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Title: Oral History Interview with Carroll Lupton, April 2, 1980. Interview H-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Lupton, Carroll, interviewee
Interview conducted by Murphy, Mary
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
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Sound recordings digitized by Steve Weiss Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
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Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
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Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Carroll Lupton, April 2, 1980. Interview H-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0028)
Author: Mary Murphy
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Carroll Lupton, April 2, 1980. Interview H-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0028)
Author: Carroll Lupton
Description: 125 Mb
Description: 26 p.
Note: Interview conducted on April 2, 1980, by Mary Murphy; recorded in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 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.
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Interview with Carroll Lupton, April 2, 1980.
Interview H-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Lupton, Carroll, interviewee

Interview Participants

    CAROLL LUPTON, interviewee
    MARY MURPHY, interviewer


Page 1
I finished my internship in 1933, in the Marine Hospital in New Orleans county, Louisiana. In 1933 we had quite a depression, and looking for a place to practice and make a living was a little hard. The doctors that had advanced training jobs in the hospitals were staying in the hospitals; they weren't leaving to go and practice. So those places weren't open.
I'd had an old automobile, and I'd looked around Louisiana. I went over into Florida, and looked at that.. (I'm talking about long weekends.) Well, I graduated from high school down near Graham, in Alamance County, place called Alexander Wilson High School, although I'd never lived in that region. My father was a Methodist minister. The Conference was very nice in those days: Methodist ministers, when their children got old enough to go to college, they placed them somewhere within a fifty mile radius of Durham, when they could, so you could go to Duke. And so I knew that country. And my father, at the time I finished my internship, was a Methodist minister at Hillsborough.
So still looking for a place to practice. I'd looked in Louisiana and Florida; I headed for home. And coming up through Mississippi, in one of the smaller towns, just at sunset, I picked up an old farmer who was walking. And he'd walked down twenty miles to pay his taxes, and he was walking home. That's a forty mile walk, to pay his taxes, because he didn't have money enough to buy license tags and gasoline. Well, when I put him out, I stopped in front of his house—he had a big, nice farm; beautiful farmhouse—and he invited me in for dinner. I went in, we had a marvelous dinner, but it was stuff they all grew on the farm. He had a nice new Model T Ford, sitting in his garage, but it was up on wooden blocks

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because, like I said, he couldnt afford to drive it. He was walking. That was the economic condition of the country.
When I cameback in through Hillsborough, visit with my family, I looked at this area. And then in Burlington there they had just opened up that Burlington plant, at the Piedmont area, and the Full Fashion Hosiery business was in full swing. It had two mills in Full Fashion hosiery.
Which ones are those?
It was the McQuen and the May hosiery mills. And the younger people—I mean people under forty years old, most of 'em—were working in those hosiery mills. And you see the little young ladies walking around with pretty little muskrat jackets on. Beautiful. And they were buying new Fords and Plymouths and Oldsmobiles, and it was real prosperity. The Piedmont mill, like the hosiery mills, was running three shifts a day. Those people was the only people I saw, from New Orleans up this way, who had regular work. In Burlington, they hadn't had a new doctor to come and stay in over ten years.
What was the medical situation there then?
Well, we had only General Practicioners, and we had two Ear, Nose and Throat doctors, and a surgeon and his associate, who was a urologist. Rest of 'em were General Practicioners. We delivered all the babies, and took out most of the tonsils. We did just about everything.
But, I said, "Well, this is close to home, and looks like a fellow could make a living." So I settled there. I hadn't been there too long; I began to get a few calls over in the Piedmont Heights section of the Burlington Mills area. And that was a pretty rough place in those days. All the streets were dirt and mud, and the people lived in the old, little

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mill houses. And they were dreary looking. They were not painted, although they were working. The man and his wife and two children making twelve dollars a week. He was bound to get it: twelve, fifteen, eighteen dollars a week. But they'd never been used to much.
Now, there were folks in there that it was dangerous for a stranger to go in that area at night. They'd cut his automobile tires, or throw rocks at him, or beat him up. I knew one man who was making whiskey on his kitchen store. And I knew another one who was selling whiskey, had a little four year old boy that would crawl up underneath the house. Which is built very low to the ground; a grown man couldn't crawl under it, but send a little four year old boy. And they'd hide his whiskey back in the chimneys, and when a customer would come, he'd send his little four year old boy in to get it. And it finally stopped, but it wasn't that people were basically too bad, but they were just truly up against it, economically, and they were trying to feed their families the best they could.
"Long about that time, Mr. Swinney—Preacher Swinney, we'd call him—who had been working in the mills, decided he'd become a minister. And he got a little shed, like a place where you'd put wagons or something, beside of one of the Burlington Mills" outbuildings. And they put some seats in there, and he started a church there. It wasn't too long before they started the original building, and the part in what is now the Glen Hope Church, which, you know, is one of the finest churches in the state.
But Mr. Swinney got with those people, and he's one of the most remarkable ministers I've ever known. I'm sure he never went to a seminary, and by seminary standards he was not a highly educated man, that's for sure. But he's a man, I'm sure, that really and truly had a call for the ministry.

