the Ridleys, how they contributed to this town, how smart and how hard workers they were. Were they that hard workers, the Ridleys?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They were, they really were. They came from—their origin is up at the Berea section. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
EDDIE McCOY:
…[always] had family, came from Berea, they say, all of them look like Indians and they had high cheekbones. Can you tell me something about your father and his relationship with the people from Berea and the communication about the Chavises and other families that come out of that area that look like Indians? Was their fathers or—the Indians lived up in northern Granville?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
You're telling me something now about them being Indians, but I knew that they lived up there. Even when I went down to Florida to teach in the college down

Page 17
there, in the 1950s, and they were all members of the Episcopal church. One of the high Episcopal ministers that I met in Florida, he was from Granville County. And they were Chavises.
EDDIE McCOY:
What about Belltown? Did you know Belltown was named after a slave called Carolina Bell and the mail was out in that area?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, I don't know anything about that, but the one thing I remember about the Belltown area was when the [Curtises] lived out there. Ah, what was the child's names?
EDDIE McCOY:
Miss [Allen], [Annie Allen]?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, Allen's grandfather.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you ever know any Cozarts out there in Belltown?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, I just knew the family by the Professor Cozart that taught at Mary Potter and his brother—was the only ones I knew.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you know one went to Barber-Scotia College and taught school up there, and became the chancellor?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, I didn't know about that.
EDDIE McCOY:
You didn't know that there was one from Belltown.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
What was his name?
EDDIE McCOY:
It was a—he's a gentleman, a man that—he was a Cozart from Belltown.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, I know one thing. [Annie Allen]'s father, he was one of the Curtises. They were all in the whiskey business out there. And he stole a man's pony and put the pony up in the attic to hide it. And he lived up there for a year or two. But he stayed up there in the dark, [Laughter] and when he brought it downstairs, the pony was blind. [Laughter]

Page 18
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
That's the truth.
EDDIE McCOY:
[Laughter] Stole the man's pony and put him up in the attic. Then brought the pony down and he was dead—it was blind.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
[Laughter] He was blind! Been up there in the darkness. Couldn't see a lick in the road.
EDDIE McCOY:
Why are there so many people and families around Oxford are so much lighter than others and people resent—?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, just like the all the Tylers and everything. Because they intermarried. Grace Tyler intermarried and married—her husband was her cousin.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, that's what happened.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, they intermarried in the family. To keep the family white. They didn't want no [unclear] .
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, why your father went off?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Huh?
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about the time your father was sent away? Who was that?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
That was Papa Charles, my grandfather.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who was he working for?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
He was working at the dispensary. I don't know who the people were.
EDDIE McCOY:
What is the dispensary?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
That was the—whiskey—where they sold whiskey. They had a regular dispensary where you could buy whiskey.
EDDIE McCOY:
And he was working for a white man?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.

Page 19
EDDIE McCOY:
And he sent him to work?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Sent—he was—no, Papa Charles worked for the—they sent Papa Charles—he sent Papa Charles—he decided that he wanted Grandma, and Grandma was working for him.
EDDIE McCOY:
For Mr. Gregory?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, Charles Lewis, Mama's father.
EDDIE McCOY:
He was working for what white family?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I don't know.
EDDIE McCOY:
But they wanted—?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
But the Gregory man wanted Grandma.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh, and so—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
And so, he sent Papa Charles down south to Mississippi.
EDDIE McCOY:
To do what?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
To work down there. And he had intercourse with Grandma and that's how Mama was born. That's why Mama looked like—Mama had [hair to her waist].
EDDIE McCOY:
And what did your father think when he—your grandfather think when he came back?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
What was it to think? It was slavery times.
EDDIE McCOY:
Ain't nothing he could do about it.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
It wasn't anything he could do about it.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did the Gregorys look after your mother? Was they good to her because that was his daughter?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, the [unclear] sisters knew it. The family that lives next door, the—my

