www.childers-shepherd.org, 2 Jan 2010
Roy Arthur Childers, Interviewed Fall 1973 by Dwight Childers
[Couches Creek Memories]
The things I remember about the most was riding to the field and back in a sled drawn by oxen. I remember about the sled
runners going up over the rocks you know, up to one side and the other over the rocks. They was pullin' so slow 't they
[wudn] no danger you know. And it would tickle me to death to ride that sled on the hillside to gather corn, see. They
gathered all the corn with oxens then.
That was up on that mountain there, and then up in the cove. That was where I was born, in a one-room log house. The last
time I was up there, the barn was there; the' was the old log barn there. So I doubt that the's anything there, because the
park officials burnt up and tore up ever house that was in them mountains, done away with them I reckon to keep people
from slippin' in there and campin' in 'em.
We done most of our farming . . . half of our farming in what we called the cove on in above where we [lived].
He had over a hundred acres.
I think he paid a dollar and a half a acre, or something like that. I don't remember us ever havin' a surveyor in there. They
just bought it from one to the other. My daddy bought this from his brother-in-law, Aunt Sarie's husband, John Smith. His
sister owned it before we did. She was his half-sister. I think they bought it before they was married, before they had any
That [the name "Couches Creek"] dates back as far as I can remember. The' was some Couches that lived on that creek
before that I remember anything about it. That's where it got its name. That's what I've heard.
[Families on Couches Creek]
Dee Ashe was the first . . . Penn Hyde, now Penn Hyde lived down near the mouth of the creek, and he had great long hair
down on his shoulders. And then the' was some Rolands lived way back in another cove there. The' was several families
lived on Couches Creek at one time. Some Rolands lived back on the east side of Couches Creek, and then Dee Ashe lived
there. And then we lived there, and then Carry Nations lived on above us. He raised a family up there. And then Will Brown
lived on the right-hand prong.
When me and Gerald was up there the last time we went up to Carry Nations. All the remains we could find there was an old
bedstead. I've helped Carry Nations hoe corn for twenty cents an hour on them hills up there. He worked at Mingus Creek in
a loggin' job. He walked from the head of Couches Creek to Mingus Creek ever' day.
[An Ordinary Day on Couches Creek]
Well, my job was to carry water to 'em in the corn field, take their dinner you know. I remember one day, I was takin' their
dinner to the older ones that was workin' in the fields. That was on up the creek. We had two or three places we farmed at. It
was on up the creek at another field up there. Now it's all growed up into woodland. And I was crossin' this creek an' I had a
little old red hat on, and I was takin' their dinner, an' I was crossin' that creek and fell in, an' lost my hat. It washed away. It
was a little old felt hat, with a brim. It worried me a lot, but I went on and took their dinner to 'em. Never did find that hat.
[The field dinner] was beans, an' whatever we made there on the place, beans and vegetables, corn bread. In a lard bucket.
That was our food then. We made our own molasses. You never did see an old cane mill, did you?
My job was, too, during that time . . . huntin' the cows, in the mountains. I was evidently seven or eight then.
We didn't get too much schoolin', because bad days we couldn't go and then if they needed us to work in the field we'd have
to stay there and work.
I'd take the dinner to the others in the fields, and then in the evenin' later on, my job was to hunt the cows up. An' I'd have to
go barefooted, see, and back then the' was plenty of chestnuts. I remember a hittin' my heel on them chestnut burrs, an' I'd
have to set down then an' pick chestnut burrs out of my feet. Where I could find a tan bark log, I'd walk the log, see. The'
was a lot of vegetation then in the woods. The old cows had bells on 'em. Sometimes you couldn't hear 'em. You'd have to
go up on a high ridge somewhere to hear 'em. Then they'd be on in the holler. An' I'd walk them logs as far as I could go,
An' get up a little kindlin' of a evenin' you know.
Roughage . . . We raised corn; we didn't know what hay was. You fed your hogs, your cattle, your steers, we fed our cows
nubbins, the little tender ends you'd break off the corn. An' use the rest for bread.