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And he got working with those people, and some of the people who had been prostitutes, and bootlegging, they either reformed real quickly, or moved out.
Was there prostitution in that neighborhood?
Little bit. It wasn't widely spread, and back in those days they put 'em in jail, so it was sort of quieted down. But it was, in the early days. And those people, they either shaped up, or got out. And I'd drive around that place at night, and feel just as safe as if I was in my mother's arms, `cause the people knew me, and they'd do anything in the world for me. When their babies would get sick, they'd call, and I always went, and I'd never ask 'em about whether they had any money. I didn't have anything else to do, and they didn't have anybody else to call, so we had a good set-up.
But, anyway, you ride around that place at evenings, and just about every evening in the week, you'd hear a little home prayer meeting going on, in people's houses. Your house tonight, and mine tomorrow night, and somebody else's the next night. Preacher Swinney changed their whole way of thinking about morals, and religious values, and values in life. It wasn't too long before you began to see the grass planted out `round those little old houses, and flowers, flower boxes; and they'd get paint on the outside, sharpen those things up. And you see the people who, when he started, and when I started in there, they'd walk around and look like there was no hope. They looked like they were caught in a trap, and never get out.
But within three or four years, it was a completely changed vicinity. The kids were all going to school in clean clothes, and the faces washed. It was hard to drive through the church area on Sunday or Sunday morning,

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the cars parked around there so much. Everybody was going.
What were the sanitary conditions like then?
Sanitary conditions were just fair. They had indoor toilets and running water. But it depended more or less on how the housewife wanted to keep her place.
Out of that church area, there's over thirty-five ministers, Baptist ministers, have come out of that church. I'm a Methodist, but I never was a denomination man. But last figure I heard, there's about thirty-five ministers, maybe more now, who started off living in that mill village, and members of that church, who took up the ministry. All through the Piedmont area and around, those boys went out and established churches of their own. Over here in Greensboro, for instance, there's one of the big Baptist church, out on Highway 29, called Brightwood. This is a tremendous big church, and they have one of the largest church schools for the children, in this whole area. The Pomona Baptist Church, for instance, that's one of his men established that. And they still preaching. Clifton Rhodes Baptist Church. I'm just talking about some around Greensboro. One down near Holt School in Alamance County came from there.
The work from that little community, and that one church, and that one man, has spread widely. His work, and his life, will be touching the lives of people five hundred years from now. And the things that he started, and he did. He was a very modest man. I talk about that area around there; some people will talk to you about Spencer Love, who established the mills. And he did, he and Mr. M. B. Smith. But Preacher Swinney gave those people something to live for. Take them out of the depths of despair, and mud, and put 'em up to where they were nice people. The kids go to college; there's

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two, three doctors that I know came from there. `Fact, my office nurse has been with me twenty-six years. She was a little bitty girl when I was practicing, and she lived down there. She wasn't born there, but she lived there for a while.
I was in on the deal because when they were desperate for medical help, sometimes they'd call in a doctor that had been their doctor for a good while, but they're making no money. There's no way in God's world they could pay a doctor. And they'd call up and say, "Doctor, my wife is bad off sick. Can you come out to see her, please." That's from the man of the house calling. Doctor's answer was, "Have you got any money?" Says, "No, I don't have any money now, but I'll get paid Saturday, and I'll be able to pay you." That was the day. They'd hang up the phone, "Well, call me Saturday." Bang! /imitates `phone being hung up/
Well, the poor old doctors would come working, and looking after them over a period of several years, and never getting any money. But, on the other hand, a lot of times, those people, they wouldn't pay their doctor, but they could buy whiskey. And used to get drunk quite frequently. I've had several of 'em in there. I'd tell 'em, "Now look—" I never did actually carry it out, but I'd tell the guy, "If your wife ever calls me and tells me that you've got kidney colic, I'm going to let you lay here and hurt. I'll come see your children, and I'll come see your wife. I won't let a thing happen to them. But you sorry scoundrel, you need to quit drinking, and starting to fly right, and use that money to buy food for your children, and buy some clothes for them. Instead of spending your money for whiskey. And that's why these doctors haven't been coming to see you. And I don't blame 'em a bit." I had nothing to lose. I did go, anyway,