Page 20
grandfather, Mama's father, Charles Gregory, lived in the gray and white house on the corner of College and Forest Avenue. He lived there and his daughter, Marybelle, lived in the next house. Her husband was a lawyer. He lived right—the house that's right beside the—where the minister lives.
EDDIE McCOY:
Timberlake.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, right beside where Timberlake lives. And across the street, the [Minors] own the property where the undertaker shop is and the next house, one of the Gregory girls married [Ashton]—what in the world was his name? Leonard was named for him. Married the man that had the beginning of the carpenter shop where Hillside is now?
EDDIE McCOY:
Hilltop Lumber Company.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Hilltop Lumber Company.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, your mother had white half-sisters.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes, and they knew it. They knew—all of them. They knew that Mama was [unclear] Charles Gregory's. His son owned a big house out in Stovall. He was the one that declared that he was going to burn the school down if they ever had Negroes out there.
EDDIE McCOY:
And he had a half black sister.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
And that Mama was his sister. Everybody knew it.
EDDIE McCOY:
She was the maid?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, Grandma worked for them. And how they got married, Papa Charles, his people came from Lewis.
EDDIE McCOY:
Lewis's.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Lewis's. That's right, the name Lewis. The Lewises and the Gregorys owned

Page 21
all that part of Granville County.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh. And he went to Mississippi.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They sent him down to Mississippi and when he came back, Grandma had Mama. Cause she had two brothers, Uncle Handy and—what was—Uncle Albert. And Uncle Handy just died. He lived up—the house that Mr. Lloyd owns over here for rent next to his house. That's where Uncle Handy and Aunt—what was her name? I can't think of Uncle Handy's wife's name. Lived over there in that house.
Mrs. Lyons, that's why they talk about Antioch was named Howelltown, and all those people out there was light skinned, too, and there never was slavery in that part of Granville County. We have a lot of pockets of Granville County that it wasn't slavery and because it was free-issue slaves like Jerome Anderson. They came from the [unclear] farm. They own all that land out there throughout their families, [Hattie Hester], and they was free-issue slaves and that's the way it was. They was free-issue people, and they call it "issue" and "Antioch". Why did we have such pockets of that in this county, and so many light skinned people?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was the blackest thing in my group at school til I [went elsewhere]. I was—Lucille [Boyd], Lucille Shepherd, Annie, Effie Anderson. Anderson whose daddy was white, that lived where—the Anderson man that had the barber shop uptown that was downstairs.
EDDIE McCOY:
That basement barber shop.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, Leonard worked there. Leonard and Gus [Burton] worked there shining shoes.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you was the darkest kid in your class?

Page 22
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
In my social group.
EDDIE McCOY:
[Laughter]
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I was the blackest one. All of the rest of them had straight hair—Effie Anderson, Lucille [Hall], Annie Davis. Those were the closest children to me.
EDDIE McCOY:
So when Dr. Shaw came here, he came as a missionary?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Dr. Shaw came here from the church.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was a missionary.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
From the Presbyterian church, as the president.
EDDIE McCOY:
And he was a missionary here? Didn't he start teaching school in a two-room school first before he started Mary Potter?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
It probably was.
EDDIE McCOY:
And Dr. Shaw?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
He married a Pennsylvanian, woman from Pennsylvania.
EDDIE McCOY:
If you was going to write a book about Oxford and the events, would you think that Dr. Shaw should be one of the greatest individuals because he came here and helped educate these people and everybody had a decent—?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Not only that, but today, the Stovall area is the most prosperous area around here. Out here at—down there below Creedmoor, down in there, that's where the poorest Negroes live. Dr. Shaw was the influence, the most—more Negroes own property in the Stovall area because of his influence.
EDDIE McCOY:
I heard that he did go out and talk to blacks in this town. How to invest their money and buy farms.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
He did, he did. He had what-you-call-him to come here.

Page 23
EDDIE McCOY:
Who?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Booker T. Washington came here.
EDDIE McCOY:
Booker T. Washington came to Oxford?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Came to Oxford and spoke at Mary Potter.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he stay all night?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes!
EDDIE McCOY:
Who did stay with, what family?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Stayed with Dr. Shaw.
EDDIE McCOY:
Booker T. Washington came to Oxford?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
Do you know what year it was? What grade were you in?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I was at the graded school. It was—. No. No, I was at Mary Potter. And that was when [Preaching] and Red Russell and all the ball players from Durham—Red Russell and Ben Hicks that married Ruby Cannady. Red Russell and all those ball players—they were all, each schooled at Mary Potter. And when Booker T. Washington came to Mary Potter to speak, Dr. Shaw had [him here]. And Kitchen was the governor of North Carolina. And he made the remark about how—that all the students [took to Preaching] and all of them were in the same classes. Spoke to us about how we should be proud of the fact that Booker T. Washington came here to speak. There was somebody from the state government that came after Booker T. Washington was here. And when he made that expression that we should be proud, "you—we niggers"—Negroes—the way he pronounced it. And [Preaching] and all of them, got up and walked out of the auditorium. And Dr. Shaw was going to give demerits or something. And I remember

