Roy Arthur Childers
Interviewed Fall 1973 by Dwight Childers
[Horse and Wagon Trip to Greenville, SC]
I was about five or six years old. We went by train, and my two oldest brothers had a team of mules.
They drove ‘em. Jim McMahan my uncle was a blacksmith. That was about the only skill the’ was. He
was counted a very skilled man, a blacksmith was. They shoed horses. And put tires on wagons you
know. [Jim McMahan] was my daddy’s sister’s husband. He was a big feller, and I remember he wore
a big black hat, an’ he liked to trade knives. He always kept two or three knives in his pocket. So my
daddy got him to go with my two oldest brothers. . . . So instead of two young boys drivin’ a team,
Uncle Jim was goin’ with them. And they went from Canton to Greenville, South Carolina.
Wherever they stopped to camp that night, the’ come a cyclone, and I remember they had to take the
mules and unhitch ‘em from the wagon -- they had ‘em hitched up you know – an’ they said it blowed
the wagon up ag’in’ some trees. If the’ hadn’ been the trees they would ‘a’ blowed it all away. They
had the wagon and some furniture.
We ’as movin’ there see. We went on the train. My daddy took us family and he went with us on the
train and let the two boys, France and Joe take the team you see. He was goin’ to use the team down
there to haul you see. (They had to do all the haulin’, all the construction work with wagons you see.)
So he was takin’ his team down there to use you know to haul. And Uncle Jim was a goin’ to go with
them. He was a grown man, and if the mules needed shoein’ he could shoe ’em you see, and if
anything happened to the wagon he could fix it.
I was about five year old. We had done moved from Couches Creek to Canton. We didn’t live at
Canton long; we just moved to Canton and then moved on to Greenville.
We stayed there . . . I believe about two year, as well as I remember. We lived in a cotton mill village;
it [wudn] in the main -- I believe it was Cliffside, name of the cotton mill, Cliffside. He [his father]
worked some in the cotton mill. He learned to weave there, and then he done some haulin’ you know,
Well, we, jus’ like people does, we kind o’ got scarce of money I think, an’ like back then people
changed around sometimes. We jus’ took a notion to go there. See, us and Aunt Minnie’s family, my
daddy’s family an’ her family, Uncle Jim’s family, we all went there together see. The cotton mill
furnished you houses, see, at that time. An’ we all, two families, went there together see.
I ‘as kind o’ wild, like a Indian, I guess. An’ they kind o’ had to tame me down after we got down there.
I jus’ played around in the back alleys and the streets and places. The’ [wudn] no danger of any cars,
I remember very much about the ice cream wagons ‘t came around on the weekends. They had
penny cones now. If you had a penny you could get a cone of ice cream. A penny was worth as much
as a quarter now. I remember that . . . all the children would watch for that ice cream wagon. He’d
have a bell on it, an’ he’d tap that bell with his foot you know an’ all the children would come to the
street to get their cones of ice cream. It was drawn by a horse. He had chunks of ice in there. That
was all the way they had o’ coolin’. An’ he had his freezer; I guess it was home-made ice cream. It [the
wagon] was a covered thing. He stood up in it. An’ he’d dip you out a small cone for a penny. He sold
that just as fast as he could dip it out. It had a door on the side, an’ he’d hand it down to you. He ‘d
have a white apron on you know and a white cap.
Well, we got pennies somewhere, I don’t know where. They had payrolls. We had money, a little more
[Garden?] No, we had to buy all our stuff then. Money was a rarity back in them days, unless you
worked on jobs, you seen very little money, especially when we lived in the mountains.
As well as I remember we lived there about two year.
[School in Greenville?]
I don’t remember. I don’t remember goin’ to any school then. The only school I ever remember goin’
to, the first school, was Mingus Creek, the old Mingus Creek school. That was later on when we
moved back to the mountains, see. We didn’ stay there too long. We moved back. We got homesick I
guess, loved the mountains.
France and Joe, and my two oldest sisters Edna and Emma --¬ I think they was four worked in the
cotton mill -- five with my Daddy. He worked part time. He didn’t work all the time.
It was all temporary. That’s why we kept the place see. We got a little money together and then