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but I'd get on 'em about it.
But you go down to that place now, you ride down through that area, and talk to those people, and you find some very, very nice people living in that place. Some of them have never been able to get out of that environment, but they've made it where they can be happy. And the children don't grow up with the attitude that, "I'm going to be fixed in this, and there's no chance for me."
Mister Swinney used to be quite a sportsman. He loved to hunt and fish. I remember one afternoon, real late—it was a Wednesday afternoon—he came by my office about a quarter to seven. And there's three of 'em. Two barbers named Coley, C-o-1-e-y (and they were brothers), and Preacher Swinney had been out on a city lake, fishing. Story was that they came by his house, and "Let's go fishing, Preacher!" Said, "Well, I can't do that," says, "I've got my good clothes on, I've got to hold prayer meeting at seven or seven thirty." "Oh, we'll have you back in plenty of time for that! And don't worry," says, "well, you just ride in the boat and talk to us, and you can hold a fishing rod, too." One of the boys hooked a tremendous big fish. It was a bass, weighed about ten pounds. And that was a tremendous big fish. And everybody's excited, and they got the fish in the boat, and the old fish started flopping and jumping. And it looked, all the world, it was going to jump right back out of the boat, and get back in the water. The preacher, without even thinking, just fell right down on top of that fish, and wrapped around with it, and they subdued it until they got it quieted down so it couldn't get away.
And then they were coming in, and they brought it by just to show me. (We were all good friends.) And then the preacher said, "Well, I've got to

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go preach." And I looked at him, I says, "Look at yourself." He has fish scales, and slime, and mud off the bottom of that boat, completely covered up with it. And he had to make a mad dash to get a little clean clothes on to go to church. That's the type of people they were.
Did you live in the neighborhood?
No, I lived over—I had my office over in the town proper. But, you know, the neighborhood, with an automobile, it's a matter of only five minutes drive. And the little children in the neighborhood, oftime, would come to my office by themselves. We used to take out the little kids' tonsils, in those days, and I had a little place. They called them hospitals, but they were just the doctor's office. And I had eight or ten beds in it, and the women used to come to my place when they'd get in labor, and they'd deliver at my spot, and stay twenty-four hours after the delivery, and the ambulance come_pick them up and take them home.
Is that what people have referred to [as] your clinic?
Yes, that's what they're referring to. The little kids would be brought in in the morning, early, and we'd put them to sleep, and take their tonsils out. And late that afternoon, Mama and Papa'd come get them and take them home. All the same day. Now we're here talking about one day surgery, and one day delivery, and stuff. Well, that's old stuff. We were doing it thirty-five, forty years ago. The reason for doing them that way was—for the deliveries—a doctor have a lady in labor here, and another one ten miles away. And they'd both expect you to be there; and sometimes they'd both be making about equal progress, and come off pretty close to each other. And the doctor's in a dilemma as to which one he's got to stay with. There's no way he can make the right choice, `cause he makes somebody else

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So there's three of us around town, and then they had those little clinics, they called 'em. And the ladies who get in labor, and come up, and you could have two or three in labor at the time, and also could look after your office practice. You could get whole lots more work done. And in those days, when you got a dollar for an office call, and two dollars for a house call, and three dollars for a call after eleven o'clock at night, you had to do a lot of work to be able to pay your nurses. We'd get twenty-five dollars for a delivery, sometimes, later on, it went up to thirty-five dollars. Now you can't even walk in the office for the first trip, for that. I know.
Mrs. Swinney came once to have one of her babies there, on a Sunday afternoon. Mr. Swinney had a radio program over station in Greensboro, WBIT, and he had to be there. They didn't tape them in those days; those programs were all live. So, in between the part of the place where the choir was singing, I was able to call him and get him at station, and tell him that the baby was there, and everybody was all right. And he came back and started his sermon, and opened up where Mark says he had just been talking to me, and that the new baby was there, and Mrs. Swinney and the baby was all just fine.
The little children that I was telling you about were trained to come up. The little boy about eight years old broke his arm at school. He got on a bus—it cost a nickel or a dime—and he came to my office, and I set his arm, and put a cast on it, and took him in my car and took him home. His mother didn't know that he'd been hurt until I was bringing him in. Well, that's the kind of understanding we'd have between those patients,