Page 24
Reverend Lyon and the other Negro fathers went to Dr. Shaw cause they were going to put [Preaching] and those out of the school because they walked out of the auditorium.
EDDIE McCOY:
Is that why Shaw Hospital, the black hospital—that's who it was named after, Dr. Shaw?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They named it after Dr. Shaw.
EDDIE McCOY:
And Shaw High School in Stovall?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
In Stovall. Yeah, yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's who they named it after.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. And the Stovall area is the most prosperous, other than the Antioch area, is the most prosperous area of our [unclear] .
EDDIE McCOY:
They always have had very smart black kids that come out of their communities.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
The whole time.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
And they owned all the property.
EDDIE McCOY:
Just like Antioch.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
So you think that—if you had to put Number One in the history book, Dr. Shaw would be Number One. Or the Central Orphanage? Or?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Dr. Shaw, he's done more than the Central Orphanage did.
EDDIE McCOY:
Dr. Shaw did more for this community.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, sure he did.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that's why we have so many educated people come out of here and

Page 25
smart blacks.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, yeah. Sure.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, what do you think about—it was a lot of slavery out in Belltown area. That was a pocket of slavery, because there's graves out there and I've seen them. But Granville County was just—was never a full county slave—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Uh-uh. No, it's always been prosperous. Because the white men had been fathers of all of these children and they looked after them. They took care of them.
EDDIE McCOY:
And sent them to school?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Sure.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah. That's what they say about Chavis, John Chavis.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, yeah. I even met an Episcopal, very high in the—when I went down to Florida to teach, I met a Reverend Chavis that had originally come from up here in North Carolina. He was a high man in the Episcopal church down in Florida.
EDDIE McCOY:
And he was very light?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Light brown skin.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, so that's why Oxford has always prospered.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I tell you, when I went to Florida to teach summer school—when I went down to Florida, I was the most surprised person in the world because I had never seen as many blacks in my life. And the idea that blacks married blacks, schoolteachers and—black married black—that never happened in my lifetime up here.
EDDIE McCOY:
It didn't?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No! You could name the black Negroes on the fingers of one hand.
EDDIE McCOY:
In Oxford.

Page 26
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah!
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Lyons, I heard that Oxford originally was going—had got started down at Harrisburg. And what happened, I think, the terrain or they didn't like the area. And they wanted to move it where it is now but blacks owned all the property. And was the Littlejohns the only black Littlejohns in this town? Is that why the street was named "Littlejohn Street" or what?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I guess it was. They were always prosperous people.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that's why blacks own so much property. They had this area before the whites came in and took it from them.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yes. Allison Holeman—Allison Holeman's daddy was white, some white man. Sure. That's why—do you remember Allison Holeman?
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, I remember when she taught school. Yeah.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Her daddy was white.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that family prospers.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
And a lot—most—some went to college.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Sure, sure.
EDDIE McCOY:
Well, what was the—?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I'll tell you, when I went to Florida to work, and I had never seen as many blacks in all my life. [Laughter] And a black schoolteacher marrying a black man—oooo. I'd never seen it. I couldn't get over it. Just like I said to Marie—Marie and Ed went to—Marie and—you know her boy, now what's his name—the Gregory—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, [unclear] .

Page 27
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
[unclear] . When they went to Mississippi last summer. And I said to her, I said, "I betcha you've never seen as many black people." She said, "Mrs. Lyon, I couldn't get over it."
EDDIE McCOY:
[Laughter] So Oxford always been integrated, ain't it?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
[Laughter] Sure, it's always been integrated! Sure!
EDDIE McCOY:
What did the white ladies do around here? Didn't they know these—their husbands—? What did they think about all these children popping up around here?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
What they going to say about it? Even when I came along, I knew that Miss Marybelle and Nannie and all those were Mama's sisters. Leonard was named for Leonard Ashton. He was named for the man that started the—what's the lumber shop?
EDDIE McCOY:
Hilltop.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, the Hilltop. The people who started the first Hilltop. When I came down here and—it had just moved down where they are now. They were up here in the northern part of the county.
EDDIE McCOY:
What number were you as a kid in your family? Was you third child, or fourth?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I was the baby.
EDDIE McCOY:
You was the baby.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The tenth child.
EDDIE McCOY:
You was the tenth child.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you knew all of your brothers and sisters.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.