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those people, and Mr. Swinney, and me. We trusted each other. And they had always tell me, "One of my kids come up, take care of him." And I used to do that. We just never thought a thing about it.
Well, were the people generally healthy? Were there any problems that were very
We had some nutritional problems. But I don't think it . . . pertained to one particular area, but it was more or less to the economic condition of the people. Like when we went there. Every year, when I first went there, one or two little children died with diptheria, because they hadn't been vaccinated. And they called the doctor when the kid, they thought it had what they called "croup." You know what croup is? That's when they can't breathe. [gasps in imitation] After about twenty-four, forty-eight hours of that, they'd call the doctor, and says, "The baby's had croup." Or the child. And you look in their throat. Walk in the room, and you smell the stuff. (Some of us could, and some couldn't. I don't know, some people's noses are better than the others.) And you walk in, and you find the kid is dying when you see it.
I used to, lots of times, take them in my car; I'd go get them to the Duke Hospital, from down in that area, in about thirty-five, forty minutes. That's about as good as you can do today. When we used to take off with the mother and the kid, we weren't fooling, because I knew they had to be somewhere they could get expert attention. Once in a while, we'd get one that lived; about half of them would be gone, twenty-four, forty-eight hours.
We used to get some nutritional diseases, like anemias, and pellagra. I would see some pellagra every year. And they'd come out of that area, and

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areas like that. Now, there were other villages around Burlington who had these textile peoples, and we had tenant farmers out in the country. Although they had gardens, some of them were not too industrious about their gardens, and the diets. They were eating fat pork and cornbread and And they'd get pellagra. Now we don't see that anymore. Most everybody has a decent diet. A vitamin deficiency, in the United States, for a person who's eating a regular diet, is almost unheard of; contrary to the fact that they sell millions of dollars worth of vitamins every year. People get them whether they need them or not, and think it helps.
It wasn't customary, too much, when I started, for women to go for prenatal care. I used to fuss at them about that. Most of the time, they'd wait till they got in labor, and then call the doctor, if they could find him. I used to insist on it, and fuss at them something terrible if they waited until the last minute. I wanted them as soon as they thought that they were pregnant, to come and see. Come in at regular intervals: weight, blood pressure, and see about whether they were anemic, and get the things that the women ought to have for that. I think that's pretty common, all over the country, in the last twenty, twenty-five years, now, for pre-natal care.
But that was not the case in those days, and those people, when we first started, they wanted to know what in they world you want to get up there for so early. They want to wait and call you at the last minute. I said, "Well, we might want to go fishing, or take a vacation trip, or something, and we want to know who's expecting, who isn't; and if we've got to get somebody to substitute for us—another doctor—while we're gone, we want to be able to alert him as to what might happen." And to tell the lady, have

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the nurses get word to her: that I might not be there, and in case I wasn't, who was going to be covering.
When we started practicing, in those days, all over the whole world, we had a specific drug for only two diseases. And now we have penicillin, and antibiotics, and all kind of medicines that take care of infections. But, in those days, one out of every three cases of pneumonia died; whether they were at Duke Hospital, or Chapel Hill, or in a converted tobacco barn, as a tenant farmer. They died if we didn't have the drugs. But we had a drug, quinine, for malaria, and we had some of the arsenical drugs, for syphilis. And they were the only two specific diseases for which we had specific drugs.
Would there be any incidences of malaria?
Oh, yes. Every summer we'd have some malaria patients. We had mosquitoes that people didn't know how to control 'em. We didn't have a county health and sanitarians like we do now, to teach people how to do it. They didn't teach them in the high schools, least the things that you pick up about sanitation, as you talked about a while ago. We did have malaria occasionally. It wasn't widespread, up there, because we were a little bit out of the malaria belt. But there was a constant flow back and forth to the coast, especially during the summers, when fishing time, and people going on vacations. They'd go down in that region, and mosquitoes bite 'em, and they come back home, and mosquitoes bite them, and bite some of the others. But malaria was something that the doctor always kept in the back of his mind, because, if he didn't, he'd miss one every now and then.
What about syphilis? Was that widespread?
Well, it was— Being a family doctor—

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—where they got treatment, and diagnosis, for their venereal infections. Being a relatively young one—and the more sexually active or promiscuous people were the younger people—they'd come to me rather than going some of the older folks, because they just felt more comfortable. I always tried to make everybody feel like they was most important person that we had, and, when they came in, help them to relax. I never fussed at them because they had a venereal disease, because the good Lord, I guess He put those urges in us. And, after all, it was not my position to lecture them on those things.
From talking with the people today, and reading the statistics, I believe we have just about as much venereal infections now as we did then. The only difference is, now we have a drug to treat them. When I first started, we had the arsenical injection, and it took an injection of that, or bismuth of mercury, every week for eighteen months, for syphilis. And it was something that was long drawn out. Lot of the doctors, the older ones, would give them about a month's treatment, and their signs and symptoms would go away, but the infectious part in their body did not go away. They could still transmit the disease, and it would show up on them later in life in the advanced stages. And syphilis used to be a great killer. But today, with penicillin and some of the antibiotics we have, syphilis —most of the time—can be controlled really easily.
The gonorrhea infections that we had, we had no specific drug whatever. We treat local treatment, to relieve the symptoms. And, if we were lucky, we could get the symptoms cleared up in about six or eight weeks. And he or she was infectious all that time. And sometimes, you would try to get