Page 28
EDDIE McCOY:
Was all—you knew your brothers and sisters?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Sure. That's why I'm so familiar with New York. I've been to India, and I've been to New York all of my life.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh. Well, OK. When I interview people and they talk about slavery, they always said that the white lady didn't have no choice. There wasn't anything she could do about it.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
There wasn't.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was instilled in them, or that was the way they were raised, you think?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, what's she going to do about—if the husband was her bread and butter, where is she going? She couldn't take care of herself.
EDDIE McCOY:
And I heard they used to take the slaves, the house people to church and set them on the front row. And they looked after them, but they didn't do much for the people in the field. And they made sure they had proper clothes and everything.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, sure. That's why the Stovall area is so progressive because Dr. Shaw went out there and developed it. Negroes own all that property to the Virginia line. Every bit of it. And the Antioch area because they're half-white down there, the Tylers and all of those.
EDDIE McCOY:
And the Howells.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about Mr. Gregory's mother and father and how did they—after your mother come from the Oxford colored school—how did it come about that they had a school in Mr. Gregory's house? They needed another school? Or they had that class—that school got too big?

Page 29
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
That was the first school that they—. They moved it from down there on the Fountain Branch where Mama went to school, and that was the first building there.
EDDIE McCOY:
OK. Tell me about Fountain Branch. I heard they used to baptize—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I was baptized at Fountain Branch. Ruth Payne and I, one Sunday morning.
EDDIE McCOY:
The Fountain Branch I heard—that Mr. Field told me—that there was a pottery factory and that's why they called it Fountain Branch because it was the rocks, and the clay, and the material that they could get out of there. That there actually was a mill right up there on Hillsborough Street.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Who told you?
EDDIE McCOY:
And that's why it's called Fountain Branch because it was a lot of clay. When I went to school, we used to get clay out of that branch. It was clay.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
When you went to the graded school?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-hum. Yeah.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Mama went to school down there. Mama's schoolteacher was Miss—what was the woman's name? Mama asked to go to the bathroom and Miss Joyner told her she couldn't. So, Miss Joyner had one of those long skirts, a big wide skirt all around. So, Mama peed on herself. [Laughter] And the urine ran down to her—under where she was sitting. And Mama used to laugh about how she got up and ran around when Mama peed when Mama asked to go to the bathroom and she wouldn't let her. [Laughter]
Oh Lord, I can tell you [unclear] . And I know about the time when Leonard and all of those didn't go over in the cotton factory area—that what-you-call-them—the biggest mess was in Oxford when—who is the man from the bank? Harris?
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-hum. Or Mr. Yancey.

Page 30
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, I'm talking about Harris.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh. Yeah, J. P. Harris' father.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
J. P. Harris married one of the factory gals.
EDDIE McCOY:
Old man Harris?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
J. P.'s father.
EDDIE McCOY:
Married a poor white lady?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Married—from the cotton factory. It was all over town that he had gone over there and messed up that girl up here at the cotton—that factory girl. [They were about] to have a riot in Oxford.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
[Leonard and those] that used to have fights with them. They'd pile up their rocks and take their rocks and have battles with rocks. Where all the kids—they had school over there but then they didn't even go to school or didn't go to the school on College Street where white children went.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you ever hear or know that there was a white school over on the corner of Lee Street and—over there in that area on New College Street? The Hillary School, or what was the first white school?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Oh, yeah. Hillary Academy.
EDDIE McCOY:
And Dr. Patilla taught school over there?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I don't know about that. Might have. But I remember when the boarding school was there.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you're ninety-one years old and you can remember all that just like it was yesterday?

Page 31
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Near ninety-two. I'll be traveling on my ninety-second birthday. That's when I go to Hilton Head.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-hum. And whites had to come from blacks to buy their meat, ripping them and [unclear] —?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Oh, they had—the building that was the last City Hall in Oxford. Upstairs was the auditorium where we had the school commencement. When James Gregory and Mary Carrington—she was the—on the—that's the first time I ever heard the word "slut". That's what they called her.
EDDIE McCOY:
Called who?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Mary Carrington. Mary Carrington and those lived in a row of red houses.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-hum, I know where you're talking about.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Over there by Mary Potter.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-hum. Called Red House Road.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah! You remember that? You remember the name Red House Road. Well, Mary Carrington came from over there, but she had a marvelous voice. And at the commencement exercises, the last one they had at the Opera House, she and James Gregory had the leading parts in it.
EDDIE McCOY:
Why did they call it the Opera House?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Opera? From the word "opera".
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, OK.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Which means entertainment.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that's where the blacks went for dances and their commencements? That's the facility they used?

Page 32
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
And downstairs—?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
And downstairs was a market, Ridley's. Ed Ridley and those. That was the biggest meat market in Oxford.
EDDIE McCOY:
It was under that Opera House.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that was the only one that you had to eat—blacks and everybody had to buy from the same market.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
It won't no white—?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, and Mr. [Bell] had the fish market down on the corner of—on Granville Street. Right where you come through there from Hillsborough to Orange—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Hillsborough and Orange Street.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Hillsborough and Orange Street.
EDDIE McCOY:
OK. The church was right across the street?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No. I'm talking about where the Second Baptist—where Penn Avenue Baptist Church is.
EDDIE McCOY:
OK. Yeah, that's McClanahan Street.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's right. There was a fish market over there?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The fish market was on the Hillsborough end of it. And the Durham man ran
EDDIE McCOY:
Mrs. Lyons, you are ninety-one. Do you drive and have a driving license?

Page 33
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, I got my driver's license.
EDDIE McCOY:
And you drive?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
At ninety-one?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I drove myself to the doctor when I went to the dentist here a few weeks ago when I paid him $128.00 for some dental work I had done. I drove out there on Industry Drive.
EDDIE McCOY:
And didn't anybody assist you or nothing?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
You can drive and go where you want to go around town?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
At ninety-one.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, I just got a new license.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, you going to keep on keeping on driving, ain't you?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I don't do too much driving now, but I still drive when I have to and I can't get my hands on Ed, or can't get my hands on Marie.
EDDIE McCOY:
What do you think about the kids that's eleven and twelve and thirteen and fourteen coming up now that's having all this problems with their parents and going to prison and killing?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They're not being taught and then you can't [whip them] and you can't do anything with them.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's what everybody say.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I saw a white woman turn her little girl down and beat her behind good

Page 34
sitting in the—I went for any eye examination at Dr. [Currin's]. And this white woman was sitting there and she was reading to the child, and she got tired. And the child wanted her to keep on reading the story she was reading, and started cutting up. And she turned the child up and whipped the child's behind. And she sat back down and didn't cry anymore, didn't do anything.
EDDIE McCOY:
You know, this was the first year that we started in the Community Center when the kids have discipline problems and they used to send them home. This year they has a Community Center and they has two teachers down there to work with those kids. And do you know—?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Where?
EDDIE McCOY:
At the Community Center. It's just started. And we're in our third week. Do you know it's half full now, they say. Isn't that a shame?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, they don't get any training at home. [Beach] told me last year, twenty-six girls in the Middle School had babies. There was one white girl and twenty-five Negro girls, Negro kids. It was just before he died, he and I were talking on the telephone.
EDDIE McCOY:
And that's one of the problems with the educational system when we integrated. Black parents stopped beating their kids.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Can't whip child now.
EDDIE McCOY:
And when you and I came along, the community looked after us. Everybody in the community.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
You never thought you'd see a day like this, did you? When children eleven

Page 35
are killing each other and shooting each other.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, but the thing that gets me is the ten and eleven-year old children having babies.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, so children having children.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, I was seventeen years old when I first menstruated.
EDDIE McCOY:
[Laughter] You know, we have had some good teachers in this town. They say Miss Annie Rogers, [Maude] Lassiter, Miss [Bonds]. They say there was a whole lot of good teachers in this town.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They were. Miss Annie Lassiter is the one I went to school to. The house is still right down here on the corner. The Hicks lived right next door.
EDDIE McCOY:
And out at [Huntsville], a lot of smart people come from out there, too.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you know the Youngs that lived in town? Jimmy Young, Pete Owen, any of the Young people?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Uh-uh.
EDDIE McCOY:
You didn't know any of those?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Uh-uh.
EDDIE McCOY:
James Gregory, he contributed a lot to this community.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, he did.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, he was a good—and Mr. Gregory had done a lot for this community.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Percy had—when they had the restaurant downtown on Granville Street, Percy had one woman making his whiskey—cause he could buy the sugar and stuff cause he'd get it for the restaurant—he had one woman making his whiskey and another one