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them to come back over regular intervals, over a period of a year or so, just for a check-up, to be sure that it was gone. Now, of course, they come in, and if they've got syphilis, you give them one great big massive dose of penicillin. One time, and usually that's all the treatment they have to have for it. If you get it early.
Most of the doctors didn't have facility for early diagnosis, and they'd have to send a blood test, and send it down to Raleigh, wait to get it back, and all that stuff. I fortunately trained in the Marine Hospital, back where we treated a lot of merchant marine sailors from all over the world, and we learned to use the microscope, and tell them in five minutes whether it was or not. 'Course, we'd always confirm it with a blood test; we'd have to send to Raleigh.
Was there any kind of correlation, once Preacher Swinney came, and people started reforming, between incidences of venereal disease dropping off?
Oh, yeah. Now that particular deal, in the early days, Preacher Swinney beat me there just a few months. And he'd already had his little church going, in that shack I was telling you about. The people from that neighborhood, it was remarkable change in them. Your social diseases just dropped like that. And the people took pride in what they did and what they didn't do; and those who weren't going to felt so uncomfortable among them because the neighbors would get after them. The neighbors would work on them, says, "Now, you ought not to sell this whiskey 'round here like this. You should become a Christian, and go to church, and give up this unGodly life, and ask for forgiveness." And that stuff. Well, every time he'd turn around, he'd run into somebody working on him, and

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inviting him to prayer meeting, and places like that. He had to either submit or get out. /laughs/
I think Preacher Swinney's influence over that community, and over the Piedmont North Carolina in general, was great in many ways besides religious. I say "Piedmont" in general. I'm talking about the fact that so many ministers came from him, and so many churches were established because of them, and through the aid and assistance of the Glen Hope group. They're up in Virginia, down in South Carolina, and all through this whole area there. Preacher Swinney's gone, but there's somebody carrying on all the time what he started.
What was the mill management feeling on all this?
Well, the mill management were very appreciative of his work; the mill management contributed very heavily, financially, to that church. They built them Bynum organs, and things like that. They saw the value of improvement in the attitude and well-being of their employees. In other words, Monday morning'd come along, instead of a whole bunch of them hanging, they'd been out on wild parties over the weekend, and drunk; and some of them'd be in jail, and messing around, they were there at work. The absenteeism dropped.
To the management, that church area in there was a great investment. I never asked them for anything for the health programs, and stuff; and they were willing, nothing financial on it, because we would get out and go down to the mill area, and vaccinate everybody for typhoid fever. That's part of our public relations, and we felt that what was sort of our obligation. Now I'd [unknown] vaccinate them for free. Like we cleaned up, since I've been to Greensboro, we all took part, in polio, for instance.

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Would this be the community of doctors, just in the vicinity?
Yes, yes, yes. We still do that sort of thing. However, with our new changes in the government, and Medicaid, and welfare, and all that sort of stuff, a lot of times they set up these clinics, to get the Health Department, and all, to do that stuff, which is very nice, too.
But . . . the mill management, see, Burlington has had some very intelligent management. That's why it got to be the biggest textile corporation in the world. I think they still are. Spencer Love was a brilliant man, and he could see when it was to his advantage, and his mills' advantage, for his people to have good breaks. So it really didn't cost him anything, to be generous to the church. Just like when we give something, we can label it a tax deduction, you know. So we're being helped in it.
Did you ever have to go out to the mill to see people that had accidents?
Once in a while. Most of the time, they brought them to the office, or took them directly to the hospital. And most of the accident things were things that could be done like that. The Piedmont Heights Mill in Burlington, from the very beginning, their foremen were smart men; they were not dummies. Lots of those people, they took them right out of that neighborhood, and they were skilled in the type of work that they did. They had been instructed what to do in case of emergencies. The only time you'd have to go out there would be when some guy was hung up in something. And that very seldom—I don't remember having to go in there.
I did go, one time, to a lumber mill. A fellow got his arm caught in a roller, and crushed it out flat as a pancake, up to his shoulder. And he was hung in there. We went out. There was no way to get him out any