Page 36
selling it.
EDDIE McCOY:
So this was a good bootlegger town? This whole county?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, sure.
EDDIE McCOY:
You remember when Camp Butner started?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I was away. Camp Butner started after I started—. No, that started around 1930, '25 or '30. I was in New York then.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you remember the soldiers used to come to town and all?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, I don't know anything about that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, you wasn't here.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The only thing I knew about it was when I'd come home on vacation.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did you ever teach in this county before you left here?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, I taught at Bullock's.
EDDIE McCOY:
You taught out at Bullock's?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
How did you get from out there back home? You stayed with some family all week and come home on weekends or what?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Everybody had cars but me. I was one of the last ones around here to have an automobile.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was that a one-room school, or a two?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, two. Georgia Royster taught with me. Georgia Royster whose son is the judge. Raleigh—from Durham, whose been back here and has spoken at the Mary Potter reunion.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.

Page 37
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
She and I taught together. She and her family lived up here—you know where the Slaughters live? Where Emma Slaughter lives? They lived in the house right next to the property [that's next].
EDDIE McCOY:
You know like Dr. Anderson and all those people born over here? We've got a lot of prominent people born in Granville County, went off and did well.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Sure. Dr. Anderson did well here. His brother—now, that was late years, probably your time, when his brother walked around with his father's ashes in the mayonnaise jar.
EDDIE McCOY:
[Laughter] His father was cremated?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tell me about the time that you heard that a man got hung in jail. There was a hanging and won't no way he could have hung hisself in jail. Couldn't nobody do anything about it. Did you hear about that?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
That was down the—they lived—the what-you-call-them lived down there next to them—Mrs. Kim—what is the man's name—Kimbrell, Kim-something. There were two houses along there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was there a Burrell?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, he wasn't a Burrell. [Bruce] Hicks, Mr. Hicks that had the blacksmith shop lived down there, Ruth's and Mildred's half-brother, Lonnie Hicks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Lonnie Hicks, yeah.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Lonnie's daughter is the—is Clarence—married Effie—married Tessie Anderson. And his sister is—she's a Henderson. You know the Henderson houses, project? His wife was the—he was the—he still is—in the real estate business

Page 38
and the Henderson Towers is named for him. She was the Hicks girl. She was Mrs.—Mr. Hicks—the Hickses who lived next door here. Mr. Hicks was married twice. Miss Annie, who was Miss Annie Lassiter—the Lassiters were the—she was the one [unclear] Cook—the Cooks lived next door. Mrs. Hicks and Mrs. Cook were sisters.
And you were speaking of Dr. [Bowie]. Dr. [Bowie]—now, the only girl that had—in my lifetime coming along—the only girl who had a baby out of wedlock was the child living up here in the grove. Used to be a grove right here in my neighborhood. She had the baby by Dr. [Bowie]. She was in school with Effie and Annie and all of us, in the graded school.
EDDIE McCOY:
Didn't Mrs. [Boyd] or the people she lived with, [her adopted people]—wasn't one of them a preacher or a doctor?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Who?
EDDIE McCOY:
Miss Lucille—Miss Lucy [Boyd].
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Lucy [Boyd] was [all those] white folks that came from out at—those white niggers [Laughter] that came from Antioch, or some—.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's why she was so white-looking?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, they were half-white. Her daddy was white, or all of them were white. Like the Tyler child. She married one of her cousins to keep white in the family. Grace Tyler. Grace Tyler and her husband were first cousins. And the Kelloggs married in their family to keep white in the family. The Kelloggs from out at—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Belltown?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, from Belltown.
EDDIE McCOY:
The Curtises.

Page 39
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The Curtises and all those. They had to marry to keep white in the family. Won't no black.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, OK. And a man got hung in jail, say he hung hisself in jail and he—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
It was Saturday night.
EDDIE McCOY:
And the white man killed him because he was messing with his—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The house that they lived in is—I'll tell you—.
EDDIE McCOY:
He was Jack Kingsbury.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, but the Kingsbury house is on—what's the street that's across from—?The house that's from the railroad up to Broad Street? Those houses along there. One of them is blue and white, you know, along there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, now, that double house there was the Kingsbury house. Lonnie Hicks and the Kingsburys lived on—there was a street there where the—?
EDDIE McCOY:
Car wash and all that stuff is?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's Raleigh Street.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, but they were on the—where the warehouse to the tobacco place used to be. Along there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, I know where you're talking about. I can't think of the name.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
[Down there near] the railroad—they were facing the railroad. And there weren't but two houses down there. Lonnie Hicks, who was the blacksmith—that was Clarence and those. Clarence married Effie Anderson.
EDDIE McCOY:
So Jack Kingsbury beat his wife up real bad and they put him in jail?

Page 40
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A] [Tape 2, Side A begins with same conversation on the end of Tape 1, Side B, then continues before ending abruptly. Tape 2, Side B is blank.]
EDDIE McCOY:
… a man got hung in jail, say he hung hisself in jail, and he—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
It was Saturday night.
EDDIE McCOY:
And the white man killed him because he was messing with his—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The house that they lived in is—I'll tell you—.
EDDIE McCOY:
He was Jack Kingsbury.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, but the Kingsbury house is on—what's the street that's across from—? The house that's from the railroad up to Broad Street? Those houses along there. One of them is blue and white, you know, along there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, now, that double house there was the Kingsbury house. Lonnie Hicks and the Kingsburys lived on—there was a street there where the—?
EDDIE McCOY:
Car wash and all that stuff is?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
That's Raleigh Street.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, but they were on the—where the warehouse to the tobacco place used to be. Along there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, I know where you're talking about. I can't think of the name.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
[Down there near] the railroad—they were facing the railroad. And there

Page 41
weren't but two houses down there. Lonnie Hicks, who was the blacksmith—that was Clarence and those. Clarence married Effie Anderson.
EDDIE McCOY:
So Jack Kingsbury beat his wife up real bad and they put him in jail?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Yeah. They had a restaurant. The restaurant was down there back of where the jail is.
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah. Well, why didn't nobody do anything about him, or couldn't nothing they do?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Because they were mixed up with white folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
It was white folks did it. All of it they kept with the white folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, so blacks couldn't do anything about it?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, no.
EDDIE McCOY:
You remember when they built the hotel down there by the graveyard?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Percy Gregory used to carry the baggage from the—when the men come in where all of the salesmen stayed there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-hum, the tobacco—.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Yeah, salesmen and all of them. Percy Gregory worked there. He and—that's when they became good friends, he and the Holden child's father.
EDDIE McCOY:
The Ransoms was—wasn't there a Reverend Ransom, or a teacher Ransom, and all those?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, he was a Baptist minister. He and Reverend Patilla. They came along together.
EDDIE McCOY:
So that's why blacks have a good background in education in this county

Page 42
cause a lot of families had teachers in them.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Miss Annie Lassiter and her sister Lillan taught at Bennett.
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh yeah?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Uh-huh. And her uncle, he went to Harvard. Reverend Cook—his son, Peter Cook—his daughter—he has a daughter that's—I'm sorry. I don't know her address. But his son was a famous football player and he went to Central and got killed. Got hurt in a football game and died that Saturday night. They kept it quiet but it was a result of the play in the game. He was the elder in our church. He was Mrs. Payne and Mrs. Lassiter's brother, Peter Cook. They're from up in—the Cooks came from—they all look like white—they came from Roxboro.
EDDIE McCOY:
And all the streets in Oxford were dirt streets when you was a kid?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was the post office—where was the post office at when you was a kid?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
The post office, the first one was near where Breedlove's store is, there. And then the next one—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Was over there by the Union Bank, where the drive in—?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah.
EDDIE McCOY:
Didn't Mrs. Johnson—Mrs. Hawley—Mrs. Johnson, Reverend Hawley's wife, didn't they own that property where William Breedlove was? Was that owned by blacks on that street, on Main Street?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
I don't know. I know that Anderson and Mangum owned the other corner where the barber shop was downstairs.
EDDIE McCOY:
[Alf Mangum?]

Page 43
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Cause Leonard worked there as a shoeshine boy. Leonard and Gus Burton worked there together when Leonard was in high school.
EDDIE McCOY:
That Shepherd Funeral Home—they had a funeral home there at [Penny's Furniture Company]—right there where Ace Hardware. Him and Jack Hicks—didn't that Hicks man—Smith man have a funeral home? Didn't Smith—
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Mr. Ed Smith?
EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, Ed Smith.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, they owned all of the property from where the automobile place is—
EDDIE McCOY:
The Chevrolet place.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, by the Chevrolet—they owned that whole block from the Chevrolet place up to Hillsborough Street.
EDDIE McCOY:
I heard that.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They did. What-you-call-him owned it at one time, and he lost it. Royster. Royster was the—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-hum. Mrs. Branch sold it to him because they had had property. That was the last piece of property downtown, Mrs. Branch's piece. And did the [Cannady]—did the Kittrell people from out at Huntsville, did you ever know that they had a tailoring shop? They made clothes in town, those blacks.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Uh-uh.
EDDIE McCOY:
You must have been gone then. They had a drug—they had a—they used to make clothes.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, see, I was going back and forth to New York from the time I was six or seven years old.