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other way, and the arm was already gone, so we got a little novocain up there, and cut it off, just at the shoulder, to get him loose, and get him out. Right down there close to the church.
There were some very good people in that community, to start with, too. I guess that's one reason, maybe, the preacher's work was a little easier. Fact that he wanted to work hard, that he had ambition, and the urge; something was driving him. But some of the people realized what was going on, and they wanted to change, too. And they were helping him.
There was one old boy who worked in a plant, not the textile plant. But he worked in a hardwood flooring place, that was right alongside the church. Right across the street from that mill. He lived over back of what is now the old Western Electric plant. It was during the war, it was a Fairchild Aircraft plant; and before that, it was a place where they made rayon fibers. That had closed down in the Depression, that closed down be fore Preacher Swinney got going. But this old man lived about a mile further, back of that old plant. And he was a Hardshell Baptist. He believed in a day's work for a day's pay, and he wanted to pay all of his bills. He had about ten or twelve children, and his . . . wife was coming down with the next one. I took care of her, and he didn't have any money; he was barely scraping enough together to buy pinto beans and stuff, to take care of his kids.
But he wanted to pay his bills. And he came every Saturday, and leave a dollar, until he'd paid off twenty-five, thirty-five dollars. (I forget which period it was.) He'd walk into town, which is a distance from his house to town for about five miles. He'd walk up there, and go around to two or three people, and pay them a dollar, and walk home. You could count

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on him being there that day, just as sure as the sun came up. If something happened, that he wasn't able to get there, you knew he was sick, or something. But we had a few people like that. And, of course, any time night or day, that you got a call to come out to his house to see somebody, you didn't waste any time. You went and took care of it for him, because you knew that he was one who did the very best he could. And there was a good many of those people around the Piedmont Heights, that was doing that. Some of the worst offenders that I was telling you about, they were in a distinct minority. It wasn't a universal thing. But they were there.
A lot of people have told me how rough the neighborhood was, and that there was a lot of drinking. Even I know that people would drink a lot. Did that also occur amongst the women?
Oh, yeah. A whole lot. I used to get a great kick out of it, because I knew everybody on that hill, at one time. I knew the names of every child I had, and I knew the names of most of the dogs. And the dogs all knew me, too. I could walk around in that place, and they'd come up and wag their tail and I never worried about getting dog bit, because they thought I was one of the family, in the neighborhood. And night or day, you'd go in.
But I'd go in, and I knew which woman was fiddling around with which one of her neighbors. I knew which one of the women that her husband was fiddling around with. And it'd happen sometimes that one of them would pick up a venereal infection, and I knew exactly where she got it from. Then the mate came in with it, and . . . I knew that he'd caught it from his wife; but he wasn't sure, because I knew some of the other ladies he's fooling with, and a few that should be in. We didn't have this business of

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reporting the disease, in those days, and the Health Department would go out and run everybody down, and control it. Lot of times, when those patients would get in that fix, they'd let the women come on a Tuesday, and the husband would come in Thursday, and make certain it would never be that they'd meet each other in there. I figured that if they wanted to tell each other, that was their business.
We doctors, going from people's homes, we know lots and lots of things. I told my father one time, I says, "You're a minister, and I'm a doctor," I said, "but you just don't have any idea what goes on, among the members of your church." I says, "You go in, and this lady meets you at the door with a smile on her face, and invites you in, and children all come in, husband; and ask you to have a prayer with them when they leave. But a doctor knows of four nights before that, there's a big drunken party around that thing, and trading wives and husbands. And somebody got hurt, and he had to go out there. He knows what's going on." But I said, "When they see the preacher coming up, they run up the front room, get the Bible, and dust all the dust off it, and straighten the place up, and grab the old whiskey bottles off, and hide 'em back in somewhere. And we walk in, it's all sitting out on the tables."
That wasn't too unusual a sight, when Preacher Swinney first started out there, and Glen Hope Church. I'd see it, and I knew about it, but we never . . . never mentioned it, even the next door neighbors, because those next door neighbors don't know it, it's not my business to tell them. And that way you keep people's confidence, because they know that you're not go going to betray them. Preacher Swinney was that way, too. He'd set down and talk to them directly, and personal, and tell them all about it. But