Page 44
EDDIE McCOY:
Oh, OK. How was you traveling? By train?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, the Seaboard train.
EDDIE McCOY:
Because you had sisters and brothers in New York.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Sure.
EDDIE McCOY:
And your father or mother never really had a hard time in life, far as coming along?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No.
EDDIE McCOY:
That was good.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Well, we all—sure, we could ride the Seaboard train. Down there where the station was.
EDDIE McCOY:
So, what do you think about blacks now and the property that they had lost from downtown? And the families didn't pay taxes and half [unclear] the families [unclear] and all them left here and went to New York and different places and just didn't care.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, they didn't. They didn't take care. And Mrs. Pettiford came down here—her mother was a dressmaker.
EDDIE McCOY:
Um-hum. Did you know a lady came here and was going to build a hospital down there where Orange Street School is right there? And I can't think of her name. And she was in a frame house. And she had to go back—somebody got sick—and she never finished it. I want to say across from Mr. Gregory. You remember when houses was up and down in that area?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
When the man, the Harrisses—when Greely Harris had the restaurant down where the jail and the museum down there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh. I heard that blacks had property down there where the jail—they

Page 45
had businesses, too.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. Greely Harris was a handsome man.
EDDIE McCOY:
He was?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Tall, slender, brown-skinned. I remember he'd dress up and wear spats and his gray trousers and his [tweed] coats and everything. I remember when Grandma worked at the—she worked with Greely. When he had the restaurant uptown, I remember, the first time I learned to eat celery was there. It was before—I'd had celery at home, but I didn't like it. And I went down there with Grandma and that's where I learned to eat celery, eating it down there at William Harriss's restaurant. And they—and he lived—the big house was across the street from where Charles Gregory's house is. Where the—that was all Negro property—.
EDDIE McCOY:
I heard it was.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
They had the big restaurant there—not a restaurant. There was all apartments there. Negroes lived in there.
EDDIE McCOY:
Who was the teachers that taught you at Mr. Gregory's when you went to school?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Miss Annie Lassiter. One woman—the children used to treat her so badly—the Parham child's—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Miss Irene Parham's mother.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Mother. She was a Hamme.
EDDIE McCOY:
But the children didn't like her, or she was so strict, or what?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No, she was—she used to—the boys used to go through her classroom and pull the girls' hair and they'd start crying and she'd cry, [Laughter] cry [along with them].

Page 46
That's Katherine—that's the child's mother.
EDDIE McCOY:
Uh-huh.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
And who were the teachers? Mrs. Gregory taught second grade. I remember I learned the tables, all of the tables. I could say them by heart when I was in second grade.
EDDIE McCOY:
Second grade?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, that's when I learned my tables, and learned to add, subtract, multiply and divide. In second grade!
EDDIE McCOY:
And now kids be in the ninth grade and they can't do it.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Um-hum. Because they've never been taught the multiplication tables.
EDDIE McCOY:
They use calculators. What about the church? They used to have a church down there. Didn't the church move— [unclear] all of these churches in Oxford move from one place to another place when you was coming in and out of Oxford?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, our church was down on Hillsborough Street. It was where the automobile place is.
EDDIE McCOY:
Tom [Watkins]'s.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. And the street—that street get through there.
EDDIE McCOY:
And [Roy Mack] has taught a lot around here in Oxford, too, didn't he?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah, and the Burrell that the daughter married the Hunt. She was the artist here. Lived up here on Broad Street. They lived on—where the back of Crawford's house—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Jimmy Crawford?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Yeah. The back of his house—a great big house on Broad Street. And that's

Page 47
where the Burrell—the Burrell man ran the warehouse down there where all of the herbs and things—.
EDDIE McCOY:
Um-hum. Where Granville Corner is.
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
Huh?
EDDIE McCOY:
Where the [trashpile] used to be. Is that where you're talking about he had it?
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
No. [Laughter] Another thing happened here. [Laughter]
EDDIE McCOY:
What happened? [Laughter]
LILLIAN TAYLOR LYONS:
When the Burrell man—he lived over near Mary Potter—.
END OF INTERVIEW