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he didn't go out and tell anybody else, and call them by name, or any of that sort of stuff. That's one reason he had their confidence. Another reason, he had empathy with them, because he'd worked in the mill, too. He knew what it was.
After I came back from World War II, and came to Greensboro to practice, I was down in Burlington one Saturday morning, and I was coming back about noontime. There was a gentleman who was [unknown] on the highway, walking. I stopped and picked him up. (I recognized him.) And I said to him, "What are you doing now?" Says, "Well, I'm working in the mil, but I'm preaching on weekends." I said, "Where do you preach?" Said, "Do you have a church?" Said, "No, I don't have a church," said, "I don't have education enough to talk to people in a church," says, "they would make fun of me. But I have the biggest church in the world: the sky for a roof, and the earth for the floor."
He was headed to Greensboro to a place we called "Hamburger Square." You ever hear of Hamburger Square? Hamburger Square is an old part of downtown Greensboro, that used to be sort of an elite hotel there, and a nice place, down by the railroad tracks. But as time passed it by, they got two or three little Greek hot dog stands down there, and beer joints. And that's where all the winos hung out. That elite hotel I was telling you about—it was a small place up over the stores—that's where the prostitutes did their business. They'd pick them up off that street down there. That's where the roughest part of town that you can go to, where the drunks and that kind of mess was going on.
He'd head up to that street, and right in the middle of them, and open up his Bible-standing on the sidewalk. And he had a loud, loud voice. He'd

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start reading the Scripture, and take his text, and start preaching. And the folks would gather around him, over around—so forth. And he says, "You know," says, "that's the only people I understand, 'cause I've drunk enough whiskey to float a battleship." Says, "I know what that guy's going through, and what his problem is." Says, "I've been there. And I take a poor prostitute, and we go up by her room, and I sit and talk to her," says, "I'm too old for anything else. And get her down on her knees, and we pray about it; and she quits that kind of messings, becomes a decent woman."
He says, "Now, the man who's got a big church, is no way that he can reach those people, because they not going to come to him. And he can't go to them." He died a few years ago, too, but he was one of Preacher Swinney's protégés. /pause/
But we had an old lady who was a midwife, down in that area.
Oh, you did? I was wondering if there were any midwives down there.
Yeah, we had a midwife. We called her "Granny." Her name was Granny Lewis, L-e-w-i-s. And lots of women thought there's no way in God's world that they could have a baby, if Granny wasn't there. When I first started in practice, we used to go out and do home deliveries, we hadn't had any experience doing home delivieries. We got out training in hospitals, and we just a little bit at a loss about how to proceed about those things, because it was different.
I'd hear about Granny was going to be there, and I knew she was an old lady, dipped her snuff. One of these real old-time, old Granny women. And she knew how to boil water, and I quickly found out that she knew how to handle a family. She could talk to, and help you along in managing that poor little girl's emotional approach to delivery. Some of the doctors would

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see Granny, and run her off; had no part of Granny's looks. But I quickly found out that when there's a prayer meeting in the neighborhood, Granny was there. The Spirit would get to her, and she would come up, and jump up and down and clap her hands, and do what the old-timers called "shouting." She'd get down on her knees with the prayers. She could pray a prayer that could make one of the graduates of the theological seminary at Yale University . . . sit up and take notice. 'Course it was the same one every time, but it was a good one. And she meant it from the bottom of her heart.
When the going would get long, and things would get discouraged, and stuff, I found that Granny was one of the biggest helps you had. And she wasn't too bad as assistant on deliveries. Lots and lots of times, when the doctors couldn't get there—or some people were very, very poor, and they'd been in the habit of using midwives, they never would call a doctor, just get Granny. And she'd go, and if she got in trouble, she knew when to call for help. She'd call me two or three times, and I'd always go out there and help her, and I'd never say anything bad about her. Never criticize her. If she's needed to be talked to a little bit, I always waited a week or so later, when she's right by herself, and nobody to hear.
We would be sitting down, talking about things, and I says, "Oh! By the way, Granny, Mrs. So-and-so's problem in there, I believe—been thinking about it a whole lot. Now, if I'd been there at the same time you were, I probably—I don't know—I might have done the same thing you did. But now that I've had the chance to thing about it a little bit, I believe it would have been better, if it'd been done like this." Now, Granny would always listen to that, and no way she'd get mad with me. But she played a big part in the religious work of that area, as well

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as the maternity business.
Among the older women out there, I expect Mrs. Swinney, if you ever talk to her again, you ask her about Granny Lewis.
I will.
Most of the people who were over sixty, sixty-five, seventy years old, will remember Granny.
Well, how old was she when you knew her?
Oh, she was in her sixties when I met her. I think she was pretty active up until she was in her eighties.
Did she live right in the neighborhood?
In the neighborhood, or in the vicinity of it. Sometimes those people would shift from house to house. They'd be some reason, that the house they had was leaky, or something, and the other one would come vacant, and they'd change it. Once in a while, maybe, an old couple would go to live with one of the children. /pause/
It wasn't [unknown] miss Granny, in talking about that, because she could have prayer for the sinner at just the drop of a hat. And nobody could turn her down. She had a personality like your own grandmother was doing something for you. And everybody, the whole neighborhood—she was grandmother for the whole hill over there.
Were there any people who would use herbal medicines, or soaps, or remedies?
Not in that particular area. 'Course, everybody has remedies of their own. Like Granny would say sometimes—when the woman was just a little tired, and the baby was right ready to be delivered, and just needed a good, mighty push—"Doctor, it's time to quill her." You ever hear of that?

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Uh-uh. /negative/
Q-u-i-l-l, like a quill.
What would that be?
Well, I says, "Granny, I don't know. I never heard the term." And I knew her well enough to know that she never suggested anything that was really going to hurt anybody. I was never going to be sit there and look at it. And I says, "Well, Granny, you ever do that?" "Lord, honey, yes, lots of times." "Well, Granny, go ahead and do it." Well, Granny would mess around, and get her something like a drinking straw, and put a little snuff in it. And she'd get that little old girl, about the time she needed to have her pain, and put that straw up [unknown] the gal's nose, and blow that snuff in her nose. She'd have the awfullest sneeze you ever saw, and baby would be "Wah! Wah! Wah"" And that's Granny Lewis' quill job. I learned that one from her, so she gave me a good lesson on obstetrics.
Did you ever try it out?
Well, I've let some other people do it for me a time or two, because there's always somebody that wants to do something. And when you can let other people become part of the program, it makes them very happy, and it makes your life a lots easier to work with them, because everybody cooperate with you better. The doctor's thing with that is what we call a little forceps, or sugar tongs. Thye'd get them there, and slip a little forceps on the baby's head, and give that little extra traction, and slip it out. But people who are not skillful at that, a good big sneeze does exactly the same thing, and it cuts down the incidence of infection, and problems. Maybe some of those old-time remedies were not too bad.
Some of those old ladies, granny ones, when people had pneumonia, she'd

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be there to help look after them—bad sick. And she could make a mustard plaster, like real good. You ever hear of a mustard plaster? Put on the chest?
MM-hm. /affirmative/
Well, we were taught that in medical school, in those days. Fact of the matter is, the year I graduated from school, the National Board of Medical Examiners, that was a question: about the preparation and use of mustard plasters. `Course that part of the examination was given by Doctor Nider, who was professor at Chapel Hill. (They have the McNider Building down there at Medical School.) And he is an old-time country doctor. I often wondered what one of those Harvard graduates thought of that question, when he got over it. But Doctor Billy, all of his students knew all about those.


You didn't have a whole lot of good medicines and remedies, like you'd use in a hospital, and doctor would write "Every three hours." It had to be something that could be done by the grandmamma of the family. The mustard plaster, for a person with pleurisy—of pneumonias and flu, and stuff—was a very comfortable, comforting thing. And it gave the grandma, or mother, something to do.
I won't ever forget, in medical school, my last year, the old professor was saying about in treatment of mumps. Now, in treatment of mumps, you order an ichthyol salve poultice on the swollener part of the jaw, continusously. Ichthyol is a kind of a salve that is still available. It's made from a ground up fish, and it was coal black. And it sort of retains heat, and its properties were supposed to—put on a boil or abcess, to draw the

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pus out. And he says, "Now, have them to put that poultice over the swollen glands, and keep there all the time. Now, it won't help the kid a bit, but it would do Grandma a world of good."
Lot of those days the things that we had to do—all the doctors had to do—when their armamentarium was so limited, we had to know a lot of little things that the modern graduate, guy who graduates from medical school today would think it was what you was asking me about a while ago, about herb medicine. We didn't have any herb doctors over there, but there was plenty of herb medicine going on. Like onion poultices. Ever hear of an onion poultice?
Uh-uh. /negative/
Well, it uses like mustard plasters, but if you had a real sore knee, or a chest. You take some onions and stew them up, and make them right mushy, and spread them out red hot, about a quarter to a half an inch thick, between couple of pieces of cloth. And cover it up with a towel laid on the affected part, for an hour or so. And smell up the place real good, and put heat all over it, and make it feel a lot better. It really does. We call it today "physical therapy," because we have electronic appliances, and heating pads, and diathermies. That was just our old forerunner to these more modern things. But it worked.
Well, Doctor Lupton, I don't want to take up more of your time. I know it's valuable. Thanks so much for talking to me today.